An Account Of The Persecutions In Spanish America

The bloody tenets of the Roman catholic persuasion, and the cruel

disposition of the votaries of that church, cannot be more amply

displayed or truly depicted, than by giving an authentic and simple

narrative of the horrid barbarities exercised by the Spaniards on the

innocent and unoffending natives of America. Indeed, the barbarities

were such, that they would scarce seen credible from their enormity, and

the victims
so many, that they would startle belief by their numbers, if

the facts were not indisputably ascertained, and the circumstances

admitted by their own writers, some of whom have even gloried in their

inhumanity, and, as Roman catholics, deemed these atrocious actions

meritorious, which would make a protestant shudder to relate.

The West Indies, and the vast continent of America, were discovered by

that celebrated navigator, Christopher Columbus, in 1492. This

distinguished commander landed first in the large island of St. Domingo,

or Hispaniola, which was at that time exceedingly populous, but this

population was of very little consequence, the inoffensive inhabitants

being murdered by multitudes, as soon as the Spaniards gained a

permanent footing on the island. Blind superstition, bloody bigotry, and

craving avarice, rendered that, in the course of years, a dismal desert,

which, at the arrival of the Spaniards, seemed to appear as an earthly

paradise; so that at present there is scarce a remnant of the ancient

natives remaining.

The natives of Guatemala, a country of America, were used with great

barbarity. They were formerly active and valiant, but from ill usage and

oppression, grew slothful, and so dispirited, that they not only

trembled at the sight of fire-arms, but even at the very looks of a

Spaniard. Some were so plunged into despair, that after returning home

from labouring hard for their cruel taskmasters, and receiving only

contemptuous language and stripes for their pains, they have sunk down

in their cabins, with a full resolution to prefer death to such slavery;

and, in the bitterness of their anguish, have refused all sustenance

till they perished.

By repeated barbarities, and the most execrable cruelties, the

vindictive and merciless Spaniards not only depopulated Hispaniola,

Porto-Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahama islands, but destroyed above

12,000,000 of souls upon the continent of America, in the space of forty


The cruel methods by which they massacred and butchered the poor

natives, were innumerable, and of the most diabolical nature.

The Spaniards stripped a large and very populous town of all its

inhabitants, whom they drove to the mines, leaving all the children

behind them, without the least idea of providing for their subsistence,

by which inhuman proceeding six thousand helpless infants perished.

Whenever the people of any town had the reputation of being rich, an

order was immediately sent that every person in it should turn Roman

catholics: if this was not directly complied with, the town was

instantly plundered, and the inhabitants murdered; and if it was

complied with, a pretence was soon after made to strip the inhabitants

of their wealth.

One of the Spanish governors seized upon a very worthy and amiable

Indian prince, and in order to extort from him where his treasures were

concealed, caused his feet to be burnt till the marrow dropped from his

bones, and he expired through the extremity of the torments he


In the interval, between the years 1514 and 1522, the governor of Terra

Firma put to death, and destroyed, 800,000 of the inhabitants of that


Between the years 1523 and 1533, five hundred thousand natives of

Nicaragua were transported to Peru, where they all perished by incessant

labour in the mines.

In the space of twelve years, from the first landing of Cortez on the

continent of America, to the entire reduction of the populous empire of

Mexico, the amazing number of 4,000,000 of Mexicans perished, through

the unparalleled barbarity of the Spaniards. To come to particulars, the

city of Cholula, consisted of 30,000 houses, by which its great

population may be imagined. The Spaniards seized on all the inhabitants,

who refusing to turn Roman catholics, as they did not know the meaning

of the religion they were ordered to embrace, the Spaniards put them all

to death, cutting to pieces the lower sort of people, and burning those

of distinction.