Translated by Patrick Johnson (PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, College of William & Mary)
Bundle 353. N. 17 170, April 6
Journal made by the commissioners Alonso Hill, Interpreter of Indians, and Don Bartolome de Castro y Ferrer for the expedition to establish the truth that the Indian named Yailasade [Yavlaychi?], of the Uchise nation born in the town of Giahtle, who announced a mineral found just in a stream, without being able to completely decide if it is silver or mercury; instructed by Don Bartolomeo Benitez y Galvez Intendant of the Philippines in the province of Iloco, Chairman of His Majesty’s Treasury; this Royal Treasury of the Secretary of the Governor and Captain General of whose provinces, which in consequence of the minutia of his confidential responsibilities, and not having found through conversation anything to record for the Royal Hacienda, directed his Passports, that was not asked of the Intendant, for the start of the expedition by the aforementioned interpreter, and Indian, who have suffered in this enterprise, for lack of help. The Indian thus put himself in charge of all the costs in food, cavalry, and utensils, not only the expenses of the commissioners, but also those of the family of the Indian, making seven people in total; and as Hill requested that one of his white family members help and accompany him, I appointed Don Bartolome de Castro, making this known to the Lord Governor, and the Lord Secretary added it to the passport.
The investigation of this object (that the intendant observed with much importance) was committed to two men without education, without principles of instruction in the material, and not even with any idea of giving a precise description that conformed with the place, the aspect of the land, and of more observations, from which one could be able to deduce some speech on his return. So, this very brief instruction was formed for them, which they have not yet completed, having already determined this part to be of little profit, the prohibitive time and costs, that have been suffered willingly because in some [end p. 433] mode they ignored some fundamentals, and required a new company. The Governor, agreeing that it is just, has considered it and dispatched these sound dispositions that are necessary and precautions that the matter requires.
Instructions… With respect to the permission given by the Governor and Captain General to the Indian Interpreter Hill, and Don Bartholome de Castro, for them to go accompanied by an Indian from the community to the Savannah River 50 leagues distant from these Provinces, the reconnaissance of the mineral of which the same Indian has informed as existing near the spoken River, not determining anything else by the Secretary until more reasonable grounds are established, the two Spaniards lacking scientific knowledge of Mineralogy, arranged their expedition in the following steps.
Take some good glass bottles with corks and sealing wax to close the bottles well after filling them with water from the same source, and seek to bring it well-preserved.
Take one or more glazed earthenware jugs if you find any, and if they are not the ones ordinarily used, fill them with mud or silt left by the water’s current, and plug them, or else close them very well with corks and sealing wax, or pitch, to avoid evaporation.
Gather herbs that grow closest to the spring, expand from there, and put many in paper, and take notes of the trees that grow on the margins.
Report, and carefully examine all of the land, determining if it is rough, hilly or flat and the colors of the lands that surround the spring.
Put sand in small bags, and Petite pebbles like those that the Indian told about, and as many of the largest stones as you can in separate sacks; progress to a place where you can start a fire, and melt the metal beginning with hard rock and ending with sand; repeat this experiment on the spot, and see if you find what he saw melted among the sand.
Take a piece or coin of copper and throw it in the water to see if it turns silver, or test it with the mud, and note what happens.
Make expeditions to the same source or birth [end p. 433v] of waters, by penetrating enough to see if you find it there, or in nearby parts, the same Material that the Indian has explained, or Mineral veins that are promised to exist, to give the most complete report possible to this Governor.
Travel Days: 19 February, at 5 in the afternoon. On this day they received by my hand the order and passport of the Lord Governor and Captain General, understanding from the denunciator Indian named Yavlaychi, and interpreter to go to the Indian Nations, without exceeding Apalachee but having secondly requested a white man of my family, I pointed to Don Bartholome de Castro, who the Lord Governor has confirmed and added to the Passport.
