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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 641 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
given by the court of Spain, that a body of two thousand regular troops should be continually maintained on the Araucanian frontier; for the support of which force, an annual appropriation of 292,279 dollars was made from the royal treasury of Peru.  At the same time the court of royal audience was re-established in the city of St Jago on the 8th of September 1609, after having been thirty-four years suppressed.  This measure gave universal satisfaction to the inhabitants, and the court has continued there ever since with high reputation for justice and integrity.

By this new regulation, Ramon added the title of president to those of governor and captain-general of Chili.  Having received considerable reinforcements, to replace the army so lately destroyed, Ramon ventured to recross the Biobio at the head of about two thousand men.  Huenecura advanced to meet him, and a sanguinary and obstinate battle took place in the defiles of the marshes of Lumaco.  The Spaniards were for some time in imminent danger of being completely defeated; but the valiant governor, taking his station in the front line, so animated his soldiers by his presence and example that they at length succeeded in breaking and defeating the enemy.  Shortly after this victory, Ramon died in the city of Conception, on the 10th of August 1610, universally regretted by the Spanish inhabitants of Chili, to whom he was much endeared by his excellent qualities and his long residence among them.  He was even highly esteemed by the Araucanians, whom he had always treated, when prisoners, with a humane attention which did him much honour.  According to the royal decree for establishing the court of audience, the government of Chili now devolved upon Don Luis Merlo de la Fuente, the eldest oydor or judge.

Much about the same time with Ramon, the toqui Huenecura likewise died, either from disease or in consequence of wounds received in the late battle.  He was succeeded in the toquiate by Aillavilu the second, who is represented by Don Basilio Rosas, a contemporary writer, as one of the greatest of the Araucanian generals, and as having fought many battles against Merlo and his successor Don Juan Xaraquemada; but he does not particularize either their dates, the places where they were fought, or any circumstances concerning them.

Among the missionaries who were at that time employed for the conversion of the natives in Chili, was a Jesuit named Luis Valdivia, who, finding it impossible to preach to the Araucanians during the continuance of war, went to Spain and represented in strong terms to Philip III. the great injury suffered by the cause of religion in consequence of this long and cruel war.  That weak prince was more devoted to the advancement of religion than to the augmentation of his territories, and sent immediate orders to the government of Chili to discontinue the war, and to settle a permanent peace with the Araucanians, by establishing the river Biobio as the frontier between the two nations.  On purpose to secure the punctual execution of these orders, the king offered to exalt Valdivia to the episcopal dignity, and to appoint him governor of Chili.  He refused both of these high offers, and only stipulated for the restoration of Alonzo Rivera to the government, whose views were conformable with his own, and who had been exiled to Tucuman as formerly mentioned.

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