ALONSO DE SANDOVAL:
Seventeenth-Century Merchant of the Gospel
Aethiopia praeveniet manus eius Deo
by M. E. Beers
During the early seventeenth century, the arrival of an Iberian vessel at New World port cities such as Cartagena (in present day Colombia) was cause for great excitement among the city's merchants.As the mercader made his way to the docks to asses the newly-arrived cargo, the expectation of turning a handsome profit fueled his curiosity.Among those who hurried to the wharfs to inspect the contents of the holds of the vessels was Alonso de Sandoval (1577-1652).With notebook in hand he joined the band quickly making its way to the docks.Sandoval, however, was especially interested in inspecting only one kind of cargo: negros bozales, African slaves.The slave trade in the New World was a lucrative enterprise for any merchant, but what made Sandoval a unique presence on the docks was that he did not go to asses the marketability or profitability of the negros as prospective merchandise.Rather, he went in order to ascertain the slave's spiritual condition and alleviate their physical trauma as best he could.As a Jesuit priest assigned to the college in the city, Sandoval spent over forty years zealously developing innovative procedures through which to better carry out his "business" in the ship's holds, docks, and slave pens of Cartagena negrera.
In the century following the discovery of the New World, the conquistadores' heroic zeal and avarice gave way to the opportunistic and pragmatic enterprises of the New World mercader.A unique cleric who sought ways to market his goods in a slave society, Sandoval, not only labored daily among the bozales, but also penned a missionary guidebook for other priests toiling among black slaves.This work recognized the existence and worth of the human soul, even in an enslaved body.Neither his physical labors nor his writings were directly in opposition to the institution of slavery, but instead Sandoval concentrated on decrying the dehumanization of the black man and the invalidation of his soul and procuring for him a means of entrance into heaven.De instauranda Aethiopum salute: Naturaleza, policia sagrada i profana, costumbres i ritos, disciplina i catechismo evangelico de todos etiopes, published in 1627 and revised in 1647, represented Sandoval's life work, his rationalizations, observations, experiences, and labors among a dispossessed race.  Criticized by modern writers for his failure to demand reforms of the kind which Bartolomé de Las Casas procured for the Amerindian, Sandoval found a more pragmatic course of action, which, reflecting the mercantile spirit of the age, mandated quick returns.Perhaps devoid of the political connections necessary to further his cause at the judicial level, the Jesuit conceived his mission as more expedient and tactile: to alleviate the immediate, temporal needs of his charges and to secure their entrance into Christ's fold by whatever means he could devise.
The writings of Alonso de Sandoval offer glimpses of the Iberian mindset at a time of dynamic change, a progressive defense of African human dignity and worthiness of the soul, and a full portrait of the black man, his customs, his languages, and his homelands as seen through the eyes of a seventeenth-century creole.As one reviewer of the 1956 edition of Sandoval's work phrased it, "[De instauranda Aethiopum salute] is a compendium of knowledge in the field in Sandoval's time."  Circulating in a world where what were once thought mythological tales had become reality, the influence of such an expansionist and mobile society and the chattel setting of Cartagena on De instauranda Aethiopum salute and its author certainly influenced the content of the treatise.Both the contemporary and modern responses the book elicited provide further insight into the unique seventeenth-century attitudes of the colonial Spaniard toward African enslavement and its resultant tensions.By the seventeenth century, as the mercader replaced the conquistador, the rhetoric and methods of conquest were replaced by the exigencies of commerce.Through his writing and his labors Sandoval showed himself to be a master merchant, albeit in a unique enterprise.Like many traders in the New World, he capitalized on his background, studied his "clients" and his "competition," and devised singular methods to peddle his vision for catechizing black slaves.Sandoval's approach filled a void in the religious marketplace of the time.
"From India to Aethiopia" 
The sixteenth century marked the transition of Spain from "mistress of the world and queen of the ocean," to a financially struggling and politically waning state.At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the heady days of the Reconquista, of unification, and of discovery – which characterized the previous century – had been replaced by the formidable challenges of maintaining a world-wide empire.Spain's hegemony weakened as other European powers sought a share of the wealth to be amassed at the expense of new territories and subjects.The combination of opportunism and religious zeal, which in many ways powered the machinery of Spain's transoceanic success, clashed as the needs of Ferdinand and Isabella's successors to cope with the financial burden of governing such a vast empire increasingly depleted the royal coffers.
The heady days of Spain's political Golden Age were a time of expansion and religio-political liaison.With unmitigated devotion the Catholic monarchs had established the Inquisition in Spain in 1479, shortly after the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had been united under their leadership.  Ferdinand and Isabella led Spanish troops to subdue Granada and defeat the Moors in 1492, unifying Spain as a Christian country.With unforgiving diligence and fervor the Inquisition and the monarchs persecuted and expelled infidels from Spain: Jews and Moors alike. The cause of Spain and of God was monolithic; its champions often wielded both sword and cross.  Conqueror and cleric shared in a sense of the "higher calling" of their labors in the New World.  With the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, Spain joined Portugal in extending its influence and its faith into other continents. The Spaniards heralded the discovery of the New World by Columbus as a crucial vanguard in fulfilling the will of God to bring all of mankind under the banners of an universal Catholic Church and of the Catholic monarchs.
The Portuguese exploits reconnoitering the African coasts provided valuable contacts and navigation expertise for Iberian sailors.  By 1580, when King Philip II of Spain seized the Portuguese throne, both the American New World and the African continent had been largely explored.The new Spain ruled the entire Iberian peninsula and thus the continents to the West and the South were used in tandem for the realm's advancement and support.  Such glory would be short-lived, however, as the newfound preeminence quickly ebbed.The Netherlands declared its independence in 1581; the ill-fated Spanish Armada sailed in 1588; revolts, religious wars, bankruptcy, and civil wars ushered the kingdom into the 1600s. 
To the West, Spain's encounter with the New World, made the spiritual fate of the Amerindian preeminent in the proselytization process.  Church leaders perceived the noble savage of the Americas to be ignorant of Christianity, in sharp contrast to the willful rejection of the teachings of Christ by African natives.By the late sixteenth century, when conquest fever reached its zenith, the mistreatment of the Amerindian in the Spanish search for gold and glory in the New World compelled men such as Las Casas, in the throes of religious conversion, to initiate a crusade of words on their behalf.The concept of the Amerindian as an unaccountable minor, ignorant of the doctrines and dictates of Christianity, demanded that he be "taken care of" rather than exploited.
On the African continent, however, the perceived rejection of the Gospel by the black man made him the logical alternate to shoulder the labor needs created by Spanish cleric's attempts to "protect" the New World native.In the sixteenth century few, if any, voices rose to defend the black man's plight under bondage; even Las Casas for a time called for replacement of Indian labor, necessary for the maintenance of Spain's glorious mission, through the importation of black slaves to the Caribbean.  Blacks had been "re-discovered" nearly a century before the voyages of Columbus through Portuguese explorations of the "dark" continent.The pagan of "the Old World, the world of antiquity and of the Bible, which at least had been exposed for many centuries to the Word of God," was to the Spaniard but another manifestation of the "infidel" Moors.  While the Catholic Church had long recognized the validity of slavery as a means of carrying out God's justice, lack of exposure to the Christian God could mitigate certain forms of bondage.
