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

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* * * * *


* * * * *

Twelve months have now elapsed since the first half volume of this work
was offered to the public. The favourable reception it has experienced
gives the Editor reason to hope that he has fulfilled the engagements
which he came under at its first appearance, and is a powerful inducement
to continue his utmost exertions to preserve and improve the character of
the work. In the four volumes which are now published, several extensive
and important original articles are introduced, which have not hitherto
appeared in any similar collection, and had not even been previously
translated into English. These materially contribute towards the ample
information which was formerly announced, in the Preface to the _first_
Volume, as a leading object in this Collection. In the subsequent parts of
the work, every effort shall be made to fill up its several divisions with
original articles of similar interest and equal importance.

Encouraged by a satisfactory and increasing sale, the progress of
publication has been somewhat hastened, beyond what was originally
promised in the Prospectus and Conditions; as the _whole_ of the fourth
Volume is now published, at the period when only its _first half_ was to
have appeared. It is intended to repeat this anticipation occasionally, by
the publication of two numbers or half-volumes at once, when opportunity
offers. While this may gratify one portion of our readers, it is not meant
to preclude others from continuing to be supplied, as before, with the
numbers or half volumes at regular intervals, in their own option.

EDINBURGH, _1st Jan_, 1812.

* * * * *



CHAP. V. History of the discovery and conquest of Mexico, continued.

VI. The Spaniards commence their march to Mexico; with an account of the
war in Tlascala, and the submission of that nation.

VII. Events during the march of the Spaniards from Tlascala to Mexico.

VIII. Arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico, and transactions there till
the arrival of Narvaez to supersede Cortes.

IX. Expedition of Narvaez to supersede Cortes in the command, and
occurrences till his defeat by Cortes.

X. Occurrences from the defeat of Narvaez, to the expulsion of the
Spaniards from Mexico, and the subsequent battle of Otumba.

XI. Occurrences from the battle of Otumba, till the march of Cortes to
besiege Mexico.

XII. Transactions of Cortes and the Spaniards, from their march against
Mexico, to the commencement of the siege of that city.

XIII. Narrative of occurrences, from the commencement of the siege of
Mexico to its reduction, and the capture of Guatimotzin.

XIV. Occurrences in New Spain, immediately subsequent to the reduction
of Mexico.

XV. Expeditions sent by Cortes to reduce the provinces of the Mexican

XVI. Expedition of Garay to colonize Panuco.

XVII. Narrative of various expeditions for the reduction of different
provinces in New Spain.

XVIII. Negociations of Cortes at the court of Spain, respecting the
conquest and government of Mexico.

XIX. Of an expedition against the Zapotecas, and various other

XX. Narrative of the expedition of Cortes to Higueras.

XXI. Return of Cortes to Mexico, and occurrences there previous to his
departure for Europe.

XXII. Narrative of occurrences, from the departure of Cortes to Europe
till his death.

XXIII. Concluding observations by the Author.

CHAP. VI. History of the discovery and conquest of Peru, by Francisco
Pizarro; written by Augustino Zarate, treasurer of that kingdom, a few
years after the conquest.


I. Of the discovery of Peru, with some account of the country and its

II. Transactions of Pizarro and the Spaniards in Peru, from the
commencement of the conquest, till the departure of Almagro for the
discovery of Chili.

III. Occurrences from the departure of Almagro for Chili, to his capture
by Pizarro, being the first part of the civil wars in Peru.

IV. Expeditions of Pedro de Valdivia into Chili, and of Gonzalo Pizarro
to Los Canelos.

V. Conspiracy of the Almagrians and Assassination of Pizarro.

CHAP. VII. Continuation of the early history of Peru, after the death of
Francisco Pizarro, to the defeat of Gonzalo Pizarro, and the
re-establishment of tranquillity in the country; written by Augustino

I. From the revival of the civil wars in Peru, to the close of the
administration of Vaca de Castro, the first governor appointed from

II. Commencement of the Viceroyalty of Blasco Nunnez Vela, and renewal
of the civil war in Peru by the usurpation of Gonzalo Pizarro.

[Illustration: Viceroyalty of Mexico Published 1 Jan'y 1812 by W'm
Blackwood Edin'r.]




* * * * *




_The Spaniards commence their March to Mexico; with an account of the War
in Tlascala, and the submission of that Nation_.

Everything being in readiness for our march to Mexico, we were advised by
our allies of Chempoalla to proceed by way of Tlascala, the inhabitants of
that province being in friendship with them and constantly at war with the
Mexicans; and at our requisition, we were joined by fifty of the principal
warriors of the Totanacas[1], who likewise gave us 200 _tlamama_, or men
of burden, to draw our guns and to transport our baggage and ammunition[2].
Our first day's march on the 16th of August 1519, was to _Xalapan_, and
our second to _Socochima_, a place of difficult approach, surrounded by
vines. During the whole of this march, the main body was kept in compact
order, being always preceded by an advance of light infantry, and patroles
of cavalry. Our interpreters informed the people of this place, that we
were subjects of the great emperor Don Carlos, who had sent us to abolish
human sacrifices and various other abuses; and as these people were allies
of Chempoalla and independent of Montezuma, they treated us in a friendly
manner. We erected a cross at this place, explaining its signification and
giving them information of many things belonging to our holy faith, and
exhorting them to reverence the cross. From this place we proceeded by a
difficult pass among lofty mountains to _Texotla_, the people of which
place were well disposed to us, as they also paid no tribute to Montezuma.
Continuing our march through desert lofty mountains, we experienced
excessive cold, with heavy falls of hail, and came next day to a pass,
where there were some houses and large temples, and great piles of wood
intended for the service of the idols. Provisions were scarce during the
two last days, and we now approached the confines of the Mexican empire,
at a place called _Xocotlan_; to the cacique of which place Cortes sent a
message informing him of our arrival. The appearance of this place evinced
that we were entering upon a new and richer country. The temples and other
buildings were lofty, with terraced roofs, and had a magnificent
appearance, being all plastered and white-washed, so as to resemble some
of our towns in Spain; on which account we called this place _Castel

In consequence of our message, the cacique and other principal persons of
the town came out to meet us, and conducted us to our quarters, where they
gave us a very poor entertainment. After supper, Cortes inquired
respecting the military power of Montezuma, and was told that he was able
to bring prodigious armies into the field. The city of Mexico was
represented as of uncommon strength, being built on the water, with no
communication between the houses, houses, except by means of boats or
bridges, each house being terraced, and only needing the addition of a
parapet to become a fortress. The only access to the city was by means of
three causeways or piers, each of which had four or five apertures for the
passage of the waters, having wooden bridges which could be raised up, so
as to preclude all access. We were likewise informed of the vast wealth
possessed by Montezuma, in gold, silver, and jewels, which filled us with
astonishment; and although the account we had already received of the
military resources of the empire and the inaccessible strength of the
capital might have filled us with dismay, yet we were eager to try our
fortunes. The cacique expatiated in praise of Montezuma, and expressed his
apprehension of having offended him by receiving us into his government
without his leave. To this Cortes replied, That we had come from a far
distant country by command of our sovereign, to exhort Montezuma and his
subjects to desist from human sacrifices and other outrages; adding: "I
now require all who hear me, to renounce your inhuman sacrifices, cannibal
feasts, and other abominable customs; for such is the command of GOD, whom
we adore." The natives listened to all this in profound silence, and
Cortes proposed to the soldiers to destroy the idols and plant the holy
cross, as had been already done at Chempoalla; but Father Olmedo
recommended that this should be postponed to a fitter opportunity, lest
the ignorance and barbarism of the people might incite them to offer
indignity against that holy symbol of our blessed religion.

We happened to have a very large dog along with us, which belonged to
Francisco de Lugo, which used to bark very loud during the night, to the
great surprise of the natives, who asked our Chempoallan allies if that
terrible animal was a lion or tiger which we had brought to devour them.
They answered that this creature attacked and devoured whoever offended us;
that our guns discharged stones which destroyed our enemies, and that our
horses were exceedingly swift and caught whoever we pursued. On this the
others observed that with such astonishing powers we certainly were
_teules_. Our allies also advised them to beware of practising any thing
against us, as we could read their hidden thoughts, and recommended them
to conciliate our favour by a present. They accordingly brought us several
ornaments of much debased gold, and gave us four women to make bread, and
a load of mantles. Near some of the temples belonging to this place I saw
a vast number of human skeletons arranged in such exact order that they
might easily be counted with perfect accuracy, and I am certain there were
above an hundred thousand. In another part immense quantities of human
bones were heaped up in endless confusion. In a third, great numbers of
skulls were suspended from beams, and watched by three priests. Similar
collections were to be seen everywhere as we marched through this district
and the territories of Tlascala.

On consulting the cacique of Xocotla respecting the road to Mexico, he
advised us to go through Cholula; but our allies strongly dissuaded us
from that route, alleging that the people were very treacherous, and that
the town was always occupied by a Mexican garrison, and repeated the
former advice of going by Tlascala, assuring us of a friendly reception
there. Cortes accordingly sent messengers before us to Tlascala announcing
our approach, and bearing a crimson velvet cap as a present. Although
these people were ignorant of writing, yet Cortes sent a letter by his
messengers, as it was generally understood to carry a sanction of the
message which was to be delivered. We now set out for Tlascala, in our
accustomed order of march, attended by twenty principal inhabitants of
Xocotla. On arriving at a village in the territory of Xalacingo[3], where
we received intelligence that the whole nation of the Tlascalans were in
arms to oppose us, believing as to be in alliance with their inveterate
enemies the Mexicans, on account of the number of Mexican subjects who
attended our army. So great was their suspicion on this account, that they
imprisoned our two messengers, for whose return we waited two days very
impatiently. Cortes employed the time in exhorting the Indians to abandon
their idolatry and to reconcile themselves to our holy church. At the end
of these two days, we resumed our march, accompanied by two of the
principal people of this place whom Cortes demanded to attend us, and we
soon afterwards met our messengers who had made their escape, either owing
to the negligence or connivance of their guards. These messengers were in
extreme terror, as the people of Tlascala threatened to destroy us and
every one who should adhere to us. As a battle was therefore to be
expected, the standard was advanced to the front, and Cortes instructed
the cavalry to charge by threes to the front, never halting to give
thrusts with their lances, but urging on at speed with couched lances
levelled at the faces of the enemy. He directed them also, when their
lance was seized by the enemy, to force it from them by the efforts of the
horse, firmly grasping the butt under the arm. At about two leagues from
the last resting-place, we came to a fortification built of stone and lime,
excellently constructed for defence, and so well cemented that nothing but
iron tools could make an impression on it. We halted for a short time to
examine this work, which had been built by the Tlascalans to defend their
territory against the incursions of their Mexican enemies; and on Cortes
ordering us to march on, saying, "Gentlemen follow your standard the holy
cross, through which we shall conquer;" we all replied, "Forward in the
name of God, in whom is our only confidence."

