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Spaniards, who, the more hungry they are, the more inflexible they become, and the more hardened to endure suffering.* They carried their plan generally into effect, abandoning their habitations, laying waste their fields and groves, and retiring to the mountains, where there were roots and herbs and abundance of utias for their subsistence.
This measure did indeed produce much distress among the Spaniards, but they had foreign resources, and were enabled to endure it by husbanding the partial supplies brought by their ships; the most disastrous effects fell upon the natives themselves. The Spaniards stationed in the various fortresses, finding that there was not only no hope of tribute, but a danger of famine from this wanton waste and sudden desertion, pursued the natives to their retreats to compel them to return to labor. The Indians took refuge in the most sterile and dreary heights, flying from one wild retreat. to another, the women with their children in their arms or at their backs, and all worn out with fatigue and hunger and harassed by perpetual alarms. In every noise of the forest or
*“No conociendo la propriedad de los Españoles, los cuales cuanto mas hambrientos, tanto mayor teson tienen y mas duros son de sufrir y para sufrir."--Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i., cap. 106.
the mountain they fancied they heard the sound of their pursuers; they hid themselves in damp and dismal caverns or in the rocky banks and margins of the torrents, and not daring to hunt or fish, or even to venture forth in quest of nourishing roots and vegetables, they had to satisfy their raging hunger with unwholesome food. In this way many thousands of them perished miserably through famine, fatigue, terror, and various contagious maladies engendered by their sufferings. All spirit of opposition was at length completely quelled. The surviving Indians returned in despair to their habitations and submitted humbly to the yoke. So deep an awe did they conceive of their conquerors that it is said a Spaniard might go singly and securely all over the island, and the natives would even transport him from place to place on their shoulders.* Before passing on to other events it may
be proper here to notice the fate of Guacanagari, as he makes no further appearance in the course of this history. His friendship for the Spaniards had severed him from his countrymen but did not exonerate him from the general woes of the island. His territories, like those of the other caciques, were subjected to a
* Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i., cap. 106. Hist. del Almirante, cap. 60.
tribute, which his people, with the common repugnance to labor, found it difficult to pay. Columbus, who knew his worth, and could have protected him, was long absent either in the interior of the island or detained in Europe by his own wrongs.
In the interval the Spaniards forgot the hospitality and services of Guacanagari, and his tribute was harshly exacted. He found himself overwhelmed with opprobrium from his countrymen at large, and assailed by the clamors and lamentations of his suffering subjects. The strangers whom he had succored in distress and taken as it were to the bosomn of his native island, had become its tyrants and oppressors. Care and toil and poverty and strong-handed violence had spread their curses over the land, and he felt as if he had invoked them on his race. Unable to bear the hostility of his fellow caciques, the woes of his subjects, and the extortions of his ungrateful allies, he took refuge at last in the mountains, where he died obscurely and in misery.*
An attempt has been made by Oviedo to defame the character of this Indian prince ; it is not for Spaniards however to excuse their own ingratitude by casting a stigma on his
He appears to have always manifested * Charlevoix, Hist. St. Domingo, lib. ii.