[Preparer's notes: 1) Though the original title does not appear in this version, this is (apart from the preface) a translation of: "Brevisima relacion de la destruccion de las Indias", by Bartolome de las Casas, originally published in Seville in 1552. 2) The original archaic spelling and punctuation has been retained]
POPERY Truly Display'd in its Bloody Colours: Or, a faithful NARRATIVE OF THE Horrid and Unexampled Massacres, Butcheries, and all manner of Cruelties, that Hell and Malice could invent, committed by the Popish Spanish Party on the inhabitants of West-India TOGETHER With the Devastations of several Kingdoms in America by Fire and Sword, for the space of Forty and Two Years, from the time of its first Discovery by them.
——————————————————————————————————— Composed first in Spanish by Bartholomew de las Casas, a Bishop there, and Eye-Witness of most of these Barbarous Cruelties; afterward Translated by him into Latin, then by other hands, into High-Dutch, Low-Dutch, French, and now Taught to Speak Modern English. ——————————————————————————————————— London, Printed for R. Hewson at the Crown in Cornhil, near the Stocks-Market. 1689. ——————————————————————————————————— ———————————————————————————————————
THE ARGUMENT OF THIS NARRATIVE By way of PREFACE TO THE READER.
The Reverend Author of this Compendious Summary was Bartholomaeus de las Casas alias Casaus, a Pious and Religeous person, (as appears by his zealous Transports in this Narrative for promotion of the Christian Faith) elevated from a Frier of the Dominican Order to sit in the Episcopal Chair, who was frequently importuned by Good and Learned Men, particularly Historians, to Publish this Summary, who so prevailed with him, that he Collected out of that copious History which might and ought to be written on this subject, the contents of this concise Treatise with intention to display unto the World the Enormities, &c. the Spaniards committed in America during their residence there, to their eternal ignominy; and for the author finding that no Admonitions or Reprehensions, how mild soever could operate upon or sink into the rocky-hearted Tyrants in those Occidental parts; he therefore took up a firm resolution, being then about 50 years of age (as he himself declares) to run the Hazards and Dangers by Sea, and the Risque of a long voyage into Spain there to acquaint and Certifie the most Illustrious Prince Phillip the Son and Heir of his Imperial Majesty Charles the Fifth of Blessed Memory, with the Horrid crimes, &c. perpetrated in those countries, part whereof he had seen, and part heard from such as boasted of their Wickedness. Whereupon his Caeserean Majesty moved with a tender and Christian compassion towards these Inhabitants of the Countries of America, languishing for want of redress, he called a Council at Valedolid, Anno Dom. 1542. consisting of Learned and Able Men, in order to the reformation of the West-Indian government, and took such a course, that from that time their Tyranny and cruelty against those Barbarians was somewhat repressed, and those Nations in some measure delivered from that intolerable and more then Aegyptian Bondage, or at least the Spaniards ill usage and treatment of the Americans was alleviated and abated. This Book mostly Historical, part Typographical, was Published first by the Author in Spanish at Sevil, after that Translated into Latin by himself; and in process of time into High Dutch, Low Dutch, French and now English; which is the Sixth Language it has been taught to speak, that anyone of what Nation soever might in this Narrative contemplate and see as in a mirror the dismal and pernitious fruits, that lacquey and attend unlimited and close fisted Avarice, and thereby Learn to abhor and detest it, Cane pejus & angue: it being the predominant and chiefest motive to the comission of such inexpressible Outrages, as here in part are faintly, not fully represented. Which sin the Pagan Indians themselves did exprobate in the Spaniards with all Detestation, Ignominy and Disgrace: for when they had taken some of them Prisoners (which was rarely) they bound them hand and foot, laid them on the ground, and then pouring melted Gold down their Throats, cried out and called to them aloud in derision, yield, throw up thy Gold O Christian! Vomit and spew out the Mettal which hath so inqinated and invenom'd both Body and Soul, that hath stain'd and infected they mind with desires and contrivances, and thy hands with Commission of such matchless Enormities. I will then shut up all this, being but an Extract of what is in the Prefatory part of the Original. I earnestly beg and desire all Men to be perswaded, that this summary was not published upon any private Design, sinister ends or affection in favor or prejudice of any particular Nation; but for the publick Emolument and Advantage of all true Christians and moral Men throughout the whole World.
THE CRUELTIES OF THE Spaniards Committed in AMERICA.
America was discovered and found out Ann. Dom. 1492, and the Year insuing inhabited by the Spaniards, and afterward a multitude of them travelled thither from Spain for the space of Nine and Forty Years. Their first attempt was on the Spanish Island, which indeed is a most fertile soil, and at present in great reputation for its Spaciousness and Length, containing in Circumference Six Hundred Miles: Nay it is on all sides surrounded with an almost innumerable number of Islands, which we found so well peopled with Natives and Forreigners, that there is scarce any Region in the Universe fortified with so many Inhabitants: But the main Land or Continent, distant from this Island Two Hundred and Fifty Miles and upwards, extends it self above Ten Thousand Miles in Length near the sea-shore, which Lands are some of them already discover'd, and more may be found out in process of time: And such a multitude of People inhabits these Countries, that it seems as if the Omnipotent God has Assembled and Convocated the major part of Mankind in this part of the World.
Now this infinite multitude of Men are by the Creation of God innocently simple, altogether void of and averse to all manner of Craft, Subtlety and Malice, and most Obedient and Loyal Subjects to their Native Sovereigns; and behave themselves very patiently, sumissively and quietly towards the Spaniards, to whom they are subservient and subject; so that finally they live without the least thirst after revenge, laying aside all litigiousness, Commotion and hatred.
This is a most tender and effeminate people, and so imbecile and unequal-balanced temper, that they are altogether incapable of hard labour, and in few years, by one Distemper or other soon expire, so that the very issue of Lords and Princes, who among us live with great affluence, and fard deliciously, are not more effminate and tender than the Children of their Husbandmen or Labourers: This Nation is very Necessitous and Indigent, Masters of very slender Possessions, and consequently, neither Haughty, nor Ambitious. They are parsimonious in their Diet, as the Holy Fathers were in their frugal life in the Desert, known by the name of Eremites. They go naked, having no other Covering but what conceals their Pudends from publick sight. An hairy Plad, or loose Coat, about an Ell, or a coarse woven Cloth at most Two Ells long serves them for the warmest Winter Garment. They lye on a coarse Rug or Matt, and those that have the most plentiful Estate or Fortunes, the better sort, use Net-work, knotted at the four corners in lieu of Beds, which the Inhabitants of the Island of Hispaniola, in their own proper Idiom, term Hammacks. The Men are pregnant and docible. The natives tractable, and capable of Morality or Goodness, very apt to receive the instill'd principles of Catholick Religion; nor are they averse to Civility and good Manners, being not so much discompos'd by variety of Obstructions, as the rest of Mankind; insomuch, that having suckt in (if I may so express my self) the the very first Rudiments of the Christian Faith, they are so transported with Zeal and Furvor in the exercise of Ecclesiastical Sacraments, and Divine Service, that the very Religioso's themselves, stand in need of the greatest and most signal patience to undergo such extream Transports. And to conclude, I my self have heard the Spaniards themselves (who dare not assume the Confidence to deny the good Nature praedominant in them) declare, that there was nothing wanting in them for the acquisition of Eternal Beatitude, but the sole Knowledge and Understanding of the Deity.
The Spaniards first assaulted the innocent Sheep, so qualified by the Almighty, as is premention'd, like most cruel Tygers, Wolves and Lions hunger-starv'd, studying nothing, for the space of Forty Years, after their first landing, but the Massacre of these Wretches, whom they have so inhumanely and barbarously butcher'd and harass'd with several kinds of Torments, never before known, or heard (of which you shall have some account in the following Discourse) that of Three Millions of Persons, which lived in Hispaniola itself, there is at present but the inconsiderable remnant of scarce Three Hundred. Nay the Isle of Cuba, which extends as far, as Valledolid in Spain is distant from Rome, lies now uncultivated, like a Desert, and intomb'd in its own Ruins. You may also find the Isles of St. John, and Jamaica, both large and fruitful places, unpeopled and desolate. The Lucayan Islands on the North Side, adjacent to Hispaniola and Cuba, which are Sixty in number, or thereabout, together with with those, vulgarly known by the name of the Gigantic Isles, and others, the most infertile whereof, exceeds the Royal Garden of Sevil in fruitfulness, a most Healthful and pleasant Climat, is now laid waste and uninhabited; and whereas, when the Spaniards first arriv'd here, about Five Hundred Thousand Men dwelt in it, they are now cut off, some by slaughter, and others ravished away by Force and Violence, to work in the Mines of Hispanioloa, which was destitute of Native Inhabitants: For a certain Vessel, sailing to this Isle, to the end, that the Harvest being over (some good Christian, moved with Piety and Pity, undertook this dangerous Voyage, to convert Souls to Christianity) the remaining gleanings might be gathered up, there were only found Eleven Persons, which I saw with my own Eyes. There are other Islands Thirty in number, and upward bordering upon the Isle of St. John, totally unpeopled; all which are above Two Thousand miles in Lenght, and yet remain without Inhabitants, Native, or People.
