Chapter III 
ANXIETY OF CORTES- SEIZURE OF MONTEZUMA-
HIS TREATMENT BY THE SPANIARDS- EXECUTION OF HIS OFFICERS-
MONTEZUMA IN IRONS- REFLECTIONS
THE Spaniards had been now a week in Mexico. During this time,
they had experienced the most friendly treatment from the emperor. But
the mind of Cortes was far from easy. He felt that it was quite
uncertain how long this amiable temper would last. A hundred
circumstances might occur to change it. He might very naturally feel
the maintenance of so large a body too burdensome on his treasury. The
people of the capital might become dissatisfied at the presence of
so numerous an armed force within their walls. Many causes of
disgust might arise betwixt the soldiers and the citizens. Indeed,
it was scarcely possible that a rude, licentious soldiery, like the
Spaniards, could be long kept in subjection without active employment.
The danger was even greater with the Tlascalans, a fierce race now
brought into daily contact with the nation who held them in loathing
and detestation. Rumours were already rife among the allies, whether
well-founded or not, of murmurs among the Mexicans, accompanied by
menaces of raising the bridges.
Even should the Spaniards be allowed to occupy their present
quarters unmolested, it was not advancing the great object of the
expedition. Cortes was not a whit nearer gaining the capital, so
essential to his meditated subjugation of the country; and any day
he might receive tidings that the Crown, or, what he most feared,
the governor of Cuba, had sent a force of superior strength to wrest
from him a conquest but half achieved. Disturbed by these anxious
reflections, he resolved to extricate himself from his embarrassment
by one bold stroke. But he first submitted the affair to a council
of the officers in whom he most confided, desirous to divide with them
the responsibility of the act, and no doubt, to interest them more
heartily in its execution, by making it in some measure the result
of their combined judgments.
When the general had briefly stated the embarrassments of their
position, the council was divided in opinion. All admitted the
necessity of some instant action. One party were for retiring secretly
from the city, and getting beyond the causeways before their march
could be intercepted. Another advised that it should be done openly,
with the knowledge of the emperor, of whose good will they had had
so many proofs. But both these measures seemed alike impolitic. A
retreat under these circumstances, and so abruptly made, would have
the air of a flight. It would be construed into distrust of
themselves; and anything like timidity on their part would be sure not
only to bring on them the Mexicans, but the contempt of their
allies, who would, doubtless, join in the general cry.
As to Montezuma, what reliance could they place on the
protection of a prince so recently their enemy, and who, in his
altered bearing, must have taken counsel of his fears rather than
Even should they succeed in reaching the coast, their situation
would be little better. It would be proclaiming to the world that,
after all their lofty vaunts, they were unequal to the enterprise.
Their only hopes of their sovereign's favour, and of pardon for
their irregular proceedings, were founded on success. Hitherto, they
had only made the discovery of Mexico; to retreat would be to leave
conquest and the fruits of it to another.- In short, to stay and to
retreat seemed equally disastrous.
In this perplexity, Cortes proposed an expedient, which none but
the most daring spirit, in the most desperate extremity, would have
conceived. This was, to march to the royal palace, and bring Montezuma
to the Spanish quarters, by fair means if they could persuade him,
by force if necessary,- at all events, to get possession of his
person. With such a pledge, the Spaniards would be secure from the
assault of the Mexicans, afraid by acts of violence to compromise
the safety of their prince. If he came by his own consent, they
would be deprived of all apology for doing so. As long as the
emperor remained among the Spaniards, it would be easy, by allowing
him a show of sovereignty, to rule in his name, until they had taken
measures for securing their safety, and the success of their
enterprise. The idea of employing a sovereign as a tool for the
government of his own kingdom, if a new one in the age of Cortes, is
certainly not so in ours.
