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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/426

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404 LETTERS OF CORTES. it lying towards the North Sea, which is of small extent, has been of a pacific character until lately, and in the quiet possession of your Majesty by conquest. When this is reduced, there will be more than four hundred leagues of uninterrupted territory subject to the royal service in the north, and more than five hundred leagues in the south, extending from one sea to the other ; all of which is undisturbed in its allegiance, excepting two provinces, situated in the midst of Teguantepeque, Chi- nanta, Guaxaca, and Guazaqualco, by which four pro- vinces they are bounded on all sides. The inhabitants of these two districts are called Zaputecas and Mixes, who occupy a country so rough in its character that it is im- possible to penetrate it even on -foot ; nevertheless I made two attempts to conquer them, but without success. They are defended by strong fortresses, a mountainous region, and substantial weapons ; they fight with lances from twenty-five to thirty palms in length, very stout and well made, pointed with flint. In defending them- selves they killed a number of Spaniards ; and they are constantly doing mischief to their neighbors who are vassals of your Majesty, attacking and burning their vil- lages by night, and murdering the inhabitants ; and many of the adjoining districts have been induced to throw off their allegiance and become their confederates- As I had made so little progress against them, although I had no men to spare, so many having gone on different expeditions, I mustered one hundred and fifty foot, (the cavalry not being able to manoeuvre in that region,) con- sisting for the most part of bowmen and musketeers, together with four pieces of artillery and the necessary munitions, the bowmen and musketeers being provided in the most liberal manner. I placed this force under