« AnteriorContinuar »
ters of government, judiciary, and finances, respectively; but was independent in his military position, being clothed with the title of captain-general. The expediency of creating the office of intendente corregidor for the province of Mexico was suggested to the crown by several viceroys.15
Soon after the king's government learned of the death of Viceroy Galvez, it sent out a temporary appointment to Doctor Alonso Nuñez de Haro y Peralta,1o a member of the royal council, and archbishop of Mexico, who thus became the fiftieth viceroy. The archbishop was a native of Villagarcía, of the diocese of Cuenca in Spain, born on the 31st of October 1729. He began his literary studies in the university of Toledo, and finished them at Bologna, where he subsequently was rector of the college of San Clemente. Later he became professor of theology, and a doctor of divinity of the last named college, and of the university of Avila. This honor he received when only eighteen years of age. Haro was a great linguist, having a thorough knowledge of Hebrew, Chaldean, Greek, and Latin, and being able to converse and write with as much ease and perfection in Italian and French18 as in his native tongue. When still very young he paid a visit to Rome, and Benedict XIV. was so much pleased with his erudition that he specially recommended him to the royal prince Luis de Borbon, cardinal-archbishop of Toledo, and primate of Spain. In after years Doctor Haro filled several high ecclesiastical positions, acquiring an enviable reputation for learning and pulpit eloquence,
15 Marquina, Instruc. al Vir. Iturrigaray, 1803, in Instruc. Vireyes, 204. 16 Disposiciones Varias, iii. 43; Alzate, Gaz., ii. 412, iii. 3. I possess his autograph signature in Ordenes de la Corona, MS., v. 4, and in Doc. Ecles., Mex., MS., no. 7.
17 There is nothing to explain why the audiencia, without having offended, was slighted. The only reason that may be adduced is that the marqués de Sonora meant the appointment of Haro to be a mark of esteem for the high honor and consideration he had extended to his nephew.
18 Sosa, Episcop. Mex., 199-200. A distinguished author and theologian. Gaz. Mex. (1800–1), x. 137-8.
THE FIFTIETH VICEROY.
until in 1771 Cárlos III. nominated him to succeed Lorenzana as archbishop of Mexico. The pope, Clement XIV., on issuing his confirmatory bulls, granted the new appointee more powers, indulgences, and favors than any of his predecessors ever had, and the congregation de propaganda fide trusted him with a delicate commission.
The new prelate arrived in Vera Cruz the 12th of September, 1772; he was consecrated in Puebla on the 13th, and on the 22d assumed the government of the archdiocese, devoting from that time his talents and energies to the faithful discharge of his duties, and soon winning for himself the respect and love of his flock. Among the tasks that he completed under the king's special instructions were the by-laws for the foundlinghouse in Mexico, which his predecessor had been unable to do. For this and for the monthly pension of two hundred pesos which he bestowed on that establishment, the king manifested his satisfaction. With the royal approval he founded in the old novitiate house. of the Jesuits in Tepozotlan an ecclesiastic college, amply endowing it. The college was in many respects superior to any institution of the kind in the mother country.
During the desolating epidemic of 1779 he seconded the viceroy in every way, making most generous provision for the indigent sick; and while the scourge lasted, one year and four months, he supported at his own cost a well provided hospital with 400 beds.19
19 At the end of that calamity Haro resolved to make the hospital, named San Andrés, a permanent establishment, and between Sept. 26, 1784, and Feb. 10, 1790, he expended upon it nearly $460,000 without asking any aid. The same large-hearted philanthropy was again shown by him during the small-pox epidemic of 1797, as president of the chief board of charity; he then gave $12,000 to the above named hospital, and $12,000 more for the indigent that could not go to it. He specially rewarded priests who became prominent in affording spiritual and material relief to the sick poor. To his activity and pious zeal was due the rapid construction of the new convent of Capuchin nuns in the town of Guadalupe with every improvement and convenience for children and their teachers. To that work Haro contributed upwards of $46,000 in four years, besides liberally giving toward its support till his death. Sosa, Episcop. Mex., 201. This author refers for his information to Flores, Resúmen hist. de la vida, conducta pastoral y política of Archbishop Haro.
