The Greatest Writer of the 19th Century » Brownson's Writings » Spanish America

Spanish America

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1847

ART. IV. — L' America un tempo Spagnuola riguardata sotto V Aspetto religioso dalV Epoca del suo Discuoprimenlo sino al 1843, di MONSIGNORE GAETANO BALUFFI. An-cona.     1844, 1845.

THE author of this interesting work is at present the successor of our popular Pontiff in the see of Imola, and a member of the College of Cardinals. For several years he fulfilled, with great advantage to religion, the high functions of representative of the Holy See in the republic of Granada, where he procured the recall of the Jesuits to resume their labors in that region, formerly cultivated with great success by the fathers of this illustrious society. Availing himself of such opportunities of research as were afforded him by his position, he indulged his literary taste by reviewing the history of the discovery and settlement of the Spanish possessions, and considering the influence of religion in inspiring the enterprise and remedying the evils caused by the passions of the adventurers. Since his return to the Pontifical court, he has given to the world the fruits of his studies and meditations in the two admirable volumes which, in successive years, have issued from the press of Ancona, and which are creditable to Italy, as well on account of the mechanical execution, as for the spirit and elegance of the composition. In several places he makes favorable mention of our social institutions and ecclesiastical councils, and eulogizes several of the members of our hierarchy, whose acquaintance he formed during a short visit lo the States on his way to Europe.

The acts of some Popes, who stripped monarchs of their diadems, have been plausibly interpreted as declarations of a forfeiture incurred by the violation of the social compact; but those which, in high-sounding phraseology, gave to the sovereigns of Portugal and Spain power and dominion over the regions previously unknown, which had been discovered by the adventurous genius of their subjects, or which might afterwards be discovered, have been long regarded as direct and positive assumptions of temporal dominion. Such a conclusion, however, is not necessary to be drawn. A different and perhaps a juster view of them was presented by the celebrated Count Le Maistre, who considered them as no more than authoritative declarations of right, and solemn sanctions interposed at the solicitation of the party interested, with a view to preserve peace between Christian princes, and to prevent conflicting enterprises. Cardinal Baluffi adopts this view, and tacitly vindicates them, whilst he states the end to which the Papal acts were directed. " The Roman Pontiffs, as universal fathers, not because they imagined themselves lords of the material world, but in order to prevent the effusion of Christian blood, found themselves, at the epoch of the discovery of America, in circumstances which rendered it desirable that they should divide the countries, and mark mutual limits to the conquests of the nations that took arms against unknown nations. By their command, ministers of peace were despatched at the same time, not only to proclaim the faith, but to aid and direct the people in the path of duty, so as to establish order and promote the public welfare, the great objects which the Popes always had in view."

Alexander the Sixth, whose personal character was not likely to add weight to his official acts, was not the first Pontiff who exercised his authority in determining the rights of sovereigns grounded on discovery, and fixing limits to their ambition. About the year 1438, Eugene the Fourth granted to the Portuguese an exclusive right to all the countries which they might discover from Cape Non to the continent of India ; and the validity of the grant was universally recognized, so that, as Robertson testifies, " all Christian princes were deterred from intruding into those countries which the Portuguese had discovered, or from interrupting the progress of their navigation and conquest." *(footnote: * History of America, Book I.) Edward the Sixth of England, on the remonstrance of John the Second of Portugal, prohibited English merchants from opening a trade with the coast of Guinea, because it would be against the terms of the Papal concession. Whatever may now be thought of such acts, it is clear that they were supported by what was then the public law of Christian nations, and had, at least, all the force that can be derived from general consent. Wheaton, our own distinguished writer on international law, observes, — "As between the Christians themselves, the sovereign Pontiff was the supreme arbiter of conflicting claims. Hence the famous bull issued by Pope Alexander the Sixth in 1493."(footnote: Elements of International Laiu, Part II. u. IV. p. 210.) Even Prescott remarks: — " This bold stretch of Papal authority, so often ridiculed as chimerical and absurd, was in a measure justified by the event, since it did, in fact, determine the principles on which the vast extent of unappropriated empire in the Eastern and Western hemispheres was ultimately divided between two petty states of Europe."*(footnote: * Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. II. Chap. XVIII.) Mr. Adams himself, in a very singular speech which he delivered in Congress on the Oregon question, admitted the validity of the Papal grant, as supported by general consent and law at that period ; but we must regret that the ex-President did not treat the subject with the gravity that became his age and character. In judging of such documents, we must not consider, in the abstract, what powers were divinely communicated to the fisherman of Galilee ; but we should attend to the social position of his successors, which brought with it an immense accession of temporal influence. An exercise of authority which was sought for by princes, and submitted to by their rivals, must have been widely different from usurpation. Its foundation must have been in right and justice ; and we can see no incongruity in the choice made of the Pontiff as the interpreter of right and umpire in controversy.

