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Francesco S. Clavigero
History of Mexico, Vol. I

Richmond: Wm. Prichard, 1806

  • Title Page (Vol. I)
  • Contents (Vol. I)
  • Preface
  • Book 1   Book 2   Book 3
  • Book 4   Book 5   Appendix

  • Vol. II   Vol. III   1807 ed.

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Acosta's Natural & Moral History (1604)  |  Southey's Madoc (1805)  |  Robertson (1812 ed)
    Von Humboldt's Researches (1814)  |  Del Rio's Ruins (1822)  |  View of the Hebrews (1823)

    (this web-page is under construction)


    H I S T O R Y


    M E X I C O.









    ON  THE



    Translated from  the  Original  Italian,


    VOL. I.



    [ iii ]

    C O N T E N T S

    OF  VOLUME  I.

    vii   Translator's Preface
    ix    Author's Preface
    xvii  Account of the Writers of the Ancient History of Mexico,
        and of Mexican Paintings.

    BOOK  I.

    002   Division of the country of Anahuac
    005   Provinces of the kingdom of Mexico
    011   Rivers, lakes, and fountains
    015   Climate of Anahuac
    017   Mountains, stones, and minerals
    023   Plants esteemed for their flowers
    026   Plants valued for their fruit
    036   Plants valued for their roots, leaves, trunk, or wood
    042   Plants of use for their resin, gum, oil, and juice
    048   Quadrupeds of the kingdom of Anahuac
    061   Birds of Mexico
    075   Reptiles of Mexico
    082   Fish of the seas, rivers, and lakes of Anahuac
    089   The insects of Mexico
    103   Characters of the Mexicans, and other nations of Anahuac


    iv                                         CONTENTS.                                              

    BOOK  II.

    111   Of the Toltecas
    114   Great civilization of the Toltecas
    118   Ruin of the Toltecas
    119   The Chechemecas
    121   Xolotl I, king of the Chechemecas in Anahuac
    122   Arrival of the Acolhuas and other nations
    126   Division of the states and rebellion
    128   Death and funeral of Xolotl
    129   Nopaltzin II, king of the Chechemecas
    132   Tlotzin III, king of the Chechemecas
    133   Quinaltzin IV, king of the Chechemecas
    137   The Olmecas and the Otomies
    139   The Tarascas
    140   Masahuas, Matlatzincas, and other nations
    141   The Nahuatlacas
    144   The Tlascalans
    148   Migration of the Mexicans to Anahuac
    157   Slavery of the Mexicans in Colhuacan
    160   A human sacrifice
    161   Foundation of Mexico
    165   Another human sacrifice

    BOOK  III.

    167   Acamapitzin I. king of Mexico
    169   Quanquauhpilzahuac I, king of Tlatclolco
    170   Taxes imposed on the Mexicans
    173   Huitzilihuitl II, king of Mexico
    175   Techotlala, king of Acolhuacan
    177   Enmity of Maxtlalon to the Mexicans
    180   Tlacatcotl II, king of Tlatololco
    181   Ixtlilxochitl, king of Acolhuacan
    183   Chimalpapoca III, king of Mexico
    184   Memorable conduct of Cahuacuecuenotzin
    187   Tragical death of Ixtlilxochitl, and tyranny of Tezozomoc
    190   New taxes imposed by the tyrant


                                            CONTENTS.                                               v

    193   Death of the tyrant Tzozomoc
    197   Maxilaton, tyrant of Acolhuacan
    198   Injuries done to the king of Mexico
    200   Imprisonment and death of king Chimalpopoca
    206   Negotiations of Nezahualcojotl to obtain the crown
    207   Itxcoatl, fourth king of Mexico
    211   Occurrence to Montezuma Ilhuicamina
    217   War againit the tyrant
    221   Conquest of Azcapozalco, and death of the tyrant Maxtlaton

    BOOK  IV.

    225   Re-establishment of the royal family of the Chechemecas on the
            throne of Acolhuacan
    227   Conquest of Cojohuacun and other places
    228   Monarchy of Tacuba, and alliance With the three kings
    230   Acts of king Nezahualcojotl
    231   Conquest of Xochimilco, Cuitlahuac, and other places
    235   Montezuma I, fifth king of Mexico
    236   Atrocious act of the Chalchese
    238   Marriage of Nezahualcojotl with a princess of Tacuba
    239   Death of Quauhtlalon
    239   Conquests of Montezuma
    240   Inundation of Mexico
    241   Famine in Mexico
    242   New conquests and death of Montezuma
    249   Axayacatl, sixth king of Mexico
    250   Death and Eulogy of king Nezahualcojotl
    257   Conquest of Tlatelolco, and death of king Moquihuix
    262   New conquests and death of Axayacatl
    264   Tizoc, seventh king of Mexico
    264   War between Tezcuco and Huexotzinco
    266   Marriage of Nezahualpilli with two noble women of Mexico
    267   Tragic death of Tizoc
    268   Ahuitzotl, eighth king of Mexico
    268   Dedication of the greater temple of Mexico.
    270   Conquests of king Ahuitzotl
    272   New Inundation of Mexico
    274   New conquests and death of Ahuitzoti


    vi                                         CONTENTS.                                              

    BOOK  V.

    276   Montezuma II, ninth king of Mexico
    280   Deportment and Ceremonials of Montezuma II
    284   Magnificence of the palaces and royal houses
    287   The good and bad of Montezuma
    289   War of Tlascala
    296   Tlahuicol, a celebrated general of the Tlascalans
    298   Famine in the empire, and public works in the capital
    299   Rebellion of the Mixtecas and Zapotecas
    300   Contest between Huexzotzinco and Cholula
    301   Expedition against Atlixco and other places
    302   Presages of the war with the Spaniards
    305   Memorable event of a Mexican princess
    309   Uncommon occurrences
    310   New altar for sacrifices and further expeditions
    311   Death and eulogy of Nezahualpilli
    315   Revolution in the kingdom of Acolhuacan
    322   Genealogy of the Mexican kings
    324   Posterity of Motezuma
    325   Descendants of Ferdinand Cortez
    329   The age, century, and year of the Mexicans
    332   The Mexican month
    335   Intercalary days


    [ vii ]

    T R A N S L A T O R' S   P R E F A C E.

    The discovery of America constitutes one of the most remarkable eras of the world; and the history of it a subject not only curious but universally interesting, from its various connections with almost every other part of the globe. The Spanish historians of the two preceding centuries have done little towards elucidating this point. Partiality, prejudice, ignorance, and credulity, have occasioned them all to blend so many absurdities and improbabilities with their accounts, that it has not been merely difficult, but altogether impossible, to ascertain the truth. To collect from their scattered materials whatever wore the face of probability, that was naturally curious, or politically interesting, so as to form one uniform consistent relation of the whole, was a talk in which, for a long time, no modern writer dared to engage. Dr. Robertson at last undertook, and executed it with the applause due to his beauty of stile, his industry and his judgment.

    But notwithstanding the assiduity of his researches, and the pains he has taken to extricate facts from the confusion of different authors, as what is true does not always appear possible, and what appears probable is not always true, he has not entirely succeeded, though he has done all that could be expected. The want of many essential documents, which are preserved in archives of


    viii                                 TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.                                

    the new world, and other disadvantages attending the situation of a writer at a distance from that continent, unacquainted with its languages, productions, or people, perhaps, have made him dissident of entering into very minute details, or of dwelling upon grounds where he was uncertain of being accurate, and induced him, rather than offer conjectures which might not have reached the truth respecting that country and its inhabitants, to adhere to records more authentic concerning the discoverers of it.

    This conduct, however prudent, has left the American side of the picture still greatly in the dark. The Abbe Raynal and M. de Paw have not contributed much to remedy this defect. The history of Mexico, by the Abbe Clavigero, a native of Vera Cruz, who resided near forty years in the provinces of New Spain, examined its natural produce, acquired the language of the Mexicans and other nations, gathered many of their traditions, studied their historical paintings, and other monuments of antiquity, it is presumed, has supplied their deficiencies. The translator, therefore, hopes the present work which contains all the valuable matter of other authors, besides many important particulars never before published, will prove acceptable to the public.


    [ ix ]

    P R E F A C E.

    The History of Mexico, undertaken in order to avoid the. pain and reproach of idleness to which I found my life condemned, to serve to the utmost of my power my native country, and to restore to their full light truths obscured by an incredible number of modern writers on America, has been a task equally laborious, difficult, and expensive. Exclusive of the great expences occasioned by procuring from Cadiz, Madrid, and other cities of Europe, the books which were necessary to my purpose, I have read and examined every publication which has appeared hitherto on the subject; I have compared the accounts of authors, and critically weighed their authority; I have studied many historical paintings of the Mexicans; I have profited from their manuscripts, which I read formerly in Mexico; and consulted with many persons well acquainted with these countries. In addition to such diligence I might add, to give credit to my labours, that I resided thirty-six years in that extensive kingdom; acquired the Mexican language, and for several years conversed with the Mexicans, whose history I write. I do not, however, flatter myself with having been able to give a perfect work; since, besides ridding myself unpossessed of those endowments of genius, judgment, and eloquence, which are the requisites of a good historian, the loss of the greatest part of the Mexican paintings, and the want of many valuable manuscripts


    x                                             PREFACE.                                            

    which are preserved in different libraries of Mexico, and required repeated consultation, are insuperable obstacles to any one who undertakes such a history, particularly at a considerable distance from these countries. Nevertheless, I hope my work will be acceptable; not on account of the elegance of the style, the beauty of the descriptions, the magnitude of the events, or the weight of the opinions delivered in it; but from the diligence of my researches, the integrity of my relation, and the service done to the learned, who are desirous of being made acquainted with the history of Mexico.

    At the persuasion of some persons of learning, I wrote the Essay on the Natural history of Mexico, contained in the first book, which I had not before judged necessary; and it may, in the opinion of many, be considered as foreign to the purpose: but not to deviate from my subject, I have connected the account of natural productions with the general history, by mentioning the use which the Mexicans made of them. On the other hand, to those who are attached to the study of Natural history, this essay will appear, what in truth it is, too confined and superficial; but to satisfy the curious on that subject, it would be necessary to write a work very different from that which I have undertaken. At the same time, I should have spared myself a great deal of trouble, if I had not been obliged to comply with the solicitations of my friends; as in writing that sketch of Natural history, I found it necessary to study the works of Pliny, Dioscorides, Laet, Hernandez, Ulloa, Buffon, Bomare, and other naturalists; not content with what I had seen myself, or the information I had received from intelligent people to whom those countries were well known.


                                                PREFACE.                                             xi

    In this history, nothing has been more anxiously studied than fidelity; I might have abridged my labours, and, perhaps, rendered my work more acceptable to many, if all the diligence which I used to investigate facts, had been employed to strew the relation with philosophical and political reflexions, or fictions of capricious invention, after the example of many authors in this boasted age; but to me, as to those who are the sworn enemies of deceit, falsehood, or attestation, truth appears a beauty whose charms increase in proportion to her simplicity of dress. In recounting the events of the conquest made by the Spaniards, I have equally abstained from the panegyric of Solis, or the invectives of Las Casas; (a) being unwilling either to flatter or calumniate my countrymen. I have left such in the same degree of certainty, or probability, in which I found them; wherever I could not ascertain an event on account of the disagreement among authors, as for example, the death of Montezuma, I have faithfully reported their different opinions, without having omitted, however, such additional conjectures as reflexion on the subject has suggested. In short, I have always had before my eyes the two sacred laws of history; not to dare to speak what is false; nor to fear to speak what is true: and I flatter myself I have violated neither.

    I do not doubt there may be readers too nice and refined to bear with the harshness of so many Mexican names as are scattered through this history; but it is an evil which I have not been able to remedy, without hazarding another defeat less tolerable, though sufficiently common in almost all the Europeans who have written

    (a) I do not mean to charge Solis with flattery, nor Las Casas with calumny: all I wish to be understood is, that I could not adopt the sentiments of Solis, who was ambitious of aggrandizing his hero; nor of Las Casas, who was fired with pious zeal in behalf of the Indians, without accusing myself of both.


    xii                                             PREFACE.                                            

    on America, that is, the altering of names, for the purpose of softening them, until they are rendered unintelligible. Who would be capable of divining that De Solis speaks of Quauhuahuac, when he says Quatlabaca; of Huejotlipan, where he substitutes Gualipar; or of Cuitlalpitoc, where he writes Pilpatoc? I have therefore thought it most safe to imitate the example of those modern writers, who whenever they introduce into their works the names of persons, places, or rivers, of any particular country of Europe, write them in the language of its respective nation; and in the writings of these authors there are names taken from the German, and other tongues, fully harsher to the ear, from the greater concourse of rough consonants, than any of the words I have made use of. I do not, however, reject names that have been formerly altered, by which there is no danger of being deceived, as they are generally known.

    With respect to the geography of Anahuac, I have used every endeavour to render it correct; availing myself of the knowledge which I gained in many excursions through that country, as well as the information and writings of others; after all, I have not entirely succeeded; for, in spite of my most earnest attempts, I have not been able to procure the few incomplete agronomical observations which have been made on these places. The situation, therefore, and distances mentioned in the body of the history, as well as in the chart, are not to be considered as being ascertained with that precision and accuracy which are required from a geographer; but according to such computation as could be made by an attentive surveyor who judged by the eye. I have in my hands innumerable ancient and modern charts of Mexico, of which it would have been easy to have copied


                                                PREFACE.                                             xiii

    the most correct; but among these I have not found even one that is not full of errors, as well in regard to the latitude and longitude of places, as in respect to the division of provinces, the course of rivers, and the direction of the coasts.

    To make known what dependence may be placed on any of the charts hitherto published, it will be sufficient to mention the difference between them concerning the longitude of the capital, notwithstanding it ought to have been better ascertained than any other city of Mexico. This difference is not less than fourteen degrees, as by some geographers the city of Mexico is placed in two hundred and sixty-four degrees of longitude from the island of Ferro; by others, in two hundred and sixty-five; by others, in two hundred and sixty-fix, and even in two hundred and seventy-eight, or rather more.

    To give some ornament, however, to my history, as well as to facilitate the understanding of many things described in it, I have added twenty plates. The Mexican characters, the representations of the cities, of the kings, of the armour, of the dresses, of the shields, of the century, of the year, and of the deluge, have been copied from different Mexican paintings. The figure of the greater temple was taken from that of the Anonymous Conqueror, his dimensions of it, however, being corrected, and additions made to it according to the description of other ancient authors. The figure of the other temple is a copy of that which Valades published in his Christian Rhetoric. The portrait of Montezuma was taken from a copy which Gemelli published of the original, in the possession of Siguenza. The portraits of the conquerors are copies of those which are found in the Decades of Herrera. All the other figures are designs


    xiv                                             PREFACE.                                            

    from what we have seen ourselves, and the descriptions of ancient historians.

    Besides these, I have thought proper to prefix to my narration a short account of the writers on the ancient history of Mexico, to shew the ground-work of my labours; also to do honour to the memory of some illustrious Americans, whose writings are entirely unknown in Europe. It will serve likewise to point out the sources from whence others may obtain the history of Mexico, who may be hereafter inclined to complete this imperfect work.


    [ xv ]



    OF THE

    W R I T E R S

    ON THE



    In the Sixteenth Century.

    Ferdinand Cortes. The four very long letters written by this famous conqueror to his sovereign, Charles the Fifth, containing an account of the Conquest, and many valuable particulars respecting Mexico, and the Mexicans, were published in Spanish, in Latin, in the Tuscan, and other languages; the first of these letters was printed in Seville in 1522; they are all well written,, and discover both modesty and sincerity in the relation; as he has neither made a boast of his own actions, nor thrown obscurity on those of others. If he had had the rashness to deceive his king, his enemies who presented so many complaints at court against him, would not have failed to reproach him with such a crime.

    Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a soldier and conqueror; A True History of the Conquest of New Spain, written by him, was printed in Madrid in 1632, in one volume, folio. Notwithstanding the miscarriage of his undertaking, and the coarseness of the style, this history has been much esteemed for the simplicity and sincerity of its


    xvi                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    author, which is every where discoverable. He was an eye-witness of all that he relates; but, from being illiterate, he was unqualified for the task he undertook; and frequently shews himself forgetful of facts, by having written many years after the conquest.

    Alfonso de Mata, and Alfonso d'Ojeda, both conquerors, and writers of commentaries on the conquest of Mexico, which Herrera and Torquemada have made use of. Those of Ojeda are the fullest and the most esteemed. He was more acquainted with the Indians, being the person appointed to attend to the auxiliary troops of the Spaniards.

    The Anonymous Conqueror. This is the name given to the author of a short, but very curious, and esteemed relation which is found in the collection of Ramusio, under the title of The Relation of a Gentleman who attended Ferdinand Cortes. I have not been able to conjecture who this gentleman may have been, as no author makes mention of him; but, whoever he was, he is candid, accurate, and curious. Without troubling himself with the events of the conquest, he relates what he observed in Mexico concerning the houses, the sepulchres, the arms, the dresses, the manner of eating and drinking, &c. of the Mexicans, and describes the form of their temples. If his work had not been so much confined, there would have been no one comparable to it respecting the antiquities of Mexico.

    Francisco Lopez de Gomara. The history of New Spain, written by this learned Spaniard agreeably to information received from the mouths of the conquerors, and the writings of the first religious missionaries who were employed in the conversion of the Mexicans, and printed in Saragossa in 1554, is curious and well drawn


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xvii

    up. He was the first who published the festivals, rites, laws, and the method by which the Mexicans computed time: but there are many inaccuracies in it on account of these first informations which he obtained not having been altogether exact. The translation of this work in the Tuscan language, printed at Venice in 1599, is so full of errors it cannot be read without disgust.

    Toribio de Benavente. A most celebrated Spaniard of the order of St. Francis, and one of the twelve first preachers who announced the gospel to the Mexicans, known commonly from his evangelical poverty, by the Mexican name of Motolinia wrote, among his apostolical works, The History of the Indians of New Spain, divided into three parts. In the first, he explains the rites of their ancient religion; in the second, their conversion to the Christian faith, and their life when Christians; and in the third, he discourses of their genius, their arts and their customs. Of this history, which is completed in one volume, folio, there are some copies to be found in Spain. He wrote also a work on the Mexican Calendar (the original of which is preserved in Mexico), and others not less useful to the Spaniards than the Indians.

    Andrea d'Olmos. A Franciscan Spaniard, of holy memory. This indefatigable preacher acquired the Mexican, Totonacan, and Huaxtecan languages, and composed a Grammar and Dictionary of all three. Besides other works written by him for the use of the Spaniards and the Indians, he wrote in Spanish a treatise on Mexican Antiquities; and in the Mexican language, the exhortations which the ancient Mexicans used to their children, of which there is a specimen in the seventh book of this history.


    xviii                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    Bernardo Sahagun, a laborious Franciscan Spaniard. Having been more than sixty years employed in instructing the Mexicans, he made great proficiency in their language and the knowledge of their history. Besides several works written by him, both in Mexican and in Spanish, he composed in twelve great volumes in folio, a universal Dictionary of the Mexican Language, containing all that belonged to the geography, the religion, and the political and natural history of the Mexicans. This work, of immense erudition and labour, was sent to the royal historiographer of America, resident at Madrid, by the Marquis of Villamanrique, viceroy of Mexico; and we do not doubt, but it is still preserved in some library of Spain. He wrote also the General History of New Spain, in four volumes, which were preserved in manuscript in the library of the convent of Franciscans in Tolosa de Navarra, according to the affirmation of Juan de S. Antonio, in his Bibliotheca Franciscana.

    Alfonzo Zurita, a Spanish lawyer and judge of Mexico. After having, by order of king Philip II. made diligent researches into the civil government of the Mexicans, he wrote in Spanish. A compendious Relation of the Lords there were in Mexico, and their Difference: of the Laws, Usages, and Customs of the Mexicans: of the Tributes which they paid, &c. The original manuscript in folio, is preserved in the library of the college of St. Peter and St. Paul, of the Jesuits of Mexico. From this work, which is well written, some considerable part of what we have said on the same subject is extracted.

    Juan de Tobar, a most noble Jesuit of Mexico. He wrote on the ancient history of the kingdoms of Mexico, of Acolhuacan, and of Tlacopan, after having made diligent


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xix

    enquiries, by order of the viceroy of Mexico, D. Martino Enriquez. By these manuscripts, P. Acosta was principally directed in what he wrote concerning Mexican antiquities, as he himself acknowledges.

    Joseph d'Acosta, a most celebrated Spanish Jesuit, well known in the literary world by his writings. This great man, after having resided some years in both the Americas, and informed himself, from experienced people, of the customs of those nations, wrote in Spanish the Natural and Moral History of the Indians, which was printed first in Seville, in 1589, reprinted afterwards in Barcelona in 1591, and from thence circulated into various languages of Europe. This work is well written, particularly in regard to the physical observations on the climate of America; but, it is too confined, defective in many articles, and there are some mistakes concerning ancient history.

    Fernando Pimentel Ixtlilxochitl, son of Coanacotzin, last king of Acolhuacan, and Antonio de Tobar Cano Motezuma Ixtlilxochitl, a descendant of the two royal houses of Mexico and Acolhuacan. these two nobles, at the request of the count of Benavente, and the viceroy of Mexico D. Luis de Velasco, wrote letters on the genealogy of the kings of Acolhuacan, and other points relative to the ancient history of that kingdom, which are preserved in the above mentioned college of the Jesuits.

    Antonio Pimentel Ixtlilxochitl, son of D. Fernando Pimentel. He wrote Historical Memoirs of the Kingdom of Acolhuacan, by which Torquemada was assisted; and from it we have taken the calculation mentioned in the fourth book of our history, of the annual expenses incurred in the palace of the famous king Nezahualcojotl, great-great-grandfather of that author.


    xx                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    Taddeo de Niza, a noble Indian of Tlascala. He wrote in the year 1548, by order of the viceroy of Mexico, the history of the Conquest, which was subscribed by thirty other nobles of Tlascala.

    Gabriel d'Ayala, a noble Indian of Tezcuco. He wrote in the Mexican language Historical Commentaries; containing an account of all the affairs of the Mexicans from the year 1243 of the vulgar era, unto 1562.

    Juan Ventura Zapata e Mendoza, a noble of Tlascala. He wrote in the Mexican language the Chronicle of Tlascala; containing all the events of that nation, from their arrival in the country of Anahuac, to the year 1589.

    Pedro Ponce, a noble Indian, rector of Tzompahuacan. He wrote in Spanish, An Account of the Gods and the Rites of Mexican Paganism.

    The chiefs of Colhuacan. They wrote the Annals of the Kingdom of Colhuacan. A copy of this work was in the above mentioned library of the Jesuits.

    Christoval del Castillo, a Mexican Mestee. He wrote the History of the Travels of the Aztecas, or Mexicans, to the country of Anahuac; which manuscript was preserved in the library of the college of Jesuits of Tepozotlan.

    Diego Mugnoz Camargo, a noble Mestee of Tlascala. He wrote in Spanish the History of the City and Republic of Tlascala. Torquemada made use of this work, and there are copies of it both in Spain and Mexico.

    Fernando d'Alba Ixtlilxochitl, a Tezcucan, and descendant, in a right line from the kings of Acolhuacan. This noble Indian extremely conversant with the antiquities of his nation, wrote, at the request of the viceroy of Mexico, several very learned and valuable works;


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxi

    1. The History of New Spain; 2. The History of the Chechemecan Lords; 3. An Epitome of the History of the Kingdom of Tezcuco; 4. Historical Memoirs of the Toltecas, and other nations of Anahuac. All these works, written in Spanish, were preserved in the library of St. Peter and St. Paul of the Jesuits of Mexico, and from them we have extracted some materials for this history. The author was so cautious in writing, that, in order to remove any grounds for suspicion of fiction, he made his accounts conform exactly with the historical paintings, which he inherited from his illustrious ancestors.

    Juan Batista Pomar, of Tezcuco, or Cholula, a descendant from a bastard of the royal house of Tezcuco. He wrote historical Memoirs of that Kingdom, which Torquemada has made use of.

    Domingo de San Anton Munon Chimalpain, a noble Indian of Mexico. He wrote in the Mexican language four works, much esteemed by the intelligent: 1. American Chronicle, containing all the Events of that Nation, from the Year 1068, to the Year 1597 of the vulgar era. 2. The History of the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. 3. Original Accounts of the Kingdoms of Acolhuacan, of Mexico, and of other provinces. 4. Historical Commentaries from the year 1064 to 1521. These works, which I most ardently wished for, were preserved in the library of the college of St. Peter and St. Paul of Mexico. Boturini had copies of them, as well as of almost all the works of the Indians, which I have mentioned; there was a copy of the Chronicle also in the library of the college of St. Gregory of the Jesuits of Mexico.


    xxii                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    Fernando d' Alvarado Tezozomoc, an Indian of Mexico. He wrote in Spanish a Mexican Chronicle, about the year 1598, which was preserved in the above mentioned library of St. Peter and St. Paul.

    Bartolome de Las Casas, a famous Dominican Spaniard, first bishop of Chiapa, and highly worthy of memory among the Indians. The bitter memorials presented by this venerable prelate to king Charles V. and Philip II. in favour of the Indians, and against the Spanish conquerors, printed in Seville, and afterwards translated and reprinted, in odium to the Spaniards, in various languages of Europe; contain some particulars of the ancient history of the Mexicans, but so altered and exaggerated, we cannot rely on the authority of the author, however otherwise respectable. The excessive fire of his zeal sent forth light and smoke together, that is, he mixed truth with falsehood, not because he studied an opportunity of deceiving his king and the world, as a suspicion of such guilt in him would be offering wrong to that virtue which his enemies acknowledged and revered; but because, not having been present at what he relates concerning Mexico, he trusted too much to information from others, which will be made to appear in some parts of this history. We should have, probably, been much more assisted by two great works of the same prelate never published, the one, A History of the Climate and Soil of the Countries of America; and the Genius and Manners, &c. of the Americans under Subjection to the Catholic King. This manuscript, consisting of 830 pages, was preserved in the library of the Dominicans of Valladolid, in Spain, where it was put by Remesal, as he makes us credit in his Chronicle of the Dominicans of Chiapa and Guatemala. The other, A General History of America,


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxiii

    in three volumes, folio; a copy of which was in the library of the count of Villaumbrosa, in Madrid, where Pinelo saw it, as he affirms, in his Bibliotheca Qccidentali: two volumes of this history the above mentioned author saw in the celebrated archives of Simancas, which have been the sepulchre of many precious manuscripts on America. Two volumes also were in the library of J. Kricio, at Amsterdam.

    Agustino Davila, and Padillo, a noble, and ingenious Dominican of Mexico, preacher to king Phillip III. royal historiographer of America, and archbishop of the island of St. Domingo. Besides the Chronicle of the Dominicans of Mexico, printed in Madrid, in 1596, and the History of New Spain and Florida, printed in Valladolid, in 1632, he wrote the Ancient History of the Mexicans, employing materials already collected by Fernando Duran, a Dominican of Tezcuco; but this work has not been found.

    Doctor Cervantes, dean of the metropolitan church of Mexico Herrera, the Chronicle-writer, praises the Historical Memoirs of Mexico, written by this author; but we have no other intelligence of him.

    Antonio de Saavedra Guzman, a noble Mexican, during his voyage to Spain, wrote in twenty cantos, the History of the Conquest of Mexico, and printed it in Madrid, under the Spanish title of El Peregrine Indiano, in 1599, This work ought to be reckoned amongst the histories of Mexico; for it has nothing of poetry but the measure.

    Pedro Guterrez de S. Chiara. Betancourt made use of the manuscripts of this author in his history of Mexico; but we know nothing of the title or quality of the work, nor of the country of the author, although we suspect he was an Indian.


    xxiv                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    In the Seventeenth Century.

    Antonio de Herrera, royal historiographer for the Indies. This candid and judicious author wrote in four volumes in folio, Eight Decades of the History of America, beginning from the year 1492, together with a Geographical description of the Spanish Colonies; which work was printed for the first time in Madrid, at the beginning of the last century, and afterwards reprinted in 1730; also translated and published in other languages of Europe. Although the principal design of the author was to relate the actions of the Spaniards, he does not, however, omit the Ancient history of the Americans; but in what relates to the Mexicans, he copies for the most part the accounts of Acosta and Gomara. His method, however, like that of all rigid annalists, is disagreeable to the lovers of history, because at every step the narration of facts is interrupted with the account of other unconnected occurrences.

    Arigo Martinez, a foreign author, although of Spanish surname. After having travelled through the greatest part of Europe, and resided many years in Mexico, where he made himself most useful by his great skill in mathematics, he wrote the History of New Spain, which was printed in Mexico in 1606. In the Ancient History, he treads for the most part in the footsteps of Acosta; but there are astronomical and physical observations in it of importance to the geography and natural history of these countries.

    Gregorio Garcia, a Dominican Spaniard. His famous treatise on the Origin of the Americans, printed in quarto, at Valencia, in 1607, afterwards enlarged and reprinted


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxv

    in Madrid, in 1729, in folio, is a work of vast erudition, but almost totally useless, as it gives little or no assistance in discovering truth; the foundation for the opinions which he maintains concerning the origin of the Americans, are, for the most part, weak conjectures founded on the resemblance between some of their customs and words, and those of other nations.

    Juan de Torquemada, a Franciscan Spaniard. The History of Mexico, written by him under the title of the Indian Monarchy, printed in Madrid about 1614, in three great volumes in folio, is, without question, the most complete in respect to the antiquity of Mexico of any hitherto published. The author resided in Mexico from his youth to his death; knew the Mexican language well, conversed with the Mexicans for upwards of fifty years, collected a great number of ancient pictures and excellent manuscripts, and laboured at his work more than twenty years; but in spite of his diligence, and such advantages, he frequently betrays want of memory, of critical skill, and good taste; and in his history there appear many gross contradictions, particularly in chronology, several childish recitals, and a great deal of superfluous learning, on which account it requires considerable patience to read it; nevertheless, there being many things of curiosity and value in it, which would be sought for in vain in other authors, I was under the necessity to do with this history what Virgil did with the works of Ennius, to search for the gems amongst the rubbish.

    Arrias Villalobos, a Spaniard. His History of Mexico carried on from the foundation of the capital, to the year 1623, written in verse, and printed there in the above year, is a work of little value.

    Christoval Chaves Castillejo, a Spaniard. He wrote,


    xxvi                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    about the year 1632, a volume in folio, on the Origin of the Indians, and their first Colonies in the Country of Anahuac.

    Carlos de Siguenza e Gongora, a celebrated Mexican professor of mathematics in the university of his native country. This author has been one of the most comprehensive writers on the History of Mexico, as he made, at a great expense, a large and choice collection of ancient pictures and manuscripts, and applied himself with the greatest diligence and assiduity to illustrate the antiquity of that kingdom. Besides many mathematical, critical, historical, and poetical works composed by him, some of them manuscripts, some of them printed in Mexico from the year 1680 to 1693, he wrote in Spanish, 1. The Mexican Cyclography, a work of great labour; in which, by calculating eclipses and comets, marked in the historical pictures of the Mexicans, he adjusted their epochs with ours, and by availing himself of good instruction, explained the method they used to count centuries, years, and months. 2. The History of the Chechemecan Empire, in which he explains what he found in Mexican manuscripts and paintings concerning the first colonies which passed from Asia to America, and the events of the most ancient nations established in Anahuac. 3. A long and learned Dissertation on the announcing of the Gospel in Anahuac; which was done there, as he believed, by the apostle St. Thomas, supporting his opinion on traditions of the Indians, crosses found, and formerly worshipped in Mexico, and other monuments. 4. The Genealogy of the Mexican Kings; in which he traced their ascending line as far back as the seventh century of the Christian sera. 5. Critical Annotations on the Works of Torquemada and Bernal Diaz. All these most learned manuscripts,


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxvii

    which would have afforded considerable aid to this history, were lost through the negligence of the heirs of that learned author; and there now remain only some fragments of them preserved in the works of other contemporary writers, namely, of Gemelli, Betancourt, and Florencia.

    Agustino de Betancourt, a Franciscan of Mexico: his Ancient and Modern History of Mexico, printed in that capital, in 1698, in one volume in folio, under the title of The Mexican Theatre, is nothing else in respect to ancient history, but an abridgment of Torquemada done in haste, and written with little accuracy.

    Antonio de Solis, royal historiographer of America. The History of the Conquest of New Spain, written by this polished and ingenious Spaniard, is more a panegyric than a history. His diction is pure and elegant, but his manner is rather affected; the sentences are too much laboured, and the public speeches are the work of his own fancy; like one less studious of truth than embellishment, he frequently contradicts authors the most worthy of credit, and even Cortes himself, whose panegyric he undertook. In the last books of this history, we shall take notice of some of the mistakes of this famous writer.

    In the Eighteenth Century.

    Pedro Fernandez del Pulgar, a learned Spaniard, successor to Solis in the office of historiographer. The true History of the Conquest of New Spain, written by him, is found cited in the Preface of the modern edition of Herrera, but we have not seen it. It is to be believed, that he set about writing it for the purpose of correcting the errors of his predecessor.


    xxviii                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci, of Milan. This curious and learned gentleman arrived in Mexico in 1736; and, desirous of writing the history of that kingdom, he made, during eight years he remained there the most diligent researches into its antiquity; acquired a considerable mastery of the Mexican language, entered into friendship with the Indians to obtain their ancient pictures from them, and procured copies of many valuable manuscripts which were in the libraries of the monasteries. The museum which he formed of paintings and ancient manuscripts, was the most numerous and select ever seen in that kingdom, excepting that of the celebrated Siguenza; but before he put a hand to his work, the excessive jealousy of the Spanish government stripped him of all his literary estate, and sent him into Spain, where, being entirely cleared from every suspicion against his loyalty and honour, but without recovering his manuscripts, he published in Madrid, in 1746, in one volume in quarto, a sketch of the great history he was meditating. It was found to contain much important knowledge, never before published; but there were also some errors in it. The historical system which he had formed to himself, was too magnificent for execution, and therefore fantastical.

    Besides these and other Spanish and Indian writers, there are some anonymous writers whose works are worthy of being recorded on account of the importance of their subject; such as, 1. Certain Annals of the Toltecan nation, painted on paper, and written in the Mexican language, in which there is an account given of the pilgrimage and wars of the Toltecas, of their king, of the founding of Tollan, their metropolis, and other occurrences until they year 1547 of the vulgar era. 2. Certain Historical Commentaries in the Mexican Language on


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxix

    the Events of the Aztecan, or Mexican Nation, from the year 1066 to 1316; and others also in the Mexican language from the year 1367 to 1509. 3. A Mexican History in the Mexican language, carried back as far as the year 1406. In this history, the arrival of the Mexicans at the city of Tollan, is fixed at 1196, agreeably to what we report in our history. All these manuscripts were in the valuable museum of Boturini.

    We shall not here mention those authors who wrote on the antiquity of Michuacan, of Yucatan, of Guatemala, and of New Mexico; because, although many at present believe all these provinces were comprehended in Mexico, they did not belong to the Mexican empire, the history of which we write. We have mentioned the writers on the ancient history of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, and the republic of Tlascala, because their events are for the most part connected with those of the Mexicans.

    If in enumerating the writers on Mexico, we meant to display our erudition, we could add a long catalogue of French, English, Italian, Dutch, Flemish, and German writers, who have written either designedly, or accidentally, on the ancient history of that kingdom; but after having read many of them, to obtain assistance to this work, I found none who were of service except the two Italians, Gemelli and Boturini, who having been in Mexico, and procured from the Mexicans many of their paintings, and particular intelligence concerning their antiquity, have contributed in some measure to illustrate their history. All the others have either repeated what was already written by Spanish authors mentioned by us, or have altered facts, at their own discretion, to inveigh the more strongly against the Spaniards, as has lately


    xxx                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    been done by M. de Paw, in his Philosophical Enquiries concerning the Americans, and Marmontel in his Romance of The Incas.

    Amongst the foreign historians of Mexico, none is more celebrated by them than the English writer, Thomas Gage, whom I observe many have quoted as an oracle, and yet there is no writer on America more addicted to falsehood. Some, under the influence of the passions of hatred, love, or vanity, have been induced to mix fables with their writings; but Gage appears to have delighted in the invention of falsehoods. What motive or interest could occasion this author to say, that the Capuchins had a beautiful convent in Tacubaja, that in Xalapa there was a bishop's palace erected in his time, with an income of ten thousand ducats; that from Xalapa, he went to Rinconada, and from thence in one day to Tepeaca; that there is in this city a great abundance of anonas and of chicozapotes, that this fruit has a kernel larger than a pear; that the wilderness of the Carmelites stands to the northwest of the capital; that the Spaniards burnt the city Tinguez, in Quivira; that having rebuilt it, they inhabited it at the time he was there; that the Jesuits had a college in it; and a thousand other ridiculous lies, which appear in every page, and excite in readers who are acquainted with these countries both laughter and contempt?

    Amongst modern writers on American affairs, the most famous and esteemed are the Abbe Raynal and Dr. Robertson. The Abbe, besides several gross delusions, into which he has fallen respecting the present state of New Spain, doubts of every thing which is said concerning the sounding of Mexico, and the ancient history of the Mexicans. "Nothing," says he, "are we permitted


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxxi

    "to affirm, except that the Mexican empire was governed by Montezuma, at the time that the Spaniards landed on the Mexican coast." This is the manner of speaking of a philosopher of the eighteenth century. Nothing more can we be permitted to affirm? And why not doubt also of the existence of Montezuma? If we are permitted to affirm this, as it is ascertained by the testimony of the Spaniards who saw that king, we find the attestation of the same Spaniards to a vast many other things belonging to the ancient history of Mexico which were seen by them, and further confirmed by the depositions of the Indians themselves. Such particulars therefore may be affirmed, as positively as the existence of Montezuma, or we ought also to entertain a doubt of it. If there is reason, however, to doubt of all the ancient history of the Mexicans, the antiquity of most other nations in the world will come equally in question; for it is not easy to find another history, the events of which have been confirmed by a greater number of historians than those of the Mexicans; nor do we know that any people ever published so severe a law against false historians as that of the Acolhuas mentioned in our eighth book.

    Dr. Robertson, though more moderate than Raynal, in his distrust of their history, and furnished with more Spanish books and manuscripts, has fallen into more errors, and contradictions while he endeavoured to penetrate further into the knowledge of America and the Americans. To make us despair of being able to obtain any tolerable knowledge of the institutions and customs of the Mexicans, he exaggerates the negligence of the conquerors, and the destruction made of the historical monuments of that nation by the superstition of the first missionaries. "In consequence," says he, "of this fanatical


    xxxii                         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  WRITERS  ON  THE                          

    zeal of the monks, we have totally lost every intelligence of the most remote events contained in these rude monuments, and there does not remain a single trace of the policy and ancient revolutions of the empire, excepting those which are derived from tradition, or from some fragments of their historical pictures which escaped the barbarous search of Zumaraga. It appears evident from the experience of all nations, that the memory of past events cannot be long preserved, nor transmitted with fidelity by tradition. The Mexican pictures, which are supposed to have served as annals of their empire, are few in number, and of ambiguous meaning. Thus from the uncertainty of the one, and the obscurity of the others, we are obliged to avail ourselves of such intelligence as can be gleaned from the imperfect materials which are found scattered in the Spanish writers." But in these assertions this author is grievously deceived; for, 1. The materials which we find in Spanish historians are not so imperfect, but we may form from them a probable, though not altogether an authentic history of the Mexicans; which will appear evident to any one who impartially consults them; all that is necessary is to make a selection. 2. Nor in the writing such a history is it necessary to use the materials of the Spanish writers, while there are so many histories and memoirs written by the Indians themselves, of which Robertson had no knowledge. 3. Nor are the historical pictures so few in number, which escaped the search of the first missionaries, unless we compare those which remain with the incredible quantity that formerly existed; as may easily be understood from this history, Torquemada, and other writers. 4. Neither are such pictures of ambiguous meaning, except to Robertson and those


                                 ANCIENT  HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                              xxxiii

    who do not understand the characters and figures of the Mexicans, nor know the method they used to represent things. Our writings are of doubtful signification to those who have not learned to read them. At the time the missionaries made that unfortunate burning of the pictures, many Acolhuan, Mexican, Tepanecan, Tlascalan, and other historians were living, and employed themselves to repair the loss of these monuments. This they in part accomplished by painting new pictures, or making use of oar characters which they had learned, and instructing, by word of mouth, their preachers in their antiquity, that it might be preserved in their writings, which Motolinia, Olmos, and Sahagun have done. It is therefore absolutely false, that every knowledge of the most remote events has been totally loft. It is false, besides, that there is not a single trace remaining of the political government, and ancient revolutions of the empire, excepting what is derived from tradition, &c. In this history, and chiefly in the dissertations, we shall detest some of the many misrepresentations which occur in the history of the above mentioned author, and in the works of other foreign writers, which we might swell into large volumes. Some authors not contented with introducing errors, trifles, and lies, into the history of Mexico, have confounded it with false images and figures, such as those of the famous Theodore Bry. In Gage's work, in the general history of the travels of Prevost, and others, is represented a beautiful road made over the Mexican lake, from Mexico to Tezcuco, which is certainly the greatest absurdity imaginable. The great work, entitled, La Galerie agreable du Mond, says that ambassadors were sent in former times to the court of Mexico, mounted on elephants. Such fictions belong to romance not history.


    [ xxxiv ]

    O F   P A I N T I N G S.

    We do not pretend here to give a register of all the Mexican pictures saved from the burning of the first missionaries, or executed afterwards by the Indian historians of the sixteenth century, of which some Spanish writers have availed themselves, as such an enumeration would not be less useless than tedious to our readers; but will only mention some collections, the knowledge of which may be of service to any one inclined to write the history of that kingdom.

    I. The collection of Mendoza. Thus we call the collection of sixty-three Mexican paintings made by the first bishop of Mexico, D. Antonio Mendoza, to which he caused to be added skilful interpretations in the Mexican and Spanish languages, for the purpose of sending them to the emperor Charles V. The vessel in which they were sent was taken by a French corsair, and carried into France. The paintings fell into the hands of Thevenot, geographer to his most Christian majesty, of whose heirs they were purchased at a high price by Hakluit, then chaplain to the English ambassador at the court of France. Being from thence carried into England, the Spanish interpretations were translated into English by Locke, but not the famous metaphysician, by order of Sir Walter Raleigh; and lastly, at the request of the learned Sir Henry Spelman, published by Samuel Purchas in the


                                             P A I N T I N G S.                                          xxxv

    third volume of his Collection. In 1692, they were afresh printed in Paris, with a French interpretation by Thevenot, in the second volume of his work, entitled, Relation de divers Voiages Curieux. The pictures as we have mentioned before, were sixty-three in number; the twelve first containing the history of the foundation of Mexico, the years and conquests of the Mexican kings; the thirty-fix following, representing the tributary cities of that crown, and the quantity and species of their tributes, and the remaining fifteen, explained a part of the education of their youth, and their civil government. But it is necessary to observe, that the edition by Thevenot is imperfect; for in the copies of the eleventh and twelfth pictures, the figures of the years are changed; the figures which belong to the reign of Montezuma, being applied to the reign of Ahuitzotl; and on the contrary: the copies of the twenty-first and twenty-second pictures are entirely wanting, and also in great part the figures of the tributary cities. Kirker republished a copy of the first painting from that of Purchas, in his work, entitled, Oedipus Aegyptiacus. This collection of Mendoza we have diligently studied, and obtained much assistance to our history from it.

    II. The collection of the Vatican. Acosta makes mention of some painted Mexican annals which were in his time in the library of the Vatican. We have no doubt but they are still there; considering the laudable curiosity and great attention of the Italian gentlemen to preserve such monuments of antiquity; but we had not any opportunity of applying there to consult them.

    III. The collection of Vienna. Eight Mexican paintings are preserved in the library of this court. "From a note," says Dr. Robertson, "to this Mexican code, it


    xxxvi                                          P A I N T I N G S.                                         

    "appears, that it was made a present by Emanuel, king of Portugal, to pope Clement VII. After having passed through the hands of several illustrious proprietors, it came into the possession of the cardinal of Saxe Eisenach, who presented it to the emperor Leopold." The same author, in his history of America, gives a copy of one of these paintings, the first part of which represents a king, who makes war upon a city after having sent an embassy to it. The figures of temples, and of some years and days appear in it; but as it is a single copy without colours, or those marks in the human figures, which, in other Mexican paintings, enable us to distinguish persons, it is not simply difficult, but totally impossible to comprehend its signification. If Dr. Robertson, had along with it published the other seven copies sent him from Vienna, probably the meaning of them all might have been understood.

    IV. The collection of Siguenza. This very learned Mexican having been extremely attached to the study of antiquity, collected a large number of select ancient paintings, part of which he purchased at a great expense, and part were lent him in legacy by the very noble Indian D. Juan d'Alba Ixtlilxochitl, who inherited them from the kings of Tezcuco, his ancestors. Those representations of the Mexican century, and the migration of the Aztecas; and those portraits of the Mexican kings, which Gemelli published in his Tour of the World, are copies of the paintings belonging to Siguenza, who was living in Mexico when Gemelli landed there. (a)

    (a) Dr. Robertson says, that the painting of the migration of the Mexicans, or Aztecas, was given to Gemelli by D. Christoval Guadalaxara; but in that he contradicts Gemelli himself, who professes he was indebted to Siguenza for all the Mexican antiquities that are copied in his relation. From Guadalaxara he


                                             P A I N T I N G S.                                          xxxvii

    The figure of the century, and the Mexican year, is the same in effect with that published a century before in Italy by Valades, in his Christian Rhetorick. Siguenza, after having made use of the above mentioned paintings in his learned works, lent them at his death to the college of St. Peter and St. Paul of the Jesuits of Mexico; together with his select library, and excellent mathematical instruments; where we saw and consulted in the year 1759, some volumes of such paintings, containing chiefly the penal laws of the Mexicans.

