William Robertson.

America: in which is included the posthumous volume containing the ..., Volume 2 online

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nm^toyc& ay ^ics. ' fl» matiy • yriaotacara bad faeca t ^fc ta - — d 4m'
missed, aitd the TIascalans had aent bo many —goaa g gg to tbt
Spanish quarters, that there appears to be no r e a ao a for liasard-
Ing the lives of so many considerable people^ in order to p io oft
information about the positfon and state of theirVvnip. The
barbarous manner hi which Cortes treated a people nsacq^ialBted
with the laws of w^r established antong^ polished nations, appears
to shocking to the later Spanish writers, that they dhnhiiflli tht
number of those whom he punished so cruelly. Hc rrer a says,
that he cut off the hamfo of seren, and thumbs of some more.
Dec. 3. Kb. 1i. c. 8. De SoHs relates, Ihat the hands of fewteen
or fifteen were cut o#, and the thumbs of an the rest. LHi. &
c. 90. But Cortes himseilf, Relat. p 998, b. aad after fctei Go*
mara, affirm, that the hands of all the fifty were out olF.

NOTE LXXX p. «07.

The horses were objects of the greatest astonishment to all the
people of New Spain. At first they imagined the horse and his
rider, like the Centaurs of the ancients, to be some monstrous
animal of a terrible form ; and supposing that their food was the
same as that of men, brought flesh and bread to nourish them.
Even after they discovered their mistake, they belicred the horses
devoured men in battle, and when they neighed, thought that
they were demanding their prey. It was not the interest of the
Spaniards to undeceive them. Herrera, dec. s.lib.vi. c. il.

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NOTE LXXXI. p. 273.

According to Bart, de las Casas, there wa$ no reason for tliis
fiiassacre, and it waa an act of wantdn cruelty, perpetrated
merely to atrike terror into tbe people of New Spain. Rekc. de
la Destmye. p. 17, &c. Bnt the zeal of Ias Casas often leads
Imn to exaggerate. In opposition to hitn, Bern. Diaz. c. 83, as.
serts, that the first misnonanes sent into New 8pain by the em-
peror, made a judlcions inquiry into this transaction ; and hav.
ing examined the priests and elders of Chcriula, ^Mind that there
was a read conspiracy to cot off 4hc Spaniards, and that the nc*
count given by Cortes was exactly true. As it was Aa object of
Cortes at tlMit tine, and manifestly his interest, togiun the good-
will of MottMznsMy it is improbaliAe ^Mt he showid have tak«B
aM^ wluclk tended so viail^ to alieimte him firorn tbe Sp»»
niarda^ if he had not belieY«d it to haire faaen necesa ary for bit
own ppaaorfaliwa. At the same tbBe> the Spacntttrds vko served
in America had such cmitcmpt far the natives, aad tbeogfat
them so little entitled to the common rights of men^ that Cortes
might hold the Cholnlans to be gvUty upon slight and imperfect
eridence. The severity of the pnaishmcnt was certainly exces-
sive and atrocious.

NOTE LXXXII. p. 274.

This description is taken almost liter^ly from IBemal Disc
del Castillo, who was so unacquainted with the art of compo«i-
tioo, as to be incapable of embellishing his narrative. Herelalea
in a simple and rude style what passed in his own mind^ and
that of bis feHow. soldiers on that occasion ; ** and let it not be
thought strange,** says he, << that I should write in this manner
of what then happened ; for it ought to be considered, that it is
one thing to relate^ another to have b^eld things that were ne-
Pp 2

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f«r hehtm tecs, or kmrd^ or spdiea of amoiif mtn.^ Cof . •§»


