A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.
constrained to return to Spain, without prosecuting his discoveries.  He chose thirty-nine men, of those most willing to remain in the island, and who were strong and healthy, over whom he appointed James de Arana, a native of Cordova, to be captain of the fort of the Nativity.  In case of his death, Peter Gutierrez, a groom of the privy chamber of their Catholic majesties, was to succeed to the command, and after him Roderick de Escovedo, a native of Segovia.  He left likewise Master John as surgeon to the garrison, with a ship carpenter, a cooper, an experienced gunner, and a tailor; all the rest being able seamen.  From the ships stores, the fort was furnished with as much wine, biscuit, and other provisions as could be spared, sufficient to last a year; together with seeds for sowing, commodities for bartering with the natives, all the cannon belonging to the wrecked ship, and her boat.  Every thing being now in readiness for his own departure, the admiral called together the whole members of this new colony, to whom he made a speech to the following effect.  He desired them to praise GOD, who had brought them to this newly discovered country, on purpose to propagate his holy religion, to live like good Christians, and to pray for a safe voyage, that he might soon return with a sufficient force.  He exhorted them to obey the captain be had set over them, as indispensably necessary to their own safety.  He charged them to respect the cacique Guacanagari, and to do no wrong to any of the natives, that they might be confirmed in their idea of the Spaniards having been sent from heaven.  He desired them to survey the coasts, by means of their boat and the canoes of the natives; to endeavour to discover the gold mines, and to search for a good harbour, as he was by no means satisfied with that of the Nativity; to endeavour to procure as much gold as possible by fair barter; to acquire the language of the country, and to cultivate a good understanding with the natives.  And finally assured them, that, as they were the first settlers in this new found empire, he should recommend them to their Catholic majesties, who would reward their services.  At the conclusion of this address, they all promised faithfully to observe the advices and orders which he had given.

On Wednesday the 2d of January 1493, the admiral went on shore to take leave of Guacanagari, and dined with him and his dependant caciques.  He recommended them to be kind to the Christians, who were to remain in the country to defend them against the Caribs, and promised soon to return from Spain, whence he should bring them magnificent presents from their Catholic majesties.  Guacanagari made him a courteous answer, expressing much sorrow for his approaching departure; and one of his attendants said that several canoes had been sent along the coast to seek for gold.  The admiral was much inclined to have made a circuit of the whole island, whence he was convinced he might have procured a ton of gold:  but, besides the risk of protracting his voyage with one ship only, he was apprehensive lest the Pinta might get safe to Spain before him, and that Pinzon might prejudice their Catholic majesties against him, in excuse for his own desertion; for which reason he resolved to depart without farther delay.

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