Chapter VII 
SUCCESS OF THE SPANIARDS-FRUITLESS OFFERS TO GUATEMOZIN-BUILDINGS RAZED TO THE GROUND-TERRIBLE FAMINE-THE TROOPS GAIN THE MARKET-PLACE
THUS passed away the eight days prescribed by the oracle; and
the sun, which rose upon the ninth, beheld the fair city still beset
on every side by the inexorable foe. It was a great mistake of the
Aztec priests,- one not uncommon with false prophets, anxious to
produce a startling impression on their followers,- to assign so short
a term for the fulfilment of their prediction.
The Tezcucan and Tlascalan chiefs now sent to acquaint their
troops with the failure of the prophecy, and to recall them to the
Christian camp. The Tlascalans, who had halted on the way, returned,
ashamed of their credulity, and with ancient feelings of animosity,
heightened by the artifice of which they had been the dupes. Their
example was followed by many of the other confederates. In a short
time the Spanish general found himself at the head of an auxiliary
force, which, if not so numerous as before, was more than adequate
to all his purposes. He received them with politic benignity; and,
while he reminded them that they had been guilty of a great crime in
thus abandoning their commander, he was willing to overlook it in
consideration of their past services. They must be aware that these
services were not necessary to the Spaniards, who had carried on the
siege with the same vigour during their absence as when they were
present. But he was unwilling that those who had shared the dangers of
the war with him, should not also partake of its triumphs, and be
present at the fall of their enemy, which he promised, with a
confidence better founded than that of the priests in their
prediction, should not be long delayed.
Yet the menaces and machinations of Guatemozin were still not
without effect in the distant provinces. Before the full return of the
confederates, Cortes received an embassy from Cuernavaca, ten or
twelve leagues distant, and another from some friendly towns of the
Otomies, still further off, imploring his protection against their
formidable neighbours, who menaced them with hostilities as allies
of the Spaniards. As the latter were then situated, they were in a
condition to receive succour much more than to give it. Most of the
officers were accordingly opposed to granting a request, the
compliance with which must still further impair their diminished
strength. But Cortes knew the importance, above all, of not
betraying his own inability to grant it. "The greater our weakness,"
he said, "the greater need have we to cover it under a show of
He immediately detached Tapia with a body of about a hundred men
in one direction, and Sandoval with a somewhat larger force in the
other, with orders that their absence should not in any event be
prolonged beyond ten days. The two capitains executed their commission
promptly and effectually. They each met and defeated his adversary
in a pitched battle; laid waste the hostile territories, and
returned within the time prescribed. They were soon followed by
ambassadors from the conquered places, soliciting the alliance of
the Spaniards; and the affair terminated by an accession of new
confederates, and, what was more important, a conviction in the old,
that the Spaniards were both willing and competent to protect them.
Fortune, who seldom dispenses her frowns or her favours
singlehanded, further showed her good will to the Spaniards at this
time, by sending a vessel into Vera Cruz laden with ammunition and
military stores. It was part of the fleet destined for the Florida
coast by the romantic old knight, Ponce de Leon. The cargo was
immediately taken by the authorities of the port, and forwarded,
without delay, to the camp, where it arrived most seasonably, as the
want of powder, in particular, had begun to be seriously felt. With
strength thus renovated, Cortes determined to resume active
operations, but on a plan widely differing from that pursued before.
In the former deliberations on the subject, two courses, as we
have seen, presented themselves to the general. One was, to intrench
himself in the heart of the capital, and from this point carry on
hostilities; the other was the mode of proceeding hitherto followed.
Both were open to serious objections, which he hoped would be obviated
by the one now adopted. This was, to advance no step without
securing the entire safety of the army, not only on its immediate
retreat, but in its future inroads. Every breach in the causeway,
every canal in the streets, was to be filled up in so solid a
manner, that the work should not be again disturbed. The materials for
this were to be furnished by the buildings, every one of which, as the
army advanced, whether public or private, hut, temple, or palace,
was to be demolished! Not a building in their path was to be spared.
They were all indiscriminately to be levelled, until, in the
Conqueror's own language, "the water should be converted into dry
land," and a smooth and open ground be afforded for the manoeuvres
of the cavalry and artillery.
