By Lewis Hanke
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Additional resources for Bartolomé de las Casas: An Interpretation of his Life and Writings
Las Casas then sought and found Christian Indian merchants accustomed to trading in the Tierra de Guerra and patiently taught them by heart all the verses; and trained them, moreover, to sing them ''in a pleasing manner''. 28 THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE IN At last, in August 1537, the Indians set out alone with their merchandise, to which Las Casas had added some Spanish trinkets, such as scissors, knives, mirrors, and bells, which had proved popular with the natives. The merchants went directly to the great chieftain of the tribes in the Tierra de Guerra, a warlike person, highly respected and feared by all.
I : 17-18. POLITICAL THEORIST AND HISTORIAN 51 officials, ecclesiastics, and conquistadores had come to know, and to dislike, this friar who so boldly denounced their actions. He had also argued on behalf of the Indians before Spanish kings and their Council of the Indies, as well as at the frequent special meetings held to discuss Indian problems. It is safe to say that no one had enjoyed as intimate a connection with American affairs as Las Casas. Yet the volumes he so devotedly compiled in his old age which describe the history of America up to 1520 have never been wholly accepted as true history, and a sharp controversy has always existed on his merits as a historian.
Thus all members of the kingdom are subjects not of the king's person but of the law. Faced with his urgent problem of saving the Indians, Las Casas did not content himself with pious phrases but set up a long list of kingly obligations before which even a St. Louis might have quailed. Not even the injunctions of the League of Nations to its mandatory powers prescribed more saintly behavior. Peace being a very important attribute of the Christian republic, the king must first of all deliver the Indians from the power of the Spaniards who war against them.
Bartolomé de las Casas: An Interpretation of his Life and Writings by Lewis Hanke