Spanish Voyages of Discovery

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

held that intended for Vasco Nuñez, until he should determine what course of conduct to adopt. The latter, however, heard of the circumstance, as did his friend the Bishop of Darien. The prelate made loud complaints of this interruption of the royal correspondence, which he denounced, even from the pulpit, as an outrage upon the rights of the subject, and an act of disobedience to the sovereign.

Upon this the governor called a council of his public officers; and, after imparting the contents of his letter, requested their opinion as to the propriety of investing Vasco Nuñez with the dignities thus granted to him. The Alcalde Mayor, Espinosa, had left the party of the bishop, and was now devoted to the governor. He insisted, vehemently, that the offices ought in no wise to be given to Vasco Nuñez, until the king should be informed of the result of the inquest which was still going on against him. In this he was warmly supported by the treasurer and the accountant. The bishop replied, indignantly, that it was presumptuous and disloyal in them to dispute the commands of the king, and to interfere with the rewards conscientiously given by him to a meritorious subject. In this way, he added, they were defeating, by their passions, the grateful intentions of their sovereign. The governor was overawed by the honest warmth of the bishop, and professed to accord with him in opinion. The council lasted until midnight; and it was finally agreed that the titles and dignities should be conferred on Vasco Nuñez on the following day.*

Pedrarias and his officers reflected, however, that if the jurisdiction implied by these titles were absolutely vested in Vasco Nuñez, the government of Darien and Castilla del Oro would virtually be reduced to a trifling matter; they resolved, therefore, to adopt a middle course; to grant him the empty titles, but to make him give security not to enter upon the actual government of the territories in question, until Pedrarias should give him permission. The bishop and Vasco Nuñez assented to this arrangement; satisfied, for the present, with securing the titles, and trusting to the course of events to get dominion over the torritories.

____________________
*
Oviedo, part 2, c. 9, MS. Oviedo, the historian, was present at this consultation, and says that he wrote down tho opinions given on the occasion, which the parties signed with their proper hands.
Oviedo, part 2, c. 9, MS.

-156-

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