New Mexico's Renaissance, 1749-1761
Tomas Velez Cachupin took office on April 6, 1749. Unlike many of his predecessors, the new governor found it unnecessary to issue orders.  As will be recalled, previous governors continually forbade gambling, the sale of soldiers' horses, while demanding road improvements, on demanding the supression of banditry and the like.
By mid-century, the New Mexicans were no longer the frontier settlers of earlier years. Civilization had come to New Mexico, even if it was no more than a veneer. There were fewer court cases, both civil and criminal, and the incidence of trouble among New Mexico's soldiers decreased. At the outset it looked as if Velez was going to have an uneventful term in New Mexico.
But this was not to be. Problems began with the arrival of Juan Antonio Ordenal y Masa, a Franciscan friar from Durango, in 1748. He visited the missions in his capacity of visitador. He was responsible to the viceroy. Ordenal wrote that he found the friars of New Mexico "neglectful" in the fulfillment of their duties, that they oppressed the natives, that often they were absent from their posts, that they refused to teach the Indians Spanish and that they were unwilling to learn native languages. These criticisms were remarkably similar to those of Bishop Crespo in 1730. Ordenal suggested that the missions of New Mexico should be consolidated to reduce expenses. 
In response, the Franciscans brought forth a report in which all charges by Ordenal were denied. The writer accused him of being a mouthpiece for Velez Cachupin whose "well-known hatred of the priests" was acknowledged in New Mexico. Meanwhile, at the behest of the order in Mexico City, Fray Carlos Delgado, a long-time New Mexico resident and the friar at Isleta, was asked to write of his forty years in New Mexico. In his report, he portrayed the governors and alcaldes of New Mexico as brutal tyrants who forced the natives into slavery and who took the products of these miserable creatures from for personal gain. He further accused the government of forcing the priests to remain quiet under threat of withholding their sinodos (annual subsidies). Delgado claimed that this, in turn, caused the Indians to become apostates because the Church could not function freely in the province. Bancroft said that Delgado was "a crank" since he clearly overstated the conditions in New Mexico. There is no evidence that the governors were as corrupt as Delgado would have the reader believe. As noted, the provincial government was quite active in stopping local corruption and the natives were not afraid to report illegal demands made upon them. 
Delgado's accusations were most violent. He stated:
Such damming stories by Delgado were unlikely totally true, considering other evidence that is available on the subject. Certainly some abuses took place, but most of them were punished. The matter of the governor taking an Indian woman is highly unlikely as is the Indian being shot for the theft of corn. Bancroft stated: "I find in the records nothing to support and much to contradict the [Delgado] supposition that the rulers [of New Mexico] were for the most part blood-thirsty brutes...." 
Governor Velez was thrust into the middle of the Church-State controversy. He was a marked man as far as the Franciscans were concerned. Although there were no more reports and the accusations faded, Franciscan feathers were ruffled and they were hard to live with. Velez realized this and avoided any further conflict. The Delgado report was ignored in Mexico City. The viceroy preferred to believe his own man rather than some "crank" priest. There were no communications from Mexico City regarding the matter. Even the Franciscans were not interested. Nothing was heard from the Bishop of Durango.
New Mexico during the mid-eighteenth century seems to have grown and changed rapidly. In addition to the increase in population trade also grew. There is evidence that a major trade between Chihuahua and Santa Fe developed during this period. Extensive lists of goods imported to El Paso del Norte indicate that a massive trade was channeled through that city. El Paso was the stopping point for all goods going into and out of New Mexico. The lists of imports are not only extensive but include items such as quality cloth, books, ready-made clothing, horses, china, metal goods, guns, soap, and many other items that were considered "luxury items" prior to this time. 
New Mexican exports also seem to have grown. The Delgado report mentioned the illegal use of Indians to drive cattle and sheep to Chihuahua City. This suggests that in New Mexico a trade with New Spain in cattle and sheep developed. Apparently livestock was driven to Chihuahua for slaughter and processing, suggesting a tanning and wool industry had not yet fully blossomed in New Mexico. But the fact that there were exports of value to New Spain shows that the imbalance of payments was lessened and that imports arriving at El Paso were paid for with New Mexican products rather than with hard currency.
