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Tyranny of the Spaniards. Canto IV. st. 7, 8. The consumption of the Indians in the Paraguay tea-trade, and the means taken by the Jesuits for cultivating the Caa tree, are described by Dobrizhoffer.
The Encomenderos compelled the unhappy people whom they found living where they liked, to settle in such places as were most convenient for the work in which they were now to be compulsorily employed. Ali their work was task-work, imposed with little moderation, and exacted without mercy. This tyranny extended to the women and children, and as all the Spaniards, the officers of justice as well as the Encomenderos, were implicated in it, the Indians had none to whom they could look for protection. Even the institutions of Christianity, by. which the Spanish government hoped to better the temporal condition of its new subjects, were made the occasion of new grievances and more intolerable oppression. For, as the Indians were legally free, -free, therefore, to marry where they pleased, and the wife was to follow the husband, every means was taken to prevent a marriage between two Indians who belonged to different Repartimientos, and the interest of the master counteracted all the efforts of the priest. The Spanish women are said to have exceeded their husbands in cruelty on such occasions, and to have instigated them to the most violent and iniquitous measures, that they might not lose their female attendants. The consequence was, that profligacy of manners among the Indians was rather encouraged than restrained, as it is now in the English sugar islands, where the planter is not a religious man. — Lozano, 1. 1. § 3. 6, 7.
The legend of his visit to Limbo is given here in a translated extract from that very curious work, the Life of the Virgin Mary, as related by herself to Sister Maria de Jesus, Abbess of the Franciscan Convent de la Inmaculada Concepcion at Agreda, and published with the sanction of all the ecclesiastical authorities in Spain.
After some conversation between the Almighty and the Virgin, at that time three years and a half old, the Franciscan confessor, who was the accomplice of the abbess in this blasphemous imposture, proceeds thus:
“ The Most High received this morning sacrifice from his tender spouse, Mary the most holy, and with a pleased countenance said to her, · Thou art beautiful in thy thoughts, O Prince's daughter, my dove, and my beloved! I admit thy desires, which are agreeable to my eyes : and it is my will, in fulfilment of them, that thou shouldest understand the time draws nigh, when by my divine appointment, thy father Joachin must pass from this mortal life to the life immortal and eternal. His death shall be short, and he will soon rest in peace, and be placed with the Saints in Limbo, awaiting the redemption of the whole human race.' This information from the Lord neither disturbed nor troubled the regal breast of Mary, the Princess of Heaven; yet as the love of children to their parents is a debt due by nature, and that love in all its perfection existed in this most holy child, a natural grief at losing her most holy father Joachin whom as a daughter she devoutly loved, could not fail to be resented. The tender and sweet child Mary felt a movement of grief compatible with the serenity of her magnanimous heart: and acting with greatness in every thing, following both grace and nature, she made a fervent prayer for her father Joachin : she besought the Lord, that, as the mighty and true God, he would look upon him in the hour of his happy death, and defend him from the Devil, especially in that hour, and preserve him, and appoint him in the number of his elect, as one who in his life had confessed and magnified his holy and adorable name. And the more to oblige his Majesty, the most faithful daughter offered to endure for her father, the most holy Joachin, all that the Lord might ordain.
