Forgotten Drama in Veracruz
From Documents Found in Spain
La Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz
The First "Public" School in Mexico

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.
Special Thanks to Carmen Boone Canovas and
Enrique Pasquel for information and Photographs

An Almost Abandoned Building in Downtown Veracruz
The First "Public" School in Mexico
One of the many fascinating, but forgotten stories in Veracruz, is the expulsion of the Order of the Compañía de Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. Today, their once elegant building is more like another abandoned building in downtown Veracruz.

But, many of these lost stories about Veracruz before Independence can be found in documents in Spain, and the very old downtown area of the city becomes alive again! It's almost as if the spirits of the past are still alive amongst the ruins of these old buildings.

In these documents, buried in the archives in Spain, can be found the story of the First Public School in Mexico which was established in this building here in 1787.
The Jesuit Complex in Veracruz
Abandoned and Forgotten
In the history of Mexico, little attention is paid to the 300 years before the Independence Declaration in 1810, and it's interesting to dig into these old and fascinating stories.

For about the first 250 years of New Spain, now called Mexico, all the schools, hospitals, and orphanages were managed some of the 19 different religious orders.

This is the story of the first public school in Mexico that was started in Veracruz. It wasn't all that difficult to find.

A "Public" School in Those Days
Regarding the term "Public School", it would appear to be more like the British "public" schools model which are not free. Entrance exams are required and the students come from the social classes that can afford to pay for private schooling.

Until 1787, all the schools in Mexico were sponsored by the Church or individuals, and today, perhaps would be considered as private schools. At that time, the Jesuits were the best scholars in the world and their schools were considered the best in the country. However with the expulsion of the Company of Jesus in 1767 from Spain and all its colonies, a serious void was left in the education system in Mexico.

In 1787, for the first time, a small system of schools authorized by Carlos III, His Majesty, the King of Spain was authorized. This was the first time the government had been involved in the educational system in Mexico.

By today's standards, this first public school wasn't much more than an attempt to form a school that taught basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, but it could be considered a start.

In Veracruz, the only school of any consequence until that time had been the Jesuit school which was abruptly closed by the Royal Decree, leaving two small private efforts of little consequence.

This is the story of the formation of the First Public School in Mexico authorized by the government. And, it happened in a building that today is empty in the middle of the downtown area of Veracruz.

The Search Began in Madrid
Locating the Documents in Spain
Locating official documentation about the Expulsion of the Jesuits from Mexico, and the closure of their school in Veracruz isn´t all that difficult once you know what exists and where to find it.

It took two trips to actually locate the different files in different locations in Spain, then pay for the copying of the files which wasn't much. Then printing the almost 2,400 copies and placing them in 7 large binders.

At first, learning how to read the old handwriting was a little difficult. Abbreviations like "dha" for dicha, "fha" for fecha, and "B'er" for Bachiller were a little difficult at the beginning.

This was not only a task of reading the documents, but about being able to later locate easily, and sort for pertinent information such as dates, names, and the actual page number of the document.

Transcriptions of these documents to Excel files took several months, and until now have become 160 printed pages.

Entrance to a once Elegant Building in Veracruz
It sounds like a lot of work, but once engrossed in the drama found in the documents, you lose track of time.

So far, it has taken a little over 5 years during time off between construction projects in the US.

You feel almost driven by the importance of the event, and sometimes you can detect parts of the personalities of the people involved by their handwriting or sometimes elaborate signatures.

And how the original documents must have been taken across the Atlantic on a 3 month voyage in leaky sailing ships, always watching for English or Dutch pirates, to one particularly eager reader in Spain.

King Charles III was one of the first ones to read these documents before handing them over to his staff.
Side Entrance to the Colegio de San Francisco Xavier
Background: The Jesuits in Veracruz
In the 1600 and 1700's, the city of Veracruz was the only authorized port on the Gulf of Mexico, and these were the times of the annual gold fleets of 40-80 ships that docked in Veracruz.

Veracruz was the only official port in New Spain since the 1520´s, and anyone coming to Mexico during this time had to come through the only authorized seaport on the Gulf of Mexico which was Veracruz.

