A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies/Chapter 19

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Chapter XIX: Of the Plate-River, that is, the Silver-River

Some Captains since the Year 1502 to 1503 undertook Four or Five Voyages to the River of Plate, which embraceth within its own Arms great Kingdoms and Provinces, and is peopled by rational and well-temper'd Inhabitants. In the general we are certified, that they were very injurious and bloody to them; but they being far distant from those Indians, we frequently discourse of, wer are not able to give you a particular account of their Transactions. Yet beyond all Controversie, they did, and still do go the same way to work, as others in several Regions to this present time do, and have done; for they are the same, (and many in number too) Spaniards who went thither, that were the wicked Instruments of other Executions, and all of them aim at one and the same thing, namely to grow Rich and Wealthy, which they can never be, unless they steer the same Course which others have followed, and tread the same paths in Murdering, Robbing and Destroying poor Indians.

After I had committed to Writing what I have prementioned, it was told me for a great Truth, that they had laid waste in those Countreys great Kingdoms and Provinces, dealing Cruelly and Bloodily with these harmless People, at a horrid rate, having a greater Opportunity and Convenience to be more Infamous and Rigid to them, then others, they being very remote from Spain, living inordinatly, like Debauches, laying aside, and bidding farewel to all manner of Justice, which is indeed a Stranger in all the American Regions, as is manifest by what hath been said already. But among the other Numerous Wicked Acts following this is one that may be read in the Indians Courts. One of the Governours commanded his Soldiers to go to a certain Village, and if they denyed them Provisions, to put all the Inhabitants to the Sword: By Vertue of this Authority away they march, and because they would not yield to them above Five Thousand Men as Enemies, fearing rather to be seen, then guilty of Illiberality, were cut off by the Sword. Also a certain number of Men living in Peace and Tranquillity proffered their services to him; who, as it fell out, were call'd before the Governour, but deferring their appearance a little longer than ordinary, that he might infix their minds with a remark of horrible Tyranny, he commanded, they should be deliver'd up, as Prisoners to their Mortal Indian Enemies, who beg'd with loud Clamours and a Deluge of Tears, that they might be dispatcht out of this World by their own Hands, rather than be given up as a prety to the Enemy; yet being resolute, they would not depart out of the House wherein they were, so the Spaniards hackt them in pieces Limb by Limb, who exclaim'd and cryed aloud, "We came to visit and serve you peaceably and quietly, and you Murder us; our Blood with which these Walls are moistned and sprinkled will remain as an Everlasting Testimony of our Unjust Slaughter, and your Barbarous Cruelty. And really this Piaculum or horrid Crime deserves a Commemoration, or rather speak more properly, the Commiseration of all Persons."