At this very time, A certain Visiter of Purses rather than Souls hapned to be here present, who (finding some Indian Idols which were hid; for they were no better instructed in the Knowledge of the true God by reason of the Wicked Documents and Dealings of the Spaniards) detain'd Grandees as Slaves, till they had deliver'd him all their Idols, for he phancied they were made of Gold or Silver, but his Expectation being frustrated, he chastised them with no less Cruelty than Injustice; and that he might not depart bubbled out of all his hopes, constrain'd them to redeem their Idols with Money, that so they might, according to their Custom, Adore them. These are the Fruits of the Spanish Artifices and Juggling Tricks among the Indians, and thus they promoted the honour and worship of God.
This Tyrant from Mechuacam arrives at Xalisco, a Country abounding with People very fruitful, and the Glory of the Indians in this respect, that it had some Towns Seven Miles long; and among other Barbarisms equal to what you have read, which they acted here, this is not to be forgotten, that Women big with Child, were burthen'd with the Luggage of Wicked Christians, and being unable to go out their usual time, through extremity of Toil and Hunger, were necessitated to bring them forth in the High-wayes, which was the Death of many Infants.
At a certain time a profligate Christian attempted to devirginate a Maid, but the Mother being present, resisted him, and endeavouring to free her from his intended Rape, whereat the Spaniard enrag'd, cut off her Hand with a short Sword, and stab'd the Virgin in several places, till she Expir'd, because she obstinately opposed and disappointed his inordinate Appetite.
In this Kingdom of Xalisco (according to report) they burnt Eight Hundred Towns to Ashes, and for this Reason the Indians growing desperate, beholding the dayly destruction of the Remainders of their matchless Cruelty, made an Insurrection against the Spaniards, slew several of them justly and deservedly, and afterward fled to the insensible Rocks and Mountains (yet more tender and kind than the stony-hearted Enemy) for Sanctuary; where they were miserably Massacred by those Tyrants who succeeded, and there are now few, or none of the Inhabitants to be found. Thus the Spaniards being blinded with the Lustre of their Gold, deserted by God, and given over to a Reprobate Sense, not undrestanding (or at least not willing to do so) that the Cause of the Indians is most Just, as well by the Law of Nature, as the Divine and Humane, they by Force of Arms, destroying them, hacking them in pieces, and turning them out of their own Confines and Dominions, nor considering how unjust those Violences and Tyrannies are, wherewith they have afflicted these poor Creatures, they still contrive to raise new Wars against them: Nay they conceive, and by Word and Writing testifie, that those Victories they have obtain'd against those Innocents to their ruine, are granted them by God himself, as if their unjust Wars were promoted and managed by a just Right and Title to what they pretend; and with boasting Joy return Thanks to God for their Tyranny, in imitation of those Tyrants and Robbers, of whom the Prophet Zechariah part of the Forth and Fifth Verses. Feed the Sheep of the slaughter, whose Possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty, and they that sell them say, Blessed by the Lord, for ye are rich.
Of the Kingdom of JUCATAN.
An Impious Wretch by his Fabulous Stories and Relations to the King of Spain was made praefect of the Kingdom of Jucatan, in the Year of our Lord 1526; And the other Tyrants to this very day have taken the same indirect Measures to obtain Offices, and screw or wheedle themselves into publick Charges or Employments, for this praetext, and Authority, they had the greater opportunity to commit Theft and Rapine. This Kingdom was very well peopled, and both for Temperature of Air, and the Plenty of Food and Fruits, in which respect it is more Fertile than Mexico, but chiefly for Hony and Wax, it exceeds all the Indian Countries that hath hitherto bin discover'd. It is Three Hundred Miles in Compass. The Inhabitants of this place do much excel all other Indians, either in Politie or Prudence, or in leading a Regular Life and Morality, truly deserving to be instructed in the Knowledge of the true God. Here the Spaniards might have Erected many fair Cities, and liv'd as it were in a Garden of Delights, if they had not, through Covetousness, Stupidity, and the weight of Enormous Crimes rendred themselves unworthy of so great a Benefit. This Tyrant, with Three Hundred Men began to make War with these Innocent People, living peaceably at home, and doing injury to none, which was the ruine of a great Number of them: Now because this Region affords no Gold; and if it did the Inhabitants would soon have wrought away their lives by hard working in the Mines, that so he might accumulate Gold by their bodies and Souls, for which Christ was Crucified: For the generality he made slaves of those whose lives he spared, and sent away such Ships as were driven thither by the Wind of report, loaden with them, exchanging them for Wine, Oyl, Vinegar, Salt Pork, Garments, Pack Horses and other Commodities, which he thought most necessary and fit for his use. He proposed to them the choice of Fifty Virgins, and she that was the fairest or best complexioned he bartered for a small Cask of Wine, Oyl, Vinegar or some inconsiderable quantity of salt Pork, the same exchange he proferred of Two or Three Hundred well-disposed Young Boys, and one of them who had the Mind or presence of a Princes Son, was given up to them for a Cheese, and One Hundred more for a Horse. Thus he continued his flagitious courses from 1526 to 1533, inclusively, till there was news brought of the Wealth and Opulence of the Region of Perusia, whither the Spaniards marcht, and so for some time there was a Cessation of this Tyranny; but in a few days after they returned and acted enormous Crimes, robbed, and imprisoned them and committed higher offences against the God of Heaven; nor have they ye done, so that now these Three Hundred Miles of Land so populous (as I said before) lies now uncultivated and almost deserted.
No Solifidian can believe the particular Narrations of their Barbarism, and Cruelty in those Countreys. I will only relate two or three Stories which are fresh in my memory. The Spaniards used to trace the steps of the Indians, both Men and Women with curst Currs, furious Dogs; an Indian Woman that was sick hapned to be in the way in sight, who perceiving that she was not able to avoid being torn in pieces by the Dogs, takes a Cord that she had and hangs her self upon a Beam, tying her Child (which she unforunately had with her) to her foot; and no sooner had she done, yet the Dogs were at her, tearing the Child, but a Priest coming that way Baptiz'd it before quite dead.
When the Spaniards left this Kingdom, one of them invited the Son of some Indian Governour of a City or Province, to go along with him, who told him he would not leave or desert his Native Countrey, whereupon he threatned to cut off his ears, if he refus'd to follow him: But the Youth persisting resolutely, that he would continue in the place of his Nativity, he drawing his Sword cut off each Ear, notwithstanding which he persever'd in his first opinion, and then as if he had only pincht him, smilingly cut off his Nose and Lips.
This Rogue did lasciviously boast before a Priest, and as if he had merited the greatest applause, commended himself to the very Heavens, saying, "He had made it his chief Trade or Business to impregnate Indian Women, that when they were sold afterward, he might gain the more Money by them."
In this Kingdom or (I'm certain) in some Province of New Spain, A Spaniard Hunting and intent on his game, phancyed that his Beagles wanted food; and to supply their hunger snatcht a young little Babe from the Mothers breast, cutting off his Arms and Legs, cast a part of them to every Dog, which they having devour'd, he threw the remainder of the Body to them. Thus it is plainly manifest how they value these poor Creatures, created after the image of God, to cast them to their Canibal Curs. But that which follows is (if possible) a sin of a deeper dye.
I pretermit their unparallel'd Impieties, &c. and only close all with this one Story that follows. Those haughty obdurate and execrable Tyrants, who departed from this Countrey to Fish for Riches in Perusia, and four Monks of the Order of St. Francis, with Father James who Travelled thither also to keep the Countrey in Peace, and attract or mildly perswade by their Preaching the remnant of Inhabitants, that had outlived a septennial Tyranny, to embrace the knowledge of Christ. I conceive these are the persons who in the year 1534, Travelling by Mexico were sollicited by several Messengers from the Indians, to come into their Countrey, and inform them in the knowledge of one God, the true God, and Lord of the whole World: to this end they appointed Assemblies and Councils to examine and understand what Men they were, who called themselves Fathers and Friers, what they intended and what difference there was between them and the Spaniards, by whom they had been so molested and tormented: but they received them at length upon this condition that they should be admitted alone, without any Spaniards, which the Fathers promised; for they had permission, nay an express Mandate from the President of New Spain to make that promise, and that the Spaniards should not do them the least detriment or injury. Then they began, to Preach the Gospel of Christ, and to explicate and declare the pious intention of the King of Castile, of all which they had notice by the Spaniards for seven years together, that they had no King nor no other but him, who oppressed them with so much Tyranny. The Priests continued there but forty days, but behold they bring forth all their Idols to be committed to the flames; and then their Children which they tendred as the apple of the Eye, that they might be instructed. They also erected Temples and Houses for them and they were desired to come to other Provinces and Preach the Gospel, and introduce them into the knowledge of God, and the Great (as they stiled him) King of Castile: And the Priests perswasions wrought so effectually on them, that they condescended to that which was never done in India before (for whatsoever those Tyrants who wasted and consumed these large Kingdoms and Provinces, did misrepresent and falsifie, was only done to bring an odium and disgrace upon the Indians). For Twelve or Fifteen Princes of spatious and well-peopled Regions assembled, every one distinct and separate from the rest, with his own subjects, and by their unanimous consent upon Council and Advice, of their own accord sumitted themselves to the Government of the Castilian Kings and accepted of them as their Prince and Protector, obliging themselves to obey and serve them as subjects to their Lawful Liege Lord.
In Witness whereof I have in my custody, a certain Instrument Signed and Attested by the aforesaid Religioso's.
