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Title: A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04 - Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time
Author: Kerr, Robert, 1755-1813
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04 - Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time" ***

available by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions









       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

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,
there stood a tower, having a gate or entrance always open, like the mouth
of an enormous monster, ready to devour those who entered this hell or
habitation of the demons. At this horrible door there stood many frightful
idols, beside which there was a place for sacrifice, and within there were
pots full of water ready to boil the flesh of the victims, which formed
the horrible repasts of the priests. The idols were like serpents and
devils, and the place, all smeared over with human blood, was furnished
with knives for sacrifice like the slaughter-house of a butcher. In
another part of the buildings there were great piles of wood, and a
reservoir of water supplied by a pipe from the great aqueduct of
Chapoltepec. In one of the courts there was a temple, all besmeared with
blood and soot, surrounded by the tombs of the Mexican nobility. In
another court there were immense piles of human bones, all regularly
arranged. Every temple had its peculiar idols, and each its regular
establishment of priests, who were dressed in long black vestments,
something between the dress of our canons and the Dominican friars. They
all wore their hair long and clotted with blood, and their ears were all
lacerated in honour of their abominable idols. At some distance from the
temple of the tombs, there was another of which the idols were said to
preside over marriages; and all the courts were surrounded by low houses
for the priests and their numerous assistants. Hard by these was a large
building in which great numbers of the Mexican young women resided, as in
a nunnery, till they were married. They were devoted to the worship of two
female deities, who presided over marriages, to whom they sacrificed in
order to obtain good husbands. I have thus been diffuse in describing this
great temple, as it was by far the largest and most splendid in Mexico;
yet the temple of Cholula was still higher, having 120 steps. This was
built on a different plan from that of Mexico, and was held in high
veneration by the natives. The temple of Tezcuco also was very large,
being ascended by 117 steps, and all these differed in their structure,
though they all agreed in having a number of outer courts, and a double
inclosure. Every province of this country had its own peculiar gods, who
were supposed to have no concern with those of other provinces, so that
its gods and idols were quite innumerable. Having effectually fatigued
ourselves in examining the objects I have just described, we retired to
our quarters.

As Montezuma was entirely adverse to the proposal of Cortes for converting
the great temple of Mexico into a Christian church, he was exceedingly
desirous to have a chapel and altar in our quarters, and made application
to Montezuma through one of his principal nobles to have materials for
this purpose. This request was immediately complied with, and as abundance
of timber and native workmen were sent immediately, it was completed in
three days. In this new chapel mass was celebrated every day, though we
lamented the want of wine for the holy eucharist, as it had been all
expended during the illness of Cortes, Olmedo, and others, while we were
in the dominions of Tlascala. We were extremely regular in our devotions,
both because it was our duty, and that we might impress a favourable
opinion of our holy religion on Montezuma and his subjects. While our
carpenters were looking out for a proper place in which to fix the holy
cross of our chapel, they observed the appearance of a door in one of the
walls of our quarters which had been closed up. Cortes caused this to be
privately opened, and an apartment was found within, in which countless
riches were deposited. The secret soon transpired, and we went all to view
the concealed treasury. I was then a young man, and it seemed to me that
all the treasures of the world gathered together could not have reached
the amount of what we then saw. It was thought prudent to close up the
door of this place, and to conceal our knowledge of it and its contents to
a proper opportunity.

About this time Cortes convened a council of four captains and twelve
soldiers, of those in whom he had most confidence, among whom I was, in
order to consult upon our present situation and future procedure. Having
duly considered how obviously we had been hitherto guided and preserved by
the mercy of GOD, and how the natives, though now kind, might soon change
through their native fickleness, and notwithstanding the present
hospitality of Montezuma, he might at any time plot our destruction, we
unanimously resolved, on the suggestion of Cortes, that the most effectual
measure for our security was to make that monarch our prisoner and the
guarantee of our safety. We knew not but we might all be poisoned in our
food, and no gift which he could make us, not even all his fathers
treasures which we had just discovered, could compensate to us for the
continual alarms in which we lived. Some of the officers present at the
council, proposed to induce Montezuma by some plausible pretext to come to
our quarters, when we could easily seize him without resistance or danger.
It was observed by some of our soldiers, that we were not now so
plentifully supplied with provisions by the royal officers as at our first
coming; and that our interpreter, Aguilar, had been secretly informed by
two of our Tlascalan allies, that they had noticed several indications of
evil intentions towards us among the Mexicans, for the last two days.
After a long consultation, we agreed to adjourn the consideration of the
means of executing our resolution till next day; and in the meantime the
reverend Father Olmedo was consulted on the subject, and we prayed GOD to
guide and direct our proceedings for the best, in our present ticklish and
dangerous situation. Next day, two Tlascalans arrived secretly with
letters from Villa Rica, with an account that Escalente and six Spaniards
had been slain in a battle with the Mexicans, and that the inhabitants of
Chempoalla and the neighbouring mountains, who had submitted to us, had
revolted back to the Mexican government, refusing to supply provisions, or
to work on the fortifications, insomuch, that the remaining garrison of
Villa Rica were in much distress and knew not how to act. These letters
said likewise, that the high opinion which the natives had adopted with
respect to the Spaniards was much altered for the worse, since they found
they could be killed like other men. This intelligence gave us much
affliction. It was the first defeat we had experienced since our landing;
and had produced a most alarming change in our situation, and in the
opinions of the Mexicans. Before this, we were in possession of wealth,
and were considered as invulnerable, and almost like demigods; but were
now lowered in the estimation of the natives, almost to a level with
themselves, in whose power we were. It now seemed more necessary than ever
to our very existence that we should secure the person of Montezuma;
considering that if we failed in the attempt, we might as well perish in
what seemed our only chance of safety, as wait to be overwhelmed by the
whole power of the Mexican empire. Before I proceed to narrate the sequel
of our transactions in Mexico, I shall give an account of the misfortune
which befel Escalente[3].

It has been already mentioned, that about thirty native chiefs of
districts in the neighbourhood of Villa Rica, had voluntarily submitted to
our government at Chiahuitztla. After our little army had penetrated to
the capital of the Mexican empire, the commander of a garrison belonging
to Montezuma endeavoured to levy contributions from some of these our new
subjects: and when this was represented to Escalente, who commanded at
Villa Rica, he sent orders to the Mexican officers to desist, as otherwise
he would be under the necessity of chastising them, though he wished to
remain in peace and friendship with the subjects of Mexico. To this the
Mexican officers sent a haughty reply, saying that he would find them in
the field. On receiving this answer, Escalente, who was a brave man, set
out with forty of his own soldiers, and two thousand of our allies of the
Totanaca nation to march against the Mexicans, whom he found pillaging the
country, and immediately attacked them. Our allies were always afraid of
the Mexicans, and fled at the first shower of arrows, leaving the
Spaniards to get out of the scrape as well as they might. They made their
retreat with great difficulty to Villa Rica[4], where Escalente and six of
his soldiers died of their wounds. A Spanish soldier named Arguello, of
great bodily strength, with a large head, and thick frizzled beard, was
taken alive, but died of his wounds. The Mexican captains reported the
whole of this affair to Montezuma, to whom they brought the head of
Arguello; and it is said that Montezuma trembled when he beheld it, and
ordered it to be taken out of the way. He reproached his captains for not
having overwhelmed the whole of that small number of Spaniards with their
numerous forces; but they alleged that a supernatural being fought against
them, assisting and encouraging the Spaniards, and struck terror into
their men.

Having finally resolved to seize Montezuma, we spent the whole night
before proceeding on that hazardous enterprize in earnest prayer to GOD,
that what we were about to do might redound to his holy service; and in
the morning we arranged the manner in which this our resolution was to be
executed. Our cavalry and infantry were all ordered to be in readiness for
instant action, and as it was usual with us to go always fully armed, this
circumstance gave no suspicion to the Mexicans. Leaving the whole of his
forces prepared to act in case of need, Cortes proceeded to the palace,
attended by five of his captains, Alvarado, Sandoval, De Leon, De Lugo,
and Avila[5], with the interpreters Donna Marina and Aguilar, having
first sent a message to the king, intimating his intention to wait upon
him. Montezuma supposed that this visit of Cortes was on occasion of the
affair which had lately occurred at Chiahuitztla, and that our general was
much displeased on that account, yet sent back that he would be glad to
see him. Our general, _and we that were with him_, immediately went to the
royal apartment, and after paying his respects as usual, Cortes addressed
Montezuma to the following effect through his interpreters: "He was
astonished that so brave and magnanimous a monarch, who had shewn so much
friendship for us on all occasions, should have clandestinely given orders
to his troops in _Totonacapan_[6] to make an attack upon the Spaniards
whom he had left at Villa Rica, in which one of them had been killed, and
our allies the Totonacas had been pillaged and destroyed without mercy."
Cortes intentionally concealed the death of Escalente and his six soldiers,
not wishing that the extent of our loss on this occasion should be known
to the Mexicans. He then charged Montezuma as the author of the treachery
which had been attempted against us in Cholula, saying, that he had
hitherto refrained from speaking on that subject, from motives of esteem
and respect; but, from the late hostile attack by his governor of
Totonacapan, and having learned that the officers of the court were
plotting to cut us off in Mexico, it became necessary for us to use
effectual measures to secure our safety. For this purpose therefore, and
in order to prevent the ruin of the city of Mexico, it was necessary that
his majesty should go immediately to our quarters, assuring him if he gave
the smallest alarm, or made any resistance, the officers and soldiers then
present would put him instantly to death. On hearing this proposal
Montezuma was so petrified with terror and amazement that he seemed to
have lost all sensation for a time. After recovering a little, he
positively denied having given any orders to Quauhpopoca the governor of
Nauhtlan to attack our troops under Escalente; and taking from his wrist
the signet of Huitzilopochtli, which he employed on all occasions of
importance to confirm and enforce his orders, he gave it to one of his
officers whom he commanded to bring Quauhpopoca to court without delay to
answer for his conduct. Then assuming a dignified air, he declined the
proposal of quitting his palace with disdain, declaring that he would not
be constrained to take so humiliating a step. Cortes endeavoured to
explain the necessity of his immediate compliance, and the king persisted
in his refusal, so that the conversation drew to considerable length, half
an hour at least having elapsed. The captains who accompanied Cortes
became impatient of delay, fearing that great numbers of the Mexicans
might collect to the rescue of their sovereign, and that we should be
oppressed under superior force. In this dilemma, De Leon exclaimed in his
rough voice to Cortes: "Why, Sir, do you waste so many words? Tell him,
that if he does not instantly yield himself our prisoner, we will plunge
our swords into his body: Let us now assure our lives or perish."
Montezuma was much struck with the manner in which De Leon expressed
himself, and asked Donna Marina what he had said. She answered with much
discretion, by mildly advising him to consent immediately to go along with
us, assuring him that he would be treated with all the honour and respect
he could desire, whereas she was convinced we would put him to death if he
refused or even hesitated. Montezuma then offered to put his legitimate
son and two daughters into the hands of Cortes, as hostages, and earnestly
entreated that he might not be exposed before his subjects as a prisoner.
But Cortes assured him that nothing short of what had been originally
proposed could satisfy us, and that all remonstrances were unavailing. At
last he was obliged to consent, saying, "I trust myself with you, let us
go! let us go! since the gods will have it so." Our captains gave him
every assurance of their perfect esteem and respect, begging of him not to
be offended at their conduct, which was indispensably necessary to their
own safety, and requested that he would say to his officers that he went
of his own free will, and by the advice of his gods and priests. His
magnificent state litter was now brought for his accommodation, and he
proceeded to our quarters in his accustomed pomp, attended by his guards,
where he was received and entertained with every mark of respect; yet our
posts and centinels were properly placed in every direction to guard
against his escape or rescue. He was soon waited on by the princes of his
family, and all the principal Mexican nobles, who came to inquire the
reason of this change of abode, and whether it was his wish that they
should attack us. But he told them that he intended to remain with us for
a few days, and commanded them to take no steps which might disturb the
peace of the city.

Thus we accomplished the seizure of the great Montezuma. He was attended
in our quarters with the same magnificence as in his own palace; his wives,
family, and officers being constantly with him, and having always twenty
chiefs or counsellors in his presence. He bathed twice a-day, and appeared
calm and resigned to his fate. Ambassadors came to him from all the
provinces of his empire; some to deliver the accustomed tribute, and
others to transact various affairs of importance, all of which was
dispatched in the usual manner. I perfectly remember that however great
might be the princes or chiefs who had to wait upon him, they always took
off their rich dresses and put on plain and coarse _nequen_ clothes, and
came into the royal apartments in this habit, barefooted, not entering
directly, but making a circuit by the wall. On entering the presence they
kept their eyes cast down on the ground, and after three profound
reverences, always began their addresses in these words, _lord! my lord!
great lord!_ They then displayed certain cloths before him, on which the
business they came upon was represented by painting, the particulars of
which they explained pointing out the figures by means of nicely polished
rods or wands. While this was going on, two old nobles always stood beside
the king, who attentively considered every circumstance, on which they
gave him their opinions, and he then dispatched the affair in few words.
The person who had the business with the king then withdrew without reply,
making three profound reverences as before, always keeping his eyes on the
ground, and his face to the throne till out of sight. On leaving the royal
apartments, they reassumed their rich dresses, in which they walked about
the city.

The messengers who had been dispatched with the royal signet to arrest the
officers against whom Cortes had complained for the attack on Escalente,
soon returned with them to Mexico. I know not what passed in the royal
presence when they appeared before the king; but he sent them immediately
to Cortes to do with them as he pleased. On their examination, when the
king was not present, they avowed all that had happened in Totonacapan,
but said that they had acted by orders from Montezuma, by whom they had
been commanded to levy the royal tribute, and even to attack the Spaniards
if they should support the refractory subjects of the empire. On Montezuma
being charged with this, he endeavoured to exculpate himself; but Cortes
told him, that although his participation in the guilt of his officers was
apparent, and although he had been commanded by his own sovereign to
punish with death all who had inflicted death on any of the Spaniards, yet
he had so great a regard for his majesty, that he would sooner loose his
own life than do him any injury. Notwithstanding these assurances,
Montezuma was in great fear of being put to death. Cortes sentenced the
Mexican officers to be burnt alive in front of their kings palace, which
was immediately carried into execution; and to prevent any commotion while
this was taking place, he ordered Montezuma to be put in irons. The
unfortunate king could not suppress his sense of this indignity, and wept
aloud when the fetters were put on. After the execution was over, Cortes
went into the apartment of Montezuma, attended by his five captains
formerly mentioned, and took off the irons with his own hands, assuring
him with a cordial embrace, that he loved him more even than a brother,
and that he hoped soon to extend his dominions to more than double their
present size. He is said also to have told him that he was now at liberty
to return to his own palace, if he so wished; but we understood that
Cortes ordered the interpreters to inform Montezuma, that he was inclined
to set him at liberty, but that the other officers refused their consent.
The spirit of the unfortunate king was now entirely subdued, and the tears
ran down his cheeks while Cortes was speaking: He declined the offer with
thanks, well knowing the emptiness of his words; adding, that he thought
it most prudent to remain where he was, to prevent an insurrection in the
city. Montezuma requested Cortes to give him his page, Orteguilla, a youth
who had already made considerable progress in the Mexican language. Cortes
immediately complied, and Orteguilla remained afterwards constantly about
the kings person, as Montezuma took great delight in inquiring from him
many particulars respecting the manners and customs of Europe; and, from
his knowledge of the language, Orteguilla was of great service to us in
the sequel, by communicating every circumstance that was of importance for
us to be made acquainted with. Montezuma continued to reside among us,
always treated with the utmost respect and attention, as no officer and
soldier, even Cortes, ever came into his presence or even passed him,
without taking of his helmet. He always treated us in return with much

The Mexican officers who were publickly executed, were four in number. Of
these Quauhpopoca was the principal, two of the others were named _Coatl_
and _Quiabuitl,_ but I have forgot the name of the fourth[7]. As soon as
this punishment was made known throughout the provinces of the Mexican
empire, it occasioned universal terror among the natives, and the people
of Tontonacapan immediately returned to submission to our garrison at
Villa Rica.--Let me now pause, and request my readers to consider the
train of our heroic acts which I have already related. _First_, we
destroyed our ships, by which we cut off all hope of retreat. _Secondly_,
we entered the city of Mexico, in spite of the many alarming warnings we
had received. _Thirdly_, we made Montezuma, the sovereign of that great
and populous empire, a prisoner, in the midst of his own palace and
capital, surrounded by numerous guards. _Fourthly_, we publickly burnt his
officers in front of his palace, and put the king in irons during the
execution. I now frequently revolve upon these great events in my old age,
which still appear as fresh in my memory as if they had only happened
yesterday. I say to myself, it was not we who did those mighty things, but
we were guided therein by the hand of God. For without his direction, how
was it to be conceived that so small a number as we were, not amounting to
four hundred and fifty men, should have dared to seize and put in irons,
and publickly burn his officers for obeying his orders, in a city larger
and more populous than Venice, and 1500 leagues from our own country.

It was necessary to appoint a successor in the command at Villa Rica, and
accordingly Cortes gave the command to Alonzo de Grado, an indifferent
soldier, but a good speaker, a handsome man, a musician, and a ready
writer, who had always been adverse to our marching to Mexico, and was the
chief orator on these occasions, in conveying the sentiments of the
opposite party to Cortes. On notifying this appointment, Cortes said to
him jocularly, "Senior de Grado, you are now commandant of Villa Rica. See
that you fortify it well; but I charge you not to go to war with the
wicked Indians, lest they kill you as they have done Juan de Escalente."
This was said ironically, as Cortes well knew he would not venture out of
his garrison for any consideration. As we noticed the concealed meaning of
Cortes in these words, we could hardly refrain from laughing aloud. He
then enjoined him to be kind to the natives, and to protect them from
oppression; to use all diligence in completing the fortifications of the
wooden fort, and to cause two large chains to be made from the old iron of
the destroyed ships, by the smiths at Villa Rica, which were to be sent
immediately to Mexico. De Grado, on arriving at his government, assumed a
lofty demeanour, and ordered the neighbouring Indians who were allied with
us, to send him gold and females slaves, neglecting the fortifications,
and spending his time in feasting and deep play. What was still worse, he
plotted with the adherents of Velasquez to deliver up to him the post with
which he had been entrusted. When Cortes learned these things, he repented
of having employed a person whose bad dispositions he well knew in a post
of so much importance, and sent therefore Sandoval, our alguazil-major to
supersede him. Sandoval was accompanied by Pedro de Ircio, who used to
amuse him with anecdotes of the families of the Conde de Ureno and Don
Pedro Giron, by which means he gained the favour of Sandoval, who never
ceased promoting him till he got him to the rank of captain. On his
arrival at Villa Rica, Sandoval arrested De Grado, and sent him prisoner
to Mexico, under a guard of Indians, by order of Cortes, who would not see
him on his arrival, but ordered him to be confined in the stocks, where he
remained two days. De Grado afterwards made his peace, and got the office
of contador, in place of Avila, who was sent over to Hispaniola as
procurador. Sandoval made himself exceedingly popular among the natives in
the neighbourhood of Villa Rica, and diligently applied to complete the
fortifications. He likewise sent to Mexico by order of the general, all
the ironwork necessary for the construction of two vessels which were
ordered to be built for sailing on the lake.

Every day after mass Cortes went with all his officers to pay his respects
to Montezuma, asking his orders, the king always affecting to be perfectly
contented with his situation. On these occasions the discourse frequently
turned upon the principles of our holy faith, and the power of our emperor
Don Carlos. At other times Montezuma and Cortes used to play at a game
called _totoloque_ by the Mexicans, in which they aim with golden balls at
certain other objects made of gold. Once, when Cortes and Alvarado were
playing against Montezuma and his nephew, the king said in a jocular
manner, that he would not allow _Tonatiu_, for so he called Alvarado on
account of his handsomeness, to mark, as if he cheated; on which we all
fell a laughing, as we knew Alvarado was rather given to exaggeration. On
these occasions, Cortes gave all his winnings among the Mexican attendants
of the king; and Montezuma distributed his among us soldiers of the guard.
Indeed he every day made presents to all of us who attended him, and
particularly to Velasquez de Leon, the captain of his guard, who always
treated him with much respect and attention. One night, a soldier named
Truxillo, was guilty of a very disrespectful action within his hearing, at
which Montezuma was much offended, and asked the page Orteguilla who had
committed this extreme rudeness. Orteguilla told him that Truxillo was a
person of low birth, and knew no better, and then gave him an account of
our different ranks and characters, by which he was much gratified. He
sent next day for Truxillo, and after reproving him for his unmannerly
behaviour, made him a present worth five crowns. Next night, Truxillo
committed a similar rudeness, in hopes to get more gold, but Montezuma
complained to De Leon, who ordered Truxillo to be relieved, after which he
gave him a severe reprimand. Another night, a soldier named Pedro Lopez
happened to be unwell, and cursed that dog of an Indian, meaning Montezuma,
for occasioning so much trouble. The king overheard this and discovered
its meaning, on which he complained to Cortes, who ordered the man to be
whipped. After this, proper discipline and strict silence were preserved
by the guard, which greatly pleased the king, who knew us all, and used to
address us by our names, and was always very kind to us. I was then a
young man, and always behaved to him with much respect. The page had
informed him that I had been twice on the coast of his empire before the
arrival of Cortes, and that I had desired him to say to his majesty that I
would be much obliged to him for a handsome Indian girl. He very
graciously complied with this request, and calling me before him,
addressed me to the following effect: "Bernal Diaz, the young woman I now
present to you is the daughter of one of my principal nobles; treat her
well, and her relations will give you as much gold, and as many mantles as
you can desire." I respectfully kissed his hand, thanking him for his
gracious condescension, and prayed God to bless and prosper him. On which
he observed, that my manner spoke me of noble extraction, and he ordered
me three plates of gold, and two loads of mantles. In the morning, after
his devotions, according to the manner of his country, Montezuma used to
eat a light breakfast of vegetables seasoned with _agi,_ which is a kind
of pepper. He then employed a full hour in the dispatch of business, in
the way I have formerly mentioned, being attended at this time by twenty
counsellors; and in this way, sometimes amusing himself, and sometimes
meditating on his situation, he spent the time of his confinement among us.
He had many mistresses, and he used often to give away some of these in
marriage among his officers and particular friends. Some of these ladies
fell to our lot, and the one I got was a lady of high birth, as she shewed
by her manner; after her baptism she was called Donna Francisca.

After the iron materials, with sails and cordage had arrived from Villa
Rica, Cortes asked leave from Montezuma to build two brigantines for the
purpose of his amusement on the lake, and also that he would order the
native carpenters to assist in their construction. Montezuma readily
consented, and as there was plenty of oak at no great distance, the work
went on expeditiously under Martin Lopez our principal ship-builder, so
that the two brigantines were soon built, launched, and rigged. While this
was going on, Montezuma begged to be allowed to perform his devotions in
the great temple, that his friends and subjects might be satisfied he
lived among us by his own choice, and the permission of his gods. Cortes
granted this, under a strict caution to beware of doing any thing that
might bring his life in hazard, as he would send a strong guard along with
him, with orders to put him to death instantly if any commotion should
arise among the people. Cortes likewise insisted that no human sacrifices
should be permitted on the occasion. All this being agreed to, Montezuma
set out for the temple in his usual pomp, attended by four of our captains,
and an hundred and fifty Spanish soldiers, Father Olmedo being likewise
present, to prevent any human sacrifice. Montezuma came out of his litter
near the temple, where he was met by a number of priests, who carried him
up the steps. They had sacrificed four Indians the night before to their
accursed idols, as all our endeavours were insufficient to stop that
abominable practice, which we were forced to connive at for a season,
being afraid to do any thing which might occasion an insurrection. After
remaining a short time at his devotions, Montezuma came down from the
temple, and returned to our quarters in much good humour, and made
presents to all of us who had attended him.

Our two brigantines were now afloat on the lake, fully equipped, and
manned by expert sailors, and were found to obey both sail and oar to a
wish. When Montezuma learnt this, he requested to go a-hunting to a
certain district which was full of game, all other persons being
prohibited from hunting there under pain of death. Cortes granted
permission, giving warning that his life would pay the forfeit of the
smallest attempt to escape, and offered him the use of our ships to convey
him to the hunting ground, which he accepted with much pleasure. The king
and his suit embarked in the swiftest of the two vessels, and the other
accommodated his son and a number of nobles. Four of our captains attended
the king, with a guard of two hundred soldiers, and four brass guns, with
their ammunition and artillery-men, were embarked on the occasion. The wind
was fresh, and our sailors took great delight in exerting their utmost
skill. Our ships seemed to fly along the lake, and left a prodigious
multitude of the canoes of the Mexicans far behind. Montezuma landed at
the place kept for his hunting, which abounded in game, so that he soon
procured a great quantity of various kinds, such as deer, hares, and
rabbits; and having satisfied himself with sport, he reimbarked and came
back to Mexico. We discharged our artillery during the voyage, which gave
him much amusement. He delighted us all by his affability and noble
behaviour, and was held by every one of us in the highest respect. It
happened one day, while three of our captains were in his presence, that a
hawk flew into the apartment in pursuit of a quail, both these birds and
doves being bred about the palace. On this occasion our officers and
soldiers admired the beauty and fine flight of the hawk, and Montezuma was
curious to know the subject of their discourse: It was accordingly
explained to him, as likewise that we were accustomed to tame hawks, and
to fly them from our hands in pursuit of game. On this Montezuma gave
immediate orders to have the hawk caught for us, and the very same bird
was caught and brought to us next morning.

Cacamatzin prince of Tezcuco, the largest town in the empire next to
Mexico, took great umbrage at hearing that his uncle Montezuma had been
kept many days prisoner by the Spaniards, and that we had opened the
treasury of his ancestors. He therefore called a meeting of his principal
vassals, and of the neighbouring princes or great feudatories of the
Mexican empire, among whom was the lord of Matlatzinco, a renowned warrior
and near relation of Montezuma, who was reported to have some pretensions
to the throne. His intention in summoning these princes was to persuade
them to assemble their forces, in order to attack us, and on making this
proposal to the assembled chiefs, he of Matlatzinco offered to concur with
his whole force, on condition that they would raise him to the throne of
Mexico. But Cacamatzin alleged that he had a preferable claim to that
dignity, and declared he would destroy the Spaniards with his own forces,
for which purpose he entered into arrangements with his partizans in
Mexico. The whole of this plan was reported to Montezuma, who immediately
commanded his nephew Cacamatzin to desist from his preparations, and
communicated the information he had received to Cortes, who had already
received some notice of what was going forwards, but not to the full
extent. Cortes immediately proposed to go at the head of a detachment of
the Spaniards, and a large body of Mexican troops, and to destroy Tezcuco;
but as this proposal did not please Montezuma, Cortes sent a message to
Cacamatzin, requiring him to desist from his war-like preparations, and
declaring his wish to have him for a friend. Cacamatzin answered, that he
would not become the dupe of plausible words like others, and meant soon
to pay us a visit, when he would listen to what we had to say. In a second
message, Cortes warned him not to proceed to hostilities, which would
certainly occasion the death of his uncle; but he replied, that he cared
neither for Montezuma nor Cortes, and was determined to act as he thought

Cacamatzin had a brother named Cuitcuitzcatzin, who resided in Mexico,
having been obliged to take refuge there in consequence of a family
quarrel. As this was known to us, Cortes proposed that Cacamatzin should
be brought to Mexico, where we would seize him unless he agreed to
preserve the peace, or might substitute his brother in the government of
Tezcuco. Montezuma agreed to send for him, and assured us if he refused to
come, he would give orders to bring him by force. Cortes thanked the king
for this instance of his fidelity, declaring that he now only remained in
Mexico to protect him against his rebellious subjects, and would feel
happy to reinstate him in his own palace, but could not prevail on the
rest of the Spanish captains to agree to this measure. Montezuma said in
reply, that he would immediately transmit information to Cacamatzin, that
his present residence was entirely of his own free will, and by the advice
of their gods; for Montezuma was perfectly aware of the simulation of
Cortes in his declarations, and endeavoured to fight him with his own
weapons. He accordingly sent a message to the prince in the proposed terms;
but Cacamatzin understood the manner in which his uncle was constrained to
act, and declared his determination to assail our quarters within four
days, saying that Montezuma was a despicable monarch, for having neglected
to attack us at the Port of Chalco, as he had advised. That he was
resolved to be avenged of the wrongs which we had heaped upon Montezuma
and his country, and that if the throne of Mexico should fall to his lot
during the contest, he would liberally reward all who assisted him against
the Spanish invaders. Several of the Mexican chiefs who were along with
Cacamatzin, expressed their scruples about entering into war without the
orders of their legitimate sovereign, and proposed to send to him for
instructions. Cacamatzin was enraged at this proposal, as adverse to his
views of assuming the crown of the Mexican empire, and immediately ordered
three of the most refractory into custody; by which procedure the rest
were intimidated into compliance with his plans. He then sent a message to
Montezuma, representing the disgrace into which he had fallen, by joining
himself with wizards and magicians, and declared his resolution to destroy
us all. Montezuma was much offended by the proud independence assumed by
his nephew, whom he now resolved to circumvent and make prisoner. For this
purpose he entrusted his signet to six of his captains, whom he commanded
to shew it to certain other leaders among his subjects, who were not well
affected to the prince, and to communicate to them his orders to seize
Cacamatzin and bring him prisoner to Mexico. These men went accordingly to
where Cacamatzin was consulting with the confederate chiefs on the
arrangement of his expedition; and shewing the royal signet with which
they were entrusted, they secured him and five of his principal chiefs
without opposition, and brought them away to Mexico. Cacamatzin, being
brought into the presence of Montezuma, was reproached by him for his
disobedience and treason, and then delivered over to Cortes; but the other
prisoners were released.

Arrangements were immediately made for raising Cuitcuitzcatzin, one of the
brothers of Cacamatzin, to the principality of Tezcuco; who was
accordingly invested with this dignity in the presence, of Montezuma, and
sent over with a splendid retinue to take possession of the government[8].
This important business being completed to our entire satisfaction, we
continued to reside in Mexico, paying our court to Montezuma with the
utmost demonstrations of respect, yet detaining him always a prisoner in
our quarters.

Cortes now resumed a proposal which had been formerly made, for Montezuma
acknowledging the sovereignty of our emperor over him and his dominions;
to which Montezuma replied, that he would summon a council of all his
dependent princes, which he did accordingly, and almost the whole of them
attended in the course of ten days. Among a few who absented themselves on
this occasion, was the chief of Matlatzinco, who has been already
mentioned as renowned for his warlike prowess. He sent back an answer,
that he would neither obey the summons nor pay any more tribute. Montezuma
was much incensed by this contumacious message from his vassal, and sent
officers to apprehend him, but they were unable to succeed. The princes
and feudatories being all assembled, Montezuma reminded them of the
ancient prophecies, by which it was foretold to their ancestors, that a
people was to come from the region of the rising sun, to whom the empire
of the country was to be transferred. He added, that he believed the
Spaniards to be the people spoken of in that prophecy; and had sacrificed
to his gods in vain to give him a distinct revelation on the subject, but
they referred him to the former responses, and commanded him to ask no
more. From all this he concluded that they willed him to yield obedience
to the king of Castile, who was the sovereign of these strangers. "I now,"
said he in conclusion, "beseech you to agree to this submission, which is
required of me by the Spaniards. During the eighteen years which I have
reigned, I have ever been a kind monarch to you, and you have always been
faithful subjects. Since our gods will have it so, let no one refuse this
instance of obedience which I now ask." The princes, with many sighs and
tears, promised to do every thing he might desire. Montezuma, who was
still more affected than they, sent a message to inform Cortes, that he
and his princes would tender their allegiance to our emperor next day.
This was accordingly done at the time appointed, in presence of all our
officers and many of our soldiers, none of whom could refrain from tears,
at beholding the distress and agitation of the great and generous
Montezuma on this humiliating occasion.

Some time afterwards, when Cortes and his captains were conversing with
Montezuma on various topics, the general made inquiry relative to the gold
mines of the empire, when Montezuma informed him that the richest of these
were in the province of Zacatula or Zacatollan, and said that the gold was
procured by washing the earth, the small grains of metal sinking to the
bottom during the operation. He also said that it was obtained from two
rivers in the province of Guztepeque, where the natives were not subjects
to his empire; but, if Cortes chose to send some troops to that place, he
would order his officers to accompany them. Cortes accordingly sent the
pilot Umbria and two soldiers to examine the mines of Zacatula; and sent
his relation Pizarro, to the territories of Chinantla and Zapoteca.
Pizarro was then a young man, and at that time his name and that of Peru,
now so famous, were both equally unknown. Pizarro, who was one of our
captains, took with him four soldiers who were used to mining, and four
Mexican nobles; and Montezuma presented Cortes with a map of the whole
northern, or rather eastern coast of the Mexican empire, admirably
represented in painting, extending at least an hundred and forty leagues,
all the way to Tabasco. Among the rivers said to produce gold, was that of
Huatzocoalco, which Cortes wished to have examined, and Diego de Ordas
offering himself for this purpose, was reluctantly accepted by Cortes, as
he was a person on whom he depended for sound judgment and wholesome
advice on occasions of importance. Before his departure, Montezuma told
Ordas, that the power of the crown of Mexico did not extend over the
country to which he was going, but that he was welcome to the assistance
of the frontier garrisons. Umbria returned first from his mission,
bringing with him gold to the value of three hundred crowns and reported
that the mines might be made very productive, if they were as expertly
managed as those of Hispaniola and Cuba. Two principal persons of the
district accompanied him to Mexico, who brought a present of gold to the
value of about a hundred crowns, and offered to submit themselves and
country to the sovereignty of our emperor. Umbria and his companions
described the country which they had visited as extremely rich and
populous, and he and his companions appeared to have done something
handsome for themselves on the expedition, which Cortes winked at in order
to make up for some former differences.

Ordas, on his return, said that he had passed through very populous
districts, in all of which he was well received. That he found several
bodies of Mexican troops on the frontiers, of whose outrages the natives
of the country made heavy complaints, on which account he had severely
reprehended the commanders of the troops, threatening them with a similar
punishment with what had been inflicted on the lord of Nauhtlan. He had
sounded the river of Huatzcoalco, where he found three fathoms water on
the bar at low tide in the shallowest part, and still deeper within, where
there was a place very proper for a naval establishment. The caciques and
natives treated him with much hospitality, and offered themselves as
vassals to our emperor, but complained loudly against the exactions of
Montezuma and his officers, and pointed out a place where they had lately
slain many of the Mexican troops, which they had named _Cuilonemequi,_ or
the Place of Slaughter of the Mexicans, on whom they bestowed the most
opprobrious epithets. He represented the soil of the country as well
fitted for tillage and the rearing of cattle, and the port as well
situated for trade with Cuba, Hispaniola, and Jamaica; but as inconvenient,
from its distance from Mexico, and unhealthy owing to the morasses in its
vicinity. Pizarro returned from Tustepeque or Tzapotecapan, with gold in
grains to the value of a thousand crowns. He reported, that in going into
the mountains inhabited by the Chinantlans, they flew to arms and would
not permit the Mexicans to enter into their country, threatening to put
them all to death; but admitted him and his Spaniards with great attention.
He brought several of the chiefs of that country along with him to Mexico,
who wished to shake off the Mexican yoke, and to become subjects to our
emperor. Cortes then inquired at Pizarro for the soldiers who had
accompanied him, when Pizarro answered, that finding the country rich and
the people friendly, he had left them to make a plantation of cocoa, and
to explore the rivers and mines. Cortes said nothing to him in public, but
gave him a severe private reprimand for employing the soldiers in such
foolish pursuits, contrary to his orders, and immediately sent a message
commanding their return to head-quarters.

Cortes now proposed to Montezuma to order a general contribution in gold
to be collected through the whole of his dominions, as a tribute to our
emperor, and also that he should deliver up his treasure for the same
purpose. Montezuma accordingly sent orders to his officers in those
districts where the mines were situated, commanding them immediately to
transmit a certain quantity of gold plates, of the size usually paid as
tribute, two of which were sent as patterns. He remarked at the same time,
that there were many districts of the empire from which gold was not to be
expected in any considerable quantity, as they had no mines, and the
natives had only such golden toys among them as they had inherited from
their ancestors. Much gold was immediately transmitted to Mexico from the
rich provinces in compliance with the order; but when it was communicated
to the refractory lord of Matlatzinco, formerly mentioned, he haughtily
answered, that he would pay no tribute, for he had as good a right as
Montezuma to the throne of Mexico. Montezuma was much enraged at this
insolent message, and immediately sent some trusty officers with his
signet, who succeeded in apprehending this redoubted chief. On being
brought prisoner into the presence of the king, he behaved with so much
insolence that Montezuma ordered him to be put to death; but Cortes
interceded for him, and got his punishment transmuted to imprisonment. He
even endeavoured to make a friend of this chief, and proposed to have him
set at liberty, but Montezuma insisted that he should be kept in chains
along with Cacamatzin.

Twenty days after the orders had been issued for collecting the tribute,
it was all brought to Mexico, on which Montezuma summoned Cortes into his
presence, along with the captains and the soldiers who formed his usual
guard, and addressed us as follows: "Being indebted to your great king,
whom I much esteem for having sent you as his ambassadors to me from so
great a distance, and as I am convinced by the prophecies transmitted to
us by our ancestors, and confirmed by our gods, that he is destined to
rule over us, take this gold, which is all I could collect on so short a
notice, and also the treasure which I inherited from my ancestors which
you have already seen; send all this to your emperor, and let it be
recorded in your chronicles that this is the tribute from his vassal
Montezuma. Besides all this, I shall give you for your monarch, a quantity
of our most valuable jewels, which we call _calchihuis_[9], every one of
which is worth two loads of gold, and three tubes for shooting darts or
pellets, so richly adorned with jewels that he will be pleased with them.
Accept all this as an instance of my good will, for it is the last of my
treasure." We all immediately took off our helmets, and gave our hearty
thanks to Montezuma for his munificent and liberal gift, which Cortes
promised should be presented to the emperor with a just representation of
the merits of the donor. We were employed for three days in taking to
pieces the gold contained in the various ornamental articles in the
concealed treasury, which was now delivered up to us by the command of
Montezuma, in which we were assisted by the royal goldsmiths from the town
of Escapuzalco. When separated and weighed, these articles weighed to the
value of above 600,000 crowns, besides many other articles of value, and
exclusive of gold in plates and bars, and in its rough state as brought
from the mines. All this gold was melted down by the goldsmiths, and cast
into bars of three fingers breadth, all of which were stamped with the
royal arms, with our entire approbation. The rest of the present of
Montezuma was worthy of great admiration, consisting of the jewels called
_calchihius_ ornamented tubes covered with gold and jewels, beautiful
embroideries of pearls and feathers, plumes of feathers, and an endless
variety of rich manufactures; and it was unanimously agreed by us all not
to take these rich ornaments to pieces.

After the royal officers had weighed and valued the gold, which exceeded,
as I have already mentioned, 600,000 crowns, exclusive of the silver and
other ornamental articles, it was proposed to deduct the royal fifth, and
to distribute the shares among the officers and soldiers. Cortes proposed
to postpone the division till we acquired more treasure, and had more
exact weights: But the soldiers were clamorous for an immediate division,
as we perceived that above a third part had disappeared since the various
articles were taken to pieces, Cortes and the captains and others being
continually carrying it away and concealing it for their own use. It was
at length agreed to make the division next day, when it was still found to
exceed 600,000 crowns in weight. On making the division, Cortes in the
_first_ place caused a fifth to be laid aside for his majesty; _secondly_,
a fifth for himself, as had been agreed upon; _thirdly_, a portion to
reimburse the naval expenditure incurred by Velasquez, the destruction of
the ships, and all the expences of the expedition from Cuba; _fourthly_,
for the expences of the agents whom we had sent to Spain; _fifthly_, for
the shares of our companions who were in garrison at Villa Rica; _sixthly_,
for the value of the horses which had been killed; _seventhly_, for the
reverend Father Olmeda and our captains; _eighthly_, double shares for the
cavalry, musketeers, and crossbow-men. When all these deductions were made
from the stock, the shares which remained for each soldier were hardly
worth acceptance, not exceeding 100 crowns a-man. We were obliged to
submit, having no one to appeal to for justice; yet many were very
clamorous, whom Cortes secretly endeavoured to appease, giving a little to
one and a little to another in private, and feeding all with fair promises.
Our captains got chains of gold made for them by the Mexican workmen,
Cortes did the same, and had a superb service of gold plate made for his
table. Many of our soldiers, who had been fortunate in secreting plunder,
had golden ornaments made for their use, and gave themselves up to deep
gaming, for which purpose they made cards from drum-heads; and thus we
passed our time in Mexico. One Cardenas, a pilot, who had a wife and
children, seeing that all the immense treasure of Montezuma had dwindled
down to paltry shares of a hundred crowns, made loud complaints of the
injustice he and all of us had experienced. On this coming to the ears of
Cortes, he called us together, and gave us a long honied speech, wondering
how we should be so clamorous about a paltry sum of gold, as the whole
country, with all its rich mines, would soon be ours, by which we would
all have enough to make us lords and princes, and I know not all what.
After this he distributed presents secretly among the most clamorous, and
promised Cardenas to send home 300 crowns to his wife and children.

All men are desirous of acquiring riches, and the desire generally
increases with the acquisition. As it was well known that a great many
valuable pieces of gold had been abstracted from the treasury, suspicion
naturally fell upon several persons who appeared to have more gold than
their shares amounted to. Among these, it was noticed that Velasquez de
Leon had some large chains of gold, and many trinkets and ornaments of
that metal, in the hands of the Mexican workmen, which the treasurer Mexia
claimed as having been purloined. De Leon resisted this, alleging that it
had been given him by Cortes before the gold was run into bars. Mexia
replied that Cortes had concealed enough, and had already taken too much
from the soldiers, without giving him so great a quantity, and insisted on
restitution. Both were valiant men, and their quarrel rose to such a
height, that they drew their swords, and each of them received two wounds
before they could be parted. Cortes ordered them both under arrest and to
be put in chains; but spoke privately to De Leon, who was his intimate
friend, to submit quietly, and released Mexia in consideration of his
holding the office of treasurer. Velasquez was a strong active man, and
used to walk much in the apartment where he was confined, and as Montezuma
heard the rattling of his chains, he inquired who it was, and interceded
with Cortes for his liberation. Cortes told him that Velasquez was a mad
fellow, who would go about robbing the Mexicans of their gold if not
confined. Montezuma replied, if that were all, he would supply his wants,
and Cortes affected to release him as a favour to the king, but banished
him to Cholula, whence he returned in six days, richer than before by the
king's bounty.

About this time, the king offered to give Cortes one of the princesses his
daughter in marriage. Cortes received this offer with much gratitude, but
suggested the propriety of having her in the first place instructed in the
Christian religion, with which Montezuma complied, though he still
continued attached to his own false worship and brutal human sacrifices.
Cortes and his captains were much scandalized by this persistence of
Montezuma in idolatry, and thought it their duty as Christians, to run
even the risk of occasioning a rebellion of the Mexicans by destroying the
idols and planting the true cross in their place; or if that could not be
now accomplished, to make a chapel for Christian worship in the temple. On
this determination, seven officers and soldiers attended Cortes and Father
Olmedo to wait upon Montezuma, to whom they communicated their wish, and
their resolution to employ force if necessary. The king was much alarmed,
and earnestly begged leave to consult with his priests on the subject.
Cortes seemed touched with his situation, and made a signal to the
officers and soldiers to retire, leaving him and Olmedo with the king. He
then told him, that he would endeavour to prevail on the officers to be
satisfied for the present, if a part of the great temple was appropriated
for the reception of an altar and crucifix, by which his majesty would
soon be convinced of the falsehood of his erroneous worship[10]. To this
proposal Montezuma reluctantly consented, with the appearance of much
agitation and deep sorrow; and, an altar and crucifix being erected, mass
was solemnly celebrated in the new chapel, for the care of which a proper
person was appointed.

The whole time of our stay in this city was one continued series of alarms,
sufficient to have destroyed us if we had not been supported by divine
interposition. By this last measure, through the representations of the
priests, acting on the prejudices of the people, our dangers were much
increased. Their gods, as the priests alleged, threatened to desert them,
unless we were destroyed for this violation of the temple, and an
universal determination was formed to obey this manifestation of their
commands. This resolution of the people was conveyed to Montezuma by the
priests, and all his principal warriors; who, besides this subject of
complaint on the score of religion, made many other representations
respecting our misconduct, ever since our arrival in the empire. The page
Orguetilla communicated many alarming circumstances which he had observed,
to Cortes, respecting frequent secret conferences between Montezuma and
his priests and nobles, and the angry and melancholy appearances which he
had frequently seen the king assume on these occasions. Cortes was alarmed
by this intelligence, and immediately waited on the king accompanied by
his interpreters and five of his captains. Montezuma seemed much
distressed during this conference, and declared to Cortes that he was
extremely grieved at the manifestation of the will of his gods that we
should all be put to death or expelled from Mexico: He therefore, as our
sincere friend, earnestly recommended that we should not run the risk of
incurring the indignation of his subjects, but should save our lives by a
retreat whilst that remained within our power. Cortes and the rest were
naturally much alarmed at this; but Cortes answered that he was
principally concerned, because in the first place, he had no vessels for
returning into his own country, and in the next place he would be under
the necessity of taking Montezuma along with him, that he might present
him to our emperor. He therefore entreated Montezuma to use every
influence to restrain his priests and warriors from proceeding to violence,
until we had time to build three ships for our conveyance, and offered
immediately to send our ship-builders to fell timber and construct the
vessels on the coast, requesting the king to order the assistance of his
carpenters for this purpose, that there might be no delay. He repeated his
request, that Montezuma would employ all his influence to prevent any
insurrection in the city, and his endeavours to appease his priests and
gods, providing that no human sacrifices were resorted to for that purpose.
Martin Lopez, our principal ship-builder, was immediately dispatched to
Villa Rica to commence building the three ships, which were put on the
stocks without delay. During this interval, we remained in Mexico full of
terror of being attacked by the whole force of a numerous and warlike
people, exasperated by the insults we had heaped on their sovereign and
their religious belief. Our apprehensions were continually kept alive by
the information we received from Donna Marina, and the page Orteguilla;
who, by understanding the language, obtained much information which must
otherwise have escaped our knowledge. We kept however constant guard over
Montezuma, and the strictest military discipline in our quarters, sleeping
always in our armour, and having our horses saddled and bridled every
night. Without meaning it as any boast, I may say this of myself, that my
armour became as easy and familiar to me as if it had been a soft down bed.
And so habituated am I to this, that now in my old age, when I make the
circuit of my district, I never take a bed along with me, unless attended
by stranger gentlemen, when I do so merely to avoid the appearance of
poverty or avarice. Yet, even when I have one, I always sleep in my
clothes; neither can I rest throughout the night, but get up to
contemplate the stars, walking about without hat or cap, as I used to do
on guard; yet thank GOD I never get cold, nor am I the worse for this
practice. This is to be a true soldier! My readers must pardon this
digression, which does not proceed from vanity, but to let him know what
kind of men we were, the real conquerors of Mexico[11].

[1] Clavigero calls this the god of providence, the soul of the world, the
    creator of heaven and earth, and the master of ill things, the
    rewarder of the just and the punisher of the wicked.--E.

[2] Along with the work of Bernal Diaz, and in the history of Mexico by
    Clavigero, there are representations of ancient Mexican temples. In
    both they consist of six frustums of truncated pyramids, placed above
    each other, having a gallery or open walk around at each junction, and
    straight outside stairs reaching between each gallery, not unlike the
    representations that have been ideally formed of the tower of

[3] Clavigero pretends that the defeat and death of Escalante were known
    to Cortes and his followers while at Cholula. This is highly
    improbable, both from the narrative of Diaz, and because Cortes would
    not certainly have put himself entirely in the power of Montezuma,
    after this unequivocal demonstration of resolute enmity.--E.

[4] In the original of Diaz they are said to have retreated to Almeria,
    but this is an obvious mistake. Almeria, according to Clavigero, II.
    55, was the name given by the Spaniards to Nauhtlan, a city on the
    coast of the Gulf of Mexico, thirty-six miles north of Villa Rica,
    which was governed by Quauhpopoca for Montezuma, and by whom the
    Mexican detachment was commanded by which Escalente was defeated.--E.

[5] It is obvious from a circumstance in the sequel of this story that
    Diaz and other soldiers attended Cortes on this occasion. Clavigero,
    II. 77. says there were twenty-five soldiers besides the five captains,
    who repaired two by two to the palace, and joined Cortes there as if
    by accident. This daring transaction took place eight days after the
    arrival of Cortes in the city of Mexico.--E.

[6] Diaz calls this Tuzapan; but as Nauhtlan was in the country of the
    Totonacas, called Totonacapan by the Mexicans, we have chosen here and
    everywhere else that this could be done with certainty, to adopt the
    orthography of Clavigero.--E.

[7] According to Clavigero, II. 82. Quauhpopoca, his son, and fifteen
    other nobles were cruelly put to death on this occasion. Diaz names
    the principal chief Quetzalpopoca.--E.

[8] Diaz says that he assumed the name of Don Carlos on this occasion; but
    does not allege even that he had been baptised. This name was probably
    merely imposed upon him by the Spanish soldiery; or he may have
    acquired it on becoming a Christian after the conquest of Mexico was

[9] It is impossible now to say what were these jewels so much valued by
    the Mexicans. Clavigero, I. 422, enumerates among their precious
    stones, "Emeralds, amethysts, cornelians, turquoises, and others not
    known in Europe." In another passage, I. 424, he mentions many small
    red stones similar to rubies, as among the Mexican curiosities
    transmitted to Charles V. by Cortes.--E.

[10] We are duly sensible of the divine super-excellence of Christianity,
    and the gross barbarism of idolatry joined with abominable human
    sacrifices. Yet, the mere change of two crossed sticks and the images
    of Saint Somebody or Saint Nobody, for the idols of the Mexicans,
    under pretence of introducing the pure religion of the meek and holy
    Jesus, seems in our humble opinion a mere _qui pro quo_; and, when
    taken in conjunction with the proposed conversion by military
    execution, and the introduction of the bloody tribunal of the
    Inquisition, not one iota less idolatrous or less barbarous.--E.

[11] Bernal Diaz neglects to accommodate his readers with the very useful
    appendage of dates; it therefore may be proper to remark that the
    Spaniards entered the city of Mexico for the first time on the 8th
    November 1519; and as Cortes left it in the beginning of May 1520, in
    his march against Narvaez, he had now spent about six months in the
    capital of a mighty empire, with hardly 450 soldiers.--E.


_Expedition of Narvaez to supersede Cortes in the command, and occurrences
till the Defeat of that Officer by Cortes at Chempoalla_.

The Bishop of Burgos, who was president of the council of the Indies, bore
unlimited sway in that department of the Spanish government during the
absence of the emperor in Flanders. Owing to the representations of
Velasquez against Cortes, he sent orders to him to seize and make us all
prisoners at every hazard, as rebellious subjects. Velasquez therefore
fitted out a fleet of nineteen ships from the Island of Cuba, in which he
embarked an army of fourteen hundred soldiers, eighty of whom were cavalry,
eighty musketeers, and eighty crossbow-men, with twenty pieces of cannon,
and all necessary ammunition and appointments, giving the command in chief
to Pamphilo de Narvaez. Such was his animosity against Cortes and us for
having thrown off our dependance upon him, that he made a journey of above
seventy leagues from the Havanna on purpose to expedite the preparations.
At this time, the royal audience of St Domingo and the brethren of the
order of St Jerorimo, being satisfied of our loyalty and great exertions
in the service of God and the emperor, sent over the oydor Lucas Vasquez
de Aillon to Cuba, with positive injunctions to stop the sailing of the
armament against us; but as Velasquez was confident in the support of the
bishop of Burgos, he gave no heed to the orders communicated to him by
Aillon, who therefore went along with the armament, that he might
endeavour as much as possible to prevent injury to the public service by
his mediation and influence, and be at hand if necessary, to take
possession of the country for the emperor, in virtue of his office.

Narvaez arrived safe with his whole fleet in the harbour of St Juan de
Ulua, except that he lost one small vessel during the voyage. Soon after
his arrival, the soldiers who had been sent by Cortes to that part of the
country in search of mines, went on board, and it is said gave thanks to
God for being delivered from the command of Cortes and the dangers of the
city of Mexico. Finding them in this mood, Narvaez ordered them to be
plentifully supplied with wine, to make them more communicative. Cervantes
the jester, who was one of these soldiers, under pretence of facetiousness,
exposed to him all the discontents of our soldiers respecting the
distribution of the treasure we had obtained, and informed him also of the
bad state of the garrison in Villa Rica under Sandoval. The arrival of
this new armament was soon communicated to Montezuma, who concealed the
intelligence for some time from Cortes, and opened a private
correspondence with Narvaez, to whom he sent many rich presents. Narvaez,
in his correspondence with Montezuma, said every thing that was bad
against Cortes and his troops, representing the whole of us as outcasts
and robbers, and that the emperor, hearing of our evil conduct, and that
we detained the great Montezuma in custody, had sent the present
expedition for the express purpose of liberating him and putting us all to
death. This intelligence gave great satisfaction to Montezuma, who thought
we must necessarily be all destroyed, as he had got an exact account of
their force represented to him in paintings: He accordingly transmitted
very magnificent presents to Narvaez, and could ill conceal the
satisfaction he had derived from the intelligence. Montezuma concealed the
news of this armament from Cortes, who observed and was astonished at the
alteration which it had produced on the kings manners and behaviour. At
length however, from the circumstance of Cortes making him two visits in
one day, Montezuma became apprehensive of the general procuring
intelligence from any other quarter, and told him the news, pretending
only to have just heard of it himself. Cortes expressed the utmost joy at
the intelligence, and Montezuma shewed him the representations which had
been transmitted to him, by which he learnt every thing he wished to know
on the subject. He immediately left the king and communicated the
intelligence to the troops, who got immediately under arms, and fired
several vollies in token of our joy. We soon noticed, however, that Cortes
was exceedingly pensive when alone, of which we could not divine the cause;
till he soon afterwards convinced us, and explained that the armament was
evidently designed against us; and he now, partly by promises and partly
by gifts, as from his bounty of what was ours by good right, made interest
with us to stand firmly by him in the approaching contest with Narvaez.

From what had been told him by Cervantes and our other deserters, Narvaez
was induced to send a deputation to Sandoval, demanding him to surrender
the port of Villa Rica. He appointed three persons on this errand, Guavera
a clergyman of abilities, Amarga, a relation of Velasquez, and one Vergara,
a scrivener. Sandoval had received information of the arrival of the
armament, and prepared to defend his post, as he rightly guessed that it
was destined to act against us. He sent off all his invalids to an Indian
village at some distance, and exhorting his soldiers to stand by him, he
erected a gibbet, and placed a guard on the road to Chempoalla. On the
arrival of the deputation from Narvaez at Villa Rica, they were astonished
to meet none but Indians, as Sandoval had ordered all the soldiers to
remain in their quarters, and remained at home himself; they knew not well
how to proceed, but at length guessing by the appearance of the house that
it belonged to the governor, they went in. Guavera immediately began the
conversation, by representing the greatness of the force under Narvaez,
and its object, which was to arrest Cortes and all his followers as
traitors, and concluded by summoning Sandoval to surrender himself and his
post to general Narvaez. Sandoval was much displeased, and told him, if it
were not for the protection of his holy function, he would punish his
insolence in calling those traitors who were more faithful subjects than
either Narvaez or his employer Velasquez. He desired him to carry his
demand to Cortes at Mexico, who would settle the business with him at that
place. Guavera insisted to execute the commission on which he was sent,
and ordered the scrivener Vergara to produce the authority under which
they acted. But Sandoval stopped him, saying, "I know not whether your
papers be true or false; but if you attempt to read any here I will order
you to receive a hundred lashes." On this, Guavera exclaimed, "Why do you
mind these traitors? read your commission." Sandoval, calling him a lying
rascal, ordered them all to be seized: On which a number of Indians, who
had been previously instructed, came in and threw nets over them, and
instantly set out with them on their backs for Mexico, to which they were
carried post by relays of Indians, through the several large and populous
towns by the way, with a rapidity that confounded them, hardly knowing
whether they were alive or dead, the whole seeming as if done by
enchantment. Sandoval sent Pedro de Solis to accompany them, by whom he
wrote a hasty letter to Cortes, giving him an account of all he knew. When
the general got notice of their arrival in Mexico, he ordered us all under
arms, released them immediately from their trammels, and made an apology
for the rudeness of Sandoval, whom he greatly blamed. He entertained them
with great hospitality and respect, giving them plenty of gold, and sent
them back in a few days as gentle as lambs, who had come out against him
as furious as lions.

Our general was one whose resources were never exhausted, and it must not
be concealed that his officers and soldiers supported him through all his
difficulties by our valour in the field and our wisdom in council. On this
occasion, we determined that it was proper to send letters to Narvaez and
others of the new army, which they might receive previous to the return of
Guavera. In these, we earnestly urged that no rash steps might be taken to
endanger our general interest, by inciting the Indians to rise upon us;
and held out every inducement of interest and friendship to the followers
of Narvaez to bring them over to our party, not forgetting to treat
secretly with such as we thought might be easiest wrought upon, as both
Guavera and Vergara had informed Cortes that Narvaez was by no means on
good terms with his officers, among whom gold well applied would work
wonders. In his letters to Narvaez, Cortes adjured him by their former
friendship, not to give encouragement to the Mexicans to rise and destroy
us, seeing that they were ready to have recourse to any extremity to
liberate Montezuma, whose dispositions were much altered for the worse
since the arrival of this new armament, and the opening a correspondence
between him and Narvaez. He was convinced, he said, that the expressions
which Narvaez had been reported to use, could never have come from so wise
a man, but must have been fabricated by such wretches as the buffoon
Cervantes; and he concluded by offering an unlimited submission to the
authority of Narvaez. Cortes wrote also to the secretary Andres de Duero,
and Lucas Vasques the oydor, taking care to accompany his letters with
valuable presents of gold. On receiving the letter from Cortes, Narvaez
turned it into ridicule, handing it about among his officers, speaking of
us all as traitors whom he would put to death without mercy. He declared
he would cut off and eat the ears of Cortes, and a great deal of such
braggart nonsense, and of course made no answer to the letters. Just at
this time Father Olmedo arrived, bringing with him the private letters and
presents. He went in the first place to wait upon Narvaez, intending to
assure him that Cortes would be proud to serve under his command; but
Narvaez would not listen to him, and did nothing but abuse both Cortes and
him. He accordingly desisted from that part of his commission which
related to an agreement with Narvaez, and applied himself to the
distribution of presents among the officers with so much judgment and
success, that he soon won over all the principal officers to our party.
If the oydor Vasques was originally disposed to favour Cortes, he was
entirely so on seeing the magnificent presents which were now distributed
with so much liberality; which formed a striking contrast with the avarice
of Narvaez, who used to enjoin his major domo to take heed that not a
mantle were missing, as he had marked down every article committed to his
charge. This penuriousness set all his officers against him, which he
attributed to the intrigues of Vasques; and as there was a difference
between them, because Narvaez neglected to inform him respecting every
thing sent in by order of Montezuma, of which he ought to have been
informed as oydor, an irreconcileable quarrel ensued; and depending on the
favour of the bishop of Burgos, Narvaez caused the oydor to be arrested,
and sent prisoner to Cuba or Spain, I know not which. But during the
voyage, Vasques prevailed on the captain of the ship to land him in
Hispaniola, where he so represented the treatment he had received to the
Audience and the Jeronimites, that they complained to the council of
Castile, but ineffectually, owing to the influence of the bishop of Burgos
in favour of Narvaez. About this time too, a gentleman named Oblanco, made
remonstrances to Narvaez respecting his violence, saying a good deal in
favour of Cortes and his troops, with which Narvaez was so much offended
that he threw him into prison; which Oblanco took so much to heart that he
died three days after.

Soon after the arrival of Father Olmedo, Guevara and his two companions
returned from Mexico, and launched out in praise of Cortes, reporting the
many expressions of respect he had used in speaking of Narvaez; and,
commending the services he had already performed to our emperor, they
expatiated on the advantages which would result from uniting their forces,
instead of fomenting a civil war. All this put Narvaez into such a rage
that he refused to see them any more, and commanded them to be silent on
this hateful subject. They carried their discourse therefore among their
comrades; and when they saw how well furnished with gold these men had
returned from Mexico, they began seriously to wish themselves in the army
of Cortes.

Narvaez now quitted the coast with his army and took possession of the
town of Chempoalla; immediately on his arrival seizing by force the young
women who had been given to the officers of Cortes by their parents, with
all the gold and mantles which had been left in the custody of the fat
cacique along with the ladies, when we set out on our march to Mexico.
When the cacique complained of this to Narvaez, and of the robberies
committed by his soldiers, saying that Cortes and his soldiers conducted
themselves in quite a different manner, a bragging fellow called
Salvatierra exclaimed, "See what fear these Indians are in for the sorry
fellow Cortes!" yet this boaster, who was so ready with his tongue, was
the most cowardly wretch I ever beheld, when we came afterwards to attack
the army of Narvaez. About this time, Narvaez transmitted to Cortes a copy
of the commission he had received from the governor of Cuba, the
particulars of which I shall detail hereafter. Cortes received regular
intelligence of every thing done by Narvaez, partly from the friends he
had made in the adverse army and partly from Sandoval, who now informed
him that five persons of consideration had joined from the army of Narvaez,
who alleged for their reason, that being the relations of the oydor
Vasquez, who had met with such injurious treatment, they had little hopes
of being themselves well used; and he added, that these persons said
Narvaez meant very soon to march to Mexico against us. On this being made
known to such of us as Cortes used generally to consult with, he agreed
with us in opinion that it was advisable for us to march immediately
against Narvaez and his army, leaving the command in Mexico with Alvarado;
and we left under his charge all those men who were not inclined to be of
the present hazardous expedition, and all whom we suspected to have an
inclination for the party of Narvaez or Velasquez. We also left with
Alvarado a sufficient supply of provisions, in case the Mexicans should
refuse to supply him, and because the late harvest had been deficient, in
consequence of too dry a season. Our quarters were strengthened by the
addition of a good pallisade, and, besides four heavy guns, we left a
garrison of eighty-three men, twenty-four of whom were armed with muskets
or cross-bows: a very inadequate force, surely, for keeping the great and
populous city of Mexico in awe.

Previous to our departure, Cortes paid a visit to Montezuma, who
questioned him very anxiously about the difference between him and Narvaez,
as both were vassals of the same sovereign, and desired an explanation of
the charges which the new comers had made against us, that we were
outcasts and traitors. He likewise asked if he could serve us in any way,
expressing an apprehension of our safety, considering the great
superiority under Narvaez. Cortes replied in a cheerful manner, that he
had not sooner informed him of our intended departure, lest it might give
him concern; that we certainly were all subjects to the same monarch, but
that the report of our being traitors and fugitives was utterly false, as
we had come into his country with full authority from our sovereign. As to
the other party destroying us by their superiority in numbers, that did
not depend on them, but on the will of our Lord and his holy mother, who
would support us. He added, that our sovereign ruled over many different
countries, the inhabitants of some of which were more valiant than those
of others; that we were all true Castilians, while the commander of our
opponents was a Biscayan, and his majesty would soon see the difference
between us, as he trusted by the blessing of God to bring them all back as
prisoners. He concluded by recommending in the strongest terms to
Montezuma, to use his utmost endeavours to prevent any insurrection in the
city during our absence; as, on his return, he would assuredly punish all
in a most exemplary manner who behaved amiss. Montezuma promised to do
every thing which Cortes required, and even offered to assist us with five
thousand of his warriors, which Cortes politely declined, knowing indeed
that the king had not that in his power, if he even wished to have done so.
Then requesting Montezuma to cause due respect to be paid to that part of
the great temple which had been consecrated to the Christian worship, he
embraced Montezuma with much cordiality and took leave. He then called
Alvarado and the garrison which was to remain in Mexico, all of whom he
strictly enjoined to be extremely watchful, and to take special care not
to allow Montezuma to escape; promising to make them all rich on his
return, if he found they had done their duty. On this occasion of leaving
Mexico, he left the clergyman Juan Diaz with Alvarado, and some other
persons whose fidelity he questioned.

We began our march from Mexico in the beginning of May 1520[1], making our
first halt at Cholula. From that place we sent a message to the senate of
Tlascala, requiring them to assist us with four thousand of their warriors.
They sent us twenty loads of fowls, saying that they were ready at any
time to join us in war against Indians, but begged to be excused if we
were marching against our own countrymen. At this time likewise, Cortes
sent orders to Sandoval to join our little army with the whole of his
garrison that was fit for duty, at a place named Tampinequeta or
Mitalaquita[2], twelve leagues from Chempoalla. We marched in regular
order without baggage, having always two confidential soldiers in advance
about a days journey, who were directed not to keep the main road, but to
go always by those in which cavalry could not march, and whose especial
business was to inquire for intelligence respecting the motions of Narvaez,
which they were to communicate without delay to Cortes. When we had
proceeded a considerable way on our march, one of our advanced parties
fell in with four Spaniards belonging to the army of Narvaez, who were
bringing to Cortes a copy of his commission and instructions as
captain-general in New Spain. On being brought to the general, they
saluted him respectfully, and he immediately dismounted in order to hear
what they had to say. Alonzo de Mata, who was at the head of the
deputation, produced his papers and began to read them; but Cortes stopt
him short, demanding if he were a royal notary; as in that case, by
shewing his commission, he would be implicitly obeyed, but if he had no
such authority, he certainly would not be allowed to read any pretended
orders. "The commands of his majesty," said Cortes, "I shall submit to
with the utmost humility; but, I desire that the original may be produced."
Mata was confounded at these words, as he held no office whatever under
the crown, and was entirely at a loss how to proceed. But Cortes relieved
him from his embarrassment, telling him our destination, and that he was
ready to receive any message from his general, of whom he always spoke
with great respect, but would listen to no orders that were not sanctioned
by the royal authority. We halted for some time at this place, and Cortes
had some private conferences with these agents of Narvaez, with whom he
used such powerful arguments that he made them his firm friends. They
returned to Chempoalla, quite loud in their praises of Cortes, crying up
his generosity to the skies, and made a magnificent report of the riches
of our soldiers, many of whom had ornaments of gold on their arms, and
some of them gold chains and collars about their necks.

Next day, Sandoval joined with the garrison of Villa Rica, to the number
of about seventy men, with whom came the five Spaniards who had deserted
from Narvaez, who were very graciously received by Cortes. Sandoval
reported that he had sent two of his soldiers, a little time before into
the quarters of Narvaez, who went disguised like Indians, having each a
load of fruit for sale, and their complexions so completely resembled the
natives that they were never suspected. They went immediately to the
quarters of the braggart Salvatierra, who gave them a string of yellow
beads for their fruit, and sent them to cut grass for his horse on the
banks of a small rivulet. They brought home the last load of grass in the
evening, and having fed the horse, they remained about the place till
night, listening to the conversation of Salvatierra, whom they heard
observing to some of his companions, how luckily they had come at the
present moment to deprive the traitor Cortes of the 700,000 crowns which
he had obtained from Montezuma. When it was dark, our disguised soldiers
got privately out of the house, and took away Salvatierras horse with the
saddle and bridle, and meeting another horse by the way, which happened
to be lame, they brought it along with them. Cortes laughed heartily at
this exploit; and we learned afterwards that Salvatierra gave much
amusement to the soldiers of Narvaez, by his absurd behaviour on
discovering the trick which had been played upon him.

It was now resolved in a general consultation of our little army, to send
a letter in all our names to Narvaez, by the hands of Father Olmedo, of
which the following is the purport: "We had rejoiced on hearing of the
arrival of so noble a person with so fine an army, by which we expected
great advantages to have been derived to our holy religion and to the
service of our sovereign; but on the contrary he had reviled us as
traitors, and had occasioned the whole country to revolt. Our general had
already offered to resign to him whatever provinces or territories he
might be inclined to occupy, but nothing would serve him except treating
our general and us as rebels, who had proved ourselves by our actions
faithful subjects to the emperor. If he came by the authority of a
commission from his majesty, we demanded to see the original within three
days, for which purpose we had advanced to this place, and were ready to
obey it in all humility and reverence: but, if he had no such authority,
we required him to return immediately to Cuba, and not to make any attempt
to throw the country which we had conquered into confusion; as otherwise
we should deem it our bounden duty to send him as a prisoner to his
majesty, to be dealt with according to his royal pleasure. We declared
that he was answerable for all the lamentable consequences which might
follow from his unlawful conduct; and that we had sent this letter by its
present conveyance, since no royal notary could undertake to deliver our
remonstrance in due form, after the violence which he had committed
against his majesties oydor Vasquez, a treasonable act, the perpetrator of
which our general was bound to apprehend and bring to justice, and for
which we now cited him to appear and answer for his conduct." This letter
was concluded in terms of great respect, and was signed by Cortes, all the
captains, and several of the most confidential of the soldiers. It was
sent by the reverend Father Olmedo, accompanied by a soldier named Ulagre,
whose brother was in the army of Narvaez as commander of his artillery.
Olmedo waited on Narvaez with great respect on his arrival at Chempoalla;
and proceeded afterwards to execute the secret commission with which he
had been entrusted, by a liberal distribution of gold among certain
officers of the army of Narvaez, among whom were Rodrigo Mira, Ulagre, and
Andres de Duero, which last he invited to pay a visit to Cortes. Narvaez
soon began to suspect the real object of Olmedo, and was much inclined to
have made him a prisoner: but Duero, who had much influence over Narvaez,
both on account of his situation and because they were in some degree
related, represented the impropriety of such an outrage against a person
of his holy functions, and dissuaded him from doing so. He also suggested
to him the great probability of his being able to gain over the soldiers
of Cortes to his party, by means of a little policy. By these arguments he
appeased Narvaez for the present, and went immediately to Olmedo whom he
informed of all that had passed.

Shortly afterwards, Narvaez sent for Olmedo, who requested to speak with
him in private; when he told him good-humouredly that he knew his
intentions of making him a prisoner, in which he was much to blame, as
there was no one whatever more devoted to his service, and he knew that
there were many persons with Cortes, who would gladly see their commander
delivered up to his excellency; in proof of which he had a letter which
Cortes had written at the suggestion of these very persons who wished to
deliver him up; which letter was so full of ridiculous absurdities that he
was frequently tempted to throw it away, but would now with his permission
lay it before him. He accordingly went, as he pretended for the letter,
which he alleged was with his baggage, but in reality to bring Duero and
others along with him, that they might witness its delivery. In order to
contrive an interview with Cortes, Duero proposed that a communication
should be opened between Narvaez and him; and Augustin Bermudez, a secret
friend of Cortes, proposed that Duero and Salvatierra should be sent on
this business, well knowing the character of Salvatierra to be disinclined
to any such employment. It was at last settled that Duero should wait upon
Cortes, and invite him to a conference with Narvaez at a convenient place
between the two armies, where they might treat of an accommodation and
arrange their future measures: And it was resolved that Narvaez should
make him prisoner at the conference, for which twenty of his most
confidential soldiers were prepared. Duero carried intelligence
immediately to Cortes, and Father Olmedo remained at the quarters of
Narvaez, having scraped acquaintance with Salvatierra, under pretence of
relationship, with whom he dined every day.

On first learning the arrival of Narvaez, Cortes sent one of his soldiers
named Barrientos, who had served in Italy and was well acquainted with the
management of the pike, to the province of the Chinantlans, who had lately
entered into alliance with us. That nation used lances or pikes much
longer than ours, having heads of sharpened stone, and Barrientos was
directed to obtain 300 of these lances for our use. There was plenty of
excellent copper in the country of the Chinantlans, and Barrientos was
directed to get two heads of this metal for each lance, and these were
executed so ingeniously that they were better made even than the pattern
sent. He also obtained a promise of 2000 warriors of that nation to join
us, who were to be armed in the same manner, but they did not arrive till
after we had overcome Narvaez. All this being settled, Barrientos arrived
at our quarters attended by 200 Chinantlans carrying the lances he had
procured. On trial these were found excellent, and we were immediately
exercised in their use. A muster was now made of our force, which amounted
to two hundred and six men, including fife and drum, with five mounted
cavalry, two artillery-men, few cross-bows, and fewer musketeers. This
being the force, and such the weapons, with which we marched against and
defeated the vastly superior army of Narvaez.

I have formerly mentioned that the secretary Duero and the contador Lares
had negociated the appointment of Cortes as general of our expedition, and
that they were to enjoy equal shares with him in all the treasure he
should acquire. Lares was some time dead, and Duero seeing how wealthy
Cortes had become, used the colour of the proposed treaty between Narvaez
and Cortes, in order to have an opportunity of an interview with Cortes,
that he might remind him of their agreement. Cortes not only promised
faithfully to perform his engagement, but promised him an equal command
with himself, and an equal share of territory when the conquest of the
country was completed. It was accordingly agreed upon between them, in
concurrence with Augustin Bermudez, who was alguazil-major of the army of
Narvaez, and many other officers whom I do not name, to get Narvaez put
out of the command in favour of Cortes. In order to confirm these in his
interest, and to gain over others, Cortes was more liberal than ever in
his presents, and on the present occasion loaded the two Indians who
attended on Duero with gold. On one of the days of intercourse, after
Cortes and Duero had been a considerable time together in private, and had
dined, Duero asked him on mounting his horse to go away, if he had any
farther commands. To this Cortes replied, "Remember what has been settled
between us, or if you don't, I shall be in your quarters before three days,
and you shall be the first person at whom I will throw my lance." Duero
answered laughing, that he would not fail, and immediately set off for the
quarters of Narvaez, where he is reported to have said that Cortes and all
his men were ready to submit to the command of Narvaez. Soon after this,
Cortes sent for Juan Velasquez de Leon, a person of much consideration,
who had always been greatly attached to him, though a near relation of the
governor of Cuba. On coming to his quarters, Cortes addressed him in
smooth and persuasive terms, which he could always assume at
pleasure:--"Duero has informed me that Narvaez is anxious to see you at
his quarters, and that it is generally believed I am completely ruined if
you go there. Now my worthy friend, I desire you to put on your gold chain,
mount your grey mare, take all your gold along with you and more which I
will give you; go immediately and fix yourself with Narvaez, and
distribute the gold which I confide to you according to my directions."
Velasquez was perfectly willing to do as he was desired, but objected to
the measure of carrying his own treasure along with him, and after a
secret conference with Cortes he set out for Chempoalla. De Leon arrived
there by day-break, and as the Indians were rejoiced to see him, the news
soon reached Narvaez, who came out to meet and embrace him. After paying
his compliments, Velasquez said his only object there was to endeavour to
make an amicable arrangement between Narvaez and Cortes; upon which
Narvaez took him aside and asked him how he could propose to treat for
such a traitor? Velasquez desired that no such injurious epithet might be
used in his presence, as Cortes was a most zealous and faithful officer.
Narvaez then offered to make him second in command under himself if he
would renounce Cortes; but Velasquez declared he would never quit one who
had done such signal services for God and the emperor.

By this time all the principal officers in the army of Narvaez had come up
to salute Velasquez, who was an universal favourite, as he was very polite
and well bred, and had a fine person and handsome countenance. At this
time he cut a fine martial figure, as he had a massy gold chain which made
two turns round his body and over his shoulders, so that he impressed
every one with respect. Bermudez the alguazil-major and Duero wished much
to have had some private communication with Velasquez; but just at this
time Captain Gamarra, Juan Yuste, Juan Buono, and Salvatierra the
braggadocio, persuaded Narvaez to give private orders for taking Velasquez
into custody, for having spoken so boldly in defence of Cortes; but the
others who had come over to the interest of Cortes, strongly represented
the impropriety and impolicy of such rash conduct, and Narvaez again spoke
in a friendly manner to Velasquez, whom he invited to dine with him, and
entreated his assistance to bring Cortes and the rest of us into his power.
Velasquez now agreed to forward this design, but represented Cortes as
headstrong and resolute, advising that Narvaez and he should divide the
country between them, each taking separate provinces. At this time Olmedo
came up, and advised Narvaez to order his troops under arms, that
Velasquez might see them and report to Cortes, who would be terrified when
he knew their strength. The troops were accordingly turned out in review
order, and Velasquez complimented Narvaez on their number and martial
appearence, wishing him an increase of his power. Narvaez said he hoped
Velasquez was now satisfied how easily he could crush Cortes and his
despicable force; to which Velasquez replied, he hoped they knew how to
defend themselves.

