1-ctruary 27, 1974
The Municipal Council
Courtesy of El Escribano
Published by the
St. Augustine Historical Society
By authority of the constitution proclaimed in Spain,
St. Augustine was governed from November 8, 1812 until
January 18, 1815, by a council composed of the governor, a
mayor, and five aldermen.
The first mayor was Don Geronimo Alverez, and the
aldermen were Don Francisco Pons, Don Eusebio Gomez,
Don Fernando de la Maza Arrendondo (the younger), Don
Vicente Llarena, and Don Francisco de Rovira. At their
first meeting these gentlemen appointed Don Bernardo
Jose Segui as secretary. He took office the following day,
replacing Don Antonio Alverez, who had acted as
secretary pro tem.
The council met each Monday morning at 8 o'clock at
the residence of the governor, there being no municipal
Senor Arredondo was appointed senior alderman in
charge of public funds, and four citizens were appointed
officer in charge of the four wards of the town, taking
office on November 16.
At this meeting a report was received from Don
Guillermo Lawrence who had collected 102 pesos from
various citizens in celebration of the adoption of the
constitution, for relief of the poor. Lawrence was im-
mediately appointed to make distribution to needy
families, excepting any who might be related to members
of the council, and also those who were already receiving
alms from the government.
The secretary was awarded a salary of 180 pesos per
annum, which included the cost of paper and other
necessities pertinent to his office.
The council met regularly, attending to various local
problems, reading and archiving communications, and
regulating school affairs, public health, street repairs and
Today, Constitution Monument, in the plaza, remains
as tangible evidence of the efforts of the municipal
council. It was erected pursuant to a royal decree dated
August 14, 1812, received in St. Augustine January 25,
1813. By this same decree the public square was named
"Plaza de la Constitucion."
Alderman Arrendondo and Rovira were appointed a
committee to present a plan and estimate of cost. Weeks
went by without a report, although the subject was
discussed periodically by the council. On July 27, 1813,
Arredondo reported that he had only about 150 pesos on
hand, and that he did not care to assume the supervision
of the project because it could not be done with ap-
propriate grandeur for a memorial of "such an exquisite
and glorious day as that of the publication of our Holy
Constitution." He therefore wishes to be excused from the
committee. Mayor Alvarez and Alderman Gomez were
chosen to replace him.
The design for an obelisk 30 feet in height was
presented for approval on August 2. Alvarez asked per-
mission to use the coquina rubble from the old Bishop's
Palace as these ruins were in danger of being ap-
propriated to private use.
At this same meeting, Secretary Segui asked to be
excused from office due to pressure of private business
and inability to write because of some trouble with his
right hand. Don Juan de Entralgo was appointed to
succeed him, and accepted the position, provided the
salary be raised to 240 pesos annually, which was granted.
Also, a royal decree dated March 15, 1813, was read and
archived, ordering that there be a celebration on March 19
every year in memory of the publication of the con-
stitution. Appropriate ceremony, a parade,- general
illumination, salvos of artillery and a solemn Te Deum
were to be the order of the day.
The terms of Alvarez, Gomez, Rovira and Llarena
Please Turn to Page 5
a Adults $1.00
Ii Children .75
Idest City. A
i ir hll l r F o.t IV 1
expired the first of .January, 1814. They were replaced by
]on .Jose Sanchez, mayor, Don Jose Mariano Hernandez
and Don Pedro Rodriguez de-Cala, aldermen, and Don
,Jose Iernardo Reyes, who succeeded Don Francisco de
lRovira as sindico procurador.
The obelish was finally completed the latter part of
January, and on February 14, 1814, Alvarez and Gomez
presented their account for approval, in the amount of 145
pesos :3'0 reales, which was passed to lieyes for
examination. is 'corrections reduced the figure by 4
pesos and the balance was approved for payment. The
tools used for construction were returned to be sold, and
the proceeds deposited in the treasury.
Although Senor Arredondo had refused to serve on the
committee lor construction of the monument, it seems he
was not unwilling to accept credit for its erection, as may
be seen by the text of the tablet:
PLAZA DE LA CONSTITUTION
Proclaimed in this city of St. Augustine, E. Florida
On the 17th of Octoberr 1812
During the Governorship of
Brigadier Don Sebastian Kindelan
Knight of the Order of Santiago
The Constitutional Council has raised this monument
As an everlasting memorial
Under the supervision of
Don Fernando de la Maza Arredondo, the Younger,
Dean of the Council, and
Don Francisco Robira
T'he tablet did not remain long on the monument. On
September 15, 1814, the daily paper from Havana was
received and the aldermen read that similar tablets had
been removed from the monuments in various set-
tlements, and that others had been substituted with the
f TIv \Vi I ciliiei )
B110OTING A.LLIGATOi 1 ON TIH ST. JOINS.
inscription "Plaza de Fernando Septimo."
