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ment of justice, I ask for it your candid consideration; and have the honour to subscribe myself,

With the highest respect,

Your most obedient servant,


Hon. H. CLAY,

Secretary of State of the U. S.


No. 1. A letter to the secretary of state, explaining the object of the commission confided by the president, and the performance of the duties.

No. 2. An ordinance of the king of Spain, establishing the council of the Indies for the government of his transatlantic dominions.

No. 3. A translation of so much of the "compilation of the laws of the kingdoms of the Indies," (Recopilacion de las leyes de los Reynos de las Indias,) as relates to the organization of the tribunals, the powers of the different officers of government, and the grants of public lands in the American possessions of the crown of Spain.

No. 4. Royal ordinance, given at San Lorenzo el Real, October 15th, 1754.

No. 5. A royal ordinance, referring to, and declaring in force, with some extensions and restrictions, those of Don Philipe Quinto, and Don Ferdinand VI. of the 4th of July, 1718, and the 13th of October, 1749.

No. 6. Extracts of so much of the royal ordinance for the establishment and instruction of the intendants of the army and province in the kingdom of New Spain as relates to the subject, with sections, numbers, and titles.

No. 7. Extracts from the institutes of the civil law of Spain, by Doctors Don Ignatius Jordon de Asso y del Rio and Don Miguel Manuel y Roderiguez, containing numerous

references and extracts.

No. 8. Extracts from book 2d, part 2, of the Royal Exchequer.

No. 9. Copies of various laws and ordinances prescribing the duties of the subordinate officers of the crown of Spain.

[ 11 ] * No. 10. Oath to be taken by the governor, as directed by the laws of the Indies, book 5, chapter ii.

No. 11. Translation from the Novissima Recopilacion de las leyes d Espana, containing the orders, decrees, royal resolutions, and other provisions, not before compiled, down to 1804.

No. 12. Translation of law 4, title 8, book 11, of the Recopilacion, in relation to posses. sion in cities, towns, and villages, and other laws in reference to inheritance or estates, called Mayorasgos.

No. 13. Translations from the work entitled “Decretos del Rey Don Ferdinand VII." -printed at Madrid, 1816.

No. 14. An official despatch of the king, given at San Ildefonso, on the 24th of August, 1770, on the subject of the letter and instructions of Don Alexandro O'Reilly, lieutenant general and governor of Louisiana.

No. 15. Some laws relating to primogeniture or inheritance, trusts, and rights of presentation, containing various articles published at Puerte Principe, by the king.

No. 16. An official communication of the 3d of July, 1816, announcing the appointment of Don Alexandro Ramirez, as intendant and superintendent general of Cuba.

No. 17. A letter from the intendant of Cuba, notifying an accord between the captain general and intendant, on the subject of jurisdiction, 26th August, 1816.


No. 18. A part of the grant to Crozat.

No. 19. Treaty of San Ildefonso, by which Spain ceded Louisiana to France.

No. 20. Royal order of Don Carlos for the delivery of Louisiana, given at Barcelona on the 15th of October, 1802.

No. 21. The proclamation of Don Manuel Salcedo and Don Sebastian Calvo de la Puerta y O'Ferrill, Marquis of Casso Calvo, commissioners of his Catholic Majesty for the delivery of Louisiana, dated 18th of May, 1803.

No. 22. The act of delivery of the province of Louisiana by Spain to France, by the abovementioned commissioners, to citizen Pierre Clement Lausat, colonial prefect and commissioner of the French Republic.

No. 23. Treaty between the French Republic and the United States, for the cession of Louisiana.

No. 24. A letter of the colonial prefect, Lausat, to Intendant Morales, informing him of despatches from the first consul, informing him of the cession.

No. 25. Act of delivery to the United States, and letters of the United States commissioners announcing the same, dated 20th December, 1803.

No. 26. Regulations of Don Alexandro O'Reilly, governor and captain general, and of governor Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, and of the Intendant Morales, for the allotment and concession of lands in Louisiana.

No. 27. Several royal orders of the king of Spain, given at San Lorenzo and Aranjuez, in relation to lands in Louisiana, between the years 1798 and 1804.

No. 28. A report on some claims in the Western District of Louisiana, by the United States commissioners, taken from the records at Opelousas.

No. 29. A list of the governors of West Florida, with the date of their commissions taken from the public archives.