The exigencies of financing the vast empire and maintaning European territories shifted Spain'semphasis from ideological and religious expansion to maximizing economic returns.The overseas territories were needed to finance the European turmoil.As the American kingdoms yielded riches in precious metals, crops, subjects, and territorial acquisitions, the African ventures yielded a different kind of treasure.The bounties extracted from the latter by the Portuguese had been largely in the form of piezas de ebano: black slaves.Since ancient times, slavery had been an accepted status for the impoverished and the conquered; the new slavery, at first, was thinly masked under the guise of spoils of war.The Cartagenean Jesuit, Alonso de Sandoval, was among the first to question the validity of this justification as allowed by Spanish judicial and ecclesiastical codes, based on the Siete Partidas established by Alfonso "the Wise."Nevertheless, he did not demand abolition for the black man as Las Casas had done for the Amerindian.Largely through the efforts of Las Casas, eventually both the Crown and the Catholic Church officially opposed the enslavement of the Amerindian while sanctioning black bondage.  Alarming native mortality rates and a commendable desire to assuage the harsh treatment of the Indians motivated Las Casas to urge Charles I to import African slave labor to the Indies.  Sandoval, writing in the 1620s, noted,
It is well known that due to the poor treatment which the Spaniard has apportioned to the Indian, they have been so pressured, that in some provinces few remain, and in others none; and in place of the Indians have come these pitiable Negroes,* who in large numbers till [the Spaniards'] lands, mine the gold which makes them rich, and with their labor, sweat and industry maintain [the owners]. 
Las Casas' heroic defense of the Indian, La destrucción de las Indias, passed into history as a laudable example of effective polemic writing and its author became known as the "Defender of the Indians."It is less well known that his words and actions promoted black slavery in the Americas.  At one time having been granted a licensia to import slaves for his own use, Las Casas belatedly conceded that "the Spaniard is made cruel and immoral by slavery," and lamented his earlier recommendation: "With my blood would I pay for the sinful counsel which I extended for my love of the Indians."  This retraction, however, came late in his life and was not publicized as widely as his initial counsel; and even these statements probably would have done little to assuage the burgeoning transatlantic trade.  It seemed that at the time the only one who did not agree with the propriety of black enslavement was the African slave.
Since Portuguese interests controlled the African slave ports and owned the majority of slave freighters, the unification of the Iberian peninsula under Spanish rule allowed a more unhampered slave commerce with the NewWorld.Portuguese preeminence in the trade is supported by Sandoval's record, for it was two captains of Portuguese slave ships who questioned him on the moral implications of slavery.  Such uncommon qualms about slave-trading's propriety aside, the discovery of gold in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada and the ineffectiveness of Indian labor in extracting the ore fueled a bullish slave market.The Spanish crown perceived many opportunities in this combination of events for replenishing empty royal coffers by selling trade licenses to slavers and collecting the royal quinto from slave procured goods.  Africans would be imported to fulfill necessary tasks as miners and field laborers under conditions which Sandoval described as grievous and oppressive:
If the Negro is a miner he works from sunup to sundown, and often long into the night.Then, having finished their labors, having endured the vicissitudes of the sweltering sun and the inclement rain, they are allowed to rest, if they can find a place, and the importune and cruel mosquitoes allow them, until three in the morning when they are summoned to resume their tasks.If the Negro is an estanciero (plantation worker), it is almost the same, for having wielded a machete all day enduring sun and rain, exposed to the mosquitoes, tábanos (horseflies) and ticks in some arcabuco (thickly wooded area), without having been allowed a rest even to eat, he is hurriedly given a morsel, then spends the night grating yúca·.·.·. until ten or later, with such excessive work demands that in some places the slaves are entertained [distracted] with the constant beating of a drum, like so many silk worms, and often they are made to stand watch during the night, so that the hacienda will be kept safe. 
Slave contributions to colonial profits meant greater demand for black slaves with the added consideration that the Crown could continue to finance its European wars through the revenues generated by the slave trade.During the final decade of the sixteenth century, Cartagena de Indias became a leading slave import center for the Spanish colonies; and would retain favored status for over half a century.  It was during the slave heyday of Cartagena that Alonso de Sandoval arrived in that city.Twenty-eight years old when he began his tenure in the port city, the Jesuit priest would reside in Cartagena until his death in 1652.  The accounts of his labors among arriving slaves survive largely in the form of the Society's Cartas Anuas and by his own hand in De instauranda Aethiopum salute.Both these sources manifest Sandoval's mercantilist initiative.
"Worker among blacks and whites"
Much of the record of Sandoval's early life emerged veiled with inconsistencies.His biographers have yet to clearly decipher the circumstances of his earliest years and little is known of his life prior to his Jesuit vocation.In a society heralded for its copious records,the most that can be said for Alonso de Sandoval's childhood is "probably."That his father, Tristán Sánchez, epitomized the Spanish adventurer-bureaucrat of the sixteenth century, there is no doubt.His initial arrival in the Viceroyalty of Peru during the turbulent years of the 1550s placed him at the center of a vibrant and opportunistic society.Serving as treasurer of Chile under Governor Valdivia and later as notary (escribano) of the Audencia de las Charcas, Sánchez displayed remarkable ability while still in his early twenties.He retained this last position until he left on furlough for Spain in 1573. 
The identity of Sandoval's mother and year of arrival of the Sánchez family in the New World, is in doubt.The Jesuit aspirant, in his petition for admission to the Society of Jesus declared that his mother was doña Mariá de Aguilera; however, doña Mariá de Figueroa, was also listed by early Jesuit biographers as his mother.  Born in Seville on 7 December 1576, Alonso de Sandoval was part of a large household which came to include twelve children by three different mothers.  The oldest son, Alonso Alvarez Coto, was described as a mestizo, making his mother an Amerindian (there is no record that Tristán married Alonso's mother.)María de Figueroa, Tristán's first wife, was a criolla.Tristán apparently widowed and married a second time while on furlough in Spain.A Spaniard, María de Aguilera, was probably Sandoval's mother.  There emerged a further discrepancy as to Sandoval's year of arrival in the New World.His early biographers and the preface to the 1956 edition of his work place him, while only a few months of age, arriving with the armada of 1577.  Enriqueta Vila Vilar, however, in the introduction to the 1987 edition of De instauranda Aethiopum salute revealingly cites notarial records in the ArchivoGeneral de las Indias, to propose that in 1583 Sánchez was still in Spain awaiting his deputation as "contador de la Real Hacienda de Lima."In that year, after supplying proof that he had brought his slave Guiomar from Peru, Tristán petitioned for a slave license to return with her there.  Thus, the contador probably arrived in Lima with his family in 1583 or 1584.
In Lima, each of the children received a devout education and, even in a society where religious vocation had become common, the family's fervor must have been impressive.  Six of Tristán's offspring would enter religious orders, two, along with Sandoval, leaving a decided mark upon Spain's New World religious annals: fray Luis de Vera, comendador of the Orden de la Merced, who assisted Sandoval when the neophyte officiated his first mass (in Cuzco); and the Dominican, definidor of the province of San Juan Bautista in Perú, Fransisco de Figueroa, the brother to whom Sandoval dedicated the 1647 edition of De instauranda. 