Velasquez dined next day with Narvaez, where a captain in his army who was
nephew to the governor of Cuba happened to be, who used very insulting
language respecting Cortes. On this Velasquez requested of Narvaez, that
such insulting language might not be allowed in his hearing; but the other
gentleman continued his abuse, and even took great liberties with
Velasquez himself; who, laying his hand on his sword, asked permission
from Narvaez to chastise that base liar. The other officers who were
present interfered to prevent mischief, and advised both Velasquez and
Olmedo to retire. Velasquez accordingly mounted his excellent grey mare,
in his helmet and coat of mail, with his gold chain about his shoulders,
and took leave of Narvaez, who returned his salute with apparent coldness.
The young captain was again very violent in his abuse; on which Velasquez
swore by his beard, that he should see in a few days what stuff he was
made of. Then, taking a hasty leave of the bystanders, he put spurs to his
good grey mare and was soon out of sight, as he had some hint or suspicion
that Narvaez might send after him, and even saw some horsemen following him
apparently for that purpose, but he was too well mounted for their pursuit.

In about two hours after Velasquez had left our camp to visit Narvaez, the
drum beat to arms, and our little army set forwards on our march for
Chempoalla. We killed two wild hogs on our way, which our soldiers
considered as a good omen of our ultimate success. We halted for the night
on the side of a rivulet, having the ground for a bed, stones for our
pillows, and heaven for our canopy, and arrived next day at the place
where the city of Vera Cruz is now built, which was then an Indian village
in a grove of trees. Being mid-day and the weather extremely sultry, we
stopped here for rest and refreshment, being much fatigued by the weight
of our lances and armour. While here, a report was brought from one of our
out-posts that some horsemen were in sight, who turned out to be Velasquez
and Olmedo, who were received by Cortes, and all of us with much joy, and
we all came round them to hear the news. Velasquez told Cortes in what
manner he had executed his commission and distributed the presents among
the officers of Narvaez. Then our merry Father Olmedo gave an account by
what finesse he had persuaded Narvaez to read our letter; how he had made
the foolish braggart Salvatierra believe they were cousins, and of the
ridiculous bravadoes he uttered, as how he would kill Cortes and all of us
in revenge for the loss of his horse; then how he had prevailed on Narvaez
to turn out his troops in review, merely to laugh at him; and in all these
stories he mimicked Narvaez and Salvatierra most admirably, so that we
laughed and enjoyed ourselves as if going to a wedding-feast, though we
well knew that on the morrow we must conquer or die, having to attack
five times our number. Such is the fortune of war! After the heat of the
day was over, we proceeded on our march, and halted for the night at a
river about a league from Chempoalla, where there is now a bridge and a
dairy farm.

After the departure of Father Olmedo and Velasquez from the quarters of
Narvaez, some of his officers gave him warning of the secret practices
going on, and advised him to be on his guard, as Cortes had many friends
in his army. The fat cacique of Chempoalla, being terrified for being
called to account by Cortes for delivering up the women and mantles that
had been confided to his care, was extremely vigilant in watching all our
motions. Finding that we drew near Chempoalla, he said to Narvaez, "Why
are you so careless! _Malinatzin_ and his _teules_ will come upon you by
surprise and put you all to death." Narvaez, being confident in his vast
superiority, laughed heartily at the fears of the fat cacique, yet did not
neglect the warning. In the first place, he declared war against us as
rebels, with fire, sword, and rope, and then drew up his whole army,
cavalry, artillery, and infantry, in a plain about a quarter of a league
from Chempoalla, where he resolved to wait for us; all of which we learned
from a soldier, named El Galleguillo, who either deserted to us, or was
sent by Duero to Cortes. The day happened to be very rainy, and the troops
of Narvaez, being unaccustomed to hardships, and despising our small
number, became restless and dissatisfied with their situation, on which
his officers advised him to march them back to quarters, which he did,
placing all his guns in a line before the house in which he lodged. He
likewise placed a grand guard of forty cavalry on the road by which we
were expected to advance, and some cavalry videts and active foot soldiers
at the ford where we must pass on our way to Chempoalla. Twenty of his
cavalry were also appointed to patrole during the whole night around his
quarters. All this was done by the advice of his officers, who were
anxious to get under cover, and who alleged it was absurd to suppose that
Cortes would venture to attack them with so pitiful a handful of men, and
that he only advanced from ostentation, or to induce them to come to an
agreement. On returning to quarters, Narvaez publickly offered a reward of
two thousand crowns to whoever should kill Cortes or Sandoval; and he
stationed as spies at the ford, Gonzalo Carrasco, who now dwells in La
Puebla, and a soldier named Hurtado. He also filled his own quarters, and
those of Salvatierra, Gamarra, and Buono, with musketeers, crossbow-men,
and soldiers armed with partizans or halberts.

On arriving at the river which runs through the rich meadows about a
league from Chempoalla, having appointed trusty out-guards, Cortes
summoned all his officers and soldiers round him, and addressed us as
follows: "Gentlemen! you well know that the governor of Cuba selected me
as your general, although there are many among you as worthy of the
command. You also know that it was publickly proclaimed and believed among
us, that we were to conquer and colonize this country, whereas our
instructions were only to barter with the natives for gold. You will
recollect my determination to have returned to Cuba, to give an account of
my mission to Velasquez, when I was required by you to remain and colonize
the country for his majesties service, appointing me your captain-general
and chief magistrate, till his majesties pleasure was made known, and that
we have in consequence essentially served God, and the interest of our
sovereign. I beg leave to remind you, that we have written to the king,
giving him a full account of this country, and all that we have done and
suffered for his service, requesting that the government might not be
conferred on any unworthy person, and how we transmitted all the treasure
to his majesty that we had obtained. You likewise know, that fearing the
arts and influence of the bishop of Burgos and his favourite Velasquez, we
came to a resolution to maintain his majesties rights and government in
this country, till his royal mandate, duly authenticated, should be
produced to us. I must now remind you to what dangers you have been
exposed in various sanguinary battles, what hardships you have suffered
from hunger and fatigue, and the inclemencies of the weather, having often
been obliged to sleep on the ground in rain, wind, and snow, during all
which, above fifty of your companions have died, and many of your own
wounds are still unhealed. I recal to your remembrance, your numerous
sufferings by sea and land, and the perils of Tabasco, Tlascala, and
Cholula, where the boilers were already on the fires in which your limbs
were to have been prepared for the barbarous repast of your savage enemies.
And lastly, your hazardous entry into Mexico, the seizure of its powerful
sovereign, and its occupation in the face of an immense and warlike
population for more than six months. Let me now state the reward of all
these dangerous and brilliant services. Narvaez is sent here by your
enemies the governor of Cuba and bishop of Burgos, to strip you of your
well-earned fame and dear-bought treasures. By aspersing your characters
with the great Montezuma he has occasioned the defection of the natives
who had submitted to our government, and he proclaims exterminating war
against us with fire, sword, and rope, as if we were infidel Moors." He
said a great deal more to the same purpose, exalting our merits and valour
to the skies, and after a profusion of compliments and promises, he
concluded by observing that this Narvaez, who had come to deprive us of
our lives and properties, and had imprisoned the royal oydor for
endeavouring to defend us, only held his command through the favour of our
great enemy the bishop of Burgos; and it became us therefore, as faithful
subjects, to make a bold stand in defence of the royal rights, and our own
lives and properties: He therefore now wished to know our determination on
the subject.

The whole officers and soldiers declared unanimously that we were ready to
follow him, and determined to conquer or die. We desired, therefore, that
we might hear no more said about an accommodation with Narvaez, or a
partition of the country; as in that case we would plunge our swords into
his body, and elect another chief. Cortes highly extolled our spirited
declaration, saying that he expected no less from men of our valour;
adding a multitude of fine promises and flattering assurances that he
would make us all rich and great. Then adverting to the approaching attack,
he earnestly enjoined us to observe the strictest discipline, and the most
profound silence, observing that success in battle often depended a great
deal more on prudent conduct and precise obedience, than on the most
determined bravery: He well knew, he said, that our ardour would prompt
every one of us to strive who should be most forward in the battle, but it
was indispensably necessary that we should be distributed into companies,
having each our distinct duties to perform. The first thing necessary to
be done, was to seize the enemies artillery, and for this duty he selected
seventy soldiers, among whom I was one, over whom he appointed to the
command his relation Pizarro, an active young man, but then as little
known to fame as the kingdom of Peru. Our farther orders were, as soon as
we had got possession of the guns, that we were to join and support the
detachment which was to attack the quarters of Narvaez. This duty was
assigned to Sandoval at the head of seventy select men; and, as he was
alguazil-major of our army, he was provided with a formal warrant to
arrest the body of Pamphilo de Narvaez, for having imprisoned an officer
of his majesty, and to put him to death in case of resistance. Cortes also
promised a reward of three thousand crowns to the first soldier who should
lay hands on Narvaez, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the
third. Juan Velasquez de Leon was appointed with a third body of seventy
men, to seize his relation Diego Velasquez; and Cortes retained a body of
reserve of twenty men, to act whatever he might see occasion, and in
particular to support the intended attack on the quarters of Narvaez and
Salvatierra, which were in the lofty temple of Chempoalla[3]. Having thus
arranged the troops and instructed our leaders, he addressed us in a short
speech, saying, That he well knew the army of Narvaez was four times more
numerous than we, but they were unaccustomed to arms, and many of them ill;
he trusted therefore in this unexpected attack, that God would give us
victory, and that it was better to die gloriously than to live dishonoured.
I have often reflected on this circumstance, that in all his addresses to
us, he never once mentioned a word respecting those in the army of Narvaez
who were our friends; in which he acted the part of a wise commander,
making us to rely entirely on our own prowess, without counting on any
assistance. Our three detachments were now formed, having each their
captains at their head, explaining to us our particular duties, while we
mutually encouraged each other to hope for victory. Pizarro, our leader,
directed us to rush forwards upon the guns, with our lances at the charge,
and immediately on getting possession, the artillery-men who were attached
to our division, were to point and fire them against the quarters of
Narvaez. Those who happened at this moment to be deficient in defensive
armour, would have given every thing they had in the world for a morion, a
helmet, or a breast-plate. Our countersign for the engagement was _Spiritu
Santo_, that of Narvaez _Santa Maria_. Just before marching, Captain
Sandoval, who had always been my intimate friend, called me aside, and
made me promise, if I survived the capture of the guns, I should seek out
and attach myself to him during the rest of the battle.

All things being arranged, we remained waiting the order to march, and
reflecting with much anxiety on what was before us. I was stationed at an
advanced post, where soon afterwards a patrole came to me, asking if I had
heard any thing, to which I answered that I had not. A corporal came up to
my post soon after, who said that Galleguillo, the deserter from Narvaez,
was missing, and was suspected of having come among us as a spy, for which
reason Cortes had given orders to march immediately. The drum was soon
heard beating for us to fall in, and the captains were calling over their
companies. We joined the column, and soon after found the missing soldier
sleeping under some mantles to relieve his fatigue, as he had not been
accustomed to hardships. We marched on at a quick pace, and in profound
silence, and on arriving at the river, surprised the two videts of Narvaez,
one of whom we made prisoner, and the other flying into the town before us,
spread the alarm of our approach. Owing to rain the river was deeper than
usual, and the ford was difficult to pass, from loose stones and the
weight of our armour. Carrasco the videt, whom we had taken, exclaimed to
Cortes, "Do not advance, Senior Cortes, for Narvaez and all his force is
drawn out to receive you." We proceeded, however, with all expedition, and
on coming to the town, heard the other man who had escaped giving the
alarm, and Narvaez calling on his officers to turn out. Our company was at
the head of the column; and rushing on with charged lances, we soon made
ourselves masters of the guns, the artillery-men having only time to
discharge four, one only of which took effect, and killed three of our men.
Our whole force now advanced, and brought down seven of the enemies
cavalry; but we could not for some time quit the guns, as the enemy kept
up a smart discharge of musketry and arrows from the quarters of Narvaez.
Sandoval and his company pressed forwards to climb the steps of the temple,
in which attempt he was resisted by the enemy, with musketry, partizans,
and lances, and was even forced down six or seven steps. At this time,
seeing that the artillery was no longer in danger of being rescued, our
company, with Captain Pizarro at their head, went to the assistance of
Sandoval, when we jointly made the enemy give ground in their turn; and at
this critical moment I heard Narvaez crying out, "Santa Maria assist me!
they have slain me, and beat out one of my eyes!" On hearing this we
shouted out, "Victory! victory! for the Espiritu Santo! Narvaez is dead!"
Still we were unable to force our way into the temple, till Martin Lopez,
who was very tall, set the thatch on fire, and forced those within to rush
down the steps to save themselves from being burnt to death. Sanches
Farfan laid hold on Narvaez, whom we carried prisoner to Sandoval, along
with several other captive captains, continually shouting, "Victory!
victory! Long live the king and Cortes! Narvaez is slain!"

While this was going on with us, Cortes and the rest of our army were
engaged with some of the enemy who occupied some other lofty temples. When
the cause of our shouts was understood, Cortes notified to them the fall
of their commander, proclaiming that all who did not instantly submit
should be put to death; yet those who were in the temple, commanded by
Diego Velasquez and Salvatierra would not submit, till Sandoval with half
of our body, and the captured guns, forced his way into the temple and
made them all prisoners. Sandoval now returned to take charge of Narvaez,
who was doubly ironed; and we now, had in custody besides him, Salvatierra,
Diego Velasquez, Gamarra, Juan Yuste, Juan Buono, and many other principal
persons. At this time Cortes came in unobserved, extremely fatigued; and
addressing Sandoval, said it was impossible to describe the labour he had
experienced; then asked, "What has become of Narvaez?" Sandoval told him
that Narvaez was here safe. Cortes then said, "Son Sandoval, keep good
watch over him and the other officers." After which he hastened away, and
caused proclamation to be made, that all should lay down their arms and
submit. The whole of this happened during the night, during which there
were frequent showers, with intervals of moon-shine; but at the moment of
attack it was extremely dark, with multitudes of fire flies, which the
soldiers of Narvaez mistook for the lighted matches of our musketry.
Narvaez was badly wounded, and had one of his eyes beaten out, on which
account he requested to send for Master Juan the surgeon; and while he was
getting his eye dressed Cortes entered the room, when Narvaez said to him:
"Senior Cortes! thank your good fortune for having made me your prisoner."
Cortes answered, That his thanks were due to God and his valiant soldiers,
who had succeeded in more difficult achievements since they came to New
Spain; and he considered the arrest of the royal oydor was more daring
than our present attack. He then left the room, with strict injunctions to
Sandoval to keep strict guard. Narvaez and the rest of the captured
officers were removed into a more secure apartment, where I and some other
confidential soldiers were appointed for their guard, and Sandoval gave me
a private order to allow no one to speak with Narvaez.

Cortes knew that forty of the enemies cavalry were still at an outpost on
the river, and that it was necessary to keep a good look out, lest they
might attack us for the rescue of their officers. He sent, therefore, De
Oli and De Ordas to speak with them, on two horses which were found
fastened in a wood, and guided by one of the soldiers of Narvaez. By their
arguments and fair promises, the horsemen were all persuaded to submit,
and came back with them for that purpose to the town. It was now clear day,
and Cortes was seated in an arm-chair, with an orange-coloured mantle over
his shoulders, and his arms by his side, surrounded by his officers and
soldiers. He received the salutations of the cavaliers, as they came up
successively to kiss his hand, with amazing affability, embracing them all
most cordially, and politely complimenting them. Among these were Bermudez,
Duero, and several others, who were secretly his friends already. Each of
the cavaliers, after paying his respects, went to the quarters assigned
for their lodgings. Ever since day-break, the drums, fifes, and timbals of
the army of Narvaez never ceased their music in honour of Cortes, though
none of us had spoken a word to them on the subject. A comical fellow of a
negro, who belonged to the band, danced for joy, shouting out; "Where are
your Romans now? They never achieved so glorious a victory with such small
numbers!" We could not silence these noisy fellows, till Cortes ordered
them to be confined. In this action, a gentleman of Seville, and
standard-bearer to Narvaez, Roxas, one of his captains, and two others,
were killed, and many wounded; one also of the three who deserted from us
to him was killed, and several wounded. The fat cacique also, who took
refuge in the quarters of Narvaez on our approach, was wounded, and Cortes
ordered him to his house, to be there well taken care of. As for
Salvatierra, who had made so many boasts, his own soldiers said they never
saw so pitiful a fellow. When he heard our drum he was in a terrible
fright, and when we shouted out victory, he declared he had a pain at his
stomach, and could fight no more. Diego Velasquez, who was wounded, was
taken by his relation Juan Velasquez de Leon to his own quarters, where he
was well taken care of, and treated with the utmost attention[4].

The reinforcement of warriors which Cortes had been promised from
Chinantla, marched into Chempoalla soon after the conclusion of the action,
under the command of Barrientos, who had marshalled them in a very shewy
manner, in regular files, lancemen and archers alternately, 1500 in number,
accompanied with colours, drums, and trumpets, and making a most warlike
appearance, to the great astonishment of the soldiers of Narvaez, who
thought they were double the number. Our general received them with much
courtesy, and as their services were no longer needed, he made them
handsome presents, and dismissed them with thanks.

The army of Narvaez being now secured, Cortes sent F. de Lugo to order all
the captains and pilots of the fleet to come to Chempoalla, and directed
all the ships to be dismantled, to cut off all communication with Cuba.
One Barahona, afterwards an inhabitant of Guatimala, had been confined by
Narvaez, and was now set at liberty, who was in a very weak state when he
joined us. The captains and pilots of the fleet came on shore to pay their
respects, and Cortes bound them all by oath not to leave him, appointing
Pedro Cavallero, one of their number, admiral of the whole fleet now in
his possession; and, as more ships were expected from Cuba, gave him
orders to dismantle them all as they arrived, and to send the captains and
pilots to head-quarters. All these important matters being arranged, and
his authority completely established, Cortes proceeded to such measures as
seemed proper for extending and securing the conquest and discovery of New
Spain. For this purpose, Velasquez de Leon was appointed to conduct an
expedition to the river of Panuco, with 220 soldiers, 20 of which were
taken from among ourselves, and 100 from the soldiers of Narvaez: And was
to be accompanied by two ships, on purpose to extend the discovery of the
coast. Diego de Ordas, was appointed with a similar force, to establish a
colony in the province of Guacocualco, or Coatzacualco; and as that
country was well adapted for breeding cattle, he was directed to send to
Jamaica for horses, mares, bulls, and cows, for the purpose of
establishing an independent supply in the country. All the prisoners were
released, except Narvaez and Salvatierra, who still had the pain in his
stomach. Cortes also gave orders to restore all their horses and arms to
the soldiers of Narvaez, which gave us all much dissatisfaction, but we
were obliged to submit. On this occasion I had to resign a good horse with
a saddle and bridle, two swords, three daggers, and a shield. Avila and
Father Olmedo, speaking on this subject to Cortes, said he resembled
Alexander the Great, who was always more generous to the vanquished, than
to his own conquering soldiers. Indeed as fast as Cortes received gold or
other valuables, he gave away all to the captains of the other army, quite
forgetful of us who had made him what he was. Cortes protested that he and
all he had was entirely devoted to our service, as he would shew by his
future conduct; but that his present procedure was necessary for our
common interest and safety, we being so few, and the others so numerous.
Avila, who was of a lofty disposition, remonstrated in an imperious manner,
and Cortes was forced to dissemble with him at the time, knowing him to be
a brave man; he pacified him therefore with presents and flattering
promises, to prevent any violence, but took care in future to employ him
in distant business, as his agent first in Hispaniola, and afterwards in

There happened to come over in the army of Narvaez, a negro who was ill of
the small-pox, a most unfortunate circumstance for the people of New Spain,
as the disease spread with astonishing rapidity through the country, and
destroyed the natives by thousands, as they used to throw themselves into
cold water in the height of the disease, with the nature of which they
were utterly unacquainted. Thus multitudes of unfortunate souls were
hurried into eternity, without an opportunity of being received into the
bosom of the holy Catholic church. At this time, such of our soldiers as
had been in distant garrisons, applied to Cortes to receive their shares
of the gold which had been got in Mexico. As far as I can remember, he
referred them to a place in Tlascala, desiring that two persons might be
sent to receive it at that place; and I shall have occasion to mention
the result hereafter.

[1] The date is supplied in the text from attentive consideration of dates
    mentioned by Diaz in the sequel, and in this date Clavigero, II. 97,
    agrees. Diaz gives no account of the strength of Cortes on the present
    occasion, but afterwards mentions 206 soldiers, with five horsemen and
    two gunners, independent of 70 more who joined under Sandoval from the
    garrison of Villa Rica. This would make the whole force 285 soldiers,
    against 1400 who were under the command of Narvaez.--E.

[2] No such place is to be found in the map of Clavigero, nor in that
    recently published by Humbolt.--E.

[3] These numbers, as arranged for the attack on Narvaez, only amount to
    230 men. At the occupation of Mexico the Spanish army is said to have
    been about 450, besides the garrison of Villa Rica. Eighty-three men
    are stated to have been left in Mexico under the command of Alvarado,
    which would still leave 367 to march under Cortes for Chempoalla, to
    which 70 being added from Villa Rica under Sandoval, would raise the
    amount of the army now under Cortes to about 437 men, so that about
    207 are unaccounted for in the arrangement for the attack, besides
    Ordas, and other eminent captains are not now mentioned in the text.
    We may, therefore, reasonably conclude, that these captains and the
    unaccounted for remaining force of Cortes, were left at the ford of
    the river, about a league from Chempoalla, as a rear guard, on which
    to retreat in case of a defeat, or may have formed a main body for the

[4] This victory of Cortes over Narvaez took place on the 26th May


_Occurrences, from the Defeat of Narvaez, 26th May 1520, to the Expulsion
of the Spaniards from Mexico, on the 1st, and the Battle of Otumba on the
4th of July of the same Year_.

The wheel of fortune is ever in motion, evil following closely upon good.
This was strongly exemplified with us at this time, as our late successes
were speedily followed by melancholy news from Mexico by express,
informing us that an insurrection had broke out in that city, that
Alvarado was besieged in his quarters, which the natives had set on fire,
after killing seven of his men and wounding many; for which reason
Alvarado earnestly entreated immediate succour. It is not to be expressed
how much this news afflicted us all. In consequence of this distressing
intelligence, Cortes countermanded the expeditions which were to have
marched under De Leon and De Ordas, and determined upon an immediate
forced march to Mexico. We left Narvaez and Salvatierra as prisoners at
Villa Rica, under the charge of Roderigo Rangel, who was likewise directed
to collect all the stragglers, and to take care of the invalids, who were
numerous: Just as we were ready to march, four principal nobles arrived
from the court of Montezuma, who made a heavy complaint against Alvarado,
who had assaulted them while dancing at a solemn festival in honour of
their gods, which had been held by his permission, and stating that they
had been constrained to take up arms in their own defence, during which
seven of the Spanish soldiers were slain. Cortes made them a short answer,
saying that he would shortly be at Mexico, when he would make proper
inquiry and set all to rights, with which answer they had to return to
Montezuma, who was much displeased with the insulting tone in which it was
given, more especially as a great number of his subjects had been killed
by Alvarado. Before commencing our march, Cortes made a speech to the
soldiers of Narvaez, exhorting them to forget all past animosities, and
not to let the present opportunity be lost of serving both his majesty and
themselves; and by way of inducement, gave them a magnificent picture of
the riches of Mexico, to a participation in which their faithful conduct
would entitle them. They one and all declared their resolution to obey his
orders, and to proceed immediately to Mexico, which they would hardly have
agreed to if they had known its strength, and the numerous martial
population of that city.

We arrived at Tlascala by very long marches, where we were informed that
the Mexicans had made incessant attacks on Alvarado, until Montezuma and
they received intelligence of the defeat of Narvaez; after which they had
desisted, leaving the Spaniards in great distress, owing to excessive
fatigue from their continual exertions, and much in want of water and
provisions. At Tlascala, Cortes made a general muster and inspection of
our army, which now amounted to thirteen hundred men, of whom nearly an
hundred were cavalry, and a hundred and sixty armed with muskets and
crossbows. We were here joined by two thousand Tlascalan warriors, and
marched from hence to Tezcuco, where we were very ill received, every
thing bearing the appearance of disaffection.

On St John's day, 24th of June 1520, we again entered Mexico[1], where we
met with a very different reception from what we had experienced on our
former entry, on the 8th November 1519, seven months and a half before.
Not one of the nobles of our acquaintance came now to meet us, and the
whole city seemed to have been deserted by its inhabitants. On entering
our quarters, Montezuma advanced to embrace Cortes, and to congratulate
him on his victory; but our general turned from him with disdain, and
would neither speak to him nor listen to his address, on which the king
returned to his apartment much cast down. Cortes made inquiry into the
causes and circumstances of the late commotion, from all of which it was
evident that it had neither been instigated nor approved by Montezuma; as
if he had chosen to act against our garrison, they might all have been as
easily destroyed as only seven. Alvarado said, that the Indians were
enraged at the detention of their sovereign, and by the erection of the
cross in their temple; and that when they went, as they said by order of
their gods, to pull it down, all their strength was unable to move it from
its place; and that Montezuma had strictly enjoined them to desist from
all such attempts. In justification of himself, Alvarado alleged that the
friends and subjects of Montezuma had planned the attack upon him for the
liberation of their sovereign, at the time when they believed Cortes and
his army had been destroyed by Narvaez: And being questioned why he had
fallen on the Mexicans, while holding a festival in honour of their gods,
he pretended that he had intelligence of their hostile intentions from a
priest and two nobles, and thought it safest to be beforehand with them.
When pressed by Cortes to say whether the Mexicans had not asked and
obtained his permission to hold that festival, he acknowledged it was so,
and that he had fallen upon them by anticipation, that he might terrify
them into submission, and prevent them from going to war with the
Spaniards. Cortes was highly displeased with the conduct of Alvarado, and
censured him in the strongest terms.

Alvarado alleged that during one of the attacks of the Mexicans on his
quarters, he had endeavoured to fire off one of his guns and could not get
the priming to take fire; but sometime afterwards, when they were in great
danger, the gun went off of itself and made prodigious havock among the
enemy, who were thus miraculously repulsed, and the Spaniards saved from
inevitable destruction. He said also, that the garrison being in great
distress for water, they sank a pit in one of the courts, when immediately
a spring of the sweetest water sprung up. I know that there was a spring
in the city which often produced tolerably fresh water[2]. Glory be to GOD
for all his mercies! Some alleged that Alvarado was excited to this attack
by avarice, in order to plunder the Indians of their golden ornaments
during the festival; but I am satisfied his attack proceeded from a
mistaken idea of preventing insurrection by terror. It is certain, that
even after the massacre at the temple, Montezuma used every endeavour to
prevent his subjects from attacking our people: but they were so enraged
that nothing could restrain their eager thirst for vengeance.

During our march, Cortes had launched out to the new comers in warm
eulogiums on the riches of Mexico, the power and influence which he had
acquired, and the respect and obedience of the Mexicans, filling them with
promises and expectations of enjoying gold in abundance. From the
negligent coldness of his reception in Tezcuco, and the similar
appearances in Mexico, he became vexed, disappointed, and peevish;
insomuch, that when the officers of Montezuma came to wait upon him, and
expressed the wishes of their master to see him, Cortes exclaimed angrily:
"Away with the dog, wherefore does he neglect to supply us." The captains
De Leon, De Oli, and De Lugo, happening to be present on this occasion,
entreated him to remember the former kindness and generosity of the
Mexican sovereign, and to treat him with moderation. This only seemed to
irritate Cortes so much the more, as it appeared to censure his conduct,
and he indignantly answered: "What obligations am I under to the wretch,
who plotted secretly against me with Narvaez, and who now neglects to
supply us with provisions?" The captains admitted that this ought to be
done, and Cortes being full of confidence in the great military power he
now commanded, continued a haughty demeanour to the Mexican noblemen who
still waited his pleasure. Turning therefore to them, he desired them to
tell their master, that he must immediately order markets to be held, and
provisions to be supplied for his troops, or to beware of the consequences.
These lords understood the general import of the injurious expressions
which Cortes had used against Montezuma, and made a faithful report to him
of all that passed. Whether it may have proceeded from rage on account of
these opprobrious expressions against their sovereign, or from a plan
previously concerted to fall upon us, I know not, but within a quarter of
an hour, a soldier dangerously wounded came running into our quarters, and
reported that the whole people were in arms against us. This man had been
sent by Cortes to bring over to our quarters the daughter of Montezuma and
other Indian ladies, who had been left under the charge of the cacique of
Tacuba, when we marched against Narvaez. He was returning with these
ladies, when the people attacked him in great numbers on the causeway of
Tacuba, where they had broken down one of the bridges, and had once seized
him, and were forcing him into a canoe to carry him off to be sacrificed;
but he extricated himself by a violent effort, and got away with two
dangerous wounds.

Cortes immediately ordered out a detachment of 400 men under Ordas, to see
what was the matter, and to endeavour to pacify the people; but he had
hardly proceeded the length of a street, when he was assailed by immense
numbers of the natives, some in the street, and others from the terraced
tops of the houses, who killed eight of his men on the first discharge of
missiles, and wounded mostly the whole of his men, himself in three places.
Finding it impossible to proceed, Ordas retreated slowly towards our
quarters, and soon after lost another soldier, who did astonishing feats
of valour with a two-handed sword. The streets were so crowded with
enemies, and we were so incessantly attacked in front and rear, and from
the roofs, that for a long while he was unable to force his way. Neither
the effect of our fire-arms, nor the most efficacious use of our other
arms could deter the natives from closing in upon us hand to hand, and
foot to foot; but at length Ordas forced his way back, having lost in all
twenty-three of his men. Our quarters were attacked by prodigious
multitudes at the same moment that the attack on Ordas began, and they
poured in such incessant discharges of missile weapons, that they soon
wounded above forty-six of our men, of whom twelve afterwards died. Even
after the retreat of Ordas, the enemy continued their attacks, and at
length set fire to various parts of the buildings forming our quarters,
thinking to burn us alive or to stifle us with smoke; and we were reduced
to the necessity of tearing down some parts of the building, and to throw
earth upon other parts, to extinguish the fire. All the courts and open
places of our quarters were thickly strewed with arrows, stones, and darts,
which had been thrown at us; and we were occupied the whole day and night,
in repelling the incessant assaults, repairing the breaches in our
defences, dressing our wounds, and preparing for future assaults. At dawn
of the ensuing morning, we sallied out with our whole force, determined to
conquer or to impress them with respect. The Mexicans met us with the
utmost resolution, and though we fought almost in despair, their numbers
were so immense, and they continually brought up such strong
reinforcements of fresh troops, that even if we had all been Hectors or
Orlandos, we could not have forced them to give ground. It is quite
impossible to give any adequate idea of the obstinacy and violence of this
battle. Though in every reiterated charge we brought down thirty or forty
of the enemy, it had no effect, as they returned upon us with more
violence and desperation than before; our musketry and cannon made no
impression that was not instantly replaced; and if at any time they gave
ground, it was only to draw us farther from our quarters, to make our
destruction more sure. In the midst of all this, the stones and darts
which were launched upon us from the terraces of the house tops did us
astonishing injury. Some of our soldiers who had been in the wars of Italy
declared, that neither among Christians or Turks, nor even in the French
artillery, had they ever seen such desperate fighting as now among these
Indians. We were at length forced to retreat to our quarters, which we
reached with infinite difficulty, after losing ten or twelve of our men
killed, and almost every one of us severely wounded.

After our return, we were busily occupied in preparing for a general sally
on the next day after but one, with four military engines of strong timber
like towers, each of which was calculated to contain twenty-five men under
cover, with portholes for the artillery, and for muskets and crossbows.
During this interval we had likewise to repair the breaches which the
Mexicans had made in our walls, and to resist their attempts to scale them,
often in twenty places at once. The Mexicans constantly used the most
injurious language against us; saying that the voracious animals in the
great temple had been kept fasting for two days, that they might be ready
to devour our bodies, when we were sacrificed to their gods. They assured
us at the same time that our allies were to be put into cages to fatten,
and that they would soon recover our ill got treasure. Sometimes they
adjured us in the most plaintive terms to restore their king to liberty,
and they annoyed us without ceasing by flights of arrows, constantly
shouting and whistling. On the ensuing morning at day-break, having first
recommended ourselves to GOD, we sallied out from our quarters with the
turrets, such as I have seen in other places, and called _mantas_ or
_burros_. Our column was headed by a party of musketeers and crossbow-men,
and our cavalry on our flanks, occasionally charging the enemy. Our
purpose was to assail the great temple, which by its elevation and strong
enclosures, served as a citadel to the Mexicans, and we advanced therefore
in that direction, accompanied by our turrets; but the enemy resisted all
our efforts with the most determined obstinacy. I will not attempt to
relate all the circumstances of this desperate battle, or the difficulty
which we had to encounter in driving the enemy from a very strong house
which they occupied. The arrows of the Mexicans wounded many of our horses,
notwithstanding that they wore defensive armour; and when our cavalry
attempted at any time to charge or to pursue the enemy, they threw
themselves into the canals, while others sallied out from the houses on
both sides with long lances, assailing our people in the rear and on both
flanks. It was utterly impossible for us to burn the houses, or to pull
them down, as they all stood singly in the water, communicating only by
means of draw-bridges; and it was too dangerous for us to attempt reaching
them by swimming, as they showered vollies of stones upon us by slings,
and threw large stones upon our heads from the terraces of their house
tops. Even when a house was set on fire, it was very long of taking effect;
and even when we succeeded, the flames could not communicate to the other
houses, as they were all separated by canals, and their roofs were
terraced, not thatched.

At length we reached the great temple, into which four thousand of the
Mexicans immediately rushed, independent of other large bodies who were
previously stationed there for its defence. They defended their temple
with the most obstinate valour, and for some time prevented us from being
able to ascend, our turrets, musketry, and cavalry, being of no avail to
force them to give ground. The pavements of the temple courts were so
smooth, that the horses fell when our cavalry attempted to charge. They
opposed us in front from the steps of the great temple, and assailed us
with such fury on both flanks and in the rear, that though our guns swept
off a dozen or fifteen of them at every discharge, and though in each
charge of our infantry we killed many of them with our swords and lances,
they continually filled up the chasms we had made among them, and their
numbers and resolution were so great that we could not make any permanent
or effectual impression. We were even forced to abandon our _mantas_ or
turrets, which the enemy had demolished. At length, by a desperate effort,
we forced our way up the steps, and in this assault Cortes shewed himself
a hero. Our battle in this place was most desperate, every man among us
being covered with blood, and above forty of our number lay dead on the
spot. We reached with infinite difficulty the place where we had formerly
set up the image of the blessed Virgin, which was not to be found, as it
had been removed by order of Montezuma, either through fear or from
devotion to his idols. We set fire to the buildings, and burnt down a part
of the temples of Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca; and while some of us
were employed in setting fire to the buildings, and others fighting, in
which our Tlascalan allies seconded us most gallantly, above three
thousand Mexican nobles, headed by their priests, made a most severe
attack, and drove us down eight or ten of the steps. Others of the enemy
from the corridors, or within the railings and concavities of the temple,
assailed us on every side with arrows and other missiles, so that we were
unable even to maintain the ground we had gained. We were constrained
therefore to retreat, every man of us being wounded, and forty-six of our
number slain. We regained our quarters with the utmost difficulty, which
the enemy had almost gained possession of, as they had been continually
endeavouring to carry them by assault during our absence, or to set them
on fire. But they desisted in a great measure from the assault on our
arrival, yet continued to throw in perpetual showers of arrows, darts, and
stones. In the course of this most terrible engagement, we made two of the
chief priests prisoners, whom we carried along with us to our quarters. I
have often seen representations of this battle in Mexican paintings, both
at Mexico and Tlascala, in which the various incidents were represented in
a very lively manner. Our ascent to the great temple; the setting the
temple on fire; the numerous warriors defending it in the corridors, from
behind the rails, and in the concavities, and others on the plain ground,
in the courts of the temple, and on all sides of us; many of our men being
represented as dead, and all of us covered with wounds. In these paintings,
the destruction of our turrets is conspicuously represented as a most
heroic achievement.

The night which succeeded this unfortunate battle was passed by us in a
most melancholy state; repairing the breaches which had been made in the
walls of our quarters, dressing our wounds, burying our slain companions,
and consulting upon measures for extricating us from our present almost
hopeless situation. The followers of Narvaez heaped maledictions on Cortes
for leading them to Mexico, and Velasquez came in for an ample share of
their abuse, for having induced them to quit their peaceful habitations in
Cuba. The enemy assembled around us again at day-break, and assailed our
quarters with greater fury than ever, insomuch that our fire-arms were
insufficient to repel them, though they mowed them down in great numbers.
In this desperate situation, Cortes sent for Montezuma, whom he desired to
address his subjects from a terrace, desiring them to desist from their
attacks, assuring them that we would immediately evacuate the city. On
receiving this message, Montezuma burst into tears, exclaiming, "What does
he want with me now? I have been reduced to my present unhappy state on
his account, and I neither wish to see him nor to live any longer?" He
therefore dismissed the messengers with a refusal, and it is reported that
he added, that he desired not to be any more troubled with the false words
and specious promises of Cortes. Father Olmedo and Captain De Oli went to
wait upon him, and used all possible expressions of respect and affection
to induce him to comply with the request of Cortes. To this he replied,
that he did not believe any thing he could now do would be of any avail,
as the Mexicans had elected another sovereign, and were resolved not to
allow a single Spaniard to quit the city alive. He made his appearance
however at the railing of a terraced roof, attended by many of our
soldiers, and made a very affectionate address to the people below,
earnestly entreating a cessation of hostilities, that we might evacuate
Mexico. As soon as Montezuma was perceived, the chiefs and nobles made
their troops to desist from the attack, and commanded silence. Then four
of the principal nobles came forwards, so near as to be able to hold
conversation with Montezuma whom they addressed, lamenting the misfortunes
which had befallen him and his family. They told him that they had raised
_Cuitlahuatzin_[3] to the throne; that the war would soon be ended, as
they had promised to their gods never to desist till they had utterly
destroyed the Spaniards; that they offered up continual prayers for the
safety of Montezuma their beloved sovereign, whom they would venerate and
obey as formerly, as soon as they had rescued him from our hands, and
hoped he would pardon all they had done for the defence of their religion
and independence, and their present disobedience. Just as they concluded
this address, a shower of arrows fell about the place where Montezuma
stood; and though the Spaniards had hitherto protected him by interposing
their shields, they did not expect any assault while he was speaking to
his subjects, and had therefore uncovered him for an instant; in that
unguarded state, three stones and an arrow hit him on the head, the arm,
and the leg, wounding him severely. Montezuma refused every assistance,
and all the endeavours of Father Olmedo could not prevail upon him to
embrace the holy Catholic faith, neither could he be prevailed upon to
have his wounds attended to. When informed of his death, Cortes and our
captains lamented him exceedingly, and all of us soldiers who had been
acquainted with his generosity and other amiable qualities, grieved as for
the loss of a father. He was said to have reigned seventeen years, and to
have been the best of all the sovereigns who had ruled over Mexico; having
fought and conquered in three pitched battles, while subjugating other
states to his dominions.

After the death of Montezuma, Cortes sent two of our prisoners, a nobleman
and a priest, with a message to the new sovereign Cuitlahuatzin, to inform
him of the melancholy event, which had happened by the hands of his own
subjects; to express our grief on the occasion; and our wish that
Montezuma might be interred with that respect which was due to his exalted
character. Cortes likewise informed these messengers, that he did not
acknowledge the right of the sovereign whom the Mexicans had chosen, as
the throne ought to belong to the son of the great Montezuma, or to his
cousin, who was now a prisoner in our quarters. He desired them also to
say, if they would desist from hostilities, we would immediately march out
of their city. He then ordered the body of Montezuma to be carried out by
six nobles, and attended by most of the priests whom we had taken
prisoners, desiring them to deliver the body of their deceased monarch to
the Mexican chiefs, according to his dying injunctions. We could hear the
exclamations of sorrow which were expressed by the people, at the sight of
the body of their late sovereign; but our message was unavailing, as they
recommenced their attack on our quarters with the utmost violence,
threatening that in two days we should all pay with our lives for the
death of their king and the dishonour of their gods, as they had now a
sovereign whom we could not deceive as we had done by the good Montezuma.

Our situation was now exceedingly alarming, and on the day after the death
of Montezuma, we made another sally towards that part of the city which
contained many houses built on the firm ground, meaning to do all the
injury we could, and, taking advantage of the causeway, to charge through
the enemy with our cavalry, hoping to intimidate them by severe military
execution, so as to induce them to grant us a free passage; we accordingly
forced our way to that part of the city, where we burnt down about twenty
houses, and very nearly reached the firm land[4]. But the injury we did
the enemy was dearly purchased by the death of twenty of our soldiers, and
we were unable to gain possession of any of the bridges, which were all
partly broken down, and the enemy had constructed barricades or
retrenchments in various places to obstruct the cavalry, wherever they
could have done most essential service. Thus our troubles and perplexities
continually increased, and we were forced again to fight our way back to
our quarters. In this sally, which took place on a Thursday, Sandoval and
others of our cavalry acted with great bravery; but those who came with
Narvaez, not having been accustomed to such service, were timorous in
comparison with our veterans. The number and fury of our enemies increased
daily, while our force was diminished by each successive attack, and from
our wounds we were become less able for resistance. Our powder was almost
entirely expended; provisions and water became scarce; our friend
Montezuma was no more; all our proposals for peace were rejected; the
bridges by which we might have retreated were broken down; and in fine
nothing but death in its direst form of immolation to their horrible idols
appeared before us. In this state almost bordering on despair, it was
resolved by Cortes in a consultation with all his confidential officers
and soldiers, to make an attempt to quit the city during the night, as we
were in expectation to find the enemy less upon their guard than in the
day time. In order to deceive them, a message was sent by one of their
chief priests who had been made prisoner, engaging to give up all the
treasure in our possession, if they would give us permission within eight
days to quit the city. Four days before this, one Botello, who pretended
to be an astrologer, predicted that if we did not leave Mexico on this
very night, that none of us would ever get out of it alive, adding many
other foolish particulars to his prophecy.

As it was determined to endeavour to force our way from the city, a
portable bridge of very strong timber was prepared for enabling us to pass
over the canals or passages in the causeway, where the enemy had broken
down the bridges; and one hundred and fifty of our soldiers, with four
hundred Tlascalan allies, were appointed for conveying, guarding, and
placing this bridge. The advanced guard of an hundred of our youngest and
most active men, was commanded by Sandoval, assisted by Azevedo, De Lugo,
De Ordas, and De Tapia, with eight of the captains that came with Narvaez.
The rear guard of an hundred men, mostly those of Narvaez, and the greater
part of our cavalry, was confided to Alvarado and Velasquez de Leon. Donna
Marina and Donna Luisa, with the Mexican chiefs who were prisoners, were
placed under an escort of thirty Spanish soldiers and three hundred
Tlascalans: Our general, with Avila, Oli, and other officers, and fifty
soldiers, formed a body of reserve to act where they might be most needed.
The rest of our soldiers and allies, with the baggage, formed a main body
along with which the prisoners and their especial escort was to move,
under protection of the van and rear guards. By the time that all these
arrangements were completed, it drew towards night, and Cortes caused all
the gold, which had hitherto been kept in his apartment, to be brought
into the great hall of our quarters, when he desired Avila and Mexia, the
kings officers, to take charge of what belonged to his majesty, assigning
them eight wounded horses and above fourscore Mexicans for its conveyance.
When these were loaded with all the gold they were able to carry, a great
deal more remained heaped up in the saloon. Cortes then desired his
secretary Hernandez and other notaries to bear witness that he could no
longer be responsible for this gold; and desired the soldiers to take as
much as they pleased, saying it were better for them to have it, than to
leave it to their Mexican enemies. Upon this many of the soldiers of
Narvaez, and some even of our veterans, loaded themselves with treasure. I
was never avaricious, and was now more intent on saving my life than on
the possession of riches: I took the opportunity, however, of carrying off
four calchihuis from a casket, though Cortes had ordered his major-domo to
take especial care of this casket and its contents, and these jewels were
of infinite use to me afterwards, as a resource against famine, as they
are highly prized by the Indians. The memorable night of our leaving
Mexico, was dark, with much mist and some rain. Just before midnight, the
detachment having charge of the portable bridge moved off from our
quarters, followed in regular succession by the other divisions of our
army. On coming to the first aperture in the causeway of Tacuba or
Tlacopan, by which we retreated as being the shortest, the bridge was laid
across, and was passed by the vanguard, the baggage, artillery, part of
the cavalry, the Tlascalans with the gold. Just as Sandoval and his party
had passed, and Cortes with his body of reserve, the trumpets of the enemy
were heard, and the alarm was given on every side, the Mexicans shouting
out, "_Tlaltelulco! Tlaltelulco_[5]! out with your canoes! the teules are
marching off, assail them at the bridges!" In an instant the enemy
assailed us on every side, some on the land and others in their canoes,
which swarmed on the lake and the canals on both sides of our road, and so
numerous were they and so determined that they entirely intercepted our
line of march, especially at the broken bridges, and from this moment
nothing but confusion and dismay prevailed among our troops. It rained so
heavily that some of the horses became restive and plunged into the water
with their riders; and to add to our distress our portable bridge was
broken down at this first gap, and it was no longer serviceable. The enemy
attacked us with redoubled fury, and as our soldiers made a brave
resistance, the aperture became soon choked up with the dead and dying men
and horses, intermixed with artillery, packs and bales of baggage, and
those who carried them, all heaped up in the water. Many of our companions
were drowned at this place, and many were forced into canoes and hurried
away to be sacrificed. It was horrible to hear the cries of these
unfortunate captives, calling upon us for aid which we were unable to give,
and invoking the blessed Virgin and all the saints in vain for deliverance.
Others of our companions escaped across those gaps in the causeway, by
clambering over the confused mass of dead bodies and luggage by which they
were filled, and were calling out for assistance to help them up on the
other side; while many of them, thinking themselves in safety when they
got to the firm ground, were there seized by the Mexicans, or killed with
war clubs. All the regularity which had hitherto guided our march was now
utterly lost and abandoned. Cortes and all the mounted officers and
soldiers galloped off along the causeway, providing for their own
immediate safety, and leaving all the rest to save ourselves as we best
might: Nor can I blame them for this procedure, as the cavalry could do
nothing against the enemy, who threw themselves into the water on both
sides of the causeway when attacked, while others, by continual flights of
arrows from the houses, or with long lances from the canoes on each side,
killed and wounded the men and horses. Our powder was all expended, so
that we were unable to do any injury to the Mexicans in the canoes. In
this situation of utter confusion and derout, the only thing we could do
was by uniting together in bands of thirty or forty, to endeavour to force
our way to the land: When the Indians closed upon us, we exerted our
utmost efforts to drive them off with our swords, and then hurried our
march to get over the causeway as soon as possible. Had we waited for each
other, or had our retreat been in the day, we had all been inevitably
destroyed. The escape of such as made their way to land, was due to the
mercy of God who gave us strength to force our way; for the multitudes
that surrounded us, and the melancholy sight of our companions hurried
away in the canoes to instant sacrifice, was horrible in the extreme.
About fifty of us, mostly soldiers of Cortes, with a few of those who came
with Narvaez, stuck together in a body, and made our way along the
causeway through infinite difficulty and danger. Every now and then strong
parties of Indians assailed us, calling us _luilones_, their severest term
of reproach, and using their utmost endeavours to seize us. As soon as we
thought them within reach, we faced about and repelled them with a few
thrusts of our swords, and then resumed our march. We thus proceeded,
until at last we reached the firm ground near Tacuba, where Cortes,
Sandoval, De Oli, Salcedo, Dominguez, Lares, and others of the cavalry,
and such of the infantry as had got across the bridge before it was broken
down, had already arrived[6].

On our approach, we heard the voices of Sandoval, De Oli, and Morla,
calling on Cortes to return to the assistance of those who were still on
the causeway, who loudly complained of being abandoned. Cortes replied,
that it was a miracle any should have escaped, and that all who returned
to the bridges would assuredly be slain: Yet he actually did return with
ten or twelve of the cavalry and such of the infantry as had escaped
unhurt, and proceeded along the causeway to attempt the succour of such as
might be still engaged. He had not gone far when he met Alvarado badly
wounded, accompanied by three of our soldiers, four of those belonging to
Narvaez, and eight Tlascalans, all severely wounded and covered with blood.
These Alvarado assured him were all that remained of the rear-guard,
Velasquez de Leon and about twenty of the cavalry, and above an hundred of
the infantry, who had belonged to his division, being all slain, or made
prisoners and carried away to be sacrificed. He said farther, that after
all the horses were slain, about eighty had assembled in a body and passed
the first gap on the heaps of luggage and dead bodies; that at the other
bridge the few who now accompanied him were saved by the mercy of God. I
do not now perfectly recollect in what manner he passed that last aperture,
as we were all more attentive to what he related of the death of Velasquez
and above two hundred of our unhappy companions. As to that last fatal
bridge, which is still called _Salto de Alvarado_, or the Leap of Alvarado,
we were too much occupied in saving our own lives to examine whether he
leaped much or little. He must, however, have got over on the baggage and
dead bodies; for the water was too deep for him to have reached the bottom
with his lance, and the aperture was too wide and the sides too high for
him to have leaped over, had he been the most active man in the world. In
about a year after, when we besieged Mexico, I was engaged with the enemy
at that very bridge which was called Alvarados Leap, where the enemy had
constructed breastworks and barricades, and we all agreed that the leap
was impossible. One Ocampo, a soldier who came with Garay, who used to
amuse himself with lampoons, made one on this supposed feat of Alvarado,
saying, "That fear made him give that prodigious leap, leaving Velasquez
and two hundred more to their fate as he leaped for his life." As Cortes
found, by the information of Alvarado, that the causeway was entirely
filled by the enemy, who must have intercepted all the rest of our
companions, he returned to Tacuba, where all who had escaped were now
collected. Messengers had been already sent from Mexico, ordering all the
people of Tacuba, Ezcapuzalco, Tenajocan, and other neighbouring cities on
that side of the lake, to collect and attack us; and they now began to
surround us in the inclosed courts of Popotla where we had taken shelter,
harassing us with stones and arrows, and even attacking us with lances,
many of which were headed with the swords which we lost during our retreat.
We defended ourselves against this attack as well as we could, and made
several sallies to drive them off. But, as the enemy continually increased
in number, it was determined to endeavour to reach Tlascala, for which
purpose we set out under the direction of six or seven of our allies who
were well acquainted with the country. After a fatiguing march by an
indirect road, during which we were much harassed by the enemy, who plied
us with stones and arrows, we reached some houses on a hill near a temple,
where we defended ourselves, and took such care as we could of our wounds;
but could get no provisions. After the conquest of Mexico, a church was
built on the site of this temple, and dedicated to _Nuestra Senora de los
Remedios_, our Lady of Succour, to which many ladies and other inhabitants
of Mexico, now go in procession to pay nine days devotion[7].

Our wounds had become extremely painful from cold, and want of proper
dressings, and we now bound them up as well as we could. We had to deplore
the loss of great numbers of our valiant companions, most of the soldiers
of Narvaez having lost their lives by being overloaded with gold. Poor
Botello the astrologer was killed among the rest. The sons of Montezuma,
Cacamatzin who had been prince of Tezcuco, and all the other prisoners,
among whom were some Mexican princes, lost their lives on this fatal night
of our retreat from Mexico. All our artillery were lost. We had only
twenty-three horses remaining, and very few crossbows; and our situation
was melancholy and desperate in the extreme, having no other resource but
to endeavour to reach Tlascala, and even there our reception was
exceedingly uncertain[8]. After dressing our wounds, and making arrows for
our crossbows, during which employment we were incessantly harassed in our
present post, we proceeded at midnight on our march, under the direction
of our faithful Tlascalans. Some of those who were badly wounded had to
walk with the aid of crutches; others were assisted on each side by some
of their companions; and those who were utterly unable to support
themselves were placed upon lame horses. Thus, making head against the
enemy with as many of the infantry as could bear arms, and having the
cavalry who were able to act in front and on our flanks, with the wounded
Spaniards and allies in the centre, we marched on continually harassed by
the enemy, who reviled us, saying that we should soon meet our destruction;
words that we did not then understand. I have forgot to mention the
satisfaction we all enjoyed at finding Donna Marina and Donna Luisa had
been saved in our retreat from Mexico. Having crossed among the first,
they had been brought safe to Popotla by the exertions of two brothers of
Donna Luisa, all the rest of the female Indians having been lost in the

On this day we reached a large town named Gualtitlan[9]. From that place
we continued our march, still harassed at every step by the enemy, whose
numbers and boldness increased as we advanced, insomuch that they killed
two of our lame soldiers and one of our horses at a difficult pass,
wounding many both of our horses and ourselves. Having repulsed them, we
reached some villages, where we halted for the night, making our supper of
the slain horse[10]. We began our march very early next morning, and had
only proceeded about a league, believing ourselves now almost in safety,
when three of our videts came in with a report that the whole extent of a
plain through which we must necessarily pass was covered over by an
innumerable army. This intelligence was truly terrifying to our small
numbers, worn out with fatigue and privations, and covered with wounds;
yet we resolved to conquer or die, as we had indeed no other alternative.
We were immediately halted and formed in order of battle, the infantry
being directed to use their swords only in thrusts, by which we exposed
ourselves less to the weapons of the enemy, and the cavalry were ordered
to charge clear through at half speed, with their lances levelled at the
faces of the enemy, never stopping to make thrusts. While recommending
ourselves to God and his Holy Mother, and invoking the aid of St Jago, the
enemy began to close around us, and we resolved to sell our lives dearly,
or force our way through. The infantry being drawn up in a solid column,
and our cavalry formed in bodies of five, we proceeded to the attack. It
is impossible to describe the tremendous battle which ensued: How we
closed hand to hand, and with what fury the enemy attacked us, wounding us
with their clubs and lances and two-handed swords; while our cavalry,
favoured by the even surface of the plain, rode through them at will with
couched lances, bearing down the enemy wherever they came, and fighting
most manfully though they and their horses were all wounded. We too of the
infantry did our best, regardless of our former wounds and of those we now
received, closing up with the enemy, and using every effort to bear them
down with our swords. Cortes, Alvarado, and De Oli, though all wounded,
continued to make lanes through the throng of the enemy, calling out to us
to strike especially at the chiefs, who were easily distinguished by their
plumes of feathers, golden ornaments, rich arms, and curious devices. The
valiant Sandoval encouraged us by his example and exhortations, exclaiming,
"Now is the day of victory! Trust in God, who will still preserve us to do
him service." We were all resolute to conquer or die, and were assuredly
assisted by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Virgin, and St Jago; as was
afterwards certified by a chief belonging to Guatimotzin, who was present
in this battle. Though some were killed and many wounded, we continued to
maintain our ground, yet the enemy never relaxed in their efforts. At
length it was the will of God, that Cortes, accompanied by Sandoval, De
Oli, Alvarado, Avila, and other captains, came up to that part of the
enemy in which their commander-in-chief was posted, who was distinguished
from all the rest by his rich golden arms, and highly adorned plume of
feathers, and the grand standard of the army[11]. Immediately on Cortes
perceiving this chief, who was surrounded by many nobles wearing plumes of
feathers, he exclaimed to his companions, "Now, gentlemen, let us charge
these men, and if we succeed the day is our own." Then, recommending
themselves to God, they charged upon them, and Cortes struck the Mexican
chief and threw down his standard, he and the other cavaliers effectually
breaking and dispersing this numerous body. The Mexican chief, however,
was making his escape, but was pursued and slain by Juan de Salamanca, who
seized his rich plume of feathers and presented it to Cortes, saying, that
as he had first struck the Mexican general and overthrown the standard,
the trophy of the conquest was his undoubted right.

It pleased God, that the enemy should relax in their efforts immediately
on learning the death of their general and of the numerous chiefs who
surrounded him. On perceiving that they began to retreat, we forgot our
hunger, thirst, fatigue, and wounds, and thought of nothing but victory
and pursuit. Our scanty cavalry followed them up close, dealing
destruction around them on every side; and our faithful allies fought like
lions, mowing down all before them with the arms which the enemy threw
away to facilitate their flight. On the return of our cavalry from the
pursuit, we gave humble thanks to God for our unexpected victory and
miraculous preservation. Never had the Mexican empire collected together
so large a force as on this occasion; being composed of all the warriors
of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlalcopan, headed by the whole nobility of these
nations, magnificently armed and adorned, and all determined not to leave
a single trace of us upon earth. This great and decisive battle was fought
in the neighbourhood of a place called Obtumba, Otumba, or Otompan. I have
frequently seen it, and all the other battles we fought against the
Mexicans, antecedent to the final conquest, admirably represented in
Mexican paintings. It is now proper to mention, that we entered Mexico to
relieve Alvarado on the 24th of June 1520, with upwards of 1300 soldiers,
including 97 cavalry, 80 musketeers, and 80 armed with crossbows; having
with us a great train of artillery, and 2000 warriors of our allies the
Tlascalans. Our flight from Mexico was on the 1st of the succeeding month
of July, and the battle of Obtumba on the 4th of that month. In Mexico,
during our passage of the causeway, on our march, and in the battle, we
lost above 870 soldiers, including 72 of those belonging to Narvaez, and
five Spanish women, who were put to death at a place called Tustepeque.
Upwards of 1200 of our Tlascalan allies were also killed; as were Juan de
Alcantara and two more who had been sent from Chempoalla for the share of
the gold assigned to the garrison of Villa Rica, who were robbed and
murdered. Upon the whole, all who were concerned in the treasure came to
bad fortune; and thus a much greater proportion of the soldiers of Narvaez
perished in the flight from Mexico than of our veterans, as they had
avariciously loaded themselves with gold on that unhappy night[12].

[1] We are not writing the history of the conquest of Mexico, yet may be
    allowed to say that Cortes committed a gross military error, in
    entering Mexico without establishing a strong communication of posts
    between that insulated city and the land, along one of the causeways;
    which he might easily have done along the shortest causeway of Tacuba
    or Tlacopan, or by the aqueduct of Chapoltepec.--E.

[2] It is to be noticed that the lake in which the city of Mexico was
    built contained water so salt as to be unfit for drinking.--E.

[3] This prince, whom Diaz names Coadlavaca, was brother to Montezuma,
    prince of Iztapalapan, and Tlachcocoatl, or grand general of the
    Mexican army.--E.

[4] The expression in the text, of having nearly reached the firm land, is
    rather obscure, and may possibly mean that they had nearly forced
    their way along one of the causeways leading from the insular city to
    the continental shore of the lake.--E.

[5] Tlaltelulco was the name of that division of the city of Mexico
    through which the Spaniards marched in their way towards the causeway
    of Tacuba, and was probably used to summon the inhabitants of that
    quarter to the attack.--E.

[6] Clavigero, II. 116, says that the miserable remnant of the Spaniards
    assembled in Popotla, a village near Tacuba or Tlacopan. Diaz is often
    negligent of dates, but we learn in a subsequent passage, that this
    disastrous retreat from Mexico was on the 1st of July 1520.--E.

[7] This place is about nine miles W.N.W. from Mexico, and only about a
    mile and a half from Tacuba. Its Mexican name, according to Clavigero,
    was Otoncalpolco. It is almost in an opposite direction from the road
    to Tlascala, but was probably chosen on purpose to avoid the populous
    hostile vale of Mexico, and to get as soon as possible among the hills,
    and among some of the conquered tribes who bore the Mexican yoke with
    impatience. Clavigero says that the Spaniards procured at this place
    some refreshments from a tribe of Otomies, who inhabited two
    neighbouring hamlets.--E.

[8] The distance from where they now were to Tlascala was between 80 and
    90 miles in a straight line; but as they chose a very circuitous route,
    by the west and north of the lakes in the vale of Mexico, before
    turning south-eastwards to Tlascala, their march must have much
    exceeded that distance.--E.

[9] Named Quauhtitlan by Clavigero, and Guautitlan, Huauhtitlan or
    Teutitlan, in Humboldts map of the Vale of Mexico.--E.

[10] As related in the text, this march to the villages appears to have
    been made on the same day with that to Guauhtitlan, and the battle of
    Otumba or Otompan, to have been fought on the second day of the march
    from Popotla or _Los Remedios_. But the distances and difficulty of
    the march renders this almost impossible. The chronology and distances,
    taking the names of some of the stages from Clavigero, II. 117, and
    the distances from Humboldts map, may have been as follows; Retreat
    from Mexico to Popotla, 1st July, 9 miles. March to Quauhtitlan, 2d
    July, 10 miles. To Xoloc, 3d July, 13 miles. To Zacamolco, 4th July,
    10 miles. To Otompan, 5th July, 3 miles:--and indeed these dates are
    sufficiently confirmed by Diaz himself in the sequel.--E.

[11] According to Clavigero, II. 118, this standard was a net of gold
    fixed to a staff ten palms long, which was firmly tied to his back,
    and was called by the Mexicans Tlahuizmatlaxopilli.--E.

[12] Cortes entered Mexico with above 1300 men, and there were there under
    Alvarado about 75. Of these above 870 were slain, down to the close of
    the battle of Otumba; so that about 500 still remained under the
    command of Cortes. Diaz reckons only 440; but these were probably
    exclusive of such as were entirely disabled from service by their


_Occurrences from the Battle of Otumba till the march of Cortes to besiege

Immediately after the victory, we resumed our march for Tlascala, cheered
by our success, and subsisted on a kind of gourds, called _ayotes_, which
we found in the country through which we passed. We halted for the night
in a strong temple, being occasionally alarmed by detached parties of the
Mexicans, who still kept hovering about us, as if determined to see us
out of their country. From this place we were rejoiced at seeing the
mountains of Tlascala, being anxious to ascertain the fidelity of these
allies, and to hear news from our friends at Villa Rica. Cortes warned us
to be exceedingly cautious of giving any offence to the Tlascalans, and
particularly enforced this advice on the soldiers of Narvaez, who were
less accustomed to discipline. He said that he hoped to find our allies
steady in their attachment; but if they should have changed in consequence
of our misfortunes, although we were now only 440 strong, all wounded and
ill armed, we still possessed vigorous bodies and firm minds to carry us
through, if necessary, to the coast. We now arrived at a fountain on the
side of a hill, where we came to a rampart built in ancient times as a
boundary between the state of Tlascala and the dominions of Mexico. We
halted here, and then proceeded to a town called Gualiopar, or Huejotlipan,
where we halted one day, and procured some food for which we were obliged
to pay. Immediately on our arrival being announced at Tlascala, our
friends Maxicatzin, Xicotencatl, Chichimecatl, the chief of Huexatcinco,
and others, came to wait upon Cortes, whom they embraced, yet kindly
blamed him for having neglected their advice to distrust the treachery of
the Mexicans. They wept for the losses we had sustained, yet rejoiced at
our escape, and praised our valiant actions; assuring us that they were
assembling 30,000 of their warriors to have joined us at Obtumba. They
were rejoiced to see Donna Marina and Donna Luisa, and lamented the loss
of the other ladies. Maxicatzin in particular bewailed the fate which had
befallen his daughter and Velasquez de Leon, to whom he had given her.
They invited us to their city, where we were kindly received, and where we
reposed in peace and safety after our many and severe hardships. Cortes
lodged in the house of Maxicatzin, Alvarado in that of Xicotencatl, and
the other officers were distributed among the houses of the nobles, all
the soldiers being likewise supplied with comfortable quarters and
abundant food. Here in the midst of our friends, we recovered from our
wounds and fatigues, all except four who died.

Soon after our arrival, Cortes made inquiry after certain gold to the
value of 40,000 crowns, the share belonging to the garrison of Villa Rica,
which had been sent here from Mexico; and was informed by the Tlascalan
chiefs, and by a Spanish invalid left here when on our march to Mexico,
that the persons who had been sent for it from Villa Rica had been robbed
and murdered on the road, at the time we were engaged in hostilities with
the Mexicans. Letters were sent to Villa Rica, giving an account of all
the disastrous events which had befallen us, and desiring an immediate
supply of all the arms and ammunition that could be spared, and to send us
a strong reinforcement. By the return of the messengers, we were informed
that all was well at Villa Rica and the neighbourhood, and that the
reinforcement should be immediately sent. It accordingly arrived soon
after, consisting in all of _seven_ men, three of whom were sailors, and
all of them were invalids. They were commanded by a soldier named Lencero,
who afterwards kept an inn still known by his name; and for a long while
afterwards, _a Lencero reinforcement_ was a proverbial saying among us. We
were involved in some trouble by the younger Xicotencatl, who had
commanded the Tlascalan army against us on our first arrival in their
country. This ambitious chieftain, anxious to be revenged upon us for the
disgrace he had formerly sustained, on hearing of our misfortunes and our
intended march to Tlascala, conceived a project for surprising us on our
march and putting us all to death. For this purpose, he assembled many of
his relations, friends, and adherents, to whom he shewed how easily we
might all be destroyed, and was very active in forming a party and
collecting an army for this purpose. Although severely reproached by his
father for this treacherous design, he persevered in his plan; but the
intrigue was discovered by Chichimecatl, his determined enemy, who
immediately communicated the intelligence to the council of Tlascala,
before whom Xicotencatl was brought prisoner to answer for his treacherous
intentions. Maxicatzin made a long speech in our favour, representing the
prosperity which their state had enjoyed ever since our arrival, by
freeing them from the depredations of their Mexican enemies, and enabling
them to procure salt from which they had been long debarred. He then
reprobated the proposed treachery of the younger Xicotencatl, against men
who certainly were those concerning whom the prophecy had been handed down
by their ancestors. In reply to this, and to a discourse from his father
to the same purpose, the young man used such violent and disrespectful
language, that he was seized and thrown down the steps of the council-hall
into the street, with such violence that he narrowly escaped with his life.
Such was the faithful conduct of our Tlascalan allies, and Cortes did not
think it prudent to push the matter any farther in our present ticklish

After remaining twenty two days in Tlascala, Cortes resolved upon
attacking the adjoining provinces of Tepejacac and Zacatula, on account of
some murders the inhabitant of these districts had committed on the
Spaniards; but the soldiers of Narvaez were decidedly averse from entering
into any new war, as the slaughter of Mexico and the battle of Obtumba
made them anxious to renounce Cortes and his conquests, and to return as
soon as possible to their houses and mines in Cuba. Beyond all the rest,
Andres Duero was heartily sick of his junction with Cortes, regretting the
gold he had been forced to leave in the ditches of Mexico. These men,
finding that words were of no avail to persuade Cortes to relinquish his
plans of conquest, made a formal remonstrance in writing, stating the
insufficiency of our force, and demanding leave to return to Cuba. Cortes
urged every reason he could think of to induce them to concur in his
schemes; and we who were his own soldiers, requested him on no account to
permit any one to depart, but that all should remain to serve the cause of
God and the king. The malcontents were forced reluctantly to acquiesce,
murmuring against Cortes and his expeditions, and us who supported him,
who, they said, had nothing but our lives to lose[1]. We now, therefore,
set out on an expedition to chastise these districts, without artillery or
fire-arms of any kind, all of which had been left in the Mexican canals.
Our force consisted of 16 cavalry, 424 of our own infantry, mostly armed
with swords and targets, and about 4000 Tlascalans. We halted at about
three leagues from Tepejacac, but the inhabitants had deserted their
houses on our approach. Having got some prisoners during the march, Cortes
sent them to the chiefs with a message, intimating that he came to demand
justice for the murder of eighteen Spaniards in their territories, and for
their admitting Mexican troops into their country; and threatening them
with fire and sword if they did not immediately submit to his authority.
By our messengers and two Mexicans, they sent back a message, ordering us
to return immediately, or they would put us all to death, and feast upon
our bodies. Upon this it was determined in a council of the officers, that
a full statement of all that had passed, should be drawn up by a royal
notary, denouncing slavery on the Mexicans or their allies who had killed
any Spanish subjects, after having submitted to the authority of the king.
When this was drawn up and authenticated, we sent once more to require
their submission, giving notice of the inevitable consequences of their
disobedience. But they returned an answer like the former. Both sides
being prepared for battle, we came to action with them next day; and as
the enemy were drawn up in open fields of maize, our cavalry soon put the
enemy to flight with considerable loss, though they made an obstinate
resistance. In this battle our Tlascalan allies fought bravely; and, in
the pursuit, we took a good many prisoners, all of whom were made slaves
of. After this victory, the natives sued for peace, and we marched to the
town of Tepejacac to receive their submission; and finding it an eligible
situation, being in a fertile district, and on the road to Villa Rica,
Cortes founded a colony in the place, naming it _Segura de la Frontera._
Municipal officers were appointed, and a branding-iron for marking those
natives who were taken and reduced to slavery. We made excursions from
this place through the surrounding district, and to the towns of Cachula,
Tecamechalco, Guayavas, and some others, taking many prisoners, who were
immediately branded for slaves; and in about six weeks we reduced the
people to order and obedience.

At this time Cortes was informed from Villa Rica, that a vessel had
arrived there commanded by Pedro Barba, his intimate friend, who had been
lieutenant to Velasquez at the Havanna, and had now brought over thirteen
soldiers and two horses; as also letters from Velasquez to Narvaez,
ordering to send Cortes, if alive, to Cuba, that he might be sent to
Castile, such being the orders of the bishop of Burgos. On the arrival of
Barba in the harbour, the admiral appointed by Cortes went on board in a
boat well armed, but with the arms concealed. When on board, the admiral
saluted Barba, inquiring after the health of Velasquez, and the others
inquired for Narvaez, and what had become of Cortes. They were told that
Narvaez was in possession of the country, and had acquired great riches,
while Cortes was a fugitive, wandering about with only twenty followers.
They then invited Barba and the rest on shore; but the moment they entered
the boats, they were ordered to surrender themselves prisoners to Cortes.
The ship was dismantled, and the captain and crew, together with Barba and
his men, sent up to us at Tepejacac, to our great satisfaction; for though
we did not now suffer much in the field, we were very unhealthy from
continual fatigue, five of our men having died of pleurisies of late.
Francisco Lopez, afterwards regidor of Guatimala, came along with this
party. Barba was kindly received by Cortes, whom he informed that another
small vessel might be expected with provisions in about a week. It came
accordingly, having on board Roderigo de Lobera, with eight soldiers and a
horse. These were circumvented like the others, and sent up to us, by
which we were much pleased to procure an accession to our small force.

About this period, Cuitlahuitzin, who had been elected sovereign of Mexico
in place of his brother Montezuma, died of the small-pox, and
Quauhtemotzin, or Gautimotzin, was chosen in his stead, a young man of
twenty-five years of age, of fine appearance, exceedingly brave, and so
terrible to his subjects that every one trembled at his sight. On
receiving notice of the reduction of Tepejacac, he became apprehensive of
losing his other provinces, yet neglected no precautions to preserve the
chiefs in their obedience, and sent considerable bodies of troops to the
provinces nearest to where we were, to watch our motions. But these
Mexican troops injured the cause they were sent to support, becoming very
disorderly, plundering and maltreating the people whom they were sent to
defend, or to keep under subjection. Provoked by these injuries, the
ruling people of these provinces deputed four chiefs to negociate with
Cortes, offering to submit to him, provided he would expel the Mexicans.
Cortes immediately acceded to this proposal, and detached all the cavalry
and crossbow-men of our army under De Oli, with as many of our other
infantry as made up a force of 300 men, to which a considerable number of
Tlascalan allies were joined. While our people were on their march, they
received such formidable accounts of the number and force of the enemy, as
entirely deprived the soldiers of Narvaez of all inclination for military
expeditions. They mutinied, and told De Oli that, if he were determined to
persevere, he might go alone, for they were resolved to quit him. De Oli
remonstrated with them in vain, though supported by all the old soldiers
of Cortes, and was compelled to halt at Cholula, whence he sent word to
Cortes of his situation. Cortes returned an angry answer, ordering him to
advance at all events. De Oli was now in a violent rage at those who had
occasioned this reprimand from the general, and ordered the whole to march
immediately, declaring he would send back all who hesitated, to be treated
by Cortes as their cowardice deserved. On his arrival within a league of
Guacacualco, he was met by some of the native chiefs, who informed him how
he might best come upon the enemy. He accordingly marched against the
Mexican forces, whom he completely defeated and put to flight, after a
sharp action, in which eight of our men were wounded, and two horses
killed. Our allies made a great slaughter of the Mexicans during the
pursuit. The Mexicans fell back to a large town called Ozucar, where they
joined another great body of their countrymen, who fortified themselves in
that post, and broke down the bridges. De Oli pursued with as many of his
troops as could keep up with him; and having passed the river by the
assistance of his friends of Guacacualco, he again attacked the Mexicans,
whom he again defeated and dispersed, losing two more of his horses. He
received two wounds himself on this occasion, and his horse was wounded in
several places. He halted two days after his double victory, receiving the
submission of all the neighbouring chiefs, after which he returned with
his troops to Segura de la Frontera. De Oli was received with applause by
Cortes and all of us; and when we laughed at him for the hesitation of his
men, he joined with us heartily, saying he would take the poor soldiers of
Cortes on the next expedition, and not the rich planters who came with
Narvaez, who thought more of their houses and estates than of military
glory, and were more ready to command than to obey.

Cortes now got information from Villa Rica of the arrival of a ship
commanded by one Comargo, having upwards of seventy soldiers on board, all
very sickly. This vessel had belonged to an expedition sent from Jamaica
by Garray to establish a colony at Panuco; the other captain, Pineda, and
all his soldiers, having been put to death by the natives, and their ship
burnt. On finding, therefore, the ill success of that adventure, and that
his men were afflicted with diseases of the liver from the unhealthy
nature of the country, Camargo had come to Villa Rica for assistance. He
is said to have been perfectly acquainted with the state of affairs in New
Spain; and, on his arrival at Villa Rica, he immediately disembarked his
soldiers, and went to Segura de la Frontera by slow marches, where he and
his men were received with the utmost kindness by Cortes, and every
possible care was bestowed for his and their recovery; but he and several
of his soldiers soon died. By reason of their swollen bodies and
discoloured countenances, we used to call these men _the green paunches_.
That I may not interrupt the thread of my narrative, I shall mention in
this place, that all the rest of this armament which was destined for
Panuco, arrived at our port of Villa Rica at different and irregular
periods, Garray continually sending us reinforcements, which he meant for
Panuco, as he believed his intended colony at that place was going on
successfully. The first of these reinforcements after Camargo consisted of
fifty soldiers with seven horses, under the command of Michael Diaz de Auz.
These men were all plump and jolly, and we gave them the nickname of the
_Sir-loins_. Shortly after him another vessel brought forty soldiers with
ten horses, and a good supply of crossbows and other arms. These were
commanded by an officer named Ramirez, and as all his soldiers wore very
thick and clumsy cotton armour, quite impenetrable by arrows, we called
them the _Pack-horses_.