- At 8 in the morning of the 20th the two travelers alone put themselves to go, because of the fact that the Indian had anticipated departing the previous day with his family, to find their encampment. They found him after 12 miles: he insinuated that the order of the Lord Governor that accompanies them points to the site. He would serve them as a guide to verify what had been declared, even though he had to withstand distrust, for he had not received the foodstuffs of 15 days for the subsistence of his family, nor had the Lord Governor given him his annual gift. He likewise suggested/insinuated that he needed a horse, and that it would be necessary that they return to the town to petition for everything that was lacking. Being convinced that the group should continue to the shelter of Don Francisco Felipe Facio, where he would be fully provided for, as everything had been forewarned; having continued their journey, they made a stop at a stream 21 miles from this city, and there they passed the night. On the 20th, amid expressions of resistance against continuing their journey, the Indian said that the animal that he had been speaking to the interpreter about in this city (nothing of this matter was informed to me of a credible alligator, crocodile, or lizard) was as large as a year-old calf. He said, too, that in the fierce land, the animal had killed many Indians, for 8 men from the town of Afaski had joined together with various dogs, found him and prepared in front of him; five or six shot together, but his body resisted and rejected the bullets, and he observed that in that site, or the sites where they gave good shot, something like dust or smoke emerged. According to the report of the only person who escaped to the road; [end p. 434] for the others all perished, with respect to the Animal being very fast, and that with his breath he attracts and cuts the Spirit of the people: And although this animal would accompany them as far as the place, they would not go near him, avoiding the cave that has the Beast; and all were resolved to follow his defeat, as they did.
- At 7 in the morning they found the horse that was lost during the night and began their march to the house of Don Felipe Francisco Facio, where they arrived peacefully at half past ten to wait for the Indian family, traveling on foot. Finding the River of San Juan with a strong northeast wind, and with no boat to go to the opposite shore, because the Plant[ation] on that side extends for three miles: the width, or the crossing, where they should have passed is as said; but in other places, namely those further south, there are different landing sites one, two, and three leagues away, always leaving from the house of the aforementioned Facio.
- They sat in this home where they ordered themselves each day with food, renewed the horses and took some effects of shelter which they had lacked on the journey, leaving the family of the Indian there, to camp once more in the immediate area. At 12 this day the float arrived at, and they passed over the river with four blacks who disembarked in a mangrove swamp, where they found neither a path, nor a way forward, but only an impenetrable hill around which they walked about a half mile to the west, and to the bank of the stream that flows from the black river, that enters the San Juan River. In this region it takes the name of Plant[ation] of the Governor Copá. There they passed the night, sustained by a little ground corn cooked in water.
- At 7 in the morning they began their journey by passing through a clean pine grove five miles away, and at 8:30 they found a flowing stream named Black River, that runs to the north along the border of a hill of beautiful oaks for about a mile, following another very clean pine grove at about 4: At 6 in the afternoon they passed three streams, one going north and the other to the south. At two miles they crossed the Black River that is very large there, then four more, 2 running south and 2 to the north that discharge in the Black River. At 30 miles of [end p. 434v] walking in the day they spent the night at one side of the lake named Oyiacaiguacia, which is two miles long, and one and a half wide, and sits at the head of the Black River where all of the streams measured previously discharge. There they encountered some Indian hunters, one of them the brother of the guide, and his woman. They bought two turkeys for a little piece of fabric, worth four and a half reales, and they spent the night there with that family.
24. One of the horses that had fled required that Castro exert himself in walking three miles to reach a thick pine grove: walking seven [miles] to the west they encountered a stream called Santa Fe; another at 4 miles, and another at three to the north, runs the course of the river that is named the River of Santa Fe: these streams discharge into the one that shares this name, and all run to the north. It is not plentiful in these places, but accompanies other streams in the south part called Oytocome in which there is a small town of Indians made since the past year on this, and some other part of the River with 10 or 12 houses, and with canoes for their use. The river is quite plentiful here, going to discharge in the San Juan River some one hundred and 20 miles from this Plaza: There they halted half a day [marginal correction: half an hour]. Then they walked about six miles, and at 5 in the afternoon stopped to spend the night due to their tired horses.
