Of the repartimiento of the Indians of the island of San Juan, and of what followed.
Translated by Ella Nguyen ’23
Once the island of San Juan was pacified, with the Indians distributed as they should have, it seemed to those who had sought the distribution that if someone were to do it over, he would know how to portion the Indians among the settlers who participated in the conquest of the island in a better way. For this purpose, a resident judge by the name of Licenciado Velázquez had been sent there, who they blamed by claiming he was deceived by the officers and agents of the settlement; because, as those who were more alert and outspoken than the ones who had worked in the pacification and conquest of the land had misrepresented themselves as officials and factors or nominees, they sagaciously tried to leave those who deserved it without reward so that they and their friends could be given what others should have. They had such ways of doing this that among other things they gave the judge many cunning account that he could have understood as meaning the opposite, or vice versa, saying that some were laborers and others people of low account, not remembering that those who were raising these objections could better and with more truth apply those objections to themselves and not to the ones they were whispering about; because they were choosing to forget the virtuous deeds, daring, and services of those against whom they spoke. Those who, at their own cost and without salary had won and conquered the island with much spilling of their own blood and much more of that of their enemies, of which there were many, with half of the true conquerors not still standing for their gratification, and not receiving for their support more than words and vain promises, telling them that the Indians would be divided among them, as in truth it would be very fair to do; but it was done backwards, and they were given to whom he wanted to, and not to whom he should have given them. This licenciado was the first judge to enter that island, but the land had been better governed before him and those who followed in these legal appointments; as it had been by Lieutenant Cristóbal de Mendoza, against whom no lawsuit was lodged and no person complained; instead, this island mourned for him when he was impeached, seeing that they took away his position. But this is how these things go, that sometimes God allows the good judges to be taken away for the sins of the people, or because of the merits of such judges God chooses to remove them from places where they had the occasion to err and offend their consciences. And it would seem that nothing has been gained by that island from the results of these novelties and mutations in governance, given the differing customs of those who have been in charge of justice. And after Cristóbal de Mendoza left for Spain he was honored by His Imperial Majesty, who gave him the robes of the Order of Santiago and fed him like one of the knights of his Royal house, where he received grater mercies with fewer perils, and in his homeland and not so far away here in the New World.