The Jesuits in Mexico were dedicated to teaching in their schools and to mission work with the Indians in the Northwestern territories and the Californias.
To the Upper Level
Their work was financed by the successful operation of businesses and haciendas, donated or bequeathed, by the wealthy faithful, and from donations and pledges.

There were no public schools as we know them now.

By 1767, Jesuit elementary, high schools, and universities were some of the best in the world of those times, and Veracruz was no exception.

The purpose of the Colegio de San Francisco Xavier in Veracruz was the preparation of a basic education. Later, students could go on to the equivalent of high school and university levels in Mexico City or Puebla.

Construction of the Colegio de San Francisco Xavier in Veracruz
The city had several wealthy families who sponsored and supported the local Jesuit school of basic studies.

These families also supported the six other convents in Veracruz dedicated to mission service, hospitals, and nourishing the spiritual life of this busy tropical city.
Exploring the Upper Level
The original Construction of The Colegio de San Francisco Xavier by the Jesuits in Veracruz began in 1639 with the donation of the proceeds of the Hacienda el Tecajete, near Tehuacan, Puebla, by the mother of:

"El Ilustrísimo Señor Don Fernando de la Cerna Canonigo de la Santa Iglesia Catedral de la Ciudad de Puebla de los Ángeles, Insigne Fundador de este Colegio de la Nueva Vera Cruz, su Patria quien es consorcio de la referida su Madre hizo donación de una Hacienda de ganado mayor que poseian en el paso llamado Tecagete, Jurisdiccion de Tehuacan de las Granadas con 30 cabezas de ganado compuestas de 11 caballerizas de tierra, 3 sitios mas con casas de trasquila y otros 5 sitios de ganado menor en la misteca alta con otros aperos".

The Banishment Order
The Real Pragmática of 1767
However, all was not well with the Jesuits in Europe, especially the absolutist Bourbonic monarchy of Spain.

Around February of 1767, King Carlos III made the decision to expel the Jesuits from Spain and all its colonies.

From the log books sent to Spain, in Veracruz and the rest of Mexico, the banishment order was carried out in the predawn hours of June 25, 1767.

When Charles III, King of Spain, gave the secret, almost lightning order, over night everyone in the Jesuit order in Mexico was rounded up by royal soldiers and deputized citizens, and transferred to Veracruz for deportation to the Papal States.

There was only time enough to pack up in one day and move out the next.

In Veracruz, once the 12 occupants of the Colegio de Veracruz were escorted the Convento de la Merced by militia troops, the lengthy inventory of the church and bedrooms began. Veracruz and New Spain would never be the same again.

From the Upper Level
Inventory of Valuables and Real Estate
This inventory consisted of the personal effects of the occupants, the religious items in the 10 chapels, the valuables, pledges for future religious services, and real estate to maintain the school donated to the Colegio de San Francisco Xavier.

Replacing the Colegio de Veracruz
During the review of the 2,400 copies of documents from Spain, something different kept popping up.

At the time, I was more focused on the events of the expulsion and the disposal of the valuables and the real estate properties, and left this subject to look into at a later time.

This was about "La Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz". It was a new school authorized and supported by the King, and perhaps it was expected to replace the studies offered at the old Colegio de San Francisco Xavier, run by the exiled Jesuits.

It appeared that the formation of a school to replace the old school was an afterthought by King Charles III to pacify the people in the absence of the Jesuit school.
A Lone Pigeon in One Corner
Complications for the Crown
Complicating the banishment of the Jesuits was that the people loved the teachers of their children, and the first resentments against the king in far off Spain began because now their children had no schools to attend.

That was a tangible fact felt by many families.

Another complication was that the Jesuits had told the people that one day they would return and not to touch their properties. They would return.

The Crown was in a difficult position, and it took a little over 20 years to dispose of the properties through public auctions where there weren´t many bidders.

Most of the properties had to be sold for prices below their actual value.

The First School Entrance Tests in Mexico
Reaction by the Crown
The Royal authorization of Patriotic Schools in Mexico began perhaps as a reaction by King Charles III to the unpopular closing of the Jesuit schools which left the children without elementary and high schools.

