Las Casas, a Spanish missionary to the New World from 1502-40, wrote this appeal to his king to halt the massacre of American Indians. As Hans Magnus Enzensberger points out in his introduction, Las Casas because of it has been a thorn in the side of his country's historians, who feel that he insults the national honor with his ""delusionary"" accusations. Berating the conquistadores for their myriad atrocities (Las Casas says that four to six million Indians were murdered) against a people who were ""guileless,"" ""devoid of wickedness and duplicity,"" ""obedient and faithful,"" he offers detail upon barbarous detail of torture and slavery. His meticulousness tends to render his account credible. Although he thinks in a Catholic context, La Casas' protest is remarkably devoid of religious zeal, and he seems to be motivated by simple humanitarian concerns. This most prophetic remonstration acquires a contemporary significance in light of Nazism, Vietnam, and Brazil's Indian policies (an essay on that dying population is included).