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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/416

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394 LETTERS OF CORTES. whole land to rise, in the belief that the Spaniards were under separate leaders, as the Adelantado had proclaim- ed on his arrival in the country through an interpreter whom the Indians could understand, as I have already stated. The natives had cunning enough to inform them- selves first how and where the Spaniards were to be found, and then fell upon them by night or day in the villages where they were dispersed ; and by this means taking them unawares and unprovided with arms, they destroyed great numbers of them. Thus their boldness rose to such a height that they appeared before the town of Santistevan del Puerto, which had been settled in your Majesty's name, and attacked it with so much spirit that the inhabitants were alarmed lest the place should fall into their hands ; as it would have done, had not the peo- ple been prepared to receive them, rallying together at a point where resistance could be offered in the most efiectual manner, from which they made several sallies upon the enemy and put them to route. When affairs had reached this pass, I received news of what had taken place by a messenger, a foot-soldier, who had escaped by flight from these scenes of disorder, and informed me that the whole province of Panucohad revolted, and that many Spaniards had been slain, especially of the men left there by the Adelantado, together with some of the inhabitants of the town I had built there in your Majesty's name ; and from the extent of the insurrection I was led to believe that not a single Castilian had been left alive. God our Lord knows what were my feelings on the re- ceipt of this intelligence, especially when I reflected that no part of this country had cost us so much, which we were now on the point of losing. The Adelantado was so much affected by the news, as well on account of his ap-