For young Sandoval, the Jesuit college in Lima served as an academic and ecclesiastical training ground.  Renowned for their educational institutions, which were famed above those of their religious rivals, Jesuit teachers, preachers, and authors thrived in the erudite Lima environment.Writing was encouraged as a vocation for Lima Jesuits, and the college of San Pablo in Lima boasted the first printing press in the viceroyalty of Perú.  The library where Sandoval probably studied as a youth, and that later provided secular and religious sources inculcated in De instauranda, was lauded as among the Order's best.  With the support of his father and surrounded by authors like Padre José de Acosta, after whose work on the Amerindian Sandoval patterned his study of the African slave, the young man expressed a desire to enter the Jesuit Order, although he did not distinguish himself in his studies.  His academic performance was less than stellar and his mentors described him as possessing great confidence in his own success, but exhibiting only average intelligence – this opinion would haunt Sandoval, even after the publication of his monograph.  Thus Alonso de Sandoval, upon entering the ranks of the Society of Jesus in 1593, was recommended by his superiors to carry out the tasks of confessor and "worker [italics added] among whites and blacks"; however, he was rarely given any great responsibility.  It was not surprising that young Sandoval, along with four other Peruvian Jesuits, received orders to relocate in Cartagena and assist in the laborious pioneering work the Jesuits were attempting to establish in that city. 
These things my eyes beheld and wept"
The Society of Jesus had inaugurated the work in Cartagena in the new Vice-province of Nuevo Reino y Quito in 1605 when Padre Diego de Torres installed the first Jesuit priests, which apparently included Sandoval.  The "honor" bestowed on the priest entailed hard physical labor in the preservation of the Jesuit "house."Primitive conditions greeted Sandoval upon arrival in Cartagena (the colegio was actually a small house with no kitchen and no endowment), but the hardships did not seem to limit his aspirations.  After initially exercising himself in the labors of establishing a Jesuit institution, often begging from house to house for the maintenance of the brothers, within two years (1607) Alonso de Sandoval began his work among the African slaves which each year passed through Cartagena, "the principal port of destination [for slaves] in all the world."  The Jesuit catalogued the lexicon of the slave trade, the slaving ports on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the treatment the slaves received during each phase of their enslavement, carefully documenting his observations.
His catechizing work was accompanied by careful records of the slave trade in Cartagena.Along with the Spanish designations for various slave groups, Sandoval recorded the quantity of slaves which passed through the coastal city annually:
Prisoners, these Negroes·.·.·. arrive at the port of Cartagena·.·.·. They are designated as an armazón (load) (if they number three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, even six hundred·.·.·.) and there exist sufficient armazones to fill many ships; and ordinarily twelve or fourteen such ships arrive annually in [Cartagena] alone with this quantity or more of Negroes; if the cargo consists of but a few Negroes, it is referred to as a lote (lot)." 
His commentary was substantiated by a 1630 text which reported, there is much trade in this city, and port, between Pirú (sic), Tierra-firme, Nueva España, islands of Barlovento, and Angola, from whence come ten to twelve ships of Negroes, and almost as many from Caboverde and the rivers of Guinea. 
Reflecting studious observation, the numbers provided by Sandoval of between 3,600 and 8,400 slaves processed annually through Cartagena have been used in recent studies to corroborate estimates of total slave imports to Nueva Granada.  For example, during Sandoval's tenure in Cartagena, which coincided with the Portuguese asientos, Marisa Vega Franco has estimated that 225,000 slaves were legally imported into the Nuevo Reino de Granada from 1595 through 1660, with 135,000 entering through the port of Cartagena; an average of three thousand per year.  At least an equal amount arrived through contraband, and through the other port cities which Sandoval listed:
[I]n Spain, Lisbon and Seville, in Brasil, the Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, and Paraguay, Buenos Aires; in New Spain, San Juan de Lua.The islands of Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico.On tierra firme, Cartagena and Panamá. And in Perú, Lima and other ports beside. 
Sandoval's purpose in this inventory was to alert priests in those areas to be expeditious in attending to the spiritual plight of the slave.Nevertheless, his account provided valuable corroboration of slaving routes and the wayfaring nature of the port cities which were mere holding pens for the transfer of blacks to the interior."It is the priests of the port cities which have the greatest responsibility," for soon after arrival, the slaves were "sold and distributed to various places," Sandoval admonished. 
As a good merchant Sandoval not only ascertained the numbers and destinations of his intended "clients," but also their specific needs.The official trata de negros began its travail on the coasts and islands of the western reaches of Africa, where collection cities were established. According to Sandoval, "there were four ports from which Negroes ordinarily arrived in Cartagena de Indias;" these included the islands of Caboverde, Cachao "principal port in all of Guinea," Santo Tomé, servicing the West-Central regions of Africa, and the island of Loanda supporting the Angola trade.  These same export towns appeared listed in contemporary records.  Conditions in that African setting are described by Sandoval, who never having been to Africa, was able to provide certain testimony through his use of correspondence with African Jesuits and interviews with ship captains and other travelers arriving in Cartagena.  Such first hand accounts prompted Sandoval to report the different methods of securing the slave in the collection cities."Those from Angola are gathered on the island of Loanda for safekeeping until departure;" reported Sandoval, "if they come from the rivers of Guinea, instead of an island, [the slavers] safeguard their piezas or armazones by fettering them together with long chains called corrientes·.·.·.·and with other cruel creations in place of prisons, from which [the slave] can escape neither on land or at sea."  The suffering on Loanda and the misery of shackles was amplified by lack of proper food and water "which induced great sorrow and melancholy, to which was added the certain persuasion that upon arrival the oil will be squeezed from their bodies or they will be eaten, so that more than one third die in the crossing which lasts more than two months."  To these physically and psychologically debilitating hardships were added the conditions aboard ship during the middle passage described to Sandoval by eyewitnesses, the sailors themselves:
[C]ompressed, squalid, and abused, of which their escorts have testified, [the slaves] are transported in groups of six, with rings around their necks fastened with corrientes, and this same group, two by two with shackles on their feet, so that from head to toe they are fettered, below deck, locked from the outside, where they can see neither sun nor moon, where no Spaniard dares to poke his head through the trapdoor without becoming nauseous, or to remain below for an hour without running the risk of contracting a grave illness.Such is the stench, the press of human bodies, and the misery of that place.And their only succor and comfort there is to be fed once every twenty-four hours, no more than a small bowl of raw cornmeal or millet·.·.·.·and a small tumbler of water, and afforded nothing more, except many beatings, many whippings and obscenities. 
On the other side of the Atlantic, slave markets awaited the survivors of the voyage.
