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  • 1901
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and the world knows them not. He may have been a schemer; but he made nothing by his schemes except the barren honour of his consecration to the see of Paraguay. A preacher certainly he was, able and willing to draw crowds, after the fashion of all those who have the gift of words.


* Dean Funes, in his `Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Ayres y Tucuman’ (book ii., cap. i., p. 10), says he was `Dotado de un temperamento muy facil de inflamarse, de una imaginacion viva, de una memoria feliz, y de un ingenio no vulgar.’ —

Headstrong and obstinate, through a long life he hated vigorously, thinking all those who differed from him were accursed of God. A strenuous member of the Church militant on earth, he was at least a personality, and those who read the history of his time must reckon with, and take sides for or against, him after the fashion of the men with whom he passed his life, who to a man revered him as a saint, or looked upon him as a devil sent to plague mankind.

Arrived in Charcas, he soon fell on evil times, although at first he made some partisans. Still looking back to Paraguay, he passed his time in drawing out petitions to the King; then, one by one, all his friends fell from him, except some faithful Indians, who considered him a saint. His dreams of saintship were not fulfilled, for his name never figured in the calendar. Years did not tame nor yet did hope ever completely leave him; for in old books I find him always protesting, ever complaining, and still striving, till, in 1665, Philip IV. in pity made him Bishop of Santa Cruz. A sentence from the registers of the Consistory at Rome informs us that, as Bishop of La Paz, in his own province of the Charcas, he left off troubling, and rested from his agitated life.

Chapter VI

Description of the mission territory and towns founded by the Jesuits — Their endeavours to attract the Indians — Religious feasts and processions — Agricultural and commercial organizations

With the death of Cardenas the most dangerous enemy the Jesuits ever had in Paraguay had disappeared. They worsted him, and drove him from his see; but the movement set on foot by him and the calumnies he levelled at their Order still remained and flourished, and in the end prevailed against them and drove them from the land. A calumny is hard to kill; mankind in general cherish it; they never let it die, and, if it languishes, resuscitate it under another form; they hold to it in evil and in good repute, so that, once fairly rooted, it goes on growing like a forest-tree throughout the centuries. Therefore, the charges against the Jesuits in Paraguay, which Cardenas first started, are with us still, and warp our judgment as to the doings of the Order in the missions of the Parana and Uruguay even until to-day.

But neither calumny nor the raids of the Paulistas, nor yet the jealousy of the Spanish settlers in Paraguay, deterred the Jesuits from the prosecution of their task. The missions gradually extended, till they ranged from Santa Maria la Mayor, in Paraguay, to San Miguel, in what is now Brazil; and from Jesus, upon the Parana, to Yapeyu, upon the Uruguay. Most of the country, with the exception of the missions of Jesus and Trinidad, upon the Parana, which to-day, at least, are only clearings in the primeval forest, is composed of open rolling plains, with wood upon the banks of all the streams. Covered as it was and is with fine, short grass, it formed excellent cattle-breeding country, and hence the great industry of the Indians was to look after stock. The country being so favourable for cattle, they multiplied immoderately, so that in the various establishments (`estancias’), according to the inventories published by Brabo, their numbers were immense.*


* At the date of the expulsion the number of the cattle was 719,761; oxen, 44,183; horses, 27,204; sheep, 138,827 (`Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas’, Francisco Javier Brabo, Madrid, 1872).

These open rolling plains, called by the natives `campos quebrantados’, are generally studded thickly with stunted palms called yatais,*1* but not so thickly as to spoil the grass which covers them in spring and early summer, and even in winter they remain good feeding ground. Thick clumps of hard-wood trees*2* break up the prairie here and there into peninsulas and islands, and in the hollows and rocky valleys bushy palmetto rises above a horse’s knees. In general the soil is of a rich bright red, which, gleaming through the trees, gives a peculiarly warm colour to the land. All the French Jesuit writers refer to it as `la terre rouge des missions’. The Jesuits used it and another earth of a yellow shade for painting their churches and their houses in the mission territory. Its composition is rather sandy, though after rain it makes thick mud, and renders travelling most laborious. The flowers and shrubs of the territory are quite as interesting and still more varied than are the trees. Many of the Jesuits were botanists, and the works of Fathers Montenegro,*3* Sigismund Asperger and Lozano are most curious, and give descriptions and lists of many of the plants unclassified even to-day. The celebrated Bonpland, so long detained by Dr. Francia in Paraguay, unfortunately never published anything; but modern writers*4* have done much, though still the flora of the whole country is but most imperfectly known, and much remains to do before it is all classified. The `Croton succirubrus’ (from which a resin known as `sangre-de-drago’ is extracted), the sumaha (bombax — the fruit of which yields a fine vegetable silk), the erythroxylon or coca of Paraguay, the incienso or incense-tree of the Jesuits, are some of the most remarkable of the myriad shrubs. But if the shrubs are myriad, the flowers are past the power of man to count. Lianas, with their yellow and red and purple clusters of blossoms, like enormous bunches of grapes, hang from the forest-trees. In the open glades upon the nandubays,*5* the algarrobos, and the espinillos, hang various Orchidaceae,*6* called by the natives `flores del aire’, covering the trees with their aerial roots, their hanging blossoms, and their foliage of tender green. The Labiatae, Compositae, Daturae, Umbelliferae, Convolvulaceae, and many other species, cover the ground in spring or run up trees and bushes after the fashion of our honeysuckle and the traveller’s joy.


*1* `Cocos yatais’.
*2* Urunday (`Astrenium fraxinifolium: Terebinthaceae’), curapay (`Piptadenia communis: Leguminaceae’), lapacho (`Tecoma curialis’ and `varia: Begoniaceae’), taruma (`Vitex Taruma: Verbenaceae’), tatane (`Acacia maleolens: Leguminaceae’), and cupai (`Copaifera Langsdorfii’). These and many other woods, such as the Palo Santo (`Guaiacum officinalis’), butacae, and the `Cedrela Braziliensis’, known to the Jesuits as `cedar’, and much used by them in their churches, comprise the chief varieties.
*3* `Libro compuesto por el Hermano Pedro de Montenegro de la C. de J., Ano 1711′, MS. folio, with pen-and-ink sketches, formerly belonged to the Dukes of Osuna, and was in their library. Padre Sigismundi also wrote a herbal in Guarani, and a Portuguese Jesuit, Vasconellos, has left a curious book upon the flora of Brazil. *4* Domingo Parodi, in his `Notas sobre algunas plantas usuales del Paraguay’ (Buenos Ayres, 1886), has done much good work. *5* `Acacia Cavenia’.
*6* `Prosopis dulcis’. The famous `balm of the missions’, known by the vulgar name of `curalo todo’ (all-heal), was made from the gum of the tree called aguacciba, one of the Terebinthaceae. It was sold by the Jesuits in Europe. It was so highly esteemed that the inhabitants of the villages near to which the tree was found were specially enjoined to send a certain quantity of the balsam every year to the King’s pharmacy in Madrid.

The lakes and backwaters of rivers are covered with myriads of water-lilies (all lumped together by the natives as `camalote’), whilst in the woodland pools the Victoria Regis carpets the water with its giant leaves. In every wood the orange and the lemon with the sweet lime have become wild, and form great thickets. Each farm and `rancho’ has its orange-grove, beneath the shade of which I have so often camped, that the scent of orange-blossom always brings back to me the dense primeval woods, the silent plains, the quiet Indians, and the unnavigated waterways, in which the alligators basked. Except the Sierra de Mbaracayu,*1* on the north-east, throughout the mission territory there are no mountains of considerable height; and through the middle of the country run the rivers Parana and Uruguay, the latter forming the boundary on the south-east. The rolling plains and woods alternate with great marshes called `esteros’, which in some districts, as of that of Neembucu, cover large tracts of land, forming in winter an almost impenetrable morass, and in the spring and early summer excellent feeding-ground for sheep. Throughout the territory the climate is healthy, except towards the woody northern hills. With this rich territory and the false reports of mines, which even unsuccessful exploration could not dispel, it is but natural that the Jesuits were hated far and wide. It must have been annoying to a society composed, as were the greater portion of the Spanish settlements in Paraguay, of adventurers, who treated the Indians as brute beasts,*2* to see a preserve of Indians separated from their territory by no great barrier of Nature, and still beyond their power.*3* Bonpland, in speaking of the country, says: `The whole of the land exceeds description; at every step one meets with things useful and new in natural history.’ Such also was the opinion of the French travellers Demersay and D’Orbigny; of Colonel du Graty, whose interesting work (`La Re/publique du Paraguay’, Brussels, 1862) is one of the best on the country; the recent French explorer Bourgade la Dardye, and of all those who have ever visited the missions of Paraguay.*4*


*1* It was from those mountains that the Jesuits procured the seed of the `Ilex Paraguayensis’ to plant in their reductions. The leaves beaten into a finish powder furnished the `Paraguayan tea’, called `yerba-mate’ by the Spaniards and `caa’ by the Indians, from which the Jesuits derived a handsome revenue. After the expulsion of the Order all the `yerba’ in Paraguay was procured, till a few years ago, from forests in the north of Paraguay, in which the tree grew wild.
*2* It was by the Bull of Paul III. — given at the demand of two monks, Fray Domingo de Betanzos and Fray Domingo de Minaya — that the Indians were first considered as reasoning men (`gente de razon’), and not as unreasonable beings (`gente sin razon’), as Juan Ortiz, Bishop of Santa Marta, wished.
*3* Ibanez (`Histoire du Paraguay sous les Je/suites M.D.CCIXXX.’), a great opponent of the Jesuits, says that European offenders and recalcitrant Indians in the missions were sent as a last resource to the Spanish settlements. This is not astonishing when we remember the curious letter of Don Pedro Faxardo, Bishop of Buenos Ayres (preserved by Charlevoix), written in 1721 to the King of Spain, in which he says he thinks `that not a mortal crime is committed in the missions in a year.’ He adds that, `if the Jesuits were so rich, why are their colleges so poor?’
*4* It is to be remembered that, of the thirty Jesuit missions, only eight were in Paraguay; the rest were in what to-day is Brazil and the Argentine provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes, and Misiones. —

In this rich territory the Jesuits, when, after infinite trouble, they had united a sufficient* quantity of Indians, formed them into townships, almost all of which were built upon one plan. In Paraguay itself only some three or four remain; but they remain so well preserved that, by the help of contemporary accounts, it is easy to reconstruct almost exactly what the missions must have been like during the Jesuits’ rule.**


* Sometimes, when they had been assembled, they all deserted suddenly, as did the Tobatines, who in 1740 suddenly left the reduction of Santa Fe, and for eleven years were lost in the forests, till Father Yegros found them, and, as they would not return, established himself amongst them (Cretineau Joly, `Histoire de la Compagnie de Je/sus’, vol. v., cap. ii.). ** P. Cardiel, `Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 282: `Todos los pueblos estan bien formados con calles a/ cordel. Las casas de los Indios son en algunos pueblos de piedras cuadradas pero sin cal . . . otras de palos y barro todas cubiertas de teja, y todas tienen soportales o/ corredores, unas con pilares de piedras, otras de madera.’

