Joseph M. White.

A new collection of laws, charters and local ordinances of the governments of Great Britain, France and Spain : relating to the concessions of land in their respective colonies, together with the laws of Mexico and Texas on the same subject, to which is prefixed Judge Johnson's translation of Azo an online

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Online LibraryJoseph M. WhiteA new collection of laws, charters and local ordinances of the governments of Great Britain, France and Spain : relating to the concessions of land in their respective colonies, together with the laws of Mexico and Texas on the same subject, to which is prefixed Judge Johnson's translation of Azo an → online text (page 5 of 88)
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settlers, and the remainder shall remain vacant tnat we may grant
them to new settlers. From these lands the viceroys shall separate
those which appear to be fit for reservations [propios] for those
settlements which have none ; the proceeds of which will serve
to pay the corregidors, leaving always sufficient liberties, reser-
vations, and pastures, as is prescribed above, and let it be so

11.— Lib. IV., m 7, Law 18.— {Vol. 2,p. 23.)

Dedaring what penoDs shall be selected as aettlen of new ookmiee, and bow to
doMribe themeelvee.

We command that, whenever a colony shall be drawn from any
ti^, the judges and municipal council [regimiento] shall cause
all persons wic^ng to join the new settlement, to give in their

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48 Civil Laws of Spain and France.

names and description before the secretary of the council^ admittiDg
all married men, the sons and descendants of the settlers of the
the place from whence the colony sets out, who do not possess
any lots nor lands for pasture or cultivation, and excluding alljiersons
who do possess such lots or lands, in order that what is already
peopled may not be depopulated.

12.— Lib TV., Tit 7, Law 2^.— {Vol. 2, p. 24.)

If the natives oppose the settlement, they shall be indaced to remain peaceable, and
the settlement shall continue.

Should the natives attempt to oppose the settlement, they shall
be given to understand that the intention in forming it, is to teach
them to know Gtod and his holy law, by which they are to be saved;
to preserve friendship with them, and teach them to live in a civilized
state, and not to do them any harm or take from them their settle-
ments. They shall be convinced of this by mild means, through the
interference of religion and priests, and of other persons appointed
by the governor, by means of interpreters, and by endeavouring
by all possible good means, that the settlement may be made in peace
and with their consent ; and if, notwithstanding they do wimhold
their consent, the settlers after having notified them pursuant to
Law 9, Tit. 4, Lib. 3, shall proceed to make their settlement without
taking any thing that may belong to the Indians, and without doing
them any greater damage than shall be necessary for the protection
of the settlers and to remove obstacles to the settlement.

[ *38 ] *7B.—Lib. IV., Tit. 7, Law 25.— {Vd. 2, p. 24.)

The tenn to be extended if accident should prevent the completion cf the se ttl emen t

In case any fortuitous cercumstance should prevent the com-
pletion of the settlemeut within the term prescribed in the
agreement, the settlers shall not forfeit what they may have
expended or built, nor incur the penalty; and the governor of
the district may extend the term according to the circumstances of
the case.

14.— Lib. IV., TU. 2, Law I.— {Vol 2, p. 39.)


Lands, lots, and Indians, to be granted to new settlers; and what are upeomt and a

In order to promote the zeal of our subjects in the discovery and
settlement of the Indies, and that they may Uve in that ease and
comfort which we desire them to enjoy, it is our will that there be

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Civil Laws of Spain and France. 40

distributed among them houses, lots, lands, caballerias and peoniaSf
to all those who shall repair to settle on new lands in the villages
and places which shall be designated to them by the governor of
the n^w settlement, making a distinction between the gentlemen or
esquires [escuderos]and labourers [peones] and those of inferior grade
lod merit, and graduating such grants according to their quaufica-
tioDS and services, in order that they may attend to working the said
land and to the breeding of stock ; and when said settlers shall
hive lived and laboured in said settlements during the space of four
jrears, they are hereby empowered, from the expiration of said term,
to sell the same, and freely to dispose of them at their will as their
own property: and the governor, or whoever shall be thereto
authorized by ourselves, shall, in the distribution which he shall
make of the Indians, and according to the merits and rank of said
settlers, grant them said Indians, so that they may enjoy the profits
arising from their p)ossessions, according to the established rates and
the enactments in that behalf.

