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Title: An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian people of Paraguay, (3 of 3)
Author: Martin  Dobrizhoffer, - To be updated
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian people of Paraguay, (3 of 3)" ***

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                             THE ABIPONES,

                          AN EQUESTRIAN PEOPLE





                          _IN THREE VOLUMES._

                               VOL. III.

                     JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.


                     London: Printed by C. Roworth,
                         Bell-yard, Temple-bar.



                               VOL. III.

                               PART III.

  CHAP.                                                         _Page_

  I. Of the deadly Hatred of the Abipones, and
  their Allies the Mocobios, towards the Spaniards                   1

  II. By what Means the Abipones possessed themselves
  of Horses, and how formidable this Attainment
  rendered them to their Neighbours                                  7

  III. Of the Violences committed upon the Cities Sta.
  Fè and Asumpcion                                                  14

  IV. How much the Guarany Towns were annoyed by
  the Abipones                                                      22

  V. Of the Achievements of the Abipones in the Lands
  belonging to the City of Corrientes                               29

  VI. Of the Excursions of the Abipones against the
  Colonies of St. Iago del Estero                                   44

  VII. Of the Expeditions of Francisco Barreda, General
  of the St. Iagans, against the Abipones and Mocobios              55

  VIII. Of certain Defects in the Soldiers of St. Iago,
  of their Companies, and of the Degrees of Military
  Rank amongst them                                                 66

  IX. Of the Atrocities of the Abipones towards the
  People of Cordoba                                                 77

  X. Of the fruitless Excursions of the Cordobans
  against the Abipones                                              94

  XI. Of the frequent Endeavours of the Jesuits in
  reducing the Abipones to Obedience under the
  King of Spain and converting them to the Catholic
  Religion                                                         102

  XII. A Colony founded for the Mocobios afterwards
  the occasion of Abiponian Colonies                               113

  XIII. The first Colony of St. Jeronymo, founded for
  the Abipones Riikahés                                            128

  XIV. Some things worthy of note respecting Ychoalay
  and Oaherkaikin                                                  141

  XV. Further Praises of Ychoalay                                  153

  XVI. Concerning the Hostile Incursion attempted by
  Debayakaikin and his savage Confederates against
  the Town of St. Jeronymo                                         163

  XVII. Concerning repeated Expeditions undertaken
  by Ychoalay against Oaherkaikin, and the other
  Abipones Nakaiketergehes                                         170

  XVIII. Of fresh Disturbances of the Town arising
  from the Victory gained by the Inhabitants                       177

  XIX. Ychoalay, in Conjunction with the Spaniards,
  takes a Company of hostile Abipones, and on
  another occasion, fights successfully with Oaherkaikin           183

  XX. The whole Nation of Abipones are assembled in
  three Colonies, but are again unluckily disturbed
  by a War of the Spaniards against the Guaranies                  194

  XXI. An ineffectual Expedition of the Spaniards
  against the Abipones                                             202

  XXII. The Cacique Debayakaikin slain by Ychoalay
  in battle, and his Head suspended from a
  Gibbet                                                           207

  XXIII. The Origin and Commencement of a Colony
  of Abipones, named from the Conception of the
  Divine Mother                                                    213

  XXIV. The Flight of the Abipones from the Town of
  Conception and their Return to it                                220

  XXV. The Vicissitudes and Disturbances of the Colony             227

  XXVI. My Journey to St. Iago on business pertaining
  to the Colony                                                    235

  XXVII. My Stay at the City of St. Iago. The Visit
  of our Cacique, Alaykin, to the Governor of
  Salta                                                            240

  XXVIII. My disastrous Return to our Colony                       245

  XXIX. The perpetual Disturbances of the Town of
  Conception                                                       254

  XXX. The Arrival of Barreda, and the removal of
  the Town to the banks of the Salado                              262

  XXXI. The Calamities and perpetual Mutations of
  the New Colony at the River Salado                               271

  XXXII. A Colony inhabited by the Yaaukaniga Abipones,
  and distinguished by the Name of St.
  Ferdinand and St. Francis                                        278

  XXXIII. Progress of the Town of St. Ferdinand,
  which was retarded by Debayakaikin                               285

  XXXIV. Fresh Disturbances, caused both by Strangers,
  and by the Inhabitants themselves                                292

  XXXV. The Origin and Situation of a Colony of Abipones
  named from S. Carlos and the Rosary                              303

  XXXVI. Commencement of the Colony                                309

  XXXVII. Extreme Indigence of the Colony, and its
  various Calamities                                               316

  XXXVIII. Continual Tumults of War                                323

  XXXIX. Various Incursions of the Mocobios and
  Tobas                                                            329

  XL. Small-pox the Origin of many Calamities and
  bloody Attacks                                                   337

  XLI. Four Hundred Spanish Horsemen, in conjunction
  with the Abipones, overcome a numerous
  Horde of Tobas                                                   346

  XLII. Anxiety of the Abipones concerning the Revenge
  of the Tobas. Contagion of the Tertian
  Fever                                                            355

  XLIII. An Assault of Six Hundred Savages on the
  Second of August                                                 362

  XLIV. Corollary to the Events detailed in the preceding
  Chapter                                                          374

  XLV. How arduous a Task it is to persuade the Abipones
  to enter Colonies, and to embrace the Religion
  of Christ                                                        388

  XLVI. No trifling Advantages derived from the Abiponian
  Colonies, though fewer than were expected                        403



                             THE ABIPONES.

                               PART III.

                               CHAPTER I.

The Spaniards subdued, in great measure, the Indian natives of Paraguay,
sometimes by means of soldiers, but oftener by that of priests, who,
unarmed, could penetrate where a soldier found no access. The former
effected more with their beads, than the latter with their bullets. In
the next century, however, the Abipones, grown more contumacious, would
neither be conciliated by gifts, nor subdued by arms. They would not
receive the Spaniards as their friends, still less as their masters, and
lest conquered they should experience them as enemies, they consulted
their liberty, now fighting, now flying, as need required, sometimes
availing themselves of arms, oftener of cunning and swiftness. The
places of residence which they had chosen were fortified by nature, and
afforded them protection against the forces of the Spaniards, so dreaded
in the open field. They could not be conquered, because they could not
be attacked, whilst defended by ditches and impervious woods, chiefly
before they were possessed of horses. They had rather endure hunger,
thirst, and concealment, than obey strangers. They resolutely refused to
admit the king of the Spaniards, and the law of God—to-wit, their own
happiness. It is certain that, from the age of Charles V., who united
the noblest parts of America to his own Spain, the Abipones persisted in
defending their liberty for upwards of two centuries, even when all the
neighbouring nations had yielded to the foe. Nor were they satisfied
with obstinately refusing the friendship of the Spaniards, but, intent
upon every opportunity of doing mischief, overran the whole province
with hostile arms. Whenever I think of the slaughters committed by the
Abipones in the latter part of that century, I imagine that these
savages, and their allies the Mocobios and Tobas, were reserved by an
avenging God to punish the evil deeds of the Christians, as formerly the
Philistines, Jebusites, and Perizzites, in the land of Canaan, were
preserved by the interposition of the Almighty, to curb the rebellious
Jews, whilst all their other enemies were either destroyed or reduced to

Moreover they made a warlike alliance with the Mocobios and Tobas,
equestrian savages, formidable by their numbers and resolution. Scarcely
any memorable slaughter occurred in which these confederated nations did
not join; to this they were incited by their unanimous hatred of the
Europeans, the certain hope of booty, and their common desire of
military glory. The Mocobios were never reckoned inferior to the
Abipones either in stature, or in military skill; but I boldly affirm
that, in atrocity and steady hatred to the Spaniards, they exceed them.
Certainly in the last century they seemed to conspire to the ruin of
Tucuman; proving themselves formidable, not to solitary estates merely,
but to whole cities. The province was devastated by slaughter, rapine,
and fire: Salta, Xuxui, the city of St. Miguel, and Cordoba, were
reduced to desperation, and Estecco, formerly an opulent city, quite
ruined. The city of Concepcion was rased to the ground, the inhabitants
having been treacherously massacred. History does not inform us whether
the Abipones were partakers with the Mocobios in these numerous and
bloody excursions. Alonzo Mercado, Angelo de Paredo, and other
Governours of Tucuman, withstood, indeed, the efforts of the savages,
and conducted as many soldiers as they could muster, either Spaniards or
Indian Christians, into Chaco, to besiege the fastnesses of the savages,
but by a journey always difficult, and seldom recompensed by success;
for, although they sometimes took and slew some of the Mocobios and
Tobas in their hordes, yet the survivors, enraged by the loss of their
companions, redoubled their fury, never ceasing to employ their
strength, which was equal to their anger, in revenge; and success always
crowned their wishes. Several fruitless expeditions of the Tucuman
forces confirmed the opinion of the savages, that the arms of the
Spaniards were not to be feared by them, and that they were sufficiently
guarded in their lurking-places, which were either unknown to the
Spaniards, or inaccessible to them; but that if, peradventure, they were
overcome by numbers, they might reckon upon a victory in flight,
opportunities for which were afforded them by their knowledge of the
country, and by their dexterity in swimming and riding: whilst the
Spaniards, with horses fatigued by a long rough journey, and encumbered
by the length of their clothes and of their arms, could with difficulty
pursue the fugitives, especially if marshes, rivers, and trackless woods
intervened. Emboldened by these considerations, they left nothing
unattempted against Tucuman. Salta, the residence of the Governour, and
other places surrounding it, were exposed to the daily assaults of the

Estevan Urizar, when he came from Spain to govern the province,
endeavoured to devise a remedy for the public calamity. He proposed an
expedition against Chaco; seventeen hundred and eighty countrymen were
chosen to attend it out of all Tucuman, beside five hundred Indian
Christians, who were increased by a troop of Chiriguanos, at that time
allies. Add to these, five hundred from the city of Asumpcion, three
hundred from Sta. Fè, and two hundred from Corrientes. In short, such an
army was raised that the savages were surrounded on all sides. The
Tucuman soldiers were ordered to explore the retreats of the savages,
and put them to death; the other Spaniards, who dwelt nearer the south,
to prevent their escape by blocking up the roads: and if as much
diligence had been employed in the execution of the project as good
policy in the planning of it, the whole swarm of savages in Chaco would
have been entirely subdued. But of the Spanish soldiers who were called
from the southern colonies, some delayed, others deserted, so that
towards the south a way lay open to the Mocobios, who escaped, without
hindrance, on every side, and took refuge in the hordes of the Abipones.
But as they did not consider this situation at a sufficient distance
from the attacks of the Spaniards, both people secretly removed into the
vale of Calchacui. On this account Salta and the upper parts of Tucuman
were relieved, for some years, from the attacks of the Mocobios, but all
the storm of the war fell on the cities Sta. Fè, St. Iago del Estero,
Corrientes, and the other Spanish colonies situate to the south-west.
That the Malbalaes, deserted by the Mocobios their greatest supporters,
accepted, or feigned to accept, the friendship of the Spaniards; that
the Vilelas and Chunipies agreed upon a peace; that the Lules were
assembled in a town at Miraflores, and there instructed in the holy
religion by Father Antonio Machoni, were the advantages which resulted
from this great expedition: but, though considerable, they fell far
below the wishes and expectations of the Spaniards.

                              CHAPTER II.

History gives no account of the proceedings of the Abipones in the
fifteenth century, before they settled in Chaco; but I should imagine
that, being at that time, like the other Indians, unfurnished with
horses, they passed their lives in ignoble obscurity, more anxious to
avoid, than to attack the Spaniards. It appears from the annals of
Paraguay, that in the year 1641, they possessed horses, and were become
dexterous in the management of them. We read also, that they made war
about this time upon the Mataràs, whom, on account of their submission
to the Spaniards, they pursued with unrelenting hatred. Moreover the
Abipones became formidable to the pedestrian nations on account of their
reputation for horsemanship.

But do you ask me how the Abipones first obtained horses? I will tell
you what I learnt from an Abipon, an hundred years of age. He informed
me that some of his ancestors, before they had obtained these useful
animals, used to go privily to the lands belonging to the city of Sta.
Fè, and steal a few horses, with some iron knives. They afterwards made
use of these horses for the purpose of driving fresh herds from the
lands of the Spaniards. It frequently happens that horses, tormented by
insects or frightened by tigers, stray to the distance of many leagues.
The men appointed to guard the cattle, (if there be any,) are mostly few
and unarmed, always timorous, and can easily be slain whilst absent from
their huts, or eluded whilst they are sleeping.

In the space of fifty years, an hundred thousand horses were driven from
the estates of the Spaniards, by the Abipones. Do not imagine that I
have exaggerated the number, for, calculating from conjecture, I should
say it exceeded two hundred thousand, and no wonder: for young men of
the nation of the Abipones often carried off four thousand horses in one
assault, and as they grew in years, they increased their robberies.
Cunning and a little sagacity are more requisite than strength. The
Calchacuis, after they had afflicted the country about Sta. Fè with
reiterated slaughters, were at last reduced to order in one conflict.
Those who survived that overthrow were almost all cut off by the
small-pox. The miserable remains of this most warlike nation are yet
living by the river Carcarañal, and are reckoned at about twenty people.
The Abipones settled in the land formerly possessed by the Calchacuis,
inheriting not their country alone, but also their hostile disposition
towards the Spaniards. They took possession of all the land from the
river Plata to the city of Sta. Fè, and from the banks of the Parana and
Paraguay to the territories of St. Iago, the Spaniards vainly
endeavouring to oppose them, and obliged to part with their ancient
station, or maintain it with the loss of their lives. In the eighteenth
year of this century, even women might go, without danger, from the city
of Sta. Fè, and thence to Cordoba, though it is a journey of many days,
even to horse travellers. That all things were safe and out of danger of
the enemy may be concluded from the numerous estates of the Spaniards,
which are continued all along the roads from the above-mentioned cities,
but were afterwards so depopulated by the perpetual hostilities of the
Abipones, that the ruins of these dilapidated buildings are now alone to
be seen.

The country over which, as their own, the Abipones freely wander,
extends an hundred and twenty leagues from North to South, and as many
from East to West, in many places. They are divided into hordes,
according to the number of the Caciques, and frequently remove their
tents, choosing that situation which is rendered most eligible by the
season, security, and the opportunity it affords of hunting. Having
removed their women, children, and decrepit old men to a place of
safety, the rest sallied forth, to plunder the surrounding colonies of
the Christians, and always returned laden with heads of Spaniards, and
other spoils. The crowd of captives, the droves of horses, and the
success of the expedition incited others to the like daring, so that
when one party returned, another quickly succeeded. Scarce a month
passed in which they did not disturb the Spanish colonies with some
hostile attack; and although one place alone was invaded, the whole
neighbourhood trembled the more, the safer things appeared. For
experience had taught them, that enemies of that kind are never nearer
than when they are thought to be at the greatest distance.

It is certainly difficult to understand by what means about a thousand
savages (for the whole nation of the Abipones hardly contained more who
were able to bear arms) had the power of disturbing an immense province.
Unanimous hatred of the Spaniards, craft, tolerance of labour, and the
alliance of the Mocobios stood them in the stead of numbers. Barreda,
commander at St. Iago, repeatedly affirmed, that were he to hear that
all the Abipones had been slain, ten only surviving, he should still
judge it necessary to have the watch continued in every part of
Paraguay. He therefore thought one tally of Abipones sufficient to
distress a whole province. There was no retreat so sequestered that they
did not discover, and furiously overrun; no place so remote or well
fortified by nature, that they thought impenetrable. They swam across
those vast rivers the Parana and Paraguay, even where they are united in
one channel, and pleasantly conversing at the same time. They rode over
vast precipices, sometimes ascending, and sometimes, which was still
more frightful, descending, till they reached the confines of Cordoba
and St. Iago, and there, alas! what torrents of blood they caused to
flow! Trackless woods full of rushes and thick trees, marshes, and lakes
rendered slippery with mud, they crossed with ease. That immense plain
of an hundred and fifty leagues, which lies between the banks of the
Parana and the Salado, is sometimes flooded to such a degree, that it
resembles a vast lake; this happens after long and incessant rain; but
when, as is often the case, no rain falls for many months, that immense
tract of land is so parched by the burning sky, that the smallest bird
would fail to find a drop of water there.

The Abipones, regardless of these impediments, arrived at the dwellings
of the Spaniards, whom they intended to kill or rob, by a journey of
many days, sometimes having to pass through water, at others entirely
destitute of it. I have frequently attempted the journey, both with
Spaniards and Abipones, who have now laid aside their former enmity: the
latter scorned to turn back, swearing that they might easily cross the
deepest marshes on horseback, whilst the others declared them
impassable. None of the Abipones would shrink from a journey of three
hundred leagues or more, were he attracted by the hope of richer booty,
or greater military glory; for neither the difficulty of the roads, nor
the distance of the places, are sufficient to deter them.

As many nations worship the crocodile, the snake, and the ape, as
divinities, the Abipones would adore their horses, if idolatry prevailed
amongst them. Nor is it unreasonable in them to set a high value upon
horses, by the use of which they have become formidable and destructive
to the Spanish colonists. The pedestrian savages, though they may
entertain the same wish of annoying the Spaniards, have not the same
opportunity, and consequently employ their arms more for their own
defence than for the offence of the Spaniards. I shall now proceed to
relate, individually, the slaughters committed in various parts of the

                              CHAPTER III.
                         STA. FÈ AND ASUMPCION.

The Abipones sometimes alone, sometimes in conjunction with the
Mocobios, distressed the city of Sta. Fè, which lay nearest them, with
daily incursions, and very nearly destroyed it. Many of the country
people were slain, and not a few led into captivity. Numbers, fearing
that the same fortune awaited them, migrated, with their families, into
safer places. Things came to such an extremity, that the inhabitants
began to deliberate publicly about deserting the city. Amongst many
others, the rich estate of St. Antonio was entirely ruined. Innumerable
cattle, of every description, were seized and dispersed, and their
owners slain. The waggons were plundered of the goods which they
contained. When the security of trade, the only source of riches, was
destroyed at one blow, what could ensue but famine and scarcity? The
roads were so beset with savages, both by day and by night, that no one
could stir out of his own house with safety, or fetch provisions from
the country for the use of the city. The citizens themselves were kept
in daily fear, they so often beheld troops of Abipones and Mocobios in
their streets. The very market-place was stained with the blood of the
unarmed. In the year 1754, on the 10th of April, as I was revisiting
this city, a noble matron, venerable for her years, and ancient family,
accosted me, saying, "Oh! Fathers, what gratitude do we owe to you, who
have tamed these ferocious nations, on whose account we hardly dared to
breathe for so many years! I scarcely ever remember this week," pursued
she, "namely the last in Lent, passed without slaughters in this city.
When a pious crowd of supplicants passed in procession through the
streets, how often did the armed savages rush on them, like lightning!
And they seldom departed without bloody hands. I still have to lament a
brother, slain as he trimmed the altar, in the court before those
buildings; such was the face of affairs at that time. For the
tranquillity and security, which we at present enjoy, we are indebted to
you, by whom the Abipones and Mocobios have been appeased and

In that city, there was no want of intrepid men, to repel force by
force; but the rest, who were deficient in vigilance, courage, and
skill, were exposed to the continual violence of the savages, who never
granted either peace or truce. Auxiliary bands of foot-soldiers were
sent by the Governour of Buenos-Ayres to the relief of the fainting
city; but these, when they came to close fighting in the field of
battle, served rather to excite the laughter of the Abipones, than to
render any service to the Spaniards. Whilst affairs were in this
desperate condition, like a propitious star shining forth in a furious
tempest, appeared Echague, an excellent man, who in the name of the
Governour, and under his authority, repressed the boldness of the
savages. He knew how to conciliate their ferocious minds with gifts, to
intimidate them with arms, or to repress them with frequent incursions.
By these means he procured the city a little respite. But this
tranquillity continued no longer than the life of its author: his
successors experienced various fortune, the Indians sometimes renewing
their former plunderings, sometimes promising peace, in order that they
might be enabled to direct their whole force against the other cities of
the Spaniards, and in that of Sta. Fè, then friendly, exchange the
spoils gained from them, for knives, swords, spears, axes, glass-beads,
and wearing apparel. This was admirable policy in the savages, that,
whilst they carried on war with the rest of the province, they
diligently maintained peace with one city, where they might purchase the
necessary supply of arms and other utensils, by the booty obtained
elsewhere. I learnt many things of this traffic with the Indians, some
worthy of laughter, but more which deserve indignation. Take this one
instance. An Abipon entered the city of Sta. Fè, in time of peace,
carrying on his horse a leathern bag containing two thousand Spanish
crowns. A certain noble Spaniard, who happened to be walking in the
market-place at the time, doubtless very well acquainted with the
contents of the bag, offered him the red cloak which he wore; the
Indian, transported with joy, gave him in exchange the whole weight of
silver which he had plundered a little before from the waggons laden
with Peruvian money. Great part of the Mocobios and Tobas, and most of
the Abipones, being persuaded to a peace, and conducted to the various
colonies which we had founded, this miserable city at last enjoyed a
little rest, although the estates were not entirely free from danger;
for the savages of these nations, weary of peace, lay in wait for droves
of horses, but more in the way of plundering than of regular warfare. To
restrain these pillagers, a Spanish company of horse was maintained at
the public cost, and, headed by Miguel Ziburro, proved very useful in
deterring them from their depredations. Three places, in particular,
were the resorts of the savages, and the scenes of their robberies, _La
cruz alta_, _El pozzo redondo_, and the estate of St. Thomas; in the one
place there is a passage across the river Salado to the city, in the
other a high way with waggons of traders continually passing to and fro.
The estates also which look towards Chaco were endangered. The extensive
province of Asumpcion, although it abounds in warlike colonists, was
incredibly harassed by the arms of the Abipones and Mocobios. Who can
enumerate the men that were slain, the horses and mules that were
seized, the villages that were burnt, the estates that were depopulated,
and the numbers of unarmed that were led into captivity? Not only on the
banks of the Paraguay, but also in places far distant from that river,
many and great slaughters were committed with impunity. This captaincy
of Paraguay is of greater extent than the rest, yet it seems too small
for the number of colonists. It contains as many soldiers as men, but
they are scattered up and down the country, many leagues distant from
one another, occupied, greatest part of the year, in remote forests
where they prepare the herb of Paraguay, or on the banks of rivers, or
in defending little fortifications of the province. These edifices,
which are constructed of stakes, mud, and straw, on the eastern shore of
the Paraguay, are more properly watch-towers for observing the motions
of the enemy, than fortifications for keeping them out. The few who are
stationed in each of the fortlets signify the approach of the enemy by
firing a cannon; this is repeated by the neighbouring sentinels, that
every one, admonished of the danger, may provide for his own safety;
that the Governour (for the firing, as it is repeated in all the
different stations, at last reaches the city) may order convenient
succours; and that all the forces may assemble in arms wherever
suspicion is entertained of the enemy. But how much time is consumed
whilst the horses are caught and made ready, whilst the few soldiers
assemble in arms, and whilst their leader is expected! In the mean time
slaughters are already committed, estates rifled, villages burnt, and
the savages departed as quickly as they came. But if a tardy company of
Spaniards is at length brought together, they are more rejoiced at the
flight of the enemy than desirous of pursuing them. And supposing the
savages to be still in sight, or at no great distance, the generals of
Paraguay, unless they see themselves greatly superior in point of
numbers, seldom dare to trust the doubtful fortune of war, by a bold
attack; foreseeing that they shall be loaden with reproaches, and
perhaps assaulted with stones by the wives of those who might be slain
in the skirmish. Sometimes the Spanish horsemen were clamorously eager
to pursue the flying savages, but the generals repressed their ardour,
even threatening pain of death to any who should dare to challenge or
pursue the enemy.

It has always appeared quite miraculous to me, that the province of
Asumpcion did not at length sink under the weight of the powerful
enemies by whom it was combated for so many years. On one side was the
dreadful neighbourhood of the ferocious Guaycurùs and Mbayas; on the
other the daily assaults of the Abipones, Mocobios, and Tobas occasioned
much danger and fatigue to the surrounding colonies. Add to these the
Payaguas, most perfidious pirates, more dangerous in peace than in war:
not to mention the wood-savages, the Monteses, Montarrazes, or Caayguas,
who, though not always openly hostile to the Paraguayrian Spaniards,
whilst they prepared the herb of Paraguay in woods far distant from the
city, are full of enmity towards them, and justly suspected of unsound
faith. See! how many nations threatened the Spanish colonists. Two to
one is odds against Hercules. We may justly call the Paraguayrians
greater than Hercules, because they held out against so many enemies.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                             THE ABIPONES.

The Abipones thought they had done nothing, till they directed their
attention towards overthrowing the towns of the Guaranies, whom they
regarded with implacable hatred, because, being converted by us to the
Roman Catholic religion, they not only paid obedience to the Catholic
King as subjects, but also served him as soldiers in the camp, whenever
they were called upon by the Royal Governours. The towns of the
Guaranies, and the other estates, which are near the banks of the
Paraguay and Parana, for many years, were daily more and more exposed to
the fury and rapacity of the enemy. Innumerable were the Indians that
were cruelly massacred, the cattle of every description that were driven
away, and the youths that were made captive. Many were burnt in their
own houses, where they hid themselves for fear of the swords of the
enemy. The town of St. Ignatius Guazù, formerly in a very flourishing
state, lost much of its splendor, and was very nearly destroyed; for it
was situated in a place which affords an excellent opportunity for
stratagems to the savages, who hide themselves in the adjacent woods,
whence they can easily sally forth, and soon reach the estate and the
town itself. Scarcely a month passed without murder and robberies. It is
incredible how much the number of men and cattle was diminished by their
continual incursions. Although a watch was kept up by day and by night,
no one durst promise himself security. The craftiness or boldness of the
Abipones eluded all the vigilance and industry of the inhabitants. On
some holy-day, when the people were attending divine service, a great
crowd of savages burst into the very market-place. The inhabitants
seized and threw at the aggressors whatever weapons were at hand. The
Christians fought with more valour than success. The chief men of the
city, and more than three hundred senators, beside many others of the
common people, fell fighting before the door of the church. A great many
of the Abipones were slain and wounded. The Guaranies took a Spaniard,
who had grown up amongst the Abipones, having been taken captive by them
at an early period of his life, and who had offered to be their leader
in this as in many other expeditions. What must have been the feelings
of the Jesuit priest, Francisco Maria Rasponi Bergomas, long curate of
the town, when, on looking out of the church before he had taken off his
sacred robes, he perceived the heaps of dead bodies, and the streets
swimming with blood? Who can express his horror? This bloody fight
elated the minds of the Abipones, in proportion as those of the
Guaranies were depressed by it. With greater boldness and frequency,
they continued to slaughter the Indians, and to seize the cattle, both
in the estate, and in the fields adjoining the city. In one day, four
thousand oxen and immense droves of horses became the prey of these
rapacious thieves. Let not those that read this accuse the Fathers who
presided over the town of sloth or inactivity: nothing was omitted by
them which seemed advisable for the security of their people. All access
was forbidden the enemy by means of ditches and palisades, and
additional guards armed with muskets. Scouts were dispatched every day
to explore the roads. Sentinels were placed in suspected situations, as
in a watch-tower. But what did all this avail? Those who were commanded
to watch and to guard behaved as usual: danger was frequently the
nearest when every thing was thought in the utmost security. They said
their accustomed _Nama[(r]aichene_, "we shall be safe," and when they
felt drowsy, slept without care or apprehension. Thence it often
happened that whilst they ought to have watched for the public safety,
unmindful even of their own, they were surprized and slaughtered by the
Abipones. In the town of St. Iago, while the people were attending
divine service, the Abipones came, and of the many hundred who were
keeping watch, part they slew, and part they led into captivity, having,
at the first onset, carried off some hundred horses. As numerous bloody
incursions were repeated within sight of the same town, few days passed
without fears, or alarming reports. The same fate befel Nuestra Senhora
de Fè for many years; on which account Juan Baptista Marquiseti, a man
of our order, and curate of the place, surrounded it on all sides with
ditches to keep out the savage horsemen, and supplied the Indians with a
sufficient quantity of muskets: and his labours were amply repaid, for
at length these tumults abated. Forty Indian soldiers sent from this
town, and as many from the town of Sta. Rosa, to keep guard over their
respective estates, perished on the fifth of February, a very few only
escaping by the swiftness of their horses. On that day, alas! how great
was the loss of horses and mules in both estates! Some thousands were
driven away. In another place, a quantity of the herb of Paraguay,
belonging to a Spanish merchant, was conveyed in many waggons from the
town of Sta. Rosa to the banks of the Parana, by Guaranies; to whom was
given, as a superintendent and guard, a certain Spaniard, an active man,
armed with seven excellent muskets; but without having time allowed him
for loading any of them, he was surrounded by a troop of Abipones, and
slain, with almost all the Indians, except two, and a crowd of horses
and oxen. Fifty dead bodies were found lying on the field. I have
thought proper to relate those slaughters which were most recently
committed whilst I was in the country; for it would be endless to
describe, individually, all which the Guaranies suffered in the space of
so many years. The poor wretches, half dead at the remembrance of them,
whenever they had an engagement with the Abipones, seemed to think more
of undergoing death, than of inflicting it. This very fear of the
Guaranies stimulated the Abipones to fresh pillaging, in proportion as
it increased their confidence of victory; so that on an approaching
fight, like the Spartans, they did not enquire how many the Guaranies
were, but where. The terror of the Guaranies being perceived by the
Royal Governour, some Spanish soldiers were hired, at his advice, and
ordered to traverse the roads on horseback, for the security of their
towns, to watch the march of the savages, and to repel them, or at least
apprize the inhabitants of their arrival. But the sagacity of the
Abipones out-witted the vigilance of the Spanish horsemen, and their
assaults were repeated with the same frequency as before, although with
greater caution. In consequence therefore of the little benefit and
great inconvenience which the towns derived from these guards, who were
supported by them at a great expense, they were permitted to return
home. But the savages were not always suffered to ravage with impunity.
They not unfrequently atoned for the deaths of others by their own.
Sometimes, as they were meditating an attack, they were discovered and
repulsed. Sometimes they were overtaken in precipitate flight by the
Guaranies, by whom they were very roughly handled, and obliged to
relinquish their booty. The Guaranies might oftener have triumphed over
the Abipones, would they have preserved their lives by keeping strict
watch. Vigilance, as I have often observed, is the best armour against
the savages. You will wonder, in reading this, that the Guaranies were
such timid hares at home, when they are described by historians to have
fought like lions in the royal camps, against the Portugueze, and even
against the savages. They behaved nobly in the king's service, because
they were governed by Spanish generals. At home, when left to
themselves, they did but little against the savages. They are swayed by
the impulse of the moment, and consequently fulfil the duties neither of
good soldiers, nor of good generals. They are indeed robust members, but
they languish for want of a head. Even the best soldiers, without an
able leader, must despair of victory, as the strongest ship, wanting a
proper pilot and rudder, must give up all hopes of reaching port. The
sword with which Scanderbeg slew thousands of Turks, wielded by a feeble
hand, would scarcely wound the outermost skin of the enemy.

                               CHAPTER V.

The city Corrientes is situated towards the East, on the shore where the
rivers Parana and Paraguay are united. I have mentioned this and many
other remarkable circumstances respecting the city Corrientes, in the
Introductory book. The Royal Vice-Governour of the city has some
colonies of Spaniards and Indians under his authority, in an extensive
and fertile territory; though he can scarcely raise three hundred
colonists able to bear arms; who would be quite unequal to repulsing the
savages, did not their military valour compensate for the want of
numbers. For many years they have had to contend with the Payaguas, who
practise piracy, with the Charruas, equestrian savages, and in Chaco
towards the West, with the Abipones, Mocobios, Tobas, and Guaycurùs. The
Abipones, called Yaaukanigas, roam over the opposite shore, being only
separated from the city by the river Parana, which, however, proves no
obstacle to their access; for though it is of a great width, they easily
swim across it, in the very sight of the city. Allured by this facility,
it is incredible with what frequent incursions they ravaged the
territories of Corrientes. It is true, that, in former times, they had
for a short time maintained peace with that city, in order that they
might there exchange the spoils collected from the other Spanish
colonies, for necessary articles. These being their dispositions, they
were kindly received in their frequent visits by the inhabitants, and
even entertained as guests by the Vice-Governour. Of the number of the
Abiponian guests was the Cacique Chilome, who, for some unknown cause,
went privily, in the dead of the night, to the house of the
Vice-Governour; which afforded the Spaniards occasion to suspect, that
the savages were meditating to surprize the city, and that they were
waiting for supplies on the opposite bank of the river to aid them in
executing their project. This report being spread, all the people
assembled. The Cacique and his companions were slain that night, by the
terrified and tumultuous throng. This murder was the occasion of much
bloodshed, and the beginning of a most furious war.

The Abipones, when informed of this deed of the Spaniards, exclaimed
that Chilome was unjustly slain, swore to avenge so great an injury, and
did in effect employ all their strength, anger, and cunning in punishing
the inhabitants of Corrientes, having called to their assistance the
Mocobios and Tobas. The citizens passed few weeks without slaughters,
not a day without alarms. Stricken with the fear of death, they grew
weary of a life they knew not how to preserve, the calamity growing
heavier day by day, inasmuch as fewer soldiers remained, numbers being
slain in daily skirmishes with the enemy. The miserable remnant, struck
with consternation at the fate of their comrades, became readier to fly
the savages, than to put them to flight. The whole country was filled
with perturbation and slaughter. The estates and settlements near the
Parana frequently suffered from the fury and rapacity of the enemy. The
little town of Sta. Lucia is about fifty leagues distant from the city,
and inhabited by a few unwarlike Indians; in consequence of which it was
incessantly molested by the savages. An Indian messenger came from that
town and informed the Vice-Governour Ceballos, that the track of the
Abiponian spies had been discovered there. Ceballos, to prevent all
danger of a hostile inroad, sets off for that place with a troop of
horse. When arrived at the spot called _Las Lagunas_, he receives
letters from the curate of Sta. Lucia, informing him that all things are
safe and tranquil at present; upon which he begins to think of returning
to the city. But at this conjuncture, a Spanish horseman, who had just
escaped from captivity amongst the Abipones, arrives with news that on
the neighbouring shore, and almost in sight, is the populous horde of
the Cacique Ychamenraikin, who had lately gone with his Abipones to
plunder Cordoba; that none were left at home but the women and children,
who were only guarded by a few old men; and that this numerous horde
might be safely attacked, and easily taken. Ceballos thought that this
opportunity of a successful enterprize was to be embraced with both
hands, although many of the soldiers condemned his resolution, and even
turned their backs. They said that a captive deserter was not a person
to be rashly trusted; that they, who were few in number and in a hostile
land, might perhaps be overwhelmed by a multitude of lurking savages;
and that a victory bought at so great a risk was by no means desirable.
But Ceballos, despising the murmurs of the soldiery, eagerly hastened
the expedition, and ordered skiffs to be brought for passing the Parana,
where it unites with the Paraguay. The fugitive acting as guide, in a
few hours the vast company of savages was discovered, and surrounded by
the soldiers. The mothers were taken with their children, or cut to
pieces whilst attempting flight, or struggling with the foe; there were
many indeed, who eluded the Spaniards by cunning or swiftness, which was
by no means difficult in those rugged roads. The booty consisted of
numerous droves of horses, and various household utensils of silver,
which the Abipones had formerly taken from the Spaniards. The soldiers,
returning to the city with a vast crowd of captives, filled the
inhabitants with joy and wonder. It is difficult to say the exact number
of those who were taken, of every age and sex, but I think it amounted
to several hundreds. The wife of the Cacique himself, and his little son
Kieemkè, graced the triumph of the soldiers. Raachik, the grandson of
the same Cacique, escaped by the way on his swift horse, through the
negligence of the soldier appointed to guard him, and returned to his
own country. Some of the captives were sent to the remoter towns of the
Uruguay and Parana, that, being deprived of all hope of a return to
their friends, they might be instructed in the Catholic faith amongst
the Christian Guaranies.

The success of this expedition, though it ought to have obtained glory
for its author, Ceballos, served only to procure him the envy of his
fellow-citizens, and, in the end, banishment. He was persecuted by the
people of Corrientes to such a degree that he was obliged to quit the
city, and sail with his family to the port of Sta. Fè. Do not confound
this man with Pedro Ceballos, Governour of Buenos-Ayres, for no
relationship exists between them, either of family or of country. After
the departure of this excellent man from Corrientes, the affairs of the
inhabitants grew daily more desperate. When Ychamenraikin understood, on
his return from Cordoba, that so many women and children, together with
his own wife and son, had been taken in his absence, he appeared quite
frantic. Infuriated by the loss, and by his eager desire of vengeance,
he called on all the nations of Chaco, whose friendship he could depend
upon, to avenge this deed of the Spaniards. Hostile troops were seen
traversing the plain as thick as locusts. The inhabitants were sought,
and dragged from their safest retreats to suffer death or captivity. All
the estates, villages, settlements and roads were besprinkled with the
blood of these wretches. I collect from the journals of that period,
that seventy or more were killed in one day. Such numbers of dead bodies
were carried in waggons from the country to the city, that heaps of them
were sometimes seen lying on each side of the parochial church, not
single bodies in single graves, but all thrown together into one deep
ditch. As in the remoter plains they could with difficulty find any to
slay, they besieged the city with such a force, and so large an army,
that for some days no one could depart from, or return to the city
without danger of losing his life. Whilst guard was kept by day and by
night, the faint-hearted crowd scarcely ever durst quit the churches,
where they besought the forgiveness of offended Heaven, and the
cessation of so heavy a calamity. The provisions already beginning to
fail, and no hope of liberation appearing, their minds lost all courage,
as their bodies all vigour. But at last the most merciful God seemed to
favour the prayers of the supplicants; for on the eighth day of the
siege the garrison made an eruption, which forced the Abipones to
retreat to their encampments beyond the Parana.

After the short truce allowed them by the departure of the enemy, the
people of Corrientes perceived that war was rekindling against them.
Fresh violence was used by the troops of the Abipones towards the
settlements and estates that were farthest from the city. Amongst them
was a place called _Rincon de_ _Luna_, till then thought inaccessible to
all assailants, because it was hemmed in on every side by deep and wide
marshes and ditches, and the Spaniards were forced to approach it by
means of a boat. The Abiponian horsemen swam across that sea. The place
contained many thousands of cattle, and a sufficient number of Negro
slaves to guard them, not one of whom escaped death or captivity, unless
he concealed himself from the eyes of the savages. More than twenty
youths were carried away, and a great number of the older men put to
death. The churches were spoiled of the sacred utensils. Four large
bells were taken away, and thrown into the water to prevent their being
found. An incredible multitude of horses and mules were driven off: in a
word, an estate inferior to none in opulence and security was, in the
space of a few hours, brought to ruin. The same fate befel almost all
the other estates of the Spaniards, which being now destitute of beef,
and the fruits of the earth having been consumed long ago, they began to
be at a loss for provisions. The scarcity of food daily increasing, they
resolved to desert their native city, and passing through the river, to
change their quarters, dreading death more than exile. Whilst the
savages continued to lay waste the territories of Corrientes, neither
the soldiers nor the captains were deficient in their duty. Bold
incursions were repeated against them, and many movements and attacks
made here and there. Spies were sent, day and night, to observe the
motions of the enemy: but what Argus could watch men whose greatest care
and dexterity were exerted to prevent themselves from being seen? The
Spaniards frequently attacked the savages, but with various success;
they were sometimes conquered, sometimes the conquerors. Ychoalay, the
leader of the Abipones, was, in some skirmish, entangled by the soldiers
in a noose used for catching horses, and would have been strangled had
he not quickly extricated himself. But I firmly assert, that the cause
of the fruitlessness of so many expeditions undertaken against the
savages originated, not in the cowardice of the Spaniards, but in their
boldness and intrepidity, blinded by which they were ignorant or
insensible of the dangers which threatened them, and judged vigilance
and swiftness unnecessary to their safety. The circumstance I am going
to relate will be a proof of this. A company of Spanish horse was placed
in a situation obnoxious to the enemy, as in an observatory. Whilst they
ought to have taken a complete survey of all things in the open plain,
they amused themselves with playing cards in the shade. Meantime a troop
of Abipones suddenly appears, and carries away, before their eyes, the
horses of the Spaniards, no one making any opposition. If thus they
eluded them whilst awake and watching, was it a matter of much
difficulty to slay and plunder them whilst asleep and without suspicion?

By the provident counsels of the elder Spaniards, estates and colonies
of Indians had been placed on the higher shores of the Parana; that from
them the enemies might be seen coming out of Chaco, and that the other
remoter settlers might, by this means, be admonished of the approaching
danger. The Parana, in these places, is often broken by little islands,
which, affording resting-places to the horses when they are fatigued
with swimming, offer the Abipones a very convenient passage. Hence, that
all sudden assaults might be prevented by the neighbourhood of the
settlers dwelling on the shore, Sta. Lucia, St. Iago Sanchez, Ohoma, and
Ytati, four townlets of the Indians, were formerly built on the banks of
the Parana, at intervals of some leagues. The Abipones, finding that
these colonies stood in the way of their clandestine journeys to the
interior parts of the province, resolved upon their destruction, and
their endeavours proved by no means fruitless. The town of St. Iago
Sanchez was at length ruined. Whilst the able-bodied Indians were
employed in cutting bulrushes, and a crowd of women, children, and old
men were listening to the preacher, the town and church were suddenly
besieged by the savages, and consumed by fire. Flight was impracticable:
the priest and the whole congregation were burnt to ashes. The
neighbouring townlet of Ohoma was annoyed by continual inroads, till the
inhabitants, fearing lest it should undergo the same fate, deserted it
of their own accord, and removed to safer places. Ytati was miserably
ravaged by the Payaguas, Abipones, and Mocobios, but recovered when
peace was made by the enemy; and is at this day rich in cattle, though
not in inhabitants. The colony of Sta. Lucia was assaulted for many
years, but never completely conquered, though the number of inhabitants
was incredibly thinned. As the circumference of it is very
inconsiderable, it is entirely surrounded by a slender wall, to which it
owes its security, as I was assured by the curate of the place. This man
had made use of two precautions for the defence of himself and his
fellow-citizens; he placed a high chamber on the top of his house,
whence he diligently watched the enemy advancing through the flat
country. He kept continually in readiness, moreover, a very small
warlike machine, by the explosion of which, he both signified to his
people, who were employed without the walls, that they should betake
themselves home, as danger was nigh, and at the same time deterred the
savages from approaching. Arriving at the town of St. Ferdinand, I was
asked by one of the Abipones, which way I had come, and on my replying
that I had passed through Sta. Lucia, "Alas!" said he, "that terrible
Father lives there. He makes use of a huge musket; (alluding to the
engine I have described.) Our horses could never support the thundering
sound it emits, whilst we have laboured to approach it." Had he been
candid, he would have added, that not the horses only, but also their
riders, were often put to flight by the noise of that machine.

Whilst this little town of Sta. Lucia remained in security, the other
towns and estates of the Spaniards were utterly ruined, being either
sacked by the enemy, or deserted by the Spaniards through fear of the
enemy. Therefore, whilst the country near the shore was entirely
divested of the dwellings of the Christians, the Abipones crossed the
Parana at their pleasure, and traversed the land, more like fixed
inhabitants, than occasional visitors. The Spanish scouts sent from the
city were generally eluded by the savages, and frequently slain by them.
But a troop of Spanish horse had remained for the defence of the estates
situated near the rivers Sombrero, Sombrerillo, Peguahò, and Riachuelo,
and of those nearer the city; they also served to guard the oxen brought
from those estates to support the city. Wherever you set your foot in
the surrounding fields, you may behold monuments of the cruelty of the
savages;—here the remains of dilapidated buildings;—there, numerous
crosses planted in the ground. If you enquire what those crosses mean,
you will hear that thirty, forty or more bodies of miserable wretches,
who were slain by the savages, were formerly buried there. They will
show you, in another place, a field sadly noted by the blood and dead
bodies of the Spaniards, who were slain in an unfortunate engagement
with the savages.

Another misery was added to the calamities of the city, namely, the want
of wood. The eastern shore of the Parana, which the city occupies, is
not entirely deficient in trees, which afford wood for fuel, but none
grow there supplying useful materials for building houses, ships, or
waggons. The western shore, however, abounds in such trees; but this
being the land of the Yaaukanigar Abipones, no Spaniard can approach it
without endangering his life. During the heat of the war, Father Joseph
Gaete, of our College, who at that time managed the domestic affairs of
the city, saw there was immediate occasion for a very long and firm
plank, to prop a house which was almost ready to fall. To procure this
with safety, he filled a ship fit to cross the river, with slaves, gave
them a guard of soldiers, and accompanied them himself. But scarce had
the trunk received a few blows from the axe, when the shouts of the
Abipones were heard. The Negroes and soldiers, awaiting neither the
arrival of the enemy, nor the Father's orders, left their tools,
clothes, and food, flew to the ship, and entirely forgetting the plank
which had been the object of their search, made for the opposite bank as
fast as possible, flying "the cruel coasts and greedy shore"; their safe
escape from which was reckoned amongst the blessings of their lives.
From these accounts you may guess in what a condition the affairs of
Corrientes then were. Upon the inhabitants of this city did the Abipones
pour forth their most unrelenting persecutions, because they were the
nearest and most hateful to them. Separated from the Corrientines by the
river Parana alone, they easily reiterated their incursions, attracted
to plunder by the short distance, and stimulated to revenge by the ever
fresh remembrance of the injuries they professed themselves to have
received. The peace concluded with the Abipones in the year 1747, and
the colonies founded for them, at length put an end to these long
calamities. By these means, also, the savages in Chaco were appeased, or
at least restrained, so that the Corrientines, after weathering this
furious storm, began at last to recover from their sufferings.

                              CHAPTER VI.
                    COLONIES OF ST. IAGO DEL ESTERO.

Long after the other colonies throughout Paraguay had been struggling
with the enemy, the country of St. Iago continued free from molestation
and totally unacquainted with the Abipones, and their powers; for these
savages had at that time discovered no way of approaching them; but at
last the inhabitants themselves were their instructors. They were in the
habit of going in troops out of their own country to the river Parana,
for the purpose of hunting the numerous stags which frequent its banks.
These hunters sometimes held familiar intercourse with the Abipones, and
sometimes, abusing their friendship, carried away their horses. The
savages, provoked by these injuries, pursued their footsteps when they
departed, and in this way first began to obtain a knowledge of the
province of St. Iago, and afterwards to disturb it with arms.

I have found all the Spaniards throughout Paraguay to be active,
intrepid, endowed with a handsome form, great strength, and a noble
disposition, agile in swimming, and remarkable for skill in
horsemanship; but I fearlessly assert that the St. Iagans are better
qualified than any of the rest to pursue the savages. Both themselves
and their horses are extremely patient of labour, travelling, and
inconveniences of every kind, and are satisfied with that food which is
most easily procured. On sudden expeditions against the savages they
make a composition of maize flour, preserved with honey or sugar: this,
mixed with water, is all their provisions, as it allays both hunger and
thirst; and in travelling with them I did not find it unpleasant,
especially when the weather was particularly hot, as it possesses an
excellent property of cooling the body, and quenching the thirst. The
soldiers use it to save time and labour, for neither wood nor fire are
required to cook this flour. When they dismount from their horses to
cross a lake or river, each man draws water for himself in a little horn
cup suspended by a string, and drinks it mixed with this flour, which
saves time, and enables them more conveniently to pursue the savages.
The Spaniards of Cordoba, Buenos-Ayres, and Sta. Fè, when they took a
journey on account of the Indians, used to drive before them whole
droves of horses and oxen. Whilst a soldier of St. Iago, with but one
horse, makes a journey of many days and even weeks, the former change
their horses frequently in one day, and consume a great deal of time in
catching and harnessing them. That fresh meat may be always in
readiness, they kill oxen every day, so that much of their time is spent
in cutting the flesh, roasting and eating it, and in seeking fuel for
the fire to cook it with. It is no wonder therefore that the slowly
pursuing Spaniards are almost always eluded by the savages who prosecute
their flight without interruption, and that the soldiers of St. Iago are
dreaded on account of their swiftness. Moreover the fires which the
other Spaniards kindle on the way are to be condemned, because the smoke
often betrays them to the Indians. When their flour is consumed, the
soldiers of St. Iago support themselves by the wild animals which they
hunt on the way. Few of them are furnished with muskets; their chief
arms are spears, which, though not of the best quality, are more
formidable to the savages than the fire-arms of others.

Another of their excellencies is a wonderful sagacity in exploring. None
are quicker than they at discovering the hidden retreats of the savages,
at finding any fugitive, whether it be man or beast, or at bringing back
any thing stolen. This quickness at exploring enabled them not only to
discover the savages, but to intimidate and overcome them in time of
war; for to discover the enemy, either whilst they are concealed in
their secret retreats, or contemplating a surprize, is a great part of
victory in America. This I learnt for certain, that the horsemen of St.
Iago, on account of their swiftness, and singular skill in exploring,
were more dreaded by the Abipones, and seldomer and more cautiously
attacked than the other Spaniards. St. Iago itself, from being
surrounded by lesser colonies, never suffered either danger or
molestation from the savages. The whole neighbourhood enjoyed the same
exemption; for a row of surrounding dwelling-houses, like little
fortifications, forbade all access to the savages, or at least rendered
it very dangerous. The storm of the war seems, for many years, to have
fallen on the territories that are washed by the river Salado, and on
those near Cordoba. The passage from Chaco to these places is easy, and
the outskirts of provinces are everywhere more liable to the incursions
of hostile nations. The Abipones frequently overran these territories
for the sake of plunder. Many were slain in the fields and houses, some
taken captive, and others robbed of their goods and cattle. How great
were the sufferings of Moppa and Salabina, old townlets of the Indians,
and the neighbouring places! In Manumo many were killed on the same day.
All the men being slain, a Mulatta woman snatched up a sword, and slew
an Abipon, but she was soon killed herself by the rest. The journey from
Sta. Fè to St. Iago was, at that time, most perilous. The ways were
strewed with the dead bodies of the Spaniards. Miguel de Luna, who,
though more remarkable for greatness of body than of mind, had been
promoted to the rank of camp-master, was returning from the estates of
Sta. Fè, accompanied by a great number of horses and oxen, which he had
purchased. Whilst reclining at noon, under the shade of a tree, he was
surprized by a company of Abipones and Mocobios. Of his companions some
were employed in catching the horses which had been let loose to
pasture, others in killing oxen. Some of the Spaniards were pierced by
the spears of the Abipones in the first attack: the rest were saved by
means of their horses' hoofs, leaving the cattle and baggage in the
hands of the enemy. Tinko, a man famous for his knowledge of ways and
tracks, caught hold of his master Miguel with both hands, and placing
him like a bundle on the crupper of his horse, galloped away so quickly
that Miguel had no time to seat himself in a proper position. The
servant and his master were pursued in their flight by a party of
savages, who kept endeavouring to wound them with spears, but none durst
approach for fear of the musket which hung suspended from Miguel's back,
though this musket was in such a condition that the enemy had little
occasion to fear it, nor could its owner expect it to yield a single
spark of fire. Many years after, I saw this noble pair of fugitives, as
well as that famous instrument of defence, at which I laughed heartily,
for it was hardly worthy of the name of musket.

