Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/49

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In the year 1514 Pedrarias de Avila, who had been appointed governor of the mainland called Castilla del Oro,[1]

  1. Pedrarias was among the candidates for the appointment of governor of Darien, and received it through the favour of the bishop of Burgos. "He was an elderly man, of rank and high connections, of much repute in war, having served with honour in Africa. From his feats in the tournament he had acquired the name of justador (the jouster)." He was a suspicious, fiery, arbitrary old man. Helps, i, p. 374.

    Vasco Nuñez, in a letter to the king, dated October 16th, 1515, thus describes Pedrarias. "With respect to the governor, although an honourable person, your highness must know that he is very old for this country, and that he is very ill of a serious disease, insomuch that he has not been well for a single day since he arrived. He is excessively impatient, and is a man that would not care much if half his followers were lost. He has never punished the evil deeds and murders that have been committed both on caciques and Indians by those who have invaded the country. He is a man who is much pleased to see discord between one and another, and when it does not exist, he causes it by speaking evil to one man of another. He gives little credit to what any one says, except to such an one as he believes to have an interest in speaking the truth. He takes little heed of the interest of your Majesty, and is a man in whom reigns all the envy and avarice in the world. He is very miserable if he sees that there is friendship between respectable people, and is pleased to hear gossip amongst his followers. He is a man who more easily believes evil things than good, or those that may be profitable. He is a person without any judgment, and without any genius for government." Vasco Nuñez was writing under a strong feeling of disgust at the wretched misrule which this old incapable had produced: yet the acts of Pedrarias