- Though at 7 in the morning not all of the horses were found, they set off anyway, and the Indian experienced in those mountains guided them: they walked 6 miles through a pine forest with neither a road nor path, nor any signs that human beings had passed through there; so they emerged into a clearing used by goats, about 7 miles down a path where they found two lakes; the first named Chitosase, which in the Indian tongue means where snakes walk; this was to the left side of the north path; the second, which was larger, was on the right, with the distance between the two about 4 miles: and about 3 miles up the path, they viewed a drain or pit for water, where the three rivers entered, two small ones and another larger, convening to the north. The Indians named these pits YcanaJauque, or in Spanish, “Doors of the Earth,” [end p. 435v] because Ycana means Earth and Jauque means Door; whose exit, or location they could not discover, although they had observed it. They followed the river’s discharge, and went through the bank to a lake named Oichitocome, and to another immediate one called Alpatanjote; the first is small, about a mile going N[orth]-S[outh] and whose length seemed about equal given the round shape, and the second, which is an irregular triangle from the N[orth] to the S[outh], is about six miles wide and at the W[est] about four: They walked about 14 miles in the afternoon and prepared for night at the shore named Alpatanjote: There was a great abundance of caimans and sea turtles.
At the shores of these lakes there is a great amount of foliage from the groves, and towering grasses, especially in the last one, all populated by beautiful walnut trees, a great deal of fish, infinite sea turtles, and innumerable Caymans: The night was very cold, during the morning they could not saddle the horses. This lake is considered to practically be the mother of all the streams that form the River of Santa Fe. On that side of the great lake are the most leafy Chinese Oranges.
- This day they covered only 24 miles, due to the tiredness of the horses, for which they changed one and bought another: The main path was through a pine grove populated with a large field of herbs: they saw 8 lakes, none very large: all of them looked like they were productions of the large one, on the edge of the road that they were taking; and all had the same name of Alpatanjote, and they were covered with a beautiful view. At the edge of a ravine they prepared for night, which was uncomfortable due to the cold: On this day all these ravines were covered by Zarra Parrilla [Sasparilla]; whose species Castro knew, by selling it, and he thought as good as that of Honduras.
- At 8 in the morning they began to proceed off the path through the large burned pine grove, where they became thirsty, not having found any water. They observed many rocky outcrops in this great land, half covered with earth, many of them cut into smaller pieces, like grapeshot, about the size of chickpeas. The Indians were unaware of the name of this land, they only named it that of M.r Juma, and some round holes apparently not made by artifice, but only by the subsidences of the earth. At about four [end p. 436] miles down the path, they took a very narrow trail that the Indians named the road of M.r Juma; they crossed another wider road, and then the Indian announced their proximity to that particular site, such that they could not go forward; penetrating another pine grove, about a mile up the path they stopped at the bank of a stream at midday; they only walked 12 miles in the morning.
In the afternoon and night the travelers raised a query among themselves, giving charges to the Indian about everything that he had said in St. Augustine, which had given rise to the Expedition, and he affirmed and ratified all that he had said. Reflecting upon how to comply with what was ordered and the object of the trip, about which the Indian continued to emphasize how greatly he had manifested his compliance since their meeting, at the doors of the town, with respect to the beast about which he was thoroughly deferential, and fearsome.
- The night was very exhaustive due to the announcements of the Indian, and uncomfortable due to the cold and lack of seasoned foodstuffs: Once again they asked him questions, including cross-examination, and he always invariably insisted upon his original statement, adding to everything that he had said earlier about the veracity of the mineral deposit that an Englishmen established in the towns of the nations to which various companions had taken several pieces of the material that he had announced. He worked some jewelry that Indian women use like earrings, and others similar, which he swore by Feose that is their God, saying the following: For He who is above, who sees everything, who makes no lie; I will not deceive you; and to undertake something on this day the wind was contrary, and go to the place where the beast dwells, who can perceive through smell, and there would be great danger, because of its attractive virtue.
At seven in the morning they determined to send the Indian only to the place that had been indicated beforehand, to find land and stones of which he had reported, and the piece of stone that he saw melting, giving him a hatchet, the best horse and a flintlock gun. The other two both stayed in the homestead, while the Indian left to that effect and returned at noon, scared, with the horse tired, and he was covered with scratches on his flesh. Asked about these changes, he said: To reach the designated site where he had to take the stones, mud, water and other things he had been advised, thinking the wind was favorable, he tied the horse to a Pine tree, and journeying on foot heard the roar of [end p. 436v] the beast a short distance away, which surprised him, fearing that the beast had smelled or seen him, and that he would take his life. As he was returning to the site where the horse had been, he found on the way the bones of a deer that had been killed by the beast. Those he carried with him, along with herbs that had also been uprooted by the beast, with which the two travelers formed the idea that the prediction had been true.