The lawfulness of the enterprise of Christian adventurers, who sought to discover unknown countries and subject them to the sovereigns under whose sanction their enterprise was undertaken, may be doubted of; but where the nations discovered are in a barbarous or savage state, it is, we believe, generally conceded by writers on the laws of nations that it is lawful to reduce them, even by force of arms, with a view to put an end to unnatural atrocities, and to introduce civilization. The Gospel is not to be promoted by the aid of the sword, teaching and preaching being the means pointed out by Christ for spreading it throughout the world ; yet, if the enterprise of the Spaniards was justifiable in the common interests of humanity, it did not cease to be so from the circumstance that ministers of religion accompanied the adventurers with a view to communicate its saving truths to the conquered nations, and lay the foundations of true civilization, by inculcating its pure and chastening principles. There is, then, nothing in the celebrated bull of Alexander the Sixth which may not be justified by the jurisprudence of his age, and, in the main, by principles still acknowledged. It was designed to convey, in language the most expressive, the fullest title which could be granted, and it was substantially a solemn declaration of rights founded on actual discovery, and an authoritative sanction to future enterprise, given with a view to the peace of Christian nations.

We should, however, mistake the spirit of the fifteenth century, were we to suppose that abstract reasoning on principles of jurisprudence, or ambition of discovery, or desire of empire, gave the primary impulse to the great adventure of Columbus.    Whatever may have been the weaknesses and vices of men at that time, zeal — sometimes, it may be, not sufficiently temperate — was generally felt for the advancement of religion, and genius and  power  were enlisted in her service. The idea of discovering unknown regions and nations enkindled the ambition of Columbus, principally because he hoped to introduce to them the preachers of the Gospel, and thfls shed the light of Christianity on those who sat in darkness and in the shades of death.    The captivating idea of extending the dominion of Christ beyond the waste of waters, to nations  who previously had  not heard the sweet sound of his saving name, interested many in the project who would otherwise have smiled at it as the dream of fancy.     Father  Diego  Deza, of the order of Friars Preachers, Father John Perez de Marchena, Guardian of the Franciscan Convent of La Rabida in Andalusia, Father Thomas de Torquemada, Inquisitor-General and confessor of Ferdinand, lent their powerful influence to its support, — not from a full conviction of the likelihood of success, but from a feeling that it was worth a trial, where the result might be to communicate to millions the blessings of religion. " With   Isabella,"   as  Robertson   acknowledges,   " zeal for propagating the Christian faith,  together with  the  desire  of communicating the knowledge of truth and the consolations of religion to people destitute of spiritual light, were more  than ostensible motives for encouraging Columbus  to  attempt his discoveries."*(footnote: * History of America, Book VIII.)    The religious spirit of the chief adventurer was manifested in the name of the vessel in which he sailed, in placing himself under the  protection of the Virgin-Mother, in the erection of the cross on the ground on which  he first landed, and  in the name San Salvador, given to the island. fie may be said to have taken possession of the newly discovered regions in the name of the King of kings, ere he thought of performing those formal acts which, according to the usage of nations, were necessary to establish the rights of the Spanish sovereign. The hymn of praise which was entoned on this occasion was beautifully expressive of the sovereign dominion of the Deity, as proclaimed by the Church throughout the entire world : — " Te selenium Patrern omnis terra veneratur. ....  Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur ecclesia."

