Late one December afternoon in 1731, Antonio Méndes and his friend Joseph Miguel de Alcaras made their way through the west central Mexican city of Pátzcuaro toward the plaza mayor. Their course took them past the house of the Spaniard don Vacilio Botello Mobellán. There, don Vacilio called out to Antonio and Joseph, inquiring after a harness and several other items he said Alcaras had borrowed from him and not yet returned. According to Don Vacilio, he presented his request jovially, but Alcaras denied still having the goods on loan, the two “mulattos” responded to him discourteously, and Méndes even brandished a knife. In their own defense, both Alcaras and Méndes mentioned don Vacilio’s accusations, insisted that Alcaras had previously returned the materials in question, and emphasized that Méndes did not pull the knife, but rather that it was taken from him by don Vacilio’s two assistants who had intervened in the exchange. Ultimately, don Vacilio leveled criminal charges against Méndes, who he and the criminal authorities labeled a “mulatto,” for threatening him with a knife since “being of inferior calidad” he should never have carried the weapon.