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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. IV. by Robert Kerr

Part 6 out of 10

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need. We took up our quarters in some large quadrangular buildings, where
De Oli was executed, and established ourselves there as if we had been to
have remained permanently. There is the finest water at this place that is
to be found in all New Spain; as likewise a species of tree which is most
admirable for the _siesta_; as, however great may be the heat of the sun,
there is always a most delightful and refreshing coolness under its shade,
and it seems to give out a delicate kind of dew, which is good for the
head. Naco is admirably situated, in a fertile neighbourhood, which
produces different kinds of _sapotes_ in great abundance, and it was then
very populous. Sandoval obtained possession of three chiefs of the
district, whom he treated kindly, by which means the people of the
district remained in peace, but all his endeavours to induce the
inhabitants to return to the town were ineffectual. It was now necessary
to send the reinforcement of ten Coatzacualco veterans which Cortes had
required. At that time I was ill, and besides Sandoval wished to retain me
along with him: Eight valiant soldiers were sent off, however, who
heartily cursed Cortes and his expedition at every step of their march;
for which indeed they had good reason, as they were entirely ignorant of
the state of the country through which they had to go. Sandoval took the
precaution of sending five principal people of the natives along with them,
making known at the same time that he would punish the country most
severely if any injury was done them on their journey. They arrived in
safety at Natividad, where Cortes then was; who immediately embarked for
Truxillo, leaving Godoy in the command of the settlement at Puerto de
Cavallos, with forty Spaniards, who were all that remained of the settlers
who had accompanied de Avila, and of those who had come recently from Cuba.
Godoy maintained himself for some time; but his men were continually
dropping off by disease, and the Indians began at last to despise and
neglect him, refusing to supply the settlement with provisions, so that in
a short time he lost above half his number by sickness and famine, and
three of his men deserted to join Sandoval. By various expeditions and
judicious measures, Sandoval reduced all the country round Naco to peace
and submission, namely the districts of Cirimongo, Acalao, Quinistlan, and
four others, of which I forget the names, and even extended his authority
over the natives as far as Puerto Cavallos, where Godoy commanded.

After six days sail, Cortes arrived at the port of Truxillo, where he
found a colony which had been established by Francisco de las Casas, among
whom were many of the mutineers who had served under De Oli, and who had
been banished from Panuco. Conscious of their guilt, all these men waited
on Cortes, and supplicated for pardon, which he granted them, even
confirming all who had been appointed to offices in the colony; but he
placed his relation Saavedra as commandant of the colony and surrounding
province. Cortes summoned all the chiefs and priests of the Indians, to
whom he made a long harangue, giving them to understand that he had come
among them to induce them to abandon the cruel and abominable practices of
their false religion, and to embrace the only true faith. He also enlarged
upon the power and dignity of our great emperor, to whose government he
required their submission. He was followed by the reverend fathers, who
exhorted them to become proselytes to the holy catholic religion, the
principles of which they explained. After all this, the people readily
agreed to obey our general, and to become vassals to Don Carlos; and
Cortes enjoined them to provide the settlement with provisions, especially
fish, which are caught in great abundance in the sea about the islands of
_Guanojes_[4]; he likewise ordered them to send a number of labourers to
clear the woods in front of the town of Truxillo, so as to open a view of
the sea. Cortes likewise ordered a number of sows with young to be turned
loose in these islands, by which, in a few years, they were amply stocked.
The natives cleared the woods between Truxillo and the sea in two days,
and built fifteen houses for the colonists, one of which for Cortes, was
sufficiently commodious. Cortes became feared and renowned over all the
districts, as far as _Olancho_, where rich mines have been since
discovered; the natives giving him the name of _Captain Hue-hue de Marina_,
or the old captain of Donna Marina. He reduced the whole country to
submission, excepting two or three districts in the mountains, against
which he sent a party of soldiers under Captain Saavedra, who brought most
of them under subjection, one tribe only named the _Acaltecans_ holding

As a great many of the people along with Cortes became sick through the
unhealthiness of the climate, he sent them by a vessel to Hispaniola or
Cuba for the recovery of their healths. By this opportunity, he sent
letters to the royal audience of St Domingo and the reverend brothers of
the order of St Jerome, giving an account of all the events that had
recently happened, and in particular of his having left the government of
Mexico in the hands of deputies, while he proceded to reduce de Oli who
had rebelled. He apprised them of his future intentions, and requested a
reinforcement of soldiers, to enable him to reduce the country where he
now was to subjection; and that they might attach the greater credit to
his report of its value, he sent a valuable present of gold, taken in
reality from his own side-board, but which he endeavoured to make them
believe was the produce of this new settlement. He entrusted the
management of this business to a relation of his own, named Avalos, whom
he directed to take up in his way twenty-five soldiers who, he was
informed, had been left in the island of Cozumel to kidnap Indians to be
sent for slaves to the West Indian islands. This vessel was wrecked about
seventy leagues from the Havanna, on which occasion Avalos and many of the
passengers perished. Those who escaped, among whom was the licentiate
Pedro Lopez, brought the first intelligence to the islands of the
existence of Cortes and his army; as it had been universally believed in
Cuba and Hispaniola that we had all perished. As soon as it was known
where Cortes was, two old ships were sent over to Truxillo with horses and
colts, and one pipe of wine; all the rest of their cargoes consisting of
shirts, caps, and useless trumpery of various kinds. Some of the Indian
inhabitants of the Guanajas islands, which are about eight leagues from
Truxillo, came at this time to Cortes, complaining that the Spaniards had
been accustomed to carry away the natives and their _macegualos_ or slaves,
and that a vessel was now there which was supposed to have come for that
purpose. Cortes immediately sent over one of his vessels to the islands;
but the ship against which the natives complained made sail immediately on
seeing her, and escaped. It was afterwards known, that this vessel was
commanded by the bachelor Moreno, who had been sent on business by the
royal audience of St Domingo to Nombre de Dios.

While Sandoval remained at Naco, the chiefs of two neighbouring districts,
named Quecuspan and Tanchinalchapa, complained to him of a party of
Spaniards, at the distance of a days march from Naco, who robbed their
people and made slaves of them. Sandoval set out against these people
immediately with a party of seventy men, and on coming to the place these
Spaniards were exceedingly surprised at seeing us and took to their arms;
but we soon seized their captain and several others, and made them all
prisoners without any bloodshed. Sandoval reprehended them severely for
their misconduct, and ordered all the Indians whom they had made prisoners
to be immediately released. One Pedro de Garro was the commander of these
men, among whom were several gentlemen, and in comparison of us dirty and
worn down wretches, they were all mounted and attended like lords. They
were all marched to our head-quarters as prisoners; but in a day or two
they became quite reconciled to their lot. The occasion of their coming
into the country was as follows: Pedro Arias de Avila, the governor of
Tierra Firma, had sent a captain named Francisco Hernandez to reduce the
provinces of Nicaragua and New Leon, and to establish a colony in that
place, which he accomplished. After the atrocious murder of Balboa, who
had married Donna Isabella the daughter of Aries, Moreno had been sent
over by the court of royal audience, and persuaded Hernandez, who was now
comfortably settled, to throw off his dependence upon Pedro Aries, and to
establish a distinct government immediately under the royal authority.
Hernandez had done so, and had sent this party under de Garro on purpose
to open a communication from Nicaragua with the north coast, by which to
receive supplies from old Spain. When all this was explained to Sandoval,
he sent Captain Luis Marin to communicate the intelligence to Cortes, in
expectation that he would support the views of Hernandez. I was sent along
with Marin on this occasion, our whole force consisting of ten men. Our
journey was exceedingly laborious, having to cross many rivers which were
much swollen by the rains, and we had at times to make our way through
hostile Indians armed with large heavy lances, by which two of our
soldiers were wounded. We had sometimes three difficult rivers to cross in
one day; and one river, named Xagua, ten leagues from Triumpho de la Cruz,
detained us for two days. By the side of that river we found the skeletons
of seven horses, which had belonged to the troops of de Oli, and had died
from eating poisonous herbs. Several of the rivers and inlets on our
journey were much infested by alligators.

Passing Triumpho de la Cruz and a place called Quemara, we arrived one
evening near Truxillo, where we saw five horsemen riding along the sea
shore, who happened to be our general and four of his friends taking the
air. After the first surprize at this unexpected meeting, Cortes
dismounted and embraced us all with tears in his eyes, quite overjoyed to
see us. It made me quite melancholy to see him, as he was so worn down by
distress and disease, that he appeared much reduced and extremely weak,
insomuch that he had even expected death, and had procured a Franciscan
habit to be buried in. He walked along with us into the town of Truxillo,
and invited us all to sup with him; where we fared so wretchedly that I
had not even my fill of bread or biscuit. After reading over the letters
we had brought him relative to Hernandez, he promised to do every thing in
his power to support him. The two vessels which I formerly mentioned as
having brought horses from Hispaniola, only arrived three days before us,
and we were fools enough to run ourselves in debt by purchasing their
useless frippery. Hitherto Cortes had not received any intelligence
whatever from Mexico since he left it on this disastrous expedition; but,
while we were giving him an account of the hardships of our late journey
from Naco, a vessel was descried at a distance making for our port. This
vessel was from the Havanna, and brought letters from the licentiate Zuazo,
who had been alcalde-major of Mexico, the contents of which overwhelmed
Cortes with such sorrow and distress, that he retired to his private
apartment, whence he did not stir out for a whole day, and we could
distinctly hear that he suffered great agitation. After hearing mass next
morning, he called us together and communicated to us the intelligence
which these letters conveyed, which was to the following effect.

In consequence of the power which Cortes had inconsiderately granted to
Salazar and Chirinos, to supersede Estrada and Albornos in the
administration of government in Mexico, in case of misconduct in these
deputies, they had formed a strong party on their return to Mexico, among
whom were Zuazo the alcalde-major, Rodrigo de Paz, alguazil-major, Alonzo
de Tapis, Jorge de Alvarado, and many of the veteran conquerors, and had
attempted to seize the government by force, and much disturbance and some
bloodshed had ensued. Salazar and Chirinos had carried their point, and
had taken the two former deputies and many of their friends prisoners; and
as discontents and opposition still prevailed, they had confiscated the
property of their opponents, which they distributed among their own
partizans. They had superseded Zuazo in his office of alcalde-major, and
had imprisoned Rodrigo de Paz; yet Zuazo had brought about a temporary
reconciliation. During these disturbances, the Zapotecans and Mixtecans,
and the inhabitants of a strong rocky district named Coatlan had rebelled,
against whom the veedor Chirinos had marched with an armed force; but his
troops thought of nothing but card-playing, so that the enemy had
surprised their camp and done them much mischief. The factor Salazar had
sent a veteran captain, Andres de Monjaraz, to assist and advise Chirinos;
but Monjaraz being an invalid was unable to exert himself properly; and to
add to their distractions, an insurrection was every hour expected in
Mexico. The factor Salazar, constantly remitted gold to his majesties
treasurer, Don Francisco de los Cobos, to make interest for himself at
court, reporting that we had all died at Xicalonga. This report originated
with Diego de Ordas, who, on purpose to escape from the factious troubles
in Mexico, had gone with two vessels in search of us to Xicalongo, where
Cuenca and Medina had been slain as formerly mentioned, on learning which
misfortune he concluded it had been Cortes and his whole party, which he
so reported in letters to Mexico, and had sailed himself to Cuba. Salazar
shewed these letters to our several relations in Mexico, who all put on
mourning, and so universally were we all believed to be dead, that out
properties had been sold by public auction. The factor Salazar even
assumed to himself the office of governor and captain-general of New Spain;
a monument was erected to the honour of Cortes, and funeral service was
performed for him in the great church of Mexico. The self-assumed governor
even issued an order, that all the women whose husbands had gone with
Cortes, and who had any regard for their souls, should consider themselves
as widows and should immediately marry again; and because a woman named
Juana de Mansilla, the wife of Alonzo Valiente, refused to obey this order,
alleging we were not people who would be so easily destroyed as Salazar
and his party, she was ordered to be publickly whipped through Mexico as a
witch. One person from whom we expected better behaviour, and whose name I
will not mention, by way of flattering Salazar, solemnly assured him
before many witnesses, that one night, as he was passing the church of St
Jago, which is built on the site of the great temple of Mexico, he saw the
souls of Cortes, Donna Marina, and Sandoval burning in flames of fire:
Another person, also, of good reputation, pretended that the quadrangles
of Tescuco were haunted by evil spirits, which the natives said were the
souls of Donna Marina and Cortes.

