Se extranen de todos sus Dominios de España : é Indias ; Islas Philipinas, y demas adyacentes a los Religiosos de la Compañia, ãssi Sacerdotes, como Coadjutores, ó Legos, que hayan hecho la primero Profession

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Original Source: Se extranen de todos sus Dominios de España : é Indias ; Islas Philipinas, y demas adyacentes a los Religiosos de la Compañia, ãssi Sacerdotes, como Coadjutores, ó Legos, que hayan hecho la primero Profession

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Introduction and Translator’s Note

By Hannah Berk


Don Carlos Francisco de Croix’s proclamation of the Jesuit expulsion from New Spain represents the boiling over of tensions that had been bubbling up for many years. Exactly what sparked the Royal Decree in 1767 is contested, and no single factor is entirely responsible for the declaration that would radically remake the religious landscape of the colonial Americas and the outposts of the Spanish empire. This document is best understood as the culmination of a long history of suspicions, arguments, investigations, and schemes surrounding the Jesuit order, one of the most significant and controversial actors in colonial Spanish America.


Foundation and Mission of the Society of Jesus


The Society of Jesus began as an idea in the mind of Iñigo López de Recaldo (1491-1556), more recognizable by his assumed name, Ignatius de Loyola. A knight from a well-off Navarrese family, Loyola became a devout Christian in his midlife after suffering an injury in battle. Though the order started out as a small, concentrated group of religious men, it soon earned the attention of powerful, high officials, including the papacy; when Loyola and his original six followers visited Paul III, the Pope described their conversations as “edifying theological debates.” Paul III issued a papal bull recognizing the principles and organization of the Society in 1540, thus publicly founding the Jesuit order just as the Holy Roman and Hapsburg empires were consolidating their power within imperial Spain and the colonial Americas. [1]


From the beginning, the Jesuits claimed that the characteristic that distinguished them from the slew of other orders was their explicitly activist orientation. Its members took an oath to go wherever the Pope might send them, and they sought to be active in their mission work abroad. These factors required that they develop great adaptability to foreign environments, and thus the Jesuit order became marked by other features that distinguished them from more established orders, like the Dominicans or Augustinians. For example, members of the Society of Jesus were well-known for their lack of specific garb and their leniency with members who were unable to hold Mass on a regular basis. Although never intended to demonstrate a lack of respect for the Church, these irregularities were an early cause of unease among other orders operating abroad. The term Jesuit itself had a negative connotation at the time of the Society’s founding, one of hypocrisy and invoking the name of Christ incessantly in political arguments. Most contemporary dictionaries (e.g., OED, RAE) retain an alternate definition of the word Jesuitical and its Spanish counterpart jesuítico as conniving or secretive.


In addition to proselytizing through sermons and religious ceremonies, the Jesuits were foundational to the establishment of educational institutions in Europe and abroad. In Europe, they were primarily involved with colleges and universities for the instruction of clergy members in philosophy and logic and, especially, languages, with required programs in Latin for everyone and Greek and Hebrew for advanced scholars. Francis Xavier, a Portuguese priest and one of Loyola’s original six followers, was the first to venture abroad, baptizing locals and setting up schools in South and East Asia. When the Jesuits entered the Americas soon afterward, they followed the pattern he set forth.


Thus, rigorously educated Jesuit priests were both disseminators and producers of knowledge in imperial centers and local landscapes. Ecclesiastical officials, government administrators, and lay people of various ranks involved in the conquests and colonization of the Americas added to the body of knowledge about native populations, their institutions and cultures, and the natural world, but because of their particularly well-educated orientation and their doctrinal policy of accommodation, Jesuits made especially significant contributions in these areas. The Society encouraged the adoption of the indigenous people’s customs as a means of building trust, also adapting the Catholic doctrine to fit in with local religions so that Christianity would feel more familiar to new converts. For these reasons, as Luis Millones Figueroa and Domingo Ledezma have argued, “[t]he encounter with new flora and fauna, and the necessity of understanding the history and customs of the inhabitants of the missions for their evangelical ends, was for the Jesuits an intellectual stimulus that enriched their apostolic mission.”[1]


Jesuits in Europe and beyond engaged extensively in studies of geography, astronomy, medicine, and more, and they came to occupy high positions in the New World. After issuing his proclamation expelling them from the New World, the Marquis of Croix expressed concern over the act in a letter to the Minister of the Indies, because, as he wrote, “all the clergy and lawyers, since they belong entirely to them [the Jesuits] are also most resentful.”[2] In these letters of imperial officials, and in first-hand reports of natural knowledge collected by Jesuit priests, we see the tremendous impact of the Society of Jesus in religious, scientific, and political activities in the New World.