And whereas it may happen, that in the distribution of lands,
doubts may arise respecting the measurement thereof, we declare
that a peania is a lot of fifty feet front and one hundred feet deep,
one hundred/aneg'o^ of arable land fit for the cultivation of wheat or
barley, ten lor com, two huebras (a measure e(|ual to as much land
as a yoke of oxen can plough in one day) of land for garden, and
eight for planting other trees which grow in dry land, with pasture
sufficient for ten breeding sows, twenty cows, nve breeding mares,
ooe hundred ewes, and twenty ^oats. A caballeria is a lot of one
hundred feet front and two hundred feet deep, and equal, in all other
respects, to five peonias that is five hundred Janegas of arable land
fit for the raising of wheat or barley, fifty for corn, ten huebras of
land for gardens, forty for other trees growing in dry soils, pastures
for fifty oreeding sows, one hundred cows, twenty mares, five
hundred ewes, and one hundred ^oats. And we command that a
a distribution may be made in such a form that all shall participate
in the good as well as in the middling, or all other qualities of land
in the tract which shall be allotted to them.

*75.-.Li&. IV., TiL 12, Law 2.— {Vol. 2, p. 40.) [ *39 ]

Hode ofdistribntiDg the UuicIb in new fetUementt.

It shall not be lawful to give or distribute lands in a settlement to
such persons as already possess some in another settlement, unless
they shall leave their former residence and remove themselves to
the new place to be settled, except where they shall have resided
in the first settlement during the four years necessary to entitle
them to fee simple right, or unless ihey shall relinquish their title to
the same for not having fulfilled their obligation ; and we declare
as nufl any distribution which may be made contrary to the pro-

VoL.u. 7

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50 CivU Laws cf Spain and France.

visions of this our law ; and wo condemn those who may make
such distribution to suffer our displeasure, and to be fined ten
thousand maravedis for the benefit of our chamber [camera.]

l^.—IAb. IV., Tit. 12, Law 3.— (Fo/. hp. 40.)

The hoQsei to be built, and the pastore lands occnpied within a given time, under
the penalties provided by this law.

The persons who shall accept grants of caballerias or peonias
shall enter into an obligation to build upon the lots and to occupy
the houses, to divide and clear the arable lands, and to work and
plant them, and to stock with cattle those which are destined for
pasture, within a limited time, divided into terms, and declarii^
what is to be done in each, under the penalty of forfeiting their
^ants of lots and lands, and besides a certain number of maravedis
for the republic ; which obligation shall be in due form, with good
and sufiicient sureties.

n.—Lib. IV., TiU 12, Law ^.—{Vol 2, p. 40.)

The viceroys to have power to grant lots and lands to settlers.

If, in those parts of the Indies which are already discovered there
should be anv sites and districts suflSciently good to render it expe-
dient to settle the same, and if any person should apply to form
settlements therein, in order that they may do so with zeal and

i)rofit, the viceroys and presidents shall, in our name, grant them
ots, lands and waters, taking into consideration the situation of the
land ; provided it be not to the prejudice of any third person, and
that said grants be for such a period as we shall delermme.

78.— Lib. IV., TU. 12, Law 5.— {Vol. 2. p. 40.)

The distribotion of lands to be niade by the advice of the eabUdo, and to the regi-
dorep in preference.

In distributing the lands, waters, watering places, and pastures,
amonff the settlers, the viceroys or governors thereto authorized hy
ourselves shall make such distribution by the advice of the cabildo
[council] of the cities or villages, taking care that a preference be
given to the regidoresy if they do not possess an equivalent quantity
of lands and lots. The Indians shall be left in possession of their lands,
[ *40 ] hereditaments, and pastures, * in such a manner that th^
shall not stand in need of the necessaries of life, and shall be allowed
all the aid and facilities, for the sustenance of their household and

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Civil Laws of Spain and Prance. 51

19.— Lib. IV., Tit 12, Law %.—{Vd. 2, p. 41.)

Bedirin^ to wfaocn tppUcatbn is to be made for bts, lands, and viraten.

We command that if petitions be presented askine for lots or lands
in any city or village where our audience shall reside, such petitions
shall be addressed to the cabildoj [council,] who having considered
the same, shall name two deputy regidores, who shall inform the
viceroy or president of the opinion of the cabildo ; and the same
having been seen by the viceroy, president, and deputies, the order
shall be issued, signed by all, and in the presence of the clerK of the
cabildo, to be entered in the record of the cabildo. And if such
petition be for distribution of waters and of lands calculated for the
erection of mechanical enmnes, it shall first be presented to the
viceroy or president, who shall refer it to the cabildo ; whence after
due examination, notice shall be given by a regidor to the vicerov
or president, who after having considered the same, shall give such
orders as may be deemed expedient

80.^ii&. rV., Tit 12, Law 9.— (Vol. 2, p. 41.)