Thus to the great joy and hope of these Priests reducing them to the knowledge of Christ they were received by the Inhabitants of this Kingdom, that surviv'd the heat and rage of the Spanish Cruelties: but behold eighteen Horse and Twelve Footmen by another way crept in among them, bringing with them many Idols, which were of great weight, and taken out of other Regions by Force. The Commander in chief of these Spaniards summoned one of the Dynasts or Rulers of that Province which they entred into, to appear before him, and command him to take these Idols with him, distribute them through his Countrey and exchange every single Idol for an Indian Man or Woman, otherwise he would make War against him. The abovesaid Lord compelled to it by fear did so accordingly with a command, that his Subjects should adore Worship and Honour them, and in compensation send Indians Male and Female into servitude. The terrified People delivered up their Children, and by this means there was an end made of this Sacrilegious Merchandize, and thus the Casic satisfied the greedy desires of the (I dare not say Christian) Spaniards. One of these Sacrilegious Robbers was John Garcia by name, who being very sick and at the point of dath, had several Idols hid under his Bed, and calling his Indians that waited on him, as a Nurse, commanded her not to part with those Idols at a small rate for they were of the better sort, and that she should not dispose of them without one Indian, for each Idol by way of Barter. Thus by this his private and Nuncupative last Will and Testament distracted with these carking cares, he gave up the Ghost: And who is it that will not fear his being tormented in the darkest and lowest Hell? Let us now consider what progress in Religion the Spaniards made, and what examples of Christianism they gave, at their first arrival in America, how devoutly they honoured God, and what expence of sweat and toil they were at to promote his Worship and Adoration among the Infidels. Let it be also taken into serious consideration, whose sin is the greater, either Joroboam's, who made all Israel to sin, and caused two Golden Calves to be erected, or the Spaniards who traffick and Trade in Idols like Judas, who was the occasion of such great scandals. These are the good Deeds of the Spanish Dons, who often, nay very often to feed their Avarice, and accumulate Gold have sold and still do sell, denied and still do deny Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
The Indians now findint the Promises of the Religious, that the Spaniards should not enter into this Countrey, null and void; nay that the Spaniards brought Idols from other places to be put off there; when as they had delivered up their own to the Priests to be burnt, that there might be only Worship of the true God established among them; they were highly incensed against these Friars, and addressed themselves to them in these Words following: Why have you deceived us, binding your promises with false protestations, that the Spaniards shoudl not be admitted to come hither? And why have you burnt our Gods, when others are brought from other Regions by the Spaniards? Are the Gods of other Provinces more sacred than ours? The Friers as well as they could (though they had little to return in answer) endevour'd by soft Language to appease them; and went to these Thirty Spaniards, declaring the evil actions they were guilty of, humbly supplicating them to withdraw themselves from that place. Which they would by no means condescend to, and what is most flagitious and wicked perswaded the Indians, that they were introduc'd by those Priests; Which being made known to them, These Indians resolved to be the death of these Monks, but having notice thereof by some courteous Indians, they stole away from thence by night, and fled; but after their departure the truth of the matter and the Spanish Malice being understood; they sent several Messengers who followed them fifty Miles distant beseeching them in the name of the Indians, to return and begging pardon for that ignorant mistake.
The Priests relying on their words, returned, and were caress'd like Angels sent from Heaven; and continued with them, (from whom they received a Thousand kindnesses) four or five months. But when the Spaniards persisted in their resolution not to quit the place, although they Vice-Roy did use all endeavours and fair means to recall them, they were Proclaim'd Traitors, guilty of High Treason; and because they continued still exercising Tyranny and perpetrated nefandous Crimes, the Priests were sensible they would study revenge, though it might be some considerable time before they put it in execution, fearing that it might fail upon their own heads, and since they could not exercise the function of their Ministry securely and undisturbed by reason of the continual Incursions and Assaults made by the Spaniards, they consulted about their departure, and did leave this Kingdom accordingly which remain'd destitute of all Christian Doctrin and these poor Souls are at this day involv'd in the obscurity of their former Misery and Ignorance, they being deprived by these accursed Spaniards, of all hopes of remedy, and the irrigatioon of Divine knowledge, just like young withering Plants for want of Water: for in that very juncture of time, when these Religioso's took leave, they embraced the Doctrine of our Faith with the greatest Fervency and Eagerness imaginable.
Of the Province of St. MARTHA.
The Province of St. Martha was rich in the Neighbouring Golden Mines, and a fruitful Soil, nay the People were very expert and industrious in those Mine-works: Upon this Account, or Temptation it was, that from the Year 1540, to 1542, abundance of Tyrants sailed thither, laying waste the whole Country by their Depredations, slaughtering the Inhabitants at a prodigious and bloody rate; and robbing them of all their Gold, who dayly fled to their Ships for Refuge, moving sometime to one place, and sometime to another. And thus those Provinces were laid waste, the greatest Outrages being committed on the Sea-shore, which lasted till the Year 1523, whither the Spaniards then came to seat themselves, and fis their intended Habitation. And becuase it is a plentiful Region and Opulent withal; it was subjected to several Rulers, who like Infernal Fiends contended who should obtain the Palm, by out-staining the Sword of his Predecessor in Innocent Blood; insomuch, that from the Year 1529 to this very day, they have wasted and spoiled as much good ground as extended Five Hundred Miles, and unpeopled the Countrey.
If I design'd to enumerate all the Impieties, Butcheries, Desolations, Iniquities, Violences, Destructions and other the Piacula and black Enormities committed and perpetrated by the Spaniards in this Province, against God, the King, and these harmless Nations; I might compile a Voluminous History, and that shall be compleated, if God permit my Glass to run longer, in his good time. It may suffice for the present to relate some passages written in a Letter to our King and Lord by a Revernd Bishop of these Provinces, Dated the 20th of May, An. Dom. 1541. wherein among other matters he thus words it.
I must acquaint your Sacred Majesty, that the only way to succour and support this tottering Region is to free it from the Power of a Father in Law, and marry it to a Husband who will treat her as she ought to be, and lovingly entertain her, and that must be done with all possible Expedition too, if not, I am certain that she will suddenly decay and come to nothing by the covetous and sordid Deportment of the Governours, &c. And a little after he writes thus, By this Means your Majesty will plainly know and understand how to depose the Prefects or Governours of those Regions from their Office if they deserve it, that so they may be alleviated and eas'd of such Burthens; which if not perform'd, in my Opinion, the Body Politick will never recover its Health. And this I will make appear to your Majesty that they are not Christians, but Devils; not Servants of God and the King, but Traitors to the King and Laws, who are Conversant in those Regions. And in reality nothing can be more obstructive to those that live peacably, then Inhumane and Barbarous Usage, which they, who lead a quiet and peacable Life, too frequently undergo, and this is so fastidious and nauseous to them, that there can be nothing in the World so odious and detestable among them, as the Name of a Christian: for they term the Christians in their Language Yares, that is, Devils; and in truth are not without reason; for the Actions of those that reside in these Regions, are not such as speak them to be Christians or Men, gifted with Reason, but absolute Devils; hence it is, that the Indians, perceiving these Actions committed by the Heads as well as Members, who are void of all Compassion and Humanity, do judge the Christian Laws to be of the same strain and temper, and that their God and King are the Authors of such Enormities: Now to endeavour to work upon them a contrary perswasion is to no purpose; for this would afford them a greater Latitude and Liberty to deride Jesus Christ and his Laws. Now the Indians who protect and defend themselves by force of Arms, think it more eligible, and far better to dye once, than suffer several and many Deaths under the Spanish Power. This I know experimentally, Most Invicible Casar, &c. And he adds farther, Your Majesty is more Powerful in Subjects and Servants, who frequent these Kingdoms, then you can imagin. Nor is there one Soldier among them all, who does not publickly and openly profess, if he robs, steals, spoils, kills, burns His Majesties Subjects, 'tis to purchase Gold: He will not say that he therein does your Majesty great Service, for they affirm they do it to obtain their own Share and Dividend. Wherefore, Most Invincible Casar, it would be a very prudential Act for your Majesty to testifie by a rigid Correction and severe Punishment of some Malefactors, that it is disservice to you for your Subjects to commit such Evil Acts, as tend to the Disobedience and Dishonour of the Almighty.
What you have read hitherto is the Relation of the said Bishop of St. Martha, Epitomized and Extracted from his Letters, whereby it is manifest, how Savagely they handle these mild and affable People. They term them Warlike Indians, who betake themselves to the Mountains to secure themselves from Spanish Cruelty; and call them Country Indians, or Inhabitants, who by a dreadful Massacre are delivered up to Tyrannical and Horrible Servitude, whereby at length they are become depopulated, made desolate, and utterly destroy'd; as appears by the Epistle of the praementioned Bishop, who only gives us a slight Account or Essay of their persecution and Sufferings. The Indians of this Country use to break out into such Words as these, when they are driven, loaded like Brutes through the uncouth wayes in their Journeys over the Mountains, if they happen to faint through Weakness, and miscarry through extremity of Labour, (for then they are kicked and cudge'd, their Teeth dasht out with the Pummels of their Swords to raise them up again, when tired and fallen under weighty Burthens, and force them to go on without Respiration, or Time to take Breath, and all this with the following increpation, or upbraiding and taunting words, O what a wicket Villain art thou?) I say they burst out into these Expressions, I am absolutely tir'd, kill me, I desire to dye, being weary of my Life as well as my Burthen and Journey: And this not without deep Heart-breaking Sighs, they being scarce able to draw or breathe out their words, which are the Characteristical Notes, and infallible of the Mind drowned in Anguish and Sorrow. My it please our Merciful God to order the discovery of these Crimes to be manifested to those Persons, who are able and oblig'd to redress them.
Of the Province of CARTHAGENA.