Being thus unexpectedly reinforced by upwards of an hundred and fifty men,
and twenty horses, Cortes determined to chastise the Indians of Xalatcingo,
Cacatame, and other towns near the road to Villa Rica, who had been
concerned in the murder of those Spaniards who had been sent from Villa
Rica for the treasure. For this purpose he sent a detachment of two
hundred veterans, among whom were twenty horsemen, and twelve armed with
crossbows, under the command of Sandoval, who had likewise along with him
a strong detachment of Tlascalans. Being informed that the Indians of that
district were in arms, and reinforced by Mexican troops, Sandoval sent a
message, offering pardon for the murder of the Spaniards, if they would
submit to our government, and return the treasure. Their answer was, that
they would eat him and all his men, as they had done the others. Sandoval,
therefore, immediately marched into their country, and attacked them in
two places at once, and though both the natives and the Mexicans defended
themselves with great bravery, they were soon defeated with considerable
loss. On going into some of their temples after the victory, our people
found Spanish cloths, arms, saddles, and bridles, hung up as offerings to
their gods. The inhabitants of this district submitted themselves to his
majesties government, but were unable to return the treasure, as it had
been sent to Mexico. Sandoval remained three days in this district
receiving the submission of the inhabitants, whom he referred to Cortes
for their pardon, and then returned to head-quarters, carrying a number of
women and boys along with him, who were all branded as slaves. I was not
on this expedition, being ill of a fever, attended with a vomiting of
blood; but, being bled plentifully, I recovered by the blessing of God. In
pursuance of orders from Sandoval, the chiefs of these tribes and of many
others in the neighbourhood, came to Cortes and submitted themselves to
his authority. Sandoval was sent in the next place to chastise the
inhabitants of a district called Xocotlan, who had murdered nine Spaniards,
having with him an hundred infantry, thirty cavalry, and a strong body of
Tlascalans. On entering the district, he summoned the people to submission
under the usual threats; but, as they had a considerable body of Mexican
forces to aid them, they returned for answer, that they would acknowledge
no other government than that of Mexico. Sandoval, therefore, put his
troops in motion, cautioning the allies not to advance to the attack till
the enemy were broken by our troops, and then to fall upon the Mexicans
especially. Two large bodies of the enemy were found posted in strong and
rocky ground, very difficult for our cavalry, insomuch, that before
Sandoval could drive them from this post, one of his horses was killed,
and nine wounded, as likewise were four of his soldiers. They were at
length driven from this post into the town of Xocotlan, where they took
post in the temples and some large walled courts; but were dislodged from
these and put to flight with great slaughter, our Tlascalan allies giving
good assistance, as they were incited by the hopes of abundant plunder.
Sandoval halted two days in this place, to receive the submission of the
chiefs, who begged pardon for what had passed, promising future obedience,
and to supply us plentifully with provisions. On being ordered to restore
the effects of the Spaniards whom they had slain, they replied that every
thing of that kind had been burnt. They said, likewise that most of the
Spaniards whom they had slain were eaten by them, except five, whom they
sent to Guatimotzin[2].

These expeditions were productive of the best effects, as they extended
the fame of Cortes and the Spaniards through the whole country for valour
and clemency; and our general became more dreaded and respected than
Guatimotzin, the new sovereign of Mexico, insomuch that his authority was
resorted to on all occasions of importance. The small-pox at this time
committed dreadful ravages in New Spain, cutting off vast numbers of the
natives, and among the rest, many of the chiefs and princes of the country
became victims to this dreadful calamity. On these occasions, the
claimants for succession to the vacant chiefships resorted to Cortes, as
sovereign of the country, for his decision, which they uniformly submitted
to. Among the rest, the lordship of Guacacualco and Ozucar became vacant,
and the various claimants submitted their claims to the decision of Cortes,
who decided in favour of a nephew of the late Montezuma, whose sister had
been married to the former cacique of the district.

All the country around Tlascala and to the eastwards being now reduced to
subjection, an order was issued to bring all the prisoners to a large
house in the town of Segura, that the fifths belonging to the king and
Cortes might be deducted, and the rest divided among the troops. The
prisoners consisted of women, boys, and girls, as the men were found too
difficult to keep, and our Tlascalan friends performed every service for
us that we could desire, such as carrying our baggage, ammunition, and
provisions, and all other drudgery. The prisoners were confined all night,
and the repartition took place next morning. In the first place the king's
fifth was set aside, and then that which belonged to Cortes; but when the
shares of the soldiers came to be distributed, there remained only a
parcel of old miserable jades, and it was found that some person had been
in the depot during the night, who had taken away all the young and
handsome women. This occasioned much clamour among the soldiers, who
accused Cortes of injustice, and the soldiers of Narvaez swore no such
thing had ever been heard of in the Spanish dominions as two kings and two
fifths. One Juan de Quexo was very loud in his complaints on this occasion,
declaring that he would make it known in Spain how we had been abused by
Cortes, more especially in regard to the gold at Mexico, where only the
value of 300,000 crowns appeared at the division, whereas 700,000 crowns
worth were produced at the time of our flight. Many of the soldiers loudly
complained of having their women taken from them, after they had given
them clothes and ornaments, saying they had only expected to have paid the
fifth of their values to the king, and then that each would have got back
his own. Cortes protested that better regulations should he adopted in
future, and got the affair hushed up with smooth words and fair promises;
yet he soon attempted even worse than this. It may be remembered, that, on
the fatal night of our retreat from Mexico, all the treasure was produced,
and every soldier was allowed to take as much as he pleased. On this
occasion, many of the soldiers of Narvaez, and some of our own, loaded
themselves with gold. Cortes now learned that a quantity of gold in bars
was in circulation among the troops at La Frontera, who were much engaged
in deep play, and forgot the old adage, that riches and amours should be
concealed. He now issued an order for all the gold to be delivered within
a given time, under severe penalties for disobedience, and promised to
return back a third part to all who delivered their gold, but that all
should be forfeited in case of failure or evasion. Many of the soldiers
refused obedience to this arbitrary order, and from some Cortes took their
gold by way of loan, yet rather by force than with their consent. Many of
our captains, and those who had civil offices in the colony, were
possessed of gold, and at length Cortes was glad to quash the order and
say no more about the matter.

The officers who had come with Narvaez thought the present interval of
tranquillity was a favourable opportunity to renew their solicitations for
leave to return to Cuba, to which Cortes at length consented, and gave
them one of the best ships in the harbour, which was victualled with
salted dogs, fowls, maize, and other provisions of the country. By this
ship, Cortes sent letters to his wife Donna Catalina and her brother Juan
Suarez, giving them an account of all that had happened in New Spain, and
sent them some bars of gold and Mexican curiosities. The following were
among the persons who now returned to Cuba, having their pockets well
lined after all our disasters. Andres de Duero, Augustin Bermudez, Juan
Buono, Bernardino de Quesada, Francisco Velasquez, Gonsalo Carrasco, who
afterwards returned to New Spain, and lives now in La Puebla, Melchior
Velasquez, one Ximenes, who now lives in Guaxaca, and went over at this
time for his sons, the commendator Leon de Cervantes, who went to bring
over his daughters, who were very honourably married after the conquest of
Mexico; one Maldonado of Medelin, an invalid, a person named Vargas, and
Cardinas the pilot, he who talked about the two kings, to whom Cortes gave
the three hundred crowns he had formerly promised for his wife and
daughters. We remonstrated with Cortes for allowing so many persons to
quit the army, considering how weak we were already, on which he observed,
that he did it partly to get rid of their importunities, and partly
because they were unfit for war, and it was better to have a few good
soldiers than many bad ones. Alvarado was sent to see these men safely
shipped off, and he sent at this time Diego de Ordas and Alonzo de Mendoza
to Spain, with instructions of which we were ignorant, except that they
were meant to counteract the malice of the bishop of Burgos, who had
declared us all traitors. De Ordas executed his commission to good purpose,
and got the order of St Jago for himself, and the volcano of Popocatepetl
added to his arms. Cortes sent also Alonzo de Avila, contador of New Spain,
and Francisco Alvarez, to Hispaniola, to make a report to the court of
royal audience, and the brothers of the order of Jeronymites, of all that
had taken place, particularly in regard to Narvaez, and supplicating them
to represent our faithful services to the emperor, and to support our
interests against the enmity and misrepresentations of Velasquez and the
bishop of Burgos. He sent likewise De Solis to Jamaica to purchase horses.
It may be asked how Cortes was able to send agents to Spain, Hispaniola,
and Jamaica, without money. But, although many of our soldiers were slain
in our flight from Mexico, and much treasure lost in the ditches and
canals of Mexico, yet a considerable quantity of gold was saved, as the
eighty loaded Tlascalans were among the first who passed the bridge, and
afterwards delivered all their gold to Cortes[3]. But we poor soldiers had
enough ado to preserve our lives, all badly wounded, and did not trouble
ourselves to inquire what became of the gold, or how much was brought off.
It was even rumoured among us, that the share belonging to the garrison of
Villa Rica, the carriers of which had been robbed and murdered, went after
all to Spain, Jamaica, and other places; but as Cortes lined the pockets
of our captains with plenty of gold, all inquiry on this head was stopped.

It may be wondered how Cortes should send away so valiant a captain as
Alonzo de Avila on an affair of negociation, when he had several men of
business in his army who could have been better spared, such as Alonzo de
Grado, Juan Carceres _the rich_, and several others. The true reason was,
that Avila was too ready to speak out on all occasions to obtain justice
for the soldiers, and therefore Cortes sent him away that he might no
longer be opposed and thwarted in his proceedings; and that he might give
his company to Andres de Tapia, and his office of contador to Alonzo de

Having now determined to undertake the siege of Mexico, Cortes left a
garrison of twenty men, mostly sick and invalids in Frontera, under the
command of Juan de Orozco, and marched with the rest of the army into the
country of Tlascala, where he gave orders to cut down a quantity of timber,
with which to construct a number of vessels to command the lake of Mexico.
These ships were to be built under the direction of Martin Lopez, an
excellent shipwright, and a valiant soldier, in which he was assisted by
Andres Nunez, and old Ramirez, who was lame from a wound. Lopez conducted
matters with great spirit, insomuch that in a very short time he had all
the timber cut down, shaped, and marked out for the vessels, ready to be
put together. The iron work, anchors, cables, sails, cordage, and all
other necessaries for the vessels were procured from Villa Rica, whence
all the smiths were sent up to the army to give their assistance. As pitch
was unknown among the natives, four sailors were sent to the pine forests
of Huetzotzinco, to obtain a supply of that article, in which they

On our arrival at Tlascala, we learnt that our good friend and faithful
ally Maxicatzin had fallen a sacrifice to the small-pox. Cortes lamented
the death of this good man as that of a father, and put on mourning out of
respect to his memory, in which he was imitated by many of our officers
and soldiers. As there was some difficulty in regard to the succession,
Cortes conferred the vacant dignity on the legitimate son of the deceased
chief, as he had desired a short time before his death, on which occasion
he had strictly enjoined all his family and dependents to persevere in
their alliance with us, as we were undoubtedly destined to rule their
country according to their ancient traditions. The other chiefs of the
Tlascalans offered their best services, in providing timber for our
vessels, and engaged to aid us with all their military force in
prosecuting the war against Mexico. Cortes accepted their offer with every
mark of gratitude and respect; and even prevailed on the elder Xicotencatl,
one of their principal caciques, to become a Christian, who was
accordingly baptised with great ceremony, by the name of Don Lorenzo de

Just as we were about to begin our march, intelligence came from Villa
Rica of the arrival of a vessel from Spain and the Canaries, loaded with
military stores, horses, and merchandize, and having thirteen soldiers on
board. The owner, who was likewise on board, was one Juan de Burgos, but
the vessel was commanded by Francisco Medel. Cortes sent immediate orders
to purchase the whole cargo, and all the people came up to join us to our
great satisfaction. Among these were one Juan del Espinar, afterwards a
very rich man, and two others named Sagredo, and Monjaraz a Biscayan, who
had two nephews of the same name in our army. Monjaraz never went upon any
expedition or engagement along with us, always feigning to be sick, though
he omitted no opportunity to boast of his courage. Once, while we were
besieging Mexico, he went up to the top of a high temple, as he said to
see how the natives fought; and by some means which we could never find
out, he was killed that day by some of the Indians. Those who had known
him in Hispaniola, said it was a just judgment, for having procured the
death of his wife, a beautiful and honourable woman, by means of false

All the timber for our vessels being in readiness, and every thing
prepared for our expedition against Mexico, it was debated in our council
of war in what place we should establish our head-quarters, in order to
prepare our measures for investing that city. Some strongly recommended
Ayotcingo as most convenient for that purpose, on account of its canals.
Cortes and others preferred Tezcuco, as best adapted for making incursions
into the Mexican territory, and that place was accordingly fixed upon. We
accordingly began our march from Tlascala immediately after the junction
of our last reinforcement from Villa Rica, consisting of the soldiers who
came with Medel and De Burgos.

[1] A long digression is here omitted, in which Diaz severely reprehends
    the account given by Gomara of this and other transactions in his
    history of the conquest of Mexico, altogether uninteresting to the
    English reader.--E.

[2] Clavigero, II. 132, mentions about this time an expedition against
    Tochtepec, a considerable town on the river of Papaloapan, in which
    Salcedo and a detachment of 80 Spaniards were entirely cut off.--E.

[3] This must have been a very considerable treasure. On one occasion,
    Clavigero reckons a load of gold at 800 ounces. The eighty Tlascalans
    might therefore carry off 64,000 ounces, which at £4 the ounce, is
    worth £256,000 Sterling, and of considerably more efficacious value in
    those days than a million is now.--E.


_Transactions of Cortes and the Spaniards from their March against Mexico,
to the Commencement of the Siege of that City_.

We began our March from Tlascala on the 26th of December 1520, with the
whole of our Spanish force, and accompanied by ten thousand of our
Tlascalan allies[1], and halted that night within the territories of the
state of Tezcuco, the inhabitants of which place supplied us with
provisions. We marched about three leagues on the 27th, when we halted at
the foot of a ridge of mountains, finding the weather extremely cold.
Early next day we began to ascend the mountains, the bad roads having been
made more difficult by the enemy, by means of ditches and felled trees,
which were removed by the exertions of our allies. We proceeded with the
utmost order and precaution, having an advanced guard of musketeers and
crossbow-men, and our allies cleared the way to enable our cavalry to
advance. After passing the summit of the mountain, we enjoyed the glorious
prospect of the vale of Mexico below, with the lakes, the capital rising
out of the waters, and all its numerous towns and cultivated fields; and
gave thanks to GOD, who had enabled us again to behold this astonishing
scene of riches and population, after passing through so many dangers. We
could distinctly perceive numerous signals made by smoke in all the towns
towards Mexico; and a little farther on, we were resisted by a body of the
enemy, who endeavoured to defend a bad pass at a deep water-run, where the
wooden bridge had been broken down; but we soon drove them away, and
passed over, as the enemy contented themselves with shooting their arrows
from a considerable distance. Our allies pillaged the country as we went
along, which was contrary to the inclination of our general, but he was
unable to restrain them. From some prisoners whom we had taken at the
broken bridge, we were informed that a large body of the enemy was posted
on our line of march, intending to give us battle; but it appeared
afterwards that they had separated in consequence of dissentions among the
chiefs, and we soon learnt that a civil war actually existed between the
Mexicans and the state of Tezcuco. The small-pox also raged at this time in
the country, which had a great effect in our favour, by preventing the
enemy from being able to assemble their forces.

Next morning we proceeded on our march for Tezcuco, which was about two
leagues from the place where we had halted for the night; but we had not
proceeded far, when one of our patroles brought intelligence that several
Indians were coming towards us bearing signals of peace, and indeed we
found the whole country through which we marched this day in perfect
tranquillity. On the arrival of the Indians, we found them to consist of
seven chiefs from Tezcuco, sent as ambassadors by Coanacotzin, the prince
of Tezcuco or Acolhuacan. A golden banner was carried before them on a
long lance, which was lowered on approaching Cortes, to whom the
ambassadors bowed themselves in token of respect. They then addressed our
general in the name of their prince, inviting us to his city, and
requesting to be received under our protection. They denied having taken
any part in the attacks which we had experienced, earnestly entreating
that no injury might be done to their city by our allies, and presented
their golden banner to Cortes, in token of peace and submission. Three of
these ambassadors were known to most of us, as they were relations of
Montezuma, and had been captains of his guards, when we were formerly at
Mexico. The ambassadors were assured by Cortes that he would use his
utmost efforts to protect the country, although they must well know that
above forty Spaniards and two hundred of our allies had been put to death
in passing through their territories when we retreated from Mexico. Cortes
added, that certainly no reparation could now be made for the loss of our
men, but he expected they would restore the gold and other property which
had been taken on that occasion. They asserted that the whole blame of
that transaction was owing to Cuitlahuatzin, the successor of Montezuma,
who had received the spoil and sacrificed the prisoners. Cortes found that
very little satisfaction could be got from them for the past, yet wishing
if possible to make them now our friends, he earnestly entreated the
Tlascalan chiefs to prohibit their warriors from pillaging the country,
and his wishes were strictly complied with, except in regard to provisions.
After this conference was ended, we proceeded to a village named
Guatinchan or Huexotla, at a small distance from Tezcuco, where we halted
for the night.

Next morning, being the 31st December 1520, we marched into Tezcuco, where
neither women or children were to be seen, and even the men had a
suspicious appearance, indicating that some mischief was intended against
us. We took up our quarters in some buildings which consisted of large
halls and inclosed courts, and orders were issued that none of the
soldiers were to go out of their quarters, and that all were to be on the
alert to guard against surprize. On the soldiers being dismissed to their
respective quarters, the Captains Alvarado and De Oli, with some soldiers,
among whom I was, went up to the top of a lofty temple, from which we had
a commanding view, to observe what was going on in the neighbourhood. We
could see all the people everywhere in motion, carrying off their children
and effects to the woods and the reedy borders of the lake, and to great
numbers of canoes. Cortes wished to have secured Coanacotzin, who had sent
us the friendly embassy, which now appeared to have been merely a pretext
to gain time; but it was found that he and many of the principal persons
of Tezcuco had fled to Mexico. We posted strong guards, therefore, in
every direction, and kept ourselves in constant readiness for action.
Cortes soon learnt that factions existed in Tezcuco, and that many of the
chiefs were adverse to their present prince, and remained in their houses,
while those of the opposite faction had withdrawn. Cortes sent for those
chiefs next morning, from whom he learnt, that they considered their
present prince, Coanacotzin, as an usurper, he having murdered his elder
brother, Cuicutzcatzin, who had been placed on the throne by Montezuma and
Cortes, and that Coanacotzin owed his elevation to the favour of
Guatimotzin, the present sovereign of Mexico. They pointed out a youth
named Ixtlilxochitl as the rightful heir of Acolhuacan, who was brought
immediately to Cortes, and installed without delay in the government.
Cortes prevailed upon him to become a Christian, and had him baptised with
great solemnity, standing godfather on the occasion, and giving him his
own name, Don Hernando Cortes Ixtlilxochitl; and to retain him in the
Spanish interest and in our holy faith, he appointed three Spaniards to
attend upon him, Escobar, who was made captain or governor of Tezcuco,
Anthonio de Villa Real, and Pedro Sanches Farfan. In the next place,
Cortes required the new prince of Tezcuco to supply him with a number of
labourers to open up the canals leading to the lake, on purpose to admit
our vessels which were to be put together at Tezcuco. He also informed him
of our intentions to besiege Mexico, for which operation the young prince
engaged to give all the assistance in his power. The work on the canals
was conducted with all expedition, as we never had less than seven or
eight thousand Indians employed[2]. As Guatimotzin, the reigning monarch
of Mexico, frequently sent out large bodies of troops in canoes on the
lake, apparently with the hope of attacking us unprepared, Cortes used
every military precaution to guard against any sudden attack, by assigning
proper posts to our several captains, with orders to be always on the
alert. The people in Huexotla, a town and district only a few miles from
Tezcuco, who had been guilty of murdering some of our countrymen on a
former occasion, petitioned Cortes for pardon, and were taken into favour
on promise of future fidelity.

Before his elevation to the throne of Mexico, Guatimotzin had been prince
or cacique of Iztapalapa, the people of which place were determined
enemies to us and our allies[3]. We had been now twelve days in Tezcuco,
where the presence of so large a force occasioned some scarcity of
provisions, and even our allies began to grow somewhat impatient of our
inactivity. From all these considerations, Cortes determined upon an
expedition to Iztapalapa, against which place he marched at the head of 13
cavalry 220 infantry, and the whole of our Tlascalan allies. The
inhabitants had received a reinforcement of 8000 Mexican warriors, yet
they fell back into the town on our approach, and even fled into their
canoes and the houses which stood in the water, allowing us to occupy that
part of the town which stood on the firm land. As it was now night, we
took up our quarters for the night and posted our guards, unaware of a
stratagem which had been planned for our destruction. On a sudden there
came so great a body of water into the streets and houses, that we had
been all infallibly drowned if our friends from Tezcuco had not given us
instant notice of our danger. The enemy had cut the banks of the canals,
and a causeway also, by which means the place was laid almost instantly
under water. We escaped with some difficulty, two only of our allies being
drowned; but all our powder was destroyed, and we passed a very
uncomfortable night, without food, and all wet and very cold; and were
very much provoked at the laughter and taunts of the Mexicans from the
lake. At daybreak, large bodies of Indians crossed over from Mexico and
attacked us with such violence, that they killed two of our soldiers and
one horse, and wounded many of us, and were repelled with much difficulty.
Our allies also suffered considerable loss on this occasion; but the enemy
were at last repulsed, and we returned to Tezcuco very little satisfied
with the fame or profit of this fruitless expedition. Two days after our
retreat from Iztapalapa, the inhabitants of these neighbouring districts,
Tepetezcuco, Obtumba or Otompan, and some others in that quarter, sent to
solicit pardon for the hostilities they had formerly committed against us,
alleging in excuse that they had acted by the orders of their sovereign
Cuitlahuatzin, the immediate successor of Montezuma. Cortes, knowing that
he was not in a situation to chastise them, granted them pardon on promise
of future obedience. The inhabitants also of a place which we named
Venezuela, or Little Venice, because built in the water, who had been
always at variance with the Mexicans, now solicited our alliance, and
engaged to bring over their neighbours to our party. This circumstance was
of much importance to our views, from the situation of that place on the
lake facilitating our future operations, especially those of our naval

We soon afterwards received intelligence, that large bodies of Mexican
troops had attacked the districts which were in alliance with us, by which
the inhabitants were compelled to fly into the woods for shelter, or to
take refuge in our quarters. Cortes went out with twenty of our cavalry
and two hundred infantry, having Alvarado and De Oli along with him, to
drive in the Mexicans. The real cause of contention on the present
occasion was concerning the crop of maize growing on the borders of the
lake, which was now fit to reap, and from which the natives had been in
use to supply our wants, whereas it was claimed by the Mexicans, as
belonging to the priests of their city. Cortes desired the natives to
inform him when they proposed to cut down this corn, and sent upwards of a
hundred of our men and a large body of our allies to protect the reapers.
I was twice on that duty, and on one of these occasions, the Mexicans came
over to attack us in above a thousand canoes, and endeavoured to drive us
from the maize fields; but we and our allies drove them back to their
boats, though they fought with great resolution, killed one of our
soldiers and wounded a considerable number. In this skirmish, twenty of
the enemy were left dead on the field, and we took live prisoners.

Chalco and Tlalmanalco were two places of material importance to us at
this time, as they lay in the direct road between Tlascala and our
head-quarters at Tezcuco, but both of them were garrisoned by Mexican
troops; and though Cortes was at this time solicited by several important
districts to enable them to throw off the yoke of Mexico, he considered it
as of the first necessity to dislodge the Mexicans from these two towns,
on purpose to open a secure communication with our allies, and to cover
the transport of our ship timber from Tlascala. He sent therefore a strong
detachment of fifteen horse and two hundred infantry under Sandoval and De
Lugo, with orders to drive the Mexicans from that part of the country, and
to open a clear communication with Villa Rica. During the march, Sandoval
placed ten of his men as a rear guard, to protect a considerable number of
our allies who were returning home to Tlascala loaded with plunder. The
Mexicans fell upon this weak rear-guard by surprise during the march,
killing two of our men and wounding all the rest; and though Sandoval made
all the haste he could to their rescue, the Mexicans escaped on board
their canoes with very little loss. He now placed the Tlascalans in
security, by escorting them beyond the Mexican garrisons, and sent forward
the letter of our general to the commandant of Villa Rica, by which he was
enjoined to send what reinforcements he could possibly spare to Tlascala,
there to wait until they were quite certain that the road from thence to
Tezcuco was clear. Sandoval, after seeing the Tlascalans safe upon their
journey, returned towards Chalco, sending word secretly to the inhabitants,
who were very impatient under the Mexican yoke, to be in readiness to join
him. He was attacked on his march through a plain covered with maize and
_maguey_, by a strong body of Mexican troops, who wounded several of his
men; but they were soon repulsed and pursued to a considerable distance by
the cavalry. Sandoval now prosecuted his march to Chalco, where he found
the cacique of that place had recently died of the small-pox, having
recommended his two sons on his deathbed to the protection of Cortes, as
he was convinced we were the bearded men who, according to their ancient
prophecy, were to come from the eastern countries to rule over this land,
and had therefore commanded his sons to receive the investiture of their
state from the hands of Cortes. Sandoval set out therefore for Tezcuco
next day, talking along with him the two young lords of Chalco, and many
of the nobles of that place, carrying a present of golden ornaments to our
general worth about 200,000 crowns. Cortes accordingly received the young
princes of Chalco with great distinction, and divided their fathers
territories between them; giving the city of Chalco and the largest share
of the district to the elder brother, and Tlalmanalco, Aytocinco, and
Chimalhuacan to the younger.

About this time, Cortes sent a message to Guatimotzin, the reigning
sovereign of Mexico, by means of some prisoners whom he enlarged for this
purpose, inviting him in the most conciliatory terms to enter into a
treaty of peace and friendship; but Guatimotzin refused to listen to any
terms of accommodation, and continued to carry on the most determined and
unceasing hostility against us. Frequent and loud complaints were made by
our allies of Huexotla and Coatlichan of the incursions made upon their
territories in the neighbourhood of the lake by the enemy, on the old
quarrel about the fields which had been appropriated for the priests who
served in the temples of Mexico. In consequence of these hostilities so
near our head-quarters, Cortes went with a strong detachment, with which
he came up with the enemy about two leagues from Tezcuco, and gave them so
complete a defeat, that they never ventured to shew themselves there any
more. It was now resolved to bring the timber which had been prepared in
Tlascala for constructing our naval force on the lake of Mexico; for which
purpose Sandoval was sent with a force of 200 infantry, including 20
musketeers and crossbow-men, and 15 cavalry, to serve as an escort. He was
likewise ordered to conduct the chiefs of Chalco to their own district;
and before they set out, Cortes effected a reconciliation between the
Tlascalans and the inhabitants of Chalco, who had been long at variance.
He gave orders likewise to Sandoval, after leaving the chiefs of Chalco in
their own city, to inflict exemplary punishment on the inhabitants of a
place which we call _Puebla Moresca_, who had robbed and murdered forty
of our men who were marching from Vera Cruz to Mexico, at the time when we
went to relieve Alvarado. These people had not been more guilty than those
of Tezcuco, who indeed were the leaders in that affair, but they could be
more conveniently chastised. The place was given up to military execution,
though not more than three or four were put to death, as Sandoval had
compassion upon them. Some of the principal inhabitants were made
prisoners; who assured Sandoval that the Spaniards were fallen upon by the
troops of Mexico and Tezcuco in a narrow pass, where they could only march
in single file, and that it was done in revenge for the death of

In the temples at this place, our men found the walls and idols smeared
with the blood of our countrymen, and the skins of two of their faces with
their beards on were found hung upon the altars, having been dressed like
leather. The skins also of four of our horses were found hung up as
trophies; and they saw written on a piece of marble in the wall of one of
the houses: "Here the unfortunate Juan Yuste and many of his companions
were made prisoners." Yuste was one of the gentlemen who came over with
Narvaez and had served in the cavalry. These melancholy remains filled
Sandoval and his men with grief and rage; but there were no objects on
which to wreak their vengeance, as all the men were fled, and none
remained but women and children, who deprecated their anger in the most
moving terms. Sandoval therefore granted them pardon, and sent them to
bring back their husbands and fathers, with a promise of forgiveness on
condition of submission and future obedience. On questioning them about
the gold they had taken from our people, they assured him it had all been
claimed by the Mexicans[4].

Sandoval continued his route towards Tlascala, near which he was met by a
vast body of Indians commanded by Chichimecatl, accompanied by Martin
Lopez, and employed in transporting the ship timber. Eight thousand men
carried the timber all ready shaped for our thirteen vessels, with the
sails, cordage, and all other materials. Eight thousand warriors attended
in arms to protect the bearers of the timber; and two thousand carried
provisions for the whole[5]. Several Spaniards joined us along with this
escort, and two other principal chiefs of the Tlascalans, Ayotecatle and
Teotlipil. During the march, only some small bodies of the enemy appeared,
and these always at a distance; but it was deemed necessary to use the
utmost vigilance, to avoid the danger of a surprise, considering the great
length of the line of march[6]. Sandoval accordingly sent a strong
detachment of Spanish troops as an advanced guard, and posted others on
the flanks; while he remained with the rear guard which he assigned to the
Tlascalans. This arrangement gave great offence to Chichimecatl; but he
was reconciled to this post, on being told that the Mexicans would most
probably attack the rear, which was therefore the post of honour, because
of more danger. In two days more, the whole escort arrived in safety at
Tezcuco; the allies being all dressed out in their gayest habits, with
great plumes of feathers, and splendid banners, sounding their horns and
trumpets, and beating their drums, as in triumph for the expected fall of
Mexico. They continued marching into Tezcuco for half a day, amid
continual shouts of "Castilla! Castilla! Tlascala! Tlascala! Long live the
emperor Don Carlos!" Our timber was now laid down at the docks which had
been prepared for this purpose; and, by the exertion of Martin Lopez, the
hulls of our thirteen brigantines were very soon completed; but we were
obliged to keep a very careful guard, as the Mexicans sent frequent
parties to endeavour to set them on fire.

The Tlascalan chiefs were very anxious to be employed on some enterprize
against their ancient enemies the Mexicans, and Cortes resolved to indulge
them by an expedition against Xaltocan, a town situated on an island of a
lake to the northward of the great lake of Mexico or Tezcuco, which is now
called the lake of St Christopher. Leaving therefore the charge of the
important post of Tezcuco with Sandoval, who was enjoined to use the
utmost vigilance, and giving orders to Martin Lopez to have the vessels
all ready for launching in fifteen days, he set out on the expedition
against Xaltocan with 250 Spanish infantry, 30 cavalry, the whole force of
the Tlascalans, and a body of warriors belonging to Tezcuco[7]. On
approaching Xaltocan, our army was met by some large bodies of Mexican
troops, whom the cavalry soon dispersed and drove into the woods. The
troops halted for the night in some villages in a very populous country,
and were obliged to keep on the alert, as it was known that the enemy had
a strong force in Xaltocan, to which place a strong body of Mexicans had
been sent in large canoes, and were now concealed among the deep canals in
that neighbourhood. Next morning, on resuming their march, our troops were
exceedingly harassed by the enemy, and several of them wounded, as our
cavalry had no opportunity to charge them, the ground being much
intersected by canals. The only causeway which led from the land to the
town had been laid under water, so that our troops could not approach, and
our musquetry had little or no effect against the enemy in the canoes, as
they were defended by strong screens of timber. Our people began to
despair of success, when some of the natives of Tezcuco pointed out a
ford with which they were acquainted, by which our people were enabled,
under their guidance, to make their way to the causeway leading into the
town leaving Cortes and the cavalry on the main land. Our infantry forced
their way into the town, where they made a considerable slaughter of the
Mexicans, driving the remainder of them and many of the inhabitants of the
town to take shelter in their canoes. They then returned to Cortes,
bringing with them a considerable booty in gold, slaves, and mantles,
having only lost one soldier in this exploit. Next day, Cortes marched
through a thickly peopled and well cultivated country against a large town
named Quauhtitlan, which we found deserted, and in which we halted for the
night. On the ensuing day, we marched to another large town called
Tenayoecan, but which we named _Villa de Serpe_, or the Town of Serpents,
on account of some enormous figures of these animals which were found in
the temples, and which these people worshipped as gods. This place was
likewise deserted by the inhabitants, who had withdrawn with their effects
into places of safety. From thence we marched to Escapuzalco, or the town
of the goldsmiths, which was also deserted, and thence to Tacuba or
Tlacopan, to which our troops had to cut their way through considerable
bodies of the enemy. Our troops halted here for the night, and were
assailed next morning by several successive bodies of the enemy, who had
formed a plan to draw us into an ambuscade, by pretending to take flight
along the fatal causeway of Tacuba, where we had suffered so much on our
retreat from Mexico. This partly succeeded, as Cortes and his troops
pursued them along the causeway across one of the bridges, and were
immediately surrounded by prodigious numbers of the enemy, some on the
land and others in canoes on the water. Cortes soon perceived his mistake,
and ordered a retreat, which was made with the utmost firmness and
regularity, our men constantly keeping a-front to the enemy and giving
ground inch by inch, continually fighting. In the confusion of this
surprise, Juan Volante, who carried the colours, fell from the bridge into
the lake, and the Mexicans were even dragging him away to their canoes;
yet he escaped from them and brought away his colours. In this unfortunate
affair, five of our soldiers were slain, and a great many wounded. Cortes
halted for five days at Tacuba[8], during which there were many skirmishes
with the enemy, and then marched back to Tezcuco, the Mexicans continuing
to harass him by frequent attacks; but having drawn them on one occasion
into an ambuscade, in which they were defeated with considerable slaughter,
they desisted from any farther attack. On arriving at our head-quarters in
Tezcuco, the Tlascalans, who had enriched themselves with plunder during
the expedition, solicited permission to go home that they might secure
their acquisitions in their own country, which Cortes readily consented to.

During four days after our return from this expedition, the Indians of
several neighbouring districts came in with presents and offers of
submission. Although Cortes was well aware that they had been concerned in
the murder of our men after the retreat from Mexico, he received them all
very graciously, and dismissed them with promises of protection. About
this time likewise, several nations who had joined with us in alliance
made strong representations of the outrages which had been committed upon
them by the Mexicans, of which they produced paintings in their manner,
and earnestly entreated succour. But Cortes could not grant them the
required assistance, as our army, besides having suffered loss by several
being killed and many wounded during the late hostilities, was now grown
very unhealthy. He gave them, however, fair promises, but advised them to
rely more upon their own exertions and the assistance of our other allies,
for which purpose he issued orders to all the districts in our alliance to
assemble in arms against the common enemy. They accordingly collected
their forces, and came to action in the field with the Mexicans, and
exerted themselves with so much vigour that they gained the victory. The
province of Chalco was however an object of principal importance to us, as
the possession of that country was essentially necessary to preserve our
communication with Tlascala and Villa Rica, and being likewise a fertile
corn country, contributed largely to the subsistence of our army. As it
was much harassed by the enemy, Cortes sent Sandoval with a detachment of
about 250 of our troops, cavalry and infantry, to clear it of the Mexicans,
and accompanied by a body of warriors from Tezcuco and such of our
Tlascalan allies as still remained with our army. Sandoval set out from
Tezcuco on the 12th of March 1521, and arrived next morning at Tlalmanalco,
where he learnt that the Mexican forces were posted at a large town called
Guaztepeque or Huaxtepec. Being now joined by the warriors of Chalco,
Sandoval halted for the night at the town of Chimalcan; and next morning
gave orders to his musketeers and crossbow-men to attack the enemy, who
were posted in strong ground; the troops who were armed with swords and
targets, were formed into a compact body of reserve; and the cavalry,
being formed in small bodies of three each, were directed to charge as
soon as the firing had made an impression on the enemy. While advancing in
this order, Sandoval perceived the Mexican forces drawn up in three large
columns or dense battalions, and thought proper to change his original
plan, and to endeavour to break through them by a cavalry charge. Placing
himself, therefore, at the head of the cavalry, he immediately proceeded
to the charge, exclaiming, "St Jago! fall on, comrades!" The main body of
the enemy was partly broken by this charge, but immediately closed again
and stood firm; and the nature of the ground was so much in favour of the
Mexicans, that Sandoval found it necessary to endeavour to drive them from
their post in the manner first proposed, into the open ground in the rear.
For this purpose he made the musketeers and crossbow-men attack the enemy
in front, and those armed with swords and targets to turn their flanks,
ordering also the allies to come forward to the attack, and directed the
cavalry to be ready to charge at an appointed signal. Our troops at length
forced them to retreat, but they immediately occupied another strong
position in their rear, so that Sandoval and the cavalry were unable to
make any considerable impression upon them. In one of the charges in this
difficult broken ground, the horse of Gonzalo Dominguez fell with him, and
he was so much injured that he died in a few days afterwards: His loss was
much regretted by the army, as he was esteemed as brave as either Sandoval
or De Oli. Our army broke the enemy a second time, and pursued them to the
town, where they were suddenly opposed by not less than 15,000 fresh
warriors, who endeavoured to surround our troops: But Sandoval caused them
to be attacked on both flanks, when they fled towards the town,
endeavouring however to make a stand behind some recently constructed
works; but our troops followed them up so vigorously that they had no time
to rally, and were constrained to take shelter in the town. As his troops
were much fatigued, and had got hold of a good supply of provisions,
Sandoval thought proper to allow them some repose, and they began to
prepare their victuals, in which they were soon interrupted by an alarm of
the enemy approaching. They were ready for action in a moment, and
advanced to meet the enemy, fortunately in an open place; where, after a
smart action, the enemy were constrained to retreat behind their works;
but Sandoval pushed on the advantage with so much impetuosity, that he
soon drove them from their works, and compelled them to evacuate the town
with the utmost precipitation.

Sandoval took up his quarters in a very extensive and magnificent garden,
which contained a number of large handsome buildings, and many admirable
conveniencies fit for the residence of a great prince; but our soldiers
had not then time to examine all its beauties, as it was more than a
quarter of a league in length. I was not in this expedition, being
confined under cure of a bad wound in my throat, which I received by a
lance in the affair at Iztapalapa, and of which I still carry the marks;
but I saw this fine garden about twenty days afterwards, when I
accompanied Cortes to this place. Not being on this expedition, I do not
in my narrative say _we_ and _us_ on this occasion, but _they_ and _them_;
yet every thing I relate is perfectly true, as all the transactions of
every enterprize were regularly reported at headquarters. Sandoval now
summoned all the neighbouring districts to submit, but to little purpose,
as the people of Acapistlan or Jacapichtla answered by a defiance. This
gave much uneasiness to our allies of Chalco, as they were assured the
Mexicans would immediately attack them again on the Spaniards returning to
Tezcuco. Sandoval was rather averse from engaging in any new enterprize,
as a great number of his men were wounded, and the soldiers of Narvaez
disliked risks of every kind; but our allies of Chalco were anxious to
reduce that place, and were strongly supported in this opinion by Luis
Marin, a wise and valiant officer; and as the distance was only two
leagues, Sandoval acquiesced. On his advance, the enemy assailed him with
their missile weapons, and then retired to their strong post in the town.
Our allies were not very much disposed to attack the works, in which the
Spaniards shewed them the way, some even of the cavalry dismounting to
fight on foot, and leaving the rest in the plain to protect the rear. Our
people at length carried the place, but had a good many wounded in the
assault, even Sandoval himself. Though our allies were rather tardy in the
assault, they made up for it after the place was carried, saving the
Spaniards the trouble of putting the enemy to death; and indeed we often
blamed the ferocious cruelty of our allies, from whom we saved many of our
Indian enemies. At this time indeed, our countrymen thought themselves
better employed in searching for gold and taking good female prisoners,
than in butchering a parcel of poor wretches who no longer attempted any

Sandoval returned to Tezcuco with many slaves and considerable plunder,
and just as he arrived at head-quarters, even before he had time to make a
report to Cortes of the success of his late expedition, an express arrived
from Chalco with information that they were in a more perilous situation
than before. Guatimotzin was enraged at the defection of the inhabitants
of Chalco, and determined to inflict upon them the most exemplary
chastisement. For this purpose, he sent a force of 20,000 Mexican warriors
across the lake in 2000 canoes, with orders to lay waste the whole
district with fire and sword. On the communication of this intelligence to
Cortes, he was exceedingly enraged at Sandoval, believing that this had
been occasioned by his negligence, and he gave him orders to return
instantly to the defence of Chalco, refusing even to hear his relation of
what he had already done. Sandoval was much hurt at this treatment, yet
went back to Chalco with all possible expedition; but found the business
over before his arrival, as the inhabitants of that province, having
summoned their neighbours to their aid, had already repelled the Mexican
invasion, and Sandoval had only to return to head-quarters with the

At this period a proclamation was issued, by which all the soldiers were
ordered to bring in the Indian prisoners to be branded, and to pay for
them the royal dues. I have already mentioned the treatment we formerly
met with at Tepeaca on a similar occasion, but we were worse used now at
Tezcuco if possible. In the first place a fifth was taken away for the
king; then another fifth for Cortes; and, what was still worse, most of
the good female slaves were abstracted during the night. We had been
promised that all the slaves should be rated according to their value; but
the officers of the crown valued them as they thought proper, and at a
most exorbitant rate. In consequence of this, the poor soldiers for the
future passed their slaves as servants, denying that they were prisoners
of war, to avoid the heavy duty; and such as were in favour with Cortes,
often got their slaves marked privately, paying him the composition. Many
of the slaves who happened to fall to bad masters, or such as had a bad
reputation, used to run away; but their owners always remained debtors for
their estimated value in the royal books, so that many were more in debt
on this account than all the value of their share in the prize gold could
pay for. About this time likewise, a ship arrived at Villa Rica from Spain
with arms and gunpowder, in which came Julian de Alderete, who was sent
out as royal treasurer. In the same vessel came the elder Orduna, who
brought out five daughters after the conquest, all of whom were honourably
married. Fra Melgarejo de Urrea, also, a Franciscan friar, came in this
vessel, bringing a number of papal bulls, to quiet our consciences from
any guilt we might have incurred during our warfare: He made a fortune of
these in a few months, and returned to Spain. Several other persons came
by this vessel, among whom were, Antonio Caravajal, who still lives in
Mexico, though now very old; Geronimo Ruyz de la Mora; one Briones who was
hanged about four years afterwards for sedition at Guatimala; and Alonzo
Diaz, who now resides in Valladolid. We learned by this ship, with
infinite satisfaction, that the bishop of Burgos had been deprived of all
power over the affairs of the West Indies, as his majesty had been much
displeased with his conduct in regard to our expedition, after having
received a true account of our eminent services.

Scarcely were we apprised of the success of the inhabitants of Chalco and
their confederates, when a new urgent message arrived from Chalco for
assistance against a fresh invasion of the Mexicans. The brigantines
intended for securing the command of the lake were now ready to launch,
and we were all anxious to commence the siege of Mexico, yet Cortes was
sensible of the importance of Chalco to the success of our ultimate
operations, and determined to march in person to its support. Leaving the
command in Tezcuco to Sandoval, Cortes marched for Chalco on Friday the
5th of April 1521, at the head of 300 infantry, including twenty
crossbow-men, and fifteen musketeers, with thirty cavalry, and a large
body of the auxiliaries of Tezcuco and Tlascala, meaning to clear the
district of Chalco and the environs of the lake from the Mexicans. In this
expedition, our general was accompanied by the treasurer Alderete,
Melgarejo the Franciscan friar, with the captains Alvarado de Oli, and
Tapia, and I also was on this expedition. We halted during the first night
at Tlalmanalco, and reached Chalco next day, when Cortes convened all the
chiefs of that state, to whom he communicated his intention of proceeding
very soon to attack Mexico, in which they engaged to give him all the
assistance in their power. We continued our march next day to Chimalhuecan
or Chimalacoan, a town in the province of Chalco, where above twenty
thousand warriors had assembled to join us, belonging to our allies of
Chalco, Guaxocingo, Tlascala, Tezcuco, and other places, being the largest
body of our allies that I had hitherto seen together. These were attracted
by the hope of plunder, and by a voracious appetite for human flesh, just
as the vultures and other birds of prey follow our armies in Italy, in
order to feast on dead bodies after a battle.

At this place we were informed that the Mexican forces, and their allies
or subjects in that neighbourhood, were in the field to oppose us. Cortes
therefore issued orders to the army to be always ready for action at a
moments warning, and we proceeded on our march next morning early, after
hearing mass, our route lying between two ridges of rocks, the summits of
which were fortified and filled with large bodies of the enemy[9], who
endeavoured by outcries and reproaches to incite us to attack them. But we
pursued our march to Guaztepeque or Huaxtepec, a large town on the
southern declivity of the mountains, which we found abandoned. Beyond this
place we came to a plain in which water was very scarce, on one side of
which was a lofty rock having a fortress on the summit which was filled
with troops, who saluted us on our approach with showers of arrows and
stones, by which three of our soldiers were wounded at the first discharge.
Cortes ordered us to halt, and sent a party of cavalry to reconnoitre the
rock, who reported on their return that the side where we then were seemed
the most accessible. We were then ordered to the attack, Corral preceding
us with the colours, and Cortes remained on the plain with our cavalry to
protect the rear. On ascending the mountain, the Indians threw down great
fragments of rock, which rolled among us and rebounded over our heads in a
most frightful manner, so that it was wonderful how any of us escaped.
This was a most injudicious attack, and very unlike the usual prudence of
our general. One soldier, named Martin Valenciano, though defended by a
helmet, was killed at my side. As we continued to ascend, three more
soldiers, Gaspar Sanches, one named Bravo, and Alonzo Rodriguez, were
slain, and two others knocked down, most of the rest being wounded, yet we
continued to ascend. I was then young and active, and followed close
behind our ensign, taking advantage of any hollows in the rock for shelter.
Corral was wounded in the head, having his face all covered with blood,
and the colours he bore were all torn to rags. "Senor Diaz," said he to me,
"let us remain under cover, for it is impossible to advance, and it is all
I can do to keep my hold." On looking down, I noticed Pedro Barba the
captain of our crossbows climbing up with two soldiers, and taking
advantage as we had done of the concavities of the rock. I called to him
not to advance, as it was impossible to climb much farther, and utterly
out of our power to gain the summit. He replied in lofty terms, to keep
silence and proceed; on which I exerted myself and got a good way higher,
saying we should see what he would do. At this moment a shower of large
fragments of rocks came tumbling down, by which one of the soldiers along
with Barba was crushed to death, after which he did not stir a step
higher. Corral now called out to those below, desiring them to report to
the general that it was utterly impossible to advance, and that even
retreat was infinitely dangerous. On learning this, and being informed
that most of us were wounded and many killed, as he could not see us on
account of the inequalities of the rock, Cortes recalled us by signal, and
we came back in a very bloody and bruised condition, eight of our party
having been slain. Three even of the cavalry were killed on the plain and
seven wounded, by the masses of rock, which rebounded to a great distance
after their descent from so great a height.

Numerous bodies of Mexicans were lying in wait for us, intending to have
attacked us while engaged in the ascent, and now advanced towards us in
the plain; but we soon drove them before us, on which they took shelter
among some other rocky ridges. We pursued them through some narrow passes
among the rocks, and found they had taken shelter in another very strong
fortress, similar to that from which we had been repulsed. We desisted for
the present, and returned to our former post in search of water, our men
and horses having been unable to procure any during the whole of this day.
We found some appearance of springs at the foot of the rock, but they had
been drawn dry by the great numbers of the enemy, and nothing remained but
mud. Being under the necessity of endeavouring to procure water, we
returned again to the second fortress, which was about a league and a half
from the first, where we found a small village with a grove of mulberry
trees, in which we discovered a very scanty spring. The people above
discharged their missile weapons on our approach, seeming to be much more
numerous than in the former place, and they were so situated that no shot
from us could reach them. For some way up the rock, there were evident
paths, but it seemed to present insurmountable difficulties against any
attack. Fortunately for us there was another rock which commanded that on
which the enemy were posted, and within shot, to which all our fire-arms
and crossbows were detached, and the rest of our infantry proceeded to
climb up the garrisoned rock slowly and with infinite difficulty. The
enemy might easily have destroyed us by rolling down fragments of rocks on
our heads, but their attention was called off from their main defence by
our missiles, though rather at too great distance to produce much effect;
yet having killed several of the enemy, they lost heart and offered to
submit. On this, Cortes ordered five of their chiefs to come down, and
offered to pardon them for their hostile resistance, on condition that
they should induce those in the other fortress to surrender, which they
accordingly engaged for. Cortes then sent the captains Xaramillo and de
Ircio, with the ensign Corral and a party of men, among whom I was, to
ascend the rock which had surrendered, giving us orders not to touch a
grain of maize. I considered this as full permission to do ourselves all
the good in our power. We found this fortress to consist of an extensive
plain on the summit of a perpendicular rock, the entrance to which did not
exceed twice the size of the mouth of an oven. The whole plain was full of
men, women, and children, but they had not a drop of water. Twenty of
their warriors had been slain by our shot, and a great many wounded. All
their property was packed up in bales, among which there was a
considerable quantity of tribute, which had been collected on purpose to
be sent to Mexico. I had brought four of my Indian servants along with me,
whom I began to load, and four of the natives whom I engaged in my service;
but Captain De Ircio ordered me to desist, or he would report me to the
general, putting me in mind that Cortes had forbidden us to touch a grain
of maize. I answered that I had distinctly heard the orders about the
maize, and for that reason I took the bales. But he would not allow me to
carry any thing away, and reported me on our return to Cortes, expecting I
should receive a reprimand; Cortes, however, observed that he was sorry I
had not got the plunder, as the dogs would laugh at us and keep their
property, after all the evil they had done us. De Ircio then proposed to
return; but Cortes said it was not now time. The chiefs now returned from
the other fortress, having induced its garrison to submit; and we returned
to Huaxtepec that we might procure water. Our whole force was lodged for
the night in the buildings belonging to the noble garden which I formerly
mentioned, and I certainly never saw one of such beauty and magnificence.
Our general and others who walked over all its extent, declared that it
was most admirably disposed, and equalled the most magnificent they had
ever seen in Spain.

We marched next day towards the city of Cuernabaca or Quauhnahuac. The
Mexicans who occupied that place came out to fight us, but were soon
defeated and pursued to Teputztlan or Tepatlan, which we took by storm,
and made a considerable booty of Indian women and other spoils. Cortes
summoned the chiefs of this place to come in and submit; and on their
refusal, and on-purpose to impress the inhabitants of other places with
terror, he ordered about the half of this town to be set on fire. At this
time, the chiefs of a town called Yauhtepec came to Cortes and made their
submission. Next day, we returned to Cuernabaca, which is a large town in
a very strong situation, being defended by a deep ravine with a small
rivulet, which precludes all access except by two bridges, which the
inhabitants had broken down on our approach. Cortes was informed of a ford
about half a league above the town which was practicable for the cavalry,
to which he marched, by which the main strength of the enemy was drawn off
to oppose him. We of the infantry searched for means to pass the ravine,
and at length discovered a very dangerous pass by means of some trees
which hung over from both sides, by the help of which about thirty of us
and a considerable number of our Tlascalan allies got across. Three fell
into the ravine, one of whom broke his leg. It was a most terrifying
passage, and at one time I was quite blind with giddiness. Having got over
and formed, we fell unexpectedly on the flank and rear of the enemy, and
being now joined by a party of the cavalry, we soon drove the enemy from
the field into the neighbouring woods and rocks. We found considerable
property in the town, and we were here all lodged in the buildings of a
large garden belonging to the cacique of the district. A deputation of
twenty of the chiefs of the Tlahuican nation now waited on Cortes,
offering to submit their whole country to his authority, and threw all the
blame of their hostilities on the Mexicans.

The object of our next march was against Xochimilco, a large city on the
fresh water lake of Chalco, in which most of the houses are built. As it
was late before we left Quauhnahuac, and the weather was exceedingly
sultry, our troops suffered excessively for want of water, which was not
to be procured on our route. Many of our allies fainted, and one of them,
and also one of our soldiers died of thirst. Seeing the distress of the
army, Cortes ordered a halt in a pine forest, and sent forwards a party in
search of relief. As I saw my friend De Oli about to set off, I took three
of my Indian servants and followed the party, who endeavoured to persuade
me to return; but I was resolute, and De Oli at length consented, telling
me I should have to fight my way. At the distance of about half a league
our cavalry came to some villages on the side of a ridge of mountains,
where they found water in the houses, and one of my servants brought me a
large jar full of water. Having quenched my thirst, I now determined to
return, as the natives had taken the alarm, and were gathering to attack
us. I found Cortes just about to resume the march, and gave him and the
officers, who were with him a hearty draught from my jar. The whole army
now moved forward to the villages, where a scanty supply of water was
procured. It was now near sunset, and the cavalry came in with a report
that the whole country had risen against us, on which account we halted
here for the night, which was very rainy with much wind, as I well
remember, being on the night guard. Several of our soldiers were taken ill
here with inflammation of their mouth and throat, owing to their having
eaten a species of artichoke to quench their thirst.

We resumed our march early next morning, and arrived about eight o'clock
at Xochimilco[10]. I can give no idea of the prodigious force of the enemy
which was collected at this place to oppose us. They had broken down the
bridges, and fortified themselves with many parapets and pallisades, and
many of their chiefs were armed with the swords which we lost during our
flight from Mexico, which they had polished very nicely. The attack at the
bridge lasted above half an hour, several of our people getting across by
swimming, in which attempt some were drowned, and we were assailed at once
in front and rear and on both flanks. At length our cavalry got on firm
ground, after losing several men, and we drove the enemy before us; but
just at this time a fresh reinforcement of at least 10,000 Mexicans
arrived, and received the charge of the cavalry with great intrepidity,
and wounded four of our men. At this moment the good chesnut horse on
which Cortes rode fell under him among a crowd of the enemy, who knocked
him down, and great numbers gathering around were carrying him off, when a
body of our Tlascalan allies came up to his rescue, headed by the valiant
De Oli, and remounted him, after he had been severely wounded in the head.
De Oli also received three desperate sword wounds from the enemy. As all
the streets of the town were full of Mexican warriors, we had to divide
into a number of separate bodies in order to fight them; but we who were
nearest the place in which our general was in such danger, being alarmed
by the uncommon noise and outcry, hurried there, where they found him and
about fifteen of the cavalry in a very embarrassing situation, amid
parapets and canals where the horse had no freedom to act. We immediately
attacked the enemy, whom we forced to give ground, and brought off Cortes
and De Oli. On first passing at the bridge, Cortes had ordered the cavalry
to act in two divisions on purpose to clear our flanks: They returned at
this time all wounded, and reported that the enemy were so numerous and
desperate, that all their efforts wore unavailing to drive them away. At
the time the cavalry came in, we were in an enclosed court, dressing our
wounds with rags and burnt oil; and the enemy sent in such showers of
arrows among us that hardly any escaped being wounded. We all now sallied
out upon the enemy, both cavalry and infantry, and made considerable havoc
among them with our swords, so that we drove them away and they gave over
their attempt to storm our post. Having now some relaxation, Cortes
brought our whole force to the large enclosures in which the temples were
situated; and on some of us ascending to the top of one of the temples,
where we had a commanding view of Mexico and the lake, we perceived about
two thousand canoes full of troops coming to attack us. A body of ten
thousand men were likewise seen in full march by land for the same purpose,
and the enemy had already fully that number in and about the town. We
learned from five chiefs whom we had made prisoners, that this immense
force was destined to assault our quarters that night; for which reason
strong guards were posted at all the places where the enemy were expected
to disembark; the cavalry were held in readiness to charge upon them on
the roads and firm ground; and constant patroles were kept going about
during the night. I was posted along with ten other soldiers to keep guard
at a stone and lime wall which commanded one of the landing-places, and
while there we heard a noise occasioned by the approach of a party of the
enemy, whom we beat off, sending a report to Cortes by one of our number.
The enemy made a second attempt, in which they knocked down two of our men;
but being again repulsed, they made an attempt to land at a different
place, where there was a small gate communicating with a deep canal. The
night was extremely dark, and as the natives were not accustomed to fight
in the night time, their troops fell into confusion; and instead of making
their attack in two opposite places at the same time, they formed in one
body of at least 15,000 men.

When our report reached Cortes, he came to us attended by nine or ten of
the cavalry, and as he did not answer my challenge, I and my comrade
Gonzalo Sanchez, a Portuguese from Algarve, fired three or four shots at
them; on which knowing our voices, Cortes observed to his escort, that
this post did not require to be inspected, as it was in charge of two of
his veterans. He then observed that our post was a dangerous one, and
continued his rounds without saying any more. I was afterwards told that
one of the soldiers of Narvaez was whipped this very night for negligence
on his post. As our powder was all expended, we were ordered to prepare a
good supply of arrows for the crossbows, and were employed all the rest of
the night in heading and feathering these, under the direction of Pedro
Barba, who was captain of the crossbow-men. At break of day the enemy made
a fresh attack and killed one Spaniard, but we drove them back, killing
several of their chiefs, and took a great many prisoners. Our cavalry had
been ordered out to charge the Mexicans, but finding them in great force,
they sent back for assistance. The whole of our army now sallied forth and
completely defeated the enemy, from whom we took several prisoners. From
these men, we learned that the Mexicans intended to weary us out by
reiterated attacks, on which account it was resolved to evacuate the place
next day. In the mean time, having information that the town contained
much wealth, we got some of the prisoners to point out the houses in which
it was contained, which stood in the water of the fresh water lake, and
could only be approached by small bridges over the canals, leading from a
causeway. A considerable number both of our men and of the allies went to
these houses, from which they brought away a great deal of booty in cotton
cloth and other valuable articles, and this example was followed by others.
While thus employed, a body of Mexicans came upon them unexpectedly in
canoes, and besides wounding many of our men, they seized four soldiers
alive, whom they carried off in triumph to Mexico; and from these men
Guatimotzin learnt the smallness of our number, and the great loss we had
sustained in killed and wounded. After questioning them as much as he
thought proper, Guatimotzin commanded their hands and feet to be cut off,
and sent them in this mutilated condition through many of the surrounding
districts, as an example of the treatment he intended for us all, and then
ordered them to be put to death.

On the ensuing morning we had to sustain a fresh attack, as had regularly
been the case during the four days we remained in Xochimilco, but which we
now determined to quit. Before commencing our march, Cortes drew up the
army in an open place a little way out of the town, in which the markets
were held, where he made us a speech, in which he expatiated on the
dangers we had to encounter in our march, and the strong bodies of the
enemy we might expect to oppose our retreat, and then warmly urged us to
leave all our plunder and luggage, that we might not be exposed to danger
in its defence. We remonstrated, however, that it would be a cowardly act
to abandon what we had so hardly won, declaring that we felt confident of
being able to defend our persons and property against all assailants. He
gave way, therefore, to our wishes, and arranged the order of our march,
placing the baggage in the centre, and dividing the cavalry and crossbows
between the van and rear guards, as our musketry was now useless for want
of powder. The enemy harassed us by continual assaults all the way from
Xochimilco to Cuyocan, or Cojohuacan, a city on the borders of the lake,
near one of the causeways leading to Mexico, which we found abandoned, and
where we took up our quarters for two days, taking care of our wounds, and
making arrows for our crossbows. The enemy which had especially obstructed
us on this march, consisted of the inhabitants of Xochimilco, Cuyocan,
Huitzilopochco, Iztapalapa, Mizquic, and five other towns, all of
considerable size, and built on the edge of the lake, near one another,
and not far from Mexico. On the third morning we marched for Tlacopan or
Tacuba, harassed as usual by the enemy, but our cavalry soon forced them
to retire to their canals and ditches. During this march, Cortes attempted
to lay an ambush for the enemy, for which purpose he set out with ten
horsemen and four servants, but had nearly fallen into a snare himself.
Having encountered a party a Mexicans who fled before him, he pursued them
too far, and was suddenly surrounded by a large body of warriors, who
started out from an ambuscade, and wounded all the horses in the first
attack, carrying off two of the attendants of Cortes to be sacrificed at
Mexico, the rest of the party escaping with considerable difficulty. Our
main body reached Tacuba in safety, with all the baggage; but as Cortes
and his party did not appear, we began to entertain suspicions of some
misfortune having befallen him. On this account, Alvarado, De Oli, Tapia,
and I, with some others, went to look for him in the direction in which we
had last seen him. We soon met two of his servants, who informed us of
what had happened, and were shortly afterwards joined by Cortes, who
appeared extremely sad, and even shed tears.

When we arrived at our quarters in Tacuba, which were in some large
enclosed courts, it rained very heavily, and we were obliged to remain
exposed for about two hours. On the weather clearing up, the general and
his officers, with many of the men who were off duty, went up to the top
of the great temple of Tacuba, whence we had a most delightful prospect of
the lake, with all its numerous cities and towns, rising as it were out of
the water. Innumerable canoes were seen in all directions, some employed
in fishing, and others passing with provisions or merchandize of all kinds.
We all gave praise to God, who had been pleased to render us the
instruments for bringing the numerous inhabitants of so fine a country to
the knowledge of his holy name; yet the bloody scenes which we had already
experienced in Mexico, filled us with melancholy for the past, and even
with some apprehension for the future. These recollections made Cortes
exceedingly sad, regretting the many valiant soldiers he had already lost,
and the brave men whom he might still expect to fall before he could be
able to reduce the great, strong, and populous city of Mexico to
submission[11]. Our reverend Father Olmedo, endeavoured to console him,
and one of our soldiers observed, that such was the fortune of war, and
that our general was in a very different situation from Nero, when he
contemplated his capital on fire. Cortes replied, that he felt melancholy
while reflecting on the fatigues and dangers we should still have to pass
through; but that he should soon take effectual measures for bringing the
great object in view to a speedy conclusion. Having no particular purpose
to serve by remaining in Tacuba, some of our officers and soldiers
proposed to take a view of the causeway where we had suffered so severely
on the fatal night of our flight from Mexico; but this was considered
dangerous and imprudent. We accordingly proceeded on our march by
Escapozalco, which was abandoned by the enemy on our approach, to
Terajoccan, which was also deserted, and thence to Coatitlan or Guatitlan,
where we arrived excessively fatigued, as it never ceased raining during
the whole of that day. We took up our quarters in that place for the night,
which was excessively rainy; and, though the enemy gave us some alarms
during the night, I can testify that no proper watch was kept, owing to
the inclemency of the weather, as my post was not visited either by rounds
or corporal. From Coatitlan, we continued our march by a deep miry road,
through four or five other towns, all abandoned, and arrived in two days
at Aculman or Oculman, in the territory of Tezcuco, where we received the
pleasing intelligence that a reinforcement had arrived to us from Spain.
Next day we proceeded to Tezcuco, where we arrived worn out with wounds
and fatigue, and even diminished in our numbers.

Soon after our return to Tezcuco, a conspiracy was formed for the
assassination of our general, at the head of which was one Antonio de
Villafana, an adherent of Velasquez, and some of the other soldiers who
had come over with Narvaez, but whose names I do not choose to mention,
and the conspirators had even communicated their plan to two principal
officers, whom I will not name, one of whom was to have been appointed
captain-general on the death of Cortes. They had even arranged matters for
the appointment of alguazil-major, alcaldes, regidor, contador, treasurer,
veedor, and others of that kind, and of captains and standard-bearer to
the army, all from among the soldiers of Narvaez. All the principal
adherents of Cortes were to have been put to death, and the conspirators
were to have divided our properties, arms, and horses, among themselves.
This business was revealed to Cortes, only two days after our return to
Tezcuco, by the repentance of one of the conspirators, whom he amply
rewarded. The general immediately communicated the intelligence to
Alvarado, De Oli, Sandoval, Tapia, Luis Marin, and Pedro de Ircio, who
were the two alcaldes for the time, also to me, and to all in whom he
reposed confidence. We all accompanied Cortes, well armed, to the quarters
of Villafana, where he found him and many others of the conspirators, and
took him immediately into custody. The others endeavoured to escape, but
were all detained and sent to prison. Cortes took a paper from the bosom
of Villafana, having the signatures of all his accomplices; but which he
afterwards pretended that Villafana had swallowed, to set the minds of the
conspirators at rest, as they were too numerous to be all punished in the
present weak state of our army. Villafana was immediately tried, and made
a full confession; and his guilt being likewise clearly established by
many witnesses, the judges, who were Cortes, the two alcaldes, and De Oli,
condemned him to die. Having confessed himself to the reverend Juan Diaz,
he was hanged from a window of the apartment. No more of the conspirators
were proceeded against; but Cortes thought it prudent to appoint a body
guard for his future security, selected from among those who had been with
him from the first, of which Antonio de Quinones was made captain.

At this period an order was issued for bringing in all our prisoners to
be marked, being the third time since we came to the country. If that
operation were unjustly conducted the first time, it was worse the second,
and this time worse than ever; for besides the two fifths for the king and
Cortes, no less than thirty draughts were made for the captains; besides
which, all the handsome females we had given in to be marked, were stolen
away, and concealed till it became convenient to produce them.

As the brigantines were entirely finished, and the canal for their passage
into the lake was now sufficiently wide and deep for that purpose, Cortes
issued orders to all the districts in our alliance, near Tezcuco, to send
him, in the course of ten days, 8000 arrow-shafts from each district, made
of a particular wood, and as many copper heads. Within the appointed time,
the whole number required was brought to head-quarters, all executed
better than even the patterns. Captain Pedro Barba, who commanded the
crossbows, ordered each of his soldiers to provide two cords and nuts, and
to try the range of their bows. Cortes ordered all the cavalry to have
their lances new-headed, and to exercise their horses daily. He sent
likewise an express to the elder Xicotencatl at Tlascala, otherwise called
Don Lorenzo de Vargas, to send 20,000 of the warriors of Tlascala,
Huixotzinco and Cholula; and he sent similar orders to Chalco and
Tlalmanalco; ordering all our allies to rendezvous at Tezcuco on the day
after the festival of the Holy Ghost, 28th April 1521. And on that day,
Don Hernandez Ixtlilxochitl of Tezcuco, was to join us with all his forces.
Some considerable reinforcements of soldiers, horses, arms, and ammunition
had arrived from Spain and other places, so that when mustered mustered on
the before-mentioned day by Cortes, in the large enclosures of Tezcuco,
our Spanish force amounted to the following number: 84 cavalry, 650
infantry, armed with sword and buckler, or pikes, and 194 musketeers and
crossbow-men, in all 928 Spaniards. From this number he selected 12
musketeers or crossbow-men, and 12 of the other infantry, for rowers to
each of the vessels, in all 312 men, appointing a captain to each vessel;
and he distributed 20 cannoneers through the fleet, which he armed with
such guns as we had that were fit for this service. Many of our men had
been formerly sailors, yet all were extremely averse from acting as rowers
on the present occasion; for which reason the general made inquiry as to
those who were natives of sea-ports, or who had formerly been fishers or
seafaring men, all of whom he ordered to the oars; and though some of them
pled their gentility as an exemption, he would hear of no excuse. By these
means he obtained 150 men for this service, who were in fact in a much
better situation than we who bore the brunt and danger of the war on land,
as will appear in the sequel. When all this was arranged, and the crews
embarked along with their commanders, each brigantine hoisted a royal
standard, and every one a distinguishing flag. Cortes likewise gave the
captains written instructions for their guidance, dividing them into
squadrons, each of which was to co-operate with a particular leader of the
land forces.

Cortes now issued the following general orders to the army: 1. No person
to blaspheme the Lord Jesus, his Virgin Mother, the Holy Apostles, or any
of the Saints, under heavy penalties. 2. No soldier to maltreat any of our
allies in their persons or properties. 3. No soldier to be absent from
quarters on any pretence. 4. Every soldier to keep his arms, both
offensive and defensive, in the best order. 5. No soldier to stake his
horse or arms in gaming. 6. No soldier to sleep out of his armour, or
without his arms beside him, except when disabled by wounds or sickness.
Lastly, the penalty of death was denounced for sleeping on guard, for a
sentinel quitting his post, for absence from quarters without leave, for
quitting the ranks in the field, or for flight in battle.

At this time our allies of Tlascala arrived under the command of
Xicotencatl the younger, who was accompanied by his two brothers. Some of
the warriors of Huexotzinco and Cholula came along with the Tlascalans,
but not in any great numbers[12], yet the alacrity of our allies was such
that they joined us a day previous to that which was appointed by Cortes.
They marched in with great military parade, each of the chiefs carrying a
standard with their national device, a white spread eagle, and they were
all in high spirits, shouting out, Castilla! Castilla! Tlascala! Tlascala!
From the arrival of their van, till the rear came in, took up three hours.
Cortes received them with great courtesy, promising to make them all rich
on their return to their native country, and dismissed them with many
compliments to their respective quarters.

Cortes made the following arrangement of our land army for the investment
of Mexico, distributing our forces in three separate divisions, under the
respective commands of Alvarado, De Oli, and Sandoval, reserving to
himself to act where his presence might be most necessary, and taking in
the mean time the command of the fleet. Pedro de Alvarado, under whom I
served, had 150 infantry, 30 cavalry, 18 musketeers and crossbow-men, and
8000 Tlascalans, and was ordered to take post at Tacuba, having three
captains under his command, his brother Jorge de Alvarado, Pedro
Guttierrez, and Andres de Monjara, having each a company of 50 infantry,
with a third of the musketeers and crossbow-men, the cavalry being
commanded by Alvarado in person.--Christoval de Oli commanded the second
division, having under him Andres de Tapia, Francisco Verdugo, and
Francisco de Lugo, with 175 infantry, 30 cavalry, 20 musketeers and
crossbows, and 8000 of our Indian allies. This division was ordered to
take post at Cuyoacan or Cojohuacan.--The third division, under the
command of Gonzalo de Sandoval, who had under him captains Luis Marin and
Pedro de Ircio, consisted of 150 infantry, 24 cavalry, 14 musketeers and
crossbows, and above 8000 Indian warriors, was to take post at Iztapalapa.
The division of Alvarado and De Oli were ordered to march from Tezcuco by
the right, going round the northern side of the lake, and the third, under
Sandoval, by the left, to the south end of the lake; and his march being
much shorter, he was ordered to remain in Tezcuco until Cortes should sail
out with the fleet[13].

Before setting out on their march, Alvarado and De Oli directed our Indian
allies to go on a day before us, that we might not be interrupted by their
numbers, and ordered them to wait for us when they reached the Mexican
territory. While on their march, Chichimecatl remarked that Xicotencatl,
the commander in chief of the Tlascalans was absent; and it was found that
he had secretly gone off from Tezcuco for Tlascala on the preceding night,
in order to take possession of the territory and property of Chichimecatl,
thinking this a good opportunity during the absence of that chief and his
warriors, and being in no apprehension of any opposition, now that
Maxicatzin was dead. Chichimecatl returned immediately to Tezcuco, to
inform Cortes of what had taken place; and our general sent five chiefs of
Tezcuco and two Tlascalan chiefs, to request Xicotencatl to return. He
answered, that if his old father and Maxicatzin had listened to him, they
would not have been now domineered over by Cortes and the Spaniards, and
absolutely refused to go back. On this haughty answer being reported to
Cortes, he immediately sent off an alguazil with four horsemen and five
Tezcucan chiefs, ordering them to seize and hang Xicotencatl wherever they
could find him. Alvarado interceded strongly for his pardon, but
ineffectually; for though Cortes seemed to relent, the party who arrested
Xicotencatl in a town subject to Tezcuco, hung him up by private orders
from Cortes, and some reported that this was done with the approbation of
the elder Xicotencatl, father to the Tlascalan general. This affair
detained us a whole day, and on the next the two divisions of Alvarado and
De Oli marched by the same route, halting for the night at Aculma or
Alcolman, a town belonging to the state of Tezcuco, where a very ruinous
quarrel was near taking place between our two commanders and their
divisions. De Oli had sent some persons before to take quarters for his
troops, and had appropriated every house in the place for his men, marking
them by setting up green boughs on the terraces; so that when Alvarado
arrived with his division, we had not a single house for us to lodge in.
Our soldiers were much irritated at this circumstance, and stood
immediately to their arms to fight with those of De Oli, and the two
commanders even challenged each other; but several of the more prudent of
the officers on both sides interposed, and a reconciliation was effected,
yet Alvarado and De Oli were never afterwards good friends. An express was
sent off immediately to apprize Cortes of this misunderstanding, who wrote
to all the people of any influence in the two divisions, greatly
condemning the circumstances of this disagreement, which might have
produced fatal consequences to our whole army, and earnestly recommended a
reconcilement. We continued our march for two days more, by several
Mexican cities, which were abandoned by their inhabitants; and passing
through Coatitlan, Tenajoccan and Itzcapuzalco, where our allies waited
for us, we proceeded for Tacuba, otherwise called Tlacopan.

[1] According to Clavigero, II. 135, the Spanish force at this time
    amounted to forty cavalry, divided into four troops, and 550 infantry,
    in nine companies: But he swells the auxiliary force of the Tlascalans
    to 110,000 men.--E.

[2] In the very imperfect maps of Diaz and Clavigero, Tezcuco is placed
    near the mouth of a rivulet which discharges itself into the lake of
    Mexico: In the former, the buildings are represented as extending two
    miles and a half along the rivulet, and coming close to the edge of
    the lake; but the map of Clavigero has no scale. In the map given by
    Humboldt, Tezcuco is placed on a rising ground, near two miles from
    the edge of the lake. But the lake has since the time of Cortes been
    much diminished in extent by a grand drain, insomuch that Mexico,
    formerly insulated, is now a mile and a half from the lake.--E.

[3] On this occasion Diaz mentions the inhabitants of Chalco, Tlalmalanco,
    Mecameca, and Chimaloacan, as the allies of the Spaniards; but these
    states do not appear to have submitted to the Spaniards till
    afterwards. Cortes employed the interval, from his arrival at Tezcuco
    in the end of December 1520, to the investment of Mexico, at the end
    of May 1521, five months, in detaching a great number of the native
    states from their dependence upon Mexico.--E.

[4] From the circumstance of the gold, it is probable Yuste and his
    companions had been slain on their retreat from Mexico, not on their
    way there as stated in the text. From this and other similar incidents,
    of parties of Spaniards having been slain in different places after
    the retreat from Mexico, it is highly probable that several detached
    parties made their escape, who missed forming a junction with Cortes.
    He, it will be recollected, made a detour round the west and south
    sides of the lake; and it is probable that they had turned to the east,
    as the nearest and most direct way to Tlascala and Villa Rica.--E.

[5] Clavigero, II. 146, exaggerates the armed escort to 30,000 Tlascalan
    warriors, commanded by three chiefs, Chichimecatl, Ayotecatl, and
    Teotlipil. Diaz calls the two last, Teuleticle and Teatical; but
    though his facts are fully more to be depended upon, Clavigero may be
    accounted better versant in Mexican orthography.--E.

[6] Clavigero, II. 146, quotes Diaz as saying that it extended six miles
    from front to rear. This may very likely have been the case, but Diaz
    nowhere specifies the length of the line.--E.

[7] Clavigero says, 350 Spanish infantry, 25 horsemen, and 30,000
    Tlascalans, with six small cannon.--E.

[8] Clavigero, II. 147, says that Cortes endeavoured at this time, but in
    vain, to come to an amicable agreement with the court of Mexico.--E.

[9] In this expedition Cortes appears, by the information of Clavigero,
    II. 152, to have crossed the southern mountains of the Mexican vale,
    and to have reduced Huastepec, Jautepec, Quauhnahuac, and other towns
    belonging to the Tlahuicas, who were subject to the Mexican empire;
    thus judiciously using his endeavours to strengthen his own party and
    to weaken that of the Mexicans, before proceeding to assail the
    capital of that powerful empire.--E.

[10] This beautiful city was the largest in the vale of Mexico, after the
    capital and the royal residences of Tezcuco and Tlacopan, and was
    famous for its floating gardens, whence it derived its name,
    signifying flower gardens in the Mexican language.--Clavig. II. 155.

[11] Diaz mentions a poem circulated at the time, as beginning in
    reference to the melancholy of Cortes on this occasion, somewhat in the
    following strain:

      In Tacuba was Cortes, with many a gallant chief;
      He thought upon his losses, and bow'd his head with grief.

[12] Clavigero, II. 159, carries the number of allies which joined Cortes
    on this occasion, to more than 200,000 men. In his enumeration of the
    several divisions of the army appointed for the investment of Mexico,
    Diaz makes the Indian allies very little more than 24,000 warriors.--E.

[13] Diaz mentions, that about this time intelligence came to Tezcuco,
    that three of our soldiers who had been left by Pizarro to search for
    mines in the country of the Zapotecas had been put to death by the
    Mexicans, one only, named Barrientos, having escaped to Chinantla,
    where he was protected by the natives.--E.


_Narrative of Occurrences from the commencement of the Siege of Mexico to
its Reduction, and the Capture of Guatimotzin_.