As to the firm land, we are certainly satisfied, and assur'd, that the Spaniards by their barbarous and execrable Actions have absolutely depopulated Ten Kingdoms, of greater extent than all Spain, together with the Kingdoms of Arragon and Portugal, that is to say, above One Thousand Miles, which now lye wast and desolate, and are absolutely ruined, when as formerly no other Country whatsoever was more populous. Nay we dare boldly affirm, that during the Forty Years space, wherein they exercised their sanguinary and detestable Tyranny in these Regions, above Twelve Millions (computing Men, Women, and Children) have undeservedly perished; nor do I conceive that I should deviate from the Truth by saying that above Fifty Millions in all paid their last Debt to Nature.
Those that arriv'd at these Islands from the remotest parts of Spain, and who pride themselves in the Name of Christians, steer'd Two courses principally, in order to the Extirpation, and Exterminating of this People from the face of the Earth. The first whereof was raising an unjust, sanguinolent, cruel War. The other, by putting them to death, who hitherto, thirsted after their Liberty, or design'd (which the most Potent, Strenuous and Magnanimous Spirits intended) to recover their pristin Freedom, and shake off the Shackles of so injurious a Captivity: For they being taken off in War, none but Women and Children were permitted to enjoy the benefit of that Country-Air, in whom they did in succeeding times lay such a heavy Yoak, that the very Brutes were more happy than they: To which Two Species of Tyranny as subalternate things to the Genus, the other innumerable Courses they took to extirpate and make this a desolate People, may be reduced and referr'd.
Now the ultimate end and scope that incited the Spaniards to endeavor the Extirptaion and Desolation of this People, was Gold only; that thereby growing opulent in a short time, they might arrive at once at such Degrees and Dignities, as were no wayes consistent with their Persons.
Finally, in one word, their Ambition and Avarice, than which the heart of Man never entertained greater, and the vast Wealth of those Regions; the Humility and Patience of the Inhabitants (which made their approach to these Lands more facil and easie) did much promote the business: Whom they so despicably contemned, that they treated them (I speak of things which I was an Eye Witness of, without the least fallacy) not as Beasts, which I cordially wished they would, but as the most abject dung and filth of the Earth; and so sollicitous they were of their Life and Soul, that the above-mentioned number of People died without understanding the true Faith or Sacraments. And this also is as really true as the praecendent Narration (which the very Tyrants and cruel Murderers cannot deny without the stigma of a lye) that the Spaniards never received any injury from the Indians, but that they rather reverenced them as Persons descended from Heaven, until that they were compelled to take up Arms, provoked thereunto by repeated Injuries, violent Torments, and injust Butcheries.
Of the Island HISPANIOLA.
In this Isle, which, as we have said, the Spaniards first attempted, the bloody slaughter and destruction of Men first began: for they violently forced away Women and Children to make them Slaves, and ill-treated them, consuming and wasting their Food, which they had purchased with great sweat, toil, and yet remained dissatisfied too, which every one according to his strength and ability, and that was very inconsiderable (for they provided no other Food than what was absolutely necessary to support Nature without superfluity, freely bestow'd on them, and one individual Spaniard consumed more Victuals in one day, than would serve to maintain Three Families a Month, every one consisting of Ten Persons. Now being oppressed by such evil usage, and afflicted with such greate Torments and violent Entertainment they began to understand that such Men as those had not their Mission from Heaven; and therefore some of them conceal'd their Provisions and others to their Wives and Children in lurking holes, but some, to avoid the obdurate and dreadful temper of such a Nation, sought their Refuge on the craggy tops of Mountains; for the Spaniards did not only entertain them with Cuffs, Blows, and wicked Cudgelling, but laid violent hands also on the Governours of Cities; and this arriv'd at length to that height of Temerity and Impudence, that a certain Captain was so audacious as abuse the Consort of the most puissant King of the whole Isle. From which time they began to consider by what wayes and means they might expel the Spaniards out of their Countrey, and immediately took up Arms. But, good God, what Arms, do you imagin? Namely such, both Offensive and Defensive, as resemble Reeds wherewith Boys sport with one another, more than Manly Arms and Weapons.
Which the Spaniards no sooner perceived, but they, mounted on generous Steeds, well weapon'd with Lances and Swords, begin to exercise their bloody Butcheries and Strategems, and overrunning their Cities and Towns, spar'd no Age, or Sex, nay not so much as Women with Child, but ripping up their Bellies, tore them alive in pieces. They laid Wagers among themselves, who should with a Sword at one blow cut, or divide a Man in two; or which of them should decollate or behead a Man, with the greatest dexterity; nay farther, which should sheath his Sword in the Bowels of a Man with the quickest dispatch and expedition.
They snatcht young Babes from the Mothers Breasts, and then dasht out the brains of those innocents against the Rocks; others they cast into Rivers scoffing and jeering them, and call'd upon their Bodies when falling with derision, the true testimony of their Cruelty, to come to them, and inhumanely exposing others to their Merciless Swords, together with the Mothers that gave them Life.
They erected certain Gibbets, large, but low made, so that their feet almost reacht the ground, every one of which was so order'd as to bear Thirteen Persons in Honour and Reverence (as they said blasphemously) of our Redeemer and his Twelve Apostles, under which they made a Fire to burn them to Ashes whilst hanging on them: But those they intended to preserve alive, they dismiss'd, their Hands half cut, and still hanging by the Skin, to carry their Letters missive to those that fly from us and ly sculking on the Mountains, as an exprobation of their flight.
The Lords and Persons of Noble Extract were usually expos'd to this kind of Death; they order'd Gridirons to be placed and supported with wooden Forks, and putting a small Fire under them, these miserable Wretches by degrees and with loud Shreiks and exquisite Torments, at last Expir'd.
I once saw Four or Five of their most Powerful Lords laid on these Gridirons, and thereon roasted, and not far off, Two or Three more over-spread with the same Commodity, Man's Flesh; but the shril Clamours which were heard there being offensive to the Captain, by hindring his Repose, he commanded them to be strangled with a Halter. The Executioner (whose Name and Parents at Sevil are not unknown to me) prohibited the doing of it; but stopt Gags into their Mouths to prevent the hearing of the noise (he himself making the Fire) till that they dyed, when they had been roasted as long as he thought convenient. I was an Eye-Witness of these and and innumerable Number of other Cruelties: And because all Men, who could lay hold of the opportunity, sought out lurking holes in the Mountains, to avoid as dangerous Rocks so Brutish and Barbarous a People, Strangers to all Goodness, and the Extirpaters and Adversaries of Men, they bred up such fierce hunting Dogs as would devour an Indian like a Hog, at first sight in less than a moment: Now such kind of Slaughters and Cruelties as these were committed by the Curs, and if at any time it hapned, (which was rarely) that the Indians irritated upon a just account destroy'd or took away the Life of any Spaniard, they promulgated and proclaim'd this Law among them, that One Hundred Indians should dye for every individual Spaniard that should be slain.
Of the Kingdoms contained in Hispaniola.
This Isle of Hispaniola was made up of Six of their greatest Kingdoms, and as many most Puissant Kings, to whose Empire almost all the other Lords, whose Number was infinite, did pay their Allegiance. One of these Kingdoms was called Magua, signifying a Campaign or open Country; which is very observable, if any place in the Universe deserves taking notice of, and memorable for the pleasantness of its Situation; for it is extended from South to North Eighty Miles, in breadth Five, Eight, and in some parts Ten Miles in length; and is on all sides inclosed with the highest Mountains; above Thirty Thousand Rivers, and Rivulets water her Coasts, Twelve of which prodigious Number do not yield in all in magnitude to those famous Rivers, the Eber, Duer, and Guadalquivir; and all those Rivers which have their Source or Spring from the Mountains lying Westerly, the number whereof is Twenty Thousand) are very rich in Mines of Gold; on which Mountain lies the Province of rich Mines, whence the exquisite Gold of Twenty Four Caracts weight, takes denomination. The King and Lord of this Kingdom was named Guarionex, who governed within the Compass of his Dominions so many Vassals and Potent Lords, that every one of them was able to bring into the Field Sixteen Thousand Soldiers for the service of Guarionex their Supream Lord and Soverain, when summoned thereunto. Some of which I was acquainted with. This was a most Obedient Prince, endued with great Courage and Morality, naturally of a Pacifick Temper, and most devoted to the service of the Castilian Kings. This King commanded and ordered his Subjects, that every one of those Lords under his Jurisdiction, should present him with a Bell full of Gold; but in succeeding times, being unable to perform it, they were commanded to cut it in two, and fill one part therewith, for the Inhabitants of this Isle were altogether inexperienced, and unskilful in Mine-works, and the digging Gold out of them. This Caiu proferred his Service to the King of Castile, on this Condition, that he would take care, that those Lands should be cultivated and manur'd, wherein, during the reign of Isabella, Queen of Castile, the Spaniards first set footing and fixed their Residence, extending in length even to Santo Domingo, the space of Fifty Miles. For he declar'd (nor was it a Fallacie, but an absolute Truth,) that his Subjects understood not the practical use of digging in Golden Mines. To which promises he had readily and voluntarily condescended, to my own certain knowledge, and so by this means, the King would have received the Annual Revenue of Three Millions of Spanish Crowns, and upward, there being at that very time in that Island Fifty Cities more ample and spacious than Sevil it self in Spain.