If, then, the Jesuits had the support of the papacy during the reign of the Catholic Spanish king, Charles III, and contributed greatly to the knowledge of the New World and the conversion of its people, what led to their complete suppression in 1767?


The Jesuit Expulsions


Although the Spanish Crown finally forced action against them in 1767, suspicion of the Jesuits ran rampant long before; a writer in the Holy Roman Empire referred to them as “assassins, ferocious wild bears, thieves, traitors…filthy billy goats [and] repugnant hogs” as early as 1593.[3] The Jesuits were well-connected and exceptionally well-organized, which made them successful in both evangelism and fundraising. It also made them susceptible to accusations of corruption, which they received from other religious orders, government officials, and citizens. The animosity toward the Society can be considered in three spheres: the religious, the political, and the economic.


Unsurprisingly, European Protestants did whatever they could to discredit the Society. Soon thereafter, other Catholic orders also began to see themselves in competition rather than collaboration with the Jesuits. For their part, Jesuit theologians saw their activism and mission-driven program of conversion as part of a broadly Catholic practice of American evangelization, rather than anything particularly Jesuitical. Nevertheless, Loyola and his followers were accused of establishing the order solely for the accumulation of wealth and power because they were very effective in achieving both. Serious theological debate surrounded the issue in addition to general distrust and defamation.


While there were broad charges of corruption and money-mongering levied against the Jesuit order as a whole, other animadverters focused their criticisms on Jesuit activities in local areas. For example, the rise of Jansenism undercut French Jesuits due to the conflicts in their ideologies. Most controversially, the Jansenists believed in efficacious grace, wherein the fates of human souls are predetermined. Although the Catholic Church condemned this proposition in a papal bull, the Church in France did not impress the seriousness of this declaration upon its people and the debate raged on. The conflict represented a schism in the Church that made it more difficult for the Pope to defend his orders, suggesting one of the complex ways in which the global order of the Jesuits depended upon overlapping negotiations of power in local communities.


In general, though, the Jesuits’ weakness as an order was less problematic than their strengths as an institution. As missions in the Americas grew, European rulers became concerned that the priests were trying to set up their own colonies. In response to these fears, the Portuguese Crown launched expulsions in 1759, well before the Spanish declaration that is translated here. This accelerated timeline was due in part to the much greater and more influential presence of reductions in Portuguese America than in the Spanish colonies, where perhaps the strongest Jesuit establishments were in the regions adjacent to Brazil – namely, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. These communities, formed by indigenous people who had been “reduced to civilization,” as religious authorities put it, were entirely Christian, though Jesuit reductions, unlike those of more general reductions of native populations described by legal theorists like Juan Solórzano y Pereyra, were tolerant of non-western cultural traditions, and economically self-sufficient.[4] Native converts were expected to contribute manual labor, usually farm work.


Reports of life within the Reductions ranged from extremely negative to overwhelmingly positive, but perhaps more influential than actual reports of ordinary life were imaginative – and imagined – descriptions of conditions in the reductions. Because they were relatively autonomous within the colonies, the Reductions in Jesuit South America, and especially the Rio de la Plata area, sparked the imaginations of outsiders. One particularly influential pamphlet was an anonymous French-language “history” of life in Jesuit Paraguay, published in 1756 as the Histoire de Nicolás I: Roy du Paraguai et Empereur des Mamelus (History of Nicolás I: King of Paraguay and Emperor of the Mamelucos).[5] The Histoire detailed the story of a Jesuit King who, complete with his army of six thousand souls, presided over Paraguay after having usurped the colony’s legitimate ruler. [6] With its inter-imperial frame and multilingual orientation, the pamphlet thus put royal anxieties over sovereignty and secularity into dialogue. Although there was no evidence for these claims at the time, nor have any documents emerged to support them in the intervening 250-odd years, the discursive weight of imaginative fictions like this pamphlet proved tremendously influential in shaping the minds of early modern readers.


