11 Reading 34-1 trouble with both Indians and blacks arose because although the ruler of Spain, or a viceroy, would promul-gate laws which were humane and decent, there was never anyone on the spot to make sure that they were put into practice. The most dreadful abuses became so commonplace that Las Casas resigned his bishopric and returned to Spain in 1547. By the following year he was conducting a nationwide campaign against the trade that he himself had started in order to save the Indians. His efforts failed but, if they had succeeded, the resulting law would probably have prevented the enslavement, transportation, and early death of half the total number of Africans ever shipped. In 1554–55 Las Casas thought he had persuaded the Emperor Charles V to endorse emancipation. Instead, Charles was overcome with the need to save his own soul. He abdicated, and went to live in a little house next to the monastery of Yste, in Estremadura. 14 It would not be the last time that the imperative need for private and personal salvation would contribute to the public condemnation of slavery and the slave trade. It is, however, a fairly rare event in history when the godfather of a new development has seen the error of his ways and tried to remedy his gross misjudg-ment. Las Casas was soon forgotten, and it would be 200 years before slavery and the slave trade were as
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HIST 302 taught by Professor Jensic during the Summer '10 term at Purdue.