The same road which had been the scene of these events became always
liable to the incursions of the savages, and proved fatal to many who
journeyed there. Alarcon, Las Tres Cruzes, La Viuda, Las Sepulturas, Don
Gil, Do[=n]a Lorenza, and other places near the river Salado, are wont
to inspire terror by recalling the memory of the numerous slaughters
perpetrated there. Throughout these extensive tracts of land, estates
once flourished opulent in cattle, which being laid waste by the
savages, a mournful solitude, opportune for plunderers, had succeeded.
Hence the road hanging over the river Salado was deserted by the St.
Iagans, who, for the sake of security, thought proper to frequent
another, named _El camino de los porongos_. But whilst they avoided
Charybdis they fell upon Scylla, for there the Abipones wandered in
troops, bearing destruction to all they met. One Barassa, and three
companions, as they were conveying merchandise on mules from the city of
Sta. Fè, were cruelly murdered in the field called _Los monigotes_,
whilst I was in Paraguay.

The slaughter of the Spaniards of St. Iago in the woods named Hierro,
was much more desperate. To give you some idea of the extent of it, a
little prefacing is necessary. To seek honey and wax in the woods, to
purify and prepare it, and to sell it to others, is the principal and
peculiar trade of the inhabitants of St. Iago. Slaves are sent for that
purpose by the more opulent, with a director, to the remotest woods,
where natural bee-hives are found in hollow trees. Cottages are built
for the labourers of boughs and straw, where there is a field close by,
and a good opportunity of getting water. They always keep a number of
horses and mules; the former for the purpose of travelling and hunting,
the latter for that of carrying burdens of provisions, wax, and honey.
They are all extremely solicitous to have in readiness very swift
horses, with which they daily sally forth to hunt wild animals, the
flesh of which they use for food, and the skins for bags to hold the
honey. Whilst the rest wander through the wood, their director boils the
wax collected the day before, and prepares food for his companions on
their return. There is one place particularly abundant in honey; it is a
hundred leagues from St. Iago, and is named Hierro.

This circumstance was well known to Oaherkaikin, the crafty leader of
the Abipones, and thither he came to commit depredations with a faithful
troop of followers, nor was he disappointed in his hopes; for he found a
vast number of Spaniards in that place seeking honey. The most
distinguished of these was Lisondo, than whom, the Commander-in-chief,
Barreda, declared, he had not a braver nor more active soldier. One of
the slaves, who had gone to a neighbouring ditch to draw water, spied an
Abiponian horseman leaning upon his spear, and having his face painted
with dark colours; upon which he called out _Amigo_, friend. This
salutation being sternly rejected by the savage, the slave, greatly
alarmed, told what he had seen to Lisondo, who, always intrepid, said he
saw no immediate occasion for fear. Soon after, the bands of Abipones
sprung forth from the various parts of the wood where they had concealed
themselves, and slaying all they met, rushed into the cottage of
Lisondo, who, armed with his axe and his presence of mind alone, broke
the spears of four of the assailants, but at last fell oppressed by
numbers. He expired wounded in many places, having been first dragged
out of doors by strong straps of leather, with which his hands and feet
were bound. Lisondo being slain, the few who escaped the eyes and hands
of the savages, saved their lives by flight. Three or four leapt on to
the same horse, and beginning their journey without any provisions, the
fugitives were threatened with fresh dangers of death. They had to
travel at least fifty leagues, in a vast solitude, before they could
reach the dwellings of men. Hence, wasted with hunger, thirst, and
apprehension, they at length reached home, many of them on foot, and
though they had escaped death, looked more dead than alive. Meanwhile,
in the scene of so much bloodshed, a vast quantity of wax and honey, a
number of excellent horses and mules, the large brazen caldrons for
refining the wax, the axes and various other iron implements, and the
wearing apparel, became the prey of the savages; whilst the owners at
St. Iago bitterly deplored the deaths of the men, and the loss of their
property. The Abipones who committed this slaughter were those who, till
then, had refused to enter the colonies founded for their nation; but
they soon after took refuge in them to avoid the vengeance of the

The Abipones raged with still more violence and pertinacity against
those colonies which look towards the south, and are near the
territories of Cordoba. Zumampa, Las Barrancas, and El Oratorio, for a
long time witnessed the cruelty of the savages. A whole village was
destroyed, while some of the inhabitants were slain, and others made
captive, scarce one or two surviving. This country is intersected by a
high road, through which waggons loaden with Peruvian money frequently
pass to Buenos-Ayres. The certainty of booty and great facility of
committing depredations had attracted the Abipones to these parts of the
province, to the great annoyance of merchants, who were thus
necessitated either to lose their merchandise, or to bring soldiers at a
great expense to defend the waggons and their drivers, who often lost
their lives as they were endeavouring to defend the lives and properties
of others.

These and many other things of this kind were committed by the Abipones
against the inhabitants of St. Iago, who knew not that they had to deal
with a people accustomed to leave nothing unrevenged. They frequently
eluded the attempts of the enemy by vigilance, oftener warded them off
by dint of brave exertions. They often returned slaughter for slaughter,
wounds for wounds. They had made such frequent inroads into Chaco, and
so many successful invasions of the hordes of the savages, that the
soldiers were scarce sufficient to guard the captives. I cannot commend
the soldiers of St. Iago without launching out into the praise of their
general, Barreda. Excuse me if I make some tribute to my love for this
man, and appear somewhat prolix in what respects him but fear nothing in
regard to veracity. Barreda is indeed my friend, but truth still more

                              CHAPTER VII.
                             AND MOCOBIOS.

Astigi, a city of Andalusia, was his native place. He was born of a most
respectable family, and had been in the King's service from his earliest
years. He set sail from Cadiz for Paraguay, while yet a youth, bearing
letters from the King, in the office of naval secretary. This voyage is
often performed in three or four months, with a favourable wind; Barreda
and his companions, miserably tost about the ocean, scarce reached the
port of Buenos-Ayres on the tenth. Having dispatched their business in
that city, all things were put in readiness for returning to Europe, and
they entered the vessel. But just as they were going to raise anchor, a
furious south wind encountered the ship, turned it on its beam-ends, and
would have sunk it, had it not been held by steady anchors. The crew
remained the whole night on a sand bank, expecting death every moment.
The shades of night increased their fears and their danger. All must
have perished, had not a boat arrived, at day-break, from the shore,
which is three miles distant from the place where the ships lie at
anchor. Barreda conceived such a horror of navigation, that, when his
companions returned to Spain, he remained in Paraguay, reserved by the
Almighty to repress the boldness of the savages, by whom he was more
dreaded in his age, than the sea had been by him in his youth. He was
removed from Buenos-Ayres to Salabina, a little town in the country of
St. Iago, where his skill in writing rendered him very useful. He
volunteered to accompany the soldiers in an incursion against the
savages, and after having, in repeated campaigns, given signal proofs of
wisdom and valour, was promoted first to command a troop of horse,
afterwards to lead them against the savages, and lastly to be chief
ruler, in the Governour's name, over the whole territory of the river
Salado; in which station, he commended himself to the Royal Governour of
Tucuman, by his many brave and noble actions, the chief of which was his
prevailing upon the Vilelas to embrace the Roman Catholic religion. By
means of his industrious efforts, ten thousand Vilelas quitted their
lurking-holes in the woods, entered the new colonies, and received
baptism. The small-pox, which broke out soon afterwards, cut off
greatest part of them, and the survivors settled first in the land of
Cordoba, and afterwards in the territory of St. Iago, where, as they
daily decreased more and more under other masters, they were committed
to the care of the priests of our order.

Barreda pursued the Abipones and Mocobios, who continued hostile, with
the rigour of arms, as he had conciliated the peaceful Vilelas by gentle
measures. If he did not entirely repress their boldness, he certainly
restrained and punished it with frequent discomfitures. The Royal
Governour, desirous of rewarding his merit, conferred on him the supreme
administration, in his name, of all affairs, civil and military, in all
the colonies of St. Iago. How well he answered to the good opinion
entertained of him, you may discover from the circumstance, that he held
this office for thirty years, and never laid it down till his death,
equally beloved by all good men, and dreaded by the savages. Many
declared that they saw nothing to object to in him but his goodness,
which almost appeared carried to an excess. In the punishment of
criminals, he showed himself more lenient, than hasty or severe; for he
used to say he would rather suffer ten guilty men to escape unpunished,
than punish one innocent man. Whenever he pronounced sentence, as a
judge, he endeavoured to favour the Indian rather than the Spaniard,
usually saying: _Hé de attender a la parte mas flaca_: I must defend the
weaker side. He had a very gentle disposition, by which he conciliated
all hearts; his person was handsome, and his body large and vigorous, so
that it was easy to infer how great a soul inhabited it. In uprightness
of conduct, in purity of mind, and in sincere piety, he excelled, or at
any rate equalled all the civil and military commanders of his time. His
love and reverence for the priesthood were very great. In the presence
of hundreds of soldiers, and of my Abipones, he disdained not to honour
my hand with a pious kiss; and to assist me as I was performing the
sacred rites. He devoted himself entirely to promoting the advantage of
the province committed to his care, so that he had no time to think of
heaping up riches, which is commonly thought the chief business of
Europeans in America. But though not very opulent, he was exceedingly
liberal. In short, by the splendor of his virtues, and by his famous
achievements against the savages, he obtained an immortal reputation,
but at the same time excited the envy of cowards and sluggards; a fate
which attends all eminent men, and is their constant inheritance. Noble
actions however clearly refute the accusations of the envious. Barreda
not only attended thirty expeditions against the Abipones and Mocobios,
but headed them all himself except three. The number of his victories,
such victories as are gained in America, was the same as that of his
expeditions. You would have thought that fortune waited on his
footsteps. But he used to impute his success not to fortune, but to the
favour of the Almighty, and to the activity and sagacity of his
soldiers; as if he himself had contributed little or nothing to the
prosperous event of the war. Yet it is allowed on all hands that the
success of these expeditions was chiefly owing to the prudence,
industry, and caution of Barreda. But he was not one of those generals,
who, to speak in the words of Livy, enter a contest, relying more on
their courage, than on their strength. The desire of fame or booty never
induced him to hazard an attack, unless he thought the hope of victory
greater than the likelihood of the most trifling slaughter. In order to
judge of this he carefully marked the situation of places, the numbers
of his adversaries, and the opportunities of the journey and of the
road. A band of scouts was daily sent forward, to discover the
ambuscades of the enemy, to examine their dwellings and their numbers,
or to surprize them unawares. Barreda detested any slaughter of the
savages, if attended by that of his own soldiers. "Where I am present,"
he said, "every thing goes on well. But if," added he, "I were utterly
to destroy all the savages in Chaco, at the expense of two soldiers
only, verily, on my return to the city, I should expect to be saluted
with mud and stones. The people are extremely desirous of the deaths of
the savages, but expect their own soldiers to be immortal in every
battle." As it had been clearly proved that Barreda was by no means rash
in undertaking expeditions, the people of St. Iago with willing minds
followed whithersoever he led, and under no leader did these excellent
soldiers make more daring achievements.

I have already mentioned that the people of St. Iago possessed a
singular skill at exploring, but that Landriel excelled in this respect
is doubted by no one. Barreda made use of him for many years as the
chief instrument of his victories; and by this penetrating discoverer of
the savages he was accompanied wherever he went. Other Spaniards, too,
out of the territories of St. Iago, took him for their guide whenever
the savages were to be attacked or repelled. I will give you an account
of a victory which Barreda gained chiefly by means of this man. As
Landriel was on his way home from the woods, where he had been employed
in collecting wax and honey, he fell in with Barreda, who had just set
off on an expedition against the Abipones, with many hundred horse.
"Tarry here awhile," said Landriel to him. "Let me carry home the mules
loaden with wax and honey, and to-morrow I will return provided with
proper horses, and conduct you straight forward to the dwellings of the
Abipones. I saw them myself very lately, and was compelled by hunger to
slay some of their oxen." Landriel was joyfully beheld by them all as a
propitious star, and not listened to without inspiring confidence of
victory. He stood to his promise, and returning the next day, was the
life of the party, and the eye and right hand of Barreda. In a few days,
as he knew the Abiponian horde to be at no great distance, he stations
the forces which were proceeding into Chaco, in a secure place, whilst
he himself, with another soldier, goes to discover whether the Abipones
continued in the same place where he had first seen them. In the
evening, leaving his horse to the care of his companion, he hastens
alone and on foot to the place where he had lately espied the dwellings
of the savages, but finds that they had changed their quarters. He knew
that close by was a lake, affording great convenience for a savage
horde. Thither he steals, and perceives from the number of fires that
the Abipones, whom he sought, had settled there. Returning to the place
where he had left his horse in the care of his companion, he finds that
both were departed; for the soldier, imagining that Landriel must have
been intercepted by the savages, from his staying so many hours, had
consulted his own safety by flight. Barreda, and all the other soldiers,
after vainly expecting Landriel's return for so long a time, began to
entertain the same suspicions. They were not aware that Landriel had to
return on foot, the same distance which he had gone on horseback. But
when at length he returned safe, Barreda resumed his courage, and all
the rest their hope of victory, especially when they understood that the
retreat of the savages had been discovered.

The journey was now begun, forthwith, under Landriel's guidance; and
when after many hours they had crossed a plain which was flooded to such
a degree as to bear the appearance of a lake, the dwellings of the
Abipones were seen, and instantly attacked. The very few men in the
place could not stand the assault of the Spaniards, but preferred flight
to combat. The Cacique who governed that horde, with most of the
efficient men, were then absent: doubtless, had they been at home, the
attack would not have proved entirely bloodless. Some of the Indians,
however, who were slower in their flight, were slain, and a train of
women and children taken captive. Various silver utensils, the fruit of
much plunder, many hundreds of horses, and numerous oxen, were the booty
of the Spaniards. The day being nearly ended, the Spaniards passed the
night in the same place; not sleeping, but watching, and all the
captives, many hundreds in number, were guarded in the fold where the
horses had formerly been kept.

Amongst the captives were some Spanish women, who had been formerly
taken in war by the Abipones; one of these persuaded the soldiers to
return by a different, and more convenient way than that by which they
had come, and this proposal was eagerly embraced by the soldiers, whose
clothes were still wet with the water of their yesterday's journey.
Meantime the report of the incursion of the Spaniards provoked to the
desire of vengeance all the Abipones who dwelt in the vicinity.
Exasperated by the captivity of their wives and children, they fell upon
the last company of the St. Iagans, but met with a brave repulse. Some
of the soldiers, however, forgetful of the danger, were nearly slain by
the savages, whilst at a distance from their companions. One of them
falling from his horse into a marshy place, would soon have been pierced
with spears, had not Captain Gorosito succoured him by the intervention
of a musket. The Indians, perceiving that their skirmishes had produced
no effect, withdrew to their places of concealment, leaving the
Spaniards to pursue their journey, without further molestation. Alaykin,
ill enduring the loss of so many people and horses, began to think of
establishing a peace with the inhabitants of St. Iago, and of requesting
a colony for himself; both of which he obtained, by the intercession of
Barreda. Numbers were slain, and about two hundred taken prisoners, in
another excursion undertaken by Barreda against the Mocobios, most of
whom, terrified by so much slaughter, took refuge in the town of St.
Xavier, which had been founded in the territories of Sta. Fè, for the
Caciques Aletin and Chitalin, and at that time contained about twenty
families, but was wonderfully increased by the accession of those whom
Barreda frightened into entering it, or freed from captivity and sent
thither. I pass by many other expeditions of this kind which Barreda
successfully conducted against the savages; some of them, however, I
shall touch upon in treating of the affairs of Cordoba. Barreda always
maintained that his assaults on the savages would have caused less
effusion of blood, had his soldiers, though excellent in every other
respect, paid more obedience to his orders. You shall now hear the
complaints he made against them.

                             CHAPTER VIII.
                           RANK AMONGST THEM.

The soldiers of St. Iago were accused of three defects by their old
general, Barreda. The first is, that in an assault, they neglect to
surround the dwellings of the savages on every side, and thus give them
an opportunity of escaping. They make the first attack in front, leaving
a way to the wood, whither the enemy may take shelter. Experience has
taught them that the Abipones and Mocobios fight desperately when
straitened. They knew well that the province would be more disturbed by
the deaths of two soldiers, than rejoiced at the slaughter of two
hundred savages. Induced by these considerations, the soldiers of St.
Iago, slighting the orders of their commander, attack the enemy on that
part which they think least dangerous to themselves. Another subject of
complaint to Barreda, was, that, though he commanded them to make the
attack in silence, they still would rush on with shouts and senseless
clamour. The third objection was, their greediness for booty. When an
unarmed multitude of women and children were taken, whilst the men
escaped, the soldiers, scattered up and down the plain, were eagerly
seeking droves of horses, when they ought to have been employed in
pursuing and slaughtering the fugitives, and in watching diligently,
lest the savages should shake off dread, quit their lurking-holes, and
again exhibit their faces in the field. Barreda himself, in an
expedition against the Mocobios, ran great risk of losing his life; for
as he remained in the plundered camp, with but one companion, the rest
being employed in catching the enemy's horses in the plain, a Mocobio
suddenly started up from under a mat, and before taking to flight, shot
an arrow at his breast, which would have proved mortal, had he not been
protected by his woollen garment: the man was immediately pierced with a
musket ball. Who would not laugh at the paltry plunder of the enemy's
camp? They search every corner, and collect jugs, pots, gourds, shells,
skins of beasts, emus' feathers, in short whatever they can find,
leaving nothing behind but the dust. With much care and trouble they
carry home all sorts of trash, to be exhibited as trophies to their
neighbours and to posterity.

Not one soldier receives any pay, throughout the whole district of St.
Iago. The colonists are all divided into companies, some of which
consist of two hundred men, more or less. Each has its captain,
lieutenant, ensign, (though that is a mere title, for they have no
ensigns,) and corporals. It is the captain's duty to call out the
soldiers to an excursion. The lieutenant's business is to guard the
horses, both by day, when they are driven all together along the road,
without riders, and by night, when they are grazing in the open plain.
Many take long journeys on one horse, but the more opulent carry four,
or even ten, and ride them by turns. The ensigns act in the place of the
lieutenant, when he is absent, or resting. In each of the territories of
the province, there is a master of the watch, called _Sargento Mayor_,
who has the chief command both over the captains and their companies,
and orders which are to go to war. This officer, sometimes from
partiality, sometimes from being corrupted by bribes, suffers the richer
people to remain at home, and forces the poorer, and generally the least
able, to attend the militia. All condemn, but none dare to correct this
abominable custom, the pernicious effects of which extend to the whole
province. Barreda permitted nobody to be appointed for an expedition,
who did not possess at least four horses, and who had neither brothers
nor grown-up sons at home, to manage his domestic affairs in his
absence. During my stay there, the whole province of St. Iago contained
eleven companies, which took their names from their captains. Beside
these, there is a company of scouts, called _Batidores del campo_,
containing fewer than the others, but those few of tried sagacity and
courage. The chief and the champion of this company was Landriel, who,
as a remuneration for his well-known merits, was declared camp-master by
the Governour of Tucuman. But I should have been better pleased to have
heard of his having been enriched with money, or a pension, than adorned
with an empty title. According to report, his father was not of low
birth, but his mother must have been an Indian, to judge from his
features, speech, and complexion. He was born in a village of St. Iago.
Reading and writing were the extent of his attainments. He was courteous
and upright in his manners, endowed with a quick understanding, with
singular prudence and piety, and robust, though middle-sized in stature.
He always led a single life, to the best of my remembrance. I visited
him on my return from the city, when he dwelt with his mother, in a
miserable hut, not far from Soconcho, on the banks of the river Dulce,
and was grieved to witness the poverty of so famous a man. The Governour
granted him the field Alarcòn, which extends many leagues, and is rich
in woods, but being surrounded with a vast desert, and consequently
liable to the incursions of the savages, cannot be cultivated with

The last, and chief company, consists of the captains who have served
out their time, and are called _Capitanes Reformados_. These attend the
Vice-Governour, the Commander-in-chief in excursions, but are exempt
from the other journeys and burdens of the war. To obtain this immunity,
those who are more gifted with wealth than courage purchase the title of
a reformed captain, though they never discharged the office either of
captain or lieutenant. You can hardly imagine how ardently all the
Americans, both Indians and Spaniards, sue for military dignities, and
how much they are delighted with these honourable titles. Do they faint
with hunger, thirst and wretchedness?—salute them with the title of
captain, or master of the watch, and they will revive,—_in cælum,
jusseris, ibunt_. There was an old Spaniard who knew how to make
waggons, gates, and mill-wheels, and was, on this account, styled a
mathematician by the ignorant vulgar, who doubtless accounted him
superior to Archimedes. Barreda was in want of this man's assistance in
constructing the gates and window-beams in the new colony of Concepcion;
but being well aware that the old workman would never be persuaded to go
to the country of the Abipones, being more attached to his own house
than a tortoise to its shell, he made use of an honest stratagem to
obtain his purpose, and immediately declared him a reformed captain. In
a few days, Barreda gives out his intention of taking a journey to the
colony. According to custom, two companies and all the reformed captains
were called out, amongst whom, this most noble artificer, as he had
lately been elected one of their number, could not refuse to go. Barreda
jocosely told me the whole story, in the new town of Concepcion, and
charged me always to salute the said workman with the high-sounding
title of Captain, saying it would be an excellent method of stimulating
him to exertion. I took the hint, and whenever I had occasion to visit
the workshop, interspersed every sentence with _Señor Capitan_. "Very
true," said he; "by the grace of God I am a captain; that can't be
denied. But what of that?" And then he complained to me, that many did
not know that this was the case. I immediately employed all my
rhetorical powers in extolling the perfections of a reformed captain in
general, and his own exceeding merit in particular; and in this
panegyric I took care that every sentence should begin and end with,
_Señor Capitan_. At my request, this mode of speech was adopted by
Barreda and all the rest, which artifice succeeded so well, that the
good old man made the gates, doors, and other necessaries, with all
possible dispatch, though not in the most skilful manner: such was the
potency of the unprofitable title of captain amongst them, which I have
seen confirmed by another event of the same kind, that took place in the
town of Concepcion.

Barreda ordered the soldiers to hedge round a very large field, to
plough, and sow it with maize, melons, cotton, &c. and he himself
laboured with his own hands, that the Abipones might not be ashamed of
the plough. At the end of four days, being obliged to return to the
city, he gave it in charge to one of the common soldiers, to get it
properly ploughed and sowed during his absence, promising him, by way of
reward, the title of reformed captain. Lured by so sweet a bait, the
soldier exceeded Barreda's expectation, and almost went beyond himself.
From the rising to the setting of the sun, he made the oxen fly with the
plough, and himself and his companions overflow with sweat, caused by
toiling under a burning sun; careless of the heat, of food and sleep, he
laboured with such ardour, that his task was finished sooner than could
have been imagined. Barreda, on his departure, by sound of drum,
proclaimed this strenuous ploughman a reformed captain, to the
surrounding troop of horse. But you will laugh to hear how transitory is
human greatness. In less than three days, this new captain lost his
dignity, and the favour of him who conferred it. It is worth while to
relate the cause of his disgrace, which will discover a shameful custom
of the soldiers of St. Iago. When absent, they are possessed with an
incredible desire of home. Those who are sent to the colonies of the
Abipones pursue their journey thither very tardily, but return with
amazing quickness. They fatigue their horses with hurrying day and
night, as, though they may have no wounds to show, they wish to present
themselves at home, alive and safe, as soon as possible. From this
extreme desire of revisiting their friends, it often happens that the
soldiers, whilst striving with each other in haste, desert their leader.
Barreda, in the journey I mentioned, was offended to find so very few
soldiers remaining in his company, and particularly at the absence of
him whom he had named captain but a few days before. He sent a man
forward to signify to him that he was degraded from his rank. Grieved
and surprized at this intelligence, he condemned his own haste, and
almost wept for the loss of his title. Landriel became his counsellor,
and advised him to fill the horns, which they used for jugs, with fresh
water, to carry them to Barreda, and say that he had hastened to fetch
cold water from the river Turugon, as none was to be got within many
leagues. Barreda, parching with thirst, was so pleased with this
civility, that, not perceiving the deceit, he restored to the good man
the title of captain. I relate these unimportant circumstances to show
you what a value the Spaniards set upon military titles. Hence, whenever
you meet a Spaniard or half Spaniard in the country, if you wish to
avoid giving offence, be sure not to accost him by his name or surname
alone, but always add his title, if he have any. If he be of the very
lowest condition, call him _Señor Cabo de esquadra_, or _Señor
Sargento_. If you observe wrinkles in his forehead, grey hairs on his
head, and shoes or boots on his feet, though his clothes be ever so
shabby, you may have no hesitation in calling him captain: but if he
have silver clasps to his bridle, brazen stirrups, (we generally use
wooden ones,) spurs of silver, and a staff in his hand, be assured that
he holds the title of _Sargento Mayor_, or _Maestre de Campo_. In a
noble city of Tucuman, where I resided for some time, all the richer
sort of people are called camp-masters, and in fact they are so; for a
knowledge of agriculture and the breeding of cattle is the sole means of
maintenance and nobility to the inhabitants of that place. You would be
thought a savage and fit to be hunted out of society, unless you made
abundant use of these honourable appellations, which they seek with such
ardor. A man of our order happened, on a journey, to fall in with a
Spaniard in a place where four roads met, and, whilst considering which
way he should take, repeatedly addressed his companion with the title of
captain: till the man, thinking himself insulted, said, with a
threatening look, "Good Father, how long will you continue to make me
angry? You must either be a stranger, or very ignorant, since you don't
know that I am a _Sargento Mayor_:" so much displeasure do they evince
if their ears are not gratified with their proper appellations. But they
are not ashamed to be saluted with titles which do not really belong to
them. I saw Barreda writing letters to the Governour of Tucuman, in
which he honoured him with the title of colonel, though he was only
lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of infantry. I reminded Barreda of this
circumstance, thinking it must have slipped his memory. But he replied
that he had written it purposely, not through forgetfulness: that I was
unacquainted with the customs of America, where it is necessary to
politeness, to add one degree, at least, to a title of dignity.

                              CHAPTER IX.
                           PEOPLE OF CORDOBA.

Cordoba, the principal city of Tucuman, a Bishop's see, contains an
academy which was a few years back as famous as any in South America,
and is extolled for its splendid edifices, and its opulent and
honourable citizens. The ruler of Cordoba is not styled a Vice-Governor,
but a Viceroy. The situation of the city, which is washed by the little
river Pucarà, and surrounded by hills, is neither very pleasant, nor
very healthy. The country on the side of Sta. Fè, and Buenos-Ayres, is a
plain more than a hundred leagues in extent, of most fertile
pasture-ground; but the part looking towards the kingdom of Chili, and
the territories of St. Iago, is irregular, sometimes sinking into low
vallies, sometimes rising into irriguous hills; where feed an infinite
multitude of cattle, horses, mules, and sheep, in which the principal
and almost only riches of the Cordobans consist. This part of Tucuman,
except the city, enjoys a healthy temperature, and a cool breeze arising
from the vicinity of the mountains of Chili; the population is numerous,
and the inhabitants frank, robust, and intelligent, but deserving of a
better fortune in war. Larger woods of quince, pomegranate, orange and
peach trees are no where to be seen: there are also figs, nuts, and
other fruits peculiar to America.

The land of Cordoba might be esteemed fortunate, had the inhabitants
ever been allowed to rest from the incursions of the Pampas, Abipones,
and Mocobios. If, as I have related, the rest of Paraguay was often
disturbed by the inroads of the Abipones, the Cordobans were so
tormented by their perpetual hostilities, that neither place nor season
was free from fear and anxiety. Not only the remote and solitary
estates, but even the immediate vicinity of the city was so confidently
attacked by the Abipones, you would have thought that women only dwelt
there, or that all the inhabitants were asleep. This extensive province
always possessed sufficient numbers, and sufficient strength to repel
the Abipones; the only things needed were courage and proper leaders,
who by their example might animate the people to the defence of their
country, direct the forces it contained to some advantage, and make use
of the strength that really existed: for certainly in no part of
Paraguay were there to be found more expeditious horses and horsemen
than here; not to mention the agility, and skill which the latter
possessed in other respects, their height, singular strength, activity,
and abundance of armour: for their superior opulence enables them, more
easily than the other Spaniards, to obtain the necessary instruments of
war. Oh! that the people of Cordoba would learn to know themselves, and
their own strength! that they would shake off their innate dread of the
savages, whom they could easily vanquish, would they but summon up
courage to make the attempt! The Abipones, conscious that they were
dreaded by the Cordobans, insolently reiterated their assaults, and
generally with impunity. The high-way leading to Peru, and to the cities
of Buenos-Ayres and Sta. Fè, was seldom free from carnage and robberies,
never from danger: insomuch that travellers always either suffered or
apprehended murder from the savages. There was no such thing as
security. Neither the summits of the highest hills, nor the deepest
recesses of the forests afforded any defence. The Abipones examined all
places, like hounds, and seldom returned empty-handed. On St Joseph's
day, before dawn, a vast troop of Abipones, under their leader Alaykin,
burst into the estate of Sinsacate, which is about ten leagues distant
from the city. This place was then administered by the secular priest
Carranza. A great number of people, who had assembled the day before
from the neighbouring estates, intending to be present at divine service
in the church of Jesus and Mary, were there at that time. The savages
either slew, or carried into captivity all they saw. The number of
captives, Spaniards and Indians, was five and twenty: many more were
slain, and the rest saved themselves by flight; every thing was
plundered, and the mules and horses which filled the neighbouring
fields, driven away. The estate was saved by the lofty walls of the
church Jesus Maria, though it suffered a great loss of cattle. The
soldiers of Cordoba, moved by the dreadful report, at last arrived from
the city, that, though unable to restore life to the dead, they might at
least procure the liberty of the crowd of captives. They pursued the
fugitive Abipones for some time, till their further progress was stopped
by a vast lake, which, though crossed by the Indians without hesitation,
seemed to the Cordobans an ocean impassable on horseback, and requiring
the assistance of a boat; so that they were obliged to retire out of
sight of the enemy. The people of Cordoba, notwithstanding that they
excel in point of horsemanship, are little qualified to pursue the
savages, from their inability to swim; the cause of this deficiency is
that most of them live in a place where swimming is not customary, or
where there is no opportunity for practising it. There is a place,
between Cordoba and St. Iago, called Rio Seco. Scattered here and there
in little valleys between the hills are great numbers of well-peopled
estates, and cattle of every description. In this place is a large,
elegant stone church, which owes its celebrity to an image of the Virgin
Mary, and whither numbers flock from all parts, as it has been
distinguished by the favour of Heaven and the gifts of the pious. The
Abipones had informed themselves of this circumstance from their Spanish
captives. The opulence of the place afforded them great hopes of a rich
booty. Having diligently examined every thing through their spies, they
resolved to occupy the narrow straits of the rocks, and block up all the
ways, to deprive the Spaniards of the means of flight. They either slew,
or made captive, all they found in the neighbouring fields, and in the
houses, without opposition: the whole country was devastated. An immense
number of horses and mules were taken by the savages. The church itself
was forced, while affording shelter to those who survived the massacre,
and had fled thither for refuge. They broke open the door with an axe,
though it was secured with bolts and plates of iron. These sacrilegious
thieves carried away the sacred silver utensils, the bells of the tower,
and even the image of the holy mother, with that of St. Joseph; and when
they had murdered all the inhabitants, and plundered all their
possessions, they departed laden with spoils, and the heads of the
slain. But it so fell out by divine dispensation, that Barreda was just
then meditating an excursion against the savages, at no great distance,
and upon receiving information of this outrage of the Abipones,
immediately flew thither with his followers. After pursuing the
fugitives for a long time, day and night, he learned that they had
separated into two companies and gone different ways. The height of his
wishes was to rescue out of the hands of the savages the image of the
divine mother, and though he hesitated a little which way to take, yet,
by God's grace, he finally chose that which led to the party in
possession of the holy image. Proceeding for some time with all speed,
he at last surprizes the Abipones, sitting unsuspiciously on the ground
while their horses were feeding in the pastures. The approach of the St.
Iagan soldiers being perceived, the infantry threw themselves into an
adjacent wood. The Spaniards instantly flew to the baggage which the
savages had relinquished, and joyfully discovered amongst the rest the
image of the Virgin. The enemy's horses were collected and their saddles
burnt. The wood was, for some time, surrounded on all sides by the
soldiers; but at length, the Abipones showed such obstinacy in their
lurking-holes, and the horses were so weakened by three days' hunger and
fatigue, that Barreda began to think of retreating. Nothing was ever
heard of the image of St. Joseph, but most likely it was thrown into
some deep marsh. This hostile aggression upon Rio Seco induced the
Cordobans to surround that church with high stone walls, strengthened
with four towers, that it might no longer be exposed to the injuries of
the savages, and that, like the other colonists, they might defend
themselves in those fortlets, on any impending danger.

The Abipones penetrated also into the valley of Calamuchita, which,
though inclosed by rocks, is rich in herds, at the instigation of a
Negro slave, who, being offended by his master, chose to satiate his
desire of vengeance by the hands of the savages, since he could not by
his own. Much blood was shed there, and every thing plundered that came
to hand. At Zumampa and the neighbouring places, slaughter and rapine
were almost daily committed. The parish of St. Miguel in Rio Verde was
depopulated by continual assaults. Those territories, especially, by
which the Rio Segundo flows, were not only infested by the Abipones, but
chosen by them as places of abode, where they laid in wait for
travellers to Sta. Fè, or Buenos-Ayres. The place called Cruz alta
afforded great opportunities for pillaging. The terror excited by the
slaughters committed there increased every day. On account of the
magnitude of the danger, the waggons for conveying merchandise could
never pass to and fro, except in large companies. The men appointed to
defend the caravans, being generally of the very lowest order,
unfurnished with muskets, armed with spears alone, and moreover entirely
destitute both of courage and vigilance, were every one slain. The
Abipones seized the merchandise and the droves of horses and oxen, and
burnt the waggons to ashes. These tragic events happened very
frequently, and were most ruinous to traders. One, which is of more
recent occurrence, I shall relate, and pass by the rest. Five and twenty
Cordoban waggons bound to Sta. Fè were attacked by the Abipones, on
their second day's journey, a few leagues from the city. The drivers and
guards were all killed whilst sleeping, as usual, at mid-day, in the
plains, (except one who was feeding the oxen on horseback.) Amongst the
number of the slain was Father Diego Herrera, a Jesuit, destined for the
towns of the Guaranies; he was only deprived of his clothes in the first
attack, but lost his life in the second. A rosary, a square hat, and a
habit were carried away by the savages as trophies, and the prayer-books
scattered about the plain. Kebachichi, the leader of that expedition,
wore the slain priest's robe and square hat at all public drinking
parties, in commemoration of the bloody deed. This man, who some years
after resided in the town of St. Jeronymo, when upon a visit to us in
the colony of Concepcion, requested my companion to give him a hat, and
on being refused, said to the Father in a threatening tone, "Dare you
deny me a hat? Don't you know that I am a slayer of Fathers?" The
Vice-Governor of Sta. Fè, to avenge those who had suffered the loss
either of their lives or their properties, marched with some of his
companies into Chaco; but the event did him little honour. He met with a
horde of Abipones, but they falsely declared themselves innocent of the
slaughters that had been committed. Meantime the arrival of the
Spaniards being spread throughout the neighbourhood, more and more
companies of Abipones assembled, and at last raised such a numerous
army, that the Vice-Governor thought it more advisable to treat the
Abipones with biscuit and other gifts as friends, than to assault them
with balls and gunpowder as enemies; which cowardice in their general
filled the soldiers with indignation. Fearing a dangerous return, he
hastened toward the city, the Abipones pressing behind with equal speed.
The soldiers themselves condemned this retreat; for impunity and the
inactivity of some of the Spaniards renders the savages more and more
bold in their attempts; yet they are astounded if any one summons up a
little courage to oppose their assaults, and presents a musket in a
threatening manner. This was found by Galarza, Viceroy of Cordoba, who,
in returning from Buenos-Ayres with some waggons, encountered Kebachichi
and a troop of Abipones. Galarza, seeing the enemy at hand, leapt from
his horse, that he might more conveniently make use of his musket. But
whilst he was hastily tucking up his travelling-dress that it might not
retard him in using his arms, his horse took fright and ran away, and
being furnished with precious trappings, and with pistols, was stopped
by an Abipon. But none of them dared approach the enemy's waggons,
because they were defended by Galarza, who was armed with a musket. The
enemy were deterred from plundering the waggons, and slaying the
attendants, by Galarza's presence of mind, and by the sight of this
musket, which was nevertheless incapable of doing any harm. But he could
not prevent the oxen and horses, which were at a distance from the
waggons, from being carried off. The neighbouring fortification of
Mazangani seems to have deterred these two and twenty Abipones from
attempting any thing further. Whenever I heard this fortification spoken
of, I figured to myself a place fortified with ditches, trenches, walls,
mounds, artillery and a garrison. But how was I deceived! In travelling
from Buenos-Ayres to Cordoba, I perceived Mazangani to be a square area,
scarce fifty feet in diameter, and hedged round with trunks, and thorny
boughs of trees. At the side of it stands a miserable hut covered with
straw, and built of sticks and mud, inhabited by a poor wretched man who
there exercises the several functions of Governor, garrison, and
watchman; for he ascends a high tree placed in the middle of the court
to discover if any savages are to be seen in the surrounding plain. In
order to deter them from approaching, and at the same time to apprize
the neighbourhood of their arrival, he fires a cannon. This is a
faithful description of that terrible fortress. Yet those who reached it
thought themselves, as it were, in port. From this you may judge how
little was necessary to repel those heroic savages. But rendered daily
bolder by frequent experiments, they learnt at last to despise these
little fortresses: for by casting fire with their arrows they easily
burnt the hedges, the cottages, and the defenders of them. Hence the
Spaniards, for the preservation of their safety, erected little stone or
brick fortresses in various places, and strengthened them with warlike

The plain called El Tio, which lies between Sta. Fè and Cordoba, is
uninhabited for almost thirty leagues, and consequently dangerous to
travellers; for not only the desert, but also a long wood which crosses
the plain ground from North to South, affords the Abipones an
opportunity of pillaging and making surprizes, especially at El Pozzo
Redondo; for after a great deal of dry weather, in this vast plain not a
drop of water is to be found, nor a bit of wood to make a fire with; but
both are supplied by the lake called El Pozzo Redondo, which is near a
wood. To travellers, therefore, who have crossed the plain and are
parching with thirst, nothing is more desirable than this lake, and at
the same time nothing is more formidable, since they cannot reach it
without risking their lives; for in this place the Mocobios and Abipones
lie in wait for the Spaniards, whom they know to be in the habit of
travelling by it. I have twice taken a journey to El Pozzo Redondo,
accompanied by four Spaniards. The first time we were in great
trepidation from the memory of slaughters recently committed there; on
the second we had nothing but inconvenience to endure, a two years'
drought having entirely dried up the lake. We and all our horses must
have perished with thirst, had not a great quantity of rain fallen that
night, accompanied with thunder. To increase the general consternation,
our guide told us that a certain Spaniard, in the service of the Royal
Governor, who had attended many campaigns in Europe, formerly passed a
night in this place. To the affirmations of the Paraguayrian soldiers
who accompanied him, that this place was dangerous from being liable to
the insidious attacks of the Abipones, he boastingly replied, that those
American pillagers were more worthy of derision than of dread. But the
Abipones assailing them the next day, he was so terrified at their yells
and their very aspect, that he suffered every indignity to which cowards
are liable. The savages carried off the horses, and whatever else
pleased their fancies. The European hero owed his life to his
Paraguayrian companions, and learnt to fear what he had thought a jest
the day before. But during the latter years of my residence in Paraguay,
the plain of El Tio was placed in security. Fortifications were erected
in two places, where a company of soldiers keeps continual watch, and
daily reconnoitres those parts whence the approach of the savages is
apprehended. Ever since Alvarez, master of the horse, was preferred to
the command of these guards, great restraint has been put upon the
licence of the savages, who before left nothing untouched, nothing
unattempted. I myself have witnessed what universal dread they excited,
when we sixty Europeans, accompanied by some Spanish natives, performed
a journey of one hundred and forty leagues, from the port of
Buenos-Ayres, where we had landed a little before, to Cordoba. Our
company consisted of about a hundred waggons, each drawn by four oxen,
but the number was doubled when they had to cross marshes: the driver
goads them on with a long pole, armed with a spike, and a horseman
generally goes before to show the way. These heavy waggons are supported
by two huge wheels, and have an arch at the top covered with a hide,
that the rain may run off them. The sides are sometimes enclosed with
boards, sometimes with mats, and have the appearance of a basket. No
iron is employed in any part of them. In the hind part where the door
is, there is a ladder to ascend by; in front there is a window. Each
waggon is generally occupied by one person, sometimes by two, and serves
for house, bed, and dining-room; for in the midst is placed a mattress,
on which you are conveyed along, with a jolting that, for the two or
three first days, produces vomiting, like sea-sickness. Most of the
journey is performed in the night, for the oxen cannot long bear the
heat of the sun in the day-time. Six pair of oxen are assigned to each
waggon, that they may relieve one another in the labour. To watch and
feed so great a number of cattle, many guards are necessary, each of
which have need of many horses. Neither they nor the drivers, nor the
men who ride before the waggons, are supplied with any other food except
beef, which is also the daily fare of the travellers in the waggons; so
that a great many oxen are consumed every day to satisfy so many hungry
stomachs. From this you may judge how great must be the number of men
and beasts, when a hundred, or more frequently two hundred, waggons of
this kind, travel a hundred and forty leagues of desert land together;
and, good heavens! what a noise they make! for the wheels are never
greased; they even catch fire sometimes by the continual friction of the
wooden axle, and wrap the waggon itself in flames. Excepting a few
estates and cottages in the neighbourhood of Buenos-Ayres and Cordoba,
you find nothing but a plain, void of inhabitants, buildings, trees,
rivers, or hills, but abounding in horses, wild asses, emus, does,
skunks (zorrinos,) and tigers. Fuel and fresh water are forced to be
carried for the daily consumption of the travellers. We were often
obliged to drink the muddy rain water which remains in the ditches,
though the very beasts, unless parching with thirst, would have refused
it. This immense wilderness which we had entered daily threatened us
with fresh difficulties and fresh dangers, greater than any we had
experienced in a three months' voyage on the ocean. Scarce a day or
night passed without tidings of the Spanish scouts having seen the
footsteps of the savages, or heard their whistles or pipes; in
consequence of which, most of the waggons were daily placed in the form
of a circle, for their mutual defence, and furnished with spears and
muskets. But whenever the Spaniards recollected how many former
travellers had fallen into the hands of the Indians, in these parts,
they thought the very rustling of the grass a harbinger of the approach
of the Abipones, and whilst the veteran natives of Paraguay were thus
alarmed at shadows, they inspired us novices in America with continual
dread. Our fears, however, proved groundless, for none of the savages
presented themselves to our sight; a circumstance which we attributed to
the special favour of God, since that part of the country had for many
years been the theatre of rapine and slaughter.

                               CHAPTER X.
                         AGAINST THE ABIPONES.

What! you exclaim, did the minds of the Cordobans at last grow callous
to so much slaughter?—Were they so tame as never to think of
revenge?—Did Cordoba want men, or arms, or strength? In neither of these
requisites was that flourishing city deficient. The Cordobans have
always in readiness twelve thousand men fit to bear arms. Cordoba
abounds in swift and strong horses. The bodies of the inhabitants are
strong and vigorous, and their minds filled with the desire of military
glory; they might not only put the Abipones to flight, but reduce the
whole province of Chaco: in short, they might do every thing against the
savages, did not the vain fear with which they are possessed make them
despair of doing any thing. Whilst depressed by the recollection of the
slaughters they had suffered, they thought victory must always attend
the Abipones; they dared attempt nothing against them, and were thus
forsaken by fortune, which usually favours the brave. I will here
describe some expeditions of the Cordobans, the issue of which was
always either unfortunate or ridiculous.

The Abipones laid waste the territories of Rio Segundo, and some
Cordoban forces were sent out to repress them. The enemy was overtaken
in the open plain. On one side stood the Spaniards, on the other the
Abipones, in battle-array. They threatened one another for a long time,
but no one had courage to begin the attack, till at last an Abipon leapt
from his horse, approached the ranks of the Spaniards, and challenged
one of them to single combat. Many of the soldiers would have been
willing enough to engage with this bold one, but the leader of the
expedition forbade them to stir hand or foot, under pain of death;
perceiving which, the Abipones slowly departed, each his own way,
leaving the Spaniards to themselves. The Cordoban captains acted in the
same way on other occasions, and by thus betraying their own fear,
rendered the savages still bolder in their projects. To pacify the minds
of the people, endless expeditions were undertaken against Chaco, but
all unsuccessful. There were many causes for this. These delicate
warriors always drove before them a vast number of horses and oxen,
consequently the journey was retarded by the multitude of beasts. The
number of captains was too great in proportion to that of soldiers;
there were too many to give commands and too few to execute them.
Besides laden mules, they carried a good many waggons for conveying
provisions, which are always sure to impede a journey. Moreover, the
Commander-in-chief made use of a chariot for show. I myself saw a place
in Chaco where that chariot and all the waggons were burnt by the
Cordobans, when, surrounded by pools and marshes, they could neither go
back nor forwards. Doubtless the ways which led to the retreats of the
savages in Chaco, were dangerous to the Indians themselves. The nature
of the soil is such, that after a long cessation of rain, it grows as
dry as a flint, and denies even the little birds wherewith to drink; but
if the showers be frequent, you will not find an inch of dry ground to
walk or lie down upon. As the plain is varied neither by fountains,
hills, nor stones, but runs out into a vast extent of even ground,
covered with turf, when deluged with rain it presents the appearance of
a lake. At other times the road is intercepted by marshes and
overflowing rivers, which occasion delay, even if the soldiers can
overcome them by swimming; but if this be not the case, they are
entirely prevented from proceeding, being unprovided with bridges or
skiffs. The place of these is supplied, as I have said, by the pelota;
but, as those vessels are capable of holding but one man at once, much
time will be consumed whilst four hundred soldiers are transported, in
this manner, to the opposite shore; and likewise so much noise must
necessarily be made during the process, that the enemy, apprized of
their arrival, will either take to speedy flight, or rush on the
Spaniards whilst unprepared and separated from one another by the river.
If, therefore, you would know the chief reason why the Spaniards so
often returned ingloriously home from Chaco, without even obtaining a
sight of the savages, it was that they could not swim.

Of this I had a most creditable witness in Landriel, who sometimes acted
as guide to the Cordobans in their expeditions into Chaco; and under
whose conduct they arrived, after many days' journey, at the eastern
shore of the river Malabrigo, on the opposite side of which the Abipones
Riikahes were accustomed to pitch their tents. It was a difficult matter
to discover their lurking-holes, to attack which was the object of the
expedition; the whole plain being deluged with water to such a degree
that no traces of either man or beast could be found there. The only
things that appeared above the surface of the water were some large
ant-hills, from one of which Landriel perceived that a honeycomb had
been lately taken. This circumstance led him to conjecture that the
Abipones must be somewhere near, and after much search he discovered a
large horde of them, which might have been attacked, conquered,
plundered, and destroyed on the same day, had Landriel brought soldiers
of St. Iago, Corrientes, or Sta. Fè, all excellent swimmers, instead of
Cordobans who are ignorant of that art; for as they drew nigh to the
hostile horde, it was necessary to cross the river Malabrigo, which,
being at that time greatly overflowed, would neither suffer a bridge,
nor allow of being forded. The soldiers might all have been transported
to the opposite shore on a hide, but they foresaw that a passage of this
kind could not be effected in less than a day, whatever haste were
employed. Meantime the Abipones, roused by the noise of the Spaniards,
or by the neighing of their horses alone, would have placed their
families in safety, and undoubtedly attacked and routed the Cordobans,
who were never formidable to them, and would be still less so at that
time, when their forces were divided by the river. After discussing
these matters, they concluded that it was most advisable to hasten their
return, which they did, falling, rather than marching; for the way had
been rendered slippery from the inundation, and dangerous on account of
the deep holes underneath the water. Numberless multitudes of wild oxen
had formerly filled the plain, and the bulls by tearing the ground with
their horns, as is usual with them when enraged, had occasioned those
numerous holes: which are the more dangerous to horsemen because when
covered with water they cannot be seen: many of them are one cubit deep,
and equally wide. If any of the Cordobans slipped into one of these
holes, his comrades all followed him, and fell in too, and when Landriel
advised them to turn their horses a little to the right or the left, for
the sake of avoiding the ditch where their companion had fallen, they
seldom attended to his admonitions, saying, "It is true we saw our
fellow-soldier fall in there, but we also saw him get safely out again.
If we go another way we shall perhaps fall into a deeper ditch, whence
we may not rise without injury." These holes are properly called by the
Spaniards _pozzos_, or wells, because they receive the rain water, and
preserve it a long time for the use of travellers, when the plains and
woods are parched by a dry season. From what I have related you may
collect, that the expeditions of the Cordobans into Chaco, so far from
subduing and overawing the savages, served only to confirm them in their
disposition to plunder; indeed they became more unrestrained in their
attacks upon the colonists of Cordoba, in proportion as they became more
fully convinced of the imbecility of the Cordoban soldiers, whom they
believed incapable of returning injury for injury, slaughter for
slaughter, and deterred from venturing into Chaco by the difficulties of
the journey thither. To ensure the safety of the merchants, soldiers
were at last hired to keep guard continually over those places. The tax
laid on the herb of Paraguay, which is conveyed in waggons into Peru,
was the chief source of the money for paying the soldiers. But this
provision, though it thoroughly drained the purses of the merchants, did
not much lessen the boldness or frequency of these robberies, the
savages sometimes craftily deceiving this little band of soldiers,
sometimes intimidating it with superior numbers. It is true that when
most part of the Mocobios and Abipones were settled by us in the
colonies, the province, delivered from so many enemies, began to breathe
once more. The remainder of both nations, who still wandered without
these colonies, though they disturbed and laid waste the country of Sta.
Fè and Asumpcion, hardly ever attempted any hostilities against the
territories of Cordoba; which tranquillity they owed to Alvarez, captain
at Rio Segundo, and to Benavides commander at Rio Seco. As soon as those
brave men took upon themselves the direction of military affairs the
Cordobans became bolder, and the Abipones more timid in their attacks,
especially after one of them had been taken in the plain by a Cordoban
soldier, and the formidable Pachiekè, son of the Cacique Alaykin, slain.
When we returned to Europe, almost all the Abipones deserted the
colonies we had founded and taken care of. Weary of the peace and
friendship which had been established between them and the Spaniards,
they resumed their arms, with what success is best known to those who
had to contend with the savages, enraged and distracted at our
departure. I have shown how formidable and destructive the savage tribe
of Abipones was to the whole province, and how little the arms of the
Spaniards availed to check and restrain them. What fruit we had of our
endeavours in subduing and reclaiming them is yet to be related.

                              CHAPTER XI.
                           CATHOLIC RELIGION.

