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  • 1901
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they acquit themselves with honour in the positions to which they may attain. Eloquence is held amongst them in the first place, and avarice in no respect degrades their minds. An injurious word offends them more than punishments, which they solicit rather than undergo the former outrage. Incontinency in their women they look upon but with indifference, and even husbands are little sensible to acts of infidelity. Conjugal love has but slight influence upon the treatment which they give their wives. Fathers of families care for their sons but little. The serenity of mind of all these Indians in the midst of the greatest troubles is without equal in the world; never a sigh with them takes off the bitterness of suffering.’

*1* The Paraguayan Jesuits were allowed to take away all their personal property, and it appears that they did so. *2* Cayetano Ibarguen had only two, P. Lorenzo Balda three, and so on (Brabo, `Coleccion de Documentos’, p. 388). *3* So late as 1818 Rengger, in his `Essai Historique sur la Re/volution du Paraguay’, etc., talks of arriving in Buenos Ayres `apre\s un court trajet de soixante jours.’ From thence to Corrientes he took seven weeks, but does not say if the passage was considered short or long.
*4* Funes, `Ensayo Critico de la Historia Civil del Paraguay’, etc.; Don Feliz de Azara, `Descripcion y Historia del Paraguay’, etc.; and also `Memorias sobre el estado rural del Rio de la Plata en 1801′. *5* `Ensayo de la Historia Civil’, vol. i., book ii., p. 341. —

No one who knows the Indians but must confess that Dean Funes had made a study of their character deeper than is his own. Azara, on the other hand, was a man of science; his books upon the birds and quadrupeds of Paraguay still hold the field, and are esteemed for curious and minute observation and accuracy as to scientific facts. The man himself was an extremely able writer, a captain in the Spanish navy, and well educated. For twenty years he served in Paraguay and in the River Plate, with credit to himself and profit to the country which he served. Educated as he was in the school of the Encyclopaedists, amongst the strictest of the pharisees of Liberalism, to him the very name of Jesuit was anathema. After the fashion of his kind, he seemed unable to distinguish between the scheming Jesuits at European courts and the simple and hard-working missionaries in Paraguay. All were anathema, and therefore all their system was repugnant to him; and though a kindly man, as is set forth abundantly in all his works, he never paused to think that there could be a difference between his ideal free Liberal citizen, voting and exercising all his right of citizenship in a free commonwealth, after the fashion of a dormouse freely exercising his natural functions in the receiver of an air-pump, and a simple Indian of the Paraguayan woods.

Freedom to him, as it has been to many theorists, was an abstract thing, possessing which a man, even though starving, must in its mere possession find true happiness. He never paused to inquire, as even Bucareli did, if the mission Indians could hold their own under free competition with the `sagacity’ of the surrounding Spanish settlers. Therefore he is the authority whom Liberals always quote against the system of the Jesuits. When he inveighs against their semi-communism, the modern Liberal claps his hands, and sees a kindred Daniel come to judgment, as he would do to-day if in Damaraland the Germans set up a Socialistic settlement amongst the negro tribes, and some Liberal economist denounced it with an oath. Azara quite forgets that, as Dean Funes says, the `sentiment of property was very weak amongst the Indians,’ and that their minds were `not degraded by the vice of avarice.’ Still, Azara was an honest man — a keen observer and impartial, as far as his upbringing and the tenets he had imbibed in youth permitted him to be. Upon the question of the Jesuits he was entirely prejudiced, although few have stood up more stoutly to condemn the faulty system which the Spaniards pursued towards the Indians in both Americas. But on account of his political proclivities Azara is quite silent as to the state into which the missions fell after the Jesuits had been expelled. No doubt he thought that, once their faulty system was removed, the Indians would soon become what he judged civilized, and hold their own with those around them, though of another race and blood.

Funes, upon the contrary, fully exposes all the rapacity and incompetence of the new shepherds left by Bucareli to guard the Jesuits’ sheep.

