Barnard Shipp.

The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

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therefore, resolved to go, with only five men, to those ships ; and
when he reached them he was received by the masters; from thence
he sent to the captain Juan de Grijalva, the commander of the whole
armament, who was on board the flagsliip, requiring him to yield
obedience to the orders of which the lieutenant had before given him
notice. He not only refused, but directed the other ships to join
his own, and, when they all had collected around tiie flagsliip, ex-
cept the two before mentioned, lie ordered the captains to fire their
guns upon the two ships until they sunk them. As the order was
publicly given in the hearing of all, the lieutenant commanded tlie
guns of the two ships to be got ready in their defence, which was
accordingly done. At this moment the officers of the ships around
the flagship refused to obey the orders of Grijalva, and in the mean
time Grijalva sent a notary, named Yicente Lopez, to the lieutenant;
after he had delivered his message, the lieutenant answered, justify-
ing the course he had taken, and declaring that he had come with
pacific intentions, in order to prevent difficulties that would ensue
from the ships lying outside of the harbor in which it was customary
for vessels to anchor, being like pirates in a suspicious place, as if
for the purpose of making a descent upon his majesty's territory,
which had an unfavorable appearance ; with other remarks of a
similar character. Such was the effect of the interview on the
notary, that he returned with the answer to Captain Grijalva, and
informed him of all the lieutenant had said, at the same time en-
deavored to induce the captain to obey his orders, since it was evi-
dent that the lieutenant was a magistrate appointed bj' your majesty
for this province, whereas Grijalva knew that neither on the part of
Francisco de Garay nor his own had any order as yet been pro-
duced which the lieutenant and the other burghers of Santistevan
were bound to recognize ; and that it was a very ugly business for
them to approach the territory of your imperial majesty with their
ships, like pirates. Influenced by these arguments. Captain Gri-
jalva and the officers of the other ships submitted to the orders of
the lieutenant, and went up the river to the usual anchorage ground.
When thej"^ had arrived within the harbor, the lieutenant directed
Grivalja to be arrested on account of his disobedience of orders.
But when my alcalde mayor heard of his arrest, he immediately, on
the day after, commanded him to be set a libert}-, and, together with
the rest of the partj', to be kindly treated, forbidding anything be-
longing to them to be touched ; which order was accordingly carried
iiito effect.


"The alcalde mayor also wrote to Francisco de Garay, who was
in another port ten or twelve leagues distant, informing him that
I was unable to visit him, but that 1 had sent him with full powers
to settle our affairs by examining the authority under which each
acted, and making such a conclusion as would best promote the
service of your majesty. As soon as Francisco de Garay saw the
letter of the alcalde mayor, he immediately came where he was, and
was well received, both he and his men being well sui^plied with
whatever their necessities required. Both then conferred togetlier
and examined the several orders, especially the one your majesty
had done me the favor to grant, when the adelantado professed his
willingness to acquiesce, and agreed to take his ships and men and ■
seek some other place for, his colony beyond thei limits designated
in your majesty's order. He also requested that, as my disposition
was friendly towards him,. the alcalde mayor would assist him in
collecting his people, us many of those he brought with him desired
to remain behind, and others were out of the way ; and, likewise,
that he would enable him to obtain the necessary supplies for his
ships and men. The alcalde mayor immediately provided every-
thing he asked, and made proclamation in the port, where were
most of those attached to either party, that all persons who had
arrived in the armada of the adelantado Francisco de Garay should
follow and rejoin him, under the penalty, if a cavalier, of losing his
arms and horse and being surrendered a prisoner to the said adelan-
tado ; and, if a foot soldier, of receiving a hundred lashes and being
surrendered in like manner.

