IN the Island of Hispaniola, to which the Spaniards came first, these slaughters and ruines of mankinde took their beginning. They took away their women and chil∣dren to serve them, though the reward which they gave them was a sad and fatal one. Their food got with great pain and dropping sweat, the Spaniards still consu∣med, not content with what the poor In∣dians gave them gratis out of their own want; One Spaniard consuming in one day as much as would suffice three families, every one containing ten persons. Being thus broken with so many evils, afflicted with so many torments, and handled so ignominiously, they began at length to believe that the Spaniards were not sent from Heaven. And therefore some of them hid their Children, others their Wives, others their Victuals in obscure and secret places; Others not being able to endure a Nation that conversed among them with such a boysterous impiety sought for shel∣ter in the most abrupt and inaccessible mountains. For the Spaniards while they were among them did not only entertain Page 8 them with cruel beating them with their fists, and with their staves, but presumed also to lay violent hands upon the Rulers and Magistrates of their Cities: and they arriv'd at that height of impudence and unheard of boldnesse, that a certain pri∣vate Captain scrupled not to force the Wife of the most potent King among them. From which time forward they began to think what way they might take to expell the Spaniards out of their Countrey. But good God! what sort of Armes had they? such as were as available to offend or de∣fend as bulrushes might be. Which when the Spaniards saw, they came with their Horsemen well armed with Sword and Launce, making most cruel havocks and slaughters among them. Overrunning Ci∣ties and Villages, where they spared no sex nor age; neither would their cruelty pi∣ty Women with childe, whose bellies they would rip up, taking out the Infant to hew it in pieces. They would often lay wagers who should with most dexterity either cleave or cut a man in the middle, or who could at one blow soonest cut off his head. The children they would take by the feet and dash their innocent heads against the rocks, and when they were fallen into the water, with a strange and cruel derision they would call upon them to swim. Sometimes they would run both Mother and Infant, being Page [unnumbered]Page [unnumbered]
They erected certain Gallowses, that were broad but so low, that the tor∣mented creatures might touch the ground with their feet, upon every one of which they would hang thirteen persons, blas∣phemously affirming that they did it in ho∣nour of our Redeemer and his Apostles, and then putting fire under them, they burnt the poor wretches alive. Those whom their pity did think fit to spare, they would send away with their hands half cut off, and so hanging by the skin. Thus upbrai∣ding their flight, Go carry letters to those who lye hid in the mountains and are fled from us.
This Death they found out also for the Lords and Nobles of the Land; they stuck up forked sticks in the ground, and then laid certain perches upon them, and so laying them upon those perches, they put a gentle fire under, causing the fire to melt them away by degrees, to their unspeakable torment.
One time above the rest I saw four of the Nobles laid upon these perches, and two or three other of these kinde of hur∣dles furnished after the same manner; the clamours and cries of which persons be∣ing troublesome to the Captain, he gave order that they should be hang'd, but the Executioner whose name I know, and whose parents are not obscure, hindred their Calamity from so quick a conclusion, Page 10 stopping their mouthes, that they should not disturb the Captain, and still laying on more wood, till being roasted accor∣ding to his pleasure, they yeelded up the ghost. Of these and other things innu∣merable I have been an eye-witnesse; Now because there were some that shun'd like so many rocks the cruelty of a Nation so inhumane, so void of piety and love to mankinde, and therefore fled from them to the mountains; therefore they hunted them with their Hounds, whom they bred up and taught to pull down and tear the In∣dians like beasts: by these Dogs much hu∣mane bloud was shed; and because the Indians did now and then kill a Spaniard, taking him at an advantage, as justly they might; therefore the Spaniards made a Law among themselves, that for one Spaniard so slaine, they should kill a hundred In∣dians.