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[44] three hundred in number, were disembarked; and the
Chap. II.} 1539
men of the expedition stood upon the soil which they 1539 had sc eagerly desired to tread. Soto would listen to no augury but that of success; and, like Cortes, he refused to retain his ships, lest they should afford a temptation to retreat. Most of them were sent to Havana.1 The aged Porcallo, a leading man in the enterprise, soon grew alarmed, and began to remember his establishments in Cuba. It had been a principal object with him to obtain slaves for his estates and mines; despairing of success, and terrified with the marshes and thick forests, he also sailed for the island, where he could enjoy his wealth in security. Soto was indignant at the desertion, but concealed his anger.2

And now began the nomadic march of the adventurers; a numerous body of horsemen, besides infantry, completely armed; a force exceeding in numbers and equipments the famous expeditions against the empires of Mexico and Peru. Every thing was provided that experience in former invasions and the cruelty of avarice could suggest; chains3 for captives, and the instruments of a forge; arms of all kinds then in use, and bloodhounds as auxiliaries against the feeble natives;4 ample stores of food, and, as a last resort, a drove of hogs, which would soon swarm in the favoring climate, where the forests and the Indian maize furnished abundant sustenance. It was a roving expedition of gallant freebooters in quest of fortune. It was a romantic stroll of men whom avarice rendered ferocious, through unexplored regions, over unknown paths; wherever rumor might point to the residence of some chieftain with more than Peruvian wealth, or the illinterpreted

1 Portuguese Relation, c. x.

2 Portuguese Relation, c. x.; Vega, l. II. Part i. c. XI. And XII.

3 Port. Rel. c. XI. and XII.

4 Port. Rel. c. XI. and elsewhere

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