Tlascala, July, 1520. Transactions and occurrences there.
Foundation of the colony of
Segura de la Frontera. Subjugation
of the neighbouring districts by the Spaniards.


WE were thus, as I have mentioned, by the friendship of the Tlascalans, hospitably received and entertained in their city, after our fatigues, dangers, and losses, in the retreat from Mexico.

One of the first things done by Cortes on our arrival was, to enquire after the gold which had been brought there, to the value of forty thousand crowns, and which was the share of the garrison of Villa 

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Rica. He was informed by the Tlascalan chiefs, and also by one of our invalids who remained there when we marched to Mexico, that the persons who had been sent from Villa Rica to receive it, had, on their return, been robbed and murdered on the road, at the time we were engaged in hostilities with the Mexicans. Another cause of uneasiness to us was, our uncertainty as to the situation of our countrymen at Villa Rica. Letters were sent, to inform them of the events which had lately taken place, and desiring them to send us what arms and ammunition they could spare, and a strong reinforcement. We were informed by the return of the messengers, that all continued well in the neighbourhood of that garrison. The reinforcement also, which had been required, was immediately sent. It consisted of seven men in the whole, three of whom were sailors, and every one of them invalids. They were commanded by a soldier named Lencero, the same who kept the inn at present called by his name. For a long time afterwards, a reinforcement of Lencero, was a proverbial expression with us.

We had now some trouble given us by the younger Xicotenga. This chief on hearing of our misfortunes in Mexico, and of our being in march for his country, conceived the project of taking us by surprise, and putting us all to death; for which purpose he was very active in forming his party, and having assembled many of his friends, relations, and adherents, he exposed to them the facility with which it could be done. These intrigues however could not go on long, without coming to the knowledge of his father, who reproached him severely for his treacherous conduct, assuring him that if it came to be known, it would cost the lives of him and all those concerned with him. The young man however persevered, paying no regard to what his father said, and the affair at length coming to the ears of his mortal enemy Chichimecatecle, he immediately gave information of it; whereupon, a council was summoned of all the chiefs to take the affair into consideration, and Xicotenga was brought prisoner before them. Maxicatzin was the orator upon the occasion and spoke at considerable length in favour of the Spaniards; he said that prosperity had attended their nation ever since 

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our arrival amongst them. That we had enabled them to eat salt with their provisions, and that we were certainly those of whom their ancestors had spoken. He then reprobated and exposed the conduct of the younger Xicotenga. In reply to this, and to the discourse of his father to the same purpose, the young man made use of such outrageous and disrespectful language, as induced them to seize him by the collar, and throw him down the steps of the building into the street, and he very narrowly escaped with his life; but Cortes did not think it prudent in his present situation to carry matters any farther. Such was the fidelity of our Tlascalan allies, with whom we at this time staid two and twenty days.

Cortes meditated an attack upon the adjoining provinces of Tepeaca and Zacatula, on account of the murders committed by these people upon the Spaniards, and determined to set out upon it, at the expiration of the above mentioned period; but when he came to propose this to his troops, he found the universal sentiment of the soldiers of Narvaez decidedly against it. They thought that, they never could get back loon enough to their houses and mines in the Island of Cuba, and the slaughter of Mexico, and battle of Obtumba, made them desire to renounce all connexion with Cortes, his riches, and his conquests. But beyond all others Andres de Duero, his friend and companion, most heartily cursed the day he had embarked with him in the business, and the gold which he had been forced to leave in the ditches of Mexico. They all totally declined any connexion with his new schemes, and finding that words did not avail them they made a requisition in form to that effect, stating the insufficiency of our force, and demanding licences to return to Cuba. Cortes having received and read the memorial, replied to it, giving at least ten reasons for his plan, to every one they alledged against it; his own soldiers also addressed him on the occasion, requesting him on no account to give permission to any one to depart, but that we should all remain together, as being most conducive to the service of God, and his Majesty. At length they were obliged to acquiesce, with a very ill grace, and much murmuring against Cortes, and his expeditions, and against us who supported him in them, and who as they said had no-

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thing to lose but our lives. Cortes on his part made them a general promise, that by the next convenient opportunity he would send them to their Island of Cuba.

