Jose De Galvez, Visitor-General of New Spain (1765-1771)

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Author: Herbert Ingram Priestley (1875-1944)

Year: 1916

Publisher: University of California Press

Place: Berkeley


xiii+449 pages with frontispiece, foldout maps, illustrations, appendix, bibliography, footnotes and index. Royal octavo (9 3/4" x 6 1/2") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and cover, deckled fore and bottom edges. University of California Publications in History Volume V. First edition.

José de Gálvez y Gallardo, 1st Marquess of Sonora (1720-1787) was a Spanish lawyer and Visitador general (inspector general) in New Spain (1764–1772); later appointed to the Council of the Indies (1775–1787). He was one of the prime figures behind the Bourbon Reforms. He belonged to an important political family.

As visitador, Gálvez instituted quick and decisive changes in tax collection, accounting, and jailed corrupt officials. He created a state monopoly of tobacco and imposed new taxes on pulque and flour. He also took measures to combat contraband and reformed the system of customs collection in Veracruz and Acapulco. (He ended the farming of customs.) He also established general accounting offices in the municipal governments. Government revenues rose from 6 million pesos in 1763 to 8 million in 1767 and 12 million in 1773. In 1765 Gálvez assisted in reorganizing the army, a project of viceroy Joaquín de Montserrat, marqués de Cruillas under the direction of general Juan de Villalva. When Cuillas opposed Gálvez's actions, he was soon replaced by a new viceroy, Carlos Francisco de Croix. Gálvez privileged peninsular-born Spanish merchants over American born, which had the effect of funneling capital into mining. He boosted the mining industry further by reducing the price of mercury, a crown monopoly, which allowed a greater volume of silver ore to be refined.

In 1767, Spain's king Carlos III decreed expulsion for the Jesuits throughout his empire. In Mexico, this decree led to riots and other disturbances. Gálvez suppressed these by summary trials and sentences of life imprisonment, mainly in San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato and parts of Michoacán. With the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Baja California peninsula, Gálvez engaged the Franciscan Order to take over the spiritual affairs of the missions there. Even after the arrival of Junípero Serra and his fellow Franciscan friars, the Spanish military — having evicted the Jesuits from the missions they had established — continued running the missions' practical business. In 1768, Gálvez toured the Baja chain of missions. Angered over the sloppy administration he found there, he reprimanded the soldier commissioners stationed at the missions. In August, he signed a decree turning all of Baja's missions — except mission Loreto — over fully to the Franciscan friars. He banned card-playing and gambling at mission settlements. Overruling the Franciscans' appeal for clemency for miscreant soldiers, Gálvez punished most of them by assigning them to the upcoming expedition to Alta California — and discharged the rest from military service. (Wikipedia)


Spine gilt dulled, corners bumped and gently rubbed else about very good issued without jacket.

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