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[42] His reception was triumphant; success
Chap. II.} 1537.
of all kinds awaited him. The daughter of the distinguished nobleman, under whom he had first served as a poor adventurer, became his wife;1 and the special favor of Charles V. invited his ambition to prefer a large request. It had ever been believed, that the depths of the continent at the north concealed cities as magnificent, and temples as richly endowed, as any which had yet been plundered within the limits of the tropics. Soto desired to rival Cortes in glory, and surpass Pizarro in wealth. Blinded by avarice and the love of power, he repaired to Valladolid, and demanded permission to conquer Florida at his own cost; and Charles V. readily conceded to so renowned a commander the government of the Isle of Cuba, with absolute power over the immense territory, to which the name of Florida was still vaguely applied.2

No sooner was the design of the new expedition published in Spain, than the wildest hopes were indulged How brilliant must be the prospect, since even the conqueror of Peru was willing to hazard his fortune and the greatness of his name! Adventurers assembled as volunteers; many of them, people of noble birth and good estates. Houses and vineyards, lands for tillage, and rows of olive-trees in the Ajarrafe of Seville, were sold, as in the times of the crusades, to obtain the means of military equipments. The port of

San Lucar of Barrameda was crowded with those who hastened to solicit permission to share in the enterprise. Even soldiers of Portugal desired to be enrolled for the service. A muster was held; the Portuguese appeared

1 Portuguese Relation, c. i.; in Hakluyt, v. 483.

2 Portuguese Relation, c. i. 483; Vega, l. i. c. i.; Herrera, d. IV. l. i c. III.

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