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to the count of Alva. He lacked none of the accomplishments then commonly possessed by the nobility of Spain, and was moreover a man of jovial disposition, much given to hospitality, and lavish of expense. During his reign he lost no opportunity of displaying, though sometimes a little too ostentatiously, his boundless loyalty to his sovereign. The first occasion that occurred was in April 1654, when balls and banquets, lasting several days, were arranged by the viceroy in commemoration of the birthday of his sovereign. These festivities were, however, eclipsed by those which were held later in celebration of the birth of prince Felipe Próspero." Solemn thanksgivings alternated with magnificent processions in costume, headed by the viceroy and the highest officials. For several days the town was illuminated; festivals were arranged by the Jesuit fathers; bullfights were held in the plaza; there were no regular sessions of the audiencia for several weeks; and many of the prisoners confined in jail were pardoned, while the sentences of others were commuted. So popular became the viceroy, that a mere hint from him was sufficient to elicit an annual donation in favor of the newly born prince of 250,000 pesos for the next fifteen years.
The treasure fleet despatched from Vera Cruz in April 1654 was one of the most richly freighted that had ever left the shores of New Spain, and in the following year a large amount was forwarded; but the capture of Jamaica 15 in 1655 caused a large decrease in remittances after that date.18
14 In January 1656 public prayers had been said in the cathedral and all the other churches for an heir to the throne. Guijo, Diario, in Doc. Hist. Mex., série i., i. 337.
15 Cavo, Tres Siglos, ii. 36, Rivera, Gob., i. 197, and other Spanish authorities state that Cromwell was urged to despatch the expedition which effected the capture of Jamaica by Thomas Gage, the author of The New Survey of the West Indies. Gage was an apostate friar; hence perhaps the statement, which is not founded on fact.
16 During the same year news arrived that a party of buccaneers had been captured by the settlers of Tampico. Twenty-two of them were sent as prisoners to Mexico. Guijo, Diario, 330, 362.
The news of this disaster caused serious alarm throughout Spain and the Spanish colonies, though it was but the beginning of a long series of calamities, many of which I have related. Already the North Sea was infested with pirates, and in the islands of the West Indies thousands of buccaneers, filibusters, and sea rovers," who regarded the Spaniards as their natural prey, had formed permanent settlements. During the latter portion of the seventeenth century the colonies, more especially those of Central America, were never free from their raids; Portobello was sacked; Panamá was destroyed; other cities were plundered or burned; and within a few years of its capture Jamaica became the spot where most of these raids were organized, often with the consent and always with the connivance of the representative of the British monarch.
In 1657 the viceroy despatched a force of over four hundred men to aid the Spaniards in driving the English garrison from the island, but to no purpose. Most of them perished of disease without inflicting any loss on the enemy,18 and the inhabitants remaining on the island removed to New Spain.
It was not long before the Spaniards felt the evil effects of thus tamely allowing the British to gain a foothold in the West Indies. Every year the convoy of the fleets became more difficult. In one instance fifty-five days were required for the passage from Vera Cruz to Habana, the ships having remained near the coast of Florida, to avoid capture by an English fleet. Often the church bells summoned the
17 For the origin of piracy in the West Indies see Hist. Cent. Amer., ii. 451 et seq., this series.
Vetancurt, Trat. Mex., 15; Cavo, Tres Siglos, ii. 41; Guijo, Diario, 393-4, 406-7, 443. Still this writer speaks in another place of a great victory obtained by the auxiliaries, who dislodged the English from the island, and says that the news was celebrated in the cathedral and all other churches of Mexico. Id., 400-1. Todos miserablemente perecieron en manos del enemigo.' It is of course well known that the English retained possession. About this time the town of Alburquerque was founded in New Mexico, perhaps with a view to give those who had arrived from Jamaica an opportunity to establish new settlements and restore their fortunes.
loyal and pious inhabitants of the capital to prayers for the safety of the treasure ships; but not always were their prayers answered, for on one occasion during the viceroy's rule the flag-ship with five million pesos and four hundred persons on board was lost. At about the same time another fleet was attacked and partly captured at the mouth of the harbor of Cádiz. Henceforth Alburquerque became more cautious, and detained the fleet of 1658 until greater protection was afforded.
