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Biography of Juan de Eulate

Don Juan de Eulate was the fifth governor of New Mexico. He was appointed to the office December 31st, 1617, but for reasons which are not stated in historical data referred to, did not start from Mexico City until March 1st, 1618.

Don Juan de Eulate
By Grace Meredith
Field Worker

Fifth Governor of New Mexico

1618 - 1625

Don Juan de Eulate was the fifth governor of New Mexico. He was appointed to the office December 31st, 1617, but for reasons which are not stated in historical data referred to, did not start from Mexico City until March 1st, 1618. The title of Adelantado was dropped after the two Oñates, and Eulate had the rank and titles of governor and captain‑general. His was the longest term of any Spanish governor. He held office from December 22nd, 1618 when he arrived in Santa Fe, until December 21st, 1625.

Research regarding this man, has brought to light certain illuminating facts: that he was an arrogant, bombastic person of blunt speech and somewhat unwarranted self‑confidence must be admitted, and that he held a most lofty opinion of his position as the King’s representative is shown unmistakably by the various, and quoting from orders hereinafter given, “scandalous” controversies and differences which occurred during his term as governor with the Franciscan Order in general and Padre Esteban de Perea the Father Custodian in New Mexico, in particular.

It was the function of the governor to promote the general and wide welfare of the province; to see that justice was administered; to defend New Mexico from internal revolt and from attack by outside enemies; to foster and protect the missions of the Catholic Church; and to see to it that the settled Pueblo Indians were neither abused nor exploited. Eulate was thus, the political leader of the province, the commander-in-chief of its military activities, its first legislator on matters of local policy, and certainly, its most important judicial officer.

The governor’s power was very wide, very far‑reaching; it offered an energetic, honest man the rare opportunity. for unselfish service in a remote, dangerous, new land filled with romance, adventure and as yet undiscovered resources; it gave him the ability to maintain discipline when and where it was needed, and to secure justice in all matters for all persons. Unfortunately, to a dishonest, self‑seeking man the awful power of extended tyrannical activities was likewise, well nigh unlimited.

The Padre Esteban de Perea, the Father Custodian as mentioned heretofore had come to New Mexico with other friars in 1614. He was then of course, quite well known in the province and his influence was rather extensive, when Eulate arrived as governor in 1618. Eulate had therefore to match wits with one of keenest and cleverest ecclesiastics

How inadequately some of the governors fulfilled their obligation and  duties, and how un‑Christlike the attitude of many of the friars, is clearly shown by even the most casual study of any authentic historical document or book of the seventeenth century. Herbert Ingram Priestley in: The Coming of the White Man, writes on this subject as follows:

“The civil and ecclesiastical officers clashed with regard to judicial authority. The governor asserted his right to appoint petty Indian officials whom the missionaries used in reducing the natives to the Christian polity; the custodio refused to admit the governor's authority to do this and excommunicated him for his interference. The nub of the problem lay in the fact that the missions on the one hand and the governor on the other, were competing for the opportunity to exploit unpaid labor of the Indians. The conflict soon took the form of rivalry for the exercise of full judicial authority. The custodian under papal bulls and alleged permission by royal decrees, claimed free right to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction. This included all cases involving friars, and the and the usual affairs of life for everyone if they could be construed as arising out of the obligations created by the sacraments of the church. Throughout the century the governors steadfastly contested the pretension, and nearly all the troubles which visited the province rose directly or indirectly from the struggle.”

Lansing B. Bloom in: Civil Government in New Mexico, states:

"There is direct and irrefutable evidence that Governor Eulate sometimes gave written permission to soldiers to seize Indian orphans as house servants. The clergy insisted that these unfortunate children were subjected to perpetual servitude and they were hunted down "as if they were branded slaves" if they fled from their masters. It may be doubted, however, whether the authorities regarded them as slaves. It is more likely that the permits or vales by which seizures were issued on the presumption that the master of such seized orphan would teach and indoctrinate him, and serve as a sort of guardian, and that in return for such protection and training the master had a claim on the orphan’s service of course this might easily mean actual, if not legal slavery … Whether this practise of impressing Pueblo children as house servants was generally throughout the country cannot be determined. It was a common practise during Eulate’s administration. . .”