After passing this barrier some distance, our advanced guard descried
about thirty of the Tlascalan troops, who had been sent to observe us.
Cortes sent on the cavalry to endeavour to take some of these men
prisoners, while the infantry advanced at a quick pace to support the
advanced guard. Our cavalry immediately attacked, but the Tlascalans
defended themselves bravely with their swords, wounding some of the horses
severely, on which our people had to kill five of them, but were unable to
make any prisoners. A body of three thousand warriors now sallied out upon
us with great fury from an ambush, and began to discharge their arrows at
our cavalry; but as our artillery and musquetry were now ready to bear
upon them, we soon compelled them to give way, though in a regular manner,
and fighting as they retreated; leaving seventeen of their men dead on the
field; and one of our men was so severely wounded as to die a few days
after. As the day was near a close, we did not attempt any pursuit; but
continued our march, in which we soon descended from the hills into a flat
country, thickly set with farm-houses, among fields of maize and the
Maguay plant. We halted for the night on the banks of a brook, where we
dressed our wounds with the _grease of a fat Indian_ who was slain in the
skirmish; and though the natives had carried away all their provisions, we
caught their dogs when they returned at night to the houses, and made a
comfortable supper of that unusual fare. Next day, after recommending
ourselves to God, we resumed our march against the Tlascalan army; both
cavalry and infantry being duly instructed how to act when we came to
battle; the cavalry to charge right through, and the infantry to preserve
a firm array. We soon fell in with the enemy, to the number of about 6000
men in two bodies, who immediately attacked us with great spirit,
discharging their arrows, shouting, and sounding their martial instruments.
Cortes halted the army, and sent three prisoners to demand a peaceable
conference, and to assure them we wished to treat them as brothers;
ordering at the same time the notary Godoy, to witness this message
officially. This message had no effect, as they attacked us more fiercely
than before, on which Cortes gave the word, _St Jago, and on them_. We
accordingly made a furious onset, slaying many with the first discharges
of our artillery, three of their chiefs falling on this occasion. They now
retreated to some uneven ground, where the whole army of the state of
Tlascala, 40,000 in number, were posted under cover, commanded by
_Xicotencatl_, the general in chief of the republic. As the cavalry could
not act in this uneven ground, we were forced to fight our way through as
well as we were able in a compact column, assailed on every side by the
enemy, who were exceedingly expert archers. They were all clothed in white
and red, with devices of the same colours, being the uniform of their
general. Besides the multitudes who discharged continual flights of arrows,
many of them who were armed with lances closed upon us while we were
embarrassed by the inequality of the ground; but as soon as we got again
into the plain, we made a good use of our cavalry and artillery. Yet they
fought incessantly against us with astonishing intrepidity, closing upon
us all around, so that we were in the utmost danger at every step, but God
supported and assisted us. While closely environed in this manner, a
number of their strongest warriors, armed with tremendous two-handed
swords, made a combined attack on Pedro de Moron, an expert horseman, who
was charging through them accompanied by other three of our cavalry. They
seized his lance and wounded himself dangerously, and one of them cut
through the neck of his horse with a blow of a two-handed sword, so that
he fell down dead. We rescued Moron from the enemy with the utmost
difficulty, even cutting the girths and bringing off his saddle, but ten
of our number were wounded in the attempt, and believe we then slew ten of
their chiefs, while fighting hand to hand. They at length began to retire,
taking with them the body of the horse, which they cut in pieces, and
distributed through all the districts of Tlascala as a trophy of victory.
Moron died soon after of his wounds, at least I have no remembrance of
seeing him afterwards. After a severe and close conflict of above an hour,
during which our artillery swept down multitudes out of the numerous and
crowded bodies of the enemy, they drew off in a regular manner, leaving
the field to us, who were too much fatigued to pursue. We took up our
quarters, therefore, in the nearest village, named _Teoatzinco_, where we
found numbers of subterraneous dwellings. This battle was fought on the 2d
September 1519. The loss of the enemy on this occasion was very
considerable, eight of their principal chiefs being slain, but how many
others we know not, as whenever an Indian is wounded or slain, he is
immediately carried off by his companions. Fifteen of them were made
prisoners, of whom two were chiefs. On our side fifteen men were wounded,
one only of whom died. As soon as we got clear of the enemy, we gave
thanks to God for his merciful preservation, and took post in a strong and
spacious temple, where we dressed our wounds with the fat of Indians. We
obtained a plentiful supply of food from the fowls and dogs which we found
in the houses of the village, and posted strong guards on every side for
our security.

We continued quietly in the temple for one day, to repose after the
fatigues of the battle, occupying ourselves in repairing our cross-bows,
and making arrows. Next day Cortes sent out seven of our cavalry with two
hundred infantry and all our allies, to scour the country, which is very
flat and well adapted for the movements of cavalry, and this detachment
brought in twenty prisoners, some of whom were women, without meeting with
any injury from the enemy, neither did the Spaniards do any mischief; but
our allies, being very cruel, made great havoc, and came back loaded with
dogs and fowls. Immediately on our return, Cortes released all the
prisoners, after giving them food and kind treatment, desiring them to
expostulate with their companions on the madness of resisting our arms. He
likewise released the two chiefs who had been taken in the preceding
battle, with a letter in token of credence, desiring them to inform their
countrymen that he only asked to pass through their country in his way to
Mexico. These chiefs waited accordingly on _Xicotencatl_, whose army was
posted about two leagues from our quarters, at a place called
_Tehuacinpacingo_, and delivered the message of Cortes. To this the
Tlascalan general replied, "Tell them to go to Tlascala, where we shall
give them peace by offering their hearts and blood to our gods, and by
feasting on their bodies." After what we had already experienced of the
number and valour of the enemy, this horrible answer did not afford us
much consolation; but Cortes concealed his fears, and treated the
messengers more kindly than ever, to induce them to carry a fresh message.
By inquiry from them he got the following account of the number of the
enemy and of the nature of the command enjoyed by its general. The army
now opposed to us consisted of the troops or quotas of five great chiefs,
each consisting of 10,000 men. These chiefs were _Xicotencatl_ the elder,
father to the general, _Maxicotzin_, _Chichimecatecle, _Tecapaneca_
cacique of _Topeyanco_, and a cacique named _Guaxocinga_[4]. Thus 50,000
men were now collected against us under the banner of Xicotencatl, which
was a white bird like an ostrich with its wings spread out[5]. The other
divisions had each its distinguishing banner, every cacique bearing these
cognizances like our Spanish nobles, a circumstance we could not credit
when so informed by our prisoners. This formidable intelligence did not
tend to lessen the fears which the terrible answer of Xicotencatl had
occasioned, and we prepared for the expected battle of the next day, by
confessing our sins to our reverend fathers, who were occupied in this
holy office during the whole night[6].

On the 5th of September, we marched out with our whole force, the wounded
not excepted, having our colours flying and guarded by four soldiers
appointed for that purpose. The crossbow-men and musketeers were ordered to
fire alternately, so that some of them might be always loaded: The
soldiers carrying swords and bucklers were directed to use their points
only, thrusting home through the bodies of the enemy, by which they were
less exposed to missile weapons; and the cavalry were ordered to charge at
half speed, levelling their lances at the eyes of the enemy, and charging
clear through without halting to make thrusts. We had hardly marched half
a quarter of a league, when we observed the whole army of the enemy,
covering the plain on every side as far as the eye could reach, each
separate body displaying its particular device or standard, and all
advancing to the sound of martial music. A great deal might be said of
this tremendous and long doubtful battle, in which four hundred of us were
opposed to prodigious hosts, which surrounded us on every side, filling
all the plains to the extent of two leagues. Their first discharges of
arrows, stones, and double-headed darts covered the whole ground which we
occupied, and they advanced continually till closed upon us all around,
attacking us with the utmost resolution with lances and two-handed swords,
encouraging each other by continual shouts. Our artillery, musketry, and
cross-bows plied them with incessant discharges, and made prodigious havoc
among the crowded masses of the enemy, and the home thrusts of our
infantry with their swords, prevented them from closing up so near as they
had done in the former battle. Yet with all our efforts, our battalion was
at one time completely broken into and separated, and all the exertions of
our general was for some time unable to get us again into order; at length,
however, by the diligent use of our swords, we forced them from among us,
and were able again to close our ranks. During the whole battle our
cavalry produced admirable effects, by incessant charges through the
thickest of the enemy. We in some measure owed our safety, under God, to
the unwieldy multitude of the enemy, so that some of the divisions could
never get up to the attack. One of the grand divisions, composed of the
warriors dependant on _Guaxocinga_, was prevented from taking any share in
the battle by _Chichemecatecle_[7], their commander, who had been provoked
by some insulting language by Xicotencatl respecting his conduct in the
preceding engagement, of which circumstance we received information
afterwords. The circumstance of these divisions not joining in the battle,
slackened the ardour of the rest, more especially after they had
experienced the terrible effects of our cavalry, artillery, and other
offensive weapons; and one of their greatest chiefs being killed, they at
length drew off from the fight, and were pursued to a short distance by
our cavalry. In this great battle, one only of our soldiers was killed,
but seventy men and all our horses were wounded. I had two wounds, one by
an arrow and the other by a stone, but they were not sufficient to make me
unfit for duty. Thus again masters of the field, we gave thanks to God for
his merciful preservation, and returned to our former post, first burying
our dead companion in one of the subterraneous houses, which was filled up
and levelled, that his body might not be discovered by the enemy. We
passed the ensuing night in a most comfortless situation, not being able
to procure even oil and salt, and exposed to excessive cold winds from the
snowy mountains.

Cortes sent a fresh message by three of our prisoners and those who had
carried his former message, demanding a free passage to Mexico, and
threatening to destroy the whole country in case of refusal. On their
arrival at Tlascala, they found the chiefs much cast down at their
repeated losses, yet unwilling to listen to our proposals. They sent for
their priests and wizards, who pretended to foretel future events by
casting lots, desiring them to say if the Spaniards were vincible, and
what were the best means of conquering us; likewise demanding whether we
were men or superior beings, and what was our food. The wizards answered,
that we were men like themselves, subsisting upon ordinary food, but did
not devour the hearts of our enemies as had been reported; alleging that
though invincible by day, we might be conquered at night, as we derived
all our power from the influence of the sun. Giving credit to this
response, Xicotencatl received orders to make an immediate attack on our
quarters during the night. He marched accordingly with ten thousand
warriors, and made a night attack on our post in three places at once: But
our outposts kept too good guard to be taken by surprise, and we were
under arms in a moment to receive them. They met with so warm a reception,
that they were soon forced to turn their backs; and as it was clear
moon-light, our cavalry pursued them with great effect, so that they
returned to their camp heartily repenting of their night attack; insomuch
that it was reported they sacrificed two of their priests for deceiving
them to their hurt. In this action one only of our allies was killed, and
two Spaniards wounded; but our situation was far from consolatory. Besides
being dreadfully hard harassed by fatigue, we had lost fifty-five of our
soldiers from wounds, sickness, and severity of the weather, and several
were sick. Our general and Father Olmedo were both ill of fevers: And we
began to think it would be impossible for us to reach Mexico, after the
determined resistance we had experienced from the Tlascalans.

In this extremity several of the officers and soldiers, among whom I was
one, waited on Cortes, and advised him to release his prisoners and to
make a fresh offer of friendship with the Tlascalans through these people.
He, who acted on all occasions like a good captain, never failing to
consult with us on affairs of importance, agreed with our present advice,
and gave orders accordingly. Donna Marina, whose noble spirit and
excellent judgment supported her on all occasions of danger, was now of
most essential service to us, as indeed she often was; as she explained in
the most forcible terms to these messengers, that if their countrymen did
not immediately enter into a treaty of peace with us, that we were
resolved to march against their capital, and would utterly destroy it and
their whole nation. Our messengers accordingly went to Tlascala, where
they waited on the chiefs of the republic, the principal messenger bearing
our letter in one hand, as a token of peace, and a dart in the other as a
signal of war, as if giving them their choice of either. Having delivered
our resolute message, it pleased GOD to incline the hearts of these
Tlascalan rulers to enter into terms of accommodation with us. The two
principal chiefs, named Maxicatzin and Xicotencatl the elder[8],
immediately summoned the other chiefs of the republic to council, together
with the cacique of Guaxocingo the ally of the republic, to whom they
represented that all the attacks which they had made against us had been
ineffectual, yet exceedingly destructive to them; that the strangers were
hostile to their inveterate enemies the Mexicans, who had been continually
at war against their republic for upwards of an hundred years, and had so
hemmed them in as to deprive them of procuring cotton or salt; and
therefore that it would be highly conducive to the interests of the
republic to enter into an alliance with these strangers against their
common enemies, and to offer us the daughters of their principal families
for wives, in order to strengthen and perpetuate the alliance between us.
This proposal was unanimously agreed upon by the council, and notice was
immediately sent to the general of this determination, with orders to
cease from hostilities. Xicotencatl was much offended at this order, and
insisted on making another nocturnal attack on our quarters. On learning
this determination of their general, the council of Tlascala sent orders
to supersede him in the command, but the captains and warriors of the army
refused obedience to this order, and even prevented four of the principal
chiefs of the republic from waiting upon us with an invitation to come to
their city.

After waiting two days for the result of our message without receiving any
return, we proposed to march to Zumpacingo, the chief town of the district
in which we then were, the principal people of which had been summoned to
attend at our quarters, but had neglected our message. We accordingly
began our march for that place early of a morning, having Cortes at our
head, who was not quite recovered from his late illness. The morning was
so excessively cold, that two of our horses became so exceedingly ill that
we expected them to have died, and we were all like to perish from the
effects of the piercing winds of the _Sierra Nevada_, or Snowy Mountains.
This occasioned us to accelerate our march to bring us into heat, and we
arrived at Zumpacingo before daybreak; but the inhabitants, immediately on
getting notice of our approach, fled precipitately from their houses,
exclaiming that the _teules_ were coming to kill them. We halted in a
place surrounded with walls till day, when some priests and old men came
to us from the temples, making an apology for neglecting to obey our
summons, as they had been prevented by the threats of their general
Xicotencatl. Cortes ordered them to send us an immediate supply of
provisions, with which they complied, and then sent them with a message to
Tlascala, commanding the chiefs of the republic to attend him at this
place to establish a peace, as we were still ignorant of what had taken
place in consequence of our former message. The Indians of the country
began to entertain a favourable opinion of us, and orders were given by
the Tlascalan senate that the people in our neighbourhood should supply us
plentifully with provisions.