Asking him about the beast, its figure and how it is called, he said its name was Achuquilipalasco, which is how you say a very fierce Animal, and its figure, which is manifested separately, being unknown to his companions, but being asked next about its color, he said the head is similar that of a bear; though without ears, or with anything adhered to the head, and with a gold-colored head and neck, whose tongue is parted in half in the form of scissors, or like a serpent, with a body looking like a bear, with a short tail. And, also, it had very tough skin, which he verified by its being shot at and rejecting bullets that instead rose up in powdered form, or like smoke at the spot where they were given. The Indian affirmed that in order to kill it they formed an expedition in the town of Afasqui, composed of 8 men of the same town, among them a very impassioned warrior Captain. Their nine dogs attacked the beast, who killed those facing him, first the captain, then six of his companions, and only one escaped. So with only one dog remaining of the nine, he saved his life, emerging from the journey, finding more delays than possible. The same Indian returned to the town and related his misfortune, inducing in those peoples such terror that none pass even through the vicinity of that place. The road that used to be there, once called MrJuma, in Spanish, Sr. Pimiento [Mr. Pepper], had changed, so they took another one to the right, that is the Royal Road of Apalachee. The Indian added that he had learned through communication with another Indian that the beast’s sense of smell is extraordinary; it can perceive from a long distance, and its breath is very powerful, such that  if it discovers a bird, deer, any other animal, even a man, it exhausts him, causing him to faint and be surprised so much that he cannot move or take any action, all of which is necessary for the beast to sustain itself.
Seeing that each of the travelers were full of fear and confusion with the reasoning of the Indian, and that the desired effects of the commission were being lost, they asked him if that was the only beast of its kind known in these provinces, and he said that only four were known, one near the Chalequie [Cherokee] Indians, another close to the town of Nocasuque, another distant from the royal road of Tocoy to the North, and the one that was in their vicinity.
In light of everything mentioned, and seeing the panicked terror possessing the Indian, who completely refused to return to the site from which he escaped, they pleaded effectively many times that he do so, suggesting that choose one or both of them to accompany him. He rejected the request, saying that they under no reason should they go, because the hill was recently burned, and the grass had not yet grown back. Fire was what should be used to move the beast away and subdue it to its cave; the only thing it runs from is fire. He was then attacked for having given a deceitful statement, and he responded saying that he did not lie, and he was a poor man with a family, and he feared that his death would leave them without support. In St. Augustine there were warrior captains, and valiant Spanish men, that accompanied him without any interest of their own, and that they would make known how much he had manifested to that point, coming with questions, cross-examinations, and doubts since three in the afternoon. He was questioned about the place, where they might find the mouth of the spring, large crags, and etc. that he spoke of. He then became happy and said that they were a short distance from the ranch where they found themselves, and they would find a molten stone that a companion brought from the dangerous site that was next to this place, or Cave of the Beast. This piece of mineral the Indians used only to crack [437v] nuts in their ranch, which was about five miles from the Cave of the Beast. They rode on horseback to the mouth of spring where they made lively inquiries, even though it was close to nightfall, to search for the given signs. And not finding any, they returned a camp that had already darkened, where they passed the night hoping to continue the company the next day.
March 1. They occupied the night with putting the same counter-claims, questions, and proceedings to the Indian, encouraging him that they should go to the site of the mouth of the spring: one of the expressions they tried to compel from him, that he could not present in St. Augustine without abandoning the commission, because the chiefs would say to everyone that they were liars who lacked truth, whereby the Indian, already enflamed by choler and his honor, commanded to them to ride and return to the spring where they had been the previous day in his company. They arrived there at about ten in the morning and recognized the White sands, and the depth of the water in the lake, and the very blue water of the inlets. The land is rocky, and the slime, or mud from the margins, they presented for tests, along with small rocks and larger rocks of various qualities. This source represents a fathomable lake whose width is much greater than 30 yards; and measured from the beginning of the source it grows wider; it was also observed that in the middle there was a hot spring of water, all in a circular form that becomes about 50 yards. It meanders through the stones that go with the strong current to the North, and the Indians name the Spring Oycayagua, or Source of Water. At that requested spot they solicited but did not find a stone where the Indian made a fire. And they did not find, nor make excavations, nor any type of investigation beyond which has already been mentioned, such as taking sand, water, and more herbs from the margin of the lake. The lake is surrounded by very stout oaks, walnut trees, and everything else is clean pine forests.
