Literature of Native American Perspectives and Discovery – De Vaca & The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
71 Chapter VIII: We Go from Aute (Excerpt)
The next morning we left Aute,* and traveled all day before coming to the place I had visited. The journey was extremely arduous. There were not horses enough to carry the sick, who went on increas- ing in numhers day hy day, and we knew of no cure. It was piteous and painful to witness our perplexity and distress. "We saw on our arrival how small were the means for advancing farther. There was not any where to go ; and if there had been, the people were unable to move forward, the greater part being ill, and those were few who could be on duty. I cease here to relate more of this, because any one may suppose what would occur in a country so remote and malign, so destitute of all resource, whereby either to live in it or go out of it ; but most certain assistance is in Grod, our Lord, on whom we never failed to place reliance. One thing occurred, more afflicting to us than all the rest, which was, that of the persons mounted, the greater part commenced secretly to plot, hoping to secure a better fate for themselves by abandoning the Governor and the sick, who were in a state of weak- ness and prostration. But, as among them were many hidalgos and persons of gentle condition, they would not permit this to go on, without informing the Go- vernor and the officers of your Majesty; and as we showed them the deformity of their purpose, and placed before them the moment when they should desert their captain, and those who were ill and feeble, and above all the disobedience to the orders of your Majesty, they determined to remain, and that whatever might happen to one should be the lot of all, without any forsaking the rest.
After the accomplishment of this, the Governor called them all to him, and of each apart he asked advice as to what he should do to get out of a country so miserable, and seek that assistance elsewhere which could not here be found, a third part of the people being very sick, and the number increasing every hour; for we regarded it as certain that we should all become so, and could pass out of it only through death, which from its coming in such a place was to us all the more terrible. These, with many other embarrassments being considered, and entertain- ing many plans, we coincided in one great project, extremely difficult to put in operation, and that was to build vessels in which we might go away. This ap- peared impossible to every one : we knew not how to construct, nor were there tools, nor iron, nor forge, nor tow, nor resin, nor rigging; finally, no one thing of so many that are necessary, nor any man who had a knowledge of their manufacture; and, above all, there -was nothing to eat, while building, for those who should labor...
Before we embarked there died more than forty men of disease and hunger, without enumerating those destroyed by the Indians. By the twenty-second of the month of September,* the horses had been con- sumed, one only remaining ; and on that day we em- barked in the following order : In the boat of the Governor went forty-nine men ; in another, which he gave to the Comptroller and the Commissary, went as many others ; the third, he gave to Captain Alonzo del Castillo and Andres Dorantes, with forty-eight men; and another he gave to two captains, Tellez and Pena^ losa, with forty-seven men. The last was given to the Assessor and myself, with forty-nine men. After the provisions and clothes had been taken in, not over a span of the gunwales remained above water ; and more than this, the boats were so crowded that we could not move : so much can necessity do, which drove us to hazard our hves in this manner, running into a turbu- lent sea, not a single one who went, having a know- ledge of navigation.