ed entirely on the abilities and address of the person to whom it should be committed. After weighing with much attention the comparative merit of various persons, the Spanish ministers fixed with unanimity of choice upon Pedro de la Gasca, a priest in no higher station than that of counsellor to the Inquisition. Though in no publick office, he had been occasionally employed by government in affairs of trust and consequence, and had conducted them with no less skill than success; displaying a gentle and infinuating temper, accompanied with much firmness; probity, fuperior to any concerting measures, followed by such vigour in feeling of private interest; and a cautious circumspection in executing them, as is rarely found in alliance with the other. These qualitie's marked him out for the function to which he was destined. The emperor, to whom Gasca was not unknown, warmly approved of the choice, and communicated it to him in a letter, containing expressions of good-will and confidence, no less honourable to the prince who wrote, than to the subject who received it. Gasca, notwithstanding his. advanced age and feeble constitution, and though, from the apprehensions natural to a man, who, during the course of his life, had never been out of his own country, he dreaded the effects of a


- long voyage, and of an unhealthy climate, a)

did not hesitate a moinent about complying with the will of his sovereign. "

His moderation.

But as a proof that it was from this principle alone he acted, he 'refused a bis oprick which was offered to him, in order that he might appear in Peru with a more dignified C character; he would accept of no higher title. than that of president of the court of audience in Lima ; and declared that he would receive no falary on account of his discharging the duties of that office. All he required was, that the expence of supporting his family should be defrayed by the publick, and as he was to go like a minister of peace with his gown and breviary, and without any retinue but a few domesticks, this would not load the revenue with any enormous burden. b)

The powers committed to him. But while he discovered such disinterested moderation with respect to whatever related personally to himself, he demanded his official powers in a very different tone. He infifted,

a) Fernandez , lib. ii. c. 17.
b) Zarate , lib. vi. c. 6. Goinara , c. 174. Fernandez, Jib,

ii. c. 14 - 16. Vega , p. II. lib. v. c. 1. Herrera, dec.
8. lib. i. c. 4, &c.


as he was to be employed in a country fơ remote from the seat of government, where he could not have recourse to his sovereign for new instructions on every emergence; and as the whole success of his negociations must depend upon the confidence which the people with whom he had to treat could place in the extent of his powers, that he ought to be invested with unlimited authority ; that his jurisdiction must reach to all persons and to all causes; that he must be empowered to pardon, to punish, or to reward, as circumstances and the behaviour of different men might require; that, in case of resistance from the malcontents, he might be authorised to reduce them to obedience by force of arms, to levy troops for that purpose, and to call for assistance from the governors of all the Spanish settlements in America. These powers, though manifestly conducive to the great objects of his mission, appeared to the Spanish ministers to be inalienable prerogatives of royalty, which ought not to be delegated to a subject, and they refused to grant them. But the emperor's views were more enlarged. As from the nature of his employment, Gasca mult be entrusted with discretionary power in several points, and all his efforts might prove ineffectual if he was circumscribed in any one particular, Charles scrupled not to invest him with authority to the full extent that he demanded. Highly satisfied with this fresh proof of his master's confidence, Gasca haftened his departure, and, without either money or troops, set out (May 26. 1546.) to quell a formidable rebellion. c)

His arrival at Panama.

On his arrival at Nombre de Dios, he found Hernan Mexia, an officer of note, pofted there, by order of Pizarro, with a considerable body of men, to oppose the landing of any hostile forces. Bu: Gasca appeared in such pacifick guise, with a train so little formidable, and with a title of no such dignity as to excite terror, that he was received with much respect. From Nombre de Dios he advanced ( July 27. ) to Panama, and met with a fimilar reception from Hinojosa, whom Pizarro had entrusted with the government of that town, and the command of his fleet stationed there. In both places he held the same language, declaring that he was sent by their sovereign as a messenger of peace, • not as a minister of vengeance; that he came to redress all their grievances, to revoke the laws which had excited alarm, to pardon past offences, and to reestablish order and justice in the government of Peru. His mild deporta ment, the fimplicity of his manners, the fanctity of his profession, and a winning appearance of candour, gained credit to his declarations,

c) Fernandez, lib. ii, c. 16 - 18.

The veneration due to a person clothed with legal authority, and acting in virtue of a royal commiffion, began to revive among men accuftomed for some time to nothing more respectable than an usurped jurisdiction. Hinojofa , Mexia, and several other officers of distinction, to each of whom Gasca applied separately, were gained over to his interest, and waited only for some decent occasion of declaring openly in his favour. d)

Violent proceedings of Pizarro. This the violence of Pizarro foon afforded them. As soon as he heard of Gasca's arrival at Panama, though he received, at the same time, an account of the nature of his commiffion, and was informed of his offers to render every Spaniard in Peru easy concerning what was past, by an act of general oblivion; and secure, with respect to the future, by repealing the obnoxious laws; instead of accepting with gratitude his sovereign's gracious concessions, he was so much exasperated on finding that he was not to be continued in his station as governor of the country, that he instantly resolved to oppose the president's entry into Peru, and to prevent his exercising any jurisdiction there. To this desperate resolution he added another highly preposterous. He sent a

d) Fernandez, lib. ii. c. 21, &c. Zarate , lib. via c. 6, 7.

Gomara, 6. 175. Vega, p. 11. lib. v. 6. 3.

« ElőzőTovább »