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donde se llamò este Rio de la Plata porque fue la primera que se traxo à Castilla de las Indios, i era de la que los Indios Guaranis traian en planchas i otras piecas grandes de las Provincias del Peru."*
Let us, then, for a moment, suppose Gomara and Lopez Vaz in error; and further, that the title was not a device of Garcia who was struggling to connect himself ostentatiously with this region—who boasts of his superior activity in exploring itmand with whose name, previously rendered infamous, Herrera more immediately associates the appellation. After all these concessions it would then appear that the epithet was one popularly applied, (like Brazil, the Spice Islands, the Sugar Islands, &c.) from the article,—the Silver of Potosi,—which had been brought thence and attracted general attention and interest. There is not the least reason to suppose that it was conferred by Cabot, or that he concealed the quarter whence the treasure came-a fact which Herrera is found correctly stating from his Report. That document was doubtless full and explicit ; giving a prominent place to the hopes which had been excited, but with a statement, also, of the great fertility of the country, its healthy climate, and
general advantages for colonization, aside from the avenue it offered to those regions of the precious metals embraced in the plan of 1524.
But while of the Spanish writers, evil-disposed as they are to Cabot, no one has ventured to put forth any such charge of deception, his own countrymen have exhibited an eager anxiety to fasten on him the odious accusation. Two specimens may suffice :
Cabot, in the mean time, contrived to send home to the Emperor an account of his proceedings ; and as he had found among the savages of the interior some ornaments of gold and silver, which he easily obtained in exchange for
* Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. i.
i. Diego Garcia also obtained some portion of silver from the Indians, whence it was called Rio de La Plata, or River of Silver, because this was the first of that metal brought to Spain from the Indies, and it was part of that which the Guaranis Indians obtained in plates and other large pieces from the Provinces of Peru.”
various trinkets, he took adrantage of this slender circumstance to represent the country as abounding in those metals ; and in conformity with his description, he
the river the name of La Plata." “ Juan Dias de Solis had discovered a prodigious river to which he gave his own name, and where he was killed and eaten by an ambush of savages. In 1525, [this error has already been exposed] Cabot, following the tract of Magalhaens, arrived at the same stream, and explored it as high as the Paraguay. A little gold and silver, which had been obtained from the natives, raised his opinion of the importance of the country; the river was named Rio de la Plata, and many an adventurer was lured to his destruction by this deceptive title."
It is scarcely necessary to add that the statement that Cabot was “sent to the coast of Brasil, where he made the important discovery of the Rio de la Plata,”I advances for him an unfounded claim. Some difference of opinion exists as to the time of the discovery by De Solis. Herrera, in the “ Description de las Indias Occidentales,” (cap. xxiv.) prefixed to his History, says, “ Juan Diaz de Solis descubrio el Rio de la Plata año de 1515 i Sebastian Gaboto Inglés iendo con armada por orden del Emperador,” &c. (“ Juan Diaz de Solis discovered the Rio de la Plata, and Sebastian Cabot, an Englishman, proceeding afterwards with a squadron by order of the Emperor,” &c.) According to some accounts, the discovery of De Solis took place a few years before the date here mentioned ; but no doubt exists as to the fact of an antecedent visit by him. It is not necessary to inquire here into the yet earlier claims of others.
* Dr. Lardner's Cyclopædia, History of Maritime and Inland Discovery, vol. ii. p. 89. f Quarterly Review, vol. iv. p. 459.
Historical Account of Discoveries, &c. by Hugh Murray, Esq. (Vol. i. p. 65.) The same idle assertion is made by Mr. Barrow, in the Chronological History of Voyages, &c. p. 35.
CABOT'S RESIDENCE IN THE LA PLATA-SUBJECTION OF REMOTE TRIBES
CLAIMS OF SPAIN RESTED ON THIS EXPEDITION-TREATY WITH THE
GUARANIS-DETAILED REPORT TO THE EMPEROR AS TO THE PRODUC-
GARCIA-LEADS TO A GENERAL ATTACK FROM THE NATIVES-RETURN
CABOT's residence in the La Plata, though measured tediously by hope deferred, and finally blasted, was not passed inactively. The small force which remained, after one of the vessels had been despatched to Europe, might be supposed insufficient to enable him to maintain his position; yet it is certain that his operations were of a very bold and adventurous character.
