40 LETTERS OF CORTES. and to form an alliance with me. They also begged me to protect them against that mighty Lord, who used vio- lent and tyrannical measures to keep them in subjection, and took from them their sons to be slain and offered as sacrifices to his idols ; with many other complaints against him, in order to avoid w^hose tyranny they em- braced the service of your Majesty, to which they have so far proved faithful, and I doubt not will continue so, since they have been uniformly treated by me with favor and attention. Nevertheless, for the better security of our people who remained at Vera Cruz, I took with me several of their principal men, and some of an inferior order, who have been of no little service to me on my route. I informed your Majesty, I believe, in my former des- patch, that some ofthose persons thataccompanied me, who had been servants and friends of Diego Velazquez, werejea- Jousofwhatlhad accomplished in the service ofyourHigh- jiess ; and even sought to create disaffection, in our ranks, and compel me to abandon the country. The leaders in this business were four Spaniards, namely : Juan Escudero, Diego Cermeno, a pilot, Gonzalo de Ungria, also a pilot, and Alonso Penate, who, as they voluntarily confessed, had determined to seize a brigantine then in port, put on board a large quantity of bread and pork, and after killing the master, to sail for the island of Fer- nandina, [Cuba,] for the purpose of informing Diego Velazquez that 1 had despatched a ship to your Majesty, with the names of those who had sailed in it, and the route it had taken, to enable him to send vessels in pur- suit and capture it. This he afterwards attempted ; as I have been informed that he despatched a caravel after the ship, which he would have taken if it had not passed
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