In 1808, confronted with the latest in a lengthy series of legal challenges to its corporate landholdings, the municipal council of the Indian town of San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala, in the northeastern province of Coahuila in New Spain, dispatched a blistering note to its counterpart in the adjoining Spanish town of Saltillo. The question of the moment concerned the right of Saltillo residents José Miguel and Juan González to route water they claimed in one place to property San Esteban had earlier allowed them to farm in another. But to do so meant that the water would be directed across lands belonging to San Esteban. When the Indian town denied them this right, the brothers protested vigorously. They contended that agriculture was, after all, the mainstay of the local economy. It benefited the public, the king, the church, and particularly the families of the pueblo itself. To deny these two farmers access to their water was to jeopardize agricultural production in the area. Further, they argued, San Esteban possessed much uncultivated arid land; perhaps the pueblo should consider renting some of the Gonzálezes' water as it flowed across the town's properties. Implicit in this suggestion was the assumption that San Esteban residents could not deal with what they had, that they were wasteful in utilizing their resources, and that Spaniards, in this particular case the brothers González, were better equipped to exploit the resources of the community.