Cortes came to this terrible determination with great
difficulty. He sincerely desired to spare the city, "the most
beautiful thing in the world," as he enthusiastically styles it, and
which would have formed the most glorious trophy of his conquest. But,
in a place where every house was a fortress, and every street was
cut up by canals so embarrassing to his movements, experience proved
it was vain to think of doing so, and becoming master of it. There was
as little hope of a peaceful accommodation with the Aztecs, who, so
far from being broken by all they had hitherto endured, and the long
perspective of future woes, showed a spirit as haughty and
implacable as ever.
The general's intentions were learned by the Indian allies with
unbounded satisfaction; and they answered his call for aid by
thousands of pioneers, armed with their coas, or hoes of the
country, all testifying the greatest alacrity in helping on the work
of destruction. In a short time the breaches in the great causeways
were filled up so effectually that they were never again molested.
Cortes himself set the example by carrying stones and timber with. his
own hands. The buildings in the suburbs were then thoroughly levelled,
the canals were filled up with the rubbish, and a wide space around
the city was thrown open to the manoeuvres of the cavalry, who swept
over it free and unresisted. The Mexicans did not look with
indifference on these preparations to lay waste their town, and
leave them bare and unprotected against the enemy. They made incessant
efforts to impede the labours of the besiegers, but the latter,
under cover of their guns, which kept up an unintermitting fire, still
advanced in the work of desolation.
The gleam of fortune, which had so lately broken out on the
Mexicans, again disappeared; and the dark mist, after having been
raised for a moment, settled on the doomed capital more heavily than
before. Famine, with all her hideous train of woes, was making rapid
strides among its accumulated population. The stores provided for
the siege were exhausted. The casual supply of human victims, or
that obtained by some straggling pirogue from the neighbouring shores,
was too inconsiderable to be widely felt. Some forced a scanty
sustenance from a mucilaginous substance, gathered in small quantities
on the surface of the lake and canals. Others appeased the cravings of
appetite by devouring rats, lizards, and the like loathsome
reptiles, which had not yet deserted the starving city. Its days
seemed to be already numbered. But the page of history has many an
example, to show that there are no limits to the endurance of which
humanity is capable, when animated by hatred and despair.
With the sword thus suspended over it, the Spanish commander,
desirous to make one more effort to save the capital, persuaded
three Aztec nobles, taken in one of the late actions, to bear a
message from him to Guatemozin; though they undertook it with
reluctance, for fear of the consequences to themselves. Cortes told
the emperor, that all had now been done that brave men could do in
defence of their country. There remained no hope, no chance of
escape for the Mexicans. Their provisions were exhausted; their
communications were cut off; their vassals had deserted them; even
their gods had betrayed them. They stood alone, with the nations of
Anahuac banded against them. There was no hope, but in immediate
surrender. He besought the young monarch to take compassion on his
brave subjects, who were daily perishing before his eyes; and on the
fair city, whose stately buildings were fast crumbling into ruins.
"Return to the allegiance," he concludes, "which you once proffered to
the sovereign of Castile. The past shall be forgotten. The persons and
property- in short, all the rights of the Aztecs shall be respected.
You shall be confirmed in your authority, and Spain will once more
take your city under her protection."
The eye of the young monarch kindled, and his dark cheek flushed
with sudden anger, as he listened to proposals so humiliating. But,
though his bosom glowed with the fiery temper of the Indian, he had
the qualities of a "gentle cavalier," says one of his enemies, who
knew him well. He did no harm to the envoys; but, after the heat of
the moment had passed off, he gave the matter a calm consideration,
and called a council of his wise men and warriors to deliberate upon
it. Some were for accepting the proposals, as offering the only chance
of preservation. But the priests took a different view of the
matter. They knew that the ruin of their own order must follow the
triumph of Christianity. "Peace was good," they said, "but not with the
white men." They reminded Guatemozin of the fate of his uncle
Montezuma, and the requital he had met with for all his hospitality:
of the seizure and imprisonment of Cacama, the cacique of Tezcuco;
of the massacre of the nobles by Alvarado; of the insatiable avarice
of the invaders, which had stripped the country of its treasures; of
their profanation of the temples; of the injuries and insults which
they had heaped without measure on the people and their religion.