Built round a square, the church and store-houses filled one end, and the dwellings of the Indians, formed of sun-dried bricks or wattled canes in three long pent-houses, completed the three sides. In general, the houses were of enormous length, after the fashion of a St. Simonian phalanstery, or of a `miners’ row’ in Lanarkshire. Each family had its own apartments, which were but separated from the apartments of the next by a lath-and-plaster wall, called in Spanish `tabique” but one veranda and one roof served for a hundred or more families. The space in the middle of the square was carpeted with the finest grass, kept short by being pastured close by sheep. The churches, sometimes built of stone, and sometimes of the hard woods with which the country abounds, were beyond all description splendid, taking into consideration the remoteness of the Jesuit towns from the outside world. Frequently — as, for instance, in the mission of Los Apostoles — the churches had three aisles, and were adorned with lofty towers, rich altars,*1* super-altars, and statuary, brought at great expense from Italy and Spain. Though the churches were often built of stone, it was not usual for the houses of the Indians to be so built; but in situations where stone was plentiful, as at the mission of San Borja, the houses of the Jesuits were of masonry, with verandas held up by columns, and with staircases with balustrades of sculptured stone.*2* The ordinary ground-plan of the priest’s house was that of the Spanish Moorish dwelling, so like in all its details to a Roman house at Pompeii or at Herculaneum. Built round a square courtyard, with a fountain in the middle, the Jesuits’ house formed but a portion of a sort of inner town, which was surrounded by a wall, in which a gate, closed by a porter’s lodge, communicated with the outside world. Within the wall was situated the church (although it had an entrance to the plaza), the rooms of the inferior priest, a garden, a guest-chamber, stables, and a store-house, in which were kept the arms belonging to the town, the corn, flour, and wool, and the provisions necessary for life in a remote and often dangerous place. In every case the houses were of one story; the furniture was modest, and in general home-made; in every room hung images and pious pictures, the latter often painted by the Indians themselves. In the smaller missions two Jesuits managed all the Indians.*3*


*1* Don Francisco Graell, an officer of dragoons in service during the War of the Seven Towns in 1750, gives the following description of the church of the mission of San Miguel: `La iglesia es muy capaz, toda de piedra de silleria con tres naves y media naranja. Muy bien pintada y dorada con un portico magnifico y de bellisima arquitectura, bovedas y media naranja son de madera, el altar mayor de talla, sin dorar y le falta el ultimo cuerpo.’ *2* `Galerias con columnas, barandillas y escaleras de piedra entallada’ (Don Francisco Graell). See also P. Cardiel (`Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 247), `En todos los pueblos hay reloj de sol y de ruedas,’ etc. The work of Padre Cardiel was written in 1750 in the missions of Paraguay, but remained unpublished till 1800, when it appeared in Buenos Ayres from the press of Juan A. Alsina, Calle de Mexico 1422. It is, perhaps, after the `Conquista Espiritual’ of Father Ruiz Montoya, the most powerful contemporary justification of the policy of the Jesuits in Paraguay. It is powerfully but simply written, and contains withal that saving grace of humour which has, from the beginning of the world, been a stumbling-block to fools.
*3* The mission of San Miguel had 1,353 families in it, or say 6,635 souls. San Francisco de Borja contained 650 families, or 2,793 souls (Report by Manuel Querini to the King, dated Cordoba de Tucuman, y Agosto 1o, 1750).

The greatest difficulty which the Jesuits had to face was the natural indolence of their neophytes. Quite unaccustomed as they were to regular work of any kind, the ordinary European system, as practised in the Spanish settlements, promptly reduced them to despair, and often killed them off in hundreds. Therefore the Jesuits instituted the semi-communal system of agriculture and of public works with which their name will be associated for ever in America.*


* In their extensive missions in the provinces of Chiquitos and Moxos they pursued the same system. As they were much more isolated in those provinces than in Paraguay, and consequently much less interfered with, it was there that their peculiar system most flourished. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from America in 1767, the Spaniards in Alta Peru, and subsequently the Bolivians, had the sense to follow the Jesuit plan in its entirety; whereas Bucareli, the Viceroy of Buenos Ayres, entirely changed the Jesuits’ rule in Paraguay. The consequence was that in Bolivia the Indians, instead of dispersing as they did in Paraguay, remained in the missions, and D’Orbigny (`Fragment d’un Voyage au Centre de l’Ame/rique Me/ridianale’) saw at the missions of Santiago and El Santo Corazon, in the province of Chiquitos, the remains of the Jesuits’ polity. There were ten missions in Chiquitos, and fifteen in Moxos. At the present time the Franciscans have some small establishments in Bolivia.

The celebrated Dr. Francia, dictator of Paraguay, used to refer to the Jesuits as `cunning rogues’,*1* and, as he certainly himself was versed in every phase of cunningness, perhaps his estimate — to some extent, at least — was just. A rogue in politics is but a man who disagrees with you; but, still, it wanted no little knowledge of mankind to present a daily task to men, unversed in any kind of labour, as of the nature of a pleasure in itself. The difficulty was enormous, as the Indians seemed never to have come under the primeval curse, but passed their lives in wandering about, occasionally cultivating just sufficient for their needs. Whether a missionary, Jesuit, or Jansenist, Protestant, Catholic, or Mohammedan, does well in forcing his own mode of life and faith on those who live a happier, freer life than any his instructor can hold out to them is a moot point. Only the future can resolve the question, and judge of what we do to-day — no doubt with good intentions, but with the ignorance born of our self-conceit. Much of the misery of the world has been brought about with good intentions; but of the Jesuits, at least, it can be said that what they did in Paraguay did not spread death and extinction to the tribes with whom they dealt.*2* So to the task of agriculture the Jesuits marshalled their neophytes to the sound of music, and in procession to the fields, with a saint borne high aloft, the community each day at sunrise took its way. Along the paths, at stated intervals, were shrines of saints, and before each of them they prayed, and between each shrine sang hymns.*3* As the procession advanced, it became gradually smaller as groups of Indians dropped off to work the various fields, and finally the priest and acolyte with the musicians returned alone.*4* At mid-day, before eating, they all united and sang hymns, and then, after their meal and siesta, returned to work till sundown, when the procession again re-formed, and the labourers, singing, returned to their abodes. A pleasing and Arcadian style of tillage, and different from the system of the `swinked’ labourer in more northern climes. But even then the hymnal day was not concluded; for after a brief rest they all repaired to church to sing the `rosary’, and then to sup and bed. On rainy days they worked at other industries in the same half-Arcadian, half-communistic manner, only they sang their hymns in church instead of in the fields. The system was so different to that under which the Indians endured their lives in the `encomiendas’ and the `mitas’ of the Spanish settlements, that the fact alone is sufficient to account for much of the contemporary hatred which the Jesuits incurred.


*1* `Pillos muy ladinos’ (Robertson, `Letters from Paraguay’). *2* Ferrer del Rio, in his `Coleccion de los articulos de la Esperanza sobre Carlos III.’ (Madrid, 1859), says: `Fuera de las misiones de los Jesuitas particularmente en el Paraguay se consideraban los Indios entre los seres mas infelices del mundo.’

Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, in their celebrated `Secret Report’ (`Noticias Secretas de America’): `La compan~ia (de Jesus) atiende a sus fines particularmente con los misioneros que llevan de Espan~a; pero con todo eso no se olvida de la conversion de los Indios, ni tiene abandonado este asunto pues aunque van poco adelante en el, que es lo que no se esperimenten en las demas religiones.’ *3* Many travellers, as Azara, Demersay, Du Graty, and D’Orbigny, have remarked how fond of music was the Guarani race, and how soon they learned the use of European instruments. D’Orbigny (`Fragment d’un Voyage au Centre de l’Ame/rique Me/ridianale’), in his interesting account of the mission of El Santo Corazon, in the district of Chiquitos, says: `Je fus tre\s e/tonne/ d’entendre exe/cuter apre\s les danses indige\nes des morceaux de Rossini et . . . de Weber . . . la grande messe chante/e en musique e/tait exe/cute/e d’une manie\re tre\s remarquable pour des Indiens.’

Vargas Machuca, in his most curious and rare `Milicia y Descripcion de las Indias’, says, under the heading of `Musica del Indio’: `Usan sus musicas antiguas en sus regocijos, y son muy tristes en la tonada.’ To-day the Indians of Paraguay have songs known as `tristes’. The brigadier Don Diego de Alvear, in his `Relacion de Misiones’ (Coleccion de Angelis), says that the first to teach the Guaranis European music was a Flemish Jesuit, P. Juan Basco, who had been `maestro de capilla’ to the Archduke Albert.
*4* See also P. Cardiel, `Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 274: `. . . y esta acabada, se toca a/ Misa a/ que entran todos cantando el Bendito, y alabado en su lengua, o/ en Castellano, que en las dos lenguas lo saben.’

Imagine a semi-communistic settlement set close to the borders of Rhodesia, in which thousands of Kaffirs passed a life analogous to that passed by the Indians of the missions — cared for and fed by the community, looked after in every smallest particular of their lives — and what a flood of calumny would be let loose upon the unfortunate devisers of the scheme! Firstly, to withdraw thousands of `natives’ from the labour market would be a crime against all progress, and then to treat them kindly would be heresy, and to seclude them from the contamination of the scum of Europe in the settlements would be termed unnatural; for we know that native races derive most benefit from free competition with the least fitted of our population to instruct. But besides agriculture the enormous cattle-farms* of the mission territory gave occupation to many of the neophytes. The life on cattle-farms gave less scope for supervision, and we may suppose that the herders and the cattlemen were more like Gauchos; but Gauchos under religious discipline, half-centaurs in the field, sitting a plunging half-wild colt as if they were part of him, and when on foot at home submissive to the Jesuits, constant in church, but not so fierce and bloodthirsty as their descendants soon became after the withdrawal of the mission rule.


* Dean Funes, in his `Ensayo de la Historia del Paraguay’, etc., says that in the `estancia’ of Santa Tecla, in the missions of Paraguay, during the time of the Jesuits, there were 50,000 head of cattle. —

As well as agriculture and `estancia’ life, the Jesuits had introduced amongst the Indians most of the arts and trades of Europe. By the inventories taken by Bucareli, Viceroy of Buenos Ayres, at the expulsion of the Order, we find that they wove cotton largely; sometimes they made as much as eight thousand five hundred yards of cloth in a single town in the space of two or three months.* And, in addition to weaving, they had tanneries, carpenters’ shops, tailors, hat-makers, coopers, cordage-makers, boat-builders, cartwrights, joiners, and almost every industry useful and necessary to life. They also made arms and powder, musical instruments, and had silversmiths, musicians, painters, turners, and printers to work their printing-presses: for many books were printed at the missions,** and they produced manuscripts as finely executed as those made by the monks in European monasteries.


* `Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas’, Introduction, xxvii, Francisco Javier Brabo. ** The rare and much-sought-after `Manuale ad usum Patrum Societatis Jesu qui in Reductionibus Paraquariae versantur, ex Rituale Romano ad Toletano decerptum’, was printed at the mission of Loreto. It contains prayers in Guarani as well as in Latin. Here also was printed a curious book of Guarani sermons by Nicolas Yapuguay, many Guarani vocabularies, and the `Arte de la Lengua Guarani/’ of Ruiz Montoya. —

All the `estancias’, the agricultural lands and workshops were, so to speak, the property of the community; that is to say, the community worked them in common, was fed and maintained by their productions, the whole under the direction of the two Jesuits who lived in every town. A portion called `tupinambal’ in Guarani was set aside especially for the maintenance of orphans and of widows. The cattle and the horses, with the exception of `los caballos del santo’, destined for show at feasts, were also used in common. The surplus of the capital was reserved to purchase necessary commodities from Buenos Ayres and from Spain.* Each family received from the common stock sufficient for its maintenance during good conduct, for the Jesuits held in its entirety the Pauline dictum that if a man will not work, then neither shall he eat. But as they held it, so they practised it themselves, for their lives were most laborious — teaching and preaching, and acting as overseers to the Indians in their labours continually, from the first moment of their arrival at the missions till their death. Thus, if the mayor of the township complained of any man for remissness at his work, he received no rations till he had improved.


* P. Cardiel, `Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 295: `De estos granos comunales se da para sembrar’, etc.

To inculcate habits of providence amongst the Indians, always inclined to consume whatever was given to them and go fasting afterwards, they issued the provisions but once a week, and when they killed their oxen forced the Indians to `jerk’* a certain quantity of beef to last throughout the week. Vegetables each family was obliged to plant both in their gardens and in the common fields; and all that were not actually consumed were dealt out to the workers in the common workshops or preserved for sale.


* This jerked beef is called `charqui’ in South America. —

Certain of the Indians owned their own cows and horses, and had gardens in which they worked; but all the product was obliged to be disposed of to the Jesuits for the common good, and in exchange for them they gave knives, scissors, cloth, and looking-glasses, and other articles made in the outside world. Clothes were served out to every Indian, and consisted for the men of trousers, coarse `ponchos’, straw hats or caps, and shirts; but neither men nor women ever wore shoes, and the sole costume of the latter was the Guarani `tipoi’,* a long and sleeveless shift cut rather high, and with coarse embroidery round the shoulders, and made of a rough cotton cloth. For ornaments they had glass beads and rosaries of brass or silver, with silver rings, and necklaces of glass or horn, from which hung crucifixes. Thus food and clothing cost the Jesuits** (or the community) but little, and a rude plenty was the order of the land. The greatest luxury of the Indians was `mate’, and to produce it they worked in the `yerbales’ in the same way in which they worked their fields — in bands and with processions, to the sound of hymns and headed by a priest.


