Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

relaxation of the rigour of the laws as reelta. blished the colony in its former tranquillity. 1)

In Peru,

[ocr errors]

In Peru the storm gathered with an aspect ftill more fierce and threatening, and was not fo foon dispersed. The conquerors of Peru, of a rank much inferior to those who had fub. jected Mexico to the Spanish crown,

farther removed from the inspection of the parent ftate, and intoxicated with the sudden acquisition of wealth, carried on all their operation with greater licence and irregularity than any body of adventurers in the New World. Amidt the general subversion of law and order, occasioned by two successive civil wars, when each individual was at liberty to decide for himself, without any guide, but his owu interest or passions, this turbulent fpirit rose above all sense of subordination. To men thus corrupted by anarchy , the introduction of regular government, the power of a viceroy, and the authority of a respectable court of indicature, would have appeared formidable restraints, to which they would have submitted with reluct

But they revolted with indignation against the idea of complying with laws, by

ance.

1) Fernandez , Hift. lib. I. c. 3, 4, 5. Vega, p. 11. lib. iii.

c. 21, 22. Herrera, dec. 7. lib. v. c. 7. lib, vii, c. 14, 15. Torquem. Mon. Ind. lib. y, c. 13.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

which they were to be stripped at once of all they had earned fo hardly during many years of service and suffering. As the account of the new law spread successively through the different settlements, the inhabitants ran together, the women in tears, and the men exclaiming against the injustice and ingratitude of their fovereign in depriving them, unheard and unconvicted, of their possessions. ,, Is this, cried they, the recompence due to persons who, without publick aid, at their own expence, and by their own valour, have subjected to the crown of Castile territories of such vast extent and opulence ? Are there the rewards bestowed for having endured unparalleled distress, for having encountered every species of danger in the service of their country? Whose merit is so great, whose conduct has been so irreproachable, that he may not be condemned by some penal clause in regulations, conceived in terms as loose and comprehensive, as if it had been intended that all should be entangled in their snare? Every Spaniard of note in Peru has held fome publiek office, and all, without distinction, have been constrained to take an active part in the contest between the two rival chiefs. Were the former to be robbed of their property because they had done their duty ? Were the latter to be punished on account of what they could not avoid ? Shall the conquerors of this great empire, instead of receiving

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

marks of distinction, be deprived of the natural confolation of providing for their widows and children, and leave them to depend for subsistence on the scanty supply they can extort from unfeeling courtiers ? m) We are not able now, continued they, to explore unknown regions in quest of more fecure settlements; our constitutions, debilitated with age, and our bodies covered with wounds, are no longer fit for active service; but still we poffefs vigour sufficient to affert our just rights, and we will not tamely suffer them to be wrested from us. "n)

[ocr errors]

An insurre&ion prevented by the moderation of Castro.

By discourses of this fort, uttered, with vehemence, and listened to with universal approbation, their passions were inflamed to fuch a pitch, that they were prepared for the most violent measures; and began to hold confultations in different places, how they might oppose the entrance of the viceroy and judges, and prevent not only the execution but the promulgation of the new laws, From this, however, they were diverted by the address of Vaca de Castro, who flattered them with the hopes, that, as soon as the viceroy and judges should arrive, and had leisure to examine their

m) Herrera, dec. 7. lib. vii. c, 14, 15.
n) Gomara

c. 152. Herrera, dec. 7. lib. vi. c, IO, Il. Vega, p. 11. lib. iii. c. 20. 22. lib. iv, C. 3, 4.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

petitions and remonstrances, they would concur with them in endeavouring to procure some mitigation in the rigour of laws which had been framed without due attention either to the state of the country, or to the sentiments of the people. A greater degree of accommodation to these and even some concessions on the part of government, were now become requisite to compose the present ferment, and to footh the colonists into submission, by inspiring them with confidence in their superiors,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

The spirit of disaffe&tion increased by the viceroy.

men

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

But without profound discernment, conciliating manners, and flexibility of temper, such a plan could not be carried on. The viceroy possessed none of these. Of all the qualities that fit for high command, he was endowed only with integrity and courage ; the former harsh and uncomplying, the latter bordering fo frequently on rashness or obstinacy, that in his situation they were defects rather than yirtues. From the moment that he landed (March 4. 1543. ) at Tumbez, Nagnez Vela seems to have confidered himself merely as an executive officer, without any discretionary power; and, regardless of whatever he obseryed or heard concerning the ftate of the country, he adhered to the letter of the regulations with unrelenting rigour. In all the towns through which he passed, the na

ges,

NO.

of the

ges eir

16.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

tives were declared to be free, every person in publick office was deprived of his lands and servants; and as an example of obedience to others, he would not fuffer a single Indian to be employed in carrying his own baggage in his march towards Lima. Amazement and consternation went before him as he approached; and fo little folicitous was he to prevent these from aug. menting, that, on entering the capital, she openly avowed that he came to obey the orders of his sovereign, not to dispense with his laws. This harsh declaration was accompanied with what rendered it still more intolerable, haughtiness in deportment, a tone of arrogance and decision in discourse, and an infolence of office grievous to men little accustomed to hold civil authority in high respect. Every attempt to procure a suspension or mitigation of the new laws, the viceroy confidered as flowing from a fpirit of disaffection that tended to rebellion. Several persons of rank were confined, and fome put to death, without any form of trial. Vaca de Castro was arrested, and notwithstanding the dignity of his former rank, and his merit in having prevented a general insurrection in the colony, he was loaded with chains, and shut up in the common jail. o)

The

0) Zarate, lib. iv. c. 23, 24, 25. Gomara, c. 153 - 155.

Vega, p. II. lib, iy. C. I, 5. Fernandez, lib, i. c. 6 - 10.

« ElőzőTovább »