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October 26, 2007

Recalcitrant Missionaries & Mexican Prisoner-Colonists

201. MEXICO (Republic). MINISTERIO DE JUSTICIA Y NEGOCIOS ECLESIASTICOS. José Ignacio Espinosa. Memoria del Ministerio de Justicia y Negocios Eclesiásticos de la República Mexicana. Presentada por el Secretario del Ramo á las Cámaras del Congreso general, en cumplimiento del artículo 120 de la Constitución Federal, y leida en la de Senadores el dia 12, y en la de Diputados el dia 20 de Enero del año de 1832. Mexico: Imprenta del Águila, dirigida por José Ximeno, calle de Medinas núm. 6, 1832. [Signed and dated in type at end]: México 11 de Enero de 1832. José Ygnacio Espinosa. [2], 19 [3 blank] pp., title within elaborate ornamental border, wood-engraved cut of Mexican eagle. Folio (28.5 x 20.4 cm), original printed wrappers, stitched as issued, last blank leaf forms lower wrapper. Title page with light soiling and small void affecting a few letters, light water stain in lower blank margins, two small wormholes touching a few letters, otherwise very good.

            First edition. Palau 160870. Espinosa quickly reviews the state of the criminal justice and ecclesiastical establishments in the country, noting various areas that need improvement or better, clearer laws governing them. He states that he is omitting the charts included in the previous year’s report since nothing significant has changed since then.

            Espinosa’s remarks provide insights into one type of colonist Mexico was sending to Texas at the time-the prisoner colonist. Espinosa remarks that the program intended to send prisoners to be colonists or to labor on public works has not had the desired effect. Even though the law authorizes a prisoner’s spouse and children to accompany him on his journey at state expense, Espinosa reports that most prisoners do not want their families with them, assumably because they intend to resume their evil ways once they are far from Mexico City.

            Concerning missionary efforts, he reports: “De las misiones me cabe el desconsuelo de decir que van en mucha decadencia” (p. 17). The chief problem, he states, is that once one manages to force a missionary to depart for the missions by appealing to their obedience to the laws and to ecclesiastical duty, the missionary often seems to come up with a stratagem while on the road to avoid going to his destination. A more potent problem is represented by the Federal District jails, which seem adequate to their mission but lack the two capellans necessary for the spiritual welfare of the inmates. Espinosa prefers that the capellans actually live in the prison so that they are available for emergencies at any time.  ($200-400)

Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $235.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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