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.
necessary to construct a mill for grinding corn:  But, as all the labouring people were sick, the better sort were forced to work, which was extremely grievous to them, especially as they were in want of food.  In this emergency the admiral was under the necessity to use compulsion for carrying on the public works, that the people might not perish.  This rendered him odious to the leading Spaniards, and gave occasion to Friar Boyle to charge him with cruelty; though it has been alleged that the true cause of his aversion to the admiral proceeded from being refused a larger allowance for himself and his servants than was given to others.  Provisions became at length so scarce, that even the sick were often reduced to one egg each, and a pot of boiled Spanish pease among five.  The want of proper medicines added greatly to the distress; for though some had been brought along with the expedition, they did not agree with all constitutions; and, what was still worse, they had no medical person to attend upon the sick.  Many well-born men, who had never been accustomed to such hardships, being sick and starving, and without all hope of relief, sunk under their situation, and died almost of despair.  Afterwards, when the town of Isabella was abandoned, it was currently reported that dreadful noises were heard in the place, so that for a long while no one durst venture to go that way.

To add to his affliction, the admiral received intelligence from Fort St Thomas, that all the Indians had abandoned their towns, and that Caunabo, the cacique of one of the provinces, was making preparations to reduce the fort.  The admiral sent immediately a reinforcement of seventy of the healthiest of his men to the fort, escorting some beasts of burden, laden with arms and provisions.  He likewise ordered Alonso de Ojedo to take the field with as many men as were able to march, leaving only the sick and the mechanics behind; desiring him to march about the country, particularly the Royal Plain, where there were many caciques and an innumerable multitude of Indians; intending to intimidate the natives by a display of the Spanish force, and to accustom the Spaniards to use the provisions of the country, as their own were nearly spent.  Ojeda left Isabella with above 400 men on the 9th of April; and as soon as he had passed Golden River in the Royal Plain, he seized the cacique of one of the towns, with his brother and nephew, whom he sent prisoners to Isabella, and caused the ears of an Indian to be cut off in the market place.  The reason of this severity was, because when three Spaniards were going from Fort St Thomas to Isabella, the cacique gave them five Indians to carry their baggage across the river, who left the Spaniards and carried the baggage back to the town, for which the cacique was so far from punishing them, that he detained the baggage.  The cacique of another town, on seeing these chiefs carried away prisoners, went along with them to Isabella, believing he might be able to procure

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