Adventures of Roger L'Estrange

Material Information

Adventures of Roger L'Estrange sometime captain in the Florida army, of his excellency the Marquis Hernando de Soto ..
Daly, Dominick, 1834-1910
Stanley, Henry M ( Henry Morton ), 1841-1904 ( Author of introduction )
Swan Sonnenschein & Co ( Publisher )
William Brendon and Son ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
Swan Sonnenschein & Co., lim.
William Brendon and Son
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
301, [1] p. : col. map ; 20 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Explorers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Soldiers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Prisoners -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Youth and death -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Florida ( lcsh )
Biographical fiction -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Biographical fiction ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Plymouth
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Purports to be the translation of a manuscript discovered in the National library of Mexico.
Statement of Responsibility:
an autobiography translated from the Spanish, and prepared for publication by Dominick Daly ... with a preface by Henry M. Stanley, M.P., and a route-map.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
023014498 ( ALEPH )
AAN5739 ( NOTIS )
01492821 ( OCLC )
04036333 ( LCCN )

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MY friend Mr. Dominick Daly, who has under-
taken to edit the Adventures of Roger
L'Estrange, desires a few words from me as a preface
to the book. The intrinsic merits of the work are
quite sufficient in themselves to recommend it to
that large class of readers which delights in perusing
annals of exploration, discovery, and adventure.
The impressions and the varied incidents recorded
by Roger are written in a language so like that of
to-day, that we have to remind ourselves of the
dates to make sure that the events related do not
belong to the present generation. Liverpool was,
however, only a fishing village, Manchester but an
insignificant hamlet, and the Mersey but an obscure
stream, at the time the story begins. The senti-
ments, also, which here and there find utterance
might belong to one duly impressed with the
moralities of Exeter Hall; though, when in the
thick of the strife, the deeds of the hero are such
as we might expect from a valiant of the period.
What I most admire in Roger is that he is so fresh,
naYve, and candid, and can tell a straight story.
Even Daniel Defoe, of whose style he reminds me,
could not have told it better.


As a follower of Ferdinand de Soto, the discoverer
of the "Father of Waters," he is something new.
Incidentally he tells us a great deal of a man of
whom too little was known. Columbus, Cortes,
Pizarro, Da Gama, and many another great leader
and discoverer, have been remembered by historians
and poets; but the discoverer of the Mississippi has
had but scant justice done to his memory, though,
next to the discovery of Columbus, the finding of
the great American river ranked as the greatest feat
of the sixteenth century. As some amends for the
neglect of such a man this book may be accepted.
Our knowledge thus gained of him is-I am glad
to say-not at all disparaging, but is as honourable
to the follower as to the leader of the great enter-
prise. For the above reasons I heartily welcome the
appearance of the Adventures of Roger L'Estrange;
and I think that the literary charm and freshness
which I have found in it amply justify the few
remarks which I have ventured to make.


October 6th, 1896.


SN the year 1891, whilst in Mexico on private business, I
was requested by my friend Colonel Hoffman, of New
York, to see if there might be found in the literary col-
lections of the Aztec capital any documents on record
calculated to be of use to him in the preparation of his
forthcoming work upon Quetzacoatl, the Mexican Messiah
-that strange legendary white man of the long beard, who,
coming from across the eastern sea, seems to have imparted
to the ancient Mexicans, the Toltecs, some knowledge of
the doctrine and practices of Christianity, hundreds of years
before the Spanish Conquest. As I had time at my dis-
posal, and the task accorded with my own tastes and
present plan of work, I very willingly agreed to comply with
the request as far as possible. In the event I could find
little or nothing fresh, or of use to the Colonel. In the
Museum there is a fairly good collection of Aztec picture-
writings and works of art, and early Spanish-Mexican
compositions. But the largest and best collections of the
kind, native or foreign, are not to be found in Mexico at all,
but rather at the Vatican at Rome, in the Royal Library at
Madrid, or in the Paris Biblioth6que Nationale. For not
in vain did Zummaraga, the first Archbishop of Mexico,
ruthlessly burn whole mountains of Aztec writings and
pictures, and destroy or deface numberless inscriptions and
works of art. So well did he do his work that but a
small fraction of Aztec literature and art escaped his
religious fury, and that mostly what happened to have been
previously sent out of the country. Alas for the fate of-a
native literature left to the mercy of an ignorant foreign
bigot such as he! But what was to be expected from an
ecclesiastical potentate so debased in mind and deficient in
understanding as to lend the weight of his authority to the


gross and outrageous fraud associated with the miraculous
picture of the "Virgin of Guadalupe"--a wretched daub
in oil paints, directly handed down from Heaven by the
Mother of God herself to a vagabond Indian? Surely the
folly of fools in authority is the most pernicious kind of
wickedness !
However, in the course of my explorations amongst the
dusty shelves, cupboards, and chests in the store rooms of
the Library, I came upon many old Spanish documents-
such as proclamations, charters, grants of land and privi-
leges-dating back to the time of the Viceroys. These,
for the most part, were neither curious nor important,
relating as they mainly did to the private and personal
interests of the early Spanish settlers-the extent of their
possessions, their rights over the native populations, their
obligations to the Crown, and so forth.
I persevered in my task with little reward for the time I
was spending and the trouble I was taking, and had almost
made up my mind to have done with the irksome under-
taking, when one day I happened to pick out from amongst
the contents of an old cedar-wood chest a strongly, though
roughly, bound book of quarto size, secured by a broad
strap of leather. This I took to be an old account book,
several of which I had already come across and replaced
after a cursory inspection. But as this particular book was
not, externally, quite like the others, and seemed to have
had more care taken with it, I went to the trouble of
undoing the strap to see what its contents might be.
Instead of the crabbed contractions and figures of a
Spanish book of accounts which I half expected to find, I
saw to my surprise that the writing at the place where I
had opened the book was pure English, of the script known
as Elizabethan. I read the first few pages of the book
with avidity, and quickly formed the opinion that I had
happened upon a literary "find" which might be worth
taking some trouble about. As I turned over the leaves I
found that the book was not all in English, but partly (and
indeed for the most part) in Spanish, of the sixteenth
century. Some of the earlier pages were all in English;
but the rest were in Spanish, interrupted here and there by
more pages in English. The book was in excellent preser-
vation, written throughout by the same hand, and supplying


one continuous narrative, of which not a line.was missing
nor a word wanting.
Having mastered the contents of the book, I considered
that it would repay transcription and translation, with a
view to publication. I was not permitted (and very pro-
perly so) to remove the volume from the Library; but, by
the courtesy of the Minister of Education, both myself and
a secretary were afforded every facility for dealing with the
book on the premises in the Plaza Mayor; and I am glad
to have this opportunity of publicly and gratefully acknow-
ledging the Minister's kindness.

I do not well understand why Roger L'Estrange wrote
partly in English and partly in Spanish. It may be that,
living amongst Spaniards for many years, Spanish had be-
come easier to him than his native language, and that it
was with a view to keeping himself up in the latter that
he commenced writing the book in English,, lapsing into
the easier language from time to time, and again resolutely
reverting to his mother tongue. This, at least, is the only
explanation I can suggest.

The full title of the work, as now printed, is exactly the
same as in the original manuscript, only that I have added
the self-suggestive words, "An Autobiography," &c. It
appears to me that L'Estrange must have had the idea of
composing a work which should, at one and the same time,
be accurately historical, and interesting to his posterity as
a personal narrative. The original work is not divided into
chapters; these, with their headings, being my work, and
intended to convenience the reader. It is right: I should
say that I have not fully supplied the text, Spanish or
English, of L'Estrange's manuscript, but omitted, for the
sake of brevity, many passages which appeared to me of
small importance or interest, and not essential to the
personal adventures of L'Estrange. He seems to have been
a conscientious and scrupulous recorder of all he observed,
great or small; but I thought it best to omit, or pass over
lightly, much that seemed of secondary consequence, or
which had exclusive relation to military matters. I did
this the more readily when I came to know that two


contemporary and very full histories of the operations of the
army, from first to last, were extant. For I must frankly
confess that at first I knew very little about the Expedition
of De Soto. But on reading up the subject, I found that,
on the whole, L'Estrange's narrative agreed with the above-
mentioned contemporary histories. One of them is in
Spanish; the other was written by a Portuguese nobleman,
who served in the army from its formation, in 1538, to the
arrival in Mexico of all that remained of it in 1543. An
abridged translation of the former by T. Irving was pub-
lished in New York in 1835; a full translation of the
Portuguese narrative was supplied to the English reading
public by the press of the Hakluyt Society in 1847. The
latter is also epitomised in Purchase's "Pilgrims." The
Spanish account mentions, without giving names, that two
young Englishmen were with the Expedition; and no doubt
these were L'Estrange and his cousin Henry Stanley.
Of the Stanleys of Hooton, in Cheshire, I was even more
ignorant originally than of the Expedition of De Soto. On
making certain inquiries, however, I found that L'Estrange
was here again quite reliable. The Stanleys of this part,
with whom he claimed close relationship through his
mother, were an ancient and highly distinguished family,
of some historical notoriety, at the time about which
L'Estrange wrote, and also before and afterwards. It is
quite correct that they were ardent Catholics, and strong
opponents of the Protestant Reformation in England and
elsewhere. They were high in royal favour during the
short reign of Queen Mary, which was natural; but they
stood equally high in the esteem of Elizabeth (at least at
first), which was somewhat remarkable. In both reigns,
Sir William Stanley and his son Edward held important
offices in Ireland, and also in the Netherlands later on,
when Elizabeth was helping the Dutch to shake off the
yoke of Spain. The war was one of religion in all its main
aspects, and the conscientious strain became at last too
great for the loyalty of the Stanleys. They very de-
liberately betrayed the fortified town of Deventer to the
Spaniards, and took service under the Spanish Crown, and
Hooton and England knew them no more.* An earlier
Motley, in his History of the Netherlands, gives a full account of
this historical event.


member of this family, also named Sir William, was present
at the Battle of Bosworth Field, as mentioned by Sir
Thomas Moore in his history of Richard III. He is not
to be confounded with Lord Stanley, who also took part
in the same battle.

I should be glad to have obtained some knowledge of
the ultimate fate of Roger L'Estrange, or of the history
of his descendants; and I see no reason for thinking that
such knowledge is not to be had. Unfortunately I could
not, during my short stay in Mexico, devote any time
whatever to making the necessary inquiries in the most
likely place for information; namely, the district of Cuer-
navaca, where L'Estrange's estate was situated. It seems
to me that a family so prosperous and numerous can
scarcely have disappeared altogether, and that probably
inquiries on the spot would supply traces of its continued
existence. It is not likely that I shall ever have an
opportunity of making such inquiries myself. While still
in Mexico I heard tell of an officer of the army of the
name of L'Estrange, but was unable to pursue any in-
quiries in relation to him.

It may be advisable to remind the reader that in the
days of De Soto, the name Florida was the vague appella-
tion of the then little known continent now called North
America. The Spaniard who first discovered the peninsula
at the south-east corner of that continent called the
country Florida, without having an idea of the vast extent
of the territories stretching away to the north and west
for thousands of miles. Thus for a long time "Florida"
was a kind of geographical expression of wide but un-
certain application. In the course of time and political
changes the name came to be more and more restricted
in application, until now it applies only to that com-
paratively small area which is included in the United States
under the name of the "State of Florida."

The narrative of Roger L'Estrange, and .those of his
contemporary historians and. companions in arms, bring


out very strongly and strikingly the fact that the greater
part of "Florida," as explored by De Soto, was occupied
by numerous, populous, and civilized native communities.
This fact is not sufficiently recognized, nor indeed generally
known. It is a popular assumption, on both sides of the
Atlantic, that all the natives of North America were
nomadic savages, wandering from place to place in search
of game, and having no permanent dwelling-places, and no
towns and villages. As a general proposition this is not,
and never has been, true. In all the regions east of the
Mississippi penetrated by De Soto, and over a large area to
the west of the river included in his survey, he found the
natives settled and civilized, living in large and well-built
houses, and occupying villages and towns, some of con-
siderable size. They cultivated the ground and raised
great crops of maize and other produce. Often as far
as the eye could reach the country was seen to be covered
with growing corn, and dotted in all directions with houses
and hamlets. More than once De Soto's army was saved
from the worst extremes of starvation, by coming upon vast
stores of food laid up by the natives for winter use. In
the matter of clothing the Indians were well supplied.
They made a kind of cloth from cotton and other vegetable
fibres, and were able to manufacture for themselves com-
fortable and even elegant mantles and dresses from the
skins of beasts and feathers of birds. Of their laws and
institutions very little is known; but so far as they came
under the notice of the Spaniards, they seem to have been
of a character suitable to the requirements of simple people
having few wants, no commerce, no money, and no political
ambitions to gratify. Their social organisation was tribal
or territorial, but when occasion required they were able to
assemble, and maintain in the field, combined forces
numbering thousands of valiant warriors, as De Soto found
to his cost, and ultimately to his ruin. Their fortified
towns, too, the Spaniards found formidable enough, and
by no means easy to take, with all their civilized appliances
and European arts and methods. It is true that those
people had no knowledge of the use of metals; no
machinery, even in the simplest form; little or no ac-
quaintance with the mechanical arts, and no domestic
animals. They were still in their "Stone Age," like the


Mexicans and Peruvians; but not necessarily uncivilized,
much less savage. There is the strongest possible contrast
between them and the true savages of the far west. It
was not until De Soto had penetrated far in that direction
that he came upon the real "wild Indian" of popular
conception. And it is remarkable that the settled natives
of the east and south looked upon the wild men of the
west with pity and contempt, and spoke of them as
alien people with whom they had no connection and
nothing in common. To confuse the two is as great
an error as it would be on the part of an ignorant historian
to represent the savage, uncouth Huns of the fourth century
as types and specimens of the Europeans of that time.
It would be of little use to speculate upon the possible
advances which the settled Indians of "Florida" might
have made in civilization if their national development had
not been interrupted by European intrusion; but probably
they would have at least attained to that respectable degree
of civilization reached by the Indians of Mexico and Peru,
who were likewise unacquainted with the practical use of
metals. It is enough in this place to recognize as facts that
they were a fairly civilized people and no savages; that
they were so from the remotest times of which we have any
knowledge; and that those of them who have been fortu-
nate enough to survive European wrong and violence have
remained civilized, and in a vastly improved sense. The
half-dozen Indian nations of the east and south (including
the Cherokees) who enjoy the benevolent, if tardy, and
perhaps precarious, protection of the government of the
United States, are not mere civilized savages, but aboriginal
peoples whose ancient native civilization has been grafted
upon by the higher culture of the white man. And by all
accounts the grafting has taken well. Those Indian com-
munities are found to be satisfactory constituents in the
great social and political agglomeration known as the
United States. The members of them make good average
progress in mental development, scholastic education, and
material wealth. They are decent and well-behaved citizens,
taking a remarkably keen interest in local and general
politics. In trade, agriculture, and commerce they are
industrious and enterprising, and are fairly well represented
in most occupations, callings, and professions; wherein some


of them (as my friend Mr. Walkingstick, the Cherokee
barrister-at-law, of Muskogee, I.T.,) have made their mark.

The task of indicating on a modern map the whole
devious route taken by De Soto's army, from first to last, is
impracticable. A portion of the route only can be traced,
.and that with some difficulty; but the rest is impossible.
The Indian names of places and objects, as given in the
accounts of the expedition, cannot always, nor even often,
be identified with modern names; and even the accounts
themselves do not always agree in the names of identical
places, peoples, and geographical features, and they more-
over bristle with discrepancies in regard to relative situa-
tions, cardinal directions, distances, times, etc. The
difficulties in the way of tracing the route of the army,
from its landing in Florida until it reached the Mississippi,
near the junction with the Arkansas river, are not very
great; afterwards the task becomes almost hopeless.
Some reasonable speculation is, indeed, possible as to
De Soto's line of march towards the west and back
again to the Mississippi, where he died; but as to the
second advance westward of the Spaniards under his
successor Moscoso, and the return journey once more
to the banks of the Mississippi, speculation as to
the regions traversed becomes mere guesswork, and all
that can be said with tolerable certainty is that Moscoso
penetrated westward some hundred and fifty leagues from
the great river before he turned back.
It is easy to understand why there should be this
graduating difficulty in the effort to trace the entire
route of the army. Up to the arrival of De Soto at the
Mississippi, things were not so bad as to interfere greatly
with careful and deliberate progress and observation. After
that, the army was almost continuously in sore or desperate
straits, and there was little opportunity or inclination for
recording carefully the movements of the force. No doubt
as long as De Soto lived the march would be, and appears
in fact to have been, conducted with some observance of
method and discipline, and with some degree of purpose
and foresight; and consequently there is not an absolute
lack of information as to its movements. But after De


Soto's death discipline relaxed, the force became dis-"
organised, privations and sufferings increased, and the
incapable Moscoso was merely the chief of a mob of
desperate, ragged, and hungry vagabonds, wandering
purposelessly in the western wilderness. Under such
circumstances it is not surprising that nothing like a regular
itinerary was kept of their movements.
The accompanying map shows, according to the best
authorities, the line of march of De Soto's army from the
Bay of Espiritu Santo (now called Tampa Bay), in the
peninsula of Florida, to the Mississippi near its junction
with the Arkansas river. That is the comparatively cer-
tain portion of his route, and is indicated by a thick,
continuous red line on the map. The continuous dotted
line is intended to indicate the probable march and counter-
march of De Soto westward from the Mississippi. The
dotted lines more to the south in the same region are to be
taken as mere vague suggestions of the course pursued by
Moscoso, from the Mississippi westward and back again,
after the death of De Soto.
It is to be noted, in respect to those westward expedi-
tions, that the Spaniards always started from, and returned
to, the section of the Mississippi near the junction of that
river with the Arkansas. It was here that De Soto struck
and crossed the great river, and it was here also that the
Spaniards finally embarked in the seven frail vessels they
had constructed, and sailed away- down the river for
Mexico, abandoning completely the great enterprise in
which so many lives, and so much treasure, had been
expended. It was in this region that the Indian town of
De Guzman and L'Estrange was situated, from which the
Spaniards obtained such valuable assistance in their pre-
parations for descending the Mississippi en route to Mexico.
It lay, apparently, to the north of the scene of these prepa-
rations, and probably to the west of the Mississippi, at no
great distance from that river, with which it was connected
by a water-way, partly natural, and partly artificial. So
much may be inferred from casual geographical references
in the narrative of L'Estrange. Everything seems to point
to the site of this town being the same as that of the ruins
of the old Indian town known as Capaha, some eight miles
south of the present American town of Helena, and above


and to the west of the junction of the Mississippi and
Arkansas. Capaha, too, was connected with the Mississippi
by a channel which, in part at least, seems to have been
artificial. The ruins indicate the existence at the spot of
an old Indian town, of no great size, but of some im-
portance. They are described as consisting of artificial
mounds, embankments, debris of brickwork, and other
structural remains, interspersed with broken pottery, and
fragments of various utensils. These suffice to establish
the fact that the place must long have been occupied by a
native race well advanced in the arts of civilization. The
ruins of Capaha would apparently be somewhat nearer the
Mississippi than the town L'Estrange writes about; but the
frequent and considerable changes to which the course of
the river is subject, might account for a discrepancy which
seems to be the only one which seriously militates against
the theory that L'Estrange's town and Capaha were one and
the same. Any difference in the names is not material, for
Indian towns commonly changed their names with their
successive chiefs or rulers; and allowance has also to be
made for variations brought about by lapse of time, and the
white man's rendering of Indian names. And, after all,
there is no great dissimilarity between "Capaha" and





My parentage, relatives, and early life-My Sheffield uncle-Death of
my father and mother-I abide with the Stanleys of Hooton-My
education and training To the Wars in Ireland Heresy in
England-Persecutions and Forfeitures-Return from Ireland-
Death of my grandfather-Departure from Hooton with Henry
Stanley-Voyage to Bilbao.