* The poorer classes in Paraguay all used to wear the `tipoi’. They covered themselves when it was cold with a white cotton sheet wrapped in many folds.
** The Jesuits themselves were dressed in homespun clothes, for Matias Angles — quoted in the introduction to the `Declaracion de la Verdad’ of Father Cardiel, published at Buenos Ayres in 1900 (the introduction by P. Pablo Hernandez) — says: `El vestuario de los Padres es de lienzo de algodon ten~ido de negro, hilado y fabricado por las mismas Indias de los pueblos; y si tal qual Padre tiene un capote o/ manteo de pan~a de Castilla se sucede de unos a/ otros, y dura un siglo entero.’ —

This, then, was the system by means of which the Jesuits succeeded, without employing force of any kind, which in their case would have been quite impossible, lost as they were amongst the crowd of Indians, in making the Guaranis endure the yoke of toil. The semi-communal character of their rule accounts for the hostility of Liberals who, like Azara, saw in competition the best road to progress, but who, like him, in their consuming thirst for progress lost sight of happiness.

In addition to the means described, the Jesuits had recourse to frequent religious feasts, for which the calendar gave them full scope, so that the life in a Jesuit mission was much diversified and rendered pleasant to the Indians, who have a rooted love of show. Each mission had, of course, its patron saint,*1* and on his day nobody worked, whilst all was joyfulness and simple mirth. At break of day a discharge of rockets and of firearms and peals upon the bells announced the joyful morn. Then the whole population flocked to church to listen to an early mass. Those who could find no room inside the church stood in long lines outside the door, which remained open during the ceremony. Mass over, each one ran to prepare himself for his part in the function, the Jesuits having taken care, by multiplying offices and employments, to leave no man without a direct share in all the others did.*2* The humblest and the highest had their part, and the heaviest burden, no doubt, fell upon the two Jesuits,*3* who were answerable for all. The foremost duty was to get the procession ready for the march, and saddle `los caballos del santo’*4* to serve as escort, mounted by Indians in rich dresses, kept specially for feasts.


*1* In the `Relacion de Misiones’ of the Brigadier Don Diego de Alvear, written between 1788 and 1801, and preserved in the `Coleccion de Angelis’, occurs the following curious description of the feast-day of a patron saint of a Jesuit reduction: `They make a long alley of interwoven canes, which ends in a triumphal arch, which they adorn with branches of palms and other trees with considerable grace and taste (`con bastante gracia y simetria’). Under the arch they hang their images of saints, their clothes, their first-fruits — as corn and sugar-cane, and calabashes full of maize-beer (`chicha’) — their meat and bread, together with animals both alive and dead, such as they can procure (`como los pueden haber con su diligencia’). Then, forming in a ring, they dance and shout, `Viva el rey! Viva el santo tutelar!’ *2* Many and curious are the names by which the office-bearers went. Thus, in the Mission of el Santo Corazon, in the Chiquitos, I find the following: Corregidor, the Mayor; Teniente, Lieutenant; Alferez, Sub-Lieutenant; Alcalde Primero, Head Alcalde; Alcalde Segundo, Second Alcalde; Commandante, Captain (of the Militia); Justicia Mayor, Chief Justice; Sargento Mayor, Sergeant-Major. Then came fiscales, fiscals; sacristan mayor, head-beadle; capitan de estancia, chief of the cattle farm; capitan de pinturas, carpinteria, herreros, etc. — captain of painters, carpenters, smiths, etc. All the offices were competed for ardently, and those of Corregidor and Alcalde in especial were prized so highly that Indians who were degraded from them for bad conduct or carelessness not infrequently died of grief.
*3* In each reduction there were two priests. In all Paraguay, at the expulsion of the Order in 1767, there were only seventy-eight Jesuits (Dean Funes, `Ensayo de la Historia del Paraguay’, etc., cap. i., vol. ii.). *4* In the mission of Los Apostoles there were 599 of these `horses of the saint’, according to an inventory preserved by Brabo. —

The inventory of the town of Los Apostoles*1* enables us to reconstruct, with some attempt at accuracy, how the procession was formed and how it took its way. All the militia of the town were in attendance, mounted on their best horses, and armed with lances (`chuzos’), lazo, bolas, and a few with guns. The officers of the Indians rode at their head, dressed out in gorgeous clothes, and troops of dancers, at stated intervals, performed a sort of Pyrrhic dance between the squadrons of the cavalry.*2* In the front of all rode on a white horse the Alferez Real,*3* dressed in a doublet of blue velvet richly laced with gold, a waistcoat of brocade, and with short velvet breeches gartered with silver lace; upon his feet shoes decked with silver buckles, and the whole scheme completed by a gold-laced hat. In his right hand he held the royal standard fastened to a long cane which ended in a silver knob. A sword was by his side, which, as he only could have worn it on such occasions, and as the `horses of the saint’ were not unlikely as ticklish as most horses of the prairies of Entre Rios and Corrientes are wont to be, must have embarrassed him considerably. Behind him came the Corregidor, arrayed in yellow satin, with a silk waistcoat and gold buttons, breeches of yellow velvet, and a hat equal in magnificence to that worn by his bold compeer. The two Alcaldes, less violently dressed, wore straw-coloured silk suits, with satin waistcoats of the same colour, and hats turned up with gold. Other officials, as the Commissario, Maestre de Campo, and the Sargento Mayor, were quite as gaily dressed in scarlet coats, with crimson damask waistcoats trimmed with silver lace,*4* red breeches, and black hats adorned with heavy lace. In the bright Paraguayan sunshine, with the primeval forest for a background, or in some mission in the midst of a vast plain beside the Parana, they must have looked as gorgeous as a flight of parrots from the neighbouring woods, and have made a Turneresque effect, ambling along, a blaze of colours, quite as self-satisfied in their finery as if `the rainbow had been entail settled on them and their heirs male.’ Quite probably their broad, flat noses, and their long, lank hair, their faces fixed immovably, as if they were carved in nandubay, contrasted strangely with their finery. But there were none to judge — no one to make remarks; most likely all was conscience and tender heart, and not their bitterest enemy has laid the charge of humour to the Jesuits’ account.


*1* Furnished to Bucareli, Viceroy of Buenos Ayres at the expulsion, and first printed by Brabo (`Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas’).
*2* The Jesuits exercised the Indians a great deal in dancing, taking advantage of their love of dancing in their savage state. D’Orbigny and Demersay (`Fragment d’un Voyage au Centre de l’Ame/rique Me/ridianale’, and `Histoire Physique, etc., du Paraguay’) found between the years 1830 and 1855 that the Indians of the Moxos and Chiquitos still danced as they had done in the time of the Jesuits.

I have seen them in the then (1873) almost deserted mission of Jesus, buried in the great woods on the shore of the Parana, dance a strange, half-savage dance outside the ruined church. *3* Cardiel, in his `Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 239, says: `Todos los pueblos ponen su castillo en la plaza y en el medio de el colocan el retratro del Rey, y el Indio Alferez Real . . . va al castillo con el Estandarte Real y alli hace su homenage con otros rendimientos anteel Retratro Real,’ saying in Guarani, `Toicohengatu/ n~ande Mbaru bicha guazu/! Toicohengatu/ n~ande Rey marangatu/! Toicohengatu/ n~ande Rey Fernando Sesto!’ (`Long live our King, the great chief! Long live our good King! Long live our King Ferdinand VI.’).
*4* `Chupas de damasco carmesi con encajes de plata.’ —

As in the inventories of the thirty towns I find no mention either of stockings or of shoes for Indians, with the exception of the low shoes and buckles worn by the Alferez Real, it seems the gorgeous costumes ended at the knee, and that these popinjays rode barefoot, with, perhaps, large iron Gaucho spurs fastened by strips of mare-hide round their ankles, and hanging down below their naked feet. But, not content with the procession of the elders in parrot guise, there was a parody of parodies in the `cabildo infantil’, the band composed of children, who, with the self-same titles as their elders, and in the self-same clothes adjusted to their size, rode close upon their heels. Lastly, as Charlevoix tells us, came `des lions et des tigres, mais bien enchaine/s afin qu’ils ne troublerent point la fe^te,’ and so the whole procession took its way towards the church.

The church, all hung with velvet and brocade, was all ablaze with lights, and fumes of incense (no doubt necessary) almost obscured the nave. Upon the right and left hand of the choir (which, as is usual in Spain, was in the middle of the church) the younger Indians were seated all in rows, the boys and girls being separated, as was the custom in all the missions of the Jesuits, who, no doubt, were convinced of the advisability of the saying that `entre santa y santo, pared de cal y canto.’*1* The Indians who had some office, and who wore the clothes*2* I have described, were seated or knelt in rows, and at the outside stood the people of the town dressed in white cotton, their simple clothes, no doubt, forming an effective background to their more parti-coloured brethren kneeling in the front. Throughout the church the men and women were separated, and if a rumour of an incursion of Paulistas was in the air, the Indians carried arms even in the sacred buildings and at the solemn feasts. Mass was celebrated with a full band, the oboe, fagot, lute, harp, cornet, clarinet, violin, viola, and all other kinds of music, figuring in the inventories of the thirty towns. Indeed, in two of the inventories*3* an opera called `Santiago’ is mentioned, which had special costumes and properties to put it on the stage. Mass over, the procession was reconstituted outside the church, and after parading once more through the town broke up, and the Indians devoted the night to feasting, and not infrequently danced till break of day.


*1* It may be roughly translated, `a good stone wall between a male and female saint.’
*2* These clothes were the property of the community, and not of the individual Indians.
*3* Brabo, xxxv., Introduction to `Los inventarios de los bienes.’ —

Such were the outward arts with which the Jesuits sought to attach the simple people, to whom they stood in the position not only of pastors and masters both in one, but also as protectors from the Paulistas on one side, and on the other from the Spaniards of the settlements, who, with their `encomiendas’ and their European system of free competition between man and man, were perhaps unknowingly the direst enemies of the whole Indian race. There is, as it would seem, implanted in the minds of almost all primitive peoples, such as the Guaranis, a solidarity, a clinging kinship, which if once broken down by competition, unrestrained after our modern fashion, inevitably leads to their decay. Hence the keen hatred to the Chinese in California and in Australia. Naturally, those whom we hate, and in a measure fear, we also vilify, and this has given rise to all those accusations of Oriental vice (as if the vice of any Oriental, however much depraved, was comparable to that of citizens of Paris or of London), of barbarism, and the like, so freely levelled against the unfortunate Chinese.

In Paraguay nothing is more remarkable in a market in the country than the way in which the people will not undersell each other, even refusing to part with goods a fraction lower than the price which they consider fair.* It may be that the Jesuits would have done better to endeavour to equip their neophytes more fully, so as to take their place in the battle of the world. It may be that the simple, happy lives they led were too opposed to the general scheme of outside human life to find acceptance or a place in our cosmogony. But one thing I am sure of — that the innocent delight of the poor Indian Alferez Real, mounted upon his horse, dressed in his motley, barefooted, and overshadowed by his gold-laced hat, was as entire as if he had eaten of all the fruits of all the trees of knowledge of his time, and so perhaps the Jesuits were wise.


