The Visita Begins

After the monarch named him Visitador in 1765, Gálvez set off on the long journey from Spain to Mexico. Upon arrival, he had many tasks that pulled him in multiple directions. To help the Visitador fulfill all of these responsibilities, the monarch had supplied Gálvez with a small team of scribes, accountants, and assistants. Together, they tackled a variety of issues, from major institutional reform to localized rule changes.

"Instrucción provisional para el arreglo en la administración y manejo de las rentas y derechos de Su Majestad en la nueva ciudad de Veracruz," página 6
"Provisional instruction for the arrangement in the administration and management of the income and rights of His Majesty in the new city of Veracruz," page 6

For example, on February 11, 1767, the Visitador published a lengthy book of regulations specifically catered to the city of Veracruz. This document was comprehensive. It addressed taxes, shipping procedures, and notarial practices in a high level of detail. Towards the end of this rulebook, Gálvez assigned salaries to individual officials; he assigned an annual salary of 1000 pesos to the governor and 500 pesos to the Assessor.

As a major port city, Veracruz was a crucial concern for the Spanish Crown. Gálvez had the responsibility of ensuring that commerce and shipping functioned efficiently in order to secure profitability. However, the Visitador understood that for a city’s industries to run properly, the rest of the government needed to be in top shape, too. Supervising salary assignments was one aspect of that plan. To fulfill their duties of securing order, justice, and production, city officials needed adequate pay.

By the end of the year, Gálvez was working on another issue: church taxes. The monarch had a responsibility to ensure that churches were converting local people and maintaining Catholic values. As the king’s representative in New Spain, Gálvez took on that duty. An important part of this larger mission was monitoring the churches’ alms collection. On December 8, he signed an order about the exact amounts that churches had to collect and submit to the royal treasury.

Gálvez sometimes utilized the printing press to facilitate distribution of orders to local governments.