In those days, most of the hospitals and schools were managed by the church. In fact the first military hospital in Latin America, El Hospital de San Carlos in Veracruz wasn't founded until the year 1764.

The royal approval of the Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz was something new, however, it only provided partial funding for the school from the Crown, and depended on the Junta de Temporalides to provide the buildings and some of the expenses.

The Order of San Augustine, in addition to performing religious services in the large church, would also provide part of the faculty for the new school.

The school was also to be funded not only by charging the students 4 to 6 pesos per month, but also by asking for private donations.
Official Announcement
Later, it turned out that the Augustinians weren't sufficiently trained, or qualified, as teachers, and private teachers would have to be hired.

In spite of these difficulties, it should be noted that the Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz was the first school to require entrance exams for student placement.

Initial Organization of the School
The formal initial organization of the Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz began 20 years after the closing of the Colegio San Francisco Xavier in Veracruz.

During these 20 years, to receive a good education students were forced to go to Puebla where the schools were better than home tutoring.

This was also bothersome and inconvenient for families who lived in Veracruz for business reasons.

Documents from Spain show that as early as March 2, 1768, Governor Felix de Ferraz had requested permission from Viceroy el Marqués de Croix to form an "escuela de primeras letras, gramática, y retórica".

Stairway to the Classrooms
Local Support to Start a School
There had been the need for such a school since the departure of the Jesuits from Veracruz the previous year.

For example, Don Francisco Gil bequeathed in his last will the donation of the income from nine houses for such a school.

In addition, it was proposed that the teachers could live at the school separate from the church.

Estimated annual salaries would be $1,100 pesos.
The local Order of San Augustine volunteered to take over the school, and put their existing convent and the rent from two houses to finance the school, as well as take over the whole Jesuit complex.

At that time, their convent and the two houses were not in good condition and the move would definitely benefit the Augustinians.

At this point, documents show a discussion between having religious or secular teachers.

From the documents, the arguments went back and forth among factions in the Viceroy´s office in Mexico, the bishop´s office in Puebla, and the local government in Veracruz.
Timeless Hallways
There were still other problems as outlined in another document which explained the protective wall on the port side of the building and the roof needed repairs estimated at $10,000 pesos.

Solid Support and Great Plans
The initial statement of accounts for the first 2 years of operation of the Escuela Patriótica with the names of the first sponsors, donations expected, the first students, sponsors, teachers, classes and salaries, and total expenses in the budget was very positive.

The date is 6 months after the initial inauguration of the school on May 16, 1787.

It looked like a great plan. Below are the Details.

The Statement of Accounts in 1787

The next set of some 300 manuscripts consists of the plan, conditions, and official minutes of the monthly school board meetings for the Escuela Patriotica de Veracruz. At times, they seem to be a bit tedious, but some interesting little nuggets of information about life and the struggles during those times can be found.

Below are some of these interesting comments:

Starting with the Plan
Here is the Plan of Studies for the Escuela Patriotica de la Nueva Veracruz for the instruction and training of decent young men and children that will be promoted by various friends of the Country:

1. Religion, Common Catechism, and History.
2. Geography, and Map Knowledge.
3. Castilian Grammar
4. French Translation
5. First letters, Spelling, and Vocabulary
6. Principles of Arithmetic
7. Music and Singing
8. Drawing and Design

School was Very Different in those Days
The school day was very long, and full of activities for the children. This was 6 days each week which included Saturdays and Sundays from 10-12AM.

Morning Work Schedule
At eight o´clock, Writing until nine
Nine to nine thirty Common Catechism and Reading
The Child will recite from memory the point of Christian Doctrine, that had been taught the evening before by the Teacher; he will clearly explain this.
Another Child will read aloud a Chapter from a good book, and at the same time which will have been announced; which the errors that are suffered in the pronunciation, accent, punctuation, and clause. And in the meantime both acts each child will participate in order of their correctness.
Nine thirty to ten thirty all will return to Writing
Ten thirty to eleven the Table of Numbers will be recited and they will be taught to count.
At this time, they will go home