This Province is distant Fifty Miles from the Isle of St. Martha Westward, and situated on the Confines of the Country of Cenusia, from whence it extends One Hundred Miles to the Bay of Uraba, and contains a very long Tract of Land Southward. These Provinces from the Year 1498 to this present time were most barbarously us'd, and made desert by Murder and Slaughter, but that I may the sooner conclude this brief summary. I will not handle the particulars, to the end I may the better give an Account of the detestable Villanies that ruin'd other Regions.
Of the Pearl-Coast, PARIA, and TRINITY-ISLE.
The Spaniards made great Spoils and Havock from the Parian Coast to the Bay of Venecuola, exclusively, which is about Two Hundred Miles. It can hardly be exprest by Tongue or Pen how many, and how great Injuries and Injustices, the Inhabitants of this Sea-shore have endur'd from the year 1510, to this day. I will only relate Two or Three Piacular and Criminal Acts of the First Magnitude, capable of comprehending all other Enormities that deserve the sharpest Torments, Wit and Malice can invent, and so make way for a deserved Judgment upon them.
A Nameless Pirate of the Year 1510, accompanied with a parcel of Sixty or Seventy, arriv'd at Trinity-Island, which exceeds Sicile, both in Amplitude and Fertility, and is contiguous to the Continent on that side where it toucheth upon Paria, whose Inhabitants, according to their Quality, are more addicted to Probity and Vertue, than the rest of the Indians; who immediately published an Edict, that all the Inhabitants should come and cohabit with them. The Indian Lords and Subjects gave them a Debonair and Brotherly Reception, serving them with wonderful Alacrity, furnishing them with dayly Provisions in so plentiful a manner, that they might have sufficed a more numerous Company; for it is the Mode among Indians of this New World, to supply the Spaniards very bountifuly with all manner of Necessaries. A short time after the Spaniards built a stately House, which was an Appartment for the Indians, that they might accomplish their praemeditated Designs, which was thus effected. When they were to thatch it, and had rais'd it two Mens height, they inclos'd several of them there, to expedite the Work, as they pretended, but in truth that they who were within, might not see those without; thus part of them surrounded the House with Sword in Hand that no one should stir out, and part of them entred it, and bound the Indians, menacing them with Death, if they offered to move a Foot; and if any one endeavoured to escape, he was presently hackt in pieces; but some of them partly wounded, and partly unwounded getting away, with others who went not into the House, about One Hundred and Two Hundred, betook themselves to another House with Bows and Arrows; and when they were all there, the Spaniards secur'd the Doors, throwing in Fire at another place, and so they all perished. From hence they set Sail to the Island of St. John with near upon One Hundred and Eighty Slaves, whom they had bound, where they sold one half of them, and thence to Hispaniola, where they dispos'd of the rest. Now when I taxed this Captain with Wickedness and Treachery in the very Isle of St. John, he dismist me with this Answer; Forbear good Sir. I had this in commission from those who sent me hither, that I should surprize them by the spetious pretense of Peace, whom I could not sieze by open Force, and in truth this same Captain told me with his own Mouth, that in Trinity-Isle alone, he had met with a Father and Mother in Civil usage, which he uttered to his greater Confusion and the aggravation of his Sins. The Monks of our Order of St. Dominic on a certain time held a Consult about sending one of their Fraternity into this Island, that by their Preaching they might instruct them in the Christian Faith, and teach them the way to be sav'd, of which they were wholly Ignorant. And to this end they sent thither a Religious and Licentiate in Theologie, (or Doctor in Divinity, as we term it among us) a Man Famous for his Vertue and Holiness with a Laic his Associate, to visit the Country, converse with the Inhabitants, and find out the most convenient places for the Erection of Monasteries. As soon as they were arriv'd according to custom, they were entertain'd like Coelestial Messengers, with great Affection, Joy and Respect, as well as they could, for they were ignorant of their Tongue, and so made use of signs, for the present. It hapned that after the departure of that Vessel that brought these Religious Men, another came into the Port, whose Crew according to their Hellish Custom, fraudulently, and unknown to the Religious brought away a Prince of that Province as Captive, who was call'd Alphonsus, (for they are ambitious of a Christian Name,) and forthwith desire without farther Information, that he would Baptize him: But the said Lord Alphonsus was deceitfully overperswaded to go on board of them with his Wife and about Seventeen more, pretending that they would give hime a Collation; which the Prince and they did, for he was confident, that the Religious would by no means suffer himo be abus'd, for he had no so much Confidence in the Spaniards; but as soon as they were upon Deck, the perfidious Rogues, set Sail for Hispaniola, where they were sold as Slaves. The whole Country being extreamly discompos'd, and understanding that their Prince and Princess were violently carried away, addressed themselves to these Religioso's, who were in great danger of losing their Lives: But they being made to understand this unjust Action, were extraordinarily afflicted, and 'tis probable would have suffered Death, rather than permit the Indians to be so injuriously dealt with, which might prove an Obstruction to their receiving of, and believing in God's Word. Yet the Indians were sedated by the promises of the Religious; for they told them, they would send Letters by the first Ship that was bound for Hispaniola, whereby they would procure the Restitution and Return of their Lord and his Retinue. It pleased God to send a Ship thither forthwith, to the greater confirming of the Governours Damnation, where in the Letters they sent to the Religious of Hispaniola, Letters containing repeated Exclamations and Protestations, and protest against such Actions, but those that received them denyed them Justice, for that they were partakers of that Prey, made of those Indians so injustly and impiously captivated. But when the Religious, who had engag'd to the Inhabitants, that their Lord Alphonsus should be restor'd within Four Moneths, and found that neither in Four, nor Eight Moneths he was return'd, they prepar'd themselves for Death, and to deliver up their Life to Christ, to whom they had offer'd it before their departure from Spain: Thus the Innocent Indians were revenged on the Innocent Priests; for they were of Opinion, that the Religious had a hand in the Plot, partly, because they found their Promises that their Lord should return within Four Moneths, ineffectual, and partly because the Inhabitants made no difference between a Religious Frier and a Spanish Rogue. At another time it fell out likewise, through the Rampant Tyrrany and Cruel Deeds of evil-minded Christians, that the Indians put to Death two Dominican Friers, of which I am a faithful Witness, escaping my self, not without a very great Miracle, which Transaction I resolve silently to pass over, lest I should terrifie the Reader with the Horror of the Fact.
In these Provinces, there was a City seated on the Bay of Codera, whose Lord was call'd Higueroto, a Name, either proper to Persons or common to the Rulers of that Place. A Cacic of such signal Clemency, and his Subjects of such noted Vertue, that the Spaniards who came thither, were extraordinarily welcom, furnished with Provisions, enjoying Peace and Comfort, and no Refreshment wanting: But a perfidious Wretch got many of them on board, and sold them to the Islanders of St. John. At the same time I landed upon that Island, where I obtained a sight of this Tyrant, and heard the Relation of his Actions. He utterly destroy'd that Land, which the rest of the Spaniards took very unkindly at his Hands, who frequently playd the Pirate, and rob'd on that shore, detesting it as a wicked thing, because they had lost that place, where they use to be treated with as great Hospitality and Freedom, as if they had been under their own Roof: Nay they transported from this place, among them, to the Isles of Hispaniola and St. John Two Millions of Men and upward, and made the Coast a Desert.
It is most certainly true, that they never ship off a Vessel freighted with Indians, but they pay a third part as Tribute to the Sea, besides those who are slaughter'd, when found in their own Houses. Now the Soarce and Original of all this is the ends they have propos'd to themselves. For there is a necessity of taking with them a great number of Indians, that they may gain a great sum of Mony by their Sale, now the Ships are very slenderly furnished with Provisions and Water in small Quantity, to satisfie few, left the Tyrants, who are term'd Owners or Proprietors of Ships should be at too great expence in Victualling their Vessels, nay they scarce carry Food enough with them to maintain the Spaniards that manage the Vessel, which is the reason so many Indians dye with Hunger and Thirst, and of necessity they must be thrown over-board: Nay one of them told me this for a Truth, that there being such a Multitude of Men thus destroy'd, a Ship may sail from the Isle of Lucaya to Hispaniola, which is a Voyage of Twenty Leagues and upward, without Chart or Compass, by the sole Direction or Observation of dead fluctuating Carkasses.
But afterward, when arriv'd, and driven up into the Isle whither they are brought to be sold, there is no Person that is in some small measure compassionate, but would be extreamly mov'd and discompos'd at the sight; viz. to spie old Men and Women, together with Naked Children half starv'd. Then they separate Parents from Children, Wives from their Husbands, about Ten or Twenty in a Company, and cast lots for them, that the Detestable Owners of the Ships may have their share; who prepare Two or Three Ships, and equip them as a Fleet of Pirates, going ashore ravaging and forcing Men out of their Houses, and then robbing them: But when the lot of any one of them falls upon a parcel, that hath an aged or diseased Man; the Tyrant, whose Allotment he is, usually bursts out, as followeth. Let this old Fellow be Damm'd, why do you bestow him upon me; must I, think you; be at the charge of his Burial? And this sickly Wretch, how comes he to be one of my alloted portion must I take care for his cure? Not I. Hence you may guess what estimate and value the Spaniards put upon Indians, and whether they practise and fulful that Divine and Heavenly precept injoyning mutual Love and Society.
