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banner of Gonsalvo de Cordova. Receiving a small outfit, he joined his kinsman, Ovando, in St. Domingo; and when an expedition was fitted out for the conquest of Cuba, in 1511, accompanied it. Here, after the subjugation of the island, he met with a sister of Velasquez, and attained no small prosperity as an agriculturalist. Velasquez, however, became ultimately jealous of Cortes, but was unable to detain him from his projected expedition, or to damp his energies in its pursuit. The feeling of Cortes, in setting out on this expedition into Paypim Land, was precisely that entertained by the “preux chevaliers," in the times of the crusade. It was, he considered, his vocation to compel the Heathen to embrace Christianity. As for nice points of casuistry or theology-on these Cortes troubled not his brain, nor that of his converts. There is but one God and Saviour -Charles the Emperor is his best Catholic servant, and I am his subject, might form his short confession. The conversions of Cortes and Mahomet are not very dissimilar—for the sword was the instrument by which both proselyted to the crescent or the cross. True is it that Cortes proselyted to truth—Mahomet to error; but the judgment, whether of Indian or Arab, was probably as little called into question by the one as the other. Cortes set out with this motto :: -“ Friends, let us follow the banner of the cross; and, if we have faith in that standard, we shall conquer.” With this, invoking St. Peter, his patron saint, he sailed, on the 18th of February, 1519. Nor did Cortes show himself, from first to last, other than a stout defender of what he understood to be Catholic principles. He certainly was the most daring Iconoclast that ever lived. Before him Knox dwindles into nothing-for he simply broke the images, when the people were convinced of their futility, and when he held a force strong enough to support him ;—but Cortes, from first to last, from the first small island which he made, to Mexico, where he was beleaguered with millions, showed idolatry no quarter. It is true his saints, Virgin Mary and crucifixes, formed a species of “Revanche;" but he seems to have met this question always with unwincing earnestness.

Yet when we consider the Indian wonderment at the fire-arms and the horses, we need not feel surprised if Cortes assume the ancient position occupied by a Bacchus or a Hercules. The simple people, hearing the horses neigh, inquired what it meant; being told that the animals were offended with them for fighting against them, they begged their horses' pardon, and gave them roses and Turkey hens to eat. It was at Vera Cruz that Cortes landed for his conquest, and singular to say, on a Good Friday.

His victory at Tabasco over the Indians was accompanied by the fortunate result of a deputation reaching him from another city, Cempoal, petitioning for his aid against the Mexican ruler, Muteczuma. Cortes immediately formed the grand idea of subjugating the Mexicans to the Spanish Government. Cempoal is described as containing 60,000 inhabitants, and the Spaniards called it a second Seville. The Cacique of this place complained bitterly of Muteczuma, and raised the cupidity of the Spaniards by his descriptions of the magnificence of Mexico, the capital of Muteczuma. After settling the first Spanish Colony, Vera Cruz, Cortes set out on his expedition against that city. At Cempoal, Cortes, after admonishing the Cacique on his idolatry, and unsuccessfully, ordered his soldiers to enter the temples and demolish the idols. This was at first violently resisted, but Cortes having seized the Cacique himself, and four of the priests, compelled them to calm the insurgents, and then ordered the priests themselves to burn the broken idols. Thus did Cortes extinguish idolatry in Cempoal. From this point we follow the course of Cortes by the letters. From Cempoal he set out with 15 horse and 300 infantry to conquer Mexico. He left in Vera Cruz 150 men and 2 horses, and the whole province of Cempoal in perfect peace and security, containing 50,000 warriors, 50 towns and fortresses, all subjects of his Most Catholic Majesty Charles V. He had previously stranded his ships, and thereby cut off all hopes of retreat. Levying gold and provisions, “ en route," Cortez wended his way. His first step into the enemy's quarters was at Sienchimalen, four days' journey from Cempoal. Here Cortes assured the Cacique that the Emperor possessed some knowledge of Muteczuma, as he writes the name of the Mexican ruler, it was certainly a rather distant acquaintance,and had ordered him to visit him purely to pay his respects to that sovereign.