At this time the captains Las Casas and De Avila, who had beheaded
Christoval de Oli, arrived in Mexico, and publickly asserted the existence
of Cortes, reprobating the conduct of Salazar, and declaring if Cortes
were actually dead, that Alvarado was the only fit person to have been
raised to the government, till his majesties pleasure could be known.
Alvarado was written to on the subject, and even set out for Mexico; but
becoming apprehensive for his life, he returned to his district. Finding
that he could not bring over Las Casas, De Avila, and Zuazo to his party,
Salazar caused the two former to be arrested and prosecuted for the murder
of De Oli, and even procured their condemnation; and it was with the
utmost difficulty their execution could be prevented by an appeal to his
majesty; but he was obliged to content himself with sending them prisoners
to Spain. He next sent off the licentiate Zuazo in irons to Cuba, under
pretence of making him answer for his conduct while acting as a judge in
that island. Salazar collected all the gold he could lay his hands upon,
and seized Rodrigo de Paz, alguazil-major of Mexico, who had been major
domo to Cortes, demanding of him an account and surrender of all the
treasure belonging to the general; and as he either could not or would not
discover where it was, he caused him to be tortured by burning his feet
and legs, and even caused him to be hanged that he might not carry his
complaints to his majesty. His object in collecting gold was to support
his negociations at court; but in this he was counteracted by almost all
the other officers of government in New Spain, who determined to send
their own statements of the affairs of the colony to court by the same
conveyance with his. He arrested most of the friends of Cortes, several of
whom joined his party as he gave them Indians, and because they wished to
be of the strongest side; but Tapia and Jorge Alvarado took sanctuary with
the Franciscans. To deprive the malcontents of arms, he brought the whole
contents of the arsenal to his palace, in front of which he planted all
the artillery for his defence, under the command of Captain Luis de Guzman,
son-in-law to the duke of Medina Sidonia. He formed likewise a body guard
for his own individual protection, partly composed of soldiers who had
belonged to Cortes, to the command of which he appointed one Arriaga. This
letter likewise mentioned the death of Father Bartholomew de Olmedo, who
was so much revered by the native Mexicans, that they fasted from the time
of his death till after his burial. Zuazo, in the conclusion of his letter,
expressed his apprehensions that the colony of Mexico would be utterly
ruined by these confusions. Along with this long and melancholy letter
from Zuazo, Cortes received letters from his father, informing him of the
death of the bishop of Burgos, and of the intrigues of Albornos at court,
already mentioned on a former occasion, and the interference of the Duke
of Bejar in his behalf. He also told him that Narvaez had been appointed
to the government of the country on the river Palmas, and one Nuno de
Guzman to the province of Panuco.

The intelligence from Zuazo made us all very melancholy, and it is
difficult to say which of the two we cursed most heartily in secret for
our misfortunes, Cortes or Salazar, for we gave them ten thousand
maledictions, and our hearts sunk within us to think of our miserable
plight after all our fatigues and dangers. Cortes retired to his chamber,
and did not appear again till the evening, when we unanimously entreated
him to hasten to Mexico, that he might recover the government from the
usurper. He replied kindly: "My dear friends, this villainous factor is
very powerful. If I go along with you to Mexico, he may waylay us by the
road and murder us all. I think it better for me to go privately to Mexico
with only three or four of you, that I may come upon him at unawares, and
that all the rest of you rejoin Sandoval and go along with him to Mexico."
When I saw that Cortes was resolved on going privately to Mexico, I
anxiously requested to attend him, as I had hitherto accompanied him in
all his difficulties and dangers. He complimented me on my fidelity, but
insisted on my continuing with Sandoval. Several of the colonists of
Truxillo began to grow mutinous, because Cortes had neglected promoting
them to offices; but he pacified them by promises of providing for them
when he should be replaced in his government of Mexico. Previous to his
intended departure, he wrote to Diego de Godoy, to quit Puerto Cavallos
with his settlers, where they were unable to remain on account of
mosquitos and other vermin, ordering them to relieve us in the good
settlement of Naco. He also ordered that we should take the province of
Nicaragua in our way to Mexico, as it was a country in his opinion worth
taking care of. We took our leave of Cortes, who embarked on his intended
voyage, and we set out cheerfully for Naco to join Sandoval, as Mexico was
now the object of our march. The route to Naco was as usual attended with
much difficulty and distress, yet we got safe there, and found that
Captain De Garro had set off for Nicaragua, to inform his commander
Hernandez that Cortes was setting out for Mexico, and had promised to give
him all the assistance in his power.

Two confidential friends of Pedro Aries had come to the knowledge of the
private correspondence between Hernandez and Cortes, and suspected that
Hernandez meant to detach himself from the command of Aries, and to
surrender his province to Cortes. The names of these men were Garruito and
Zamorrano, the former of whom was urged by an ancient enmity to Cortes, on
account of a rivalship between them in Hispaniola when both young men,
about a lady, which ended in a duel. These persons communicated
intelligence of all they knew to Aries, who immediately hastened to
Nicaragua, to seize all the parties concerned. Garro took the alarm in
time, and made his escape to us; but Hernandez, relying on his former
intimacy with Aries, expected that he would not proceed to extremities
against him, and waited his arrival. He was miserably disappointed in
these hopes, as Aries, after a summary process, ordered him to execution
as a traitor to his superior officer.

On his first attempt to sail from Truxillo to Vera Cruz, Cortes was put
back by contrary winds, and a second time by an accident happening to his
ship. Dispirited by sickness, the accidents which had delayed his voyage
prayed on his spirits, he became apprehensive of the power of Salazar
being too great for him, and his lofty mind sunk under superstitious fears.
On his second return to Truxillo, he ordered the celebration of a solemn
mass, and prayed fervently to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to his
future proceedings. On this occasion it appears that he became inclined to
remain in Truxillo to colonize that part of the country; and in three
several expresses which he sent in quick succession to recall us to that
place, he attributed his determination on that subject to the inspiration
of his guardian angel. On receiving these messages, we cursed Cortes and
his bad fortune, and declared to Sandoval that he must remain by himself,
if he chose that measure, as we were resolved on returning to Mexico.
Sandoval was of the same opinion with us, and we sent a letter to Cortes
to that effect signed by all of us; to which we had an answer in a few
days, making great offers to such of us as would remain, and saying, if we
refused, that there still were good soldiers to be had in Castile and
elsewhere. On receiving this letter we were more determined than ever to
proceed; but Sandoval persuaded us to wait a few days till he could see
and speak with Cortes; to whom we wrote in reply, that if he could find
soldiers in Castile, so could we find governors and generals in Mexico,
who would give us plantations for our services, and that we had already
suffered sufficient misfortunes by following him. With this reply Sandoval
set off, attended by a soldier named Sauzedo and a farrier, swearing by
his beard that he would not return till he had seen Cortes embarked for
Mexico. On this occasion Sandoval applied to me for my horse, an excellent
animal for speed, exercise, and travel, which cost me six hundred crowns,
my former horse having been killed in action at a place called Zulaco.
Sandoval gave me one of his in exchange, which was killed under me in less
than two months; after which I was reduced to a vicious colt which I
bought from the two vessels at Truxillo. On parting from us, Sandoval
desired us to wait his return at a large Indian town called Acalteca.

When Sandoval came to Truxillo, Cortes received him very joyfully; but
neither his pressing instances nor our letter could prevail on him to
proceed to Mexico. He prevailed on him, therefore, to send Martin de
Orantes, a confidential servant, with a commission to Pedro de Alvarado
and Francisco de las Casas, in case these officers were in Mexico, to
assume the government till he should return; or, in the event of their
absence, to authorise the treasurer, Estrada, and the contador, Albornos,
to resume the power granted by the former deputation, revoking that which
he had so inadvertently given to the factor Salazar and the veedor
Chirinos, which they had so grossly abused. Cortes agreed to this, and
having given Orantes his instructions and commissions, directed him to
land in a bay between Vera Cruz and Panuco, suffering no person but
himself to go on shore, after which the vessel was immediately to proceed
to Panuco, that his arrival might be kept as secret as possible. Orantes
was likewise furnished with letters from Cortes to all his friends in New
Spain, and to the treasurer and contador, although he knew they were not
of that description, desiring them all to use their utmost diligence in
displacing the present tyrannical usurpers. Having favourable weather,
Orantes soon arrived at his destination; and disguising himself as a
labourer, set forward on his journey, always avoiding the Spaniards, and
lodging only among the natives. When questioned by any one, he called
himself Juan de Flechilla; and indeed he was so altered during his absence
of two years and three months, that his most intimate acquaintances could
not have recognised him. Being a very active man, he arrived in four days
in Mexico, which he entered in the dark, and proceeded immediately to the
convent of the Franciscans, where he found the Alvarados and several other
friends of Cortes, who were there concealed. On explaining his errand and
producing the letters of Cortes, every one was exceedingly rejoiced, and
even the reverend fathers danced for gladness. The gates of the monastery
were immediately locked, to preclude all notice being conveyed to the
adverse party; and about midnight, the treasurer and contador, and many of
the friends of Cortes were brought secretly to the convent, where the
intelligence was communicated to them. In a grand consultation, it was
resolved to seize the factor Salazar next morning, the contador Chirinos
being still occupied at the rock of Coatlan.

The rest of the night was employed in providing arms and collecting all
their friends, and at day-break next morning the whole party marched for
the palace which Salazar inhabited, calling out as they went along, "Long
live the king, and the governor Hernando Cortes." When this was heard by
the citizens, they all took up arms; and under an idea that their
assistance was required by the government, many of them joined Estrada on
the march. The contador Albornos played a double game on the occasion, as
he sent intelligence to put Salazar on his guard, for which Estrada
reproached him afterwards with much severity. On approaching the palace,
the friends of Cortes found Salazar already well prepared for resistance,
in consequence of the information he had received; the artillery under
Guzman being drawn out ready for action in front of the palace, and a
strong garrison inside for its defence. But the adherents of Cortes pushed
on, forcing their way by the different doors, and others by the terraces
or wherever they could get access, continually shouting, for the king and
Cortes. The adherents of Salazar were dismayed; the artillery-men
abandoned the guns, and the other soldiers run away and hid themselves,
leaving the poor factor with only Pedro Gonzalez Sabiote and four servants.
Salazar being thus abandoned, became desperate, and endeavoured to fire
off one of the guns, in which attempt he was made prisoner, and confined
in a wooden cage. Circular notice of this revolution was immediately
conveyed to all the provinces of New Spain; and the veedor Chirinos,
leaving the command of his troops with Monjaraz, took refuge in the
Franciscan monastery at Tescuco; but was shortly afterwards made prisoner
and secured in another cage. Immediate intelligence of this revolution was
transmitted to Pedro de Alvarado, with directions to go immediately to
Truxillo to wait upon Cortes. The next thing done by the new deputies was
to wait upon Juanna de Mansilla, who had been whipped as a witch, who was
placed on horseback behind the treasurer Estrada, in which situation she
was escorted in grand procession through all the streets of Mexico, like a
Roman matron, and was ever afterwards stiled _Donna Juanna_, in honour of
her constancy, for refusing to marry again while she believed her husband
was still living.

As the situation of Mexico evidently required the presence of Cortes, Fra
Diego de Altamirano was sent by his friends to represent to him the
necessity of setting out immediately for the capital. This reverend father
had been in the army before he entered the church, and was a man of
considerable abilities, and experienced in business. On his arrival at
Truxillo, and giving Cortes an account of the recent events in Mexico, the
general gave thanks to God for the restoration of peace; but declared his
intention of going to Mexico by land, being afraid of encountering the
adverse currents, and because of the bad state of his health. The pilots,
however, represented that the season was quite favourable for the voyage,
it being then the month of April, and prevailed on him to give up his
first resolution. But he would on no account leave Truxillo till the
return of Sandoval, who had been detached with seventy soldiers against a
Captain Roxas, who served under Pedro Arias de Avila, against whom
complaints had been made by the inhabitants of Olancho, a district about
fifty-five leagues from Truxillo. When the parties first met they were on
the brink of proceeding to hostilities; but they were reconciled and
parted amicably, Roxas and his men agreeing to evacuate the country.
Sandoval was recalled in consequence of the arrival of Altamirano, and
Cortes took measures to leave the country in good order, of which Saavedra
was left lieutenant-governor. Captain Luis Marin was directed to march our
whole party to Mexico by way of Guatimala, and Captain Godoy was ordered
to take the command at Naco. All things being now settled for the
departure of Cortes, he confessed to Fra Juan and received the Sacrament,
previous to his embarkation, as he was so exceedingly ill that he thought
himself on the point of death. The wind was favourable, and he soon
arrived at the Havanna, where he was honourably received by his former
friends and acquaintances, and where he had the pleasure, by a vessel just
arrived from Vera Cruz, to receive intelligence that New Spain was
entirely restored to peace; as all the refractory Indians, on hearing that
Cortes and we their former conquerors were alive and returning, had come
in and made their submissions.

The conduct of Salazar and Chirinos during their usurped authority had
gained them many adherents; as, by means of their confiscations and the
distribution of property among their greedy supporters, many were
interested in the maintenance of their authority. These were mostly of the
lower order, and persons of a seditious disposition; though some men of
quality, especially influenced by the contador Albornos, who dreaded the
arrival of Cortes, had formed a plot to kill the treasurer Estrada, and to
reinstate Salazar and Chirinos in the government. For the purpose of
releasing them from prison, they employed one Guzman, a white-smith, a
fellow of low character who affected to be a wit, to make keys for opening
their cages, giving him a piece of gold of the form which they required,
and enjoining the strictest secrecy. He undertook all that they asked with
the utmost apparent zeal, pretending to be very anxious for the liberation
of the prisoners; and by his affected humour and zeal for the cause,
contrived to become acquainted with their whole plan of procedure: But
when the keys were finished and the plot ripe for execution, he
communicated intelligence of the whole affair to Estrada; who instantly
assembled the friends of Cortes, and went to the place of meeting, where
he found twenty of the conspirators already armed and waiting for the
signal. These were seized, but many others made their escape. Among the
prisoners there were several very notorious characters, one of whom had
lately committed violence on a Spanish woman. They were immediately
brought to trial before Ortega, the alcalde-major of Mexico; and, being
convicted, three of them were hanged, and several of the rest whipped.

I must here digress, to mention an affair not exactly accordant in point
of time with my narrative, but relevant in regard to its subject. By the
same vessel in which Salazar had transmitted letters to his majesty
tending to criminate Cortes, other letters were conveyed and so artfully
concealed that he had no suspicion of their existence, in which a full and
true account of all his oppresions and unlawful proceedings was sent to
his majesty. All these facts had also been reported by the royal court of
audience at St Domingo; by which the reported death of Cortes was
contradicted, and his majesty was truly informed in what manner the
general was employed for his service. In consequence of these
representations, the emperor is said to have expressed his high
indignation at the unworthy treatment which Cortes had experienced, and
his determination to support him in the government of New Spain.

