Chapter VII 
GUATEMOZIN, NEW EMPEROR OF THE AZTECS- PREPARATIONS FOR THE MARCH- MILITARY CODE- SPANIARDS CROSS THE SIERRA- ENTER TEZCUCO- PRINCE IXTLILXOCHITL
WHILE the events related in the preceding chapter were passing, an
important change had taken place in the Aztec monarchy. Montezuma's
brother and successor, Cuitlahua, had suddenly died of the small-pox
after a brief reign of four months,- brief, but glorious, for it had
witnessed the overthrow of the Spaniards and their expulsion from
Mexico. On the death of their warlike chief, the electors were
convened, as usual, to supply the vacant throne. It was an office of
great responsibility in the dark hour of their fortunes.
The choice fell on Quauhtemotzin, or Guatemozin, as euphoniously
corrupted by the Spaniards. He was nephew to the two last monarchs,
and married his cousin, the beautiful princess Tecuichpo,
Montezuma's daughter. "He was not more than twenty-five years old, and
elegant in his person for an Indian," says one who had seen him often;
"valiant, and so terrible, that his followers trembled in his
presence." He did not shrink from the perilous post that was offered
to him; and, as he saw the tempest gathering darkly around, he
prepared to meet it like a man. Though young, he had ample
experience in military matters, and had distinguished himself above
all others in the bloody conflicts of the capital.
By means of his spies, Guatemozin made himself acquainted with the
movements of the Spaniards, and their design to besiege the capital.
He prepared for it by sending away the useless part of the population,
while he called in his potent vassals from the neighbourhood. He
continued the plans of his predecessor for strengthening the
defences of the city, reviewed his troops, and stimulated them by
prizes to excel in their exercises. He made harangues to his
soldiers to rouse them to a spirit of desperate resistance. He
encouraged his vassals throughout the empire to attack the white men
wherever they were to be met with, setting a price on their heads,
as well as the persons of all who should be brought alive to him in
Mexico. And it was no uncommon thing for the Spaniards to find hanging
up in the temples of the conquered places the arms and accoutrements
of their unfortunate countrymen who had been seized and sent to the
capital for sacrifice. Such was the young monarch who was now called
to the tottering throne of the Aztecs; worthy, by his bold and
magnanimous nature, to sway the sceptre of his country, in the most
flourishing period of her renown; and now, in her distress, devoting
himself in the true spirit of a patriotic prince to uphold her falling
fortunes, or bravely perish with them.
We must now return to the Spaniards in Tlascala, where we left
them preparing to resume their march on Mexico. Their commander had
the satisfaction to see his troops tolerably complete in their
appointments; varying, indeed, according to the condition of the
different reinforcements which had arrived from time to time; but on
the whole, superior to those of the army with which he had first
invaded the country. His whole force fell little short of six
hundred men; forty of whom were cavalry, together with eighty
arquebusiers and crossbowmen. The rest were armed with sword and
target, and with the copper-headed pike of Chinantla. He had nine
cannon of a moderate calibre, and was indifferently supplied with
As his forces were drawn up in order of march, Cortes rode through
the ranks, exhorting his soldiers, as usual with him on these
occasions, to be true to themselves, and the enterprise in which
they were embarked. He told them, they were to march against rebels,
who had once acknowledged allegiance to the Spanish sovereign; against
barbarians, the enemies of their religion. They were to fight the
battles of the Cross and of the crown; to fight their own battles,
to wipe away the stain from their arms, to avenge their injuries,
and the loss of the dear companions who had been butchered on the
field or on the accursed altar of their sacrifice. Never was there a
war which offered higher incentives to the Christian cavalier; a war
which opened to him riches and renown in this life, and an
imperishable glory in that to come. They answered with acclamations,
that they were ready to die in defence of the faith; and would
either conquer, or leave their bones with those of their countrymen,
in the waters of the Tezcuco.
The army of the allies next passed in review before the general.
It is variously estimated by writers from a hundred and ten to a
hundred and fifty thousand soldiers! The palpable exaggeration, no
less than the discrepancy, shows that little reliance can be placed on
any estimate. It is certain, however, that it was a multitudinous
array, consisting not only of the flower of the Tlascalan warriors,
but of those of Cholula, Tepeaca, and the neighbouring territories,
which had submitted to the Castilian crown.
