A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 739 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

The voyage to Panama was prosperous.  The president and all who were along with him immediately landed at that place, and used the utmost diligence to transport all the wealth belonging to his majesty and to individuals, to Nombre de Dios, to which place they all went, and made proper preparations for returning to Spain.  Every one treated the president with the same respect as when he resided in Peru, and he behaved towards them with much civility and attention, keeping open table for all who chose to visit him.  This was at the royal expence; as the president had stipulated for all his expences being defrayed by his majesty, before leaving Spain on his mission to Peru.  In this he acted with much and prudent precaution; considering that the former governors had been accused of living penuriously in proportion to their rich appointments, and being satisfied that the administration in Spain would not allow him a sufficient income to defray the great expences he must incur in a country where every thing was enormously dear, he declined accepting any specified salary, but demanded and obtained authority to take from the royal funds all that was necessary for his personal expence and the support of his household.  He even used the precaution to have this arrangement formally reduced to writing; and in the exercise of this permission he employed a person expressly for the purpose of keeping an exact account of all his expences, and of every thing that was purchased for his table or otherwise, which were all accordingly paid for from the royal coffers.


Insurrection of Ferdinand and Pedro de Contreras in Nicaragua, and their unsuccessful attempt upon the Royal Treasure in the Tierra Firma.

At this period an extraordinary attempt was made to intercept the president in his passage through the Tierra Firma, and to gain possession of the royal treasure under his charge, which will require some elucidation for its distinct explanation.  When Pedro Arias de Avilla discovered the province of Nicaragua, of which he was appointed governor, he married his daughter Donna Maria de Penalosa to Rodrigo de Contreras, a respectable gentleman of Segovia.  Some time afterwards, Pedro Arias died, after having appointed his son-in-law to succeed him in the government, and this appointment was confirmed by the court in consideration of the merits and services of Contreras, who accordingly continued governor of Nicaragua for several years.  On the appointment of a royal audience on the confines of Nicaragua and Guatimala, Contreras was displaced from his government; and, in pursuance of the ordinance which had occasioned so much commotion in Peru, both he and his wife were deprived of their repartitions of lands and Indians, and the grants which had been made to their children were likewise recalled.  Contreras went in consequence to Spain, to solicit a reparation of the injury he had sustained, representing the services which had been performed to the crown by the discovery, conquest, and settlement of Nicaragua, by his father-in-law and himself; but his majesty and the council of the Indies confirmed the decision of the royal audience, as conformable with the regulations.

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