Amongst those who in the last century interested themselves in the
conversion of the Abipones, Father Juan Pastòr, a Spaniard, merits the
first place. Long celebrated for his apostolical missions to the
Indians, he was made master of the college at St. Iago del Estero, when
he conceived the project of visiting the Abipones, and, if he found them
tractable, of instructing them in Christianity. They were then dwelling
above a hundred and sixty leagues from the city of St. Iago. The
difficulty and ruggedness of the roads were almost greater than you can
conceive; but the perseverance of this intrepid man overcame every
thing. He chose for his companion Father Gaspar Cerqueira, a native of
Paraguay, who understood the Tonocotè language, which is used by many
nations, and was of much service to him in this great expedition. After
crossing a vast wilderness of nearly a hundred leagues, they turned
aside for a while amongst the Matarà Indians, who, though they had all
received baptism, and were governed in one colony by a secular priest,
had little more than the name of Christians. Bárzana and A[=n]asco
priests of our order, and before them St. Solano, had certainly not been
useless amongst them; but the lapse of time had entirely eradicated from
their minds whatever they had learnt of Christianity. Drunkenness was
daily practised amongst them. The rites which they yearly celebrated to
the souls of the departed were moistened with drink, more than with
tears. Maize, ground by the teeth of old women, and fermented in water,
served them for wine. Each was ordered to bring with him an emu, to
furnish out the funeral table. After feasting three days they devoted
one hour to weeping and lamentations, and then wiped away their tears
and returned to their cups and dainties. When heated with liquor, they
frequently polluted these anniversaries with quarrels, strife, wounds,
and mutual slaughter.

Their pious guests Pastòr and Cerqueira spared no pains to obliterate
the memory of so great an impiety committed by a people who called
themselves Christians. They never ceased day or night to admonish them
of their duty: and their private conversations and public sermons in the
church effected so much that many, after confession, sincerely promised
amendment. I have seen a few remnants of this nation which are still
surviving in a wretched little town called Matarà, on the banks of the
Salado. In former times they were in subjection to some private
individuals, Spaniards of St. Iago, and, though once numerous, fell away
by degrees. After some days' stay, the Fathers pursued their journey to
the Abipones, accompanied by the curate of the place and the principal
Caciques, with a company of soldiers, who hoped, by means of the
Fathers, to regain the friendship of the Abipones, between whom and
their nation an ancient and bloody feud existed. The Fathers had
certainly much need of their company. Sixty leagues of the journey still
remained, through an unknown country, full of woods, lakes, and marshes.
Had they not had the Mataràs for guides and protectors, they could
neither have safely undertaken such a journey, nor prudently proceeded
to the business they came upon. They were obliged to creep for a long
time through trackless woods, and at every step to struggle with briers,
which generally proved a bloody contest. To assuage the burning thirst
occasioned by extreme heat and bodily fatigue, they could meet with
nothing but stinking water out of pools and ditches, which offended
their nostrils to such a degree that the poor creatures almost thought
thirst preferable. They could not turn their eyes without perceiving
traces of tigers, nor move a step without meeting swarms of gnats and
other insects: insomuch that the stings of the one, and the apprehension
of the other, prevented them from resting at night, though sore fatigued
in the day-time. Issuing from the woods into the open plain, they found
themselves surrounded by continuous marshes occasioned by the
inundations of the river Bermejo, which, deserting its channel, spreads
to the extent of five leagues. A vast plain, white with waters,
presented itself to their eyes. By the number of difficulties you may
judge how great must have been the courage of the Fathers, who not only
endured them unrepiningly themselves, but by their example inspired
patience into their Indian companions. Vanquished by none of the
asperities of the way they all persevered in their journey, till they
reached the territories of the Abipones.

When two leagues distant from their stations, fearing that the Abipones
would take them for enemies, they halted awhile in that place, attended
with guards, whose flight was more apprehended by the Fathers than an
attack from the Abipones; for they well knew that the Mataràs trembled
at the very name of these savages, and were half dead with fear at the
idea of being so near them. The eloquence of the Fathers was scarce
sufficient to do away their fears. To ascertain that all was safe, it
was intrusted to Father Cerqueira to go forward with two companions, and
endeavour to find out some method of presenting himself to the Abipones
and entering their hordes, without being suspected of hostile
intentions. The Father had scarcely gone a league when he met a troop of
two hundred Abipones, who had been apprized, by their emissaries, of the
arrival of foreigners. Approaching them, of his own accord, he spoke to
the savages in the Tonocotè language, which many of the Abipones, at
that time, were acquainted with. "You are greatly mistaken," said he,
"if you imagine that I am alarmed at seeing you, which is the very thing
that I most desire. After crossing immense wildernesses, and struggling
through an hundred dangers for your sake, I am here at last. Do not take
me for an enemy, nor cherish unkindly feelings towards me. Behold I come
unarmed to teach you the way to happiness. If you have your own welfare
at heart, do not reject the Author of it in me, but rather look upon me
as a friend, and as the messenger of the great Creator of all things."
The savages, satisfied by this harangue, exchanged threats for welcomes,
and emulated one another in showing civilities to him whom at first they
had surrounded with arms. The Father took advantage of this happy
disposition in his favour, and informed them that another Father, of the
same mind as himself, remained a short way behind with a few companions,
and that he was coming laden with scissars, hooks, needles, and
glass-beads, with which he intended liberally to remunerate those who
would listen to the law of God. The Cacique of the neighbouring horde,
instigated by the expectation of these trifling gifts, commanded his
son, with a proper attendance, to bring Father Pastòr speedily to him.
On his approach he was received in the neighbouring horde with public
marks of rejoicing, and a festive percussion of the lips, and accosted
by the name of the Great Father. After explaining the reasons of his
coming, he distributed amongst those present, the pins, and other gifts
above-mentioned. Food was then produced, which the guests, in spite of
their hunger, would gladly have been excused from tasting; for it
consisted of stinking fish, with no other sauce than the good-will of
the givers. But the Fathers, that they might not appear to despise this
savage delicacy, forced themselves to taste some of it, though against
their stomachs. The next day, Father Pastòr, planting a cross in the
ground, dedicated that land to Christ, and performed divine service in a
tent, at the conclusion of which, he led round the Abipones, in the
manner of supplicants, and taught them to kneel before the cross. The
savages behaved wonderfully well on this occasion, listening with
attentive ears and minds to the preacher whilst he explained to them the
reasons of his coming, and the heads of the holy religion. Caliguila,
then chief Cacique of that nation, greatly approved of their words, and
conducted both Fathers, with much honour, to his horde on the opposite
shore of the Bermejo. There they were received with joyful acclamations,
and eagerly attended to, whilst they endeavoured to instruct the savages
in the Christian faith, and to instil into their minds a sense of
religion. The report of their arrival spreading throughout the
neighbourhood, the concourse of strangers increased every day. Caliguila
permitted our religion to be promulgated amongst his people. He publicly
declared that the Fathers were at liberty to build a little church, to
baptize infants, and to instruct them in the ordinances of Christianity;
with this condition, that the young men were not to be detained before
and after noon in long prayers and ceremonies, lest inactivity and
sedentary habits should damp their martial ardour, and lessen their
dexterity in the use of arms. But the Fathers denied that this alacrity
and military knowledge were destroyed by the exercises of piety, and
this they proved by the example of the Spanish youth. Caliguila,
however, besought the Fathers in the name of the rest, that they would
allow the boys always to carry a bow and arrows, even during divine
service, that they might never run the risk of being endangered by a
sudden attack from the enemy whilst unprovided with arms. This proposal
they willingly acceded to, as it contained nothing repugnant to the laws
of Christianity. But the Fathers had occasion repeatedly to warn the
savages, who still savoured of their ancient superstitions, from the
performance of their old rites of sepulture and divination.

The conditions on both sides being accepted, the cross which they had
made of a lofty palm tree, was erected in that place with many
reverential ceremonies. The Abipones were instructed in the heads of
religion, in daily assemblies, all their savage customs and notions
extirpated, and persons of every age fortified against the artifices of
the jugglers. Father Pastòr, seeing an aged female of this profession on
the point of death, vainly endeavoured to administer baptism to her. The
obstinate old woman withstood the earnest exhortations of the father,
whether he promised her the eternal joys of Heaven, or threatened her
with torments from the evil spirit. She replied, with a laugh, that she
had little occasion to fear the evil demon, with whom she had been
familiar so many years. But others of better understanding began to
believe what the Fathers told them, and openly to distrust the arts and
words of the jugglers. To sum up all, by continual perseverance they
wrought so much, that in a few weeks, they joyfully beheld something
like Christianity beginning to flourish amongst these savages.

Father Cerqueira returning to the Mataràs, Juan Pastòr redoubled his
efforts. Though enfeebled by age, and with strength by no means
athletic, he built a little hut of sticks and straw, and plastered it
over with mud. In a short time, he wrote out with much labour, an
epitome of the Abiponian tongue; of this vocabulary, when I was there,
nothing but the memory remained. But alas! these flourishing hopes of
the improvement of the Abipones were all destroyed by an unexpected
messenger, who called Juan Pastòr home on urgent business. Nor was there
at that time any one to supply his place, so great was the scarcity of
priests of our order. Father Lozano, in his History of Chaco, says, that
Pastòr was sent to Europe to treat of the affairs of the province in the
courts of Rome and Madrid, and that he had collected out of various
countries, and intended to bring into Paraguay, the number of Jesuits
necessary for the settling of so many savages. But just as he was going
to set sail with his apostolical supplies, he received letters from the
Royal Senate, at Madrid, prohibiting him from carrying any foreigners
into Paraguay. In consequence of which he was obliged to send back the
other priests into their native countries, and with a very few
Spaniards, for the most part young men, and according to our established
rule, unfit to be ordained for many years, sailed to Paraguay, still
labouring under the want of priests for so great a number of colonies.
This decree of the rulers of Madrid, excluding all foreign priests from
Paraguay, was certainly extremely disadvantageous to the Spaniards
themselves. For if those German, Italian, and Flemish Jesuits had
arrived in Paraguay, doubtless, by their labours, the Abipones, Tobas,
and Mocobios would have been induced to submit to the authority of the
King of Spain, and to receive the Catholic religion; whilst, left for
nearly a century in their savage state, they over-ran the whole province
with hostile, and generally victorious arms.

But when, from her decreased population, Spain could no longer supply
priests sufficient for the vast provinces of America, the court of
Madrid not only invited foreign Jesuits whom they had formerly excluded
from Paraguay, but even had them carried thither at the expense of the
government, and to the great advantage of the monarchy. It would be
endless to mention, individually, all the Italians, Flemings, and
Germans, who, for many years, have rendered signal service to the
Spanish monarchy, and the Christian religion, in Paraguay and the other
provinces of Spanish America, in our times. This honour has sometimes
been envied to foreigners, but never denied them.

                              CHAPTER XII.

The Spaniards, weakened by daily slaughters, were extremely desirous of
procuring a peace with the savages, whom, for so many years, they had
proved unable to vanquish by arms. Instructed by the experience of other
nations, they were persuaded that the friendship of the Abipones and
Mocobios could never be either obtained, or preserved, unless these
people surrendered themselves to our instructions in civilization and
religion. And nothing was more desired by the Jesuits, than the
discovery of some means whereby the savages might be induced to inhabit
the colonies founded for them. The Royal Governors of cities were
liberal in their offers of assistance; but they seldom, or in a very
limited manner, fulfilled their promises. Satisfied when the Abipones
were driven by our means, into a new town, and kept from plunder, they
left the care of feeding and clothing them entirely to us. They thought
it a mighty performance to build a few huts of wood and mud in a new
colony, to serve as chapels and dwelling-houses for us and the Indians.
These being completed in a day or two, by the hasty labours of the
soldiers, they sent high-flown letters both to the Viceroy of Peru, and
the court of Madrid, in which they declared themselves the founders of a
new town, and the conquerors of a savage nation. But if those worthy
Governors were really solicitous for the safety of the province
committed to their care, and the firm establishment of the Indians whom
they had delivered to our instructions, they should have made a point of
furnishing every new colony with herds of oxen and flocks of sheep, with
axes and other agricultural instruments, lest the savage inhabitants,
from want of meat for daily consumption, of wool for weaving garments,
and of ploughs for daily use, should be obliged to subsist by plunder or
hunting, to wander without the colony, return to their native woods,
and, destitute of all necessaries, to declare, that they looked upon war
as more to their advantage than such a peace. But of this subject I
shall treat more fully in another place. The city of Sta. Fè formerly
cultivated, more than any of the rest, the friendship of the Abipones
and Mocobios, some troops of whom, on the strength of a peace
established between them, stationed themselves in the plains adjacent to
the city, and were permitted to enter the market-place for the purpose
either of buying what they needed, or of disposing of what they had
taken from the other Spaniards, with whom they were still at variance.
They frequently visited our college. By daily intercourse with the
Spaniards their ferocity gradually disappeared, and Aletin and Chitalin,
chief Caciques of the Mocobios, were rendered so tractable by the
presents and conversation of the Jesuits, that they refused not to be
instructed in the holy religion along with their people. The Spaniards
and Jesuits thought they should be well repaid for their labours, could
they but induce a nation so formidable for numbers and military valour,
to submit to God and the King. A colony was founded by Father Francisco
Burges Navarro, a few leagues from the city, and distinguished by the
name of St. Xavier. At first it only contained twenty families, but
received such accessions from multitudes of fresh comers, that it
increased beyond the expectation of all. As they were but a few in the
beginning, the Fathers, by the liberality of the Spanish, but still more
of the Guarany towns, were enabled so fully to satisfy, not only the
necessities, but even the desires of the savages, that, deserting their
predatory habits, they all rejoiced in their fortune, and instigated
their countrymen, who dwelt more towards the North, to embrace the same
kind of life. The other Mocobios without the colony of St. Xavier, who,
scorning the example of their countrymen, still continued to rove up and
down their own territories, received a complete overthrow from Barreda,
a few being slain, and about two hundred taken prisoners. Those who
survived this slaughter, fled for fear, to the colony of St. Xavier,
whither, likewise, the excellent Barreda afterwards sent many of his

The colony, as it increased in the number of its inhabitants, made great
progress in religious knowledge. Affairs assumed an extremely favourable
aspect, much more so than, from the ferocity of the savages, could a
short while before have been expected. Their native customs were
exterminated; whatever savoured of barbarism and superstition was
abolished, and succeeded by virtues of every kind. Persons of all ages
received religious instruction and baptism, whenever they proved
themselves worthy of it. They were as obedient in performing whatever
was enjoined them, as docile in believing whatever they heard.
Accustomed to spears and arrows, they nevertheless accounted it a
pleasure to handle the plough and the axe, and to employ themselves in
tilling the fields and in building houses. Two schools were opened, in
the one of which children learnt the arts of reading and writing, and in
the other were instructed in music, and taught to play upon the musical
instruments used in churches. One of their masters was Father Florian
Pauke, a Silesian, by whose instructions many were rendered musicians
and singers, and formed an agreeable addition to divine service. This
being known throughout the province, the Mocobian musicians were invited
to the cities of Buenos-Ayres and Sta. Fè, where they chaunted mass and
vespers, accompanied by a full band of instruments. The sweet symphony
excited the admiration of all the Spaniards, and even drew tears from
many of them, when they thought of the terror which, a few years before,
the parents of the young musicians had inspired them with, whenever
their savage trumpets and loud shouts were heard in repeated assaults.

I have no sort of doubt, that both the commencement and progress of the
fresh colony, under God, were chiefly owing to the exertions and good
example of Aletin and Chitalin. The former, who was remarkable for the
gentleness of his disposition and for natural probity, never neglected
any thing conducive to the improvement of his people. He was always the
first to attend divine service in the morning, and the holy institutions
for teaching Christianity at mid-day. Standing by the little chapel with
a brazen bell in his hand, he called to the performance of their
religious duties, those very people, whom he had formerly animated by
sound of trumpet to slaughter the Spaniards. If any violation of
integrity came under his notice, he either immediately corrected it
himself, or requested one of the Fathers to do so, whom he always
honoured with the promptest obedience, and manifested the utmost
alacrity in serving. In this alone he claimed pre-eminence above the
rest, that, though the eldest of them all, he ever laboured the most
both at home and abroad. Chitalin, who was more illustrious amongst his
own countrymen for high birth and military fame, possessed such
acuteness of intellect as occasioned Father Bonenti, the companion of
Father Burges, to say we had the greatest reason to thank God, that this
Indian Chitalin was devoid of book learning: for were this not the case,
he of himself would be sufficient to deceive all mankind. But though of
a very lively temper, in the prime of his years, arrogant, and proud of
military fame, he submitted to the divine law and the will of the
Fathers, and by so doing induced many to amend their conduct.
Inconceivable is the importance attached to the examples of the Caciques
by the Indians. The adage that the character of the king determines that
of his people, is no where more true than in America. The third Cacique
of St. Xavier, who received the name of Domingo at his baptism, though
younger than the two former, was superior to them both. Many years after
the rest had entered the colony, he, with a troop of horse, spread
terror and desolation throughout the land of Cordoba. Incensed at his
countrymen on account of the peace they had established with the
Spaniards, he long persecuted their town with the utmost virulence, and
when the opportunity for slaughter was wanting, carried off droves of
horses from the pastures of the city. Father Burges daily besought the
Almighty to convert this mischievous man to a better course of life; his
prayers were at length heard, and entering the colony, Domingo exceeded
the rest in usefulness and good conduct as much as he had previously
done in ferocity and the disposition to mischief. Some years afterwards,
he obtained the captain's staff, as a reward of his merits, from Pedro
Ceballos, Governor of Buenos-Ayres.

The example, authority and vigilance of such Caciques, caused this town,
so lately composed of a barbarous and blood-thirsty rabble, to become a
seminary of Christian piety. The strict observance of the marriage
ceremony, the remarkable modesty of the youth of both sexes, their
prompt obedience, industry, and concord, together with the extreme
good-will they manifested towards the priests, excited the admiration of
the Spaniards, who had not yet quite forgotten their ancient barbarism.
They desired baptism both for themselves, and for their children, as
soon as they were born, though formerly, by an error common to all
savages, they had considered it mortally dangerous. In the three last
days of Lent, after hearing of the agonies of our Saviour, they all felt
an eager desire to inflict tortures on themselves. Many cruelly
lacerated their bodies, others carried crosses, like supplicants, as
they had formerly seen practised by the Spanish penitents in the city of
Sta. Fè. Nor could the young lads be restrained from following the
example of their elders. Knotted leathern thongs supplied the place of
scourges; and when crosses were wanting, they took yokes of oxen,
axle-trees of waggons, heavy beams, or any timber at hand, to be applied
to the purpose of making them. They seemed to take amazing pleasure in
mangling their flesh. One of them, seeing the backs of his companions
streaming with blood, cried, "See! how we are changed by the teaching of
the Fathers! how unlike we are grown both to our former selves, and to
our ancestors! Accustomed from boyhood to shed the blood of others, we
now voluntarily shed our own, and most justly. It is right that we
punish ourselves for the numerous droves of horses that we have
plundered, and slaughters that we have committed." According to the
custom of the equestrian savages, the Mocobian mothers used frequently
to kill their own offspring. By the extermination of this cruelty in
mothers, together with the abolition of polygamy and divorce, the colony
was enriched by a numerous progeny, though often diminished by the
ravages of the small-pox. Father Francisco Burges, the founder, and for
many years the Governor of this colony, was succeeded, or assisted by
Miguel Zea, Joseph Cardiel, Joseph Garzia, Bonenti, Manuel Canelas,
Joseph Brigniel, Joseph Lehmann, Pedro Pol, and Florian Pauke my
successor when I was removed to the Abipones; from whose labours another
colony of Christian Mocobios, distinguished by the name of Pedro and
Pablo, took its rise. Over this colony presided the Cacique Amokin, who
till that time had terribly infested the territories of the Spaniards
with his Mocobios. You may have heard of a colony of Mocobios of the
name of St. Xavier, situated near the city Esteco in Tucuman, in the
last century, and it appears not foreign to my purpose to relate the
origin, state, and ruin of it, in this place. A great sedition was
stirred up in Tucuman, at that time, by the Indians, and the Spaniards
employed all their forces to repress the tumult. The city Esteco seemed
doomed to destruction, unless the continual hostilities of the Mocobios
were put a stop to. Alfonzo Mercado, Governor of Tucuman, thinking that
peace might be more easily obtained without war, sent two Jesuits to
pacify the Mocobios, and these legates were able to obtain, by fair
words, what those who sent them could never have extorted by the sword.
The savages promised peace, and maintained it, whilst Mercado was
Governor of Tucuman, but receiving information that he had been
succeeded by Angelo de Paredo, they renewed their hostilities. The
Governor, to avenge the slaughters they had already committed, and to
prevent them from attempting fresh, armed all the forces of the
Spaniards, and of the tame Indians, and after twice entering Chaco, took
and slew some companies of Mocobios. Although this expedition proved so
fortunate, it by no means tended to establish the tranquillity of the
province: for the survivors, though less numerous yet with redoubled
spirit and courage, dared every thing against the victorious Spaniards,
the memory of the slaughter they had suffered exasperating their desire
of vengeance, and supplying the place of numbers. Angelo de Paredo,
therefore, softened by experience, adopted gentler methods to
tranquillize the minds of the Mocobios. By gifts and conciliatory
measures, he at length effected so much, that some companies of them,
laying aside all enmity, settled in the neighbourhood of Esteco, and
bore the appearance of a colony, which went by the name of St. Xavier.
And as true religion is a strengthener of peace, and a certain
instrument of good works, great pains were taken to induce them to
embrace the Catholic religion. Father Diego Altamirano, a Jesuit,
descended from a noble Spanish family, together with Father Bartolome
Diaz, a native of Paraguay and well skilled in the languages of the
Indians, were chosen to instruct these savages, but not permitted to
reside amongst them by the provident Governor, who, fearing the ferocity
of their disciples, wished to ensure the lives of the missionaries. On
this account, they passed the night at Esteco; so that they were obliged
to ride eight leagues every day in going and returning; as that city was
four leagues distant from the settlements of the savages. Until a chapel
could be built there, a very large cross was erected, near which the law
of God was daily expounded. The Fathers spared no pains to civilize this
nation, but the character which they gained for singular patience was
the only reward of their labours: for the Governor, who looked for the
harvest, almost before the sowing was finished, destroyed the colony
under various pretexts. The Mocobios who inhabited it, together with the
other savages whom he had taken in his last expedition into Chaco, he
distributed amongst the Tucuman cities in the service of the Spaniards;
by which liberality he secured the good-will of the people, and
remunerated them for their assistance in the excursions undertaken
against Chaco; but the savage tribes, thus torn from their native soil,
conceived new hatred of the Spanish name, and have persisted to this
very day in revenging the injury done them by the Governor, continuing
ever hostile, ever mischievous to the whole province.

It cannot be doubted but that this colony was planted by the Governor in
a most inauspicious season; for at the very time that he committed the
Mocobios to the religious instructions of the Fathers, he persecuted
their countrymen in Chaco with the utmost bitterness; nor was the
situation of the colony approved by prudent persons. The city Esteco,
which was a few years after destroyed by an earthquake, abounded in
public vices proportionable to its wealth and power. The neighbouring
Mocobios, who were more powerfully impelled to vice by the example of
the licentious and intemperate, than to virtue by the exhortations of
the Fathers, thought themselves justified in doing what they saw
practised openly and with impunity by the Christian inhabitants of the
city. This, amongst others, was the principal reason why the town of St.
Xavier, founded in our times, was removed to thirty leagues distance
from the city of Sta. Fè, that examples of wickedness, which are never
wanting in the most virtuous cities, might not meet the eyes of the
Mocobios. The Fathers were obliged to be extremely careful in preventing
their Indian disciples from associating promiscuously with other
Christians, in many of whom they would discover vices and impurities
which they themselves were utterly ignorant of, or regarded with
execration: for Spaniards are not the sole inhabitants of Paraguay; a
mixed breed of Spaniards, Negroes, and Indians, are commonly to be seen
there. Persons of good character, and respectable family, are never
denied access to our colonies; on the contrary, they are well received
by us, and permitted to lodge in our houses, sit at our tables, and
survey any part of the town at their pleasure. But it was ordered by
royal enactments that none of the dregs of society should gain
admittance into the Indian towns, such being the very men most
calculated to pervert or delude the stupid Indians. To keep the town
clear of these nuisances, no care and vigilance on the part of the
Fathers could be deemed superfluous. Fellows of this description, though
perhaps devoid of any evil intent in their coming, seldom depart without
the commission of mischief: for they either cajole the Indians out of
their clothes, and other property, or corrupt them by indecent jokes and
actions, or, as is frequently the case, steal and carry home young men,
marriageable girls, and even married women, to serve as domestic slaves,
and often for worse purposes. Within two years seventy boys and girls
were carried into captivity from the town of St. Stanislaus. The Bishop
and Governor, when informed by me of the fact, threatened the raptors
with I know not what; but vain was anger without strength, in a province
where holy prelates had formerly been cast down by the seditious
citizens, and Governors confined in chains and a prison.

The Abipones, on account of their old friendship with the Mocobios, were
hospitably received and liberally treated in their visits to the town of
St. Xavier. Pleased with the gifts and conversation of the Fathers, they
at length began to approve that kind of life which the Mocobios had
adopted. Kebachin, a man of high reputation amongst the Abipones,
promised to induce his fellow-hordesmen to request colonies for
themselves, of the Spaniards. Debayakaikin, chief of the Abiponian
Caciques, at length desired to live under our discipline, in the
territories of Sta. Fè; but when the Governor of that city pointed out
the banks of the river Salado, to build the new colony upon, the
Abipones disapproved of that situation, and a business of so much import
was consequently suspended: for Ychoalay, who possessed much more
penetration than the rest, said that the Spaniards had pitched upon that
situation with a design of rendering the Abipones subservient to their
will, as they had done with regard to the remainder of the Calchacuis in
Carcarañal. The dread of slavery disconcerted these useful measures, to
the great disadvantage both of the Spaniards, and of themselves. By what
means the whole Abiponian nation was settled in four colonies, remains
to be circumstantially related.

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                           ABIPONES RIIKAHÉS.

Cordoba, impatient of war, and now no longer able to contend with her
calamities, was eager to behold the Abipones appeased and reconciled.
The instrument of attaining this desirable object was Father Diego
Horbegozo, a Biscayan. He strongly urged the Abipones who frequented
Sta. Fè, and the Vice-Governor Francisco de Vera Muxica, the latter to
build, and the former to accept of a colony; and his wishes were
gratified in both points. Ychamenraikin, chief Cacique of the Riikahés,
besides promising peace to all the Spaniards, agreed to resign himself
and his people to the care of the Jesuits, on this condition, that the
youth alone should be taught the elements of religion, but that older
persons should by no means be compelled to study them. The Vice-Governor
readily subscribed to this condition, because he flattered himself that
the efforts of the Fathers would induce all ages, indiscriminately, to
attend to the truth; and also because he was of opinion, that peace, by
which the public tranquillity, and the lives and fortunes of so many
mortals were preserved, should be accepted without hesitation on
whatever condition it were offered.

The situation of the colony was wisely left to the choice of the
Abipones, who pitched upon the northern shore of the river Rey. This
place, which is seventy leagues north of Sta. Fè, forms the centre of
that territory which these people claim as their own. Here you behold a
plain, about two hundred leagues in extent, abounding in good pasture,
in wood for fuel and carpenter's work, and in vast numbers of wild
animals. The soil is excellent and suitable to seed of every kind. Not a
stone nor even a pebble can be met with here, nor any springs, so that
the water of this place, being solely procured from the adjacent
ditches, is seldom sweet, never clear. Nearly all the smaller rivers
within sight are composed of muddy, bitter water, so salt, as to be
refused by the very beasts, but which sweetens when increased by violent
or continual rains. The same is the case with the Rio Rey, the principal
river of the vicinity, which, in dry weather, becomes so shallow that
travellers may cross it on foot, but is often swelled to such a degree
by the inundations of the Parana, and by unusually heavy rains, that,
overflowing its banks, it spreads far and wide, and assumes the
appearance of a lake. When the waters recede, they leave a muddy marsh
in every part, so that a foot of land can hardly be found, on which you
can stand with safety. The Abipones, ever distrusting the friendship of
the Spaniards, chose this place to prevent the possibility of being
treacherously attacked by them; and they thought that the difficulty of
the journey, by keeping off the Spaniards, would prove a guard to
themselves. But some years after, when their minds were softened, and
their suspicions of Spanish perfidy laid aside, they requested to have
this town removed from the northern to the southern shore, where it was
placed on a large and pleasant hill. So far concerning the site of this
colony. Let us now proceed to other particulars.

Affairs being settled in the city of Sta. Fè, the head of the college,
Diego Horbegozo, took a journey to the hordes of the Abipones, for the
double purpose of gaining the good-will of the whole nation, and of
observing the nature of the place where the town was to be situated.
Having informed himself of the intentions of the Abipones, he returned
to the city, and procured the sacred utensils for the priests,
instruments for agriculture and house-building, and above all, the
cattle necessary for the support of the Indians. But those very people,
who had promised mountains of gold to avert from their throats the
knives of the Abipones, were niggardly, and slow in fulfilling their
engagements. The care not only of instructing, but likewise of
supporting the Indians, as in other cases, fell solely upon the Fathers,
who had perpetually to struggle with the want of all necessaries. For
the assistance their prayers extorted from the royal treasury never
equalled the necessities of the colony, and the expectations of the
savages. Two Jesuits were appointed to take care of the town: Joseph
Cardiel, a native of Castile, a man of the greatest intrepidity, and a
missionary of various nations; to whom was given as a companion another
Castilian, Francisco Navalon, a man of the gentlest disposition, and
well fitted for economical cares, so that he rendered infinite services
to this town for twenty years.

In the year 1748, the Vice-Governor of Sta. Fè, with two Fathers, and a
troop of soldiers, went to the place designed for the colony. A small
chapel, a little hut for the Fathers, and another for the chief Cacique,
were hastily constructed by the soldiers, of wood and mud, and covered
with hay. A heavy shower coming on, it seemed to have rained harder in
the apartment of the Fathers, than out of doors; indeed the fabric
altogether was such as no labourer or herdsman in Europe would deign to
inhabit. The Abipones, assembled in this place, made use of their mats
for tents, till, polished by some years' discipline, they constructed
rather handsomer edifices, for sacred purposes, for the Fathers, and for
themselves. Yet how languidly would these fabrics have been conducted,
had they not been aided by the advice and even the personal labour of
the Fathers! The court-yard of our house was surrounded with stakes, to
guard against the incursions of our savage enemies, and to serve as a
place of refuge for the women and children, whilst the men were fighting
out of doors. The Abipones Riikahés, under Neruigini and Ychoalay, their
chief commanders, constituted this first colony, which scarce consisted
of three hundred people. The Caciques Naarè and Kachirikin settled here
likewise, with their numerous Yaaukanigas, whilst the people of
Corrientes were building them the town of St. Ferdinand. After some
months Lichinrain, and then Ychilimin, and Kebachichi, came with their
people to the newly built colony, and subsequently more and more flocked
thither. The greater number were attracted by the desire of novelty,
rather than of religion. The expectation of trifling presents, the beef
which was every day gratuitously distributed, and security, were magnets
which drew numbers to the colony. By observation, the town of St.
Jeronymo is situated in the 28° 50' lat. and the 317° 40' long.

Father Joseph Cardiel being removed to the Mocobios, his place was
filled by Father Joseph Brigniel, who had spent eleven years in the
Guarany towns, and presided four years over the college at Corrientes.
His companion for two years in the town of St. Jeronymo, and his pupil
in the Abiponian tongue, I ever beheld in him the utmost industry and
good nature, united with equal sanctity of life. He seemed created
purposely to suit the tempers of the Abipones, who fly a supercilious
person, and are won by easy manners. I told you before of his labours in
investigating the nature of the Abiponian tongue, and in writing a
vocabulary, grammar, catechism, sermons, &c. You shall now hear how much
all the Paraguayrian towns were indebted to him. In order that the
benefit of the peace granted by the Abipones to the city of Sta. Fè
might be extended to all Paraguay, he contrived to have the chief
Caciques of the whole nation convened in the town of St. Jeronymo. Each
of the Caciques was accompanied by a chosen troop of his own horse,
figures terrible to behold. Whether the peace faithfully offered by all
the Spaniards should be accepted, and whether peace should be granted
unreservedly to all the Spaniards, by the whole Abiponian nation, these
were the subjects of deliberation in that savage conclave. At first,
there was a great diversity of opinions. Many inclined towards according
their friendship to the inhabitants of Sta. Fè, Cordoba, and St. Iago,
to the exclusion of the Corrientines and Paraguayrians, denying the
expediency of a universal peace which should embrace all the Spaniards.
"Such a cessation," said they, "will cause the use of arms, and our
ancient boast of military glory, to decay amongst us. Inactivity will
destroy the love of war implanted in the youth of our nation. Grown
effeminate like the pedestrian Indians, we shall be subjugated by the
Spaniards, as soon as we cease to be formidable to them. War with one
Spanish province at least is necessary to us, that we may still enjoy
the opportunity of plundering those things of which we have need for
daily use. We shall get more from the Spaniards as their enemies, than
as their friends. It is better to be feared than loved by them; and who
can promise himself their love unmingled with secret hatred, and desire
of revenge, when he calls to mind, how sorely we have persecuted this
province for so many years? The conquered seldom love their conquerors."

On the other hand, Ychoalay strongly advised that the peace should be
extended to all the Spanish towns. "I maintain," says he, "that the
friendship offered us by all the Spaniards, should not only be granted
to them all in return, but eagerly embraced as a benefit. Are you
apprehensive that the military spirit of your countrymen will be
extinguished, or that your arms will contract rust for want of use? Are
there not lions, tigers, stags, emus, and all the feathery and scaly
tribes against which to direct your weapons? If you feel such ardour for
fighting, turn your arms and your anger against the Yapitalákas,
Oaékakalóts, Ychibachís, and other people with whom we are at variance.
Does the recollection of former victories, and rash confidence in future
ones, inspire you with such pride, that you scorn to receive all the
Spaniards into your friendship? I allow that we have inflicted
slaughters upon them; but will you always have the power, as you now
have the inclination, to forget slaughters of their committing? The
vicissitudes we have experienced sufficiently warn us not to trust too
much to the changeful fortune of war. Indeed I ever thought a certain
peace with all the Spaniards much safer and better than the uncertain
victories which you expect to gain from them. How pleasant to be able to
enjoy undisturbed slumbers, without fear of the Spaniards, on whose
approach we have passed so many sleepless nights! How many days have we
endured hunger! How many lakes and rivers have we swam in our flight, to
find lurking-holes in distant woods, where we might preserve our lives!
Ah! I feel both sorrow and shame in the remembrance of our terrors! But
does the hope of booty prevent you from promising a universal peace? For
my part, I fear that if we frowardly persist in war, we shall ourselves
fall a prey to the Spaniards, like the Calchacuis, who were much more
numerous than we, and, with your leave be it spoken, more warlike. Think
on it again and again, lest, if you now refuse the friendship of the
Spaniards, their enmity may prove fatal to our whole nation, and give
you cause to repent when it is too late."

Ychoalay, after he had addressed the savage assembly nearly to this
effect, perceiving that some of the more refractory were not yet
persuaded to a universal peace, added these words. "It appears that I
have hitherto been preaching to deaf ears. If reason does not convince
you, if the dangers of war do not terrify, nor the pleasures of peace
allure you, at least let pity soften your hearts. Lo! crowds of Abipones
and Mocobios, made captives by the Spaniards, are dragging out a life of
slavery, bitterer than any death. Numbers united to us by the ties of
blood, and ancient alliances, banished from their country, dispersed in
miserable corners of cities and estates, subject to the power of others,
and oppressed with labour, now mourn, and are consumed with grief. The
liberty of so many wretches is in your hands, and may be purchased this
very day, by your concession of a universal peace. Again and again, I
entreat you to consider, whether it be most incumbent on you to show
anger to your enemies, or pity to your friends. The courageousness of
mind you have always evinced in arms, you should now render more
illustrious by accelerating peace."

This address had such an effect upon the savages, that suddenly adopting
milder sentiments, they unanimously acquiesced in the advice of the
orator. Peace was accorded to all the Christian colonies in Paraguay,
with what perfect sincerity may be collected from the circumstance, that
every Cacique had part of the land of the Spaniards committed to his
custody, that he might prevent any of the Abipones from doing injury or
violence to any of the Spaniards. Debayakaikin was appointed to guard
the city of Asumpcion; Kebachichi that of Corrientes; Alaykin, St. Iago;
Ychamenraikin, Sta. Fè; and Ychoalay, Cordoba.

This condition was annexed to the agreement; that the Abipones and
Mocobios in captivity amongst the Spaniards should be sent home without
a ransom, but that the Christian captives should pay a price for their
liberty: and numbers did return to Cordoba, Asumpcion and Corrientes,
though many of the Spanish, Negro, and Guarany captives had become so
familiarized to the Abipones by long acquaintance, that fearing to lose
the liberty they enjoyed amongst these people, even whilst in a state of
servitude, they would on no account return to their own country. In the
town of St. Jeronymo alone forty-seven of each sex remained voluntary
captives, but, more intolerable than the savages themselves, they were a
pest to the new colonies, a hindrance to religion, the torment of the
Fathers, devisers of frauds and wickedness; in short, of such a
character, that except baptism, which they received in their infancy,
they retained nothing of Christianity. The same complaint might be made
of the Abiponian captives who returned from the Spaniards. Yet many
Abipones and Mocobios, who had been civilized, and converted to the
Catholic religion in their boyhood, would be induced by no entreaties to
revisit their native land: but learnt a trade, and lived in the city,
pleased with their condition, and much commended for honesty.

The annunciation of peace decided upon in this assembly was the more
agreeable to the Spaniards, from being unexpected. You might have seen
the whole province revive, and hold public rejoicings, but their joy was
of short duration. For, some months after, Oaherkaikin, with a small
band of his followers, afflicted the territories of Asumpcion with
slaughter and rapine. Whilst the other Caciques either did not know of
this incursion, or connived at it, Ychoalay, indignant at such perfidy,
thought it incumbent upon him to avenge the injury done the Spaniards,
and the disgrace reflected on the Abiponian name. He knew Oaherkaikin to
have very few fellow-soldiers and companions. Full therefore of hope and
of anger, he undertook a journey, with a small band of soldiers, for the
purpose of putting him down. But just as they were on the point of
battle, Ychoalay perceives that all Debayakaikin's soldiers had come to
the assistance of Oaherkaikin. Retreat would have been dishonourable. He
tries the chance of war. A very few Riikakés fought bravely for a little
while with a great number of Nakaiketergehes, though there was more
shouting and trumpeting than bloodshed. The loss amounted to two men
slain, and some wounded on each side. But Ychoalay narrowly escaped
being killed, and was obliged to fly with his people. To save his life,
he left his spear on the field of battle, a disgrace which likewise
befel two of his companions. The Riikahés also left in the hands of the
enemy a number of their horses. Urged by the instant peril, two or three
leapt upon one horse, some unarmed, others naked, and fled, with all
speed, to the colony of St. Jeronymo. This expedition proved the origin
of a twenty years' war between the Riikahés and Nakaiketergehes. I shall
confine myself to a brief narration of the most important events: for
were I to describe all the successive vicissitudes of this war, I should
consume more ink, than there was blood spilt in the whole course of it.
Let me now give you the portraits of Ychoalay and Oaherkaikin, the
authors of the war.

                              CHAPTER XIV.
                            AND OAHERKAIKIN.

Oaherkaikin, a Nakaiketergehe, and a tribesman of Debayakaikin, was of
middling stature, lean, strong-boned, with a pale face, a stern
countenance, small sunken eyes, and short hair shaven at intervals, like
that of a monk; his limbs were all covered with large scars; his ears
were bored to admit the knots of cows horn which he wore by way of
ear-rings; he seemed always either in the act of threatening, or
absorbed in contemplation. He was a great lover of drinking-parties, a
man of few words, though very affable to his followers; an implacable
foe to the Spaniards; ever formidable, even when threatening nothing;
wonderfully well-skilled in the use of the spear and other weapons, and
in the arts of riding and swimming; extremely attached to the
superstitions of the savages; a despiser of elegant clothing; and
endowed with an intrepid and daring mind; but careless of his promises;
given to falsehood and knavery; and well worthy of his name Oaherkaikin,
which signifies a liar. He was as crafty in eluding and repelling the
enemy, as he was bold in attacking them. Having learnt, by means of his
spies, that Nicolas Patron, Vice-Governor of the Corrientines, was
approaching his horde with hostile intentions, accompanied by fifty
horsemen, he would not await the arrival of the Spaniards, but went in
person to meet them with a company of soldiers. Armed with a spear,
arrows, and a military breastplate, and having his face blackened to
make his appearance the more terrible, he stationed himself on foot, in
a place where he had a wood at his back, and an unfordable river in
front. On the approach of the Vice-Governor, he informed him, by means
of a captive interpreter, that if he were inclined to fight, a
corresponding desire was felt on his own part, and that the threats of
the Spaniards excited laughter in him, instead of fear. The
Vice-Governor, astonished at sight of the savage, and provoked at his
insolent challenge, looked at his soldiers, and exclaimed, "Come, get
ropes and catch this wild beast for me!" an order which struck
consternation into the minds of the soldiers. "My Lord," replied a
lieutenant of the name of Añasco, "if you are so desirous of taking this
savage, do you try your own fortune, we have no objection to that; but,
for our own parts, none of us have either leisure or inclination to
throw away our lives upon a joke." As great danger was to be apprehended
in crossing the river, the opposite bank being occupied by the savages,
they began immediately to think of retreat, and nothing was attempted
against the enemy. Oaherkaikin at a distance pursued the Corrientines,
and carried away that very night a drove of horses from the colony of
St. Ferdinand. The Spaniards were not insensible to this injury, but
digested it in silence, fearing to provoke these hornets afresh. You
shall now hear some particulars respecting Ychoalay.

He enjoyed every thing but the name of Cacique. He was born of a most
honourable family amongst the Riikahés, and nearly related to
Debayakaikin, who taught him, when a boy, to sit a horse, and to manage
it. He was exceedingly tall, with an oval face, an aquiline nose, and
strength adequate to all of the fatigues of warfare; indeed, the whole
conformation of his body was exactly expressive of, and suitable to a
military man. On the strength of a peace, established between the
Riikahés and the people of Sta. Fè, the youth Ychoalay visited that
city, and served the Spaniards for hire, either as a breaker-in of
horses, or a guard in the estates. At length he assumed the name of his
master, Benavides, and by this name he was afterwards known, when a
leader of the Abipones, and an enemy to the Spaniards; though his own
countrymen called him Oahari in his boyhood, and at a more advanced
period of his life, Ychoalay. Though averse to the Christian religion,
he was so desirous of an acquaintance with the Spanish language, that in
order to be more sure of attaining it, he went from Sta. Fè to the
kingdom of Chili, whither a Spaniard was returning with a number of
waggons: this man he served on the journey as a driver, and afterwards
as a cultivator of vines, at Mendoza. Ychoalay, ever mindful of his
origin, constantly showed himself the soldier, never appearing out of
doors without a spear, and manifesting courage superior to that of the
rest. Hence, when his companions were robbed or murdered by the Charruas
or Pampas, in the deserts of Paraguay, Ychoalay, repelling force by
force, remained a survivor. Some years after, he returned from Mendoza
to Sta. Fè, and on his masters' refusing to pay him his wages, became
disgusted with the Spaniards. Anger was turned into rage, when he learnt
from a Spaniard of Cordoba, that his life had been attempted by an
inhabitant of Sta. Fè. Weary of his condition, and of the society of the
Spaniards, he rejoined the Abipones, who were, at that time, harassing
the territories of Cordoba with daily inroads, and accompanied his
countrymen in all their plundering excursions, displaying so much valour
as caused him to be soon after promoted from a fellow-soldier to be a
leader of others. Shrewd and active, he always executed with wonderful
bravery, and equal good fortune, whatever he planned to the injury of
the Spaniards. He had a great share in all the victories which I have
related as being obtained over the Spaniards, and in all the dangers and
slaughters inflicted upon them. Frequent and successful expeditions
gained him so much celebrity, that he was as much honoured by his own
people as feared by others.

It is worthy of remark, that, though he vented his fury for a long space
of time on the other Spanish colonies, he always spared those of Sta.
Fè, and likewise that he never touched the lives of men devoted to
religion, or permitted his soldiers to do so. He never suffered female
jugglers to remain within his horde; and that they might not remove to
some other, he pierced them himself with a spear, lest they should
deceive his people with their artifices, or disturb them with bad
auguries. Long acquaintance with Ychoalay gave me opportunities of
observing many things in his character that were worthy of praise, many
that deserved reprehension. He had such an immoderately high opinion of
himself, that he could never endure to hear any of his countrymen
extolled for valour. Extremely self-conceited and opinionated, he was
very impatient of opposition. His restless and turbulent disposition
induced him to plan methods whereby he might circumvent or vanquish
Oaherkaikin, and others of his rivals, not from the hope of emolument,
but from the desire of overthrowing the celebrity they had obtained.
This caused him to be always sowing dissensions, and hunting out
occasions of quarrels, which proved the source of numerous disturbances
in the new town, and prevented it from ever enjoying a respite from its
enemies. Though at other times mild and courteous, when scheming
expeditions against his adversary, he deprived his dearest friends of
his conversation. Amongst various coverings for the head, he had one
little woollen cap of a yellow colour, and whenever he wore this I
observed him to be stern and meditative, and carefully avoided his
company. Joseph Brigniel was amused by this observation of mine, and
became so convinced of its truth, by experience, that we used jokingly
to call that little hat the prognostic of an approaching expedition
against the enemy.

But these and other defects Ychoalay redeemed by shining virtues. None
of us ever entertained the least doubt of his being the chief instrument
of the peace established between the Abipones and all the Spaniards, and
the founder and preserver of the colony of St. Jeronymo. He always
religiously adhered to the friendship he had contracted with the
Spaniards, and took great care to prevent any of the Abipones from
violating it, often with the risk of his life. Whomsoever he understood
to be guilty of a violation of the peace, against them, as against
enemies, he thought it his duty to take up arms. This was an occasion of
continual war with the Abipones Nakaiketergehes. Thousands of horses,
which during many years he had retaken from their plunderers, he brought
back to the Spanish colonies, and restored to their masters, and was
displeased at being asked what compensation he required, saying, "Don't
you know then that I am your friend? All I ask is not to be thought
mercenary." By his zeal in preserving and recovering the property of the
Spaniards, he incurred the hatred of all the savages; even his
countrymen regarded him with execration as a friend of the Spaniards,
and an enemy to themselves: whence his daily complaint: "My countrymen
think me wicked now, because I am good; formerly they called me good,
because I was wicked." Sometimes when he invited his fellow-hordesmen to
join him in tilling the fields, or attacking the enemies of the town, on
their delaying, or refusing to accompany him, under pretext of a want of
proper horses, "Father," would he say to me, "you would have seen them
follow me with the utmost alacrity, had I invited them to rob and murder
the Spaniards. Not one would have remained with you in the town; not one
would have made the scarcity of horses an objection."

It must be allowed that the progressive improvement of the town was,
under God, chiefly to be attributed to the industry and authority of
Ychoalay: for the chief Cacique Ychamenraikin, although illustrious for
his high birth and warlike actions, and endeared to his people by the
gentleness of his disposition, contributed nothing of consequence to the
establishment of the colony. He presided over all, but was of service to
no one, the mere shadow of a magistrate, the useless image of power. He
was addicted to drinking, and practised polygamy and divorce. Yet all
bore him great good-will, because he connived at the vices of his
hordesmen. The love of Christian knowledge had no place in his breast,
nor did he ever enter public religious assemblies, or endeavour to make
others do so. During his lifetime, no man would ever receive baptism,
till on the point of death: when he died, no man refused it, which was
brought about by the labours of Ychoalay, who, though not possessed of
the chief command, managed all the affairs of the town by his own
authority. He obliged others to attend the church, in order to learn the
elements of religion, but for some time delayed entering it himself.
After receiving daily admonitions on this subject from Joseph Brigniel,
"Father," replied he, "permit me to think about slaying Oaherkaikin. My
head is at present in a tumult with warlike cares. In time of peace I
shall have leisure to attend to your religious discourses." After
repeated excursions against Oaherkaikin, a truce being at length
established, Brigniel reminded him of his promise, to which Ychoalay
replied, "I must first make a fold for the security of the sheep in the
estate, I will then become your disciple in the school of religion;" and
he kept his word. A few days after, the Father, on entering the church,
beheld Ychoalay kneeling on the ground and heard him praying, and making
the responses. Thenceforward, no man was a more constant attender on
places of worship, or displayed greater modesty and docility when there:
and by his example they were daily crowded with pious hearers. He not
only committed to memory the regular Christian prayers, and every thing
relating to religion, but repeated them aloud to his domestics in the

When the Fathers had occasion to baptize persons languishing under a
mortal disease, or the bite of a venomous snake, and if they died, to
bury them in holy ground, according to the rites of the catholic church,
Ychoalay alone was their defender and assistant. It would be difficult
to enumerate all those who for baptism, sepulchral honours, and indeed
heaven itself, are indebted to the labours of Ychoalay. By his desire,
Ychamenraikin first, and then all the boys and girls were dedicated to
Christ by baptism; for the more careful performance whereof, twenty
alone were admitted on the same day to the sacred font. This, indeed,
was effected, more by the example than by the exhortations of Ychoalay,
who had his children baptized as soon as they saw the light, and those
which died he gave into the hands of the priest, to be buried with the
Christian forms. You will wonder, I think, that one who was so careful
of the salvation of others should have neglected his own, since it would
commonly be thought that what was not eligible for himself could hardly
be eligible for another.

Indeed we were all surprized that the virtuous Ychoalay should, for so
many years, have deferred his baptism, to receive which he had long been
peculiarly fit. He lived for many years contented with one wife, never
frequented drinking-parties, except to consult upon war, and was a
bitter enemy to drunkenness and drunkards. Though formerly the prince of
plunderers, he was now become a severe avenger of plunderings. He was as
well acquainted with the ordinances of religion as with his own name. He
shunned no labour conducive to his own advantage or that of the town,
and was assiduous in cultivating land and breeding cattle. He might,
therefore, have been initiated into the Roman Catholic religion long
before, and indeed he frequently assured us of his intention to be so,
as soon as ever his mind was free from anxiety respecting his rival
Oaherkaikin. In fact, when the Vice-Governor Francisco de Vera Muxica
was in the town of St. Jeronymo, he requested baptism of his own accord,
but was desired by the same to wait a little, because he wished to
perform the ceremony in the city of Sta. Fè, with great magnificence.
Ychoalay, displeased at the delay, could not be induced to receive
baptism till some years after, when it was administered to him by Father
Joseph Lehman, in the above-mentioned city; where the ceremony was
performed with much pomp, and so large a concourse of people that the
church could hardly contain the multitude. The Royal Vice-Governor
himself took the illustrious neophyte from the sacred font, and gave him
a sumptuous feast, and suitable gifts. The Spaniards with joyous and
tearful eyes beheld the celebrated Ychoalay standing by the divine altar
like the meekest lamb, whom all Paraguay had formerly dreaded as a
rapacious wolf.

                              CHAPTER XV.
                      FURTHER PRAISES OF YCHOALAY.

