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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/435

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 41S both in that province and others.* On tracing the mat- ter still further, I ascertained that it was procured from mines in Tachco, twenty-six leagues from this city, to which I immediately despatched some Spaniards with tools, who brought me specimens of it. After this I gave orders for obtaining from that source all that was neces- sary, which was accordingly done, though with great labor. In searching for this metal, a rich vein of iron ore was met with, according to the information of per- sons who assert their knowledge of the fact. Having thus obtained a supply of tin, I have caused cannon to be founded, and every day several pieces are cast ; as yet, however, only five pieces have been finish- ed, namely, two semi-culverins, two of less size, and a serpentine ; besides which I have two sacres that I brought with me to this country, and another semi-culve- rin, which I purchased amongst the effects of the Ade- lantado Juan Ponce de Leon» By the ships that have already arrived, I shall receive thirty-five brass pieces, large and small, but all larger than a falconet ; and about seventy iron pieces, amongst which are lombards, pasa- volantes, versos, and other kinds of cannon made of strained iron. Thus, praised be our Lord, we shall be able to defend ourselves ; and in regard to munitions, God has been no less provident, for we have discovered saltpetre of a good quality, sufficient for our purposes ; and we have the requisite vessels in which to bake it, although much has been wasted in the first attempts that were made. As for sulphur, I have already made

  • Humboldt quotes this passage, which he terms " the remarkable passage in

which Cortes speaks of tin as money," (Ze passage remarquable dans lequel Cor- tes parle de I' eiain commemonnoie.)—Noiv. Esp. 486. 4to. ed. 53