But what returns by way of Remuneration and Reward did they make this so Clement and Benign Monarch, can you imagine, no other but this? They put the greatest Indignity upon him imaginable in the person of his Consort who was violated by a Spanish Captain altogether unworthy of the Name of Christian. He might indeed probably expect to meet with a convenient time and opportunity of revenging this Ingominy so unjuriously thrown upon him by preparing Military Forces to attaque him, but he rather chose to abscond in the Province De los Ciquayos (wherein a Puissant Vassal and subject of his Ruled) devested of his Estate and Kingdom, and there live and dye an exile. But the Spaniards receiving certain information, that he had absented himself, connived no longer at his Concealment but raised War against him, who had received them with so great humanity and kindness, and having first laid waste and desolate the whole Region, at last found, and took him Prisoner, who being bound in Fetters was convey'd on board of a ship in order to his transfretation to Castile, as a Captive: but the Vessel perished in the Voyage, wherewith many Spaniards were also lost, as well as a great weight of Gold, among which there was a prodigious Ingot of Gold, resembling a large Loaf of Bread, weighing 3600 Crowns; Thus it pleased God to revenge their enormous impieties.
A Second Kingdom was named Marien, where there is to this day a Haven, upon the utmost Borders of the Plain or open Countrey toward the North, more fertil and large than the kingdom of Portugal; and really deserving constant and frequent Inahbitants: For it abounds with Mountains, and is rich in Mines of Gold and Orichalcum, a kind of Copper Mettal mixt with Gold; The Kings name of this place was Guacanagari, who had many powerful Lords (some whereof were not unknown to me) under his subjection. The first that landed in this Kingdom when he discovered America was an Admiral well stricken in years, who had so hospitable and kind a reception from the aforesaid Gracanagari, as well as all those Spaniards that accompanied him in that Voyage, giving them all imaginable help and assisstance (for the admiral's vessel was sunk on their Coasts) that I heard it from his own mouth, he could not possibly have been entertained with greater Caresses and Civilities from his own parents in his own Native Country. But this King being forced to fly to avoid the Spanish slaughter and Cruelty, deprived of all he was Master of, died in the Mountains; and all the rest of the Potentates and Nobles, his subjects, perished in that servitude and Vassalage; as you shall find in this following Treatise.
The Third Kingdom was distinguished by the Appellation of Maquana, another admirable, healthful and fruitful Region, where at present the most refined sugar of the Island is made. Caonabo then reigned there, who surmounted all the rest in Power, State, and the splendid Ceremonies of His Government. This King beyond all expectation was surpriz'd in his own Palace, by the great subtilty and industry of the Spaniards, and after carried on board in order to his transportation to Castile, but there being at that time six Ships Riding in the Haven, and ready to set Sail such an impetuous storm suddenly arose, that they as well as the Passengers and Ships Crew were all lost, together with King Canabao loaded with Irons; by which judgement the Almighty declared that this was as unjust and impious an Act as any of the former. This Kind had three or four Brothers then Living, Men of strength and Valour, who being highly incensed at the Captivity of their King and Brother, to which he was injuriously reduc'd, having also intelligence of the Devastations and Butcheries committed by the Spaniards in other Regions, and not long after hearing of their Brothers death, took up Arms to revenge themselves of the Enemy, whom the Spaniards met with, and certain party of Horse (which proved very offensive to the Indians) made such havoc and slaughter among them, that the half of this Kingdom was laid waste and depopulated.
Xaraqua is the Fourth Kingdom, and as it were the Centre and Middle of the whole Island, and is not to be equalled for fluency of Speech and politeness of Idiom or Dialect by any Inhabitants of the other Kingdoms, and in Policy and Morality transcends them all. Herein the Lords and Peers abounded, and the very Populace excelled in in stature and habit of Body: Their King was Behechio by name and who had a Sister called Anacaona, and both the Brother as well as Sister had loaded the Spaniards with Benefits and singular acts of Civility, and by delivering them from the evident and apparent danger of Death, did signal services to the Castilian Kings. Behechio dying the supreme power of the Kingdom fell to Anacaona: But it hapned one day, that the Governour of an Island, attended by 60 Horse, and 30 Foot (now the Cavalry was sufficiently able to unpeople not only the Isle, but also the whole Continent) he summoned about 300 Dynasta's, or Noblemen to appear before him, and commanded the most powerful of them, being first crouded into a Thatcht Barn or Hovel, to be exposed to the fury of the merciless Fire, and the rest to be pierced with Lances, and run through with the point of the Sword, by a multitude of Men: And Anacaona her self who (as we said before,) sway'd the Imperial Scepter, to her greater honor was hanged on a Gibbet. And if it fell out that any person instigated by Compassion or Covetousness, did entertain any Indian Boys and mount them on Horses, to prevent their Murder, another was appointed to follow them, who ran them through the back or in the hinder parts, and if they chanced to escape Death, and fall to the ground, they immediately cut off his Legs; and when any of those Indians, that survived these Barbarous Massacres, betook themselves to an Isle eight miles distant, to escape their Butcheries, they were then committed to servitude during Life.
The Fifth Kingdom was Hiquey, over whom Queen Hiquanama, a superannuated Princess, whome the Spaniards Crucified, did preside and Govern. The number of those I saw here burnt, and dismembered, and rackt with various Torments, as well as others, the poor Remnants of such matchless Villanies, who surviving were enslaved, is infinite. But because so much might be said concerning the Assassinations and Depopulating of these people, as cannot without great difficulty be published in Writing (nor do I conceive that one fragile part of 1000 that is here contained can be fully displayed) I will only add one remark more of the prementioned Wars, in lieu of a Corollary or Conclusion, and aver upon my Conscience, that notwithstanding all the above-named Injustice, profligate Enormities and other Crimes which I omit, (tho sufficiently known to me) the Indians did not, nor was it in their power to give any greater occasion for the Commission of them, than Pious Religioso's Living in a well regulated Monastic Life did afford for any Sacrilegeous Villains to deprive them of their Goods and Life at the same time, or why they who by flight avoided death should be detain'd in perpetual, not to be ransom'd Captivity and Slavery. I adde farther, that I really believe, and am satisfied by certain undeniable conjectures, that at the very juncture of time, when all these outrages were commited in this Isle, the Indians were not so much guilty of one single mortal sin of Commission against the Spaniards, that might deserve from any Man revenge or require satisfaction. And as for those sins, the punishment whereof God hath reserved to himself, as the immoderate desire of Revenge, Hatred, Envy or inward rancor of Spirit, to which they might be transported against such Capital Enemies as the Spaniards were, I judge that very few of them can justly be accused of them; for their impetuosity and vigor I speak experimentally, was inferior to that of Children of ten or twelve years of age: and this I can assure you, that the Indians had ever a just cause of raising War against the Spaniards, and the Spaniards on the contrary never raised a just was against them, but what was more injurious and groundless then any undertaken by the worst of Tyrants. All which I affirm of all their other Transactions and passages in America.
The Warlike Engagements being over, and the Inhabitants all swept away, they divided among themselves the Young Men, Women, and Children reserved promiscuously for that purpose, one obtained thirty, another forty, to this Man one hundred were disposed, to the other two hundred, and the more one was in favor with the domineering Tyrant (which they styled Governor) the more he became Master of, upon this pretence, and with this Proviso, that he should see them instructed in the Catholick Religion, when as they themselves to whom they were committed to be taught, and the care of their Souls instructed them were, for the major part Idiots, Cruel, Avaritious, infected and stained with all sorts of Vices. And this was the great care they had of them, they sent the Males to the Mines to dig and bring away the Gold, which is an intollerable labor; but the Women they made use of to Manure and Till the ground, which is a toil most irksome even to Men of the strongest and most robust constitutions, allowing them no other food but Herbage, and such kind of unsubstantial nutriment, so that the Nursing Womens Milk was exsiccated and so dryed up, that the young Infants lately brought forth, all perished, and females being separated from and debarred cohabitation with Men, there was no Prolification or raising up issue among them. The Men died in Mines, hunger starved and oppressed with labor, and the Women perished in the Fields, harrassed and broken with the like Evils and Calamities: Thus an infinite number of Inhabitants that formerly peopled this Island were exterminated and dwindled away to nothing by such Consumptions. They were compelled to carry burthens of eighty or one hundred pound weight, and that an hundred or two hundred miles compleat: and the Spaniards were born by them on the Shoulders in a pensil Vehicle or Carriage, or kind of Beds made of Net-work by the Indians; for in Truth they made use of them as Beasts to carry the burthens and cumbersom baggage of their journeys, insomuch that it frequently happened, that the Shoulders and Backs of the Indians were deeply marked with their scourges and stripes, just as they used to serve a tired Jade, accustomed to burthens. And as to those slashes with whips, blows with staves, cuffs and boxes, maledictions and curses, with a Thousand of such kind of Torments they suffered during the fatigue of their laborious journeys it would require a long tract of time, and many Reams of Paper to describe them, and when all were done would only create Horror and Consternation in the Reader.