MY father, Roger Strange, or L'Estrange as sometimes
called, was a yeoman of Yorkshire, holding in fee,
by ancient descent, a small but sufficient estate in land, not
far from the town of Sheffield. My mother was daughter
of Sir Geoffrey Stanley, of the ancient and noble family
of Stanleys of Hooton Manor in Cheshire, which is not
many miles distant, in a south-westerly direction, from a
town called Manchester, where they make fustians and
other cloth.
My earlier years were partly passed in my father's house,
and partly in that of a bachelor brother of his, Uncle
Richard, who was a founder and worker of metals, at
Sheffield, where he made knives, scissors, and cutting
implements of all kinds, as well as many other useful
things. Now Uncle Richard was much attached to me
from my earliest youth, and desired greatly that I should
come into his trade at Sheffield, and keep it as my own
business after he had passed away. Therein I was nothing


loth, nor was my father unwilling; but my good mother
and the Stanleys were cold to a proposal which they said
would turn me from a gentleman into a mere mechanic.
So, though much was spoken about it, nothing ever came
of Uncle Richard's plan; though all the same I spent a
good deal of time with him, and by his help gained some
knowledge of the many curious arts of his business, and
also of those appertaining to other trades carried on by
artificers engaged in making metal implements and utensils,
pottery, bricks, grindstones, charcoal, lime, and other
things. For Sheffield is a town where there are five
rapidly flowing streams, which are made use of to turn
a multitude of wheels for all kinds of purposes. Besides
which, great quantities of metallic ores, stones, and clays
of various sorts, and wood, are found very near the town,
or not far off. What I learned while with my Uncle
Richard in Sheffield was afterwards very useful to me,
as shall appear further on in this history.
I was nigh seventeen years of age when my father died
somewhat suddenly, and then my brother Hugh succeeded
as heir to the paternal estate, he being at the time married
and the father of a family. Thereupon my grandfather,
Sir Geoffrey, sent to my mother to say that she should
come back to Hooton to live again with him, and should
bring me with her, and he would take charge of my
education and future advancement. My mother very
willingly did as her father desired; but she did not live
long after our arrival at Hooton, for from the death of
my father she pined continually away, and never came
I was now fully adopted as one of the family at Hooton,
and always well treated. My education (which had not,
theretofore, been neglected) was completed in the company
of my two cousins, William and Henry, sons of my uncle,
Sir William Stanley, who himself was only son of Sir
Geoffrey, and lived always at Hooton. There was little
difference in the ages of we three cousins; but I was the
oldest, and Henry the youngest We had excellent teachers
to instruct us in all branches of an education fit for gentle-
men. In Latin and mathematics, we had for tutor Father
Whateley, an old priest who had long been at the Manor
as chaplain and confessor. In Spanish, French and Italian,


our instructor was Father Nicholas Gomez, a Spanish
monk, of good family, who, in his earlier and secular days.
had served under Cortes in Mexico; but with such ill-
fortune, as to be one of the few who came back unenriched
from the conquest of that empire, and one of the many
who returned broken in spirits and constitution. He was
wont to tell us how his health never recovered from the
sufferings he had endured in the terrible "Night of
Sorrow" ("Noche triste"), when the Mexicans sallied
forth from their city, and overwhelmed the Spaniards on a
great causeway running through a lake. He, wounded
and exhausted, had to lie concealed in the water, amongst
the reeds, for sixteen hours, before he could safely get
away. He told us also of many incidents which gave us
the impression that he had lost at play whatever booty he
had obtained in Mexico, for, according to his representa-
tions, the Spaniards were inveterate gamblers and card
players. After his sufferings and losses, and also because
of his great disgust with the crdel way in which the Indians
were treated, he abandoned the army, and became a
Dominican. Then he joined with one Las Casas in trying
to secure the Indians against the cruelties of the Spaniards,
but doing little good in that matter, he had returned to
Spain with Las Casas. How he came to be established at
Hooton I know not; but I think he had some connection
and correspondence with the Spanish Court. For the rest,
my grandfather's hospitable house was a resort for priests
and monks from far and near.
As the Stanleys of Hooton had always been soldiers, we
three boys of the family were carefully instructed in all
branches of the military art. In this, our chief teacher was
Captain Roland Wyke, a valiant veteran, who had served
under the Spinolas, on the Spanish side, in the Italian wars
of the Emperor Charles V. We had instructions also in
military mathematics and fortification, and in marine
manceuvres; our nearness to the river Mersey and the sea
affording the best opportunities and great facilities for the
latter. Under such instruction, and in the hands of such
teachers, our education throve apace; and for myself, I may
say that, by the time I had reached my twentieth year, I
was as well grown and sturdy a youth, and as fairly good a
soldier for land or sea service, as any one of my age might


be who had never had the experience of actual warfare. At
broadsword and buckler I was quite equal to another, and
with long and cross bow I excelled most with whom I com-
peted. I could use the halberd and spear, and go through
all the exercises of a fantassin or foot soldier. As a bare,
or unarmoured cavalier, I was competent enough on horse-
back; but it never fell to my lot to carry plate armour, or
wield the long lance of the knight, both of which, indeed,
were then going out of fashion. In the use of matchlock
and musquetoon I never became proficient; and that of
my own fault, for I despised such weapons as cumbrous
and unsoldierly. This contempt, together with my great
preference for the crossbow, and our good old English
longbow and clothyard shaft, caused me to profit but little
by Captain Roland's lessons in the use of those treacherous
and murderous weapons, which, with loud noise and great
stench and smoke, propel a lump of base lead into a man's
vitals, without giving him a chance of getting out of the
way or parrying the shot. Nor have I anything to repent
me of for this neglect of Captain Wyke's teachings in the
use of firearms. I say nothing of ordnance, which may be
of the utmost importance at sieges, and on other special
occasions; but of firearms of the smaller sort, I can aver
from my own experiences in the Indian wars that he would
be but a poor bowman who could not shoot half-a-dozen
times, with good aim, for the once that an arquebus or
matchlock might be discharged. Wherefore I think less of
the latter kind of arms than of the bow and crossbow. In
addition to the military acquirements I have herein men-
tioned, I was fairly well versed in grammatical studies, could
read my Latin prayer-book with ease, knew a little French,
and was proficient in Spanish, as every gentleman should be.
This brief account of my early life I give as a necessary
introduction to the adventures it is my purpose herein to
relate. For I am fully conscious that the minute narrative
of the life of a private and unimportant person is of little
interest to others, however noteworthy and remarkable
some of his experiences may be. But I have also given
the foregoing particulars because my training and education
at my grandfather's house practically came to a close, and
my manhood's life began thereupon, shortly after I had
completed my twentieth year.


A little before that time my uncle William had gone to
Ireland in the train of the Lord Deputy Skeffington,
leaving orders that his son William and myself should
follow him thither. Obedient to his command, we set out
on horseback with three of our men from Hooton; rode to
Bristol and then took ship to Dublin, where, on our arrival,
we were most paternally received by my uncle, and com-
fortably lodged in his quarters in the Castle of Dublin.
We soon came to learn that English law prevails in Ireland
only in the district around Dublin which is called the Pale,
and this is all the actual dominion of the King of England,
though he has the title of "Lord of Ireland." Beyond the
Pale the native princes and chiefs, and those of English
origin who have adopted Irish manners, observe the ancient
laws of the country; or, more commonly, observe no settled
law at all, but act each as he pleases for his own interest.
Hence there are constant wars and feuds in progress beyond
the Pale, and frequently these spread within the Pale, or in
one way or another embroil the government of Dublin in
hostilities with the Irish and Irish-English.
In those wild wars, we of the house of Stanley had our
full share during the eighteen months of my stay in that
country. It never in that time happened to fall to our lot
to have to go far into the interior, but we had many rough
affrays with the native tribes of the O'Tools, O'Byrnes, and
Cavanaghs, of the eastern districts. Nor did we always
come off best on those occasions. In one memorable
encounter our force, under command of my uncle, was
surprised amongst the Wicklow mountains, and we were so
badly beaten that all who were left of us had to fly for our
lives, nor did we dare draw rein until we reached the walls
of Dublin.
Our stay in Ireland was cut short by bad news from
home. That sage, pious, and mild sovereign, King Henry
VIII., after twenty years of godly and beneficent rule,
became, through the machinations of the devil, a ferocious
and impious tyrant and cruel monster. Like our first
parent, Adam, he was led to his destruction by a woman-
the frivolous-minded Lady Anne Boleyn-for love of whom
She abandoned his saintly wife, Catherine, and broke
with the Holy Father and the only true Church. For a
time it was hoped that as his passions abated he would


repent of his errors, but as years went on it became plain
that the Satanic influence over him was growing stronger
and stronger. From repudiating the authority of the Holy
Father he proceeded to the suppression of the lesser and
greater monasteries, and from this to the persecution and
slaying of Catholics. The executions of Bishop Fisher
and Sir Thomas More, for refusing to recognize the
ecclesiastical supremacy of the King, filled all true
Catholics with horror and alarm, and the subsequent
sentence of excommunication passed upon Henry by the
head of the Church, broke the last link between him and
his Catholic subjects.
The news of those troubles induced my uncle to hasten
home from Ireland, taking me with him, but leaving his
son behind in charge of the Lord Deputy. The Stanleys
of Hooton had always been staunch and ardent Catholics;
and in those troubled times our house became the refuge
of some of the many thousands of monks and nuns who
were cast homeless and penniless on the world by the
sacrilegious and hypocritical confiscation of the monastic
institutions. For a time the remoteness of Hooton
from the Court served as a protection from the crowd of
hungry and insatiable parasites 'who were ever inciting
the king to further spoliations of the Church and
her faithful adherents, in order to enrich themselves
But at length the wilds of Lancashire and Cheshire
no longer availed as a shelter against those heretical
plunderers. Commissioners arrived from London, and
fixed their headquarters at Manchester. Hooton was
visited by those children of Belial and their agents, and
what with fines and penalties, bribes and presents, my
grandfather was well-nigh ruined within a short space. The
establishment became so reduced as to be almost broken
up, and the many dependants upon Sir Geoffrey's bounty
were forced to disperse and shift for themselves as best
they could. My grandfather did not long survive this
altered state of things. His own troubles, and the
troubles of the State, so preyed upon him that he took
to his bed and died quite broken-hearted within a little
I now thought the time had come when it would be


proper for me to go into the world on my own account.
There was no future for me at Hooton, nor indeed in
England, so far as I could see; and my uncle had cares
and troubles enough of his own without being embarrassed
with the duty of providing for me. I had, moreover, a
longing to see the world, and a desire for foreign service
under some Catholic prince. As Father Nicholas was
about to return to Spain, I induced my uncle to permit
me to accompany him. No sooner had this been settled,
than my cousin Henry preferred a similar request, which
at first was little to the taste of my uncle; but, after fully
discussing the matter with Father Nicholas and Captain
Wyke, he at length consented to let us both go together
to seek our fortune in Spain. Father Nicholas promised
to do all he could for us on our arrival in that country, and
letters of commendation in our favour were prepared for
us by my uncle and Captain Wyke, and addressed to
clerical and lay personages known to the writers. These,
it was hoped, would be of service to us when we got to
Madrid. Other preparations for our departure were soon
made, and then it only remained to find a ship to carry
us to some convenient Spanish port.
On the opposite side of the Mersey to Hooton there
is a small fishing village, or hamlet, known as Liverpool,
which is occasionally visited by foreign ships, mostly
Spanish, commonly contrabandists, and not infrequently
concealed pirates. The wars in Ireland had long given
much encouragement to ships of this dubious character;
for the princes, lords, and chiefs of that country were
good customers for arms, silk, cloth, wine, and other
foreign commodities. Of late many such ships had found
profitable employment in carrying ecclesiastical and other
refugees from England to Spain, France, and the Nether-
lands. We soon came to learn of the presence at Liverpool
of a Biscayan ship-an honest enough trader, as it proved-
which was on the point of sailing for Bilbao. This was
not the most convenient port from which to reach Madrid;
but it was decided that we should not miss the opportunity
presented of getting to Spain, and accordingly a passage was
secured in the Biscayan for Father Nicholas, Henry
Stanley, and myself. Sir William, in spite of his reduced
fortune, liberally supplied our purses, and dismissed us


on our adventures with a fervent blessing and a promise
to remember us constantly in his prayers.
We sailed from Liverpool, and made a good and
sufficiently expeditious voyage of ten days' duration to
Bilbao. There we rested ourselves for a few days, during
which we hired guides and purchased mules and provisions
for our long journey to Madrid.


Arrival in Madrid-New Expedition for Florida-De Soto-Failure
of former Expeditions-Henry and I seek to join-Success-We
sail with De Soto and the Army-Its Composition and Equip-
ment-Arrival at the Canaries- At Cuba- De Soto assumes
Governorship-Juan de Anasco sent forward to Florida-His
Success and Return with Indian Guides-Everything ready-The
Ships and their Freights-A splendid Expedition.

OUR journey from Bilbao to Madrid was long and toil-
some, and not free from dangers. We passed through
a great mountain region full of precipices and gorges and
roaring torrents, which at times turned us aside from our
proper course, and in other ways caused us loss of time.
On the higher grounds it was bitterly cold, the winter (we
were told by our guides) being unusually long and severe.
There were dangers, too, from savage beasts (wolves and
bears), and scarcely less savage outlaws and robbers.
However, we suffered only from the weather, and got at
last into the more level and open country, and a better
climate, and thereafter had more ease and made better
speed. As for lodgings, we mostly stayed at monasteries
and other religious houses (of which there were great
numbers), and in such places we were always made
welcome and hospitably treated.
Coming, in fine, to the capital of the great Spanish
empire, we found it in a sort of uproar, because of the
preparations being made by the famous hidalgo Hernando
De Soto, for a new venture to the Indies. This lord had
not long come back from the kingdom of Peru, where he
had been, as it were, the right hand of Pizarro in the
conquest of that rich state. De Soto had gone thither a
penniless gentleman, and had come back with much
treasure. The Emperor Charles V. had ennobled him, and
he had secured in marriage the hand of a noble and agree-
able lady. But he was not content to live at home in


peace and comfort, but must needs dream of seeking fresh
conquests and more glory and riches in those unknown
regions of the Western Indies lying to the north of the great
gulf or sea of Mexico. At one time it was thought that this
country reached towards Cathay on the further or western
side, and stretched northward to the frozen seas; but it is
now certain that the first opinion is wrong, and it is yet
doubtful if the second is right. There is a western ocean
of great width lying beyond the terra frma of Florida, and
dividing it from Cathay and the Indies lying on that side of
the world, east from Europe and higher Asia. So far as
the country was known or imagined, it had got the name of
Florida, and this because the southern part of it, north
of Cuba, and in the form of a peninsula, was first dis-
covered on Pascha Florida, or (as the English say) Palm
Sunday; likewise (it is said) because of the great abundance
of flowers seen there by those who first set foot upon its
Before De Soto's expedition, there had been earlier
attempts at penetrating to the interior of this vast country,
and disclosing its limits and condition; but only with the
utmost misfortune to every adventurer. Of them the first
was Ponce de Leon, and he, and most of those with him,
were killed in fight with the natives. After him other
Spaniards of low order came to the shores of Florida, and,
whenever they could, seized upon the natives, and carried
them off to Cuba to serve as slaves; committing great
cruelties, and many slaying and burnings, in this lawless
work. Thus it fell out that when the Cavalier Vasquez de
Ayllon led a more regular force into the country to explore
its interior, he, and nearly every man of his, perished
miserably, and with much torture, at the hands of the
natives. These, for revenge, lulled the Spaniards into a
sense of security by hospitality, and every mark of friend-
ship, and then treacherously fell upon and overcame them.
After Vasquez, and about ten years before we came to
Madrid, Pamphilo de Navarez invaded Florida with a great
armament, and a commission from the Emperor. He
sought for gold, but only found hosts of fierce warriors,
of vast size and strength, who harassed him day and night,
and inflicted constant losses upon him. This was mostly
in a province called by the Indians Apalachee. In the


end, the Spaniards were utterly destroyed, and it was long
thought that no single man of them had escaped; but, to
the wonder of everybody, the year before we came to
Madrid, that is, the year 1537, one of the leaders, named
Alva Nunez, appeared in Spain, having first landed at
Lisbon, in Portugal, after unheard-of adventures. He had
been enslaved by the Indians, and, suffering many hard-
ships, had been passed from tribe to tribe, far away towards
the west, crossing mighty rivers, hideous deserts, and high
mountain ranges, until he got at last to the western ocean,
and the Spanish settlement of Compostella on its eastern
I have thought it well to speak shortly of those earlier
explorations in Florida, because they serve to illumine that
which is to follow. Their miscarriage, one and all, did not
daunt De Soto. He judged that, in the boundless and un-
discovered regions of Florida, there must be empires as
rich as Mexico, or even Peru; and he thought that, with a
stronger and altogether better force than any that had gone
before, and, above all, with a policy of kindness towards
the natives, he should succeed where the others had failed.
Seeing and hearing all that was going on, Henry and I
thought, here was a hopeful chance for us, if only we could
become engaged in the expedition of De Soto. But this
was no easy matter, for the number of the company was to
be no more than one thousand, of all arms and degrees,
and already many more than that (mostly noble gentlemen,
accoutred at their own charge) were offering themselves.
Whilst thinking of what was best to be done, we found out
that the commander of the halberdiers of De Soto's body-
guard was none other than that Christopher Spinola to
whom Captain Roland Wyke had given us a letter.
Thereupon we hastened to pay our respects to Spinola,
and deliver him the letter. He received us very kindly,
and, having read dur letter, protested his desire to fully
honour the recommendations of his old friend and comrade.
We then spoke of our desire to join the expedition, and he
promised to help us as he best could. In the end, his
influence, backed by the good offices of Father Nicholas,
procured us admission into the halberdiers as gentlemen
volunteers; but first we had to pass a strict inspection as to
our health and strength, and also to give proofs of our


military knowledge and skill. Then we were sent on to
Seville, which was the place of assembly for the whole army.
I need not dwell upon things of small moment, nor set
down our trivial experiences until the time we embarked at
San Lucian de Barameda. The fleet consisted of seven
large and three small ships, with well-nigh nine hundred
men on board. Most of these, common soldiers and
officers, were Spanish, but there was a good company of
Portuguese gentlemen, and a few of other nations-as
Italians, French, Germans, Flemish, one Irishman named
O'Donel, and we two English. There were twenty-four
ecclesiastics, twelve being priests; likewise a number of
skilled mechanics, and some negro and Moorish slaves.
All the public cost of the expedition, and a good deal of
the private charges of officers and men, were borne by
De Soto, whose whole fortune was thus engaged in the
enterprise. On this account, as well as for the better
assurement of the success of the expedition, the Emperor
made him Captain-General of Cuba, as well as Adelantado,
or Governor of all Florida.
We sailed from San Lucian on the 6th of April, 1538,
and in fifteen days arrived at the Canaries, and (having
stayed there three days) in a month thereafter reached
Santiago de Cuba. From thence we sailed to Havafiah.
In all we stayed three months in Cuba, the Governor
visiting the chief towns and districts, appointing officers,
making arrangements for the administration of affairs
during his absence, and completing all things for the
expedition. Meanwhile, Juan de Anasco, the Contador,
had been sent forward with a brigantine to spy out a proper
port in Florida. He duly returned with a good report,
bringing with him four Indian prisoners, who, it was hoped,
might serve as guides to the interior of the country.
Several volunteers were allowed to join the army at Cuba,
which was now nearly i,ooo strong. We likewise took on
board 350 horses and thirteen sows, mostly in young.
Nothing was wanting for the equipment of an army setting
out for the conquest or colonization of an extensive
country, and I was assured and believed that no better or
more brilliant force than this of De Soto had ever been
organised by a Spanish commander for exploration and
conquest in the Western Indies.


