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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/439

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 417 CHAPTER VI. I HAVE already mentioned to your Excellency the places to which I have sent people, both by land and sea, by whom under the guidance of our Lord your Majesty has been well served ; and I am continually on the watch and occupying myself with the thought, how I can best carry into execution and accomplish the desire I have to promote the service of your Majesty. Nothing seems to remain but to explore the coast lying between the river Panuco and Florida, the latter being the coun- try discovered by the Adelantado Juan Ponce de Leon ; and then the northern coast of Florida as far as the Bacal- laos ;** because it is considered certain that there is a strait on that coast which leads into the South Sea. If this should be found, it appears to me that it will come out near the archipelago, which Magallanes by order of your Highness has discovered, according to a chart I have, showing its situation. In that case the navigation from the Spice islands to these dominions of your Majesty will be rendered favorable and short, so much so that the distance will be two thirds less than at present ; and there will be no risk or danger to ships going and return- ing, because their course will always lie within the dominions of your Majesty, and whenever there is a necessity for repairs, they can seek a harbor at any point of the voyage in the territories of your Highness.

  • That is.Uhe entire coast of the present United States and British America

to Newfoundland, then almost wholly unexplored.;