This struggle for authority between Eulate and Perea grew more and more violent as time went on. The friars with Perea as their leader, denounced Eulate on numerous charges, among which were:

That Eulate denied that the Father Custodian (Perea) possessed any jurisdiction over laymen; that he professed willingness to arrest and judge clergy, even execute them; that he expressed contempt for ecclesiastical censures that he was guilty of heretical statements concerning the Trinity and priestily celibacy; that he refused to cooperate in the missionary program; that he subjected the Indians to abuse and exploitation; that he was guilty of immorality. He furthermore, accused of encouraging the Indians to perform the old rituals of their own religion, particularly the ancient ceremonial dances, which the Franciscans considered vulgar and indecent, and in some instances, obscene. In discussing the religion of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, Dr. Hewett in his book, ancient lif in the American Southwest, has this to say: “Their religion finds expression in almost every act of life, in industries, arts, decorations; but the supreme act of worship is seen in the drama dance. The Indian is little enough understood in any respect, but in the matter of his so-called dances there is abysmal ignorance, obstinate misunderstanding, willful misrepresentation. Almost every Pueblo ceremony that is performed in public is a prayer of intense sustained fervor …”  Though for more than a quarter of a century, Dr. Hewitt has had experience with and made studies of the Pueblo Indians, he states very definitely that he never saw a ceremony that was obscene from the Indian’s viewpoint.

Eulate of course, had his side of the controversy and charged the friars with meddling and interfering with affairs that were none of their business, of inciting the Indians to disobedience, and many other things. Both Eulate and Perea sent what historians call "circumstantial reports to the viceroy concerning friars in New Mexico."

The viceroy at this time was Don Diego Fernandez do Cordova, Marques de Guadalcazar, and after due consideration and conferences with other officials in Mexico City, he despatched two orders, one to Eulate and one to Perea, in which he attempted to define the respective authority of State and Church in Mew Mexico, and to establish peace between the two. These instructions however, did not create the harmony which the viceroy had hoped for, and in 1622 Perea made an appeal to the tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Mexico City.

 Perea’s appeal eventually must have been extremely effective, for Friar Alonso de Benavides with long experience in affairs of the Holy Office, was appointed local commissary or agent of the inquisition in New Mexico. About the same time, Benavides was also elected custodian of New Mexico missions, and after some considerable delay set out from Mexico City for New Mexico in the spring of 1625. He was accompanies by some new friar recruits and a new Governor; admiral Don Felipe  de Sotelo Cessorio.

They reached New Mexico in December of 1625, and thus it is reasonable to assume that Eulate was recalled to Mexico at that time, even though he did not leave New Mexico until early in September of 1626.

From the time  of his arrival, Benavdes was busy gathering evidence against Eulate, and more than thirty persons, friars and laymen, made declarations. Some of these came freely to Benavides to give their declarations and others were summoned to appear before him. In these declarations, charges against Eulate were not only revived but were supported by a greater weight of evidence than Perea had been able to obtain.

When the caravan was ready to start for Mexico City in 1626, Eulate the retiring governor, and Father Perea who was going to report in Person to his superiors there concerning the affairs of New Mexico, were members of the same party!   Even up to this point, these two men kept up the long‑drawn‑out quarrel. Perea was triumphant, and he more than likely looked forward with satisfying certainty to the arrest and trial of Eulate by the Inquisition upon his arrival in Mexico City.

Eulate had lost none of his arrogance and fire, one of his last acts within the jurisdiction of New Mexico was to affirm is old boast that the King was his chief and that he would serve the King even against the Pope!

While waiting for the caravan to form, a group of citizens and friars, Including Eulate and Perea, got into a heated discussion over the authority of the custodian to punish a governor for cause. Perea naturally defended such authority and Eulate as vigorously denied it. The two then launched into a lively argument in which Eulate stated flatly that he would do what the King ordered, even if ordered to do what Bourbon had done. (Referring to the sacking of Rome by the troops of the Duke of Bourbon in 1527). In reply, Perea reminded him hotly: "It appears, your Lordship, that these words are heretical propositions."

There is no record that Eulate was ever tried by the Inquisition.

He did not escape all punishment however, for shortly after arriving in Mexico city, he was arrested and confined to his home, and later was tried by the civil authorities on the charge of having used sixteen of the King’s wagons to bring cargo from New Mexico free of freight, and of having brought Indians to be sold as slaves. The record of his trial is not available, but it seems that he was fined and ordered to pay the expenses of sending the Indians back to New Mexico, in the first mission caravan going there. Two men presumably friends of Eulate, Juan de Vertis and Ladron de Peralta, gave bond for him, to guarantee the fulfillment of his sentence, (the exact details of which are not available,) and the return of the Indians to New Mexico.

From: "A Glimpse of New Mexico in 1620," by Lansing Bloom, in The New Mexico Historical Review, October 1928:

"Copy of what was provided in an order to the government of New Mexico based on the fifty Chapter of the Government letter of March 10th, 1620."

