THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 187.
A Cedula to Juan de Villandrando, Deputy Governor of Margarita
ordering the delivery of all Aruacs.
Source :-British Museum. Additional Mss. 36314.
Published by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
2oth September, 1559.
THE KING--To Our Governor who is or was in the Island
of Margarita, to all OurJudges thereof and to each and everyone
whomsoever that this My Cedula may be shown.
Take notice that We have charged Fray Francisco
Montesinos of the Order of St. Dominic and other priests
of this Order in the Province of Santa Cruz, to carry peace
and the knowledge of Our Holy Catholic Faith to the Indians
of the Provinces of the Aruacs and as he has reported to me
that in this Island there are many Indians, men and women,
boys and girls who are in the power of the Spaniards living
in that Island and who have been taken to it from the Provinces
of the Aruacs in Trinidad and in Guayana and that these
Aruacs are Christians and that they are kept in servitude as
captives by the Spaniards and that the said Indians could
serve as interpreters to the said priests and could be useful
in persuading the Aruacs to receive them in peace and help in
settling there and that if other Indians of this Island wish
to go with the priests, they should be allowed to do so freely.
And as Fray Montesinos beseeches me to order and
direct as my pleasure may be and having placed this before
Our Council of the Indies, it was recommended that this
Cedula should be issued and of which I approve.
I now hereby order you that immediately on seeing this
Cedula, you shall liberate the Indians of these Provinces who
are thus kept and they and all others from there shall be
freed and to the said Fray Francisco de Montesinos and the
other two priests who are with him, shall be handed over all
those whom they wish to take with them as interpreters to
help settle and in all things you shall assist satisfactorily
in this matter.
Thus do and comply under penalty of Our displeasure
and a fine of a hundred thousand maravedis to Our Treasury
from each one defaulting.
I, THE KING.
24th September, 1559.
By order of His Majesty.
FRANCISCO DE ERASO.
8th July, 1560.
THE PROCEEDINGS RELATE
And immediately the said Deputy Governor took the
Royal Cedula in his hands and kissed it and placed it upon
his head and said that he obeyed it with all the reverence
and propriety due to a Royal Cedula and to orders from
his King and Royal Master to whom may Our Lord grant
long life to rule over us and as to carrying out the Cedula,
he would consider it and provide for it.
Witness of above,
JUAN XIMINEZ, ESCRIBANO.
The Governor reported to the King that all the Indians
Margarita are free and indoctrinated; there are no slaves
at all. To send the Indians with Montesinos would ruin
Margarita and cause the vecinos and other people to leave
the Island. If the Indians were taken to Maracapana, they
would merely fly to the mountains and revert to savagery.
Twelve Indians were quite enough for interpreters.
He beseeched the King to revoke the Cedula.