`Ignorant* of Guarani, and without patience to acquire it, confusion reigned in the missions as in a tower of Babel,’ and he goes on to say `an imperious tone of order was substituted for the paternal manner (of the Jesuits), and as a deaf man who cannot hear has to be taught by blows, that was the teaching they (the Indians) had to bear.’ Shortly, he says, `a wall of hatred and contempt began to rise between the Indians and their masters; and the priests, who by the virtue of their office ought to have been the ministers of peace, being without influence to command . . . and not entirely irreproachable in their ministry . . . added themselves to the discord and dissension which arose.’

* Funes, `Ensayo de la Historia Civil’, etc., book v., cap. viii., p. 133. —

Bucareli, as soon as he knew what was going on, advised that all the priests appointed by himself should be replaced by others. This accordingly was done, but it was even then too late: the missions went from bad to worse; of the vast quantities of cattle few were left; the priests followed the example of their prototypes Hofni and Phineas, went about armed, took Indian mistresses, and neglected all religious duties, treating the Indians after the fashion of the Spaniards in the settlements. Thus the Arcadian life, which had subsisted more than two hundred years, in the brief space of two short years was lost.

The vast estancias, in which at the expulsion more than a million head of cattle pastured,* were but bare plains, in which the cattle that were left had all run wild or perished from neglect. Wild beasts roamed round the outskirts of the half-deserted towns. A dense low scrub of yatais and of palmettos invaded all the pasture-lands, and in the erstwhile cultivated fields rank weeds sprang up, and choked the crops which in the Jesuits’ times had made the mission territories the most productive of the American possessions of the Spanish crown. The churches were unserved, and in the evening air no more the hymns resounded, nor did the long white-robed processions headed by a cross pass to the fields to peaceful labour, marshalled by their priests. The fruit-trees round the missions were either all cut down for firewood or had degenerated, and the plantations of the Ilex Paraguayensis,** from which they made their `yerba’, which had been brought from the up-country forests with vast pains, were in decay, and quite uncultivated.

* Brabo, `Inventarios’, Appendix, p. 669. ** Demersay (`Histoire du Paraguay’), writing in 1847, says of the mission of La Cruz he saw a few trees still standing in a miserable state.

The Indian population had almost disappeared within the space of eight-and-twenty years.* The Guaranis collected from the woods with so much effort to the missionary, then guided down the Parana by the most noble and self-sacrificing of their priests, Ruiz Montoya, and after that redeemed with blood from the fierce Mameluco bands, had shrunk away before the baneful breath of unaccustomed contact with the civilizing whites.

* Funes, `Ensayo de la Historia Civil’, etc., book vi., cap. viii., p. 395. —

The simple ceremonious, if perhaps futile, mission-life had withered up at the first touch of vivifying competition — that competition which has made the whole world gray, reducing everything and everyone to the most base and commonest denominator.

The self-created goddess Progress was justified by works, and all the land left barren, waiting the time when factories shall pollute its sky, and render miserable the European emigrants, who, flying from their slavery at home, shall have found it waiting for them in their new paradise beyond the seas.

The world, it would appear, is a vast class-room, and its Creator but a professor of political economy, apparently unable to carry out his theories with effect. Therefore, to us, the Western Europeans, he has turned for help, and upon us devolved the task of extirpating all those peoples upon whom he tried his ‘prentice hand. On us he laid injunctions to increase at home, and to the happier portions of the world to carry death under the guise of life unsuitable to those into whose lands we spread.

Let those made cruel by the want of sympathy with men that the mere poring over books so often superinduces in the mind protest when judging of the Jesuits in Paraguay against the outrage done to their theories by the scheme the Jesuits pursued.

It has been nobly said* `that the extinction of the smallest animal is a far greater loss than if the works of all the Greeks had perished.’ How much the greater loss that of a type of man such as the Indians, whom the semi-communistic Jesuit government successfully preserved, sheltering them from the death-dealing breath of our cold northern life and its full, fell effects!

