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SECTION VII. Events during the March of the Spaniards from Tlascala to Mexico

After a stay of seventeen days, in Tlascala to refresh ourselves after our late severe fatigues, and for the recovery of our wounded companions, it was resolved to resume our march to the city of Mexico, though the rich settlers of Cuba still endeavoured to persuade Cortes to return to Villa Rica. This resolution also gave much uneasiness to our new Tlascalan allies, who used every argument to make us distrust the courteous manners of Montezuma and his subjects, whom they alleged to be extremely treacherous, and would either fall upon and destroy us on the first favourable opportunity, or would reduce us to slavery. In the event of hostilities between us and the Mexicans, they exhorted us to kill them all young and old. Cortes thanked them for their friendly counsel, and offered to negociate a treaty of peace and amity between them and the Mexicans; but they would by no means consent to this measure, saying that the Mexican government would employ peace only as a cover for treachery. On making inquiry as to the best road to Mexico, the ambassadors of Montezuma recommended that by Cholula, in which we should find good accommodation; but the Tlascalans earnestly entreated us to go by Huexotzinco which was in alliance with them, representing the Cholulans as a perfidious people. But Cortes determined to take the road of Cholula, intending to remain in that city till he could secure a safe and peaceable reception at Mexico; he sent therefore a message to the chiefs of Cholula, to inform them of his intentions, and to express his dissatisfaction at their conduct in not having been to wait upon him. While engaged in preparations for our departure, four of the principal nobles of Mexico arrived with a rich present, consisting of gold to the value of 10,000 crowns, and ten bales of mantles of the finest feather-work. After saluting Cortes with profound respect, they said that Montezuma was astonished at our long residence among so poor and base a people as the Tlascalans, and that he requested we would come without delay to his capital. Cortes assured them that he would very soon pay his respects to their sovereign, and requested they would remain along with him during the march. He also at this time appointed Pedro de Alvarado, and Vasquez de Tupia, to go as his ambassadors to Montezuma, with instructions to examine the city of Mexico. These gentlemen set out accordingly, along with the former Mexican ambassadors, but were soon recalled, in consequence of a remonstrance from the army. At this time I was confined by my wounds, and was ill of a fever, and consequently incapable of attending minutely to all that passed.

In return to our message, the chiefs of Cholula sent a very dry and uncourteous answer by four men of low degree, and without any present. As this was obviously done in contempt, Cortes sent the messengers back to inform the chiefs, that he would consider them as rebels if they did not wait upon him personally in three days; but, if they complied with this requisition, he was willing to accept them as friends and brothers, and had much intelligence of great importance to communicate to them. They sent back, saying, that they durst not come into the country of their inveterate enemies the Tlascalans, who they were sure had grossly misrepresented both them and Montezuma to us, but engaged to give us an honourable reception in their city. When the Tlascalans found we were determined upon taking the road of Cholula, contrary to their advice, they proposed that we should take 10,000 of their best warriors along with us; but our general considered this number as too many for a visit of peace, and would only accept 3000, who were immediately made ready to attend us. Using every proper precaution for our safety, we began our march from Tlascala, and arrived that evening at a river about a league from Cholula, where there is now a stone bridge, and encamped here for the night. Some of the chiefs came to congratulate our arrival in their neighbourhood, and gave us a courteous invitation to visit their city. We continued our march next day, and were met near the city by the chiefs and priests, all dressed in cassocks of cotton cloth, resembling those used by the Zapotecans. After presenting incense to Cortes, the chiefs made an apology for not waiting upon him at Tlascala, and requested that so large a body of their enemies might not be permitted to enter their city. As this request appeared reasonable, Cortes sent Alvarado and De Oli, to desire our allies to hut themselves without the city, which they did accordingly, imitating the military discipline of the Spaniards, in the arrangement of their camp and the appointment of centinels. Before entering the city, Cortes explained the purpose of his mission in a long oration, in the same manner as he had already done at all the other places during the march. To all this they answered that they were ready to yield obedience to our sovereign in all things, but could not abandon the religion of their ancestors. We then marched on in our usual compact order, attended only by our allies from Chempoalla, and the Indians who drew our artillery, and conveyed our baggage, and entered the city, all the streets and terraces of which was filled with an immense concourse of people, through whom we were conducted to our appointed quarters, in some large apartments, which conveniently accommodated our army and all our attendants.

