to the proposal. Herrera informs us in what manner it was carried into effect:
The Spaniards who went in the first told these people that they came from Hispaniola, where the souls of their parents, kindred, and friends lived at their ease; and if they would go see them they should be carried over in these ships. For it is certain that the certain that the Indian notions believed that the soul is immortal, and that when the body was deal it went to certain places of delight, where it wanted for nothing that might give it satisfaction. a
"That simple people," says Robertson, "listened with wonder and credulity; and found of visiting their relatives and friends in that happy 40,000 were decoyed into Hispaniola to share in the sufferings which were the lot of the inhabitants of that island, and to mingle their groans and tears with that wretched race of men." b
By this expedient the number of Indians in Hispaniola was raised to 100,000. But the work of human destruction went on. Nine years later, to wit, in 1517, Roderingo Albuquerque, being appointed principal officer to distribute the repartimientos, caused an enumeration of the Indians to be made. The number was found to be reduced to 14,000. Six-seventh had perished in nine years! The survivors were put up to sale in different lots. The secrets of their prison house what tongue can ever reveal!
Such was the first advent in this hemisphere of that system under which human labor is stigmatized as a degradation. The mind cannot realize-the imagination shrinks from conceiving-the atrocious barbarities to which such a system must have given birth are a race of men could have perished in a single a generation before it; a terrible attestation to the immeasurable sufferings that may result from a single great crime. Well has De Tocqueville said:
There is one calamity which penetrated furtively into the world, and which was at first scarcely distinguishable amidst the ordinary abuses of power. it originated with an individual whose name history has not preserved; it was wafted like some accursed germ upon a portion of the soil; but it afterward natured itself, grew without effort, and spread naturally with the society to which it belonged. This calamity is slavery. Christianity suppressed slavery, but the Christians of the sixteenth century re-established it, as an exception, indeed, to their social system, and restricted to one of the races of mankind. c
That another race was not subject to it; that the Indians of Hispaniola and of the adjacent islands escaped perpetual servitude, is due, ton to the forbearance of their oppressors, but to the tender mercies of death-the great liberator.
An incident, to which is popular ascribed the first substitution of the African negro for the native of Hispaniola, the first introduction, therefore,into our hampshire of that race who were to be thenceforth, for centuries, branded with the mark of cain- may teach us now humanity, in her aberrations sometimes, with the best intentions aids in laying broad the foundations of misery and of crime.
Bartolomeo de las Cases, a Dominican monk, had accompanied Columbus on his second voyage. A man of eminent benevolence and quick sensibilities, the sufferings of the down-trodden Indians produced upon him a profound impression. After spending many years in Hispaniola in fruitless efforts to allured the condition of the
a Herrera, Vol. 1, p. 325.
b Robertson's History of America, Vol. 1, p. 263.
c Democracy in America, by De Tocqueville (Cambridge edition, 1862), Vol. 1, p. 457.