“ His Majesty accepted this petition, and consoled the divine child, assuring her that he would be with her father as a mer
ciful and compassionate remunerator of those who love and serve hiin, and that he would place him with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and he prepared her again to receive and suffer other troubles. Eight days before the death of the holy Patriarch Joachin, Mary the most holy had other advices from the Lord, declaring the day and hour in which he was to die, as in fact it occurred, only six months after our Queen went to reside in the temple. When her Highness had received this information from the Lord, she besought the twelve angels, (who, I have before said, were those whom St. John names in the Revelation,) that they would be with her father Joachin in his sickness, and comfort him, and console him in it; and thus they did. And for the last hour of his transit she sent all those of her guard, and besought the Lord that he would make them manifest to her father for his greater consolation. The Most High granted this, and in every thing fulfilled the desire of his elect, unique, and perfect one: and the great Patriarch and happy Joachin saw the thousand holy angels who guarded his daughter Maria, at whose petition and desire the grace of the Almighty superabounded, and by his command the Angels said to Joachin these things:
“ Man of God, the Most High and Mighty is thy eternal salvation, and he sends thee from his holy place the necessary and timely assistance for thy soul! Mary, thy daughter, sends us to be with thee at this hour, in which thou hast to pay to thy Creator the debt of natural death. She is thy most faithful and powerful intercessor with the Most High, in whose name and peace depart thou from this world with consolation and joy, that he hath made thee parent of so blessed a daughter. And although his incomprehensible Majesty in his serene wisdom hath not till now manifested to thee the sacrament and dignity in which he will constitute thy daughter, it is his pleasure that thou shouldest know it now, to the intent that thou mayest magnify him and praise him, and that at such news the jubilee of thy spirit may be joined with the grief and natural sadness of death. Mary thy daughter and fall ;
our Queen, is the one chosen by the arm of the Omnipotent, that the Divine Word may in her clothe himself with flesh and with the human form. She is to be the happy mother of the Messiah, blessed among women, superior to all creatures, and inferior only to God himself. Thy most happy daughter is to be the repairer of what the human race lost by the first
and the high mountain whereon the new law of grace is to be formed and established. Therefore, as thou leavest now in the world its restauratrix and daughter, by whom God prepares for it the fitting remedy, depart thou in joy, and the Lord will bless thee from Zion, and will give thee a place among the Saints, that thou mayest attain to the sight and possession of the happy Jerusalem.'
“ While the holy Angels spake these words to Joachin, St. Anna his wife was present, standing by the pillow of his bed; and she heard, and by divine permission understood them. At the same time the holy Patriarch Joachin lost his speech, and entering upon the common way of all flesh, began to die, with a marvellous struggle between the delight of such joyful tidings and the pain of death. During this conflict with his interior powers, many and fervent acts of divine love, of faith, and adoration, and praise, and thanksgiving, and humiliation, and other virtues, did he heroically performand thus absorbed in the new knowledge of so divine a mystery, he came to the end of his natural life, dying the precious death of the Saints. His most holy spirit was carried by the Angels to the Limbo of the Holy Fathers and of the Just: and for a new consolation and light in the long night wherein they dwelt, the Most High ordered that the soul of the holy Patriarch Joachin should be the new Paranymph and Am. bassador of his Great Majesty, for announcing to all that congregation of the Just, how the day of eternal light had now dawned, and the day-break was born, Mary, the most holy daughter of Joachin and of Anna, from whom should be born the Sun of Divinity, Christ, Restorer of the whole human race. The Holy Fathers and the Just in Limbo
heard these tidings, and in their jubilee composed new hymns of thanksgiving to the Most High.
“ This happy death of the Patriarch St. Joachin occurred (as I have before said) half a year after his daughter Mary the most holy entered the Temple; and when she was at the tender
age of three and a half, she was thus left in the world without a natural father. The age of the patriarch was sixty and nine years, distributed and divided thus: at the age of forty-six years he took St. Anna to wife; twenty years after this marriage Mary the most holy was born; and the three years and a half of her Highness's age make sixty-nine and a half, a few days more or less.
“ The holy Patriarch and father of our Queen being dead, the holy Angels of her guard returned incontinently to her presence, and gave her notice of all that had occurred in her father's transit. Forthwith the most prudent child solicited with prayers for the consolation of her mother St. Anna, intreating that the Lord would, as a father, direct and govern her in the solitude wherein, by the loss of her husband Joachin, she was left. St. Anna herself sent also news of his death, which was first communicated to the Mistress of our divine Princess, that in imparting it she might console her. The Mistress did this, and the most wise child heard her, with all composure and dissimulation, but with the patience and the modesty of a Queen; but she was not ignorant of the event which her Mistress related to her as news.” — Mistica Ciudad de Dios, par. 1. 1. 2. c. 16. § 664–669. Madrid, 1744.
It was in the middle of the seventeenth century that the work from which this extract is translated was palmed upon the Spaniards as a new revelation. Gross and blasphemous as the imposture is, the work was still current when I procured my copy, about twenty years ago ; and it is not included in the Spanish Index Expurgatorius of 1790, the last (I believe,) which was published, and which is now before me.