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} dexterity, he possessed a bustling indefatigable
activity, which fometimes accomplishes its purposes with greater success, than the most exquifite discernment and address. He courted the Flemish ministers with affiduity. He represented to them the absurdity of all the maxims hitherto adopted with respect to the government of America, and particularly the defects of that arrangement which Ximenes had introduced. The memory of Ferdinand was odious to the Flemings. The fuperior virtue and abilities of Ximenes had long the object of their envy, They fondly wished to have a plausible pretext for condemning the measures, both of the monarch and of the minister, and of reflecting fome discredit on their political wisdom. The friends of Don Diego Columbus, as well as the Spanish courtiers, who had been dissatisfied with the cardinal's adminiftration, joined Las Casas in censuring the scheme of sending superintendents to America. This union of so many interests and pafsions was irrefiftible; and, in consequence of it, the fathers of St. Jerome, and their associate Zuazo, were recalled. Roderigo de Fi. gueroa, a lawyer of fome eminence, was appointed chief judge of the island, and received instructions, in compliance with the request of Las Casas, to examine once more, with the utmost attention, the point in controversy betweep him and the people of the colony, with
respect to the treatment of the natives; and in the mean time to do every thing in his power to alleviate their sufferings, and prevent the extinction of the race. i) :
Scheme of supplying the colonies with negroes.
• This was all that the zeal of Las Cafas could procure, at that juncture, in favour of the Indians. The impoflibility of carrying on any improvement in America, unless the Spanish planters could command the labour of the natives, was an insuperable objection to his plan of treating them as free subjects. In order to provide some remedy for this, without which he found it was in vain to mention his scheme, Les Casas proposed to purchase a sufficient number of negroes from the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Africa, and to transport them to America , in order that they might be employed as slaves in working the mines and cultivating the ground. One of the first advantages which the Portuguese had derived from their discoveries in Africa, arose from the trade in flaves. Various circumstances concurred in reviving this odious commerce, which had long been abolished in Europe, and which is no less repugnant to the feelings of humanity, than to the principles of religion. As early as the year one thousand five hundred and three , a few negroe slaves had been sent into the New World. k) In the year one thousand five hundred and eleven, Ferdinand permitted the importation of them in greater numbers. 1) They were found to be a more robuft and hardy race than the natives of America. They were more capable of enduring fatigue, more patient under servitude, and the labour of one negro was computed to be equal to that of four Indians. m) Cardinal Ximenes, however, when solicited to encourage this commerce, peremptorily rejected the proposition, because he perceived the iniquity of reducing one race of men to flavery, while he was consulting about the means of restoring liberty to another. n) But Las Casas, from the inconfistency natural to men who hurry with headlong impetuosity towards a favourite point, was incapable of making this distinction. While he contended earnestly for the liberty of the people born in one quarter of the globe, he laboured to enslave the inhabitants of another region; and in the warmth of his zeal to save the Americans from the yoke, pronounced it to be lawful and expedient to impofe one still heavier upon the Africans. Unfortunately for the latter, Las Casas's plan was adopted. Charles granted a patent to one of his Flemish favour
1) Herrera , dec. 2. lib. ii. c. 16. 19. 21. lib. iii. c. 7. 8.
k) Herrera, dec. I. lib. y, c. 12. 1) Ibid. lib. viii. c. 9. m) Ibid. lib. ix. c. 5. n) Ibid. dec. 2. lib. ii. c. 8.
ites, containing an exclusive right of importing four thousand negroes into America. He fold his patent to some Genoese merchants for twenty five thousand ducats, and they were the first who brought into a regular form that commerce for flaves between Africa and America, which has since been carried on to such an amazing extent. o) : Las Casas proposes sending labourers to Hispaniola. . But the Genoese merchants, conducting their operations, ať firft, (1518.) with the rapacity of monopolists, demanded such an bigh price for negroes, that the number imported into Hispaniola made no great change upon the ftate of the colony. Las Casas, whose zeal was no less inventive than indefatigable, had recourse to another expedient for the relief of the Indians. He observed, that most of the persons who had settled hitherto in America, were foldiers and failors employed in the discovery or conquest of the country; the younger sons of noble families, allured by the prospect of acquiring sudden wealth ; or desperate adventurers, whom their indigence or crimes forced to abandon their native land. Instead of such men, who were diffolute, rapacious, and incapable of that fober persevering industry which is requisite in forming new colonies, he pro
n) Herrera, dec. 1, lib. 2. c. 2.0.
posed to supply the new fettlements in Hispaniola and the other islands with a fufficient number of labourers and husbandmen, who should be allured by suitable premiums to remove thither. These, as they were accustomed to fatigue, would be able to perform the work to which the Indians, from the feebleness of their constitution, were unequal, and might foon become useful and opulent citizens. But though Hispaniola ftood much in need of a recruit of inhabitants, having been visited at this
time with the small - pox, which swept off e many of the natives, and though Las Casas had
the countenance of the Flemish ministers, this o scheme was defeated by the bishop of Burgos, * who thwarted all his projects. p)
Forms the idea of a new colony.
Las Cafas now despaired of procuring any per relief for the Indians in those places where the
Spaniards were already settled. The evil was
become so inveterate thete, as not to admit of i a cute. But such discoveries were daily making
in the continent, as gave an high ideą both of şi its extent and populousness. In all those vast
regions there was but one feeble colony plant
ed; and except a small fpot on the isthmus of í Darien, the natives still occupied the whole
couttry. This opened a new and more ample
p) Herrera, dec, 2. lib. ii, c. 21.