Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

de Cartagena and the French priest ; but, unfortunately for his fair fame, those persons were put on shore by Magellan, at Port St Julien, in Patagonia, some fifteen degrees to the southward of the La Plata.

He found the ships of Cabot at St Salvador, as we left them, under the charge of Antonio de Grajeda, whose anxious vigilance was increased by a letter just received from Cabot, announcing the bloody affair above, and probably sent down with the wounded. Grajeda, seeing strangers approach, supposed that they were the mutineers whom Cabot had put on shore, the two brothers Roxas and Martin Mendez. * Under this impression, he manned his boats, and proceeded in force against them. At the moment of collision, Diego Garcia caused himself to be recognized, and the parties returned amicably together to St Salvador. Garcia here sent away his ship to fulfil the contract about the slaves, and brought his remaining small vessels to St Salvador, which was found, on examination, to offer the most secure harbour. Proceeding up the river with two brigantines and sixty men, he reached the Fort of Santus Spiritus, and required the commander, Gregorio Caro, to surrender it, as the right of discovery belonged not to Cabot, but to himself, under the orders of the Emperor. The answer of Caro was, that he held the Fort in the name of the Emperor and of Sebastian Cabot ; but that he was willing to render it useful, in any way, to the new-comers. He begged, as a favour, of Garcia, that if, on ascending the river, he found that any of the Spaniards had been taken, he would use his efforts to ransom them, “ because, although he knew that Cabot had defeated the Indians, yet it was impossible but that some must have been taken.”+ It is plain, from

• Here occurs the expression from which it is inferred, that the two mutineers whose names are so nearly alike were brothers, “ vieron dos naos de Sebastian Gaboto cuio Teniente era Anton de Grajeda que salio con ciertos Canoas i un Batel armados pensando que eran los dos Hermanos Roxas i Martin Mendez, que iban contra el porque Sebastian Gaboto, por inquietos, los havia dexado en una isla desterrados entre los Indios." Ilerrera, Dec. iv. lib. i. cap. i.

† “Porque aunque sabia que Sebastian Gaboto havia desbaratado los Indios er imposible que no huviesen peligrado algunos.” Herrera, Dec. iv. lib.i. cap. i.

U

era

these expressions, that Cabot was known to have made good his stand. Caro personally pledged himself to the repayment of whatever Garcia might find it necessary to advance in the way of ransom; and he begged, if Cabot had fallen, that Garcia would not leave them in that country.*

On arriving at the junction of the Parana and Paraguay, Garcia, instead of proceeding to support Cabot, turned into the former river, about which he makes a report that Herrera declines to insert, as Nunez Cabeca de Vaca had subsequently examined it with greater care. At length, he reached the Port of Santa Ana, the name given by Cabot to his last position. Herrera, although not accurate as to distances, determines the place of meeting, by stating it to have been where the Indians had killed twenty-five Spaniards; and having his own authority for fixing that point thirty-four leagues up the Paraguay, we may suppose that Cabot, after chastising the natives, had come to a good understanding with them. He was employed, as we shall hereafter have reason to conclude, in diligently collecting information about the region from which had been brought the precious metals that he saw in this quarter.

Of the circumstances attending the interview at Santa Ana nothing is known; but Garcia, doubtless, repeated the remonstrance which he had addressed to the commander of the fort.

It was not in the character of Cabot, or consistent with his standing in Spain, to struggle for lawless, or even doubtful, power, and he descended the river in company with Garcia.

In the absence of any evidence as to these points, imagination has been drawn upon. Charlevoix, as has been already stated, supposes Garcia to have been sent into the La Plata by the Captain-General of Brasil, thus betraying an entire ignorance of the precise statement of Herrera, and of the fact that there was no such officer as he speaks of, until many

• “Que si hallase muerto a Sebastian Gaboto le rogaba que no los derasse alli." Ib.

years after. To suit this main fiction, he fabricates a series of collateral incidents equally unfounded and ridiculous.*

* “Gabot vit arriver a son Camp un Capitaine Portugais nommé Diegue Garcias lequel avoit eté envoié par le Capitaine General de Bresil pour reconnoitre le pais et en prendre possession au nom de la Couronne de Portugal mais qui n'avoit pas assez de monde pour executer sa Commission malgré les Espagnols, qu'il ne s'etoit pas attendu de trouver en si grande nombre sur les bords du Paraguay. Gabot de son côté fit reflexion qu'il ne pourroit jamais empecher les Portugais de se rendre maitres du pays si ils y revenoient avec des forces superieures que la proximité du Bresel leur donnoit le moien d'y faire entrer en peu de tems; sur quoi il prit le parti de faire quelques presens a Garcias pour l'engager a le suivre au Fort du S. Esprit. Il y reussit!” &c. &c.