Cartagena de Indias became a principal stopover and outfitting port for ships traveling to the New World and an export point for goods destined for Spain, providing Sandoval an excellent vantage point.Possessing an excellent natural harbor, the city was also guarded by twenty-nine stone forts and a high wall made of coral, providing security for merchant ships both from the weather and from Dutch and English privateers.  Access to the interior haciendas and mines by means of the Magdalena River, which coursed just south of the city, made Cartagena a favored stop for slave traders and generated much related commerce.  The city's customs house, located across the Plaza del Mar and the docks, practiced the typical process instituted by the Spanish Crown in the New World to safeguard its share of slaving profits.  The palmeo, or port procedure catalog, listed the regulatory efforts of the Crown at the point of disembarkation.It was necessary for the local royal officials to grant permission for the ship to dock and unload.Treasury officials inspected the vessel for contraband and while at anchorage the search for infectious diseases was conducted by health officials of the port; especially feared were small pox and the "black vomit" (yellow fever).  Because often ships were quarantined and languished in port until the abeyance of the disease or the death of the slaves, Sandoval devised an apparently successful way to receive immediate notification of a newly arrived slave ship; he offered to say a special mass for the first bearer of the news.The Jesuit Cartas Anuas of 1611 recorded that a ship, recently arrived from Cabo Verde, was prevented by city officials from unloading, as many slaves were diseased with "small pox, measles, and tabardillo" but the Jesuits of the city were not prohibited from ministering to them.  More than once Sandoval boarded ships which had been quarantined and attended spiritually and physically to the sick and dying slaves.The Jesuits, in Cartagena at least, seemed to have enough clout to sidestep the quarantine orders of royal customs officials. In relating the account of a fetid slave ship Sandoval illustrated the position of Cartagena as a place of sojourn (the ship had stopped in Cartagena on the way to Portobelo, in transit to its final destination of Panama) and of the Jesuit mission there. 
Once allowed to disembark in Cartagena, conditions for the Africans did not improve, nor did the Crown or the merchants ease assessment procedures.In addition to the health official and royal administrator, a representative of the importer and a notary, to record the proceedings, inspected and "measured" the ship's human cargo.Each slave was then branded on the right side of the chest with a "sadistic immigration visa": the royal seal (an R surrounded by a crown, or the initials of the reigning monarch); signifying the import tax had been assessed.  If he had not already done so before sailing from Africa, the importer then affixed his brand on the left shoulder.  Emaciated and disfigured the slaves were then transferred to rudimentary holding wards which one contemporary described as "veritable chambers of putrification."  There, Sandoval and his assistants would spend long hours tending to the sick and catechizing the unconverted.Cartagena's bustling docks and slave yards were vividly described in Sandoval's work."With this gift·.·.·. they arrive like skeletons," records Sandoval, "they are deposited in a great patio or corral; and many gather to see the spectacle, some out of greed, others out of curiosity, others out of compassion."  The latter composed, as Sandoval notes, of Jesuit priests concerned with the physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being of the "Negros bozales." 
Among the gawkers at the docks were those attracted from all over the southern reaches of Spanish America to Cartagena's feria de negros where the profitable bartering for slaves was conducted in a festive atmosphere.Often an entire armazón of black slaves brought into Cartagena was sold to a single trader, who would resell it in smaller lotes to merchants, who would in turn resell their single slaves to individuals, each sale realizing a sizeable profit for the trader and a tax for the Crown.  Slave traders who would purchase entire ship loads of these bozales housed them under deplorable conditions.Sandoval records that they would attempt to fatten up their "goods" in order to make their venture more profitable, but so deplorable were the conditions under which they were housed that soon the entire place and armazón became "a hospital of diseased bodies, from whence cemeteries were filled," ailing from a host of maladies:
pains in their sides [appendicitis?], high fevers, small pox, tabardillo, and measles, and an incurable Loandan affliction, so called due to its being contracted on that island, which caused the entire body to swell and the gums to rot, causing sudden death.And it causes me great empathy and pain, to see so many sick, so many needy, continues Sandoval, almost contrasting the safety offered by the Cartagenean harbor to the vulnerability of some who passed through there, without relief from their owners·.·.·. who leave them on the bare floors, naked and without covering, without any shelter, or protection, and there they remain, and there they usually perish miserably, without anyone to care·.·.·. And to this I attest, for these things my eyes beheld and wept. 
The callousness of the importers, merchants, and royal officials was sharply contrasted with the compassion of a few Jesuit priests led by Alonso de Sandoval, mediocre student, outstanding teacher, and able mercader looking to maximize the returns on his labors. 
While Cartagenean officials prided themselves in the salubrious properties of their port, Sandoval disclosed its darker side.The city flattered itself on possessing excellent public sanitation laws, decreed and expounded upon almost yearly by the cabildo; there Sandoval witnessed two of the dead, thrown on the floor, like savage beasts, lying on their backs, their mouths open and filled with flies·.·.·. and another [of the dead] outside the back door of the house·.·.·. and another thrown in the middle of the street, awaiting burial, wearing the shroud with which his mother bore him [naked] so that all who passed by were appalled. 
Those who survived the capture and middle passage were subjected to scandalous and squalid conditions in Cartagena, however this treatment did not mark the end of their suffering.As already noted, the plight of the miner and estanciero slave, sent up the Magdalena, became grueling indeed.Not remiss, Sandoval also notes the fate of the house slave in Cartagena, which many thought to be better off.After a long day of labor, they were made to shuck corn during the nightin order to provide for their own sustenance, and their owners, not content with this, if [the slave] owns anything takes it from them; if they speak to their relatives they are forbidden; if they wish to rest, they are not allowed, and if they become ill they are not attended to.Such is the inhumanity in some homes, that it would be better to be an animal.
Through the pages of De instauranda, Sandoval challenges the reader to examine the stables and the slave quarters of Cartagena as proof of his contention that the slave in the Nuevo Reino was treated worse than an animal; the horses of the Spaniards slept in specially prepared bedding and were encouraged to walk around in the salubrious sunlight.As an example of the fate of house slaves he tells of a female slave who was dying of tetanus.Her owner sought to cure her, Sandoval asserted, by "warming" her with a good whipping, "and he struck her so many times that it could be rightfully questioned whether she died from the punishment or the sickness."  But this was not the only way sickness was treated.Often owners, rather than spend the four reales to call a doctor, would temporarily "free" a sick slave - for the length of the sickness - for if he died, the burial became the responsibility of the slave's relatives who would have to beg in the streets, among their own race, for the money to bury their dead.Such was theowners' custom even among slaves who were ladinos or had labored long in the household. 
It was the circumstances of slavery which he witnessed that prompted Sandoval to pen his book:
These are the conditions of the armazones, the exigency of these poor Negroes, this is the mission that these few and meager books wish to address: pray to the Lord, that as my desire is good, and my yearning to please Him, so may my words be absorbed [taken to heart], that they may light a fire and kindle the hearts of the readers, motivating them to do good to those so wretched who lack all succor·.·.·. because negligence in failing to carry out what was begun is like a hand that destroys what has been accomplished·.·.·. if [it] does not lead the way, it persecutes. 
The words of Sandoval may have been portentous; in Cartagena, at least, the Catholic house appeared to be polarized.As the Jesuits formed the vanguard for the mandates of the Council of Trent and of the Counter-Reformation, so was their neophyte status resented and their zeal feared.  If their prodigial ascent to prominence in the Roman Catholic proselytization arsenal had engendered envy, Jesuit innovation and radicalism also earned them the distrust of other orders. One recent assessment suggested, "If accepted custom or practices·.·.·. did not suit their ends, [the Jesuits] would cast it aside.  In this tradition, the Jesuit Sandoval, after studious observation, began to devise his own methods to more efficiently peddle his spiritual wares.