B. Df AZ 9BL CAiTlLbo fivec «f M«ie i4ea of 1^ fiitigM
avd hai^tkiys they «iider«t«t in ynforBilns thii^ and othei
poitB «C dsty. D«rn|^ Hm aine m^ilha t^at tkoy remaUed m
MoskOy overy ■»», witho«t aay diatjiieta#ii Mwetii ofioeia
and aoldicrfy diepi on hit ama^ in lua ^ptiUad jacket aad fgf^tfs^
Thtf lay on OMrta, ot straw spread on the floor^ and each waa
oUiged to koU bimadf as akrt as if he had hean an gnaid.
<* ThM)" adda he, '* bacame se habitaal to ne, that ev«n now
in By advanced afr, I always sleep in my claHMa» andnercr in
any bed. When I Tiait asy ancomMfida^ I rwkon it snitaMa in
ny rank, te h«ra. n ImA earrtad 9tom§ with mgp other baggage
bmlnenerfo hito U^ bnl^ nceording to enstoM, lUeii»By
rtiillni^ i*d waHi *«^aatttly dnrtn^ th» nigh* inte His spsn ai^
tatinar^nslarsy aalwaa wamtwlHninafmiaa.'' Caf. Mft.^

NOTE LXXXIY* p. 99(^

Cortes himself, in his second dispatch to the emperor^ does
not explain the motircs which induced him either to condemn
Qualpopoca to th* 0ame8, or ta pnt Moutetmnalin irons. Ra*
mu8. iii. 836. B. Diaz, is silent with respect to his reasons far
thafikrttier} »nd the only caase he fUngntf far tile Wtet was,
thnt he might meet with no intcsmiifcion in execndng thn ae^
tenee pionouneed agmn^t QftUilpniMM!% e. %€f p. 7». But*
Moute^nma was his prisoner, and absoloitely in Wa p«w«r, ha
had na reasDn to dread him, and tfce insnh offered to tha* an*
nareh cavM hnve no effect hut to^ uprilala him nnneecsaarily^
GamaMi supposes, that Cortes had nmothnr okiect than to ac-
cupy Monteaamn wii^i his own distress n«d snfferings, that ha
might giro less attention to what b«fel Qualpopoca. Cron. c. 8^

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Berrcra adepts the game •piiiioo. Bee. 9. lib. vUi. c. 9. But it
seems an odd expedientt, in- order to make a person bear one in-
jury, to load him with another that is greater. De Solis ima-
^nes^ that Cortes had nothfaif Mse Ut Tiew than to itttimidatc
Montexama, so that he might make no attempt to rescue the
▼iotiros fr<Hn thcmr fate; but the spirit of that monarch wa» so
aulmissive, and he hacF sa tamely given up the prisottcra to the
«bsposal of Cosfes, that he had no cause to apprehend any opp<K
skimi from him. If the explanation whkh 1 hav« attempted to>
give of Cortes's proeeedinga on this occasion be not admitted, it
a|>pears to taie, that they must be reckoned amopg tile waatOA
and barbarona acta of oppressioa whkh oceur too often in Ih*
bjatory of the eonqiMst of America..

NOTE LXXXV. p. «9^*

De SoLis asserts, Bb. ir. c. 3. that the proposition of doin^
homage to the king of Spain, came from Montezuma himself^,
and was made in order to induce the Spaniards to depart out of
his dotoiniods. He describes his coadaet on this, occasion^ at it
it httd lirett founded upon a schcoae of profonnd policy^ and exe« *.
eiitsd with ssch refined address^ as to deceive Corkes htmselfk
But tliere i» nd hint or circumstance in the eontemporai'y histo** r
rianSy Covtes, Dtas, or Gomara, to justify this theory. Mpn* ?
tesuma, oa oUwr occasions, discorered no such extent ef art;
and abilities. The anguish which he felt m performiog this Uum*^ «
bliag cevemony is natural, if we suppose it ti^ hare been inrolun* %
taiy. But according to the theory of De Solis, wliirh supposi^^
that Montezuma was executing what be himself had proposed^
to hanrs assumed an appearance of sorrow, m oald have been pre<^
pesterous and iueonsisteat with his own design of deceiving th«:

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NOTE 1-XXXVI- p, 298.