On the return of Columbus from his first voyage, writing to Raphael Sanzio, the royal treasurer, he gave to God all praise for his success, and dwelt with delight on the glory that would redound to Christ from the union in his worship of so many nations hitherto unknown. Isabella likewise " endeavoured to fulfil her pious purpose, and manifested the most tender concern to secure not only religious instruction, but mild treatment, to that inoffensive race of men."*(footnote: * Robertson, ubi supra.) At the foot of a crucifix she hung the first gold presented to her from the New World, making it a votive offering to Him who gave himself a victim of propitiation for the whole world. Ferdinand gave the edifying example of standing sponsor for some of the Indians whom Columbus presented at the sacred font, and the nobles imitated the condescension of their sovereign. From all these facts, it is manifest that the discovery of the New World, although justly regarded as one of the most splendid fruits of the inspirations of genius, was still more eminently the result of religious zeal.

The condition of nearly all the Indian tribes discovered by Columbus and subsequent adventurers was most degraded ; and even those that exhibited some appearance of civilization, such as the Mexicans and Peruvians, offered human sacrifices, and practised cannibalism. The flesh of a slave, immolated for the occasion, was dressed up for their religious banquets ; and to feast on the mangled remains of an enemy was necessary for the consummation of the victory gained in the bloody strife. Modesty was necessarily unknown among the naked Wanderers, and if the amorous passion did not appear active, it arose from insensibility of character, rather than from any sense of moral propriety. Where marriage was recognized, polygamy prevailed, especially with the chiefs, whose prowess was rewarded by the number of their concubines. So destitute did they appear of moral sense and of spiritual ideas, that Robertson affirms that many of them had no idea of a Supreme Being, although he admits that they all believed in the immortality of the soul.    Baluffi shows the mistake of the historian in ascribing his singular opinion to a Jesuit father, and in affirming that the Peruvians had not even a term to express creator ; and points to the name of their favorite deity, Packa-camac, as identical with Creator of the world. In some places usages and traditions prevailed that have given rise to the conjecture that Christianity was not unknown to the remote ancestors of the tribes. The memory of a deluge which generally prevailed had, among the Aztecs, a striking affinity to the Scriptural narrative. We cannot fail to recognize our mother Eve in Cioacoatl, a Mexican goddess, near whom a serpent was depicted, and through whom sin is said to have come into the world. The story of David and Uriah is easily discovered under other names in their annals. Even vestiges of some distinctive Christian usages may be perceived among them. The Aztecs touched with water the head and lips of the infant, named it on that occasion, and invoked their favorite goddess to cleanse it and give it a new birth. The cross was venerated in the temples of Anahuac. The conquerors "met with it in various places, and the image of a cross may be seen at this day sculptured in bas-relief on the walls of one of the buildings of Palenque."*(footnote: * Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, Vol. III., Appendix, Part I.) These facts, we admit, are insufficient to warrant any certain inference ; but they are sufficiently remarkable to be noticed. They did not, however, in any way facilitate the conversion of the aborigines to Christianity, who were somewhat disposed to receive its teachers by a tradition preserved among them, and said to be derived from their great father, who, on leaving them, foretold that a superior race would come from the east.

