At dawn one morning, four sails. We all poured forth to watch them grow bigger and yet bigger. Four ships from Cadiz, Antonio de Torres commanding, and with him colonists of the right kind, mechanics and husbandmen.
Many proposals, much of order, came with Torres. The Admiral had gracious letters from the Queen, letters somewhat cooler from King Ferdinand, a dry, dry letter from Fonseca. Moreover Torres brought a general letter to all colonists in Hispaniola. The moral of which was, Trust and Obey the Viceroy of the Indies, the Admiral of the Ocean-Sea!
“Excellent good!” said Luis Torres. “Don Pedro Margarite and the Apostolic Vicar had not reached Cadiz when Don Antonio sailed!”
The Admiral talked with me that night. Gout again crippled him. He lay helpless, now and then in much pain. “I should go home with Antonio de Torres, but I cannot!”
“You are not very fit to go.”
“I do not mean my body. My will could drag that on ship. But I cannot leave Hispaniola while goes on formal war. But see you, Doctor, what a great thing their Majesties plan for, and what courtesy and respect they show me! See how the Queen writes!”
I knew that it was balm and wine to him, how she wrote. The matter in question was nothing more or less than an amicable great meeting between the two sovereigns and the King of Portugal, the wisest subjects of both attending. A line was to be drawn from top to bottom of Ocean-Sea, and Portugal might discover to the east of it, and Spain to the west! The Holy Father would confirm, and so the mighty spoil be justly divided. Every great geographer should come into counsel. The greatest of them all, the Discoverer, surely so! The Queen urged the Admiral’s presence.
But he could not go. Sense of duty to his Viceroyship held him as with chains. Then Bartholomew? But Bartholomew was greatly needed for the war. He sent Don Diego, a gentle, able man who longed for a cloister and a few hundred monks, fatherly, admirably, to rule.
Antonio de Torres stayed few weeks in Hispaniola. The Viceroy and Admiral would have his letter in the royal hands. Torres took that and took gold and strange plants, and also six hundred Indian captives to be sold for slaves.
War went on in Hispaniola, but not for long. We had horses and bloodhounds and men in armor, trained in the long Moorish strife. There was a battle in the Vega that ended as it must end.
Behechio and Anacaona fled to the high mountains. Manicoatex and Gwarionex sued for peace. It was granted, but a great tribute was imposed. Now all Hayti must gather gold for Spain.
Now began, a little to-day and a little to-morrow, long woe for Hayti! It was the general way of our Age. But our Age sinned.
The year wheeled to October. Juan Aguado came with four caravels to Isabella, and he brought letters of a different tenor from those that Torres brought. We heard in them the voice of Margarite and the Apostolic Vicar.