There can be nothing more cruel and detestable then the Tyrannical usage of the Spaniards towards the Indians in their Pearl-Fishing; for the Torments undergone in the unnatural Exenteration and tearing out with Paracidal hands the richer bowels of our common Mother, or the inward cruciating racks of the most profligate, Heaven daring Desperado can admit of no comparison with these, although the extracting or digging for Gold is one of the sharpest subterranean Drudgeries, they plunge them down four or five ells deep under Water, where swimming about without breathing, they eradicate and pull up Oisters, wherein the Pearls are engendred. Sometimes they rise up to the superfities of the Water with Nets full of Oisters for respiration and Air, but if these miserable Creatures stay but a little more then is Ordinary to rest themselves the Hangman is immediately upon them in a Canow or small Boat, who beating them with many stripes drag them by the hair of the head under Water, that they may drudge again at their expilcation or Pearl Fishing. Their Food is Fish, and the same which contains the Pearls and Cassabus made of Roots with a few Mahids, the Bread of that Countrey; in the former there is little or no nutriment or substance, and the other is not made without great trouble, nor for all this have they a sufficient allowance thereof to support nature. Their Lodging or Bed is the Earth confined to a pair of Stocks, for fear that they should run away: And it frequently happens that they are drown'd with the toil of this kind of Fishing and never more seen, for the Tuberoms and Maroxi (certain Marine Monsters that devour a complete proportioned Man wholly at once) prey upon them under Water. You must consider withall, that it is impossible for the strongest constitution to continue long under Water without breathing, and they ordinarily dye through the extream rigor of the Cold, spitting Blood which is occasioned by the too great compression of the Breast, procreated by a continued holding breath under Water, for by too much cold a profluvium of blood follows. Their hair naturally black is changed into a combust, burnt or Sun-colour like that of the Sea Wolves, their shoulders and backs covered, or overspread with a saltish humor that they appear rather like Monsters in humane shape then Men.
They have destroy'd all the Lucayans by this intolerable or rather Diabolical exercise, for the accustomary emolument or gain of lucre, and by this means gain'd the value of fifty, sometime one hundred Crowns of every individual Indian. They sell them (though it is prohibited) publickly; for the Lucayans were excellent Swimmers, and several perished in this Isle that came from other Provinces.
Of the River Yuya Pari.
This River washeth the Province arising from its head or fountain in another Region, Two Hundred miles off and better, By this a wretched Tyrant entred it and laid waste the Land for the space of many miles, and murder'd abundance of them by Fire and Sword, &c. At length he died violently, and all his Forces moldred away of themselves, many succeeded him in his iniquity and cruelty and so dayly destroy them, sending to Hell the Souls redeemed by the blood of the Son of God.
Of the Kingdom of Venecuela.
Our Sovereign Lord the King in the Year 1526, over-perswaded by fallacious appearances (for the Spaniards use to conceal from His Majesties knowledge the dammages and detriments, which God himself, the Souls and state of the Indians did suffer) intrusted the Kingdom of Venecuela longer and larger then the Spanish Dominions, with its Government and absolute Jurisdiction to some German Merchants, with power to make certain Capitulations and Conventions, who came into this Kingdom with Three Hundred Men, and there found a benign mild and peaceable people, as they were throughout the Indies till injured by the Spaniards. These more cruel then the rest beyond comparison, behav'd themselves more inhumanely then rapacious Tygres Wolves and Lyons, for they had the jurisdiction of this Kingdom, and therefore possessing it with the greater freedom from controul; lay in wait and were the more vigilant with greater care and avarice to understand the practical part of heaping up Wealth, and robbing the Inhabitants of their Gold and Sliver, surpassing all their Predecessors in those indirect ways, rejecting wholly both the fear of their God and King, nay forgetting that they were born men with reasonable Faculties.
These incarnate Devils laid waste and desolate Four Hundred miles of most Fertile Land, containing vast and wonderful Provinces, most spatious and large Valleys surrounded with Hills, forty Miles in Length, and many Towns richly abounding in Gold and Silver. They destroy'd so many and such considerable Regions, that there is not one supernumerary witness left to relate the Story, unless perchance some that lurkt in the Caverns and Womb of the Earth to evade death by their inhumane Swords embrew'd in Innocent Indian blood, escaped. I judge that they by new invented and unusual Torments ruinated four or five Millions of Souls and sent them all to Hell. I will give a taste of two or three of their Transactions, that hereby you may guess at the rest.
They made the supream Lord of the Province a Slave, to squeeze his Gold from him, racking him to extort his confession who escaping fled into the Mountains, their common Sanctuary, and his Subjects lying absconded in the Thickets of the Woods, were stir'd up to Sedition and Tumult or Mutiny. The Spaniards follow and destroy many of them, but those that were taken alive and in their power were all publickly sold for Slaves by the Common Crier.
They were in all Provinces they came into entertained and welcomed by the Indians with Songs, Dances and Rich Presents but Rewarded very ungratefully with bloodshed and Slaughter. The German Captain and Tyrant caused several of them to be clapt into a Thatcht House, and there cut in pieces; but some of them to avoid falling by their bloody and merciless Swords, climb'd up to the beams and Rafters of the House, and the Governour, hearing it (O cruel Brute?) commanded Fire to be put to it and burnt them all alive, leaving the Region desert and desolate.
They also came to another stately Province, bordering on St. Martha; whose inhabitants did them many egregious and notable services, bestowing on them innumerable quantities of Gold besides many other gifts, but when they were upon departure, in retribution of their Civil Treating and Deportment the German Tyrant, commanded that all the Indians, with their Wives and Children if possible, should be taken into Custody; inclosed in some large capacious place, and that there it should be signified unto them, whosoever desired to be set at Liberty should redeem himself at the Will and Pleasure (as to price;) of the unjust Governour, or at a certain rate imposed upon himself, his wife and every Childs head; and to expedite the business prohibited the administration or allowance of any food to them, till the Gold required for Redemption was paid down to the utmost grain. Several of them sent home to discharge the demanded price of their Redemption, and procur'd their Freedom, as well as they could by one means or other, that so they might return to their Livelihood and profession, but not long after he sent other Rogues and Robbers among them to enslave those that were Redeemed.
To the same Gaol they are brought a second time, being instigated or rather constrained to a speedy Redemption by hunger and thirst; Thus many of them were twice or thrice taken, captiv'd and Redeedmed; but some who were not capable of Depositing such a sum, perished there. Farthermore this Tyrant was big with an itching desire after the discovery of the Perusian Mines, which he did accomplish. Nay should I enumerate the particular Cruelties, Slaughters, &c. committed by him though my discourse would not in the least be contrariant to the Truth, yet it would not be beleived and only stupifie and amaze the Reader.
This course the other Tyrants took who set sail from Venecuela and St. Martha (with the same Resolution of detecting the Perusian Golden, Consecrated Houses as them they esteemed) who found the fruitful Region so desolate, deserted, and wasted by Fire and Sword, that those Cruel Tyrants themselves were smitten with wonder and astonishment at the traces and ruins of such prodigious Devastations.
All these things and many more were prov'd by Witness in the Indian Exchequer, and the Records of their Testimony were entred in that Court, though these execrable Tyrants burnt many of them that there might be little or nothing prov'd as a cause of those great Devastations and Evils perpetrated by them. For the Minister of Justice who have hitherto lived in India, through their obscure and damnable blindness, were not much sollicitous about the punishment of the Crimes and Butcheries which have been and are still committed by these Tyrants, only they may say possibly because such a one, and such a one hath wickedly and barbarously dealt with the Indians, that is the reason so great a summ of Crowns in Money is diminished already or retrenched from His Majesties Annual Revenue, and this general and confused proof is sufficient (as they worthily conceive) to purge or repress such great and hainous Crimes. And though they are but few, are not verified as they ought to be, nor do they attribute and lay upon them that stress and weight as they ought to do, for if they did perform their Duty to God and the King; it could not be made apparent as it may be, that these German Tyrants have cheated and rob'd the King of Three Millions of Gold and upward; and thus these Enemies to God and the King began to depopulate these Regions and destroy them, cheating his Majesty of Two Millions of Gold per Annum, nor can it be expected, that the Detriment done to his Majesty can possibly be retriev'd, as long as the Sun and moon endures, unless God by a Miracle should raise as many Thousands from Death to Life, as have bin destroy'd. And these are the Temporal Dammages the King suffers. It would be also a Work worthy the inquiry into, to consider how many cursed Sacriledges and Indignities God himself hath been affronted with to the dishonour of his Name. And what Recompence can be made for the loss of so many Souls as are now tormented in Hell by the Cruelty and Covetousness of these Brutish German Tyrants. But I will conclude all their Impiety and Barbarisme with one Example, viz. That from the time they entred upon this Country to this very day, that is, Seventeen Years, they have remitted many Ships fraighted with Indians to be sold as Slaves to the Isles of St. Martha, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and St. John, selling a Million of Persons at the least, I speak modestly, and still do expose to Sale to this very Year of our Lord 1542, the King's Council in this Island seeing and knowing it, yet what they find to be manifest and apparent they connive at, permit and countenance, and wink at the horrid Impieties and Devastations innumerable which are committed on the Coasts of this Continent, extending Four Hundred Miles in Length, and continues still together with Venecuela and St. Martha under their Jurisdiction, which they might easily have remedied and timely prevented.
Of the Provinces of FLORIDA
Three Tyrants at several times made their entrance into these Provinces since the Year 1510, or 1511, to act those Crimes which others, and two of these Three made it their sole business to do in other Regions, to the end, that they might advance themselves to higher Dignities and Promotions than they could deserve, by the Effusion of Blood and Destruction of these People; but at length they all were cut off by a violent Death, and the Houses which they formerly built and erected with the cement of Human Blood, (which I can sufficiently testifie of these three) perished with them, and their memory roten, and as absolutely washed away from off the Face of the Earth, as if they had never had a being. These Men deserted these Regions, leaving them in great distraction and confusion, nor were they branded with less notes of infamy, by the certain Slaughters they perpetrated, though they were but few in number than the rest. For the Just God cut them off before they did much Mischief, and reserv'd the Castigation and Revenge of those Evils which I know, and was an Eye-Witness of, to this very Time and Place. As to the Fourth Tyrant, who lately, that is, in the Year 1538, came hither well-furnished with Men and Ammunition, we have received no account these Three Years last past; but wer are very confident, that he, at his first Arrival, acted like a bloody Tyrant, even to extasie and madness, if he be still alive with his Follower, and did injure, destroy, and consume a vast Number of Men (for he was branded with infamous Cruelty above all those who with their Assistants committed Crimes and Enormities of the first Magnitude in these Kingdoms and Provinces) I conceive, God hath punished him with the same Violent Death, as he did other Tyrants: But because my Pen is wearied with relating such Execrable and Sanguinary Deeds (not of Men but Beasts) I will trouble my self no longer with the dismal and fatal Consequences thereof.
