Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/36

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INTRODUCTION.

news was soon afterwards conveyed to him that the complaints of his enemy, the lawyer Enciso, had been favourably heard at court, and that he would probably be summoned to Spain to answer for his conduct. This intelligence made him resolve to attempt some great undertaking which might cast oblivion over the past, and on the 1st of September, 1513, he set out from Darien, to cross the mountains, and discover the South Sea.

The details of that famous enterprise are too well known to require repetition in this place. Had the news of its successful issue reached the Spanish court a few months earlier, the fate of half a continent would have been changed. A young and statesmanlike ruler, instead of a cruel and passionate old dotard, would have settled the Isthmus of Panama; and the humane and enlightened Vasco Nuñez, instead of the ruthless and illiterate Pizarro, would have been the conqueror of Peru. But this was not to be. Vasco Nuñez returned to Darien, from the coast of that mighty ocean which he had discovered, only to receive the tidings that old Pedrarias, with fifteen hundred men, was coming out from Spain to supersede him.

Pedrarias was accompanied by many learned clerks and gallant knights. Among them were Quevedo the bishop, Oviedo the future historian, Enciso the learned geographer and spiteful enemy of Vasco Nuñez, Espinosa the subtle lawyer, Belnlcazar the destined conqueror of Quito, Hernando de Soto the discoverer of the Mississippi, and Pascual de Andagoya.

Andagoya was born in the valley of Cuartango, in the