While we remained in this place, a plot was concerted by the Mexican ambassadors for the introduction of 20,000 warriors belonging to Montezuma, who were to attack us in conjunction with the people of Cholula; and several houses were actually filled with poles and leather collars, by means of which we were to have been bound and carried prisoners to Mexico. But God was pleased that we should discover and confound their machinations. During the first two days, we were perfectly well entertained; but on the third no provisions were sent us, and none of the chiefs or priests appeared at our quarters. Such few of the inhabitants as we happened to see, speedily withdrew with a malicious sneer; and on Cortes applying to the Mexican ambassadors to procure provisions for us as usual, some wood and water only were brought to us by a few old men, as if in derision, who said that no maize could be procured. This day, likewise, some ambassadors arrived from Montezuma, who desired in very disrespectful terms on no account to approach Mexico, and demanded an immediate answer. Cortes gave them a mild answer, expressing his astonishment at the alteration in the tone of their sovereign, but requested a short delay before giving his definitive answer to their message. He then summoned us together, and desired us to keep on the alert, as he suspected some great act of treachery was in agitation against us. As the chiefs of Cholula had refused to wait upon him, Cortes sent some soldiers to a great temple close to our quarters, with orders to bring two of the priests to him as quietly as possible. They succeeded in this without difficulty; and, having made a trifling present to the priests, he inquired as to the reason of the late extraordinary conduct of the Cholulan chiefs. One of these who was of high rank, having authority over all the temples and priests of the city, like one of our bishops, told Cortes that he would persuade some of the chiefs to attend him, if allowed to speak with them; and, being permitted to go away for that purpose, he soon brought several of the chiefs to our quarters. Cortes reproved them sharply for the change in their behaviour to us, and commanded them to send an immediate supply of provisions, and likewise to provide him next day with a competent number of people to convey our baggage and artillery, as he meant then to resume his march to Mexico. The chiefs appeared quite confounded and panic struck, yet promised to send in provisions immediately, alleging in excuse for their conduct, that they had been so ordered by Montezuma, who was unwilling that we should advance any farther into his dominions.

At this time, three of our Chempoallan allies called Cortes aside, and told him that they had discovered several pitfals close to our quarters, covered over with wood and earth, and that on examining one of these they found its bottom provided with sharpened stakes. They informed him also that all the terraces of the houses near our quarters had been recently provided with parapets of sod, and great quantities of stones collected on them, and that a strong barricade of timber had been erected across one of the streets. Eight Tlascalans arrived also from their army on the outside of the town, who warned Cortes that an attack was intended against us, as the priests of Cholula had sacrificed eight victims on the preceding night to their god of war, five of whom were children; and that they had seen crowds of women and children withdrawing from the city with their valuable effects, all of which were sure signs of some impending commotion. Cortes thanked the Tlascalans for this instance of their fidelity, and sent them back to the camp with orders to their chiefs to hold themselves in readiness for any emergency. He then returned to the chiefs and priests, to whom he repeated his former orders, warning them not to deviate from their obedience, on pain of instant condign punishment, commanding them at the same time to prepare 2000 of their best warriors to accompany him next day on his march to Mexico. The chiefs readily promised to obey all his commands, thinking in this manner to facilitate their projected treachery, and took their leave. Cortes then employed Donna Marina to bring back the two priests who had been with him before, from whom he learnt, that Montezuma had been lately very unsettled in his intentions towards us, sometimes giving orders to receive us honourably, and at other times commanding that we should not be allowed to pass. That he had lately consulted his gods, who had revealed that we were all to be put to death, or made prisoners in Cholula, to facilitate which he had sent 20,000 of his troops to that place, half of whom were now in the city, and the rest concealed at the distance of a league. They added, that the plan of attack was all settled, and that twenty of our number were to be sacrificed in the temples of Cholula, and all the rest to be conveyed prisoners to Mexico. Cortes rewarded them liberally for their intelligence, and enjoined them to preserve the strictest secrecy on the subject, commanding them to bring all the chiefs to his quarters at an appointed time. He then convened a council of all the officers, and such soldiers as he most confided in, before whom he laid an account of the information which he had received, desiring their advice as to the best conduct to be pursued in the present alarming emergency. Some proposed to return immediately to Tlascala, and others proposed various measures, but it was the universal opinion that the treachery of the Cholulans required to be severely punished, as a warning to other places. It was accordingly resolved to inflict condign punishment on the Cholulans within the courts where we were quartered, which were surrounded by high walls, but in the meantime, to continue our preparations for resuming the march, in order to conceal our intentions. We then informed the Mexican ambassadors, that we had discovered the treacherous intentions of the Cholulans, who pretended that they acted by orders of Montezuma, which we were convinced was a false aspersion. They solemnly declared their ignorance of these transactions; but Cortes ordered them to have no farther intercourse with the inhabitants of the city, and sent them to his own quarters under a strong guard for the night, during the whole of which we lay upon our arms, ready to act at a moments warning.

