— *1* This was untrue, as the Jesuit missions were not at that time (1644) apportioned into parishes under the authority of the Jesuits, and such tribute as then was customary was all collected by government officials. *2* This was also untrue, as the tithes were never regulated in Paraguay till 1649. *3* This accusation was quite untrue, for the edict referred to was not obtained under misapprehension, but after a complete exposition of all the facts. Moreover, it was subsequently renewed on several occasions by the Spanish Kings. *4* The Venetians did not expel the Jesuits, they left Venetia of their own accord. *5* Fathers Montoya and Tano went respectively to Rome and to Madrid to lay the sorrows of the Indians before the King and Pope. Having obtained the edict from the King that Cardenas referred to, and a brief from the Pope (Urban VIII.) forbidding slavery, they had the hardihood to appear within the city of San Paulo and affix both edicts to the church door. As was to be expected, the Paulistas immediately expelled them from their territories, and hence the semi-truth of the sixth charge made by Bishop Cardenas. —
Like other men after a notable pronouncement, it is most probable that Cardenas was unaware of the full import of his words. Perhaps he thought (as speakers will) that all the best portions of his sermon had been left unsaid. Be that as it may, he shortly turned his thoughts to other matters of more direct importance to himself. In judging of his life, it should not be forgotten that, by his sermon at Yaguaron, he placed himself upon the side of those who wanted to enslave the Indians. Perhaps he did not know this, and certainly his popularity amongst the Indians outside the missions was enormous. His next adventure was to try and eject the Jesuits from a farm they had, called San Isidro. The Governor having forbidden him to do so, he armed an army of his partisans to expel the Jesuits from their college in the capital.
Outside Asuncion the Lieutenant-Governor, Don Francisco Florez, met the Bishop's secretary, Father Nieto, who informed him of the enterprise, exhorting him to enlist the sympathies of the Governor in so good a cause. Florez, a better diplomatist than his commanding officer, seemed to approve, and naturally deceived poor Father Nieto, who, like most hypocrites, became an easy prey to his own tactics when used against himself.
Florez informed the Governor at once, and he sent to the Jesuits, and put them on their guard. Next day he met the Bishop, and told him that his enterprise could not succeed, as the Jesuits were under arms. No doubt he learned these artifices in his campaigns against the Indians of Arauco, or it may have been that, like others who have had to strive with churchmen, he learned to beat them with their own controversial arms. The Bishop fell completely into the snare, and, thinking the Governor was a fast friend, confided all his plans to him for the expulsion of the Jesuits and the conquest of the mission territory. Just then Captain Don Pedro Diaz del Valle came from La Plata, and gave Don Bernardino a new decision of the High Court of Charcas, telling him to live in peace with all men, and govern his diocese with zeal. He certainly was zealous to an extraordinary degree, if not judicious. Therefore, the very mention of the word 'zeal' must have been peculiarly offensive to such a zealous man. The letter went on to say that all the fines he had exacted were illegal, and commanded him to give back the 'yerba' which he had extorted from his involuntary penitents, and in the future live on better terms with all around him. To all of this he paid no notice, as was to be expected, but, to avoid returning the 'yerba', sent a letter to his officers to have it burned. This letter, which he denied, was subsequently produced against him in the High Court at Charcas.
Seeing the Governor was bent on frustrating or on deceiving him, he tried to get from Don Sebastian Leon, who held an office under the Governor, an edict of the Emperor Charles V., which he had heard was in the archives, and which provided that, in case a Governor should die or be deposed, the notables of the place had power to appoint an interim Governor to fill his place. If such a paper ever existed, it must have been a very early document given by Charles V. at the foundation of the colony, for nothing was more opposed to the traditions of Spanish policy throughout America. Don Sebastian Leon having informed the Governor, the latter saw that things were coming to a crisis, and that either he or the Bishop would have to leave the place. Not being sure of all his troops, and the Bishop having the populace upon his side, he sent to the Jesuit missions for six hundred Indians. Thus the supremacy of the royal government fell to be supported by men but just emerging from a semi-nomad life, who owed the tincture of civilization they possessed to the calumniated Jesuits.
On many occasions armies of Indians from the Jesuit missions rendered important services to the crown of Spain: not only against the Portuguese, but against English corsairs, and in rebellions, as in the case of Cardenas; or as when, in the year 1680, Philip V. wrote to the Governor of Buenos Ayres to garrison the port with a contingent of Indians from the Jesuit reductions; in 1681, when the French attacked the port with a squadron of four-and-twenty ships; and at the first siege of the Colonia, in 1678, when three thousand Indians marched to the attack, accompanied by their Jesuit pastors, but under the command of Spanish officers.*
— * Funes, 'Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos-Ayres, y Tucuman'. —
An army from the Jesuit missions consisted almost entirely of cavalry. It marched much like a South American army of twenty years ago was wont to march. In front was driven the 'caballada', consisting of the spare horses; then came the vanguard, composed of the best mounted soldiers, under their 'caciques'. Then followed the wives and women of the soldiers, driving the baggage-mules, and lastly some herdsmen drove a troop of cattle for the men to eat. When Jesuits accompanied the army, they did not enter into action, but were most intrepid in succouring the wounded under fire, as Funes, in his 'Historia Civil del Paraguay', etc.,* relates when speaking of their conduct at the siege of the Colonia in 1703. For arms they carried lances, slings, 'chuzos' (broad-pointed spears), lazos, and bolas, and had amongst them certain very long English guns with rests to fire from, not very heavy, and of a good range. Each day the accompanying Jesuits said Mass, and each town carried its particular banner before the troop. They generally camped, if possible, in the open plain, both to avoid surprises and for convenience in guarding the cattle and the 'caballada'. In all the territories of South America no such quiet and well-behaved soldiery was to be found; for in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala, the passage of an army was similar to the passing of a swarm of locusts in its effect.
— * The testimony of Funes is as follows: 'A/ juicio de testigo ocular no es ma/s admirable la sangre fria de sus capellanes' ('Historia Civil del Paraguay', book iii., cap. viii.). —
Don Bernardino, on his side, was occupied in animating the populace against the Jesuits with all the fervour of an Apostle. Naturally, he first commenced by launching his usual sentence of excommunication against them, and having done so returned again to Yaguaron. This village, like other Paraguayan villages, many of which in times gone by have been the scenes of stirring episodes, retains to-day but little to distinguish it. Nature has proved too powerful in the long-run for men to fight against. On every side the woods seem ready to overwhelm the place. Grass grows between the wooden steps of the neglected church; seibos, lapachos, espinillos de olor, all bound together with lianas, encroach to the verges of the little clearings in which grows mandioca, looking like a field of sticks. All day the parrots scream, and toucans and picaflores dart about; at evening the monkeys howl in chorus; at night the jaguar prowls about, and giant bats fasten upon the incautious sleeper, or, fixing themselves upon a horse, leave him exhausted in the morning with the loss of blood.
When Cardenas used the place as a sort of Avignon from which to safely utter his anathemas, it must have worn a different aspect. No doubt processions and ceremonies were continual, with carrying about the saints in public, a custom which the Paraguayans irreverently refer to as 'sacando a/ luz los bultos'.* Messengers ('chasquis'), no doubt, came and went perpetually, as is the custom in countries such as Paraguay, where news is valuable and horseflesh cheap. Thereto flocked, to a moral certainty, all the broken soldiers who swarmed in countries like Peru and Paraguay, with Indian 'caciques' looking out for work to do when white men quarrelled and throats were to be cut. Priests went and came, friars and missionaries; and Cardenas most certainly, who loved effect, gave all his emerald ring to kiss, and made those promises which leaders of revolt lavish on everyone in times of difficulty.
— * Literally, 'taking out the blocks to air'. The effigies are made of hard and heavy wood, and I remember once in Concepcion de Paraguay assisting on a sweltering day to carry a Madonna weighing about five hundredweight. —
When the Indian contingent arrived, the Governor marched upon Yaguaron, although the air was positively lurid with excommunications. The Bishop, rushing to the church, was intercepted by the Governor, who seized his arm and tried to stop him. Cardenas struggled with him, and declared him excommunicated for laying his hand upon the anointed of the Lord. But, most unfortunately, there was no Fitz-Urse at hand to rid the Governor of so turbulent a priest. A mulatto* woman rushed to the Bishop's aid, together with some priests. This gave him time to gain the altar and seize the Host, which he exposed at once to the public gaze, and for the moment all present fell upon their knees. Turning to the Governor, he asked what he wanted with armed men in a church. The Governor replied he had come to banish him from Paraguay, by order of the Viceroy, for having infringed upon the temporal power. Cardenas, taken aback, replied he would obey, and, turning to the people, took them all for witnesses. The Governor, no doubt thinking he was dealing with an honest Araucan chief, retired. The Bishop immediately denounced the Governor in a furious sermon, after which he left the church, carrying the Host in full procession, accompanied by the choir singing the 'Pange Lingua', followed by a band of Indian women with their hair dishevelled, and carrying green branches in their hands. He then returned to the church, and from the pulpit denounced the Governor, who, standing at the door surrounded by a group of arquebusiers blowing their matches, answered him furiously.
— * The proverb says in Paraguay, 'No se fia de mula ni mulata'. —
The honours, so to speak, being thus equally divided, it remained for one side or the other to negotiate. Cardenas, knowing himself much abler in negotiations than his adversary, proposed a conference, in which he bore himself so skilfully that he made the Governor consent to dismiss his Indians, and allow him six days to make his preparations for the road. This settled, at dead of night he set out for the capital. Arrived there, he showed himself in public in his green hat, having upon his breast a little box of glass in which he bore the Host. A band of priests escorted him, all with arms concealed beneath their cloaks, in the true spirit of the Church militant. The bells were rung, and every effort strained to raise a tumult, but all in vain. He had to throw himself for refuge into the convent of the Franciscans.
At once he set about to fortify the place to stand a siege. In several places he constructed embrasures for guns, and pierced the walls for musketry. But, thinking that his best defence lay in the folly of the people — as public men always have done, and do — he sent to the Cathedral for a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and another of San Blas, and placed them at the gate. Then, remembering that calumny was a most serviceable weapon, he put about the town a report that the Indians from the missions had pillaged Yaguaron, and that they even then were marching on the place. Again recurring to the edict of Charles V., which he pretended to have found, he issued a proclamation that, as the present Governor was excommunicated, and therefore could not govern, the office being vacant, he intended to nominate another in his stead. His subsequent behaviour shows most clearly that he wished to nominate himself.