"The adelantado also requested the alcalde mayor, in consequence
of some of- his men having sold their arms and horses in the port
of Santistevan and elsewhere, that he would cause them to be re-
turned, since his people would be of no use to him without their
arms and horses ; and the alcalde mayor had proclamation made in
all parts where the arms or horses of the people might be, and
caused those who had purchased them to return them all to the
said adelantado. At his desire also, the alcalde mayor stationed
algnazils on the roads to arrest the fugitives and deliver them up
prisoners, many of whom were accordingly taken and delivered
• into custody. He also sent the alguazil mayor with one of my
secretaries to the town and port of Santistevan, for the purpose of
using similar diligence in making proclamation, and collecting the
people who were absent and delivering them up, as well as to obtain
supplies to the greatest possible extent for the ships of the adelan-
tado. All this was effected with the greatest diligence, and the
adelantado set out for the port to embark ; but the alcalde mayor


remained behind with his people, in order not to increase the number
at the port, and the better to furnish the supplies of provisions ;
and he continued there six or seven days to see that all his orders
were obej'ed, as there was a deficiency of provisions. He then
■wrote to the adelantado to know if he had any commands, as lie
was about to return to the city of Mexico, where I resided. Tlie
adelantado immediately sent a messenger to him, by whom he repre-
sented that he found himself in no condition to depart ; that he had
lost six of his ships, and those he retained were unfit for service ;
and that he was engaged in drawing up a statement of the case, in
order to apply to me, since he had not the means to enable him to
leave the country. He also represented his people as disputing his
authority over them, and denying their obligations to follow him,
having appealed from the orders of my alcalde mayor, with which
they contended they were not obliged to comply for sixteen or
seventeen reasons that they assigned. Oue of these was, that some
of those who accompanied him had died of hunger; with others
of no great weight, which they addressed to him personally. He
likewise stated that all the diligence used in detaining his men
proved of no avail ; that those who were with him at night disap-
peared in the morning, and those one day delivered up as prisoners
regained their liberty the next day ; and that two hundred men had
deserted in one night. Finally, he begged in the most piteous
terms that the alcalde mayor would not set out until he had arrived,
for he wished to accompany him for the purpose of meeting me at
this citj- , and that, if he left him behind, he thought he should hang
himself from vexation.

" The alcalde mayor, on seeing his letter, resolved to wait for him ;
he arrived in two days, as he had written ; when a messenger was
dispatclied to me, by whom the alcalde mayor apprised me of the
adelantado's coming to see me in this citj-, arid said that they
would travel slowly until they reached the town of Cicoaque, within
the limits of tliese provinces, where lie would await my answer.
The adelantado also wrote me, describing the miserable condition
of his ships and thebad conduct of his men, and declaring his belief
that I had it in my power to remedy his diflSculties, by providing
him with men and other things of which he was in want, but that
he knew he could not expect assistance from any other quarter; he
had, therefore, determined to come to me in person. At the same
time, he offered me his oldest son, together with all that he possessed,
and hoped that he should be able to make him my son-in-law, by
marrying him to my little daughter. . . . After this, they set out
and reached the town of Cicoaque, where the alcalde mayor received


my answer to his letter, in wliich I expressed my satisfaction at
the coming of the adelantado, assuring him that, on his arrival in
this city, I would treat with him with the greatest good will on all
the subjects mentioned in his letter, and that everything should be
done conformable to his wishes. At the same time, I took care
that every provision should be made for his personal wants on the
road, directing the caciques of the towns through which he would
pass to furnish everything in tile most ample manner. When the
adelantado arrived in this city, I received him with all the kindness,
both in word and deed, that I could show to a real brother, for I
was truly grieved for the loss of his ships and the desertion of his
men^ and freely offered to do all in my power for his relief. As the
adelantado had expressed a strong desire for the fulfilment of what
he had written to me respecting the marriage before mentioned, and
importuned me with gj^eat earnestness on the subject, I determined
to comply with his wishes by having drawn up, with the consent of
both parties, and much formality, under oath, certain articles for the
conclusion of the marriage and the performance of the agreements
on both sides. Thus, besides the feelings inspired by our old friend-
ship, the connection entered into by our children gave rise to others,
producing a mutual good will and a desire to promote the welfare
of one another, and especially of the adelantado.*

" I have already related to your Catholic Majesty the great exer-
tions made by my .alcalde mayor to collect the dispersed people of
the adelantado ; those efforts, however, proved insufficient to re-
move the disaffection that prevailed amongst them all ; for believing
that they would be compelled to go with him, in obedience to tlie
order and proclamation that had been made, they retired into the
interior of the country, and dispersed themselves about in different
places, in small parties of three or six persons, with such privacy
that it was impossible to discover their retreats or bring them in.

