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Promises and Deceits” Marriage among Indians in New Spain in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

  • Ana de Zaballa Beascoechea (a1)

Even a brief look into the historiography on Indian marriage in New Spain will reveal how infrequently scholars have devoted themselves to this topic. On the one hand, there are texts written from the perspective of canon law, such as those by Federico Aznar Gil, Paulino Castañeda, Daisy Rípodas Ardanaz, and Guillermo Floris Margadant, but these authors address canonical development in Spain as well as Spanish America and use mainly references from councils and synods, especially pastoral sources. On the other hand, there are anthropological studies, such as those of David Robichaux, Danièle Dehouve, Pierre Ragon, and Serge Gruzinski that compare pre-Hispanic marriage to Christian marriage.

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1. Aznar Gil, Federico R., “La institución matrimonial en los autores franciscanos americanos,” in Archivo Ibero-Americano 46 (1986), pp.781808; Aznar Gil, “El impedimento matrimonial de parentesco por consanguinidad en los concilios y sínodos indianos (S. XVI),” in Evangelización y teología en América (Siglo XVI). X Simposio Internacional de Teología de la Universidad de Navarra, Vol. 1, Josep-Ignasi Saranyana, Primitivo Tineo, Antón M. Pazos, Miguel Lluch-Baixaulli y María Pilar Ferrer, eds. (Pamplona: EUNSA, 1990), pp. 451–486; Gil, Aznar, “La libertad de los indígenas para contraer matrimonio en las Indias (ss. XVI-XVII),” Ius Canonicum 64 (1992), pp. 439462; Gil, Aznar, “La celebración del sacramento del matrimonio en Indias,” in La primera evangelización de América: contexto y claves de interpretación, Borobio, Dionisio, ed. (Salamanca; Centro de Estudios Orientales y Ecuménicos Juan XXIII de la Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Bibliotheca Oecumenica Salmanticensis, 1992), pp.189220. Delgado, Paulino Castañeda, “El matrimonio legítimo de los indios y su canonización,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 31 (1976), pp. 157188; Delgado, Castañeda, “El matrimonio de los indios: problemas y privilegios,” in Homenaje a Don Agustín Millares Carlo (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros, 1975), pp. 659698. Ardanaz, Daisy Rípodas, El matrimonio en Indias. Realidad social y regulación jurídica (Buenos Aires: Fundación para la educación, la ciencia y la cultura, 1977). Margadant, Guillermo F., “Del matrimonio prehispánico al matrimonio cristiano. Problemas que en la Nueva España circundaron la cristianización de las uniones indígenas prehispánicas,” Anuario Histórico Jurídico Ecuatoriano 6 (1980), pp. 515528.

2. Robichaux, David, comp., El matrimonio en Mesoamérica ayer y hoy: unas miradas antropológicas (Mexico: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2003). Danièle Dehouve, “El matrimonio indio frente al matrimonio español (siglo XVI al XVIII), “in Robichaux, El matrimonio, pp. 75–94. Pierre Ragon, “Teología de matrimonio, derecho canónigo y prácticas misioneras en el México del siglo XVI,” in Robichaux, El matrimonio, pp. 55–73. Gruzinski, Serge, “Confesión, alianza y sexualidad entre los indios de Nueva España (introducción al estudio de los confesionarios en lenguas indígenas),” in El placer de pecar y el afán de normar. Seminario de Historia de las Mentalidades (Mexico: Joaquín Mortiz, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1987), pp. 169215.

3. Carrasco, Pedro, “Parentesco y regulación del matrimonio entre los indios del antiguo Michoacán, Mexico,” Revista Española de Antropología Americana 4 (1969), pp. 219222; Carrasco, “Matrimonios hispano-indios en el primer siglo de la Colonia,” in Familia y poder en Nueva España. Memoria del Tercer Simposio de Historia de las Mentalidades (Mexico: DEH-INAH, 1991), pp. 11–21.

