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them that the gospel had, in very remote times, been already preached in America; and they in
They were indefatigable in scenting out dying people, para lograr sus almas. An old woman (anciana) on the point of death, who, from seeing baptism and death follow generally so close upon one another, had very naturally associated them in her mind as inseparable, long resisted all the attempts of a holy father to baptise her. When asked her reason, she said it was for fear of death. “O!"replies the father,” I want to baptize you to secure you a life that will never end.” (Para assegurarle una vida que nose accabe.) “If that be the case,” cries the old woman, “baptize me immediately.” (Yo tambien quiero que me bautices). “I praised God,” says Father Gumilla, “on seeing that nobody likes to die, however troublesome life may be, and I admired the stubbornness of that heart which could still flatter itself with such motives; but I immediately baptized her.” (Luego la bauticó). Gum’lla, vol. II. p. 25. Nothing can be more entertaining than the accounts given by the missionaries themselves of the arts and finesse to which they were compelled to have recourse to gain over those unfortunate sons of Adam, para obrar la etcrua dicha de aquellos infelices hijos de Adan. Father Gumilla, in his instructions to young missionaries, lays them open with more naiveté than prudence, as we might think ; but the father very piously considered that the end justified the means. It must be owned that the missionaries displayed great knowledge of human nature. Not a word of religion for a long time. Presents and kind offices, and long endeavours to obtain the Indian's confidence by anticipating his wants, and entering into his views; but above all, the acquisition of the influence which their females naturally possessed over them were the prelude to the grand attack. The females, one of them observes, have every where a great capacity for piety, and must be first attended to. This battery was to be concealed, for if the drift was to be perceived in the
vestigated its traces in the Aztec ritual with the same ardour which the learned, who in our days engage in the st idy of the Sanscoit, display in discussing the analogy between the Greek mythology and that of the Ganges and the Barampooter. These corcumstances, which will be detailed in another work, explain why the Mexican Indians, notwithstanding the obsti acy with which they adhere to whatever is derived from their fathers, have so easily forgotten th ir ancient rites. Dogma has not succeeded to dogma, but ceremony to ceremony. The natives know nothing of religion but the exterior forms of worship. Fond of whatever is connected with a prescribed order of
least all was lost. (Todo esta primera bateria ha de ser occulia de parte del Missionero ; porque si se aclara, pierde el riage). (Gumilla, vol I. p. 355). After giving a summary of the labours and innumerable shifts of these indefatigable soul-hunters (Cazadores de Almas), overpowered with the retrospect the missionary feelingly exclaims, O ! quien podra explicar las ganas, que tienen aquellos Cazadores de Almas, de que se compongan bien las cosas, y se legue la hora de poder bautizar aquellos innocentes sin peligro ! One of the greatest difficulties in which the holy fathers were placed, was how to reject the offer of a female companion, which was generally made them, without giving offence al Cacique y a los principales gentiles. When the father modestly blushed (con la mayor modestia bien sonroseado el rostro), and answered that all his love was in heaven, it is impossible to tell the fright and consternation it occasioned (No sabré decir quanta novedad, y espanto causa esta o semejante respuesta.) Gumilla, vol. I. p. 356. Trans.
ceremonies, they find in the christian religion particular enjoyments. The festivals of the church, the fireworks with which they are accompanied, the processions mingled with dances and whimsical disguises, are a most fertile source of amusement for the lower Indians. In these festivals the national character is displayed in all its individuality. Every where the christian rites have assumed the shades of the country where they have been transplanted. In the Philippine and Mariana islands the natives of the Malay race have incorporated them with the ceremonies which are peculiar to themselves; and in the province of Pasto, on the ridge of the Cordillera of the Andes, I have seen Indians masked, and adorned with small tinkling bells, perform savage dances around the altar, while a monk of St. Francis elevated the host".
* From this singular description we may discover more plainly the impolicy with which conversions have been hitherto attempted in foreign parts by our missionary societies. Had they sent away instead of the anabaptists, methodists, and presbyterians which they picked up in Sweden, the north of Germany, both parts of this island, and the Lord knows where, an equal number of our more volatile catholic brethren in Ireland, the conversion might already, perhaps, have made a great progress. The people of Otaheite very feelingly exclaimed, “These missionaries give us still plenty of the word of God, but they give us no more hatchets;” but they would have been probably just as well contented with singing, and dancing, and fireworks. This is a much more economical method of keeping these people assembled together than the distribution of
Accustomed to a long slavery, as well under the domination of their own sovereigns as under that of the first conquerors, the natives of Mexico patiently suffer the vexations to which they are frequently exposed from the whites. They oppose to them only a cunning, veiled under the most deceitful appearances of apathy and stupidity. As the Indian can very rarely revenge himself on the Spaniards, he delights in making a common cause with them for the oppre-sion of his own fellow citizens. Harassed for ages, and compelled to a blind obedience, he wishes to tyrannize in his turn. The Indian villages are governed by magistrates of the copper-coloured race; and an Indian alcalde exercises his power with so much the greater severity, because he is sure of being supported by the priest or the Spanish subdelegado. Oppression produces every where the same effects, it every where corrupts the morals". As the Indians almost all of them belong to the class of peasantry and low people, it is not so easy to judge of their aptitude for the arts which embellish life. I know no race of men who appear more destitute of imagination. When an Indian attains a certain degree of civilization, he displays a great facility of apprehension, a judicious mind, a natural logic, and a particular disposition to subtilize or seize the finest differences in the comparison of objects. He reasons coolly and orderly, but he never manifests that versatility of imagination, that glow of sentiment, and that creative and animating art which characterize the nations of the south of Europe, and several tribes of African negrost. I deliver this opinion, how
hatchets. The catholics went better to work. They, too, knew the power of this sort of hatchet bribery. “Se debe llevar avalorios, cuentas de vidrio, cuchillos, anyuelos, y otras buxerias, que para los Gentiles son de mucho aprecio.” (Gumilla, I. 349); but they knew that this source must soon dry up ; and the holy fathers set all their natural gallantry to work to gain over the women, who seem to be equally susceptible in that quarter, whether savage or civilized, as the men they were aware would soon follow them. They said kind things to the women, praised the beauty of their children, took them up in their arms and caressed them. The women are very fond of that, says a father, Quando va a ver a los Indios en sus casas, tome ensus brazos alguno de aquellos parvulos, le accaricie y haga fiestas a su modo : esto apprecian grandemente las Indias. How are we to be astonished then at the very different results of the endeavours of these two classes of missionaries! Trans,
* The present state of the world unfortunately affords too good an illustration of this maxim. The West Indian slave when he becomes a master is the most cruel of all masters; and the life of a negro's cat, or dog, is synonimous there with a life not worth having. The Greeks, who are much employed in collecting the revenue in Turkey, are infinitely more persecuting than the Turks. And the Hindoo has his most grievous calamities to apprehend from his own brethren armed with foreign authority. Every where cunning and cruelty spring from tyranny and oppression. Trans.
+ What must our brethren of the northern part of this island, who have attained no small reputation for a pragmatical