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learned his whereabouts, the Admiral sent a body of foot-soldiers to take him, just at the moment when he was about to quit the plain, and return to the mountains. These men caught him and brought him back, after which that region was pacified, and tranquillity restored. A relative of Malobanexius who was married to a cacique whose territory had not yet been invaded, shared the former's misfortunes. Everybody agreed in saying that she was the most beautiful of the women nature had created in the island of Hispaniola. Her husband loved her dearly, as she merited, and when she was captured by the Spaniards he almost lost his reason, and wandered distractedly in desert places, doubtful what course to pursue. Finally he presented himself before the Admiral, promising that he and his people would submit without conditions, if he would only restore him his wife. His prayer was granted and at the same time several others of the principal captives were likewise freed. This same cacique then assembled five thousand natives who instead of weapons carried agricultural implements, and went himself to labour and plant the crops in one of the largest valleys in his territories. The Admiral thanked him by means of presents, and the cacique came back rejoicing. This news spread throughout Ciguana, and the other caciques began to hope that they too might be treated with clemency, so they came in person to promise they would in future obey the orders given them. They asked that their chief and his family might be spared, and in response to their petition, the wife and children were delivered to them, but Maiobanexius was held a prisoner. While the Admiral was thus engaged in administering the affairs of Hispaniola, he was ignorant of the intrigues his adversaries were carrying on against him at the Spanish Court." Wearied by these continuous quarrels, and above all annoyed at receiving but a small quantity of gold and valuable products because of these dissensions and revolts, the sovereigns, appointed another Governor,” who, after a careful enquiry, should punish the guilty and send them back to Spain. I do not precisely know what has come to light against either the Admiral or his brother the Adelantado, or their enemies; but this is certain, that the Admiral and his brother were seized, put in irons, deprived of all their property, and brought to Spain; and of this, Most Illustrious Prince, you are not ignorant. It is true that the sovereigns, when they learned that the Columbus brothers had arrived at Cadiz loaded with irons, promptly sent their secretaries to order their release and that their children should be allowed to visit them; nor did they conceal their disapproval of this rough treatment." It is claimed that the new Governor has sent to the sovereigns some letters in the handwriting of the Admiral, but in cipher, in which the latter summoned his brother the Adelantado, who was at that time absent with his soldiers, to hasten back and repel force with force, in case the Governor sought to use violence. The Adelantado preceded his soldiers, and the Governor seized him and his brother before their partisans could rejoin them. What will be the outcome, time will show, for time is the supreme arbiter of events. Fare you well. * One of the most inveterate of his enemies was Juan de Fonseca, afterwards Bishop of Burgos, who was unfortunately in a position to do Columbus serious harm. a Francisco de Bobadilla, commander of Calatrava. 3 The sovereigns made what amends they could for the abusive execution of their orders by over-zealous agents; they sent Columbus a present of two thousand ducats—not an insignificant sum at the time—and wrote
him a letter, full of affectionate expressions of confidence; he was admitted to audience on December 17th.
To THE SAME CARDINAL LUDOVICO D'ARAGON
unknown ocean which the Admiral, Christopher Columbus, discovered, under the auspices of our sovereigns, in the guise of a necklace of gold, although, owing to the poor skill of the artisan, it is but poorly executed. Yet I have judged it worthy, Most Illustrious Prince, of your splendour. Accept now a necklace of pearls which, suspended from the former, will ornament your breast. Some of the Admiral's ship-captains who had made a study of the different wind-currents sought the royal permission to prosecute discoveries at their own expense," proposing to relinquish to the Crown its due, that is to say, one fifth of the profits. The most fortunate of these adventurers was a certain Pedro Alonzo Nuñez,” who sailed towards the south; and it is of his expedition that I will first write. To come at once to the essential details of this voyage, this Nuñez had but one ship, fitted out at his expense, though some people claimed that he was helped.* The royal edict forbade him to anchor within
| HAVE presented to you this immense and hitherto fifty leagues of any place discovered by the Admiral. He sailed towards Paria, where, as I have said, Columbus found both native men and women wearing bracelets and necklaces of pearls. In obedience to the royal decree he coasted along this shore, leaving behind him the provinces of Cumana and Manacapana, and thus arrived at a country called by its inhabitants Curiana, where he discovered a harbour quite similar to that of Cadiz.
* See Navarrete, tom. ii., 1867; Gomara, Historia General, p. 50.
* Also called Niño; he had sailed with Columbus on his first two voyages. Oviedo, op. cit., xix., I, also describes this expedition.
3. Nuñez was poor and only found assistance from a merchant of Seville called Guerro, on condition that the latter's brother, Christobal, should command the one ship his loan sufficed to provide. This vessel was only fifty tons burden, and carried a crew of thirty-three persons.
Upon entering this harbour he found a number of houses scattered along the banks, but when he landed it was discovered to be a group of eight houses; about fifty men, led by their chief, promptly came from a populous village only three miles distant. These men, who were naked, invited Alonzo Nuñez to land on their coast, and he consented. He distributed some needles, bracelets, rings, glass pearls, and other pedlar's trifles amongst them, and in less than an hour he obtained from them in exchange fifteen ounces of the pearls they wore on their necks and arms. The natives embraced Nuñez affectionately, insisting more and more that he should come to their village, where they promised to give him any amount of pearls he might desire. The next day at dawn the ship drew near to the village and anchored. The entire population assembled and begged the men to land, but Nuñez, seeing that they were very numerous and considering that he had only thirty men, did not venture to trust himself to them. He made them understand by signs and gestures that they should come to the ship in barques and canoes. These barques, like the others, are dug out of a single tree-trunk, but are less well shaped and less easy to handle than those used by the cannibals and the natives of Hispaniola. They are called gallitas. The natives all brought strings of pearls, which are called tenoras, and showed themselves desirous of Spanish merchandise.
They are amiable men; simple, innocent, and hospitable, as was made clear after twenty days of intercourse with them. The Spaniards very soon ceased to fear to enter their houses, which are built of wood covered with palm leaves. Their principal food is the meat of the shellfish from which they extract pearls, and their shores abound with such. They likewise eat the flesh of wild animals, for deer, wild-boar, rabbits whose hair and colour resemble our hares, doves, and turtle-doves exist in their country. The women keep ducks and geese about the houses, just as ours do; peacocks fly about in the woods, but their colours are not so rich or so varied as ours and the male bird differs little from the female. Amongst the undergrowth in the swamps, pheasants are from time to time seen. The people of Curiana are skilful hunters and generally with one single arrow shot they kill beasts or birds at which they aim. The Spaniards spent several days amongst the abundance of the country. They traded four needles for a peacock, only two for a pheasant, and one for a dove or a turtle-dove. The same, or a glass bead, was given for a goose. In making their offers and bargaining and disputing, the natives conducted their commercial affairs just about the same as do our women when they are arguing with pedlars. As they wore no clothes, the natives were puzzled to know the use of needles, but when the Spaniards satisfied their naive curiosity by showing them that needles were useful for getting thorns from beneath the skin, and for cleaning the teeth, they conceived a great opinion of them. Another thing which pleased them even more was the colour and sound of hawk-bells, which they were ready to buy at good prices.
From the native houses the roaring of large animals" was audible amidst the dense and lofty forest trees, but these animals are not fierce, for, although the natives
• Supposed to have been tapirs, animals unknown in Europe.