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.
his private affairs; but he appointed several agents for that purpose, the principal of whom was the licentiate Altamirano.  His major-domo, Esquival, was employed in making preparations for the voyage; who, in crossing the lake to Ajotzinco in a large canoe with six Indians and a negro, having some ingots of gold in his possession, was waylaid and murdered; but the manner of his death could never be ascertained, as neither canoe, Indians, nor negro could ever be traced.  The body of Esquival was found four days afterwards on a small island, half eaten by the birds of prey.  There were many suspicions about this affair, some of such a nature as I cannot relate; but no great inquiry was made as to his death.  Cortes appointed other persons to complete the preparations for his voyage; and offered by proclamation a free passage for all Spaniards who had license from the government to go to Spain, with a supply of provisions during the voyage.  He took home with him from Mexico a great number of the curiosities of the country to present to his majesty, among which were various unknown birds, two tigers[2], many barrels of ambergris and indurated balsam, and of a kind resembling oil[3]:  Four Indians who were remarkably expert in playing the stick with their feet:  Some of those Indian jugglers who had a manner of appearing to fly in the air:  Three hunchbacked dwarfs of extraordinary deformity:  Some male and female Indians whose skins were remarkable for an extraordinary whiteness, and who had a natural defect of vision[4].  Cortes was likewise attended by several young chiefs of the Mexican and Tlascalan nations, who went over along with him into Spain at their own request[5].

Every thing being in readiness for the voyage, Cortes confessed and received the sacrament, after which he embarked along with Sandoval, de Tapia, and other gentlemen; and in forty-one days arrived in Spain, where he disembarked near the town of Palos, in the month of December 1527.  As soon as he set his foot on shore, he knelt down and returned thanks to God for the safety of his voyage.  This fortunate voyage was soon succeeded by severe grief, in consequence of the death of the valiant Sandoval, who expired after a lingering illness in the house of a rope-maker in Palos, who robbed him in his presence of thirteen bars of gold, in the following manner:  Perceiving the extreme weakness of Sandoval, he sent away all his servants on a pretended message to Cortes; and then went into Sandovals room, where he broke open his chest and took out the gold, our poor friend being too ill in bed to hinder him, and even apprehensive if he made any outcry, that the robber might take his life.  As soon as he got the gold, he made his escape into Portugal, where he could not be pursued.  Sandoval grew worse hourly, and as the physicians pronounced his end approaching, he prepared himself for death like a good Christian, and made his will, by which he left all his property to a sister, who afterwards married a natural son of the Conde de Medelin.  Sandoval died universally regretted, and was followed to the grave by Cortes and a great train of mourners.  May God pardon his sins! Amen.

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