But here is is observable, that the desolation of these Isles and Provinces took beginning since the decease of the most Serene Queen Isabella, about the year 1504, for before that time very few of the Provinces situated in that Island were oppressed or spoiled with unjust Wars, or violated with general devastation as after they were, and most if not all these things were concealed and masked from the Queens knowledge (whom I hope God hath crowned with Eternal Glory) for she was transported with fervent and wonderful zeal, nay, almost Divine desires for the Salvation and preservation of these people, which things so exemplary as these we having seen with our eyes, and felt with our hands, cannot easily be forgotten.
Take this also for a general Rule, that the Spaniards upon what American Coasts soever they arrived, exercised the same Cruelties, Slaughters, Tyrannies and detestable Oppressions on the most innocent Indian Nation, and diverting themselves with delights in new sorts of Torment, did in time improve in Barbarism and Cruelty; wherewith the Omnipotent being incensed suffered them to fail by a more desperate and dangerous lapse into a reprobate state.
Of the Isles of St. John and Jamaica.
In the Year 1509, the Spaniards sailed to the Islands of St. John and Jamaica (resembling Gardensa and Bee-hives) with the same purpose and design they proposed to themselves in the Isle of Hispaniola, perpetrating innumerable Robberies and Villanies as before; whereunto they added unheard of Cruelties by Murdering, Burning, Roasting, and Exposing Men to be torn to pieces by Dogs; and Finally by afflicting and harassing them with un-exampled Oppressions and torments in the Mines, they spoiled and unpeopled this Contrey of these Innocents. These two Isles containing six hundred thousand at least, though at this day there are scarce two hundred men to be found in either of them, the remainder perishing without the knowledge of Christian Faith or Sacrament.
Of the Isle of Cuba.
In the Year of our Lord 1511. They passed over to Cuba, which contains as much ground in length as there is distance between Valledolid and Rome, well furnished with large and stately Provinces and very populous, against whom they proceeded with no more humanity and Clemency, or indeed to speak truth with greater Savageness and Brutality. Several memorable Transactions worthy observation, passed in this Island. A certain Cacic a potent Peer, named Hathney, who not long before fled Hispaniola to Cuba for Refuge from Death, or Captivity during Life; and understanding by certain Indians that the Spaniards intended to steer their course thither, made this Oration to all his People Assembled together.
You are not ignorant that there is a rumor spread abroad among us of the Spaniards Arrival, and are sensible by woeful experience how such and such (naming them) and Hayti (so they term Hispaniola in their own language) with their Inhabitants have been treated by them, that they design to visit us with equal intentions of committing such acts as they have hitherto been guilty of. But do you not know the cause and reason of their coming? We are altogether ignorant of it, they replied, but sufficiently satisfied that they are cruelly and wickedly inclined: Then thus, he said, they adore a certain Covetous Deity, whose cravings are not to be satisfied by a few moderate offerings, but they may answer his Adoration and Worship, demand many unreasonable things of us, and use their utmost endeavors to subjugate and afterwards murder us. Then taking up a Cask or Cabinet near at hand, full of Gold and Gems, he proceeded in this manner: This is the Spaniards God, and in honour of him if you think well of it, let us celebrate our Arcytos (which are certain kinds of Dances and caprings used among them); and by this means his Deity being appeas'd, he will impose his Commands on the Spaniards that they shall not for the future molest us; who all unanimously with one consent in a loud tone made this reply. Well said, Well said, and thus they continued skipping and dancing before this Cabinet, without the least intermission, till they were quite tired and grown weary: Then the Noble Hathney re-assuming his discourse, said, if we Worship this Deity, till ye be ravished from us, we shall be destroyed, therefore I judge it convenient, upon mature deliberation, that we cast it into the River, which advice was approved of by all without opposition, and the Cabinet thrown in to the next River.
When the Spaniards first touched this Island, this Cacic, who was thoroughly acquainted with them, did avoid and shun them as much as in him lay, and defended himself by force of Arms, wherever he met with them, but at length being taken he was burnt alive, for flying from so unjust and cruel a Nation, and endeavuoring to secure his Life against them, who only thirsted after the blood of himself and his own People. Now being bound to the post, in order of his Execution a certain Holy Monk of the Franciscan Order, discours'd with him concerning God and the Articles of our Faith, which he never heard of before, and which might be satisfactory and advantagious to him, considering the small time allow'd him by the Executioner, promising him Eternal Glory and Repose, if he truly believ'd them, or other wise Everlasting Torments. After that Hathney had been silently pensive sometime, he askt the Monk whether the Spaniards also were admitted into Heaven, and he answering that the Gates of Heaven were open to all that were Good and Godly, the Cacic replied without further consideration, that he would rather go to Hell then Heaven, for fear he should cohabit in the same Mansion with so Sanguinary and Bloody a Nation. And thus God and the Holy Catholick Faith are Praised and Reverenced by the Practices of the Spaniards in America.
Once it so hapned, that the Citizens of a Famous City, distant Ten Miles from the place where we then resided, came to meet us with a splendid Retinue, to render their Visit more Honourable, bringing with them delicious Viands, and such kind of Dainties, with as great a quantity of Fish as they could possibly procure, and distributing them among us; but behold on a sudden, some wicked Devil possessing the minds of the Spaniards, agitated them with great fury, that I being present, and without the least Pretence or Occasion offered, they cut off in cold Blood above Three Thousand Men, Women and Children promiscuously, such Inhumanities and Barbarisms were committed in my sight, as no Age can parallel.
Some time after I dispatch Messengers to all the Rulers of the Province of Havana, that they would by no means be terrified, or seek their refuge by absence and flight, but to meet us, and that I would engage (for they understood my Authority) that they should not receive the least of Injuries; for the whole Country was extremely afflicted at the Evils and Mischiefs already perpetrated, and this I did with the advice of their Captain. As soon as we approached the Province, Two and Twenty of their Noblemen came forth to meet us, whom the Captain contrary to his Faith given, would have expos'd to the Flames, alledging that it was expedient they should be put to Death, who were, at any time, capacitated to use any Stratagem against us, but with great difficulty and much adoe, I snatcht them out of the fire.
These Islanders of Cuba, being reduc'd to the same Vasselage and Misery as the Inhabitants of Hispaniola, seeing themselves perish and dy without any redress, fled to the Mountains for shelter, but other Desperado's, put a period to their days with a Halter, and the Husband, together with his Wife and Children, hanging himself, put an end to those Calamities.
By the ferocity of one Spanish Tyrant (whom I knew) above Two Hundred Indians hang'd themselves of their own accord; and a multitude of People perished by this kind of Death.
A certain Person here in the same Isle constituted to exercise a kind of Royal Power, hapned to have Three Hundred Indians fall to his share, of which in Three Months, through excessive labour, One Hundred and Sixty were destroy'd, insomuch that in a short space there remained but a tenth part alive, namely Thirty, but when the number was doubled, they all perisht at the same rate, and all that were bestow'd upon him lost their lives, till at length he paid his last Debt to Nature and the Devil.
In Three or Four Months time I being there present, Six Thousand Children and upward were murder'd, because they had lost their Parents who labour'd in the Mines; nay I was a Witness of many other stupendous Villanies.
But afterward they consulted how to persecute those that lay hid in the Mountains, who were miserably massacred, and consequently this Isle made desolate, which I saw not long after, and certainly it is a dreadful and depolorable sight to behold it thus unpeopled and laid waste, like a Desert.
Of the CONTINENT.
In the Year 1514, a certain unhappy Governour Landed on the firm Land or Continent, a most bloody Tyrant, destitute of all Mercy and Prudence, the Instrument of God's Wrath, with a Resolution to people these parts with Spaniards; and although some Tyrants had touched here before him, and Cruelty hurried them into the other World by several wayes of Slaughter, yet they came no farther than to the Sea Coast, where they comitted podigious Thefts and Robberies, but this Person exceeded all that ever dwelt in other Islands, though execrable and profligate Villains: for he did not only ravage and depopulate the Sea-Coast, but buried the largest Regions and most ample Kingdoms in their own Ruins, sending Thousdands to Hell by his Butcheries. He made Incursions for many Miles continuance, that is to say, in those Countries that are included in the Territories of Darien and the Provinces of Nicaraqua, where are near Five Hundred Miles of the most Fertil Land in the World, and the most opulent for Gold of all the Regions hitherto discover'd. And although Spain has bin sufficiently furnished with the purest Gold, yet it was dig'd out of the Bowels and Mines of the said Countries by the Indians, where (as we have said) they perished.
This Ruler, with his Complices found out new inventions to rack, torment, force and extort Gold from the Indians. One of his Captains in a certain Excursion undertaken by the Command of his Governeur to make Depraedations, destroy'd Forty Thousand Persons and better exposing them to the edge of the Sword, Fire, Dogs and variety of Torments; of all which a Religious Man of the Order of St. Francis, Franciscus de S. Romano, who was then present was an Eye-Witness.