CHAP. XXII.

CABOT'S REPORT TO CHARLES V.-ITS PRESUMED CONTENTS-PROSPECT

WHICH IT HELD OUT-PERU CONTEMPLATED IN HIS ORIGINAL PLAN OF

1524-SPECIMENS FOUND BY CABOT OF THE PRECIOUS METALS OBTAINED THENCE BY THE GUARANIS—EMPEROR RESOLVES ON A GREAT EXPEDI

TION-HIS PECUNIARY EMBARRASSMENTS-PIZARRO OFFERS TO MAKE

THE CONQUEST OF PERU AT HIS OWN EXPENSE-REFLECTIONS-THE

NAME RIO DE LA PLATA NOT CONFERRED BY CABOT-MISREPRESENTA

TION ON THIS AND OTHER POINTS.

On returning to the Fort of Santus Spiritus, Cabot made arrangements to convey to the Emperor intelligence of his discoveries.

He prepared, also, a comprehensive statement of the incidents which had occurred since he left Seville, and of the circumstances which compelled him to abandon the expedition originally contemplated. This report is referred to by Herrera 3* but while all the calumnies of Cabot's enemies are repeated, he furnishes, as has been before remarked, no part of the vindication which must have been conclusive. This document is probably yet in existence amongst the archives of Spain.

The bearers of the communication were Hernando Calderon, and an individual designated by Herrera in one place as Jorge Barlo, and in another as Jorge Barloque, conjectured to have been one of the two English gentlemen, friends of Thorne, who accompanied the expedition, and whose name, probably George Barlow, has undergone a slighter transformation than might have been anticipated.

Of the hopes and prospects which this communication held out we are ignorant; and only know that the Emperor re

* Dec. iv. lib. iii. cap. i.

solved to fit out a great expedition, but that the execution of his intention was unfortunately too long delayed.

It may well be imagined that the expectations of Cabot had been raised to a high pitch, and that he eagerly solicited permission and means to follow up the enterprise. He had reached the waters which, rising in Potosi, fall into the Paraguay, and had, doubtless, ascertained the quarter to which the natives were indebted for those ornaments of the precious metals which he saw about their persons. Even from the fort on the Parana, the obstacles between him and Peru present no very formidable difficulty to the modern traveller. That he had his eye on that empire, the riches of which Pizarro was enabled, a few years afterwards, to reach by a diferent route, may be inferred from the care with which he is found collecting information, and the obvious facilities which they disclose. In an abstract given by Herrera of Cabot's final report to the emperor, there occur the following passages:

The principal tribe of Indians in that region are the Guaranis, a people warlike, treacherous, and arrogant, who give the appellation of slaves to all who speak a different language.” “In the time of Guaynacapa, King of Peru, father of Atabilipa, these people made an irruption into his dominions, which extend more than five hundred leagues, and reached Peru, and after a most destructive progress, returned home in triumph," &c. “Cabot negotiated a peace with this tribe. By friendly intercourse he came to learn many secrets of the country, and procured from them gold and silver which they had brought from Peru,” &c.*.

It had been a part of Cabot's original plan, as stated by Peter Martyr, to visit the western coast of America; “Having passed the winding Strait of Magellan, he is to direct his course to the right hand in the rear of our supposed Continent." “ He will scour along all the South side of our sup

* “La relacion que hico al Rey fue que la mas principal generacion de Indios de aquella tierra son los Guaranis, gente guerrera, traydora y sobervia, y que llaman esclavos a todos los que no son de su lengua.” Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. viii. cap. xi. “En tiempo de Guaynacapa, Rey de el Peru, Padre de Atabilipa, salieron grandes companias y caminando por todos las tierras de su nacion, que se estenden mas de quinientas leguas llegaron a tierra del Peru y despues de aver hecho grandes destruyciones se bolvieron vitoriosos a su naturaleca."--Ib. "Y haviendo hecho Sebastian Goboto la Paz con esta generacion, &c. con el amitad destos supo muchos secretos de la tierra y huvo de ellos oro y plata de la que traian del Peru,"

« AnteriorContinuar »