At this time some of the soldiers resumed their mutinous complaints,
particularly those who had good houses and plantations in Cuba, who
murmured at the hardships they had undergone and the manifold dangers with
which we were surrounded. Seven of their ringleaders now waited on Cortes,
having a spokesman at their head, who addressed the general in a studied
oration, representing, "That above fifty-five of our companions had
already perished during the expedition, and we were now ignorant of the
situation of those we had left at Villa Rica. That we were so surrounded
by enemies, it was hardly possible to escape from being sacrificed to the
idols of the barbarians, if we persisted in our present hopeless
enterprize. Our situation, they said, was worse than beasts of burden, who
had food and rest when forced to labour, while we were oppressed with
fatigue, and could neither procure sleep or provisions. As therefore the
country now seemed peaceable and the enemy had withdrawn, the present
opportunity ought to be taken for returning immediately to Villa Rica, on
purpose to construct a vessel to send for reinforcements from Cuba; adding,
that they lamented the destruction of our shipping, a rash and imprudent
step, which could not be paralleled in history," Cortes answered them with
great mildness; "That he was satisfied no soldiers ever exhibited more
valour than we, and that by perseverance alone could we hope to preserve
our lives amidst those great perils which God hitherto delivered us from,
and that he hoped for a continuance of the same mercy. He appealed to them
to say if he had ever shrunk from sharing in all their dangers; which
indeed he might well do, as he never spared himself on any occasion. As to
the destruction of the ships, it was done advisably, and for most
substantial reasons; and as the most illustrious of our countrymen had
never ventured on so bold a measure, it was better to look forward with
trust in God, than to repine at what could not now be remedied. That
although the natives we had left behind were at present friendly, all
would assuredly rise against us the moment we began to retreat; and if our
situation were now bad, it would then be desperate. We were now in a
plentiful country; and as for our losses by death and fatigue, such was
the fortune of war, and we had not come to this country to enjoy sports
and pastimes. I desire therefore of you, who are all gentlemen, that you
no longer think of retreat, but that you henceforwards shew an example to
the rest, by doing your duty like brave soldiers, which I have always
found you hitherto." They still continued to urge the danger of persisting
in the march to Mexico; but Cortes cut them short, saying, That it was
better to die at once than live dishonoured: And being supported by all
his friends, the malcontents were obliged to stifle their dissatisfaction,
as we all exclaimed that nothing more should be said on the subject.

Our deputation from Zumpacingo to Tlascala was at length successful; as
after four repeated messages from the chiefs of the republic, their
general Xicotencatl was obliged to cease hostilities. Accordingly forty
Indians were sent by him to our quarters with a present of fowls, bread,
and fruit. They also brought four old women in tattered clothes, some
incense, and a quantity of parrots feathers. After offering incense to
Cortes, one of the messengers addressed him as follows: "Our general sends
these things to you. If ye are _teules_, as is reported, and desire human
victims, take the hearts and blood of these women as food: We have not
sacrificed them to you, as you have not hitherto made known your pleasure.
If ye are men, we offer you fowls, bread, and fruit; if benignant _teules_,
who do not desire human sacrifices, here are incense and parrots feathers."
Cortes replied, That we were men like themselves, and never put any one to
death except in our own defence: That he had repeatedly required them to
make peace with us, which offer he now renewed, advising them no longer to
continue their mad resistance, which must end in their own ruin and the
destruction of their country: That our only object in coming among them,
was to manifest the truths of our holy religion, and to put an end to
human sacrifices, by command from God and our emperor. These men were
spies, who had been sent by Xicotencatl to gain information of the
strength and disposition of our quarters; and we were informed of this by
our Chempoallan allies, who had learnt from the people of Zumpacingo that
Xicotencatl intended to attack us. On this information, Cortes seized four
of the messengers, whom he forced by threats to confess, that their
general only waited for their report to attack us that night in our
quarters. He then caused seventeen of the Tlascalan messengers to be
arrested, cutting off the hands of some and the thumbs of others, and sent
them back in that condition to Xicotencatl with a message, that he would
wait his attack for two days, after which, if he heard nothing farther
from him, he would march with his Spaniards to seek him in his post. On
the return of his spies in a mutilated state, Xicotencatl, who was
prepared to march against us, lost all his haughtiness and resolution, and
we were informed that the chief with whom he had quarrelled, now quitted
the army with his division.

The approach of a numerous train of Indians by the road from Tlascala was
announced by one of our videts, from which we all conceived hopes of an
embassy of peace, which it actually was. Cortes ordered us all immediately
under arms, and on the arrival of the embassy, four old men advanced to
our general, and after making three several reverences, touching the
ground with their hands and kissing them, they offered incense, and said:
That they were sent by the chiefs of Tlascala to put themselves
henceforwards under our protection, and declared that they would on no
account have made war upon us, if they had not believed we were allies of
Montezuma, their ancient and inveterate enemy. They assured him that the
first attack had been made upon us by the Otomies without their
approbation, who believed they might easily have brought our small number
as prisoners to their lords of Tlascala. They concluded by soliciting
pardon for what had passed, assuring us that their general and the other
chiefs of Tlascala would soon wait upon us to conclude a durable peace.
Cortes in his answer, assumed a severe countenance, reproaching them for
the violence they had been guilty of, yet, in consideration of their
repentance, he accepted their presents, and was willing to receive them to
favour, as he wished for peace; but desired them to inform their chiefs,
if they delayed waiting upon him, he would continue his hostilities till
be had ruined their whole country. The four ambassadors returned with this
message to their employers, leaving their attendants with the provisions
in our quarters. We now began to entertain hopes of their sincerity, to
our great satisfaction, as we were heartily tired of the severe and
hopeless war in which we had been so long engaged.

The news of the great victories which we had gained over the Tlascalans
soon spread over the whole country, and came to the knowledge of Montezuma,
who sent five principal nobles of his court to congratulate us on our
success. These men brought a present of various articles of gold, to the
value of 1000 crowns, with twenty loads of rich mantles, and a message,
declaring his desire to become a vassal of our sovereign, to whom he was
willing to pay an yearly tribute. He added a wish to see our general in
Mexico, but, owing to the poverty of the country and the badness of the
roads, he found himself under the necessity to deprive himself of that
great pleasure. Cortes expressed his gratitude for the present, and his
satisfaction at the offer of their sovereign to become tributary to our
emperor; but requested the Mexican ambassadors to remain with him till he
had concluded his arrangements with the Tlascalans, after which he would
give them a definitive answer to the message of Montezuma. While
conversing with the Mexican ambassadors, Xicotencatl, with fifty of his
principal warriors all in uniform habits of white and red, came to wait
upon Cortes with great respect, who received them very courteously,
causing the Tlascalan general to sit down beside him. Xicotencatl then
said, That he came in the name of his father and the other chiefs of the
Tlascalan nation, to solicit peace and friendship, to submit themselves to
our sovereign, and to ask pardon for having taken up arms against us,
which had proceeded from their dread of the machinations of Montezuma, who
was always desirous of reducing their nation to slavery. Their country, he
said, was very poor, as it possessed neither gold, jewels, cotton, nor
salt; the two latter they were prevented from obtaining by Montezuma, who
had also deprived them of all the gold their fathers had collected. Their
poverty, therefore, must plead their excuse, for not bringing satisfactory
presents. He made many other complaints against the oppressions of
Montezuma, and concluded by earnestly soliciting our friendship and
alliance. Xicotencatl was strong made, tall, and well proportioned, having
a broad and somewhat wrinkled face, and grave aspect, appearing to be
about thirty-five years old. Cortes treated him with every mark of respect,
and expressed his high satisfaction that so brave and respectable a nation
should become our allies, and subjects to our sovereign; but warned them
seriously to beware of repeating the offences they had been guilty of
towards us, lest it should occasion an exemplary punishment. The Tlascalan
chief promised the utmost fidelity and obedience, and invited us to come
to their city; which Cortes promised to do as soon as he had concluded his
business with the Mexican ambassadors, and Xicotencatl took his leave.

The ambassadors of Montezuma endeavoured to impress Cortes with distrust
of the sincerity of the Tlascalans; asserting that their professions of
peace and friendship were only meant to betray us, as they would certainly
murder us while in their city. To these representations Cortes answered
that he was resolved to go to Tlascala, that he might ascertain the
sincerity of their professions; and that any such attempt as the Mexicans
surmised would only bring on its own condign punishment. The ambassadors
then requested Cortes to delay his march for six days, that they might
receive fresh instructions from their sovereign, to which he acceded for
two reasons, because of the state of his own health, and that the
observations of the ambassadors seemed to require serious consideration.
He now sent a messenger to Juan Escalente at Villa Rica, informing him of
all that had happened, and requiring him to send some vessels of
sacramental wine, and some consecrated bread, all that we had brought with
us having been used. We at this time got the people of Zumpacingo to
purify and white wash one of their temples, in which we erected a lofty
cross. Our new friends the Tlascalans supplied us amply with provisions,
particularly fowls and _tunas_, or Indian figs; and repeatedly invited us
to their capital, but with this last we could not immediately comply,
owing to the engagement with the Mexican ambassadors. At the end of the
sixth day, as agreed upon, six nobles arrived from Montezuma, with a
present of gold to the value of 3000 crowns, and 200 rich mantles; with a
complimentary message, desiring us on no account to trust the Tlascalans
or to go to their capital. Cortes returned thanks for the present, and the
warning respecting the Tlascalans, whom he said he would severely punish
if they attempted any treachery: and as he was just informed of the
approach of the chiefs of Tlascala, he requested the Mexican ambassadors
to wait three days for his final answer.

The ancient chiefs of Tlascala now arrived at our quarters, borne in
litters or hammocks, and attended by a large train of followers. These
were Maxicatzin, Xicotencatl the elder, who was blind, Guaxocinga,
Chichimecatecle, and Tecapaneca the allied cacique of Topeyanco. After
saluting Cortes with great respect, the old blind chief Xicotencatl
addressed him to the following effect: "We have often sent to request
pardon for our hostilities, which were caused by our suspicions that you
were in alliance with our enemy Montezuma. Had we known who and what you
were, we would have gone down to the coast to invite you from your ships,
and would have swept the roads clean before you. All we can now do is to
invite you to our city, where we shall serve you in every thing within our
power; and we beg you may not listen to the misrepresentations of the
Mexicans, who are our enemies, and are influenced by malice against us."
Cortes returned thanks for their courtesy, saying that he would have
visited them ere now, but wanted men to draw his cannons. On learning this,
five hundred of the natives were assembled for this service in less than
half an hour, and Cortes promised to visit their capital next day. We
accordingly began our march early next morning, the Mexican ambassadors
accompanying us at the desire of Cortes, and keeping always near his
person that they might not be insulted by their Tlascalan enemies. From
this time the natives always gave Cortes the name of Malintzin, signifying
the lord or captain of Marina, because she always interpreted for him in
their language. We entered the city of Tlascala on the 23d September 1519,
thirty-four days after our arrival in the territories of the republic. As
soon as we began our march, the chiefs went before to provide quarters for
us; and on our approach to the city, they came out to meet us, accompanied
by their daughters and other female relations: each tribe separately, as
this nation consisted of four distinct tribes, besides that which was
governed by the cacique of Topeyanco. These tribes were distinguished from
each other by different uniforms, of cloth made of _nequen_, as cotton did
not grow in their country. The priests, came likewise to meet us, in long
loose white garments, having their long hair all clotted with blood
proceeding from recent cuts in the ears, and having remarkably long nails
on their fingers; they carried pots of incense, with which they fumigated
us. On our arrival, the chiefs saluted Cortes with much respect, and the
people crowded to see us in such numbers that we could hardly make our way
through the streets, presenting Cortes and the cavalry with garlands of
beautiful and sweet smelling flowers.

We at length arrived at some large enclosed courts, in the apartments,
around which our lodgings were appointed; when the two principal chiefs
took Cortes by the hand and conducted him into the apartment which was
destined for his use. Every one of our soldiers were provided with a mat
and bed-clothes made of _nequen_ cloth. Our allies were lodged close by us,
and the Mexican ambassadors were accommodated, by desire of Cortes, in the
apartment next his own. Though we had every reason to confide in the
Tlascalans, Cortes used the most rigid military precautions for our safety;
which, being observed by the chiefs, they complained of as indicating
suspicion of their sincerity; but Cortes assured them this was the uniform
custom of our country, and that he had the most perfect reliance on their
truth. As soon as an altar could be got ready, Cortes ordered Juan Diaz to
celebrate the mass, as Olmeda was ill of a fever. Many of the native
chiefs were present on this occasion, whom Cortes took along with him
after the service into his own apartment, attended by those soldiers who
usually accompanied him. The elder Xicotencatl then offered a present,
consisting of a small quantity of gold and some pieces of cloth, not worth
twenty crowns altogether, and expressed his fear that he might despise so
paltry a present, which he excused on account of the poverty of their
nation, occasioned by the extortions of Montezuma, from whom they were
forced to purchase peace at the expence of every thing valuable belonging
to them. Cortes assured them that he valued their gift, small as it was,
more than he would a house full of gold from others, as it was a testimony
of their friendship, which he greatly valued. Xicotencatl then proposed
that a strict alliance should be formed between the two nations, and that
our chiefs should accept their daughters in marriage, offering his own to
Cortes, who thanked him for these marks of friendship. The chiefs remained
with Cortes a whole day, and as Xicotencatl was blind, Cortes permitted
him to examine his head, face, and beard with his hands, which he did with
much attention.

