« ElőzőTovább »
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, D. D.
OF HISTORY at MADRID.
VOL U M E
Karthner - Street Nro. 1033.
1 78 7.
ROM the time that Nugnez de Balboa dif
covered the great Southern Ocean, and received the first obscure hints concerning the opulent countries with which it might open communication, the wishes and schemes of every enterprising person in the colonies of Darien and Panama were turned towards the wealth of those unknown regions. In an age when the spirit of adventure was so ardent and vigorous, that large fortunes were wafted, and the most alarming dangers brayed, in pursuit of discoveries merely possible, the fainteft ray of hope was followed with eager expectation, and the flightest information was sufficient to inspire such perfect confidence, as conducted men to the moft arduous undertakings. a)
Unsuccessful for some time. Accordingly, several armaments were fitted out in order to explore and take poffeffion of the conntries to the east of Panama, but under the conduct of leaders whose talents and re. a) See NOTE I. ROBERTSON Vol. III.
Rark 7-10-33 How
sources were unequal to the attempt. b) As the excursions of those adventurers did not extend beyond the limits of the province to which the Spaniards have given the name of Tierra Firmè, à mountainous region covered with woods, thinly inhabited, and extremely unhealthy, they returned with dismal accounts cencerning the distresses to which they had been exposed, and the unpromising aspect of the places which they had visited. Damped by these tidings, the rage for discovery in that direction abated; and it became the general opinion, that Balboa had founded visionary hopes, on the tale of an ignorant Indian, ill understood, or calculated to deceive.
Undertaken by Pizarro, Almagro, and Luque.
But there were three persons fettled in Pa. nama, on whom the circumstances which deterred others made so little impression, that, at the very moment when all considered Balboa's expectations of discovering a rich country, by steering towards the east, as chimerical, they. resolved to attempt the execution of his scheme. The names of those extraordinary men were Francisco Pizarro, Diego de Almagro, and Hernando Luque.
Pizarro was, the natural son of a gentleman of an honourable family by a very low woman, and, according to the cruel fate
b) Calancha Chronica, p. 100.
which often attends the offspring of unlawful, love, had been fo totally neglected in his youth by the author of his birth, that he seems to have destined him never to rise beyond the condition of his mother. In consequence of this ungenerous idea, he set him, when bordering on manhood, to keep hogs. But the aspiring mind of young Pizarro disdaining that ignoble occupation, he, abruptly abandoned his charge, enlisted as a soldier, and, after serving fome years in Italy, embarked for America, which, by opening such a boundless range to active talents, allured every adventurer whose fortune was not equal to his ambitious thoughts. There Pizarro éarly distinguished himself. With a temper of mind no less daring than the conftitution of his body was robuft, he was foremoft in every danger, patient under the greatest hardships, and unsubdued by any fatigue. Though so illiterate that he could not even read, he was soon confidered as a man formed to command. Every operation cemmitted to his conduct proved successful, as, by a happy but rare conjunction, he united perseverance with ardour, and was as cautious in executing, as he was bold in forming his plans. By engaging early in active life, without any resource but his own talents and industry, and by depending on himself alone in his struggles to emerge from obscurity, he acquired such a thorough knowledge of affairs, and of men, that he was fitted to