During this anxious night, the wife of one of the caciques, who had taken a great liking to Donna Marina, came secretly to visit that lady, informing her of the plot, invited her to take refuge in her house from the danger which was about to overwhelm us, and proposed to give her for a husband the brother of a boy who was along with her. Donna Marina, with her usual presence of mind, agreed to every thing proposed with a profusion of thanks, and said she only wanted some one to take charge of her effects before leaving the Spanish quarters. In course of this conversation, Marina acquired particular information of every part of this mysterious affair, which the old woman told her had been communicated to her three days before by her husband, who was chief of one of the divisions of the city, and was now with his warriors, giving directions for their co-operation with the Mexican troops, and who had lately received a gold drum from Mexico, as an ensign of command. Donna Marina desired the old woman and her son to remain in her apartment till she went in search of her valuables; but went immediately to Cortes, to whom she communicated all the information she had received, adding that her informer was still in her apartment. Cortes immediately sent for the old woman, who being confronted by Donna Marina, repeated every thing exactly as before, which agreed in all respects with the information he had already received from others.

When day appeared, the hurry of the chiefs, priests and people in coming to our quarters as appointed, and their apparent satisfaction, was as great as if we had been already secured in their cages. They brought a much greater number of warriors to attend us than had been required, insomuch that the large courts in which we were quartered were unable to contain them. We were all prepared for the event, having a strong guard of soldiers posted at the gate of the great court, to prevent any one from escaping. Cortes mounted on horseback, attended by a strong guard; and as he saw the people crowding in at the gate, he said to us, "See how anxious these traitors are to feast on our flesh! But GOD will disappoint their hopes." He ordered the two priests who had given him the information to retire to their houses that they might escape the intended slaughter. Every one being arrived in the great court, he commanded the chiefs and priests to draw near, to whom he made a calm remonstrance on the treachery of their conduct towards us, which was explained by Donna Marina. He asked them why they had plotted to destroy us, and what we had done to deserve their enmity, except exhorting them to abandon their barbarous and abominable customs, and endeavouring to instruct them in our holy religion? Their evil intentions, he said, had been obvious, by withdrawing their women and children from the city, and by insultingly sending us only wood and water, when we required provisions. He said he was perfectly acquainted with the ambush which was placed in the road by which we meant to march, and with all the other contrivances they had made for our destruction; and that in recompence of our proffered friendship, and of all the holy services we intended them, he knew that they meant to kill and eat us, and that the pots were already on the fire, prepared with salt, pepper, and tomatas, in which our dissevered limbs were to be boiled. He knew that they had doomed twenty of us to be sacrificed to their idols, to whom they had already immolated seven of their own brethren. "Since you were determined to attack us," said he in conclusion, "it had been more manly to have done so openly like the Tlascalans, and not to have resorted to mean and cowardly treachery. But be assured that the victory which your false gods have promised is beyond their power, and the punishment of your treason is now ready to burst on your guilty heads."

The astonished chiefs confessed every thing which was laid to their charge, but endeavoured to excuse themselves, by laying the whole blame on the orders they had received from Montezuma. "Wretches," said Cortes, "this falsehood is an aggravation of your offence, and such complicated crimes can never be permitted to pass unpunished." He then ordered a musket to be fired, as a signal to commence the slaughter, for which we all stood prepared. We immediately fell furiously on the multitudes who were inclosed within the walls of our quarters, and executed their merited punishment in such a manner as will be long remembered by the remaining natives of Cholula. A vast number of them were put to death on the spot, and many of them were afterwards burned alive. In less than two hours, our Tlascalan allies arrived in the city, having been previously instructed in our plan, and made a terrible slaughter in the streets of the city; and when the Cholulans ceased to make resistance, they ravaged the city, plundering it of every thing valuable they could lay hold of, and making slaves of all the inhabitants who fell in their way. On the day following, when intelligence reached Tlascala of the transactions at Cholula, great numbers crowded to the devoted city, which they plundered without mercy. It now became necessary to restrain the fury of the Tlascalans, and Cortes gave orders to their chiefs to withdraw their troops from the city, with which they immediately complied.

