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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/163

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CONQUEST OP MEXICO. 141 to arrest the said Narvaez and those persons who styled themselves alcaldes and regidores ; and for this purpose I placed eighty men under his command to proceed with him to make the arrest; — taking myself one hundred and seventy others, (the whole number being two hundred and fifty,) without artillery or horse, but on foot, I fol- lowed the alguazil mayor to support him, in case the said Narvaez and the rest should choose to resist the exe- cution of his process. On the same day that the alguazil mayor and myself arrived with our party near the city of Cempoal, where Narvaez had quartered his army, he received information of our approach, and sallied out with eighty horse and five hundred foot, leaving the rest of his force within their quarters in the great temple of the city, which was strongly fortified. Having marched out within a league of the place where we were, and not finding us, he con- cluded that the Indians who had given the alarm had deceived him, and returned to the city, taking the pre- caution to have his whole force in readiness, and posting two men about a league from the city to give notice of our approach. As I was desirous of avoiding as much as possible all offensive appearances, it seemed to me that it would be best to go by night, without being dis- covered, if practicable, directly to the quarters of Nar- vaez, (with the situation of which we were all well acquainted,) and seize him at once ; for I thought that as soon as he was taken prisoner there would be no further trouble. The others with him would then yield ^:)bedience to the laws, especially those who had been forcibly pressed into the service by Diego Velazquez, or threatened by him with the loss of their Indian slaves m the Island of Fernandina. 19