Having thus, by the occupation of Tacuba, commenced the investment of the
great and populous city of Mexico, we soon found the enemy around us in
great numbers; and as the first operation, it was determined on the
following day, that our divisions should march to Chapoltepec to destroy
the aqueduct at that place, by which the city of Mexico was supplied with
fresh water. We set out accordingly with our allies, and although the
enemy attacked us on our march, we repelled them and succeeded in our
object of cutting off the pipes, so that from that time the city of Mexico
was deprived of fresh water. It was now determined to endeavour to
penetrate to the city of Mexico by the causeway of Tacuba, or at least to
attempt getting possession of the first bridge on that causeway; but on
our arrival there, the prodigious number of boats which covered the water
on both sides, and the multitude of Mexican troops which thronged the
causeway to oppose us, was perfectly astonishing. By the first flight of
arrows which they discharged against us, three of our men were slain and
thirty wounded; yet we advanced to the bridge, the enemy retiring before
us, as if by a concerted stratagem, so that we were exposed on both flanks,
on a narrow road only twenty feet wide, as a butt for the innumerable
arrows of the Mexicans in the canoes, and neither our musquetry nor
crossbows were of any avail against the people in the canoes, as they were
effectually protected by high wooden screens. The horses of our cavalry
were all wounded, and when at any time they made a charge upon the enemy,
they were almost immediately stopt by barriers and parapets which the
enemy had drawn across the causeway for the purpose, and from whence they
defended themselves with long lances. Likewise, when the infantry advanced
along the causeway, instead of abiding our attack, the enemy threw
themselves into the water and escaped by swimming or into their canoes,
returning incessantly to the attack. We were thus engaged for more than an
hour to no useful purpose, the enemy continually increasing in number, by
reinforcements from every part of the lake; and our allies, instead of
being serviceable, only encumbered the causeway and hindered our movements.
Finding that we were unable any longer to resist the multitude of enemies
who assailed us perpetually from the water, and almost with entire
impunity, we determined to retreat to our quarters in Tacuba, having eight
of our men slain and above fifty wounded, and were closely followed up and
much harassed by the enemy during our retreat. De Oli laid the blame of
the disaster of this day on the rashness of Alvarado.

Next day[1], though we were all extremely solicitous for the two captains
to remain together, De Oli proceeded with his division to take possession
of Cojohuacan, according to the orders he had received from Cortes; but
this separation was assuredly extremely ill judged; as, if the enemy had
known the smallness of our numbers at the two stations, they might have
fallen upon and destroyed us separately, during the four or five days that
we remained divided before the arrival of Cortes with the brigantines. In
all that time we never ventured to make any more attempts against the
Mexican causeways, but the enemy frequently sent bodies of their troops to
the main land to make attacks on our quarters, on which occasions we
always drove them away.

Sandoval with his division did not leave Tezcuco until the fourth day
after the feast of Corpus Christi[2], when he marched through a friendly
country by the south side of the lake, and arrived without interruption in
front of Iztapalapa. Immediately on his arrival, he commenced an attack on
the enemy, and burnt many of the houses in that part of the town which
stood on the firm land; but fresh bodies of Mexican warriors came over in
canoes and by the causeway of Iztapalapa to relieve their friends in the
town, and made a determined resistance against Sandoval. While the
engagement was going on, a smoke was observed to arise from a hill above
the town, which was answered by similar signals at many other points
around the lake, which were afterwards found to have been made to apprize
the enemy of the appearance of our flotilla on the lake. On this, the
efforts of the enemy against Sandoval were much relaxed, as their canoes
and warriors were recalled to oppose our naval force; and Sandoval was
thus enabled to take up his quarters in a part of the town of Iztapalapa;
between which and Cojohuacan the only means of communication was by a
causeway or mound dividing the lake of Chalco from that of Mexico or
Tezcuco, which passage was at that time impracticable in the face of the

"Before proceeding to the narrative of the siege of Mexico, it may be
proper to give some account of the situation of the city of Mexico, and
the mounds or causeways by which it communicated with the land at the
several posts which were occupied by Cortes for its investment[3]. The
city of Mexico was built partly on an island and partly in the water, at
the west side of a considerable salt lake, named sometimes the lake of
Tezcuco, and sometimes the lake of Mexico, and appears to have been about
a mile from the firm land. It communicated with the land by three mounds
or causeways; that of Tepejacac on the north, about three miles long,
measuring from the great temple in centre of Mexico; that usually called
of Iztapalapa on the south, nearly five miles in length; and that of
Tacuba or Tlacopan on the west, about two miles long, likewise measuring
from the temple; but at least a mile may be abstracted from each of these
measurements, on account of the extent of the city from the great temple
to the commencement of the causeways. About the middle of the southern
causeway called that of Iztapalapa, another causeway branched off
obliquely to the south-east, to the town of Cojohuacan; and at the place
where these two causeways united stood the town of Xoloc, partly on the
sides of the causeways, but chiefly in the water intersected by canals and
ditches. Besides these three grand causeways for communicating with the
land, there was a smaller mound about two miles south from the causeway of
Tacuba, from a town named Chapoltepec, along which the aqueduct, or pipes,
for supplying Mexico with fresh water was carried; but this appears to
have been too narrow for allowing any passage, at least the Spaniards do
not seem to have availed themselves of it, in their long and arduous
endeavours to force their way into Mexico. Near the south-west angle of
the salt lake of Mexico, it communicated by a narrow neck or strait with
the fresh water lake of Chalco; and at their junction a mound or causeway
had been constructed across, to prevent the admixture of the salt and
fresh lakes, having a town called Mexicaltzinco at the eastern extremity
of this mound. Iztapalapa stood in the western end of the peninsula,
between the lakes of Mexico and Chalco, but on the borders and in the
waters of the former. The whole fertile vale of Mexico or Anahuac, around
these two lakes, and some others to the north of the great lake, was
thickly planted with cities, towns, and villages, and highly cultivated,
containing and giving subsistence to a prodigious population. The extent
of this extraordinary valley, elevated nearly 8000 feet above the level of
the sea, is about 50 miles from north to south, and forty miles from east
to west; being surrounded on every side by ridges of lofty mountains, some
of them perpetually covered with snow, and rising to about 10,000 feet in
perpendicular elevation above the ocean."

When Cortes brought out his fleet of brigantines upon the lake, he went in
the first place to attack an insular rock close beside Mexico, on which a
vast number of the inhabitants of that city and other places in the
neighbourhood had taken shelter. Immediately on perceiving his intentions,
their whole force collected from every part of the lake, and proceeded
against him in not less than 4000 large canoes full of warriors. On
perceiving this immense number of boats coming to attack him, Cortes
withdrew with his brigantines into an open part of the lake, ordering his
captains to wait patiently for a breeze of wind which then began to blow.
As the enemy supposed that this movement proceeded from fear, they
immediately closed up around the flotilla with shouts of triumph. The wind
now sprung up, and the whole fleet made sail through the throng of canoes,
plying their oars at the same time, and run down and overset great numbers
of the Mexican canoes, compelling all the rest to fly for shelter to the
recesses and shallows on the borders of the lake. After this, Cortes made
sail to Cojohuacan[4], where he was again attacked by the Mexicans, both
by means of their canoes on the water, and from their temples on the land:
But Cortes brought four guns to bear upon them, by which he did
considerable execution. During this action his powder magazine blew up,
owing to some mismanagement of the gunners, by which many of his people
were wounded. This unfortunate accident obliged him to detach his smallest
brigantine to Sandoval for a supply of ammunition. He remained at
Cojohuacan for two days with the flotilla, repairing the injury his ship
had sustained from the explosion.

When we were assured that the flotilla was out upon the lake, Alvarado
marched out with our division to the causeway of Tacuba, as far as the
bridge, in which we were constantly engaged with the enemy to very little
purpose, except that we repaired the passes in our rear as we advanced,
and did not now suffer the cavalry to come upon the causeway, as we had
found by experience that they were of very little service, and besides
that their horses were exposed to much danger. Finding that he could not
sufficiently annoy the enemy in his present post at Iztapalapa, where the
Mexicans had possession of the houses which were built in the water,
Sandoval advanced by a causeway to a more commanding situation[5]. When
this was noticed from Mexico, a large detachment of warriors came over in
canoes, with orders to cut the causeway in the rear of our troops. Cortes
observed this, and immediately made sail with his vessels to the relief of
Sandoval, giving orders at the same time to De Oli to march a body of
troops by the causeway for the same purpose. Having relieved Sandoval by
these means, Cortes ordered him to remove with his division from
Iztapalapa to Tepeaquilla or Tepejacac, where the church of our Lady of
Guadalupe now stands, in which many wonderful miracles have been performed.

As it was impossible for our troops to advance on the causeways, unless
their flanks were secured from attacks by water, the flotilla was
appointed to this service in three divisions, one of which was attached to
each of the three detachments of our land force: Four brigantines being
allotted to Alvarado, six to De Oli, and two to Sandoval[6]; twelve in all,
the thirteenth having been found too small for service, and was therefore
laid up, and her crew distributed to the rest, as twenty men had been
already severely wounded in the several vessels. Alvarado now led our
division to attack the causeway of Tacuba, placing two brigantines on each
flank for our protection. We drove the enemy before us from several of
their bridges and barricades; but after fighting the whole day, we were
obliged to retreat to our quarters at night, almost all of us wounded by
the incessant showers of stones and arrows of the enemy. We were
continually assailed on the causeway, by fresh troops of warriors,
carrying different banners or devices; and our brigantines were
excessively annoyed from the terraces of the houses which stood in the
water; and as we could not leave a party to keep possession of what we had
acquired during the day, the enemy repossessed themselves of the bridges
at night, and repaired and strengthened their parapets and other defences.
In some places they deepened the water, digging pits in the shallow places,
and placing the canoes in ambush, which they secured against the approach
of our brigantines by means of pallisades under water. Every day we were
employed in the same manner, driving the enemy before us, and every night
we returned to our quarters to bind up our wounds. The cavalry were of no
service, on account of the barricades defended by long lances; and the
soldiers even did not choose to risk their horses, as their price at this
time was from eight hundred to a thousand crowns. One Juan, a soldier from
Catalonia, used to heal our wounds by charms and prayers, which by the
mercy of God recovered us very fast; and this being observed by our allies,
all their wounded men applied to Juan, who had more business on his hands
than he was able for. But whether whole or wounded, we were obliged to go
out daily against the enemy, as otherwise our companies would have been
reduced to less than half their strength. Our ensign was disabled almost
every day, as he could not at the same time carry his colours and defend
himself from the enemy. We were abundantly supplied with corn, but were
much in want of refreshments for the wounded men; our chief resource being
_tunas_ or Indian figs, cherries while in season, and a plant called
_quilities_ by the natives. The situation of the other two attacks was
precisely similar to ours. Every day, when we marched to the attack, a
signal was made from the great temple of Tlaltelolco, the great division
of Mexico nearest Tacuba, on which the enemy rushed out against us, and
were continually relieved by fresh troops, marching out in succession.
Finding that we gained nothing by these daily attacks, we changed our plan
of operations. On our causeway there was a small open space, on which
stood some buildings for religious worship, where we formed a lodgment,
and established a post, leaving our cavalry and allies to secure our rear
in Tacuba, whence we were supplied with provisions. Though very badly
lodged in this place, as every shower of rain came in upon us, we
maintained this post and advanced a little towards the city every day,
filling up the trenches which intersected the causeway, and pulling down
the houses on each side, and using their materials to strengthen our
defences. We found it extremely difficult to set the houses on fire, nor
could the flames communicate from house to house, as all the houses were
separated by canals and ditches. During this operation we were subjected
to great danger, as the enemy destroyed us from their terraces when we
endeavoured to swim over from the causeway to these detached houses.

In this manner we gained some ground every day, which we secured by
parapets and other defences, and preserved during the night. Every
evening at sunset, the company which was first for duty, was entrusted
with the advanced post, to which they sent forty men; the second company
sent an equal number at midnight, and the relieved guard did not quit
their post, but had to remain sleeping on the ground; the third company
did the same the same two hours before day-break, and the second now lay
down to sleep, so that we now had 120 men on guard. Sometimes our whole
detachment had to remain under arms the whole night, especially on the
following occasion: We learnt from some of our prisoners, that the
Mexicans intended to force our post by a great effort, which would have
frustrated the other two attacks. For this purpose, all the warriors of
nine towns around the lake, including those of Tacuba, Izcapuzalco, and
Tenajocan, were by a joint attack upon our rear to carry off our baggage
and destroy our bakery in Tacuba, while the Mexicans were to assail us in
front on the causeway. We immediately communicated this intelligence to
our cavalry and allies at headquarters, warning them to keep on the alert.
In pursuance of this plan, we were attacked both in front and rear for
several successive nights, from midnight to day-break. Sometimes the enemy
came on with a prodigious noise of shouting and military instruments, and
at other times stole upon us in profound silence; but their night attacks
were never made with so much resolution as those during the day. Yet we
were harassed to death with continual watching, fatigue, and wounds, and
constantly exposed to cold winds and almost incessant rain. Our post was
reduced to a mere splash of mud and water, and our only food was maize and
miserable herbs. When we complained, the only comfort given us by our
officers, was that such is the fortune of war. Yet all our efforts,
fatigues, and privations, were of little avail; as the parapets we
destroyed and the ditches we filled up during the day, were uniformly
replaced next night by the enemy.

The destruction of the aqueduct of Chapoltepec, from which so much had
been expected, by cutting off the water which supplied the city of Mexico,
was unavailing, neither could we starve them into a surrender, as they
were regularly supplied with every thing they wanted by means of their
canoes from the towns around the lake. In order to prevent this, two of
our brigantines were ordered to cruize every night on the lake, to
intercept these supplies. This measure answered the purpose in some degree,
but not effectually, as some of the canoes escaped into the city every
night. At this time the Mexicans laid a plan to surprise our two cruizing
brigantines. Having concealed thirty of their largest piraguas among some
tall reeds on the borders of the lake, they sent several canoes, as if
carrying provisions, to decoy our vessels into the snare, and even fixed a
number of large wooden piles under water at the place to which our vessels
were to be inveigled. On the appearance of the decoy-canoes, our two
vessels made immediately towards them, the canoes rowing away towards the
ambush followed by our brigantines. As soon as they arrived at the place,
the thirty piraguas immediately surrounded them, and wounded every officer,
soldier, and mariner on board, by their first flight of arrows. Our
vessels could not move on account of the piles, and the enemy continued
the assault with the utmost vigour. One of the captains, named Portilla,
was slain, and Captain Pedro Barba, the commander of our crossbows, died
of his wounds. This ambush completely succeeded, as the two brigantines
fell into the hands of the enemy. They belonged to the principal division
of our flotilla, which was commanded by Cortes in person, who was much
exasperated by the loss; but he soon repayed the enemy in their own way.
He constantly sent out some vessels every night to scour the lake, and on
one occasion they brought in some prisoners of consequence, from whom he
learnt that the enemy had formed another ambuscade of forty large piraguas
and as many canoes. He now laid a plan to turn their schemes against
themselves; for which purpose he sent six vessels one night with muffled
oars, to conceal themselves in a water-cut at the edge of the lake,
covered with bushes and tall reeds, about a quarter of a league from the
ambushment of the enemy. A single brigantine was then sent out early in
the morning, as if in search of the canoes which carried provisions to
Mexico, and having the prisoners on board to point out the place where the
enemies fleet lay concealed. The enemy sent as before some loaded canoes
to decoy the brigantine towards the ambush, and our vessel pursued them
until near the place, where it lay-to, as if fearful to approach. The
Mexican fleet now sallied out upon them, and our brigantine rowed away
towards the place where the six others were concealed, closely followed up
by the enemy. When arrived near enough, the brigantine fired two shots as
a signal, on which the other vessels pushed out against the enemy, running
down many of their vessels, dispersing all the rest, and making a great
number of prisoners. This sickened them at ambushments, and from
henceforwards they did not attempt to cross the lake in their canoes so

Our three divisions of the land army continued to pursue their plan for
gradually advancing along the causeways. Always as we gained ground, we
pulled down the houses on each side, filling up the ditches or canals
which intersected the causeways, and strengthening our posts; in which,
and in all the operations of the war, we were excellently seconded by our
brave Tlascalan allies. On our attack, the Mexicans broke down one of the
bridges in the rear of their own barricades and parapets, leaving one
narrow passage at a place where the water was very deep as a decoy, and
even dug trenches and pitfalls where the water was more shallow, placing
pallisades in the deep water to prevent the approach of our vessels, and
constructing parapets on both sides of the breach. They had also a number
of canoes in readiness to sally out upon us on a concerted signal. When
all these preparations were in readiness, they made a combined attack upon
us in three several directions. One body advanced towards our rear from
the side of Tacuba, a second directly on our front along the causeway from
the city, and the third by the ruins of the houses which we had destroyed.
We repulsed the enemy on all sides; and one party of us, having forced
them from the works at the broken bridge, crossed the water up to our
necks at the place they had left open for us, and rashly pushed on to an
open place where there were some large temples and towers. We were here
assailed on all sides by fresh troops from the houses and terraces, and
those whom we pursued faced about and fought us in front. We now found it
necessary to retreat, which we did with the utmost order till we came to
the pass at the broken bridge, which was occupied by the enemy in canoes;
and as the others pressed upon our rear, we were forced to throw ourselves
into the lake and to get over any way we could. Those who could not swim
got entangled among the concealed ditches and pits in the shallow water,
where the enemy closed in upon us, wounding the whole party, and even
taking five of our soldiers alive. The vessels which came to our relief
were unable to approach, on account of the pallisades, and they lost two
of their soldiers on this occasion. It was wonderful we were not all
destroyed at this dangerous pass. At one time I was laid hold of by a
number of the enemy; but God gave me strength to disengage my arm, and
with the assistance of my good sword, I extricated myself from their grasp.
Though wounded, I escaped to the dry ground, where I fainted and remained
for some time insensible, owing to my great exertions and the loss of
blood. When the enemy had me in their clutches, I recommended myself to
the aid of God and his blessed Mother, and they heard my prayer: Glory be
to them for all their mercies! From the time that we had cleared the
flanks of our post by the destruction of the houses, Alvarado had brought
a part of his cavalry thither; and one of them, who had crossed along with
us at the broken bridge, lost both his horse and his own life. Fortunately
all the rest were then with Alvarado in Tacuba; for if they had been with
us they must have all been destroyed from the tops of the houses and
temples, as the action took place almost within the city of Mexico. The
enemy was much elated by the success of this day, and continued to assail
our posts day and night. Cortes was much displeased at the defeat we had
sustained, which he attributed to our having neglected his orders; which
were always to fill up the cuts in the causeway as we advanced, by means
of timber and rubbish.

In the space of four days, counting from our late defeat, we filled up the
great aperture at the broken bridge, and established our advanced post at
this place, but lost six of our soldiers in the course of this operation.
The enemy established a post directly in front of us, which they secured
by a ditch and parapet, so as to protect themselves from our shot. They
made a large fire in front of their post, by which they were concealed
from our view, except when they had occasion to renew the fire, which was
sometimes extinguished by the frequent heavy rains which prevailed at this
season. They kept profound silence on guard, except when interrupted by
loud whistling, which they used as signals. Every morning we marched
against the enemy, with whom we fought during the whole day, and retreated
to our post towards evening, covered with wounds. Before retreating, we
sent back our allies, whose numbers embarrassed us in the narrow causeway,
and then fell back step by step, flanked by our armed brigantines, and
firing on the enemy as they pressed upon us during the retreat.

About this time, the inhabitants of the cities on the lake grew weary of
the long protracted warfare, and sent deputations to our general, offering
to submit themselves to his authority, and declaring that they had been
constrained by the Mexicans to persist hitherto in their hostilities
against us. Cortes received them very graciously, and assured them of his
protection, providing that they should conduct themselves properly for the
future, and give him their assistance by supplying canoes and provisions
to our army, and in the construction of barracks for the troops. They
readily promised all this, but performed very badly. Cortes had huts built
for his detachment[7]; but the rest of us remained exposed to the weather,
which was exceedingly severe and distressing, as it rained almost
incessantly during June, July, and August.

Our detachment on the causeway of Tacuba continued our approach towards
Mexico, filling up every ditch and canal as we advanced by means of the
materials of the houses which we destroyed; and we every day gained
possession of temples or houses, which stood apart from each other, and of
the bridges by which they communicated. To avoid jealousy, our three
companies took the duties of working and fighting alternately, our allies
giving most important assistance in pulling down the houses and filling up
the ditches and cross-cuts of the causeway. Every evening the whole of our
men stood to their arms, and we sent off our allies before us, before
retreating to our post for the night. During all this time, Sandoval, who
carried on his approach from Tepejacac, was obliged to sustain continual
attacks from the enemy; as likewise was Cortes, who now commanded at the
third attack.

On his side there was an out-post of the Mexicans, at a place where one of
the apertures in the causeway was too deep to be forded, and which had
been strongly fortified by the enemy. He made a successful attack on this
place, where he commanded in person, although the enemy made a brave
resistance both by land and water; but he was obliged to retire at night
without filling up the ditch, and he lost four Spaniards killed, and had
above thirty wounded, the pass being commanded from the terraces of
several houses in the water, and his brigantines were unable to get
forward to protect his flanks, owing to the piles which the enemy had
fixed under water. Guatimotzin and his Mexicans defended themselves with
amazing bravery and resolution, trusting to wear us out and destroy us by
continual assaults. On the 21st of June, the anniversary of the day of our
first entry into Mexico, the enemy assailed us at every point of all our
three attacks, both by land and water, in front, flanks, and rear, about
two hours before day. The number fit for duty at our post on the causeway
of Tacuba was 120 men, and all the allies attached to our detachment, were
as usual off the causeway during the night. It was with the utmost
difficulty that we were able to resist and repulse the enemy, of whom a
great number were killed and wounded, losing two of our own soldiers. The
enemy repeated their assaults on all the posts for two other nights
successively; and on the third morning, just at day-break, they
concentrated their whole force and made a desperate attack on our post. If
our allies had been with us we should have been all lost. On this occasion
our cavalry saved our rear, and our brigantines did signal service by
clearing our flanks. After a most severe and long doubtful contest, we
beat off the enemy and made four of their chiefs prisoners, eight of our
soldiers being slain in this tough affair. I fear my readers may be tired
of this constant repetition of battles, which my duty of historian
compels me to relate: But if I were to give an account of every action
which took place during the ninety-three days in which we were engaged in
the siege of this great, strong, and populous city, every day and night of
which time brought a perpetual succession of battles and assaults, my work
would be without end, and would more resemble Amadis de Gaul and other
romances of chivalry than a true history, which it really is.

Cortes became impatient of delay, and proposed in a council of war to make
a general assault on the city, marching at once by all the three causeways,
and uniting our whole force in the great square, whence we could command
all the streets leading to that centre of Mexico. Some of the members of
the council objected greatly to this plan, giving the preference to our
present system of advancing gradually, filling up the ditches as we
proceeded, and destroying the houses to make roads and defences of their
materials. They alleged that if we were to succeed in forcing our way into
the great square, we should in our turn be besieged in the heart of the
city, exactly as we had been before our flight from Mexico, and be
involved in much greater difficulties than now; as the enemy would be
enabled to environ us with their whole force by land and water, and would
cut off all possibility of our retreat, by cutting through the causeways.
But Cortes, after hearing all these well founded reasons, still adhered to
his own plan, and issued orders for the whole army, including the allies,
to attack the city next day, and to use our utmost efforts to get
possession of the great square. On the next morning therefore, having
recommended ourselves to God in the solemn service of the mass, all our
three detachments marched to attack the posts of the enemy on their
several fronts. In our attack commanded by Alvarado, most of the Spaniards
were wounded at the first ditch and parapet of the enemy; one Spaniard was
slain, and above a thousand of our allies were killed or wounded. In the
attack commanded by Cortes in person, he carried every thing before him at
first, and having driven the enemy from a post where the water was very
deep and the causeway very narrow, he imprudently pushed on after the
enemy followed by the Indian allies. The enemy induced him by frequent
halts and feigned resistance to continue the pursuit, having even narrowed
the causeway on purpose, and Cortes negligently omitted to fill up the
deep ditch which he had passed. When the enemy perceived that our general
had fallen into the snare which they had laid for him, they attacked him
with fresh troops in front, while numerous canoes filled with warriors
issued out at an appointed signal and assailed him both on the flanks and
rear, his brigantines being unable to approach for his defence by the
pallisades under water. Retreat became now indispensably necessary, which
was at first conducted with perfect regularity; but when they came to the
narrow part of the causeway, which was all covered with mud and water, the
retreat changed to an absolute flight, our people flying from the enemy
with their utmost speed, without even attempting to defend themselves.
Cortes used every effort to rally his men, but all in vain, and was
wounded in the leg at the narrow pass by some of the enemy from the canoes.
At this pass, six of our horses were killed, and seventy-two Spaniards
were carried off alive. At this moment six Mexican chiefs seized Cortes,
but by the will of God, Christoval de Olea, that valiant soldier, and
another brave man named Lerma flew to the rescue of our general. De Olea
killed four of the chiefs with his own hand, and gallantly lost his life
in defence of Cortes, while Lerma narrowly escaped. Other brave soldiers
arrived at this moment to his aid, among whom was Quinones the captain of
his guards. By these men he was lifted out of the water and hurried off
from among a crowd of the enemy. At this critical moment, Guzman his
majordomo, brought up a horse on which our wounded general was mounted.
The enemy followed up their success with increasing ardour, Cortes and the
shattered remains of his troops, retreating to their quarters with the
utmost difficulty, pursued to the last by the Mexicans.

After our first attack, in which we defeated the enemy and drove them from
their post, we were met by fresh bodies of the enemy, marching in great
parade, bearing rich plumes of feathers and ornamented standards. On
coming near, they threw down before us five bleeding heads, saying these
were the heads of Cortes and his officers, and that we should soon meet
the same fate. They then marched up, and fought us hand to hand with the
utmost valour, insomuch that we were at length compelled to retreat. As
usual, we gave orders to our allies to clear the way, by retreating before
us; but the sight of the bloody heads had done this effectually, and not a
man of them remained on the causeway to impede our flight. Our cavalry
made several charges this day, but our great safety depended upon two guns
which raked the whole causeway, and were admirably managed by Pedro Morena,
an excellent officer, whose services this day were singularly useful, as
the whole causeway was crowded by the enemy. Before we arrived at our
quarters, and while pursued by the enemy, we heard the shrill timbals and
mournful sound of the great drum from the summit of the temple of the god
of war. The priests were then sacrificing the hearts of ten of our
companions to their accursed idols, and the sound of their dismal drum,
which might be heard at almost three leagues off, might be imagined to be
the music of the infernal deities. Soon after this, the horn of
Guatimotzin was heard, giving notice to the Mexican officers either to
make prisoners of their enemies, or to die in the attempt. It is utterly
impossible to describe the fury with which they assailed us on hearing
this dreadful signal, though the remembrance is still as lively as if now
passing before me: I can only say, that it was the good pleasure of God
that we got back in safety to our post; praised be his mercy now and for
ever. Amen! We were ignorant of the fate of our other detachments.
Sandoval was more than half a league from us, and Cortes still farther.
The melancholy sight of the heads of our countrymen, and the loss of one
of our brigantines in which three of our soldiers were slain, filled us
with melancholy, and we almost thought that we had reached the last hour
of our lives. Our captured vessel was afterwards recovered by Captain
Xaramillo. In the action of this day, Captain Caravajal, a most gallant
officer, had the honour of being the first who broke through the enemies
pallisades with his vessel: He now lives in La Puebla, and has been ever
since entirely deaf, having lost his hearing this day by excessive

Most of the soldiers in the detachment of Cortes were wounded, a good many
slain, and a great number taken prisoners, so that on his arrival in his
quarters, where he was immediately attacked, his men were little able to
defend themselves. To add to their distress, the enemy threw into their
post four bleeding heads, saying they were those of Alvarado, Sandoval,
and two other officers, in order to impress the soldiers of Cortes with
the belief that the two other detachments had been as roughly handled as
their own. On beholding this horrid spectacle, Cortes was severely
agitated, and his heart sunk within him; yet he kept up appearances,
encouraging his men to stand to their arms and defend their post against
the enemy. He now sent Tapia with three others on horseback to our
quarters, to ascertain our situation. They were attacked on their way by
several bodies of the enemy, who had been sent out by Guatimotzin to
obstruct our communications; but they forced their way through, and found
us engaged with the Mexicans.

On his side, Sandoval went on victoriously till the defeat of Cortes, when
the enemy sent a powerful reinforcement against him, by whom he was very
vigorously assailed; and in the first assault they killed two of his men
and wounded all the rest, Sandoval himself receiving three wounds, one of
which was on the head. As they had done at the other posts, they threw
down six bleeding heads, pretending they were the heads of Cortes and his
principal officers, and threatening Sandoval and his men with a similar
fate. Sandoval was not to be intimidated, and encouraged his men to behave
themselves bravely; yet, seeing no chance of ultimate success, he brought
his people back to their quarters, many of them being wounded, but having
only two slain. After this, though severely wounded himself, he left the
command of his quarters with Captain Luis Marin, and set out on horseback
to have an interview with Cortes. Like Tapia, he was frequently attacked
by the enemy on the road, yet made his way to Cortes, whom he addressed
with condolence and astonishment, asking the occasion of his severe
misfortune. Cortes laid the blame on Alderate, for neglecting to fill up
the bad pass where the enemy threw his men into confusion; but the
treasurer denied the charge, saying that Cortes had not given any such
orders, but hurried on his men after the feigned retreat of the enemy. In
fact Cortes was much blamed for his rashness, and for not sending the
allies soon enough out of his way. About this time, Cortes was agreeably
surprised by the arrival of two of his brigantines, which he had given
over for lost. Cortes requested Sandoval to visit our quarters at Tacuba,
being unable to go there himself, as he was apprehensive the brunt of the
attack might now fall upon our post. Sandoval arrived about the hour of
vespers, when he found us occupied in repelling the enemy, some of them
having attacked us by the causeway, and others from the ruined houses. I
and several other soldiers were at this time up to our middles in the
water, engaging the enemy in defence of a brigantine which had run aground,
and of which the enemy were endeavouring to gain possession. Just as
Sandoval arrived, we got her afloat by a great exertion, after the enemy
had slain two of her crew and badly wounded all the rest. The enemy
continued their attack with the utmost violence, and Sandoval received a
blow on the face with a stone. He called out to us to retreat; and as we
did not fall back as fast as he wished, he repeated his orders, asking us
if we wished to have all the cavalry destroyed. We then retreated to our
post, and though the two guns under Moreno frequently swept the causeway,
the execution they made did not prevent the enemy from pursuing us to our

We remained for some time at our quarters comparatively at rest,
recounting the events which had occurred at our post, and listening to a
relation of what had taken place at the two others. On a sudden, we were
struck by the horrifying sound of the great drum, accompanied by the
timbals, horns, and trumpets of the temple of the god of war: And,
shocking to tell! we could distinctly see our unfortunate companions who
had been made prisoners, driven by blows to the summit of the diabolical
temple. On their arrival at the platform, we could see the miserable
victims decorated for sacrifice, with plumes of feathers on their heads,
and fans in their hands, when they were forced to dance to the infernal
music before the accursed idols. After this, we saw them stretched on
their backs on the stone of sacrifice, where their hearts were cut out
alive, and presented yet palpitating to the damnable gods of the enemy,
and their bodies drawn by the feet down the steps. "O merciful GOD of
Heaven," said we among ourselves, "suffer not that we too may be
sacrificed by these wretches!" My readers may conceive how poignant were
our reflexions at this horrible scene, more especially as we were utterly
unable to afford the smallest aid to our poor friends, whom we saw thus
butchered before our eyes. At this moment the enemy assailed our post in
great force; but we maintained it with determined resolution, and drove
them back with much loss. During this assault, they reviled us, saying
that their gods had promised to deliver the whole of us into their hands,
and they threw over some of the mangled remains of the horrible repast
they had made on our countrymen, sending round other portions among the
neighbouring towns, as a bloody memorial of their victory over us.
Sandoval and Tapia, on their return to Cortes, reported the valiant manner
in which we defended our post; and Sandoval mentioned me in particular
with approbation, saying many handsome things of me, which it would be
improper for me to repeat, though the facts were perfectly well known to
all the army.

Our new allies on the lake had suffered considerably from the resentment
of the enemy, who had taken from them above half their canoes: Yet some
continued firm in their alliance with us, out of hatred to the Mexicans;
and others satisfied themselves with looking on, without attempting to
molest us. In consequence of our recent losses, having lost near eighty
men, killed and prisoners, and seven horses, and almost all the rest of us
being wounded, Cortes issued orders to cease from our attacks for four
days. But the enemy continued their attacks daily, and even gained ground,
making new ramparts and ditches. We had a deep ditch and very defensible
ramparts in front of our post; and during this cessation from offensive
operations, the whole of our infantry kept guard on the causeway every
night, flanked by our brigantines, one half of our cavalry patroling in
Tacuba, and the other half on the causeway to protect our rear. Every
morning we prepared ourselves to resist the attacks of the enemy, who
continued every day to sacrifice some of our miserable companions. During
their daily and incessant attacks, they reviled us, saying, that their
gods had promised to permit them to destroy us all within eight days; yet
that our flesh was too bitter to be eaten: And truly I believe that this
was miraculously the case. The threats of the Mexicans, and their
declaration that their gods had promised to deliver us into their hands in
eight days, had such an effect upon our allies, combined with the bad
appearance of our affairs, that they almost entirely deserted from us
about this time. The only one who remained with Cortes, was Suchel,
otherwise called Don Carlos, brother to our ally the prince of Tezcuco,
with about forty followers. The chief of Huexotzinco remained in the camp
of Sandoval with about fifty of his warriors; and the brave Chichimecatl,
with the two sons of Don Lorenzo de Vargas of Tlascala, and about eighty
Tlascalans, continued with us in the quarters of Alvarado. When they were
asked the reason of the desertion of their countrymen, they said, that the
Mexican gods had predicted our destruction, and the younger Xicotencatl
had foretold from the first we should all be put to death; they saw that
many of us were killed and all wounded, and they had already had above
twelve hundred of their own number slain; And, considering us all devoted
to inevitable ruin, they had fled to avoid sharing our fate. Though Cortes
secretly thought there was too much reason in what they alleged, he yet
assumed a cheerful appearance of perfect security as to the ultimate
result of the enterprize, and used his utmost endeavours to reassure our
remaining friends, turning the hopes and predictions of the Mexicans and
the promises of their false gods into ridicule, and had the good fortune
to persuade our few remaining friends to abide with us. The Indian Don
Carlos, or Suchel of Tezcuco, who was a brave warrior and a wise man,
strongly represented to our general that he had hitherto acted on a most
erroneous plan, especially considering the relative situations of us and
the enemy. "If you cut off their means of procuring water and provisions,"
he observed, "how is it possible that the many _xiquipils_[8] of warriors
can subsist? Their provisions must be at last expended: The water of their
wells is salt and unwholesome, and their only resource is from the present
rainy season. Combat them, therefore, by means of hunger and thirst, and
do not throw away your own force by unnecessary violence." Cortes embraced
Suchel, thanking him for his salutary advice; which indeed had already
more than once occurred to ourselves, but we were too impatient to act
with so much prudence. Our general began therefore to act upon this new
system, so judiciously recommended by our friend of Tezcuco, and sent
orders to all the detachments to confine themselves entirely to the
defensive for the next three days. As the canoes of the enemy were
numerous, our brigantines never ventured singly on the lake; and as they
had now found out the way to break through the pallisades of the enemy, by
using both sails and oars when favoured by the wind, we became absolute
masters of the lake, and were able to command all the insulated houses at
any distance from the city; and as the brigantines could now break through
the pallisades of the enemy, they could always secure our flanks, while we
were engaged in filling up the ditches in our front, which we did
effectually in a very few days, Cortes even assisting in person to carry
beams and earth for that purpose.

Every night of this period during which we remained on the defensive, the
enemy continued their infernal ceremonies, sacrificing some of our
unfortunate companions, which we could distinctly see as their temple was
brightly illuminated; the accursed drum continually stunned our ears, and
the shrieks and yells of the multitudes who surrounded the temple were at
times perfectly diabolical. Christoval de Guzman was the last executed,
who remained eighteen days in their hands. We learned every minute
circumstance respecting these horrible sacrifices from our prisoners, who
told us, that after each successive sacrifice, their war god renewed his
promise of delivering us all into their power. Sometimes, even during this
period, the enemy employed some of our own crossbows against us, obliging
our unfortunate companions who were in their custody to shoot them off;
but our post was protected by the excellent management of the two guns by
Morena, and we every day advanced, gaining possession of a bridge or a
parapet. Our brigantines also were of infinite service, as they were
continually intercepting the canoes which carried water and provisions to
the enemy, and those which were employed in procuring a certain nutritive
substance from the bottom of the lake, which, when dry, resembles cheese.
Twelve or thirteen days had now elapsed after the time when the Mexican
priest had predicted we had only eight days to live. Our allies, therefore,
recovered their courage when they saw the fallacy of the prediction, and
at the requisition of our steady friend Suchel, two thousand warriors of
Tezcuco returned to our quarters, with whom came Pedro Farfan and Antonio
Villareal, who had been left by Cortes at that city. About the same time,
many bodies of warriors returned to us from Tlascala and other places in
our alliance. After their return, Cortes called the chiefs together, to
whom he made a speech; partly reprimanding them for having abandoned us,
and partly encouraging their future fidelity by confident hopes of victory,
and promises of reward, and concluded by earnestly admonishing them not to
put any of their Mexican prisoners to death, as he wished to negociate
peace with Guatimotzin.

Though the heavy rains which fell at this season were both incommodious
and distressing to us, they operated in our favour, as the enemy always
relaxed their efforts against us during their continuance. By slow but
steady perseverance, we had now considerably advanced into the city at all
the three attacks, and had even reached the wells of brackish water which
the enemy had dug, and which we now destroyed. Our cavalry could now act
freely through the whole space which we had gained, as we had carefully
levelled the causeway behind us, destroying all the houses on each side
from which we could be annoyed, and carefully fortified our several fronts.
Cortes deemed the present conjuncture favourable for offering peace to the
Mexicans, and proposed to three of our principal prisoners to carry a
message to Guatimotzin to that effect; but they declined the commission,
alleging that he would put them to death. They were at length prevailed
upon to comply, and were instructed to represent to Guatimotzin in the
name of Cortes: "That from respect to the family of the great Montezuma,
and that he might prevent the destruction of the capital and the loss of
so many lives, he was willing to enter into a treaty of peace and amity;
desiring Guatimotzin to reflect that he and his people were now cut off
from all supplies of water and provisions; and that all the nations who
had formerly been the vassals of Mexico, were now in alliance with the
Spaniards." A great deal more was added, to the same effect, all of which
was perfectly understood by the messengers. Before they went into the city,
they required a letter from Cortes, to serve them as a token of credence;
with which they waited on their sovereign, weeping and lamenting
themselves bitterly, as they knew the danger to which they were exposed.
At first, Guatimotzin and his principal chiefs were filled with rage and
indignation at the proposal; but he at last consented to call a council of
all the princes, chiefs, and principal priests of the city, before whom he
laid the message of Cortes, and even expressed his own inclination to come
into terms of peace, considering the inefficacy of their resistance, the
desertion of their allies, and the miseries to which the people were
reduced. The priests obstinately opposed every idea of peace. They
represented the hostile conduct of the Spaniards to their nation ever
since they first came into the country; their profanation of the temples
and idols of their gods; their injurious treatment of the great Montezuma,
and of all the other princes who had fallen under their power; the death
of the two sons of Montezuma, the seizure of the royal treasures, and the
destruction of the city. They reminded Guatimotzin of his own martial fame,
which would be sullied and disgraced by submission; insisting, that all
the offers of Cortes were only insidiously meant to enslave and circumvent;
and concluded by repeating the assurances of victory which they had
received from their gods. Guatimotzin yielded to these arguments, and
declared his resolution to fight to the last: He gave orders, therefore,
to husband their provisions with the utmost frugality, to use their utmost
endeavours to procure supplies under night, and to sink new wells in
various parts of the city. Our army had remained two days quietly in their
posts, waiting an answer to our pacific message. On the third, we were
furiously assailed on all points by large bodies of the enemy, who rushed
upon us like lions, closing up as if utterly regardless of their lives,
and using their utmost efforts to make us prisoners; all the while, the
horn of Guatimotzin being continually sounded, to inspire them with fury.
For seven days we were thus continually assailed: After watching all night,
we had to go into action every morning at day-break; and having fought the
whole day, we retired in the evening to a miserable regale of maize calces,
with _tunas_ or Indian figs, herbs, and _agi_ or pepper. Our recent
pacific offer was employed as a subject of contempt, for which they
reproached us as cowards; saying that peace belonged only to women, arms
and war to brave men.

It has been already mentioned, that the horrible fragments of our wretched
companions had been sent round the provinces of the Mexican empire, to
encourage them to rise in support of the sovereign and his capital. In
consequence of this, a great force assembled from Matlatzinco, Malinalco,
and other places about eight leagues from Mexico, which was intended for
an attack on our rear, while the Mexicans should attack us in front. On
the assemblage of this force, they committed horrible ravages on the
country in our rear, seizing numbers of children in order to sacrifice
them to their idols. To disperse this hostile assemblage, Andres de Tapia
was detached with twenty cavalry and an hundred infantry, and effectually
executed his commission, driving the enemy back to their own country with
great loss. Soon after his return, Cortes sent Sandoval with a detachment
to the assistance of the country around Quauhnahuac, or Cuernabaca. Much
might be said of this expedition, were I to enter into a detail: but it
may suffice, that it was more like a peaceable triumph than a warlike
expedition, yet proved of most excellent service to us, as Sandoval
returned accompanied by two chiefs of the nation against which he was
sent[9]. Cortes, after these successes, sent a second message to
Guatimotzin, reminding him of the distresses to which his people were
reduced, and expressing great anxiety to save the city of Mexico from
destruction, which could only be done by immediate submission; and to
convince him that all hopes of assistance from his former allies were now
at an end, he sent this message by the two chiefs who had accompanied
Sandoval. Guatimotzin refused any answer, but sent back the chiefs unhurt.
The enemy continued their daily assaults upon the advanced works of our
several attacks, increasing even in their fury if possible, and exultingly
exclaiming, _Tenitotz re de Castila?  Tenitotz axa a!_ "What says the
king of Castile? What does he now?"

We still continued to advance towards the centre of Mexico, regularly
destroying the houses on both sides of us, and carefully fortifying our
advanced post; and we now perceived a considerable relaxation in the
efforts of the enemy, who were not so eager as formerly to open up the
ditches; yet they continued to attack us with the utmost fury, as if
courting death. But we too had now serious cause of alarm, as our
gunpowder was almost entirely expended. At this critical moment, and most
fortunately for us, a vessel arrived at Villa Rica with soldiers and
ordnance stores, all of which, together with the men, were immediately
sent to Cortes by Rangel, who commanded at Villa Rica. This vessel
belonged to an armament which had been fitted out by Lucas Vasquez de
Aillon, and which had been destroyed or dispersed near Florida. On the
arrival of this reinforcement, Cortes and all the army determined to make
a grand push for the great square in that part of the city called
Tlaltelolco, as it would become an excellent place of arms, on account of
some principal temples and other strong buildings which were there
situated. For this purpose, each of our divisions continued their daily
efforts to advance in our usual cautious manner. Cortes got possession of
a small square in which were some temples, on the beams of which many of
the heads of our sacrificed companions were placed, their hair and beards
being much grown. I could not have believed this, if I had not myself seen
them three days afterwards, when our party had worked their way to the
same place, after having filled up three canals. In twelve days afterwards,
they were all reverently buried by us in that place where the Church of
the Martyrs is now built.

Our detachment under Alvarado continued to advance, and at last forced the
enemy from the barricades they had thrown up to defend the great square,
which cost us two hours hard fighting. Our cavalry was now of most
essential service in the large space which was now laid open, and drove
the enemy before them into the temple of the god of war, which stood in
the middle of the great square. Alvarado determined to gain possession of
the temple; for which purpose he divided his forces into three bodies, one
of which, commanded by Guttierrez de Badajoz, he ordered to gain
possession of the temple, while with the other two he occupied the
attention of the enemy below. A large force of the enemy, headed by the
priests, occupied the platform of the temple, with all its idol
sanctuaries and galleries, and repulsed the troops of Guttierrez, driving
them down the steps. The body to which I belonged was now ordered by
Alvarado to their support. We advanced boldly to the assault, and having
ascended to the platform, we drove the enemy from the post, of which we
took possession, setting fire to their abominable idols, and planting our
standard in triumph on the summit of the temple. The view of this signal
of victory greatly rejoiced Cortes, who would fain have joined us; but he
was still a quarter of a league from the place, and had many ditches to
fill as he advanced. In four days more, both he and Sandoval had worked
their way up to the great square of Tlaltelolco, where they joined us, and
thus communications from all our three attacks were opened up to the
centre of Mexico.

Our attack on the temple was truly perilous, considering the number of the
enemy, the height and difficulty of the ascent, and the fury with which
they continued to fight against us, even after we had attained the
platform and set their idols on fire, and it was night before we could
compel them to abandon the summit. The royal palaces were now levelled
with the ground, and Guatimotzin had retired with his troops to a more
distant quarter of the city towards the lake[10]. Still, however, the
enemy attacked us every day, and at night pursued us into our quarters;
and though apparently reduced to the last extremity, they made no offer
towards peace. Cortes now laid a plan for drawing the enemy into an ambush:
For this purpose, he one night placed 30 of our cavalry, with 100 of our
best foot soldiers, and 1000 Tlascalans, in some large houses which had
belonged to a principal nobleman of Mexico. Next morning he went in person
with the rest of our army to attack a post at a bridge, which was defended
by a large force of the Mexicans. After continuing the assault for some
time, Cortes slowly retreated with his men, drawing the enemy after him by
the buildings in which the ambush lay concealed. When he had led them to a
sufficient distance, he gave the concerted signal, by firing two guns in
quick succession. We immediately sallied out, and having thus enclosed the
enemy between us, we made a terrible havoc among them, and from that time
they never ventured to annoy us on our nightly retreat. Another trap was
laid for the enemy by Alvarado, which had not the same success; but as I
was now doing duty with the division which Cortes commanded in person, I
was not present, and cannot, therefore recount the particulars. Hitherto
we had continued to retreat every night to the posts we had established on
the causeways, which were at least half a league from the great temple;
but we now quitted these posts, and formed a lodgment for the whole army
in the great square of Tlaltelolco, where we remained for three days
without doing any thing worth notice, as Cortes wished to abstain from
destroying any more of the city, in hopes of prevailing on Guatimotzin to
accept of peace. He sent, therefore, a message, requesting him to
surrender, giving him the strongest assurances that he should continue to
enjoy the sovereignty, and should be treated with every honourable
distinction; and he accompanied this message with a considerable present
of provisions, such as fowls, game, bread, and fruit. Guatimotzin
pretended to be inclined towards a pacification, and even sent four of his
principal nobles to propose an interview between him and our general. But
this, was a mere stratagem to gain time for strengthening his
fortifications, and making preparations to attack us; as from the example
of what had befallen his uncle Montezuma, and the suggestions of his
advisers, he was afraid to trust himself in our hands. The mask was soon
thrown off, and the enemy attacked us with such extreme violence, and
having taken us in some measure by surprise, that they had some success at
first, killing one of our soldiers and two horses; but in the end we drove
them back with considerable loss.

Cortes now ordered us to proceed on our former system, of advancing daily
against that part of the city which was occupied by Guatimotzin, filling
up the ditches and destroying the houses as we proceeded; and we
accordingly gained ground as formerly. Guatimotzin, on seeing this, made
another offer of an interview with our general, proposing the conference
might take place across a large canal. To this Cortes readily assented,
and went accordingly to the appointed place, but Guatimotzin never
appeared; instead of which he sent some of his principal nobles, who said
the king was apprehensive of being shot during the conference. Cortes
engaged by the most solemn oaths that no injury should be offered, but all
to no purpose. At this time two of these nobles played a most ridiculous
farce: They took out from a sack a fowl, some bread, and a quantity of
cherries, which they began to eat deliberately, as if to impress us with
the belief that they had abundance of provisions. When Cortes found that
the proposed conference was only a pretext to gain time, he sent a message
of defiance to Guatimotzin and retired. For four days after this, we were
not attacked by the enemy; but numbers of famished Mexicans used to
surround our quarters every night. Cortes pitied their wretched situation,
and ordered us to refrain from hostilities, always hoping that the enemy
would offer terms of accommodation. One of our soldiers, named Sotela, who
had served in Italy, was always boasting of the great battles he had seen,
and of the wonderful military engines which he was able to construct, and
particularly that he could make a machine for throwing stones, by which he
would destroy the whole of that part of the city which Guatimotzin
occupied, in a very few days. Cortes was at last induced to listen to him,
and all kinds of materials were brought for him to construct his engine.
Stone and lime was procured; the carpenters were set to work to prepare
timber; two strong cables were made; and a number of large stones were
brought, which the machine was to project. When all was ready, a stone was
placed in the engine, and it was played off against the quarters of
Guatimotzin. But instead of taking that direction, the stone flew up
vertically into the air, and returned exactly to the place whence it was
launched. Cortes was angry and ashamed at the result, and ordered the
machine to be destroyed, reproaching the soldier for his ignorant

Sandoval was now sent with the command of the flotilla, to act against
that division of the city in which Guatimotzin still held out. He was
ordered to spare the Mexicans as much as possible, but to destroy all the
houses and advanced works which the enemy possessed in the lake. On this
occasion, Cortes ascended to the high platform of the great temple,
attended by many of his officers and soldiers, to observe the movements of
the fleet. Guatimotzin, on observing the approach of Sandoval, became very
apprehensive of being made prisoner, and determined to attempt making his
escape. For this purpose he had already fifty large piraguas in readiness,
on board of which he embarked with his family, principal officers and
courtiers, and all their most valuable effects, and endeavoured to escape
by the lake to the main land; all the piraguas taking different directions,
in order to distract the pursuit of the brigantines. At this time Sandoval
was occupied in tearing down some houses, that he might clear his way
towards the quarters of Guatimotzin, of whose flight he got immediate
notice. He set out therefore immediately in pursuit, giving strict orders
to all the captains of his brigantines to offer no injury or insult to the
royal fugitive; but to keep a watchful eye on that vessel in which
Guatimotzin was supposed to have embarked, using every effort to take it,
and paying no attention to the rest. In particular, he directed Garcia
Holguin, who commanded the swiftest sailing vessel of the fleet, to make
for that part of the shore to which it was supposed Guatimotzin was most
likely to go. Holguin accordingly fell in with several piraguas, one of
which, from the superior appearance of its structure and awning, he
supposed to be that which carried the king. He called out to the people on
board to bring to, but without effect, and then ordered his musketeers and
cross-bows to present. On seeing this, Guatimotzin called out to them not
to shoot, acknowledging who he was, and declared his readiness to submit,
requesting to be taken immediately to the general, and entreating that his
queen, children, and attendants might not be ill treated. Holguin received
him and his queen with the utmost respect, placing them and twenty of the
nobles who attended them on the poop of his vessel, setting such
refreshments before them as he had in his power, and ordered the piraguas
which carried the royal effects to follow untouched. At this time,
perceiving that Holguin had made Guatimotzin prisoner, and was carrying
him to Cortes, Sandoval made a signal for all the brigantines to close up
with him, and ordered his rowers to exert every effort to bring him up
with Holguin. On getting alongside, Sandoval demanded Guatimotzin to be
delivered up to him, as commander of the naval force, but Holguin refused,
and many high words passed between them. One of the vessels was sent to
inform Cortes of the great event which had taken place, and by the same
means he learnt the dispute which had occurred between Sandoval and
Holguin. He immediately sent the Captains Marin and De Lugo with orders to
bring the whole party to his quarters on the summit of the great temple,
ordering them to treat Guatimotzin and his queen with the highest respect.
In the meantime, he ordered a state canopy to be arranged as well as he
could, with cloths and mantles, to receive his prisoners, and a table to
be spread with such refreshments as could be procured.

On the approach of the prisoners, Cortes went forward to meet the king,
whom he embraced with much respect, and shewed all possible attention to
his followers. The unfortunate monarch sinking under his affliction,
addressed Cortes as follows, with his eyes full of tears: "_Malinatzin!_ I
have done every thing in my power to defend my kingdom and people, but all
my efforts have been in vain, and I am now your prisoner; I request of you,
therefore, to draw your dagger and stab me to the heart." Cortes used his
best endeavours to console him, assuring him of his high esteem for the
valour and firmness he had exerted, that he should continue to reign as
formerly, and that he had only required his submission when all reasonable
hope of defence was gone, in order to avoid the utter destruction of his
capital and people. Cortes then inquired after the queen, and was told
that she and her female attendants remained in the piragua till their fate
was decided. He then ordered them to be sent for, and treated them with
all respect. As the evening drew on, and it threatened to rain, the whole
royal family was sent to Cojohuacan, under the care of Sandoval, and a
sufficient escort. Guatimotzin was about twenty-three or twenty-four years
of age, of a noble appearance, both in person and countenance, having
large and cheerful features, with lively eyes, and his complexion was very
fair for an Indian. His queen, who was the niece[11] of Montezuma, was
young and very handsome.

The whole army was now ordered to withdraw from the great temple of
Tlaltelolco, and to return to their original head-quarters. Cortes
proceeded to Cojohuacan, where he took the command in person, sending
Sandoval to resume his station at Tepejacac, and our division, under
Alvarado, retired to Tacuba. Thus was the important seige of Mexico
brought to a successful conclusion, by the capture of Guatimotzin and his
family at the hour of vespers, on the day of St Hypolitus, 13th of August
1521. Glorified be our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Holy Virgin Mother, Amen!

In the night after the capture of Guatimotzin, about midnight, there was
the greatest tempest of thunder, lightning, and rain I ever witnessed. But
all the soldiers were as deaf as if they had been an hour in a belfrey,
and all the bells ringing about their ears. This proceeded from the
continual noise they had been accustomed to from the enemy during the
_ninety-three days_[12] of this memorable siege: Some bringing on their
troops to attack us on the causeways, with loud shouts, and shrill
whistling; others in canoes assailing our flanks; some at work on the
pallisades, water courses, and stone parapets, or preparing their
magazines of arms, and the shrieks and yells of the women, who supplied
the warriors with stones, darts, and arrows; the infernal noise of their
timbals, horns, and trumpets, and the dismal drum, and other shocking
noises, perpetually sounding in our ears: All of which immediately ceased
on the capture of Guatimotzin. In consequence of the dispute between
Sandoval and Holguin threatening unpleasant consequences, Cortes related
to them from the Roman history the dispute between Marius and Sylla,
about the capture of Iugurtha, which was ultimately productive of very
fatal civil wars. He assured them that the whole affair should be
represented to the emperor Don Carlos, by whose arbitration it should be
decided. But in two years after, the emperor authorised Cortes to bear in
his arms the seven kings whom he had subdued, Montezuma, Guatimotzin, and
the princes of Tezcuco, Cojohuacan, Iztapalapa, Tacuba, and Matlatzinco.

It is absolutely truth, to which I swear _amen_! that all the lake, the
houses, and the courts were filled with dead bodies, so that I know not
how to describe the miserable spectacle. All the streets, squares, courts,
and houses of Tlaltelolco, were so covered by them, that we could not take
a single step without treading on or between the bodies of dead Indians.
The lake and the canals were full of them, and the stench was intolerable.
It was for this reason that our troops retired from the city immediately
after the capture of Guatimotzin: Cortes was himself ill for some time,
owing to the dreadful effluvia arising from the putrifying bodies. I have
read the history of the destruction of Jerusalem, but I cannot conceive
that the mortality even there exceeded what I was witness to in Mexico; as
all the warriors from the most distant provinces of that populous empire
were concentrated there, and almost the whole garrison was cut off in
their almost perpetual encounters with us, or perished of famine.

Our vessels were now in the best situation for service; as those on board
had ready access to the houses in the water, which were beyond our reach,
whence they carried away all the best of the plunder. Their crews also
discovered a great many valuable articles which the Mexicans had concealed
among the tall reeds on the borders of the lake, and they intercepted a
great deal that the inhabitants of the city endeavoured to carry away in
their canoes; all of which was beyond our reach: Indeed the wealth which
our mariners procured at this time was quite incalculable, as Guatimotzin
and all his chiefs declared that far the greater part of the public
treasure fell into their hands.

Soon after the capture of Guatimotzin, it was ordered on his suggestion,
that all the remaining inhabitants of Mexico should remove to the
neighbouring towns, in order to have the the city cleared of the dead
bodies, to restore its salubrity. In consequence of this order, all the
causeways were full for three days and nights, of weak, sickly, and
squalid wretches, men, women, and children, covered with filth, worn out
by famine and disease, so that the sight was shocking in the extreme. When
all were gone who had been able to get away, we went to examine the
situation of the city, which was as I have already described, in a most
miserable state. All the streets, courts, and houses were covered with
dead bodies, among whom some miserable wretches were crawling about in the
different stages of the most offensive diseases, occasioned by famine, the
most unnatural food, and the pestilential smell of the corrupting carcases.
Even the trees were stripped of their bark, and the ground had been
everywhere dug up in search of any kind of roots it might be able to
afford. Not a drop of water could be any where procured; and though it was
the constant practice of all these nations to feast on the prisoners they
took in war, not one instance occurred, in the midst of their extreme
distress, of their having preyed on each other: and certainly there never
existed in the history of this world any instance of a people who suffered
so severely from hunger, thirst, and warfare. I must here observe, that in
all our combats, the Mexicans seemed much more anxious to carry our
soldiers away alive, that they might be sacrificed to their gods, than to
kill them.

After a solemn service of thanks to God for our victory, Cortes determined
upon giving a feast in Cojohuacan to celebrate our triumph, as a vessel
had arrived at Villa Rica with abundance of hogs, and a cargo of wine. He
invited all his officers, and all the soldiers of particular estimation to
this entertainment, and we all accordingly waited upon him at the time
appointed. When we came to sit down to dinner, there were not tables and
covers prepared for more than half of us, so that the company fell into
sad confusion. The wine occasioned many to commit follies and other worse
things. Some leapt over the tables, who were afterwards unable to get out
at the doors, and many rolled down the steps, who could not walk home to
their quarters. The private soldiers, in high expectations of immense
plunder, declared they would buy horses with gold trappings, and the
crossbow-men swore they would henceforth use only golden arrows. When the
tables were removed, the soldiers danced in their armour, with the few
ladies who were present; but the disproportion was very great, and the
scene became truly ludicrous. Father Olmedo became quite scandalized at
the conduct of the visitors at the feast, and was so disgusted at what was
going on during the dances, that he complained to Sandoval, who reported
to Cortes that the good Father was grumbling and scolding out of all
measure. Our general, always prudent in his proceedings, came up to Olmedo,
affecting to disapprove of the indecent conduct of his guests, and
requested of him to order a solemn mass and thanksgiving, and to give the
soldiers a sermon on their religious and moral duties. The good father was
quite delighted at this proposal; and accordingly the crucifixes and the
image of the blessed Virgin were carried in solemn procession, amid our
drums and military ensigns; Olmedo chanted the litany and administered the
sacrament, and we all gave thanks to God for our victory.

Cortes now dismissed the Tlascalan chiefs and our other allies, who had
rendered most important services during our long protracted warfare,
making them many compliments and great promises, that he would make them
all rich and great lords, with extensive territories and numerous vassals,
so that they all departed in high spirits: But they had secured something
more substantial than empty promises, as they were all well laden with the
plunder of Mexico. Neither were they behind our enemies in their cannibal
feasts, of which they had reserved some portions to give to their friends
on their return.

Now that I have concluded the narrative of so many furious and bloody
engagements, through which the Almighty has been pleased to protect me, I
must confess, that the sight of so many of my companions sacrificed alive
to the war-god of the Mexicans, inspired me with fear. This may appear to
some as an indication of want of courage, yet in that time I considered
myself, and was looked upon by all as a valiant soldier, and was never
exceeded by any in bold achievements. But when I saw the palpitating
hearts of my companions taken out alive, and their legs and arms cut off
to be served up in the barbarous feasts of our cannibal enemies, I feared
it might one day be my own lot; and in fact the enemy had me twice in
their hands, but by the blessing of God I escaped from their savage grasp.
Yet I ever afterwards remembered the dreadful scene which I had witnessed,
and on going to battle was much depressed and uneasy, fearing to be doomed
to that cruel death. Yet I always recommended myself to God and his
blessed Mother, and the moment I was engaged with the enemy all fear left
me. Let those valiant cavaliers who have been in desperate battles and
mortal dangers decide on the cause of my fears, for I declare I never knew
what fear was till I saw the savage immolation of my seventy-two
companions: In my own opinion it was from excessive courage, as I was
fully aware of the extent of danger which I was voluntarily about to
encounter. I have related many engagements in this history, at which I was
not present; for even if my body had been of iron I could not have been
present at all, and I was much oftener wounded than whole.

[1] According to Clavigero, II. 162, the 30th of May 1521, on which day
    Cortes dated the commencement of this memorable siege.--E.

[2] Corpus Christi fell that year, according to Clavigero, on the 30th May,
    so that the occupation of Iztapalapa, by which the investment of
    Mexico was completed, was on the 3d of June.

[3] The whole of this topographical account of Mexico and its approaches
    is added by the editor, and has been placed in the text, distinguished
    by inverted commas, as too long for a note. A plan is added,
    constructed from a comparison of the maps in Diaz and Clavigero, both
    evidently drawn without any actual survey, and corrected by means of
    the excellent map of the vale of Mexico given by Humboldt. By means of
    a great drain, made considerably posterior to the conquest, the lake
    has been greatly diminished in magnitude, insomuch that the city is
    now above three miles from the lake; so that the accurate map of
    Humboldt does not now serve for the ancient topography of Mexico and
    its near environs.--E.

[4] It is hard to guess which way the brigantines could get there, as by
    the maps both of Diaz and Clavigero, the great double causeway of
    Xoloc or Iztapalapa, ought to have completely prevented his
    penetrating to that part of the lake. It was probably Xoloc against
    which this attack was made, and Diaz may have mistaken the name after
    an interval of fifty-one years; for so long intervened between the
    siege of Mexico in 1521, and 1572, when he informs us his history was

[5] Perhaps along the mound or causeway of Mexicaltzinco; by which he
    approached towards the great causeway of Xoloc, and the position of De
    Oli at Cojohuacan.--E.

[6] Though not mentioned by Diaz, this necessarily implies that one of the
    bridges of each causeway must have been taken possession of by the
    Spaniards, to allow the brigantines to get through into those parts of
    the lake which were intersected by the causeways.--E.

[7] Though not especially mentioned by Diaz, it appears that Cortes had
    taken the immediate command of the detachment of De Oli, at Cojohuacan,
    which formed the southern attack.--E.

[8] On some former occasions the xiquipil has been already explained as
    denoting eight thousand men.--E.

[9] Clavigero, II. 180, supplies the brevity used by Diaz on this occasion.
    He says that the chiefs of the districts of Matlatzinco, Malinalco,
    and Cohuixco came to Cortes and entered into a confederacy with him
    against Mexico; by which means, added to his former alliances, he was
    now able to have employed "more warriors against Mexico than Xerxes
    did against Greece." Clavigero everywhere deals in monstrous
    exaggeration, while Diaz is uniformly modest, and within due bounds of
    credibility. Even in the few _miracles_ of which Diaz makes mention,
    his credulity is modestly guarded by devout fear of the holy

[10] The whole western division of Mexico called Tlaltelolco was now in
    possession of the Spaniards, and probably destroyed by them to secure
    their communications; and the miserable remnant of the brave Mexicans
    had retired into the eastern division, named Tenochtitlan.--E.

[11] According to the genealogy of the Mexican kings in Clavigero, I. 240,
    this princess, whose name was Tecuichpotzin, was queen successively to
    her uncle Cuitlahuatzin, and her cousin Guatimotzin. After the
    conquest, she became a Christian, by the name of Donna Elizabeta
    Montezuma, marrying three noble Spaniards in succession; and from her
    descended the two noble families of Cano Montezuma, and Andrea
    Montezuma. Montezuma left likewise a son, Don Pedro Johualicahuatxin
    Montezuma, whose male descendants failed in a great-grandson; but
    there are several noble families both in Spain and Mexico descended
    from that sovereign of Mexico in the female line.--E.

[12] We have formerly said, on the authority of Clavigero, that the siege
    of Mexico commenced on the 30th of May, and as it ended on the 13th of
    August, the siege, by this mode of reckoning, could only have lasted
    76 days. It is highly probable, therefore, that the commencement of
    the siege must have been on the 13th of May, and the 30th of Clavigero
    may only be an error of the press.--E.


_Occurrences in New Spain immediately subsequent to the reduction of

As soon as Cortes had leisure to think of objects of internal regulation,
he gave orders to have the aqueduct restored by which the city of Mexico
was supplied with water, and to have the city cleared of the dead bodies
and repaired, so that it might be again habitable within two months. The
palaces and houses were ordered to be rebuilt, and a certain portion of
the city was allotted for the natives, while another part was reserved for
the residence of the Spaniards. Guatimotzin made application to our
general, in the name of many of his principal nobles, requesting that all
their women of rank who had been taken by our soldiers, might be restored
to their husbands and fathers. This was a matter of considerable
difficulty; yet the general allowed a search to be made, with an assurance
that all should be delivered up who were inclined to return. Every house
was accordingly searched; and though many were found, three only of the
whole number were inclined to return to their families; all the rest
expressed their abhorrence at the idolatry of their countrymen, besides
which, many of them declared that they were pregnant, and refused to quit
the soldiers to whom they were attached.

One of the first public works undertaken in Mexico was an arsenal for the
reception of our flotilla which had been of such signal service during the
siege. To the best of my remembrance, Alvarado was appointed alcalde, or
chief magistrate, till the arrival of Salazar de la Pedrada. It was
currently reported that Guatimotzin had thrown great quantities of gold,
silver, and jewels, into the lake four days before his capture, and it was
well known that our allies had got large plunder as well as our own men
who served in the brigantines, and many of us suspected that Cortes was
well pleased that Guatimotzin had concealed much treasure, as he expected
to procure the whole for himself. It was then proposed in the army, that
Guatimotzin and the prince of Tacuba, his most confidential counsellor,
should be put to the torture, to extort confession of where the treasure
was secreted; this horrid act was certainly greatly against the
inclination of Cortes, yet he was forced to leave the unfortunate king and
the lord of Tacuba at the disposal of those avaricious wretches, who
alleged that our general objected to this infernal measure that he might
secure the gold for himself. In answer to all interrogatories on the
subject of the treasure, the royal Mexican officers uniformly protested
that no more existed than what had been produced; which, when melted, did
not exceed the value of 380,000 crowns; so that, when the royal fifth and
that for Cortes were deducted, those of the conquerors who were not
friends to Cortes were exceedingly dissatisfied. All that could be
extorted by the inhuman procedure of torture from the king and prince was,
that they had thrown some treasure into the lake, together with the
muskets and other arms captured during our flight from Mexico in the
preceding year, four days before the surrender. The place indicated was
repeatedly searched to no purpose by our best divers; but a sun of solid
gold, similar to one we got from Montezuma, with many ornaments of small
value, were found in a deep pond near his residence. The prince of Tacuba
declared under the torture that he had buried some gold at a place about
four leagues from Tacuba; but when Alvarado and six soldiers accompanied
him there, of whom I was one, he declared he had no gold, and had only
said so in hope of dying on the road. In fact the treasury was reduced
very low before the accession of Guatimotzin. I and several other good
divers searched that part of the lake which had been indicated by
Guatimotzin, but we found only some small pieces of gold, which were
immediately claimed by Cortes and Alederete the treasurer; who likewise
sent down other persons in their own presence, but all they got did not
reach the value of ninety crowns. We were all miserably disappointed to
find our shares so small; insomuch that Olmedo and all the captains
proposed to Cortes to divide the whole which belonged to the army among
the wounded, the lame, the blind, and the sick, all who were sound
renouncing their claims. We were all curious to know what our shares
amounted to, and it at length appeared that the share of a horseman was
only an hundred crowns. I forget how much belonged to a foot soldier; but
it was so small that none of us would accept the paltry sum, more
especially the soldiers of Narvaez, who never liked Cortes.

Many of our soldiers had incurred heavy debts. A crossbow cost fifty
crowns, a musket a hundred, a horse eight hundred or a thousand, and every
thing else in proportion. Our surgeon, master Juan, and Doctor Murcia our
apothecary and barber, charged very high, and there were various other
sources of debt, all to be satisfied from our miserable dividends. These
required to be regulated; and accordingly Cortes appointed two respectable
persons, Santa Clara and Lerena, to arbitrate all claims, which were
ordered to be cleared off within two years according to their award. The
value also of the gold was debased, to serve us in our dealings with the
merchants from Spain and Cuba; but it had the opposite effect, as they
charged more than double the difference on their goods. On these abuses
being known at court, our emperor was pleased to prohibit the farther
currency of this base metal, ordering it to be all received in payment of
certain duties, and no more of it to be made; and as two goldsmiths were
detected for putting off base metal with the legal mark of good, they were
hanged for the fraud.

As the best way to rid himself of troublesome demands, Cortes resolved to
send off colonies to make settlements at convenient situations. Sandoval
was sent for this purpose to occupy Coatzacualco and Tzapotecapan, the
south-eastern provinces of the Mexican empire. Juan Velasquez to Colima,
and Villa Fuerte to Zacatollan, the most westerly provinces on the south
sea. Christoval de Oli to take possession of the kingdom of Michuacan, and
Francisca de Orozco to Guaxaca or Oaxaco. The native chiefs of the distant
provinces could hardly be brought to believe that Mexico was destroyed,
and sent deputations to ascertain the truth of the report, bearing large
presents of gold to Cortes, and submitting themselves as vassals to our
emperor. Many came in person to Mexico, and even brought their children to
see the fallen condition of that great power which they had once held in
such awe and terror, expressing themselves in their own language, as who
should say, _Here stood Troy_. My readers may be curious to know how we,
the conquerors of Mexico, after encountering so many fatigues and dangers
to gain possession of that city, should now so readily abandon it in
search of new settlements. To this I answer: The books containing the
record of the Mexican revenues were examined to find whence Montezmna had
obtained the valuable articles of tribute, such as gold, cocoa, and cotton,
and we all wished to remove to these productive districts. Some especially
were led by the example of Sandoval, who was known to be the particular
friend of Cortes, and who would not, as they thought, be sent upon an
unprofitable errand. We all knew that the vicinity of Mexico had neither
mines, plantations, nor manufactures, being entirely occupied in the
cultivation of maize and _maguey_, which did not afford sufficient
prospects of advantage, and we anxiously removed therefore to other places,
where we were miserably disappointed. I among others, went to Cortes and
asked permission to accompany Sandoval to his government: "Brother Diaz,"
said he, "you had better stay with me: If you are resolved to accompany
your friend Sandoval, you may certainly go; but on my conscience you will
repent." All the gold got into the hands of the royal officers, as the
slaves were purchased by the soldiers at a public sale. The various
detachments were sent out at different periods to occupy the provinces,
but all within two months after the reduction of Mexico.

At this time, Christoval de Tapia, _veedor_ of Hispaniola, arrived at
Villa Rica with a commission to assume the government of New Spain, by
order of the emperor and under the direction of the bishop of Burgos. He
likewise brought letters from the bishop to Cortes and many persons in the
army, recommending him to be received with honour as governor, promising
great rewards to all who should assist him in assuming the government,
with severe threats of punishing all who opposed him: besides these sealed
letters, he had many others which he was authorised to address as he saw
occasion. Tapia in the first place presented his commission to Alvarado,
who now commanded at Villa Rica, who received it with the highest respect,
saying that it did not belong to him to decide on so important a subject,
and it would be proper, therefore, to assemble the alcaldes and regidors
of the settlement, that the commission might be verified in their presence,
and that it might be certainly known it came regularly from his majesty.
This did not exactly suit the views of Tapia, who was advised to proceed
to Mexico, and to produce his commission to the general; he therefore
forwarded to Cortes the letter of the bishop, and wrote to him on the
subject of his mission to New Spain, using smooth and persuasive terms,
and Cortes was by no means behind hand in the civility of his reply.
Cortes, however, sent off expresses to some of his most confidential
officers whom he had previously detached to settle colonies, ordering them
to go to meet Tapia, who had already begun his journey to Mexico, and was
met with on the road by Alvarado, Sandoval, Valdenegro, Andres de Tapia,
and Father Olmedo, all persons in the confidence of Cortes, by whom
Christoval de Tapia was persuaded to go back to Chempoalla, and to produce
his commission to them. Having examined it and finding it genuine, they
placed it on their heads in token of respect and submission to the will of
the emperor, yet hesitated as to acknowledging Tapia for governor,
alleging that it was necessary in the first place to be assured of his
majestys pleasure in the present state of New Spain, which had been
concealed from his knowledge by the bishop of Burgos, to serve his own
private views and to favour Tapia and Velasquez, one of whom it was
alleged was to marry his niece. Tapia saw evidently that it would be no
easy matter to enter upon his office of governor, and fell sick with
vexation. The before-mentioned deputies informed Cortes by letter of all
that had passed, and advised him to try the all-powerful influence of gold
on the would-be governor. Cortes complied with this advice, and
transmitted a good quantity of golden ingots by return of the express, by
means of which his friends gratified the avarice of Tapia, under pretence
of purchasing one of his ships, with some horses and negroes; and Tapia
set sail in his other vessel for Hispaniola, where he was very ill
received by the royal audience and the Jeronymite brotherhood, as he had
undertaken this business contrary to their express orders.

I have formerly mentioned some particulars of an unsuccessful expedition
set on foot by Garray, the governor of Jamaica, for the establishment of a
colony on the river of Panuco; and as Cortes was informed that Garray
intended to resume that project, he resolved to anticipate him,
considering the country on that river as included in New Spain. Having
likewise been informed that Narvaez, who still continued a prisoner at
Villa Rica, had held some confidential intercourse with Tapia, in which he
advised him to quit the country as soon as possible, and to lay a
statement of the whole before his patron the bishop of Burgos; Cortes
sent orders to Rangel, now commandant at Villa Rica, to send up Narvaez to
Cojohuacan, where Cortes resided until the palace he meant to inhabit at
Mexico was completed. On appearing before Cortes, Narvaez fell on his
knees and endeavoured to kiss his hand; but Cortes raised and embraced him,
and treated him with the utmost kindness. His residence in Mexico being
ready for his reception, Cortes went to live there in great splendour,
marking out a plan for the restoration of the city, in which ample
allotments were made for churches, monasteries, and public buildings, with
squares and markets, all the rest of the ground being set apart for the
private inhabitants; and both so speedily and splendidly was this capital
restored, that all who have seen it allow there is not in Christendom a
larger, better built, or more populous city. While thus employed,
intelligence was brought to Cortes that the province of Panuco was in arms,
and had killed many of the soldiers whom he had sent to make a settlement
at that place. He resolved, therefore, to proceed to Panuco in person, as
all his most confidential officers were now absent on different duties.