In 1785 serious injury befell the country from heavy frosts. Haro, in conjunction with the conde de Galvez, rendered all possible aid, placing at the disposal of the curates in the tierra caliente, Huasteca, and the Sierra, nearly $100,000 to be distributed among the ruined agriculturists. The results were so satisfactory that the prelate not only won the gratitude of those benefited, but also the king's warmest commendations and thanks.2
With such a record Haro y Peralta was certainly entitled to the mark of confidence reposed in him in being called to the temporary rule over New Spain by the royal order of February 25, 1787. He took possession of the office on the 8th of May,21 and held it until the 16th of August of the same year. Within his short rule he brought to an end all the affairs that the former viceroy had left pending at his death, and likewise all those that from day to day were submitted to his consideration for despatch. He forwarded Doctor Sesse's plan of a botanic garden, and resolved the difficult matter of the intendencias, from which much benefit to the native race was expected. In this he encountered some trouble, but managed to calm the excited passions of those whose interests were injured by the innovation; and while the royal behests were fully carried out, the dignity of the ruler was also upheld.22 He placed in Habana and La Guaira large amounts of money for the purchase of negroes from the English dealers. He declined to draw his salary. He discharged the viceregal as he had the pastoral duties, with tact and uprightness, his fine education and elegant manners aiding at all times to enhance the merit of his acts.
20 A royal order of May 19, 1786, says that the king's heart was filled with joy on seeing how munificently his vassals had been succored. He was fully satisfied that Haro's appointment to Mexico had been a most judicious one.
21 The baton of command was delivered him at the top of the stairs in the corridors of the palace; thence he went to the hall of the real acuerdo, where he took the oath of office administered by the secretary of the audiencia, José Mariano Villaseca. Gaz. de Méx. (1786–7), ii. 354; Gomez, Diario, 211-13. Panes, Vir., in Monum. Dom. Esp., MS., 130.
The king in council, wishing to reward his efficiency and rectitude, directed that, after his surrender of the viceregal office and its appendages to his successor, there should he continued to him the address of Excelentísimo é Ilustrísimo Señor, and the honors of a captain-general, the viceroy's guard paying him during the rest of his life the same honors as when he held the office of viceroy. And this was done, although his successor was churlish enough to make objection. Not content with that, the king conferred on him the grand cross of the royal and distinguished order of Cárlos III. The seat in the royal council must have been given him at a much earlier date.23
The archbishop's course and exemplary life throughout his twenty-eight years of service had made him highly esteemed at court, as was evident in upward of one hundred and ten royal cédulas, letters, and other writings, from the king's ministers and council, which conveyed the approval of some act, and the appreciation of his merits. After a year's painful illness the prelate died on the 26th of May, 1800, at the age of seventy years, an event that caused the deepest sorrow throughout all classes. He was the
23 Among the printed works of that period in which he is mentioned with these honors is Xaroscharó, Josefa, Version parafrástica. The archbishop's efforts and large donations were not confined to benevolent, religious, and educational purposes. For the construction of a dockyard on the Alvarado River he gave $80,000; for the wars against France and England, $100,000 and $90,000 respectively; for printing the work entitled Flora Americana, $2,000; for a statue of Cárlos IV., $6,000; besides other considerable sums, including $37,000 for enlarging the archiepiscopal palace, and $24,000 in aid of the poor stricken by small-pox in 1797. None of the above contributions includes the annual and monthly alms he gave, nor his large presents to his cathedral church, nor the cost of gold and silver medals that he caused to be struck and sent to Spain to commemorate Cárlos IV.'s elevation to the throne. During his episcopacy Haro confirmed in parishes of his archdiocese nearly 700,000 persons, and ordained 11,197 priests, of whom 6,958 were secular and 4,239 regular of the several religious orders. Sosa, Episcop. Mex.,
24 Rivera, Gob. Mex., i. 461; Id., Hist. Jalapa, 149; Alaman, Disert., iii. app. 77-8. Bustamante, who was not given to glorifying the men who held power during the Spanish domination, does full justice to the purity of purpose and valuable services to Mexico of this distinguished man: 'Su memoria será suave á la posteridad, excitará sentimientos de justa gratitud y alabanza.' Suplem., in Cavo, Tres Siglos, iii. 193. Pastor espiritual, el mas celoso y caritativo ejemplo de Padre de todos.' Panes, Vir., in Monum. Dom. Esp., MS., 55.
