ALLANDE DEFENDS HIS HONOR
|Implementation of the historic move from
Tubac to Tucson was obviously impeded by the continuous absence of Anza.
In fact, though he was officially commander in charge, he was unable to
take direct part in any phase of the move. During Oconor's visit, he was
gathering his California colonists at Horcasitas. Then following the expedition
itself, which took him away for nearly a year, he had to travel to Mexico
City to give a personal account to the viceroy. Little record is left of
the physical move, which was probably spread out over a period extending
from the departure of the Anza expedition from Tubac in October of 1775
through the summer of 1776, judging from the time consumed in similar operations.
Garcés had promised Oconor that the Tucson Pimas would help in putting
up shelter for the troops but no part of the transfer operation was done
in a day. Lieutenant Juan de Oliva, second in command, was in charge but
he left no written record for the very good reason that he did not know
how to write. Furthermore, he was in no hurry to do much of anything since
he was in the process of retiring. The building of a royal presidio at
Tucson, therefore, was at most a haphazard affair until the arrival of
its first resident commander in 1777.
For the next decade, the local scene is best traced through the activities of this man, Captain Pedro de Allande y Saavedra. He had come to Sonora by sea in 1768 as a lieutenant in the Mexican Dragoons, a part of the expeditionary force of regular troops sent to complement the presidials in the Cerro Prieto campaign. The following report of an early incident in his Sonoran career illustrates his temperament and character.
Allande spent the Christmas holidays of 1768 at a temporary encampment of regular and presidial troops at the port of Guaymas, where card playing was the order of the day. The report was made by Captain Lorenzo Cancio, in charge of presidial troops, to Juan de Pineda, governor of Spanish Sonora.
TO GOVERNOR JUAN DE PINEDA.
In my capacity as commander of presidial troops at this encampment, I find it my duty to inform you that by order of Captain Miguel Gallo, our post commander, the following officers have been under house arrest since the night of December 29: José Antonio Vildésola, a presidial and captain of the Second Flying Company, and Pedro de Allande y Saavedra, a regular and lieutenant of the Mexican Dragoons. The incident was as follows:
That evening, the two officers in question, together with the post commander and joined for a while by the paymaster, were playing a card game they call "Vilán." Vildésola and Allande had a bet of one peso apiece on one particular hand. Vildésola failed to show a seven of hearts [siete de copas], a card which would have favored Allande, and claimed he won the hand. At the same time,
he accused Allande of hiding a jack of clubs [caballo de bassos], a card he claimed had reappeared when he reshuffled the deck.
The bystanders maintained that Allande had won the hand. This further infuriated Vildésola, and in order to avoid further disturbance Allande shouted: "Here's your peso, Sir."
"It belonged to me to begin with, Sir," countered Vildésola.
Feeling that his honor as an officer was being made light of, Allande declared: "Well then, in that case I won't give it to you."
"That's fine," when I see one." retorted Vildésola. "I know a thief
This was language unbefitting even a squad corporal. Allande said so and intimated that anyone making a remark like that could not possibly have the courage to defend it with the point of his sword. Seeing that the dispute was now verging on violence, Captain Miguel Gallo, who witnessed the whole incident, commanded Allande to consider himself under arrest and retire to his quarters. He then repeated the order and called the guard. Allande, however, was already on his way out of the room, obedient and unaccompanied. Without showing the least sign of disobedience, he turned at the door and addressed Gallo: "Is this the satisfaction you give to my honor? You can be sure, my Captain, the viceroy himself will hear of this."
After Allande left, Gallo turned to me as commander of presidials, since Vildésola is a presidial. I assured him that he was in command. He then turned to Vildésola and commanded him to consider himself under arrest and retire to his quarters. These are Gallo's own quarters as well. He and Vildésola have been eating together and
living in the building we have provided as a residence for the visitor general, José de Gálvez, during his forthcoming visitation.
Thus the situation stands. May God guard Your Lordship for many years to come.
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Desert Documentary by Kieran McCarty - Chapter 7
Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Historical Society, 1976.
© 1976 The Arizona Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.