By this time our strength had been considerably augmented, both by means
of those formerly mentioned who had been on the expedition to Florida
under Aillon, and by several who had come over along with Tapia, and by
the arrival of many adventurers from the islands of Hispaniola, Cuba, and
Jamaica. De Oli, likewise, had now returned from Mechoacan, which he had
reduced to submission, bringing with him the principal cacique of that
country and several other chiefs, with a considerable quantity of gold.
Cortes therefore left a respectable garrison in Mexico, under Diego de
Soto, and set out on his march for Panuco[1] with 130 cavalry, 250
infantry, and 10,000 Mexican warriors. As this expedition was very
expensive, Cortes, wished the charge to be defrayed from the royal funds,
but the officers of the treasury refused, under the pretext that it had
been undertaken from motives of private interest, to prevent Garray from
establishing a colony in that place, and not for the public service. The
Panuchese, otherwise called the Guastecas and Naguaticas, were numerous
and warlike, and had collected a force of above 70,000 warriors, with
which they fought two battles against Cortes in the course of a few days,
in which three Spaniards, four horses, and above a hundred Mexicans were
slain; but we obtained the victory in both actions, with such slaughter
of the rebels, as deprived them of all inclination to renew the war for
the present. By means of Father Olmedo and some prisoners, the Panuchese
were now induced to submit. Cortes in the next place proceeded with half
his army across the river Chila, to reduce the natives who had murdered
the messengers whom he sent to require their submission. On crossing the
river, the enemy fell upon our troops with great fury, but were soon
defeated, and our people advanced to a town in which they found abundance
of provisions. Some of our soldiers, on going into a temple next morning,
found the remains of some of our men, and even recognized their features,
a melancholy sight to us all; but we carefully collected and buried their
remains. From this place our detachment marched to another, where the
enemy concealed some of their troops among houses, intending to fall upon
our men when the cavalry had dismounted; but as their plan was discovered
it failed of success, yet they fought valiantly for half an hour, even
rallying three times, contrary to the usual custom of the Indians, and
three of our soldiers were so badly wounded that they afterwards died. On
the ensuing day, our soldiers scoured the country, and in some deserted
towns they found a number of earthen vessels filled with a species of wine
in underground cellars. After having marched for five days through the
country in various directions, the detachment returned to the river Chila,
and Cortes again summoned the the country to submission. They promised to
send a deputation for that purpose in four days, for which Cortes waited,
but to no purpose; he therefore sent a large body of Mexicans, during a
dark rainy night, across a lake to attack one of their largest towns,
which was entirely destroyed; after which most of the country submitted,
and Cortes established a town of 130 houses about a league from the river
of Chila, which he named Estevan del Puerto, leaving 63 Spanish soldiers
to keep the country under subjection, and giving the command of all the
neighbouring country to Pedro Valego. Before leaving this country, Cortes
was informed of three districts, which had now submitted, the inhabitants
of which had been very active in the murder of the Spaniards at Panuco on
the former occasion, and who had entered into a resolution to fall upon
the new settlement as soon as he quitted the country. He marched therefore
against them, and destroyed their towns, which they re-established soon
after his departure. In consequence of the loss of a vessel which Cortes
had ordered to bring provisions from Villa Rica, this new settlement was
reduced to much distress. The inhabitants of this province of Panuco were
the most barbarous of all the tribes in New Spain, being cruel to excess,
exceedingly addicted to human sacrifices, drunken, filthy, and wicked
beyond belief. They frequently rebelled, and were as often punished in a
most exemplary manner; but all would not reduce them under good government:
But when Nunez de Guzman became governor of New Spain, he reduced the
whole nation to slavery, and sold them among the different Islands of the
West Indies.

On his return towards Mexico, Cortes received complaints of various
depredations having been committed by the inhabitants of the neighbouring
mountains on the peaceable districts of New Spain[2], He determined
therefore to chastise these lawless tribes while on his way; but they
anticipated him, by assaulting his rear in a difficult pass of the
mountains, where they got possession of a considerable portion of the
baggage. But our Mexican allies severely revenged this insult, and made
prisoners of two of the principal hostile chiefs who were both hanged.
After this victory, Cortes suspended hostilities, and having summoned the
people to appear before him, they came in and submitted, on which Cortes
appointed the brother of the cacique who had been put to death to the
vacant government. About this time Alonza de Avila, who was formerly
mentioned, returned with full powers from the royal audience and the
Jeronymite brotherhood, to continue our conquests, to make settlements of
land and colonies according to the established rules in Hispaniola and
Cuba, and to brand slaves: And he brought notice that these tribunals had
transmitted a report of the steps they had now taken to the government in
Spain, whence it was transmitted to the emperor, then in Flanders. If
Avila had been in New Spain at the arrival of Tapia, he might have proved
troublesome, as he was entirely devoted to the Bishop of Burgos, having
been bred up in his house. On this account, and by the advice of Olmedo,
Cortes gave him the command of the district of Guatitlan, one of the most
profitable in New Spain, and also made him a considerable present of gold,
and many flattering words and promises by which he gained him over
entirely to his interest, insomuch that he sent him soon afterwards into
Spain as his agent, carrying a large quantity of gold, pearls, and jewels
to the emperor, together with several gigantic human bones that were found
in a temple at Cojohuacan, similar to those which had been formerly sent
from Tlascala, as already mentioned[3]. Besides these things, he carried
over three Mexican tigers, and many other curious things which I do not
now remember. One part of the business of this agency, was to carry a
memorial from the _cabildo_ of Mexico, and from us the conquerors of New
Spain, soliciting to be supplied with bishops and clergy of holy life and
exemplary manners, and requesting that all offices of honour and emolument
might be conferred on us who had conquered this vast empire for our
sovereign, and that the supreme government might be confided to our
general Cortes. We requested that his majesty might be pleased to prohibit
any lawyers from coming among us, who would throw us into confusion with
their learned quibbles; and we farther represented the insufficient
commission of Christoval de Tapia, who had been sent out by the Bishop of
Burgos, merely for the purpose of effectuating a marriage between him and
the bishops niece. We deprecated the interference of the bishop in the
affairs of New Spain, which had already obstructed our efforts of conquest
in the service of his majesty, and had manifested great enmity against us
by prohibiting the Casa de Contratation of Seville from sending us any
supplies. We concluded by declaring ourselves ready to receive his
majesties commands with the most perfect submission and obedience, but that
we had deemed it our bounden duty to lay all these particulars before his
majesty, which had hitherto been artfully kept from his knowledge. On his
part, Cortes sent a memorial to the king of twenty-one pages long, in
which he left no argument unemployed to serve his own and our interest. He
even requested permission to go over to the island of Cuba, and to send
the governor Velasquez a prisoner to Spain, that he might be tried and
punished for the injuries he had done to the public service, and
especially for having sent an order to put Cortes to death.

Our agents sailed from Vera Cruz on the 20th December 1522, and no
particular occurrence happened on the voyage to the Terceras or Açores,
except that one of the tigers broke loose and wounded some of the sailors,
who were likewise obliged to kill the other on account of its ferocity. At
the island of Tercera, Captain Quinones lost his life in a duel,
occasioned by a quarrel about a lady, by which means our business was left
in the hands of Alonzo de Avila. In continuing his voyage to Europe, he
was taken by a French privateer, commanded by one Jean Florin, who took
another ship from Hispaniola with a valuable cargo of sugar and hides, and
20,000 crowns in gold, and many pearls; so that with this and our treasure
he returned very rich to France, where he made magnificent presents to the
king and admiral of France, astonishing every body at the magnificence of
the presents which we had transmitted for our emperor. The king of France
observed on this occasion, that the wealth which we supplied from New
Spain was alone sufficient to enable our sovereign to wage war against him,
although Peru was not then discovered. It was also reported that the king
of France sent a message to our emperor, saying, That as he and the king
of Portugal had divided the world between them, he desired to see the will
of our father Adam, to know if he had made them exclusively his heirs. In
his next expedition, Florin was made prisoner by a strong squadron
belonging to Biscay, and was hanged in the island of Teneriffe.

Avila was made a close prisoner in France, but by gaining the friendship
of the officer to whose custody he had been confided, he was enabled to
correspond with his friends in Spain, to whom he transmitted all the
documents with which he had been entrusted, which were all laid before the
emperor Don Carlos by Martin Cortes, our generals father, and Diego de
Ordas, by means of the licentiate Nunez, _relator_ of the royal council,
who was cousin to Cortes. The emperor was pleased, on due consideration of
these documents, to order that all favour should be shewn to our general,
and that the proceedings respecting the government of New Spain should be
suspended until his majesty returned into Spain.

We were much disappointed on receiving intelligence of the loss of our
treasure, and the detention of our agent in France; yet Cortes honourably
reserved the district of Guatitlan for Avila, notwithstanding his
captivity, and gave it three years afterwards to a brother of Alonzo de
Avila, who was then promoted to be _contador_ of Yucutan.

[1] The province here named Panuco, is situated on the coast of the gulf
    of Mexico, at the mouth of a considerable river which drains the
    superfluous waters of the Mexican vale, named at first Rio del Desague,
    then Rio de Tula, and Rio Tampico at its mouth, in about lat. 22° 15'
    N. The Modern town of Panuco is about 200 miles almost due north from

[2] These were probably the Chichimecas and Otomies, who inhabited to the
    north-west of the Mexican empire.--E.

[3] From these slight notices, nothing certain can be gathered respecting
    these large bones: Yet there is every reason to believe they must have
    been of the same kind with those now familiar to the learned world,
    under the name of _Mammoth_. The vale of Mexico has every indication
    of having once been an immense inland lake, and the other _big bones_
    of North America have all been found in places of a similar
    description. The greatest deposit of these hitherto known, is at a
    place called _big-bone-swamp_, near the Mississippi, in the modern
    state of Kentucky.--E.


_Expeditions of Gonzalo de Sandoval, Pedro de Alvarado, and others, for
reducing the Mexican Provinces_.

After the settlement with Christoval de Tapia, the Captains Sandoval and
Alvarado resumed the expeditions with which they had been before entrusted,
and on this occasion I went along with Sandoval. On our arrival at
Tustepeque[1], I took my lodgings on the summit of a very high tower of a
temple, for the sake of fresh air, and to avoid the musquitoes, which were
very troublesome below. At this place, seventy-two of the soldiers who
came with Narvaez and six Spanish women were put to death. The whole
province submitted immediately to Sandoval, except the Mexican chief who
had been the principal instrument of the destruction of our soldiers, who
was soon afterwards made prisoner and burnt alive. Many others had been
equally guilty, but this example of severity was deemed sufficient.

Sandoval, in the next place, sent a message to the Tzapotecas, who inhabit
a mountainous district about ten leagues from Tustepeque or Tututepec,
ordering them to submit to his authority; and on their refusal, an
expedition was sent against them under Captain Briones, who according to
his own account had served with reputation in the wars of Italy. His
detachment consisted of 100 Spanish infantry, and about an equal number of
Indian allies; but the enemy were prepared for him, and so completely
surprised him in a difficult pass of the mountains, that they drove him
and his men over the rocks, rolling them down to the bottom, by which
above a third of them were wounded, of whom one afterwards died. The
district inhabited by the Tzapotecas is of very difficult access among
rocky mountains, where the troops can only pass in single file, and the
climate is very moist and rainy. The inhabitants are armed with long
lances, having stone heads about an ell long, which have two edges as
sharp as razors, and they are defended by pliable shields which cover
their whole bodies. They are extremely nimble, and give signals to each
other by loud whistlings, which echo among the rocks with inconceivable
shrillness. Their province is named Tiltepeque[2]; which, after its
submission, was confided to the charge of a soldier named Ojeda. On his
return to quarters, Sandoval ridiculed Briones on the bad success of his
expedition, asking him if he had ever seen the like in Italy; for Briones
was always boasting of his exploits there, as how he had severed men in
two, and the like. Briones was sore displeased with these sarcasms, and
swore he would rather fight against the Turks or Moors than the Tzapotecas.
There was another district of the Tzapotecas called Xaltepec, which was
then at war with a neighbouring tribe, and who immediately, on being
summoned by Sandoval, sent a deputation of their chiefs to wait upon him
with handsome presents; among which was a considerable quantity of gold,
partly made into toys, and partly in ten little tubes. Their chiefs were
dressed in long cotton robes, richly embroidered, and reaching to their
feet, like the upper garments worn by the Moors. They requested to be
assisted by some of our soldiers against their enemies, whom they named
the Minxes. The state of our force at this time did not permit him to
comply with this request, but he promised to transmit their request to our
general at Mexico, with an application for an auxiliary force to be sent
them, and said he could only now send a small number of his men along with
them, to observe the nature of the passes, but his real object was to
examine their mines. With this answer he dismissed them all except three,
sending eight of us along with them to explore the country and its mines.

There was another soldier of the same name with myself in this party, for
indeed there were three of us in the army named Castillo. At that time I
prided myself on my dress, and was called _Castillo the beau_. My namesake
who went on the present expedition was named _Castillo the thoughtful_, as
he was of slow speech, never replying to a question for a long while, and
then answering by some absurdity. The third was called _Castillo the
prompt_, as he was always very ready and smart in all his words. On our
arrival at the district of Xaltepec, the Indians turned over the soil in
three different rivers, in each of which they found gold, and soon filled
three tubes with it as large as a mans middle finger, with which we
returned to Sandoval, who now thought that all our fortunes would be made.
He took a district to himself, from which he very soon procured gold to
the value of 15,000 crowns. He gave the district of Xaltepec, whence we
had obtained the gold, to Captain Luis Marin, but it turned out very
indifferently. He gave me a very profitable district, which I wish to God
I had kept; it consisted of three places, named Matalan, Oztoequipa, and
Oriaca, where the _ingenio_ of the viceroy is now situated; but I thought
it more consistent with my character as a soldier to accompany Sandoval in
his military expeditions. Sandoval called his town Medellin, after the
birth-place of Cortes; and the Rio de las Vanderas, from which he procured
the 15,000 crowns, was for some time the port where the merchandise from
Spain was discharged, until Vera Cruz became the emporium.

We now marched into the province of Coatzacualco, through the district of
Citla[3], which is about twelve leagues in length and breadth, and is very
populous, having a fine climate and abounding in provisions. The chiefs
immediately submitted. On our arrival at the river of Coatzacualco, which
is the governing district of all the neighbouring tribes, the chiefs did
not make their appearance on being summoned, which we considered as an
indication of hostility, which was in fact their first intention; but
after five days, they came in and made their submissions, presenting some
trinkets of fine gold to Sandoval. By his orders, they collected a hundred
canoes, in which we crossed the river, sending four soldiers in advance to
examine and report the state of the country. A town was founded in this
place, which we named Villa del Espiritu Santo, because on that day we
defeated Narvaez, using that expression as our watchword, and because we
crossed this river on the same day. In this place the flower of our army
was established, which at this time mustered eighty cavalry, a greater
number in proportion than five hundred is now, horses being then very
scarce and dear. Having examined the surrounding districts, Sandoval
divided them among the different settlements. To the settlement of
Coatzacualco, he allotted Cuetzpaltepec, Tepeca, Chinantla, the Tzapotecas,
Copilco, Cimatan, Tabasco, Cachula, the Zoques, Techeapa, Cinacatan, the
Quilenes, and Papanahausta. We had a long litigation afterwards with the
district of Vera Cruz about three of these, Cuetzpaltepec, Chinantla, and
Tepeca; with Tabasco about Cimatan and Copilco; with Chiapa or Guatimala,
concerning the Quilenes and Zoques; and likewise with the town of St
Ildefonso about the Tzapotecas. I regretted having fixed myself in this
place, as the lands were very poor, and every thing turned out to my
disadvantage. We might indeed have done well enough if we had been left in
our original situation; but as new settlements were successively formed,
ours were curtailed to accommodate them, so that our colony fell into
decay; and from being the best, and containing the greatest number of the
true conquerors of Mexico, it has now very few inhabitants.

About this time Sandoval received intelligence of the arrival of Donna
Catalina, the lady of our general, in the river of Aguayalco[4],
accompanied by her brother. La Zembrana also with her family came along
with her, and Donna Elvira Lopez _the tall_, who married Juan de Palma,
who was afterwards hanged. We all went to pay our respects to the ladies,
the roads being almost impassable owing to constant heavy rain. Having
escorted Donna Catalina and the rest to our town of Coatzacualco, or
Espiritu Santo, intelligence was sent to Cortes of their arrival, and they
set out soon afterwards for Mexico. Cortes was sorry for their coming, but
he received them with great pomp, and we heard about three months
afterwards that Donna Catalina had died of an asthma.

Villafuerte had been sent to Zacatula, and Juan Alvarez Chico to Colima,
two provinces on the south sea to the west of Mexico, but were
unsuccessful; on which Cortes sent Christoval de Oli to reduce these
provinces to submission. The natives attacked him on his march, killing
two of his soldiers; yet he reached the station of Villafuerte, who was
afraid to stir out, and had four even of his soldiers killed by the enemy
in the town where he resided. I do not know what became of Captain Juan
Alvarez, but I believe he lost his life about this time in some action
with the natives. De Oli reduced both provinces to submission and returned
to Mexico, where he was hardly arrived when intelligence was brought that
they had again rebelled; on which Cortes sent Sandoval with a small party
of veterans to take the charge of them. He punished the ringleaders of the
rebellion, and regulated them in so effectual a manner, that they
continued ever afterwards submissive.

On the departure of Sandoval with the ladies, several of the districts
subjected to Coatzacualco rebelled, killing the soldiers who were
appointed to collect the tribute; among which were the Tzapotecas of
Xaltepec, Cimatan and Copilco, the first being difficult of access on
account of its rugged mountains, and the two others because of lakes and
marshes, so that they were not reduced to subjection without great
difficulty. While Captain Luis Marin was engaged in reducing these
districts, Juan Buono arrived at our settlement in a small vessel. He
immediately called us all together, and endeavoured to persuade us to
submit to Christoval de Tapia as governor of New Spain, being ignorant of
the return of that person to Hispaniola. Buono had a number of unaddressed
letters from the bishop of Burgos, making large offers to such as would
further his views of superseding Cortes, and which Buono had a
discretionary power of directing to any persons that he supposed might
support the cause in which he was engaged, and which he accordingly
transmitted to those who held offices in the settlement. Among the rest, I
was offered the appointment of regidor. When Buono learnt that Tapia had
left the country, he seemed much disappointed. We referred him to Cortes
at Mexico, to which place he went. I know not what passed between him and
Cortes, but I believe the general sent him back to Spain with some money
in his pocket.

Among the tribes that courted our alliance after the conquest of Mexico,
was a people of the Tzapotecan nation, named the Tutepecs, who earnestly
requested our assistance against a hostile tribe, who bore the same name
with themselves, and whom they represented as possessing a very rich
country. Accordingly, in the year 1522, Alvarado marched from Mexico with
a detachment of 180 soldiers, cavalry and infantry, with orders to take
twenty more on his march through the district of Oaxaco, and also to visit
and reduce during his march certain mountainous districts which were said
to be in rebellion. Alvarado was forty days on his march between Mexico
and Tutepec, and was very hospitably received on his arrival, being lodged
in the most populous part of the city, where the houses stood close
together, and were thatched with straw, it not being the custom of that
part of the country to have terraced roofs, on account of their climate
being very sultry. By the advice of Father Olmedo, Alvarado removed his
quarters to a more open part of the town; as in case of any treachery
being intended, the natives might easily have set fire to the first
quarters. In this place, Alvarado was plentifully supplied with provisions,
and the principal chief made him every day some rich present of gold; and
among other things gave him a pair of golden stirrups, made according to a
pattern. Yet, only a few days after, the cacique was made a prisoner, on
the information, as was said, of the Indians of Tecuantepec, that he meant
to burn the Spaniards in the quarters which had been assigned them in the
temples. Some of the Spaniards alleged that Alvarado made him a prisoner
in order to extort gold for his ransom. However this may have been, he
died in prison of vexation, after Alvarado had got from him to the value
of 30,000 crowns. His son was permitted to succeed him in the government,
from whom Alvarado obtained more gold than he had done from the father.
Alvarado now established a colony, which was called _Segura_, because most
of the colonists came from Tepeaca, named by us Segura de la Frontera.

Alvarado set out soon afterwards on his return to Mexico with all his
wealth, as Cortes had written to him to bring all the treasure he possibly
could, which he intended to send into Spain. The soldiers were much
dissatisfied at being thus excluded from any share, and several of them
entered into a conspiracy to assassinate Alvarado and his brothers. One of
the conspirators, named Tribejo, gave information of the plot to Father
Olmedo, only a few hours before it was intended to have been executed; and
the reverend Father informed Alvarado, just as he was riding out along
with some of the conspirators. He continued his intended excursion for a
short way; then turning suddenly, he complained of a pain in his side,
saying he must go back for a surgeon to bleed him. On his arrival at
quarters, he immediately sent for his two brothers, together with the
alcaldes and alguazils of the settlement, whom he ordered to arrest the
conspirators, two of whom were hanged. Alvarado returned to Mexico with
his gold; but the colonists finding all the gold taken away, and that the
place was hot and unhealthy, infested with musqutioes, bugs, and other
vermin, and themselve and slaves fast dying, they abandoned the settlement,
some going to Mexico, and others to different places. Cortes was much
displeased at this abandonment, and finding on inquiry that it had been
done by a resolution of the alcaldes and regidors in full cabildo, he
condemned them to suffer death; but their punishment, at the intercession
of Olmedo, was mitigated to banishment. Thus the settlement of Segura fell
to the ground, which had been established in a very fertile country, but
exceedingly unhealthy. By the cruelty and extortion of Alvarado, the minds
of the natives were alienated, and they threw off their allegiance; but he
reduced them again to submission, and they continued afterwards to behave
themselves peaceably.

[1] This expedition appears to have been for the reduction of certain
    provinces to the south-east of the vale of Mexico, now forming the
    intendency of Oaxaca, inhabited by the Mixtecas and Tzapotecas. The
    Tustepeque of the text, was probably a town on the Boca de Chacahua on
    the South Sea, now called Tututepec, in lat. 15º 50' N. and long. 100º
    15' E. On the very imperfect map of Clavigero, it is named Tototepec,
    and is placed in the country of the Mixtecas.--E.

[2] Named, more appropriately, in the map of Clavigero, Tzapoteca-pan.--E.

[3] I suspect this ought to be named Chinantla.--E.

[4] This way probably be some corruption of the native name of the Rio
    Coatzacualco, or Huaxacualco; by giving it the ordinary Spanish prefix
    _agua_; which signifies water, or a river, with the native termination


_Some Account of the Expedition of Francisco de Garay for the Colonization
of Panuco_.

Having formerly mentioned the expedition fitted out by Francisco de Garay,
the governor of Jamaica, it seems proper to give a more particular account
of that affair in this place. Hearing of the great riches which Diego
Velasquez was likely to acquire from New Spain, and of the fertile
countries which had been discovered on the continent of the West Indies,
and encouraged by the means he now possessed of prosecuting discoveries
and conquests, he determined to try his own fortune in that career. For
this purpose he sent for and discoursed with Alaminos, who had been our
chief pilot, from whom he received so favourable an account of these
countries, that he sent Juan de Torralva, a person in whom he could
confide, to solicit the bishop of Burgos to grant him a commission for
settling the country on the river of Panuco; and having succeeded in this
preliminary step, he fitted out an armament of three ships, with 240
soldiers, under the command of Alonzo Alvarez Pineda, who was defeated by
the Panuchese, one ship only escaping, which joined us at Villa Rica, as
already related. Receiving no intelligence of the fate of his first
armament, Garay sent a second, which also arrived at our port. Having now
expended a great deal of money to no purpose, and having learnt the good
fortune of Cortes, he became more than ever desirous to secure the
advantages he expected to derive from his commission. With this view he
fitted out thirteen ships, in which he embarked 136 cavalry, and 840 foot
soldiers, mostly musqueteers and crossbow-men, of which he took the
command in person. He sailed with this great armament from Jamaica, on the
24th June 1523, and arrived safe at the port of Xagua in the island of
Cuba, where he received information that Cortes had reduced the province
of Panuco to subjection, and had sent a petition to the emperor to get a
commission for governing his new acquisition. He was here informed of the
heroic deeds of Cortes and his companions, and in particular of our having
defeated the large force of Narvaez, while we had only 270 soldiers.

Struck with awe at the power and abilities of our general, he solicited
the licentiate Zuazco to mediate between him and Cortes, that he might be
permitted to take possession of the government of Panuco, in pursuance of
his commission from the bishop of Burgos.

Garay shortly afterwards set out with his armament, and being driven by a
storm into the river Palmas[1], he disembarked there, intending to march
by land to Panuco, having first exacted an oath of fidelity from his
troops; and he even nominated the various officers of his colony, which he
intended to name Garayana. Having marched for two days along the sea-shore,
through a marshy uninhabited country, he arrived at some villages, where
the inhabitants entertained him hospitably, but many of his soldiers
straggled about robbing and maltreating the people. Garay at length
arrived at Panuco, where his soldiers expected all their difficulties
would end, but it was almost a desert, as it had been much wasted in the
war with Cortes, and the natives concealed what remained, so that they
found nothing but bare walls, where they were tormented with mosquitos and
every kind of vermin. Garay could get no intelligence of his fleet, and
learnt from a Spaniard who had fled from punishment and lived among the
Indians, that the province of Panuco was poor and unhealthy; and as this
man gave a very favourable account of Mexico, many of Garays soldiers
deserted from him, and went off for Mexico, plundering the natives on
their way. Garay found himself in a bad plight, and sent one of his
officers, named Diego de Ocampo, to sound the disposition of Vallejo, who
was governor of St Estevan del Puerto for Cortes, and to notify the
appointment of Garay to the government of this country. Vallejo gave a
favourable answer, requesting the soldiers might be restrained from
maltreating the inhabitants; but sent off an express to Cortes, soliciting
a strong reinforcement or the immediate presence of the general. On
receiving this intelligence, Cortes immediately sent off Alvarado,
Sandoval, Father Olmedo, and Gonzalo de Ocampo, brother to Diego de Ocampo,
who was with Garay, giving them a copy of the royal instructions, by which
all his conquests were left under his command till the dispute between him
and Velasquez were judicially settled.

On the arrival of Garay in the neighbourhood of St Estevan, Vallejo learnt
from five deserters that the troops were scattered negligently in a large
town called Nacoplan, on which he concerted a plan for coming on them by
surprise, and made forty of them prisoners, alleging that they had invaded
the country without a commission, and had plundered the inhabitants who
lived under his government. Garay threatened Vallejo with the vengeance of
the court of Spain for this outrage, and demanded the immediate release of
his soldiers; on which Vallejo requested to see his commission, which, if
from his majesty, he would obey in all humility. Just at this time arrived
the deputies from Cortes, and Diego de Ocampo, being then first alcalde of
Mexico, made a formal remonstrance against the entrance of Garay with an
armed force into the government of another person. Several days were spent
in remonstrances and replies on both sides, during which time many of
Garays troops deserted from him.

Two of the ships belonging to Garay were lost in a tempest, and the
remainder took shelter in the mouth of the river, when Vallejo secretly
negotiated with their officers to join the party of Cortes. He at length
contrived to inviegle the whole of the fleet up the river to the port of
St Estevan, where he made all their officers and men prisoners in the name
of Cortes; but Father Olmedo persuaded him to set them at liberty. The
unfortunate Garay entreated the officers of Cortes to restore his ships
and to compel his troops to return to their duty, promising to give up his
intended settlement at Panuco, and to retire to the river Palmas. They
agreed to this, and used every measure to induce the deserters to return,
but with little effect; as they alleged they had already discharged their
engagement in coming to Panuco, and they despised Garay. In this hopeless
state, Garay was persuaded to write to Cortes, stating his situation, and
requesting his protection and assistance, in consideration of their former
friendship. Cortes engaged to do what he desired, and invited him to come
to Mexico, where he was honourably received, and promised every redress,
referring him to Olmedo, Sandoval, and Alvarado, to agree with him on the
terms. At the suggestion of Olmedo, a marriage was proposed between Donna
Catalina Cortes y Pizarro, the daughter of Cortes, and the eldest son of
Garay, who had a command in the fleet. Cortes agreed to this, giving his
daughter a liberal fortune, and agreed that Garay should establish a
colony on the river Palmas, in which he engaged to give him every
assistance in his power. Garay now interceded with Cortes to allow Narvaez
to return to Cuba, for which favour Narvaez was extremely thankful, and
took leave of Cortes with many professions of gratitude. Soon afterwards,
Garay was seized with a pleurisy, of which he died in four days, leaving
Cortes and Father Olmedo his executors. As his armament was left without a
head, a competition arose among his officers for the vacant command; but
young Garay was ultimately made general. This gave great offence to the
soldiers, in consequence of which they dispersed about the country in
small bodies of fifteen or twenty men, pillaging the natives as if they
had been among Moors. This enraged the Indians, who laid a plot to cut off
the Spaniards, which they executed so effectually that in a very short
time they sacrificed and eat above five hundred of the soldiers of Garay,
in some of the towns upwards of a hundred of them being destroyed at one
time. In other places they fell upon the stragglers, whom they massacred
almost without resistance; and, encouraged by this success, they even rose
against the settlement of Estevan in such numbers, that they could hardly
be resisted by Vallejo and seven or eight of the veterans of Cortes, who
induced many of Garays soldiers to abide by them in the open field, where
three battles were fought, in one of which Vallejo was slain, and a great
number of Spaniards wounded. The Indians became at length so bold and
desperate, that they one night killed and burned forty Spaniards, among
whom were several belonging to Cortes, and destroyed fifteen horses. When
Cortes heard of these proceedings he was much enraged, and would have gone
in person to suppress the rebellion, but was then confined by a broken arm;
wherefore he sent Gonzalo de Sandoval, with 100 infantry, 50 cavalry, 15
musqueteers, and two field-pieces, accompanied by 8000 Mexican and
Tlascalan warriors, giving orders to reduce the country so completely
under subjection that they might not have power to give any farther

Sandoval was a person of much vigilance when he had any important business
in hand, and made no delay in marching against the enemy, who had
concentrated their forces in two narrow defiles. Sandoval divided his
forces into two bodies, but was so obstinately resisted, that he drew off
his forces, feigning to retreat to Mexico, followed by the Indians, whom
he completely deceived, making an unexpected countermarch at midnight, by
which he gained possession of the passes; yet not till he had lost three
horses, and had a great many of his men wounded. On passing the defiles,
he found himself opposed in front by an immense body of Indians, who had
collected on receiving notice of his countermarch. He concentrated his
whole force into one solid column; and as his cavalry were inexperienced
in the service, he gave them full instructions never to halt making
thrusts, as the Indians always seized the lances when wounded, and often
wrested them from the hands of our men; but ordered them to clap spurs to
their horses on such occasions, firmly grasping their lances, and thus
force them from the enemy by the strength of their horses. Having placed
guards and patroles, and ordered the horses of the cavalry to remain all
night saddled and bridled, he made the troops repose under arms on the
banks of a river, placing the Mexican and Tlascalan warriors at a short
distance from the Spanish troops, knowing by experience that the allies
were of more harm than benefit in a night attack. At day-break next
morning, Sandoval put his troops in motion, and was soon fronted by three
large bodies of the enemy, who endeavoured to surround him. Forming his
cavalry in two squadrons, he attacked the enemy with such spirit that they
were soon broken and dispersed, with the loss of two soldiers and three
horses on his side. The allies made terrible havock after this victory,
burning and plundering all before them, till the arrival of the army at St
Estevan. The remains of this colony were found in a miserable condition,
and the soldiers of Garay assured him that its preservation was entirely
owing to the bravery and conduct of our few veterans who were there.
Sandoval divided his army into several bodies, which he entrusted to the
command of the veterans, and sent them to overrun the neighbouring
districts, with orders to send in all the provisions they could collect,
being unable to go out himself, as he was badly wounded. In the course of
three days, his parties sent in many prisoners of the ordinary class, and
five chiefs; but Sandoval released the common people, and ordered his
troops to make no more prisoners, except of such chiefs as had been
concerned in or present at the murder of the Spaniards. In a few days
Sandoval was able to take the field, and by skilful measures he made
prisoners of twenty caciques, who had commanded where no less than six
hundred Spaniards were slain. He then summoned all the neighbouring towns
to send their chiefs to him to treat of peace and submission: Some obeyed,
but others neglected to attend, and he thought it best to dissimulate with
the latter for the present, till he had informed Cortes what had been
already done, and had received his orders as to the disposal of the
prisoners and his future procedure. Cortes, who now conferred the vacant
command of St Estevan on Sandoval, ordered all who had been any way
concerned in the murder of the Spaniards to be punished with death, as an
example to deter others from being guilty of the like offence, directing
Diego de Ocampo, as alcalde-major, to take the necessary steps against
them, with orders to execute all who should be found guilty. He gave
orders likewise to conciliate the natives by all possible means, and to
prevent the soldiers of Garay from committing any future outrages. Two
days after the receipt of these orders, the accused caciques were brought
to trial; and many of them being found guilty by evidence, or by their own
confession, were publickly executed, some being burnt and others hanged.
Many also were pardoned; and all the districts which had belonged to the
caciques who suffered on this occasion, were restored to their children or
other heirs. Ocampo now proceeded against all those Spaniards who had been
guilty of outrages, going about the country in bands, plundering and
murdering the natives, or who had invited other soldiers to desert to them;
and having collected them together, he shipped them off for Cuba. To Juan
de Grijalva, who had been commodore of the fleet under Garay, Cortes
offered the alternative of a present of 2000 crowns, and a passage to Cuba,
or an honourable reception at Mexico. But Grijalva and all the other
officers belonging to Garay preferred going to Cuba. When Sandoval and
Ocampo had thus reduced the settlement to order, and cleared it of these
troublesome inmates, they returned to Mexico, leaving the command at St
Estevan to an officer named Vallecillo; and on their arrival at the
capital, they were received by Cortes and others with the distinction
which their services richly merited[2].

[1] This is probably the river of Nueva Santander, about 100 miles north
    from the Rio Tampico or river of Panuco--E.

[2] A very uninteresting episode, respecting the misfortunes of the
    liceniate Zuazo, who has been formerly mentioned, is here omitted, as
    having no reference whatever to the general history in hand: It is
    sufficient to say that, after many perils by sea and land, Zuazo came
    to Mexico, where Cortes gave him the office of alcalde-major, which
    seems to have resembled our provost-marshal, or chief military


_Narrative of various Expeditions for the Reduction of different Provinces
in New Spain_.

As the views of Cortes were always lofty, so was he always well supported
by the talents and bravery of his officers and soldiers. After his power
was thoroughly established in the great city of Mexico and its more
immediate dependencies, and in the districts or provinces of Guaxaca,
Zacatula, Colima, Vera Cruz, Panuco, Coatzacualco, and others, as already
related, he was informed that there were populous nations and rich mines
in the province of Guatimala; and he resolved to send a military force
under Alvarado, to conquer and colonize that country. Alvarado, therefore,
was dispatched to that province, with 300 infantry, 135 cavalry, 200
Tlascalans and Cholulans, and 100 Mexicans[1], and four field-pieces.
Alvarado was instructed to bring those nations to submission by peaceful
means, if possible; and Father Olmedo accompanied him, on purpose to
preach the doctrines of our holy religion to the natives; and at all
events, to insist upon all the prisons and cages that were used for human
victims being destroyed, the prisoners set free, and the utter abolition
of human sacrifices and cannibal feasts. This expedition left Mexico on
the 13th of December 1523; and Alvarado during his march, received the
submission of the district known by the name of the Rocks of Guelama,
where he received many rich contributions in gold. Having passed the
districts belonging to the Tzapotecas of Tecuantepec, and by Soconusco, a
town containing above 15,000 houses, Alvarado came to the neighbourhood of
a place named Zapotitlan, where, at a bridge over a river, he was opposed
by a very numerous body of warriors who disputed the passage with so much
bravery, that many of the soldiers were wounded and one horse killed; and
it required three very hard fought battles before the Spaniards were able
to break through and disperse the enemy.

From this place, continuing his march, Alvarado was continually harassed
by the Indians of Quetzaltenango, and came at length to a defile in a high
mountain, where the ascent was about a league and a half. On arriving at
the summit, a remarkably fat woman was found in the act of sacrificing a
dog, which is an infallible token of intended hostilities; and immediately
afterwards, great numbers of armed Indians were seen advancing on all
sides, in a difficult broken ground, where the cavalry of Alvarado were
unable to act. In this rough and impracticable place, above 6000 of the
warriors of Utatlan, a district adjoining to Quetzaltenango, made an
attack upon our troops; and being soon put to flight, they rallied shortly
after, reinforced by great numbers of fresh troops, who waited the advance
of our forces, and fought them bravely hand to hand. On this occasion,
three or four of the enemy uniting their efforts, used to seize a horse
before and behind, endeavouring to pull him to the ground, and it required
the most strenuous exhortations both of Alvarado and Father Olmedo to
animate the exertions of our troops, who at length succeeded in defeating
and dispersing the Indians. Our army halted in the field of battle for
three days, unmolested by the enemy, and then marched to Quetzaltenango,
where Alvarado hoped to have given his troops some repose; but he found
two xiquipils of warriors, or 16,000 men assembled to oppose him in a
plain, where he gave them so complete a defeat, with so heavy a loss of
warriors, that they remained for a long time under complete awe of the
Spaniards. The chiefs of these Indians sent a deputation to Alvarado,
offering peace and submission, under which they had concealed a plan for
destroying his army in the following manner. At a short distance there was
a place called Utatlan, in a very difficult rugged country, and surrounded
by defiles, to which they invited him to march, intending to fall upon him
there with all their forces, as in that place the cavalry could not act.

Alvarado accordingly marched to Utatlan, a town of considerable strength,
which had only two gates, the ascent to one of which was by a stair of
about twenty-five steps, and the other opened to a very bad broken
causeway, the streets likewise being very narrow, and the houses very
close together. Observing the bad situation of this place, and that the
women and children had disappeared, Alvarado began to suspect that some
mischief was in contemplation; and he was informed by some Indians of the
place he had last quitted, that a number of warriors were concealed all
round the place, to which they meant to set fire in the night, and then
assault him with all their forces. Alvarado immediately called his troops
to arms, and marched out into the open country, telling the chiefs that he
did so for the purpose of procuring grass for his horses. They did not
seem pleased with this change; and as soon as Alvarado was completely
clear of the town, he seized the principal cacique, whom he reproached for
his treachery, and ordered to be burnt alive. Father Olmedo obtained a
respite of this sentence, with permission to endeavour to convert the
condemned cacique to the holy faith, in which he exerted himself a whole
day, and at length succeeded: and, _as an indulgence_, his punishment was
commuted to hanging, and his territory given to his son. After this,
Alvarado attacked and dispersed the native warriors who were in the
neighbourhood of the town. When this success became known in Guatimala,
which was engaged in hostility with the people of Utatlan, they sent an
embassy to treat with Alvarado before his arrival on their frontiers,
bringing a present of gold, declaring their submission to the government
of our emperor, and offering to serve as allies in all our wars. Alvarado
accepted their submission and offer of service, and desired them to send
him 2000 of their warriors, with which they immediately complied; and as
the people of Utatlan had again rebelled, he remained eight days in their
country, collecting considerable spoil and making many slaves; after which
he marched to the city of Guatimala, where he was hospitably received.

As the utmost harmony subsisted between Alvarado and the natives of
Guatimala, the chiefs of that nation represented to him that a nation in
their neighbourhood, called the Altitlans, who occupied several strong
fortresses on the side of a lake, had refused to make submission to him,
and that they were a barbarous and malicious people. Alvarado sent a
message commanding these people to submit, but they abused his messengers;
on which he marched against them with 140 Spanish soldiers and 2000
warriors of the Guatimalans, and was resisted by a strong force of the
Altitlans, whom he soon defeated with considerable loss, and pursued to
their fortresses on the lake. Having driven them from these fortresses,
they took shelter in an island of the lake, to which he sent several of
their chiefs whom he had taken prisoners, to persuade them into peace and
submission, in which he at length succeeded, partly by threats and partly
by promises, and returned to Guatimala. Father Olmedo exerted himself so
effectually in his mission, that he prevailed upon the people to imitate
our example, in adoring the holy Virgin, for which purpose he erected an
altar and image of our lady, and explained the mysteries of the Christian
faith to the natives. A people named the Pipiles, who came from a
considerable distance towards the south, to enter into submission to
Alvarado, informed him that a nation in their way, called the Izcuintepecs,
were of a malignant disposition, and maltreated all travellers through
their country. He sent, therefore, a message to invite them to come in and
submit, which they refused to comply with; for which reason he marched
into their country with his whole force, united to a strong body of his
allies of Guatimala, and made great havock among them. Not having been
present in this expedition, as I did not go into the province of Guatimala
until my return from Higueras, I have only given a short summary of the
conquest of Guatimala and its dependencies, which may be found related at
full length in a book written by Gonzalo de Alvarado.

About this time Cortes was informed that the provinces of Higueras and
Honduras contained rich mines, and some sailors reported that the native
fishers of these countries used weights to their nets made of gold mixed
with copper; they alleged also, that a strait or passage would probably be
found in that direction into the Pacific Ocean. On these accounts he
determined to send some troops to that country under Christoval de Oli, to
inquire after the mines, and to search for this reported strait, by which
a communication might be opened with the Spice Islands; and as the way by
land was long and difficult, it was determined to send this expedition by
sea. Accordingly, de Oli embarked in six ships, with a force of 370
soldiers, 100 of whom were musqueteers and crossbow-men, and 22 cavalry.
Five of the veteran conquerors of Mexico went along with this expedition;
among whom was one Briones, a seditious fellow and a bitter enemy of
Cortes; besides whom, many of the soldiers on this expedition were greatly
dissatisfied at the unequal distribution of lands which had been made in
New Spain. De Oli was ordered to go first to the Havanna, to procure a
supply of provisions and necessaries, and then to pursue his voyage to the
Higueras to make the necessary inquiries for the reported mines and
straits; after which he was to build a town in some commodious situation.
To advance the interests of our holy religion, he was provided with two
friars, one of whom understood the Mexican language. At the Havanna, de
Oli took on board five of the followers of Garay, who had been expelled
from Panuco for seditious conduct, who ingratiated themselves into his
confidence, and advised him to renounce his obedience to Cortes, in which
they were aided by Briones; so that he at length went over to the party of
Velasquez, who engaged to make such representations at court that the
command of this intended settlement might be given to de Oli independent
of Cortes. De Oli was a brave man, and endowed with many good qualities,
yet unfit for his present employment, having been brought up in the house
of Velasquez, so that he was the more readily influenced by bad advisers
to desert the interest of Cortes to whom he lay under great obligations.
On the third of May, de Oli arrived at his station, which he named _El
Triumpho de la Cruz_, where he appointed to the civil administration of
the new colony, such alcaldes and regidors as had been recommended by
Cortes, and even took possession of the country for his majesty in the
name of Cortes, as he wished to conceal his secession from our general
till he saw whether the country was sufficiently rich to be worth while to
set up an independent government; as, if it turned out otherwise, he could
return to his possessions in Mexico, and gloss over his negociations with
Velasquez, under pretence of having done so in order to procure the
necessary supplies. In this manner was the new colony of El Triumpho
established, from whence Cortes had no intelligence for more than eight

There were a considerable number of veterans and Spaniards of rank,
established in the town of Coatzacuaclo, otherwise called Del Espiritu
Santo, who were entrusted with the government of that province, together
with the districts of Citla, Tabasco, Cimatan, Choutalpa, Cachula, Zoque,
the Quilenes, Cinacatan, Chamuela, Chiapa, Papanahausta, Pinula, Xaltepec,
Huaxaltepec, Chinantla, Tepeque, and others; but through all New Spain,
the demand for tribute was the signal of insurrection, and all who
attempted to levy it were killed, as were all Spaniards who fell into the
hands of the natives; so that we were continually obliged to go from one
town to another with a company of soldiers to preserve peace. As the
district of Cimatan was particularly refractory, and Captain Luis Marin
could not conveniently send a body of troops to that place, I and three
other Spaniards were sent there to endeavour to prevail on the people to
submit. On approaching the principal town, we were attacked by a large
body of Indians, who killed two of my companions, and wounded me
desperately in the throat. My surviving companion made off to some canoes
on the banks of the river Macapa, leaving me alone and in great jeopardy;
but I crept under cover of some bushes where I lay some time almost
exhausted, and recovering my strength after some time, I forced my way
through the natives, and escaped to where my companion was in the canoes,
with four Indians whom we had brought with us to carry our baggage, which
they had thrown away, and for the sake of which the natives quitted us, so
that we got across the river, which is broad and deep and full of
alligators. To avoid the Indians, we concealed ourselves for eight days in
the woods, so that we were concluded to be lost, and our property in lands
and Indians was divided among the other Spaniards, such being then the
custom in New Spain. We returned to the town, however, at the end of
twenty-three days, to the great joy of our friends, and the disappointment
of those who had succeeded to our property.

Our captain, Luis Marin, thought proper to wait upon Cortes, to represent
the necessity of a reinforcement; and accordingly got thirty soldiers,
commanded by Alonzo de Grado, with orders for all the Spaniards at
Coatzacualco to march for the province of Chiapa, which was then in a
state of rebellion, and directions to build a town there to keep the
natives in order. In the first place, we had to make roads through the
woods, and the country being very marshy, we were under the necessity of
constructing causeways in many places to enable the horses to pass. The
first place we came to was Tezputzlan, and thence to Cachula, beyond which
there had been no passage before our expedition, all the other natives
being in great fear of the inhabitants of Chiapa, who were then the
bravest warriors in all America, and had never been subdued by the
Mexicans; but they were extremely barbarous, being in use to rob all
passengers, and to carry away the natives of other districts to till their
ground. The present expedition was during Lent, and as well as I can now
remember, in the year 1524, our little army consisting of 27 cavalry, 23
musqueteers, 72 foot soldiers armed with sword and target, and one
field-piece under the direction of a cowardly fellow of a gunner, who
pretended to have served in Italy. Besides these, we had 50 Mexican
warriors, and the cacique of Cachula with some of his principal people,
who were all terribly afraid. On approaching Chiapa, an advanced guard of
four of our most active soldiers, of whom I was one, always preceded the
army to reconnoitre, and as the ground was not fit for a horse, I left
mine behind. We were usually about half a league in front of the army, but
on our approach to Estapa, their first settlement, some of the hunters of
Chiapa perceived us at a distance, and gave the alarm by means of smoke.
The road was now wide and convenient, between well cultivated fields of
corn and other vegetables; and on coming to Estapa we found it abandoned
by the inhabitants, on which we posted our guards and patroles, and took
up our quarters for the night. We were soon disturbed by information from
our out-guards, that the natives were collecting on every side to attack
us; and, going out of town to meet them we had a severe action, in which
they killed two of our soldiers and four horses, wounding our reverend
father Fra Juan, and thirteen soldiers, including our captain Luis Marin,
who was wounded in two places; besides which many of our allies were slain.
This action lasted till dark night, when the enemy were forced to retire,
leaving fifteen slain and many wounded in the field. From two of the
wounded, who seemed chiefs, we learnt that a general attack was intended
against us next day. These people were clothed in good defensive armour of
quilted cotton, using darts hardened in the fire, war clubs, and lances
longer than ours, and they fought with unusual bravery; insomuch that,
when one of our horsemen halted to make a thrust, the Indians seized the
horse, and either wrested the lance from the horseman or pulled him to the

Next day we pursued our march to Chiapa, a place with very regular streets,
and containing not less than four thousand families, besides the dependent
towns and villages around. We had not proceeded above a quarter of a
league from Estapa, where we had passed the night, when we found the whole
warriors of the district drawn up to oppose us, well armed, dressed up in
plumes of feathers, and making the hills resound with their warlike shouts.
They attacked us with the utmost fury, and our black gunner was so
stupified with fear, that he stood long trembling before he durst put the
match to the gun, and when he fired the piece all the good he did was
wounding three of our own men. After a severe conflict, we at length
forced them to fly; but they rallied in some broken ground, reinforced by
some fresh bodies of Indians, and attacked us again by surprize, while we
were giving God thanks for our victory. In these new troops, many were
provided with long thongs to twist round our horses, and some carried the
nets they used in hunting for the same purpose. In this second battle the
enemy were so desperate that they killed two of our soldiers and five
horses, and scarce one of us escaped without a wound. They had along with
them a very fat aged woman, whom they esteemed a wizard, who had promised
them the victory. Her body was all covered over with paint mixed with
cotton wool; and she advanced fearlessly amid our allies, who were
regularly formed by companies, by whom she was cut to pieces. At length,
by a violent effort, we forced the enemy to fly, some taking to the rocks
and others to the river, and being excellent swimmers they made their
escape. We then halted and sang the _Salve regina_: After which we took
possession of a town on the river, where we halted for the night, taking
care of our wounded, and carefully concealing our dead.

About midnight, ten chiefs of neighbouring districts came down the river
in five canoes, and were brought to our captain, whom they informed that
they belonged to the nation of the Xaltepecs, who were at war with the
people of Chiapa, and came to offer their assistance to us against them,
on condition that we should afterwards support the independence of their
nation against the people of Chiapa. This was very satisfactory to us, as
we could not have passed the river, which was both broad and deep, without
their assistance; the chiefs were therefore dismissed with a promise on
our part of protection, and on theirs to bring us canoes and auxiliaries.
During the remainder of the night we had to keep strict guard, as the
drums and horns of the enemy were heard on the opposite banks of the river,
where their warriors were collecting from all sides to attack us. As soon
as it was light, our new friends joined us with the promised canoes, and
shewed us a very dangerous ford, which they urged us to pass without delay,
that we might endeavour to save the lives of some of their people who had
been recently made prisoners by the enemy. We accordingly passed the river
in a solid column at the ford, which reached our armpits, and where we
lost one of our cavalry. On gaining the opposite bank, we were so hotly
assailed by the enemy with darts and arrows, that every one of us had two
or three wounds before we got out of the water. But as we were now joined
by large bodies of those Indians who had offered their assistance, we soon
compelled the enemy to fly for shelter to their city, against which we
immediately advanced in good order, accompanied by our new allies. On
arriving there, it seemed too closely built to be occupied with safety,
and we encamped therefore in the open field, sending messengers to invite
them to peace, with which they complied, by sending a deputation of their
chiefs, who submitted to become subject to our sovereign, and requiring
that the neighbouring tribes might be prevented from destroying their
houses and plantations. All these things being settled to our mutual
satisfaction, we went into the town, where we found many prisoners
confined in wooden cages, who had been seized by the Chiapese while
travelling from place to place, all of whom we set free. In the temples of
this place we found several idols of horrible figures, and many remains of
men and boys, who had been recently sacrificed. Our reverend father Fra
Juan, broke all the idols to pieces, and preached so successfully that
many were baptized. Many of the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes came in
and made their submission: Among these were the chiefs of Cinacatan,
Papanahaustla, Pinola, Guehuistlan, Chamula, the Quilenes, and others who
spoke the Zoque language, and many other tribes, the names of which I do
not now remember. These people were much surprised when they perceived the
smallness of the force with which we had ventured to attack a nation so
warlike as the Chiapese, whom the Mexicans were never able to subdue.

While our captain was thus occupied in arranging matters with the chiefs
of the surrounding districts, one of our soldiers went accompanied by
eight Mexicans, to a town called Chamula, where he demanded a contribution
of gold in the name of our captain, though entirely without authority. A
quantity was accordingly offered him; but not being satisfied with the
amount, he attempted to seize the cacique, by which violent proceeding he
occasioned an insurrection of that town, and another in the neighbourhood
called Quiahuitlan, or Guehuistlan. When this improper transaction came to
the ears of our captain, he sent the soldier a prisoner to Mexico, and
immediately marched to Chamula to quell the insurrection, being assisted
on this occasion by the inhabitants of Cinacatan, a polished tribe which
was addicted to merchandize. On our arrival at Chamula, we found the place
strongly fortified by art and nature, and the people well armed, having a
peculiar species of large shield which covered the whole body, and could
be rolled up into a small compass when not in use. Our cavalry were
ordered to keep guard in the plain in our rear, to watch the motions of
the insurgents in the neighbouring districts; while the infantry
endeavoured to force their way into the town; but our musketeers made very
little impression, as the enemy were covered by their walls, while their
missiles injured us materially, being exposed without any defence. We
continued the attack during the whole day to very little purpose, being
unable to force the ramparts, which were guarded by above 2000 men armed
with lances. We therefore drew off for the time, and procured some timber
from a depopulated town in the neighbourhood, with which we constructed
certain machines named _mantas_ or _burros_, under cover of which twenty
men or more could approach the walls in safety, to work a passage through
them. On our first attempt to do this, the enemy threw down upon our
machines, heavy stones, fire, and scalding water, so that we were
constrained to remove our machines to repair the injury they had sustained.
We again brought forward our machines to the walls, and at length
succeeded in making several breaches. While employed in this manner, four
of their principal chiefs and priests addressed us from the top of the
ramparts, saying, since we wanted gold they had brought us some, and then
threw over seven crowns of fine gold, with many gold trinkets, some of
which were cast in the shape of various birds, shells, and the like;
immediately after which they assailed us with repeated vollies of darts,
arrows, and stones. By the time that it was dark, we had made two
considerable breaches; but as a heavy rain came on, we drew off for the
night, keeping a vigilant guard round our post, and having our cavalry on
the alert in the plain, ready saddled and bridled. During the whole night,
the enemy kept continually sounding their warlike instruments, making
horrid yells, and threatening us with destruction next day, which they
said was promised by their gods. We brought forward our machines again at
day-break to enlarge the breaches we had made on the preceding day; but
the enemy defended themselves with great obstinacy, wounding five of our
people, and myself among the rest by the thrust of a lance, which had gone
through me, had it not been for the strength of my quilted cotton armour.
Towards evening it came on again to rain hard, and we were called off from
the attack; but as the enemy ceased to shout and make their usual noises,
I suspected they were about leaving the town, and perceived also that
their lances were mostly rested against the walls and parapets, except
about two hundred which still appeared in the hands of a part of the enemy.
On this, I and one of my comrades crept in at a small breach in the wall,
and were immediately attacked by above two hundred of these lancemen, who
would soon have dispatched us, if some of our Indian allies had not
noticed our perilous situation, and called the rest of our soldiers to our
aid, who crowded in at the breach and soon enabled us to put the enemy to
flight. These were only the rear guard of the garrison, all the rest of
the inhabitants, men, women, and children, having evacuated the town by
the opposite gate. We immediately pursued, and made many prisoners.

Leaving this place, we marched for Cinacatan, and halted for the night at
the place where _Chiapa de los Éspanoles_ is now built; from whence our
captain dismissed six of our prisoners, with a message to their countrymen,
offering to restore all the rest of the prisoners, if they would submit.
They immediately complied with this, and submitted themselves as subjects
to the Spanish monarchy. In this neighbourhood dwelt a nation called the
Guehuistlans[2], who possessed three fortified towns, and were in
rebellion against us. Leaving our baggage and wounded men in Cinacatan, we
proceeded to reduce these people to submission. They had barricaded all
the approaches to their towns by means of felled trees, which were cleared
away by the aid of our Indian allies, and we got up to one of their
fortresses, which threatened to give us infinite trouble, as it was full
of warriors, well armed both for offence and defence. But they all fled
when we mounted to the assault, leaving the place to us without resistance.
By means of two prisoners who were taken by our allies, offers of peace
and good treatment were sent to them, on condition of submission; with
which they complied, bringing with them some trifling presents of gold and
_quetzal_ feathers.

Having thus effected our business in this place, by reducing all the
surrounding tribes to submission, we proceeded, according to the orders of
Cortes, to establish a colony, though some who had already plantations and
Indians in Coatzacualco objected to this place as unfit for cavalry, and
that our force was too small for keeping so populous a district under
subjection, especially as the natives had many strong fortresses in the
fastnesses of their mountains. Even our captain, Luis Marin, and the royal
notary Diego de Godoy, were adverse to the plan. Alonzo de Grado, also, a
very troublesome fellow, was possessed of a patent from Cortes, by which
he was entitled to an _encomienda_ in the province of Chiapa, when reduced
to obedience; and in virtue of this, he demanded that all the gold which
had been received from the Indians of Chiapa, and also, that which had
been found in the temples, amounting to about 1500 crowns, should be
delivered up to him. This was refused by Marin, who alleged that it ought
to be applied for replacing the horses which were killed during the
expedition. These disputes ran so high, that our captain ordered both
Godoy and De Grado into irons, intending to send them to Mexico. Godoy
obtained his liberty by concessions; and in return for this lenity entered
into cabals with De Grado for misrepresenting the conduct of Marin to
Cortes. On this occasion I was solicited to write to Cortes in exculpation
of De Grado, as they said that Cortes would believe my statements. I wrote
accordingly a true state of the case, but in no respect charging Marin
with any thing amiss. De Grado was sent off to Mexico, under an oath to
appear before Cortes in eighty days, as the distance he had to travel
exceeded 190 leagues. On his arrival, Cortes was so much displeased by his
conduct, that he ordered De Grado to take 3000 crowns and retire to Cuba,
that he might give no farther trouble in his government; but De Grado made
such ample apologies, that he was restored to favour. As it was finally
resolved to establish a colony in this place, and as I had an order to
that effect from Cortes, our captain, who was likewise my particular
friend, appointed me to the command of the _encomienda_ at Cinacatan,
which I enjoyed for eight years. As soon as possible after my appointment,
I procured a reverend father to preach to the Indians, whom I was anxious
to convert to our holy faith. He accordingly erected an altar and crucifix,
and preached with so much success, that fifteen of the Indians offered
themselves for baptism on the first day of his mission; which gave me
infinite satisfaction, as I felt the warmest interest in the welfare of
these people, whom I looked upon as my own children.

When all things were properly settled at this place, we resolved to
chastise the people of Cimatan who had slain two of the party with which I
had been deputed to them, as formerly mentioned near the beginning of this
section. In our way to that place, we had to march through a district
named Tapelola, which was so very rugged that our horses were unable to
proceed until the roads were cleared for them, which was immediately done
on application to the caciques. We continued our march by the districts of
Silo, Suchiapa, and Coyumelapa, to those of Tecomayatacal and Ateapan; the
chief town of which was extensive, closely built, and very populous. This
place belonged to my _encomienda_. Near this town there was a large and
deep river which it was necessary for us to pass, where we were opposed by
the people of the vicinity with so much vigour that we had six soldiers
wounded and three of our horses killed; but we put them to flight, and
they withdrew into the woods and mountains, after setting fire to their
town. We remained here five days, taking care of our wounded men; and as
we had taken many of the women of this district, some of them were sent
out to invite the natives to return and submit, with which they complied.
Godoy was averse from the lenity shewn on this occasion, and insisted that
these people ought to be punished for their revolt, or at least made to
pay for the horses which they had slain. I happened to be of a different
opinion; and as I spoke freely, Godoy became enraged and used very angry
words, which I retorted. At length we proceeded to blows and drew our
swords; and if we had not been parted one or other of us must have been
killed, we were both so much enraged. Even as it was, several cuts were
given and received on both sides, before we were separated. Marin was a
good man and of a mild disposition, so that he restored every thing to
these deluded people and left them in peace.

We continued our march through the other districts of Cimatlan and
Talatiopan, where we were attacked by a numerous body of archers, by whom
above twenty of our soldiers were wounded and two horses killed; but we
very soon defeated them. These people were the most powerful archers I had
yet seen, as they were able to drive their arrows through two suits of
well quilted cotton armour; and their country is mostly composed of a
marsh which quakes under foot. It was in vain therefore to think of
pursuing the natives in such an impracticable country; and as they treated
all our offers of peace with contempt, we judged it best to return to our
colony of Coatzacualco; which we did through the districts of Guimango,
Nacaxa, Xuica, Teotitlan, Copilco, and some others which I do not remember
the names of, to Ulapa, and thence across the rivers Agaqualulco and
Tonala to Coatzacualco, where the slain horses were paid for at the rate
of a penny the pound.

[1] Though without any warrant for this purpose, we believe that the
    numbers of these allies ought to have been reckoned by thousands
    instead of hundreds.--E.

[2] Diaz is often variable in his orthography of Indian names; calling
    this people in different places, Gueguestitlans, Guehuistlans, and


_Negotiations of Cortes at the Court of Spain, in respect to the Conquest
and Government of Mexico_.

In the year 1521, the holy father Adrian de Lobayana, succeeded to the
papacy, he being then governor of Castille and resident in the city of
Vittoria, where our agents waited upon him to kiss the foot of his
holiness. About the same time a great nobleman, named M. de la Soa,
arrived from Germany, who was chamberlain to our emperor, and was sent by
him to congratulate the new pope on his election. When this nobleman was
informed of the heroic deeds of the conquerors of Mexico, and the great
things they had performed for the extension of the holy faith, by the
conversion and baptism of such myriads of Indians, he became interested in
our behalf, and made application to his holiness to expedite the business
of our agents. This was readily acceded to, as besides the allegations of
our agents, the pope had received other complaints against the bishop of
Burgos from persons of quality and honour. Our chief agents on this
occasion were Francisco de Montejo, Diego de Ordas, Francisco Nunez cousin
to our general, and his father Martin Cortes; who were countenanced by
many powerful noblemen, and chiefly by the Duke of Bejar. Thus supported,
they brought forward their charges against the bishop to good purpose.
These were, that Velasquez had bribed the bishop by the gift of a
considerable district in Cuba, the natives of which were made to work in
the gold mines for his emolument, to the manifest injury of the royal
revenue. That when, in 1517, 110 of us had sailed at our own expence under
the command of Hernandez de Cordova for the discovery of New Spain, the
bishop had falsely informed his majesty that it was done by Velasquez.
That Velasquez had transmitted 20,000 crowns in gold, which had been
procured by his nephew Juan de Grijalva on our second voyage, all of which
was given to the bishop, and no part of it to his majesty to whom it
belonged. That when Cortes sent home a large contribution in gold to his
majesty, the bishop had suppressed our letters, substituting others, and
ascribed the present to Velasquez, retaining half of the treasure to his
own use; and, when Puertocarrera applied to him for permission to wait
upon his majesty, the bishop had thrown him into prison, where he died.
That the bishop had forbidden the officers of the _Casa de contratation_
of Seville to give any assistance to Cortes, by which the public service
had suffered manifest injury. That he had appointed very unfit persons to
the military command in New Spain, as was particularly the case with
regard to Christoval de Tapia, to whom he had given a commission as
governor of New Spain, in order to bring about a marriage between his
niece and Tapia. That he had given authenticity to the false accounts
transmitted by the agents of Velasquez, suppressing the true relations
which came from Cortes. There were many other charges against the bishop
which he could not gainsay, as they were all substantiated by good

All these things being made clear to his holiness, he was pleased to order,
that the bishop should have no longer any authority in regard to the
affairs of New Spain, of which the government should be conferred on
Cortes, and that Velasquez should be remunerated for all the expences he
had incurred on account of the expedition, which he could duly
substantiate. His holiness sent also to New Spain, a great number of
indulgences for the hospitals and churches, and recommended to Cortes and
the other conquerors to pay unremitting attention to the conversion of the
Indians, and was pleased to send us his holy bulls of absolution. His
majesty graciously confirmed all these orders of the pope, ordering
Velasquez to be deprived of the government of Cuba, on account of having
sent the expedition under Narvaez, in defiance of peremptory orders to the
contrary from the royal audience of St Domingo, and the Jeronymite
brethren. The bishop was so much affected by his disgrace on this occasion,
that he fell dangerously ill.

About this time, Panfilo de Narvaez and Christoval de Tapia arrived in
Spain, together with the pilot Umbria and Cardenas, who by the instigation
of the bishop of Burgos, preferred many severe accusations against Cortes
to his majesty, in which they were gladly joined by the agents of
Velasquez. They alleged, that Velasquez had fitted out three several
expeditions for New Spain at vast expence, the last of which he had
confided to Cortes, who broke his engagements and converted the armament
to his own advantage. That when Velasquez sent Narvaez as governor of New
Spain, with his majesties commission, Cortes made war upon him, defeated
him and made him a prisoner. That when the bishop of Burgos sent Tapia to
take the command of New Spain in the name of his majesty, Cortes refused
obedience, and compelled him to re-embark. They also accused Cortes of
having embezzled a great quantity of gold which he had obtained for his
majesty; of taking a fifth of all the plunder to his own use; of having
tortured Guatimotzin; of defrauding the soldiers of their shares; of
making the natives of Mexico construct for his use magnificent palaces and
castles as large as villages; of having poisoned Francisco de Garay, in
order to get possession of his ships and troops, and many other charges of
a similar nature. By command of his majesty, a court of inquiry was
appointed from the privy council, to hear and determine upon these
allegations, before which the following answers were given in. That
Cordova was the real discoverer of New Spain, which had been done by him
and his companions at their own cost. That although Velasquez had sent
Juan de Grijalva on an expedition to New Spain, it was only for the
purpose of trade, and not of colonization. That the principal charges had
been expended by the different captains, and not by Velasquez, who had
received the chief part of 20,000 crowns which these captains had
collected. That Velasquez gave Indians in Cuba to the bishop of Burgos to
collect gold for him, which ought to have belonged to his majesty. That
although it was true Velasquez had sent Cortes to New Spain, his orders
were only to barter; and the establishment he had made was entirely owing
to the representations of his companions for the service of God and his
majesty, and in no respect due to the instructions of Velasquez. That it
was well known to all, that Cortes had reported the whole of his
proceedings to his majesty, to whom he and his companions sent all the
gold they could procure, waiting his majesties ultimate orders in the
utmost humility; whereas the bishop of Burgos suppressed his letters, and
appropriated the gold to his own use, concealing our meritorious services
from his majesty, preventing our agents from gaining access to the emperor,
and even throwing one of them into prison, where he died; and that he
prevented the royal officers from supplying us with such things as we
needed, by which our enterprize had been much retarded. That all these
things had been done by the bishop from corrupt motives, that he might
give the government of Mexico to Velasquez or Tapia, in order that one of
them might marry his _niece_ Donna Petronilla de Fonseca, being anxious to
make his _son-in-law_ governor of that splendid kingdom. As for the
expedition of Narvaez, our agents contended that Velasquez ought to suffer
death for having sent it in direct disobedience of his majesties orders as
communicated by the royal audience; and that he had behaved with high
disrespect to his majesty, in making his application to the bishop of
Burgos on this occasion. In support of all these accusations they offered
to bring substantial proofs, and prayed the court to award punishment for
these multiplied offences.

In reply to the accusations of Narvaez against Cortes, they represented,
that Narvaez sent word to Montezuma on his arrival in Mexico, that he came
to rescue him, by which he occasioned a dangerous war. That when Cortes
desired to see his commission, and represented the necessity of an
amicable junction of their forces for the good of the service, Narvaez
would give no answer, but immediately declared war against Cortes and his
companions, by which they were forced to defend themselves, and that
Narvaez had even presumed to seize his majesties oydor, for which Cortes
deemed it requisite to bring him to punishment. That when Cortes went to
wait on Narvaez, that he might see his commission and remonstrate with him
on his proceedings, Narvaez had attempted to make him prisoner by surprise,
of which proof could be made by witnesses. As to the failure of Garay, and
the ridiculous charge of having poisoned him; it was well known that the
expedition under Garay had failed through his own misconduct and ignorance
of the country; after which he had gladly accepted the friendly offers of
Cortes, who had given him an hospitable reception in Mexico, where an
alliance was agreed upon between their families, and Garay was to have
been assisted in establishing a colony on the river Palmas; and finally,
it was established beyond all doubt, by the oaths of the physicians who
attended him, that Garay had died of a pleurisy. In regard to the charge
of retaining his majesties fifth, it was proved that Cortes had fairly
expended it in the public service, together with 6000 crowns of his own
property. That the fifth which he had retained for himself, was according
to compact with the soldiers; and as to the shares belonging to the
soldiers, it was well known that very little gold was found in Mexico on
its capture, as almost all the wealth of the place had fallen into the
hands of our allies of Tlascala and Tezcuco. That the torture given to
Guatimotzin had been done by his majesties officers, contrary to the
inclination of Cortes, in order to force a discovery of where the
treasures of Montezuma had been concealed. As for the buildings, though
certainly sumptuous, they were intended for the use of his majesty and his
successors, and that the work had been carried on by the Indians, under
the order of Guatimotzin, as was always done in building houses for the
great in that country. As to Alonzo de Avila having taken the commission
from Narvaez by force; it appeared there was no commission among his
papers, which consisted entirely of receipts for the purchase of horses
and the like; and farther, that these papers had been taken without any
order from Cortes, who never saw any of them. As for Tapia, it was urged,
that if he had come to Mexico and produced his majesties orders, they
should have been received and obeyed by Cortes with the utmost humility:
But that his incapacity was so notorious to every one then in New Spain,
that it was the universal advice and desire of all that Cortes should
retain the command. As to the pilot Umbria, whose feet had been cut off,
this had been done in the due course of justice, for having run away with
his ship. That Cardenas had consented along with all the rest to give up
his share of the gold, that the whole might be sent to his majesty; and
that Cortes had given him 300 crowns from his own pocket, which was more
than he deserved, being a person of no consideration and no soldier.

The court having duly weighed all the charges and answers, the whole
proceedings were reported to his majesty, together with their opinion and
sentence, which were entirely in favour of Cortes, whose merit and valour,
and that of all the veteran conquerors of Mexico, were highly praised.
Velasquez was enjoined silence in respect to his complaints against Cortes,
and was told that he might seek for the remuneration of his expences by a
legal process. Cortes was declared governor-general of New Spain, pursuant
to the orders of the pope, and the court approved of the arrangements
which he had made in the country, authorizing him to distribute and
appoint the districts or _repartimientos_ in the way he thought proper.
Narvaez was referred for redress to France, where Avila was still a
prisoner. The pilots Umbria and Cardenas obtained royal grants of property
in New Spain, to the extent of a thousand crowns in annual rent. And it
was ordained that all the veterans of Cortes should have immediate and
ample gratifications in lands and Indians, with such precedency in rank as
their valour and services had deserved. This sentence was confirmed by the
emperor at Valladolid, who was then on his road to Flanders; and he gave
orders likewise for the banishment of all relapsed converts in New Spain,
and that no _Scholars_[1] should be admitted into that country for a
certain term of years. His majesty, and his brother the king of Hungary,
were graciously pleaded to write letters to Cortes, and to us the
conquerors, thanking us for the good service we had performed.

This affair being decided in our favour, the necessary documents were
entrusted to two relations of Cortes, Roderigo de Paz and Francisco de las
Casas, who carried them in the first place to St Jago in the island of
Cuba, where Velasquez resided. On the sentence being made known to him,
and proclaimed by sound of trumpet, he fell ill from vexation, and died
soon afterwards poor and miserable. Francisco de Montejo had the
government of Yucutan and Cozumel from his majesty, with the title of Don.
Diego de Ordas was ennobled, getting for his coat of arms the volcano of
Guaxocingo, and was confirmed in all his possessions in New Spain. He went
back to Spain two years afterwards to solicit permission to conquer the
province of Maranion, in which enterprize he lost his life and all his
property. On the arrival of Las Casas and De Paz in Mexico with the
appointment of Cortes to the government, there were great rejoicings
everywhere. Las Casas was made a captain, and got the _encomienda_ of a
good district called Anquitlan; and De Paz was appointed major-domo and
secretary to Cortes, getting likewise valuable possessions. Cortes
liberally rewarded the captain of the vessel which brought out this
pleasing information, and provided handsomely for all who came out to New
Spain from his native country of Medellin. All the proceedings of our
agents in Spain were regularly conveyed to us the conquerors; but it
seemed to me that they agented solely for Cortes and themselves, as we who
had raised Cortes to his greatness, were continually encountering dangers
and hardships, without any reward. May God protect us, and inspire our
great emperor to cause his just intentions towards us to be carried into
effect. To us, the ancient, wise, and brave conquerors of Mexico, it
appeared that Cortes ought to have duly considered his true friends, who
had supported him from the first through all his difficulties and dangers,
and ought to have rewarded us according to our respective merits, and his
majesties orders, by giving us good and profitable situations, instead of
leaving us poor and miserable. By his majesties orders, and by his duty,
Cortes was bound to have given to us and our children all the good offices
in the kingdom of New Spain; but be thought only of himself and his
favourites. In our opinion, who were the conquerors, the whole country
ought to have been divided into five equal parts, allotting one to the
crown, another for the holy church, and the remaining three parts to
Cortes and the rest of us, who were the true original conquerors, giving
each a share in perpetuity in proportion to our rank and merits,
considering that we had not only served his majesty in gratuity, but
without his knowledge, and, almost against his will. This arrangement
would have placed us at our ease; instead of which, many of us are
wandering about, almost without a morsel to eat, and God only knows what
may become of our children.

To the veedor Pedro Alonzo Chirinos, Gonzalo Salazar the factor, Rodrigo
Albornos the contador, and many others who came now from Spain, and to the
dependents of great men, who flattered him and told him fine tales, Cortes
refused nothing; but he treated us the true conquerors like vassals,
forgetting us entirely in the distribution of property, yet never failing
to call upon us when he wanted our assistance, as if we had been fit only
for expeditions and battles. I do not blame him for being generous, as
there was enough for all; but he ought in the first place to have
considered those who had served his majesty in the conquest of this noble
kingdom, and to whose blood and valour he was indebted for his own
elevation. Long afterwards, when Luis Ponce de Leon came out to supersede
Cortes, we the veteran conquerors represented to our general that he ought
to give us that property which he had been ordered by his majesty to
resign. He expressed his sorrow for having so long neglected us, and
promised even with an oath, that he would provide for us all, if he
returned to his government, thinking to satisfy us with smooth words and
empty promises.

[1] This probably alludes to _lawyers_, as on a former occasion, Diaz
    mentions a request from the Spaniards that none of that fraternity
    might be sent over to New Spain, probably to avoid the introduction of
    litigious law suits.--E.


_Of an Expedition against the Zapotecas, and various other Occurrences_.

Intelligence was brought to Mexico that the Zapotecas were in rebellion,
on which Rodrigo Rangel, whom I have several times mentioned already,
solicited Cortes to be appointed to the command of an expedition for their
reduction, that he too might have an opportunity of acquiring fame,
proposing likewise to take Pedro de Ircio along with him as his lieutenant
and adviser. Cortes knew well that Rangel was very unfit for any service
of danger or difficulty, being a miserably diseased object, the effect of
his sins, and put him off therefore by various excuses; but as he was a
very slanderous fellow, whom he wished to get rid of, he at length agreed
to his proposal, and at the same time wrote for ten or twelve veterans,
then residing in Coatzacualco, of whom I was one, desiring us to accompany
Rangel on this expedition. The country of the Zapotecas is composed of
high and rugged mountains, always enveloped in clouds and mists, with such
narrow and bad roads as to be unfit for cavalry, so steep that they must
be climbed up like ladders, each successive soldier of the file having his
head at the heels of the man immediately before him. The natives of these
mountains are light and active, and have a way of whistling and shouting,
so as to make the hills resound again, insomuch that it is hardly possible
to know on which side they are coming to attack. Against such enemies in
so strong a country, and with such a leader, it was impossible for us to
effect any thing. We advanced, however, under heavy rain, to a scattered
village, part of the houses being situated on a rocky ridge, and the rest
in a valley, and well it was for us that the Indians made no stand, as
poor Rangel whined and moaned the whole way, complaining of pains in his
limbs, and the severity of the weather. It was at last agreed, as he grew
every day worse and worse, that we could be of no use here, and were
exposing ourselves needlessly to danger, to abandon this fruitless
expedition, and return to our homes. Pedro de Ircio was among the first
who advised this, and soon set the example, by retiring to his own town of
Villa Rica; but Rangel chose rather to go along with us to Coatzacualco,
to our great dissatisfaction, as he expected benefit from that warm
climate to relieve him of his pains.

We were hardly returned to Coatzacualco, when Rangel took it into his head
to go upon an expedition against the Indians of Cimatan and Tatupan, who
continued in rebellion, confiding in the impracticability of their country,
among large rivers and trembling marshes; being also very formidable
warriors, who used very long bows of great strength. We were all very
averse from this, but as Rangel produced his commission from Cortes, we
were under the necessity to obey, and accordingly set out on the
expedition, with about 100 horse and foot. We soon arrived at a pass among
lakes and marshes, where the Indians had thrown up a strong circular
entrenchment of large trees and pallisades, having loop-holes to shoot
through, and where they gave us a very warm reception with a flight of
darts and arrows, by which they killed seven horses, and wounded Rangel
and eight of our men. We had often told him what stout warriors these
Indians were, and he now declared that in future the old conquerors should
command him, and not he us, for he would not have been now in such
jeopardy if he had listened to our advice. When our wounded men and horses
were dressed, he requested me to go forward to reconnoitre, on which I
took two comrades, and a fierce dog belonging to Rangel, desiring the
infantry to follow close behind, but that Rangel and the cavalry might
keep at a good distance in the rear. In this order we pursued our march
for Cimatan, and soon fell in with another post, fortified like the former,
and as strongly defended, whence the Indians assailed us with a shower of
arrows, which killed the dog, and wounded us all three. On this occasion I
received a wound in my leg, and had seven arrows sticking in my cotton
armour. I immediately called to some of our Indian auxiliaries, who were a
little way behind, to desire all the infantry to come up immediately, but
that all the cavalry must remain behind, as otherwise they would certainly
lose their horses. We soon drove the Indians from their entrenchments; but
they took refuge among the marshes, where we could not pursue them without
running the risk of sinking at every step.