[1] The true lion, Felis leo, is only found in the old world, chiefly in
Africa and the south of Persia. The American lion, or _puma_, the
Felis concolor of naturalists, is considerably less than the true lion,
being about the size of a large wolf, of a lively red colour tinged
with black, but without spots. It climbs trees, whence it drops down
by surprise on animals passing below; and though fierce and cunning,
hardly ever ventures to attack mankind.--E.

[2] The iguana, instead of being a _serpent_, is a large species of
_lizard_, the Lacerta iguana of naturalists. It abounds in all the
warm and marshy parts of America, and is reckoned excellent eating.--E.

[3] Diaz is very lax in his topographical notices of this famous
expedition. The settlement of St Gil de Buena Vista, where Cortes now
was, appears to have been at the bottom of the gulf of Amatique in the
bay of Honduras, on the east side of the inlet which communicates with
the _golfo dolce_. His exploration of that inland gulf, was probably
in the hope of finding a navigable passage to the Pacific Ocean. The
settlement which Cortes projected in Puerto Cavallos, must have been
near that now called Fort Omoa.--E.

[4] These islands of Guanajes appear to be those called by the English
settlers of Honduras, Ratan and Bonaeo, off cape Honduras.--E.


_Return of Cortes to Mexico, and occurrences there previous to his
departure for Europe; together with an account of the return of the Author
to Mexico_.

Cortes remained five days at the Havanna for refreshment, after which he
reimbarked, and in twelve days arrived at the port of Medelin, opposite
the _Isla de los Sacrificios_, where he disembarked with twenty soldiers;
and while proceeding to the town of San Juan de Ulua, about half a league
from Medelin, he had the good fortune to fall in with a string of horses
and mules which had been employed in conveying travellers to the coast,
which he immediately engaged to carry him and his suit to Vera Cruz[1]. He
gave strict orders to all who accompanied him to give no hint to any
person of his name and quality; and on his arrival at the town before
day-break, he went directly to the church, the doors of which were just
opened. The sacristan was alarmed at seeing so great a number of strangers
going into the church, and immediately ran into the streets to call the
civil power to his assistance. The alcaldes, with the alguazils, and some
of the inhabitants repaired immediately to the church with their arms; and
Cortes was so squalid from long illness, that no one knew him till he
began to speak. The moment he was known, they all fell on their knees and
kissed his hands, welcoming him back to New Spain; and his old
fellow-soldiers escorted him after mass to the quarters of Pedro Moreno,
where he remained eight days, during which he was feasted by the
inhabitants. Intelligence was immediately conveyed of the joyful news to
Mexico and all the surrounding country, and Cortes wrote to all his
friends giving them notice of his arrival. The neighbouring Indians
flocked to wait upon him with presents and congratulations; and when he
set out on his journey to Mexico, every preparation was made for his
accommodation and honourable entertainment. The inhabitants of Mexico, and
all the places round the lake, and those of Tlascala and all the other
Indian towns, celebrated his return with festivals. On his arrival at
Tescuco, the contador came to wait upon him, and on entering the capital,
he was received in great state by all the civil and military officers, and
all the inhabitants. The natives in their gayest attire, and armed as
warriors, filled the lake in their canoes; dancing and festivity prevailed
in every corner of the city during the whole day; and at night every house
was illuminated. Immediately on his arrival, he went to the monastery of
St Francis, to give thanks to God for his preservation and safe return;
and from thence went to his magnificent palace, where he was esteemed,
served, and feared like a sovereign prince, all the provinces sending
messages of congratulation on his happy return, with considerable presents.
This return of Cortes to Mexico was in June[2], and he immediately ordered
the arrest of all who had been most eminent for sedition during his
absence, causing a judicial inquiry to be made into the conduct of the two
principal culprits, Salazar and Chirinos, whom he intended to have brought
immediately to justice for their crimes; and, if he had done so, no one
would have found fault, but in this instance he certainly acted with too
much lenity, or rather want of firmness. I remember to have heard from
some of the members of the royal council of the Indies in 1540, that the
capital punishment of these men would have been approved by his majesty.
One Ocampo, who had been guilty of defamatory libels, and an old scrivener
named Ocana, who used to be called the soul of Chirinos, was arrested on
this occasion.

Shortly after the arrival of Cortes in Mexico, the licentiate Luis Ponce
de Leon arrived unexpectedly at Medelin, and Cortes was surprised with
this intelligence while performing his devotions in the church of St
Francis. He prayed earnestly for direction from God, that he might so
conduct himself on this critical emergency, as seemed best fitting to his
holy will, and the good service of his sovereign; and immediately sent a
confidential person to bring him information of the particular object and
tendency of the coming of De Leon. In two days after, he received a copy
of the royal orders to receive the licentiate as resident judge of Mexico:
In consequence of which, he dispatched a person with a complimentary
message, desiring to know which of the two roads to the city De Leon
intended to take, that he might give orders for every proper accommodation
to be prepared suitable to his rank. De Leon sent back an answer, thanking
him for his polite attention, but that he proposed to repose for some time
where he then was, to recover from the fatigues of his voyage. This
interval was busily employed by the enemies of Cortes, in misrepresenting
all the transactions in which Cortes had been concerned. They asserted
that Cortes intended to put the factor and veedor to death before the
arrival of De Leon at Mexico, and even warned him to take great care of
his own personal safety, alleging that the civility of Cortes in desiring
to know the road he meant to take, were to enable him to prepare for his
assassination, under pretence of doing him honour. The persons with whom
the licentiate principally consulted were, Proano, the alcalde-major, and
his brother, who was alcalde of the citadel, named Salazar de la Pedrada,
who soon afterwards died of a pleurisy; Marcos de Aguilar, a licentiate or
bachelor; a soldier named Bocanegra de Cordova, and certain friars of the
Dominican order, of whom Fra Thomas Ortiz was provincial. This man had
been a prior somewhere, and was said to be much better fitted for worldly
affairs, than for the concerns of his holy office. By these men De Leon
was advised to proceed to Mexico without delay, and accordingly the last
messengers sent to him by Cortes met him on the road at Iztapalapa. A
sumptuous banquet was prepared at this place for De Leon and his suit, in
which, after several abundant and magnificent courses, some cheese-cakes
and custards were served up as great delicacies, which were much relished,
and some of the company eat of them so heartily that they became sick.
Ortiz asserted that they had been mixed up with arsenic, and that he had
refrained from eating them from suspicion; but some who were present
declared that he partook of them heartily, and declared they were the best
he had ever tasted. This ridiculous story was eagerly circulated by the
enemies of Cortes. While De Leon was at Iztapalapa, Cortes remained in
Mexico; and report said that he sent at this time a good sum in gold as a
present to the licentiate. When De Leon set out from Iztapalapa, Cortes
having notice of his approach, went immediately to meet him, with a grand
and numerous retinue of all the officers and gentlemen of the city. At
meeting, many civilities passed between the two great men, and Cortes
prevailed with some difficulty on De Leon to take the right hand. De Leon
proceeded immediately to the monastery of St Francis, to offer up his
thanks to the Almighty for his safe arrival, whence he was conducted by
Cortes to a palace prepared for him, where he was most sumptuously
entertained, all business being deferred for that day. On this occasion
the grandeur and politeness of Cortes were so conspicuous, that De Leon is
said to have observed privately among his friends, that Cortes must have
been long practising the manners of a great man.

Next day, the _cabildo_ or council of Mexico, all the civil and military
officers, and all the veterans who were present in the capital, were
ordered to assemble; and in the presence of all these, the licentiate
Ponce de Leon produced his commission from his majesty. Cortes kissed it,
and placed it on his head as a mark of respectful submission, and all
present declared their ready obedience. The licentiate then received from
Cortes the rod of justice, in token of surrendering the government into
his hands, saying: "General, I receive this government from you by the
orders of his majesty; although it is by no means implied that you are not
most worthy both of this and of a higher trust." The general answered,
"That he was always happy in obeying the commands of his majesty, and was
the more satisfied on the present occasion, because he would have an
opportunity to prove the malice and falsehood of his enemies." De Leon
replied, "That in all societies there were good and bad men, for such was
the way of the world; and he trusted that both would be repaid in kind."
This was all the material business of the first day. On the next, the new
governor sent a respectful summons to Cortes, who accordingly waited upon
him, and they had a long private conference, at which no one was present
except the prior Ortiz: Yet it was believed that the conversation was to
the following effect. De Leon observed, that it was the wish of his
majesty that those who had most merit in the conquest of the country
should be well provided for in the distribution of plantations, those
soldiers who had first come from Cuba being more especially considered:
Whereas it was understood that they had been neglected, while others who
had newly arrived had been gratified with unmerited wealth. To this Cortes
answered, that all had got shares in the division of the country; and that
it could not be imputed to him that some of these had turned out of less
value than others: But it was now in the power of the new governor to
remedy this inequality. The governor then asked why Luis de Godoy had been
left to perish in a distant settlement, when the veterans ought to have
been allowed to enjoy the comforts of established possessions in Mexico,
and the new settlements assigned to new colonists: And why Captain Luis
Marin, Bernal Diaz, and other approved veterans had been neglected. Cortes
answered, That for business of difficulty and danger, none but the
veterans could be depended on: But that all these were soon expected to
return to Mexico, when the new governor would have it in his power to
provide for them. De Leon next questioned him rather sharply about his
imprudent march against Christoval de Oli, which he had undertaken without
permission from his majesty. Cortes said, That he looked upon that measure
as necessary for his majestys service, as such an example might have
dangerous effects on officers entrusted with subordinate commands; and
that he had reported his intentions to his majesty before he set out on
this expedition. De Leon questioned him likewise on the affairs of Narvaez,
Garay, and Tapia; on all of which subjects Cortes gave such answers that
the governor seemed perfectly satisfied.

Soon after this conference, Ortiz called on three very intimate friends of
the general, and pretending to be actuated only by the most friendly
desire to serve him, assured them that the governor had secret orders from
the emperor to behead Cortes immediately; and that he, from private regard,
and in conformity with the duties of his holy functions, had considered it
to be his duty to give him this intelligence. He even desired an interview
with Cortes next morning, and communicated the same information to him,
accompanied with many protestations of regard and friendship. This
assuredly gave Cortes a very serious subject of meditation: But he had
already been informed of the intriguing character of the prior, and
suspected all this proceeded from a wish to be bribed for his good offices
with the governor; though some alleged that Ortiz acted by the secret
directions of De Leon on this occasion. Cortes received this pretended
friendly information with many thanks; but declared his belief that his
majesty had a better opinion of his services, than to proceed against him
in this clandestine manner; and that he had too high an opinion of the
governor, than to believe he could proceed to such extremities without the
royal warrant. When the prior found that his sly conduct did not produce
the effect which he had expected, he remained so confused that he knew not
what farther to say on the occasion. The new governor gave public notice,
for all who had complaints to make against the former administration, to
bring their charges, whether against Cortes, or any others of the civil or
military officers. In consequence of this, a vast number of accusers,
litigants, and claimants started up; among whom many private enemies of
the general preferred unjust accusations against him, while others made
just claims for what was really due to them. Some alleged that they had
not received their just shares of the gold; others that they had not been
sufficiently rewarded in the distribution of settlements; some demanded
remuneration for their horses which had been killed in the wars, though
they had already been paid ten times their value; and others demanded
satisfaction for personal injuries. Just as the governor had opened his
court to give a hearing to all parties, it pleased God, for our sins, and
to our great misfortune, that he was suddenly taken ill of a fever. He
remained four days in a lethargic state; after which, by the advice of his
physicians, he confessed and received the sacrament with great devotion,
and appointed Marcos de Aguilar, who had come with him from Spain, to
succeed him in the government. On the ninth day from the commencement of
his illness, he departed from this life, to the great grief of all the
colonists, particularly the military, as he certainly intended to have
redressed all abuses, and to have rewarded us according to our merits. He
was of a gay disposition, and fond of music; and it is said that his
attendants, while his illness was at the height, brought a lute player
into his apartment, in hopes of soothing his distress. While a favourite
air was playing, he was said to have beat time with perfect accuracy, and
expired just when the tune was finished.

Immediately on his death, the enemies of Cortes in Mexico circulated the
most malignant slanders against him, even going the length of asserting
that he said Sandoval had poisoned the governor as he had before done with
Garay. The most busy in propagating this malicious report was the Prior
Ortiz. But the truth was, that the vessel which brought the governor and
his suite from Spain was infected with the disease of which he died; above
a hundred of the crew and passengers having died at sea or soon after
landing; among whom, almost all the friars who came out at that time were
carried off, and the contagion spread through the city of Mexico. Some of
the principal people in Mexico objected against the appointment which the
late governor had made of a successor; alleging that Marcos de Aguilar was
only a bachelor and not a licentiate, and therefore incapable of acting in
that capacity. The cabildo of Mexico insisted that Aguilar was incapable
of executing the high office to which De Leon had appointed him, on
account of his age and infirmities; as he was a diseased hectic old man,
who was obliged to drink goats milk, and to be suckled by a woman to keep
him alive; they recommended therefore that Cortes should be associated
with him in the government: But Aguilar insisted on adhering strictly to
the testament of his predecessor; and Cortes, for substantial private
reasons, was entirely averse from taking any share in the authority. The
enemies of Cortes insisted on the inquiry proceeding in the manner
intended by the late governor; and Cortes readily assented to this,
providing the new governor would take the responsibility on himself for
acting contrary to the testament of his predecessor, who had left orders
for him not to proceed with the business before the court, but that the
whole should be laid before his majesty.

