The Relation of Master ANTONIE MONTERINOS, translated out of the French Copie sent by MANASEH BEN ISRAEL.
THE eighteenth day of Elul, in the yeere five * thousand foure hundred and foure from the crea∣tion of the World, came into this City of Amsterdam Mr Aron Levi, alias, Antonie Monterinos, and declared before me Manassah Ben Israell, and divers other chiefe men of the Portugall Nation, neer to the said City that which followeth.
About two yeeres and an halfe agoe, the said Monteri∣nos going from the port of Honda in the West Indies, to go to the Government of Papian in the Province of Qui∣to, did hire some Mules of a certaine Indian Mystique, called Francis du Chasteau, in which company, together with other Indians, went a certaine owner of Mules who was also called Francis, whom all the Indians named Cacique, to whom it fell out, passing over the moun∣taine Cordecilla, in a day of great winde and raine, that their carriages fell to the ground, whereat the Indians being grieved, as also at the evill weather, they begin to Page 130 complaine of their ill fortune, saying that they deserved all that, and more also for their sinnes, which the said Francis hearing answered, that they should have pati∣ence, that shortly they should have rest; whereunto they answered that they deserved it not, having used the holy people so ill, and the most noble of all the Nations in the world; but contrariwise that all the cruelties which the Spaniards had used against them did befall unto them for the expiating of that sin; after they were gone a little while, they stopt upon the Mountaine to rest, and passe the night season, at which time the sore∣said Monterinos did take out of a box some few biskets, some cheese and sweet-meates, and offered some to the soresaid Francis, saying to him, take this though thou dost speake evill of the Spaniards, whereunto hee an∣swered, that he had not told the halfe of the hard usage which they received from that cruell and inhumane Na∣tion; but that after a short space they should see them∣selves avenged upon them by a hidden Nation: after these discourses between them, Mr Monterinos arrived at the Town of Cartagena in the Indies, where he was ta∣ken by the Inquisition and put in prison; one day pray∣ing unto God, hee uttered these words, Blessed be the name of Adonay, that hee hath not made me an Idola∣ter, a Barbarian, an Ethiopian, nor an Indian; and pronouncing the name of Indian hee reproved himselfe, saying the Hebrewes are Indians; and then comming againe to himselfe said, am not I a soole, how can it bee that the Hebrewes should be Indians? the same fell out the second and third day, making the same prayer and giving the same thankes unto God, whence hee ga∣thered that that fancie did not come to him by meere chance, remembring also that which passed between Page 131 him and the aforesaid Indian; so that hee tooke an oath hee would so informe himselfe of the whole matter, that hee should know the truth, and that comming out of prison hee should instantly seeke the Indian, and would bring to his minde the discourse which they had together, to obtaine by that meanes the satisfaction of his desires. Being then come out of prison by the good∣nesse of God, he went to the forenamed Port of Honda, where hee had so much good lucke that hee found in∣stantly the foresaid Indian, to whom he made his appli∣cation, and brought into his memory the discourse which they had upon the Mountaine, whereunto he an∣swered that he had not forgotten it, which Monterinos hearing, said that he would goe a journey with him, to which hee answered that hee was ready to doe him ser∣vice: So the said Monterinos gave him three Pataques to buy some provision; whiles then they followed their journey and talked together, the said Monterinos at last discovered himselfe unto the said Indian, and told him in these words, I am an Hebrew of the tribe of Levi, my God is Adonay, and all the rest are nothing but mis∣takes and deceites; whereat the Indian being some∣what surprized, did aske him the name of his predeces∣sors, whereunto hee did answer that they were called Abraham, Isaac, Iacob and Israel, which the Indian hearing, did aske of him whether hee had none other Father, hee said yea, and that hee was called Lodwick of Monterinos; but the Indian being not well satisfied as yet, said these words unto him, on the one side I did re∣joyce at that which thou hast said unto me, and on the other I am resolving to disbelieve thee, because thou canst not tell mee who were thy Fathers, whereunto the said Monterinos answered with an oath, that the thing Page 132 which hee said was truth, having spent some time in questions and answers, and the Indian being wearied at the matter said to him, art thou not the sonne of Israell, to which he answered, yea, which the Indian having heard said, make an end then of thy speech, for certainly thou didst put me in such a confusion that I would have been perplexed at it all my life time; nevertheles let us rest a little and drinke, and then follow on our discourse. After a little space, the Indian said unto him, if thou hast the courage and boldnesse to follow me, thou shalt know all what thou desirest, but I tell thee