THE IRISH MAN WHO WANTED TO BECOME A VICEROY

On October 26, 1642, the lords of the Inquisition were requested by the accusation that was presented by Captain Felipe Mendez against Guillen de Lampart, Irish resident of Mexico City and with an address in the house of the Counts, by the area of La Merced in the city. Mendez had said that Lampart thought about being viceroy of the New Spain next year. He even showed the letters directed to the Pope and to the King of France (that controlled Spain around that time). He assured that he would give freedom to Indians, blacks, and mixed men, with the purpose of gaining their support.

He also confided him his noble origin: Lampart was product of the love of Felipe III and an Irishwoman whose husband had died while the couple was in Madrid. Worried about his education, the king Felipe sent him to a school of noble boys in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and after that to the major college of San Lorenzo del Real, so he could follow his ecclesiastic career, but Lampart preferred the secular life. On trip to Rome he kissed the pontiff’s hand and received the papal blessing. He traveled through the whole world, until he was captured by some Englishmen with whom he navigated for some time as a pirate. He went back to Spain and became aware of Felipe IV’s tyranny over the New Spain that according to Lampart wasn’t his and he hadn’t conquered it either.

Guillen de Lampart’s plan was the following: At the arrival of the Count of Salvatierra, the new viceroy would show him some fake royal certificates that will accredit him as the new viceroy. He would force the audience to admit that the Count was a traitor a few months into his term as viceroy, he would free all the slaves and they would proclaim him as king. Then he would open commerce with France, Holland, England and Portugal, so that his reign was very prosperous due to seriousness of the matter and despite that on Sunday the tribunal was summoned to reach an agreement.

Even though the accusation corresponded more to the common statute and not so much to the jurisdiction of the Holy Office, Lampart was accused of having committed many and different felonies against the holy catholic faith, using forbidden things like the judiciary astrology and the peyote (which is desert plant from which toxic drug is extracted), to know future happenings depending on freedom of choice, God reserved means of healing and cures for some superstitious illnesses in which he necessarily had to have a pact with the devil. One night Lampart, who was 26 years old was apprehended in his house and the officers picked and inventoried all the papers. In effect, there were false certificates, letters to European monarchs enemies of the Spanish crown and personal lyrical production, like poems or political pamphlets.

The men from the Inquisition sent a letter to the council of the Indies in the peninsula, with detailed investigations about the case. The council turned the matter over to the king, who decided that the tribunal should judge only what their business was and ordered Doctor Andres Gomez, judge of the Royal Audition, who would be in charge of the Irishman. Like the Holy Office was passed over from the case, they appealed against the Holy Inquisition of Spain to present it to the king again, the seriousness of the matter, that was the struggle of powers in action: who was going judge the case (the royal authority or the religious one) the clergy won; The king sent a second letter in which he saw the inconvenience of giving Mr. Guillen to the secular law, he ordered that the supreme law of the church decided everything. Proud of their triumph, the Holy Inquisition began the process against the happy conspirator.

The Inquisitors rebuilt the true origin of the Irishman with the declarations of the people who knew him. One of the most important testimonies was the one by the religious Franciscan, Juan de Lampart, brother if the accused, in reality Guillen was the son of a Irish merchant and had received a diligent education from an Agustine. He spoke Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin and Greek; He knew about math, philosophy, theology, and Roman law; He had read a great quantity of classic poets and he possessed a prodigious memory, he recited complete paragraphs from the Bible and other holy texts.

He traveled to New Spain, along with the servants of the Marquis of Villena and worked in the kitchen of the Royal Palace. Tired of the soot of the pots and pans and of the little edifying conversations he held with his colleagues, he decided to change his job and he dedicated himself to give Latin classes to the sons of the scribe from the municipal council. In this manner he got to be a guest in the houses of the town hall where they lived for many years. In the middle of councilmen, mayors, notaries and other public functionaries, he became familiarized with the imparting of justice, with the abuses against the weak and political intrigues.

His great talent and exaggerated imagination would lead him to dream with being powerful and big, the young man got to believe that he almost had a divine mission: He should defend the weak and knock down the mighty, the people wished to rise against the tyrant, but they needed a wise and daring liberator. His megalomania made him believe that he was destined to execute such noble ideal. Once the scribe that protected him died, Lampart had to move to the neighborhood of La Merced. He led an ordinary life: He visited the religious people in convents, he wooed principal ladies, he talked to Indians so he could be kept informed of the natural remedies, and he visited astrologers and sorcerers frequently. Locked in a tenement room, surrounded by rough drafts, he traced the plans of the Emancipation of Mexico, he wrote letters to archbishops and cardinals asking for help but the requests never left his desk.

Eight long years had spent Lampart in his jail cell of the Holy Office, when he started complaining about seeing diabolic and spooky visions, which made him, request a mate to share his loneliness with. Whether it was a preconceived or an inspired idea by the occasion, as soon as Diego Pinto got his cell, the Irishman started planning his escape. He received the promise of Pinto to help him. The telling of Lampart’s noble origin convinced him of the hate felt towards the Inquisitors and as a bruising argument he offered Pinto thousands of gold pesos in reward. Every night Lampart and Pinto loosened up the bars in the window. They would try and escape the 25th of December while everybody else was busy partying. Since the 13th of December, Lampart started writing some lampoons that he was going to hand out after their escape.

The chosen day arrived; at 8 P.M., after dinner, they took the bars off the windows. Guillen took care of erasing the prints with broom so that their escape would be branded as miraculous. They ran to the cathedral where Guillen put up two posters in the main doors, and then at the height of his audacity, he went to the Royal Palace to leave one for the viceroy. The guard did not let him pass, but the Irishman declared to be a royal messenger, proceeding from Havana and said to had been carrying gifts. With his ability and self-assurance as characteristics, he arrived to the doors of the viceroy’s room, he insisted in the importance of the document, and even though the guard was reluctant since it was three in the morning and his excellency had just gone to sleep because he had been gambling, ended up convincing him of delivering the lampoon in the act.

Naturally, at 7 in the morning, the viceroy and the Inquisitors were gathered together writing out an edict that had to be read in the 47 temples of the city. At 12 noon Francisco Garnica presented himself to accuse Lampart that had entered into his house to hide from the authorities. An hour and a half later the fugitive was tied up, gagged and back to the jail of the Inquisition.

Now the occupation was to pick up the lampoons and infamous document that denounced the atrocities of the Holy Office. The edict of December 31, 1650 made whoever had those documents give them back to the authorities. But the viceroy resisted himself from giving back the 18 documents that Lampart had left for him, maybe because they were extremely interesting for the civil power.

The viceroy had to go under a threat of excommunication and for that he received a royal reprimand, the King Felipe IV protested, due to the fact that civil authority should not have been diminished with the documents being unwary that they belonged to public cause and it was only their business. They pointed out that at least he should have kept some copies. For the safety of the Holy Office, Lampart was kept in prison for 9 years.

Nothing moved to pity for the Inquisition, not even the hunger, or the abandonment of neither the prisoner, nor the physical suffering that was caused by a wound received in a second attempt of escaping. He was sentenced to burn in the bonfire and he died on November 19, 1659.

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