Great and Injurious was the blindness of those praesided over the Indians; as to the Conversion and Salvation of this People: for they denyed in Effect what they in their flourishing Discourse pretended to, and declar'd with their Tongue what they contradicted in their Heart; for it came to this pass, that the Indians should be commanded on the penalty of a bloody War, Death, and perpetual Bondage, to embrace the Christian Faith, and submit to the Obedience of the Spanish King; as if the Son of God, who suffered Death for the Redemption of all Mankind, had enacted a Law, when he pronounced these words, Go and teach all Nations that Infidels, living peaceably and quietly in their Hereditary Native Country, should be impos'd upon pain of Confiscation of all their Chattels, Lands, Liberty, Wives, Children, and Death itself, without any precedent instruction to Confess and Acknowledge the true God, and subject themselves to a King, whom they never saw, or heard mention'd before; and whose Messengers behav'd themselves toward them with such Inhumanity and Cruelty as they had done hitherto. Which is certainly a most foppish and absurd way of Proceeding, and merits nothing but Scandal, Derision, nay Hell itself. Now suppose this Notorious and Profligate Governour had bin impower'd to see the Execution of these Edicts perform'd, for of themselves they were repugnant both to Law and Equity; yet he commanded (or they who were to see the Execution thereof, did it of their own Heads without Authority) that when they phansied or proposed to themselves any place, that was well stor'd with Gold, to rob and feloniously steal it away from the Indians living in their Cities and Houses, without the least suspicion of any ill Act. These wicked Spaniards, like Theives came to any place by stealth, half a Mile off of any City, Town or Village, and there in the Night published and proclaim'd the Edict among themselves after this manner:
You Cacics and Indians of this Continent, the Inhabitants of such a Place, which they named; We declare or be it known to you all, that there is but one God, one hope, and one King of Castile, who is Lord of these Countries; appear forth without delay, and take the oath of Allegiance to the Spanish King, as his Vassals.
So about the Fourth Watch of the Night, or Three in the Morning these poor Innocents overwhelm'd with heavy Sleep, ran violently on that place they named, set Fire to their Hovels, which were all thatcht, and so, without Notice, burnt Men, Women and Children; kill'd whom they pleas'd upon the Spot; but those they preserv'd as Captives, were compell'd throughTorments to confess where they had hid the Gold, when they found little or none at their Houses; but they who liv'd being first stigmatized, were made Slaves; yet after the Fire was extinguisht, they came hastily in quest of the Gold. Thus did this Wicked Man, devoted to all the Infernal Furies, behave himself with the Assistance of Profligate Christians, whom he had lifted in his Service from the 14th to the 21. or 22. Year, together with his Domestick Servants and Followers, from whom he received as many Portions, besides what he had from his Slaves in Gold, Pearls, and Jewels, as the Chief Governor would have taken, and all that were constituted to execute any kind of Kingly Office followed in the same Footsteps; every one sending as many of his Servants as he could spare, to share in the spoil. Nay he that came hither as Biship first of all did the same also, And at the vory time (as I conjecture) the Spaniards did depraedate or rob this Kingdom of above Ten Hundred Thousand Crowns of Gold: Yet all these their Thefts and Felonies, we scarce find upon Record that Three Hundred Thousand Castilian Crowns ever came into the Spanish King's Coffers; yet there were above Eight Hundred Thousand Men slain: The other Tyrants who governed this Kingdom afterward to the Three and Thirtieth year, depriv'd all of them of Life that remain'd among the Inhabitants.
Among all those flagitious Acts committed by this Governour while he rul'd this Kindom, or by his Consent and Permission this must by no means be omitted: A certain Casic, bestowing on him a Gift, voluntarily, or (which is more probably) induced thereunto by Fear, about the weight of Nine Thousand Crowns, but the Spaniards not satisfied with so fast a Sum of Money, sieze him, fix him to a Pole; extended his Feet, which being mov'd near the Fire, they demanded a larger Sum; the Casic overcome with Torments, sending home, procur'd Three Thousand more to be brought and presented to them: But the Spaniards, adding new Torments to new Rage and Fury, when they found he would confer no more upon them, which was because he could not, or otherwize because he would not, they expos'd him for so long to that Torture, till by degrees of heat the Marrow gusht out of the Soles of his Feet, and so he dyed; Thus they often murder'd the Lords and Nobles which such Torments to Extort the Gold from them.
One time it hapned that a Century or Party of One Hundred Spaniards making Excursions, came to a Mountain, where many People shunning so horrid and pernicious an Enemy conceal'd themselves, who immediately rushing on them, putting all to the Sword they could meet with, and then secur'd Seventy or Eighty Married Women as well as Virgins Captives; but a great Number of Indians with a fervent desire of recovering their Wives and Daughters appear'd in Arms against the Spaniards, and when they drew near the Enemy, they unwilling to lose the Prey, run the Wives and Maidens through with their Swords. The Indians through Grief and Trouble, smiting their Breasts, brake out into these Exclamations. O perverse Generation of Men! O Cruel Spaniards! What do you Murder las Iras? (In their Language they call Women by the Name of las Iras as if they had said: To slay Women is an Act of bloody minded Men, worse than Brutes and Wild Beasts.
There was the House of a Puissant Potentate scituated about Ten or Fifteen Miles from Panama, whose name was Paris, very Rich in Gold; and the Spaniards gave him a visit, who were entertained with Fraternal Kindness, and Courteously received, and of his own accord, presented the Captain with a Gift of Fifteen Thousand Crowns; who was of opinion, as well as the rest of the Spaniards, that he who bestow'd such a quantity of Money gratis, was the Master of vast Treasure; whereupon they counterfeit a pretended Departure, but returning about the Fourth Night-Watch, and entring the City privily upon a surprize, which they thought was sufficiently secur'd, consecrated it with many Citizens to the Flames, and robb'd them of Fifty or Sixty Thousand Crowns. The Dynast or Prince escaped with his Life, and gathering together as great a Number of Men as he could possibly at that instant of time, and Three or Four Days being elapsed, pursued the Spaniards, who had depriv'd him also by Violence and Rapine of a Hundred and Thirty or Forty Thousand Crowns, and pouring in upon them, recover'd all his Gold with the destruction of Fifty Spaniards, but the remainder of them having receiv'd many Wounds in that Rencounter betook them to their Heels and sav'd themselves by flight: but in few days after the Spaniards return, and fall upon the said Casic well-arm'd and overthrow him and all his Forces, and they who out-liv'd the Combat, to their great Misfortune, were expos'd to the usual and frequently mention'd Bondage.
Of the Province of NICARAQUA.
The said Tyrant An. Dom. 1522. proceeded farther very unfortunately to the Subjugation of Conquest of this Province. In truth no Person can satisfactorily or sufficiently express the Fertility, Temperateness of the Climate, or the Multitude of the Inhabitants of Nicaraqua, which was almost infinite and admirable; for this Region contain'd some Cities that were Four Miles long; and the abundance of Fruits of the Earth (which was the cause of such a Concourse of People) was highly commendable. The People of this place, because the Country was Level and Plain, destitute of Mountains, so very delightful and pleasant, that they could not leave it without great grief, and much dissatisfaction, they were therefore tormented with the greater Vexations and Persecutions, and forced to bear the Spanish Tyranny and Servitude, which as much Patience as they were Masters of: Add farther that they were peaceable and meek spirited. This Tyrant with these Complices of his Cruelty did afflict this Nation (whose advice he made use of in destroying the other Kingdoms) with such and so many great Dammages, Slaughters, Injustice, Slaver, and Barbarisme, that a Tongue, though of Iron, could not express them all fully. He sent into the Province (which is larger than the County of Ruscinia) Fifty Horse-Men, who put all the People to the Edge of the Sword, sparing neither Age nor Sex upon the most trivial and inconsiderable occasion: As for Example, if they did not come to them with all possible speed, when called; and bring the imposed burthen of Mahid (which signifies Corn in their Dialect) or if they did not bring the Number of Indians required to his own, and the Service or rather Servitude of his Associates. And the Country being all Campaign or Level, no Person was able to withstand the Hellish Fury of their Horses.
He commanded the Spaniards to make Excursions, that is, to rob other Provinces, permitting and granting these Theiving Rogues leave to take away by force as many of these peacable People as they could, who being iron'd (that they might not sink under the Burthen of Sixty or Eighty Pound weight) it frequently hapned, that of Four Thousand Indians, Six only returned home, and so they dyed by the way; but if any of them chanced to faint, being tired with over-weighty Burthens, or through great Hunger and Thirst should be siezed with a Distemper; or too much Debility and Weakness, that they might not spend time in taking off their Fetters, they beheaded them, so the Head fell one way, and the Body another: The Indians when they spied the Spaniards making preparations for such Journeys, knowing very well, that few, or none returned home alive, just upon their setting out with Sighs and Tears, burst out into these or the like Expressions.
Those were Journeys, which we travelled frequently in the service of Christians, and in some tract of time we return'd to our Habitations, Wives and Children: But now there being no hope of a return, we are for ever depriv'd of their Sight and Conversation.
It hapned also, that the same President would dissipate or disperse the Indians de novo at his own pleasure, to the end (as it was reported) he might violently force the Indians away from such as did infest or molest him; and dispose of them to others; upon which it fell out, that for the space of a Year complete, there was no sowing or planting: And when they wanted Bread, the Spaniards did by force plunder the Indians of the whole stock of Corn that they had laid up for the support of their Families, and by these indirect Courses above Thirty Thousand perished with Hunger. Nay it fortun'd at one time, that a Woman opprest with insufferable Hunger, depriv'd her own Son of his Life to preserve her own.