"I have labored among them" 
Perhaps when the young Alonso de Sandoval was appointed to the fledgling work in Cartagena his "worker" status had made him the practical, not the pedantic choice.Portrayed by his Jesuit biographers as a man of "serene but confident temperament·.·.·. a great intellect and a man of great vision," (certainly not the opinion of his schoolmasters) Sandoval felt called to the ministry among the bozales in 1606.  By 1612 the Provincial overseer also had endorsed his ministry: "[Sandoval] has taken great affinity to this ministry [among black slaves], as a careful fisher of souls, neither resting nor sleeping, day or night, so that his superiors have tried to stay his hand that he might curb his work."  Coinciding with the publication of De instauranda, in a proclamation of the Congregación Provincial which lauded "the merits of a man worthy of distinction, who none can doubt must be deemed an apostle in the full sense of the word, since he was the first in dedicating himself with devotion to the care and catechizing of Ethiopians in the Indies," the Provincial head of the order, Luis de Santillán, proposed to the Father General that the highest standing of the Jesuit order, los cuatro votos, be conferred on Alonso de Sandoval.The Father General denied the request, citing the unwanted "precedent" it would set.  Certainly Sandoval's work in establishing the college and among the bozales was praiseworthy, but perhaps, in an order that valued erudition, it was simply not enough.
In his quest to procure souls, Sandoval's main concern was with the validity of slave baptisms.For the Catholic, baptism was the inaugural sacrament without which all others were prohibited, barring entrance into heaven.The question of the validity of the baptism administered to the black man before boarding the slave ships in Africa haunted the Jesuit.As he had done in securing the details of physical conditions on the African coasts and during the middle passage, in order to better serve his charges Sandoval carefully gathered testimony on the spiritual plight of the transient flock through reports requested from Jesuits laboring in Africa, from Spanish officials, and again, through the use of depositions from ship captains and sailors; all duly witnessed and recorded by a notary.  Several such pieces of testimony were preserved in the pages of De instauranda; each depicted a pitiable episode enacted often on African seashores.From a sailor arriving from Santo Tomé, Sandoval registers the following: "The Negro would kneel before the priest, next to a washtub or cooking pot full of water, I [the sailor] would grab the slave by the neck and dunk his head in the pot after which the priest would touch [the slave's] head."  A ship's captain from Loanda provided similar testimony:
[T]wo or three days before leaving [Africa] the local priest puts on his baptismal finery and commands that all the slaves be brought above deck, fettered in their corrientes and shackles, then, selecting two children, a boy and a girl, he baptizes them solemnly, according to all the rituals of the Mother Church; then he calls out to the chained [slaves] sprinkling each with water. 
A letter from a slave merchant records a more efficient baptismal system which had been devised in Loanda.The slaves were assembled in long rows in the church square a day before being shipped out, without telling them even who God is, the first thing [the priests] do is give each a nameon a piece of paper so [the priests] will not forget; then they go back up the row putting salt in each mouth; on the third pass they sprinkle each with water, often using a hyssop because they are in such a hurry. 
With characteristic thoroughness and anachronistic insight Sandoval catalogues not only the captors' side of this drama, but also noteed what the black man thought of his baptism.  Sandoval notedthat some resented the water thinking they were being marked to die. At times being branded by the merchant at the same time that they were baptized, some associated the water with a salability mark; others thought their hair was being washed since it was so dirty, that they were being cooled down due to the intense heat, or that the ritual prevented them from sexual desires during the trip; still others imagined that the water was witchcraft that would safeguard them from illness, especially headaches, a spell which would prevent them from mutineering against the white men on the voyage, or a guarantee of longevity in order to produce much ore for their masters; and so on. 
Each statement in its own way illustrated the conditions of the slave trade and the Catholic conundrum.Sandoval's "competitors" were formidable indeed.
The polarization which the Society of Jesus engendered during this time within the Roman Catholic church was very close to the surface on the slaving coasts of both hemispheres.Baptism, and the fee it generated, was carefully regulated by the Church.The secular clergy did not want to share the exclusivity of this privilege with the new Orders, especially the Jesuits, who were feared and envied for their aggressive and ambitious missionary zeal. Sandoval faced the displeasure of rival clerics for carrying out his vision.Not to be daunted, he nevertheless encountered many obstacles in accomplishing his work; but resourcefully and pragmatically – as any good merchant peddling his wares – the Jesuit devised measures to assuage specific problems and maximize his effectiveness.
In his ardent desire to publish the Word of God, even in the Babel of Cartagena, "to every people in their own language," he pondered how blacks from so many different regions of Africa were to be catechized in preparation for valid baptism.  As a Jesuit, Sandoval had studied Latin and also knew Spanish and Portuguese. All were of little help in teaching those who only spoke "heathen" languages the basics of Catholicism and thus, as the title to his work implies, securing their baptism and salvation.  "One of the major obstacles in this ministry," reported the Cartas Anuas, "is the great diversity which arrive with each armazon, so that often it takes [father Sandoval] two or three days to find an interpreter."  In his passion for teaching the Christian faith to the bozales who spoke no Spanish, Sandoval began to secure interpreters from among the city's slaves.  He carried a notebook everywhere with him in which he would keep careful records of the available interpreters in the city, the languages they spoke, their addresses, and their owners; he catalogued, in alphabetical order, over seventy different African language strains.Often it became necessary to form a stair-step configuration for interpreters so that Sandoval would speak to the Spanish-speaking black, who in turn would speak to a second interpreter, who would then relay the information on to the bozal.  Eventually the search for interpreters and the difficulty in appropriating them for work among the blacks on the ships and holding pens led to the purchase of slaves by the Jesuit college in Cartagena, which used them, when the occasion arose, as interpreters. 
In that same notebook, constant companion of Alonso de Sandoval as he traversed the streets of Cartagena, were also recorded the markings and physical characteristics of arriving slaves and the provenance of each vessel.By combining several observations he was able to identify on sight the different tribe and region from which the slave was taken.This was for him a practical measure meant to facilitate the procedure for summoning interpreters (whose owners were often not amenable to the Jesuit's request for assistance).Little by little (the 1627 edition of De instauranda Aethiopum salute called upon eighteen years of practical work and meticulous notes) Alonso de Sandoval began to recognize the appearance of each African group, to speak some of their languages, and to communicate in an Afro-Iberian pidgin which had developed in the exigencies of slave/slaver intercourse.  Through these scrupulous methods Alonso de Sandoval devised a means of attending to the physical and spiritual needs of the newly arrived slaves, providing immediate psychological comfort, physical support, and spiritual nurture.Offering oranges, lemons, and at times a bit of tobacco, Sandoval would touch their black skin, give the slaves a small religious "trinket" or a bit of clothing, and instruct in the faith those held in "cruel slavery, both physical and spiritual."  Many responded to Sandoval's solicitation.Such a seemingly indefatigable, selfless worker – as testified by his superiors – certainly should find little antagonistic criticism, however, for Sandoval, success generated opposition.Several times he incurred the indignation of religious factions in Cartagena (his "competitors") as well as from within his own order.In each case, the tenacity and fervor inherent in his character surfaced. Several of these encounters were preserved in Jesuit correspondence of the 1620s, the same decade that witnessed the publication of his distinguished work.