No land to be granted to the prejudice of the Indians ; and those thus granted to be

We command that the farms and lands which may be granted to
Spaniards, be so granted without prejudice to the Indians ; and that
such as may have been granted to their prejudice and injury be
restored to whoever they of right shall belong.

SI.— Lib. IV., TiL 2, Law II.— {Vol 2, p. 41.)

Possession to be taken of lands distributed within three months, and plantations made,
nnder penalty of fbrfidturc.

AH the settlers and housekeepers to whom distributions of lands
diall be made, shall, within three months which shall be stipulated,
take possession of the same ; designate their confines and the boun-
daries which separate them from other lands, by planting, in the
proper season, willows and other trees, in such a manner that,
oesides a correct and agreeable laying out of said lands, they may
avail themselves of the timber which they may want ; under penalty,
if, after the expiration of said term they shall not have planted the
aforesaid boundaries, of forfeiting the land that the same may be
vacated and granted to some other settlqr. This shall be done, not
only with regard to the lands, but likewise with regard to the set-
tlements and improvements which they may hold and be possessed
of, within the limits of towns and villages.

BSL—Lib. IV., ru. 12, Law 12.— {Vol 2, p. 42.)
The grazing estates for cattle to be located apart from the villages and fields of Indians.

Whereas the grazing estate for horned cattle, mares, swine, and

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52 Citfil Laws of Spain and France.

others, large and small, cause great damage in the cornfields belong-
[ *41 ] ing to * the Indians, and particularly where such cattle are
allowed to go at large, we do command, that no estates whatever be

f granted in any parts or places where any damage can accrue to the
ndians; and, where said cattle cannot be dispensed with, they shall
be removed far from any Indian settlements and fields, since there
are separate lands appropriated for cattle, and grass where they may
graze without injury. And the justices shall take care that the
owners of cattle, and all who have an interest in the public good,
shall eimploy a sufficient number of herdsmen and watchmen to

Siard against all injuries ; and in case any damage shall accrue,
ey shaU make them give satisfaction,

SB.— Lib. IV., Tit. 12, Law IB.— {Vol. 2, p. 42.)

The viceroys to cause the cattle to be withdrawn fh>m land proper for irrifratioo,
and wheat to be raised thereon.

We command the viceroys to inquire concerning lands susceptible
of irrigation, and to order the cattle to be withdrawn from the same;
and they shall cause wheat to- be sown on the said lands, if the
proprietors have not a legal title to raise cattle thereon.

84.— Lib. TV., TiL 12, Law H.—{Vbl. 2, p. 42.)

Owners of lands, Slc. having a legal title thereto to be maintained in the possession
of the same; the others to be restored to the king.

Whereas we have fully inherited the dominion of the Indies ; and
whereas the waste lands and soil which were not granted by the
kings, our predecessors, or by ourselves, in our name, belong to our
patrimony and royal crown, it is expedient that all the land which
is held without just and true titles be restored, as belonging to us, in
order that we may retain, before all things all the lands which may
appear to us and to our viceroys, audiences and governors, to
be necessary for public squares, liberties, [exidos,] reservations,
[propios,] pastures, and commons, to be granted to the villages and
councils already settled, with due regard as well to their present
condition as to their future state, and to the increase they may
receive, and after distributing among the Indians whatever they
may justly want to cultivate, sow, and raise cattle, confirming to
them what they now hold, and granting what they may want
besides — all the remaining land may bg reserved to us, clear of any
incumbrance, for the purpose of being given as rewards, or disposed
of according to our pleasure : For all this, we order and command
the viceroys, presidents, and pretorial audiences, whenever they
shall think fit, to appoint a suflicient time for the owners of land to
exhibit before them and the ministers of their audiences, whom they
shall appoint for that purpose, the titles to lands, estates, huts, ana

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Cufil Laws of Spain and France. 53

cddUruUf -whoy after confirming the possession of such as hold the
nine by virtue of good and legal titles, or by a just prescription^
dbali restore to us the remainder, to be disposed of according to our

85.— Lib. IV., TiL 12, Law 15.— {Vol. 2, p. 43.)
Lands to be admitted to oompoaitioiQ.