In this Province also they brought many to an untimely End, loading their Shoulders with heavy planks and pieces of Timer, which they were compell'd to carry to a Haven Forty Miles distant, in order to their building of Ships; sending them likewise unto the Mountains to find out Hony and Wax, where they were devour'd by Tygers; nay they loaded Women impregnated with Carriage and Burthens fit for beasts.
But no greater pest was there that could unpeople this Province, than the License granted the Spaniards by this Governour, to demand Captives from the Casics and Potentates of this Region; for at the Expiration of Four or Five Months, or as often as they obtain'd leave of the Governour to demand them, they deliver'd them up Fifty Servants, and the Spaniards terrified them with Menaces, that if they did not obey them in answering their unreasonable Demands, they should be burnt alive, or baited to Death by Dogs. Now the Indians are but slenderly stor'd with Servants; for it is much if a Casic hath Three or Four in his Retinue, therefore they have recourse to the Subjects; and when they had, in the first place, seized the Orphans, they required earnestly and instantly one Son of the Parent, who had but Two, and Two of him that had but Three, and for the Lord of the place satisfied the desires of the Tyrant, not without the Effusion of Tears and Groans of the People, who (as it seems) were very careful of their Children. And this being frequently repeated in the space between the Year 1523, and 1533, the Kingdom lost all their Inhabitants, for in Six or Seven Years time there were constantly Five or Six Ships made ready to be fraighted with Indians that were sold in the Regions of Panama and Perusium, where they all dyed; for it is by dayly Experience prov'd and known, that the Indians when Transported out of their Native Country into any other, soon dye; because they are shortned in their allowance of Food, and the Task impos'd on them no ways dimished, they being only bought for Labour. And by this means, there have been taken out of this Province Five Hundred Thousand Inhabitants and upward, who before were Freemen, and made Slaves, and in the Wars made on them, and the horrid Bondage they were reduc'd unto Fifty or Sixty Thousand more have perished, and to this day very many still are destroy'd. Now all these Slaughters have been committed within the space of Fourteen years inclusively, possibly in this Province of Nicaraqua there remains Four or Five Thousand Men who are put to Death by ordinary and personal Opressions, whereas (according to what is said already) it did exceed other Countries of the World in multitude of People.
Of new SPAIN.
New Spain was discovered Anno Dom. 1517. and in the detection there was no first or second Attempt, but all were exposed to slaughter. The year ensuing those Spaniards (who style themselves Christians) came thither to rob, kill and slay, though they pretend they undertook this Voyage to people the Countrey. From this year to the present, viz. 1542. the Injustice, Violence and Tyranny of the Spaniards came to the highest degree of extremety: for they had shook hands with and bid adieu to all fear of God and the King, unmindful of themselves in this sad and deplorable condition, for the Destructions, Cruelties, Butcheries, Devastations, the Domolishing of Cities, Depradations, &c. which they perpetrated in so many and such ample Kingdoms, are such and so great, and strike the minds of Men with so great horror, that all we have related before are inconsiderable comparatively to those which have been acted from the year 1518 to 1542, and to this very month of September that we now live to see the most heavy, grievous and detestable things are committed, that the Rule we laid down before as a Maxim might be induputably verified, to wit, that from the beginning they ran headlong from bad to worse, and were overcome in their Diabolical acts and wickedness only by themselves.
Thus from the first entrance of the Spaniards into New Spain, which hapned on the 18th day of April in the said month of the year 1518, to 1530, the space of ten whole years, there was no end or period put to the Destruction and Slaughters committed by the merciless hands of the Sanguinary and Blood-thirsty Spaniard in the Continent, or space of 450 Miles round about Mexico, and the adjacent or neighboring parts, which might contain four or five spatious Kingdoms, that neither for magnitude or fertility would give Spain her self the pre-eminance. This intire Region was more populous then Toledo, Sevil, Valedolid, Saragoza, and Faventia; and there is not at this day in all of them so many people, nor when they flourisht in their greatest height and splendor was there such a number, as inhabited that Region, which embraceth in its Circumference, four hundred and eighty Miles. Within these twelve years the Spaniards have destroyed in the Said Countinent, by Spears, Fire and Sword, computing Men, Women, Youth, and Children above Four Millions of people in these their Acquests or Conquests (for under that word they mask their Cruel Actions) or rather those of the Turk himself, which are reported of them, tending to the ruin of the Catholick Cause, together with their Invasions and Unjust Wars, contrarty to and condemned by Divine as well as Human Laws; nor are they reckoned in this number who perished by their more then Egyptian Bondage and usual Oppressions.
There is no Tongue, Art, or Human knowledge can recite the horrid Impieties, which these Capital Enemies to Government and all Mankind have been guilty of at several times and in several Nations; nor can the circumstantial Aggravations of some of their wicked Acts be unfolded or display'd by any manner of Industry, time or writing, but yet I will say somewhat of every individual particular thing, which this protestation and Oath, that I conceive I am not able to comprehend one of a Thousand.
Of New Spain in Particular.
Among other Slaughters this also they perpetrated in the most spacious City of Cholula, which consisted of Thirty Thousand Families; all the Chief Rulers of that Region and Neighboring places, but first the Priests with their High Priest going to meet the Spaniards in Pomp and State, and to the end they might give them a more reverential and honourable reception appointed them to be in the middle of the Solemnity, that so being entertained in the Appartments of the most powerful and principal Noblemen, they might be lodged in the City. The Spaniards presently consult about their slaughter or castigation (as they term it) that they might fill every corner of this Region by their Cruelties and wicked Deeds with terror and consternation; for in all the Countries that they came they took this course, that immediately at their first arrival they committed some notorious butcheries, which made those Innocent Sheep tremble for fear. To this purpose therefore they sent to the Governours and Nobles of the Cities, and all Places subject unto them, together with their supream Lord, that they should appear before them, and no soner did they attend in expectation of some Capitulation or discourse with the Spanish Commander, but they were presently seized upon and detained prisoners before any one could advertise or give them notice of their Captivity. They demanded of them six thousand Indians to drudge for them in the carriage of their bag and baggage; and as soon as they came the Spaniards clapt them into the Yards belonging to their Houses and there inclosed them all. It was a thing worthy of pity and compassion to behold this wretches people in what a condition they were when they prepared themselves to receive the burthens laid on them by the Spaniards. They came to them naked, their Privities only vail'd, their Shoulders loaden with food; only covered with a Net, they laid themselves quietly on the ground, and shrinking in their Bodies like poor Wretches, exposed themselves to their Swords: Thus being all gathered together in ther Yards, some of the Spaniards Armed held the doors to drive them away if attempting to approach, and others with Lances and Swords Butcher these Innocents so that not one of them escaped, but two or three days after some of them, who hid themselves among the dead bodies, being all over besprinkled with blood and gore, presented themselves to the Spaniards, imporing their mercy and the prolongation of their Lives with tears in their Eyes and all imaginable submission, yet they, not in the least moved with pity or compassion, tore them in pieces: but all the Chief Governours who were above one hundred in number, were kept bound, whom the Captain commanded to be affixed to posts and burnt; yet the King of the whole Countrey escaped, and betook himself with a Train of thirty or forty Gentlemen, to a Temple (called in their Tongue Quu) which he made use of as a Castle or Place of Defence, and there defended himself a great part of the day, but the Spaniards who suffer none to escape out of their clutches, especially Souldiers, setting fire to the Temple, burnt all those that were there inclosed, who brake out into these dying words and exclamations. O profligate Men, what injury have we done you to occasion our death! Go, go to Mexico, where our supream Lord Montencuma will revenge our cause upon your persons. And 'tis reported, while the Spaniards were engated in this Tragedy destroying six or seven thousand Men, that their Commander with great rejoycing sang this following Ayre;
Mira Nero de Tarpeia, Roma como se ardia, Gritos de Ninos y Vieyot, y el de nadase dolia.
From the Tarpeian still Nero espies Rome all in Flames with unrelenting Eyes, And hears of young and old the dreadful Cries.
They also committed a very great Butchery in the City Tepeara, which was larger and better stored with Houses than the former; and here they Massacred an incredible number with the point of the Sword.
Setting sail from Cholula, they steer'd their course to Mexico, whose King sent his Nobles and Peers with abundance of Presents to meet them by the way, testifying by divers sorts of Recreations how grateful their arrival was and acceptable to him: but when they came to a steep Hill, his brother went forward to meet them accompanied with many Noblemen who brought them many gifts in Gold, Silver, and Robes Emboidered with Gold and at their entrance into the City, the King himself carried in a golden Litter, together (with the whole Court) attended them to the Palace prepared for their reception; and that very day as I was informed by some persons then and there present by a grand piece of Treachery, they took the very great King Montencuma, never so much as dreaming of any such surprize, and put him into the custody of eighty Soldiers, and afterward loaded this Legs with irons; but all these things being passed over with a light pencil of which much might be said, one thing I will discover acted by them, that may merit your obervation. When the Captain arrived at the Haven, to fight with a Spanish Officer, who made War against him, and left another with an hundred Soldiers, more or less as a Guard to King Montencuma, it came into their heads, that to act somewhat worth remembrance, that the dread of their Cruelty might be more and more apprehended, and greatly increased.
