The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 79
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Local Government in the Spanish Colonies
judicial proceedings as well as acts and contracts between parties.'8
Ordinarily he had to be twenty-five years of age, with sufficient
education for the office and four years experience under an escri-
bano.'1 There were five kinds of escribanos: reales, de nfmero,
de camara, de cabildo, and de gobernaci6n. An escribano real could
exercise his office anywhere in the kingdom except where there were
escribonas del nimero. These latter could exercise their profes-
sion only in the province or district to which they were assigned,
but in that district they had exclusive jurisdiction. A specific
number were assigned to certain provinces hence the name, escri-
bano del niumero. The escribano de camara was clerk of court
for the audiencia and other high tribunals. The escribanos de
cabildo were those who assisted the cabildo at its sessions, and
authorized its acts and resolutions.20 The writer has found no
direct definition of escribano de gobernaci6n, but that official seemed
to be the escribano who served as notaryj and clerk for the governor
or other executive head of the province.21
While it would seem that the escribano on the frontier of New
Spain was conspicuous for his absence, still the laws relating to
that office are so numerous and voluminous in the Recopilaci6n as
to demand considerable attention. The law providing for the estab-
lishment of the office was re-enacted twelve different times between
1564 and 1669, almost twice as many times as any other law noticed,
indicating the importance which the Council of the Indies attrib-
uted to it.22 Evidently the crown expected this officer to check
the legal and administrative affairs of the government much as the
royal officials did the economic affairs.23 The law establishing the
office covers two pages and provides at the close that the appoint-
ment of escribanos shall lie only with the Council of the Indies.24
Those to be appointed must have passed an examination under the
audiencia,25 and no mulattos or mestizos were eligible26 nor could
an encomendero be an escribano.27
Where there were presidios, the escribanos were to have office
18Escriche, Dic. de Legis y Juris., 641.
"Lib. 7, Nov. Recop. de leyes de Espana.
"Eseriche, p. 642. "5:8:13-14,1565, 1645. "5:8:1, 1564 to 1669.
25:8:1, 1564 to 1669; 4:13:6, 1573. "5:8:1.
"5:8:3-4, 1512 to Carlos II. 285:8:40, 1576, 1621. "'6:9:34, 1590.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/88/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.