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Letter from Manuel Armijo to Manuel Álvarez, 17 June 1848
Translated by Rick Hendricks
Answered on 30 June
Don Manuel Álvarez
Alburquerque June 17, 1848
My dear sir and friend,
I have proposed to take up a pen to inform you about what is happening in the Rio Abajo, because I know you are an impartial man, one of the first North American citizens to tread on this soil. I know you want this territory to be well governed, but my friend, the best government in the world, which is that of North America, is discrediting itself, and if you principal men do not find a remedy, this will have tragic results. In Albuquerque Licenciado Quinn has formed a gang of evildoers that is doing scandalous things. They say that the jury is doing it, but I am going to make it very simple for you. If the so-called first jury is for criminal matters, usually there is nothing, and they leave. Since they are the richest businessmen, they go home. The well-known jury for civil matters is the saddest and most ignorant and belongs to the Sarracino, Armijo, and Mestas party. Here you can see very clearly what the resulting sentence is. Friend, I have no doubt that if they do not tell you about this evil, there will finally be a jury called the July of Blood. I believe that Judge Otero is impartial, but I do not believe he was born to lead.
They summoned me to these hearings and charged me for the mules I removed when General Kearny entered. They say that they want me to pay for everything the treasury owed to don Antonio Sandoval. Your excellency, my response was very simple, I did not recognize the court, saying that that had no legal authority to judge things that happened during the time of the Mexican government. Licenciado Quinn was struck dumb and did not respond as he should have. He only said that Manuel Armijo was being judged and not the governor. So, the matter was very hurried, but the decision of the court was that by October it would determine whether or not it could make a judgment in this matter. I ask you to consult, if possible, the United States. I will pay the expenses. Advising me in a timely manner is something for which I will thank you. They want to value the mules at 100 pesos each, in addition to the freightage, such that if the sentence is handed down, I will have to leave my house and hand over everything in it and the land. I will leave a place of rest as don Ambrosio Armijo, former treasurer of this territory, is doing to pay Baca, Terrus, and Serafín Ramírez. I am sure that the first will enjoy nothing because even though he has talent, he lacks energy. Because the second, is a scientist, he will get something.
I conclude by asking you to forgive the bother, and I hope you will order me as you see fit. I wish to serve you. Your most affectionate friend who kisses your hand