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gives lengthy details and explanations about a number of other particular facts, which I cannot and will not repeat; they would afford no interest to Your Holiness; he most humbly beseeches the Emperor to let him return to his wife and children, [in Spain] for he is overcome by age and infirmities. His request has been granted; he has been recalled, and in his place a noble knight of Cordova, called Pedro Rios, has been appointed. The latter is here at the present time, preparing to start. When I recounted in the preceding chapters the history of Francisco Garay's misfortunes, Olid's arrival at Cuba where he prepared his expedition to Figueras, the preparations of Egidius Gonzales to start for the same place, and finally the plans of Pedro Arias, I said at the same time that our council had been unable to adopt other preventive measures than the granting of full powers to the council of Hispaniola and ordering that the neighbours should exercise their best efforts to prevent the rivalry of these captains from provoking a general and much dreaded catastrophe. Upon receipt of our instructions and those of the Emperor, the council of Hispaniola appointed as commissioner one of their own number; they chose an honest man holding the post of revenue collector in the colony, the bachelor Moreno. His departure was delayed until everything was over. The greatest confusion prevailed when he arrived, and his report does not differ save in a few details from what we have related. These civil discords have at least taught us Several curious things. Thus it is that in his conversations with Moreno, Francisco Fernandez told him that in the neighbourhood of that lake he had found a waterfall of fresh water which flowed into the gulf. We know that the Nile flows in the same manner from the lofty mountains of Ethiopia, and after irrigating Egypt, empties into the Mediterranean. If the fact be true—though it is not yet proven—it will be useless to search for the large, navigable river carrying off the water of the lake, which Egidius Gonzales has for such a long time wished to discover. Upon his return, Moreno reported that in the countries he had visited he heard nothing said about the defeat and pretended massacre of Cortes and his companions. That region, however, is more than five hundred leagues from the province of Temistitan. But while he was anchored at Havana, the port of Cuba, Diego Ordaz, one of the lieutenants of Cortes and by no means the most insignificant, came to see him. He reported that he had just been enquiring if anything had been heard of Cortes, for at Temistitan, the capital, nobody knew whether he was alive or dead. Nor do we yet know. To correct such great misfortunes, a nobleman, the jurisconsult, Luis Ponce de Leon has been chosen as delegate; he was for a long time a magistrate in the province of Carpentana, whose capital is Toledo, where we all reside at the present time with the Emperor. Ponce was chosen because of his great integrity and the prudence he had shown in the exercise of his functions. He is a modest man, and remarkably intelligent, so we hope that, thanks to his foresight, the storm-tossed imperial vessel, may come tranquilly into port under happy auspices. His instructions direct that, should he find Cortes still alive, he must overwhelm him with flattery and inspire him with truly loyal sentiments. For Cortes has never openly defected, and the Emperor's name is always pronounced with respect in his speeches and letters. But, as I have already said, vague suspicions are entertained concerning his real intentions and conduct, in consequence of conjectures and accusations launched against him. He is a proud-hearted man, always ambitious of new dignities. He has already for a long time enjoyed the titles of governor and adelantado of the immense regions embraced under the name of New Spain. He recently asked the investiture as knight of St. Iago. Ponce, whose departure is at hand, takes with him the insignia to confer upon him. He has already taken leave of the Emperor and sails with a fleet of twenty-two ships. If, on the contrary, Ponce finds upon his arrival, that Cortes has already joined his ancestors, he must adopt another policy. Certainly no other captain will dare to raise his head, and if the natives do not revolt, everything will go well and the whole will be laid at the feet of Your Holiness. In this great town of the lakes, which begins to take on the appearance of a city, fifty thousand houses have been built, and thirty-seven churches, in which the natives, mixed with the Spaniards, most piously attend the Christian ceremonies; for they have abandoned their ancient rites and odious human sacrifices, which they now even regard with horror. This blessed harvest will be astonishingly increased by the apostolic fervour of the