The historian Gomara in his account of this transaction makes no distinction between us and the soldiers of Narvaez, as if we were equally concerned in presenting the memorial; and this he does in order to enhance the merits of his hero, Cortes, and to depreciate us the true conquerors of Mexico, because we did not think it became us to bribe him with gifts to speak favourably of us, when we were those, and those only, who supported Cortes. And now this historian would annihilate our reputations, in saying, forsooth, that we memorialled!!

It would have better become this historian to attend more to matters of fact, and less to his figures of rhetoric in what he writes. I have been, astonished at that part of his relation, where he assigns the victory at Obtumba solely to the valor of Cortes. I have said before, that it was in the first instance owing to God’s mercy; I say also that Cortes did every thing that ought to be expected from a wise and valiant general, and that he owed his success, under God, to the stout and valiant captains, and to us brave soldiers, who broke the force of the enemy, and supported him by fighting in the manner we fought, and as I have related. What that historian says relative to his charging the general and bearer of the royal standard of Mexico is true, and it was Juan de Salamanca, afterwards alcalde major of Guacacualco, who killed him with his lance, and presented the ornamented plume to Cortes; which plume his Majesty was afterwards pleased to give Salamanca in his coat of arms. Not that I am unwilling to ascribe all due honour to our Cortes; for I know that he deserves it; and if it was the custom, as formerly, to give triumphs to generals, he is more worthy of one than any Roman. Gomara also greatly exaggerates the numbers of our Indian allies, and the population of the country beyond all reason; for it was not the fifth part of what he represents it. According to his account there would have been more thousands here, than inhabit all Castille; but where 

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he has written eighty thousand we should read one thousand. All this he has done in order to make his narrative the more agreable. In my history I tell the truth, word for word as it happened, without looking to ornaments of rhetoric; for I consider myself obliged to adhere to matter of fact, and do not deal in flatteries.

We now set out on our march, to punish the districts of Cachula, Tepeaca, and Tecamachalco, without artillery or fire arms of any kind, for all had been left in the ditches of Mexico. Our force consisted of sixteen cavalry and four hundred and twenty infantry, mostly armed with sword and target, with about four thousand Tlascalans. We halted at night, at the distance of three leagues from Tepeaca; but the people of the place had deserted their houses on our approach. We made some prisoners on our way, by whom Cortes sent to the chiefs, to inform them, that we came for the purpose of obtaining justice for the murder of eighteen Spaniards, who had been without any cause put to death in crossing their territories; and also to know the reason of their entertaining Mexican troops, and to warn them, that if they did not immediately treat with us far peace, we would make war against them with fire and sword. However terrible our language was, that of their answer conveyed by our messengers and two Mexicans, was much more so; for the Mexicans were elevated by their successes against us at the bridges. Cortes treated them very kindly, and declared every wish to forget and forgive the past, but all could not do; they sent back for answer, that if we did not return immediately, they would put us all to death and make a feast upon our bodies.

Upon this Cortes called a council of the officers, and it was then determined, that a full statement of all which had passed should be officially drawn up by a royal notary, whereby all the Mexicans and allies of the Mexicans who had killed Spanish subjects, after having given obedience to his Majesty, should be declared in a state of slavery. This being duly drawn up and attested, we once more sent to require them to come in, giving them notice of the consequences of their contumacy,

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but they returned an answer similar to their former one. Both sides then prepared for battle, and on the next day we came to an action with them. This battle taking place in open fields of maiz, our cavalry speedily put the enemy to flight, with considerable loss, though they made a stout resistance; but our allies fought gallantly, and pursued them hotly, and we took many boys, for slaves.

