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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/159

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 137 zuma, and given him some trinkets of gold ; and that Narvaez had in return made him certain small presents. He also stated that Narvaez had despatched messengers from thence to Mateczuma, saying that he would set him at liberty, and would seize me and all my companions, and immediately depart and abandon the country ; and that he was not in quest of gold, but only sought to make prisoners of me and my men ; after effecting which he should leave his dominions and his people in perfect freedom. Finally, I ascertained that it was his intention to assume jurisdiction over the country without seeking any public acknowledgment of his authority ; and that in case I and those of my party did not choose to recognize him as our commander and judge in the name of Diego Ve- lazquez, he would march against us for the purpose of exterminating us by war ; to which end he had formed an alliance with the natives of the country, especially with Muteczuma by means of his messengers. When I saw so manifestly the great extent of injury that would ensue to your Majesty's service from the measures taken by this person, especially on being in- formed of the great force he had brought with him, and of his orders from Diego Velazquez to hang me and certain of my companions, who were marked for this fate, as soon as he should get us into his power — I did not hesi- tate to approach him, with the belief that I could make him understand the great disservice he was doing your Highness, and divert him from the mad design and injurious purpose with which he had come. I thus pursued my course, and when fifteen leagues dis- tant from the city of Cempoal, in which Narvaez was encamped, there came to me the priest already men- tioned, who had been previously sent to me from Vera