Saturday, July 20, 2013

Alexander Del Mar: "The Conquest"

Somewhat lengthy excerpt from Del Mar's "History of Money in America" (hat-tip MNE commenter  "David" for bringing Del Mar here...thanks bud... ;) here from Chapter 2, subtitled "The Conquest".

The narrative picks up at a time soon after Columbus' arrival in the Americas, and documents the chaos and human carnage fomented by out of control metal-love and metal-subjection by humans which characterized those times in western history.

During that bygone era, gold and the other two so-called "precious metals" from column 11 of the Periodic Table of the Elements, silver and copper, all three of these metals with the unique electrical properties they have in common, were seen as "money" by those occupying positions of authority in the west.

Thus human leadership in the west during this now thankfully perhaps permanently bygone era surrendered the one true authority humans have been given, i.e. the authority to conduct economic policy through the institutions of human government, to the metals or perhaps ultimately to what is behind them.

Death and destruction naturally followed; let's pick it up with this one account from Del Mar:

No sooner had Columbus taken formal possession of the island of Hispaniola than he asked the wondering natives for gold. (Ed:  Run Forrest!!!! )
This fatal word, so fraught with misfortune to the aborigines that it might fittingly furnish an epitaph for their race, and so tainted with dishonour to their conquerors that four centuries of time have not sufficed to remove its stigma, seems to have been literally the first verbal commuuication from the Old World to the New.
Some of the islanders had a few gold ornaments about them. ' ' Poor wretches" (says Navarette) "if they had possessed the slightest gift of prophecy, they would have thrown these baubles into the deepest sea!" They pointed south and answered, " Cubanacan," meaning the middle of Cuba. Shortly after the discovery, Columbus was wrecked on the coast of Cuba, and he sent to the neighbouring cacique, Guacanagari, to in- form him of his misfortune. The good chief was moved to tears by the sad accident, and with the labour of his people lightened the wrecked vessel, removed the effects to a place of safety, stationed guards around them for their better security, and then offered Co- lumbus all of his own property to make good any loss which the lat- ter had sustained. Touched by this unparallelled kindness, Columbus thus expressed himself of these Indies: "They are a loving uncovetous people, so docile in all things that, I assure your Highnesses, I believe in all the world there is not a better people or a better country ; they love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest way in the world of talking, and always with a smile."
In return for their hospitality and loving kindness, the Spanish captain resolved to establish a colony among them, having found such goodwill and such signs of gold. He built a fort, called it La Navidad, left forty adventurers in it, among them an Irishman and an Englishman, and sailed to Spain. The first thing done, after his return home—the recital of his wondrous story, his reception at the Court of Spain, and the Te Deum— was to obtain a grant of the newly-found domain and all its contents, animate and inanimate, from the Pope of Rome.
These objects were effected by a Bull, dated May, 1499. In September, 1493, Columbus set forth again, this time with sev- enteen vessels and 1500 men. He found La Navidad destroyed, and his forty colonists missing. According to the cacique, Guacanagari, the Spaniards had made a raid, probably for gold, upon a tribe of the interior, and notwith- standing the advantages of their arms, had been defeated and killed to a man. Columbus built another fort in another part of the island, called it Isabella, and at once gave his attention to the subject of gold. " Hearing of the mines of Cibao, he sent to reconnoitre them ; and the Indios, little foreseeing what was to come of it, gave gold to the Spanish messengers. Columbus accordingly resolved to found a colony at Cibao." In January, 1494, Columbus sent to the joint sovereigns of Spain, by the hands of Antonio de Torres, the Receiver of the colony, an account of his second voyage, with recommendations for the consideration and approval of Los Reyes.
After the complimentary address, it begins with the reasons why the admiral had not been able to send home more gold. His people have been ill; it was necessary to keep guard, etc. "ZT,? has done well,'" is written in the margin by order of Los Reyes. He suggests the building of a fortress near the place where gold can be got. Their Highnesses approve: " This is well, and so it must be done. " He then suggests to make slaves of the Indios, and to ship some of them to Spain, to help pay for the expenses of the expedition. The answer to this atrocious project is evasive, as though Los Reyes did not wish to wound so valued a servant by a point blank refusal. It is : ' ' Suspended for the presetit. "
Money was very welcome at the Spanish Court, where there was more show than maravedis; but Los Reyes were not yet prepared to obtain it by sanctioning the enslavement of an innocent and friendly people. On the other hand, Columbus was eager for the measure. While de Torres was at the Court with these recommendations, Columbus' colony fared badly on the island. The provisions which they had brought with them failed, and white men were threatened with starvation, where the Indios lived without effort. To their great disgust the Spaniards had to go to work, and till the earth for bread, instead of scouring it, as they had expected, for gold. "The rage and vexation of these men, many of whom had come out with the notion of finding gold ready for them on the sea shore, may be imagined. . .
. The colonists, however, were somewhat cheered, after a time, by hearing of goldmines, and seeing specimens of 'ore' brought from thence; and the admiral went himself, and founded the fort of St. Thomas, in the mining district of Cibao." It is needless to say that, without the establishment of any permanent sources of supplies, the gold hunters failed in their enterprise, and most of them lost their lives. "They went straggling over the country; they consumed the provisions of the poor Indians, aston- ishing them by their voracious appetites; waste, rapine, injury and insult followed in their steps."
Worn out with their sufferings, the miserable Indios "passed from terror to despair," and threatened the Spanish settlement. Columbus sallies forth, routs the Indios of Macorix, and captures the majority, four shiploads of whom he sends to Spain, February 24, 1495, as slaves.
These were the very ships that brought out the evasive re- ply of Los Reyes to Columbus' request for leave to enslave the natives. After this, Columbus starts upon another expedition, at the head of 400 cavalry, clad in steel, armed with arquebuses, and attended by bloodhounds. He is opposed by 100,000 Indios. Their soft and naked bodies not being proof against horses, fire-arms, or ferocious dogs, a horrible carnage ensues, and another bloody installment is paid towards the cost of gold. Columbus captures the cacique, Caonabo, through the vilest treachery, and imposes a tribute of gold upon the entire population of Hispaniola.
The tribute is as follows: Every Indio above fourteen years old, who was in the provinces of the mines, or near to these provinces, was to pay every three months a little bellfull of gold; and all other Indios an arroba of cotton.
When this unreasonable tribute was imposed, Guarion^x, cacique of the Vega Real, said that his people did not know where to find the gold, and offered in its place to cultivate a huge farm, fifty-five leagues long, covering the whole island, and to produce therefrom enough corn to feed the whole of Castile. Poor Indio! This was, indeed, a suggestion of despair. Hispaniola, at the utmost, did not contain more than 1,200,000 Indies, man, woman, and child. Castile contained a population of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000.
An attempt to feed a population so large by one so small, and at a distance of 4,000 miles, could only have ended in failure. But Guarion^x might as well have made this as any other proposal.
What their Catholic Majesties wanted was not bread but gold; and this is what, in their names, Columbus was bent upon obtaining.
Yet however much he desired it, the gold could not be collected, simply because there were no gold mines of any consequence, only some poor washings, in Hispaniola, from whence it might be got. Columbus was, therefore, obliged to change the nature of his oppressions. This was done by reducing the whole native population to vassalage; and thus, in the year of our Lord 1496, was begun the system of repartimientos in America. ' Such was the reward for the unparallelled kindness of good Guacanagari, and for his loving, uncovetous people, "who al- ways spoke with a smile."