With a view to the greater advantage of our vassals, we order and
command the viceroys and president-governors not to alter the acts of
their ' predecessors, with regard to lands admitted by them to [ *42 ]
composition, [compuestas,] and to leave the holders thereof in auiet
possession ; and those persons who shall have encroached and held
more than according to the boundaries they are entitled to, shall be
allowed to pay a moderate composition, and new titles shall be issued
to them. AH the lands which are to be admitted to composition
shall be sold at auction, and without reserve, to the highest bidder,
as tenant at will, [censo al quitar,] agreeably to the laws of the
kingdom of Castile. And we commit the execution of the foregoing
provisions, as to manner and form, to ihe viceroys and presidents, to
be carried into efiect with the least possible charges ; and to save
as much as may be the expenses of collection, they shall order our
ropral officers in each district to make such collection themselves,
without sending executors for that purpose, and availing themselves
of our roval audiences ; or, if there be none, of the corregidores.

And whereas titles to lands have been issued bv officers who were
not authorized to distribute such lands, which titles have been con-
finned by ourselves, in our council, we command those who have
letters of confirmation to retain them, and that they be maintained
ia their possession, within the limits therein prescribed ; and, as
r^ards their encroachment beyond said limits, they are hereby
entitled to the benefits of this law.

8ft.— Lift. IV., Tit 12, Law 16.— (Vol 2, p. 43.)

Iiands to be ^[ranted and sold according to the provisions of thb law.

In order to avoid the inconveniences and damages resulting from
the sale or gift to Spaniards of cahaUerias or peonias, and other
tracts of land, to the prejudice of the Indians, upon the suspicious
testimony of witnesses, we order and command that all sales or

Efts shall be made before the attorneys of our royal audiencias, to
\ summoned for that purpose, who shall be bound to examine,
with due care and diligence, the character and depositions of wit-
nesses ; and the presidents and audiences, where they shall admin-
ister the government, shall give or grant such lands by the advice
of the board of treasury, where it shall appear that they belong to
Qi, at auction, to the highest bidder, as other estates of ours, and

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54 Civil Laws of Spain and France*

alwa)r8 with an eye to the benefit of the Indians. And where the
grant or sale shall be made by the viceroys, it is our will that none
of the officers above mentioned shall interfere. Upon the letters
which shall be granted to the parties interested, they shall sue out
confirmations within the usual time prescribed in cases of grants of
Indians, [encomiendas de Indios«]

87.— Lib. IV., Tit 13, Law \7.—{VoL 2,p. 48.)

No knds to be admitted to oonpoMlioo which ihaH have beltoged to lodtaiw, and
are held hy illegal title ; and the attoraeya and pfoteefton are to aee juatioe

In order more efiectually to favour the Indians, and to prevent

their receiving any injury^ we command that no composition shall

be admitted of lands which Spaniards shall have acquired from

Indians, in violation of our royal letters and ordinances, and which

- shall be held upon illegal titles : it being our wiH that the attomeys-

frotectors should proceed according to right and justice, as required
♦43 ] by letters and ordinances, m procuring such illegal • con-
tracts to be annulled. And we command the viceroys, presidents,
and audiences to grant them their as3istance for its entire execu-^

88.— Lib. IV., Tit. 12, Law l7.—{Fol 2, p. 44.)

Lands to be left in pon e— ion of the Indiansu

We command that the sale, grant, and composition of lands be
executed with such attention, that the Indians shall be left in pos-
session of the full amount of lands belonging to them, dther singty
or in communities, together with their rivers and waters; and the
lands which ihcy shall have drained or otherwise improved, whereby
they may, by their own industry, have rendered them fertile, are
reserved in the first place, and can in no case be sold or aliened.
And the judges who shall have been sent thither, shall specify what
Indians they may have found on the land, and what lanos they shall
have left in possession of each of the elders of tribes, caciques,
governors, or communities.

80.— Lib. IV., TU. 12, Law IC.— (fW. 2, p. 44.)

No one to be admitted to make compeeition who shall not have held the land during
ten years. Indians to be preterred.

No one shall be admitted to make composition of lands who shall
not have been in possession thereof for the term of ten years,
although he should state that he is in possession at the time ; for
such circumstance by itself is not sufllcient ; and communities of

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Civil Laws qf Spain and France. 55

h£ans shall be admitted to make such compositions in preference
to other private individuals, giving them all facilities for that pur-

90.-ii6. IV., Ttt 12, Law 20.— {Vol. 2, p. 44.)