* Hudson, `Naturalist in La Plata’. —

There are those, no doubt, who think that a tree brought from the tropics should be planted out at home, to take its chance of life in the keen winter of the north, in holy competition with the ash and oak; and if it dies, there are still pines enough, with stores of dogwood, thickets of elder, and a wilderness of junipers. They may be right; but, after all, that which has felt the tropic sun is for the tropics, and to grow under the tantalizing sunshine of the north, which lights but does not warm, it must have glass, and shelter from the cold.

But of aforethought to deliberately transplant our fogs and chilling atmosphere, and so to nip and kill plants which crave only the sun to live, that is a crime against humanity; a crime posterity with execration will one day taunt us with, and hold us up to execration, as we to-day in our hypocrisy piously curse the memories of Pizarro and Cortes.

In the eternal warfare between those who think that progress — which to them means tramways and electric light — is preferable to a quiet life of futile happiness of mind there is scant truce, so that my readers have to take their choice whether to side with Funes or Azara in judging of the Jesuits’ rule in Paraguay. There is no middle course between the old and new; no halting-place; no chink in which imagination can drive in its nail to stop the wheels of time; therefore, no doubt, the Jesuit commonwealth was doomed to disappear. But for myself, I am glad that five-and-twenty years ago I saw the Indians who still lingered about the ruined mission towns, mumbling their maimed rites when the Angelus at eventide awoke the echoes of the encroaching woods, whilst screeching crowds of parrots and macaws hovered around the date-palms which in the plaza reared their slender heads, silent memorials of the departed Jesuits’ rule.

Indians and Jesuits are gone from Paraguay, the Indians to that Trapalanda which is their appointed place; and for the Jesuits, they are forgotten, except by those who dive into old chronicles, or who write books, proposing something and concluding nothing, or by travellers, who, wandering in the Tarumensian woods, come on a clump of orange-trees run wild amongst the urundeys.


About the author:

Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936)

Born in London. Lived in Argentina, mostly ranching, from 1869 to 1883, when he returned to Scotland. Member of the British House of Commons for North West Lanark (1886-1892). Strong socialist tendencies. Was elected first president of the Scottish Labour Party in 1888, first president of the National Party of Scotland in 1928, and first Honorary President of the Scottish National Party in 1934. Died in Argentina. He was the model for a number of fictional characters in books by his friend, Joseph Conrad, and also by G. B. Shaw.

Notes to the etext:

Corrections made:


(p. viii) (first footnote)
It is difficult to tell — it may be merely a smudge — and if not, it is probably an error, but the first “c” in “concilium” seems to have a cedilla.

Chapter I:

(p. 6) (footnote)
[ `Commentarios Reales’ (en Madrid CI}. I}CCXXIII., en la oficina ] where “}” marks a character that is the mirror image of “C”, which was formerly used in Roman Numerals as follows: “CI}” = “M” [1,000]; “I}” = “D” [500]; and subsequent “}”s multiply by ten, as “I}}}” = 50,000. changed to:
[ `Commentarios Reales’ (en Madrid 1723, en la oficina ] Let us all take this moment to give thanks for Hindu-Arabic numerals, Amen.

(p. 19)
[ `Descripcion y Historia del Paraguay, `the Guarani/s were spread ] changed to:
[ `Descripcion y Historia del Paraguay’, `the Guarani/s were spread ]

(p. 24) (footnote)
[ del Sr Provisor Alonso Joseph Gomez de Lara. ] changed to:
[ del Sr. Provisor Alonso Joseph Gomez de Lara. ]

(p. 34)
[ and his mother Don~a Teresa Cabeza de Vaca, ] changed to:
[ and his mother `Don~a Teresa Cabeza de Vaca, ] as the best guess as to where the quoted section begins, which is later marked with a closing quote.

