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NEW SPAIN AT THE OPENING OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
MONTAÑEZ VICEROY FOR A SECOND TERM-HIS FORMAL ENTRY INTO THE CAPITAL-LOSS OF TREASURE SHIPS THE HERMANDAD AND ACORDADA-MONTAÑEZ APPOINTED ARCHBISHOP OF MEXICO-ALBURQUERQUE'S REIGN-HIS CHARACTER ILLUSTRATED-CAPTAIN DAMPIER ONCE MORE IN THE SOUTH SEA-A PRIVATEERING EXPEDITION FITTED OUT BY BRISTOL MERCHANTS-A MOTLEY CROWD ON BOARD THE SHIPS-THEIR VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD ENORMOUS PROFITS OF THE ENTERPRISELINARES' ADMINISTRATION—Earthquake, FamINE, AND FLOOD-CONTRABAND TRADING-VALERO'S RULE-ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION-CORSAIRS IN YUCATAN.
ON the 4th of November 1701 Montañez for the second time took office as viceroy,' though his formal entry into the city was delayed until the 29th of January in the following year. On that day the dignitaries of the church were ordered to assist at the ceremony, arrayed in their surplices, and the religious orders to appear in fitting garb, carrying uplifted crosses. The cathedral was handsomely decorated; the pillars were hung with tapestry; and on the grand altar innumerable tapers stood ready to light up the building, should the viceroy make his entry by night. Stages were erected in suitable places, and arches of
'On the day of his assuming office he received the papal bulls and the pallium. Robles, Diario, in Doc. Hist. Mex., 332.
2 All obeyed except the Cármen and San Hipólito orders. The former refused under the plea that, according to their constitution, and the privi leges granted them by the apostolic see, they were not required to appear in processions except at public prayers. Nevertheless, out of compliment to his Excellency, they allowed six of their number to attend. The latter declined on the ground that they were not allowed to take precedence over the Bethlehemites. Id., 365–6.
tule extended from the cathedral to the street of San Francisco, where stood the profesa. The church of Vera Cruz, whence the procession was to set forth, was decked with costly draperies; those in the hall of knights, where seats were provided for his Excellency and the members of the chapter, excelling all others in taste and beauty of design.
When all was in readiness the archbishop, escorted by his body guard of cavalry and a company of halberdiers, proceeded to the church of Vera Cruz, and half an hour later the members of the chapter left the principal door of the cathedral to pay their respects. In front rode the verger in his white robe of office. Then came the prebendaries in carriages, in the order of their seniority, followed by the precentor, the dean, and the secretary of the cabildo. As soon as the ecclesiastics had withdrawn, the city cavalry, preceded by trumpeters and drummers, escorted to the church the ministers of state, the alguaciles, regidores, alcaldes, and the corregidor, who in the order mentioned saluted the viceroy. The procession was then formed, and Montañez was conducted to the presbytery, where he took his seat on the viceregal throne; and his mantle being removed, he was robed in the vestments and regalia of office. Incense was then burned; the te deum chanted; the viceroy returned to his palace, and the procession was dismissed.
The first administration of Montañez lasted, as will be remembered, but ten months; the second continued for less than thirteen months; and during his latter term of office the events which occurred in Europe boded evil to the Spanish provinces. After the complications that followed the decease of Cárlos II. had culminated in the war which commenced in Austria, in May 1702, the shores of New Spain were liable to invasion from the armaments of the two greatest naval powers in Europe. Moreover the oceans were still scoured by cruisers ever on the alert to pounce on the Spanish treasure ships, and no vessel contain
ing treasure was now despatched without the escort of several men of war. At Vera Cruz a vast amount of gold and silver was stored, awaiting convoy, and on the arrival of a French squadron under the count de Chateau Renaud, was placed on board the fleet. Eluding an English squadron that lay in wait in Tortuguilla Sound, the flota arrived in safety off Cádiz; but finding that harbor closely blockaded by the enemy, sailed for the port of Vigo. There they were attacked by a powerful squadron; several vessels were captured; the remainder were sunk, and treasure amounting to at least seventeen million pesos lies buried to this day on that portion of the coast of Galicia, all efforts to recover it having as yet proved unsuccessful.3
At the close of 1701 Montañez received orders to garrison Vera Cruz with a force of six thousand men; for during that year it became evident that war could not be averted, and the Spanish provinces in America offered no more tempting prize to a hostile armament. The viceroy lost no time in placing this and other ports in New Spain in a thorough state of defense. On the 4th of February 1702 he issued a proclamation warning his subjects of the impending danger, and inviting all single men to proceed to Vera Cruz in the service of his Majesty, promising them liberal pay and kind treatment. He also caused the arrest of all idlers, thus inducing many to enlist as volunteers. It is related that on one occasion, after visiting the jail, he repaired to the criminal court, and finding there a number of men listening to the pleadings of the lawyers, marched them off to prison, declaring that persons who had nothing better to do were not earning an honest livelihood, and must be treated as vagrants.