Cortes, with the aid of Marina, made a brief address to his Indian
allies. He reminded them that he was going to fight their battles
against their ancient enemies. He called on them to support him in a
manner worthy of their renowned republic. To those who remained at
home, he committed the charge of aiding in the completion of the
brigantines, on which the success of the expedition so much
depended; and he requested that none would follow his banner, who were
not prepared to remain till the final reduction of the capital. This
address was answered by shouts, or rather yells, of defiance,
showing the exultation felt by his Indian confederates at the prospect
of at last avenging their manifold wrongs, and humbling their
Before setting out on the expedition, Cortes published a code of
ordinances, as he terms them, or regulations for the army, too
remarkable to be passed over in silence. The preamble sets forth
that in all institutions, whether divine or human,- if the latter have
any worth,- order is the great law. The ancient chronicles inform
us, that the greatest captains in past times owed their successes
quite as much to the wisdom of their ordinances, as to their own
valour and virtue. The situation of the Spaniards eminently demanded
such a code; a mere handful of men as they were, in the midst of
countless enemies, most cunning in the management of their weapons and
in the art of war. The instrument then reminds the army that the
conversion of the heathen is the work most acceptable in the eye of
the Almighty, and one that will be sure to receive his support. It
calls on every soldier to regard this as the prime object of the
expedition, without which the war would be manifestly unjust, and
every acquisition made by it a robbery.
The general solemnly protests, that the principal motive which
operates in his own bosom, is the desire to wean the natives from
their gloomy idolatry, and to impart to them the knowledge of a
purer faith; and next, to recover for his master, the emperor, the
dominions which of right belong to him.
The ordinances then prohibit all blasphemy against God or the
saints. Another law is directed against gaming, to which the Spaniards
in all ages have been peculiarly addicted. Cortes, making allowance
for the strong national propensity, authorises it under certain
limitations; but prohibits the use of dice altogether. Then follow
other laws against brawls and private combats, against Personal taunts
and the irritating sarcasms of rival companies; rules for the more
perfect discipline of the troops, whether in camp or the field.
Among others is one prohibiting any captain, under pain of death, from
charging the enemy without orders; a practice noticed as most
pernicious and of too frequent occurrence,- showing the impetuous
spirit and want of true military subordination in the bold cavaliers
who followed the standard of Cortes.
The last ordinance prohibits any man, officer or private, from
securing to his own use any of the booty taken from the enemy, whether
it be gold, silver, precious stones, feather-work, stuffs, slaves,
or other commodity, however or wherever obtained, in the city or in
the field; and requires him to bring it forthwith to the presence of
the general, or the officer appointed to receive it. The violation
of this law was punished with death and confiscation of property. So
severe an edict may be thought to prove that, however much the
Conquistador may have been influenced by spiritual considerations,
he was by no means insensible to those of a temporal character.
These provisions were not suffered to remain a dead letter. The
Spanish commander, soon after their proclamation, made an example of
two of his own slaves, whom he hanged for plundering the natives. A
similar sentence was passed on a soldier for the like offence,
though he allowed him to be cut down before the sentence was
entirely executed. Cortes knew well the character of his followers;
rough and turbulent spirits, who required to be ruled with an iron
hand. Yet he was not eager to assert his authority on light occasions.
The intimacy into which they were thrown by their peculiar
situation, perils, and sufferings, in which all equally shared, and
a common interest in the adventure, induced a familiarity between
men and officers, most unfavourable to military discipline. The
general's own manners, frank and liberal, seemed to invite this
freedom, which on ordinary occasions he made no attempt to repress;
perhaps finding it too difficult, or at least impolitic, since it
afforded a safety-valve for the spirits of a licentious soldiery,
that, if violently coerced, might have burst forth into open mutiny.
But the limits of his forbearance were clearly defined; and any
attempt to overstep them, or to violate the established regulations of
the camp, brought a sure and speedy punishment on the offender. By
thus tempering severity with indulgence, masking an iron will under
the open bearing of a soldier,- Cortes established a control over
his band of bold and reckless adventurers, such as a pedantic
martinet, scrupulous in enforcing the minutiae of military
etiquette, could never have obtained.