Again both sides sent off a relation of their doings to the High Court of Charcas. Don Bernardino wrote in his that the Jesuits had offered the Governor thirty thousand crowns, and placed a thousand men at his command, if he would expel the Bishop from the country, under the belief that he (Don Bernardino) knew of their hidden mines in the mission territory. His witnesses were students and priests, and one of these proving recalcitrant, the Bishop had him heavily chained, and then suspended outside the convent of the Franciscans.
This drastic treatment had the desired effect, as torture always has with reasonable men, and the poor witness signed, but afterwards protested, thus giving a good example in himself of the truth of the Spanish saying, 'Protest and pay'.*
— * 'Pagar y apelar'. —
By this time the patience and long-suffering of the Governor were quite exhausted. He therefore sent to the Bishop to say a ship was ready to take him down the river, and at the same time reminded him of his promise at Yaguaron to obey the order of the Viceroy of Peru. He sent the message by the royal notary, Gomez de Coyeso, who accordingly repaired to the convent of San Francisco. At the door a priest appeared, armed with a javelin, who three times tried to wound the notary, on which the Governor stationed a band of fifty soldiers at the convent gate, in spite of the presence of the statues of the Blessed Virgin and San Blas. Then, having published an edict that the Bishop was deposed, he proceeded to elect another in his stead.
One of the canons, Don Cristobal Sanchez, who had governed the diocese during the interregnum before the advent of Don Bernardino, still lived in retirement near the town. The Governor approached him with the request that he would once more take the interim charge until the King should send another Bishop to replace Cardenas. Sanchez consented, on the understanding that the Governor would guarantee his personal safety. This being done, Sanchez was taken to the Jesuit college as the securest place.
So it fell out that everything concurred to strengthen the hatred of the Bishop to the Jesuits. To the Jesuit college came the Governor and all the notables, and, having taken Sanchez in procession through the streets, they placed him on the Bishop's throne in the Cathedral, and invested him with all the power that he had held before the coming of Don Bernardino Cardenas. The proclamation set forth by the Governor alluded to the informality of the consecration of Don Bernardino, and to his actions during his time of power.
At last the Bishop saw that he must go. So, after launching a supreme anathema, and after having expressed his great unwillingness to tarry longer in a city where half the population had incurred the censure of the Church, and marked with a cross those churches where he permitted Mass to be celebrated, he went on board the ship. Before embarking, he drew a silver bell from underneath his cloak, and to the sound of it he solemnly proclaimed the town accursed. The bells of the Franciscan convent and the Bishop's palace, according to his orders, all tolled loudly. This caused so much confusion that, in order to appease the tumult, the authorities ordered the bells of all the churches in the town to ring.
Entering the vessel, Don Bernardino sat himself upon the poop on a low stool, with all the clergy who were faithful to him grouped about the deck. With him he had the sacred wafer in a glass box, and not far off a group of sailors on the forecastle lounged about smoking and drinking 'mate' whilst they played at cards. Someone reminded him it was not fitting that God's Body should thus be seen so near to sailors, and therefore the Bishop, according to the custom of the Church in cases of accident or desecration, consumed the offended wafer, and peace descended on the ship.
Thus, in 1644, he took his first departure from the place where for the last two years he had brought certainly rather a sword than peace. His friends assured the public that, at the moment he stepped on board the ship, stars were seen to fall from heaven towards the church of St. Luke, and passed from thence to the episcopal palace and disappeared; that at the same time a slight shock of earthquake had been experienced; that stones had danced about, and several hills had trembled. The sun, quite naturally, had appeared blood-red; trouble and desolation had entered every heart, and animals had prophesied woe and destruction, predicting ruin and misfortune to the town till the good Bishop should return once more.
The events of the past two years in Paraguay had not been favourable to the conversion of the Indians. Not only in the missions, where the neophytes had seen themselves obliged to furnish troops against their Bishop, but in the territory of Paraguay itself, the Indians had not had a good example of how Christians carry out the duties of their faith. As a general rule, the Indian (unlike the negro) cares little for dogma, but places his belief entirely in good works. Perhaps on this account the Jesuits, also believers in good works, have had the most success amongst them. Be that as it may, the Jesuits, after the departure of the Bishop, found that many of their recent converts had fallen away and gone back to the woods.
Whilst Jesuits in Paraguay were seeking to convert the Indians, and whilst the Governor, no doubt, was thanking his stars for the absence of his rival, in Rome the question of the Bishop's consecration filled all minds. From May 9, 1645, to October 2 of the same year no less than four congregations of the Propaganda had been held about the case. The Pope himself was present at one of them. Nothing was arrived at till 1658, when finally the consecration was declared in order, but not until Don Bernardino was appointed to another see.
Just about this time (1644-45) a rumour was set on foot that the Jesuits had discovered mines near their reductions on the Parana. These rumours were always set about when there was nothing else by means of which to attack the Jesuits. An Indian by the name of Buenaventura, who had been a servant in a convent in Buenos Ayres, on this occasion was the instrument used by their enemies. For a short time everyone believed him, and excitement was intense; but, most unluckily, Buenaventura happened at the zenith of his notoriety to run away with a married woman, and, being pursued, was brought to Buenos Ayres, and then in public incontinently whipped. In any other country Buenaventura after his public whipping would have been discredited, but a letter arrived from the Bishop of Paraguay, telling the Governor of Buenos Ayres that the mines really existed. At that time a new Governor, one Don Jacinto de Lara, had just arrived. Being new to America and its ways, he started out himself to try the question, and with fifty soldiers, taking Buenaventura as his guide, went to the missions. As might have been expected, on the journey Buenaventura disappeared, this time alone. 'Cette fuite lui donna beaucoup a penser,' says Charlevoix. But having gone so far, the Governor determined to try the question thoroughly.
Father Diaz Tano, one of the best and hardest-working missionaries who ever entered Paraguay, besought the Governor to satisfy himself and search their territory for gold and silver, and requested him to call upon the Bishop for confirmation of the statements he had made. This he did, and then, accompanied by his soldiers, began his search. He gave out that the first man to find a mine should be at once promoted to be captain and have a large reward. After several days' march, and having found no mines, letters were brought him from the Governor of Paraguay and from the Bishop. The first informed him that he had heard rumours of mines, but nothing certain. The second declined to specify the mines, which thus were destined to remain for ever, so to speak, 'in partibus'. But he gave advice, and good advice is better than any mine, whether of silver or of gold. He told the Governor to start by turning out the Jesuits, and he would find the profits of their expulsion just as valuable as mines.
Whether this also made the Governor pensive I do not know, but, luckily, the Jesuits, who were concerned in exposing the imposture, had come on Buenaventura, and brought him ironed to the Governor. He, after having tried to make him confess his imposture without success, condemned him to be hung. The Jesuits, with their accustomed humanity (or ingenuity), begged for his life. This was accorded to them, and once again Buenaventura received a good sound whipping for his pains.
Thus ended the journey of Don Jacinto, without profit to himself, except so far as the experience gained. No doubt he saw and marked the Jesuit towns, the churches built of massive timber or of stone, and the contented air of Indians and priests, which always struck all travellers in those times. He saw the countless herds of cattle, the cultivated fields; enjoyed, no doubt for the first time since arriving in South America, the sense of perfect safety, at that time to be experienced alone in Misiones. But in despite of his exposure of the imposture, the rumour as to the existence of the mines never died out, and lingers even to-day, in spite of geological research in Paraguay.
Whilst this was going on in Misiones, in the remote and recently-converted district of the Itatines, in the north of Paraguay, the example set by the Bishop had borne its fruit. The Indians became unmanageable. One of the chiefs broke into open rebellion, and wounded a Jesuit father called Arenas at the very altar-steps. Soon the general corruption of manners became almost universal throughout the district. This, I fancy, must be taken to mean that the Indians reverted to polygamy, for the Jesuits always had trouble in this matter, being unable to persuade the Indians of the advantage of monogamy.
But most fortuitously, just as the general corruption gained all hearts, a tiger rushed into the town, and, after killing fourteen people and some horses, disappeared again into the woods.
The Jesuits, ever ready to take advantage of events like these, called on the Indians to see in the visitation of the tiger the wrath of Heaven, and to leave their wicked ways.
The Indians, always as willing to submit as to revolt, submitted, and the good fathers 'prirent le parti de faire un coup d'autorite/, qui leur re/ussit,' as Charlevoix relates.
They decoyed the chief, his nephew, and son, into another district, where they seized and shipped them off two hundred leagues to a remote reduction across the Uruguay. The Spaniards used to say of Ferdinand VII., when he had committed any great barbarity, 'He is quite a King' ('Es mucho Rey'), and the Indians of the Itatines esteemed the Jesuits for their 'coup d'autorite' in the same manner as the Spaniards their King.
His usual luck attended Cardenas in his exile in Corrientes. This town formed part of the diocese of Buenos Ayres, which happened to be vacant at the time. He therefore took upon himself to act just as he had acted in Paraguay — appointed officers of justice, held ordinations, and instituted a campaign against the Jesuits of the town.
Whilst he was thus occupied in his favourite pastime of usurping other people's functions, two citations were sent him to appear before the High Court of Charcas. He disregarded them, and sent a statement of his case by the hands of his nephew to the Bishop of Tucuman. In the letter he set forth all his complaints against the Governor of Paraguay, calling him a violator of the Church, a heretic, and generally applying to him all those terms in which a thwarted churchman usually exhales his rage. Mixed up with this was a detailed accusation of the Jesuits, to whose account he laid all his misfortunes whilst in Paraguay. Lastly, he called upon the Bishop of Tucuman to summon a provincial council to condemn the monstrous heresies which he attributed to the Jesuits, reminding him that the Council of Trent had recommended the holding of frequent provincial councils, and stating his opinion that, unless a council were called at once, the Bishop would incur a mortal sin.
The answer Cardenas received from Tucuman was most ironically couched in the best style that his long-suffering friend was able to command. After addressing Cardenas as 'your illustrious lordship', he proceeded to demolish all his statements in such a manner as to argue that he had had much practice with refractory priests in his own diocese. He told him that the Jesuits were the only Order in Paraguay that really worked amongst the Indians. He reminded him that from that Order the 'second Paul', i.e., St. Francis Xavier, had himself issued. He asked him whether, as a churchman, he thought the yearly sum of twelve thousand crowns given by the King out of the treasury of Buenos Ayres towards the Jesuits' work was better saved, or that the thousands of Indians whom the Jesuits had converted should be lost to God. And as to heresy, he said he was no judge, leaving such matters to the Pope; but that no one accused the Jesuits of corruption in their morals, or of any of the greater crimes to which the great fragility of human nature renders us liable. He reminded him the Jesuits had made no accusation on their part, but always spoke of him with moderation and respect. And as to a provincial council, he said that it was impossible, for the following good cause: The Bishop of Misque* was too infirm to travel; the Bishop of La Paz was lately dead, and the see still vacant; the Bishop of Buenos Ayres only just arrived, and too much occupied to leave his diocese. Therefore, the only Bishops available were himself and Cardenas, and that they never would agree.
