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Letter of the Mexican legation at Rome to the Holy See, dated April 6, 1840, and affidavit of the Most Reverend Patrick William Riordan.

Legacion Mejicana
Cerca de Su Santidad,
Roma, 6 de April en 1840.
Mexican Legation
to His Holiness,a
Rome, April 6, 1840.
42.
El ynfrascrito encargado de negocios de la Republica Mejicana tiene el honor de dirigirse á Su Emza. el Sr. Cardinal Lambrnschini, Secretario de Estadb de S.Sd. para manifestarle que el Gobierno de Mejico ha considerado [Page 436]de absoluta necesidad que la Peninsula de Californias se gobierne en lo eclesiastico con total independencia de la Mitra de Sonora, á la cual hasta ahora habia estado sugeta asi por su vasta extension, como por la grande distancia que la separa de la Capital de la Diocesis, por cuya razon su Obispo no puede visitarla, ni proporcionarle todos los aucsilios pastorales que necesitan aquellos fieles, tanr numerosos, como poco civilizados. The undersigned, in charge of the affairs of the Republic of Mexico has the honor to address himself to his eminence Cardinal Lambruschini, secretary of state of His Holiness, to inform him that the Government of Mexico has considered it absolutely necessary that the peninsula of the Californias should be governed in ecclesiastical matters with entire independence from the see of Sonora, to which it has been until now subject, as well by reason of its vast extent as because of the great distance which separates it from the capital of the diocese, for which reason the bishop can not visit it, nor apportion to it all the pastoral aids which the faithful, who are as numerous as they are uncivilized, need.
Para asegurar el acierto en tan importante resolucion el Presidente en virtud de un Decreto del Congreso nacional, mandó formar un expediente instructivo, del que resultó comprobada su conveniencia y utilidad por el testimonio y parecer tanto del Prelado del Colegio Apostolico de S. Fernando, á cuyo zelo habian estado confiadas aquellas misiones, como del Gobernador de la Mitra de Sonora. Ygual opinion dieron sobre la necesidad de esta medida el antiguo Obispo de esta Diocesis el Sr. D. Angel Angel Morales, el Rev. Obispo de la Puebla de los Angeles, y el Cabilda Gobernador del Arzobispado. To ensure the effecting of such an important resolve, the President, by virtue of a decree of the National Congress ordered a report from which it resulted that its convenience and usefulness was demonstrated by the testimony and opinion not only of the superior of the apostolic college of S. Fernando, to whose zeal these missions have been entrusted, but also the governor of the see of Sonora. The former bishop of this diocese, Sr. Don Angel Morales, the bishop of the village of Los Angeles, and the governor of the chapter of the archbishopric, give the same opinion with regard to this necessity.
En consecuencia, previos los requisites legales, El Gobierno propone á S.Sd. la aprobacion, y ereccion de esta Mitra; y para su primer Obispo al R. P. F. Francisco Garcia Diego quien ademas de su literatura, y virtudes cristianas, y politicas reune un conocimiento practico de aquel pays donde ha desempeñado por algun tiempo el cargo de Comisario Pre fee to de las Misiones, segun consta del proceso canonico formado por el Rev. Obispo de Puebla, comisionado de S.Sd. que va adjunto. In consequence, the requisite legal steps have been taken, and the Government proposes to His Holiness the approval and erection of his see; and for its first bishop, the Rev. Father Francisco Garcia Diego, who to his learning and Christian and political virtues unites a practical knowledge of that country, where he has for some time filled the place of president (comisario prefecto) of the missions, as appears from the canonical report made by the rev. bishop de Puebla, commissioned by His Holiness, which is annexed.
El Ynfrascrito podrá añadir que el Gobierno le recomienda solicite de S.Sd. el que en atencion á la [Page 437]grande distancia en que se halla este departamento, no solo de la Silla Apostolica, sino tambien de laMetropolitano, y por la necesidad en que se encontrará el nuevo Obispo de crearlo todo, siendo una parte de aquellos pueblos poco civilizados, y la mayor parte neofitos ó barbaros, se le autorice por S. Sd. extraordinariamente con cuantas facultades sean necesarias para que pueda ocurrir á todos los casos, y allanar todos los obstaculos que deben presentarsele en la ereccion de aquella Yglesia; para que pueda Uevar consigo los sacerdotes que quieran seguirlo, ya sean seculares ó regulares, sin que sus prelados respectivos puedan impedirselo, y para que todos los religiosos Misioneros que alli ecsisten le queden sugetos, esceptuando solamente al Comisario Prefecto, y á los Misioneros que se ocupen en la f ormaeion de nuevas misiones, adelantando la conquista y propagacion de la fé entre las tribus Barbaras; pues estos deberan usar como hasta aqui de todas las facultades con que estan revestidos por Bulas y decretos Pontificos. The undersigned may add that the Government desired him to beg of His Holiness to give attention to the great distance of this district, not only from the Apostolic See, but also from the metropolitan, and because the new bishop will find it necessary to organize everything, it being a part where the people are uncivilized, neophytes or barbarians, that His Holiness would grant him extraordinary powers, authorizing him to take whatever steps may be necessary in cases which may arise, and to smooth all the obstacles which must present themselves in the erection of that church; so that he can take with him the priests who wish to follow him, be they secular or regulars, without their respective superiors being able to hinder their going, and so that all the religious missionaries which are there already shall remain his subordinates, except only the president of the missions, and those missionaries who are occupied in forming new missions, advancing the conquest and propagation of the faith among the barbarous tribes; for they should enjoy as f ormerly all the powers with which they have been invested by bulls and pontificial decrees.
aTambien es convenience hacer presente á Vtra. Ema. que el Gooierno Mejicano ha dictado todas las medidas oportwnas para que no falte al nuevo prelado la Congrua decente que el corresponde para sostenor los gastos y decoro de la dignidad Episcopal; y que ademas ha de ponerse á su disposicion conforme d un decreto del Congreso el fondo piadoso destinado al fomento de Misiones de Californias. Also it is proper to inform your eminence that the Mexican Government had taken all proper measures so that the new prelate may not lack a decent income which is necessary to sustain the expenses and respect and the dignity of a bishop; and in addition, according to a decree of Congress, the pious fund destined for the support of missions in the Californias is to be placed at his disposal.
El Ynfrascrito tiene el honor honor de reiterar á su Ema. Rma. las seguridades de su distinguida consideracion, y respeto. The undersigned has the honor to reiterate to your eminence the assurance of his distinguished consideration and respect.
T. M. Montota. T. M. Montoya.
A Su Ema. Rma. el Sr. Cardinal Lambruschini, Secretario de Estado de Su Santidad. To His Eminence Cardinal Lambrusghini, Secretary of State to His Holiness.
[Page 438]

