Struck with awe at the power and abilities of our general, he solicited the licentiate Zuazco to mediate between him and Cortes, that he might be permitted to take possession of the government of Panuco, in pursuance of his commission from the bishop of Burgos.
Garay shortly afterwards set out with his armament, and being driven by a storm into the river Palmas, he disembarked there, intending to march by land to Panuco, having first exacted an oath of fidelity from his troops; and he even nominated the various officers of his colony, which he intended to name Garayana. Having marched for two days along the sea-shore, through a marshy uninhabited country, he arrived at some villages, where the inhabitants entertained him hospitably, but many of his soldiers straggled about robbing and maltreating the people. Garay at length arrived at Panuco, where his soldiers expected all their difficulties would end, but it was almost a desert, as it had been much wasted in the war with Cortes, and the natives concealed what remained, so that they found nothing but bare walls, where they were tormented with mosquitos and every kind of vermin. Garay could get no intelligence of his fleet, and learnt from a Spaniard who had fled from punishment and lived among the Indians, that the province of Panuco was poor and unhealthy; and as this man gave a very favourable account of Mexico, many of Garays soldiers deserted from him, and went off for Mexico, plundering the natives on their way. Garay found himself in a bad plight, and sent one of his officers, named Diego de Ocampo, to sound the disposition of Vallejo, who was governor of St Estevan del Puerto for Cortes, and to notify the appointment of Garay to the government of this country. Vallejo gave a favourable answer, requesting the soldiers might be restrained from maltreating the inhabitants; but sent off an express to Cortes, soliciting a strong reinforcement or the immediate presence of the general. On receiving this intelligence, Cortes immediately sent off Alvarado, Sandoval, Father Olmedo, and Gonzalo de Ocampo, brother to Diego de Ocampo, who was with Garay, giving them a copy of the royal instructions, by which all his conquests were left under his command till the dispute between him and Velasquez were judicially settled.