But New Spain had within her own borders ene
Alaman, Disert., iii. app. 46-7; confirmed by Rivera, Hist. Jalapa, i. 106. Zamacois states that the amount shipped on board the treasure fleet was 38,500,000 pesos, of which sum the Spaniards landed 12,000,000 at Vigo, leaving 20,500,000 pesos unaccounted for. Hist. Méój., v. 513–14.
mies no less dreaded than were the English and the Dutch. The Chichimecs, Otomís, and other native tribes, who, though often defeated, had never been brought under subjection, infested the provinces, plundering the settlements and rendering travel unsafe. To add to this evil the community was kept in constant alarm by organized bands of brigands, who almost held possession of many of the public highways, and neither treasure, merchandise, nor traveller could pass along them without a strong escort.
All efforts to remedy this evil had proved unavailing. The courts of justice were corrupt, especially the criminal court. In Viceroy Linares instructions to his successor we have a startling description of the irregularities which prevailed during his administration and long previously. The despatch of business, no matter how important, was continually left to the clerks, and perjury and false testimony constantly admitted without any attempt to punish the false witnesses. Rich criminals laughed at the idea of meeting with their deserts, but the poor were treated with the utmost rigor, the wives and children of any who escaped from justice being reduced to slavery. The members of this tribunal paid no heed to the orders of the audiencia, and the alcaldes mayores perjured themselves, violated their obligations, and both gave and received bribes. A portion of the gains of brigandage sufficed to procure immunity for the robber, and even the judges sent by the audiencia to investigate cases of appeal gave their decision in favor of the richer contestants.*
In view of this state of affairs the viceroy determined to invest the court of the santa hermandad with greater and more unrestricted powers, and the dreaded tribunal known as the acordada was finally established. I will now give some account of the functions and previous operations of the santa hermandad from which the acordada was develoned, to
Instruc. Vireyes, MS., 6–10, 13–14, 68–71.
gether with a brief description of the operations of the latter until it was abolished early in the nineteenth century.
As early as 1553 highwaymen had become so troublesome that for the security of the public roads the santa hermandad was established in New Spain." This force originated in Spain at an early date, and was composed of bands of associated citizens or brothers as the name implies-who, unassisted by the government, patrolled the highways as a protection against bandits and robbers, and as a check against the lawlessness of the aristocracy. The utility of such armed bodies, and the benefits which peaceful persons and communities derived from their vigilance, gained for them various privileges from the kings of Spain, as well as the distinguishing title of holy brotherhood. In time they became a recognized power in the land, and laws were promulgated conferring on them a certain jurisdiction, and defining their duties. In 1498 the original system of confederated associations was abolished, owing to the establishment of better order in the kingdom, and the santa hermandad was converted into a police force and tribunal. An organized court of the santa hermandad was presided over by two alcaldes, and was composed of a proportionate number of alguaciles and the officers of the patrol parties. It had the power to arrest malefactors and try them. In 1631 a royal cédula was issued ordering the appointment of alcaldes de la hermandad in all cities and towns of the Indies. These officers were distinguished by the name of provinciales.
But little is known of the operations of the santa hermandad in New Spain down to the end of the
Cavo, Tres Siglos, i. 162.
The provinciales received a salary of 100,000 maravedís payable out of the fines of the tribunal court. As a matter of course these positions were made salable to the highest bidder. They were renunciables perpetuamente, en la forma, y con el gravámen, que los demas oficios vendibles de las Indias.' Recop. de Ind., ii. 133-4. Calle, Mem. y Not., 119, has this note: 'Escriuano publico del juzgado del Prouincial de la Hermandad, es oficio nueuo, vendido en 700. tostones en el año de 1645.'