— * Misque is at least fifteen hundred miles from Tucuman. —
'Moreover,' he remarked, 'what is it that your illustrious lordship wishes me to do?
'To advise a Bishop?
'God has only given me the charge of my own sheep. Your lordship knows as well as I do how a Bishop should comport himself.'
He finished with a quotation, saying that a Bishop's state was not to lie 'in splendore vestium, sed morum; non ad iram, sed ut omnimodum patientium.'
What Cardenas replied is not set down in any history which has come under my observation, but what he must have thought is easy to divine.
The Governor of Paraguay, not content with having put his case before the Supreme Court of Charcas, sent also to the Council General of the Indies in Seville, detailing all the vagaries of the Bishop. The Jesuits also empowered an officer to represent them there.
During these preparations, and whilst everyone was off his guard, the Guaycurus endeavoured to surprise the capital, and would have done so had not some regiments of Guaranis arrived in time from the mission territory. This should have been an object-lesson to those who always tried to show the Jesuits in the light of enemies to the authority of the King of Spain. Nothing, however, proved of the least avail, and though on several occasions the Spanish power in Paraguay was only saved by the exertions of the Jesuits and their Indians, the calumnies of Cardenas had taken too deep root to be dispelled.
Meanwhile, in Corrientes, Cardenas schemed night and day to return to Paraguay. In his own city of La Plata naturally he had some friends, and these did all they could to get him reinstated. In spite of all their efforts, an order came from Charcas for him to leave the city under pain of banishment.* Anyone but Cardenas would have been disconcerted; he, though, pretended, as in the order he was still styled Bishop of Paraguay, that before leaving for Charcas, to present himself before the court, he had to go to Asuncion to name a Vicar-General, and towards the end of 1646 he embarked upon the river for Paraguay.
— * 'Que lo hagan salir de nuestros Reynos y Sen~orios como ageno y estran~o, por importar assi para la quietud de aquellas Provincias, y al servicio de su Majestad.' —
The Governor was on the alert, and sent a vessel with orders to turn him back, which order was carried out in spite of his remonstrances, and he returned to Corrientes in a miserable state.
Then came another citation to appear at Charcas, and an intimation that he was appointed Bishop of Popayan. As Popayan (in New Granada) was at least three thousand miles from Asuncion, his joy at the appointment must have been extreme.
His fortunes now seemed desperate; as he said himself in a letter to the King, 'at an advanced age he could not undertake so great a journey'; and on every side his enemies seemed to have got the upper hand.
In 1648 a change came over everything. Don Gregorio Hinestrosa was removed from Paraguay, and a new Governor, Don Diego Escobar de Osorio, appointed in his place. Immediately the news reached Cardenas he set out for Paraguay. Arriving at Asuncion, his friends all met him and took him in procession to the Cathedral. His first thought was to renew his persecution of the Jesuits. Most unfortunately for them, Don Juan de Palafox, Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles in Mexico, who had himself in Mexico had many quarrels with the Jesuits, wrote begging Cardenas and all the Bishops of South America to join against them.
This Palafox was afterwards beatified, and even in his lifetime enjoyed the reputation of a saint, so that his letter greatly strengthened Cardenas. Notwithstanding this, Palafox in subsequent works of his during the time that he was Bishop of Osma (in Spain) said many things in praise of the work done by the Jesuits in Paraguay.
The new Governor, himself a member of the Supreme Court of Charcas, had never been before in Paraguay, and therefore resolved to treat the Bishop (as Don Gregorio had done) with every respect due to his station. The Bishop wanted nothing better, and saw at once he had another fool to deal with. Therefore he made no secret of his intention of not complying with the citation of the court at Charcas, and set himself at once to preach against the Jesuits, and stir up popular resentment against them. Unluckily, proof was wanting of the crimes he alleged they had committed, so he resorted to the device of getting a petition signed by all and sundry, asking for the expulsion of the Order from Paraguay. Like all petitions, it was largely signed by women and by children and by those who had never thought before about the matter, but liked the opportunity to write their names after the names of others, as sheep go through a gap or members give their votes (out of mere sympathy) in the high court of Parliament.
This device having taken too much time, blank documents were passed about for all to write upon whatever they imagined to the disadvantage of the Jesuits. By an untoward chance, a bundle of these, sent to the agent of the Bishop in Spain, was taken on the voyage by an English corsair. The worthy pirate (no doubt a Protestant) was, if we can believe the Jesuits, extremely scandalized at the bad faith of those who used such means of wreaking their malevolence.
So all seemed once again to smile upon Don Bernardino, who no doubt resumed his flagellations, his midnight services, and his saying of two Masses, and once again became the idol of the people of Asuncion.
But in the north, in the wild district of Caaguayu, hard by the mountains of Mbaracaya, close to the great 'yerbales',* the Jesuits had formed two towns amongst the Indians. These two towns were destined to be the outposts of the country against the incursions of the wild Indians from the Chaco.
— * A 'yerbal' is a forest chiefly composed of the 'Ilex Paraguayensis', from the leaves of which the 'yerba mate', or 'Paraguayan tea', is made. —
The Bishop prevailed upon the Governor to let him turn out the Jesuits and replace them by priests of another Order. This being done, the Indians all deserted, leaving the district quite uninhabited.
The court at Charcas, hearing of this folly, sent an order to the Governor to send the Jesuits back. A year was passed in ceaseless searching of the woods and deserts for the Indians, but only half of the population could ever be persuaded to return, and Father Mansilla, the ex-missionary, died of the hardships that he underwent.
From that date down to the time of Dr. Francia (circa 1812-35), the district remained a desert. Francia used it as a penal settlement, and to-day, save for a few wild, wandering Indians, known as Caaguas, and a sparse population of yerba-gatherers, it still remains almost unpopulated.
Meanwhile, the general indignation against the Jesuits seemed to infect all classes of the population. Certainly, the citizens of Asuncion had good and sufficient causes of complaint against the Jesuits. On several occasions the efforts of the Jesuits and their Indians alone had saved the capital from the wild Indians, and benefits are hard to bear, if only from their rarity.
Popular hatred, to the full as idiotic as is popular applause, fell chiefly upon Father Diaz Tano — he who had saved ten thousand Indians for the King of Spain in his celebrated retreat before the Mamelucos down the Parana — and he was frequently insulted in the streets. Father Antonio Manquiano, a quiet and learned man, was almost murdered in open day by a furious fanatic, who fell upon him with the openly expressed intent 'to eat his heart'.
This was the moment Cardenas pitched on to declare the entire Order of the Jesuits excommunicated. As he had been a year away from the scene of his former exploits, people were not so used to excommunications, and therefore took them seriously.
At this eventful juncture the Governor, Don Diego, died so suddenly that suspicions of his having been poisoned were aroused. Scarce was he dead than all the population assembled at the palace to elect an interim successor. This was a most important thing, as to communicate with Spain took, at the very shortest time, about eight months. By acclamation the choice fell on the Bishop, who thus found himself head of the spiritual and the temporal power at once.
The election was absolutely illegal, as the Spanish law provided that, if a Governor of Paraguay should chance to die, the nomination of an interim successor should rest first with the Viceroy of Peru, and failing him with the High Court of Charcas.
Cardenas based his election on the pretended edict of the Emperor Charles V., but, if he had a copy of the edict, never produced it. As usual, 'good men daring not, and wise men caring not', but only fools and schemers taking part in the election, no serious opposition to his usurpation was encountered.
Cardenas never doubted for a moment that the function of a Governor was to govern, and he began at once to do so with a will.
Xarque, a Spanish writer, gives the following curious description of how he set about to get the people on his side to expel the Jesuits:*
— * Xarque, book ii., cap. xl., p. 30. —
Preaching one day in the Cathedral, after the consecration he turned towards the people, and, showing the holy wafer, said, 'Do you believe, my brethren, that Jesus Christ is here?' All, being true believers, answered as one man that such was their belief. In the same way as at a scientific lecture, when the lecturer holds up some substance, and says, 'You all know well that calcium tungstate or barium hydrocyanide has this or the other property,' the hearers nod assent like sheep, being afraid to contradict so glib a statement from so eminent a man.
Then said Cardenas, 'Believe as firmly that I have an order from the King to expel the Jesuits.' The people all believed, and Cardenas forgot to tell them that by the expulsion of the Jesuits twenty thousand Indians would pass into his power, whom he could then distribute amongst his friends as slaves, as he proposed to divide the Indians of the missions amongst the Paraguayan notables to win them to his side.
Being at the head of everything in Asuncion, Cardenas no longer hesitated, but ordered an officer, Don Juan de Vallejo Villasanti, with a troop of soldiers to march to the college of the Jesuits. This he did, and finding the gates all barred, he burst them open, and, entering the college, signified to the rector an order from the Governor (duly countersigned by the Bishop) to leave the city with all his priests, and to evacuate all the missions on the Parana. The rector answered that the Jesuits had a permission from Philip II., renewed by his successors, to found a college, and Father Tano exhibited the documents. Villasanti, who had but little love for documents, snatched the parchments from his hand, and the soldiers forced the Jesuits in a body to the port like sheep. There they were tied and thrown into canoes almost without provisions, and sent off down the river to Corrientes, the certain haven of the party in Paraguay which has got the worst of an election or a revolution, and wishes to gain time.
Arrived in Corrientes, Don Manuel Cabral, a pious officer, received them in his house, and, curiously enough, the population welcomed the Jesuits with enthusiasm, and pressed them earnestly to build a college in the town.
Their college at Asuncion was treated like a town taken by storm: pulpit and font, confessionals and doors, all were torn down and burnt, and, with a view of justifying what was done, the Bishop's partisans spread a report that, as the Jesuits were heretics, their temple was unclean.
The population, more artistic in its instincts than the Bishop, refused to allow the altar, which had been brought from Spain, to be destroyed. Besides the altar, there were also statues of San Ignacio and San Francisco Xavier. These the Bishop wished to turn into St. Peter and St. Paul. With this design he gave them to an Indian carpenter to work upon. The poor man did his best, but only managed to turn out two monstrous blocks, which looked like nothing human.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin which had the eyes turned up to heaven the Bishop wished to alter, and replace the head by another with the eyes turned down to earth, as being more befitting to the statue's sex. The people, less mad or superstitious than the Bishop, refused to allow it, and the image, too, was placed in the Cathedral.
