418 LETTERS OF CORTES. Considering the great advantages that will result to your Majesty from this enterprise, although I have incurred great expenses, and am harassed by the extent of my debts, contracted in fitting out expeditions by sea and land, and procuring ammunition and cannon for this city and various other places to which they are sent by me, and additional sources of expense are constantly occur- ring, every thing being done at my own charge ; and whatever is wanted is so excessively dear, that notwith- standing the country is rich, the interest I have in it is inadequate to the great expenditure required — yet after all, from a regard to the considerations already suggested, and making every obstacle that presents itself yield to necessity, I have determined to send three caravels and two brigantines to accomplish this object, although I as- sure your Majesty, I shall have to borrow money to ena- ble me to do it. The enterprise will cost me more than 10,000 pesos of gold ; but if the strait is discovered, it will be of more signal advantage to your Majesty than any thing I have yet achieved ; and if that discovery is not made, it is possible that others will be, of rich and widely spread lands, tending to promote the interests of your Majesty, and greatly enlarging the number of realms and seignories already subject to your royal crown. It will also be useful to know that such a strait does not exist, so that attention maybe paid to devising means for securing the greatest possible benefit from the spice- countries, and others in their neighborhood ; an object for the accomplishment of which I offer my services to your Highness, should you be pleased to command them ; so that without the strait I shall cause your Majesty's af- fairs to be greatly advanced, and at a diminished expense. But may it please our Lord to crown this enterprise with
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