It appears from what I have related, how useful Ychoalay was to us in
the dissemination of religion. It is incredible how anxious he was to
preserve the safety of the town and of the Fathers. Any little injury
committed or intended against the Fathers, by his people, he took to
himself, and indeed avenged with more asperity than if it had been done
to himself. Amongst a set of men addicted to strife and drunkenness,
accustomed to slaughter from their boyhood, and madly attached to
superstition, the lives of the Fathers must have been placed in a very
precarious condition, had not his authority been a shield to them, and a
bridle to the savages. If he perceived any danger impending from foreign
foes, he would, even in the dead of the night, apprize the Fathers and
his companions of it, that the common safety might be consulted on. He
was always the first to explore the country, and to occupy the front of
the army whenever force was to be opposed to force, often returning home
wounded whilst his companions remained unhurt. It happened that the
Abipones who inhabited the town of Concepcion, entertaining suspicions
of the Spaniards, suddenly deserted it all in one day, leaving in the
place only three men who had it in charge to murder the two Fathers
Joseph Sanchez and Lorenzo Casado, by treachery, as soon as night set
in. Ychoalay, learning the flight of the Abipones, and the danger of the
Fathers, flew to the spot with no other company than that of the horse
he rode on. He fixed his spear at the door of the Fathers, and offered
himself for their defender. About twilight he spied the three assassins
lying in wait, alarmed and put them to flight, and never saw them
afterwards. He advised that the furniture of the house and the church
should be carried away in a waggon, and about two thousand oxen driven
to the town of St. Jeronymo, and assigned them a place in his little
estate where they might safely feed. The journey was full of danger and
inconvenience. Continual rain had transformed the whole country into a
marsh, so that it seemed impassable to a waggon. The river Malabrigo,
and other lakes were tremendously swelled by the incessant rain. But by
the advice and assistance of Ychoalay, all obstacles were overcome;
every thing that Father Sanchez wished to transport, conveyed to a place
of safety; and the attempts of the runaway Abipones, who had hoped to
seize every thing that the deserted town possessed, completely foiled.
Martinez del Tineo, Governor of Tucuman, wrote a letter to Ychoalay, in
which he commended his fidelity to the Fathers, and recompensed his
services with a piece of beautiful scarlet cloth fit to be worn by any
noble Spaniard. This cloth he devoted to the purpose of buying sheep,
the wool of which he intended to have woven into garments such as the
Abipones wear. To the persuasions of the Fathers that he would adopt the
Spanish costume, Ychoalay replied, "Since I am an Indian, why should I
feign myself a Spaniard in my dress? When those red garments are worn
out, will you give me new ones in their place? That is not to be
expected. Then, derided by every body, I shall be obliged to resume the
garb of the Abipones. My people will say, he boasted himself a Spaniard
whilst his Spanish dress lasted; now that is worn out he must return to
our manner of clothing. I give you my word to dress like a Spaniard as
soon as I get money enough from the wheat I am raising." And, on
entering our church, he attired himself and his horse, like the more
respectable orders of Spaniards. By his skill in agriculture and the
breeding of cattle, he earned enough to clothe himself and his people.

Ychoalay watched with anxious care not only to preserve the safety of
the Fathers, but likewise to prevent the domestic utensils, and the
cattle belonging to the town, from receiving any injury. On stated days
of the week twenty or more oxen were killed, on the flesh of which the
Abiponian inhabitants subsisted. Those of a more voracious appetite than
the rest used secretly to kill oxen for themselves, and still oftener
calves, to the great loss of the estate. Others took it into their heads
to slay the sheep belonging to the estate, not for their flesh, but for
their skins, which they throw over their shoulders like horse-cloths.
Whenever Ychoalay caught any of these offenders, he punished them
severely. To compensate for the loss, they were ordered to pay two
horses for every ox they had slain, one for every sheep; and if they did
not bring them of their own accord, Ychoalay took them away by force. A
savage Mocobio, a stranger, had killed a cow belonging to Ychoalay,
thinking it to be one of the cattle of the town. An Abipon who happened
to come that way said to the Mocobio, "What! have you dared to kill a
cow of Ychoalay's? Woe be to you if he hears of it!" The Mocobio,
alarmed at the news, laid the limbs of the cow upon his horse, and went
straight to the house of Ychoalay. "This," says he, "is the flesh of
your cow which I killed by mistake, thinking it belonged to the town."
"Fool," replied Ychoalay in a rage, "do you think then, that you may
slay the herds of the colony with impunity? The excuse by which you
endeavour to extenuate the criminality of the deed, serves only to its
aggravation. But now begone, and since you have given yourself the
trouble of killing and flaying the beast, take upon you that of
devouring it also." So that, though severe in avenging mischief done to
the property of the town, he was lenient towards those who offended

The Abipones, like almost all the Americans, dreading the most distant
idea of slavery, will scarcely perform the smallest service, unless
quite sure of a compensation. Whenever you require anything of them,
_Mieka enegèn labevè?_ what will you give me? they eagerly reply. They
quietly looked on, whilst we were saddling our horses, or cutting down
wood, and though they would not move a finger to our assistance,
employed their tongues lavishly in our praise. "Bless me, Father! how
well you equip your horse! How dexterous, and strong you are!" they
exclaimed, though we should have preferred their assistance to their
encomiums. Ychoalay, unlike the rest in this respect, was extremely
ready to perform all sorts of good offices. He served the Fathers not
with fine words, but with good deeds, as I had good reason to know,
having taken many long journeys with him through incommodious wilds,
when he fulfilled the part of a most diligent servant. Though many
Abipones of inferior rank accompanied us, whenever we had to pass the
night, or the mid-day in the plain, he charged himself with seeking
fuel, bearing water, and taking care of the horses, and used always to
procure me a safe passage over rivers and marshes. He not only harnessed
my horse for me, but prudently pointed out that which was fittest for
the journey we were going to enter upon. In travelling he always
remained close by my side, kept a strict watch on all sides, and if he
discovered any danger, acquainted me with it, and cautiously avoided it.

The other Fathers, too, openly professed their obligations to this
excellent man. The founding and preserving of the town of St. Jeronymo
is chiefly to be attributed to him. Except three little huts, hastily
constructed by the Spaniards, every thing was done under the direction,
and by the labour of Ychoalay, particularly when it was removed to the
southern shore. It was necessary to erect a little building for the
performance of divine service, a dwelling-house for the Fathers, some
cottages for the shepherds, and large folds for the cattle. There was
likewise occasion to fortify the court-yard of our house with stakes,
that in sudden incursions of the savages it might afford a defence to
the women and children; huts were also to be constructed for the
Abipones, who, till then, had sheltered themselves under mats. For these
purposes many thousands of trees must be cut down, carried home, and
worked upon. Ychoalay was the life of the labour and the labourers. He
was always the first to take up the axe, the last to lay it down,
instigating the Abipones to diligence more by example than by precept.

The Fathers, as a mark of their gratitude, presented the industrious
Ychoalay with a hat adorned with broad silver fringe, which, that he
might not appear to slight their kindness, he accepted, at the same time
however expressing himself careless of elegancies of that kind. He had
scarcely worn the hat twice in the street, when some Abipon requested
and obtained it. Ychoalay would freely bestow beautiful woollen garments
of many colours, fresh from his wife's loom, on any one who asked for
them. By this liberality he wrought so much, that all were ready to lend
him their assistance whenever he stood in need of it, either in shearing
sheep, or ploughing fields in his estate, whither a vast number of
persons of both sexes flocked every year to assist Ychoalay. The wages
of the labourers consisted of nothing more than their board, and
gratuitous largesses during the year. Though he gave those who laboured
for him plenty to eat, yet economy was not forgotten. He sent the more
agile Abipones to the shores of the Parana, to hunt deer, on the flesh
of which, and on that of oxen, he fed those who were employed in
labouring in the fields. Out of his own herds he used to slay the males
only, wisely sparing the mothers to increase the stock. "The Indians,"
said he, "are eager to devour the cows, never considering that bulls
don't bring forth young. If the Spaniards had always fed upon cows, we
should, long since, have been destitute both of cows and bulls."

In other things also, he evinced his superiority over the rest of the
Indians. The herb of Paraguay, which is in common use amongst all ranks
in Paraguay, he drank when it was offered him, but never requested it of
us. He prudently feared, that if, by a too frequent use, he accustomed
himself to this costly beverage, he should some time or other be obliged
either to beg or buy it. We dealt out a portion of this herb every day
to the Abipones who were employed with the axe or the plough, but
Ychoalay advised them to make no use of it. "Accustomed as you are from
childhood," said he, "to cold water, why can you not refrain from this
hot drink? Unless you practise this abstinence, habit will become a
second nature, and make you unable to do without it. The Fathers will
supply you with the herb whilst you are ploughing; but when you cease
from that employment they will deny it, because they are obliged to
purchase it at a high price. Abstain, therefore, whilst you have it, and
you will never be distressed by the want of it."

It is the custom of the Abipones and Mocobios to weary the Fathers with
perpetual and importunate requests. We took a pleasure in gratifying
them to the utmost of our power, but they frequently asked for things
which we had not to give, and which you could not find in any warehouse
at Amsterdam. Ychoalay, though desired to acquaint us with whatever he
stood in need of, could never be induced to ask us any favour. Though
the fame of his warlike prowess was so great as almost to excite envy,
he would never accept of the honours of a captain, nor suffer himself to
be enrolled amongst the Hëëcheri, and always used the dialect of the
common people: and though his numerous military achievements entitled
him often to change his name, he always retained his primitive one of
Ychoalay. So great was his dislike of ostentation in apparel and
horse-trappings, that he scorned to keep company with some youths, who
gave themselves proud airs, and fed daintily. Conscious of his own
merits, he had, undeniably, a very high opinion of himself, yet he
detested flattery, and never boasted of any thing but of being no
braggadocio. He could not bear that his rivals Oaherkaikin and
Debayakaikin should be preferred to himself: yet when informed of any
brave action performed by one of his own nation in battle, he would
overflow in his praise. You will learn many things reflecting honour on
the noble Ychoalay, in my relation of the vicissitudes of the furious
war between the Riikahés and Nakaiketergehes.

                              CHAPTER XVI.
                   AGAINST THE TOWN OF ST. JERONYMO.

Debayakaikin, the head of the Nakaiketergehes, provoked, as was related,
to a skirmish by Ychoalay, threatened the new colony of St. Jeronymo
with destruction, and its inhabitants the Riikakés with a universal
massacre. He associated with himself, in this expedition, the Mocobios
and Tobas, who dwelt towards the north; and by great promises of booty,
induced the Vilelas to enter into a warlike alliance with him, and
furnished them with horses capable of undertaking a long journey.
Ychoalay could neither be ignorant, nor careless of the intentions,
strength, and preparations of the enemy. To provide therefore for the
safety of his people, he sends a troop of Mocobios to guard the town,
and hastens to the Governor of Sta. Fè to ask for supplies, which were
justly owed by the right of friendship and of promises; nevertheless he
obtained nothing but words and excuses; for at that time most of the
soldiers of the city were employed across the Parana, against the
Charruas, savages whom they had reduced to subjection.

Whilst Ychoalay was vainly seeking assistance in every quarter,
Debayakaikin conducted his forces with all possible secrecy towards the
south, but did not precipitate his assault on the colony, choosing
rather to make use of craft. He sent forward some of his people with a
commission to spread a report, that Debayakaikin did not intend
attempting any thing against the colony of St. Jeronymo, but that the
savage Mocobios purposed an immediate assault on the town of Concepcion,
which was ten leagues distant from that of Jeronymo, and inhabited by
the Abipones under the authority of Alaykin. Debayakaikin had two
reasons for spreading these fictitious reports. The first was, that, as
soon as the inhabitants of St. Jeronymo understood themselves to be out
of danger of an attack, the Christian Mocobios, who acted as guards,
would be sent back to their town of St. Xavier. The other was, that the
Abipones of the town of Concepcion, whilst in hourly expectation of a
hostile attack at home, would not be able even to think of succouring
the inhabitants of St. Jeronymo against Debayakaikin. In both points the
stratagem succeeded entirely to his wish. It is worth while to give a
relation of the whole event, of which I myself was a spectator.

The colony of St. Jeronymo had scarcely more than a thousand head of
kine remaining, the bulls being almost all consumed; and of this number
the greatest part of the cows were either with young, or engaged in
giving suck, to spare which the Fathers requested my companion and
myself, then residing in the town of Concepcion, to send them two
hundred bullocks for the support of the Indians, dispatching Raphael de
los Rios, the guard of their estate, to carry the beasts away. That this
business might be properly conducted, I resolved to accompany the guards
of the cattle myself. When everything was in readiness for the journey,
I observed the Abipones running up and down the streets armed with
arrows, and heard one of them charge my companion Sanchez, in the name
of Alaykin, to have his musket in readiness, as their enemies the
Mocobios were expected about evening. The road I was going being that
which would be taken by the Mocobios, my companion endeavoured to
persuade me to defer my journey, but could not succeed with one who
despised these vague reports, as they proved to be, for we did not meet
so much as the enemy's shadow the whole morning. On entering St.
Jeronymo I spied Fathers Francisco Navalon and Joseph Klein: Joseph
Brigniel and Ychoalay were at that time absent, being still intent upon
procuring subsidies in the city of Sta. Fè. The next day, which was
Sunday, at Father Navalon's urgent request, the Caciques of the Abipones
and Mocobios deliberated on what was best to be done. The presence of
the Mocobios contributed much towards the safety of the town; but as
those guards daily consumed a great quantity of beef, tobacco, salt, and
the herb of Paraguay, they were deemed ruinous to the public stores;
their dismission seemed proper on this account likewise, that according
to report, the town had nothing to fear for the present from
Debayakaikin; who however was concealed with his forces in a
neighbouring wood, awaiting nothing but the departure of the Mocobios,
to begin the assault.

The Mocobios departing early the next morning, which was Sunday,
Debayakaikin divided his forces into three companies, and sallied from
his hiding-place by three different ways, in the very sight of the town.
Its guard, Raphael de los Rios, who happened to be at that time reposing
in his hut, was pierced with many and deep wounds by an Abipone, whose
father had fallen in the skirmish between Ychoalay and Oaherkaikin. At
the same time, part of the Guaranies who guarded the cattle were taken
captive, whilst the rest, who were on horseback, saved themselves by
speedy flight. The herds, which were assembled in one place, as usual in
the evening, and about two thousand horses, became the uncontested prey
of the enemy. When these tidings were learnt from trusty messengers, and
the concourse of enemies was beheld on the opposite shore, a great
trepidation seized upon the whole town. Of the Abipones, most of whom,
either through ignorance or apprehension of the ensuing attack, had gone
out to hunt wild horses, a few days before, there remained at home no
more than eighty, who, whilst Debayakaikin was committing these ravages
in the estate, were engaged in a merry carouse with their Cacique
Ychamenraikin; but on receiving information of the near approach of the
enemy, though in a state of intoxication, they all blackened their
faces, and flew on the swiftest horses, and amidst the deadly clangor of
trumpets, to the bank of the river, not so much with the intention of
fighting the enemy, as of preventing them from crossing the river.
Debayakaikin, whom long experience in war had rendered exceedingly
cautious, thought it unsafe to send his men across to the opposite
shore, which the enemies had got possession of, and to hazard a doubtful
contest. It was treated of by legates, and resolved by mutual consent,
that the battle should be deferred till the morrow, as the sun was
hastening to set, and little of the day remained.

On the approach of night, our heroes returned, and slept themselves
sober in their own tents. As they did not place any great reliance on
the promises of the enemy, horsemen were sent to watch throughout the
whole plain, who by the uninterrupted sound of horns and trumpets
testified their vigilance, and if they observed any thing hostile,
announced it to the rest. The warlike sounds of the savages were
accompanied by an incessant noise in the heavens: for the weather,
during the whole of the night, was extremely tempestuous, with loud
thunder, stormy wind, lightning, and heavy rain. The women and children
passed the night in the open air, in our court-yard, which was exposed
to the wet on every side; so that in the light dispensed by the flashes
of lightning, they appeared to me like so many frogs swimming in a pond.
In my hut they deposited their pots, gourds, pitchers, and other
moveables, to save them from the depredations of the enemy.
Inexpressible was my horror at beholding amongst the baggage of the old
women, some skulls of Spaniards, formerly slain by the Abipones,
preserved as trophies. I do not remember ever having passed a more
tumultuous night, during my whole residence in America. I accused the
sun of returning too slowly. About day-break, when the tempest was
abated, though the lightning had not yet ceased, I ran to the
market-place, where I saw a number of Abipones, assembling at the end of
the town, which they considered a fit place for the ensuing combat. The
army was arranged by Ychamenraikin in such a manner, that the spearmen
occupied each side, the archers the centre; and all were on foot. A
troop of horse commanded by Ychohake, Ychoalay's brother, had it in
charge, to learn and instantly report the motions of the enemy, the ways
they took, and every thing else concerning them. They stood in
battle-array till noon, when the emissaries, returning from the country,
announced that nothing but the footsteps of the enemy were to be seen.
All hope, or rather fear of an engagement being at an end, they returned
home, and the army was dissolved without the loss of a drop of blood.
The enemy being gone, the dead body of the Spaniard which had been
wounded in such a manner, that the bowels fell out, was brought from the
estate, and conveyed to the grave with the Christian forms of burial.

                             CHAPTER XVII.
                       ABIPONES NAKAIKETERGEHES.

Ychoalay, on returning from Sta. Fè, was highly incensed when he heard
of the events that had taken place in his absence, and bitterly
reproached his countrymen for their want of diligence in watching the
enemy whilst they were approaching, and of energy in repelling them,
when present. He continually revolved in his mind the injury done to his
town by Debayakaikin, and not being able to digest it, appointed a new
excursion against him. Hastening therefore to the city of Sta. Fè, he
requested soldiers to attend him on the purposed expedition, but
obtained only thirty, which the Royal Vice-Governor was chiefly actuated
to grant by the consideration, that the death of the Spaniard slain by
Debayakaikin's soldiers ought to be revenged by the arms of Spaniards.
The soldiers sent on the Vice-Governor's account, however, little
interested about the success of the expedition, wished to remain as
guards in the town of St. Jeronymo, whilst Ychoalay went with his people
against the enemy: but on his sternly declaring that guards for the
Abiponian women in the absence of their husbands were neither necessary,
nor even endurable, they at last began the journey with the other
company of Abipones. But, alas! how short a one did it prove! The ways
had been rendered impassable by the spreading inundations of so many
rivers, and the whole country was flooded to such a degree, that not a
turf appeared on which the horsemen might lie down, or their horses take
pasture. All hope of further progress being at a stop, they were obliged
to return to the town, and thus an expedition undertaken with so much
noise, was terminated in three days, without any advantageous result.
Ychoalay, though naturally of an iron constitution, was seized, on his
return home, with a burning fever, and a kind of small-pox, called by
the Spaniards _Las viruelas bobas_. Without waiting for his complete
recovery, he set off, with a small troop, against Oaherkaikin, by whom
he was wounded, in a bloody skirmish, with two arrows, as I have related
in a former part of this work.

The wounds that had been inflicted, though now healed, exasperated
Ychoalay's mind, and stimulated him to a fresh excursion against
Oaherkaikin. Not only all the Abipones of the towns of St. Jeronymo, and
Concepcion, but numbers of Christian Mocobios followed Ychoalay. They
penetrated to the enemies' stations and fought long and desperately.
Debayakaikin himself was dangerously wounded in the side with a spear,
and would have been slain by Ychoalay had not some one else thrown
himself before him. Although both armies had fought with equal success,
and though victory inclined to neither side, yet Debayakaikin, alarmed
at his wound, and the ferocity of those who had inflicted it, did not
like to engage any more with Ychoalay, and sought how he might avoid the
dangerous necessity of meeting him again in the field. He also began to
entertain suspicions of his neighbours the northern Mocobios, ever since
his colleague Kaapetraikin, with his two sons and three other Abipones,
had been treacherously murdered by them whilst passing the night in the
open plain. For the benefit of his affairs, therefore, he removed with
his whole horde to the colony of St. Ferdinand, the residence of the
Yaaukaniga Abipones, by means of whose friendship and the support of the
Corrientine Spaniards, he trusted to enjoy tranquillity. But in avoiding
Charybdis, he fell upon Scylla.

For Ychoalay, deeming this union with the Yaaukanigas a measure pursued
with no peaceful intention, and far from conducive to the advantage of
his own town, went thither with a great number of Abipones and Christian
Mocobios, and denounced battle against his implacable foe, Debayakaikin.
The provident care of the Fathers prevented them from coming to blows.
They sent to Corrientes for the Vice-Governor Patron, who, though he
came accompanied by a number of soldiers, was more desirous to perform
the office of peace-maker, than to espouse the cause of either of the
enemies. Things fell out according to his wish. Peace was established on
the following conditions, which were dictated by Ychoalay; that
Debayakaikin should restore the three spears which he had taken from
Ychoalay in the first engagement, as well as the captives from the
estate of St. Jeronymo; that he should not devise frauds against the
colonies of the Spaniards, and the Indians in amity with them; and that
he should remain quiet and harmless in the colony of St. Ferdinand,
bearing it in mind that, if he departed to any other place, war would be
renewed against him. Debayakaikin's present trepidation compelled him
eagerly to embrace these conditions, which, however, he neglected at his
pleasure, when free from fear. He was repeatedly attacked in the town
itself, and robbed of all his horses by the northern Mocobios, under
pretext of some injuries they had received from him. His countrymen with
their place of residence did not change their line of conduct,
continuing still intent upon secretly plundering and slaughtering the
Spaniards; which Debayakaikin foresaw would neither remain long
concealed from Ychoalay, nor be tamely endured by him. In continual fear
therefore of his enemies, the Mocobios in the north, and in the south of
Ychoalay and his allies, who were still nearer to him, he removed with
his people to the more distant town of Concepcion, then near the
colonies of St. Iago: which, though contrary to the conditions of the
peace, was digested in silence by the Abipones Riikahés, till fresh
injuries, like a hostile trumpet, stirred them up to fresh rage, and
fresh contests.

Some Abipones complained to Ychamenraikin, that as they were returning
from hunting wild horses, they had been scourged and plundered by some
of Debayakaikin's people. Moreover they announced that a very numerous
horde of Nakaiketergehes had been discovered by them in the country
between the cities of Sta. Fè and St. Iago. The Cacique pronounces this
station dangerous to travelling Spaniards, and an infringement upon the
peace established, and exclaims that he will set out the next day, and
discover these hostile Abipones. The Christian Mocobios are called upon,
and within a few hours a company of almost three hundred men is
assembled. After a few days' journey they discovered the hostile horde,
but did not make a sudden attack upon it. Not to appear deficient in
courtesy, they sent forward two heralds to desire the enemies, in a
friendly manner, instantly to restore the horses they had unjustly
carried off, and to ask pardon for the injury they had committed. The
blast of trumpets, by which twenty men challenged three hundred to the
fight, was their answer. From words they proceeded to blows.
Ychamenraikin, the Commander in Chief, and the foremost in the foremost
rank, was pierced by an arrow in the left eye, and instantly expired.
Inconceivable was the fury that inflamed the minds of the soldiers, at
sight of their dead leader. "Come on," was the universal cry: "let none
of the enemy depart alive." Their hands answered to their tongues: for
all the spearmen rushed at once upon the adverse army. In truth, twenty
might thus have been destroyed with little difficulty by three hundred,
had they not with incredible firmness opposed themselves as a wall to
their adversaries. Though wounded all over, they still continued to
oppose spears to spears, and weapons to weapons, not receding a hair's
breadth from the line of battle. The victors cut off the heads of those
most renowned for valour, and carried them home as trophies. Two, who
fell amongst the dead bodies and, being thought lifeless, had, the one
an ear, the other a finger cut off by a Mocobio, appeared a few months
after alive, in the town of St. Ferdinand.

All the men being slain, the Mocobios, irritated by the death of their
Cacique, took delight in venting their fury on the women, who had taken
refuge in a neighbouring wood. Forty women and children were slain, and
many taken captive; which cruelty, as it was exercised towards the
defenceless, we all condemned in the strongest manner. Many of our
Abipones and Mocobios were wounded, but none slain except Ychamenraikin.
The bones of this Cacique, after being stripped of the flesh, received
the last obsequies, accompanied by the tears of the whole town, and by
funeral rites, as has been related elsewhere.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

Debayakaikin, upon hearing of this slaughter of his people, made no end
of storming and threatening the victorious Riikahés. Not one of his
fellow-hordesmen but raved with grief at some injury he had sustained
from it: one mourned the death or captivity of a son; another of a
husband; a third of a wife or brother. The life of Father Joseph
Sanchez, priest of the town of Concepcion, was placed in extreme danger,
as they declared their intention of revenging on every Spaniard, the
slaughter they had suffered from the Abipones and Mocobios, the friends
of the Spaniards. Had not Barreda restrained the enraged people, all the
Nakaiketergehes would have instantly flown to devastate the colonies of
St. Jeronymo and St. Xavier, whither Landriel was sent in the name of
Barreda to require restitution of the captives. Ychoalay, respecting the
wishes of the Vice-Governor, though not the threats of Debayakaikin,
cheerfully assented to this demand, but his example was not followed by
the Mocobios; which irritated the savages, and made them resolve to
extort by arms what the Spaniards could not obtain by prayers. We learnt
from trusty messengers that the enemies would be at the town of St.
Jeronymo in a few days. Thrown into the utmost consternation we
requested the Mocobios to lend us supplies, which they refused, alleging
the perilous state of their own town, and the necessity they were under
of providing for the security of it. All hope of succour being thus
denied us, whatever could contribute to our defence was wisely and
diligently ordered by Ychoalay. Many watchmen were appointed each night,
and scouts sent backwards and forwards. Debayakaikin, learning from his
spies that we were in daily expectation of him, that his expedition
might not terminate like the former one, thought proper to defer it for
some weeks, and then fell suddenly upon us, when we were not expecting
any thing hostile.

On the night after Whitsuntide, he and his forces crept into the plain
adjoining the town, and employed themselves till morning in collecting
droves of horses, and in wounding the oxen with spears. At break of day,
as I was performing divine service, Pachieke and Zapancha, who were sent
by Debayakaikin to challenge the townsmen to join battle with him,
arrived. Ychoalay replied, in the name of the rest, that they did not
want courage to accept the challenge, but horses to convey them to the
place appointed for the combat; which, as the enemy had themselves taken
in the night, they might now make use of for the purpose of approaching
the town, where he and his people would await them in battle-array. And,
in fact, the Abipones, assembling from all quarters, soon formed an
army, the front of which Ychoalay occupied on horseback. Whilst Ychoalay
was sharpening the point of his lance on a whetstone in our court-yard,
and greasing it with tallow that it might enter more readily into the
flesh, I spoke to him about baptism, knowing that the weapons of all
would be directed particularly at him, and endeavouring, at all events,
to secure his salvation. But alas! I preached to deaf ears, so far was
he from listening or attending to me, and so entirely engrossed by
warlike affairs. From such mighty preparations for war, what could be
expected but fields smoking with blood? Yet nothing but noise ensued;
and the day passed entirely without slaughter: for about noon, as we
were standing in form of battle, and expecting every moment the attack
of the enemies, Debayakaikin at length made answer by the mouth of a
herald, that he did not judge it expedient to join battle in sight of
the town, where, he doubted not, we had a supply of muskets; deterred by
a groundless apprehension of which, he departed without attempting any
thing further. After weathering so great a storm, we were surprized,
about evening, by another, which was the more terrible from being
unforeseen. Ychoalay suddenly interrupted me as I was conversing with
Father Brigniel. "Ho! you Fathers," said he, with an unusually gloomy
countenance, "my whole nation, weary of this colony, and of the
friendship of the Spaniards, intend desertion—nor can I blame them. On
account of the Spaniards, we have taken up arms against our countrymen
and relations, and have combated them to this very day, with fortune,
alas! how various! They have been our enemies ever since we professed
ourselves the friends of the Spaniards and their firm defenders against
Debayakaikin, Oaherkaikin, and their followers! How many droves of
horses have they taken from us; how many wounds have they inflicted on
us: how many deaths of our fellow-soldiers have they caused us to
lament! The Spaniards were not ignorant of all this, yet they quietly
looked on, and never seriously thought of lending us the promised
assistance. On this account it is that the minds of my comrades are
suddenly alienated, and that they are preparing for flight. I advise you
to write immediately to the Vice-Governor for soldiers, to conduct you
safe back to the lands of the Spaniards, before the Indians, exasperated
by the loss of horses they have this day suffered, have time to think of
taking away your lives." We both promised to follow his advice, adding
that he might feel assured the Vice-Governor would do all in his power
to assist and console our Abipones. The truth of Ychoalay's
representations was betrayed by the sullen and threatening eyes of the
other Abipones, in which we plainly read their grief at so great a loss
of horses, and their ill-will to the Spaniards. That night we wrote an
account of the perilous state of our affairs to the Vice-Governor; but
even Ychoalay had great difficulty in finding any one who would carry
the letters, as the weather had been stormy for many days past. Indeed
the journey seemed impracticable whilst all the roads were flooded with
water. In the mean time it was greatly to be feared, that when
intelligence was received of the Vice-Governor's determination, the
Indians, enraged at an unsatisfactory reply, would turn their backs on
the colony, and after murdering the Jesuits, return to their former
habits of plunder. Yet when affairs seemed desperate, an unhoped-for
calm succeeded to this terrible storm. Providence clearly shone forth in
the unexpected events which I am going to relate.

                              CHAPTER XIX.

The Charruas, a fierce equestrian nation, after being long formidable to
travellers on the eastern bank of the Parana, were at length made
captive, for the most part, by a troop of horse from Sta. Fè, and
assembled in a colony founded in the plain Cajasta, where they were
instructed in the divine law by a priest of the order of St. Francis.
These savages, formerly so slothful, were impelled by hunger to make
great exertions in cultivating land. But the plains adjacent to the
town, being in great part marshy, scarce afforded a place where seed
could be sown with any prospect of a harvest, and the hill occupied by
the colony seemed too small for the number of inhabitants. On which
account, some Charruas were sent by the priest to explore the remoter
plains, and endeavour to find a better situation for the colony. On
their return, they communicated their discovery of a very numerous horde
of Abipones near La Laguna Blanca. The Vice-Governor of Sta. Fè, when
informed of this circumstance, judged habitations of hostile Abipones
insufferable in a place where they had such a good opportunity of
sallying forth to annoy the colonies of the Spaniards. He appointed a
troop of his own horse to drive away that hostile horde, and wrote to us
to request that Ychoalay, with his people and with the Mocobios, might
join them.

The Vice-Governor's letter, which was delivered to us as we were at
dinner, dispersed the cloud that overspread our minds, like a propitious
star. Ychoalay got every thing in readiness the same evening, and set
out the next day with a numerous company almost before sun-rise. There
was not one amongst them all that did not follow him with a cheerful
mind, not one that complained of want of horses. For although the enemy
had taken great numbers of them but a very short time before, yet many,
still lurking in the remoter pastures, escaped both their eyes and
hands. Ychoalay rode on before the rest, and reached the plain specified
by the Vice-Governor, where he found the Spanish horsemen on foot and
fasting, their horses and oxen having left them in the night. Both were
recovered by the sagacity of Ychoalay. Soon after, under the guidance of
the Charruas, they hastened to the shores of La Laguna Blanca, which,
however, they found already deserted by the Abipones, and whither they
had removed was difficult to conjecture. Ychoalay was commissioned by
the Spaniards to seek the abode of the fugitives. All places being
diligently examined under his direction, the enemy's stations were at
length discovered, and at the same time so closely besieged, that all
hope of flight or victory being precluded, they every one yielded to the
conquerors. They were deprived of their arms, and brought like captives
to the town of St. Jeronymo, with a crowd of women and boys.

The event of this expedition exasperated the minds of all the
Nakaiketergehé Abipones, as much as it elated those of our nation; and
proved a stimulus to the enemies to pursue the war with still more
pertinacity. That three of the most formidable of the captives, Zapancha
and Pachieke, and a brother-in-law of Alaykin, whose face dwells in my
memory, though not his name, were kept in chains in the port of
Monte-Video, was what the Nakaiketergehes could never digest, and what
they embraced every opportunity to avenge. A few months after, to omit
other instances, seven inhabitants of St. Jeronymo were treacherously
slain, whilst travelling, by the tribesmen of Oaherkaikin. Ychoalay,
thinking these atrocities no longer to be endured, led a hundred and
twenty-five Riikahés against Oaherkaikin, whose encampments were then
forty leagues north of the town.

I, who was then removed to the town of St. Ferdinand, through which
Ychoalay was to pass with his troop, had a good deal of trouble and
anxiety on account of this expedition, fearing that our Yaaukanigas, who
had long been hostile to Ychoalay, would take part with Oaherkaikin, and
involve our town in the troubles of war. The day before Ychoalay and his
company arrived, a scout of his, who had been sent forward to explore
the roads taken by the enemy, and their places of concealment, came to
me in the early part of the night. In the space of an hour he was
followed by a second, and then by a third. The two latter returned at
night to relate to Ychoalay what they had seen and heard, but the first,
who was called Rochus Chiruilin, passed the night in my house.

The same day at noon, Ychoalay and his people arrived, in such an
orderly band, with so much silence, and such decent habiliments, that I
should have taken them for a troop of Spaniards. They were all furnished
with iron spears, with hats, and Spanish saddles. A hill which slopes
towards the town was the place where they chose to encamp. They were
defended against sudden assaults by a wood behind, and by a ditch on
each side, and had a full view of the plain beneath, where their horses
were feeding, so that if any treacherous attack were meditated it would
be immediately perceived. They passed the night in the open air, placed
in a row describing the form of a semicircle, as that figure contributes
much to the mutual defence of a few against many. When lying down they
make use of saddles instead of a pillow, and the housings of their
horses serve them for a mattress. Every one has his spear fixed in the
ground close at hand. Four or six feed their fire, which is kept up to
give light in the night; whilst others, who are appointed to keep watch
for the security of the sleepers, and of the horses, traverse the plain
on horseback, and if they observe any thing alarming or unusual, give
notice of it to those who are reposing, by horns and trumpets.

There was not one of the Abiponian guests who did not run to my house to
ask me how I did; for, having lived two years in the town of St.
Jeronymo, I knew and loved them all. Ychoalay, by reason of our old
intimacy, conversed with me in a friendly manner for some hours every
day. All my anxiety and my arguments were directed towards persuading
him to baptism. I expatiated on the perils to which he was going to
expose his life. But he, confiding in the number and fidelity of his
fellow-soldiers, would not allow that he stood in any danger, and owned
himself too much engaged in warlike cares to be in a fit state for pious
thoughts of that kind. I was also anxious on another account. I knew
that my Yaaukanigas were inimical to Ychoalay, but amicably inclined
towards their neighbour Oaherkaikin, and feared that they would assist
the one against the other. But I advised them not to take part with
either, if they wished to consult their own interest. I united threats
with entreaties to deter them from attempting any thing against
Ychoalay, who, though he did not stand in need of their assistance
himself, would, I was well aware, be greatly incensed at their lending
any to Oaherkaikin. This I repeatedly declared to the chief men of the
town, and at length, forgetting their old grudge, they suffered
themselves to be persuaded. Some of the younger went to be close
spectators of the fight, but they carried no weapons.

In the mean time, Oaherkaikin, being at length informed of Ychoalay's
journey, informed him, by means of a messenger, of his present place of
abode, whither, he said, Ychoalay might come, and welcome; that he
himself had never bestowed a thought on flight or terror; and that his
soldiers were few, but such that every one of them seemed to him capable
of slaying many. The day before Ychoalay left us, his chief emissary
Hapaleolin intercepted Kepakainkin, a tribesman and brother-in-law of
Oaherkaikin. As his wife was a Nakaiketergehe, whilst his brothers dwelt
amongst the Riikahés, he sometimes joined one tribe, sometimes the
other, and, on this very account, incurred the hatred of both. Fearing
the arrival of Ychoalay, he withdrew from Oaherkaikin's horde, which was
shortly to be attacked, under pretext of watching the motions of the
enemy; but in reality with a treacherous design, which he put in
execution, of meeting with the Riikahés, and conducting them to the
horde of Oaherkaikin: however, he was only a spectator of the fight, and
afterwards deserted Oaherkaikin's town, and betook himself to that of
St. Jeronymo.

The horde of Oaherkaikin was a few leagues distant from the town of St.
Ferdinand, nor did it contain more than twenty men able to bear arms,
the rest being at that time employed in harassing the colonies of the
Spaniards. But the small number of those who resisted were defended
against all assaults by the natural situation of the place. Behind, and
on each side, they had a wood, and in front a marshy field, which
rendered access difficult, and fighting dangerous to the enemy.
Ychoalay, with his usual intrepidity, left his horse, and struggled
through the deep mud, till he arrived near enough to reach the enemy
with arrows. The younger part alone followed their leader: for the rest,
despairing of a victory amongst so many straits, marshes, and woods,
from their horses, as from an orchestra, beheld their companions bravely
fighting at a distance. The desertion of the old men, however, increased
the boldness of the young ones, and more furiously inflamed their anger
against the enemy. Oaherkaikin received three deep gashes, and his
brother was dangerously wounded in the throat by an arrow. Of the rest
scarce one departed from the field of battle without a severe wound.
Though streaming with blood, not one of them seemed to remove his foot
from his standing place, or his hand from the bow; which was extremely
honourable both to the conquered and to the conquerors. Ychoalay, who
remained unhurt amid this storm of arrows, had only three of his people
wounded, and those had previously received baptism. On their return to
the town, I examined and dressed their wounds. Hapaleolin was pierced by
an arrow in the side, and a Spaniard, named Lorenzo, one of the
voluntary captives of the Abipones, in the arm. Rochus Chiruilin had the
tendon of his great toe hurt by an arrow, and remained seven weeks in my
house till I had completely healed him. Whilst the battle was yet
raging, some followers of Oaherkaikin arrived from the estates of Sta.
Fè, whence, after slaughtering the Spaniards, they brought many hundreds
of horses, all of which Ychoalay took, and restored to their owners;
besides these, a multitude of horses, which Oaherkaikin had in the
neighbouring pastures, also fell into his hands.

These events having taken place in the absence of the curate, Father
Joseph Klein, I sent both for him and the Vice-Governor of Corrientes,
fearing the doubtful event of Ychoalay's expedition, and the
disturbances which would, in all probability, ensue in our colony. He
came on the evening of the next day with my companion, accompanied by
ten Spanish horsemen, and, in a friendly manner, saluted Ychoalay, who
returned from the skirmish a short time after, and who, at first sight,
requested the Vice-Governor, Nicolas Patron, that those ten horsemen,
who were all excellently armed with muskets, might be added to his
Abipones, as he purposed returning immediately to destroy Oaherkaikin,
the implacable enemy of the Spanish nation. But the Vice-Governor
disapproved of his intention, and endeavoured to dissuade him from it.
He said that to join battle with the wounded, appeared to him repugnant
to humanity, and that however advantageous such a victory might be, it
would be entirely devoid of glory. After many arguments on both sides of
the question, Ychoalay at length yielded to the Vice-Governor's
suggestion, that if Oaherkaikin preferred peace to war, he should enter
this colony, refrain from slaughter and rapine, and promise peace and
friendship to all the colonies of the Christians; but on his refusing
these conditions, should be given to understand that Ychoalay would
instantly return to meet him in the field of battle. These things were
announced to him by a Yaaukaniga horseman, by whom he replied, that the
proposed conditions met his approbation; that, at present, neither
himself nor his wounded companions had strength or horses sufficient to
undertake the journey; but that when their wounds were thoroughly
healed, he, with his companions, wives, and children, would remove to
our colony. Oaherkaikin kept his word: for when Ychoalay had gone back
to his own people, he and his numerous family, before their wounds were
even scarred over, came to the town of St. Ferdinand. This observance of
the promised peace, however, did not outlast the fear which had induced
it; when released from that, he changed both his mind and his place of
residence, continuing ever a plunderer, ever the chief of the Abiponian

                              CHAPTER XX.

On Oaherkaikin's entering the colony of St. Ferdinand, we beheld with
joy what the Spaniards of Paraguay had been vainly desiring ever since
the time of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. The whole nation of Abipones
were at length settled in three colonies; an event which seemed to
promise great advantage both to the cause of religion and that of the
whole province. But, alas! a sudden storm from Europe destroyed all
these nourishing hopes. The kings of Spain and Portugal agreed upon an
exchange of their territories in America, in consequence of which those
seven towns on the eastern shore of the Uruguay were to be delivered up
to the Portugueze, and two-and-thirty thousand Christian Guaranies, who
inhabited them, were ordered to remove to another place by Ferdinand the
Sixth. The Guaranies, full of tender attachment to their country, could
be induced by no arguments to believe that such a removal had been
enjoined them by the Catholic king. This cession of the towns to their
enemies the Portugueze, they thought must have been imposed on them by
way of punishment; though they were at a loss to imagine what crime they
could have committed deserving such punishment, unless to have served
God and the King were accounted such.

This universal doubt impressed on the minds of the Indians, respecting
the royal order for their removal, was confirmed by a most impudent lie,
invented by certain wicked knaves amongst the lower order of Spaniards;
who assured the Indians that the removal enjoined in the King's name was
a fabrication of the Jesuits, they having themselves sold those towns to
the Portugueze, out of a thirst for gold. The Guaranies, possessed with
this abominable suspicion, grew more and more deaf to the admonitions of
the Jesuits, who, through respect to the King, were constantly urging
their departure. The filial affection which they had always borne to the
Fathers being destroyed, they began openly to reject the authority of
others, and to manage every thing according to their own pleasure. What
did not the Missionaries do to conquer their obstinacy, and to reduce
them to obedience! What did they not endure! How often did they put
themselves in danger of death! With crowns of thorns on their heads,
they made a mournful supplication in the streets, whilst a voice of
thunder from the pulpit, interrupted with frequent tears, besought and
exhorted the people assembled in the church to obey the royal mandate.
Miserable lamentations or futile promises were all that could be
extorted from them. Some, indeed, who were of a milder temper, departed,
but, vanquished by the love of their native land, returned next day, and
hardened themselves against the last extremities. At length, seeing that
war would be made against them, they took up arms, and for some time
stood out against the armed Portugueze, and the Spaniards who assisted

After various vicissitudes of war, which I have briefly touched upon in
another place, these seven towns were ceded by the Spaniards, but not
accepted by the Portugueze, because they had at length discovered that
all that territory along the banks of the Uruguay was destitute of the
supposed mines of gold and silver. About fourteen thousand Indian exiles
were dispersed up and down the plains of the Uruguay; nearly as many
crossed the river of that name, and settled in the different towns of
the Parana, where, after quitting handsome freestone houses, they were
thankful for the precarious subsistence afforded by the kindness of
their countrymen, and for cottages hastily built of straw. But Charles
III., who was removed from the throne of Naples to that of Spain,
cancelled the exchange of lands with the Portugueze agreed on by his
late brother Ferdinand, and commanded that the landmarks placed in
Paraguay should be pulled up, war declared on the Portugueze, and the
Guarany exiles sent back to their towns, the administration of which was
as usual to be intrusted to the Jesuits. But alas! what a mournful
appearance did these towns, formerly so flourishing, present, after a
three years' absence of their inhabitants! The churches were shorn of
their splendor, the estates spoiled of their cattle. The walls and roofs
of the houses were injured by the soldiers and the weather. Part of the
buildings were reduced to ashes. The untilled fields began to be
overspread with wood, and filled with tares. The whole neighbourhood was
infested with snakes and tigers. It seemed as if the arts and industry
of a whole century could hardly replace or make up for what had been
destroyed in the last three years.

This terrible misfortune of the Guarany nation alarmed the minds of the
Abipones, and estranged them from the Spaniards. With sorrowful eyes
they beheld all the Spaniards able to bear arms called out against the
Guaranies. "If the Spaniards," said they, "are so desirous of war, why
do they not turn their arms against the Guaycurùs, the Aucas,
Chiriguanos, Yaapitalakas, and other hostile nations? Why do they
persecute the Guaranies, their most faithful friends, who have done so
much service to the king in the royal camps? Is the friendship of the
Spaniards so versatile? Have they so short a memory as to forget the
submission which the Guaranies have uniformly observed towards them?"
Complaints and wonderings of this kind were daily felt and expressed by
all. Nor was the affair confined to words alone. Many of them, either
displeased by the severity of the Spaniards towards the Guaranies, or
distrustful of their friendship, or tempted by the opportunity of
pillaging, which the absence of the soldiers afforded, deserted their
towns. Such were the deplorable effects of the war with the Guaranies.

On the same day that Nicolas Patron went out against the Guaranies with
troops of Corrientine horse, Oaherkaikin and his companions, now freed
from fear, bade adieu to the colony of St. Ferdinand, intending to live,
as formerly, on rapine in the country. His example was followed by the
inhabitants of other colonies. They saw that, as the men were called out
against the Guaranies, the towns and villages of the Spaniards were
inhabited by women only, or persons incapable of fighting, and that they
might overrun the defenceless estates at their pleasure. Making use of
this excellent opportunity, they molested the colonies, not only of the
Spaniards, but likewise of the Abipones, especially that of St.
Jeronymo, to the utmost of their power. Ychoalay was deserted by many of
his people, and on that account derided by his enemies, because he could
no longer assist the Spaniards, or be assisted by them, they being
engaged in the war with the Guaranies. His fidelity, however, and his
courage, remained unaltered. He affronted the hostile storm on every
side, with all the strength and arts that he was master of. An estate of
his on the banks of the Malabrigo, rich in herds, flocks of sheep, and
horses, but undefended by any guards, and inhabited by a few women only,
was attacked by a company of Abipones, Mocobios, and Vilelas. No
resistance being made, they drove away the cattle, took the women
captive, and sent one old woman to tell Ychoalay that they had taken his
cattle, and that if he was desirous of recovering them, he should come
and give them battle at the Ychimaye, on the banks of which they would
await his arrival. The message delivered by the old woman served as a
trumpet to Ychoalay. Spite of the weather, which was cold and rainy, he
flew burning with rage to the appointed place, accompanied by a handful
of his people. He beheld the multitude of enemies, attacked, and
completely vanquished them. A good many of the enemy were slain, numbers
wounded, and the rest put to flight; and indeed every body was of
opinion, that not one would have escaped alive, had not Ychoalay, who
was wounded with an arrow in the arm, allowed them horses to carry them
home. After recovering the cattle, and the female captives of the town,
Ychoalay returned, signalized with a severe wound, and an unexpected
victory, leaving the enemies in such consternation, that they even
neglected to carry off their dead. At another time Ychoalay, awakened by
an alarming sound in the middle of the night, mounted a horse, and rode
out to take a survey. He had scarcely gone thirty steps from his own
door, when he saw two Toba spies, took them captive, and sent them,
well-guarded, to the town of St. Xavier, where some Tobas, allies of the
Mocobios, were dwelling. The absence of the Spanish soldiers rendered
the Abipones, and other wandering savages, daily bolder and more
mischievous to the whole province: and their frequent excursions were
the more injurious, because they who used, at other times, to repulse
the enemies, were then fatigued with carrying on war against their
friends the Guaranies.

                              CHAPTER XXI.
                         AGAINST THE ABIPONES.

At length the Vice-Governors of Sta. Fè and St. Iago resolved upon
attacking the Abipones, who had deserted the colonies, in their northern
retreats, in order to chastise and restrain their intolerable licence in
plundering. Francisco de Vera Muxica, with fifty horse of Sta. Fè, came
to St. Jeronymo and joined Barreda, who, though accompanied by five
troop of horse of St. Iago, admitted into his society the Abipones who
inhabit the town of Concepcion, with the Caciques Malakin, Debayakaikin,
and Ypirikin, as these persons were well acquainted with the ways, and
the retreats where the savages are accustomed to conceal themselves.
Having, in a few days, travelled more than thirty leagues northward,
they reached a place famous for capibaris, but could not discover a
trace of the hostile Abipones, who, betaking themselves to the well
known recesses of the woods, lakes, and marshes, daily eluded the
Spaniards. Seven armed Abipones showed themselves on the border of a
certain wood, defended by an unfordable river, and in mockery,
challenged the Spaniards who passed by to fight. Ybarra, a brave master
of the watch, ill enduring this jest, swam across the river with only
five of his St. Iagans. But as the rest of his fellow-soldiers, whom he
expected to follow him, either delayed or refused to do so, he quickly
swam back again to the road, fearing, that as the sun was almost set, he
should be overtaken by the shades of night, and by a multitude of
savages lurking within the wood. At last despairing of a reencounter
with the enemy, the Spaniards returned ingloriously home, with empty
hands, and horses miserably fatigued. Some blamed Barreda for taking, as
companions of his journey, the Caciques Malakin and Debayakaikin, whom,
though apparently friends to the Spaniards, they thought to be
treacherous in reality. More concerned for the safety of their
countrymen, than for the success of the Spaniards, wherever they went,
they sent secret intelligence of their approach to the wandering
Abipones. That Debayakaikin was ill inclined towards the Spaniards, when
he accompanied Barreda, may be inferred from this circumstance, that he
shortly after quitted the town of Concepcion with the rest of his
companions, rejoined those who had gone before him to the North, and
became openly inimical to the Spaniards. But there, as you will
presently hear, he at the same time ceased to live and to be dreaded.

The last vain endeavour of the two Vice-Governors confirmed the Abipones
in their old opinion, that they could never be subdued, whilst scattered
up and down the country, and acknowledging no other authority than their
own; and this confidence doubled their boldness in disturbing the
province. The remembrance of those three Abipones, who were kept in
chains in the fort of Monte-Video, was a bitter wound to the
Nakaiketergehes, and one which they declared incurable except by a
plentiful effusion of Spanish blood. To appease them, therefore, the
Vice-Governors of Sta. Fè and St. Iago requested the Governor of
Buenos-Ayres, to give liberty to those three captives, and restore them
to their countrymen. The Vice-Governor complied. But what they had
looked upon as a remedy to the disturbed province, proved, on the
contrary, the torment and destruction of the Spaniards. The one whose
name has slipped my memory, had died, long before, in fetters; and
Zapancha, attempting flight, had thrown himself from a high tower, and
injured the spine of his back, so as to render him unfit for a journey.
Pachieke, son of Alaykin, alone remaining, was permitted to return to
his own country.

Incredible were the testimonies of joy with which he was received by his
people. He revisited his wife in the town of St. Jeronymo, and,
dissembling his furious thirst for vengeance on the Riikahés, the
authors of his captivity, became apparently unmindful of his injuries,
desirous of a better way of life, eager for quiet, in short, extremely
unlike himself. But the fire concealed beneath the ashes at length broke
out into flames. After much secret deliberation, he and his companions
departed from the town of St. Jeronymo; and that his doing so might not
be attributed to fear of any one, he chose that his flight should be
accompanied by considerable rapine. Hastening towards the north, he
renewed a fellowship with Debayakaikin, both in arms and place of abode.
In the prime of his age, and of a handsome person, ready to engage in
any bold enterprize, and extremely expert in plundering, he was soon
surrounded by men of accordant years and purposes, who were disposed to
follow him, and to distress, under his guidance, the colonies of the
Spaniards. There was scarce a corner of the province which they did not
afflict with hostile incursions. The town of St. Jeronymo was what
Pachieke aimed most to ravage and devastate; but the vigilance and
activity of the inhabitants defeated almost all his endeavours.

                             CHAPTER XXII.

