« AnteriorContinuar »
ers, the governor was practically relieved from the duties attendant thereon by the process of referring to the audiencia of Guadalajara all judicial matters coming to him on appeal. Thus he was enabled to devote a large portion of his attention to military and financial affairs with perfect independence of any New World authority. Full particulars upon this new organization are given in another subdivision of my work. Suffice it to add here that after this part of the plan had undergone several changes, a final arrangement was made under royal decrees of the 23d and 24th of November, 1792, with the reorganization of a comandancia general de provincias internas, comprising Sonora, Nueva Vizcaya, New Mexico, Texas, and Coahuila, independent of the viceroy. The two Californias, Nuevo Leon, and the colony of Nuevo Santander were attached to the viceroyalty of New Spain. This last arrangement went into effect in 1793, and was still in force in the early years of the present century.3
The other part of the plan adopted by the crown in 1769 upon the joint recommendation of the marqués de Croix and Visitador general Galvez, on the 15th of January, 1768, for an entire change in the organization of the government, was that of suppressing the corregidores and alcaldes mayores, of whom there were about two hundred in the districts of the audiencias of Mexico and Guadalajara. These officials were deemed prejudicial, for the reason that having to support themselves, to pay off the debts contracted for obtaining their office, and to retire with a fortune, they resorted to any means to secure these ends. Viceroy Linares gave them a bad char
1 Hist. North Mex. States, i., this series.
2 Revilla Gigedo, Instruc., MS., 545–6; Instruc. Vireyes, 201.
3 Real Orden, May 30, 1804, in Mayer's MSS., no. 3; Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, ii. 5.
No perdonan comunmente arbitrio, por injusto ó extraordinario que sea.' Galvez, Informe, 17–18.
acter early in the century,5 regarding them as a miserable set for the most part, bent on plunder and other malefeasances.
The plan proposed was the creation of intendencias in Mexico, Puebla, Vera Cruz, Yucatan, Oajaca, Valladolid, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Nueva Galicia, Durango, Sonora, and Sinaloa, New Mexico, and the Californias, with a gobernador intendente at the head of each, charged with the four important branches of the public service, namely, government and police, justice, treasury, and war. Excepting those of Mexico, Vera Cruz, Yucatan, and Sonora, they were to have also the patronato real. Viceroy Bucareli could not see the advantage of these intendentes, with so many and enlarged powers, feeling certain that they never could efficiently perform their manifold duties, owing mainly to the difficulty in procuring competent subordinates for the sub-districts of the vast extent of territory assigned to each intendencia. He preferred to see reforms introduced more slowly.
The scheme seems to have lain dormant till toward the end of 1786, when by a royal ordinance countersigned by José de Galvez, as ministro universal de Indias, New Spain, including Yucatan and Nueva Galicia, was divided into twelve intendencias, namely, one intendencia general for the province of Mexico, and the intendencias of Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Durango, Sonora, Puebla, Vera Cruz, Mérida, Oajaca, Valladolid, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí, taking the names of their capitals, and each having at its head a gobernador intendente. The head towns and residences of such officers were made the seats of corregimientos, a rank that several of them had not before. Under this ordinance the alcaldes mayores were dis
5 He pithily said of them, 'desde el ingreso de su empleo faltan á Dios, en el juramento que quiebran; al rey, en los repartimientos que hacen; y al comun de los naturales, en la forma con que los tiranizan.' Linares, Instruc., MS., 13.
Zamora, Bib. Leg. Ult., iii. 371-87; Intendentes, Real Órd., 410; Beleña, Recop., ii. 86; Villarroel, Justa Repulsa, MS., 2; Rivera, Gob. Mex., i. 428.