In the interim all the Nobility and Commonality of the City thought of nothing else, but how to exhilarate the Spirit of their Captive King, and solace him during his Confinement with varity of diversions and Recreations; and among the rest this was one, viz., Revellings and Dances which they celebrated in all Streets and Highways, by night and they in their Idiom term Mirotes, as the Islanders do Arcytos; to these Masques and nocturnal Jigs they usually go with all their Riches, Costly Vestments and Robes, together with any thing that is pretious and glorious, being wholly addicted to this humor, nor is there any greater token among them then this of their extraordinary exultation and rejoycing. The Nobles in like manner, and Princes of the Blood Royal every one according to his degree exercise these Masques and Dances, in some place adjoyning to the House where their King and Lord is detained Prisoner. Now there were not far from the Palace about 2000 Young Noblemen who were the issue of the greatest Potentates of the Kingom, and indeed the flower of the whole Nobility of King Motencuma, and a Spanish Captain went to visit them with some Soldiers, and sent others to the rest of the places in the City where these Revellings were kept, under pretence only of being spectators of the solemnity. Now the Captain had commanded, that, at a certain hour appointed they should fall upon these Revellers, and he himself approaching the Indians very busie at their Dancing, said, San Jago (that is St. James it seems that was the Word) Let us rush in upon them, which was no sooner heard, but they all began with their naked Swords in hand to pierce their tender and naked Bodies, and spill their generous and Noble blood, till not one of them was left alive on the place, and the rest following his example in other parts, (to their inexpressible stupefaction and grief) seized on all these Provinces. Nor will the Inhabitants till the General conflagration ever discontinue the Celebration of these Festivals, and the Lamentation and Singing with certain kind of Rhythmes in their Arcytos, the doleful ditty of the Calamity and Ruin of this Seminary of the antient Nobility of the whole Kingdom, which was their frequent Pride and Glory.
The Indians seeing this not to be exampled cruelty and iniquity executed against such a number of guiltless persons, and also bearing with incredible patience the unjust Imprisonment of their King, from whom they had an absolute Command not to take up Arms against the Spaniard, the whole City was suddenly up in Arms fell on the Spaniards and wounded many of them, the rest hardly escaping; but they presenting the point of a Sword to the Kings Breast, threatned him with death unless he out of the Window commanded them to desist; but the Indians for the present disobeying the Kings Mandate, proceeded to the Election of a Generalissimo, or Commander in Chief over all their Forces; and because that the Captain, who went to the Port returned Victor, and brought away a far greater number of Spaniards then he took along with him, there was a Cessation of Arms for three or four days, till he re-entred the City, and then the Indians having gatherered together and made up a great Army, fought so long and so strenuously, that the Spaniards despairing of their safety, called a Council of War and therein resolv'd to retreat in the dead time of night and so draw off their Forces from the City: which coming to the knowledge of the Indians they destroyed a great number Retreating on the Bridges made over their Lakes in this just and Holy War, for the causes above-mentioned, deserving the approbation of every upright Judge. But afterward the Spaniards having recruited and got together in a Body, they resolved to take the City and carried it at last, wherein most detestable Butcheries were acted, a vast number of the people slain, and their Rulers perished in the Flames.
All these horrid Muders being commited in Mexico and other Cities ten, fifteen and twenty miles distant. This same Tyranny and Plague in the abstract proceeded to infest and lay desolate Panuco; a Region abounding with Inhabitants even to admiration, nor were the slaughters therein perpetrated less stupendous and wonderful. In the same manner they utterly laid wasate the Provinces of Futepeca, Ipilcingonium and Columa, every one of them being as large as the Kingdoms of Leon, and Castile. It would be very difficult or rather impossible to relate the Cruelties and Destruction there made and committed, and prove very nauseous and offensive to the Reader.
'Tis observable, that they entred upon these Dominions and laid waste the Indian Territories, so populous, that it would have rejoyced the hearts of all true Christians to see their number upon no other title or pretense, but only to enslave them; for at their first arrival they compel'd them to swear the Oath of Obedience and Fealty to the King of Spain, and if they did not condescend to it, they menace them with death and Vassalage, and they who did not forthwith appear to satisfie the unequitable Mandates, and submit to the will and pleasure of such unjust and Cruel Men were declared Rebels, and accu's of that Crime before our Lord the King; and blindess or ignorance of those who were set over the Indians as Rulers did so darken their understanding that they did not apprehend that known and incontrovertible Maxim in Law, That no Man can be called a Rebel, who is not first proved to be a subject. I omit the injuries and prejudice they do to the King himself, when they spoil and ravage his Kingdoms, and as much as in them lies, diminish and impair all his Right and Title to the Indians, nay in plain English invalidate and make it null and void. And these are the worthy Services which the Spaniards do for our Kings in those Countries, by the injust and colourable pretences aforesaid.
This Tyrant upon the same pretext sent two other Captains, who exceeded him in impiety and cruelty, if possible to the most flourishing and Feril (in Fruits and Men) Kingdoms of Guatemala, Situate toward the South, who had also received Orders to go to the Kingdoms of Naco, Hondera, and Guaymura, verging upon the North, and are Borderers on Mexico three hundred miles together. The one was sent by Land and the other by Sea, and both well furnished with Horse and Foot.
This I declare for a Truth, that the outrages committed by these two, particularly by him that went to Guatimala (for the other not long after his departure died a violent Death) would afford matter sufficient for an entire Volume, and when completed he so crouded with slaughters, injuries, butcheries and inhuman Desolations, so horrid and detestable as would Ague-shake the present as well as future ages with terror.
He that put out to Sea vexed all the Maritime Coasts with his cruel Incursions; now some inhabitants of the Kingdom of Jucatan which is seated in the way to the Kingdoms of Naco and Naymura, to which places he steered his course, came to meet him with burthens of Presents and Gifts: and as soon as he approacht them, sent his Captains with a party of Soldiers to depopulate their Land, who committed great spoils and made cruel slaughters among them; and in particular a Seditious and Rebellious Officer who with three hundres Soldiers entred a Neighboring Country to Guatimala, and there firing the Cities and Murdering all the Inhabitants, violently deprived them of all their goods, which he did designedly, for the space of an hundred and twenty miles; to the end that if his Companions should follow them, they might find the Country laid wast, and so be destroyed by the Indians in revenge for the dammage they had received by him and his Forces which hapned accordingly: for the Chief Commander whose order the abovesaid Captain had disobey'd and so became a Rebel to him, was there slain. But many other bloody Tyrants succeeded him, who from the year 1524 to 1535. did unpeople and make a Desert of the Provinces of Naco and Hondura (as well as other places) which were lookt upon as the Paradise of delights, and better peopled then other Regions; insomuch that within the Term of these eleven years there fell in those Countries above two Millions of Men, and now there are hardly remaining Two Thousand, who dayly dye by the severity of their Slavery.
But to return to that great Tyrant, who outdid the former in cruelty (as hinted above) and is equal to those that Tyrannize there at present, who travelled to Guatimala; he from the Provinces adjoyning to Mexico, which according to his prosecuted journey (as he himself Writes and testifies with his own hand in Letters to the Prince of Tyrants) are distant from Guatimala four hundred miles, did make it to his urgent and dayly business to procure Ruin and Destruction by slaughter, Fire and Depopulations, compelling all to submit to the Spanish King, whom they lookt upon to be more unjust and cruel then his inhumane and bloodthirsty Ministers.
Of the Kingdom and Province of GUATIMALA.
This Tyrant at his first entrance here acted and commanded prodigious Slaughters to be perpetrated: Notwithstanding which, the Chief Lord in his Chair or Sedan attended by many Nobles of the City of Ultlatana, the Emporium of the whole Kingdom, together with Trumpets, Drums and great Exultation, went out to meet him, and brought with them all sorts of Food in great abundance, with such things as he stood in most need of. That Night the Spaniards spent without the City, for they did not judge themselves secure in such a well-fortified place. The next day he commanded the said Lord with many of his Peers to come before him, from whom they imperiously challenged a certain quantity of Gold; to whom the Indians return'd this modest Answer, that they could not satisfie his Demands, and indeed this Region yeilded no Golden Mines; but they all, by his command, without any other Crime laid to their Charge, or any Legal Form of Proceeding were burnt alive. The rest of the Nobles belonging to other Provinces, when they found their Chief Lords, who had the Supreme Power were expos'd to the Merciless Element of Fire kindled by a more merciless Enemy; for this Reason only, becauase they bestow'd not what they could not upon them, viz. Gold, they fled to the Mountains, (their usual Refuge) for shelter, commanding their Subjects to obey the Spaniards, as Lords, but withal strictly and expressly prohibiting and forbidding them, to inform the Spaniards of their Flight, or the Places of their Concealment. And behold a great many of the Indians addrest themselves to them, earnestly requesting, they would admit them as Subjects, being very willing and ready to serve them: The Captain replyed that he would not entertain them in such a Capacity, but instead of so doing would put every individual Person to Death, if they would not discover the Receptacles of the Fugitive Governours. The Indians made answer that they were wholly ignorant of the matter, yet that they themselves, their Wives and Children should serve them; that they were at home, they might come to them and put them to Death, or deal with them as they pleas'd. But the Spaniards, O wonderful! went to the Towns and Villages, and destroy'd with their Lances these poor Men, their Wives and Children, intent upon their Labour, and as they thought themselves, secure and free from danger. Another large Village they made desolate in the space of two hours, sparing neither Age, nor Sex, putting all to the Sword, without Mercy.
