Manuel Abad y Queipo

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Manuel Abad y Queipo
Diocese Michoacán, México
Installed 1810 (not confirmed)
Term ended 1824
Predecessor Marcos de Moriana y Zafrilla
Successor Juan Cayetano Gómez de Portugal y Solís
Personal details
Born c. 1751
Villarpedre, Asturias
Died 1824
Toledo, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Denomination Roman Catholic

Manuel Abad y Queipo (ca. 1751, Villarpedre, Asturias – 1824, Toledo) was a Spanish Roman Catholic Bishop of Michoacán (now Morelia) in the Viceroyalty of New Spain at the time of the Mexican War of Independence.

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Asturias in the 18th century, Manuel Abad y Queipo obtained his baccalaureate in law and canon law from the University of Salamanca. Thereafter he went to Guatemala with Bishop Monroy. In Guatemala he was ordained a priest. Beginning in 1784 he resided in Valladolid (Morelia), where Bishop Antonio San Miguel made him a judge in a canon law court. In 1805 he obtained a doctorate in canon law from the University of Guadalajara. On the death of Bishop San Miguel, the Council of the Indies named him canon of the cathedral of Valladolid, a position which he held until 1815.

Political activity in the Viceroyalty of New Spain[edit]

In 1799 he wrote to King Charles IV a report entitled Representación al rey, sobre immunidades del clero (Description to the King, of the Immunities of the Clergy). In this document he outlined the social and political situation in New Spain and explained the symptoms of discontent. He proposed the general abolition of tribute levied on the Indigenous; the free distribution of royal lands; agrarian land reform in Mexico that would permit poor people to obtain 20- or 30-year "leases" on uncultivated land belonging to the large landowners, but without paying rent; and the right to establish cotton and woolen mills.

In 1804 he opposed Godoy's Cédula de la Caja de Consolidación. This order was the equivalent of disentailment of the church because it ordered the transfer of income from the religious estates and foundations to the government. In 1805 and 1807 he forwarded two other reports to the king.

Bishop of Michoacán[edit]

In 1807 he traveled to Spain to seek his habilitation, since his status as an illegitimate child prohibited his promotion to the higher levels of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. He returned to New Spain in the position of vicar general.

In 1810 the Regency (the Spanish government fighting the French invasion) named him bishop-elect of Michoacán. He took over the diocese before the arrival of the pontifical bull confirming his position. The pope did not approve his nomination, and thus the bull never arrived.

During the insurrection against Spain[edit]

He strongly and energetically opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain. He had been, however, a friend of Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Revolutionary army that began in 1810, and he sought the friendship of members of the revolutionary juntas of Valladolid and San Miguel el Grande.

Still, on 24 September 1810, Abad y Queipo published the decree excommunicating insurgents Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Mariano Abasolo for "disturbances of the public order, corrupting the public, sacrilege [and] perjury", according to the canon Siquis suadente Diabolo. The insurgents disputed the legality of the excommunication, based on the lack of papal approval of Abad y Queipo's appointment.

In 1815 Abad y Queipo sent another report to the king (Ferdinand VII now), denouncing the mistakes of Viceroy Félix María Calleja and the lack of prudence of Lardizábal, minister of the Indies. After this he was recalled to Spain, on the pretext of giving information about the independence movement, but really to respond to the complaints against him concerning his "liberal and beneficent ideas in favor of the Americas and their inhabitants".

Return to Spain[edit]

He obtained an interview with Ferdinand VII, who not only pardoned him, but named him Minister of Grace and Justice in the royal government. This occurred on 24 June 1816, but on 27 June the Inquisition brought its case again, accusing Abad y Queipo of being a friend of the insurgents, living an irreligious life, and holding revolutionary ideas. He was imprisoned two months in the jail of the Inquisition.

The Spanish revolution of 1820 designated him a member of the provisional junta, charged with overseeing the conduct of King Ferdinand. Later he was a deputy to the Cortes for the province of Asturias. Even later he was named bishop of Tortosa, but once again the papal bull confirming his position did not arrive.

In 1824 came the absolutist reaction, after Ferdinand was again restored to the throne. Abad y Queipo was now old and deaf, but he was imprisoned again, this time in the monastery of Sisla, in Toledo. He died a prisoner in 1824.


Many of his writings were published in Semanario Político y Literario (Political and Literary Seminar) and in Observador de la República Mexicana (Observer of the Mexican Republic). The Colección de escritos más importantes (Collection of the Most Important Writings) was published in Mexico City in 1813. His "Testamento político" ("Political Testament") was published in the Historia of Lucas Alamán.

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