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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.
to be among them.  Vasquez Nugnez de Balboa, the person now alluded to, was a gentleman of good family, great parts, liberal education, of a fine person, and in the flower of his age, being then about thirty-five.  He had formerly sailed on discovery along with Bastidas, and had afterwards obtained a good settlement in Hispaniola; but had committed some excesses in that island, for which he was in danger of being put to death.  In this extremity, he procured himself to be conveyed into the ship commanded by Enciso, concealed in a bread cask, in which he remained for some days, and at last ventured to make his appearance, when the ship was 100 leagues from Hispaniola.  Enciso had been strictly enjoined not to carry any offenders from the island, and now threatened to set Balboa ashore on the first desert island; but the principal people on board interceded for him with the captain, who at last relented and granted him protection.  This did not efface from his memory the threats of Enciso, as will be seen hereafter.  Observing the state of despair to which the company was now reduced, Balboa undertook to encourage them, by asserting that their situation was not so helpless as they imagined.  He told them that he had been upon this coast formerly with Bastidas, when they sailed to the bottom of the gulf, where they found a fine large town, in a fruitful soil and salubrious climate, inhabited indeed by warlike Indians, but who did not use poisoned arrows.  He exhorted them, therefore, to bestir themselves in getting off their stranded vessels, and to sail to that place.  They approved of this advice, and sailed to the river named Darien by the Indians, where they found every thing to correspond with the description given by Balboa.  On learning the arrival of the Spaniards, the natives secured their wives and children, and waited on a little hill under their cacique, named Cemano, for the attack of the Spaniards.  After having performed their devotions, the Spaniards fell resolutely on the Indians, whom they soon routed; and then went to the town, which they found full of provisions to their wish.  Next day, they marched up the country among the neighbouring mountains, where they found many empty houses, all the inhabitants having fled; but they found the houses well replenished with household goods of various kinds, such as earthen vessels, cotton garments like short petticoats for women, a great deal of cotton, both spun and unspun, plates of gold which the natives wear on their breasts, and many other things, amounting in all to the value of 10,000 pieces of fine gold.  Enciso was greatly rejoiced at this unexpected good fortune, and immediately sent for the rest of the men, who had been left on the other side of the bay, because the brigantines could not carry the whole at once.  Balboa gained much reputation by the success of this enterprize, and was henceforwards held in high esteem by the people.

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