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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/434

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412 LETTERS OF CORTES. Fonseca, bishop of Burgos, the board of trade, and es- pecially the auditor Juan Lopez de Recalde, on whom in the time of the bishop every thing depended, in obedience to the orders of Fonseca, neglected to provide me with artillery and other arms as necessity required, notwith- standing I often remitted money for the purpose. But there is nothing that whets the ingenuity of man more than necessity, which in my case was extreme as well as desperate, since they did not permit your Majesty to know my situation. I labored therefore to find means to save from total loss what had been gained at the expense of so much toil and danger, which would involve so great disservice to God our Lord and your imperial Majesty, and peril to all of us who were in the country. To this end I made inquiries in several provinces for copper, and offered a liberal exchange for it in the way of barter, as the easiest means of obtaining it. Large quantities of this metal were accordingly brought to me, which I put into the hands of a master- workman that I found here, for the purpose of being cast into cannon. Two pieces of the size of half-culverins were the result of this attempt, and for tl^ir caliber no cannon could surpass them. But although I had a plenty of copper, there was no tin, with- out which the cannon could not be made ; but for the two pieces I had procured, at considerable expense, dishes and other vessels that were composed of it, which though purchased at a high price could not be obtained cheaper. I then instituted inquiries in every direction for this me- tal, and it pleased our Lord, (who ever protects us, and provides speedily for our wants,) that amongst the na- tives of a province called Tachco [Tazco] I should meet with little pieces of it resembling very small coins ; and continuing my researches, I found it was used as money