The transition of millions of Indians to Christianity within a few years is a fact attested by the most prejudiced historians, who represent it as a mere external change, the result of terror or of caprice, without the corresponding change of sentiment, and without moral improvement. Baluffi admits that the incongruous union of Spanish dominion and Christian faith, in the invitation made by the adventurers to the various tribes, was calculated to injure Christianity by identifying it with the interests of the Spanish monarchy, and presenting it in alliance with the crown, combined, as it were, to strip the nations of their independence. " The military and political powers, acting in a manner diametrically opposed to the maxims of the Gospel, made war, in effect, on the word of salvation and peace which was preached, and, by presenting a sanguinary religion, sought to make Cod himself an accomplice in their crimes." " Never before was the law of Christ promulgated in such a way. In all parts of the world where this divine Gospel was preached, men were not called by the sound of the drum to enter into the Christian brotherhood ; the independence of empires was not attacked ; the people were not slaughtered ; families were not plundered ; treasures were not seized ; individual liberty was not taken away. Unfortunately, in America an utter disregard was manifested for the rights of nature and of nations, whilst the ecclesiastics, as meek lambs, taught the pure faith of Jesus. Vulgar prejudice, — an indiscreet zeal, not conformable to the spirit of the Church,—at that time esteemed it a great and heroic undertaking to make war on infidels, and plunder them, however inoffensive. The Spaniards seemed to fancy themselves, like the Hebrews of old, divinely commissioned to combat the Amorrheans, Jebu-seans, and other nations accursed of God, and to exterminate them from the land of promise." This very severe censure may admit of mitigation, if it be considered that the violence offered by the Spaniards was not generally, at least, directed to enforce the doctrines of Christianity, but rather to abolish the unnatural and horrible custom of sacrificing human victims. When Cortes urged the Cacique of Cempoalla (or Zempoalla) and his subjects to embrace the faith, the chief indignantly rejected the proposition, and threatened the vengeance of the gods on the Christians, should they interfere with their worship. " The zeal of the Christians," observes Prescott, " had mounted too high to be cooled by remonstrance or menace. During their residence in the land, they had witnessed more than once the barbarous rites of the natives, their cruel sacrifices of human victims, and their disgusting cannibal repasts. Their souls sickened at these abominations, and they agreed with one voice to stand by their general, when he told them that Heaven would never smile on their enterprise if they countenanced such atrocities, and that, for his own part, he was resolved the Indian idols should be demolished that very hour, if it cost him his life Fifty soldiers, at a signal from their general, sprang up the great stairway of the temple, entered the building on the summit, the walls of which were black with human gore, tore the huge wooden idols from their foundations, and dragged them to the edge of the terrace.
With great alacrity they rolled the colossal monsters down the steps of the pyramid, amidst the triumphant shouts of their own companions, and the groans and lamentations of the natives. They then consummated the whole by burning them in the presence of the assembled multitude."*(footnote: Conquest of Mexico, Book  IT., Chap. VIII.) The consequent conversion of the natives cannot be regarded as the effect of fear, but rather as resulting from the evidence presented to them that their idols were powerless. " The same effect," says the historian, " followed as in Cozumel. The Totonacs, finding their deities incapable of preventing or even punishing this profanation of their shrines, conceived a mean opinion of their power." He goes on to relate, that some of the Toto-nac priests joined in the procession which was formed, when, after some days, the temple became a Christian sanctuary, and that, according to the Spanish chronicle, Indians as well as Spaniards were melted into tears and audible sobs by the impressive ceremonies of the Catholic worship, and the touching eloquence of the pious Father Olmedo. In accounting for this extraordinary demonstration, he compares the different modes adopted by Catholic and Protestant missionaries, and pays an involuntary homage to the power of the Catholic ritual over the feelings. The Protestant, he says, presents the pale light of reason to his hearers ; " the bolder Catholic, kindling the spirit by the splendor of the spectacle, and by the glowing portrait of an agonized Redeemer, sweeps along his hearers in a tempest of passion." f The historian would have spoken more correctly, had he observed that the Catholic studies to convince the understanding, but does not neglect to interest the feelings and imagination by the imposing influences of a sublime ceremonial.
From the high character given of Father Olmedo by Pres-cott, Robertson, and all historians, we may be assured that he, at least, did not suffer any to be coerced into a profession of Christianity. Many centuries before, a council of Toledo, whose decrees could not have been unknown to him, forbade violence to be used to induce the reception of baptism, or profession of the faith, since the grace of God is to be given to those only who are willing to receive it. Robertson has paid due homage to his sacerdotal courage and prudent toleration, when describing his opposition to the coercive measures which Cortes proposed to adopt at Tlascala : —" Cortes, astonished and enraged at their obstinacy, proposed to execute by force what he could not accomplish hy persuasion, and was going to overturn their altars and cast down their idols with the same violent hand as at Zempoalla, if Father Bartholomew de 01-inedo, chaplain to the expedition, had not checked his inconsiderate impetuosity. He represented the imprudence of such an attempt in a large city newly reconciled, and filled with people no less superstitious than warlike ; he declared that the proceeding at Zempoalla had always appeared to him precipitate and unjust ; that religion was not to be propagated by the sword, or infidels to be converted by violence ; that other weapons were to be employed in this ministry ; patient instruction must enlighten the understanding, and pious example captivate the heart, before men could be induced to abandon error and embrace the truth." The historian cannot suppress his surprise at hearing such language from a Catholic priest at that period ; yet it was by no means peculiar to Olmedo. " One is astonished to find a Spanish monk of the sixteenth century among the first advocates against persecution, and in behalf of religious liberty. The remonstrances of an ecclesiastic no less respectable for wisdom than virtue had their proper weight with Cortes. He left the Tlascalans in the undisturbed exercise of their own rites, requiring only that they should desist from their horrid practice of offering human sacrifices."(footnote: History of America, Book V.)

