A New Fort Is Authorized


The day after receiving the suggestions of the Jesuit Provincial, the Count of Revilla Gigedo dashed off a letter of instructions and authorization to the man on the spot, Governor Diego Ortiz Parilla.

The viceroy enclosed copies of the recommendations of the royal auditor and the Jesuit Provincial, the comments of thefiscal and the conclusions of the council of war held at the capital city to consider the military problems ra ised by the Pima rebellion, and practicable measures for their solution. As Revilla Gigedo pointed out to his subordinate, he had shaken out the viceregal government machinery at a very unusual pace in order to reply to the governor's message within five days after receiving it.

The viceroy urged Ortiz Parrilla to restore peace by using suave methods, ruling equitably and prudently (Revilla Gigedo Jan. 19, 1752:22v). If recourse to arms became necessary, then the viceroy ordered Ortiz Parrilla to arouse fear an d respect by the rigor of military action (ibid., f. 23). Thus the cautious course steered by the governor received the viceregal approval, indicating that Ortiz Parrilla probably expected the advice of the senior provincial officers to avoid open conflict with the Pimans as much as possible to be welcomed at the capital.

After confirming the governor's policy decisions, the viceroy granted Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla fairly sweeping137powers to improve the military situation on the frontier as quickly as possible.

The urgency of the case prompted the Count of Revilla Gigedo to delegate to the governor authority to recruit a force of fifty men and create a new military unit out of them, even choosing its location. The viceroy further delegated Ortiz Parrilla the power to select the commander of the new company, a rare privilege for a mere provincial governor since such offices were ordinarily filled by the king and even viceregal patents were merely interim appointments until approved by the monarch. The viceroy retained his right to confirm or abrogate the selection made by Governor Ortiz Parilla, and ordered the latter to follow closely the ideas of Jesuit Provincial Balthasar in regard to the new company and its comandant. Moreover, the governor was told to keep formal accounts of the cost of the new company for submission to the capital (ibid., f. 23v) and to report fully anything worthy of viceregal attention.

Beyond these practical measures the viceroy simply asked Ortiz Parilla for particulars of the case against Captain Menocal (ibid., f. 24) and reminded the governor that he was in Sonora to shake down the frontier fort garrisons so they would be prepared for any eventuality such as the Pima Revolt, and their commanding officers properly obedient to rules, regulations and superior orders (ibid., f. 24v-25).

While the viceroy boasted of the speed with which the northern Sonoran emergency was rammed through the138governmental machinery and actually did write to Ortiz Parrilia five days after receipt of his dispatches, the vicereg al apparatus in fact required two weeks to complete its deliberations and reach its decisions on the matter and send the governor his instructions. Apparently the first four days were lost merely bringing Governor Ortiz Parrilla's news to the attention of the viceroy through the auditor's office where the top official saw it on January 16, so it was not until January 18 that the viceroy referred the provincial dispatches to his fiscal and the Jesuit Father Provincial (Revilla Gigedo Jan. 18, 1752: 8). The priest was the fastest respondent, replying that same day (Balthasar Jan. 18., 1752:11v).

The fiscal did not respond until January 21, when he had the advantage of Father Balthasar's report to crib from. The gist of his reply amounted to agreeing with Balthasar in recommending recruitment of a force of fifty new soldi ers to be stationed among the northern Pimans (Andreu Jan. 21, 1752:14v). Dr. Antonio Andreu y Terras, the fiscal, had no more personal knowledge of provincial Sonora than the viceroy, so was similarly dependent upon Balthasar's experience there.

Like the viceroy, Dr. Andreu favored employing forbearance rather than force in pacifying the northern Pimans, and suggested a general pardon for the rebels if they would return peacefully to their homes, with resort to arms only if the y refused to do so (ibid., f. 15v).

