December 29 (December 19, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The captain of the recently arrived slave ship appears before the councilors, who order him to take his slaves and go away. The councilors also order that gunpowder for the Port Royal fortifications be purchased, that Lord Inchiquin’s executor be charged 800 pounds, that the wreckage of HMS Swan, which was destroyed in the earthquake, be sold, and that HMS Mordaunt cruise toward Porto Bello in Panama. A letter from Queen Mary dated September 7 promising to send a squadron of troops to the West Indies and exhorting the Jamaicans to take heart is read and a reply is ordered to be written.

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December 25 (December 15, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  A slave ship has recently arrived, and given the slave insurrection in the east of the island, the councilors order that the slaves on it be jailed and the captain commanded to appear before the Council on December 19.  Payment to the owners of the sloop Neptune for its use by the government after the earthquake is ordered.  HMS Guernsey is to be supplied.

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December 22 (December 12, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  The councilors order that supplies and slaves be provided to the militia in the windward (eastern) part of the island to assist in suppressing a slave rebellion, and that all militia colonels are to be warned to take care to prevent similar uprisings in their districts.  Captain Michael Hollingsworth is to be arrested and tried at the next general court.  Military supplies at Port Royal are to be inventoried, HMS Mordaunt is to be supplied, and preparations are to be made to entertain the new governor for a week upon his arrival.

Massachusetts: A bill putting forth a new law on witchcraft, a quite pressing issue in the colony at the moment, is introduced in the assembly.  The proposed statute is nearly identical to the prevailing law in England, which was passed in 1604 and which stipulates the death penalty for occult practices resulting in death or bodily injury.  It differs from the English law, however, in omitting the section preserving rights of inheritance for heirs of executed witches, a change made to protect George Corwin, the Essex County sheriff, who has already seized most of the estates of the witches executed during the current crisis.

New Mexico: Roque Madrid, whom governor Vargas left on December 13 with most of the reconquest expedition’s livestock and orders to proceed at a leisurely pace to El Paso so as to minimize further losses, arrives at El Paso around noon.  Although he was careful not to put too much stress on the animals, he couldn’t help but lose a few of them given their condition.  Vargas is understanding and grateful that as many animals were saved as possible.

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

December 13 (December 3, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders that Colonel Leonard Claiborne, who has admitted to disobeying orders from his superior officer, be prosecuted at the next general court along with Colonel Christopher Senior and Captain Michael Holdsworth.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, concerned about the toll his long journey has taken on the expedition’s horses and mules, decides the split the group in two for the last stretch.  He orders his officers to select twenty well-equipped men to go ahead with him and his commanders while Roque Madrid stays behind and leads the remainder of the expedition, including most of the animals, at a more leisurely pace.  Madrid is to plan his journey so that he arrives at El Paso in about ten days, and Vargas leaves him sufficient supplies to do this.  Vargas and his accompanying troops then set out down the river.

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December 12 (December 2, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders Captain Maynard of the Mordaunt to impress a sloop and sail it along the coast to catch people trying to leave the island and impress them for naval service.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite and march along the Rio Grande.  Instead of the usual route, the Camino Real, they go along the opposite bank of the river, which is rougher but is more likely to have water for the animals.  They camp at the end of the day along the riverbank at a place where they can see the El Muerto and Las Peñuelas mountains, as well as the Camino Real across the river.

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December 11 (December 1, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal and appoints Thomas Nichols as Attorney General.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, camped near the abandoned Pueblo of Senecú, decides to send word to the people of El Paso that he is nearby and will be arriving there within a few days. He sends Captain Rafael Téllez Girón with two soldiers to go ahead of the main body of the expedition and arrive at El Paso within three days. They are to deliver letters to the main civil and ecclesiastical authorities there reporting Vargas’s success in the reconquest and estimating that he will arrive at El Paso within nine days. Since the garrison at El Paso has been operating with greatly reduced numbers while most of the province’s soldiers have been on campaign, Vargas figures news of the imminent return of his troops will be welcome to the people there.

After dispatching the messengers, Vargas orders the rest of his men to break camp and continue on their march down the Rio Grande.  They head for Fray Cristóbal through a stretch of road within any known permanent water holes, but they figure that there may be some places where water has collected from the recent storms.  After marching all day they camp at a place in the lowlands within sight of a hill beyond which is Fray Cristóbal.

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December 8 (November 28, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Colonel Leonard Claiborne confesses to having disobeyed orders given by his superior officer, Captain Bernart Andreis.  A general court martial is ordered for December 1.  The sloop Neptune, impressed for government service after the earthquake, is ordered to be returned to her owners.  French prisoners are to be sent to St. Domingue.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas attends a mass in the morning for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, then meets with his Zuni guide, Agustín, and his companions.  He thanks them for their help and gives them the buffalo hides he promised as payment, as well as supplies for the journey back to Zuni.  They say that they are worried about attack by the Apaches and would therefore like to return by way of Acoma Pueblo, and they ask Vargas for a letter to the people at Acoma to ensure their safe passage.  Vargas obligingly writes a letter to Mateo, the governor of Acoma, introducing the Zunis and explaining why he took a shortcut under their guidance rather than returning via Acoma himself.  This satisfies the Zunis, who leave happy.

Vargas then orders his men to prepare to leave their campsite at the waterhole which he names La Purísima Concepción in honor of the day of its discovery.  They head toward the Rio Grande, with the Magdalena Mountains in view and serving to direct them.  When they get to the Sierra del Socorro they cross it, following the tracks of the men and animals from the expedition who left the previous night to find water.  They find them waiting in a broad arroyo at the foot of the mountains.  Since it is pretty late at this point, Vargas orders the reunited expedition to camp there for the night.

