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‘ [47] fit left him.’ Again he involved them in pathless
Chap. II.} 1540
wilds; and then he would have been torn in pieces by the dogs, if he had not still been needed to assist the interpreter. Of four Indian captives, who were questioned, one bluntly answered, he knew no country such as they described; the governor ordered him to be burnt, for what was esteemed his falsehood. The sight of the execution quickened the invention of his companions; and the Spaniards made their way to the small Indian settlement of Cutifa-Chiqui. A dagger and a rosary were found here; the story of the Indians traced them to the expedition of Vasquez de Ayllon; and a two days journey would reach, it was believed, the harbor of St. Helena. The soldiers thought of home, and desired either to make a settlement on the fruitful soil around them, or to return. The governor was ‘a stern man, and of few words.’ Willingly hearing the opinions of others, he was inflexible, when he had once declared his own mind; and all his followers, ‘condescending to his will,’ continued to indulge delusive hopes.1

The direction of the march was now to the north;

May 3.
to the comparatively sterile country of the Cherokees,2 and in part through a district in which gold is now found. The inhabitants were poor, but gentle; they liberally offered such presents as their habits of life permitted—deer skins and wild hens. Soto could hardly have crossed the mountains, so as to enter the basin of the Tennessee River;3 it seems, rather, that he passed from the head-waters of the Savannah, or the Chattahouchee, to the head-waters of the Coosa. The name

1 Portuguese Relation, c. XIII. and XIV.; Vega, l. III. c. II.—XVII. Compare Belknap, i. 188. I cannot follow McCulloh, 524.

2 Nuttall's Arkansas, 124; McCulloh's Researches, 524.

3 Martin's Louisiana, i. 11.

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