The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 166
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Notes and Documents
New Mexico in Mid-Eighteenth Century: A
Report Based on Governor V lez Capuchin's
Translated and edited by ROBERT RYAL MILLER*
THE DESCRIPTION OF NEW MEXICO THAT FOLLOWS IS A PRIME SOURCE
of contemporary information about the Spanish empire's northernmost
province in the middle of the eighteenth century. Although the sixteen-page
manuscript report' was neither signed nor dated, internal evidence suggests
that it was written about 1754 by Governor Thomas V6lez Cachupin2 or
one of his aides. Major provincial problems are outlined in the document,
along with recommendations for improving military security and mission-
ary effectiveness. Attached to the report and highlighting it are three
printed tables giving 1752 population figures for Spanish and Indian set-
tlements in New Mexico and the area south of the Rio Grande at El Paso
del Norte.3 This is undoubtedly one of the earliest printed statewide censuses
for any of the present states in the United States. As indicated in the report,
*Robert Ryal Miller, professor of history at California State University, Hayward, is
the author of three books and many articles on southwestern and Latin American history.
'The translation of this report is based on the only known copy of it, Manuscript Num-
ber 1I-5-8785 in the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, Spain. The report is not in
the Archives of New Mexico nor in the Provincias Internas or Audiencia de Guadalajara
sections of Mexico's Archivo General de la Naci6n. The three printed tabular reports
(estados) were listed by Herbert E. Bolton in his Guide to Materials for the History of
the United States in the Principal Archives of Mexico (Washington, D.C., 1913), io6,
in Vol. I02 of Provincias Internas, but a microfilm copy of that volume made forty years
later for The Bancroft Library does not contain the report or the three estados.
2The report must have been written after I753 because paragraph 17 refers to that
year and mentions "the governor, who at that time was Don Thomas V6lez." That it was
written before November of 1754 is inferred from paragraph i i, exhorting the governors
to maintain friendship with the Comanches, a policy of V6lez Cachupin's reversed by his
successor on that date. See Oakah L. Jones, Jr., Pueblo Warriors & Spanish Conquest
(Norman, 1966), I36.
Thomas V6lez Cachupin served two five-year terms (1749-1754 and 1762-I767) as
governor of New Mexico with the rank of cavalry captain. Previously he had served for
thirteen years in the military battalion at Havana, Cuba. Petitions outlining his royal
service are in the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Audiencia de Guadalajara (micro-
film; The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley), legajo 300, roll I, reel
51 17, exposures 2-8.
3The 1752 statistics vary somewhat from data compiled by contemporary Franciscan
friars and the bishop of Durango. See Eleanor B. Adams (ed.), Bishop Tamardn's Vis-
itation of New Mexico, 176o, Historical Society of New Mexico, Publications in History,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/198/?rotate=90: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.