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Francisco de la Mora y Ceballos

Sometime during the month of March 1632, Captain Don Francisco de la Mora y Ceballos arrived in Santa Fe from Mexico City, and became the eighth governor of New Mexico.

Old Spanish documents recently brought to light and translated, show that in so far as the antagonism between state and church was concerned, the appointment of Mora Ceballos as governor of the province did nothing to help matters. It is stated that he actually took the office with the general idea of gaining wealth for himself by enlisting the assistance of the friars in order to dispose of a vast number of articles which he had brought with him from Mexico to trade with the Indians. A large stock of knives was one of the items he expected to use for barter. Even before Ceballos reached Santa Fe in March 1632, enroute north he left various articles at some of the missions which the Franciscans had established at some of the pueblos along the way, and he endeavored to get the different friars to act as his agents in bartering with the natives. When the ecclesiastics were loath to enter into such arrangements, Ceballos met their objections with dire threats if they refused to agree to further his trades with the Indians.

Thus it is quite evident that Ceballos "started something" even before he was governor—because, while the appointment was made in Mexico City, the actual term of office did not commence until his arrival in Santa Fe and upon receipt of the baston of office from his predecessor.

In justice however, it is also to be stated that almost immediately after Ceballos had formally taken over the office of governor in March 1632, one of his first official acts was to sanction an effort to avenge the death of the two missionaries, Friars Letrado and Aivide, who had been killed at Zuni. Apropos of this George Wharton James writes:

"It must be admitted that these governors, after Oñate and previous to Alonso Pacheco de Heredia in 1643, deserve little sympathy and still less credit. As for the military proper, it was mainly rabble, and sometimes of the worst kind! Of their free will and accord, very few decent people went to New Mexico to stay." And then looking at the deplorable condition from another angle, he writes as follows: "On the other hand, the missionaries were extremely jealous of their prerogatives and of their power over the Indians, and tolerated none of the encroachments upon the rights of the natives which colonists, of whatever nationality or creed, have always attempted to commit. Their jealousy for the rights of the Indian and for his peaceable living under the protection of the church went often to extremes, and the greatest bitterness prevailed in consequence between the governors and a part of the Spaniards on the one hand, and the clergy and their adherents on the other."

Since another governor arrived in New Mexico in 1635, it is reasonable to assume that sometime during that year, Ceballos returned to Mexico.

Appendix ‑ Mora y Ceballos ‑ 1632‑1635

Much has been written and more insinuated concerning the laws of both church and state pertinent to New Mexico. A great many of these laws had to do with the natives of the province. It seems advisable then to quote from Bourne in : Spain in America, where he states:

"In 1633 workshops in the encomiendas and personal service was prohibited, and under Charles II, a decree was issued against labor by Indian women and sons who had not reached the tribute‑paying age. One difficulty with the regulations was that there were many loop‑holes. The colonists were permitted to force the Indians to work for pay, and they deducted the amount of the tributes from the wages or kept the Indians in debt to them. The alcaldes and jailers forced the Indian prisoners to render personal service in convents.

A law of 1633 provided for the paying of tribute in wheat, corn, yucca, fish, cotton, vegetables, or anything else suitable to the place, "that there are some provinces in which personal service still exists with grave harm and vexation to the Indians." It was recommended that the officials in charge of the government in each locality call together the prelates, the royal officials, the bishop, and some disinterested persons to consider the matter and to estimate a just amount to be required in tributes. It was ordered that the encomenderos should abide by the decision and not collect any more than the amount set."

That laws were disobeyed was due to selfishness on the part of the civil authorities and jealousy on the part of the ecclesiastical.

As has been stated previously, during the term of Ceballos, Father Perea took a most active part in the affairs of the province, either as Commissary of the Inquisition or as a member of the Definitors, the standing committee, of the custodia. Meanwhile Father fray Francisco de Porras was offered the post of custodian in Perea's place, since Perea was agent of the Inquisition, but preferred to remain in Hopi to continue his work of conversion there, and he was killed at Hopi sometime In June 1653. Fray Juan de Salas was therefore custodian.



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New Mexico by George Wharton James. The Page Co. Boston 1920.

The Coming of the White Men by Herbert Ingram Priestley. The Macmillan Co., New York 1929.

The Spanish Pioneers and the California Missions, by Charles F. Lummis. A. C. McClurg & Co. Chicago. 1929.

New Mexico History and Civics by Lansing B. Bloom, A.M. and Thomas C. Donnelly, Ph.D. University Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico 1933.

Desert Drums by Leo Crane. Little, Brown, and Co. Boston 1928. (The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico 1540‑1928)

Land of Sunshine. Volume XV. Edited by Charles F. Lummis. 1901.

Land of Poco Tiempo by Charles F. Lummis. Charles Scribner\'s Sons. New York 1933.

Colonization of North America. 1492‑1783. By Herbert Eugene Bolton, Ph.D. and Thomas Maitland Marshall Ph.D. Macmillan Co. New York 1922.

Blood‑Drenched Altars by Most Rev. Francis Clement Kelley with Documentation and Notes by Eber Cole Byam. Bruce Publishing Co. Milwaukee, 1935.

New Mexico Historical Reviews for April 1930, July 1932, July 1933, April 1935, July 1935, January 1932, October 1930.

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

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New Mexico Historical Review for 1932.