Next day the chiefs brought five daughters of their principal caciques,
who were much handsomer than the other women of the country, each attended
by a female slave. On this occasion Xicotencatl presented his own daughter
to Cortes, and desired him to assign the others among his principal
officers. Cortes thanked him for the mark of regard, but that for the
present the ladies must remain with their parents, as we must first obey
the commands of our God, and the orders of our sovereign, by abolishing
human sacrifices and other abominations, and by teaching them the true
faith in the adoration of one only God. He then shewed them a beautiful
image of the holy Mary, the queen of heaven, the mother of our Lord by the
power of the Holy Ghost, conceived without sin, adding, That if they
wished to become our brethren, and that we should marry their daughters,
they must renounce their idolatry, and worship our God, by which they
would not only benefit their temporal concerns, but would secure an
eternal happiness in heaven; whereas by persisting in the worship of their
idols, which were representations of the devils, they would consign
themselves to hell, where they would be plunged eternally into flames of
fire. This and a great deal more excellently to the purpose, being well
explained to them by our interpreters, the chiefs made answer to the
following effect: That they readily believed all they had now heard
respecting the excellence of our God and his saints, and might in time be
able to understand the subject of his exhortations; but that if they were
now to renounce the religion of their ancestors in their old age to please
us, the priests and people would rebel against them; more especially as
the priests had already consulted their gods, who had commanded them on no
account to omit the human sacrifices and other ancient customs, as
otherwise they would send famine, pestilence, and war into their country:
They requested, therefore that nothing more might be said on this subject,
as they could not renounce their gods but with their lives. When the
subject of this conference was reported to father Olmedo, who was a wise
and good man, he advised the general not to urge the matter any farther
for the present, as he was adverse to forced conversions, such as had been
already attempted at Chempoalla; and that to destroy the idols were a
needless act of violence, unless the principles of idolatry were
eradicated from their minds by argument as they would easily procure other
idols to continue their worship. Three of our cavaliers, Alvarado, de Leon,
and De Lugo, gave a similar advice to Cortes, and the subject was
judiciously dropped, which might have again excited the Tlascalans to
inveterate enmity.

Soon after this we got permission to clear out and purify one of the
temples, which was converted into a Christian church, and had an altar and
cross erected. Here the ladies who were destined to be the brides of our
officers, having been instructed in the principles of the Christian
religion were baptized. The daughter of Xicotencatl was named Donna Luisa,
and being taken by the hand by Cortes, was presented by him to Alvarado,
saying to her rather that this officer was his brother, with which
arrangement the old cacique seemed perfectly satisfied. Almost the whole
province of Tlascala came afterwards to depend upon this lady, paying rent
and homage to her. She had a son by Alvarado named Don Pedro, and a
daughter Donna Leonora, who inherited her mothers domains, and is now the
wife of Don Francisco de la Cueva, cousin to the Duke of Albuquerque, by
whom she has four or five sons. In right of his wife Donna Luisa, Alvarado
became lord, and almost sovereign of Tlascala. As far as I can remember,
the niece, or daughter of Maxicatzin, named Donna Leonora, and remarkably
handsome, was given to Velasquez de Leon. I have forgotten the names of
the other ladies, all stiled Donnas, but they were assigned to De Oli,
Sandoval, and Avila. After the ceremonies were concluded, the natives were
informed that the crosses were erected in order to expel the evil spirits
which they had been in use to worship.

Cortes obtained considerable information from the two principal chiefs of
Tlascala, Xicotencatl, and Maxicatzin, relative to the military and
political state of Mexico. They said that Montezuma had an army of an
hundred thousand warriors, occupying all the cities of the neighbouring
states, which were subject to his dominions, with strong garrisons, and
forcing them to pay heavy tributes in gold, manufactures, productions of
the soil, and victims for sacrifice, so that his wealth and power were
exceedingly great; but that all the districts which were under subjection
to him were exceedingly dissatisfied with his tyranny, and inclined to
take part with his enemies. Their own state of Tlascala had been in almost
continual wars with the Mexicans for above an hundred years, and formed a
league for mutual defence with the people of Guaxocingo[9]; but were
principally vexed by inroads from the Mexican garrison in Cholula, from
which city the troops of Montezuma were able to come by surprise on the
Tlascalan territories. They described the city of Mexico as of great
strength, being built in the lake, and only accessible by narrow causeways,
with wooden bridges, and having no access to most of its houses but by
drawbridges or boats. They described the arms of the Mexicans as
consisting of double-headed darts, which were projected by a kind of
slings, lances having stone heads, an ell in length, and both edges as
sharp as a razor, and two-handed swords, edged likewise with sharp stones,
besides shields and other defensive armour. The chiefs shewed large
_nequen_ cloths, on which their various battles were represented, with all
those different kinds of weapons. They alleged that their country was
anciently inhabited by a people of great stature and very barbarous
manners, who had been extirpated by their ancestors, and produced a
thigh-bone which they said had belonged to one of these giants. I stood by
it, and it equalled my height, though I am as tall as most men. We sent
this bone to Spain for the inspection of his majesty. The chiefs told us
that their idols had long ago predicted, that a people was to arrive from
the distant lands where the sun rises, and to subdue their country, and
they believed we were those to whom the prediction applied. Cortes said
that this was certainly the case, and that our great emperor had sent us
to establish a lasting friendship between our nation and them, and to be
the instruments of shewing them the only way of Salvation: To which we all
said Amen!

While we were in Tlascala a volcano near Guaxocingo threw out great
quantities of flames, and Diego de Ordas went up to examine it, attended
by two Spanish soldiers, and some of the principal Indians. The natives
declined going any nearer to the volcano than the temples of
_Popocatepeque_, but De Ordas and his two Spanish comrades ascended to the
summit of the mountain, and looked down into the crater, which is a circle
of near a quarter of a league diameter. From this peak also, they had a
distant view of the city of Mexico, which was twelve or thirteen leagues
from the mountain. This was considered as a great feat, and De Ordas, on
his return to Spain, got royal authority to bear this volcano in his arms,
which is now borne by his nephew who dwells in La Puebla. This volcano did
not throw out flames for a good many years afterwards, but it flamed with
great violence in 1530. We observed many wooden cages in the city of
Tlascala, in which the victims intended for sacrifice were confined and
fattened; but we destroyed all these, releasing the unhappy prisoners, who
remained along with us, as they dared not to return to their own homes.
Cortes spoke very angrily to the Tlascalan chiefs, exhorting them to
abolish this horrible custom of human sacrifices, and they promised
amendment; but immediately, on our backs being turned, they resumed their
ancient abominations.

[1] Clavigero says that Cortes had some troops of the Totanacas, among
whom were forty nobles, serving at the same time as auxiliaries, and
as hostages for the fidelity of their nation.--Clavig. II. 30.

[2] In Clavigero, II. 29. the army of Cortes on this occasion is stated
to have amounted to 415 Spanish infantry and 16 cavalry.--E.

[3] In Clavigero, II. 31. Iztacmaxitlan is said to have been the next
stage after leaving Xocotla, and is described as a populous district,
with a strong city or fortress on a high rock, defended by barbicans
and ditches.--E.

[4] In Clavigero, II. 31. Xicocentcatl Maxicatizin, is given as the name
of one chief; and only _three_ other lords or great caciques are said
to have then borne sway in the Tlascalan republic, Tlekul, Xolotzin,
and Citlalpocatzin. The person named Chichimecatecle by Diaz, is
called Chichimeca Teuchtli by Clavigero: But it is impossible to
reconcile the differences between these authors respecting the other
names of the chiefs, nor is it important.--E.

[5] Clavigero, II. 37. says the grand standard of the republic of Tlascala,
used on this occasion, was a golden eagle with expanded wings.--E.

[6] According to Clavigero, II. 37. Xicotencatl, to show how little he
regarded the Spaniards, sent them 300 turkeys and two hundred baskets
of _tamalli_, to recruit their strength before the approaching

[7] Called the son of Chichimeca Teuctli by Clavigero; perhaps his name
was Guaxocingo, and Diaz, after a long interval of time, transposed
the names of the father and son.--E.

[8] It has been already mentioned that Clavigero writes these two as the
names of one man, Xicotencatl Maxicatzin, informing us that the latter
name signifies the elder.--E.

[9] This place, so often mentioned by Diaz, seems to be the same called
Huexotzinco by Clavigero.--E.


_Events during the March of the Spaniards from Tlascala to Mexico_.

After a stay of seventeen days, in Tlascala to refresh ourselves after our
late severe fatigues, and for the recovery of our wounded companions, it
was resolved to resume our march to the city of Mexico, though the rich
settlers of Cuba still endeavoured to persuade Cortes to return to Villa
Rica. This resolution also gave much uneasiness to our new Tlascalan
allies, who used every argument to make us distrust the courteous manners
of Montezuma and his subjects, whom they alleged to be extremely
treacherous, and would either fall upon and destroy us on the first
favourable opportunity, or would reduce us to slavery. In the event of
hostilities between us and the Mexicans, they exhorted us to kill them all
young and old. Cortes thanked them for their friendly counsel, and offered
to negociate a treaty of peace and amity between them and the Mexicans;
but they would by no means consent to this measure, saying that the
Mexican government would employ peace only as a cover for treachery. On
making inquiry as to the best road to Mexico, the ambassadors of Montezuma
recommended that by Cholula, in which we should find good accommodation;
but the Tlascalans earnestly entreated us to go by Huexotzinco which was
in alliance with them, representing the Cholulans as a perfidious people.
But Cortes determined to take the road of Cholula, intending to remain in
that city till he could secure a safe and peaceable reception at Mexico;
he sent therefore a message to the chiefs of Cholula, to inform them of
his intentions, and to express his dissatisfaction at their conduct in not
having been to wait upon him. While engaged in preparations for our
departure, four of the principal nobles of Mexico arrived with a rich
present, consisting of gold to the value of 10,000 crowns, and ten bales
of mantles of the finest feather-work. After saluting Cortes with profound
respect, they said that Montezuma was astonished at our long residence
among so poor and base a people as the Tlascalans, and that he requested
we would come without delay to his capital. Cortes assured them that he
would very soon pay his respects to their sovereign, and requested they
would remain along with him during the march. He also at this time
appointed Pedro de Alvarado, and Vasquez de Tupia, to go as his
ambassadors to Montezuma, with instructions to examine the city of Mexico.
These gentlemen set out accordingly, along with the former Mexican
ambassadors, but were soon recalled, in consequence of a remonstrance from
the army. At this time I was confined by my wounds, and was ill of a fever,
and consequently incapable of attending minutely to all that passed.

In return to our message, the chiefs of Cholula sent a very dry and
uncourteous answer by four men of low degree, and without any present. As
this was obviously done in contempt, Cortes sent the messengers back to
inform the chiefs, that he would consider them as rebels if they did not
wait upon him personally in three days; but, if they complied with this
requisition, he was willing to accept them as friends and brothers, and
had much intelligence of great importance to communicate to them. They
sent back, saying, that they durst not come into the country of their
inveterate enemies the Tlascalans, who they were sure had grossly
misrepresented both them and Montezuma to us, but engaged to give us an
honourable reception in their city. When the Tlascalans found we were
determined upon taking the road of Cholula, contrary to their advice, they
proposed that we should take 10,000 of their best warriors along with us;
but our general considered this number as too many for a visit of peace,
and would only accept 3000, who were immediately made ready to attend us.
Using every proper precaution for our safety, we began our march from
Tlascala, and arrived that evening at a river about a league from Cholula,
where there is now a stone bridge, and encamped here for the night. Some
of the chiefs came to congratulate our arrival in their neighbourhood, and
gave us a courteous invitation to visit their city. We continued our march
next day, and were met near the city by the chiefs and priests, all
dressed in cassocks of cotton cloth, resembling those used by the
Zapotecans. After presenting incense to Cortes, the chiefs made an apology
for not waiting upon him at Tlascala, and requested that so large a body
of their enemies might not be permitted to enter their city. As this
request appeared reasonable, Cortes sent Alvarado and De Oli, to desire
our allies to hut themselves without the city, which they did accordingly,
imitating the military discipline of the Spaniards, in the arrangement of
their camp and the appointment of centinels. Before entering the city,
Cortes explained the purpose of his mission in a long oration, in the same
manner as he had already done at all the other places during the march. To
all this they answered that they were ready to yield obedience to our
sovereign in all things, but could not abandon the religion of their
ancestors. We then marched on in our usual compact order, attended only by
our allies from Chempoalla, and the Indians who drew our artillery, and
conveyed our baggage, and entered the city, all the streets and terraces
of which was filled with an immense concourse of people, through whom we
were conducted to our appointed quarters, in some large apartments, which
conveniently accommodated our army and all our attendants.

