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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/449

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 427 power, and appoint two principals of religious orders to come to this country, one of the order of St. Francis, and the other of the order of St. Domingo ; who should also have the most ample powers that your Majesty can grant. These lands are so far removed from the seat of the Romish church, and Christians who do or hereafter shall reside on them, are at so great a distance from spiritual consolations, and at the same time so much exposed to sinful practices, that it becomes absolutely necessary his Holiness should extend the religious ordinances to us by conferring extraordinary powers on these persons, which may be transmitted by them to others dwelling in these parts, whether it be to a General over all the orders, or to a Provincial of each of them. The tenths in this country are farmed out to certain towns, although some are sold to the highest bidder ; they commence from the year 1523, before which period, as it seemed to me, they were of too small amount to be im- posed. Indeed, those who possessed any estates prior to that time, as the war then prevailed, expended more in their defence than the amount of benefit derived from their products. Nevertheless, if your Majesty please to direct a different course, whatever most tends to promote your service shall be done. The tenths of this city for the year 1523, and the present year, 1524, have been adjudged to be of the value of 5,550 pesos of gold ; and those of the towns of Medellin and Vera Cruz are esti- mated at 1000 pesos of gold ; but the latter have not been sold, and I think will exceed that amount. I am not aware that those of the other towns have been ad- judged, as they are so remote that I have had no accounts from them. This money will be expended in erecting