approximately 15,000 in the first half of the eighteenth century to approximately 12,000 at the time of independence.
But despite these losses, not all of the orders suffered equally. Those with substantial endowments, such as the Dominicans, the Jesuits (until their expulsion) and the Augustinians refocused their efforts on education and continued to be a force in urban areas where they had always been strong. The Franciscans, on the other hand, lacked any endowments to cushion the financial blow. In 1786, the Commissary General of the Order, visiting the Mexican provinces, reported that friars in the urban convents had little to occupy their time and lived in barbarous conditions. Low morale, he noted, had led to a decline of vocations.
Yet not even all Franciscan provinces declined equally. While research demonstrates that the Franciscan order in Peru had almost disappeared by the time of independence and that vocations declined precipitously in Central Mexico, the western Mexican provinces of Jalisco and Michoacan, where the colegios of Propaganda Fide were located, recovered their numbers and were opening new urban priories by the end of the eighteenth century. As a result the total number ofFranciscans did not decline dramatically until the very end of the colonial period.
Although the church functioned in Portugal much like its counterpart in Spain, the Portuguese experience in Brazil differed in fundamental ways from the Spanish experience. The most important distinction was that the church remained a missionary church in Brazil for much longer than it did in Spain's colonies. A combination of low numbers of local vocations that kept the diocesan church dependent on priests from Portugal, the appointment of bishops from Portugal, and a relative lack of urban settlement, kept diocesan structures poorly developed. The Inquisition, for example, was never established in the colony and no inquisitors sent from Portugal investigated religious conditions between the early seventeenth century and i763.
In this environment the religious orders, particularly the Jesuits, dominated both the mission fields and the religious culture of urban Brazil. Thus, when the spirit of reform touched the ministers of the Portuguese monarchs, it was directed almost entirely at the regular orders, with a particular focus on the Jesuits themselves. This reform movement coincided with the reign of Joseph I (1750-77) and his chief minister, the Marques de Pombal. Pombal saw Jesuit resistance to royal policy, particularly their overt hostility to the Treaty of
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