Sandoval's response to opposition revealed his resourcefulness, tenacity, and innovative knack.The first controversy arose between Jesuits and secular clerics over Sandoval's "re-baptism" of slaves in Cartagena.The Bishop of Cartagena, Diego de Torres Altamirano, sent accusations before the king against the local Jesuits.They had no right, the letter charged, to baptize anyone and were thus usurping the authority of the secular clergy (who, as already noted, charged a fee for each baptism.)  The Jesuits were forced to appoint legal council, but with the backing of the citizens of Cartagena and the rational solution proposed by Sandoval a major confrontation was satisfactorily concluded.  His indomitable spirit was evident in another instance when he testified before the Inquisitor of Cartagena, don Agustín de Ugarte y Saravia, who delved – some thought too much – into the inner workings of the Society.The Inquisitor admonished that Sandoval should be advised to address the ministers of the Inquisition with respect.  Within his own order, Sandoval was eventually censured for having authorized a capitalistic endeavor: sending a coadjutor of the college south, to Caboverde, to sell liniments and salves in order to better support the Jesuit establishment at Cartagena.His ingenuity may have been praised instead of condemned had his envoy not suffered a shipwreck and almost lost his life.Instead Sandoval was disciplined for his "avarice," for which he "deserves to be removed from office and given another grave punishment."  On another occasion the progressive Father Sandoval, at that time Rector of the Jesuit college in Cartagena, allowed two students to dress as girls in a school play staged at the college, for which the Jesuit was reprimanded sharply by his superiors.  Lastly, Sandoval faced criticism from within his own college.After being appointed Rector of the college in 1624 (coinciding with the license for his book), several priests complained that his administration was harsh and accused the Rector of being phlegmatic and authoritarian.His superior, father Vitelleschi, in a letter dated 2 February 1628, advised Sandoval to be more charitable to those who perceived him as "grating, insipid, and rigorous."  Complaints that he acted more as a pro curator for the material needs of the college than as a rector (superior) reached Rome late in the 1620s. 
"To whiten innumerable souls"
What had transformed a "worker" – however unconventional – into a nucleus of controversy and an ecclesiatical entrepreneur?Sandoval's work among the negros flourished and matured during the decade which preceded the turmoil of the 1620s.In 1617 an assistant was appointed to carry on the work during Sandoval's absence from Cartagena, while Sandoval travelled to Lima to settle economic affairs pertaining to the Cartagenean college.The Father General of the province, Manuel de Arceo, objected to such an assignment for Sandoval, wished that someone else could be sent to Lima, and praised the priest's work among the slaves in Cartagena.What prompted such an assignment was not clear, but Sandoval's familiarity with Lima and the Jesuit college there may have played a part.As reported in the letters of Father Vitelleschi, at first Juan de Cabrera was appointed to substitute for Sandoval; very shortly, however, Pedro Claver arrived in Cartagena, and become the stellar apprentice of Alonso de Sandoval and his work. 
It was probably during the months spent in Lima that Alonso de Sandoval penned his most important work, while continuing to labor among that city's black slaves.  Several authors have pointed to the copious sources used by the author as proof that he consulted the great library in Lima for guidance, corroboration, and background for his observations; he apparently finished his work in Cartagena, utilizing the extensive records in his notebooks.  De instauranda Aethiopum salute (The Procuration of Salvation for the Negros) was ready for publication by the middle of 1620 when Sandoval apparently forwarded a copy for approval to Father Vitelleschi.  In a 1621 letter to Sandoval, Vitelleschi expressed his approval of the text:"You may send the book which you have written, De instauranda Aethiopum salute, to the Provincial head whom I am advising appoint those who should read it and, after approval, have it sent to Father Escobar in Seville, who will have jurisdiction on what to do."  Having received license from Florián de Ayerbe, Sandoval's Provincial head, on 1 April 1624, the first copies appeared in Seville in 1627.The censors who had evaluated the work and written enthusiastic approvals included rectors of Jesuit colleges in Santa Fé de Bogotá, Panama, and Cartagena, the resident Jesuit theologian in Bogotá, and professor and lecturer Vicente Imperial, also of Bogotá, who wrote: "Who would have thought that a key could be found to open such a closed door?·.·.·. To whiten innumerable souls, and free them from the blackness of sin has this book been written". 
Drafted as an instruction manual for Jesuit "workers," the 1627 edition contained but three "libros," or sections, which Sandoval revised and expanded in the following twenty years; the 1647 edition was published with four "books."Each with an introduction as to its purpose, the "books" carefully developed the author's vision, unwittingly perhaps, through methods of ethnography, anthropology, sociology, and apologetics.  The introduction to Book I validated the work: "It is necessary for the credibility and clarity of any history to establish its basis, its justification, and its author, in order to better understand and accept its precepts," Sandoval notes, "·.·.·. especially the present episodes which are so new, extraordinary and difficult to ascertain."  Thus the priest established the innovative and unprecedented character of his book.Not content with postulating his personal impressions of the situation he continued in the first paragraph by citing his sources: "grave and learned" scholars (doctos), Jesuit priests laboring in Africa, respected Portuguese captains, the Church fathers, and ancient and contemporary historians.  Opening the discussion by describing the Spanish discovery of America and the first Indian-Spanish encounter in the region of what would become Cartagena, Sandoval detailed Asian and European geography revealing the limits of contemporary knowledge.Africa ("Etiopia") was addressed last in the first libro revealing the large spectrum of extant knowledge, but also the muddled myths and misconceptions of the age.  The great ethnological and anthropological observations and research of Sandoval are contained within Book One.His catalog of African nations, in the twentieth century, continues to serve as a basis for studies of African slave importation during the seventeenth century. 
The opening libro purported to be a foundational essay and so it is significant that the justification for slavery was engaged.The supposed Biblical origin of black Africans as descendants of "Chus," son of Noah, the accompanying curse, and their monicker as etiopes, given by the Romans, together form part of the prelude to bondage.  In a revealing discussion on progeny – whose race, according to Sandoval, could differ from the parents' as demonstrated by anecdotal testimony – the priest deduced that the blackness of the skin was a result not only of Ham's curse, but also of "an innate and intrinsic quality which God has ordained."  In a career otherwise marked by innovation, zeal, determination, and intrepid, almost heroic, defiance of norms, Sandoval ultimately failed to provide a definitive denouncement of the immorality of human bondage.He preferred instead to leave such determinations to theologians and theorists like Molina whose "justifiable" reasons for enslavement Sandoval cited."Although it is true that this great controversy among the doctores on the justification for this arduous and difficult business had me for a long time perplexed, so that I was silent," Sandoval declares, "finally I have decided to undertake [the book], leaving the determination of [slavery's] justification to the doctores, who have knowledgeably written on this issue."The acceptable sixteenth century reasons for enslavement were through self-sale, being born into slavery, or, the most debated, being taken as a prisoner of war. The conditions on the African continent precluded Sandoval from determining whether a slave had been "justly" acquired.He left the questions of slavery's justification to the individual.  The exhortations then shifted to the slave owners, "some of whom are probably unscrupulous," to be charitable and exhibit their Christianity, for if the slave was one by nature, and his "just" enslavement difficult to determine, nevertheless Sandoval proclaimed that "God is no respecter of persons."  It mattered not whether one was black or white, slave or free, all could reap the benefits of Christ's sacrifice; therefore the point of slavery's justification seemed moot, at least in the spiritual realm, while the responsibility of the Church and the slave owners emerged clearly. 