twenty-fifth archbishop of Mexico, and his funeral was marked by the usual pomp.25
New Spain during the eighteenth century was visited by calamities in various forms-epidemics, of which I have spoken elsewhere, storms and floods, 26 and last, and yet more destructive and terrorizing, earthquakes, the severest of which were probably those experienced between the 28th of March and the 17th of April, 1787,27 in the city of Mexico and
25 Del Barrio, Panegirico Oratio; Cándamo, G. G., Sermon de honras; Casaus, R., Oracion fúnebre; Nuñez, Ild., Relacion de la fún. cerem.
26 In 1762 the city of Guanajuato had a flood brought on by heavy rains, which destroyed her best buildings, temples, mines, etc. Reales Cédulas, MS., i. 8. Snow fell in Mexico-a very rare phenomenon the 2d of February, 1767, doing some damage. Alzate, Gacetas, ii. 311. An inundation in Guanajuato July 27, 1780, made it necessary to raise the level of the greater part of that city, and many fine edifices were accordingly buried. Romero, Mich., 159. From 15th to 20th December, 1783, Teutitlan del Valle had heavy storms of sleet-a strange spectacle for that region-which did great damage among the flocks of sheep and grain-fields. They were followed on the 21st by a tremendous rain, half an hour before which a subterranean rumbling was heard which filled the people thereabout with fear. Gaz. de Méx. (1784-5), i. 10.
27 The 10th of March, 1727, was a fatal day for Oajaca City, which was visited by terrific shocks. Many buildings were thrown down, and others so much injured that they had to be demolished. The 18th had been fixed for public prayers and a procession, when in its midst a still more violent shock than any preceding occurred, frightening and dispersing the people; fortunately, there was no loss of life. Alegre, Hist. Comp. Jesus, iii. 226-7. On the 4th of April, 1768, at about 6:30 in the morning, the city of Mexico had a shock; no record existed of any previous one of like force. The fountains were half emptied by the earth's vibrations. It lasted over seven minutes. Not a building, large or small, but showed the ravages caused by the unwelcome visitor. The shock was also felt in the town of Nativitad Ixtlala; the ground opened, and out of the fissure, which was of about 12 inches in width, and of great depth, rushed a stormy wind for a while. Alzate, Gacetas, ii. 27-35, 445, 448. In August, 1773, a severe earthquake so damaged sev eral bridges in and about Mexico City that guards were placed to prevent the passage of laden vehicles. April 21, 1776, the city was again scourged in the same manner. The archbishop fled to Guadalupe; the viceroy bivouacked in his garden; the wealthiest citizens abandoned their houses, some sleeping outside of the city in their coaches, others in the ranchos of the suburbs. The people generally betook themselves to prayer and penitence. The shocks in Mexico lasted 20 days, and in other parts about 50. The havoc to buildings everywhere was great. Acapulco was almost entirely destroyed. Even small houses were thrown down, and just back of the town, part of a hill top slid away. Escamilla, Noticias Curiosas de Guat., 40; Masson, Olla Podrida, 90. The following year, at about 12:18 in the night of the 8th-9th of October a terrific shock lasting ninety seconds visited Antigua Vera Cruz, very much damaging the church, which had not been repaired yet in 1782. Doc. Ecles. Méx., MS., i. no. 2, 1-52. Again, in 1784 on the 13th of January, Guanajuato was greatly shaken. The shocks lasted till early in February; they had been preceded by such terrific subterranean noises that the people, fear