Chapter II:

(p. 52) (footnote)
[ de la Compagnie de Je/sus, vol. iii., cap v., p. 322 ] changed to:
[ de la Compagnie de Je/sus’, vol. iii., cap v., p. 322 ]

(p. 74)
[ militia of the missions could no nothing with their bows and arrows ] changed to:
[ militia of the missions could do nothing with their bows and arrows ]

Chapter V:

(p. 129)
[ to divine will, which, will, as the Bishop ] changed to:
[ to divine will, which will, as the Bishop ]

(p. 131) (footnote)
[ * Exod. xxxii. 27. ]
updated to:
[ * Exod. 32:27. ]

(p. 138)
[ sending to him one Father Lopez, Provincial of the Dominicians. ] changed to:
[ sending to him one Father Lopez, Provincial of the Dominicans. ]

Chapter VI:

(p. 181) (footnote)
[ `Declaracion de la Verdad, p. 295: ] changed to:
[ `Declaracion de la Verdad’, p. 295: ]

(p. 184) (footnote)
[ la Historia del Paraguay’, etc., cap. i., vol. ii. ] changed to:
[ la Historia del Paraguay’, etc., cap. i., vol. ii.). ]

Chapter IX:

(p. 237)
[ After negotiations, lasting many years, in 1758 a treaty was signed ] changed to:
[ After negotiations, lasting many years, in 1750 a treaty was signed ] 15 January 1750, to be exact.

Chapter X:

(pp. 263-264) (footnote)
[ Iban~ez rarely spoke he truth, not even when it would ] changed to:
[ Iban~ez rarely spoke the truth, not even when it would ]

(p. 268) (footnote)
[ The war commenced in 1868 and finished in 1870, ] changed to:
[ The war commenced in 1865 and finished in 1870, ] (the dates generally given for this war, though the opening stages arguably occurred late in 1864.)

(p. 275)
[ signed by the celebrated Nicolas N~eengiuru/ and other Indians, ] changed to:
[ signed by the celebrated Nicolas N~eenguiru/ and other Indians, ] and:
[ the family of the N~eengiuru/ had been well known ] changed to:
[ the family of the N~eenguiru/ had been well known ] (as it appears elsewhere in the text)

(p. 276)
[ the flattering of Nicolas N~eengiuru ] changed to:
[ the flattering of Nicolas N~eenguiru ] The wrong spelling is given throughout Chapter X, but Chapter X only.

The original Map has been omitted by necessity.

The original Index has been omitted as unnecessary in a searchable text.

The excellent film, “The Mission” (1986), was based on events apparently related to the `Jesuit War’ referred to in Chapter IX.

As an example of the difficulty presented by the multitude of languages used by the individuals who recorded this history, the following lines, taken from throughout the text, and apparently referring the same place, should prove useful as a reminder that one has to be careful when performing automated searches:

and on the east by Sierra of Mbaracavu, as it is at present. and in the chain of mountains known either as San Jose or Mbaracayu. forced their way through the mountains known as the Sierra de Mbaracyu. hard by the mountains of Mbaracaya/, close to the great `yerbales’,*

There were a number of accented characters in the original text, that cannot be conveniently included in ASCII. Some of these recur throughout the text, most notably: Guarani/ = Guarani; Parana/ = Parana; Alvar Nun~ez = Alvar Nunez; yerba mate/ = yerba mate; Guaycuru/ = Guaycuru; Guayra/ = Guayra; Diaz Tan~o = Diaz Tano; Paranapane/ = Paranapane; Jose/ = Jose; Chiriguana/s = Chiriguanas; Payagua/ = Payagua; Sen~ora = Senora; Iban~ez = Ibanez; and N~eenguiru/ = Neenguiru (the last u is sometimes given without an accent).

The accents have been stripped out of words that are used as part of an English phrase or sentence, but due to sheer volume, are marked in the text itself when part of a quotation, book title, or the like. The symbols employed are mostly obvious: (/) is acute, (\) is grave, (^) is circumflex, (~) is tilde, (“) is umlaut, (,) [after c in the middle of a word] is cedilla; and (=) is breve.]

