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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/10

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IV P B fi F A C E . The Second Letter was printed at Seville, in 1522 ; of which a Latin translation appeared at Nuremberg in March, 1524 ; this again was turned into Italian, and published at Venice in August of the same year.* The Third Letter was printed at Seville, in 1523 ; translated into Latin by the same hand, and published at Nuremberg the following year.f The Fourth Letter was printed at Toledo in 1525 ; and together with the two former appeared in the third volume of Ramusio's col- lection of Voyages and Travels, (in Italian,) at Venice, 1556. This was the edition consulted by Solis, as mentioned above. A German translation of them was printed at Augsburg, in 1550, and another at Heidelberg, in 1779. A French translation, by M. Le Vicomte de Flavigny, appeared at Paris in 1776. This was made from the edition of Archbishop Lo- renzana, as appears from the preface of the noble translator, in which he says — " I present to the public a precious morceau of literature and history, edited in 1770, with the utmost care, by the present Archbishop of Toledo, formerly Archbishop of Mexico. From the time of CsBsar to the sixteenth century, Cortes is the only great captain who has related his own exploits. Although the conqueror of the Gauls had the advantage both in regard to the character of his ene- mies, and in point of style, Cortes will nevertheless appear worthy of his high reputation. His prudence, his courage, his enlarged views, his resources, and even his prejudices, and those of the age, which he treated with respect, will ever illustrate the period in which he lived, and the astonishing revolution effected by his arras. At the same time, as long as the simple and frank tone of a modest but undoubted hero affords pleasure, so long will these letters be read with delight by posterity, and afford instructive lessons to mankind." The translation of Flavigny has no other fault than its freedom, or in other words, its abridgement of the original ; sometimes almost an

  • A copy of this Italian edition was presented a few years since to the New-

York Historical Society, by Samuel Ward, Esq. ; it purports to have been made from the Latin of " II Dottore Pietro Savorgnano," secretary to the bishop of "Vienna ; the name of the Italian translator was Nicolo Libumio. t A copy of the Latin translation of the second and third Letters by Dr. Sav- orgnano, printed at Cologne in 1532, beloiigs to the Philadelphia Library; for the use of which the writer is indebted to ^he courtesy of the Librarian of that institution.