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work embraces the early part of 1526,* no reference is made to any projected expedition to the quarter for which, as it is now said, Garcia was destined.
At Decade iv. lib. i. cap. i. Herrera resumes his abstract of Garcia's report. That personage is now off the coast of Brasil. He touched at the Bay of St Vincent, and there found a Portuguese of the degree of Bachelor, from whom he received refreshments, and whose-son-in-law agreed to accompany him to the La Plata. In running down the coast he touched at the island of Patos (now St Catherine) in 27°, where Cabot had been before him, and, as Garcia asserts, had behaved in a very shameful mamer, carrying off the sons of several chiefs who had treated him with great kindness. Proceeding up the La Plata, Garcia found the ships which Cabot, on ascending the river, had left under the charge of an offi
He resolved to follow in his brigantine; and here we are let into the character of this personage. While at St Vincent, he had hired, to his host the Bachelor, the ship of a hundred tons, to carry eight hundred slaves to Portugal; and “ to colour,” says Herrera, « his covetousness, he said, that he had protested to the Count Don Fernando de Andrada, that the vessel was useless, being much too large for the navigation and discovery of the La Plata.”+ Thus, with the blind. ness of an absurd prejudice, has the author consented to spread upon
pages all the malignant invective of this man against Cabot-to make it a part of the History of the Indies -and yet he winds up, at last, by telling us of Garcia's fraud, and of the falsehood by which it was sought to be disguised ! The Portuguese, in order to break the force of indignation against himself, evidently laboured to turn the resentment of his employers on Cabot, by whom they supposed their views
• He speaks of the marriage of the Emperor with the sister of the King of Portugal, which took place in March, 1526.
† “Para dar color a esta codicia, dixo que havia protestado al Conde Don Fernando de Andrada que no le diese esta nave porque era mui grande e inutil para la navegacion i descubrimiento del Rio de la Plata." Herrera, Dec. iv lib. i.
to have been thwarted. One reflection is obvious. If this man could be seduced from his duty by the Portuguese Bachelor, we may presume that the agents of Portugal had no great difficulty in negotiating with him and inducing him to give his voyage a turn to suit their purposes. Even supposing his employers, then, honest and sincere, we have no assurance that he did not act from sinister motives. We shall meet Garcia again in the La Plata.
There is another circumstance, somewhat posterior in point of time, but which serves to show the anxious expedients to which Portugal did not disdain to resort, even at the expense of its dignity. A Portuguese, named Acosta, returned with Cabot from Brazil, and immediately afterwards the king of Portugal was detected in an unworthy correspondence with him.* It is remarkable, also, that the complaints of the mutineers whom Cabot put ashore were brought to Spain by a Portuguese vessel.
* Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. x. cap. vi. 7. Ib. Dec. iv. lib. iii. cap. i.
INTERFERENCE WITH THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE VOYAGE-MENDEZ
APPOINTED SECOND IN COMMAND CONTRARY, TO THE WISHES OF CABOT -DE ROJAS THE SEALED ORDERS-PREJUDICES OF THE SPANISH HISTORIANS-EXPEDITION SAILS.
In a letter dated November, 1525, Peter Martyr* speaks of the expedition as at length about to sail. It was doomed, however, to yet further delays; and even in matters of detail the presence of an evil spirit is but too obvious.
Three ships were provided by the Emperor, to which a small caravel was added by an individual.t The principal authority over the arrangements would seem to have been exercised by certain agents or deputies (disputados) named by the freighters. They controlled Cabot, in every particular; and it is obvious, therefore, that the fate of the expedition lay in their integrity or corruptibility. The whole sum which the company had at stake is stated to have been only ten thousand ducats.
The leading subject of difference between Cabot and these persons, as appears by the meagre accounts left to us, was as to the person who should fill the office of Lieutenant-General. Cabot was anxious for the appointment of his friend De Rufis; but the choice of the agents fell on Martin Mendez who had been in one of Magellan's ships as Treasurer (contador), a situation bearing, it may be presumed, an analogy to the present office of Purser. They are said to have made the selection on
• Decade vüi. cap. ix.