A plausible pretext for the seizure of the hospitable monarch- for
the most barefaced action seeks to veil itself under some show of
decency- was afforded by a circumstance of which Cortes had received
intelligence at Cholula. He had left, as we have seen, a faithful
officer, Juan de Escalante, with a hundred and fifty men in garrison
at Vera Cruz, on his departure for the capital. He had not been long
absent, when his lieutenant received a message from an Aztec chief
named Quauhpopoca, governor of a district to the north of the
Spanish settlement, declaring his desire to come in person and
tender his allegiance to the Spanish authorities at Vera Cruz. He
requested that four of the white men might be sent to protect him
against certain unfriendly tribes through which his road lay. This was
not an uncommon request, and excited no suspicion in Escalante. The
four soldiers were sent; and on their arrival two of them were
murdered by the false Aztec. The other two made their way back to
The commander marched at once, with fifty of his men, and
several thousand Indian allies, to take vengeance on the cacique. A
pitched battle followed. The allies fled from the redoubted
Mexicans. The few Spaniards stood firm, and with the aid of the
firearms and the blessed Virgin, who was distinctly seen hovering over
their ranks in the van, they made good the field against the enemy. It
cost them dear, however, since seven or eight Christians were slain,
and among them the gallant Escalante himself, who died of his injuries
soon after his return to the fort. The Indian prisoners captured in
the battle spoke of the whole proceeding as having taken place at
the instigation of Montezuma.
One of the Spaniards fell into the hands of the natives, but
soon after perished of his wounds. His head was cut off and sent to
the Aztec emperor. It was uncommonly large and covered with hair; and,
as Montezuma gazed on the ferocious features, rendered more horrible
by death, he seemed to read in them the dark lineaments of the
destined destroyers of his house. He turned from it with a shudder,
and commanded that it should be taken from the city, and not offered
at the shrine of any of his gods.
Although Cortes had received intelligence of this disaster at
Cholula, he had concealed it within his own breast, or communicated it
to very few only of his most trusty officers, from apprehension of the
ill effect it might have on the spirits of the common soldiers.
The cavaliers whom Cortes now summoned to the council were men
of the same mettle with their leader. Their bold chivalrous spirit
seemed to court danger for its own sake. If one or two, less
adventurous, were startled by the proposal he made, they were soon
overruled by the others, who, no doubt, considered that a desperate
disease required as desperate a remedy.
That night, Cortes was heard pacing his apartment to and fro, like
a man oppressed by thought, or agitated by strong emotion. He may have
been ripening in his mind the daring scheme for the morrow. In the
morning the soldiers heard mass as usual, and Father Olmedo invoked
the blessing of Heaven on their hazardous enterprise. Whatever might
be the cause in which he was embarked, the heart of the Spaniard was
cheered with the conviction that the Saints were on his side.
Having asked an audience from Montezuma, which was readily
granted, the general made the necessary arrangements for his
enterprise. The principal part of his force was drawn up in the
courtyard, and he stationed a considerable detachment in the avenues
leading to the palace, to cheek any attempt at rescue by the populace.
He ordered twenty-five or thirty of the soldiers to drop in at the
palace, as if by accident, in groups of three or four at a time, while
the conference was going on with Montezuma. He selected five
cavaliers, in whose courage and coolness he placed most trust, to bear
him company; Pedro de Alvarado, Gonzalo de Sandoval, Francisco de
Lugo, Velasquez de Leon, and Alonso de Avila,- brilliant names in
the annals of the Conquest. All were clad, as well as the common
soldiers, in complete armour, a circumstance of too familiar
occurrence to excite suspicion.
The little party were graciously received by the emperor, who
soon, with the aid of the interpreters, became interested in a
sportive conversation with the Spaniards, while he indulged his
natural munificence by giving them presents of gold and jewels. He
paid the Spanish general the particular compliment of offering him one
of his daughters as his wife; an honour which the latter
respectfully declined, on the ground that he was already
accommodated with one in Cuba, and that his religion forbade a
When Cortes perceived that a sufficient number of his soldiers
were assembled, he changed his playful manner, and with a serious tone
briefly acquainted Montezuma with the treacherous proceedings in the
tierra caliente, and the accusation of him as their author. The
emperor listened to the charge with surprise; and disavowed the act,
which he said could only have been imputed to him by his enemies.