While we remained in this place, a plot was concerted by the Mexican
ambassadors for the introduction of 20,000 warriors belonging to Montezuma,
who were to attack us in conjunction with the people of Cholula; and
several houses were actually filled with poles and leather collars, by
means of which we were to have been bound and carried prisoners to Mexico.
But God was pleased that we should discover and confound their
machinations. During the first two days, we were perfectly well
entertained; but on the third no provisions were sent us, and none of the
chiefs or priests appeared at our quarters. Such few of the inhabitants as
we happened to see, speedily withdrew with a malicious sneer; and on
Cortes applying to the Mexican ambassadors to procure provisions for us as
usual, some wood and water only were brought to us by a few old men, as if
in derision, who said that no maize could be procured. This day, likewise,
some ambassadors arrived from Montezuma, who desired in very disrespectful
terms on no account to approach Mexico, and demanded an immediate answer.
Cortes gave them a mild answer, expressing his astonishment at the
alteration in the tone of their sovereign, but requested a short delay
before giving his definitive answer to their message. He then summoned us
together, and desired us to keep on the alert, as he suspected some great
act of treachery was in agitation against us. As the chiefs of Cholula had
refused to wait upon him, Cortes sent some soldiers to a great temple
close to our quarters, with orders to bring two of the priests to him as
quietly as possible. They succeeded in this without difficulty; and,
having made a trifling present to the priests, he inquired as to the
reason of the late extraordinary conduct of the Cholulan chiefs. One of
these who was of high rank, having authority over all the temples and
priests of the city, like one of our bishops, told Cortes that he would
persuade some of the chiefs to attend him, if allowed to speak with them;
and, being permitted to go away for that purpose, he soon brought several
of the chiefs to our quarters. Cortes reproved them sharply for the change
in their behaviour to us, and commanded them to send an immediate supply
of provisions, and likewise to provide him next day with a competent
number of people to convey our baggage and artillery, as he meant then to
resume his march to Mexico. The chiefs appeared quite confounded and panic
struck, yet promised to send in provisions immediately, alleging in excuse
for their conduct, that they had been so ordered by Montezuma, who was
unwilling that we should advance any farther into his dominions.

At this time, three of our Chempoallan allies called Cortes aside, and
told him that they had discovered several pitfals close to our quarters,
covered over with wood and earth, and that on examining one of these they
found its bottom provided with sharpened stakes. They informed him also
that all the terraces of the houses near our quarters had been recently
provided with parapets of sod, and great quantities of stones collected on
them, and that a strong barricade of timber had been erected across one of
the streets. Eight Tlascalans arrived also from their army on the outside
of the town, who warned Cortes that an attack was intended against us, as
the priests of Cholula had sacrificed eight victims on the preceding night
to their god of war, five of whom were children; and that they had seen
crowds of women and children withdrawing from the city with their valuable
effects, all of which were sure signs of some impending commotion. Cortes
thanked the Tlascalans for this instance of their fidelity, and sent them
back to the camp with orders to their chiefs to hold themselves in
readiness for any emergency. He then returned to the chiefs and priests,
to whom he repeated his former orders, warning them not to deviate from
their obedience, on pain of instant condign punishment, commanding them at
the same time to prepare 2000 of their best warriors to accompany him next
day on his march to Mexico. The chiefs readily promised to obey all his
commands, thinking in this manner to facilitate their projected treachery,
and took their leave. Cortes then employed Donna Marina to bring back the
two priests who had been with him before, from whom he learnt, that
Montezuma had been lately very unsettled in his intentions towards us,
sometimes giving orders to receive us honourably, and at other times
commanding that we should not be allowed to pass. That he had lately
consulted his gods, who had revealed that we were all to be put to death,
or made prisoners in Cholula, to facilitate which he had sent 20,000 of
his troops to that place, half of whom were now in the city, and the rest
concealed at the distance of a league. They added, that the plan of
attack was all settled, and that twenty of our number were to be
sacrificed in the temples of Cholula, and all the rest to be conveyed
prisoners to Mexico. Cortes rewarded them liberally for their
intelligence, and enjoined them to preserve the strictest secrecy on the
subject, commanding them to bring all the chiefs to his quarters at an
appointed time. He then convened a council of all the officers, and such
soldiers as he most confided in, before whom he laid an account of the
information which he had received, desiring their advice as to the best
conduct to be pursued in the present alarming emergency. Some proposed to
return immediately to Tlascala, and others proposed various measures, but
it was the universal opinion that the treachery of the Cholulans required
to be severely punished, as a warning to other places. It was accordingly
resolved to inflict condign punishment on the Cholulans within the courts
where we were quartered, which were surrounded by high walls, but in the
meantime, to continue our preparations for resuming the march, in order to
conceal our intentions. We then informed the Mexican ambassadors, that we
had discovered the treacherous intentions of the Cholulans, who pretended
that they acted by orders of Montezuma, which we were convinced was a
false aspersion. They solemnly declared their ignorance of these
transactions; but Cortes ordered them to have no farther intercourse with
the inhabitants of the city, and sent them to his own quarters under a
strong guard for the night, during the whole of which we lay upon our arms,
ready to act at a moments warning.

During this anxious night, the wife of one of the caciques, who had taken
a great liking to Donna Marina, came secretly to visit that lady,
informing her of the plot, invited her to take refuge in her house from
the danger which was about to overwhelm us, and proposed to give her for a
husband the brother of a boy who was along with her. Donna Marina, with
her usual presence of mind, agreed to every thing proposed with a
profusion of thanks, and said she only wanted some one to take charge of
her effects before leaving the Spanish quarters. In course of this
conversation, Marina acquired particular information of every part of this
mysterious affair, which the old woman told her had been communicated to
her three days before by her husband, who was chief of one of the
divisions of the city, and was now with his warriors, giving directions
for their co-operation with the Mexican troops, and who had lately
received a gold drum from Mexico, as an ensign of command. Donna Marina
desired the old woman and her son to remain in her apartment till she went
in search of her valuables; but went immediately to Cortes, to whom she
communicated all the information she had received, adding that her
informer was still in her apartment. Cortes immediately sent for the old
woman, who being confronted by Donna Marina, repeated every thing exactly
as before, which agreed in all respects with the information he had
already received from others.

When day appeared, the hurry of the chiefs, priests and people in coming
to our quarters as appointed, and their apparent satisfaction, was as
great as if we had been already secured in their cages. They brought a
much greater number of warriors to attend us than had been required,
insomuch that the large courts in which we were quartered were unable to
contain them. We were all prepared for the event, having a strong guard of
soldiers posted at the gate of the great court, to prevent any one from
escaping. Cortes mounted on horseback, attended by a strong guard; and as
he saw the people crowding in at the gate, he said to us, "See how anxious
these traitors are to feast on our flesh! But GOD will disappoint their
hopes." He ordered the two priests who had given him the information to
retire to their houses that they might escape the intended slaughter.
Every one being arrived in the great court, he commanded the chiefs and
priests to draw near, to whom he made a calm remonstrance on the treachery
of their conduct towards us, which was explained by Donna Marina. He asked
them why they had plotted to destroy us, and what we had done to deserve
their enmity, except exhorting them to abandon their barbarous and
abominable customs, and endeavouring to instruct them in our holy
religion? Their evil intentions, he said, had been obvious, by withdrawing
their women and children from the city, and by insultingly sending us only
wood and water, when we required provisions. He said he was perfectly
acquainted with the ambush which was placed in the road by which we meant
to march, and with all the other contrivances they had made for our
destruction; and that in recompence of our proffered friendship, and of
all the holy services we intended them, he knew that they meant to kill
and eat us, and that the pots were already on the fire, prepared with salt,
pepper, and _tomatas_, in which our dissevered limbs were to be boiled. He
knew that they had doomed twenty of us to be sacrificed to their idols, to
whom they had already immolated seven of their own brethren. "Since you
were determined to attack us," said he in conclusion, "it had been more
manly to have done so openly like the Tlascalans, and not to have resorted
to mean and cowardly treachery. But be assured that the victory which your
false gods have promised is beyond their power, and the punishment of your
treason is now ready to burst on your guilty heads."

The astonished chiefs confessed every thing which was laid to their charge,
but endeavoured to excuse themselves, by laying the whole blame on the
orders they had received from Montezuma. "Wretches," said Cortes, "this
falsehood is an aggravation of your offence, and such complicated crimes
can never be permitted to pass unpunished." He then ordered a musket to be
fired, as a signal to commence the slaughter, for which we all stood
prepared. We immediately fell furiously on the multitudes who were
inclosed within the walls of our quarters, and executed their merited
punishment in such a manner as will be long remembered by the remaining
natives of Cholula. A vast number of them were put to death on the spot,
and many of them were afterwards burned alive. In less than two hours, our
Tlascalan allies arrived in the city, having been previously instructed in
our plan, and made a terrible slaughter in the streets of the city; and
when the Cholulans ceased to make resistance, they ravaged the city,
plundering it of every thing valuable they could lay hold of, and making
slaves of all the inhabitants who fell in their way. On the day following,
when intelligence reached Tlascala of the transactions at Cholula, great
numbers crowded to the devoted city, which they plundered without mercy.
It now became necessary to restrain the fury of the Tlascalans, and Cortes
gave orders to their chiefs to withdraw their troops from the city, with
which they immediately complied.

Quiet being in some measure restored, some chiefs and priests who presided
over a distant quarter of the city, which they pretended had not been
engaged in the conspiracy, waited in an humble manner on Cortes, and
prayed a remission of the punishment which had already fallen so heavily
on their townsmen. The two before mentioned priests, and the old woman
from whom Donna Marina had procured such material information, came
forward likewise, and joined in the same petition, and Cortes determined
to shew clemency to the rest of the city, yet seemed still in great rage.
He called the Mexican ambassadors into his presence, in whose presence he
declared that the whole inhabitants of the city and dependancy of Cholula
had richly merited to be utterly extirpated for their treachery; but that
out of respect to the great Montezuma, whose vassals they were, he
consented to pardon them. He then ordered the Tlascalans to liberate their
prisoners, which they in some measure complied with, setting free many of
those they intended to have reduced to slavery, yet retained a prodigious
booty in gold, mantles, cotton, and salt. Having proclaimed an amnesty to
the Cholulans, he reconciled them and the Tlascalans who had anciently
been confederates; and being desired to appoint a new chief cacique of
Cholula, in place of the former who had been put to death, Cortes inquired
to whom that dignity belonged of right, and being informed that the
brother of the late head cacique ought to succeed according to their laws,
he nominated him to the office. As soon as the inhabitants had returned to
their houses, and order was restored in the city, Cortes summoned all the
chiefs and priests to a conference, in which he explained to them the
principles of our holy religion, earnestly exhorting them to renounce
their idolatry, and the odious practices connected with it; and, as an
instance of the uselessness of their idols, he reminded them how much they
had been lately deceived by the false responses imposed upon them in their
names: He proposed to them therefore, to destroy their senseless idols,
and to erect an altar and cross in their stead. The latter was immediately
complied with, but Father Olmedo advised him to postpone the former to a
more favourable opportunity, from a due consideration of our uncertain and
perilous situation.

Cholula was then a large and populous city, much resembling Valladolid,
situated on a fertile plain which was thickly inhabited, and all its
surrounding district was well cultivated with maize, maguey, and pepper.
There were above a hundred lofty white towers in the city, belonging to
different idol temples, one of which was held in very high estimation,
that principal temple being more lofty even than the great temple of
Mexico. An excellent manufacture of earthen ware was carried on at this
place, the various articles of which were curiously painted in different
patterns, in red, black, and white, and from which the city of Mexico and
all the surrounding countries were supplied, as Castile is from Talavera
and Placencia. In the numerous temples of this city there were many cages;
which were filled with men and boys, fattening up for sacrifice, all of
which Cortes caused to be destroyed, sending the miserable captives home
to their respective houses. He likewise gave positive orders to the
priests to desist in future from this most abominable custom, which they
promised to refrain from, but they forgot their promises as soon as the
authority of our irresistible arms was removed.