Busy Afternoon Schedule
Two thirty to four o´clock - Writing
Four to four thirty, the teacher will correct any papers openly, and give instruction in Spelling, leaving time to pray the Rosary to María Santísima.
They will leave at four thirty, and those in Music will return at 5 o´clock sharp.
Five to six, documents of fixed singing
Six to seven thirty-Those in History or Religion and Spanish and French Grammar
Seven thirty to nine o´clock. Teaching will continue with Drawing for those who only attend this class; and those attending others will be able, if they wish, rest until 8 o´clock or go home to eat supper at the intermission.
At 9PM all will leave trying to cool off awhile from the heat of the lights.

Sundays and Holidays
From 10-12 in the morning classes in Geography, maps, and the use of the Globe will be taught.

Special Notes:
1. The first Sundays of each month, the children will have confession. The times will be announced by the teacher and principal.
2. The children will attend school recently bathed, with clean faces and hands, with their hair combed, fingernails properly trimmed, and clean clothes without enormous holes in them.
3. The teacher will teach the rules of good behavior, respect for his equals, and show off a good education.
4. In order to avoid punishment, the children will be expected to behave correctly.

1. The children and young men admitted as students of this school must be precisely of Families of Decent of good reputation should know how to read.
2. Those who only attend the basic writing classes will pay 4 pesos monthly and they will be provided with paper, pens, and ink at the school.
3. Those wishing to attend the Branch of Instruction, will pay 4 pesos monthly but those who take 2 classes will pay 6 pesos the same as the other attendees.
4. These amounts will be delivered to the Treasurer each 6 months in advance without refunds.
5. Each six months there will be exams in each of the 10 departments with prizes ranging from 10 to 16 pesos.
To these numbers and amounts, these amounts will be arranged which will be given sets of books or valuables, with the exception of those students who are poor, who will be given objects of clothing. These applications will be given on May 3, the Day of the Santa Cruz, and November 4 in which we celebrate the birthday of our Catholic Monarch. The night before there will be an Ordinary Meeting of the School Board to discuss these awards.
6. If it can be seen that the accounts produced by the Treasurer are falling short because some of the members have failed to make their contributions, o a suficiente number of contributors do not attend, or there has been an increase in expenses, adjustments will be made to the payments to be made by students or to donations.
7. The teachers will make recommendations for the number of tuition free students.
8. The Principal and teachers will inform the Board of students who are inept or incapable of achievement, and their parents will be informed.
9. Those who are not sons of members or family members of the Board, in order to enter the schools 2 months after the start of school will not enjoy the benefit of entrance regarding the established tuitions. Increased rates will apply.

Continued are many lengthy explanations of additional rules and detailed explanations of teaching methodology, absences, payment schedules, benefits of the school in Veracruz, and names of main benefactors...

Additional Notes to the Budget in 1787
The narration, many times repetitive, continues many pages of the high points of two years of monthly School Board meetings, of entrance regarding the established tuitions. Increased rates will apply, etc.

Faculty Members
1. Principal. Bachiller Don Antonio Bedriñana.
2. Primeras Letras. Don José Antonio Campo, good reports from his native town of Cosamoalpan. Assigned 50 pesos monthly for meals, and 12 pesos for outside lodging, since the school doesn´t offer lodging. It´s considered the bare minimum since he is with his family.
3. Music- Don Bartolomé Periñan could not subsist on the annual 300 pesos annually he is being paid if he didn´t have the assistance of finding a position as Master of the Chapel at the Parroquial Church.
4. Painting. Captain José Ignacio Cerda is content with 300 pesos annually.

The total number of students is 44, with 40 taking Painting, of these 26 are learning Music, 34 hear Historic Catechism and Languages, 19 study Writing, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Principles of Arithmetic, and Common Catechism. These are subjects that are not taught in the two other schools in Veracruz.

Donations by specific businessmen Don Victoriano Gonzales of 500 pesos, another of 72 pesos from Don Pedro Garza y Quiroga, and a few books from several members of the community.