"Better," they said, "to trust in the promises of their own gods,
who had so long watched over the nation. Better, if need be, give up
our lives at once for our country, than drag them out in slavery and
suffering among the false strangers."
The eloquence of the priests, artfully touching the various wrongs
of his people, roused the hot blood of Guatemozin. "Since it is so," he
abruptly exclaimed, "let us think only of supplying the wants of the
people. Let no man, henceforth, who values his life, talk of
surrender. We can at least die like warriors."
The Spaniards waited two days for the answer to their embassy.
At length, it came in a general sortie of the Mexicans, who, pouring
through every gate of the capital, like a river that has burst its
banks, swept on, wave upon wave, to the very intrenchments of the
besiegers, threatening to overwhelm them by their numbers!
Fortunately, the position of the latter on the dikes secured their
flanks, and the narrowness of the defile gave their small battery of
guns all the advantages of a larger one. The fire of artillery and
musketry blazed without intermission along the several causeways,
belching forth volumes of sulphurous smoke, that, rolling heavily over
the waters, settled dark around the Indian city, and hid it from the
surrounding country. The brigantines thundered, at the same time. on
the flanks of the columns, which, after some ineffectual efforts to
maintain themselves, rolled back in wild confusion, till their
impotent fury died away in sullen murmurs within the capital.
Cortes now steadily pursued the plan he had laid down for the
devastation of the city. Day after day the several armies entered by
their respective quarters; Sandoval probably directing his
operations against the north-eastern district. The buildings made of
the porous tetzontli, though generally low, were so massy and
extensive, and the canals were so numerous, that their progress was
necessarily slow. They, however, gathered fresh accessions of strength
every day from the numbers who flocked to the camp from the
surrounding country, and who joined in the work of destruction with
a hearty good will, which showed their eagerness to break the detested
yoke of the Aztecs. The latter raged with impotent anger as they
beheld their lordly edifices, their temples, all they had been
accustomed to venerate, thus ruthlessly swept away; their canals,
constructed with so much labour, and what to them seemed science,
filled up with rubbish; their flourishing city, in short, turned
into a desert, over which the insulting foe now rode triumphant.
They heaped many a taunt on the Indian allies. "Go on," they said,
bitterly; "the more you destroy, the more you will have to build up
again hereafter. If we conquer, you shall build for us; and if your
white friends conquer, they will make you do as much for them." The
event justified the prediction.
The division of Cortes had now worked its way as far north as
the great street of Tacuba, which opened a communication with
Alvarado's camp, and near which stood the palace of Guatemozin. It was
a spacious stone pile, that might well be called a fortress. Though
deserted by its royal master, it was held by a strong body of
Aztecs, who made a temporary defence, but of little avail against
the battering enginery of the besiegers. It was soon set on fire,
and its crumbling walls were levelled in the dust, like those other
stately edifices of the capital, the boast and admiration of the
Aztecs, and some of the fairest fruits of their civilisation. "It
was a sad thing to witness their destruction," exclaims Cortes; "but
it was part of our plan of operations, and we had no alternative."
These operations had consumed several weeks, so that it was now
drawing towards the latter part of July. During this time, the
blockade had been maintained with the utmost rigour, and the
wretched inhabitants were suffering all the extremities of famine.
Some few stragglers were taken, from time to time, in the
neighbourhood of the Christian camp, whither they had wandered in
search of food. They were kindly treated by command of Cortes, who was
in hopes to induce others to follow their example, and thus to
afford a means of conciliating the inhabitants, which might open the
way to their submission. But few were found willing to leave the
shelter of the capital, and they preferred to take their chance with
their suffering countrymen, rather than trust themselves to the
mercies of the besiegers.