    V. The collection of Boturini. This valuable collection of Mexican antiquities, seized upon formerly, and taken from that learned and industrious gentleman by the jealous government of Mexico, was preserved chiefly in the archives of the viceroy. We saw some of these paintings, representing some events of the conquest, and some fine portraits of the kings of Mexico. In 1770, were published in Mexico, along with the letters of Cortes, the figure of the Mexican year, and thirty-two copies of paintings of tributes, which were paid by different cities to the crown of Mexico, taken from the museum

    had only the chart of the Mexican lake. "But as now," adds Robertson, "it appears to be a generally received opinion, supported on I know not what evidence, that Carreri never went out of Italy, and that his famous Tour of the World was the narrative of fictitious travels, I have been unwilling to make any mention of these pictures." If we did not live in the eighteenth century, in which the most extravagant sentiments have been adopted, I mould be astonished that such an opinion was generally received. Who can possibly imagine, that any man who was never at Mexico should have been capable of giving the most circumstantial account of the most minute events of that time, of the persons then living, of their rank and employments, of all the monasteries of Mexico and other cities, of the number of their religious, of the altars of every church; and other particulars never before published? On the contrary, we must declare, in justice to the merit of this Italian, that we have found no traveller more accurate and exact in relating all that he saw himself, or learned by information from others.


    xxxviii                                          P A I N T I N G S.                                         

    of Boturini. Those of the tributes are the same with Mendosa's published by Purchas and Thevenot, but they are better executed, and have the figures of the tributary cities, which are entirely wanting in those of Purchas and Thevenot; but still six copies of those representing the tributes are wanting, and there are a thousand blunders in the interpretations, arising from total ignorance of antiquity, and the Mexican language. So much is necessary to be observed, that they who see that work published in Mexico, under a respectable name, may not be led into errors.


    [ xxxix ]

    A D V E R T I S E M E N T.

    Wherever we have occasion to make mention of perches, feet, or inches, without any specification, they are to be understood, according to the measures of Paris; which, as they are more generally known, will, therefore, not be so apt to cause ambiguity to the reader. The perch of Paris (toise) is equal to six royal feet (pie du roi). Every foot is equal to twelve inches, or thumbs (pouces), and every inch to twelve lines. A line is supposed to consist of ten parts, or points, in order to be able the more easily to express the proportion which this foot bears to others. The Toledan, or Spanish foot, which is the third part of a Castilian vara (yard), is to the royal foot as 1240 to 1440; that is, of the 1440 parts, of which the royal foot is considered to be composed, the Toledan foot has 1240; wherefore seven Toledan feet make about six royal feet, or a Parisian perch.

    In the chart of the Mexican empire, we have thought it sufficient to mark the provinces, and some few places; omitting a great many, even considerable cities, as their names are so long, the insertion of them would not have left room for the names of the provinces.


    [ 1 ]




    M E X I C O.

    BOOK  I.

    Description of the Country of Anahuac, or a short Account of the Soil, Climate, Mountains, Rivers, Lakes, Minerals, Plants, Animals, and People of the Kingdom of Mexico.

    The name of Anahuac, which was originally given to the vale of Mexico only, from its principal cities having been situated on little islands, and upon the borders of two lakes, taking afterwards a more extensive signification, was used to denominate almost all that tract of land, which is known at present by the name of New Spain, (a)

    (a) Anahuac signifies near to the water, and from thence appears to be derived the name of Anahuatlaca, or Nahuatlaca, by which the polished nations occupying the banks of the Mexican lake have been known.


    2                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    This vast country was then divided into the kingdoms of Mexico, Acolhuacan. Tlacopan, and Michuacan; into the republics of Tlaxcallan, Cholollan, and Huexotzinco, and several other distinct states.

    The kingdom of Michuacan, the most westerly of the whole, was bounded on the east and south by the Mexican dominions, on the north by the country of the Chichemecas, and other more barbarous nations, and on the west by the lake of Chapallan, and some independent states. The capital Tzintzuntzan, called by the Mexicans Huitzitzilla, was situated on the eastern shore of the beautiful lake of Pazcuaro. Besides these two cities, there were others very considerable; namely, Tiripitio, Zacapu, and Tarecuato. All this country was pleasant, rich, and well inhabited.

    The kingdom of Tlacopan, situated between Mexico and Michuacan, was of so small extent, that, excepting the capital of that name, it comprehended but a few cities of the Tepaneca nation, and the villages of the Mazahui, situated in the mountains to the west of the vale of Mexico.

    The court of Tlacopan was on the western border of the lake of Tezcuco, four miles westward from that of Mexico. (b)

    The kingdom of Acolhuacan, the most ancient, and in former times the most extensive, was afterwards reduced to more narrow limits by the acquisitions of the Mexicans. It was bounded on the east by the republic of

    (b) The Spaniards have altered the Mexican names, and adapted them to their own language, saying Tacuba, Oculma, Otumaba, Guaxuta, Tepeaca, Guatemala, Churabusco, &c. in place of Tlacopan, Acolman, Otompan, Huexotla, Tepejacac, Quauhtemallan, and Huitzilopochco, whose example we shall imitate, as far as it is convenient, to avoid giving our readers trouble in pronouncing them.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       3

    Tlaxcallan; on the south, by the province of Chalco, belonging to the kingdom of Mexico; on the north, by the country of the Huaxtecas; and in the west, it was also bounded by different states of Mexico, and terminated in the lake of Tezcuco. Its length from south to north was little more than two hundred miles, and its greatest breadth did not exceed sixty; but in this small district there were large cities, and a numerous population. The court of Tezcuco, situated upon the eastern bank of the lake of the same name, fifteen miles to the eastward of that of Mexico, was justly celebrated not less for its antiquity and grandeur than for the polish and civilization of its inhabitants. The three cities of Huexotla, Coatlichan, and Atenco, were so near adjacent, they appeared like its suburbs. Otompan was also a considerable city, and likewise Acolman and Tepepolco.

    The celebrated republic of Tlaxcallan or Tlascala, was bounded on the west by the kingdom of Acolhuacan, on the south by the republics of Cholollan and Huexotzinco, and by the state of Tepejacac, belonging to the crown of Mexico, on the north by the state of Zacatlan, and on the east by other states under subjection to the same crown. Its length did not reach fifty miles, nor its breadth more than thirty. Tlascala, from whence the republic took its name, was situated on the side of the great mountain Mattalcueye, towards the north-west, and about seventy miles to the eastward of the court of Mexico.

    The kingdom of Mexico, although the most modern, was far more extensive than all the other mentioned kingdoms and republics, taken together. It extended towards the south-west and south, as far as the Pacific Ocean; towards the south-east, as far as the neighbourhood


    4                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    of Quauhtemallan; towards the east, exclusive of the districts of the three republics, and a small part of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, as far as the Gulf of Mexico; towards the north, to the country of the Huaxtecas; towards the north-west, it bordered on the barbarous Chichemecas; and the dominions of Tlacopan and Michuacan, were its boundaries towards the east. The whole of the Mexican kingdom was comprehended between the 14th and 21st degrees of north latitude, and between 271 and 283 degrees of longitude, taken from the meridian of the island of Ferro. (c)

    The finest district of this country, in respect to advantage of situation, as well as population, was the vale itself of Mexico, crowned by beautiful and verdant mountains, whose circumference, measured at their base, exceeded a hundred and twenty miles. A great part of the vale is occupied by two lakes, the upper one of sweet water, the lower one brackish, which communicate together by a canal. In the lower lake, on account of its lying in the very bottom of the valley, all the water running from the mountains collected; from thence, when extraordinary abundance of rains raised the water of the lake over its bed, it easily overflowed the city of Mexico, which was situated in the lake; which accident happened not less frequently under the Mexican monarchy than in the time of the Spaniards. These two lakes, the circumference of which is not less than ninety miles, represented in some degree, the figure of a camel, the

    (c) De Solis, and other Spanish, French and English writers, allow still more extent to the kingdom of Mexico; and Dr. Robertson says, that the territories belonging to the chiefs of Tezcuco and Tacuba, scarcely yielded in extent to those of the sovereign of Mexico; but how far these authors are distant from the truth, will appear from our dissertations.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       5

    head and neck of which were formed by the lake of sweet water, or Chalco, the body by the lake of brackish water, called the lake of Tezcuco, and the legs and feet were represented by the rivulets, and torrents, which ran from the mountains into the lake. Between the two lakes there is the little peninsula of Itztapalapan, which divides them. Besides the three courts of Mexico, Acolhuacan, and Tlacopan, there were forty eminent cities, in this delightful vale, and innumerable villages and hamlets. The cities most noted next to these courts were Xochimilco, Chalco, Itztapalapan, and Quauhtitlan, which now, however, scarcely retain a twentieth part of their former greatness. (d)

    Mexico, the most renowned of all the cities of the new world, and capital of the empire (the description of which we shall give in another place) was, like Venice, built on several little islands in the lake of Tezcuco, in 19 deg. and 26 min. of north latitude, and in 276 deg. and 34 min. of longitude, between the two courts of Tetzcuco, and Tlacopan, 15 miles to the west of the one, and four to the east of the other. Some of its provinces were inland, others maritime.

    The principal inland provinces to the northward were, the Otomies; to the southwest, the Matlatzincas and the Cuitlatecas; to the south, the Tlahuicas and the Cohuixcas; to the south-east, after the states of Itzocan, Jauhtepec, Quauhquechollan, Atlixco, Tehuacan, and others, were the great provinces of the Mixtecas, the

    (t)zzz The other respectable cities of the Vale of Mexico were, Mizqule, zzzCuitmiutc, zzzAzeapozalcOy Tenayocan, Otompan, Colhuacan, Mexicaltxinco, Ifuitzilopochfo, Coyhaeaa, Aiauo, Coutlicban, Huexotla, Chiautla, Acolman, Tcotibtuacan, Itztapaloecen, Ttpttlontec, Tfpcpolco, Tixaytecan, Cittlaltepec, Coyotepec, fzompanca, Tallitlan, Xaltoecan, Tetepanco, Ehecatrpec, Tequizquiac, ffuificbtlan, Tepotzollan, Tchailhjaecan, Htcbectaca, Atlacuihuayan, &c. See our Sixth Dissertation.


    6                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    Zapotecas, and lastly, the Chiapanecas. Towards the east were the provinces of Tepeyacac, the Popolocas, and the Totonacas. The maritime provinces of the Mexican gulf were those of Coatzacualco and Cuetlachtlan, which the Spaniards call Cotasta. The provinces on the Pacific Ocean were those of Coliman, Zacatollan, Tototepec, Tecuantepec, and Xoconochco.

    The province of the Otomies commenced in the northern part of the Vale of Mexico, and extended through those mountains to the north, the distance of 90 miles from the capital. The ancient and famous city of Tollan, now Tula, distinguished itself over all the inhabited places, of which there were many; also Xilotepec, which after the conquest made by the Spaniards, was the metropolis of the Otomies. Beyond the settlements of this nation towards the north and north-west, there were no other places inhabited as far as New Mexico. All this great track of land of more than a thousand miles in length, was occupied by barbarous nations, who had no fixed residence, nor paid obedience to any sovereign.

    The province of the Matlatzincas, comprehended besides the valley of Tolocan, all that space from thence to Tlaximaloyan (now Taximaroa), the frontier of the kingdom of Michuacan. The fertile valley of Tolocan from the south-east to the north-west is upwards of forty miles long, and thirty in breadth where it is broadest. Tolocan, which was the principal city of the Matlatzincas, from whence the valley took its name, was, as it still is, situated at the foot of a high mountain perpetually covered with snow, thirty miles distant from Mexico. All the other places of the valley were inhabited partly by the Matlatzincas, partly by the Otomies. In the neighbouring mountains there were the states of


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       7

    Xalatlauhco, Tzompahuacan, and Malinalco; at no great distance to the eastward of the valley the state of Ocuillan, and to the westward those of Tozantla and Zoltepec.

    The Cuitlatecas inhabited a country which extended more than two hundred miles from the north-west to the south-east, from the kingdom of Michuacan, as far as the Pacific Ocean. Their capital was the great and populous city of Mexcaltepec upon the coast, the ruins of which are now scarcely visible.

    The capital of the Tlahuicas was the pleasant and strong city of Quauhuahuac, called by the Spaniards Cuernabaca, about forty miles from Mexico towards the south. Their province, which commenced from the southern mountains of the vale of Mexico, extended almost sixty miles southward.

    The great province of the Cohuixcas was bounded on the north by the Matlatzincas, and Tlahuicas, on the west by the Cuitlatecas, on the east by the Jopi and Mixtecas, and to the southward it extended itself as far as the Pacific Ocean, through that part where at present the port and city of Acapulco lie. This province was divided into several distinct states, namely, Tzompanco, Chilapan, Tlapan, and Teoitztla, now Tistla, a country for the most part too hot, and unhealthy. Tlachco, a place celebrated for its silver mines, either belonged to the above mentioned province, or bordered upon it.

    Mixtecapan, or the province of the Mixtecas, extended itself from Acatlan, a place distant an hundred and twenty miles from the court, towards the south-east, as far as the Pacific Ocean, and contained several cities and villages, well inhabited, and of considerable trade. To the east of the Mixtecas, were the Zapotecas, so called from their capital Teotzapotlan. The valley of Huaxyacac


    8                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    was in their district, called by the Spaniards Oaxaca, or Guaxaca. The city of Huaxyacac, was afterwards constituted a bishoprick, and the valley a marquisate in favour of the conqueror D. Ferdinand Cortes. (e)

    To the northward of the Mixtecas was the province of Mazatlan, and to the northward and the eastward of the Zapotecas was Chimantla, with their capitals of the same name, from whence their inhabitants were called Mazatecas, and Chinantecas. The provinces of the Chiapanecas, Zoqui, and Queleni were the last of the Mexican empire towards the south-east. The principal cities of the Chiapanecas were Tochiapan (called by the Spaniards Chiapa de Indies), Tochtla, Chamolla, and Tziuacantla, of the Zoqui, Tecpantla, and of the Queleni, Teopixca. Upon the side and around the famous mountain Popocatepec, which is thirty-three miles distant towards the south-east from the court, were the great states Amaquemecan, Tepoztlan, Jauhtepec, Huaxtepec, Chietlan, Itzocan, Acapetlayoccan, Quauhquechollan, Atlixco, Cholollan, and Huexotzinco; these two last, which were the most considerable, having, with the assistance of their neighbours the Tlascalans, shaken off the Mexican yoke, re-established their former aristocratical government. Cholollan, or Cholula, and Huexotzinco were the largest and most populous cities of all that

    (e) Some believe, that anciently there was nothing in the place called Huaxyacac, but a mere garrison of the Mexicans, and that that city was founded by the Spaniards; but besides that it appears by the tribute-roll, that Huaxyacac was one of the tributary cities to the crown of Mexico, we know that the Mexicans were not accustomed to establish any garrison, except in the most populous places of their conquered provinces. The Spaniards were said to found a city whenever they gave a Spanish name to an Indian settlement, and gave it Spanish magistrates; Antequera in Huaxjacac, and Segura della Frontera, in Tepejacac were no otherwise founded.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       9

    land. The Cholulans possessed a small hamlet called Cuitlaxcoapan, in the very place where afterwards the Spaniards founded the city of Angelopoli, which is the second of New Spain. (f)

    To the east of Cholula there was the respectable state of Tepeyacac; and beyond that the Popolocas, whose principal cities were Tecamachalco and Quecholac. To the southward of the Popolocas there was the state of Tehuacan, bordering upon the country of the Mixtecas; to the east the maritime province of Cuetlachtlan, and to the north the Totonacas. This great province, which was the last in that part of the empire, extended a hundred and fifty miles, beginning from the frontier of Zacatlan, a state belonging to the crown of Mexico, about eighty miles distant from the court, and terminating in the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the capital Mizquibuacan, fifteen miles to the eastward of Zacatlan, there was the beautiful city of Chempoallan upon the coast of the Gulf, which was the first city of the empire entered by the Spaniards, and where, as will hereafter appear, their success began. These were the principal inland provinces of the Mexican empire; omitting the mention, at present, of several other lesser states, which might render our description tedious.

    Among the maritime provinces of the Pacific Ocean, the most northern was Coliman; whose capital so-called, lay in 19 deg. of latitude, and in 272 deg. of longitude. Pursuing the same coast, towards the south-east was the province of Zacatolan, with its capital of the same name; then the coast of the Cuitlatecas; and after

    (f) The Spaniards say Tustla, Mecameca, Izucar, Atrlsco and Quecbula, in place of Tochtlan, Amaquemecan, Iztocan, Atlixco, and Quecholac.


    10                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    it that of the Cohuixcas, in which district was Acapulco, at present a celebrated port for commerce with the Philippine Islands, in 16 deg. 40 min, of latitude, and 276 of longitude.

    Adjoining to the coast of the Cohuixcas, were the Jopi; and adjoining to that, the Mixtecas, known in our time by the name of Xicayan. Then followed the great province of Tecuantepec; and lastly, that of Xoconochco. The city of Tecuantepec, from which the state derived its name, was situated on a beautiful little island, formed by a river two miles from the sea. The province of Xoconochco, which was the last and most southerly of the empire, was bounded on the east and south-east by the country of Xochitepec, which did not belong to the crown of Mexico; on the west, by that of Tecuantepec; and on the south terminated in the ocean. Its capital, called also Xoconochco, was situated between two rivers, in 14 deg. of latitude, and in 283 of longitude. Upon the Mexican Gulf there were, betides the coast of the Totonacas, the provinces of Cuetlachtlan and Coatzacualco; this last was bounded on the east by the vast country of Onohualco, under which name the Mexicans comprehended the states of Tabasco, and the peninsula of Yucatan, which were not subject to their dominion. Besides the capital, called also Coatzacualco, founded upon the borders of a great river, there were other well-peopled places amongst which Painalla merits particular mention by having been the place of the nativity of the famous Malintzin, one of the most powerful instruments of the conquest of Mexico. The province of Cuetlachtlan which had a capital so called, comprehended all that coast which is between the river Alvarado, where the province of Coatzacualco


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       11

    terminates, and the river Antigua, (g) where the province of the Totonacas began. On that part of the coast which the Mexicans called Chalchicuecan, lie at present the city and port of Vera Cruz, the most renowned of all New Spain.

    All the country of Anahuac, generally speaking, was well peopled. In the history and in the dissertations we shall have occasion to mention several particular cities, and to give some idea of the multitude of their inhabitants. Almost all the inhabited settlements with their ancient names, are now still existing, though much altered; but all the ancient cities excepting those of Mexico or Orizaba and some others, appear so reduced, they hardly contain the fourth part of the number of buildings and inhabitants which they formerly possessed; there are many which have preserved but a tenth part, and others hardly the twentieth part of their ancient greatness.

    To speak in general of the Indians, and comparing the state of their population, reported by the first Spanish historians, and their native writers, with what we have seen ourselves, we can affirm that at present there hardly remains one-tenth part of the ancient inhabitants; the miserable consequence of the calamities they have undergone.

    The land is in great part abrupt and mountainous, covered with thick woods, and watered by large rivers; though not to be compared with those of South America: some of these run into the Gulf of Mexico, and others into the Pacific Ocean. Amongst the first, those of Papaloapan, Coatzacualco, and Chiapan are the greatest

    (g) We give this river the Spanish name by which it is known at present; as we are ignorant of its Mexican name.


    12                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    The river Papaloapan, which the Spaniards call Alvarado, from the name of the first Spanish captain who failed into it, has its principal source in the mountains of the Zapotecas, and after making a circuit through the province of Mazatlan, and receiving other smaller rivers and streams, is discharged into the Gulf by three navigable mouths, at thirty miles distance from Vera Cruz. The river Coatzacualco, which is also navigable, comes down from the mountains of the Mixes, and crossing the province of which it takes the name, empties itself into the ocean nigh to the country of Onohualco. The river Chiapan begins its course from the mountains called Cuchumataneo, which separate the diocese of Chiapan from that of Guatemala, crosses the province of its own name, and afterwards that of Onohualco, where it runs into the sea. The Spaniards call it Tabasco, which they also called that tract of land which unites the peninsula of Yucatan to the Mexican continent. They called it also the river Grihalva, from the commander of the first Spanish fleet who discovered it.

    Amongst the rivers which run into the Pacific Ocean Tololotlan is the most celebrated, called by the Spaniards Guadalaxara, or great river. It takes its rise in the mountains of the valley of Toloccan, crosses the kingdom of Michuacan and the lake of Chapallan, from thence it waters the country of Tonollan, where at present the city of Guadalaxara, the capital of New Gallicia, stands; and after running a course of more than six hundred miles, discharges itself into the ocean, in the latitude of 22 degrees. The river Tecuantepec springs in the mountains of the Mixes, and after a short course empties itself into the ocean in the latitude of 15 1/2 degrees.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       13

    The river of the Jopi waters the country of that nation, and flows out fifteen miles to the eastward of the port of Acapulco; forming in that quarter the dividing line between the dioceses of Mexico and Angelopoli.

    There were besides, and still are, several lakes, which did not less embellish the country than give convenience to the commerce of those people. The lake of Nicaragua, of Chapallan, and Pazquaro, which were the most considerable, did not belong to the Mexican empire. Amongst the others, the most important to our history, are those two in the vale of Mexico, which we have already spoken of. The lake of Chalco extended twelve miles from east to west, as far as the city of Xochimilco, and from thence taking, for as many miles, a northerly direction, incorporated itself by means of a canal, with the lake of Tetzcuco; but its breadth did not exceed six miles.

    The lake of Tetzcuco extended fifteen miles, or rather seventeen from east to west, and something more from south to north; but at present its extent is much less, for the Spaniards have diverted into new channels many rivers which formerly ran into it. All the water which assembles there is at first sweet, and becomes salt afterwards, from the nitrous bed of the lake where it is received. (h) Besides these two great lakes, there

    (h) M. de Bomare says, in his Dictionary of Natural History, that the salt of the Mexican lake may proceed from the waters of the ocean in the north being filtered through the earth; and to corroborate his opinion he quotes Le Journal des Scavans, of the year 1676. But this is truly a gross error, because that lake is one hundred and eighty miles distant from the ocean; besides, the bed of this lake is so elevated, that it has at least one mile of perpendicular height above the level of the sea. The anonymous author of the work entitled,


    14                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    were in the same vale of Mexico, and to the north of the coast, two smaller ones, named after the cities of Tzompanco, and Xaltoccan. The lake of Tochtlan, in the province of Coatzacualco, makes a sweet prospect, and its banks a most delightful dwelling. With respect to fountains, there are so many in that land, and so different in quality, they would deserve a separate history, especially if we had to enumerate those of the kingdom of Michuacan. There are an infinity of nitrous, sulphureous, vitriolic, and alluminous mineral waters, some of which spring out so hot, that in a few moments any kind of fruit or animal food is boiled in them. There are also petrifying waters, namely, those of Tehuacan, a city about one hundred and twenty miles distant from Mexico towards the south-east, those of the spring of Pucuaro in the states of the Conte di Miravalles, in the kingdom of Michuacan, and that of a river in the province of Queleni. With the water of Pucuaro they make little white smooth stones, not displeasing to the taste; scrapings from which taken in broth, or in Atolli (i) are most powerful diaphoretics, and are used with remarkable success in various kinds of fevers. (k) The citizens of Mexico during the time of their kings, supplied themselves with water from the great spring of Chapoltepec, which was conveyed to the city by an aqueduct, of which we shall speak hereafter. In mentioning

    Observations curieuses sur le Lac de Mexique, (the work expressly from which the journalists of Paris have made their extracts,} is very far from adopting the error of M. de Bomare.

    (i) Atolli is a name given by the Mexicans, to a gruel made of maiz or Indian corn; of which we shall speak in another place.

    (k) The little stones of Pucuaro have been known but a short time. I have myself been an eye witness of their wonderful effect, in the epidemic of 1761. The dose prescribed for one who is easily brought to sweat is one drachm of the scrapings.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       15

    the waters of that kingdom, if the plan of our history would permit, we might describe the stupendous falls or cascades of several rivers, (l) and the bridges which nature has formed over others, particularly the Ponte di Dio: thus they call in that country a vast volume of earth thrown across the deep river Atoyaque, close to the village of Molcaxac, about one hundred miles to the south-east from Mexico, along which, coaches and carriages conveniently pass. It is probable, it has been a fragment of a neighbouring mountain, thrown from it by some former earthquake.

    The climate of the countries of Anahuac varies according to their situation. The maritime countries are hot, and for the most part moist and unhealthy. Their heat, which occasions sweat even in January, is owing to the perfect flatness of the coasts compared with the inland country; or from the mountains of sand that gather upon the shore, which is the case with Vera Cruz my native country. The moisture proceeds not less from the sea than from the abundance of waters descending from the mountains which command the coast. In hot countries there is never any white frost, and most inhabitants of such regions have no other idea of snow than that which they receive from the reading of books, or the accounts of strangers. Lands which are very high, or very near to very high mountains which are perpetually covered with snow, are cold; and I have been upon a mountain not more than twenty-five miles removed from the capital, where there has been white frost and ice even in the dog-days. All the other inland

    (l) Amongst the cascades there is one famous, made by the great river Guadalaxara, in a place called Tempizque, fifteen miles to the southward of that city.


    16                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    countries, where the greatest population prevailed, enjoy a climate so mild and benign, they neither feel the rigour of winter, nor the heats of summer. It is true, in many of these countries there is frequently white frost in the three months of December, January, and February, and sometimes even it snows; but the small inconvenience which such cold occasions, continues only till the rising sun: no other fire than his rays, is necessary to give warmth in winter; no other relief is wanted in the season of heat, but the shade; the same clothing which covers men in the dog-days, defends them in January; and the animals sleep all the year under the open sky.

    This mildness and agreeableness of climate under the torrid zone, is the effect of several natural causes, entirely unknown to the ancients, who believed it uninhabitable; and not well understood by some moderns, by whom it is esteemed unfavourable to those who live in it. The purity of the atmosphere, the smaller obliquity of the solar rays, and the longer stay of this luminary upon the horizon in winter, in comparison of other regions farther removed from the equator, concur to lessen the cold, and to prevent all that horror which disfigures the face of nature in other climes. During that season, a serene sky and the natural delights of the country, are enjoyed; whereas under the frigid, and even for the most part under the temperate zones, the clouds rob man of the prospect of heaven, and the snow buries the beautiful productions of the earth. No less causes combine to temper the heat of summer. The plentiful showers which frequently water the earth after mid-day, from April or May to September or October; the high mountains continually loaded with


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       17

    snow, scattered here and there through the country of Anahuac; the cool winds which breathe from them in that season; and the shorter stay of the sun upon the horizon, compared with the circumstances of the temperate zone, transform the summer of those happy countries into a cool and cheerful spring.

    But the agreeableness of the climate is counterbalanced by thunder storms, which are frequent in summer, particularly in the vicinity of Matlalcueje or the mountain of Tlascala, and by earthquakes which at all times are felt, although with less danger than terror. These first and last effects are occasioned by the sulphur and other combustible materials, deposited in great abundance in the bowels of the earth. Storms of hail are neither more frequent nor more severe than in Europe.

    The fire kindled in the bowels of the earth by the sulphureous and bituminous materials, has made vents for itself in some of the mountains or volcanos, from whence flames are often seen to issue, and ashes and smoke. There are five mountains in the district of the Mexican empire, where at different times this dreadful phenomenon has been observed. Pojauhtecatl, called by the Spaniards, Volcan d'Orizaba, began to send forth smoke, in the year 1545, and continued to do so for twenty years: but after that, for the space of more than two centuries, there has not been observed the smallest sign of burning. This celebrated mountain, which is of a conical figure, is indisputably the highest land of all Anahuac; and on account of its height, is the first land descried by seamen who are steering that way,


    18                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    at the distance of fifty leagues. (m) Its top is always covered with snow, and its border adorned with large cedar, pine, and other trees of valuable wood, which make the prospect of it every way beautiful. It is distant from the capital upwards of ninety miles to the eastward.

    The Popocatepec and Iztaccihuatl, which lay near each other, but thirty-three miles distant from Mexico towards the south-east, are also of a surprising height. Popocatepec, for which they have substituted the name Volcan, has a mouth or vent more than half a mile wide, from which, in the time of the Mexican kings, it frequently emitted flames; and in the last century many times threw out great quantities of ashes upon the places adjacent; but in this century, hardly any smoke has been observed. Iztaccihuatl, known by the Spaniards under the name of Sierra Nevada, threw out also at sometimes smoke and ashes. Both mountains have their tops always covered with snow in so great quantities, as to supply with what precipitates on the neighbouring rocks, the cities of Mexico, Gelopoli, Cholula, and other adjoining places, to the distance of forty miles from these mountains, where an incredible quantity is yearly consumed in cooling and congealing liquors. (n)

    The mountains of Coliman and Tochtlan, considerably distant from the capital, and still more so from

    (m) Pojaubtecatl is higher than Taide or the Peak of Teneriffe, according to P. Tallaudier the Jesuit, who made observations on them both: vide Lettres Edisintes, &c. Thomas Gage says of the Popocatepec, it is as high as the highest Alps: he might have added, something higher, if he had calculated the elevated station on which this celebrated mountain rises.

    (n) The impost or duty upon ice or congealed snow consumed in the capital, amounted in 1746, to 15,522 Mexican crowns; some years after, it rose to 20,000, and at present we may believe it is a great deal more.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       19

    each other, have emitted fire at different periods, in our time. (o)

    Besides these mountains there are likewise others, which, though not burning mountains, are yet of great celebrity for their height; namely, Matlalcueye, or the mountain of Tlascala; Nappateuctli, called by the Spaniards, from its figure, Cosre or trunk; Tentzon, near to the village of Moacaxac, Toloccan, and others, which, being of no importance to the subject, I intentionally omit. Every one knows that the famous chain of the Andes, or Alps of South America, are continued through the isthmus of Panama, and through all New Spain till they lose themselves in the unknown countries of the North. The most considerable part of this chain is known in that kingdom under the name of Sierra Madre, particularly in Cinaloa, and Tarahumara, provinces twelve hundred miles distant from the capital.

    (o) A few years ago an account was published in Italy, concerning the mountains of Tochtlan or Tuftla, full of curious, but too ridiculous lies; in which there was a description of rivers of fire, of frightful elephants, &c. We do not mention among the burning mountains, neither Juruyo, nor Mamotombo, of Nicaragua; nor that of Guatemala; because neither of these three was comprehended under the Mexican dominions. That of Guatemala, laid in ruins with earthquake, that great and beautiful city, the 28th of July, 1773. With respect to Juruyo, situated in the valley of Urecho, in the kingdom of Michuacan, before the year 1760, there was nothing of it but a small hill where there was a sugar plantation. But on the 29th of September, 1760, it burst with furious shocks, and entirely ruined the sugar work, and the neighbouring village of Guacana; and from that time has continued to emit fire and burning rocks, which have formed themselves into three high mountains, whose circumference was nearly six miles, in 1766, according to the account communicated to me, by Don Emmanuelle di Bustamante, governor of that province, and an eye-witness of the fact. The ashes at the eruption, were forced as far as the city of Queretaro, one hundred and fifty miles distant from Juruyo, a matter almost incredible, but public and notorious in that city; where a gentleman shewed me, in a paper, the ashes which he had gathered. In the city of Valadolid, sixty miles distant, it rained ashes in such abundance, they were obliged to sweep the yards of the limits two or three times during the day.


    20                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    The mountains of Anahuac abound in ores of every kind of metal, and an infinite variety of other fossils. The Mexicans found gold in the countries of the Cohuixcas, the Mixtecas, the Zapotecas, and in several others. They gathered this precious metal chiefly in grains amongst the sand of the rivers, and the above mentioned people paid a certain quantity in tribute to the crown of Mexico. Silver was dug out of the mines of Tlachco, Tzompanco, and others; but it was not so much prized by them as it is by other nations. Since the conquest, so many silver mines have been discovered in that country, especially in the provinces which are to the north-west of the capital, it is quite impossible to enumerate them. Of copper they had two sorts, one hard, which they used instead of iron to make axes, hatchets, mattocks, and other instruments of war and agriculture; the other flexible, for making of basons, pots, and other vessels. This metal abounded formerly more than elsewhere in the provinces of Zacatollan, and the Cohuixchas; at present it abounds in the kingdom of Michuacan.

    They dug tin from the mines of Tlachco, and lead from the mines of Izmiquilpan, a place in the country of the Otomies. Of tin they made money, as we shall observe in its place, and we know of lead that it was sold at market, but we are entirely ignorant of the use it was put to; there were likewise mines of iron in Tlascala, in Tlachco, and other places,; but they either did not find out these mines, or at least did not know how to benefit themselves by the discovery. There were also in Chilapan mines of quicksilver, and in many places mines of sulphur, alum, vitriol, cinnabar, ochre, and a white earth strongly resembling white lead. Of


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       21

    quicksilver and vitriol we do not know the use which they made; the other minerals were employed in painting and dying. Of amber and asphaltum, or bitumen of Judea, there was and still is great abundance on both coasts, and they were both paid in tribute to the king of Mexico from many places of the empire. Amber they used to set in gold for ornament; asphaltum was employed in certain incense offerings, as we shall find hereafter.

    With respect to precious stones, there were, and still are, diamonds, though few in number; amethysts, cats-eyes, turquoises, cornelians, and some green stones resembling emeralds, and not much inferior to them; and of all these stones, the Mixtecas, the Zapotecas, and Cohuixcas, in whose mountains they were found, paid a tribute to the king. Of their plenty and estimation with the Mexicans, and the manner in which they wrought them, we shall speak more properly in another place. The mountains which lay on the coast of the gulf of Mexico, between the port of Vera Cruz and the river Coatzacualco, namely, those of Chinantla, and the province of Mixtecas, furnished them with crystal; and the cities of Tochtepec, Cuetlachtlan, Cozamaloapan, and others, were obliged to contribute annually to the luxury of the court.

    These mountains did not less abound in various kinds of stone, valuable in architecture, sculpture, and other arts. There are quarries of jasper, and marble of different colours in the mountains of Calpolalpan to the east of Mexico, in those which separate the two vallies of Mexico and Toloccan, now called Monte de los Cruzes, and in those of the Zapotecas: of alabaster in Tecalco (at present Tecale), a place in the neighbourhood


    22                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    of the province of Tepeyacac, and in the country of the Mixtecas: of Tezontli, in the vale itself of Mexico, and in many other places of the empire. The stone Tetzontli is generally of a dark red colour, pretty hard, porous, and light, unites most firmly with lime and sand, and is therefore more in demand than any other for the buildings of the capital, where the foundation is marshy and unsolid. There are besides entire mountains of loadstone, and among others one very considerable between Teoitztlan and Chilapan, in the country of the Cohuixcas. Of Quetzalitztli commonly known by the name of the nephritic stone, the Mexicans formed various and curious figures, some of which are preserved in different museums of Europe. Chimaltizatl, which is a kind of talc, is a transparent white stone, dividing easily into thin leaves; on calcination gives a fine plaister, which the ancient Mexicans used to whiten their paintings. There are besides infinite quantities of plaister and talc; but respecting this last we do not know what use it was put to. The Mezcuitlatl, that is, moon's-dung, belongs to that class of stones which, on account of their resistance to the action of fire, are called by chemists lapides refractarii. It is transparent and of a reddish gold colour. But no stone was more common with the Mexicans than the itztli, of which there is great abundance in many places of Mexico. It is semitransparent, of a glassy substance, and generally black, but it is found also white and blue; they made looking-glasses of this stone, knives, lancets, razors, and spears, as we shall mention when we treat of their militia; and after the introduction of the gospel they made sacred stones of it which were much valued. (p)

    (p) Itztli is known in South America by the name of the Pietra del Galinazzo. The celebrated Mr. Caylus proves, in a manuscript Dissertation, which Mr. Bomare


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       23

    However plentiful and rich the mineral kingdom of Mexico may be, the vegetable kingdom is still more various and abundant. The celebrated Dr. Hernandez, the Riny of New Spain, describes in his Natural history, about twelve hundred plants, natives of that country; but his description, although large, being confined to medicinal plants, has hardly comprised one part of what provident nature has produced there for the benefit of mortals. Of the medicinal plants we should give but an imperfect account if we applied to the medicine of the Mexicans. With regard to the other classes of vegetables, some are esteemed for their flowers, some for their fruit, some for their leaves, some for their root, some for their trunk or their wood, and others for their gum, resin, oil, or juice. (q) Among the many flowers which embellish the meads and adorn the gardens of the Mexicans, there are some worthy to be mentioned, either from the singular beauty of their colours, the exquisite fragrance which they exhale, or the extraordinariness of their form.

    The Floripundio which, on account of its size, merits the first mention, is a beautiful white odoriferous flower, monopetalous, or consisting of one leaf, but so large, in length it is full more than eight inches, and its diameter in the upper part three or four. Many hang together from the branches like bells, but not entirely round as their corolla, (r) has five or six angles equidistant from each other. These flowers are produced by a pretty

    has cited, that the obsidiana, of which the ancients made their vasa murina, which were so much esteemed, was entirely similar to this one.

    (q) We have adopted this though imperfect division of plants, as it appears the most suitable and adapted to the plan of our history.

    (r) The coloured leaves of which the flower is composed are called petals by Fabio Colonna, and corolla by Linnaeus, to distinguish them from the real leaves.


    24                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    little tree, the branches of which form around top like a dome. Its trunk is tender, its leaves large, angular and of a pale green colour. The flowers are followed by round fruit as large as oranges, which contain an almond.

    The Jollocxochitl, (s) or flower of the heart, is also large, and not less estimable for its beauty than for its odour, which is so powerful, that a single flower is sufficient to fill a whole house with the most pleasing fragrance. 4 It has many petals, which are glutinous, externally white, internally reddish or yellowish, and disposed in such a manner, that when the flower is open and its petals expanded, it has the appearance of a star, but when shut it resembles in some measure a heart, from whence its name arose. The tree which bears it is tolerably large, and its leaves long and rough.

    The Coatzontecoxochitl, or flower with the viper's head, is of incomparable beauty. (t) It is composed of five petals or leaves, purple in the innermost part, white in the middle, the rest red but elegantly stained with yellow and white spots. The plant which bears it has leaves resembling those of the iris, but longer and larger, its trunk is small and slim; this flower was one of the most esteemed amongst the Mexicans.

    The Oceloxochitl, or tyger-flower, is large, composed

    (s) There is another Jolloxochitl also exceedingly fragrant, but different in form.

    (t) Flos forma spectabilis, et quam vix quifpiam possit verbis exprimere, ant penecillo pro dignitate imitari, a principibus Indorum ut naturae miraculum valde expetitus, et in magno habitus pretio. Hernandez Histor. Nat. Hispaniae, lib. viii. c. 8. The Lincean Academicians of Rome, who commented on and published this history of Hernandez in 1651, and saw the paintings of this flower, with its colours, executed in Mexico, conceived such an idea of its beauty that they adopted it as the emblem of their very learned academy, denominating it Fier di Lince.

    [following 24]

    [image: flowers]


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       25

    of three pointed petals, and red, but towards the middle of a mixed white and yellow, representing in some degree the spots of that wild animal from which it takes its name. The plant has leaves also resembling those of the iris, and a bulbous root.

    The Cacaloxochitl, or raven-flower is small, but very fragrant, and coloured white, red, and yellow. The tree which produces these flowers appears covered all over with them, forming at the end of the branches natural bunches not less pleasing to the sight than grateful to the sense. In hot countries there is nothing more common than these flowers; the Indians adorn their altars with them; and the Spaniards make excellent conserves of them. (u)

    The Izquixochitl is a small white flower, resembling in figure the cynorrhodo, or wood-rose, and in flavour the garden-rose, but much superior to it in fragrance. It grows to a great tree.

    The Chempoalochitl or Chempascuhil, as the Spaniards say, is that flower transplanted to Europe which the French call Oeillet d'Inde, or Indian carnation. It is exceedingly common in Mexico, where they call it also Flower of the Dead; and there are several kinds differing in size, in figure, and in the number of petals of which they are composed.

    The flower which the Mexicans call Xiloxochitl, and the Miztecas Iiata, is entirely composed of thin, equal, and strait threads, but pliant and about six inches long, springing from a round cup something resembling an acorn, but different in size, in colour, and substance. Some of these beautiful flowers are entirely red, others

    (u) It is probable that this tree is the same which Bomare describes under the name of Fraugipanier


    26                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    all white, and the tree which bears them is most beautiful.

    The Macphalxochitl, or flower of the hand, is like a tulip, but its pistillum represents the form of a bird's foot, or rather that of an ape, with six singers terminated with as many nails. The vulgar Spaniards of that kingdom call the tree which bears these curious flowers Arbol de Manitas.

    Besides these and innumerable other flowers, natives of that country, which the Mexicans delighted to cultivate, the land of Mexico has been enriched with all those which could be transported from Asia and Europe, such as lilies, jessamines, carnations of different kinds, and others in great numbers, which at present in the gardens of Mexico rival the flowers of America.

    With regard to fruits, the country of Anahuac is partly indebted to the Canary islands, partly to Spain, for water melons, apples, peaches, quinces, apricots, pears, pomegranates, figs, black-cherries, walnuts, almonds, olives, chesnuts, and grapes; although these last were not altogether wanting in the country. (x) In Mizteca there are two kinds of wild vine original in the country: the one in the shoots and figure of the leaves similar to the common vine, produces red grapes, large, and covered with a hard skin, but of a sweet and grateful taste, which would certainly improve from culture. The grape of the other vine is hard, large, and of a very harsh taste, but they make an excellent conserve of it.

    With respect to the cocoa-tree, the plantain, the citron, orange, and lemon, I am persuaded, from the testimony

    (x) The places named Parras and Parral in the diocese of New Biscaglia, had these names from the abundance of vines which were found there, of which they made many vineyards, which at this day produce good wine.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       27

    of Oviedo, Hernandez, and Bernal Dias, that they had the cocoa from the Philippine islands, and the rest from the Canaries; (y) but as I know there are many of another opinion, I decline engaging myself in any dispute; because, besides its being a matter of no importance to me, it would force me to deviate from the line of my history. It is certain, that these trees, and all others which have been imported there from elsewhere, have successfully taken root, and multiplied as much as in their native soil. All the maritime countries abound with cocoa-nut trees. Of oranges, there are seven different kinds, and of lemons only four. There are as many of the plantain, or platano, as the Spaniards call it. (z) The largest, which is the zapalot, is from fifteen to

    (y) Oviedo, in his Natural History, attests, that F. J. Bulangas, a Dominican, was the first who brought the Musa from the Canaries to Hispaniola, in 1516; and from thence it was transplanted to the continent of America. Hernandez, in the third book, chap. 40. of his Natural history, speaks thus of the cocoa: Noscitur passim apud Orientales et jam quoque apud Occidentales Indos. B. Bias in his history of the conquest, chap. 17. says, he sowed in the country of Coatzacualco, seven or eight orange seeds; and these, he adds, were the first oranges ever planted in New Spain. With regard to the musa, of the four species which there are of it, it is probable, one of them only is foreign, which is called Guinco.

    (z) The musa was not altogether unknown to the ancients. Pliny, in citing the account which the soldiers of Alexander the Great gave of all that they saw in India, gives this description of it: Major et alia (arbos) pomo et suavitate praecellentior, quo sapintes Inderum vivunt. Folium avium alas imitatur, longitudine cubitorum trium, latitudine duum. Fructum cortice emillit admirabilem succi dulcedine, ut uno quartenos satiet. Arbori nomen palae, pomo aniena. Hist. Nat. lib. xii. cap. 6. Besides these specific characters of the musa he subjoins further, that the name Palan, which was given to the musa in those remote times, is still preserved in Malabar, as Garzia dell'Orto, a learned Portuguese physician, bears witness, who resided there many years. It is to be suspected whether Platano, or plantain has been derived from the word Palan. The name Bananas, which the French give it, is the same as it bears in Guinea, and the name Musa, which the Italians give it, is taken from the Arabic. By some it has been called the Fruit of Paradise, and even some are persuaded it is the very fruit which made our first parents transgress.


    28                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    twenty inches in length, and about three in diameter. It is hard and little esteemed, and is only eat when roasted or boiled. The Platano largo, that is long, is eight inches at the most in length, and one and a half in diameter. The skin at first is green, then yellow, and when perfectly ripe, black or blackish. It is a relishing and wholesome fruit, whether boiled or raw. The Guinco is smaller than the other, but richer, softer, more delicious, and less wholesome. The fibres which cover the pulp are flatulent. This species of plantain has been cultivated in the public garden of Bologna, and we have tasted it, but found it so unripe and unpalatable on account of the climate, that it might have been supposed to be a quite different species. The Dominico is the smallest and likewise the most delicate. The tree also is smaller than the others. In that country there are whole woods of large extent not only of the plantain, but also of oranges and lemons; and in Michuacan there is a considerable commerce with the dried plantains, which are preferable to raisins or figs.

    The fruits which are unquestionably original in that country are the pine-apple, which from being at first view like to the pine-tree, was called by the Spaniards Pina. The Mamei, Chirimoya, (a) Anona, Cabeza di Negro, black Zapote, Chicozapote, white Zapote, yellow Zapote, Zapote di S. Dominico, Ahuacate, Guayaba, Capulino,

    (a) Several European writers on the affairs of America, confound the Chirimoya with the Arcona and Guanabana: but they are three distinct species of fruits; although the two first are somewhat resembling each other. It is necessary also to guard against confounding the pine-apple with the Anona, which, are more different from each other than the cucumber and melon. Bomare, however, makes two distinct fruits of the Chirimoya and Cherimolia, whereas Cherimolia is only the corruption of the first and original name of the fruit. The Ate likewise, which some judge a fruit different from the Cherimoya, is only a variety of the same species.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       29

    Guava, or Cuaxinicuil, Pitahaya, Papaya, Guanabana, Noce Encarcelado, Plums, Dates, Chajoti, Tilapo, Obo or Hobo, Nance, Cacahuate, and many others unimportant to be known by the reader. most of these fruits are described in the works of Oviedo, Acosta, Hernandez, Laet, Nieremberg, Marcgrave, Pison, Barrere, Sloane, Ximenes, Ulloa, and many other naturalists; we shall therefore only take notice of those which are the least known in Europe.

    All the fruits comprehended by the Mexicans under the generic name of Tzapotl, are round or Approach to roundness; and all have a hard stone. (h) The black Zapote, has a green, light, smooth, tender bark; a black, soft, and most exceeding savoury pulp, which at first sight looks like the Cassia. (c) Within the pulp, it has flat, blackish stones, not longer than a singer. It is perfectly round, and its diameter from one and a half, to four or five inches. The tree is of a moderate size and thickness, with small leaves. Ice of the pulp of this fruit, seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, is of a most delicate taste.

