A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.

[22] This is probably the first instance of a civilized nation employing
    the horrid alliance of ferocious animals to hunt down their brethren
    like beasts of chase.  Once only were the British arms disgraced by a
    demonstration of using this savage mode of warfare, which it is to be
    hoped will never be again heard of in our annals.—­E.

[23] The measure of gold dust in the text seems enormous, and I am
    disposed to believe that instead of the large horse bell, mentioned
    in the text, a large hawks bell ought to be substituted.  It is
    difficult, perhaps impossible to estimate the population of St Domingo
    at this period, and thence to form a conjecture as to the amount of
    the tribute.  From the preceding account of the number of subordinate
    caciques, and the large force opposed to Columbus, perhaps Hispaniola
    might then contain 500,000 inhabitants of all ages, half of whom, or
    250,000, might be liable to the tax.  Supposing 50,000 of these
    employed as gold finders, and to pay one ounce each annually, worth
    L. 4 the ounce, this would produce L. 200,000.  The remaining 200,000
    paying 100 libs. of cotton each, would give twenty million of pounds;
    and this rated at sixpence a pound would produce L. 500,000, making
    the whole revenue L. 700,000 a-year, a prodigious sum in those days;
    but out of which the expences of government and the admirals share
    were to be defrayed.  All this can only be considered as an
    approximation or mere conjecture.—­E.

[24] It is a singularly perverted devotion that praises the Almighty for
    success in murder, rapine, and injustice; and doubtless a devout
    Spaniard of those days would sing Te Deum for the comfortable
    exhibition of an auto de fe, in which those who differed from the
    dogmas of the holy Catholic church were burnt for the glory of GOD. 
    The ways of Providence are inscrutable, and are best viewed by human
    ignorance in silent humility and reverential awe.—­E.

[25] It is surely possible that a good Catholic, accustomed to the worship
    of images, might not see idolatry in the ceremonies of the
    Hispaniolans; but the sentiment seems darkly expressed.—­E.

SECTION VII.

Account of the Antiquities, Ceremonies, and Religion of the Natives of Hispaniola, collected by F. Roman, by order of the Admiral[1].

I, Father Roman, a poor anchorite of the order of St Jerome, by command of the most illustrious lord admiral, viceroy and governor-general of the islands and continent of the Indies, do here relate all that I could hear and learn concerning the religious opinions and idolatry of the Indians, and of the ceremonies they employ in the worship of their gods.

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