José de Gálvez: Visitor-General of New Spain (1765-1771)

By Herbert Ingram Priestley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
GALVEZ IN SONORA

On preceding pages some indications have been given of frontier conditions and of measures projected for the restoration of peace on the northern border. These plans included sending Colonel Domingo Elizondo at the head of a military expedition which, combined with presidial troops and militia of Sonora and Sinaloa, placed in the field a force of about 1100 men to oppose an Indian rebellion which had been intermittently menacing those provinces for a score or more years. When military measures should have restored peace, settlements were to be made of semi-military colonists, who were to assist the presidial soldiers in maintaining order. There were other matters to arrange. The Jesuit missionaries, fifty in number, had been expelled, and the spiritual interests of their former charges were to be provided for, as well as their temporal welfare. The important industry of mining, which had fallen into some decay owing to the protracted unsettled condition incident to the Indian rebellion, was to be promoted and encouraged. The frontier provinces were to be made revenue producing; the tribute, not yet collected from the subject population on account of the tacit immunity1 of frontier settlements from this species of taxation, was to be extended to the farthest limits possible; the four monopolies of tobacco, playing-cards, gunpowder, and quicksilver were to be established in the frontier provinces. The reorganization of the Provincias Internas into a new comandancia general independent of the viceroyalty was to be begun, and the initiation of the new division of the entire dependency into intendancies was to occur in the provinces Gálvez now proposed to visit. In the general plan was also included the project of reducing the number of

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1
Sanctioned by usage, but not by law. See below, pp. 284-5 and 326.

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