Spain was the third country to suppress the Society. Wishing to avoid the tiresome ecclesiastical dance of visitations and papal legates in Portugal, and the labyrinthine legal wrangling in France, the Spanish moved quickly, secretly and executed a coordinated campaign of ruthless efficiency. Today, 246 years ago, the wrath of the Spanish King reached New Spain. There were over 2000, Jesuits in Mexico with a network of extensive missions and colleges – the fruits of the work of generations of dedicated and generous men, and with the flourish of a quill, the colleges were emptied, the Jesuits exiled, even the substantial number of indigenous vocation.
The carrying out of the king's mandate in the provinces of New Spain (including the Philippines as well) fell to the lot of the Marquis de Croix the viceroy. An able man, with a taste for good food and wine, his wine cellar famous throughout New Spain. His resourcefulness and cunning was well known- his reputation enhanced with stories that had followed him from Spain. Summoned before the inquisition, he took the precaution of bringing with him a squad of soldiers and fourteen cannon. With his men stationed around the inquisitorial building, he gave orders that if more than fifteen minutes elapsed from the time he entered the building until he reappeared again, they were to fire upon and demolish the entire structure. The Inquisitors decided prudently not to prolong their investigations.
The instructions he received from the King were clear, thorough and ruthless. “I invest you with my whole authority and royal power that you shall forthwith repair with an armed force to the houses of the Jesuits. You will seize the persons of all of them and despatch them within twenty-four hours as prisoners to the port of Vera Cruz, where they will be embarked on vessels provided for that purpose. At the very moment of such arrest you will cause to be sealed the records of said houses and the papers of such persons, without allowing them to remove anything but their prayer books and such garments as are absolutely necessary for the journey. If after the embarkation there should be found in that district a single Jesuit even if ill or dying you shall suffer the penalty of death. Yo el Rey”. [Bancroft, History of Mexico, Vol. III. p. 439]