Ychoalay, not content with the name of an excellent defender, undertook
an excursion against Debayakaikin, the chief of the Abiponian
plunderers. Rejecting the subsidiary troops of Spaniards and Mocobios,
he only admitted into his company the bravest and most approvedly
faithful of his own people. When after some days' journey he perceived
that Debayakaikin's horde was near at hand, "Let us return," exclaimed
he: "a panic which I cannot account for, has got possession of my mind.
This unusual tremor portends something disastrous. Come, let us return."
His companions, revering these words as if they had been spoken by an
oracle, were just going to turn round, when "Holla!" cries another, "are
you not ashamed to return home with empty hands? I know that the horses
of Pachieke are pasturing undefended in a neighbouring field. What
hinders us from carrying off the whole drove, to indemnify ourselves for
those which he robbed us of on his departure?" This advice was approved
of, and having possessed themselves of the booty, they prepared for
their return. Pachieke, in the mean time, happening to ride that way,
sees the plain void of horses, and quickly suspecting the truth of the
matter, from the footsteps of the plundering Riikahés, flies to
Debayakaikin, laments the loss of the horses, asks for assistance, and
expresses great hopes of being able to pursue and chastise the enemy.
Without delay, all the neighbouring Abipones, with their Cacique
Debayakaikin, eagerly pursue Ychoalay, whom, having overtaken, they
challenge to the fight. As usual, the whole of the infantry joined
battle. Both sides fought furiously for some time, till victory declared
in favour of the Riikahés: for Debayakaikin, the Hector of his people,
was slain with a spear by Ychoalay; many of his followers received the
same fate from those of his adversary, and indeed, according to common
report, not one of the enemy would have escaped alive, had not the
conqueror prevented his soldiers from slaying the rest, declaring that
he thought no blame attached to the common herd of Indians, who had only
taken up arms in obedience to their leader. Pachieke, flying with his
people, more solicitous for his own preservation than for that of
Debayakaikin, plainly manifested that his chief courage was displayed
against the unarmed and unprepared.

Ychoalay cut off the heads of Debayakaikin, and four of his most noble
associates, and carried them home as trophies. Having entered the town,
he ordered a gibbet to be erected in the market-place, and the five
heads to be suspended from it. In the same place, surrounded by his
troops, he harangued the multitude from his horse. "Behold," said he,
pointing to the gibbet, "the chastisement of faith so often violated!
Behold the trophy of our valour! Now feed your eyes with the spoils of
hostile chiefs, who, for a length of time, have scarce permitted you to
breathe, and on whose account, alas! we have endured so many sleepless
nights, difficult journeys, and painful wounds. This ever various and
uncertain warfare, this conflict of so many years' continuance, has at
length been terminated to-day, when we, not even thinking of a battle,
and to say the truth, retreating, have had a glorious victory thrust, as
it were, upon our hands. Something must doubtless be attributed to
fortune, but allow me to say, still more to our valour. The whole affair
was conducted in such a way as gave me no reason to repent my choice of
fellow-soldiers, nor you to be ashamed of the leader you fought under.
He who has so long been threatening your lives, having at length
received his death-blow from this spear, can now no longer threaten or
inspire terror. This is the head which once devised so many treacheries.
Now insult the perfidious one; but lest the same fate attend any of you
likewise, be ever regardful of your faith pledged to the Spaniards, and
obedient to me who am so anxious for your welfare. I do not consider the
vile remnant of our enemies of sufficient importance to be deserving of
our fear. The most warlike are dead. The survivors are either cowards or
runaways, and owe their present existence merely to having escaped our
eyes and hands. The streams dry up when their spring is exhausted, and
after the head of the snake has been cut off, the rest of the body,
though it may move, is incapable of doing any mischief, and wastes away
in a few hours. After the extinction of their leaders, whose heads you
here behold, the inimical faction, either from despair of victory, or
apprehension of utter ruin, will, by degrees, grow milder, and, laying
aside all enmity, accept our friendship." Nearly to this effect, did
Ychoalay, who, from a leader, had become an orator, hold forth, and
attract to himself the eyes and ears of all; for no one doubted that his
words answered to his deeds, and his tongue to his hands. Do not imagine
that I have composed this oration myself, and put it into the mouth of
the savage. Many years' experience has proved to me that the Americans
can discourse on subjects suited to their capacities, not only with
prolixity, but with elegance, and embellish their assertions with
metaphors, similes, and figures of speech. They are certainly much more
copious and fluent in their language than the rustics of our country.

The four sons of Debayakaikin repaired at first to Ychoalay's horde, but
quitted it soon after, and took to a wandering course of life. But
neither of them, though sufficiently advanced in years, was thought
worthy to succeed his father in the office of Cacique. The whole nation,
divided into small parties, lived together under their own authority.
Some followed Oaherkaikin, others Pachieke, but many chose for their
leader Revachigi, a man of low birth, and few years, but in noble
actions, and endowments of mind and body, superior to any veteran.

The Nakaiketergehes, though dispersed in various hordes, prosecuted the
war against the Riikahés, with minds ever unanimous, and strength as far
as possible united, the recent slaughter of Debayakaikin stimulating
them to vengeance. Pachieke, pertinaciously hostile to the Cordobans,
was at length slain in an ambuscade in the country, and his death was a
fresh occasion for hostile excursions against the Spaniards. It would be
endless to relate the ever-varying successes of this war, by which the
town of St. Jeronymo was terribly afflicted, the progress of religious
and domestic affairs retarded, and the patience of the fathers
wonderfully exercised. But though they had to contend, during twenty
years, with scarcity, daily danger of their lives, and hostile
machinations, they never thought for a moment of deserting the colony,
and at last succeeded so far that they joyfully beheld more than eight
hundred persons initiated into the rites of the Church of Rome, besides
Ychoalay. If to these you add the infants or adults baptized by them,
when dying of the small-pox, or other diseases, you will judge that they
had no despicable fruits of their Apostolic labours.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.
                             DIVINE MOTHER.

Christopher Almaraz may be called the founder of this colony; he
certainly was the occasion of its being founded. A Spaniard by descent,
and born in the country of St. Iago, he was taken captive when a boy by
the Abipones, amongst whom he was brought up, and became a savage in
countenance, language, mind, and manners. None of the savages was more
hostile to the Spaniards than Almaraz, so that he became famous for
slaughters and plunderings, and was an Abipon in the eyes of the
Abipones themselves, by whom he was not only naturalized, but honoured
in an uncommon degree, by receiving in marriage a woman of noble family
amongst them, who, after bearing him many children, was carried away to
St. Iago, with the other captives taken by Barreda, in his assault. In
the hope of recovering his wife, Almaraz entreated his Cacique, Alaykin,
to request Barreda to grant a colony for his countrymen, declaring that
this was the surest and the only method of procuring the liberty of the
captives. He offered his services as orator and ambassador in the
negociation. This advice being approved by Alaykin, Almaraz set off
unaccompanied and unarmed, and after travelling more than a hundred
leagues, entered the town of St. Iago. The business succeeded to his
wish, and Barreda assented with pleasure to his petition for a colony.

Supported by the assistance of the Governor of Tucuman, and by repeated
conversations well acquainted with the inclinations of the Cacique
Alaykin, he founded a colony on the eastern shore of the river Inespin,
which is nine leagues distant from the Parana, sixty from the city of
Sta. Fè, and a hundred and seventy from the land of St. Iago. The town
was situated on a gentle acclivity. The climate was admirably temperate,
neither parched with summer heats, nor starving with frost or cold
winds. In the neighbourhood was a river, supplying wholesome water, a
wide plain abounding in pasture, and woods which afforded fruit-trees,
fire-wood, and timber for building. There was an incredible variety of
wild animals fit for the chase. All kinds of palm-trees grew near at
hand. In an immense plain, extending towards the south, you beheld many
thousands of wandering horses; and the marshes, lakes, and rivers
abounded in otters and capibaris. The soil moreover was extremely
fertile, and favourable to any kind of seed. These numerous advantages
induced the Cacique Alaykin to choose that place for the site of the
colony. His companions too, greatly approved of the situation, thinking
that the more distant it was from the towns of the Spaniards, the better
secured it must be from their attacks. Rivers frequently unfordable,
immense swamps, marshes, and lakes many miles in extent, incredibly
retard the journey from St. Iago to this colony.

By Barreda's orders some little chapels and cottages for the Fathers and
the Cacique were hastily built by the soldiers of stakes plastered over
with mud. The town was committed to the care of Fathers Joseph Sanchez,
a Murcian, and Bartolome Araez, a Tucuman, who was succeeded, in a few
months, by Lorenzo Casado, a native of Castile. The whole colony was
governed by Alaykin, who had been made Cacique, not so much from the
prerogative of birth, as from military merit. He was a man of good
understanding, a gentle disposition, remarkable candour, and universal
intrepidity; on which account he was equally dear to his own people and
formidable to the Spaniards, whose colonies he had for many years
wearied with his inroads. Above all, the countries of Cordoba and St.
Iago found him a destructive and implacable enemy. Though a frequent
attendant at drinking-parties, his conduct was exemplary in this
respect, that he always avoided the quarrels and altercations incident
to drunkenness. During his whole life, he contented himself with one
wife, by whom he had two daughters and as many sons, all remarkable for
strength and comeliness. The eldest was the unfortunate Pachieke, whom I
have lately spoken of. The Caciques Malakin, Ypirikin, Oaikin, and
Zapancha, with their followers, soon after joined Alaykin, so that the
new colony was wonderfully increased by the accession of so many
families. These savages were attracted by the expectation of the
clothes, presents, and beef, which was daily distributed gratis to all:
and they were not deceived in their hopes, as the estate of this colony
was managed with more care and liberality than that of any other. For
besides those cattle which Barreda had collected from the opulent
Spaniards, the Governor Martinez, with money from the royal treasury,
purchased two thousand bulls out of Peru, and as many elsewhere, and
sent them thither. This number was, in a few years, increased to twenty
thousand head of kine by the industry of Father Sanchez, though many
thousands were consumed by the voracity of the Abipones.

The women returned from captivity amongst the Spaniards caused the
Fathers a great deal of trouble. From long intercourse with the lower
orders of Spaniards, with Negroes, and Mulattoes, they had contracted
habits execrated even by the savages, and imbibed opinions sure to
produce mischief to the inhabitants of the colony. Still imbittered by
the remembrance of their servitude, they left no stone unturned to
alienate the minds of their countrymen from the Spaniards and the
priests; to prevent the young children and sick adults from receiving
baptism; and to inspire the rest with a horror of the divine law, and a
reverence for their ancient superstitions. To effect these purposes,
they used to invent calumnies, spread reports of hostile intentions on
the part of the Spaniards towards the Abipones, and advise flight from
the colony, in which they sometimes succeeded, obtaining the more credit
from the Abipones on account of their long residence with the Spaniards.
The wife of Christopher Almaraz was, of all the female captives, by far
the greatest plague to the colony, as she exceeded the rest in high
birth, in the propensity to lying, and in aversion to the Roman Catholic
religion. After receiving some superficial religious instruction in the
city of St. Iago, she was united to Almaraz in the church, and with
proper ceremonies, but was divorced by him on entering the town of
Concepcion, under pretext of her impiety, and his ignorance of the
perpetuity of wedlock; her age, however, was his real objection, and
when settled amongst his own countrymen he aspired to fresh nuptials
with a Spanish girl. He obtained the permission of the bishop of Tucuman
himself for this marriage, because it was proved, by convincing
evidence, that his former Abiponian spouse was related to another woman
whom he had married during his residence amongst the Abipones. Almaraz,
now in possession of his wishes, exercised the art of medicine in his
own country, with great profit and approbation,—I wish I could add, with
equal benefit to his patients. Who would not laugh at the idea of the
lower order of Spaniards, that whoever has dwelt for some time amongst
the savages must necessarily have attained the knowledge of herbs and
secret arts of healing, which Galen himself never dreamt of, though the
whole of his residence amongst them may have been employed in slaying
and scalping, and in drinking. I do not, however, deny that some of
them, when they returned to their own country, became useful to the
Governors, by successfully performing the offices of scouts and guides.
They likewise acted as interpreters when a parley was held with the

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

The new town prospered extremely in the beginning and enjoyed entire
safety and tranquillity; but this deep calm was succeeded by a sudden
storm, and dismal wreck. The Abipones learnt from no dubious report that
the Spaniards had thoughts of removing the town, and placing it in a
situation nearer to their own city. Accounting this purposed removal
extremely perilous both to their lives and liberties, they began to
deliberate on flight, the Fathers suspecting nothing of the matter. On
the very day of their departure, Alaykin informed Father Sanchez that
himself and his people were prepared for the journey, saying that he had
a reason for his departure, which, however, he did not specify. He then
demands a flock of two thousand sheep; which the Father, equally
astonished and terrified at this unexpected news, was obliged to grant.
They were all gone in a moment, leaving behind them only three of the
most daring Abipones who had agreed to slay both the Fathers in the
night, to plunder the chapel, and carry away the household furniture.
But, as I have elsewhere related, Ychoalay arriving the same day
delivered the Fathers from that state of peril, and assisted them in
conveying the sacred and domestic utensils to the town of St. Jeronymo.
Father Casado, with the Spaniard who guarded the cattle, repaired to
Sta. Fè, whence couriers were sent to Cordoba and St. Iago to announce
the flight of Alaykin. Great terror was excited in both places by this
news, no one doubting but that the savages would recommence their
plunderings. On which account, that little brick fortress situated in El
Tio (a plain so called between Cordoba and St. Iago) was erected in its
present form, to repress all hostile invasions.

Joseph Sanchez, in the town of St. Jeronymo, eagerly awaited the arrival
of Barreda, with a troop of St. Iagans, in the persuasion that on his
receiving intelligence of Alaykin's flight he would come either to
restore the fugitives to their colony, or pursue them with arms if they
refused to return. Many days had passed, when, presaging the approach of
soldiers from the smoke daily observed toward the city of Sta. Fè, he
hastened on horseback to the deserted town, accompanied by an Indian
Christian. On the way he was spied by some wandering Abipones hidden
within a wood, and destined by them to death when he arrived in the
vacant town. As the fleas prevented him from getting any sleep in his
former bed, he was obliged to lie down in the court-yard of the house.
The Indian servant was his only companion: when they were both sound
asleep three savages burst into the court-yard; one of them was aiming a
deadly blow, with a spear, at the Father, when he suddenly awoke,
snatched up a musket, and put the assailant and his two companions to
flight. He then returned unhurt to the town of St. Jeronymo without
having seen so much as the shadow of a horseman from St. Iago.

At the end of many weeks Barreda arrived with some companies of St.
Iagan horse. Having pitched his camp in sight of the deserted colony, he
sent Landriel with a very few companions to the horde of Alaykin.
Arrived there, he proclaims a pardon, in the name of Barreda, for their
desertion, on condition of their immediate return; he endeavours to
persuade them that the reports concerning the removal of the colony were
false and futile; and tells them that Barreda is coming laden with gifts
to reward the obedient, but at the same time accompanied with a
formidable number of soldiers. The Abipones, yielding to the eloquence
of this benevolent man, laid aside their fears, and returned, in company
with Landriel, to their former abode. On their return they were not only
cordially received, but liberally rewarded with the usual presents, by
Barreda, whom you would have supposed either ignorant or unmindful of
their late desertion. All good men admired his prudence in treating the
savages, though culpable, with gentleness and kindness, like children,
who, when in error, are more easily induced to amendment by toys than by
threats or infliction of punishment.

Certainly Barreda is to be praised for abstaining from unseasonable
rigour, but his bestowing so many caresses on the Abiponian chiefs, and
promising more than he was able to perform, was perhaps worthy of
censure. The Abipones, relying on this indulgence from the Spaniards,
whom they imagined afraid of them, grew bolder in their attempts than
before. Let one example serve for all the rest. Barreda, on his
departure, left in the colony some bales of woollen cloth, to pay the
Spaniards hired to guard the cattle. The Abipones, through the artifices
of the female captives, were deceived into a belief that this cloth was
intended for their own clothing, and threatened to kill the Father if he
did not immediately give it up to them. As they passed the night in
unusual noise and drinking, the Father was afraid that when intoxicated
they would execute their threat of taking away his life; and to avert
this danger delivered up, next day, all the cloth in his house to the
greedy and formidable savages. In a few days, at the command of the
Provincial, I removed from St. Xavier to that colony, accompanied by
fifteen hundred Mocobian horsemen. Great was my surprize to see a crowd
of Abipones, almost all clothed in garments of the same colour, riding
out to meet us; for they suspect all comers of hostile intentions, and
imagine them treacherously inclined. I reached the court-yard of our
house, surrounded and almost overwhelmed by this troop of Abiponian
horsemen. Father Sanchez came out to meet me, and rushed into my
embrace. His figure, dress, and appearance inspired me first with
terror, and afterwards with pity. He wore a hat made of straw. His gown
was dirty, worn, and of no colour. His beard was long, thick, and
blacker than pitch. The affliction of his soul appeared in his
countenance. "Were I a captive at Algiers, amongst the Moors," said he,
"my life would be more tolerable than amongst these savages by whom you
see me surrounded." Having entered his chamber, with the crowd of
Abipones still at my side, I opened my packet to deliver the Bishop's
letter to the Father, when they all thrust their hands into it, and not
only examined everything, but would have stolen any of my little matters
that happened to please their fancies, had they not been restrained by
respect for the by-standers. Shortly after, the whole market-place
resounded with the clangor of war trumpets, the neighing of horses, and
the shouting of women. On my inquiring the cause of this uproar, they
replied that the savage Mocobios were at hand. At the same time the
Heavens bellowing with thunder, and the approaching shades of night,
increased our horror. "See!" said the Father to me, "amid what daily
tumults our lives are passed: to these, whether you like it or no, you
must be enured." A hut, built of stakes plastered over with mud, was
given me for a habitation, straw or hay for a roof, wooden shutters for
a window, a rough board without a lock for a door, a piece of wood
scarcely planed for a table, a bull's hide suspended on four posts for a
bed, and the grassy ground, all perforated by ants, for a floor. Immense
gaps in the walls and roof afforded ready admission to wind, dust, rain,
and sun, as well as to serpents, gnats, and toads. The decaying palms
which supported the roof distressed my ears exceedingly with the hiss of
gnawing worms, and my eyes with the yellow dust that fell from them both
by day and night. Great pieces of plaster, often weighing thirty pounds,
broke all at once from the wall, and were more than enough to crush me
had they touched any part of my body. What shall I say of my fare? Beef,
either boiled or roasted, was my daily dinner and supper, and if to this
some maize, or a melon, were added, we thought we had fared sumptuously;
for we had not yet time to cultivate our fields or garden, to which
however, afterwards, we diligently applied ourselves. Bread was never
even dreamt of. The river supplied us with our only beverage, and wine
could seldom be obtained even for mass. This scarcity of all necessaries
will not be attributed to our own improvidence when it is recollected
that the city of St. Iago, where we had to procure everything, was a
hundred and seventy leagues from our town, that of Sta. Fè sixty, and
that we were often prevented from attempting the journey by the
inconvenience and danger which marshes and wandering savages occasioned.
Such was the face of affairs for two years in that town, which may be
called my apprenticeship amongst the savages, and the trial of my

                              CHAPTER XXV.

To civilize the savages, and teach them the ordinances of the holy
religion, this was the one thing which we had most at heart, and towards
this all our cares and labours were directed. Yet had we often to
complain of the fruitlessness of our endeavours. The Abipones, whose
thoughts were continually engaged in attacking or repulsing their
enemies, with the exception of a very few, refused to attend to
religious instruction, or pay us any obedience. Fresh tumults arose
daily, one proceeding from another. Their ancient ill-will to the savage
Mocobios, though it seemed forgotten for a while, was again revived by
fresh and repeated injuries. These savages frequently came and carried
off droves of horses, slaying all they met if any resistance was made. A
few days before my arrival one of our Abipones pierced two of the
plunderers with a spear. Not long after, a great number of Mocobios, to
revenge the deaths of these men, carried off an immense drove of horses
from the remoter pastures of our colony, by night, and without being
perceived by any one. Whilst hastening homewards in possession of their
booty, and anticipating no attack, they were observed in crossing a
wood, by our Abipones who had passed the night there to gather the
alfaroba, and who suddenly fell upon them, slew some, wounded others,
and put the rest to flight.

The Mocobios, by no means disheartened at this bad fortune, repeated
their assaults, sometimes in troops, sometimes in small parties. On St.
Joseph's day a numerous band of Mocobios concealed themselves in a
neighbouring wood about evening. But this ambuscade was discovered by
one of the Abipones, and destroyed by the rest, who rushed upon them in
one company. For nearly two hours the whole plain trembled beneath the
flying Mocobios and pursuing Abipones, whilst the air resounded with
military trumpets. The women and children concealed themselves meantime
within the inclosure of our court-yard, whilst I kept watch at the
entrance of it. The shades of night, and the raging of a stormy south
wind, created inexpressible horror. As nothing could be seen amid such
profound darkness, I laid hold of my musket on perceiving a horseman
softly approaching the door. From his voice, however, I discovered it to
be Alaykin, who had separated himself from the rest, and was riding
about to take a survey, and see whether any ambuscade were lurking
thereabouts. At length the war trumpets ceased, and from the deep
silence of the whole plain I felt convinced that the Mocobios were
driven to a very great distance. I therefore retired into my den to
sleep: but before I had reached the bed a fresh tumult of horsemen and
trumpets was heard in the market-place, accompanied with confused shouts
and such a doleful lamentation of the women that I almost thought the
savages were cutting their throats. I instantly snatched up my arms and
ran to the place. The enemies, who wished in their hasty flight to
return towards the north, deceived by the darkness, went southward, and
were driven into the market-place by a troop of Abipones. Amid such
clamouring both of the pursuers and of the pursued, I do not know
whether one drop of blood was shed by these heroes. This I know, that I
spent a sleepless night, watching at the door of the court-yard for the
protection of the old women; as my companion, who should have relieved
me in my office of watchman, was tormented with a violent tooth-ache.

That, too, was a memorable day when a fresh incursion of the Mocobios
was averted by the craftiness of our Abipones. These savages were
discovered meditating an assault upon the town in a neighbouring field.
Our Abipones were all absent, except seven, which caused the Cacique
Alaykin great anxiety. Hamihegemkin, a little, but very brave man,
exclaimed, "Since men and strength are wanting, we must fight with
cunning to-day." Forthwith he puts on a Spanish dress, and accompanied
with six others approaches the Mocobios, who, suspecting that the St.
Iagan soldiers were lying in wait for them, preferred flight to combat.

At length, perceiving that these petty excursions, performed by detached
parties, were fruitless, and even prejudicial to themselves, the
Mocobios determined to assault our town with their whole force. They
formed a warlike alliance with the Tobas, Lenguas, Mataguayos,
Malbalaes, Yapitalakas, and Vilelas. Out of so many nations a vast
number of savages was assembled, who, relying on the multitude of their
confederates, and the excellence of their leaders, thought themselves
hastening to victories, and rich spoils of all sorts of cattle, rather
than to a contested fight. Two or three times indeed they began the
journey, but were obliged to return and abandon their undertaking, at
one time by a drought and consequent scarcity of water, at another by a
heavy flood, and once by their horses, which were completely knocked up
by the heat of the sun. Although the enemies were not able to reach our
town, yet a rumour which spread amongst us respecting their numbers, and
the journey they had commenced, disturbed our minds almost more than
their actual presence would have done. Esteeming themselves unable to
cope with such a mighty force, numbers withdrew from the colony, under
pretext of a desire to hunt; and the few who remained, having their
apprehensions, and their actual danger augmented by the number of
seceders, were constantly filling our ears with reports of the enemy's
approach, so that we were obliged to be perpetually on the watch to
prevent the possibility of a surprize. To this constant war with foreign
foes was added an intestine one between the two Abiponian nations, whose
inveterate enmities were extremely detrimental to the progress of the
new colony.

About this time continual tumults were created in the neighbouring town
of St. Jeronymo by Debayakaikin, who, as I have related, was always
either threatening or assaulting. Ychoalay, believing our Alaykin to be
amicably inclined towards that Cacique, and privy to his machinations to
the hurt of the Riikahés, entertained an implacable hatred towards him
on that account, and left nothing unattempted which might cause trouble
to his hordesmen. It is best to trace these feuds and disturbances to
their very origin. For full fifteen months after their settling in the
colony of Concepcion our Abipones refrained from annoying the Spaniards
in any way, and faithfully preserved the peace established between them.
One horse was the destruction of Troy; it was likewise the cause of
mischief to this colony. One of the Spaniards, who brought us the two
thousand cows purchased by the Governor of Tucuman from the estates of
Sta. Fè, secretly carried off a very excellent horse. This was heavily
complained of by the owner, who, to indemnify himself for the loss,
stole fourteen choice horses, by night, from some estate belonging to
Sta. Fè. The affair being discovered, Ychoalay, who always kept two
spies in our town, came with the Spaniard to whom those horses belonged,
and brought them home again in spite of the Abipones. This recovery,
effected not without mutual threats and injuries, excited our Abipones
to renew their former acts of rapine.

Troops of the younger Abipones, to show that Ychoalay, though supported
by the Spaniards, was no object of fear to them, used to break into the
estates of Sta. Fè, for the purpose of carrying off horses, the
Abipones, their superiors in age and station, not daring to object, and
we Jesuits being kept in ignorance of the fact, or vainly inveighing
against it. Ychoalay, provoked at hearing of the horses which our
pillagers had taken, flew alone and unarmed to our colony, where he held
forth to the inhabitants, from the horse on which he sat, about
instantly restoring the horses of the Spaniards. But he was scoffed at
by many of the by-standers, and called a rogue and a knave by Alaykin,
whose son Pachiekè, the chief of the plunderers, challenged him to
single combat by aiming at him with an arrow, to which Ychoalay,
scorning so youthful an adversary, bared his breast. Provoked by these
insults he betook himself to my house, saying, "Your people will not
listen to me; what I cannot obtain by words, I will extort by arms. If
they do not restore the horses forthwith, I shall return in three days,
and insist upon a battle, and I now hasten home to collect as many
soldiers as possible." After passing the night with us, he returned in
great anger to his colony. All our endeavours to pacify and divert him
from his purpose were vain; our Abipones too withstood our entreaties,
choosing to endure the worst rather than restore the horses they had
plundered. My companion, presaging all sorts of disasters, whatever were
the event of this combat, took a journey to the town of St. Jeronymo for
the purpose of appeasing Ychoalay's mind, which, however, he would have
failed to effect, had not Chitalin, Cacique of the Mocobios then acting
as guards in the town of St. Jeronymo, for fear of Debayakaikin,
inspired Ychoalay with milder sentiments. But as the hatred existing
between these tribes was only laid asleep for a time, not extinguished,
that short-lived calm was the forerunner of dreadful tempests, one
following hard upon another.

                             CHAPTER XXVI.
                              THE COLONY.

Affairs were in such a state that both colonies seemed on the verge of
destruction, as well from mutual enmity, as from the persecutions of
foreign foes. "One of us," said Father Sanchez, "must go to St. Iago to
inform the Governor of Tucuman, or his deputy Barreda, of our present
jeopardy, and ask his advice on the subject. This journey, of an hundred
and seventy leagues, amid vast wildernesses, where you can scarce
discover a vestige of mankind, except wandering savages, who sally forth
to plunder, is, as you are well aware, full both of peril and
inconvenience." Unterrified by this representation, I preferred going to
the city, as a messenger, to remaining as a guard in the endangered
town, foreseeing that, should it be destroyed in my companion's absence,
the whole blame would be laid on me by the Spaniards. I entered upon
this difficult journey accompanied by three Indians, who, though
converted to Christianity, were more uncivilized than any of the
savages. To these was added a Mulatto, who had been kept in chains at
Sta. Fè, for stealing ten thousand Spanish crowns from a waggon
conveying Peruvian money to the merchants; but escaping from prison was
ordered, by the Corregidor, to preside over the guards of the cattle, by
way of atoning for his crime. Thus a man convicted of theft, and escaped
from prison, was my companion on the way. Oh! what a noble guard, and
attendant! Yet his services were both necessary and useful to me. That
part of the country which we had to cross was, in great part, covered
with lakes and marshes over-grown with reeds and bulrushes, and swelled
to such a degree by continual rain, that our horses could scarcely ford
them; the deep holes, and ant-hills, too, hidden under the water, caused
us to stumble perpetually. The rest of the plain country was deluged
with water, and scarcely afforded a turf where we might lie down at
night, or our horses take pasture. For the first three days of our
journey, we were persecuted, day and night, by unceasing rain and
thunder. Our clothes, our bodies, even the breviary, in short whatever
we made use of, were dripping with water. Our provision, which consisted
of beef alone, was continually moistened till it swarmed with worms; the
weather at last becoming tranquil, we tied it to a rope and hung it out
to dry, but the stench of it was intolerable even at a distance:
nevertheless, as no other food was to be procured in that vast solitude,
we were obliged to allay our hunger with this putrid meat, that we might
not absolutely die of want. My Indian companions caught an immense fish
in the river Salado, but they devoured it all themselves, and would not
give me a morsel, though I was labouring under the extremity of hunger.
By many days' rain, rivers, not otherwise very large, were swelled above
their banks, and rendered a passage not only difficult but even
dangerous. Moreover, the hide we used to cross rivers with was softened
to such a degree that it could not be used, unless stuffed out with
boughs on every side. Our having escaped the eyes of the savages who
infested those places we considered a very wonderful, as well as
fortunate circumstance; for though we observed here and there the fresh
footmarks both of themselves and their horses, we were never discovered
by them.

The horses, of which we took a great number, on account of the length of
the journey, were so much fatigued with swimming and fasting, as to be
scarce able to bear their saddles. Their hoofs, too, were softened by
the water, which greatly impeded their progress. I must own that I was
exceedingly fatigued myself with sitting on horseback such a length of
time, in rainy weather; for it is very unpleasant to have one's clothes
wet both day and night, so that they cling to the skin. My companions
used to take off all their clothes, and remain naked till they were
dried by the air, or the fire; but I could not have followed their
example without violating the laws of decency. My strength moreover was
greatly exhausted by fasting so many days: for I could never eat more
than a few mouthfuls of the stinking meat, though destitute of any other
provision. On the thirteenth day of our journey, impelled by hunger, I
rushed into a solitary cottage which met my eyes, and though nothing was
to be found there but a melon and three heads of maize, this scanty meal
seemed quite to restore my exhausted strength.

After having spent sixteen days on the road, we at last came in sight of
St. Iago, but were prevented from entering it by the river Dulce, which
had been increased to such a width by an unusually violent flood, that
it was become formidable to the most dexterous swimmers. Its course was
so rapid as to bear down vast trunks of trees, and cottages torn from
the banks, which, had they encountered the hide on which we were
sailing, would have overturned, or torn it to pieces. My crossing this
sea in safety, I owe to Barreda, who, on being informed of my arrival on
the opposite shore, sent two famous swimmers from the city to carry me

                             CHAPTER XXVII.

After the customary salutations on both sides, I made my excellent
friend Barreda acquainted with the state of the colony. We held
continual consultations on the speediest remedies. In a few days a
courier was dispatched with letters to Martinez, Governor of Tucuman, at
Salta, whence the Governor sent another to Xexui, where the keepers of
the royal treasury reside. In the meantime, I was obliged to remain at
St. Iago, where I was by no means unemployed. Besides attending to the
business of the colony, I was almost daily occupied in confessing
Spanish and Negro penitents, who flocked to me from all quarters, as
being a stranger, and likely soon to leave the city. The Governor
Martinez had often and earnestly requested that Alaykin, and the other
Abiponian Caciques, might be sent to visit him at Salta, as he was in
hopes of being able to conciliate them by fair words, handsome
entertainment, and liberal gifts: but the savages are of a suspicious
and fearful temper, and always apprehend treachery and deceit in the
friendship of the Spaniards. Alaykin, though often invited, had
uniformly declined going: now, induced by what reasons I do not know, he
suddenly arrived, whilst I was at St. Iago, with two of the more
reputable Abipones, and after resting three days in that city, pursued
his journey to Salta. The provident Barreda sent two Spaniards with him,
one to act as guide, the other as interpreter, and both as defenders
against assailants. This journey was little approved either by Barreda
or myself; because we foresaw that should any one of the Abipones perish
amongst those rocks, either from the unwonted cold of a foreign clime;
or from tertian ague, which is very common there, on account of the
unwholesome water; or from any other cause; the whole Abiponian nation
would undoubtedly attribute it to the malignant arts of the Spaniards,
and this suspicion would be the origin of an immediate war. The first
day that the Abipones spent at St. Iago they were very near conceiving
suspicions injurious to the Spaniards. At that time the yearly rite was
solemnized of carrying about the holy wafer, some praying with a loud
voice, some singing, and others dancing, to imitate David when he leapt
before the ark of the covenant. To testify the public joy, very small
muskets were fired up and down the streets. The Abipones, as yet
ignorant of these ceremonies, would have sworn that the Spaniards were
saluting them with gunpowder, had I not made them sensible of their
error. At the time when the procession is passing through the streets,
men dressed in a ridiculous costume like merry-andrews, and called by
the Paraguayrians _Cachidiablos_, run about, and strike the common
people with a whip, if they trespass upon silence or religious decorum.
Suppose one of the Abipones, whilst walking about unarmed, had received
a single blow from these foolish harlequins, when would they have ceased
complaining of the injury done them by the Spaniards? What an argument
would it have been for breaking terms with them, and renewing the war?
It may be generally observed, that the savages, however friendly to the
Spaniards, can never sojourn long in their towns without endangering
this amicable disposition. They imagine injuries though they do not
receive any, and are often offended at a shadow.

Reflecting upon these things, I would not be persuaded by Barreda to
accompany the Abipones who were going to Salta, representing that if the
Governor reproached them with faults of which he might have been
informed by Father Sanchez, they would suspect me of having been their
accuser, and pronounce me deserving of the eternal hatred of the whole
nation. Alaykin was sumptuously entertained, and clothed by the Governor
at great expense, but with little profit; for on his return, when he
displayed his splendid dress of valuable scarlet cloth, and boasted of
all the honours heaped upon him by the Governor, "See!" said they, "how
we are feared by the Spaniards!" Thus acts of liberality and kindness
were foolishly construed into testimonies of fear. The lower orders of
Spaniards, too, were angry at beholding Alaykin bedecked in a beautiful
Spanish robe, "Look!" they exclaimed, "this is the reward which a fellow
who has merited the gallows an hundred times over, obtains for
plundering and burning our property." Alaykin himself, however, was so
little taken with the splendor of this Spanish dress, that he let it lie
and mildew in the chest, never appearing in the town with it but once,
and then, without shirt, shoes, or breeches, he was rather an object of
laughter than of admiration.

It is worthy of remark, that at the very time when Alaykin was
entertained in so friendly a manner by the Spaniards, some Abipones
broke into the estates of the Cordobans to carry off horses, but were
put to flight by a soldier. One of the fugitives, a hordesman of
Alaykin, was taken, and detained in prison at Cordoba; but at the
earnest request of Barreda and myself was suffered to return home, lest
the savages should avenge his captivity by the blood of the Spaniards.
About the same time it was announced that a company of Abipones had
attacked the St. Iagans in the Silvas del Hierro, as I have related
elsewhere. Although this incursion had been headed by Oaherkaikin, it
was attributed to the fellow-soldiers of Alaykin by ill-natured people,
who wished to get our colony and its founder Barreda into disrepute. But
this fable was afterwards detected by means of the captives, who, when
restored to liberty, declared that their comrades were slain, and
themselves made prisoners by the hordesmen of Debayakaikin.

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

Having settled affairs to the best of my power, I was provided by
Barreda, on my departure, with forty soldiers, who were to act as guards
in the colony, and to assist and instruct the Indians in cultivating
land; but, at the end of a month, were to be succeeded by others for the
same length of time. The soldiers said they would wait for me at a plain
thirty leagues from St. Iago; but, on arriving, I only found nine there,
and, as the captain affirmed that no more were ordered to attend me, I
thought it best to begin the journey with these few. In a very short
time, however, I had to retrace my steps, for the soldiers, alarmed at
their weakness, were in constant apprehension of meeting armies of
savages, bearing bloodshed and slaughter along with them. Every step
that brought them nearer to the retreats of the savages increased their
terror. Seeing smoke at a distance, they entertained no doubt of its
being the indication of an ambuscade. Things were in such a state that
they obstinately refused to proceed; they did indeed return a little
way, and could hardly be recalled by the eloquence of their captain. The
same day we chose a situation to pass the night in, which the nature of
the place defended from sudden attacks, the river Salado, with its steep
bank, being in front, and a rugged wood behind. But about sun-set, just
when the horses were let loose to pasture, and we ourselves seated at
the fire, our ears were assaulted by a sudden howling of the savages
from the wood, which, to the cowardly soldiers, was the signal for
flight, not for a battle. Without delay every one catches his horse, and
gets it ready. I represented to them that if they quitted their station
the Indians might easily slay them whilst dispersed, but that if they
remained united in one company, I saw nothing so very dreadful to be
apprehended, as we had muskets in readiness, and the savages would
attempt nothing that night if they smelt gunpowder. By this speech I
prevailed upon them to remain quietly where they were, but at every
motion the savages made they flew to their horses, which they had ready
saddled; so great was their trepidation. One of the soldiers, a fat, but
very handsome man, dissolved into tears, dolefully exclaiming every
minute, "Then we must die this night!" For myself, I freely confess that
the fears of my companions caused me more alarm than the threats of the
savages. That I might not, therefore, remain alone and on foot in this
vast desert, in case my companions should fly and leave me, I ordered
the swiftest of my horses to be caught and harnessed, that I might
accompany the rest as far as possible. Fatigued and drowsy, I slept
greatest part of the night on the bare turf at my horse's feet, holding
the reins and a musket in my hand.

As soon as morning dawned, whilst the sand on the shores of the river
bore visible marks of the feet of the Indians, the soldiers,
disregarding the commands of their captain, returned home full speed,
and obliged me to follow them, unless I preferred perishing in a
perilous wild, full a hundred leagues in extent. I had ninety-four
leagues to return, for to such a distance from the city had we
travelled. The soldiers, to shorten the way, passed through the
trackless woods of Turugòn, and through marshy fields, till they
arrived, with me, at their native place, Salabina. The priest of the
village, Clement Xerez de Calderon, embraced me with the utmost
cordiality, and consoled me when I complained of the return of the
runaway soldiers. "You are come to this town," said he, "by divine
dispensation, to pronounce a panegyric on the Holy Mother:" for the
Carmelite feast was at hand, which is annually celebrated in that place
for nine successive days. Numbers of all ranks assemble there out of the
whole province, and as the place is too small to contain so many
thousands of strangers, most of them are obliged to pass the night out
of doors amongst the bushes, whilst the better sort are entertained by
the priest. The church, though small, was furnished with very precious
sacred utensils, and ornamented with more silver than is commonly seen
in European churches, most part of which the priest had inherited from a
Peruvian canon, a relation of his. In this church then I pronounced a
panegyric of an hour's length to a very numerous audience; amongst the
rest, the Vice-Governor and all the chief people of the city were
present, by whom, at the end of the discourse, I was honourably
conducted, amid the noise of fireworks and small cannons, to the
priest's house, where, according to custom, brandy and tobacco-pipes
were liberally distributed amongst the crowd of Spanish horse. During
the twelve days of my unwelcome detention in this place, I devoted the
whole of my time which was not spent in short slumbers, meals, and the
performance of divine service, to absolving penitents, who attended me
in the open plain near the church. Meantime, at Barreda's command, forty
soldiers were called out to accompany me on my second return, and were
ordered to assemble in a field some leagues distant from Salabina. In
this place, I and a few others remained three days in the open air, amid
continual frost, and in danger of being devoured by tigers, vainly
awaiting the rest of the soldiers; for after all there arrived no more
than five-and-twenty, one of whom deserted the first night, carrying off
with him some of the captain's horses. Having swam across the river
Turugòn, we entered Chaco; and that we might have no sudden attack to
fear from the savages who abide there, seven scouts were sent forward by
day, and returned at night to make their report to the captain. These
scouts discovered a party of Tobas and Mocobios, who, in flying to their
lurking-holes with a herd of horses taken from the estates of Sta. Fè,
set fire to all the woods and plains through which they passed, that
their countrymen might be pre-informed of their return by means of the
smoke. That night we passed without sleep: for the flames, which
approached us before, behind, and on both sides, appeared to threaten us
with destruction; and, although we escaped this, we were all very nearly
blinded and suffocated by the smoke. A wind arising the next morning,
averted the fire and the danger from us. Conflagrations of this kind are
very frequent in the immense plains of Paraguay, and often prove
destructive to travellers, beasts, and cattle. In this case, as in many
others, to escape being burnt alive, we were obliged to leap upon our
horses without having time to harness them properly, and to gallop right
through the flames, which it was impossible either to extinguish or to
avoid. The fire which is kindled by travellers at night, or noon, and
which they often neglect to extinguish on their departure, spreads, if a
strong wind arise, and sets the whole plain on fire. The tall dry grass,
reeds, and bulrushes, extended like a crop of corn on every side, afford
combustible materials to feed the flame for many weeks: the woods too,
which, being burnt by the sun's heat during the greatest part of the
year, abound in pitch and gum, are easily set on fire, and with
difficulty extinguished. The smoke often fills the air with such
impenetrable darkness, that the sun is hid, and night brought back at
mid-day. I myself have seen clouds and lightning suddenly proceed from
this smoke, as it is flying off like a whirlwind; so that the Indians
are not to be blamed for setting fire to the plains, in order to procure
rain, they having learnt that the thicker smoke turns into clouds which
pour forth water. Burning the plains, however, is not always a certain
method of procuring rain, without the co-operation of other causes: for,
during a two-years' drought which we endured, the fields and groves
blazed up and down the country for months, and yet the fire never
yielded us any water; this caused Father Brigniel to think that these
frequent conflagrations dried up the vapours of the earth, which at
other times ascend to the sky and coalesce, first into clouds, and
afterwards into showers. But from my own observation, I can tell that
condensed smoke, not very far removed from fire, is converted into
clouds, and sends forth thunder and lightning. This matter I leave to
the discussion of natural philosophers, and proceed in the relation of
my journey with the St. Iagans.

I must not be silent upon a circumstance, which was at first a subject
of alarm, and afterwards of hearty laughter to us. A number of Abipones
employed in drying otter-skins were concealed, together with their
families, in a field shaded by a little wood. Suspecting a hostile
attack, as they perceived us passing by, at day-break, they began to
utter their usual yells. The St. Iagans, on the other hand, amazed at
this sudden vociferation, imagined that the savages were lying in wait
for them, so that a great consternation was excited on both sides. I
soon began to suspect the truth of the matter, and mentioned my surmise
to the captain; on which he ordered a drove of our horses to be placed
in the midst of the company, lest they should be carried off by the
Indians. A more active steed being substituted for the one on which I
was riding, he ordered two soldiers to accompany me, with whom I was to
go forward, and if any Indian appeared in sight, to observe, and accost
him: for no one but myself understood the language either of the
Abipones or Mocobios. I requested the captain to follow me at a
distance, slowly, and without a noise, that he might be at hand to give
me aid, if it were needed, with which, being a good-natured man, he was
very ready to comply. After having gone a little way, I met an Abiponian
horseman quietly coming to reconnoitre us, and on his nearer approach
perceived him to be an inhabitant of our town; upon which I acquainted
him with the cause of my journey, with the small number and amicable
dispositions of my companions, afterwards inquiring after the health of
Father Sanchez and Alaykin, and other things of that kind. The Abipon,
relieved from his suspicions, informed me that he and his companions
were employed in seeking honey in the neighbouring woods, and in hunting
otters in the lakes, and courteously invited us to visit his countrymen.
Four soldiers were sent by the captain to ascertain the truth of this
representation, and they quickly returned laden by the Abipones with
abundance of honey: but the mutual delivery from fear of an hostile
attack was sweeter far than any honey.

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

After an absence of five months spent at St. Iago, and in my journeys
thither and back, I was received by the people with great demonstrations
of affection; and their joy was increased by the liberal presents which
I made them of scissors, glass-beads, and other things of that
description. But the affairs of the town remained in the same state as
before: and there seemed to be no hope of procuring tranquillity. The
Mocobios and their allies were always full of menace, often committed
actual mischief. The elder Abipones, though they refrained from
molesting the Spaniards, pertinaciously indulged in their usual
drinking-bouts; but the younger part could not be induced to remain
quietly at home, delighting to wander up and down, and commit
depredations. The old women, obstinately adhering to their ancient
superstitions, were not only averse to our religion themselves, but
endeavoured to inspire others with the same dislike of it. No one would
enter the church unless induced by the hope of reward, and very few
would attend to the sacred instructions at mid-day. Almost all were
engaged in pursuits and studies of a different nature. Military
expeditions were undertaken one after another.

Alaykin, to testify his fidelity to the Spaniards, and to clear himself
from some suspicions that were entertained against him, went out against
Oaherkaikin, and by threats or promises obliged him to give up the
captives taken in the woods where Lisondo and the other St. Iagans had
been lately slain. After a sort of friendship had been simulated, rather
than contracted between Ychoalay and Alaykin, our townsmen went to
assist the Abipones of St. Jeronymo in two expeditions against
Debayakaikin, from which, however, they derived more loss than
advantage. A warlike alliance did indeed subsist for a short time
between the inhabitants of the two towns, but never any concord in their
hearts; for our Abipones, extremely well disposed towards the
Nakaiketergehes, never thought of desiring that victory might declare in
favour of Ychoalay, whom they hated, because he endeavoured to prevent
them from taking the horses of the Spaniards, and often restored them,
when taken, to their owners by force; enraged at which, they employed
double craft and industry in their depredations, not so much to
indemnify themselves for their former loss, as to signify how little
heed they took of Ychoalay. This was a source of altercations, and
subject of anxiety which pressed upon us day and night. Captain Miguel
Ziburro, Piedra Buena, and other owners of estates from Sta. Fè, came to
St. Jeronymo with a small troop of horse, to claim Ychoalay's assistance
in recovering some horses stolen from them by the Indians. Ychoalay knew
the pastures where the recently plundered horses had been concealed, and
thither he came by night to recover them with a troop of Spaniards and
Riikahés; but he was disappointed in his hopes. For our Abipones,
receiving timely intelligence of Ychoalay's intentions, concealed all
the horses they possessed in remote lurking-holes across the river,
except some lean, old, and lame creatures, covered with worms and
ulcers, which they left in the market-place, to make game of Ychoalay,
who, not finding the horses he sought, resolved to attack the plunderers
of them. A little before day-break, spying a crowd of our Abipones
swiftly bearing down upon his party, he screened himself behind some
cottages, and cunningly affirmed that the Spaniards were not come to
slay the inhabitants of the town, but to confer with them. On hearing
this, our Abipones bent their spears to the ground, and quietly granted
a truce. A Spanish captain, of advanced age and intrepid spirit, spoke
for some time with Alaykin, by means of an interpreter, in our
apartment. "Have you, then, chosen this situation for your colony," said
he, "that you may plunder herds of horses from our estates at your
pleasure?" "No accusation of this nature can be preferred against me,"
replied the Cacique; "when we were at war with each other I returned
like for like, and repelled force by force; but since the establishment
of the peace, I have carefully spared both yourselves and your
properties." "We allow that _you_ have never done us any injury,"
rejoined the Captain, "but your son Pachieke is the head of the
plunderers." "That is your own faults," replied Alaykin; "the sanctioned
peace was religiously observed by my countrymen till it was violated by
a soldier of yours, who robbed them of an excellent horse. Incited by
his example, my people began to think of taking horses from you, which
they knew to be badly guarded." To this the Captain answered, "But it
was your business to have restrained the rapacity of your hordesmen."
"In truth," replied the Cacique, smiling, "that is easier said than
done. These young men tell me they are going to hunt wild horses,
instead of which they carry off the tame ones from your estates, without
my knowledge or consent. You ought to have guarded your estates to
prevent thieves from approaching them; for it is not in my power to keep
watch over plains of such vast extent, and to have an eye upon the feet
and hands of my countrymen in all their journeys. Let soldiers be hired
to scour the roads; and if they find any countryman of mine guilty of
plundering horses, let them, with my free leave, commit him to prison,
and punish him with plenty of stripes. Alarmed at such vigilance and
severity on the part of the Spaniards, our youths will abandon their
practice of stealing." "It is well," replied the Spaniard, "your advice
shall be followed; but, in the mean time, let all the horses that have
been taken from us be immediately restored." "For my particular," said
Alaykin, "I have not a single horse of yours in my possession; as for
the rest, do you yourself command them to make restitution, and let them
do so if they will, for I have not sufficient authority to insist upon
its being done. Were I to use commands or force towards my people, they
would immediately desert me. Go, therefore, and endeavour to regain your
horses by arms, which you will hardly do by words; my hordesmen are
standing in the market-place, prepared for a battle." The Captain heard
Alaykin make this declaration without alarm, and would have joined
battle forthwith, had not two noble Spaniards, neither of whom belonged
to the army, and who were terrified at the appearance of the Abipones,
persuaded him to silence, peace, and speedy departure. Refusing an
invitation to dinner, the whole party returned without delay to St.
Jeronymo, along with Ychoalay, who afterwards told me he should never
have brought the Spaniards, had he been aware that Alaykin's soldiers
were so numerous. Our Abipones, emboldened by the hurried return of the
Spaniards, made no hesitation in sending one of their people to watch
them, and exhort them to hasten their journey, lest, if they tarried on
the way, they should be pursued by the rest of the townsmen. Whilst the
Spaniards were still on their road, a tempest arose, with rain, thunder,
and lightning; meantime, our Abipones were celebrating this bloodless
victory with songs and drinking, highly elated at the idea of having
baffled Ychoalay, and caused him to come labour in vain.

This unseasonable visit of the Spaniards had well nigh proved the
destruction of my companion and myself; the Indians, persuaded that we
had acted in collusion with them, cruelly persecuting us as traitors and
enemies. Not one of them would enter our house or the church; not one
would deign to hold any conversation with us: so that we doubted not but
that our lives were in danger; yet the suspicion entertained by the
Indians was totally groundless, as the journey, and the machinations of
the Spaniards had never been revealed to us even in a dream. On the
night that succeeded their departure, as I was mending my torn shoes,
the only pair I possessed, to defend my feet from the rain which was
plainly portended by the appearance of the sky, a sudden noise induced
me to leave my hut, when I saw a great number of our Abipones riding
about the market-place, with their faces painted, and with spears in
their hands; at which I was much surprized, not knowing who or where the
enemy was. But looking round on all sides, I at length espied the
Spaniards, with Ychoalay's Abipones, approaching the town, and
immediately awakened Father Sanchez, who was dreaming of no such matter.

It was openly reported that Ychoalay, enraged that the event of this
expedition had proved so contrary to his desires and expectations, was
directing his whole attention, in conjunction with the Spaniards,
towards totally destroying our colony; on hearing which, our Abipones
withdrew from the town, and hastened by crowds to their known retreats.
What were our feelings on perceiving this? We wrote to inform Barreda of
the matter, and in the mean time awaited a remedy for our affliction,
which might, after all, prove too late; for conscious of that general's
lenity towards his soldiers, and of their tardiness in undertaking a
journey, we justly feared that Saguntum would be lost while Rome

                              CHAPTER XXX.
                    TOWN TO THE BANKS OF THE SALADO.