It is clear that even Cortes, although eager to see the Indians converted to Christianity, limited his coercive measures to the destruction of the idols ; and, by the persuasion of Olmedo, was content with putting an end to the unnatural practices which made of the temple a human slaughter-house. From Montezuma he obtained the conversion of a teocalli, or temple, into a Christian sanctuary, and, having displaced the stone of sacrifice, so often stained with human blood, to make room for the representation of the Victim of Calvary, and placed on high the image of the Virgin " mild and chaste," he had the consolation of seeing assembled around him many of the idolaters, who were struck with admiration at the mysterious simplicity of the Christian worship. "As the beautiful Te Deum rose towards heaven, Cortes and his soldiers, kneeling on the ground, with tears streaming from their eyes, poured forth their gratitude to' the Almighty for this glorious triumph of the cross. It was a striking spectacle, — that of these rude warriors lifting up then-orisons  on the summit of this mountain temple, in  the very capital of heathendom, on the spot especially dedicated to its unhallowed mysteries. Side by side, the Spaniard and the Aztec knelt down in prayer, and the Christian hymn mingled its sweet tones of love and mercy with the wild chant raised by the Indian priest." *(footnote: Conquest of Mexico, Book IV., Ch. V.)

An affecting tribute was paid by the converted Indians to the humanity and paternal affection of Olmedo at his death, when they refused all food or drink, even water, until his remains were interred. Such was their deep affliction for his loss ! That he did not stand alone in the practice of the sublime virtues of his ministry, Prescott is forced to acknowledge. "OJmedo belonged to that class of missionaries — of whom the Roman Catholic Church, to its credit, has furnished many examples— who rely on spiritual weapons for the great work, inculcating those doctrines of love and mercy which can best touch the sensibilities and win the affections of their rude audience. These, indeed, are the true weapons of the Church, the weapons employed in the primitive ages, by which it has spread its peaceful banners over the farthest region of the globe."(footnote: Ibid., Book III., Ch. I.) To Toribio, a Franciscan friar, the historian bears a like honorable testimony. "Toribio employed himself zealously with his brethren in the great object of their mission. He travelled on foot over various parts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Wherever he went, he spared no pains to wean the natives from their dark idolatry, and to pour into their minds the light of revelation. He showed even a tender regard for their temporal as well as spiritual wants, and Bernal Diaz testifies that he has known him to give away his own robe to clothe a destitute and suffering Indian." (footnote: Ibid., Book III., Ch. IX., note.) Twelve other Franciscans, sent as missionaries to New Spain, in 1524, have merited a no less favorable eulogium. " They were men of unblemished purity of life, nourished with the learning of the cloister, and, like many others whom the Romish [[] Church has sent forth on such apostolic missions, counted all personal sacrifices as little in the sacred cause to which they were devoted."(footnote: Ibid., Book VII., Ch. II.) The historian cannot dissemble that the virtues of the early missionaries—especially their tender charity — exercised a most powerful influence over the Indians, and won to the faith many who had resisted the arms of the adventurers. The celebrated Bartholomew de Las Casas "preached the gospel among the natives of Nicaragua and Guatemala ; and succeeded in converting and reducing to obedience some wild tribes in the latter province who had defied the arms of his countrymen."(footnote: * Ibid., Book 11., Ch. VIII., note.) With this evidence before us of the character of the missionaries, we cannot assent to the assertion of Robertson, that the converts were admitted without due instruction in the Christian doctrines, or a cordial abandonment of their superstitious practices. Regard was doubtless had to the weakness of their intellect, and their very limited capacity ; but sincere conviction of the truth and divine origin of Christianity was exacted, and they were specially instructed in its great mysteries. The chief ground for regarding their transition to the Christian worship as merely nominal is the rapidity of the conversions ; which, with more apparent reason, might be objected to the three thousand and five thousand converts that marked the first promulgation of the Gospel. Should not the believers in revealed truth feel happy in seeing parallel cases to those just mentioned, in the numbers of Indians who embraced the faith on the preaching of the missionaries of the sixteenth century ? " A single clergyman," says Robertson, "baptized in one day above five thousand Mexicans, and did not desist until he was so exhausted by fatigue, that he was unable to lift his hands. In the course of a few years after the reduction of the Mexican empire, the sacrament of baptism was administered to more than four millions." To deny that conversions so numerous could be solid and sincere is not the best means of rendering credible the facts recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. What Robertson asserts may be true of some of the new Christians, that they occasionally relapsed into superstitious practices ; but the perseverance of the immense multitude is beyond question. Prescott attests that the labors of the missionaries rendered finally effectual even the indiscreet efforts of the conquerors to bring the Indians to the profession of Christianity. " The seeds thus recklessly scattered must have perished but for the missionaries of their own nation, who, in later times, worked over the same ground, living among the Indians as brethren, and by long and patient culture enabling the germs of truth to take root and fructify in their hearts,
Who has not heard of the atrocities of the Spanish adventurers, ■— the  cruelty with which they sometimes  set  bloodhounds to tear in pieces the naked Indians, — the perfidy with which they invited them to friendly interviews, and then massacred them ?    God forbid that we should say a word to mitigate the horror which such crimes excite !    Baluffi is unsparing in denouncing them, and we join from our hearts in the strong language which he employs.    Yet truth and justice require us to observe, that cruelty and perfidy did not ordinarily mark the career of Spanish discovery.    If it be lawful to use force to put a stop to unnatural enormities, — such as human sacrifices and cannibalism,— most of the horrific scenes exhibited in the discovery of America must be classed among the incidents of just warfare.    Robertson and Prescott agree that Cortes had certain information of a plot formed by the inhabitants of Cho-lula for the destruction of the Spaniards, before he resolved on anticipating the attack by their massacre.    Rumors of a plot formed by the Aztec nobles led Alvarado to fall upon them when assembled for a religious festival.    Of the conquerors of Mexico Prescott testifies, — " Their swords were rarely stained with blood, unless it was indispensable to the success of their enterprise."    If this did not wholly justify it, it affords some extenuation, since the desperate condition of men engaged in a perilous undertaking for a just end may prompt them to measures from which they would otherwise shrink with horror.

