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DEL is 75-AI

EATO

32. C.

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BOOK I

TO THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF, CLEMENT VII. FROM. PETER MARTYR D'ANGileRA OF MILAN, APOSTOLIC PROTHONOTARY AND ROYAL COUNSELLOR

addressed to me by Your Holiness, sealed, according to pontifical custom, with the Ring of the Fisherman. It is divided into two parts; the first being a eulogy of my history of the New World, which I dedicated to your predecessors; and the second, an imperative order not to allow succeeding events to be lost in oblivion. Such is my desire to obey you, that I cannot deny that on this point I deserve commendation; but my inadequacy as a writer is so great that I must solicit indulgence rather than praise. The vastness of the subject I am treating requires Ciceronian inspiration, as I have in my preceding narrative often declared. Since I do not possess silks and brocades, I have been content with humble draperies to clothe my gracious Nereids, by which I mean those isles of the ocean, brilliant as pearls, and hidden since the beginning of the world from mankind. Before the orders of Your Holiness were delivered to me, I had addressed the greater part of my narrative, first to Pope Adrian—and with that you are acquainted—and next to the Viscount Francesco Sforza, ruler of my native country. This was when fate had delivered him from the grasp of the most Christian king, and his envoys at the court of the Emperor imposed this task upon me. Now that I am to give my labours to Your Holiness, it appears to be indispensable to add to the work a copy of what I

M” Holy Father: I have received a parchment have heretofore written, although that narrative is dedicated to another than yourself. Is it not thus that in the Church, bishops and cardinals precede the Sovereign Pontiff? So then, let the Decade dedicated to a duke open the series. All that follows concerning diferent events, all that has to do with incidents in the lives of captains, with quadrupeds, birds, insects, trees, herbs, ceremonies, manners, and superstitions of the natives, and especially with the situation of New Spain and the fleets upon the high seas, Your Holiness will learn; for no mortal may neglect your invitation with impunity. I shall first describe what happened to Francesco de Garay, governor of Jamaica, recently renamed Santiago, and where, by the Emperor's grace, I hold the title of Abbot. I shall explain how Garay planned, in spite of the wishes of Cortes, to found a colony on the banks of the Panuco River, and there perished. I shall next mention the place where Egidius Gonzales touched, while seeking towards the north the famous strait, of which the discovery is so desired; and Cristobal Olid, of whom I have already said something, in the preceding Decade addressed to the Duke Sforza. I shall not forget Pedro Arias, governor of the mainland, also engaged in looking for the same strait. Next in order will follow the licenciate Marcel Villalobos, member of the India Council at Hispaniola, and his intimate friend Diego Garcia who has recently returned bringing us important news from Cortes, governor of New Spain. Many other persons will pass before your eyes, among them the Dominican friar Tomaso Ortiz, a man of great probity who has lived for a long time in the country of Chiribichi. Nor shall we omit Diego Alvarez Orsorio, a man of illustrious birth, priest and canon of the cathedral of Darien, who, under the orders of Espinosa, has personally visited the immense regions of the South Sea, at the cost of a thousand dangers and hardships, spending

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