Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PERALTA, Gaston de (pay-ral'-tah), Marquis de Falces, viceroy of Mexico, born in Navarre about 1520: died in Valladolid about 1580. He was descended from the ancient royal family of Navarre. After the death of the second viceroy, Luis de Velasco, in 1564, the audiencia was governing New Spain when the so-called conspiracy of the Marquis del Valle began. As the audiencia was proceeding illegally and condemned many of the conspirators to death without sufficient proofs, King Philip II. appointed Peralta viceroy, and hurried his departure to arrange the difficulties in Mexico. The viceroy arrived in Vera Cruz, 17 September, 1566, and, being of kind and just desposition, dispatched a messenger at once to suspend the execution of Luis Cortes. He entered Mexico on 19 October, and after hearing much testimony was convinced that the judges of the audiencia had acted with undue haste. He therefore sent to Spain the principal persons that were under sentence to be judged there. One of his first measures for the benefit of the country was the establishment of a hospital; but he had incurred the hatred of the supreme judges, and, suppressing the viceroy's despatches for Spain, they accused him of partiality toward the Marquis del Valle, and even of an intention to usurp the crown of New Spain. The king at once despatched the judges Mufioz and Carrillo as visitors to Mexico, with an order to Peralta to deliver the government to Mufioz and appear at court to justify his conduct. Toward the end of 1567 Peralta gave up the executive to the commissioners, and went to San Juan de Ulua to arrange his affairs. Mufioz immediately began such a series of cruelties that, in consequence of universal complaints, the king ordered him to deliver the government to the audiencia within thirteen hours after the receipt of the order, and return to Spain. Peralta and Munoz sailed on the same vessel in May, 1568, and the latter was badly received, and died soon afterward, while Peralta fully justified his conduct and was appointed lord constable of Navarre.
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