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far, on the 25th of September, as to behold, lying broad in view, the great Pacific Ocean.

Nunez possessed the manner and ability of making himself beloved by his companions and followers. He was kind to the sick and the wounded, and shared the same fatigues and the same food as the humblest soldier. Before reaching the shores of the Pacific, he was opposed by Chiapes, the cacique of the country; who, however, was soon routed, and several of the natives killed by fire-arms, or torn by blood-hounds, those powerful auxiliaries of the Spanish conquerors in America. Nunez then made peace with them,-exchanging trinkets of little cost for gold to the value of four thousand pieces. Pizarro was then sent in advance to view the coast, and two others proceeded, on different routes, to find the nearest way from the heights to the sea. Nunez followed as soon as he could bring up the sick and wounded. On reaching the shore, he walked, with his armour on, into the sea, until the water reached his middle, and then performed solemnly the ceremony of taking possession in the name of the crown of Castile, of the ocean which he had discovered.

The Indians provided him with canoes; and, contrary to the advice of the natives, he proceeded with about eighty Spaniards, and Chiapes, the cacique, to cross a broad bay. Bad weather came on, and they barely escaped perishing on an island where several of their canoes were wrecked. On the following day they landed with great difficulty; being opposed by a cacique, whose people, however, were soon put to flight by the fire-arms and by the dogs of the Spaniards. Nunez soon brought this cacique to terms, and, for a few trinkets, received a considerable weight of gold, and a considerable number of large pearls of great value. The different caciques gave him the most flattering accounts of the vast countries which they described as extending to the south and south


Before attempting further discoveries, he considered it prudent to return from the Pacific, and arrived at Santa Maria about the end of January, 1513, with the gold and pearls he had collected, and which he distributed fairly among the soldiers, deducting one-fifth for the king. He immediately sent the king's share of gold and pearls and all his own to Spain by an agent. On arriving at Seville, this agent applied first to the Bishop of Burgos, who was delighted at the sight of the gold and pearls. The bishop sent him to the king, and used

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all his influence with Ferdinand, who entertained a strong aversion to Nunez de Balboa.

The old king, Ferdinand, who, unlike his deceased consort, Isabella, was always jealous of superior men, and especially of discoverers, did not on this occasion depart from his former base policy of supplanting the men who performed the most arduous undertakings, by the worst and most perfidious of his own creatures; such as Ovanda and Bobadilla. The Bishop of Burgos had, previous to the arrival of the agent with treasures from Nunez, counselled the king to supersede him by one of the worst characters in Spain. Instead of confirming Nunez de Balboa in the government of the countries he discovered and annexed to the crown of Castile, Ferdinand appointed Pedro Arias d'Avila, or, as the Spanish writers, by contracting the first name, call him, Pedrarias, governor of Castell d'Oro. He was destitute of all the qualities which constitute a good man of great mind; but haughty and ignorant, he was a master of the arts of oppression, violence and fraud. He left Spain in April, 1514, with a fleet of fifteen ships, two thousand troops, a bishop, John de Quevedo, and numerous greedy and rapacious followers of noble birth; among others, Enciso, the enemy of Nunez. On their arrival at Santa Maria, they were received by Nunez with great

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respect. They found the latter inhabiting a small house, in simple attire, living on the most frugal diet, and drinking no other liquid than water; while he had, at the same time, a strong fort with four hundred and fifty brave soldiers faithfully attached to him. That he was ambitious, and did severe things to obtain that power which he was never known to abuse, is admitted. His accounts and statements were clear, and he had annexed the country, between the Atlantic and the sea which he had discovered, to the crown of Spain. Pedrarias imprisoned this great man, and sent strong representations against him to Spain.

There were, however, some honest men among those brought over by Pedrarias, who sent a true account of Nunez to the king; and the latter formally expressed his approbation of the conduct of the late governor, and appointed him lord-lieutenant of the countries of the South Seas; directing also that Pedrarias should act by the advice of his predecessor.

On the king's letters arriving from Spain, they were suppressed by Pedrarias; who, in the mean time, by his perfidy and cruel exactions, brought the whole native population into hostility and revolt against the Spaniards. The Bishop Quevedo then interfered, Nunez was liberated, and, by his skill and demeanor, established tranquillity, and proceeded to the South Sea to build a town, which he in a short time accomplished, and was then recalled by Pedrarias. To the astonishment and horror of all the Spaniards, Nunez was charged with treason by Pedrarias, and publicly beheaded, on the charge that he had invaded the domains of the crown, merely by cutting down, without the governor's license, the trees used in erecting the town which he built.

His execution was declared a murder by the Royal Audienza of St. Domingo; yet Pedrarias, whom the Bishop of Chiapa described as the most wicked monster who was ever sent to America, continued for many years, by the king's will, to exercise his cruelty and injustice.

Thus perished Nunez de Balboa, in 1517, at the age of forty-two years, for having served his king with more fidelity than any of the Spanish conquerors; of whom, if we may except Cortez, he was the ablest; and whose character stands far higher than any of those who added new territories to the dominions of Spain.

Pedrarias, after the murder of Nunez, removed to Panama, where he erected a palace. In his hostilities and cruelties to the caciques


35 and the native tribes, he caused great destruction of life; and so illjudged and planned were his enterprises, that, in subduing one cacique, Uracca of the mountains, more Spanish lives were lost than during the whole conquest of Mexico by Cortes.

The only important conquest made under Pedrarias, was by Francis Hernandez, of the territory of Nicaragua, to which the governor immediately repaired to take possession of for himself. Jealous of Hernandez, as he was of Nunez, he charged the former with a design to revolt; which the latter, confident in his innocence, boldly denied. Pedrarias immediately ordered him to be executed: power was to be upheld by the immediate death, according to the maxim of this tyrant, of conquerors who were suspected. For this murder, equally barbarous as that of Nunez, Pedrarias was not called to account.

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HE portion of the New World earliest colonized by the Spaniards was the island of St. Domingo, Hayti, or Hispaniola, discovered by Columbus, in his first voyage, in the year 1492. For nearly twenty years, this island was the only colony of importance held by the Spaniards in the New World; here alone did they occupy lands, build towns, and found a regular commonwealth. Cuba, although the second of the islands discovered by Columbus, remained long uncolonized; indeed, it was not till the year 1509, that it was circumnavigated and ascertained to be an island. At length, as we have already seen, it was conquered and colonized by Velasquez. Ambitious of sharing the glory to be derived from the discovery of new countries, Velasquez fitted out one or two expeditions, which he despatched westward, to explore the seas in that direction. In one of these expeditions which set out in 1517, commanded by a rich colonist called Cordova, the peninsula of Yucatan was discovered, and the existence of a large and rich country

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