Iw lereral •f the prtmnce^ ^m SpMiiards, with «U their in-
dantry mi4 toflBenee, cendd collect no geld In others, they
pia cw r e dl only a lew triokets of small Hlae. Moatecuma assured
Cortesy that the present which he offered to the kiBi|r of Castile,
alter doliif hoiaigf, consisted of all the treasure amassed hy his
fsthtrs aodtold him, that he had ah^ady dtetrtbated the rest
of his fold and jewels among the Spaniards. B. Bias. c.-i04.
G om aia relates, that all the silver collected amounted to 500
raarhs. Cran. c. 93* Thb agrees with the account girea hy
Cartes, that the royal fifth of sUver was 100 marks. Relat. S^
B. So that the sum total of silver was only 4000 ounces, at the
rate of eight ounces a mark, which demonstrates the proportia*
of silver to gold to ha«^ heen exceedingly imalU

NOTE LXXXVII. p. 299;.^

!>■ Sot.18, nb, tr. c. 1. c«Qs la question the trvth of this trans^
action, from no better reason dian that it waa meonsistcnt wlfk
that prudence which distinguishes the character of Cortes. But
he ought to have recollected the impetuosity of his seal at Tlas-
cala, which was no less imprudent. He. asserts, that the evi-
dence for it rests upon the testimony of B. Diaz dd CastiHo, of
Gomara, and of Herrera. They all concur indeed, in mention*
ing this inconsiderate step which Cortes took ; and they had
good reason to do so, for Cortes himself relates this exploit in his
second dispatch to tbe^^^^ri^^ and seems to glory in it. Cort.
Relat. Ramus, iii. ]40^jp]t ,%» is one instance, among maay,
of De SoHs^s having cofVaited with little attention the letters of
Cortes to Charles V. fvem which the most authentic infonuation.
with respect to his operations must be derived.

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HcRRERA and De Soils sapuMe, that Velasqvet wasencow-
raged to equip this armameiit against Cortes, by the accounta
which he received from Spain concerning the reception of the
agents sent by the colony of Vera Cruz, and the warmth with
which Fonseca bishop of Burgos had espoused his interest, and
condemned the proceedings of Cortes. Herrera, dec. 3. lib. ix.
c. 18. De Soils, lib. 1^. c. 5. But the chronological order of
events refutes this supposition Portocarrero and Mont^o sailed
fr9m Vera Cruz, July 26, 15 1 9. Herrera, dec. 2. lib. v. c. 4.
They lauded at St Lucar in October, according to Herrera, ibid.
But P. Martyr, who attended the court at that time, and com-
municated every occurreuce of moment to his correspondents day
by day, mentions the arrival of these agents for the first time in
December, and speaks of it as a recent event. Epist. 650. All
the historians agree, that the agents of Cortes had their first
audience of the emperor at Tordesillas, when he went to that
town to visit his mother in his way to St J ago de Compostella.
Herrera, dec. 9^ lib. v. c. 4. De Soils, lib. iv. c. 5. But the
emperor set out firom Valladolid for Tordesillas, ou the llth of
IMarch, 1530; and P. Martyr mentions his having seen at that
time the presents made to Charts, Epist. 1665. The ai-mament
under Narvaez sailed from Cuba in April, 1520. It is manifest
then, that Velasquez could not receive any account of what pas >
sed at this interview at Tordesillas, previous to his hostile pre-
parations against Cortes. His real motives seem to be those
which I have mentioned. The patent appointing him Adelantado
of New Spain, with such extensive pow«9, bears date Novem-
ber 13, 1519. Herrera, dec. 3. lib. lii.Cjii. He might receive
it about the beginning of January. Gomara takes notice, that
as soon hs this patent was delivered to him, he began to equip a
fleet and levy forces. Cron. c 96.

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Online LibraryWilliam RobertsonAmerica: in which is included the posthumous volume containing the ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 25 of 25)