and a good pen with which to communicate one’s own ideas
The answer Cardenas received from Tucuman was most ironically couched in the best style that his long-suffering friend was able to command. After addressing Cardenas as `your illustrious lordship', he proceeded to demolish all his statements in such a manner as to argue that he had had much practice with refractory priests in his own diocese. He told him that the Jesuits were the only Order in Paraguay that really worked amongst the Indians. He reminded him that from that Order the `second Paul', i.e., St. Francis Xavier, had himself issued. He asked him whether, as a churchman, he thought the yearly sum of twelve thousand crowns given by the King out of the treasury of Buenos Ayres towards the Jesuits' work was better saved, or that the thousands of Indians whom the Jesuits had converted should be lost to God. And as to heresy, he said he was no judge, leaving such matters to the Pope; but that no one accused the Jesuits of corruption in their morals, or of any of the greater crimes to which the great fragility of human nature renders us liable. He reminded him the Jesuits had made no accusation on their part, but always spoke of him with moderation and respect. And as to a provincial council, he said that it was impossible, for the following good cause: The Bishop of Misque* was too infirm to travel; the Bishop of La Paz was lately dead, and the see still vacant; the Bishop of Buenos Ayres only just arrived, and too much occupied to leave his diocese. Therefore, the only Bishops available were himself and Cardenas, and that they never would agree.
-- * Misque is at least fifteen hundred miles from Tucuman. --
`Moreover,' he remarked, `what is it that your illustrious lordship wishes me to do?
`God has only given me the charge of my own sheep. Your lordship knows as well as I do how a Bishop should comport himself.'
He finished with a quotation, saying that a Bishop's state was not to lie `in splendore vestium, sed morum; non ad iram, sed ut omnimodum patientium.'
What Cardenas replied is not set down in any history which has come under my observation, but what he must have thought is easy to divine.
The Governor of Paraguay, not content with having put his case before the Supreme Court of Charcas, sent also to the Council General of the Indies in Seville, detailing all the vagaries of the Bishop. The Jesuits also empowered an officer to represent them there.
During these preparations, and whilst everyone was off his guard, the Guaycurus endeavoured to surprise the capital, and would have done so had not some regiments of Guaranis arrived in time from the mission territory. This should have been an object-lesson to those who always tried to show the Jesuits in the light of enemies to the authority of the King of Spain. Nothing, however, proved of the least avail, and though on several occasions the Spanish power in Paraguay was only saved by the exertions of the Jesuits and their Indians, the calumnies of Cardenas had taken too deep root to be dispelled.
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