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the public expense, which Ferdinand had never displayed in any former armament, destined for the New World ; and such was the ardour of the Spanish gentlemen to embark to a country where, as fame reported, they had only to cast their nets into the sea and draw out gold. Fifteen hundred of these accompanied Pedrarias; many more, had they been permitted, would have engaged in the expedition. .
Pedrarias arrived at the gulf of Darien without any remarkable accident, and immediately sent some of his prineipal officers on shore to inform Balboa of his arrival, with the king's commission to be governor of the colony. Balboa received them with dignity. The fame of his discoveries had drawn so many adventurers from the islands, that he could muster four hundred and fifty men; with these hardy veterans, who murmured loud at the injustice of the king in superseding their governor, Balboa was able to have defeated the forces Pedrarias brought with him ; but he submitted with implicit obedience to the commands of his sovereign, and received Pedrarias with all the de. ference due to his character.
The moderation of Balboa to which Pedrarias owed the peaceable possession of his government, did not screen him from the envy his merit had excited in the breast of the new governor. Pedrarias appointed a judicial enquiry to be made into his conduct, and imposed a considerable fine upon him for certain irregularities he had committed. Balboa felt this mortification sensibly in a place where he had held the chief command. Pedrarias could not conceal his jealousy of his superior merit, which gave rise to dissentions extremely prejudicial to the colony.
Balboa saw with concern, that the governor by his ille judged proceedings, retarded the execution of his favourite scheme, sent strong remonstrances to Spain against the imprudent government of Pedrarias, who had alienated the friendship of the natives from the Spaniards, by countenancing his troops to plunder and oppress them at pleasure. Pedrarias on the other hand, accused him of having deceived the king by magnifying his own exploits, and the opulence and value of the country.
Ferdinand was now sensible he had acted imprudently in superseding the most active and enterprizing officer in the New World, and to make Balboa some compensation, he appointed him Adelantado or lieutenant governor of
the countries upon the South Sea, with very extensive prie vileges and authority. At the same time, he enjoined Pe. drarias to support him in all his enterprizes, and to consult with him in any measures he himself pursued. But Ferdinand's power was not sufficient to eradicate that enmity, which Pedrarias had for Balboa.
The interposition and exhortations of the bishop of Darien, produced a short-lived reconciliation ; and Pedrarias agreed to give his daughter in marriage to Balboa." The first effect of their concord was, that Balboa was permitted to make several small excursions into the country. These were conducted with such prudence, as added to his reputation. Many adventurers resorted to him, and with the support of Pedrarias, he began to prepare for his expedition to the South Sea.
After surmonnting many obstacles, he finished four bri. gantines; in these, with three hundred chosen men, (a force superior to that with which Pizarro afterwards undertook the same expedition) he was ready to sail towards Peru, when he received an unexpected message from Pedrarias, who began to dread the prosperity of a man, whom (notwithstanding his late reconciliation) he envied and feared, and so violently did the passions of hatred, fear, and jealousy operate upon his mind, that, in order to gratil, his vengeance, he scrupled not to oppose the orders of his sovereign, and defeat an undertaking of the utmost importance to his country.
Under false, but plausible pretexts, he desired Baltoa to put off his voyage for a short time, and to repair to Aela, in order that he might have an interview with him. Balboa, conscious of no crime, instantly obeyed the summons; but, no sooner had he arrived, than he was instantly arrested, by order of Pedrarias, whose impatience to satiate his revenge, did not suffer him long to languish in confinement. Judges were immediately appointed to proceed on his trial. Disloyalty to the king, and an intention to revolt against the governor, were the crimes he was accused of: sentence of death was pronounced ;. and, notwithstanding the judges who passed it, seconded by the principal inhabitants of the colony, interceded warmly for his pardon, Pedrarias was inexorable ; and to the sorrow and astonishment of the whole colony, they beheld the public execution of a man, whom they universally esteemed more capable
than any who had command in America, of forming and executing great designs.
After the death of Balboa, several officers who had served under Pedrarias, entered into an association to undertake a voyage of discovery. They persuaded Francisco Hernandez Cordova, a wealthy planter in Cuba, and a man of distinguished courage, to join with them in the enterprize.
Velasquez, governor of Cuba, approved of the design, and assisted in carrying it on; he and Cordova, advanced money for purchasing three small vessels, and furnished them with every thing necessary, either for traffic or war, One hundred and ten men embarked on board of them and sailed from Cuba, on the eighth of February, 1517. They stood-directly west, relying on the opinion of Columbus, who uniformly maintained, that a westerly course would lead to the most important discoveries.
