Bishop of Burgos, who was at the head of Indian affairs, and the royal
Secretary, Lope Conchillos, were entirely in favour of the system of
encomiendas, being themselves shareholders
in colonial enterprises. As not uncommonly
happens, it was on the estates of such absentee owners that the
Indians were most cruelly handled, being mercilessly overworked by
overseers anxious to curry favour at home by the remittance of
ever-increasing revenues. Although he was sufficiently impressed by
what he heard, the zeal of the new apostle was undiminished. The
Dominican community in Hispaniola being in sad
need of funds, the Prior decided to profit by the occasion and to send
one of his monks with Las Casas to Spain to solicit aid.
He chose for this mission the same Fray Antonio de Montesinos, whose
earnestness in behalf of the natives rendered him a sympathetic
companion, while his own experience in handling the
question in Spain, promised to be of great assistance to Las Casas.
They sailed in September, 1515, and
after a prosperous
voyage arrived safely at Seville, where Montesinos lodged in the
monastery of his Order, while Las Casas was given hospitality by his
relatives. The Archbishop of Seville at that time was Fray Diego de
Deza, a Dominican who stood high in
King Ferdinand's favour, and the first service Montesinos render
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