The Mexicans being thus defeated, the natives came in, to sue for peace; we accordingly proceeded to the town of Tepeaca, to receive their submission, and on that spot was founded our, settlement of Segura de la Frontera, the situation being eligible, as on the road to Villa Rica, and in a fertile district. The municipal officers were immediately appointed, and the iron brand was made here, for the purpose of marking those natives who were taken for slaves; they were marked with the letter G, for “Guerra,” or war. We made excursions through the district, and to the towns of Cachula, (where they had put fifteen Spaniards to death in the houses,) Tecamechalco, Las Guayavas, and many others whole names I do not recollect; taking a number of prisoners, who were immediately branded for slaves. By these means, in about the space of six weeks, we reduced the people to order and obedience.

At this period another prince of the blood royal was elected to the throne of Mexico, for the former one who had expelled us from that city, was dead of the small pox. The new king was named Guatimotzin; he was a young man about the age of twenty five years, of elegant appearance, very brave, and so terrible to his own subjects that they all trembled at the sight of him. When the intelligence reached this prince of what had happened in Tepeaca, he began to be apprehensive for his other provinces, neglecting, however, nothing that it was in his power to do, to induce the chiefs to continue steady to him; and he also sent considerable bodies of troops to watch our movements.

Cortes now received letters from Villa Rica informing him, that a vessel had arrived at the port, commanded by a gentleman named Pedro 

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Barba, who was his intimate friend. He had been lieutenant under Velasquez at the Havannah, and had now brought with him thirteen soldiers and two horses; he also brought letters from Velasquez the governor of Cuba to Narvaez, who was thought to be by this time all powerful in New Spain, ordering him, if Cortes was not already dead, to send him to Cuba, that he might be thence transmitted to Castille, such being the directions of the bishop of Burgos. As soon as Pedro Barba arrived in the harbour, the officer whom Cortes had appointed admiral went to visit him, taking with him in his boat a strong crew, with their arms concealed. When he came on board, he saluted Barba and the rest courteously, and enquired after the health of the governor of Cuba. The others in their turn enquired after Narvaez, and what had become of Cortes. They were told that Cortes was a fugitive with about twenty of his companions, and that Narvaez had established himself, and was in possession of great riches. They then invited Barba and the rest on shore to refresh themselves, to which they assenting descended into the boats, where they were bid to surrender themselves instantly prisoners to Cortes. They had no alternative, and were obliged to submit. The ship was dismantled, and the captain and crew sent to us in Tepeaca, to our great satisfaction, for though we did not suffer much in the field, yet continual fatigue had made us very unhealthy, five of our soldiers having died of pleurisies within a fortnight. With this party came Francisco Lopez, afterwards regidor of Guatimala. Barba was exceedingly well received by Cortes, who was informed by him that he might expect the arrival of another small vessel with provisions, within the space of a week, which accordingly happened. On board the last mentioned ship came a gentleman, native of Medina del Campo, by name Rodorigo de Lobera, eight soldiers, and one horse. Our friends pursued the same method with this vessel that they had done with the former, and with the same success. The party joined us in a few days, it being no small satisfaction to us, thus to find our army recruiting its numbers.

The new king of Mexico having sent large bodies of troops to these 

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provinces that were nearest to the Spanish army, they became very disorderly, robbing and outraging the people. These provocations induced the natives to send four chiefs secretly to negotiate with Cortes, offering to surrender themselves to him, provided he would give them his assistance to expell the Mexicans. Cortes immediately acceded to the proposal, and ordered for this service the whole of the cavalry and crossbow-men, under the command of Christoval de Oli. A considerable number also of Tlascalans were joined in the expedition. Several of the captains who had come with Narvaez were appointed to command in this detachment, which amounted in the whole to above three hundred soldiers. As our people were on their march, conversing with the Indians, they received such accounts from them of the force of the enemy, as entirely deprived the soldiers of Narvaez of what little inclination they ever had for military expeditions, and made them doubly anxious to return to their Island of Cuba, being utterly averse from a repetition of the days of Mexico, and Obtumba. They began to grow very mutinous, and told their chief in plain terms, that if he was determined to persist in his attempt, he might do it by himself, for that they were all resolved to quit him. De Oli remonstrated with them upon the impropriety of such conduct, in which he was supported by all the soldiers of Cortes, but in vain; he was compelled to yield to their perverseness, and halt at Cholula, from whence he wrote to Cortes, informing him of his situation. When Cortes received his letter, he immediately returned an angry message, ordering him positively to advance with his whole force, at all events. When De Oli received this, he fell in a violent rage with those who had brought that reprimand on him, and ordering the whole to march immediately, declared he would send back any one who hesitated to Cortes, to be treated by him as a coward deserved.