Don Diego Fernandez de Cordova, Marques de Guadalcazer, Viceroy, Lieutenant of the King, our Lord, Governor and Captain General of New Spain, and president of the Royal Audiencia and Chancery therein located, etc: To You, Don Juan de Eulate, Governor of the provinces of New Mexico, or to the person in whose charge their government may be. Know ye: that in the Junta which I held on July 29th of the past year of 1620 with the two licenciadoss Don Francisco de Leoz (and Don) Joan de Paz de Vallezillo and Doctor Galdos de Valencia, councils of longest tenure in the said Audiencia, and with the presence of His Majesty's fiscal in the Audiencia, in conformity with the Order which has been followed for the dispatch and regulating of the business relating to those said provinces, there were seen various letters, missives, memorials, testimonies and other advices which have been sent from those (Provinces) by you, the said Don Joan de Eulate, and by many other persons both ecclesiastic and secular, from which it (the junct) has become informed of certain differences and disputes which there have been between you and the Father Custodian of the Religious of Sr. St. Francisco and the Religious themselves of those said provinces as well in matters of jurisdiction in other different (matters) which are contained in the said letters, memorials, testimonies, and informations; And inasmuch as already on other occasions in the time of your pre‑serious outbreaks and scandals which were more worthy of remedy than of imitation and so that henceforth there my be such procedure as to avoid similar controversies and that there may be between You and the said Padre Custodian, (between) one and the other Republic ecclesiastic and secular, every good relation and harmony, Peace, security and quiet of those said provinces and their natives: I inform You that, by Royal regulation dispatched on the ninth of January of this year, His Majesty exhorts and charges the said Father Custodian that, in the exercise of ordinary legal duties in those said provinces, he use it according to law in the spiritual and ecclesiastical cases which may be within his jurisdiction and that in these cases he alone Proceed without the intermeddling of the other Religious of his custody nor in anything else except the administration of the holy sacraments without spreading themselves to make autos (sort of judicial record) over what they may wish to appeal before the said Custodian nor any others, and that in those (autos) that he may make he proceed, whether on petition of some party or on his own initiative, always in writing before a notary public if there should be one, and if not, he shall appoint him in form, and that if the layman or laymen against whom process should be made themselves aggrieved by the definitive sentences or (fearing) that the interlocutory autos might have force of a definitive (sentence) or penalty which thereby it might not be possible to correct and they should appeal to the metropolitan judge, the archbishop of Mexico, and should protest (against) the Royal aid in its enforcement, he should not proceed to the execution of his decisions until after this said Royal Audiencia declare whether they have force or no. Wherefore let him send to the (Audiencia) the original process (formal statement of a case) which he may have issued with all the autos without leaving out anything, in the meantime absolving those who, because of the cause, ie may have excommunicated., lifting and removing whatever censures and interdicts he may have imposed; and in the executive ecclesiastical causes, cognizance of which may pertain to his ecclesiastical. Jurisdiction, he proceed according to Law, observing in the form and substance to the Judgment what is provided By laws of the Kingdom, noting that in cases of sacrilege, of concubinage and of the others which may be of mixed fuero (class privilege or exemption) the (civil) Judge who might officiate must be informed about them and that against Lay persons he (the Custodio) may not Proceed in any manner except it be in ecclesiastical cases according to Law, and that in these (eases) he may not execute sentence of imprisonment without First asking the help of the Secular arm from You, the said governor, or from Your Lieutenant, that ye may furnish it to him, (he) informing you in writing of the Justification of the Said imprisonment. So shall ye have it understood, in order that it may be known to you in what form it is necessary to proceed in such causes, and I command you that when in the case the Father custodian may have to proceed to imprisonment against some secular (person) and many request you for help of the Secular Arm to effect the said imprisonment ye heed the Said cause because the Said custodian so Proceeds, and, the Said order of imprisonment having justification, ye shall give him the     [As is in manuscript]

And Because on the part of the said custodian and (other) Religious some complaints have been presented to me to the effect that Ye interfere in the matters under their care even to naming the fiscales (official or perhaps, prosecuting attorney) of the church and in other lesser things, Ye Shall give order how each of the pueblos of those provinces, on the first day of January of each year, may hold its elections of governor, alcaldes (mayor or judge), topiles, (sheriff or constable), fiscales and the others who serve the Republic, without You or any Judiciary, the custodian or other Religious being present at the said elections, so that in them the said Indians may have the liberty which Is fitting. And the (elections) which in this manner they may hold, they shall report them to You that ye may confirm them if they have been effected by the majority and with the liberty Stated, that everything is in accord with what is customary in this New Spain.

