A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.
loss.  Proceeding farther along the coast, we came to a very bold cape, which our pilot believed we were unable to weather, on account of a violent adverse current.  It was then determined in a council of the officers to return to the island of Cuba, though Grijalva earnestly wished to have established a colony in some eligible situation of the coast which we had explored.  But in this proposal he was opposed by the majority, on account of the lateness of the season, the scarcity of provisions, and the hardships we had already undergone.  We therefore began our voyage back to Cuba, in which we made rapid progress, as we were much assisted by the current; but had to stop at the river Tonala, on purpose to repair one of our ships, which struck the ground three times in going over the bar at the mouth of that river.  While we remained here, the natives came to us in a very friendly manner, bringing bread, fish, and fruit, for which we gave them beads and cut glass.  On our desire of procuring gold being made known in the neighbouring country, the inhabitants of Guacacualco and other places brought us all they had.

The Indians in this part of the country were all in use to carry small hatchets of very bright copper, with highly painted handles, intended both for ornament and defence.  These were mistaken by us for gold, and we were consequently eager to purchase them, so that in the course of three days we procured about six hundred of them in exchange for green beads.  One of our seamen having procured seven of these, thought he had made his fortune.  While at this place, a soldier named Bartholomew Pardo, happened to go into a temple on the top of a hill, where he found in a chest some coronets and collars of gold, along with two idols.  He secreted the gold for his own use, but gave the idols to Grijalva; who afterwards learnt the circumstances of the gold, which he ordered Pardo to surrender, but gave it back to the poor man, only reserving the fifth for the king, the whole not exceeding the value of eighty crowns.  Being much infested with mosquitos, I used to sleep while here in a temple to avoid these intolerable insects, near which I sowed seven or eight seeds of oranges which I had brought from Cuba.  These happened to grow, and being noticed as uncommon plants by the priests of this temple, they took care of them, being the first that ever grew in New Spain.  As after the conquest, this province was understood to offer great advantages for settlements, many of the principal conquerors chose it for their residence.  I was one of the number; and on my arrival, I went in search of the produce of my seeds, and finding the young orange trees in a flourishing state, I had them transplanted, and they throve amazingly well.  After our ship was repaired, we set sail for Cuba, leaving the natives very well satisfied with our behaviour, and arrived safe in forty-five days.  Velasquez was much pleased with the gold, which amounted to the value of 20,000 crowns; but we were much laughed at on producing our six hundred copper axes to be assayed.  On the whole, Velasquez was well satisfied with the conduct of this expedition; though he appeared at first displeased with Grijalva, owing to the unjust aspersions which were thrown upon him by Avila and Montejo.

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