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[58] resolution seemed, it was determined to return once
Chap. II.} 1542.
more to its banks, and follow its current to the sea. There were not wanting men, whose hopes and whose courage were not yet exhausted, who wished rather to die in the wilderness, than to leave it in poverty; but Moscoso, the new governor, had long ‘desired to see himself in a place where he might sleep his full sleep.’1

They came upon the Mississippi at Minoya, a

few leagues above the mouth of Red River, often wading through deep waters, and grateful to God if, at night, they could find a dry resting-place. The Indians, whom they had enslaved, died in great numbers; in Minoya, many Christians died; and most of them were attacked by a dangerous epidemic.

Nor was the labor yet at an end; it was no easy

1543. Jan. to July.
task for men in their condition to build brigantines. Erecting a forge, they struck off the fetters from the slaves; and, gathering every scrap of iron in the camp, they wrought it into nails. Timber was sawed by hand with a large saw, which they had always carried with them. They calked their vessels with a weed like hemp; barrels, capable of holding water, were with difficulty made; to obtain supplies of provision, all the hogs and even the horses were killed, and their flesh preserved by drying; and the neighboring townships of Indians were so plundered of their food, that the miserable inhabitants would come about the Spaniards begging for a few kernels of their own maize, and often died from weakness and want of food. The rising of the Mississippi assisted the launching of the seven brigantines; they were frail barks, which had no decks; and as, from the want of iron, the nails were of necessity short, they were constructed of very

1 Portuguese Relation, c. XXXIV.

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