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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GARCES, Julian (gar'-thes), Mexican R. C. bishop, born in Munebrega, Aragen, in 1457; died in Puebla, Mexico, 11 December 1547. He belonged to a distinguished family, and in his youth entered the Dominican order in San Pedro de Calatayud. His superiors sent him to France to perfect his studies, and he was graduated as doctor of theology of the Sorbonne in 1488. In 1497 he was appointed by Isabella I. professor at Alcala, and at the same time acquired fame as one of the principal pulpit orators of the kingdom. Charles V. made him his chaplain and court-preacher, and in 1519 appointed him to the bishopric of Yucatan, but, owing to continuous warfare with the Indians, that see was not constituted till many years afterward, and in 1526 Garces was assigned to the newly created bishopric of Tlaxcala, the third in the New World since the discovery. He was consecrated at Badajoz in 1527, and in February, 1529, took possession of the see. He converted and baptized many thousand Indians, and from the beginning constituted himself a zealous defender of the race, representing to the emperor the unhappy condition of the aborigines, and even trying to interest the pope in their favor by his open letter of 1536, of which a translation has been published by Davila in his history. This letter was much commented on, as it revealed for the first time in Europe the true state of affairs in the New World, and excited the apprehension of the government, so that Charles V. wrote an autograph letter to Garces, admonishing him to avoid for the future public discussion of American affairs. Garces, however, continued his course in favor of the Indians, although with less publicity, and to his endeavors with the authorities was probably due the more merciful policy that was observed toward the Indians of Mexico, and their liberty from the servitude imposed on Peruvian Indians. During Garces's administration the City of Puebla de los Angeles was founded, to which he transferred the seat of the bishopric. He wrote a commentary on the works of St. Augustin, the manuscript of which existed in 1824 in the library of Tlaxcala. According to the historian, Ferdinand Denis, there exists also at the library of the Escorial (Madrid) a manuscript history of the conquest of Mexico by Garces.
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