Unhappily, the annals of our country present instances of cruelty and perfidy towards the aborigines, which should make us speak less severely of the Spanish adventurers. Robertson states that the Indians made an attempt to massacre all the English settlers in Virginia, and actually murdered a considerable number, which naturally provoked retaliation, but marked with ferocity and perfidy the most execrable. " They hunted the Indians like wild beasts, rather than enemies ; and as the pursuit of them to their places of retreat in the woods, which covered their country, was both difficult and dangerous, they endeavoured to allure them from their inaccessible fastnesses by offers of peace and promises of oblivion, made with such an artful appearance of sincerity as deceived their crafty leader, and induced them to return to their former settlements, and resume
their usual peaceful occupations The English, with
perfidious craft, were preparing to imitate savages in their revenge and cruelty. On the approach of harvest, when they knew an hostile attack would be most formidable and fatal, they fell suddenly upon all the Indian plantations, murdered every person on whom they could lay hold, and drove the rest to the woods, where so many perished with hunger, that some of the tribes nearest to the English were totally extirpated." *(footnote: * History of America, Book IX. t Ibid., Book X.)

The religious settlers of the more northern provinces, who would not proceed to battle until they had cast out from among them the unclean, " who were under a covenant of works," are not free from the like reproach. As they advanced against the Indians on one occasion, " setting fire to the huts which were covered with reeds, many of the women and children perished in the flames ; and the warriors, in endeavouring to escape, were either slain by the English, or, falling into the hands of their Indian allies, were reserved for a more cruel fate." All this may be put to the account of lawful warfare ; but the historian proceeds to inform us, that, " after the junction of the troops from Massachusetts, the English resolved to pursue their victory ; and hunting the Indians from one place of retreat to another, some subsequent encounters were hardly less fatal to them than the action on the Mistick. In less than three months the tribe of Pequods was extirpated. Instead of treating the Pequods as an independent people, who made a gallant effort to defend the property, the rights, and the freedom of their nation, they retaliated upon them all the barbarities of American war. Some they massacred in cold blood ; others they gave up to be tortured by their Indian allies ; a considerable number they sold as slaves in Bermudas ; the rest were reduced to servitude among themselves." (footnote: * Book VI., Note XV.) Under one pretext or another, the Indians residing near the English settlements were extirpated ; or if spared, they had to part with the hunting-grounds of their fathers for a nominal consideration. The almost total extinction of the Northern tribes has been the result of the English policy ; whilst, notwithstanding the many that fell in the struggle against the Spanish invaders, and the greater number that were worked to death in the mines, the Indian tribes of the Southern portion of our continent have been preserved, and have been allowed to commingle with their conquerors, and to rise in some places to an equality of power. The proud Spaniard did not disdain connubial alliance with the daughter of the red man, which the haughty Briton spurned as calculated  to deteriorate the Anglo-Saxon race.    Travellers who see the great varieties of men in Southern countries, the result of the mixture of the races, may superciliously despise the motley populations ; but they should reflect that the liberty of marriage left to all by the Spanish crown was more consonant with the dictates of reason and rights of humanity, than the exclusive principle whicli elsewhere has preserved the purity of European blood. The mestizo fruit of these mixed nuptials may be fairly regarded as elevated above the mere Indian as far at least as he is below the Spaniard.