Exception to accent acute on final e in Jose (may be a mistake in original): and in the chain of mountains known either as San Jose or Mbaracayu/. —
Exception to accent tilde on n in “Senora” (may be a mistake in original) the missions extended from Nuestra Senora de Fe/* (or Santa Maria), —

The following lines contained less common accented characters (as marked):

`Concordia grati(ae) et liberi arbitrii’, by Luis de Molina (1588). From the calumnies of the Jansenists to the follies of Euge\ne Sue of the Lulis, Tobas, Lenguas, Mocobio/s, and others, are almost as savage and launched into some disquisition he had heard in the solitary cafe/ Entre Rios, and of Santa Fe/.
as a point on the river Caracara, in what is now the province of Santa Fe/, Cabot appears to have ascended the Parana to the island of Apipe/, were known either as Tupis, from the word `tupy’,** savage, or Tupinamba/s, from `tupynamba/’, literally, the savage or indigenous men. but he omits to state if the `charbon broye/’ was `bailli’ at the same price except when talking Spanish or to a foreigner. The word `aba/’, they apply the word `Abanee’.
called paraqua/ (`Ortolida paraqua’). Again, Angelis, in his work derives it from Paragua/, the name of a celebrated Indian chief about the sources of the Igatimi/, an affluent of the Parana, and in the chain of mountains known either as San Jose or Mbaracayu/. and sometimes as Caagua/s. They present almost the same characteristics D’Orbigny in his `L’Homme Ame/ricain’, estimates the Guaranis of Brazil took occasion to fall upon the friendly and unsuspecting Timbu/ Indians Pedro de Vera who won Canaria,’ and his mother `Don~a Teresa Cabeza de Vaca, After passing the river Iguazu/, he sent the two friars ahead chan~ares, n~andubay, jacarandas, urundey, talas, and quebrachos, Occasionally a fight took place with Guasarapos or with Pagayua/s, [ may be misprint of Payagua/ ]
not far from where is now the town of Corumba/. There Alvar Nunez founded Irala died at the little village of Ita/ in 1557, and was buried town of Sa~o Paulo. Azara, who hated the Jesuits (his brother, in the wild forests of the Taruma/, they employed a hundred and twelve years. *1* Lahier (Francisci) S. I., `Ann(ae) Paraguarie, Annor. 1635, in times of scarcity and danger been taken by their prote/ge/s by the elder Lopez, President of Paraguay, under Lieutenant Patin~o in 1861. call it Salto de Canandiyu/, which, according to Azara, the giant ant-eater, and the mysterious bird known to them as the `ipetata/’, In front a band of men armed with mache/tes (cane-knives) and at Santa Maria la Mayor upon the Iguazu/. Then famine raged, to the banks of a little river called the Jubaburru/s,* with Don~a Barbara of Portugal. By the treaty entered into at this marriage, Montoya sent Fathers Jean Ranc,onier and Mansilla to the north of Paraguay though in some places Jean de Le/ry* seems to indicate he was acquainted The Mamelucos burst into the province of Tape/,* and, when have good men (before the time of the encyclop(ae)dists) who had taken refuge in the islands of the Lake Ybera/. in his `Historia Paraquai(ae)’ tells us), having made war in Flanders, ** `Historia Paraquari(ae)’, book xii., cap. xii. had several missions extending from Yuti to Cazapa/, thus being Don Bernardino took his way to Santa Fe/, from whence he wrote Don Bernardino’s usual luck attended him in Santa Fe/. This town then formed one of the man(oe)uvres which in Peru had stood him in good stead. for his own saintly proceedings in his new diocese. Cre/tineau Joly, in his `Histoire de la Compagnie de Je/sus’, vol. iii., p. 333 killed the priests, and gone back to the wilds. From Santa Fe/ called Arecaya/, close to Asuncion, had fallen into disgrace; the Bishop who was at Itatines, to