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October 26, 2007

Hardship Pay for Mexican Judges in Texas, New Mexico & California in 1837

198. MEXICO (Republic). LAWS (May 23, 1837). [Decree in 147 articles, promulgated by the Ministerio de lo Interior reorganizing the justice system, here reissued in broadside format by the State of Mexico]. [Heading at top] El C. Luis Gonzaga Vieyra, Coronel retirado y Gobernador del Departamento de México. [text commences] Por el Ministerio de lo Interior se me ha comunicado el siguiente decreto... Ley para el Arreglo de la administración de justicia en los tribunales y juzgados del fuero comun... [Dated and signed in type at end]: Dado en México á 6 de Junio de 1837. Luis Gonzago Vieyra. Lic. Gabriel Sagaseta, Secretario. [Mexico, 1837]. Elephant folio (6 joined sheets on laid paper with watermark including scales of justice), 102.5 x 57.4 cm. Creased where formerly folded with a few minor losses at folds, a few minor wormholes, a few ink splotches on verso. Overall very good, with contemporary ink note on verso. A rare survival of a tour de force of Mexican printing.

            Broadside issue for the State of Mexico. This decree represents yet another in an almost endless series of Mexican efforts to reorganize such governmental functions as finances, taxes, administration, the military, and the judiciary. This law puts into effect an extremely detailed and comprehensive overhaul of the justice system, particularly the functions of judges. The decree affected all of Mexico’s Borderland areas, including California, New Mexico, and Texas, although the latter had been effectively independent for about a year. According to Article 50, magistrates serving in the Borderlands, including Texas, will be paid four thousand pesos a year, a thousand pesos more than the other jurisdictions, evidently a form of hardship pay. Obviously, no Mexican judges went to Texas at this point—this would have been perilous, to say the least, given the rancor of the newly independent Republic of Texas.

            Publications in broadside form of this size are fairly unusual in Mexico, although other, even larger examples are known. This is an unusual example, displaying an utter determination to produce something that could be publicly displayed rather than handed out in pamphlet format. ($300-600)

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