The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 26
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
was in the hands of the two oficiales reales, or royal treasury offi-
cials. In the beginning of the history of the Philippine trade there
was no separate customs service at Acapulco, but that port was un-
der the immediate jurisdiction of the treasury officials at the
capital. however, with the growing importance of that traffic a
separate fiscal management was early introduced, though it con-
tinued responsible to the superior financial authority at the capital.
In 1593 a factor was commissioned by Viceroy Velasco with "jur-
isdiction over everything pertaining to the royal treasury."38 The
establishment of a distinct financial regime for the port dates from
1597, when a royal cedula created the offices of contador and pro-
veedor, as the two oficiales reales were individually designated."
Acting together these officials constituted the local contaduria,
or bureau of accounts, with charge of the double-locked caja, or
chest, in which the moneys and financial records of the port were
kept. They were above all customs officers in the modern sense
of the term, i. e., they collected the duties levied on the cargoes of
the galleons." Whatever expenditures had to be made from the
funds thus deposited in the caja were made with their joint au-
thorization. Besides these more strictly financial functions, the
oficiales had, when associated together, wide supervisory authority
over all the operations between the coming and the clearing of the
galleon. In order to make sure of the completion of this work they
were required to remain in Acapulco until the middle of April,
and might then leave for Mexico only with the consent of the vice-
roy. To prepare for the arrival of the next nao, they must leave
the capital for their post on the day following the Feast of the
Conception.41 Some of the administrative field at the port they
shared with the castellan, with whom, however, their relations were
not always entirely amicable,42 and, like the castellan, they were
subject to the orders of the viceroy.
In his individual capacity each of the oficiales had a separate set
of duties. Thus, the proveedor inherited the attributes of the
"Fonseca and Urrutia, Historia General de Real Hacienda, IV, 461.
3Leyes, lib. 8, lit. 4, ley 39.
40"Porque hasta ahora ha estado la cobranza de estos derechos a1 cargo
de nuestros oficiales de Mdjico: Maudamos que se abstengan, y las dejen
al proveedor y contador." Ibid.
4IMtodo, op. cit., p. 3.
"2Pedro Alonso Vsquez to the King, April 16, 1601, A. de I., 60-4-30.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/34/: accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.