4. Works dealing with marriage in colonial America are numerous. From the perspective of legal history, but incorporating the interdisciplinary approach prevailing in these studies, there is an interesting article by Kluger, Viviana, “La historia de la familia colonial iberoamericana como tema de investigación interdisciplinario. Algunos aportes de las últimas décadas,” Revista de Historia del Derecho 32 (2004), pp. 473494. For the viceroyalty of Peru, see Pilar Latasa's work on marriage ritual based on conciliar and synodial dispositions: “La celebración del matrimonio en el virreinato peruano: disposiciones en las archidiócesis de Charcas y Lima (1570–1613),” in El matrimonio en Europa y el mundo hispánico: siglos XVI y XVII, Jesús M. Usunáriz and Ignacio Arellano, coords. (Madrid: Visor, 2005), pp. 237–256.

5. Cazares, Alberto Carrillo, Manuscritos del Concilio Tercero Provincial Mexicano (1585), 4 vols. (Mexico: El Colegio de Michoacán, Facultad de Derecho, UNAM, 2007). Actually, the period could be expanded to cover from 1572 to 1585, when the Third Council of Mexico took place. Carrillo quotes Andrés Lira and Muro, Luis from “El siglo de la integración,” in Historia General de México (Mexico: El Colegio de México, 1981), pp. 375377.

6. See Focher, Juan, Itinerario del misionero en América, Latin-Spanish edition, with introduction and notes by Eguiluz, Antonio (Madrid: Librería General Victoriano Suárez, 1960); de la Veracruz, Fray Alonso, Speculum Coniugiorum. Espejo de matrimonios. Matrimonio y familia, with introduction, transcription, translation, and notes by Barp, Luciano (Mexico: Universidad de La Salle, UNAM, 2009); and Ordeñana, Juan Goñi, “El ‘Speculum coniugiorum’ de Alonso de Veracruz y la inculturación del matrimonio canónico en México,” Ius Canonicum 39, addition 1 (1999), pp. 619632. Veracruz published his work for the first time in 1556, then reviewed it and added some post-Trent remarks in a second edition. One of the best-known editions is the one printed in Milan in 1599.

7. For Providencialism and utopian visions during the first years of evangelization in New Spain, see Saranyana, Josep-Ignasi and de Zaballa, Ana, Joaquín de Fiore y América (Pamplona: Eunate, 1997); and Zaballa, “La discusión conceptual sobre el milenarismo y mesianismo en Latinoamérica,” Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia 10 (2001), pp. 353–362.

8. As accurately stated by Traslosheros, Jorge, Historia judicial eclesiástica de la Nueva España. Materia, método y razones (Mexico: UNAM, Editorial Porrúa México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, 2014), p. 4: “It is correct to refer to the Ecclesiastic Province of Mexico, which grouped several bishoprics headed by the archbishopric of Mexico City. It must also be clarified that the Province's jurisdiction was not always in line with the geography of the viceroyalty.”

9. Consistent with the purpose of instructing natives, these tools were frequently bilingual, or if written in Spanish, included some dialogues or words in indigenous languages. Nahuatl, or the “Mexican language,” as it is called in the tools, appears most frequently; some tools use Nahuatl dialects. For instance, the tool might state: “The Mexican language as it is used in Guadalajara.”

10. The brief Etsi sedes by Pius IV, dated August 12, 1562, granted Indians the possibility of “receiving the marriage blessing at any time of the year, given that no loud noise or parties occur.” This privilege was granted for 25 years, until 1587. Although there is no evidence of its renewal, the privilege became part of Indian common law as applied to marriage. Castañeda Delgado, “El matrimonio de los indios,” p. 684. Castañeda mentions that Montúfar and Torquemada were in favor of it.

11. See for example Presta, Ana M., “‘Por el mucho amor que os tengo.’ Matrimonio indígena, poliginia y vida conyugal en Charcas. Siglos XVI y XVII,” in Familias iberoamericanas ayer y hoy. Una mirada interdisciplinaria, Mónica Ghirardi, coord. (Río de Janeiro: Asociación Latinoamericana de Población, 2008), pp. 45–62; Figueras, Estrella, “Matrimonio nahua-mexica y matrimonio cristiano,” in Formas familiares, procesos históricos y cambio social en América Latina, Cicerchia, Ricardo, ed. (Quito: Abya-Yala, 1998), pp. 8395; and Martini, Mónica P., El indio y los sacramentos en Hispanoamérica colonial. Circunstancias adversas y malas interpretaciones (Buenos Aires: PRHISCO-CONICET, 1993).

