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.

It being now the month of October, Soto determined to winter in this place; for which purpose he ordered sufficient fortifications to be constructed for defence, and provisions to be stored up for the supply of his army.  He likewise sent back a party by the same way which the army had marched, being an hundred and fifty leagues to the bay of the Holy Ghost[150], to bring away the cavalry that had been left there to rejoin the rest of the army.  He also sent a message to Capasi, the only cacique who had been hitherto met with having a proper name different from that of his town, requesting him to come in and make peace with the Spaniards, to which he would by no means consent.  Being informed that Capasi had intrenched himself in the middle of a wood about eight leagues from Apalache, Soto marched against him and assailed his fortified post.  The Indians defended themselves for some time with great bravery; but at length begged quarter which was granted, and Capasi was brought out on mens shoulders; as he was either so fat and unwieldy, or so much disabled by some distemper, that he was unable to walk, and was therefore carried on a kind of litter or bier, or crawled on his hands and knees.  Soto returned well pleased at this good fortune to his quarters at Apalache, expecting that the Indians would give him no more disturbance, now that their chief was in his hands.  But matters turned out quite otherwise; for having no ruler the Indians became even more disorderly and troublesome than before, and refused to obey the command of Capasi to remain in peace with the Spaniards.

[Footnote 150:  Although in the text the general direction of the march of Soto is mentioned as to the N.E. there is every reason to believe it must have been to the west of north, into the country of what are now called the Creek Indians.  The town of Apalache in which Soto spent the winter 1539-40 may have been on the river Catahoche otherwise called of Apalachicola, or on the Alibama, which runs into the Mobille.  There still is a place known by the name of Apalache near the mouth of the Mobille river.—­E.]

Under these circumstances, when Soto complained to the cacique of the perpetual hostilities of his people, Capasi pretended, if he were permitted to go to a place about six leagues from Apalache, to which the head men of the tribe had retired, that they would obey his orders on seeing him among them and agree to peace.  Soto accordingly gave his permission, and Capasi went to the place indicated, carried as usual on a bier, and accompanied by a strong guard of Spaniards.  The cacique then issued orders for all his people to appear before him next day, having some important matters to communicate.  The Spaniards posted their guards for the night and went to rest, believing every thing secure; but when day appeared next morning neither the cacique nor any of his attendants were to be found.  Taking advantage of the centinels falling asleep, Capasi had crept out from among them

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