When Governor Velez Cachupin took office, New Mexico's population was 3,779 Spaniards, an increase from the census of 1745.  In his work, Teatro Espanol, Joseph Antonio Villaseñor gives a population of 536 Spanish families and 1,428 to 1,570 families of neophytes (Indians learning Christianity) not including between 220 and 330 families residing in El Paso del Norte.  The Bonilla census of 1749 shows that New Mexico contained about 12,142 Christian Indians and about 1,400 Spaniards.  Villaseñor and Bonilla list Santa Fe as having 965 Spaniards and 570 Indians, Santa Cruz with 1,204 Spanish and 580 Indians, and Albuquerque had 500 Spaniards and 200 Indians. 
A census taken in 1752 during the general visita of Velez Cachupin shows a population of 4,448 persons, but there is no breakdown of Indians and Spaniards. It should be assumed that with a number as small as 4,000 the governor must have considered only Spanish and not Indians or half-breeds. For Santa Fe he lists 605 persons, in Santa Cruz 556 residents, and for Albuquerque 476 residents. Other pueblos included Taos, seventy-four, Bernalillo eighty, Chimayo 355, Chama 242, Abiquiu seventy-three, Fuenclara 225, Quemado 355, and Cochiti thirty-seven.  The figures for places such as Quemado, Fuenclara, Chama, and Chimayo seem too large for Spaniards only and must have included the natives living there, based on the 1745 census where figures are much lower. The numbers for Santa Fe, Santa Cruz and Albuquerque seem too small for everyone residing in these cities and must reflect only the Spanish populations. Even more confusing are totals given in the census. The governor lists 956 heads of families, 2,881 children, wives and others living in the households, which is a total of 3,847. But his final total is 4,448.  Where the difference of some 400 came from is unclear.
Velez also counted the arms and horses to be found among the general population. He discovered that there were 2,002 horses, 553 muskets, 432 lances, 401 leather jackets (for protection against arrows), 221 swords and 83 pistols for the companies of cavalry.  These weapons would outfit ten companies of fifty men each, given that each man was allotted six horses and one musket. This breakdown was of eighteen companies varying from seventy-one men to twelve soldiers. The number of soldiers in New Mexico in 1752 might sound like enough to handle any situation that could arise, but in fact they were just able to hold their own, for the Comanches, Apaches, and Utes had more men and probably as many horses and guns as the Spanish. 
The governor's report also included a detailed description of each pueblo where the population was counted, the number of weapons among the natives was recorded and totals were listed. For example, at Tesuque (near Santa Fe) there lived 2,470 persons who had 1,262 arrows, nine lances, one sword and four leather jackets.  In addition, forty three horses were available. The pueblos nearest Spanish garrisons were unable to defend themselves with a small numbers of weapons. Equally, the Spanish were unable to dispatch troops fast enough to protect these in-lying areas. But it was felt that the fewer weapons in the hands of Indians reduced the chance of an uprising. On the other hand, Taos was one of the most remote outposts and one of the more self-reliant places. Here 451 people had 155 horses, 2,276 arrows, forty-eight lances, six swords, and thirty-eight leather jackets, but no guns. 
A total of nineteen pueblos, including Abiquiu, had a population of 2,902 people, 4,060 horses, 6,045 arrows, 414 lances, 57 swords, and 151 leather jackets.  Again, it is hard to tell whether this represents Indians or Spanish. The numbers seem much too low to be native populations but far too high for Spaniards living in the pueblos. Velez counted only Indians that were unquestionably Christian and he refused to record neophytes or non-Christians.
The census of 1752 was, of course, interesting for the information it contained, but it was also unique because it was the first printed census of New Mexico.  Prior to 1752 all official documents were hand-written by trained scribes. The fact that the census was printed also suggests that the government at Mexico City was doing the printing for New Mexico had no press. The census was printed at Mexico City and used in the compilation of statistics for the whole of New Spain. The original was handwritten and then sent to the capital. It is possible that there are errors in transcription which would explain some of the very low Indian population estimates. 
The Villaseñor census of 1745 listed 536 Spanish families living in New Mexico, or a population of about 3,000. The 1752 census stated that 3,847 to 4,440 persons lived in the major cities of New Mexico. Hence over a period of seven years the Spanish population increased about 800 or twenty-five percent. The statistics compiled were not overly accurate, but even if they are off by ten percent, the overall increase in Spanish population would still be on the order of ten percent. This reasonably rapid growth reflects growing confidence in the government's ability to protect the province. More settlers came in during the mid-eighteenth century years. The sudden increase indicates that people came to New Mexico because it offered something. Land was still available and New Mexico was more free from control than was New Spain. Minerals could be found. The frontier now was safe enough to take one's family.
