170 LETTERS OF CORTES. CHAPTER VIII. My companions — many of whom having perished, and those who survived being broken in spirits, wounded, and disheartened by dangers and the toils they had en- dured, as well as the prospect of those yet to come, which seemed to be near at hand — often begged me to proceed to Vera Cruz, where we should have some strength, before the natives, now our friends, should dis- cover our reduced condition and weakness, and confede- rate with our enemies to deprive us of the ports from which we might depart, attacking us on one side, and the people of Vera Cruz on the other ; while if both our parties were united, having ships too at our command, we should be stronger, and better able to defend our- selves in case they should attack us, while we sent to the islands for aid. But seeing that to exhibit to the natives, especially to our friends, a want of courage, would be a more speedy motive for them to abandon us and take sides against us ; feeling also assured that fortune always favors the brave, and reflecting that we were Christians, trusting in the mercy and goodness of God, who would not suffer us to lose utterly so great and noble a land, that had submitted to your Majesty, and was on the point of being tranquillized ; and being unwilling to relinquish the performance of so great a ser- vice as would be rendered by continuing the war until the country was again restored to its former peaceful condition — I determined by no means to go down to the ports on the seaboard, preferring to encounter every toil
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