* When &aray had approached within a short distance of Mexico, Cortes
went out to meet him. Cortes gave him his own new palace to live in, and
I conversed with him about the posture of affiairs at Santistevan. It was at
length settled that Garay should continue commander-in-chief of his fleet, and
that he should colonize the country on the river Palmas. By these bright
prospects, Garay's spirits were again revived. As Cortes was making great
alterations in his palace, Garay soon after inhabited the house of Alonzo Valla-
nueva, who was an intimate friend of his. Narvaez was still in Mexico at this
time, and renewed his former friendship with Garay. And Garay soon after
even begged Cortes to grant Narvaez and his wife permission to return to the
island of Cuba. Cortes not only granted this request, but also gave Narvaez
2000 pesos to defray the expenses of his voyage. — Bebn al Diaz.



This state of things led to difHciilties with the Indians of the pro-
vince ; tlie sight of the Spaniards scattered in various directions,
and the disorders committed by them in seizing the native women
and tlieir supplies of food by force, witli other outrages and irregu-
larities, caused the whole land to rise, in the belief that the Span-
iards were under separate leaders, as the adelantado had proclaimed,
on his arrival in the country, through an interpreter wliom the In-
dians could understand. Tlie natives had cunning enough to inform
themselves first how and where the Spaniards were to be found, and
tlien fell upon them b^^ night or day in the villages where thej^ were
dispersed ; and by this means, taking them unawares and unprovided
with arms, they destroyed great numbers of them. Thus their liold-
ness rose to such a height that they appeared before the town of
Santistevan del Puerto, and attacked it with so mucii spirit tliat the
inhabitants were alarmed lest the place should fall into their hands;
as it would have done had not the people been prepared to receive
them, rallying together at a point where resistance could be offered
in the most effectual manner, from which they made several Siillies
upon the enemy and put them to rout. Wlien affairs had reached
this pass, I received news of what had taken place bj' a messenger,
a foot soldier, who had escaped by flight from these scenes of dis-
order, and informed me that the whole province of Panuco had re-
volted, and that many Spaniards had been slain, especially of the
men left there by the adelantado, together with some of the inhabi-
tants of the town ; and from the extent of the insurrection, I was led
to believe that not a Castilian had been left alive. God our Lord
knows wiiat were my feelings on the receipt of this intelligence,
especially when I reflected that no part of tliis country had cost us
so much as that which we were now on the point of losing. The
adelantado was so much affected by the news, as well on account of
his appearing to have been the cause of the disaster, as from his
having a son and all that he possessed in that province, that his
grief caused him to be siezed with an illness of which he died three
days after.*

" The Spaniard who brought the first news of the revolt of the
Indians of Panuco, gave no otlier account of what had taken place

* On Christmas eve of the year 1523, Garay accompanied Cortes to church to
attend midnight mass performed by Father Olmedo ; after mass they botli re-
turned home in high spirits, and sat down to breakfast, wlien it appears that
Garay, who was not in very good health, cauglit cold, by standing in a draught,
which ended in pleurisy accompanied by a violent fever. Though physicians
attended him, the disease continually grew worse, so that he died four days
after. — Diaz.


than that he, with three cavaliers and a foot soldier, had been at-
tacked while entering a town called Tacetuco ['Tanjuco']* by the
inhabitants of that place, who killed two of the cavaliers and the
foot soldier, with the horse of the other cavalier, who had himself
escaped together with our informant under cover of the night; alid
that they had seen consumed by fire the quarters occupied bj' the
lieutenant in tliat town witli fifteen horsemen and fortj* foot, where
they were expected, and from the appearances there exlnbited he
believed all of them had been slaiii.