Cortes expressed his belief in his declaration, but added, that, to
prove it true, it would be necessary to send for Quauhpopoca and his
accomplices, that they might be examined and dealt with according to
their deserts. To this Montezuma made no objection. Taking from his
wrist, to which it was attached, a precious stone, the royal signet,
on which was cut the figure of the war-god, he gave it to one of his
nobles, with orders to show it to the Aztec governor, and require
his instant presence in the capital, together with all those who had
been accessory to the murder of the Spaniards. If he resisted, the
officer was empowered to call in the aid of the neighbouring towns
to enforce the mandate.
When the messenger had gone, Cortes assured the monarch that
this prompt compliance with his request convinced him of his
innocence. But it was important that his own sovereign should be
equally convinced of it. Nothing would promote this so much as for
Montezuma to transfer his residence to the palace occupied by the
Spaniards, till on the arrival of Quauhpopoca the affair could be
fully investigated. Such an act of condescension would, of itself,
show a personal regard for the Spaniards, incompatible with the base
conduct alleged against him, and would fully absolve him from all
Montezuma listened to this proposal, and the flimsy reasoning with
which it was covered, with looks of profound amazement. He became pale
as death; but in a moment his face flushed with resentment, as with
the pride of offended dignity, he exclaimed, "Men was it ever heard
that a great prince, like myself, voluntarily left his own palace to
become a prisoner in the hands of strangers!"
Cortes assured him he would not go as a prisoner. He would
experience nothing but respectful treatment from the Spaniards;
would be surrounded by his own household, and hold intercourse with
his people as usual. In short, it would be but a change of
residence, from one of his palaces to another, a circumstance of
frequent occurrence with him.- It was in vain. "If I should consent to
such a degradation," he answered, "my subjects never would!" When
further pressed, he offered to give up one of his sons and of his
daughters to remain as hostages with the Spaniards, so that he might
be spared this disgrace.
Two hours passed in this fruitless discussion, till a high-mettled
cavalier, Velasquez de Leon, impatient of the long delay, and seeing
that the attempt, if not the deed, must ruin them, cried out, "Why
do we waste words on this barbarian? We have gone too far to recede
now. Let us seize him, and, if he resists, plunge our swords into
his body!" The fierce tone and menacing gestures with which this was
uttered alarmed the monarch, who inquired of Marina what the angry
Spaniard said. The interpreter explained it in as gentle a manner as
she could, beseeching him "to accompany the white men to their
quarters, where he would be treated with all respect and kindness,
while to refuse them would but expose himself to violence, perhaps
to death." Marina, doubtless, spoke to her sovereign as she thought,
and no one had better opportunity of knowing the truth than herself.
This last appeal shook the resolution of Montezuma. It was in vain
that the unhappy prince looked around for sympathy or support. As
his eyes wandered over the stern visages and iron forms of the
Spaniards, he felt that his hour was indeed come; and, with a voice
scarcely audible from emotion, he consented to accompany the
strangers,- to quit the palace, whither he was never more to return.
Had he possessed the spirit of the first Montezuma, he would have
called his guards around him, and left his life-blood on the
threshold, sooner than have been dragged a dishonoured captive
across it. But his courage sank under circumstances. He felt he was
the instrument of an irresistible Fate!