In 1649 the expulsion of an Order so powerful as were the Jesuits caused some commotion through the world at large. Miracles happened opportunely to strengthen waning faith. A fire placed round their church, though it destroyed, refused to blacken; and ropes fixed to the tower of the church, although attached to windlasses, refused to pull it down, so that the tower and church, though gutted, still remained almost intact, and, on the Jesuits' return, were easily repaired, and served as a monument of victory.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a mitre, as poor Cardenas found out. His popularity suffered some decrease by the lack of treasure found in the Jesuits' college, for he had always dangled millions in prospective before the people's eyes to engage them on his side, and, most unluckily, he had no millions to bestow. So, to make all things right, he sent Fray Diego Villalon* to Madrid to represent his interests.
— * This Villalon has left some curious memoirs in the case which he submitted to the Council of the Indies which sat in Seville. —
The Jesuits upon their side were not inactive. By virtue of a brief of Gregory XIII. they had the privilege of appointing an official called a judge conservator in cases where their honour or their possessions were attacked. Therefore Father Alfonso de Ojeda was sent to Charcas to arrange about the case. At Charcas they found that Cardenas had been before them, and had instituted proceedings against their Order in the High Court. Father Pedro Nolasco, Superior of the Order of Mercy, was appointed judge conservator. He at once summoned the Bishop to appear before him, and arranged to try the case and hear the evidence.
Cardenas having refused to appear, sentence went by default against him. The High Court, being convinced that the pretended edict of the Emperor Charles V. did not exist, appointed Don Andres Garabito de Leon to be interim Captain-General of Paraguay, and gave him power, if necessary, to restore order by force of arms. The court then issued a decree summoning Cardenas to appear at once at Charcas and give his reasons why he had had himself made Governor and had expulsed the Jesuits from Paraguay. It then communicated with the Marquis of Mancera, Viceroy of Peru, who quite concurred in its decision as to Cardenas.
Apparently upon the principle which prevails amongst Mohammedans of always appointing, first an officer, and then a caliph to that officer to do the work, the High Court of Charcas also appointed a commander to proceed to Paraguay, pending the time that Don Andres should feel inclined to start himself. As the caliph's name was Sebastian de Leon, it is not improbable that he was a relation of the first-appointed man.
Don Sebastian de Leon seems to have been in Paraguay already, for both Charlevoix and Xarque agree that he and his brothers, after the expulsion of the Jesuits by Cardenas, had retired to an estate some distance from Asuncion. At the estate the news of his appointment reached him, and must have placed him in a most difficult position as to what to do.
On several occasions in the various rebellions which occurred in South America during the Spanish rule, men were appointed to quell rebellions, pacify countries, and restore order, and all without an army or any forces being placed at their command. This was the case with the celebrated La Gasca, who was sent from Spain to put down the rebellion of Gonzalo Pizarro, and succeeded in so doing, though he left Spain without a single soldier in his train. In this connection it is to be remembered that none of the rebellions in Spanish America from the days of Charles I. (i.e., the Emperor Charles V.) to those of Charles III. were for the object of separation from the metropolis, but merely risings against Governors sent out from Spain. It seems that both in Peru and Paraguay the very name of the imperial power was able to draw hundreds of men to the standard of whatever officer held a commission from Madrid, such as that held by Garabito de Leon or by La Gasca on the Parana.
At first Don Sebastian did not show himself in Asuncion, but sent out messengers on every side to summon soldiers, requisition horses, and collect provisions. He also sent to Corrientes to tell the Jesuits he was ready to reinstate them in their possessions.
Don Bernardino meanwhile was preparing for the great adventure of his life. He seems to have believed most firmly that no power on earth had any right to remove him from the governorship of Paraguay. In a letter which he addressed to Don Juan Romero de la Cruz* he says he is on the point of distinguishing himself by heroic exploits and great victories; that he had on his side justice and force (a most uncommon combination); that the entire capital was favourable to him; and that he was resolved neither to readmit the Jesuits nor to recognise Don Sebastian de Leon as Governor.
— * Charlevoix, book xii., p. 115. —
Asuncion was once again convulsed, and all was preparation for the holy war. The Bishop had given out that angels were to help him, and this so reassured his soldiers that they provided themselves with cords to bind the Indians in the army of Don Sebastian Leon, thinking they would fall an easy prey to them. This matter of the cords explains, perhaps, why the population of Asuncion was almost unanimous in favour of the Bishop.
In the army of Don Sebastian, as well as the militia of the province, marched three thousand Indians from the Jesuit reductions on the Parana. The Spaniards of the capital were all determined not to kill any of them, but keep them alive for slaves, and hence the cords with which they armed themselves.
The sacred generalissimo led out his army from Asuncion in person, celebrating Mass himself, and then heading his troops like many another Spanish ecclesiastic has done before and after him, and continued doing even to the latest Carlist war.
The armies met not far from Luque, in a little plain known as the Campo Grande. An open plain with sandy soil, which gave the horses a good footing, with several little stagnant pools in the centre where the wounded men could drink and wash their wounds, with a most convenient forest on all sides for the deserters and the cowards to hide in, made a good battlefield. The village of Luque, grouped round its church, and with a little plaza in the middle in which sat Paraguayan women selling mandioca, chipa,*1* and rapadura,*2* with sacks of maize and of mani,*3* stood on the summit of a little hill. Upon the plain the earth is red, and looks as if a battle had been fought upon it and much blood spilt. In all directions run little paths, worn deep by the feet of mules and horses, and in which the rider has to lift his feet as if he were going through a stream. To Asuncion there leads one of the deep-sunk roads planted with orange and paraiso*4* trees, constructed thus (as Barco de la Centenera tells us in his 'Argentina') so as to be defensible against the Indians after the country was first conquered by the Spaniards.
— *1* Chipa is a kind of bread made of mandioca flour. *2* Rapadura is a kind of coarse sugar, generally sold in little pyramid-shaped lumps, done up in a banana leaf. It is strongly flavoured with lye. *3* Mani is ground-nut. ["Peanut" in American English. — A. L., 1998.] *4* The paraiso is one of the Paulinias. —
On the Bishop's side hardly a soldier but thought himself an emissary of God, or doubted of the victory for a moment in his heart. Angels themselves had promised victory to their leader, who, to make all things safe, had issued a proclamation punishing surrender with the pain of death; so they stood quietly in array of battle waiting to be attacked.
Upon his side, Don Sebastian Leon, seeing the attitude of the enemy, immediately ordered an advance, and charged himself, with all his cavalry, upon the Bishop's men. They, with the firmness that fanatics so often show, stood firmly in their ranks, thinking themselves invulnerable. Their valour proved but momentary, for at the second charge they broke their ranks and fled. Flight turned to rout, and Don Sebastian having commanded that they should not be pursued, they still fled on, no man pursuing them.
The Governor then entered the capital without resistance. On the plaza he stopped, and having gathered up the wounded without respect of party, he sent them to the hospital. Then, having seen to the safety of the town, he rode to the Cathedral to give thanks to God for having preserved him from the dangers of the fight. Dressed in his robes and seated on his throne was Cardenas. Don Sebastian entered the church, dismounted, and kissed his hand respectfully, like a true Spaniard, and asked him ceremoniously to deign to give him the baton of the civil power. Cardenas answered not a word, but handed him the baton, and then retired, accompanied by all his priests.
The victory did not terminate the work of Don Sebastian. After a reasonable interval, and before witnesses, he cited the Bishop to appear before the court of Charcas. The Bishop promised to obey, thinking he had another Don Gregorio Hinostrosa to deal with, but quite determined never to comply, acting according to the custom of Governors in South America, who, when an order reached them from Madrid, either absurd or quite impossible to execute, solemnly answered, 'I obey, but I do not comply,'* saving by the phrase the honour of their sovereigns and themselves. Upon their side the Jesuits pressed the judge conservator, Father Nolasco, to issue his sentence, and free them from the charges under which they lay. This he did, and gave as his opinion they were quite innocent of all that Cardenas had laid to their account.
— * 'Obedesco, pero no cumplo.' —
As in a palace,* things go slow in Spain, and it was not till 1654 that a royal decision confirmed the judgment of Nolasco, and freed the Jesuits from all the charges raised against them.
— * 'Cosas de palacio van despacio.' —
Order restored, Cardenas deprived of his usurped authority, and the Jesuits reinstated, the temporary commission of Sebastian Leon was at an end. Therefore he retired again to plant his mandioca under his own guayaba-tree. Yet feeling ran so high that he was hardly safe from the vengeance of the partisans of Cardenas, so that he found himself once more obliged to summon the militia of the province, and lead them to a perfunctory campaign against the Payaguas. These Indians the earlier historians of the conquest, Barco de la Centenera and Rui Diaz de Guzman, describe as river-pirates, almost living in canoes, and dashing out on any passing Spanish vessel that they thought weak enough. The Jesuits Montoya and Dobrizhoffer tell us that they went naked, painted in many colours, with a hawk's or parrot's wing passed through the cartilage of their left ear, and that they were, of all the Indians of Paraguay, the most indomitable. A few, when I knew Paraguay some twenty years ago, hung round Asuncion, squalid and miserable, passing their time in fishing in canoes, and as attached to their own mode of life as when the first discoverers called them 'sweet-water pirates' and the 'most pestilent of all the Indians on the river Paraguay.' The Payaguas chastised, Don Sebastian, upon one pretext or another, did not disband his troops, keeping them always by him, and thus making the position of the Bishop quite untenable, till by degrees his followers fell away and left him almost deserted and his party all dissolved. Seeing the game was up, the Bishop, after having named one Don Adrian Cornejo as his suffragan, took his departure (1650) for Charcas to appear before the court. For eight tumultuous years he had kept his bishopric in a perpetual turmoil, having been the evil genius of the land.
What sort of man he really was is hard to-day to judge, for Xarque, Villalon, Charlevoix, and Dean Funes,* who chronicle his doings, were all, on one side or the other, partisans. The Jesuits condemn him as a spoliator, the Franciscans hold him up as one who fought throughout his life for the honour of the founder of their rule. Tracts, books, and pamphlets for and against him have been written in numbers, and in the history of the times in Paraguay his name bulks large. One thing is certain — that the Indians loved and revered him, and followed him up to the end. Even in Charcas, where he lived for years upon a pension of two thousand crowns allowed him by the King whilst his case dragged its weary course to Rome, Madrid, back to Peru, and then to Rome again, the Indians, when he appeared in public, greeted him with flowers. He may have been a saint: so many men are saints, and the world knows them not. He may have been a schemer; but he made nothing by his schemes except the barren honour of his consecration to the see of Paraguay. A preacher certainly he was, able and willing to draw crowds, after the fashion of all those who have the gift of words.