Barreda groaned on receiving intelligence of the approaching ruin of the
town; he knew how much trouble the Abipones had caused the Spaniards,
whilst at enmity with them, and therefore thought every exertion should
be made to preserve a friendship which was so necessary to the whole
province. Without delay, he set off, with four hundred horsemen, in the
intention of removing the town from the neighbourhood of Ychoalay, and
Sta. Fè, into the territory of St. Iago. The journey was an exceedingly
arduous one; for in the first part of it not a drop of water could be
found, often for the space of twenty leagues, the lakes and rivers being
exhausted by a long drought; and towards the latter end, the country was
flooded by unceasing rains, to such a degree, that they were obliged to
ride through water by day, and to lie down in it at night, when overcome
by sleep. Many of the soldiers passed the night in the trees, and
placing a piece of hard turf, taken from the ant-hills, amongst the
boughs, kindled a fire upon it to heat the water in which they infused
the herb of Paraguay. Barreda reached our town a little before noon, on
Whitsunday. He alighted from his horse, his clothes dripping with the
rain, and hastening to the church, assisted me as I was ministering at
the altar; thus affording an excellent example to the surrounding
soldiers and Indians. But his mind was wholly intent on speedily
remedying the afflicted state of the town, which, to prevent its utter
ruin, he wished to have removed to the banks of the Salado, eighty
leagues distant from its former situation. But Alaykin boldly and
prudently condemned the proposed migration, declaring that the place
mentioned by Barreda for the site of the colony, appeared to him
objectionable. "What," said he, "do you wish us to drink bitter water,
which the very beasts refuse to touch?" The counsels of Barreda were
equally displeasing to all the other Abipones, who were strongly
attached to their native soil, a soil abounding in delightful fruits and
wild animals, and fortified with so many secure lurking-holes; and who
dreaded the vicinity of the Spaniards with as much anxiety as servitude,
having learnt that the one was often the occasion of the other. Although
Barreda endeavoured to mollify them with gifts and promises, he never
could induce them to yield to his wishes. He gave the Cacique Malakin a
woollen blanket, handsomely embroidered in various colours; a gift which
proved the most powerful persuasive to his mind. Arrayed with this
elegant coverlet, the savage promised to migrate, with his family,
wherever Barreda chose, and prevailed upon the Cacique Ypirikin and his
followers, to make the same resolution.

But the followers of the Caciques Alaykin, Oaikin, Machito, and
Zapancha, were afraid that the Spanish soldiers would take them by force
whither they refused to go, and that should they desert, Barreda would
be angry, and fall upon them by surprize. Solicitous, therefore, to
avert this disaster, they secretly sent to the town of St. Jeronymo, to
request the aid of their old friend Ychamenraikin, who accordingly came
with a chosen band of soldiers, under pretence of paying his respects to
Barreda. This Cacique was present at the repeated consultations which
Barreda held with our chiefs, and always spoke with great earnestness in
dissuasion of the proposed removal; but was so highly incensed at a
gentle rebuke he received from Barreda, for meddling with other people's
concerns, that though he dissembled his angry feelings in presence of
the Spaniards, he immediately conferred in private with Alaykin on the
subject of renouncing their friendship. It was his intention to desert
the colony, and after slaying the two priests, Brigniel and Navalon, to
return to his old retreats, and renew the war with the Spaniards. This
he prefaced by making his people carry off a number of choice horses
from Barreda's soldiers, and indeed he would have put the whole of his
iniquitous scheme into execution, had it not been for Chitalin, Cacique
of the Mocobios, who fortunately came from St. Xavier to speak with
Barreda about some of his countrymen still remaining in captivity
amongst the Spaniards, and afterwards went a little out of his way to
visit the town of St. Jeronymo, which was only ten leagues distant from
our colony. The friendship and eloquence of the Mocobian Cacique had so
much influence upon Ychamenraikin as utterly to banish this wicked
determination from his mind; he even had the horses, taken from
Barreda's soldiers, brought back to St. Iago, and ever after cultivated
the friendship of the Spaniards.

Rain continued without intermission for more than a month had converted
the whole of the plain country into a lake. Most of the horses perished
from their hoofs being softened by remaining in the water day and night,
and those which survived could scarcely stand on their feet. Three
hundred were left on the road, being unable to travel on that account.
Many of the soldiers, who had come furnished with ten horses, had not
one remaining on their return, and were forced to use others lent them
by their companions. Amid these tumults, both of the weather and of the
people, indignant at the very mention of a removal, a whole month passed
away. Barreda, impatient of the delay, determined to set off without
waiting for the cessation of the rain, accompanied by his own people,
and those families of Abipones that chose to follow him. The day before
the journey, four waggons were sent forward, laden with the domestic
furniture of the town, and also with gates, and doors of houses; five
pair of oxen, and twenty assisting horses were requisite to drag each of
these waggons through a country full of water and marshes: at length,
however, as no strength nor industry proved sufficient, it was found
necessary to lighten the waggons of the doors and every thing of wood.

When we were ready to depart, the Abipones sat quietly in their huts,
all of which Barreda entered with me. I acted as interpreter, whilst he
warned them in a melancholy and threatening tone, to consider again and
again what they were doing; intimating that he should look upon those as
his friends who followed us, but that they who remained would hardly
escape the avenging hands of Ychoalay, and the Spaniards of Sta. Fè. All
his efforts were vain. Mournful silence and sullen looks were their only
reply. Barreda, not choosing to delay any longer, left the town with me,
part of the soldiers being sent forward, part following us; but Father
Sanchez was suddenly seized with an indisposition so that he could not
join us till the morrow. Malakin, Ypirikin, and thirty families followed
us on the first day of our journey.

On the second, the showers ceased, but constant rain for thirty days had
entirely inundated the country, which is naturally plain and level. For
three weeks we had to ride on horseback with the water touching our
legs, and often reaching up to our knees. That the continual wet might
be the sooner exhaled, we always rode barefoot, hanging our shoes and
stockings from the top of the saddle: for the water contained within the
shoes causes faintings, weakness of stomach, small ulcers, head-ache,
and other disorders in America. We found chewed tobacco leaves, mixed
with saliva, and applied every night to the soles of our feet, a
powerful preservative against this noxious moisture. On the same account
it was thought useful to smoke tobacco. We were obliged to pass the
night in the cold air, often covered from head to foot with hoar frost,
which was almost continual at that time of the year. When we wanted to
lie down at night, much art and good fortune were requisite to choose a
situation, which, though very muddy, had but little water. We were
obliged to swim, or sail on the pelota across some rivers, which had
overflowed their banks; but it was a matter of more time and labour to
convey to the other side huge waggons, and some thousands of sheep,
oxen, and horses, without the assistance of a bridge or boat.

Some soldiers, weary of travelling, deserted from us. One, who was
particularly eager to get home, endeavoured to accelerate his return by
a great piece of villainy. He knew that they would be detained a long
time in building the new colony, and, resolving to disconcert the whole
scheme, persuaded the Abipones, under a show of kindness and compassion,
to return to their native soil, affirming that Barreda's only motive in
removing them from thence, was to furnish himself with an opportunity of
surprizing and slaying them with impunity. The asseverations of this
wicked man found the readier credit with the Abipones, from their
constantly having this suspicion impressed upon their minds. Next day,
when we began to proceed on our journey, not one of the Abipones was
seen to stir. Barreda, astonished at this sudden tergiversation,
inquires the cause, but receives no answer; till at last a woman, who
had long been in captivity amongst the Spaniards, makes known the
soldier's impudent discourse, but could be induced by no solicitations
to discover the man's name. Barreda, after threatening this most
abandoned of mankind, whoever he was, with a thousand deaths, reproached
Malakin for his ridiculous credulity, and that he might be prevailed
upon to pursue his journey by some new testimony of friendship, made him
a present of the silver clasps that fastened his shirt-sleeves, having
nothing else left to give. This bauble proved as potent as the coverlet
had done, and induced the deserting Indians to follow us. But here too
we found that violent affections are but of short duration. The nearer
the Abipones drew to the Spanish territories, the stronger grew their
fear and repentance at having quitted their native country. At night, as
we were sitting on the ground near the fire with Barreda, Malakin came
to us, and protested that those lands were not approved of by his
people; that they dreaded the neighbourhood of the Spanish nation, and
lamented the want of trees, fruits, roots, and herbs, which the women
could not dispense with. Barreda exerted all his eloquence to refute
these objections, and retain the wavering minds of the people in their
duty, promising all sorts of benefits, emoluments, security, and
convenience to accrue from the vicinity of the Spanish towns; which
method of arguing moved our extreme disapprobation, as the Indians,
finding things turn out contrary to what they had been led to expect,
began to accuse the Spaniards of want of veracity, and greater
liberality in words than deeds.

                             CHAPTER XXXI.
                    NEW COLONY AT THE RIVER SALADO.

Two-and-twenty days elapsed before we reached the situation appointed
for the colony. Towards the east it has the bank of the river Salado; an
extensive plain stretches itself towards the west, and on the north and
south it is shut in by a wood. A plain, situated in the midst, scarce
four hundred feet in extent, and sloping down from the high shore of the
Salado, was chosen for the site of the colony. The river, though swollen
with long rain, had something salt and bitter in the taste of its
waters, and we all foresaw that when the sun's heat caused the flood to
cease we should be in want of water for daily use. Barreda, contented
with the situation that first offered, was displeased at hearing these
true, though unpleasant observations, and angrily said—"Whoever dislikes
this water, may go a hundred leagues off to drink of the Parana, for
aught I care." Under his directions, two little huts were hastily built
for myself and my companion, of stakes, covered with dry grass; a third
of the same description was erected to serve as a temporary chapel. The
Abipones were forced to lodge under the mats which they made use of in
travelling. Without any further trouble, Barreda departed with his
soldiers, and was declared the founder of a new town by the Governor of
Tucuman, the Viceroy of Lima, and indeed every body.

Deserted in a vast wilderness, and delivered up to the savages, to
misery, and continual perils, we were called miracles of patience and
obedience by all the well-judging Spaniards; and indeed, had we had as
many assisting hands as admiring eyes, ourselves and the Abipones would
have been well provided for. Our huts were completely exposed to sun,
rain, and wind, to serpents, toads, and dormice, and, what was most
dangerous, to tigers. The place of door and window was supplied by two
holes, before each of which we suspended a bull's hide. But neither
materials nor tools for making tables were to be got. Great numbers of
tigers lay hid within a neighbouring wood, and in wet weather used to
creep into the tents of the Indians to shelter themselves from the rain
and stormy wind; they also attempted to enter our huts sometimes, as we
discovered in the morning from the marks of their feet, but were
deterred by a mastiff dog, which we kept for a guard. The more tigers
were pierced by the spears of the Abipones, the more seemed to flock
thither, as if to revenge the deaths of their companions. Crowds of
large dormice, impelled by hunger, resorted to us from the plain, and
finding no eatables, gnawed every thing of wood, or flax, or wool in our
house. The place also swarmed with large and venomous toads, which, if
offended by a blow or kick, immediately squirted out their blinding
urine. About sun-set they issued in crowds from their holes, and
covering all the ground, rendered it as slippery to the feet as ice.
These were the distresses of the place; what shall I say of our own?

Beef, and that wretchedly bad, was almost our only provision: though we
sometimes tasted the wings of the emus which the Indians caught. We
seldom or never used wine, except at mass. Our own privations, however,
we could have borne with; the worst was our being destitute of the
ordinary comforts and conveniences for the Indians. We had no provision
to give them but ill-tasted beef, the oxen having grown extremely lean
from the fatigues of the journey. Their daily employment, to pass away
the time and to assuage their hunger, was hunting emus and collecting
honey from under ground. Boars, stags, tamanduas, the fruits of palms
and other trees, and eatable roots, all which abound in Chaco, are not
to be found here. A numerous flock of sheep, which supplied us with wool
for wearing-apparel, disappeared in one night: the Abipones, after
diligently searching the woods and remoter plains, could discover no
traces of them. Eight days after their disappearance one ram returned to
the town, but what became of the rest is unknown to this day. Continual
disturbances were added to our extreme poverty. As the highway leading
out of Tucuman to Sta. Fè lay near the town, travellers frequently
carried off our horses and oxen that were dispersed up and down the
pastures. The same depredations were committed with impunity by parties
of wandering savages. Many scouts were sent by Alaykin's hordesmen, who
remained in their native place, to examine the situation of the town,
and other particulars, to entice Malakin's people away, and to threaten
them with hostile assaults and all sorts of extremities, unless they
returned to the former colony. Malakin himself, however, remained firm,
holding threats and promises in equal contempt, but not a few of his
hordesmen were prevailed upon to revisit Alaykin's horde, afterwards
rejoining us again and again. The perpetual going and returning of the
savages was like the ebbing and flowing of the ocean. Alaykin, still
unreconciled to the change of the town, infested all the ways between
Cordoba and Sta. Fè with a great company of Abipones, and became highly
formidable to all travellers. Of the Spanish merchants some were slain,
some robbed, and others annoyed by vexatious detention.

I informed Barreda, by means of a trusty messenger, of the slaughter and
rapine committed by the hostile Abipones, and of their threats and
intentions, that he might, if possible, find some means of restraining
their boldness, and providing for the security of the Spanish
travellers. Troops of horse had indeed been repeatedly sent us, both to
act as guards and to build our houses: yet the savages never made closer
or more daring attacks upon our colony, never carried off greater
numbers of horses and oxen, or caused us more trouble and danger than
when these few soldiers were present. At length Barreda came himself
with two companies of horse, and directed a couple of small rooms to be
built for us of unbaked brick, and wooden beams; a third, of the same
materials, but longer, was styled a chapel. We ourselves were not mere
spectators, but strenuous assistants in the whole work:—laboriously
occupied with mud and timber, we wearied both our hands and feet for
whole days.

It grieved us greatly that buildings erected with so much labour should
be occupied by us but a very few days. Shortly after, when, at the
command of the Superiors, I removed to St. Jeronymo, my companion and
the Indians were obliged to migrate elsewhere: the neighbouring rivers
and lakes being exhausted by long drought, or at least impregnated with
salt, and the plain being on the same account destitute of grass, it
became necessary to remove the colony to the shores of the Dulce, many
leagues distant, before the cattle and the inhabitants were destroyed by
hunger and thirst. When settled there, the Abipones had nearly been
overwhelmed in the night by a sudden inundation of the river, a greater
than which none of the natives had ever witnessed. Thus they were
obliged to remove their colony over and over again, one time to seek
water, at another to avoid it. How calamitous and prejudicial these
reiterated migrations were to the Indians, to the priests, and to the
cattle, would be tedious to relate. After fourteen changes of the
colony, they at last obtained a more fortunate situation on the western
shore of the Rio Dulce, inhabited by Spaniards, and about fifty leagues
distant from the city of St. Iago. More fertile pastures were no where
to be found: so that within a few years the number of kine increased to
thirty thousand, though many were yearly consumed in feeding the
Indians, especially after Debayakaikin and his numerous hordesmen fled
thither from St. Ferdinand. This new guest proved in reality an enemy to
the colony by frequently involving it in broils, on account of his long
quarrel with Ychoalay. At length, however, he bade farewel to the town
of Concepcion, and retired, with most of his people, to their ancient
retreats in Chaco, where, as I have related, he was slain in battle by

The colony, freed from the disturbers of its peace, began at length to
enjoy tranquillity; but the fruits never corresponded to the labour
bestowed upon it for many years by the indefatigable Sanchez and his
various companions. Many adults, however, especially when at the point
of death, and a still greater number of infants, received baptism; the
rest were civilized. The Spaniards accounted the friendship of this
nation, formerly for many years their bitterest enemies, an immortal
benefit; and learnt, at length, after they had lost us, that to our
patience and industry they were chiefly indebted for it: for when, to
the grief of all Paraguay, we were sent back to Europe, almost all the
Abipones returned to their former savage state, and were not to be
appeased by the Spaniards without the utmost difficulty.

                             CHAPTER XXXII.
                            AND ST. FRANCIS.

The city of Corrientes, brought to extremities by the depredations of
the savages, had long been desirous to follow the example of the other
cities, and found a colony of Yaaukaniga Abipones, which might defend
them against the inroads of the Tobas and Mocobios. A little town was at
length prepared under the directions of the Vice-Governor Patron, and
with the consent of Ychoalay, who at first opposed the design. The
Indians had themselves made choice of a situation, which, though not the
most opportune, was approved by the Spaniards, from their being unable
to meet with a more eligible one. It is a small piece of plain ground,
two leagues distant from the western shore of the Parana, a little below
its junction with the Paraguay. Towards the east it has the city
Corrientes in front, and behind it flows the Rio Negro, the waters of
which are so bitter and salt that the very beasts refuse them. It is
surrounded on every side by woods and pools, all destitute of fresh
water, but swarming with leeches, crocodiles, and various kinds of large
snakes. This whole tract of land runs out into plain ground, partially
interrupted with marshes and woods, and affords rich and wholesome
pasture for cattle, especially where a grove of caranday palms is
extended for many leagues along the shore of the Parana. The soil, if
tilled, returns every kind of seed with interest. The trees are laden
with a variety of fruits, and resound with the singing of parrots and
other birds, and the chattering of apes. Boars, stags, deer, various
kinds of rabbits, capibaris, ducks, plenty of honey, alfarobas, and
noble trees, affording wood for making ships, waggons, or houses, are
every where to be seen. But tigers, alas! continually infest this place;
the climate, which is excessively hot, abounds in whirlwinds, lightning,
and rain; and the air, pregnant with noxious vapours proceeding from the
stagnant waters of adjacent marshes, as well as with innumerable gnats,
renders life unpleasant, and night intolerable to the inhabitants.

Yet here did the Yaaukanigas, for many years, make their abode. Their
Cacique, Narè, was a man of noble birth and distinguished prowess, but
not otherwise remarkable either for greatness of mind or body, and
notoriously addicted to women and drinking. Fonder of ease than of
business, he on all occasions betrayed a very indolent disposition. He
was thought, however, to have redeemed this vice of his nature by some
appearance of virtue, on account of the fidelity with which he adhered
to the peace he had granted the Spaniards; though this his followers,
eager for booty, attributed to fear rather than to virtue. He had many
younger brothers, amongst the most famous Pachiekè, a man endowed with
great boldness and equal sagacity, who made himself much dreaded in the
course of the war with the Spaniards: but who, by intemperance in
drinking, and frequent repudiations of his wives, had sullied his
reputation for valour. He entertained a great affection for Nicolas
Patron, who always partook of his deliberations when war was treated of.
We thought his sagacity of no less importance than his bravery, when the
enemies were to be dealt with. Besides Narè, some of the Yaaukanigas
followed Oahari and Kachirikin, men in the prime of their age, and
equally distinguished by their noble family and skill in plundering.

There was a great succession of priests of our order in the
administration of this colony: they all came full of health, but their
strength being exhausted, were generally recalled to recruit. It is
incredible what dangers and distresses were endured by Fathers Thomas
and Joseph Garzia, the first founders, amongst these ferocious savages.
Kachirikin, the most insolent of them, because he was not allowed to
slay cows at his pleasure, attempted to catch Father Garzia with a
halter, in the sight of the Spaniards. These men were succeeded in a few
months by Fathers Joseph Rosa and Pedro Ebia, who departed, the one
grievously affected in his feet, the other in his head. At last, Father
Joseph Klein, a Bohemian, though often ill in health, proved equal to
the burden, and sustained it to the end. What he did and endured for
about twenty years may be easier conceived than described. He was able
to overcome every kind of danger and misery, fearlessly despising the
one, and patiently enduring the other. He employed the annual subsidies
advanced by the Guarany towns, in establishing a rich estate on the
opposite bank of the Parana, from the profits of which he obtained every
thing necessary for feeding and clothing the Indians. I must here renew
my former complaint, that although the Spaniards derived so much
advantage from the peace and friendship of the savages, they did little
or nothing towards preserving their colonies, so that the whole weight
of anxiety respecting the support of the Indians, devolved upon our
shoulders. If it had depended upon the citizens of Corrientes alone,
this colony would most certainly have perished in its infancy from want
of food and necessaries of every sort. For nearly all the sacred
utensils, for our whole stock of cloth for clothing the Indians, and of
cattle in the estate, we were indebted to the liberality of the

Joseph Klein often spent many months in this town without any companion,
but he was assisted at different times by Fathers Gregorio Mesquida,
Juan Quesada, and Dominico Perfeti, a Roman, to whom, he having been
long in a bad state of health, I was ordered by the Provincial to
succeed. Leaving St. Jeronymo, after spending two years there, I was
obliged to sail, for some days, against the stream on the river Parana,
in a wretched boat; the rest of the way from the little town of Sta.
Lucia to the city of Corrientes I travelled on horseback. The storminess
of the weather, the consequent marshiness of the roads and swelling of
the rivers, together with the neighbourhood of the savage Charruas,
rendered the journey extremely difficult, and, on many accounts,
dangerous. I was honourably conducted, by the then Vice-Governor, to the
colony of St. Ferdinand, on my first approach to which many things
presented themselves to my observation which could not but be
unpleasing—a place surrounded on all sides by marshes, lakes, and close
impending woods; air burning day and night; and a very small apartment
furnished with two doors but no window, and roofed with the bark of the
palm, so badly cemented, that, whenever it rained, you were as much
wetted in the house as if you had been out of doors. At dinner, water
was taken from a neighbouring ditch where numbers of horses, dogs, and
other animals daily drank and bathed, which received all the filth of
the town, and was full of leeches and insects of different kinds. When I
considered these things I no longer wondered that the health of my
predecessors had given way, and that the Indians themselves had so often
to contend with tertian fevers.

Although I had remained uninjured amidst a hundred calamities during the
former years, yet this situation had well nigh proved fatal to me. The
origin of my complaint was this. Towards sun-set the air was filled with
innumerable gnats, which intruded into my apartment when supper was
brought in, and by their stings and their loud hissing prevented me from
gaining a moment's rest. I passed whole nights without sleep, walking up
and down the court-yard for the sake of fresh air, which brought on a
loathing of food. Continual want of rest and sustenance reduced me to
such an emaciated state that I was literally nothing but skin and bone.
Some thought I could not survive above three months, but these sad
presages were prevented from being fulfilled by the humanity of the
Provincial, at whose command I was removed to the old towns of the
Guaranies. It was not without tears that I bade farewell to the
Abipones, amongst whom I had lived for five years, and with whose
language I was become pretty well acquainted; but the idea of returning
to them, when restored to health, mitigated my grief at parting. After
four months spent in the town of Sta. Maria Mayor, on the shores of the
Uruguay, the inveterate nausea departed, sleep and appetite returned,
and my health was completely re-established. After spending nine years
amongst the Guaranies, whose language, which is much easier than the
Abiponian, I soon learnt, I was again called out to found a colony for
the Abipones in Timbo, but returned at the end of two years. In short, I
performed the part of a missionary for eighteen years, spending seven
amongst the Abipones, eleven amongst the Guaranies.

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.
                       RETARDED BY DEBAYAKAIKIN.

The Yaaukanigas, in proportion as they have less estimable qualities
than the other Abipones, are more arrogant and untractable; yet we never
despaired of bringing them to a better course of life, and of this there
appeared some likelihood, so long as they were the sole inhabitants of
the colony. The more advanced in age discontinued their usual incursions
against the Spaniards, and employed themselves in agriculture. Their
dispositions grew milder from daily intercourse with us. After some
months' instruction we joyfully beheld an appearance of civilization
beginning to flourish amongst them; their horror of baptism insensibly
wore away, many infants and young people received it with the consent of
their parents, and numbers of women and girls crowded to partake of the
daily instructions in the rudiments of religion. But the old female
jugglers thought it a crime even to touch the threshold of the church,
and did their utmost to prevent others from entering it; and to compel
the boys, who were driving about on horseback, to attend divine service,
was a matter of some difficulty. One of the Yaaukanigas, a man advanced
in years, came with his family to be baptized at the very beginning of
the colony. The strict integrity of this excellent man obtained him the
name of _Juan Bueno_, and his wife, daughter, and female Negro captive
were equally exemplary in their conduct.

The great hopes that we began to entertain of the happy advancement of
religion and of the colony, were all nipped in the bud by the unlucky
arrival of Debayakaikin, who, fearing an attack from Ychoalay, fled
thither with a troop of his hordesmen, thinking himself secure in a town
under the protection of the Spaniards. Of Ychoalay's challenge to
Debayakaikin, and the pacification effected by means of the
Vice-Governor of Corrientes, I have spoken elsewhere; I shall now show
how pernicious Debayakaikin's visit proved to the colony of St.
Ferdinand. His voracious and turbulent followers, besides privately
slaying oxen and calves, to the great loss of the estate, involved the
colony itself in a war with its neighbours, the Mocobios and Tobas. A
party of Mocobios, leaving the town of Concepcion, surprized the
unfortunate Alaykin, about day-break, in the open plain, and after
slaying him and seven of his fellow-soldiers, in an engagement, they
roasted and devoured them on the spot. Many wounded Abipones saved their
lives by the swiftness of their horses, but the women and children fled
for security to the recesses of a neighbouring grove. Pachiekè, to
revenge his father's death, persuaded the Yaaukanigas and Debayakaikin's
hordesmen to undertake an expedition against the Mocobios, in which
although scarcely any blood was shed, yet the Mocobios, provoked by this
hostile incursion, conspired to the destruction of the whole colony.
Repeated assaults were made both by day and night, and continued for
many years with various fortune: out of many I will relate a few.

About day-break a vast company of Mocobios suddenly made their
appearance in the market-place. Some of them surrounded Debayakaikin,
who was drinking with most of his hordesmen; the rest meantime,
unopposedly, carried off droves of horses that were wandering up and
down the pastures. This vast booty, however, cost the lives of some; for
Pachiekè, brother of the Cacique Narè, mounting a horse, attacked the
hindmost company as they were departing, and pierced some with his
spear, which, on his return, he displayed smoking with recent blood. On
many other occasions, the Yaaukanigas, having expeditious horses at
hand, pursued the flying Mocobios, and deprived them not only of the
horses they had plundered, but of those they had used on the journey,
sending them home on foot to report the deaths of their comrades. One
time the plain was deluged to such a degree that it did not afford a
single spot where the Mocobios could lie down at night; they therefore
made themselves beds by twining twigs here and there amongst the boughs
of the trees, and in these hurdles laid themselves down to sleep, but
were surprized at night by the pursuing Yaaukanigas, who slew some,
wounded others, and carried off the whole of the booty. Would that they
had been equally successful on the eleventh of December! that day, so
fatal to my horses, will never be erased from my memory.

The day before, a Guarany, who guarded the cattle, announced that, early
in the morning, he had observed the footsteps of the enemy, and that
many horses were missing. Whilst the Yaaukanigas were vainly deploring
their loss, I, with my companion Father Klein, and two young men,
traversed the plain for some time on horseback. We saw that a troop had
passed the Rio Negro, from their footsteps impressed on the sand, and
from the grass being trodden down by the multitude of horses. No one
doubted that the enemy were by that time at a considerable distance, no
one therefore thought of pursuing them. I often blew a military trumpet,
and with a loud voice we uttered many pleasant sayings in the Mocobian
tongue; we were both seen and heard by the Mocobios, who were lurking
hard by, but not attacked, because they purposed making an assault on
the town next day. No suspicion of the enemy's intention being
entertained, we all slept soundly. But lo! and behold, the next day at
eleven o'clock the same Mocobios came in sight of the town to carry off
the remaining herd of horses. Most of the Yaaukanigas being engaged in
the chase, the rest in drinking, and we ourselves in sleeping, as usual
with the Spaniards at mid-day, the women assembled together and filled
the market-place and our court-yard with their lamentations; awakened by
which we flew to repel the enemy, each furnished with a musket, and
rendered, by this means, formidable to ever so numerous a foe. Father
Klein set off first, accompanied by two Abipones. As I was following, a
drunken Yaaukaniga took me by the shoulder, and said, in a fierce tone,
"Where are you hurrying? Why don't you remain to guard the town? It is
better that our horses should be taken than our wives and children."
"Let me alone," replied I; "both shall be taken care of."

I was now farther from the town than from the enemies, and seeing the
plain filled with them as with a swarm of locusts, could scarce persuade
myself that such a multitude could be kept in awe by two muskets.
Nevertheless I hastily tied on my slippers that I might be disencumbered
in running, if a precipitate retreat were necessary, and advanced
towards the savages whom I saw Father Klein approaching; but they,
terrified at the sight of the musket alone, took to immediate flight,
carrying off with them a numerous drove of horses. Although the enemy
was gone we did not think ourselves free from the danger of an attack, a
cloud of dust causing us to suspect that a troop of savage horse was
approaching within the woods. The armed Yaaukanigas stood for some time
in form of battle, till at length we saw an Indian bringing back the
remains of the horses which had escaped the hands of the plunderers.
Quickly mounting these horses they all hastened, about sun-set, to a
place some leagues distant, named Likinranala; for they knew that the
Mocobios would pass that way, and therefore entertained great hopes of
being able to chastise them, and to recover the horses. But they
returned next day empty-handed, having been eluded by the craftiness of
the enemy, who, forewarned by their spies, that our people were lying in
ambuscade, avoided that situation, and swiftly fled with their booty
through ways impeded with marshes and reeds, first disencumbering
themselves of the saddles, and whatever else might retard their flight;
which, as it could be made no use of, our people burnt. For my own part
I had to lament the loss of some excellent horses, though consoled by
the circumstance that this aggression had ended without slaughter on
either side, though there is reason to doubt that all the Mocobios
reached home without loss of blood, as weapons were cast at them in
their approach to the estate by some Yaaukanigas who guarded the cattle,
but with what success is not known.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV.

At another time the colony was threatened with a still more dangerous
storm, but which was averted by the valour of the Yaaukanigas. More than
three hundred Mocobios and Tobas approached the town by a silent and
hasty journey. One of their number deserted,—got the start of his
companions, and informed Oaherkaikin's Abipones, our neighbours and
friends, of the impending attack; by which means we received timely
intelligence of our danger. Father Klein, seeing that we were inferior
to the enemy in point of number, with his usual intrepidity crossed the
Parana in a boat, though a violent south wind had rendered it
exceedingly rough, to seek supplies from the Vice-Governor of
Corrientes. Meantime our Yaaukanigas, who were constantly exhorted by me
to a strenuous defence of the colony, indulged in drinking, as usual
with them when they anticipate an encounter with the enemy. For my part
I neglected nothing which could contribute to the defence of the colony,
exerting the utmost vigilance, and sending scouts and guards in every
direction. At two o'clock on Quinquagesima Sunday, a Yaaukaniga spied
one of the enemies in a neighbouring field, from which we readily
concluded that a company was there also. The Yaaukanigas, though hardly
able to stand on their feet from intoxication, immediately mounted their
horses which the women made ready, and rushed in a disorderly manner
upon the Mocobios and Tobas, who were lying hid at the border of the
wood. Uncertain of the event, and anxious for the safety of the town, I
remained in arms ready to bring my assistance wherever it might be
required. Gracious Providence ordered things according to our wish; for
the enemies, surrounded, and alarmed at our sudden attack, chose to
decline battle, and trust to flight. In the closeness of pursuit, the
Mocobios were divided. Part flying towards the south slew two Abiponian
women who were gathering alfarobas, and carried into captivity one
infant which they took from its mother's breast. The other part hastened
towards the north, pursued by our townsmen till late at night. One only
of the Yaaukanigas received a slight wound at the beginning of the
conflict: how many of the enemy were slain and wounded is uncertain.

But you, I suppose, are still expecting the auxiliary forces which
Father Klein had sailed to Corrientes to seek the day before. I will
give you some account of this matter, to show you how little dependence
could be placed on the support of the Spaniards, even in cases of
extreme danger. About evening, whilst our Indians were pursuing the
enemy, two Spanish soldiers arrived, but neither of them deserved the
name of soldier, or bore the slightest shadow of resemblance to a
Spaniard. If Hercules be not a match for two, what, I beseech you, could
a couple of poor dastardly fellows do against four hundred savages? They
were of no use whatever, and served only to excite the laughter of the
Indians. No prayers, no promises, could induce them to employ themselves
in removing the cattle to the town, lest the Mocobios should carry them
away at night from the pastures: palpitating with fear they declared it
impossible to stir without the inclosure of our house. The Indian boys,
more courageous than these soldiers, brought the whole herd within sight
of the town, and diligently guarded them at night that they might not be
again dispersed. We all kept watch the whole night lest the enemy should
repeat the attack; and indeed in the morning our scouts discovered
traces of the Mocobios who had been wandering over our estate.

The Yaaukanigas, exasperated at the slaughter of the two women, and at
the inefficient supplies afforded them by the Spaniards, sent a courier
for the Vice-Governor, and menacingly signified that they should
consider any delay or refusal as a violation of friendship; and on Ash
Wednesday, Nicolas Patron, accompanied by ten soldiers, appeared with
Father Klein. Our Indians, and the hordesmen of Oaherkaikin, who had
been summoned to attend, received him in arms, and with their faces
painted; and when he entered our house they besieged the doors on both
sides, and blocked up all access to the market-place, which plainly
indicated that they entertained hostile intentions. The Vice-Governor,
who was of an intrepid and jocular disposition, spying Pachiekè, brother
of Narè, at other times a great friend of his, said to him,—"If you are
going to speak with me, first wipe off the soot with which you have
daubed your face;" to this he replied, in a threatening tone, "Because
you are going to speak with me is the very reason that I have painted my
face with these dark colours." He then, in the name of all the people,
insolently rehearsed their grounds of complaint, saying, "_We_ victors
unwillingly granted _you_ vanquished the peace you sued for. Long did we
refuse this colony which you have thrust upon us, knowing ourselves less
powerful than the enemies which dwelt in the neighbourhood. To free us
from this anxiety how many and great were your promises! 'My soldiers,'
said you, 'shall be yours, and your enemies shall be mine.' Our forming
this friendship with you, procured us the hatred of the Mocobios and
Tobas, our former allies. For many years they have dared the utmost
against us. Our children are torn from their mothers' bosoms, our wives
slain, our horses stolen; the enemies attack us day and night, and did
we not elude their snares by vigilance, and their numbers by valour, not
a man of us would be left alive, or have a horse to sit upon. These
things are not unknown to you, yet you quietly hear of our calamities
without emotion, and never even bestow a thought upon assisting us. Of
late, when, to revenge our injuries, we attacked the Mocobios with
hostile arms, how fiercely was your anger kindled against us! You are
afraid, forsooth, that the Mocobios, if provoked by us, will vent their
rage upon you, and ravage the territory of Corrientes. How long will you
have your security purchased with the danger of our lives? Spite of all
your opposition, we are determined to go out against the Mocobios, and
revenge our injuries. This one request we reasonably make, as a
testimony of your friendship, and a reward of ours, that you will send
ten Spanish horsemen, provided with muskets, to accompany us on this
expedition." Here the Governor interrupted Pachiekè, who was proceeding
to say more, and with an ill-timed joke evaded his threatening speech.
"When," said he, "with a very long spear in your hands, and paints of
various colours on your faces, you make the plain tremble under your
horses' feet, and fill the air with the horrible braying of trumpets, in
good sooth, you think yourselves mighty heroes." As he spoke this with
mimicking gestures, appearing to ridicule the method of warfare
practised by the Abipones, extreme indignation was excited amongst the
bystanders. Whilst the rest were expressing their resentment, one, more
forward than the rest, exclaimed, "Take care how you make a jest of our
horns and trumpets, the clangor of which has, for so many years, caused
every limb of you Spaniards to tremble." The horrid murmuring of the
whole people and their threatening looks portended danger to the
Vice-Governor, who, to conciliate their enraged minds, adroitly altered
his tone, commending the Abipones, instead of satirizing them, as I
warned him by signs. To flattery he added plenty of promises, (to which
he never stood,) saying that another expedition against the Guaranies
prevented him from giving them satisfaction at that time, but that as
soon as the present war was finished, he would go out against the
Mocobios, with some companies of horse. Having said this, he hastened
back to the city under pretext of business, his coming having served no
other end than that of irritating still further the minds of the
Indians. No one could suggest any remedy for the afflicted colony which
seemed sinking to ruin: amid continual attacks from the savages, or the
apprehension of them, years passed away—years barren of comfort, but
fruitful of misfortunes. Yet still more pernicious than any foreign foe
was the unfortunate society of Debayakaikin's Abipones, both to the
improvement and domestic affairs of the town; induced by their examples,
or relying on their support, our Yaaukanigas frequently dared to make
inroads into the lands of Cordoba, Sta. Fè, and Asumpcion, where, though
they committed no slaughter, they carried off droves of horses. With
still greater boldness, they annoyed the neighbouring towns of the
Guaranies, by whose liberality chiefly they were clothed and fed. These
predatory incursions we condemned, forbade, and lamented, but had not
the power to prevent. They never did any mischief, however, to the
territory of Corrientes. After the departure of Debayakaikin, many of
his hordesmen remained in the town of St. Ferdinand, others joined the
horde of Oaherkaikin, who had long established himself in a neighbouring
plain, almost in sight of the town. No tears can sufficiently deplore,
nor words express the injury which the morals of the Yaaukanigas
sustained from the vicinity of these plunderers, and the mischief they
did to our little estate. One of this savage rabble, more rapacious than
the rest, made greater havock amongst the herds than any tiger, and no
means of restraining his robberies could be adopted, whilst our
Yaaukanigas, ever friendly to Oaherkaikin, sometimes abetted, sometimes
concealed them. The Vice-Governor, when informed of the affair, durst
not utter a word of reproof to this chief of the plunderers, who was
impudently sitting by his side in our house, but endeavoured to
conciliate him by civil speeches. If Spanish generals, accompanied by
soldiers, are dumb through fear, when they ought to reproach the savages
with their wickedness, who can wonder if the Fathers, destitute of all
human aid, and given up to the power of the savages, were afraid to
treat their errors with too much severity? Yet despising death we
overcame fear, and when any thing improper met our observation,
reprehended it, if reprehension seemed likely to be of any avail. Take
one example out of many which might be related of the men of our order.
Father Klein, with his usual fearlessness, advised a young man of high
family amongst the Yaaukanigas to refrain from incursions against the
Spaniards, when the ferocious youth dashed a club at his head with such
force that he fell swooning to the ground covered with his own blood.
Not one of the Spaniards who were there, not one of the Abipones, durst
lay hands on the perpetrator of this sacrilegious blow: he went
unpunished. Another Yaaukaniga struck the same Father with his fist,
crying, "It is a fable what you tell us about a God who created all

The estate was exhausted by the continual rapacity of these plunderers,
and scarcely contained oxen sufficient to feed the Indians for two
months. I declared in presence of the Vice-Governor that we should soon
be forced to desert the colony from want of cattle, but he entreated me
not to think of such a thing, saying, "If you depart, and suffer the
Yaaukanigas to do the same, the malicious will say you have done so with
the intention of involving us Spaniards anew in the calamities of war."
"No one," replied I, "would be so foolish as to credit such a calumny.
We cannot confine the savages within the limits of a little town, nor
restrain them from their habit of wandering, unless we have plenty of
provision at home." The Vice-Governor, convinced, or more probably
alarmed by this speech, promised many things for the preservation of the
colony, and had his powers corresponded to his wishes, this excellent
man would doubtless have fulfilled his promises. The Provincial,
informed by me of the ruin which threatened the colony from want of
cattle, immediately sent me a thousand oxen, for the support of the
Indians: by his liberality, and the supplies of the Guarany towns, an
estate was founded on the opposite shore of the Parana, which, not being
exposed to predatory incursions, abounded in cattle of every kind in the
space of a few years.

One thing is certain, that this colony of Yaaukanigas was not preserved
by the support of the Spaniards, but chiefly by the vigilance and
industry of the Jesuits, and that it was little indebted for assistance
to the city of Corrientes, which, on the other hand, derived much
advantage from it, remaining unmolested, from the time of its
commencement, by the inroads of the savages dwelling in Chaco. Moreover
the Corrientines, reduced almost to desperation by long war, were
enabled to build ships, and waggons on the opposite shore of the river
on which our colony stood, and which abounds in most excellent trees,
and to enrich themselves by commerce without danger. In the year 1767,
when we returned to Europe, the number of Christian Yaaukanigas was two
hundred, the rest having died of small-pox and other diseases. The
survivors, exasperated at the Spaniards on account of our banishment,
burnt the church and the houses of the Fathers to ashes, deserted the
colony they had inhabited for seventeen years, and returned to their
ancient retreats and their old habits of plundering. A priest of the
order of St. Francis, who had been substituted in our stead, scarce
preserved his life by flying to the city. So unfortunate was the event
of a colony that had cost us so much labour and misery, an event highly
pernicious to the Corrientines and other Spaniards, against whom the
Indians resumed their arms, soon after quitting the colony.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

That the corruption of one thing is the generation of another, and that
insects are created from putrid substances is affirmed by some
naturalists and denied by others, but certainly such was the origin of
this colony; for it was composed of Abipones who had deserted religion,
and the other towns. Weary of Christian discipline, and of the
inactivity of peace, they for some time vexed the territories of the
Spaniards and Guaranies with slaughter and rapine: but seeing themselves
threatened, both behind and before, with avenging arms, and being unable
to discover any place of retreat where they might conceal themselves
from Ychoalay, they provided for their safety by artifice, since they
could not secure it by force of arms. Three orators were sent to
Asumpcion to petition, in the name of the rest, for a colony, and
priests to instruct them in religion. The Governor, Martinez Fontez,
granted the request of these wily legates with the utmost willingness,
flattering himself that he should gain great favour with the King by
founding this colony. Fulgentio de Yegros, a Paraguayrian commander,
wonderfully approved the Governor's purpose, urged the execution of it,
and bestowed a great many caresses on the Abiponian deputies. The other
more prudent Spaniards strongly opposed the design, truly observing:
"These rascally Abipones, the dregs of the whole nation, come hither
from the fear of punishment, not from the desire of embracing religion:
it is not a colony, but an asylum where they may commit crimes with
impunity, that they seek amongst the Spaniards; and even if this were
not the case, a province so indigent in every respect as this, cannot
afford the supplies necessary for founding and preserving such a
colony." The same was the opinion of all the Jesuits. Eager for glory,
the Governor turned a deaf ear to all these remonstrances. By his order
the people were convoked to the market-place of the city, that each
might voluntarily contribute something for the colony, according to his
means. Some promised sheep and oxen; others horses, or Paraguay tea; the
less opulent, axes, knives, and the other articles of domestic
furniture: and were there not as wide a difference between gifts and
promises, as there is between words and deeds, the colony would have
been amply provided for. But, to use a Spanish proverb, _mucho era el
ruido, pero pocas las nueces_: great was the noise, but few were the
nuts. Many evaded the performance of their promises altogether; others
impudently sent aged cows; lame, lean, and dying horses; old, bare, and
diseased sheep; and every thing else in the same style. Many of those
persons whom the Governor employed in collecting or keeping the cattle
and other things, were deficient either in fidelity or in diligence,
reserving some for their own private use, and exchanging the better
ones, which they kept to themselves, for others of less value. It
therefore is not to be wondered at that the whole of Paraguay did not
contain a more indigent or calamitous colony, of which I, who was forced
to struggle, for two years, with extreme poverty, and the insolence of
these savages, had full and ocular demonstration.

The Abipones, solicitous for their security above all things, themselves
pointed out a situation for the colony, seventy leagues south of
Asumpcion, four leagues distant from the western shore of the Paraguay,
and beset with woods, rivers, and marshes, which rendered it difficult
of access to the Spaniards, who had to cross that vast river whenever
they approached it from their own city. This plain is called Timbò in
the Guarany tongue, from a tree of that name which abounds here; by some
it has been named La Herradura, or the horse-shoe, because the river
Paraguay, being forced into a curve by the interjection of an island,
presents, in this place, the appearance of a horse-shoe. Besides this,
two tolerably large rivers, (both having salt waters,) flow past the
spot where the colony stood, and uniting, in sight of it, into one
channel, form a large lake which afterwards discharges itself into the
Paraguay. After a long drought, you can seldom find any fresh water, or
any of the larger kind of fish, in this labyrinth of waters; innumerable
crocodiles, by which the fish are either consumed or kept away, are
every where to be seen. In the desire of concealment, however, the
Abipones pitched upon this incommodious situation, which the Tobas lay
claim to: and the Spaniards willingly ratified their choice, because
their enemies, the Mocobios and Tobas, used generally to cross the
Paraguay in this place, when they made their excursions against the

In this sequestered place, the Abipones were ordered to remain, till
things being properly settled, and priests appointed, a little town
should be built there. In the mean time, oxen were given them for their
support, yet they still continued to drive vast herds of horses from the
estates of Sta. Fè and St. Jeronymo: but Ychoalay, accompanied with a
troop of horse, surprized this horde of thieves by night, and carried
off all the horses they had plundered; irritated by which nocturnal
assault, they industriously made up for the loss by repeated rapine.
Fulgentio de Yegros visited these Abipones with a numerous band of
soldiers, for the purpose of making a dwelling-house for the expected
priests. After staying two days there, and consuming an incredible
number of the oxen intended for the use of the colony, the soldiers
built only two little huts, so narrow and low, and so badly constructed,
of wood and mud, that the Governor himself pronounced them absolutely

The Jesuit Contucci, at that time Provincial and Visitor of Paraguay,
being ordered, in the King's name, to appoint priests for the new
colony, after consulting those persons who were best acquainted with the
affairs of the province, conferred this charge upon me, on account of my
acquaintance with the Abiponian tongue. I was therefore called to the
Guarany town of Sta. Rosa, where the Provincial resided, on business of
the colony, and soon afterwards ordered to hasten to the metropolis,
where I had to wait from the 28th of August till the 24th of November,
whilst the Governor was preparing every thing necessary for beginning
the colony.

                             CHAPTER XXXVI.
                      COMMENCEMENT OF THE COLONY.

The Governor distinguished the colony he was founding with the name of
S. Carlos and the Rosary, that he might at the same time show his piety
to the Virgin Mary, and ingratiate himself with Carlos the Third, King
of Spain. He and I embarked on the 24th of November, 1763, and were
saluted with guns on the banks of the Paraguay. Our company consisted of
four hundred provincial soldiers; Fulgentio de Yegros conducted the
cavalry by land, and the rest of the infantry were distributed into
three ships and came with us. We went on shore every night, and at
mid-day also, whenever we found a convenient landing-place. The Paraguay
abounds in shoals and hidden rocks, yet the danger arising from them was
not so great as the inconvenience occasioned by innumerable gnats,
during our ten days' voyage. Fulgentio de Yegros, with his company of
horse, awaited us at a place called Passo del Timbò. On our landing,
crowds of Abipones swam from the opposite shore, which they inhabited,
to salute us. Some hundred oxen, with the horses of the Spaniards, were
sent over to us on the other side of the river. We spent three days in
the same place, engaged in the business of crossing, and then pursued
our voyage. About sun-set, a tempest arose, with loud thunder and stormy
wind. Though we had entered the lake which serves as a port there, we
were miserably tost about by the waves for many hours. This tempest was
succeeded by heavy rain, which lasted three days, and confined us within
the narrow limits of the ship; during this interval, we amused ourselves
with watching the huge crocodiles that surrounded the vessel. The spot
appointed for the colony was a league distant from the port; thither I
went, on foot, and alone, from eagerness to take a view of the
situation. The whole plain was deluged with water. Having taken an
entire survey, I returned to the ship, and informed the Governor that
the situation appointed for the colony appeared to me to be fitter for
frogs than men, and that no kind of good grain was produced in the

Next day, leaving guards for the security of the ship, we rode out to
the place in question. The small hut which Fulgentio de Yegros had
constructed for the two priests, was at first sight pronounced
uninhabitable by the Governor, under whose inspection another, somewhat
larger, but in no other respect superior, was hastily built by the
soldiers. Europeans will not be displeased to hear how these huts are
constructed. Stakes are driven very deep into the ground, and reeds or
withes fastened to them with twigs or thongs of leather. The empty
spaces between each row of reeds are filled up with pieces of wood, or
small bricks, on to which mud, well worked up with straw, and cow's
dung, is plastered. The Spaniards call this sort of fabric a French
wall, (_tapia Françesa_) and always adopt it when stones or bricks are
scarce. If it is properly made, and whitewashed with lime or tobati, it
will last, and can hardly be distinguished from a common wall. The
grassy ground is the floor of the apartment. In this manner the cottages
and chapels were generally constructed in the colonies of the savages.
You shall now hear how they are roofed. The trunks of the caranday palms
cut in half and hollowed out serve instead of slates or tiles.
Frequently a roof is made with bundles of long dry grass tied to reeds
placed underneath, in the same manner as, in other places, thatch is
made of straw, which is not to be had in Paraguay; for the reapers cut
down nothing but the ear of wheat, afterwards burning the stalk or
stubble, the ashes of which serve instead of manure to fertilize the
soil. Sometimes houses are covered with bundles of dry grass, rolled in
soft mud, cemented together, and thus secure from being set on fire by
the burning arrows of the savages. In the colony of the Rosary I found
that roofs of this kind, though they afford some protection against
fire, are not of the least use in excluding rain: for the mud with which
the dry grass is plastered, gets so much softened by long rain, and
affords such free access to heavy showers, that it seems to rain harder
within doors than without. In short, the house built for me by the
soldiers was hardly of any use: for the thongs, which they had formed of
wet raw hides, soon putrefying, the reeds and mud plastered on them fell
off, leaving the stakes quite bare; so that my hut presented the
appearance of a bird-coop, but was afterwards laboriously repaired and
rendered habitable by myself and my companion. I strengthened that side
of the wall which looks towards the stormy south, with a plaster
composed of mud, and the blood of oxen, which repels water like pitch.
The chapel was very small, and entirely unornamented: some of my own
handy-work imparted a little degree of elegance to the altar.

The palisade of our house, which is necessary in every colony to defend
it against the assaults of the savages, had been very negligently made
by the soldiers, who were in such a hurry to get home that they left
nothing finished. The Governor was equally desirous to return to the
city: he could take no rest here: thick swarms of gnats tormented him
with their stings; but a still worse grievance was the anxiety that
preyed upon his mind lest they should be surprized by a sudden attack of
the savages. Horsemen were therefore kept watching day and night, and at
the door of his own hut he stationed a foot company of guards, besides
four cannon; in the hut itself he kept forty large muskets, and some
smaller ones, ready to be fired in a moment. So that he distrusted those
very Abipones for whom he was founding the colony; and the feeling was
mutual; for they, ever suspicious of the friendship of the Spaniards,
thought themselves justified in their fears since the Governor had
brought so many soldiers, and so few oxen to feed them on. "What need,"
said they, "of four hundred soldiers? Had no hostilities been intended
against us, one hundred would have been more than sufficient. If he was
resolved upon building a colony in this place, why did he not send more
than three hundred oxen? The Spaniards will consume these, and what will
they leave for us?" That they might not therefore be exposed to the
treachery of the Spaniards, they pitched their tents three miles distant
from us, in a place with a wood on one side, a river on the other, and a
mound in front. It was in vain that I endeavoured to argue them out of
these foolish fears, and I was equally unsuccessful in my attempts to
tranquillize the suspicious mind of the Governor; who took every fly for
an enemy, as what I am going to relate will sufficiently prove. Six
Yaaukaniga youths came from St. Ferdinand to see the new colony. At my
desire they immediately accompanied me unarmed to the Governor, and
kissed his hands with great civility and respect. He, terrified at the
appearance of these new guests, whom he mistook for enemies, or
emissaries of the enemy, ordered all the guards to stand ready in arms,
and after passing the night in the greatest anxiety, purified his soul
by confessing to me early in the morning, and receiving the sacrament at
my hands. On leaving the chapel, he informed me that he was going to
depart immediately with all his people; and before noon, having hastily
settled his affairs, he set off on what appeared more like a flight than
a journey. The Abipones, receiving intelligence of this, flew from their
tents, and hastened with all speed to the harbour to take leave of the
Governor, whom they found already seated in the vessel, and who,
interpreting this officious journey as a hostile pursuit, ordered the
ship to be put from shore in such a hurry, that he left behind him a
waggon which was to have been carried back to the city. A brave man in
other respects, but a novice amongst the American savages, and well
aware of the unsteadiness of their friendship, and the uncertainty of
their faith, he may be deemed excusable in preferring fear and caution
to risking his life.