Governor Velez not only had the increased Spanish population to consider but he also hosted foreign visitors. In 1750 three Frenchmen made their way into Santa Fe to trade. They had come to the Taos fair but were brought to Santa Fe by Lieutenant Governor Bernardo Bustamante y Tagle. Here they were questioned and a report was sent on to Mexico City. The men were identified as Luis Febre, Pedro Satren and Joseph Miguel Riballo. 
Two months later, the governor reported that the foreigners were working quietly in Santa Fe, two of them being carpenters while Febre was a tailor, barber, and bloodletter. Velez added that since these skills were lacking in the province, he felt that the Frenchmen should settle in Santa Fe where they could teach "many boys here who are vagrant and given to laziness."  Velez continued: "It is very lamentable that the resident who is now employed as barber and bloodletter is so old that he would pass for seventy years of age; as for a tailor there is no one who knows the trade directly. A resident carpenter, there is none...."  A year later the governor's request regarding his prisoners was acted upon and the French were allowed to remain at Santa Fe. 
In 1750 another group of seven Frenchmen arrived from an Arkansas River post. Among them was a Spanish deserter named Felipe de Sandoval who reported that the party was a trading group and that it had come from Comanche country. Velez reported this new intrusion and a year later Auditor General Marques de la Altamira wrote Velez suggesting that the French not only be kept out, but that New Mexico establish more direct and permanent communication with Spanish Texas in order to monitor the movements of the French. He approved sending the six Frenchmen into the interior of New Spain because this would make it difficult for them to escape. 
In 1751 another party of four Frenchmen reached New Mexico. They were taken to Santa Fe where they were questioned. Their names were not recorded and the men were sent to Chihuahua City for further interrogation. 
On August 6, 1752 two Frenchmen were brought into Pecos by a band of Jicarilla and Carlana Apaches who apprehended them fifteen leagues east. They were sent to Santa Fe by Fray Juan Toledo. Luis Febre interpreted and found that their names were Jean Chapuis and Luis Feuilli.  The French said that they had come from the Illinois country under a passport issued by the commander of Michillimackinac for the purpose of establishing a trade route to Santa Fe. The men stated that the Comanches guided them to New Mexico until they approached Pecos where the Apaches took oven. Velez informed the men that their venture was illegal. The two were then dispatched to New Spain. Later their goods were confiscated and sold to Thomas Ortiz, a Santa Fe merchant, for 404 pesos, three reales, eleven granos. The proceeds were used to send the men south. The governor took 100 pesos for their expenses in New Mexico. 
In 1754 the Auditor General suggested that Chapuis and Feuill be sent to Spain. This was done and French intrusions into New Mexico came to a temporary end. The crown reprimanded that in the future the matter of French incursions was not a local issue. Rather the entire border from Santa Fe southeastward to the mouth of the Trinity River should be treated as one. In this way Spain consolidated her northernmost border against the French and paved the way for further major reforms in the 1760s and 1770s. 
In addition to combatting the French problem, Governor Velez ordered a campaign against the Comanche who had perpetrated a raid on Galisteo. In addition, the governor probably felt that the Indians allowed the French to come through a "barrier" that was supposed to be impenetrable and to stop this he would seal up the Comanche's plains to the east.
In the fall of 1751 Velez marched into Comanche country in eastern New Mexico with 164 men. He drove 145 Indians into a hut and then set it afire, killing 101 natives. He lost one man and returned to Santa Fe in late 1751 with forty hostages. He later released the hapless Comanches.  Velez, despite his campaign, failed to stop the raiding Indians. However, his success in killing Comanches made a good impression on the viceroy who rewarded Velez with a commendation.
While the governor was busy on the eastern plains of the province, Franciscan friars attempted to convent the ever-hostile Moquis. Earlier several frailes had been received by the Indians who willingly listened to their preachings. But when the priests wanted to baptise the natives, the atmosphere turned unfriendly and the Spanish were obliged to retire.  In 1753 the Franciscans again decided to convert the Moqui tribe and sent several men into the pueblo. The effort was to no avail for the natives still did not trust the Spanish.
