422 LETTERS OF CORTES. discover the reason that these countries are deemed worthy being brought under the imperial crown of your Majesty ; since, besides the numerous and powerful realms and seig- nories which your Highness possesses in those parts, so re- mote and distant from these, I, the least of your subjects, am yet able to render such important services. As an earnest of my future offering, I now send by my servant, Diego de Soto, a few small articles, which before were left behind, being in an unfinished state, as unworthy to accompany the others ; and some that I have since had completed, which also were left unfinished, but now bear some resemblance to the others. I also send a culverin of silver, composed of twenty-four quintales and two arrobas* in weight, though with some loss, as it was twice fused. It was very costly ; since besides the value of the silver, amounting to twenty-four thousand five hun- dred pesos of gold, at the rate of five pesos of gold to the marc, the other expenses of founders, engravers, and of its transportation to the port, exceeded three thousand pesos of gold ; but I spared no labor or expense to render it in point of richness and beauty worthy of being presented to so exalted and excellent a prince ; I therefore beg your imperial Majesty to accept this slight expression of hom- age, as a testimony of my disposition to render your High- ness the greatest services in my power.t Although in- volved in debt, as I have already mentioned, I did not hesitate to incur a still greater indebtedness, in order that
- Two thousand four hundred and fifty pounds, or about 30,000 Spanish dollars
in value. t According to Gomara, this silver cannon made a great noise in Spain, and together with 60,000 castellanos, sent at the same time, was the best argument Cortes could offer against the malice of his enemies, who were endeavoring to deprive him of th« emperor's favor.