    The white Zapote, which from its narcotic virtue, was called by the Mexicans Cochitzapotl, is something similar to the black, in size, figure, and colour of the bark; although in the white the green is more clear; but in other respects they are greatly different. Its stone, which is believed to be poisonous, is large, round, hard, and

    (b) The fruits comprehended by the Mexicans under the name of Tzapotl, are the Mammei Tetzontzapotl, the Chirimoya Matzapotl, the Anona Quanbtzapotl, the black Zapotl Tliltzapotl, &c.

    (c) Gemelli says, the black Zapotl has also the taste of the Cassia: but this is very far from being true, which all who have tasted it must know. He says also, that this fruit when crude, is poison to fish, but it is wonderful that such a fact would be known only to Gemelli, who was not more than ten months in Mexico,


    30                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    white. The tree is thick, and larger than the black; and its leaves also are larger. Besides, the black is peculiar to a warm climate; but the white, on the contrary, belongs to the cold and temperate climates.

    The Chicozapote, (in Mexican Chictzapotl) is of a spherical shape, or approaching thereto; and is one and a half, or two inches in diameter. Its skin is grey, the pulp white, and the stones black, hard, and pointed. From this fruit, when it is still green, they draw a glutinous milk, which easily condenses, called by the Mexicans, Chictli; and by the Spaniards, Chicle: the boys and girls chew it; and in Colima they form it into small statues, and other fanciful little figures. (d)

    The Chicozapote, fully ripe, is one of the most delicious fruits; and by many Europeans reckoned superior to any fruit in Europe. The tree is moderately large, its wood fit for being wrought, and its leaves are round, in colour and consistence like those of the orange. It springs without culture in hot countries; and in Mixteca, Huaxteca, and Michuacan, there are woods of such trees twelve and fifteen miles long. (e)

    The Capollino or Capulin, as the Spaniards call it, is the cherry of Mexico. The tree is little different from the cherry tree of Europe; and the fruit is like it in size, colour, and stone, but not in taste.

    (d) Gemelli is persuaded that chicle was a composition made on purpose; but he is deceived, for it is nothing else than the mere milk of the unripe fruit condensed by the air. -- Tom. 6. lib. ii. cap. 10.

    (e) Amongst the ridiculous lies told by Thomas Gage, is the following, that in the garden of S. Giacinto, (the hospital of the Dominicans of the mission from the Philippine isles, in the suburbs of Mexico where he lodged several months,) there were Chicozapoti. This fruit could never be raised either in the vale of Mexico or any other country subject to white frost.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       31

    The Nance is a small, round fruit; yellow, aromatic, and savoury, with extremely small seeds, which grow into trees peculiar to warm climates.

    The Chayoti is a round fruit, similar in the husk, with which it is covered, to the chesnut, but four or five times larger, and of a much deeper green colour. Its kernel is of a greenish white, and has a large stone in the middle, which is white, and like it in substance. It is boiled, and the stone eat with it. This fruit is produced by a twining perennial plant, the root of which is also good to eat.

    The imprisoned nut, commonly so called, because its kernel is closely shut up within an exceeding hard stone. It is smaller than the common nut; and its figure resembles the nutmeg. Its stone is smooth, and its kernel less, and not so well tasted as the common one. This (f) transported from Europe, has multiplied and become as common as in Europe itself.

    The Tlalcacahuatl, or Cacahuate as the Spaniards call it, is one of the most scarce plants which grow there. It is an herb, but very thick, and strongly supplied with roots. Its leaves are something like purslain, but not so gross. Its flowerets are white, which bring no fruit. Its fruit are not borne on the branches or stem as in other plants, but attached to the junction of the roots, within a white, greyish, long, roundish, wrinkled sheath, and as rough as we have represented it in our third figure of fruits and flowers. Every sheath has two or three Cacahuati, which are in figure like pine-seeds, but larger

    (f) We only speak of the imprisoned nut of the Mexican empire, as the one of New Mexico is larger and better tasted than the common one of Europe, as I have been informed from respectable authority. Probably this of New Mexico is the same with that of Louisiana, called Pacana, or Pacaria.


    32                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    and grosser; and each is composed, like other seeds, of two lobi; and has its germinating point. It is fit for eating, and well tasted when not raw but only a little toasted. If they are much toasted, they acquire a smell and taste so like coffee, any one may be deceived by it. Oil is made from the Cacahuati, which is not ill tasted; but it is believed to be unwholesome because it is very hot. It makes a beautiful light, but is easily extinguished. This plant would thrive, with certainty, in Italy. It is sown in March or April, and the fruit is gathered in October or November.

    Among many other fruits, which I pass over to shorten my account, I cannot dispense with the mention of the cocoa, the cocoa nut, vainilla, chia, chilli or great pepper, Tomati, the pepper of Tabasco, cotton, grain, and leguminous plants which are most common with the Mexicans.

    Of the Cocoa nuts, (a name taken from the Mexican word Cacahuatli,) Hernandez enumerates four species; but the Tlalcacahuatl, the smallest of the whole, was the one most used by the Mexicans in their chocolate and other daily drink; the other species served more as money to traffic with in the market, than aliment. The Cocoa nut was one of the plants most cultivated in the warm countries of that empire; and many provinces paid it in tribute to the crown of Mexico; and amongst others the province of Xoconocho, whose Cocoa-nut is excellent and better than that of Maddalena. The description of this celebrated plant, and its culture, is to be found in many authors of every polished nation in Europe.

    The Vainilla or Vainiglia, so well known and much used in Europe, grows without culture, in warm countries.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       33

    The ancient Mexicans made use of it in their chocolate and other drinks which they made of the cocoa.

    The Chia is the small seed of a beautiful plant, whose stem is straight and quadrangular; the branches extended in four directions, and symmetrically placed opposite each other, with blue flowerets. There are two species of it, the one black and small, from which there is an oil drawn, admirable for painting; the other white and larger, of which they make a cooling beverage. Both were used by the Mexicans for these and other purposes, which we shall mention hereafter.

    Of Chilli or great Pepper, (g) which was as much in use with the Mexicans as salt in Europe, there are at least eleven species, different in their size, figure and sharpness. The Quauhchilli, which is the fruit of a shrub, and Chiltecpin are the smallest, but also the most sharp. Of the Tomate there are six species, distinguished by their size, colour, and taste. The largest, which is the Xictomatl or Xitomate, as the Spaniards of Mexico call it, is now very common in Europe, in Spain, and France, under the name of Tomate; and in Italy, under the name of Pomo d'oro. The Miltomatl is smaller, green, and perfectly round. How much both were used by the Mexicans at their meals, shall be mentioned when we treat of their diet.

    The Xocoxochitl, vulgarly known by the name of Pepe di Tabasco, from its abounding in that province, is larger than the pepper of Malabar. It grows on a large tree,

    (g) In other countries of America the Chilli is called Axi; in Spain, Pimien to; in France, Poivre de Guinee, and by other names.


    34                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    whose leaves have the colour and lustre of those of the orange; and the flowers are of a beautiful red, and similar in figure to those of the pomegranate, and of a most penetrating and pleasing scent, of which the branches also partake. The fruit is round and borne in clusters which at first are green, afterwards become almost black. This pepper, used formerly by the ancient Mexicans, may supply the want of that of Malabar.

    Cotton, from its utility, was one of the most valuable productions of that country, as it served instead of flax (although this plant was not wanting to them,) and the inhabitants of Anahuac were generally clothed in it. (h) There is white and tawny-coloured cotton, vulgarly called Coyote. It is a plant common in warm countries, but more cultivated by the ancients, than the moderns.

    The Achiote, called by the French Rocou, served the Mexicans in dying, as it now does the Europeans. Of the bark they made cordage, and the wood was used to produce fire by friction, after the mode of the ancient shepherds of Europe. This tree is well described in the dictionary of Bomare.

    With regard to corn and leguminous plants, that country had from Europe, wheat, barley, rice, pease, beans, lentils, and others; all of which rooted themselves successfully in soils suited to their nature, and multiplied accordingly, as we shall shew in our dissertations. (i)

    (h) Michuacan, New Mexico, and Quivira produced flax in great abundance and of the best quality; but we are ignorant if these nations cultivated or made life of it. The Court of Spain, being made acquainted of the lauds of Mexico being fit for the culture of flax and hemp, sent, in the year 1778, twelve country families from Vega di Granata, to be employed in that kind of agriculture.

    (i) Dr. Hernandez, in his Natural history of Mexico, describes the species of wheat found in Michuacan, and boasts its prodigious fecundity: but the ancients either did not know, or did not incline to use it, but gave preference then, as

    [following 34]

    [image: fruit]


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       35

    Of grain, the chief, the most useful, and most common was the maize, called by the Mexicans, Tluolli; of which there are several species, differing in size, colour, weight, and taste. There is the large and the small sort, the white, the yellow, the blue, the purple, the red, and the black. The Mexicans made bread of maize, and other meats, of which we shall treat hereafter. Maize was carried from America to Spain, and from Spain into the other countries of Europe, to the great advantage of the poor; though an author of the present day, would make America indebted to Europe for it; an opinion the most extravagant and improbable which ever entered a human brain. (k)

    The chief pulse of the Mexicans, was the French bean, of which the species are more numerous and more varied than those of maize. The largest species is the Ayacotli, which is the size of a common bean, and comes from a beautiful red flower; but the most esteemed is the small black heavy French bean. This pulse, which in Italy is of no value, because it is not good there, is so excellent in Mexico, that it not only serves as sustenance to the poor class of people, but is also esteemed a luxury by the Spanish nobility.

    they still do, to their own maize. The first person who sowed European wheat in that country was, a Moorish slave belonging to Cortez, having discovered a few grains of it in a bag of rice, which he carried for provision, to the Spanish soldiers.

    zzz(k) Here follow the words of Bomare, in his Dictionary of Nat. Hist. vide Ble de Turquie. -- On donnoit a cette plante curleuse & utile, le nom de Ble d' Inde: parce qu'elle tire son origine des Indes, d'ou elle fut apporte en Turquie, & de la dans toutes les autres parties de l'Europe, de l' Afrique, & de de l' Amerique. The name of Grano di Turchia, by which it is at present known in Italy, must certainly have been the only reason of Bomare's adopting an error, so contrary to the testimony of all writers on America, and the universal belief of nations. The wheat is called by the Spaniards of Europe and America, Maize, taken from the Haitina language, which was spoken in the island now called Hispaniola, or St. Domingo.


    36                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    Of plants which were valuable for their root, their leaves, their trunk, or their wood, the Mexicans had many which served them for food, namely the Xicama, Camote, Huacamote, Cacomite, and others; or which furnished them with thread for their clothes, or cordage, namely the Iczotl, and several species of Maguei; or gave them wood for buildings and other works, as the cedar, pine, cypress, fir, and ebony, &c.

    The Xicama, called by the Mexicans Catzotl, is a root the figure and size of an onion; quite white, solid, fresh, juicy, and relishing, and always eat raw.

    The Camote is another root, extremely common in that country, of which there are three species, one white, one yellow, and another purple. When boiled they taste well, especially those of Queretaro, which are justly prized over all the kingdom. (l)

    The Cacomite is the esculent root of the plant which bears the beautiful tyger-flower, already described.

    The Huacamote is the sweet root of a species of Jucca, (m) which is also eat boiled. The papa which is a root transplanted into Europe, and greatly valued in Ireland, was also brought from South America, its native country, into Mexico, as many other roots and salads were from Spain and the Canaries, namely, turnips, radishes, carrots, garlic, lettuces, and asparagus, cabbages, &c. Onions were sold in the markets of Mexico, as Cortez mentions in his letters to Charles Vth, so that there was no necessity for importing them from Europe. Besides

    (l) Many call the Camoti, Batate or Palate; but I have avoided this name because it is equivocal, and indifferently used by authors to signify Camoti and Pape which are totally different roots.

    (m) The Jucca is that plant of whose root they make Cassava bread, in several countries of America.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       37

    the name Xonacatl which is given to the onion, and that of Xonocapetec, by which name a certain place has been known since the time of the Mexican kings; they let us understand that this plant was very ancient in that country, and never transplanted there from Europe.

    The Maguei called by the Mexicans, Metl; by the Spaniards, Pita; and by many authors, the American aloe, from its being very similar to the real aloe, is one of the most common and most useful plants of Mexico. Hernandez describes nineteen species, still more different in their interior substance than in their external form and colour of leaves. In the seventh book of our history we shall have occasion to explain the great advantages the Mexicans derived from these plants, and the incredible profit the Spaniards now make of them.

    The Iczotl is a species of mountain palm, pretty lofty, and generally with a double trunk. Its branches form the figure of a fan, and its leaves a spear. Its flowers are white and odorous, which the Spaniards preserve; and its fruit, at first sight, resembles the musa, but is altogether useless. Of its leaves they did formerly and still make fine mats; and the Mexicans got thread from it for their manufactures.

    This is not the only palm of that country. Besides the Royal Palm, superior to all others in the beauty of its branches, the cocoa-palm, and the date-palms (n), there are other species worthy to be mentioned.

    The Quauhcojolli, is a palm of middle size, whose trunk is inaccessible to quadrupeds, from being armed

    (n) Besides the Date palm proper to that country, there is also the Barbary date-palm. Dates are sold in the month of June, in the markets of Mexico, Angelopoli, and other cities; but notwithstanding their sweetness they are little in demand.


    38                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    round with long, hard, and very sharp thorns. Its branches have the figure of an elegant feather, between which its fruit hangs in clusters, being round, large as the common walnut, and like it consisting of four parts, that is a skin at first green and afterwards blackish, a yellow pulp strongly adhering to the stone, a round and very hard stone, and within the stone a kernel or white substance.

    The Ixhuatl is smaller and has not more than six or seven branches, for as soon as a new one buds, one of the old ones withers. Of its leaves they made baskets and mats, and at present they make hats, and other conveniences of them. The bark to the depth of three singers, is nothing but a mass of membranes, about a foot long, thin and flexible, but also strong; of a number of which joined together, the poor people make mattresses.

    The palm Teoiczotl is also small. The substance of the trunk which is soft, is surrounded with leaves of a particular substance, round, gross, white, smooth, and shining, which appears like so many shells heaped upon each other, with which, formerly the Indians, as they do now, adorned the arches of leaves which they made for their festivals.

    There is another palm, which bears cocoas or nuts of oil, so called, (termed by the Spaniards Cocos de Aceite); because they obtain a good oil from it. The cocoa of oil, is a nut in figure and in size like the nutmeg; within which there is a white, oily, eatable kernel, covered by a thin purple pellicle. The oil has a sweet scent, but is too easily condensed, and then becomes a white mass, soft, and white as snow.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       39

    For the excellence, variety, and plenty of its timber, that country is equal to any in the world: as there is no sort of climate wanting in it, every one produces its peculiar wood. Besides oaks, firs, pines, cypresses, beeches, ashes, hazels, poplars, and many others common in Europe, there are entire woods of cedars and ebonies, the two species most valued' by the ancients: there is an abundance of Agalloco or wood of aloe, in Mixteca; of Tapinzecan, in Michuacan; Caoba, in Chiapan Palo Gateado; which we might call creeping wood, in Zoncoliuhcan, (now gonzolica); Camote in the mountains of Tezcoco; Granadillo or red ebony, in Mixteca and elsewhere; Mizquitl or real Acacia, Tepehuaxin, Copti, Jabin, Guayacan or holy wood, Ayaquahuitl, Oyametl, the wood of Zopilote, and innumerable other woods valuable for their durability, their hardness, and weight (o), their pliableness or easiness of being cut, the elegance of their colours, or the agreeableness of their odour. The Camote is of a most beautiful purple; and the Granadillo, a dark-red colour; but the Palo gateado, Caoba, and Tzopiloquahuitl or wood of Zopilot, are still more admirable. The hardness of the Guayacan is well known in Europe; the Jabin has the same property in no less a degree. The aloe-wood of Mixteca, although different from the true Agalloco of the east, according to the description given of it by Garzia dell'Orto (p) and other authors, is however not less to be esteemed for its delightful odour,

    (o) Pliny, in his Natural history, lib. xvi. cap. 4. mentions no other woods of great specific weight, in water, than these four, ebony, box, larch, and barked cork; but in Mexico there are many trees, whose wood does not float in water, as the Guayacan, Tapinzeran, Jabin, Quilbrahacha, &c. The Quilbrahacha, which means break-axe, is so called because in cutting it the axe is frequently broke by the hardness of the wood.

    (p) Storia del Semplici, Aromatl, &c. della India Oricntale.


    40                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    especially when it is fresh cut. There is also in that country, a tree whose wood is precious, but its nature is so malignant as to occasion a swelling in the scrotum of any one who manages it indiscreetly when fresh cut. The name which the Michuacans give it (which 1 do not at present remember J expresses distinctly that noxious effect. I have never been a witness of this fact, nor have I seen the tree; but I learned it when I was in Michuacan, from respectable authority.

    Hernandez, in his Natural history, describes about one hundred species of trees; but having, as we before mentioned, consecrated his study to the medicinal plants, he omits the greater part of those which that fertile soil produces, and in particular those which are most considerable for their size, and valued for their wood. There are also trees, in height and largeness so prodigious, they are not at all inferior to those which Pliny boasts to be the miracles of nature.

    Acosta makes mention of a cedar, which was in Atlacuechahuayan, a place nine miles distant from Antequera or Oaxaca, the circumference of whose trunk was sixteen fathoms, that is more than eighty-two feet of Paris; and I have seen in a house in the country a beam, one hundred and twenty Castilian feet, or one hundred and seven Parisian feet long. In the capital, and other cities there are very large tables of cedar to be seen, consisting of one single piece. In the valley of Atlixco there is still existing a very ancient fir-tree, (q) so large, that into a cavity of its trunk which was occasioned by lightning, fourteen

    (q) The Mexican name of this tree is, Ahuehuetl; and the common Spaniard of that country calls it, Ahuehuete; but those who would speak in Castilian call it Sabino, that is Savin, in which they are deceived; for the Ahuehuetl, though very like to Savin, is not one, but a fir, as Hernandez demonstrates, in lib. iii. cap. 66, of his Nat. Hist. I saw the fir of Atlixco in my way through that city, in 1756, but not near enough to form a just idea of its bigness.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       41

    men on horseback could conveniently enter. We are given a still stronger idea of its capacity from a testimony even so respectable as his Excellency D. F. Lorenzana, formerly Archbishop of Mexico, now of Toledo. This Prelate, in the annotations which he made on the letters of Cortez, to Charles Vth. and printed in Mexico, in 1770, attests that having gone himself, in company with the Archbishop of Guatemala and the bishop of Angelopoli, to view that celebrated tree, he made one hundred young lads enter its trunk.

    The Ceibas, which I saw in the maritime province of Xicayan may be compared with this famous fir. The largeness of these trees is proportioned to their prodigious elevation, and they afford a most delightful prospect at the time they are adorned with new leaves and loaded with fruit, in which there is inclosed a particular species of white, fine, and most delicate cotton. This might be, and actually has been made into webs as soft and delicate, and perhaps more so, than silk; (r) but it is toilsome to spin, on account of the smallness of the threads, and the profit does not requite the labour, the web not being lasting. Some use it for pillows and mattresses which have the singular property of swelling enormously when exposed to the sun.

    Amongst the great many trees worthy of notice for their peculiarities, which I am however obliged to look over, I cannot omit a certain species of wood-fig, which

    (r) De Bomare says, that the Africans make of the thread of the Ceiba, the vegetable taffety, which is so scarce, and so much esteemed in Europe. I do not wonder at the scarcity of such cloth, considering the difficulty of making it. The name Ceiba is taken, like many others, from the language which was spoken in the island Haiti, or San Domingo. The Mexicans call it, Pochotl; and many Spaniards Pochote. In Africa it has the name of Benten. The Ceiba, says the above author, is higher than all the trees hitherto known.


    42                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    grows in the country of the Cohuixcas and in other places of the kingdom. It is a lofty, gross, thick tree, similar in leaves and fruit to the common fig. From its branches, which extend horizontally, spring certain filaments which taking their direction towards the earth, increase and grow till they reach it; strike root and form so many new trunks, that from one single fig, a whole wood may be generated. The fruit of this tree is altogether useless, but its timber is good. (s)

    With respect lastly to plants which yield profitable resins, gums, oils, or juices, the country of Anahuac is most singularly fertile, as Acosta in his Natural history acknowledges.

    The Huitziloxitl, from which a balsam distils, is a tree of moderate height. Its leaves are something similar to those of the almond tree, but larger; its wood is reddish and odorous, and its bark grey, but covered with a reddish pellicle. Its flowers, which are pale, spring from the extremity of the branches. Its seed is small, white, and crooked; and likewise comes from the extremity of a thin shell about a singer long. In whatever part an incision is made, especially after rains, that excellent resin distils which is so much valued in Europe, and nowise inferior to the celebrated balsam of Meccha, (t) Our balsam is of a reddish black, or a yellowish white, as

    (s) A. Perez de Ribas makes mention of this singular fig, in his history of the Missions, from Cinaloa; and Bomare in his Dictionary, under the names of Figuier des Indes, Grande Figuier, & Figuier admirable. The historians of east India describe another tree, similar to this, which is found there.

    (t) The first balsam brought from Mexico to Rome was sold at one hundred ducats, by the ounce, as Monardes attests in his history of the medicinal Simples of America, and was declared by the apostolic See, matter fit for chrism, although it is different from that of Meccha, at Acosta and other writers on America observe


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       43

    from an incision it runs of both colours, of a sharp and bitter taste, and an intense but most grateful odour. The balsam tree is common in the provinces of Panuco and Chiapan, and in other warm countries. The kings of Mexico caused it to be transplanted into the celebrated garden of Huaxtepec, where it rooted successfully, and multiplied considerably in all those mountains. Some of the Indians, to extract a greater quantity of balsam, after making an incision in the tree, have burnt the branches. The abundance of these valuable trees makes them regardless of the loss of numbers; by which means they are not obliged to wait the slowness of the distillation. The ancient Mexicans not only collected the opobalsam, or drop distilled from the trunk, but also extracted the xylobalsam from the branches by means of decoction. (u) From the Huaconex and Maripenda, (x) they extracted an oil equivalent to the balsam. The Huaconex is a tree of moderate height, and of an aromatic and hard wood which keeps fresh for years though buried under the earth. Its leaves are small and yellow, its flowers likewise small and white, and its fruit similar to that of the laurel. They distilled oil from the bark of the tree; after breaking it, keeping it three days in spring water, and then drying it in the sun. They likewise extracted an oil from the leaves, of a pleasing odour. The Maripenda is a shrub, whose leaves are like the iron of a lance; and the fruit is similar to the grape, and grows in clusters which are first green, afterwards

    (u) There is an oil also drawn from the fruit of the Huitziloxitl, similar in stench and taste to that of the bitter almond, but more acrimonious and intense, which is found highly useful in medicine.

    (x) The names Huaconex and Maripenda are not Mexican, but adopted by the authors who write of these trees.


    44                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    red. They extracted the oil, by a decoction of the branches, with a mixture of some of the fruit.

    The Xochiocotzotl, commonly liquid amber, is the liquid Storax of the Mexicans. It is a great tree (not a shrub, as Pluche makes it); its leaves are similar to those of the maple tree indented, white in one part, and dark in the other; and disposed in threes. The fruit is thorny and round but polygonous, with the surface and the angles yellow. The bark of the tree is in part green, part tawny. By incision in the trunk, they extract that precious resin called by the Spaniards, liquidambar; and the oil of the same name, which is still more odorous and estimable. They also obtain liquid amber from a decoction of the branches, but it is inferior to that which distils from the trunk.

    The Mexican name Copalli, is generic, and common to all the resins; but especially signifies those which were made use of for incense. There are ten species of trees which yield these sorts of resin, and differ not only in their name, but in foliage and fruit, and in the quality of the resin. That simply called Copal, as being the principal, is a white transparent resin, which distils from a large tree, whose leaves resemble those of the oak, but are larger, and the fruit is round and reddish. This resin is well known in Europe by the name of gum Copal, and also the use which is made of it in medicine and varnishes. The ancient Mexicans used it chiefly in burnt offerings which they made for the worship of their idols; or to pay respect to ambassadors, and other persons of the first rank. At present they consume a great quantity in the worship of the true God, and his saints. The Tecopalli or Tepecopalli, is a resin similar in colour, odour, and taste to the incense


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       45

    of Arabia: which distils from a tree of moderate size that grows in mountains, the fruit of which is like an acorn, containing the nut enveloped in a mucilage, within which there is a small kernel, that is useful in medicine. Not only these two trees but all the others of this class, which we cannot here describe, are peculiar to warm climates.

    The Caragna, and the Tecamaca, resins well known in the apothecaries mops of Europe, distil from two Mexican trees of rather large size. The trunk of the Caragna (y), is tawny, smooth, mining, and odorous; and its leaves though round not dissimilar to those of the olive. The tree of the Tecamaca has large indented leaves, and red, round, and small fruit, hanging from the end of the branches.

    The Mizquitl or Mezquite, as the Spaniards call it, is a species of true Acacia; and the gum which distils from it is the true gum arabic, as Hernandez and other learned naturalists testify. The Mezquite is a thorny shrub, whose branches are most irregularly disposed; and its leaves small, thin, and pinnated. Its flowers are like those of the birch tree. Its fruits are sweet, eatable shells, containing a feed, of which anciently the barbarous Cicimecas made a paste, which served them for bread. Its wood is exceedingly hard and heavy. These trees are as common in Mexico as oaks in Europe, particularly on hills in temperate countries. (z)

    (y) The Mexicans gave the Caragna tree, the name of Trabuelilocaquabuitl, that is, tree of malignity, not Haheliloca, as De Bomare writes it; because they superstitiously believed it to be feared by evil spirits, and a powerful preservative against sorcery. The name Tecamaca is taken from the Tecomac Ihiyac of the Mexicans.

    (z) There is in Michuacan a species of Mezquite or Acacia, without the least thorn, and with finer leaves; but in every thing else like the other.


    46                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    Lac, or Comma Laca (as it is called by the Spaniards), runs in such abundance from a tree like the Mezquite, the branches are covered with it. (a) This tree, which is of moderate size, has a red-coloured trunk, and is very common in the provinces of the Cohuixcas and Tlahuica.

    Dragon's blood runs from a large tree whose leaves are broad and angular. It grows in the mountains of Quauhchinanco, and in those of the Cohuixcas. (b)

    The Elastic Gum, called by the Mexicans Olin or Olli, and by the Spaniards of that kingdom, Ule, distils from the Olquahuitl, which is a tree of moderate size; the trunk of which is smooth and yellowish, the leaves pretty large, the flowers white, and the fruit yellow

    (a) Garzia dell'Orto, in his history of the simples of India, maintains from the account of some persons experienced in these countries, that Lac produced by ams. This opinion has been adopted by many authors; and Bomare does him the honour to believe the fact fully demonstrated; but let us examine how far this is from truth. First, these boasted demonstrations are but equivocal proofs and fallacious conjectures, which anyone will be convinced of, who reads the above authors. Second, Of all the naturalists who write of Lac, no one has ever seen it on the tree, but Hernandez: and this learned and sincere author affirms, without the smallest diffidence, that the Lac is a gum distilled from the tree which the Mexicans call Tzinacancuita-quahuitl, and confutes the other opinion. Thirdly, The country where Lac abounds, is the fertile province of the Tlahuixchas, where all the fruits prosper surprisingly; and are thence carried in great quantities to the capital. But such a quantity of fruit could not be gathered if there were so many millions of ants in that land as would be necessary to produce such an excessive quantity of Lac, the trees being very numerous, and almost all of them full of it. Fourthly, If the Lac is the labour of ants, why do they produce it only in these trees, and not in any other species? &c. Lac was called by the Mexicans, fiat's Dung, from some analogy which they discovered between them.

    (b) The Mexicans call dragon's blood Expatli, which signifies blood-coloured medicament; and the tree Enquabuitl, that is blood-coloured tree. There is another tree of the same name in the mountains of Quauhuahuac, which is something similar, but its leaves are round and rough, its bark thick, and its root odorous.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       47

    and rather round, but angular; within which there are kernels as large as filberds, and white, but covered with a yellowish pellicle. The kernel has a bitter taste, and the fruit always grows attached to the bark of the tree. When the trunk is cut, the Ule which distils from it is white, liquid, and viscous; then it becomes yellow, and lastly of a leaden colour though rather blacker, which it always retains. Those who gather it can model it to any form according to the use they put it to.

    The Mexicans made their foot-balls of this gum, which, though heavy, rebound more than those filled with air. At present, besides other uses to which they apply it, they varnish their hats, their boots, cloaks, and great coats with it, in the same way as wax is used in Europe, which makes them all water proof: from Ule, when rendered liquid by fire, they extract a medicinal oil. This tree grows in hot countries such as Ihualapan and Mecatlan, and is common in the kingdom of Guatemala. (c) The Quauhxiotl, is a middling tree, the leaves of which are round, and the bark reddish. There are two inferior species of it, the one yields a white gum, which, when put in water, gives it a milk colour. The other drops a reddish gum; they are both very serviceable in dysenteries.

    In this class of plants we ought to give a place to the fir, the Higuerilla (which resembles the fig), and the Ocote, a certain species of pine that is very aromatic, on account of the oils which they yield; and Brasil wood, logwood, indigo, and many others, on account

    (c) In Michuacan there is a tree, called by the Tarascas Tarantaqua, of the same species as the Olquahuitl; but its leaves are different.


    48                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    of their juices; but several of these plants are already known in Europe, and the others we shall have occasion to treat of elsewhere.

    The small part of the vegetable kingdom of Anahuac which we have here communicated, revives our regret that the accurate knowledge, which the ancient Mexicans acquired of natural history, has almost totally disappeared. We know its woods, mountains, and vallies are scattered with innumerable plants, valuable and useful, yet hardly one naturalist has ever fixed his attention on them. Who can help lamenting, that of the immense treasures which the period of two centuries and an half has discovered in its rich mines, no part should have been destined to the foundation of an academy of naturalists, who might have pursued the steps of the celebrated Hernandez, and imparted to society the knowledge of these precious gifts which the Creator has there so liberally dispensed!

    The animal kingdom of Anahuac is not better known, although it was attended to with equal diligence by Doctor Hernandez. The difficulty of distinguishing the species, and the impropriety of appellations taken from analogy, have rendered the history of animals perplexed and indistinct. The first Spaniards who gave them names, were more skilful in the art of war than in the study of nature. Instead of retaining the terms which the Mexicans used, which would have been the most proper, they denominated many animals, tygers, wolves, bears, dogs, squirrels, &c. although they were very different in kind, merely from some resemblance in the colour of their skin, or figure, or some similarity in their habits and disposition. I do not pretend to correct their errors, and still less to illustrate the natural history


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       49

    of that vast kingdom; but only to give my reader some slight idea of the quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, fishes, and infers, which inhabit the land and waters of Anahuac.

    Of the quadrupeds some are ancient, some modern. We call those modern which were transported from the Canaries and Europe into that country in the sixteenth century. Such are horses, asses, bulls, sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, and cats, which have all successfully multiplied. In our fourth dissertation we shall evince this truth in confutation of some philosophers of the age, who have endeavoured to persuade us that all quadrupeds degenerate in the new world.

    Of the ancient quadrupeds, by which we mean those that have from time immemorial been in that country, some were common to both the continents of Europe and America, some peculiar to the new world, in common however to Mexico and other countries of North or South America, others were natives only of the kingdom of Mexico.

    The ancient quadrupeds common to Mexico and the old continent are, lions, tygers, wild cats, bears, wolves, foxes, the common stags, and white stags, (d) bucks, wild goats, badgers, polecats, weazles, martens, squirrels, Polatucas, rabbits, hares, otters, and rats. I am well aware that Mr. Buffon will not allow a native lion,

    (d) The white stag, whether it is of the same or a different species from the other stag, is unquestionably common to both continents. It was known to the Greeks and Romans. The Mexicans called it king of the Stags. Mr. Buffon is desirous of persuading us that the white colour of stags is the effect of their being in captivity; but as in the mountains of New Spain, the white stag is found, which was never made captive by man, such an idea can no longer be entertained.


    50                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    tyger, or rabbit, to America: but as in our dissertations we have combated this opinion, which rests chiefly on the slight foundation of the imagined impossibility of animals, which are peculiar to warm countries of the old world, finding a passage to the new continent; it is not necessary here to interrupt the course of our history with confuting it.

    The Miztli of the Mexicans, is certainly no other than the lion without hair mentioned by Pliny, (e) and totally distinct from the African lion; and the Ocelotl is no way different from the African tyger, according to the testimony of Hernandez, who knew both the latter and the former. The Tochtli of Mexico is exactly the rabbit of the old continent, and at least, as ancient as the Mexican calendar, in which the figure of the rabbit was the first symbolical character of their years. The wild cats, in size much larger than the domestic cats, are fierce and dangerous. The bears are all black, and more corpulent than those which are brought from the Alps into Italy. The hares are distinguished from those of Europe by their longer ears, and the wolves by a grosser head. Both species are plentiful in that country. According to M. Buffon, we give the name Polatuca to the Quimickpatlan, or flying rat of the Mexicans. We call it rat, because it resembles it in the head, though it is much larger; and flying, because in its natural state the skin of its sides is loose and wrinkled, which it distends and expands together with its feet like wings when it makes any considerable leap from tree to tree. The vulgar Spaniard confounds this quadruped with the common squirrel from their likeness, but they are undoubtedly different

    (e) Pliny, in lib. viii. cap. 16. distinguishes the two species of lion, with and without hair, and ascertains the number of each species which Pompey presented at the Roman spectacles.

    [following 50]

    [image: animals]


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       51

    Mice were brought to Mexico in European ships; the rat was not so, but always known in Mexico by the name of Quimichin, which term they used metaphorically to their spies.

    The quadrupeds which are common to Mexico and other regions of the new world, are the Cojametl, Epatl, several species of apes, comprehended by the Spaniards under the generic name of Monos, the Ajotochtli, Aztacojotl, Tlacuatzin, Techichi, Telalmototli, Techallotl, Amiztli, Mapach, and the Danta. (f)

    The Cojametl, to which, from its resemblance to the wild boar, the Spaniards gave the name of Javali, or wild hog, is called in other countries of America Pecar, Saino, and Tayassu. The gland it has in the cavity of its back from which a plentiful wheyish stinking liquid distils, led the first historians of the country, and since them many others into the mistaken belief that it produced hogs with their navels on their backs; and many still credit the absurdity, although upwards of two centuries are elapsed since anatomists have evinced the error by direction of the animal. Such is the difficulty of rooting out popular prejudices! The flesh of the Cojametl is agreeable to eat, provided it is quickly killed, the gland cut out, and all the stinking liquid cleaned from it; otherwise the whole meat becomes infected.

    (f) Many authors include the Paco, or Peruvian ram, the Huanaco, the Vicogna, taruga, and the sloth, amongst the animals of Mexico; but all these quadrupeds are peculiar to South and none of them to North America. It is true, Hernandez makes mention of the Pato amongst the quadrupeds of New Spain, gives a drawing of it, and makes use of the Mexican name Pelonichcatl; but it was on account of a few individuals which were brought there from Peru, which the Mexicans called by that name; in the same manner as he describes several animals of the Philippine isles, not that therefore they had ever been bred in Mexico, or found in any country of North America, unless it was some individual carried there as a curiosity as they are carried into Europe.


    52                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    The Epatl, by the Spaniards called Zorrillo, small fox, is less known in Europe by the beauty of its skin than the intolerable stink it leaves behind when huntsmen are in close pursuit of it. (g)

    The Tlacuatzin, which in other countries bears the names of Chincha, Sarigua, and Opossum, has been described by many writers, and is much celebrated on account of the double skin to the belly in the female, which reaches from the beginning of the stomach to the orifice of the womb, covering its teats, has an opening in the middle to admit its young, where they are guarded and suckled. In creeping, or climbing over the walls of houses, it keeps the skin distended, with the entrance shut, so that its young cannot drop out; but when it wishes to send them abroad to begin to provide food for themselves, or to let them re-enter either to be suckled or secured from danger, it opens the entrance by relaxing the skin, disguising her burden while she carries them, and her delivery every time she lets them out. This curious quadruped is the destroyer of all poultry.

    The Ajotochtli, called by the Spaniards Armadillo, or Encobertado, and by others Iatu, is well known to Europeans by the bony scales which cover its back, resembling the ancient armour of horses. The Mexicans gave it the name of Ajotochtli, from an imperfect likeness it has to the rabbit, when it puts out its head and

    (g) Mr. Buffon enumerates four species of the Epatl under the generic name of Mouffetes. He observes afterwards, that the two first which he names Coaso and Conipata, are from North America, and the Chincho and Zorrillo, which are, the two others, are from South America. We find no grounds to believe these, four different species, hot only four varieties of the same species. The name, Coaso, or squass taken from Dampier the navigator, who affirms the term to be common in New Spain, was never heard of in all that country. The Indians of Yucatan, where that navigator was, call that quadruped Pai.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       53

    throws it back upon its neck, while it shrinks under its scales or shell. (h)

    But it resembles no animal more than the turtle, although many parts of its form are totally dissimilar. We might give it the name of the testaceous quadruped. When this animal happens to be chaced on level ground, it has no means of escaping from the hands of its pursuers; but as it chiefly inhabits the mountains, when it meets with any declivity it coils itself up in the form of a globe, and by rolling itself down the descent fools the hunter.

    The Techichi, which had elsewhere the name of Alco, was a quadruped of Mexico, and other countries of America, which from its resemblance to a little dog was called by the Spaniards Perro, which signifies dog. It was of a melancholy aspect and perfectly dumb, from whence the fabulous account propagated by many authors still living arose, of dogs becoming mute when transported from the old to the new world. The flesh of the Techichi was eaten by the Mexicans, and if we may credit the Spaniards who eat it, was agreeable and nourishing food. After the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards having neither large cattle, nor sheep, provided their markets with this quadruped; by which means the species was soon extinct, although it had been very numerous.

    The Tlalmototli, or land-squirrel, called by Buffon Svizzero, is like the real squirrel in the eyes, in the tail,

    (h) Ajotochtli is a void compounded of Ajotli, the back part of the head, and Tochtli, rabbit. Buffon numbers eight species of them under the name of Fatous, estimating their difference from the number of scales and moveable substances which cover them. I cannot exactly say how many species there may be in Mexico, having but a few individuals; as I did not think at the time of willing on this subject, I was not curious to count their scales, nor dof any body who ever attended to such a strange kind of distinction.


    54                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    in swiftness, and in all its movements; but very different in colour, in size, in its habitation, and some of its qualities. The hair of its belly is quite white, and the rest of it is white mixed with grey. Its size is double that of the squirrel, and it does not dwell in trees, but in small holes which it digs in the earth, or amongst the stones of ramparts which enclose fields, where it does considerable damage by the grain which it carries off. It bites most furiously any one who approaches it, and cannot be tamed, but has great elegance of form, and is graceful in its movement. This species is a very numerous one, particularly in the kingdom of Michuacan. The Techallotl is no way different from the preceding animal, except in having a smaller and less hairy tail.

    The Amyztli, or sea-lion, is an amphibious quadruped which inhabits the shores of the Pacific Ocean, and some rivers of that kingdom. Its body is three feet in length, its tail two. Its snout is long, its legs short, the nails crooked. Its skin is valuable on account of the length and softness of its hair. (i)

    The Mapach of the Mexicans is, agreeable to the opinion of Buffon, the same quadruped which is known in Jamaica by the name of Ratton, rattoon, or west-Indian fox. The Mexican one is of the size of a badger, with a black head, a long sharp snout like a greyhound, small ears, round body, hair mixed with black and white, a long and hairy tail, and five toes to every foot. It has a white streak over each eye, and like the squirrel makes use of its paws to convey any thing to its mouth which it is going to eat. It seeds indifferently on grain, fruits,

    (i) We reckon the Amiztli among the quadrupeds which are common to other countries of America, as it appears to be the same animal which Buffo describes under the name of Saricovienne.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       55

    insects, lizards, and pullet's blood. It is easily tamed, and entertaining with its play, but perfidious like the squirrel, and apt to bite its master.

    The Danta, or Anta, or Beori, or Tapir, as it is differently named in different countries, is the largest quadruped of the kingdom of Mexico, (k) and approaches most to the sea-horse, not however in size, but in some of its shapes and qualities. The danta is about the size of a middling mule. Its body is a little arched like that of a hog, its head gross and long with an appendage to the skin of the upper lip, which it extends or contracts at pleasure; its eyes are small, its ears little and round, its legs short, its fore feet have four nails, the hind feet three, its tail short and pyramidical, its skin pretty thick, and covered with thick hair, which at an advanced age is brown; its set of teeth, which are composed of twenty maxillary, and as many incisors, is so strong and sharp, and it makes such terrible bites with them that it has been seen, according to the testimony of Oviedo the historian, and an eye-witness, to tear off at one bite two or three handbreadths of skin from a hound, and at another a whole leg and thigh. Its flesh is eatable, (l) and its skin valuable, from its being so stout as to resist not only arrows, but even musket-balls. This quadruped inhabits the solitary woods of warm countries near to some river or lake, as it lives not less in the water than on the land.

    (k) The Danta is much less than the Tlacaxolotl described by Hernandez; but we do not know of this great quadruped ever having been in the kingdom of Mexico. The same may be said of the stags of New Mexico, and of the Cibolle, or Bisonte, which are also larger than the Danta. See our IVth Dissertation.

    (l) Oviedo says, that the legs of the Danta are pretty good and relishing food, provided they remain twenty-four hours continually at the fire.


    56                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    All the species of monkies in that kingdom, are known by the Mexicans under the general name of Ozomatli, and by the Spaniards under that of Monos. They are of different sizes and figure, some small and uncommonly diverting; some middling, of the size of a badger; and others large, stout, fierce, and bearded, which are called by some Zambos. These when they stand upright, which they do upon two legs, often equal the stature of a man. Amongst the middling kind there are those which from having a dog's head, belong to the class of the cynocephali, although they are all furnished with a tail. (m)

    With respect to the ant-killers, that is, those quadrupeds which are so singular for the enormous length of their snout, the narrowness of their throat, and immoderate tongue, with which they draw the ants out of their ant-hills, and from whence they have got their name; I have never seen any in that kingdom, nor do I know that there are any there; but I believe it is no other than the aztacojotl, that is, cojote, ant-killer, mentioned, but not described by Hernandez. (n)

    The quadrupeds which peculiarly belong to the land of Anahuac, whose species I do not know to have been

    (m) The Cynocephalos of the ancient continent has no tail as every one knows. There having been monkies found in the New World, which have the head of a dog, and are furnished with tails, Brisson, in his class of ape», justly applies to them of this class the name of Cinocephali Cereopitechi, and divides them into two species. Bufson, amongst the many species of monkies which he describes, omits this one.

    (n) We call those quadrupeds, ant-killers, which the Spaniards term Hormigueros, and the French Fourmillier; but the bear, ant-killers, described by Oviedo, are certainly different from the Fourmilliers of Buffon; for although they agree in the eating of ants, and in their enormous tongue and snout, they are nevertheless remarkably distinguished from each other as to tail, for those of Buffon have an immense tail, but Oviedo's none at all. The description which Oviedo gives of their way of hunting the ants is most singular and curious.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       57

    found in South America, or in other countries of North America, exempt from the dominion of Spain, are the Cojotl, the Tlalcojotl, Xoloitzcuintli, Tepeitzcuintli, Itzcuintepotzotli, Ocotochtli, Cojopollin, Tuza, Ahuitzotl, Huitztlacuatzin, and perhaps others which we have not known.

    The Cojotl, or Coyoto, as the Spaniards call it, is a wild beast voracious like the wolf, cunning like the fox, in form like a dog, and in some qualities like the Adive and the Chacal: from whence several historians have at one time judged it of one species, at another time of another species; but it is unquestionably different from all those, as we shall demonstrate in our Dissertations. It is less than the wolf, and about the size of a mastiff, but slenderer. It has yellow sparkling eyes, small ears pointed and erect, a blackish snout, strong limbs, and its feet armed with large crooked nails. Its tail thick and hairy, and its skin a mixture of black, brown, and white. Its voice hath both the howl of the wolf and the bark of the dog. The Coyoto is one of the most common quadrupeds of Mexico, (o) and the most destructive to the flocks. It invades a sheepfold, and when it cannot find a lamb to carry off, it seizes a sheep by the neck with its teeth, and coupling with it, and beating it on the rump with its tail, conducts it where it pleases. It pursues the deer, and sometimes attacks even men. In flight it does nothing in general but trot; but its trot is so lively and swift, that a horse at the gallop can hardly overtake it. The Cuetlachcojotl appears to us to be a quadruped of the same species with the Coyoto, as it differs in nothing

    (o) Neither Buffon nor Bomare make mention of the Coyoto, although the species is one of the most common and most numerous of Mexico, and amply described by Hernandez, whose Natural history they frequently quote.


    58                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    from it but being thicker in the neck, and having hair like the wolf.

    The Tlalcojotl, or Tlalcoyoto, is of the size of a middling dog, but grosser in make, and, in our opinion, the largest quadruped of those which live under the earth. In the head it is something like the cat, and in colour and length of hair like the lion. It has a long thick tail, and feeds on poultry, and other little animals, which it hunts after in the obscurity of the night.

    The Itzcuintepotzotli, and Tepuitzcuintli, and Xoloitzcuintli, are three species of quadrupeds similar to dogs. The Itzcuintapolzotli, or hunch-backed dog, is as large as a Maltesan dog, the skin of which is varied with white, tawny, and black. Its head is small in proportion to its body, and appears to be joined directly to it on account of the shortness and greatness of its neck; its eyes are pleasing, its ears loose, its nose has a considerable prominence in the middle, and its tail so small, that it hardly reaches halfway down its leg; but the characteristic of it is a great hunch which it bears from its neck to its rump. The place where this quadruped most abounds is the kingdom of Michuacan, where it is called Ahora, The Tepeitzcuintli, that is, the mountain-dog, is a wild beast so small, that it appears a little dog, but it is so daring that it attacks deer, and sometimes kills them. Its hair and tail are long, its body black, but its head, neck, and breast are white. (p) The Xoloitzcuintli, is larger than the two preceding; there being some of them, whose bodies are even four feet long. Its face is like a dog, but its tusks like the wolf, its ears erect, its neck

    (p) Buffon believes the Tepeitzcuintli to be the glutton; but we contradict this opinion in our Dissertations.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       59

    gross, and tail long. The greatest singularity about this animal is its being totally destitute of hair, except upon its snout, where it has some thick crooked bristles. Its whole body is covered with a smooth, soft, ash-coloured skin, but spotted in part with black and tawny. These three species are almost totally extinct, or at least very few of them remain. (q)

    The Ocotochtli appears agreeable to the description given of it by Hernandez, to belong to the class of wild cats; but the author adds some circumstances to it which have much the air of a fable; not that he has been desirous of deceiving, but that he has trusted too much to the informations of others. (r)

    The Cojopollin is a quadruped of the size of a common mouse; but the tail is grosser which it uses as a hand. Its snout and ears are similar to those of a pig: its ears are transparent, its legs and feet are white, and its belly is of a whitish yellow. It lives and brings up its young in trees. When its young fear any thing, they cling closely to their mother.

