Christopher Smart.

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while he himfeif took the large ftreet, where the
greateft body of the enemy was polled. The Mex-
icans flood the firit charge without giving ground,
and even fought hand to hand with their clubs and
two-handed IVvords which they wielded with incre-
dible fury, nor could the fire-arms put a ftop to
the fhowers or Hones and javelins that were thrown
from the windows and balconies, till fire was fet to
fome of the houfes. The Mexicans however at laft
gave way ; but as they retreated, broke down the
bridges of the ftreets, which obliged the Spa-
niards to fill up the canals before they could pro-
fecute the vidory. While Cortes was thus ad-
vancing, the two battalions charged the multi-
tude that had polFeffion of the ftreets on the lides,
and drove the enemy before them, till they en-
tered a large fquare, where the three divifions
joined, when the Mexicans betook themfelves to
flight, with as much precipitation as they had be-
fore made their attack.

Cortes did not think proper to allow his troops
to engage in the purfuit, but having loft ten gr
twelve foldiers in the a6lion, retired without op-
pofition. The lofs of the enemy was lb great, that
the dead bodies lay in heaps, and the canals of
the city were tinged with blood. Cortes allotted
three days for the refrefliment of his troops, dur-


ing which he renewed his overtures of peace, by
means of fome Mexicans, who were in Monte-
zuma's fervice; but at the fame time continued to
obferve the ftri6i-eft vigilance and precaution, and
among other ftratagems contrived four wooden
towers to run upon wheels, each of which was ca-
pable of containing 20 or 30 men, who might
fight under cover, fet houfes on fire^ and deftroy
their barricadoes raifed in the principal ftreets.
Having finifhed thefe machines, he made a fecond
fally with the principal part of the Spaniards, to-
gether with the whole body of the TIafcalans,
who had fought with great bravery in the laft en-
gagement. He alfo took fome pieces of artillery,
the wooden towers, and a few led horfes, that
were to be ufed occalionally.

The Mexicans were now commanded by the
principal nobles, who had greatly augmented the
army, and waited for the Spaniards in profound
filence ; but the latter had no fooner begun their
march, than they were fuddenly furprifed with the
hoarfe and difagreeable found of their fea-fiieils
and drums, added to the Ihouts of an innumerable
multitude, which advanced with unufual regularity,
and amazing reiblution, giving and receiving the
firft charges, without being difordered. When
they were forced to give way, they retired lei-
furely, without turning their backs, and renewed
the fight at every canal, or barricado, with fuch
obftinacy, that they were not to be diflodged with-
out the artillery. They difcharged their arrows
and lances in a regular manner. Some fwam about
the canals fearching for opportunities to yound
the Spaniards with long pikes, while others caft
from the windows, balconies, and terraces, large
ftones and fragments of rocks provided for that
purpofe, by which the moving towers were foon
Ihattered to pieces : and, in fliort, the battle was


fought with fuch method and alacrityj as plainly
proved that it was conducted by a general in chief.

The engagement continued the greateft part of
the day, during which a great number of the
Mexicans loft their lives, and the city was much
damaged by the burning of the houfes. The
Spaniards and their confederates were repulfed
with fuch bravery, that they were obliged to dif-
pute the ground by inches, and night drawing on
before Cortes had made much progrefs, he found
it would be impoffible to maintain the pofts he had
gained, and therefore retired to his quarters with
the lofs of 40 men, who were chiefly Tlafcalans,
and with 50 Spaniards much wounded, he himfelf
having received a fhot with an arrow in his left
hand. He now began ferioufly to refle6t, that
notwithftanding all the advantages he had gained
over the Mexicans, his numbers in a feries of fuch
victories would be greatly diminilhed, and that
in cafe of a general revolt againft Montezuma,
they might eafily ftarve him in his quarters; nor
was the emperor himfelf under lefs uneafmefs.
From the higheft turret of the palace he had
obferved the battle, and could eafily diftinguiih
the Cacique of Iztapalapa, and other nobles who
might afpire to the empire- He dreaded the lofs
of his crown, and being fenfible that he could
never reftore his fubje6ts to obedienc while the
Spaniards remained in Mexico, he fent for Cortes
the next morning, told him his fentiments, and
intreated him to leave the city, that he might
return to his own palace, refume the reins of go-
vernment, and quell the feditions of his people.