These People were found by them to be Wise, Grave, and well dispos'd, though their usual Butcheries and Cruelties in opressing them like Brutes, with heavy Burthens, did rack their minds with great Terror and Anguish. At their Entry into a certain Village, they were welcomed with great Joy and Exultation, replenished them with Victuals, till they were all satisfied, yielding up to them above Six Hundred Men to carry their Bag and Baggage, and like Grooms to look after their Horses: The Spaniards departing thence, a Captain related to the Superiour Tyrant returned thither to rob this (no ways diffident or mistrustful) People, and pierced their King through with a Lance, of which Wound he dyed upon the Spot, and committed several other Cruelties into the bargain. In another Neighboring Town, whose Inhabitants they thought, were more vigilant and watchful, having had the News of their horrid Acts and Deeds, they barbarously murdered them all with their Lances and Swords, destroying all, Young and Old, Great and Small, Lords and Subject without exception.
The Chief Tyrant caused many Indians (above Two Hundred as 'tis noised abroad) whom he summon'd to appear before him out of another town, or else, who came voluntarily to pay their Respects to him, to have their Noses and Lips to the very Beard, cut off; and thus in this grievous and wretched Condition, the Blood gushing out of their Wounds, return'd them back, to give an Infallible Testimony of the Works and Miracles wrought by these Preachers and Ministers baptized in the Catholick Faith.
Now let all Men judge what Affection and love they bear to Christianity; to what purpose, or upon what account they believe there is a God, whom they preach and boast of to be Good and Just, and that his Law which they profess (and indeed only profess) to be pure and immaculate. The Mischiefs acted by these profligate Wretches and Sons of Perdition were of the deepest die. At last this Captain devoted to Perdition dyed impenitent, nor do we in the least question, but that he is overwhelmed and buried in Darkness Infernal, unless God according to his Infinite Mercy and boundless Clemency, not his own Merits, (he being contaminated and poison'd with Execrable Deeds,) be pleas'd to compassionate and have Mercy upon him.
Of the Plate-River, that is, the Silver-River.
Some Captains since the Year 1502 to 1503 undertook Four or Five Voyages to the River of Plate, which embraceth within its own Arms great Kingdoms and Provinces, and is peopled by rational and well-temper'd Inhabitants. In the general we are certified, that they were very injurious and bloody to them; but they being far distant from those Indians, we frequently discourse of, wer are not able to give you a particular account of their Transactions. Yet beyond all Controversie, they did, and still do go the same way to work, as others in several Regions to this present time do, and have done; for they are the same, (and many in number too) Spaniards who went thither, that were the wicked Instruments of other Executions, and all of them aim at one and the same thing, namely to grow Rich and Wealthy, which they can never be, unless they steer the same Course which others have followed, and tread the same paths in Murdering, Robbing and Destroying poor Indians.
After I had committed to Writing what I have prementioned, it was told me for a great Truth, that they had laid waste in those Countreys great Kingdoms and Provinces, dealing Cruelly and Bloodily with these harmless People, at a horrid rate, having a greater Opportunity and Convenience to be more Infamous and Rigid to them, then others, they being very remote from Spain, living inordinatly, like Debauches, laying aside, and bidding farewel to all manner of Justice, which is indeed a Stranger in all the American Regions, as is manifest by what hath been said already. But among the other Numerous Wicked Acts following this is one that may be read in the Indians Courts. One of the Governours commanded his Soldiers to go to a certain Village, and if they denyed them Provisions, to put all the Inhabitants to the Sword: By Vertue of this Authority away they march, and because they would not yield to them above Five Thousand Men as Enemies, fearing rather to be seen, then guilty of Illiberality, were cut off by the Sword. Also a certain number of Men living in Peace and Tranquillity proffered their services to him; who, as it fell out, were call'd before the Governour, but deferring their appearance a little longer than ordinary, that he might infix their minds with a remark of horrible Tyranny, he commanded, they should be deliver'd up, as Prisoners to their Mortal Indian Enemies, who beg'd with loud Clamours and a Deluge of Tears, that they might be dispatcht out of this World by their own Hands, rather than be given up as a prety to the Enemy; yet being resolute, they would not depart out of the House wherein they were, so the Spaniards hackt them in pieces Limb by Limb, who exclaim'd and cryed aloud, "We came to visit and serve you peaceably and quietly, and you Murder us; our Blood with which these Walls are moistned and sprinkled will remain as an Everlasting Testimony of our Unjust Slaughter, and your Barbarous Cruelty. And really this Piaculum or horrid Crime deserves a Commemoration, or rather speak more properly, the Commiseration of all Persons."
Of the vast Kingdoms and Spatious Provinces of PERUSIA.
A notorious Tyrant in the Year 1531, entred the Kingdoms of Perusia with his Complices, upon the same Account, and with the same pretences, and beginning at the same Rate as others did; he indeed being one of those who were exercised, and highly concern'd in the Slaughters and Cruelties committed on the Continent ever since the Year 1510, he increased and heightned the Cruelties, Butcheries, and Rapine; destroying and laying waste (being a False-hearted Faithless Person) the Towns and Villages, and Murdering the Inhabitants, which occasion'd all those Evils, that succeeded in those Regions afterward: Now to undertake the Writing of a Narrative of them, and represent them lively and Naturally to the Readers view, and perusal, is a work altogether impossible, but must lie concealed and unknown until they shall more openly and clearly appear, and be made visible to every Eye, at the day of Judgement. As for my part, if I should presume to unravel, in some, measure the Deformity, Quality and Circumstances of those Enormities, I must ingenuously confess I could by no means perform so burthensom a Task, and render it compleat and as it ought to be.
At his first admission into these parts, he had laid waste some Towers, and rob'd them of a great quantity of Gold, this he did in the Infancy of his Tyrannical Attempts, when he arriv'd at Pugna a Neighbouring Isle so called, he had the Reception of an Angel; but about Six Months after, when the Spaniards had spent all their Provisions, they discover'd and opened the Indians Stores and Granaries, which were laid up for the sustenance of themselves, Wives and Children against a time of Dearth and Scarcity, brought them forth with Tears and Weepings, to dispose of at pleasure: But they rewarded them with Slaughter, Slavery and Depopulation as formerly.
Thence they betook themselves to the Isle Tumbala, scituate on the firm Land, where they put to Death all they met with. And because the People terrified with their abominable Sins of Commission, fled from their Cruelty, they were accused of Rebellion against the Spanish King. This Tyrant made use of this Artifice, he commanded all that he took, or that had bestowed Gold, Silver and other rich Gifts on him, still to load him with other Presents, till he found they had exhausted their Treasures, and were grown naked and incapable of affording him farther supplies, and then he declared them to be the Vassals and Subjects of the King of Spain, flattering them, and proclaiming twice by sound of Trumpet, that for the future he would not captivate or molest them any more, looking upon it as lawful to rob, and terrifie them with such Messages as he had done, before he admited them under the King's protection, as if from that very time, he had never rob'd, destroy'd or opprest them with Tyrannical Usage.
Not long after Ataliba the King and Supreme Emperor of all these Kingdoms, leading a great Number of Naked Men, he himself being at the Head of them, armed with ridiculous Weapons, and wholly ignorant of the goodness of the Spaniards Bilbo-Blades, the Mortal Dartings of their Lances, and the Strength of their Horse, whose Use and Service was to him altogether unknown, and never so much as heard of before, and that the Spaniards were sufficiently weapon'd to rob the Devils themselves of Gold, if they had any, came to the place where they then were; saying, Where are these Spaniards? Let them appear, I will not stir a foot from hence till they give me satisfaction for my Subjects whom they have slain, my Towns they have reduc'd to Ashes, and my Riches they have stoln from me. The Spaniards meet him, make a great Slaughter of his Men, and seize on the Person of the King Himself, who was carried in a Chair or Sedan on Mens Shoulders. There was a Treaty had about his Redemption, the King engaged to lay down Four Millions of Crowns, as the purchase of his Freedom, but Fifteen were paid down upon the Nail: They promise to set him at Liberty, but contrary to all Faith and Truth according to their common Custom (for they always violated their promises with the Indians) they falsly imposed this upon him, that his People were got together in a Body by his Command; but the King was made answer, That throughout his Dominions, not so much as a Leaf upon a Tree durst move without his Authority and Pleasure, and if any were assembled together, they must of necessity believe that it was done without his Order, he being a Captive, it being in their power to deprive him of his LIfe, if any such thing should be ordered by him: Notwithstanding which, they entred into a Consultation to have him burnt alive, and a little while after the Sentence was agreed upon, but the Captain at the intreaty of some Persons commanded him first to be strangled, and afterward thrown into the fire. The King understanding the sentence of Death past upon him, said; Why do you burn me? What Fact have I committed deserving Death? Did you not promise to set me free for a Sum of Gold. And did I not give you a far larger quantity than I promised? But if it is your pleasure so to do, send me to your King of Spain, and thus using many words to the same purpose, tending to the Confusion and Detestation of the Spanish Injustice, he was burnt to Death. And here let us take into serious Consideration the Right and Title they had to make this War, the Captivity, Sentence, and Execution of this Prince, and the Conscience wherewith these Tyrants have possessed themselves of vast Treasures, which they have surreptitiously and fraudulently taken away from this King, and a great many more of the Rulers of these Kingdoms. But as to the great number of their Enormities committed by those who stile themselves Christians in order to the extirpation of this People, I will hear repeat some of them, which in the very beginning were seen by a Franciscan, confirm'd by his own Letters, and signed with his Hand and Seal, sending some of them to the Perusian Provinces, and others to the Kingdom of Castile: A Copy whereof I have in my Custody, Signed with his Hand, as I said before; the Contents whereof follow.