The ordinances, dated on the twenty-second of December, were
proclaimed to the assembled army on the twenty-sixth. Two days
afterwards, the troops were on their march. Notwithstanding the
great force mustered by the Indian confederates, the Spanish general
allowed but a small part of them now to attend him. He proposed to
establish his head-quarters at some place on the Tezcucan lake, whence
he could annoy the Aztec capital, by reducing the surrounding country,
cutting off the supplies, and thus placing the city in a state of
The direct assault on Mexico itself he intended to postpone, until
the arrival of the brigantines should enable him to make it with the
greatest advantage. Meanwhile, he had no desire to encumber himself
with a superfluous multitude, whom it would be difficult to feed;
and he preferred to leave them at Tlascala, whence they might convey
the vessels, when completed, to the camp, and aid him in his future
Three routes presented themselves to Cortes, by which he might
penetrate into the valley. He chose the most difficult, traversing the
bold sierra which divides the eastern plateau from the western, and so
rough and precipitous, as to be scarcely practicable for the march
of an army. He wisely judged, that he should be less likely to
experience annoyance from the enemy in this direction, as they might
naturally confide in the difficulties of the ground.
The first day the troops advanced five or six leagues, Cortes
riding in the van at the head of his little body of cavalry. They
halted at the village of Tetzmellocan, at the base of the mountain
chain which traverses the country, touching at its southern limit
the mighty Iztaccihuatl, or "White Woman,"- white with the snows of
ages. At this village they met with a friendly reception, and on the
following morning began the ascent of the sierra.
It was night before the way-worn soldiers reached the bald crest
of the sierra, where they lost no time in kindling their fires; and,
huddling round their bivouacs, they warmed their frozen limbs, and
prepared their evening repast. With the earliest dawn, the troops were
again in motion. Mass was said, and they began their descent, more
difficult and painful than their ascent on the day preceding; for,
in addition to the natural obstacles of the road, they found it strewn
with huge pieces of timber and trees, obviously felled for the purpose
by the natives. Cortes ordered up a body of light troops to clear away
the impediments, and the army again resumed its march, but with the
apprehension that the enemy had prepared an ambuscade, to surprise
them when they should be entangled in the pass. They moved
cautiously forward, straining their vision to pierce the thick gloom
of the forests, where the wily foe might be lurking. But they saw no
living thing, except only the wild inhabitants of the woods, and
flocks of the zopilote, the voracious vulture of the country, which,
in anticipation of a bloody banquet, hung like a troop of evil spirits
on the march of the army.
At length, the army emerged on an open level, where the eye,
unobstructed by intervening wood or hill-top, could range far and wide
over the Valley of Mexico. The magnificent vision, new to many of
the spectators, filled them with rapture. Even the veterans of
Cortes could not withhold their admiration, though this was soon
followed by a bitter feeling, as they recalled the sufferings which
had befallen them within these beautiful, but treacherous precincts.
It made us feel, says the lion-hearted Conqueror in his letters,
that "we had no choice but victory or death; and our minds once
resolved, we moved forward with as light a step as if we had been
going on an errand of certain pleasure."
As the Spaniards advanced, they beheld the neighbouring hilltops
blazing with beacon-fires, showing that the country was already
alarmed and mustering to oppose them. The general called on his men to
be mindful of their high reputation; to move in order, closing up
their ranks, and to obey implicitly the commands of their officers. At
every turn among the hills, they expected to meet the forces of the
enemy drawn up to dispute their passage. And, as they were allowed
to pass the defiles unmolested, and drew near to the open plains, they
were prepared to see them occupied by a formidable host, who would
compel them to fight over again the battle of Otumba. But, although
clouds of dusky warriors were seen, from time to time, hovering on the
highlands, as if watching their progress, they experienced no
interruption, till they reached a barranca, or deep ravine, through
which flowed a little river, crossed by a bridge partly demolished. On
the opposite side a considerable body of Indians was stationed, as
if to dispute the passage, but whether distrusting their own
numbers, or intimidated by the steady advance of the Spaniards, they
offered them no annoyance, and were quickly dispersed by a few
resolute charges of cavalry. The army then proceeded, without
molestation, to a small town, called Coatepec, where they halted for
the night. Before retiring to his own quarters, Cortes made the rounds
of the camp, with a few trusty followers, to see that all was safe. He
seemed to have an eye that never slumbered, and a frame incapable of
fatigue. It was the indomitable spirit within, which sustained him.
Yet he may well have been kept awake through the watches of the
night, by anxiety and doubt. He was now but three leagues from
Tezcuco, the far-famed capital of the Acolhuans. He proposed to
establish his head-quarters, if possible, at this place. Its
numerous dwellings would afford ample accommodations for his army.