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

The Rosary, as it had been unaptly named, was, from its very outset, the
most thorny of all colonies. All the Spaniards being departed with the
Governor, I was left entirely in the power of the Abipones, and of the
hostile savages who infested the neighbourhood; yet, depending on the
protection of the Almighty alone, I never felt myself more secure. There
was no colony of Christians within thirty leagues of us, from which we
could expect succour against the hostile troops of Mocobios, Tobas, and
Guaycurus, whose hordes were so near that the smoke of them could be
discerned from our colony. My Abipones for some time obstinately refused
to remove their tents to the situation appointed for the colony. The
sudden departure of the Governor was the origin of this refusal and of a
hundred suspicions,—"The Spaniards departed to-day," said they, "perhaps
in the intention of returning to-morrow to murder us, when they hear
that we are settled in the open plain." Seeing no houses built for them,
as usual in other colonies, they took occasion to suspect every thing
that was bad. Three days I spent unaccompanied, at the end of which, by
much persuasion, I prevailed upon the Abipones to quit their retreat,
and remove to the place where I was. They learnt from their spies that
the Spaniards were at a great distance, and being delivered from their
suspicions at length became more tranquil.

Wherever I turned my eyes I found necessaries wanting for myself and the
Indians, without which life could not be supported nor the colony
preserved. Almost all the sheep which the Spaniards contributed were
useless from age and disease, and the falling off of their wool; indeed
most of them died whilst the Governor was there, so that all prospect of
obtaining wool from them to clothe the Indians entirely disappeared. The
very lean and indifferent beef which was our principal and almost only
food, afforded the Indians daily subject of complaint. The oxen, which
were sent from the remote estates of the Spaniards, at intervals of a
year, arrived emaciated, and half dead from the length of the journey,
and, as no others remained, were immediately slain, without being left
time to fatten. Their flesh, either boiled or roasted, was devoid of all
taste and moisture, and better adapted to disgust than refresh the
stomach. For my part, I loathed it so much, that during many months I
tasted no other food than boiled cows' feet, though destitute of bread
or any vegetables.

Fulgentio de Yegros had established a little estate for the use of the
colony on the opposite shore of the river, but its pastures were by no
means fertile, and so poorly was it furnished with cattle, that they
scarce sufficed to feed the Abipones; consequently very few could be
left to breed. The man sent by Fulgentio to guard the cattle was an
infamous wretch, composed of nothing but fraud and falsehood, who used
to slay the fattest cows for his own use, and sell the fat and suet to
the Spaniards, whilst we in the colony were suffering the greatest want
of both. He also fatigued the horses of the colony by hunting with them,
or lending them to others for the same purpose, as if they were entirely
at his disposal. I often accused him to the Governor, but he was never
punished, though convicted of innumerable thefts. The man whom Fulgentio
appointed to supersede him was honest, but not quite sane: he was
agitated by continual terrors, and wherever he was, imagined that stones
were being thrown at him by some unknown hand, even in the middle of the
day. What diligence or accuracy could be expected from such a person in
managing the estate? Our never having a proper guard for the cattle was
the chief origin of all our miseries: for the Abipones think nothing
wanting to their felicity if they have plenty of good meat, but if that
be not the case will never rest easy in the colony.

It may also be reckoned amongst our misfortunes, that as the estate was
on the opposite shore of the Paraguay, we had to convey across that vast
river all the oxen necessary for our support. A ship, strong horses,
dexterous horsemen, and much industry were requisite to effect that
without the loss of many oxen.

Maize, and various kinds of beans, roots, and melons, serve the Indians
as a seasoning, or substitute for meat: I therefore exhorted the
Abipones to cultivate the ground, but agricultural implements were
wanting; we had scarcely any oxen fit for the plough; and were even
unprovided with a supply of seed for sowing. Some bushels of maize were
sent from the city, but they had been terribly gnawed by the worms; also
a sack of beans, in coming from thence, had been wetted in the river
from the carelessness of the sailors, and had already pushed out shoots.
Who would believe that the neighbouring savages, our former enemies,
supplied us with various kinds of seeds, which we had so long and vainly
sought from the Spaniards? The country itself, as I declared at first
sight, was unfavourable to plants, because it abounded in chalk. After
much rain, it bore the appearance of a lake—when the waters subsided it
became as hard and dry as a stone. Notwithstanding this, the Abipones
did plough and sow great part of it, but they lost their labour; in the
woods, however, where the soil is more fertile, and the sun's heat kept
off by the shade of the trees, they reaped an abundant and easily-earned
harvest of various fruits. I found the soil extremely favourable to the
tobacco which I planted, but could never find a situation fit for sowing
cotton. The alfaroba was only to be found in distant forests, but the
want of it was supplied by abundance of honey. Other fruits, which grow
quite common elsewhere, are extremely scarce here. The country near the
shore abounds in stags, deer, and emus, the neighbouring rivers in
crocodiles, water-wolves, and capibaris, but are mostly destitute of
fish. It is a remarkable circumstance, that the river near the colony
swarmed, for some days, with every kind of fish, which were easily
caught with the hand, as they swiftly hurried down the stream: they are
thought to have been conveyed into this river by intermediate pools,
from the Rio Grande, at the time of the annual flood.

But it is quite clear to me, that the penury of the colony was not so
much owing to the nature of the situation, as to the indigence of the
founders. The other Fathers, who were sent to instruct the savages,
received from the Governors and opulent citizens a plentiful supply of
linen and woollen cloth, glass-beads, knives, scissars, rings, needles,
hooks, ear-rings, &c. baits by which both the eyes and minds of the
savages are taken. When I set off to found the colony, not so much as a
pin was given me in the city of Asumpcion. The Spaniards of Sta. Fè and
St. Iago supplied the Fathers with choice horses when they went to a new
colony. The Spaniards of Asumpcion, on the contrary, robbed me of four
excellent horses, for which I was indebted to the kindness of the
Jesuits in the Guarany towns: yet the Governor neither made any enquiry
after the thieves, nor indemnified me for the loss. Great scarcity
almost always prevailed in the colony, because the supplies, which the
Spaniards engaged themselves to pay, were very seldom and very sparingly
sent, or, being brought by sailors, were long in reaching us, or were
destroyed on the way from want of care. No assistance could be expected
from the Guarany towns, which were so beneficial to other colonies, both
on account of their distance and the calamities of that period. The
small remainder of those little gifts, with which the liberality of my
friends had supplied me, I used, in my distress, for the purpose of
allaying the discontent of the Abipones, who had been induced by the
promises of the Spaniards, and the hopes of bettering their fortune, to
assemble in this colony, where they justly lamented to find themselves
deluded, and in want of every thing.

                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.
                       CONTINUAL TUMULTS OF WAR.

To our other miseries were added perpetual warlike commotions. The new
Governor, Martinez, to ingratiate himself with the King, resolved upon
sending two hundred soldiers against the neighbouring hordes of Mocobios
and Tobas, out of those four hundred which had been chosen to found the
colony. On his consulting with me, I dissuaded him from an expedition,
the event of which appeared so uncertain, lest the new colony, which was
but poorly stocked with inhabitants, should be involved in war, and
perish in its infancy. With the same ardour I recommended it to my
Abipones religiously to maintain peace with all; they, however, never
had either power or inclination to continue in a state of quiescence.
One tumult succeeded to another. Soon after the colony was founded,
Ychoalay came, and in a friendly manner desired restitution of the
horses lately taken from him. Enraged at receiving a refusal, he set
off, with a chosen band of his people, to recover them by force. My
Abipones, rendered obstinate by their inveterate hatred to Ychoalay,
determined to withstand him to the utmost. Some employed themselves in
conveying the horses to a place of greater safety, that they might not
be seized by the enemy; whilst others roamed up and down the woods,
seeking honey to make mead. I, meantime, was a prey to anxious cares,
ignorant what course to pursue when the town should be attacked.
Ychoalay, formerly so much my friend, was now become the most dreadful
of enemies. "It would be wrong," thought I, "to take up arms against one
who is only coming to recover his own; but if, as is most likely,
victory declares in his favour, and he puts to death every inhabitant
that comes in his way, unless I discharge upon Ychoalay all the lead and
gunpowder I have in the house, my Abipones will suspect me of having
acted in collusion with him, and will pierce me with spears and arrows."
Suspended by these reflections, I stuck, as it were, between the hammer
and the anvil, and resolved to do what should seem most advisable at the

But all this danger was warded from us by a gracious Providence: for as
Ychoalay was quickly travelling towards us, he fell in with a numerous
horde of hostile Nakaiketergehe Abipones. A sharp skirmish ensued, which
did not terminate without wounds and slaughter on both sides. Ychoalay
had ten of his men wounded; and, that they might be the sooner and more
certainly cured, hastened home, omitting the intended attack upon our
colony, which was construed into a mark of fear by the inhabitants, and
accordingly celebrated as a triumph with songs and drinking. The
survivors of that routed horde took refuge, part with us, part in the
town of St. Ferdinand, and showing their unhealed wounds, endeavoured,
by that sight, to inflame their companions, who needed no such
incitement, to speedy and effectual vengeance. Almost all immediately
conspired against Ychoalay. A great company was formed of Yaaukaniga and
Nakaiketergehe Abipones, who all set off to the town of St. Jeronymo,
and that the blow might descend upon Ychoalay with the greater certainty
from its being unforeseen, they gave out that their object was to hunt
horses in the southern plains. But all these hopes and machinations came
to nothing. By those very people, whom it was their intent to surprize
and utterly exterminate, they were themselves surprized, partly slain,
and partly put to flight. For, near St. Jeronymo, whilst, having left
their saddles and supernumerary horses in a place called _Tiger's Cave_,
and got their faces ready painted, they were meditating an assault upon
the town, they fell in with Ychoalay, accompanied by a great number of
his own Riikahes, of Christian Mocobios, and of Spanish horsemen, all
delighted to have in their presence those whom they had that day set out
to seek and slay in their retreats. Ychoalay could easily have destroyed
this multitude of enemies, had they not preferred flight to combat. The
fugitives owed their lives to the swiftness of their horses, to the
ruggedness of the ways, and the lurking-holes of the forests; many
however were slain, taken, and wounded by the pursuers. Ychoalay drove
them before him to the town of St. Ferdinand, and being rendered
formidable by the number of his fellow-soldiers, spread terror on all
sides. The Nakaiketergehes, conspired to his destruction, though they
saw their last efforts unaccompanied with success, conceived new hatred
against him; and as in repeated skirmishes they failed to take away his
life, consoled themselves with plundering him of innumerable horses. It
cannot be matter of surprize that this nation entertained hostile
feelings to Ychoalay, the slayer of their chief Cacique Debayakaikin,
whose four sons dwelt in their colony, and whose hordesmen and
fellow-soldiers, all but a very few of them had been.

Beside these intestine wars, the proximity of the Mocobios, Tobas, and
Guaycurus, was always dangerous, and often exceedingly prejudicial to
us. These savage nations, distinguished by their numbers and their power
of doing mischief, contended that the plain which the colony occupied
belonged to them, and had never been inhabited by Abipones. They feared
and suspected the inhabitants of a colony which they knew to be in
subjection to the Spaniards, and left no stone unturned to drive them
from their new situation, which they endeavoured to effect sometimes by
arts, sometimes by arms. Pretending peace and friendship, crowds of them
came to visit our town, seemingly for the sake of civility, and were
hospitably received by us, entertained for some days, and treated with
little presents and plenty of beef. But abusing our kindness, though
closely watched by me, they availed themselves of the opportunity to
observe the number of inhabitants fit to bear arms, the pastures of the
horses, and all the ways and means of access; aided by which knowledge,
they afterwards flew, whenever it suited them, to alarm the colony, and
to plunder horses, though this our vigilance generally prevented them
from accomplishing. The frequent and secret hostilities of the savages
caused us an immense deal of trouble; as we were often obliged to pass
the night awake and in arms, for fear of the Oaekakalots, who, unlike
other tribes, made their attacks in the night; and as no one could go
out to hunt, or perform any other business, in the remoter plains or
woods, on account of their being infested by the savages. That they
might not start, on a sudden, from a neighbouring wood, and surprize the
colony, I had an observatory erected in our court-yard, which proved of
signal utility. Let me now relate some of the attempts made upon us by
our savage neighbours.

                             CHAPTER XXXIX.

All places being full of peril and fear, and exposed to the machinations
of the enemy, many of the Abipones, weary of a life embittered in so
many ways, crossed the river with their families, and went to the estate
of Fulgentio de Yegros, who received them with great pleasure, and
usefully employed them in his service. The women were occupied in
shearing sheep and spinning the wool; the men in guarding cattle, and
other rural tasks; receiving, as the best recompense that could be given
them, abundance of beef. Very few, meantime, remained with me in the
colony. This was thought a good opportunity for an attack by the
Mocobios and their allies, and indeed our destruction would have been
inevitable, had I not providentially abstained from my usual custom of
sleeping in the afternoon. The particulars of the affair deserve to be
related:—I had gone on foot, and alone, to the bank of the river to try
the new boats and rowers, and that I did not fall asleep on my return,
after being fatigued with three hours' walking in the heat of the sun,
can only be attributed to heavenly interposition. At two o'clock in the
afternoon, a boy who was sitting on the steps of the observatory
suddenly exclaimed, "The savages are coming!" As I was walking in the
yard, I spied a troop of Mocobios, who presented themselves in the
market-place, armed and painted, as for a battle, disposed in regular
ranks, and unaccompanied with any women or children; all which betokened
hostile intentions. The boy I mentioned, with six old women and a lame
Abipon, were the only persons that remained with me in the town.
Snatching up my arms, and guarding the door, I performed the part both
of commander and garrison; and, little as I am, was more than sufficient
to terrify so many horsemen. As soon as ever they saw me present the
musket they turned their backs, and slowly receding through the
market-place, sat down in a little wood near the tents of the Abipones.
Aware that the Americans supply by craftiness any defect in courage, and
that they often renew the attack when their adversaries imagine them
completely intimidated, and on their return home, I remained armed in
the same place, and kept an eye on their motions. When a quarter of an
hour had elapsed in this manner, I approached the Mocobios on foot, and
with no one but the boy for my companion, to ascertain whether they were
to be considered as friends or foes. I accosted them unarmed, but
received very laconic replies to the questions I put them; and their
sullen and threatening-looks discovered that they were ill-disposed
towards us. As we were conversing, a quantity of smoke rose up in that
part of the shore where the Spaniards cross the Paraguay; being asked by
the Mocobian Cacique whence or from whom I thought that fire proceeded;
I replied from the Spaniards; and that I was in expectation of two
hundred soldiers, whom the Governor had promised to send to build houses
in the colony. Struck with this news, the savages were afraid to execute
what they had planned to our destruction, fearing that any acts of
hostility perpetrated by them would be avenged by the Spanish horsemen,
whom they thought approaching. At this conjuncture a cloud of dust
appeared in that direction by which the Mocobios had come, and by the
shining of their spears, we knew the savage horsemen; perceiving which,
the Mocobios instantly leapt on to their horses; an additional proof of
their evil intentions. The boy pulled my gown, saying, "Let us go,
Father, lest we be taken;" and indeed I began to entertain the same
apprehension myself. Civilly taking leave of the Mocobios, I returned
home with slow steps, to avoid betraying my suspicions, and resuming my
weapons, posted myself at the door, and awaited the event.

Without delay a numerous company of Tobas, headed by Cacique
Keebetavalkin, drew out in the market-place. All were laden with arms of
every description, and painted with dark colours; but without saying a
word about the occasion of their coming, they sent their horses to
pasture, and sat down to pass the night with the troop of Mocobios. I
approached, and accosted these new comers, unfurnished with weapons of
any sort, bearing myself towards them altogether as towards friends,
though they could not, in any light, be accounted other than enemies,
certain to do us a mischief, unless we conducted ourselves towards them
with great liberality and caution. I took care to have an ox immediately
slain for their supper, from the same motive that one would stroke an
unruly horse, or throw a piece of meat to a surly mastiff. Not to be
quite unprepared for treachery on their part, we passed a sleepless
night, keeping the strictest watch both with our eyes and ears, and
holding our weapons in readiness to repel violence were it offered. I
performed divine service early in the morning, without ringing of bells,
and with the greatest quietness, lest the savages, discovering that I
was engaged at the altar, and being thus delivered from their
apprehension of the musket, should attempt hostilities against us with
impunity. All my precautions, however, proved unavailing; for a crowd of
savages surrounded me as I was pronouncing the formula of the divine
consecration. A Mocobian juggler stole in first by a door adjoining the
altar. After standing awhile behind me, he jumped back several times to
his companions, who were near the door, making mimic gestures, and
tossing about his arms in a ridiculous manner. They conversed together
for some time by signs. Imagine what must have been the state of my mind
in this interim—I expected death every moment.

Having accurately performed divine service to the end, I presented the
savages, as if they had politely come to visit me, with any little gifts
that were at hand, but failed to elicit from them what their intentions
were, though I could not but suspect them to be of the very worst
nature; for they examined every corner of my house, impudently
attempted, in my presence, to pull up the stakes with which it was
surrounded, and tried whether they could burst open the wooden door of
the chapel with their shoulders. Meanwhile, I smilingly looked on, and
took especial care to prevent the suspicions of my mind from appearing
in my countenance; knowing that the greatest coward is inspired with
courage if he perceives himself an object of terror. I boasted of our
intrepidity and skill in archery, displayed a store of arms, and a
variety of leaden bullets, and descanted upon the wonderful power of the
musket, which reaches the most distant objects, and penetrates and
demolishes the hardest substances. The Governor, on leaving the colony,
had given me, for the defence of the inhabitants, one of those very
small cannon which are fixed to the prows of ships; to load this, he had
furnished me with eight charges of gunpowder, fifteen bullets, but only
one iron ball, weighing scarce half a pound, which, to deprive them of
all inclination to assault the colony, I gave to the savages to handle
and look at. When they came to visit me in my apartment, "Oh, how heavy
it is," they exclaimed: "what a hole it would make in a man's body!"

By these artifices, I induced the Mocobios and Tobas to give up their
intention of destroying the colony, or rather, as the event discovered,
to defer it till a better opportunity. During many days, which they
passed in sight of us, in the same spot they had at first occupied, they
daily explored the adjacent pastures, plains, and woods; not one of the
few Abipones that remained at home presuming to offer the least
opposition, though perfectly aware of their dangerous intentions.
Meantime, though suspected of treachery, they revelled like Bacchanals
at our expense; oxen being at my orders slain on purpose for them, lest,
on failure of other food, ourselves should be devoured by these
cannibals. A fortunate event at length delivered us from these hateful
guests, and freed us from continual anxiety and suspicion. About
sun-set, the whole plain resounded with a sudden tumult, no one doubted
but that the enemies were approaching; and I myself believed we should
be presently attacked by a vast company of Mocobios and Tobas, of which
those that had stayed so long with us were only the spies and
forerunners. But this was a false alarm; for when the dust, which had
concealed them from us, dispersed itself, we discovered ten of our
Abipones, who were bringing about two thousand horses which they had
plundered from Ychoalay's estate, to revenge the death of one of their
countrymen who had fallen by his hand in a recent skirmish. The Cacique
of the Mocobios, seeing so large a booty, doubted not but that the owner
was pursuing the plunderers, and fearful that by remaining he should be
involved in the conflict with Ychoalay, and drawn into a participation
of the danger, hastened home next morning as soon as it was light. The
ill-will that he bore towards us was manifested by his parting speech to
the Abiponian women: "If," said he, "you value your lives, your
liberties, and your children, desert this colony forthwith. The land you
occupy is not your own, nor will we suffer you to usurp it. It will be
stained with your blood, unless you depart voluntarily." This first
visit of the Mocobios and Tobas was a prelude and preparation to that
grand expedition which these savages, in conjunction with the
Oaekakalots, undertook, some months after, to the destruction of our
colony. Of this subject we shall treat more fully after having made some

                              CHAPTER XL.
                            BLOODY ATTACKS.

When all the Mocobios and most of the Tobas were departed,
Keebetavalkin, the Cacique of the latter, remained some months with us,
till he died of the small-pox, after having received baptism from me; a
circumstance which stirred up the Toba nation against us, and was the
occasion of my receiving a bloody wound. I shall give the particulars of
the whole affair. Our Abipones had caught the small-pox in Fulgentio's
estate, and on their return to the colony infected all the other
inhabitants, excepting only those who had already undergone that
disease: and it may be looked upon as a great blessing that a disorder,
generally fatal to the Americans, proved so in this case to only twenty
out of nearly three hundred who took the infection, though it raged from
the 14th of May, till November. What trouble it occasioned me, who was
obliged to perform the double part of physician and priest, exceeds
belief. Nearly all my Abipones were still in a state of barbarism—either
alien to the rites of the church, or impious deserters and despisers of
them. Hence day and night I was filled with anxiety, that if the
medicines I administered failed to prevent death, I might at least, by
sacred rites, endow the souls of my patients with a blessed immortality;
a matter of infinite art and difficulty. For, alarmed at the death of an
old woman, the first that fell victim to the disease, all but a very few
fled from the colony, vainly endeavouring to preserve their lives in
remote recesses. Some crossed the Rio Grande, travelled to a distance of
twenty leagues, and left to themselves, destitute of all aid and
medicine, every one recovered. I was thus separated from most part of
the colonists, being ignorant of their place of concealment, and
consequently unable to approach them without guides, which were not to
be procured. Some were only four leagues distance from the colony; the
followers of Oahari only one; and these two hordes I was daily obliged
to visit, with extreme difficulty, on account of the rivers and marshes
that were to be crossed, and imminent danger from wild beasts, and
wandering savages. To provide both for the minds and bodies of these
wretches, I had to administer their food and medicine with my own hands,
and to explain to them the heads of religion, that they might be in a
fit state for baptism, to receive which, it was only with the utmost
difficulty that they could be persuaded, entertaining a notion, common
to all savages, of its causing death. To recall apostates to repentance
who had repudiated their legitimate wives, and abjured religion, was a
still more arduous business. Yet to show you how powerfully the
compassion of God was exerted on this occasion, none of them departed
this life without receiving baptism, except one woman, who, when first
attacked by the disorder, resisted my exhortations that she would
undergo that ceremony, denying that she was in any immediate danger.
Having found, from experience, that the fatal period of this disorder
amongst the Abipones was not in its rise, but in its progress, I thought
proper to yield to the entreaties of both husband and wife, and returned
home in the firm determination of soon re-visiting my patient. But,
alas! scarce a quarter of an hour had elapsed, when, to my great sorrow,
I heard that she had suddenly expired. My grief, however, was consoled
by a sort of hope that I entertained of her eternal salvation, founded
upon her having been previously fortified by religious virtues,
detestation of sin, and a resolution to receive baptism whenever she
felt her life in danger; all which, if sincere, enabled me to draw happy
presages for her from the boundless compassion of God.

Whilst fatigued with continual attendance upon the sick, I was
frequently harassed with anxiety respecting the preservation of the
colony. Daily reports were spread of the approach of the enemy, and
evident marks discovered of their ambuscades, which, however, our
vigilance always rendered nugatory. That above all was a memorable day
to me, when, at the very time that an assault was hourly expected, a
messenger came from the distant horde of the Cacique, announcing that an
Abiponian woman, ill of the small-pox, had been two days in dangerous
labour. For a little while I hesitated what to do. "Left," thought I,
"without a defender, the house and sacred utensils will be seized upon
by the enemy; I myself, if I go out into the country, shall perhaps be
surprized and murdered by them, and in that case the Abipones will be
destitute of all religious aid. Yet if I remain at home, the mother and
her offspring will probably perish without baptism." Religious
considerations at length induced me to despise the uncertain rumour of a
hostile attack, for the sake of averting present and certain danger from
the woman and her offspring, and I set off accordingly on foot and
unarmed. A herb which, at my advice, was administered to the woman in
labour, proved efficacious beyond my hopes, for whilst I was visiting
the tents of the sick, she was happily delivered of a living child
marked with the small-pox, which I was determined upon baptizing
immediately, though the grandmother furiously opposed my design. "What,"
vociferated she, "will you destroy the infant as soon as it sees the
light with those destructive waters?" Finding her clamours of no avail,
she ran to the father, a son of Debayakaikin, who was lying in a tent
hard by covered with mats, to defend him from the cold, as if _he_ had
just been delivered of a child, and implored him to prevent me from
accomplishing my intent; but, more sensible than the rest, he replied
that the will of the Father must be acquiesced in. Disappointed of the
support she had expected from her son-in-law, the old woman was very
near assaulting me tooth and nail; but being appeased by my gentle words
and expostulations, she recovered her temper, and on my promising that
the child should not be buried in the chapel in case of its death,
declared that she would no longer oppose my design. The child ceased to
live the same day that it received new birth at the sacred font: the
mother recovered. This shows what a prejudice the Abipones have against
being buried within the sacred walls, and under a roof. Not one of the
Abipones who died of the small-pox, would have consented to receive
baptism, had I not appointed a burying-place in a wood for the dead at
the beginning of the contagion. This I did in imitation of the
Guaranies, who have cemeteries walled round, and adorned with an elegant
chapel, and long rows of orange and citron trees, solely for the
reception of those who die of the small-pox, lest the vapours arising
from their bodies should prove a fresh source of contagion. To provide
against this in our colony, I placed the cemetery in that direction from
which the wind blew seldomest.

The trouble and anxiety that I underwent in continual attendance on the
sick, during seven months, may easier be imagined than described. The
principal and most numerous horde, that of the Cacique Oahari, which I
was daily obliged to visit, could not be reached without crossing a
river, both shores of which were marshy. As it was a matter of much time
and labour to extricate the horses from this mud, I generally performed
the journey on foot, speedily rowing myself over in a boat. This daily
habit of walking, during a period of many months, rendered my feet so
horny, that I was often obliged to cut pieces of skin from the soles of
them with a pair of scissars: for the leathern leggings which we wore to
defend us from gnats and other insects, though extremely convenient in
riding, used to rub and gall the feet of pedestrians, especially when
they were hardened with perspiration. How often have I had to travel
amid rain and thunder, or beneath the scorching heat of the sun, through
an extensive plain, afflicted with gnats, mud, and the snares of
wandering savages, that no good office might be wanting to the wretched
crowd of dying Abipones, for whose sake I loved to undergo danger and

Often, at this period, so great a number were confined to their beds by
the disease, that those in health were scarce sufficient to take care of
the sick, to bury the dead, and to mourn for them with the usual
ceremonies. No one's death afforded greater cause for lamentation than
that of the wife of Oahari, and daughter of Debayakaikin; a woman in the
flower of her age, distinguished for high birth, and second to none in
elegance of person and sweetness of manners. A few years before, having
been dangerously bitten by a serpent, she had received baptism in the
town of Concepcion. I, for my part, ascribed the death of this excellent
woman not so much to the small-pox, as to a crowd of juggler-physicians,
by whom she was always surrounded, whenever I visited her tent to
prepare her for death by religious aid.

Keebetavalkin, Cacique of the Tobas, and chief of all the physicians in
Chaco, for some time companion of the Abipones and Mocobios, in the
towns of St. Jeronymo and St. Xavier, but generally a wanderer, and now
a spy upon our affairs in the name of his countrymen, spent two months
amongst us with his wife and daughters. Not one of my people was
attacked with the small-pox but he had this savage Æsculapius to suck
and blow him; till from being continually in contact with the sick, he
at length imbibed the deadly poison himself, being now at an advanced
age. The sick man took care to be frequently removed from one situation
to another, in the hope of relief, as dying persons in our country are
wont to do. When on the point of death, he desired to be placed in a
little wood near the colony; a hut was accordingly constructed for him
in that place, of the boughs of trees, but so low that I could not
converse with him, as he was lying down, without stooping. There being
no longer any room to doubt of his extreme danger, after he had been
properly instructed and prepared, I baptized him in the early part of
the night, and he expired next day some hours before noon. The ferocious
Tobas, when informed of the baptism and death of their Cacique, accused
me, who had administered the one, of being the cause of the other, and
resolved to avenge him by arms, as I had openly foretold before we were
made acquainted with the intention of the Tobas; for I knew that to
these stupid savages baptism appeared more destructive than small-pox,
or the most subtle poison. The affair was not confined to threats alone:
a few days after, the revengeful Tobas drove away more than five hundred
horses from our pastures, in the dead of the night, and would doubtless
have slain some of our people had an opportunity offered. Our Abipones,
complaining of this loss of horses, flew to Asumpcion, and besought the
Governor to allow some Spanish horse to sally forth with them for the
purpose of chastizing the plunderers; and their entreaties seemed almost
needless, in requesting what had long been the Governor's own desire.
From what we shall relate hereafter, you will find the small-pox to have
been the occasion of mutual incursions and slaughters, and of the
shedding of my blood.

                              CHAPTER XLI.
                               OF TOBAS.

The Governor, Joseph Martinez Fontez, being laid up with a fit of the
apoplexy, appointed Fulgentio de Yegros, an illiterate, but brave and
intelligent man, to the government of the province, during the period of
his indisposition. Congratulating himself upon this opportunity of
conducting a successful enterprize, Fulgentio flew to our colony,
accompanied by four hundred horse, in the design of undertaking a joint
expedition with the Abipones against the Tobas, long so hostile to the
whole province. After some days' journey, as no signs appeared of any
hostile settlements, the Spaniards began to think of a return, alleging
the difficulties of the road, the scarcity of provisions, and the
weariness of their horses; but this unseasonable and inglorious design
was openly condemned by the Abipones, who were possessed with a greater
thirst for battle and revenge. Their scouts, by means of the print of
horses' feet, at length discovered a populous horde of Tobas, to which
there was no access but by a narrow path through a surrounding wood.
Every thing was put in readiness for the assault, and, as the event of
momentous affairs is often, as Livy says, determined in a moment, the
Governor resolved, with the approbation of the Abipones, to attack the
savages next day about dawn, whilst they were sleeping, or half asleep,
that they might be circumvented before they were aware of the enemy's
approach. But as some Abipones, who had been sent forward to take a
nearer view of the enemy's station, were so much retarded by the
ruggedness of the way, that they did not return to the Spaniards till
midnight; and as the great forest which intervened could only be crossed
by the horsemen at a leisurely pace; the assault was not made till the
middle of the day, and then with less than the anticipated success: for,
most of the inhabitants being engaged in the chase at a distance from
home, and there being consequently few to oppose the assailants, and
none but a helpless crowd of women, children, and old men to be
vanquished and taken captive, the fight was attended with some
advantage, but with very little difficulty or glory. Terrified at the
sudden attack of the Spaniards, their eyes and ears assaulted by the
blaze and thundering sound of the muskets, these wretches preferred
flight to resistance. Many were intercepted and slain in their
disorderly retreat by the pursuing foe; the rest endeavoured to preserve
their lives in the forest; but as the Abipones examined all the recesses
of the woods like hounds, very few of the Tobas escaped their eyes and
hands, some being deprived of life, others of liberty.

The Spaniards, with great justice, attributed the whole success of this
expedition to the Abipones, by whose sagacity the settlements of the
savages had at first been discovered, and by whose celerity great
numbers were prevented from escaping. I never could learn the exact
number of persons that fell that day, but the captives of every
description amounted to forty, mostly taken by the Abipones, who
obtained besides a booty of an immense drove of horses belonging to the
enemy. The Spanish soldiers, though they terrified all the savages by
the firing of their muskets in this sudden attack, were able to wound
but very few of them, owing to the circumstance of their having passed
the preceding night, in order to be in readiness for pursuing their
journey, on horseback amongst the trees; in which situation the
gunpowder was moistened by the nocturnal dew, so that it was with the
utmost difficulty that it could be afterwards made to take fire. An old
Toba, who had been wounded by a bullet, drove on his family before him,
defending them with an uplifted spear, till he had very nearly reached
the border of the wood, without any of the Spaniards daring to oppose
him; but he and his people were cut to pieces by our Cacique Oahari,
with a sword which he snatched from a Spaniard as it lay idle in its
sheath. The wife and two daughters of the Cacique Keebetavalkin were
slain in the same manner. Not one of the Spaniards was killed, or even
hurt, in this chase, rather than battle. Many of them were present only
to increase the number of soldiers, and to be spectators of the assault.

A Spanish boy, who had been carried away from Paraguay by the Tobas in
his infancy, was set at liberty on this occasion. It is incredible how
great was his abhorrence of his countrymen the Spaniards, whom he had
ever considered as enemies; he was neither to be conciliated by gifts
nor caresses. A Spanish woman, who was released from captivity amongst
the Tobas, informed the Governor that there was a very numerous horde of
Tobas, scarce two days' journey from that place; but he, disregarding
the wishes of the Abipones, who urged him to attack it, alleged the
weariness of the horses and scarcity of provisions as excuses for
hastening his return, and deferring the attack upon that horde till
another time; but that time never came. All the sensible Spaniards were
indignant at the Governor's letting slip this long wished for
opportunity of destroying, or at any rate chastising the atrocious
nation of Tobas, whose daily business and delight it for so many years
had been to cut the throats of the Spaniards. They thought that the
society of the Abipones, who were of so much service in seeking out and
fighting the enemy, might not hereafter be obtained without great
difficulty; and that many would perhaps atone with their blood for one
man's fault in neglecting such fair opportunities of victory.

Whilst the Abipones were absent on this expedition, the defence of the
colony entirely devolved upon me, a charge in the performance of which I
underwent much trouble and anxiety; for the neighbouring Mocobios,
learning from their spies that none but the women and children remained
at home with me, repeatedly approached us for mischievous purposes. But
as I never ceased watching, day and night, with unremitting vigilance,
their insidious attempts never succeeded but once, when they carried off
a number of excellent horses from the pastures where they had been left
to feed by the Spanish soldiers, the persons appointed to guard them
being asleep at the time. The head of the plunderers was a certain
Mocobio, who had deserted religion and a town life, and was second to
none in rapacity and cunning. By day he used to converse familiarly with
the Spaniards appointed to guard the cattle, as he understood their
language, and to take his dinner with them: but one night he suddenly
went off with his companions who were lurking hard by, and carried away
a number of choice horses. After fourteen days' journey our heroes
returned, leading in triumph a miserable crowd of captives whom they
exhibited as trophies, and testimonials of their valour. But for my part
I judged a victory stained with the blood of so many helpless women and
girls more worthy of sorrow than of applause, knowing that it would
certainly be atoned for by that of myself, or my people, and that the
surviving Tobas would never allow the death or captivity of their wives,
mothers, or children to go unrevenged; in which opinion all the
Spaniards coincided, firmly believing that certain danger threatened the
colony from those enraged savages. But the Governor, hastening to the
city, evinced how little he had our safety at heart, when he left such a
scanty band as we were, exposed to a multitude of enemies, breathing
nothing but vengeance. After much entreaty, he could only be persuaded
to leave us five Spanish guards, wretched creatures, entirely destitute
of courage, and nearly so of arms. These were sent home at intervals,
and succeeded by others, as bad, or worse; so that they rather served as
a laughing-stock, than as a protection to the Abipones.

I must not omit to mention that the Abipones publicly, and with the
utmost effrontery, celebrated a slaughter they had formerly committed on
the Spaniards, whose skulls they exhibited with songs and drinking,
Fulgentio being present with his forces, and not daring to take the
least exception at it. Since they durst do that in the face of the
Governor, and four hundred soldiers, what respect would they pay to the
threats or admonitions of a priest?

On the same day that the Abipones returned from the expedition, I
visited all the tents of my people, to see and speak with the captives,
and if they stood in need of medicine or assistance, to afford it them
without delay: for either the terror excited by the sudden assault of
the Spaniards, or grief at the loss of liberty and their native soil, or
the burning heat of the sun in travelling, had affected them to such a
degree, that we thought they were certainly going to be seized with some
disease. But I found them all in good health except one woman, the skin
of whose head had been grazed by a bullet. As the wound was only
skin-deep, the Spaniards laid a piece of fresh wax on the place, by way
of a plaster, and the flies which infest moist places gradually bred
worms there, which, as they occupied a dangerous part of the head, threw
the woman into a delirium; but by the timely application of tiger's fat
the worms were destroyed.

A slight dispute arose between the Spaniards and Abipones on the subject
of the captives; the former, in order to draw all eyes towards them on
their return to the city, and to be congratulated with the greater
applause, wanted to take both the captive youths and the Toba women out
of the hands of the Abipones, and to adorn themselves, like the daw,
with borrowed plumes; on the other hand, the Abipones obstinately
maintained that what they themselves had taken with the danger of their
lives, was their own property; but were induced, by a settled
compensation, or liberal promises, to cede a very few of the Tobas to
the Spaniards, the rest of the captives being retained in the colony. I
did not look upon myself as authorized to decide this controversy, but
silently hoped that none of the captives would remain with us,
foreseeing that their presence would prove highly prejudicial to our
colony. As we had no place for confining the captives, and as they
enjoyed equal liberty of wandering with the rest, they every one escaped
whilst their masters were absent or asleep. Some of the older Tobas
returned home with stolen horses, and having become well acquainted with
the whole of our neighbourhood, frequently returned to harass and
plunder the colony.

                             CHAPTER XLII.

My Abipones, late the conquerors of the Tobas, were not ignorant that
their vanquished enemies observed the same rule as themselves in
revenging injuries, and that victories were often succeeded by bloody
slaughters. That they might not, therefore, be surprized by a sudden
incursion of the Tobas, whom they had recently provoked, they diligently
fortified their tents by the erection of temporary fences. But as fear
deems no protection sufficient, they dreamt, even at mid-day, of
enemies, snares, and attacks. A certain species of beetle, humming at an
unlucky moment, was taken for a spy belonging to the enemy. No place nor
time was free from danger and anxiety to the Abipones. Moreover, the
female jugglers, whose predictions the savages think it a crime to
discredit, used falsely to affirm that the enemies were approaching, and
their divinations being frequently confirmed by Indians going to and
fro, the Abipones often passed the day, and still oftener the night, in
arms, expecting every instant the assault of the Tobas.

To this continual trepidation was added the contagion of the tertian
fever, which raged indiscriminately, for a length of time, amongst
persons of either sex, and of every age. Being forced to attend upon the
sick day and night, I was at length seized with the disorder myself; but
whereas the rest only suffered from it every third day, I, on the
contrary, was afflicted with alternate fits of heat and cold for many
hours every evening; a period at which none but myself felt the
slightest degree of fever. The disease grew so violent, that my head
became delirious at night, my body was inflamed with heat, my tongue
grew black as a coal, and my languid feet consisted of nothing but skin
and bone; it was long before I could walk without leaning on a crutch,
so greatly was my strength exhausted; in a word, I looked like a
breathing carcass. The Indians, who daily crowded to see me, exclaimed
all together, with tears in their eyes, "You are going to die, Father!
you are going to die!" I certainly seemed at no great distance from the
grave, my disorder daily increasing, and myself destitute of physician,
medicine, proper food, wine, bread, sugar, every thing in short
necessary to revive and strengthen me. The very sight of the hard dry
beef, my only fare at other times, created disgust in my languid
stomach: maize ground and boiled, if it could be procured of the Indians
at any price, I accounted a luxury, finding it of great service in
cooling me and quenching my burning thirst. Moreover, I made daily use
of a plant, in Spanish called _verdologa_, in Latin, _portulaca_, which,
boiled in water, afforded me great relief: it has small, bright, green
leaves, growing on a reddish stalk, which creeps along the ground, and
seasoned with oil and vinegar is an excellent substitute for lettuce.

My worst and most intolerable grievance was, that the people assembled
together almost every night, exclaiming with doleful yells, that the
sanguinary Tobas were at hand, and imperiously calling upon me to arise
for the defence of the colony, whilst I was burning with fever and
totally helpless. Unable to stand on my feet, I was sometimes obliged to
keep watch, sitting at the door of my hut, and leaning upon a gun, to
relieve the fears of this faint-hearted crew, who placed more confidence
in one musket than in an hundred spears. I was alive, but hardly
conscious of my existence. At length, when the violence of the fever
abated, and the use of my senses, though not of my limbs, was restored
to me, I often crept through the tents of the sick, leaning on the arms
of others, that no dying person might expire without religious
consolation. Rapidly growing worse and worse, destitute of priest,
physician, soldier, or guard, I was in daily expectation of death; but
whether I was to receive it from the enemies' weapons, or the
pertinacity of the fever, which lasted seven-and-twenty days, I remained
in uncertainty, though well prepared for either, thinking death
preferable to a life spent in such a manner. Fulgentio, to whom I wrote
an account of the calamitous state of our affairs, returned for answer
that neither priest nor soldiers could be sent us till after Easter. I
suppose the good man was unwilling to deprive any Spaniard of the
opportunity of beholding spectacles, or hearing sermons wherein the
memory of our Saviour's sufferings were revived; yet the Governor would
have given greater proofs of piety and prudence, had he, without taking
account of those ceremonies, immediately dispatched a priest to me, who
was dying, and a soldier to the colony, which was exposed to so much
danger. On reading Fulgentio's letter, I cast away all hope of human
aid, and confidently waited for the assistance of Heaven, which I at
length obtained, and by which alone I was preserved. The continual fever
being mitigated at the end of seven-and-twenty days, and converted into
a tertian, my strength slowly returned, and on Palm Sunday I ministered
again at the altar, though in danger of fainting every moment, from the
extreme weakness of my head and feet.

Eight days after Easter, a priest of our order came from Asumpcion,
accompanied by twelve soldiers. This man had been ordered to take upon
himself the care of the colony in case he found me dead; if I was still
sick, to act in my stead, while I sailed to the city. He was as much
rejoiced at my being still alive, as I was at his arrival; for he
dreaded to remain amongst the savages, to whom he was unaccustomed,
having till then been always employed as lecturer on philosophy or
theology. The continual reports concerning the approach of the cruel
Tobas, the repeated noise of war trumpets, the sudden concourse of
trembling women, the tormenting swarms of fleas and gnats, the
wretchedness of his habitation, the heat of the air, and the noxious
vapours arising from adjacent marshes, rendered his life intolerable;
though he had come furnished with fresh bread, with wine, and other
liquors, to nourish or refresh the body, and had even brought water with
him, which I was always obliged to take from a stagnant pool. That he
might not, therefore, be necessitated to remain whilst I returned to
Asumpcion, it is incredible with how liberal a hand he daily dispensed
from his stores whatever was calculated to refresh and strengthen me.
Accustomed to the Indians, and to misery, I had as great an abhorrence
of the city, as he had of the wretched and turbulent colony; so that at
the end of eight days he was at liberty to return with most of the
soldiers, a few only being reserved to watch in the colony. Scarce had
he reached home when he was seized with a fit of sickness, which
confined him to his bed for some months. If eight days' stay was
sufficient to lay him prostrate, though he wanted no comfort, you cannot
wonder that, after two years spent in extreme indigence and amidst
continual disturbances, the ill state of my health obliged me to quit
the colony.

Bands of soldiers were sent at intervals to construct houses for the
Abipones, who, till that time, for more than a year, had dwelt under the
mats, which they used for tents both at home and in travelling. On
holidays, when I was ministering at the altar, I used to discourse with
the soldiers to such effect that many of them confessed to me the faults
of their past life, which was rendered the more necessary by the
perilous situation of our affairs. We were agitated with daily
apprehensions of the enemy's approach. At one time it was reported that
Ychoalay, provoked at repeated plundering of his horses, was drawing
near to the colony; at another, the vengeful Tobas were said to be
coming with confederate savages. As no hope of tranquillity, or shadow
of security appeared, there was not one of the Spaniards who did not
ardently desire a speedy departure from the colony, and all the soldiers
who were ordered thither by their captains thought themselves condemned
to the quarries, or to the oar. The richer and more respectable strove
to evade the journey on pretence of business, indisposition, or by some
other feigned excuses; hence none but the meaner soldiers, Spaniards
only in name, attended our town, and were rather a burden than a
protection to us. Such were generally those who, in the beginning, were
dispatched every month to our colony, both to bring us certain
necessaries, and to see whether I was still alive. They were often
prevented from reaching us from fear of the savages; at other times
every thing they brought was so spoilt with the water as to be of no
possible use: these were frequent causes of distress in the colony.

                             CHAPTER XLIII.
                               OF AUGUST.

Frequent thunder was at length succeeded by lightning. The Tobas, ever
full of threats, and unable to forget the slaughter they had undergone,
aimed long that they might strike the surer blow. Intent upon destroying
the colony, they associated with themselves their friends the Mocobios,
together with the Oaekakalots, Lenguas, or Guaycurus. Learning from
trusty messengers that six hundred savages were ready to attack us, we
petitioned for supplies from the city, and they were promised, but never
sent. The alarm being daily increased by the increasing evidence of the
danger, many fled for fear to their well known retreats; though some
returned at intervals, impelled by hunger, or desire to hear the news. I
often passed many days with none but four Guarany families, whom I
maintained in my own household, and some old Abiponian women, unable
either to travel or bear arms. At length, when we had given up all hope
of succour from the Spaniards, four soldiers crept to the colony, whose
wretched appearance seemed to intimate that they had come thither to
die, not to slay the enemy—they themselves declared that they had been
torn from their beds, where they were lying sick, and forced upon this
errand, at the command of the inexorable Master of the Watch. Lorenzo
Vernal, the captain of this miserable triad, was so dreadfully afflicted
with gout in his limbs, that he could hardly lift his hand to his mouth;
of his companions, one had such terrible swellings in the groin that he
walked with the greatest difficulty; the second was in a consumption;
the third melancholy mad. Such were the guards whom the Governor sent to
defend our colony against a multitude of savages!

A few days after their arrival, an Abipon, who had long sojourned
amongst the Mocobios, came in the dead of the night, and informed Oahari
that the Tobas, accompanied by troops of Mocobios and Lenguas, had begun
their journey, and intended speedily to attack us. The Cacique,
comparing his own strength with that of the enemy, and seeing himself
destitute of succour from the Spaniards, and unable to cope with such a
multitude alone, immediately determined on flight; but that I might not
suspect his departure to have been dictated by motives of fear,
pretended to me that he was going to be absent for some days on a
hunting excursion. Most of the inhabitants crowding after him, only a
few women and children remained to be slain by the enemy, only four men
to give them battle. What other person that had been placed in so
dangerous and difficult a situation, would not have taken boat on the
river, and fled to a place of greater safety? Who, indeed, could have
censured his flight? I was well aware that the peril in which I stood
would have excused such a measure, and detached from it every appearance
of disgrace; but, fortified against all events, I determined to defend
to the utmost the place committed to my care, lest the Spaniards should
reproach me with cowardice, and declare me deficient in that native
magnanimity by which the Germans have always been distinguished.

I perceived that our security lay in continual vigilance, especially as
smoke discerned at no great distance, and scouts discovered from our
observatory, were manifest indications of the enemy's approach. The day
before the assault, eight of our Abipones, all of tried valour, very
opportunely returned to us in the evening: the colony, therefore,
contained twelve fighting men, who, by the greatness of their courage,
made up for the smallness of their number. After passing that night, as
I had done many others, on the watch, walking up and down the court-yard
of the house, at length, about two o'clock, I laid myself down,
oppressed with sleep, and unable any longer to endure the extreme cold;
first, however, warning the captain to appoint a most vigilant watchman
in my stead. The good man assured me that it was his intention to do so,
and swore that he had been unable to get any sleep for many nights
through fear of the attack. He placed a man in the yard to watch, who,
to shelter himself from the cutting air, withdrew into a corner of the
house, and there fell fast asleep. Whilst he, therefore, was loudly
snoring, whilst all the inhabitants of the colony were wrapped in
slumbers, and the dogs mute, which, at other times, would bark at a
strange fly, about four o'clock above six hundred savage horsemen drew
near with cautious steps, and in the profoundest silence, by the light
of the full moon. In the first attack the savages carried off, without
opposition, sixty ploughing oxen which I had confined in stalls near my
house. Part of them besieged the houses of the Abipones, that, being
engaged in the defence of their property, they might not be able to come
and assist me. The rest of the savages, leaving their horses at the
border of a neighbouring wood, surrounded the paling of my house, and
filled the court-yard with a shower of arrows. The soldiers, awakened at
last by the screams of the women, who were flying to the palisado,
instead of instantly discharging the cannon, and all the muskets at
hand, upon the assailants, stupidly wasted time in collecting their
luggage, and after they had deposited this trash in a place of safety,
the captain comes, with a snail's pace, to awaken me, and, after much
circumlocution, announces that we are surrounded by enemies, with just
as much composure as if he had only been wishing me good day. When the
captain perceived that I had armed myself and left the apartment, he
fired his musket, but hit no one; for where he stood he could neither
see the enemy, nor be seen by them. Spying the smoking musket directed
towards the moon, which appeared right above my house, "What injury have
you received from the moon, good man," said I, "that you are firing at
_her_?" He, however, not a little elated at his musket's having made so
unusually loud and ready a report, said pompously to one of his
companions, "Come, brother, do you discharge your musket also:" but this
soldier, a remarkable tall lean man, betook himself to a corner of the
house, shaking in every limb, like a person in a fit of the ague.

I cannot pretend to deny that I was not alarmed myself at the arrival of
the enemy, which was rather sudden than unforeseen; but the very
magnitude of the danger inspired me with a degree of courage, which, at
this day, I cannot regard without astonishment. As in desperate
diseases, violent medicines are sometimes hazarded, I, in like manner,
made the rashest attempts, since scarcely any hope remained that
destruction could be avoided. Trusting, by this means, to preserve the
lives of the rest, I exposed myself to as many deaths as enemies'
weapons. I ran towards the savage host, aiming a musket in a threatening
manner, and as I went along the ground was strewed with arrows which
rattled under my feet. The savages, ranged in a triple row, stuck to the
palisade like flies, and were defended by its thick and lofty stakes,
through the interstices of which they were able to shoot arrows at us,
but could hardly be reached by our bullets; on which account I did not
think it advisable merely to fire the musket, thinking that if they
heard the report, and saw none of their companions fall, they would
cease to fear, and boldly quit the palisade. I, therefore, walked
straight towards the paling, intending to take a more certain aim at the
savages with four pistols, and a gun, to which a bayonet was prefixed.
But an unlucky accident disconcerted this fine scheme; for when I was
about ten steps off the palisade, and was just going to fire, an arrow
an ell and a half long, made of the hardest wood, and barbed with five
hooks, pierced the shoulder of my right arm, wounded a muscle by which
the middle finger is moved, and stuck fixed in my side. On receiving
this wound, I took hold of my musket with my left hand, and entered the
house, that the captain, who was lying hid there, might pull out the
arrow; and in order to do this, he twisted it quickly round and round
with his hands, just as you mill chocolate, by which the flesh was
sufficiently torn to open a way for the hooks to be taken out. What
torture this caused me, no one that has not felt the same himself can
possibly imagine.

The arrow being extracted, I returned to the place where I had received
the wound, to keep the savages from the palisade; for though my right
arm was covered with blood, and totally useless, the left was sufficient
to handle the pistols with; but great was my surprize and
self-congratulation to find that the enemies had all retired to a great
distance from the stakes. These American heroes, terrified at sight of
the musket which I presented when within ten steps of them, hastily
departed without waiting for my return. The rest of the savages, who had
attacked the houses of the colony, were likewise repulsed, after a long
and bloody conflict, by a few Abipones; who, having delivered their own
habitations, flew to render me what assistance they could. One of them
exclaimed, when he saw me streaming with blood, "We will not suffer this
wound to go unrevenged, Father!" Another, seeing that the enemy had
retreated from the palisado, and were mounting their horses, shot an
arrow from the court-yard with such good fortune, that it pierced deep
into the breast of a Toba: the wretch, wounded by this unforeseen
weapon, threw away his bow and arrows, and was supported on horseback by
a person sitting behind him.

