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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.
de Duero, who was secretary to the governor, and Amador de Lares, the royal contador in Cuba, entered into a private agreement with Hernando Cortes to recommend him to Velasquez for the command of the intended expedition.  Cortes was a respectable gentleman of good birth, a native of Medelin in Estremadura, the son of Martin Cortes de Monroy, by Catalina Pizarro de Altamirano, who were both hidalgos of the best families in the province, though poor, and had acquired a considerable property in the island of Cuba, where he had been twice raised to the office of alcalde.  He had lately married Donna Catalina Suarez de Pacheco, the daughter of Diego Suares de Pacheco of Merida, by Maria de Mercaida of Biscay; through which marriage he had experienced much trouble, having been frequently confined by order of Velasquez.  The two officers before mentioned, who enjoyed the intimate confidence of the governor, made an agreement with Cortes to procure the appointment for him, for which they were to receive an equal division of the treasure procured from the expedition out of his share, as the commission was intended to extend no farther than the procurement of gold by barter, without any power of settlement or colonization.  For this purpose they took every opportunity of praising Cortes to Velasquez, and vouching for his fidelity, so that they at length succeeded in procuring the appointment for him; and as it belonged to the secretary to draw it out in due form, we may be sure that its conditions were sufficiently favourable.

On this appointment being communicated to the public, it gave satisfaction to some, but greatly displeased others, who used every endeavour to communicate their dissatisfaction to the governor, particularly by the following device:  When the governor was going on a Sunday to mass, accompanied by the most respectable people of the town and neighbourhood, he placed Cortes on his right hand, on purpose to shew respect to the person he had chosen for an expedition of such high importance.  There was at this time one Cervantes at St Jago, a kind of buffoon, generally called mad Cervantes, who used to assume great liberty of speech under pretence of idiocy.  This man ran before the governor all the road to church, shouting out many absurdities, saying among others, “Huzza for my master Don Diego, who will soon lose his fleet, and huzza for his new captain;” besides many similar expressions, all having a tendency to awaken suspicion in Velasquez.  Andrew de Duero, who was present, beat him and ordered him to be silent, but he persisted so much the more, saying, “I will dismiss my old master, and follow the fortune of Cortes.”  This man was certainly hired by the relations of Velasquez, who wished the appointment for some of themselves, that they might instil jealousy into the mind of the governor, but all to no purpose; yet all that was now uttered under the semblance of folly, turned out true in the end.

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