The English-American, his Travail by Sea and Land:
A NEW SURVEY
A Journall of Three thousand and Three hundred
Miles within the main Land of AMERICA .
Wherein is set forth his Voyage from Spain to St. John de Ulhus;
and from thence to Xalappa, to Tlaxcalla, the City of Angeles, and
forward to Mexico; with the description of that great City,
as it was in former times, and also at this present.
Likewise his Journey from Mexico through the provinces of Guaxaca,
Chiapa, Guetamala, Vera paz, Truxillo, Camayagua; with his
abode Twelve years about Guatemala, and especially in the
Indian-towns of Mixco; Pinola, Petapa, Amatulan.
As Also his strange and Wonderfull Conversion, and calling from those
remote parts to his native COUNTREY.
With his return through the Province of Nicragua, and Costa Rica,
to Nicoya, Panama, Portobelo, Cartagena, and Havana, with divers
occurrents and dangers that did befal in the said journey.
A New and exact Discovery of the Spanish Navigation to
those Parts; And of their Dominions, Government, Religion, Forts,
Castles, Ports, Havens, Commodities, fashions, behaviour of
Spaniards, Priests and Friers, Blackmores, Mullato's ,Mestiso's
Indians, and of their Feasts and Solemnities.
With a Grammar, or some few Rudiments of the Indian Tongue,
called, Poconchi, or Pocomon.
By the true and painfull endevours of THOMAS GAGE, now Preacher of
the Word of God at Acris in the Country of KENT, Anno Dom. 1648.
London, Printed by R. Cotes, and are to be sold by Humphrey Blandon at the
Castle in Cornhill, and Thomas Williams at the Bible in Little Britain, 1648.
PUBLISHED BY R. Cotes
The story was thus, which may be profitable for other nations, to beware of covetous governours, and proud Prelates; and therefore I thought fit to insert it here. The Count of Gelves was in some things one of the best Viceroys and Governours that ever the Court of Spaine sent to America, for he was called by the Spaniards, el terrible Justiciero, y fuego de Ladiones, that is, terrible for Justice, and fire to consume all theeves. For he cleered all the high waies of theeves, hanging them as often as they were caught without mercy, and did send out troopes and officers to apprehend them, so that it was generally reported that since the conquest unto those dayes of his there had never been so many theeves and malefactors hanged up as in his time. So in all other points of justice he was severe and upright. But yet covetousnesse did so blind him to see his owne injustice, that before he could see it, he had brought the City of Mexico and the whole Kingdome to a danger of rebellion.
What he would not to be seen in himselfe, he acted by others his instruments. And one of them was one Don Pedro Mexia, a mighty rich Gentleman of Mexico, whom hee chose to joyne with him in monopolizing all the Indian Maiz, and wheat about the Countrey. Don Pedro Mexia of the Indians bought at the price he list their Maiz, and the wheat of the Spaniards he bought it according to that price at which it is taxed by the law of that land to be sold at in time of famine; which is at fourteen Rials a bushell, (which is not much there considering the abundance of gold and silver) at which price the Farmers and husbandmen knowing it to be a plentiful yeer were glad and willing to sel unto him their wheat, not knowing what the end would be, & others fearing to gainsay him, whom they knew to be Viceroyes favorite. Thus Don Pedro Mexia filled all his barnes which he had hired about the Countrey, and himselfe and the Viceroy became owners of all the wheat. He had his officers appointed to bring it into the Markets upon his warning, and that was when some smal remnants that had escaped his fingers were sold, and the price raised. Then hoised he his price, and doubled it above what it had cost him.
The poore began to complaine, the rich to murmure, the taxe of the law was moved in the Court of Chancery before the Viceroy. But he being privy to the Monopoly expounded the law to bee understood in time of famine, and that he was informed, that it was as plentifull a yeer as ever had been, and that to his knowledge there was as much brought into the Markets as ever had been, and plenty enough for Mexico and all the Countrey. Thus was the law slighted, the rich mocked, the poore oppressed, and none sold wheat but Don Pedro Mexia his officers for himselfe and the Viceroy. When Justice would be no father, the people go to their mother the Church; & having understood the businesse better, and that it was Don Pedro Mexia, who did tyrannnize and oppresse them with the Viceroy his favour, they intreat the Archbishop to make it a case of Conscience, and to reduce it to a Church censure. Don Alonfo de Zerna the Archbishop, who had alwaies stomacked Don Pedro Mexia and the Viceroy, to please the people, granted to them to excommunicate Don Pedro Mexia, and so sent out bils of excommunication to be fixed upon all the Church dores against Don Pedro; who not regarding the excommunication, and keeping close at home, and still selling his wheat, raising higher the price then it was before; the Arch-bishop raised this censure higher against him, adding to it a Bill of [...]divine, that is, a cessation from all divine service.
This Censure is so great with them, that it is never used but for some great mans sake, who is contumacious and stubborn in his waies contemning the power of the Church. Then are all the Church dores shut up, (let the City be never so great) no masses are said, no prayers used, no preaching permitted, no meetings allowed for any publike devotion or calling upon God. Church mournes as it were, and makes no shew of spirituall joy and comfort, nor of any communion of prayers one with another, so long as the partie continues stubborn and rebellious in his sinne, and scandall; and in yeelding to [Page 63] the Churches censure. And further whereas by this cessation à divinis, many Churches and especially Cloisters suffer in the means of their livelyhood, who live upon what is daily given them for the Masses they say, and in a Cloister where thirty or fourty Preists say Masse, so many peices of Eight or crowns in Mexico doe daily come in; therefore this censure or cessatio à divinis is so inflicted upon the whole Church (all suffering for it as they say in spirituall, and some in temporall waies) that the party offending or scandalizing, for whose sake this curse is laid upon all, is bound to satisfie all Preists and Cloisters which in the way aforesaid suffer, and to allow them so much out of his meanes, as they might have daily got by selling away their Masses for so many crownes for their daily livelyhood. To this would the Arch-bishop have brought Don Pedro Mexia, to have emptied out of his purse neer a thousand crownes daily, towards the maintenance of about a thousand Preists (so many there may bee in Mexico) who from the Altar sell away their bread-God to satisfie with bread and food their hungry stomackes.
And secondly by the peoples suffering in their spirituall comfort, and noncommunion of prayers and idolatrous worship, hee thought to make Don Pedro Mexia odious to the people. Don Pedro perceiving the spightfull intents of the Archbishop, and hearing the outcries of the people in the streets against him, and their cries for the use and liberty of their Churches, secretly retired himselfe to the Palace of the Viceroy, begging his favour and protection, for whose sake he suffered. The Viceroy immediately sent out his Orders, commanding the bills of excommunication and cessation à divinis to bee pulled from the Church dores, and to all the Superiors of the Cloisters to set open their Churches, and to celebrate their service and masses as formerly they had done. But they disobeying the Viceroy through blind obedience to their Archbishop, the Viceroy commanded the Arch-prelate to revoke his censures. But his answer was that what he had done, had been justly done against a publike offender and great oppressor of the poore, whose cries had moved him to commiserate their suffering condition, and that the offenders contempt of his first excommunication had deserved the rigour of the second censure; neither of the which hee would or could revoke untill Don Pedro Mexia had submitted himselfe to the Church and to a publike absolution, and had satisfied the Preists and Cloisters who suffered for him, and had disclaimed that unlawfull and unconscionable Monopolie, wherewith he wronged the whole common-wealth, and especially the poorer sort therein.