chapter  13
43 Pages

Describing the dominions, government, riches, and greatness of the city of Guatemala, and country belonging unto it

CH APTER X III Describing the dominions, government, riches, greatness of the city

I h a d not rid on above a mile from the church of Xocotenango, when the hills and mountains seemed to depart one from another, leaving a more spacious objeft for the eye to behold, and a wider valley to wander in. The fame of that city from Mexico and Chiapa had raised up my thoughts to conceit of some ftrong walls, towers, forts or bulwarks to keep out an aspiring or attempting enemy. But when I came near and leaft thought of it, I found myself in it without entering through walls, or gates, or passing over any bridge, or finding any watch or guard to examine who I was; but passing by a new built church, ftanding near a place of dunghills, where were none but mean houses, some thatched, and some tiled, and asking what town that was, answer was made me that it was the city of Guatemala, and that that, being called St Sebaftian, was the only parish church of the city. With this my high conceiting thoughts ftooped down to think of some second Chiapa; till having continued on a while by houses on my right hand and dunghills on my left, I came to a broader ftreet having houses on each side, which seemed to promise a city at hand. At my firft turning I discovered a proud and ftately cloifter, which was the place of reft to my wearied body. I surrounded it to find out the back gate, and there lighted, and enquired for the Prior, who bad me very welcome, assuring me that for the Provincial’s sake I should want no encouragement, and that he would do for me much more than what the Provincial had signified unto him by letters. He told me he had been brought up in Spain, in the country of Afturias, where many English ships did use to come, and having seen there many of my nation he affefted them very much, and to me as one of so good

He was the chief Mafter and Reader of Divinity in the University, his name Mafter Jacintho de Cabannas, who finding me desirous to follow the schools, and especially to hear from him some lessons of theology, within the firft quarter of year, that I had been his conftant and attentive auditor, graced me with a public aft of conclusions of divinity, which I was to defend under his direftion and moderation in the face of the whole University and assembly of doftors and divines, againft the tenets of Scotus and Suarez. But the principal and head conclusion was concerning the birth of the Virgin Mary, whom both Jesuits, Suarez, and Franciscans, and Scotifts hold to have been born without original sin, or any guilt or ftain of it, againft whose fond, foolish, and ungrounded fancies, I publicly defended with Thomas Aquinas, and all Thomifts, that she (as well as all Adam’s pofterity) was born in original sin. It was an aft, the like whereof had not been so controverted in that University with arguments in contra, and their answers and solutions, and with reasons and arguments in fro many years before. The Jesuits ftamped with their feet, clapped with their hands, railed with their tongues, and con­ demned it with their mouths for a heresy, saying that in England, where were heretics, such an opinion concerning Christ’s mother might be held, and de­ fended by me who had my birth among heretics, but that Mafter Cabannas, born among Spaniards, and brought up in their Universities, and being the chief Reader in that famous academy should maintain such an opinion, they could not but much marvel and wonder at it. But with patience I told them that ftrong reasons, and the further authority of many learned

S U R V E Y OF W E S T I N D I E S Thomift divines should satisfy their vain and clamorous wondering. The aft was ended, and though with Jesuits I could get no credit, yet with the Dominicans, and with Mafter Cabannas I got so much that I never after loft it for the space of almoft twelve years, but was ftill honoured by the means of this Cabannas and Friar John Baptift, the Prior of Chiapa (who at Chriftmas ensuing was made Prior of Guatemala) with honours and preferments as great as ever ftranger was living among Spaniards. These two above named being at Candlemas or beginning of February that same year at Chiapa, at the eleftion of a new Provincial, would not forget me their pooreft friend ftill abiding in Guatemala, but remembering that the University (which belonged chiefly to the cloifter) at Michaelmas would want a new Reader or Mafter of Arts to begin with logic, continue through the eight books of physics, and to end with the metaphysics, propounded me to the new elefted Provincial (whose name was Friar John Ximeno) and to the whole Chapter and Conventicle of the province for Reader of Arts in Guatemala the Michaelmas next ensuing. Their suit for me was so earneft and their authority so great that nothing could be denied them, and so they brought unto me from the Provincial Chapter letters patent from Friar John Ximeno.