It is now proper to revert to our situation who had been left at Naco,
when Cortes set sail from Truxillo for the Havanna and Mexico. We remained
for some time at Naco, waiting intelligence for the sailing of Cortes,
which Sandoval was to have sent us; but Saavedra maliciously suppressed
the letters. Becoming impatient after a considerable delay, our captain,
Luis Marin, sent ten of the cavalry, among whom I was, to Truxillo to
learn the truth. On our arrival at a place named Olancho, we learned from
some Spaniards that Cortes was sailed; which information was soon
afterwards confirmed by a message from Saavedra. We returned therefore
joyfully to Marin, and set out for Mexico, throwing stones at the country
we were quitting, as a mark of our dislike. At a place called Maniani,
we met five soldiers commanded by Diego de Villaneuva, one of our brave
veterans, who were sent in search of us by Alvarado, who was at a place
not far distant, named _Chohilteca Malalaca_, where we joined him in two
days, and where we were likewise joined by a party belonging to Pedro
Arias de Avilla, who had sent some of his captains to adjust some disputed
boundaries with Alvarado. From this place, where we remained three days,
Alvarado sent one Gaspar Arias de Avilla to treat on some confidential
business with Pedro Arias, I believe relative to a marriage; for Pedro
Arias seemed much devoted henceforwards to Alvarado. Continuing our march
through a hostile country, the natives killed one of our soldiers, and
wounded three; but we were too much in haste to punish them as they
deserved. Farther on in Guatimala, the natives manned the passes against
us, and we were detained three days in forcing our way through, on which
occasion I received a slight wound. While in the valley where the city of
Guatimala has been since built, and all the people of which were hostile,
we had a number of shocks of an earthquake, all of which continued a long
while, and were so violent that several of our soldiers were thrown down.
On passing old Guatimala, the natives assembled against us in hostile
array, but we drove them before us, and took possession of their
magnificent dwellings and quadrangles for the night, and hutted ourselves
next day on the plain, where we remained ten days. During this time
Alvarado summoned the neighbouring Indians to submit, but they neglected
to appear. We then proceeded by long marches to Olintepec, where Alvarados
main force was stationed, whence we proceeded by Soconuzco and Teguantepec
towards Mexico, losing two soldiers on our march, and the Mexican lord
named Juan Velasquez, who had been a chief under Guatimotzin.

On our arrival at Oaxaca, we learned the news of the death of Ponce de
Leon the governor. We pressed forward to Mexico, and on our arrival at
Chalco sent messengers to inform Cortes of our approach, and to request he
would provide us with good quarters, having been two years and three
months absent on our expedition. Cortes, attended by many gentlemen on
horseback, met us on the causeway and accompanied us into the city, where
we immediately went to the great church to return thanks to God for our
arrival, after which we went to the generals palace, where a sumptuous
entertainment was provided for us. Alvarado went to reside at the fortress,
of which he had been appointed alcalde. Luis Marin went to lodge with
Sandoval; and Captain Luis Sanchez and I, were taken by Andres de Tapia to
his house. Cortes and Sandoval and all our other friends sent us presents
of gold and cacao to bear our expences[3]. Next day, my friend Sanchez and
I went to wait upon the new governor Aguilar, accompanied by Sandoval and
De Tapia. We were received with much politeness, saying he would have done
every thing in his power for us, if so authorised, but every thing having
been referred by De Leon to his majesty, he was unable to make any new

At this time Diego de Ordas arrived from Cuba, who was said to have
circulated the report of our deaths; but he declared that he had only sent
an account of the unfortunate catastrophe of Xicalonga as it really
happened, and that the misrepresentation proceeded entirely from the
factor Salazar. Cortes had so much business on his hands that he thought
proper to drop this affair, and endeavoured to recover his property which
had been disposed of under the supposition of his death. A great part of
it had been expended in celebrating his funeral obsequies, and in the
purchase of perpetual masses for his soul; but, on his being discovered to
be alive, had been repurchased by one Juan Caceres for his own benefit
when he might happen to die, so that Cortes could not recover his property.
Ordas, who was a man of much experience, seeing that Cortes was fallen
much into neglect since he was superseded from the government, advised him
to assume more state and consequence to maintain the respect due to him:
But such was his native plainness of manners, that he never wished to be
called otherwise than simply _Cortes_; a truly noble name, as glorious as
those of Cesar, Pompey, or Hanibal among the ancients. Ordas likewise
informed Cortes of a current report in Mexico, that he intended to put
Salazar privately to death in prison, and warned him that he was
powerfully patronized. About this time, the treasurer Estrada married one
of his daughters to Jorge de Alvarado, and another to Don Luis de Guzman,
son to the Conde de Castellar. Pedro de Alvarado went over to Spain to
solicit the government of Guatimala, sending in the meantime his brother
Jorge to reduce that province, with a force chiefly composed of the
warriors of the different nations that were in our alliance. The governor
also sent a force against the province of Chiapa, under the command of Don
Juan Enriquez de Guzman, a near relation to the Duke of Medina Sidonia:
And an expedition was sent against the Zapotecan mountaineers, under
Alonzo de Herrera, one of our veteran soldiers.

Having lingered about eight months, Marcos de Aguilar died, and appointed
by his testament Alonzo de Estrada the treasurer to succeed him in the
government: But the Cabildo of Mexico and many of the principal Spaniards
were very solicitous that Cortes should be associated in the government;
and on his peremptory refusal, they recommended that Sandoval, who was
then alguazil-major, should act in conjunction with Estrada, which
accordingly was the case. The incompetence of Estrada for conducting the
government in the present conjuncture, particularly appeared from the
following circumstance. Nuno de Guzman, who had held the government of
Panuco for two years, conducted himself in a furious and tyrannical manner,
arbitrarily extending the bounds of his jurisdiction on the most frivolous
pretences, and putting to death all who dared to oppose his commands.
Among these, Pedro Gonzalez de Truxillo, having asserted truly that his
district was dependent on Mexico, Guzman immediately ordered him to be
hanged. He put many other Spaniards to death, merely to make himself
feared; and set the authority of the governor of Mexico at defiance. Some
of the enemies of Cortes persuaded Estrada to represent to the court of
Spain, that he had been compelled by the influence of Cortes to associate
Sandoval with himself in the government, contrary to his inclination, and
to the detriment of his majesties service. By the same conveyance, a
string of malevolent falsehoods were transmitted against the general; as
that he had poisoned Garay, De Leon, and Aguilar; that he had endeavoured
to administer arsenic in cheese-cakes to a great number of people at a
feast; that he was plotting the deaths of the veedor and factor Chirinos
and Salazar, then in jail; and that he had procured the death of his wife,
Donna Catalina. All these lies were supported by the industry of the
contador Albornos, then in Spain: And, in consequence of these gross
falsehoods, Cortes was partly judged unheard; as orders were sent to
release Salazar and Chirinos; and Pedro de la Cueva, commendator-major of
Alcantara, was ordered to go out to Mexico with an escort of three hundred
soldiers at the expence of Cortes, with authority to put Cortes to death
if his guilt were proved, and to distribute his property among the veteran
conquerors of Mexico. This was to have been done, however, under the
authority of a court of royal audience, which was to be sent out to Mexico;
but all ended in nothing; as neither De la Cueva nor the court of royal
audience made their appearance.

Estrada was greatly elated by the countenance he received at court, which
he attributed to his being considered as a natural son of the Catholic
king. He disposed of governments at his pleasure, and carried every thing
with a high hand. At this time he sent his relation Mazoriejos to inquire
into the conduct of Don Juan Enriquez de Guzman in Chiapa, who is said to
have made more plunder there than was proper. He sent also a force against
the Zapotecas and Mixtecas, under the command of one De Barrios, said to
be a brave soldier who had served in Italy. I do not mean De Barrios of
Seville, the brother-in-law of Cortes. This officer marched with a hundred
men against the Zapotecas; but they surprised him, one night, and slew
himself and seven of his soldiers. Such was the difference between these
raw half formed soldiers, who were ignorant of the stratagems of the enemy,
and us the veteran conquerors. One Figuero, a particular friend of Estrada,
was sent with a hundred new soldiers to the province of Oaxaca. On passing
through the country of the Zapotecas, Figuero fell into a dispute with one
Alonzo de Herrera, who had been sent to command there by the late governor
Aguilar, in which Figuero and three soldiers were wounded. Finding himself
unable for the field, and that his soldiers were unfit for expeditions
among the mountains, Figuero thought proper to search for the sepulchres
of the ancient chiefs, on purpose to appropriate the gold which used to be
buried along with them; by which means he collected above an hundred
thousand crowns, and returned with this wealth to Mexico, leaving the
province in a worse state than before. From Mexico he went to Vera Cruz,
where he embarked for Spain; but he and all his wealth went to the bottom,
as the vessel in which he sailed was lost in a storm. The business of
subjecting these Indians was finally left for us, the veterans of
Coatzacualco, who at length reduced them to submission. They used to
submit during the summer, and to rebel when the torrents rendered their
country inaccessible. I was on three expeditions against them; and at last
the town of St Alfonso was built to keep them under subjection.

When the governor heard how his friend Figuero had been maltreated by
Herrera, he sent the officers of justice to apprehend him, but he made his
escape to the rocks and woods. They took a soldier named Cortejo who used
to accompany him, whom they brought prisoner to Mexico, where the governor
ordered his right hand to be cut off, without hearing him in his defence,
although he was a gentleman. About this time also, a servant belonging to
Sandoval wounded one of Estradas servants in a quarrel. The governor had
him arrested, and sentenced him to have his right hand cut off, Cortes and
Sandoval resided at this time in Quernavaca, partly on prudential
considerations; and immediately posted off to Mexico, where he is said to
have used such severe expressions to the governor as to put him in fear of
his life. He called his friends about him to form a guard for his person,
and immediately released Salazar and Chirinos from prison, by whose advice
he issued an order for the expulsion of Cortes from Mexico. When this was
represented to Cortes, he declared his readiness to obey; and since it was
the will of God, that he who had gained that city at the expence of his
best blood, should be banished from it by base and unworthy men, he was
resolved to go immediately to Spain and demand justice from his majesty.
He quitted the city instantly, and went to one of his country residences
at Cojohuacan, from whence in a few days he proceeded towards the coast.
Estradas lady, a person worthy of memory for her many virtues, seeing the
dangerous consequences which were likely to result from this absurd and
arbitrary conduct, remonstrated with her husband on the subject, reminding
him of the many favours he had received from Cortes, the ingratitude with
which he now repaid him, and the many powerful friends of the general.
These representations are said to have induced the treasurer to repent
sincerely of the violent steps he had taken. Just at this time, Fra Julian
Garrios, the first bishop of Tlascala arrived in New Spain, who was much
displeased on hearing the proceedings of the governor; and two days after
his arrival in Mexico, where he was received with great pomp, he undertook
to mediate a reconciliation between the governor and Cortes. Many
seditious persons, knowing the dissatisfaction of Cortes, offered him
their services if he would set himself up as an independant monarch in New
Spain, and he even received similar offers from many persons in Mexico. He
immediately arrested all of these men who were in his reach, threatening
to put them to death, and wrote to inform the bishop of Tlascala of their
treasonable offers. The bishop waited on Cortes, and found his conduct in
every respect satisfactory, of which he sent word to Mexico; and finding
that Cortes was positively determined upon going to Spain, the prelate
added to his letter a severe censure from himself upon the misconduct of
those who had driven him from thence.

[1] The harbour of Medelin is fifteen or twenty miles south from Vera Cruz;
but I suspect the place named St Juan de Ulua in the text is the
modern town of Vera Cruz, the harbour of which is protected by the
island and castle of St Juan de Ulua. The ancient town of Villa Rica
de la Vera Cruz, now called Antigua, is about twenty-five miles north
from modern Vera Cruz.--E.

[2] Diaz is frequently inattentive to dates, and does not on this occasion
inform us of the year: By reference to Robertsons History of America,
II. 266, 12mo. ed Lond. 1800, it certainly apoears to have been in the
year 1524.--E.

[3] It may be proper to remark in this place, that the cacao nuts were
used by the Mexicans before the conquest as a medium for purchases of
small value instead of money, and the practice was continued under the
Spanish dominion, as the markets were supplied by the original natives.
Clavigero, I. 366. says that the Mexicans used five substitutes for
money. 1. Cacao, which they counted by _xiquipils_, or in sacks
containing each three xiquipils, or 24,000 nuts. 2. Small cotton
cloths, called _patolquachtli_. 3. Gold dust in goose quills. 4.
Pieces of copper in the form of the letter T. 5. Thin pieces of


_Narrative of Occurrences, from the Departure of Cortes to Europe till his

About this time likewise, Cortes received letters from the president of
the council of the Indies, the Duke of Bejar, and several others of his
friends in Spain; strongly urging the necessity of his appearance at court
to counteract the malignant accusations of his numerous enemies[1]. By the
same conveyance, he received notice of the death of his father. Having
performed funeral obsequies in memory of his father, he ordered two ships
to be purchased, which he stored so abundantly with provisions of all
kinds, that after his arrival in Spain the overplus might have served for
a voyage of two years. I am uncertain whether Cortes returned to Mexico in
order to arrange his private affairs; but he appointed several agents for
that purpose, the principal of whom was the licentiate Altamirano. His
major-domo, Esquival, was employed in making preparations for the voyage;
who, in crossing the lake to Ajotzinco in a large canoe with six Indians
and a negro, having some ingots of gold in his possession, was waylaid and
murdered; but the manner of his death could never be ascertained, as
neither canoe, Indians, nor negro could ever be traced. The body of
Esquival was found four days afterwards on a small island, half eaten by
the birds of prey. There were many suspicions about this affair, some of
such a nature as I cannot relate; but no great inquiry was made as to his
death. Cortes appointed other persons to complete the preparations for his
voyage; and offered by proclamation a free passage for all Spaniards who
had license from the government to go to Spain, with a supply of
provisions during the voyage. He took home with him from Mexico a great
number of the curiosities of the country to present to his majesty, among
which were various unknown birds, two tigers[2], many barrels of ambergris
and indurated balsam, and of a kind resembling oil[3]: Four Indians who
were remarkably expert in playing the stick with their feet: Some of those
Indian jugglers who had a manner of appearing to fly in the air: Three
hunchbacked dwarfs of extraordinary deformity: Some male and female
Indians whose skins were remarkable for an extraordinary whiteness, and
who had a natural defect of vision[4]. Cortes was likewise attended by
several young chiefs of the Mexican and Tlascalan nations, who went over
along with him into Spain at their own request[5].