An easy communication with Tlascala, by a different route from that
which he had traversed, would furnish him with the means of readily
obtaining supplies from that friendly country, and for the safe
transportation of the brigantines, when finished, to be launched on
the waters of the Tezcuco. But he had good reason to distrust the
reception he should meet with in the capital; for an important
revolution had taken place there, since the expulsion of the Spaniards
from Mexico, of which it will be necessary to give some account.
The reader will remember that the cacique of that place, named
Cacama, was deposed by Cortes, during his first residence in the Aztec
metropolis, in consequence of a projected revolt against the
Spaniards, and that the crown had been placed on the head of a younger
brother, Cuicuitzea. The deposed prince was among the prisoners
carried away by Cortes, and perished with the others, in the
terrible passage of the causeway, on the noche triste. His brother,
afraid, probably, after the flight of the Spaniards, of continuing
with the Aztecs, accompanied his friends in their retreat, and was
so fortunate as to reach Tlascala in safety.
Meanwhile, a second son of Nezahualpilli, named Coanaco, claimed
the crown, on his elder brother's death, as his own rightful
inheritance. As he heartily joined his countrymen and the Aztecs in
their detestation of the white men, his claims were sanctioned by
the Mexican emperor. Soon after his accession, the new lord of Tezcuco
had an opportunity of showing his loyalty to his imperial patron in an
A body of forty-five Spaniards, ignorant of the disasters in
Mexico, were transporting thither a large quantity of gold, at the
very time their countrymen were on the retreat to Tlascala. As they
passed through the Tezcucan territory, they were attacked by Coanaco's
orders, most of them massacred on the spot, and the rest sent for
sacrifice to Mexico. The arms and accoutrements of these unfortunate
men were hung up as trophies in the temples, and their skins, stripped
from their dead bodies, were suspended over the bloody shrines, as the
most acceptable offering to the offended deities.
Some months after this event, the exiled prince, Cuicuitzca,
wearied with his residence in Tlascala, and pining for his former
royal state, made his way back secretly to Tezcuco, hoping, it would
seem, to raise a party there in his favour. But if such were his
expectations, they were sadly disappointed; for no sooner had he set
foot in the capital, than he was betrayed to his brother, who, by
the advice of Guatemozin, put him to death, as a traitor to his
country.- Such was the posture of affairs in Tezcuco, when Cortes, for
the second time, approached its gates; and well might he doubt, not
merely the nature of his reception there, but whether he would be
permitted to enter it at all, without force of arms.
These apprehensions were dispelled the following morning, when,
before the troops were well under arms, an embassy was announced
from the lord of Tezcuco. It consisted of several nobles, some of whom
were known to the companions of Cortes. They bore a golden flag in
token of amity, and a present of no great value to Cortes. They
brought also a message from the cacique, imploring the general to
spare his territories, inviting him to take up his quarters in his
capital, and promising on his arrival to become the vassal of the
Cortes dissembled the satisfaction with which he listened to these
overtures, and sternly demanded of the envoys an account of the
Spaniards who had been massacred, insisting, at the same time, on
the immediate restitution of the plunder. But the Indian nobles
excused themselves, by throwing the whole blame upon the Aztec
emperor, by whose orders the deed had been perpetrated, and who now
had possession of the treasure. They urged Cortes not to enter the
city that day, but to pass the night in the suburbs, that their master
might have time to prepare suitable accommodations for him. The
Spanish commander, however, gave no heed to this suggestion, but
pushed forward his march, and, at noon, on the 31st of December, 1520,
entered, at the head of his legions, the venerable walls of Tezcuco.
He was struck, as when he before visited this populous city,
with the solitude and silence which reigned throughout its streets. He
was conducted to the palace of Nezahualpilli, which was assigned as
his quarters. It was an irregular pile of low buildings, covering a
wide extent of ground, like the royal residence occupied by the troops
in Mexico. It was spacious enough to furnish accommodations, not
only for all the Spaniards, says Cortes, but for twice their number.
He gave orders on his arrival, that all regard should be paid to the
persons and property of the citizens; and forbade any Spaniard to
leave his quarters under pain of death.