No sooner had the Spaniards got his consent, than orders were
given for the royal litter. The nobles, who bore and attended it,
could scarcely believe their senses, when they learned their
master's purpose. But pride now came to Montezuma's aid, and, since he
must go, he preferred that it should appear to be with his own
free-will. As the royal retinue, escorted by the Spaniards, marched
through the street with downcast eyes and dejected mien, the people
assembled in crowds, and a rumour ran among them, that the emperor was
carried off by force to the quarters of the white men. A tumult
would have soon arisen but for the intervention of Montezuma
himself, who called out to the people to disperse, as he was
visiting his friends of his own accord; thus sealing his ignominy by a
declaration which deprived his subjects of the only excuse for
resistance. On reaching the quarters, he sent out his nobles with
similar assurances to the mob, and renewed orders to return to their
He was received with ostentatious respect by the Spaniards, and
selected the suite of apartments which best pleased him. They were
soon furnished with fine cotton tapestries, feather-work, and all
the elegances of Indian upholstery. He was attended by such of his
household as he chose, his wives and his pages, and was served with
his usual pomp and luxury at his meals. He gave audience, as in his
own palace, to his subjects, who were admitted to his presence, few,
indeed, at a time, under the pretext of greater order and decorum.
From the Spaniards themselves he met with a formal deference. No
one, not even the general himself, approached him without doffing
his casque, and rendering the obeisance due to his rank. Nor did
they ever sit in his presence, without being invited by him to do so.
With all this studied ceremony and show of homage, there was one
circumstance which too clearly proclaimed to his people that their
sovereign was a prisoner. In the front of the palace a patrol of sixty
men was established, and the same number in the rear. Twenty of each
corps mounted guard at once, maintaining a careful watch day and
night. Another body, under command of Velasquez de Leon, was stationed
in the royal antechamber. Cortes punished any departure from duty,
or relaxation of vigilance, in these sentinels, with the utmost
severity. He felt, as, indeed, every Spaniard must have felt, that the
escape of the emperor now would be their ruin. Yet the task of this
unintermitting watch sorely added to their fatigues. "Better this
dog of a king should die," cried a soldier one day, "than that we
should wear out our lives in this manner." The words were uttered in
the hearing of Montezuma, who gathered something of their import,
and the offender was severely chastised by order of the general.
Such instances of disrespect, however, were very rare. Indeed, the
amiable deportment of the monarch, who seemed to take pleasure in
the society of his jailers, and who never allowed a favour or
attention from the meanest soldier to go unrequited, inspired the
Spaniards with as much attachment as they were capable of feeling- for
Things were in this posture, when the arrival of Quauhpopoca
from the coast was announced. He was accompanied by his son and
fifteen Aztec chiefs. He had travelled all the way, borne, as became
his high rank, in a litter. On entering Montezuma's presence, he threw
over his dress the coarse robe of nequen, and made the usual
humiliating acts of obeisance. The poor parade of courtly ceremony was
the more striking when placed in contrast with the actual condition of
The Aztec governor was coldly received by his master, who referred
the affair (had he the power to do otherwise?) to the examination of
Cortes. It was, doubtless, conducted in a sufficiently summary manner.
To the general's query, whether the cacique was the subject of
Montezuma, he replied, "And what other sovereign could I serve?"
Implying that his sway was universal. He did not deny his share in the
transaction, nor did he seek to shelter himself under the royal
authority, till sentence of death was passed on him and his followers,
when they all laid the blame of their proceedings on Montezuma. They
were condemned to be burnt alive in the area before the palace. The
funeral piles were made of heaps of arrows, javelins, and other
weapons, drawn by the emperor's permission from the arsenals round the
great teocalli, where they had been stored to supply means of
defence in times of civic tumult or insurrection. By this politic
precaution, Cortes proposed to remove a ready means of annoyance in
case of hostilities with the citizens.
To crown the whole of these extraordinary proceedings, Cortes,
while preparations for the execution were going on, entered the
emperor's apartment, attended by a soldier bearing fetters in his
hands. With a severe aspect, he charged the monarch with being the
original contriver of the violence offered to the Spaniards, as was
now proved by the declaration of his own instruments. Such a crime,
which merited death in a subject, could not be atoned for, even by a
sovereign, without some punishment. So saying, he ordered the
soldier to fasten the fetters on Montezuma's ankles. He coolly
waited till it was done; then, turning his back on the monarch,
quitted the room.