Every thing being in readiness for the voyage, Cortes confessed and
received the sacrament, after which he embarked along with Sandoval, de
Tapia, and other gentlemen; and in forty-one days arrived in Spain, where
he disembarked near the town of Palos, in the month of December 1527. As
soon as he set his foot on shore, he knelt down and returned thanks to God
for the safety of his voyage. This fortunate voyage was soon succeeded by
severe grief, in consequence of the death of the valiant Sandoval, who
expired after a lingering illness in the house of a rope-maker in Palos,
who robbed him in his presence of thirteen bars of gold, in the following
manner: Perceiving the extreme weakness of Sandoval, he sent away all his
servants on a pretended message to Cortes; and then went into Sandovals
room, where he broke open his chest and took out the gold, our poor friend
being too ill in bed to hinder him, and even apprehensive if he made any
outcry, that the robber might take his life. As soon as he got the gold,
he made his escape into Portugal, where he could not be pursued. Sandoval
grew worse hourly, and as the physicians pronounced his end approaching,
he prepared himself for death like a good Christian, and made his will, by
which he left all his property to a sister, who afterwards married a
natural son of the Conde de Medelin. Sandoval died universally regretted,
and was followed to the grave by Cortes and a great train of mourners. May
God pardon his sins! _Amen_.

Cortes transmitted by express, an account of his arrival and of the death
of his friend Sandoval to his majesty and to his patrons at court; and
when the Duke of Bejar and the Conde de Aguilar waited on his majesty on
the occasion, they found him already acquainted by means of letters from
Cortes, and that he had been pleased to issue orders for his being
received in the most honourable manner in all the towns and cities where
he might have occasion to pass. On his arrival at Seville, Cortes was
entertained by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who presented him with several
beautiful horses. He proceeded from thence to attend the _nine days
devotion_ at the shrine of our lady of Guadaloupe, where Donna Maria, the
lady of the commendador Don Francisco de los Cobos, and many other ladies
of high rank arrived at the same time. After Cortes had performed his
devotions, and given charity to the poor, he went in grand style to pay
his respects to Donna Maria, her beautiful sister, and the many other
ladies of distinguished rank who were along with her, where he exhibited
that politeness, gallantry, and generosity, in which he surpassed all men.
He presented various golden ornaments of great value to all the ladies,
giving a plume of green feathers richly ornamented with gold to every one
of the ladies, but his presents to Donna Maria and her sister were
particularly rich and valuable. He then produced his Indian dancers and
players with the stick, who astonished all the spectators. And learning
that one of the mules belonging to Donna Marias sister had fallen lame, he
presented her with two of the finest which could be procured. Waiting the
departure of these ladies, he attended them during their journey to the
court, entertaining them magnificently on all occasions, doing the honours
with a grace peculiar to himself, insomuch that Donna Maria de Mendoza
began to have thoughts of a marriage between her sister and Cortes, and
wrote in such strains of the politeness and generosity of Cortes, that she
brought over the commendador her husband entirely to his interest.

On his arrival at court, his majesty was pleased to order apartments for
him, and all his friends came out to meet him on the road. Next day he
went by permission to throw himself at his majestys feet, accompanied by
the Duke of Bejar, the Admiral of the Indies, and the commendador of Leon.
His majesty commanded him to rise, on which Cortes, after a short
enumeration of his services and vindication of his conduct from the
aspersions of his enemies, presented a memorial in which the whole was
fully detailed. His majesty then honoured him with the title of Marquis
della Valle de Oaxaca and the order of St Jago, giving him an estate for
the support of his new dignity, and appointed him Captain-general of New
Spain and of the South Seas. Thus loaded with honours, Cortes retired from
the royal presence; and shortly afterwards falling dangerously ill, the
emperor did him the honour of paying him a visit in person. One Sunday
after his recovery, when the emperor was at mass in the cathedral of
Toledo, seated according to custom with all the nobility in their proper
stations, Cortes came there rather late, designedly as it was said, after
all were seated; and, passing before all the others, took his place next
the Conde de Nasao, who sat nearest the emperor. This gave great offence
to many, though some said it was done by desire of the emperor. Indeed
Cortes felt his elevation so much, that he ceased to hold some of his
patrons in the estimation they deserved, bestowing his whole attentions on
the Duke of Bejar, the Admiral, and the Conde de Nasao. He applied
likewise to the emperor to be reappointed to the government of New Spain;
but, though supported in this request by his noble patrons, his majesty
refused compliance, and from this time he did not seem so much in favour
as before.

The emperor now proceeded on a journey to Flanders; and shortly after his
departure, Cortes was married to Donna Juanna de Zuniga, on which occasion
he presented his lady with the most magnificent jewels that had ever been
seen in Spain. Queen Isabella, from the report of the lapidaries,
expressed a wish for some similar jewels, which Cortes accordingly
presented to her; but it was reported that these were not so fine or so
valuable as those he had given to his lady. At this time Cortes obtained
permission from the council of the Indies to fit out two ships on a voyage
of discovery to the south seas, with the condition of enjoying certain
privileges and revenues from all lands that were acquired through his
means to the crown of Spain. Don Pedro de la Cueva, who was to have gone
to Mexico with a commission to try Cortes and to put him to death if found
guilty, was now upon the most intimate footing with him, and told him that
even his innocence would have been sufficiently expensive, as the cost of
the expedition, which he was to have paid, would have exceeded 300,000

Cortes sent Juan de Herrada, a brave soldier who had attended him in his
expedition to Honduras, to carry a rich present of gold, silver, and
jewels, to his holiness Pope Clement, with an ample memorial of all the
circumstances respecting the newly discovered countries; and on this
occasion solicited some abatement of the tithes of New Spain. Herrada was
accompanied to Rome by several of the Indians who shewed feats of agility,
and with whose performances the pope and cardinals were highly diverted.
His holiness, on the receipt of the letters and memorial, gave thanks to
God for the opportunity of making so many thousands converts to the holy
catholic faith, praising the services which Cortes and we had rendered to
the church and our sovereign, and sent us bulls of indulgence, freeing us
from the penalties of our sins, and others for the erection of churches
and hospitals; but I know not what was done in regard to the tithes. When
Herrada had concluded his business at Rome, he returned to Spain with a
liberal reward from the pope, who gave him the rank of Count Palatine, and
strongly recommended that he should have the grant of a considerable
plantation in New Spain, which he never got. After his return to America,
he went to Peru, where Diego de Almagro left him in the office of governor
to his son. He was high in the favour and confidence of the family and
party of Almagro, with whom he served as _maestre de campo_ under young
Almagro, and headed the party which put to death the elder Don Francisco

While Cortes remained in Spain, the members of the court of royal audience
arrived in Mexico. Of this court, Nuno de Guzman, who had been governor of
Panuco, was president; the four _oydors_ or judges being the licentiates,
Matienzo, Delgadillo, Parada, and Maldonado; not the good Alonzo Maldonado
who was afterwards governor of Guatimala. These magistrates had greater
powers than had hitherto been confided to any officers in New Spain, being
entrusted with the final distribution of landed property, in which his
majesty had particularly charged them to take care of the interests of the
conquerors, and they evinced from the very first a determination to do
justice. Immediately after their arrival, they issued a proclamation,
requiring the attendance of an agent from each settlement, and to be
furnished with memorials and returns of the several districts; and the
agents accordingly arrived as soon as possible. Being then in Mexico in
the execution of my office of procurator-syndic of the town of
Coatzacualco, I posted to that place in order to be present at the
election of agents, and after a violent contest, Captain Marin and I were
elected by the majority. On our arrival in Mexico, we found that two of
the oydors had died of pleurisies, and that the factor Salazar had
acquired so complete an ascendancy over the others that they followed his
advice in every thing. The agents pressed a final distribution of lands;
but Salazar persuaded the president and the two remaining oydors not
hastily to part with that source of patronage, which would necessarily
diminish their influence. Salazar even set out for Spain, to solicit the
government for the president, Nuno de Guzman; but was shipwrecked on the
coast near Coatzacualco, and had to return to Mexico. Estrada died soon
after being superseded, which he owed more to his own tameness than to any
right the members of the court could found on his majestys orders, which
left the government entirely with him, without saying any thing of the
association of Guzman; who yet usurped the sole government to himself as
president. Estrada was universally regretted, as he conducted himself with
perfect impartiality, and would assuredly have been supported, if he had
insisted on retaining his office of governor.

A commission was appointed at Guatimala, where Jorge de Alvarado commanded,
of which I never learnt the result. In Mexico the most severe proceedings
were adopted against the Marquis della Valle, during which the factor
Salazar reviled and slandered him in the grossest manner. The licentiate
Altamirano, his friend and manager of his affairs, remonstrated with the
court against these indecent proceedings, but to no purpose, as Guzman and
the surviving judges gave their countenance to Salazar, who became more
abusive than ever; insomuch that on one of these occasions Altamirano drew
his poniard, and would have stabbed the factor, throwing the court into
confusion and uproar, if he had not been prevented. Altamirano was sent
prisoner to the citadel, and Salazar was ordered into arrest in his own
house, and the city was thrown into an universal ferment. At the end of
three days, the licentiate was liberated from confinement at our earnest
desire, and the dispute was quieted for the present; but a more serious
disscution succeeded. One Zavalos, a relation of Narvaez, had been sent by
his wife in quest of him, as he had gone as governor to the Rio Palmas,
and had not been heard of for a long while. On coming to Mexico, Zavalos,
as is supposed by instigation of the members of the royal court of
audience, lodged criminal information against all the soldiers of Cortes
who had been concerned in the attack upon Narvaez; so that about two
hundred and fifty of us, then in the city, myself among the rest, were
apprehended, brought to trial, convicted, and sentenced to a fine of a
certain quantity of gold, and banishment to the distance of five leagues
from Mexico: But the banishment was remitted and very few paid the fine.

The enemies of the marquis took a new ground of attack, alleging that he
had embezzled the treasure of Montezuma and Guatimotzin, and was
answerable to the soldiers both for what he had appropriated to his own
use, and for that which had been sent to Spain as a present to his majesty
and had been captured by Florin the French corsair. A long list of other
demands followed, on every one of which he was found liable, and his
property was sold under executions for the payment. At this time likewise,
Juan Suarez the brother of Donna Catalina, the first wife of Cortes,
charged him with her murder, offering to produce witnesses of the manner
of her death. Many of us the veteran conquerors, who were the friends of
Cortes, seeing the harsh manner in which he was treated, met by
appointment at the house of Garcia Holguin, under the license of an
alcalde or judge of police, where we entered into a resolution to renounce
all our claims to the treasure: But when the judges of the royal tribunal
heard of our proceedings, they ordered us all to be arrested for an
illegal meeting; and though we produced the license under which our
meeting was held, they again banished us five leagues from Mexico; but we
were allowed to return. A proclamation was issued about this time, that
all persons of Moorish descent, or from those who had been burned or
_sanbenited_[6] by the holy tribunal, as far as the fourth generation,
should quit New Spain within four months, under the penalty of losing half
their property. Vast numbers of informers and accusers started up on this
occasion, by which an infinite number of most infamous slanders were
propagated; and yet after all only two individuals were expelled.

The court was generous in fulfilling the royal commands respecting the
veteran conquerors, who were all amply provided for; but they granted an
excessive license in regard to the branding of slaves, in consequence of
which so many were made in the province of Panuco that it became almost
depopulated. Guzman made a new-years-gift to Albornos, who was newly
returned to Spain, of the whole district of Guazpaltepec. Albornos brought
with him a royal patent for erecting some sugar-works at Chempoalla, which
soon went to ruin. The oydor Delgadillo was much censured for his _free
gifts_, as it was observed he always reserved some rents to himself, and
the consequent extortions and oppressions of those he patronized were
excessive. The other oydor Matienzo was superannuated. The abuses of the
members of this supreme court became at length so notorious, that other
members of more discretion were sent out to supersede them. Old Matienzo,
who was the least exceptionable, was sent to Panuco to inquire into and
remedy the abuses committed in that province; where he revoked the grants
made by the president and Delgadillo to their friends and clients,
bestowing the plantations on those who were pointed out by the royal
instructions; but all those who were desired to deliver up their
plantations endeavoured to bring proof that they had been granted in
reward of former services, disclaiming all favour or patronage from Guzman
or Delgadillo, and most of them succeeded in keeping what they had got,
the only persons deprived being Albornos of his new-years-gift, Villareal,
and Villegas.