On hearing the melancholy fate of their companions in Cholula, the Mexican
troops who were posted in ambush, with trenches and barricades to oppose
our cavalry, made a precipitate retreat to Mexico, whether they carried an
account to Montezuma of the failure of his plot for our destruction; but
he had already heard the news of his misfortunes from two of his
ambassadors, whom Cortes had dismissed for the purpose. It was reported
that he immediately ordered a solemn sacrifice to his gods, and shut
himself up for two days with ten of his chief priests, engaged in rigid
devotional exercises, on purpose to obtain a response from his gods
respecting his future destiny; and we afterwards learnt that the priests
advised him, as from their gods, to send an embassy to exculpate himself
from having any connection with what had passed in Cholula, and to
inveigle us into Mexico; where, by cutting off the supply of water, or by
raising the bridges on the causeways, he might easily destroy us, or
detain us in slavery to breed people like ourselves for his service.

Having remained fourteen days in Cholula, Cortes consulted in regard to
our future operations with a council of those officers and soldiers who
were most sincerely attached to his person, as indeed he never engaged in
any matter of importance without taking our advice. In this consultation,
it was determined to send a respectful message to Montezuma, informing him
that we were on our way to pay our respects to him by the orders of our
own sovereign. Our messenger was likewise desired to relate the whole late
events which had occurred at Cholula, where the treachery which had been
concerted against us had come to our knowledge, from which nothing could
be concealed which concerned our welfare, and that we had desisted from
punishing the people of that city to the full extent which they deserved,
entirely out of respect to him, whose vassals they were. That the chiefs
and priests had given out that all they had done or intended to do was by
his orders; but we could not possibly believe that so great a monarch,
after the many marks of friendship with which he had honoured us, could be
guilty of such infamous proceedings; being convinced, if he had meditated
hostility, he would have met us honourably in the field of battle: But at
the same time to assure him, that day or night, field or town, fair battle
or villainous stratagem, were all the same for us, as we were always
prepared for every emergency. Montezuma had become exceedingly thoughtful
and alarmed on account of the failure of the plot in Cholula, and now sent
an embassy of six of his chief nobles to wait on Cortes, with a present to
the value of 2000 crowns in gold, and several bales of fine mantles. The
ambassadors saluted Cortes with profound respect, and delivered a message
in which Montezuma endeavoured to exculpate himself from any concern in
the affair of Cholula, and in conclusion, invited the general to his court.
Cortes treated these ambassadors with his usual politeness, and retaining
three of them to serve as guides on our march to Mexico, he sent on the
others to inform Montezuma that we were on our way to his capital. When
the Tlascalan chiefs understood our determination to proceed, they renewed
their former warnings to beware of treachery from the Mexicans, and again
offered to send 10,000 of their warriors along with us. But Cortes, after
thanking them for their friendly solicitude and proffered aid, remarked,
as he had done before, that so large a body of troops was incompatible
with an amicable visit, but requested they would furnish 1000 men for our
baggage and artillery, which they immediately provided. Our faithful
Chempoalan allies, being afraid of the resentment of the Mexicans for
their revolt, begged permission to return to their district, and Cortes
dismissed them with a handsome present, sending letters by them to
Escalente at Villa Rica, containing an account of our proceedings.

We marched from Cholula in our usual compact order, prepared for
whatsoever might befal, sending out patroles of our cavalry by threes in
front, supported by a detachment of light infantry as an advanced guard.
On our arrival at a small village called Izcalpan, in the district of
Huexotzinco, about four leagues from Cholula, we were met by the chiefs
bearing provisions, and a small present of gold. They requested our
general to consider only the good will of the givers, not the
worthlessness of the gift, as they were very poor; and, while they
endeavoured to dissuade him from attempting to proceed to Mexico, they
also informed him, that, on ascending the next mountain, he would find two
roads, the one of which leading by Chalco was broad and open, while the
other leading by Tlalmanalco, though originally equally convenient, had
been recently stopped up and obstructed by means of trees felled across it
to render it difficult, though it was in reality shorter and more secure
than that of Chalco, on which road the Mexicans had placed a large party
of troops in ambush among some rocks, for the purpose of attacking us by
surprise on the march. They advised us therefore, if we were determined
to persevere, to choose the obstructed road, and offered to send a number
of their people to clear it for us. Cortes thanked them for their good
advice, of which he would avail himself by the blessing of GOD. Having
halted for the night at Izcalpan, we resumed our march early the next
morning, and reached the summit of a mountainous ridge about noon, where
we found the two roads exactly as they had been described to us. We halted
here in order to deliberate on our procedure, when Cortes called the
Mexican ambassadors to explain the meaning of the felled trees. Pretending
ignorance on this subject, they advised him to take the road of Chalco,
where they said he would be well received. Cortes chose however to take
the other road, and sent on our Indian allies to clear the way before us.
As we ascended the mountain, the weather became piercingly cold, and we
even had a considerable fall of snow, which covered the whole country
round about. We at length arrived at certain houses which had been built
on the very top of the mountain for the accommodation of travellers, where
we found an abundant supply of provisions, and having placed proper guards,
we halted here for the night. We resumed our march next morning, and
arrived by the hour of high mass at the town of Halmanalco, where we were
hospitably received. The people of the neighbouring districts of Chalco,
Amaquemecan, and Ajotzinco, where the canoes are kept, waited on Cortes at
this place with a present of about 150 crowns in gold, some mantles, and
eight women. Cortes received them affably, and promised them his
friendship and protection; explaining to them, as on former occasions, the
doctrines of our holy faith, exhorting them to abandon their idolatry and
barbarous immolation of human victims, informing them that he was sent
among them by a powerful monarch to redress wrongs, and to lead them in
the way of eternal salvation. On this the people began to make loud
complaints of the tyranny of Montezuma, who deprived them of their wives
and daughters if handsome, forcing the men to work like slaves in the
conveyance of stones, timber, and corn, and appropriating their lands to
the service of his temples. Cortes gave them kind assurances of speedy
redress, but recommended to them to be patient yet a little while.

Just as we were going to set out from Tlalmanalco, four of the principal
nobles of the court of Mexico arrived with presents from Montezuma, and
having made their customary obeisance, they addressed Cortes in the
following manner: "_Malinatzin_! our sovereign sent this present to you,
and desires us to say, that he is grieved you should take so much trouble
in coming from a distant country to visit him. He has already made you be
informed that he will give you much gold, silver, and _chalchihuis_ for
your _teules_, if you will give up your intention of coming to Mexico. We
now repeat this request in his name, that you will return; and he will
send after you a great treasure in gold, silver, and jewels for your king,
with four loads of gold for yourself, and a load for each of your brethren.
It is impossible for you to proceed to Mexico, as the whole Mexican
warriors are in arms to oppose you; besides which you will find the roads
bad, and will be unable to procure provisions." Embracing the ambassadors
with much politeness, and having returned thanks for their present, Cortes
expressed his astonishment at the changeableness of Montezuma, who thus
alternately invited and deprecated his presence. He begged them to thank
Montezuma for the splendid offers he had made of treasure to the emperor,
himself, and his soldiers; but it was quite impossible for him to turn
back, especially when so near the capital, as his orders from his own
sovereign were to pay his respects to theirs in person; it was quite
useless, therefore, to send him any more such messages, for he was
resolved to proceed; and if Montezuma should desire his departure after
having seen him, he would be ready at his command to return to his own

Having thus dismissed the ambassadors, we continued our march, and as our
allies had informed us that Montezuma intended to put us all to death,
after our entry into his city, we were filled with melancholy reflections
on our hazardous situation; recommending our souls therefore to the LORD
JESUS CHRIST, who had already brought us in safety through so many
imminent dangers, and resolving to sell our lives at a dear rate, we
proceeded on our march. We halted at a town named Iztapalapan, one half of
the houses of which were built in the water, and the rest on dry land, and
took up our quarters there for the night. While preparing early next
morning to recommence our march, information was brought by a sentinel
that a great number of Mexicans in rich dresses were on the road towards
our quarters, on which Cortes again dismissed us. Four principal nobles of
Mexico now presented themselves with profound respect before our general,
whom they informed that Cacamatzin, lord of Tezcuco, and nephew to the
great Montezuma was approaching, and begged that he would remain in his
present situation to receive him. Cacamatzin soon followed in vast pomp,
borne in a magnificent litter, adorned with jewels and plumes of green
feathers, set in branched pillars of gold. His litter was carried by eight
nobles, who assisted him to alight, and then swept the way before him as
he came up to Cortes. Our general embraced the prince, and made him a
present of three of the jewels named _margajitas_, which are figured with
various colours. The only purpose of this visit seemed to have been
complimentary, as he addressed Cortes in these words: "I, and these lords,
have come by order of the great Montezuma, to conduct you to your
residence in our city." We then set forwards in our usual array for Mexico,
the road being crowded on both sides with innumerable multitudes of
natives, and soon arrived at the causeway of Iztapalapan, one of those
which leads to the capital.

When we contemplated the number of populous towns so closely situated in
regard to each other, some on the water, and others on the firm ground, we
could not help comparing this wonderful country to the enchanted scenes we
read of in Amadis de Gaul, so magnificent were the towers and temples and
other superb edifices of stone and lime, which seemed everywhere to rise
out of the water. Many of us were disposed to doubt the reality of the
scene before us, and to suspect we were in a dream; and my readers must
excuse the manner of my expressions, as never had any one seen, heard, or
even dreamt of any thing which could compare to the magnificence of the
scene we now beheld. On approaching Iztapalapan, we were received by
several of the highest nobles of the Mexican empire, relations of
Montezuma, who conducted us to the lodgings appointed for us in that place,
which were magnificent palaces of stone, the timber work of which were
cedar, having spacious courts and large halls, furnished with canopies of
the finest cotton. After contemplating the magnificence of the buildings,
we walked through splendid gardens, containing numerous alleys planted
with a variety of fruit trees, and filled with roses, and a vast variety
of beautiful and aromatic flowers. In these gardens there was a fine sheet
of clear water, communicating with the great lake of Mexico by a canal,
which was of sufficient dimensions to admit the largest canoes. The
apartments of the palace were everywhere ornamented with works of art,
admirably painted, and the walls were beautifully plastered and whitened;
the whole being rendered delightful by containing great numbers of
beautiful birds. When I beheld the delicious scenery around me, I thought
we had been transported by magic to the terrestrial paradise. But this
place is now destroyed, and a great deal of what was then a beautiful
expanse of water, is now converted into fields of maize, and all is so
entirely altered that the natives themselves would hardly know the place
where Iztapalapan stood.


_Arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico, Description of that Court and City,
and Transactions there, till the Arrival of Narvaez on the coast to
supersede Cortes, by order of Velasquez_.

Next day, being the 8th of November 1519, we set out on our way into the
city of Mexico along the grand causeway, which is eight yards wide, and
reaches in a straight line all the way from the firm land to the city of
Mexico, both sides of the causeway being everywhere crowded with
spectators, as were all the towers, temples, and terraces in every part of
our progress, eager to behold such men and animals as had never been seen
in that part of the world. A very different sentiment from curiosity
employed our minds, though every thing we saw around us was calculated to
excite and gratify that passion in the highest degree. Our little army did
not exceed four hundred and fifty men, and we had been told at every step
of our march, that we were to be put to death on our arrival in the city
into which we were now about to enter. That city was everywhere surrounded
by water, and approachable only by long moles or causeways interrupted in
many places by cross cuts, which were only to be passed by means of
bridges, the destruction or removal of any of which would effectually
prevent the possibility of retreat. In these circumstances I may fairly
ask my readers, what men in the world but ourselves would have ventured on
so bold and hazardous an enterprize?