* A recent writer in the little journal published on yellow packing-paper in the Socialist colony of Cosme, in Paraguay (`Cosme Monthly’, November, 1898), has a curious passage corroborating what I have so often observed myself. Under the heading of `A Paraguayan Market’, he says: `The Guarani clings stubbornly to the Guarani customs. This is irritating to the European, but who shall say that the Guarani is not right? . . . European settlement cannot but be fatal to the Guarani, however profitable it may be to land-owning and mercantile classes. . . . The Paraguayan market is a woman’s club . . . they will come thirty or forty miles with a clothful of the white curd-cheese of the country, contentedly journeying on foot along the narrow paths. They will cut a cabbage into sixteenths and eat their cheese themselves rather than sell it under market price.’ Long may they do so, for so long will they be free, and perhaps poor; but, then, in countries such as Paraguay freedom and poverty are identical. —

Strangely enough — but, then, how strangely all extremes meet in humanity! — the Jesuits alone (at least, in Paraguay) seem to have apprehended, as the Arabs certainly have done from immemorial time, that the first duty of a man is to enjoy his life. Art, science, literature, ambition — all the frivolities with which men occupy themselves — have their due place; but life is first, and in some strange, mysterious way the Jesuits felt it, though, no doubt, they would have been the first to deny it with a thousand oaths. But in a Jesuit mission all was not feasting or processioning, for with such neighbours as the Mamelucos they had to keep themselves prepared.*1* As for their better government in home affairs each mission had its police, with officers*2* chosen by the Jesuits amongst the Indians, so for exterior defence they had militia, and in it the `caciques’*3* of the different tribes held principal command. Most likely over them, or at their elbows, were set priests who before entering the Company of Jesus had been soldiers: for there were many such amongst the Jesuits. As their own founder once had been a soldier, so the Company was popular amongst those soldiers who from some cause or other had changed their swords to crucifixes, and taken service in the ranks of Christ.*4* As it was most important, both for defence and policy, to keep the `caciques’ content, they were distinguished by better treatment than the others in many different ways. Their food was more abundant, and a guard of Indians was on perpetual duty round the houses where they lived; these they employed as servants and as messengers to summon distant companies of Indians to the field. Their method of organization must have been like that of the Boers or of the Arabs; for every Indian belonged to a company, which now and then was brought together for evolutions in the field or for a period of training, after the fashion of our militia or the German Landwehr. Perhaps this system of an armed militia, always ready for the field, was what, above all other reasons, enabled their detractors to represent the Jesuits as feared and unpopular. Why, it was asked, does this community of priests maintain an army in its territories? No one remembered that if such were not the case the missions could not have existed for a year without a force to defend their borders from the Paulistas. Everyone forgot that Fathers Montoya and Del Tano had obtained special permission from the King for the Indians of the missions to bear arms; and, as no human being is grateful for anything but contumelious treatment, the Spanish settlers conveniently forgot how many times a Jesuit army had saved their territories. The body of three thousand Guaranis sent at the expense of the Company to assist the Spaniards against the Portuguese at the attack upon the Colonia del Sacramento*5* on the river Plate, in 1678, was quite forgotten, together with the innumerable contingents sent by the Jesuits at the demand of Spanish governors against the Chaco Indians, the Payaguas, and even against the distant Calchaquis, in what is now the province of Jujuy. Even when an English pirate, called in the Spanish histories Roque Barloque (explained by some to be plain Richard Barlow), appeared off Buenos Ayres, the undaunted neophytes shrank not a moment from going to the assistance of their co-religionists against the `Lutheran dog’.*6* Lastly, all Spanish governors and writers, both contemporaneous and at the end of the eighteenth century, seem to forget that if the Jesuits had an army of neophytes within their territory the fact was known and approved of at the court of Spain.*7* But it appears that Calvin had many coadjutors in his policy of `Jesuitas aut necandi aut calumniis opponendi sunt.’*8* When a Jesuit army took the field, driving before it sufficient cattle to subsist upon, and with its `caballada’ of spare horses upon its flank, it must have resembled many a Gaucho army I have seen in Entre Rios five-and-twenty years ago. The only difference seems to have been that the Gauchos of yesterday did not use bows and arrows, although they might have done so with as much benefit to themselves, and no more danger to their enemies, than was occasioned by the rusty, ill-conditioned guns they used to bear. The Indians were armed with bows, and in their expeditions each Indian carried one hundred and fifty arrows tipped with iron. Others had firearms, but all bore bolas on their saddles, and carried lazos and long lances,*9* which, like the Pampa Indians, they used in mounting their horses, placing one hand upon the mane, and vaulting into the saddles with the other leaning on the lance. The infantry were armed with lances and a few guns; they also carried bolas, but they trusted most to slings, for which they carried bags of hide, with a provision of smooth round stones, and used them dexterously. On several occasions their rude militia gave proofs of stubborn valour, and, as they fought under the Jesuits’ eyes, no doubt acquitted themselves as men would who looked upon their priests almost in the light of gods. But agriculture and cattle-breeding were not all the resources of the missions; for the Jesuits engaged in commerce largely, both with the outer world and by the intricate and curious barter system which they had set on foot for the mutual convenience of the different mission towns. In many of the inventories printed by Brabo, one comes across the entry `Deudas’, showing a sort of account current between the towns for various articles. Thus, they exchanged cattle for cotton, sugar for rice, wheat for pig-iron or tools from Europe; as no account of interest ever appears in any inventory as between town and town, it seems the Jesuits anticipated Socialism — at least, so far as that they bought and sold for use, and not for gain. Although between the towns of their own territory all was arranged for mutual convenience, yet in their dealings with the outside world the Jesuits adhered to what are known as `business principles’. These principles, if I mistake not, have been deified by politicians with their `Buy in the cheapest, sell in the dearest’ tag, and therefore even the sternest Protestant or Jansenist (if such there still exist) can have no stone to throw at the Company of Jesus for its participation in that system which has made the whole world glad.


*1* As the Gaucho proverb says, `Las armas son necesarias pero “naide” sabe cuando.’
*2* Corregidores, alcaldes, regidores, alguaciles, etc. *3* Hereditary or sometimes elected chiefs. *4* I remember seeing on the tombstone of a Spanish sailor his hope of salvation through the intercession of the Lord High Admiral Christ. After the Spanish custom, officers were often generals both by sea and land, so that soldiers were not excluded from the Lord High Admiral’s intercession. *5* Dean Funes (`Ensayo de la Historia de Paraguay’, etc.) says: `These Indians went under the command of Don Antonio de Vera Moxica; their sergeants were Guaranis and their captains Spaniards. Their `cacique’ was Ignacio Amandaa, who commanded in chief under Vera Moxica.’ They fought bravely, and returned again and again to the assault of the town after several repulses, manifesting the same dogged courage and indifference to death which their descendants showed in the war against Brazil in 1866-70. In that war bodies of Paraguayans frequently attacked strong positions defended by artillery, and allowed themselves to be shot down to the last man rather than retire. At other times, concealed behind masses of floating herbage, from their canoes they sprang on board Brazilian ironclads, and were all killed in the vain endeavour to capture the vessels. I knew a little pettifogging lawyer, one Izquierdo, who, with ten companions, attempted in a canoe to take the Brazilian flagship (an ironclad); left alone on her deck, after the death of his companions, he sprang into the water under a shower of bullets, and, badly wounded, swam over to the Chaco, the desert side of the river. There for three days he remained, subsisting on wild oranges, and then swam across again on a raft of sticks, in spite of the alligators and many fierce fish which abound in Paraguay. He got well, and, though lame, was, when I knew him, as arrant a little scrivening knave as you could hope to meet in either hemisphere.

On many other occasions the mission Indians performed notable services for the Spanish Government. In 1681, when the French attacked Buenos Ayres, a detachment of two thousand Indians was sent to its assistance. Philip V. himself wrote to the Provincial of Paraguay on this occasion asking him to send troops to the defence of the city.

In 1785 four thousand Guaranis, commanded by Don Baltazar Garcia, were at the second siege of the Colonia del Sacramento. Funes says of them: `A juicio de un testigo ocular, no es menos admirable la sangre fria de sus capellanes.’ *6* `Perro Luterano’. It is astonishing how in Spain the comparatively innocuous Luther has fallen heir to the heritage of hatred that should more properly have belonged to the inhuman and treacherous Calvin. *7* Philip V. in 1745, after an examination which lasted six years, approved of all the actions of the Jesuits in Paraguay (Cretineau Joly, `Histoire de la Compagnie de Je/sus’, vol. v., p. 103). So that a curious letter of a Jeronimite friar (one Padre Cevallos), written in 1774, is well within due limits when it says that all the Jesuits did in Paraguay was `todo probado por reales cedulas o/ procedia de ordenes expresas.’ *8* One is obliged to allow, in common fairness, that Calvin carried out in his own practice what he advocated — as witness his conduct with Servetus, whom he first calumniated, then entrapped, and lastly murdered in cold blood.
*9* Don Francisco Corr sent the following list of arms to the Viceroy Zabala, of Buenos Ayres (Funes, `Ensayo’, etc.): `Armas buenas, 850; lanzas de hierro, 3,850; pedreras (culverins), 10. Las flechas no se cuentan.’ He says: `Todos los Indios quando han de salir a compan~a llevan 150 flechas de hierro, menos los que llevan armos de fuego. Asi mismo cargan “bolas” que son dos piedras en una cuerda. Los de a pie que no llevan escopetas tienen lanza, flecha, y honda con su provision de piedras en un bolson como de granaderos. Se prestan caballos entre los pueblos.’ —

Cotton and linen cloth, tobacco, hides, woods of the various hard-wood forests of the country, and, above all, `yerba-mate’, were their chief articles of export to the outside world. Their nearest market was in Buenos Ayres, and to that port they sent their `yerba’ in boats made at their own yards, of which they had several, but notably at Yapeyu upon the Uruguay. The money that was made was sent to the Superior of the missions, who had the disposition of the way in which it was dispensed, either for use at home or to be sent to Europe for necessary goods. As well as `yerba-mate’, they sent great quantities of hides. The inventories of the towns taken at the expulsion state that the number of green hides*1* exported annually was fifty thousand, together with six thousand cured; in addition they sold from three to four arrobas*2* of horse-hair, and wood to the value of twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars every year. The total export of their `yerba’ ranged between eighty and one hundred thousand arrobas, which at the lowest price could not have been sold at a profit under seven dollars an arroba,*3* so that the income*4* of the thirty towns must have been relatively large.*5* Two or three hundred barrels of honey*6* and some three or four thousand arrobas of tobacco made up the sum total of their exports, though, had they needed money, it might have been increased in such a country, and with so many willing labourers, almost indefinitely.


*1* Ibanez (`Histoire du Paraguay sous les Je/suites’) states the hides sold at about three dollars apiece. *2* The arroba was twenty-five pounds.
*3* These figures are from Brabo’s inventories. *4* Ibanez states that only eighty-four dollars a year were set apart for the maintenance of each priest.
*5* Dean Funes (`Ensayo de le Historia Civil del Paraguay’, etc.) puts it at a million reales, which almost equals 20,800 Pounds.

Ibanez (`La Republica Jesuitica’), with the noble disregard of consequences so noticeable in most polemical writers, boldly alters this to a million dollars, his object being to prove that the Jesuits exacted exorbitant taxation from the neophytes. *6* The honey of the missions was celebrated, and the wax made by the small bee called `Opemus’, according to Charlevoix (livre v., p. 285), `e/tait d’une blancheur qui n’avait rien de pareil, et ces neophytes ont consacre/ tout qu’ils en peuvent avoir a\ bruler devant les images de la Ste. Vierge.’ —

Thus it will be seen that the missions were organized both agriculturally and commercially so as to be almost self-supporting, and that of the mere necessaries of life they had sufficient for exportation, no small achievement when we consider how averse from labour were the Indians with whom they had to deal. But that nothing should be wanting that a civilized community could possibly desire, they had their prisons, with good store of chains, fetters, whips, and all the other instruments with which the moral code is generally enforced. The most usual punishment was whipping;* and the crimes most frequent were drunkenness, neglect of work, and bigamy, which latter lapse from virtue the Jesuits chastised severely, not thinking, being celibates themselves, that not unlikely it was apt to turn into its own punishment without the aid of stripes.


* In the inventory of the mission of San Jose I find: `Item, doce pares de grillos’; but I am bound to say that in this instance they were for the use of `los Guaicurus infieles prisioneros que estan en dicha mision.’