ORDENANZA DE INTENDENCIAS.
continued, and subdelegados, alcaldes ordinarios, and asesores were created; the last named must needs be learned in the law, acting as legal advisers of their chiefs in all matters, and as jueces letrados. This plan was considered by the supreme government as the best adapted to the condition of America, combining unity and centralization of authority, with dependence of each official upon a higher one till the highest was reached, namely, the viceroy or captain-general, who with the audiencia had ample superior authority for all cases of justice, government, and war; while the superintendente de hacienda, with his junta superior, amply provided for all fiscal exigencies.
But the system involved innovations of a radical character, such as could but meet with disapprobation among a large class. Every one took a different view of the matter, according to his convictions, prejudices, or interests. Indeed, few thought well of the change, and some even foretold a complete subversion of New Spain if the ordenanza de intendencias were actually put in practice. This was done, how
7 The interference with the viceroy's powers was one of the objectionable points. Since the enactment of the law of December 15, 1588, confirmed by Felipe III. July 19, 1614, the viceroy's authority or functions had remained untouched; and now, it was claimed, the regulation virtually lowered him to a mere provincial governor and captain-general; in political affairs he was reduced to little more than an alcalde ordinario, and even much of his military authority was curtailed and transferred to the intendentes. As for the administration of justice and of the finances, it was taken away from him altogether. The abolition of the alcaldes mayores to be replaced by subdelegados, alcaldes ordinarios, and asesores was looked upon as a deliberate blow struck at the administration of justice and police by diverting these two branches from the old channels. Recop. Ind., i. 543–4; Villarroel, Justa Repulsa, 33–7, 42-8, 76-7.
In the Enfermedades políticas que padece la Capital de esta Nueva España en casi todos los Cuerpos de que se compone, Mex. 1785-7, MS., 4to, 4 vols., the author, Hipólito Villarroel, gives a review of the administrative system of New Spain in all its branches, pointing out alleged defects, and suggesting remedies. The corrupt condition of the government in the capital, and the consequent degenerate morals of its inhabitants, occupy much of his attention. Some facts are also given in regard to the condition of the Indians within and without the capital, and on the character, manners and customs, and race mixtures of the inhabitants. The workings of the courts of justice, particularly those of the tribunal de la acordada, and tribunal de minería, laws for the suppression of intemperance and gambling, and the state of commerce, manufactures, and agriculture, are made to appear. Volumes i. and iii. entitled as above are divided into five parts. They were published, with a few unimportant verbal changes by Carlos M. Bustamante, under the
ever, to the great chagrin of cavillers. Early in 1787 arrived in New Spain several of the intendentes appointed for the provinces. A royal order of October 25, 1787, required such officials to produce their commissions to the viceroy, who would endorse them, place the appointees in office, and notify the audiencia of the fact. The intendentes had to apprise the viceroy of the persons appointed by them as subdelegados, and this was also made known' to the audiencia of Mexico. Like all radical measures in government, the present one did not work well at first. After three years' experience the new system was found defective in many points, and loud were the laments and predictions of calamity. Some trifling changes had been effected, one of which was that of annexing the superintendencia general to the viceregal office. Many of the other intendencias had been filled with men of ability and integrity, but of little or no administrative experience, and entirely ignorant of the country's peculiar needs. This was a serious mistake which caused the many defects of the system to be still more glaring. Constant suggestions were made to the king for reforms, but they all remained unheeded.10 The
title of México por Dentro y Fuera, bajo el gobierno de los vireyes, ó sea Enfermedades políticas, etc. Mex., 1831, Svo, 183. Vol. iv., bearing the title of Justa Repulsa del Reglamento de Intendencias, given as an appendix to the foregoing work, is taken up chiefly with strictures on that ordinance. These manuscripts are probably original, and the signatures of Villarroel appended to them with a rúbrica, in his own handwriting. Bustamante, in a criticism of the work in No. 24 of his periodical La Voz de la Patria, speaks of the author as one who had a thorough knowledge of the state of New Spain, and of his belief that Viceroy Revilla Gigedo had it before him when he formed his wise instructions for his successors; adding likewise that many of the reforms there recommended by Villarroel were from time to time adopted.