+ Such is the account of Herrera, confirmed by Robert Thorne. Writers who make a different statement (Charlevoix, for example, in his Histoire du Paraguay tom. i. p. 25) have been misled by looking to the original requisition of Cabot instead of the limited force finally placed under his command.
account of their differences with Cabot.* These disputes rose to such a height that the Emperor was urged to appoint another commander. When it is stated that this same Martin Mendez was one of those expelled from the squadron, for mutiny, by Cabot who afterwards justified himself to the Emperor for having done so, we not only see the irksome position in which he was placed, but will, probably, deem the efforts to get rid of liim the highest compliment to his energy and incorruptibility. A hollow compromise was at length effected by a provision, on paper, that Mendez should take part in nothing which was not expressly committed to him by Cabot, and never act except in the absence or disability of the chief.t Thus, with regard to an officer to whom the commander should be able to look, at every turn, for confidential counsel and cordial co-operation, the utmost that Cabot could procure was a stipulation that he should preserve a sullen indifference, and not be actively mischievous.
A number of young men of family, animated by the love of adventure, joined the Expedition, and amongst them three brothers of Balboa.
There are two personages destined to act, with Mendez, a conspicuous part, and who may therefore be here mentioned. The first was Miguel de Rodas, a sort of supernumerary, to whom no particular post was assigned, but who is stated to have been a man of great valour and nautical experience, and to have enjoyed the favour of the emperor. $ The other was Francisco de Rojas, captain of one of the ships, the Trinidad. Though a slight difference is perceptible in the names, they would seem to have been brothers, for, at a subsequent period, in speaking of the leading conspirators, these two are describ
• "Los disputados de los armadores por diferencias que con el General avian tenido quisieron que fuesse Martin Mendez y no Miguel de Rufis á quien pretendia llevar en este cargo Sebastian Gaboto.” Herrera, Dec. iii. lib. ix. cap. iii.
t“Que no se occupasse sino en las cosas que el General le cometiese, y estando ausente o impedido, y no de otra manera porque le llevaba contra su voluntad.” Herrera, Dec. iii. lib. ix. cap. iii.
+ Herrera, Dec. iii. lib. ix. cap. jii. $ Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. i. cap. i.
ed, with a yet further variation, as “ los dos hermanos Roxas i Martin Mendez” (“the two brothers Roxas and Martin Mendez”).
The most extraordinary part, however, of the arrangement, consisted of the Sealed Orders, of which a copy was given to each vessel. * We are not informed at what time they were to be opened, but from the nature of their contents we may infer that it was to be done immediately on getting to sea, and from the sequel we may infer how idle would have been any injunction of forbearance. Provision was therein made for the death of Cabot, and eleven persons were named on whom, in
accession, the command in chief was to devolve. Should this list be exhausted, a choice was to be made by general vote throughout the squadron, and in case of an equality of suffrages the candidates were to decide between themselves by casting lots! At the head of the list are found the three individuals just mentioned. It is remarkable that Gregario Caro, the captain of one of the ships and who is afterwards found in command of the fort in the La Plata when Cabot ascended further up the river, stands.last on this list, after all the treasurers and accountants. This person is subsequently statedt to have been a nephew of the Bishop of Canaria, and seems to have acted throughout with integrity.
It would be difficult to imagine a scheme better calculated to nourish disaffection. Each individual of note found a provision by which he might be brought into the chief command, and was invited to calculate the chances of its reaching him through the successive disappearance of his predecessors on the list; and the crews, while under the pressure of severe discipline, not only saw a hope of bettering their condition by a change, but at each step approached nerrer to the clause which placed the supreme power in their own gift. A contingency thus provided for they knew must have been deemed, at home, within the range of possible occurrences, and they
* Herrera, Dec. ïïi. lib. is. cap. üi. t Ib. Dec. iv. lib. i. cap. i.