Anti-Jesuit propaganda like this pamphlet flooded Portugal and Spain in the aftermath of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid, an event that Magnus Mörner points to as significant in the dredging up of fears of Jesuit power throughout the Atlantic world.[7] Under the terms of the secret treaty, the Portuguese recognized Spanish control of the Rio de la Plata region and ceased their westward push in exchange for uncontested possession of the majority of the Amazon basin and, crucially, the Seven Reductions of Paraguay. The Portuguese ordered these Reductions to be dismantled, and their Guaraní residents relocated some miles away in Spanish territory. However, when the Jesuits relinquished control in 1754, the residents clung to the land, inciting the so-called Guaraní War in which an estimated 1,511 natives and 4 Europeans were killed. Despite their compliance with Portugal’s plan to that point, rumors circulated that the Jesuits had orchestrated the uprising, fuelling the drive to remove them from politics.


Back on the European continent, the Jesuits held powerful roles as the primary confessors to the Spanish and Portuguese royal families. In 1754, when Jesuit priests were removed from this office, the order lost its powerful connection with – and vital support from – key figures of religious and political authority. Historian Ludwig Von Pastor suggests that Charles III was simply unwilling “to tolerate the misuse they had made of their power for so many years…The churches in India [Spanish America] complained of the unheard-of violence with which the Jesuits had cheated them out of their tithes.”[8] Of course, the event also coincided with the Guaraní War, suggesting that local events and interpersonal relationships shaped the practice of political and religious power on both sides of the Atlantic. Some scholars have even suggested that the conflict between Jesuit “ultramontanism,” or belief in the absolute supremacy of the Pope, and the Enlightened despotism to which Charles III subscribed, was responsible for fueling the animosity between the Jesuit order and the Bourbon monarch, as well. Indeed, “the expulsion represented one of the great triumphs of regalism” in the 18th century.[9] Of course, there were also material incentives like local control of American land and indigenous labor, potential sources of wealth that the Empire stood to gain by expelling the Jesuits and confiscating their temporalities.


The opportunity for the Spanish Crown to make a declaration against the Society arose in the wake of the Esquilache Riots. In March 1766, people who were incensed by economic conditions and the latest of the Bourbon Reforms took to the streets of Madrid. The unpopular Marquis of Esquilache had just outlawed capes and large hats as both a stab at modernization and a measure to prevent the disguise of criminals. In the aftermath of those riots, Charles III created the Extraordinary Council of Castile, and he placed Count Aranda at its head. Charged with investigating the origins of the riot, Aranda set out to fulfill his task. Although little evidence substantiated the accusation, the Council determined that the Jesuits were the primary instigators, and the report issued by Aranda is usually cited by scholars of the period as the immediate cause of the expulsions. All causes, of course, are speculative because the only motive that Charles III offered in his decree on the matter was that he was “moved by very grave causes relative to the obligation…of maintaining [the] people in subordination, tranquility, and justice, and other urgent, just, and necessary reasons” which, he wrote, “I reserve in my royal mind.” [10] Nevertheless, the timing is suggestive of deep and important connections between local street protests in Madrid, increasing concentrations of American wealth, in both labor and land, and an opportunity for the crown to take advantage of the two.


The Implementation of the Expulsions in New Spain


On February 27, 1767, Count Aranda sent a Royal Decree containing the official order of expulsion that would be reproduced throughout Spanish America. The proclamation, it is important to note, carried real power, as its recipients were endowed by virtue of their reading it with all of his own powers of execution. Moreover, the declaration was not an isolated document. Rather, it was followed by more detailed instructions on March 1, at which point local officials were authorized to circulate and enforce the decree. In New Spain, the Marquis de la Croix received the document on May 30 and selected the date of June 25 to execute it. During the interim period, he did his best to keep the Jesuits from suspecting what was to come. In a letter to his brother on June 30, he explained his reasoning leading up to the expulsion:


“As all the inhabitants are worthy pupils and zealous partisans of that Company…I took good care to trust none of them with the execution of the orders of the King. The secret would surely have got out…For this reason it was that I decided to confide in none save Señor de Gálvez, a minister who is employed here in the King’s service, and in your son; we three, therefore, made all the arrangements ourselves, writing with our own hands all the orders necessary…”




“Effect is now being made, while orders are being awaited, to arrange everything so that no one may be injured. The secret was so well kept that the entire public is not yet recovered from the extreme surprise it experienced at the outset, a circumstance which—added to the fact that the troops were under arms—has contributed not a little to the marked tranquility with which everything has passed off…”[11]


The Marquis de la Croix did appear to keep the secret well, but his judgment of the “marked tranquility” of the operation, just five days after its implementation, was premature.


In Count Aranda’s instructions to local officials in Spanish America, he admonished, “You will avoid with the utmost care the charge of causing the slightest insult to the Religious, and you will require a Justice for the punishment of those who overstep this; although exiled they are considered under the protection of His Majesty.”[12] This is not to say that the Spanish were especially concerned with the welfare of the Jesuits, but rather that they expected them to leave without protest.


And, for the most part, they did, although there were some notable exceptions, particularly in areas marked by economic instability. For example, Pátzeuaro and Valladolid endured riots while in Guanajuato, San Luis de la Paz, and San Luis Potosí, the orders of expulsion went fully unheeded. The Marquis de la Croix sent José de Gálvez, then visitor-general of New Spain, to take care of the outliers. Backed by 600 troops, he threw the Jesuits out of their missions and colleges by force, imprisoned the uncooperative, and executed those he judged responsible for the upheaval.[13] Some of the resistance was led by the natives, some by the Jesuits, showing how people from very different social classes and ethnic backgrounds responded with violence to the order of expulsion.


After the expulsions, Jesuit missions were either put under the control of another order, secularized, or abandoned altogether. Colonial officials debated the effects of these institutional changes on educational outcomes and standards of living in Spanish America. Constancio Eguía Ruiz, for one, claimed that the Jesuits left a void that would go unfilled for many years, although we might take the Jesuit priest’s assessments with a grain of salt.[14]


Others, equally influenced by their own political positions, such as Gálvez, saw the Society’s absence as a weight lifted; in 1770, he wrote a letter to the Marquis of Croix claiming that the Jesuits there had used their offerings to build mansions for themselves and had left the indigenous population impoverished. [15] Whatever the case, the Jesuits were one of the most influential religious orders in New Spain and their absence was a change keenly perceived by supporters and detractors alike.


A Note on this Document

This digital edition of the Marquis of Croix’s proclamation of the Jesuit expulsion in New Spain was prepared from the 1767 manuscript housed in the Special Collections of Swem Library at the College of William & Mary. It is printed as a single folio measuring 42 x 31 centimeters, and it is typesigned by Croix on the right side. In translating the text, I have done my best to preserve the tone and format of the original, only supplanting some commas with semicolons to augment its readability. An unaltered transcription is presented for comparison.


At the time of the expulsions, the Marquis de la Croix had recently been appointed as the viceroy of New Spain. Thus, this was one of the first major operations in which he was entrusted in his new position of power. The multivocal command of the text bears witness to the multiple layers of imperial power and colonial enforcement that the new viceroy sought to negotiate. The short italicized portion in the middle of the document is excerpted from the Royal Decree written by Count Aranda, but the rest of the text, emphasizing his authority and the role of the subjects, is his own. This proclamation is the product of a long process of quiet tensions and secret treaties, reports, and correspondences. From centuries of clandestine activities, it emerges to stand as the strongest royally sanctioned, public declaration of anti-Jesuit sentiment in New Spain.





Don Carlos Francisco de Croix, Marqués de Croix, Cavallero del Orden de Calatrava, Comendador de Molinos, y Laguna Rota en la misma Orden, Theniente General de los Reales Exercitos de S.M. Virrey, Governador, y Capitan General del Reyno de Nueva-España, Presidente de su Real Audiencia, Superintendente general de Real Hazienda, y Ramo del Tabaco de él, Presidente de la Junta, y Juez Conservador de este Ramo, Subdelegado general del Establecimiento de Correos Maritimos en el mismo Reyno.