Having passed the night at an Indian village, we proceeded forwards next
day, when we were opposed by a body of Indians posted in a marsh on the
border of an open plain. In spite of every thing we could say, Rangel made
a charge upon them with his cavalry, and was the first to tumble head
foremost into the marsh, where the Indians closed in upon him, in hope of
taking him alive for sacrifice. By great exertions we rescued him from
their hands, half drowned and badly wounded. The country being very
populous, we very soon found a village which the natives had abandoned,
where we went for the purpose of refreshment, and to dress our wounded men:
But had hardly been there a quarter of an hour, when the enemy attacked us
with such violence, that we had much ado to repel them, after they had
killed one of our men and two horses. Poor Rangel complained grievously of
his wounds and bruises, and was so infested by mosquitoes and other vermin,
which abound greatly in that country, that he could not rest either day or
night. He, and some of the soldiers who had belonged to Garay that
accompanied him, grew very sick of their expedition, in which nothing had
been got except three hard fought battles, in which eleven horses and two
soldiers had been slain, and many others wounded, on which account they
were very desirous to get home again; yet Rangel was averse from having it
appear that a retreat was his choice, and got, therefore, a council of
those who were of his own opinion to propose that measure. At this time, I
and about twenty more had gone out to try if we could make any prisoners,
and had taken five among some gardens and plantations near the village. On
my return, Rangel called me aside, and informed me that his council had
determined on a retreat, and desired me to persuade the rest of the
detachment to come into that opinion. "How, Sir," said I, "can you think
of a retreat? What will Cortes and the world say of you, when they hear of
your retreating in two successive expeditions, without having done any
thing? You cannot surely return without disgrace, till you have reached
the head town of these Indians. I will go forward on foot with the
infantry to reconnoitre: Give my horse to another soldier, and you may
follow in the rear with the cavalry." "You give good advice, said Rangel,
and we will march on." This was done accordingly, to the great regret of
many of our companions, and we advanced in good order to Cimatan, the
principal town of the district, where we were saluted as usual by a shower
of arrows. We entered the town, however, which was abandoned by the enemy,
yet took several prisoners, whom I dismissed, with an invitation to the
chiefs to come in and make peace with us; but they never returned. Rangel
was very angry at me on this account, and swore that he would make me
procure Indians for him, in place of those whom I had liberated. To pacify
him, I went among the neighbouring marshes with thirty soldiers, where we
picked up several stragglers, whom we brought to him. But he dismissed
these likewise, in hopes to induce the rest to submit, yet all to no
purpose. Thus ended the two famous expeditions against the Zapotecans and
Cimatanese, and such was all the fame acquired by Rangel in the wars of
New Spain. Two years afterwards, we effected the conquest of both these
countries, the natives of which were converted to our holy religion, by
the grace of God, and through the exertions of Father Olmedo, now grown
weak and infirm, to the great regret of all who knew him, as he was an
excellent minister of the gospel.

Cortes had now collected 80,000 crowns in gold, and had caused a superb
golden culverin to be made as a present for the emperor, on which the
following motto was engraved:

  _Esta ave nacio sin par: Yo en servir os sin segundo;
    Y vos sin iqual en el Mundo_[1].

This sumptuous present was sent over to Spain under the care of Diego de
Soto. I am uncertain whether Juan de Ribera, who had been secretary to
Cortes went over at the same time with Soto; but I know that he carried
over a sum of money for the generals father, which he appropriated to his
own use; and, unmindful of the many obligations he had received, he
reported much evil of Cortes, combining with the bishop of Burgos and
others to injure him. I always thought him a bad man, from what I had
observed of him when engaged in gaming, and many other circumstances: But,
as he was of a fluent speech, and had been secretary to Cortes, he did him
much harm, and would have injured him much more, if it had not been for
the interest of the Duke of Bejar, who protected Cortes, who was then
engaged in a treaty of marriage with the dukes niece, Donna Juana de
Zuniga[2]. By this interest, and combined with the magnificent present
brought over by Soto, the affairs of Cortes at the court of Spain took a
favourable turn. The golden Phoenix with its motto, gave great offence to
many, who thought it presumptuous in Cortes to insinuate that he had no
equal in his services: But his friends justly defended him, observing that
no one had so far extended the fame and power of his majesty, or had
brought so many thousand souls under the dominion of the holy catholic
church as he had done. Neither did they forget the merits of us his
associates, truly declaring that we were entitled to honours and
emoluments, which we had as justly earned as the original nobles of
Castille, whose estates and honours were now enjoyed by their descendents.
The culverin went no farther than Seville, as his majesty was graciously
pleased to give it to Don Francisco de los Cobos, commendator-major of
Leon, who melted it down. Its value was 20,000 ducats. Martin Cortes, our
generals father, brought a suit against Ribera for the money of which he
had defrauded him; and while that was pending, Ribera died suddenly while
at dinner, and without confession. May God pardon his sins! _Amen_.

Cortes continued to rebuild and embellish the city of Mexico, which was
again as well peopled by natives as ever it had been before the conquest.
All of these were exempted from paying tribute to his majesty, till their
houses were built, and till the causeways, bridges, public edifices, and
aqueducts, were all restored. In that quarter of the city appropriated to
the Spaniards, churches and hospitals were erected under the
superintendence of Father Olmedo, as vicar and superior; who likewise
established an hospital for the natives, to whom he paid particular
attention. In compliance with our petition, formerly mentioned, the
general of the Franciscans sent over twelve of his order, under the
vicarage of Father Martin de Valentia. Among these came Father Torribio de
Motolinea, which name, signifying _poor brother_, he acquired from the
Mexicans, because all that he received in charity he gave away in the same
manner, going always barefooted in a tattered habit, preaching to the
natives, and often in want of food. When Cortes learnt that these reverend
fathers were arrived at Villa Rica, he ordered the road to Mexico to be
repaired, and to have houses built at proper intervals for their
accommodation; commanding the inhabitants of all the towns in the way to
meet them with the utmost reverence, ringing their bells, bearing
crucifixes and lighted wax-candles, and that all the Spaniards should
kneel down and kiss their hands. On their approach to Mexico, Cortes went
out to meet them, and dismounting from his horse, kneeled down to kiss the
hands of the vicar. The natives were astonished to see so much honour
conferred on these reverend fathers in tattered garments and bare feet,
and considering them as gods, they all followed the example of the general,
and have ever since behaved to them with the utmost reverence.

About this time, Cortes informed his majesty of his proceedings with
regard to the conversion of the natives, and rebuilding the city of Mexico;
and also of the conduct of De Oli, whom he had sent to reduce the province
of Higueras, but who had deserted and joined the party of Velasquez, on
which account he had resolved to send a force to reduce him to obedience.
He complained also of the proceedings of Velasquez, to the great injury of
his majesties service, and of the partiality which had been shewn by the
bishop of Burgos. At this time likewise, he remitted 30,000 crowns in gold
to the royal treasury, lamenting the injurious effects of the proceedings
of Velasquez and the bishop, which had prevented him from making a much
larger contribution. He complained also against the contador, Rodrigo de
Albornos, who had aspersed him from private pique, because he had refused
to give him in marriage the daughter of the prince of Tezcuco; and that he
understood Albornos corresponded in cyphers with the bishop of Burgos.
Cortes had not yet learnt that the bishop was removed from the management
of the affairs of the Indies. By the same ship, Albornos sent home
accusations against Cortes; charging him with the levy of exorbitant
contributions in gold for his own use; fortifying castles to defend
himself, and marrying his private soldiers to the daughters of the native
lords: insinuating that Cortes was endeavouring to set himself up as an
independent king, and that it was highly necessary to send out an able
officer with a great force to supersede him. The bishop of Burgos laid
these letters before the whole junto of the enemies of Cortes, who
immediately produced this new accusation to the emperor, complaining of
the partial favour which had been shewn him on former occasions. Deceived
by these misrepresentations, which were enforced by Narvaez, his majesty
issued an order to the admiral of Hispaniola, to go with six hundred
soldiers to arrest Cortes, and to make him answer with his head if found
guilty; as also to punish all of us who had been concerned in attacking
Narvaez. As an encouragement, this officer was promised the admiralty of
New Spain, the right to which was then under litigation. Either from want
of money, or because he was afraid of committing himself against so able
and successful a commander, the admiral delayed his expedition so long,
that the friends and agents of Cortes had time to make a full explanation
of all the circumstances to the Duke of Bejar, who immediately represented
a true statement of the case to the emperor, and offered to pledge his own
life in security for the loyalty of Cortes. Being on due consideration
quite satisfied of the justice of our cause, his majesty determined to
send out a person of high quality and good character to hold a supreme
court of justice in New Spain. The person chosen for this purpose was Luis
Ponce de Leon, cousin to Don Martin, Count of Cordova; whom his majesty
entrusted to inquire into the conduct of Cortes, with full power to
inflict capital punishment if guilty. But it was two years and a half
before this gentleman arrived in New Spain.

I now go beyond the date of my narrative to inform my readers of a
circumstance which happened during the viceroyalty of that illustrious
nobleman, Don Antonio de Mendoza, worthy of eternal memory and heavenly
glory for his wise and just government. Albornos wrote malignant and
slanderous letters against him, as he had before done of Cortes, which
letters were all sent back from Spain to Don Antonio. When he had read all
the gross abuse which they contained, he sent for Albornos, to whom he
shewed his own letters; saying mildly, in his usual slow manner, "When you
are pleased to make me the subject of your letters to his majesty,
remember always in future to tell the truth."

[1] Like the solitary Phoenix, I, without a peer, serve you, who have no
    equal in the world.

[2] In Clavigero, at the close of Vol. I. this lady is named Donna Jeroma
    Ramirez de Arrellano y Zuniga, daughter of Don Carlos Ramiro de
    Arellano, Count of Auguiller, by Donna Jeroma de Zuniga, a daughter of
    the Count of Benares, eldest son of Don Alvaro de Zuniga, duke of
    Bejar. After two male descents from this marriage, the Marquisate of
    the Valley of Oaxaca, and the great estates of Cortes in New Spain,
    fell, by various collateral female descents, to the Neapolitan family
    of Pignatelli, duke of Montelione and Terranova, marquis of the Valley
    of Oaxaca, Grandee of Spain, and prince of the Roman empire.--E.


_Narrative of the Expedition of Cortes to Higueras_.

I have formerly mentioned the revolt of De Oli. Cortes was much distressed
on receiving this intelligence, and immediately sent off his relation,
Francisco de las Casas, with five ships and a hundred well appointed
soldiers, among whom were some of the veteran conquerors of Mexico, with
orders to reduce De Oli. Las Casas soon arrived at the bay of Triumpho de
la Cruz, where De Oli had established his head-quarters; and though Las
Casas hoisted a signal of peace, De Oli determined on resistance, and sent
a number of soldiers in two armed vessels to oppose Las Casas, who ordered
out his boats armed with swivels and musquetry to attack those belonging
to De Oli. In this affair Las Casas was successful, as he sunk one of the
vessels belonging to De Oli, killed four of his soldiers, and wounded a
great number. On this misfortune, and because a considerable number of his
soldiers were on a detached service in the inland country, for the purpose
of reducing a party of Spaniards under Gil Gonzalez de Avila, who was
employed in making conquests on the river Pechin, De Oli thought it
advisable to propose terms of peace to Las Casas, in hopes that his
detachment might return to his assistance. Las Casas unfortunately agreed
to treat, and remained at sea; partly for the purpose of finding some
better place of disembarkation, and partly induced by letters from the
friends of Cortes who were along with De Oli. That same night a heavy
storm arose, by which the vessels of Las Casas were driven on shore and
utterly lost, and above thirty of the soldiers perished. All the rest were
made prisoners two days afterwards, having been all that time on shore
without food, and almost perished with cold, as it was the season of
almost incessant rain. De Oli obliged all his prisoners to swear fidelity
to him against Cortes, and then released them all except Las Casas.

The party which he sent against De Avila returned about this time, having
been successful in their errand. Avila had gone with a party to reduce the
country about the _Golfe Dolce_, and had founded a settlement to which he
gave the name of _St Gil de buena vista_; and the troops sent against him,
after killing his nephew and eight of his soldiers, made himself and all
the rest prisoners. De Oli was now much elated by his success, in having
made two captains belonging to Cortes prisoners, and sent off a full
account of his exploits to his friend Velasquez. He afterwards marched up
the country to a place called Naco in a very populous district, which is
all now laid waste. While here, he sent off various detachments in
different directions, among which one was commanded by Briones, who had
first instigated him to revolt; bat Briones now revolted from him in his
turn, and marched off with all his men for New Spain. He was a seditious
fellow, who had on some former occasion had the lower part of his ears cut
off, which he used to say had been done for refusing to surrender in some
fortress or other. He was afterwards hanged at Guatimala for mutiny.

De Oli was personally brave but imprudent, and permitted Las Casas and
Avila to be at large, disdaining to be under any apprehensions from them;
but they concerted a plan with some of the soldiers for putting him to
death. Las Casas one day asked him, as if half in jest, for liberty to
return to Cortes; but De Oli said he was too happy to have the company of
so brave a man, and could not part with him. "Then" said Las Casas, "I
advise you to take care of me, for I shall kill you one of these days". De
Oli considered this as a joke, but measures were actually concerted for
the purpose; and one night after supper, when the servants and pages had
withdrawn to their own apartment, Las Casas, Avila, Juan de Mercado, and
some other soldiers attached to Cortes, suddenly drew out their penknives
and fell upon De Oli. Las Casas seized him by the beard, and made a cut at
his throat, and the rest gave him several wounds; but being strong and
active, he escaped from their hands, calling loudly to his people for
assistance, but they were all too busy at their suppers to hear him. He
then fled and concealed himself among some bushes, calling out for
assistance, and many of his people turned out for that purpose; but Las
Casas called upon them to rally on the side of the king and his general
Cortes, which after some hesitation they consented to. De Oli was made
prisoner by the two captains, who shortly afterwards sentenced him to be
beheaded, which was carried into execution in the town of Naco. He was a
brave man, but of no foresight, and thus paid with his life for following
evil counsels. He had received many favours from Cortes, having valuable
estates, and the commission of _Maestre de Campo_. His lady, Donna
Philippa de Aranja, was a Portuguese, by whom he had one daughter. Las
Casas and Avila now joined their troops together, and acted in concert as
captains under Cortes. Las Casas colonized Truzilo in New Estremadura.
Avila sent orders to his lieutenant in Buena Vista to remain in charge of
that establishment, promising to send him a reinforcement as soon as
possible, for which purpose he meant to go to Mexico.

Some months after the departure of Las Casas, Cortes became afraid of some
disaster, and repented that he had not gone himself on the expedition, and
now resolved to go himself, that he might examine the state of the country
and the mines it was said to contain. He left a good garrison in Mexico,
and appointed Alonzo de Estrada and Albornos, the treasurer and contador,
to carry on the government in his absence, with strict injunctions to pay
every attention to the interest of his majesty, and recommended to
Motolinca and Olmedo to labour incessantly in converting the natives. On
purpose to deprive the Mexicans of chiefs during his absence, he took
along with him Guatimotzin the late king of Mexico, the prince of Tacuba,
an Indian now named Velasquez, who had been a captain under Guatimotzin,
and several other caciques of consequence. We had along with us Fra Juan
de las Varillas, and several other good theologians to preach to the
Indians, as also the captains Sandoval and Marin and many other cavaliers.
On this occasion, Cortes, was attended by a splendid personal suit; such
as a steward, paymaster, keeper of the plate, a major-domo, two stewards
of the household, a butler, confectioner, physician, surgeon a number of
pages, among whom was Francisco de Montejo, who was afterwards captain in
Yutucan, two armour-bearers, eight grooms, two falconers, five musicians,
a stage-dancer, a juggler and puppet-master, a master of the horse, and
three Spanish muleteers. A great service of gold and silver plate
accompanied the march, and a large drove of swine for the use of the table.
Three thousand Mexican warriors attended their own chiefs, and a numerous
train of domestic servants.

When about to set out, the factor Salazar and veedor Chirinos,
remonstrated with Cortes on the danger of leaving the seat of government;
but finding him determined, they asked permission to accompany him to
Coatzacualco, which he agreed to. Cortes was received in all the places on
his way with much pomp and many rejoicings; and above fifty soldiers and
straggling travellers newly arrived from Spain, joined us on the road.
During the march to Coatzacualco, Cortes divided his troops into two
detachments, for the convenience of quarters and provisions. While on the
march, a marriage took place at the town of Ojeda near Orizava, between
our linguist Donna Marina and Juan Xaramillo. As soon as the advance of
Cortes to Guazpaltepec in the district of Sandoval was known at
Coatzacualco, all the Spaniards of that settlement went above thirty
leagues to meet him; in so much respect and awe was he held by us all. In
proceeding beyond Guazpaltepec fortune began to frown upon us, as in
passing a large river three of our canoes overset, by which some plate and
other valuables were lost, and nothing could be recovered as the river
swarmed with alligators. At Coatzacualco three hundred canoes were
prepared for crossing the river, fastened two and two together to prevent
oversetting, and we were here received under triumphal arches, with
various festivities, such as mock skirmishes between Christian's and Moors,
fireworks, and the like. Cortes remained six days at Coatzacualco, where
the factor and veedor prevailed on Cortes to give them a commission to
assume the government of Mexico in case they should judge that the present
deputies failed in their duty. This measure occasioned much trouble
afterwards in Mexico, as I shall explain hereafter; but these two
associates took their leaves at this place, with much pretended tenderness
and affection for the general, even affecting to sob and cry at parting.

From Coatzacualco, Cortes sent orders to Simon de Cucena, one of his
major-domos, to freight two light vessels at Villa Rica with biscuit made
of maize flour, as there was then no wheat in Mexico, wine, oil, vinegar,
pork, iron, and other necessaries, and to proceed with them along the
coast till he had farther directions. Cortes now gave orders for all the
settlers of Coatzacualco who were fit for duty, to join the expedition.
This was a severe disappointment to us, as our colony was composed of most
of the respectable hildagos, the veteran conquerors, who expected to have
been allowed to enjoy our hard earned houses and lands in peace, instead
of which we were obliged to undertake an arduous expedition of five
hundred leagues, which took us up above two years and a half of infinite
fatigues. We had nothing for it but compliance, so that we armed ourselves
and mounted our horses; being in all above 250 veterans, 130 of whom were
cavalry, besides many soldiers newly arrived from Old Spain. I was
immediately dispatched at the head of 30 Spaniards and 3000 Mexicans, to
reduce the district of Cimatan, which was then in rebellion. My orders
were, if I found the natives submissive, I was merely to quarter my troops
on the natives, and do them no farther injury. But, if refractory, they
were to be summoned three times in presence of a royal notary and proper
witnesses, after which, if they still persisted in rebellion, I was to
make war on them and compel them to submit. The people received me in a
peaceable manner, for which reason I marched on with my detachment to
rejoin Cortes at Iquinapa. In consequence of the veterans being withdrawn
from Coatzacualco, these people revolted again in a few months after.
After I left him, the general proceeded with the rest of his troops to
Tonala, crossing the river Aquacualco, and another river seven leagues
from an arm of the sea, by a bridge a quarter of a league in length, which
was constructed by the natives under the direction of two Spanish settlers
of Coatzacualco. The army then proceeded to the large river Mazapa, called
by seamen _Rio de dos bocas_, or Two-mouth river, which flows past Chiapa.
Crossing this by means of double canoes, they proceeded through several
villages to Iquinapa, where my detachment rejoined the army. Crossing
another river and an arm of the sea, on wooden bridges, we came to a large
town named Copilco, where the province of Chontalpa begins; a populous
district, full of plantations of cacoa, which we found perfectly peaceable.
From thence we marched by Nicaxuxica and Zagutan, passing another river,
in which the general lost some part of his baggage. We found Zagutan in
peace, yet the inhabitants fled during the night; on which Cortes ordered
parties out into the woods to make prisoners. Seven chiefs and some others
were taken, but they all escaped from us again in the night, and left us
without guides. At this place fifty canoes arrived at our quarters from
Tabasco, loaded with provisions, and some also from Teapan, a place in my

From Zagutan, we continued our march to Tepetitan, crossing a large river
called Chilapa, where we were detained four days making barks. I here
proposed sending five of our Indian guides to a town of the same name,
which I understood was on the banks of this river, in order to desire the
inhabitants to send their canoes to our assistance; which was accordingly
done, and they sent us six large canoes and some provisions: Yet with all
the aid we could procure, it took us four days to pass this river. From
thence we went to Tepetitan, which was depopulated and burnt in
consequence of a civil war. For three days of our march from the river
Chilapa, our horses were almost constantly up to their bellies in the
marshy grounds, and when we reached a place called Iztapa, it was found
abandoned by the inhabitants; but several chiefs and others were brought
in, who were treated kindly, and made the general some trifling presents
of gold. As this place abounded in corn and grass, we halted three days to
refresh the men and horses, and it was considered by Cortes as a good
situation for a colony, being surrounded by a number of towns, which might
serve as dependencies. Cortes received information from some travelling
merchants at this place concerning the country he had to pass through,
produced to them a map painted on cloth, representing the road to
_Huy-Acala_, which signifies _great_ Acala, there being another place of
the same name. According to them, the way was much intersected by rivers,
as, to reach a place named Tamaztepec, three days journey from Iztapa,
there were three rivers and an arm of the sea to cross. In consequence of
this intelligence, the general sent orders to the chiefs to provide canoes
and construct bridges at the proper places, but neither of these things
were done. Instead of three days, our march occupied us for a whole week;
but the natives succeeded in getting quit of us, and we set out with only
provisions of roasted maize and roots for three days, so that we were
reduced to great straits, having nothing to eat but a wild plant called
_quexquexque_, which inflamed our mouths. We were obliged to construct
bridges of timber, at which every one had to labour from the general
downwards; which detained us for three days. When we had crossed the last
inlet, we were obliged to open a way through the woods with infinite
labour, and after toiling in this manner for two days we were almost in
despair. The trees were so thick that we could not see the sun; and on
climbing to the top of one of the trees, we could not discover any thing
but a continuation of the same impervious forest. Two of our guides had
fled, and the only one who remained was utterly ignorant of the country.
The resources of Cortes were quite inexhaustible, as he guided our way by
a mariners compass, assisted by his Indian map, according to which the
town of _Huy-acala_ of which we were in search, lay to the east; but even
he acknowledged that he knew not what might become of us, if we were one
day longer of finding it out.

We who were of the advanced guard fortunately at this time fell in with
the remains of some trees which had been formerly cut, and a small lane or
path, which seemed to lead towards a town or village. The pilot Lopez and
I returned to the main body with intelligence of this happy discovery,
which revived the spirits of our whole army. We accordingly made all
possible haste in that direction, and soon came to a river, on the
opposite side of which we found a village named Tamaztepec, where, though
abandoned by the inhabitants, we found plenty of provisions for ourselves
and horses. Parties were immediately sent out in search of the natives,
who soon brought back many chiefs and priests who were well treated, and
both supplied us plentifully with provisions, and pointed out our road to
Izguantepec, which was three days journey, or sixteen leagues from the
town where we now were. During our journey to this place, our stage-dancer
and three of the new come Spaniards died of fatigue, and many of the
Mexicans had been left behind to perish. We discovered likewise that some
of the Mexican chiefs who accompanied us, had seized some of the natives
of the places through which we passed, and had eaten them to appease their
hunger. Cortes very severely reprimanded all who had been concerned in
this barbarous deed, and one of our friars preached a holy sermon on the
occasion; after which, as an example to deter our allies from this
practice in future, the general caused one against whom this crime had
been most clearly proved, to be burnt. All had been equally guilty, but
one example was deemed sufficient on the present occasion. Our poor
musicians felt severely the want of the feasts they had been used to in
Spain, and their harmony was now stopt, except one fellow; but the
soldiers used to curse him, saying they wanted maize not music. It may be
asked, how we did not lay our hands on the herd of swine belonging to
Cortes in our present state of starvation? But these were out of sight,
and the steward alleged they had been devoured by the alligators on
passing one of the rivers: In reality, they were artfully kept four days
march behind the army. During our route, we used to carve crosses on the
bark of trees, with inscriptions bearing, that Cortes and his army had
passed this way at such and such a time.

The Indians of Tamaztepec sent a message to Izguantepec, our next station,
to inform the inhabitants, and that they might not be alarmed at our
approach: They also deputed twenty of their number to attend us to that
place as guides. After our arrival at Izguantepec, Cortes was curious to
know the course of a large river which flowed past that place, and was
informed that it discharged itself into the sea near two towns named
Guegatasta and Xicolanga; from which he judged that this might be a
convenient way in which to send for information concerning his ships under
Cuença whom he had ordered to wait his orders on that part of the coast.
He accordingly sent off two Spaniards on that errand, to one of whom,
Francisco de Medina, he gave an order to act as joint commander along with
Simon Cuença. Medina was a man of dilligence and abilities, and well
acquainted with the country; but the commission he carried proved most
unfortunate in its consequences. He found the ships waiting at Xicolanga,
and on presenting his authority as joint captain, a dispute arose between
him and Cuença as to which of them should have the chief command. Each was
supported by a party, and had recourse to arms, in which all the Spaniards
were slain except eight. The neighbouring Indians fell upon the survivors,
and put them all to death; after which they plundered the ships and then
destroyed them. It was two years and a half after this, before we knew
what had become of the ships.

We now learnt that the town of Huy-acala was three days march distant from
our present quarters, and that the way lay across some deep rivers and
trembling marshes. Two soldiers were sent on by Cortes to examine the
route, who reported on their return that the rivers were passable by means
of timber bridges, but as for the marshes, which were more material to
know, they were beyond the rivers and had not been examined. Cortes sent
me in the next place, along with one Gonzalo de Mexia and some Indian
guides, with orders to go forward to Huy-acala to procure provisions, with
which we were to meet him on the road. But our guides deserted us the
first night, on account of the two nations being at war, and we were
forced to rely entirely on ourselves for the remainder of the journey. On
our arrival at the first town belonging to the district of Huy-acala,
which has the supreme command over twenty other towns, the inhabitants
seemed very jealous of us at first, but were soon reconciled. This
district is much intersected by rivers, lakes, and marshes, and some of
the dependent towns are situated in islands, the general communication
being by means of canoes. We invited the chiefs to accompany us back to
Cortes; but they declined this, because their nation was at war with the
people of Izguantepec. It would appear that at our arrival they had no
idea of the force of our army under Cortes; but, having received more
accurate intelligence concerning it next day, they treated us with much
deference, and promised that they would provide every accommodation for
our army on its arrival. While still conversing, two other Spaniards came
up to me with letters from Cortes, in which he ordered me to meet him
within three days with all the provisions I could possibly collect; as the
Indians of Izguantepec had all deserted him, and he was now on his march
for Huy-acala entirely destitute of necessaries. These Spaniards also
informed me, that four soldiers who had been detached farther up the river
had not returned, and were supposed to have been murdered, which we learnt
afterwards was the case. In pursuing his march, Cortes had been four days
occupied in constructing a bridge over the great river, during which time
the army suffered excessive famine, as they had come from their last
quarters without provisions, owing to the desertion of the natives. Some
of the old soldiers cut down certain trees resembling palms, by which
means they procured nuts which they roasted and eat; but this proved a
miserable recourse for so great a number. On the night that the bridge
was completed, I arrived with 130 loads of provisions, consisting of corn,
honey, fruit, salt, and fowls. It was then dark, and Cortes had mentioned
his expectation of my arrival with provisions, in consequence of which,
the soldiers waited for me and seized every thing I had, not leaving any
thing for Cortes and the other officers. It was all in vain that the
major-domo cried out, "this is for the general;" for the soldiers said the
general and his officers had been eating their hogs, while they were
starving, and neither threats nor entreaties could prevail on them to
leave him a single load of corn. Cortes lost all patience, and swore he
would punish those who had seized the provisions and spoken about the hogs;
but he soon saw that it was better to be quiet. He then blamed me; but I
told him he ought to have placed a guard to receive the provisions, as
hunger knows no law. Seeing there was no remedy, Cortes, who was
accompanied by Sandoval, addressed me as follows: "My dear friend, I am
sure you must have something in reserve for yourself and your friend
Sandoval, pray take us along with you that we may partake." Sandoval also
assured me that he had not a single handful of maize. "Well," said I,
"gentlemen, come to me when the soldiers are asleep, and you shall partake
of what I had provided for myself and my companions." They both thanked
and embraced me, and so we escaped famine for this bout, as I had with me
twelve loads of maize, twenty fowls, three jars of honey, and some fruit
and salt. Cortes made inquiry as to how the reverend fathers had fared;
but they were well off, as every soldier gave them a share of what they
had procured. Such are the hardships of military expeditions in unexplored
countries. Feared as he was by the soldiers, our general was pillaged of
his provisions, and in danger of starving, and both he and captain
Sandoval were indebted to me for their rations.

On continuing our march from the river for about a league, we came to the
trembling marshes, where our horses had all been nearly destroyed; but the
distance across did not exceed half a bowshot, between the firm ground on
either side, and we got them through by main force. When we were all safe
over, and had given thanks to God for our safety, Cortes sent on to
Huy-acala for a fresh supply of provisions, and took care not to have
these plundered like the former; and on the ensuing day, our whole army
arrived early at Huy-acala, where the chiefs had made ample preparation
for our reception. Having used every proper means to conciliate the chiefs
of this nation, Cortes inquired from them as to the country we had still
to march through, and whether they had heard of any ships being on the
coast, or of any Europeans being settled in the country. He was informed,
that at the distance of eight days journey, there were many men having
beards like ourselves, who had horses and three ships. They also gave the
general a map of the route, and offered every assistance in their power;
but when asked to clear the road, they represented that some of their
dependent districts had revolted, and requested our assistance to reduce
them to obedience. This duty was committed to Diego de Mazariegos, a
relation of the treasurer de Estrada, as a compliment to him, and Cortes
desired me in private to accompany him as his counsellor, being
experienced in the affairs of this country. I do not mention this
circumstance, which is known to the whole army, by way of boast, but as my
duty of historian requires it of me, and indeed his majesty was informed
of it, in the letters which were written to him by Cortes. About eighty of
us went on this occasion along with Mazariegos, and had the good fortune
to find the district in the best disposition. The chiefs returned with us
to Cortes, and brought a most abundant supply of provisions along with
them. In about four days, however, all the chiefs deserted us, and we were
left with only three guides to pursue our march, as well as we could.
After crossing two rivers, we came to another town in the district of
Huy-acala, which was abandoned by the inhabitants, but in which we took up
our quarters.

In this place, Guatimotzin, the last king of the Mexicans, closed his
unhappy career. It appeared that a plot had been concerted by this
unfortunate monarch with many of the Mexican nobles who accompanied him,
to endeavour to cut off the Spaniards; after which they proposed to make
the best of their way back to Mexico, where, collecting all the forces of
the natives, they hoped to be able to overpower the Spanish garrison. This
conspiracy was revealed to Cortes by two Mexican nobles who had commanded
under Guatimotzin during the siege, and who had been baptized by the names
of Tapia and Velasquez. On receiving this intelligence, Cortes immediately
took the judicial informations of these two and of several others who were
concerned in the plot; from which it was learnt, that the Mexicans,
observing that we marched in a careless manner, that discontent prevailed
among our troops, many of whom were sick, that ten of our Spanish soldiers
had died of hunger, and several had returned towards Mexico, and
considering also the uncertainty of the fate of the expedition and the
miseries they endured from scarcity of provisions, they had come to the
resolution of falling upon us at the passage of some river or marsh, being
encouraged by their numbers, which exceeded 3000 well armed men, and
thinking it preferable to die at once than to encounter the perpetual
miseries they now endured by accompanying us in this wilderness.
Guatimotzin acknowledged that he had heard of this proposal, which he
never approved of, declaring that he did not believe it would ever have
been attempted, and anxiously denied that the whole of the Mexican force
had concurred in the plot. His cousin, the prince of Tacuba, declared that
all which had ever passed on the subject, between him and Guatimotzin, was,
that they had often expressed their opinion, that it would be better to
lose their lives at once like brave men, than to suffer in the manner they
did by hunger and fatigue, and to witness the intolerable distresses of
their friends and subjects who accompanied them. On those scanty proofs,
Cortes sentenced Guatimotzin and the prince of Tacuba to be immediately
hanged; and when the preparations were made for the execution, they were
led forth to the place attended by the reverend fathers, who did their
utmost to console them in their last moments. Before his execution,
Guatimotzin addressed Cortes to the following effect: "_Malintzin_! I now
see that your false words and flattering promises have ended in my death.
It had been better to have fallen by my own hands, than to have trusted
myself to your power. You take away my life unjustly, and may God demand
of you my innocent blood." The prince of Tacuba only said, that he was
happy to die along with his beloved sovereign. Thus did these two great
men end their lives, and, for Indians, most piously and like good
Christians. I lamented them both sincerely, having seen them in their
greatness. They always treated me kindly on this march, giving me Indians
to procure grass for my horse, and doing me many services. To me and all
of us, their sentence appeared cruel and unjust, and their deaths most

After this, we continued our march with much circumspection, being
apprehensive of a mutiny among the Mexican troops in revenge for the
execution of their chiefs; but these poor creatures were so exhausted by
famine, sickness, and fatigue, that they did not seem even to have
bestowed a thought on the matter. At night we came to a deserted village;
but on searching we found eight priests, whom we brought to Cortes. He
desired them to recal the inhabitants, which they readily promised,
requesting him not to injure their idols in a temple close to some
buildings in which Cortes was quartered, which he agreed to, yet
expostulated with them on the absurdity of worshipping compositions of
clay and wood. They seemed as if it would have been easy to induce them to
embrace the doctrines of our holy faith; and soon brought us twenty loads
of fowls and maize. On being examined by Cortes about the bearded men with
horses, they said that these people dwelt at a place called _Nito_, at the
distance of seven suns, or days journey from their village, and offered to
guide us to that place. At this time Cortes was exceedingly sad and
ill-humoured, being fretted by the difficulties and misfortunes of his
march, and his conscience upbraided him for the cruelty he had committed
upon the unfortunate king of Mexico. He was so distracted by these
reflections, that he could not sleep, and used to walk about at night, as
a relief for his anxious thoughts. Going in the dark to walk in a large
apartment which contained some of the Indian idols, he missed his way and
fell from a height of twelve feet, by which he received a severe contused
wound in his head. He endeavoured to conceal this circumstance from
general knowledge, and got his wounds cured as well as he could, keeping
his sufferings to himself.

After leaving this place, we came in two days to a district inhabited by a
nation called the _Mazotecas_, where we found a newly built town,
fortified by two circular enclosures of pallisades, one of which was like
a barbican, having loop-holes to shoot through, and was strengthened by
ditches. Another part of the town was inaccessible, being on the summit of
a perpendicular rock, on the top of which the natives had collected great
quantities of stones for their defence. And a third quarter of the town
was defended by an impassable morass. Yet after all these defensive
preparations, we were astonished to find the town entirely abandoned,
though every house was full of the different kinds of provisions which the
country afforded, besides which it had a magazine stocked with arms of all
sorts. While we were expressing our astonishment at these circumstances,
fifteen Indians came out of the morass in the most submissive manner, and
told us that they had been forced to the construction of this fortress as
their last resort, in an unsuccessful war with a neighbouring nation,
called the _Lazandones_ as far as I can now remember. They brought back
the inhabitants, whom we treated with kindness, and from whom we received
farther information, respecting, the Spanish settlement, to which two of
the natives of this place undertook to shew us the way. From this place we
entered upon vast open plains, in which not a tree was to be seen, and in
which innumerable herds of deer were feeding, which were so tame as almost
to come up to us. Our horsemen, therefore, easily took as many as they
pleased, and we found that the Indians never disturbed them, considering
them as a kind of divinities, and had even been commanded by their idols,
or priests rather in their name, neither to kill or frighten these animals.
The heat of the weather was now so excessive that Palacios Rubios, a
relation of Cortes, lost his horse by pursuing the deer. We continued our
march along this open campaign country, passing several villages where the
destructive ravages of war were distinctly perceivable. On one occasion we
met some Indians on their return from hunting, who had along with them a
huge _lion_[1] just killed, and several _iguanas_[2], a species of small
serpent very good to eat. These people shewed us the way to their town, to
which we had to wade up to our middles through a lake of fresh water by
which it was surrounded. This lake was quite full of fish, resembling
shads, but enormously large, with prickles on their backs; and having
procured some nets, we took above a thousand of them, which gave us a
plentiful supply. On inquiry, five of the natives of this place engaged to
guide us to the settlement of our countrymen; and they were glad to get so
easily rid of us, as they were apprehensive we had come to put them all to

Leaving this place, we proceeded to a town named _Tayasal_, situated on an
island in a river, the white temples, towers, and houses, of which place,
glistened from a distance. As the road now became very narrow, we thought
proper to halt here for the night, having in the first place detached some
soldiers to the river to look out for a passage. They were so fortunate as
to take two canoes, containing ten men and two women, who were conveying a
cargo of maize and salt. Being brought to Cortes, they informed him that
they belonged to a town about four leagues farther on. Our general
detained one of the canoes and some of the people, and sent two Spaniards
along with the rest in the other canoe, to desire the cacique of that town
to send him canoes to enable us to cross the river. Next morning, we all
marched down to the river, where we found the cacique waiting for us, who
invited the general to his place of residence. Cortes accordingly embarked
with an escort of thirty crossbows, and was presented on his arrival at
the town with a few toys of gold very much alloyed, and a small number of
mantles. They informed him that they knew of Spaniards being at three
different places, which were Nito, Buena Vista, and Naco, the last being
ten days journey inland from Nito, and where the greater number of the
Spaniards resided, Nito being on the coast. On hearing this, Cortes
observed to us that De Oli had probably divided his forces, as we knew
nothing as yet respecting Gil Gonzalo de Avila, or Las Casas.

Our whole army now crossed the river, and halted about two leagues from it,
waiting the return of Cortes. At this place, three Spanish soldiers, two
Indians, and a Negro deserted; preferring to take their chance among the
unknown natives of the country, to a continuance of the fatigues and
dangers they had experienced. This day likewise, I had a stroke of the sun,
which occasioned a burning fever or calenture. At this period the weather
changed, and for three days and nights it rained incessantly; yet we had
to continue our march, lest our provisions might fail. After two days
march we came to a ridge of rocky hills, which we named the _Sierra de los
Pedernales_, the stones of which were as sharp as knives. Several soldiers
were sent a league on each side of this bad pass in search of a better
road, but to no purpose, so that we were forced to proceed. Our horses
fell at every step, and the farther we advanced it grew the worse,
insomuch that we lost eight horses, and all the rest were so lamed that
they could not keep up with us. After getting over this shocking pass, we
advanced towards a town called _Taica_, where we expected to procure
provisions in abundance; but to our great mortification were unexpectedly
stopped by a prodigious torrent, so swelled by the late heavy rains that
it was quite impassable, and made such a noise in tumbling over its rocky
bed that it might have been heard at the distance of two leagues. We had
to stop here for three complete days to construct a bridge between the
precipitous banks of this river; in consequence of which delay the people
of Taica had abandoned their town, removing all their provisions out of
our reach. We were all miserably disappointed at this event, finding that
hunger was to be our portion after all our fatigues. After sending out his
servants in every direction, Cortes was only able to procure about a
bushel of maize. He then called together the colonists of Coatzacualco,
and earnestly solicited us to use our utmost endeavours to procure
supplies. Pedro de Ircio requested to have the command on this occasion,
to which Cortes assented: But as I knew Ircio to be a better prater than
marcher, I whispered to Cortes and Sandoval to prevent him from going, as
he was a duck-legged fellow, who could not get through the miry ground,
and would only interrupt us in our search. Cortes accordingly ordered him
to remain, and five of us set out with two Indian guides across rivers and
marshes, and came at length to some Indian houses where we found
provisions in abundance. We here made some prisoners, and with their fruit,
fowls, and corn, we celebrated the feast of the Resurrection to our great
contentment. That same night we were joined by a thousand Mexicans, who
had been sent after us, whom we loaded with all the corn we could procure,
and twenty fowls for Cortes and Sandoval, after which there still remained
some corn in the town, which we remained to guard. We advanced next day to
some other villages, where we found corn in abundance, and wrote a billet
to Cortes desiring him to send all the Indians he could spare to carry it
to the army. Thirty soldiers and about five hundred Indians arrived in a
short time, and we amply provided for the wants of the army during the
five days it remained at Taica. I may observe here, that the bridges which
we constructed on this march continued good for many years; and the
Spaniards, when they travelled this way, used to say, "These are the
bridges of Cortes."

After resting five days at Taica, we continued our march for two days to a
place called Tania, through a country everywhere intersected by marshes,
rivers, and rivulets, all the towns being abandoned and the provisions
carried away; and, to add to our misfortunes, our guides made their escape
during the night, being entrusted, as I suppose, to some of the newly
arrived Spaniards, who used to sleep on their posts. We were thus left in
a difficult country, and did not know which way to go; besides which heavy
rains fell without ceasing. Cortes was very much out of humour, and
observed among his officers, that he wished some others besides the
Coatzacualco settlers would bestir themselves in search of guides. Pedro
de Ircio, a man of quality named Marmolejo, and Burgales, who was
afterwards regidor of Mexico, offered their services, and taking each of
them six soldiers, were out three days in search of Indians, but all
returned without success, having met with nothing but rivers, marshes, and
obstructions. Cortes was quite in despair, and desired Sandoval to ask me
as a favour to undertake the business. Though ill, I could not refuse when
applied to in this manner; wherefore, taking two friends along with me who
could endure fatigue, we set out following the course of a stream, and
soon found a way to some houses, by observing marks of boughs having been
cut. Following these marks, we came in sight of a village surrounded by
fields of corn; but we remained concealed till we thought the people were
asleep, and taking the inhabitants by surprise, we secured three men, two
very handsome Indian girls, and an old woman, with a few fowls and a small
quantity of maize. On bringing our prize to head-quarters, Sandoval was
quite overjoyed. "Now," said he to Pedro de Ircio in the presence of
Cortes, "was not Castillo in the right, when he refused to take hobbling
people along with him, who tell old stories of the adventures of the Conde
de Urena and his son Don Pedro Giron?" All who were present laughed
heartily at this sally, as Ircio used to pester us with these stories
continually, and Sandoval knew that Ircio and I were not on friendly terms.
Cortes paid me many compliments on this occasion, and thanked me for my
good service. But what is praise more than emptiness, and what does it
profit me that Cortes said he relied on me, next to God, for procuring
guides? We learnt from the prisoners that it was necessary to descend the
river for two days march, when we would come to a town of two hundred
houses, called _Oculiztli_; which he did accordingly, passing some large
buildings where the travelling Indian merchants used to stop on their
journeys. At the close of the second day we came to Oculiztli, where we
got plenty of provisions, and in one of the temples we found an old red
cap and a sandal, which had been placed there as offerings to the idols.
Some of our soldiers brought two old men and four women to Cortes, who
told him that the Spanish settlement was on the seaside two days journey
from this place, with no intervening towns. Cortes therefore gave orders
to Sandoval to set out immediately with six soldiers for the coast, to
ascertain what number of men De Oli had with him, as he meant to fall upon
him by surprise, being quite ignorant of the revolution which had happened
in this quarter.

Sandoval set out accordingly with three guides, and on reaching the sea
shore, he soon perceived a canoe; and concealing himself where he expected
it might anchor for the night, was fortunate enough to get possession of
the canoe; which belonged to some Indian merchants who were carrying salt
to _Golfo dolce_. Sandoval embarked in this canoe with a part of his men,
sending the rest along the shore, and made for the great river. During the
voyage, he fell in with four Spaniards belonging to the settlement, who
were searching for fruit near the mouth of the river, being in great
distress from sickness and the hostilities of the Indians. Two of these
men were up in a tree, when they saw Sandoval to their great astonishment,
and soon joined him. They informed him of the great distress of the
settlement, and of all the events which had occurred, and how they had
hanged the officer whom Avila had left in the command, and a turbulent
priest, for opposing their determination to return to Cuba, and had
elected one Antonio Niote in his stead. Sandoval resolved to carry these
people to Cortes, whom he wished to inform as soon as possible of the news,
and sent a soldier named Alonzo Ortiz, who soon reached us with the
agreeable intelligence, for which Cortes gave him an excellent horse, and
all of us gave him something in proportion to our abilities. Sandoval
arrived soon afterwards, and Cortes issued immediate orders to march to
the coast, which was about six leagues distant. Cortes pushed forwards
with his attendants, and crossed the river by means of the two canoes,
swimming the horses. The Spanish settlement was about two leagues from the
place where Cortes landed, and the colonists were astonished on seeing the
Europeans coming towards them, and still more so when they found it was
the renowned conqueror of Mexico. Cortes received their congratulations
very graciously, and desired them to bring all the canoes they could
collect, and the boats belonging to their ships to assist his army in
crossing. He likewise ordered them to provide bread for the army; but of
this only fifty pounds weight could be got, as they lived almost entirely
on _sapotes_ and other vegetables, and fish.

We had an arm of the sea to cross, and had therefore to wait for low water,
but Cortes had found the passage so dangerous that he sent us word not to
follow till farther orders. The care of passing this dangerous place was
entrusted to Sandoval, who took as effectual measures as possible, but it
took us four days to get over, partly wading and partly swimming. One
soldier and his horse went to the bottom, and was never seen more, and two
other horses were lost. A person named Saavedra, presuming on his
relationship to Cortes, refused obedience to the orders of Sandoval, and
endeavoured to force his passage, even laying his hand on his poinard, and
using disrespectful expressions to Sandoval; who seized him instantly and
threw him into the water, where he was nearly drowned. Our sufferings at
this time were excessive, as during all these four days we had literally
nothing to eat, except by gathering a few nuts and some wild fruits, and
on getting across our condition was not improved. We found this colony to
contain forty men and six women, all yellow and sickly, and utterly
destitute of provisions; so that we were under the necessity of setting
out immediately in search of food both for ourselves and them. For this
purpose, about eighty of us marched, under the command of Luis Marin, to a
town about eight leagues distant, where we found abundance of maize and
vegetables, and great quantities of cacao; and as this place was in the
direct road for Naco, to which Cortes intended to go, he immediately sent
Sandoval and the greatest part of the troops to join us, on receiving the
agreeable intelligence of our good fortune. We sent a plentiful supply of
maize to the miserable colonist who had been so long in a starving
condition, of which they eat to such excess that seven of them died. About
this time likewise a vessel arrived with seven horses, forty hogs, eight
pipes of salted meat, a considerable quantity of biscuit, and fifteen
adventurers from Cuba. Cortes immediately purchased all the provisions,
which he distributed among the colonists, who eat the salted meat so
voraciously that it occasioned diarrhoeas, by which, in a very few days,
fourteen of them were carried off.

As Cortes wished to examine this great river, he caused one of the
brigantines belonging to Avila which had been stranded to be fitted out;
and embarking with thirty soldiers and eight mariners belonging to the
vessel lately arrived, having likewise a boat and four double canoes, he
proceeded up the river to a spacious lake with good anchorage. This lake
was navigable for six leagues, all the adjacent country being subject to
be inundated; but on endeavouring to proceed higher, the current became
stronger, and he came to certain shallows, which prevented the vessels
from proceeding any farther. Cortes now landed with his soldiers, and
advanced into the country by a narrow road which led to several villages
of the natives. In the first of these he procured some guides, and in the
second he found abundance of corn, and many domesticated birds, among
which were pheasants, pigeons, and partridges, which last are often
domesticated by the Indians of America. In prosecuting his route, he
approached a large town called _Cinacan Tencintle_, in the midst of fine
plantations of cacao, where he heard the sound of music and merry-making,
the inhabitants being engaged in a drunken feast. Cortes waited a
favourable opportunity, concealed in a wood close by the town, when
suddenly rushing out, he made prisoners of ten men and fifteen women. The
rest of the inhabitants attacked him with their darts and arrows, but our
people closed with them and killed eight of their chiefs, on which the
rest submitted, sending four old men, two of whom were priests, with a
trifling present of gold, and to petition for the liberation of the
prisoners, which he accordingly engaged to give up on receiving a good
supply of provisions, which they promised to deliver at the ships. A
misunderstanding took place afterwards between Cortes and these Indians,
as he wished to retain three of their women to make bread, and hostilities
were renewed, in which Cortes was himself wounded in the face, twelve of
his soldiers wounded, and one of his boats destroyed. He then returned
after an absence of twenty-six days, during which he had suffered
excessive torment from the mosquitoes. He wrote to Sandoval, giving him an
account of all that had occurred in his expedition to Cinacan, which is
seventy leagues from Guatimala, and ordered him to proceed to Naco; as he
proposed to remain himself on purpose to establish a colony at _Puerto de
Cavallos_[3], for which he desired Sandoval to send back ten of the
Coatzacualco veterans, without whose assistance nothing could be done
properly. Taking with him all the Spaniards who remained at St Gil de
Buena Vista, Cortes embarked in two ships, and arrived in eight days sail
at Puerto de Cavallos, which had a good harbour, and seemed every way well
calculated for a colony, which he established there under the command of
Diego de Godoy, naming the town Natividad. Expecting by this time that
Sandoval might have arrived at Naco, which is not far distant from Puerto
Cavallos, Cortes sent a letter for him to that place, requiring a
reinforcement of ten of the veteran soldiers of Coatzacualco, as he
intended to proceed for the bay of Honduras; but this letter reached us in
our last-mentioned quarters as we had not yet reached Naco. Leaving Cortes
for the present, I shall only say that he was so tormented by the
mosquitoes, which prevented him from procuring rest either by night or day,
that he had almost lost his life or his senses.

On receiving this last letter from the general, Sandoval pressed on for
Naco, but was obliged to halt at a place called _Cuyocan_, in order to
collect the stragglers who had gone in quest of provisions. We were also
impeded by a river, and the natives on every side were hostile. Our line
of march was now extremely long, by the great number of invalids,
especially of the Mexicans, who were unable to keep up with the main body;
on which account Sandoval left me at this place, with the command of eight
men at the ferry, to protect and bring up the stragglers. One night the
natives attacked my post, setting fire to the house in which we were
lodged, and endeavoured to carry away our canoe; but, with the assistance
of some of our Mexicans who had come up, we beat them off; and, having
collected all the invalids who had loitered behind, we crossed the river
next day, and set but to rejoin Sandoval. A Genoese, who had been sometime
ill, sunk at length through weakness, occasioned by poverty of diet, and
died on the road, and I was obliged to leave his body behind. When I made
my report to Sandoval, he was ill pleased at me for not having brought on
the dead body; but I told him we had already two invalids on every horse,
and one of my companions said rather haughtily, that we had enough of
difficulty to bring on ourselves, without carrying dead men. Sandoval
immediately ordered me and that soldier, whose name was Villanueva, to go
back and bury the Genoese, which we did accordingly, and placed a cross
over his grave. We found a purse in his pocket, containing some dice, and
a memorandum of his family and effects in Teneriffe. God rest his soul!
_Amen_. In about two days we arrived at Naco, passing a town named
_Quinistlan_, and a place where mines have been since discovered. We found
Naco to be a very good town, but it was abandoned by its inhabitants, yet
we procured plenty of provisions and salt, of which we were in very great
need. We took up our quarters in some large quadrangular buildings, where
De Oli was executed, and established ourselves there as if we had been to
have remained permanently. There is the finest water at this place that is
to be found in all New Spain; as likewise a species of tree which is most
admirable for the _siesta_; as, however great may be the heat of the sun,
there is always a most delightful and refreshing coolness under its shade,
and it seems to give out a delicate kind of dew, which is good for the
head. Naco is admirably situated, in a fertile neighbourhood, which
produces different kinds of _sapotes_ in great abundance, and it was then
very populous. Sandoval obtained possession of three chiefs of the
district, whom he treated kindly, by which means the people of the
district remained in peace, but all his endeavours to induce the
inhabitants to return to the town were ineffectual. It was now necessary
to send the reinforcement of ten Coatzacualco veterans which Cortes had
required. At that time I was ill, and besides Sandoval wished to retain me
along with him: Eight valiant soldiers were sent off, however, who
heartily cursed Cortes and his expedition at every step of their march;
for which indeed they had good reason, as they were entirely ignorant of
the state of the country through which they had to go. Sandoval took the
precaution of sending five principal people of the natives along with them,
making known at the same time that he would punish the country most
severely if any injury was done them on their journey. They arrived in
safety at Natividad, where Cortes then was; who immediately embarked for
Truxillo, leaving Godoy in the command of the settlement at Puerto de
Cavallos, with forty Spaniards, who were all that remained of the settlers
who had accompanied de Avila, and of those who had come recently from Cuba.
Godoy maintained himself for some time; but his men were continually
dropping off by disease, and the Indians began at last to despise and
neglect him, refusing to supply the settlement with provisions, so that in
a short time he lost above half his number by sickness and famine, and
three of his men deserted to join Sandoval. By various expeditions and
judicious measures, Sandoval reduced all the country round Naco to peace
and submission, namely the districts of Cirimongo, Acalao, Quinistlan, and
four others, of which I forget the names, and even extended his authority
over the natives as far as Puerto Cavallos, where Godoy commanded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_Descendants of Hernando Cortes[15]_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


_Concluding Observations by the Author_[1].

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

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

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

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

The natives also of these countries have learnt all the trades used among
us in Spain, having their shops, manufactories, and work-people. Their
goldsmiths and silversmiths, both those who make cast work or who use the
hammer, are excellent. Their lapidaries or engravers on precious stones,
especially emeralds, execute the nicest representations of the holy acts
and passion of our blessed Saviour, in such a manner as could not be
believed from Indians. Three of our native Mexican artists, named Andres
de Aquino, Juan de la Cruz, and El Crispillo, have in my humble judgment
executed paintings which may vie with those of Apelles, Michael Angelo,
and Berruguete. The sons of the chiefs used to be educated in grammar, and
were learning very well, till this was prohibited by the holy synod, under
an order of the most reverend the archbishop of Mexico. Many of the
natives are manufacturers of silks and various other stuffs, and hatters,
and soap-boilers. Two trades only could never be acquired by them, which
is the art of glass blowing, and that of the apothecary; but this is not
owing to any defect of natural genius, as there are among them surgeons,
herbalists, jugglers, makers of puppets, and of violins. They cultivated
the ground before our arrival; and now they rear stock, break in bullocks
to the plough, sow, reap, manure, and make bread and biscuit. They have
planted their lands with the various fruits of old Spain, such as quince,
apple, and pear trees, which they hold in high estimation; but cut down
the unwholesome peach trees and the overshading plantains. From us they
have learnt laws and justice; and they every year elect their own alcaldes,
regidors, notaries, alguazils, fiscals, and major-domos[2]. They have
their _cabildos_, or common councils, and bailiffs, which meet twice
a-week, judging, sentencing, and punishing for smaller offences; but for
murder and higher crimes, they must have recourse to the Spanish governors
in places where there are no courts of royal audience. In Tlascala,
Tezcuco, Cholula, Guaxocinco, Tepeaca, and other large cities, gilt maces
are borne before the native magistrates when they go to hold their
cabildos, as is done before our viceroys; and they distribute justice with
much zeal and impartiality, being anxious to acquire a thorough knowledge
of our laws. All the caciques are rich, and ride on horses handsomely
caparisoned, attended by pages. In some townships likewise, they exercise
with the lance on horseback, running at the ring; and they have bull
feasts, especially on the days of Corpus Christi, St John, St James, the
Assumption, or the patron or patroness saint of the town. Many of them are
excellent horsemen, and the natives especially of Chiapa de los Indios,
will face the fiercest bull. The caciques breed horses, and use them and
mules for conveying their various commodities for sale, such as maize,
wood or lime; and many of the natives gain their living by following the
occupation of carriers.

By means of our illustrious services, our mother-country obtains gold,
silver, precious stones, cochineal, wool, salsaparilla, hides, and various
other commodities, to the great advantage of the royal revenue. Since the
time of the great and wise Solomon, neither ancient nor modern history
record the acquisition of such riches by any country, as have been derived
from New Spain. I do not now include the millions in gold and silver
derived from Peru, as that country was unknown when we conquered New Spain,
and was not conquered till ten years afterwards: Besides all which, Peru
has been involved in cruel civil wars, whereas we have ever remained
submissive in our allegiance to his majesty, and ready to devote our lives
and fortunes to his service. The numerous cities in New Spain are worthy
of consideration, but would be too tedious to enumerate. Besides the
archbishoprick of Mexico, we have ten bishopricks, with many cathedrals,
and monastaries belonging to the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustines, and
the order of Mercy. Many hospitals, with extensive remissions and pardons
attached to them; besides the _Santa casa_ of our Lady of Guadeloupe,
where many holy miracles are performed daily. In Mexico there is an
university in which are taught grammar, theology, rhetoric, logic,
philosophy, and other sciences; and in which the students take the several
degrees of bachelor, licentiate, and doctor; having also a printing press
for books in the Spanish and Latin languages. If all I have now said be
insufficient, let the wise and learned read over this my true history with
impartial care, and they must confess that there never were men who have
gained more by their valorous achievements for their king than we the
brave conquerors, among the most valiant of whom I was considered. And I
say again, I myself, who am a true conqueror, am the most ancient of all.
Of the 550 soldiers who left Cuba along with Cortes, _five_ only are now
living in the year 1568, while I am writing this history; all the rest
having been slain in the wars, or sacrificed to the accursed idols, or
have died in the course of nature. Of 1300 soldiers who came with Narvaez,
exclusive of mariners, not more than ten or eleven now survive. Of those
who came with Garay, including the three companies which landed at St Juan
de Ulua previous to his own arrival, amounting to 1200 soldiers, most were
sacrificed and devoured in the province of Panuco. We five companions of
Cortes who yet survive, are all very old and bowed down with infirmities,
and extremely poor; having heavy charges of sons to establish, daughters
to marry off, and grand-children to maintain, with very small means to do
all this. Whereas we ought to have had the best properties in the country
allotted to us, in reward of our high prowess and transcendent services in
that country which we conquered; not indeed to the same extent with the
rewards granted to Cortes, but in just moderation in proportion to our
merits. This indeed was ordered by his majesty, but interest and
partiality gave away what we ought to have received to others, leaving
little for the royal patrimony or to be bestowed on us. Immediately after
the conquest, Cortes ought to have divided the whole country into five
shares, assigning the richest and best to his majesty, out of which to
reward those cavaliers who served him in his European wars; taking a share
and a half to himself, and for the establishment of churches, monasteries,
and municipalities; and dividing the remaining half in perpetual grants to
us the true conquerors, by which we should have all been amply provided

Our emperor was so truly a Christian monarch, that he would willingly have
granted us these favours, more especially as the conquest cost him nothing.
But we knew not then where to apply for justice, except to Cortes himself,
who did in all things as he thought fit, taking care of himself, and of
his friends and relations newly come from old Spain. We remained therefore
with the little which had been assigned to us, till we saw Don Francisco
de Montejo, who had waited on his majesty in Europe, return with the
appointment of adelantado and governor of Yucutan, estates in Mexico, and
other rewards. Diego de Ordas also, who went to court, obtained a
commandery of St Jago, and districts in New Spain. Don Pedro de Alvarado,
who likewise went to represent his services, was made adelantado and
governor of Guatimala and Chiapa, commander of the order of St Jago, and
obtained extensive grants of land. When therefore, we the conquerors saw
that those who did not reach his majesty, or had no one to speak for them,
were neglected, we transmitted a petition, by which we prayed that such
lands as fell vacant might be distributed among us in perpetuities, as had
been done by the first court of royal audience, of which Nuno de Guzman
was president; who had been directed to make the divisions more equal,
deducting in due proportions from the immoderate grants of Cortes, and
that the best districts and rents should be divided among us the true
conquerors, leaving the cities and great towns for his majesty. His
majesty likewise ordered the vassals of Cortes to be counted, leaving no
more than were specified in his patents; but I do not remember what was to
have been done with the surplus. Nuno de Guzman and the judges of his
tribunal were misled by advisers from making their grants perpetual, under
pretence that the conquerors would cease to depend upon and respect them
if independent, and that it was better to keep them under the necessity of
supplicating for subsistence, and likewise to preserve to themselves the
power of dividing the conquered lands to the advantage of their own
interest. Guzman and his oydors indeed, constantly assigned such districts
as fell vacant among the conquerors and colonists to universal
satisfaction; but were superseded in consequence of their disputes with

In 1550, when I was in Old Spain, a council was formed, consisting of
Bartholomew de las Casas, bishop of Chiapa, Vasco de Quiroga, bishop of
Mechoacan, and other cavaliers who had come as agents from New Spain and
Peru, with some gentlemen who had come on business to court; to which
council I also was called, as being the most ancient of the conquerors of
New Spain. At this time certain of the Peruvian gentlemen petitioned his
majesty to cause perpetual allotments of lands to be made in that kingdom,
and a similar petition was presented by Gonzalo Lopez and Alonzo de
Villanueva, who had come over as agents from Mexico. His majesty was
pleased to order the _rapartimiento_ or distribution of lands to be
referred to the council of the Indies, consisting of the Marquis de
Mondejar president, with the licentiates Gutierre Velasquez, Tello de
Sandoval, Gregorio Lopes de Briviesca, and the Doctor Hernan Perez de la
Fuente, oydors or judges of that court, together with the members of other
royal councils. At this meeting, it was proposed to make a perpetual
distribution of the lands of New Spain and Peru; I am uncertain if New
Granada and Popayan were to have been included. Many excellent reasons
were given for this measure being adopted, but it was strenuously opposed
by the members of the royal council of the Indies, together with Bishop de
las Casas, Fra Rodrigo his coadjutor, and the Bishop of las Charcas, who
insisted that the matter should be postponed till the return of the
emperor from Vienna, when every thing should be arranged to the
satisfaction of the conquerors: And thus the affair was dropped for the

After my return to New Spain, the conquerors then proposed to send agents
to solicit his majesty for our interest exclusively, in consequence of
which I was written to here in Guatimala, by Captain Andres de Tapia,
Pedro Morena de Medrana, and Juan Limpias Caravajal, on the subject. I
accordingly went round among the other conquerors who were settled in this
city, to raise a sum by subscription for the purpose, but this project
failed for want of money. At a subsequent period, our present invincible
king Don Philip, was pleased to command that the conquerors and their
posterity should be provided for, attending in the first instance to those
who were married. But all has been of no avail.

Two learned licentiates, to whom I communicated the MS. of this history,
observed that I had praised myself greatly in the battles of which I have
given an account, whereas I ought to have left that to be done by others.
But how is any one who was not in the wars with us to praise us as we
deserve? To compare myself, a poor soldier, with the great emperor and
warrior Julius Cesar, we are told by historians, that he used to write
down with his own hand an account of his own heroic deeds, not chusing to
entrust that office to others, although he had many historians in his
empire. It is not therefore extraordinary if I relate the battles in which
I fought, that it may be known in future ages, _thus did Bernal Diaz del
Castillo_; that my sons and grandsons may enjoy the fame of their ancestor,
as many cavaliers and lords of vassals do the deeds and blazons of their
predecessors. I shall therefore enumerate the various battles and other
warlike affairs in which I have been present. At Cape Cotoche, under
Cordova; at Pontonchan in a battle where half our number was slain; and in
Florida where we landed to procure water. Under Juan de Grijalva, I was
present in the second battle of Pontonchan. During my third voyage, under
Cortes, two pitched battles at Tabasco. On our arrival in New Spain, the
battle of Cingapacinga or Teoatzinco. Shortly afterwards three pitched
battles with the Tlascalans. The affair of Cholula. On our entry into
Mexico, I was at the seizure of Montezuma, which I do not enumerate as a
warlike exploit, but on account of its great boldness. Four months
afterwards, when with 276 men, Cortes defeated Narvaez who had 1300. The
relief of Alvarado, when the Mexicans made incessant attacks upon us
during eight days and nights, during which I reckon eight several battles,
at all of which I was present, and in the course of which we lost 870 men.
The battle of Obtumba or Otompan. A battle at Tepeaca. A battle at Tezcuco.
Two battles, in one of which I was wounded in the throat by a lance. Two
actions about the maize fields near Chalco. The rash attack on the
fortresses called the Rocks of the Marquis in our expedition round the
lake. The battle of Cuernavaca. Three battles at Xochimilco. During the
siege of Mexico, which lasted _ninety-three_ days, I find by my account
that I was engaged in upwards of eighty battles and skirmishes. After the
conquest, I was sent out on various expeditions to reduce Coatzacualco,
Chiapa, and the Zapotecans, in which we had several engagements. In
Chamula and Cuitlan, two engagements. In Teapa and Chematlan two others,
in one of which I was badly wounded in the throat. I forgot to mention,
that we were pursued for nine days in our flight from Mexico, and had to
fight four battles before the great one at Otompan. Several actions in our
expedition to Higueras and Honduras, during which in a battle at Culacotu
I had a horse killed under me which cost 600 crowns. After my return to
Mexico, I went upon an expedition into the mountains against the Zapotecas
and Mixtecas. I have on the whole been present in _one hundred and
nineteen_ battles, engagements, and skirmishes; so that it is not
wonderful if I praise myself for the many and notable services which I
have rendered to God, his majesty and all Christendom: And I give thanks
and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath preserved me in so many


[1] In this section Diaz gives a minute enumeration _of the valiant
    companions who passed over to the conquest of Mexico with the most
    adventurous and most magnanimous Don Hernando Cortes, Marquis of the
    Valley_. This must assuredly be a most valuable document to vast
    numbers of the present inhabitants of New Spain, by enabling them to
    trace their honourable descent from the conquerors; but, as totally
    uninteresting to the English reader, is here omitted.--E.

[2] These are the ordinary municipal officers of Spanish townships,
    answerable to our mayors, aldermen, bailiffs, constables, &c.--E.

       *       *       *       *       *




The present chapter, like that immediately preceding from the pen of
Bernal Diaz, although in strict language neither a journey nor a voyage,
records in every step of the conquerors a new _discovery_ of coasts,
islands, rivers, districts, and tribes, that had never been visited before.
In conformity with our uniform desire to have recourse upon all occasions
to the most authentic original authorities for every article admitted into
this collection, so far as in our power, the work of Zarate has been
chosen as the record of the discovery and conquest of Peru, in preference
to any modern compilation on the same subject. As we learn from himself,
Zarate was a person of rank and education, who went into Peru in 1543,
only _eighteen_ years after the first movements of Pizarro and Almagro
towards the discovery of that extensive country, and only _eleven_ years
after its actual invasion by Pizarro in 1532. From the illustrious
historian of America, Dr William Robertson, the work which we now offer to
the public for the first time in the English language, has the following
high character: "The history of Zarate, whether we attend to its matter or
composition, is a book of considerable merit, and great credit is due to
his testimony." Besides this general eulogy; in his enumeration of six
original authors whom he had consulted in the composition of that portion
of his History of America which refers to Peru, he clearly shews that
Zarate alone can be considered as at the same time perfectly authentic and
sufficiently copious for the purpose we have at present in view. The
substance of his account of all the six is as follows.

"_Two_ of the more early writers on the subject of the discovery and
conquest of Peru, Francisco de Xeres, the secretary of Pizarro, and Pedro
Sanchez, an officer who served under the conqueror, break off almost in
the introduction to the narrative, going no farther into the history of
the conquest than the death of Atahualpa in 1533, only one year after the
invasion of Peru. The _third_ in point of time, Pedro Cioca de Leon, only
two years earlier in his publication than Zarate, gives nothing more than
a description of the country, and an account of the institutions and
customs of the natives. Zarate is the _fourth_. The _fifth_, Don Diego
Fernandez, solely relates to the dissentions and civil wars among the
Spanish conquerors. The _sixth_ and last of these original authors,
Garcilasso de la Vega _Inca_, the son of a Spanish officer of distinction
by a _Coya_, or Peruvian female of the royal race, gives little more than
a commentary on the before mentioned writers, and was not published till
1609, seventy five years after the invasion of Peru by Pizarro[1]."

In the Bibliotheque des Voyages, VI. 319. mention is made of a Description
of Peru as published in French in 1480, and said to be a very rare work:
_Rare_, indeed, if the imprint be not an error, _fifty-two_ years before
the actual invasion and discovery. In the same useful work, the
performance of Zarate is thus characterized. "The author has not confined
his views to the history and conquest of Peru, but has given us a
statement of the natural features of the country, an account of the
manners of the inhabitants, and a curious picture of the religious
opinions and institutions of the Peruvians."

Four of the six original authors respecting Peru which are noticed by
Robertson, we have not seen; having confined our views to that of Zarate,
which is not only the best according to the opinion of that excellent
judge, but the only one which could answer the purpose of our present
collection. In preparing this original work for publication, it is proper
to acknowledge that we have been satisfied with translating from the
French edition of Paris, 1742; but, besides every attention to fidelity of
translation, it has been carefully collated throughout with the _Royal
Commentary_ of the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, as published in English by
Sir Paul Rycaut, knight, in 1688; and with the excellent work of Dr
Robertson. It may be proper to mention, however, that the following
translation, though faithful, has been made with some freedom of
retrenching a superfluity of useless language; though nothing has been
omitted in point of fact, and nothing altered.

Having mentioned the work of Garcilasso de la Vega, which we have employed
as an auxiliary on the present occasion, it may be worth while to give a
short account of it in this place: For there never was, perhaps, a
literary composition so strangely mixed up of unconnected and discordant
sense and nonsense, and so totally devoid of any thing like order or
arrangement, in the whole chronology of authorship, or rather of
book-making, as has been produced by this scion of the Incas. No
consideration short of our duty to the public, could have induced us to
wade through such a labyrinth of absurdity in quest of information. It is
astonishing how the honest knight could have patience to translate 1019
closely printed folio pages of such a farrago; and on closing the work of
the Inca for ever, we heartily joined in the concluding pious thanksgiving
of the translator, _Praised be God_. This enormous literary production of
the _Inca_ Garcilasso, is most regularly divided and subdivided into parts,
books, and chapters; which contain here a little history, then digressions
on manners, customs, opinions, ceremonies, laws, policy, arts, animals,
vegetables, agriculture, buildings, &c. &c. &c. intermixed with bits and
scraps of history, in an endless jumble; so that for every individual
circumstance on any one of these topics, the pains-taking reader must turn
over the whole work with the most anxious attention. We quote an example,
taken absolutely at random, the titles of the Chapters of Part I. Book ix.

Chap. I. Huayna Capac makes a gold chain as big as a cable, and why. II.
Reduces ten vallies of the coast. III. Punishes some murderers. IV.-VII.
Incidents of his reign, confusedly related. VIII. Gods and customs of the
Mantas. IX. Of giants formerly in Peru. X. Philosophical sentiments of the
Inca concerning the sun. XI. and XII. Some incidents of his reign. XIII.
Construction of two extensive roads. XIV. Intelligence of the Spaniards
being on the coast. XV. Testament and death of Huayna Capac. XVI. How
horses and mares were first bred in Peru. XVII. Of cows and oxen.
XVIII.-XXIII. Of various animals, all introduced after the conquest.
XXIV.-XXXI. Of various productions, some indigenous, and others introduced
by the Spaniards. XXXII. Huascar claims homage from Atahualpa. XXXIII.-XL.
Historical incidents, confusedly arranged, all without dates.

The whole work is equally confused at best, and often much more so; often
consisting of extracts from other writers, with commentaries,
argumentations, ridiculous speeches, miracles, and tales recited by old
_Incas_ and _Coyas_, uncles aunts and cousins of the author. To add to the
difficulty of consultation, Sir Paul, having exhausted his industry in the
translation, gives no table of contents whatever, and a most miserable
Index which hardly contains an hundredth part of the substance of the work.
Yet the author of the Bibliotheque des Voyages, says "that this work is
_very precious_, as it contains the only remaining notices of the
government, laws, manners, and customs of the Peruvians."--Ed.

[1] History of America, _note_ cxxv.


After having enjoyed the office of secretary to the royal council of
Castille for fifteen years, the king was graciously pleased to order me to
Peru in 1543, as treasurer-general of that province and of the Tierra
Firma; in which employment I was entrusted with the entire receipt of the
royal revenues and rights, and the payment of all his majesties officers
in those countries. I sailed thither in the fleet which conveyed Blasco
Nugnez Vela the viceroy of Peru; and immediately on my arrival in the New
World, I observed so many insurrections, disputes, and novelties, that I
felt much inclined to transmit their memory to posterity. I accordingly
wrote down every transaction as it occurred; but soon discovered that
these could not be understood unless the previous events were explained
from which they originated. I found it necessary, therefore, to go back to
the epoch of the discovery of the country, to give a detail of the
occurrences in their just order and connection. My work might perhaps have
been somewhat more perfect, if I had been able to compose it in regular
order while in Peru; but a brutal major-general, who had served under
Gonzalo Pizarro[1], threatened to put any one to death who should presume
to write a history of his transactions, so that I was obliged to satisfy
myself with collecting all the documents I could procure for enabling me
to compose my history after returning into Spain. He was perhaps right in
wishing these transactions might fall into oblivion, instead of being
transmitted to posterity.

Should my style of writing be found not to possess all the polish that my
readers may desire, it will at least record the true state of events; and
I shall not be disappointed if it only serve to enable another to present
a history of the same period in more elegant language and more orderly
arrangement. I have principally directed my attention to a strict regard
for truth, the soul of history, using neither art nor disguise in my
description of things and events which I have seen and known; and in
relating those matters which happened before my arrival, I have trusted to
the information of dispassionate persons, worthy of credit. These were not
easy to find in Peru, most persons having received either benefits or
injuries from the party of Pizarro or that of Almagro; which were as
violent in their mutual resentments as the adherents of Marius and Sylla,
or of Caesar and Pompey of old.

In all histories there are three chief requisites: the designs, the
actions, and the consequences. In the two latter particulars I have used
all possible care to be accurate. If I may not always agree with other
authors in regard to the first of these circumstances, I can only say that
such is often the case with the most accurate and faithful historians.
After I had finished this work, it was my intention to have kept it long
unpublished, lest I might offend the families of those persons whose
improper conduct is therein pourtrayed. But some persons to whom I had
communicated my manuscript, shewed it to the king during his voyage to
England, who had it read to him as an amusement from the tiresomeness of
the voyage. My work had the good fortune to please his majesty, who
honoured it with his approbation, and graciously commanded me to have it
printed; and which I have the more readily complied with, as his royal
commands may protect my book from the cavils of the censorious readers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Much difficulty occurs respecting the origin of the people who inhabited
Peru and the other provinces of America, and by what means their ancestors
could have crossed the vast extent of sea which separates that country
from the old world. In my opinion this may be explained from what is said
by Plato in his _Timaeus_, and the subsequent dialogue entitled _Atlantis_.
He says: "That the Egyptians report, to the honour of the Athenians, that
they contributed to defeat certain kings who came with a numerous army by
sea from the great island of Atlantis, which, beginning beyond the Pillars
of Hercules, is larger than all Asia and Africa together, and is divided
into ten kingdoms which Neptune gave among his ten sons, Atlas, the eldest,
having the largest and most valuable share." Plato adds several remarkable
particulars concerning the customs and riches of that island; especially
concerning a magnificent temple in the chief city, the walls of which were
entirely covered over with gold and silver, having a roof of copper, and
many other circumstances which are here omitted for the sake of brevity;
though it is certain that several customs and ceremonies mentioned by
Plato are still practised in the provinces of Peru. Beyond the great
island of Atlantis, there were other large islands not far distant from
the _Firm Land_, beyond which again was the _True Sea_. The following are
the words which Plato attributes, in his Timaeus, to Socrates, as spoken
to the Athenians. "It is held certain, that in ancient times your city
resisted an immense number of enemies from the Atlantic Ocean, who had
conquered almost all Europe and Asia. In those days the _Straits_ were
navigable, and immediately beyond them there was an island, commencing
almost at the _Pillars of Hercules_, which was said to be larger than Asia
and Africa united; from whence the passage was easy to other islands near
and opposite to the continent of the _True Sea_." A little after this
passage, it is added. "That nine thousand years before his days, a great
change took place, as the sea adjoining that island was so increased by
the accession of a prodigious quantity of water, that in the course of one
day it swallowed up the whole island; since when that sea has remained so
full of shallows and sand banks as to be no longer navigable, neither has
any one been able to reach the other islands and the _Firm Land_."