139After Andreu reported to the viceroy, the latter returned the accumulating documents relating to the Piman revolt to the auditor (Revilla Gigedo Jan. 22, 1752:16). The Marques de Altamira abstained from further comment oth er than to express agreement in turn with the ideas of Father ProvincialBalthasar (Altamira Jan. 22, 1752:16). Interoffice communication evidently moved swiftly, so the viceroy was enabled to issue a call for a royal council of war the next day (Revilla G igedo Jan. 23, 1752:16).

The council of war which convened at the City of Mexico on January 27 to consider the affairs of northern Sonora was a weighty collection of colonial brass. Don Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas, the viceroy and president, was not o nly Count of Revilla Gigedo, but also a Gentleman in Chamber to the king with the rank of Lieutenant-General in the royal armies. Audiencia of Mexico members Francisco A. de Chevarri, Domingo Valcarcel y Formento and the Marques de Altamira were Kn ights of the Order of Santiago. Lesser V. I. P's attending the council were the fiscal Doctor Antonio Andreu y Terras, three officials of the royal courts, Juan E. de Barrueta, the Count of San Matheo Valparaiso, and Joachín Cortillas; three treasury officials, Ignacio H. de Miranda, Joséph del Mazo Calderon and Joséph Díaz de Zelies; the attorneygeneral Don Joséph Raphael Rodrigues Gallardo; and the Purser-General Juan de Urdamqui (Revilla Gigedo Jan. 27., 1752:1 6v). At least one of these top officials had visited Sonora in person, and that as recently as 1749, for 140Attorney General Gallardo had been sent to Sonora to investigate the difficulties between the previous governor and the frontier fort co mmanders, and had provided interim Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla with detailed instructions as how best to govern the province (Bancroft 1884:I:531-535). As a matter of fact the members of the council of war did take into consideration the report Gallardo had made on September 9, 1750, during their deliberations (Revilla Gigedo, Jan. 27, 1752:18v-19).

The council of war resolved in favor of the recommended establishment of a fifty-man company for service in Upper Pimería, leaving the selection of its comandant to the viceroy. The councilmen felt the choice of fort site should the governor's, as he was on the spot and could best decide on it. They agreed that theg should publish a general pardon for the rebels, and if that did not suffice to re-establish peace, he should resort to force of arms. The apportioned arms for the new contingent, and appropriated funds to finance it (ibid., f. 19v).

The august members of the war council displayed their sympathy for Governor Ortiz Parrilla's dispatch bearer. Although he was a soldier and therefore on the royal payroll, his long hard trip to the capital with news of the revolt had co st him money. The council appropriated 100 pesos to stimulate the dispatch-bearer to make a fast return trip to Sonora with the authorizations the governor sorely needed (ibid., f. 20).

141Besides deciding matters of immediate import for the suppression of the northern Piman revolt, the members of the council of war set some general policies for the frontier forts. Each post should be provided with fifty rif les plus swords and lances at royal expense, along with powder and balls. Each should receive four cannon. Each post cormandant should be ordered to seek leather body armor (ibid., f. 20). These additional arms were-save for the cannon-to be destin ed for arming militia and citizens in cases of emergency such as the Pima revolt so the council recommended that the post comandant be rendered responsible for their maintenance in effective condition and original number so that he would not use them to a rm his presidial troops (ibid., f. 20v).

On the last day of January the viceroy ordered fifty firearms and as many lances purchased at the factory for shipment as soon as possible to Governor Ortiz Parrilla to equip the newly authorized company (Revilla Gigedo, Jan. 31, 1752:2 1). At the same time he ordered the four cannon, fifty guns, swords and lances for each frontier fort's emergency arsenal to be procured and conveyed to the financial agents of the various post comandants for shipment to the forts (ibid., f. 21-21v ).

Completing the administrative details of the viceregal reaction to frontier emergency, Don Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas, Conde de Revilla Gigedo, ordered copies of all 142the various top level discussions of the affa ir made for the dispatch bearer to take back north to Governor Ortiz Parrilla and he ordered said dispatch bearer paid his hundred pesos to speed him on his way (ibid., f. 21v).

Part of which site