Departure from Havaniah-Blown from our course-Arrival on the
Coast of Florida-Natives hostile-Landing and taking possession
-Night attack on Camp-Cavalry charge-How the Indians shoot
-Occupation of a deserted town-Structure and arrangements-
Ships sent back to Havaiiah-Examination of country-The
fugitive cacique-His former barbarous treatment-Will not be
mollified-Attempt to secure him-A march through the woods-
Battle-Wounded and made prisoner.

THE fleet sailed from Havafiah on the 12th of May,
1539, with a favourable wind and every appearance
of fine weather. At the end of a couple of days, however,
there came a strong wind from the east and north-east,
which forced us far out of our course into the gulf of
Mexico. It was not until the end of thirteen days out
from Havafiah that we were able to make the western side
of the peninsula of Florida at a deep bay, which in
memory of the day (being Whit Sunday) we called the
Bay of Espiritu Santo.* This part of Florida had been
ravaged by Spanish slave seekers, and the natives most
barbarously used; and, as a consequence, we found them
on the alert and bitterly hostile. The Governor, seeing
this, did not dare to disembark until a favourable landing
place had been selected and secured. He ordered
soundings to be obtained, and other precautions taken; and
some days elapsed before a satisfactory place was found.
It was not until the last day of May that three hundred
of the troops were disembarked, and the country taken
possession of in the name of Charles V. The natives
showed no hostility during the day, nor for best part of
the night; but shortly before dawn the camp was aroused
by savage yells and whoops, and the onward rush of
numbers of Indians, who sent clouds of arrows flying
Now known as Tampa Bay.


through the air. The Governor not having gone on shore,
we of his body-guard were not with those who had landed;
but we could hear from the ships the great uproar and the
alarms of drums and trumpets in the camp, and as soon
as it was dawn we saw the soldiers crowded on the beach
in much confusion and panic. Boats were sent from the
ships with fresh troops and seven horses, and the moment
these latter reached the strand they were backed by
cavaliers, who charged boldly upon the Indians.
The Indians of Florida are brave and dauntless warriors,
and rarely quail before white men, though they have naught
but their naked bodies, and poor weapons of wood or
stone, wherewith to confront enemies clad in armour or
leather, and bearing bucklers and steel swords and lances.
But horses are unknown amongst them, and of such they
have in warfare the greatest dread, taking them to be
supernatural creatures. No sooner, then, did the horsemen
come upon them in this combat, than they turned about
and fled away into the thickets with all speed. One horse
only was struck with an arrow, shot by a bold Indian who
stayed a little behind his comrades, and drew his bow
against the foremost horse as if to see whether or not it
could be injured. As soon as the cavaliers got back to
the camp this horse dropped dead, to the surprise of
everyone, for it had shown no signs of being badly hurt.
An examination disclosed a flint-tipped arrow, which had
been shot with such force as to pass through the saddle
and its housings, and bury itself for one-third of its length
between the animal's ribs. We had examples later on of
equally wonderful shots, showing with how great force the
Indians can send arrows, even when the tips are not of
flint, but merely hardened by fire.
We were not again troubled at this place by the natives,
and after a few day's rest the army marched along the
coast two leagues northward (the ships sailing in the same
direction) to a large village, which we found deserted.
Here, in a kind of temple, surmounted with the image of
a bird with gilded eyes, a quantity of pearls was found,
but all injured by being bored with red hot copper spikes
in order to string them for necklaces. Afterwards we
came upon great quantities of similar pearls in the native
temples and charnel-houses.


The village in which we were now quartered was (as is
customary in this land) called by the name of its chief,
Ucita; but it had also another name, difficult to pronounce,
which I have forgotten. It contained, besides many huts
in the outskirts, several large timber houses, each capable
of lodging many people. At one end was the house of the
chief, or kathick (cacique, according to the Spanish spel-
ling), perched upon an artificial mound, and so constructed
as to serve for a fortress. It was reached by a narrow road
or pathway, fenced on each side by a strong wall of trunks
of trees interlaced with branches and tendrils of the wild
vine. This is the manner in all the villages in those parts;
but very often the walls so constructed enclose the whole
place, and are smoothly plastered over with kneaded clay.
De Soto took up his quarters in the chief's house, and the
others were turned into barracks, stables, and store houses
for provisions, arms and ammunition, tools, and materials
of every description landed from the ships. The ground
around the town to the distance of a bow-shot was cleared
of trees and undergrowth, so that the cavalry might act if
necessary, and patrols and sentinels were appointed for
regular service to guard against surprise, especially at
night. Several of the largest vessels were ordered back to
Havafiah; only the caravel and the two brigantines being
kept. Herein the Governor sought to follow the example
of Cortes, and some sagacious captains of antiquity, who
by similar means made their soldiers feel that they must
depend upon their own courage and resources, and that
they were wholly committed to the enterprise in hand.
It being at this time the intention of De Soto to make
the town of Ucita the head dep6t for supplies, he gave
orders for its proper fortification, and decided to leave there
a strong garrison of foot and horse, while he advanced into
the interior of the country at the head of the main army.
Meanwhile the country round the town was explored by
parties of cavalry, in order to discover its nature and
resources, and what enemies there might be in the neigh-
bourhood. The Governor was very desirous of establishing
friendly relations with the natives, in order to procure
guides and carriers for his march into the interior. This
could only be done through the cacique, who lay concealed
in a thick wood some distance off. From this retreat he


could not be drawn by all the friendly messages sent to him
by De Soto through natives who had been captured and
released with presents and fair words. This was no wonder,
for ten years before Ucita had suffered the most intolerable
wrongs at the hands of Navarez. This Spanish commander,
in a transport of rage, and in flagrant violation of a recent
treaty of peace and amity, had caused the chief's nose to be
cut off, and his mother to be torn to pieces by bloodhounds
before his face. Wrongs such as those are unpardonable
by ordinary Christians, much less unbaptised heathens.
De Soto was by nature a kind and humane man, and when
he came to hear of those things he was truly grieved; and
now pity, not less strongly than policy, made him wish to
be friends with the chief, and make him such amends as lay
in his power. So all the Indians of his who were made
prisoners he treated very kindly, and released them with
gifts. By some of them he sent valuable presents to the
hidden cacique, with many friendly messages. But only
bitter and scornful words were sent back by way of answer.
To one message he made the reply: "I want neither
their words nor their presents; bring me their heads and
then I shall rejoice."
De Soto at length lost all hope of making friends with
Ucita by fair words and means, and also he was unwilling
to leave in his rear an enemy so bitter and implacable, who
might cut him off from communication with the coast when
he advanced further inland. In this difficulty he formed
the resolve of trying to capture the chief, so as to keep him
with him as a hostage, but with all honourable treatment.
The enterprise being one of some hazard, as well as nicety,
he took it into his own hands. Having gathered such
information as he could about the lurking place of the
cacique, he took a hundred men, half of them horsemen,
and set out an hour before dawn under the guidance of an
old and friendly Indian, who knew that part of the country,
though he was not of Ucita's people. Henry Stanley and I
were of the party, and we both rejoiced threat, though for
me the occasion well-niglhproved my last, as it was my first,
experience of real fighting; though by the mercy of God and
the protection of the holy saints, my life, limbs, and liberty,
were in the end spared.
After a rapid march of six hours, we came near the place


where the cacique was hidden. The way to it was along a
narrow path, cut through the thick undergrowth of a great
and swampy forest. A little way along the path we came
suddenly upon a palisade, the posts of which were inter-
woven with wild vine and other tendrils, as good as ropes
of hemp for the purpose. This defence was guarded by
Indians, who greeted us with flights of arrows. De Soto
dismounted, and led some of the footmen against the
palisade, armed with swords and axes; but the place was so
strait, that only two or three could engage in front at one
time, though the men behind them could make some use
of their crossbows from sundry points of vantage.
Though the Indians fought with good resolution, we pre-
vailed in the end, and drove them off, breaking and cutting
through the palisade. But when we made a further
advance, we found ourselves face to face with another
palisade, made like the first, and just as stoutly defended.
This, too, we carried, after some hard fighting, again only
to discover that there was a third similar defence further
on. In truth, we found in the end that there were no fewer
than seven or eight of those impediments to our forward
march, for the possession of every one of which we had to
fight. With much heat and labour, and most fatal loss of
time for our purpose, we gained one defence after another,
until at length we came to a clear space in the midst of the
wild and ragged forest, with a little hut or cabin in the
centre. The Indians had all disappeared, and the cabin
was empty, though a fire was still alight on the floor, and
there were other signs of late habitation. All was plain
enough-the cage was there, but the bird had flown-we
had lost too much time, and all our labour had been for
nothing. It was for scarcely more than form sake that the
almost impenetrable forest round about was searched as
well as might be. Nowhere could the cacique, or, indeed,
any of his men, be found; and at length the Governor,
deeply mortified, gave the order to return, after the men had
rested and refreshed themselves, and provision had been
made for carrying back the wounded ; for none of our party
were killed outright, for all the hard fighting.
It happened that some of the soldiers, in searching about
in the forest, had come upon what seemed to be a fair open
road running in the direction of our return. The Governor,


having inspected this road, resolved to return by it, as a
way to be preferred to the narrow and incommodious path
through the forest by which we had come, and which was
in no way fit for horses. The old Indian guide made signs
of disagreement, either to imply that he did not know that
way back, or did not like it for some reason, which he had
not words enough to explain for our comprehension.
However, his objection, whatever it might be, was un-
heeded, and the force set out on its return march along
the newly-found road.
For about the distance of a mile the road was good, and
all went well. Then we came to a swampy place, and very
difficult ground for the horses. They sunk deep into the
soft soil, and some were in danger of being lost. This
threw us into disorder, our ranks being broken up in our
efforts to extricate the horses, and get them to more solid
ground. Suddenly, in the midst of our confusion, there
arose in the woods around us terrific yells, and before the
least attempt could be made to re-form our ranks, the
Indians were upon us. My share in the earlier fighting
was the using of my crossbow at a safe distance; now I
was engaged in a real battle at closest quarters. Spaniards
and Indians were altogether mixed up, and every man had
to do what he could for his own hand, without trusting to
his comrades for help, for we were without formation of any
kind, and greatly outnumbered. Moreover, our horses were
of no use in such a marshy place. It was altogether a
hand-to-hand battle of men on foot, which would have
been over in brief space, to our destruction, but for our
better weapons and our body armour. On all sides re-
sounded the noise of blows, the shouts and war-cries of the
Spaniards, and, above all, the diabolical yells of the Indians,
which were blood-curdling and most inhuman. How I
bore myself, I cannot well say, for the strangeness of the
circumstances greatly discomposed me, and filled my mind
with confusion. However, I know I struck away right
vigorously with my broadsword at all the Indians within
my reach; at times charging hither and thither with much
fury, but with nothing at all of the purpose and coolness
which come only from warlike experience. Whilst thus
employed, I happened to see my cousin a little way off,
beset by four or five naked savages, who were striking at


him with clubs and unstrung bows, he confronting them
alone. I at once ran to his aid, and with the help of a
soldier who joined us at the same time, we cut down two of
the Indians, and drove the rest back towards the forest. I
followed them up, and laid one of them low just at the
edge of the wood; but had hardly done so when out
rushed a crowd of Indians, who were upon me in a
moment. Before I could strike a blow in my defence, my
sword was knocked out of my hand, and a terrible blow on
the head felled me to the ground and left me senseless.


In the hands of the Indians-Fellow captives-Ucita threatens-A
Ministering Angel-The place of torture-Death of three Spaniards
-My turn-The Cacique's daughter-Saved-Guardian of the
Cemetery-Interview with Aymay-Falling in love-Slaying the
great panther-Delusive hopes.

H OW long I remained insensible I cannot say. I only
know that I was aroused from that state by being
roughly carried through the forest by a couple of big
Indians, who had hold of me by the legs and shoulders.
I then realized that I was a captive in the hands of cruel
enemies of an evil repute for inflicting horrible tortures on
their captives. It was night-time, and the forest was
perfectly still, save for the noise made by my bearers
passing along. I judged from this that I must have
remained insensible for a long time, and that I had been
carried some distance from the scene of the conflict. As
soon as I had collected my senses a little and realized
my position, I made a violent struggle to free myself from
my bearers. This was not so much from any design to
escape, for that I felt to be impossible at the moment, but
on account of the intolerable pain I was suffering by being
carried in such a manner. The Indians allowed me to get
my feet on the ground, still keeping fast hold of me; and
I made them understand by signs and motions that I did
not want to escape, but was unable to endure their rough
method of carrying me. I was, in truth, willing enough to
walk as well as my strength would permit, and I found on
trial that I could walk fairly well; though a wound in my
side was painful, and I was bruised and sore all over, and
weak from loss of blood. Having come to this under-
standing with the Indians, I walked for some time between
them, each keeping a firm grip on my wrist. But the
inconvenience of this mode of keeping me secure appeared


to strike them after a time; and, having talked together for
a while, they tied my hands securely behind my back with
a long tendril of wild vine, the ends of which they kept
hold of. In this way we continued our journey all through
the night, with intervals of rest. At daybreak I found we
were out of the forest and in an open country, and
obviously making our way to a village not very far in the
distance, and of no great size.
At the entrance to the village a party of Indians at once
took charge of me, and rudely thrust me into a small and
miserable hut with an earthen floor, the open doorway of
which was hung with a half-rotten reed mat. Here, to
my surprise, I found three of our soldiers made fast, hands
and feet, by leather thongs to stakes driven into the ground.
I was not myself similarly secured, for the Indians, seeing
that I was badly wounded, and faint from loss of blood and
from fatigue, made signs to me to occupy a sort of rough
bed in one corner of the hut, consisting of a heap of coarse
dried grass covered with a deer skin. They untied my
hands, and I gladly threw myself upon the couch; but
I could get no sleep, though most thoroughly worn out
and exhausted. My mind was occupied with the events
of the previous day, my body was sore, and I discovered
that I had received a severe injury to the back of my head,
probably inflicted by the hoof of one of our horses as I lay
on the ground during the melee; I was feverish and delirious,
and parched with thirst. All the morning the Indians kept
coming in and going out of the hut, gesticulating and
threatening us; and this also added to my unrest. To my
signs for water they paid no attention, but seemed rather to
exult in my sufferings. Later in the morning the cacique
visited us, attended by a number of the leading Indians.
I knew him then by his mutilated face, and I had after-
wards good cause to know who he was. His language and
gestures were angry and menacing; but these did not
prevent me from repeating to him the signs I had made for
water. I was desperate and half-delirious, and in no wise
daunted by his furious language and looks. I suppose he
saw that the vengeance he meditated would be but poorly
gratified by letting me die there and then, for shortly after
he went away an Indian boy brought us an abundant and
most grateful supply of water in a large earthen vessel.


This was followed later on by a great bowl of boiled maize,
sufficient for all four of us.
During the day I learned from my fellow-prisoners that,
like myself, they had been borne down in the battle by the
rush of Indians, and had been disarmed and carried off
without being able to make much resistance. None of
them received serious injuries. Of the results of the con-
flict they could tell me nothing, for they had been made
prisoners whilst it was still in progress; but we made no
doubt that the Spaniards must have succeeded in the end
in driving off the Indians and making good their retreat. I
felt some anxiety for the safety of my cousin Henry, but in
my present circumstances could only hope that no great
harm had befallen him.
As night came on, my feverish condition increased and
continued getting worse. My sleep was broken by delirious
fancies and imaginings, and I wandered in my talk. At
one time I thought that someone was tenderly bathing and
dressing my wounds, and in the dim light of the early dawn
I imagined I saw the slim form of an Indian girl stooping
over me, and anointing my wounds with some oily sub-
stance. This, at least, I subsequently found was not
wholly a delusion, for after a period of comparatively easy
repose I awoke to find that I had indeed received such
kindly attention from someone, my condition being thereby
immensely improved. But this feeling of comfort and
relief was not destined to last long..
While it was still early in the day the Indians came into
the hut, unbound my companions, and made signs to me to
get up. Then they stripped us naked, and we judged that
now our hour had come, and that we were to be sacrificed
to the vengeance of the cacique. For me, I could hardly
walk, and was scarcely sensible enough to realise what was
going on. Supported by two Indians I was taken to the
open space in the middle of the village, where I was
allowed to sit down on the ground. As I waited for my
turn, I saw my three companions put to death one after
another in a barbarous manner. Each in his turn was
made to run round the open space while being shot at
by the Indians. To prolong the misery of the victims and
the enjoyment of their tormentors, only one Indian was
allowed to shoot at them at a time. It was sad to see the


poor Spaniards running from place to place in their agony,
seeking to escape the cruel shafts, which hardly ever failed
to strike them in some part of their bodies. When at last
they bristled with arrows and could afford no more amuse-
ment, the Indians rushed upon them and beat out their
brains with their clubs and heavy bows.
My turn came when the last of the Spaniards had perished
in this miserable manner. The Indians gathered around
me in consultation. It was easy to see that I could not
afford them the same kind of sport my companions had
supplied them with, and they seemed to differ amongst
themselves as to the best way of dealing with me. At last
the matter seemed to be referred to the cacique, who had
come up and joined in the conference. I looked wistfully
at him, and for a time thought that he showed upon his
deformed but otherwise noble and handsome face, some
signs of pity for my youth and deplorable condition. But
as he closed the conference with an impatient wave of his
hand towards me I felt sure that he had, in the action, dis-
carded any idea of mercy which he might have momentarily
entertained, and had abandoned me to my fate, whatever
that might be. I was not long left in doubt; for as I lay
there, inwardly praying to God, I was witness to the
preparations being made to put me to a painful death.
Under a tall, solitary tree the Indians made a great fire of
branches and timber, and as it burnt up they busied them-
selves in constructing a sort of open hurdle, or gigantic
gridiron, out of thick green osiers and canes. This they
hung by long vine tendrils from the spreading branches of
the tree in such a manner as to bring it over the fire, by
this time burnt down to a thick bed of red and glowing
embers. I realized what they meant-I was to be roasted
alive, and slowly, on this rough grid! I now abandoned
all hope and resigned myself to my fate, invoking the aid of
St. Lawrence the Martyr, to enable me to die with Christian
fortitude. The savages seized me, and drawing the hurdle
to one side stretched me upon my back, securing my wrists
and ankles to it by thongs of raw hide. Then they let go,
and the hurdle began to swing to and fro over the
hot fire.
At first I did not feel the heat much, but as the grid lost
motion, and gradually settled over the fire, my sufferings