From these few stragglers, however, the Spaniards heard a dismal
tale of woe, respecting the crowded population in the interior of
the city. All the ordinary means of sustenance had long since
failed, and they now supported life as they could, by means of such
roots as they could dig from the earth, by gnawing the bark of
trees, by feeding on the grass,- on anything, in short, however
loathsome, that could allay the craving of appetite. Their only
drink was the brackish water of the soil, saturated with the salt
lake. Under this unwholesome diet, and the diseases engendered by
it, the population was gradually wasting away. Men sickened and died
every day, in all the excruciating torments produced by hunger, and
the wan and emaciated survivors seemed only to be waiting for their
The Spaniards had visible confirmation of all this, as they
penetrated deeper into the city, and approached the district of
Tlatelolco now occupied by the besieged. They found the ground
turned up in quest of roots and weeds, the trees stripped of their
green stems, their foliage, and their bark. Troops of famished Indians
flitted in the distance, gliding like ghosts among the scenes of their
former residence. Dead bodies lay unburied in the streets and
courtyards, or filled up the canals. It was a sure sign of the
extremity of the Aztecs; for they held the burial of the dead as a
solemn and imperative duty. In the early part of the siege, they had
religiously attended to it. In its later stages, they were still
careful to withdraw the dead from the public eye, by bringing their
remains within the houses. But the number of these, and their own
sufferings, had now so fearfully increased, that they had grown
indifferent to this, and they suffered their friends and their kinsmen
to lie and moulder on the spot where they drew their last breath!
As the invaders entered the dwellings, a more appalling
spectacle presented itself;- the floors covered with the prostrate
forms of the miserable inmates, some in the agonies of death, others
festering in their corruption; men, women, and children, inhaling
the poisonous atmosphere, and mingling promiscuously together;
mothers, with their infants in their arms perishing of hunger before
their eyes, while they were unable to afford them the nourishment of
nature; men crippled by their wounds, with their bodies frightfully
mangled, vainly attempting to crawl away, as the enemy entered. Yet,
even in this state, they scorned to ask for mercy, and glared on the
invaders with the sullen ferocity of the wounded tiger, that the
huntsmen have tracked to his forest cave. The Spanish commander issued
strict orders that mercy should be shown to these poor and disabled
victims. But the Indian allies made no distinction. An Aztec, under
whatever circumstances, was an enemy; and, with hideous shouts of
triumph, they pulled down the burning buildings on their heads,
consuming the living and the dead in one common funeral pile!
Yet the sufferings of the Aztecs, terrible as they were, did not
incline them to submission. There were many, indeed, who, from greater
strength of constitution, or from the more favourable circumstances in
which they were placed, still showed all their wonted energy of body
and mind, and maintained the same undaunted and resolute demeanour
as before. They fiercely rejected all the overtures of Cortes,
declaring they would rather die than surrender, and, adding with a
bitter tone of exultation, that the invaders would be at least
disappointed in their expectations of treasure, for it was buried
where they could never find it!
Cortes had now entered one of the great avenues leading to the
market-place of Tlatelolco, the quarter towards which the movements of
Alvarado were also directed. A single canal only lay in his way, but
this was of great width and stoutly defended by the Mexican archery.
At this crisis, the army one evening, while in their intrenchments
on the causeway, were surprised by an uncommon light, that arose
from the huge teocalli in that part of the city, which, being at the
north, was the most distant from their own position. This temple,
dedicated to the dread war-god, was inferior only to the pyramid in
the great square; and on it the Spaniards had more than once seen
their unhappy countrymen led to slaughter. They now supposed that
the enemy were employed in some of their diabolical ceremonies, when
the flame, mounting higher and higher, showed that the sanctuaries
themselves were on fire. A shout of exultation at the sight broke
forth from the assembled soldiers, as they assured one another that
their countrymen under Alvarado had got possession of the building.
It was indeed true. That gallant officer, whose position on the
western causeway placed him near the district of Tlatelolco, had
obeyed his commander's instructions to the letter, razing every
building to the ground in his progress, and filling up the ditches
with their ruins. He, at length, found himself before the great
teocalli in the neighbourhood of the market. He ordered a company,
under a cavalier named Gutierre de Badajoz, to storm the place,
which was defended by a body of warriors, mingled with priests,
still more wild and ferocious than the soldiery. The garrison, rushing
down the winding terraces, fell on the assailants with such fury, as
compelled them to retreat in confusion, and with some loss. Alvarado
ordered another detachment to their support. This last was engaged, at
the moment, with a body of Aztecs, who hung on its rear as it wound up
the galleries of the teocalli. Thus hemmed in between two enemies,
above and below, the position of the Spaniards was critical. With
sword and buckler, they plunged desperately on the ascending Mexicans,
and drove them into the courtyard below, where Alvarado plied them
with such lively volleys of musketry, as soon threw them into disorder
and compelled them to abandon the ground. Being thus rid of
annoyance in the rear, the Spaniards returned to the charge. They
drove the enemy up the heights of the pyramid, and, reaching the broad
summit, a fierce encounter followed in mid-air,- such an encounter
as takes place where death is the certain consequence of defeat. It
ended as usual, in the discomfiture of the Aztecs, who were either
slaughtered on the spot still wet with the blood of their own victims,
or pitched headlong down the sides of the pyramid.
