TIHE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 80.
Juan de Borja, Governor of Santa Fe to the King.
June 20th, 1608, Santa Fe de Bogota.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36319, British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
Sire, After my arrival in this Kingdom I endeavoured
to obtain information concerning the state of the discovery
of El Dorado which is entrusted ro Don Fernando de Berrio
whose correspondence has been so far from what it should
be that neither myself nor the Oidors who reside in this
Audiencia have received any information from him for the
space of ten years or news of what is being done but from
private persons who have been there and in some of the
nearest islands, we have heard how weak is the foundation
of that conquest which is only sustained by vanity and
Let Your Majesty be pleased to consider that though it
is not carried on (and even because it is not carried on) at
the expense of the Royal Treasury, it touches your most
christian conscience nearer for the price of pursuing the
chimera of this discovery is the free and licentious lives led
by the soldiers who without spiritual and temporal leading
run headlong into every kind of vice.
From that place which is the chosen resort of secular
criminals, irregular priests and apostate friars and in general
a seminary of rascals, nothing is to be expected except some
seditious scandal when they despair of finding what they
seek or tire of the delay in its discovery.
Besides which it is notorious that the chief attraction
is the trade with the pirate enemies which is so extensive and
continual that the merchandise comes as far as this Kingdom
through the licence of the same Don Fernando. When
I learnt of this prejudicial trade I commissioned Don Fernando
de Mendoca, Corregidor of these parts, to enquire into the
case and by his original letters which I send to Your Majesty
the extent to which it is carried on will be seen.
May Your Majesty be pleased to command that it be
looked into by some intelligent person for the information
and satisfaction of Your Royal Conscience for I should not
think that I had complied with the demands of mine if I did
not send this information.
If Don Fernando spent his own property (would that
part of it were well distributed in providing for his sisters)
and not that of Your Majesty, I should not make this complaint.
In answer to all this it is alleged that that gentleman
has no health or that it is very bad and broken down, the
causes of which are public and call for a remedy which I am
even informed is about to be asked of Your Majcsty.
June 20th, 16o8.
JUAN DE BORJA.