Monclova: 1780 (September 25). Folio (305 x 213 mm), two untrimmed sheets folded once to produce 8 pp., manuscript on 7 pages, final page blank. Watermark: Picador (type of Heawood 3471: caballero / bull countermark). Top right corners damp stained, overall in excellent state. Very good. Item #3452
A RARE CONTEMPORARY MANUSCRIPT COPY OF AN ORDER OF TEODORO DE CROIX, regulating the presidios regarding the rights of presidial representatives. The present MS clarifies Article 10 of Title 14. Here it is decreed that the presidial representatives are not permitted to purchase for the troops, receive money for goods, nor contract debts, and in case of their bankruptcy of the funds under their control their property will be confiscated. Our manuscript is a copy certified in Monclova, September 25, 1780, with the written name of Juan de Uvalde (not signed). For a COMPLETE TRANSLATION of the manuscript, see below.
Teodoro de Croix (1730, Lille, France - 1792, Madrid) was Viceroy of New Spain. He was the first comandante general of the Internal Provinces, serving as the virtual ruler of the northern frontier from his appointment in 1777 to his selection as viceroy of Peru in 1783, a position he held until 1790.
Early documents relating to Teodoro de Croix are now scarce on the market. THIS MANUSCRIPT was the last one of its kind to appear at auction (in 2001: Dorothy Sloan Auction 11, lot 99, purchased by her from the consignor after the sale; purchased by us from Dorothy Sloan Rare Books in 2020). In 1968, a much later 3-page document appeared at Parke Bernet (undated, but after 12 Jan. 1790). These are the only two Teodoro de Croix related manuscripts to have been offered at auction in FIFTY-THREE YEARS.
Our manuscript is written on a type of Spanish paper that Headwood dates to "1766-1776." The text offers valuable primary documentation on presidial-military matters relating to the Arizona-Sonora border in the colonial era.
The significance of the text is such that two other manuscript copies survive, both at the Bexar Archive, Briscoe Center, UT Austin: MS e_bx_003394 [D.S., 1-3v pp., in E. 6/23/1780-11/23/1780]; and a 1797 copy made in Chihuahua: MS e_bx_003393 [D.S., 1-3v p., in E. 6/23/1780-3/10/1797].
DON TEODORO DE CROIX, Cavallero de Croix, of the Teutonic Field Marshal Order, Field Marshal of the Royal Armies, First Lieutenant of the Flemish Company of the Royal Guard Corps, Governor and Commandant General of the Interior Provinces of New Spain, Superintendent of the Royal Treasury, &c.
The repeated appeals and "expedientes" presented and initiated at this commandery general concerning the astonishingly frequent bankruptcies of paymasters of presidial and "volante" companies have exposed the mistaken belief and erroneous interpretation generally accorded the articles of Title 14 of the regulations for presidios. The validity of the votes called for in Article 10 of the same title, for the election and appointment of the paymaster, imposes on the electors and the company the unlimited and absolute responsibility for whatever results, debts, and charges he contracts during his term. Consequently all the individuals of the company must satisfy [such obligations] in proportion to their respective salaries and allotments. Accepting this mistaken interpretation of the regulations, they have continued practicing [this belief] since it was commanded that [the regulations] be observed. Whatever was contrary [to this misinterpretation] was considered a punishable infraction, opposed to the rights of the people, the good faith of contracts and commerce, and the honor and reputation of the officers and troops, who, on this wrong principle have unjustly suffered the burden of paying debts for which they are not under any circumstances obligated, and that of often losing the value of their income and preferential credit. And finally this has been seen many times as the cause whereby some companies have been unable for a time to perform their functions, so that this notorious harm has been passed on to the provinces in general, which thus have been lacking in the tranquility, safety, and defense which they could have been and should have been afforded, for the ends for which the King maintains and pays the troops of the frontier in particular. In order to avoid future risks of such a grave nature, which, if not remedied would alone cause the desolation of the province, I have resolved, in conformity with the well-founded and wide-ranging opinion of the auditor of the commandery, don Pedro Galindo Navarro, on the matter in question, that the following shall be observed and understood as having the sovereign approval of the King with the force and rigor of ordinances:
¶ 1st: Paymasters named by companies with the formalities prescribed in the afore-cited article 10, title 14 of the regulations of presidios do not have the power or authority of the companies to purchase on credit, to receive borrowed money, or to contract any debt or obligation in [the companies'] name. In addition to this, companies are not obligated to satisfy any [such debts or obligations] if [their paymasters] do contract them. Rather creditors must claim them against the paymasters themselves or against such properties as they may possess.
¶ 2nd: In the event of the bankruptcy of paymasters who have not delivered or apportioned to their companies the entirety or any part of the funds or supplies to have been received in [the companies'] name at the royal pay offices, the said companies are legitimately entitled to collect what is lacking from whatever properties belong to the bankrupt paymasters. [The companies] are to have priority and preference over every other personal creditor which [the paymasters] may have, whether prior or posterior in time. [This is to be the status of such debts] because of the nature of the credit--being directed towards the service of the King and the common defense and benefit of the provinces--and also because [paymasters] must not use this capital, which has been entrusted to them, to pay their particular debts, since the interests placed in their care and the goods which would have been acquired therewith are not properly those of either the paymasters or the companies.
¶ 3rd: Therefore, immediately upon discovery of the bank- ruptcy of any paymaster, by the adjutant inspector or those commissioned temporarily to exercise the functions of this office, or by the captain or commander of the company, the arrest of the paymaster and the confiscation of all his belongings shall be effected. They shall be appraised by qualified persons and sold at public auction. With the proceeds therefrom the balance resulting in favor of the company shall be covered before all else. The remainder, if any, shall be deposited in the chest having three locks, where the "gratificazion" fund is kept, so that when other creditors appear and are heard, it may be delivered and paid to them according to the graduated order of priority.
¶ 4th: Upon completion of these first proceedings, which shall be judicial and to which all formality sh:all be extended by the officer whom it behooves to practise them, procedures shall be taken without the slightest delay to determine the cause from which the bankruptcy emanates. Witnesses who may be able to give an account of it shall be examined, and a declaration and confession from the suspect shall immediately be taken. Afterwards his objections and defense shall be heard, so that the autos may be justified in the terms and processes prescribed and approved by the royal order of May 15, 79, and circulated among the presidios and companies. Then the penalty appropriate to the which is found to have been committed may be imposed.
¶ And whereas such resolutions as I have made as a consequence of the last inspection reviews and those I have made later to clarify them with the opinion of the assessor and auditor of war, directing them now to the adjutant inspectors., may contribute to the prompt and scrupulous observance of the preceding four declarations, I order that the latter be published by bando in all the cities, villas, towns, and presidios of the provinces under my command, that they may come to the attention of all, and that none may plead ignorance. Given at Arispe on the twenty third of June, seventeen hundred eighty.
¶ El Cavallero [Teodoro] de Croix. Antonio Bonilla Santiago, 25 September 1780. Juan de Uvalde.