And ye shall maintain Good relations with the said father custodian and the other religious, without intruding yourself in cause and business touching their persons and the administration of the doctrine which is under their charge, nor in the other ecclesiastical matters which belong to them; and upon cases which may import to the common Good of the baptized Indians and for the Universal Conservation of the Republic both of Spaniards and Indians ye shall consult with the said father Custodian of those Provinces and with the guardian (religious superior) of the convent of that Villa of Sanct. Fee, and (with) two other definidores (members, who with the superior, formed the council of the convent) of the Orders if there be such and if not with the Two Religious of the longest service in that Custody, and with the cabildo (municipal council) of that said Villa, and with the Captains and soldiers whom you may think best, so that, having listened to All (of them), Ye alone may decide what may seem to you best for His Majesty's service. And in everything ye shall proceed with the tactful prudence and good consideration which is expected of Your person. And if in such council there be found someone who is of contrary opinion and, because your decision is not in accord with his (opinion), should request a Testimony, ye shall give it to him, (thus) being understood the holding of Juntas in the form described and with the persons Stated, if ye should find yourself in the Said Villa of Sancta Fee, capital of those provinces; but if ye should find yourself in some other pueblo or on the road ye shall Comply by making the said Junta with the Captains whom ye may have with you and with the other Persons as may appear to you best and with the Religious who may be ministering at that time. And for the rest, neither the Said father custodian nor any other Religious may interfere with You nor with the other judiciaries of His Majesty nor shall they impede you in the use and exercise of your jurisdiction and government, but in everything they shall hold with You and the said Judiciaries Good and courteous relations, for so does His Majesty charge them in the Said regulation.

("Royal regulation of January 9th, 1621).

And let the Said Custodian give Order that, hen anyone of his Religious may preach in your presence, he Do Courtesy to you with the Head and with the cap without 8aying anything to you, and that if the said custodian be attending at the same time, afterwards he may do him another like courtesy.

I command you that upon the pueblos which from this time forth may be converted to our Holy Catholic faith and reduced to obedience to His majesty ye do not impose new tributes ye shall report the motives that ye have for so doing, and the custodian and the minister of Doctrine of such pueblos shall do the same, so that, in view of all, the Viceroy may provide that which may be proper and for the present and until making these representations no tributes shall be collected from the pueblos of Zuni and Moqui in those Said provinces which are said actually to be Gentile (to the Spaniards, any indians who had been converted, were Gentiles), and to whom no spiritual aid in doctrine is being vien on the part of His majesty, nor any temporal (aid) in order to defend them from their enemies. And as to the rest, the said Custodian and the Religious shall not impede Your nor the encomenderos (one to whom by royal grant a specified number of the conquered Indians were "commended" or entrusted...") in collecting the tributes of the pueblos from which their collection may already by established.

And you will have care that the said Custodian, in conformity with that which is laid upon him by the Said Royal regulation, so arrange that to the Indian pueblos, wherever there may be a church, a Religious go on Sundays and feast days to say mass for them, instruct them in Doctrine and administer the Sacraments so that they be not incommoded by taking them for this purpose from one pueblo to another.

And since it has been understood that because of some errors and light causes for which action has been brought against some Indians they have had their hair sheared, a punishment at which they take great affront and as a result of which some have fled to the Rock of Acoma, reverting to idolatry, and other grave inconveniences (have resulted), I command you that ye do not inflict nor allow to be inflicted on the said Indians such punishments but rather ye shall give orders that the recently converted (Indians) be shown good treatment and consideration.

And inasmuch as the Said father Custodian by his letter has informed me that the Spaniards Residing in those provinces afflict the Indians exceedingly by loading them with wood and the tribute from their encomiendas and any other burdens which they happen to want taken from one place to another, although they have enough horses on which they are able to carry them, and because this is prohibited by cedula of His majesty, I command you thay ye observe and comply with the (cedula), seeing to it that it is executed in detail and wholly according to what His majesty orders in it, not permitting that the said Indians be made burden‑bearers and so protecting them that such impositions shall not be put on them.

