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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/160

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138 LETTERS OF CORTES. Cruz, (by whom I had written to Narvaez and the Li- centiate Ayllon,) together with another priest, and one Andrew de Duero, an inhabitant of the island of Fer- nandina, who had also arrived with Narvaez ; who, in answer to my letter, informed me, on the part of Nar- vaez, that I must yield obedience to him as my com- mander, and deliver the country into his power, as other- wise I should suffer great injury, Narvaez having a large force, and I only a small one ; that besides the many Spanish troops he had with him, most of the people of the country were in his favor ; and that if I would give him possession of the country, he would surrender the ships to me, and all the jorovisions I might require, and allow me and all who wished to leave with me, to em- bark, taking every thing that we wished to carry away, without interposing the slightest obstacle in any respect. And one of the priests informed me that Diego Velazquez had authorized them to make this arrangement with me, having for this purpose given to Narvaez and the two priests a joint commission, so that they could adjust matters as I might please. I answered them that I had seen no orders from your Highness directing me to deliver up the country, and that if Narvaez had brought any, he should present them to me, and to the proper tribunal of Vera Cruz, accord- ing to the regulations and customs of Spain, where I would repair in readiness to obey them ; but that until this was done, no inducement of interest or favor would prevail upon me to comply with his wishes ; that I and my companions would rather die in defence of the country which we had gained, and possessed in a secure and tranquil state, and that we could not turn traitors, or for- feit our loyalty to our sovereign. Many other considera- tions influenced me to decline their proposals, and I de-