transfer himself to Arecaya/, The Bishop answered this advice `fort se\chement’,* taking it was `homme a\ visions’, called in the rector of the Jesuit college as the other clergy, endeavoured to organize a religious `coup d’e/tat’; esteemed the Jesuits for their `coup d’autorite/’ in the same manner that he was appointed Bishop of Popaya/n. As Popaya/n (in New Granada) The armies met not far from Luque/, in a little plain known to hide in, made a good battlefield. The village of Luque/, In the open glades upon the n~andubays,*5* the algarrobos, and the espinillos, hang various Orchidace(ae),*6* called by the natives The Labiat(ae), Composit(ae), Datur(ae), Umbellifer(ae), Convolvulace(ae), *2* Urunday (`Astrenium fraxinifolium: Terebinthace(ae)’), curapay (`Piptadenia communis: Leguminace(ae)’), lapacho (`Tecoma curialis’ and `varia: Begoniace(ae)’), taruma (`Vitex Taruma: Verbenace(ae)’), tatane (`Acacia maleolens: Leguminace(ae)’), and cupai (`Copaifera Langsdorfii’). (`Guaiacum officinalis’), butac(ae), and the `Cedrela Braziliensis’, one of the Terebinthace(ae). It was sold by the Jesuits in Europe. as of that of N~eembucu, cover large tracts of land, forming in winter as did the Tobatines, who in 1740 suddenly left the reduction of Santa Fe/, qui in Reductionibus Paraquari(ae) versantur, ex Rituale Romano as if they were carved in n~andubay, contrasted strangely with their finery. Their `cacique’ was Ignacio Amandaa/, who commanded in chief of which they had several, but notably at Yapeyu/ upon the Uruguay. the Abbe/ Muratori* describes a paradise. A very Carlo Dolce The Indians are all love and gratitude. No need in the Abbe/’s pages and paints them quite as black as the Abbe/ Muratori painted them the missions extended from Nuestra Senora de Fe/* (or Santa Maria), on the east bank of the Parana, to Yapeyu/, upon the Uruguay. The second, generally styled companion (el Compan~ero), to Asuncion, others from Yapeyu/ to the Salto Grande, on the Parana/. (`La Vida Apostolica del Padre Joseph Cataidino’, Zaragoc,a por is akin to tears. Perhaps, reading `Don Quixote’ or `El Gran Tacan~o’, Their name for the god they worshipped was Tupa/, but `of that God under the name of Ana/, yet they paid little adoration to him, expatiated on its flames to the Chirignano/s, they said, At that date Franc,ois Retz was General of the Jesuits, and on him devolved marched upon Santo Thome/, where Altamirano had taken up his residence, `O dura tellus Hispani(ae)!’ It is certainly the case that Iban~ez, *3* `Hoc itaque nuncio l(ae)ti altero ac incensi . . . Sacramento expiationis with the painted figure of a saint, under whose (ae)gis they deemed themselves That thaim thoucht thane off gret bewte/ ** If this assumes to be Sa^o Paulo de Piritinanga in Brazil, [ possibly should be Sa~o Paulo ]
from `la cruz a/ la fecha’.
and pronounced a\ la franc,aise, with the accent equal upon the well-known Spanish name of Donna Maria della Cupidita\. he becomes the lady’s lover as in duty bound. `Chasse/’ from Seville that under the style and title of `Comte de la Emmande/s’, `dans une inquie/tude mortelle’, as she might well have been. version of his history, in which no Donna della Cupidita\ or de la Victoria The Pampa Indian name of the bird is `trare/’. Molina (Don Juan Ignacio), in his `History of Chile’, happened to spell the word `thare/’, instead of `trare/’, and then proceeded to make a dog-Latin form of it. to recoup himself from the treasure of the conquered. `V(ae) victis’, *4* Yapeyu/ was the largest of all the missions. The name signifies a chisel Educated as he was in the school of the Encyclop(ae)dists, piously curse the memories of Pizarro and Corte/s. about the ruined mission towns, mumbling their maime/d rites run wild amongst the urunde/ys.