    The Tozan, or Tuza, is a quadruped of the bigness of an European mole, but very different otherwise. Its

    (q) Giovanni Fabri, a Lincean academician, published at Rome a long and learned dissertation, in which he endeavoured to prove, that the Xoloitzcuintli is the same with the wolf of Mexico; having without doubt been deceived by tha original drawing of the Xoloitzcuintli which was sent to Rome with other pictures of Hernandez; but if he had read the description which this eminent naturalist gives of that animal in the book of the Quadrupeds of New Spain, he would have spared himself the labour of writing that dissertation and the expenses of publishing it.

    (r) Dr. Hernandez says, that when the Ocotochtli makes any prey it covers it with leaves, and mounting after on some neighbouring tree, it begins howling to invite other animals to eat its prey; and itself is always the last to eat; because the poison of its tongue is so strong, that if it eat first the prey would be infected, and other animals who eat of it would die. This fable is still in the mouths of the vulgar.


    60                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    body which is well made is seven or eight inches long. Its snout is like that of a mouse, its ears small and round, and tail short. Its mouth is armed with very strong teeth, and its paws are furnished with strong crooked nails, with which it digs into the earth and makes little holes, where it inhabits. The Tuza is most destructive to the fields by ftcaling the corn, and to the highways by the number of holes and hollows which it makes in them; for when it cannot, on account of its little sight, find its first hole, it makes another, multiplying by such means the inconveniences and dangers to those who travel on horseback. It digs the earth with its claws, and with two dogs-teeth which it has in the upper jaw, larger than its others; in digging it puts the earth into two membranes like purses which are under its ear, which are furnished with muscles necessary for contraction or distention. When the membranes are full, it empties them by striking the bottom of the membranes with its paws, and then goes on to dig again in the same manner, using its dogs-teeth and claws as a mattock, and its two membranes as a little sack or basket. The species of the Tuza is very numerous; but we do not recollect to have ever seen them in the places where the land-squirrels inhabit.

    The Ahuitzotl is an amphibious quadruped, which for the most part dwells in the rivers of warm countries. Its body is a foot long, its snout long and sharp, and its tail large. Its skin is of a mixed black and brown colour.

    The Huitztlacuatzin is the hedge-hog or porcupine of Mexico. It is as large as a middling dog, which it resembles in the face, although its muzzle is flat; its feet and legs are rather gross, and its rail in proportion with its body. The whole of its body, except the belly, the hinder part of the tail, and inside of the legs, is armed with


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    quills or spines, which are empty, sharp, and a span long. On its snout and forehead it has long straight bristles, which rise upon its head like a plume. All its skin, even between the spines is covered with a soft black hair. It seeds only on the fruits of the earth. (s)

    The Cacomiztle is a quadruped, exceedingly like the marten in its way of life. It is of the size and form of a common cat; but its body is larger, its hair longer, its legs shorter, and its aspect more wild and fierce. Its voice is a sharp cry, and its food is poultry and other little animals. It inhabits, and brings up its young in places less frequented than houses. By day it sees little, and does not come out of its hiding-place but at night, to search for food. The Tlacuatzin, as well as the Cacomiztle, are to be seen in some of the houses of the capital. (t)

    Besides these quadrupeds, there were others in the Mexican empire, which I know not whether to consider as peculiar to that country, or as common to other parts of America; such as the Itzcuincuani, or dog-eater; the Tlalocelotl or little lion; and the Tlalmiztli or little tiger. Of those, which although not belonging to the kingdom of Mexico are to be found in other parts of North America subject to the Spaniards, we shall take notice in our Dissertations.

    We would find the birds a more difficult task than the quadrupeds, if we would attempt to give an enumeration of their different species, with a description of their

    (s) Buffon would make the Huitztlacuatzin the Coendu of Guiana, but the Coendu is carnivorous, whereas the Huitztlacuatzin feeds on fruits.

    (t) I do not know the true Mexican name of the Cacomiztle, and have therefore used the name which the Spaniards in that kingdom, gave it. Hernandez does not mention this quadruped. It is true he describes one, under the name of Cacamiztli, but this is evidently an error of the press.


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    forms and manners. Their prodigious numbers, their variety, and many valuable qualities, have occasioned some authors to observe that, as Africa is the country of beasts, so Mexico is the country of birds. Hernandez, in his Natural history, describes above two hundred species peculiar to that kingdom, and yet passes over many that deserve notice, such as the Cuitlacochi, the Zacua, and the Madrugador. We shall content ourselves with running over some classes of them, and point out any peculiarities, here and there, as they occur. Among the birds of prey there are kestrels, gosshawks, and several species of eagles, falcons, and sparrow-hawks. The naturalist already mentioned, allows the birds of this class a superiority over those of Europe; and the excellence of the Mexican falcons was so remarkable, that by the desire of Philip the Second, a hundred were every year sent to Spain. The largest, the most beautiful, and the most valuable among the eagles is that named by the Mexicans, Itzquauhtli, which not only pursues the larger birds and hares, but will even attack men and beasts. There are two kinds of kestrel; the one called Cenotzqui is particularly beautiful.

    The Ravens of Mexico, called by the Mexicans Cacalotl, do not, as in other countries, clear the fields of carrion, but are only employed in stealing the ears of corn. The business of clearing the fields there, is reserved principally for the Zopilots, known in South America by the name of Gallinazzi; in other places, by that of Aure; and in some places, though very improperly, by that of ravens. (u) There are two very different species of these

    (u) Hernandez has, without any hesitation, made the Zopilote a species of raven; but they are, certainly, very different birds, not only in their size, but in the shape of the head; in their flight, and in their voice, Bomare says, that


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       63

    birds; the one, the Zopilote properly so called, the other called the Cozcaquauhtli: they are both bigger than the raven. These two species resemble each other in their hooked bill and crooked claws, and by having upon their head instead of feathers, a wrinkled membrane with some curling hairs. They fly so high, that although they are pretty large, they are lost to the sight; and especially before a hail storm they will be seen wheeling, in vast numbers, under the loftiest clouds, till they entirely disappear. They feed upon carrion, which they discover by the acuteness of their sight and smell, from the greatest height, and descend upon it with a majestic flight, in a great spiral course. They are both almost mute. The two species are distinguishable, however, by their size, their colour, their numbers, and some other peculiarities. The Zopilots, properly so called, have black feathers, with a brown head, bill and feet; they go often in flocks, and roost together upon trees. (x) This species is very numerous, and is to be found in all the different climates; while on the contrary, the Cozcaquauhtli is far from numerous, and is peculiar to the warmer climates alone. The latter bird is larger than the Zopilot, has a red head and feet with a beak of a deep red colour, except towards its extremity which is white. Its feathers are brown except upon the neck and parts about the breast, which are of a reddish black. The wings are of an ash

    the Aura is the Cosquauth of New Spain, and the Tropiot of the Indians; so that the Cozcaquauhtli, as well as the Tzopilotl, are Mexican names used by the Indians, to denote not one bird only, but two different kinds. Some give the one species the name of Aura, and the other that of Zopilote, or Gallinazzo.

    (x) The Zopilots contradict the general rule, laid down by Pliny, lib. ii. cap. 39. Uncos ungues hebentia omnino non congregantur, & sibi quaeque praedantur. The rule can only apply strictly to real birds of prey, such as eagles, vultures, falcons, sparrow-hawks, &c.


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    colour upon the inside, and upon the outside are variegated with black and tawny.

    The Cozcaquauhtli is called by the Mexicans, king of the Zopilots; (y) and they say, that when these two species happen to meet together about the same carrion, the Zopilot never begins to eat till the Cozcaquauhtli has tasted it. The Zopilot is a most useful bird to that country, for they not only clear the fields, but attend the crocodiles and destroy the eggs which the females of those dreadful amphibious animals leave in the sand to be hatched by the heat of the sun. The destruction of such a bird ought to be prohibited under severe penalties.

    Among the night birds, are several kinds of owls, to which we may add the bats, although they do not properly belong to the class of birds. There are great numbers of bats in the warm and woody countries; some of them will draw blood, with dreadful bites, from horses and other animals. In some of the very hot countries bats are sound of a prodigious size, but not so large as those of the Philippine isles, and other parts of the east.

    Under the title of aquatic birds I shall comprehend, not only the Palmipedes which swim and live generally in

    (y) The bird which now goes by the name of King of the Zopilots in New Spain, seems different from the one we are now describing. This modern king of the Zopilots is a strong bird, of the size of a common eagle; with a stately air; strong claws; fine, piercing eyes; and a beautiful black, white, and tawny plumage. It is remarkable, particularly, for a certain scarlet-coloured, fleshy substance, which surrounds its neck like a collar, and comes over its head in the form of a little crown. I have had this description of it from a person of knowledge and veracity, who assures me that he has seen three different individuals of this species, and particularly that one which was sent from Mexico, in 1750, to the catholic king, Ferdinand VI. He farther informs me, that there was a genuine drawing of this bird, published in a work called, the American Gazetteer. The Mexican name Cozcaquauhtli, which means Ring Eagle, is certainly more applicable to this bird than to the other. The figure exhibited in our plate, is copied from that of the American Gazetteer.


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    the water, but the Himantopodes also; with other fishing birds which live chiefly upon the sea shore, upon the sides of lakes and rivers, and seek their food in the water. Of birds of this kind there is a prodigious number of geese, at least twenty species of ducks, several kinds of herons and egrets, with vast numbers of swans, gulls, water-rails, divers, king's fishers, pelicans, and others. The multitude of ducks is sometimes so great as quite to cover the fields, and to appear, at a distance, like flocks of sheep. Among the herons and egrets, some are ash-coloured, some perfectly white; and others of which the plumage of the body is white, while the neck, with the tips and upper part of the wings, and a part of the tail, are enlivened with a bright scarlet, or a beautiful blue. The Pelican, or Onocrotalus, known to the Spaniards of Mexico by the name of Alcatraz, is sufficiently known by that great pouch or venter, as Pliny calls it, which is under its bill. There are two species of this bird in Mexico; the one having a smooth bill, the other a notched one. Although the Europeans are acquainted with this bird, I do not know whether they are equally well acquainted with the singular circumstance of its assisting the sick or hurt of its own species; a circumstance which the Americans sometimes take advantage of, to procure fish without trouble. They take a live pelican, break its wing, and after tying it to a tree, conceal themselves in the neighbourhood; there they watch the coming of the other pelicans with their provisions, and as soon as they see these throw up the fish from their pouch, run in, and after leaving a little for the captive bird, they carry off the rest.

    But if the Pelican is admirable for its attention to the others of its species, the Yoalquachilli, is no less


    66                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    wonderful on account of the arms with which the Creator has provided it for its defence. This is a small aquatic bird; with a long, narrow neck, a small head; a long, yellow bill, long legs, feet and claws, and a short tail. The legs and feet are ash-coloured; the body is black, with some yellow feathers about the belly. Upon its head is a little circle or coronet, of a horny substance, which is divided into three very sharp points; and it has two others upon the forepart of the wings. (z)

    In the other classes of birds some are valuable upon account of their flesh, some for their plumage, and some for their song; while others engage our attention by their extraordinary instinct, or some other remarkable quality.

    Of the birds which afford a wholesome and agreeable food, I have counted more than seventy species. Besides the common fowls, which were brought from the Canary Isles to the Antilles, and from these to Mexico, there were, and still are fowls peculiar to that country; which as they partly resemble the common fowl, and partly the peacock, were called Gallipavos * by the Spaniards, and Huexolotl and Totolin by the Mexicans. These birds being carried to Europe in return for the common fowls, have multiplied very fact; and especially in Italy, where, on account of their manners and their size, they gave them the name of Gallinacci; (a) but the European fowl has increased greatly more in

    (z) In Brasil also there is an aquatic bird with weapons of this kind; but which, in other respects, is a very different bird.

    (a} In Bologna, they are called Tocchi and Tocchini, and in other places, Galli d' Inde. The French call them Dindes, Dindons and Coqs d' Inde.

    * In English the Turkey.


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    Mexico. There are likewise wild fowls in great plenty, exactly like the same, but larger, and in many places of a much sweeter flesh. There are partridges, quails, pheasants, cranes, turtle-doves, pigeons, and a great variety of others, that are esteemed in Europe. The reader will form some idea of the immense number of quails when we shall come to speak of the ancient sacrifices. The pheasants are different from the pheasants of Europe, and are of three kinds. (b) The Coxolitli and Tepetototl, which are both the size of a goose, with a crest upon their heads, which they can raise and depress at pleasure, are distinguishable by their colour, and some particular qualities. The Coxolitli, called by the Spaniards, Royal pheasant, has a tawny-coloured plumage; and its flesh is more delicate than that of the other. The Tepetototl will sometimes be so tame as to pick from its master's hand; to run to meet him, with signs of joy, when he comes home; to learn to shut the door with its bill; and in every thing show greater docility than could be expected in a bird which is properly an inhabitant of the woods. I have seen one of these pheasants which, after being some time in a poultry yard, had learnt to sight in the manner of cocks, and would fight with them, erecting the feathers of his crest, as the cocks do those of the neck. Its feathers are of a shining black, and its legs and feet ash-coloured. The pheasants of the third species, called by the Spaniards, Gritones, that is, screamers, are smaller than the other two; with a brown body, and a black tail and wings. The Chachalaca, the flesh of

    (b) Bomare reckons the Huatzin among the pheasants; but for what reason, I do not know, as the Huatzin belongs with crows, zopilots and others, to the second class; the birds of prey.


    68                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    which is very good eating, is about the size of the common fowl. The upper part of the body is of a brown colour, the under part whitish, and the bill and feet bluish. It is inconceivable what a noise these birds make in the woods, with their cries; which, although they somewhat resemble the cackling of fowls, are much louder, more constant, and more disagreeable. There are several species of turtle-doves, and pigeons, some common to Europe, others peculiar to those countries.

    The birds valuable for their plumage are so many and so beautiful, that we should afford a greater pleasure to our readers, if we could bring them before their eyes, with all the colours which adorn them. I have reckoned five and thirty species of Mexican birds, that are superlatively beautiful; of some of which I must take particular notice.

    The Huitzitzilin is that wonderful little bird so often celebrated by the historians of America, for its smallness, its activity, the singular beauty of its plumage, the thinness of its food, and the length of its sleep in the winter. That sleep, or rather state of immobility, occasioned by the numbness or torpor of its limbs, has been often required to be proved in legal form, in order to convince some incredulous Europeans; an incredulity arising from ignorance alone, as the same kind of torpor takes place in many parts of Europe, in dormice, hedge-hogs, swallows, bats, and other animals whose blood is of the same temperature; although perhaps it does not continue so long in any of them as in the Huitzitzilin, which in some countries remains without


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       69

    motion from October to April. There are nine species of Huitzitzilin, differing in size and colour. (c)

    The Tlauhquechol is an aquatic bird of some size, with feathers of a beautiful scarlet colour, or a reddish-white, except those of the neck, which are black. It lives upon the sea-shores, and by the sides of rivers; and lives only upon live fish, never touching any thing that is dead.

    The Nepapantototl, is a wild duck which frequents the lake of Mexico, and seems to have all the colours together assembled in its plumage.

    The Tlacuiloltototl, or painted bird, justly deserves its name; for its beautiful feathers are variegated with red, blue, purple, green, and black. Its eyes are black, with a yellow iris; and the feet ash-coloured.

    The Tzinizcan, is of the size of a pigeon, with a small, crooked, yellow bill. The head and neck are like those of a pigeon, but adorned with shining green feathers; the breast and belly are white except near the tail, which is variegated with white and blue; the tail is green upon the upper fide, and black underneath; the wings are partly black, and partly white; and the eyes are black, with reddish yellow irises. This bird lives upon the sea-coasts.

    The Mezcanauhtli, is a wild duck, about as large as a domestic fowl, but of singular beauty. Its bill is pretty long and broad, azure above, and black upon the under side; the feathers of the body are white,

    (c) The Spaniards of Mexico call this bird Chupamirto, because it sucks chiefly the flowers of a plant known there, though very improperly, by the name of a Myrtle. In other parts of America, it is called Chupaflor, Picaflor, Teminejo, Colibre, &c. Among the numerous authors who describe this precious little bird, no one gives a better idea of the beauty of its plumage than Acosta.


    70                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    and marked with numerous black spots. The wings are white and brown on the under-side, and upon the upper-side variegated with black, white, blue, green, and tawny-colour. Its feet are of a yellowish red; its head brown and tawny-coloured, and partly purple, with a beautiful white spot betwixt the eyes and bill: the eyes are black; and the tail is blue above, brown below, and white at its extremity.

    The Tlauhtototl is extremely like the Tlacuiloltotl in its colours, but is smaller. The Huacamaye and the Cardinals, so much prized by the Europeans, upon account of their fine colours, are very common in this country.

    All these beautiful birds and others peculiar to Mexico, besides some which have been brought thither from the countries adjacent, are of great value to the Mexicans, in their singular works of Mosaic, which we shall mention in another place. Peacocks have been carried there from the old continent, but they have not been attended to; and have, therefore, propagated very slowly.

    Many authors, who allow to the birds of Mexico a superiority in the beauty of their plumage, have denied them that of song: but we can with perfect confidence affirm, that that opinion has not been formed upon real observation, but has proceeded from ignorance, as it is more difficult for Europeans to hear the Mexican birds than to see them.

    There are in Mexico, as well as in Europe, gold-finches and nightingales, and at least two-and-twenty species besides, of singing birds, which are little or nothing inferior to these; but all that we are acquainted with are surpassed by the very famous Centzontli, so named by


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       71

    the Mexicans to express the wonderful variety of its notes. (d) It is impossible to give any idea of the sweetness and mellowness of its song, of the harmony and variety of its tones, or of the facility with which it learns to imitate whatever it hears. It counterfeits naturally, not only the notes of other birds, but even the different noises of quadrupeds. It is of the size of a common thrush. Its body is white upon the under-side, and grey above; with some white feathers, especially about the head and tail. It eats any thing, but delights chiefly in flies, which it will pick from one's singer with signs of pleasure. The Centzontli is to be found every where in great numbers; yet they are so much esteemed, that I have seen five-and-twenty crowns paid for one. Attempts have often been made to bring it to Europe, but I do not know if they ever succeeded: and I am persuaded that, although it could be brought to Europe alive, yet it could not be, without injuring its voice and other qualifications, by a change of climate and the hardships of a voyage.

    The birds called Cardinals, are not less delightful to the ear, from the sweetness of their song, than to the sight, by the beauty of their scarlet plumage, and crest. The Mexican Calandra sings very sweetly also, and its song resembles that of the nightingale. Its feathers are varied with white, yellow, and grey. It weaves its nest in a wonderful manner, with hairs pasted together with some kind of viscid substance, and suspending like a little bag, from the bough of a tree. The Tigrillo, or little

    (d) Centzontlatotle, (for that is the real name, and Centzontli but an abbreviation) means the many-voiced. The Mexicans use the word Centzontli (four hundred) as the Latins did mille & sexcenti, to express an indefinite and innumerable multitude. The Greek name of Polyglotta, which some modern Ornithologists apply to it, corresponds to the Mexican name. See further what we say of Centzontli in our Dissertations.


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    Tiger, which is likewise of some value upon account of its music, is so named from its feathers being spotted like the skin of a tiger. The Cuitlaccochi resembles the Centzontli, in the excellence of its song, as well as in size and colour, as the Coztototl exactly does the Canary bird, brought thither from the Canaries. The Mexican Sparrows, called Gorriones by the Spaniards, are nothing like the real sparrows, except in their size, their manner of hopping, and in making their nests in the holes of walls. Their body is white upon the under-side, and grey upon the upper; but at a certain age, the heads of some become red, and others yellow. (e) Their flight is laborious, from the smallness of their wings, or the weakness of their feathers. Their song is most delightful and various. There are great numbers of these singing birds in the capital, and the other cities and villages of Mexico.

    The talking birds too, or those which imitate the human voice, are to be found in equal abundance, in the country of Anahuac. Even among the singing birds there are some which learn a few words; such as the celebrated Centzontli, and the Acolchichi, or bird with the red back, which from that mark the Spaniards have called the Commendador. The Cehuan, which is bigger than a common thrush, counterfeits the human voice, but in a tone that appears burlesqued; and will follow travellers a great way. The Tzanahuei resembles the magpie in size, but is of a different colour. It learns to speak, steals cunningly whatever it can get, and in every respect shows a kind of instinct superior to what we generally observe in other birds. But of all the speaking birds, the parrots hold the first place; of which they reckon,

    (e) I have heard it said, that the Gorriones with red heads are the males; and those with yellow heads, the females.


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    in Mexico, four principal species, namely, the Huacamaya, the Toznenetl, the Cochotl, and the Quiltototl. (f)

    The Huacamaya, the largest of all the parrots, is more valuable for its beautiful feathers than for its speaking. It articulates words indistinctly, and its voice is harsh and disagreeable. The Toznenetl, which is the best of them all, is about the size of a pigeon; its feathers are of a green colour, except upon the head, and fore-part of the wings, which in some of them are red, and in others yellow. It learns any words or tune, and imitates them faithfully. It naturally imitates the laugh of a man, or other ridiculous sound, the cries of children, and the various noises of different animals. There are three species of the Cochotl differing from each other in size and plumage, which in them all is beautiful; and the prevailing colour is green. The largest of the Cochotls is nearly as large as the Toznenetl: the two other species, called by the Spaniards, Caterine, are smaller. They all learn to talk, though not so perfectly as the Toznenetl. The Quiltototl, is the smallest kind of parrot, and the least valuable for speaking. These small parrots whose plumage is of the most beautiful green, fly always in large flocks, sometimes making a great noise in the air; and at other times committing havoc among the grain. When perched upon the trees they can hardly be distinguished, by their colour from the leaves. All the other parrots go generally in pairs, a male and female.

    (f) The Toznenetl and Cochotl, are called by the Mexican Spaniards, Pericos and Loros. The word Huacamaya is from the Haitinian language which was spoken in Hispaniola. Lore, is from the Quichoan or Incan, and Toznenetl, Cochotl, and Quiltototl from the Mexican.


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    The Madrugadores, (g) which we shall call the Awakeners, or Twilight birds, and which are called by the Mexicans Tzacua, although they are not so remarkable for beauty or song, deserve particular notice for some other qualities. These birds are the last among the day-birds to go to roost at night, and the first to leave it in the morning, and to announce the return of the sun. They never cease to sing and frolic, till an hour after sunset; begin again long before the dawn, and never seem so happy as during the morning and evening twilight. About an hour before the break of day, one of them begins from the bough of a tree where he has passed the night along with many others of his species, to call them, with a shrill, clear note, which he continually repeats with a tone of gladness, till some of his companions hear and answer him. When they are all awake, they make a very cheerful noise, which may be heard at a great distance. In the journies I have made through the kingdom of Michuacan, where they abound, they were of some use to me, as they always roused me in time, to allow me to set out by the break of day. These birds are about as large as sparrows.

    The Tzacua, a bird which resembles the above mentioned Calandra in size, in colour, and in the form of its nest is still more surprising. These birds live in society; and every tree is to them a village, composed of a great number of nests, all hanging from the boughs. One of them which does the office of the head or the guard of the village; resides in the middle of the tree; from which it

    (g) Madrugardor, in Spanish means early riser: but as there is no word in Italian that answers to it, the Author has employed that of Destatore or Awakener. He seems to think, however, that the name of Uccello crepuscolare or Twilight bird, would be more applicable.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       75

    flies about from one nest to another, visiting them all, and after singing a little while, returns to its place; while the rest remain perfectly silent. If any bird of a different species approaches the tree, he flies to it, and endeavours, with his bill and wings, to drive it off; but if a man, or any other large animal comes near, he flies screaming to another tree, and if at that time any Tzacuas belonging to the same village happen to be returning from the fields, he meets them, and changing his note, obliges them to retire again: as soon as he perceives the danger over, he returns happy to his wonted round of visiting the nests. These observations upon the Tzacua, made by a man of penetration, learning, and veracity, (h) should make us expect to find some things still more extraordinary in these birds, if the observations were repeated; but we must now leave these pleasant objects, and turn our eyes upon some that are of the most disagreeable kind.

    The reptiles of Mexico may be reduced £o two orders or classes; namely, the four-footed, and the apodes or those without feet. (i) In the first class are crocodiles, lizards, frogs, and toads: in the second all kinds of serpents.

    The Mexican crocodiles resemble the African in size, form, voracity, way of living, and in all the other peculiarities of their character. They abound in many of the lakes and rivers in the hot countries, and destroy men and other animals. It would be altogether superfluous

    (h) The Abbe D. Giuseppe Rafaelle Campoi.

    (i) I am perfectly aware of the variety of opinions entertained by different authors, with respect to the animals which ought to be classed among the reptiles: but as I do not undertake to give an exact arrangement, but merely to present them in some order to the reader, I take the term of Reptile, in the same sense in which it was commonly understood of old.


    76                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    to give any description of these terrible animals, when so much has been written about them in other books.

    Among the greater lizards we reckon the Acaltetepon, and the Iguana. The Acaltetepon, known to the Spaniards by the very improper name of Scorpions, are two lizards which resemble each other in colour and in form, but very different in their size and tails. The smallest is about fifteen inches, with a long tail, short legs, a red, broad, cloven tongue, a grey rough skin covered with white warts like pearls, a sluggish pace, and a fierce aspect. From the muscles of the hind-legs to the extremity of the tail, its skin is crossed with yellow lines in the form of rings. The bite of this animal is painful, but not mortal as some have imagined. It is peculiar to the warmer climates. The other lizard is an inhabitant of the same climate, but twice as large, being, according to the report of some who have seen it, about two feet and a half long, and more than a foot thick round the back and belly. It has a short tail, with a thick head and legs. This lizard is the scourge of rabbits.

    The Iguana is a harmless lizard, sufficiently known in Europe from the accounts of American historians. They abound in the warm countries, and are of two kinds, the one a land animal, and the other amphibious. Some of them have been found as long as three feet. They run with great speed, and are very nimble in climbing trees. Their eggs and flesh are eatable, and praised by some authors, but their flesh is hurtful to those labouring under the French disease.

    Of the smaller lizards there are a great many species, differing in size, colour, and other circumstances; of which some are poisonous, and others harmless. Among the latter the first place is due to the cameleon, called by


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                       77

    the Mexicans Quatapalcatl This resembles the common cameleon almost in every respect, but differs in having no crest, and in having large, round, open ears. Among the other lizards of the harmless kind, there is none worth notice but the Tapayaxin, (k) which is remarkable for its shape and some other peculiarities. It is perfectly round, cartilaginous, and feels very cold to the touch: the diameter of its body is six inches. Its head is very hard, and spotted with various colours. It is so lazy and sluggish, that it does not move even although it is shaken. When its head is struck, or its eyes pressed, it darts out from them, to about two or three paces distance, a few drops of blood; but is in every thing else an inoffensive animal, and seems to take pleasure in being handled. It would seem as if, being of so cold a constitution, it received some comfort from the heat of the hand.

    Among the poisonous lizards, the worst seems to be that one which, from its being uncommon, got the name of Tetzauhqui with the Mexicans. It is very small, of a grey colour, which is of a yellowish hue upon the body, and bluish upon the tail. There are some others reckoned venomous, and known by the Spaniards by the name of Salamanquesas, or that of Scorpions (for this name is applied to many reptiles by the vulgar): but I am certain, from many observations, that those lizards are either entirely void of poison, or at least, if they have any, it is not so active as is generally imagined. We may make the same remark with respect to toads, as we have never seen or heard of any bad effects occasioned by their venom, although in many warm and humid places the earth is entirely covered with them. In those places there are some toads of eight inches diameter.

    (k) See this lizard in our plate.


    78                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    In the lake of Chalco there are three very numerous species of frogs, of three very different sizes and colours, and very common at the tables in the capital. Those of Huaxteca are excellent, and will sometimes weigh a Spanish pound: but I never saw or heard in that country the tree frogs, which are so common in Italy and other parts of Europe.

    The serpents are of much greater variety than the reptiles already mentioned, there being many of different sizes and colours, some poisonous and others innocent.

    The most considerable in point of size seems to have been one called Canauhcoatl by the Mexicans. It was about three Parisian perches long, and of the thickness of a middle sized man. One of the Tlilcoas, or black serpents, which Hernandez saw in the mountains of Tepoztlan, was not quite so large; which, although it was not equal in thickness, yet was ten Spanish cubits, or more than sixteen Parisian feet long. Such monstrous serpents are seldom to be found now-a-days, unless in some solitary wood, at a distance from the capital.

    The most remarkable of the poisonous serpents are the Ahueyactli, the Cuicuilcoatl, the Teixminani, the Cencoatl, and the Teotlacozauhqui.

    The Teotlacozauhqui, of which there are several species, is the famous rattle-snake. Its colour and size are various, but it is commonly three or four feet long. The rattle may be considered as an appendix to the vertebrae, and consists of rings of a horny substance, moveable, and connected with each other by means of articulations or joints, every one being composed of three small bones. (l)

    (l) Hernandez says, that a new ring is added every year, and that the number of the rings correspond with the years of the snake's age: but we do not


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    The rattle sounds whenever the snake moves, and particularly when he is in motion to bite. This snake moves with great rapidity, and upon that account it likewise obtained among the Mexicans the name of Ehecacoatl, or aerial serpent. Its bite is attended with certain death, unless remedies are speedily applied, among which the most effectual is thought to be the holding of the wounded part some time in the earth. It bites with two teeth placed in the upper jaw, which as in the viper and other species of serpents, are moveable, hollow, and pierced at the extremity. The poison, which is a yellowish crystallizable liquor, is contained in some glands which lie over the roots of those two teeth. These glands being compressed in the action of biting, dart through the hollow of the teeth the fatal liquid, and pour it by the apertures into the wound and the mass of blood. We would have been glad to communicate to the public several other observations which we have made upon this subject, if the nature of this history should have permitted it. (m)

    The Ahueyactli is not very different from the snake just described, except in having no rattle. This snake, as we are told by Hernandez, communicates that kind of poison called by the ancients Hemorrhoos, which occasions the blood to burst from the mouth, nose, and eyes of the person who has received it. There are certain antidotes, however, which prevent these virulent effects.

    The Cuicuilcoatl, so named from the variety of its colours, is not quite eight inches long, and of the thickness of the little singer; but its poison is as active as that of the Teotlacozauhqui.

    know whether this is founded upon his own observations or the reports of others.

    (m) Father Inamma, a Jesuit missionary of California, has made many experiments upon snakes, which serve to confirm those made by Mead upon vipers.


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    The Teixminani is that kind of serpent which Pliny calls Jaculum. It is of a long slender form, with a grey-coloured back and a purple belly. It moves always in a straight line, and never coils, but springs from the trees upon passengers, and has thence derived its name. (n) These snakes are to be found in the mountains of Quauhuahuac, and in other hot countries; but I never knew any instance of such a thing happening to any traveller, although I lived so many years in that kingdom; and I can say the same thing of the terrible effects ascribed to the Ahueyactli.

    The Cencoatl, (o) which is also a poisonous snake, is about five feet long, and eight inches round at the thickest part. The most remarkable quality of this snake is its shining in the dark. Thus does the provident Author of nature, by various impressions on our senses, at one time upon our ears by the noise of a rattle, at another time upon our eyes by the impressions of light, awake our attention to guard against approaching danger.

    Among the harmless snakes, of which there are several kinds, we cannot pass over the Tzicatlinan, and the Maquizcoatl. The Tzicatlinan is very beautiful, about a foot in length, and of the thickness of the little singer. It lives always in ant-hills; and it takes so much pleasure in being among ants, that it will accompany these insects upon their expeditions, and return with them to their usual nest. The Mexican name Tzicatlinan, signifies mother of ants, and that is the name given it by the Spaniards; but I suspect that all the attachment which this

    (n) The Mexicans give this snake the name also of Micoatl; the Spaniards that of Satilla, both signifying the same thing with the Jaculum of the Latins.

    (o) There are some other species of snakes which having the same colours with the Cencoatl, go by the same name, but they are all of a harmless nature.


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    little snake shews to ant-hills, proceeds only from its living upon the ants themselves.

    The Maquizcoatl is about the same size, but of a shining silvery hue. The tail is thicker than the head, and this snake can move progressively with either extremity at pleasure. It is called by the Greeks Amphisbaena; (p) it is a very rare species, and has never been seen, as far as I know, in any other place than the valley of Toluca.

    Of all the variety of snakes which are found in the unfrequented woods of that kingdom, I believe that no viviparous species has been discovered, except the acoatl or water-snake, which too is only supposed, but not certainly known, to be viviparous. That snake is about twenty inches long and one thick: its teeth are exceeding small, the upper part of the head is black, the sides of it are blue, and the under part yellow. The back is striped with blue and black, the belly is entirely blue.

    The ancient Mexicans who took delight in rearing all kinds of animals, and who by long familiarity lost that horror which such animals naturally inspire, used to catch in the fields a little green harmless snake, which being brought up at home and well fed, would sometimes grow to the size of a man. It was generally kept in a tub, which it never left but to receive its food from its master's hand; which it would take, either mounted upon his shoulder or coiled about his legs.

    (p) Pliny, in lib. viii. cap. 23, gives the Amphisbaena two heads; but the Greek name means nothing more than the double motion. The two-headed serpent of Pliny has been seen in Europe, and some have asserted that it is to be met with in Mexico, but I do not know that any one has seen it. If it has been found in that country, it cannot be considered as a natural species, but rather as a monster, like the two-headed eagle found a few years since in Oaaca, and sent to the Catholic king.


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    If from the land we now turn our eyes to the rivers, lakes, and seas of Anahuac, we shall find in them a much greater variety of creatures. Even the known species of their fish are innumerable; for of those only which serve for the nourishment of man, I have counted upwards of a hundred species, without reckoning the turtle, crab, lobster, or any other testaceous or crustaceous animal. Of the fish, some are common to both the seas; some are peculiar to the Mexican gulf alone, others to the Pacific Ocean; and some are to be found only in the lakes and rivers.

    The fish common to both the seas are whales, dolphins, sword-fish, saw-fish, tiburones, manatis, manias, porpoises, bonitas, cod, mullets, thornbacks, barbels, flying-fish, shad, lobsters, soles, and a great many others, together with several species of tortoises, polypus, crabs, spunges, &c.

    The Mexican gulf, besides those already mentioned, affords sturgeons, pike, congers, turbot, lampreys, cuttle-fish, anchovies, carp, eels, nautiluses, &c.

    In the Pacific ocean, besides those common to the two seas, there are salmons, tunnies, sea-scorpions, herrings, and others.

    In the lakes and rivers, are three or four kinds of white fish, carp, mullet, trout, barbels, eels, and many others.

    As the particular description of these fish would be foreign to the objects of our history, and of little use to the European reader, we shall only take notice of a few of the more remarkable circumstances with respect to them.

    The Tiburon belongs to that class of sea-animals called by the ancients Caniculae. Its great voracity, its size,


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    strength, and swiftness, are well known. It has two, three, and sometimes more rows of sharp strong teeth, and swallows whatever is thrown to it whether eatable or not. A whole sheep's skin, and even a large butcher's knife, has been found in its belly. This fish frequently accompanies vessels, and by Oviedo's account there have been Tiburones, which have kept up with a vessel in full sail with a fair wind, for five hundred miles, and often swimming round the ship to catch any filth that was thrown from it.

    The Manati or Lamentin, as it is called by some, is a larger fish than the Tiburon, and of a very different disposition. Oviedo says, that Manatis have been caught of such a size as to require a cart with two pair of oxen to draw them. It is like the Tiburon viviparous, but the female brings only one young one at a time, which, however, is of a great size. (r) The flesh of this animal is delicate, and something like veal. Some authors place the Manati in the class of amphibious animals, but improperly, as it is never upon land; but only raises its head, and a part of its body, out of the water, to brouse upon the herbage which grows along the banks of the rivers. (s)

    (r) Buffon agrees with Hernandez in saying that the Manati brings but one young one at a time; but other persons affirm that she brings two. Perhaps the same thing takes place with the Manati as with the human species; which is commonly to have only one, but sometimes to have two or more. Hernandez describes the copulation of these animals in these words: Humana more coit, famina fupina fere tota in littore procumbente, et celeritate quadam fuperveniente mare. We do not with some modern naturalists rank the Manati among quadrupeds, although it is viviparous; because every one by the name of quadruped understands an animal with four feet, but the Manati has only two, and these imperfectly formed.

    (s) Mr. de la Condamine confirms our observation with respect to the Manati's living constantly in water, and the same thing had been said two centuries


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    The Manta is that flat fish mentioned by Ulloa and others, which is so hurtful to the pearl-fishers, and which I have no doubt is the same with that which Pliny has described, though he seems not to have been very well acquainted with it, under the name of Nubes or Nebula. (t) It is not improbable, that this fish has made its way into these seas from those of the old world in the same manner as some others appear to have done. The strength of this fish is so great that it will not only strangle a man whom it embraces or winds itself about, but it has even been seen to take the cable of an anchor and move it from the place where it had been cast. It has been called Manta, because when it lies stretched upon the sea, as it frequently does, it seems like a fleece of wool floating upon the water.

    The sword-fish of these seas is quite different from that of Greenland. The sword is larger, and in its figure

    before by two eye-witnesses Oviedo and Hernandez. It is true, that Hernandez does seem to say the contrary; but this is owing merely to a typographical error, which is obvious to every reader. I should mention likewise, that the Manati, although properly a sea-animal, is frequently to be found in rivers.

    (t) Ipsi ferunt (Urinatores) et nubem quandam crassescere super capita, planerum piscium similem prementem eos, arcentemque a reciprocando et ob id stilos preacutes lincis, annexos babere sese; quia nisi perfosse ita, non recedant, caliginis et pavoris, ut arhitror, epere. Nubem enim sive nebulam (cujus nomine id malum appellant) inter animalia baud ullam reperit quisquam, Plin. Histor. Nat. lib. ix. cap. 46. The account given of this cloud by those divers is much the same with that which the divers in the American seas give of the manta, and the name of the cloud is perfectly applicable to it, as it really seems to be a cloud to those who are in the water below it; our swimmers likewise carry long knives, or sharp sticks, for the purpose of dispersing this animal. This observation which has escaped all the interpreters of Pliny, was made by my countryman and friend the Abbe D. Jof. Raf. Campoi, a man not less distinguished by his manners and integrity, than by his eloquence and erudition, particularly in the Latin language, in history, in Criticism, and in Geography. His death upon the 29th of December, 1777, prevented his finishing several very useful works which he had begun.


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    more nearly resembling a real sword; and is not placed in the same manner with that of the Greenland fish upon the hinder part, but upon the fore part of the body, like the saw-fish. It moves this sword at pleasure, with great force, and employs it as an offensive weapon.

    Of the two species of saw-fish to be found in those seas, the one is that common one known to Pliny, and described by so many naturalists. The other, which is about a foot in length, has a row of teeth or prickles like a saw, upon its back, which has obtained it the name of Tlateconi, from the Mexicans, and from the Spaniards that of Sierra.

    The Roballo is one of the most numerous species, and affords the most delicate food, especially the kind peculiar to rivers. Hernandez took this fish to be the same with the Lupus of the ancients, and Campoi imagined it to be the Asellus Minor; but this must have been altogether conjecture, for the descriptions of those fish left us by the ancients are so imperfect, that it is impossible to ascertain their identity.

    The Gobbo (called by the Spaniards Corcoboda), was so called from a rising or prominence reaching from the neck to the mouth, which latter part is exceedingly small. The Sfirena had likewise the name of Picuda (which we might translate long-snout), from the lower jaw being longer than the upper.

    The Rospo is a very disagreeable fish to look at; of a perfectly round shape, three or four inches in diameter, and without scales. It affords a pleasant wholesome food.

    Among the eels there is one called Huitzitzilmichin by the Mexicans, which is about three feet long and very slender. Its body is covered with a sort of small plates,


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    instead of scales. The snout is about eight inches in length, with the upper jaw longer than the lower, in which it differs from all other eels, which this species likewise surpasses, as well in the delicacy of its flesh as in the size of its body.

    The Bobo, is a very fine fish, about two feet long, and four or six inches broad at the broadest part; and is in high esteem as an excellent food. The river Barbel, known by the name of Bagre, is of the same size with the Bobo, and of exquisite flavour, but unwholesome till it is cleansed with lemon juice, or some other acid, from a certain kind of froth or viscid liquor which adheres to it. The Bobos, I believe are got only in the rivers which fall into the Mexican gulf, and the Barbels in those which discharge themselves into lakes, or into the Pacific Ocean. The flesh of these two kinds, although very delicate, does not equal that of the Pampano, and the Colombella, which are deservedly esteemed superior to all others.

    The Curvina is about a foot and a half long, of a slender, round shape, and of a blackish purple colour. In the head of this fish are found, two small, white stones like alabaster, each an inch and a half long, and about four lines broad, of which three grains taken in water, are thought to be useful in a stoppage of urine. The Botetto is a small fish, not more than eight inches in length, but excessively thick. This fish, while it lies alive upon the beach, immediately swells, whenever it is touched, to an enormous size; and boys often take pleasure in making it burst with a kick. The liver is so poisonous as to kill with strong convulsions in half an hour after it is eaten.


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    The Occhione, (u) is a flat, round fish of eight or ten inches diameter. The underpart of the body is perfectly flat, but the upper is convex; and in the center, which is the highest part, it has a single eye as large as that of an ox, and furnished with its necessary eye-lids. The eye remains open even after it is dead, which sometimes creates a degree of horror to a spectator. (x)

    The Iztacmichin, or white fish, has always been in great repute in Mexico, and is now as common at the Spanish tables as it used to be anciently at those of the Mexicans. There are three or four species. The Amilotl, which is the largest and the most esteemed, is more than a foot in length, and has two fins upon the back, two at the sides, and one under the belly. The Xalmichin seems to be of the same kind with the former, but not quite so large. The Jacapitzahuac, which is the smallest kind, is not more than eight inches long, and one inch and a half broad. All these kinds have scales, are a very delicate and wholesome food, and are to be found in great plenty in the lakes of Chalco, Pazcuaro, and Chapalla. The fourth kind is the Xalmichin of Quauhuahuac, which has no scales, but is covered with a tender white skin.

    The Axolotl or Axolote, (y) is a great water-lizard of

    (u) This fish, which is only found in California, either his no name, or we at least, are not acquainted with it; for which reason we have given it one, we think, sufficiently applicable, namely, that of Occhione.

    (x) Campoi was persuaded that the Occhione is the Uranoscopos, or Callionymos of Pliny: but Pliny has not left any description of that fish. The name of Uranoscopos, which was the only foundation of Campoi's opinion, is equally applicable to all those fish which, having eyes upon the head, look upwards to the sky, such as skates, and other flat fish.

    (y) Mr. Bomare could not light upon the name of this fish. He calls it Azalotl, Axolatl, Azoloti, and Axoloti; and says that the Spaniards call it Juguete del agua: yet the Mexicans call it Axolotl, and the Spaniards give it no other name but the Axolote.


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    the Mexican lake. Its figure and appearance are ridiculous and disagreeable. It is commonly about eight inches long, but is sometimes to be sound of twice that length. The skin is soft and black, the head and tail long, the mouth large, and the tongue broad, thin, and cartilaginous. The body gradually diminishes in size, from the middle to the extremity of the tail. It swims with its four feet which resemble those of a frog. But the most remarkable circumstance with respect to this animal, which has been established by many observations, and confirmed by the opinion of Hernandez, is the uterus, and a periodical evacuation of blood to which it is subject; in both which it is said to resemble the human species. (z) The Axolotl is wholesome to eat, and is of much the same taste with an eel. It is thought to be particularly useful in cases of consumption.

    There are many other kinds of small fish, in the lake of Mexico, but they scarcely deserve our notice.

    As to shells, they are found in prodigious numbers, and of great variety; and some of them of extraordinary beauty, especially those of the Pacific Ocean. Pearls also have been fished, at different times, along all the coasts of that sea. The Mexicans got them upon the coasts of Tototepec, and of the Cuitlatecans, where we now get the tortoise-shell. Among the Sea-stars is one which has five rays, and one eye in each. Of Spunges,

    (z) Bomare has some hesitation in believing what is said of the Axolote; but while we may rest secure upon the testimony of those persons, who have had these animals actually under their own inspection, we need not pay much regard to the doubts of a Frenchman, who, however versed in Natural history, never saw the Axolotis, and is even ignorant of their name: more especially, when we reflect that the periodical evacuation of blood is not confined to women alone, but has been observed, likewise, in apes; for, as Mr. Bomare says Les femelles des singas ont pour la plupart des menstrues comme les femmes.


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    and Lithophytes, there are many rare and singular species. Hernandez gives us a print of a spunge, sent to him from the Pacific Ocean, which was of the shape of a man's hand, but with ten or more singers; of a clay colour, with black points and red streaks, and was harder than the common spunges.

    Descending, at length, to the smaller creatures, in which the power and wisdom of the Creator especially appear; we shall divide the innumerable multitude of Mexican insects into three classes, the flying, the terrestrial, and the aquatic; although there are land and water insects which afterwards become flying insects, and might be considered as belonging to different classes, at different times.

    Among the flying insects are, beetles, bees, wasps, flies, gnats, butterflies, and grasshoppers. The beetles are of several kinds, and mostly harmless. Some of them are of a green colour, and called by the Mexicans, Majatl; which, by the great noise they make in flying, afford amusement to children. There are others black, of a disagreeable smell and irregular form, which are called Pinacatl.