Governor Velez's other preoccupations dealt with criminal and civil cases. The criminal cases included the misuse of Indian labor, an example of which was the case of Bernabe and Baltasar Baca who were charged with disobeying the orders of the governor regarding employment of Indians for personal use. The two men were found guilty and fined.  Another case involved a petition from Juana de Analla complaining that her sister, the wife of an Indian named Pascual, was being mistreated by her husband. After hearing testimony in the matter, Governor Velez decided that Pascual was not guilty and he was absolved of any guilt. 
The civil cases dealt mostly with debt and contracts. In the case of Salvador de Garcia vs. Juan Garcia de la Mona the issue was the ownership of a blacksmith shop. Apparently the men were partners and, when the books failed to balance, they accused each other of fraud. Garcia sued de la Mona for damages. De la Mona accused Garcia of participating in a plan to defraud the public through bad workmanship. The court found de la Mona guilty of having taken funds from the partnership and he was sentenced to ten months in jail. Garcia, it was decided, had defrauded the public and he was fined 100 pesos. Certainly this must have been one of the earliest consumer protection cases on record in the present day United States. 
Another case dealt with a suit brought by Vicente Jiron against Bentura Mestas to collect of a debt of 1,653 pesos due Jiron.  The suit was settled for 1,150 pesos in favor of the plaintiff. Other debt cases included that of Joseph Fresques against Antonio Gallegos, but no settlement was recorded in this case. 
The Velez administration ended in 1754 with the appointment of Francisco Marin del Valle as governor. Bancroft thought that he might was appointed ad interim but since Marin served from 1754 to 1761, it seems that he was a full term governor. 
Tomas Velez Cachupin was a good governor who was able to handle most anything that came his way. There were no major difficulties during his term of office and he retired with honor. While no residencia is available for him, he must have done an excellent job for he was reappointed in 1761 and he ruled for another five years.
Marin del Valle took office in 1754 and suffered from many of the problems that plagued his predecessors. There were still thefts of royal supplies, an illegal Indian trade thrived, livestock still strayed and the hostile raids continued. One of Marin's first orders prohibited the sale of horses and guns to non-Christian Indians.  Two years later he ordered the citizens of Albuquerque to watch more closely their livestock so that ranging animals would not be a temptation for raiders. 
The army also was a major concern for Marin. In 1755 the governor appointed Manuel Sanz de Garvisu as an officer in the presidial garrison of Santa Fe. This drew considerable protest from the soldiers and their officers, for Garvisu was in serious trouble with the viceroy in 1748-1749. He was sent to Mexico City for trial, but apparently was acquitted since he returned to Santa Fe in the early 1750s. Now he was being considered for a major military position. Thomas Madrid, captain of the presidio penned a violent protest against Garvisu's appointment, noting that his prior record was deplorable and that he would be of little credit to the army. Further, he reminded the governor, Garvisu was accused of treason, and this made him disloyal.  What became of the appointment was not recorded; however, in 1756, Nicolas Ortiz resigned as the lieutenant of the presidio, possibly because of Garvisu,  and he was replaced by Vicente Ginzo Ron y Thobar. 
Ron y Thobar was not the best choice, since in 1757 he and other officers of the garrison charged the soldiers of the presidio with scandalous conduct including gambling, drinking, desertion, sale of government property, and a number of other crimes.  Under extreme pressure by the soldiers, Ron y Thobar was forced to resign because the governor was not willing to throw the entire presidio in jail. So Ron y Thobar resigned and was replaced by Carlos Fernandez.  Thus ended the internal troubles of the military in Santa Fe. Other minor matters such as a request by the entire garrison that Esteban Rodrigues be appointed drummer were a peaceful respite from the chaos of years before. The Rodrigues boy was willing to be drummer for the garrison because it gave him considerable prestige for a fifteen year old child. The governor approved Rodrigues and he became the official drummer of the Santa Fe garrison. 
Another serious problem was desertion. Two men, Juan de Benavides and Juan Antonio Marques deserted the garrison. They were caught, tried and sentenced to be shot. They were executed as an object lesson for those who thought that desertion was acceptable. 
The military was still a serious problem in eighteenth century New Mexico. Boredom and dreariness surrounded the presidio. The men were willing to do anything to break the cycle. They would gamble, sell their belongings, fight, get drunk, become involved in affairs of the heart and were generally a badly behaved bunch lot. Service records for the years 1755-1761 show that the cavalry company under Thomas Madrid was of poor quality. These records list the number of days, months and years of service, the point of stationing (New Mexico), the race of the men ("white"), the valor of the men and their conduct. In this column, there is but one word, mediana, meaning middling.  The soldiers, as in any country at any time were not interested in their performance reports for they could never rise above the rank of sergeant.
