Biography of Carlos Francisco de Croix (1699-1786)

Military and Viceroy of new Spain, born in Lille (France) in 1703 and died in Valencia (Spain) in 1778.

Carlos Francisco was a Flemish nobleman in the service of Spain. He/She was born the first January 1703 in Lille, capital of the French Flanders. The family residence was the Chateau des Prevotees, where lived his brother, the Marquis of Heuchin. At age twenty-one he/she joined the regiment of Royal guards Walonas and, later, the company Flamenco of Royal guards of Corps. In 1731 accompanied the infante don Carlos - future Carlos III - to Parma, being chosen to communicate to Felipe V, who was in Seville, the condition that was his son. Its numerous services earned him recognition real, rising from brigadier to Colonel of the regiment of infantry of Flanders. He/She was subsequently appointed lieutenant general and field marshal. He/She participated in the taking of the city of Pavia, site of Tortosa, Campo Santos and other campaigns of the wars of Italy. He/She was appointed Governor of the square of Ceuta and later commanding general of Andalusia. It occupied the governance and captaincy general of Galicia when he/she was elected viceroy of the new Spain, nomination that was informed by the Secretary Julián de Arriaga on 5 November 1765.

The Marquis de Croix embarked in Cadiz on 3 may 1766 in the ship "Dragon", the same boat in which the new Archbishop, Francisco Antonio de Lorenzana was heading for Mexico. Both authorities landed at Veracruz on July 10 following, although the Marquis had to wait until August 25 to make his entrance in the city of Mexico. This day it was received by the local authorities and was sworn in the room of the agreement of the Royal Palace. With Croix had become the new Spain numerous servants, aides and family members, as his nephew Teodoro de Croix, which was Spanish of Acapulco and Commander general of the internal provinces, before being named viceroy of the Peru.

The arrival of the Marquis de Croix, the new Spain was in a stage of reforms driven by Carlos III by two officials of the first order: the inspector general don José Gálvez and the inspector general Juan de Villalba, in charge of organizing the defences of the Viceroyalty. After the rapid occupation of Havana and Manila by British troops (1762) in the seven years war, the Empire had shown their weakness and lack of organization, so the monarch and his Secretaries organized a modernization plan that required military experts and administrators who search for new sources of funding. These were the main tasks of the above-mentioned visitor and inspector general, but the disagreement between both and clashes with the viceroy Marqués de Cruillas (1760-1766) halted the effectiveness and speed of the reforms. The Marquis de Croix was informed of all these confrontations and early in his tenure supported the visitador Gálvez, who accelerated the implementation of reforms.

One of the biggest concerns of Viceroy Croix, inherited from its predecessor, was the defense of the new Spain. Steps were taken to organize militias, the existing regiments were completed, several new rose and it was transported from Spain several regiments of foreigners. There was no truce in the works of defensive, performing works in two major ports: Veracruz, on the Atlantic, and Acapulco, on the Pacific. During the term of Croix there was international, although wars many rumors that concern to colonial officials, like the so-called British invasion plan known through a mysterious French architect named Mr. Guiller (1766). The fears were not fulfilled, allowing that the numerous and costly assembled troops were employed in campaigns against the Indians of the North, in preparing an assault to the Sierra Gorda (Sonora), where lived many elevations Indians, in supporting the missionary and scientific to the North Pacific expeditions in preserving public order and suppress the mutinies and uprisings originated in several cities and towns by various labor and religious causes. The militarization of the new Spain provoked feelings in its inhabitants: there were complaints and clashes between the troops and the civilian population, which protested the cams that were produced with destination to the castles of the coasts, which caused numerous deaths by the insaluble of the land. Traders and the main residents were also aggrieved to not be distinguished from the populace in the measurements and, finally, many voices raised against the idea of a town in weapons, by negative consequences in the future.