Intendentes residing within the district of the audiencia of Guadalajara, had to notify it of the appointed subdelegados. March 21, 1793, the king ordained that such intendentes should take the official oath before that court. Ordenes de la Corona, MS., i. 5-6; Cédulario, MS., iii. 10–11. Antoneli in Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2a ep., ii. 338.
9 The necessity of amending some of the articles of the regulation and suppressing others had been represented to the crown. Flores, Instruc. 15-18, in Linares, Instruc., MS.
10 Viceroy Revilla Gigedo recommended that some of the intendencias, such as Guadalajara, Vera Cruz, and Yucatan, should be intrusted to military officers of high rank, like mariscales de campo and brigadiers; others to colonels; and the rest might be placed in charge of civilians. He also suggested the creation of one intendencia for the four eastern provincias internas, one for
intendencia of Guadalajara, one of the most important, that city being the seat of an audiencia, an episcopal see, and a university, was placed in charge of a high military officer," the brigadier Jacobo de Ugarte y Loyola, who on the 14th of March, 1791, assumed the duties of his offices. 12 Another extensive intendencia was that of Vera Cruz13 with a length of two hundred and ten leagues, and a width of from twenty-five to thirty leagues.
In 1804, and from that time to the end of the Spanish domination, the country was divided into twelve intendencias, to wit: Sonora and Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Valladolid, Mexico, Oajaca, Puebla, Vera Cruz, and Mérida; besides the three provinces of New Mexico, Antigua California, and Nueva California.14
The intendentes, acting in some provinces as governors and in others as corregidores, had the ordinary royal jurisdiction, subject respectively to the superior government and the courts of justice. As regards Yucatan there was some difference; the gobernador intendente was subject to the viceroy, audiencia, and superintendente de hacienda of New Spain, in mat
Chihuahua, and one for Tabasco; the last to be in charge of a military man. Revilla Gigedo, Instruc., MS., 80-110.
11 The intendencia was bounded on the north by Nueva Viscaya, on the south by that of Valladolid, on the west by Sonora and the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Zacatecas and Guanajuato. Descripcion, etc., in Col. de Diarios, etc., MS., 241.
12 He called himself comandante general, presidente, gobernardor intendente of the provinces comprised within the kingdom of Nueva Galicia. Ugarte y Loyola, Relacion, in Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2da ep. iii. 307, 314.
13 It had on the east, Yucatan and the gulf of Mexico; on the west the intendencias of Oajaca, Puebla, and Mexico; on the north, the colonies of Nuevo Santander, later known as Tamaulipas. Rivera, Hist. Jalapa, i. 150-1.
The following shows the area and population of each intendencia in 1803: Sonora and Sinaloa, 19,143 square leagues, pop. 121,400; Durango, 16,873 sq. 1., pop. 159,700; Zacatecas, 2,355 sq. 1., pop. 153,300; Guadalajara, 9,612 sq. 1., pop. 630,500; San Luis Potosí, 27,821 sq. 1., pop. 331,900; Guanajuato, 911 sq. 1., pop. 517,300; Valladolid, 3,447 sq. 1., pop. 376,400; Mexico, 5,927 sq. 1., pop. 1,511,900; Puebla, 2,696 sq. 1., pop. 813,300; Vera Cruz, 4,141 sq. I., pop. 156,000; Oajaca, 4,447 sq. 1., pop. 534.800; Mérida, 5,977 sq. 1., pop. 465,800. Adding the three provinces: New Mexico, 5,709 sq. 1., pop. 40,200; Antigua California, 7,295 sq. 1., pop. 9,000; Nueva California, 2,125 sq. 1., pop. 15,600. Totals, 118,478 sq. 1., pop. 5,837,100. Humboldt, Versuch, i. no. 3, 14-245; Id., Essai Polit., 145–60.