Marin del Valle's term of office was not dynamic. The usual civil and criminal cases were present. There was a considerable increase in the adultery eases, while assault, rape, and fraud decreased. Several cases dealing with livestock theft were noted too.
In the matter of adultery, Antonio Joseph, a Genizaro, charged Joseph Gallegos with this crime, but because the case against him was not clear, the charges were dropped, and a warning was issued.  Later that year, several cases of concubinage came to light. One of them was against Manuel Lopes. Lopes was found guilty and jailed, but the lady involved was publically forgiven. The children born of this illegal union were legitimized and provided government aid.  On the other hand, Jochin Romero was not so lucky. He was charged with having maintained concubines. Found guilty, he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. 
Theft cases involved mostly horses and cattle. In 1761 Juan de la Cruz Baldes, a Genizaro, was found guilty of stealing a horse from a Ute Indian. He was exiled for four years. 
Civil cases also dealt with livestock. This period was filled with litigation over animals, including debts regarding livestock and ownership of cattle and sheep. It was noted that there was a substantial increase in the livestock trade between New Mexico and Chihuahua in the early 1750s. Indications are that the trade thrived by 1760 and that the value of cattle, sheep and horses had increased making it necessary to consider the theft of stock a major crime.
In 1761 the number of civil cases dealing with stock rose dramatically. Criminal cases involving theft nose in that year. That it was of major concern by 1761 is a good indicator of the economic progress of New Mexico.
In the cases of theft, the guilty party was required to return the animals or pay for them. Fines were also imposed. In certain cases, there were stiff sentences such as jail time, but this was the exception. In negligence cases the defendent was fined and required to pay for the damages he caused. 
Francisco Marin del Valle's term ended in 1761 and he was replaced by Tomas Velez Cachupin, an old hand at New Mexican affairs. The terms of Velez and Marin del Valle were both of interest because during their tenure the province grew. Velez's first term was an exciting period.
New Mexico saw the arrival of four different parties of French traders, a major Comanche campaign and a violent but swift Church-State confrontation. There was a considerable growth in the province's population and trade.
The fact that the Franciscans made a concerted effort to convert the Moqui also indicated that New Mexico's defense was improved. Velez, despite his alleged hatred of the priests, provided escorts and was willing to have the Indians converted, if not for their own souls, at least to insure peace in the province.
The impact of the French intrusions was minimal. Those Frenchmen who did arrive at Santa Fe were promptly questioned. Their goods confiscated and sold to local merchants, and then they were sent off to the interior of New Spain where they could cause no more trouble. After four tries, the French finally understood that the Spanish did not welcome trade and that the government would attempt to keep them out of New Mexico and Texas.
Marin del Valle's term marked an interlude. He came between the terms of Velez and was not an effective governor. He managed to keep New Mexico under control. Trade increased under its own power as did the population. Marin did little to curtail Indian raids, or to further the Church.
Velez's appointment in 1761 was a surprise to many and New Mexicans, remembering his last term, might have looked forward to his new term, for it was likely be quite interesting.
6 Juarez Archives, Reel 1, 1726-1779. Hereinafter cited JA. These lists are incomplete and generally undated. Many of them are nearly illegible, but they do give an indication of amount of materials being imported into New Mexico from Chihuahua.
19 Census of 1752, Provincias Internas. 102, Expediente 3, f.1, 1752, in AGN. This was printed on papel selo (stamped paper) indicating that it was a royal census. The stamp bears the markings Mexico City, 1752.
51 For example: Juan Antonio Duran vs. Pedro Antonio Trujillo for theft of horse, March 8-12, 1761 at Santa Cruz and Juan Pedro Sisneros vs. Clemente Gutierres for theft of six cows, May 5-December 16, 1761 at Santa Cruz, in SANM.
52 For example: Luis Flores and the Indian mulatto, Tasago, for theft of livestock, June 23-August 12, 1761 at Santa Fe; Juana Roybal vs. Marcial Gonzales for theft of livestock, May 24-July 14, 1761, at Santa Fe; Pedro de Atiensa vs. Miguel Ventura, Indian, over livestock, August 4-September 13, 1761, at Santa Cruz and Joachin Pino vs. Juan de Dios for theft of livestock, October 18, 1761-March 14, 1763, at Santa Cruz, in SANM.
Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008