Alarmed at the apparent desertion of the place, as well as by
the fact that none of its principal inhabitants came to welcome him,
Cortes ordered some soldiers to ascend the neighbouring teocalli and
survey the city. They soon returned with the report, that the
inhabitants were leaving it in great numbers, with their families
and effects, some in canoes upon the lake, others on foot towards
the mountains. The general now comprehended the import of the
cacique's suggestion, that the Spaniards should pass the night in
the suburbs,- in order to secure time for evacuating the city. He
feared that the chief himself might have fled. He lost no time in
detaching troops to secure the principal avenues, where they were to
turn back the fugitives, and arrest the cacique, if he were among
the number. But it was too late. Coanaco was already far on his way
across the lake to Mexico.
Cortes now determined to turn this event to his own account, by
placing another ruler on the throne, who should be more subservient to
his interests. He called a meeting of the few principal persons
still remaining in the city, and by their advice and ostensible
election advanced a brother of the late sovereign to the dignity,
which they declared vacant. The prince, who consented to be
baptised, was a willing instrument in the hands of the Spaniards. He
survived but a few months, and was succeeded by another member of
the royal house, named Ixtlilxochitl, who, indeed, as general of his
armies, may be said to have held the reins of government in his
hands during his brother's lifetime. As this person was intimately
associated with the Spaniards in their subsequent operations, to the
success of which he essentially contributed, it is proper to give some
account of his earlier history, which, in truth, is as much
enveloped in the marvellous, as that of any fabulous hero of
He was son, by a second queen, of the great Nezahualpilli. Some
alarming prodigies at his birth, and the gloomy aspect of the planets,
led the astrologers, who cast his horoscope, to advise the king, his
father, to take away the infant's life, since, if he lived to grow up,
he was destined to unite with the enemies of his country, and overturn
its institutions and religion. But the old monarch replied, says the
chronicler, that the time had arrived when the sons of Quetzalcoatl
were to come from the East to take possession of the land; and, if the
Almighty had selected his child to co-operate with them in the work,
His will be done.
As the boy advanced in years, he exhibited a marvellous
precocity not merely of talent, but of mischievous activity, which
afforded an alarming prognostic for the future. When about twelve
years old, be formed a little corps of followers of about his own age,
or somewhat older, with whom he practised the military exercises of
his nation, conducting mimic fights and occasionally assaulting the
peaceful burghers, and throwing the whole city as well as palace
into uproar and confusion. Some of his father's ancient counsellors,
connecting this conduct with the predictions at his birth, saw in it
such alarming symptoms, that they repeated the advice of the
astrologers, to take away the prince's life, if the monarch would
not see his kingdom one day given up to anarchy. This unpleasant
advice was reported to the juvenile offender, who was so much
exasperated by it, that he put himself at the head of a party of his
young desperadoes, and, entering the house of the offending
counsellors, dragged them forth, and administered to them the
garrote,- the mode in which capital punishment was inflicted in
He was seized and brought before his father. When questioned as to
his extraordinary conduct, he cooly replied, "that he had done no more
than he had a right to do. The guilty ministers had deserved their
fate, by endeavouring to alienate his father's affections from him,
for no other reason than his too great fondness for the profession
of arms,- the most honourable profession in the state, and the one
most worthy of a prince. If they had suffered death, it was no more
than they had intended for him." The wise Nezahualpilli, says the
chronicler, found much force in these reasons; and, as he saw
nothing low and sordid in the action, but rather the ebulliton of a
daring spirit, which in after life might lead to great things, he
contented himself with bestowing a grave admonition on the juvenile
culprit. Whether this admonition had any salutary effect on his
subsequent demeanour, we are not informed. It is said, however, that
as he grew older he took an active part in the wars of his country,
and when no more than seventeen had won for himself the insignia of
a valiant and victorious captain.
On his father's death, he disputed the succession with his elder
brother, Cacama. The country was menaced with a civil war, when the
affair was compromised by his brother's ceding to him that portion
of his territories which lay among the mountains. On the arrival of
the Spaniards, the young chieftain-for he was scarcely twenty years of
age-made, as we have seen, many friendly demonstrations towards
them, induced, no doubt, by his hatred of Montezuma, who had supported
the pretensions of Cacama. It was not, however, till his advancement
to the lordship of Tezcuco, that he showed the full extent of his good
will. From that hour, he became the fast friend of the Christians,
supporting them with his personal authority, and the whole strength of
his military array and resources, which, although much shorn of
their ancient splendour since the days of his father, were still
considerable, and made him a most valuable ally. His important
services have been gratefully commemorated by the Castilian
historians; and history should certainly not defraud him of his just
meed of glory,- the melancholy glory of having contributed more than
any other chieftain of Anahuac to rivet the chains round the necks
of his countrymen.