— * Dean Funes, in his 'Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Ayres y Tucuman' (book ii., cap. i., p. 10), says he was 'Dotado de un temperamento muy facil de inflamarse, de una imaginacion viva, de una memoria feliz, y de un ingenio no vulgar.' —
Headstrong and obstinate, through a long life he hated vigorously, thinking all those who differed from him were accursed of God. A strenuous member of the Church militant on earth, he was at least a personality, and those who read the history of his time must reckon with, and take sides for or against, him after the fashion of the men with whom he passed his life, who to a man revered him as a saint, or looked upon him as a devil sent to plague mankind.
Arrived in Charcas, he soon fell on evil times, although at first he made some partisans. Still looking back to Paraguay, he passed his time in drawing out petitions to the King; then, one by one, all his friends fell from him, except some faithful Indians, who considered him a saint. His dreams of saintship were not fulfilled, for his name never figured in the calendar. Years did not tame nor yet did hope ever completely leave him; for in old books I find him always protesting, ever complaining, and still striving, till, in 1665, Philip IV. in pity made him Bishop of Santa Cruz. A sentence from the registers of the Consistory at Rome informs us that, as Bishop of La Paz, in his own province of the Charcas, he left off troubling, and rested from his agitated life.
Description of the mission territory and towns founded by the Jesuits — Their endeavours to attract the Indians — Religious feasts and processions — Agricultural and commercial organizations
With the death of Cardenas the most dangerous enemy the Jesuits ever had in Paraguay had disappeared. They worsted him, and drove him from his see; but the movement set on foot by him and the calumnies he levelled at their Order still remained and flourished, and in the end prevailed against them and drove them from the land. A calumny is hard to kill; mankind in general cherish it; they never let it die, and, if it languishes, resuscitate it under another form; they hold to it in evil and in good repute, so that, once fairly rooted, it goes on growing like a forest-tree throughout the centuries. Therefore, the charges against the Jesuits in Paraguay, which Cardenas first started, are with us still, and warp our judgment as to the doings of the Order in the missions of the Parana and Uruguay even until to-day.
But neither calumny nor the raids of the Paulistas, nor yet the jealousy of the Spanish settlers in Paraguay, deterred the Jesuits from the prosecution of their task. The missions gradually extended, till they ranged from Santa Maria la Mayor, in Paraguay, to San Miguel, in what is now Brazil; and from Jesus, upon the Parana, to Yapeyu, upon the Uruguay. Most of the country, with the exception of the missions of Jesus and Trinidad, upon the Parana, which to-day, at least, are only clearings in the primeval forest, is composed of open rolling plains, with wood upon the banks of all the streams. Covered as it was and is with fine, short grass, it formed excellent cattle-breeding country, and hence the great industry of the Indians was to look after stock. The country being so favourable for cattle, they multiplied immoderately, so that in the various establishments ('estancias'), according to the inventories published by Brabo, their numbers were immense.*
— * At the date of the expulsion the number of the cattle was 719,761; oxen, 44,183; horses, 27,204; sheep, 138,827 ('Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas', Francisco Javier Brabo, Madrid, 1872). —
These open rolling plains, called by the natives 'campos quebrantados', are generally studded thickly with stunted palms called yatais,*1* but not so thickly as to spoil the grass which covers them in spring and early summer, and even in winter they remain good feeding ground. Thick clumps of hard-wood trees*2* break up the prairie here and there into peninsulas and islands, and in the hollows and rocky valleys bushy palmetto rises above a horse's knees. In general the soil is of a rich bright red, which, gleaming through the trees, gives a peculiarly warm colour to the land. All the French Jesuit writers refer to it as 'la terre rouge des missions'. The Jesuits used it and another earth of a yellow shade for painting their churches and their houses in the mission territory. Its composition is rather sandy, though after rain it makes thick mud, and renders travelling most laborious. The flowers and shrubs of the territory are quite as interesting and still more varied than are the trees. Many of the Jesuits were botanists, and the works of Fathers Montenegro,*3* Sigismund Asperger and Lozano are most curious, and give descriptions and lists of many of the plants unclassified even to-day. The celebrated Bonpland, so long detained by Dr. Francia in Paraguay, unfortunately never published anything; but modern writers*4* have done much, though still the flora of the whole country is but most imperfectly known, and much remains to do before it is all classified. The 'Croton succirubrus' (from which a resin known as 'sangre-de-drago' is extracted), the sumaha (bombax — the fruit of which yields a fine vegetable silk), the erythroxylon or coca of Paraguay, the incienso or incense-tree of the Jesuits, are some of the most remarkable of the myriad shrubs. But if the shrubs are myriad, the flowers are past the power of man to count. Lianas, with their yellow and red and purple clusters of blossoms, like enormous bunches of grapes, hang from the forest-trees. In the open glades upon the nandubays,*5* the algarrobos, and the espinillos, hang various Orchidaceae,*6* called by the natives 'flores del aire', covering the trees with their aerial roots, their hanging blossoms, and their foliage of tender green. The Labiatae, Compositae, Daturae, Umbelliferae, Convolvulaceae, and many other species, cover the ground in spring or run up trees and bushes after the fashion of our honeysuckle and the traveller's joy.
— *1* 'Cocos yatais'. *2* Urunday ('Astrenium fraxinifolium: Terebinthaceae'), curapay ('Piptadenia communis: Leguminaceae'), lapacho ('Tecoma curialis' and 'varia: Begoniaceae'), taruma ('Vitex Taruma: Verbenaceae'), tatane ('Acacia maleolens: Leguminaceae'), and cupai ('Copaifera Langsdorfii'). These and many other woods, such as the Palo Santo ('Guaiacum officinalis'), butacae, and the 'Cedrela Braziliensis', known to the Jesuits as 'cedar', and much used by them in their churches, comprise the chief varieties. *3* 'Libro compuesto por el Hermano Pedro de Montenegro de la C. de J., Ano 1711', MS. folio, with pen-and-ink sketches, formerly belonged to the Dukes of Osuna, and was in their library. Padre Sigismundi also wrote a herbal in Guarani, and a Portuguese Jesuit, Vasconellos, has left a curious book upon the flora of Brazil. *4* Domingo Parodi, in his 'Notas sobre algunas plantas usuales del Paraguay' (Buenos Ayres, 1886), has done much good work. *5* 'Acacia Cavenia'. *6* 'Prosopis dulcis'. The famous 'balm of the missions', known by the vulgar name of 'curalo todo' (all-heal), was made from the gum of the tree called aguacciba, one of the Terebinthaceae. It was sold by the Jesuits in Europe. It was so highly esteemed that the inhabitants of the villages near to which the tree was found were specially enjoined to send a certain quantity of the balsam every year to the King's pharmacy in Madrid. —
The lakes and backwaters of rivers are covered with myriads of water-lilies (all lumped together by the natives as 'camalote'), whilst in the woodland pools the Victoria Regis carpets the water with its giant leaves. In every wood the orange and the lemon with the sweet lime have become wild, and form great thickets. Each farm and 'rancho' has its orange-grove, beneath the shade of which I have so often camped, that the scent of orange-blossom always brings back to me the dense primeval woods, the silent plains, the quiet Indians, and the unnavigated waterways, in which the alligators basked. Except the Sierra de Mbaracayu,*1* on the north-east, throughout the mission territory there are no mountains of considerable height; and through the middle of the country run the rivers Parana and Uruguay, the latter forming the boundary on the south-east. The rolling plains and woods alternate with great marshes called 'esteros', which in some districts, as of that of Neembucu, cover large tracts of land, forming in winter an almost impenetrable morass, and in the spring and early summer excellent feeding-ground for sheep. Throughout the territory the climate is healthy, except towards the woody northern hills. With this rich territory and the false reports of mines, which even unsuccessful exploration could not dispel, it is but natural that the Jesuits were hated far and wide. It must have been annoying to a society composed, as were the greater portion of the Spanish settlements in Paraguay, of adventurers, who treated the Indians as brute beasts,*2* to see a preserve of Indians separated from their territory by no great barrier of Nature, and still beyond their power.*3* Bonpland, in speaking of the country, says: 'The whole of the land exceeds description; at every step one meets with things useful and new in natural history.' Such also was the opinion of the French travellers Demersay and D'Orbigny; of Colonel du Graty, whose interesting work ('La Re/publique du Paraguay', Brussels, 1862) is one of the best on the country; the recent French explorer Bourgade la Dardye, and of all those who have ever visited the missions of Paraguay.*4*
— *1* It was from those mountains that the Jesuits procured the seed of the 'Ilex Paraguayensis' to plant in their reductions. The leaves beaten into a finish powder furnished the 'Paraguayan tea', called 'yerba-mate' by the Spaniards and 'caa' by the Indians, from which the Jesuits derived a handsome revenue. After the expulsion of the Order all the 'yerba' in Paraguay was procured, till a few years ago, from forests in the north of Paraguay, in which the tree grew wild. *2* It was by the Bull of Paul III. — given at the demand of two monks, Fray Domingo de Betanzos and Fray Domingo de Minaya — that the Indians were first considered as reasoning men ('gente de razon'), and not as unreasonable beings ('gente sin razon'), as Juan Ortiz, Bishop of Santa Marta, wished. *3* Ibanez ('Histoire du Paraguay sous les Je/suites M.D.CCIXXX.'), a great opponent of the Jesuits, says that European offenders and recalcitrant Indians in the missions were sent as a last resource to the Spanish settlements. This is not astonishing when we remember the curious letter of Don Pedro Faxardo, Bishop of Buenos Ayres (preserved by Charlevoix), written in 1721 to the King of Spain, in which he says he thinks 'that not a mortal crime is committed in the missions in a year.' He adds that, 'if the Jesuits were so rich, why are their colleges so poor?' *4* It is to be remembered that, of the thirty Jesuit missions, only eight were in Paraguay; the rest were in what to-day is Brazil and the Argentine provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes, and Misiones. —
In this rich territory the Jesuits, when, after infinite trouble, they had united a sufficient* quantity of Indians, formed them into townships, almost all of which were built upon one plan. In Paraguay itself only some three or four remain; but they remain so well preserved that, by the help of contemporary accounts, it is easy to reconstruct almost exactly what the missions must have been like during the Jesuits' rule.**
