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[50] mines of Peru were discovered; no ornaments of gold
Chap. II.} 1541.
adorned the rude savages; their wealth was the harvest of corn, and wigwams were their only palaces they were poor and independent; they were hardy and Mar. loved freedom. When spring1 opened, Soto, as he
had usually done with other tribes, demanded of the chieftain of the Chickasaws two hundred men to carry the burdens of his company. The Indians hesitated Human nature is the same in every age and in every climate. Like the inhabitants of Athens in the days of Themistocles, or those of Moscow of a recent day, the Chickasaws, unwilling to see strangers and enemies occupy their homes, in the dead of night, deceiving the sentinels, set fire to their own village, in which the Castilians were encamped.2 On a sudden, half the houses were in flames; and the loudest notes of the war-whoop rung through the air. The Indians, could they have acted with calm bravery, might have gained an easy and entire victory; but they trembled at their own success, and feared the unequal battle against weapons of steel. Many of the horses had broken loose; these, terrified and without riders, roamed through the forest, of which the burning village illuminated the shades, and seemed to the ignorant natives the gathering of hostile squadrons. Others of the horses perished in the stables; most of the swine were consumed; eleven of the Christians were burned, or lost their lives in the tumult. The clothes which had been saved from the fires of Mobile, were destroyed, and the Spaniards, now as naked as the natives, suffered from the cold. Weapons and equipments were consumed or spoiled. Had the Indians made a

1 Vega says January. L. III. c. XXXVI.

2 Vega, l. III. c. XXXVI., XXXVII. and XXXVIII. Port. Account, c. XX. XXI.

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