"In order that your majesty might be more particularly informed
of what subsequently occurred, I waited six or seven days after
obtaining the first news to receive further intelligence; in which time
there arrived another messenger from the lieutenant, who remained
in the town of Tenertequipa, whicii is subject to this city, and situ-
ated on the line dividing the Mexican territory IVora tliat province.
The-latter wrote me tliat lie was in the town of Tacetuco with fifteen
horse and forty foot, expecting the arrival of more men who were to
join his force, as he was going to the other side of the river to re-
duce certain towns that proved hostile ; and that during the night,
just before dawn, his quarters were surrounded by a multitude of
Indians, who set them on fire ; that they mounted their horses, but
with so much haste, being taken by surprise, supposing the place to
be loyal, as it had been till then, that all were killed except himself
and two other cavaliers, who escaped by flight. His horse had been
slain, but one of the cavaliers had taken him up on his horse behind
himself, and they had thus made their escape. Two leagues from
tha't place they had fallen in with an alcalde of tiie town, and several
people, from whom they received shelter, but did not stop long, ftjr
they fled in company with him out of the province. He had gained
no intelligence of the people left in our colony, nor of those of
Francisco de Garay, who were scattered in different directions, none
of whom he believed remained alive ; for after the adelantado came
there with his company, and told the natives of that province that I
had no business with them, as he was the governor whom they ought
to obey, and encouraged them to unite with him in driving out of the
country the Spaniards who were there under my authority, they had
annoyed the colony and the people I had sent to it, and were never

* "Tanjuco is now a small Indian village on the Panuco, one hundred and
twenty-seven miles from its mouth by the course of the river, and abovit half
that distance by land. Here Captain Lyon (in 1826) heard the Guasteca lan-
guage spoken. Journal, etc., I. 75. This intelligent traveller made a particular
examination of the river Panuoo, the results of which appear in the appendix to
his journal."


afterwai'ds willing to serve a Spaniard. They had murdered some
whom tliey met alone on the public roads, and I believe had all acted
in concert in what tliey had done; for thej' had attacked the lieu-
tenant, and the people who were with him, and probably the inhabi-
tants of the town, and all the rest who were dispersed about the
villages, unsuspicious of any insurrection, as tlie natives had until
then served them without the slightest symptoms of ill blood.

"Having satisfied myself, by this fresh intelligence, of the exist-
ence of a rebellion amongst the natives of that i)roviuce, and of the
murder of several Spaniards, I dispatched, with the greatest pos-
sible expedition, a force consisting of fifty cavaliers and one hundred
foot, including bowmen and musketeers, together with four pieces
of artillery', much powder, and other munitions, under the command
of a Spanish captain [Gonzalo de Sandoval], accompanied by two
natives of this city, each at the head of fifteen thousand of their
countrymen. I directed the captain to march with the utmost
speed to that province, and exert himself to enter it without stop-
ping anywhere, unless it should be absolutely necessary, until he
arrived at the town of Santistevan del Puerto, in order to obtain
intelligence of the inhabitants and people who had been left there ;
for it might be that they were invested by the enemy, and in want
of succor. The captain according]}' took up his line of march with
all possible expedition, and entered the province. He encountered
the enemy at two places, but God our Lord granting him the vic-
tory, he pursued his way until he reached the town, where he found
tweutj'-two of the cavalry and one hundred foot besieged by the
enemj', with whom they had fought six or seven engagements ; by
means of their artillery they had so far succeeded in the defence of
the place, although unable to hold out much longer even with the
greatest exertions in their power ; and if the captain I had sent
there had delayed his march three days, not one of them would
have survived, for they were already perishing with famine. They
had sent to Vera Cruz one of the vessels belonging to Francisco de
Garay, to carry me intelligence of their situation (as there was no
other way), and to bring them provisions, which they obtained, but
not 'until after tliey had been relieved by the force I sent. It was
ascertained that the people left by the adelantado Francisco de
Garay, in a town called Tamiquil, amounting to about a hundred
Spanish foot and horse, had been all cut off, except one Indian of
the Island of Jamaica, who escaped by taking refuge in the moun-
tains. From him they learned that the place had been taken in the
night. It was found that there had perished two hundred and ten
of the adelantado's people, and forty-tiiree of the citizens left by


me in Santistevan, who at the time of the massacre were visiting
the villages that had been intrusted to their care. I am inclined to
believe that there were even more of the adelantado's people, all of
whom were not recollected.