before hand thou must go a foot and eate roasted Mayz, and do that which I shall bid thee; the said Monterinos answered, that hee would not at all transgresse his orders; the day following which was Monday, the Indian came to the said Monterinos, and bid him take out all that which he had in his pockets, put on his Alpergatas (these are a certaine sort of shooes which the Indians weare) and take this staffe and follow him, which the said Monteri∣nos did, leaving his cloake and his sword and all what hee had, and so they followed on their way, the Indian car∣rying on his backe three measures of roasted Mayz, two ropes, the one made with knots and an hooke with two teeth to climbe up by the Mountaine, and the other un∣tied, to be made use of in the Marshes and passages of Rivers; with a little Axe and the Alpergatas; they went then after this manner the whole weeke till Saturday on which they rested, and returned to follow their course the whole Sunday and Monday; on Thursday about eight of the clocke they came to a River as broad as the Duero in Spaine, and the Indian said unto him thou shalt here see thy Brethren, and making a flag of two peeces of Cotten cloath which were their girdles, made a signe, Page 133 after which they saw a great smoake, and in a moment afterward the same signe with another flagge; and it was not long after that they saw in a Boat comming to them three men and one woman, which being arrived to the banke of the River, the woman leapt a shoare, and the men tarried in the Boate, which after a long discourse which shee had with the Indian, which the said Mon∣terinos could not at all understand, went back to the Boate, and told the three men all that shee had heard of the Indian, which came instantly out of the Boate (ha∣ving alwaies lookt with attention upon him, viz. the said Monterinos) and did embrace him, and the woman did the like; after this one of the three men went backe againe to the Boate, and the other two together with the woman did stay there; which comming neer unto the Indian hee did prostrate himselfe at their feete, and they received him with demonstrations of civility and affe∣ction, and begun to talke with him; after a little while the Indian said to Mr Monterinos, be not amazed, and doe not believe that these men will tell thee a second thing, before thou hast well understood the first; the two men instantly put him between them, and told him the verse following in Hebrew out of Deut. Chap. 6. vers. 4. Semah Israel Adonay Elohim Adonay Ehad, Heare O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord; and hee in∣forming himselfe of every thing by the Indian Interpre∣ter, and learning to say it in the Spanish tongue, the two men told him that which followeth, putting a little space of time between one sentence and another.
1. My Fathers are called Abraham, Isaac, Iacob and Israel, and they named them all foure with three fingers, and then they added Reuben, making a sign with foure fingers.
Page 134 2. All such as will come and dwell with us we will give them lands.
3. Ioseph dwells in the mids of the sea, making a signe with two fingers shut, and afterwards dividing the same into two parts.
4. Wee shall all one day speake together, uttering with the mouth ba, ba, ba, and shall come forth as the earth had brought us forth.
5. Wee shall goe out from hence shortly (speaking hastily) some of us to looke out, and to make water, and saying these words, they winked with their eies and thrust their feet to the ground.
6. A Messenger shall go.
7. Francis shall say somewhat more, making a signe with the fingers, that it would be a little.
8. Give us time to make our selves ready, and sha∣king their hand on all sides, said with their mouth, and with their hands, stay not long.
9. Send 12 men, making a signe that all shall have beards and be able to write.
These discourses being all ended, which lasted all that day, they came backe and told him the same Wednes∣day and Thursday, not adding a word more thereunto. And Monterinos being wearied, that they answered him nothing to that which hee asked, and that they would not permit him to passe the River, did draw neere the Boate in a dissembling way, and would have cast him∣selfe therein to goe to the other side, but they thrust her from the shoare with a staffe, and the said Monte∣rinos falling into the water hee was in danger of being drowned, because he could not swimme; the men cast themselves suddenly into the water, and drew him out, and shewing themselves angry, said unto him, doe not Page 135 think that thou wilt bring to passe thy purpose by force; which the Indian declared unto him, and they shewed unto him by signes and words.
Notice is to be taken that the Boat for the space of those three daies did not at all stay in one place, but four men went and foure other came, which all of them said the same nine things which we have mentioned, being all the men who during that time came to see him, about 300 more or lesse.
These men are somewhat burnt with the Sunne, some of them weare their haire to their knees, some others shorter, and others as wee use to weare it, faire bodies, good countenances, well made of foot and leg, with a lin∣nen about their heads.