Due to the dismay of not having verified what the Indian had proposed, they attacked him again saying  that he was deceitful, that he had retired to the farmstead and from there to the plaza [of St. Augustine]; and Castro, exasperated, said to the interpreter that he was to blame for their great misfortune, and that he would hazard to expose him in the Plaza: The Indian understood this, and became angry again, and said to the two, I was already determined to die, and that if they had any courage they would follow him to search for the site where the beast lives; but if not, then he would go alone, and if he did not return at night then they were to abandon the site, because it would be a sign that he had died. So they determined to follow him, and they began walking for about four miles, the Indian guiding them along the way. He set out immediately, tying his horse to a pine tree without saying a word to them, nor giving any speech along the way. He spread musk over his face and neck, and having already removed his clothes, he kept only his breechcloth, telling them to do the same thing. They imitated him to this effect, arming themselves with their breechcloths and handkerchiefs, and taking the flintlock they followed the Indian for about one mile, with this one frightened the whole way. The Indian carefully examined the branches strewn upon the ground through which the beast would have had to pass, showing them various footprints that revealed traces of the Beast, which are like a Bear’s prints, although much larger, which are perceived by the way in which he plants his shoulder and foot with his elbows facing back, and which the Indian knew by the deer carcasses that were the beast’s spoils. He stood and showed them one little mound that they admired as a strange thing on the continuous flat land that they had walked upon. This, he said, points to the cave of the animal, and then following it for nearly a quarter of a mile, hiding behind one pine tree before advancing to another, the two progressed slowly. They saw that he stopped again, covered himself entirely with pine, spoke in a low voice to the interpreter, and indicated with his finger that the Animal was over there. He withdrew immediately and fled with the greatest rush, full of fright to the place where they left the horses. They both saw the beast, which was on foot, heading to his cave, and they were able to observe that its head was as had been explained, its shining back and body so intensely silvered that the sunlight refracted off it in the same way as the moon shone off a mirror. But they were unable to discover more, because they immediately followed the footsteps of the Indian along the same path so that he would not leave them alone in the woods.
By the time the two arrived at the ranch, the Indian, already dressed [438v], urged that they immediately abandon that camp. They did so, as they prayed, and headed to the ranch where they had spent the preceding night, and from which they departed for the operations of today.
- They spent the night discussing the situation in which they found themselves, lacking food, without precise instruments for excavations, and other things specified in the instruction that were not provided in the Plaza, due to the rush to leave.
At the edge of the farmstead they found many stones, fine flint they probed with pieces of steel, and when some broke they found hollows with such sounds that they were moved by their curiosity to break more, and at the center was a chestnut-colored object, and more pebbles of various shapes and sizes, entirely separate from flint. Trying to break some of these stones, they found them harder than flint, with their properties giving less light, their color whitish on the inside. On this night having taken a stone from near the mouth of the spring, breaking it open to see what it held, the interpreter observed that it made a golden pit. They kept the stone in their bags, and with the candlelight that they made back at the farmstead, he formed the sticks into little crosses, and made a hole in the floor with another that served as a crucible. The stone took the heat on all sides, and the fire consumed the rock, melting the metallic material in which they found in the hole the following morning. This operation was practiced with reserve, kept not only from the companions, but also from me until the day of the 19th of the present month, when they made a demonstration before me.
On the same night they resolved to make their withdrawal, which was effectively undertaken at seven in the morning, more or less, on a different path than they had been before. They walked all day long, about 50 miles to the East, without encountering any water: all pine forest, and round holes like gullets made of earth. This land was the highest that they had walked upon throughout the entire Expedition. Thirst obliged them to look for water, and looking at one of the holes they found some about twenty yards deep. The interpreter filled a bottle, and although it had a very clear color, and tasted bad, almost bitter, if it could be believed, the mineral made it acidic, which explained how their thirst was not quenched. And they soon came to the first stream of Santa Fe, which passes through the town of Itocome, and at a distance  of about three miles from that town they spent the night in another stream, larger but bearing the same name, which was very bad because of the many waters of the sky.
- They began their journey at seven o’clock through well-cleared paths that led through the pine forests; the day lasted 40 miles due to the fatigue of the horses. They arrived at a large stream, the mightiest of the three that flow into the Santa Fe. They had a bad day because of the many waters, and were nearly swimming while fording the river, and several minor gorges, spending the night at the mentioned stream, or river.