I Frier Marcus de Xlicia, of the Franciscan Order, and Praefect of the whole Fraternity residing in the Perusian Provinces, one of the first among the Religious, who arriv'd with the Spaniards in these parts. I decalre with incontrovertible and undeniable Testimony, those Transactions, which I saw with my own Eyes, and particularly such as relate to the usage of the Inhabitants of this Region. In the first place I was an Eye-Witness, and am certainly assur'd, that these Perusians are a People, who transcend all other Indians in Meekness, Clemency, and Love to Spaniards; and I have seen the Indians bestow very liberally on them Gold, Silver, and Jewels, being very serviceable to them many other wayes. Nor did the Indians ever betake themselves to their Arms in an Hostile manner, till by infinite Injuries and Cruelties they were compell'd thereunto: For on the contrary, they gave the Spaniards an amicable and honourable Reception in all their Towns, and furnished them with Provisions, and as many Male and Female Servants as they required.
I can also farther testifie, that the Spaniards, without the least provocation on their part, as soon as they entred upon these Territories, did burn at the Stake their most Potent Caciq Ataliba, Prince of the whole Country, after they had extorted from him above Two Millions of Gold, and possessed themselves of his Province, without the least Opposition: and Cochilimaca, his Captain General, who with other Rulers, came peaceably into them, follow'd him by the same fiery Tryal and Death. As also some few days after, the Ruler of the Province of Quitonia, who was burnt, without any Cause given, or Crime laid to his Charge. They likewise put Schapera, Prince of the Canaries to the same Death, and in like manner, burnt the Feet of Alvidis, the greatest of all the Quitonian Lords, and rackt him with other Torments to Extract from him a discovery of Ataliba's Treasure, whereof as appear'd after, he was totally ignorant. Thus they treated Cocopaganga, Governour of all the Provinces of Quitonia, who being overcome with the Intreaties of Sebastian Bernalcarus, the Governours Captain, went peaceably to pay them a Visit; but because he could not give them as much Gold as they demanded, they burnt him with many other Casics and Chief Persons of Quality. And as I understnad, did it with this evil Intention, that they might not leave one surviving Lord or Peer in the whole Countrey.
I also affirm that I saw with these Eyes of mine the Spaniards for no other reason, but only to gratifie their bloody mindedness, cut off the Hands, Noses, and Ears, both of Indians and Indianesses, and that in so many places and parts, that it would be too prolix and tedious to relate them. Nay, I have seen the Spaniards let loose their Dogs upon the Indians to bait and tear them in pieces, and such a Number of Villages burnt by them as cannot well be discover'd: Farther this is a certain Truth, that they snatched Babes from the Mothers Embraces, and taking hold of their Arms threw them away as far as they would from them: (a pretty kind of barr-tossing Recreation.) They committed many other Cruelties, which shook me with Terror at the very sight of them, and would take up too much time in the Relation.
I likewise aver, That the Spaniards gathered together as many Indians as fill'd Three Houses, to which, for no cause, (or a very inconsiderable one) they set fire, and burnt every one of them: But a Presbyter, Ocana by Name, chanced to snatch a little baby out of the fire, which being observ'd by a Spaniard, he tore him out of his Arms, and threw him into the midst of the Flames, where he was with the rest, soon burnt to Ashes, which Spaniard the same day he committed that Fact, returning to his Quarters, dyed suddenly by the way, and I advised them not to give him Christian Burial.
Farthermore I saw them send to several Casics and Principal Indians, promising them a protecting Passeport to travel peaceably and securely to them, who, no sooner came, but they were burnt; Two of them before my Face, one at Andonia, and the other at Tumbala, nor could I with all my perswasions and preaching to them prevail so far as to save them from the Fire. And this I do maintain according to God and my own Conscience, as far as I could possibly learn, that the Inhabitants of Perusia never promoted or raised any Commotion or Rebellion, though as it is manifest to all Men, they were afflicted with Evil Dealings and Cruel Torments: And they, not without Cause, the Spaniards breaking their Faith and Word, betraying the Truth and Tyrannically contrary to all Law and Justice, destroying them and the whole Country, inflicting on them great Injuries and Losses, were more reay to prepare themselves for Death, than still to fall at once into such great and irrecoverable Miseries.
Nay I do declare, according to Information from the Indians themselves, that there are to this day far greater Quantities of Gold kept hid and concealed than ever were yet detected or brought to light, which by means of the Spanish Injustice and Cruelty, they would not then, nor ever will discover so long as they are so barbarously treated, but will rather chose to dye with the Herd. Whereat the Lord God is highly offended and the King hath very ill Offices done him, for he is hereby defrauded of this Region, which was sufficiently able to furnish all Castile with Necessaries, the Recovery whereof can never be expected without great difficulty and vast Expenses.
Thus far I have acquainted you with the very words of this Religious Franciscan, ratified by the Bishop of Mexico, who testifieth that the said Frier Marc did affirm and maintain what is above-mentioned.
Here it is to be observ'd what this said Frier was an Eye-Witness of; for he travelled up in this Countrey Fifty or a Hundred Miles, for the space of Nine or Ten Years, when as yet, few Spaniards had got footing there, but afterward, at the noise of Gold to be had there in great plenty, Four or Five Thousand came thither, who spread themselves through those Kingdoms and Provinces the space of Five or Six Hundred Miles, which they made wholly desloate, committing the same, or greater Cruelies than are before recited; for in reality they destroyed from that time to these very days, above an Hundred Thousand poor Souls more than he gives an Account of, and with less fear of God and the King, nay with less Mercy have they destroyed the greatest part of Mankind in these Kingdoms, above Four Millions suffering by violent Death.
A few days after they darted to Death with Arrows made of Reeds a Puissant Queen, the Wife of a Potentate, who still sways the Imperial Scepter of that Kingdom, whom the Spaniards had a design to take, which instigated him to raise a Rebellion, and he still continues a Rebel. They seized the Queen his Consort, and contrary to all Law and Equity murdered her, as is said before, who was then, as report, big with Child, only for this Reason, that they might add fresh Affliction and Grief to her Husband.
Of the New Kingdom of Granada
Many Tyrants there were, who set Sail from Venecuela, St. Martha, and Carthagena, hastening to the Conquest of Perusia, Anno Dom. 1539. and they accompanied with many more going farther from this Region, endeavored to penetrate into the Heart of this Countrey, where they found about Three Hundred Miles from Carthagena and St. Martha, many admirable Provinces and most fruitful Land, furnished with an even-tempered or meek-spirited People, as they are in other parts of India; very rich in Gold and those sorts of precious Stones known by the name of Emralds: To which Province they gave the Name of Granada, upon this account, because the Tyrant who first arrived in these Regions, was born in the Kingdom of Granada belonging to these parts; now they that spoiled these Provinces with their rapine being wicked, cruel, infamous Butchers, and delighting in the effusion of Humane Blood, having practically experimented the piacular and grand Enormities perpetrated among the Indians; and upon this account their Diabolical Actions are so great, so many in number, and represented so grievously horrid by circumstantial aggravations, that they exceed all the villanies committed by others, nay by themselves in other Regions, I will only select and cull out a few out of so great a number which have bene transacted by them within these three years, for my present purpose.
A certain Governour, because he that went to commit depredations and spoils in the Kingdom of Granada, would not admit him, as a Companion in his Robberies and Cruelties, set up an Inquisition, and produced proofs confirmed by great evidence, whereby he palpably lays open, and proves the Slaughters and Homicides he committed, and persists in to this very day, which were read in the Indian Courts of Judicature, and are there now Recorded.
In this Inquisition the Witnesses depose, that when all these Kingdoms enjoy'd Peace and Tranquillity, the Indians serv'd the Spaniards, and got their living by contstnat day-labour in Tilling and Manuring the Ground, bringing them much Gold, and many Gems, particularly Emeralds, and what other Commodities they could, and possessed, their Cities and Dominions being divided among the Spaniards, to procure which is the chiefest of their care and pains; and these are the proper measures they take to obtain their proposed ends, to wit, heaping and treasuring up of Gold and Riches.
Now when all the Indians were under their accustomed Tyranny: A certain Tyrant, and Chief Commander, took the King and Lord of the whole Countrey, and detain'd him Captive for six or seven moneths, demanding of him, without any reason, store of Gold and Emeralds. The said King, whose name was Bogoca, though fear, promised him a House of Gold, hoping, in time, to escape out of his clutches, who thus plagu'd him, and sent some Indians for Gold, who frequently, and at several times, brought him a great quantity of Gold, and many Jewels; but because the King did not, according to his promise, bestow upon him an Apartment made of pure Gold, he must therefore forfeit his Life. The Tyrant commanded himto be brought to Tryal before himself, and so they cite and summon to a Tryal the greatest King in the whole Region; and the Tyrant pronounced this Sentence, that unless he did perform his Golden Promise he should be exposed to severe Torments. They rackt him, poured boiling Soap into his Bowels, chain'd his Legs to one post, and fastened his Neck to another, two men holding his Hands, and so applyed the scorching heat of the Fire to his Feet; the Tyrant himself often casting his eye upon him, and threatning him with death, if he did not give him the promised Gold; and thus with these kind of horrid torments, the said Lord was destroy'd; which while they were doing, God being willing to manifest how displeasing these Cruelties are to His Divine Majesty, the whole City, that was the Stage on which they were acted, was consumed by fire; and the rest of the Captains following his example, destroy'd all the Lords of that Region by Fire and Faggot.
