Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/49

This page needs to be proofread.


INTRODUCTION. 31 counoil at St. Domingo who had confirmed and enlarged hia powers, were neither of them qualified to exercise any juris- diction in these newly discovered lands, which he was about to reduce and colonize in the name of the King of Castile. But one of the first acts of the town-council was to re-invest him with the authority of Captain-General and chief magistrate, until the pleasure of the crown was known. This step, al- though generally approved by the adventurers, was not accep- table to allĀ ; some, who were the partisans of Velasquez, de- manded that the expedition should return to Cuba, and to such an extent was the disaffection carried, that Cortes found it ne- cessary to put a number of persons under arrest, amono-st whom were two captains, Juan Velasquez de Leon and Diego de OrdasĀ ; who, however, were afterwards gained over by per- suasion, and became his warm friends. Greater confidence had been given to this faction by the arrival of a vessel from that island, bringing intelligence that Velasquez had received from Spain the title of Adelantado, with a commission from the crown to govern and colonize the newly discovered lands.^ But what was of greater importance to Cortes, the same ship brought a small reinforcement of men and horses to his little army, being already somewhat reduced in number by long ex- posure to the unhealthy atmosphere of the bayous of the coast, and other causes. While the Spaniards were busily engaged in laying out and building the new town, in which they were greatly assisted by their neighbors the Totonacs, (whose language, differing from that of Mexico, was interpreted to Marina by seme amongst them who understood the Aztec,) there arrived a deputation from the capital, consisting of two nephews of Muteczuma, accompanied by a numerous retinue of nobles and others, bringing a magnificent present of articles, beautifully wi'ought of gold and other costly materials. Cortes received them with expressions of gratitude, and hospitably entertained the Mexi- can chiefs. About the same time, while on a visit to the city of Cempoal, Cortes endeavored to convince the cacique of the absurdity of the worship paid to idols, and to convert him to the true faith^