Chapter VII

Causes of the Jesuits’ unpopularity — Description of the lives and habits of the priests — Testimony in favour of the missions — Their opposition to slavery — Their system of administration

Much has been written of the interior government of the missions by the Jesuits, but chiefly by strong partisans, for and against, on either side, whose only object was to make out a case to fit the prejudices of those for whom they wrote. Upon the Jesuit side the Abbe Muratori* describes a paradise. A very Carlo Dolce amongst writers, with him all in the missions is so cloying sweet that one’s soul sickens, and one longs in his `Happy Christianity’ to find a drop of gall. But for five hundred pages nothing is amiss; the men of Belial persecute the Jesuit saints, who always (after the fashion of their Order and mankind) turn both cheeks to the smiter, and, if their purse is taken, hasten to give up their cloaks. The Indians are all love and gratitude. No need in the Abbe’s pages for the twelve pair of fetters, which Brabo most unkindly has set down amongst his inventories. Never a single `lapsus’ from the moral rule the Jesuits imposed — no drunkenness, and bigamy so seldom met with that it would seem that Joseph Andrews had been a swaggerer judged by the standard of these moral Guaranis. Then comes Ibanez,** the ex-Jesuit, on the other side. In a twinkling of an eye the scene is changed. For, quite in Hogarth’s vein, he paints the missions as a perpetual march to Finchley, and tells us that the Indians were savages, and quite unchanged in all their primitive propensities under the Jesuit rule. And for the Jesuits themselves he has a few home-truths administered with vinegar, after the fashion of the renegade the whole world over, who sees nothing good in the society that has turned him out. He roundly says the Jesuits were loafers, accuses them of keeping the Indians ignorant for their own purposes, and paints them quite as black as the Abbe Muratori painted them rose colour, and with as little art. So that, as usually happens in the writings of all polemists, no matter upon which side they may write, but little information, and that distorted to an incredible degree, is all that they afford.


* `Il Cristianesimo Felice nelle Missione dei Padri della Compagnia di Jesu nel Paraguay’.
** `L’Histoire du Paraguay sous les Je/suites’, Amsterdam, 1700, lxxv. —

In general, curious as it may appear, the bitterest opponents of the Jesuits were Catholics, and Protestants have often written as apologists. Buffon, Raynal, and Montesquieu, with Voltaire, Robertson, and Southey, have written favourably of the internal government of the missions and the effect which it produced. No other names of equal authority can be quoted on the other side; but yet the fact remains that the Jesuits in Paraguay were exposed to constant calumny from the first day they went there till the last member of the Order left the land.

It is my object first to try to show what the conditions of their government really were, and then to try and clear up what was the cause of unpopularity, and why so many and such persistent calumnies were laid to their account. Stretching right up and down the banks of both the Parana and Uruguay, the missions extended from Nuestra Senora de Fe* (or Santa Maria), in Paraguay, to San Miguel, in what is now the Brazilian province of Rio Grande do Sul; and from the mission of Corpus, on the east bank of the Parana, to Yapeyu, upon the Uruguay. The official capital was placed at Candelaria, on the east bank of the Parana. In that town the Superior of the missions had his official residence, and from thence he ruled the whole territory, having not only the ecclesiastical but the temporal power, the latter, from the position in which he was placed, so many hundred miles from any Spanish Governor, having by degrees gradually come into his hands. The little town of La Candelaria was, when I knew it, in a most neglected state. The buildings of the Jesuits, with the exception of the church, were all in ruins. The streets were sandy and deserted, the foot-walk separated from them by a line of hard-wood posts, which, as tradition said, were left there by the Jesuits; but the hard woods of Paraguay are almost as imperishable as iron.


* In all, the missions amounted to thirty; and for their relative situations vide the curious map [not available in this ASCII text], the original of which was published in the work of Padre Pedro Lozano, C. de J., `Descripcion chorographica del terreno, rios, arboles y animales de las dilatadissimas provincias del Gran Chaco, Gualanba’, etc. Cordoba, del Tucuman, en el Colegio de la Assumpcion, por Joseph Santos Balbas, 1733.

A `balsa’ — that is, a flying bridge worked by a cable — plied fitfully across the Parana to Ytapua, also a little ex-Jesuit town upon the other side. Each shop had a sign outside, as was the case in England a hundred years ago. Indians supplied the place with vegetables, floating down in canoes piled up with fruit, with flowers, with sweet potatoes, and returning home empty, or for their cargo three or four tin pails, a looking-glass, or other of the marvels which Europe sends as a sample of her manufactures to little frontier towns. All was as quiet, or perhaps much quieter than in the time when the Superior of the Jesuits was in residence, and if it had been necessary, during the hot hours of noon, Godivas by the dozen might have ridden down the streets, had they been able to find horses quiet enough to ride, certain that no one in the town would lose his after-breakfast nap to look at them.

In every mission two chosen Jesuits lived. The elder, selected for his experience of the country and knowledge of the tongue from amongst those who had been rectors of colleges or provincials of the Order, was vested with the civil power, and was responsible direct to the Superior. The second, generally styled companion (el Companero), acted as his lieutenant, and had full charge of all things spiritual; so that they were a check on one another, and their duties did not clash.

In difficulties the Superior transmitted orders, like a general in the field, by mounted messengers, who frequently rode over a hundred miles a day, relays of horses always being kept ready for emergencies every three leagues upon the road.

From La Candelaria roads branched off to every portion of the territory, most of them fit for carts, and all superior to those tracks which were the only thoroughfares but twenty years ago. Roads ran to Corrientes, to Asuncion, others from Yapeyu to the Salto Grande, on the Parana. Upon the Upper Uruguay were about eighty posts, all guarded, and with horses ready to equip the messengers. But there were also roads in the district of the Upper Parana, which I myself remember as a wilderness, uncrossed, uncrossable, where tigers roamed about and Indians shot at the rare traveller with poisoned arrows out of a blow-pipe, whilst they remained unseen in the recesses of the woods. In the districts of the Upper Uruguay and Parana, besides the roads and relays of post-horses, they had a fleet both of canoes and boats in which they carried `yerba’* and the other products of the land. Thus, with their fleet of boats and of canoes, their highroads branching out on every side, and their relays of post-horses at intervals, most probably no State of America at the time had such interior means of communication with the seat of government. The Incas and the Aztecs certainly had posts who carried messages and brought up fish from the coast with great rapidity; but all the Spanish colonies contemporaneous with the Jesuits’ settlements in Paraguay had fallen into a state of lethargy and of interior decay. The roads the Incas used in Peru were falling fast into disuse, and it took several weeks to send a letter from Buenos Ayres to the Pacific coast.


* A letter of a certain Jesuit (name lost, but dated 1715) says that there were at least two thousand canoes in constant use on the Parana, and almost as many more on the Uruguay (Brabo, `Inventarios’, etc.). —

The system of interior government in the missions was in appearance democratic — that is to say, there were officials, as mayors*1* and councillors; but most of them were named by the Jesuits, and all of them, even although elected, owed their election entirely to their priests. This sort of thought-suggested representation was the most fitting for the Indians at the time,*2* and those who look into the workings of a County Council of to-day cannot but think at times that the majority of the councillors would have been better chosen had the electorate had the benefit of some controlling hand, though from what quarter it is difficult to see. The problem which most writers on the Jesuits have quite misunderstood, is how two Jesuits were able to keep a mission of several thousand Indians in order, and to rule supreme without armed forces, or any means of making their power felt or of enforcing obedience to their decrees. Undoubtedly, the dangerous position in which the Indians stood, exposed on one side to the Paulistas, and on the other to the Spanish settlers, both of whom wished to take them as their slaves, placed power in the Jesuits’ hands: for the Indians clearly perceived that the Jesuits alone stood between them and instant slavery. Most controversialists who have opposed the Jesuits assert that the Indians of the missions were, in reality, half slaves. Nothing is further from the truth, if one consults the contemporary records, and remembers the small number of the Jesuits. The work the Indians did was inconsiderable, and under such conditions as to deprive it of much of the toilsomeness which is incident to any kind of work. The very essence of a slave’s estate is being obliged to work without remuneration for another man. Nothing was farther from the Indians than such a state of things. Their work was done for the community, and though the Jesuits, without doubt, had the full disposition of all the money earned in commerce,*3* and of the distribution of the goods, neither the money nor the goods were used for self-aggrandisement, but were laid out for the benefit of the community at large. The total population of the thirty towns is variously estimated from one hundred and forty to one hundred and eighty thousand,*4* and, curiously enough, it remained almost at the same figure during the whole period of the Jesuit rule. This fact has been adduced against the Jesuits, and it has been said that they could not have been good rulers, or the population must have increased; but those who say so forget that the Indians of Paraguay were never in great numbers, and that most writers on the wild tribes, as Dobrizhoffer*5* and Azara, remark their tendency never to increase.


*1* Corregidores, regidores, alcaldes, etc. *2* It is not to be supposed, however, that the Indians were kept in ignorance. P. Cardiel (`Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 222), quoting from the Cedula Real of 1743, says that `in every one of the towns there is a school established to teach reading and writing in Spanish, and that on that account a great number of Indians are to be met who write well.’ Cardiel adds, on the same page, `Dos de ellos estan copiando ahora esto que yo escribo, y de mejor letra que la mia.’ *3* Dean Funes (`Ensayo Critico’, etc.) puts the income from commerce of the thirty towns at a hundred thousand dollars, and informs us that, after taxation (to the Crown) had been deducted from it, it was applied to the maintenance of the churches and other necessary expenses, and by the end of the year little of it remained. *4* Don Martin de Barua, in his memorial to the King (1736), complaining of the Jesuits, puts the number of taxable Indians at forty thousand. The Commission appointed to examine into the charges in 1736, which reported in 1745 (a reasonable interval), affirmed that the taxable Indians only numbered 19,116. Each Indian paid an annual poll-tax of one dollar a year to the Crown. In addition to that, every town gave one hundred dollars a year. The salary of the priests was six hundred dollars a year (Azara, `Voyage dans l’Ame/rique Me/ridionale’). *5* `Account of the Abipones’. London: John Murray, 1822. —

All this relatively large population of Indians was ruled, as has been seen, by a quite inconsiderable number of priests, who, not disposing of any European force, and being almost always on bad terms with the Spanish settlers in Paraguay on account of the firm stand they made against the enslaving of the Indians, had no means of coercion at their command. Hence the Indians must have been contented with their rule, for if they had not been so the Jesuits possessed no power to stop them from returning to their savage life. Azara,*1* although in the main an opponent of the Jesuits, in the same way that a `good Liberal’ of to-day would oppose anything of a Socialistic tendency, yet has this most significant passage in their favour. After enumerating the amount of taxes paid by the missions to the Crown, he says `en faisant le bilan tout se trouvait e/gal, et s’il y avait quelque exce/dant, il e/tait en faveur des Je/suites ou des peoplades.’*2* Seldom enough does such a result take place when the balance is struck to-day in any country between the rulers and their `taxables’. Following their system of perfect isolation from the world to its logical sequence, the Jesuits surrounded all the territories of their different towns with walls and ditches, and at the gates planted a guard to prevent egress or ingress between the missions and the outer world.*3* Much capital has been made out of this, as it is attempted to be shown that the Indians were thereby treated as prisoners in their own territories. Nothing, however, has been said of the fact that, if the ditches, palisades, and guard-houses kept in the Indians, they also had the effect of keeping the Spaniards out. When men who looked upon the Indians as without reason, and captured them for slaves when it was possible, began to talk of liberty, it looks as if the `sacred name of liberty’ was used but as a stalking-horse — as greasy Testaments are used to swear upon in police-courts, when the witness, with his tongue in his cheek, raises his eyes to heaven, and then with fervency imprints a kiss upon his thumb.


*1* `Voyage dans l’Ame/rique Me/ridionale’. Paris: Denton, 1809. *2* Pera/mas (`De vita et moribus sex sacerdotum Paraguaycorum, Petrus Joanes Andrea’, lxxxiv.) states that it appeared, from papers left after their expulsion, that the income of the Jesuit College of Cordoba just paid the expenses of administration (`era con escasa diferencia igual a/ los gastos’).

