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[40f] parting from his lovely young wife and vast posses-
Chap. II.} 1539.
sions, took command of the enterprise; more young men of the proudest families in Spain rallied under his banner than had ever acted together in America; and the viceroy himself, sending Pedro de Alarcon up the
coast with two ships and a tender, to aid the land party, early in 1540, went in person to Compostella to review the little army before its departure; to distinguish the officers by his cheering attention; and to make the troops swear on a missal containing the gospels, to maintain implicit obedience, and never to abandon their chief. The army of three hundred Spaniards, part of whom were mounted, beginning its march with flying colors and boundless expectations, which the more trusty information collected by Melchior Diaz could not repress, was escorted by the viceroy for two days on its way. Never had so chivalrous adventurers gone forth to hunt the wilderness for kingdoms; every one of the officers seemed fitted to lead an expedition wherever danger threatened or hope allured. From Culiacan, the general, accompanied by fifty horsemen, a few foot soldiers and his nearest friends, went in advance to Sonora and so to the North.

No sooner had the main body, with lance on the shoulder, carrying provisions, and using the chargers for packhorses, followed Coronado from Sonora, than Melchior Diaz, selecting five and twenty men from the garrison left at that place, set off towards the west to meet Alarcon, who, in the mean time had discovered the Colorado of the west, or, as he named it, the river of ‘Our Lady of Good Guidance.’ Its rapid stream could with difficulty be stemmed; but hauled by ropes, or favored by southerly winds, he ascended the river twice in boats before the end of September;

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