The defensive preparations and the Organization of the army increased expenses, which increased by substantial remittances that boxes of the new Spain had to contribute to the defence of Havana, Guatemala, Louisiana and the Philippines: the so-called "located". This increase led to a finance crisis that the viceroy and the visitador dealt with far-reaching measures, although some of them do not occur on account of immediate results or cause great public alarm. One of the cases more illustrative was the tobacconist from tobacco, which the Crown administered directly acquiring all cultivated tobacco and selling it in authorized with fat gains points. In the middle of 1767, the parent boxes New Spain had a debt of more than two million pesos. However, the situation has improved little by little and at the end of the mandate is had decreased the debts due to the increase in revenues by new income which incorporated the Crown, as bulls, gunpowder, liquor, cards, etc., thus allowing to be send to Spain significant amounts: million and a half dollars in 1770. Despite these shipments, the situation remained serious and Antonio María de Bucareli, successor of the Marquis, found a hacienda fragile and messy in part by the many reforms put in place. Viceroy and the visitador were used to fund to eradicate old procedures, eliminate the smuggling and fraudulent operations and placed people who follow its guidelines. In Veracruz were dismissed numerous official Royal and in Acapulco, Teodoro de Croix discovered numerous fraud when the frigate "San Carlos Borromeo" from Manila in January 1767. Next to the economies and the zeal in the Administration, another aspect that would affect the increase in income was the growth of silver New Spain thanks to the reduction in the Quicksilver, a necessary ingredient in the operation to extract the silver.

Much of the reforms and projects that were devised during the Government of Croix, as the plan of division of the new Spain in eleven municipalities, whose realization would be carried out later, was possible thanks to the understanding between the viceroy and the visitador. However, that agreement did not take place with the audience of Mexico, emerging many discrepancies. One of the hottest was on the occasion of the promulgation of various sides to regulate the personal weapons, avoid idleness and scandals, and remove the criminals of the Holy places. These measures were aimed at improving public order and security, but the viceroy did not have the agreement of the members of the audience, so we had problems and tensions, as were de-aerated with the authoritarian attitude of the viceroy. The complaints of some and others were sent to the Crown, who repeatedly called for harmony between the two institutions. One of the accusations of the listeners was that the viceroy was not receiving them and that performed the actual agreements in your home instead of performing in the Palace that was enabled for this room. The Marquis de Croix responded that it had done only at the time of the expulsion of the Jesuits, by stealth and secrecy demanded by the King himself.

On the morning of 24 June 25, 1767, thanks to a carefully planned operation by Croix and Galvez, schools, churches, and Jesuit missions were occupied by Royal troops. Parents were forced to go to Veracruz, and in several expeditions were sent to Spain via Havana. Operation you dilated for several months due to the remoteness of some missions, particularly the Baja California. Popular protests generated by the forcefulness of the actual measurement evolved in several places to open rebellions and challenges to Royal authority. The viceroy sent a punitive expedition, headed by Galvez, who pacified San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí and Michoacán, but with a very negative balance: 85 executions to death and sentenced to exile and forced 854.

After returning from this expedition, Galvez prepare another bound for the Northwest. The viceroy had given full powers and the results were remarkable. In little more than three years (1768-1771), the impetuous Malaga founded the port of San Blas, Nayarit, visited the South of the peninsula of Baja California, organized sea and land expeditions that occupied the port of San Diego and Monterrey (1769), and toured areas of Sonora until an illness forced him to return to Mexico. In this expansion, the aforementioned occupation of San Diego and Monterrey, future capital of high or Nueva California, became a milestone that the viceroy and the visitador disseminated widely to offset other failures of its northern excursion. In addition to the activities in the Pacific, Croix was also interested in the Northeast. He/She sent Marshal Juan Fernando Palacio to the cololonias new Santander to make a visit, official who would be appointed, upon his return, Governor of Veracruz.

The Marquis de Croix was replaced by the Sevillian Antonio María de Bucareli, who arrived at Veracruz on August 23. Transmission of control was carried out on 22 September. During his term he/she had been appointed captain general of the armies of Carlos III (1770). On 29 November he/she left New Spain in the company of his nephew Teodoro. The King authorized it to leave the Viceroyalty not held the trial of residence compulsory, which would appoint a person of their confidence with powers. This real measure, the Marquis arrived in Cadiz on 20 may in the ship "San Rafael", being called to the Court immediately. In 1774, Carlos III granted him twelve thousand dollars for his services and disinterest. He/She died October 28, 1778, when he/she exercised the office of captain general of Valencia. It had a debt of one hundred seventy-six thousand reales Fernanda de Croix and Vergel left to his daughter. Croix starred in one of the most decisive of the colonial history of Mexico, although his work remain overshadowed by the decisive personality of José Gálvez.


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NORMAN Martin, instruction of the viceroy Marqués de Croix that leaves his successor Antonio María Bucareli, México, Editorial Jus, 1960.

VELÁZQUEZ, María del Carmen, the State of war in the new Spain, 1760-1808, Mexico, El Colegio de Mexico, 1950.

Salvador Bernabéu Albert