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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/52

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34 INTRODUCTION. the head or the heart to appreciate the merits of illustrious commanders like Columbus aud Cortes."* It is added that personal interest induced Fonseca to favor Diego Velasquez, between whom and a sister of the bishop a marriage was ne- gotiating at that time. Thus everj obstacle was thrown in the way of a just appreciation of the services of Cortes, and, as will be seen in the following Despatches, nothing but the ex- ercise of the utmost tact and firmness prevented on more than one occasion his being arrested in the midst of his career of conquest. But at length, after nearly three years of tedious delay, em- bittered by false and malicious imputations, the venerable father of Cortes and the deputies from New Spain, having made a statement of their case to the Cardinal, afterwards Pope Adrian VI., succeeded in obtaining an order forbidding the bishop to interfere in the controversy between Cortes and Velasquez, and revoking as far as possible all his former acts in relation to this matter. This was soon followed by a refer- ence of the affair to a special commission, composed of the grand chancellor and other eminent persons, who, after a full hearing on both sides,f unanimously agreed in awarding a triumphant verdict in favor of Cortes. It was decided that Velasquez had no other claim than for the money he had ex- pended in the outfit of the expedition ; but that by revoking the commission he had granted to Cortes, he had left him free to act as he should judge best for the royal service with the ships and men, which for the most part he had raised and equipped at his own expense and that of his friends. This de- cision was fully approved by the emperor, and communicated to Cortes in a royal despatch, which contained likewise infor- mation of his appointment as Governor and Captain-General of New Spain, and the most flattering encomiums on his con- duct. Other despatches were sent at the same time to Diego

  • "Life and Voyages of Columhis." I. 338-9.

t On the part of Cortes appeared his father, Martin Cortes, Francisco de Montejo, Francisco Nunez, and other attorneys : and on the part of Velas- quez, Manuel de Roxas, Andres de Duero, and others. Gomara. Cron. c. 165.