As the event of this foot conflict had proved so contrary to the wishes
of the savages, they all mounted their horses, re-entered their ranks,
and occupied the whole way between the palisade, and the houses of the
Abipones. That they might not attempt to proceed any farther, I burst
into the market-place, with the Abipon who had wounded the Toba,
carrying a musket in his hand. Do not expect to hear of a field smoking
with blood, and bestrown with dead bodies; that was not at all my wish.
My only intention was to put these dangerous intruders to flight, and my
only anxiety to prevent our being all crushed under their horses' feet.
You will laugh to hear how one man can hold out against six hundred
horsemen in Paraguay. No sooner had the gunpowder lighted by the Abipon
thundered from the musket, than, startled by the sulphureous smoke, or
perhaps somewhat touched by the shot, they all quitted their ranks, and
fled precipitately with a horrid outcry, overturning rather than turning
their horses, and almost forcing them backwards by the violence with
which they pulled the bridle. They paused for a while in a neighbouring
grove, which they reckoned secure, and ranged themselves afresh in form
of battle, designing first, to entice me to pursue them, and then, by
means of forty of their companions, who were concealed beneath the
sloping bank of a lake in the vicinity, to intercept, surround, and slay
me. Being apprized of this ambuscade by a watchman stationed in the
court-yard of the house, I loaded the musket again, and stood with my
Achates, the Abipon, on a little neighbouring hill, from whence I could
observe the farthest motions of the enemy, and defend the chapel, and
the houses of the Abipones, by which I was protected on every side from
the assault of the inimical troop. The savages, beholding the musket,
the sound of which still rang in their ears, were afraid to renew the
attack. That they might not, however, appear to have done nothing, and
return home empty-handed, since an opportunity of committing slaughter
was denied them, they began to turn their attention towards plunder, and
three hundred being dismissed to collect the horses of the Abipones,
which were feeding on the remote shores of the river, an equal number
remained to keep us at bay. The horsemen surrounded the colony at a
distance, in the form of a semicircle, remaining perfectly silent and
quiet, and keeping their eyes constantly fixed upon the musket. The
allied company, as they consisted of three different nations, were
distinguished by feathers of various colours hanging from their spears.
A band of Abipones kept guard to repel the enemy if they should venture
an attack. I was as anxious to preserve the situation I had chosen, as
the savages were to maintain theirs. Mutual fear imposed a truce of some
hours on us both; we dreading the multitude of enemies,—they the musket.
At two o'clock in the afternoon, the plunderers triumphantly returned,
bringing a booty of at least two thousand horses, to display which they
passed on at a distance, in sight of the colony, but beyond the reach of
my weapon. Though greatly distressed at the loss of their horses, my
Abipones saluted the plunderers with festive drumming and joyful
vociferation, exulting that they who had come with a design of carrying
off men, had been forced to content themselves with beasts. After
besieging us for some time, the savages joined their companions, nor was
their retreat disorderly. By order of the Caciques, two companies
preceded the drove of horse, as many followed it, and the rest went on
each side. As usual they burnt all the dry grass they could find in the
plain, that their countrymen might be apprized of their return from
afar, by means of the smoke. They halted on the borders of a lake a few
leagues distant from the colony, and there feasted sumptuously on our
oxen, as appeared next day from the bones they had left.

Although the enemies were out of sight, my labours were not yet at an
end, and after having been fatigued with riding, watching, giving
orders, and shedding a quantity of blood from four o'clock in the
morning till two in the afternoon, I laid aside my arms for a while, and
applied my mind to healing. Whilst an arrow was extracted from an
Abipon, who had been wounded in defending his house from the besiegers,
the broken point stuck deep in the flesh, and I was called upon by the
screams of his wife to apply whatever remedy I judged proper. Having
performed this charitable duty, I at length got time to attend to my own
cure, to bathe the wound, which had been inflicted ten hours before,
with hot wine, and to bind it up. My hand streamed continually with
perspiration; from which it may be concluded that wooden arrows contain
a sort of poison. In consequence of losing such a quantity of blood, I
was tormented with a burning thirst, which the largest draughts of water
failed to appease. I do not remember to have tasted a morsel of food the
whole day. The pain of my wound, which received hourly augmentation,
became perfectly intolerable at night, when I could discover no
comfortable position in which to place my arm. A pillow laid underneath
it afforded me some relief. The muscle, or more properly, the tendon of
the muscle which moves the little finger, had been so dreadfully
lacerated, that it swelled like a rope, but was completely cured, at the
end of sixteen days, by the nightly application of melted hen's fat. The
swelling in the muscle subsided, but I did not recover the use of the
finger, which was moved by it, for five months; at the end of which it
was healed by a balsam administered by a famous druggist in the town of
the Holy Apostles. Even at this day I bear about me a scar, the witness
of a signal wound, the monument of my contempt of death, and defence of
the colony, and a constant memorial of beloved Paraguay.

                             CHAPTER XLIV.
                           PRECEDING CHAPTER.

No one will deny that my Abipones performed wonders, beyond all
expectation, and even belief, when it is considered that twelve of them
not only held out for some hours against six hundred savages, but even
repulsed them. Amid such a cloud of arrows no Abipon received any injury
but the man I mentioned, and a boy of twelve years old, who, being
awakened from sleep by the neighing of the horses, and the shouts of the
combatants, was slightly wounded in the leg by an arrow, as he chanced
to look out of his tent. We concluded that many of the enemy had been
wounded from seeing two here and there seated on the same horse, and
because breastplates of hard antas' skins were found next day in the
plain covered with blood, and pierced with weapons. An Abiponian youth,
who had been stationed in a secure place, bravely defended a flock of
our sheep, which the enemy made frequent attempts to carry off, by
continually shooting arrows, and succeeded in preserving it untouched.
Fain would I bestow some commendation on those four noble Spanish
guards; but, alas! no sign of bravery or dexterity could I discover in
either of them: one discharged his musket at the moon, and another did
not even know how to load his, for he put the ball in first, and then
the gunpowder, so that the one prevented the other from catching fire.
Other instances of stupidity, which I observed in their comrades' method
of handling their arms, I have neither time nor inclination to
commemorate. Blockheads of this kind were sent us by the captains for
the defence of the colonies, whilst the more skilful, the more active,
those in short that alone deserved the name of Spaniards, were left at
home to increase their property.

On the same day which was rendered so memorable by the assault of the
Tobas, when we thought ourselves out of danger, ten savage horsemen,
issuing from a neighbouring wood about sun-set, presented themselves to
our sight, but quickly disappeared. The general opinion was that they
were spies, and this gave us occasion to suspect that the enemies were
lurking disguised in ambush, in the intent of returning at night to
surprize us. The unusual and universal barking of the dogs, during the
whole night, confirmed our fears. To ascertain whether any of the enemy
were lying in wait, I armed myself at ten o'clock at night, and
traversed the whole neighbourhood, the plain, the wood, and the shores
of the adjacent lake, followed by the four Spaniards. Having examined
every place in the vicinity, I became more tranquil, and wrote an
account to the Governor at Asumpcion of the state of our affairs. With
my letter I sent, wrapped up in my bloody shirt sleeve, the arrow which
had wounded me; a trophy of the religious obedience which had fixed me
to this perilous colony. The arrow and the sleeve stained with my blood
attracted all eyes in the metropolis, and were honourably preserved as
monuments. The Spaniards judged of the wound, and of my danger, partly
from the accounts of the Abiponian messengers, partly from the size of
the barbed arrow; and, as report usually swells in its progress, my
acquaintance mourned me as dead, and offered the sacrifice of the host
for my atonement. Others, knowing me to be still alive, honoured me with
the title of Confessor of the Lord; as my administering baptism to the
Cacique of the Tobas was the occasion of my receiving the wound. The
report of the assault and defence of the colony was spread in the
metropolis with great augmentations, when those four soldiers, who had
partaken of the danger, and been spectators of the whole conflict,
arrived. They declared upon their honour that we were attacked by eight
hundred savages, more terrible to behold than hobgoblins; they extolled
to the skies the bravery of the Abiponian defendants, who were so few in
comparison with the enemy; and they openly declared that their own
safety and that of the rest was principally owing to me, who had dared
to approach within ten steps of the savages, and to contend with them so
long in the open plain. But I always gratefully acknowledged, that,
being destitute of all human aid in repulsing the savages, we were
preserved in our extreme danger by divine assistance.

Though the assailants were departed, the minds of the inhabitants were
far from being in a state of tranquillity. Next day, the market-place
resounded with the screams of women, lamenting their husbands and sons,
who had gone out under pretext of hunting, as slain by the confederate
savages: but their speedy return to the colony dissipated the alarm
excited by this false report. Our joy for their safety was equalled by
their grief at hearing how many excellent horses had been carried off by
the enemy. To indemnify themselves, however, for the loss, was a matter
of little time and trouble; for, by a dexterous use of twenty horses,
given them by their friend Oaherkaikin, and of many others which they
had used on their journey, they soon after took a drove of four hundred
from the Mocobios, which subsequently proved the means of acquiring
still more. In the course of a few months, such was the abundance of
horses in the colony, it seemed impossible that any could have been

The Governor Fulgentio, who had been informed by me of the danger of the
colony, at length appointed ten regular soldiers for the defence of it;
but as men of this description are always slow in their obedience to
orders, and often refuse to comply with them altogether, they landed
with us two days after the hostile incursion that I have related took
place. I was greatly rejoiced at the arrival of the Spaniards, as it
secured me from being left alone should fear again induce the
inhabitants to desert the town; for fresh assaults were shortly to be
apprehended, the Tobas being neither appeased nor satisfied with
plundering horses, since they had been disappointed of an opportunity of
slaying their owners. They resolved upon a fresh incursion, repeatedly
exclaiming, that blood could only be repaid by blood; which being
conveyed to our ears by good authority, we were under the necessity of
watching day and night. The women, dreading the cruelty of the minacious
Tobas, sought security in the remotest lurking places, and persuaded
their sons and husbands to accompany them thither; so that in a few
weeks the little town was stripped of inhabitants. The Governor
continually promised to go out against the Tobas for the purpose of
revenging the blood I had shed, but he did not stand to his word till
six months after; meantime the hordes of Tobas had removed to more
distant places: in consequence of this long delay, the joint expedition
of the Spaniards and Abipones, though attended with an amazing deal of
inconvenience, proved totally fruitless, the Tobas remaining
undiscovered, and reckoning this vain journey of the Spaniards amongst
their victories.

Amidst these continual tumults, no time was left for the instruction of
the Abipones, nor the faintest hope of success in the attempt. Engrossed
by the pursuits of war and the chase, they had neither time nor
inclination for religious duties, and though in the evening most of the
young women and boys assembled in the chapel to learn from me the
rudiments of the faith, very few, and often none of the male adults
appeared there. No industry or eloquence seemed sufficient to abolish
their drinking-parties and superstitious ceremonials. It was with the
utmost difficulty that I could prevail upon them to receive baptism,
even at the point of death. They often refused to obey me when I advised
any wholesome ordinances, tending either to the security of the colony,
or the welfare of individuals. Hence, when the Governor desired to be
informed, by letter, of the number of inhabitants, that by exhibiting
this testimonial he might procure me the usual Missionaries' pension
from the master of the royal treasury; I replied to him in these words:
"I should not dare to demand the annual pension which his Catholic
Majesty has destined for the support of the Missionaries; for this
colony is not composed of catechumens, but of _energumens_: but the
stipend paid to the King's soldiers I assert to be my undoubted right,
and I verily believe that there is no captain or lieutenant in this
province who would be induced, by any emolument whatsoever, to pass even
one month amidst the perpetual dangers, watchings, labours, and
miseries, which I have daily undergone during a period of two years, in
defending this situation against the savages." These things I told the
Governor with the greatest sincerity; but let it be known that I never
received a single penny from the royal treasury, either in the character
of missionary or of soldier. Hence originated the uncommon indigence of
this colony: for the money which the piety of the King had appropriated
to the support of the Missionaries, was the chief, and almost the only
source from which we used to purchase the sacred utensils, the
instruments of iron, and other necessaries for clothing and remunerating
the Indians.

Worn out by two years' afflictions, labours, and cares; frequently
tormented by the gout; and deprived of the use of my middle finger; I
requested the Provincial to substitute another priest in my place. At
length, at the end of three months, Joseph Brigniel, a veteran
Missionary of the Abipones and Guaranies, accompanied by Father Jeronymo
Rejon, was appointed my successor. Both of them, though they had come
from the city plentifully furnished with small gifts to gain the
good-will of the inhabitants, and with things pertaining to domestic
use, were daily called upon for the exertion of their patience, finding
the Abipones little tractable, the Mocobios and Tobas ever hostile.
These latter, not to mention other instances, invaded the colony whilst
Brigniel was performing divine service; on which occasion an old Guarany
shepherd was killed in the country, and Oahari, amongst several others,
received a deep wound in battle. This Cacique died soon after of the
deadly bite of a serpent. Though of mean extraction, he was famous for
military deeds; politic, intrepid, courteous to his own countrymen, and
formidable to strangers; qualities which gained him the title of
Cacique, and the celebrated names, first of Revachigi, afterwards of
Oahari. Though scarcely more than thirty years of age, he had rendered
his name already illustrious, being superior to most of the Abipones in
dignity and beauty of person, in dexterity in horsemanship and the
handling of weapons, in contempt of danger, and in greatness of mind. He
was always well-disposed towards me, and attentive to my admonitions,
except that, from too great a desire to gratify his countrymen, he
suffered himself to be hurried into vices, which they indeed account
virtues, and was restrained from laying any commands or prohibitions on
his people by the consideration that the title of Cacique did not belong
to him by hereditary right, but had been conferred by the free votes of
the people, and consequently was a very precarious honour. In one
respect, he was more fortunate than the Caciques Debayakaikin,
Ychamenraikin, and Alaykin, who, though old inhabitants of our colonies,
died in battle without having received baptism; whereas he, of his own
accord, desired to undergo the ceremony, when he found himself at the
point of death.

Joseph Brigniel, though long accustomed to the Abipones, thought the
ferocity of the inhabitants, the perpetual incursions or threats of the
enemy, and the wretchedness of the place itself, quite intolerable; and
indeed, not many months after, he had a dangerous and obstinate fit of
sickness. He told many of his friends in letters that he could not
conceive how I had been able to remain for two years in so calamitous,
turbulent, and perilous a situation; and in one addressed to the
Governor declared that the preservation of this colony was, under God,
to be attributed to my patience, vigilance, and industry. I should have
forborn to mention this honest encomium, were it not to refute the
calumnies of certain individuals, who, never having performed any
praiseworthy actions themselves, are impelled by envy or malice secretly
to detract from the good deeds of others, when those who might convict
them of falsehood are far away. Let me now proceed to relate my
departure from the colony.

The decaying and shattered bark in which my successor Brigniel had come,
served to convey me up the river Paraguay, in company with a few
soldiers, to the city of Asumpcion. We performed a voyage of seventy
leagues in eight days, using both oars and sails. The night before we
reached port, a furious tempest drove us against a very lofty bank, the
height of which we at length gained by means of planks stuck into the
ground, and supported by the vessel. Sitting in the fields, we had for
some hours to endure a storm of rain and loud thunder, and though
completely drenched, esteemed ourselves fortunate in having escaped
being swallowed up by the waves, or struck dead by lightning. As the
soldiers were gone, and the sailors forced to remain to look after the
skiff, I set off on foot and alone, unless you call rain, wind, and
thunder my companions; and after travelling through a country swollen
with torrents, reached the metropolis a little before noon. The kindness
of my former associates in our college, who all ran to embrace me,
effaced from my mind the perils of the voyage, and the distress of the
preceding night. I went to the Governor, and told him as a friend what
measures he ought to pursue for the preservation of the colony and the
Fathers, and for the coercion of the savages. The good man acquiesced in
my counsels, promised much, and performed almost nothing: for, from
letters written to me subsequently by Father Brigniel, I understood that
affairs continued in the same state as before my departure, or rather
that they grew worse and worse.

My strength being somewhat repaired, it was thought advisable for me to
pursue my journey to the Guarany towns, where I might be entirely
restored to health. Antonio Miranda, rector of the college, a man of
plain manners, and a hater of flattery, said to me, just as I was going
to mount my horse; "You have had more to endure in two years, in the
situation you have just quitted, than others go through during many
years in other colonies." The rector also desired me to defer my journey
for a while, and to act instead of the Jesuit priest, who was absent on
business, in the estate of our college, called Paraguay, and twenty
leagues distant from Asumpcion. This place stretches out on one side
into a pleasant plain, affording pasture to a vast quantity of cattle;
on the other, where it looks towards the south, it is surrounded by
hills and rocks; in one of which a cross piled up of three large stones
is visited, and held in great veneration by the natives for the sake of
St. Thomas; for they believe, and firmly maintain, that the Apostle,
seated on these stones as on a chair, formerly preached to the assembled
Indians. Having executed my commission here, I pursued my journey on
horseback, accompanied by a few Negroes; for the shores of the
Tebiguary, which we crossed in a boat, are thought extremely dangerous
for travellers. On Christmas-eve, I reached the towns of the Guaranies,
and after travelling so many hundred leagues by water and land, laboured
sedulously, the first days of my arrival, both in the pulpit, and the
confessional chair. The tranquillity of those places, proper diet, and
the prescriptions of Norbert Ziulak, a famous physician and apothecary,
within a few weeks restored me so completely to health, that seeing
myself capable of undertaking another journey of an hundred and forty
leagues, I returned in Lent to the town of St. Joachim, at the earnest
request of its magistrate, and with the permission of the Corregidor of
the Indian towns. Amongst the Ytatinguas, the inhabitants of this town,
with whom I had formerly lived six years, I now spent two more with much
satisfaction. Here, indeed, my labours were great, but they were
pleasant, being crowned with abundant success; I would that they had
been lasting! But in two years I was recalled from this town, and sent
back to Europe with my associates, by order of the king. The banishment
of the shepherds was the destruction of the poor little sheep; and the
Abipones, leaving their towns, began anew to cut the throats of the
Spaniards. A Jesuit who sailed to Europe a year later than the rest,
told me, at Vienna, that all the Abipones had deserted the town of St.
Joachim, where I had left two thousand and seventeen Christians on my
departure, and that the neighbouring town of St. Stanislaus, which had
formerly contained two thousand three hundred neophytes, was entirely
destitute of inhabitants. Some secular priests, as well as monks, were
indeed put in place of the Jesuits, but they were all such as disliked
the Indians, or were disliked by them, having undertaken the care of the
towns, not spontaneously as we did, but by compulsion. Some came
weeping, as I myself witnessed; others, weary of dwelling ever so short
awhile amongst the indigent and formidable Indians, fell sick, or
feigned to do so, that they might be permitted to return. How much could
I write on this subject! but it is better to be silent. Time will
discover things, which, though perfectly true, cannot with propriety be
inserted in books.

                              CHAPTER XLV.
                          RELIGION OF CHRIST.

Having given a plain and faithful description of the superstitious rites
of the Abipones, of their native vices, ferocious temper, and wars both
domestic and foreign, I appeal to the judgment of my reader whether it
be not a business of more time and labour to transform these savages
into Christians, than to carve a Mercury out of a solid block, and
whether it be due subject of wonder, that such astonishing efforts on
the part of the Jesuits should be attended with so little success; which
however was by no means despicable, if the difficulties of the
undertaking be properly appreciated. I shall now clearly state, for your
consideration, in what these difficulties consisted, and why it was so
arduous a task to instruct the equestrian savages in civilization and
Christian discipline.

Ever wandering, ever abroad, the Abipones from childhood were
unaccustomed to home, and to remaining in any one fixed place. Wherever
the hope of booty, the necessity of hunting, or danger of the enemy
called them, thither they went on swift horses, subject to no authority
which could either prohibit their departure, or enforce their speedy
return; for the obedience which they paid their Caciques was entirely
spontaneous. They thought it insufferable to depend on the will of
another within the narrow limits of a colony, and to be confined to
their houses, like a snail to its shell. Though free to range up and
down the nearer plains and woods at pleasure, they found them, from
being frequented by other hordes, despoiled of those fruits and wild
animals to the use of which they had so long been accustomed, that, if
deprived of them, even when plentifully supplied with better food, they
complained of being starved and miserable. While they lived
uncontrolled, like the birds which fly up and down, liberal nature
spontaneously offered them food without need of agriculture: but as all
things are not produced in all soils, they were constantly under the
necessity of migrating from place to place, and this change of abode,
and variety of hunting, seemed to contain a sort of charm for them.

In each of the colonies beef was distributed amongst the inhabitants at
stated hours of almost every day; but by reason of the poverty of the
pastures it was often lean, often insufficient, and sometimes (which
however happened but seldom) there was none at all: for where could the
Missionary get beef if he wanted oxen, and if the Spaniards were as slow
and niggardly in supplying the colonies of the savages, as they had been
forward in founding them? They were extremely solicitous that the
Abipones and Mocobios should be tamed like wild beasts, and guarded in
the towns from slaying the Spaniards, but took very little care to
prevent them from dying of hunger. In the towns of St. Jeronymo and St.
Ferdinand, the estates were sometimes reduced to such a wretched
condition that, having nothing left for their support, the Abipones with
their families were forced to go out into the neighbouring plains for
the sake of hunting. After they had been two or three months absent, the
fields which our entreaties had prevailed with them to plough, were
covered with tares or browsed on by beasts, and the loss of the expected
harvest induced a necessity either of roving or starving; a very
pernicious alternative: for in repeated wanderings, often of many weeks,
civilization and the knowledge of the rudiments of religion, so
laboriously instilled into them, were forgotten, and they gradually
relapsed into their former barbarism. The deficiency of sheep and oxen
was certainly the chief cause which retarded the progress of
Christianity in these colonies. If, according to St. Paul, amongst other
nations faith enters by the ear, with the savages of Paraguay it can
only be thrust in by the mouth. Hence our anxiety lest cattle should
fail us; hence our grief to find that they could so seldom be obtained
or preserved.

This scarcity of sheep and kine originated sometimes in the
niggardliness of the Spaniards, sometimes in the gluttony of the
Abipones, who, not content with the ordinary portion of meat awarded to
all, often slew oxen, and still oftener young cows and calves, without
our knowledge or consent, for their own private eating. If we detected
and reprehended them, saying that the estate would be drained by these
secret depredations, "That is no concern of your's, Father," they would
reply; "the Spaniards must send more; they promised to do so when, at
their request, and for their convenience, we entered this colony. If
they fail to perform their promises, we are also freed from our
engagements, and shall return to our old way of putting them to death."
Providently reserving the cows for breed, we ordered that none but the
superfluous bulls or steers should be taken to the shambles; but the
Indians, careless of the future, wanted to eat the young heifers because
they were fatter: "When bulls bring forth," said I, "the cows shall be
killed." This refusal affronted them very much, and they threatened to
desert the colony. If the Jesuit, either fearing the threats of the
Indians, or desirous of obtaining their good-will, leave the herd at
their discretion, he will see the estate suddenly destitute of cattle;
if he firmly refuse to comply with their wishes, the town will be as
suddenly stripped of inhabitants: in the one case, he will be accused of
prodigality, in the other of parsimony, so that whichever way the
Missionary acts, he is sure to incur blame—should he avoid Charybdis, he
will hardly be able to escape Scylla.

Nor is it sufficient to satisfy the Abipones in the article of food;
whatever they took it into their heads to wish for, though perhaps it
could not be found in any shop at Amsterdam, they used to require at our
hands, and that not in a supplicatory, but an imperative tone. Day and
night they trod our threshold in crowds, and wearied our ears with the
constant repetition of "Father, give me a hat, a knife, an axe, a ring,
glass-beads, salt, tobacco, &c." If to any of their requests you reply,
though with great mildness and the most perfect sincerity, that you are
not in possession of the thing in question, they will rudely accuse you
of stinginess and falsehood—nay, I have sometimes heard worse. One of
the older Abipones, not a bad man in other respects, desired me, in an
imperious manner, to furnish him with a knife; I gently replied, that I
had none just then, but would give him one as soon as the expected
supply arrived from the city. "If I were to meet you in the field with
this lance," rejoined he, smiling, and taking up a lance that was lying
near, "you would hardly dare to tell me that you had not a knife." These
perpetual and unreasonable requests of the Abipones are not however to
be wondered at. Poverty rendered them importunate, arrogance, bold. Now
learn from whence this arrogance proceeded. They knew that they were
feared by the Spaniards. The slaughters which they had perpetrated, the
terror which for many years they had spread throughout the whole
province, the victories which they had gained, were yet fresh in their
memory. They spoke of it as of a favour extorted from them by the
prayers and promises of the Governors, that they had laid aside arms for
a while, to settle in a wretched colony, and insisted upon it that the
advantages resulting from this measure were entirely on the side of the
Spaniards. At every refusal which our poverty compelled us to make them,
they complained that they were richer and happier whilst at enmity with
the Spaniards, than now that they were their friends. "Alas! how
senseless were our chiefs and old men," said the Abiponian youths, full
of discontent, and panting for plunder, "in granting peace to the
Spaniards! Here we are forced to pine miserable and inglorious in this
little town; whereas formerly, by plundering estates, or merchants'
waggons, we furnished ourselves with enough to last many months, more
than we can now obtain either by entreaty or artifice." Mindful of
former booties, they thought they were imposing great obligations on the
Spaniards when they remained quietly in a colony, and ceased to rob,
burn, and murder, and looked upon every instance of liberality in their
former adversaries as a small return for their own concession of peace.

It certainly ought to be reckoned amongst the noble victories of our
age, that the Abipones who, from the time of Charles the Fifth, had
continued to defy the arms of the Spaniards, when so many other nations
of Paraguay were put under the yoke, have at last been induced to enter
colonies. The fruitlessness of innumerable expeditions undertaken
against them at length convinced the Spanish soldiers that the Abipones
were an overmatch for all the force and cunning of the Europeans, by
their craft, their swiftness, and above all by the situation of the
places they occupied, the nature of which itself defended, and rendered
them invincible. Their stations served for strong-holds, thick woods for
walls, rivers and pools for fosses, lofty trees for watch-towers, and
the Abipones themselves for guards and spies. To prevent the possibility
of their ever being utterly exterminated, they were separated into
various hordes, and dwelt in different places, both that they might
mutually warn and assist one another, and that, if any danger were
apprehended, that they might with more certainty avoid the enemy. Indeed
the old complaint of the Spaniards was, that they had more difficulty in
finding the Abipones, than in conquering them when found. Though to-day
you learn from your spies that they are settled in a neighbouring plain,
you will hear to-morrow that they are removed to a great distance from
their yesterday's residence, and are buried amidst woods and marshes.
Whenever the savages have any suspicion of danger, they mount swift
horses, hasten to places of greater security, and, sending scouts in all
directions, generally disconcert the plans of the enemy by unremitting
vigilance. I do not think the Abipones are much to be censured for
having delayed to enter our colonies so long: for whilst they live in
towns, banished from their lurking-places, and exposed to attacks of
every kind, they think they have sold their liberty and security,
incapable of any firm reliance on the faith and friendship of the
Spaniards, which the cruelty and deceit formerly practised towards their
ancestors have taught them to suspect.

I can truly say, that my most earnest endeavour was to inspire the
Abipones with love and confidence towards the Spaniards. "Had they not
come to Paraguay," said I, "you would still be unacquainted with horses,
oxen, and dogs, all which you take such delight in. You would have been
obliged to creep along like tortoises. You could never have tasted the
flesh of oxen, but must have subsisted entirely on that of wild animals.
How laborious would you think it to hunt otters without hounds, which
likewise by their barking prevent you from being surprized by the enemy
in your sleep! Horses, your delight, your deities, if I may be allowed
to make use of the expression, your chief instruments of war, hunting,
travelling, and sportive contests, have been bestowed on you by the
Spaniards. But all this is nothing in comparison with the light of
divine religion kindled for you by that people, whose anxiety for your
happiness has led them to offer you teachers of Christianity brought
from Europe in their ships, and at their expense. From all this, it is
evident what love and fidelity you ought to show to the Spaniards, who
have conferred such benefits on you, and are so studious of your
welfare. I do not mean to deny that they once turned their arms against
yourselves and your ancestors, but you, not they, were the aggressors.
The Spaniards will henceforward return love for love, if, ceasing to
cherish hatred and suspicion towards them, you will cultivate their
friendship by all the means in your power." These ideas I constantly
strove to inculcate into the minds of my disciples, but though none of
them ventured openly to contradict me, they gave more credit to their
eyes than their ears, to the deeds of the Spaniards than to the words of
the Missionaries, and sometimes in familiar conversation during our
absence whispered their sentiments with regard to the Spaniards, who,
they said, attend solely to their own interests, and care little for the
convenience of the Indians; preserve peace only so long as they fear
war; and are most to be dreaded when they speak the fairest; whose deeds
correspond not with their words, and whose conduct is inconsistent with
the law they profess to observe. When reproved for stealing horses from
the estates of the Spaniards, they denied it to be a theft, affirming
that their country was usurped by the Spaniards, and that whatever was
produced there belonged of right to them. Your whole stock of rhetoric
was exhausted before you could eradicate these erroneous notions from
the minds of the Indians, which, however, by excessive toil was at
length effected; for all of them knew that, unless they promised peace
and sincere friendship to the Spaniards, they would never be received
into our colonies, and have the benefit of our instructions. All the
Indians in America intrusted to our care were soldiers and tributaries
of the Spanish Monarch, not slaves of private individuals. This is to be
understood not only of the Guaranies and Chiquitos, but also of the
Christian Mocobios, Abipones, and all the other nations which we
civilized in Paraguay.

But let us suppose the Abipones to have been prevailed upon to enter a
colony, and accept the friendship of the Spaniards; ye saints, what
numerous and almost insurmountable obstacles remain to be overcome in
effecting their civilization! From boyhood they had spent their whole
time in rapine and slaughter, and had acquired riches, honours, and
high-sounding names in the pursuit. How hard then must it have been for
them to refrain their hands from the Spaniards, to sit down in a colony
indigent and inglorious, to cut wood instead of enemies' heads, to
exchange the spear for the axe and the plough; with bended knees to
learn the rudiments of religion amongst children; and in some sort to
become children themselves! These were arduous trials to veteran
warriors, who remembered the time when they were formidable, not to one
little town only, but to the whole province; and though many of the more
advanced in age gradually laid aside their ferocity, and conformed to
the discipline of our colonies, we often had to experience the truth of
the apophthegm,

            _Naturam expelles furcâ, tamen usque recurret._

The greatest difficulties were to be encountered in taming the old women
and the young men: the former, blindly attached to their ancient
superstitions, the source of their profits, and stay of their authority,
thought it a crime to yield up a tittle of the savage rites; the latter,
burning with the love of liberty, and disgusted with any sort of labour,
strove by plundering horses to acquire renown, that they might not seem
to have degenerated from the valour of their ancestors.

They had never even heard of a benevolent Deity, the creator of all
things, and were accustomed to fear and reverence the evil spirit, as I
have shown more fully in a former chapter. Instructed by us they learnt
to know and adore the one, and to despise the other. All those pitiful,
superstitious, absurd opinions which had been sucked in with their
mothers' milk, and, heard from the mouths of old women, as from a
Delphic tripod, had received the ready assent of their infancy, they
were commanded to look upon as ridiculous falsehoods, and at the same
time to yield their belief to mysteries of religion, which surpass the
comprehension of the wisest. It was somewhat hard immediately to forego
notions which had been sanctioned by the approbation of their
grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and to embrace laws brought from a
strange land, and every way contrary to their habits of life. Formerly
they had been permitted to marry as many wives as they pleased, and to
repudiate them in like manner whenever it suited their fancy. To repress
such unbounded liberty by the perpetual marriage tie, this was the
difficulty, this was the great obstacle to their embracing religion, and
their frequent incitement to desert it.

The custom of drinking had taken such firm root amongst the Abipones,
that it required more time and labour to eradicate drunkenness than any
other vice. They would abstain from slaughter and rapine, and
superstitious rites; confine themselves to one wife; attend divine
worship frequently; evince considerable industry in tilling the fields
and building houses; yet after all this, it was scarcely possible to
prevent them from assembling together, and intoxicating themselves with
drink made of honey or the alfaroba.

The pernicious examples of the Christians, which often meet the eyes of
the Abipones, frequently prevent them from amending their conduct.
Paraguay is inhabited by Spaniards, Portugueze, native Indians and
Negroes, and those born from their promiscuous marriages, _Mulatos_,
_Mestizos_, _&c._ Amid such a various rabble of men, it cannot be
wondered at that many are to be found who _say that they know God, yet
deny him with their deeds,—who, though they believe like Catholics, live
like Gentiles, enemies of the cross of Christ, whose God is their
belly_. Such licence in plundering, such shameless profligacy of
manners, such impunity in slaughters and other atrocities, prevailed for
a long time in the cities and estates, that, compared with them, the
hordes of the most savage Indians might be called theatres of virtue,
humanity, and chastity. These reprobates, either strangers or natives,
infect the savages with the contagion of their manners, teach them
crimes of which they were formerly ignorant, and prevent them from
lending an ear to the instructions of the priests, when they daily hear
and see words and actions so discordant to them in the old Christians.
Indians returned from captivity amongst the Spaniards, Spaniards in
captivity amongst the Indians, stranger from the cities, soldiers sent
for the defence of the colonies, and Spanish guards appointed to take
care of the cattle, were all certain plagues of the Abiponian colonies.
I should never make an end were I to relate all I know on this subject.
That the bad examples of the Christians greatly retarded the progress of
religion amongst the Abipones, cannot be controverted. Let the old
Christians of America become Christians in their conduct, and the
Abipones, Mocobios, Tobas, Mataguayos, Chiriguanos, in a word, all the
Indians of Paraguay will cease to be savages, and will embrace the law
of Christ. This subject was treated of in the pulpit before the Royal
Governor, Joseph Andonaegui, and a noble congregation, by the Jesuit P.
Domingo Muriel, a Spaniard eminent for sanctity and learning, afterwards
master of theology in the academy at Cordoba, and author of a most
useful work intituled _Fasti Novi Orbis_, printed at Venice in the year

                             CHAPTER LXVI.

The four colonies of St. Jeronymo, Concepcion, St. Ferdinand, and the
Rosary, were so many schools where the assembled nation of the Abipones
were civilized and instructed in religion. Spite of innumerable
obstacles which had long retarded the progress of our efforts, we
succeeded in banishing superstition and barbarism, and in softening
their ferocious manners by apostolic gentleness. Those who had formerly
lived like wild beasts on the products of plunder or the chase, laid
aside their detestation of labour, and applied themselves to
agriculture; they who had before appeared most active and skilful in
plundering, became afterwards most indefatigable in tilling the fields,
and building themselves houses. Ychoalay, Kevachichi, Tannerchin, and
others, the terror of the Spaniards, and the most fortunate chiefs of
the whole nation, became diligent above the rest in ploughing and
building, on their removal to colonies, and exhorted their hordesmen,
whom they had formerly encouraged in slaughtering the Spaniards, to
follow their example. Almost all the inhabitants of St. Jeronymo, the
capital town, and a great number in the other three colonies, received
baptism. Many, both of the younger and older men, by the innocence of
their lives, their attention to the Christian faith, their reverence for
the church and for images, and their diligence in prayer and frequent
use of the sacraments, gave solid proofs of piety towards God and the
Saints; though the female sex always bore away the palm in the duties of
religion. I have not time to relate every circumstance tending to verify
what I have just advanced, but it would be wrong to omit them all.

Ychohake, a man distinguished by a hundred noxious arts, closed a life,
infamous for crimes, by a noble death. Having long been declining, he
desired to receive the sacrament a short while before his decease, and
to evince his abhorrence of the superstitious rites of his nation,
refused to admit any of the female jugglers, who usually attend the
sick, into the house. For the same reason he desired by his last will
that his horses and sheep might not be slain on his grave, according to
the custom of the Abipones, but that they might be kept for the use of
his little daughter. The more noble Indians dug his grave, at other
times a female office, with their hands, in a place which they had
desired us to point out in the chapel, and, rejecting the lamentations
of the women and other savage ceremonies, interred him according to the
rites of the Church of Rome. Ychoalay was bathed in tears, and said he
had now no brother left. Hemakie, and many others, whose lives had been
employed in robbing and murdering the Spaniards, died in my presence in
a manner worthy of a Christian. An Abiponian girl, converted to
Christianity, concealed herself for many nights in a wood frequented by
tigers and serpents, to avoid being forced into a marriage with
Pazonoirin, a bitter enemy to religion. Intemperance in drinking began
to decrease; polygamy and divorce were no longer generally practised;
and the savage custom of killing their unborn babes was at length
condemned by the mothers themselves. Many chose rather to endure the
want of things which could hardly be dispensed with, than obtain them by
arts to which they had long been familiarized, but which were forbidden
by the divine law.

It is an undeniable fact that these colonies, in which the Abipones were
confined like wild beasts in cages, were highly advantageous to all
Paraguay. By means of them security was restored to the public roads,
through which merchants were in the habit of passing; and fresh estates
were able to be founded and enriched with additions of cattle in places
which had long been deserted for fear of the Abipones. By them too, the
other savages, the Tobas, Mocobios, and Guaycurus, were prevented from
continuing their usual inroads into the lands of the Spaniards, who were
thus enabled to repose in safety and tranquillity in the bosom of peace,
whilst we were keeping watch amongst the Abipones, and often exposing
our lives to danger. I do not deny that many deserted their colonies,
took up arms again, and, renewing their predatory excursions, plundered
droves of horses from the undefended estates; but, as I have observed
elsewhere, that was entirely the fault of the Spaniards themselves, who
left none but women at home, having called out all the men to make war
upon those seven Guarany towns, which, according to treaty, were to be
delivered up to the Portugueze.

It is also most certain that many of the Abipones, after dwelling for
years amongst us, still continued to reject baptism and religious
instruction, and though blameless in other respects, obstinately adhered
to their old customs. This grieved, but did not greatly surprize us: for
were either the Jews, the Greeks, or the Romans immediately convinced by
the Apostles who taught the law of Christ? Were the temples and the
synagogues overthrown in a few years? No; that was a work of ages,
perfected by the toils and blood of numbers, and we have not yet reached
the goal. Alas! how small a portion of the globe has sworn allegiance to
Jesus Christ; numbers without number still observing the law of Moses,
of Mahomet, of Confucius, of Nature; others even paying worship to
idols! An aged oak, with roots deep fixed in the ground, is not felled
at one blow. To eradicate the ridiculous superstitions of the Abipones,
their habits of wandering and of plunder, confirmed by the example of
their ancestors, and become as it were a second nature, appeared to many
a business of infinite labour, and almost desperate success: for
experience shows that the equestrian savages are harder to be civilized
than the pedestrian tribes: their inveterate habit of roaming about the
whole province, and committing depredations, is a sweet poison, which
insinuates itself deep into the very marrow, and is with difficulty
expelled. So thought St. Xavier, who, though he left no stone unturned
to convert the neighbouring nations of Asia, and even the remote Chinese
and Japonese, to Christianity, never attempted to instruct the Badajas,
an equestrian tribe in the bordering kingdom of Narsinga, or Bisnagur,
foreseeing that in such an expedition he should lose the labour which,
with greater and more certain success, he expended on other nations.

Notwithstanding the hardness and obstinacy of the equestrian nations,
they were by no means to be neglected by the Apostolic labourers of
Paraguay, as their conversion and civilization were of the greatest
importance to the safety and tranquillity of the whole province. But
many artifices must be made use of by those who have to instruct or deal
with them in any way. They must be advised, admonished, and corrected,
with singular mildness, and some indulgence; with them the maxim
_festina lentè_ should be put in practice, lest premature fervour and
severity should suddenly destroy the hopes of future fruits. You will
alarm the savages who have but just quitted the woods, and make them fly
you, if, burning with the spirit of Elijah, you imprudently strive to
abolish their rude, barbarous manners, and conform them exactly to the
rule of Christian discipline, at the first trial. But though indulgence
was always our aim, we did not think proper to connive at any thing
contrary to religion, or injurious to others, which it was in our power
to prevent. To procure immortal life for dying infants, we often
incurred danger of death from the opposing savages, who would rush upon
us with spears, foolishly imagining that the ceremony of baptism
accelerated dissolution. Even now I tremble at the remembrance of that
night when Father Brigniel hastened to baptize an infant which he
understood to be at the point of death, I accompanying him, and carrying
the torch. Cacique Lichinrain, the father of the child, could be induced
by no entreaties, threats, or expostulations, to suffer his little son
to be baptized; which as he was endeavouring to effect against the will
of the Cacique, the furious Kevachichi laid hands on him, and pulled him
back, the rest of the by-standers expressing great indignation, and
threatening us with every thing that was dreadful. The Cacique held his
almost expiring son tight with both arms, and covered him all over with
his clothes, so that he was entirely concealed. We, therefore, returned
home without accomplishing our purpose: the infant, however, soon after
recovering, put an end to our grief. How often, surrounded by swords and
arrows, have we flown to prevent a crowd of drunken Abipones from
rushing to mutual wounds and slaughter! If you read the annals of either
India, you would be convinced that the Jesuits, who instructed the
savages in the divine law, must have united apostolic severity with mild
indulgence, whenever they had to contend for the glory of God, and for
integrity of conduct. Above all admiration, and almost beyond belief,
are the examples of magnanimity which the men of our order, employed in
taming the ferocious nations of Paraguay, have left to posterity. What
has not been endured and attempted for the love of God, by Roque
Gonzalez, Barsena, Boroa, Ortega, Mendoza, Ruyz de Montoya, Mazzeta,
Cataldino, Diaztaño, Lorenzana, Romero, Yegros, Zea, Castañares,
Machoni, Strobel, Andreu, Brigniel, Nusdorffer, Cardiel, Fons, and their
numerous imitators, many of whom ended an Apostolic life with a bloody
and honourable death! I shall here subjoin a list of the names of those
who were slain by the savages, or on their account, at various times and
places. As I have not at hand the most approved historians of Paraguay,
Father Nicolas del Techo, Doctor Francisco Xarque, and Pedro Lozano, who
have given an accurate account of all these matters, I may perhaps omit
some who deserve to be enrolled in this class of brave men; but I will
faithfully record the names of all those who are mentioned in my notes.

P. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz, born in the city of Asumpcion; P.
Alonzo Rodriguez, and P. Juan de Castillo, killed by the Guaranies in
Caarò, in the year 1628, Nov. 15th.

P. Christoval de Mendoza, (who is said to have baptized ninety-five
thousand Indians,) slain by the savage Guaranies in Tapè, in the year
1635, April 26. By the same savages, and at the same time, three hundred
lately baptized infants were killed and devoured in the town of Jesus
and Maria.

Fathers Gaspar Osorio, and Antonio Ripario, killed by the Chiriguanos,
in the year 1639, April 1.

P. Diego Alfaro, shot by the Brazilian Mamalukes, in the year 1639, Jan.

P. Alonzo Arias, and P. Christoval de Arenas, slain by the same
Mamalukes, but at a different time and place.

P. Pedro Romero, and Brother Mateos Fernandez, his companion, slain by
the Chiriguanos, in the land of Curupay, March 22d, 1645, for having
said to the neophytes, _It is not permitted you to have two wives_.

P. Espinosa, killed by the Guapalaches, in the way to the city of Sta.
Fè, whither he had been sent by P. Ruyz de Montoya, Superior of the
Missions, to buy cotton for clothing the naked Indians.

P. Lucas Cavallero, wounded by the Pinzocasas with an arrow, and then
dispatched with a club, Oct. 18th, 1711.

Father Bartholomew Blende, a Fleming, and P. Joseph de Arce, a native of
the Canaries, slain by the Payaguas, anno 1715.

P. Blasio de Sylva, a native of Paraguay, formerly Provincial there, and
P. Bartolome de Niebla, slain at another time by the same Payaguas.

P. Antonio Solinas, a Sard, and his companion the Reverend Don Pedro
Ortiz de Zarate, a priest, to whose care the new colony of St. Raphael
had been committed, slain on the same day by the Mocobios and Tobas, at
the door of the church, near the river Senta.

P. Nicolas Mascardi went out with a number of Patagonians to seek the
fabulous city De los Cesares, and, after an unsuccessful search, was
slain on his return by the Poya Indians.

Brother Alberto Romero had his head cloven with an axe by the Zamucos in
the year 1718.

P. Juliano Lizardi, a Biscayan, whilst ministering at the altar in the
vale of Ingre, was dragged into a neighbouring field by the rebellious
Chiriguanos, tied to a stake, and dispatched with thirty-seven arrows at
the town of Concepcion.

P. Augustino Castañares, a native of Salta in Tucuman, slain with a
club, as he was travelling, by the Tobas and Mataguayos, Sept. 15, 1744.

P. Diego Herrero, going to the Guarany towns, was pierced with a spear
by an Abipon near Cordoba, Feb. 18, 1747.

P. Francisco Ugalde, a Biscayan, killed by the Mataguayos with a shower
of arrows, and burnt to ashes in the church, which was set on fire by
the same savages with arrows headed with flaming tow.

P. Antonio Guasp, a Spaniard, taken by one Guaña, knocked down by
another with a blow on the forehead from a club, and slain and wounded
all over with a sword by their Cacique the Mbaya Oyomadigi, in the
estate of the town Santissimo Corazon de Jesu, amongst the Chiquitos,
anno 1764.

P. Martin Xavier, a Navarrese, a relative of St. Francis Xavier, and P.
Balthasar Seña, starved to death among the Guaranies.

Father Hans Neümann, an Austrian, from fatigues endured in a wretched
navigation of some months on the river Paraguay, died at Asumpcion, Jan.
7, 1704.

Brother Henrique Adamo died of a disease which he contracted in a
journey to the Chiquitos.

P. Lucas Rodriguez, after a long search of the fugitive Ytatines, amid
continual showers and thick woods, expired shortly on his return home.

P. Felix de Villa Garzia, a native of Castile, in a journey of some
months, undertaken for the purpose of discovering the same Ytatines in
the Tarumensian woods, got an ulcer in his left eye, which continually
streamed with blood and swarmed with worms, and which miserably
tormented this pious man for many years, and at length put a period to
his existence in the town of Sta. Rosa.

P. Romano Harto, a Navarrese, was dangerously wounded in the belly with
two arrows by those Mataguayos who slew and burnt his companion Ugalde.

Father Joseph Klein, a Bohemian, who acquitted himself admirably amongst
the Abipones for twenty years, received a blow on the head from a young
man of that nation, which laid him prostrate on the ground, where he lay
for some time senseless and bathed in his own blood, in the town of St.

Father Martin Dobrizhoffer, whilst defending his own house and the
chapel against six hundred savages in the town of the Rosary, had his
right arm pierced with a barbed arrow, the muscle of his middle finger
hurt, and one rib wounded by a savage Toba, at four o'clock in the
morning, on the 2d of August, in the year 1765.

All these, and many more perhaps, employed in establishing the religion
of Christ amongst the various nations of Paraguay, courageously parted
with their lives, or shed their blood in the cause. Happy they who were
allowed to die for the sake of the Gospel! We who survived, though
partakers of their toils and dangers, seemed unworthy of so noble a fate
as our comrades in not being permitted to end our lives in Paraguay. The
royal mandate by which we were ordered to return to Europe, for reasons
still unknown to us, being, in the words of the decree, confined to the
King's own breast, was bitterer to us than any death; it did in fact
hasten that of many who are at this moment floating on the ocean, or who
fell victims to a voyage of four, nay of five months. Out of some thirty
Jesuits who were carried to Europe from the port of Buenos-Ayres, five
only reached Cadiz half alive, not to mention many others who underwent
the same fate in sailing from other countries of Asia or America. All
well disposed persons grieved that men distinguished for piety and
knowledge of various kinds, who had rendered such signal services to
Christianity and to America, and who had been apostolic fishers of
savage nations, should become at last the prey of sea-fishes.

I, who, though exiled from Paraguay, have by God's grace been preserved
till now in my native land, derive the greatest satisfaction from the
recollection of the toils which I encountered for many years in
endeavouring to make the Abipones and Guaranies acquainted with the will
of God; though my success never answered to my wishes, especially
amongst the Abipones, who, like other equestrian savages, are of an
indocile and untractable disposition. Yet no one can call the labour we
spent on them subject of regret, or the colonies useless in which they
were placed; for besides that by them tranquillity was restored to the
whole province, many of the Abipones, infants as well as adults, were
initiated into the rites of the Romish church, and brought over to peace
and civilization. Nor can it be doubted that many who died ere they
enjoyed the use of their reason, but had been baptized beforehand, were
admitted into the society of the blest; I also think that many adults
who received that holy ablution obtained the same felicity. I am not
acquainted with the exact number of Abipones, who were baptized in those
four colonies.

In the soil of the Guaranies the harvest was much more abundant. From
the year 1610, till the year 1768, 702,086 Guaranies were baptized by
the hands of the Jesuits, not including those who received baptism from
men of our order in the ancient towns destroyed by the Mamalukes, most
of which contained many thousands of Christians. About two thousand
persons, infants as well as adults, were baptized by me alone.

In the last fifty years which the Jesuits spent in Paraguay, 18,875
infants were sent to Heaven, having received baptism, and being devoid
of reason, and consequently of sin. That you may not think this an
exaggeration, I must tell you that in the year 1732 those thirty Guarany
towns situated near the Parana and Uruguay contained 141,182 Christians.
The repeated ravages of the meazles and small-pox, military expeditions
in the Royal Camps against the Portugueze, tumults of war on account of
the Guarany Reductions, bloody incursions against the savages, and
various diseases, had so diminished the number of inhabitants that, on
our return to Europe, we left scarce one hundred thousand Guaranies,
though twenty years before the two colonies of Ytatines, St. Joachim,
and St. Stanislaus, each containing almost five thousand inhabitants,
had been added to the thirty ancient towns.

I also find it recorded in my notes that from the year 1747 till the
year 1766, 91,520 persons were baptized in those thirty-two Guarany

The ten towns of the Chiquitos in the year 1766, contained 23,788
Indians, men and women. All except a few catechumens, who had but lately
quitted the woods, were excellent Christians, formidable to their foes,
and useful to the Spaniards. The other colonies of various nations
founded and governed by us in the province of Chaco were reckoned the
same year to contain 5,424 Christians. I am not acquainted with the
exact number of Christians in each of these colonies; this only I know
that the town of St. Francis Xavier supported about a thousand Christian
Mocobios in the year 1766, and that of St. Jeronymo about eight hundred
Christian Abipones. The town of St. Ferdinand contained no more than two
hundred; the rest of the inhabitants were only catechumens. I do not
know the number of Abipones that received baptism in the towns of
Concepcion and the Rosary. I have been the more diffuse in this
enumeration in order to make you understand how much more successful the
priests were amongst the pedestrian than amongst the equestrian nations,
the conversion of which was a matter of so much more time and labour,
that the progress of Christianity amongst the Abipones, though it did
not equal our wishes, exceeded the expectations of the Spaniards. I have
given this account of the Abipones with the greatest fidelity possible,
though not in the most elegant style. Veracity was more my aim than
polished language. The judicious reader will pardon any rusticity of
expression in an author who has passed so many years amongst savages in
the woods of America.

                                THE END.

                     London: Printed by C. Roworth,
                         Bell-yard, Temple-bar.

                          Transcriber's notes.

1. Variations in hyphenation, accentuation and punctuation have been
retained as they were in the original publication.

2. Variations in the spelling of proper nouns have been retained as they
appear in the original publication.

Except Namaraichene and one example of Ychamenraikin where a circumflex
over the r has been omitted.

3. Possible printer and typographical errors have been changed silently.

4. Italicized words and phrases are presented by surrounding the text
with _underscores_.

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