545

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CUBA.

545

[unexpectedly into one of their houses of worship,
found the cacique employed in obtaining responses
from the zemi. By the sound of the voice which
came from the idol, they knew that it was hollow,
and dashing it to the ground to expose the impos
ture, they discovered a tube which was before co
vered with leaves, that communicated from the
back part of the image to an inner apartment,
whence the priest issued his precepts as through a
speaking trumpet ; but the cacique earnestly en
treated them to say nothing of what they had seen,
declaring that by means of such pious frauds, he
collected tributes, and kept his kingdom in sub
jection. Happily, however, the general system of
their superstition, though not amiable, was not
cruel. We find among them but few of those
barbarous ceremonies which filled the Mexican
temples with pollution, and the spectators with
horror.

5. Their arts . — Our islanders had not only the
skill of making excellent cloth from their cotton,
but they practised also the art of dyeing it with a
variety of colours; some of them of the utmost
brilliancy and beauty. The piraguas were fully
sufficient for the navigation they were employed
in, and indeed were by no means contemptible sea
boats. We are told that some of these vessels
Avere navigated with forty oars ; and Herrera re
lates, that Bartholomew Columbus, in passing
through the gulf of Honduras, fell in with one that
was eight feet in breadth, and in length equal to a
Spanish galley. Over the middle was an awning,,
composed of mats and palm-tree leaves ; under
neath Avhich were disposed the women and chil
dren, secured both from rain and the spray of the
sea. It Avas laden with commodities from Yucatan.
These vessels Avere built either of cedar, or the
great cotton-tree hollowed, and made square at
each end like punts. Their gunnels Avere raised
Avith canes braced close, and smeared over with
some bituminous substance to render them Avater
tight, and they had sharp keels. Our islanders
far surpassed most other savage nations in the ele
gance and variety of their domestic utensils and
furniture, their earthenware, curiously Avoven
beds, and implements of husbandry. Martyr
speaks Avith admiration of the Avorkmanship of
some of the former of these. In the account he
gives of a magnificent donation from Anacoana to
Bartholomew Columbus, on his first visit to that
princess, he observes, that among other valuables
she presented him with 14 chairs of ebony beauti
fully wrought, and no less than 60 vessels of dif
ferent sorts, for the use of his kitchen and table,

VOL. I.

air of which Avere ornamented Avith figures of va
rious kinds, fantastic forms, and accurate repre
sentations of living animals. The industry and
ingenuity of our Indians therefore must have
greatly exceeded the measure of their wants.]

Bishops who have presided in the island of Cuba.

1. Don Fray Juan de Ubite, a monk of the
order of St. Francis ; elected first bishop in 1525,
and although not placed in the catalogue of this
church by Gil Gonzalez Davila, he certainly pre
sided here as bishop.

2. Don Fray Bernardo de Mesa, of the order
ofSt. Dominic, native of Toledo ; he died in 1538.

3. Den Fray Juan of Flanders, and native of
this country, of the religious order of St. Do
minic ; he left the bishopric from being appointed
confessor to the queen of France, Dona Lconor ;
succeeded by,

4. Don Fray Miguel Ramirez de Salamanca,
native of Burgos, of the order of St. Dominic,
master in his religion, preacher to the Emperor
Charles V. collegian in the college of San Gre
gorio of Valladolid, regent in the university of
Lobayna, and bishop of Cuba, in 1539.

5. Don F?'ay Diego Sarmiento, native of Bur
gos, a Carthusian monk, prior of the convent of
Santa Maria de las Cuevas of Seville ; elected
bishop in 1540 : he renounced the bishopric after
having made the visitation of the whole island, and
returned to Spain.

6. Don Fernando de Urango, native of Azpeitia
in Guipuzcoa, collegian of the college of St. Bar
tholomew in Salamanca, master and professor of
theology ; elected bishop in 1551; he died in
1536.

7. Don Bernardino de Villalpando ; he governed
until 1569.

8. Don Juan del Castillo, native of La Orden
in the bishopric of Burgos, collegiate of the col
lege of Sigiienza, and of that of St. Bartholomew
in Salamanca, professor of arts ; elected bishop in
1567 ; he goA^erned until 1580, Avhenhe renounced
his functions, and returned to Spain.

9. Don Antonio Diaz de Salcedo, of the order
of St. Francis, collegiate of St. Clement of Bolonia,
renoAvned for his virtues and letters ; elected in
1580, through the renunciation of the former, and
promoted to the church of Nicaragua in 1597.

10. Don Fray Bartolome de la Plaza, of the
order of St. Francis, in the same year, until
1602.

11. Don Fray Juan Cabezas, of the order of St.
Dominic, native of Zamora ; he studied laAvs and

4 A

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