Sandoval was concerned with the pragmatic and therefore unwilling to be fettered by engaging in extensive theological debates (for which, undoubtedly, some contemporaries thought he was unqualified.)Thus, having dealt with the excuses of determining the validity of slavery, he turned his attention to the character and needs of his patrons.  In Book Two Sandoval's purpose was to enumerate "the great misery that these Negroes suffer in their captivity, these being less than their spiritual misery·.·.·. and if the sowing of souls is [important] then it is essential to represent their worth and glory for what they are and not what they appear to be."  The evils of nature and of misfortune had been visited upon the black man, according to Sandoval, through natural circumstances and demonic intervention.  This section called upon contemporary and classical writings on the black man, and represents a massive guide to the seventeenth century view of negros.Book Two then centered on the duty of the slave owners to be humane and just to the slaves and make provision for their catechism.The closing pages of this libro relate the success stories of priests on the African coasts in converting blacks.  It was a call to personal rather than institutional reform, but the initial step to any progress.
Book Three provided guidelines for catechizing slaves.  After describing the viable and thriving civilizations of the negro and establishing the worth of every soul, Sandoval proceeded to the heart of his mission: How then are these slaves to be catechized and converted to the Christian faith?This section delved into the necessity for instruction in the faith prior to baptism, and subsequent verifiable methods of baptizing the neophyte.By Sandoval's own evaluation, Book Three was simple and straightforward."Even if I could dispense this argument with more erudition, elegance, and embellishment (as I have tried to do in the other books) including many curiosities which may engross the reader," he notes, "I will present nothing more than strong arguments for persuasion and conviction·.·.·. it is necessary to strip these words of the glamour with which rhetoric and eloquence tend to clothe sentences, so that naked·.·.·. they can be placed in the hands of the adversary, and so defeat them."  It is in the pages of this libro, the closing section of the 1627 edition, that Sandoval proposed a new way to view the black slave: as possessing a soul of equal worth to the white man's, on equal ground before God. This conceptionwas particularly unpopular, especially among slave owners, but even, at first, among the clergy.
Certainly his labors among slaves had engendered no sympathy from fellow priests.In Cartagena he had labored alone for nearly ten years; a replacement, and helper, came only when Sandoval was more urgently needed to settle affairs in Lima.Perhaps he had refused to abandon his work in Cartagena, and so an interim worker was appointed to assure the priest of the continuation of his mission.Whatever the motivation, the innovative theological themes presented in Book Three nevertheless rested upon many years of first hand experience and added clout to the contributions made by the priest.In this libro, the "rebaptism" and its theological implications are addressed as a justification for Sandoval's work on the western terminus of the Atlantic crossing.sandoval approached other challenges to the catechizing of slaves in his usual pragmatic way.For example, theological and humanitarian expediencies demanded the use of non-clergy interpreters for confession; eventually the practice was validated and almost demanded. 
The final libro did not appear as part of the 1627 edition.Rather, it formed the initial process of revision and augmentation which Sandoval had embarked upon in the years between 1627 and 1647.Perhaps because in the intervening decades the fire he hoped would be kindled in the hearts of his brother priests for the work among slaves had not materialized to the extent Sandoval anticipated.Thus, Book Four served as an extensive apology for the appropriateness of the ministry to the slave as a worthy missionary vocation.The closing section catalogued a collection of testimonials from superiors and other imminent Jesuits sanctioning the validity of catechism for the slave.It was the last plea of the Jesuit for someone to continue and expand the work so diligently begun.
"For slave and free are one in Christ"
During the early decades of the seventeenth century Sandoval's book was received warmly in Jesuit circles.After 1627 De instauranda Aethiopum salute figured consistently in the Cartas Anuas of the province of Nueva Granada and in other regional Jesuit correspondence.  The once reticent Jesuits of Lima had by the 1630s concentrated some of their efforts in the catechizing of black slaves, no doubt in response to Sandoval's publication. The students at San Pablo de Lima studied Sandoval's book and familiarized themselves with its precepts and the Jesuit house became a distribution point for the book; copies were sent to Jesuit colleges throughout the New World.  For all its initial acclaim within the Jesuit family, rare copies of De instauranda Aethiopum salute languished in private and institutional libraries for over three hundred years, and its call for reforms went unheeded.  The book failed to garner great attention outside Catholic ecclesiastical circles.It was not until the twentieth century that the Presidential Library of Colombia (1956) reissued Alonso de Sandoval's work.  This excellent facsimile edition brought renewed attention to this treatise on colonial slavery and its place in the Atlantic civilization of the seventeenth century. 
Although he lived in an era and a continent where massive exploitation of labor fostered new forms of justification for slavery, and his was among the few voices heard in defense of the black man, Sandoval has been criticized because he failed to rise up against the injustice of black human bondage as did Las Casas for the Amerindian.His detractors claim that he stopped short of calling for abolition and was content to herd souls into heavenly pastures. Especially in recent years, historians have accused him of only being concerned with the justification of a ministry to the slaves, not with bringing to light the horrors of the slave trade and its human merchandise.A great gap was perceived between Sandoval's "doxia y praxia."  One scholar recently concluded, "The Spanish version of Roman Catholicism, particularly among the Jesuits, was especially sensitive to hierarchical obedience.The slaves were taught that their state was ordained by God Himself, that their only duty was to obey their masters, and that their reward would come in heaven." 
Some have suggested that Sandoval's book was but another weapon in the Jesuit attempt to validate their work under mounting pressure from within the Church.As David Brading and others have pointed out, seventeenth century Jesuits were accused of languishing in the royal courts of the Far East in silk robes, adorned with pearls, caring for little more than their personal comfort.The work among slaves, and the publication of the missionary endeavors of Alonso de Sandoval would be used to counter such charges; here were priests whose robes and adornments were the cries and tears of diseased and traumatized slaves, and whose courts were the fetid holds and pens which housed their "courtiers."  Thus viewed, the publication of Sandoval's volume was but an opportunistic, self-serving endeavor benefiting both the priest and the order; yet this pastor of slaves was involved in that "opportunistic" work for nearly half a century.
Far enough removed from the abolitionist convulsions of the nineteenth century, modern scholars have focused attention on new research on the issue of black slavery.Studies of the Latin American slave trade, especially Bowser's The African Slave in Colonial Peru, rely greatly on Sandoval's observations and figures to document the commerce in black flesh.More recently an article on research possibilities in the study of the African in Spanish America calls for further attempts to delve in greater depth into the ethnic origins of the slave, issues of linguistics, religious configurations in the New World, and the reasons for Spanish preferences of certain ethnic groups of blacks.That this renewed interest should deal with the same topics catalogued by Alonso de Sandoval over three and one-half centuries ago certainly validates his long-ignored work. 