- They left very early through cleared pine groves during the whole morning, and during the afternoon checked all the streams whose water discharged into the Black River, arriving at about 4 in the afternoon to the River of San Juan in front of Facio’s house, where they halted and gestured they had agreed to proceed with the expedition. There were three fires and three musket-shots during the night that were not answered.
During this morning, after they had passed a very bad night with a great deal of rain and cold, they made specific signals for the day, which were two clouds of smoke with hearts of pine trees and tree moss and two musket-shots; then the same again. They hung a quilt in a tree, and made several other movements and fires to draw attention. But nothing was sufficient, and a second bad night happened for the same reasons.
- At about ten in the morning they went to the place where they found five traveling Indians, in the Planta[tion] of Facio. They were not looking for them, but rather to ask if they could replace the horses they had lost. They loaned them as a gift for them to continue to Facio’s home, where they arrived at half past five in the afternoon and spent the night.
- The large amount of rain kept them from leaving Facio’s house until noon, when the rain pulled back but did not stop, to the point they came to this square at ten at night, the interpreter going to his home without seeing me, and Castro coming to my home. Due to his [439v] very irritating trip, I sent him to rest, having only seen a few uninteresting species that he gave me.
- On this day, in the early morning, I ordered Castro to present himself before the Lord Governor and Captain General and advise him of his coming, and explain why this was not done the night before, and likewise to instruct him to respond to all that was asked of him, while I would send an extract from the diary that they had made, and the results of the commission, with which this point would be fulfilled.
In the afternoon, Alonso Hill presented himself, and I examined him in minute detail regarding the points of the journal that Castro had delivered to me. I saw more herbs poorly prepared and harvested without an origin mentioned; all confused with each other, so there was nothing I could learn from them through more tests or confrontations with the Botanical Authors who have been found here.
They presented two bottles glazed on the inside, well-sealed with wax, holding water that they say they collected from the mouth of the spring that was mentioned in the declaration. The same sealed bottles remain intact because of a lack of instruments with which to analyze them. For such operations I reserve myself to see if we make some fundamental deductions to animate our hopes, once these instruments are found.
In the same way, they showed a small portion [of metal] the size of a hen’s egg, already dried out, dark-colored, yellow like copper, and white, and somewhat heavy; but without any bright grains, or signs of any other sort visible to the eye that might indicate metallic parts.
They also presented some pieces of hard mud collected from the same lake in a different vein, whose color is darker, in the quantity of two or three eggs of a hen. The material was ground and dissolved in common water, in which various lotions were made. Nothing resulted; but incorporating the spirit of vitriolic acid caused considerable effervescence.
The same material, put to evaporate in a well-sealed glazed ceramic vessel and left to dry, resulted in a ferruginous residue as desired that, when mixed with vinegar, formed a dark stain of the same idea.
- I meditated upon the kinds of observations that must  be made in order to confirm that there were useful properties in the water, mud, stones, and herbs that they had put before me. Alonso Hill came to make a new deposition, and a manifestation of what he had hidden until then, protesting to me that he had done so without malice. He entrusted to me three small pieces of metal that appeared to be gold, based on its specific gravity and fine color, which would have been about one and half ounces, saying that he had smelted it on the last night when they were camped near the mineral that they went to discover. I asked him how he had done this operation, which he reported satisfactorily: having retired to his ranch on the final afternoon of the expedition, he, wanting to smoke tobacco, dismounted from his horse on rocky ground, and took a stone that lay among many of its kind, one that looked as hard as flint used to strike a light. He broke a piece of it with a piece of steel, and observed countless gold specks, and put it into his bag. He stayed the night only because his companions had gone to the stream in search of water to make dinner, when it occurred to him to make a hole with the end of a post in the fire that they had lit, the space of which could serve as a trebuchet or crucible. And putting two sticks in a cross over the resultant gap, the stone settled into the hole, which he surrounded with hearts of pine trees and strong wood, and the fire lasted all night. The next morning the horses had already been prepared to begin their departure, having forgotten the previous preparation, Hill dug the earth and found the exposed mineral, whose features advertised metallic properties. He put it in a bag between rice and other things he carried, without, until this day, having returned to take account of the similar species that he had broken with an ax in his house, and divided into the already mentioned different parts. With this, he came to introduce this phenomenon and immediately proceeded to show it to the Governor and Captain General, to whom it seemed to be gold based on the weight and color, as it did to me. I sent it to the Secretary [440v] who agreed to detain the Indian and his family to fully ascertain this point, so I could serve the interest of the King, and it was also agreed that if the Lord Secretary did not aid the account of the Royal Treasury, then I would use mine to complete the objective that I set from the beginning: and being in agreement, I dedicated myself to undertake the corresponding operations.
