134 LETTERS OF CORTES. sent back a prisoner, two vessels having been employed for that purpose. The day on which the priest departed there came a messenger from the people at Vera Cruz, who brought me intelligence that all the natives of the country had risen in rebellion, and joined Narvaez, especially those of the city of Cerapoal and its dependencies ; and that not one of them could be induced to perform any service in the town, either in the garrison or otherwise, because, as they said, Narvaez had told them I was a traitor, and that he had come to seize me and all my companions, but that having taken us prisoners he should leave the country. They added, that Narvaez had a large force, while mine was but small ; that he had many horses and a great deal of artillery, while I had little of either ; and that their motto was, '■^viva quien vence" long live the victorious ! I was also informed by the same mes- senger that, according to the report of the Indians, Nar- vaez was about to occupy the city of Cempoal with his army, and having already informed himself of its dis- tance from Vera Cruz, the people of that place believed, from the accounts they had received of his wicked pur- poses, that he intended to attack them, aided by the Indians of Cempoal, and they gave me to understand that they should abandon the town rather than contend with him, and to avoid reproach take refuge in the mountains under the protection of a chief who is a vas- sal of your Highness and a friend to us ; there they in- tended to remain until I sent them directions what to do. As I perceived the great mischief that was about to result from this matter, and as the country had risen in support of Narvaez, it appeared to me, that by going my- self where he was, I should be able to quell the move-
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