ARIZONA'S CONTRIBUTION

  The fact that part of the initial presidio at Tucson was built at Allande's personal expense and that he did not appeal to the royal treasury for any construction costs reveals that he must have been a man of means and financial acumen. Not least of his fiscal triumphs was the promotion at Tucson of a contribution to Spain's efforts to assist in the American Revolutionary War. Without the Spanish offensive along the southern seaboard and patrols up and down the Mississippi River protecting our Thirteen Colonies from rearguard action by the British, the outcome of the war might have been very different. In August of 1780, "the insulting tyranny of the English nation" forced King Charles III of Spain to appeal to his New World colonies for a donativo or free-will offering. Skeptics may say that a "donation" was only a euphemism for a coercive tax. The Spanish government, however, did everything in its power to prevent coercion in any form. The royal suggestion, that each Spaniard gives two pesos and each Indian one peso, was only a guideline, not a command. Viceroy Martín de Mayorga sent out a list of thirteen instructions to those who supervised the operation in the Spanish Southwest and in the rest of New Spain. Commissioners of the collection had to give each donor a receipt and turn in the signature of each one, attesting to the amount he gave, lest the accounts be

page 51


tampered with by unscrupulous officials. The eighth instruction strictly forbade the commissioners of the collection to use any coercion whatsoever or show any sign of displeasure if the prospective donor gave nothing at all. Many obviously gave more than the suggested one or two pesos. Tucson's contribution was remarkably high, considering that it was an infant settlement, and more than doubled the amount taken up in the wealthy capital at Arizpe. The collection and tabulation of these donations coincided with most of Allande's years in Tucson, beginning with the royal decree of 1780 and ending with the final Sonora tabulation during the summer of Allande's departure in 1786. The final account revealed that the military personnel and settlers at Tucson had given 459 pesos and that Spanish Sonora as a whole had given 22,420. The final report, made in Mexico City in 1787, revealed that New Spain had donated nearly a million pesos to the Revolutionary War effort. At the time, three to five pesos would buy a whole beef and six to eight pesos would buy an excellent riding horse. Some historians equate the eighteenth-century Spanish peso with the American dollar of the time. Eight reales equaled one peso.

The following documents are the royal decree of 1780 and the final tabulation of the donation for Spanish Sonora.


Royal Palace at San Ildefonso.

August 17, 1780.

THE KING

The insulting tyranny of the English nation has precipitated me into a war, the exorbitant cost of which has forced me to raise the revenue exacted from the provinces of our Spanish homeland by a third. I had hoped not to have to extend this burden to my loyal subjects in America, even though they would seem to be the principal target of the grasping avarice of my enemies. Nevertheless,

page 52


I have always been able to count on the faithful generosity of the voluntary contributions of those vast and wealthy colonies. To make this burden as light as possible, I have resolved to ask for a donativo of one peso from every freeman who is an Indian or of mixed blood, and two pesos from every Spaniard and those of the higher class. These last may also pay for their servants and workers and later discount the amount from their salaries or daily wages.

Therefore, I command all of my royal officials in the Indies to announce and explain my royal decree so that all of the inhabitants of the Indies will once again have opportunity to show me their love and gratitude for the benefits I have bestowed on them. I also charge all of my church officials there to expedite this project by their persuasion and good example, for this is my will.

All copies of this decree, duly signed by my Secretary of State and Universal Office of the Indies, who also signs below, shall have the same force as the original.

Given at San Ildefonso, on this seventeenth day of August of the year seventeen hundred and eighty.

I, THE KING
JOSE DE GALVEZ

Copy of the original. JOSE DE GALVEZ.

Arizpe.
July 10, 1786.

FINAL TABULATION OF THE DONATION MADE BY THIS PROVINCE OF SONORA AND SINALOA AS REQUESTED BY HIS MAJESTY IN HIS ROYAL DECREE DATED AUGUST 17, 1780, TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSES OF OUR WAR WITH ENGLAND.

page 53


Pesos Resales
Mining town of La Cieneguilla,
commissioner Francisco Dorronsoro.

560

Town of San Antonio de la Huerta,
commissioner Juan Honorato de Rivera.

583

Jurisdiction of San Miguel de Horcasitas,
collected by various commissioners.

908

Pimería Alta,
commissioner Juan María Bojórquez.

641

Sonora valley,
commissioner Manuel de Hugues y San Martín.

306

Santa María Baserac mission district,
commissioner Juan Mazón.

141

Oposura valley,
commissioner Juan Mazón.

375

4

Opodepe valley,
commissioner Manuel Saenz de Escabosa.

234

Jurisdiction of Chinapa village,
commissioner José Antonio Serrano.

212

Capital at Arizpe,
collected by the intendant-governor.

201

Tepachi valley,
commissioner Gregorio Ortíz Cortés.

353

Ostimuri province,
commissioner Patricio Gómez de Cossio.

2,415

4

Jurisdiction of the town of Alamos,
commissioner Juan Agustín de Iriarte.

1,943

Villa of Fuerte de Montesclaros,
commissioner Francisco Xavier Figueroa.

2,480

page 54


Villa of Sinaloa,
commissioner Agustín Antonio
de Norsagaray.

2,085

Culiacán province,
commissioner Francisco Velásquez de la Cadena.

2,381

Jurisdiction of the town of Cosalá,
commissioner Juan Ventura Batiz.

1,040

Mazatlán village,
commissioner Mateo Ortega.

200

Copala province,
commissioner Diego de Barcona.

1,217

7

Maloya province,
commissioner Juan Francisco Rendón.

277

Jurisdiction of the town of El Rosario,
commissioner José Antonio de Mesa.

652

Treasury officials at El Rosario, their
dependents, and administrators of salt beds

84

Administrator of the tobacco tax at
El Rosario, and his dependents.

114

Administrators of sales tax and liquor tax
at El Rosario.

86

Secretary of the commandancy general
and his dependents.

19

His Excellency, the Caballero de Croix,
and his household.

24

Manuel Agustín Mascaró,
the Royal Engineer.

20

page 55


Manuel de la Azuela, captain of the
Fronteras presidio.

100

Pedro de Mata Viñolas, lieutenant of
the Santa Cruz presidio.

174

Military personnel and settlers
at the Santa Cruz presidio.

134

Military personnel at the Altar presidio.

1,211

Andrés Arias Caballero, captain of the
Altar presidio.

332

5

Settlers at the Altar presidio.

131

Military personnel and settlers at the
presidio of San Carlos de Buenavista.

205

Dragoons of Spain, stationed at the Villa of Pitic.

175

Military personnel and settlers at the
Tucson presidio

459

    Total:

22,420

4

This total has been deposited in the royal treasury at El Rosario and the comptroller's office here in Arizpe, as certified by all of the necessary signatures. A pledge of 369 pesos by the military personnel and settlers of the Fronteras presidio and the village of Cuquiárachi has not been collected.15

page 56


 

Previous: ALLANDE VINDICATED | Next: ALLANDE'S FAREWELL

MAIN - TABLE OF CONTENTS - ILLUSTRATIONS - TITLE PAGE - INDEX - COLOPHON

Desert Documentary by Kieran McCarty - Chapter 12
Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Historical Society, 1976.

© 1976 The Arizona Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

The University of Arizona Library's Southwest Electronic Text Center Logo

http://www.library.arizona.edu/swetc/projects.html