commenced, and rapidly became unendurable. My forti-
tude gave way, and, despite my will, a long, low cry of
agony escaped from me. It found an echo somewhere in
the crowd of Indians surrounding me, and for a moment I
saw the Indian girl, my visionary benefactress of the night
before, rush towards the place of my execution, with
streaming hair and violent gestures. I have but a confused
notion of what followed; but before I quite lost conscious-
ness, I knew that something was being done for my rescue.
I saw the girl and an elderly woman (her mother, as I
afterwards heard) apparently entreating the grim-visaged
cacique--I saw the flitting forms of Indians busy about
me-and I remembered no more, until I awoke in a strange
house, and found myself stretched on a bed of reeds, with
Indian women tending me kindly.
The Indian girl was the daughter of the cacique. At
the last moment she and her mother had begged my life
from the cacique. The daughter had gone so far as to
threaten to cast herself into the fire if her father did not
relent. He did so, and I escaped with my life. I came to
know in time that he was not naturally a cruel or blood-
thirsty man, but that, in consequence of what the Spaniards
had done, he had sworn some terrible oath to pursue them
with unrelenting vengeance.
For many days and nights I lay suffering on my bed of
reeds, sometimes delirious and unconscious, at other times
more or less sensible. My back and thighs had been badly
burnt, and my other wounds were likewise painful. I was
well and tenderly nursed by the Indian women. They
brought me food and clothing, and dressed my injuries
with ointments, lotions, and herbs. At times I was aware
of the presence of the two women who had interceded for
me, and I took opportunities of kissing their hands, with
tears of gratitude, and every demonstration of what I felt,
but could not express in words which they might under-
It was a long time before I recovered, but my body still
bears many a deep scar, which it will carry to the grave.
When I was able to get about, I was left unbound and
unconfined, but I was closely watched by all the Indians,
and made to understand that if I made the least attempt to
,escape, I should at once be put to death. I was secretly


prepared to take this risk at a proper time, but for the
present I knew I was not in a fit state to attempt to get
away, and likewise ignorant of the country around. For
the time being, therefore, I was content to remain, and I
endeavoured to make myself useful and popular amongst the
Indians. The women were all compassionate and friendly,
but the men were mostly harsh and brutal. I sought to soften
them a little by showing them things of which they were
ignorant; and, in particular, displaying to them my dexterity
with the longbow, which they admired and praised. The
cacique I always tried to avoid; for though he had spared
my life, he seemed to hate the sight of me, and bore him-
self as if he half repented of his clemency.
I think it was partly to keep me out of the cacique's
sight, and partly because of my skill with the bow, that I
was appointed to a duty which I was far from relishing.
This was to guard the village graveyard, or place where the
Indians deposited their dead. It was a lonely field in the
midst of a forest, some way from the village. The bodies
were not buried in the earth, but placed in wooden coffins,
or boxes covered with loose boards, kept down by stones,
or logs of wood. Owing to this, and the situation of the
place, wild beasts often tore open the lids, and carried off
the dead bodies. It now became my task to watch this
place day and night, and I was plainly made to under-
stand that if I allowed a single body to be carried off, I
should be burnt alive without hope of mercy.
In this lonely and melancholy place I took up my abode
in a small cabin, or watch-house, made of wattles and clay.
Food was regularly and liberally supplied to me, and some-
times those who brought it, or others friendly disposed
towards me, would give me their company for a while.
With such visitors I endeavoured to converse in their own
language; and in return for their assistance, I taught them
Spanish names and other words, and found them very
quick at learning. In this way I made rapid progress in
their tongue, and in a few months' time was able to
express myself very intelligibly in it.
Two things greatly reconciled me to my life of isolation
in the cemetery. One was my freedom from the dread
presence and terrible scowl of the cacique. Before him, I
always had the feeling that he was balancing in his mind


whether he ought not to destroy me out of hand, and that
the slightest impulse might cause him to do so. So I was
thankful to be in the cemetery out of his sight. The other
reason for my contentment arose from the occasional visits
I received from the wife and daughter of Ucita. Towards
them, my heart was full of the tenderest emotions of
gratitude. They had comforted and befriended me in my
anguish of mind and body, and to them I owed my salva-
tion from a dreadful and heathenish death.
The daughter, whose name was Aymay, was young, and
truly beautiful, and I could not help falling deeply in love
with her. Soon our interviews at the cemetery became
real lovers' meetings, though free from secrecy, and perfectly
innocent. Her mother, or a sister, often came with her,
and always showed me much kindness. They recognized
my love for Aymay without mystification or pretence, and
seemed pleased, or, it might be, amused at the devotion of
the white stranger to the Indian maiden.
The Indians of Florida have dark eyes, long black hair,
and reddish-brown skins; but some in the more eastern
parts of the country are of lighter complexion (a few having
even grey-blue eyes), and seem to be of an original different
from the rest of the natives. In effect, the Spaniards were
told that this foreign origin was believed in by the Indians
themselves, who have a tradition that many ages ago the
ancestors of their fairer countrymen had come from the
eastern sea in large canoes, and were white people, with
blue eyes, and fair or red hair. Some such story as this, I
was informed, had been heard by the Spaniards in Mexico;
but, for myself, I know not what to think of a tale which
seems equally incredible, whether as a truth, or as an
invention of the natives. The Indian women are lighter in
complexion than the men, and the younger ones, and those
of the better sort-daughters of the caciques and lords-
very little different in colour from the women of Spain, or
than some in that part of England which I came from.
Aymay was of this lighter complexion; sixteen years of age
when I first knew her, thin and shapely in form, though
not tall, and with very beautiful hands and feet. Her
features were fine and regular, her face generally somewhat
favouring the cast of countenance I had seen amongst Jews
and Moors in Spain. Anyone might well have loved her


for her beauty and her gentle nature; how much more so
I, for the mercy and pity she had shown me? But how all
this was to end I knew not, for withal she was an un-
baptized pagan, and I a miserable slave, who might at any
time be slain by her father, with as little compunction as if
I were a dog. However, I trusted to time, and the provi-
dence of God, to solve those difficulties; but I knew that,
come what might, I should never forget, nor cease to love
One night as I was on guard as usual at the cemetery,
I became weary of watching, and lay down on the ground,
overpowered by sleep, my bow and arrows by my side.
Towards morning I was awakened by the noise of the lid
of one of the chests falling. I started to my feet and ran
to the spot whence the noise had proceeded. There, to
my horror, I saw that one of the chests had been rifled
of the body of an infant recently deceased, the child of
an Indian of note. I knew the penalty which awaited my
default, unless I could remedy it, and plunged at once into
the forest, resolved to recover the body, or, failing in this,
to flee from the fate which would await me. After a little
time I heard a noise like the crunching of bones by a dog.
Creeping along very cautiously, I Zaw in the dim light the
form of a large beast crouching in the thicket over some
prey. With a muttered prayer to God and St. Sebastian,
I took aim as well as I could, and, drawing an arrow to its
head, let fly. I could not see the effect of my shot; but
the creature never moved, and I hoped I had killed it,
though I did not dare to advance to see whether this was
so or not. Remaining where I was until day dawned, I
then saw I had killed a great cat-like beast (which I after-
wards knew to be called a panther), the arrow having
passed through its entrails and pierced its heart. I was
still more pleased to find the body of the child, not greatly
mutilated; and taking it up I made all speed back to the
cemetery and carefully replaced it in its chest, and arranged
the lid as before. I then returned to the forest, and by
great exertions dragged the carcase of the beast in triumph
to the village. This exploit gained me much credit with.
the Indians, and even Ucita seemed to look less sternly
upon me. The animal I had slain had long infested the
cemetery, and been the terror of the village; and owing to


its ferocity and extraordinary size, it was looked upon as
something supernatural.
About this time a great feast was being prepared in
honour of a powerful prince who was coming to pay a
visit to Ucita. To this feast I was bidden, and I now
thought that my safety was secured, and my peace made
with Ucita. I was mistaken in both respects. Ucita
could never permanently abandon his resentment against
the white men, of whom I was one; and some untoward
events at the feast itself rekindled his wrath against me,
and impelled him to seek my life once more.


Tuscaluza and his mission-His anger and my danger-A timely
warning-My flight-I surprise two Indians-Reception by the
Cacique Mucozo-Mutual friendship-I give him good advice
and many promises-I set out to rejoin the army-Attacked by
Spaniards as an Indian-My man Choquo.

THE great chief came with a large following of stately
warriors, dressed in magnificent skins gaily bedecked
with feathers and pictures of animals in bright colours.
On their heads and down their backs they wore plumes
and rows of feathers, and the sides of their loose leggings
or trousers were similarly decorated. Their surcoats or
mantles were of bear or buffalo skins, beautifully prepared,
thick, soft, and glossy. I gathered that their chief had
come thither to inform himself of the new invasion of the
country by white men; news of which had been spread
abroad by Ucita with the object of forming a confederation
of all the Indian nations against the Spaniards.
The chief's name was Tuscaluza-a name which the
Spaniards had afterwards good reason to become familiar
with. He was a man of about forty years of age; and his
general appearance corresponded well with the reputation
he bore. He was of gigantic stature and powerful frame,
very proud and haughty in bearing. He towered a foot
and a half above his attendant chiefs; but he was so well
proportioned and admirably formed in limbs and features,
that he was, altogether, the finest man I had ever set
eyes on.
The festivities lasted for three days, during which the
greatest freedom and ease were permitted to everyone,
myself included. Elated by my new sense of liberty, I was
not sufficiently on my guard against exciting the ill-will of
those who had so many reasons for disliking and distrusting


the white man. Nor did I then know that the great Tusca-
luza, although already married, and having a son as big as
himself, had looked with favourable eyes on the beautiful
Aymay, and (with the approval of Ucita) contemplated
making her his wife. In the exciting freedom of those
festive days I did not conceal my attachment for Aymay.
Tuscaluza saw it, and became angry and jealous. Of this
I was unconscious, and had no suspicion that I was in
danger, until one night Aymay and her sister came secretly
to me, in the hut in the village where I was lodged during
the festival, and told me of my peril. They informed me
that their father, partly influenced by Tuscaluza, had
determined to sacrifice me at the stake on the next day.
Their mother had pleaded her best for me; but the cacique
would listen to nothing in my favour, and had firmly
resolved that I should die by fire. Finding him immov-
able, the mother and her daughters had considered what
was best to be done, and had arranged a plan of escape for
me. The mother was sister to a neighboring cacique,
whose name was Mucozo, and with him I was to seek
refuge and ask for hospitality and protection in his sister's
name. They gave me a small wooden image of a tortoise,
which they said would be a sign to Mucozo that I came
from his sister. "This very night," said Aymay, "you
must go secretly to the north end of the village, and there
you will find a trusty friend who will guide you to a bridge
about two leagues from here. He will then point out the
right road for you to take, and you must then let him come
back at once, so that he may reach home before morning
dawns; otherwise he would be suspected of helping you to
escape, and he and all of us might be destroyed. Follow
the road he points out to you for six leagues, and you will
reach the village where Mucozo lives. Show him the little
tortoise, which is the totem of his family, tell him who
sends you, and he will certainly befriend you. Go, go at
once, and may the Great Spirit of white man and Indian
protect you !" With these words she threw herself into my
arms with tears and kisses. After a long embrace, and
passionate pledges of perpetual love and fidelity, we parted,
not knowing if we should ever meet again. Aymay and
her sister stole away through the darkness as quietly and as
secretly as they had come, and I crept cautiously from the


hut and made my way as directed to the north end of the
True to the plan which the mother had arranged, I found
the Indian waiting for me at the end of the village. Making
myself known to him, we went away quickly and softly,
without alarming anyone. In due time we reached the
bridge over the river, and the Indian having shown me a
well-beaten track beyond it, left me to pursue it by myself.
I followed the path all night, and, soon after daybreak,
came to the banks of a small stream, which I judged could
not be far from the village of Mucozo. Looking cautiously
around I saw two Indians fishing, and as I could not pass
them without being observed, I paused to consider what
was best to be done. Notwithstanding my dress of skins,
they could not fail to see that I was a white man, and
therefore their first impulse would probably be to kill me as
an enemy. If I could only gain time to parley with them I
should be safe. I saw that they had left their weapons
some distance away from the place where they were engaged
in fishing, and I thought if I could secure these I should
have time to explain myself to them. I ran swiftly to the
place and took possession of the weapons, crying out to the
Indians (who had turned round and were gazing at me with
astonishment) that I was a friend. Without attending to
my words or signs, they ran at the top of their speed to the
village and gave the alarm. Presently the inhabitants
sallied out, armed, and advanced to attack me. I fixed an
arrow in my bow to let them see that I intended to defend
myself, and at the same time called out in their language
that I was a friend, and was bringing a message to their
cacique from his sister. At this they paused and held a
consultation, at the end of which an old Indian advanced
towards me with outstretched hands, to show that he was
unarmed. I immediately took the arrow from my bow, and
signed to him to come on. When he came up to me I
explained to him as well as I could what my business was,
showing him the little wooden tortoise, which I had carried
in a skin pouch. This appeared to satisfy him, and after
communicating with the other Indians I was invited to join
them, and the whole party escorted me to the dwelling of
Mucozo. I gave him the tortoise (which he at once recog-
nised), and told him fully how it was that I sought his


protection. He received me most kindly, and assured me
that he would be my friend. He kept his promise most
faithfully, and as we grew in intimacy we became attached
to each other like brothers. He was but a few years older
than myself, and, though not robust, of graceful form and
handsome countenance.
Ucita soon heard of the place where I had taken refuge,
and several times sent messages to demand my surrender;
but to this Mucozo would not consent. At length he sent
another brother-in-law of Mucozo to mediate, with a view
to my delivery up to him as the simplest way of avoiding
hostilities. Mucozo was far less powerful than Ucita; but
he did not hesitate about his decision. With every mani-
festation of indignation he rejected the proposal as
dishonourable, and plainly told the ambassador that he
would not violate the rights of hospitality, be the conse-
quences what they might; nor would any consideration
induce him to surrender the poor white fugitive to so cruel
and unreasonable an enemy as Ucita. This bold answer
was successful, and Ucita did not carry out his threats of
making war on Mucozo. Good actions have their reward;
and I lived to be mainly instrumental in making Mucozo
the richest and most powerful chief in all this part of
Mucozo frequently spoke with me about the Spaniards,
their exploits and their intentions; and I faithfully gave
him every information and advice which I thought might
be useful to him. I endeavoured to make him understand
that I was not myself a Spaniard, but belonged to another
nation of white men, who were also Christians; and this
I did, the better to convince him of my impartiality and
friendliness towards himself. In our many conversations
on this subject, I quite persuaded him that his best policy
was to make friends with the Spaniards; and that hostility
to them would involve him-in ruin and destruction, because
of their immense superiority in arms, military knowledge,
resources, and, above all, in their possession of horse
soldiers. I persuaded him finally to open communications
with the Spaniards. I myself had long desired to have
news of the army, and I was particularly anxious about
my cousin Henry, not knowing whether he might not
have been killed in the battle when I was made prisoner.


I could learn notLing about what was going on whilst
I was detained in the country of Ucita. I knew very
well from the movements of the Indians, their going to
and fro in large numbers, and the arrival of wounded men
from time to time, that something was in progress; but all
intelligence was carefully kept from me. In the village of
Mucozo there was no such secrecy; but being out of the
range of the Spanish operations, little intelligence reached
us. We did learn in a vague way that the greater part of
the Spanish army had marched inland from the sea, and
that there had been much fighting; but beyond this I
could gather nothing which appeared at all probable.
It was now more than six months since I had been
absent from the army; four months of which I was Ucita's
prisoner. I was now free, and perfectly restored to health
and strength; and I thought it my duty, as it certainly was
my inclination, to return to the army. I proposed to
Mucozo to supply me with guards and an escort, and offered
to communicate to the Spaniards his desire for peace and
friendship with them. Mucozo, though loth to part from
me, saw that my request to leave was reasonable and
natural; and that for himself it was of great importance
that he should make friends with the Spaniards. It was
accordingly arranged that I should go, escorted by ten of
the best warriors of Mucozo. As I took an affectionate
leave of him he laid his hand on my shoulder, and, looking
me kindly in the face, spoke as follows: "White brother,
I gave you shelter when you were friendless and homeless,
and Ucita sought your life. Rather than give you up, I
chose to fall into disgrace with my relations and neighbours.
Did I do this through hope of reward? No; there was
no such hope. But now a time has come when you can
show your friendship for me. Go to the great chief of this
white army and tell him that what I have done for you
I would have done for any of his people in distress. Beg
him to believe in my friendly disposition, and my desire
to be of service to him; and ask him not to lay waste the
small territory of one who is not his enemy, and is willing
to be his friend." This formal speech was in the Indian
fashion, and embodied my instructions as the messenger
of Mucozo. I assured him it should be faithfully delivered,
and that the great white chief would certainly be rejoiced


to have him for a friend. I then took my departure with
my escort.
We left at a good hour in the morning, and marched all
day through the forest, sometimes having to cross small
rivers and morasses. At night we camped in a clear space,
lit fires, and partook of the food we had brought with us.
The night passed quietly, and early in the morning we
resumed our march. Towards sunset we came in sight of
a body of Spanish cavalry riding over a green plain
bordering the forest from which we were just issuing. No
sooner did they catch sight of us than they came upon us
at the charge, regardless of the cries of their leader to stop.
The Indians fled back into the wood, all but one who kept
by me in the open. This was a young man whom Mucozo
had given me as a servant, and who had become very
attached to me. His name was Choquo; and on this, as
on many after occasions, he proved his fidelity and devotion.
I stood my ground, supposing the Spaniards would recognize
me; nor did I reflect that I was now, to all appearances,
an Indian, almost indistinguishable from the rest. My
skin was sunburnt, my arms painted, my head decorated
with feathers, and I carried an Indian bow and quiver of
arrows. One of the troopers, whom I recognized as a
cavalier named Alvaro Nieto, rode at me with his lance;
and but for the interposition of Choquo I should have
been transfixed on the spot. The faithful Indian threw
himself in front of the furious cavalier, and was knocked
down by the horse; but the animal swerved from his course,
and I was for the moment saved. Nieto, nevertheless,
wheeled round and came at me again, while Choquo lay
senseless on the ground. This time I parried the lance
with my bow, at the same time leaping on one side to
avoid the horse. All the time I kept crying out "Christiano,
Christiano," and making the sign of the cross on my fore-
head when I could. I also called to Alvaro by his name;
but so hot and excited was he that he kept on thrusting
and riding at me for some time. When, at last, he came
to understand who I was, he took me by the arm and
helped me to mount to the croup, and rode off to the
captain of the party (who proved to be Baltazar de Gallegos),
comporting himself as if he had done something brave and


It appeared that this party of cavaliers had set out that
very morning in quest of me, intelligence having been
obtained of my being with Mucozo. Gallegos at once
gave orders for the recall of the troops, who were in the
woods hunting down the poor Indians like so many wild
beasts. I went with the messenger and called out to the
Indians to come out, as they had nothing more to fear.
Some were panic-stricken and fled homewards; but the
rest I pacified by explaining that a mistake had been made.
One Indian had been killed, and some others wounded,
but not fatally. Choquo recovered from his state of in-
sensibility, and was not much hurt. Three of the sound
Indians I at once sent back to Mucozo with instructions to
explain the unfortunate mistake to him, so that he might
not, from the reports of the fugitive Indians, form erroneous
opinions of the Spaniards or myself.
The night was far advanced when we reached the town
where the Spaniards were quartered, and, in the darkness,
another unfortunate mistake was likely to have occurred.
This early return of Gallegos was not expected, and the
noise of our approach in the dark caused the sentinels to
give the alarm, taking us for enemies. The whole garrison
turned out to attack us; but fortunately they came to under-
stand who we were before any mischief was done. The
rest of the night was spent in revelling, and in listening to
the account of my adventures. My Indian friends I took
care should be treated with all possible kindness; and in
the morning they were sent back laden with presents, and
with a message to Mucozo to come himself and visit the
camp, for the Spanish commanders attached importance
to his friendship.