Also account has been given me that the said Indians endure unusual inconveniences and labor in the Distributions by which ye send them out a hundred at a time or forty at a time on occasions when the (Spaniards) are doing their sowing, and on other occasions when they are busy on their ranches and that nothing is paid the (Indians) for their work; and because it is most necessary to look to the conservation, comfort and good treatment of the Said. Indians: I command you that the allotting which ye may have to make of them be only that of tilling and herding and for no other purpose, and even this ye shall make from the pueblos which may be convenient to it so that the Indians be not molested, and the number that ye may have to apportion shall be at the ratio of two percent of those who may be in each pueblo in ordinary time, which is when they are not sewing or reaping, and in time of double (work) which is when there is the said reaping and sowing ye shall make the said apportionment at the rate of eight percent, giving orders that the said Indians be paid for their work at the rate of half a real and their food each day, and their food not being provided they shall be paid one real for each day; and ye shall take great care that good treatment be done them, and to those Spaniards who may not so do nor pay them for their work ye shall not allow any more Distribution of Indians from that time forth. And because it is understood that, from having given to the citizens of that Villa of Sancta Fee Indian women in Distribution, there have resulted some offences to God, Our Lord, from henceforth ye shall not make the said allotment of Indian women nor shall ye oblige them to go to serve in the said Villa nor anywhere else unless it be that they go with their husbands (and) voluntarily, and ye shall protect them so that no person, of whatever estate or quality he be, may take them to perform such service.

And because the Said Religious of those provinces have represented to me that when they go out from the provinces thru hostile country every three years to come to this New Spain for the supplies which are furnished them, ye oblige them to pay the soldiers who come as their escort thru the said hostile country, asking me to order this remedied so that the said payment be not required of them, and so also that the said escort be given them when they go to the Indian pueblos to administer to them the holy Sacraments which they say ye often excuse (the Spaniards from): Ye shall give orders that the soldiers in those Said provinces who have encomiendas (this is believed to have included all of the original colonists) shall perform the said escort duty for the Religious who came for the said supplies without exacting anything from them for it, and ye shall provide likewise an escort for the said Religious whenever they go to the Indian pueblos to administer to them the Doctrine, accommodating this the best that may be possible according to the people that there are in that said Villa, so that the Said religious may not leave off administering the holy Sacraments to the said Indians.

It is said also that Ye, the Said governor, have in those said provinces some pastures of large and small stock, and because, according to the obligation of your office and the laws of these Realms, ye cannot have this grange or others, ye will be advised of it so as not to contravene what is so Established by Law under the penalty thereof.

Likewise it is understood that the encomenderos of those provinces and other persons have also their pastures of the said stock near the pueblos and sewed fields of the Indians whereby much damage is done them, and so that they Receive not the (said damage) Ye shall give order as to how this may be remedied, managing it with great care and warning (them) that the pastures of large stock must be kept at least three leagues distant from the pueblos and (Indian) fields; and ye shall give order that the horse‑herd of the soldiers is to be kept apart from the Said pueblos and fields at least three leagues except such part as is very necessary (and) that (these horses) shall be corraled at night and shall be hobbled by day so that they do no harm, and ye shall not forbid the said Indians to guard their sowings and fields and those of the Religious (but) rather ye shall allow the denunciations which they may make by reason of the damages which may have been done them, doing them Justice quickly and summarily.

By some of the letters from You and from the cabildo of that Villa of Sancta Fee I have understood ye are discussing the placing of the said Villa in (form of) defence by moving it to a better site on a squared location with four Towers; and for this object to erect a church (and) government buildings and to carry on the work, ye ask me for a quantity of iron, steel, picks, axes and other tools and supplies which ye say will be necessary for the above said (purposes). And because such a change does not appear to be advisable without mature council, I command you that for the present ye make no innovation as to moving the said Villa‑‑‑and if it still should seem advisable to make it, ye shall inform me. Ye the said governor and the cabildo of the (Villa), the father Custodian of the Religious of these provinces, The guardian of that convent and two definidores if there be such, and if not, then the two Religious of longest service, stating the place to which ye contemplate moving the (Villa), what conveniences and benefits (will) result from doing so and the manner in which it will be possible to put it into execution and whether it will be laborious and troublesome to the Indians, and for a better understanding of everything ye shall send me a map of the site and all details; and the some information ye shall give me as to the fortification which ye contemplate making; and as touching the repairs on the Royal buildings and the church which there are already in that said Villa and for the defence of it (the Villa), the cultivation and gardens, the erection of buildings and other things necessary, I am sending you six hundred‑weight of crude iron and two of steel; two hundred picks, one hundred axes, thirty adzes, twelve double‑bladed axes, twenty chisels, twelve planes and a like number of junteras (special kind of carpenter's plane used for grooving), two hundredweight of nails, ten hundredweight of powder, thirty of lead; eighty gratings, and five hundred readingbooks which ye will distribute by count and with discretion and for the greatest usefulness which may be possible and to the advantage of the Royal treasury.

It is said further that ye have your coast of arms painted on cloths in order to place them in the churches. If this is correct, ye shall not do so.