Kingdom of Holland, The Hague, ss:

Patrick William Riordan, being first duly sworn, deposes and says that he arrived at The Hague on August 25, 1902; that between the day last named and the 31st of August, 1902, at the request of Jackson H. Ralston, esquire, agent of the United States in the aboveentitled arbitration, he wrote to Rome to have search made among the papal archives for documents if any could there be found, addressed by Mexico to the Holy See on or before the 27th day of April, 1840, requesting the erection of the Californias into a bishopric.

A few days after writing to Rome for the purpose aforesaid affiant received replies from the persons to whom he had written informing him that search had been instituted and was being prosecuted for the purpose aforesaid. No information concerning the existence of any of the documents mentioned was received by affiant until September 20, 1902, when he received a memorandum of entries in the papal archives showing that Mexico had made representations to the Holy See in the year 1840, and prior to April 27th thereof, in relation to the erection of the aforementioned bishopric It was impossible to ascertain from the entries mentioned whether the representations of Mexico were oral or in writing or their precise nature or character. On September 30, 1902, affiant received the annexed document bearing date April 6, 1840, which he is informed and believes to be a true copy of an original in the archives of the Holy See.

Affiant has received no other document purporting to have been addressed by Mexico to the Holy See in relation to this subject, nor any information that any other exists; and affiant has received no information of, nor any document from, the Holy See to Mexico in relation to the said bishopric. The only other documents concerning which affiant has received any information are memoranda concerning the erection of the see which he is informed and believes to be part of the archives of the Holy See and which he is prepared to produce.

Affiant believes that within fourteen days from this date he can procure from Rome a copy like the one attached to this deposition, certified and verified to be a true copy of the original by the custodian of the original and in conformity with the provisions of Paragraph IV of the protocol.

The affiant is unable to say how continuous a search has been made in the papal archives for the documents above-mentioned, as he has no personal knowledge upon that subject, but he is informed and believes that a search was ordered to be made prior to September 5, 1902, and began on or before that day, and that the search has been prosecuted with diligence continuously since said day last mentioned.

Patrick William Riordan.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this first day of October, 1902.

[seal.]
Stanford Newel,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Netherlands.
  1. Translation made by direction of Jackson H. Ralston, American Agent.
  2. Not italicized in original.