Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/19

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iii
INTRODUCTION.

could be achieved. His treatment of the cacique of Coiba secured the little colony of Darien a most valuable ally. His visit to the wealthy chief Comogre, from whose son the first news of the existence of the great South Sea was received, added another nation to the list of his allies. His romantic expedition in search of the golden Dobaybe was unstained by the atrocities which usually marked the proceedings of Spanish explorers. Finally, his memorable discovery of the Pacific Ocean could not have been achieved if his humane diplomacy had not secured the friendship of the Indian tribes in his rear.

Reduced to the greatest distress by the neglect of the authorities in Spain and St. Domingo to send him succour, and surrounded by dense forests and pestilential morasses, Vasco Nuñez never lost heart. He overcame difficulties which to most men would have appeared insuperable, and won the proud distinction of having equalled Cortes and Pizarro in bravery and perseverance; while he is among the few Conquistadores who showed any sign of such qualities as humanity and generosity, when the unfortunate natives were concerned. Vasco Nuñez fully explained the difficulties which surrounded him, to the Spanish Government, in a long letter dated January 1513 from Darien, six months before his discovery of the South Sea; and the words of the man himself convey the best idea of his position. He says:—

"Most Christian and most puissant Lord,

 "Some days ago I wrote to your Majesty by a caravel which came to this town, giving your very Royal Highness