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November 28 (November 18, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal and orders that HMS Guernsey be supplied. In regard to a letter from Governor Codrington of the Leeward Islands requesting military help, the councilors decide to respond that given the increasing military presence of the French at St. Domingue on Hispaniola, which lies between Jamaica and the Leewards, it would be impossible to provide any assistance.

Meanwhile, the Lords of Trade and Plantations meet in London.  They consider the petition dated August 30 by some of the Jews of Jamaica asking to be granted citizenship, addressed to Queen Mary, who had referred it to the Lords.  They decide to reject it.

Mexico/New Mexico: The viceroy, the Conde de Galve, meets with his junta of top officials to consider the request of Diego Trujillo on November 26 that ten or twelve priests be sent to New Mexico immediately.  The junta decides that Trujillo’s arguments are convincing and orders that twelve priests be sent immediately and funded as is customary.  They also decide to send a message to Governor Vargas relating the response of Father Juan de Capistrano to the governor’s nomination of Father Francisco de Vargas to head up the Franciscan order in the colony, including the reasons for appointing Father Salvador de San Antonio instead.

Father Francisco Farfán is selected to lead the group of priests being sent to New Mexico.  He has a draft drawn up entitling him to three years’ advance payment for the group, as has been customary for priests going to New Mexico, since the distance is so far and wagon trains so infrequent.  When he brings the draft to the treasurer for his signature, however, the treasurer refuses to sign, insisting that the junta only authorized one year of advance pay.  Farfán immediately writes to the viceroy, asking for clarification.  The viceroy, upon receiving the letter, confers with the junta and decides to authorize a year and a half of advance pay, since it is not yet clear how permanent the reconquest will be.  He sends a letter to Farfán to notify him so that he can have a draft drawn up for the appropriate amount.

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November 11 (November 1, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal and orders that HMS Mordaunt be brought in for supplying for a month.  Proceeds from the sale of unclaimed salvaged goods will be paid to the President for the repair of public buildings.  The bridge at Passage Fort is to be repaired.

New Mexico: Early in the morning, Governor Vargas is informed by his officials of the theft of sixteen head of cattle by Apaches the previous night.  Given the harsh weather, which helped the Apaches to escape notice by the guards, and the tiredness of the expedition’s horses, Vargas decides that pursuing the raiders is not worth the trouble.

Soon after this decision, Vargas orders his officers to prepare five squads of soldiers to accompany him to the mesa on which the Zunis have settled after abandoning their pueblo.  When they are ready, the group goes to the mesa.  The way up is steep and difficult, so the men are forced to dismount and go up on foot, leading their horses.  They have some trouble getting up but do manage to make it, and when they reach the top they mount their steeds and enter the plaza of the mesa-top pueblo.  There Vargas dismounts and greets the people who have assembled to meet him.  He orders a large cross set up in the plaza, then explains his mission of pardon and forgiveness to the people and orders them to bring their children to the plaza to be baptized.  He then pardons them and reclaims their land for the king, as he has done in all the other pueblos he has visited so far, and the priests grant them absolution and baptize 294 people of all ages and both sexes.

After the baptisms are complete, the governor and other leaders of the pueblo invite Vargas up to a second-story room in the pueblo.  He finds there an altar set with two large candles, along with a variety of Christian ritual objects, including crucifixes, chalices, candlesticks, bells, and several books in Spanish on religious topics.  These items are from the collection of a missionary named Juan, who was working at the Zuni pueblo of Hawikuh in 1680 and was very well-liked by the Zunis, enough that they spared his life during the revolt as long as he adopted their lifestyle and assimilated to their culture.  He did so, and is in fact still living with his adopted people, and has decided to remain with them despite the opportunity to rejoin the Spanish.  To ensure that he can remain where he prefers, he has decided not to reveal his presence to Vargas, who is unaware of any of this and only knows that the Zunis have for some reason held on to a great deal of Christian paraphernalia while the other pueblos had none at all when he visited them and told him that the Apaches took it all.

Vargas is amazed to find so many holy items so carefully preserved by the Zunis despite all the turmoil of the period since the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, and is nearly overwhelmed with emotion.  He embraces the Zuni leaders and thanks them profusely, then takes all except two large bells with him, telling the Zunis that he is taking it all to El Paso to be reconsecrated and will return it when he comes back with a new priest for them.  They are pleased with this and invite Vargas and his men to eat the food they have prepared for them, which they do before returning to their campsite, where they arrive around sunset.

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October 28 (October 18, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  HMS Mordaunt is ordered to cruise around the island as far as St. Ann’s Parish on the north-central coast.  M. Dumas at Petit Goave in St. Domingue is to be informed that the French sloop sailing under a flag of truce that was recently repaired in Jamaica and sent away took with it a French surgeon and his wife, who is an English subject.

Massachusetts: Twenty-six men from Andover send a petition to Governor Phips on behalf of their wives and other relatives who are in jail on witchcraft charges, pointing out that though most of them have confessed to witchcraft, many of them now say that they did so under duress and have now retracted their confessions.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, his reconquest effort mostly complete, with only the distant Zunis and Hopis still to be pacified, notes that the weather is getting colder and that there has already been some snow.  This, along with the rigors of the campaign so far, is beginning to exhaust many of the Indian allies brought from El Paso, along with the horses and pack animals.  He therefore decides to send a substantial portion of the expedition back to El Paso, including the artillery.  He places Cristóbal de Tapia in command of the group to depart.  The captives discovered in the various pueblos who were taken in the 1680 revolt will also go to El Paso, and Vargas orders that a muster of them be taken before the group leaves.

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)