Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/22

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INTRODUCTION.

possible for us to sustain life, seeing tliat we have been as badly succoured from the island of Española as if we had not been Christians. But our Lord, by his infinite mercy, has chosen to supply us with provisions in this land, though we have often been in such straits that we expected to die of hunger; yet at the time of our greatest necessity our Lord has pointed out the means of relief. Your most Royal Highness must know that after we came here, we were forced to travel from one place to another, by reason of the great scarcity, and it astonishes me how we could have endured such hardships. The things that have happened have been more by the hand of God than by the hand of men. Up to the present time I have taken care that none of my people shall go hence unless I myself go in front of them, whether it be by night or day, marching across rivers, through swamps and forests and over mountains; and your Royal Highness should not imagine that the swamps of this land are so light that they can be crossed easily, for many times we have had to go a league, and two and three leagues, through swamps and water, stripped naked, with our clothes fastened on a shield upon our heads, and when we had come to the end of one swamp we have had to enter another, and to walk in this way from two or three to ten days. And if the person who is entrusted with the government of this land remains in his house, and leaves the work to others, no one else he can send in his place can manage the people so well, or fail to make mistakes which may cause the destruction of himself and of all who are with him, I can say this with truth, as a person that has seen what happens; for sometimes, when I have been unable to go with the men because I have been detained by some business connected with the sowing of the crops, I have observed that those whom I have sent in my place, have not acted according to reason.

"I, my Lord, have taken care that everything that has