The main army gone inland-Anasco's perilous ride back to the coast
-The town to be evacuated-The news from the army-De Soto's
difficulties-Treacherous designs of Vitachuco-The tables turned-
His force attacked and dispersed-Magnanimity of De Soto-Fresh
treachery-Murderous attack on the Spaniards-Danger of De Soto
-Death of Vitachuco, and execution of prisoners.

I FOUND that De Soto had long since marched into the
interior, and that a few days before my return, Juan de
Anasco, after a most perilous ride, had come back from
him, with orders for the evacuation of the town of Ucita.
The caravel was to sail for Havafiah with news of the
expedition; and the two brigantines were to repair, with
the more necessary stores, to the Bay of Aute, a com-
modious harbour to the west, which had recently been
discovered. Anasco was to go with the brigantines, and
some troops for the protection of the new dep6t, and the
rest of the force was to march inland after the Governor.
As to the news brought by Anasco, it was of a very
exciting character. And first, as to himself, he had set out
from headquarters with thirty lancers, picked men, and well
mounted. They had ridden night and day as fast as they
could, crossing rivers and swamps, and through forests,
occasionally fighting natives, who, however, had not time
to rally in large numbers. It took them nearly a fortnight
to make the journey, and two of their number died from
exposure and exhaustion on the way.
As to the Governor and the army, Anasco said they were
in winter quarters at a town called Anhayca, in the country
of the Apalachees-the most daring and warlike people yet
encountered. In the course of their march to Anhayca
they met with many difficulties from the moist and swampy
nature of the country, and had had to overcome the fierce
and protracted resistance of large bodies of the natives.


The whole country was raised against the Spaniards, and
the Governor had completely failed in all his efforts to
make friends with the caciques and their subjects. His
worst experience was with a cacique named Vitachuco, whose
territories were said to be fifty leagues across. This chief
had for a time held aloof from the army; but partly by
threats of wasting his country, and partly by presents and
promises, he had been induced to visit the camp. Anasco
described him as a tall and very powerful man, of high and
proud spirit, and about thirty-five years of age. For several
days he handsomely entertained the army in his chief
village; then the Governor received sure information from
a friendly Indian that Vitachuco meditated an act of deep
treachery. He had selected several of his best warriors,
and had ordered them to conceal their weapons in a thicket
near the village, and appear at all times unarmed, so as to
throw the Spaniards off their guard. On an appointed day
it was arranged that the cacique should invite De Soto to a
general muster of his subjects, drawn up in battle array,
though without weapons, in order that he might see what a
numerous force of Indian allies he had at his command for
future conquests.
Trusting, from the good understanding existing between
them, that the Governor would go forth carelessly and
alone, a dozen of the most powerful Indians had received
orders suddenly to seize and bear him into the midst of
their warriors, who, assuming their arms, were to attack the
Spaniards in their camp. Thus, between the surprise of
the sudden assault and their dismay at the capture of their
General, the cacique calculated upon an easy conquest.
The Governor consulted with his captains, and it was
determined to seize Vitachuco in the manner he had
planned to seize the Governor. For this purpose twelve
of the stoutest warriors were selected to keep near the
Governor when he should go forth to view the Indian army.
At a certain signal they were to rush forward and make
the cacique prisoner.
On the appointed day Vitachuco came to the Gover-
nor early in the morning, and with much humility and
seeming veneration begged him to come and see the
muster of his faithful allies. De Soto replied, with an un-
suspicious air, that he should rejoice greatly to see their


numbers and witness their manceuvres; but in order to make
the display more striking, and furnish the Indians likewise
with a spectacle worth beholding, he would command a
mock fight among his horse and foot soldiers for Vitachuco's
entertainment. The cacique did not much relish this
proposal; but, blinded by his passions, he agreed to the
arrangement, trusting to the number and valour of his
vassals to overthrow the Spaniards, however well prepared.
All things being arranged, the Spaniards marched out,
horse and foot, in battle array, with glittering arms and
fluttering banner. The Governor remained behind, to
accompany the cacique on foot, in order the better to
disguise his knowledge of the latent treason. He went,
however, secretly armed, and ordered two of his finest
horses to be led forth ready for service. Near the village
was an extensive plain, bounded on one side by a forest and
on the other by two lakes. Here the cacique formed his
squadrons, with the lakes on their right; their bows and
arrows concealed in the grass. They numbered several
hundreds, and with their lofty plumes and military order
made a magnificent display. The cacique and Governor
appeared on foot, each accompanied by twelve men. The
Spanish troops were to the right of the Governor, the
infantry being drawn up near the forest, and the cavalry on
the plain.
Between nine and ten o'clock in the morning, De Soto
and Vitachuco arrived at the spot which the latter had
fixed upon for the seizing of the Governor. Before the
former, however, could make his preconcerted signal, a
Spanish trumpet gave a warning blast. In an instant twelve
Spaniards rushed upon the cacique. His attendants threw
themselves before him, and endeavoured to repel the
assailants, but in vain. He was borne off amid the shouts
of his captors.
De Soto leaped, at the same moment, upon his favourite
steed, and spurred among the thickest of the enemy, with
that headlong valour which always distinguished him in
battle. The Indians had already seized their weapons.
Their front ranks were thrown into confusion by the im-
petuous charge of De Soto; but as he pressed forward, a
shower of arrows came whistling round him. They were
principally aimed at his horse, the Indians always seeking


to kill those animals in the first place, knowing their great
importance in battle to the Spaniards. Four arrows
wounded the animal in the legs, four pierced it in the
chest, and it fell down dead. The Spanish troops, who, at
the trumpet signal, had assailed the native squadrons, came
at this critical moment to the aid of the General. He,
springing upon his reserve horse, put himself at the head
of the cavalry and dashed amongst the enemy. The latter
having no proper weapons to resist the charge, broke, and
fled in every direction. Those in the rear sought refuge in
the forest; others threw themselves into one of the lakes,
which was too large to be surrounded by our forces, and so
escaped; others scattered themselves over the plain, where
many of them were overtaken and slain by our horsemen,
and some few made prisoners. But the best and bravest
warriors, composing the enemy's vanguard, were unable
either to reach the forest or the large lake, and had to seek
refuge in the smaller one. Here they were in sore strait,
for the Spaniards quickly surrounded this piece of water,
and so had them, as it were, in a trap. The Spaniards shot
at them at their leisure as they swam about, giving them no
repose. Efforts were made to induce them. to surrender;
but neither promises nor threats, nor the prospect of death
by drowning, or by arrows and shots from crossbows and
arquebuses, had any effect. So obstinate were they that it
was midnight before any surrendered, although they had
been not less than fourteen hours in the water.
With great magnanimity the Governor refrained from
punishing Vitachuco for such base treachery; but the
prisoners, of whom there were many, were condemned to
serve in chains as menials to the Spaniards as long as the
army remained in that province. In this way every man in
the army had one or more servants to wait on him. Vita-
chuco himself remained in some sort a prisoner in his own
house, but was still treated with kindness and respect, and
dined every day at the Governor's table. But rage and
hatred rankled in his heart, and soon impelled him to the
formation of another scheme for the destruction of the
Spaniards, and the gratification of his revenge. His best
and bravest warriors were in chains, dispersed amongst the
Spaniards, and about equalling them in number. It was a
part of their menial duty to attend upon their new masters

at their meals, and the cacique conceived that at such a
moment it would be easy, by a preconcerted movement, for
his subjects to strike a signal blow that should rid them at
once of their oppressors.
Scarcely had Vitachuco conceived this desperate scheme,
than he hastened to put it into operation. He had four
young Indians who attended him as pages. These he
sent to the principal prisoners, revealing his plan, with
orders that" they should pass it secretly from one to another,
and hold themselves in readiness, at the appointed time, to
carry it into effect. The dinner-hour of the third day was
the time fixed upon for striking the blow. As Vitachuco
would be dining with the Governor, and the Indians in
general attending upon their respective masters, the cacique
was to watch his opportunity, spring upon De Soto, and
kill him; giving, at the moment of assault, a war-whoop
that should resound throughout the village. This was to
be the signal for every Indian in the place to grapple with
his master, or any other Spaniard, and despatch him on
the spot.
On the day fixed, Vitachuco dined as usual at the table
of the Governor, who sought to win his friendship by the
kindest attentions. When the repast was concluded, the
chief stretched himself upon the bench on which he had
been seated, and twisting his body from side to side, pro-
jected first one arm, then the other, to its full extent,
clenching his fists, and drawing them up so that they rested
on his shoulders; he then jerked out his arms two or three
times, until every joint cracked like a snapped reed. In
this way the Indians of Florida used to rally their strength
when about to perform any extraordinary feat.
After this preparation, the cacique sprung upon his feet,
closed instantly with the Governor, at whose side he had
been sitting, seized him with his left hand by the collar,
and with his right gave him such a furious blow in the face
as to level him to the ground, the blood gushing out of his
eyes, nose, and mouth, as if he had been struck with a
club. The cacique threw himself upon his victim, to finish
his work, at the same time giving the signal war-whoop so
loudly, that it might have been heard for a quarter of a
All this was the work of an instant, and before the


officers present had time to recover from their astonish-
ment, the Governor lay senseless beneath the tiger grasp of
Vitachuco. One more blow from the savage would have
been fatal; but ere he could deliver it, a dozen swords and
lances were thrust through his body, and he fell dead.
The war-whoop of the cacique had been heard and
obeyed by his subjects throughout the village. On hearing
the signal, the Indians, who were attending upon their
masters, assailed them with whatever weapon or missile
they could command. Some seized upon pikes and
swords, which they wielded with great skill; others
snatched up the pots in which meat was stewing at the
fire, and beating the Spaniards about their heads, bruised
and scalded them at the same time; some caught up plates,
pitchers, jars, and the pestles with which they pounded the
maize; others, bones remaining from the repast; others
seized upon stools, benches, and tables, striking with im-
potent fury when their weapons had not the power to harm.
The greater number, however, armed themselves with
burning firebrands, which seemed to have been provided
for the purpose, and rushed like devils into the affray.
In this chance-medley fight many of the Spaniards were
terribly burnt, bruised, and scalded; some had their arms
broken; others were maimed by sticks and stones. My
cousin Henry was violently assaulted by his slave, had
some of his teeth knocked out, and would have been
killed, but for the timely aid of a Spaniard, who sent a
shaft from a crossbow, which pierced the Indian through
the breast and killed him upon the spot.
It was fortunate for the Spaniards that most of the
Indians were in chains, and none of them regularly armed,
otherwise their assault would have been attended with great
carnage. As it was, many of the Spaniards were more or
less severely wounded, and four slain, before the savages
could be overpowered.
Signal vengeance was then taken upon the prisoners.
Some of the Spaniards were so exasperated at the wounds
they had received, and at hearing of their Governor's mal-
treatment, that they wreaked their fury upon every Indian
in their power. Others, who were cavaliers, thought it
beneath their dignity to take away the lives of slaves.
They brought their prisoners, therefore, to the grand square


of the village, and delivered them into the hands of the
General's guard, who despatched them with their halberds.
In these conflicts, and subsequent executions, some
hundreds of Indians were slain. The blow which the
Governor had received from Vitachuco had been so
violent, that it was half-an-hour before he recovered his
senses. His face was bruised and disfigured, and several
of his teeth were broken, so that for three weeks he could
eat no solid food. He and his wounded soldiers were
obliged to remain four days in the village before they were
sufficiently recovered to travel.
Such was the account given by Anasco of one of
the adventures of the army; and though the conflicts with
Vitachuco were by far the most severe of any so far ex-
perienced, they were by no means the only occasions of
serious hostile encounters with the natives.


Departure-Surplus stores-Mucozo's reward-On the march-Night
attack--A strong shot-The great swamp and lake-Forced
marches-Attacked by the Apalachees-Our ranks broken-Hand-
to-hand fight-Fall of the Indian leader-A dear-bought victory-
No rest for us-Our continued losses-False statement of Indians
-De Soto comes to our aid-Reach headquarters.

F OR several days all was bustle and excitement with us
at the town of Ucita, carrying out the orders for
evacuation. The caravel was first made ready and sent
off to Havaiiah. The two brigantines were next refitted,
laden with necessary stores and materials, and, under the
command of Juan de Anasco, sailed away along the
western coast for the Bay of Aute. The rest of us-
seventy horse and fifty foot-were to march inland on the
track of the army, under the command of Pedro Calderon,
to join the Governor in his winter quarters at Anhayca.
After everything had been arranged, there remained
quantities of stores which we could not take with us-
such as cassara bread, cloth and clothing, cuirasses, helmets,
bucklers, lances and pikes, besides sea stores in great
variety, and much unwrought steel and iron; the Governor
having provided a profusion of everything for the expedition.
What was to be done with these superfluous commodities
became a question. There were no means of preserving
them for our possible use in the future. To destroy them
by fire, or by casting them into the sea, seemed a pity;
but to leave them to be seized upon by Ucita after our
departure was wholly out of the question. In this difficulty
I suggested that they should be given to Mucozo, repre-
senting that his friendship towards the Spaniards was
unquestionable, and that any advantages this accession of
wealth would confer upon him would be advantages over
our enemies. Before this, Mucozo had visited the camp,


and had remained the guest of the army for eight days,
making an excellent impression. I was rejoiced to be able
to receive him with proper hospitality, and to repay, to
some extent, the services he had rendered me. I made
him what presents I could out of my own effects, and gave
into his charge a rosary and cross of ivory, which I begged
him to have carefully conveyed to Aymay, with assurances
of my unalterable love, and hopes for our meeting again at
some future time.
It was decided with little hesitation that Mucozo should
have the superfluous stores; and the friendly and humane
cacique was astonished at hearing that he was at once to
be made the sole owner of what to him was incalculable
riches. By my advice he brought most of his people down
to the harbour; and to me it was a pleasant sight, during
the four remaining days of our stay, to see his Indians
incessantly going to and fro, like armies of ants, bearing
off the presents to his capital.
Everything being provided for, we set out on our march
to join De Soto, leaving behind us the gardens and fields
in full vegetation. At the earnest request of Mucozo,
we first directed our march through his country, though
it was not the direct route. On the evening of the second
day's march we reached his village capital, so familiar to
me, and were welcomed by him and his people with the
most profuse hospitality. The next day, as our leader
would not delay longer, Mucozo accompanied us on our
march as far as his own frontier, and then took leave of us
with many expressions of regret and renewed assurances of
friendship. That evening we encamped near a forest. In
the dead of the night the camp was suddenly attacked by
a body of Indians. The Spaniards sprang to their arms,
and the Indians were quickly put to flight and driven into
the wood. No sooner, however, had we returned to the
camp than the Indians were once more on our track, and
in this manner they annoyed us all night long.
In one of those skirmishes an Indian, bolder than the
rest, advanced far into the open, and gave me an oppor-
tunity (I being mounted) of cutting him off from the forest.
Seeing that I must soon overtake him, he turned suddenly
round, and fixing an arrow in his bow, discharged it at me
with a good aim.. The arrow struck the horse I was riding


in the chest, and almost at the same moment I ran the
Indian through with my lance, so that all three-the
Indian, myself, and the horse-rolled together on the
ground. Both the Indian and the horse were mortally
wounded, and died within a few minutes. It was thought
at the time that this Indian must have been the leader of
the attacking party, for after his death we were no more
troubled that night. After daybreak I went to the place
where the Indian lay dead, and, on closely examining his
features, I recognized him as one of the chief warriors
of Ucita; thus clearly proving that this relentless man was
still pursuing his revenge against the Spaniards. The horse
was the property of Gonzalo Silvester, who, being ill, had
lent it to me for the occasion. It was a large and powerful
animal, and much surprise was occasioned by its sudden
death merely by an arrow; but on opening the body it
was found that the shaft had passed through the breast,
pierced the heart, and penetrated to the intestines, so great
was the force by which it had been discharged.
Next morning we found the trail of the army, and pur-
sued it to the margin of a great swamp with a great lake in
the centre. There we remained for the night. It was at
this place that De Soto had experienced most strenuous
opposition from the Indians, and had suffered severe losses.
Here also it was that the Indians had defeated Navarez ten
years before, and driven him back towards the coast. We,
however, escaped molestation, although from what Juan de
Anasco had told us we fully expected to have to fight our
way across the swamps and lake.
Having passed this dangerous place we made forced
marches for several days, the mounted men changing places
with the foot soldiers from time to time. We found
abundant food in the abandoned villages, but saw no
Indians, the whole country being as silent as if it were
uninhabited. At length we reached the country of the
formidable Apalachees, and came to a narrow pass in the
forest. Hardly had we entered this when the Indians
rushed upon us from all sides, with terrific yells and a
shower of arrows. At the first discharge one of our horses
was killed and five wounded, and ten of our men were also
wounded. The suddenness of the attack, the restiveness of
the horses, and the yells of the hordes of natives, produced


a scene of wild confusion which broke up our ranks. A
formidable band of the enemy, led by a warrior with a large
plume of feathers upon his head, but in other respects
perfectly naked, bore down upon us with a great shout. I
happened to be near Gonzalo Silvester, in this part of the
field, and he shouted to me to shoot at the leading Indian,
who was evidently the chief. For the better accomplish-
ment of this purpose we both ran to the shelter of a large
tree, but were perceived by the Indian, who divined our
purpose. He discharged three arrows at us in rapid
succession, and with unerring aim; but Silvester had picked
up a thick quilted Indian garment which had become
saturated with water. This he used as a defence, and it
proved quite effectual in arresting the flight of the arrows.
It was now my turn; and with a good aim and a strong pull
I sent an arrow well home into the chest of the Indian.
He staggered a few paces, and, shouting out something to
his followers, was caught in their arms and borne from
the field.
The combat was not less furious in other parts, and we
began to lose ground. Only about fifty of our number
could be brought into the fight, and our cavalry could
render no service in the narrow spaces between the trees.
The struggle with us was becoming one for life, and we
fought desperately but all of a sudden the ardour of the
Indians appeared checked, and they began slowly to retreat,
keeping up, however, a constant discharge of arrows. The
news of their chief having been mortallywounded had spread
amongst them, and discouraged them. Seeing these signs
of faltering, we rallied, charged, and drove them off the
field. But it was a dear-bought victory. There were few
of us who were not wounded, though none mortally. We
passed a restless and wakeful night, the wounded bemoan-
ing their injuries, and anxiously listening to the dismal
howlings of the Indians, who hovered around our encamp-
ment until dawn. The one lucky shot which laid low the
Indian chief had probably saved us from entire destruction.
In the morning, having done all that was possible for
the wounded, we resumed our march with a bold front, the
Indians falling back before us and annoying us all the time
by discharges of arrows, inflicting upon us several more
wounds, In this way we marched for five leagues, and


came to an open country where we could use our cavalry.
Here it was absolutely necessary to take some rest, for the
sake of the wounded, and we accordingly entrenched our-
selves as best we could. But as soon as night set in, the
Indians were again upon us with dreadful yells. Our
horsemen quickly turned out and chased them off; but all
night long they repeated the same tactics, to our great
Next morning we resumed our march, exposed to con-
stant assaults wherever there were any woods. The Indians
shouted to us repeatedly that they had already killed our
chief and all his warriors, and would soon make an end of
us, calling us murderers, robbers and vagabonds. During
this day another horse was killed, and further wounds
inflicted on men and animals. We had to go slowly, as well
on account of the attack of the enemy as because of the
number and state of our wounded, several of whom did not
outlive their injuries. The statement of the Indians, that
they had killed our chief and all his army, gave us some
uneasiness, which was increased towards evening as we
approached De Soto's headquarters and saw no signs of
men or horses. We began to fear that the Indians had
spoken truly; but on drawing nearer to Anhayca our anxiety
was relieved by the pleasant sight of the Governor himself,
riding towards us at the head of a strong force of horsemen.
It appeared that he had come out to ascertain our fate, for
the Indians had also alarmed him by shouting out that they
had killed us all. He, like us, feared that this might be
true, and with better reason than we, for he knew how des-
perately he had to fight his way, at the head of the main
body of horse and foot, over the same ground which our
little band of 120 men had to traverse. At Anhayca I was
pleased to find my cousin Henry alive and well, being little
the worse for all he had gone through. He was equally
delighted to see me, having long since given me up for
lost, supposing that I had been killed in the fight in the
woods when we sought to capture Ucita.