And as to the parochial church which it is proposed to found in that said Villa of Sancta Fee and as to sending a curate vicar for it, inasmuch as there is already there church and a convent of Sant. Francisco which seems sufficient for the number of residents that there now is, there is no occasion at present for it to be done. And because in the service of God Our Lord and of His majesty the observance and fulfillment of all the contents of this mandate tends to the peace, quietness, harmony and good government of those Provinces—I command You that ye observe, comply and execute and see that others observe, comply and execute wholly and completely according and as is herein contained—contrary to the tenor and form ye shall not go nor pass by, nor consent nor allow that (others) go or pass by in any manner, but rather that it be carried into due execution, to the end that in everything there may be peace and good relations, concord and concerted procedure and (that) government which has always been desired in those Said provinces, and if the contrary happens I shall provide such other more severe remedy as may be suitable. Done in Mexico, the fifty day of February in the year one thousand six hundred and twenty one.‑‑‑The Marques de Guadalcazar. By order of the Viceroy, Francisco Nunez Basurto.

Copied from one of the books of the government in my charge and corrected.‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑

                                                Francisco Nunez Basurto

                                                (with rubric)

It has been agreed upon. In the “Junta of New Mexico” on the matter of the government of those provinces in the form which is here set forth.”

In a note on page 371. Mr. Bloom writes: "Pecularities of spelling, and the curious disregard for capitals and punctuation have been retained. The effort has been to give an exact reproduction of the archive in Sevilla." This of course has to do with the document obtained Spanish, and the English translation as well, and taken from: Archive General de Indias.

From: The Royal Order of 1620, To Custodian Fray Esteban de Perea, by Lansing B. Bloom, in New Mexico Historical Review for July 1930.

"Plain Copy of a Cedula dispatched by the Royal Audiencia of Mexico to the Governor and Custodio of these Provinces, under date of January 9th, 1621.

DON FELIPE, by the grace of God, King of Castile, of Leon, of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Portugal, of Nararre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Majorca, of Seville, of Cerdagne, of Cordova, of Corsica, of Murcia, of Jaen, of the Algarbes, of Algeciras, of Gibraltar, of the Canary Isles, of the Islands and mainland of the oceanic sea (Atlantic); archduke of Austria; duke of Burgundy, Brabant and Milan; count of Hapsburg, of Flanders, of Tyrol and Barcelona; lord of Vizcaya and of Molina, &&—to You the venerable Father Fray Esteban de Perea of the order of the seraphic San Francisco, Custodio of the Religious of the said Order who reside in the provinces of New Mexico, or to whatever other Prelate among the Religious of those provinces may have the said Custodia in his charge: know ye, that, in the Council which the Marques de Guadalcazar, my cousin, viceroy, governor and captain‑general of the provinces of New Spain and president of my royal Audiencia and Chancery who resides in the City of Mexico, held on the twenty-ninth of July of this year with the three senior oidores of my said Audiencia, with the attendance of my fiscal in accordance with the order which I have given, there were seen certain letters, missives, memorials, depositions, and other documents which have been written and dispatched from those said provinces to my said Viceroy by various persons, ecclesiastic as well as lay, through which (documents) account has been given of the strifes over purisdiction and other (matters) which there have been, and are, between you, the said Custodio, and my said Governor, you, the said Father, claiming that, by virtue of the bulls of His Holiness Leo X, and of Adrian VI, you have in those said provinces authority and jurisdiction supreme as well as ordinary ad universitatem causarum (translated freely: in all sorts of cause:) so that you can take cognizance of any ecclesiastical matters, whatever, and can issue any censure and interdict against any persons of whatever state, condition and preeminence they may be, imposing upon them the punishments at your command, and (you claiming further) thay my said Governor should not and could not decree or determing any matter touching his said government without (first) consulting with you and following the advice of you and of the Religious of your Custodia, with many other causes and reasons which it appears are set forth at length in the said letters, memorials, depositions and other documents; and moreover through other documents which have been presented before my said Viceroy and (through) complaints which have been, and are, pending in my said Audiencia there have been reported the serious difficulties which have followed and resulted from (the fact) that the Prelates your predecessors made use of the said jurisdiction against Bon Pedro de Peralta and against the Admiral Bernardino de Zavallos who have been my governors in those provinces with greater scandal and less prudence than would have been just, exceeding and going contrary to what has been determined by the holy canons, bulls of His Holiness, and my cedulas, in excommunicating them and, in order for them to have absolution, imposing upon them public penances without due authority and humiliating to my said governors and to the rest of the Royal Jurisdiction which was then in force.