- On this day I was presented Antonio Huertas, also an interpreter of Indian tongues, who brought me a man named Ocaspa of the Seminole, because he was one of those who had notice of the beast the travelers spoke about. And being asked by the same Huertas, he said that he had not seen it; but that his countrymen have informed him that it certainly exists, and that he did not know how to explain its figure, and he even heard from his companion that he could not describe it. Likewise he said that after about a day of walking along the Black River, which discharges into the San Juan in front of the house of Don Francisco Felipe Facio, that the beast’s body shines like a mirror, and has the same properties as the others had already explained, namely that it was carnivorous and ferocious. He also assured that near the beast’s cave there are many deer bones. This news was given to the interpreter by an Indian named Estafahacheci, brother of Filatuchi, a well-known chief of the town of Chiaja, and he says he is called Chocolipalasco.
- On this day Hill has demonstrated, that on the day in which they went to reconnoiter the source of the river, and the lake that forms its spill, which is signaled by the number that they observed in the meeting place of those waters, that there were some small, bright, silvery-white round things stuck to the stones in the timbers at the bottom, and that some were the size of lentils, and some smaller, and others larger. They did not bring anything from the site, because the day was very cold, and the water was about three or four yards deep, and, some being indisposed, and other afraid, they did not determine to strip down to enter, giving up for lost this important observation,  for perhaps it was mercury that they saw, which could be of more importance to us than any other mineral. This has been the result of commissioning two ignorant men for an enterprise of such esteem in my appreciation.
What has been explained so far is as much as the journal contains, as well as the information given by the persons referred to in it, to which I refer, and your verification will require the exclusive authority of the Lord Governor and Captain General to whom it concerns, according to your superior pleasure.
St. Augustine of Florida, April 16, 1790,
[signed] Bartolomé Benites y Galvez
 Spanish term for Lower Creek Indians.
 This toponym might also look like Gochites, but -ahtle is a Hitchiti-Mikasuki suffix meaning “a group.” Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13.
 In the original letter: encargado de orden.
 In the original: Hacienda.
 In the original: por menor.
 In the original: desmayaron, which connotes both confusion and loss of will.
 The manuscript is handwritten. Page numbers have been stamped in the bottom, left-hand corners by archivists of the East Florida Papers collection. For more information, see http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/Microfilm/SpanHoldings.html.
 Referring to St. Augustine, Florida.
 S.S. probably is an abbreviation for Señor Secretario.
 In the original: haya mas fundadas razones
 Referring to San Marcos de Apalache at the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers. 30°09′18″N 84°12′40″W.
 In the original: pues habiéndose juntado 8 hombres del Pueblo Afasqui con varios Perros para casarlo.
 Unfortunately, we have not been able to find additional information on this man. In the original text, his land is called Plantaxe del Gov.or copà.
 Following the definition of Oycayagua as “Source of Water” later in this document, Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, believes this term represents Creek oykeyw-oci, or “little spring.”
 In the original: mujer. While mujer is typically a synonym for “wife,” Benítes y Gálvez is describing a very different sort of kinship affiliation than what his lexicon allows. This moment is, perhaps, equating a matrilineal cousin as the European equivalent of a sister or wife.
 In the original: panuelo.
 In the original manuscript, the date is marked in the customary marginal position. But because it appears in the middle of the sentence, Benítes y Gálvez seems to have added it after composing the entry for that day.
 Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, translates this as Creek citto-sa:sa or “there is a snake there/there are snakes there.”
 Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, states this probably represents Creek i:kana hawki, “hole in the ground” or literally “open ground.”
 Oci with a ch sound means “water” in Creek (Martin) and Itocome is a town mentioned later, so the name of this lake likely means “Water Near Itocome.”