12. de Lorra Baquio, Francisco, Manual mexicano, de la administración de los santos sacramentos, conforme al Manual Toledano. Compuesto en lengua mexicana, por el bachiller Francisco de Lorra Baquio presbytero (Mexico: Diego Gutierrez, 1634) pp. 104105. Francisco de Lorra was a secular priest and late in life entered the Dominican order. He died in 1669. See Díaz, José Simón, Bibliografía de la literatura hispánica, Vol. 13 (Madrid: CSIC, 1984), p. 533, my italics.

13. See de León, Martín, Manual breue, y forma de administrar los santos sacramentos à los Indios. Recopilado por el P. Fr. Martin de Leon, de la orden de Predicadores, Y agora nueuamente corregido, y añadidas algunas cosas. Por el Convento de N.P.S. Domingo de Mexico (Mexico: Francisco Robledo, 1640 [1614]), my italics.

14. Imolesi, M. Elena, “'Mejor casarse que abrasarse': Jesuitas, matrimonio indígena y dispensas en Hispanoamérica colonial,” in Seminario Internacional de Población y Sociedad en América Latina, Boleda, Mario, ed. (Salta: SEPOSAL, 2005), pp. 393412..

15. See de Venegas, Miguel, Manual de parrocos, para administrar los santos sacramentos: y exercer otras funciones ecclesiasticas conforme al Ritual Romano . . . (Mexico: Joseph Bernardo de Hogal, 1731), pp. 399400. Hogal was the minister and printer of the Royal and Apostolic Holy Crusade Tribunal for the whole of New Spain.

16. Araujo, Juan Martínez, Manual de los santos sacramentos en el idioma de Michuacan. El bachiller Iuan Martinez de Araujo, primer colegial de el Colegio de S. Ramon Nonnato . . . (Mexico: Doña Maria de Benavides, viuda de Juan de Ribera, at the Empedradillo, 1690), p. 17.

17. Decretos de reforma sobre el matrimonio, Council of Trent, Session XXIV. Repeatedly, when mentioning rites or words, the following observation is included: “or use other words, acccording to the habit accepted in each province. . . . If some provinces use in this point different customs and laudable ceremonies, besides those already mentioned, this Holy Council wishes [in contrast] to maintain them as a whole,” italics mine.

18. Herrero, José Sánchez, “La legislación conciliar y sinodal hispana desde los siglos XIII a mediados del XVI y su influencia en la enseñanza de la doctrina cristiana. Los tratados de doctrina cristiana,” in Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Medieval Canon Law. Cambridge, 23-27 July 1984, Linehan, Peter, ed. (Vatican City: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, 1988), pp. 349372, esp. p. 371.

19. Candau Chacón, M. Luisa, “El amor conyugal, el buen amor. Joan Estevan y sus ‘Avisos de casados,’” Studia Historica. Historia Moderna 25 (2003), pp. 311349; Usunáriz, Jesús M., “El matrimonio y su reforma en el mundo hispánico durante el Siglo de Oro: la promesa matrimonial,” in Temas del barroco hispánico, Ignacio Arellano and Eduardo Godoy, coords. (Madrid, Frankfurt: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2004), pp. 293312; Guinea, Juncal Campo, “Los procesos por causa matrimonial ante el tribunal eclesiástico de Pamplona en los siglos XVI y XVII,” Príncipe de Viana 55 (1994), pp. 377–390, esp. p. 380.

20. See Manuscritos del concilio tercero provincial mexicano (1585). Directorio de confesores, Alberto Carrillo Cazares, ed. (Zamora, Mexico: El Colegio de Michoacán, El Colegio de México, 2011), part 2, chapt. 8, p. 42; and Catecismo romano promulgado por el concilio de Trento, comments and notes by Rev. Fr. Alfonso M. Gubianas, O.S.B. (Barcelona: Editorial Litúrgica Española, 1926), p. 6.

21. Castañeda, Carmen, “Noviazgo, esponsales y matrimonio,” in Comunidades domésticas en la sociedad novohispana: formas de unión y transmisión cultural. Memoria del IV Simposio de Historia de las Mentalidades (Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1994), pp. 117126. Candau Chacón, in “El amor conyugal, el buen amor” (p. 316), explains that in rural areas comparable to those with an Indian population in the Americas consummation after promise or betrothal was considered natural marriage, without waiting for the wedding ceremony. Included in the article is a review of the book Avisos de casados from the late 1500s, which was brought to America and offers interesting elements for comparison to the pastoral tools for Indians.

