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Bartolomé de las Casas: An Interpretation of his Life and by Lewis Hanke

By Lewis Hanke

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Ironically enough, the Viceroy Toledo seems to have agreed with Serra to some extent for the many laws and administrative regulations he worked out for the Indians - which won for him the name of "Solon of Peru" were based on the system developed centuries before by the Incas. 17-18. , p. 18. 48 BARTOLOME DE LAS CASAS: their rule may seem curious and bizarre. Certainly, few instances may be discovered in our own colonial history of English preoccupation with such matters. Roger Williams, in Rhode Island, did compose a manuscript in which he questioned the right of Plymouth to Indian lands unless by direct purchase in a voluntary sale, but after the chief men and ministers of Boston condemned these "errors and presumptions in which treason might lurk" he wrote "very submissively" to Governor Winthrop offering to burn part or all of the manuscript 1 • To Spaniards, however, the basis for the just title by which their king ruled the Indies was a palpitating question throughout most of the sixteenth century.

Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod Than Rocinante stumbling up to God ? CHAPTER II BARTOLOME DE LAS CASAS: POLITICAL THEORIST AND HISTORIAN Bartolome de Las Casas, who fought so stoutly for the Indians from his conversion in 1514 in Cuba until his death in 1566 in Spain, has usually been considered a noble humanitarian or a saintly fanatic, when harsher epithets have not been applied to him. Few of his friends or enemies have realized that under the fire and brimstone of his invective there existed a closely reasoned structure of political thought based upon the most fundamental concepts of medieval Europe.

17-18. , p. 18. 48 BARTOLOME DE LAS CASAS: their rule may seem curious and bizarre. Certainly, few instances may be discovered in our own colonial history of English preoccupation with such matters. Roger Williams, in Rhode Island, did compose a manuscript in which he questioned the right of Plymouth to Indian lands unless by direct purchase in a voluntary sale, but after the chief men and ministers of Boston condemned these "errors and presumptions in which treason might lurk" he wrote "very submissively" to Governor Winthrop offering to burn part or all of the manuscript 1 • To Spaniards, however, the basis for the just title by which their king ruled the Indies was a palpitating question throughout most of the sixteenth century.

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