When he arrived within a league of Guacacualco, he was met by some chiefs, who informed him in what manner he might best come upon the enemy. Having in consequence settled his plan of attack, he marched against, and after a sharp action defeated the Mexican troops, 

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and put them completely to flight, with the loss on his part, of two horses, and eight wounded. Our allies this day made a great slaughter of the Mexicans, who fell back, and rallied at a large town called Ozucar, where were other great bodies of their troops. Here they made a post, fortifying themselves and breaking dawn the bridges; but De Oli, turned into a tiger by the reproof of Cortes, pursued them without halting, with as many of his troops as he could bring up. By the assistance of his Indian friends of Guacachula, he contrived to pass the river, and falling on the Mexicans, dispersed them again, with the lost of two more horses killed; his own horse was also wounded in several daces, and De Oli himself received two wounds. Here he halted for two days after the action, and all the principal people waited on him, to submit as vassals to his Majesty. Their allegiance being accepted, and the country restored to peace, he returned with his force to the town of Segura de la Frontera.

Not having been on this expedition, the account I have given is such as was related to me, by those who were. De Oli was received by Cortes and all of us with great satisfaction; we laughed heartily at him for his counter march, in which he joined with us, and swore that for the next expedition he was sent on, he would take the poor soldiers of Cortes, and not the rich planters of Narvaez, whose minds were more intent upon their horses and estates, than upon feats of arms; and who were much more ready to command, than to obey. Gomara says that it was the people of Guaxocingo who gave the information to the officers of Narvaez; but this is absurd, for the last mentioned town was entirely out of their route, and it is exactly the same thing as saying, that if we were to set out now from Medina del Campo to travel to Salamanca, we should go round by Valladolid.

While we were here, Cortes received letters from Villa Rica, whereby he was informed, that a vessel had arrived there commanded by a person of the name of Camargo, having on board upwards of seventy soldiers, all very sickly. She was one of these which had been 

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sent to establish a colony at Panuco,* and brought intelligence that the other captain who had been sent thither, named Pineda, with all his soldiers, had been put to death by the Indians; and that their shipping had been burned. Camargo therefore finding the ill success of that attempt, had come to Villa Rica for assistance, his men being afflicted with liver complaints, which their yellow and dropsical appearance demonstrated. This officer was very well acquainted with the situation of affairs, and had been it is said, a Dominican friar. Having disembarked his soldiers, he set out with them, and arrived by slow marches at La Frontera, where they were kindly received by Cortes, and attended with as much care as we could bestow upon them, but the captain and many of the soldiers very soon died. On account of their morbid colour and swollen bodies, we used to call them “the green paunches.” In order to avoid the interference of foreign matters with the thread of my narrative, I will now inform my reader, that one after another, at different and irregular periods, all the remains of this armament arrived at the port of Villa Rica. Amongst others was an Arragonian named Miguel diaz de Auz. He brought upwards of fifty soldiers, with seven horses; with which he immediately joined us, being the most effectual reinforcement we had for a long time received. This Captain de Auz served very well during the war in New Spain; it was he who afterwards had a law suit with a brother in law of Cortes, named Andres de Barrios, whom we used to call “the dancer.” The law suit was about the division of Mestitan, which was awarded afterwards as follows; he had the surplus of the rents, beyond two thousand five hundred crowns, on condition of not entering upon the district for the space of two years, because he was accused of having killed Indians there, and in other places where he had been. Another of Garay’s vessels arrived shortly after at our port. In this came an officer named Ramirez, called by us, “the old.” He brought with him forty soldiers, ten horses, cross-bows and other arms. Thus Garay continually sent us reinforcements, thinking that his colony was going on well in Panuco. All these soldiers joined us at Tepeaca. Those who came with Miguel diaz de Auz, as they were plump and in good condition, we named “the Sir loins;” and as the 

* By F. de Garay governor of Jamaica.