Montezuma was speechless under the infliction of this last insult.
He was like one struck down by a heavy blow, that deprives him of
all his faculties. He offered no resistance. But, though he spoke
not a word, low, ill-suppressed moans, from time to time, intimated
the anguish of his spirit. His attendants, bathed in tears, offered
him their consolations. They tenderly held his feet in their arms, and
endeavoured, by inserting their shawls and mantles, to relieve them
from the pressure of the iron. But they could not reach the iron which
had penetrated into his soul. He felt that he was no more a king.
Meanwhile, the execution of the dreadful doom was going forward in
the courtyard. The whole Spanish force was under arms, to check any
interruption that might be offered by the Mexicans. But none was
attempted. The populace gazed in silent wonder, regarding it as the
sentence of the emperor. The manner of the execution, too, excited
less surprise, from their familiarity with similar spectacles,
aggravated, indeed, by additional horrors, in their own diabolical
sacrifices. The Aztec lord and his companions, bound hand and foot
to the blazing piles, submitted without a cry or a complaint to
their terrible fate. Passive fortitude is the virtue of the Indian
warriors; and it was the glory of the Aztec, as of the other races
on the North American continent, to show how the spirit of the brave
man may triumph over torture and the agonies of death.
When the dismal tragedy was ended, Cortes re-entered Montezuma's
apartment. Kneeling down, he unclasped his shackles with his own hand,
expressing at the same time his regret that so disagreeable a duty
as that of subjecting him to such a punishment had been imposed on
him. This last indignity had entirely crushed the spirit of Montezuma;
and the monarch, whose frown, but a week since, would have made the
nations of Anahuac tremble to their remotest borders, was now craven
enough to thank his deliverer for his freedom, as for a great and
Not long after, the Spanish general, conceiving that his royal
captive was sufficiently humbled, expressed his willingness that he
should return, if he inclined, to his own palace. Montezuma declined
it; alleging, it is said, that his nobles had more than once
importuned him to resent his injuries by taking arms against the
Spaniards; and that, were he in the midst of them, it would be
difficult to avoid it, or to save his capital from bloodshed and
anarchy. The reason did honour to his heart, if it was the one which
influenced him. It is probable that he did not care to trust his
safety to those haughty and ferocious chieftains who had witnessed the
degradation of their master, and must despise his pusillanimity, as
a thing unprecedented in an Aztec monarch.
Whatever were his reasons, it is certain that he declined the
offer; and the general, in a well-feigned, or real ecstasy, embraced
him, declaring "that he loved him as a brother, and that every
Spaniard would be zealously devoted to his interests, since he had
shown himself so mindful of theirs!" Honeyed words, "which," says
the shrewd old chronicler who was present, "Montezuma was wise
enough to know the worth of."
The events recorded in this chapter are certainly some of the most
extraordinary on the page of history. That a small body of men, like
the Spaniards, should have entered the palace of a mighty prince, have
seized his person in the midst of his vassals, have borne him off a
captive to their quarters,- that they should have put to an
ignominious death before his face his high officers, for executing
probably his own commands, and have crowned the whole by putting the
monarch in irons like a common malefactor,- that this should have been
done, not to a drivelling dotard in the decay of his fortunes, but
to a proud monarch in the plenitude of his power, in the very heart of
his capital, surrounded by thousands and tens of thousands who
trembled at his nod, and would have poured out their blood like
water in his defence,- that all this should have been done by a mere
handful of adventurers, is a thing too extravagant, altogether too
improbable, for the pages of romance! It is, nevertheless, literally
1. "Los Españoles," says Cortés frankly, of his countrymen, "somos algo incomportables, é importunos." Rel. Seg., ap. Lorenzana, p. 84.