Some authors hare believed this recital to be merely allegorical, while
most of the commentators on Plato considered it as a real historical
narrative. The _nine thousand years_, mentioned by Plato, must not be
considered as an indication of this discourse being fabulous; since,
according to Eudoxus, we must understand them as lunar years or _moons_,
after the Egyptian mode of computation, _or nine thousand months_, which
are _seven hundred and fifty years_. All historians and cosmographers,
ancient as well as modern, have concurred to name the sea by which that
great island was swallowed up, the _Atlantic Ocean_, in which the name of
that ancient island is retained, giving a strong evidence of its former
existence. Adopting, therefore the truth of this historical fact, it must
be granted that this island of Atlantis, beginning from the Straits of
Gibraltar near Cadiz, must have stretched a vast way from north to south,
and from east to west, since it was larger than all Asia and Africa. The
_other_ islands in the neighbourhood must have been those now named
Hispaniola, Cuba, Porto Rico, Jamaica, and others of the West Indies; and
the _Firm Land_, that part of the Continent to which we still give the
name of _Tierra Firma_, together with the other countries and provinces of
America, from the Straits of Magellan in the south to the extreme north;
as Peru, Popayan, Golden Castille, Veragua, Nicaragua, Guatimala, New
Spain, _the Seven Cities_, Florida, _Baccalaos_, and so on along the north
to Norway. The authority of Plato is conclusive that the _New World_ which
has been discovered in our time, is the same Continent or Firm Land
mentioned by that philosopher; and his _True Sea_ must be that which we
name the _South Sea_, or Pacific Ocean; for the whole Mediterranean, and
all that was before known of the Ocean, which we call the _North Sea_, can
only be considered as rivers or lakes in comparison with the vast extent
of that other sea. After these explanations, it is not difficult to
conceive how mankind in ancient times may have passed from the great
island of _Atlantis_ and the _other_ neighbouring isles, to what we now
call the Tierra Firma, or _Firm Land_, and thence by land, or by the South
Sea, into Peru: As we must believe that the inhabitants of these islands
practised navigation, which they must have learned by intercourse with the
great island, in which Plato expressly says there were many ships, and
carefully constructed harbours. These, in my opinion, are the most
probable conjectures which can be formed on this obscure subject of
antiquity; more especially as we can derive no lights from the Peruvians,
who have no writing by which to preserve the memory of ancient times. In
New Spain, indeed, they had certain pictures, which answered in some
measure instead of books and writings; but in Peru, they only used certain
strings of different colours with several knots, by means of which and the
distances between them, they were able to express some things in a very
confused and uncertain manner, as shall be explained in the course of this

So much of the following history as relates to the discovery of the
country, has been derived from the information of Rodrigo Lozan, an
inhabitant of Truxillo in Peru, and from others who were witnesses of and
actors in the transactions which I have detailed.

[1] Even the orthography of the name of Pizarro is handed down to us with
    some variety. In the work of Garcilasso de la Vega it is always spelt
    Piçarro: Besides which, the Inca Garcilasso, in his almost perpetual
    quotations of our author Zarate, always gives the name Carate; the _ç_,
    or cerilla _c_, being equivalent in Spanish to the _z_ in the other
    languages of Europe.--E.


_Of the discovery of Peru, with some account of the country and its

The city of Panama is a port on the South Sea, in that province of the
continent of America which is called Golden Castille. In the year 1524,
three inhabitants of that city entered into an association for the purpose
of discovering the western coast of the continent by the South Sea, in
that direction which has been since named Peru. These were Don Francisco
Pizarro of Truxillo, Don Diego de Almagro of Malagon, and Hernando de
Luque, an ecclesiastic. No one knew the family or origin of Almagro,
though some said that he had been found at a church door[1]. These men,
being among the richest of the colonists of Panama, proposed to themselves
to enrich and aggrandize themselves by means of discovering new countries,
and to do important service to the emperor, Don Carlos V. by extending his
dominions. Having received permission from Pedro Arias de Avila[2], who
then governed that country, Francisco Pizarro fitted out a vessel with
considerable difficulty, in which he embarked with 114 men. About fifty
leagues from Panama, he discovered a small and poor district, named _Peru_,
from which that name has been since improperly extended to all the country
afterwards discovered along that coast to the south for more than 1200
leagues. Beyond that Peru, he discovered another district, to which the
Spaniards gave the name of _El Pueblo quemado_, or the _Burnt People_. The
Indians of that country made war upon him with so much obstinacy, and
killed so many of his men, that he was constrained to retreat to
_Chinchama_ or Chuchama, not far from Panama.

In the mean time, Almagro fitted out another vessel at Panama, in which he
embarked with 70 men, and went along the coast in search of Pizarro as far
as the river San Juan, a hundred leagues from Panama. Not finding him
there, Almagro returned along the coast to the _Pueblo quemado_, where,
from certain indications of Pizarro having been there, he landed with his
men. The Indians, puffed up with the remembrance of the victory they had
gained over Pizarro, attacked Almagro with great courage, and did him
considerable injury; and one day they even penetrated the entrenchment he
had thrown up for defence, through some negligence in the guards, and put
the Spaniards to flight, who were forced to retreat with loss to their
vessel and put to sea, on which occasion Almagro lost an eye. Following
the shore on the way back towards Panama, Almagro found Pizarro at
Chinchama[3]. Pizarro was much pleased by the junction of Almagro, as by
means of his men, and some additional soldiers they procured in Chinchama,
they had now a force of two hundred Spaniards. They accordingly
recommenced the expedition, endeavouring to sail down the coast to the
southwards in two vessels and three large canoes. In this navigation they
suffered great fatigue from contrary winds and currents, and were much
incommoded when they attempted to land in any of the numerous small rivers
which fall into the South Sea, as they all swarmed at their mouths with
large lizards, or alligators, called caymans by the natives. These animals,
are ordinarily from twenty to twenty-five feet long, and kill either men
or beasts when in the water. They come out of the water to lay their eggs,
which they bury in great numbers in the sand, leaving them to be hatched
by the heat of the sun. These caymans have a strong resemblance to the
crocodiles of the river Nile. The Spaniards suffered much from hunger in
this voyage, as they could find nothing fit to eat along this coast except
the fruit of a tree called mangles, which grew in great abundance
everywhere along the shore. These trees are tall and straight, and have a
very hard wood; but as they grow on the shore, their roots being drenched
in sea water, their fruit is salt and bitter; yet necessity obliged the
Spaniards to subsist on them, along with such fish as they could find,
particularly crabs; as on the whole of that coast no maize was grown by
the natives. From the currents along this coast, which always set strongly
to the north, they were obliged to make their way by dint of constant
rowing; always harassed by the Indians, who assailed them with loud cries,
calling them banished men, and _hairy faces_, who were formed from the
spray of the sea, and wandered about without cultivating the earth, like
outcasts and vagabonds.

Having lost several of his men through famine and by the incessant attacks
of the Indians, it was agreed that Almagro should return to Panama for
recruits and provisions. Having procured twenty-four, they advanced with
these and the remains of their original force to a country named
_Catamez_[4], considerably beyond the river of St Juan, a tolerably
peopled country, in which they found plenty of provisions. The Indians of
this part of the coast, who were still hostile, were observed to have
certain ornaments of gold, resembling nails, inserted into holes made for
that purpose in different parts of their faces. Almagro was sent back a
second time to Panama, to endeavour to procure a larger force, and Pizarro
retired in the mean time to the small island of _Gallo_ somewhat farther
to the north, near the shore of the _Barbacoas_, and not far from Cape
_Mangles_, where he and his people suffered extreme hardships from
scarcity of provisions, amounting almost to absolute famine.

On the return of Almagro to Panama for reinforcements, he found the
government in the hands of Pedro de los Rios, who opposed the design of
Almagro to raise recruits, because those with Pizarro had secretly
conveyed a petition to the governor, not to permit any more people to be
sent upon an enterprize of so much danger, and requesting their own recal.
The governor, therefore, sent an officer to the Isle of Gallo, with an
order for such as were so inclined to return to Panama, which was eagerly
embraced by the greatest part of the soldiers of Pizarro, twelve only
remaining along with him. Not daring to remain with so small a force in an
island so near the main land, Pizarro retired to an uninhabited island
named Gorgona, about 70 miles farther north, and considerably more distant
from the coast than Gallo, in which island, which had abundance of springs
and rivulets, he and his small band of faithful associates, lived on crabs
in expectation of relief and reinforcement from Panama. At last a vessel
arrived with provisions, but no soldiers, in which Pizarro embarked with
his twelve men, to whose courage and constancy the discovery of Peru was
owing. Their names deserve to be handed down to posterity: Nicolas de
Ribera, Pedro de Candia a native of the Greek island of that name, Juan de
Torre, Alfonso Briseno, Christoval de Peraulte, Alfonso de Truxillo,
Francisco de Cuellar, and Alfonso de Molina[5]. The pilot of the vessel in
which they embarked was named Bartholomew Bruyz, a native of Moguer. Under
the guidance of this man, but with infinite difficulty from contrary winds
and adverse currents, Pizarro reached a district named _Mostripe_[6],
about equally distant from the two places since built by the Christians,
named Truxillo and San Miguel. With the very small number of men who
accompanied him, Pizarro dared not to advance any farther along the coast,
and contented himself with going a small way up the river _Puechos_ or de
la Chira[7]; where he procured some of the sheep[8] of the country, and
some of the natives on purpose to serve him as interpreters in the sequel.
Returning from thence, Pizarro went northwards to the port of Tumbez on
the south-side of the bay of Guayaquil, where he was informed that the king
of Peru had a fine palace, and where the Indians were said to be very rich.
This place was one of the most extraordinary in the country, until it was
ruined by the inhabitants of the island of Puna, as will be related
hereafter. At this place, three of his men deserted, who were afterwards
put to death by the Indians.

After these discoveries, Pizarro returned to Panama, having spent three
years in this voyage, counting from his first leaving Panama, in which
time he was exposed to many dangers fatigues and privations, by the
opposition and hostilities of the Indians, and through famine, and more
than all distressed by the discontents and mutinies of his people, most of
whom lost all hope of success, or of deriving any advantage from the
expedition. Pizarro soothed their fears and encouraged their perseverance
by every means in his power, providing for their necessities with much
prudent care, and bearing up against every difficulty with astonishing
firmness and perseverance: leaving to Almagro to provide men arms and
horses, and necessaries of all kinds for the enterprize. These two
officers, from being the richest of the settlers in Panama at the
commencement of their enterprize, were now entirely ruined and overwhelmed
in debt; yet did they not despair of ultimate success, and resolved to
prosecute the discovery of which a very promising commencement had now
been made[9].

In concert with his associates Almagro and Luque, Pizarro went to Spain,
to lay an account before the king of the discovery which he had made, and
to solicit the appointment of governor of that country, of which he
proposed to prosecute the discovery, and to reduce it under the dominion
of the crown of Spain. His majesty granted his demand, under those
conditions which used to be stipulated with other officers who engaged in
similar enterprizes. With this authority, he returned to Panama,
accompanied by Ferdinand, Juan, and Gonzalo Pizarro, and Francisco Martin
de Alcantara, his brothers. Ferdinand and Juan Pizarro were his brothers
both by father and mother, and the only lawful sons of Gonzalo Pizarro, an
inhabitant of Truxillo in Old Spain, a captain in the infantry regiment of
Navarre: Don Francisco Pizarro himself and Gonzalo Pizarro were natural
sons of the elder Gonzalo Pizarro by different mothers: Francisco de
Alcantara was likewise the brother of Don Francisco Pizarro, by his mother
only, but by a different father[10]. Besides these, Pizarro brought as
many men from Spain to assist in his enterprize as he could procure, being
mostly inhabitants of Truxillo and other places in Estremadura[11].

On his arrival at Panama in 1530, Pizarro and his associates used every
effort to complete the preparations for the enterprize; but at first a
dispute arose between him and Almagro. The latter complained that Pizarro
had only attended to his own interests when at the court of Spain, having
procured the appointments of governor and president of Peru for himself,
without making any mention of Almagro, or at least without having procured
any office for him, who had borne the far greater proportion of the
expences hitherto incurred. Pizarro alleged that the king had refused to
give any office to Almagro, though solicited by him for that purpose: But
engaged his word to renounce the office of president in his behalf, and to
supplicate the king to bestow that appointment upon him. Almagro was
appeased by this concession; and they proceeded to make every preparation
in concert that might be conducive to the success of the undertaking. But,
before entering upon the narrative of their actions, it seems proper to
give some account of the situation of Peru, of the most remarkable things
which it contains, and of the manners and customs of the inhabitants.

The country of Peru, of which this history is intended to treat, commences
at the equator, and extends south towards the antarctic pole[12]. The
people who inhabit in the neighbourhood of the equator have swarthy
complexions; their language is extremely guttural; and they are addicted
to unnatural vices, for which reason they care little for their women and
use them ill[13], The women wear their hair very short, and their whole
clothing consists of a short petticoat, covering only from the waist to
about the knees. By the women only is the grain cultivated, and by them it
is bruised or ground to meal, and baked. This grain, called maize in the
West-Indian Islands, is called _Zara_ in the language of Peru[14]. The men
wear a kind of shirts or jackets without sleeves, which only reach to the
navel, and do not cover the parts of shame. They wear their hair short,
having a kind of tonsure on their crowns, almost like monks. They have no
other dress or covering, yet pride themselves on certain ornaments of gold
hanging from their ears and nostrils, and are particularly fond of
pendants made of emeralds, which are chiefly found in those parts of the
country bordering on the equator. The natives have always concealed the
places where these precious stones are procured, but the Spaniards have
been in use to find some emeralds in that part of the country, mixed among
pebbles and gravel, on which account it is supposed that the natives
procured them from thence. The men also are fond of wearing a kind of
bracelets, or strings of beads, of gold and silver, mixed with small
turquoise stones and white shells, or of various colours; and the women
are not permitted to wear any of those ornaments.

The country is exceedingly hot and unwholesome, and the inhabitants are
particularly subject to certain malignant warts or carbuncles of a
dangerous nature on the face and other parts of the body, having very deep
roots, which are more dangerous than the small-pox, and almost equally
destructive as the carbuncles of the plague. The natives have many temples,
of which the doors always front the east, and are closed only by cotton
curtains. In each temple there are two idols or figures in relief
resembling black goats, before which they continually burn certain
sweet-smelling woods. From this wood a certain liquor exudes, when the
bark is stripped off, which has a strong and disagreeable flavour, by
means of which dead bodies are preserved free from corruption. In their
temples, they have also representations of large serpents, to which they
give adoration; besides which every nation, district, tribe or house, had
its particular god or idol. In some temples, particularly in those of
certain villages which were called _Pafao_, the walls and pillars were
hung round with dried bodies of men women and children, _in the form of
crosses_, which were all so thoroughly embalmed by means of the liquor
already mentioned, that they were entirely devoid of bad smell. In these
places also they had many human heads hung up; which by means of certain
drugs with which they were anointed, were so much shrunk or dried up as to
be no bigger than a mans fist[15].

This country is extremely dry, as it very seldom has any rain, and its
rivulets are few and scanty; so that the people are reduced to the
necessity of digging pit-wells, or of procuring water from certain pools
or reservoirs. Their houses are built of large canes or reeds. It
possesses gold, but of a very low quantity; and has very few fruits. The
inhabitants use small canoes hollowed out of the trunks of trees, and a
sort of rafts which are very flat. The whole coast abounds in fish, and
whales are sometimes seen in these seas. On the doors of the temples in
that district which is called _Caraque_, the figures of men are sometimes
seen, which have dresses somewhat resembling those of our deacons.

Near the last mentioned province, at Cape St Helena in the province of
Guayaquil, there are certain springs or mineral veins which give out a
species of bitumen resembling pitch or tar, and which is applied to the
same purposes. The Indians of that country pretend that in ancient times
it was inhabited by giants, who were four times the height of ordinary
men[16]. The Spaniards saw two representations of these giants at _Puerto
viejo_, one of a man and the other of a woman, and the inhabitants related
a traditionary tale of the descent of a young man from heaven, whose
countenance and body shone like the sun, who fought against the giants and
destroyed them with flames of fire. In the year 1543, Captain Juan de
Holmos, lieutenant-governor of Puerto viejo, caused a certain valley to be
carefully examined, in which these giants were were said to have been
destroyed, and in which ribs and other bones of prodigious size were dug
up, which fully confirmed the traditions of the Indians[17]. The natives
of this country have no knowledge whatever of writing, nor had they even
any use of that method of painting employed by the Mexicans for preserving
the memory of ancient events, which were handed down from father to son
merely by traditionary stories. In some places indeed they used an
extraordinary means for preserving the remembrance of important events, by
certain cords or strings of cotton called _Quippos_, on which they
represented _numbers_ by knots of different kinds, and at regulated
intervals, from _units_ up to _dozens_, and so forth; the cords being of
the same colours with those things which they were intended to represent.
In every province, there are persons who are entrusted with the care of
these _quippos_, who are named _Quippo camayos_, who register public
matters by means of these coloured strings and knots artificially disposed;
and it is wonderful with what readiness these men understand and explain
to others events that have happened several ages ago. There are public
buildings throughout the country which are used as magazines of these

To the south of the equator, and near the coast, is the island of Puna[18],
about twelve leagues in circumference, containing abundance of game, and
having great quantities of fish on its shores. It has plenty of fresh
water, and was formerly very populous, its inhabitants being almost
continually engaged in war, especially with the people of Tumbez, which is
twelve leagues distant to the south. These people wore shirts, above which
they had a kind of woollen garments. They went to sea in a peculiar kind
of flats or rafts, made of long planks of a light wood fixed to two other
cross planks below them to hold them together. The upper planks are always
an uneven number, usually five, but sometimes seven or nine; that in the
middle, on which the conductor of the float sits and rows, being longer
than the others, which are shorter and shorter toward the sides, and they
are covered by a species of awning to keep those who sit upon them from
the weather. Some of these floats are large enough to carry fifty men and
three horses, and are navigated both by oars and sails, in the use of
which the Indians are very expert. Sometimes, when the Spaniards have
trusted themselves on these floats, the Indian rowers have contrived to
loosen the planks, leaving the christians to perish, and saving themselves
by swimming. The Indians of that island were armed with bows and slings,
and with maces and axes of silver and copper. They had likewise spears or
lances, having heads made of gold very much alloyed; and both men and
women wore rings and other ornaments of gold, and their most ordinary
utensils were made of gold and silver. The lord of this island was much
feared and respected by his subjects, and so extremely jealous of his
women, that those who had the care of them were not only eunuchs, but had
their noses cut off. In a small island near Puna, there was found in a
house the representation of a garden, having the figures of various trees
and plants artificially made of gold and silver.

Opposite to the island of Puna on the main land, there dwelt a nation or
tribe which had given so much offence to the king of Peru, that they were
obliged as a punishment to extirpate all their upper teeth; in consequence
of which, even now, the people of that district have no teeth in their
upper jaws. From Tumbez for five hundred leagues to the south along the
coast of the south sea, and for ten leagues in breadth, more or less
according to the distance between the sea and the mountains, it never
rains or thunders. But on the mountains which bound that maritime plain,
there are both rain and thunder, and the climate has the vicissitudes of
summer and winter nearly as in Spain. While it is winter in the mountain,
it is summer all along the coast; and on the contrary, during the summer
on the mountain the coast has what may be termed winter. The length of
Peru, from the city of _St Juan de Parto_ to the province of Chili lately
discovered, is above 1800[19] leagues of Castille. Along the whole of that
length, a vast chain of exceedingly high and desert mountains extends from
north to south, in some places fifteen or twenty leagues distant from the
sea, and less in others. The whole country is thus divided into two
portions, all the space between the mountains and the sea being
denominated _the plain_, and all beyond is called the mountain.

The whole plain of Peru is sandy and extremely arid, as it never has any
rain, and there are no springs or wells, nor any rivulets, except in four
or five places near the sea, where the water is brackish. The only water
used by the inhabitants is from torrents which come down from the mountain,
and which are there formed by rain and the melting of snow, as there are
even very few springs in the mountainous part of the country. In some
places, these torrents or mountain-streams are twelve fifteen or twenty
leagues distance from each other, but generally only seven or eight
leagues; and travellers for the most part are under the necessity of
regulating their days journies by these streams or rivers, that they may
have water for themselves and cattle. Along these rivers, for the breadth
of a league, more or less according to the nature of the soil, there are
some groves and fruit-trees, and maize fields cultivated by the Indians,
to which wheat has been added since the establishment of the Spaniards.
For the purpose of irrigating or watering these cultivated fields, small
canals are dug from the rivers, to conduct the water wherever it is
necessary and where that can be done; and in the construction of these the
natives are exceedingly ingenious and careful, having often to draw these
canals seven or eight leagues by various circuits to avoid intermediate
hollows, although perhaps the whole breadth of the vale may not exceed
half a league. In all these smaller vales along the streams and torrents,
from the mountain to the sea, the country is exceedingly fertile and
agreeable. Several of these torrents are so large and deep, such as those
of Santa, Baranca, and others, that without the assistance of the Indians,
who break and diminish for a short time the force of the current, by means
of piles and branches forming a temporary wear or dike, the Spaniards
would be unable to pass. In these hazardous passages, it was necessary to
get over with all possible expedition, to avoid the violence of the stream,
which often rolled down very large stones. Travellers in the plain of Peru,
when going north or south, almost always keep within sight of the sea,
where the torrents are less violent, owing to the greater flatness of the
plain as it recedes from the mountain. Yet in winter the passage of these
torrents is extremely dangerous, as they cannot be then forded, and must
be crossed in barks or floats like those formerly mentioned, or on a kind
of rafts made of gourds inclosed in a net, on which the passenger reclines,
while one Indian swims before pulling the raft after him with a rope, and
another Indian swims behind and pushes the raft before him.

On the borders of these rivers there are various kinds of fruit-trees,
cotton-trees, willows, and many kinds of canes, reeds, and sedges. The
watered land is extremely fertile, and is kept under continual cultivation;
wheat and maize being sown and reaped all the year through. The Indians in
the plain seldom have any houses, or at best a kind of rude huts or cabins
made of branches of trees, often dwelling under the shade of trees,
without any habitation whatever. The women are habited in long dresses of
cotton which descend to their feet; while the men wear breeches and vests
which come down to their knees, and have a kind of cloak or mantle thrown
over their shoulders. They are all dressed in a similar manner, having no
distinctions except in their head-dresses, according to rank or the
different districts of the country; some wearing a tuft of wool, others a
single cord, and others several cords of different colours. All the
Indians of the plain are distributed into three orders; the first named
_Yungas_, the second _Tallanes_, and the third _Mochicas_. Every province
has its own peculiar language or dialect, different from all the rest. But
all the caciques or principal people and nobles of the country, besides
the language peculiar to their respective countries or districts, were
obliged to understand and speak the language of Cuzco. One of the Peruvian
kings, named Huana Capac, the father of Atahualpa or Atabalipa, was much
displeased that the caciques and principal people of his empire should be
under the necessity of employing interpreters when they had occasion to
speak to him; and gave orders that all the caciques and their relatives
should send their children to reside at court, to be instructed in the
language of Cuzco which was spoken by the Incas. This was the ostensible
reason of the measure; but in reality he wished to have these children in
his power, to serve as hostages for the loyalty of their parents. By this
means, all the nobles of the land came to understand the peculiar language
of Cuzco which was spoken at court; just as in Flanders all the nobles and
persons of any rank speak French. Owing to this circumstance, as the
Spaniards have learnt the language of the Incas, or of Cuzco, they are
able to converse with all the principal natives of Peru, both those of the
mountain and of the plain.

It may appear difficult to some of my readers to comprehend why no rain
should fall in the plain of Peru, considering that the country is bounded
along the whole of one side by the sea, where many vapours are constantly
ascending, and on the other side by a vast range of mountain which is
always enveloped in rain or snow. Those who have carefully considered this
singular phenomenon, allege that it is occasioned by the continual
prevalence of a strong south-west wind all along the coast and over the
whole plain of Peru, which carries off all the vapours which rise from the
sea and the land, without allowing them to rise sufficiently high in the
air to gather and fall down again in rain. From the tops of the high
mountains, these vapours are often seen far beneath on the plain in thick
clouds, while all is quite clear and serene on the mountain. By the
perpetual blowing of the same wind, the waters of the South-sea have a
constant current along the coast to the northward. Others allege a
different reason for this current; saying, that the water of the
South-sea having only a narrow outlet at the straits of Magellan, which
are only two leagues broad, and being there opposed by the Atlantic Ocean,
they are forced to return to the northward along the coast of Chili and
Peru. This constant wind and current render the navigation exceedingly
difficult, from Panama to Peru for the greater part of the year; so that
vessels are obliged always to tack to windward against wind and current.

The whole coast of Peru abounds in fish of various kinds, among which are
great quantities of sea-calves or seals, of several species. Beyond the
river of Tumbez there are no caymans or alligators, which is supposed to
be owing to the too great coolness of the sea and rivers, as these animals
delight in heat; but it is more probable that their absence from the
rivers of Peru is occasioned by their great rapidity, as they usually
frequent rivers that are very still. In the whole extent of the plain
there are only five cities inhabited by the Christians[20]. The first of
these, Puerto Viejo, about one degree south of the line, has very few
inhabitants, as it stands in a poor and unwholesome country, in which the
principal production of value is a few emeralds. Fifty leagues to the
southward, and about fifteen leagues from the coast, is the city of San
Miguel, named _Piuru_ by the Indians, in a pleasant and fruitful country,
but which has no mines of gold or silver. Most people who have occasion to
go there are liable to be afflicted with diseases of the eyes. Sixty
leagues farther along the coast, is the city of Truxillo, two leagues from
the sea, in the valley of Chimo, having a dangerous harbour of difficult
approach. This city stands on the banks of a river in a fine plain, which
is fertile in wheat and maize, and breeds great abundance of cattle,
having plenty of excellent water. Truxillo is very regularly built, and is
inhabited by about three hundred Spanish families. About eighty leagues
from Truxillo to the south, and in the valley of _Rimac_, stands the city
of _Los Reys_, or Lima, because it was founded at Epiphany, vulgarly
called the day of the kings. This city is about two leagues from the
harbour of _Callao_, an excellent and secure harbour, and is situated on a
large river in a fine plain, abounding in grain, and in all kinds of fruit
and cattle. All the streets are perfectly straight, and all of them lead
towards the country, which may be seen from all parts of the city. This is
a most agreeable residence, as the air is always temperate, being never
either too hot or too cold at any season of the year. During the four
months which constitute the summer in Spain, the air here is somewhat
cooler than for the rest of the year; and every day from sun-rise to noon
there falls a light dew, somewhat like the mists at Valladolid in Old
Spain. Far from being injurious to health, this slight moisture is
reckoned an infallible cure for headaches. This part of the country
produces the same kinds of fruit as are found in Spain, particularly
oranges, citrons, and lemons of all kinds, both sweet and sour, with figs
and pomegranates. It might assuredly have produced grapes in great
abundance, if the discords which have prevailed in this country had
allowed the colonists to plant and cultivate the vine; as it already has
several thriving vine plants which have grown from the pips of dried
raisins. The neighbouring country produces all kinds of pot herbs and
garden vegetables usually cultivated in Spain, in great perfection and
abundance. Indeed every thing conspires to assist cultivation at this
place, as every plantation has a canal from the river sufficiently large
for a mill-stream; and on the main river, the Spaniards have several
corn-mills. This city is universally reckoned the most salubrious and most
agreeable residence in all Peru; and its harbour is so convenient for
trade, that people come here from all parts of Peru to provide themselves
with necessaries of all kinds, bringing with them the gold and silver
which is so abundantly procured from the mines of the other provinces. For
these reasons, and because it is nearly central to Peru, it has been
chosen by his majesty for the residence of the royal court of audience, to
which the inhabitants of all Peru have to carry their law-suits, by which
means it is to be presumed that this place will in time become more
considerable and very populous. Lima at present, 1550, contains five
hundred houses; yet is larger than any city in Spain of fifteen hundred
houses, as the square in the centre of the town is very large, and all the
streets very wide, and because each house has a plot of eighty feet in
front by twice that in depth. The houses likewise are all of one storey,
as the country has no wood fit for joists or flooring-deals, every kind
which it produces becoming worm-eaten in three years. The houses, however,
are large and magnificent, and have many chambers and very convenient
apartments. The walls are built on both sides of brick, leaving a hollow
between of five feet, which is filled up with hard-rammed earth; in which
manner the apartments are carried up to a convenient height, and the
windows towards the street are raised considerably above the ground. The
stairs leading up are towards the interior court, and in the open air,
leading to galleries or corridors, which serve as passages to the several
apartments. The roofs are formed of some rough timbers, not even hewn
square, which are covered underneath by coloured matts like those of
Almeria, or painted canvas, serving as ceilings, to conceal these clumsy
joists: and the whole is covered over by way of roofing with branches of
trees with their leaves, which keep the rooms cool and effectually exclude
the rays of the sun. In this climate there is no call for any defence from
rain, which never falls in the plain of Peru.

One hundred and thirty leagues still farther south, is the city of
Villahermosa de Arequipa, containing about three hundred houses, in a very
healthy situation, abounding in provisions. Though at twelve leagues
distance from the sea, this place is very conveniently situated for trade,
as vessels can easily import thither by the river Quilca all sorts of
European commodities for the supply of the city of Cuzco and the province
of Charcas, which are much frequented on account of the mines of Potosi
and Porco; and from whence large quantities of silver are carried to
Arequipa, to be transported by sea to Lima and Panama, which saves a vast
expence and risk of land-carriage; now become more difficult since his
majesty has forbidden those heavy burdens upon the Indians by which they
were formerly oppressed. From this city we travel four hundred leagues by
land along the coast of the South Sea to the province of Chili, which was
discovered and in part colonized by the governor Pedro de Valdibia, or
Baldivia. In the language of the Indians the word _Chili_ signifies cold;
and it was so named by the Peruvians because of the terribly cold
mountains which were necessary to be passed on the way thither from Peru,
as will be particularly mentioned when we come to detail the perilous
enterprize undertaken by Don Diego de Almagro when he marched to discover
that distant country. Such is a rapid view of that portion of Peru which
is called _the plain_; to which must be added that the sea along its
entire coast is always smooth and tranquil, from which it has been called
the _Pacific Ocean_, being never vexed with storms, or disturbed by high
and low tides; so that vessels can everywhere ride in perfect security at
single anchor.

Those Indians who inhabit the mountainous regions of Peru are entirely
different from the inhabitants of the plain, whom they vastly exceed in
strength, courage, and mental abilities. They live in a much less savage
manner, having houses covered with earth, and being clothed in shirts and
mantles made from the wool of their sheep[21]; but their only head-dress
consists in a species of bands or fillets. The women wear a species of
vestments like shifts without sleeves, and gird their waists with several
turns of a woollen girdle, which give them a neat and handsome shape;
covering their shoulders with a mantle or plaid of woollen cloth like a
large napkin, which they fix round the neck with a large skewer or pin of
silver or gold called _topos_ in their language, with large broad heads,
the edges of which are sharpened so as to serve in some measure the
purposes of a knife. These women give great assistance to their husbands
in all the labours belonging to husbandry and household affairs, or rather
these things fall entirely to their lot. Their complexions are much fairer,
and their countenances, manners, and whole appearance, are greatly
superior in all respects to the natives of the plain. Their countries
likewise differ entirely; as instead of the sterile sands which are
everywhere interspersed over the plain, the mountain is covered through
its whole extent with verdure, and is everywhere furnished with rivulets
and springs of fine water, which unite to form the torrents and rivers
which descend so impetuously into the plain country. The fields are
everywhere full of flowers and plants of infinite varieties, among which
are many species like the plants which grow in Spain; such as cresses,
lettuce, succory, sorrel, vervain, and others; and vast quantities of wild
mulberries, and other fruit-bearing shrubs are found everywhere. There is
one particular plant with yellow flowers, having leaves like those of
celery, of most admirable virtues. If applied to the most putrid sore, it
makes it quite clean and sweet in a short time; but if laid upon a sound
place it soon eats to the very bone. There are many fruit-trees in this
country of various kinds, carrying abundant crops of fruit as good as
those of Spain without having the smallest care taken of them.

There are great numbers of sheep in the mountainous region, part of which
are domesticated by the Indians, but vast numbers of them are wild;
likewise abundance of deer and roes, many foxes and other smaller animals.
The natives often have public hunts of these animals, which they call
_chaco_, in which they take great delight. Four or five thousand natives,
more or less according to the population of the district, assemble
together, and enclose two or three leagues of country by forming a circle,
in which at first they are at considerable distances from each other, and
by gradually contracting their circle, beating the bushes, and singing
certain songs appropriated to the occasion, they drive all the animals of
every kind before them to an appointed place in the centre. The whole
company at length join in a small circle, holding each other by the hands,
and hallooing loudly, by which the beasts are terrified from endeavouring
to break through, and are easily taken in nets or even by the hand. Even
partridges, hawks, and other birds, are often so astonished by the loud
cries of the hunters as to fall down in the circle and allow themselves to
be taken. In these mountains there are lions or _pumas_, black bears, wild
cats of several kinds, and many species of apes and monkeys. The principal
birds, both of the plain and the mountain, are eagles, pigeons,
turtle-doves, plovers, quails, parroquets, falcons, owls, geese, white and
grey herons, and other water fowl; nightingales and other birds of sweet
song, many kinds of which have very beautiful plumage. There is one kind
of bird very remarkable for its astonishing smallness, not being larger
than a grasshopper or large beetle, which however has several very long
feathers in its tail. Along the coast there is a species of very large
vulture, the wings of which, when extended, measure fifteen or sixteen
palms from tip to tip. These birds often make prey of large seals, which
they attack when out of the water: On these occasions, some of the birds
attack the animal behind; others tear out his eyes; and the rest of the
flock tear him on all sides with their beaks, till at length they kill him,
and tear him to pieces. Upon the coast of the South Sea there are great
numbers of birds named _alcatraz_, somewhat like our ordinary poultry in
shape, but so large that each individual may contain three pecks of grain
in its crop. These birds feed mostly on fish which they catch in the sea,
yet are fond of carrion, which they go in search of thirty or forty
leagues inland. The flesh of these birds stinks most abominably, insomuch
that some persons who have been driven to the necessity of eating it have
died, as if poisoned.

It has been already said, that rain, hail, and snow, fall on the
mountainous region of Peru, where in many places it is intensely cold: But
in many parts of that region there are deep valleys in which the air is so
hot, that the inhabitants have to use various contrivances to defend
themselves from the excessive heat. In these vallies there is an herb
called _coca_, which is held in very high estimation by the natives: Its
leaf resembles that of the _sumach_, and the Indians have learnt from
experience that, by keeping a leaf of that plant in their mouth they can
prevent themselves for a long time from feeling either hunger or thirst.
In many parts of the mountain there is no wood, so that travellers in
those parts are obliged to use a species of earth which is found there for
the purpose of fuel, and which burns very much like turf or peats. In the
mountains there are veins of earth of various colours, and mines both of
gold and silver, in which the natives are exceedingly conversant, and are
even able to melt and purify these metals with less labour and expence
than the Christians. For this purpose they construct furnaces in the
mountains, placing always the door of the furnace towards the south, as
the wind blows always from that point. The ores are put into these
furnaces alternately with dried sheeps dung, which serves as fuel, and by
means of the wind the fire is raised to a sufficient power to melt and
purify the metal. In melting the vast quantities of silver which has been
dug from the mines of Potosi, the furnaces constructed with bellows were
found quite inefficient, while these furnaces, named _guayras_ by the
Indians, which signifies wind-furnaces, answered the purpose effectually.

The soil is everywhere extremely fertile, and gives abundant returns of
all the kinds of grain which are there sown; insomuch that from one bushel
of seed for the most part at hundred bushels are reaped, sometimes an
hundred and fifty, and even as high as two hundred. The natives employ no
ploughs, but labour the earth with a kind of hoes; and set their seed into
the ground in holes made with a dibble, or pointed stick, just as beans
are sown in Spain. All kinds of pot and garden herbs grow so luxuriantly
that radishes have been seen at Truxillo as thick as a mans body, yet
neither hard nor stringy. Lettuces, cabbages, and all other vegetables
grow with similar luxuriance: But the seeds of these must all be brought
from Spain; as when raised in the country the produce is by no means so
large and fine. The principal food of the Indians is maize, either roasted
or boiled, which serves them for bread, and venison of various kinds,
which they salt up for use. They likewise use dried fish, and several
kinds of roots, one of which named _yuca_ resembles skirret; likewise
lupines and many other leguminous vegetables. Instead of wine, they make a
fermented liquor from maize, which they bury in the earth along with water
in tubs or large jars, where it ferments. In this process, besides the
maize in its natural state, a certain quantity of maize which has been
steeped in a particular manner is used as a ferment; and there are men and
women who are versant in the manner of steeping maize, and are hired for
this purpose. When this kind of drink is made by means of stagnant water,
it is reckoned stronger and better than when running water is used. In the
West Indian islands this drink is called _chica_, but the Peruvian name is
_azua_. It is either white or red, according to the kind of maize used for
its preparation, and inebriates even more readily than Spanish wine; yet
the Indians prefer the latter when it can be procured. They make another
kind of liquor from the fruit of certain trees, which they call _molles_;
but it is by no means so well liked as _azua_ from maize.

The first city of the Christians in the mountain of Peru is _Quito_, which
is about four degrees to the south of the equator[22]. This city is
situated in an agreeable and fertile district; and particularly since 1544
and 1545, when rich mines of gold were discovered in its neighbourhood, it
has become populous, and continued to increase fast in the number of its
inhabitants; till in the destructive civil wars its people were almost
entirely cut off by Gonzalo Pizarro and his adherents, as they favoured
the party of the viceroy Blasco Nugnez Vela, who made this place his
ordinary residence. The Spaniards had no other establishment in the
mountain till the discovery of the province of _Bracamoras_[23], by the
captains, Juan Porcel and Vergara, who established some small colonies in
these parts, on purpose to continue the discovery and conquest of the
interior country; but these establishments have been since entirely ruined,
as Gonzalo Pizarro recalled these two captains and their men to assist him
in his war. This discovery was made under the orders of the licentiate
Vaca de Castro, who was then governor of Peru. The Captain Porcel was sent
by him from S. Miguel de Piura, and Vergara into the province of
_Chachapoyas_ farther to the south; but they unexpectedly met each other
in the course of their exploration of the country, and quarrelled about
the boundaries of their discoveries, in consequence of which they were
recalled by Vaco de Castro, and were at Lima at the commencement of the
civil war in the service of the viceroy; and when he was made prisoner
they entered into the party of Gonzalo Pizarro. The place which they
discovered, called Bracamoras, is a hundred and sixty leagues from Quito
by way of the mountain; and eighty leagues farther south they discovered a
province named Chacaapoyas, where there is a small Christian town named
_Levanto_[24]. This province abounds in provisions, and has mines of some
value. Its situation is peculiarly strong against an enemy, as it is
surrounded on all sides by a deep valley, in which runs a considerable
river; so that by breaking down the bridges, it may be made very difficult
of access. The Maestre de Campo Alfonzo de Alvarado, who held the command
of this province, established a colony of Christians at this place.

Sixty leagues farther to the south, in the district of _Guanuco_, Vaco de
Castro established a colony which he ordered to be called _Leon_, as he
came from the city of that name in Spain. The country of Guanuco is
fertile and abounds in provisions; and valuable mines are believed to
exist on that side which is occupied by a warlike and powerful inca in a
province of the Andes, as shall be mentioned hereafter[25]. There is no
other place in the mountains farther south which has been as yet settled
by the Christians, till we come to the province of _Guamanga_, in which is
a small town named San Juan de la Vittoria[26], which is sixty leagues
from Leon. In San Juan there are very few Spaniards, but their number is
expected to increase, if the neighbouring inca can be induced to submit to
peace; as he at present occupies the best lands belonging to that city, in
which there are many mines, and which produces the herb called _coca_ in
great abundance, formerly mentioned as of great value. The town of
Guamanga is about eighty leagues from the city of Cuzco; the road between
being exceedingly difficult, as it goes over high and precipitous
mountains, and through very dangerous passes.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the kings of Peru resided in the city
of Cuzco, whence they governed the whole of this great country of which I
have endeavoured to give some account, and which will be more particularly
treated of in the sequel of this history. This city served as the common
centre for all the chiefs or caciques of this vast kingdom, to which they
resorted from all quarters, to pay their tributes to the king, and to
obtain justice in case of disputes among each other. At that time Cuzco
was the only place in all Peru that had the least resemblance to a city.
It had even a strong fortress, built of such enormous dressed stones, that
it was very wonderful to conceive in what manner the Indians had been able
to transport such vast masses of stone without the aid of any animals of
draught. In fact some of these are so large that they would have required
ten yokes of oxen to have dragged them along on a fit carriage. The houses
which are now inhabited by the Spaniards are the same which were formerly
occupied by the Indians; some of which houses have been merely repaired
and others enlarged by their present possessors. This city was formerly
divided into four quarters, corresponding to the four cardinal points; and
by orders of the _Incas_, or sovereigns of Peru, all those natives who
came to the capital were obliged to lodge in the particular quarter which
was towards the direction of the province from whence they came, under
severe penalties. The south quarter of the city was named _Colla-sugo_,
from the province of _Collao_ which lay to the south. The northern quarter
was named _Chinca-sugo_, from the large and renowned province of
_Chinca_[27] in that direction. The eastern and western quarters were
respectively named _Ande-sugo_ and _Conde-sugo_. The country about Cuzco
is extremely fertile, and abounds in all kinds of provisions, and the
climate is so healthy that the inhabitants are seldom if ever sick.
Around the city there are many rich mines, whence all the gold which has
been hitherto sent into Spain was procured. These indeed have been nearly
abandoned since the discovery of the rich silver mines of Potosi; both
because much greater profit may be made from these other mines of silver,
and because the working of these are far less dangerous both to the
Indians and Spaniards who are there employed.

From the city of Cuzco to that of La Plata in the province of Charcas, the
distance is more than a hundred and fifty leagues, between which two
places there is a large flat province named _Collao_, above fifty leagues
long; the principal part of which, named _Chiquito_, belongs to his
majesty. Seeing so large an extent of country unoccupied by the Spaniards,
the licentiate De la Gasca sent some people there in 1545 to commence an
establishment. The city of La Plata is situated in the coldest part of all
the mountainous region of Peru, and has very few inhabitants, but these
are extremely rich, and spend the greatest part of the year in the mines
of _Porco_, and in those of _Potosi_ since their discovery. Towards the
left hand or the east from La Plata, a new province was explored by Diego
de Rojas and Philip Gutierez, by the order of Vaca de Castro, which was
named _Rojas_[28] from one of these captains. It is said to be fertile and
abounding in provisions, but they have not found so much riches there as
was expected. Captain Domingo de Ytala and his companions came by that way
into Peru in 1549, having remounted the Rio Plata from the Atlantic Ocean.

Such is the state and situation of all that has been hitherto discovered
of this vast country of Peru, which is chiefly known along the coast of
the South Sea, and has not been much explored in its inland parts, on
account of the vast quantity of lofty and rude mountains, by which it is
everywhere pervaded, and which are extremely difficult to pass; because of
their height and precipitous nature, the excessive cold which prevails
among them, and the scarcity of food. Yet the industry and courage of the
Spaniards would have overcome all these obstacles, if there were any hope
of finding a rich country beyond.

As the Peruvians were ignorant of writing they knew nothing respecting the
history of the creation and deluge or of their own origin. They had
however some tradition among them, which had been altered from age to age
according to the fancies of the reciters. They said that there came
anciently from the north, a man who had no bones or joints, and who was
able to shorten or lengthen the way before him as he thought fit, and to
elevate or depress the mountains at his pleasure. By this man the ancient
Indians were created; and as those of the plain had given him some cause
of displeasure, he rendered their country sterile and sandy as it now is,
and commanded that it should never rain in that district; yet sent them
the rivers and torrents which run through it, that they might have
wherewithal to quench their thirst. This person, named _Con_, who they
allege was son of the sun and moon, they esteemed and adored as a god,
pretending that he had given the herbs and wild fruits as food for the
people whom he had created. After him came another man from the south,
named _Pachacamac_, or the creator, who was likewise the son of the sun
and moon, but more powerful than _Con_, who disappeared on his arrival,
leaving the men whom he had created without chiefs or laws, and Pachacamac
transformed them all into various animals, as birds, cats, bears, lions,
and the like, giving origin in this manner to all the beasts and birds
which are now found in the country. After this Pachacamac created the
present race of Indians, teaching them the art of labouring the ground for
the cultivation of plants of various kinds for food. Pachacamac is
considered as a god, and all the principal persons among the Peruvians are
desirous of being buried in the province named from him Pachacamac, as he
resided there, which is about four leagues from the city of Lima[29].
They pretended that their god Pachacamac continued several ages among them,
even to the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, since when he has
disappeared. Hence we may presume that he was some demon by whom they were
miserably abused and misled, and who filled their minds with so many
extravagant absurd fables.

The Indians believe likewise, that even before Con and Pachacamac, there
was a great deluge, during which mankind saved themselves in great caves
in the high mountains, into which they carried a store of food, shutting
up the entries, and carefully filling up all the crevices, to keep out the
water. After a long while, they sent out some dogs, who returned to them
all wet but not dirtied with mud, from which circumstance they concluded
that the waters still remained very high, and they did not venture to
leave their caverns till the dogs came back a second time all covered with
mud. They allege that great numbers of serpents were engendered by the
moisture left in the earth by this deluge, by which their ancestors were
much distressed for a long time, till they at length succeeded to
extirpate them. From this tradition they appear to have retained some
confused notion of the deluge, although they were ignorant of the way in
which Noah and seven other persons were saved in the ark to repeople the
whole earth. Perhaps their tradition may refer to some partial deluge,
like that of Deucalion.

The have a notion that the world is to come to an end; before which there
is to be a great drought, when no rain is to fall for several years. On
this account, in former times, the caciques used to lay up large magazines
of maize to serve them during the long drought. Even yet, the more timid
among the Peruvians make a great lamentation when the sun or moon are
eclipsed, believing the end of the world to be at hand; as they allege
that these luminaries are to be extinguished at the destruction of the

The Peruvians worship the Sun and Moon as deities, and swear by these
luminaries and by the earth, which they consider as their mother. In their
temples they adore certain stones, as representatives of the sun, which
they name _guacas_, a word signifying to weep, which they do on entering
into their temples. No person is permitted to approach these guacas except
the priests who sacrifice to these idols, who are all clothed in white.
When they go up to their idols, they carry certain white cloths in their
hands, prostrating themselves and crawling on the earth, and addressing
their idols in a language which is not understood by any of the natives.
By these priests all the offerings for the idols are received and buried
in the temples, as the Indian votaries make gifts of figures in gold or
silver of those things for which they address their prayers to the guaca.
These priests likewise offer sacrifices of animals and even of men to
their gods, searching the hearts and intrails of the victims for certain
signs which they wish to find, and repeating their abominable sacrifices
until they meet with those signs which they desire; pretending that the
idols are not satisfied by the sacrifices till these appear. During all
the time that the priests are engaged in sacrificing, they never appear in
public, neither have they any intercourse with women, and employ
themselves all night in loud cries, invoking the demons near to the places
in which the guacas are kept, which are extremely numerous, as most houses
have each their own guaca. The priests prepare themselves for having
intercourse with the demons by long fasts, after which they tie up their
eyes and some even carry their superstition to such excess as to put out
their own eyes. The caciques and other great men among the Peruvians never
undertake any affair of importance without having first consulted the
idols, or demons rather, by means of the priests.

In the temples of the sun the Spaniards found several large earthen jars
containing the dried bodies of children which had been sacrificed. Among
the figures of gold and silver which were used as ornaments to the guacas,
there were several which had a strong resemblance to the mitres and
crosiers of our bishops, and some of these idols were found having mitres
on their heads. When Thomas de Verlanga, bishop of Tierra Firma travelled
through Peru, with his mitre, in which he was seen by the Indians
celebrating the mass, they asked if he was the guaca of the Christians.
When asked the reason of these mitres, they could only say that they had
been handed down from their ancestors. In every part of Peru there were
certain houses or monasteries, which were inhabited by women who were
consecrated to the sun. These women never went out, but were perpetually
employed in spinning cotton and wool, which they wove into cloth, and then
burned along with the bones of white sheep, throwing the ashes into the
air in honour of the sun. These women were consecrated to perpetual
celibacy, and were put to death if found to be with child, unless they
could swear that their child was begotten by the sun.

Every year, at the season of the maize harvest, the mountaineer Peruvians
had a solemn festival; on which occasion they set up two tall straight
trees like masts, on the top of which was placed the figure of a man
surrounded by other figures and adorned with flowers. The inhabitants went
in procession armed with bows and arrows and regularly marshalled into
companies, beating their drums and with great outcries and rejoicings,
each company in succession discharging their arrows at the dressed up
figure. After which the priests set up an idol at the bottom of the masts,
before which they sacrificed a man or a sheep, sprinkling the idol with
the blood of the victim; and having inspected the heart and entrails of
the sacrifice, they reported the signs they had discovered to the people,
who were sad or rejoiced according as these were good or bad. The whole of
this festival was usually spent in dancing and drinking, and in various
games and sports, some of which were warlike exercises, with maces, clubs,
axes and other arms.

All the caciques and other principal inhabitants of Peru are reposited
after their death in a kind of vaults, clothed in all their richest
dresses, and seated in a kind of chairs which they name _duos_. It was
customary also to bury along with them one or two of their best beloved
wives, and on this occasion the honour was frequently contested among the
wives of the deceased, unless when the husband had previously settled who
were to be chosen to accompany him in the tomb. Two or three youths of
their train, and all their gold and silver-plate used also to be buried
along with them; all of which was done in the hope of one day rising again
from the dead, and that they might then appear in proper style,
accompanied by their wives and servants. When the Spaniards broke up these
sepulchres on purpose to take possession of their buried treasures, the
Peruvians requested of them not to disturb the bones of the dead, that
they might not be hindered in their resurrection. In the burial ceremony,
the relations of the deceased used to pour some of the liquor formerly
mentioned, named _Chica_, into the grave, of which a portion was conveyed
by some hollow canes into the mouth of the dead person. On the top of the
tomb or sepulchre, wooden images were placed, representing the appearance
of the deceased; but on the graves of the lower orders, they satisfied
themselves by some painted emblems of their profession or employment, more
especially if they happened to be warriors.

In all the provinces of Peru there were certain nobles or principal
persons, of whom the chiefs or rulers were named _curacas_, similar in
every respect to the caciques of the islands. As the Spaniards who
conquered Peru had been accustomed to name many things according to the
language of Hispaniola and Cuba, and were at first ignorant of the
Peruvian language, they continued to employ the terms to which they had
been accustomed; and the Peruvians have so far accommodated themselves to
this language, especially in speaking to the Spaniards, that they mostly
use these terms. Thus they call those chiefs _caciques_, who in their own
language are named _curacas_, their bread corn and drink, which in the
Peruvian are _zara_ and _azua_, they denominate _maize_ and _chica_, which
names were brought from the islands by the Spaniards. These curacas or
caciques were the judges and protectors of their subjects in peace, and
their leaders in war against the neighbouring tribes. The whole people of
Peru lived in that manner for many years under a multiplicity of
independent chiefs, having no king or supreme chief; until at length a
warlike nation came from the environs of the great lake Titicaca named the
Incas in the language of Peru. These men had their heads close shaven, and
their ears pierced, in which they wore large round pendents of gold, by
which their ears were dragged down upon their shoulders, in consequence of
which they were called _ringrim_, or the large ears. Their chief was
called _Zapalla Inca_[30], or the only king; though others say that he was
named _Inca Vira cocha_, or the king from the scum of the lake, because
the astonished natives, not knowing the origin of their invaders, believed
that they had started into existence from the scum or mud of the great
lake. This great lake of Titicaca is about eighty leagues in circumference,
from which a large river runs to the southwards, which in some places is
half a league in breadth, and which discharges its waters into a small
lake about forty leagues from the great lake, which has no outlet. This
circumstance gives great astonishment to many, who are unable to
comprehend how so vast a body of water should disappear in so small a
reservoir. As this smaller lake appears to have no bottom, some conceive
that it discharges itself into the sea by some subterranean communication,
like the river Alphaeus in Greece.

These Incas established themselves in the first place at Cuzco, from
whence they gradually extended their sway over the whole of Peru, which
became tributary to them. The empire of the Incas descended in successive
order, but not by immediate hereditary rules. On the death of a king, he
was succeeded by his immediately younger brother; and on his demise the
eldest son of the preceding king was called to the throne; so as always to
have on the throne a prince of full age. The royal ornament worn by the
supreme Inca in place of a crown or diadem, consisted in a fringe of
coloured worsted from one temple to the other, reaching almost to the eyes.
He governed their extensive empire with much grandeur and absolute power;
and perhaps there never was a country in the world where the subjects were
so submissive and obedient. They had only to place a single thread drawn
from their diadem in the hands of one of the _ringrim_ or great ears, by
which he communicated to this deputy the most absolute delegation of power,
which was respected and obeyed over the whole empire. Alone, and without
troops or attendants, the message or order which he carried was instantly
obeyed, were it even to lay waste a whole province, and to exterminate
every one of its inhabitants; as on the sight of this thread from the
royal fillet, every one offered themselves voluntarily to death, without a
single murmur or the slightest resistance.

In the before mentioned order of succession, the empire of the Incas fell
in process of time to a sovereign named _Huana Capac_[31], which signifies
the young rich man. This prince made great conquests, and augmented the
empire more considerably than had been done by any one of his predecessors,
and ruled over the whole more reasonably and with greater justice and
equity than had ever been done by the former sovereigns. He established
everywhere the most perfect police, and exact rules for cultivating the
earth; ruling and governing among a barbarous and ignorant nation with the
most surprising order and justice; and the love and obedience of his
subjects was equally wonderful and perfect. They gave him a signal proof
of this, worthy of being mentioned, in the construction of two roads
through the whole extent of Peru for his more convenient travelling; of
which the difficulty labour and expence equal or even surpass all that the
ancients have written of the seven wonders of the world. Huana Capac, in
marching from Cuzco to conquer the kingdom of Quito, had to march five
hundred leagues by the mountains, where he had everywhere to encounter
excessive difficulties, from bad roads, rocks, precipices and ravines,
almost impracticable in many places. After he had successfully executed
this great enterprize, by the conquest and submission of Quito and its
dependencies, his subjects conceived that it was incumbent on them to do
honour to his victorious career, by preparing a commodious road for his
triumphant return to Cuzco. They accordingly undertook, and executed by
prodigious labour, a broad and easy road through the mountains of five
hundred leagues in length, in the course of which they had often to dig
away vast rocks, and to fill up valleys and precipices of thirty to forty
yards in depth. It is said that this road, when first made, was so smooth
and level that it would have admitted a coach with the utmost ease through
its whole length; but since that time it has suffered great injuries,
especially during the wars between the Spaniards and the Peruvians, having
been broken up in many places, on purpose to obstruct the invasion of the
enemy. The grandeur and difficulty of this vast undertaking may be readily
conceived, by considering the labour and cost which has been expended in
Spain to level only two leagues of a mountain road between Segovia and
Guadarrama, and which after all has never been brought to any degree of
perfection, although the usual passage of the king and court on travelling
to or from Andalusia or the kingdom of Toledo. Not satisfied with this
first astonishing labour, the Peruvians soon afterwards undertook another
of a similar and no less grand and difficult kind. Huana Capac was fond of
visiting the kingdom of Quito which he had conquered, and proposed to
travel thither from Cuzco by way of the plain, so as to visit the whole
of his extensive dominions. For his accommodation likewise, his subjects
undertook to make a road also in the plain; and for this purpose they
constructed high mounds of earth across all the small vallies formed by
the various rivers and torrents which descend from the mountain, that the
road might be everywhere smooth and level This road was near forty feet
wide, and where it crossed the sandy heights which intervene betwixt the
verdant vallies of the torrents, it was marked on each side by stakes,
forming palings in straight lines to prevent any one losing the way. This
road was five hundred leagues in length like that of the mountain; but the
palings are now wanting in many places, the wood of which they were
constructed having been used by the Spaniards for fuel during the war; but
the mounds still exist across the vallies, and most of them are yet
tolerably entire, by which the grandeur of the entire work may be judged
of. In his journeys to and from Quito, Huana Capac used to go by one of
these roads and return by the other; and during his whole journey his
subjects used to strew the way with branches and flowers of the richest

Besides the two great roads already mentioned, Huana Capac ordered to be
built on the mountain road a number of large palaces, at the distance of a
days journey from each other, having a prodigious number of apartments,
sufficient to lodge his own personal suite and all his army. Such were
likewise built along the road in the plain, but not so numerous or so near
each other as on the mountain road, as these palaces of the plain had all
to be placed on the sides of the rivers for convenience and the
procurement of provisions and other necessaries; so that they were in some
places eight or ten leagues distant from each other, and in other places
fifteen or twenty leagues. These buildings were named _tambos_, and the
neighbouring Indians were bound to furnish each of these with provisions
and every thing else that might be wanted for the royal armies; insomuch
that in each of these _tambos_, in case of necessity, clothing and arms
could be had for twenty or thirty thousand men. Huana Capac was always
escorted by a considerable body of soldiers, armed with lances, halberts,
maces, and battle axes, made of silver or copper, and some of them even of

In their armies, besides these arms, the Peruvians used slings, and
javelins having their points hardened in the fire. On such parts of their
rivers as furnished materials for the purpose, they built wooden bridges;
and where timber could not be had, they stretched across the stream two
large cables made of a plant named _maguey_, forming a kind of net work
between these of smaller ropes and masts, strong enough to answer the
purpose of a bridge. In this manner they constructed bridges of a
surprizing magnitude; some of them being thirty yards broad and four
hundred yards long[32]. In such places as did not admit of the
construction of bridges, they passed over rivers by means of a cable or
thick rope extended from side to side, on which they hung a large basket,
which was drawn over by means of a smaller rope. All these bridges were
kept in repair by the inhabitants of the districts in which they stood.

The king of Peru was always carried in a species of litter covered over
with plates of gold, and was attended by more than a thousand of the
principal native nobles, who relieved each other in carrying the royal
litter on their shoulders. All these men were counsellors, principal
officers of the household, or favourites of the prince. The caciques or
curacas of the different provinces were likewise carried in litters on the
shoulders of their vassals. The Peruvians were exceedingly submissive to
their sovereigns, insomuch that even the most powerful lord always entered
the presence barefooted, and carrying some present wrapped up in a cloth,
as a mark of homage; and even if one person had occasion to go an hundred
times in one day to speak to the king, the present had to be repeated
every time he went. To look the king in the face was considered as a
criminal disrespect; and if any one should happen to stumble while
carrying the royal litter, so as to make it fall, his head was immediately
cut off. At every half league on the public roads throughout the whole
empire, there were Indians in constant attendance to relieve each other in
carrying dispatches, which they did swifter than our post horses. When any
province or district was subdued, the natives of the place, or at least
all their chiefs and principal people, were immediately removed to other
parts of the empire, and natives from other places which had been long
subjected were sent to occupy the new conquest, by which means the
fidelity and submission of the whole were secured. From every province of
the empire, yearly tributes of the several productions of their respective
countries were sent to the king; and even some sterile districts above
three hundred leagues distant from Cuzco, had to send yearly a number of
lizards as a mark of their submission, having nothing of any value to send.
Huana Capac rebuilt the temple of the sun at Cuzco, and covered over all
the walls and the roof of that structure with plates of gold and silver.
During his reign, one Chimocappa, who was curaca or prince of a large
district in the plain, above a hundred leagues in length, chose to erect
the standard of rebellion; but Huana Capac marched against him in person,
defeated him in battle, and put him to death; after which he commanded
that the Indians of the plain should not be permitted to carry arms. Yet
he allowed the son and successor of Chimocappa to remain in the province
of _Chimo_, in which the city of Truzillo has been since built.

Peru was astonishingly full of those animals called sheep; as Huana Capac
and his predecessors had established laws for their multiplication and
preservation. Every year a certain proportion of these animals belonging
to individuals were set apart as a kind of tythe or offering to the sun,
and these consecrated animals multiplied greatly, no person being allowed
to injure them under pain of sacrilege, except the prince only for his own
use or that of his army. On such occasions, he gave orders for one of
these hunts called _chacos_, formerly mentioned, at some of which twenty
or thirty thousand sheep have been taken at one time. Gold was in great
request among the Peruvians, as the king and all the principal persons of
the empire used it for the construction of vessels for all uses, as
ornaments for their persons, and as offerings to their gods. The king had
everywhere carried along with him a kind of couch or table of gold, of
sixteen carats fine, on which he used to sit, and which was worth 25,000
ducats of standard gold. This was chosen by Don Francisco Pizarro, at the
time of the conquest, in consequence of an agreement, by which he was
authorized to appropriate some single jewel or valuable article to his own
use, besides his regular share of the plunder. When the eldest son of
Huana Capac was born, he ordered a prodigious chain or cable of gold to be
made, so large and heavy that two hundred men were hardly able to lift it.
In remembrance of this circumstance, the infant was named _Huascar_, which
signifies a cable or large rope, as the Peruvians have no word in their
language signifying a chain. To this name of Huascar was added the surname
Inca, belonging to all their kings, just as Augustus was given to all the
Roman emperors. Huana Capac had several large magazines full of gold in
various shapes, such as the figures of men and women, of sheep and animals
of all kinds, and of all the kinds of plants which are found in the
country, all accurately represented. He had also great quantities of
vestments of various kinds, and many slings, in which the fabric was mixed
with gold threads; and many bars of gold and silver made like billets of
fire wood.

Although the main object of this history is to relate the Spanish
Discovery and Conquest of Peru, it seems proper to explain the
circumstances under which they found the affairs of that empire at their
arrival; by which we shall have occasion to admire the wisdom of
Providence, in permitting that enterprize to take place at a time when
that vast country was divided into two hostile parties, which greatly
facilitated the conquest. After Huana Capac had reduced many provinces to
submission, to the extent of five hundred leagues from Cuzco, he undertook
in person to make the conquest of the kingdom of Quito, which bounded with
his empire in the north-west. Having successfully accomplished that great
enterprise, finding the country exceedingly pleasant, he continued to
reside there for a long while, leaving at Cuzco several of his children,
both sons and daughters, among whom were his eldest son Huascar Inca,
Manco Inca, Paul Inca, and several others. While at Quito, he took to wife
the daughter of the former lord of that country, by whom he had a son
named Atahualpa or Atabalipa, of whom he was very fond, and whom he left
to be educated in Quito when he returned to Cuzco. After residing for some
years in Cuzco, he made a journey back to Quito, partly because he
delighted in that country which he had subdued, and partly from affection
for his son Atahualpa, whom he loved more than all the rest of his
children. He continued to reside in Quito all the rest of his life; and at
his death, he bequeathed the kingdom of Quito to Atahualpa[33], which had
belonged to his maternal ancestors. On his death, Atahualpa secured the
affection of the army, and got possession of all the treasure which his
father had in Quito, but the far greater proportion of the treasure
remained in Cuzco, as too heavy for transportation, and accordingly fell
to Huascar, the eldest son.

Atahualpa sent ambassadors to his eldest brother Huascar, informing him of
the death of their father, and assuring him of his loyalty and obedience;
yet requesting that he might be permitted to retain the command of the
kingdom of Quito, the conquest of his father; which he alleged was beyond
the limits of the Peruvian empire, and ought not therefore to follow the
ordinary rules of primogeniture, more especially as Atahualpa was the
legitimate heir of that country in right of his mother and grandfather.
Huascar sent back for answer, that if Atahualpa would come to Cuzco and
give up the army, he should receive lands and possessions sufficient to
enable him to live according to his rank; but that he would on no account
give up Quito, a frontier province of the empire, where of course he must
keep up a body of troops for the defence of the whole. Huascar added, that
if Atahualpa refused submission to these conditions, he would march in
person against him as a declared enemy. On receiving this message,
Atahualpa consulted two of his fathers principal officers, Quiz-quiz and
Cilicuchima, brave and experienced warriors, who advised him not to wait
the invasion of his brother, but to take the field without delay and march
against him; as the army which was under his orders was sufficient to
enable him to acquire the whole provinces of the empire, and would
increase on the march by means of the provinces which intervened between
Quito and Cusco. Atahualpa followed this advice and gradually made himself
master of the country through which he marched. Huascar, on hearing of the
hostile proceedings of his brother, sent some light-armed troops against
him. The commander of these troops advanced to the province of Tumibamba
about a hundred leagues from Quito; and learning that Atahualpa had taken
the field, he sent a courier to Cuzco with notice of the state of the
affairs, and to request that he might be furnished with two thousand
officers of experience; by means of whom he could arm thirty thousand men
of the warlike province called _Cagnares_ which remained in allegiance to
Huascar. These two thousand experienced warriors were immediately sent, by
whose means, and with assistance of the curacas of Tumibamba, Chaparras,
Paltas, and Cagnares[34], in that neighbourhood, Huascars general was
enabled to collect a formidable army. Atahualpa marched against this army,
with whom he fought a battle which lasted three days, in which he was at
last defeated and made prisoner, in attempting to escape by the bridge of

While the army of Huascar was celebrating their victory with great feasts
and rejoicings, Atahualpa contrived to escape from the _tambos_ or palace
of Tumibamba in which he was confined, by digging through a very thick
wall with a bar of copper, which he procured from a woman. He returned
immediately to Quito, where he collected the remains of his defeated army,
to whom he represented that his father had changed him into a serpent, by
which means he had been enabled to escape from his prison through a small
hole; and that his father had assured him of certain victory, if they
would return along with him against the enemy. His troops were so much
encouraged by this stratagem, that they followed him with great courage,
believing themselves invincible under the protection of Huana Capac. He
again attacked the army of Huascar, which in this second battle was
entirely defeated. Such numbers were slain on both sides in these two
battles, that even to this day large quantities of human bones remain in
the places where they were fought. In pursuit of his victory, Atahualpa
marched into the provinces which adhered to his brother, which he
destroyed with fire and sword. He entirely destroyed the great city of
Tumibamba, which stood on a plain watered by three great rivers. In his
pursuing his conquests, he gave no quarter wherever he met with resistance
but granted mercy and peace to all such districts as submitted quietly to
his authority, obliging all the warriors to join his army, which by these
means, increased continually as he advanced. On arriving at Tumbez he was
desirous to take possession of the island of Puna, but as the _curaca_ of
that island defended himself courageously, Atahualpa did not think it
prudent to waste much time in the attempt, more especially as he had
intelligence of the approach of Huascar with a numerous army; for which
reason he continued his march towards Cuzco, and arrived at Caxamarca,
where he established his head-quarters. From this place he detached two of
his principal officers at the head of two or three thousand light armed
troops, with orders to reconnoitre the army of the enemy, and to bring him
word of their numbers and situation. When this party had arrived at no
great distance from the camp of the enemy, they quitted the direct road
and made a circuit among the woods and mountains, to prevent the enemy
from discovering them. Procuring intelligence that Huascar had retired to
a place at some distance from his camp, attended by seven hundred of his
principal officers and nobles, on purpose to avoid the noise and confusion
of his great army, they attacked his quarters by surprise, easily defeated
his small escort, and made him prisoner. While endeavouring to make good
their retreat to the camp of Atahualpa with their great prize, they were
surrounded on every side by the vast army of the enemy, which could easily
have exterminated them, being at least thirty to one. But the commanders
of this fortunate detachment, immediately told Huascar that they would put
him to death, if he did not instantly give orders to his army to retire:
and at the same time assured him that his brother Atahualpa had no farther
desire than to be permitted to enjoy the kingdom of Quito in peace, for
which he would do homage to him as his king and lord. Huascar, terrified
by the prospect of death, and believing their promise of restoration to
liberty and dominion, issued peremptory orders to his army to desist from
their intended attack and to return to Cuzco, which they did accordingly;
and the Atahualpan officers carried Huascar a prisoner to Caxamarca, where
they delivered him up to their master. Thus were the affairs of Peru
situated when Don Francisco Pizarro arrived in that country with the
Spaniards; which conjuncture was exceedingly favourable to his views of
conquest, of which we shall give an account in the next section, as the
great army of Huascar was entirely dispersed, and Atahualpa had dismissed
a great proportion of his troops, after this fortunate event, which had
placed his enemy in his hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Of the Peruvian History before the arrival of the Spaniards_[35].

"Peru, like the rest of the New World, was originally possessed by small
independent tribes, differing from each other in manners, and in their
forms of rude policy. All, however, were so little civilized, that, if the
traditions concerning their mode of life, preserved among their
descendants, deserve credit, they must be classed among the most
unimproved savages of America. Strangers to every species of cultivation
or regular industry, without any fixed residence, and unacquainted with
those sentiments and obligations which form the first bonds of social
union, they are said to have roamed naked about the forests with which
their country was then covered, more like wild beasts than like men. After
they had struggled for ages with the hardships and calamities which are
inevitable in such a state, and when no circumstance seemed to indicate
the approach of any uncommon effort towards improvement, we are told that
there appeared on the banks of the lake Titicaca, a man and woman of
majestic form, and clothed in decent garments. They declared themselves to
be children of the sun, sent by their beneficent parent, who beheld with
pity the miseries of the human race, and who had commanded them to
instruct and reclaim them. At their persuasion, enforced by reverence for
the divinity in whose name they were supposed to speak, several of the
dispersed savages united together, and receiving their commands as
heavenly instructions, followed them to Cuzco where they settled, and
where they begun to lay the foundations of a city, afterwards the capital
of Peru."

"Manco Capac and Mama Ocollo, for such were the names of these
extraordinary personages, having thus collected some wandering tribes,
formed that social union which, by multiplying the desires, and uniting
the efforts of the human species, excites industry and leads to
improvement. Manco Capac instructed the men in agriculture and other
useful arts; Mama Ocollo taught the women to spin and weave. By the labour
of the one sex subsistence became less precarious; by that of the other
life was rendered more comfortable. After securing the object of first
necessity in an infant state, by providing food, raiment, and habitations
for the rude people of whom he took charge, Manco Capac turned his
attention towards introducing such laws and policy as might perpetuate
their happiness. By his institutions, the various relations in private
life were established, and the duties resulting from them prescribed with
such propriety, as gradually formed a barbarous people to decency of
manners. In public administration, the functions of persons in authority
were so precisely defined, and the subordination of those under
jurisdiction maintained with such a steady hand, that the society in which
he presided soon assumed the aspect of a regular and well-governed state."

"Thus, according to the Indian traditions, was founded the empire of the
_Incas_, or Lords of Peru. At first its extent was small; as the territory
of Manco Capac did not reach above eight leagues from Cuzco: But within
these narrow limits he exercised an uncontrolled authority. His successors,
as their dominions extended, arrogated a similar jurisdiction over the new
subjects which they acquired; the despotism of Asia was not more complete.
The Incas were not only obeyed as monarchs, but revered as divinities.
Their blood was held to be sacred, and by prohibiting intermarriages with
the people, was never contaminated by mixing with that of any other race.
The family thus separated from the rest of the nation, was distinguished
by peculiarities in dress and ornaments, which it was unlawful for others
to assume. The monarch himself appeared with ensigns of royalty reserved
for him alone; and received from his subjects marks of obsequious homage
and respect, which approached almost to adoration. But among the Peruvians,
this unbounded power of their monarchs seems to have been uniformly
accompanied with attention to the good of their subjects. It was not the
rage of conquests, if we may believe the accounts of their countrymen,
that prompted the Incas to extend their dominion, but the desire of
diffusing the blessings of civilization, and the knowledge of the arts
which they possessed, among the barbarous people whom they reduced.
During a succession of twelve monarchs, it is said that not one deviated
from this beneficent character."

"When the Spaniards first visited the coast of Peru in 1526, Huana Capac,
the twelfth monarch from the founder of the state, was seated on the
throne. He is represented as a prince distinguished not only for the
pacific virtues peculiar to the race, but eminent for his martial talents.
By his victorious arms the kingdom of Quito was subjected, a conquest of
such extent and importance as almost doubled the power of the Peruvian
empire. He was fond of residing in the capital of that valuable province
which he had added to his dominions; and notwithstanding the ancient and
fundamental law of the monarchy against polluting the royal blood by any
foreign alliance, he married the daughter of the vanquished monarch of
Quito. She bore him a son named Atahualpa, whom, on his death at Quito,
which seems to have happened about the year 1529, he appointed his
successor in that kingdom, leaving the rest of his dominions to Huascar,
his eldest son, by a mother of the royal race. Greatly as the Peruvians
revered the memory of a monarch who had reigned with greater reputation
and splendour than any of his predecessors, the destination of Huana Capac
concerning the succession appeared so repugnant to a maxim coeval with the
empire, and founded on authority deemed sacred, that it was no sooner
known at Cuzco than it excited general disgust. Encouraged by those
sentiments of his subjects, Huascar required his brother to renounce the
government of Quito, and to acknowledge him as his lawful superior. But it
had been the first care of Atahualpa to gain a large body of troops which
had accompanied his father to Quito. These were the flower of the Peruvian
warriors, to whose valour Huana Capac had been indebted for all his
victories. Atahuaipa first eluded the demand of his brother, and then
marched against him in hostile array."

"Thus the ambition of two young princes, the title of the one founded on
ancient usage, and of the other asserted by the veteran troops, involved
Peru in civil war, a calamity to which it had been hitherto a stranger,
under a succession of virtuous monarchs. In such a contest the issue was
obvious. The force of arms triumphed over the authority of laws. Atahualpa
remained victorious, and made a cruel use of his victory. Conscious of the
defect in his own title to the throne, he attempted to exterminate the
royal race, by putting to death all the children of the sun descended from
Manco Capac, whom he could seize either by force or stratagem. From a
political motive, the life of the unfortunate Huascar, who had been taken
prisoner in a battle which decided the fate of the empire, was prolonged
for some time; that, by issuing orders in his name, the usurper might more
easily establish his own authority."

"When Pizarro landed in the bay of St Matthew, in 1531, this civil war
raged between the two brothers in its greatest fury; and though the two
competitors received early accounts of the arrival of the Spaniards, they
were so intent upon the operations of a war which they deemed more
interesting, that they gave no attention to the motions of an enemy too
inconsiderable in number to excite any great alarm, and to whom it would
be easy, as they imagined, to give a check when more at leisure. By this
fortunate coincidence of events, of which he could have no foresight, and
of which he remained long ignorant from its defective mode of intercourse
with the people of the country, Pizarro was permitted to advance
unmolested into the centre of a great empire, before any effort of its
power was exerted to stop his career. During their progress, the Spaniards
acquired some imperfect knowledge of the struggle between the two
contending factions; and the first complete information respecting it was
received from messengers sent by Huascar to Pizarro, to solicit his aid
against Atahualpa, whom he represented as a rebel and an usurper."

       *       *       *       *       *

Manco Capac, the first Inca of the Peruvians, is said to have reigned
about the middle of the twelfth century, as the traditionary accounts
attribute a period of about 400 years between the commencement of his
reign and the decease of Huana Capac in 1529, which would place the origin
of the monarchy about the year 1129, allowing an average of 30 years to
each of 13 successive reigns. The traditions of such ancient matters among
an ignorant people are little to be depended on; and even admitting the
series of kings to be right as to number, the ordinary average of _twenty_
years to each of the _thirteen_ successive reigns would only give 260
years for the duration of the monarchy, and would carry back the
commencement of the reign of Manco Capac only to the year 1269. The series
of these kings, as given by various Spanish writers, according to the
traditions of the Peruvians, is as follows:

1. Manco Capac. 2. Sinchi Roca. 3. Lloque Yupanqui. 4. Mayta Capac. 5.
Capac Yupanqui. 6. Inca Roca. 7. Yahuar Huacac. 8. Inca Roca, likewise
named Viracocha. 9. Pachacutec[36]. 10. Yupanqui. 11. Tupac Yupanqui. 12.
Huana Capac. 13. Huascar, or Inti-cusi-Hualpa. 14. Atahualpa. 15. Manco
Capac the Second, crowned at Cuzco by permission of Pizarro; afterwards
revolted and retired to the mountains. 16. Sayri Tupac; who resigned the
nominal sovereignty of Peru to Philip II. He died a Christian, and left
one daughter who married a Spaniard named Onez de Loyola, and from whom
are descended the marquisses of Orepesa and Alcanises.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the empire of Peru was made up of many barbarous tribes, its native
inhabitants spoke many languages or dialects, which were only understood
in their own particular districts. The language of the ruling people or
tribe to which the royal family belonged, called the _Quichua_, was solely
used at court, and we have already seen that the sons of all the chiefs or
curacas of the empire were ordered to be educated at Cuzco, that they
might be all able to converse with the sovereign. In this language the
sounds of _b, d, f, g_, and _r_, are said to have been wanting; and yet
that of the _r_ occurs in the names of several of their kings. Garcilasso
says that this letter had a guttural sound, perhaps resembling the burr,
or _parler gras_ of the French: And it is alleged that this language of a
comparatively barbarous people was nearly as copious and as artificial as
the Greek. The following specimens are given in the Modern Geography, III.
585, to which are added two examples of what are called Peruvian poetry,
from Garcilasso de la Vega, p. 50. The nouns in this language are declined
by altering the terminations thus; _Runa_, a man; _Runap_, of a man;
_Runapac_, to a man, &c. The verbs have also moods and tenses, the
terminations often extending to a great length.