" The force in the province, including the division under the cap-
tain, and the troops with the lieutenant and alcalde, together with
those found in the town, comprised only eighty horse,* and, being
distributed into three detachments, carried the war with such vigor
against the enemy, that about four hundred of the caciques and
principal persons were taken prisoners, without reckoning any of
the lower class ; all of whom, I mean the principal persons, were
burned, according to the sentence of the magistrate, after they had
confessed themselves to have been the instigators of the whole
war, each one admitting that he had been present at the death of
Spaniards, and concerned in killing tliem. This done, the others
who had been made prisoners were set at liberty and restored to
their villages ; and the captain appointed new caciques in tlie vil-
lages, from amongst the persons to whom the succession belonged
according to their rules of inheritance. At this time I received let-
ters from the captain and others who were with him, assuring me
(blessed be our Lord 1) that the whole province had been restored
to peace and security."f

* Besides thirty thousand Mexican allies, according to Cortes's previous state-
ments. See, the whole force, on page 69.

t From Cortes's fourth letter, dated, "From the great city of Temixtitan, of
this New Spain, the 15th day of October, 1524." These letters, under the title
of " The Dispatches of Hernando Cortes," were translated into English from the
original Spanish, by George Folsom, secretary of the New York Historical So-
ciety, Member of the American Antiquarian Society, etc.

Some, if not all of the surviving followers of Francisco de Garay, were sent
by Cortes to form a colony in Honduras, as appears from Bemal Diaz.





CoLUMBTJS discovered Porto Rico in 1493, and changed the name
of Boriquen, which the Indians gave it, to that of John the Baptist.
He stopped there some days, in a bay to the west. This island was
neglected until 1508. When Juan Ponce de Leon, about the year
1509, conquered the island, he founded a town upon the borders of
the sea, in a place very convenient for vessels, to which he gave the
name of Porto Rico. The island has, in consequence, taken the
same name.*

Juan Ponce de Leon was a native of Leon, in Spain. From an
early age, he had been schooled to war, and had served in various
campaigns against the Moors of Granada. He accompanied Co-
lumbus on his secdnd voyage, in 1493. Having distinguished him-
self in various battles with the Indians, and acquired a name for
sagacity as well as valor, he received a command subordinate to
Juan dcEsqnibal in the campaign against Higuey,f and so valiantly
seconded his chief in that expedition that, after the subjugation of
the province, he was appointed to the command of it as lieutenant
of the governor of Hispaniola. He had not been long in tranquil
command of the province of Higuey before he began to cast a wist-
ful eye towards the green mountains of Boriquen, which was but
twelve or fourteen leagues distant. The Indians of the two islands
frequently visited each other, and in this way Ponce received intelli-
gence that the mountains of Boriquen abounded in gold. He asked
of the governor Ovando permission to visit it, and having obtained
it, he equipped a caravel, and embarked for it wieh about a hundred
armed soldiers. He landed upon a coast which belonged to a ca-
cique, named Agueyhana, who was the richest and most powerful
of the island. The Spaniards were received with great marks of
friendship. The cacique, believing that he could not better prove it

* Richer.

t The most easterly province of Hispaniola or St. Domingo, and also the name
of the Indian chief who ruled it.


to them than in adopting the name of him who appeared to be their
general, caused himself to be named Juan Ponce Agueyhana. He
conducted his guests into all parts of the island, and upon the bor-
ders of two rivers (Manatuabon and Zebuco), whose sands were min-
gled with much gold. Ponce then hastened to carry this happy

Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 8 of 75)