Progress Report in February 1790
At the end of the first two years, a progress report from Viceroy Revillagigedo in February of 1790 to His Majesty, the King of Spain, explains how the school began with the citizens of Veracruz expressing the need for a public school, since there were only two other schools in town:

"Varios honrados vecinos de la Ciudad de Veracruz, penetrados de sentimientos verdaderamente Patrioticas y del ilustre ejemplo de las Sociedades Economicas de España, al mismo tiempo que persuadidos de la importancia de la buena educación, representaron en 21 de julio de 1787 al Virrey mi inmediato predecesor, haberse asociado con el unico objeto de procurar este beneficio, por la via de entrenamiento a los Niños y Jovenes decentes de Vecindario; y que a este fin, no pudiendo mirar con indiferencia los irreparables perjuicios que sufría aquell considerable población for falta de enseñanza publica reducida solamente a dos Escuelas.."

The Details
The two other schools in town are limited to teaching only reading and writing. Since the Escuela Patriótica opened two years ago, in addition to reading and writing, they teach the rudiments of the history of religion, grammar, Castilian Spanish and French, geography, music, and art.

"de leer y escribir para toda clase de Niños, habia puesto, como por ensayo, y a expensas suyas abrir por el termino de dos años la que titularon Patriotica, en la que a mas de doctrinarse los Niños tiernos en las primeras letras, se instruyeran tambien estos jovenes en los rudimentos e historia de la Religion, Gramatica, Castellana y Francesa, Geografia, Musica, y dibujo..."
The Viceroy explains that the local Society, or Board of Directors for the Escuela Patriótica, made every effort to run the school prudently. However, even with the teachers living at the school, the school still faces difficulties with the budget:

A Request of Support from His Majesty
The support of His Majesty is requested through the Junta de Temporalidades, and well as from the proceeds from the ruined Augustinian convent in Veracruz. In addition to the 4,000 pesos in free cash the King contributed, it is still not sufficient.

Auditor's Summary
The Viceroy cites the two reports from the Auditors:

In the Report of November 21, 1787, to demonstrate the need and usefulness of the Escuela Patriótica with the attendance of 59 students to support each two years, which expired May 16, 1789. From this group of supporters there were 36 Honorary Members without children at the school who made generous contributions to the school and the remaining 23 supporters were named Numerary because they had children or family members at the school and satisfied the fee requirements.

Enthusiastic Inauguration!
On May 6, 1787, together with the Governor, elections were held and 10 board members were elected along with a treasurer. Monthly meetings would be held with the priest and Director in order to watch over the Escuela Patriótica to achieve "perpetuity and advancement".
The Plan

On May 16, 1787, prior to the necessary licenses, an enthusiastic public inauguration of the new Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz was held.

It was agreed that there would be 7 teachers according to the subjects being taught. Presbitero don Diego de Valverde, a man of great reputation and erudition would be responsible for 4 classes.

The Escuela still lacked 3 teachers to reach the total number authorized, and due to lack of funds to make the proper assignments that the Country requires.

The total number of students reached 44 young people and children of whom 40 took classes in drawing, 26 in Music, 34 in Historic Catechism of languages, and 19 in spelling and composition, principles of arithmetic and common catechism of the Christian Doctrine.

Monthly Cost of 6 Pesos
It was considered important to teach the best students in spite of their social class. Some 22 students paid the full amount of 6 pesos per month, while 12 others paid 4 pesos. The remaining students who had very little did not pay tuition or for supplies such as paper.

It should be noted that in those days, a day laborer on a hacienda was paid 2 pesos per month while an experienced cowboy was paid up to 6 pesos per month.

Difficulties After the First 2 years
However in spite of the income, the expected budget for the first two years was expected to need an additional 500 pesos. In addition, in spite of the contributions of the Members, it was evident that they would not be able to continue make these welcome contributions to the deficit for much longer.

Request for Additional Funds
At this news, the Governor and City Council expressed their vivid wishes that the Escuela Patriótica should continue. As a consequence, they requested support the Junta de Aplicaciones, the group responsible for the inventories of the Ex-Jesuits to use the the authorized free funds from the Junta de Temporalidades de Veracruz.

