CONQUEST OP MEXTCa 127 to me certain of the native inhabitants, vassals of Mutec- zuma, from the sea-coast, and informed me that eighteen A'essels had arrived before the port or bay of St. Juan, near the mountains of St. Martin ; that they knew not who they were, for as soon as they espied them they had come to bring me the intelligence. Besides these In- dians, there came to me likewise a native of the island of Fernandina, bringing a letter from a Spaniard whom I had stationed on that part of the sea-coast, in order that if the ships arrived he might give them some ac- count of me, and of the town in the vicinity of that port, with a view to their safety. In this letter he says — " That on such a day there hove in sight before the har- bor of St. Juan a single ship ; that he had looked as far as he could see along the coast, and had been unnble to descry any other, and he believed it was the vessel I had despatched to your Sacred Majesty, since it was time for it to arrive. In order to satisfy me of this, he was waiting for the ship to come up into the harbor to inform himself about it, and then to come and bring me the account." As sonn as I had read this letter I despatched two Spaniards by different routes, in order that they might not miss any messenger that should come from the ship. I directed them to proceed to the harbor in question, and ascertain what ships had arrived, where they came from, and what they had brought ; and then to return with the greatest possible speed to bring me the intelligence. I also despatched another messenger to the town of Vera Cruz, to inform the authorities of what was known re- specting these ships, that they might get additional in- formation and communicate it to me ; and another to the captain whom I had sent with one hundred and fifty
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