Tha liomju and presidenta to refoke fraata of land made bjr caWWaa/ and lo
admit them to compoaitioo.

Oar pleasure is, that the viceroys and president-governors shall
have power to revoke and annul grants ol land made by the coun-
cils [cabildos] of cities, or hereafter to be made, within their respec-
tive districts, unless such grants be confirmed by ourselves ; and if
Slid lands belong to Indians, they shall be ordered to be returned to
them, and the uncultivated lands shall remain as they are : those
who hold them shall be admitted to make composition, paying to us
such sum as may be deemed just.

91.— 1*. IV., TiL 12, Law 21.— {VoL 2, p. 44.)

Vioen>ya and preaideDta not to appoint comroiasioDera to receive oompoettion, witb-
oot poeitiye Dece8Bity,and giving notice thereto to the king.

Where any private person shall have occupied lands belonging to
piWic places or corporations, they shall restore them conformably
to the taw of Toledo, and to those which prescribe the mode of
eiscting such restitution^ and establish the right of prescription for
die boiefit of private persons. And we command the viceroys
mifreadents not to grant commissions* for compositions [ *44 ]
of land without evident necessity, and immediately notifying us
of the motives which induce them to grant such commissions, in
what {daces the lands are, and who are the persons interested :
how loi^ they have held them, and the quantity of plain or forest
hod. And we command them, whenever they may have to grant
SQch commissions^ to name persons whose age, experience, and
abilities shall fit them for their execution.

n^Lib. IV., TYt 13, Law 1.

Of reaervatiaDa [propioa] and reaefvationa to be laid out at the fboiiding of aetUenenla.

The viceroys and governors, being thereto authorized, shall lay
oat for each town or village which shall be newly founded and
peopled, the lands and lots which they may want, and the same
Aail be granted to them as reservations [propios] without prejudice
to third persons. They shall transmit to us information of what
^ shall have laid out, that we may order the same to be con-

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56 Civil Laws of Spain and France.

93.— Lib. IV., 7%. 17, Law 5.— {Vol. 2, p. 67.)

Pastures, mountains, waters, and limits, to be common ; and provisions to be observed
in the island of Hlspanola.

We have ordained, that pastures, mountains, and waters, shall
be common in the Indies : and whereas some persons, without any
title from us, have occupied extensive tracts of land, and will not
permit any one to establish pens and herdsmen's huts thereon, and
to drive their cattle thither, we command that all pastures, moun-
tains, and waters, in the provinces of the Indies, be common to all
the inhabitants thereof, present and to come, and that they may
freely enjoy the use of tnem, and construct then* huts near their
pens, drive therein their cattle, either in herds or separately, at their
option, all ordinances to the contrary notwithstanding ; which, if
necessary for this object, are hereby, so far repealed, and declared
to be of no force or value. And we command all councils, justices,
and regidores to observe and fulfil the provisions of this our law ;
and all persons who shall hinder their execution, shall incur a fine
of five thousand ounces of gold, to be levied on their persons and
property, for the benefit of our chamber [camera.] And as respects
the city of Santo Domingo, in the island of Hispanola, the same
provisions shall be enforced, provided it be understood as applying
only to lands situated at the distance of a radius of ten leagues from
said city, and without prejudice to third persons. And as to lands
lying at the said distance of ten leagues, we hereby authorize and
dfeclare it to be our pleasure, that each flock or herd be entitled to
a tract of one league in circumference, within which no other shall
erect any pens or huts, provided the pasture of said tract be common
to all, as provided above. And wherever there shall be any flocks
or herds, sites shall be granted for the erection of workshops and
other improvements ; and on each grazing farm there shaU be a
stone house, and not less than two thousand head of cattle ; and if
there be above six thousand head, two tracts shall be granted ; and
if above ten thousand, three tracts : each tract shall have its stone
[ ♦45 ] house, and no person shall be allowed to occupy ♦ more
than three tracts. And this shall be observed wherever tnere shall
be no title or authority from ourselves, by which a diflierent disposi-
tion should be made.

94.— Lib. IV., TU. 11, Law 8.— {Vol. 2,p. 68.)

Wild fruits to be oommon.

Our pleasure is, and we hereby declare, that the wild fruits of

Online LibraryJoseph M. WhiteA new collection of laws, charters and local ordinances of the governments of Great Britain, France and Spain : relating to the concessions of land in their respective colonies, together with the laws of Mexico and Texas on the same subject, to which is prefixed Judge Johnson's translation of Azo an → online text (page 5 of 88)