— * Sometimes, when they had been assembled, they all deserted suddenly, as did the Tobatines, who in 1740 suddenly left the reduction of Santa Fe, and for eleven years were lost in the forests, till Father Yegros found them, and, as they would not return, established himself amongst them (Cretineau Joly, 'Histoire de la Compagnie de Je/sus', vol. v., cap. ii.). ** P. Cardiel, 'Declaracion de la Verdad', p. 282: 'Todos los pueblos estan bien formados con calles a/ cordel. Las casas de los Indios son en algunos pueblos de piedras cuadradas pero sin cal . . . otras de palos y barro todas cubiertas de teja, y todas tienen soportales o/ corredores, unas con pilares de piedras, otras de madera.' —
Built round a square, the church and store-houses filled one end, and the dwellings of the Indians, formed of sun-dried bricks or wattled canes in three long pent-houses, completed the three sides. In general, the houses were of enormous length, after the fashion of a St. Simonian phalanstery, or of a 'miners' row' in Lanarkshire. Each family had its own apartments, which were but separated from the apartments of the next by a lath-and-plaster wall, called in Spanish 'tabique'' but one veranda and one roof served for a hundred or more families. The space in the middle of the square was carpeted with the finest grass, kept short by being pastured close by sheep. The churches, sometimes built of stone, and sometimes of the hard woods with which the country abounds, were beyond all description splendid, taking into consideration the remoteness of the Jesuit towns from the outside world. Frequently — as, for instance, in the mission of Los Apostoles — the churches had three aisles, and were adorned with lofty towers, rich altars,*1* super-altars, and statuary, brought at great expense from Italy and Spain. Though the churches were often built of stone, it was not usual for the houses of the Indians to be so built; but in situations where stone was plentiful, as at the mission of San Borja, the houses of the Jesuits were of masonry, with verandas held up by columns, and with staircases with balustrades of sculptured stone.*2* The ordinary ground-plan of the priest's house was that of the Spanish Moorish dwelling, so like in all its details to a Roman house at Pompeii or at Herculaneum. Built round a square courtyard, with a fountain in the middle, the Jesuits' house formed but a portion of a sort of inner town, which was surrounded by a wall, in which a gate, closed by a porter's lodge, communicated with the outside world. Within the wall was situated the church (although it had an entrance to the plaza), the rooms of the inferior priest, a garden, a guest-chamber, stables, and a store-house, in which were kept the arms belonging to the town, the corn, flour, and wool, and the provisions necessary for life in a remote and often dangerous place. In every case the houses were of one story; the furniture was modest, and in general home-made; in every room hung images and pious pictures, the latter often painted by the Indians themselves. In the smaller missions two Jesuits managed all the Indians.*3*
— *1* Don Francisco Graell, an officer of dragoons in service during the War of the Seven Towns in 1750, gives the following description of the church of the mission of San Miguel: 'La iglesia es muy capaz, toda de piedra de silleria con tres naves y media naranja. Muy bien pintada y dorada con un portico magnifico y de bellisima arquitectura, bovedas y media naranja son de madera, el altar mayor de talla, sin dorar y le falta el ultimo cuerpo.' *2* 'Galerias con columnas, barandillas y escaleras de piedra entallada' (Don Francisco Graell). See also P. Cardiel ('Declaracion de la Verdad', p. 247), 'En todos los pueblos hay reloj de sol y de ruedas,' etc. The work of Padre Cardiel was written in 1750 in the missions of Paraguay, but remained unpublished till 1800, when it appeared in Buenos Ayres from the press of Juan A. Alsina, Calle de Mexico 1422. It is, perhaps, after the 'Conquista Espiritual' of Father Ruiz Montoya, the most powerful contemporary justification of the policy of the Jesuits in Paraguay. It is powerfully but simply written, and contains withal that saving grace of humour which has, from the beginning of the world, been a stumbling-block to fools. *3* The mission of San Miguel had 1,353 families in it, or say 6,635 souls. San Francisco de Borja contained 650 families, or 2,793 souls (Report by Manuel Querini to the King, dated Cordoba de Tucuman, y Agosto 1o, 1750). —
The greatest difficulty which the Jesuits had to face was the natural indolence of their neophytes. Quite unaccustomed as they were to regular work of any kind, the ordinary European system, as practised in the Spanish settlements, promptly reduced them to despair, and often killed them off in hundreds. Therefore the Jesuits instituted the semi-communal system of agriculture and of public works with which their name will be associated for ever in America.*
— * In their extensive missions in the provinces of Chiquitos and Moxos they pursued the same system. As they were much more isolated in those provinces than in Paraguay, and consequently much less interfered with, it was there that their peculiar system most flourished. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from America in 1767, the Spaniards in Alta Peru, and subsequently the Bolivians, had the sense to follow the Jesuit plan in its entirety; whereas Bucareli, the Viceroy of Buenos Ayres, entirely changed the Jesuits' rule in Paraguay. The consequence was that in Bolivia the Indians, instead of dispersing as they did in Paraguay, remained in the missions, and D'Orbigny ('Fragment d'un Voyage au Centre de l'Ame/rique Me/ridianale') saw at the missions of Santiago and El Santo Corazon, in the province of Chiquitos, the remains of the Jesuits' polity. There were ten missions in Chiquitos, and fifteen in Moxos. At the present time the Franciscans have some small establishments in Bolivia. —
The celebrated Dr. Francia, dictator of Paraguay, used to refer to the Jesuits as 'cunning rogues',*1* and, as he certainly himself was versed in every phase of cunningness, perhaps his estimate — to some extent, at least — was just. A rogue in politics is but a man who disagrees with you; but, still, it wanted no little knowledge of mankind to present a daily task to men, unversed in any kind of labour, as of the nature of a pleasure in itself. The difficulty was enormous, as the Indians seemed never to have come under the primeval curse, but passed their lives in wandering about, occasionally cultivating just sufficient for their needs. Whether a missionary, Jesuit, or Jansenist, Protestant, Catholic, or Mohammedan, does well in forcing his own mode of life and faith on those who live a happier, freer life than any his instructor can hold out to them is a moot point. Only the future can resolve the question, and judge of what we do to-day — no doubt with good intentions, but with the ignorance born of our self-conceit. Much of the misery of the world has been brought about with good intentions; but of the Jesuits, at least, it can be said that what they did in Paraguay did not spread death and extinction to the tribes with whom they dealt.*2* So to the task of agriculture the Jesuits marshalled their neophytes to the sound of music, and in procession to the fields, with a saint borne high aloft, the community each day at sunrise took its way. Along the paths, at stated intervals, were shrines of saints, and before each of them they prayed, and between each shrine sang hymns.*3* As the procession advanced, it became gradually smaller as groups of Indians dropped off to work the various fields, and finally the priest and acolyte with the musicians returned alone.*4* At mid-day, before eating, they all united and sang hymns, and then, after their meal and siesta, returned to work till sundown, when the procession again re-formed, and the labourers, singing, returned to their abodes. A pleasing and Arcadian style of tillage, and different from the system of the 'swinked' labourer in more northern climes. But even then the hymnal day was not concluded; for after a brief rest they all repaired to church to sing the 'rosary', and then to sup and bed. On rainy days they worked at other industries in the same half-Arcadian, half-communistic manner, only they sang their hymns in church instead of in the fields. The system was so different to that under which the Indians endured their lives in the 'encomiendas' and the 'mitas' of the Spanish settlements, that the fact alone is sufficient to account for much of the contemporary hatred which the Jesuits incurred.
— *1* 'Pillos muy ladinos' (Robertson, 'Letters from Paraguay'). *2* Ferrer del Rio, in his 'Coleccion de los articulos de la Esperanza sobre Carlos III.' (Madrid, 1859), says: 'Fuera de las misiones de los Jesuitas particularmente en el Paraguay se consideraban los Indios entre los seres mas infelices del mundo.'
Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, in their celebrated 'Secret Report' ('Noticias Secretas de America'): 'La compan~ia (de Jesus) atiende a sus fines particularmente con los misioneros que llevan de Espan~a; pero con todo eso no se olvida de la conversion de los Indios, ni tiene abandonado este asunto pues aunque van poco adelante en el, que es lo que no se esperimenten en las demas religiones.' *3* Many travellers, as Azara, Demersay, Du Graty, and D'Orbigny, have remarked how fond of music was the Guarani race, and how soon they learned the use of European instruments. D'Orbigny ('Fragment d'un Voyage au Centre de l'Ame/rique Me/ridianale'), in his interesting account of the mission of El Santo Corazon, in the district of Chiquitos, says: 'Je fus tres e/tonne/ d'entendre exe/cuter apres les danses indige
es des morceaux de Rossini et . . . de Weber . . . la grande messe chante/e en musique e/tait exe/cute/e d'une manie
e tres remarquable pour des Indiens.'
Vargas Machuca, in his most curious and rare 'Milicia y Descripcion de las Indias', says, under the heading of 'Musica del Indio': 'Usan sus musicas antiguas en sus regocijos, y son muy tristes en la tonada.' To-day the Indians of Paraguay have songs known as 'tristes'. The brigadier Don Diego de Alvear, in his 'Relacion de Misiones' (Coleccion de Angelis), says that the first to teach the Guaranis European music was a Flemish Jesuit, P. Juan Basco, who had been 'maestro de capilla' to the Archduke Albert. *4* See also P. Cardiel, 'Declaracion de la Verdad', p. 274: '. . . y esta acabada, se toca a/ Misa a/ que entran todos cantando el Bendito, y alabado en su lengua, o/ en Castellano, que en las dos lenguas lo saben.' —
Imagine a semi-communistic settlement set close to the borders of Rhodesia, in which thousands of Kaffirs passed a life analogous to that passed by the Indians of the missions — cared for and fed by the community, looked after in every smallest particular of their lives — and what a flood of calumny would be let loose upon the unfortunate devisers of the scheme! Firstly, to withdraw thousands of 'natives' from the labour market would be a crime against all progress, and then to treat them kindly would be heresy, and to seclude them from the contamination of the scum of Europe in the settlements would be termed unnatural; for we know that native races derive most benefit from free competition with the least fitted of our population to instruct. But besides agriculture the enormous cattle-farms* of the mission territory gave occupation to many of the neophytes. The life on cattle-farms gave less scope for supervision, and we may suppose that the herders and the cattlemen were more like Gauchos; but Gauchos under religious discipline, half-centaurs in the field, sitting a plunging half-wild colt as if they were part of him, and when on foot at home submissive to the Jesuits, constant in church, but not so fierce and bloodthirsty as their descendants soon became after the withdrawal of the mission rule.