2. Gomara, Crónica, cap. 83.
There is reason to doubt the truth of these stories. "Segun una carta original que tengo en mi poder firmada de las tres cabezas de la Nueva España en donde escriben á la Magestad del Emperador Nuestro Señor (que Dios tenga en su Santo Reyno) disculpan en ella á Motecuhzoma y á los Mexicanos de esto, y de lo demas que se les argulló, que lo cierto era que fué invencion de los Tlascaltecas, y de algunos de los Españoles que veian la hora de salirse de miedo de la Ciudad, y poner en cobro innumerables riquezas que habian venido á sus manos." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 85.
3. Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 84.--Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 85.--P. Martyr, De Orbe Novo, dec. 5, cap. 3.--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 6.
Bernal Diaz gives a very different report of this matter. According to him, a number of officers and soldiers, of whom he was one, suggested the capture of Montezuma to the general, who came into the plan with hesitation. (Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 93.) This is contrary to the character of Cortés, who was a man to lead, not to be led, on such occasions. It is contrary to the general report of historians, though these, it must be confessed, are mainly built on the general's narrative. It is contrary to anterior probability; since, if the conception seems almost too desperate to have seriously entered into the head of any one man, how much more improbable is it, that it should have originated with a number! Lastly, it is contrary to the positive written statement of Cortés to the Emperor, publicly known and circulated, confirmed in print by his chaplain, Gomara, and all this when the thing was fresh, and when the parties interested were alive to contradict it. We cannot but think that the captain here, as in the case of the burning of the ships, assumes rather more for himself and his comrades, than the facts will strictly warrant; an oversight, for which the lapse of half a century--to say nothing of his avowed anxiety to show up the claims of the latter--may furnish some apology.
4. Even Gomara has the candor to style it a "pretext"--achaque. Crónica, cap. 83.
5. Bernal Diaz states the affair, also, differently. According to him, the Aztec governor was enforcing the payment of the customary tribute from the Totonacs, when Escalante, interfering to protect his allies, now subjects of Spain, was slain in an action with the enemy. (Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 93.) Cortés had the best means of knowing the facts, and wrote at the time. He does not usually shrink from avowing his policy, however severe, towards the natives; and I have thought it fair to give him the benefit of his own version of the story.
6. Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 5.--Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, pp. 83, 84.
The apparition of the Virgin was seen only by the Aztecs, who, it is true, had to make out the best case for their defeat they could to Montezuma; a suspicious circumstance, which, however, did not stagger the Spaniards. "Y ciertamente, todos los soldados que passámos con Cortés tenemos muy creido, è assí es verdad, que la misericordia diuina, y Nuestra Señora la Virgen Maria siempre era con nosotros." Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 94.
7. "Pase#243;se vn gran rato solo, i cuidadoso de aquel gran hecho, que emprendia, i que aun á é1 mesmo le parecia temerario, pero necesario para su intento, andando." Gomara, Crónica, cap. 83.
8. Diaz says, they were at prayer all night. "Toda la noche estuuimos en oracion con el Padre de la Merced, rogando á Dios que fuesse de tal modo, que redundasse para su santo servicio." Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95.
9. According to Ixtlilxochitl, it was his own portrait. "Se quitó del brazo una rica piedra, donde está esculpido su rostro (que era lo mismo que un sello Real)." Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 85.
10. Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 86.
11. "Quando Io lo consintiera, los mios no pasarian por ello." Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS, cap. 85.
12 "¿Que haze v. m. ya con tantas palabras? Ó le lleuemos preso, ó le darémos de estocadas, por esso tornadle á dezir, que si da vozes, ó haze alboroto, que le mataréis, porque mas vale que desta vez asseguremos nuestras vidas, ó las perdamos." Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95.
13. Oviedo has some doubts whether Montezuma's conduct is to be viewed as pusillanimous or as prudent. "Al coronista le parece, segun lo que se puede colegir de esta materia, que Montezuma era, ó mui falto de ánimo, ó pusilánimo, ó mui prudente, aunque en muchas cosas, los que le viéron lo loan de mui señor y mui liberal; y en sus razonamientos mostraba ser de buen juicio." He strikes the balance, however, in favor of pusillanimity. "Un Principe tan grande como Montezuma no se habia de dexar incurrir en tales términos, ni consentir set detenido de tan poco número de Españoles, ni de otra generacion alguna; mas como Dios tiene ordenado lo que ha de ser, ninguno puede huir de so juicio." Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 6.