When the members of the royal tribunal understood that they were to be
superseded, they resolved to send agents to Spain, provided with witnesses
and documents to vouch for the propriety of their conduct; and for this
purpose all the veteran conquerors and other persons of distinction were
convened in the great church, to choose an agent for our interest. The
president and judges of the royal tribunal recommended Salazar the factor;
and though they had committed some improprieties, as they had in the main
done us justice in the _repartimientos_, or distribution of property and
vassals, we were all disposed to vote for the person they recommended; but
when we had assembled in the church, so many persons had crowded in who
had no right, making a prodigious noise and confusion, that we could not
proceed to business; and though all who had not been summoned were ordered
to withdraw, they refused and insisted to vote as well as the others. We
therefore adjourned to the next day, at the house of the president; and
none being admitted but those summoned, the business was soon amicably
adjusted by agreement with the members of the royal audience, and two
agents were chosen. One, named Antonio de Carvajal, for the court; and
Bernardino Vasquez de Tapia, for Cortes and the conquerors. In my opinion,
both of these were equally devoted to the views of the president; but this
was natural on our part, as Guzman had done much more for us during his
short administration, than Cortes during all the period of his power. Yet
we were always more attached to Cortes, who had been our commander, than
he was to our interest, notwithstanding that he had his majestys orders to
provide for us; of which the following is a striking proof. The president
and judges used their influence with us to petition his majesty that
Cortes might never be permitted to return to New Spain, under pretence
that his presence might occasion factions and disturbances, tending to the
loss of the country. We opposed this to the utmost of our power; and as
Alvarado arrived at this time from Spain with the commission of governor
and lieutenant-general of Guatimala, and decorated with a commandery of St
Jago, he and the friends of Cortes agreed to lay a statement of every
thing before his majesty, giving a clear developement of the views and
conduct of the members of the royal audience. From this it appeared to the
royal council of the Indies, that all the measures they had taken against
Cortes were dictated by passion and interest, and the determination of
recalling the present members of the audience was thereby confirmed. The
presence of Cortes in Spain at this time was also highly favourable to his
interests, and he was now rapidly advancing to the pinnacle of his fortune.

As Guzman was now quite certain of being superseded, he determined upon an
expedition into the province of Xalisco, now called New Gallicia[7]. For
this purpose he collected a large military force, partly of volunteers,
and partly by the influence of his supreme authority, obliging those who
did not serve personally to find substitutes, and those who had horses to
sell them for half value. He took with him likewise a considerable number
of Mexicans, partly as soldiers, and others to carry the baggage. In this
expedition, he cruelly oppressed the provinces through which he passed,
that he might amass riches. From Mechoacan[8] he obtained a large quantity
of gold much alloyed with silver, which the inhabitants had been
collecting for ages; and as the unfortunate prince or cacique of that
country was unable to gratify his avarice sufficiently, he had him
tortured in the first place, and afterwards hanged on some false or
trifling allegations, to the great displeasure of all the Spaniards in his
army, who considered it as the cruellest and most unjust action ever
committed in New Spain. All the booty which he had made in this expedition
was collected at the town of Compostello, which he founded at a heavy
expence to the crown and to the inhabitants of Mexico, and he remained in
this place until his arrest.

In consequence of the injustice of the former court of audience, his
majesty was pleased to suppress it, and to cancel all its grants, and to
appoint a new one consisting of wise and upright men. Of this new tribunal,
Don Sebastian Ramirez, bishop of St Domingo was president, and the oydors
or judges were the licentiates Maldonado de Salamanca, Vaco de Quiroga y
Madrigal, afterwards bishop of Mechoacan, Zaynos de Toro, and Solomon de
Madrid. On commencing their sittings, such crowds of complainants of all
descriptions, settlers, agents, and native chiefs from every city, town,
and district of New Spain made application for redress against the
partiality and oppression of the former court, that the members were quite
astonished. The demands made by the agents of Cortes for what had been
unjustly taken from him, amounted to above 200,000 crowns. As Nuno de
Guzman was absent, the whole blame was laid upon him by the other members
of the former tribunal, who alleged that they were compelled to act
according to his orders. He was accordingly summoned to appear, which he
did not think proper to do, and it was judged proper to refer the whole
affair for the present to the supreme court in Spain. Accordingly, one
Torre, a licentiate, was sent with full powers from Spain to Xalisco,
having orders to transmit Guzman to Mexico, and to commit him to prison.
Torre was also commissioned to indemnify us for the fines which had been
imposed on us respecting the affair of Narvaez.

The properties of Delgadillo and Martienzo, were sold to pay the damages
of those who had gained causes against them, and their persons imprisoned
for the deficiency. A brother of Delgadillo, who was alcalde-major in
Oaxaca, and another who was alcalde among the Zapotecas, were fined and
imprisoned for the same reason, and died in jail. Delgadillo and Martienzo
returned afterwards to Spain in poverty, where they soon died. The new
judges were wise and just, regulating their conduct entirely according to
the will of God and the king, and shewing a laudable zeal for the
protection and conversion of the Indians. They prohibited all branding of
the natives for slaves, and made many other excellent regulations. In
about four years, Solomon and Zaynos, two of the judges, being old and
wealthy, petitioned for leave to retire. The president also was ordered to
repair to Europe, to give an account of the affairs of New Spain. He was
then bishop of St Domingo, having been formerly inquisitor in Seville.
After his return to Spain, he was advanced successively to the bishopricks
of Toro, Leon, and Cuenca, with astonishing rapidity, and was also made
president of the royal chancery in Valladolid. The good conduct of the
_oydor_ Maldonado was rewarded by the government of Guatimala, Honduras,
and Veragua, and the title of _adelantado_ or lieutenant governor of
Yucutan. The other judge, Quiroga de Madrigal, obtained the bishoprick of
Mechoacan. Such were the rewards of these just judges!

His majesty was pleased to appoint Don Antonio de Mendoza viceroy of New
Spain. This most illustrious nobleman, worthy of all praise, was brother
to the Marquis of Montejar. Along with him there came out as oydors or
judges of the court of audience, the doctor Quesada, and the licentiates
Tejada de Logrono and Loaysa. The latter was an old man who staid only
three or four years in Mexico, where he collected a good deal of money,
and then returned home to Spain. Santilana, another licentiate came out at
the same time, appointed to succeed Maldonado as oydor when he might
vacate his office. All were excellent magistrates. On opening their court,
they gave leave to every one to make objections against the conduct of
their predecessors; but which was found on inquiry to have been perfectly
right. When the viceroy Mendoza arrived, as he knew that the licentiate
Torre had orders to arrest Nuno de Guzman, he invited him to Mexico,
meaning to save him from insult, and gave him apartments in the palace,
where he was treated with all respect. But Torre, who had orders to
communicate his commission to the viceroy, not finding himself
countenanced in the strong measures he was inclined to pursue, and being
naturally violent, arrested Guzman in the palace and carried him to the
common prison, saying that he acted by royal authority. Guzman remained
several days in custody, but was at length released at the intercession of
the viceroy. The licentiate was much addicted to cards, particularly at
the games of _triumpho_ and primero, on which circumstance one of Guzmans
friends played him the following trick to hold him up to ridicule. The
civilians at that time wore gowns with loose hanging sleeves, into one of
which some wag contrived to convey a pack of cards, so that when Torre was
walking across the great square of Mexico in company with several persons
of quality, the cards began to drop from his sleeve, leaving a long trail
behind him as he walked along. On discovering the trick, which was
heartily laughed at, he became very much enraged; and either from vexation
or the influence of the climate, he died soon after of a _calenture_ or
burning fever, by which the affair of Guzman was respited.

Cortes having now been long in Spain, advanced to the dignity of marquis,
captain-general of New Spain, and admiral of the south sea, being anxious
to revisit his estates in New Spain, embarked with his family and twelve
fathers of the order of mercy. On his arrival at Vera Cruz, he was by no
means so honourably received as formerly, and went from thence to Mexico,
to present his patents to the viceroy and to take possession of his
offices. Considerable difficulty occurred in regard to the interpretation
of the royal grant of towns and lands to the marquis, which I do not
pretend to understand. The grant, in mentioning the districts which were
granted to him, enumerated the _vicinos_ or neighbours who were considered
as belonging to it and as constituting his vassals. Cortes insisted that
the head person only of each family was to be considered as the _vicino_
or vassal; but the Doctor Quesada, who was deputed to allot his districts,
contended that every adult male in a family, master, son, servant, or
slave, was to be reckoned in the number of the _vicinos_. The marquis was
much disappointed by this interpretation, as there were often twelve or
fifteen of these in one household or family, which would have prodigiously
reduced his revenue, and several law-suits ensued in consequence. This
matter was reported for his majesties determination, and continued for
several years in suspence, during which the marquis received his full
rents without hindrance: But finding the great diminution of his
importance in the country which he had subdued, by the appointment of a
viceroy, he retired to Quernavaca, where he established his residence,
being on his own estate, never returning to Mexico. While Marcos de
Aguilar held the government of New Spain, Cortes caused four ships to be
fitted out at Zacatula on the south sea, under the command of Alvarado de
Saavedra, and provided with various articles of merchandize, for a voyage
to China and the Molucca or spice islands. He was likewise directed to
look out for a squadron which had sailed from Spain for China, commanded
by Don Garcia de Loaysa, a commander of the order of St John at Rhodes[9].
While Saavedra was preparing for his expedition, a vessel belonging to the
squadron of Loaysa arrived at Zacatula, from the pilot and crew of which
he acquired all the information he wished. Taking with him the pilot and
two sailors of this ship, Saavedra proceeded on his voyage in December
1527 or 1528, and sustained many misfortunes and hardships on the way to
the Moluccas. I do not know the particulars of this voyage: But, about
three years afterwards, I met a sailor who had sailed in this expedition,
who told me many strange things respecting the cities and nations he had
seen. I also heard that the Portugueze had captured Saavedra and several
of his people, whom they had sent prisoners to Europe. After his return to
New Spain the marquis sent two ships, in May 1532, from Acapulco,
commanded by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, to make discoveries in the south
sea. One of his ships mutinied and returned to New Spain, to the great
mortification of Cortes, and Hurtado was never heard of afterwards. After
this, Cortes sent out two other vessels, one commanded by Diego Bezerra de
Mendoza, and the other by Hernando de Grijalva. The first night after
their departure from Tehuantepec, they were separated in a gale of wind
and never joined again, Grijalva being well pleased to escape from under
the command of Bezerra, who was of a haughty temper; and besides, Grijalva
was desirous to take the merit of any discoveries he might make to himself.
After sailing 200 leagues, he came to an uninhabited island, which he
named St Thomas. Bezerra made himself so odious by his domineering
disposition, that his pilot Ximenes entered into a plot for his
assassination, which he carried into effect, and took the command of the
vessel. Continuing the voyage, he discovered an island which he named
Santa Cruz, which was inhabited by savages, and where he set on shore two
Franciscan friars and several persons who had refused to join in the
mutiny. Being in want of water, he went at the same time on shore for that
purpose; but he and all who landed were put to death by the savages within
view of the ship. After this misfortune the survivors returned to New

The Marquis del Valle was so much vexed by these disappointments that he
resolved to go in person upon discovery, with three ships which he had
ready for launching at Teguantepec. When the Spaniards learnt that he
meant to embark on a voyage of discovery, they thought that success was
quite certain, and great numbers resolved to accompany him. Above 320
persons, including women, offered their services, as there were above 130
of them married men, who brought their wives along with them. Leaving
Teguantepec in May 1536 or 1537, accompanied by Andres de Tapia and
several other officers, with some ecclesiastics, physicians and surgeons,
and as many colonists as the vessels could contain, he sailed for the
island of Santa Cruz, where he arrived after a prosperous voyage, and sent
back the ships to bring over the remainder of the people[10]. The second
voyage was not so fortunate, as they separated in a gale of wind near the
river of St Peter and St Paul, one only of the ships arriving at the
island of Santa Cruz, where the marquis anxiously expected them, as
provisions were growing scarce. One of the other vessels, which contained
the provisions, was stranded on the coast of Xalisco, whence most of the
people returned to New Spain. The other vessel came to a bay which the
people named Guayaval, from the quantity of _guayavas_ which they found
there. During this time, the marquis and his people were experiencing
extreme distress on the uncultivated island of Santa Cruz, twenty-three of
the soldiers dying of famine, and the rest sinking daily, and cursing his
expeditions and discoveries. Taking fifty soldiers with him in the ship
which had arrived, he went in search of the other two; and after some
considerable search he found one stranded, as already mentioned, on the
coast of Xalisco, and abandoned by the people, and met the other among
some rocks. Having repaired these vessels, he brought them with a quantity
of provisions to Santa Cruz, where his famished colonists eat so
voraciously that half of them died. Anxious to quit this scene of misery,
the marquis embarked from Santa Cruz, and, continuing his project of
discoveries, fell in with the land of California, heartily tired of his
fruitless pursuit, yet unwilling to return to New Spain without effecting
some important discovery. When the Marchioness del Valle had notice of the
loss of one of the vessels, she became very apprehensive of her husbands
safety, and fitted out two ships to go in search of the marquis and his
unfortunate colonists. These sailed under the command of Francisco de
Ulloa, who carried letters from the marchioness and the viceroy,
requesting the return of Cortes to New Spain. Ulloa had the good fortune
to fall in with Cortes, who suffered himself to be prevailed on, and
returned to New Spain by way of Acapulco, leaving Ulloa to command the
squadron. His return rejoiced the Spaniards, who were always afraid the
natives chiefs might revolt, when not awed by his presence. The people
whom he left in California returned soon afterwards; but whether they were
so ordered by the government I know not.

