?Madrid: n.p., 1750.
Broadside: 43 x 31 cm.
A very rare and attractive broadside papal bull. A fine, crisp copy, untrimmed, with horizontal fold and a few light creases. With blank (“unaccomplished”) spaces where the name of the purchaser and the date are to be written. With five woodcuts: Saints Paul and Francis, the arms of the reigning pope (Pope Benedict XIV), the arms and xylographic signature of Francisco Pérez de Prado y Cuesta (1678-1755), Commissar General of the Holy Crusade and Grand Inquisitor; and the cross of el Consejo y Comisaría de Cruzada (Council and Commissariat of the Crusade).
This crusade bull grants indulgences to inhabitants of the Viceroyalty of Peru and Tierra Firme (encompassing regions in present-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Jamaica, etc.) who take part in the crusade against the Ottoman Turks and other infidels for a period of one year. Those who cannot personally take part may also gain the indulgence by contributing money for the crusade, or by paying for someone to enlist on their behalf. This bull, originally issued by Pope Urban VIII (1623-44), is here reconfirmed by Pope Benedict XIV.
The "bull of the crusade" ("bula de la cruzada") had been granted to Iberian monarchs since the Middle Ages. While the original objective was to motivate the knights and nobility to take up arms, by the late fifteenth-century the crusade bull was modified to permit almsgiving as an alternative to soldiering. The money raised was then used to fund professional armies. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the sale of crusade indulgences funded Spanish campaigns in north Africa, against the Dutch Protestants, the Turks, the English, and in the New World.
The printed broadside (buleta) functioned both as a promise of indulgence and as a receipt. A blank space has been left for the name of the purchaser, who will pay alms of two Spanish silver reales.
The indulgence ends with a list of churches in Rome where, on specified days, the pilgrim may gain various indulgences, including, in certain instances, the release of a soul from Purgatory. Those guilty of heresy cannot benefit from the indulgence.
The bull is signed by Bishop Francisco Pérez de Prado y Cuesta (1678-1755), Commissar General of the Holy Crusade and Grand Inquisitor.
The Council and Commissariat of the Crusade (Consejo y Comisaría de Cruzada) had advisory, judicial and government powers to manage the income from the bull of the crusade on behalf of the Spanish Crown.