Specific Requests
Specifically, the Viceroy requested His Majesty to continue with his donation of 4,000 pesos of biannual rent as absolutely necessary, as well as the Convento Viejo previously built and occupied by the Augustinians who had moved to the Jesuit Colegio as custodians, and to teach the Latin Course previously given by the Jesuits. Also requested was support from the funds and rents from the Jesuit funds of items that had been previously donated to the Jesuits by local residents.

Their only interest was in teaching and public utility.

The Junta de Aplicaciones Agrees
"...The upper level Junta Superior de Aplicaciones realizes that education of the youth is important and they agree with Article 34 of the Royal Decree of August 14, 1768 about the importance of the School Board and the Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz have proven that they promote the needs and religious usefulness of the community.

These efforts need to continue..."

How to Invest these New Funds
"...It is evident that the community that donated the funds and rents to the Colegio of the Ex-Jesuits for the welfare of the community, and should be in accordance with the pious wishes of His Majesty that they be invested in such a worthy cause..."

"...In a vote taken on January 27 of this year (1790), that the funds from the old Augustine Convent, the biannual rent of 4,000 pesos as well as the funds from pledges for masses, and the expired amounts since July 9, 1776 until now, the principal of 120 pesos assigned by the Junta for the continuation of Latin and Speech given by the Jesuits, be invested in the factory and offices necessary to the Escuela Patriotica..."

It will be where these subjects will be transferred to.

Other specifics are mentioned about courses, teachers, and salaries.
Other Specifics
Other specifics are mentioned regarding the accounts, and His Majesties approval is requested.

" ...cargo de la Sociedad, por un Preceptor de las calidades necesarias, a quien se abone desde luego su respectivo Salario; y que la Contaduria del Ramo amplíe sin perdida de tiempo la Liquidación que formó en 19 de diciembre ultimo, o haga otra de nuevo en que se exprese con claridad y distincion el fondo total de las Temporalidades de Veracruz, asi en fincas, como en dinero existente en estas y aquellas Cajas, y impuesto a deposito irregular: Cajas, e impuesto a deposito irregular: los gravamenes que tenga sobre si, y los reditos que se deben: el importe anual de las demas atenciones de dicha ocupacion, y el Caudal y renta que resulte libre: lo que fenecido se dé cuenta a S.M. con testimonio de lo conducente, recomendando yo estas aplicaciones, y el establecimiento referido, para que se digne conceder su Real aprobacion... "

An Appointment of a Teacher
Regarding the appointment of Don Antonio Bedriñana who will teach Latin and Speech.

" ...Expedidos por mi los Oficios que cordó la Junta noticiando esta resolucion, y nombrado el Bachiller Don Antonio Bedriñana para Preceptor de la citada Catedra de Latinidad y Retorica... "

A Side Story: A Request for a Cannon Repair Shop
The building was really too big for the school and there seemed to be plenty of room available for other uses.

It should be noted that after the fall of Havana to the English in 1762, Spain was under increasing pressure to improve the fortification its colonies by upgrading the existing forts and building new ones which were better equipped than in the past.

Engineer Don Miguel del Corral, representing the Royal Corps of Engineers stated in a request to the Crown that part of the old Convento building could be used temporarily as repair shop for his cannons. However, he admitted that movement of the cannons might cause damage to the cobblestoned streets and noise in the neighborhood. He stressed that it would only be temporary.

In an official report it was stated:

"...On the 22nd of this month, Don Marcos Keating, Comandante of the Royal Corps of Engineers reported on the status of the works of the Cannon fabrication shop which is in bad repair and probably will not withstand the next monsoon season..."

" ... ha ocurrido el 22 del corriente el Comandante del Real Cuerpo de Artillería Don Marcos Keating, haciendome presente, habersele informado, que el referido convento viejo destinado por mi inmediato predecesor para Taller de Maestranza del mismo Cuerpo, y ahora que se hallan al concluirse las Obras necesarias para su uso, se ha mandado entregar de orden mia a disposicion de un Regidor de Veracruz para Academia de Dibujo; y que respecto a que, dejando aparte la ventaja que resulta de la anterior disposicion a los Oficiales y Obreros, no es posible resista a las primeras lluvias el Edificio en que hasta el dia esta situado en el taller, me sirva determinar lo que juzagare del mejor servicio del Rey... "

The Comandante isn´t Exactly Correct
The news from the Comandante is absolutely uncertain, and I shared with him a memorandum of the 25th of this month pointing out that before going forward he needs to be sure of the truth.