No. 30. A letter of Don Gardoqui, announcing the appointment of Vincente Folch, governor of West Florida, dated at San Ildefonso, 26th of September, 1795.

Nos. 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36. Official despatches, letters, orders, and decrees of the governor, captain general, and other authorities of the king of Spain, in relation to the grants of land in the Floridas.

No. 37. Proceedings of the provisional deputation of Havana in regard to lands in East Florida.

No. 38. Letter of Governor White, announcing that he had taken command of East Florida, 20th July, 1796.

No. 39. Letter from the captain general to the governor, communicating the royal order encouraging a trade in naval stores, &c.

No. 40. Appointment of Estrada as governor of East Florida.

No. 41. Commission of Don Jose Copinger, governor, &c.

No. 42. An authenticated copy of various orders, decrees, and local ordinances in Florida.

No. 43. Treaty of 22d February, 1819.

No. 44. Extracts from the treaty of 1763, and the proclamation of the same date.

No. 45. An ordinance of the British government in relation to claims in Florida, and

a report thereon, and a decree of the governor in relation thereto.

No. 46. Extracts from treaties between great Britain and the Indians, of 26th March, 28th of May, and 18th of November, 1765.

No. 2.

[ *12 ]



The Emperor Charles and the Queen Joanna, in the year 1524.

Don Philip II., in the Pardo, the 24th September, 1571, in the ordinance 1, of the council.

And Don Philip IV., in these new ordinances.

That the royal council of the Indies may reside in the court, and have the servants and officers which this ordinance declares:

Considering the great benefits and advantages which, by the grace of God, we have received, and every day do receive, from the increase and growth of the kingdom and dominions of our Indias: and being well advised of the obligation and duty towards them which this imposes upon us, we are solicitous, on our part,

(with God's assistance,) to devise suitable means by which such great kingdoms and dominions may be governed and ruled in a proper *13] manner. And in order that we may provide with the greater judgment, deliberation, and prudence, in matters relating to religion and the good of these states, we establish and ordain, that our council of the Indies may always reside in our court, near our person, and in it a president thereof, a grand chancellor of the Indias, who must also be a counsellor; and the counsellors learned men, which the business to come before them will necessarily require, of whom, for the present, there may be eight: a chancellor of the exchequer, and two secretaries; a deputy grand chancellor; all of whom must be men of approved morals, of noble and pure lineage, fearing God, and eminent for their learning and prudence; three reporters, and a clerk of the chamber of justice, skilful and diligent in the discharge of their offices, and of approved fidelity; four auditors of accounts, able and competent persons, and a receiver of the fines imposed by the chamber, and confiscations and deposites; two fiscal solicitors; a chief chronicler and cosmographer, and a professor of mathematics; an assessor of suits; an advocate and a proctor of poor persons; a chaplain, who may say mass to the council on the days of it; four porters, and a constable, who must all be men of the requisite ability and qualifications; and before being admitted to their offices, they shall take an oath that they will discharge them well and faithfully, and that they will keep the ordinances of the council, those already made and those which shall be made, and the secret of it.

No. 3.


Translation of so much of the " Compilation of the laws of the Kingdoms of the Indies," (Recopalicion de las layes de los Reynos de las Indias,) as relates to the organization of the Tribunals, the powers of the different officers of government, and the grants of public lands, in the American possessions of the Crown of Spain.

Prefatory act, declaratory of the authority given to the laws contained in this compilation.

1. Don Carlos, by the Grace of God, King of Castile, Leon, Arragon, of the Two Cicilies, of Jerusalem, Navarre, Grenada, Toledo, Valencia, Gallicia, Mallorea, Seville, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, the Algarves, Algesiras, Gibraltar, of the Canary Islands, the East and West Indies, of the Islands and Continents of the Ocean; Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, and

Milan; Count of Apsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, and Barcelona; Lord of Biscay and Molina, &c., to the Dukes, Counts, Marquisses, Nobles, and to the Presidents, Governors, Grand Chancellor, and Members of our Council of the Indies; to our Viceroys, Presidents, Auditors of our Royal Audiences, Governors, Magistrates, [Corregidores,] Superior and Ordinary Alcaldes, and others; * our Judges [ #14 1 and Justices, Accountants, and officers of the Royal Treasury, of these our Kingdoms of the Indies, Islands, and Continent of the Ocean, our Priors and Consuls in the Consulates of Seville, Mexico, and Lima, and to our President and Judges of the Learned of our Court of Contracion of Seville; Generals, Admirals, Captains, and other Ministers and Officers of our armadas, fleets, merchant ships and vessels, employed in the commerce of the Indies, and to all other persons whom the tenor of these, our letters, does or may