Proceeding along the broad causeway of Iztapalapan, we came to a place
called _Xoloc_, where a smaller causeway goes off obliquely from the great
one to the city of _Cojohuacan_, we were met by a numerous train of the
court nobles in the richest dresses, who were sent before Montezuma to
compliment us on our arrival, after which Cacamatzin and the other nobles
who had hitherto attended us, went to meet their sovereign, who now
approached in a most magnificent litter, which was carried by four of his
highest nobles. When we came near certain towers, almost close to the city,
Montezuma was lifted from his litter, and borne forwards in the arms of
the lords of Tezcuco, Iztapalapan, Tacuba, and Cojohuacan, under a
splendid canopy, richly adorned with gold, precious stones hung round like
fringes, and plumes of green feathers. Montezuma was dressed and adorned
with great magnificence, his mantle being all covered with gold and gems,
a crown of thin gold on his head, and gold buskins on his legs ornamented
with jewels. The princes who supported him were all richly dressed, but in
different habits from those in which they had visited us; and several
other nobles in fine dresses, went before the monarch, spreading mantles
on the ground to prevent his feet from touching it. Three nobles preceded
the whole, each carrying a golden rod, as a signal of the presence of
their great monarch. All the natives who attended Montezuma, except the
four princes, kept their eyes fixed on the ground, no one daring to look
him in the face. On the approach of Montezuma, Cortes dismounted and
advanced towards him with every token of profound respect, and was
welcomed by the Mexican monarch to his metropolis. Cortes then threw upon
the neck of Montezuma a collar of the artificial jewels called
_margajitas_, being glass beads of various colours, set in gold; after
which he advanced, meaning to embrace Montezuma, but the surrounding
nobles prevented him, by taking him respectfully by the arms, considering
this as too great familiarity. It appeared to me that on this occasion
Cortes offered to yield the right hand to Montezuma, who declined this
mark of respect, and placed our general on his right. Cortes then made a
complimentary discourse to Montezuma, expressing his joy in having seen so
great a monarch, and the great honour he had done him, by coming out to
meet him, as well as by the many other marks of favour he had already
received. Montezuma made a gracious reply, and giving orders to the
princes of Tezcuco and Cojohuacan to conduct Cortes and the rest of us to
the quarters assigned to us, he returned to the city in the same state in
which he had come to meet us, all the people standing close to the walls,
not daring to look up; and as we followed the royal attendants, we passed
on without any obstruction from the multitudes in the streets. It were
impossible to reckon the innumerable multitudes of men, women, and
children which thronged everywhere in the streets, on the canals, and the
terraces on the house tops, during the whole of our passage through the
city of Mexico. So strongly is every thing I saw on this memorable day
imprinted on my memory, that it appears to me only as yesterday. Glory to
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave us courage to venture on so
hazardous an enterprize, and preserved us amid so many dangers: And
praised be his holy name, who hath permitted me to write this true history;
though not so full and satisfactory as the subject merits. Amen!

Lodgings were provided for us in the palace which had formerly been
occupied by Azayacatl, not far from the western gate of the great temple.
Here Montezuma had a secret treasury of gold and valuables, which he had
inherited from his father Azayacatl, and we were placed here, because
being considered as _teules_, they thought we were properly lodged in the
neighbourhood of their idols. The entry to this palace was through a large
walled court, and the whole was very light, airy, clean, and pleasant,
with large and lofty apartments. That allotted for our general was
situated on a raised platform; and for each of us mats were provided to
sleep upon, having little canopies over them, after the fashion of this
country. On our arrival at the gate of this palace, Montezuma, who had
preceded us, took Cortes by the hand and led him to the apartment destined
to his particular use, and having placed a rich collar of gold round the
generals neck, he said on taking leave of him, "Malinatzin, you and your
friends are now in your own house, refresh and repose yourselves." We were
distributed to our several apartments by companies, having our artillery
posted in a convenient situation, and every thing was arranged in such a
manner as to be prepared for any emergency. A plentiful and even sumptuous
entertainment was provided for us, to which we sat down with much
satisfaction. This is a full and true account of our adventurous and
magnanimous entry into the city of Mexico, on the 8th of November 1519.

After Montezuma had taken a repast in his own palace, and was informed we
had done the same, he returned to our quarters attended by a great retinue
of nobles. Cortes received him in the middle of the hall, where Montezuma
took him cordially by the hand, and they sat down together on
magnificently ornamented seats. Montezuma made a very pertinent speech, in
which he observed, "That he rejoiced at the arrival of such valiant
captains and warriors in his dominions. He had before heard of a Spanish
captain who had arrived at Pontonchan, and of another who came upon the
coast in the preceding year with four ships, and had wished to see these
men, but was disappointed. Now that we were actually arrived in his
dominions, he was happy to offer every favour in his power to grant, being
convinced we were those men predicted by the gods to his ancestors, who,
coming from that part of the world in which the sun rises, were to acquire
the government of this country, as we had fought with such astonishing
valour ever since our arrival, representations of all our battles having
been sent him in painting." Cortes replied, "That he and all his brethren
could never sufficiently repay the many favours we had received from his
bounty; that we certainly were those men to whom the Mexican prophecies
related, being the vassals of the great and powerful emperor Don Carlos,
to whom many great princes were subject; and who, hearing of the fame and
magnificence of the great Montezuma, had sent us to request that he and
his subjects would embrace the Holy Christian religion, abandoning their
false gods and senseless idols, and abolishing their barbarous human
sacrifices, by which means he would preserve the souls of himself, his
family, and subjects from perdition." Cortes enlarged on this and other
topics in a most edifying manner, promising to communicate more
particulars hereafter. Montezuma then presented a quantity of valuable
ornaments of gold to our general, with a present of some gold, and three
loads of mantles to each of our captains, and two loads of mantles to each
of the soldiers. After this he asked Cortes if all his soldiers were
brothers and vassals to our emperor. To this Cortes answered that they
were all brothers in love and friendship, men of rank in our own country,
and servants of our great sovereign. Montezuma then departed, with mutual
compliments, after giving orders that we should be amply provided with
every thing we needed; particularly fowls, fruit, and corn, stone mills
for grinding our corn, and women to make bread, and to supply us daily
with plenty of grass for our horses.

Next day being appointed for making a visit to Montezuma, Cortes went to
the royal palace accompanied by captains Alvarado, De Leon, Ordas, and
Sandoval, with five soldiers. Montezuma met him in the middle of the great
hall, attended by his relations, all others being excluded from the
apartment in which he happened to be, except on certain occasions of
importance. After mutual compliments of ceremony, Montezuma took Cortes by
the hand, and led him to a seat on his own right hand, placed on an
elevated platform in the saloon. Cortes then said, "That he came to him in
the name and for the service of the only true God, who was adored by the
Christians, the Lord Christ Jesus, who had died to save us and all men. He
endeavoured to explain the mystery of the cross, as an emblem of the
crucifixion, by which mankind had been redeemed. He recounted the
sufferings and death of our Lord and Saviour, who had risen on the third
day and ascended to heaven, where he now reigns, the creator of the
heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all that they contain. He
asserted, that those idols which the natives held as gods, were devils
which dared not to remain wherever the holy cross was planted. That as all
mankind were brothers, the offspring of the same first pair, our glorious
emperor lamented the loss of their souls, which would be brought by their
idols into everlasting flames, and had sent us to apply a sure remedy, by
abolishing the worship of idols, the bloody and inhuman sacrifices of
their fellow men, and their other odious customs so contrary to the law of
God: And that our emperor would send them holy men hereafter to explain
all these things more fully." To this Montezuma replied, "Malinatzin! I am
much indebted to your emperor for sending you so far to inform me of all
these things, of which I have already heard by means of my ambassadors who
have visited you in my name, and to which hitherto we have made no reply.
We have always worshipped our gods, whom we consider to be just and good,
and have no doubt yours are so likewise. It had always been his wish to
see us from the first time he had heard of our arrival on his coasts,
because he believed we were they of whom their ancient prophecies made
mention, and his gods had now granted his desire. That our being refused
entrance into his cities was none of his fault; having been done by his
subjects without orders, who were terrified by the accounts they had
received of us, which reported that we were furious _teules_, who carried
thunder and lightning along with us, that our horses eat men, and other
such foolish stories. That he now saw we were valiant and wise men, for
which he highly esteemed us, and would give us proofs of his favour." Then
changing the manner of his discourse to gaiety, he added "Malinatzin! Your
new friends the Tlascalans have informed you that I am like a god, and
that every thing about me is gold, silver, and jewels. But you now see
that I am like other men, and that my houses are of lime, stone, and
timber. It is true that I am a powerful sovereign, and have great riches,
which I have inherited from my ancestors. You will now treat these reports
with the same contempt that I do the ridiculous stories which I have been
told of your having command over the elements." To this Cortes replied,
that the accounts of enemies were never to be depended on; and made a
handsome compliment to Montezuma on his power and grandeur. Montezuma then
ordered in a rich present, giving Cortes a quantity of gold, with ten
loads of rich stuffs to be divided between him and his captains, and to
each of us five soldiers, he gave two gold collars, each worth ten crowns,
and two loads of mantles. The gold given on this occasion was worth about
a thousand crowns, and the whole was given with so much affability and
indifference, as made him appear truly munificent. Cortes now took leave,
it being the hour of dinner, and we retired impressed with high respect
for the liberality and princely munificence of Montezuma.

The great Montezuma appeared to be about forty years of age, of good
stature, well proportioned, and rather thin. His face was rather long,
with a pleasant expression, and good eyes, and his complexion rather
fairer than the other Indians. His hair was short, just covering his ears,
and his scanty beard was thin, black, and well arranged. His person was
very clean and delicate, as he bathed every evening; and his manners were
a pleasing compound of gravity and good humour. He had two lawful wives,
who were princesses, and a number of mistresses; but his visits to these
were conducted with such secrecy as only to be known by his most familiar
servants; and he lay under no suspicion of unnatural vices, so common
among his subjects. The clothes he wore one day were not used for four
days after. His guard consisted of two hundred nobles, who had apartments
adjoining his own. Certain persons only among these were permitted to
speak to him, and when they went into his presence, they laid aside their
ordinary rich dresses, putting on others quite plain but clean, entering
his apartment barefooted, with their eyes fixed on the ground, and making
three profound reverences as they approached him. On addressing him, they
always began, Lord! my Lord! great Lord! and when they had finished, he
always dismissed them in few words; on which they retired with their faces
towards him, keeping their eyes fixed on the ground. I observed likewise,
that all the great men who waited upon him on business, always entered the
palace barefooted and in plain habits, never entering the gate directly,
but making a circuit in going towards it.

The cooks of the palace had above thirty different ways of dressing meats,
which were served up in earthen vessels of a very ingenious construction
for keeping their contents always hot. For Montezumas own table above
three hundred dishes were dressed every day, and more than a thousand for
his guards. Montezuma sometimes went before dinner to inspect the
preparations, on which occasions his officers pointed out to him which
were the best, explaining what birds or flesh they were composed of. It is
said that the flesh of young children was sometimes dressed for his table;
but after Cortes had spoken to him respecting the barbarity of this
inhuman custom, it was no longer practised in the palace. The ordinary
meats were domestic fowls, pheasants, geese, partridges, quails, venison,
Indian hogs or _pecaris_, pigeons, hares, rabbits and many other animals
and birds peculiar to the country; the various meats being served up on
black and red earthen-ware made at Cholula. In the cold weather while at
his meals, a number of torches were lighted up, of the bark of a tree
which has an aromatic smell and gives no smoke; and to prevent the glare
and heat of those from being troublesome, rich screens ornamented with
gold and paintings of their idols were interposed between Montezuma and
the torches. At his meals he was seated on a low throne or chair, at a
table of proportional height covered with white cloths and napkins, four
beautiful women attending to present him with water for his hands, in
vessels named _xicales_, having plates under them, after which they gave
him towels to dry his hands. Two other women attended with small cakes of
bread; and when he began to eat, a large screen of gilt wood was placed
before him, to prevent him from being seen. Four ancient nobles, who were
his relations and served as councillors and judges, stood beside the
throne, with whom he occasionally conversed, giving them a part of what he
was eating, which they received with profound respect, and eat without
lifting their eyes from the ground. Fruit of all kinds produced in the
country was served up to him at table, of which he eat in great moderation;
and a certain liquor prepared from cocoa, said to be of a stimulant and
strengthening nature, was presented to him from time to time in golden
cups. All the time he continued at table his guards and all others in or
near his apartment had to preserve the most profound silence, under pain
of death. Owing to the before-mentioned screen which concealed him from
public view, we could not see all the circumstances here described from
information. But I noticed above fifty jars of foaming chocolate brought
into the hall, some of which was presented to him by the female attendants.
During the repast, various Indians were introduced at intervals for his
amusement: Some of these were hump-backed, ugly, and deformed, who played
various tricks of buffoonery, and we were told that others were jesters,
besides which there were companies of singers and dancers in which he was
said to take great delight; and to all these he ordered vases of chocolate
to be distributed. When the repast was ended, the four female attendants
already mentioned, after removing the cloths, presented him again with
water to wash his hands, during which he continued his conversation with
the four old nobles, who then took their leaves with much ceremony. He was
then presented with three small hollow canes highly ornamented, containing
an herb called tobacco mixed with liquid amber; and when he was satisfied
with the buffoons, dancers, and singers, he smoked for a short time from
one of these canes, and then laid himself to sleep. I forgot to mention in
its proper place that, during the time of dinner, two beautiful women were
employed in making certain small delicately white cakes, of eggs and other
ingredients, which they presented on plates covered with napkins to
Montezuma; and then another kind of bread was brought to him in long
loaves, as likewise plates of a kind of cakes resembling wafers or
pancakes. When Montezuma had concluded his meal, all his guards and
domestics sat down to dinner, and as well as I could judge, above a
thousand dishes of the various eatables already mentioned were served up
to them, with immense quantities of fruit, and numerous vessels of foaming
chocolate. His establishment, including his women and inferior servants of
all kinds, was amazingly numerous, and must have occasioned prodigious
expence, yet the most perfect regularity was preserved amid that vast
profusion. The steward of his household, or major-domo, was at this time a
prince named _Tapiea_, who kept an account of all the royal rents in a set
of books or symbolical representations which occupied an entire house.