22. de Molina, Alonso, Confessionario mayor, en la lengna [sic] mexicana y castellana. Compuesto por el muy Reuerendo padre Fray Alonso de Molina, de la orden del Seraphico sant Francisco (Mexico: Pedro Balli, 1578), p 48.

23. Francisco de Lorra Baquio, Manual mexicano, pp. 103–104; Serra, Angel, Manual de administrar los santos sacramentos a los Españoles, y naturales de esta provincia de los gloriosos apostoles S. Pedro, y S. Pablo de Michuacan, conforme à la reforma de Paulo y Vrbano VIII. Compuesto por el M.R.P. Fr. Angel Serra, predicador, ex-custodio de dicha santa provincia . . . y arzobispado de Mexico (Mexico: printed by Joseph Bernardo de Hogal, 1731 [reprinted from the licensed original, printed in Mexico, 1697]), pp. 54 and ff.; de Pareja, Francisco, Confessionario en lengua castellana, y timuquana con algunos consejos para animar al penitente . . . Ordenado par el padre Fr. Francisco Pareja, padre de la custodia de Santa Elena de la Florida. Religioso de la orden de nuestro seraphico padre San Francisco (Printed with license in Mexico, la viuda de Diego Lopez Danalos, 1613), p. 166; de Alva, Bartolomé, Confessionario mayor, y menor en lengua mexicana. Y platicas contra las supresticiones [sic] de idolatria, que el dia de oy an quedado a los naturales desta Nueua Espana, è instrucion de los santos sacramentos &c . . . Nuevamente compuesto por el bachiller don Bartholome de Alua, beneficiado del partido de Chiapa de Mota. (Pedro de Quiñones for Francisco Salbago, printer at the Holy Secret Office, 1634), pp. 146148.

24. Pérez, Manuel, Farol indiano, y guía de curas de Indios . . . Por el P. Fr. Manuel Perez, del Orden de N.P.S. Augustin (Mexico: Francisco de Rivera Calderón 1713), pp. 158162; de Aquino Cortés y Zedeño, Jerónimo Tomás, Arte, vocabulario y confessionario en el idioma mexicano: como se usa en el Obispado de Guadalaxara, compuestos por el Br. D. Geronymo Thomas de Aquino, Cortes y Zedeño, clerigo presbytero, y domiciliario de el Obispado de Guadalaxara (Puebla: Colegio Real de San Ignacio de la Puebla de los Angeles, 1765), p. 163.

25. See for example Cortés y Zedeño, Arte, vocabulario y confessionario, p. 163: “Perhaps you have deceived a maiden and have had pleasure with her, or maybe a widow, because you have given her your word that you would marry her, but you did not marry either one or the other, and because you harmed them they could not marry any other man?”

26. Velarde, Pedro Murillo, Curso de derecho canónico hispano e indiano, Vol. 3 (Zamora, Mexico: El Colegio de Michoacán, UNAM, 2005), Book 4, p. 476, art. 1, item 7. The binding nature of a betrothal is here defined as “an obligation to justice, and certainly a grave one, since this matter is grave, for betrothal is a contract.”

27. Viseo, Juan Bautista, Aduertencias. Para los confessores de los Naturales. Compuestas por el padre fray Ioan Baptista, de la Orden del seraphico padre Sanct Francisco (Mexico: Pedro Ocharte at Santiago de Tlateloco Convent, 1600), final table, “marriage” term, no page number.

28. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico hispano e indiano, Book 4, art. 1, item 7.

29. “It is ordinary among these natives to give female Indians their word to marry them just because they want to have them, by saying Ipaltzinco in Dios canimitznonamiqiz, which means ‘I swear to God I will marry thee,’ and then, for no reason, to go away after they have abused these women, and when kneeling before their confessor, nothing can persuade them of their obligation. Were this the case, one must not absolve he who has come if he fails to fulfill the promise, when there is no other cause for undoing the wedding. Because secret weddings are valid,” my italics. Viseo, Aduertencias, final table. The remark clarifying the validity of secret marriages is quite interesting, for such marriages were a matter of debate at the time, as the Third Mexican Council guide proves (Directorio de confesores, p. 42). It was established as ordinary doctrine in the eighteenth century, when Murillo Velarde wrote in his course on canon law, that “since secret weddings are not prohibited by any law, they are valid and licit.” Book 4, art. 1, item 6.