    The Cucujo or shining beetle, which best deserves our notice, has been mentioned by many authors, but not hitherto, as far as I know, described by any one. It is more than an inch in length; and, like other flying beetles, is furnished with double wings. Upon the head, is a small, moveable horn, which is of great use to it; for if at any time it happens to be turned over and laid upon its back, it is by means of this horn, by thrusting and pressing it into a membrane somewhat like a bag, which it has upon the belly, that this insect recovers its natural position. Near the eyes are two small membranes,


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    and upon the belly one somewhat larger, of a thin, transparent substance, which are full of luminous matter, affording a light strong enough to read by, and to shew the way to those who travel at night. It shews most light when it flies; but none at all while it sleeps, as it is then covered with the other opaque membranes. The luminous matter is a white, mealy, viscid substance, which preserves its luminous quality after it has been taken from the body of the Cucujo, and one may draw shining characters with it, upon a hat. There are great numbers of these flying phosphori upon the sea-coasts, and which form upon the neighbouring hills, at night, a very beautiful and brilliant spectacle. The boys easily catch them by waving a light in the evening, and the beetles, drawn by the light, come into their hands. Some authors have confounded this wonderful insect with the glow-worm, but the latter is much smaller, and much less luminous; is pretty frequent in Europe, and perfectly common in Mexico.

    The appearance of the shining beetle is not more pleasing than that of the Temolin is disagreeable. This is a large beetle of a reddish chesnut colour, with six hairy feet, and four toes upon each. There are two species of the Temolin: the one having one horn, in the forepart of the head; and the other, two.

    There are, at least, six different kinds of bees. The first is the same with the common bee of Europe, with which it agrees, not only in size, shape, and colour, but also in its disposition and manners, and in the qualities of its honey and wax. The second species, which differs from the first only in having no sting, is the bee of Yucatan and Chiapa, which makes the fine, clear honey of Estabentun, of an aromatic flavour, superior to that of


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    all the other kinds of honey with which we are acquainted. The honey is taken from them six times a year, that is, once in every other month; but the best is that which is got in November, being made from a fragrant white flower like Jessamine, which blows in September, called in that country Estabentun, from which the honey has derived its name. (z) The third species resembles in its form, the winged ants, but is smaller than the common bee, and without a sting. This insect, which is peculiar to warm and temperate climates, forms nests, in size and shape resembling sugar-loaves, and even sometimes greatly exceeding these in size, which are suspended from rocks, or from trees, and particularly from the oak. The populousness of these hives is much greater than of those of the common bee. The nymphs of this bee, which are eatable, are white and round, like a pearl. The honey is of a greyish colour, but of a fine flavour. The fourth species is a yellow bee, smaller than the common one, but, like it, furnished with a sting. Its honey is not equal to those already mentioned. The fifth, is a small bee without a sting, which constructs hives of an orbicular form, in subterraneous cavities; and the honey is four, and somewhat bitter. The Tlalpipiolli, which is the sixth species, is black and yellow, of the size of the common bee, but has no sting.

    Of wasps there are at least four kinds. The Quetzalmiahuatl is the common wasp of Europe. The Tetlatoca or wandering wasp, is so called from its frequent change of habitation; and is always found employed in collecting materials to build it. This wasp has a sting,

    (z) The honey of Estabentun, is in high estimation with the English and French, who touch at the ports of Yucatan; and I have known the French of Guarico buy it sometimes for the purpose of sending it as a present to the king.


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    but makes no honey or wax. The Xicotli or Xicote, is a thick, black wasp, with a yellow belly; which makes a very sweet honey, in holes made by it in walls. It is provided with a strong sting, which gives a very painful wound. The Cuicalmiahuatl, has likewise a sting; but whether it makes honey or not, we do not know.

    The Quauhxicotli, is a black hornet, with a red tail, whose sting is so large and strong, as not only to go through a sugar cane, but even to pierce into the trunk of a tree.

    Among the flies, besides the common fly which is neither so troublesome, nor in such numbers as in Italy during summer, (a) there are some luminous as the glow-worm. The Axayacatl is a marsh-fly, of the Mexican lake, the eggs of which being deposited in immense quantities, upon the rushes and corn-flags of the lake, form large masses, which are taken up by fishermen and carried to market for sale. This caviare called Ahuauhtli, which has much the same taste with the caviare of fish, used to be eaten by the Mexicans, and is now a common dish among the Spaniards. The Mexicans eat not only the eggs, but the flies themselves made up together into a mass, and prepared with salt-petre.

    Gnats, which are so common in Europe, and especially in Italy, abound in the maritime parts of Mexico, and in all places where heat, standing water, and shrubs, encourage their propagation. They are in immense

    (a) The same observation has been made before by Oviedo; "In the islands," said he, "and in terra firma, there are very few flies; and in comparison of "their numbers in Europe, one might almost say there are none." Nat. Hist. Ind. cap. 8l. In Mexico, certainly there are not so few as Oveido says, but, generally speaking, they are neither so numerous nor so troublesome as in Europe,


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    numbers in the lake of Chalco; but the capital, although near to that lake, is entirely free of that nuisance.

    In the hot countries there is likewise a kind of small flies, which make no buz in flying, but raise a violent itching by their puncture, and an open wound is very ready to be made, if the part is scratched.

    In those hot countries also, but particularly in those next the sea, Cucarachas are found in great numbers. This is a large winged, filthy, pernicious insect, which spoils all eatables, particularly any thing sweet; but in some other respects is of great use in clearing houses of bugs. It has been remarked, that the ships which come from Europe full of bugs, return from New Spain quite freed of these stinking insects, by means of the Cucarachas. (b)

    The Butterflies of Mexico, are much more numerous, and of greater variety, than in Europe. It is impossible to give any idea of their variety and beauty, and the finest pencil is unable to imitate the exquisite colouring and design, which the Author of Nature has displayed in the embellishment of their wings. Many respectable Authors have celebrated them in their writings; and Hernandez has made some be drawn, in order to give Europeans an idea of their beauty.

    But the butterflies although numerous, are not to be compared in that respect, with the locusts, which, sometimes darkening the air like thick clouds, fall upon the sea coasts, and lay waste all the vegetation of the country; as I have myself witnessed, in the year 1738,

    (b) This insect is likewise an enemy of the studious, preying upon the ink, in the night-time, unless it is carefully covered up. The Spaniards call it Cucaracha, others call it Kakerlaques, and others Dermestes, &c.


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    or 1739, upon the coasts of Xicayan. From this cause a great famine was lately occasioned in the Peninsula of Yucatan: but no country has been visited by this dreadful scourge so often as the wretched California. (c) Among the land-insects, besides the common ones, about which nothing occurs to me worthy to be mentioned, there are worms of several kinds, scolopendrae, scorpions, spiders, ants, nigua chegoes or jiggers, and the cochineal.

    Of the worms, some are useful, and others pernicious; some served as food to the ancient Mexicans, and others in the way of medicine, as the Axin and the Pollin, which we shall speak of in another place. The Tleocuilin or burning worm, has the same qualities with the Cantharides: its head is red, the breast green, and the rest of the body is of a tawny-colour. The Temahuani, is a worm covered with yellow venomous prickles. The Temictli resembles the silk-worm, both in its operations and its metamorphoses. The silk-worm was brought from Europe, and was propagated with success. Great plenty of good silk was made, especially in Mizteca, (d) where it became a great article of trade; but the Miztecans being afterwards, from political causes, forced to abandon it, the rearing of the worms was likewise neglected; and at this time very few are employed in that business. Besides that common silk, there is another excellent kind, very white, soft, and strong, which is often to be found upon trees, in several woods

    (c) In the history of California, which will be published in a few months, will be found a great many observations with respect to locusts, made by the Abbe D. Mich. del Barco, who lived upwards of thirty years in that country, a country not more famous than undeserving of the name it has acquired.

    (d) Some places in Mizteca still preserve the name which they obtained formerly, upon account of that trade; as silk St. Francis, silk Tepexe.


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    upon the sea coasts, particularly in those years when there is little rain. But, unless by some poor people, this silk is not turned to any use, partly from inattention to their interests, but chiefly from the obstructions which would be certainly thrown in the way of any one who should attempt a trade of that kind. We know from Cortes's letters to Charles Vth, that silk used to be sold in the markets of Mexico; and some pictures are still preserved, done by the ancient Mexicans upon a paper made of silk.

    The Scolopendras are sometimes seen in the temperate parts, but more frequently in the warm and moist. Hernandez says, that he has seen some of them of the length of two feet, and two inches thick: but such monstrous insects can only have been seen in the wettest and most uncultivated place; for we who have been in a great many places, through every variety of climate, never met with any one of such extraordinary size.

    Scorpions are common throughout the whole kingdom, but in the cold and temperate countries they are not numerous, nor very hurtful. They abound in the hot parts, or where the air is very dry although the heat is but moderate; and their poison is so active as to kill children, and occasion terrible pain to adults. It has been remarked, that the poison of the small, yellowish scorpion is more powerful than that of the large brown one, and that their sting is the most dangerous during those hours of the day when the sun gives most heat.

    Among the great variety of spiders, we cannot pass over the Tarantola and Casampulga. (e) The name of

    (e) I suspect that the original name of this spider has been Cazapulga or flea-killer, corrupted in a manner common to the vulgar, into Casampulga.


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    Tarantola is given very improperly, in that country, to a very large spider, the back and legs of which are covered with a fine, soft, blackish down, like that upon young chickens. This spider is peculiar to the hot countries, and is found in houses as well as in the fields. It is supposed to be poisonous, and it is generally believed that if a horse tramples upon one, he very soon loses his hoof; but I have never known a single instance of this happening, although I was for five years in a very hot country where those spiders were in great numbers. The Casampulga is a small spider of the size of a chick pea, with short legs, and a red belly. This spider is venomous, and common in the diocese of Chiapa, and elsewhere. It seems to answer to the description of what is called the Ragno capullino in other countries, but I do not know whether it is the same.

    The most common ants of that country are of three kinds: first, the small black ants the same with those of Europe; next, the large red ants called by the Spaniards bravas, or fierce, which give very painful wounds with their stings: and lastly, the large brown ants, called by the Spaniards barrieras, or carriers, because they are continually employed in carrying grain for their provision, and for that reason they are much more hurtful to the country than the common ants. These carrier ants have been suffered by the carelessness of the inhabitants in some places to multiply to excess; and in the province of Xicayan black lines are seen upon the earth for several miles, which consist of nothing but of those ants going and coming.

    Besides the three species already mentioned, there is a singular kind of ant in Michuacan which, perhaps, is to be met with in other provinces. It is larger than the


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    common ant, with a greyish-coloured body and a black head. Upon its hinder parts it carries a little bag, full of a very sweet liquor, which the children are very fond of, and imagine it is a honey made by the ant like that made by the bee, but I rather take it to be eggs. Mr. de la Barrere, in his Natural history of Equinoctial France, takes notice of such ants being found in Cayenne; but those are winged ants, and ours are without wings.

    The Nigua or Chegoe, called in other countries Pique, is an exceeding small insect, not very unlike a flea, which, in some hot countries is bred in the dust. It fixes upon the feet, and breaking insensibly the cuticle, it nestles betwixt that and the true skin, which also, unless it is immediately taken out, it breaks, and pierces at last to the flesh, multiplying with a rapidity almost incredible. It is seldom discovered until it pierces the true skin, when it causes an intolerable itching. These insects with their astonishing multiplication would soon dispeople those countries, were it less easy to avoid them, or were the inhabitants less dexterous in getting them out before they begin to spread. On the other hand, nature, in order to lessen the evil, has net only denied them wings, but even that conformation of the legs, and those strong muscles which she has given to the flea for leaping. The poor however, who are in some measure doomed to live in the dust, and to a habitual spider of their persons, suffer these insects sometimes to multiply so far as to make large holes in their flesh, and even to occasion dangerous wounds.

    What the Niguas or Chegoes do in houses, is done in the fields by the ticks, of which there are two species or rather classes. The first are common in the new, as well as the old world, which fix in the skins of sheep, horses,


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    and other quadrupeds, and get into their ears, and sometimes into those of men.

    The other abounds in the grass of the hot countries, from which it readily gets upon the clothes, and from these to the skin, upon which it fixes with such force from the particular shape of its feet, that it is very difficult to detach it, and if it is not speedily removed makes a wound like that made by the Nigua or Chegoe. At first it seems nothing more than a small black speck; but afterwards enlarges so quickly, and to such a degree from the blood which it sucks, that in a very short time it becomes as large as a bean, and then takes the colour of lead. (f)

    The celebrated cochineal of Mexico, so well known and so highly esteemed over all the world, for the beauty of the colour which it affords, is an insect: peculiar to that country, and the most useful of all that the land of Anahuac produces. There particular pains have always been taken to rear it from the times of the Mexican kings; (g) but the country in which it thrives the best is that of Mizteca, where it is the principal branch of commerce

    (f) Oviedo says, that the best and safest method of separating it speedily, is to anoint the part with oil, and then to scrape it with a knife.

    (g) The historian Herrera, in the l)ec. IV. lib. viii. cap. 8. says, that although the Indians had the cochineal, yet they knew nothing of its virtues till they were instructed by the Spaniards. But what did the Spaniards teach them? To rear the cochineal? How were they fitted to teach what they were ignorant of themselves, while they took that to be a seed which is in reality an insect. They taught the Indians perhaps, to use it as a dye; but unless the Indians Uk .! it as a dye, to what purpose did they take so much pains in rearing it? Why were Huaxyacac, Coyolopan, and several other places obliged to pay twenty bags of cochineal yearly to the king of Mexico, as appears by the register of tales? Is it possible to imagine, that a people so given to painting even as they were, and who were besides well acquainted with the use of the Achiote, the indigo, and of a great many mineral earths and stones, should be ignorant of the use of the cochineal?


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    of that place. (h) In the sixteenth century they used to rear it also in Tlascala, Huexotzinco, and other places, and it was a considerable article of trade; but the Indians (who have always been the persons employed in that business), oppressed by the avaricious tyranny of some Spanish governors, were forced to abandon that employment which, of its own nature besides, was always very troublesome and tedious. The cochineal, at its utmost growth, in size and figure resembles a bug. The female is ill proportioned and sluggish. The eyes, mouth, antennas, and feet, are so concealed among the Wrinkles of its skin, that they cannot be discovered without the assistance of a microscope: and it is owing to that circumstance, that some Europeans have been so positive in affirming it to be a kind of seed and not an animal, in opposition to the testimony of the Indians who reared it, and of Hernandez who examined it as a naturalist. The males are not so numerous, and one serves for three hundred females: they are likewise smaller and thinner than the females, but more brisk and active. Upon the heads of this insect are two articulated antennae, in each articulation of which are four small bridles regularly disposed. It has six feet, each consisting of three parts. From the hinder part of the body grow out two hairs, which are two or three times as large as the whole insect. The male has two large wings, which are wanting in the female. These wings are strengthened by two muscles; one external, extending along the circumference of the

    (h) Several authors have reckoned that more than 2,500 bags of cochineal are sent every year from Mizteca to Spain. The trade in that article carried on by the city of Oaxaca, brings in 200,000 crowns a year. Bomare says, there is a kind of cochineal called Mestecan, because it is got in Meteque, in the province of Honduras: but this is a mistake, for it comes from Misteca, a province farther from Honduras than Rome is from Paris.


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    wing: the other internal, which runs parallel to the former. The internal colour of this insect is a deep red, but darker in the female; and the external colour a pale red. In the wild cochineal the internal colour is still darker, and the external whitish or ash-coloured. The cochineal is reared upon a species of Nofal, or Opuntia, or Indian fig, which grows to the height of about eight feet, and bears a fruit like the figs of other Opuntias, but not eatable. It seeds upon the leaves of that tree, by sucking the juice with a trunk situated in the thorax betwixt the two fore feet: there it passes through all the stages of its growth, and at length produces a numerous offspring. The manner of multiplying peculiar to these valuable insects, the management of the Indians in rearing them, together with the means employed to defend them from rain, which is so hurtful to them, and from many enemies which persecute them, shall be explained when we come to speak of the agriculture of the Mexicans. (i)

    Among the water insects, the Atetepitz is a marsh beetle resembling in shape and size the beetles that fly. It has four feet, and is covered with a hard shell. The Atopinan is a marsh grasshopper, of a dark colour, about six inches long and two broad. The Ahuihuitla is a worm of the Mexican lake, four inches long, and of the thickness of a goose-quill; of a tawny colour upon the

    (i) D. Ant. Ulloa says, that the Nepal, upon which the cochineal is reared, has no prickles; but in Misteca, where I was For five years, I always saw it upon prickly nopals. Mr. de Raynal imagines, that the colour of the cochineal is to be ascribed to the red fig upon which it lives; but that author has been misinformed; for neither does the cochineal feed upon the fruit, but only upon the leaf, which is perfectly green; nor does that nopal bear red but white figs. It is true, it may be reared upon the species with a red fig, but that is not the proper plant of the cochineal.


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    upper part of the body, and white upon the under part. It stings with its tail, which is hard and poisonous. The Ocuiliztac is a black marsh-worm, which becomes white on being roasted. All these insects were eaten by the ancient Mexicans.

    Lastly, to omit other insects the very names of which would fill an immense catalogue, I shall conclude this account with a kind of zoophytes, or animal plants, which I saw in the year 1751, in a house in the country, about ten miles from Angelopoli, towards the south-east. These were three or four inches long, and had four very slender feet, and two antennae; but their body was nothing more than the fibres of the leaves, of the same shape, size, and colour with those of the other leaves of the trees upon which these insects were found. Hernandez mentions them by the name of Quauhmecatl; and Gemelli describes another somewhat similar which was found in the neighbourhood of Manila. (k) The slight account we have already given of the natural history of Anahuac, may serve to shew the differences that take place in the hot, the cold, and the temperate countries, of which that vast kingdom is composed. Nature in the hot countries is more profuse, and in the cold and temperate more mild. In the former, the hills abound more in minerals and springs, the valleys are more delightful, and the woods are thicker. There we meet with plants more useful for the support of life. (l) Trees

    (k) I am aware that modern naturalists seldom apply the name of zoophytes, unless to certain marine bodies, which, with the appearance of vegetables, are really of the nature of animals; but I give it to those terrestrial insects, because, it seems with as much, if not more propriety applicable to them than to the marine bodies. In my Natural Philosophy, I think I have given a very probable explanation of the operation of nature in the production of such insects.

    (l) It is true, that generally neither corn grows there, nor many of the European


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    of larger growth, more valuable woods, more beautiful flowers, more delicious fruits, and more aromatic gums. There too the animals are more numerous and of greater variety, and the individuals of the different species of greater beauty and size; the birds have a finer plumage and a sweeter fong: but all these advantages are counterbalanced by equal inconveniences; for there the beasts of prey are more terrible, the reptiles more poisonous, and the insects more pernicious. The earth there never feels the effects of winter, nor is the atmosphere subjected to a hurtful vicissitude of seasons. A perpetual spring reigns upon the earth, and a perpetual summer in the air. The inhabitants are used to that excessive heat, but from the constant sweating which it occasions, together with the use of those exquisite fruits which the bountiful earth presents to them in such abundance, they are often affected with disorders unknown in other climates. The cold countries are neither so fruitful nor so beautiful, but on the other hand they are more favourable to health, and the animals are less hurtful to man. In the temperate countries (at least in many of them, and particularly in the vale of Mexico), are enjoyed the advantages of the cold, and many of the pleasures of the hot climates without the inconveniences of either. The most common diseases of the hot countries are intermittent fevers, spasms, and consumptions; and in the port of Vera Cruz, within these few years, the black vomiting; (m) in other parts, catarrhs, fluxes, pleurisies,

    fruits, such as apples, peaches, pears, &c. yet what signifies the want of a few of those vegetables, compared with the unspeakable profusion and variety of plants serving both for food and medicine, which are to be found in those countries?

    (m) Ulloa, and other historians of America, describe the spasms and the black vomiting. The latter disease was not known in that country before the year 1716.


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    and acute fevers; and in the capital, the diarrhoea. Betides these more frequent diseases, certain epidemical disorders arise at times, which seem in some degree periodical, although not with much exactness or regularity, such as those which appeared in 1546, 1576, 1736, and 1762. The small-pox brought thither by the Spanish conquerors, is not seen so frequently in that country as in Europe; but generally appears after an interval of a certain number of years, and then attacking all those who had not been affected by it before, it makes as much havoc at one time as it does successively in Europe.

    The nations which possessed those countries before the Spaniards, although differing in language, and partly also in manners, were yet nearly of the same character. The moral and physical qualities of the Mexicans, their tempers and dispositions were the same with those of the Acolhuacans, the Tepanecans, the Tlascalans, and other nations, with no other difference than what arose from their different mode of education; so that what we shall say of the one, we should wish to be understood as equally applicable to the rest. Several authors, ancient as well as modern, have undertaken a description of these people, but I have not met with any one which is, in every respect, faithful and correct. The passions and prejudices of some, and the imperfect information, or the weak understandings of others, have prevented their representing them in their genuine colours. What we shall say upon the subject, is derived from a serious and long study of the history of these nations, from a familiar intercourse for many years with the natives, and from the most minute observations with respect to their present state, made both by ourselves and by other impartial


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    persons. I certainly have no bias upon my own mind which should make me lean to one side more than to the other; as neither the feelings of a fellow-countryman can sway my opinion in their favour, nor can I be interested to condemn them from a love of my nation, or zeal for the honour of my countrymen: so that I shall speak frankly and plainly the good and the bad, which I have discovered in them.

    The Mexicans are of a good stature, generally rather exceeding than falling short of the middle size, and well proportioned in all their limbs: they have good complexions, narrow foreheads, black eyes, clean, firm, regular white teeth, thick, black, coarse, glossy hair, thin beards, and generally no hair upon their legs, thighs, and arms. Their skin is of an olive colour.

    There is scarcely a nation, perhaps, upon earth in which there are fewer persons deformed, and it would be more difficult to find a single hump-backed, lame, or squint-eyed man amongst a thousand Mexicans, than among any hundred of any other nation. The unpleasantness of their colour, the smallness of their forehead, the thinness of their beard, and the coarseness of their hair, are so far compensated by the regularity and fine proportions of their limbs, that they can neither be called very beautiful, nor the contrary, but seem to hold a middle place between the extremes. Their appearance neither engages nor disgusts; but among the young women of Mexico, there are many very beautiful and fair; whose beauty is at the same time rendered more winning by the sweetness of their manner of speaking, and by the pleasantness and natural modesty of their whole behaviour.


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    Their senses are very acute, especially that of sight, which they enjoy unimpaired to the greatest age. Their constitutions are found, and their health robust. They are entirely free of many disorders which are common among the Spaniards, but of the epidemical diseases to which their country is occasionally subject, they are the principal victims; with them these diseases begin, and with them they end. One never perceives in a Mexican that stinking breath which is occasioned in other people by the corruption of the humours or indigestion. Their constitutions are phlegmatic; but the pituitous evacuations from their heads are very scanty, and they seldom spit. They become grey-headed and bald earlier than the Spaniards, and although most of them die of acute diseases, it is not very uncommon among them to attain the age of a hundred.

    They are now, and have ever been very moderate in eating, but their passion for strong liquors is carried to the greatest excess. Formerly they were kept within bounds by the severity of the laws; but now that these liquors are grown so common, and drunkenness is unpunished, one half of the people seem to have lost their senses; and this, together with the poor manner in which they live, exposed to all the baneful impressions of disease, and destitute of the means of correcting them, is undoubtedly the principal cause of the havoc which is made among them by epidemical disorders.

    Their minds are at bottom in every respect like those of the other children of Adam, and endued with the same powers; nor did the Europeans ever do less credit to their own reason than when they doubted of the rationality of the Americans. The state of civilization among the Mexicans, when they were first known to the Spaniards,


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    which was much superior to that of the Spaniards themselves, when they were first known to the Phoenicians, that of the Gauls when first known to the Greeks, or that of the Germans and Britons when first known to the Romans, (n) should of itself have been fully sufficient to correct such an error of man's mind, if it had not been the interest of the inhuman avarice of some ruffians to encourage it. (o) Their understandings are fitted for every kind of science, as experience has actually shewn (p). Of the Mexicans who have had an opportunity of engaging in the pursuits of learning, which is but a small number, as the greatest part of the people are always employed in the public or private works, we have known some good mathematicians, excellent architects, and learned divines.

    Many persons allow the Mexicans to possess a great talent of imitation, but deny them the praise of invention:

    (n) D. Bernardo Aldrete, in his book upon the Origin of the Spanish Tongue, would have us to believe that the Spaniards were less rude at the arrival of the Phoenicians, than the Mexicans were at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards; but this paradox has been sufficiently refuted by the learned authors of the Literary History of Spain. It is true, that the Spaniards in those remote ages were not so barbarous as the Chechemecans, the Californians, and same other savage nations of America; but neither their government was so regular, nor their arts so much improved, nor, as far as we can judge, had they made so much progress in the knowledge of nature, as the Mexicans at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

    (o) Upon this subject I must refer the reader to the bitter complaints made by the bishop Garces, in his letter to pope Paul III, and by the Bishop of la Casas, in his Memorials to the Catholic kings Charles V and Philip II, but especially to the very humane laws made by those most Christian monarchs, in favour of the Indians.

    (p) We shall, in the Dissertations, produce the opinions of D. Giulian Garces, first bishop of Tlascalla; of D. John di Zumarraga, first bishop of Mexico, and of D. Bartholomew de las Casas, first bishop of Chiapa, with respect to the capacities, understandings, and other good qualities of the Mexicans. The testimony of those virtuous and learned prelates, who had so much intercourse with the Indians, weighs much more than that of any historian whatever.


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    a vulgar error, which is contradicted by the ancient history of that people.

    Their minds are affected by the same variety of passions with those of other nations, but not to an equal degree. The Mexicans seldom exhibit those transports of anger, or those frenzies of love which are so common in other countries.

    They are flow in their motions, and shew a wonderful tenacity and steadiness in those works which require time and long continued attention. They are most patient of injury and hardship; and where they suspect no evil intention, are most grateful for any kindness shewn; but some Spaniards, who cannot distinguish patience from insensibility, nor distrust from ingratitude, say proverbially, that the Indians are alike insensible to injuries and to benefits. (q) That habitual distrust which they entertain of all who are not of their own nation, prompts them often to lie and betray; so that good faith certainly has not been so much respected among them as it deserves.

    They are by nature taciturn, serious, and austere, and shew more anxiety to punish crimes than to reward virtues.

    generosity and perfect disinterestedness are the principal features of their character. Gold with the Mexicans has not that value which it enjoys elsewhere. (r) They seem to give without reluctance what has cost

    (q) Experience has proved the grateful dispositions of the Mexicans, wherever they were assured of the good-will and sincerity of their benefactors. Their gratitude has been often manifested by open and loud demonstrations of joy, which publicly declare the falsehood of the Spanish proverb.

    (r) I do not speak of those Mexicans, who, by a constant intercourse with covetous nations, have been infected by their avarice; although, at the same time, even those appear to be less selfish than the generality of persons of that disposition.


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    them the utmost labour to acquire. The neglect of selfish interest, together with the dislike which they bear to their rulers, and consequently their aversion to the tasks imposed by them, seem to have been the only grounds of that much exaggerated indolence with which the Americans have been charged; (s) and after all, there is no set of people in that country who labour more, nor whose labours are more useful or more necessary. (t)

    The respect paid by children to their parents, and by the young to the old, among those people, seem to be feelings that are born with them. Parents are very fond of their children; but the affection which husbands bear to their wives, is certainly less than that borne by the wives to their husbands; and it is very common for the men to love their neighbours wives better than their own.

    Courage and cowardice seem alternately so to affect their minds, that it is often difficult to determine whether the one or the other predominates. They meet dangers with intrepidity when they proceed from natural causes, but they are easily terrified by the stern look of a Spaniard. That stupid indifference about death and eternity, which many authors have thought inherent in the character of every American, is peculiar only to those who are yet so rude and uninformed as to have no idea of a future state.

    Their singular attachment to the external ceremonies of religion is very apt to degenerate into superstition, as

    (s) What we observe upon the subject of American indolence is not meant to apply to the savage nations in other parts of the new world.

    (t) In our Dissertations we shall give an account of the works in which the Mexicans are employed. Monsign. Palafox used to say, that if ever the Indians failed them, the Spaniards would find the Indies fail also.


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    happens with the ignorant of all nations of the world; but their proneness to idolatry is nothing more than a chimera formed in the absurd imaginations of misinformed persons. The instances of a few mountaineers are not sufficient to justify a general aspersion upon the whole people. (u)

    To conclude, the character of the Mexicans, like that of every other nation, is a mixture of good and bad; but the bad is easy to be corrected by a proper education, as has been frequently demonstrated by experience. (x) It would be difficult to find, any where, a youth more docile than the present, or a body of people more ready than their ancestors were to receive the lights of religion.

    I must add, that the modern Mexicans are not in all respects similar to the ancient; as the Greeks of these days have little resemblance of those who lived in the times of Plato and of Pericles. The ancient Mexicans shewed more fire, and were more sensible to the impressions of honour. They were more intrepid, more nimble, more active, more industrious; but they were, at the same time, more superstitious and cruel.

    (u) The few examples that are to be sound of idolatry are uot altogether inexcusable, when we consider how naturally rude and unenlightened men may confound the idolatrous worship of some unshapely figure of stone or wood, with that which is due to the sacred images alone. And our own prejudices against them have often been the cause of our treating as idols what were really the images, though rude ones, of the saints. In the year 1754, I saw some little images which had been found in a cave in a mountain, and were considered as idols, but which I had no doubt were actually images representing the mystery of the sacred nativity.

    (x) To be sensible of the influence of education upon the Mexicans, we need only to be made acquainted with the wonderful life led by the Mexican women of the Royal College of Guadaloupe in Mexico, and those of the monasteries of Capuchins in the same capital, and Valladolid in Michuacan.


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    B O O K  II.

    Of the Toltecas, Chechemecas, Acolhuas, Olmecas, and other Nations that inhabited the Country of Anahuac before the Mexicans. The Expedition of the Aztecas, or Mexicans, from their Native Country of Aztlan. The Events of their Journey into the Country of Anahuac; and their Settlements in Chapoltepec and Colhuacan. The Foundation of Mexico and Tlaltelolco. Inhuman Sacrifice of a Colhuan Girl.

    The history of the first peopling of Anahuac is so involved in fable, like that of other nations, that it is not merely difficult but altogether impossible to discover the truth. It is certain, however, both from the testimony of the sacred writings, and from the constant and universal tradition of those nations, that the inhabitants of Anahuac are descended of those few mortals whom the Divine Providence saved from the waters of the deluge, in order to preserve the race of man upon earth. At the same time there cannot be a doubt, that the men who first peopled that country, came originally from the more northern parts of America, where their ancestors had been settled for many ages. All the historians, Toltecan, Chechemecan, Acolhuan, Mexican, and Tlascalan, are agreed upon these two points: but who those first inhabitants were, the time of their emigration, the events of their journey, and their first establishments, are entirely unknown. Several authors have endeavoured to pierce that chaos; but trusting to slight conjectures, fanciful combinations, and certain pictures of very ambiguous


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    authenticity; and having recourse in their difficulties, to puerile and romantic narrations, have utterly lost themselves in the thick darkness of antiquity.

    There have been writers, who, building upon the tradition of the natives, and upon the discovery of bones, sculls, and entire skeletons of prodigious size, which have been dug up, at different times, in many parts of New-Spain, (a) have imagined that the first inhabitants of that country were Giants. I, for my own part, have no doubt of their existence there, as well as in other parts of the New World; (b) but we can neither form any conjecture as to the time in which they lived, although we have reason to believe they must be very ancient; nor can we be persuaded that there has ever been, as those writers imagined, a whole nation of Giants, but

    (a) The places where gigantic skeletons have been found, are Atlancatepec, a village in the province of Tlascala, Tezcuco, Toluca, Quauhximalpan; and in our days, upon a hill in California, not far from Kada-Kaaman.

    (b) I am well aware that many European philosophers, who laugh at the belief of giants, will be ready to ridicule me, or at least to pity my credulity; but I will not betray the truth to avoid censure. I know that among the civilized nations of America, it was a current tradition, that a race of men had existed, in former times, of extraordinary height and bulk; but I cannot remember an instance among any American nation, of there having ever been any elephants, hippopotamuses, or other quadrupeds of uncommon size. I know from the testimony of innumerable writers, and particularly of two eye-witnesses, of unquestionable credit, Hernandez and D'Acosta, who were men of learning, correctness, and veracity, that human skulls have been found, and even whole skeletons of astonishing size; but I do not know, that in any of the vast number of openings which have been made in the earth in New Spain, any skeleton of a hippopotamus has been found, or even a single tooth of an elephant. I know, lastly, that some of the great bones above mentioned, have been found in tombs, which appear evidently to have been made on purpose; but I am yet to learn of tombs ever having been constructed for sea-horses and elephants. All this and more ought to be weighed, before we presume to determine with some authors who have asserted it, without the least hesitation, that all the large bones discovered in America, belonged to those, or some other such great animals.


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    only single individuals of the nations which we now know, or of some others more ancient and unknown. (c) The Toltecas are the oldest nation of which we have any knowledge, and that is very imperfect. Being banished, as they tell us, from their own country Huehuetapallan, which we take to have been in the kingdom of Tollan, (d) from which they derived their name, and situated to the north-west of Mexico, they began their journey in the year I. Tecpatl, that is, in the 596 of our era. In every place to which they came, they remained no longer than they liked it, or were easily accommodated with provisions. When they determined to make a longer stay, they erected houses, and sowed the land with corn, cotton, and other plants, the seeds of which they had carried along with them to supply their necessities. In this wandering manner did they travel, always southward, for the space of one hundred and four years, till they arrived at a place, to which they gave the name of Tollantzinco, about fifty miles to the east of that spot where, some centuries after, was founded the famous city of Mexico. They were led and commanded, upon the whole journey, by certain captains or lords, who were reduced to seven, by the time they arrived at Tollantzinco. (e) They did not choose, however, to settle in that country, although the climate is mild, and the soil fruitful; but in less than twenty years after, they went

    (c) Many historians of Mexico say, that the giants were betrayed, and put to death by the Tlascalans; but this idea, which has no foundation but in some poems of the Tlascalans, is inconsistent with the chronology adopted by those historians themselves; making the giants much too ancient, and the Tlascalans too modern, in the country of Anahuac.

    (J) Toltecotl, in Mexican signifies a native of Tollan, as Tlazcaltecatl does a native of Tlascala, &c.

    (c) The seven Toltecan leaders were, Zacatl, Chalcatzin, Ebecatzin, Cohuatzon, Tzihuacoatl Metzotzin, and Tlapalmetzotzin.


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    about forty miles towards the west, where, along the banks of a river, they founded the city of Tollan or Tula, after the name of their native country. That city, the oldest, as far as we know, in Anahuac, is one of the most celebrated in the history of Mexico, and was the capital of the Toltecan kingdom, and the court of their kings. Their monarchy began in the year 8. Acatl, that is in the year 607 of the Christian era, and lasted three hundred and eighty-four years. I have subjoined the series of their kings with the year of the Christian era in which they began to reign. (f)
    Chalchiutlanetzin, in the 667
    Ixtlilcuechahuac, in the 719
    Huetzin, in the 771
    Totepeub, in the 823
    Nacaxoc, in the 875
    Mitl, in the 927
    Xiutzaltzin, Queen, in the 979
    Topiltzin, in the 1031
    It might appear extraordinary that just eight monarchs should reign in the course of four centuries, if it were not explained by a singular law of that people, according to which, no king was suffered to reign either longer or shorter than a Toltecan age; which, as we shall mention in another place, consisted of fifty-two years. If a king completed the age, upon the throne, he immediately resigned the government, and another was put in his place: and if the king happened to die before the age was expired, the nobles assumed the administration, and, in the name of the deceased king, governed the kingdom for

    (f) We have pointed out the year in which the Toltecan monarchs began their reigns, by taking for granted the epoch of their leaving Huehuetapallan, which however, is very uncertain.


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    the remaining years of the age. This was the case with the Queen Xiutzaltzin, after whose death in the fifth year of her reign, the nobles held the government for the forty-eight years which succeeded.

    The Toltecas were the most celebrated people of Anahuac, for their superior civilization, and skill in the arts; whence, in after ages, it has been common to distinguish the most remarkable artists, in an honourable manner, by the appellation of Toltecas. They always lived in society, collected into cities, under the government of kings, and regular laws. They were not very warlike, and less turned to the exercise of arms than to the cultivation of the arts. The nations that have succeeded them, have acknowledged themselves indebted to the Toltecas for their knowledge of the culture of grain, cotton, pepper, and other most useful fruits. Nor did they only practice those arts which are dictated by necessity, but those also which minister to luxury. They had the art of casting gold and silver, and melting them in whatever forms they pleased, and acquired the greatest reputation from the cutting of all kinds of gems: but nothing, to us, raises their character so high as their having been the inventors, or at least the reformers of that system of the arrangement of time, which was adopted by all the civilized nations of Anahuac; and which, as we shall see afterwards, implies numerous observations, and a wonderfully correct astronomy.

    Cav. Boturini, (g) upon the faith of the ancient histories of the Toltecas, says, that observing in their own

    (g) In a work of his, printed at Madrid, in 1746, under the title of, Sketch of a general History of New Spain, founded upon a great number of Figures, Symbols, Characters, Hieroglyphics, Hymns, and Manuscripts of Indian Authors, lately discovered.


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    country of Huehuetapallan, how the solar year exceeded the civil one by which they reckoned, about six hours, they regulated it by interposing the intercalary day once in the four years; which they did, more than one hundred years before the Christian era. He says besides, that in the year 660, under the reign of Ixtlilcuechahuac, in Tula, a celebrated astronomer called Huematzin, assembled, by the king's consent, all the wise men of the nation; and with them painted that famous book called Teoamoxtli or Divine Book, in which were represented, in very plain figures, the origin of the Indians, their dispersion after the confusion of tongues at Babel, their journey in Asia, their first settlements upon the Continent of America, the founding of the kingdom of Tula, and their progress till that time. There were described the heavens, the planets, the constellations, the Toltecan calendar with its cycles, the mythological transformations, in which were included their moral philosophy, and the mysteries of their deities concealed by hieroglyphics from common understandings, together with all that appertained to their religion and manners. The above mentioned author adds, that that eclipse of the sun which happened at the death of our Saviour, was marked in their paintings, in the year 7. Tochtli (h) and that some learned Spaniards, well acquainted with the history and the paintings of the Toltecas, having compared their chronology with ours, found that they reckoned from the

    (h) All those who have studied carefully the history of the nations of Anahuac know very well that those people were accustomed to mark eclipses, comets, and other phenomena of the heavens, in their paintings. Upon reading Boturini, I set about comparing the Toltecan years with ours, and I found the 34th year of Christ, or 30th of our era, to be the 7. Tochtli: but I did this merely to satisfy my own curiosity, and I do not mean either to confirm or give credit to the things told us by that author.


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    creation of the world to the birth of Christ, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine years, which is exactly the computation of the Roman calendar.

    Whatever may be in these things mentioned by Boturini, upon which I leave the prudent reader to form his own judgment, there cannot be a doubt, with those who have studied the history of that people, that the Toltecas had a clear and distinct knowledge of the universal deluge, of the confusion of tongues, and of the dispersion of the people; and even pretended to give the names of their first ancestors who were divided from the rest of the families upon that universal dispersion. It is equally certain, as we shall shew in another place, however incredible it may appear to the critics of Europe, who are accustomed to look upon the Americans as all equally barbarous, that the Mexicans and all the other civilized nations of Anahuac regulated their civil year according to the solar, by means of the intercalary days, in the same manner as the Romans did after the Julian arrangement; and that this accuracy was owing to the skill of the Toltecas. Their religion was idolatrous, and they appear by their history to have been the inventors of the greatest part of the mythology of the Mexicans, but we do not know that they practised those barbarous and bloody sacrifices which became afterwards so common among the other nations.

    The Tezcucan historians believed the Toltecas the authors of that famous idol, representing the god of water, placed on mount Tlaloc, of which we shall speak hereafter. It is certain that they built in honour of their beloved god Quetzalcoatl, the highest pyramid of Cholula, and probably also those famous ones of Teotihuacan in honour of the sun and moon, which are still in existence,


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    though much disfigured. (i) Boturini believed the Toltecas built the pyramid of Cholula, to counterfeit the tower of Babel; but the painting on which his error is supported sufficiently common with the vulgar of New Spain, is the work of a modern and ignorant Cholulan, the whole of it being a heap of absurdities. (k)

    (i) Betancourt says these pyramids were built by the Mexicans; this is certainly false, and contrary to the opinion of all other authors, American as well as Spanish. Dr. Seguenza appears to think they were the work of the Olmecas; but as we have no other remains of the architecture of that nation, by which we might judge; and besides, these pyramids being made after the model of that of Cholula, we are therefore induced to think that the Toltecas were the architects of them all, as Torquemada and other authors relate.

    (k) The painting alluded to by Boturini, represented the pyramid of Cholula, with this Mexican inscription, Toltecatl Chalchihuatl onazia Ebecatepetl; which he thus interprets: A monument, or precious stone of the Tolteca nation, whose neck searches into the region of the air; but independent of the incorrectness of the writing, and the barbarism Chalchihuatl, whoever is in the least instructed in the Mexican language, will immediately perceive there could not be a more whimsical interpretation. At the foot of the picture, says Boturini, the author put a note, in which, addressing himself to his countrymen, he admonished them as follows: Nobles, and gentlemen, behold your scriptures, the image of your antiquity, and the history of your ancestors; who, moved by fear from the deluge, built this asylum, for a ready retreat, in case of being again visited by such a calamity. But to speak the truth, the Toltecas must have been utterly deprived of understanding, if from the sear of the deluge they had undertaken, at so much expence and labour, the building of that ominous pyramid, while in the highest mountains, a little distant from Cholula, they had a much more secure asylum from inundations, with less danger of perishing by want. In the same work, Boturini says, was represented the baptism of Ilamateuctli, Queen of Cholula, conferred upon her by Deacon Aguilar, the 2d of August, 1511, together with the apparition of the Virgin to a certain religious Franciscan, who was living at Rome, ordering him to depart for Mexico; where he was to place on a mountain built by art (that is, the pyramid of Cholula), her image. But this is no more than a string of dreams and lies; for in Cholula there never were either kings, nor could such baptism, of which no author says a word, have been celebrated on the 6th of August, 1511; as at that time Aguilar, with the other Spaniards, was in the heat of the siege of the capital, which was to render itself up, seven days after, to the conquerors. Of the pretended apparition of the mother of God, there is no memory among the Franciscan historians, who never omitted any thing of this kind in their chronicles. We have demonstrated the falsity of this


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    During the four centuries which the monarchy of the Toltecas lasted, they multiplied considerably, extending their population every way in numerous and large cities; but the direful calamities which happened to them in the first years of the reign of Topiltzin, gave a fatal shock to their prosperity and power. For several years heaven denied them the necessary showers to their fields, and the earth the fruits which supported them. The air, infested with mortal contagion, filled daily the graves with the dead, and the minds of those surviving with consternation, at the destruction of their countrymen. A great part of the nation died by famine and sickness. Topiltzin departed life in the second year Tecpatl, the twentieth of his reign, which was probably the year 1052 of the vulgar era, and with him the Toltecan monarchy concluded. The wretched remains of the nation, willing to save themselves from the common calamity, sought timely relief to their misfortunes, in other countries. Some directed their course to Onohualco or Yucatan, some to Guatemala, while some families stopped in the kingdom of Tula, and scattered themselves in the great vale where Mexico was afterwards founded; some in Cholula, Tlaximoloyan, and other places; and amongst these were the two princes sons of king Topiltzin, whose descendants, in course of time, intermarried with the royal families of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Colhuacan.

    These imperfect accounts of the Toltecas are all that we think proper to be told here, omitting many fabulous relations introduced by other historians. (l) We would

    relation, to caution those, with regard to modern pictures, who may in future undertake the history of Mexico.

    (l) Torquemada says, that at a certain festival-ball made by the Toltecas, the


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    require to have the Divine Book, cited by Boturini, and by Sig. D. Ferdinand d'Alba Ixtlilxohitl in his most valuable manuscripts to throw greater light on the history of this celebrated nation.

    After the destruction of the Toltecas, for the space of one century, the land of Anahuac remained solitary, and almost entirely depopulated, until the arrival of the Chechemecas. (m)

    The Chechemecas, like the Toltecas who preceded them, and other nations which came after them, were originally from the northern countries, as we may call the North of America, like the North of Europe, the seminary of the human race. From both, in swarms, have issued numerous nations to people the countries in the South. Their native country, of the situation of which we are ignorant, was called Amaquemecan, where, according to their account, different monarchs ruled their nation for many years. (n) The character of the Chechemecas

    sad-looking devil appeared to them in a gigantic size, with immense arms, and in the midst of the entertainment he embraced and suffocated them; that then he appeared in the figure of a child with a putrid head, and brought the plague; and finally, at the persuasion of the same devil they abandoned the country of Tula. But this good author understood these symbolical figures literally; whereas they were meant only to represent the famine and pestilence which had befallen them, at the time when they were in the height of their prosperity.

    (m) In our second dissertation, we differ from Torquemada, who does not allow more than eleven years of interval between the destruction of the Toltecas and the arrival of the Chechemecas.

    (n) Torquemada names these Chechemecan kings of Amaquemecan, and to the first he gives one hundred and eighty years of reign; to the second, one hundred and fifty-fix; and to the third, one hundred and thirty-three. See our second dissertation on the absurd chronology of this author. He also confidently affirms, that Amaquemecan was six hundred miles distant from the spot where the city of Guadalaxara is at present, but in more than one thousand two hundred miles of inhabited country beyond that city, there is not the least trace or memory of the kingdom of Amaquemecan; from whence we believe it to be a country still undiscovered, and greatly farther to the northward than Torquemada imagined.


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    as is shewn by their history, was very singular, as a certain degree of civilization was blended with many traits of barbarism. They lived under the command of a sovereign, and the chiefs and governors deputed by him, with as much submission as is usual among the most cultivated nations. There were distinctions between the nobility and commonalty, and the plebeians were accustomed to reverence those whose birth, merit, or favour with the prince raised them above the other ranks. They dwelt in communities together, in places composed, as we may imagine, of poor huts; (o) but they neither practiced agriculture, nor those arts which accompany civil life. They lived only on game, and fruits, and roots which the earth spontaneously produced. Their clothing was the rough skins of the wild beasts they took in prey, and their arms no other than the bow and arrow. Their religion was reduced to the simple worship of the sun, to which pretended divinity they offered herbs and flowers which they found springing in the fields. With respect to their customs, they were certainly less displeasing and less rude than those to which the genius of a nation of hunters gives birth.

