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Notes to Chapter VII

* Volume and page numbers in parentheses refer to the three-volume edition published by Lippincott and Company, Philadelphia, 1860.

1. Donald A. Rindge has used the analogy to dramatic acts, but his analysis of the history differs considerably from mine. See "The Artistry of Prescott's "The Conquest of Mexico,'" New England Quarterly, XXVI (December 1953), 454-76.

2. Compare La Salle, p. 188, and Prescott, Mexico, II, 376.

3. Donald Rindge (NE.Q., XXVI, 456) gives a good argument for including such an epilogue in the history, but he fails to demonstrate that the epilogue which Prescott wrote actually achieves the formal balance for which he defends it. The epilogue does show the empire under Christian control, but its greatest emphasis is on the tireless activity of Cortés.

4. It is only recently that Maurice Collis, in Cortés and Montezuma (London: Faber & Faber. n.d.) has offered a hypothesis that reconciles Montezuma's unwavering belief in the prophecy with his inconsistent conduct.

5. Consider his rebuke of Cortés for insulting the Mexican gods, and his insistence on going alone to ask their forgiveness of this insult: Conquest of Mexico, II, 150. Consider, too, his warning to Cortés that building a chapel on the teocalli will be dangerous (ibid., p. 209); and his conventional refusal to accept the Spaniards' God on his deathbed (ibid., p. 344).

6. Admiral Morison praises Prescott's "vivid and spirited narrative style" but refuses to "analyze" it because "it is to be enjoyed and admired, not plucked apart." Samuel Eliot Morison, "Prescott: the American Thucydides," The Atlantic Monthly (November, 1957), p. 167. Donald Rindge (N.E.Q., XXVI, 463) says that "Prescott is as careful an artist in the minutest details" as in "the larger elements," but in his discussion of Prescott's style (pp. 470 ff.) he overlooks the faulty details.

7. The Art of History (London, 1926), 127-28.

8. See "Irving's Granada," in Biographical Miscellanies, pp. 91-92, 97.

9. "No words, epithets, that do not make it clearer, or stronger. Figures I dislike--unless they conduce highly to both these ends." Commonplace Book (1820-22), Prescott Papers, MHS.

10 See Ticknor, Prescott, pp. 148-50; and Prescott, Commonplace Book, p. 83.

11. In Biographical Miscellanies, p. 178.

12. See, for example, "a picturesque assemblage of water, woodland, and forest" (Conquest of Mexico, II, 51); "terra firma" (ibid., p. 111); and "the pure element" (ibid., p. 114).

13. See, for example, ibid., p. 280. There, although Cortés and his troops have just returned to a rebellious city from which it is unlikely that they will be able to escape, Prescott concludes his account of their arrival by announcing that "both parties soon forgot the present in the interesting recapitation of the past."