30. See Rípodas Ardanaz, El matrimonio en Indias, pp. 63–64.

31. Pareja, Confessionario, p. 166.

32. Cortés y Zedeño, Arte, vocabulario y confessionario, p. 180: “Have you given any other man your word about marrying him before giving it to this man you want to marry now? (Among Indians this question is not that necessary).”

33. Ibid., p. 181.

34. See for instance Castañeda, Carmen, “La formación de la pareja y el matrimonio,” in Familias novohispanas, siglos XVI al XX. Seminario de historia de la familia, Aizpuru, Pilar Gonzalbo, ed. (Mexico: Centro de Estudios Históricos, El Colegio de México, 1991), pp. 7390. She has studied this topic in Nueva Galicia during the eighteenth century; she analyzes the repercussions for women's honor and family. Her sources are formal complaints for rape and statutory rape, desertion processes, and consanguinity dispensation files. Castañeda reports cases that are quite similar to those found among Indians from the Ecclesiastical Province of Mexico.

35. Viseo, Aduertencias, fol. 16r. The same is mentioned by Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 151, who is quoting Tomás Sánchez: “But Authors usually agree with Thom. Sánch. Mendo, Statera opinionum disert. 5, quote 8, no. 71, that a maiden who yields her virginity without suffering violence receives no insult from the felon, that it is but intercourse or deflowering as claims the cited chapter 7 de regulis iuris. Scienti, & consentienti nulla sit iniuria.” Concerning this point, the Confessors' Guide from the Third Mexican Council sets forth a question to be considered in regard to both Spaniards and Indians, along with its answer: “Q: What should a confessor tell a man who has raped a virgin, forcing her, frightening her, or deceiving her, saying he would marry her? A: I say he should be ordered to marry her, and if there were important impediments to it, he has to be forced to compensate her according to her quality, but if she easily accepted when being begged, he has no obligation to compensate her in any way, otherwise it would be sub cura parentum, or if begging was annoying then he must do ad arbitum boni viri.”

36. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 4, Book 5, p. 145, title 16, item 187. The degrees were: absolutely violent, voluntary, and relatively violent.

37. For more information on lawsuits for statutory rape or failure to fulfill the marriage promise, and how such lawsuits were used throughout the Modern Age in Spain to save women's honor, see Dyer, Abigail, “Seduction by Promise of Marriage: Law, Sex, and Culture in Seventeenth-Century Spain,” Sixteenth Century Journal 34:2 (2003), pp. 439455; and Arrivo, Georgia, Seduzioni, promesse, matrimoni: il processo per stupro nella Toscana del Settecento (Rome: Edizione di Storia e Letteratura, 2006).

38. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 151. Among probable circumstances, Pérez presents the following: “The first case: When he has already deflowered his woman-to-be, and she demands, or even if she demands not, he wants to restore her honor by marrying her. The second one: When she is still a maiden but they think they must get married before he dies. The third one, and this is rather common: When he has not announced nor presented himself in the church, but has taken away a woman's honor and is now ill, and he refuses to die having that burden. The fourth one: When the priest comes to know this in confession. I will answer according to the experience I have, speaking also with the words of the Authors, because it seems this chapter is easy but it is extremely hard.”

39. Traslosheros calls it a “trial.” It was to be presented before a provisor (diocesan judge) or his delegate, most often the local parish priest. See Traslosheros, Jorge, Iglesia, justicia y sociedad en la Nueva España. La Audiencia del Arzobispado de México 1528–1668 (Mexico: Porrúa, Universidad Iberoamericana, 2004), p. 134.

40. Viseo, Aduertencias, final table.

41. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 151, quotes Enrique de Villalobos, comp., Suma de la theologia moral, y canonica, ca. 1637, doc.12, issue 12, no.1.

42. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 3, Book 4, p. 474, title 1, item 3.

43. Rípodas Ardanaz, El matrimonio en Indias, p. 65.

44. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 3, Book 4, p. 479, tit. 1, item 12.

45. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 153.

46. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 3, Book 4, p. 476, tit. 1. item 7.

47. Sánchez, Tomás, Disputationum de Sancto Matrimonii Sacramento (Antwerp: Martini Nutii & Ioannem Meursium, 1617); Diego de Covarrubias, Decretalium epitome de sponsalibus et matrimonio (Salamanca,1554 and 1556). Sánchez was one of the new-wave moralists from the Council of Trent, the first to devote an in-depth work to marriage specifically. See Nieto, Celestino Carrodeguas, La sacramentalidad del matrimonio: doctrina de Tomás Sánches, S.J. (Madrid: Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, 2003), p. 80.

48. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 3, Book 4, p. 476, title 1, item 7, italics mine.

49. See Tavárez, David, “Letras clandestinas, textos tolerados, colaboraciones lícitas: la producción textual de los intelectuales nahuas y zapotecos en el siglo XVII,” in Elites intelectuales y modelos colectivos: el mundo Ibérico (siglos XVI–XIX), Quijada, Mónica and Bustamante, Jesús, eds. (Madrid: CSIC, 2003), pp. 6082. Pages 66–68 are devoted to Viseo's collaborations.

50. Ibid., pp. 66–67.

51. Viseo, Aduertencias, final table.

52. Murillo Velarde, Curso de derecho canónico, Vol. 3, Book 5, p. 146, title 16, item 187.

53. See Usunáriz, Jesús M., “Los tribunales diocesanos y el matrimonio en la Edad Moderna,” in Homenaje de la Universidad a D. José Melgares Raya (Jaen: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Jaén, 2008), pp. 349376, 370.

54. Aznar Gil, Federico R., “El impedimento matrimonial del parentesco espiritual en Indias (ss. XVI–XVII),” Revista Española de Derecho Canónico 49:133 (1992), pp. 513532; Gil, Aznar, “El impedimento matrimonial de parentesco por consanguinidad en los concilios y sínodos indianos (s. XVI),” in Evangelización y teología en América (siglo XVI). X Simposio Internacional de Teología de la Universidad de Navarra, Saranyana, Josep-Ignasi, Tineo, Primitivo, et al., eds. (Pamplona: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra, 1990), pp. 451486; Imolesi, “Mejor casarse que abrasarse,” pp. 393–412; Delgado, Paulino Castañeda, “El matrimonio cristiano de los indios: problemas y privilegios,” in Homenaje a Don Agustín Millares Carlo, Vol. 2 (Las Palmas: Caja Insular de Ahorros de Gran Canaria, 1975), pp. 659698.

55. For example, Viseo, Advertencias, pp. 80–85, includes impediments in both languages and also the words for each type of kinship.

56. Gallardo, Pedro Contreras, Manual de administrar los sanctos sacramentos a los españoles, y naturales desta Nueua España conforme à la reforma de Paulo V. Pont. Max. / Ordenado por el padre fray Pedro de Contreras Gallardo, predicador, y guardian del Conuento de la Concepcion de N[uest]ra Señora de Theocan, hijo desta sancta Prouncia del Sancto Euangelio de Mexico (Mexico: Ioan Ruyz, 1638), pp. 6566.

57. Peña, Andrés Sáenz de la, Manual de los santos sacramentos conforme al ritual de Paulo V: formado por mandado del ilustrissimo, y excelentissimo seńor D. Juan de Palafox, y Mendoza, obispo de la Puebla de los Angeles, electo arçobispo de Mexico . . . (Mexico: Francisco Robledo, printer at the Holy Secret Office, 1642 [also for the 1691 edition]), p. 66.

58. The same was found in an instruction for marriage written by Rubio y Salinas, bishop of Mexico, in the mid eighteenth century. He describes in detail which words had to be used or avoided, warning readers that most of the time witnesses did not know what the words referred to.

59. Sáenz de la Peña, Manual de los santos sacramentos, p 92; Alva, Confessionario mayor, p. 16; León, Camino del cielo, p. 113: “Have you ever lied to a Father or the marriage prosecutor [. . .] and refrained from telling the circumstances of the case or the inconveniences that you knew there were and concealed them?”

60. Martínez Araujo, Manual de los santos sacramentos, p. 17.

61. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 133.