    Their motive for leaving their native country, is uncertain; as likewise the etymology of the word Chechemecatl. (p) The last king whom they had in Amaquemecan,

    (o) Torquemada says, that the Chechemecas had no houses, but dwelt in the caverns of mountains; but in the same chapter where he says this, he affirms that the capital city of their kingdom was called Amaquemecan.

    (p) Several authors have laboured to guess at the etymology of the word Chechemecatl. Torquemada says, that this name is derived from Techichinani, which signifies sucking, because the Chechemecas sucked the blood of the animals which they hunted. But this is a forced etymology, particularly among those nations, who did not alter derivative names in such a manner. Betancourt believed it to be derived from Chichimi, that is, dogs beans. They were so called by other nations, in contempt; but had this been the case, they would not have boasted, as they did, of the name Chechemecatl.


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    left his government divided between his two sons Achcauhtli and Xolotl; the latter either not brooking, as frequently happens, the division of regal authority, was willing to prove whether fortune destined him other territories, where he could govern without a rival; or perceiving that the mountains of his kingdom were not sufficient to provide support for the then probably increased number of inhabitants, determined to ease necessity by a timely departure. Having taken, therefore, such resolution from the one or other motive, and having first got intelligence by his emissaries of a good situation in the southern countries, he set out from his native land, with a large army of his subjects, who were disposed, from affection or interest, to accompany him. In their travels they encountered with the ruins of the Toltecan settlements, and in particular of the great city of Tula, where they arrived at the end of eighteen months. From this they proceeded towards Chempoalla and Tepepolco, forty miles distant, towards the north, from the file of Mexico. From thence Xolotl sent the prince Nopaltzin, his son, to survey the country. The prince crossed the borders of the lakes, the mountains which surround the delightful vale of Mexico, and having marked the whole country, from the top of a lofty mountain, he shot four arrows to the four winds in token of taking possession, in the name of his father, of all that country. Xolotl being made acquainted with the quality of the country, resolved to establish himself in Tenayuca, a place six miles distant from the site of Mexico towards the north, and distributed his people among the neighbouring lands: but the greater population being towards the north, and north-west, that tract of land had since the name of Chechemecatlalli, that is, the land of the Chechemecas.


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    Historians relate, that in Tenayuca there was a review of the people taken, and therefore it was likewise given the name of Nepohualco, which means, the place of enumeration; but what Torquemada adds, is entirely incredible, that there were more than a million of Chechemecas found at this review, and there remained even until his time, twelve piles of the stones which they continued to throw during the review. Besides, neither is it probable that so large an army should set out on so long an expedition; nor does it appear possible that so small a district could support a million of hunters.

    The king being settled in Tenayuca, which he destined for the place of his court, and having given proper orders for the forming of other towns and villages, he commanded one of his captains, named Achitomatl, to go and trace the source of certain rivers which the prince had observed in his expedition. Achitomatl found in Chapoltepec, in Cojohuacan, and in other places, several Toltecan families, from whom he learned the cause and time of their desolation. The Chechemecas, not only avoided to disturb those miserable relics of that celebrated nation, but formed alliances with them, many of the nobles marrying with the women of Tolteca; and among others, prince Nopaltzin married Azcaxochitl, a virgin descended from Pochotl, one of the two princes of the royal family of Tolteca, who survived the destruction of their nation. This humanity brought its recompence to the Chechemecas; for from their commerce with that industrious nation, they began to taste corn, and other fruits of industry; were taught agriculture, the manner of digging metals, and the art of casting them; also to cut stones, to spin and weave cotton, and other things,


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    by which they improved their means of living, their clothing, their habitations, and manners.

    Nor did the arrival of other civilized nations contribute less to the refinement of the Chechemecas. Eight years were scarcely elapsed from the time that Xolotl had established himself in Tenayuca, when there arrived in that country six respectable persons, with a considerable retinue of people. They were from a northern country, neighbouring to the kingdom of Amaquemecan, or a little distant from it, the name of which is not mentioned by historians; but we have reason to believe that it was the country of Aztlan, the native country of the Mexicans, and that these new colonies were the six famous tribes of Nahuatlachi, of which all the historians of Mexico make mention, and we shall shortly treat of. It is probable that Xolotl sent advice to his native country, of the advantages of the situation where he was established; and that such information, spread among the adjoining nations, incited many families to follow his steps, and partake his good fortune. It is also to be imagined, that some famine or scarcity having happened to the northern countries, so many people were obliged to seek relief in lands to the southward. However it was, the six persons arrived in Tenayuca from the North, were graciously received by the Chechemecan king; and when he learned the purpose of their travel, and their desire to stay in that country, he assigned them a district which they might inhabit with their people.

    A few years after, there arrived three other princes, with a great army of the Acolhuan nation, natives of Teoacolhuacan, a country neighbouring to, and not far distant from the kingdom of Amaquemecan. These princes were named Acolhuatzin, Chiconquauhtli, and


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    Tzontecomatl, and were of the most noble house of Citin. It was the most cultivated and most civilized of all the nations which were in that country since the Toltecas. It may be easily supposed, how great a rumour was occasioned by such a novelty, in that kingdom, and what disquiet so great a multitude of unknown people raised among the Chechemecas; nor does it seem probable, that they would have been permitted to enter the kingdom, without having previously given information of their condition, and the motives of their visit. The king was at this time in Tezcuco, where he had removed his court, either being tired of Tenayuca, or allured by the advantageous situation of that new place. Here the three princes arrived, and being presented to the king, after a profound bow, and that ceremony of respect so familiar to these nations of kissing the hand after having touched the earth with it, they addressed him in words to this purpose. "We are come, mighty king, from the kingdom of Teoacolhuacan, a little distance only from your native country: we are all three brothers, and sons of a great lord; but being acquainted with the happiness which the Chechemecas enjoy under the rule of a prince so humane, we have preferred to the advantages which we had in our native country, the honour of becoming your subjects. We pray you, therefore, to give us place in your happy land, where we may live dependent on your authority and subject to your command." The Chechemecan sovereign was pleased with the lordly air and courtly manners of these noble youths, but still more with the flattering vanity of seeing humbled, in his presence, three princes allured from such distant countries by the same of his clemency and his power. He replied with complaisance to their


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    address, and offered to comply with their desires; but while he was deliberating in what manner he should do it, he ordered his son to lodge them, and take care of their entertainment.

    The king had two daughters who were marriageable, whom, from the first, he had thought of marrying with the two eldest princes; but he was unwilling to discover this intention, until he should be acquainted with their disposition, and should be sure of the consent of his subjects. When he was satisfied in mind of both these points, he called the princes to him, who remained anxious about their fate, and opened his resolution to them, not only to grant them establishments in his kingdom, but also to marry two of them with his daughters, lamenting that he had no other, to avoid leaving any one excluded from the new alliance. The princes thanked him with warm expressions of gratitude, and proffered to serve him with the utmost fidelity.

    When the day appointed for the nuptials arrived, such a concourse of people flocked to Tenayuca, the place destined for the solemnization, that, the city being unable to receive them, many remained in the country. Acolhuatzin married the eldest of the princesses, named Cuetlaxochitl, and Chiconquauhtli the other. The third prince had Coatetl, a virgin born in Chalco of most noble parents, in whom the Toltecan and Chechemecan blood were both mixed. The public rejoicings lasted sixty days, and the entertainments consisted of wrestling, running, and combats with wild beasts, exercises which were agreeable to the genius of the Chechemecas, and in all of them the prince Nopaltzin distinguished himself. After the example of these royal personages, the two nations continued to increase


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    their alliance by inter-marriages until they became one, which taking its name from the most noble party, was called Acolhua, and the kingdom Acolhuacan; the name of Chechemecas being left to those who, preferring the exercise of the chace to the toil of agriculture, or grown impatient of subordination, went off to the mountains, which are towards the north and the north-west of the vale of Mexico, where yielding themselves up to the impulse of their barbarous liberty, without a chief, without laws, without a fixed dwelling, or the other advantages of society, they employed the day in pursuit of animals for prey, and when fatigued sunk down to sleep wherever night overtook them. These barbarians mingled with the Otomies, a nation which was attached to the same course of life, occupied a tract of more than three hundred miles of country, and the Spaniards were harrassed by their descendants for many years after the conquest of Mexico.

    When the nuptial festivities were at an end, Xolotl divided his kingdom into several distinct states, and assigned the possession of them to his sons-in-law, and the other nobles of each nation. He granted to prince Acolhuatzin the state of Azcapozalco, eighteen miles to the west of Tezcuco, and from him descended the kings under whose government the Mexicans continued more than fifty years. On Chiconquauhtli he conferred the state of Xaltocan; and on Tzontecomatl, that of Coatlichan.

    The population daily increased, and with it the civilization of the people; but at the same time ambition and other passions which had lain dormant from the want of ideas, in times of a savage life, began to awaken in their minds. Xolotl, who, during the greatest


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    period of his reign, had exercised great clemency in his government, had found himself, in the last years of his life, constrained to use severe measures, to check the restless disposition of some rebels, occasionally depriving them of their offices, or punishing the most criminal with death. These just chastisements, instead of intimidating, exasperated them so much, that they formed the atrocious design of taking the king's life, for the execution of which an occasion speedily presented itself. A little time previous to this the king had expressed a wish to increase the waters of his gardens where he was accustomed to take recreation, and frequently also relieved his burden of years with sleep, to which he was invited by the coolness and charms of the place. Being acquainted with this, the rebels dammed up the little river which crossed the city, and opened a ditch to conduct the waters to the gardens; waited the time at which the king was accustomed to go to sleep, then raising the dam let all the water at once into the gardens, and suddenly overflowed them. They flattered themselves that their vicious aim would never be detected; as the disaster of the king might be imputed to an accident, or to ill conducted measures by his subjects, who sincerely desired to serve their sovereign: but they deceived themselves, and their attempt proved abortive; as the king had secret intelligence of their conspiracy; but dissembling his knowledge of it, he retired at his usual time into the garden, and went to sleep on an elevated spot, where he was exposed to no danger. When he afterwards saw the water enter, although the treason was now apparent, he continued his dissimulation to ridicule his enemies: he then said, "I was persuaded that my subjects loved me, but now


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    "I see they love me full more than I believed. I was desirous of increasing the water of my garden, and behold my subjects have done it without any expence: it is proper therefore to rejoice at my happiness." He then ordered there should be rejoicings in the court, and when they were concluded, he departed full of anguish and disdain for Tenayuca, resolved to inflict exemplary punishment on the conspirators; but there he was seized with a mortal distemper which moderated his passion.

    Being now sensible of an approaching death, he called prince Nopaltzin to him, his daughters, and Acolhuatzin his son-in-law, the other princes being now dead, and recommended to them concord among themselves, the care of the people committed to their charge, the protection of the nobility, and clemency to all their subjects; after which, a few hours, in the midst of the tears and plaints of his children, he ended his life in a very advanced age, having reigned in that country, as appears, more than forty years. He was a robust and courageous man, but of a most affectionate heart to his children, and mild to his people. His reign would have been more happy had its duration been more short. (q)

    The news of the death of the king immediately spread over the whole kingdom, and speedy advice of it was given to the principal lords, that they might attend at the funeral. They adorned the royal corpse with various little figures of gold and silver, which the Chechemecas, having been instructed by the Toltecas, had begun now to work, and placed it in a chair made

    (q) Torquemada gives Xolotl one hundred and thirteen years of reign, and more than two hundred years of life. On this see our Dissertation.


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    of gum copal and other aromatic substances; and thus it remained five days, while the lords summoned to the funeral arrived. After they were all assembled, the corpse was burnt, according to the custom of the Chechemecas, and the ashes gathered in an urn of the hardest stone. This urn was kept exposed for forty days in a hall of the royal mansion, where daily the nobility thronged to pay their homage of tears to their deceased sovereign, and the urn was afterwards carried to a cave in the neighbourhood of the city with similar demonstrations of grief.

    As soon as the funeral of Xolotl was concluded, they celebrated the ascension of prince Nopaltzin to the throne with acclamations and rejoicings for other forty days. When the lords took leave of their new king to return to their respective states, one of them made this short harangue: "Great king and lord, as your subjects and servants, we go in obedience to your commands, to govern the people you have committed to our charge, bearing in our hearts the pleasure of having seen you on the throne, not less due to your virtue than your birth. We acknowledge the good fortune unequalled which we have in serving so illustrious and powerful a lord; and we request you to regard us with the eyes of a real father, and to protect us with your might, that we may rest secure under your shade. You are as well the water which restores, as the fire which destroys, and in your hands hold equally our life and our death."

    The lords having taken leave, the king remained in Tenayuca, with his sister the widow of the prince Chiconquauhtli. He was then, as far as we can conjecture, about sixty years of age, and had sons and grandsons.


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    His lawful children by the Toltecan queen were Tlotzin, Quauhtequihua, and Apopozoc. On Tlotzin, who was the first-born, he conferred the government of Tezcuco, that he might begin to learn the difficult art of governing men; and the other two were placed over the states of Zacatlan and Tenamitic. (r)

    The king passed one year in the court of Tenayuca, arranging the affairs of the state, which were not so settled as they had been at first. From thence he went to Tezcuco, to treat with his son about the most convenient measures to be taken to restore the former tranquility of his kingdom. While he was there he went one day into the royal gardens with his son, and some other lords of the court, and as they were in conversation, he burst suddenly into a flood of tears; being requested to explain the cause, "Two causes," said he, "produce my tears, the one the memory of my late father, which is revived by the sight of this place where he used to take recreation; the other is the comparison which I make of these happy days with the present bitter moments. When my father planted these gardens, he had quiet subjects, who served him with sincerity, and received the offices which he conferred upon them, with humility and gratitude; but at present ambition and discord are every where prevailing. It troubles me to be obliged to use the subjects as enemies, whom I once in this place treated as friends and

    (r) If we are to adopt the chronology of Torquemada, we must give Nopaltzin when he mounted the throne one hundred in d thirty yean of age; as when he arrived with his father in the country of Anahuac, he was at least eighteen or twenty years, which added to the one hundred and thirteen years, which, according to Torquemada, Xolotl reigned in that country, make one hundred and thirty-one, or one hundred and thirty-three. On this see our Second Dissertation.


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    brothers. Do you, my son," addressing Tlotzin, "keep constantly in your eyes the image of your grand-father, and strive to imitate the examples of prudence and justice which he left us. Strengthen your heart with every virtue which you will have occasion for, to govern your subjects." After condoling some time with his son, the king departed for his court of Tenayuca.

    The prince Acolhuatzin, who was still living, thinking the boundaries of his state of Azcapozalco too narrow, resolved to take possession of Tepotzotlan, and in fact took it by force, in spite of the resistance made by Chalchiuhcua, lord of that state. It is to be believed, that Acolhuatzin would not have done so violent an act without the express consent of the king, who was, probably, willing to revenge himself in that manner of some offence he had received from Chalchiuhcua.

    The contest was a good deal more bloody which arose a little after from interests of a very different nature. Huetzin, lord of Coatlichan, son of the late prince Tzontecomatl, (s) was desirous of marrying Atotoztli, a noble and beautiful virgin, and grand-daughter of the queen. Jacazozolotl, lord of Tepetlaoztoc, made similar pretensions; but either being more strongly enamoured, or more violent in temper, not content with having demanded her of her father, he was willing to render himself master of his beauty by arms; and for this purpose

    (s) Torquemada makes Huetzin, son of Itzmitl, and him son of Tzontecomatl in the thirteenth chapter of book the first; but in chapter 40, he says, that Itzmitl was one of those who came with Xolotl from Amaquemecan, so that he makes him born before his father Tzontecomatl, as he was a young man only when he came to Anahuac; and he did not come before the 47th year of the reign of Xolotl, as the same author affirms. Besides in one place, he makes Itzmitl a pure Chechemecan; and in another place the son of an Acolhuan. But who is capable of marking all the contradictions and anachronisms of Torquemada?


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    collected a small army of his subjects, which was joined by Tochinteuctli, who had been lord of Quahuacan, but was dispossessed on account of his misdeeds, and banished to Tepetlaoztoc. Huetzin, apprized of this intent, went to meet him with a greater number of troops, and gave him battle in the neighbourhood of Tezcuco, in which some of Jacazozolotl’s people were slain along with himself, and the rest of the army routed. Tochinteuctli saved himself by flight, sheltering himself in the city of Huexotzinco, on the other side of the mountains. Huetzin, having got rid of his rival, with the consent of the king took possession of the maid and the state of Tepetlaoztoc.

    After these small wars of the feudatory princes, one more considerable arose between the crown and the province of Tollantzinco, which was in rebellion. The king himself took the field in person with a large army; but as the rebels were numerous in force and well disciplined, the royal army was worsted during nineteen days which the war lasted, until being reinforced by new troops, under the command of Tlotzin, he defeated the rebels, and punished the heads of the rebellion in the most rigorous manner. Their evil example, when imitated by other lords, met with the same fate.

    Nopaltzin had just restored tranquility to his kingdom, when the famous prince Acolhuatzin, first lord of Azcapozalco, died, leaving the state to his son Tezozomoc. His funeral was celebrated with great magnificence, the king and the nobility of both the nations of Acolhua and Chechemeca attending.

    The king himself did not long survivc, having reigned thirty-two years, and declared Tlotzin, his first-born, successor to his crown. The funeral rites were performed


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    at the same court, and with the same form and ceremonies as that of Xolotl, to whom he was similar not less in disposition than in robustness and courage.

    Among the lords who were present at the accession of the new king to the throne, were his two brothers Quauhtiquehua and Apopozoc, whom he entertained for one year in his palace. Tlotzin was of so benevolent and affectionate a disposition, he was the whole delight of his vassals. All the nobles fought pretences to visit him, and enjoy the pleasure and charms of his conversation. Notwithstanding his natural disposition to peace, he took great care of the affairs of war, making his subjects frequently exercise in arms, and he himself was fond of the chace; but we know no particular acts or events of his reign, during thirty-fix years which he occupied the throne of Acolhuacan. He died afflicted with the most severe pains in Tenayuca. His ashes were deposited in an urn of costly stone, which was for forty days exposed to the sight of the people under a pavilion.

    Tlotzin was succeeded in the kingdom by his son Quinatzin, had by Quauhcihuatzin, daughter of the lord of Huexotla. His exaltation to the throne was celebrated with greater solemnity than that of his predecessors; not at Tenayuca, but at Tezcuco, where he established his court, and from that time until the conquest of the Spaniards, that city continued the capital of the kingdom of Acolhuacan. In his passage from the new to the old court, he made himself be transported in a portable chair or open litter, borne on the shoulders of four principal lords, and under an umbrella which was carried by four others. Until that time all the sovereigns had used to walk on foot. This king was the first to whom vanity suggested such a kind of pomp, and his example was


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    imitated by all the kings and nobles of that country, who strove to surpass each other in ostentatious grandeur. An emulation not less pernicious to states than to princes themselves.

    The commencement of his government was very tranquil; but the states of Meztitlan and Tototepec, which are situated in the mountains lying to the north of that capital, soon rose in rebellion. The moment the king received the advice, he marched with a great army, and sent to tell the heads of the rebellion, that if their courage was equal to their perfidy, they should descend within two days to the plain of Tlaximalco, where their fate would be decided by battle; if not, he was resolved to put flames to their city, without pardon to women or children. The rebels, as they were already well prepared, came down before the time appointed to the plain, to shew their courage. The signal for battle being given, the attack became furious and obstinate on both sides until night separated the armies, leaving the victory undecided. They continued for forty days frequently engaging, the rebels being no way discouraged by the advantages which the royal troops daily gained; but perceiving at length, by the slaughter and diminution of their forces, that their ruin was inevitable, they surrendered to their sovereign, who, after rigorous punishment of the ringleaders of the rebellion, pardoned the crime of the people. The same conduct was observed with Tepepolco, which had also rebelled.

    This spirit of rebellion spread like contagion over all the kingdom; and Tepepolco was scarcely subdued when Huchuitoca, Mizquic, Totolapa, and four other cities, declared a revolt. The king chose to go in person with a strong body of troops against Totolapa, and sent against


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    the other six cities as many detachments under command of brave and faithful generals; his success was such, that in a very short space of time, and without any considerable loss, he brought all the seven cities again under his obedience. These victories were celebrated with great rejoicings during eight days in the court, and rewards given to the officers and soldiers who had distinguished themselves. As the evil example of some states had excited others to rebellion, so did the unsuccessful issue serve in future as a caution not to form new conspiracies against the loyalty due to their sovereign; from whence, during the rest of his government, which, according to historians, lasted sixty years, Quinatzin enjoyed the utmost tranquility.

    When he died they observed ceremonies to him which had never been practised with his ancestors; they opened his body, took out his bowels, and prepared it with different aromatic substances, to keep it some time free from corruption. They afterwards placed it in a great chair, clothed in royal habits, and armed with a bow and arrow, and put at his feet a wooden eagle, and behind him a tyger, to signify his bravery and intrepidity. In this state it was exposed for forty days; and after the usual mourning, burnt, and the ashes buried in a cave of the mountains neighbouring to Tezcuco.

    Quinatzin was succeeded on the throne by his son Techotlalla; but the events of this and the following Chechemecan kings reigns being connected with those of the Mexicans, who had at this period (in the fourteenth century of the vulgar era), founded their famous capital, we reserve the relation of them to another place, judging it sufficient at present to lay before the reader the series of all the kings, annexing, as far as is known,


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    the year of the vulgar era in which they began their reigns, that we may afterwards make some mention of the nations which arrived before the Mexicans in that country.
                  Chechemecan Kings.

    Xolotl, began to reign in the 12th century.
    Nopaltzin, in the 13th century.
    Tlotzin, in the 14th century.
    Quinatzin, in the 14th century.
    Techotlalla, in the 14th century.
    Ixtlilxochitl, (t) in the 1406.

    Between this and the following king's reign, the tyrants Tezozomoc
    and Maxtla occupied the throne of Acolhuacan.

    Nezahualcoyotl, in the year 1436.
    Nezahualpilli, in the year 1470.
    Cacamatzin, in the year 1516.
    Cuicuitzcatzin, in the year 1520.
    Coanacotzin, in the year 1520.
    We cannot fix the year in which the five first kings began to reign, because we do not know how long Xolotl and Techotlalla reigned; we, however, think it probable, that the Chechemecan monarchy had a beginning in Anahuac about the end of the twelfth century, and lasted 330 years, until about 1521, at which time it ceased with the kingdom of Mexico. At least eleven lawful kings, and two tyrants occupied the throne.

    The Acolhui arrived in the country of Anahuac after the beginning of the 13th century. With regard to other

    (t) We do not reckon Ixtlilxochitl among the Chechemecan kings, because he was only created governor of Tezcuco by the Spaniards. It is therefore to be doubted, if Cuicuilzcatzin is to be numbered among these kings; as in spite of, and contrary to the right of Coanacotzin, he was intruded on the kingdom of Acolhuacan by Montezuma, through the intrigues of Cortes.


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    nations, there is an incredible difference of opinion and confusion in historians respecting their origin, their number, and the time in which they settled in Anahuac. The great study which I have made to trace truth has served only to increase my uncertainty, and to make me despair of ever knowing hereafter what is hitherto unknown. Leaving aside, therefore, all fables, we shall adhere to what is certain, or at least probable.

    The Olmecas and the Xicallancas, whether one nation, or two distinct nations, but constantly allied and connected together, were so ancient in the country of Anahuac, that many authors account them prior to the Toltecas. (u) Of their origin we know nothing, nor do the, ancient pictures tell us more than that they inhabited the country circumjacent to the great mountain Matlalcueje, and that being driven from thence by the Teochechemecas, or Tlascalans, they transported themselves to the coast of the gulf of Mexico. (x)

    The Otomies, who formed one of the most numerous nations, were probably one of the most ancient in that country; but they continued for many ages in barbarism, living scattered in the caverns of the mountains, and supporting themselves by the chace, in which they were most dexterous. They occupied a tract of more than three hundred miles of land, from the mountains of Izmiquilpan towards the north-west, bordering in the east and west on other nations equally savage. In the fifteenth

    (u) Some authors, and among them the celebrated D. Siguenza, have written that the Olmecas passed from the Atlantic isles, and that they alone came to Anahuac from the quarter of the East, all the other nations having come from the region of the North: but we know no foundation for this opinion.

    (x) Boturini conjectures, that the Olmecas, when driven from their country, went to the Antilles, or Caribbee Islands, and South America. This is no more than conjecture.


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    century, either being compelled by force, or stimulated by the example of other nations, they began to live in society, under subjection to the crown of Acolhuacan. In the country of Anahuac, and likewise in the vale of Mexico, they settled an infinite number of places; the greater, and especially the most considerable of them, such as those of Xilotepec and Huitzapan, were in the vicinage of the country which they occupied before; the others were scattered among the Matlatzincas and Tlascalans, and in other provinces of the kingdom, preserving even down to our times, their primitive language in the insular colonies, though surrounded by other nations. We are not, however, to conclude, that the whole nation was then brought to a state of civil life, as a great part, and possibly the most numerous, were still left together with the Chechemecas in the condition of savages. The barbarians of both nations, which were confounded together by the Spaniards, under the name of Chechemecas, made themselves famous by their invasions, and were not finally subdued by the Spaniards until the seventeenth century. The Otomies have always been reputed the most rude nation of Anahuac, not more from the difficulty every body finds in understanding their language than their servile state of life; as even in the time of the Mexican kings they were treated as slaves. Their language is very difficult and full of aspirations, which they make partly in the throat, partly in the nose; but otherwise it is sufficiently copious and expressive. Anciently they were renowned for their dexterity in the chace; at present they trafick in coarse cloths for the dress of the other Indians.

    The nation of the Tarascas occupied the vast, rich, and pleasant country of Michuacan, where they multiplied


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    considerably, and settled many cities and an infinite number of villages. Their kings were rivals of the Mexicans, and had frequent wars with them. Their artists excelled, or vied with those of other nations; at least after the conquest of Mexico: the best Mosaic works were made in Michuacan, and there only this valuable art was preserved unto our time. The Tarascas were idolatrous, but not so cruel as the Mexicans in their worship. Their language is copious, sweet, and sonorous. They make frequent use of the soft R; their syllables, for the most part, consist of a single consonant, and a single vowel. Besides the natural advantage of their country, the Tarascas had the good fortune to have D. Vasca di Quiroga for their first bishop, one of the most distinguished prelates Spain has produced, worthy of being compared with the ancient fathers of the church, and whose memory was preserved fresh unto our time, and will last perpetually among these people. The country of Michuacan, which is one of the finest of the New World, was annexed to the crown of Spain by the free and spontaneous act of its lawful sovereign, without costing the Spaniards a drop of blood, although it is probable that the recent example of the ruin of the Mexican empire, intimidated and impelled that monarch to such a concession. (y)

    (y) Boturini says, that the Mexicans finding themselves besieged by the Spaniards, sent an embassy to the king of Michuacan, to procure his alliance; that he assembled an hundred thousand Tarascas, and as many Teochechemecas, in the province of Avalos; bnt that, being intimidated by certain visions which his sister had, who was once dead but returned to life again, he discharged the army, and abandoned the undertaking of succoring the Mexicans, as he had intended. But all this account is a firing of fables. As far as we know, no author of that age makes mention of such an event. Whence came these hundred thousand Teochechemecas, who were so quickly assembled? Why was the army collected in the province most distant from Mexico? Who has ever seen the king of France order his troops to be assembled in standers, to succor


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    The Mazahuas were once apart of the nation of the Otomies, as the languages of both nations are but different dialects of the same tongue; but this diversity between two nations so jealous of preserving their idioms uncorrupted, is a clear argument of the great antiquity of their separation. The principal places which they inhabited were on the western mountains of the vale of Mexico, and formed the province of Mazahuacan, belonging to the crown of Tacuba.

    The Matlatzincas made a considerable state in the fertile vale of Toluca; and, however great, anciently, their reputation was for bravery, they were, notwithstanding, subjected to the crown of Mexico, by king Axayacatl.

    The Miztecas and Zapotecas peopled the vast countries of their name, to the south-east of Tezcuco. The numerous states into which these two countries were divided, continued a long time under several lords or rulers of the same nations, until they were subdued by the Mexicans. Those nations were civilized and industrious; they had their laws, exercised the arts of the Mexicans, and made use of the same method to compute time, and the same paintings to perpetuate the memory of events, in which they represented the creation of the world, the universal deluge, the confusion of tongues; although the whole was intermixed with various fables. (z) Since the conquest, the Miztecas and Zapotecas have been the moft industrious people of New Spain. While the commerce of silk lasted, they were the feeders of the worms; and to their labours is owing all the cochineal, which

    some city of Spain? The resurrection of the princess is a fable founded on the memorable occurrence, respecting the sister of Montezuma, of which we shall speak hereafter.

    (z) See the work of Fra. Gregorio Garzia Dominicano, entitled, the Origin of the Indians, in book v. chap. 4. concerning the mythology of the Miztecas.


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    for many years, until the present time, has been imported from Mexico into Europe.

    The Chiapanese have been the first peoplers of the New World, if we give credit to their traditions. They say that Votan, the grandson of that respectable old man who built the great ark to save himself and family from the deluge, and one of those who undertook the building of that lofty edifice which was to reach heaven, went, by express command of the Lord, to people that land. They say also that the first peoplers came from the quarter of the North, and that when they arrived at Soconusco, they separated, some going to inhabit the country of Nicaragua, and others remaining in Chiapan. This country, as historians say, was not governed by a king, but by two military chiefs, elected by priests. Thus they remained until they were subjected by the last kings of Mexico to that crown. They made the same use of paintings as the Mexicans, and had the same method of computing time; but the figures with which they represented days, years, and months, were totally different.

    Of the Cohuixcas, the Cuitlatecas, the Jopas, the Mazatecas, the Popolocas, the Chinantecas, and the Totonacas, we know nothing of the origin, nor the time when they arrived in Anahuac. We shall say something of their particular customs when ever it will illustrate the history of the Mexicans.

    But of all the nations which peopled the region of Anahuac, the most renowned and the most signalized in the history of Mexico, were those vulgarly called the Nahuatlacas. This name, the etymology of which we have explained, in the beginning of this history, was principally given to those seven nations, or rather those seven tribes of the same nation, who arrived in that country


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    after the Chechemecas, and peopled the little islands, banks, and boundaries of the Mexican lakes. These tribes were the Sochimilcas, the Chalchese, the Tapanecas, the Colhuas, the Tlahuicas, the Tlascalans, and the Mexicans. The origin of all these tribes was the province of Aztlan, from whence came the Mexicans, or from some other contiguous to it, and peopled with the same nation. All historians represent them as originally of one and the same country: all of them spoke the same language. The different names by which they have been known, were taken from the places which they settled, or from those in which they established themselves.

    The Sochimilcas derived their name from the great city Xochimilco which they founded on the southern shore of the lake of sweet water or Chalco; the Chalchese, from the city of Chalco, upon the eastern shore of the same lake; the Colhuas, from Colhuacan; the Mexicans, from Mexico; the Tlascalans, from Tlascala; and the Tlahuicas, from the land where they established themselves; which, from its abounding in cinnabar, was called Tlahuican, (a) The Tepanecas possibly had their name from a place called Tepan, (b) where they had been before they settled their famous city Azcapozalco.

    It is beyond a doubt that these tribes did not arrive together in that country, but at different times, and in the order we have mentioned; but there is a great difference among historians respecting the precise time of

    (a) Tlabuitl is the Mexican name of cinnabar; and Tlahuican means the place or country of Cinnabar. Some authors call them Tlalhaicas, and derive the name from a place of that land called Tlalhuic; but besides that we never heard of such a place, the name does not appear conforming with the language.

    (b) Several authors call them Tecpanecas; both are Mexican. Tecpanecatl means the inhabitant of the palace; Tepanecatl, inhabitant of a stony place. Others give it a very violent etymology.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     143

    their arrival in Anahuac. We are persuaded, for the reasons set forth in our dissertations, that the first six tribes arrived under conduct of the six lords who made their appearance immediately after the Chechemecas, and there was not so great an interval as Acosta supposes» between their arrival and that of the Mexicans.

    The Colhuas, whom in general the Spanish historians confound with the Acolhuas, from the affinity of their names, founded the small monarchy of Colhuacan, which was annexed afterwards to the crown of Mexico, by the marriage of a princess, heiress of that state, with a king of Mexico.

    The Tepanecas had also their petty kings, among whom the first was prince Acolhuatzin, after having married the daughter of Xolotl. His descendants usurped, as we shall relate, the kingdom of Acolhuacan, and governed all that country, until the arms of the Mexicans, joined with those of the true heir of Acolhuacan, destroyed both the tyrant and monarchy of Tepaneca.

    The Tlascalans, whom Torquemada and other authors call Teochechemecas, and consider as a tribe of the (c)

    (c) Torquemada not only says that the Tlascalans were Teochechemecas, but likewise affirms, in lib. iii. cap. 10. That these Teochechemecas, were Otomies. If the Tlascalans were Otomies, why did they not speak the language of the Otomies? And if they ever did speak it, why did they give it up for the Mexican? Where is there an instance of a free nation abandoning its own native language, to adopt that of its enemies? Nor is it less incredible that the Chechemecas were Otomies, as the above author supposes, although in lib. i. cap. 8. he affirms the contrary. Who forced the Chechemecas to give up their primitive language? He only who was unacquainted with the character of these nations, and knew not how constant they were in retaining their national language, could be capable of contending that the Chechemecas, by their communication and alliance with the Acolhuas, abandoned the language of the Otomies for the Mexican. If the true Otomies have not, during so many ages altered their idiom, neither under the dominion of the Mexicans, nor under that


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    Chechemecan nation, established themselves, originally, in Poyauhtlan, a place situated on the eastern shore of the lake of Tezcuco, between the court and the village of Chemalhuacan. There they lived for some time in great misery, supporting themselves solely by the chace, on account of the want of arable soil; but being multiplied in their numbers, and desirous of extending the boundaries of their territory, they drew upon themselves the hatred of the surrounding nations. The Sochimilcas, the Colhuas, the Tepanecas, and probably also the Chalchese, who, by being borderers on them, were most exposed to injury, made a league together, and equipped a considerable army to drive such dangerous settlers from the vale of Mexico. The Tlascalans, whom the consciousness of their usurpations, kept always vigilant, came well arrayed for an encounter. The battle was one of the most bloody and memorable which appears in the history of Mexico. The Tlascalans, though inferior in number, made such a slaughter of the enemy, that they left the field covered with carcases, and a part of the

    of the Spaniards, how is it credible that the Chechemecas should entirely change their language, being matters of that country, and occupying the throne of Acolhuacan from the time of Xolotl the founder of that kingdom, until the conquest of Mexico. I do not doubt, however, that the proper language of the ancient Chechemecas was the same with that of the Acolhuas and Nahuatlacas, that is, the Mexican. I am of the same opinion respecting the Toltecas, whatever other authors may say; nor can I, after the most diligent study of history, alter my sentiments. We know that the names of the places from whence the Toltecas and Chechemecas came, and of those which they settled in Anahuac, of the persons of both nations, and of the years which they used, were Mexican. We know that the Toltecas and Chechemecas, the Chechemecas and Acolhuas, from the first had communication with each other, and understood each other reciprocally without an interpreter. The Mexican language having spread as far as Nicaragua, is not to be ascribed to any thing else than the dispersion of the Toltecus who spoke it; as it is not known that the Nahuatlacas ever went beyond Chiapan. In short, we find nothing to support the contrary opinion, although it is so common among our historians.


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    lake on the border of which they had engaged, tinged with blood. Notwithstanding they came off so gloriously in this battle, they determined to abandon that quarter, being well persuaded that while they remained there they would be daily harrassed by their neighbours; for which reason having reviewed the whole country by means of their emissaries, and finding no situation where they could jointly establish themselves, they agreed to separate, one part of them going towards the South, the other to the North. The latter, after a short journey, settled themselves, with the permission of the Chechemecan king, in Tollantzinco, and in Quauhchinanco. The former travelling round the great volcano Popocatepec, through Tetella and Tochimilco, founded the city of Quauhquechollan, in the neighbourhood of Atrisco; and some, proceeding still farther, founded Amaliuhcan, and other villages; and thus extended themselves as far as Poyauhtecatl or the mountain Orizaba, to which they probably gave such a name in memory of the place in the vale of Mexico which they had quitted.

    But the most numerous and respectable part of the tribe, directed their way by Cholula to the borders of the great mountain Matlalcueye, from whence they drove the Olmecas and Xicallancas, the ancient inhabitants of that country, and slew their king Colopechtli. Here they established themselves under a chief, named Colhuatateuctli, contriving to fortify themselves also, to be the more able to resist the neighbouring people if they should incline to attack them. In fact it was not long before the Huexozincas and other people, who knew of the bravery and number of their new neighbours, fearing they would, in time, become troublesome, levied a great army to expel them wholly from the country. The attack


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    was so sudden, that the Tlascalans were forced to retreat to the top of that great mountain: finding themselves there in the greatest perplexity, they sent ambassadors to implore the protection of the Chechemecan king, and obtained from him a large body of troops. The Huexozincas not having forces sufficient to contend with the royal army, applied for assistance to the Tepanecas, who they believed would not let pass so fair an opportunity of revenging themselves; but the tragic event of Posauhtlan was still in their memories, and although they sent troops, these were enjoined not to do hurt to the Tlascalans; and the Tlascalans themselves were advised not to esteem them as enemies, but to rest confident that that nation was not sent for any other purpose than to deceive the Huexozincas, and not to disturb the harmony which subsisted between them and the Tepanecas. By the aid of the Tezcucans, and the perfidious inaction of the Tepanecas, the Huexozincas were defeated, and obliged to return to their state in disgrace. The Tlascalans being freed from so great a danger, and having made peace with their neighbours, returned to their first establishment, to continue their settlement and population.

    Such was the origin of the famous city and republic of Tlascala, the perpetual rival of the Mexicans, and occasion of their ruin. At first they all obeyed one chief; but afterwards when their population was considerably advanced, the city was parted into four divisions, called Tepeticpac, Ocotelolco, Quiahuiztlan, and Tizatlan. Every division had its lord, to whom all the places dependent on such division were likewise subject; so that the whole state was composed of four small monarchies; but these four lords, together with other nobles of the first rank,


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    formed a kind of aristocracy for the general state. This diet or senate was the umpire of war and peace. It prescribed the number of troops which were to be raised, and the generals who were to command them. In the state, although it was circumscribed, there were many cities and large villages, in which, in 1520, there were more than one hundred and fifty thousand houses, and more than five hundred thousand inhabitants. The district of the republic was fortified on the western quarter with ditches and entrenchments, and on the east with a wall six miles in length; towards the south it was, by nature, defended by the mountain Matlalcueye, and by other mountains, on the north.

    The Tlascalans were warlike, courageous, and jealous of their honour and their liberty. They preserved, for a long time, the splendor of their republic, in spite of the opposition they suffered from their enemies; until at length, being in confederacy with the Spaniards against their ancient rivals the Mexicans, they were involved in the common ruin. They were idolatrous, and as superstitious and cruel in their form of worship as the Mexicans. Their favourite deity was Camaxtle, the same which was worshipped by the Mexicans, under the name of Huitzilopochtli. Their arts were the same as those of other neighbouring nations. Their commerce consisted principally in maize and cochineal. From the abundance of maize the name of Tlascallan was given to the capital, which means the place of bread. Their cochineal was esteemed above any other, and, after the conquest, brought yearly to the capital a revenue of two hundred thousand crowns; but they entirely abandoned this commerce, for reasons we shall mention elsewhere.


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    The Aztecas or Mexicans, who were the last people who settled in Anahuac, and are the chief subject of our history, lived until about the year 1160 of the vulgar era, in Aztlan, a country situated to the north of the gulf of California, according to what appears from the route they pursued in their migration, and the conclusions made by the Spaniards in their travels towards these countries. (d) The cause of abandoning their native country may have been the same which other nations had. But whatever it was, it will not be altogether useless to leave to the free judgment of the reader that which the Mexican historians themselves relate of the birth of such a resolution.

    There was, say they, among the Aztecas, a person of great authority called Huitziton, to whose opinion all paid great deference. This person exerted himself, though it is not known for what reason, to persuade his countrymen to change their country, and while he was meditating on his purpose, he heard once, by accident, a little bird singing on the branches of a tree, whose notes imitated the Mexican word Tihui, which means, let us go. This appeared a favourable opportunity to obtain his wish of his countrymen. Taking, therefore, another respectable person with him, he conducted him to that tree where the little bird used to fing, and thus addressed him: "Do you not attend, my friend Tecpaltzin, to

    (d) In our dissertations we speak of these travels from New Mexico toward the North. Betancourt makes mention of them in part ii. tract. I. cap 10. of his Teatre Messicano. This author makes Aztlan two thousand seven hundred miles distant from Mexico. Boturini says, Aztlan was a province of Asia. But I do not know what reasons he had for so singular an opinion. In several charts, published in the sixteenth century, this province appears situated to the north of the gulf of California, and I do not doubt that it is to be found in that quarter, though at a distance from the gulf, as the distance mentioned by Betancourt seems very probable.


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    what this little birds says, Tihui Tihui, which it repeats every moment to us; what can it mean, but that we must leave this country and find ourselves another? Without doubt, it is the warning of some secret divinity who watches over our welfare: let us obey, therefore, his voice, and not draw his anger upon us by a refusal." Tecpaltzin gave full assent to this interpretation, either from his opinion of the wisdom of Huitziton, or because he was likewise prepossessed with the same desire. Two persons, so respectable, having agreed in sentiment, they were not long in drawing the body of the nation over to their party.

    Although we do not give credit to such an account, it does not, however, appear altogether improbable; as it is not difficult for a person who is reputed wise, to persuade an ignorant and a superstitious people, through motives of religion, to whatever he pleases. It would be a much harder task to persuade us of what the Spanish historians generally report, that the Mexicans set out on their migration, by express command of the demon. The good historians of the sixteenth century, and those who have copied them, suppose it altogether unquestionable that the demon had continual and familiar commerce with all the idolatrous nations of the New World; and scarcely recount an event of history, of which they do not make him the author. But however certain they may he, that the malignity of those spirits impels them to do all the hurt they can to man, and that they have shewn themselves sometimes in visible forms to seduce them, especially to those who have not, by regeneration, entered into the bosom of the church; it is not, however, to be imagined that such apparitions were so very frequent, or that their intercourse was so familiar with the above


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    mentioned nations as these historians believe; the Supreme Power who watches, with benign providence, over all his creatures, commits to no such enemies of the human race any powers to hurt it. Our readers, therefore, who may have read of like events in other authors, ought not to wonder if they do not find us equally credulous. We are not disposed to ascribe any effect to the demon, on the bare testimony of some Mexican historians, as they may easily have fallen into errors, from the superstitious ideas with which their minds were darkened, or the impositions of priests that are common among idolatrous nations.

    The migration of the Aztecas, however, which is certain, whatever might have been their motive for undertaking it, happened, as near as we can conjecture, about the year 1160 of the vulgar era. Torquemada says he has observed an arm of the sea, (e) or a great river represented in all the ancient paintings of this migration. If any river was ever represented in such paintings, it must have been the Colorado or Red River, which discharges itself into the gulf of California, in latitude 32, as this is the most considerable river of those which lie in the route they travelled. Having parted, therefore, the Red River from beyond the latitude of 35, they proceeded

    (e) I believe this pretended arm of the sea is no other than the representation of the universal deluge painted in the Mexican pictures before the beginning of their migration, at appears from the copy, published by Gemelli, of a (lie! u iv shewn to him by the celebrated Doct. Siguenza. Boturini alleges this arm of the sea to be the gulf of California, as he is persuaded that the Mexicans passed from Aztlan to California, and from thence crossing the gulf transported themselves to Culiacan: but there being remains sound of the buildings constructed by the Mexicans in their migration, on the river Gila, and in Pimeria, and not in California, there is no reason to believe that they crossed the sea, but came by land to Culiacan.


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    towards the south-east, as far as the river Gila, where they stopped for some time; for at present there are still remains to be seen of the great edifices built by them on the borders of that river. From thence having resumed their course towards the S. S. E. They stopped in about 29 degrees of latitude, at a place which is more than two hundred and fifty miles distant from the city of Chihuahua, towards the N. N. W. This place is known by the name of Casa Grande, on account of an immense edifice still existing, which, agreeably to the universal tradition of these people, was built by the Mexicans in their peregrination. This edifice is constructed on the plan of those of New Mexico, that is, consisting of three floors with a terrace above them, and without any entrance to the under floor. The door for entrance to the building is on the second floor, so that a scaling ladder is necessary; and the inhabitants of New Mexico build in this manner, in order to be less exposed to the attack of their enemies; putting out the scaling ladder only for those to whom they give admission into their house. No doubt the Aztecas had the same motive for raising their edifice on this plan, as every mark of a fortress is to be observed about it, being defended on one side by a lofty mountain, and the rest of it being surrounded by a wall about seven feet thick, the soundations of which are still existing. In this fortress there are stones as large as mill-stones to be seen; the beams of the roof are of pine, and well finished. In the centre of this vast fabric is a little mount made on purpose, by what appears, to keep guard on, and observe the enemy. There have been some ditches formed in this place, and several kitchen utensils have been found, such as


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    earthen pots, dishes, and jars, and little looking-glasses of the stone Itztli. (f)

    From hence, traversing the steep mountains of Tarahumara, and directing their course towards the south, they reached Huicolhuacan, at present called Culiacan, a place situated on the gulf of California, in 24 deg. of latitude, where they stopped three years. (g) Here it is probable, that they built houses and cottages to dwell in, and sowed such seeds for their food as they carried with them, and usually did in every place where they stayed any considerable time. There they formed a statue of wood representing Huitzilopochtli the tutelar deity of the nation, that he might accompany them in their travel, and made a chair of reeds and rushes to transport it which they called Teoicpalli, or chair of God. They chose priests who were to carry him on their shoulders, four at a time, to whom they gave the name of Teotlamacazque, or servants of God, and the act itself of carrying him was called Teomama, that is to carry God on one's back.