 In the original: pasturoras.
 In the original: peñas.
 At this point, Benítes y Gálvez uses the designations “Mr.” and “Juma,” but later in the manuscript, he translates the name as “Señor Pimiento” (“Mr. Pepper”), using a combination of Spanish and Koasati. Hó:ma is the Koasati word for “pepper,” though Hómma means “red thing” more broadly. See Geoffrey D. Kimball, Koasati Dictonary (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), 69, 346.
 In the original: por el Arte.
 In the original: hundideros, a geological term that probably means “sinkholes” in this case.
 In the original: rancho.
 In the original: el lleno de aranos sus carnes.
 Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, had never encountered the term Achuquilipalasco. A quick search offered a few possible cognates, such as in Choctaw “kili,” which might connote large or growling, and “palaska,” which means “oven” or “a place for baking.” See Byington, Dictionary of the Choctaw Language (Washington: GPO, 1915), available at https://archive.org/details/choctawlanguag00byinrich.
 In the original: casco.
 Unfortunately, we have been unable to find information on this community. It appears in a list of toponyms — “Casita, Talecy, Chavaele, and Afasqui — during McGillivray’s time. See Frances Burkhead, List of the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba (Cuban Papers) in the Archives of the North Carolina Historical Commission (Raleigh: North Carolina Historical Records Survey, 1942), 7.
 In the original: nación.
 In the original: por Relación del otro.
 The meaning of this place name remains unknown to modern scholars. “Noka” might relate to a place of fertile land; Nokashilká means to steal and eat something (of animals) in Koasati (Kimball et al. 1994:147) and Nokayv is an archaic Creek word meaning the passage to the stomach or gullet (Martin 2000:81). Nokose, however, means “bear” in Creek (Martin 2000:82). See Geoffrey D. Kimball, et al. Koasati Dictionary (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994) and Jack B. Martin, and Margaret McKane Mauldin, A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee: With Notes on the Florida and Oklahoma Seminole Dialects of Creek (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press in cooperation with the American Indian Studies Research Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2000).
 Tocoy was a missionized Florida town that had been abandoned in 1616. See John E. Worth, The Timucuan Chiefdoms of Spanish Florida: Resistance and Destruction (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998), esp. 30-31.
 In the original: nacimiento.
 A vara is a little less than a present-day meter (Real Academia Española). The 30 varas measured in the document would be about 26 meters today.
 41.8 meters in present-day units.
 Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, confirms this is the Creek term oykeywa, or “spring.”
 In the original: lometa chica.
 Perhaps referring to strike-a-lights used to hit flint to make sparks. See the definition for “eslabón” (“a Steel to strike fire; also, a link of a chain”) in John Stevens, A new Spanish and English Dictionary. Collected from the Best Spanish Authors Both Ancient and Modern […] To which is added a Copious English and Spanish Dictionary […] (London: George Sawbridge, 1706), 177. Available via the Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española at http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUISalirNtlle.
 Probably refers to luster.
 Likely the Santa Fe River whose mouth is the Suwanne River and which leads to Lake Santa Fe in Alachua County, Florida. Approximately 29° 50′ 54.73″ N, 82° 11′ 34.92″ W.
 Benítes y Gálvez refers to rainwater in an uncharacteristically poetic sense. In the original: mui mala por las muchas Aguas del cielo.
 In the original: barbas de Arboles. From this description I am unable to determine what kind of moss or lichen might be used.
 In the original: poniendo una colcha colgada de un Arbol, e hicieron varios otros movimientos, y fuegos para llamar la atención.
 Refers to the center of St. Augustine.
 In the original: Ligeras, which literally means “light,” and here seems to suggest something unchallenging, in the sense of “light labor.” I have thus opted to translate the sense of the passage: “uninteresting.”
 In the original: Hice cargo a S.S. que conbenia detener a el Indio.
 Jack Martin, personal communication 10/23/13, feels this is likely Creek or Mikasuki with an unknown root. The prefix Es means “with” and the suffix ceyci means “make.”
 Compare with the report of Alexander McGillivray, who describes Philatouche as a leader of Chiaha in 1786. Claudio Saunt, ‘“The English Has Now a Mind to Make Slaves of Them All’: Creeks, Seminoles, and the Problem of Slavery,” Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America, ed. James Brooks (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), 72, fn95.