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[52] point of bringing your Majesties into the receipt of a very great and unexpected revenue; and while I was waiting for ships to convey me in safety, and with a heart full of joy, to your royal presence, victoriously to announce the news of the gold that I had discovered, I was arrested, and thrown with my two brothers, loaded with irons, into a ship, stripped, and very ill treated, without being allowed any appeal to justice. . . .

I was twenty-eight years old when I came into your Highnesses' service, and now I have not a hair upon me that is not gray: my body is infirm, and all that was left to me, as well as to my brothers, has been taken away and sold, even to the frock that I wore, to my great dishonor. I cannot but believe that this was done without your royal permission. The restitution of my honor, the reparation of my losses, and the punishment of those who have inflicted them, will redound to the honor of your royal character. A similar punishment also is due to those who have plundered me of my pearls, and who have brought a disparagement upon the privileges of my admiralty. Great and unexampled will be the glory and fame of your Highnesses, if you do this; and the memory of your Highnesses, as just and grateful sovereigns, will survive as a bright example to Spain in future ages. The honest devotedness I have always shown to your Majesties' service, and the so unmerited outrage with which it has been repaid, will not allow my soul to keep silence, however much I may wish it. I implore your Highnesses to forgive my complaints. I am indeed in as ruined a condition as I have related. Hitherto I have wept over others: may Heaven now have mercy upon me, and may the earth weep for me!

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