A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 764 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04.
ill that he thought himself on the point of death.  The wind was favourable, and he soon arrived at the Havanna, where he was honourably received by his former friends and acquaintances, and where he had the pleasure, by a vessel just arrived from Vera Cruz, to receive intelligence that New Spain was entirely restored to peace; as all the refractory Indians, on hearing that Cortes and we their former conquerors were alive and returning, had come in and made their submissions.

The conduct of Salazar and Chirinos during their usurped authority had gained them many adherents; as, by means of their confiscations and the distribution of property among their greedy supporters, many were interested in the maintenance of their authority.  These were mostly of the lower order, and persons of a seditious disposition; though some men of quality, especially influenced by the contador Albornos, who dreaded the arrival of Cortes, had formed a plot to kill the treasurer Estrada, and to reinstate Salazar and Chirinos in the government.  For the purpose of releasing them from prison, they employed one Guzman, a white-smith, a fellow of low character who affected to be a wit, to make keys for opening their cages, giving him a piece of gold of the form which they required, and enjoining the strictest secrecy.  He undertook all that they asked with the utmost apparent zeal, pretending to be very anxious for the liberation of the prisoners; and by his affected humour and zeal for the cause, contrived to become acquainted with their whole plan of procedure:  But when the keys were finished and the plot ripe for execution, he communicated intelligence of the whole affair to Estrada; who instantly assembled the friends of Cortes, and went to the place of meeting, where he found twenty of the conspirators already armed and waiting for the signal.  These were seized, but many others made their escape.  Among the prisoners there were several very notorious characters, one of whom had lately committed violence on a Spanish woman.  They were immediately brought to trial before Ortega, the alcalde-major of Mexico; and, being convicted, three of them were hanged, and several of the rest whipped.

I must here digress, to mention an affair not exactly accordant in point of time with my narrative, but relevant in regard to its subject.  By the same vessel in which Salazar had transmitted letters to his majesty tending to criminate Cortes, other letters were conveyed and so artfully concealed that he had no suspicion of their existence, in which a full and true account of all his oppresions and unlawful proceedings was sent to his majesty.  All these facts had also been reported by the royal court of audience at St Domingo; by which the reported death of Cortes was contradicted, and his majesty was truly informed in what manner the general was employed for his service.  In consequence of these representations, the emperor is said to have expressed his high indignation at the unworthy treatment which Cortes had experienced, and his determination to support him in the government of New Spain.

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