More significant, perhaps, were the issues raised in 1946 when Frank Tannenbaum published a comparative look at the treatment of the black man in the Americas.Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas, generated much controversy with its proposal that the difference between the racist attitudes in America and the general acceptance of the black man in Latin America could be traced to, "the definition of man as a moral being"and that such recognition "proved the most important influence both in the treatment of the slave and in the final abolition of slavery."  Had not Sandoval been most concerned with documenting the equality of the soul of all men, white and black, regardless of ancestry or physical condition?"Social change," Tannenbaum argues, "could only occur on the foundation of the moral equality of all men."  Although not specifically cited by Tannenbaum, in this context Sandoval was among the first to declare, The lord and the slave are judged and measured on this [same] account, because before God there is no distinction between one or the other·.·.·. The condition and low estate of man does not hinder his worth, nor does high lineage bring him praise, for both slave and free are one before Christ, and each shall receive his reward, whether good or evil, according to his deeds. 
"As merchants of the Gospel"
The closing years of the life of Alonso de Sandoval were as obscure as its beginning.  Most likely he spent the last years of his life laboring among Cartagena's slaves while revising and expanding his great ethnographic and missionary text.The 1647 publication suggested a third edition might be forthcoming, but it was never to materialize.In 1651 after forty-five years of labors among the slaves of Cartagena with only one documented instance of being infected by contact with slaves, the Jesuit was bedridden with an epidemic that had quickly spread across Cartagena.After two years of confinement and affliction Alonso de Sandoval died on Christmas Day, 1652. 
During his life Sandoval produced only two short works besides De instauranda in its two versions; and he never was bestowed the cuatro votos, his Order's highest accolade.  Nevertheless, his is the only extant published work of the period which sought to document the origin and plight of the black man in the Americas; it was also the earliest in this genre.  That his life and work were largely ignored for three centuries probably would not have bothered the priest.Like a true merchant, his concern was with the immediate and the practical: that his catechizing labors and the improvement of conditions for the slave should prosper and continue.The unintentioned legacy of Sandoval's work was to preserve a record of many of the predominant ideas of the era.
The political Golden Age of Spain had fostered a combative spirit and a great zeal for the Faith, both of which Alonso de Sandoval exemplified.The insatiable lust for riches also characterized the period: the merchant looking for earthly treasures, the priest for heavenly ones.Long before the epic words "all men are created equal" were penned, Sandoval sought to enlighten his Order, his Church, and his King – formidable Iberiantriumvirate of power – on the worth of the soul of all men.In cataloguing the customs and languages, rites and origins, history and precedents of the black man Sandoval validated their existence and allowed that exterior circumstances did not affect spiritual worth."The benefit of my work," he asserted in the introduction to the text, "is to awaken and revive an appetite to attend to the aid of the etiopes, a nation, which although in the eyes of the world present an ignoble figure, have a singular place before God."  Whether Sandoval's enterprise was truly profitable may be questioned.His labors were largely eclipsed by the events of his age and, certainly, slavery persisted for two hundred years after his death.Further research may unearth Sandoval's legacy to the enslaved in South America, and reveal the ultimate profitability of his work.
Several decades before Sandoval, Bernal Díaz declared, "We came here to serve God and also to get rich";while Bartolomé de Las Casas denounced that, "All volunteered for greed and expected much gold."  To this generation belonged Sandoval's father, Tristán Sánchez.In the century following such proclamations, the conquistador and the colonist were replaced by the merchant, the miner, and the plantation owner in the quest for riches gleaned from the Americas.The Church also saw the New World as an opportunistic enterprise.Eugene Hillman, analyzing the early colonial period in the Americas argues that "the actual concrete activity of the Church in its relation to the world outside of Europe was in fact·.·.·. the activity of an export firm which exported a European religion as a commodity·.·.·. sent throughout the world."  Alonso de Sandoval, too, sought to harness the mercantile spirit for his own ends.His insistence on the intrinsic equality of the soul, that which separates man and beast, was matched by his desire to win others to his cause and enlist laborers for the work.How instrumental was Sandoval in fostering the unique Latin American conditions of blacks?James Ferguson King cites the following: "The Negro·.·.·. throughout Latin America·.·.·. has unobtrusively become a dynamic part of society – to such an extent, in fact, that in many countries he has ceased to exist as a separate element."  Such a topic, and Sandoval's influence in this sphere, certainly may prove to be a fertile field for further research.
Other subjects introduced by Sandoval have yet to be fully examined.The importation of children as part of the slaver's cargo, how female owners differed from males in the treatment of their slaves, and the linguistic contributions of slaves to New World Spanish traditions were indirectly addressed in De instauranda Aethiopum salute.  The psychological effect of Sandoval's care upon the slave also demands further examination.How often would a slave in a mine, on a plantation of the interior, or in the difficult urban setting be strengthened as he gazed down upon the medalla de estaño hanging around the neck by a slender cord gifted by a kind priest?What effect did such spiritual care have on the validation of a life; or upon the Catholic owners who saw the medal dangling on a slave chest?  Lastly, new research into the life of Alonso de Sandoval is necessary. It seems important that others outside Jesuit circles undertake an exploration of the man and his contributions.Until the present, except for the initial work done by Enriqueta Vila Vilar in the Archivo General de las Indias, almost all information on Sandoval and his work has been gleaned from the archives of the Catholic Church or the Society of Jesus; his biographers, too, have been fellow Jesuits, who although respected historians of their institutions, perhaps were not a very objective group.What fresh evidence could be gleaned from new and different sources is a question as yet largely unanswered.The task may prove, like Sandoval's labors, daunting, but profitable.
In the closing pages of De instauranda Aethiopum salute Alonso de Sandoval equates his mission among the slaves to the work of a merchant:
The Indies belong to merchants, and only merchants, so that no one could physically survive without some merchandise to peddle.Knowing this, the sovereign Merchant of the Gospel·.·.·. has placed in the Indies [both East and West] clerics who like divers plunge into the depths ofthe sea, and with myriad difficulties extract [precious pearls].The merchants use the Indies for their own gain·.·.·. so too, Christ wants to enrich his Court with a different kind of gold·.·.·. with souls native and transplanted [Indians and blacks]. 
The practical priest of Cartagena, unlauded "worker among blacks and whites," with eloquent words, based on four decades of study and experience, sought to impress his superiors with the excellency of such presumably menial work.Amassing copious notebooks which recorded the cultural intricacies and needs of his "clients," gathering testimonies and documents to illuminate the need for his "services," and indefatigably marketing his "goods" among New World slaves, Sandoval used tangible, well-researched methods to peddle his spiritual wares and exhibited the same tenacious and innovative mercantile spirit which characterized so many Spaniards of the seventeenth century.Such a notion did not seem foreign to the Jesuit priest who in De Instauranda even described God as a "great Merchant.""My fathers," he exhorted, "as merchants of the Gospel, cohorts of the great Merchant, laboring for souls which bring glory to His Majesty, and to us so much happiness, living in a land that demands that we be merchants, what excuse can we offer?"