  1. Huc              5. Chumpi, picheca.         9. Yscon.
  2. Yscay            6. Zocta.                  10. Chunca.
  3. Quimza           7. Canchis.               100. Pachac.
  4. Tahua            8. Puzac.                1000. Huaranca.

  The Andes....Anti                A Hog.........Cuchi
  The Arm......Ricra               A House.......Huaci
  Bad..........Mana alli[A]        A Husband.....Coza
  The Beard....Zunca               Iron..........Quellay
  Beauty.......Zumay               A King........Capac, Inca
  The Belly....Vicza               A Lake........Cocha
  A Brother....Huauquey            A Lance.......Chuqui
  A Canoe......Huampu              Land..........Allpa
  To Die.......Huauny, pitini      Little........Huchuy
  A Dog........Alles               Love..........Cuyay, munay
  To Drink.....Upiana              A man.........Runa
  The Ears.....Rinri               The Moon......Quilla
  Eared, or having                 Mother........Mama
     great ears...Ringrim          A Mountain....Puna, acha
  To Eat.......Micuni              The Mouth.....Simi
  An Emerald...Umina               No............Maria
  The Eye......Naui                The Nose......Cenca
  A Family.....Ayllu               A Queen, or
  Father.......Mayu                   Princess...Coya
  Fire.........Nina                A Sacrifice...Arpay
  Many fires...Ninanina            Sand..........Aco
  A Fish.......Challhua            The Sea.......Atun cocha[B]
  Flesh........Aycha                      .......Mama cocha[C]
  A Foot.......Chaqui              A Ship........Huampu[D]
  A Friend.....Cocho               Silver........Collqui
  Good.........Alli                A Sister......Panay
  Gold.........Cori                Snow..........Riti
  Gold dust....Chichi cori         A Son.........Churi
  Great........Hatun               A Stone.......Rumi
  A Hatchet....Avri, champi        The Sun.......Inti
  The Hair.....Caspa               Water.........Unu, yaco
  The Hand.....Maqui               Woman.........Huami
  The Head.....Uma                 Yes...........Y

  _Specimen of Peruvian poetry_.

  _Caylla Llapi_    To the Song
  _Pununqui_        I will Sleep,
  _Chaupitua_       At Midnight
  _Samusac_         I will come.

  [A] Not good.

  [B] Great Lake.

  [C] Mother Lake.

  [D] Huampu likewise signifies a canoe, and probably a ship might be named
      Atun huampu, a great canoe.--E.

[1] In a note of the French edition of 1742, it is said that, in the folio
    edition of Zarate printed at Seville in 1677, Luque was called the
    father of Almagro, and that no mention is made of that ecclesiastic
    having taken any part in the expedition. Robertson, in his History of
    America, II. 273, says that Pizarro was the natural son of a gentleman
    of honourable family by a low woman, and that his education was so
    entirely neglected that he could neither read nor write. He adds that,
    after serving some years in Italy, he embarked for America, where he
    greatly distinguished himself. In our last chapter, Diaz makes
    frequent mention of Pizarro as serving with reputation under Cortes,
    in the early part of the expedition to Mexico; but gives no account of
    his quitting the service of Cortes; to whom he was probably somehow
    related, as the mother of Cortes was named Catalina Pizarro Altamirano.
    Almagro, according to Robertson, was a foundling, and bred like
    Pizarro in the army. Luque acted as priest and schoolmaster at Panama,
    and had amassed considerable riches.--E.

[2] Named Pedrarias by Robertson.--E.

[3] Chinchama, by the map in Zarate is that part of the western coast of
    Tierra Firma or Darien, opposite the Isla del Rey. The poor province
    of Peru, beyond or to the southwards of Cinchama, is that now called
    Biruquete; and the Pueblo quemada, or Burnt People, must be looked for
    in the province of Novita, perhaps Nounamas, immediately to the south
    of which is the river of St Juan.--E.

[4] Tacamez, otherwise called the district of _Esmeraldas_, or of emeralds,
    is in the kingdom of Quito near the equinoctial line.--E.

[5] Instead of _twelve_, the text only names _eight_ of the brave
    associates of Pizarro.--E.

[6] Morope, in lat. 6° 35', in the district of Sana, is in the situation
    of the place mentioned in the text.--E.

[7] This river, otherwise called Amatape, runs into the bay of Payta, in
    lat. 5° 10' south.--E.

[8] Under the name of Peruvian sheep, five species of the Camel genus are
    known to naturalists, the Glama or Llama, Guanaco, Chillihueque,
    Vicugna, and Pacos. The three former were used as animals of burthen
    by the native Peruvians, and domesticated, the two latter, especially
    the Vicugna, are valuable for the firmness of their fleeces. The three
    larger species carry loads of about a hundred pounds weight, the other
    two, when domesticated, may be made to carry smaller burdens of from
    fifty to seventy-five pounds.--E.

[9] It was now towards the close of 1527, the third year from the first
    departure of Pizarro from Panama.--Robertsons America, II. 281.

[10] Robertson, II. 284. gives a different account of these four relations
    of Francisco Pizarro from Zarate. According to him, Ferdinand was the
    only lawful son of old Gonzalo Pizarro; Francisco, Juan, and the
    younger Gonzalo being all natural sons; and Francisco de Alcantara was
    the uncle of Don Francisco, being the brother of his mother. In the
    sequel, the conqueror of Peru shall be always mentioned by the single
    name of Pizarro, distinguishing his brothers by the addition of their
    Christian names. While in Spain, Pizarro received a supply of money
    from Cortes, under whom he had served in the early part of the
    conquest of Mexico.--E.

[11] His commission from the crown of Spain, imposed the condition of
    raising 250 men, and to supply the ships and warlike stores necessary
    for the expedition; but his funds and credit were so low that he could
    hardly complete half the number, and had to steal away from the port
    of Seville to elude the examination of the officers as to the
    fulfilment of his contract.--Robertsons America, II. 284.

[12] It is impossible to give any competent geographical account of this
    extensive country in the compass of a note. Proper Peru begins at the
    river Tumbez in the gulf of Guayaquil, in about lat. 3° 20' S. and
    extends S.S.E. along the Pacific Ocean to the desert of Atacama, which
    divides it from Chili, in lat. 21° 28 S. an extent of about 1200 miles;
    consisting of two remarkably different tracts of country. A narrow
    valley along the Pacific Ocean, seldom so much as 70 miles in breadth,
    bounded on the east by the enormous main ridge of the Andes; beyond
    which are many elevated vallies or table lands of various extent,
    divided by collateral ridges and branches of the Andes, from each
    other and from the prodigiously extensive plains of the vast Orinoco
    Maranon and La Plata rivers. Quito, which had been annexed to the
    kingdom of Peru, only a short time before the Spanish conquest, is
    similarly situated, both as to maritime vale, and elevated table land,
    immediately to the north of Peru proper, and seems to have reached
    from lat. 3° 20' S. to about lat, 1° N. but is now included in the
    viceroyalty of New Granada which reaches to the Carribbean sea, with
    which it is connected by the river Magdalena.--E.

[13] The substance of this description appears to refer entirely to that
    province of the kingdom of Quito which is named Esmeraldas or Tacamez,
    on both sides of the equator.--E.

[14] Various reasons have been assigned for the origin of the word Peru,
    as the name of the empire of the Incas, unknown to themselves, at
    least in that sense. The most probable derivation is from the river
    _Piura_, near its northern frontier, where it was first visited by

[15] This circumstance is unintelligible, as the bones could not shrink,
    unless by supposing these _human heads_ to have been the heads of
    small apes, resembling human faces. The expression of the text,
    immediately before, of human carcasses hung up _in the form of
    crosses_, ought perhaps to have been rendered _instead of_ crosses.--E.

[16] A good deal more is said of these giants, both by Zarate and
    Garcilasso de la Vega, p. 363, but so vague and absurd as not to be
    worth insertion. The whole story seems to have arisen out of the
    colossal representation of a man and woman at Puerto viejo.--E.

[17] This is merely a repetition of the _big bones_ of Mexico and the Ohio,
    already referred to the Mammoth, or animal ignotum.--E.

[18] Puna is in the bay of Guayaquil, in lat. 3° S. and is near _thirty_
    leagues in circumference, being about _ten_ leagues long by five in

[19] The estimate in the text is exceedingly erroneous. The city of Parto
    is in lat. 1° 12' N. and the Rio de Loa, or commencement of the desert
    of Atacama, in lat. 21° 26' S. which give only a difference of nearly
    25 degrees of latitude, which at 17-1/2 Spanish leagues to the degree
    are only 438 leagues. Even supposing the text to include Chili, which
    extends to 39° 21' S. the whole extent of Peru and Chili is only 753
    Spanish leagues.--E.

[20] This is only to be understood of the period when Zarate wrote, about
    the middle of the sixteenth century, or two hundred and fifty years
    ago. The first town he enumerates, Puerto Viejo, is now in the
    viceroyalty of New Granada.--E.

[21] The wool-bearing animals of Peru, improperly named sheep, are one or
    other of the species of camel already mentioned in a former note.--E.

[22] Instead of _four_ degrees, Quito is only the _fourth_ part of a
    degree beyond the line.--E.

[23] Bracamoras, or Jaen de Bracamoras, in lat. 5° 30' S. is in the
    district or province of Jaen in the kingdom of New Granada, on one of
    the branches of the Lauricocha or Tanguragua, which is one of the
    great rivers which contribute to form the vast Maranon, or river of
    the Amazons.--E.

[24] No place of that name is now found in our best maps. The principal
    town of the district of Chachapoyas has the same name, otherwise
    called St Juan de la Frontera.--E.

[25] Not far to the south of San Leon de Guanuco, in the mountains of
    Lauricocha, there are considerable silver mines.--E.

[26] No such place is now found on our maps in the province of Guamanga;
    but the ruins of a town named Vittoria are marked in the district of
    Calca, about fifty miles north-west from the city of Cuzco. Perhaps
    the Vittoria of the text is the town now called Guamanga.--E.

[27] Probably the country of the people now called _Chunchos_, who are
    implacable enemies to the Spaniards.--E.

[28] Probably the province now called _Chicas_ on the eastern side of the
    Andes, occupying the head of the river Chirivionas which joins the
    Paraguay or Rio Plata.--E.

[29] Off the mouth of the river Lurin, in lat. 12° 26' S. is the island of
    Pachacamac, probably indicating the situation of the ancient province
    of that name.--E.

[30] The first of the Incas is named by Robertson, II. 290. and III. 47.
    Manco Capac.--E.

[31] By Zarate this Inca is named Guaynacava, but the more general name
    used by Garcilasso de la Vega and other Spanish writers, and from them
    by the illustrious Robertson, is adopted in this translation.--E.

[32] Garcilasso de la Vega, p. 65, describes the bridge over the Apurimac
    not far from Cuzco, as about two hundred paces in length. He says that
    its floor consisted of three great cables as thick as the body of a
    man; having another cable on each side, a little raised, to serve as
    rails. The two hundred toises or four hundred yards of the text seem
    an exaggeration; perhaps a mistake of the French translator.--E.

[33] This prince is called Atabaliba by Zarate, and Atabalipa by some
    other writers, but we have chosen to follow the illustrious historian
    of America in naming him Atahualpa.--E.

[34] These names are not to be found in our best modern maps of Peru: but
    some other names not unlike, as Mayobamba, Chachapoyas, Partas, and
    Caxamarca, are in the present bishopric of Truxillo, the most northern
    in Peru proper, and therefore likely to have been the seat of war
    against the revolters in Quito.--E.

[35] The whole of this appendix to the first section is an addition to
    Zarate, extracted from Garcilasso de la Vega and Robertson; which,
    being too long for a note, has been placed in the text. The
    introductory part of this deduction is from the History of America,
    Vol. II p. 289. The list of kings is from Garcilasso, whose
    disarranged work is too confused for quotation.--E.

[36] By some authors an Inca Roca is here interposed, who was deposed
    after a reign of eleven days.--E.


_Transactions of Pizarro and the Spaniards in Peru, from the commencement
of the Conquest, till the departure of Almagro for the Discovery of Chili_.

After the return of Don Francisco Pizarro from Spain to Panama, he made
every preparation in his power for the conquest of Peru, in which he was
not seconded with the same spirit as formerly by his companion Almagro, by
which their affairs were considerably retarded, as Almagro was the richer
man and had greater credit among the settlers. Diego Almagro, as formerly
mentioned, was much dissatisfied with Pizarro for having neglected his
interest in his applications to his majesty; but at length became pacified
by his apologies and promises, and their friendship was renewed; yet
Almagro could never be thoroughly reconciled to the brothers of Pizarro,
more especially Ferdinand, against whom he had a rooted dislike. Owing to
these disputes a considerable time elapsed; but at length Ferdinand Ponce
de Leon[1] fitted out a ship which belonged to him, in which Don Francisco
Pizarro embarked with all the soldiers he could procure, which were very
few in number, as the people in Panama were much discouraged by the great
difficulties and hardships which had been suffered in the former attempt,
and the poor success which had then been met with[2]. Pizarro set sail
about the commencement of the year 1531; and in consequence of contrary
winds was obliged to land on the coast of Peru a hundred leagues more to
the north than he intended[3]; by which means he was reduced to the
necessity of making a long and painful march down the coast, where he and
his troops suffered great hardships from scarcity of provisions, and by
the extreme difficulty of crossing the different rivers which intersected
their line of march, all of which they had to pass near their mouths,
where they are wide and deep, insomuch that both men and horses had often
to pass them by swimming. The courage and address of Pizarro was
conspicuous amidst these difficulties, by encouraging the soldiers, and
frequently exposing himself to danger for their relief, even assisting
those who were unable to swim. They arrived at length at a place named
_Coaque_[4] on the sea side, which was well peopled, and where they
procured abundance of provisions to refresh and restore them after the
hardships and privations they had undergone. From that place, Pizarro sent
back one of his vessels to Panama, and the other to Nicaragua, sending by
them above 30,000 _castillanas_[5] of gold, which he had seized at Coaque,
to encourage fresh adventurers to join him, by giving a specimen of the
riches of the country. At Coaque the Spaniards found some excellent
emeralds, as this country being under the line, is the only place where
such precious stones are to be had. Several of these were destroyed by the
Spaniards, who broke them in order to examine their nature; as they were
so ignorant as to believe that good emeralds ought to bear the hammer
without breaking, like diamonds. Believing therefore that the Indians
might impose false stones upon them, they broke many of great value
through their ignorance. The Spaniards were here afflicted by a singular
disease, formerly mentioned, which produced a dangerous kind of warts or
wens on their heads faces and other parts of their body, extremely sore
and loathsome, of which some of the soldiers died, but most of them
recovered, though almost every one was less or more affected.

Leaving Coaque on account of this strange disease, which Pizarro
attributed to the malignity of the air, he marched on to that province or
district in which _Puerto Viejo_ now stands, and easily reduced all the
surrounding country to subjection. The captains Sebastian Benalcazar and
Juan Fernandez joined him at this place, with a small reinforcement of
horse and foot, which they brought from Nicaragua[6].

Having reduced the province of Puerto Viejo to subjection, Pizarro
proceeded with all his troops to the harbour of _Tumbez_, whence he
determined to pass over into the island of Puna, which is opposite to that
port. For this purpose he caused a number of flats or rafts to be
constructed after the manner of the Peruvians, formerly mentioned, to
transport his men and horses to the island, which is above twenty miles
from the river of Tumbez. The Spaniards were in imminent danger in this
passage, as the Indians who guided their floats had resolved to cut the
cords by which their planks were held together, on purpose to drown the
men and horses; but as Pizarro had some suspicion or intimation of their
secret intentions, he ordered all his people to be on their guard,
constantly sword in hand, and to keep a watchful eye on the Indians. On
arriving in the island, the inhabitants received them courteously and
requested that there might be peace between them; yet it was soon known
that they had concealed their warriors in ambush, with the intention of
massacring the Spaniards during the night. When Pizarro was informed of
this treachery, he attacked and defeated the Indians, and took the
principal cacique of the island; and next morning made himself master of
the enemies camp, which was defended by a considerable body of warriors.
Learning that another body of the islanders had attacked the flat vessels
or rafts in which they had come over, Pizarro and his brothers went in all
haste to assist the Spanish guard which had the care of them, and drove
away the enemy with considerable slaughter. In these engagements two or
three of the Spaniards were killed, and several wounded, among whom was
Gonzalo Pizarro, who received a dangerous hurt on the knee.

Soon after this action, Hernando de Soto arrived from Nicaragua with a
considerable reinforcement of foot and horse. But finding it difficult to
subdue the islanders effectually, as they kept their canoes concealed
among the mangrove trees which grow in the water, Pizarro resolved to
return to Tumbez; more especially as the air of Puna is unwholesome from
its extreme heat, and the marshy nature of its shores. For this reason he
divided all the gold which had been collected in the island, and abandoned
the place. In this island of Puna, the Spaniards found above six hundred
prisoners, men and women, belonging to the district of Tumbez, among whom
was one of the principal nobles of that place. On the 16th May 1532,
Pizarro set all these people at liberty, and supplied them with barks or
floats to carry them home to Tumbez; sending likewise in one of these
barks along with the liberated Indians, three Spaniards to announce his
own speedy arrival. The Indians of Tumbez repaid this great favour with
the blackest ingratitude, as immediately on their arrival, they sacrificed
these three Spaniards to their abominable idols. Hernando de Soto made a
narrow escape from meeting with the same fate: He was embarked on one of
these floats, with a single servant, along with some of the Indians, and
had already entered the river of Tumbez, when he was seen by Diego de
Aguero and Roderick Lozan, who had already landed, and who made him stop
the float and land beside them; otherwise, if he had been carried up to
Tumbez, he would certainly have been put to death.

From the foregoing treachery of the inhabitants of Tumbez, it may readily
be supposed that they were by no means disposed to furnish barks for the
disembarkation of the Spanish troops and horses; so that on the first
evening, only the Governor Don Francisco Pizarro, with his brothers
Ferdinand and Juan, the bishop Don Vincente de Valverde, captain de Soto,
and the other two Spaniards already mentioned, Aguero and Lozan, were able
to land. These gentlemen had to pass the whole night on horseback entirely
wet, as the sea was very rough, and they had no Indians to guide their
bark, which the Spaniards did not know how to manage, so that it overset
while they were endeavouring to land. In the morning, Ferdinand Pizarro
remained on the shore to direct the landing of the troops, while the
governor and the others who had landed rode more than two leagues into the
country without being able to find a single Indian, as all the natives had
armed themselves and retired to the small hills in the neighbourhood. On
returning towards the coast, he met the captains Mina and Salcedo, who had
rode to meet him with several of the cavalry which had disembarked. He
returned with them to Tumbez, where he encamped with all the troops he was
able to collect.

Soon afterwards, Captain Benalcazar arrived with the rest of the troops
from the island of Puna, where he had been obliged to remain till the
return of the vessels, as there was not enough of shipping to contain the
whole at once. While he waited for the vessels, he had to defend himself
from continual attacks of the islanders; but now rejoined the governor
with very little loss. Pizarro remained above twenty days at Tumbez,
during which time he used every endeavour to persuade the cacique to enter
into terms of peace, by sending him repeated messages to that effect, but
all to no purpose. On the contrary, the natives did every injury in their
power to our people, and especially to the servants and others who went
out into the country in search of provisions; while the Spaniards were
unable to retaliate, as the Indians kept always on the opposite side of
the river. The governor caused three barks or floats to be brought up
secretly from the coast, in which he crossed the river during the night,
with his brothers Juan and Gonzalo, and the Captains Benalcazar and Soto,
with above fifty horsemen. With these he made a very fatiguing march
before day, as the road was very difficult and uneven, and full of knolls
overgrown with brambles and bushes. About day break he came unexpectedly
to the Indian camp, which he immediately attacked and carried, putting
many of the natives to the sword; and for fifteen days he pursued them
into all their haunts, making a cruel war upon them with fire and sword,
in revenge for the three Spaniards whom they had sacrificed. At length,
the principal cacique of Tumbez sued for peace, and made some presents of
gold and silver in token of submission.

Having thus reduced the province of Tumbez, Pizarro left a part of his
troops there under the charge of Antonio de Navarre and Alonso Requelme,
the former of whom was Contador or comptroller of accounts, and the latter
treasurer, both in the service of his majesty. Taking along with himself
the greater part of his troops, he went forwards to the river _Poechos_[7],
thirty leagues to the southward of Tumbez, in which march, as the caciques
and inhabitants received him peaceably, he conducted himself in a friendly
manner to the natives. Passing beyond the before mentioned river, he came
to the bay of Payta, which is the best on all that coast; whence he
detached de Soto to reduce the caciques inhabiting the banks of the river
Amatape or Chira, in which he succeeded after a slight resistance, all the
caciques and natives submitting and demanding peace.

While at this place, Pizarro received a message from Cuzco by certain
envoys sent by Huascar, informing him of the revolt of his brother
Atahualpa, and requesting his assistance to establish him, as the lawful
sovereign, in his just rights[8]. On the receipt of this message, Pizarro
determined to take advantage of the divisions in Peru. He sent therefore
his brother Ferdinand to Tumbez to bring the troops from thence; and
established a colony at San Miguel in the district of Tangarara, near the
sea on the river Chira[9], as a port in which to receive vessels coming
with reinforcements from Panama. Having placed a garrison in St Miguel,
and made a division of all the gold and silver which had been procured
since leaving Puna, the governor marched with the rest of his army for the
province of Caxamarca, in which he was informed that Atahualpa then

On this march towards Caxamarca, the Spaniards suffered intolerably, while
passing through the dry and burning sandy desert of Sechura, where for
above fifty miles they could not find any water to drink, or a single tree
to shelter them from the sun. This desert reaches from San Miguel or the
river Piura to the province of Motupe, in which latter they found some
well peopled vallies full of verdure, and were supplied with abundance of
provisions and refreshments to restore them after the fatigues and
privations they had suffered in the desert. Marching from thence by way of
the mountain towards Caxamarca, Pizarro was met by an envoy from Atahualpa,
bringing presents from that prince, among which were painted slippers and
golden bracelets. This messenger informed the governor, that, when he
appeared before Atahualpa, he must wear these slippers and bracelets, that
the prince might know who he was[11]. Pizarro received this envoy with
much kindness, and promised to do every thing that had been required on
the part of Atahualpa; desiring the envoy to inform his sovereign that he
might be assured of receiving no injury from him or the Spaniards, on
condition that the Peruvians treated them with peace and friendship; as he
had it in orders from the king his master, who had sent him to this
country, to do no harm to any one without just cause.

On the departure of the Peruvian envoy, Pizarro continued his march with
great precaution, being uncertain whither the Indians might not attack him
during the passage of the mountains, in one part of which he had to pass
through an almost inaccessible narrow defile, where a few resolute men
might have destroyed his whole party. On his arrival at Caxamarca, he
found another messenger from Atahualpa, who desired that he would not
presume to take up his quarters in that place until he received permission
for the purpose. Pizarro made no answer to this message, but immediately
took up his quarters in a large court, on one side of which there was a
house or palace of the Inca, and on the other side a temple of the sun,
the whole being surrounded, by a strong wall or rampart of earth. When he
had posted his troops in this advantageous situation, he sent captain Soto
at the head of twenty horsemen to the camp of Atahualpa, which was at the
distance of a league from Caxamarca, with orders to announce his arrival.
On coming towards the presence of Atahualpa, Soto pushed his horse into a
full career, making him prance and curvet to the great terror of many of
the Peruvians, who ran away in a prodigious fright. Atahualpa was so much
displeased at his subjects for their cowardice, that he ordered all who
had run away from the horse to be immediately put to death.

After Soto had delivered his message, Atahualpa declined giving any direct
answer, not choosing to address his discourse immediately to Soto: He
spoke first to one of his attendant chiefs, who communicated what the king
had said to the interpreter, after which the interpreter explained what
had been said to Soto. While this circuitous conversation was going on,
Ferdinand Pizarro arrived with some more horsemen, and addressed Atahualpa
in the name of his brother, to the following effect. "That his brother the
general had been sent to wait upon Atahualpa by his sovereign Don Carlos
with an offer of friendship and alliance, and wished therefore to have an
audience of his majesty, that he might communicate what had been given to
him in charge by the king of Spain." To this Atahualpa replied; "That he
accepted with pleasure the offer of friendship from the general, provided
he would restore to his subjects all the gold and silver he had taken from
them, and would immediately quit the country; and that on purpose to
settle an amicable arrangement, he meant next day to visit the Spanish
general in the palace of Caxamarca."

After visiting the Peruvian camp, which had the appearance of an immense
city, from the prodigious multitude of tents and the vast numbers of men
which it contained, Ferdinand Pizarro returned to his brother, to whom he
gave a faithful account of every thing he had seen, and of the words of
Atahualpa. The answer of that prince gave some considerable uneasiness to
Pizarro, as having rather a menacing appearance, more especially
considering that the army of the Peruvians outnumbered his own small force
in the proportion of one or two hundred to one. Yet as the general and
most of those who were with him were men of bold and determined resolution,
they encouraged each other during the night to act like men of courage and
honour, trusting to the assistance of God in the discharge of their duty.
They passed the whole night under arms, keeping strict watch round their
quarters, and in complete readiness for whatever might befal.

Early in the morning of the 16th November 1532, Pizarro drew up his small
body of men in regular order. Dividing his cavalry into three bodies,
under the command of his three brothers, Ferdinand, Juan, and Gonzalo,
assisted by the Captains Soto and Benalcazar, he ordered to keep
themselves concealed within their quarters till they should receive orders
to attack. He remained himself at the head of the infantry, in another
part of the inclosed court, having issued the strictest commands that no
one should make the smallest motion without his orders, which were to be
conveyed by the discharge of the artillery.

Atahualpa employed a great part of the day in arranging his troops in
order of battle, pointing out to each of the commanders where and in what
manner their divisions were to attack the Spaniards. He likewise sent a
detachment of 5000 Peruvian warriors under one of his principal officers
named Ruminagui, with orders to take possession of the defile by which the
Spaniards had penetrated the mountain, and to kill every one of them who
might endeavour to escape in that way[12]. Atahualpa having given all
these orders, began his march and advanced so slowly that in four hours
his army hardly proceeded a short league. He was carried in his litter in
the usual state, on the shoulders of some of the principal lords of his
court, having three hundred Indians marching before him in rich uniforms,
who removed every stone or other substance which might obstruct the way,
even carefully picking up the smallest straws. He was followed by a
numerous train of curacas or caciques, and principal officers of his court,
all carried in litters. The Peruvians held the Spaniards in small
estimation, they were so few in number, and imagined they could easily
make them all prisoners without presuming to make the smallest resistance.
One of the caciques had sent to inform Atahualpa not to stand in any awe
of the Spaniards, as they were not only few in number, but so effeminate
and lazy that they were unable to march on foot without being tired by a
very short distance, for which reason they travelled on the backs of
_large sheep_, by which name they distinguished our horses.

In the order already described, Atahualpa entered with all his army and
attendants into a large square or enclosure in front of the _tambos_ or
palace of Caxamarca; and seeing the Spaniards so few in number and all on
foot, as the cavalry remained in concealment, he conceived that they would
not certainly dare to stand before him or to resist his commands. Rising
up therefore in his litter, be said to his attendants, "These people are
all in our power, and will assuredly surrender." To which they all
answered that this was certainly the case. At this time, the bishop Don
Vincente Valverde advanced towards Atahualpa, holding a crucifix in one
hand and his breviary in the other, and addressed him to the following

"There is but one God in three persons who has created the heavens and the
earth and all that are therein. He formed Adam the first man out of the
dust of the earth, and afterwards made Eve his wife from a rib taken out
of his side. All the generations of men are descended from these our first
parents, by whose disobedience we have all become sinners, unworthy
therefore of the grace and mercy of God, and beyond the hope of heaven,
until Jesus Christ our Redeemer was born of the Virgin and suffered death
to purchase for us life and immortality. After our Lord had suffered a
shameful death upon the cross, he rose again in a glorious manner; and,
having remained a short time on earth, he ascended into Heaven, leaving St
Peter his vicar on earth, and after him his successors who dwell in Rome,
and are named popes by the Christians. These holy successors of St Peter
have divided all the countries of the world among the Christian kings and
princes, giving in charge to each to subdue that portion which has been
alotted to him. This country of Peru having fallen to the share of his
imperial and royal majesty, the emperor Don Carlos king of Spain, that
great monarch hath sent in his place the governor Don Francisco Pizarro,
now present, to make known to you on the part of God and the king of Spain,
all that I have now said. If you are disposed to believe all this, to
receive baptism, and to obey the emperor, as is done by the greatest
portion of the Christian world, that great prince will protect and defend
you and your country in peace, causing justice to be administered to all.
He will likewise confirm all your rights and liberties, as he is
accustomed to do to all the kings and princes who have voluntarily
submitted to his authority. But if you refuse this and choose to run the
hazard of war, the governor will attack you with fire and sword, and is
ready at this moment to do so with arms in his hand[13]."

When Atahualpa had listened to this discourse, very imperfectly rendered
by an ignorant interpreter, he answered, "That the whole of this country
had been conquered by his father and his ancestors, who had left it in
rightful succession to his elder brother the inca Huascar. That he having
been conquered and taken prisoner, Atahualpa held himself as legitimate
sovereign, and could not conceive how St Peter could pretend to give it
away to any one, without the knowledge and consent of him to whom it
belonged. As for Jesus Christ, who he said had created heaven and earth
and man and all other things, he knew nothing of all this, believing that
the sun his father was the creator of all, whom he and his nation
venerated as a god, worshipping likewise the earth as the mother of all
things, and the _guacas_ as subordinate divinities, and that Pachacama was
the supreme ruler and creator of all things. As for what he had said of
the king of Spain, he knew nothing at all about the matter, never having
seen him." At the last, he asked the bishop where he had learnt all those
things which he had been telling him. Valverde answered him that all these
things were contained in the book which he held in his hand, which was the
word of God. Atahualpa asked it from him, opened the book turning over its
leaves, saying that it said nothing to him, and threw it on the ground.
The bishop then turning to the Spaniards, called out, "To arms! to arms!
Christians: The word of God is insulted."

Pizarro being of opinion that he would be easily destroyed if he waited
for the attack of the Peruvians, immediately ordered his soldiers to
advance to the charge, sending word to his brothers and the other officers
who commanded the cavalry to execute the orders which they had already
received. He likewise ordered the artillery and the crossbows to commence
firing upon the Indians, on which the cavalry, as had been concerted,
sallied forth and charged through among the Indians in three separate
bodies; while he moved forwards at the head of the infantry, pushing
directly for the litter in which Atahualpa was carried, the bearers of
which they began to slay, while others pressed on to supply their places.
As Pizarro was convinced that he and his people would be infallibly
destroyed if the battle remained for any length of time undecided, the
loss of one soldier being of infinitely worse consequence to him than the
destruction of hundreds was to the enemy, and that he gained nothing by
the death of thousands of the Peruvians, determined to make every effort
to gain possession of Atahualpa, for which purpose he cut his way up to
the litter in which he was carried; and seizing him by his long hair
dragged him from his seat to the ground. In doing this, as several of his
soldiers were making cuts with their swords against the golden litter, one
of their swords glancing off wounded Pizarro in the hand. Paying no
attention to this wound, he held fast his rich prize, in spite of the
endeavours of multitudes of Indians to rescue their sovereign, who were
all either killed or driven away, and at length secured Atahualpa as his

When the Peruvians saw their sovereign in the hands of the Spaniards, and
found themselves assailed in so many places at once by the enemy,
especially by the horse, the fury of whose charge they were unable to
resist, they threw down their arms and dispersed in every direction,
endeavouring to preserve their lives by flight. A prodigious multitude of
them being stopped by a corner of the great court or square, pressed with
such violence against the wall that a part of it gave way, forming a large
breach by which many of them escaped. The cavalry pursued the fugitives in
every direction till night, when they returned to quarters[14].

When Ruminagui heard the noise of the artillery, and saw a centinel who
had been placed on the top of a rock thrown down by a Spaniard, he
concluded that the Spaniards had gained the victory; and was so much
alarmed that he marched away with all his men to Quito, never stopping for
any time till he got to that city, which is two hundred and fifty leagues
from Caxamarca.

Atahualpa being thus made prisoner, and his whole army having taken to
flight, the Spaniards went next morning to pillage his camp, where they
found a prodigious quantity of gold and silver vessels, excessively rich
tents, stuffs, vestments, and many other articles of immense value. The
gold plate alone which was carried along with the army for the use of
Atahualpa exceeded the value of 60,000 pistoles[15]. Above 5000 women who
were found in the camp of the enemy voluntarily surrendered themselves to
the Spaniards.

The captive Atahualpa now made submissive application to Pizarro,
earnestly intreating to be well used, and made offer for his ransom to
deliver a quantity of gold that should fill a large chamber, besides so
large a mass of silver that the Spaniards would be unable to carry the
whole away. Pizarro was astonished at this magnificent offer, which he
could hardly credit, yet promised the fallen monarch that he should be
well used, and even engaged to restore his freedom if he made good his
offer. Atahualpa was so much pleased with this promise, that he
immediately sent numerous messengers through the whole empire,
particularly to Cuzco, ordering all the gold and silver that could be
procured to be brought to Caxamarca to pay his ransom. He had promised an
immense quantity, as he had engaged to fill a long hall in the _tambos_ or
palace of Cazamarca as high as he could reach with his hand[16], for which
purpose the height was marked by a coloured line drawn round the whole
room. Although large quantities of gold and silver arrived every day after
this agreement, the Spaniards could not be satisfied that the promise of
Atahualpa would ever be fulfilled. They began even to murmur at the delay,
alleging that the time which had been fixed by Atahualpa for the
accomplishment of his promise was already past; and they alleged that he
had fallen upon this scheme on purpose to gain time for the assemblage of
a new army, with which to attack them at unawares. As Atahualpa had
considerable sagacity, he soon noticed the discontent of the Spaniards,
and asked Pizarro the reason. On being informed, he made answer that they
were in the wrong to complain of the delay, which was not such as to give
any reasonable cause for suspicion. They ought to consider that Cuzco,
from whence the far greater part of the gold had to be brought, was above
200 _large_ leagues distant from Caxamarca by an extremely difficult road,
by which all the gold had to be carried on the shoulders of the Peruvians,
and that very little time had elapsed for the accomplishment of so
laborious a work. Having thus endeavoured to explain the cause of delay in
payment of the ransom, he requested that they would satisfy themselves on
the subject by inspection that he was actually able to perform his
engagement; after which they would not think much of its being delayed a
month more or less. For this purpose, he proposed that he should depute
two or three of the Spaniards, who might go to Cuzco, having orders from
him to be shewn the royal treasures in that city, of which they would then
be able to bring back certain information to satisfy the rest.

Opinions were much divided among the Spaniards, as to the adoption or
rejection of this proposal. Several considered it is a most dangerous
measure for any person to trust himself in the hand of the Peruvians,
especially to so great a distance. Atahualpa considered this doubt of
safety as very strange, especially as they had him in their hands as an
hostage, together with his wives, children, and brothers. On this,
Hernando de Soto and Pedro de Barco resolved to undertake the journey; and
accordingly by the directions of Atahualpa, they set out in litters, each
of which was carried on the shoulders of two men, with a number of other
Peruvians accompanying them, to serve as reliefs when the others were
tired. They were carried in this manner almost as fast as if they had rode
post; as the litter carriers went along with great swiftness, frequently
relieved by the others, of whom there were fifty or sixty in all.

Several days journey from Caxamarca, Soto and Barco met a party of the
troops of Atahualpa, who were escorting the Inca Huascar as a prisoner.
This unfortunate prince, on learning who they were, requested to have a
conference with them, to which they consented, and in which he was
distinctly informed of all the recent events. On being informed of the
intentions of his imperial majesty Don Carlos, and of Pizarro, who
commanded the Spaniards in his name, to cause impartial justice to be
executed both to the Peruvians and Spaniards, he laid before them a
distinct account of the injustice which he had suffered from his brother
Atahualpa, who not only wished to deprive him of the kingdom, which
belonged to him of right, as the eldest son of the late monarch Huana
Capac, but now kept him a prisoner, with the design of putting him to
death. He urged them to return to their general, and to lay his complaints
before him, requesting that he, who now had both competitors in his power,
and was consequently entire master of the country, would judge between
them, and decree the possession of the empire to him who held the lawful
right of succession. He farther promised, if Pizarro would do this, that
he would not only fulfil all that Atahualpa had promised, which was to
fill the apartment at Caxamarca to a certain height, but he would fill it
with gold to the roof, which would be three times more than Atahualpa had
promised. He assured them that he was better able to do all this, than was
Atahualpa to perform what he had promised; because Atahualpa, to implement
his engagement, would be under the necessity of stripping the temple of
the Sun at Cuzco of all the plates of gold and silver with which it was
lined; whereas he, Huascar, was in possession of all the treasures which
belonged to his father Huana Capac, and the former Incas, by which he was
able to perform what he had now offered, and a great deal more.

All that he alleged was certainly true, as Huascar was in possession of
immense treasures, which he had hidden under ground in some secret place,
unknown to all the world. On this occasion, he had employed many Indians
to transport his wealth into the place of concealment, after which he had
ordered them all to be put to death, that they might not inform any one of
the place. After the Spaniards were entire masters of the country, they
made every possible search after these treasures, and even continue their
search to the present day, digging in every place where they suspect they
may be concealed, but hitherto without being able to find them.

Soto and Barco told Huascar, that it was out of their power to turn back,
being under the necessity of continuing the journey on which they had been
sent by order of their general; but that on their return they would make a
faithful report of all he had said. They accordingly went on their way
towards Cuzco. But this meeting and conference occasioned the death of
Huascar, and the loss to the Spaniards of the vast treasure he had
promised for his liberty and restoration. The captains who had the custody
of Huascar made a report to Atahualpa of all that had passed in the
interview between their prisoner and the Spanish messengers; and Atahualpa
had sufficient sagacity to see, if these matters came to the knowledge of
Pizarro, that he would feel inclined to take part with Huascar, especially
in consideration of the prodigious quantity of gold which had been offered
for his interference. He had remarked the extreme eagerness of the
Spaniards for the possession of gold, and feared that they would deprive
him of the kingdom, and give it his brother, and might put himself to
death, as an unjust usurper of the clear rights of another. Being disposed,
from these motives, to order his brother Huascar to be put to death, he
was only restrained from doing this immediately by one circumstance. He
had frequently heard from the Christians, that one of their principal laws,
which was most religiously observed, was, that all who were guilty of
murder were punished with death, whether the murder were committed by
themselves personally, or by others at their instigation. He resolved,
therefore, to sound Pizarro, and to discover his sentiments on this
subject, which he did with wonderful artifice and dissimulation. One day
he pretended to be overcome with extreme grief, weeping and sobbing, and
refusing to eat or drink, or to speak with any one. When Pizarro inquired
the cause of this distress, he allowed himself to be long intreated before
he would give any reason of his sorrow. At length, as if overcome by
solicitation, he said, "That he had just received intelligence that one of
his officers had put his brother Huascar to death, by which news he was
entirely overcome with grief, as he had always entertained the warmest and
most respectful affection for him, not only as his eldest brother, but in
a great measure as his father and sovereign. That although he had taken
Huascar prisoner, he not only had no intention of using him ill in his
person, but did not even mean to deprive him of the kingdom: his sole
object being to oblige him to give up the possession of the kingdom of
Quito, according to the last will of their father, Huana Capac; who had
made a conquest of that country, which was beyond the boundary of the
hereditary empire of the incas, and which consequently their father had an
undoubted right to dispose of in his favour." Pizarro endeavoured to
console the pretended affliction of Atahualpa, by assuring him, when peace
and good order re-established in the empire, that he would make a strict
inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Huascar, and would severely
punish all who had participated in the crime.

When Atahualpa found that Pizarro took up this affair with so much
coolness and moderation, he resolved to execute his design, and sent
immediate orders to his officers who had the custody of Huascar to put him
to death. So promptly were these orders obeyed, that it was difficult to
ascertain in the sequel whether the excessive grief of Atahualpa was
feigned, and whether it preceded or followed the death of his brother
Huascar. Most of the soldiers blamed Soto and Barco for this unhappy event:
not considering the necessity of every one to obey the orders of their
superiors with exactness, according to their instructions, especially in
time of war, without assuming the liberty of making any alteration or
modification according to circumstances in their own opinion, unless they
have express and formal discretionary power.

It was currently reported among the Peruvians, that when Huascar learnt he
was to be put to death by order of his brother, he made the following
observation: "I have been only a short while sovereign of this country,
but my faithless brother, by whose orders I am to die, will not be longer
a king than I have been." When the Peruvians soon afterwards saw Atahualpa
put to death, conformable to this prediction, they believed Huascar to
have been a true son of the sun. It is reported also, that Huascar should
have said, when his father Huana Capac took his last leave of him, he
foretold "That white men with long beards would soon come into Peru, and
advised him to treat them as friends, as they would become masters of the
kingdom." Huana Capac may have received some intimation of this future
circumstance from the demons; and that the more readily, that Pizarro had
been on the coast of Peru before his death, and had even begun to make
some conquests.

While Pizarro continued to reside in Caxamarca, he sent out his brother
Ferdinand with a party of cavalry to discover the country, who went as far
as Pachacamac, about a hundred leagues from Caxamarca. In the district of
Huamachucos, Ferdinand met with Hlescas, one of the brothers of Atahualpa,
who was escorting a prodigious quantity of gold to Caxamarca, part of the
ransom of the captive inca, to the value of two or three millions at the
least, without counting an immense quantity of silver[17]. He continued
his journey from Huamachucos to Pachacamac, not far to the south of where
Lima now stands, through several difficult and dangerous passes; when he
learnt that one of the generals of Atahualpa, named Cilicuchima was
stationed with a large army at a place about forty leagues from thence.
Ferdinand Pizarro sent a message to the Peruvian general to request that
he would come to speak with him; and as Cilicuchima refused, Ferdinand
took the resolution to wait upon him in person. This was considered by
many as extremely rash and imprudent, to trust himself in the hands of a
barbarous and powerful enemy. He was successful however in the attempt, as
by various representations and promises, he prevailed on the Peruvian
general to dismiss his army, and to go along with him to Caxamarca to
wait upon his sovereign Atahualpa. To shorten their journey, they took a
very difficult route through mountains covered with snow, where they were
in danger of perishing with cold.

On arriving at Caxamarca, before entering into the presence of Atahualpa,
Cilicuchima bared his feet and carried a present to his sovereign after
the custom of the country, and said to him weeping, that if he had been
along with him, the Spaniards should not have been allowed to make him a
prisoner. Atahualpa answered, that his captivity was a punishment from the
gods, whom he had not honoured and respected as he ought to have done; but
that his defeat and capture were chiefly owing to the cowardice and flight
of Ruminagui with his 5000 men, who ought to have succoured him when
attacked by the Spaniards.

While Don Francisco Pizarro was in the province of Poecho between Tumbez
and Payta, before he marched to Caxamarca, he received a letter without
any signature, which it was afterwards learnt had been sent to him by the
secretary of Don Diego de Almagro. He was informed by this letter, that
Almagro had fitted out a large ship and several smaller vessels with a
considerable number of soldiers, in which he proposed to sail beyond the
country of which Pizarro had taken possession, and to reduce the best
portion of Peru under his own authority, as beyond the government which
had been granted to Pizarro by his majesty, which only extended 200
leagues to the south of the equator[18]. The governor had never shewn his
patents to any person[19]; yet it was currently reported that Almagro
actually left Panama with the intention of carrying that design into
execution; but on arriving at Puertoviejo, and learning the amazing
successes of Pizarro, and the prodigious quantities of gold and silver he
had already acquired, the half of which he considered as belonging to him,
he changed his purpose, and marched with all his people to Caxamarca to
join Pizarro. On his arrival there, the greater part of the ransom of
Atahualpa was already brought, and Almagro and his followers were filled
with astonishment and admiration at the sight of the prodigious masses of
gold and silver which were there collected, more than they thought could
have been in any part of the world.

When all this gold and silver was melted down, weighed and essayed, it was
found to amount to the amazing sum of six hundred millions of _maravedies_,
or more than 4,500,000 livres. It is true that the proof or essay of this
gold was made hurriedly, and only by means of the touchstone, as they had
no _aqua fortis_ to conduct the process in a more exact manner. It
afterwards appeared that this gold had been estimated two or three
_carats_ below its real value; so that the whole amount ought to have been
reckoned at _seven_ millions of maravedies, or 5,250,000 livres. The
quantity of silver was so large, that the royal fifth amounted to 30,000
marks of fine silver, most of which was afterwards found to contain two or
three carats of gold. The royal fifth of the gold amounted to 120 millions
of maravedies, or 900,000 livres. Each horseman received for his share in
gold, without counting the silver 240 marks or 12,000 pesos, equal to
80,000 francs. The shares of the horsemen were a quarter part larger than
those of the foot soldiers. Yet all these sums did not amount to a fifth
part of what Atahualpa had engaged to pay for his ransom. Those who had
come along with Almagro, though considerable both from their rank and
number, certainly had no just title to demand any share in the treasure
which Atahualpa paid for his ransom, as they had no share in his capture;
yet the general assigned each of them 20 marks, or 1000 pesos, as a
donative to keep them in good humour.

Pizarro thought it now incumbent upon him to send intelligence to his
majesty of the success of his enterprize, for which purpose he sent over
his brother Ferdinand to Spain; and as when he departed, the precious
metals had not been melted or proved, so that it was impossible to
ascertain what was the exact share belonging to the king, two thousand
marks of gold and twenty thousand marks of silver, were set apart for this
purpose[20]. In making the selection of articles to be sent to Spain, the
largest and finest pieces were chosen, that they might have a grander
appearance: Among these were several large vessels of various kinds and
for different uses, together with figures of men and women and various
animals. When Atahualpa learnt that Ferdinand Pizarro was to embark for
Spain he was much afflicted, having a great affection for that gentleman,
in whom he reposed implicit confidence; and when Ferdinand came to take
leave, he said to him, "I am sore afflicted at your departure, for I am
much afraid the big-belly and the blinkard will put me to death in your
absence." By the former he meant Requelme the treasurer, who was very fat,
and by the latter Almagro, who had lost an eye, whom he had observed
frequently to mutter against him, for certain reasons, which will appear
in the sequel.

As Atahualpa suspected, Ferdinand Pizarro had not been long gone, when the
death of the unfortunate prince began to be talked of among the Spaniards.
This was brought about by the suggestions of an Indian named Philippillo,
who had accompanied the general into Spain, and now served him as an
interpreter with the Peruvians. He pretended that Atahualpa had secretly
laid a plan for destroying all the Spaniards; for which purpose he had a
great number of armed men concealed in various places, meaning to employ
them when a favourable opportunity occurred. The proofs and examination of
facts and circumstances respecting this alleged plot, had all to come
through Philippillo, as the only one who knew both languages; and he gave
such a turn to every thing as best suited his own views and purposes.
Accordingly the Spaniards were never able perfectly to discover the truth,
or to penetrate entirely into his motives for this procedure. It has been
alleged by some persons, that Philippillo had become amorous of one of the
wives of Atahualpa, with whom he even had a criminal intercourse, and
expected to secure the quiet possession of his mistress by the death of
that unfortunate prince. It was even reported that Atahualpa had come to
the knowledge of that amour, and had complained to Pizarro of the criminal
and even treasonable conduct of the paramours; which, by the laws of Peru,
could only be expiated by burning the guilty persons, putting to death all
their near relations, destroying all their cattle and substance, laying
waste the place of their birth, and sowing salt on the place, so as to
render the memory of the crime infamous for ever.

It has been alleged by others that the death of Atahualpa was occasioned
by the solicitations and intrigues of those newly arrived Spaniards who
accompanied Almagro, who considered his continuing to live as prejudicial
to their interests. The soldiers of Pizarro who were with him when
Atahualpa was taken prisoner, insisted that those who came with Almagro
had no right to participate in any part of the treasure given or to be
given on account of his ransom, and could not justly pretend to any share
of what might be collected until all that Atahualpa had promised was
entirely paid up. The soldiers of Almagro, on the other hand, believed it
to be for their interest that Atahualpa should be removed out of the way;
since as long as he might live, the soldiers of Pizarro would always
pretend that all the treasure which might be procured formed part of his
ransom, so that they would never come in for any share. However this might
be, the death of that unfortunate prince was resolved on, and even this
determination was communicated to him. Astonished at this fatal
intelligence, of which he had never entertained the slightest suspicion,
Atahualpa urged his merciless conquerors to confine him rather in a
stricter captivity, or even to put him on board their ships. "I know not,"
said he, "how you can possibly suppose me so stupid as to think of any
treachery against you in my present situation. How can you believe those
troops which you say are assembled, have been called together by my orders
or by my consent? Am I not a prisoner, in chains, and in your hands? And
is it not easy for you to put me to death whenever these pretended troops
make their appearance? If you believe that my subjects will undertake any
thing against you without my consent, you are ill informed of the absolute
authority I possess over all my subjects, and the perfect obedience which
it is their glory to render me on all occasions. So to speak, the birds do
not dare to fly, nor the leaves to move upon the trees without my orders;
and how then shall my subjects presume to go to war against you without my

All that he could urge was of no avail, as his death was absolutely
resolved upon, although he offered to place hostages of the highest
consideration in the hands of the Spaniards, whose lives should be
answerable for any of the Christians who might be slain or ill treated by
his subjects. Besides the suspicions already mentioned, which were alleged
against Atahualpa, it is said that he was accused of the death of his
brother Huascar. He was condemned to die, and his sentence was executed
without delay. In his distress, he was continually repeating the name of
Ferdinand Pizarro; saying, if he had been present, he would not have
allowed him to be thus unjustly put to death. Shortly before his death, he
was persuaded by Pizarro and Valverde to submit to the ceremony of

"While Almagro and his followers openly demanded the life of Atahualpa,
and Philippillo laboured to ruin him by private machinations, that unhappy
prince inadvertently contributed to hasten his own fate. During his
confinement he had attached himself with peculiar affection to Ferdinand
Pizarro and Hernando Soto; who, as they were persons of birth and
education superior to the rough adventurers with whom they served, were
accustomed to behave with more decency and attention to the captive
monarch. Soothed with this respect from persons of such high rank, he
delighted in their society. But in the presence of the governor he was
always uneasy and overawed. This dread soon came to be mingled with
contempt. Among all the European arts, that which he most admired, was
reading and writing; and he long deliberated with himself, whether he
should regard it as a natural or acquired talent. In order to determine
this, he desired one of the soldiers who guarded him, to write the name of
God on the nail of his thumb. This he shewed successively to several
Spaniards, asking its meaning; and, to his amazement, they all, without
hesitation, gave the same answer. At length Pizarro entered; and on
presenting it to him, he blushed, and with some confusion was obliged to
acknowledge his ignorance. From that moment, Atahualpa considered him as a
mean person, less instructed than his own soldiers; and he had not address
enough to conceal the sentiments with which this discovery inspired him.
To be the object of scorn to a barbarian, not only mortified the pride of
Pizarro; but excited such resentment in his breast, as added force to all
the other considerations which prompted him to put the Inca to death."

"But in order to give some colour of justice to this violent action, and
that he himself might be exempted from standing singly responsible for the
commission of it, Pizarro resolved to try the Inca with all the
formalities observed in the criminal courts of Spain. Pizarro himself and
Almagro, with two assistants, were appointed judges, with full power to
acquit or condemn; an attorney-general was named to carry on the
prosecution in the king's name; counsellors were chosen to assist the
prisoner in his defence; and clerks were ordained to record the
proceedings of court. Before this strange tribunal, a charge was exhibited
still more amazing. It consisted of various articles: That Atahualpa,
though a bastard, had dispossessed the rightful owner of the throne, and
usurped the regal power; that he had put his brother and lawful sovereign
to death; that he was an idolater, and had not only permitted, but
commanded the offering of human sacrifices; that he had a great number of
concubines; that since his imprisonment he had wasted and embezzled the
royal treasures, which now belonged of right to the conquerors; that he
had incited his subjects to take arms against the Spaniards. On these
heads of accusation, some of which are so ludicrous, and others so absurd,
that the effrontery of Pizarro, in making them the subject of a serious
procedure, is not less surprizing than his injustice, did this strange
court go on to try the sovereign of a great empire, over whom it had no
jurisdiction. With respect to each of the articles, witnesses were
examined; but as they delivered their evidence in their native tongue,
Philippillo had it in his power to give their words whatever turn best
suited his malevolent intentions. To judges pre-determined in their
opinion, this evidence appeared sufficient. They pronounced Atahualpa
guilty, and condemned him to be burnt alive. Friar Valverde prostituted
the authority of his sacred function to confirm this sentence, and by his
signature warranted it to be just. Astonished at his fate, Atahualpa
endeavoured to avert it by tears, by promises, and by entreaties that he
might be sent to Spain, where a monarch would be the arbiter of his lot.
But pity never touched the unfeeling heart of Pizarro. He ordered him to
be led instantly to execution; and, what added to the bitterness of his
last moments, the same monk who had just ratified his doom, offered to
console, and attempted to convert him. The most powerful argument Valverde
employed to prevail with him to embrace the Christian faith, was a promise
of mitigation in his punishment. The dread of a cruel death extorted from
the trembling victim a desire of receiving baptism. The ceremony was
performed; and Atahualpa, instead of being burnt alive, was strangled at
the stake."

Ruminagui, one of the captains under Atahualpa, who had fled with five
thousand men from Caxamarca, as already related, having arrived in the
kingdom of Quito, seized the children of Atahualpa, and made himself
master of that country as if he had been the lawful sovereign. A short
time before his death, Atahualpa had sent his brother Illescas into the
kingdom of Quito, with orders to bring his children from thence; but
Ruminagui not only refused to deliver them up, but even put them all to
death. After the death of Atahualpa, some of his principal officers,
according to his dying commands, carried his body to Quito that it might
be interred beside the remains of his father Huana capac. Ruminagui
received them in the most honourable manner, with every outward mark of
affection and respect, and caused the body of Atahualpa to be buried with
much pomp and solemnity, according to the custom of the country. After the
ceremony, he gave a grand entertainment to the officers of the late
unfortunate monarch, at which, when they were intoxicated, he caused them
all to be put to death, together with Illescas the brother of Atahualpa.
He caused this person to be flead alive, and had a drum covered with his
skin, inclosing his head in the inside of the drum.

After the governor Pizarro had made a repartition of all the gold and
silver which was found in Caxamarca, he learned that one of the officers
of Atahualpa, named Quizquiz, had assembled some troops in the province of
_Xauxa_[22], and endeavoured to excite an insurrection in the country.
Pizarro therefore marched against him, but Quizquiz durst not wait for him
in Xauxa, and retreated to a greater distance. Pizarro pursued, causing
Hernando de Soto to lead the van with a party of horse, while he led the
rear or main body himself. While advancing in this order into the province
of _Vilcacinga_[23], Soto was unexpectedly attacked by a vast body of
Peruvians, and in great danger of being totally defeated, five or six of
his men being slain; but on the approach of night, the Peruvians retreated
to a mountain, and the governor sent on Almagro with a reinforcement of
cavalry to Soto. Early next morning the fight was resumed, and the
Spaniards endeavoured to draw the Peruvians into the plain, by pretending
to retreat, that they might not be exposed to the prodigious quantity of
stones which the Indians hurled down upon them from the mountain. The
Peruvians seemed aware of this stratagem, as they continued to defend
their position on the mountain; though they were not apprized of the
reinforcement which Soto had received, as the morning was thick and misty.
Being unable to induce their enemies to descend from their advantageous
situation, the Spaniards assailed the Peruvians with so much resolution,
that they drove them from their position with considerable slaughter, and
forced them to take to flight.

At this place, a brother of the late Incas, Huascar and Atahualpa, named
_Paul_ Inca_[24], came to Pizarro under pretence of entering into terms of
peace and submission. After the death of his brothers, this prince had
been recognised as king of Peru, and had been invested with the fringed
fillet, which answered among the Peruvians as the crown or emblem of
supreme rule. The Inca told the governor that he had a very considerable
force of warriors in Cuzco, all of whom only waited his arrival to submit
to his orders. Pizarro accordingly marched towards that city, and arrived
within sight of it after several days march. So thick a smoke was seen to
arise from the city, that Pizarro suspected the Peruvians had set it on
fire, and immediately sent on a detachment of cavalry to endeavour if
possible to prevent the destruction of the city. On their arrival near
Cuzco, a vast body of Peruvians issued from the city and attacked them
with great violence, with stones, darts, and other arms; insomuch that the
Spaniards were forced to retreat above a league to rejoin the main body of
the army which was commanded by Pizarro in person. He immediately detached
the greater part of his cavalry under the command of his brothers Juan and
Gonzalo, who attacked the enemy with so much courage and impetuosity, that
they were soon defeated and many Peruvians were slain in the pursuit. On
the approach of night, Pizarro reassembled all his army, which he ordered
to lie on their arms; and marched next morning with every precaution to
Cuzco, which he entered without opposition.

After remaining twenty days in Cuzco, Pizarro was informed that the
Peruvian General Quizquiz had drawn together a considerable body of
warriors, with whom he pillaged and raised contributions in a province
named _Condefugo_[25]. The governor detached Hernando Soto with fifty
horsemen against Quizquiz, who did not think proper to await his arrival;
but he took the resolution of marching to Xauxa or Jauja, on purpose to
attack the baggage and royal treasure belonging to the Spaniards, which
had been left there with a guard, under the care of Requelme the treasurer.
Although the Spanish troops in Xauxa were few in number, they posted
themselves in a strong position, waiting the attack of Quizquiz, and
defended themselves so courageously that he was unable to make any
impression upon them, and accordingly drew off his troops, taking the road
to Quito. The governor sent Soto after him with his detachment of cavalry,
and soon afterwards sent off his two brothers, Juan and Gonzalo, to
reinforce Soto. These three Spanish captains pursued Quizquiz above a
hundred leagues, but were unable to come up with him, and returned
therefore to Cuzco.

In that ancient capital of the Peruvian empire, Pizarro and the Spaniards
found a prodigious booty in gold and silver, not less in value than all
they had collected at Caxamarca for the ransom of Atahualpa. He made a
division of this among his soldiers, and settled a colony in Cuzco, which
had long been the capital of the Peruvian empire, and continued to be so
for a considerable time under the Spaniards. He likewise made a
repartition of Indians among such Spaniards as chose to settle in the
place as colonists: Only a few, however, chose to avail themselves of
their advantage; as a considerable proportion of the Spaniards were better
pleased to return into Spain, that they might enjoy in repose the treasure
which they had acquired at Caxamarca and Cuzco, than to remain in Peru.

"The riches displayed by the early conquerors of Peru on their return
among their astonished countrymen, had so great an effect to induce others
to try their fortunes in that golden region, that the governors of
Guatimala, Panama, and Nicaragua could hardly restrain the people under
their jurisdiction from abandoning their possessions, and crowding to that
inexhaustible source of wealth which seemed to be opened in Peru. In spite
of every check or regulation, such numbers resorted to the standard of
Pizarro, that he was soon enabled to take the field at the head of five
hundred men, besides leaving sufficient garrisons in San Miguel and other
places necessary for the defence of his conquests[26]".

It has been already said that Pizarro, soon after his arrival in Peru,
established a settlement at the town of San Miguel in the province of
Tangarara, not far from the harbour of Tumbez[27], as a secure place of
disembarkation for those who came to join him from Spain. While he still
remained at Caxamarca after the death of Atahualpa, on recollection that
he had left a weak garrison in San Miguel, the governor thought proper to
send a reinforcement of ten horsemen to that place under the command of
Benalcazar. Soon after his arrival, a considerable number of Spanish
soldiers came there from Panama and Nicaragua, and as the Cagnares made
loud complaints to him that they were oppressed by Ruminagui and the
Peruvians of Quito, Benalcazar chose two hundred of the new recruits,
eighty of whom were cavalry, with whom he marched for Quito, because he
was informed that Atahualpa had left a large quantity of gold in that city,
and that he might likewise protect the Cagnares, who had declared
themselves the friends of the Spaniards. Ruminagui advanced with an army
of more than twelve thousand Peruvians to defend the defiles of the
mountains leading towards the kingdom of Quito, which he endeavoured to do
with considerable judgment, taking advantage of the nature of the ground,
and fighting only in places of difficult approach. Benalcazar, on his side
likewise, joined stratagem and military conduct to courage and prudence;
for, while he occupied the attention of the enemy by frequent skirmishes,
and demonstrations of attacking them in front, he detached one of his
officers with fifty or sixty horsemen, who gained possession of a
commanding post during the night on the rear of the Peruvians, so that he
was able next morning to render himself easily master of the pass they had
endeavoured to defend. In this way, Benalcazar gradually drove the enemy
from their strong ground into the plain of Quito, where they were unable
to withstand the charge of the cavalry and suffered considerably.
Ruminagui still endeavoured to make head in several different posts, which
he carefully forfeited with concealed pit-falls, digging for this purpose
broad and deep ditches, in the bottom of which a number of pointed stakes
were set up, the whole covered over with green turf held up by slender
twigs, somewhat like those described by Caesar as contrived by the
inhabitants of Alesia. But all the contrivances of the Peruvians for
surprizing Benalcazar, or for drawing him into their snares were quite
unavailing. He avoided them all, and never attacked on the side they
expected; often making a circuit of several leagues so as to attack them
unexpectedly on the flank and rear, and always carefully avoiding every
piece of ground that had not a natural appearance. The Peruvians tried
another stratagem, on seeing the former miscarry: They dug a great number
of small pits close to each other, about the size of a horses foot, in
every place around their camp where they thought the cavalry might come to
attack them. But all their arts and labour were useless, as Benalcazar was
never off his guard, and was not to be deceived by any of their
contrivances, so that they were at last driven all the way to the city of
Quito. It is reported of Ruminagui, that one day after his arrival in
Quito, where he had a great number of wives, that he told them they might
soon expect to have the pleasure of seeing the Christians, with whom they
would have the opportunity of diverting themselves; and that, believing
him in jest, they laughed heartily at the news, on which he caused most of
them to be put to death. After this cruel deed, he set fire to a large
apartment filled with rich dresses and valuable moveables belonging to the
late Inca Huana Capac, and retired from Quito, having first made another
unsuccessful attempt to surprise the Spaniards by a night attack, after
which Benalcazar made himself master of Quito with very little opposition.

While these things were going on in the kingdom of Quito, the governor
Pizarro received information that Don Pedro de Alvarado, who was governor
of Guatimala, had embarked with a considerable force for Peru, on which
account he deemed it proper to detach some troops under Almagro to San
Miguel, to inquire into the truth of that report and to prevent the
invasion of his government. As Almagro on his arrival at San Miguel could
get no distinct accounts of the motions of Alvarado, and was informed of
the resistance made to Benalcazar in the kingdom of Quito by Ruminagui, he
accordingly marched there with his troops and formed a junction with
Benalcazar, assuming the command of the combined forces, after which he
reduced several districts and fortified stations of the natives. But, as
he did not find any gold in that country, which was by no means so rich as
he thought he had reason to expect from report, he soon afterwards
returned towards Cuzco, leaving the command in Quito to Benalcazar.

After the conquest of New Spain by the Marquis del Valle, he detached one
of his captains named Don Pedro de Alvarado to a neighbouring country
called Guatimala; which that officer accordingly reduced to subjection
after much trouble and many dangers, and, as a reward of his services, was
appointed to the government of that province by the king of Spain. On
receiving intelligence of the riches of the newly discovered empire of
Peru, Alvarado solicited permission from the emperor Don Carlos to be
permitted to undertake the conquest of some part of that country, beyond
the bounds that had been granted to Pizarro, and received a patent to that
effect. Having received authority for this purpose, while he was making
preparations for the expedition, he sent one of his officers, named
Garcias Holguin, with two ships to examine the coast of Peru, and to gain
some precise intelligence respecting its actual state. From the report of
Holgum respecting the immense quantities of gold which the governor Don
Francisco Pizarro had found in that country, Alvarado was encouraged to
proceed in his enterprize; flattering himself, that while Pizarro and his
troops were occupied at Caxamarca, he might be able to acquire possession
of Cuzco[28], which he considered as beyond the two hundred and fifty
leagues which had been assigned as the extent of the government conferred
upon Pizarro. For the better execution of his design, and lest
reinforcements might be sent from Nicaragua to Pizarro, he came by sea to
that place one night, where he made himself master of two large ships
which had been fitted out there expressly for the purpose of carrying a
large reinforcement of men and horses to Peru. In these two ships, and in
those which he brought with him from Guatimala, Alvarado set sail with
five hundred men, cavalry and infantry, and landed on the coast of South
America at the harbour of Puerto Viejo.

From Puerto Viejo, Alvarado marched almost due east with his army,
crossing those mountains which separate the plain country of Guayaquil
from the table land of Quito, which the Spaniards call the _Arcabucos_,
being thickly covered with brushwood, but over which the road is tolerably
easy and only moderately steep, being almost under the equator. In this
march his men suffered extremely from hunger and thirst, as the country
through which they went was very barren, and had neither springs nor
rivulets. The only relief they could procure was from certain large canes
as thick as a mans leg, in each of the joints of which they usually found
rather more than a quart of excellent water. They were so much distressed
by famine on this march as to be under the necessity of eating several of
their horses, the flesh of which sold so high that a dead horse brought
more money on this occasion than he had cost when living. Besides thirst
and famine, they were very much distressed during a considerable part of
the way by quantities of hot ashes falling upon them, which they
afterwards learnt were thrown up by a volcano in the neighbourhood of
Quito, which burns with such violence that its ashes are often carried by
the wind to the distance of eighty leagues, and its noise like prodigious
thunder is sometimes heard at a hundred leagues from Quito. In the whole
march, which was nearly under the equinoctial line, the troops of Alvarado
found everywhere abundance of emeralds. After a long and difficult march
through these _arcabucos_, where they were for the most part obliged to
cut their way through the thick brushwood by means of axes and their
swords, they came at length to a high chain of mountains covered with snow,
over which it was necessary to pass. In this difficult and dangerous
passage by an extremely narrow road, it snowed almost continually, and the
cold was so extremely severe, that although every one put on all the
clothes they had along with them, more than sixty men perished from the
extreme severity of the weather. One of the soldiers happened to be
accompanied by his wife and two young children, and seeing them entirely
worn out with fatigue, while he was unable to assist them, he preferred to
remain with them and perish, although he might have saved himself. At
length, after infinite toil and danger, they found that they had reached
the top of the mountain, and began joyfully to descend into the lower
grounds of the kingdom of Quito. It is true that in this country they
found other high mountains covered likewise with snow, as the province is
entirely surrounded and interspersed with mountains; but then there are
many temperate vallies among these mountains, which are well peopled and
cultivated. About this time, so great a quantity of snow melted suddenly
on one of these mountains, producing such prodigious torrents of water,
that the valley and village of _Contiega_ were entirely overwhelmed and
inundated. These torrents bring down immense quantities of stones, and
even vast fragments of rock, with as much ease as if they were only pieces
of cork.

It has been already said that Almagro had left Benalcazar in the
government of Quito, meaning to return to Cuzco, because no intelligence
had reached him of the motions of Alvarado; and mention has been made of
his having reduced certain rocks and fortresses into which the Indians of
Quito had retired to defend themselves. This had occupied him so long,
that Alvarado had penetrated into the province of Quito before Almagro had
returned into the south of Peru, being still employed in reducing the
southern districts of Quito. He received the first intelligence of the
arrival of Alvarado while reducing the province of _Liribamba_[29], for
which purpose he had to pass a considerable river with much difficulty and
danger, as the Indians had destroyed the bridges, and waited on the other
side of the river to attack him while passing. He defeated them, though
with much difficulty, as the Indians were very numerous, and their wives
fought as bravely as the men, being very expert in slinging stones. In
this engagement the head cacique of the Indians was made prisoner, and
from him Almagro got the first intelligence of the arrival of Alvarado,
who was then only at the distance of about sixty miles, employed in
reducing an Indian fortress into which one of the captains of the Indians
had retired, whose name was Zopazopaqui. On receiving this news, Almagro
sent seven horsemen to inquire into its truth, and to bring him exact
information of the strength and intentions of Alvarado. These were all
made prisoners by the troops of Alvarado, who liberated them some time
afterwards. Alvarado advanced with his troops within less than twenty
miles of the camp of Almagro, who, considering the great superiority in
number possessed by Alvarado, formed the resolution of returning to Cuzco
with an escort of twenty-five horse, and to leave the remainder of his
troops under Benalcazar for the defence of the country.

At this time, Philipillo, the Indian interpreter who has been already
mentioned as the cause of the death of Atahualpa, fearing to incur the
punishment of his treachery, fled from the camp of Almagro to that of
Alvarado, taking along with him a principal Peruvian cacique. These men
had concerted with most of the Peruvian _curacas_ or chiefs who
accompanied Almagro, to hold themselves and their people in readiness to
abandon him and to join Alvarado at the earliest notice sent them for that
purpose. Immediately on his arriving in the presence of Alvarado,
Philipillo offered to make him master of the whole country, informing him
at the same time of the design of Almagro to retire to Cuzco, and that if
he chose to attack him without delay he might easily make him prisoner, as
he had only about eighty horsemen and a hundred and fifty infantry. On
this advice, Alvarado marched immediately to attack Almagro, whom he found
at Liribamba, resolved to defend himself bravely, and to die fighting
rather than fly. Almagro had thrown up intrenchments for his defence,
having divided his small party into two bands, one of which he commanded
in person, and placed the other under the command of Benalcazar. Alvarado
marched up with his troops in order of battle; but when just on the point
of commencing the attack, certain propositions of peace were made, and a
truce was agreed upon for the rest of the day and the following night, on
purpose to agree upon conditions[30]. In a conferrence for this purpose,
an agreement was entered into, which was greatly forwarded by a licentiate
named Caldera. It was agreed that Almagro should pay to Alvarado 100,000
pesos, or 2000 marks of gold[31], as an equivalent for the expences he had
incurred in fitting out his expedition, and that the two commanders should
go together to Pizarro, for the purpose of procuring the necessary funds
for payment of this agreement. The conditions were kept secret, lest the
companions of Alvarado might prevent their execution, as their interest
had been entirely overlooked in this agreement. It was therefore given out
that Alvarado was to embark with his people to make farther discovery of
the country, leaving that part which was already occupied and conquered by
the Spaniards, and permission was given to all who thought proper that
they might remain at Quito with Benalcazar. A considerable number of the
followers of Alvarado availed themselves of this permission, and others
accompanied him and Almagro to Pachacamac, where they were informed
Pizarro had gone from Xauxa expressly to receive them. Before leaving the
province of Quito, Almagro ordered the _curaca_ who deserted from him
along with Philipillo to be burnt alive, and would have treated the
interpreter in the same manner, but Alvarado interceded for him, and
obtained his pardon.

While Almagro and Alvarado were on their march from the province of Quito
for Pachacamac, the _curaca_ or chief of the Cagnares, informed them that
the Peruvian general Quizquiz had assembled an army of above 12,000 men,
with which he had collected all the people and cattle of the country
between and Xauxa, and intended attacking them on their march. This chief
added, that if they would delay their march for some time, he would
contrive a plan for delivering Quizquiz into their hands. Almagro was not
disposed to put too much confidence in this proposal, and continued his
journey. On arriving in the province of _Chaparra_[32], they unexpectedly
fell in with above two thousand Peruvian warriors commanded by a curaca
named Sotaurco. This was the advanced guard of Quizquiz, whose main body
was two or three days march in the rear. Quizquiz had a similar detachment
at a considerable distance on his left flank, on purpose to raise
contributions of provisions from the inhabitants of the country for the
subsistence of his army; and had besides a rear guard of three or four
thousand warriors, two days march behind. The main body under his own
immediate command escorted all the cattle which had been collected on the
march, and great numbers of prisoners, so that his whole army occupied a
space of above sixty miles of country.

Sotaurco, the commander of the Peruvian vanguard, endeavoured to gain
possession of a defile or pass in the mountains, by which he supposed the
Spaniards intended to march; but Almagro not only prevented the execution
of that project by seizing the pass, but even made Sotaurco prisoner. From
him Almagro was informed of the order of march observed by Quizquiz, and
determined to make a forced march with all his cavalry to attack him. In
this march, at a steep stoney pass near a river which it was necessary to
pass, most of the horses lost their shoes; and as it was in the night, the
Spaniards had to replace them as well as they could by the light of fires
and candles. Being afraid lest Quizquiz might be informed of their
approach by some of the natives of the country, Almagro continued his
march with all possible expedition, and towards the evening of the second
day of his march he came in sight of the Peruvian camp.

Immediately on seeing the Spaniards, Quizquiz withdrew to some distance
with all the women and people who were unfit for battle, and placed his
troops in a post of very difficult access under the command of _Huaypalca_,
a brother of the late inca Atahualpa. Almagro advanced without hesitation
to attack them, although the horses were so weary that they were hardly
able to move though led mostly by the soldiers; besides which the
Peruvians rolled down upon them from the mountain great quantities of
large stones and fragments of rock. In spite of every obstacle, the
Spaniards made their way to the post occupied by Huaypalca, which they
attacked both in front and flank, and forced him to retire among the steep
rocks, where he defended himself till night, and then drew off under cover
of the darkness to rejoin Quizquiz. Sometime afterwards, it was learnt
that the detached party of Peruvians which marched on the left of Quizquiz,
had made prisoners of fourteen Spaniards, all of whom they put to death.
Almagro, in continuing his march, was opposed by the Peruvian rear-guard
at the passage of a river, so that he was unable to get over for a whole
day. Besides occupying the opposite bank of the river, the Peruvians had
taken possession of a very high mountain immediately above the place
occupied by the Spaniards, so that they were unable to attack the enemy
without exposing themselves to great danger; and indeed a good many of the
Spaniards were wounded, among whom Alfonso de Alvarado was pierced quite
through the thigh by a javelin, and another officer of rank was severely
wounded. The Peruvians kept firm all night, but in the morning they
abandoned their post on the banks of the river, leaving the passage free
for the Spaniards. The Indians had burnt all the baggage which they could
not carry off, but above 15,000 Peruvian sheep were found in their camp,
and more than four thousand Indian men and women, of those whom Quizquiz
had made prisoners, who now voluntarily surrendered themselves to the
Spaniards. The Peruvian warriors had retired to a strong post on the top
of a mountain, where Almagro did not think fit to attack them, as he was
desirous to continue his march to the south.

On their arrival at San Miguel, Almagro sent the Captain Diego de Mora to
Puerto Viejo, to take the charge of the vessels belonging to Alvarado, who
likewise sent Garcias de Holguin on his part, that this measure might be
executed amicably according to agreement. After giving all the necessary
orders at San Miguel, and having provided his own men and those of
Alvarado with arms, money, and clothes, he and Alvarado continued their
journey towards Pachacamac. In the course of this march, he left Captain
Martin Astete to build and settle a town now called Truxillo, in a
convenient situatio