1. Solís dismisses this prince with the remark, "that he reigned but a few days; long enough, however, for his indolence and apathy to efface the memory of his name among the people." (Conquista, lib. 4, cap. 16.) Whence the historiographer of the Indies borrowed the coloring for this portrait I cannot conjecture; certainly not from the ancient authorities, which uniformly delineate the character and conduct of the Aztec sovereign in the light represented in the text. Cortés, who ought to know, describes him "as held to be very wise and valiant." Rel. Seg., ap. Lorenzana, p. 166.--See, also, Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva España, MS., lib. 12, cap 29,--Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 10, cap. 19,--Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap 88,--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 16,--Gomara, Crónica, cap. 118.
2. The reader of Spanish will see, that, in the version in the text, I have condensed the original, which abounds in the tautology and repetitions characteristic of the compositions of a rude people.
"Señor nuestro! ya V. M. sabe como es muerto nuestro N.: ya lo habeis puesto debajo de vuestros pies: ya está en su recogimiento, y es ido por el camino que todos hemos de ir y á la casa donde hemos de morar, casa de perpetuas tinieblas, donde ni hay ventana, ni luz alguna: ya está en el reposo donde nadie le desasosegará...... Todos estos señores y reyes rigiéron, gobernáron, y gozáron del señorío y dignidad real, y del trono y sitial del imperio, los cuales ordenáron y concertáron las cosas de vuestro reino, que sois el universal señor y emperador, por cuyo albedrio y motivo se rige todo el universo, y que no teneis necesidad de consejo de ningun otro. Ya estos dichos dejáron la carga intolerable del gobierno que tragéron sobre sus hombros, y lo dejáron á su succesor N., el cual por algunos pocos dias tuvo en pie su señoría y reino, y ahora ya se ha ido en pos de ellos al otro mundo, porque vos le mandásteis que fuese y le llamásteis, y por haberle descargado de tan gran carga, y quitado tan gran trabajo, y haberle puesto en paz y en reposo, está muy obligado á daros gracias. Algunos pocos dias le lográmos, y ahora para siempre se ausentó de nosotros para nunca mas volver al mundo...... ¿Quien ordenará y dispondrá las cosas necesarias al bien del pueblo, señorío y reino? ¿Quien elegirá á los jueces particulares, que tengan carga de la gente baja por los barrios? ¿Quien mandará tocar el atambor y pílfano para juntar gente para la guerra? ¿Y quien reunirá y acaudillará á los soldados viejos, y hombres diestros en la pelea? Señor nuestro y amparador nuestro! tenga por bien V. M. de elegir, y señalar alguna persona suficiente para que tenga vuestro trono, y lleve á cuestas la carga pesada del régimen de la república, regocige y regale á los populares, bien así como la madre regala á su hijo, poniéndole en su regazo...... O señor nuestro humanísimo! dad lumbre y resplandor de vuestra mano á esto reino! ..... Hágase como V. M. fuere servido en todo, y por todo." Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva España, lib. 6, cap. 5.
3. The Spaniards appear to have changed the Qua, beginning Aztec names, into Gua, in the same manner as, in the mother country, they changed the Wad at the beginning of Arabic names into Guad. (See Condé, El Nubiense, Descripcion de España, notas, passim.) The Aztec tzin was added to the names of sovereigns and great lords, as a mark of reverence. Thus Cuitlahua was called Cuitlahuatzin. This termination, usually dropped by the Spaniards, has been retained from accident, or, perhaps, for the sake of euphony, in Guatemozin's name.
4. "Mancebo de hasta veynte y cinco aços, bien gentil hombre para ser Indio, y muy esforçado, y se hizo temer de tal manera, que todos los suyos temblauan dél; y estaua casado con vna hija de Monteçuma, bien hermosa muger para ser India." Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 130.
5. Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 10, cap. 19.
6. Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 134.
7. One may call to mind the beautiful invocation which Racine has put into the mouth of Joad;
"Venez, cher rejeton d'une vaillante race,
Remplir vos défenseurs d'une nouvelle audace;
Venez du diadême à leurs yeux vous couvrir,
Et périssez du moins en roi, s'il faut périr."