    From Huicolhuacan journeying for many days towards the east, they came to Chicomoztoc, where they stopped. Hitherto all the seven tribes had travelled in a body together: but here they separated, and the Xochimilcas,

    (f) These are the reports I received from two persons who had seen the Casa Grande. We should wills to have a plan of their form and dimensions; but now it would be very difficult to be obtained, the whole of that country being depopulated by the furious incursions of the Apachas and other barbarous nations.

    (g) The stay of the Aztecas in Huicolhuacan, is agreeable to the testimony of all historians, as well as their separation at Chicomoztoc. There is a tradition among the northern people of their passage through Tarahumara. Near to Naiarit there are trenches found which were made by the Cori, to defend themselves from the Mexicans in their route from Huicolhuacan to Chicomoztoc.


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    the Tepanecas, the Chalchese, the Tlahuicas, and the Tlascalans proceeding onwards, left the Mexicans there with their idol. Those nations say the separation was made by express command of their God. There is little doubt that some disagreement among themselves was the occasion of it. The situation of Chicomoztoc, where the Mexicans sojourned nine years, is not known; but it appears to be that place twenty miles distant from the city of Zacatecas towards the south where there are still some remains of an immense edifice, which, according to the tradition of the Zapotecas, the ancient inhabitants of that country, was the work of the Aztecas in their migration; and it certainly cannot be ascribed to any other people; the Zapotecas themselves being so barbarous as neither to live in houses nor to know how to build them. Their being reduced to a smaller number by the dismemberment of the other tribes, may probably have been the reason that the Mexicans undertook no other buildings of that kind in their peregrination. Proceeding from the country of the Zapotecas towards the south, through Arnica, Cocula, and Zayula, they descended into the maritime province of Colima, and from thence to Zacatula; where turning to the eastward they ascended to Malinalco, a place situated in the mountains which surround the valley of Toluca, (h) and afterwards taking their course towards the north, in the year 1196 they arrived at the celebrated city of Tula. (i)

    (h) It is evident from the manuscripts of P. Giovanni Tobar, a Jesuit exceedingly versed in the antiquities of those nations, that the Mexicans passed through Michuacan, and this could only be by Colima and Zacatula, which probably then belonged to the kingdom, as they now belong to the ecclesiastical diocese of Michuacan; because if they had performed their journey any other way to Tula, they would not have touched at Malinalco.

    (i) The epoch of the arrival of the Mexicans at Tula in 1196, is confirmed


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    In their journey from Chicomoztoc to Tula, they stopped a while in Coatlicomac, where the tribe was divided into two factions, which became perpetual rivals, and alternately persecuted each other. This discord was occasioned, as they say, by two bundles which miraculously appeared in the midst of their camp. Some of them advancing to the first bundle to examine it, found in it a precious stone, on which a great contest arose, each claiming to possess it as a present from their god. Going afterwards to open the other bundle they found nothing but two pieces of wood. At first sight they undervalued them as things which were useless, but being made acquainted, by the wise Huitziton, of the service they could be of in producing fire, they prized them more than the precious stone. They who appropriated to themselves the gem were those, who, after the foundation of Mexico called themselves Tlatelolcas, from the place which they settled near to that city; they who took the pieces of wood were those who in future bore the name of Mexicans, or Tenochcas. This account however cannot be considered in any other light than as a moral fable, to teach that in all things the useful is preferable to the beautiful. Notwithstanding this dissention both parties travelled always together for their imaginary interest in the protection of their god. (k)

    It ought not to excite wonder that the Aztecas made so great a circuit, and journeyed upwards of a thousand miles more than was necessary, to reach Anahuac: as they had no limits prescribed to their travel, and were

    by a manuscript history in Mexican, cited by Boturini, and in this point of chronology other authors agree.

    (k) It is not to be doubted that the story of the packets is merely a fable; as the Aztecas knew, some centuries before, how to produce fire from two pieces of wood, by friction.


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    in quest of a country where they might enjoy all the conveniences of life: neither is it surprising that in some places they erected large fabrics, as it is probable, they considered every place where they stopped the boundary of their peregrination. Several situations appeared to them at first, proper for their establishment, which they afterwards abandoned, from experience of inconveniences they had not foreseen. Wherever they stopped they raised an altar to their God, and at their departure left all their sick behind; and, probably, some others, who were to take care of them, and perhaps also, some who might be tired of such long pilgrimages, and unwilling to encounter fresh fatigues.

    In Tula they stopped nine years, and afterwards eleven years in other places not far distant, until, in 1216, they arrived at Zampanco, a considerable city in the vale of Mexico. Tochpanecatl, lord of this city, received them with singular humanity, and not contenting himself with granting them commodious dwellings, and regaling them plentifully; but becoming attached to them from long and familiar intercourse, he demanded from the chiefs of the nation, some noble virgin for a wife to his son Ilhuitcatl. The Mexicans obliged by such proofs of regard presented Tlacapantzin to him, who was soon after married to that illustrious youth; and from them, as will appear, the Mexican kings descended.

    After remaining seven years in Zampanco, they went together with the youth Ilhuicatl to Tizayocan, a city a little distant from it, where Tlacapantzin bore a son, named after Huitzilihuitl, and at the same time they gave away another virgin to Xochiatzin, lord of Quauhtitlan. From Tizayocan they passed to Tolpetlac and Tepeyacac, where, at present, lies the village and renowned sanctuary


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    of the Holy Virgin of Guadaloupe, places all situated on the borders of the lake of Tezcuco, and near the vale of Mexico, in which they continued for twenty-two years.

    As soon as the Mexicans appeared in that country, they were reviewed by order of Xolotl then reigning; who, having nothing to fear, permitted them to establish themselves wherever they could: but those in Tepeyacac finding themselves harassed by Tenancacaltzin, a Chechemecan lord, they were forced, in 1245, to retire to Chapoltepec, a mountain situated on the western border of the lake, hardly two miles distant from the fire of Mexico, in the reign of Nopaltzin, and not of Quinatzin, as Torquemada and Boturini imagine (l).

    The persecutions which they suffered in this place from some lords, and particularly from the lord of Xaltocan, made them, at the end of seventeen years, abandon it, to seek a more secure asylum in Acocolco, which consists of a number of small islands at the southern extremity of the lake. There for the space of fifty-two years they led the most miserable life; they subsisted on fish, and all sorts of insects, and the roots of the marshes, and covered themselves with the leaves of the amoxtli which grows plentifully in that lake, having wore out all their garments, and finding no means there of supplying themselves with others. Their habitations were wretched huts, made of the reeds and rushes which the lake produced. It would be totally incredible that for so many years they were able to keep in existence in a place fo

    (l) Quinatzin supposing to have been reigning at that time, the reign of him and his successor must have comprehended a space of an hundred and sixty-onc years and upwards; if the chronology of Torquemada is adopted, who supposes, Quinatzin reigning until the time at which the Mexican, entered the vale at Mexico. See our Dissertations.


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    disadvantageous, where they were so flinted in the necessaries of life, was it not verified by their historians and succeeding events.

    But in the midst of their miseries they were free, and liberty alleviated in some degree their distresses. In 1314, however, slavery was added to their other distresses. Historians differ in opinion concerning this event. Some say, that the petty king of Colhuacan, a city not far distant from Acocolco, not willing to suffer the Mexicans to maintain themselves in his territories without paying him tribute, made open war upon them, and having subdued, enslaved them. Others affirm, that this petty king sent an embassy to them, to inform them that having companion for the miserable life which they led in those islands, he was willing to grant them a better place where they might live more comfortably; and that the Mexicans who wished for nothing more ardently, accepted instantly the favour, and gladly quitted their disagreeable situation; but they had scarcely set out when they were attacked by the Colhuas and taken prisoners. Which ever way it was, it is certain, that the Mexicans were carried slaves to Tizapan, a place belonging to the state of Colhuacan.

    After some years slavery, a war arose between the Colhuas and Xochimilcas their neighbours, with such disadvantage to the former, that they were worsted in every engagement. The Colhuas, being afflicted with these repeated losses, were forced to employ their prisoners whom they ordered to prepare for war; but they did not provide them with the necessary arms, either because these had been exhausted in preceding battles, or because they left them at liberty to accoutre themselves as they chose. The Mexicans being persuaded


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    that this was a favourable occasion to win the favour of their lord, resolved to exert every effort of their bravery. They armed themselves with long stout staves, the points of which they hardened in the fire, not only to be used against the enemy, but to assist them in leaping from one bush to another if it should prove necessary, as, in fact, they had to combat in the water. They made themselves knives of itzli, and targets or shields of reeds wove together. It was agreed among them, that they were not to employ themselves as it was usual in making prisoners, but to content themselves with cutting off an ear, and leaving the enemy without further hurt. With this disposition they went out to battle, and while the Colhuas and Xochimilcas were engaged, either by land on the borders of the lake, or by water in their ships, the Mexicans rushed furiously on the enemy, assisted by their staves in the water; cut off the ears of those whom they encountered, and put them in baskets which they carried for that purpose; but when they could not effect this from the struggles of the enemy, they killed them. By the assistance of the Mexicans, the Colhuas obtained so complete a victory that the Xochimilcas not only abandoned the field, but afraid even to remain in their city, they took refuge in the mountains.

    This action having ended with so much glory, according to the custom of those nations, the soldiers of the Colhuas presented themselves with their prisoners before their general; as the bravery of the soldiers was not estimated by the number of enemies which were left dead on the field, but of those who were made prisoners alive, and shewn to the general. It cannot be doubted, that this was a rational sentiment, and a practice


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    conformable to humanity. If the prince can vindicate his rights, and repel force without killing his enemies, humanity demands that life should be preserved. If we are to take utility into our consideration, a slain enemy cannot hurt, neither can he serve us, but from a prisoner we may derive much advantage without receiving any harm. If we consider glory, it requires a greater effort to deprive an enemy solely of his liberty, than to wrest his life from him in the heat of contest. The Mexicans were likewise called upon to make the shew of their prisoners; but not having a single one to present, as the only four which they had taken were kept concealed for a particular purpose; they were reproached as a cowardly race by the general and the soldiers of the Colhuas. Then the Mexicans holding out their baskets full of ears, said, "Behold from the number of ears which we present, you may judge of the number of prisoners we might have brought if we had inclined; but we were unwilling to lose time in binding them that we might accelerate your victory." The Colhuas remained awed and abashed, and began to conceive apprehensions from the prudence as well as from the courage of their slaves.

    The Mexicans having returned to the place of their residence which, as appears, was at that time Huitzolopochco, they erected an altar to their tutelary god; but being desirous at the dedication of it to make an offering of something precious they demanded something of their lord for that purpose. He sent them in disdain, in a dirty rag of coarse cloth, a vile dead bird, with certain filth about it, which was carried by the priests of the Colhuas, who having laid it upon the altar without any salutation, retired. Whatever indignation the


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    Mexicans felt from so unworthy an insult, reserving their revenge for another occasion, instead of such filth they placed upon the altar a knife of itzli, and an odoriferous herb. The day of consecration being arrived, the petty king of Colhua, and his nobility failed not to be present, not to do honour to the festival, but to make a mockery of his slaves. The Mexicans began this function with a solemn dance, in which they appeared in their best garments, and while the bystanders were most fixed in attention, they brought out the four Xochimilca prisoners, whom they had till then kept concealed, and after having made them dance a little, they sacrificed them upon a stone, breaking their breast with the knife of itzli, and tearing out their heart, which, whilst yet warm and beating they offered to their god.

    This human sacrifice, the first of the kind which we know to have been made in that country, excited such horror in the Colhuas, that having returned instantly to Colhuacan, they determined to dismiss slaves who were so cruel, and might in future become definitive to the state; on which Coxcox, so was the petty king named, sent orders to them to depart immediately out of that district, and go wherever they might be most inclined. The Mexicans willingly accepted their discharge from slavery, and directing their course towards the north, came to Acatzitzintlan, a place situated between two lakes, named afterwards Mexicaltzinco, which name is almost the same with that of Mexico, and was given to it without doubt from the same motive, as we shall see shortly, which made them give it to their capital; but not finding in that situation the conveniences they desired, or being inclined to remove farther from the Colhuas, they proceeded to Iztacalco,


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    approaching still nearer to the file of Mexico. In Iztacalco they made a little mountain of paper, by which they probably represented Colhuacan, (m) and spent a whole night in dancing around it, singing their victory over the Xochimilcas, and returning thanks to their god for having freed them from the yoke of the Colhuas.

    After having sojourned two years in Iztacalco, they came at last to that situation on the lake where they were to found their city. There they found a nopal, or opuntia, growing in a stone, and over it the foot of an eagle. On this account, they gave to the place, and afterwards to their city, the name of Tenochtitlan. (n) All, or at least all the historians of Mexico, say, this was the precise mark given them by their oracle for the foundation of their city, and relate various events concerning it, which as they appear, out of the course of nature, we have omitted as being fabulous, or at least uncertain.

    As soon as the Mexicans took possession of that place, they erected a temple for their god Huitzilopochtli. The consecration of that sanctuary, although miserable, was not made without the effusion of human blood; for a daring Mexican having gone out in quest of some animal for a sacrifice, he encountered with a Colhuan named Xomimitl; after a few words, the feelings of national enmity, excited them to blows; the Mexican was victor, and having bound his enemy carried him to his country-men,

    (m) The Mexicans represented Colhuacan in their pictures by the figure of a hunchbacked mountain, and the name has exactly that signification.

    (n) Several authors, both Spanish and of other nations, from ignorance of the Mexican language have altered this name; and in their books it is read Tenoxtitlan, Temistitan, Temihtitlan, &c.


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    who sacrificed him immediately, and with great jubilee presented his heart torn from his breast on the altar, exercising such cruelty not more for the bloody worship of that false divinity, than the gratification of their revenge upon the Colhuas. Around the sanctuary they began to build their wretched huts of reeds and rushes, being destitute at that time of other materials. Such was the beginning of the city of Tenochtitlan, which in future times was to become the court of a great empire, and the largest and most beautiful city of the new world. It was likewise called Mexico, the name that afterwards prevailed, which denomination being taken from the name of its tutelar god, signifies place of Mexitli, or Huitzilopochtli, as he had both these names. (o)

    The foundation of Mexico happened in the year 2. Calli, corresponding with the year 1325 of the vulgar era, when Quinatzin, the Chechemecan, was reigning in that country: but by changing their situation, the Mexicans did not suddenly better their fortune; for being insulated in the middle of a lake, without lands to cultivate,

    (o) There is a great difference of opinion among authors respecting the etymology of the word Mexico. Some derive it from Metzli, Moon; because they saw the moon represented in that lake as the oracle had predicted. Others say, that Mexico means upon the fountain, from having found one of good water in that spot; but these two etymologies are too violent, and the first besides is ridiculous. I was once of opinion, that the name was Mexicco, which means in the centre of Maguei, or trees of the Mexican aloe; but from the study of the history I have been undeceived, and am now positive that Mexico signifies the place of Mexitli, or Huitzilopochtli, that is, the Mars of the Mexicans, on account of the sanctuary there erected to him; so that Mexico with the Mexicans is entirely equivalent to Fanum Martis of the Romans; the Mexicans take away the final syllable tli, in the compounding of words of this kind. The co added to it is the preposition in. The word Mexicaltzinco, means the place of the house or temple of the god Mexitli; so that Huitzilopochco, Mexicaltzinco and Mexico, the names of the three places successively inhabited by the Mexicans, mean the same thing in substance.


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    or garments to cover them, and living in constant distrust of their neighbours, they led a life as miserable as it was in other places, where they had supported themselves solely on the animal and vegetable produce of the lake. But when urged by necessity, of what is not human industry capable? The greatest want which the Mexicans experienced was that of ground for their habitations, as the little island of Tenochtitlan was not sufficient for all its inhabitants. This they remedied a little by making palisades in those places where the water was shallowest, which they terraced with stones and turf, uniting to their principal island several other smaller ones at a little distance. To procure to themselves afterwards stone, wood, bread, and every thing necessary for their habitations, their clothing, and food, they applied themselves with the utmost assiduity to fishing, not only of white fish, of which we have already spoken, but also of other little fish and insects of the marshes which they made eatable, and to the catching of innumerable kinds of birds which flocked there to feed in the water. By instituting a traffick with this game in the other places situated on the borders of the lake, they obtained all they wanted.

    But the gardens floating on the water which they made of the bushes and mud of the lake, the structure and form of which we shall elsewhere explain, discovered the greatest exertion of their industry; on these they sowed maize, pepper, chia, French beans, and gourds.

    Thus the Mexicans passed the first thirteen years, giving as much order and form to their settlement as possible, and relieving their distresses by dint of industry: until this period, the whole tribe had continued united, notwithstanding the disagreement of the two factions


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    which had formed themselves during their migration. This discord, which was transmitted from father to son, at last burst violently out in 1338. One of the faction not being longer able to endure the other, resolved to separate themselves; but not having it in their power to remove so far as their rage suggested, they went towards the North to reside on a little island at a small distance, which they named Xaltilolco, from finding a great heap of sand there, and afterwards, from a terrace which they made, Tlalelolco, a name which it still preserves. (p) those who established themselves on that small island, which was afterwards united to that of Tenochtitlan, had, at that time, the name of Tlatelolcas, and those who remained in the first situation called themselves Tenochcas; but we shall call them Mexicans, as all historians do.

    A little before, or a little after this event, the Mexicans divided their miserable city into four quarters, assigning to each its tutelar god, besides the protesting god of the whole nation. This division subsists at present under the names of St. Paul, St. Sebastian, St. John, and St. Mary. (q) In the centre of these quarters was the sanctuary of Huitzilopochtli, to whom they daily performed acts of adoration.

    In honour of that false divinity at this period they made an abominable sacrifice which is not to be thought

    (p) The ancients represented Tlatelolco in their pictures by the figure of a heap of sand. If this had been known by those who undertook the interpretation of the Mexican pictures, which were published with the letters of Cortes at Mexico, in 1770, they would not have called this place Tlatilolco, which name they have interpreted oven.

    (q) The quarter of St. Paul was called by the Mexicans Teopan and Xochimilca; that of Sebastian, Atzacualco; that of St. John, Moyotla; and that of St. Mary, Cuepopan and Tlaquichiuchcan.


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    of without horror. They sent an embassy to the petty king of Colhuacan, requesting him to give them one of his daughters, that she might be consecrated mother of their protesting god, signifying that it was an express command of a god to exalt her to so high a dignity. The petty king enticed and infatuated by the glory which he would receive from the deification of his daughter, or intimidated by the disasters which might await him, if he refused the demand of a god, granted quickly all that was requested, especially as he could not well suspect what was to happen. The Mexicans conducted the noble damsel with great triumph to their city; but were scarcely arrived, as historians relate, when the demon commanded that she should be made a sacrifice, and after her death to be flayed; and that one of the bravest youths of the nation should be clothed with her skin. Whether it was an order of the demon, or, what is more probable, a cruel pretence of the barbarous priests all was punctually executed. The petty king, invited by the Mexicans to be present at the apotheosis of his daughter, went to be a spectator of that solemnity, and one of the worshippers of the new divinity. He was led into the sanctuary, where the youth stood upright by the side of the idol, clothed in the bloody skin of the victim; but the obscurity of the place did not permit him to discern what was before him. They gave him a censer in his hand, and a little copal to begin his worship; but having discovered, by the light of the flame which the copal made, the horrible spectacle, his anguish affected his whole frame, and being transported with the violent effects of it, he ran out crying with distraction, and ordered his people to take revenge of so barbarous a deed; but they dared not to undertake it, as they must


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    instantly have been oppressed by the multitude; upon which the father returned inconsolable to his residence to bewail his disaster the remainder of his life. His unfortunate daughter was created goddess and honorary mother, not only of Huitzilopochtli, but of all their gods; which is the exact meaning of Teteoinan, by which name she was afterwards known and worshipped. Such were the specimens in this new city of that barbarous system of religion, which we shall hereafter explain.


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    B O O K  III.

    Foundation of the Mexican Monarchy: Events of the Mexicans under their four first Kings, until the Defeat of the Tepanecas and the Conquest of Azcapozalco. The Bravery and illustrious Actions of Montezuma Ilhuicamina. The Government and Death of Techotlalla, the fifth Chechemecan King. Revolutions in the Kingdom of Acolhuacan. Death of King Ixtlilxochitl, and the Tyrants Tezozomoc and Maxtlaton.

    Until the year 1352, the Mexican government was aristocratical, the whole nation paying obedience to a certain body, composed of persons the most respectable for their nobility and wisdom. The number of those who governed at the foundation of Mexico was twenty; (r) among whom the chief in authority was Tenoch, as appears from their paintings. The very humble state in which they felt themselves, the inconveniencies they suffered from their neighbours, and the example of the Chechemecas, the Tepanecas, and the Colhuas, incited them to erect their little state into a monarchy, not doubting, that the royal authority would throw some splendor on the whole body of the nation; and flattering themselves that in their new chief they would have a father who would watch over the state, and a good general who would defend them from the

    (r) The twenty lords who then governed the nation were named Tenoch, Atzin, Acarith, Abuexotl or Abueiotl, Ocelopan, Xamimitl, Xiubcac, Axolahua, Nanacatzin, Quentzin, Tlalala, Tzontliyayauh, Cozcatl, Tezcatl Tochpan, Mimich, Tetepan, Tezacatl, Acobatl, and Achitomecatl.


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    insults of their enemies. The election fell, by common consent, on Acamapitzin, either from the acclamations of the people, or the votes of some electors, to whose judgment all were submissive; as was their mode afterwards.

    Acamapitzin was one of the most famous and prudent persons then living amongst them. He was the son of Opochtli, a very noble Aztecan, (s) and Atonzoztli, a princess of the royal family of Colhuacan. (t) On the father's side, he took his descent from Tochpanecatl, that lord of Zampanco, who so kindly received the Mexicans when they arrived at that city. He was yet unmarried; on which account they soon determined to demand a virgin of one of the first families of Anahuac, and for that purpose sent successive embassies to the lord of Tacuba, and the king of Azcapozalco; but by both their pretensions were rejected with disdain. Without despairing from so disgraceful a refusal, they made the same demand from Acolmiztli, lord of Coatlichan, and a descendant of one of the three Acolhuan princes, requesting him to give them one of his daughters for their queen. Acolmiztli complied with their request, and gave them his daughter Ilancueitl, whom the Mexicans

    (s) Some historians report, that Acamapitzin whom they suppose to have been born while in slavery at Colhuacan, was the son of old Huitzilihuitl; but this is not probable, as Huitzilihuitl, born while the Mexicans were in Tizayuca, was not Mi than ninety years of age when the Mexicans were made slaves; wherefore Huitzilihuitl was not father, but certainly grandfather of Acamapitzin. Torquemada makes this king son of Cohuatzontli: but we adhere to the opinion of Siguenza, who has investigated the genealogy of the Mexican kings with more criticism and diligence than Torquemada.

    (t) It is much to be wondered at that Opochtli should marry a virgin so illustrious, at a time when his nation was so reduced and degraded by slavery: but this marriage is ascertained by the pictures of the Mexicans and Colhuas, seen by the teamed Siguenza.


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    conduced triumphantly away and celebrated the nuptials with the utmost rejoicings.

    The Tlatelolcos who, from being neighbours and rivals, were constantly observing what was done in Tenochtitlan, that they might vie with it in glory, and prevent their being in future oppressed by that power, also created themselves a king: but not esteeming it advantageous that he should be one of their own nation, they demanded of Azcapozalco, king of the Tepaneca nation, to which lord the file of Tlatelolco, as well as Mexico was subject, one of his sons, that he might rule over them as their monarch, and that they might obey him as vassals. The king gave them his son Quaquauhpitzahuac, who was immediately crowned first king of Tlatelolco in 1353. It is to be suspected that the Tlatelolcos, when they made such a demand from that king, had, with a view to flatter and incense him against their rivals, exaggerated the insolence of the Mexicans in creating a king without his permission; as in a few days after Azcapozalco assembled his counsellors, and spoke to them in the following words: "What is your judgment, nobles of Tepaneca, of this act of the Mexicans? They have introduced themselves into our dominions, and continue to increase very considerably their city and their commerce, and what is worse have had the audacity to create one of their own nation a king, without waiting for our consent. If they proceed thus in the beginning of their establishment, what is to be imagined they will do hereafter when they have increased their numbers and added to their strength? Is it not to be apprehended that in future, instead of paying us the tribute which we have imposed on them, they will pretend that we should pay it to them, and that the petty king of


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    "the Mexicans will aim also at being monarch of the Tepanecas? I therefore consider it necessary to multiply their burdens so much, that in labouring to discharge them they may be worn out, or on failure of paying us, that we harass them with other evils, and at last constrain them to abandon their state."

    All applauded the resolution; nor was it otherwise to be expected; as the prince who in council discovers his wish, rather looks for panegyrists to second his inclination, than counsellors to enlighten his understanding: the king then sent to inform the Mexicans, that the tribute which they had paid hitherto being too small, it was his pleasure that they should double it in future; that they were besides to carry so many thousands of willow and fir-plants to be set in the roads and gardens of Azcapozalco, and to transport to the court a great kitchen garden, where all the vegetables known in Anahuac were sown and growing.

    The Mexicans, who, until that time had paid no other tribute than a certain quantity of fish, and a certain number of water-birds, were greatly distressed with these new grievances, fearing that they might constantly be increasing: but they performed all that was enjoined them, carrying at the appointed time along with their fish and fowl, the willows and floating garden. Whoever has not seen these most beautiful gardens, which in our time were cultivated in the middle of the water, and transported with ease wherever they desired, will not without difficulty be persuaded of the truth of such an event: but whoever has seen them as we have, and all who have failed upon that lake, where the senses receive the most delightful recreation, will have no reason to doubt of the authenticity of this history. Having obtained this tribute


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    from them, the king ordered them to bring him the next year another garden, with a duck and a swan in it, both sitting on their eggs; but so, as that on their arrival at Azcapozalco, the brood might be ready to hatch. The Mexicans obeyed, and took their measures so well, that the foolish prince had the pleasure of seeing the chickens come out of the eggs. They were ordered the succeeding year to bring, besides a garden of this kind, a live stag: this new order was the more difficult to execute, as it was necessary to go to the mountains on the continent to hunt the stag, where they were in danger of engaging with their enemies; it was, however, accomplished, that they might escape from wrongs more oppressive. This hard subjection of the Mexicans lasted not less than fifty years. The historians of Mexico affirm, that the Mexicans in all their afflictions implored the protection of their god, who rendered the execution of such orders easy to them: but we are of a different opinion.

    The poor king Acamapitzin, in addition to these disgusts, experienced the sterility of his queen Ilancueitl, and therefore married Tezcatlamiahuatl, daughter of the lord of Tetepanci, by whom he had several sons, and among others Huitzilihuitl and Chimalpopoca, successors to him in the crown. He took this second wife without abandoning the first; they both lived in such harmony together that Ilancueitl charged herself with the education of Huitzilihuitl. He had other wives, although not honoured with the rank of queens; and among the rest, a slave, who bore Itzcoatl, one of the best and most renowned among the kings of Anahuac. Acamapitzin governed his city in peace, for thirty-seven years; his city, at that time, comprehending the whole of his kingdom. In his time population increased, buildings of stone were


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    erected, and those canals which served as well for the ornament of the city as for the convenience of the citizens, were begun. The interpreter of Mendoza's collection ascribes to this king, the conquest of Mizquic, Cintlahuac, Quauhnahuac, and Xochimilco: but is it possible to believe that the Mexicans would undertake the conquest of four such great cities, at a time when they had difficulty to preserve their own territory. The picture, therefore, in that collection, representing those four cities subdued by the Mexicans, must be understood to apply to the Mexicans, only as they were auxiliaries to other states, in the same manner, as a short time afterwards they served the king of Tezcuco against the Xaltocanese.

    A little before his death, Acamapitzin called together the great men of the city; when after exhorting them to maintain their zeal for the public good, recommending to them the care of his wives and children; and declaring the pain it gave him at his death, to think of leaving his people tributary to the Tepanecas, he said, that, having, received the crown from their hands, he put it into their hands again, in order that they might bestow it upon him who they thought would do the state most service. His death, which happened in the year 1389, was greatly lamented by the Mexicans, and his funeral was celebrated with as much magnificence as the poverty of the nation would admit.

    From the death of Acamapitzin, until the election of a new king, as we are informed by Siguenza, an interregnum took place, of four months; a circumstance which never happened again, as from that time forward the king was always chosen a very few days after the death of the preceding. Perhaps the election, at this time, might be retarded, by the nobles being employed in regulating


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    the number of the electors, and in settling the ceremony of the coronation which was then beginning to be observed.

    The electors then, chosen by the nobles, being assembled together, the oldest man among them addressed them in this manner. "My age emboldens me to speak first. The misfortune, O Mexican nobles, which we have suffered by the death of our king, is very great; and none ought to feel it more than we who were the feathers of his wings, and the eye-lids of his eyes. Such a misfortune is still increased, by the unhappy condition of dependence upon the power of the Tepanecas, under which we live, to the reproach of the Mexican name. Do you, then, whom it so much concerns to find a remedy for our present distresses, do you resolve to choose a king who shall be zealous for the honour of our mighty god Huitzilopochtli, who shall avenge, with his arm, the injuries done to our nation; and who shall take the aged, the widow, and the orphan, under the shade of his clemency." At the conclusion of this speech the electors gave their votes, and their choice fell upon Huitzilihuitl, son of the deceased king Acamapitzin. Then they proceeded, in regular order, to the house of the elected person, whom they placed in the middle of them, and conducted to the Tlatocaicpalli, that is the royal seat or throne; upon which they seated him; and after anointing him in the manner we shall describe in another place, they then placed upon his head the Copilli or crown, and made him their submissions one by one. Then one of the most considerable persons raised his voice, and thus addressed the king.

    "Be not discouraged, excellent youth, at receiving that new employment, to which you are called, of reigning


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    "over a nation which is inclosed among the reeds and rushes of this lake. It is, indeed, unfortunate to possess so small a kingdom within another's territory, and to be the chief of a people, who, originally free, have now become tributary to the Tepanecas; but be comforted, and remember that we are under the protection of the great god Huitzilopochtli, whose image you are, and whose place you fill. The dignity to which you have been raised by him, should serve, not as an excuse for indolence and effeminacy, but as a spur to exertion. Have ever before your eyes the illustrious example of your great father, who spared no labour in the service of the public. We should wish, sir, to make you presents worthy of your station; but since our situation will not admit of it, be pleased to accept our promises of the most inviolable attachment and fidelity."

    Huitzilihuitl was not yet married when he ascended the throne: but it was thought proper that he should take a wife, and the nobles wished for a daughter of the king of Azcapozalco. To avoid, however, so ignominious a denial as they met with in the time of Acamapitzin, they resolved to make the request, upon this occasion, with the greatest demonstrations of humility and respect. Some of the nobles, therefore, went to Azcapozalco, and falling on their knees, when they were presented to the king, they declared their wishes, in the following words, "Behold, great lord, the poor Mexicans at your feet, humbly expecting from your goodness, a favour which is greatly beyond their merit; but to whom ought we to have recourse, except to you, who are our father and our lord. Behold us hanging upon your lips, and waiting only your signals to obey. We


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    "beseech you, with the most profound respect, to take compassion upon our master and your servant Huitzilihuitl, confined among the thick rushes of the lake. He is without a wife, and we without a queen. Vouchsafe, sir, to part with one of your jewels, or most precious feathers. Give us one of your daughters, who may come to reign over us in a country which belongs to you."

    These expressions, which are peculiarly elegant in the Mexican language, so softened the mind of Tezozomoc (for that was the king's name), that he instantly granted his daughter Ajaubcihuatl, to the great joy of the Mexicans, who conducted her in triumph to Mexico, where the much wished-for marriage was celebrated, with the usual ceremony of tying together the skirts of the garments of the husband and wife. By this princess the king had a son the first year, who was named Acolnahuacatl; but being desirous to strengthen his kingdom by new alliances, he sought and obtained from the prince of Quauhnahuac, one of his daughters called Miahuaxochitl, by whom he had Montezuma Ilhuicamina, the most celebrated of the Mexican kings.

    At that time, in Acolhuacan, reigned Techotlala, son of king Quimatzin. The first thirty years of his reign were peaceful; but afterwards Tzompan, prince of Xaltocan, revolted, and finding his own force insufficient to oppose his sovereign, he called to his assistance the states of Otompan, Meztitlan, Quahuacan, Tecomic, Quauhtitlan, and Tepozotlan. The king promised him pardon, provided he would lay down his arms and submit; which clemency probably proceeded from respect to the noble extraction of the rebel, who was the last descendant of Chiconquauhtli, one of the three Acolhuan princes.


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    But Tzompan confiding in the number of his troops, rejected the offer with contempt; when the king sent an army against him, which was joined by the Mexicans and Tepanecas, whose service he had demanded. The war was obstinate, and lasted for two months: but at length, victory declaring for the king, Tzompan, with all the chiefs of the revolted cities, was put to death, and in him was extinguished the illustrious race of Chiconquauhtli. This war, in which the Mexicans served as auxiliaries to the king of Acolhuacan against Xaltocan and the other confederated states, is represented in the third picture of Mendoza's collection: but the interpreter of those pictures was mistaken when he imagined that those cities were subjected to the Mexican crown.

    After the end of the war the Mexicans returned to their city with glory; and Techotlala, in order to prevent other rebellions in future, divided his kingdom into seventy-five states, giving each a chief to govern them in subordination to the crown. In each of them he likewise placed a certain number of the inhabitants of some other state; expecting that the natives would be more easily kept in subjection by means of strangers who depended upon a foreign power; a policy which might, indeed, be useful in preventing rebellion, but which was very oppressive to the innocent subjects, and created much trouble to the chiefs who were entrusted with the government. At the same time, he conferred honourable offices upon many of the nobles. He made Tetlato general of his armies, Yolqui entertainer and introducer of ambassadors, Tlami major-domo of the royal palace, Amechichi overseer of the cleaning of the royal houses, and Cohuatl director of the gold-workers of Ocolco. No person worked in gold or silver, for the use of the king,


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    except the directors own children, who had learnt the art for that purpose. The entertainer of ambassadors had many Colhuan officers under him; the major-domo had a certain number of Chechemecas; and the superintendant of the cleaning of the houses, an equal number of Tepanecas. By such regulations he increased the splendor of his court, and strengthened the throne of Acolhuacan; although he could not hinder those revolutions which we shall soon have occasion to mention. These and other such instances of wise policy, which will appear in the sequel of this history, evidently shew the injustice done to the Americans by those who have considered them as animals of a different species, or as incapable of civilization or improvement.

    The new alliance formed by the king of Mexico with the king of Azcapozalco, and the glory acquired by his subjects in the war of Xaltocan, served both to strengthen their little state and to make themselves more respectable in the eyes of their neighbours. Being enabled, therefore, to extend their trade and carry it on with greater freedom, they began, now, to wear clothes made of cotton, which they had been entirely without, in their former state of indigence, when they had nothing but coarse fluffs made of the threads of the wild palm. But they had scarcely time to breathe, when a new enemy and bloody persecutor hurled up, in the same royal family of Azcapozalco.

    Maxtlaton prince of Coyoacan, and son of the king of Azcapozalco, a cruel, turbulent, ambitious man, and who was feared even by his father upon that account, had been displeased at the marriage of his sister Ayauhcihuatl with the king of Mexico. He concealed his displeasure, for some time, out of respect to his father; but


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    in the tenth year of the reign of Huitzilihuitl, he went to Azcapozalco, and assembled the nobility, in order to lay before them his complaints against the Mexicans and their king. He represented the increase of the population of Mexico; enlarged upon the pride and arrogance of that people, and upon the fatal effects which were to be feared from their present dispositions; and especially complained of the great affront done to him by the Mexican king, in depriving him of his wife. It is necessary to observe, that Maxtlaton and Ayauhcihuatl, although both children of Tezozomoc, were yet born of different mothers; and perhaps such marriages were in those times, permitted among the Tepanecas. Whether he ever actually intended to marry his sister, or only made that a pretext to cover his cruel designs, is uncertain; but, in the assembly of the nobles, it was determined to summon Huitzilihuitl, to answer to the pretended charge. The Mexican king went to Azcapozalco; nor will this appear extraordinary, when we consider that it was no uncommon thing, at that time, for princes to visit one another; and that, besides, it was the duty of Huitzilihuitl, as a feudatory of that crown; for, although from the birth of Acolnahuacatl, the queen of Mexico had prevailed upon her father Tezozomoc to relieve the Mexicans from the oppressions to which they had been subjected for so many years before, yet Mexico still continued in the nature of a fief of Azcapozalco, and the Mexicans owed the Tepanecan king an annual present of a couple of ducks by way of acknowledgment of his superiority.

    Maxtlaton received Huitzilihuitl in a hall of the palace, and after having dined with him in the presence of the courtiers who flattered all his schemes, he charged


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     179

    Huitzilihuitl in the severest terms, with the pretended outrage done to him by the marriage of Ayauhcihuatl. The Mexican king with the greatest respect asserted his innocence, and said, that he certainly would never have solicited the princess, nor her father have given her away to him, if she had been betrothed to another. But in spite of the truth of his justification and the weight of his reasons, Maxtlaton angrily replied, "I might now, without hearing more, put you to instant death, and so punish your boldness and avenge my own honour; but I would not have it said that a Tepanecan prince killed his enemy in a treacherous manner. Depart in peace; and time will give me an opportunity of taking a more honourable revenge."

    The Mexican went from him, filled with rage and vexation, and was not long without feeling the effects of his cruel kinsman's displeasure. The true cause of Maxtlaton's enmity arose from his fear of the crown of the Tepanecas one day coming to his nephew Acolnahuacatl, by which event his nation would become subject to the Mexicans. To remove the cause of his fear, he formed the barbarous resolution of putting his nephew to death, who was accordingly murdered a short time after by some persons who hoped, by that act of cruelty, to gain the favour of their master; no prince ever wanting, about him, mercenary men, who are ready to serve his passions. (s) Tezozomoc gave no consent to the perpetration of this crime, but we do not know that he shewed any disapprobation

    (s) There is no author who gives any account of the circumstances of this murder; and it is hardly to be conceived how the Tepanecas should be able to execute such a deed in Mexico; but we cannot doubt of the fail, as it is confirmed by all the national historians; but father Acosta has committed a mistake in confounding the murder of this young prince Acolnahuacatl, with the death of Chimalpopoca the third king of Mexico.


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    of it. In the sequel of this history we shall see that the haughtiness, the ambition, and the cruelty of Maxtlaton rather encouraged than connived at by his indulgent father, brought ruin upon himself and his kingdom. Huitzilihuitl could ill brook such a barbarous injury; but he yet wanted sufficient power to take revenge.

    In the same year with this tragical event (1399) died at Tlatelolco, the first king, Quaquauhpitzahuac, leaving his subjects much more civilized, and the city greatly enlarged by handsome buildings and gardens. He was succeeded by Tlacalcotl, of whose origin historians differ widely in their relations; some imagining he was a Tepanecan as well as his predecessor, while others take him to have been an Acolhuan, appointed by the king of Acolhuacan. The rivalship which subsisted between the Mexicans and Tlatelolcas contributed greatly to the aggrandizement of their respective cities. The Mexicans had formed so many alliances, by marriage, with the neighbouring nations; had so greatly improved their agriculture, and increased the number of their floating gardens upon the lake; and had built so many more vessels to supply their extended commerce and fishing, that they were enabled to celebrate their secular year I. Tochtli, which answers to the year 1402 of our era, with greater magnificence than any of the four which had elapsed since their first leaving of the country of Aztlan.

    At this time Techotlala, far advanced in years, still reigned in Acolhuacan; who perceiving his end approach, called to him his son and successor Ixtlilxochitl, and, among many instructions, particularly recommended to him the conciliating of the minds of his feudatory lords; lest the crafty and ambitious Tezozomoc, who, till that time, had only been restrained by the uncertainty of success,


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     181

    should attempt any thing against the empire. Nor were the sears of Techotlala without foundation, as will appear from the sequel. He died, at last, in the year 1406, after a very long reign, though not quite so long as some authors have imagined. (t)

    After the funeral rites were performed with the usual solemnity, and the attendance of the princes and lords, the feudatories of the crown, they proceeded to celebrate the accession of Ixtlilxochitl. Among the princes was the king of Azcapozalco; who, by his conduct, soon justified the suspicions entertained of him by the deceased Techotlala; as, without making the usual submissions to the new king, he set out for his own state with an intention to stir up the other feudatories to rebellion against the empire. He called together the kings of Mexico and Tlatelolco, and told them, that Techotlala, who had so long tyrannized over that country, being dead, his purpose was to procure freedom to the princes, so that each might rule his own state with entire independence upon the king of Acolhuacan: but in order to obtain so glorious an object, he needed their assistance; and, upon their spirit, so well known among all the nations, he relied for their taking part with him in the great enterprise. He added, that in order to strike their blow with the greater security, he would undertake to unite in their confederacy some other princes whom he knew to be animated with the same designs. The two kings, either through fear of the great power of Tezozomoc, or to

    (t) Torquemada and Betancourt give one hundred and four years to the reign of Techotlala; and although it is not impossible that a prince should reign so long, yet it is extremely improbable, and would require the strongest evidence to authenticate it; especially if we consider the general absurdity of their chronology. But see our Dissertations.


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    increase the reputation of their arms, engaged to assist him with their troops, as did also the other chiefs whom he solicited.

    In the mean time Ixtlilxochitl was employed in putting the affairs of his court into order, and in gaining the minds of his subjects; but he soon discovered, to his great disappointment, that already many had withdrawn themselves from their obedience to him, in order to place themselves under the command of the perfidious Tezozomoc. To oppose the progress of the enemy, he commanded the princes of Coatlichan, Huexotla, and Tome other neighbouring states, to arm all the troops they could without delay. The king himself wished to lead his army in person, but he was dissuaded from it by some of his courtiers, who represented the necessity of his presence at the court, lest in the distraction of affairs, some concealed enemy, or friend of wavering fidelity should be tempted, by the opportunity of his absence, to make himself master of the capital, and drive the king from his throne. Tochinteuctli, son of the prince of Coatlichan, was made general of the army, and in case of his death, or any other accident, Quauhxilotl, prince of Iztapallocan was appointed to succeed him. The plain of Quauhtitlan, fifteen miles north of Azcapozalco, was chosen for the theatre of the war. The troops of the rebels were more numerous, but those of the king better disciplined. The royal army, before it set out for Quauhtitlan, ravaged six of the revolted states, in order both to weaken the enemy, and to leave behind them none who should be able to do them much injury. The war was supported with great obstinacy; the superior discipline of the Tezcucans being counteracted by the superiority of numbers on the


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     183

    side of the Tepanecas, who would certainly have been quickly overcome if they had not been constantly supplied with fresh troops. The allies of the rebels frequently sent out large bodies to make incursions in the loyal states, where they met with little resistance as the greatest part of the Tezcucan force was collected at Quauhtitlan. Among the various disasters which they occasioned, the lord of Iztapallocan Quauhxilotl was slain, who died with glory in defence of his city after his return from the field of Quauhtitlan. The king of Acolhuacan saw himself obliged, now, to divide his forces, and appointed a considerable part of the people, who came from many distant places to his assistance, for the garrison of the cities. Tezozomoc perceiving in place of the advantages which he had promised himself, that his troops daily diminished, and that his people were become impatient of the fatigues and dangers of war after three years of continued action, demanded peace, designing to finish, by secret treachery, what he had begun by open violence. The king of Acolhuacan, although he could not rely on the faith of the Tepanecan prince, nevertheless consented, without infixing on any conditions which might give him security for the future, as his troops were as much broken with fatigue as those of his enemy.

    Just as the war was concluded, or a little before its termination, after a reign of twenty years, in 1409, Huitzilihuitl died, having published some laws useful to the state, and leaving the nobility in possession of their right to choose a successor. Chimalpopoca, who was his brother, was accordingly chosen, and by what appears, from thence it became the established law to make the election of one of the brothers of the deceased king,


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    and on failure of brothers, of one of his grandsons. This law was constantly observed until the fall of the Mexican empire.

    While Chimalpopoca found means to six himself securely on the throne of Mexico, Ixtlilxochitl began to totter on that of Acolhuacan. The peace which Tezozomoc had demanded was a mere artifice to lull suspicion while he was more effectually pursuing his negotiations. The number of his party was daily observed to increase, while that of the Tezcucan diminished. This unfortunate king found himself reduced to such extremity, that thinking himself insecure in his own court, he went wandering through the neighbouring mountains, escorted by a small army, and accompanied by the lords of Huexotla and Coatlichan, who were always faithful to him. The Tepanecas, that they might distress him to the utmost, intercepted the provisions which were carrying to his camp; by which his necessities became so great that he was compelled at last to beg provisions of his enemies. So easy is it to fall from the height of human felicity to the lowest state of misery.

    He sent one of his grandsons named Cehuacuecuenotzin, to Otompan, one of the rebel states, to request the citizens of it to supply their king with the provisions he stood in need of, and to admonish them to abandon the party of the rebels, and to call to their minds the loyalty they had sworn. Cehuacuecuenotzin, well knew the danger of the undertaking; but fear being overcome by the generosity of his sentiments, his fortitude of mind, and fidelity to his sovereign, he shewed himself ready to obey: "I go my lord," he said, "to execute your commands, and to sacrifice my life to the obedience which I owe you. You cannot be insensible how much the


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     185

    Otompanese are alienated from you by espousing the part of your enemy. The whole country is occupied by the Tepanecas, and every where dangerous; my return is uncertain. But should I perish in your service, and if the sacrifice which I make you of my life is worthy of any recompense, I pray you to protect the two young children I leave behind." These words, which were accompanied with strong marks of feeling, touched the king's heart, who, in taking leave of him, said, "May our God accompany and return you safe. Alas! perhaps at your return, you may find what you fear for yourself, will have happened to me, the enemies being so numerous who conspire against my life." Cihuacuecuenotzin proceeded without delay to Otompan, but before he entered he knew that there were, at that time, Tepanecas in the city, who were sent by Tezozomoc, to publish a proclamation; he was not however, discouraged, but went intrepidly to the public place where the Tepanecas had assembled the people to hear the proclamation, and after having saluted them all graciously, he freely communicated his embassy.