He seems to have pushed his researches as far as could be done without quitting the waters which enabled him to be promptly advised of the arrival of the expected reinforcement.
Of these operations we are left to gather the extent rather from circumstances than any direct information afforded by the Spanish historians. In a Memoir prepared by the Court of Spain, to resist the pretensions of Portugal, in this quarter, it is made the leading argument, after an enumeration of a vast number of tribes, that Sebastian Cabot erected forts in the country, administered justice there in civil and criminal cases, and reduced all these Nations under the obedience of the Emperor.*
It is impossible not to be struck by the reflection which this passage suggests, as to what may almost be termed the ubiquity of this adventurous and indefatigable seaman in the new world. While England has rested her claim at one extremity of it, and Spain at the other, on the personal agency of the same Native of Bristol, we have an assurance that he was found at the intermediate point, with a party of Englishmen, on the first visit of the individual whose name now overspreads the whole.
* Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. viii. cap. xi. “ Que Sebastian Gaboto avia edificado en aquellas tierras fortalezas y exercitado justicia civil y criminal y tràido a la obediencia Real todas las sobredichas generaciones.”
Some of the tribes referred to are named in the following passage of Herrera
“ The Guaranis occupy the islands. The principal nations are the Charruas and the Quirondis. On a river on the left-hand are the Carcaras, and yet further
up the Trimbus the Curundas and Camis. Yet higher are the Quilbasas, Calchines, and Chanas who are savages. After these come the Mecoretas and the Mepenes, who continue for an extent of 100 leagues. Beyond these are twenty-seven nations of different appellations, and languages and customs almost dissimilar, the names of which are omitted for fear of being tedious (“ Que por no dar molestia se dexan de nombrar.”*)
The incursion of the Guaranis into Peru, has been adverted to, On their return, some of the fierce invaders lingered on the way and permanently occupied the mountains, whence they annoyed the Charcas, their mode of warfare being to make night attacks, and after sweeping every thing before them, to retire to their fastnesses quite secure from pursuit. The Nation subjected to these vexatious attacks is found to occupy the same position on the modern maps.
As no supplies were received from Spain, subsistence must have been drawn from the labours of the party. Experiments were made on the fertility of the soil and the results carefully noted.+ Cabot's final report to the Emperor described, with great minuteness, the various productions of that region, and spoke also of the wonderful increase of the hogs, horses, &c. brought out from Spain. This Memoir would be, even at the present day, highly curious and interesting. It is, doubtless, preserved in
* Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. viii. cap. xi. + Gomarra, cap. lxxxix. Eden, fol. 255, and again, fol. 317.
A brief abstract is found in Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. viii. cap. xi.
Spain, and there was probably a copy of it amongst the papers left with Worthington.
In the midst of his labours the same evil spirit which had pursued him to the La Plata was preparing a final blow. The Portuguese, Diego Garcia, would seem to have quitted the country immediately, with the specimens he had obtained of the precious metals, but he left behind a party of his followers. These men were guilty of some act which roused the wildest resentment of the Guaranis with whom Cabot had made a treaty. pressly declared that the latter had no concern with the cause of exasperation,* but the vengeance of this fierce and sanguinary people made no distinction, and it was determined to sacrifice every white man in the country. Secret meetings were held, and a plan of action deliberately concerted.
A little before day-break the whole nation burst upon the feeble garrison of Santus Spiritus. It was carried, and the other position, at St. Salvador, furiously assaulted. We have no particulars, but know that Cabot must have repelled the shock, for he was enabled to prepare for sea and to put on board the requisite supplies. This done, he quitted the ill-omened region.
Amongst the wild tales which have passed into the traditions of the La Plata, one would represent Cabot to have fallen in the course of the sanguinary conflicts with the natives. This misconception is embodied in the “ Argentina y Conquista Del Rio de la Plata,” a poem on its early history, written by Don Martin de el Barco, and which finds a place in the Historiadores Primitivos, (vol. iii.)
“ La muerte, pues, de aqueste ià sabida
El gran Carlos embia al buen Gaboto
* Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. viii. cap. xi. “ Por algunas occasiones que dieron los soldados que fueron con Diego Garcia en que Sebastian Gaboto ne tuvo culpa.”