In his route from this place he entered a mountain pass, where the smallest skill on the part of the Mexicans might have put an end to the whole force of Cortes. Three days of a desert route, and in an extremely cold region, led Cortes to a populous valley, the lord of which stoutly refused to contribute gold without permission of Muteczuma. Cortes left him, assuring him that he would receive instructions to that effect soon. After a delay of a few days in this region, he proceeded forward on his route, meeting with other caciques very differently disposed, and prepared to show him every attention. He had, by advice of the Cempoallans, sent forward messengers to Tascalteca; as they did not return, he set out for that province. After advancing four leagues he was attacked by the Indians in considerable force, but, as Cortes tells us himself, they were on horseback, and therefore charged with perfect safety to themselves. On one occasion they actually found themselves unexpectedly in the midst of 100,000 Indians, with whom they were engaged all day until sunset. Cortes had, however, 6 pieces of ordnance, 5 or 6 hand guns, 40 archers, 13 horsemen, and describes himself as suffering no other inconvenience than the labour and fatigue of fighting, and hunger. He had also 400 Indians from Cempoal, and 300 from another region. 149,000 men, however, attempted to force his camp, but after four hours' fighting drew off.

Fifty Indians came the next day under pretence of furnishing provisions, but really with the intention of spying the entrances into the camp. Cortes suspecting them, interrogated them closely, and on

discovering the facts from them, cut off their hands and sent them back to their leader. A night attack by the enemy was completely discomfited; but some distrust began to prevail among the troops of Cortes at their singular position among so numerous a people. Messages came at this period from various chiefs to entreat the aid of Cortes. He received them as subjects of the Emperor, and to him they remained faithful. Messengers soon afterwards arrived from Muteczuma himself, who, with a degree of pusillanimity wholly inconceivable, proffered submission to Cortes, and offered annual tribute ; but requested not to be favoured with a visit from him. Cortes continued to augment in force until full 5,000 Indians were regularly engaged on his side.

Various deputations reached him, still advancing on Mexico, from Muteczuma, and on more than one occasion the Spaniards witnessed a singular ceremony. When the envoys were of high rank, and alighted from a litter, the inferior portion of the deputation began to remove stones from their path, and to clean up the ground before them. None of these deputations could stop Cortes, until at last he reached Mexico, where Muteczuma received him, accompanied by two hundred nobles, supported on his right and left by his brother and another cacique. The only variation in dress between the three was, that Muteczuma wore shoes. After an interchange of presents, on Muteczuma's side most costly, on that of Cortes amounting to nothing, they seated themselves; and Muteczuma read a paper to Cortes, stating that they (the Mexicans) were not aborigines, but that they came there from the east; that, after a time, they refused submission to the nation from which they originally descended, and that an oracle ran, that some day they would again be compelled to render their allegiance ; that as Cortes came from the east, the seat of their fathers, they had no doubt he was the agent destined to reduce them to obedience. Cortes of course was not slow in confirming the simple Mexicans in this notion that he was the precise party described, and his king their ancient sovereign. Little doubt, we believe, now exists, that the Mexicans were of Mongolian race, and therefore their kindred with Spain is certainly rather questionable. After six days' sojourn at Mexico, Cortes discovered that it would very much expedite his plans, if Muteczuma was in his power, and not wholly free from restraint. Cortes was a bold man, and lost no time in giving the Mexican prince a hint to that effect. With this request Muteczuma complied, though it produced a deep sensation among his people. Cortes next, with that peculiar ease the attendant on success, demanded of Muteczuma for the Emperor a complete account of the country. He further required him to resign all the revenues of his country into his hands, and blames the unhappy Mexican for the sorrow he evinced at parting with his all, but life. Cortes also made him set his Mexicans to work various objects in gold for the Emperor. Shortly after this Cortes removed all the vessels from the temples. "And I forbade them sacrificing human beings to their idols," he adds, in his letter to the Emperor, as they had been accustomed to do; because, besides being abhorrent in the sight of God, your sacred Majesty had prohibited it by law, and commanded to put to death whoever should take the life of another. Thus from that time they refrained from the practice, and during the whole period of my abode in that city they were never seen to kill or sacrifice any human being.”

* The conformity of this usage with that alluded to in St. Luke, is remarkable :--“ Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low ; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth."-Ch. iii. 4, 5.

If Cortes was not misinformed, the manner in which their idols were formed was unusually horrid. Some were composed of a mass of reeds and leguminous plants, and kneaded with the blood of human hearts, taken from the breasts of living persons, from which a paste was made in sufficient quantity to form large statues. When thus completed, offerings were made of the hearts of other victims, which they sacrificed to them and besmeared their faces with the blood. This is a terrible description of idolatry.