The Indians perceiving that this Barbarous and Hard-hearted People would not be pacified with Humility, large Gifts, or unexampled Patience, but that they were butcher'd without any Cause, upon serious Consultation took up a Resolution of getting together in a Body, and fighting for their Lives and Liberty; for they conceiv'd it was far better, (since Death to them was a necessary Evil) with Sword in Hand to be kill'd by taking Revenge of the Enemy, then be destroy'd by them without satisfaction. But when they grew sensible of their wants of Arms, Nakedness and Debility, and that they were altogether incapable of the management of Horses, so as to prevail against such a furious Adversary, recollecting themselves, they contriv'd this Strategm, to dig Ditches and Holes in the High-way into which the Horses might fall in their passage, and fixing therein purposely sharp and burnt Posts, and covering them with loose Earth, so that they could not be discern'd by their Riders, they might be transfixed or gored by them. The Horses fell twice or thrice into those holes, but afterward the Spaniards took this Course to prevent them for the future; and made this a Law, that as many of the Indians of what Age or Sex soever as were taken, should be cast into these Ditches that they had made. Nay they threw into them Women with Child, and as many Aged Men as they laid hold of, till they were all fill'd up with Carkasses. It was a sight deserving Commiseration, to behold Women and Children gauncht or run through with these Posts, some were taken off by Spears and Swords, and the remainder expos'd to hungry Dogs, kept short of food for that purpose, to be devour'd by them and torn in pieces. They burnt a Potent Nobleman in a very great Fire, saying, That he was the more Honour'd by this kind of Death. All which Butcheries continued Seven Years, from 1524, to 1531. I leave the Reader to judge how many might be Massacred during that time.
Among the Innumerable Flagitious Acts done by this Tyrant and his Co-partners (for they were as Barbarous as their Principal) in this Kingdom, this also occurs worthy of an Afterism in the Margin. In the Province of Cuztatan in which S. Saviour's City is seated, which Country with the Neighbouing Sea-Coasts extends in Length Forty or Fifty Miles, as also in the very City of Cuzcatan, the Metropolis of the whole Province, he was entertain'd with great Applause: For about Twenty or Thirty Thousand Indians brought with them Hens and other necessary Provisions, expecting this coming. He, accepting their Gifts, commended every single Spaniard to make choice of as many of these People, as he had a mind to, that during their stay there, they might use them as Servants, and forced to undergo the most servile Offices they should impose on them. Every one cull'd out a Hundred, or Fifty, according as he thought convenient for his peculiar service, and these wretched Indians did serve the Spaniards with their utmost strength and endeavour; so that there could be nothing wanting in them but Adoration. In the mean time this Captain requir'd a great Sum of Gold from their Lords (for that was the Load-stone attracted them thither) who answered, they were content to deliver him up all the Gold they had in possession; and in order thereunto, the Indians gathered together a great Number of Spears gilded with Orichalcum, (which had the appearance of Gold, and in truth some Gold in them intermixt) and they were presented to him. The Captain ordered them to be toucht, and when he found them to be Orichalcum or mixt Metal, he spake to the Spaniards as followeth. Let that Nation that is without Gold be accursed to the Pit of Hell. Let every Man detain those Servants he Elected, let them be clapt in Irons, and stigmatiz'd with the Brand of Slavery, which was accordingly done, for they were all burnt, who did no excape with the King's Mark. I my self saw the Impression made on the Son of the Chiefest Person in the City. Those that escap'd, with other Indians, engaged the Spaniards by Force of Arms, but with such ill success, that abundance of them lost their Lives in the Attempt. After this they return'd to Gautimala, where they built a City, which God in his Judgement with Three Deluges, the First of Water, the Second of Earth, the Third of Stones, as big as half a score Oxen, all concurring at one and the same time, laid Level with its own Ashes. Now all being slain who were capable of bearing Arms against them, the rest were enslav'd, paying so much per Head for Men and Women as a Ransom; for they use no other servitude here, and then they were sent into Pecusium to be sold, by which means together with their slaughters committed upon the Inhabitants, they destroy'd and made a Desert of this Kingdom, which in Breadth as well as Length contains One Hundred Miles; and with his Associates and Brethren in Iniquity, Four Millions at least in Fifteen or Sixteen Years, that is, from 1524, to 1540 were murdered, and dayly continues destroying the small residue of that People with his Cruelties and Brutishness.
It was the usual Custom of this Tyrant, when he made War with any City or Province, to take along with himas many of those Indians he had subjugated as he could, that they might fight with their Country-men; and when he had in his Army Twenty, or sometimes Thirty Thousand of them, and could not afford them sustenance, he permitted them to feed on the Flesh of other Indians taken Prisoners in War; and so kept a Shambles of Man's Flesh in his Army, suffered Children to be kill'd and roasted before his Face. They butcher'd the Men for their Feet and Hands only; for these Members were accounted by them Dainties, most delicious Food.
He as the Death of many by the intolerable Labour of Carrying Ships by Land, causing them to Transport those Vessels with Anchors of a vast weight from the Septentrional to the Mediterranean Sea, which are One Hundred and Thirty Miles distant; as also abundance of great Guns of the largest fort, which they carried on their bare, naked shoulders, so that opprest with many great and ponderous Burthens, (I say no more than what I saw) they dyed by the way: He separated and divided Families, forcing Married Men from their Wives, and Maids from their Parents, which he bestow'd upon his Marriners and Soldiers, to gratifie their burning Lust. All his Ships he freighted with Indians, where Hunger and Thirst discharg'd them of their Servitude and his Cruelty by a welcome Death. He had two Companies of Soldiers who hackt and tore them in pieces, like Thunder from Heaven speedily. O how many Parents has he robb'd of their Children, how many Wives of their Husbands, and Children of their Parents? How many Adulteries, Rapes, and what Libidinous Acts hath he been guilty of? How many hath he enslav'd and opprest with insufferable Anguish and unspeakable Calamities? How many Tears, Sighs and Groans hath he occasion'd? To how many has he bin the Author of Desolation, during their Peregrination in this, and of Damnation in the World to come, not only to Indians, whose Number is numberless, but even to Spaniards themselves, by whose help and assistance he committed such detestable Butcheries and flagitious Crimes? I supplicate Almighty God, that he would please to have Mercy on his Soul, and require no other satisfaction than the violent Death, which turn'd him out of this World.
A farther Discourse of New Spain: And some Account of Panuco and Xalisco.
After the perpetration of all the Cruelties rehearsed in New Spain and other places, there came another Rabid and Cruel Tyrant to Panuco, who acted the part of a bloody Tragedian as well as the rest, and sent away many Ships loaden with these Barbarians to be sold for Slaves, made this Province almost a Wilderness, and which was deplorable, Eight Hundred Indians, that had Rational Souls were given in Exchange for a Burthen-bearing-Beast, a Mule, or Camel. Well, He was made Governour of the City of Mexico, and all New Spain, and with him many other Tyrants had the Office of Auditors confer'd upon them: Now they had already made such a progress toward the Desolation of this Region, that if the Franciscans had not vigorously opposed them, and that by (the King's Council, the best and greatest Encourager of Vertue) it had not speedily bin prevented, that which hapned to Hispaniola in Two Years, had bin the Fate of Hispania nova, namely to be unpeopled, deferred, and intomb'd in its own Rules. A Companion of this Governour employed Eight Thousand Indians in Erecting a wall to inclose his Garden, but they all dyed, having no Supplies, nor Wages from him, to support themselves, at whose Death he was not in the least concern'd.
After the first Captain before spoken of had absolutely profliaged and ruin'd the Panuconians, Fifteen Thousand whereof perished by carrying their Bag and Baggage: At length he arriv'd at the Province of Machuacan, which is Forty Miles Journey from Mexico, and as Fertile and Populous: The King to honour him in the Rencounter, with a Multiple of People, marcheth toward him, from whom he had received One Thousand Services and Civilities very considerable, who gratefully requited him with Captivity, because Fame had nois'd it abroad, that he was a most Opulent Prince in Gold and Silver; and to the end he might export from, and purge him of his Gold, he was cruciated with Torments after this manner; his Body was extended, Hands bound to a Post, and his Feet put into a pair of Stocks, they all the while applying burning Coals to his Feet at a tormenting distance, where a Boy attended, who by little and little sprinkled them with Oyl, that his Flesh might roast the better: Before him there stood a Wicked Fellow, presenting a Bow to his Breast charged with a Mortal Arrow, (if let fly) behind him, another with Dogs held in with Chains, which he threatned to let loose at him, which if done, he had bin torn to pieces in a moment; and with these kind of Torments they racked him to extort a Confession, where his Treasures lay; till a Franciscan Monk came and deliver'd him from his Torments, but not from Death, for he departed this miserable Life not long after: And this was the severe Fate of many Cacics and Indian Lords, who dyed with the same Torments which they were expos'd to by the Spaniards, in order to the engrossing of their Gold and Sliver to themselves.