In the Archivo General of Buenos Ayres, legajo `Compan~ia de Jesu/s’, there is a document referred to by P. Hernandez in his introduction to the work of P. Cardiel (`Declaracion de la Verdad’), which states that in the year of the expulsion the income of the thirty towns fell a little short of the expenses.
*3* Azara, `Voyage dans l’Ame/rique Me/ridionale’; also Funes, `Ensayo Critico de la Historia del Paraguay’; and Padre Guevara, `Historia del Paraguay, Rio de la Plata y Tucuman’. —

It will be seen that the communism of the missions was of a limited character, and, though the land was cultivated by the labour of the community, that the products were administered by the Jesuits alone. Though it has been stated by many polemical writers, such as Ibanez and Azara, and more recently by Washburne, who was American Minister in Paraguay during the war with Brazil and the Argentine Republic (1866-70), that the Jesuits had amassed great wealth in Paraguay, no proof has ever been advanced for such a charge. Certainly Cardenas made the same statement, but it was never in his power to bring any confirmation of what he said. This power alone was in the hands of Bucareli (1767), the Viceroy of Buenos Ayres, under whose auspices the expulsion of the Jesuits was carried out. By several extracts from Brabo’s inventories, and by the statement of the receivers sent by Bucareli, I hope to show that there was no great wealth at any time in the mission territory, and that the income was expended in the territory itself. It may be that the expenditure on churches was excessive, and also that the money laid out on religious ceremonies was not productive; but the Jesuits, strange as it may appear, did not conduct the missions after the fashion of a business concern, but rather as the rulers of some Utopia — those foolish beings who think happiness is preferable to wealth.

Nothing can give a better idea of the way of life of a Jesuit priest and of his daily labours than the curious letter of Nicolas Neenguiru, originally written in Guarani, but of which a translation is extant in the National Spanish Archives in Simancas:*


* Archivo General de Simancas, Estado, legajo 7,450, folios 21 y 22, 5a, Copia de las cartas (sin firma; la siguiente es de Nicolas Neenguiru/) que se hallaron en letra Guarani/ traducidas por los interpreteo nombrados en las sorpresa hecha al pueblo de San Lorenzo por el Coronel D. Jose Joaquin de Viana, Gobernador de Montevideo, el dia 20 de Mayo de 1756:

`El modo de vivir del Padre es, cerrar bien todas las puertas y quedarse el solo, su Mayordomo, y su muchacho. Son ya Indios de edad, y solo estos asisten solo de dia adentro, y a/ las doce salen afuera, y un viejo es quien cuida de la Porteria, y es quien Sierra la puerta quando descansa el Padre, o/ quando sale el Padre a/ ver su chacara. Y aun entonces van solos, sino es con un Indio de hedad quien los giua y cuida de el caballo y despues de esto a/ misa y a/ la tarde al Rosario de Maria Santisima llamandonos con toque de campana, y antes de esto a/ los muchachos y muchachittas los llama con una campa/nilla y despues de eso el bueno de el Padre entra ha ensen~arles la Doctrina, y el persinarse de el mismo modo, todos los dias de fiesta nos Predica la palabra de Dios, del mismo modo el Santo Sacramento de la Penitencia y de la Communion, en estas cosas se exercitta el bueno del Padre y todas las noches se sierra la porteria y la llave se lleva al aposento del Padre y solo se vuelve a/ abrir por la man~ana quando entra el Sachristan y los cosineros. . . .

`Los Padres todas las man~anas nos dicen misas, y despues de misa, se van a su aposento y hai cogen un poco de aqua caliente con Yerva y no otra cosa mas; despues de esto sale a la puerta de su aposento y ahai todos los que oyeron misa se arrimen a besarle la mano, y despues de esto sale afuera a ver los Indios si trabajan en los oficios que cada uno tiene, y despues se van a su aposento a resar el oficio divino, en su libro, y para que Dios le ayude en todas sus cosas. A las once de el dia van a comer un poquitto, no a/ comer mucho solo coge cinco plattitos y solo beve una vez el vino, no llenando un vaso pequen~o, y aguardiente nunca lo toman y el vino no lo hai en nuestro pueblo, solo lo traen de la Candelaria segun lo que envia el Padre Superior lo trahen de acia Buenos Aires. . . . Despues que sale de comer y para descansar an poco, y mientras descansa salen fuera los que assisten en la casa del Padre, y los que trabajan dentro en algunas obras y tamvien el Sachristan y el cosinero: todos estos salen fuera y quando no se toca la campana estan serradas las puertas, y solo un viejo es el que cuida de las puertas, y quando vuelvan a tocar la campana, vuelve este a abrirlas para que vuelvan a entrar los que trabajan dentro, y el Padre Coge el Brebiario no a ir a parte ninguna. A la tarde tocan la campanilla paraque se recojan las criatturas, y entre el Padre a/ ensenarles la doctrina christiana.’ —

`The manner of living of the father is to shut all the doors, and remain alone with his servant and his cook (who are Indians of a considerable age), and these only wait on him; but by day only, and at twelve o’clock, they go out, and an old man has care of the porter’s lodge, and it is he who shuts the gate when the father is asleep, or when he goes out to see his cultivated ground, and even then they go alone, except it be with an old Indian, who guides them and attends to the (father’s) horse; and after that he goes to Mass, and in the evening to the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin, calling us together by the sound of the bell, and before that he calls the boys and girls with a small bell, and after that the good father begins to teach them doctrine and how to cross themselves. In the same way, on every feast day, he preaches to us the Word of God, in the same way the Holy Sacrament of Penitence and of the Communion; in these things does the good Father employ himself, and every night the porter’s lodge is closed, and the key taken to the Father’s room, which is only opened in the morning in order that the sacristan and the cooks may enter. . . .

`The Fathers every morning say Mass for us, and after Mass they go to their rooms, and then they take some hot water and `yerba’ (`mate’), and nothing more; after that he comes to the door of his apartment, and then all those who heard Mass come to kiss his hand, and after that he goes out to see if the Indians are diligent at their tasks, and afterwards they go to their room to read the divine service for the day in his book, and to pray that God may prosper him in all his affairs. At eleven o’clock they go to eat a little, not to eat much, for he only has five dishes, and only drinks wine once, not filling a little glass; and spirits they never drink, and there is no wine in our town, except that which is brought from Candelaria, according to that which the Superior sends, and they bring it from somewhere near Buenos Aires. . . . After he has finished eating, to rest a little he goes into the church; afterwards — yes, he retires to rest a little, and whilst he is resting those who work in the father’s house go out, and those who do any kind of indoor work, and also the sacristan and the cook: all these go out, and as long as the bell does not ring the doors are shut, and only an old man guards the gate, and when they ring the bell again he opens the doors so that those who work indoors may go inside, and the father takes his breviary and goes nowhere. In the evening they ring the bell so that the children may come home, and the father comes in to teach them Christian doctrine.’

Perhaps the foregoing simple description, written by an Indian in Guarani, and translated by someone who has preserved in Spanish all the curious inversions of the Guarani, presents as good a picture of the daily life of a mission priest in Paraguay as any that has ever been given to the public by writers much more ambitious than myself or Neenguiru. Nicolas Neenguiru, the writer of the letter, afterwards figured in the war against the Portuguese, and several of his letters are preserved in the archives of Simancas, though none so interesting and simple as that I have transcribed.

Dobrizhoffer, in his history of the Abipones, says of him that he was a simple Indian, whom often he had seen put in the stocks for petty faults; at any rate, he seems to have been one of those Indians whom the Jesuits had at least favourably impressed by the system they employed. After the manner in which he wrote, hundreds of Indians must have thought, or else the missions, placed as they were, surrounded on all sides by enemies, could not have endured a single day. What was it, then, which raised the Jesuits up so many and so powerful enemies in Paraguay, when in the districts of the Moxos* and the Chiquitos where their power was to the full as great, amongst the Indians, they never had a quarrel with the Spaniards till the day they were expelled? Many and various causes contributed to all they underwent, but most undoubtedly two reasons must have brought about their fall.


* Perhaps the entire isolation of the Jesuits in these two provinces accounts for their absolute quiet; and if this is so, it goes far to prove that they were right to attempt the same isolation in Paraguay. The comparative nearness of the Spanish settlements frustrated their attempts in this instance. —

Since the time of Cardenas, the report that the Jesuits had rich mines, which they worked on the sly, had been persistently on the increase. Although disproved a thousand times, it still remained; even to-day, in spite of `science’ and its wonderful discoveries, there are many in Paraguay who cherish dreams of discovering Jesuit mines. Humanity loves to deceive itself, although there are plenty ready to deceive it; and if men can both forge for themselves fables and at the same time damage their neighbours in so doing, their pleasure is intense. I take it that many really believed the stories of the mines, being unable to credit that anyone would live far from the world, surrounded but by Indians, for any other reason than to be rich. But let a country have rich minerals, even if they exist but in imagination, and it becomes a crime against humanity to shut it up. So that it would appear one of the reasons which induced hatred against the Jesuits was the idea that they had enormous mineral wealth, which either they did not work or else worked in secret for the benefit of their society.

The other reason was the question of slavery. Once get it well into your head that you and yours are `reasoning men’* (`gente de razon’), and that all coloured people are irrational, and slavery follows as a natural sequence; for `reasoning men’ have wit to make a gun, and on the gun all reason takes it stand. From the first instant of their arrival in America, the Jesuits had maintained a firm front against the enslavement of the Indians. They may have had their faults in Europe, and in the larger centres of population in America; but where they came in contact with the Indians, theirs was the sole voice raised upon their side.


* For `reasoning men’, and how this monstrous superstition still prevails in Venezuela, see the charming book of S. Perez Triana, `De Bogota al Atlantico’, etc., pp. 156-158 (Paris: Impresa Sud Americana). A really interesting book of travels, without cant, and without an eye on the public. Strange to relate, the author seems to have killed nothing during his journey.

In 1593 Padre Juan Romero, sent from Peru as Superior to Paraguay, on his arrival gave up an estate (with Indians in `encomienda’) which his predecessors had enjoyed, alleging that he did not wish to give the example of making profit out of the unpaid labour of the Indians,* and that without their work the estate was valueless.


* Charlevoix, book iv.

On many occasions, notably in the time of Cardenas, the Jesuits openly withstood all slavery, and amongst the concessions that Ruiz Montoya obtained from the King of Spain was one declaring all the Indians to be free.*1* If more examples of the hatred that their attitude on slavery called forth were wanting, it is to be remembered that in 1640, when Montoya and Tano returned from Spain, and affixed the edict of the Pope on the church doors in Piritinanga, threatening with excommunication all slave-holders, a cry of robbery went forth, and the Jesuits were banished from the town. But in this matter of slavery there is no saying what view any one given man will take upon it when he finds himself in such a country as America was during the time the Jesuits were in Paraguay. Don Felix de Azara, a liberal and a philosopher, a man of science, and who has left us perhaps the best description both of Paraguay and of the River Plate, written in the eighteenth century, yet was a partisan of slavery.*2* In a most curious passage for a Liberal philosopher, he says:*3* `The Court ordered Don Francisco, Judge of the High Court of Charcas, to go to Peru in the character of visitor. The first measure which he took, in 1612, was to order that in future no one should go to the Indians’ houses with the pretext of reducing them (i.e., to civilization), and that no `encomiendas’ (fiefs) should be given of the kind we have explained — that is to say, with personal service (of the Indians). I cannot understand on what he could have founded a measure so politically absurd; but as that judge favoured the `ideas of the Jesuits’, it is suspected that they dictated his conduct.’


*1* `Conquista Espiritual’, Ruiz Montoya. *2* `Voyage dans l’Ame/rique Me/ridionale’. *3* Azara, `Viage al America Meridional’, tomo 2, cap 12. `La corte ordeno/ a Don Francisco de Alfaro oidor de la Audiencia de Charcas pasar al Peru/ en calidad de visitador. La primera medida que tomo/ en 1612 fue ordenar que ninguno en lo sucesivo pudiese ir a casa de Indios, con el pretexto de reducirlos, y que no se diesen encomiendas del modo que hemos explicado, es decir con servicio personal. No alcanzo sobre que podia fundarse una medida tan politicamente absurda: pero como este oidor favorecia las `ideas de los Jesuitas’, se sospecho/ que por aquel tiempo que ellos dictaron su conducta.’