While New Spain was thus harassed by more distant foes, Yucatan was selected as a favorite scene of action by the law-defying brethren of the coast. Its isolated position, the difficulty of moving military forces from one place to another, the very position of the towns, all of which were near the seaboard, had long made this peninsula a favorite resort for pirates. After a less important expedition in 1613, during which they took temporary possession of the bay of Ascension, they reappeared in 1632 near Campeche; but noticing the energetic preparations for defense no attack was made. Their project, however, had not been abandoned. In the following year they returned under the command of their two famous leaders Pie de Palo and Diego the Mulatto. After a hot fight the town was taken and sacked. Efforts to obtain a ransom failed, however, and when rumors of a force approaching from Mérida became known to the corsairs, they departed.19
Again a short period of tranquillity followed, till, in 1644, a squadron of thirteen vessels with fifteen hundred soldiers landed at Champoton. The inhabitants having fled, the invaders departed after completing their stores,20 taking with them two Franciscan friars
19 Under the same Diego the Mulatto, Salamanca was sacked in 1642, the town having been taken by surprise. Cogolledo, Hist. Yuc., 658–9.
20 They shot some cattle, preparing the meat in the church, which sacrilegious act especially calls forth the wrath of the pious Cogolludo. 'Sirviendose de la Iglesia para tan indecente execucion, y especialmente de la pila Bautismal.' Hist. Yuc., 682.
HIST. MEX., VOL. III. 10
whom they found hid near Zihó, and placed on board one of their vessels. Such an act committed against the representatives of the faith, say the chroniclers, provoked the wrath of heaven, and as a due chastisement all the vessels foundered, that bearing the friars only after the holy men had been placed ashore on the coast of Florida.21
But this incident made little impression on the buccaneers, who continued their depredations on both the eastern and western coasts of the peninsula. In April 1648 they captured a frigate with more than a hundred thousand pesos on board, and a few weeks later boldly attacked a vessel in the very port of Campeche. At about the same time another band, commanded by the pirate Abraham, captured Salamanca.22 During the second half of the seventeenth century their raids became more frequent. In 1659 and 1678 Campeche was again taken and sacked by English and French freebooters. They were aided on this occasion by logwood-cutters, who since that time had begun to establish themselves on the peninsula; and, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of the Spaniards to expel them, successfully maintained their positions,23 till in 1680 they were driven from the bay of Términos by forces sent against them from Mexico and Yucatan.24
Alburquerque bore the reputation of a just, vigilant, and capable ruler, one who strictly carried out the duties of his office, regardless of censure. Hearing that one of the contadores mayores had challenged the other, he ordered both under arrest, and sentenced to fines of three thousand and fifteen hundred
21 Cogolludo gives an interesting account of the miraculous powers which our lady of Champoton and the 11,000 virgins exhibited on this occasion. Id., 683-4.
22 He repeated the sack of the same town in 1652.
23 For a detailed account of the origin of the logwood establishments, from which the settlement of Belize emanated, I refer to the Hist. Cent. Am., ii. 623 et seq., this series.
24 Robles, Diario, 303-9, gives a pretty detailed account of the trophies obtained on this victorious expedition.
pesos respectively, though duelling was at this time a common practice in New Spain. During the year 1659 he suspended the corregidor and his lieutenant, and imprisoned several of the regidores because they had been bribed to consent to a reduction in weight of the loaf. Personal inquiries at the mills and bakeries had convinced him that there was no reason for making such a change.
The clergy were not exempt from the duke's searching vigilance, and in his excessive zeal for the welfare and dignity of the church he occasionally played a somewhat ridiculous part. Patrolling the streets near the palace one night, as was his wont, he noticed at a late hour two Austin friars in a dilapidated looking bakery eating fritters. The viceroy was shocked, and at once ordered their arrest; not, he declared, because the act of eating fritters was of itself unclerical, but that, considering the time, the place, and the sacred vestments of the culprits, such an indulgence was scandalous. One of the ecclesiastics took to his heels and escaped, but the other was taken to the palace and sternly reproved and kept in custody till the following day, when he was delivered to the prior of his order. After remonstrating with the latter, the viceroy summoned also the other heads of religious orders, and having expressed his disapproval in general, directed them to exercise in future a better surveillance.25 This was readily promised, and severe penalties were imposed for similar transgressions. A reformation had indeed become necessary; for the greater part of the friars were no longer the worthy followers of those whose charity, humility, and untiring zeal had made so deep an impression on the native population a century before. In addition to their hypocrisy, some of them were guilty of the worst crimes common to their fellow-men; and it is related that in 1655 two
25 In the following year, 1655, the rebuke was repeated, the king having issued three cédulas, complaining of the increasing disorders of the monastic life. jo, Diario, 311-12.