Cortes readily confented to this propofal, and
refolved to retire for the prefent, that he might
have leifure to concert a new plan, and be enabled
to execute it with a better profpeft of fuccefs : but
his conference with the emperor was interrupted.


by his being told that the enemy was advancing
with great fury to make a general attack upon
the quarters. They rulhed on with prodigious
impetuofity, and in fpite of the havoc made among
them by the artillery and fmall arms, behaved
with fuch bravery, that fome of them got over the
walls, which obliged Cortes to form a body of
referve in the principal court, whence he occafion-
ally fent detachments to fupport fuch as were hard
preffed or fatigued with a6tion.

While the affault was thus carrying on with
amazing vigour, Montezuma propofed to fhew him-
felf to the people from the wall, in order to com-
mand the populace to retire, and order the nobles
to come unarmed into his prefence, that he might
take proper meafures to redrefs their grievances.
This motion being approved by CorteSj the Em-
peror immediately adorned himfelf with the en-
ligns of royalty, the crown, the mantle, and the
jewels worn on the moft folemn occafions, and
then mounted the terrace, with the principal
Mexicans who continued in his fervice, one of
whom advancing to the rails, called with a loud
voice, that the great Montezuma had condefcended
to come forth, and redrefs their grievances. His
name was no fooner mentioned, than the outcries
of the people ceafed, and they flood filent and
motionlefs, as if awed by fomething fupernatural,
and when he appeared, the whole multitude hum-
bled themfelves to the earth. He looked round
him with a majeftic air, and diftinguilhing the
nobles in the crowd, defired them feverally by
name to approach, thanked them for the zeal and
afFe<?i:ion they had Ihewn in his fervice, and repre-
fented to the people that they were a(51:uated by a
principle of miftaken loyalty; that his refiding
among the Spaniards was not the effect of com-
pulfion ; that he was refolved to difmifs them from

VOL. I. T t


his court, and therefore defired his fubje<5ls to lay
down their arms.

This condefcenfion made fuch an impreffion
upon the hearers, who had been ufed to obey him
with fear and trembUng, that many wept to fee
the emperor fo humbled, and the reft hung down
their heads, and ftood in filence and fufpenfe. But
thefe favourable difpofitions were foon changed.
Some of the emillaries belonging to the Cacique,
who hoped to fucceed Montezuma, upbraiding
that Prince, with being a coward, a prifoner, and
a flave, raifed a clamour among the people, and
inftantly turned their compaffion into fuch a rage,
that they curfed him, and uttered the moft op-
probrious invectives. The motions he made with
his hand and head were now difregarded ; and his
efforts to fpeak rendered ineffectual, by their re-
peated fhouts, until at length they let fly a fhower
of arrows againft him. Two foldiers being near
him, endeavoured to cover him with their buck-
lers ; but in fpite of all their care, he was wounded
in feveral places, and received a terrible blow with
a ftone upon one of his temples, which brought
him to the ground. Cortes having caufed him to
be carried to his apartment, refolved to be re-
venged on the authors of this misfortune. But
he then could find no enemy on whom he could
wreak his revenge; for the emperor no fooner fell,
than the Mexicans, llruck with horror and con-
fternation, inftantly fled,

Montezuma had fcarcely recovered his fenfes,
when he became frantic with rage; imprecated
the moft dreadful curfes upon his rebellious fub-
je6ts, and refufed to liften to the remonftrances
and confolations of Cortes, who in vain endea-
voured to comfort him. He tore the bandages and
plaifters from his wounds, and even attempted to
put an end to his life, which made it necelTary to


reftrain him by force, and then he abfolutely re-
fiifed to take any manner of fuftenance. Th^
wound in his head was very dangerous, and the
agitation of his mind foon rendered it mortal.
Cortes joined with Father Bartholomew de Ohiie-
do in perfuading him to renounce his idolatry ;
but all their arguments were to no purpofe, and
he expired after having conjured the general to
revenge his death.

