MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Documents (Loose)
COMPONENTS: 4p. Manuscript document. In black ink.
CONDITION: Light dampstain in the lower margin, barely affecting text. Very good condition. 
NOTES: Curious document, from the perspective of a debt collector that provides insight on the colonial life in the City of Mexico on the early 19th century.
ITEM ID: 3204
  • Artwork
  • Artwork
  • Artwork
  • Artwork

Post a comment

Accounts of Debt Collector in Colonial Mexico

Year: 1804
Decade: 1800s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)
Notes: 1st  of March, 1804

Juan Antonio Gomez – Administrator and general attorney of rents of the “Archicofradia del Santisimo Sacramento de la Santa Iglesia Catedral.” Accounts receivable of the Cathedral of Mexico City. Accounts to be presented to the rector and deputies of the Cathedral of the debts of the tenants of properties owned by the Cathedral. Gomez, makes ample remarks on the deep emotional load that implies the debt collection: “Ningún individuo puede comprender… la imposibilidad de cobrar sin mayores quebrantos, una suma tan crecida como es la de 182,583.5 fiada por necesidad a innumerables familias, mayormente si se atiende a que todas o casi todas son pobres, atenidas a la cortedad de sus respectivos oficios y destinos, faltas de ocupación en diversas temporadas, sufriendo muchas, y tal vez dilatadas enfermedades, muerte y otros extraordinarios atrasos y desgracias casualidades, que solo se tocan con la practica material de las cobranzas…”(No individual can understand … the impossibility of collecting debts without major grief, a sum so swollen as that of 182,583.5 given without payment by necessity to  countless families, mostly when we consider that all or nearly all are poor, liable to the shortness of their respective crafts and destinations, lacking of occupation in different seasons, suffering many, and perhaps dilated illness, death and other extraordinary misfortunes, delays and accidents, which are only know when one practices the debt collection…” Goméz follows in describing the personal situation of 4 different tenants that owe their rents. Explicitly describing their misfortunes and struggle to pay:“(Maria Camarena)  ha siempre pagado con morosidad, porque su marido Bernardo Bustamante es official de sastre que ha padecido muchas temporadas de reumatismo…”(Maria Camarena – has always paid late because her husband Bernardo Bustamante, official tailor, has had many seasons of rheumatism …”Gomez ends his report that the debtors have always expressed an eagerness to pay, and considers that “changing” tenants does not deliver any advantage; in his experience new tenants are generally poor  and vicious  with bad intentions, that move out without being seen and wind up robing the place. Thus, he prefers long-time tenants than new ones.