The Spaniards completed their work by firing the sanctuaries, that
the place might be no more polluted by these abominable rites. The
flame crept slowly up the lofty pinnacles, in which stone was
mingled with wood, till, at length, bursting into one bright blaze, it
shot up its spiral volume to such a height, that it was seen from
the most distant quarters of the valley. It was this which had been
hailed by the soldiers of Cortes.
The commander-in-chief and his division, animated by the
spectacle, made, in their entrance on the following day, more
determined efforts to place themselves alongside of their companions
under Alvarado. The broad canal, above noticed as the only
impediment now lying in his way, was to be traversed; and on the
further side, the emaciated figures of the Aztec warriors were
gathered in numbers to dispute the passage. They poured down a storm
of missiles on the heads of the Indian labourers, while occupied
with filling up the wide gap with the ruins of the surrounding
buildings. Still they toiled on in defiance of the arrowy shower,
fresh numbers taking the place of those who fell. And when at length
the work was completed, the cavalry rode over the rough plain at
full charge against the enemy, followed by the deep array of spearmen,
who bore down all opposition with their invincible phalanx.
The Spaniards now found themselves on the same ground with
Alvarado's division. Soon afterwards that chief, attended by several
of his staff, rode into their lines, and cordially embraced his
countrymen and companions in arms, for the first time since the
beginning of the siege. They were now in the neighbourhood of the
market. Cortes, taking with him a few of his cavaliers, galloped
into it. It was a vast inclosure, as the reader has already seen,
covering many an acre. The flat roofs of the piazzas were now
covered with crowds of men and women, who gazed in silent dismay on
the steel-clad horsemen, that profaned these precincts with their
presence for the first time since their expulsion from the capital.
The multitude, composed for the most part, probably, of unarmed
citizens, seemed taken by surprise; at least, they made no show of
resistance; and the general, after leisurely viewing the ground, was
permitted to ride back unmolested to the army.
On arriving there, he ascended the teocalli, from which the
standard of Castile, supplanting the memorials of Aztec
superstition, was now triumphantly floating. The Conqueror, as he
strode among the smoking embers on the summit, calmly surveyed the
scene of desolation below. The palaces, the temples, the busy marts of
industry and trade, the glittering canals, covered with their rich
freights from the surrounding country, the royal pomp of groves and
gardens, all the splendours of the imperial city, the capital of the
Western World, for ever gone,- and in their place a barren wilderness!
How different the spectacle which the year before had met his eye,
as it wandered over the scenes from the heights of the neighbouring
teocalli, with Montezuma at his side! Seven-eighths of the city were
laid in ruins, with the occasional exception, perhaps, of some
colossal temple. The remaining eighth, comprehending the district of
Tlatelolco, was all that now remained to the Aztecs, whose population-
still large after all its losses- was crowded into a compass that
would hardly have afforded accommodation for a third of their numbers.
l. And yet the priests were not so much to blame, if, as Solís assures us, "the Devil went about very industriously in those days, insinuating into the ears of his flock, what he could not into their hearts." Conquista, lib. 5, cap. 22.
2. "Y teniamos necesidad antes de ser socorridos, que de dar socorro." Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 272.
3. "God knows," says the general, "the peril in which we all stood; pero como nos convenia mostrar mas esfuerzo y ánimo, que nunca, y morir peleando, disimulabamos nuestra flaqueza assí con los Amigos como con los Enemigos." Ibid., p. 275.
4. Tapia's force consisted of 10 horse and 80 foot; the chief alguacil, as Sandoval was styled, had 18 horse and 100 infantry. Ibid., loc. cit.--Also Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 26.