Once it fell out, that many Indians addressed themselves to the Spaniards with all Humility and Simplicity, as they use to do, who thinking themselves safe and secure, behold the Captain comes into the City, where they were to do their work, and commands all these Indians, sleeping and taking their rest, after Supper, being wearied with the heavy drudgery of the day, to be slain by the Sword: And this stratagem he put in practice, to make a greater impression of fear on all the minds of the Inhabitants; and another time a certain Captain commanded the Spaniards to declare upon Oath, how many Casics and Indians every individual person had in his Family at home, who were presently lead to a publick place, and lost their Heads; so there perisht, that bout, four or five hundred Men. The Witnesses depose this of a particular Tyrant, that by beating, cutting off the Hands and Noses of many Women as well as Men, and destroying several persons in great numbers, he exercised horrid Cruelties.
Then one of the Captains sent this bloody Tyrant into the Province of Bogata, to inquire who succeeded that Prince there, whom he so barbarously and inhumanely Murder'd, who traveling many miles in this Countrey, took as many Indians as he could get, some of which, because they did not tell him who was Successor of this Deceased Prince, had their Hands cut off, and others were exposed to hunger- starv'd Currs, to be devour'd by them, and as many of them perished miserably.
Another time about the fourth Watch, early in the morning he fell upon several Casics, Noblemen and other Indians, who lookt upon themselves to be safe enough, (for they had their faith and security given, that none of them should receive any damage or injury) relying upon this, they left the Mountains their lurking places, without any suspition or fear, and returned to their Cities, but he seized on them all, and commanding them to extend their hands on the ground, cut them off with his own Sword, saying, that he punished them after this maner, because they would not inform him what Lord it was, that succeeded in that Kingdom.
The Inhabitants of one of these Provinces, perceiving that four or five of their Governours were sent to the other World in a fiery Vehicle or Chariot, being terrified therewith, took to the Mountains for Sanctuary, there being four or five thousand in number, as appears by good Evidence; and the aforesaid Captain sends a Tyrant, more cruel than any of the rest after them. The Spaniards ascend the Mountains by force (for the Indians were naked an unarm'd) Proclaiming Peace, if they would desist and lay down their Arms, which the Indians no sooner heard, but quitted their Childish Weapons; and this was no sooner done but this Sanguinary Spaniard sent some to possess themselves of the Fortifications, and they being secur'd, to attaque the Indians. Thus they, like Wolves and Lyons, did rush upon this flock of Sheep, and were so tired with slaughter, that they were forced to desist for a while and take breath, which done, the Captain commands them to fall to it again at the same bloody rate, and precipitate all that survived the Butchery, from the top of the Mountain, which was of a prodigious height; and that was perform'd accordingly. And the Witnesses farther declare upon Oath, that they saw the bodies of about seven hundred Indians falling from the Mount at one time, like a Cloud obscuring the Air, who were all broken to pieces.
This very Tyrant came once to the city Cota, where he surprized abundance of Men, together with fifteen or twenty Casics of the highest rank and quality, whom he cast to the Dogs to be torn Limb-meal in pieces, and cut off the Hands of several Men and Women, which being run through with a pole, were exposed to be viewed and gaz'd upon by the Indians, where you might see at once seventy pair of hands, transfixed with Poles; nor is it to be forgotten, that he cut off the Noses of many Women and Children.
The Witnesses farther depose, that the Cruelties and great Slaughters committed in the aforesaid new Kingdom of Granada, by this Captain, and other Tyrants, the Destroyers of Mankind, who accompany him, and have power still given them by him to exercise the same, are such and so hainous, that if his Majesty does not opportunely apply some remedy, for the redress and prevention of such mischiefs for the future, (since the Indians are daily slaughtered to accumulate and enrich themselves with Gold, which the Inhabitants have been so rob'd of, that they are now grown bare, for what they had, they have disposed to the Spaniards already) this Kingdom will soon decay and be made desolate, and consequently the Land being destitute of Indians, who should manure it, will lye fallow and incultivated.
And here is to be noted, how pestilential and inhumane the cruelty of these Tyrants hath been, and how violently exercised, when as in two or three years space, they were all slain, and the Country wholly desolate and deserted, as those that have been Eye-witnesses can testifie; they having acted like Merciless Men, not having the fear of God and the King before their Eyes, but by the instigation of the Devil; so that it may well be said and affirmed, not one Person will be left alive, unless his Majesty does retard, and put a stop to the full career of their Cruelties, which I am very apt to believe, for I have seen with these very eyes of mine, many Kingdoms laid waste and depopulated in a small time. There are other stately Provinces on the Confines of the New Kindgom of Granada, as Popayan and Cali, together with three or four more above five hundred miles in length, which they destroyed, in the same manner, as they have done other places, and laid them absolutely waste by the prementioned Slaughters, who were very Populous, and the Soil very Fruitful. They who came among us from those Regions report, that nothing can be more deplorable or worthy of pity and commiseration, then to behold such large and great Cities totally ruinated, and intombed in their own Ashes, and that in a City adorn'd with 1000 or 2000 Fabricks, there are hardly now to be seen 50 standing, the rest being utterly demolished, or consum'd and levelled to the ground by Fire and in some parts Regions of 100 miles in length, (containing spacious Cities) are found absolutely destroyed and consumed by Fire.
Finally many great Tyrants who came out of the Perusian Kingdoms by the Quitonians Travelled to the said new Kindgom of Granada and Popayan, and by Carthagena and the Urabae, they directed their course to Calisium, and several other Tyrants of Carthagena assault Quito, who joyn'd themselves in an intire Body and wholly depopulated and laid waste that Region for the space of 600 miles and upward, with the loss of a prodigious number of poor Souls; nor as yet do they treat the small remnant of so great and innocent a people with more humanity then formerly.
I desire therefore that the Readers who have or shall peruse these passages, would please seriously to consider whether or no, such Barbarous, Cruel and Inhumane Acts as these do not transcend and exceed all the impiety and tyrrany, which can enter into the thoughts or imagination of Man, and whether these Spaniards deserve not the name of Devils. For which of these two things is more eligible or desirable whether the Indians should be delivered up to the Devils themselves to be tormented or the Spaniards? That is still a question.
Nor can I here omit one piece of Villany, (whether it ought to be postpon'd or come behind the cruelty of Brute Animals, that I leave to decision). The Spaniards who are conversant among the Indians bred up curst Curs, who are so well instructed and taught that they at first sight, fly upon the Inhabitants tearing them limb by limb, and so presently devour them. Now let all persons whether Christians or not consider, if ever such a thing as this reacht the ears of any Man, they carry these Dogs with them as Companions where ever they go, and kill the fettered Indians in multitudes like Hogs for their Food; thus sharing with them in the Butchery. Nay they frequently call one to the other, saying, lend me the fourth part of one of your Slaves to feed my Dogs, and when I kill one, I will repay you, as if they had only borrowed a quarter of a Hog or Sheep. Others, when they go a Hunting early in the morning, upon their return, if you ask them what sport had you to day at the Game? They will answer, enough, enough, for my Dogs have killed and worried 15 or 20 Indian Vassals. Now all these things are plainly prov'd upon those Inquisitions and Examinations made by one Tyrant against another. What I beseech you, can be more horrid or barbarous?
But I will desist from Writing any longer at this time, till some Messenger brings an account of greater and blacker Impieties (if greater can be committed) or else till we come to behold them again, as we have done for the space of forty two years with our own Eyes. I will only make this small addition to what I have said that the Spaniards, from the beginning of their first entrance upon America to this present day, were no more sollicitous of promoting the Preaching of the Gospel of Christ to these Nations, then if they had been Dogs or Beasts, but which is worst of all, they expressly prohibited their addresses to the Religious, laying many heavy Impositions upon them, dayly afflicting and persecuting them, that they might not have so much time and leasure at their own disposal, as to attend their Preaching and Divine Service; for they lookt upon that to be an impediment to their getting Gold, and raking up riches which their Avarice stimulated them so boundlessly to prosecute. Nor do they understand any more of a God, whether he be made of Wood, Brass or Clay, then they did above an hundred years ago, New Spain only exempted, which is a small part of America, and was visited and instructed by the Religious. Thus they did formely and still do perish without true Faith, or the knowledge and benefit of our Religious Sacraments.
I Frier Bartholomeas de las Casas or Casaus of the Order of St. Dominick, who through the mercy of God am Arriv'd at the Spanish Court, Cordially wishing the expulsion of Hell or these Hellish Acts out of the Indies; fearing least those Souls redeemed by the pretious Blood of Christ, should perish eternally, but heartily desiring that they may acknowledge their Creator and be saved; as also for the care and compassion that I ever had for my Native Countrey Castile, dreading least God should destroy it for the many sins committed by the Natives her Children, against Faith, Honour and their Neighbours: I have at length upon the request of some Persons of great Quality in this Court, who are fervently zealous of the Honour of God, and moved with pitty at the Calamities and Afflictions of their Neighbours (though I long since proposed it within my self, and resolved to accomplish it, but could not, being distracted with the avocations of multiplicity of constant Business and Employment, have leisure to effect it) I say I have at length finished this Treatise and Summary at Valencia, Decemb. 8. An. Dom. 1542, when they were arrived at the Height, and utmost Degree of executing Violences, Oppressions, Tyrrany, Desolations, Torments, and Calamities in all the aforesaid Regions, Inhabited by the Spaniards (though they are more Cruel in some places than other) yet Mexico with its Confines were more favourably treated than the rest of the Provinces.
