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FOR JUNE, 1822.
ART. I. An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian
People of Paraguay. From the Latin of Martin Dobrizhoffer, Eighteen Years a Missionary in that Country.
3 vols. 8vo. 11. 16s. Murray. 1822 MARTIN DOBRIZHOFFER, as we are informed by the preface to this curious and interesting work, was a native of Styria, and born in 1717. At nineteen years of age he entered the order of Jesuits, and after a preparation of thirteen more he went as a Missionary to South America. The meridian of his life was passed in Paraguay, where he employed himself in the diffusion of Christian doctrines and the practice of Christian duties. Seven of the eighteen years which were dedicated to his Foreign ministry were passed among the Abipones, a tribe unreclaimed from savage habits. The work, of which a translation is now presented to the English public, is the result of his inquiries and observations while employed on bis mission. It is written in a rambling and discursive manner; very much, we doubt not, resembling that in which the good old man used to tell his story to the Empress Maria Theresa, who was fond of listening to him. The garrulity of its style, and the tincture of superstition which occasionally marks it, are far from disagreeable ; and they impart to it a life and animation, a personality and identity, as it were, which are too often wanting in the more fastidious and elaborate narratives of modern Travellers. Perhaps we cannot offer higher praise than by adding that, in many things, Martin Dobrizhoffer has forcibly reminded us of no less than Herodotus himself. On the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish America he returned to Styria; and, on the extinction of bis Order be continued to reside at Vienna, till his death, which occurred in 1791.
Much good, doubtless, was produced by the Romish Missionaries in Paraguay: and, whatever accusation of
Oo VOL, XVII. JUNL, 1822.
worldliness may be adduced against the snperiors of the Jesuits, we are inclined to bestow unqualified approbation on the spirituality, the patience, the learning, and the diligence of the numerous Clergy employed as their instruments. Be it remembered that the persons engaged in these difficult and dangerous services were not stung to the mighty work of planting the Cross by llie gad-fly of fanaticism: that they were no dreamers rushing aside from the home circle of imperative and possible duties, to the boundless impossible of Ultra-Philanthropism: that they had one fixed and steady object; a creed, which, with all the faults that may le charged upon it, was openly avowed and strictly defined ; and a scheme of action profoundly meditated and correctly organized. The labourers moreover were trained to their toil by a long course of probationary education : instructed in every science which the wit of man has compassed; apportioned to separate tasks best fitted to the peculiar bent of mind and extent of acquirement which each had shewn: and for their knowledge of Holy Writ not tossed loosely to the vague and individual fancies of latitudinarian interpretation, but taught implicitly to rely upon the guidance of a Church which, though in many things blind and corrupt, was neither self-created nor uncommissioned of God.' The effects produced by a machine so composed, were of necessity commensurate to its magnitude, and the excellency of its materials. Religion and civilization advanced land in hand ; and the Guaranies and the Chiquitos learned their duties to God and to their Neighbour, without the aid of an Uncanonical Conspiracy of Enthusiasts, which threatened to wean the mother country in which it arose from its established worship, and to divert her numerous streams of unostentatious and useful Charity, into a single, ambitious, overwhelming and destructive torrent.
The territories of the missions of Paraguay comprehended not only the province of that name, but also a great part of those of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Tucuman, and Buenos Ayres. The Missionary's first volume embraces the general state of the whole settlement: and from this we must be permitted to cull the most striking facts, without any closer regard to order and arrangement than the writer himself has thought it necessary to display.
The forest of Mbaevėra abounds in trees from the leaves of which the herb Paraguay is made. Some Spaniards employed in gathering these leaves, which form a principal article of commerce, came upon an empty hovel evidently belonging to savages. Struck with terror they bastened to