Safe at headquarters-Anasco's voyage round the coast, and ride from
the Bay of Aute-Discovery of a fine harbour at Achusi-Message
to Havailah for supplies, etc. -Rendezvous at Achusi for next year
(I540)-Continued Indian attacks-Our heavy losses-A brave and
cool Indian-We waste the country, and kill or enslave all natives
-The gold question-General discontent-Grand conference-
March to the north-east-A long and toilsome journey-Ap-
proaching the land of Cofachique-Wholesale slaughter of natives
by our Indian allies-We get rid of them.

W E were now, to our great joy, safe at headquarters,
comfortably lodged, and hospitably entertained by
our comrades, who regarded us as heroes. Here we were
made aware of the situation of affairs. We found that Juan
de Anasco had arrived in camp before us, having safely
made the voyage along the coast to Aute, and then ridden
with a few troopers to Anhayca, to report to the Governor;
who thereupon ordered Diego Maldonado to proceed to
Aute, and, by means of the brigantines, explore the coast
further to the west. This he had done, and had found a
fine land-locked harbour, called Achusi, capable of accom-
modating a large fleet. This discovery greatly pleased the
Governor, as it was the kind of seaport he most desired in
view of his schemes of conquest and colonization, being
conveniently situated for receiving reinforcements and
supplies from Havafiah. He accordingly despatched Mal-
donado once more to the harbour he had discovered,
giving him directions to sail with the brigantine to
Havafah, and to return with reinforcements and supplies
of all kinds, by the month of October in the following year
(r540); he himself proposing, in the meantime, to make a
wide circuit through the interior of the country to explore
the surrounding provinces.
In our winter quarters at Anhayca we had been inces-
santly harassed by the Indians, who lurked about day and


night in ambush, watching all our movements, and cutting
off anyone who ventured to stray beyond a bowshot from
the defences. They had learnt enough of our prowess to
make them refrain from attacking squadrons of our men;
but small foraging parties were repeatedly attacked, and
individual stragglers were almost certain to be cut off. In
this way they killed more than twenty soldiers, and several
One day a foraging party of twenty horse and fifty foot
soldiers surprised a solitary Indian, whom they desired to
capture and enslave. The Indian fled with such fleetness
of foot as to make it useless for the unmounted soldiers to
attempt his pursuit, but he, seeing that some of the horse-
men were gaining on him, turned at bay under a tree with
low and wide-spreading branches. Diego de Soto, nephew
of the Governor, galloped as close to the tree as he could,
and thrust at the Indian with his lance. The Indian
parried the thrust, and, in response, shot the horse dead
with an arrow. Another cavalier dashed up to the rescue,
and again the horse was tumbled over dead by a well-aimed
shaft. The two cavaliers then rushed upon the Indian,
who made off just at sufficient speed to keep a little ahead
of them, all the time taunting them with words and signs.
Having amused himself in this way, he disappeared in a
thicket, leaving the cavaliers furious at the loss of their
horses, and the ridiculous position in which they had been
There was no possibility of making peace with those
people, and accordingly the Spaniards showed them no
mercy, but treated them with all the rigours of war. Their
deserted villages were destroyed, and the country wasted
far and wide. Nearly all the natives who fell into the
hands of the Spaniards were put to death; but some were
put in chains and kept as servants, being treated with great
severity. The country around was very fertile and populous;
great fields of maize, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other pro-
duce, extended as far as the eye could reach. A species
of wild plum'grew in great abundance, and the rivers
abounded in fish, which the natives were in the habit of
drying for winter use.
The Governor was highly pleased at my return with a
knowledge of the Indian tongue, which he judged would be


of the greatest service to him. He at once put it to the
test by causing me to question the captive Indians on the
subject of gold and silver. I found, however, that the
dialect in this part of Florida was different from that of
the parts nearer the sea; but I was, nevertheless, able to
make myself understood by the Indians here, and under-
stand them in my turn. I soon discovered that they did
not fully realise the nature of our desire for information
respecting mines or deposits of the precious metals, though
gold and silver pieces, and stones set in rings of those
metals, were shown them. However, it seemed to be the
meaning of the natives who were interrogated, that there
was abundance of those metals, and also pearls, in a
country far to the north, which they called Cofachique.
So far, De Soto's ambition of rivalling the conquerors of
Mexico and Peru, by finding wealthy native empires and
rich mines of gold and silver, had been bitterly disappointed.
He had met, instead, enemies far more difficult to cope
with than Cortes or Pizarro had ever encountered, though
our forces were superior to any commanded by those con-
querors in the earlier portions of their careers. Nine
months of terrible toil and hard fighting had brought him
no nearer to the realization of his hopes, and some of the
army began to think that what they had seen of this country
represented its true state throughout, and that it contained
no kingdoms like Mexico or Peru. Others were unwilling
to share in this gloomy belief, and chiefly because they had
engaged their whole fortunes in the enterprise, and could
only hope to repay themselves by important conquest and
rich plunder, failing which they would have to return home
broken, penniless men. In this respect De Soto was as
deeply compromised as anyone, for he had spent, and was
spending, enormous sums of money on the expedition. To
discover abundance of treasures was a main and common
object; but De Soto, up to this time, was careful to have it
understood that also an important object with him was to
subdue and colonize a fertile country, and derive therefrom
a revenue which would in time justify the great sacrifices he
had made, even if no mineral treasures were discovered.
The commission of the Emperor, as well as appointing him
for life Adelantado of Florida, also authorised him to select
for himself an estate thirty leagues in length and fifteen in


breadth, in any part of the country he pleased. Now that
the nature of the country had been disclosed, it was plain
enough that the more moderate object of De Soto was quite
attainable, and that with little difficulty he could establish a
great and prosperous dominion as viceroy of the Emperor,
map out for himself a rich private estate, and bestow fine
inheritances upon such of his followers as chose to settle
down in Florida. Many of these, however, being young
and ambitious men, had no inclination to fix themselves as
colonial landowners, but rather desired to find a shorter
way to riches and power.
All these questions were discussed at a grand conference
of the army in the spring of 1540, and it was finally resolved
that further efforts should be made to discover rich terri-
tories before the colonization plan should be acted upon.
Accordingly in the month of March, 1540, De Soto broke
up his winter cantonment at Anhayca, and the army set out
to the north-east in quest of the land of Cofachique. During
the severe winter most of the Indians that had been en-
slaved and put to menial work had perished through being
exposed, naked and in chains, to the inclemency of the
season, and through harsh usage, so that now, with few
exceptions, the soldiers had to carry their own requisites
and do the menial work. To the last, as from the first, the
dauntless Apalachees pursued us with relentless animosity,
and before we crossed their frontiers killed six more of our
men and wounded a number of others. In all, the army
lost nigh upon thirty men, and several horses, during the
five months of its stay in Anhayca.
Beyond the Apalachee country we came upon tribes who,
on the whole, were more civilized, and certainly better
disposed towards friendship and peace. The houses were
larger, and thatched with reeds instead of straw. They
were all very clean and bright, within and without, the
walls being smoothly plastered inside and out with a kind
of whitish clay. They had special cooking places or
kitchens, for preparing food and baking bread or cakes;
also spacious and airy lofts in the roofs, with floors of cane
or reeds, which they called "barbacos." Those barbacos
they used for storing corn, dried fruits, and other things.
The houses of the chiefs and lords had covered galleries in
front, furnished with benches of cane upon which to sit or


lie; also numerous barbacos for the storing of tribute goods,
such as maize, skins, and mantles. The Indians are very
skilful in dressing and dyeing the various kinds of skins
which the men use for clothing the lower parts of the body.
Their mantles are also dyed in a great variety of bright
colours. They are mostly made of the fine inner bark of
certain trees, and the fibres of a kind of strong grass,
beaten and prepared like our flax. Some coats are made of
cotton, and mostly quilted. The women wear one mantle
from the waist downwards, and another they carry over the
shoulders, leaving uncovered the right arm.
In those parts we had no stint of maize and other vege-
table foods, nor was there any lack of flesh meats-
chiefly deer and a kind of rabbit-for which we were
thankful. Next to the want of salt, from which we had
long suffered, flesh food was our great need. The inhabi-
tants of Florida have no domestic cattle, and though game
is generally abundant, the natives only kill what they
immediately want, having no means of curing the flesh.
We heard that to the north and west much use was made
of the flesh of a species of wild buffalo, great herds of which
wander over the plains in those regions. This explained
why we frequently came across mantles or cloaks made of
very thick and hairy ox-hides-a thing we could not at first
understand, in the absence of all cattle, wild or domestic.
As we continued to march northward, we came to the
territories of a powerful cacique, who showed us great
friendship, and willingly promised to supply us with guides
to Cofachique, and also provisions. He sent us a need-
lessly strong force of Indians as an escort, headed by a
chief called Patofa. The Governor suspected treachery,
and kept the army well on its guard; but though, as it
turned out, the Indians had private designs of their own in
sending such a large force with us, they meant no treachery
so far as we were concerned. Their cacique was in a state
of perpetual hostility, if not warfare, with the natives of
regions through which we should have to pass on our way
to Cofachique, and his real object was not so much to assist
us, as to make use of our presence to avenge himself on
those hereditary enemies of his. However, Patofa and his
warriors behaved very well to us, and when we had wan-
dered into wildernesses where food ran so short that several

------ ----- ----~~~`----- ~:.- `-m--r.;--- --------------I


of the swine had to be killed and eaten, our Indian allies
freely stinted themselves, and gave us all the food they
could spare.
After many weeks of toilsome wandering, and much
suffering, we came at last to the borders of a rich country,
studded with villages and hamlets, surrounded with far-
stretching cornfields. We encamped for the night in view
of this welcome land, Patofa and his Indians encamping (as
was usual) a little distance from us. But in the middle of
the night those allies of ours came stealthily from their
camp, entered into the fertile country, and sacked and
pillaged all the villages they could reach, slaughtering the
natives of every age, and taking their scalps to show their
cacique. Those ravages they continued during seven days,
to the great disgust and embarrassment of the Governor,
who found it impossible to restrain them. He at last
decided to get rid of those inconvenient friends; so sending
for Patofa, he thanked him for his services to the army, and
dismissed him and his followers with many presents of
knives, trinkets, and clothing. Two days after this we
recommended our march along the banks of a great river.
During that time we met with no living thing, but witnessed
many dismal and dreadful proofs of the ravages of Patofa.
For many miles the ground was strewn with the scalpless
corpses of men, women, and children, and with the burnt
remains of houses. Such of the natives as had escaped the
slaughter had fled far away, and we could find none of them
to trust us, as they doubtless thought we were in league
with their Indian enemies. But we were fortunately suc-
cessful in coming upon some of their stores of corn, from
which we abundantly supplied our necessities, then very
great both with men and horses.


Arrival in Cofachique-State reception of the Princess-Aymay in her
train!-Display of pearls-The army quartered-A message from
Aymay-Interview-Ucita's designs frustrated-Tuscaluza's plans
-I communicate with the Governor-Aymay to go with the army
-Her religious instruction.

ON the afternoon of the third day the army halted in a
verdant region, covered with mulberry, walnut, and
other trees laden with fruit. On the fourth day we came
within sight of a town on the other side of a river. In a
little time six Indians of fine appearance were paddled
across to us in a large canoe. The Governor received
them with much courtesy, and assured them that his inten-
tions were friendly, and he only desired a free passage and
food supplies. He learned from them that their country
was governed by a princess, who would probably be willing
to grant them a free passage; but as for supplies, they were
at present small, owing to a pestilence the year before,
which had carried off a great number of people, and caused
the cultivation of the land to be neglected. At the close of
the interview they returned to the other bank of the river,
and shortly we saw a litter brought down to the waterside.
From this the female cacique alighted, and embarked in a
highly decorated canoe. A kind of aquatic procession was
then formed. First came a grand canoe of many paddles,
containing the six ambassadors, and drawing after it the
state barge of the princess, who reclined on skins and
cushions in the stern, under a canopy supported by a
lance. She was accompanied by eight female attendants.
A number of canoes, filled with warriors, closed the
As the young princess stepped ashore, and approached
the place where De Soto stood ready to receive her, all
were loud in their praises of her beauty, grace, and dignity.


I stood close to the Governor, prepared to act as inter-
preter, but had little opportunity to share in the general
admiration, for as the princess and her train came nearer,
what was my astonishment at seeing amongst her attendant
damsels my own beloved Aymay, the daughter of the
cacique Ucita, .who I supposed to be hundreds of miles
away 1 A cry of surprise and pleasure burst from me, and
I was about to rush forward, but a private sign from Aymay
checked the impulse. I judged that, for some reason, she
did notwiYsh me to recognize her openly on that occasion;
and fortunately my exclamation was not noticed amid the
expressions of admiration which greeted the arrival of the
princess. For a moment or two I was confused and be-
wildered; for it came into my mind that I ought not to
leave the Governor uninformed of the fact which had been
so unexpectedly disclosed, and which might be of impor-
tance for him to know. On the other hand, the wish
which Aymay had intimated was entitled to my fullest
respect, and I could not tell of what importance it might
be to her. I determined, therefore, to do nothing for the
moment; for I judged the fact of Aymay's presence could
not be a matter of immediate importance to the army, nor
the necessity of disclosing it very urgent. My decision to
say nothing about it for the time being was also, in a
measure, enforced upon me by the necessity I was under
of at once attending to my duties as an interpreter between
the Governor and the princess.
The latter, having made her obeisance, seated herself on
a kind of stool of state, placed for her by her attendants,
and entered into conversation with the Governor. All she
said was in conformity with the previous assurances of her
ambassadors. Her country had been swept by a pestilence
during the previous year, and supplies were scarce; but
she offered to share with us a quantity of maize which had
been collected in the village for the maintenance of the
people. She proposed also to furnish us with guides to
enable us to procure further supplies of food from other
villages and districts. Meanwhile she very willingly made
offer of her own house for the Governor's accommodation,
and half of the village for that of his officers and principal
soldiers, undertaking that wigwams of bark and branches
should be put up for the rest. She added, that rafts and


canoes should be provided for the army to cross the river
on the following day. De Soto, being extremely gratified
by her generosity, endeavoured, in the bestmanner he
could, to express his sense of her kind and hospitable
offers; assuring her, through me, of the constant friendship
of his sovereign and himself. The cavaliers, too, listening
with admiring attention to her discourse, and the answers
she gave to various inquiries concerning her province, were
as much charmed with her intelligence and judgment as
they had been with her beauty. They were surprised to
find such natural dignity, grace, and true politeness in a
person brought up in a wilderness.
While the Princess of Cofachique was conversing with
the Governor, she was slowly disengaging a string of large
pearls, which passed three times round her neck, and
descended to her waist. The conference ended, she
requested the Governor to accept the string of pearls,
which she placed upon his neck. De Soto, having ex-
pressed hi acknowledgments, took from his finger a
valuable ring of gold, set with a fine ruby, and begged
her acceptance of it. She received it very respectfully,
and, placing it on one of her fingers, returned as she had
On the following day the army crossed the river by
means of rafts and canoes, and found excellent quarters
in the village, there being plenty of vacant houses, owing
to the pestilence of the previous year. I was assigned
quarters in the Governor's house, so as to be near him
whenever he required my assistance in conversing with the
natives. I had seen Aymay in the suite of the princess
two or three times during the two days, but, as yet, had
been afforded no opportunity of speaking with her. I
resolved to wait as patiently as I could, and in no way
compromise her by any indiscretion on my part. I felt
sure, from her manner and looks, that she was only waiting
for the first fair opportunity of an interview. In this
I was right; for on the evening of the day of our instalment
in our new quarters, an old Indian woman came to me
when I was alone, and showing me one of the ivory rosary
beads I had sent to Aymay, announced herself as her
messenger. The token was sufficient proof and credential;
and I readily accepted Aymay's appointment to meet her


that night, two hours after sunset, at a point on the bank
of the river where a small stream fell into it.
As the hour drew near, I armed myself with bow and
arrow and a hunting-knife, as if my intentions were to go in
quest of game; but in reality I deemed it unadvisable to
go to the lonely place of meeting without having some
means of defence, in case of anything happening of an
unexpected nature. I passed carelessly and unnoticed
through the village and along the river's bank, but exercised
caution and circumspection in approaching the meeting-
place. I found my beloved one waiting for me beneath
a spreading oak. I pass over the raptures of our first
embrace, after so long a separation. She told me all that
had taken place since then-how she had heard indirectly
from her uncle, Mucozo, of my safe arrival in his territory,
of my residence there, of my rejoining the white men, of
her joy at receiving the presents I had sent her, and her
sorrow at the news of my departure, fearing we should
never meet again. I was glad to learn she and her mother
and sister were not troubled on account ol my escape;
Ucita and the Indian lords thinking that I had got away
without assistance. On my part, I told Aymay of all that
had happened to me since I rejoined the army; and in
return she gave me an account of the causes of her being
in this part of the country, so far away from home.
She told me that her marriage with Tuscaluza had been
fully arranged and settled before he took his departure for
his own country, whither he had gone for the better
furtherance of the native schemes for resisting and de-
stroying the Spaniards. Meanwhile her father, Ucita, was
to hang on the rear of the army in order to watch and
report upon its movements, and to take opportunities of
inciting native hostilities against the Spaniards. After
being away for many weeks on this duty, and just at the
beginning of winter, messengers came from him with the
news that he was staying in the country of the Princess
Cofachique,. who was a near relation of Aymay's mother.
From hence it was his purpose to proceed to the south-
west to join Tuscaluza in his own country, and arrange for
further operations against the Spaniards at the beginning of
spring. He sent orders for Aymay to join him in' Cofa-
chique in order to accompany him to Tuscaluza and


become his wife, as had been previously arranged. She
had accordingly set out with an escort, and had reached
Cofachique by an easier and shorter route than that taken
by the army. By the princess, her cousin, she had been
most kindly received, and to her she confided her great
dislike for the marriage with Tuscaluza, and told her the
whole story of her acquaintance with me, imploring pro-
tection against her father. She succeeded in winning the
sympathy of the strong-minded princess, who took occasion
to inform Ucita that his daughter should not be taken by
force from her protection. Great was the anger of Ucita;
but he could do nothing contrary to the will of the
princess in her own dominions. In the end he had to
proceed on his journey to Tuscaluza without his daughter.
Such was the account given me by Aymay.
During our interview and her narrative I was troubled in
my mind as to the course I had to pursue towards the
Governor. I felt that I ought to let him know what I had
heard about Ucita and Tuscaluza, and I did not see that
either the princess or Aymay would be in any way com-
promised by the disclosure. This view I communicated to
her, and asked her concurrence in it. She was willing to
give it, providing I got the princess to consent also. This
condition being reasonable, it was arranged that Aymay
should speak to the princess on the subject without delay.
Next day the same old Indian who had brought me
Aymay's message came to me and gave me to understand
that I was free to make the state of the case known to the
Governor. I at once waited upon him, and told him the
whole story without reserve, excusing myself, as best I
could, for not having disclosed it earlier. He was much
interested in my narrative, and very willing to pardon me
for my reticence, which he admitted to be natural under
the circumstances. The same day he had a private con-
ference with the princess and Aymay, at which I was of
course present. The whole matter was fully discussed.
The hostile designs of Tuscaluza and the Indians were no
news to the Governor, and the information in no way
affected his plans. His experience had taught him what to
expect; and in the future, as in the past, he knew he must
be prepared to encounter the strongest opposition from the
natives. But in regard to Aymay and myself he specially


interested himself. His generous nature prompted him to
favour our love affair, but his judgment suggested many
difficulties. As a good Christian he could not countenance
the union of one of his followers with a pagan woman, nor
could he permit her to accompany the army in any equivocal
character. On the other hand, he agreed with me that to
leave her behind would be to abandon her wholly, and to
place her, sooner or later, at the mercy of her father and
the fierce Tuscaluza.
After a great deal of time had been given to the con-
sideration of those difficulties, a decision was arrived at
agreeable to all interested. It was settled with the princess
that, when the army resumed its march, she, with Aymay
in her train, should accompany it to the confines of her
territory, and that in the meantime advantage should be
taken of the interval to instruct Aymay in religious matters,
so as to qualify her for Christian baptism. To this course
the Governor was inclined, as well from feelings of personal
kindness towards us, as because of the great service Aymay
would be able to render the army, conjointly with myself,
in intercourse with the natives. So the matter was settled,
to the great contentment of all concerned.
From that very day the religious instruction of Aymay
began. For the purpose she was placed in the hands of
Father Juan de Gallegos, brother of one of our most
distinguished captains, I rendering assistance as interpreter.
Aymay was very willing to be converted; and not only in
doctrinal matters, but in the Spanish language as well,
she became very advanced before the army resumed its


The province of Cofachique and its people-Inquiries about gold-
Disappointment -Vast stores of pearls -Astonishing discovery
of European reliques-Establishment of a Colony mooted-Broils
with the natives-Departure-The Princess and Aymay accompany
us-To the north-west-A miserable land and people-Strange
disappearance of the Princess and Aymay-An expedition for gold
-Another disappointment-Large pearls-How obtained-March
to Cosa-Friendly reception-A prosperous country-A soldier
deserts--Want of salt-Longing to reach the sea.