And indeed no Man durst openly and publickly do any injury to the Inhabitants; for there some Justice, (which is no where else in India) though very little is done and practiced; yet they are grievously opprest with intolerable Taxes. But I do really believe, and am fully perswaded that our Sovereign Lord Charles the Fifth, Emperour and King of Spain, our Lord and Prince, who begins to be sensible of the Wickedness and Treacheries, which have been, and still are committed against this Miserable Nation, and distressed Countries contrary to the Will and Pleasure of God, as well as His Majesties that he will in time, (for hitherto the Truth hath been concealed and kept from his Knowledge, with as great Craft, as Fraud and Malice) totally extirpate and root up all these Evils and Mischiefs, and apply such proper Medicines as may purge the Morbifick and peccant Humours in the Body Politick of this New World, committed to his Care and Government as a Lover and Promoter of Peace and Tranquility. God preserve and bless him with Renown and a happy Life in his Imperial State, and prosper him in all his Attempts, that he may remedy the Distempers of the Christian Church, and Crown him at last with Eternal Felicity, Amen.
After I had published this Treatise, certain Laws and Constitutions, enacted by his Majesty then at Baraclona in the Month of December, An. Dom. 1542, promulgated and published the Year ensuing in the City of Madera, whereby it is provided, (as the present Necessities requir'd) that a period be put to such great Enormities and Sins, as were committed against God and our Neighbours, and tended to the utter Ruine and Perdition of this New World. These Laws were published by his Majesties Order, several Persons of highest Authority, Councellors, Learned, and Conscientious Men, being assembled together for that purpose, and many Debates made at Valedolid about this weighty Affair, at length by the unanimous Consent and Advice of all those who had committed their Opinions to Writing, they were made publick who traced more closely therein the Laws of Christ and Christianity, and were judged Persons pure, free from and innocent of that stain and blemish of depriving the Indians of their Treasures by Theft and Rapine, which Riches had contaminated and sullied the Hands, but much more the Souls of those who were enslav'd by those heaps of Wealth and Covetousness, now this obstinate and hot pursuit after Wealth was the Original of all those Evils committed without the least Remorse or Check of Conscience.
These Laws being thus promulgated, the Courtiers who promoted these Tyrants, took care that several Copies should be transcribed, (though they were extremely afflicted to see, that there was no farther hopes or means to promote the former Depredations and Extortions by the Tyranny aforesaid) and sent them to several Indian Provinces. They, who took upon them the Trouble and Care of Extirpating, and Oppressing by different ways of Cruelty, as they never observed any Method or Order, but behav'd themselves most inordinately and irregularly, having perused these Diplomata or Constitutions, before the new made Judges, appointed to put them in Execution, could Arrive or be Landed, they by the assistance of those (as 'tis credibly rumour'd, nor is it repugnant to truth) who hitherto favour'd their Criminal and Violent Actions, knowing well that these Laws and Proclamations must necessarily take effect, began to grow mutinous, and rebel, and when the Judges were Landed, who were to Execute these Mandates, laying aside all manner of Love and Fear of God, were so audacious as to contemn and set at nought all the Reverence and Obedience due to their King, and so became Traytors, demeaning themselves like Blood-Thirsty Tyrants, destitute and void of all Humanity.
More particularly this appear'd in the Perusian Kingdoms, where An. Dom. 1542, they acted such Horrid and Stupendous Enormities, that the like were never known or heard in America, or throughout the whole World before that time: Nor were they only practised upon the Indians, who were mostly destroy'd, but upon themselves also, God permitting them by his just Judgement to be their own Executioners, and sheath their Swords in one anothers Bowels. In like manner the other parts of this New World being moved by the Example of these Rebels, refused to yield Obedience to those Laws. The rest pretending to petition his Majesty turn Rebellious themselves; for they would not voluntarily resign those Estates, Goods and Chattels they have already usurped, nor willingly manumit those Indians, who were doomed to be their Slaves, during Life; and where they restrain'd the Murdering Sword from doing Execution, they opprest them gradually with personal Vassalage, injust and intolerable Burthens; which his Majesty could not possibly hitherto avert or hinder, because they are all universally, some publickly and openly, others clancularly and secretly, so naturally addicted to Rob, Thieve and Steal; and thus under pretext of serving the King, they dishonour God, and defraud his Imperial Majesty.
Here the Author having finished the matter of Fact in this Compendious History, for Confirmation of what he has here written, quotes a tedious and imperfect Epistle (as he styles it) beginning and ending anonymous withal, containing the Cruelties committed by the Spaniards, the same in effect as our Author has prementioned, now in regard that I judge such reiterated Cruelties and repeated Barbarisms are Offensive to the Reader, he having sailed already too long, and too far in an Ocean of Innocent Indian blood: I have omitted all but Two or Three Stories not taken notice of by the Author. One of the Tyrants, (who followed the steps of John Ampudia, a notorious Villain) gave way to a grat Slaughter of Sheep the chief Food and Support of the Spaniards as well as Indians, permitting them to kill Two or Three Hundred at a time, only for their Brains, Fat, or Suet, whose Flesh was then altogether useless, and not fit to be eaten; but many Indians, the Spaniards Friends and Confederates followed them, desiring they might have the hearts to feed upon, whereupon they butchered a great many of them, for this only Reason, because they would not eat the other parts of the Body. Two of their gang in the Province of Peru kild Twenty Five Sheep, who were sold among the Spaniards for Twenty Five Crowns, merely to get the fat and brains out of them: Thus the frequent and extraordinary Slaughter of their Sheep above a Hundred Thousand Head of Cattel were destroy'd. And upon this Account the Region was reduced to great penury and want, and at length perished with Hunger. Nay the Province of Quito, which abounded with Corn beyond Expression, by such proceedings as these, was brought to that Extremity that a Sextarie or small Measure or Wheat was sold for Ten Crowns, and a Sheep at as dear a rate.
This Captain taking leave of Quito was followed by a poor Indianess with loud Cries and Clamours, begging and beseeching him not to carry away her Husband; for she had the charge of Three Children, and could not possibly supply them with Victuals, but they must inevitably dye with hunger, and though the Captain repulsed her with an angry brow at the first; yet she approacht him a second time with repeated Cries, saying, that her Children must perish for want of Food; but finding the Captain inexorable and altogether unmov'd with her Complaints, and her Husband not restor'd, through a piquant necessity wedded to despair; she cut off the Heads of her Children with sharp Stones, and so dispatcht them into the other World.
Then he proceeded farther to another City, and sent some Spaniards that very Night, to take the Indians of the City of Tulilicui, who next day brought with them above a Hundred Persons; some of which (whom he lookt upon to be able to carry burthens) he reserved for his own and his Soldiers service, and other were chain'd, and perished in their Fetters: but the little Infants he gave to the Casic of Tulilicui, abovesaid to be eaten up and devoured, whose skins are stuft with Ashes and hung up in his House to be seen at this very day. And in the close of this Letter he shuts up all with these words, 'tis here very remarkable and never to be forgotten, that this Tyrant (being not ignorant of the Mischiefs and Enormities executed by him) boastingly said of himself, They who shall travel in these Countreys Fifty years hence, and hear the things related of me, will have cause to say or declare, that never such a Tyrant as I am marched through these Regions, and committed the like Enormities.
Now not to quit the Stage without one Comical Scene or Action whereon such Cruelties have been lively personated, give me leave to acquaint you with a Comical piece of Grammatical Learning in a Reverend Religioso of these parts, sent thither to convert the West-Indies Pagans, which the Author mentions among his Reasons and Replications, and all these I pass by as immaterial to our purpose, many of them being repeated in the Narrative before.
The weight and burthen of initiating the Indians into the Christian Faith lay solely on the Spaniards at first; and therefore Joannes Colmenero in Santa Martha, a Fantastic, Ignorant, and Foppish Fellow, was under Examination before us (and he had one of the most spatious Cities committed to his Charge as well as the Care and Cure of the Souls of the Inhabitants) whether he understood how to fortifie himself with the sign of the Cross against the Wicked and Impious, and being interrogated what he taught, and how he instructed the Indians, whose Souls were intrusted to his Care and Conduct; he return'd this Answer, That if he damn'd them to the Devil and Furies of Hell, it was sufficient to retrieve them, if he pronounced these Words, Per Signin Sanctin Cruces. A Fellow fitter to be a Hogherd than a Shepherd of Souls.
This Deep, Bloody American Tragedy is now concluded, and my Pen choakt up with Indian Blood and Gore. I have no more to say, but pronounce the Epilogue made by the Author, and leave the Reader to judge whether it deserves a Plaudite.
The Spaniards first set Sail to America, not for the Honour of God, or as Persons moved and merited thereunto by servent Zeal to the True Faith, nor to promote the Salvation of their Neighbours, nor to serve the King, as they falsely boast and pretend to do, but in truth, only stimulated and goaded on by insatiable Avarice and Ambition, that they might for ever Domineer, Command, and Tyrannize over the West- Indians, whose Kingdoms they hoped to divide and distribute among themselves. Which to deal candidly in no more or less intentionally, than by all these indirect wayes to disappoint and expel the Kings of Castile out of those Dominions and Territories, that they themselves having usurped the Supreme and Regal Empire, might first challenge it as their Right, and then possess and enjoy it.