If this spirit of cruelty prevailed in their sacrifices, assuredly it does not seem to have reigned in Muteczuma's heart. While Cortes was swaying his kingdom, the captive Mexican was amusing himself with his birds and fishes in his secluded palace. An event, however, soon occurred, the arrival of a body of men from Velasquez, which, had it been duly profited by on the part of the Mexicans, they might still have retained their empire. The fortune of Cortes was, however, dominant again, and the leader Narvaez was captured. The occurrence, however, appears to have given sufficient courage to the Mexicans to attempt something, and accordingly we find that Cortes had great difficulty to reduce Temixtican or Mexico, and was forced to exhibit Muteczuma to the people. A stone thrown from the Indians struck Muteczuma on the head, and terminated his inglorious thraldom. Cortes was compelled to fight hard, though lame from a wound in the left hand. He had to charge the enemy on one occasion alone to relieve his troops in passing a bridge; he lost 150 Spaniards and 2,000 Indians, with the son and daughter of Muteczuma, and was compelled to evacuate Mexico. Singular to say, his reverses only proved the fidelity of his allies. He was wounded in the leg, head, and hand, and was twenty days recovering from his wounds. This was about October, 1520, but in the March following Cortes recovered Mexico. It was, however, a desperate and well-supported conflict. At Tacuba Cortes was nearly seized by the Mexicans, and only saved by the blow of Francisco de Olia, which cut off the arms of the men that had seized him ; and, if report can be credited, the Mexicans offered the Spaniards, living and dead, to their idols, pulling out their hearts. The efforts of Guatimucin, the heroic successor of Muteczuma, who alone had spirited up his people to means of successful resistance, proved unavailing. Nothing can be more affecting than his interview with Cortes, and his speech, which we give in the words of his conqueror :-" That he had done all that was incumbent on him in defence of himself and his people, until he was reduced to his present condition, and that now I might do with him as I pleased. He then laid his hand on a poniard that I wore, telling me to strike him to the heart. I spoke encouragingly to him, and told him to have no fears." The siege lasted seventy-five days.

The quantity of gold found in the city was not considerable, but after the Emperor had been assigned one fifth, Cortes recommended that the spoils obtained in the city, consisting of shields of gold, plumes, panaches, and other articles," he adds, “of so wonderful a character that language will not convey an idea of them," should be assigned entire to the Emperor, to which his troops assented. Gold, pearls, and precious stones, seem to have been the absorbing passion of the Spaniards, and accordingly no sooner did Cortes attain the chief power than he set about a diligent search after every thing of this description. Gold of fine character from the various mines was the result of this quest. Pearls also were transmitted with this to the Emperor. Meanwhile Temixtican lay a mass of ruins, from which Cortes determined to rebuild it. He erected a magnificent palace for himself, on the site of that of Muteczuma, in which 7000 logs of cedar were consumed. The cedar logs are often 120 feet long, and 12 feet wide. A plot among some Spaniards against the life of Cortes was frustrated at this period. It arose from the machinations of his old enemy, Diego Velasquez. At this time, 1523, Cortes received the formal ratification from the Emperor of his authority as governor and captain-general of New Spain. Cortes, too, was a captain-general in some force, commanding on one expedition 120 horse, 300 foot, and some artillery, with 40,000 native warriors. It is deeply to be regretted, with such offensive means as prevented effectually any dispute of his authority, that the sanguinary character of his countrymen hung around Cortes to a damning extent on his glory and fame. He burnt alive 400 caciques who had opposed him about this period. He lost no opportunity of recruiting his main sinew, his artillery, and, after diligent search, found copper in plenty for his guns, but could get no tin, which he considered essential to their fabrication. “ It pleased the Lord, however," he adds, " who ever protects and provides speedily for our wants, that amongst the natives of a province called Tachso, I should meet with little pieces of it resembling very small coins, and continuing my researches, I found it was used as money, both in that province and others.” The indefatigable Humboldt has not omitted to notice this early tin money. “By the ships already arrived,” adds Cortes, “I shall receive 35 brass pieces, large and small, but all larger than a falconet, and about 70 iron pieces, among which are lombards, passavolantes, versos, and other kinds of cannon made of strained iron. Thus, praised be the Lord, we shall be able to defend ourselves; and in regard to munitions, God has been no less provident, for we have discovered saltpetre of a good quality, sufficient for our purposes; and we have the requisite vessels in which to bake it, although

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