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soldiers of old Ramirez wore cotton armour which was very thick and clumsy, so that no arrow could penetrate through it, we called them “the pack-horses.”

Cortes having been thus reinforced to the amount of an hundred and fifty soldiers and twenty horses, determined to punish the Cacatame and Xalacingo Indians, with several others who had been concerned in the murders of Spaniards. Twenty cavalry and twelve crossbow-men, made part of the force sent against them, the whole of which consisted of two hundred of the veterans of the army of Cortes, and a body of Tlascalans, commanded by Gonzalo de Sandoval. Our detachment received intelligence that the enemy were in arms, fortified, and reinforced by Mexican troops. Sandoval therefore arranged his plan of attack, first sending to inform them, that he would pardon the deaths of the Spaniards, provided they submitted, and returned the treasure. The answer they sent back was, that they would eat him, and all those with him, in the same manner that they had done the others. Sandoval then proceeded to attack them, which he did in two places at the same instant, and notwithstanding that both the natives and the Mexicans fought with great spirit, they had no better success than on former occasions, being defeated and pursued with a considerable loss. Our people after the action going into some of their temples, found cloaths, arms, bridles and saddles, presented as offerings to their gods. Sandoval declared his intention of halting three days there, and he also now again demanded from them the treasure which had been taken. They readily submitted themselves to his Majesty, but in regard to the treasure, they said, that it was no longer in their power, having been transmitted to Mexico. Sandoval referred them to the general for their pardons, and returned with his troops, having made a considerable number of women and boys prisoners, all of whom were immediately marked with the iron. I was not on the expedition, being ill of a fever, and throwing up blood at the mouth; but I was bled plentifully, and thanks to God recovered. In consequence of the directions given by Sandoval, the chiefs of these nations, and also of many others in their neighbourhood, 

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came in and made their submissions to Cortes. This expedition was productive of the very best effects. The fame of Cortes extended through all their countries, for valor and for justice, and he was much more dreaded and respected than Guatimotzin, the new sovereign of Mexico; insomuch that his decision was requested in the most important litigations. The small pox was now so prevalent in New Spain, that many of the great lords of the natives died of it. In such cases the claimants to the succession called on Cortes for, and abided by his decision, as sovereign lord of the country. There were at this period great disputes relative to the lordships of Ozucar and Guacachula, which being referred to Cortes he decided the cause in favor of a nephew of Montezuma, whose sister had married the cacique of that district.

At this time Cortes sent Sandoval to punish the people of the district called Cocotlan, where they had put to death nine Spaniards. Sandoval took with him thirty cavalry and one hundred infantry, with a strong body of Tlascalans. On his entry into the district he summoned these people, holding out as usual threats on the one hand, and invitations on the other, to which the Indians replied, that they acknowledged no other government than that of Mexico, and that they were very well able to defend themselves. They had here a considerable force of Mexican auxiliaries, who encouraged them to resistance. As soon as Sandoval received this mirage he put his troops in order, and cautioned his allies not to advance to the attack at first, on account of their disordering the cavalry, but to wait until the enemy were broken by our troops, and then to fall on the Mexicans. Two large bodies of the enemy were met by our army, in a strong situation; they made a firm resistance, and before Sandoval could extricate his cavalry from the difficult and rocky ground, they had killed one and wounded nine of his horses and four soldiers. At length having driven them from this port, he advanced to their town, and there assaulting them and the reinforcements which had joined them, at their post in the temples, and large walled inclosures, with the good assistance of his Indian allies, whose keenness was increased by the abundance of plunder, he totally defeat- 