THE country or province of Cofachique is populous and
very fertile, and the land well cultivated. In all
respects the people are more civilized than any other
Indians of Florida, and appear to be of a somewhat
different race, as they themselves pretend. In complexion
they are lighter than other Indians, and are tall and well
formed in body and limbs. In character they are gentle,
frank and sincere, and more inclined to peace than any
natives we had theretofore met with. But they are not
wanting in courage, and at the time of our coming they
were carrying on a vigorous and successful war against some
neighboring states. They had amongst them many cap-
tives taken in the course of their wars, and these they put
to tilling the ground, or employed them in domestic labour.
To prevent their escape they had crippled them by cutting
through the sinews of one leg above the heel, or at the
instep. This is a cruel thing to do, but not worse than the
like barbarities practised by the ancient Greeks on their
captives, and by other nations, to be read of in histories.
In truth, the Spaniards themselves of this day have an evil
reputation enough for cruelty to slaves.
As we had come to Cofachique on report of gold to be
found there, the Governor lost no time in seeking to find
out what was known by the princess or her subjects about


the matter. I took up the inquiry by his direction; but
I had some trouble in explaining what was desired, not
knowing the exact Indian names for the precious metals;
nor could Aymay help much. However, by showing
pieces of gold and silver money, rings, and jewels, the
princess came at last to have some understanding of what
was wanted. To the great contentment of the Governor,
she said she could find him plenty of the yellow and the
white metals. And, truly, in a little while thereafter she
sent to him several Indians laden with supposed treasures;
but what was his mortification to find that the yellow metal
produced to him was nothing else but a kind of bright-
coloured natural copper, not unlike gold; while the
supposed silver was a light and scaly substance, which
crumbled into flakes in the hand, and did not seem to be
metal at all, or of any kind! Thus quickly vanished the
golden treasures of Cofachique, of which we had heard so
much, and upon which we had so greatly relied, and come
so far to seek with infinite labour and sufferings.
To console our manifest disappointment, the princess
pointed out a kind of temple-sepulchre at one end of the
village, telling us it was a place where the dead princes and
great people of that nation were entombed, and that
within were great quantities of pearls, to which we could
help ourselves. She further spoke of another village
called Talomeco, the former capital of the country, about
a league distant, where there was a similar temple, only
larger and richer, which contained the bodies of her
forefathers, together with vast quantities of pearls and
stores of other valuable things.
Thither the Governor repaired with the officers of the
royal revenue, and several captains and soldiers, I amongst
others. The temple was about a hundred paces long and
forty wide, with a high roof of reeds. By the door were
giant figures of wood, carved with some skill, the largest
twelve feet high. They were in the likeness of Indian
warriors, grim of visage, and of threatening aspect, and
armed with various weapons. Inside there were similar
figures of different sizes, and all around the walls many
quaint carvings and curious sea and river shells. In this
place also were a number of wooden couches and benches,
on which stood boxes or chests, not unskilfully wrought,


and in these were the bodies of the dead princes, left to
natural decay as in a charnel-house. Beside the chests
were baskets of cane, some filled with furs, and skin robes,
and mantles of the kind I have already described, that is,
made of the inner rind and bark of trees, and of a kind of
grass like flax; also garments made mostly of coloured
feathers, like some still worn by the natives of those parts.
But above all there were many baskets full of pearls of
every size and in incredible quantities, together with pearl
images of children, and birds, and other creatures. The
contador, or intendant of the royal revenue, would have
made general spoil of those articles but for the interference
of De Soto, who represented that they were at present
exploring the country, not dividing it and sharing its spoils,
and that it would not be advisable to burthen themselves
with treasures at present. They should, therefore, only
take specimens of those riches to send to Havafiah, and
leave the rest in their present state until they commenced
to colonize the country, when a fair division should be
made, after one-fifth had been set apart for the crown. He
distributed handfuls of large pearls among his officers,
exhorting them to make rosaries of them; and he per-
mitted the representatives of the crown to retain what they
had already weighed out.
Close by the principal sepulchre were several buildings
which served as armouries, and contained stores of weapons
of all kinds, arranged in the best order. While ransacking
those places we found a dagger and several coats of mail
of European make, and were naturally astonished at
meeting with such reliques in the heart of this unexplored
country. Questioned on the subject, the Indians informed
us that those things came from a seaside place, about
two days' journey from thence, where many years before a
number of white men had perished. Their commander had
died soon after their landing at the place, and they quarrelled
and fought amongst each other as to who should take his
place. In this way many of them were killed; others died
of sickness, and the few that remained re-embarked in their
ship and went away. Pondering over those statements, the
Spaniards concluded that those white men could be none
other than those of the unfortunate expedition of De
Ayllon. The account of the Indians agreed in all


particulars with what was known of the fate of the expe-
dition. But certainly the sea could not be so near as the
Indians seemed to say; and, on closer inquiry and strict
computation, the Governor considered that the distance of
Cofachique from the sea must be five or six days' journey,
not two, due east, and that the sea must be the Atlantic.
Pleased with the riches and fertility of this province, and
the amiability of the natives, many of the officers besought
the Governor to fix a colony there, urging that a lucrative
pearl fishery could be carried on, and a prosperous trade
established with Spain, either by sea or by the river. De
Soto, however, persisted in his design of first completing
his exploration of the country, and then meeting Maldonado
at Achusi. He pointed out that the country in its present
state would not afford provisions for another month; that
they could always return if they found no richer country;
and that, meanwhile, the Indians would sow their lands
with maize in greater plenty.
During our long stay in this place our men became
somewhat demoralized, and broils began to break out
between them and the natives. These were mainly due to
the ill-conduct-the rapacity and licentiousness-of the
baser minded amongst us. It was manifest that our further
delay in the place would end in open hostilities and
bloodshed. The army was now restored to full health,
having been all the time well fed on corn and meat, and
well clad with dressed skins and mantles. There was,
therefore, no need for further delay, and the rapid growth
of ill-feeling made it advisable to move. To prevent
matters from growing worse, De Soto hastened his departure,
and signified to the princess to be ready to accompany him
with her attendants and guides, who could lead the army
in the direction he intended to take. He assigned her
a guard of honour, the command of which he conferred
upon me, and gave directions that she should be treated
with all the respect due to her rank. He also issued
stringent orders against any further misconduct by the
Spaniards, and showed himself so severe and stern in
punishing some who ventured to disregard them, that
all brawls between our people and the natives soon ceased
It was on the 3rd of May, 1540, that we set forth on

L .._ _,___


our march in a north-westerly direction. At the end of
a fortnight we halted for a few days' rest in a very barren
country, the inhabitants of which were a feeble and peace-
able people, who went nearly naked, and lived in a miserable
way on herbs, and roots, and wild hens, which they shot
with arrows. This, and a much more fertile province ad-
joining, were under the dominion of the princess.
During our few days' rest in this place a strange event,
and one peculiarly afflicting for me, happened. This was
nothing less than the disappearance of the princess and all
her attendants in the middle of the night. They were
lodged in a number of huts, a little way from our encamp-
ment, one of which was occupied by the princess and
Aymay. No great precautions were taken, but at night a
guard was commonly set of two or three of our men, more
as a matter of ceremony than from any idea of the necessity
for protection, as there was no reason to suppose that
hostile Indians were in our vicinity. One night this duty
was assigned to two negroes and a Barbary Moor, who
were servants or slaves in the army, but also efficient as
soldiers. In the morning the whole party had disappeared
-the guard and the guarded-leaving no trace behind.
The princess had brought with her a small reed box filled
with large unpierced pearls, of great beauty and value,
which she had intended as a present for Aymay when she
parted with her. This also was gone. There were no
traces of a struggle at the spot, though there were some
doubtful indications of a number of Indians having been
about the place during the night. The nature of the
ground, which was barren and stony in the locality, did
not, however, permit of any certainty on this point. When
the matter was reported to the General, he caused every
inquiry and search to be made. The guides and male
attendants of the princess were questioned, but they ap-
peared honestly unable to account for what had happened.
Horsemen were sent out to scour the country around, but
they brought back no intelligence. Opinions differed as to
the explanation of this mysterious disappearance. Some
thought that the flight of the princess was voluntary, and
gave as reasons for that view that she had reluctantly ac-
companied the Spaniards to the confines of her dominions,
and feared that they might insist upon her going still


further with them, and to escape this had fled back to her
home. She might have persuaded the negroes and the
Moor to favour and aid her flight, by promises of liberty
and reward. This would be consistent with the absence of
any signs of a struggle, which must inevitably have taken
place if the case had been one of forcible abduction.
Others thought that the hostile Indians had, in their stealthy
way, succeeded in sweeping off the whole party, guards and
all, without causing an alarm, and without leaving traces of
violence. The princess had been treated with every kind-
ness and consideration; no open constraint had been put
upon her, and she could not reasonably suppose that the
Spaniards would see any advantage in forcing her to accom-
pany them beyond the confines of her own dominions, where
alone she had influence. Nevertheless, the former view
was finally adopted by the Governor, though the conviction
clung to me that the elopement was forcible, and was in
some way the work of Tuscaluza and Ucita. But no efforts
had been spared to trace the fugitives, and with a heavy
heart I acknowledged to myself that Aymay was again lost
to me, and perhaps for ever. Still, I cherished a wild hope
that I might meet with her once more. I felt confident
and assured that she would never voluntarily abandon me,
and that whatever might have been the circumstances of
her disappearance I should surely hear from her again, if
communication were possible. I felt that the further ad-
vance of the army into the wilderness would lessen the
chances of hearing from her; but I did not despair in the
providence of God, and in my prayers I besought the
blessed saints to protect her and assist her in her desire to
become one of the faithful. This was all that could be
done for the time being. So we resumed our march, and
for five days struggled through a rugged mountainous
wilderness, with much toil and suffering. Gold, gold was
still our real quest, and constant thought. In one village
where we made a short stay, the cacique informed the
Governor that some thirty miles to the north, in a wild
mountainous country, there were mines of copper, and of
another metal which, from his description, might be gold.
De Soto at once sent off an expedition, which returned in
ten days with no better news than that the supposed gold
was only the same sort of fine yellow copper we had met

__ __


with in Cofachique. While waiting for the return of the
expedition we collected from the natives a number of large
pearls, which, but for being spoilt in boring, would have
been of immense value. The natives get the pearls by
collecting oysters from the river and spreading them out on
hot embers, which likewise tended to injure them by fire
and smoke.
On the return of the expedition from the copper mines,
the army once more started, this time directing its march
towards a great province called Cosa, the borders of which
were reached in a few days, though a march of a hundred
leagues lay before us ere we reached the chief town in
which the cacique resided. Arrived there at length, he
received us kindly, and supplied us liberally with all we
required. He was a young man of about twenty-six years
of age, of a fine person and noble countenance, and
attended by a train of a thousand warriors, tall and well
formed, as were generally the people of this country. His
followers were in their finest array, adorned with long
plumes of different colours, and wearing mantles composed
of various furs and skins, many of them martens, scented
with musk. Being marshalled in squadrons, with their
gay plumes waving in the breeze, they made a brilliant
The village was situated on the banks of a river, amidst
green and beautiful meadows, irrigated by numerous small
streams. The country round was populous and fruitful;
the houses were well stored with maize and a small kind of
bean, and fields of Indian corn extended from village to
village. There were plums of various kinds; some like
those of Spain, others peculiar to the country. Vines
clambered to the very tops of the trees which overhung
the river. There were others in the fields, with low stocks,
which produced large sweet grapes.
The village contained five hundred dwellings, and as
they were very spacious, the captains and soldiers were
all well accommodated. De Soto was quartered in the
residence of the cacique.
During our stay in this village, a soldier of dissolute
character having deserted, concealed himself among the
natives, and was nowhere to be found. A negro, also, being
too infirm to travel, was left in charge of the cacique.


On August 24th we departed from Cosa, though the
cacique strongly urged us to settle permanently in his
country, or, at least, stay over the winter. But the
Governor declined for the present, at any rate, to do either,
as he was anxious to keep his appointment to meet Maldo-
nado, at the Bay of Achusi, in October.
Our hopes of finding rich mines and treasures of gold,
or wealthy native states, were by this time almost aban-
doned, except by the more sanguine and least reasonable
of the army. This, together with the fatigues and sufferings
we had endured, and were daily enduring, made us long for
the time when we should safely reach Achusi and enjoy
rest and plenty, whatever might afterwards happen. In
particular did we suffer, and that very terribly, from want
of salt with our food, for in this part of the country there
is none to be had. This constant want engendered with
us a kind of putrid fever, which in one year had carried off
sixty of our people. The Indians made a sort of lye from
the ashes of certain herbs, and by using this with our food
the fever was prevented, though it did not cure the disease
when once taken.


Departure from Cosa-Reception by Tuscaluza-His haughty bearing-
Two soldiers missing-March to Movill-Advance to Movill of
part of the army-The fortifications-Treachery suspected-Attack
upon, and retreat of the Spaniards-Battle outside the town-
Storming the town-Fighting in the streets-Firing the houses.

THOUGH Cosa was a good country to colonize, it gave
no satisfaction to our quest for gold. The Governor
-still hoping to find a land rich in gold, as the easiest road
to fortune-remained firm in his resolve to search diligently
for such a country before settling down as a colonizer. He
therefore determined to sweep round towards the south-west
in a great circuit, terminating at Achusi. The course of
our march, he was well aware, would take us through the
country of the powerful and hostile Tuscaluza, but to this
the Governor did not object. On the contrary, he rather
desired to come to some sort of an issue with this redoubt-
able chief, who appeared to be the very heart and soul of
most of the opposition the army had encountered from the
natives. "For," said he, in talking upon this subject with
me, "I do not despair of making him our friend by kind
and generous treatment, and by letting him see how much
he has to gain or lose, according to his relations with us.
And if he should resist all my friendly advances, and
remain implacable, I shall be free to treat him as an enemy,
and I shall certainly destroy him completely, and with him
the power and the influence he would use against us. As a
friend, he would be of immense advantage to us in our
settlement in this country; as an enemy, he must be over-
thrown as soon and completely as possible."
In this frame of mind the Governor advanced with the
army into the territories of Tuscaluza, first sending certain
Indian messengers in advance to announce his coming and
assure the chief of his pacific disposition. Thus forewarned


of our approach, Tuscaluza made some preparations to
receive us in state. We found him posted on the crest of a
hill, which commanded a wide view over a rich and beauti-
ful valley. He was seated on a kind of stool-concave, but
without back or arms similar to the stools used on state
occasions by all the caciques of the country. Around him
stood a hundred of his principal warriors, dressed in rich
mantles and decorated with plumes. Beside him was his
standard bearer, who bore aloft, on the end of a lance, a
dressed deer skin, stretched out to the size of a buckler,
yellow of colour and crossed by three blue stripes. This
was the great banner of this warrior chieftain, and was the
only military standard we met with throughout the whole of
our march.
Tuscaluza received the Governor with dignified but some-
what haughty courtesy. Of myself, who attended the
Governor as interpreter, he deigned to take no personal
notice whatever, nor did he condescend to make the
slightest reference to having seen me before, when a
prisoner in the hands of Ucita. I confess that I felt some-
what abashed and humiliated in the presence of this
haughty prince, my rival for the hand of Aymay, knowing
or feeling certain that he was quite aware of my pretensions
and must regard me with feelings of hatred, and probably
contempt. However, I discharged my duties as interpreter
with as much boldness as I could muster, under the fierce
looks of this formidable chief.
For two days the army rested at this place, being well
entertained during that time in accordance with the directions
of Tuscaluza. The march was then resumed in the direction
of a town bearing the same name as that of the chief. It
was the design of the Governor to detain Tuscaluza in our
company until some definite settlement was come to with
him; but so far he seemed very willing to be with us, he
and his warriors taking very curious notice of all our
military movements and methods, of our arms and equip-
ment, and particularly our horses. The Governor had
steadfastly endeavoured to impress him with our superiority
in military strength and resources, and had, at the same
time, sought to conciliate him by kind and courteous
treatment. On setting forth, the chief expressed a desire
to ride on horseback, and the Governor was very willing to

gratify his desire. But it was difficult to find a horse
sufficiently large and strong to accommodate him; and when
at length a great pack-horse was chosen, his feet nearly
touched the ground as he bestrode it. In his dress and
flowing mantle of scarlet cloth (presents to him from the
Governor), and with his head-dress of tall plumes, he rode
amongst the steel-clad cavaliers of Spain, the grandest and
most conspicuous figure of them all.
A march of thirty-six leagues brought us to the town of
Tuscaluza, which was situated on a peninsula formed by
the winding of a river. The army encamped for the night
in a lovely valley close to the town. Next morning two of
our soldiers were missing, and no one could tell how they
had disappeared. It was not probable they had deserted
for they were both well-conducted men, and not given
to wandering; and now that we were tending towards the
coast and the supplies awaiting us there, all the common
men of the army were pleased and contented. The dis-
appearance was quite as mysterious and more unaccountable
than that of the Princess Cofachique and Aymay, and the
negro and Moorish servants. The Governor complained to
Tuscaluza, who replied in a very haughty and independent
tone; but as nothing could be proved against him for
certaili, the Governor thought it wise to let the matter
The next day the march was resumed southwards, in the
direction of the fortified town called Movill, which was
the stronghold and place of arms of Tuscaluza, and stood
in the midst of a populous and fertile country. Owing to
the strength of this place, and the mistrust entertained by
the Governor of Tuscaluza, it was determined to approach
it with caution. The Governor himself accordingly took
the command of an advance guard of a hundred horse
and a hundred foot, and, in company with the cacique, set
out for Movill, leaving instructions with the camp-master
general to follow with the main force as soon as possible.
I accompanied the Governor.
Arrived before the town, a splendid train of Indian
warriors, clad in skin robes, and wearing brilliant plumes
of feathers, came out to meet us. With this escort, and a
troop of dancing girls, the Governor entered the town side
by side with Tuscaluza, in his flaming red dress and mantle,