Connected with the palace of Montezuma there were two large buildings
filled with every kind of arms, both offensive and defensive, some of
which were richly ornamented with gold and jewels; such as large and small
shields, some of the latter being so contrived as to roll up in a small
compass, and to let fall in action so as to cover the whole body; much
defensive armour of quilted cotton, ornamented with various devices in
feather work; helmets or casques for the head made of wood and bone,
adorned with plumes of feathers; immense quantities of bows, arrows, darts,
and slings; lances having stone heads or blades six feet long, so strong
as not to break when fixed in a shield, and as sharp as razors; clubs or
two-handed swords, having edges of sharp stones; and many other articles
which I cannot enumerate. In the palace there was a magnificent aviary,
containing every kind of bird to be found in all the surrounding country,
from large eagles down to the smallest paroquets of beautiful plumage. In
this place the ornamental feather-work so much in repute among the
Mexicans, was fabricated, the feathers for this purpose being taken from
certain birds called _Quetzales_, and others, having green, red, white,
yellow, and blue feathers, about the size of our Spanish pyes, the name of
which I have forgot. There were also great numbers of parrots, and geese
of fine plumage; all these birds breeding in the royal aviary, and being
annually stripped of their feathers at the proper season, to supply the
workers in feather-work. There was likewise a large pond of clear water,
in which were kept a number of large birds of a red colour with very long
legs, resembling those called _Ipiris_ in Cuba, and called flamingos by
the Spaniards. In another great building we saw a temple dedicated to the
war gods, in which were kept great numbers of ferocious beasts, as tigers,
lions of two species, one of which called _Adive_ resembled a wolf; also
foxes, and other smaller animals, all of them carnivorous. Most of these
were bred in this menagerie, and were fed upon game, fowls, and dogs, and,
as I was informed, on the bodies of the sacrificed human victims. Their
manner of sacrifice was said to be as follows: They open the breasts of
the living victim with large stone knives, offering his heart and blood to
their gods; they feast on the head and limbs, giving the bodies to be
devoured by the wild beasts, and hanging up the skulls in the temples as
trophies of their misguided piety. In this place likewise there were many
vipers and serpents, the most dangerous of which have a kind of rattle on
their tails, making a noise like our castanets. These are kept in vessels
filled with feathers, where they breed, and are fed with human flesh and
the carcases of dogs. I was assured, after our expulsion from Mexico, that
these animals were fed for many days on the bodies of our companions who
perished on that occasion. These ravenous beasts and horrid reptiles are
fit companions for their infernal deities; and when they yelled and hissed,
that part of the palace might be likened to hell itself.

The town in which most of the Mexican artists resided was called
_Azcapozalco_, about a league from the city of Mexico, in which were many
shops and manufactories of those who wrought in gold, silver, and
jewellery, whose productions surprised the ablest Spanish artist on being
carried over to Spain. Their painters were also exceedingly expert, as may
be judged from what we still see among them; as there are now three Indian
painters in Mexico, named Marcos de Aquino, Juan de la Cruz, and Grespillo,
who are not inferior to Michael Angelo or Berreguete among the moderns,
and might even have vied with Apelles. The fine cotton manufactures of the
Mexicans were principally brought from the province of Costitlan. The
women likewise of Montezumas family of all ranks, were exceedingly expert
in these kinds of work, and were continually employed; as were also
certain females who lived together in a kind of secluded societies, like
our nuns. One division of the city was entirely inhabited by Montezumas
dancers and posture-makers; some of whom danced like those Italians whom
we call _Matachines_; others played various tricks by means of sticks
which they balanced in many curious ways; and others had a strange manner
of flying in the air. Montezuma had also great numbers of carpenters and
handicrafts of various descriptions continually employed in his service.
His gardens were of great extent, irrigated by means of canals, and shaded
by an infinite variety of trees; having stone baths, pavilions for
entertainments or retirement, theatres for shows and for the singers and
dancers, and many other particulars, all of which were kept in the nicest
order by a great number of labourers who were constantly at work.

Four days after our arrival in Mexico, Cortes sent a message to Montezuma
by Aguilar, Donna Marina, and a young page named Orteguilla, who already
began to understand the language, requesting permission to take a view of
the city, which was immediately granted; but as he was afraid we might
offer some insult to his temple, he went thither in person attended by a
great retinue, and in similar pomp as when he came to meet us on entering
Mexico; two nobles preceding the cavalcade carrying sceptres in their
hands, as a signal of the approach of the monarch. Montezuma was carried
in his magnificent litter, carrying a small rod in his hand, half of which
was gold and the other half wood: and on coming to the temple, he quitted
the litter and walked up the steps attended by many priests, where he
offered incense and performed many ceremonies in honour of his war gods.
Cortes marched at the head of his small band of cavalry, followed by most
of the infantry under arms, into the great square, accompanied by many of
the court nobles; where we were astonished at the prodigious crowds of
people, the vast quantities of merchandize exposed for sale, and the
amazing regularity which everywhere prevailed; all of which our Mexican
attendants carefully pointed out to us. Every different commodity had its
own particular place, which was distinguished by an appropriate sign or
emblem. There were dealers in gold, silver, feathers, jewels, mantles,
chocolate, skins both dressed and undressed, sandals, manufactures of the
roots and fibres of _nequen_, and so forth. In one place great numbers of
male and female slaves were exposed for sale, most of whom were fastened
by the neck in leather collars to long poles. The market for provisions
was amply stocked with fowls, game, dogs, vegetables, fruit, articles of
food ready dressed, salt, bread, honey, sweet pastry or confectionary of
various kinds, and many other articles. Other parts of the great square
were appropriated for the sale of earthen ware, wooden furniture, such as
tables and benches, fire-wood, paper, hollow canes filled with tobacco and
liquid amber ready for smoking, copper axes, working tools of various
kinds, wooden vessels richly painted, and the like. In another part many
women sold fish, and small loaves of a kind of mud taken out of the lake
resembling cheese. The makers of stone blades were employed in shaping
them out of the rough materials. The dealers in gold had the native metal
in grains as it comes from the mines, in transparent tubes or quills, so
that it could easily be seen; and the gold was valued at so many mantles,
or so many xiquipils of cocoa nuts, in proportion to the size of the
quills. The great square was enclosed all round by piazas, under which
there were great stores of grain, and shops for various kinds of goods. On
the borders of the adjoining canals there were boats loaded with human
ordure, used in tanning leather, and on all the public roads there were
places built of canes and thatched with straw or grass, for the
convenience of passengers in order to collect this material. In one part
of the square was a court of justice having three judges, and their
inferior officers were employed in perambulating the market, preserving
order, and inspecting the various articles.

After having satisfied our curiosity in the square, we proceeded to the
great temple, where we went through a number of large courts, the smallest
of which seemed to me larger than the great square of Salamanca, the
courts being either paved with large cut white stones, or plastered and
polished, the whole very clean, and inclosed by double walls of stone and
lime. On coming to the gate of the great temple, which was ascended by 114
steps, Montezuma sent six priests and two nobles to carry up Cortes, which
he declined. On ascending to the summit, which consisted of a broad
platform, we observed the large stones on which the victims were placed
for sacrifice, near which was a monstrous figure resembling a dragon, and
much blood appeared to have been recently spilt. Montezuma came out of an
adoratory or recess, in which the accursed idols were kept, and expressed
his apprehension to Cortes that he must be fatigued by the ascent, to
which Cortes answered that we were never fatigued. Montezuma, taking our
general by the hand, pointed out to him the different quarters of the city,
and the towns in the neighbourhood, all of which were distinctly seen from
this commanding eminence. We had a distinct view of the three causeways by
which Mexico communicated with the land, and of the aqueduct of
Chapoltepec, which conveyed an abundant supply of the finest water to the
city. The numbers of canoes which were continually seen passing between
Mexico and all the towns on the borders of the lake, carrying provisions
and merchandise, was really astonishing. We could see, as we had been
often told, that most of the houses of this great city, and of the others
in the neighbourhood which were built in the water, stood apart from each
other, their only communication being by means of drawbridges or canoes,
and that all their roofs were terraced and battlemented. We saw numerous
temples and adoratories in the great city below, on the causeways, and in
the adjacent cities, all resembling so many fortresses with towers,
wonderfully brilliant, being all whitewashed. The noise and bustle of the
market in the great square just below, was so great that it might easily
have been heard almost at the distance of a league; and some of our
companions who had seen both Rome and Constantinople, declared they had
not seen any thing comparable in these cities, for convenient and regular
distribution or numbers of people.

After having admired the magnificent prospect around, Cortes requested of
Montezuma to shew us their gods. After consulting with his priests, he led
us into a kind of saloon in a tower, having a timber roof richly wrought,
under which stood two altars highly adorned, and behind these two gigantic
figures resembling very fat men. That on the right was _Huitzilopochtli_,
the god of war, having a broad face and terrible eyes, all covered over
with gold and jewels, and having his body twisted round with golden
serpents. His right hand held a bow, and in his left there was a bundle of
arrows. Round his neck was a string of the figures of human heads and
hearts made of pure gold, intermixed with precious stones of a blue colour.
Close by him stood a small image representing his page, carrying a lance
and shield richly adorned with gold and jewels. Before the great idol
stood a pan of fire, in which three hearts of human victims were then
burning along with copal. The whole walls and floor of the apartment was
stained with human blood, and had a most offensive smell, worse than any
slaughter-house. On the left of Huitzilopochtli stood another gigantic
figure, having a countenance like a bear, with great shining eyes. The
name of this last was _Tezcatlipoca_, who was said to be the god of the
infernal regions, and to preside over the souls of men[1]. He was likewise
considered as the brother of the god of war. His body was covered all over
with figures representing little devils with tails of serpents, and was
richly adorned with gold and jewels. Before this idol lay an offering of
five human hearts. On the summit of the whole temple was a recess having
its wood-work very highly ornamented, where we saw a figure half human and
the rest like an alligator, all inlaid with jewels, and partly covered by
a mantle. He was considered as the germ and origin of all created things,
and was worshipped as the god of harvests and fruits. Here likewise the
walls and altar were stained with blood like the others, and so offensive
that we were glad to retire in all haste. In this place there stood a drum
of prodigious size, the head of which was made of the skin of a large
serpent, which resounded, when struck, with a noise that might be heard at
the distance of two leagues, and gave out a sound so doleful, that it
might be named the drum of hell. This dreadful drum, the horrid sound of
their horns and trumpets, and the shocking sight of their great
sacrificial knives, the remnants of human victims, and their blood-stained
altars and fanes, made me anxious to get away from this horrible scene of
human butchery, detestable smells, and abominable sights.

Addressing himself to Montezuma, half jest half earnest, Cortes expressed
his astonishment how so wise a prince could adore such absurd and wicked
gods; and proposed to substitute the cross on the summit of the tower, and
the images of the Holy Virgin and her ever-blessed SON in the adoratories,
instead of those horrid idols, assuring him that he would soon be
convinced of the vanity of his idolatry, and the deception practised on
him by these inhuman priests. Montezuma was much displeased with these
expressions, saying that he would not have admitted us to the temple if he
had known we were to insult his gods, who dispensed health, good harvests,
seasonable weather, and victory, and whom they were bound in duty and
gratitude to adore. Cortes dropped the subject and proposed to withdraw,
to which Montezuma assented, observing that he must remain, and atone by
an expiatory sacrifice for having admitted us into the temple. Cortes then
took leave of the king, and we descended the steps, to the great
inconvenience of our invalids. If I am not quite so correct as I wish and
ought to be in many of the things which I relate and describe, I must beg
my readers to consider the situation in which I then served, being under
the necessity of giving more attention to the orders of my officers than
to the surrounding objects of curiosity. The temple which we had just
visited covered a prodigious extent of ground, and diminished gradually
from the base to the platform on the top, having five concavities like
barbicans between the middle and the top, but without parapets. On the
broad platform of the summit there was a tower in which the images were
placed. But as there are many paintings of temples in the possession of
the conquerors, one of which I have, it will be easy to form an idea of
the structure of this temple from these representations[2]. It was said by
the Mexicans, that numerous offerings of gold, silver, jewels, productions
of the earth, and human victims were deposited under the foundations of
this great temple at the time of its erection; and it is certain, when the
ground on which it stood was afterwards dug up for the church of St Jago,
that we found great quantities of gold, silver, and other valuables on
sinking the new foundations. A Mexican also, who obtained a grant of part
of this ground, discovered a considerable treasure, about which there was
a law-suit for the royal interest. This account was confirmed by King
Guatimotzin, who assured us that the circumstances were recorded in
ancient historical paintings. At a small distance from the great temple,

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