The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 189
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hood and for responsibilities in civil life. Run by Franciscan
monks, under strict monastic discipline, the school kept open for
some fifty years of valuable service. The Indian boys it trained
taught the Spanish friars their native languages, helped them
translate Spanish books into these tongues, and greatly aided
in converting their fellow-Indians to the Christian faith. So
successful, in fact, did the school become, that it was attacked
by the narrow-minded of the day, who considered that, if the
Indians learned too much about the background of their Spanish
masters, they might not accept their domination with the
Father Steck has composed a most interesting history of this
pioneer school, and it is perhaps ungrateful to wish that it had
been rather more thoroughly worked out. The title of the book,
The First College in America, is one that will undoubtedly at-
tract the curious, and it is a pity that the author does not
advance any proof in the course of the book that this college
can indeed lay claim to that proud title. The Dominican College
in Santo Domingo, which became in 1538 the University of
Santo Tomas, would probably present stiff competition in any
attempt to determine the first college in the hemisphere. A point
that should be borne in mind is that the Indian boys who attended
this college left when they reached the age of fifteen, so that
too close a comparison with what we know as a college today
should not be made.
In the course of the book, Father Steck makes some assertions
of what he labels the "barbarism" in which the Indians lived
before the arrival of the Spaniards. While it is possible that
some writers have praised unduly the high degree of civilization
reached by the Aztecs and the Mayas, to describe them as living
in the chains of barbarism, as Father Steck does, would need
the support of considerable evidence, and this he does not pro-
duce. Again, in his attempt to show that the Spaniards indulged
in a minimum of destruction of Indian civilization, he says that
they only destroyed those evidences of culture which were
"essentially pagan and so incompatible with Christian faith and
discipline." But Bishop Landa, a well-known offender in this
respect, says himself that he burned all that he could lay his
hands on, to the great distress of the natives.
A bibliography is not attached to this study, but it is well
supplied with footnotes, which give extensive references.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/200/: accessed January 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.