5. "Pólvora y Ballestas, de que teniamos muy estrema necesidad." (Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 278.) It was probably the expedition in which Ponce de Leon lost his life; an expedition to the very land which the chivalrous cavalier had himself first visited in quest of the Fountain of Health. The story is pleasantly told by Irving, as the reader may remember, in his "Companions of Columbus."
6. The calm and simple manner, in which the Conquistador, as usual, states this in his Commentaries, has something appalling in it from its very simplicity. "Acordé de tomar un medio para nuestra seguridad, y para poder mas estrechar á los Enemigos; y fué, que como fuessemos ganando por las Calles de la Ciudad, que fuessen derrocando todas las Casas de ellas, del un lado, y del otro; por manera, que no fuessemos un paso adelante, sin lo dejar todo asolado, y lo que era Agua, hacerlo Tierra-firme, aunque hobiesse toda la dilacion, que se pudiesse seguir." Rel. Terc., ap. Lorenzana, p. 279.
7. "Porque era la mas hermosa cosa del Mundo." Ibid., p. 278.
8. "Mas antes en el pelear, y en todos sus ardides, los hallabamos con mas ánimo, que nunca." Ibid., p. 279.
9. Yet we shall hardly credit the Tezcucan historians' assertion, that a hundred thousand Indians flocked to the camp for this purpose! "Viniesen todos los labradores con sus coas para este efecto con toda brevedad:..... llegáron mas de cien mil de ellos." Ixtlilxochitl, Venida de los Esp., p. 42.
10. Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 153.
11. Sahagun, who gathered the story from the actors, and from the aspect of the scene, before the devastation had been wholly repaired, writes with the animation of an eye-witness. "La guerra por agua y por tierra fué tan por fiada y tan sangrienta, que era espanto de verla, y no hay posibilidad, para decir las particularidades que pasaban; eran tan espesas las saetas, y dardos, y piedras, y palos, que se arrojavan los unos á los otros, que quitavan la claridad del sol; era tan grande la vocería, y grita, de hombres y mugeres, y niños que voceaban y lloraban, que era cosa de grima; era tan grande la polvareda, y ruido, en derrocar y quemar casas, y robar lo que en ellas habia, y cautivar niños y mugeres, que parecia un juicio." Hist. de Nueva Esp., MS., lib. 12, cap. 38.
12. The flesh of the Christians failed to afford them even the customary nourishment, since the Mexicans said it was intolerably bitter; a miracle, considered by Captain Diaz, as expressly wrought for this occasion. Ibid., cap. 153.
13. Ibid., ubi supra.
When dried in the sun, this slimy deposit had a flavor not unlike that of cheese, and formed part of the food of the poorer classes at all times, according to Clavigero. Stor. del Messico, tom. 2, p. 222.
14. Bernal Diaz, Ibid., cap. 154.
15. "Mas como el Guatemuz era mancebo, y muy gentil-hombre y de buena disposicion." Ibid., loc. cit.
16. "Mira primero lo que nuestros Dioses te han prometido, toma buen consejo sobre ello y no te fies de Malinche, ni de sus palabras, que mas vale que todos muramos en esta ciudad peleando, que no vernos en poder de quie nos harán esclauos, y nos atormentarán." Ibid., ubi supra.
17. "Y entonces el Guatemuz medio enojado les dixo: Pues assí quereis que sea guardad mucho el maiz, y bastimentos que tenemos, y muramos todos peleando: y desde aquí adelante ninguno sea osado á me demander pazes, si no yo le mataré: y allí todos prometiéron de pelear noches, y dias, y morir en la defensa de su ciudad." Ibid., ubi supra.
18. "Los de la Ciudad como veian tanto estrago, por esforzarse, decian á nuestros Amigos, que no ficiessen sino quemar, y destruir, que ellos se las harian tornar á hacer de nuevo, porque si ellos eran vencedores, ya ellos sabian, que habia de see assí, y si no, que las habian de hacer para nosotros." Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 286.
19. Ibid., pp. 282-284.--Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 1, cap. 22; lib. 2, cap. 2.--Gomara, Crónica, cap. 140.--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 28.--Ixtlilxochitl, Venida de los Esp., p. 43.
20. "No se entendió sino en que mar, y hallanar Casas, que era lástima cierto de lo ver; pero como no nos convenia hacer otra cosa, eramos forzado seguir aquella órden." Ibid., p. 286.