Hago saber a todos los habitantes de este Imperio, que el Rey nuestro Señor por resultas de las ocurrencias passadas, y para cumplir la primitiva obligacion con que Dios le concedió la Corona de conservar ilesos los Soveranos respetos de ella, y de mantener sus leales, y amados Pueblos en subordinacion, tranquilidad, y Justicia à demas de otras gravissimas causas que reserva en su Real animo; se ha dignado mandar à Consulta de su Real Consejo, y por Decreto expedido el viente y siete de Febrero ultimo, Se extranen de todos sus Dominios de España, è Indias, Islas Philipinas, y demas adyacentes à los Religiosos de la Compania, assi Sacerdotes, como Coadjuteres, ò Legos, que hayan hecho la primera Profession, y á los Novicios que quisieren seguirles; y que se ocupen todas las temporalidades de la Compañia en sus Dominios. Y haviendo S.M. para la execucion uniforme en todos ellos, autorizado privativamente al Exmò, Señor Conde de Aranda, Presidente de Castilla, y cometidome su cumplimiento en este Reyno con la misma plenitud de facultades, asigné el dia de hoy para la intimacion de la Suprema Sentencia à los Expulsos en sus Colegios, y Casas de Residencia de esta Nueva-España, y tambien para anunciarla à los Pueblos de ella, con la prevencion de que, estando estrechamente obligados todos los Vassallos de qualquiera dignidad, clase, y condicion que sean, à respetar, y obedecer las siempre Justas resoluciones de su Soverano, deben venerar, auxiliar, y cumplir esta con la mayor exactitud, y fidelidad; porque S.M. declara incursos en su Real indignacion à los inobedientes, ó remissos en coadyuvar à su cumplimiento, y me verè precissado à usar del ultimo rigor, y de execucion Militar contra los que en publico, o secreto hizieren, con este motivo, conversaciones, juntas, asemblèas, corrillos, ò discursos de palabra, ó por escrito; pues de una vez para lo venidero deben saber los Subditos de el gran Monarca que ocupa el Trono de España, que nacieron para callar, y obedecer, y no para discurrir, ni opinar en los altos assumptos del Govierno. Mexico viente y cinco de Junio de mil setecientos sesenta y siete.


El Marquès de Croix

Por màndado de su Exá.


Don Carlos Francisco de Croix, Marquis de Croix,[16] Knight of the Order of Calatrava, Commander of Molinos and Laguna Rota of the same Order, Lieutenant General of the Royal Armies of His Majesty the Viceroy, Governor and Captain General of the Kingdom of New Spain, President of the Royal High Court, Superintendent of the Royal Treasury and its Tobacco branch, President of the Board, and Judge Conservador of this Branch, Subdelegate general of the Establishment of Maritime Correspondence in that same Realm.


I hereby make known to all the inhabitants of this Empire that our Lord the King,[17] by consequence of recent events, and to fulfill the original duty which God bestowed upon the Crown of preserving her Sovereign veneration, and of supporting her loyal and beloved subjects, and maintaining tranquility and justice along with other great causes reserved for the Royal will; has deigned to send upon Consultation of the Royal Council[18] by expedited Decree this past twenty-seventh of February:[19] Begone from all of the Domains of Spain, and the Indies, Philippine Islands; and all those attached to the Religion of the Company, such as priests, or coadjutors, or laymen, who have made the first Profession, and the Novices who wanted to follow them, and who hold the temporalities of the Company in your Domains. And I, performing for His Majesty the uniform execution of all of the preceding, privately authorized by his Excellency, Señor Conde de Aranda,[20] President of Castile,[21] and charged with their fulfillment in this Kingdom with the same plenitude of powers, designated today’s date for the promulgation of the Supreme Sentence of the Expulsions in the Colleges and places of residence in this New Spain, and furthermore to announce it to the People therein, to ensure that, the Subjects being tightly bound by whatever office, class, and condition define them, to respect and obey the ever just resolutions of the Sovereign; they should venerate, amplify, and observe this with the greatest exactitude and fidelity; because His Majesty declares the disobedient negligent in his Royal indignation, or remiss in contributing to the fulfillment of these resolutions, and I shall be obliged to employ the utmost rigor, and military action against those who in public, or secret created, with malicious intent, dialogues, committees, assemblies, rabblings, or discourses in speech or writing; because now and evermore the Subjects of the grand Monarch who occupies the Throne of Spain should know that they were born to keep quiet, and obey, and not to reason, nor to meddle in the affairs of the Government. Mexico, twenty-fifth of June seventeen sixty-seven.