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ed, and put them to flight. Sandoval halted here for two days, during which the chiefs came in and made their submissions. He demanded of them the property and effects of the Spaniards whom they had put to death, but they replied that it was out of their power to return them, they having already burned the whole. They also said that most of the Spaniards they had killed were eaten, five of them having been sent to their monarch Guatimotzin. They promised a plentiful supply of provisions, apologized for what was passed, and Sandoval being able to do no more was fain to accept their submissions.

As all this country was now brought under subjection, Cortes determined, with the approbation of his Majesty’s officers to mark the prisoners and slaves, previous to the taking out the royal fifth, and his own. An order was in consequence given out, that the soldiers should bring all their prisoners to an appointed place, which was a large house in the town, for this purpose. It was accordingly done; they consisted of women, boys, and girls of the Indians, for as to the men they were too troublesome to keep, and our Tlascalan friends to whom they were given by us did us all the service we could desire from them. The prisoners remained in confinement during the night, and in the morning the repartition took place. First the royal fifth was selected, and then that of Cortes; and thus far all went on very well, but when the soldiers shares came to be allotted, behold! we found that some one had been there in the night, and taken every handsome and good Indian that was there, leaving us nothing but a herd of old, ugly, and miserable jades. This of course made a great murmur amongst the soldiers, who loudly charged Cortes with having conveyed away and concealed all the valuable slaves, and the soldiers of Narvaez swore they never heard of such a thing as two kings, and two fifths, in his Majesty’s dominions! among the rest one Juan de Quexo said he would make it known in Castille how they were treated, and another plainly told Cortes how he had abused them in regard to the gold in Mexico, for that when the division was made there appeared only three hundred thousand crowns in value, and when our flight took place he produced above seven hundred thousand; all which had been

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regularly attested. And now the poor soldier, who had worn himself to nothing with fatigue, and was full of wounds, when he had gotten a good female Indian prisoner, and given her cloathing and ornaments, found that she was taken from him! “When the order was given,” said the soldier, “Every one thought that the slaves were only put in to be marked and valued, and that each would get his own back, paying the fifth of the value which she was rated at to his Majesty, and that Cortes was to have no farther claim on them whatever.” He added a great deal more to the same purpose, but worse than what I have mentioned. When Cortes heard these exclamations against him, he made answer, swearing by his conscience! his usual oath, that it never should happen so again, and he protested that in future better regulations should be adopted. Thus with smooth words, and fair promises on his part, the affair passed over.

But I have now something to mention worse than this; it has been already related how in the fatal night of the retreat from Mexico, the treasure was produced and all the soldiers given liberty to take as much as they chose of it; many of those of Narvaez loaded themselves with gold, some also of ours did the same; to a great many this cost their lives, and none who escaped with life and what they had carried off, but were severely wounded. After all this however Cortes came to know that in our garrison here at La Frontera, a quantity of gold in bars was in circulation, and that deep gaming was going on amongst our soldiers; wherein our companions had forgot the old proverb which says, that “wealth and amours should be kept concealed.” He issued an order for all the gold to be brought in within a given time, under the severest penalty in case of disobedience, promising, on a fair delivery, to return the third part, but threatening in case of failure or evasion, that the whole should be forfeited. Many of the soldiers refused, and from some Cortes took it by way of loan; but indeed rather by main force than free will. As many of the captains and also of those who had offices under his Majesty were possessed of gold, a compromise took 

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place whereby no more was said about the order; but it was a very bad transaction on the part of Cortes.