Franciscan friars who have undertaken to instruct the natives, that is, if our internal dissensions do not create obstacles to such progress. Enough, however, of this subject. Let us return to Esteven Gomez, of whom I have spoken at the close of the book beginning with the word PRIUSQUAM. I have said that he had been sent with a caravel to seek for a strait which may exist between Florida and the country called Baccalaos. Gomez, who returned ten months after his departure, found neither the strait nor Cathay, as he had promised to do. I had always thought this good man's ideas were groundless, and I openly told him so. He is not without supporters. He nevertheless discovered agreeable and useful countries, corresponding exactly with our latitude and polar degrees. The licenciate Ayllon, a member of the council of Hispaniola, accompanied by his friends and servants, has explored the same countries with two ships. These countries are north of Hispaniola, Cuba, and the Lucayan islands, and not distant from the Baccalaos, Chicora, and Duraba, of which I have above spoken at length. After having described the manners and customs of these nations, after having enumerated the excellent ports and immense rivers, the Spaniards say they found plains overgrown with ilex, oaks, and olives, where wild grape vines rioted over the forest trees, and all other trees common in Europe. They give these particulars, not in an ordinary summary, but in a voluminous heap of letters. But what need have we of what is found everywhere in Europe? It is towards the south, not towards the frozen north," that those who seek fortune should bend their way; for everything at the equator is rich. Your Holiness will learn a laughable fact and a singular rumour concerning this voyage, which rapidly exploded. Esteven Gomez found nothing he expected to discover, but rather than return with empty hands, he violated our instructions which forbade him to use violence against any natives and filled his ship with people of both sexes, all innocent and half naked, who had lived contentedly in huts. Hardly had he reached the port whence he had sailed, than an individual, hearing of the ship's arrival with a cargo of slaves, mounted his horse and without waiting for further information galloped to us, and quite out of breath exclaimed: “Esteven Gomez has returned with a ship-load of cloves and precious stones.” He hoped to be well rewarded, and, without comprehending the stupidity of this man, the partisans of Gomez went about the court with exclamations of joy. They loudly proclaimed that Gomez had brought not slaves (esclavos) but cloves (clavos), cutting off the first half of the word. In the Spanish tongue serfs are called esclavos, while the stems of cloves are clavos. When this transformation of esclavos into clavos was later discovered, everybody derided the partisans of Gomez and their gleeful exultation. Had they only stopped to consider that the celestial exhalations transferred to terrestrial substances adapted to receive them only produce aromatic odours in the countries lying beneath or near to the equator, they would have remembered that Gomez could have found no cloves during the ten months of his voyage. I was writing this appendix when the wheel of fortune— as is usual—gave a turn; so true is it that she never concedes an ounce of honey, to which she does not add as much, or more, gall. The streets of the illustrious city of Toledo echoed with trumpet blasts, the roll of drums, and the piping of flutes in honour of the renewed alliance with the King of Portugal, already brother-in-law and cousin of the Emperor. This is the result of the Emperor's betrothal to the King's sister, after refusing alliance with the young English princess—a thing esteemed by all Castile to be important. In the midst of the festivities, serious and deplorable news, filling the Emperor's heart and those of the Castilians with disgust, was heard. In my book describing the voyage around the world, dedicated to Pope Adrian, I said that the ship called La Trinidad, which accompanied the Victoria, was damaged and had remained behind at the island of Tidor, one of the Moluccas which produces spices; there were seventy men on board that ship besides their officers. I knew all their names, from our account books. The Trinidad had been repaired, loaded with cloves and precious stones, and was on her way to Europe, when she encountered a Portuguese fleet. The captain of this fleet, Jorge de Brito, surprised and conquered it, and took it to Malacca, a place supposed to be the Golden Cherso

vol. ii–27

* How erroneous was this forecast, the development of the earth's resources in Canada, the Klondike and Alaska, to say nothing of the vast wealth produced by the grain and lumber industries of the North and West overwhelmingly proves.

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