And in order that from no henceforth procedure may be in accord with what is right and that such scandals may be avoided, (the matter) having been considered by my said Viceroy in the said Council and in others which he held with my said oidores and fiscal, it was agreed that he must give this my letter in the said Cause, and I approved it; wherefor I ask you and I enjoin you that, you the said Father Custodio holding ordinary jurisdiction in those said provinces, you employ it and exercise it in conformity with what is right in the matters spiritual and ecclesiastical which may pertain to your Jurisdiction, and in these (matters) you alone proceed without the other Religious of your Custodia intruding themselves further than in the administering of the Holy Sacraments, without their officiously making autos over what may be brought up by appeal before you, nor any other (autos), and in those (autos) which you may draw up, whether it be by petition of some party or officially (on your part), you shall always proceed in writing before an apostolic notary if there be one, and if there be none you shall name in form, and If the layman or laymen against whom you shall make the process shall feel themselves aggrieved by the definiteve sentences or interlocutory autos lest they might have final force or be an encumbrance which it might not be possible to correct and should take an appeal to the Metropolitan judge, the Archbishop of Mexico, and should protest against the Royal aid in the enforcement of them, you shall not proceed to execute your decisions until after my said Audiencia which resides in the City of Mexico may decide whether you shall give (them) effort or no, for which purpose you shall send to my Audiencia the original process which you may have fulminiated with all the autos without the lack of anything, in the meanwhile adsolving those whom, by the said process, you may have excommunicated and raising and removing whatever interdicts and censures you may have imposed; and in the executive and ecclesiastical causes, cognizances of which may pertain to your ecclesiastical jurisdiction, you shall proceed according to law, taking care as to the form and extent of the judgment and what is provided by my Royal laws, noting that in cases of sacrilege, concubinage and in others which may be of mixed jurisdiction the judge who should act is to be informed of them; and against lay persons you shall not proceed in any manner except it be in ecclesiastical matters according to law (and) in these you shall not proceed to imprisonment without first requesting the aid of the secular arm from my said Governor or from his Lieutenant, who shall give and afford you such aid, (you) shoeing him by what you have written that you will proceed legally.

And since from the documents seen in the said Council it appears that you the said Padre Custodio and your other Religious have attempted to dissuade the Indians of these provinces and to give them to understand that your authority was the superior and that from it and your hand depend all their interests with the (authority?) of their governor, civil and political, and you and your said Religious complain that the said Governor is interfering in the (matters) of your Charge even to the naming of the fiscales of the Church and other more trifling matters, my said Viceroy may send an enactment to my said Governor so that he (the governor) may give orders how each of the pueblos of those provinces, on the first day of January of every year, may carry out their elections of governor, alcaldes, topiles and fiscales and other public officers without my said Governor or any other Judiciary, you or any other Religious of your Custodio being found present in the said elections so that in them the said Indians may have the freedom which is fitting, and that the (elections) which may be effected in this manner may be carried (reported) to my said Governor in order that (the elections) having been effected and by the majority (of the Indians) with the freedom indicated, he (the governor) may confirm (the fact) that every thing is in accord with what is customary in our said Spain.

You shall have it so understood in order that, in what touches you, you may give order that (my instructions) be observed, executed and fulfilled.

And whereas my said Viceroy, in the said Council and in others, has decided that my said Governor may not collect, nor he (you, the Custodio?), the Tributes from the Pueblos which may be in process of conversion without his order, and that when there may be reasons for doing so he report the motives which he may have for imposing such Tributes, and that you the said Custodio and the minister of instruction in any such pueblo do the same, in order that, being fully advised, my said Viceroy may provide what may be convenient, and that until after taking these steps the said Tributes be not collected from the Pueblos of Zuni and Moqui of those said provinces,—having it so understood in so far as it touches you, I charge you that from the pueblos which may be already agreed upon for the collecting of the said Tributes, you shall not impede nor allow your said Religious to impede the said Governor nor the encomenderos of the said pueblos in collecting the said Tributes.