Quiet being in some measure restored, some chiefs and priests who presided over a distant quarter of the city, which they pretended had not been engaged in the conspiracy, waited in an humble manner on Cortes, and prayed a remission of the punishment which had already fallen so heavily on their townsmen. The two before mentioned priests, and the old woman from whom Donna Marina had procured such material information, came forward likewise, and joined in the same petition, and Cortes determined to shew clemency to the rest of the city, yet seemed still in great rage. He called the Mexican ambassadors into his presence, in whose presence he declared that the whole inhabitants of the city and dependancy of Cholula had richly merited to be utterly extirpated for their treachery; but that out of respect to the great Montezuma, whose vassals they were, he consented to pardon them. He then ordered the Tlascalans to liberate their prisoners, which they in some measure complied with, setting free many of those they intended to have reduced to slavery, yet retained a prodigious booty in gold, mantles, cotton, and salt. Having proclaimed an amnesty to the Cholulans, he reconciled them and the Tlascalans who had anciently been confederates; and being desired to appoint a new chief cacique of Cholula, in place of the former who had been put to death, Cortes inquired to whom that dignity belonged of right, and being informed that the brother of the late head cacique ought to succeed according to their laws, he nominated him to the office. As soon as the inhabitants had returned to their houses, and order was restored in the city, Cortes summoned all the chiefs and priests to a conference, in which he explained to them the principles of our holy religion, earnestly exhorting them to renounce their idolatry, and the odious practices connected with it; and, as an instance of the uselessness of their idols, he reminded them how much they had been lately deceived by the false responses imposed upon them in their names: He proposed to them therefore, to destroy their senseless idols, and to erect an altar and cross in their stead. The latter was immediately complied with, but Father Olmedo advised him to postpone the former to a more favourable opportunity, from a due consideration of our uncertain and perilous situation.

Cholula was then a large and populous city, much resembling Valladolid, situated on a fertile plain which was thickly inhabited, and all its surrounding district was well cultivated with maize, maguey, and pepper. There were above a hundred lofty white towers in the city, belonging to different idol temples, one of which was held in very high estimation, that principal temple being more lofty even than the great temple of Mexico. An excellent manufacture of earthen ware was carried on at this place, the various articles of which were curiously painted in different patterns, in red, black, and white, and from which the city of Mexico and all the surrounding countries were supplied, as Castile is from Talavera and Placencia. In the numerous temples of this city there were many cages; which were filled with men and boys, fattening up for sacrifice, all of which Cortes caused to be destroyed, sending the miserable captives home to their respective houses. He likewise gave positive orders to the priests to desist in future from this most abominable custom, which they promised to refrain from, but they forgot their promises as soon as the authority of our irresistible arms was removed.

On hearing the melancholy fate of their companions in Cholula, the Mexican troops who were posted in ambush, with trenches and barricades to oppose our cavalry, made a precipitate retreat to Mexico, whether they carried an account to Montezuma of the failure of his plot for our destruction; but he had already heard the news of his misfortunes from two of his ambassadors, whom Cortes had dismissed for the purpose. It was reported that he immediately ordered a solemn sacrifice to his gods, and shut himself up for two days with ten of his chief priests, engaged in rigid devotional exercises, on purpose to obtain a response from his gods respecting his future destiny; and we afterwards learnt that the priests advised him, as from their gods, to send an embassy to exculpate himself from having any connection with what had passed in Cholula, and to inveigle us into Mexico; where, by cutting off the supply of water, or by raising the bridges on the causeways, he might easily destroy us, or detain us in slavery to breed people like ourselves for his service.