" ...Como la noticia dada al Comandante era absolutamente incierta, asi le hice entender en oficio de 25 de este mes; advirtiendole, que si antes de extender su ocurso hubiera procurado asegurarse de la verdad... "
Long Term Repairs not Necessary
It was explained to him that since his cannon repair shop is only temporary due to its location which is ruining the streets and disturbing the neighborhood, that long term repairs to his shop in the building are not very necessary or important at this time.

An Appeal In Closing
What has been explained here, His Majesty will understand from the testimony and realize that the Accounting Department of the Liquidation is working hard, and from now on, I can only beg wholeheartedly that you approve the establishment of the Membership Board and the Escuela Patriótica, and the applications that have been made in its favor, for the great benefit and honor of all that Religion and the State offer.

" Lo extractado hasta aqui comprehenderá plenamente V. Ex. por el testimonio con que daré cuenta a Su Magestad luego se concluya por la Contaduría la Liquidacion que está trabajando con teson; y desde ahora no puedo menos que suplicar encarezidamente a Su Magestad como lo hago por medio de V.E. que en continuacion de su Real Piedad, se digne aprobar el establecimiento de la Sociedad y Escuela Patriotica, y las aplicaciones que se han hecho a su favor, por el gran beneficio y honor que todo ofreze a la Religion y al Estado.
Nro. Sr. que a V.E. ms. as.
Mexico, 27 de Febrero de 1790
Exmo Sr.
El Conde de Revilla Gigedo
Exmo Sor. D. Antonio Porlier

The Viceroy Does Not Approve
My own zeal and sympathy for the Royal Corps of Engineering is strong, however we cannot be indifferent to the sentiments of the people in the community. It is acceptable that he remain but not on a permanent basis.

It would be better in the short term for your Majesty to approve the request of the Escuela Patriotica, but without going beyond the expense of the tents or coverings that the Comandante has requested. Funds from the Hacienda Real should not be spent on this, especially when it is for a short amount of time.

The Fab Shop Could Remain Short Term
The fabrication shop´s location is not appropriate in the Convent for the explanations above. However, the shop can remain at the present location, but for a short period of time, but only repairing the basics necessary to operate temporarily at this location.

There are other places available for the fabrication shop without causing harm to the neighborhood.

" en cuanto sea necesario; y sí, como parece imposible, no fuere capaz de compostura como dice el Comandante, sin expresar los fundamentos que tiene para ello, hay otros Sitios muy adecuados en que puede establecerse sin daño del Vecindario. "

Later Update on Financials
In a later dispatch dated April 26, 1790, the Viceroy of Mexico, el Conde Revilla Gigedo states that in accordance to what was agreed by the Junta Superior on January 27, the Accounting department of the Temporalidades of the Colegio of the Ex-Jesuits state that the funds available at the time of the occupation and what has been produced until now along with the Obras Pias and other burdens ... results in 30,113 pesos, 7 rs 4 granos.

" Conforme a lo acordado por la Junta Superior celebrada el 27 enero ha concluido Contaduria de Temporalidades del Colegio de los ex Jesuitas de Veracruz en que constan los fondos que tenia al tiempo de la ocupacion y lo que han producido hasta ahora; las Obras Pias y demas gravemenes, ...y resulta a favor de Temporalidades 30,113 pesos 7 rs 4 granos.

Mexico, 26 de abril de 1790

Firmado El Conde de Revilla Gigedo

The Rejection
A Stinging Rejection from the Crown
For those days, the response by the Crown was unusually critical.