Moreover the said Mr Monterinos declared, that go∣ing from that place on Thursday at night with a great deale of provision which they brought to him, he tooke his leave of them, having been entertained by them, during the three daies which he staied there; and having shewed him how they enjoyed all things which the Spa∣niards have in the Indies, aswell of meates as of other things needfull for the life of man. Being come the same day to the place where they had lien the night be∣fore, Mr Monterinos said to the Indian, Francis, thou dost know that my Brethren said unto me that thou shouldest tell me something, therefore I pray thee tell it now to satisfie my desire, whereunto the Indian said, I shall tell thee what I know, if thou wilt not anger mee, and shall relate unto thee the truth so as I have heard it from my Ancestors, but if thou dost vex me (which I apprehend, perceiving thee to be so speculatif) thou wilt oblige me to tell thee lies; so then I beseech thee take onely heed to what I shall say unto thee.
Page 136 Thy Brethren the sonnes of Israel were by divine pro∣vidence brought into these Countrys, God doing many miracles for them, which thou wouldst not believe, if I should tell them to thee as I have heard them of my Fathers; Wee Indians went into those Countries and made warre against them, and did use them worse then the Spaniards doe us: Afterwards by the command of our Mohanes (these are their Sorcerers) wee went as Souldiers towards those parts where thou hast seen thy Brethren, to wage warre with them, and of all those that entred there, not one came backe againe alive; wee made a great Armie, and entring into his lands, all fell downe dead, so that not one escaped; at last wee raised another Army, for the making of which the Countrey was dispeopled wholly, so that none but old men, wo∣men and children remained therein, which came to an end as the former had done; which those who remained alive, and were not gone to that warre perceiving, said, that the Mohanes had deceived them and were the cause of the death of their Fathers, for which they deserved to be put to death, having then killed many of them, those that remained alive did intreat them to hearken to them, and they would discover to them all the truth of that which they knew, which having gotten leave, declared that which followeth.
The God of these sonnes of Israel is the true God, all that is written in his stories is true, they shall be Lords of all the world in the latter end, a people shall come hither which will bring many things to you, and when the land shall be well provided, these sonnes of Israel shall goe out of their habitations, and shall become Lords of all the earth as it was theirs before, if you will be happy joyne your selves to them. The Indian ha∣ving Page [unnumbered] made an end to relate the prediction of the Mo∣hanes, followed on his discourse after this manner, My Fathers were Caciques, and there are yet four of them. These 5 Caciques then having heard what the Mohanes had foretold, as if they had been some of the Sages of the Hebrewes, came and tooke their habitation neere that place, to see if they could get acquaintance with some of thy Brethren. They satisfied their desire after a long time by the intercession of an Indian woman: be∣cause thy Brethren would never speake to our Fathers, and he of us that went into their Lands, did fall downe dead, and none of thy Brethren did passe over to us; we therefore made a League with them, by the meanes of that woman, under these conditions. First, that five men, sonnes to five Caciques or their successors, should come to visit them every seventy Moones, and that none should come with them. Secondly, that the man to whom the secret was to be declared, should be three hundred Moones old, and that nothing of this should be revealed to him in a place inhabited, but on∣ly in the open field, and when it should be revealed, that it should be in the company of all the Caciques; thus then (said the Indian) wee keepe this secreet a∣mongst us, for the great reward which wee hope, for the innumerable services which wee have done to thy Brethren. Wee cannot go to see them, but from seventy to seventy Moones, if no new thing fall out; there hath not been any in my time except thy arrivall which they have so much desired and waited for. I finde no more but three new things according to my reckoning; the first, the arrivall of the Spaniards in these Countries, the second that Ships arrived in the Page [unnumbered] South sea, and the third is thy arrivall. Of all three they have greatly rejoyced, for they say that the Prophecies do come to passe.
Moreover the said Monterinos declared, that after∣ward hee came to Honda, where the said Indian did bring to him three Indian young men, not telling him their names, till hee told him that hee might speake freely with them, seeing they were his companions, whith whom hee was in league, and that the other namely the fift was old, and for that cause was not a∣ble to come. The three Indians did imbrace him af∣fectionately, and asked him of what Nation hee was; to whom hee answered, that hee was of the Hebrew Nation, of the Tribe of Levi; and then they imbra∣ced him the second time, and said to him, Thou shalt see us one day, and shalt not know us, wee are thy Bre∣thren by a speciall favour which God hath shewed us, and having saluted him they went away: the Indian Francis bid him also farewell, and that hee went to speak with his Brethren in the company of the other Caciques. As concerning this Countrey, wee have all the Indians at our command, and when wee shall have made an end of these cruell Spaniards, wee shall goe and draw you out of the slavery wherein you are, if it please God; which he will permit, because his word cannot faile.