followed by the train of horsemen in glittering armour. The
town stood on a fine plain, and was surrounded by a high
wall formed of huge trunks of trees driven into the ground,
side by side, and wedged together. These were crossed
within and without by others, smaller and longer, bound to
them by bands made of split canes and wild vines. The
whole was thickly plastered over with a kind of mortar,
made of clay and straw trampled together, which filled up
every chink and crevice of the woodwork, appearing as if
smoothed with a trowel. Throughout its whole circuit the
wall was pierced with loopholes, from whence arrows might
be discharged at an enemy, and at every fifty paces it was
surmounted by a tower capable of holding seven or eight
fighting men. Many of the trees which had been driven
into the ground had taken root and thrown out branches,
overshading the ramparts and forming a crown of foliage
around the village. There were but two gates to the place,
one east and one west. In the centre was a large open
square with the principal dwellings at the sides. The whole
number of houses in the place, apart from the mere huts,
did not exceed eighty, but they were of large size, and
capable of lodging from five hundred to fifteen hundred
persons. Many were built after the Indian fashion, with
one great hall in the centre for general use, and 'several
rooms around for private use. Those great houses belonged
to the cacique and the chief lords of the Indians, and were
constructed with more than common skill.
The square being reached, the party dismounted, and the
horses were taken outside the village. One of the large houses
was assigned to the Governor, and a smaller one near it to
his servants. The rest of the men were lodged in huts and
cabins about a bowshot beyond the walls. The Governor
was not well pleased with this arrangement, as it divided
his small force, and rather isolated himself, but he thought
it would do for the short time until the arrival of the camp-
master with the main body of the army. It was not long,
however, before suspicions were aroused. Tuscaluza, in a
haughty and defiant manner, left the Governor, who desired
to keep him near him, and went to one of the houses where
armed Indians were seen going in and out. It was also
observed by the Spaniards, soon after, that all the great
houses in the vicinity seemed full of armed warriors, and


that no women nor children were visible. Upon this, the
Governor caused the word to be passed quietly amongst
the troops to be on their guard and ready for action at the
first alarm. We had not long to wait, for scarcely had we
been put on the alert when the war-whoop of the Indians
rang through the town, and from every house they sallied
out and fell upon the Spaniards. Though vastly out-
numbered, our men presented a stout front to the enemy,
only giving way inch by inch until they reached the
gate of the town and passed through into the country
beyond, leaving five of their number behind them slain.
The dismounted horsemen then ran to where they had left
their steeds tied up; but so close were they pressed, that
some had only time to cut the halters and get away, whilst
the more tardy not only failed to free their horses, but were
shot down by innumerable arrows, amidst the exultant
yells of the Indians. It was now quite plain that we
were the victims of a deliberate and well-laid plot to
massacre us.
The enemy, being in great force, divided into two bands,
one to press upon the Spaniards, the other to destroy the
loose horses and secure the effects of the army, which lay
in heaps under the wall and about the fields. Everything
fell into the hands of the enemy, except the baggage of
Andres de Vaseoncellos, which had not arrived. The
Indians conveyed the spoils into their town with great
manifestations of triumph. They knocked off the chains
of the slaves who had carried the baggage, and gave them
weapons to fight with.
Meanwhile the few cavaliers who had been able to mount
their horses, together with some troops just arrived in
advance of the main body, united their forces and en-
deavoured to protect their comrades who were fighting on
foot. The approach of the cavalry checked the impetuosity
of the Indians, and afforded time for the footmen to rally
and form. Horse and foot, in two bodies, then charged
the enemy with fury, and drove them back into the village,
whither our men sought to follow them, but were assailed
with such showers of stones and arrows from the walls and
loopholes as compelled them to retreat. Thereupon the
Indians again rushed forth, some by the gate, others over
the wall, and, closing with the Spaniards, fought them with


reckless courage. They seized hold of the lances of the
horsemen, and some of them were in this way dragged
more than two hundred paces from the wall before they
would let go their hold.
So the battle swayed backward and forward for more
than three hours without cease, the Spaniards always
standing by each other, being few in number, and keeping
a front to the enemy, upon which alone their safety
depended. They found that they suffered more severely
when near the village, from the missiles launched from the
wall, and that their best chance was in the open field,
where they had room to manoeuvre their horses and wield
their lances. They accordingly kept away from the village,
and the Indians, following them up, sustained great losses,
for, having no defensive armour, every blow was effective.
The Indians, perceiving the disadvantage to them of
fighting in this way, finally fell back to the village, closed
the gate, and manned the ramparts.
Upon this the Governor ordered the cavalry, as being
best armed for the purpose, to dismount, and, taking
bucklers for their defence and battle-axes in their hands,
to attack the gate and endeavour to force a way into the
village. This force, two hundred strong, put itself in order
and dashed forward to the assault. It was received with
showers of arrows, stones, and missiles of various kinds,
and was so severely handled that it had to fall back. Again
it was re-formed and again advanced to attack the gate, but
only to be again repulsed with heavy loss. This happened
several times, but on each occasion the Spaniards were
able to inflict some damage on the gate before being driven
back. At length, in one final charge, our men forced the
partly-demolished gate, and entered the village in the midst
of showers of darts and stones. The gateway being very
narrow, those of them who could not readily pass through
attacked the wall with their axes. The face of the wall,
being composed of clay mixed with straw, was soon de-
molished, leaving bare the crossbeams and their fastenings,
which formed the inner part of the wall. Over these the
Spaniards swarmed in numbers, and thus got into the
village to aid their comrades who had passed through the
gate and were being sorely pressed by the enemy. The
Indians fought desperately in the streets, and from the tops


of the houses hurled upon the Spaniards darts, stones, and
logs of wood, annoying them very much. Some of the
houses were stormed and captured; but as the Spaniards
could not afford to retain possession of them, having no
men to spare for such a purpose, they decided to set fire to
them in order to prevent their being re-occupied by the
enemy. The houses, being largely composed of reeds and
other combustible materials, were soon in a blaze, and the
fire spreading rapidly from house to house, the whole
village quickly became wrapped in flames and smoke. The
fighting went on as desperately as ever in the midst of the
general conflagration, for the Indians would neither yield
nor retreat, although their final defeat was now evident, for
the whole of the available Spanish force was now in the


I am cut off in a house-Preparations for defence-Attack and
repulse of the Indians-The fighting in the streets continued-
De Soto leads a charge of horse-" Our Lady and Santiago !"-
The whole town in flames-Great slaughter of Indians-No
surrender-The women fight like demons-Tardy arrival of our
main body-Clearing the streets-End of a nine hours' battle-
Our terrible losses and deplorable state-Good news from Achusi
-Ships there-Discontent of the army-De Soto fears its dis-
bandment at Achusi-Resolves to avoid the coast and again march

S O far I have merely narrated what was told to me of the
earlier part of the day's conflict, in which I had no
personal share. What follows is of my own experience
and knowledge.
I have said that a large house in the square of the
village had been assigned for the use of the Governor and
his attendants, and thither all the camp equipage had been
carried and stored. At the beginning of the disturbance
the Governor, before sallying out at the head of his force,
had ordered me to remain behind with a few men to hold
the house, and protect the baggage at all hazards. At
once I set about barricading the place and making prepara-
tions to defend it to the last. We were thirteen men in all,
but only nine of us were combatants-three cross-bowmen,
five halberdiers, and my trusty Indian servant, Choquo,
of Muscozo's tribe, who had accompanied and remained
with me ever since we left the coast. He was expert in
the use of the bow and arrow, and thoroughly faithful
to us. There were two other Indians, slaves of the
Governor, but sullen and unreliable. The remaining two
were a monk and a friar, who rendered us good help in
barricading the place, and afterwards by earnest prayers for
our delivery. Having closed every opening and strengthened
weak places, I made such a disposition as I considered


best of my small force of eight men, and then anxiously
awaited events. We were left long unmolested, though we
could hear the shouts and yells of combatants and the
noises of battle-sometimes far off, and sometimes near at
hand. The enemy had not troubled to assail the Governor's
house during the heat of their conflict with the Spaniards
beyond the walls of the village, thinking, no doubt, that it
was in their power, whenever they had leisure, to take it and
plunder its contents. When, however, they had retired from
the open and closed the town gate against the Spaniards,
they turned their attention to the house, not supposing that
it contained any Spaniards.
Their surprise was great when they found it strongly
defended, but they soon attacked us with great vigour and
persistency. Again and again they sought to break down
the great door, and to force an entrance by the now well-
secured window openings, but were each time driven back
with loss from our arrows, discharged through loopholes
and apertures left for the purpose by us in our defences.
At length they abandoned this line of attack, and turned
their attention to forcing an entrance by the roof, to which
hundreds of them mounted. Very soon they had made
three or four openings; but so well did we ply our cross-
bows and our faithful Indian shoot his arrows, that every
enemy who showed himself at an opening was at once
transfixed. Nevertheless our position was most precarious,
for should but a few Indians succeed in entering and in
engaging our attention, others could take advantage of the
circumstance, and we should be quickly overwhelmed by
numbers. There was also some danger that the Indians,
despairing of destroying us by other means, might throw
burning brands into the house and set it on fire. How-
ever, there was nothing to be done then but to keep on as
we had begun; and soon indeed the saints had pity upon
us, and, hearkening to the prayers of the reverend fathers,
who did not cease to invoke their aid, sent us timely relief.
The Spaniards having, as before mentioned, fought their
way into the town, soon arrived at the door of the house
and dispersed our assailants. Then we pulled down the
obstructions we had placed against the door, and rushed
out to join our comrades in this hand-to-hand contest with
the Indians.


The tide of conflict had now turned decisively in our
favour. The battle had lasted four hours, and although
the Indians were now at a hopeless disadvantage, nothing
could quell their fury, and not one of them sought to fly or
beg for mercy. De Soto himself was in command, fighting
in the square on foot with the rest of the troops. But
waxing hot, and weary with his exertions, he hastened out
of the village, secured a horse, sprang into the saddle, and,
followed by Nufmo Tobar, galloped back into the square,
lance in hand, shouting the battle cry of Our Lady and
Santiago!" Calling out to the Spaniards to clear a way
for him, he dashed into the thickest of the enemy, followed
by Tobar. They spurred their chargers up and down
through the masses of Indians in the square and principal
street, riding down some, lancing others, now right now
left, and leaving a track of carnage wherever they passed.
Those manoeuvres greatly aided the Spaniards who were on
foot in attacking and dispersing the Indians. Meanwhile
the fire was raging through the village, and making horrible
ravages amongst the enemy. Many were cut off in the
houses (including women and children), and those who
threw themselves from the roofs were either killed by the
fall or slain by the Spaniards. At one time a strong wind
swept both flames and smoke along the street upon the
Indians, who, while thus blinded and bewildered, were
charged by their enemies and driven back; but the wind
veering, favoured them in turn, and they soon regained all
the ground they had lost.
Maddened at seeing their ranks thinned, and their
warriors lying slaughtered in heaps, the savages called upon
their women to seize the weapons of the slain and avenge
their death. Many had already been fighting by the side
of their husbands, but on this appeal every one rushed to
the conflict. Some armed themselves with the swords,
lances, and partisans of the Spanish soldiery who had been
either killed or disarmed, and thus wounded them with
their own weapons; others seized bows and arrows, which
they plied with strength and skill almost equal with that
of their husbands. In their fury they threw themselves
upon our weapons; for the'courage of women, when once
aroused, is more ardent and reckless, and her spirit more
vehement, than that of man. But the Spaniards, out


of consideration for their sex, and in pity of their
despair, abstained as much as possible from harming
While the battle was thus furiously raging at Movill, the
master of the camp was loitering by the way with his forces.
Instead of speedily following De Soto, as ordered, he was
tardy in leaving the camp, and on the march allowed his
men to scatter in the fields, hunting and amusing them-
selves. And as for some time there had been little or no
trouble with the Indians, a feeling of security had been
engendered, and precautions were neglected. So they
came along unsuspicious of danger, till some who were
more in advance heard the distant clangour of drum and
trumpet and the noise and shouts of combatants, and
saw a great column of smoke rising in the air. Suspecting
the cause, they passed the alarm to those behind, and all
now pressed forward with the utmost speed to the scene
of action. There they found Spaniards and Indians still
hotly engaged on the ground without the town. The new
comers brought timely help to the Spaniards, but it was yet
a long time before the Indians were driven back to the
town, pursued by our horsemen.
It was now within an hour of sunset, but within the town
the battle raged as furiously as ever, the cries of the com-
batants mingling with the roar of flames and the noise of
falling roofs and walls. As yet no horsemen had fought
within the town except De Soto and Nufio Tobar, but now
a great number of cavalry dashed in at the gate, dispersing
themselves through the streets, routing and killing all the
natives they encountered.
Ten or twelve cavaliers spurred up the main street, where
the battle was hottest, and coming upon the rear of a body
of Indians, male and female, who were fighting with the
fury of demons, broke through them with such impetuosity
as not merely to overturn them, but also several of the
Spaniards with whom they were contending. The
carnage was horrible, for the savages refused to sur-
render or lay down their arms, but fought until all were
Thus ended this sanguinary struggle, which had con-
tinued during nine hours. The village was a smoking ruin,
covered with slain, and victory declared for the Spaniards


just as the sun went down. Forty-two Spaniards fell in the
conflict, eighteen of them receiving their fatal wounds either
in the eyes or mouth; for the Indians, finding their bodies
cased in armour, aimed at their faces. There scarcely
remained a Spaniard that was not more or less wounded,
some in many places. Thirteen died before their wounds
could be dressed, and twenty-two after. To this loss must
be added that of forty-two horses killed by the enemy, and
mourned by the Spaniards as if they had been so many
Our condition after the battle was truly deplorable. Our
loss in men and horses had been terrible; most of the
survivors were wounded, and all suffering from exhaustion
by fatigue and hunger. But the worst calamity of all was
the loss of our supplies, which had been destroyed in the
burning of the town. These included our ammunition and
spare weapons, cloth and clothing of every description,
medicine and surgical appliances, some wine and wheaten
flour (reserved for the office of the mass), and a vast
quantity of miscellaneous stores. Before this unfortunate
battle, the army, though reduced in numbers by previous
losses, was comparatively richer than ever in military and
other supplies; after the battle, little was left beyond that
which happened to be in the possession of each individual.
There was but one surgeon to attend to the multitude
of wounded, and the greater part had to shift for them-
It was now towards the end of August, and the nights
were cold and dewy; but no shelter could be had, for not a
house in the village remained standing. Booths made of
branches were constructed against such of the walls as still
stood, and in these the wounded were deposited on straw.
The fat of the dead horses and some of the slain Indians
was converted into ointment; and the shirts of the dead
Spaniards, and of some of the living ones, were cut up for
bandages. The night passed amidst bitter lamentations
and dying groans, many Spaniards perishing miserably
before morning. The army was unable to move for nearly
three weeks. Had any considerable force of Indians
resolutely attacked it during that time, it would probably
have been utterly destroyed.
In our desperate situation the cheering news reached us

that ships with white men had arrived at the sea coast,
whither De Soto had of late been directing his course.
There could be no doubt that this was the supply fleet of
Maldonado from Havafah, which was to have arrived about
this time in the Bay of Achusi, from which, we understood,
we were only seven days' march. Thus the end of our
sufferings appeared to be close at hand; and whatever
might be our varying views as to the remote future, we
all rejoiced at the prospect of almost immediate relief from
our present miseries.
As for the Governor, he had accomplished, so far, his
general design, though his highest hopes had not been
realized, and he had met with some bitter misfortunes. He
had made the wide sweep he had planned out originally,
from the sea to the north-east, thence northward and north-
west, and then southward to his present position. He had
surveyed the interior of the country over a wide range, and
fully informed himself as to its nature, resources, and
capabilities, and of the character and disposition of its
inhabitants. The conditions he had discovered were
altogether favourable to his primary scheme of founding
a great Spanish colony, which would assure the possession
of all the provinces he had explored, and perhaps of all
the undiscovered and unknown parts of the country to
its utmost limits. Afterwards the search for gold could be
resumed with greater ease and advantage. His ships were
in the Bay of Achusi, laden with every requisite for
purposes of conquest and colonization, and it only remained
for him to take the final steps, and say the final words, to
launch the great undertaking.
But while De Soto welcomed the ships as supplying him
with the means of founding his colony, many of the soldiers
and gentlemen of his army welcomed them as a means of
escaping from an accursed land, where there were no rich
countries to plunder, and where they had experienced
nothing but hardships, losses, and disasters.
Some of them had been engaged in the conquest of
Peru, and contrasted the wealth of that golden empire
with the poverty of the land through which they had
recently struggled, where neither gold nor silver was to be
found; and they did not fail to dwell upon this contrast
when conversing with their companions. The Spaniards


generally were disheartened by the disasters of the recent
battle, and the implacable fierceness displayed by the
natives. They saw that such a people were not to be
easily subjugated. Instead, therefore, of wearing them-
selves out in this unpromising land, it seemed better to
seek other countries already conquered and abounding
with wealth, as Mexico and Peru, where they might enrich
themselves with less risk and less toil. For these reasons
they determined, on reaching the sea-shore, to abandon
Florida and seek their fortunes in New Spain.
Secret information of these murmurings was brought to
De Soto by some of his most devoted followers. He
could scarcely credit it, and went through the camp at
night, alone and in disguise, to ascertain the truth. In
this way he overheard a conversation in the hut of Juan
Gaytan, the treasurer, in which that cavalier, and several of
his comrades, expressed their determination to abandon
the enterprise, and either sail for Mexico or Peru, or return
to Spain by the ships at Achusi.
De Soto stood aghast at hearing these resolves. He
saw that his present force would disband the moment his
followers could shift for themselves; and he was aware
that it would be impossible for him to raise a new army.
He had no booty of gold or silver to display, with which to
tempt new adventurers; and the specimens of pearls which
he had intended to send to Cuba were all lost in the
conflagration of Movill. Should his present forces
desert him, therefore, he would be stripped of his dignity
and command, blasted in his reputation, his fortune would"
have been expended in vain, and his enterprise, which had
cost so much toil and trouble, would be a subject of
scoffing rather than of renown. De Soto was a man
extremely jealous of his honour; and as he reflected upon
these gloomy prospects, they produced sudden and
desperate resolves. He disguised his anger and his
knowledge of what he had overheard, but determined
to frustrate them by the desperate expedient of turning
his back upon the coast and striking again inland, not
going nearer to Achusi. In our lack of all supplies, this
was a mad thing to think of; but De Soto was no longer
as he had been. He had become moody, irritable, and
tyrannical, and his one thought was to keep the army


together at any risk. There were murmurings and
threatening when it was known what he purposed, but
the spirit of mutiny was overawed by his sternness. In
his best state of mind he was a strict disciplinarian, and
it was. soon seen that now he would stick at nothing
in compelling obedience to the absolute authority given
to him by the royal charter.