44 LETl^ERS OF CORTUS. that had been stationed by me at Vera Cruz, if it had not pleased our Lord that the match should not give fire. The men who remained in the boat put off from the shore, but before they reached the ships the sails were already set, without waiting for them, or those on board desiring to know what had become of them. I was informed by the prisoners I had taken, that they had reached a river thirty leagues along the coast, after passing Almeria, where they had met with a favorable reception from the natives, who supplied them with provisions in the way of barter ; and that they had seen some gold which the Indians brought, althotigh in small quantities : they ob- tained in all about 3000 castellanos of gold* in trade. That they did not land upon the coast, but approached the towns on the banks of the river so near as to be able to distinguish the people from the ships. That they had no stone edifices, but all their houses were of thatch, excepting that the ground on which they were built was raised to a considerable height by the labor of the hand. All of this I subsequently learned more fully from the great Lord Muteczuma, and from certain interpreters of that country that he had with him ; whom, together with an Indian brought in those ships from that river, and taken prisoner by me, I sent with other messengers from Muteczuma, that they might induce the sovereign of the river, which is called Panuco, to enter the service of your Sacred Majesty. And he sent them back to me with a principal person, or as they termed him, the Lord of a town ; who gave me on his part certain cloth, pre- cious stones, and feather-work, and said that he and all his people were willing to be the subjects of your Majesty and my allies. I made him presents of various articles
- The castdlano is an ancient Spanish coin, about $2 75 in value.