400 LETTERS OF CORTES. the belief that should he undertake to possess himself of the country, the whole force would be required to oppose hin]. After having disposed of the Adelantado, although a great expense would be incurred for the pay of soldiers and mariners, and to procure supplies for the ships and the troops that were to sail in them, yet it appeared to me of so great importance to your Majesty's service, that I pursued the enterprise which had been commenced, and purchased more ships than I already had, making in all five large ships and a brigantine ; and I raised four hundred men, who were provided with artillery, munitions, arms, victuals, and every thing else necessary for them. I also sent two agents to the island of Cuba with 8000 pesos of gold, to purchase horses and pro- visions, both for the first voyage, and to be in readiness for loading the ships on their return from the expedition, so that the objects of it might not fail of accomphshment for the want of any thing, as well as to avoid oppressing the natives by requiring supplies of them ; that we might even have it in our power to bestow on them what we should take with us rather than deprive them of what they possessed. Thus the expedition departed from the port of San Juan de Chalchiqueca,* on the 11th of Jan- uary, 1524, having to touch at the Havana, the place on the island of Cuba where they were to obtain the sup- plies that were wanting, especially horses, and for the ships to rendezvous, in order to proceed together with the blessing of God from thence to the place of their destination. On reaching the first port in the country to which the expedition was sent, they were to disembark men, horses, provisions and every thing else, and seek the most favorable site that offered, to be fortified with
- The Indian name of the present Vera Cruz.