What stronger testimony (coming from such a man) could possibly be found, both that the Jesuits were opposed to the enslaving of the Indians and that their opposition rendered them unpopular? In the same way, no doubt, some modern, unwise philosopher, writing in Brussels, would uphold the slavery and massacres in Belgian Africa as evidences of a wise policy, because the end condones the means, and in the future, when progress has had time to fructify, there will be workhouses dotted all up and down the Congo, and every `native’ will be forced to supply himself, at but a trifle above the cost in Belgium, with a sufficiency of comfortable and thoroughly well-seasoned wooden shoes.

So it appears that the aforesaid were the two chief reasons which made the Jesuits unpopular with the Spanish settlers in Paraguay. But in addition it should be remembered that there were in that country members of almost all the other religious Orders, and that, as nearly every one of them had quarrelled with the Jesuits in Europe, or at the best were jealous of their power, the enmities begun in Europe were transmitted to the New World, and constantly fanned by reports of the quarrels which went on between the various Orders all through Europe, and especially in Rome.

But if it were the case that the Jesuits excited feelings of hatred in their neighbours, yet they certainly had the gift of attaching to themselves the Indians’ hearts. No institution, condemned with contumely and thrust out of a country where it had worked for long, its supposed crimes kept secret, and its members all condemned unheard, could have preserved its popularity amongst the descendants of the men with whom it worked, after more than one hundred years have passed, had this not been the case.

I care not in the least for theories, for this or that dogma of politicians or theologists, but take my stand on what I heard myself during my visits to the now ruined Jesuit missions in Paraguay. Horsemen say horses can go in any shape, and, wonderful as it may seem, men can be happy under conditions which no writer on political economy would recognise as fit for human beings. Not once but many times have aged Indians told me of what their fathers used to say about the Jesuits, and they themselves always spoke of them with respect and kindness, and endeavoured to keep up to the best of their ability all the traditions of the Church ceremonies and hours of prayer which the Jesuits had instilled.

That the interior system of their government was perfect, or such as would be suitable for men called `civilized’ to-day, is not the case. That it was not only suitable, but perhaps the best that under all the circumstances could have been devised for Indian tribes two hundred years ago, and then but just emerged from semi-nomadism, is, I think, clear, when one remembers in what a state of misery and despair the Indians of the `encomiendas’* and the `mitas’ passed their lives. That semi-communism, with a controlling hand in administrative affairs, produced many superior men, or such as rise to the top in modern times, I do not think; but, then, who are the men, and by the exercise of what kind of virtues do they rise in the societies of modern times? The Jesuits’ aim was to make the great bulk of the Indians under their control contented, and that they gained their end the complaints against them by the surrounding population of slave-holders and hunters after slaves go far to prove.


* For `mitas’ and `encomiendas’, see foregoing chapters. —

Leaving upon one side their system of administration, and discounting their unalterable perseverance, there were two things on which the Jesuits appealed to the Indians; and those two things, by the very nature of their knowledge of mankind, they knew appealed as much to Indians as to any other race of men. Firstly (and in this writers opposed to them, as Brabo* and Azara,** both agree), they instilled into the Indians that the land on which they lived, with missions, churches, herds, flocks, and the rest, was their own property. And in the second place they told them they were free, and that they had the King of Spain’s own edict in confirmation of their freedom, so that they never could be slaves. Neither of these two propositions commends itself to many writers on the Jesuits in Paraguay, but for all that it seems to me that in themselves they were sufficient to account for the firm hold the Jesuits had on their neophytes.


* Brabo, `Inventarios de los bienes hallados a la expulsion de las Jesuitas’. ** `Voyage dans l’Ame/rique Me/ridionale’. —

The freedom which the Indians enjoyed under the Jesuit rule might not have seemed excessive to modern minds and those attuned to the mild rule of the Europeans of to-day in Africa. Such as it was, it seemed sufficient to the Guaranis, and even, in a limited degree, placed them above the Indians of the Spanish settlements, who for the most part passed their lives in slavery.

Chapter VIII

Don Jose de Antequera — Appoints himself Governor of Asuncion — Unsettled state of affairs in the town — He is commanded to relinquish his illegal power — He refuses, and resorts to arms — After some success he is defeated and condemned to be executed — He is shot on his way to the scaffold — Renewed hatred against the Jesuits — Their labours among the Indians of the Chaco

From the departure of Cardenas in 1650, to about 1720, was the halcyon period of the Jesuit missions in Paraguay. During that time things went on in the missions after the fashion I have attempted to describe. The people passed their time in their semi-communistic labour, sweetened by constant prayer; their pastors may or may not have done all that was possible to instruct them in the science of the time; but, still, the Indian population did not decrease, as it was observed to do from year to year in other countries of America and in the Spanish settlements in Paraguay.* During this period the Jesuits had made repeated efforts, but without much real success, to establish missions amongst the wild equestrian tribes in the Gran Chaco upon the western bank of the river Paraguay. Nothing, apparently, pointed to the events which, beginning in the year 1721, finally led to their expulsion, or, at least, furnished additional reasons to King Charles III. to include the Jesuits in Paraguay in the general expulsion of their order from the dominions of the Spanish crown.


* P. Cardiel (`Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 449), quoting from Xarque (`La Vida Apostolica del Padre Joseph Cataidino’, Zaragoca por Juan de Ypa, 1664), says, re the diminution of the Indians under the Spanish rule: `Para que se vea cuanta razon tiene el Juez reparese que segun los padrones del siglo pasado (vg. 1600-1700) en la ciudad y jurisdicion de Santiago del Estero habia 80,000 Indios y ahora, apenas hay ochenta. En la jurisdicion de Cordoba de Tucuman, habia 40,000; hoy no hay 40. En la jurisdicion y cercanias de la ciudad de Buenos Ayres, habia 30,000; hoy apenas hay 30.’

In that year (1721) Don Jose de Antequera was appointed to succeed the Governor of Paraguay, Don Diego de los Reyes Balmaceda, when his term of office had expired. The situation was, as often happened in the Spanish colonies, complicated by an inquiry into the conduct of the Governor (Balmaceda), in progress at the High Court of Charcas, which court, as in the case of Cardenas, acted most cautiously, both on account of its position, so far from Paraguay, and on account of the inordinate procrastination of everything connected with the Spanish law. If Balmaceda were condemned, then Antequera would step into his shoes at once. If, on the other hand, he were acquitted, Antequera would have to wait until the legal time of office had run its course. So far all was in order, but the High Court, either in doubt of its own wisdom or of its power to pronounce judgment definitely, had issued a decree suspending Balmaceda from his functions, but without either condemning or acquitting him. This, too, they did after having taken more than three years to sift the evidence and summon witnesses, who either had to cross the country on a mule at the imminent risk of death by famine or by Indians, or, having descended the river Plate to Buenos Ayres (which journey often took a month), wait for a ship to take them round Cape Horn to Lima, and from thence travel to Charcas on muleback, following one of the Incas’ roads.

Don Jose de Antequera y Castro was born at Lima, and being, as Father Charlevoix* says, an able, eloquent, but vain and most ambitious man, endowed with plenty of imagination, some talent, and but little ballast, was not content to wait till time should place him in his governorship. So, hearing that a judge inquisitor was to be sent to Paraguay to inquire into the case, and having graduated himself and held the position of procurator fiscal in the Charcas, he solicited the post, and by some error was appointed.


* Charlevoix, vol. ii., livre xvii. —

No sooner was the appointment signed than straight he posted off to Paraguay. As he had studied in the college of the Jesuits at La Plata, his first visit was to the reductions of the Jesuits. The missionaries received him well, and sent a troop of Indians to escort him to the boundary of their territories, never suspecting what Antequera was about to do. Having heard that the Governor, Balmaceda, was at a distant port upon the Parana, Antequera hastened to Asuncion. Arrived there, the same madness of authority seems to have come on him which came fifty or sixty years before his time on Cardenas. Finding no special seat reserved for him in the Cathedral, he publicly reproved the dean, to the great scandal of the worshippers. This seems not to have lost him the respect of the citizens of Asuncion, who were accustomed to all kinds of vagaries, both of their rulers and their spiritual guides. No sort of violence to laws and customs seems ever to affect a people unless the violence is done to benefit them, when instantly they rise against the breaker of the law, however heavily it may bear upon themselves.

But the devoted citizens of Asuncion were so accustomed to perpetual turmoil that, as Dean Funes* says, `they only stopped when it was absolutely necessary for them to breathe.’ Even the overpraised citizens of Athens at the time of Pericles, who must have been in all their ways so like the Athenians of to-day, were not more instant in the Agora or diligent in writing patriots’ names on oyster-shells than the noisy mob of half-breed patriots who in the sandy streets of Asuncion were ever agitating, always assembling, and doing everything within their power to show the world the perfect picture of a democratic State. Strange that such turbulent and patriotic people should have been ancestors of those whom I, after the termination of the war with Buenos Ayres and Brazil in 1870, knew as lethargic and downtrodden, as if the great dictator, Dr. Francia, whom the country people, speaking in bated breath, called `El Difunto’, had still oppressed the land. Into the turbulent hotbed of Asuncion fell Antequera, one of those Creoles of Peru who, born with talent and well educated, seemed, either from the circumstances of their birth or the surroundings amongst which they passed their youth, to differ as entirely from the Spaniards as if they had been Indians and not Creoles of white blood. Like Cardenas, Antequera was endowed with eloquence; but, unlike Cardenas, he set no store on eloquence upon its own account, but only used it for his own advancement in the world. Finding the Governor absent from Asuncion and lying under a decree suspending him from all his functions, it seems at once to have occurred to Antequera to seize his place. On this account, having ingratiated himself with some of those opposed to Balmaceda, he raised an army, and sent to seize him; but the Governor, having notice of the plot, escaped to Corrientes, and Antequera instantly assumed his post. This was too much for the Viceroy of Peru, who, though he had befriended Antequera in the past, had some respect for law. Immediately he issued a decree replacing Balmaceda in the governorship, and ordering Antequera to give him back the power he had usurped. This Antequera had no thought of doing, and he embarked on a career of violence which induced some to believe he intended to proclaim himself an independent king. Whether this was or was not the case, a state of things arose in Paraguay more pandemonic even than in the good old times of Cardenas. The Jesuits, not having seen their way to sustain the cause of their ex-pupil, were expelled once more (1725), and as before took ship for Corrientes amongst the tears of the people, their historians say,** and as Ibanez and those who have written against them affirm as strongly, amongst universal joy. Certain it is that in Asuncion they played a different part from that played by them in the mission territory, and no doubt mixed, as did the other Orders of religion, in the intrigues which never seemed to cease in the restless capital of Paraguay.


* Funes, `Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay’, etc., vol. ii., cap. v., p. 231.
** Del Techo, Lozano, Guevara, Charlevoix, etc., etc. —

Not being content with the expulsion of the Jesuits, Antequera defeated several generals sent against him by the Viceroy of Peru, and by a `coup de main’ took prisoner the ex-Governor Balmaceda, having surprised him in his house in Corrientes, and carried him back to Asuncion under a close guard. The usual reign of terror then began, and everything fell into confusion, till at last the King (Philip V.) in 1726 commanded that the Jesuits should be reinstated in their college in Asuncion, and that the missions should be taken from the jurisdiction of the Governors of Paraguay and placed under the control of the Governor of the River Plate, as had been previously done in the case of the other Jesuit missions beyond the Uruguay. But Spain was far away, and on one pretext or another so much delay occurred that it was not till March 18, 1728, that the Jesuits were reinstated in the college in Asuncion, which they were now fated to hold but for a little space. At last the Viceroy of Peru, the Marquess of Castel Fuerte, sent Don Bruno de Zavala with a sufficient army and six thousand Indians from the missions against the usurper Antequera, who fled for refuge to the Franciscan convent in Cordoba, where he remained, till, finding his position quite untenable, he fled to Charcas, where he was arrested, and sent to Lima to await his trial. Four years he waited in perfect liberty, going and coming about the town as it best pleased him, whilst the High Court heard evidence, wrote to Madrid, received instructions from the King, and generally displayed the incapacity which in all ages has been the chief distinctive features of every court of law.

