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A Very Unpopular Tax

<p>Decree of January 15, 1847. P. [1]</p>


[CATHOLIC CHURCH]. Two decrees concerning the Mexican government’s attempts to tax church property held in mortmain (i.e., property that was never supposed to be alienated).

[1] MEXICO. LAWS (January 11, 1847). Ministerio de Hacienda, Seccion 2. [Mexico City, 1846]. Dated in type January 11, 1847. [4] pp. 12mo (21.5 x 16 cm), folded sheet. A few light stains, otherwise fine.

First edition. Eberstadt 403. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 85. Harper 12:266. Streeter Sale 264.

“Authorizes the government of Mexico to raise by various means up to fifteen million pesos ‘with the aim of continuing the war with the United States,’ the money mainly to be raised from the churches. “Bancroft says that this move ‘caused the greatest excitement and opposition. Several state governments protested against the measure, and ere long revolutionary movements broke out in various places’ V:305” (Harper). “Justin Smith in his War with Mexico, II:8-15 gives a vivid account of the turmoil caused by the passage of this law, complaints from state governments, mutinies of troops and civilian insurrections organized by priests” (Streeter)

The law does provide for a list of institutions and properties exempt from seizure.

[2] MEXICO. LAWS (January 15, 1847). Ministerio de Hacienda. [Mexico City, 1847]. Dated in type January 15, 1847. [4] pp. Folio (31 x 21.5 cm), folded sheet. Very fine.

First edition. Eberstadt 404. Harper 12:270.

“This decree gives a large table of the amounts held by the various ecclesiastical divisions of Mexico and what might be raised from them to help the government in its quest for funds to aid in its struggle against the United States. The question of how to make the Church disgorge these large sums of money is left in the hands of the governing juntas of the various parts of the country” (Eberstadt).

Among the sums to raised are 5,000,000 pesos from the Archdiocese of Mexico, 2,000,000 from the Bishopric of Puebla, 850,000 from the Bishopric of Michoacán, etc.


Probably the worst, most unpopular laws passed during the war.


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