On the twenty-first day after their departure from Cuban they saw land, which proved to be Cape Catoche, the eastern point of that large peninsula projecting from the con tinent, which still retains its original name of Yucatan. · As they approached the shore, five canoes came off,
filled with people, decently clad in cotton garments ; an Fastonishing spectacle to the Spaniards, who had been accustomed to seek nothing but naked savages, in all their former excursions. The natives, though amazed at the Eu. ropeans, invited them to visit their habitations, with the appearance of great cordiality. They landed accordingly; and, as they advanced into the country, they were surprized at the sight of large houses built with stone. Notwithstanding their improvement in the arts of civilized life, above their countrymen, the Spaniards found them also more artful and warlike. For, though the cazique received Cordova with many tokens of friendship, he had placed a large body of his countrymen in ambush behind a thicket, who, upon a signal given by him, rushed out and attacked the Spaniards with great boldness; and, in some degree of martial order:
At the first flight of their arrows, fifteen of the Spaniards were wounded. But the Indians were struck with such terror, by the sudden explosion of their fire arms, and so intimidated not only by them, but by the crossbows, and other weapons of their enemies, that they fled precipitately ; and Cordova was willing to leave a country,
where he had met such a fierce reception, carrying off two prisoners, together with the ornaments of a small temple, which he plundered in his retreat.
He continued to pursue a westerly course keeping the coast in view, and on the sixteenth day arrived at Campeachy. There the natives received them with more hospitality. They proceeded further along the coast, and discovered the mouth of a river at Potonchon, some leagues beyond Campeachy. Cordova landed all his troops to protect the sailors, who were employed in filling their casks with water. The natives, nevertheless rushed down upon them with such fury, and in such numbers, that forty seven of the Spaniards were killed upon the spot, and but one man among them escaped unhurt. Their commander, though wounded in twelve different places, directed the retreat with prudence equal to the courage with which he had led them on to the engagement, and with much difficulty they regained their ships. com
Nothing remained now but to hasten back to Cuba with their shattered forces. They suffered extremely for want of water, especially the wounded and sickly who were ex. posed to the heat of the torrid zone. Some of them died, and Cordova, their commander,, expired soon after they landed in Cuba.
Notwithstanding the unfortunate issue of this expedition, they had not discovered an extensive territory not far from Cuba ; the circumstances related by the adventurers with exaggeration natural to men desirous to spread the merit of their own exploits, were sufficient to raise romantic hopes and expectations. Great numbers offered to engage in a new expedition. Velasquez, eager to distinguish himself by some brilliant undertaking, as might entitle him to claim the government of Cuba, independent of the admi. ral; at his own expense fitted out four ships for the voy. age. In these embarked two hundred and forty volunteers, among whom were several persons of rank and fortune.
The command was given to Juan de Grijalva, a young officer of distinguished merit and courage. He sailed from Cuba on the eighth of April 1518 : they held the same course as in the former voyage ; but the violence of the currents carried them farther south. The first. land they made was the island of Cozumel, to the east of Yucatan : and without any remarkable occurrence, they reached Poe tonchon on the opposite side of the periinsula.
The desire of revenging their countrymen who were slain there, as well as from policy, they were eager to land. But though they embarked all their troops, as well as some field pieces, the Indians fought with such courage, that the Spaniards gained the victory with difficulty.
From Potonchon they continued their voyage towards the west keeping near the shore. During the day their eyes were constantly towards the land, with surprize and wonder at the beauty of the country, and the novelty of objects around them. Many villages were scattered along the coast, in which they could distinguish houses of stone that appeared white and lofty at a distance ; one of the sol. diers remarked that this country resembled Spain at a distance. Grijalva, with universal applause, called it New SPAIN, the name which still distinguishes this extensive and opulent province.
On the ninth of June they landed at a river which the natives called Tobasco, and the fame of their victory at Potonchon having reached this place, the cazique received them amicably, and bestowed presents upon them, of such value as inspired them with high ideas of the wealth and fertility of the country. These ideas were confirmed at the next place at which they touched ; this was at the west of Tobasco, in the province since known by the name of Guaxaco. They were received with respect paid as to superior being's. The people perfumed them as they landed, with incense of gum copal, and offered them the most choice delicacies of their country : and in six days the Spaniards obtained ornaments of gold of curious workmanship to the value of fifteen thousand pesos, in exchange for European toys of small value.
As the Spaniards could not understand the language of the natives, they learned from them by signs that they were the subjects of a great monarch called Montezuma, whose dominion extended over that and many other provinces.
Leaving this place they landed on a small island which they called the island of Sacrifices ; because there they beheld, for the first time, human victims which the natives had offered to their gods. Some of the officers contended that it was requisite to establish a colony in the country they had discovered. Grijalva judged it more prudent to return to Cuba. This was the most successful voyage the Spaniards had hitherto made in the New World.