Know ye, that, from the discovery of our West Indies, Islands, and Continent of the Ocean, our first and principal desire, and that of the kings, our glorious ancestors, having been to enact laws by which those kingdoms might be governed in peace and justice, many letters, charters, provisions, ordinances, instructions, acts of government, and other public acts, have been issued, which, owing to the remoteness of some provinces, have not come to the notice of our subjects, in consequence of which, great injury may have accrued to the good government, and to the rights of the parties interested: and we, on our part, being anxious to remedy these inconveniences, and taking into consideration the great diversity of matters, and the number and intricacy of subjects, it being, besides, expedient that all that we shall provide and determine be made known to all, in order that they may be made acquainted with the laws by which they are governed, and to which they are to conform in matters of government, justice, war, finance, and others, and with the penalties incurred by offenders against those laws; having caused a careful and diligent examination to be made of the books in our offices, and of all the public acts, which, through so long a lapse of time, have become excessively numerous, having seen that some books and volumes, both printed and manuscript, which do not contain that authenticity, weight, arrangement, and clearness, required by our royal enactments, are inadequate and unfit to form the basis of decisions in any matter whatsoever; and that the kings, our ancestors, had directed and commanded a digest to be made of all matters and final decisions, which had been enacted and determined down to their time, and particularly to the years one thousand five hundred and fifty-two and one thousand five hundred and sixty: various commissions were given to Don Luis de Velasco, our Viceroy to New Spain, at the instance of Doctor Francisco Hernandez de Liebana, fiscal [attorney] of our council of the Indies, directing him to cause a collection to be made of all the letters, enactments and chapters in the charters, concerning the good government and administration of justice in our Royal Tribunal [Audiencia] of Mexico,

that the same might be printed, who committed the execution of this duty to the licentiate Vasco de Puga, auditor [Oidor] of the said tribunal, by whom a volume of ordinances [cedulas] was digested and published in the year one thousand five hundred and sixtythree. Don Francisco de Toledo having subsequently been appointed viceroy of Peru, with special instructions forthwith to cause a compilation to be made of all the ordinances [cedulas] which he might find; he directed that they should be collected into one volume, divided into titles, and arranged in order of matter; but these directions were not carried into effect, it being deemed more proper that the work should be completed within these kingdoms, where, in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy, the king, Don Felipe the Second, caused a declaration and digest to be made of the regu[15]lations enacted for the good government of the Indies, in order that they might all be known and understood, suppressing such as were unnecessary, and supplying others which were wanting, promulgating and explaining such as were susceptible of doubtful meaning, or repugnant in themselves, and dividing them into titles and under general heads: of this work, there was only printed and published the title relating to the council and its ordinances, whose provisions were promulgated, and commanded to be enforced, by an ordinance of the twenty-fourth of September, one thousand five hundred and seventy-one; and, in order to supply the deficiency caused by the important engagements of our council, orders were given to Diego de Encinas, clerk in the secretary's office, to transcribe the enactments, ordinances [cedulas,] chapters in the ordinances, and letters issued and delivered at different times, down to the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-six, which formed four printed volumes, but which, owing to their not being divided and arranged in a proper manner, have not yet answered the desired purpose of a well digested compilation. In the year one thousand six hundred and eight, Count de Lemus being then president of the council, a commission was appointed, and a place designated, where the licentiates Hernando Villagomez and Don Rodrigo de Aguiar y Aucuna, of the same council, were to proceed to execute that work and to settle all doubtful matters; but the stated duties of their offices did not permit of its being completed, and, although its president, the licentiate Don Fernando Carillo, used particular exertions to promote that object, the same causes prevented its completion. As it was, however, so necessary and important, its further prosecution was committed to the licentiate Don Rodrigo de Aguiar, assisted by the licentiate Don Antonio de Leon, a learned judge of the Court of Contratacion of the Indies. In the year one thousand six hundred and twenty-eight, while this great work was progressing, the book, which has to this day been in circulation, under the title of summary of the general compilation of the laws, was ordered and published for the purpose of promulgating the resolutions and decisions which it contained. After the decease of Don Rodrigo de Aguiar, the work was continued by Doctor Don Juan de Solarzano Pereya, of

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