— * Dean Funes, in his 'Ensayo de la Historia del Paraguay', etc., says that in the 'estancia' of Santa Tecla, in the missions of Paraguay, during the time of the Jesuits, there were 50,000 head of cattle. —
As well as agriculture and 'estancia' life, the Jesuits had introduced amongst the Indians most of the arts and trades of Europe. By the inventories taken by Bucareli, Viceroy of Buenos Ayres, at the expulsion of the Order, we find that they wove cotton largely; sometimes they made as much as eight thousand five hundred yards of cloth in a single town in the space of two or three months.* And, in addition to weaving, they had tanneries, carpenters' shops, tailors, hat-makers, coopers, cordage-makers, boat-builders, cartwrights, joiners, and almost every industry useful and necessary to life. They also made arms and powder, musical instruments, and had silversmiths, musicians, painters, turners, and printers to work their printing-presses: for many books were printed at the missions,** and they produced manuscripts as finely executed as those made by the monks in European monasteries.
— * 'Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas', Introduction, xxvii, Francisco Javier Brabo. ** The rare and much-sought-after 'Manuale ad usum Patrum Societatis Jesu qui in Reductionibus Paraquariae versantur, ex Rituale Romano ad Toletano decerptum', was printed at the mission of Loreto. It contains prayers in Guarani as well as in Latin. Here also was printed a curious book of Guarani sermons by Nicolas Yapuguay, many Guarani vocabularies, and the 'Arte de la Lengua Guarani/' of Ruiz Montoya. —
All the 'estancias', the agricultural lands and workshops were, so to speak, the property of the community; that is to say, the community worked them in common, was fed and maintained by their productions, the whole under the direction of the two Jesuits who lived in every town. A portion called 'tupinambal' in Guarani was set aside especially for the maintenance of orphans and of widows. The cattle and the horses, with the exception of 'los caballos del santo', destined for show at feasts, were also used in common. The surplus of the capital was reserved to purchase necessary commodities from Buenos Ayres and from Spain.* Each family received from the common stock sufficient for its maintenance during good conduct, for the Jesuits held in its entirety the Pauline dictum that if a man will not work, then neither shall he eat. But as they held it, so they practised it themselves, for their lives were most laborious — teaching and preaching, and acting as overseers to the Indians in their labours continually, from the first moment of their arrival at the missions till their death. Thus, if the mayor of the township complained of any man for remissness at his work, he received no rations till he had improved.
— * P. Cardiel, 'Declaracion de la Verdad', p. 295: 'De estos granos comunales se da para sembrar', etc. —
To inculcate habits of providence amongst the Indians, always inclined to consume whatever was given to them and go fasting afterwards, they issued the provisions but once a week, and when they killed their oxen forced the Indians to 'jerk'* a certain quantity of beef to last throughout the week. Vegetables each family was obliged to plant both in their gardens and in the common fields; and all that were not actually consumed were dealt out to the workers in the common workshops or preserved for sale.
— * This jerked beef is called 'charqui' in South America. —
Certain of the Indians owned their own cows and horses, and had gardens in which they worked; but all the product was obliged to be disposed of to the Jesuits for the common good, and in exchange for them they gave knives, scissors, cloth, and looking-glasses, and other articles made in the outside world. Clothes were served out to every Indian, and consisted for the men of trousers, coarse 'ponchos', straw hats or caps, and shirts; but neither men nor women ever wore shoes, and the sole costume of the latter was the Guarani 'tipoi',* a long and sleeveless shift cut rather high, and with coarse embroidery round the shoulders, and made of a rough cotton cloth. For ornaments they had glass beads and rosaries of brass or silver, with silver rings, and necklaces of glass or horn, from which hung crucifixes. Thus food and clothing cost the Jesuits** (or the community) but little, and a rude plenty was the order of the land. The greatest luxury of the Indians was 'mate', and to produce it they worked in the 'yerbales' in the same way in which they worked their fields — in bands and with processions, to the sound of hymns and headed by a priest.
— * The poorer classes in Paraguay all used to wear the 'tipoi'. They covered themselves when it was cold with a white cotton sheet wrapped in many folds. ** The Jesuits themselves were dressed in homespun clothes, for Matias Angles — quoted in the introduction to the 'Declaracion de la Verdad' of Father Cardiel, published at Buenos Ayres in 1900 (the introduction by P. Pablo Hernandez) — says: 'El vestuario de los Padres es de lienzo de algodon ten~ido de negro, hilado y fabricado por las mismas Indias de los pueblos; y si tal qual Padre tiene un capote o/ manteo de pan~a de Castilla se sucede de unos a/ otros, y dura un siglo entero.' —
This, then, was the system by means of which the Jesuits succeeded, without employing force of any kind, which in their case would have been quite impossible, lost as they were amongst the crowd of Indians, in making the Guaranis endure the yoke of toil. The semi-communal character of their rule accounts for the hostility of Liberals who, like Azara, saw in competition the best road to progress, but who, like him, in their consuming thirst for progress lost sight of happiness.
In addition to the means described, the Jesuits had recourse to frequent religious feasts, for which the calendar gave them full scope, so that the life in a Jesuit mission was much diversified and rendered pleasant to the Indians, who have a rooted love of show. Each mission had, of course, its patron saint,*1* and on his day nobody worked, whilst all was joyfulness and simple mirth. At break of day a discharge of rockets and of firearms and peals upon the bells announced the joyful morn. Then the whole population flocked to church to listen to an early mass. Those who could find no room inside the church stood in long lines outside the door, which remained open during the ceremony. Mass over, each one ran to prepare himself for his part in the function, the Jesuits having taken care, by multiplying offices and employments, to leave no man without a direct share in all the others did.*2* The humblest and the highest had their part, and the heaviest burden, no doubt, fell upon the two Jesuits,*3* who were answerable for all. The foremost duty was to get the procession ready for the march, and saddle 'los caballos del santo'*4* to serve as escort, mounted by Indians in rich dresses, kept specially for feasts.
— *1* In the 'Relacion de Misiones' of the Brigadier Don Diego de Alvear, written between 1788 and 1801, and preserved in the 'Coleccion de Angelis', occurs the following curious description of the feast-day of a patron saint of a Jesuit reduction: 'They make a long alley of interwoven canes, which ends in a triumphal arch, which they adorn with branches of palms and other trees with considerable grace and taste ('con bastante gracia y simetria'). Under the arch they hang their images of saints, their clothes, their first-fruits — as corn and sugar-cane, and calabashes full of maize-beer ('chicha') — their meat and bread, together with animals both alive and dead, such as they can procure ('como los pueden haber con su diligencia'). Then, forming in a ring, they dance and shout, 'Viva el rey! Viva el santo tutelar!' *2* Many and curious are the names by which the office-bearers went. Thus, in the Mission of el Santo Corazon, in the Chiquitos, I find the following: Corregidor, the Mayor; Teniente, Lieutenant; Alferez, Sub-Lieutenant; Alcalde Primero, Head Alcalde; Alcalde Segundo, Second Alcalde; Commandante, Captain (of the Militia); Justicia Mayor, Chief Justice; Sargento Mayor, Sergeant-Major. Then came fiscales, fiscals; sacristan mayor, head-beadle; capitan de estancia, chief of the cattle farm; capitan de pinturas, carpinteria, herreros, etc. — captain of painters, carpenters, smiths, etc. All the offices were competed for ardently, and those of Corregidor and Alcalde in especial were prized so highly that Indians who were degraded from them for bad conduct or carelessness not infrequently died of grief. *3* In each reduction there were two priests. In all Paraguay, at the expulsion of the Order in 1767, there were only seventy-eight Jesuits (Dean Funes, 'Ensayo de la Historia del Paraguay', etc., cap. i., vol. ii.). *4* In the mission of Los Apostoles there were 599 of these 'horses of the saint', according to an inventory preserved by Brabo. —
The inventory of the town of Los Apostoles*1* enables us to reconstruct, with some attempt at accuracy, how the procession was formed and how it took its way. All the militia of the town were in attendance, mounted on their best horses, and armed with lances ('chuzos'), lazo, bolas, and a few with guns. The officers of the Indians rode at their head, dressed out in gorgeous clothes, and troops of dancers, at stated intervals, performed a sort of Pyrrhic dance between the squadrons of the cavalry.*2* In the front of all rode on a white horse the Alferez Real,*3* dressed in a doublet of blue velvet richly laced with gold, a waistcoat of brocade, and with short velvet breeches gartered with silver lace; upon his feet shoes decked with silver buckles, and the whole scheme completed by a gold-laced hat. In his right hand he held the royal standard fastened to a long cane which ended in a silver knob. A sword was by his side, which, as he only could have worn it on such occasions, and as the 'horses of the saint' were not unlikely as ticklish as most horses of the prairies of Entre Rios and Corrientes are wont to be, must have embarrassed him considerably. Behind him came the Corregidor, arrayed in yellow satin, with a silk waistcoat and gold buttons, breeches of yellow velvet, and a hat equal in magnificence to that worn by his bold compeer. The two Alcaldes, less violently dressed, wore straw-coloured silk suits, with satin waistcoats of the same colour, and hats turned up with gold. Other officials, as the Commissario, Maestre de Campo, and the Sargento Mayor, were quite as gaily dressed in scarlet coats, with crimson damask waistcoats trimmed with silver lace,*4* red breeches, and black hats adorned with heavy lace. In the bright Paraguayan sunshine, with the primeval forest for a background, or in some mission in the midst of a vast plain beside the Parana, they must have looked as gorgeous as a flight of parrots from the neighbouring woods, and have made a Turneresque effect, ambling along, a blaze of colours, quite as self-satisfied in their finery as if 'the rainbow had been entail settled on them and their heirs male.' Quite probably their broad, flat noses, and their long, lank hair, their faces fixed immovably, as if they were carved in nandubay, contrasted strangely with their finery. But there were none to judge — no one to make remarks; most likely all was conscience and tender heart, and not their bitterest enemy has laid the charge of humour to the Jesuits' account.
— *1* Furnished to Bucareli, Viceroy of Buenos Ayres at the expulsion, and first printed by Brabo ('Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas'). *2* The Jesuits exercised the Indians a great deal in dancing, taking advantage of their love of dancing in their savage state. D'Orbigny and Demersay ('Fragment d'un Voyage au Centre de l'Ame/rique Me/ridianale', and 'Histoire Physique, etc., du Paraguay') found between the years 1830 and 1855 that the Indians of the Moxos and Chiquitos still danced as they had done in the time of the Jesuits.