The Marquis de Croix

By mandate of his Excellency.


[1] Alden Dauril, The Making of an enterprise: the Society of Jesus in Portugal, its empire, and beyond, 1540-1750 (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996), 6.

[2] Quoted in D.A. Brading, Church and State in Bourbon Mexico (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002): 4.


[3] Quoted in Dauril 23.


[4] Solórzano Pereira, Juan. Política Indiana, ed. Miguel Angel Ochoa Brun (Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1972). See for example capitulo XXIV, “De las reducciones y agregaciones de los Indios á pueblos y municipios, donde para siempre hayan de quedar diputados: Y si fueron y serán convenientes,” tomo 1.


[5] The Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish word mestizo, a person born of a European and an indigenous American.


[6] Barbara Anne Ganson, The Guaraní Under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003): 119.

[7] Magnus Mörner, “Introduction,” The Expulsion of the Jesuits from Latin America, ed. Magnus Mörner, New York: Alfred A. Knopf (1965): 22-5.


[8] Ludwig Von Pastor, “A Most Secret Procedure” in The Expulsion of the Jesuits from Latin America, ed. Magnus Mörner (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965): 142.

[9] Eva Maria St. Clair Segurado, Expulsión y exilio de la provincia jesuita mexicana, 1767-1820, (Alicante: Universidad de Alicante, 2005): 22.

[10] Charles III, Expulsion of the Jesuits, transl. Bernard Moses. A translation of the full decree can be found here:

[11] An English version of this letter appears in Herbert I. Priestly, José de Gálvez, visitor-general of New Spain, 1765-1771, (Berkely: University of California Press, 1916): 212-13.


[12] From el Conde de Aranda’s Instrucción de lo que Deberán Executar (1767), transcription printed in Alberto Francisco Pradeau, La Expulsión de los Jesuitas de las Provincias de Sonora, Ostimuri y Sinaloa en 1767 (Mexico: Antigua Librería Robredo de José Porrúa e Hijos, 1959): 30-35. Translation my own.

[13] A fuller account can be found in Priestley 210-33.

[14] Constancio Eguía Ruiz, “A Staggering Blow to Education,” The Expulsion of the Jesuits from Latin America, ed. Magnus Mörner (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965): 175-80.


[15] Joseph de Galvez to Marques de Croix letter attacking Jesuits (Mexico 1770). Microform copy of AGN, Mexico, Misiones, Leg. 0026, available the University of Arizona Library. The Jesuit expulsions occurred later in California than in the rest of Spanish America.


[16] The Marquis of Croix was the Viceroy of New Spain from August 1766-September 1771. He served the Spanish Empire for over 50 years and was a trusted official of Charles III.

[17] King Charles III ruled the Spanish Empire from August 1759-December 1788.

[18] The Extraordinary Council of Castile. This was the special subsidiary of the Council of Castile, also known as the Royal Council, formed to investigate the origins of the Esquilache Riots of March 1766 in which the Jesuits were ultimately implicated. Aranda was its President.


[19] The Royal Decree Aranda sent out, which endows selected local authorities in the New World with all his own powers and includes the text italicized here, is dated February 27, 1767. A separate, more detailed document entitled Instrucción de lo que Deberán Executar is dated March 1.


[20] Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, known as Conde de Aranda, was an important statesman under Charles III, holding positions as high as Secretary of State.


[21] Aranda was President of the Council of Castile, a ruling body subject to the King alone.

Full Colophon Information

Period: 1750-1800
Location: Spanish America
Format: pamphlets
Hannah Berk