Montezuma's unhappy fate filled Cortes with
great concern. He had an aiTe<5lion for that
prince, and all his hopes had centered in his vo-
luntary fubmiffion to the king of Spain. He was
now obliged to form a new plan, and to quit all
the advantages he enjoyed by his influence at the
court of Mexico. The firft ftep he took, was ap-
pointing fix of Montezuma's principal attendants,
fome of whom were priefts, to carry out his body
to the rebels, with orders to tell the princes who
headed them, that he had fent them the eorpfe of
their late fovereign, whom they themfelves hacj
murdered, and who, before his death, had ear-
nefl:ly conjured him to revenge his wrongs, and
chaftife them for their abominable rebellion. But
as he imagined that the infurre6lion was not ap-
proved by the nobles, he once more propofed
peace, and was ready to agree to any reafonable
conditions; but ihould they negle6l his propofal,
he would treat tham as the worfl; of rebels ; and as
his refpecl for Montezuma could no longer mo-
derate his refentment, he would lay wafie their
city with fire and fword.

The bearers of the eorpfe were met at a finall
diftance from the quarters by a body of the inha-
bitants, who threw down their arms, and followed
their deceafed fovereign with the moft profound
reverence and refpeft. - The city was inftantly
filled with lamentations, and though another Em-


peror was already eledled, they teftified their re-
pentance by the flrongeft expreffions of forrow,
repeating the name of Montezuma, and running
about the ftreets in clamorous tumults until the
next morning, when they conveyed the body to
the mountain of Chapultepeque, where it was in-
terred with great folemnity.

Thus fell the great Montezuma, the moft pow-
erful Emperor that had ever filled the Mexican
throne. He had reigned feventeen years, was the
eleventh in the number of Emperors, and the
fecond of that name. He left four fons and three
daughters: two of the former, who lived with
their father in his confinement, were afterwards
killed by the Mexicans in Cortes's retreat. The
daughters afterwards embraced the Chriflian re-
ligion, and were married to Spaniards; but the
moft diftinguifhed of his defcendant's was one of
Montezuma's fons, who at his baptifm took the
name of Don Pedro de Montezuma, and received
many favours from his moft Catholic majefty, who
gave him confiderable poiTeflions in New Spain,
with the title of Count of Montezuma, which
his pofterity ftill enjoy.



The war carried on afrefh againfl: Cortes, who efcapes the mofl
imminent dangers, and every where defeats the Indians. He
retires from Mexico, with his army, by night; but is aflaulted
in his retreat, and lofes many men ; however, he at length ob-
tains a great victory over the united forces of Mexico, by feiz-
ijig the Royal Standard.

JL HE Mexicans made no attempt upon
the Spanilh quarters while the emperor remained
ill of his wounds, which Cortes attributed to their
being filled with horror at the thoughts of the
crime they had committed ; but it was really owing
to the nobility being wholly employed in the in-
auguration of Quilavaca, Cacique of Iztapalapa,
whom they raifed to the throne.

The Mexicans, inftead of liftening to the pro-
pofal made by Montezuma's fervants, renewed
the war with greater vigour than ever ; and on the
morning that fucceeded the late Emperor's fu-
neral, all the llreets were, by break of day, filled
with armed men. They had alfb put a ftrong
garrifon in the towers of the temple, which com-
manded part of the Spanifh quarters. This im-
portant poll, which was defended by 500 chofen
men of the n obi lily, Cortes refolved at all events
to carry. He therefore drew the greateft part of
his ftrength out of the quarters, and having
formed feveral battalions fufficient to cut of all
communication between the towers and the In-
dians in the ftreets, he ordered captain Efcobar
with a conliderable detachment, to attack the
temple, which was of difficult accefs. That officer
marched to the lower porch without oppofition ;


but fuddenly the defendants from the upper porch
difcharged fuch a Ihower of lances, arrows, large
flones, and half- burnt beams of timber provided
for that purpofe, that the airailants were thrown
into diforder, and obliged to retreat in confulion,
after their having returned three times to the

Meanwhile Cortes was at the head of a troop of
horfe, bufily employed in fupporting thofe who
nioft needed his ailiftance; but feeing Efcobar de-
feated, he inftantly quitted his horfe; caufed a
fliield to be fattened to his arm, on account of the
wound in his hand, then flying to his ailiftance,
advanced to the ftairs with fuch intrepidity as in-
duced his followers to imitate his example. In an
inftant the action was renewed with furprizing ob-
ftinacy. The brave defendants fought hand to
hand like men refolved rather to die than to fur-
render. The very priefts fell fighting valiantly,
exhorting the people to Ihew their courage in de-
fence of their gods, and they all fuffc-red them-
felves to be cut in pieces to a man, before the Spa-
niards could get pofifeffion of the poft. In the
heat of this engagement, two Mexicans who had
devoted their lives to the fervice of their country,
feeing Cortes upon a tower, threw down their
arms, ran up to him, and ftooping down like fup-
plicants, feized him, and endeavoured to throw
him over the rails : but after ftruggling with him
for fome time, he had the good fortune to difen-
gage himfelf; upon which they threw themfelves
headlong from the tower, and their brains were
daihed out againft the pavement.

