Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/55

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bishop and officers (without whom he could do nothing). These, seeing how the people were dying, began to send out captains in various directions, not to make settlements, but to bring as many Indians as possible to Darien.[1] They seldom succeeded, but lost many of their people in fights with the Indians, some returning defeated, and others with prisoners. As there were so many voices in every measure, each one given from motives of interest or wilfulness, neither was good order preserved, nor was any evil doer punished.[2]

It was but a short time since Vasco Nuñez had reached a point near the South Sea, whence he had seen it. The captains and troops who went forth in that direction, where the country is healthier and more thickly peopled, brought back great troops of captive natives in chains, and all the gold they could lay their hands on. This state of things continued for nearly three years. The captains divided the captive Indians amongst the soldiers, and brought the gold to Darien. They gave each man his share. To the bishop,

  1. The first expedition sent out by Pedrarias was commanded by Juan de Ayora, who was ordered to build fortresses on the territories of the caciques Comogre, Pocorosa, and Tubanamá. He obtained gold by torturing and burning the Indians, and then sailed away with it, and was never heard of again in Darien. One Bartolomé Hurtado was despatched in search of Ayora, and brought back a hundred Indians as slaves, many of whom he gave away as bribes to the principal officials in Darien.
  2. Vasco Nuñez wrote a letter to the king, dated October 16th, 1515, in which he begged that some one might be sent to examine into the state of the colony. He declared that he who would bring it back into the condition it once was in, must neither sleep nor be careless. He said that the Indians, who were formerly like sheep, had become as fierce lions. That while once they used to come out in the roads with presents for the Christians, they now go forth to kill them. He explained that this change had been caused by the evil treatment they had received from the captains who had invaded their territories, killed many chiefs and Indians without any reason, and stolen their women and children. The crimes of these captains had remained unpunished, while there is not a single friendly tribe left, except the cacique of Careta, who remained neutral, because of his proximity to Darien.