The kind partiality with which the aborigines were viewed by the Spanish ecclesiastics is testified by Prescott and Robertson. The latter expressly refutes those " who have accused them of animating their countrymen to the slaughter of that innocent people, as idolaters," and attests that " they uniformly exerted their influence to protect the Indians, and to moderate the ferocity of their countrymen."* A solitary exception to this general eulogium is pointed out by him in the person of Father Vincent de Valverde, who is represented as urging the Spaniards to fall on the Peruvians, and make havoc of them, because they would not at once yield to his invitation to submit to the Pope and to the king of Spain, the Inca having, as is alleged, answered the summons by casting indignantly to the ground the breviary of the friar. This highly improbable story did not receive full credit from the historian, who utterly denies that Valverde continued to encourage the soldiers as they proceeded in the work of blood. It originated with the friends of Pizarro, who sought to veil the perfidy by which an unsuspecting chief and his people were assailed and massacred at the conference to which they had been invited. Garcilasso de la Vega, a descendant by his mother from the Inca, and who derived his information from Spaniards present on the occasion, expressly contradicts the charge, and lays the blame where it should lie. The court of Spain, which was probably deceived for a time, afterwards did justice to the pious missionary, who was promoted to the bishopric of Cuzco, a post for which a sanguinary fanatic was not likely to be selected. Baluffi triumphantly vindicates him.
There were among the adventurers some who deemed the Indians incapable of mental culture, and unfit to enjoy personal liberty or Christian privileges ; whilst  others, and  especially "all the ecclesiastics," as Robertson admits, maintained, that, " though rude and ignorant, they were gentle, affectionate, docije, and, by proper instructions and regulations, might be formed gradually into good Christians and useful citizens." Some, indeed, were slow to admit them to the Eucharistic banquet, from which even an ecclesiastical assembly (not a council), held in Lima in 1 552, directed them to be withheld, unless they should manifest a clear perception of its mysterious character ; but their admissibility was fully recognized in a solemn council held in the same city in 1567. Pope Paul the Third had already, thirty years before, declared them entitled to all the privileges of Christians. The Cardinal, by reference to these facts, reduces the statement of the historian within its just limits.

The servitude to which the Indians were reduced, and the labor to which they were consequently subjected, involve the adventurers in severe censure, but serve only to present in increased lustre the claims of the missionaries to our admiration.     We  shall  leave the  Scottish  historian to speak their praise.    " The missionaries, in conformity to  the mild spirit of that religion which they were employed to publish, early remonstrated against the maxims of the planters with respect to the Americans, and condemned the repartimienlos, or distributions by which they were given up as slaves to their conquerors, as no less contrary to natural justice and the precepts of Christianity than to sound policy.    The Dominicans, to whom the instruction of the Americans was originally committed, were most vehement in testifying against the repartimientos.   In the year 1511, Montesinos, one of their most eminent preachers, inveighed against this practice, in the great church at St. Domingo, with all the impetuosity of popular eloquence.    Don Diego Columbus, the principal officers of the colony, and all the laymen who had been his hearers, complained of the monk to his superiors ; but they, instead of condemning, applauded his doctrine, as equally pious and seasonable.    The Dominicans, regardless of political and interested considerations, would not relax in any degree the rigor of their  sentiments, and even refused to absolve or admit to the Sacrament such of their continued to hold the natives in servitude."*(footnote: * Book III.)

