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[45] signs of the ignorant natives might seem to
Chap. II.} 1539.
promise a harvest of gold. The passion for cards now first raged among the groves of the south; and often at the resting-places groups of listless adventurers clustered together to enjoy the excitement of desperate gaming. Religious zeal was also united with avarice: there were not only cavalry and foot-soldiers, with all that belongs to warlike array; twelve priests, besides other ecclesiastics, accompanied the expedition. Florida was to become Catholic during scenes of robbery and carnage. Ornaments, such as are used at the service of mass,1 were carefully provided; every festival was to be kept; every religious practice to be observed. As the troop marched through the wilderness, the solemn processions, which the usages of the church enjoined, were scrupulously instituted.2

The wanderings of the first season brought the com-

1539 June to Oct. 27.
pany from the Bay of Spiritu Santo to the country of the Appalachians, east of the Flint River, and not far from the head of the Bay of Appalachee.3 The names of the intermediate places cannot be identified. The march was tedious and full of dangers. The Indians were always hostile; the two captives of the former expedition escaped; a Spaniard, who had been kept in slavery from the time of Narvaez, could give no accounts of any country where there was silver or gold.4 The guides would purposely lead the Castilians astray, and involve them in morasses; even though death, under the fangs of the bloodhounds, was the certain punishment. The whole company grew dispirited, and

1 Portuguese Relation, c. XIX.

2 Portuguese Relation, c. XX., and in various places, speaks of the friars and priests. Vega, l. i. c. VI. 9; l. IV. c. VI. and elsewhere. Herrera confirms the statement.

3 Portuguese Relation, c. XII.; Vega, l. II. part II. c. IV.; McCulloh's Researches, 524.

4 Port. Relation, c. IX.

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