Of the council of the three royal orders of Spain; that of Santiago is the first; the other two are Calatrava and Alcantara. It is composed of a president, six counsellors, and other officers.
The president of the council of Arragon is called the vice chancellor; who is assisted by nine counsellors, and inferior officers. This council attend to the public state of the kingdom of Arragon, as well as to the islands of Majorca, Ivica, &c.
The council of the Indies was established in 1511, for the conservation and augmentation of the new kingdoms discovered by Columbus in South America, in 1492; and where the Spaniards have at this time four thousand nine hundred leagues of land, including Mexico and Peru; land divided into many kingdoms and provinces, in which they had built, in the year 1670, upwards of eight thousand churches, and more than a thousand convents. They have there a patriarch, six arch-bishops, and thirty-two bishops, and three tribunals of the inquisition. This council is composed of a president, a grand chancellor, and twelve counsellors, a treasurer, secretary, advocates, agents, and an infinite number of inferior officers. They meet twice a week, to regulate all the affairs, both by land and sea, relative to that part of the King’s dominions.
The council of the Croisade is composed of a president, who is called the commissary general, and who has great privileges. The clergy are obliged to pay something annually to it; and if any one finds a purse of money in the streets, they are obliged to deliver it to the secretary of this council.
The council of State is composed of men of the first birth and understanding about the court. The King presides, and is assisted by the archbishop of Toledo. This council is not confined to any certain number; they meet three times a week, to deliberate on the most important affairs of the kingdom.
The council of Italy attends to the affairs of Naples, Sicily, and Milan; it is composed of a president, and six counsellors, three of whom are Spaniards, one Neapolitan, one Italian, and one Sicilian; each of which have their separate charge on the affairs of those countries.
The council of Finances and Treasure is composed of a president, who is called presidente de hazienda, that is, superintendant of the finances; eight counsellors, and a great number of other officers, beside treasurers, controllers, &c, who have a great share of the most important affairs of the nation to regulate; they hear causes, and are not only entrusted with the treasures of the kingdom, but with administration of justice to all the king’s subjects. You may easily judge what a number of officers compose this council, when I tell you, that they have twenty-six treasurers.