|Dominga de Soto
Letter from Domingo de Sotomayor, pseudonym of Fray Diego Galindo, to Dominga de Soto.
Domingo de Sotomayor writes to Dominga de Soto to inform her about a number of letters he has received from her cousin. He declares his disapproval regarding some actions from her cousin and he informs her about some money that he is sending. He also takes the opportunity to say hello to some people from Dominga’s environment. Eventually, he elaborates on the way letters should be addressed to Fray Diego Galindo.
In 1691 the second lieutenant Andrés Rojo addressed a brief to the Council to report some criminal offences affecting a number of neighbours from Barcia de Santa María. He specifically accused the sisters Dominga and María de Soto of cohabitation and procuring. Two sons resulted from these relationships, one from each sister. However, the whereabouts of María de Soto’s child remained unknown. Bernardo de Moreira and his wife were accused of the crime of consenting their daughter’s cohabitation, María de Moreira. Besides, Bernardo was blamed for his grandson’s disappearance. Francisco Moreira and Andrés de Sirvida were responsible for the abduction of Catalina Diz, who was violently raped by a religious. In addition to all these serious crimes, other minor offences like cattle-rustling were reported. The inquiries carried out by the case instructors led to an increase of guilty neighbours for participation and concealing. During the investigation, the houses of the defendants were searched in order to seize property for bearing the expenses of the trial. As a result of the search, three letters were found and confiscated in Dominga de Soto´s house. The interrogation of Francisco de Moreira Cambeses and Juan Moreira offered the instructors interesting clues about the letters. They both declared they read the letters, since Dominga could not read, however, they just knew about the one sent to the latter. Juan de Moreira was the one in charge to answer this letter. Knowing that piece of information and the evidence, noted by the witnesses, that Dominga’s cohabitation involved a religious (whose name is mentioned only once in the process), they proceeded to her interrogation. Regarding the cohabitation crime, the defendant tried to hide her lover identity, who was also her daughter’s father. Instead, she gave a false identity to the investigators. According to her, her daughter’s father was one Manuel de Sotomayor who had passed away. Nevertheless, after being pressured, she revealed the identity of Fray Diego Galindo and recognized he was the author of the three letters. The process was closed with a large number of convictions. In Dominga de Soto’s case she was punished to one year exile and a pecuniary fine.
This letter contains "encrypted" information of which we could only know through the testimony of his author or her addressee. That was the conclusion of the instructor of the case when they interrogated Juan Moreira. This witness confirms in his statement that he was responsible for answering the letter addressed to Dominga de Soto. He provided this interesting information to the instructors: "he remembers the answer he wrote to Domingo de Sotomayor, in which Dominga asked him to add that the captain would not give her the money and that everything was going to the one-eyed’s daughter [Bernardo de Moreira], who was constantly going in and out of the captain’s house. The name of the captain was revealed by the witness, since he asked Dominga and she said it was a religious who had fathered María Moreira´s daughter …".
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