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ous voyage, they landed on one of the smaller islands, where they had some skirmishing with the natives, and thence made their way to the principal island of the archipelago, to which, from the report of its great pearl fishery, Vasco Nuñez had given the name of Isla Rica.
The cacique of this island had long been the terror of the neighboring coasts, invading the mainland with fleets of canoes, and carrying the inhabitants into captivity. His reception of the Spaniards was worthy of his fame. Four times did he sally forth to defend his territory, and as often was he repulsed by great slaughter. His warriors were overwhelmed with terror at the fire-arms of the Spaniards, and at their ferocious bloodhounds. Finding all resistance unavailing, the cacique was at length compelled to sue for peace. His prayers being granted he received the conquerors into his habitation, which was well built and of immense size. Here he brought them as a peaceoffering a basket curiously wrought and filled with pearls of great beauty. Among these were two of extraordinary size and value. One weighed twenty-five carats; the other was of the size of a Muscadine pear, weighing upwards of three drachms, and of oriental color and lustre. The cacique considered himself more than repaid by a present of hatchets, beads, and hawks-bells; and on the Spaniards smiling at his joy, observed : “These things I can tum to useful purpose, but of what value are those pearls to me?"
Finding, howerer, that these baubles were previous in the eyes of the Spaniards, he took Morales and Pizarro to the summit of a wooden tower, commanding an unbounded prospect. "Behold before you," said he, “the infinite sea, which extends eren beyo:d the sunbeams. As to these islands which lie to the right and left, they are all subject to my sway. They possess but little gold, but the deep places of the sea around them are full of pearls. Continue to be my friends, and you shall have as many as you desire ; for I value your friendship more than pearls, and as far as in me lies will never forfeit it."
He then pointed to the mainland, where it stretched away toward the east, mountain, beyond mountain, until the summit of the last faded in the distance, and was scarcely seen above the watery horizon. In that direction, he said, there lay a rast country of inexhaustible riches, inhabited by a mighty nation. He went on to repeat the vague but wonderful rumors which the Spaniarus had frequently heard about the great kingdom of Peru. Pi. zarro listened greedily to his words, and while his eye followed the finger of the cacique, as it ranged along the line of shadowy coast, his daring mind kindled with the thought of seeking this golden empire beyond the waters. *
Before leaving the island, the two captains impressed the cacique with so great an idea of the power of the King of Castile, that he agreed to become his vassal, and to render him an annual tribute of one hundred pounds' weight of pearls.
The party having returned in safety to the mainland, though to a different place from that where they had embarked, Gaspar Morales sent his relation, Bernardo Morales, with ten men in quest of Peñalosa and his companions, who had remained in the village of Tutibrà.
Unfortunately for the Spaniards, during the absence of the commanders this Peñalosa had so exasperated the natives by his misconduct, that a conspiracy had been formed by the caciques along the coast to massacre the whole of the strangers, when the party should return from the islands.
Bernardo Morales and his companions, on their way in quest of Peñalosa, put up for the night in the village of a cacique named Chuchamà, who was one of the conspirators. They
* Herrera, decad. ii., lib. i., cap. 4. Peter Martyr, decad. iii., cap. 10.
chapter Page XXII.-Expedition of Morales and Pizarro to the Shores of the Pacific Ocean— Their Visit to the Pearl Islands— Their Disastrous Return across the
Mountains - - - - - 3 XXIII.-Unfortunate Enterprises of the Officers of Pedrarias — Matrimonial Compact between the Governor
and Vasco Nuñez . - - . I5 XXIV.-Vasco Nuñez Transports Ships across
the Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, 19 XXV.-Cruise of Vasco Nuñez in the Southern
Sea—Rumors from Acla - . 24 XXVI.-Reconnoitring Expedition of Garabito—Stratagem of Pedrarias to
Entrap Vasco Nuñez - - . 27