ATHALIE, acte 4, scène 5.
8. Rel. Tercera de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 183.
Most, if not all, of the authorities,--a thing worthy of note,--concur in this estimate of the Spanish forces.
9. "Y como sin causa ninguna todos los Naturales de Colúa, que son los de la gran Ciudad de Temixtitan, y los de todas las otras Provincias á ellas sujetas, no solamente se habian rebelado contra Vuestra Magestad." Ibid., ubi supra.
10. Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 184.
"Porque demas del premio, que les davia en el cielo, se les seguirian en esto mundo grandíssima honra, riquezas inestimables." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chichimeca, MS., cap. 91.
11. "Cosa muy de ver," says father Sahagun, without hazarding any precise number, "en la cantidad y en los aparejos que llevaban." Hist. de Nueva España, MS., lib. 12, cap. 30.
12. Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 10, cap. 20.
l3. Ibid., ubi supra.
14. Ibid., loc. cit.
15. "Que su principal motivo é intencion sea apartar y desarraigar de las dichas idolatrías á todos los naturales destas partes y reducidos ó á lo menos desear su salvacion y que sean reducidos al conocimiento de Dios y de su Santa Fe católica: porque si con otra intencion se hiciese la dicha guerra seria injusta y todo lo que en ella se oviese Onoloxio é obligado á restitucion." Ordenanzas Militares, MS.
16. "É desde ahora protesto en nombre de S. M. que mi principal intencion é motivo es facer esta guerra é las otras que ficiese por traer y reducir á los dichos naturales al dicho conocimiento de nuestra Santa Fe é creencia; y despues por los sozjugar é supeditar debajo del yugo é dominio imperial é real de su Sacra Magestad, á quien juridicamente el Señorío de todas estas partes." Ordenanzas Militares, MS.
17. "Ce n'est qu'en Espagne et en Italie," says the penetrating historian of the Italian Republics, "qu'on rencontre cette habitude vicieuse, absolument inconnue aux peuples protestans, et qu'il ne faut point confondre avec les grossiers juremens que le peuple en tout pays mêle á ses discours. Dans rous les accès de colère des peuples du Midi, ils s' attaquent aux objets de leur culte, ils les menacent, et ils accablent de paroles outrageantes la Divinité elle-même, le Rédempteur ou ses saints." Sismondi, Républiques Italiennes, cap. 126.
18. Lucio Marineo, who witnessed all the dire effects of this national propensity at the Castilian court, where he was residing at this time, breaks out into the following animated apostrophe against it: "El jugador es el que dessea y procura la muerte de sus padres, el que jura falso por Dios y por la vida de su Rey y Señor, el que mata á su ánima, y la echa en el infierno: ¿y que no hará el jugador q no averguença de perder sus dineros, de perder el tiempo, perder el sueño, perder la fama, perder la honra, y perder finalmente la vida? Por lo cual como ya gran parte de los hombres siempre y donde quiera continuamente juegan, parésceme verdadera la opinion de aquellos que dizen el infierno estar lleno de jugadores." Cosas Memorables de Espagña, (ed. Sevilla, 1539,) fol. 165.
19. These regulations are reported with much uniformity by Herrera, Solís, Clavigero, and others, but with such palpable inaccuracy, that it is clear they never could have seen the original instrument. The copy in my possession was taken from the Muñoz collection. As the document, though curious and highly interesting, has never been published, I have given it entire in the Appendix, Part 2, No. 13.
20. Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 10, cap. 20.--Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 127. The former historian states the number of Indian allies who followed Cortés, at eighty thousand; the latter at ten thousand! ¿Quien sabe?
21. This mountain, which, with its neighbor Popocatepetl, forms the great barrier--the Herculis columnœ--of the Mexican Valley, has been fancifully likened, from its long dorsal swell, to the back of a dromedary. (Tudor's Tour in North America, let. 22.) It rises far above the limits of perpetual snow in the tropics, and its huge crest and sides, enveloped in its silver drapery, form one of the most striking objects in the magnificent coup d'œil presented to the inhabitants of the capital.
22. "Y prometímos todos de nunca de ella salir, sin Victoria, ó dejar allí las vidas. Y con esta determinacion ibamos todos tan alegres, como si fueramos á cosa de mucho placer." Rel. Terc., ap. Lorenzana, p. 188.
