Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/65

This page needs to be proofread.


CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 43 or men, I would supply him as far as it was in my power ; and since he had declared that he had come in the service of your Sacred Majesty, I added that I desired nothing more than to promote the service of your Highness to the utmost extent of my ability, and that by aiding him I believed I should do so. They replied, that neither their captain nor any of his people could be induced to come on shore at any place where I might be. Believing that they must have done some wrong in the country, as they feared to come into my presence, as soon as it was dark I took a position in the most secret manner near the sea-coast, opposite where the ships rode at anchor, and there I remained until nearly the middle of the next day, expecting the captain or pilot to come on shore, from whom I might ascertain what they had done, and what places they had visited, intending if I discovered that they had been guilty of any illegal acts, to send them to your Sacred Majesty ; but neither they nor any other persons landed from the ships. Finding that they would not come on shore, I caused the men who had sought to serve me with the notification, to exchange clothes with the same number of Spaniards in my party, and I sent the latter to the shore, and directed them to call aloud to the ships. As soon as they were discovered, a boat containing ten or twelve men, armed with cross-bows and handguns, came to land, and the Spaniards who had called to them, withdrew from the shore behind some bushes that grew about there, as if for shade. Four men leaped on shore from the boat, two cross-bowmen, and two musketeers, who were imme- diately surrounded by the Spaniards, and taken prisoners. One of them was master of a ship, who applied the match to his handgun and would have slain the captain