62. Ibid., p. 154.

63. Taylor, William B., Embriaguez, homicidio y rebelión en las poblaciones coloniales mexicanas (Mexico: FCE, 1987), pp. 49115.

64. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 133.

65. It is worth recalling that authorities tried to prevent unequal marriages from occurring. The desire to secure the existence of paternal consent was already present in Spain in the sixteenth century, as shown in the requests from the Courts of Toro in 1505, of Valladolid in 1555, and of Toledo in 1559. See Usunáriz, “El matrimonio y su reforma,” pp. 305–306.

66. See for instance de Rojas, José Luis, Cambiar para que yo no cambie. La nobleza indígena en la Nueva España (Buenos Aires: Editorial SB, 2010); Spores, Ronald, “Mixteca Cacicas: Status, Wealth, and the Political Accommodation of Native Elite Women in Early Colonial Oaxaca,” in Indian Women of Early Mexico, Schroeder, Susan, ed., (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997), pp. 185197; Pazos, Patricia Cruz, La nobleza indígena de Tepexi de la Seda durante el siglo XVIII. La cabecera y sus sujetos 1700–1786 (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 2008), pp. 70102; Menegus, Margarita and Aguirre, Rodolfo, coords. El cacicazgo en Nueva España y Filipinas (Mexico: Centro de Estudios sobre la Universidad, UNAM, Plaza y Valdés, 2005); and Horcasitas, Fernando, “Los descendientes de Nezahualpilli: documentos del cacicazgo de Tetzcoco (1545–1855),” Estudios de Historia Novohispana 6 (1978), pp. 145188.

67. For example, Ossorio, Diego, Manual para administrar los santos sacramentos, arreglado al Ritual romano . . . Dispusolo el R P. Fr. Diego Ossorio, ex-lector de theologia moral, (Mexico: Press of the Newly Prayed, Maria de Ribera at the Empedradillo, 1748), pp. 94101.

68. Viseo, Advertencias, 4, pp. 80 through 85, lists marriage impediments.

69. Sáenz de la Peña, Manual de los santos sacramentos, p. 92.

70. Pérez, Farol indiano, pp. 137–138.

71. Martínez Araujo, Manual de los santos sacramentos, pp. 17-18. “It happened to me, with an Indian who had lived in this town of Tlatzatzalca for six years: I found out he came from S. Miguel el Grande, where he had married previously. He eloped and I haven't seen him ever again: Another one, in Tierra Caliente, had been married in S. J. Huetamu, close to Punhuarehuato. And they ask these Indians and they swear that they know him, that he comes free from their own town, but they completely lie.”

72. Rojas, Cambiar para que yo no cambie, pp. 315–316, cites interesting material concerning this topic. See also José de Rojas, Luis, “El papel de las élites indígenas en el establecimiento del sistema colonial en Nueva España y Perú,” in Mesoamérica y los Andes, Mayan, Cervantes, ed. (Mexico: CIESAS, 1996), pp. 507532.

73. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 136. Likewise, when he refers to Indians who fail to attend the doctrine, he mentions those who, “wearing long hair and cape,” go to a Spanish parish, p. 49.

74. The presence of Indians at Spanish parishes has been studied for a long time, in relation not only to baptisms but also, though to a lesser extent, to marriages. See the bibliographical references included by the author. This case is distinct: these were Indians registered as Spaniards.

75. de Vetancurt, Agustín, Arte manual de administrar los santos sacramentos conforme á la reforma de Paulo V y Urbano VIII (Mexico: Herederos de la Viuda de Miguel de Ribera, 1682), p. 139.

76. Sáenz de la Peña, Manual de los santos sacramentos, p. 92.

77. Pérez, Farol indiano, p. 144.

78. Serra, Manual de administrar los santos sacramentos, p. 100.

79. Sáenz de la Peña, Manual de los santos sacramentos, pp. 115–116.

This work is part of Ecclesiastical Justice and Society's Compliance in Colonial Spanish America, a research project (HAR2012-35197) of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain). I would like to thank the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, the institution where I worked on this and other studies as a guest researcher (2012), and the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, where I had access to many pastoral manuals and other documents during a summer scholarship (2010). I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for The Americas for their suggestions.

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