In 1731 an order came from Madrid to execute him, and without loss of time he was placed on a horse draped all in black, and, preceded by a herald and guarded by a troop of guards, taken out to the public square to be beheaded. But the good people of the capital, who, in the fashion of the world, would not most probably have stirred a step to save a saint, were mightily concerned to see a rogue receive his due deserts. The streets were filled with thousands crying out `Pardon!’ stones flew, and the affair looked so threatening that the Viceroy had to get on horseback and ride amongst the crowd to calm the tumult. The people met him with a shower of stones, and he, fearing the prisoner would escape, called on his guards to fire upon him. Four balls pierced Antequera, who fell dying from his horse into the arms of two accompanying priests. Thus the most turbulent of all the Governors of Paraguay ceased troubling, and the executioner, after having cut off his head, exhibited it to the people from the scaffold, with the usual moral aphorism as to the traitor’s fate.

The triumph of the Jesuits in Asuncion was but momentary, following the general rule of triumphs, which take their way along the street with trumpets and with drums amid the acclamations of the crowd, and then, the pageant over, the chief actors fall back again into the struggles and the commonplace of ordinary life.

Between the years 1728 and 1730 the people of Asuncion had been more eager in pursuit of liberty* than was their usual wont. The citizens were divided into camps, and daily fought amongst the sandy streets and shady orange-bordered lanes which radiate from almost every quarter of the town. The rival bands of madmen were styled respectively the `Communeros’ and the `Contrabandos’, and to the first Antequera throughout his residence in Lima gave all the assistance in his power. Neither of the two seems to have had the most elementary idea of real patriotism, or any wish for anything beyond the momentary triumph of the miserable party to which each belonged. One doctrine they held in common — a hatred of the Jesuits, and of the influence they exercised against the enslaving of the Indians, which was the aim of `Contrabandos’ and of `Communeros’ alike. One of the rival chieftains of the factions having fled for refuge to the missions, the people of Asuncion assembled troops to take him from his sanctuary by force. Arrived upon the frontier of the Jesuit territory, they found themselves opposed by an army of the Indians, who looked so formidable that the troops retired to Asuncion, and the leaders, foiled in the field, and not having force to attack the Jesuits in their own territory, set vigorously to inflame the minds of the people against them.


* Liberty is commonly only attained by blood. It is, I think, quite legitimate in playing the liberty game to kill all who disagree with your party, or to banish them. In these degenerate times, lovers of liberty have to stop short at calumny, just as if they were mere tyrants.

They worked with such success that when, in 1732, the news of Antequera’s death reached Paraguay, the people, inflamed with the idea that he was sacrificed to the hatred of the Jesuits, rose and expelled them once again. The constant expulsions of the Jesuits from Asuncion, the turmoils in the State, and the fact that every now and then the Indians had to take arms to defend their territory, acted most mischievously on the reductions, both in Paraguay and in those between the Parana and Uruguay. Whole tribes of Indians, recently converted, went back to the woods; land was left quite untilled, and on the outskirts of the mission territory the warlike tribes of Indians, still unsubdued, raided the cattle, killed the neophytes, and carried off their wives as slaves. But still, in spite of all, the Indians clung to their priests — as they said, from affection for the religious care they had bestowed, but quite as possibly from the instinctive knowledge that, between the raiding Portuguese and the maddening patriots in Asuncion, their only safeguard against slavery lay in the Jesuits. Most fortunately for Paraguay at the time (1734), Don Bruno de Zavala, perhaps the most energetic of the Spaniards in the King’s service in America, was Viceroy in the River Plate. Having received orders to quiet the dissensions in Asuncion, in spite of being nearly seventy years of age, and having lost an arm in the Italian wars, he marched at once, taking but forty soldiers in his train, as, war being imminent with Portugal, it was not safe to deplete the slender forces in the River Plate. Arrived in Paraguay, he entered the Jesuit missions at the Reduction of San Ignacio Guazu,* and, having appealed to the provincial of the Order for his aid, speedily found himself at the head of a large army of the Indians. After some skirmishes he was in a position to enter Asuncion and force the people to receive him as their Governor. By one of those revulsions so frequent in a crowd of reasonable men, the people begged him to invite the Jesuits to return. They did so (1735), and were received in state, the Governor, the Bishop, and the chief clergy and officials of the place attending Mass in the Cathedral with lighted candles in their hands. His duty over, Don Bruno de Zavala set off for Chile, where he had been appointed Governor, and on his journey, at the town of Santa Fe, died suddenly, exhausted with the battles, marchings and countermarchings, rebellions, Indian incursions, the turbulence of the people in the towns, and the other cares which formed the daily duties of a Spanish officer in South America at the middle of the eighteenth century.** The next ten years were on the whole peaceful and profitable for the Indians of the missions and for the Jesuits. The Indians followed quietly their Arcadian lives, except when now and then a contingent of them was required to assist in any of the wars, which at that time were ceaseless throughout the eastern part of South America. The Jesuits pushed out their spiritual frontiers, advancing on the north amongst the Tobatines of the woods, and on the west endeavouring to spread their colonies amongst the Chiriguanas and other of the Chaco tribes.


* `Guazu’ = `great’ in Guarani. It is frequent in place-names both in Paraguay and Corrientes.
** Dean Funes, vol. ii., cap. xii., p. 372, says of Zavala: `Por caracter era manso, pero uso/ algunas veces de severidad, porque sabia que para servir bien a los hombres es preciso de cuando en cuando tener valor de desagradarlos. . . . La pobreza en que murio despues de tantos an~os de mando, es una prueba clasica de que no estaba contagiado con esa commun flaqueza de los que gobieran en America.’

From the conquest of Peru, when those Indians who had been but recently brought under the empire of the Incas retreated into the Chaco, it had been the refuge of the fiercest and most indomitable tribes. The Spanish colonists, the ardour of the first conquest spent, had settled down mainly to agricultural pursuits. Few had efficient firearms, and on the whole, though turbulent amongst themselves, they had become unwarlike.* The very name of the wild Indians (Los Indios Bravos) spread terror up and down the frontiers. This terror, which I remember still prevalent both in Mexico and on the pampas of the Argentine Republic, not more than five-and-twenty years ago, was keener upon the confines of the Chaco than anywhere in South America, except, perhaps, in Chile, upon the frontiers of Araucania.


* In the long and interesting letter of Jaime Aguilar, the provincial of the Jesuits in Paraguay, to the King of Spain (Philip V., 1737), occurs the following passage:

`Y si alguna vez, que no son muchas, se animan los Espan~oles a perseguir y castigar los Indios, muchos huyen de la tierra, o se esconden, por no ir a la entrada. . . . Otras (vezes) quando llegan alla/, el Enemigo les quitan la Cavallada, dexandolos a pie y se vuelven a casa como pueden.’

This I have seen myself, not thirty years ago, on the frontiers of the Argentine Republic. The popular Argentine poem, `La Vuelta de Martin Fierro’, by Jose Hernandez (Buenos Ayres, 1880), has an illustration showing an expedition against the Indians returning. Some of the men are on foot; others are riding two on the same horse, and officers are animating their men with the flat of their swords. —

The Tobas, Mataguayos, Lules, Aguilotas, Abipones, and the rest, together with the warlike nations of the Vilelas and the Guaycurus, had from the first rejected Christianity. Attempts had several times been made to establish settlements amongst them, but the ferocity of all the tribes, their nomad habits — for many of them passed their lives on horseback — and the peculiar nature of their country, a vast domain of swamp, pierced by great rivers quite unknown to the Spanish settlers, had hitherto combined to render every effort vain. But, notwithstanding this, the Jesuits laboured incessantly, and not without success, amongst the wildest of the Chaco tribes. The gentle and eccentric Father Martin Dobrizhoffer passed many years amongst the Abipones, of whom he wrote his charming book. He enumerates many tribes, of whom he says* `these are for the most converted by us, and settled in towns.’


* `Account of the Abipones’, p. 125. —

Nothing, perhaps, displays the Jesuits at their best, more than their efforts in the Chaco. The enormous territory was sparsely peopled by about seventy tribes,*1* whereof there were fifteen or sixteen of considerable size. Hardly two tribes spoke dialects by which they could communicate with one another, and almost every one of them lived in a state of warfare, not only with the Spaniards, but with the neighbouring tribes. The inventories preserved by Brabo*2* show us the town of Paisanes in the Chaco, with its rough wooden houses, and the Jesuits’ habitation in the middle of the place, stockaded, and without doors, and with but narrow openings in the wall, through which the missionaries crept. The inside of the house contained five or six rough rooms, almost unfurnished, but for a few religious books and a plentiful supply of guns.*3* Their beds were of unvarnished wood, with curtains of rough cotton spun by the Indians. Sometimes they had a sofa of leather slung between four stakes, a rack for medicine bottles, and for the wine for Mass. Lastly, one priest, in the settlement amongst the Toquitistines, had among his books copies of Cervantes and Quevedo; one hopes he read them half smiling, half with a tear in his eye, for your true humour is akin to tears. Perhaps, reading `Don Quixote’ or `El Gran Tacano’, the poor priest forgot his troubles, and, wandering with Sancho in La Manchan oak-woods or through Castilian uplands, thought he was in Spain.*4*


*1* Brabo, `Inventarios’, p. ix.
*2* Francisco Xavier Brabo, `Inventarios de los bienes hallados a/ la expulsion de los Jesuitas’ (Madrid, 1872). *3* The lists of cannons, guns, and arms of all kinds in the inventories of the Chaco towns, preserved by Brabo, serve to show not only the dangers to which the Jesuits were exposed, but also how thoroughly the Jesuits understood the fickle nature of those with whom they lived.
*4* Another priest, the list of whose effects Brabo has preserved in his `Inventarios’, had a book called `El Alivio de Tristes’. Even a Protestant may be excused for hoping that it merited its title. —

Throughout the territory of the Gran Chaco there were but seven reductions established by the Jesuits. These were San Jose de Bilelas, with its little town Petacas; San Juan Bautista de los Iristines, with its townlet of the same name; San Esteban de los Lules, with the town of Miraflores; Nuestra Senora del Buen Consejo de los Omarapas, capital Ortega; Nuestra Senora de Pilar de los Paisanes, with Macapillo as its centre; Nuestra Senora del Rosario de los Tobas, with its chief place called San Lucas; and, lastly, the establishment amongst the Abipones, known as La Concepcion. In all these missions the Jesuits lived in constant peril of their lives. In reading their old chronicles one finds the records of their obscure and half-forgotten martyrdoms, their sufferings, and the brief record of their deaths by an arrow or a club. In 1711 Father Cavallero, with all his following, was slain by the savage Pinzocas. In 1717 Father Romero, having, as a Jesuit writer says, `nothing but moral force behind him,’* was slain with twelve companions of the Guaranis of Paraguay. In 1718 Fathers Arco and Blende, Sylva and Maceo, received their dusted-over martyrs’ crowns.


* Cretineau Joly, tome v., chap. ii., p. 95. Your moral force is excellent in a civilized country; but your modern missionary usually prefers something more in accordance with the spirit of the times. —

Right up the western bank of the river Paraguay, in the old maps, the crosses mark the sites where Jesuits were slain. That they all died to further crafty schemes, or for some hidden purpose of a Machiavelian nature, even a Dominican will scarcely urge. That they did good — more or less good than Protestant fanatics of the same kidney might have achieved — it were invidious to inquire. That which is certain is that they were single-hearted men, faithful unto the end to what they thought was right, faithful even to the shedding of their own blood, which is, one may believe, the way in which the scriptural injunction should be rightly read.

In the dim future, when some shadow of common-sense dawns on the world, and when men recognise that it is better to let others follow their destiny as it best pleases them, without the officious interference of their fellows, it may be that they will say all missionaries of whatsoever sect or congregation should have stayed at home, and not gone gadding to the desert places of the earth seeking to remedy the errors of their God by their exertions; but whilst the ideal still remains of sacrifice (which may, for all I know, be useless in itself, or even harmful), they must perforce allow the Jesuits in Paraguay high rank, or else be stultified.

But in the Chaco the Jesuits found conditions most different from those prevailing in their missions between the Uruguay and Parana. Instead of open plains, vast swamps; instead of docile semi-Arcadians like the Guaranis, who almost worshipped them, fierce nomad horsemen,