We have already had occasion to name Bartholomew de las Casas as a successful missionary ; we must now present him as the uncompromising and persevering advocate of the Indians. He first gave the example of humanity and justice by setting free the Indian slaves whom he had inherited from his father, and then raised his voice in behalf of the oppressed, for whom he crossed the ocean several times, to plead their cause before the throne. The great Ximenes was moved by his eloquence to appoint Hieronymite monks as commissioners to repair to the spot, investigate the facts, and grant relief; and Charles the Fifth yielded much to his appeals. The lustre of his renown has been somewhat dimmed by his proposal to substitute African labor for that of the Indians, which, in the judgment of the acute regent of Spain, involved inconsistency. It was, at least, humane to subject to labor those whose constitution qualified them to bear it, rather than the weak aborigines, who were sure to sink beneath a burden beyond their natural strength. He is falsely said to have been the first to introduce African slaves into America, since from the beginning of the century they had been imported. If he appear inconsistent, let it be remembered that he was led to make the suggestion, in order to take from rapacity its plea, by showing the adventurers that they could be humane towards the Indian, without foregoing the prospects of gain from their new possessions. Besides, he had the manliness to avow and deplore the counsel.*(footnote: Conquest of Mexico, Book II., Ch. VIII., Note.)

Baliiffi draws a parallel between the Indians' advocate and Ireland's liberator. " In this bishop, the true friend of man, the energy, dissimulation, avarice, and ferocity of the oppressors found an effectual check, whilst afflicted India venerated him as her most energetic advocate, her first writer, and her liberator. If in some points the genius of Bartholomew and O'Connell appear similar, the ancient advocate of humanity has the advantage over the modern. In intellect, eloquence, disposition, resolution, perseverance, enthusiastic devotion to the relief of the oppressed, they are equal; but the tribune of the Irish people is favored and borne forward by the spirit of the age, whilst the advocate of America had to struggle against the ferocity of the age in which he lived. The former demands freedom for a neighbouring and powerful people, whose very silence is alarming to their oppressors ; the latter sought it for degraded, inert, and distant nations, whose complaints or efforts could create no apprehension in the breast of the sovereign of Castile.     The philanthropy of the one is great;   the most pure charily of the Gospel, in an heroic degree, was possessed by the other. Both are indefatigable and undaunted in dangers ; the labors and disasters of the Spaniard are incomparably greater. Both won the gratitude of the' oppressed ; but the ecclesiastic has no other reward than affection."
His Eminence may indulge our partiality with leave to observe, that Ireland's advocate is not a mere philanthropist, but one who feeds his lamp with the oil of the sanctuary ; and if he accept tokens of the gratitude of his country, it is because he has sacrificed great pecuniary interests to her cause, and could not, unaided, devote himself wholly to her advocacy. We have no wish, however, to raise a controversy on the comparative merits of two men so illustrious, and we heartily, applaud the apostleship of Las Casas, whilst we pay the meed'of praise to the labors of O'Connell.

Lest we should weary our readers, we hasten to close, for the present, our observations on this interesting work, which shows how much the newly discovered continent and its inhabitants owed to religion and her peaceful ministers.-* -Tbte Scottish historian had preceded his Eminence in testifying to these benefits. " From the accounts," says Robertson, " which I have given of the humane and persevering zeal of the Spanish missionaries in protecting the helpless flock committed to their charge, they appear in a light which reflects lustre upon their function. They were ministers of peace, who endeavoured to wrest the rod from the hands of oppressors."

We may hereafter call attention to some other points in which the eminent author, whose work we have perused with so much pleasure, is borne out by the acknowledgments of Protestant historians.