Cortes then feized a confiderable quantity of
provifions which he found in the temple, and or-
dered it to be conveyed to his quarters: which
being done, he commanded the Tlafcalans tofet
fire to feveral houfes, that the artillery might com-


mand the whole edifice. He then took a view of
the engagement below^ and perceiving the Spa-
niards clofely preffed in the principal ftreet which
they defended with great difficulty, he immediately
mounted his horfe, and hafred to their affiRance^
ordering Efcobar to follow with his men, with all
poUible expedition. In the mean time he attacked
the multitude at the head of his cavalry, killing or
wounding all who oppofed him, but ruHiing too far
before the reft of his troops, liis retreat was cut off.
Upon this he entered another ftreet, where he
hoped to meet with lefs refiftance, and there he fell
in among a body of Mexicans, who had taken An-
dres de Duero, and were conveymg him alive to
offer him as a facrifice to their gods. Cortes in-
ftantly flew upon them with fuch fury, as threw the
whole party into confufion, and Duero took this
opportunity of drawing a dagger, which they had
overlooked, when tJiey attempted to difarm him,
and inftantly freed himfelf by the death or thofe
who held him ; then recovering his horfe and lance,
the two friends broke through all oppoiition. The
Mexicans now retired with great precipitation,
and the general returned with his troops into the
quarters, after they had made a dreadful havock
among the enemy, and burnt a confiderable part
of the city.

The next day the enemy defired a parley, which
being granted by Cortes, feveral of the nobles ap-
proached the walls, and in the name of the new
emperor, propofed, that the Spaniards fliould in-
ftantly march down to the fea fide, and leave the
country, upon which condition they promifed to
put an end to all hoftilities; but obferved, that
iliould he reje6l this propofal they mult all inevi-
tably periili ; for as they were now convinced
by experience, that the Spaniards were mortal,
they were refolved to continue their attacks, and


though the death of every chriftian fliould coll
them 20,000 lives, they would have a number left
lufficient to rejoice at their fuccefs.

To this Cortes replied, that the Spaniards did
not pretend to be immortal, though they were
fo fuperior to the Mexicans, that with his handful
of men, he would deftroy the whole empire ; but
being moved by the calamities, they, through
their own obltinacy, had fuffered, he was refolved
to depart, and that he only waited till the necef-
fary preparations could be made for his march,
and other articles agreed upon for the reciprocal
advantage of both parties. The nobles feemed
pleafed with this anfwer, though the overtures
they had made were intended to anfwer a very
different purpofe. It had been agreed by the new
emperor and his council, that inftead of expofing
themfelves to fuch terrible ilaughter, as the people
had always fuffered from the artillery and other
fire-arms, they fliould diftrefs the Spaniards by fa -
mine, and amufe them with negociations, until
they Ihould be weakened and difpirited by hun-
ger, when they might fall upon them to great ad-
vantage. They recolle6led that Montezuma's
three fons, and other perfons of diftin6tion were
prifoners in the Spanilh quarters, but willingly
facrificed them to the good of their country, ex-
cept their chief prieft, whom they refolved, if
poffible, to deliver.

The deputies therefore returned the fame even-
ing with a propofal, that fome of the Mexican
prifoners fhould be fent with inllru6lions to the
emperor, artfully hinting, that the moft proper
peribn would be a certain ancient prieil, who be-
ing an intelligent perfon, would be able to re-
move whatever difficulties might be ilarted. The
general readily affented to the propofal, and made
the prieft acquainted with his demands in relation


to the neceflaries he Ihould want in his march, re-
folving if he Ihould return, to explain himfelf with
refpedl to their laying down their arms, and de-
livering hoftages. But they had not the leaft in-
tention to fend him back, or to come to an ami-
cable agreement, which was very evident from
the centinel's difcovering that they were making
trenches to defend the paflage of the canals, in
breaking down the bridges of the principal caufe-
way, and cutting off all communication with the
road leading to Tlafcala. Cortes was greatly
alarmed at this intelligence, and immediately or-
dered a portable bridge to be made ftrong enough
to bear the weight of the artillery, and fo light as
to be carried by forty foldiers.

