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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.

This affair became soon known to the party of Velasquez, which was more numerous than ours, and its leaders haughtily demanded of Cortes to desist from these underhand dealings, as it was his duty to return to Velasquez, because we were not provided for the establishment of a colony.  Cortes answered mildly, that he would return immediately; but we of the other party exclaimed against this resolution; saying that he had deceived us by pretending to have a commission to colonize, when it now appeared he only meant to trade, and we now demanded him to fulfil his original engagement with us, as most conducive to the service of God and the king.  We asserted that more soldiers would soon join us, if we were once established; and that he and Velasquez had drawn us to our ruin, by giving us hopes of a settlement, which was now denied; and we insisted on Cortes accepting the command of us, who were determined to try our fortunes in this new country, while such as chose to return to Cuba were welcome to depart.  Cortes, after affecting for some time to refuse our offer, at length complied, and was appointed by us captain-general and supreme magistrate, in the name of the king, and without dependence on Velasquez.  The worst part of the business was, that we assigned him a fifth part at all the gold which might be acquired, after deducting the share belonging to the king.  Being now formally invested by us with the supreme authority, of which a formal instrument was drawn up by Diego de Godoy, the royal notary, Cortes proceeded immediately to the settlement of a town, which was denominated Villa Rica, de la Vera Cruz.  It was called Villa Rica, because of the words of Puertocarrero formerly mentioned, “behold the rich lands;” and de la Vera Cruz, because he arrived at this place on Holy Thursday and disembarked on Good Friday.  On this occasion we elected civil magistrates of the new colony; Puertocarrero and Montejo being the two first alcaldes, Pedro de Alvarado captain of the expeditions, Christoval de Oli maestre de campo, Juan de Escalente alguazil major, Gonzalo Mexia treasurer, Alonzo de Avila contador, Corral standard-bearer, Ochoa Viscanio and Alonzo Romero military alguazils.

These steps gave great offence to the faction of Velasquez, insomuch that they used many mutinous expressions, and were almost ready to proceed to acts of violence.  They declared that they would not submit to the usurped authority of Cortes, being resolved to return to Cuba, according to the orders and instructions of Velasquez.  Cortes declared that he had no desire to detain any against their inclinations, even if he should remain alone.  This pacified many of the malcontents; but Juan Velasquez de Leon, Diego de Ordas, Escobar, Escudero, and some others were so violent in their opposition, that Cortes was obliged to have them arrested, and they were detained for some time in irons.  By a private concert with Cortes, Juan de Escalente

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