What a moron-fest.

Granted we humans are still in need of much revelation, but let's hope we have at least been able to finally throw the yoke of these metals for good as step one.


Unknown said...

Granted we humans are still in need of much revelation, Matt Franko

The cannon of Scripture is complete; we need only read it and take ALL of it seriously.

Example: I was led to the solution of common stock as private money by the paradox that profit in the Bible is good while profit taking isn't!

Bob Roddis said...

This little history lesson pretty much eviscerates your pathetic "state theory of money".

Bob Roddis said...

The "metals" did not cause this behavior. People valued the "metals" because other people valued them and one could exchange them for goods and services. The behavior was caused by not recognizing the natural right of the "indios" to be free of aggressive behavior. Of course, "progressives" do not recognize that right either.

Tom Hickey said...

This little history lesson pretty much eviscerates your pathetic "state theory of money".

Would you care to elaborate?

The natives were not using gold as money but for ornamental purposes. Spain was using gold coin, however, and the importation of gold from the New World resulted in a massive inflation in the Old World.

Bob Roddis said...

People don't require "economic stimulus". They require protection for their person and possessions. These Spaniards seem to be sufficiently economically stimulated.

Unknown said...

Hey Bob,

You and your fellow shiny metal worshipers should be allowed to use shiny metals all you want BUT FOR PRIVATE DEBTS ONLY.

Agreed? Or is running a scam on the rest of us (as Gary North would do) what you have in mind?

Matt Franko said...


"we need only read it and take ALL of it seriously."

Take a look:

"God parts to each the measure of faith" Romans 12:3

What happens if He doesn't part any measure to some of our fellow humans??????

Here's another:

"for us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him.
7 But not in all is there this knowledge" 1 Cor 8:6-7

Many humans don't have this knowledge here F beard...

Whether they read the scriptures or not... its not like they can "make themselves believe" like you perhaps imply here... or "muster up the faith" on their own... there is no scriptural revelation that indicates anyone can do these things on their own...

You assert "we just need to take it seriously": There is no scripture that says this is possible...

Many humans think the Hebrew and Greek scriptures are like "fairy tales" or something... they are not given to believe they are true... this is not a choice they are making of their own free will... its part of God's operation.

I would say that the metal-lovers among us have not been given much if any measure of faith.


Matt Franko said...


here is our western ancestor Aristotle on "state money", what our Greek ancestors termed, nomisma:

"Nomisma by itself is a mere device which has value only by nomos (law) and not by nature; so that a change of convention between those who use it, is sufficient to deprive it of value and its power to satisfy our wants." — Aristotle, "Politica."

"By virtue of voluntary convention nomisma has become the medium of exchange. We call it nomisma, because its efficacy is due not to nature but to nomos (law), and because it is always in our power to control it." — Aristotle, " Ethica."

No metal-love or metal-subjection evidenced here at all Bob...

State "money" is back Bob, the metals have been rejected again... I hope it is here to stay...


Tom Hickey said...

No one denies that state money has often been coin, usually including seignorage in the face value. But the actual use of the coins as far as the state is concerned as a tax token.

Anyway, the state can demand anything is wishes in payment of obligations to the state, whether money or goods - grain, measures of precious metals, even terms of service to the state, etc. — and states have done this. In fact, in some cases, terms of service were negotiable contracts, where someone well-off could avoid service by hiring a surrogate.