Men were immediately employed in making
this bridge, and at the fame time Cortes aflembled
his captains, in order to confult whether they
ihould retreat by day or by night ; for he was re-
folved to retire to Tlafcala, and there to take
meafures for laying liege to the city of Mexico.
The majority of the officers propofed a retreat by
night, on account of the fuperftition of the Mexi-
cans, which made it unufual for them to engage
an enemy after fun-fet, and from the difficulty of
attacking them in the canoes in the dark. This
was, however, warmly oppofed by Cortes, and
others; but the queftion being put to the vote,
the majority declared for the firft propofal, to
which Cortes afTented, and it was refolved to give
the enemy as little time as poilible to form ob-
ftru6tions, by beginning their march that very
night. Th€ carpenters had no fooner finifhed
the bridge, which was to be removed from one
opening in the caufeway to another, than Cortes
fent another Mexican in order to amufe the ene-
my with farther propofals of peace, while he made

VOL. I- U u


the proper difpofitions for his retreat. His van-
guard he ordered to confift of 200 Spanifh foldiers
with the choiceft of the Tlafcalans, and twenty
horfe. The rear- guard was to confift of a ftill
larger number of horfe and foot; and the pri-
foners, the artillery, and the baggage, with the
body of the army, were to be in the centre. This
order being fixed, he caufed the treafure to be
brought into his apartment, and taking one-fifth
for the king, in what was moft portable, he de-
livered it to the comminTary with fome wounded
horfes for the carriage ; but the remainder, which
amounted to 700,000 pieces of eight, he propofed
to leave as a dangerous incumbrance ; but find-
ing the foldiers unwilling to lofe their (hare, he
gave them leave to take what they could con-
veniently carry, in confequence of which fome
of the moft avaritious, who were among thofe
who came with Narvaez, loaded themfelves fo
heavily, that they ftaggered under their burdens.

Cortes having taken thefe previous fteps, en-
couraged the foldiers by a fliort fpeech, and about
midnight they began their march with the utmoft
filence and circumfpedion, being favoured by the
wetnefs of the weather, and the darknefs of the

The bridge which was carried in the front was
laid over the firft canal before they met with the
leaft oppolition ; but the weight of the artillery and
horfe jammed it fo faft, that they found it impra6ti-
cable to remove it; and indeed they had not time
to ufe much pains about it ; for before the army
had pafTed the firft breach of the caufeway, they
were fuddenly attacked on all fides ; for the enemy
having obferved their motions, had alfembled their
troops and canoes with fuch expedition and filence,
that the lake was covered on each fide of the caufe-


The attack began with great regularity^ before
they were obferved, and had the Mexicans con-
tinued to preferve the fame good order during the
engagement, Cortes and his whole army muft
have periftied. But they foon returned to their
ufual way of charging in confufion, by which
means many of the canoes were daflied to pieces
againft each other, and the Spaniards made a
dreadful llaughter. They were attacked in front
by a vaft number, who being impatient till tiiey
came to action, had thrown themfelves into the
lake, and clambered up the caufeway in order to
difpute the palFage ; but they were fo crouded,
that they had not room to ufe their weapons, and
the flaughter was, according to fome, fo great as to
fupply a fufficient number of bodies to form a paf-
fage for the Spaniards in the lake : but other au-
thors allege, that the enemy left the beam of
the fecond bridge, on which the foldiers pafTed
over in files, leading their horfes through the
water by the bridles.

Cortes on his reaching the fliore ordered his
men to be formed as faft as they arrived, and then
returning to the caufeway, entered into the en-
gagement, and animated the men by his prefence
and example. He caufed each fide of the caufe-
way to be lined with foldiers, who were to repel
the enemy, while the reft marched between them
in the centre, and to facilitate their march, he or-
dered the artillery to be thrown into the water ;
but notwithftanding ail his vigilance, part of his
rear-guard was cut to pieces, the bridge being de-
^royed by the Mexicans in the canoes, before
thefe unhappy men could pafs it, and thefe con-
fifted chiefly of thofe wJiq had fo overloaded them-
felves with treafure, that they were incapable of
exerting themfelves in their own defence.

The army having palled over the lake by break
of day, halted near Tabuca, to give time to thofe


who had efcaped from the battle to join their
friends; a precaution which faved the lives of
feveral Spaniards and Tlafcalans, who had fwam

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