I have seen them in the then (1873) almost deserted mission of Jesus, buried in the great woods on the shore of the Parana, dance a strange, half-savage dance outside the ruined church. *3* Cardiel, in his 'Declaracion de la Verdad', p. 239, says: 'Todos los pueblos ponen su castillo en la plaza y en el medio de el colocan el retratro del Rey, y el Indio Alferez Real . . . va al castillo con el Estandarte Real y alli hace su homenage con otros rendimientos anteel Retratro Real,' saying in Guarani, 'Toicohengatu/ n~ande Mbaru bicha guazu/! Toicohengatu/ n~ande Rey marangatu/! Toicohengatu/ n~ande Rey Fernando Sesto!' ('Long live our King, the great chief! Long live our good King! Long live our King Ferdinand VI.'). *4* 'Chupas de damasco carmesi con encajes de plata.' —
As in the inventories of the thirty towns I find no mention either of stockings or of shoes for Indians, with the exception of the low shoes and buckles worn by the Alferez Real, it seems the gorgeous costumes ended at the knee, and that these popinjays rode barefoot, with, perhaps, large iron Gaucho spurs fastened by strips of mare-hide round their ankles, and hanging down below their naked feet. But, not content with the procession of the elders in parrot guise, there was a parody of parodies in the 'cabildo infantil', the band composed of children, who, with the self-same titles as their elders, and in the self-same clothes adjusted to their size, rode close upon their heels. Lastly, as Charlevoix tells us, came 'des lions et des tigres, mais bien enchaine/s afin qu'ils ne troublerent point la fe^te,' and so the whole procession took its way towards the church.
The church, all hung with velvet and brocade, was all ablaze with lights, and fumes of incense (no doubt necessary) almost obscured the nave. Upon the right and left hand of the choir (which, as is usual in Spain, was in the middle of the church) the younger Indians were seated all in rows, the boys and girls being separated, as was the custom in all the missions of the Jesuits, who, no doubt, were convinced of the advisability of the saying that 'entre santa y santo, pared de cal y canto.'*1* The Indians who had some office, and who wore the clothes*2* I have described, were seated or knelt in rows, and at the outside stood the people of the town dressed in white cotton, their simple clothes, no doubt, forming an effective background to their more parti-coloured brethren kneeling in the front. Throughout the church the men and women were separated, and if a rumour of an incursion of Paulistas was in the air, the Indians carried arms even in the sacred buildings and at the solemn feasts. Mass was celebrated with a full band, the oboe, fagot, lute, harp, cornet, clarinet, violin, viola, and all other kinds of music, figuring in the inventories of the thirty towns. Indeed, in two of the inventories*3* an opera called 'Santiago' is mentioned, which had special costumes and properties to put it on the stage. Mass over, the procession was reconstituted outside the church, and after parading once more through the town broke up, and the Indians devoted the night to feasting, and not infrequently danced till break of day.
— *1* It may be roughly translated, 'a good stone wall between a male and female saint.' *2* These clothes were the property of the community, and not of the individual Indians. *3* Brabo, xxxv., Introduction to 'Los inventarios de los bienes.' —
Such were the outward arts with which the Jesuits sought to attach the simple people, to whom they stood in the position not only of pastors and masters both in one, but also as protectors from the Paulistas on one side, and on the other from the Spaniards of the settlements, who, with their 'encomiendas' and their European system of free competition between man and man, were perhaps unknowingly the direst enemies of the whole Indian race. There is, as it would seem, implanted in the minds of almost all primitive peoples, such as the Guaranis, a solidarity, a clinging kinship, which if once broken down by competition, unrestrained after our modern fashion, inevitably leads to their decay. Hence the keen hatred to the Chinese in California and in Australia. Naturally, those whom we hate, and in a measure fear, we also vilify, and this has given rise to all those accusations of Oriental vice (as if the vice of any Oriental, however much depraved, was comparable to that of citizens of Paris or of London), of barbarism, and the like, so freely levelled against the unfortunate Chinese.
In Paraguay nothing is more remarkable in a market in the country than the way in which the people will not undersell each other, even refusing to part with goods a fraction lower than the price which they consider fair.* It may be that the Jesuits would have done better to endeavour to equip their neophytes more fully, so as to take their place in the battle of the world. It may be that the simple, happy lives they led were too opposed to the general scheme of outside human life to find acceptance or a place in our cosmogony. But one thing I am sure of — that the innocent delight of the poor Indian Alferez Real, mounted upon his horse, dressed in his motley, barefooted, and overshadowed by his gold-laced hat, was as entire as if he had eaten of all the fruits of all the trees of knowledge of his time, and so perhaps the Jesuits were wise.
— * A recent writer in the little journal published on yellow packing-paper in the Socialist colony of Cosme, in Paraguay ('Cosme Monthly', November, 1898), has a curious passage corroborating what I have so often observed myself. Under the heading of 'A Paraguayan Market', he says: 'The Guarani clings stubbornly to the Guarani customs. This is irritating to the European, but who shall say that the Guarani is not right? . . . European settlement cannot but be fatal to the Guarani, however profitable it may be to land-owning and mercantile classes. . . . The Paraguayan market is a woman's club . . . they will come thirty or forty miles with a clothful of the white curd-cheese of the country, contentedly journeying on foot along the narrow paths. They will cut a cabbage into sixteenths and eat their cheese themselves rather than sell it under market price.' Long may they do so, for so long will they be free, and perhaps poor; but, then, in countries such as Paraguay freedom and poverty are identical. —
Strangely enough — but, then, how strangely all extremes meet in humanity! — the Jesuits alone (at least, in Paraguay) seem to have apprehended, as the Arabs certainly have done from immemorial time, that the first duty of a man is to enjoy his life. Art, science, literature, ambition — all the frivolities with which men occupy themselves — have their due place; but life is first, and in some strange, mysterious way the Jesuits felt it, though, no doubt, they would have been the first to deny it with a thousand oaths. But in a Jesuit mission all was not feasting or processioning, for with such neighbours as the Mamelucos they had to keep themselves prepared.*1* As for their better government in home affairs each mission had its police, with officers*2* chosen by the Jesuits amongst the Indians, so for exterior defence they had militia, and in it the 'caciques'*3* of the different tribes held principal command. Most likely over them, or at their elbows, were set priests who before entering the Company of Jesus had been soldiers: for there were many such amongst the Jesuits. As their own founder once had been a soldier, so the Company was popular amongst those soldiers who from some cause or other had changed their swords to crucifixes, and taken service in the ranks of Christ.*4* As it was most important, both for defence and policy, to keep the 'caciques' content, they were distinguished by better treatment than the others in many different ways. Their food was more abundant, and a guard of Indians was on perpetual duty round the houses where they lived; these they employed as servants and as messengers to summon distant companies of Indians to the field. Their method of organization must have been like that of the Boers or of the Arabs; for every Indian belonged to a company, which now and then was brought together for evolutions in the field or for a period of training, after the fashion of our militia or the German Landwehr. Perhaps this system of an armed militia, always ready for the field, was what, above all other reasons, enabled their detractors to represent the Jesuits as feared and unpopular. Why, it was asked, does this community of priests maintain an army in its territories? No one remembered that if such were not the case the missions could not have existed for a year without a force to defend their borders from the Paulistas. Everyone forgot that Fathers Montoya and Del Tano had obtained special permission from the King for the Indians of the missions to bear arms; and, as no human being is grateful for anything but contumelious treatment, the Spanish settlers conveniently forgot how many times a Jesuit army had saved their territories. The body of three thousand Guaranis sent at the expense of the Company to assist the Spaniards against the Portuguese at the attack upon the Colonia del Sacramento*5* on the river Plate, in 1678, was quite forgotten, together with the innumerable contingents sent by the Jesuits at the demand of Spanish governors against the Chaco Indians, the Payaguas, and even against the distant Calchaquis, in what is now the province of Jujuy. Even when an English pirate, called in the Spanish histories Roque Barloque (explained by some to be plain Richard Barlow), appeared off Buenos Ayres, the undaunted neophytes shrank not a moment from going to the assistance of their co-religionists against the 'Lutheran dog'.*6* Lastly, all Spanish governors and writers, both contemporaneous and at the end of the eighteenth century, seem to forget that if the Jesuits had an army of neophytes within their territory the fact was known and approved of at the court of Spain.*7* But it appears that Calvin had many coadjutors in his policy of 'Jesuitas aut necandi aut calumniis opponendi sunt.'*8* When a Jesuit army took the field, driving before it sufficient cattle to subsist upon, and with its 'caballada' of spare horses upon its flank, it must have resembled many a Gaucho army I have seen in Entre Rios five-and-twenty years ago. The only difference seems to have been that the Gauchos of yesterday did not use bows and arrows, although they might have done so with as much benefit to themselves, and no more danger to their enemies, than was occasioned by the rusty, ill-conditioned guns they used to bear. The Indians were armed with bows, and in their expeditions each Indian carried one hundred and fifty arrows tipped with iron. Others had firearms, but all bore bolas on their saddles, and carried lazos and long lances,*9* which, like the Pampa Indians, they used in mounting their horses, placing one hand upon the mane, and vaulting into the saddles with the other leaning on the lance. The infantry were armed with lances and a few guns; they also carried bolas, but they trusted most to slings, for which they carried bags of hide, with a provision of smooth round stones, and used them dexterously. On several occasions their rude militia gave proofs of stubborn valour, and, as they fought under the Jesuits' eyes, no doubt acquitted themselves as men would who looked upon their priests almost in the light of gods. But agriculture and cattle-breeding were not all the resources of the missions; for the Jesuits engaged in commerce largely, both with the outer world and by the intricate and curious barter system which they had set on foot for the mutual convenience of the different mission towns. In many of the inventories printed by Brabo, one comes across the entry 'Deudas', showing a sort of account current between the towns for various articles. Thus, they exchanged cattle for cotton, sugar for rice, wheat for pig-iron or tools from Europe; as no account of interest ever appears in any inventory as between town and town, it seems the Jesuits anticipated Socialism — at least, so far as that they bought and sold for use, and not for gain. Although between the towns of their own territory all was arranged for mutual convenience, yet in their dealings with the outside world the Jesuits adhered to what are known as 'business principles'. These principles, if I mistake not, have been deified by politicians with their 'Buy in the cheapest, sell in the dearest' tag, and therefore even the sternest Protestant or Jansenist (if such there still exist) can have no stone to throw at the Company of Jesus for its participation in that system which has made the whole world glad.