The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

the most robust and hardy tribe of the island, and far more formidable than the mild inhabitants of the plains. It was a part of this tribe which displayed hostility to the Spaniards in the course of the first voyage of Columbus, and in a skirmish with them in the Gulf of Samana the first drop of native blood had been shed in the New World. The reader may remember the frank and confiding conduct of these people the day after the skirmish, and the intrepid faith with which their cacique trusted himself on board of the caravel of the admiral, and in the power of the Spaniards. It was to this same cacique, named Mayobanex, that the fugitive chieftain of the Vega now applied for refuge. He came to his residence at an Indian town near Cape Cabron, about forty leagues east of Isabella, and implored shelter for his wife and children, and his handful of loyal followers. The noble-minded cacique of the mountains received him with open arms. He not only gave an asylum to his family; but engaged to stand by him in his distress, to defend his cause, and share his desperate fortunes.* Men in civilized life learn magnanimity from precept, but their most generous actions are often rivalled by the deeds of untutored savages, who act only from natural impulse.


CHAPTER VII
CAMPAIGN OF THE ADELANTADO IN THE MOUNTAINS OF CIGUAY.

[ 1498.]

Aided by his mountain ally, and by bands of hardy Ciguayans, Guarionex made several descents into the plain, cutting off straggling parties of the Spaniards, laying waste the villages of the natives which continued in allegiance to them, and destroying the fruits of the earth. The Adelantado put a speedy stop to these molestations; but he determined to root out so formidable an adversary from the neighborhood. Shrinking from no danger nor fatigue, and Leaving nothing to be done by others which he could do himself, he set forth in the spring with a band of ninety men, a few cavalry, and a body of Indians, to penetrate the Ciguay mountains.

____________________
*
Las Casas, Hist. Ind., cap. 121, ms. Peter Martyr, decad. i. cap. 5.

-419-

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