Having remained fourteen days in Cholula, Cortes consulted in regard to our future operations with a council of those officers and soldiers who were most sincerely attached to his person, as indeed he never engaged in any matter of importance without taking our advice. In this consultation, it was determined to send a respectful message to Montezuma, informing him that we were on our way to pay our respects to him by the orders of our own sovereign. Our messenger was likewise desired to relate the whole late events which had occurred at Cholula, where the treachery which had been concerted against us had come to our knowledge, from which nothing could be concealed which concerned our welfare, and that we had desisted from punishing the people of that city to the full extent which they deserved, entirely out of respect to him, whose vassals they were. That the chiefs and priests had given out that all they had done or intended to do was by his orders; but we could not possibly believe that so great a monarch, after the many marks of friendship with which he had honoured us, could be guilty of such infamous proceedings; being convinced, if he had meditated hostility, he would have met us honourably in the field of battle: But at the same time to assure him, that day or night, field or town, fair battle or villainous stratagem, were all the same for us, as we were always prepared for every emergency. Montezuma had become exceedingly thoughtful and alarmed on account of the failure of the plot in Cholula, and now sent an embassy of six of his chief nobles to wait on Cortes, with a present to the value of 2000 crowns in gold, and several bales of fine mantles. The ambassadors saluted Cortes with profound respect, and delivered a message in which Montezuma endeavoured to exculpate himself from any concern in the affair of Cholula, and in conclusion, invited the general to his court. Cortes treated these ambassadors with his usual politeness, and retaining three of them to serve as guides on our march to Mexico, he sent on the others to inform Montezuma that we were on our way to his capital. When the Tlascalan chiefs understood our determination to proceed, they renewed their former warnings to beware of treachery from the Mexicans, and again offered to send 10,000 of their warriors along with us. But Cortes, after thanking them for their friendly solicitude and proffered aid, remarked, as he had done before, that so large a body of troops was incompatible with an amicable visit, but requested they would furnish 1000 men for our baggage and artillery, which they immediately provided. Our faithful Chempoalan allies, being afraid of the resentment of the Mexicans for their revolt, begged permission to return to their district, and Cortes dismissed them with a handsome present, sending letters by them to Escalente at Villa Rica, containing an account of our proceedings.

We marched from Cholula in our usual compact order, prepared for whatsoever might befal, sending out patroles of our cavalry by threes in front, supported by a detachment of light infantry as an advanced guard. On our arrival at a small village called Izcalpan, in the district of Huexotzinco, about four leagues from Cholula, we were met by the chiefs bearing provisions, and a small present of gold. They requested our general to consider only the good will of the givers, not the worthlessness of the gift, as they were very poor; and, while they endeavoured to dissuade him from attempting to proceed to Mexico, they also informed him, that, on ascending the next mountain, he would find two roads, the one of which leading by Chalco was broad and open, while the other leading by Tlalmanalco, though originally equally convenient, had been recently stopped up and obstructed by means of trees felled across it to render it difficult, though it was in reality shorter and more secure than that of Chalco, on which road the Mexicans had placed a large party of troops in ambush among some rocks, for the purpose of attacking us by surprise on the march. They advised us therefore, if we were determined to persevere, to choose the obstructed road, and offered to send a number of their people to clear it for us. Cortes thanked them for their good advice, of which he would avail himself by the blessing of GOD. Having halted for the night at Izcalpan, we resumed our march early the next morning, and reached the summit of a mountainous ridge about noon, where we found the two roads exactly as they had been described to us. We halted here in order to deliberate on our procedure, when Cortes called the Mexican ambassadors to explain the meaning of the felled trees. Pretending ignorance on this subject, they advised him to take the road of Chalco, where they said he would be well received. Cortes chose however to take the other road, and sent on our Indian allies to clear the way before us. As we ascended the mountain, the weather became piercingly cold, and we even had a considerable fall of snow, which covered the whole country round about. We at length arrived at certain houses which had been built on the very top of the mountain for the accommodation of travellers, where we found an abundant supply of provisions, and having placed proper guards, we halted here for the night. We resumed our march next morning, and arrived by the hour of high mass at the town of Halmanalco, where we were hospitably received. The people of the neighbouring districts of Chalco, Amaquemecan, and Ajotzinco, where the canoes are kept, waited on Cortes at this place with a present of about 150 crowns in gold, some mantles, and eight women. Cortes received them affably, and promised them his friendship and protection; explaining to them, as on former occasions, the doctrines of our holy faith, exhorting them to abandon their idolatry and barbarous immolation of human victims, informing them that he was sent among them by a powerful monarch to redress wrongs, and to lead them in the way of eternal salvation. On this the people began to make loud complaints of the tyranny of Montezuma, who deprived them of their wives and daughters if handsome, forcing the men to work like slaves in the conveyance of stones, timber, and corn, and appropriating their lands to the service of his temples. Cortes gave them kind assurances of speedy redress, but recommended to them to be patient yet a little while.