On August 13, 1791, the Viceroy communicated the following summary to the Junta de Temporalidades in Veracruz:

Severe Rejection of the Mexican Proposal was received from the Crown which centered around these points:

-Not really for poorer classes
-Diverting approved budgeted funds from the Junta Temporalidades without sovereign permission.
-Misused Obras Pias (donations for the poor).
-Gave unnecessary courses such as Latin and First Letters which cost $1,000 pesos beyond the approved budget.
-Amounts spent over the approved budget must be repaid.
-Extremely dissatisfied with the way the Real Hacienda and Office of Temporalidades mishandled the budget.
-Temporalidades is responsible for paying all debts and obligations from pledges, alms, etc.
-The wealthy can give more support to the school
-Mismanaged funds must be returned to the Junta de Temporalidades

The Rejection
More Specifically
Note : How can the Board justify lending support to something like the puerile and useless foundation detailed in the report of the secretary which at the same time, significantly burdens itself in this area with entirely new charges, and without any other purpose or usefulness at the expense of businessmen and wealthy people, which could cause them to give their children this kind of teaching while achieving a symbol to flatter its vanity with distinction by not admitting school children of the poor who will never enter into the class of decent people, leaving them wretchedly abandoned, by only teaching them the first letters.

In truth, the application in its own way, is contrary to the mind of His Majesty, and is even reprehensible and damaging to the Temporalidades, because in addition to having contravened the Board to make it effective, it repeatedly sent orders which were to not be sent, and would not meet sovereign approval.

It has arbitrarily intended to cover not only all leftover donations for the poor, the College of Veracruz, but other free amounts. The Temporalidades of that city is not subject to any specific load and yet His Majesty, as its charitable effect ordered, continued teaching Jesuit courses of Latin and First Letters, providing both establishments, very sufficient to that neighborhood, with
The Rejection
1,000 pesos a year: and with this superabundantly satisfied and fulfilling the generic teaching load that expatriates donated a few small houses and entirely free branch of more obligations.

In this concept, and to guard against that henceforth such applications are promoted, the budget request made the Board to the Patriotic School, is disapproved preventing it by Royal Order which has exceeded its effectiveness against what was expressly commanded in pursuance to reinstate everything that has been released for this establishment and removing only Latin teaching and First Letters as it is resolved.

That S.M. has noted with displeasure the ease with which the Attorney Royal Treasury and the Office of Temporalidades have agreed to this application, and that it successively must understand that the Temporalidades are generally responsible for the satisfaction of which wants debts, censuses, and other charges of all and each of the schools, and consequently is not enough cause to make applications which are left over in one, because they must be satisfied with the obligations of others:
Viceroy's Response to the Crown
Finally, S.M. sees no problems in applying usefully the Convento Viejo given by the Augustinians to Temporalidades, who provided it without cost.

Viceroy's Response to the Crown
As a Warehouse
A Response to Veracruz
After the Viceroy's response to Crown, in late 1791, the Viceroy gave an additional response about the correction of the situation at the Escuela Patriótica de Veracruz.

A year later, in a final communiqué, dated Apri 30, 1792, he explained to the crown that the misappropriated funds from the Escuela Patriótica would be reimbursed to the Junta de Temporalidades.

No one was at fault. They were simply overcome with zeal to serve the community of Veracruz with a "public school" the Crown would be proud of.

The Building until a Few Years Ago
And that is how it ended. The building continued in the hands of a few Augustinians until expropriation by Benito Juarez, and sales to private owners in the 1850's.

In the early 1900´s, the building became a department store and home for the owner and his family for several years, until the Mexican Revolution. Later the former altar was chopped off to open a new street to the Malecon, and the other half had become a hotel.
A "For Sale" Sign
After that for many years, the main part of the building functioned as a warehouse for a beer distributorship.

The End of an Interesting Story
So, when you walk the streets of downtown Veracruz, sometimes you don´t know the importance of what you are looking at, or the struggles the people of the past endured to make Veracruz a more civilized place to live.

Yet, it is difficult to hide greatness and it´s something you feel when you see these once magnificent buildings where many secrets must still be hiding.

And that is the story of the First "Public School" in Mexico which was unexpectedly found in the Spanish Archives in Madrid.

If you´ll only look, I´m sure there are other lost stories to be found in the Archives of Spain. As for me, I´ll keep looking!

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