And because likewise my said Viceroy has ordered and commanded my said Governor that he have good relations with you, the said Father Custodio, and with the other Religious, without meddling in matters and affairs which pertain to your persons and to the ministration of the doctrine which is in your charge nor in anything else which pertains to you, and in order that matter which might import to the common good of the baptized Indians and to the universal conservation of the Republic, of Spaniards as well as of Indians, (may be properly arranged), let him (the governor?) consult upon them (such matters) with you and with the Governor of the Villa of Santa Fee and with two others definidores if there should be such, and if not, (then) with the two senior Religious of that Custodia, and with the cabido of the said Villa and with the captains and the sergeant whom he may select, so that, having listened to all, he alone, my said Governor, may decide what may seem to him to be most convenient for my service; and that in everything he proceed with the tactful prudence and good consideration which is expected of his person, and that if some one of those who may be found in the said Council should be of contrary opinion and, because of my said Governor not deciding in conformity with his views, he should request a testimony, let it be given him, it being understood that the councils are to be held in the form stated and with the persons indicated, if my said Governor should be found in the said Villa of Santa Fee, capital of these provinces, but if he should be found in some other Pueblo or on the road, let him comply by holding the Council with the captains whom he may have with him and with such other persons as may seem to him best, and with the religious who may be ministering to them at that time. Thus you will, have it understood so that as to other matters you shall not intermeddle nor allow your said Religious to intrude themselves upon my said Governor and upon the other judiciaries nor impede them in the use and exercise of their Jurisdiction and government; on the contrary I charge you that in everything you have with them good and courteous relations, giving orders that when any one of your said Religious may preach in the presence of my said Governor, he do him courtesy with the cap and with the head, without saying anything to him, and if you the said Custodio should enter at the same time, he may do you similar courtesy afterwards (in other words, as between governor and custodian, priority of recognition is to be accorded the former); and you shall so provide that a religious go on Sundays and feast days to (each) Pueblo where there may be a church to say mass for them, to instruct them and to administer the sacraments, in such way that they do not receive inconvenience through their being taken for this purpose from one pueblo to another.

And since it has been understood that, in some cases in which you have proceeded, you and your Religious, against the Indians for errors and light faults, you have had their hair sheared, a punishment form which they suffer very great affliction because it is for them the greatest affront that there is, from which has resulted the fact that some have removed to the Penol of Acoma, returning to idolatry, and other grave inconvenience, you shall give order that the Religious of your Custodia do not inflict such punishments but rather that those recently converted be shown in everything good treatment and consideration.
...And because also your said Religious sometimes send to the mountains, a great number of Indians for things of little necessity and which might be excused, you shall not allow their time and labor to be utilized except for things necessary for the church and the convenience of the living‑quarters, and in those things with the greatest moderation that may be possible to the end that they may not suffer hardship.

And because of the observance and fulfillment of all in this my letter contained tends to the service of God our Lord, and to mine, and to the peace and quiet and concord of those provinces, I charge you that ye observe, guard, comply and execute, and that ye make to be guarded, complied and executed wholly in all that touches, or can touch, you the said Father Custodio and each one of your said Religious who are now, or in the future may be, in that your said Custodia, so disposing in everything in a manner that what is in it contained and in each matter and part of it may have entire and complete effect, contrary to the tenor and form of which (letter) ye shall not go nor pass, nor shall y consent nor give place that anyone of you, directly or indirectly, go or pass in any manner, but rather that it be carried into due execution to the end that in everything there may be peace and concord which has always been desired in those provinces, so that thus ye shall serve me, and in case of the contrary I shall consider myself very ill‑served and shall provide for it suitable remedy in a manner that my Royal Will may have due effect; and I order that my said letter be placed in the books of the Government of those said Provinces and in those of the Custodia which are in your charge, the original, with whatever notification thereof may be given you, remaining in the possession of my said Governor in order that to those of the one (side) and to those of the other it may be entirely and thoroughly manifest what you (both) are required to do.

Given in the City of Mexico, the ninth of January, one thousand six hundred and twenty on. The Marques de Guadalcazar.—I, Grancisco Nunez Basurto, lieutenant of the escribano mayor of the government of this New Spain for the Kind our Lord, caused it to be written by his command, his Viceroy in his name. Recorded.

Cosine de Medrano—Chancellor Don Sebastian Carrillo—escribano’s fees, Gratis—recording fee, twenty‑five—secretary, fifty‑six—affirmed, inspector’s office (?)—The Father Custodio of the Religious of the Order of San Francisco who reside in the provinces of New Mexico is asked and charged by what is here contained and (which was) agreed upon in the Council which his Excellency held with three senior oidors and the senor fiscal of His Majesty of this Royal Audiencia.”

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Spain in America 1450‑1580 by Edward Gaylord Bourne, Ph.D. Harper and Brothers, New York and London, 1904.

Ancient Life in the American Southwest by Edgar L. Hewett, D.Soc. LLD Bobbs‑Merrill Company 1930. Indianapolis.

Historical Documents relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya and Approaches There to 1773, collected by Adolph F. A. Bandelier and Fanny H. Bandelier. Edited by Charles Wilson Hackett, Ph. D. with Introductions and Annotations by r. Hackett. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington D. C. 1925. Volume 1.

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