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Sound Bites -- Provocative excerpts from primary and secondary sources (some with audio commentary)


81-90 of 333 Sound Bites. [show all]

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81) For who doubteth but that it is lawfull for Christians to use trade and traffic with Infidels or Savages, carrying thither such commodities as they want, and bringing from thence some part of their plenty?  A thing so commonly and generally practised, both in these our days, and in times past beyond the memory of man, both by Christians and Infidels, that it needeth no further proof. (Sir George Peckham, A True Reporte of the Late Discoveries, 1583, reprinted in David B. Quinn, The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Vol. 2.  London: Glasgow UP, 1940: 450.)

82) In applying [the] Thomistic idea of a natural-law connection between states to Spain's conquests in the Americas, Victoria developed three fundamental arguments that later Humanist and Enlightenment theorists on international law adopted essentially intact as the accepted European Law of Nations on American Indian rights and status: 1. The inhabitants of the Americas possessed natural legal rights as free and rational people.   2. The pope's grant to Spain of title to the Americas was "baseless" and could not affect the  inherent rights of the Indian inhabitants.  3. Transgressions of the universally binding norms of the Law of Nations by the Indians might serve to justify a Christian nation's conquest and colonial empire in the Americas. (on the Law of Nations in theory: Robert A. Williams, Jr.,  The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest.  New York: Oxford UP, 1990: 97. )

83) Whereas, it has become evident through long experience that nothing has sufficed to bring the said chiefs and Indians to a knowledge of our Faith (necessary for their salvation), since by nature they are inclined to idleness and vice, and have no manner of virtue or doctrine . . . the most beneficial thing that could be done at present would be to remove the said chiefs and Indians to the vicinity of the villages and communities of the Spaniards . . . .  I command you . . . to have the lodges of the said villages burned, since the Indians will have no further use for them: this is so that they will have no reason to return whence they have been brought. (from the Laws of Burgos, 1513.  New Iberian World: A Documentary History of the Discovery and Settlement of Latin America to the Early 17th Century.  Vol. I.  Eds. John H. Parry and Robert G. Keith.  New York: Times Books, 1984. )

84) We will not enter into the controversy, whether agriculturists, merchants, and manufacturers, have a right, on abstract principles, to expel hunters from the territory they possess, or to contract their limits.  Conquest gives a title which the Courts of the conqueror cannot deny.  (John Marshall, Johnson v. M'Intosh, 1823 )

85) Today we visualize English invasion of the North American continent as the establishment of a military beachhead.  The assumption is general that the Indian was a hostile occupant of the territory which the English proposed to settle. . . . Although this was true as soon as English intentions to conquer as well as to settle became evident, it is not an accurate description of the initial Indian attitude.  Nothing is so frequently recorded in the earliest chronicles as the warmth of the reception accorded the first colonists. (Wilcomb E. Washburn, "The Moral and Legal Justifications for Dispossessing the Indians."  Seventeenth-Century America: Essays in Colonial History.  Ed. James Morton Smith. New York: Norton, 1972: 19. )

86) They have nothing, says Lullus, "of the reasonable animal, except the mask." -- And even that mask was allowed to avail them but little, for it was soon found that they were of a hideous copper complexion, -- and being of a copper complexion, it was all the same as if they were negroes -- and negroes are black, and "black," said the pious fathers, devoutly crossing themselves, "is the colour of the Devil!"  Therefore so far from being able to own property, they had no right even to personal freedom, for liberty is too radiant a deity, to inhabit such gloomy temples.  All which circumstances plainly convinced the righteous followers of Cortes and Pizarro, that these miscreants had no title to the soil that they infested -- that they were a perverse, illiterate, dumb, beardless, bare bottomed black seed -- mere wild beasts of the forests, and like them should either be subdued or exterminated. (Washington Irving, History of New York.  New York: 1809 [Book I, chap v]. )

87) Why have I not brought them to such a conversion as I speake of?  I answer, woe be to me, if I call light darknesse, or darknesse light; sweet bitter, or bitter sweet; woe be to me if I call that conversion unto God, which is indeed subversion of the soules of Millions in Christendome, from one false worship to another, and the prophanation of the holy name of God, his holy Son and blessed Ordinances. (Roger Williams, "Christenings Make Not Christians."  The Complete Writings of Roger Williams.  Vol. VII.  Ed. John Russell Bartlett.  New York: Russell & Russell, Inc., 1963: 37. )

88) According to Richard Hakluyt, the greatest of the early English colonial editors, for all the Amerindians' "faire and cunning speeches," they were not to be trusted.  They were the greatest liars and dissemblers in the world, "for which they often had their deserved paiments" from the Spaniards.  To handle them gently would be the best policy, but if gentle policy would not serve, "then we shall not want hammorous and rough masons enow, I mean our old soldiers trained up in the Netherlands, to square and prepare them for our Preachers hands."  Hakluyt wrote this passage in 1609 after other English propagandists had shifted their ground, but he spoke as the representative of an earlier day and an earlier policy.  Though a clergyman and a strong believer in Amerindian conversion, Hakluyt never favored a soft or sympathetic attitude towards the native. (Loren Pennington, "The Amerindian in English Promotional Literature." The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic, and America 1480-1650.  Ed. K. R. Andrews, N. P. Canny, and P. E. H. Hair.  Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 1978: 181. )

89) Today there is no jurisdiction nor any other power or dominion among infidels, since, as his [Christ's] opinion states, they are fundamentally incapable of possessing them. (Paulus Vladimir in Opinio Hostiensis, 1414: James Muldoon, ed.  The Expansion of Europe: The First Phase.  Philadelphia: U of  Pennsylvania P, 1977:  203. )

90) God wills it!  God wills it! (Urban II's speech at Clermont inaugurating the First Crusade: James Brundage,  Crusades: A Document Survey.  Milwaukee: Marquette UP,1962: 17. )