First edition. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, the Spanish viceroy to Mexico and Bishop of Puebla de los Ángeles, is arguably best remembered for the long legal battle he fought with the Jesuits over jurisdiction of the wealth-producing doctrinas. Since the arrival of Cortés in Mexico, military consolidation and the Christianization of Indigenous peoples were the priorities of the Spanish crown. That process, which was of enormous discursive, symbolic, and material violence, resulted in the massive evangelization of the subjugated peoples, over which the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians were almost entirely empowered in New Spain. They built monasteries and established enterprises, converting the Indigenous societies through education and catechesis. But the polyarchy became problematic, and the Spanish crowned relied on Rome and its hierarchy—from the Pope all the way down to regional parishioners—to mitigate their power. This duality boiled down to a battle between Juan Palafox y Medoza and the regular orders, especially the Jesuits. The Spanish crown militated in replacing the orders' cash-generating doctrinas in central Mexico with diocesan parishes. Palafox spearheaded this enterprise, and was largely successful in the Puebla bishopric. The battle was characterized by back-and-forth legal filings of accelerating vitriol, which echoed far beyond the ecclesiastical Puebla courtrooms. Our book, by the Jesuits' attorney, Alonso de Rojas, is a "rabid" (Sabin's word) response to Palafox's previous filing, a 1646 appeal to the Governor of the Indies, Don Garcia de Avellaneda I Haro, entreating him to use force to settle the issue of tithes. It is well known that Palafox ultimately lost this long series of legal battles, and returned to Spain in a state of disapprobation that lasted until long after his death—he was not beatified until 2011, and this for his protections afforded to Indigenous populations. According to William Reese, the publication locale of this work has long been disputed, but suggests Puebla based on watermarks. This is mysterious to us, as the sheets in our copy bear no watermarks or countermarks of any kind. Two issues are known; ours, with 278  pp., and another with 131 ff.
Quarto, 216 x 154 x 19 mm (binding), 213 x 151 x 16 mm (text block). 278 pp. Early 19th-century quarter sprinkled calf over tree-calf-style marbled paper-covered boards, green morocco corners. Some wear to extremities, slight peeling of paper from boards, acid migration to endpapers from turn-ins. Title soiled and damaged, with loss of one letter and part of another, old restoration to verso with missing letters renewed in manuscript; scattered stains and fingersoiling; wanting last leaf, M4 (a blank).
Provenance: From the library of Benjamín Bentura (1904-1976), jurist and bibliophile from the municipality of Ejea de los Caballeros, Zaragoza, with his ink stamps to endpapers (twice). Signature of Lopez Villa Nucha to page 5. Illegible contemporary signature to tail margin of verso of M3. Acquired by W. S. Cotter Rare Books from Libreria Bohemia, Zaragoza, January 2023. Valid export license on file.
Palau 209627; DeBacker-Sommervogel VII: 252; Sabin 58279.
We are additionally grateful to Roberto Casazza of Buenos Aires for his major contributions to the cataloguing of this book, and his steep understanding of the Palafox-Jesuit conflict.
Mexico or Spain: Cabildo of the Cathedral of Puebla, c1650.