Just as we were going to set out from Tlalmanalco, four of the principal nobles of the court of Mexico arrived with presents from Montezuma, and having made their customary obeisance, they addressed Cortes in the following manner: "Malinatzin ! our sovereign sent this present to you, and desires us to say, that he is grieved you should take so much trouble in coming from a distant country to visit him. He has already made you be informed that he will give you much gold, silver, and chalchihuis for your teules, if you will give up your intention of coming to Mexico. We now repeat this request in his name, that you will return; and he will send after you a great treasure in gold, silver, and jewels for your king, with four loads of gold for yourself, and a load for each of your brethren. It is impossible for you to proceed to Mexico, as the whole Mexican warriors are in arms to oppose you; besides which you will find the roads bad, and will be unable to procure provisions." Embracing the ambassadors with much politeness, and having returned thanks for their present, Cortes expressed his astonishment at the changeableness of Montezuma, who thus alternately invited and deprecated his presence. He begged them to thank Montezuma for the splendid offers he had made of treasure to the emperor, himself, and his soldiers; but it was quite impossible for him to turn back, especially when so near the capital, as his orders from his own sovereign were to pay his respects to theirs in person; it was quite useless, therefore, to send him any more such messages, for he was resolved to proceed; and if Montezuma should desire his departure after having seen him, he would be ready at his command to return to his own country.

Having thus dismissed the ambassadors, we continued our march, and as our allies had informed us that Montezuma intended to put us all to death, after our entry into his city, we were filled with melancholy reflections on our hazardous situation; recommending our souls therefore to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who had already brought us in safety through so many imminent dangers, and resolving to sell our lives at a dear rate, we proceeded on our march. We halted at a town named Iztapalapan, one half of the houses of which were built in the water, and the rest on dry land, and took up our quarters there for the night. While preparing early next morning to recommence our march, information was brought by a sentinel that a great number of Mexicans in rich dresses were on the road towards our quarters, on which Cortes again dismissed us. Four principal nobles of Mexico now presented themselves with profound respect before our general, whom they informed that Cacamatzin, lord of Tezcuco, and nephew to the great Montezuma was approaching, and begged that he would remain in his present situation to receive him. Cacamatzin soon followed in vast pomp, borne in a magnificent litter, adorned with jewels and plumes of green feathers, set in branched pillars of gold. His litter was carried by eight nobles, who assisted him to alight, and then swept the way before him as he came up to Cortes. Our general embraced the prince, and made him a present of three of the jewels named margajitas, which are figured with various colours. The only purpose of this visit seemed to have been complimentary, as he addressed Cortes in these words: "I, and these lords, have come by order of the great Montezuma, to conduct you to your residence in our city." We then set forwards in our usual array for Mexico, the road being crowded on both sides with innumerable multitudes of natives, and soon arrived at the causeway of Iztapalapan, one of those which leads to the capital.

When we contemplated the number of populous towns so closely situated in regard to each other, some on the water, and others on the firm ground, we could not help comparing this wonderful country to the enchanted scenes we read of in Amadis de Gaul, so magnificent were the towers and temples and other superb edifices of stone and lime, which seemed everywhere to rise out of the water. Many of us were disposed to doubt the reality of the scene before us, and to suspect we were in a dream; and my readers must excuse the manner of my expressions, as never had any one seen, heard, or even dreamt of any thing which could compare to the magnificence of the scene we now beheld. On approaching Iztapalapan, we were received by several of the highest nobles of the Mexican empire, relations of Montezuma, who conducted us to the lodgings appointed for us in that place, which were magnificent palaces of stone, the timber work of which were cedar, having spacious courts and large halls, furnished with canopies of the finest cotton. After contemplating the magnificence of the buildings, we walked through splendid gardens, containing numerous alleys planted with a variety of fruit trees, and filled with roses, and a vast variety of beautiful and aromatic flowers. In these gardens there was a fine sheet of clear water, communicating with the great lake of Mexico by a canal, which was of sufficient dimensions to admit the largest canoes. The apartments of the palace were everywhere ornamented with works of art, admirably painted, and the walls were beautifully plastered and whitened; the whole being rendered delightful by containing great numbers of beautiful birds. When I beheld the delicious scenery around me, I thought we had been transported by magic to the terrestrial paradise. But this place is now destroyed, and a great deal of what was then a beautiful expanse of water, is now converted into fields of maize, and all is so entirely altered that the natives themselves would hardly know the place where Iztapalapan stood.

SECTION VI. The Spaniards commence their March to Mexico; with an account of the War in Tlascala, and the submission of that Nation | A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol.IV | SECTION VIII. Arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico, Description of that Court and City, and Transactions there, till the Arrival of Narvaez on the coast to supersede Cortes, by order of Velasquez