The officers of Narvaez thought this a good juncture to renew their solicitations to Cortes for permission to return to Cuba. After much trouble and many efforts on their part, Cortes assented, promising that on the conquest of Mexico, he would give his friend Andres de Duero much more wealth than he had ever possessed. He made similar offers also to the other captains, especially to Augustin Bermudez. Those who were determined to return he ordered to be provided with whatever was necessary for their voyage, such as maiz, dogs salted, fowls, &c, and giving them one of the best ships in the harbour, he wrote letters by them to his wife Donna Catalina Xuarez Marcayda, and to his brother in law Juan Xuarez informing them of all that had happened; and he also transmitted to them by the same opportunity some bars and ornaments of gold. The following persons were among those who returned to Cuba at this time, with their pockets well lined after all their disasters. Andres de Duero, Augustin Bermudez, Juan Buono de Quexo, Bernardino de Quesada, Francisco Velasquez the hump backed, a relation of the governor of Cuba, Gonzalo Carrasco who returned afterwards to this country and lives in La Puebla, Melchor Velasco, and one Ximenes who lives in Guaxaca: he went for his sons; also the commendador Leon de Cervantes who went to bring over his daughters; after the conquest of Mexico he married them to very honourable connexions; one Maldonado also of Medellin, an invalid; not he who married Donna Maria del Rincon, nor the big Maldonado, nor the other of that name whom we called Alvaro Maldonado “the fierce,” who was married to a lady named Maria Arias; there was also one Vargas whom we nicknamed “the gallant;” I do not mean the Vargas who was father in law to Christoval Lobo; Cardenas the pilot also went; it was he who talked, of the two kings; Cortes gave him three hundred crowns for his wife and children; with many others whom it would be too prolix to enumerate. When Cortes was remonstrated with on letting so many quit us in our weak state he replied, that he did it partly

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to get rid of their importunities, and partly because they were not fit for war, and that it was better to be alone than badly accompanied. He sent Alvarado with them in order to see them shipped, and at this time he also dispatched De Ordas and Alonzo de Mendoza to Camille, with certain instructions, the tenor of which we were ignorant of; as we also were of what was going on in that country relative to us, except that the Bishop of Burgos declared us all traitors, and that Diego de Ordas answered very well for us, and got for himself the order of St. Jago, and for his coat of arms the volcano which is between Guaxocingo and Cholula. But these affairs shall be related in their proper time. Cortes also sent Captain Alonzo de Avila contador of New Spain, and Francisco Alvarez, a man of business, to make a report to the royal court of audience and the brothers of the order of Jeronymites in St. Domingo, of all that had happened, more particularly relative to Narvaez; and also to inform them, how he had punished by slavery, those guilty of revolt and murders, and meant to pursue the same measures with all those people who adhered to the alliance of the Mexicans. He also supplicated their interests in representing our faithful services to the Emperor, and their support against the misrepresentations and enmity of the Bishop of Burgos.

Cortes likewise at this time sent a vessel to Jamaica for horses, commanded by one De Solis, whom we afterwards called De Solis de la Huerta. Some will ask how he was able to send agents to Camille, to St. Domingo, and Jamaica, without money. To this I reply, that on the night of our retreat from Mexico, though many of our soldiers were killed, yet a considerable quantity of gold was laved, as the firm who passed the bridge were, the eighty loaded Tlascalans; so that though much was lost in the ditches of Mexico, yet all was not left there, and the gold which was brought off by the Tlascalans, was by them delivered to Cortes. But as to us poor soldiers who had no command, but were commanded, it was enough for us to escape with our lives, and all badly wounded too, without troubling ourselves what was done with the gold, nor how much of it was brought off; and it was also shrewd- 

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ly suspected, that the treasure which fell to the share of the garrison of Villa Rica, and of which those who were entrusted with the conveyance were robbed, went after all to Old Castille, Jamaica and elsewhere. But the ingots of gold in the captains pockets stopped all inquiry upon that head.

