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Charles III: Expulsion of the Jesuits (1767)

Having accepted the opinion of the members of my Royal Council in Extraordinary, which met on the 29th of last January for consultation concerning past occurrences and concerning matters which persons of the highest character have reported to me; moved by very grave causes relative to the obligation under which I find myself placed of maintaining my people in subordination, tranquility, and justice, and other urgent, just, and necessary reasons, which I reserve in my royal mind; making use of the supreme economical authority, which the Almighty has placed in my hands for the protection of my vassals, and the respect of my crown; I have ordered that the Jesuits be expelled from all my dominions of Spain, the Indies, and Philippine Islands, and other adjacent regions, priests as well as coadjutors or lay-brothers, who may have made the first profession, and the novices, who may wish to follow them; and that all the properties of the Society in my dominions be taken; and for the uniform execution of this decree throughout these dominions I give you full and exclusive authority; and that you may form the necessary instructions and orders, according to your best judgment, and what you may think the most effective, expeditious, and peaceful method for carrying out these instructions and orders. And I wish that not only the magistrates and superior tribunals of these kingdoms may execute your mandates punctually, but that the same understanding may be entertained concerning those which you may direct to the viceroys, presidents, audiencias, governors, corregidores, alcaldes mayores, and any other magistrates of those kingdoms and provinces; and that in response to their respective requests, all troops, militia or civilian, shall render the necessary assistance, without any delay or evasion, under pain of the delinquent's falling under my royal indignation; and I charge the provincials, presidents, rectors, and other superiors of the Society of Jesus to accept these provisions punctually, and in carrying them out the Jesuits shall be treated with the greatest regard, attention, honesty, and assistance, so that in every respect the action taken may be in conformity with my sovereign intentions. You will keep this in mind for its exact fulfillment, as I very confidently expect from your zeal, activity, and love of my royal service; and to this end you will give the necessary orders and instructions, accompanying them with copies of my royal decree, which being signed by you shall be given the same faith and credit as the original.

Translation by Bernard Moses, from Bernard Moses, Spain's Declining Power in South America, 1730-1806 (Berkeley, Calif., 1919), pp. 104-106.

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