23. "Y yo torné á rogar, y encomendar mucho á los Españoles, que hiciessen, como siempre habian hecho y como se esperaba de sus Personas; y que nadie no se desmandasse, y que fuessen con mucho concierto, y órden por su Camino." Ibid., ubi supra.
24. "É como la Gente de pie venia algo cansada, y se hacia tarde, dormímos en una Poblacion, que se dice Coatepeque...... É yo con diez de Caballo comenzé la Vela, y Ronda de la prima, y hice, que toda la Gente estubiesse muy apercibida." Ibid., pp. 188, 189.
25. For the preceding pages, giving the account of the march, besides the Letter of Cortés, so often quoted, see Gomara, Crónica, cap. 121,--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 18,--Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 137,--Camargo, Hist. de Tlascala, MS.,--Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 10, cap. 20,--Ixtlilxochitl, Relacion de la Venida de los Españoles y Principio de la Ley Evangélica, (México, 1829,) p. 9.
26. See Ante, p. 469.
The skins of those immolated on the sacrificial stone were a common offering in the Indian temples, and the mad priests celebrated many of their festivals by publicly dancing with their own persons enveloped in these disgusting spoils of their victims. See Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva España, passim.
27. Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 187.--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 19.
28. Tezcuco, a Chichemec name, according to Ixtlilxochitl, signifying "place of detention or rest," because the various tribes from the North halted there on their entrance into Anahuac. Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 10.
29. "La qual es tan grande, que aunque fueramos doblados los Españoles, nos pudierarnos aposentar bien á placer en ella." Rel. Terc., ap. Lorenzana, p. 191.
30. "De tal manera que se quemáron todos los Archivos Reales de toda la Nueva España, que fué una de las mayores pérdidas que tuvo esta tierra, porque con esto toda la memoria de sus antiguayas y otras cosas que eran como Escrituras y recuerdos pereciéron desde este tiempo. La obra, de las Casas era la mejor y la mas artificiosa que hubo en esta tierra." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 91.
31. The historian Ixtlilxochitl pays the following high tribute to the character of his royal kinsman, whose name was Tecocol. Strange that this name is not to be found--with the exception of Sahagun's work--in any contemporary record! "Fué el primero que lo fué en Tezcoco, con harta pena de los Españoles, porque fué nobilísimo y los quiso mucho. Fué D. Fernando Tecocoltzin muy gentil hombre, alto de cuerpo y muy blanco, tanto cuanto podia ser cualquier Español por muy blanco que fuese, y que mostraba su persona y término descender, y ser del linage que era. Supo la lengua Castellana, y así casi las mas noches despues de haber cenado, trataban él y Cortés de todo lo que se debia hacer acerca de las guerras." Ixtlilxochitl, Venida de los Esp., pp. 12, 13.
32. The accession of Tecocol, as, indeed, his existence, passes unnoticed by some historians, and by others is mentioned in so equivocal a manner,--his Indian name being omitted,--that it is very doubtful if any other is intended than his younger brother Ixtlilxochitl. The Tezcucan chronicler, bearing this last melodious name, has alone given the particulars of his history. I have followed him, as, from his personal connections, having had access to the best sources of information; though, it must be confessed, he is far too ready to take things on trust, to be always the best authority.
33. "Él respondió, que era por demas ir contra lo determinado por el Dios Criador de todas las cosas, pues no sin misterio y secreto juicio suyo le daba tal hijo al tiempo y quando se acercaban las profecías de sus Antepasados, que havíase venir nuevas Gentes á poseer la Tierra, como eran los hijos de Quetzalcoatl que aguardaban suvenida de la parte oriental." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 69.
34. "Con que el Rey no supo con que ocacion poderle castigar, porque lo pareciéron sus razones tan vivas y fundadas que su parte no habia hecho cosa indebida ni vileza para poder ser castigado, mas tan solo una ferocidad de ánimo; pronóstico de lo mucho que habia de venir á saber por las Armas, y así el Rey dijo, que se fuese á la mano." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 69.
35. Ibid., ubi supra.
Among other anecdotes recorded of the young prince's early development is one of his having, when only three years old, pitched his nurse into a well, as she was drawing water, to punish her for certain improprieties of conduct of which he had been witness. But I spare the reader the recital of these astonishing proofs of precocity, as it is very probable, his appetite for the marvellous may not keep pace with that of the chronicler of Tezcuco.
36. Ante, p. 170.