No formal instruction had been receive here, but
rahter than be accused of procrastination, Alderman
Francisco lons was ordered to remove the tablet from the
monument in the plaza forthwith.
The royal cedula dated at Madrid, July 30, 1814, was
not received here until January 18, 1815. By its terms the
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( olltiniluel Ilronl 0 'Page
dissolution of the constitutional government was
declared, and the local council was likewise dissolved.
On May 4, 1820, the council was recreated as the result
of the reproclamation of the constitution of 1812. On May
11, the tablet was replaced on the monument "with all
ceremonies and majesty" that the act required.
Don Jose Coppinger was then governor of East
Florida, and he called the available former alderman
together in extraordinary meeting. Don Francisco Pons
was absent from the city, and the former mayor, Don Jose
Sanchez had passed away: Don Fernando de la Maza
Arredondo, the younger, was elected mayor pro tem, and
the new officers were chosen for the four wards.
Three days of celebration began on September 25,
1820, honoring the republication of the constitution; Triple
Salvos of artillery, ringing of bells, illuminations and
decoration were accompanied by "all the diversions and
rejoicings that are legal and not opposed to the public
In 1953 the St. Augustine Historical Society had a
Heruclite glass frame placed over the original marble
tablet on Constitution Monument, to protect it from
damage and erosion. A replica of the original tablet was
placed on the west side of the monument, and a bronze
placque, with inscriptions in Spanish and English was
installed on the base in 1955.
A1" U a A A A f 01%
Ulysses From Australia Visits College
By Jeannette Perrin His agency will specialize in rs with himself as
guide, he expects, and he may io write a book about his
Philip Bambrick of Australia, a contemporary experiences which can used as a guidebook for
Ulysses or Do Quixote, is really a man of the world. You travelers. Since he s s three languages fluently,
may have seen him crossing the Bridge of Lions last Spanish, French a erman, in addition of course to
Friday carrying a banner indicating that around the English, he can serve as a translator. While in Brazil,
world from Austrailia was his destination. At that time his he added, he rned enough Portuguese to communicate,
immediate destination was Flagler College where he but he di t ry to learn Norwegian. It isn't necessary
spent some time over the weekend telling the students anyw he explained, since English is the second
about his travels and his native country. They, in turn, lan age in that country as in many others now.
helped him to make a quick acquaintance with St. Mr. Bambrick explained that in his mode of travel,
Augustine and Mr. Bambrick agreed with the Spaniards and by living and working in various lands, he has been
that St. Augustine was a great discovery. fortunate to meet all kinds of people. The familiar, and
During the past six years Mr. Bambrick has trav d trite, adage that people are the same the world over is
in 60 countries all over the world on what started o o be true, he said, with only superficial differences. For
a global trip in preparation for opening his travel example, in the United States he has found people to be
agency in Sydney, his home town. If his ev al agency more spontaneous and less reticent. They are friendly and
clients become as fascinated by travel e has, there eager to learn. As for the country itself, it is more com-
will be Australians wandering all ove e world. Which mercialized than others, he added, and seems to be less
wouldn't be such a good idea si as Mr. Bambrick concerned politically.
explained, one of Australia's oblems is its small Discussing his own country, he emphasized the need
population. Although the ea of the country ap- for more people in Australia. Homesteading is en-
proximates that of the Uni States, the entire population courage there, he said, but only those who are qualified
is only 13 million. by professional or other vocational training can qualify.
The obvious que on of how such a nomadic existence Contrary to the picture of kangaroos and semi-desert,
can be financed s easily answered by Mr. Bambrick, Australia is a beautiful country of mountains, ranch land,
who incident is no hippie-at-large. He can be a man of lakes and beaches with a climate which varies from
the world om "down under" via the cheapest tran- tropical in the northern section to temperate in the south.
sportat and lowest rates, everything from freighter to The cities are very similar to this country, he said.
hitc ing. He also lives and works awhile in many of the Although Mr. Bambrick has literally seen the world, he
co tries he visits, earning his way as he goes. In Florida would choose to live right where he started from and
Shas been hitchhiking, down the west coast and up the hopes that other travelers will discover Australia.
east coast with the nation's oldest city his destination .