After a few months, the Marquis fitted out other two ships, which he sent
upon discovery under the command of Ulloa, who sailed from the port of
Navidad in the month of June, but I forget the year. Ulloa had orders to
explore the coast of California, and to search for Hurtado, who had never
been heard of. After an absence of seven months, Ulloa returned to Xalisco,
without having effected any discovery of importance; and was assassinated
a few days afterwards on shore by a soldier who bore him a grudge. Thus
ended the projected discoveries of the Marquis del Valle, in which I have
heard him say that he expended above 300,000 crowns. He never prospered
after his first conquest of New Spain; and his bad fortune was ascribed to
the curses of his companions, for having treated them so ill in the
distribution of the property acquired by their bravery. He now determined
on going to Spain, in order to solicit an allowance from his majesty for
the expences he had been at in these voyages, as also to endeavour to end
the dispute concerning the vassals of his estates in New Spain, and to
procure restitution of the property which had been seized from him by Nuno
de Guzman, who was now a prisoner in Castille.

After the departure of the Marquis, the viceroy and court of audience sent
a military force from Xalisco by land to the north west, under the command
of Francisco Vasquez Coronado, who married the beautiful and virtuous
daughter of the treasurer Estrada. Coronado left his government of Xalisco,
under the charge of an officer named Onate, and marched into the country
named _Celibola_[11] or the Seven Cities; whence he sent a Franciscan
friar, named Marcos de Nica, to Mexico, to give the viceroy an account of
the country. He described it as consisting of fine plains, with great
herds of cattle quite different from those of Europe; having populous
towns, in which the houses were of two stories with stairs. He also
represented that it lay on the coast of the south sea, by means of which
necessaries and reinforcements could be easily sent to the Spanish force.
Accordingly, three ships were sent for that purpose, under the command of
Hernando de Alarco, an officer belonging to the household of the viceroy.

In the year 1537, Don Pedro de Alvarado fitted out a great armament of
thirteen vessels from the port of _Acaxatla_[12] on the south sea, in
consequence of a license from his majesty, in which he had a grant of
certain rents and advantages in such countries as he might discover; that
is to say, in China and the Moluccas or Spice Islands. As the port where
this armament was fitted out was above 200 leagues from Vera Cruz, whence
all the iron and most other articles had to be carried by land, its cost
might easily have fitted out eighty such vessels from Old Spain. All the
wealth which Alvarado brought from Peru[13], together with what he had got
from the mines in Guatimala, with the rents of his estates, and rich
presents from his friends and relations, were insufficient for his
preparations on this occasion, although all the merchandize was procured
on credit. Great as was the expence of the ships, it was far exceeded by
that of his army, consisting of 650 soldiers with their officers, and a
number of horses, as a good horse at that time cost 300 crowns. Alvarado
sailed some time in the year 1538 for the harbour of _Navidad_ near the
city of _Purification_, in the province of Xalisco, or New Galicia, where
he meant to take in water, and to embark more soldiers. When the viceroy
heard of this great armament, he became desirous to have a share in it,
and went to Navidad to view the fleet, whence he and Alvarado returned to
Mexico. Alvarado wished to have a relation of his own named Juan appointed
to have the command of this expedition, while the viceroy was desirous to
have another officer, named Villalobos, joined in command with Juan
Alvarado. On his return to the port of Navidad, and when just ready to
sail, Alvarado received a letter from Onate, who had been left in the
command of the province of Xalisco, earnestly entreating his immediate
assistance, as he and the settlement were threatened with destruction by
the Indians of Cochitlan. Alvarado, who was always zealous in his majestys
service, marched immediately with his troops to their relief, and found
them in a most desperate situation. The insurgents rather diminished in
the violence of their attacks on the arrival of Alvarado, but hostilities
were still continued; and one day, as Alvarado was following the enemy
among some rocky mountains, a soldier on horseback, who was at a
considerable height above him on the steep side of a mountain, came
rolling down above him, horse and all, by which he was so much bruised,
that soon after his removal to the town of the Purification, he was seized
with fainting-fits, and expired in a few days. On the news of Alvarados
death being known to his fleet and army, many of the people returned to
their homes with what they had received. The viceroy sent off the
licentiate Maldonado to prevent confusion as much as possible, whom he
followed soon after to take the charge of the remaining soldiers, with
whom he marched against the insurgents, and after a tedious and difficult
warfare of some continuance, reduced them to submission.

The loss of Alvarado was severely felt in his family, and his memory was
long held in high esteem through all New Spain. On receiving the fatal
intelligence in Guatimala, the worthy bishop Maroguin and all his clergy
celebrated his obsequies with much honour, and his major-domo caused the
walls of his house to be painted black, which colour has remained ever
since. Many gentlemen waited on Donna Beatrix de la Cueva, his lady, to
console her for her loss. They advised her to give God thanks, since it
was his will to take her husband to himself. Like a good Christian, she
assented to this sentiment, yet said that she now wished to leave this
melancholy world and all its misfortunes. The historian Gomara has falsely
said that she spoke blasphemously on this occasion, saying that God could
now do her no more injury; and injuriously ascribes the subsequent
misfortune which befel her to these words which she did not utter. A
deluge of mud and water burst forth from the volcano near Guatimala, which
overwhelmed the house in which she was praying along with her women.
Although Alvarado and his four brothers had served his majesty with much
zeal, no part of his property descended to his children, and the whole
family was peculiarly unfortunate. Don Pedro died, as I have already
related, by an uncommon accident in Cochitlan, or Culiacan. His brother
Jorge died in Madrid in 1540, while soliciting his majesty for a
recompence of his services. Gomes de Alvarado died in Peru. Gonzalo in
Mexico or Oaxaca, I am uncertain which. Juan on his voyage to Cuba. The
eldest son of Don Pedro, while on a voyage along with his relation the
younger Juan, to solicit a recompence for his fathers services, was lost
at sea. Don Diego, the younger son, seeing the fortunes of the family
desperate, returned to Peru, where he died in battle. Donna Beatrix[14],
the lady of Don Pedro, with the female part of the family, were destroyed,
as before related, by a torrent from a volcano, one of his daughters only
excepted, Donna Leonora, who was saved from the torrent, and has caused
two sepulchres to be built in the great church of Guatimala, to receive
the bones of her relations. May our Lord Jesus take them all with him into
glory! _Amen_.

About a year after the death of Don Pedro Alvarado, the viceroy sent the
best of his ships under Villalobos to make discoveries to the westwards of
the Pacific Ocean; but with what success I never learnt. No part of the
expences of this armament were ever recovered by any of the descendants of

As the Marquis del Valle was in Spain at the time of the expedition
against Algiers, he attended his majesty on that occasion, along with his
legitimate son Don Martinez, and Don Martin the son he had by Donna Marina.
The fleet was dispersed in a storm, and the ship on board of which the
marquis had embarked was stranded, on which occasion he, his sons, and his
suite, got on shore with much difficulty. On this occasion he tied a
quantity of rich jewels, which he used to wear like other great lords _for
no use_, in a handkerchief round his arm, but they were all lost. On
account of this disaster to the fleet, the council of war was of opinion
that the siege ought to be immediately raised. The marquis was not called
to this council; but it has been said that, if present, he would have
declared for continuing the siege, and if he had been so fortunate as to
command there such brave soldiers as those who accompanied him to Mexico,
he would have entertained no doubt of success.

The marquis was now grown old and worn out by long and severe fatigue, and
was anxious to have returned to New Spain, to settle his affairs: But he
waited the celebration of a marriage, between his eldest daughter Donna
Maria and Don Alvaro Pinez Osorio, son and heir to the Marquis of Astorga,
and had agreed to give his daughter a fortune of 100,000 ducats. He had
sent to bring over his daughter from Mexico, and had even gone himself to
Seville to meet her; but the match was broke off, as is said by the fault
of Don Alvaro. Cortes was much disappointed at this, and as his health was
already in a bad state, he declined so rapidly, that he retired to
Castileja de la Cuesta, to attend to the concerns of his soul, and to make
his testament. Having arranged all his affairs, both for this and the next
world, he departed this life on the 2d of December 1547. He was buried
with great pomp in the chapel of the dukes of Medina Sidonia; but,
according to his will, his remains were afterwards, removed to Cojohuacan
or Tezcuco in New Spain, I am uncertain which. By his latter will, he left
funds for the endowment of an hospital in Mexico, and a nunnery in his own
town of Cojohuacan. In 1519, when we went along with him from Cuba against
Mexico, he used to tell us that he was then thirty-four years old; and as
he died 28 years afterwards, he must have been exactly 62 at his death.
The arms granted to him by his majesty, when he was created a marquis,
were the heads of seven kings surrounded by a chain, implying Montezuma,
Cacamatzin, Guatimotzin, Tulapa, Coadlavaca, and the princes of Tacuba and
Cojohuacan. The motto, as I have been told, was well adapted to a valiant
warrior; but being in Latin, which I do not understand, I say nothing on
that subject.

The Marquis del Valle de Oaxaca, was strong built, and of a good stature,
with a rather pale complexion and serious countenance. His features were
rather small, with mild and grave eyes. His hair and beard were black and
thin. His breast and shoulders were broad, and his body thin. He was
well-limbed, his legs being somewhat bent. He was an excellent horseman,
and very dexterous in the use of arms; and he also had the heart and mind
of valour, which is the principal part of that business. I have heard that,
when young, he was very wild about women, and had several duels in
Hispaniola on that account with able swordsmen, in all of which he came
off victorious: But he received a wound near his under lip on one of these
occasions, the scar of which could be seen through his beard when closely
examined. In his appearance, manners, behaviour, conversation, table, and
dress, every thing corresponded to a man of high rank; and, although his
clothes always corresponded to the fashion of the times, he was not fond
of silks, damasks, or velvets; but wore every thing plain and handsome.
Instead of large chains of gold in which some delighted, he was satisfied
with a small chain of exquisite workmanship, to which was appended a gold
medal of the Virgin and child Jesus, with a Latin motto, and on the
reverse St John the Baptist and another motto. On his finger he wore a
very fine diamond ring; and in his cap, which was of velvet, he bore a
gold medal, the head and motto of which I have forgot: But, in his latter
days, he wore a plain cloth cap without ornament.

His table was always magnificently served and attended, having four
major-domos or principal officers, with many pages, and a great quantity
of massy plate both of gold and silver. He dined heartily about mid-day,
drinking only about half a pint of wine mixed with water. He was not nice
or expensive in his food, except on particular occasions, where he saw it
to be proper. He was exceedingly affable with all his captains and
soldiers, especially those who accompanied him at first from Cuba; yet
practised the strictest attention to military discipline, constantly going
the rounds himself in the night, and visiting the quarters of the soldiers,
severely reprehending all whom he found without their armour or
appointments, and not ready to turn out at a moments warning, saying, "It
is a bad sheep that cannot carry its own wool." He was a Latin scholar,
and as I have been told, a bachelor of laws, a good rhetorician, and
something even of a poet. He was very devote to the Holy Virgin, and to St
Peter, St James, and St John the Baptist. His oath was, "By my conscience."
When angry with any of his friends, he used to say, "may you repent it;"
and when in great warmth, the veins of his throat and forehead used to
swell much, but he then never spoke. He was very patient under insults or
injuries, as the soldiers were sometimes very rude and abusive; yet he
never resented their conduct, only saying, "Be silent," or, "Go in Gods
name, and do not repeat this or I shall have you punished." In all matters
of war, he was exceedingly headstrong and determined, never attending to
remonstrances on account of danger; one instance of which was in the
attack of the fortresses called the _Rocks of the Marquis_, which he
forced us to climb, contrary to all our opinions, where courage, counsel,
or wisdom, could give no rational hope of success. Another instance was in
his obstinacy respecting the expedition against De Oli; in which I
repeatedly urged him to go by way of the mountains, whereas he obstinately
persisted in going by the coast. Had he taken my advice, he would have
found towns the whole way. Where we had to erect any fortress or
entrenchment, he was always the hardest labourer; when we advanced to
battle, he was always in the front.

Cortes was fond of play, both at cards and dice, at which he was always
good-humoured and affable, often using the cant terms customary on these
occasions. During our expedition to Higueras, I observed that he had
acquired a habit of taking a short sleep or _siesta_ after eating; and if
he could not get this he was apt to become sick. On this account, let the
rain be ever so heavy, or the sun ever so hot, he always reposed a short
while on a cloak or carpet under a tree; and after a short sleep, mounted
his horse and proceeded on his march. When engaged in the conquest of New
Spain, he was very thin and slender; but after his return from Higueras,
he became fat and corpulent. His beard began at that time to grow grey,
after which he trimmed it in the short fashion. In his early life, he was
very liberal, but grew close afterwards, insomuch that some of his
servants complained that he did not pay them properly. I have already
observed that he never succeeded in his latter undertakings: Perhaps such
was the will of Heaven, which reserved his reward for a better world; for
he was a good gentleman and very devout. God pardon him his sins, and me
mine, and give me a good end, which is better than all conquests or
victories over Indians! Amen.

* * * * *

_Descendants of Hernando Cortes[15]_.

The legitimate children of Cortes were, Don Martin, who succeeded him as
marquis; Donna Maria, who married the Conde de Luna of Leon; Donna Juanna,
who married Don Hernando Enriquez, heir to the Marquis of Tarriffa; Donna
Catalina, who died in Seville; and Donna Leonora, who married, in Mexico,
Juanez de Tolosa, a rich Biscayan, which alliance gave great offence to
the young marquis. He left also two natural sons: Don Martin by Donna
Marina; and Don Luis by a lady named De Hermosilla; both of whom were
commanders of the order of St Jago. Besides these, he had three natural
daughters; one by an Indian woman of Cuba, and two others by a Mexican
woman: He left great fortunes to all these ladies.

