The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 308
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308 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
San Fernando, as defined by one of the governors in his charge to
a newly elected body, were the administration of justice, and the
protection of the interests of the commonwealth.1 In all of these
definitions the political dependance and subordination of the
cabildo are assumed.
In fulfilling the obligations placed upon it, the cabildo of San
Fernando had first to discharge certain duties involving its own con-
tinued existence and organization. These duties included the fill-
ing of vacancies in the body itself, and the election of the suc-
ceeding cabildo. But, as the reports in the B6xar Archives show,
such elections required the approval of the governor, and he had
also to install, in person or by deputy, the newly elected officers.
On the cabildo devolved, in the second place, the duty of keeping
public order by seeing that the various laws and regulations of the
superior authorities were observed, and of preserving the public
health, of looking after the general welfare, and of managing the
business affairs of the villa. The law provided also for judicial
appeals to this body from the decisions of the alcaldes,2 but there
is nothing to show that such appeals were ever made in San Fer-
Although from all these definitions and examples, the powers
exercised by the cabildo seem far-reaching they were, in reality,
much restricted by the powers of the governor, the next higher
authority. In the first place, the governor had to approve the
election of municipal officers made by the cabildo.3 This approval
was usually granted, but, in case it was withheld for any reason,
the elections were null. In considering the election of officers for
1784, after charging the acting members with gross neglect of
duty in that they were so frequently absent from the villa on pri-
vate business that the settlement had suffered in consequence, Gov-
Science, VII. Cf. Coleccion de los Decretos y 6rdenes que han expedido
los O6rtes Generales y Extraordinarios Desde 24 de Setiembre de 1811
hasta 241 de Mayo de 1812, II, 147-148.
'Manuel Muioz to cabildo, December 22, 1798, B6xar Archives. Com-
pare with the duties as defined in the Ordinances and Instructions of
Don Alexander O'Reilly, 254.
2Recopilacion, lib. V, tit. III, ley m.
2Cf. Recopilacion, lib. V, tit. III, Icy, x.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905, periodical, 1905; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/m1/315/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.