21. "No tenian agua dulce para beber, ni para de ninguna manera de comer; bebian del agua salada y hedionda, comian ratones y lagartijas, y cortezas de árboles, y otras cosas no comestibles; y de esta causa enfermáron muchos, y muriéron muchos." Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva Esp., MS., lib. 12, cap. 39.--Also Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 289.
22. "Y es verdad y juro amen, que toda la laguna, y casas, y barbacoas estauan llenas de cuerpos, y cabeças de hombres muertos, que yo no sé de que manera lo escriua." (Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 156.) Clavigero considers that it was a scheme of the Mexicans to leave the dead unburied, in order that the stench might annoy and drive off the Spaniards. (Stor. del Messico, tom. III. p. 231, nota.) But this policy would have operated much more to the detriment of the besieged than of the besiegers, whose presence in the capital was but transitory. It is much more natural to refer it to the same cause which has led to a similar conduct under similar circumstances elsewhere, whether occasioned by pestilence or famine.
23. Gonzalo de las Casas, Defensa, MS., cap. 28.--Martyr, De Orbe Novo, dec. 5, cap. 8.--Ixtlilxochitl, Venida de los Esp., p. 45.--Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 289.--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 29.
24. "Muchas cosas acaeciéron en este cerco, que entre otras generaciones estobieran discantadas é tenidas en mucho, en especial de las Mugeres de Temixtitan, de quien ninguna mencion se ha fecho. Y soy certificado, que fué cosa maravillosa y para espantar, ver la prontitud y constancia que tobiéron en servir á sus maridos, y en curar los heridos, é en el labrar de las piedras para los que tiraban con hondas, é en otros oficios para mas que mugeres." Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 48.
25. Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 29.--Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 155.--Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, pp. 287-289.
26. Ante, p. 328.
The tianguez still continued of great dimensions, though with faded magnificence, after the Conquest, when it is thus noticed by father Sahagun. "Entráron en la plaza ó Tianguez de este Tlaltilulco (lugar muy espacioso mucho mas de lo que ahora es) el cual se podia llamar emporio de toda esta nueva España: al cual venian á tratar gentes de toda esta nueva España, y aun de los Reinos a ella contiguos, y donde se vendian y compraban todas cuantas cosas hay en toda esta tierra, y en los Reinos de Quahtimalla y Xalisco, (cosa cierto mucho de ver,) yo lo ví por muchos años morando en esta Casa del Señor Santiago, aunque ya no era tanto como antes de la Conquista." Hist. de Nueva Esp., MS., lib. 12, cap. 37.
27. "É yo miré dende aquella Torre, lo que teniamos ganado de la Ciudad, que sin duda de ocho partes teniamos ganado las siete." Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 289.
28. Toribio, Hist. de los Ind., MS., Parte 3, cap. 7.
The remains of the ancient foundations may still be discerned in this quarter, while in every other etiam peri234;re ruinœ!
29. Bustamante, the Mexican editor of Sahagun, mentions that he has now in his possession several of these military spoils. "Toda la llanura del Santuario de nuestra Señor de los Ángeles y de Santiago Tlaltilolco se ve sembrada de fragmentos de lanzas cortantes, de macanas, y flechas de piedra obsidiana, de que usaban los Mexicanos ó sea Chinapos, y yo he recogido no pocos que conservo en mi poder." Hist. de Nueva Esp., lib. 12, nota 21.
30. "Y como comenzó á arder, levantóse una llama tan alta que parecia llegar al cielo, al espectáculo de esta quema, todos los hombres y mugeres que se habian acogido á las tiendas que cercaban todo el Tianguez comenzáron á llorar á voz en grito, que fué cosa de espanto oirlos; porque quemado aquel delubro satánico luego entendiéron que habian de ser del todo destruidos y robados." Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva Esp., MS., lib. 12, cap. 37.
31. Vestiges of the work are still visible, according to M. de Humboldt, within the limits of the porch of the chapel of St. Jago. Essai Politique, tom. II. p. 44.
32. Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 155.--Rel. Terc. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 290.--Sahagun, Hist. de Nueva España, MS., lib. 12, cap. 37.
BACK | FORWARD