Chapter VIII: We Go from Aute (Excerpt)

The next morning we left Aute,* and traveled all 
day before coming to the place I had visited. The 
journey was extremely arduous. There were not 
horses enough to carry the sick, who went on increas- 
ing in numhers day hy day, and we knew of no cure. 
It was piteous and painful to witness our perplexity 
and distress. "We saw on our arrival how small were 
the means for advancing farther. There was not any 
where to go ; and if there had been, the people were 
unable to move forward, the greater part being ill, and 
those were few who could be on duty. I cease here 
to relate more of this, because any one may suppose 
what would occur in a country so remote and malign, 
so destitute of all resource, whereby either to live in 
it or go out of it ; but most certain assistance is in Grod, 
our Lord, on whom we never failed to place reliance. 
One thing occurred, more afflicting to us than all the 
rest, which was, that of the persons mounted, the 
greater part commenced secretly to plot, hoping to 
secure a better fate for themselves by abandoning the 
Governor and the sick, who were in a state of weak-
ness and prostration. But, as among them were many 
hidalgos and persons of gentle condition, they would 
not permit this to go on, without informing the Go- 
vernor and the officers of your Majesty; and as we 
showed them the deformity of their purpose, and 
placed before them the moment when they should 
desert their captain, and those who were ill and feeble, 
and above all the disobedience to the orders of your 
Majesty, they determined to remain, and that whatever 
might happen to one should be the lot of all, without 
any forsaking the rest.
After the accomplishment of this, the Governor 
called them all to him, and of each apart he asked 
advice as to what he should do to get out of a country 
so miserable, and seek that assistance elsewhere 
which could not here be found, a third part of the 
people being very sick, and the number increasing 
every hour; for we regarded it as certain that we 
should all become so, and could pass out of it only 
through death, which from its coming in such a place 
was to us all the more terrible. These, with many 
other embarrassments being considered, and entertain- 
ing many plans, we coincided in one great project, 
extremely difficult to put in operation, and that was to 
build vessels in which we might go away. This ap- 
peared impossible to every one : we knew not how to 
construct, nor were there tools, nor iron, nor forge, 
nor tow, nor resin, nor rigging; finally, no one thing 
of so many that are necessary, nor any man who had 
a knowledge of their manufacture; and, above all,
there -was nothing to eat, while building, for those who 
should labor...
Before we embarked there died more than forty 
men of disease and hunger, without enumerating those 
destroyed by the Indians. By the twenty-second of 
the month of September,* the horses had been con- 
sumed, one only remaining ; and on that day we em- 
barked in the following order : In the boat of the 
Governor went forty-nine men ; in another, which he 
gave to the Comptroller and the Commissary, went as 
many others ; the third, he gave to Captain Alonzo del 
Castillo and Andres Dorantes, with forty-eight men; 
and another he gave to two captains, Tellez and Pena^ 
losa, with forty-seven men. The last was given to the 
Assessor and myself, with forty-nine men. After the 
provisions and clothes had been taken in, not over a 
span of the gunwales remained above water ; and more 
than this, the boats were so crowded that we could not 
move : so much can necessity do, which drove us to 
hazard our hves in this manner, running into a turbu- 
lent sea, not a single one who went, having a know- 
ledge of navigation.

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