14. The story of the seizure of Montezuma may be found, with the usual discrepancies in the details, in Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, pp. 84-86,--Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95,--Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chich., MS., cap. 85,--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 6,--Gomara, Crónica, cap. 83,--Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 2, lib. 8, cap. 2, 3,--Martyr, De Orbe Novo, dec. 5, cap. 3.
15. "Siempre que ante él passauamos, y aunque fuesse Cortés, le quitauamos los bonetes de armas ó cascos, que siempre estauamos armados, y él nos hazia gran mesura, y honra á todos...... Digo que no se sentauan Cortés, ni ningun Capitan, hasta que el Monteñuma les mandaua dar sus assentaderos ricos, y les mandaua assentar." Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95, 100.
16. Herrera, Hist General, dec. 2, lib. 8, cap. 3.
17. On one occasion, three soldiers, who left their posts without orders, were sentenced to run the gantlet,--a punishment little short of death. Ibid., ubi supra.
18. Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 97.
19. "Y despues que confesáron haber muerto los Españoles, les hice interrogar si ellos eran Vasallos de Muteczuma? Y el dicho Qualpopoca respondió, que si habia otro Señor, de quien pudiesse serlo? casi diciendo, que no habia otro, y que si eran." Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 87.
20. "É assimismo les pregunté, si lo que allí se habia hecho si habia sido por su mandado? y dijéron que no, aunque despues, al tiempo que en ellos se executó la sentencia, que fuessen quemados, todos á una voz dijéron, que era verdad que el dicho Muteczuma se lo habia embiado á mandar, y que por su mandado lo habian hecho." Ibid., loc. cit.
21. Gomara, Crónica, cap. 89.--Oviedo, Hist. de las Ind., MS., lib. 33, cap. 6.--Bernal Diaz, Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95.
One may doubt whether pity or contempt predominates in Martyr's notice of this event. "Infelix tunc Muteczuma re adeo noua perculsus, formidine repletur, decidit animo, neque iam erigere caput audet, aut suorum auxilia implorare. Ille vero pœnam se meruisse fassus est, vti agnus mitis. Æquo anima pati videtur has regulas grammaticalibus duriores, imberbibus pueris dictatas, omnia placide fert, tie seditio ciuium et procerum oriatur." De Orbe Novo, dec. 5, cap. 3.
22. Rel. Seg. de Cortés, ap. Lorenzana, p. 88.
23. Bernal Diaz, Ibid., ubi supra.
24. Archbishop Lorenzana, as late as the close of the last century, finds good Scripture warrant for the proceeding of the Spaniards. "Fué grande prudencia, y Arte militar haber asegurado á el Emperador, porque sino quedaban expuestos Hernan Cortés, y sus soldados á perecer á traycion, y teniendo seguro á el Emperador se aseguraba á sí mismo, pues los Españoles no se confian ligeramente: Jonathas fué muerto, y sorprendido por haberse confiado de Triphon." Rel. Seg. de Cortés, p. 84, nota.
25. See Puffendorf, De Jure Naturæ et Gentium, lib. 8, cap. 6, sec. 10.--Vattel, Law of Nations, book 3, chap. 8, sec. 141.
26. "Osar quemar sus Capitanes delante de sus Palacios, y echalle grillos entre tanto que se hazia la Justicia, que muchas vezes aora que soy viejo me paro á considerar las cosas heroicas que en aquel tiempo passámos, que me parece las veo presentes: Y digo que nuestros hechos, quo no los haziamos nosotros, sino que venian todos encaminados por Dios...... Porque ay mucho que ponderar en ello." Hist. de la Conquista, cap. 95.