Don Hernando Cortes, conqueror, governor, and captain-general of New Spain,
admiral of the South Seas, _first_ Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, had in
second marriage, Donna Jeroma Ramirez de Arellano y Zuniga, daughter of
Don Carlos Ramirez de Arellano, _second_ Conde de Aguilar, and of Donna
Jeroma de Zuniga, daughter of the _first_ Duke of Bejar. Their son was,

I. Don Martinez Cortes de Ramirez y Arellano, _second_ Marquis of the
Valley, married his cousin, Donna Anna Ramirez de Arellano. Their issue

II. Don Hernando Cortes de Ramirez ye Arellano, _third_ Marquis of the
Valley; married Donna Murcia Hernandez de Cabrera y Mendoza, daughter of
Don Pedro Hernandez de Cabrera y Bovadilla, _second_ Conde de Chinchon,
and Donna Maria de Mendoza y Cerda, sister to the Prince of Melito. Don
Hernando had but one son, who died in childhood, and was therefore
succeeded by his brother,

2. Don Pedro Cortes, &c. _fourth_ Marquis of the Valley, who married Donna
Anna Pacheco de la Cerda, sister of the second Conde de Montalban: But
leaving no issue was succeeded by his sister,

3. Donna Jeroma Cortes, &c. _fifth_ Marchioness of the Valley, who married
Don Pedro Carillo de Mendoza, _ninth_ Conde de Priego, captain-general of
Seville, and grand major-domo to Queen Margaret of Austria. Their only
daughter, who carried on the line of the family, was,

III. Donna Stephania Carillo de Mendoza y Cortes, _sixth_ Marchioness of
the Valley, who married Don Diego de Arragon, _fourth_ Duke of Terra Nova,
prince of Castel Vetrano, and of the holy Roman empire, Marquis of Avola
and Favora, constable and admiral of Sicily, commander of Villa Franca,
viceroy of Sardinia, knight of the golden fleece. Their only daughter was,

IV. Donna Juana de Arragon, &c. _fifth_ Duchess of Terra Nova, _seventh_
Marchioness of the Valley, &c. who married Don Hector Pignatelli, Duke of
Montelione, prince of Noja, &c. Their only son was,

V. Don Andrea Fabrizio Pignatelli, &c. duke of Montelione and Terra Nova,
&c. _eighth_ Marquis of the Valley; who married Donna Teresa Pimentel y
Benavides, &c. Their daughter was,

VI. Donna J. Pignatelli, &c. Duchess of Montelione and Terra Nova,
_ninth_ Marchioness of the Valley, &c. who married Don Nicolas Pignatelli,
viceroy of Sardinia and Sicily, &c. Their son was,

VII. Don Diego Pignatelli, &c. duke of Montelione and Terra Nova, _tenth_
Marquis of the Valley, &c. His son was,

VIII. Don Fabrizio Pignatelli, &c. Duke of Montelione and Terra Nova,
_eleventh_ Marquis of the Valley, &c. His son was,

IX. Don Hector Pignatelli, &c. Duke of Montelione and Terra Nova,
_twelfth_ Marquis of the Valley, grandee of Spain, prince of the holy
Roman empire, _at present living in Naples_[16], and married to Donna N.
Piccolomini, of the family of the Dukes of Amalfi.

From the noble couple mentioned in the VI. step of the foregoing deduction,
besides Don Diego, who carried on their line, there were three other sons
and three daughters: 1. Don Diego, as above. 2. Don Ferdinand. 3. Don
Antonio. 4. Don Fabrizio. 5. Donna Rosa. 6. Donna Maria Teresa. 7. Donna

[1] According to Robertson, II. 266. Cortes took the resolution of
returning into Spain to avoid exposing himself to the ignominy of a
trial in Mexico, the scene of his triumphs, on hearing that a
commission of inquiry into his conduct was on the point of coming out
to New Spain for that purpose. Diaz almost perpetually neglects dates,
in the latter part of his work especially: but we learn from Robertson
that it was now the year 1528.--E.

[2] The Mexican Tiger, or Jaguar, called Tlatlauhqui ocelotl by the
Mexicans, the _felis onca_ of naturalists, is of a yellowish colour
with cornered annular spots, which are yellow in the middle. It grows
to the size of a wolf or large dog, and resembles the Bengal tiger,
_felis tigris_, in craft and cruelty, but not in size or courage.--E.

[3] Perhaps the Balsam of Capivi, which is of that consistence. The
indurated balsam may be that of Tolu.--E.

[4] These were _albinos_, an accidental or diseased rariety of the human
species, having chalky white skins, pure white hair, and a want of the
pigmentum nigrum of the eye. The white rabbit is a plentiful example
of animal albinos, which variety continues to propagate its kind.--E.

[5] According to Herrera, Dec. iv. lib. iij. c. 8. and lib. iv. c. 1. as
quoted by Robertson, _note_ cxxiv. the treasure which Cortes took over
with him consisted of 1500 marks of wrought plate, 200,000 pesos of
fine gold, and 10,000 of inferior standard; besides many rich jewels,
one in particular being worth 40,000 pesos. The value of this
enumerated treasure amounts to L.104,250 Sterling numerical value;
but estimating its efficient value in those days, with Robertson, as
equal to six times the present amount, it exceeds L.600,000.--E.

[6] Those who had worn the _san benito_, or penal dress, in _an auto de
fe_. In the original translation the _descendants of Indians_ are
included in this proscription, which certainly must be an error.--E.

[7] New Gallicia, to the north-west of Mexico and upon the Pacific Ocean,
is now included in the _Intendencia_ of Guadalaxara, and appears to
have been named Colima by the Mexicans.--E.

[8] Mechoacan, to the west of Mexico and reaching to the south sea forms
now the Intendency of Valladolid.--E.

[9] For the information of some readers, it may be proper to observe, that
the order of St John of Jerusalem, lately known by the name of the
order of Malta, then resided at Rhodes.--E.

[10] Santa Cruz is a small island in the Vermilion sea, on the eastern
coast of California, in lat. 25 23' N. lon. 110 47' W. from

[11] This appears to be the country now called Cinaloa, or Culiacan. The
strange appellation of the _seven cities_ seems to have reference to
that fancied ancient Spanish colony which has been formerly spoken of
in the introduction to the discovery of Columbus.--E.

[12] This name, which is not to be found in any map, is probably a mistake
for Zacatula, in lat. 18 N. on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, W.S.W.
from Mexico.--E.

[13] The expedition of Alvarado to Peru will be related in the subsequent
chapter. Diaz merely gives this slight hint on the subject.--E.

[14] In the _sixth_ section of this chapter, it has been already mentioned
that Don Pedro Alvarado was married to _Donna Luisa_ the daughter of
Xicotencatl, one of the princes or chiefs of Tlascala, through whom he
acquired a great inheritance, and by whom he had a son Don Pedro, and
a daughter Donna Leonora, married to Don Francisco de la Cueva, cousin
to the Duke of Albuquerque, by whom she had four or five sons. The
widow of Don Pedro destroyed in Guatimala, seems to have been a second

[15] This extended account of the descendants of Cortes, is adopted from
Clavigero, I. 442. The first paragraph, which enumerates the younger
children of the marquis, and his natural children, are from Diaz.
There is a difference between these authors in the name of the
marchioness, whom Diaz names Donna _Juanna_, and Clavigero _Jeroma_:
The former likewise names the eldest son of Cortes _Martin_, and the
latter _Martinez_.--E.

[16] This refers to the period when Clavigero composed his History of
Mexico, about the year 1780; according to Humboldt, the dukes of
Montelione retained the vast estates of Cortes in Mexico within the
present century.--E.

[17] This genealogical deduction has been somewhat abridged, as to the
multiplicity of high sounding titles, and minute particulars of
marriages and noble connections, altogether uninteresting to the
English reader.--E.


_Concluding Observations by the Author_[1].

Having enumerated the soldiers who passed from Cuba along with Cortes, to
the conquest of New Spain, I have to observe that we were for the most
part _hidalgos_, or gentlemen, though some were not of such clear lineage
as others; but, whatever may have been the dignity of our birth, we made
ourselves much more illustrious by our heroic actions in the conquest of
this country, at our own sole cost, without any aid or support, save that
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the ancient history of our own
country, many cavaliers rose to dignity and honours by valiant and
faithful services to their kings; and though they did not go into the
field as we did, without pay, they were rewarded with lands, houses,
castles, dignities, and privileges, to them and their heirs in perpetuity.
Also, when his majesty Don Jayme, won certain parts of his kingdom from
the Moors, he made grants of these to the cavaliers who assisted him in
the conquest, from which period their descendants derive their estates,
honours, and blazons. Those also who served under the Great Captain and
the Prince of Orange were rewarded in like manner. I have recalled the
recollection of these things, that the world may consider and determine
whether we, who gained this great country by our valour, even without the
knowledge of his majesty, are not as worthy of such rewards and honours as
those cavaliers above-mentioned, by our good, notable, and loyal services
to God, the king, and all Christendom.

I have placed myself last in the list, having been twice in this country
before the coming of Cortes, and the third time along with him; and, as
among those whom I have enumerated, there were many valiant captains, so I
was held in no inconsiderable estimation in my day as a soldier. Besides
the many battles and dangers in which I participated since I came into
this country, and the distresses, by hunger, thirst, fatigue and wounds,
incident to all who undertake discoveries and wars in unknown countries, I
was twice in the hands of the enemy, who were carrying me off for
sacrifice: But thanks and praise to God and his holy Virgin Mother, who
gave me force to escape from their grasp, that I might now relate and make
manifest our heroic deeds in the conquest of this _new world_, and thereby
to prevent all the honour and merit from being unjustly ascribed to our
general alone. It is now proper that I should make some observations on
the good effects produced by our exertions and illustrious conquests, to
the service of God and our king, in which many of our companions lost
their lives, being sacrificed to the gods or idols of the Mexicans,
Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca.

In the first place, we purged the land of many wicked customs, and in
particular from human sacrifices. By estimates made by the reverend
Franciscan friars, who succeeded Fra Bartholomew de Olmedo, it appears
that above 2500 human victims were sacrificed yearly in Mexico and some
adjacent towns on the lake; so that the number annually put to death in
the whole country must have been very great. Their various other horrible
practices exceed my powers of description. Their cursed adoratories were
exceedingly numerous, like our holy churches, hermitages, and chapels, in
Spain, as they had everywhere houses dedicated to idols, devils, and
infernal figures. Besides which, every individual native had two altars,
one beside the place where he or she slept, and another at the door of the
house, with chests containing large or small idols and stone knives, and
books made of the bark of trees containing the record of past times.
Especially on the coast and other sultry parts of the country, they were
addicted to the most abominable vices, where they had boys in female
attire. They fed on human flesh, as we do on beef, having wooden cages in
every town, in which men, women, and children, were kept and fed for that
purpose, to which all the prisoners taken in war were destined. Incest was
common among them, and they were extremely addicted to drunkenness. They
had as many wives as they pleased. From these and many other abominations,
it was the will of God that we should be the humble instruments to clear
the land; substituting a good policy and the holy doctrine of Jesus Christ
in their place. It is true that, two years afterwards, when the country
was subjugated and civilized, certain worthy Franciscans of good example
and holy doctrine came here, who were followed in three or four years by
fathers of the order of St Dominic, who completed what others had begun.
But the honour of having destroyed the abominations of the land, assuredly
belongs to us the true conquerors, who opened the way for these holy

By the will of God, and the sacred Christianity of the emperor Don Carlos
of glorious memory, and our present most fortunate sovereign the
invincible Don Philip, all the natives of this great country have been
baptised to the salvation of their souls, formerly sunk and lost in the
bottomless pit. We have many fathers of the different orders, who go about
preaching and baptizing, by which means the knowledge of the holy Evangile
is firmly planted in the hearts of the natives, who confess yearly, and
those who have sufficient knowledge in the faith, participate in the holy
eucharist. The churches and their altars are richly adorned with all
requisites for holy worship; as crosses, candlesticks, wax-candles,
chalices, cups, plates, and vessels for incense, all of silver. The
ornaments of the altars and crosses are of velvet, and damask, and other
rich materials, of various colours and splendid workmanship, adorned with
embroidery of gold, silk and pearls. Each town has its bells according to
its ability. The chapels have choirs of good voices which sing in concert,
tenors, trebles, and counter-tenors. In some places there are organs; but
most have lutes, sackbuts, dulcimers, and bass and treble trumpets. This
one province of Guatimala has more than my native county, old Castille. It
is edifying and wonderful to see the devotion of the natives at the holy
mass, especially when performed by the fathers of the orders of St Francis
and of Mercy, who have the cures of the parishes. All the natives, men,
women, and children, are taught the holy prayers in their own tongue; and
always on passing a cross, crucifix, or altar, they fall on their knees
repeating a _pater noster_ or an _ave Maria_. We, the conquerors, taught
them to burn wax candles before the holy altars and crosses, and to behave
respectfully to the reverend fathers, going out to meet them when they
came to the towns, with lighted candles, ringing of bells, and providing
them abundantly with provisions. On Lady Day and Corpus Christi, and other
solemn fasts of the church, when we make processions, most of the natives
of this city of Guatimala go likewise in procession, with crosses and
lighted candles, bearing the images of their patron saints as richly
dressed as they can afford, and singing litanies and other holy prayers to
the sound of flutes and trumpets.

The natives also of these countries have learnt all the trades used among
us in Spain, having their shops, manufactories, and work-people. Their
goldsmiths and silversmiths, both those who make cast work or who use the
hammer, are excellent. Their lapidaries or engravers on precious stones,
especially emeralds, execute the nicest representations of the holy acts
and passion of our blessed Saviour, in such a manner as could not be
believed from Indians. Three of our native Mexican artists, named Andres
de Aquino, Juan de la Cruz, and El Crispillo, have in my humble judgment
executed paintings which may vie with those of Apelles, Michael Angelo,
and Berruguete. The sons of the chiefs used to be educated in grammar, and
were learning very well, till this was prohibited by the holy synod, under
an order of the most reverend the archbishop of Mexico. Many of the

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