The siege of Mexico being now determined on, Cortes left a garrison of twenty men mostly sick and wounded, under the command of Francisco de Orozco in the town of Frontera, and proceeded with the rest of his force to the country of Tlascala, where he ordered timber to be cut for the construction of the vessels to command the lake of Mexico. The ships were to be constructed under the directions of Martin Lopez, an excellent shipwright, and one who was most highly serviceable to his Majesty’s interests here in other respects, besides being a valiant soldier. When we arrived at Tlascala, we found that our good friend and the faithful ally of our Monarch, Maxicatzin, had fallen a victim to the small pox. Cortes lamented him as if he had been his father, and put on mourning in respect to him, as did many of our captains and soldiers. As there was some dispute in regard to the succession, Cores settled that it should be with the legitimate son of our friend, as he had desired at his death; a short time previous to which, having summoned his family into his presence, he had strictly enjoined them never to quit our alliance, as we were undoubtedly those who were destined to rule that country. The other chiefs of that nation offered their assistance in providing timber, and also to aid us in the war against the Mexicans. Cortes received their proposals with every mark of attention and gratitude, and at that time proposed to one of them, the elder Xicotenga, to turn christian; to which he readily assented, and was baptized in great ceremony by the name of Don Lorenzo de Vargas.

Our shipwright Lopez managed his business so well, that in a few days he had all his timber cut, shaped, and marked for each particular part of the vessels. He was assisted by a good soldier named Andres 

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Nunez, and by old Ramirez the carpenter, who was lame with a wound. Cortes obtained from the port of Villa Rica the iron work, sails, and other necessaries to equip the vessels; and he also ordered to be sent to him what smiths were there, amongst others, Aguilar, of which name there were three amongst us, but this was the man we called “the iron-mauler.” As pitch was wanting, and was unknown to the natives of those countries, he sent four sailors to the pine woods of Guaxacingo, which are very considerable, to obtain a supply of that article. Some curious persons have asked me, why Cortes sent Alonzo de Avila who was so valiant a captain on an affair of negotiation, when he had men of business such as Alonzo de Grado, and Juan de Caceres the rich, and others whom they have named to me. To this I reply, that Cortes sent Avila because he was a brave man, and would not be afraid to speak out on any necessary occasion in order to obtain justice; and therefore, to avoid being opposed and thwarted by him, and to give his company to Andres de Tapia, and his office of contador to Alonzo de Grado, Cortes chose to send him upon business to St. Domingo.

Now that the timber of the vessels was all ready for the dock yard, and that those who came with Narvaez no longer molested us with their fears and surmises, there was great difference of opinion amongst us on the subject of establishing our post, in order to prepare for the investment of Mexico. Some strongly recommended Ayotcingoas most convenient on account of the canals, others, amongst whom was Cortes, as strongly insisted on the elegibility of Tezcuco as most advantageous for making incursions upon the Mexican territory. The decision being at length for Tezcuco, just as we were ready to march we were interrupted in our movements for an instant, by intelligence that a vessel had arrived at Villa Rica from Europe and the Canary Islands, loaded with military stores, merchandise, and horses. It was commanded by one Francisco Medel, but the owner of the property, who came with it, was one Juan de Burgos. There were also on board thirteen soldiers. We were in high spirits on receiving this intelligence, and Cortes having sent orders to purchase the whole cargo, we lost not a moment in 

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setting forward on our route for Tezcuco, after we were joined by the people who came on board the vessel. Amongst these were one Juan del Espinar, afterwards a very rich man, one Sagredo uncle to the woman called La Sagreda, in the Island of Cuba, and a Biscayan named Monjaraz, uncle to two of that name who were soldiers with us, and father to the handsome woman who afterwards came to Mexico called La Monjaraza. This man never was in any expedition or engagement with us, always pretending to be sick, though he missed no opportunity of boasting of his valour. When we besieged Mexico, he said he would see how the natives fought, for he had no opinion of their bravery. He accordingly went to the top of a very high temple like a turret, and no one ever could tell how it was, but certain Indians killed him on that very day. Those who had known him in the Island of St. Domingo said, that it was God’s judgment on him for having had his wife, a good, honourable, and beautiful woman, put to death, by the perjury of false witnesses.