the facts of my personal life. It is quite natural, then,
Hell has been said to have no fury equal to a woman scorned, but a Bishop thwarted makes a very tolerable show. Don Bernardino was one of those who think an insult to themselves carries with it a challenge to God, an outrage on religion, and generally conceive the honour of Heaven is attacked by any contradiction of themselves. To animadvert upon the actions of a Bishop's nephew is as bad as heresy -- far worse than simony -- and the man who does it cannot but be a heretic at heart. So, at least, Don Bernardino thought; for, with candle, bell, and book, and what was requisite, he excommunicated the poor Governor, and declared him incompetent to bear the royal standard in a religious festival which was shortly to take place. Excommunication was at least as serious then as bankruptcy is now, though in Spanish America it did not carry with it such direful consequences as in European States.
Not wishing to use force, the Governor yielded the point, and did not trouble the procession. His moderate conduct gained him many partisans, and put many people against the Cardenas. The nephew, Pedro de Cardenas, thought it a good occasion to insult the Governor in public; so one day in the street he followed him, casting reflections on his mother and his female relatives. Don Gregorio, who was a man of tried courage, having served for years against the Indians of Arauco, the bravest race of all the Indians of America, controlled his temper, and, turning to the young Franciscan, said, `Go with God, my father; but do not try me any more.' It was not to be expected that in those times and such a place a man like Don Gregorio de Hinostrosa, who had passed his life upon the frontiers, and who held supreme authority, would quietly submit to such a public insult; so one night he appeared at the Bishop's palace, accompanied by soldiers, to arrest Don Pedro. Out came Cardenas, and excommunicated the Governor and all his soldiers on the spot, and Don Pedro pointed a pistol at his head. He, seeing himself obliged either to make a public scandal or retire, being for peace at any price, retired, and the triumphant Bishop published his edict of excommunication, which he extended with a fine of fifty crowns to every soldier who had been present at the scene. On reflection, thinking, perhaps, it was unwise to excommunicate so many soldiers, who might be needed to repel an Indian attack, he sent and told the Governor he was ready to absolve him upon easy terms. The Governor, who had made light of the first excommunication, was rather staggered when he found the second posted at the Cathedral door. And now a comedy ensued; for Don Gregorio went to the Bishop, and on his knees asked for forgiveness. He, taken unawares, also knelt down, and, when the Governor kissed his hand, wished to return the compliment, and would have done so had the rector of the Jesuit college not prevented him.
As Charlevoix says, `to see them on their knees, no one could have imagined which one it was who asked the other's grace.' The Bishop granted absolution to the Governor; but the soldiers' action had been flat sacrilege at least, for every one of them was forced to pay the fine.
Two excommunications in a week were almost, one would think, enough to satisfy a Pope; but having nominated one Diego Hernandez, a Portuguese, to the post of Alguacil Mayor of the Inquisition, and given him the right to wear a sword in virtue of his office, the Governor, meeting the man in the street wearing a sword against his regulations, made him a prisoner. At once Don Bernardino launched another excommunication. But this time he had gone too far; the Governor laughed at his thunder, and condemned the prisoner to be hanged. At his wits' end, the Bishop sent a servant to the man, and told him to fear nothing, for that, if he suffered death, he was a martyr, and that he himself would preach his funeral sermon. The Governor, who was perhaps a humorist, laughed at the message, which, he said, was not consoling, and then himself let Hernandez out of prison under heavy bail. The excommunication was then taken off, and peace once more reigned in Asuncion.
As well as being not given to wine, it is essential that a Bishop shall know how to keep his own counsel -- as Lorenzo Gracian expresses it,* `not to lie, but not for that to speak out always the whole truth.' Everyone who knew the Bishop and his hasty temper was astonished at his behaviour to the Jesuits. No one imagined he had forgotten the attitude the rector of the University of Cordova had assumed towards his consecration, and still the Bishop seemed to show more favour to the Jesuits in Asuncion than to the members of the other religious communities. Perhaps he felt the want of partisans amongst the educated classes, for his quarrel with the Governor had lost him many friends. Certainly in Asuncion it was of great importance that the Jesuits should not declare against him openly.
-- * `Oraculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia' (Amsterdam, en casa de Juan Blau, 1659). --
He praised them fulsomely both in the pulpit and in conversation, went in procession to their church, and treated them in public with marked consideration. As a contemporaneous Jesuit has left a record, they were not his dupes, but still endeavoured to live up to the praises he dispensed to them. He went so far as in a letter to the King, Philip IV., to say that the Jesuits only in all Paraguay were really fitted to have the care of Indians, and he advised the King to transfer the Indians who were under other religious bodies, as well as those under the secular clergy, to the care and guidance of that Order. No doubt in this the Bishop was right, even if not sincere. One of the qualifications the Jesuits had for the care of Indians was that the Indians did not look on them as Spaniards.
As in the same way that in Matabeleland, perhaps, a German, Frenchman, or Italian is less hateful to the natives than an Englishman, so in Paraguay the Indians liked the Jesuits better than the other Orders, for there were many foreigners amongst their ranks. The Jesuits soon comprehended that the Bishop wished to make them odious to the public by overpraise. To set to work in such a manner almost requires an early training in a seminary, and that such tactics should have been put in force against such skilled diplomatists as were the Jesuits argues no ordinary capacity for diplomatic work in Cardenas. With him, however, the Spanish proverb, `Betwixt the word and deed the space is great', had little application. The vicar of a place called Arecaya, close to Asuncion, had fallen into disgrace; the Bishop removed him from his parish, and asked the rector of the Jesuit college to send a priest to take his place. The answer he received was politic, and to the effect that there was no Jesuit who could be spared, and even if there was it ill-befitted any Jesuit to infringe upon the duties of the secular clergy; but that, if Cardenas intended to found a new reduction with all the privileges that the King had always given to that kind of establishment, the rector himself would ask permission from his Provincial to undertake the work. A splendid answer, and one which proved that the man who gave it was a man wasted in Paraguay, and that his place by rights was Rome or, at the least, some court.
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