    The Otompanese made a jest of him and his demand, but none of them dared to proceed farther, until a mean person among them threw a stone at him, exciting others at the same time to put him to death. The Tepanecas, who continued still and silent, to observe what resolution the Otompanese would take, perceiving now that they openly declared against the king of Acolhuacan, and his ambassador, cried out, Kill, kill, the traitor! accompanying their cries with throwing of stones. Cihuacuecuenotzin, at first, faced his enemies, but seeing himself overpowered by numbers, and endeavouring to save himself by flight, was killed by a shower of stones. A character


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    intitled to a better fate! an example of fidelity most worthy to be recorded, which had the hero been Grecian or Roman, in place of American, would have been the subject of praise of both historians and poets.

    The Tepanecas became vain-glorious, of an act equally contrary to humanity and the rights of nations; and protected to the multitude the great pleasure they would have in being able to inform their chief, from being eye-witnesses, of the inviolable fidelity of the Otompanese. They also declared, they had been sent expressly to intimate an order not to give assistance to the king of Tezcuco, under pain of proscription, and to exhort them to take arms against that king, and in defence of their liberty. The lord of Otompan, and the heads of the nobility replied, they would willingly obey the order of the king of Azcapozalco, and offered to do every thing in their power to second his intentions.

    They gave speedy intelligence of this event to the lord of Acolman, who was the son of Tezozomoc, and communicated it to his father: he believing it now time to put his designs in execution, sent for the lords of Otompan and Chalco, on whose fidelity he chiefly relied, and whose states were most conveniently situated for his purpose, and charged them to levy, with all possible secrecy, a sufficient army, and lay themselves in ambuscade in a mountain near to the camp of the Tezcucan king; that from thence they should send two of the most brave and able captains to the royal camp, who, under pretence of imparting some very important secret to the king, should artfully lead him to as great a distance as possible from his people, and then without delay or hesitation to murder him. Every thing happened as the wicked prince had designed. The king then chanced to be in the neighbourhood


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    of Tlascala, and entertaining no suspicion of the two captains who came to him, fell unwarily into the snare. The deed was done at some little distance, but yet in sight of the royal army. They ran up immediately to chastise the temerity of those two desperate captains, but the army of the conspirators advancing, which was more numerous, they were quickly defeated. The royal corpse was with difficulty saved, to pay it funeral honours, and the heir of the crown, who was a witness of the tragic end of his father, was obliged to hide himself in the bushes to escape the fury of his enemies. Thus did the unfortunate king Ixtlilxochitl end his life in 1410, after a reign of seven years.

    He left several sons, and among them Nezahualcojotl, heir to the throne, whom he had by Matlalcihuatzin, daughter of Acamapitzin, king of Mexico. (t) This prince was endued with a great genius, and an unparalleled magnanimity, and pre-eminently deserving of the throne of Acolhuacan; but he was not able from the superiority of Tezozomoc, to put himself in possession of the throne which was due to him by so many titles, until many years had elapsed, and many dangers and obstacles to it were surmounted.

    The perfidious Tezozomoc had prepared great bodies of troops, that when the premeditated blow on the person of the king should succeed, they might pour down upon the cities of Tezcuco, Huexotla, Coatlichan, Coatepec,

    (t) Torquemada makes Matlalcihuatzin, daughter of Huitzilihuitl; but how? He say», that this king when he mounted the throne, was only seventeen years of age, nor yet married: and that he reigned twenty-two, or at most twenty-six years. On the other hand, he represents Nezahualcojotl, at the death of his pretended grandfather, of an age able to go to war, and make negociations to secure himself the crown: from whence he would make out that Huitzilihuitl, before he was twenty-six years married, had grandson at least twenty years old.


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    and Iztapallocan, which had been the most faithful to their lord, and reduce them to ashes. The inhabitants of those cities who were able to save themselves by flight, took shelter on the other side of the mountains, among the Huexotzincas and Tlascalans; all the rest died in defence of their country; but they sold their lives dearly, as the infinite blood spilt on both sides attested. If we would be disposed to trace the source of so many calamities, we should discover no other than the ambition of a prince. Heaven grant the sacrifices to the passions were more infrequent in the world and less violent! How calamitous is it that the avarice or ambition of a prince or his minister is sufficient to cover the plains with human blood, to destroy cities, to overturn kingdoms, and spread confusion over this globe!

    The cruelty of the tyrant being appeased by the oppression of his enemies, the king of Acolhuacan was made to take an oath in the city of Tezcuco, to grant to all those who had taken up arms against him, general pardon, and liberty to return to their habitations. The city of Tezcuco was given in fief to Chimalpopoca, king of Mexico, and that of Huexotla to Tlacatcotl, king of Tlatelolco, as a reward for the services which they had rendered during the war. He placed faithful governors in other places, and proclaimed Azcapozalco the royal residence and capital of all the kingdom of Acolhuacan.

    At this solemnity were present, though in disguise, several persons of distinction, enemies of the tyrant, and amongst these the prince Nezahualcojotl. The grief and rage which filled him aided by the ardour of youth, was like to have urged him to a rash action against his enemies, if a confidential friend, who accompanied him, had not withheld him, by representing the fatal consequences


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    of such temerity, and making him sensible how much more prudent it would be to wait till time presented him a fitter opportunity for the recovery of his crown, and revenge of his enemies; that the tyrant was already worn out with age, and that his death, which could not be very distant, would entirely change the state of affairs; that the people themselves would come willingly to submit themselves to their lawful sovereign, from a sense of the injustice and cruelty of the usurper. Upon this same occasion, a Mexican officer of respect, (probably Itzcoatl, the brother of the king, and general of the Mexican forces), either of his own accord, or by order of the king Chimalpopoca, ascended the temple, which the Toltecas had at that court, and addressed the multitude around him, "Hear, Chechemecas, hear Acolhuas, and all ye who are present. Let no one dare to offer any hurt to our son Nezahualcojotl, nor permit others to hurt him, if he is not willing to subject himself to severe chastisement." This proclamation contributed much to the prince's security, no body wishing to draw upon himself the anger of a nation which began now to make itself respected.

    A little time after, many of those nobles who had taken refuge in Huexotzinco and Tlascala, to avoid the fury of the Tepanecan troops, assembled at Papalotla, a place near to Tezcuco, to deliberate on the conduct they should pursue in the present circumstances, and they all agreed to submit themselves to the new lords whom the usurper had appointed to their cities, that they might be free from farther hostilities, and attend in peace to the care of their families and habitations.

    After having satisfied his ambition with the usurpation of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, and his cruelty with the


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    slaughter he had committed, the tyrant was desirous of gratifying his avarice by laying new taxes on his subjects. Besides the tribute which they had hitherto paid their king of provisions, and a robe to array him, he enjoined them to pay him another tribute of gold and precious stones, without adverting how much such burdens would tend to exasperate the minds of his subjects, which he should rather have endeavoured to gain by moderation and lenity, to give himself more security in the possession of a throne founded on cruelty and injustice. The Toltecan and Chechemecan nobles answered the proclamation by desiring to present themselves in person before the king, to be heard on the subject. The arrogance of the tyrant appeared to them unbounded, and his conduct widely different from the moderation of the ancient kings of whom he was descended. They agreed to send to him two eloquent deputies the most learned among them, one a Tolteca, the other a Chechemeca, that each in the name of his nation might remonstrate with energy and force. They both went to Azcapozalco, when being admitted to an audience of the tyrant, the Toltecan orator in respect to the greater antiquity of his nation in that country began first, and represented to him the humble beginning of the Toltecas, the necessities they endured before they rose to that splendour and glory which they had for some time enjoyed, and the misery to which they were reduced since their revolution; he described the deplorable dispersion in which they were found by Xolotl, when he first arrived in that country, and taking a review of the two last centuries, he made a pathetic enumeration of the hardships they had suffered, to move the tyrant to compassion, and get his nation exempted from the new grievances.


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    The Tolteca had hardly finished his harangue when the Chechemeca began his: "I, my lord, may speak to you with greater confidence and liberty; as I am a Chechemeca, and address myself to a prince of my own nation, who is a descendant of the great kings Xolotl, Nopaltzin, and Tlotzin. You are not ignorant that those divine Chechemecas, your ancestors, set no value on gold or precious stones. They wore no other crown on their heads than a garland of herbs and flowers of the field, nor adorned themselves with any other bracelets than the stiff leather against which beat the firing of their bow in shooting. Their food at first was confined to raw flesh, and plain herbs, and their dress was the skin of the stags and wild beasts which they themselves hunted. When they were taught agriculture by the Toltecas, their kings themselves cultivated the land to encourage by their example their subjects to fatigue. The wealth and glory to which fortune afterwards raised them, did not make them more proud. As kings they certainly made use of their subjects, but as fathers they loved them, and were contented to be requited by them with the simple gifts of the earth. I do not call to your memory these illustrious examples of your ancestors, for any other reason than that I may most humbly entreat you not to demand more from us now than they did from our predecessors." The tyrant listened to each harangue, and although the comparison drawn between him and the ancient kings was odious, he dissembled his disgust, and contented himself with giving license to the orators to confirm the order published respecting the new tax.

    In the mean time, Nezahualcojotl went anxiously through many cities, to gain their affection, that he might


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    replace himself on the throne. But although his subjects loved him, and were desirous of seeing him in possession of the kingdom, they durst not openly savour his party from their fear of the tyrant. Among the subjects who were the nearest related to him, and had abandoned him, were the lord of Chimalpan his uncle, and Tecpanecatl the brother of his second wife Nezahualxochitl, of the royal line of Mexico. Persevering in such negotiations, he arrived one evening at a village of the province of Chalco, belonging to a lady and widow named Tziltomiaub. He observed that there was a plantation of aloes, from which the widow extracted wine, not only for the use of her family, but also for sale, which was strictly forbid by the Chechemecan code. He was so fired with zeal for the laws of his fathers, that he felt no restraint from the adversity of his fortune, nor any other consideration, but with his own hand put the delinquent to death. An action most inconsiderate and reprehensible, in which prudence had a far less share than the intemperate ardour of youth. This deed raised a great rumour in that province, and the lord of Chalco, who was his enemy, and had been an accomplice in the death of his father, used the utmost diligence to have him in his power; but the prince, who foresaw the consequences of his act, had already placed himself in security.

    Eight years were now elapsed, during which Tezozomoc had possessed in peace the kingdom of Acolhuacan, claimed in vain by Nezahualcojotl, when fatal dreams threw the tyrant into extreme perturbation. He dreamed that Nezahualcojotl transformed into an eagle, opened his breast and eat his heart; and at another time, changed into a lion, licked his body, and sucked his blood. He


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     193

    was so intimidated with these ominous visions, which were formed by the consciousness of his own injustice and tyranny, that he called together his three sons Tajatzin, Teuctzintli, and Maxtlaton, imparted to them his dreams, and charged them to put Nezahualcojotl to death as speedily as possible, provided they could do it so secretly that no person should suspect the author of it. He hardly survived his dreams a year. He was now become so old, he was no more able to keep himself in necessary warmth, nor rest in a chair, but was obliged to be wholly covered up in cotton, in a great basket made of willows in the form of a cradle; but from this cradle, or rather sepulchre, he tyrannised over the kingdom of Acolhuacan, and delivered oracles of injustice. A little before his death, he declared his son Tajatzin his successor in the kingdom, and repeated his command respecting the death of Nezahualcojotl, preserving to his expiring moments his malicious designs. In 1422, this monster of ambition, treachery, and injustice, ended his life, after having tyrannised over the kingdom of Acolhuacan for nine years, and possessed for a considerable period the state of Azcapozalco. (u)

    Although the giving proper orders for the funeral of his father belonged to Tajatzin, as successor to the

    (u) Torquemada makes Tezozomoc an immediate descendant of the first Acolhuan prince: by which he makes his reign one hundred and sixty, or one hundred and eighty years: but from the harangue made by the Chechemecan orator, it is evident, that Tezozomoc was descended of Xolotl, Nopaltzin and Tlotzin. The sister of Nopaltzin married the prince Acolhuatzin, whence their children were cousins of Tlotzin, the son of Nopaltzin. In all this Torquemada agrees with us. Whoever then could be called the descendant of his cousin? Whoever reads the genealogy of the Chechemecan kings in the works of Torquemada, will instantly perceive the mistakes made by this author. There may have been two or three lords of Azcapozalco named Tezozomoc, but the tyrant of Acolhuacan was at most great-grandson of prince Acolhuatzin.


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    crown, nevertheless his brother Maxtlaton, being more forward and active, arrogated the right to himself, and began to command with as much authority as if he had been already in possession of the kingdom at which he aspired, imagining it would be easy to oppress his brother, who was a man of no abilities, and unskilled in the art of government. He sent information to the kings of Mexico and Tlatelolco, and other lords, that they might honour with their presence and their tears the funeral of their common lord. Nezahualcojotl, though not summoned, was willing to be present, as may easily be imagined, to observe with his own eyes the disposition of the court. He was accompanied by a confidential friend and a small retinue; having entered the hall of the royal palace where the corpse lay exposed, he found the kings of Mexico and Tlatelolco, the three princes, sons of the late tyrant, and some other lords. He saluted them all one after another, according to the order in which they sat, beginning with the king of Mexico, and presented them bunches of flowers, according to the custom of that country. Having paid his compliments he sat down by the side of king Chimalpopoca, his brother-in-law, to accompany him in condolence. Teuctzintli, one of the sons of Tezozomoc, who inherited his cruelty, conceiving this a good occasion to execute the iniquitous charge of his father on Nezahualcojotl, proposed it to his brother Maxtlaton. He, however, though of no less inhuman a heart, had more understanding and judgment, "Banish," he replied, "banish from your mind such a thought. What would men say of us if they should see us plotting against the life of another while we ought to be employed in mourning for our father? They would say, that the grief was not deep which


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     195

    "gave way to ambition and revenge. Time will present us with an occasion more favourable for the accomplishment of our father's purpose, without incurring the odium of our subjects. Nezahualcojotl is not invisible; unless he hides himself in fire, in water, or in the bowels of the earth, he will inevitably fall into our hands." This happened on the fourth day after the death of the tyrant, when the corpse was burnt, and his ashes buried with unusual pomp and solemnity.

    The next day the kings of Mexico and Tlatelolco returned to their cities, and Maxtlaton began soon by less dissimulation to discover his ambitious design of making himself master of the kingdom, shewing by his arrogance and daring temper, that where his arts would not be sufficient, he would employ force. Tajatzin had not courage to oppose him, knowing the bold and violent disposition of his brother, and the advantage he had in having subjects accustomed to obey him. On so difficult a point, he took therefore the resolution of resorting to Mexico to consult with king Chimalpopoca, to whom he had been chiefly recommended by his father. This king received him with particular marks of esteem, and, after the usual compliments, Chimalpopoca addressed him. "What are you doing, prince. Is not the kingdom yours? Did not your father leave it to you? Why do you not exert yourself to recover it, if you are unjustly robbed of it?" "Because my rights avail but little, if my subjects do not assist me. My brother has made himself master of the kingdom, and no person seems to give him opposition: it would be rashness to oppose him with no other power or forces than my desires, and the justice of my cause." "What is not to be done by force may be supplied by industry," replied


    196                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    Chimalpopoca, "I will point out to you a method to get rid of your brother, and restore yourself without danger to the possession of the throne. Excuse yourself for not inhabiting the palace of your deceased father, under pretence that your grief is revived by the remembrance of his actions, and the love which he bore you, and that therefore you are willing to build yourself another palace for your residence. When it is finished, make a splendid entertainment, and invite your brother to it, and there, in the midst of the rejoicings, it will be easy to free your kingdom of a tyrant, and yourself of a rival so dangerous and unjust; and that you may more certainly succeed, I shall attend to assist you in person, with all the forces of my nation." To such counsel Tajatzin made no reply, but looks of dark melancholy, occasioned by the love he had to blood, or the baseness of the act suggested to him.

    To all this discourse a servant of Tajatzin was privy, who had concealed himself where he could easily overhear them, and hoping to make his fortune by betraying them, he departed secretly at night for Azcapozalco, went directly to the palace, where having obtained an audience, he revealed to Maxtlaton all he had heard. His mind was suddenly seized with anger, fear, and vexation, which the relation had excited; but being politic, and practiced in dissembling his sentiments, he affected to despise the whole, and severely reprimanded the reporter for his hardiness and temerity in calumniating such respectable personages, called him drunkard, and dismissed him to digest his wine at home. The remainder of the night he passed in deliberation what measure he should pursue, and determined at last to anticipate his brother, and catch him in his own snare.


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    The morning of the ensuing day he assembled the people of Azcapozalco, and told them, that having no right to remain any longer in his father's palace, as it belonged to prince Tajatzin, and having besides occasion for a house at that court where he might be lodged when ever any business required him to come from his state of Cojohuacan, he desired they would shew the love they bore him by the most speedy construction of such a residence, Such was the diligence of the Azcapozalchese, and so great the multitude of workmen who were collected, that Tajatzin, who only continued three days in Mexico, found on his return the edifice already begun. He was struck with wonder at this novelty, and enquiring the cause at Maxtlaton, was answered by him, that finding it his duty to leave the royal mansion, in justice to Tajatzin's rights, he was erecting another where he might reside when he should come to court. The good Tajatzin remained satisfied with this answer, and easily persuaded himself that Maxtlaton thought no more of usurping the crown. A little time after, the building being finished, Maxtlaton invited his brothers the kings of Mexico and Tlatelolco, and other lords to an entertainment. Tajatzin being totally ignorant of the treachery of his servant, did not suspect the snare which was laid for him: but Chimalpopoca, who was more discerning and cautious, certainly was suspicious of some treachery, and politely excused himself from attendance. The day appointed for the festival being arrived, the guests resorted to the new mansion, and at the time they were most engaged in jollity and mirth, and probably also heated with wine, which is the most favourable time for deeds of this nature, suddenly people in arms entered, and poured with such violence on the unfortunate Tajatzin, that he had scarcely


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    lifted his eyes to behold his murderers, when they were closed in death. So unexpected a tragedy disturbed, and shocked the whole meeting; but Maxtlaton quieted them by explaining the treason which was designed against him; and protesting, that what he had done, was only to prevent the blow which threatened himself. By these and similar discourses, he so far altered their minds, that in place of revenging the death of their lawful lord, they proclaimed the treacherous tyrant, king; but, although injustice raised him to the throne, it was only to precipitate him from a greater height.

    His indignation against the king of Mexico was still greater; but it did not appear prudent to make any attempt against his life until he should feel himself firmly seated on the throne. In the mean while he vented his rage by doing injuries to his person, and offering outrages to his dignity. A little time after his intrusion on the kingdom, the present which it was usual to make, as a mark of acknowledgement of the high power of the king of Azcapozalco, was sent to him by the king of Mexico. This present, which consisted of three baskets of whitefish, craw-fish, frogs, and some pulse, was carried by respectable persons from the court of Chimalpopoca, with a polite address, and particular expressions of submission and respect. Maxtlaton shewed himself pleased; but as it was proper, according to the custom of those nations, to return some gift, and being desirous, at the same time, of gratifying his pique, after consulting with his confidents, he caused to be delivered to the Mexican ambassadors for their king a Cueitl, that is a woman's gown, and a Huepilli, which is a woman's shift, intimating by these that he esteemed their king an effeminate coward: an insult the most gross to those nations, as nothing was so


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     199

    much in estimation with them as the boast of being courageous. Chimalpopoca felt sufficiently on the occasion, and would have revenged the outrage; but he was unable.

    This disdainful act was soon succeeded by a most heinous offence to his honour. The tyrant knew that among the wives of the king of Mexico, there was one singularly beautiful: being inflamed by this occasion with wicked desires, he determined to sacrifice both honour and justice to his passion. To obtain his purpose he employed some ladies of Tepaneca, and enjoined them when they visited, as they were accustomed to do, that Mexican lady, to invite her to spend some days of pleasure with them at Azcapozalco. Such visits being frequent among persons of the first rank, of different nations, it was not difficult for the abandoned prince to gain the opportunity he so much longed for, to satisfy his criminal passion; neither the tears nor efforts made by that virtuous Mexican in defence of her honour, were sufficient to restrain him: she returned to Mexico with ignominy, and pierced with the most affecting anguish to mourn with her husband. The unfortunate king, either that he might not survive his dishonour, or that he might not die in the hands of the tyrant, resolved to put an end to his wretched life, by dying a sacrifice in honour of his God, Huitzilopochtli, as many pretended heroes of his nation had done, believing such a death would cancel his dishonour, at least save him from some ignominious exit, which he dreaded from his enemy. He communicated this resolution to his courtiers, who applauded it, from the extravagant ideas they entertained in matters of religion, and some of them even were willing to partake of the glory of so barbarous a sacrifice.


    200                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    The day appointed for this religious tragic scene being come, the king appeared dressed in the manner they usually represented their God Huitzilopochtli, and all those who were to accompany him were dressed also in their best habits. This religious ceremony began with a solemn ball; and while it lasted the priests sacrificed the unhappy victims one after another, reserving the king to the last. It was hardly possible such a transaction could remain unknown to the tyrant; he knew it by anticipation, and that he might prevent his enemy escaping from his revenge by voluntary death, he sent a body of troops to take him before he was sacrificed. They arrived when there hardly remained two victims, after whom the king himself was to follow. This unhappy prince was seized by the Tepanecas, and conducted instantly to Azcapozalco, where he was put into a strong cage of wood, which was the prison used by these nations, as we shall mention hereafter, under custody of strong guards. In this event many circumstances appear difficult to be credited: but we relate it as we find it told by the historians of Mexico. It is certainly much to be wondered at, that the Tepanecas should have dared to enter into that city and attempt so dangerous an act; and that the Mexicans should not have armed themselves in defence of their king; but the power of the tyrant may have, of itself, been sufficient to encourage the Tepanecas and intimidate the Mexicans.

    The taking of Chimalpopoca prisoner, excited fresh desire in the mind of Maxtlaton to get the prince Nezahualcojotl also into his power; to affect this more easily he sent for him under pretence of being willing to come to an agreement with him, respecting the crown of Acolhuacan. The discerning prince immediately penetrated


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     201

    the malevolent intention of the tyrant; but the ardour of youth, the courage and confidence of his soul, made him present himself intrepidly before the sternest dangers. In passing through Tlatelolco, he payed a visit to one of his confidents, named Chichincatl, by whom he was informed, that the tyrant was not only plotting against his life and the king of Tlatelolco, but, were it possible, desired to annihilate the whole Acolhuan nation. Notwithstanding this, in the evening the prince set out fearless for Azcapozalco, and went directly to the house of one of his friends. Early in the morning he waited on Chachaton, a great favourite of the tyrant, and by whom the prince himself was beloved, and recommended to him to dissuade Maxtlaton from any design against his person. They went together to the palace; when Chachaton preceded to acquaint his lord of the arrival of the prince, and to speak in his favour. The prince entered after, and when he had paid his obeisance, thus spoke: "I know, my lord, that you have imprisoned the king of Mexico, but I am ignorant whether you have made him suffer death, or if he still lives in prison. I have heard, also, that it is your wish to take away my life. If this is true, behold me before you; kill me with your own hands, and gratify the malice which you bear to a prince not less innocent than unfortunate." While he spoke these words, the memory of his misfortunes forced tears from his eyes. "What is your opinion?" said Maxtlaton then to his favourite, "Is it not strange, that a youth, who has hardly begun to enjoy life, should seek death so daringly?" Turning to the prince, he assured him, that he was forming no design against his life, that the king of Mexico was not dead, nor would be put to


    202                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    death by him; and endeavoured to justify the imprisonment of that unfortunate king. He then gave orders that the prince should be properly entertained.

    Chimalpopoca being acquainted of the arrival of the prince who was his cousin, at court, sent to request a visit from him in prison. The prince having first obtained the permission of Maxtlaton, went to him, and upon his entering the prison, embraced him, and both of them shewed much tenderness in their looks and expressions. Chimalpopoca related to him the series of insults and wrongs which he had suffered, and convinced him of the malevolent designs of the tyrant against them both, and entreated him not to return again to the court; as their cruel enemy would infallibly contrive his death, and the Acolhuan nation would be utterly abandoned. At last he said, "As my death is inevitable, I beseech you most earnestly to take care of my poor Mexicans, be to them a true friend and father. In token of the love which I bear you, accept of this pendant which I had from my brother Huitzilihuitl;" upon which he took a pendant of gold from his lip, and presented it with earrings and some other jewels which he had preserved in prison; and to a servant of the prince he gave a few other things. They then affectionately took leave of each other, that they might not excite suspicion by a longer conference. Nezahualcojotl, using the advice which was given him, left the court without delay, and never after presented himself before the tyrant. He went to Tlatelolco, where he took a vessel with good rowers, and got speedily to Tezcuco.

    Chimalpopoca remained in comfortless solitude brooding over his misfortunes. Imprisonment became daily more insupportable to him: he had not the smallest hope


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     203

    of recovering his liberty, nor of being of any service to his nation during the little time he had to live. "If at last," he said, "I am to die here, will it not be preferable, and more glorious to die by my own than by the hands of a cruel and perfidious tyrant? If I can have no other revenge, I shall at least deprive him of the pleasure which he would take in appointing the time and mode of death which must finish my unhappy days. I shall be the disposer of my own life, choose the time and manner of my death, as it will be attended with so much the less ignominy, the less the will of my enemy shall influence and direct it." (x) In this resolution, which was entirely conformable to the ideas of those nations, he hanged himself upon a small beam of the cage or prison, making use, most probably, of his girdle for that purpose.

    Thus tragic an end had the unfortunate life of the third king of Mexico. We have no more particular accounts of his character, or the progress the nation made during his reign, which lasted about thirteen years, being concluded in 1423, about a year after the death of Tezozomoc. We know only that in the eleventh year of his reign, he ordered a great stone to be brought to Mexico, to serve as an altar for the ordinary sacrifice of prisoners, and a larger round one, for gladiatorian sacrifices, of which we shall speak hereafter. In the fourth painting of Mendoza's collection, are represented the different victories which the Mexicans obtained during the reign of Chimalpopoca, the cities of Chalco, and Tequizquiac, and the naval engagement which they had

    (x) these last words of Chimalpopoca, handed down by the historians of Mexico, were known from the depositions of the guards who surrounded the cage or prison.


    204                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    with the Chalchese, with the loss of their people, and the vessels overset by the enemy. The interpreter of that collection adds, that Chimalpopoca left many children whom he had by his concubines.

    As soon as Maxtlaton knew of the death of his noble prisoner, he rose in wrath at the disappointment of his projects; and lest that Nezahualcojotl might also elude his revenge, he determined to anticipate death to him by whatever means he could, which he would have done before, could he have accomplished it in the manner enjoined by his father, or had he not been intimidated, as some historians affirm, by certain auguries of the priests; but his passion now surmounted all restraints of religion; he ordered four of his most able captains to go in quest of the prince, and take his life, without remission, wherever they should find him. The Tepanecan captains set out with a small party only, that rumour might not prevent their coming up with their spoil, and proceeded directly to Tezcuco, where, as they arrived, Nezahualcojotl was diverting himself at foot-ball with one of his familiars, named Ocelotl. Wherever the prince went to gain adherents to his party, he spent great part of his time at balls, games, and other amusements, that the governors of those places, who watched his conduct by order of the tyrant, and observed all his steps, seeing him taken up with pastimes, might be persuaded that he had dropt all thoughts of the crown, and gradually neglect to attend to him. By these means he carried on his negotiations without creating the slightest suspicion. On this occasion, before the captains entered his house, he knew that they were Tepanecas, and that they came armed: this made him apprehend what they might intend, upon which he left off play, and retired


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     205

    to his innermost apartment. Being informed, afterwards, by his porter, that the Tepanecas enquired for him, he ordered Ocelotl to receive them, and to acquaint them that he would attend them as soon as they had reposed and refreshed themselves. The Tepanecas did not imagine that by delaying they would lose the opportunity of striking their blow, and possibly also durst not execute their commission, as they were uncertain whether there were not attendants in the house sufficient to oppose them; after some repose, therefore, they sat down to table, and while they were refreshing, the prince fled by a secret door, and travelled something more than a mile to Coatitlan, a small settlement of weavers, the people of which were all faithful and affectionate to him, and there concealed himself. (y) The Tepanecas having waited a considerable time without the prince or his domestic making their appearance, they searched over the whole house, but no person could give any account of him. At length being persuaded of his flight, they set out instantly in search of him, and being informed by a countryman, in the road to Coatitlan, that he had taken refuge in that place, they entered there with their arms in their hands, threatening the inhabitants with death if they did not discover the fugitive prince; but no person was found who would make this discovery; and so uncommon was their example of fidelity, some were put death for the refusal. Amongst those who made sacrifices of their lives to preserve their prince, were Tochmantzin

    (y) Torquemada says the prince went out of his house by a kind of labyrinth, through which no person unacquainted with it could find his way. The prince and some of his most particular confidants only knew the secret of it. It is not at all incredible that he should have designed such a maze, as his genius was superior and himself distinguished above all his countrymen, in talent and penetration.


    206                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    the superintendant of all the looms of Coatitlan, and Matlalintzin, a woman of noble rank. The Tepanecas not being able, notwithstanding the utmost diligence in their search, and the cruelty they exercised against the inhabitants, to find out the prince, went in quest of him through the country. Nezahualcojotl set out also another way, and took a directly contrary route to his adversaries; but as they fought for him every where, he was in great hazard of falling into their hands, had he not been hid by some countrymen, under a heap of the herb chia, which was lying upon a threshing floor. The prince finding himself safe from this danger, went to pass the night at Tezcotzinco, a pleasant villa formed by his ancestors for recreation. There he was waited for by six lords, who had left their states, and were traversing through the different cities of the kingdom. There they held a secret counsel that night, and resolved to solicit the assistance of the Chalchese, although they had been accomplices in the death of king Ixtlilxochitl. The next morning early, he proceeded to Matlallan and other places, intimating to those of his party to be prepared with arms by the time of his return. Two days were employed in these negotiations, and on the evening of the second he was met at Apan by the ambassadors of the Cholulans, who offered to assist him in war against the tyrant. Here he was joined also by two lords of his party, who communicated to him the unfortunate intelligence of the death of his favourite Huitzilihuitl, who was put to the torture by the tyrant, that he might reveal some secrets; but being too loyal to his master to discover them, he died a martyr to his fidelity. Full of this disgust he passed from Apan to Huexotzinco, the lord of which was his relation, and received him with


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     207

    infinite affection and kindness, and promised to assist him also with all his forces. From thence he went to Tlascala, where he was most nobly treated, and in that city the time and place was agreed upon at which the troops of Cholula, Huexotzinco, and Tlascala were to be assembled. When he departed from this last city to go to Capollalpan, a place situated about half way between Tlascala and Tezcuco, so many nobles accompanied him, he appeared more like a king who was going to take pleasure with his court, than a fugitive prince who was endeavouring to render himself master of the crown which was usurped from him. In Capollalpan, he received the answer of the Chalchese, in which they declared themselves ready to assist and serve their lawful lord against the iniquitous usurper. It is probable the cruelty and insolence of the tyrant alienated many from him; the Chalchese, besides, were very inconstant and apt to attach themselves sometimes to the one, and sometimes to the other party; as will appear in the course of our history.

    While Nezahualcojotl continued rousing the nations to war, the Mexicans finding themselves without a king, and harassed by the Tepanecas, resolved to appoint a chief to their nation, who would be capable of checking the insolence of the tyrant, and revenging the many wrongs they had suffered. Having assembled, therefore, to elect a new king, a respectable veteran thus addressed the other electors. "By the death of your last king, O noble Mexicans, the light of your eyes has failed you; but you have still those of reason left to choose a fit successor. The nobility of Mexico is not extinct with Chimalpopoca; his brothers are still remaining, who are most excellent princes, among whom you may


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    choose a lord to govern you, and a father to protect you. Imagine that for a little time the sun is eclipsed, and that the earth is darkened, but that light will return again with the new king. It is of the greatest importance that, without long conferences, we elect a prince who may re-establish the honour of our nation, may vindicate the wrongs done to it, and restore to it its ancient liberty." They proceeded quickly to the election, and chose by unanimous consent prince Itzcoatl, brother, by the father's side, to the two preceding kings, and natural son of Acamapitzin by a slave. Whatever the low condition of his mother took from his claim, the nobility and reputation of his father, and, still more, his own virtues, supplied; of these he gave many proofs in the post of general of the Mexican armies which he had filled for more than thirty years. He was allowed to be the most prudent, just, and brave person of all the Mexican nation. Being placed on the Tlatocaicpalli, or royal seat, he was saluted as king by all the nobles, with loud acclamations. One of their orators then held a discourse on the duties of a sovereign, in which, among other things, he said, "All, O great king and lord, all now feel themselves dependent on you. On your shoulders must the orphans, the widows, and the aged be supported. Will you be capable of laying down and abandoning this burden? Will you permit the infants who are yet walking on their four feet, to perish by the hands of our enemies? Courage, great lord, begin and spread your mantle that you may carry the poor Mexicans on your back, who flatter themselves they will live secure under the fresh shade of your benignity." The ceremony being concluded, they celebrated the accession of the new monarch, with


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    balls and public diversions. Nezahualcojotl and all his party did not give less applause, as no one doubted of the new king being the faithful ally of the prince his relation; and hoped to reap great advantages from his superior military skill and bravery; but the election was not a little displeasing to the Tepanecas and their allies, and especially to the tyrant.

    Itzcoatl, who was zealously bent on relieving the distresses which his nation suffered from the oppressive dominion of the Tepanecas, sent an ambassador to the prince Nezahualcojotl, to acquaint him of his exaltation to the throne, and to give him assurances of his determination to unite all his forces with the prince against the tyrant Maxtlaton. This embassy, which was carried by a grandson of the king, was received by Nezahualcojotl, after he had departed from Capollalpan; upon which he returned congratulations to his cousin, and gratefully accepted the aid which he promised.

    The whole time which the prince remained in Capollalpan was employed in preparations for war. When it appeared to him to be time to put all his designs in execution, he set out with his people and the auxiliary troops of Tlascala and Huexotzinco, having resolved to take the city of Tezcuco by assault, and punish its inhabitants for their infidelity to him during his adversity. He made a halt with his whole army in sight of the city, at a place called Oztopolco. There he passed the night ordering his troops, and making the necessary dispositions for the attack, and in the morning marched towards the city; but before he reached it, the inhabitants, from apprehensions of the severe chastisement which threatened them, came submissively to meet him; to soften his resentment they presented their aged sick, their pregnant


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    women, and mothers with infants in their arms, who, in the midst of tears and other tokens of distress, thus addressed him: "Have pity, O most merciful prince, on these your afflicted servants, who tremble for their fate. In what have they offended, who are feeble with age, or these poor women and these helpless children? Do not mix in ruin with the guilty those who had no part in the offences which you would revenge." The prince, who was moved at the sight of so many objects of compassion, immediately granted a pardon to the city; but at the same time detached a party of troops, and commanded their officers to enter it and put the governor and other servants who had been established there by the tyrant, and every Tepaneca they should meet with, to death. Whilst this severe punishment was passing at Tezcuco, the troops of the Tlascalans and Huexotzincas, which had been detached from the main army, made a furious attack on the city of Acolman; they made a general slaughter of all whom they met, until they advanced to the house of the lord of that city, who was a brother of the tyrant; he having no forces sufficient to defend himself, was slain among the rest of their enemies. On the same day the Chalchese, who were also auxiliaries of the prince, fell upon the city of Coatlichan, took it without opposition, and put its governor to death, who had taken refuge in the greater temple; thus, in one single day, the capital, and two other considerable cities of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, were reduced under obedience to the prince.

    The king of Mexico being acquainted with the successes of his cousin, sent another embassy to congratulate him and confirm their alliance. He entrusted this embassy to one of his grandsons, a son of king Huitzilihuitl, called


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     211

    Monteuczoma, or Montezuma, a youth of great strength of body and invincible courage, whose immortal actions obtained him the name of Tlacaele, or Man of great Heart, and that of Ilhuicamina, or Archer of Heaven; and to distinguish him in the ancient paintings, they represented over his head, the heavens pierced with an arrow, as appears in the seventh and eighth pictures of Mendoza's collection, and as we shall shew among the figures of the kings of Mexico. This is the same hero of Mexico, whom Acosta has so much celebrated under the name of Tlacaellel, or rather Tobar, from whom the other took his character, although mistaken in many actions which he attributes to him. (z) The king as well as his grandson, saw the danger of the enterprize; as the tyrant, to obstruct the progress of his rival, and his communication with the Mexicans, had made himself master of the roads; but the king for this neither delayed to send the embassy, nor did Montezuma discover the least cowardly apprehensions; on the contrary, that he might execute the orders of his sovereign more speedily, when he left the king he avoided returning to his house to equip himself with necessaries for his journey, but set out immediately on his way, giving in charge to another noble, who was to accompany him, the carrying of such clothes as were necessary to present himself before the prince.

    (z) Acosta, or Tobar rather, is not only mistaken in many actions which he attributes to this hero, but also in regard to his identity; as he considers Tlacaellel to be a different person from Montezuma, who was called by two and even three different names. He also makes Tlacaellel grandson of Itzcoatl, and at the same time uncle of Montezuma; which is evidently absurd; as it is known that Montezuma was son of Huitzilihuitl, brother of Itzcoatl; of course he could not be the grandson of the grandson of Itzcoatl.


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    Having safely delivered his embassy, he took leave of the prince to return to Mexico, but in the way fell into an ambuscade laid by his enemies, was taken prisoner with all his attendants, conducted to Chalco, and presented to Toteotzin, lord of that city, and an inveterate enemy of the Mexicans. Here he was immediately shut up in a close prison, under the care of Quateotzin, a very respectable person, who was ordered to provide no sustenance for the prisoners but what his lord prescribed, until the mode of death was determined, by which their days were to be concluded. Quateotzin revolting at the inhumanity of such orders, supplied them liberally at his own expense. But the cruel Toteotzin, thinking to pay a piece of flattering homage to the Huexotzincas, sent his prisoners to them, that, if they judged proper, they might be sacrificed in Huexotzinco with the assistance of the Chalchese, or in Chalco with the assistance of the Huexotzincas. The Huexotzincas, who were always more humane than the Chalchese, rejected the proposal with disdain. "Why should we deprive men of their lives who have committed no crime, unless that of acting as faithful messengers to their lord; and if they merited to die, we can derive no honour from putting prisoners to death which do not belong to us. Return in peace, and inform your lord that the nobility of Huexotzinco will not render themselves infamous by acts so unworthy of them."

    The Chalchese returned with the prisoners and this answer to Toteotzin, who being determined to procure himself friends by means of his prisoners, gave information of them to Maxtlaton; leaving it to him to decide their fate, and trusting, by this respectful adulation, to calm the anger and indignation which his treachery and


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     213

    inconstancy in abandoning the party of the Tepanecas, for the prince Nezahualcojotl, must have excited in the tyrant. While he waited the answer of Maxtlaton, he ordered the prisoners to be shut up again in the same prison, and under custody of the same Quateotzin. He compassionating the destiny of a youth so illustrious and brave, in the evening preceding the day on which the answer from Azcapozalco was expected, called one of his servants to him, whose fidelity he could trust, and ordered him to set the prisoners at liberty that evening, and to acquaint Montezuma from him, that he had come to the resolution of saving his life, although at the visible risk of losing his own; that if he should die for it, which he had reason to fear would be his fate, Montezuma, he hoped, would not fail to shew his gratitude, by protecting the children whom he left behind him; lastly, he advised him not to return by land to Mexico, otherwise he would again be taken by the guards which were posted in the way, but to go through Iztapallocan to Chimalhuacan, and from thence to embark for his own city.

    The faithful servant executed the order, and Montezuma followed the advice of Quateotzin. They went out of prison that night, and cautiously took the road to Chimalhuacan, where they remained concealed all the next day, living on raw vegetables for want of other food; at night they embarked, and transported themselves swiftly to Mexico, where, as it was supposed, they had already met with death from the enemy, they were received with singular welcome and joy.

    As soon as the barbarous Toteotzin was informed that the prisoners were escaped, he was transported with passion, and as he did not in the least doubt that Ouateotzin had been the author of their liberty, he ordered instant


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    death to him, and his body to be quartered; sparing neither his wife nor even his children; only one son and one daughter were saved. She took shelter in Mexico, where she was greatly respected on account of her father, who, by the generous forfeiture of his life, had rendered so important a service to the Mexican nation.

    Toteotzin experienced another galling disappointment From the answer of Maxtlaton. He being enraged against the Chalchese for the assistance they gave to Nezahualcojotl, and the slaughter they committed in Coatlichan, sent a severe reprimand to Toteotzin, calling him a double-minded traitor, and ordering him to set the prisoners at liberty without delay. Such returns must perfidious flatterers expect. Maxtlaton did not adopt this restitution with intent to favour the Mexicans whom he hated in the utmost degree, but solely to shew his contempt for the homage of Toteotzin, and to thwart his inclination. So far was he from a wish to favour the Mexican nation, that he was never so much bent on effecting their ruin as at this time, and had already collected troops to pour a decisive blow on Mexico, that from thence he might proceed to regain all that Nezahualcojotl had taken from him. This prince knowing such designs of Maxtlaton, went to Mexico to consult with its prudent king on the conduct of the war, and the measures that should be taken to baffle the intentions of the tyrant, and agreed to unite the Tezcucan troops, with those of Mexico, in defence of that city, on the fortune of which the success of the war seemed to depend.

    The rumour of the approaching war spread infinite consternation among the Mexican populace; conceiving themselves incapable of resisting the power of the Tepanecas, whom they had till now acknowledged their superiors,


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     215

    they went in crowds to the king, dissuading him with tears and intreaties from undertaking so dangerous a war, which would infallibly occasion the downfal of their city and nation. "What can be done then," said the king, "to free us from these impending calamities." "Demand peace," replied the populace, "from the king of Azcapozalco, and make offers of service to him; and to move him to clemency, let our god be borne on the shoulders of the priests into his presence." So great was their clamour, accompanied with threats, that the prudent king who feared a sedition amongst the people which might prove more fetal in its consequences than the war with the enemy, was obliged, contrary to his wishes, to yield to their request. Montezuma who was present, and could not bear that a nation, which boasted so much of its honour, should pursue so ignoble a course, spoke thus to the people. "O ye Mexicans, what would ye do? Have ye lost all judgment? How has such cowardice stole into your hearts? Have you forgot possibly that you are Mexicans, and descendants of those heroes who founded this city, and of those brave men who have protected it in spite of all our enemies? Change your opinions then, or renounce the glory you inherit from your ancestors." Turning afterwards to the king; "How, sir, will you permit such ignominy to stain the character of your people? Speak to them again, and tell them, that there is another step to be taken before we so weakly and dishonourably put ourselves into the hands of our enemies." The king, who wished for nothing more ardently, addressed the populace, recommending the counsel of Montezuma, which was at last favourably received. The king, then addressing the nobility, said, "Which of ye,


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    who are the flower of the nation, will be fearless enough to carry an embassy to the lord of the Tepanecas?" They all looked at each other, but no one durst offer to encounter the danger; until Montezuma, whom youthful intrepidity inspired, presented himself, saying, "I will carry the embassy; as death must one time or other be met with, it is of little moment whether to-day or to-morrow; no better opportunity can present itself of dying with honour than the sacrificing my life for the welfare of my nation? Behold me, sir, ready to execute your commands: order, and I obey." The king, much pleased with his courage, ordered him to go and propose peace to the tyrant, but to accept of no dishonourable conditions. The valiant youth set out instantly, and meeting with the Tepanecan guards, persuaded them to let him pass with an embassy of the utmost importance to their lord. Having presented himself before the tyrant, in the name of his king and his nation, he demanded peace on honourable terms. The tyrant answered, that it was necessary to deliberate with his counsellors, but on the day following he would return a decisive answer. Montezuma having asked him for protection and security during his stay, could obtain no other than his own caution might procure him; upon which he went back immediately to Mexico, promising to return the day after. The little confidence he had in that court, and the shortness of the journey, which did not exceed four miles, must unquestionably have been his motive for not staying for the final answer of the tyrant. He returned, therefore, to Azcapozalco the next day as he had promised, and having heard from the mouth of Maxtlaton his resolution for war, he performed the ceremonies commonly practiced by two lords who challenge


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     217

    each other, namely, presenting certain defensive arms to him, anointing his head, and fixing feathers upon it in the same manner as is done with dead persons; and lastly, protesting in the name of his king, that as he would not accept the peace which was offered to him, he, and all the Tepanecas would inevitably be ruined. The tyrant, without manifesting any displeasure at such ceremonies, or at the threats used to him, gave Montezuma also arms to present to the king of Mexico, and directed him, for the security of his person, to return in disguise through a small outlet from his palace. He would not have observed so strictly at this time the rights of nations, if he could have foreseen that this ambassador, of whose life he was so careful, was to prove the chief instrument of his downfall. Montezuma profited by his advice; but as soon as he saw himself out of danger he began to insult the guards, reproaching them for their negligence, and threatening them with their speedy destruction. The guards rushed violently upon him to kill him; but he so bravely defended himself, that he killed one or two of them, and on the approach of others he retreated precipitately to Mexico, bearing the news that war was declared, and that the chiefs of the two nations had challenged each other.

    With this intelligence the populace were again thrown into consternation, and repaired to the king to request his permission to abandon their city; believing their ruin was certain. The king comforted and encouraged them with hopes of victory. "But if we are conquered," said the populace, what will become of us?" "If that happens," answered the king, "we are that moment bound to deliver ourselves into your hands to be made sacrifices at your pleasure." "So be it," replied


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    the populace, "if we are conquered: but if we obtain the victory, we, and our descendants are bound to be tributary to you, to cultivate your lands, and those of the nobles, to build your houses, and to carry for you, when you go to war, your arms and your baggage." This contract being made between the nobles and the people, and the command of the Mexican troops being given to the brave Montezuma, the king conveyed speedy advice to Nezahualcojotl, to repair with his army immediately to Mexico, which he did a day before the battle.

    It cannot be doubted, that the Mexicans had before this time constructed the roads which served for a more easy communication to the city with the continent; as otherwise the movement and skirmishes of the two armies are not to be comprehended: we know from history, that such roads were interfered by ditches, with drawbridges over them, but no historian mentions the time of their construction. (a) It is not a little wonderful, that the Mexicans, during a life of so many hardships, should have had the spirit to undertake and constancy to execute a work of such magnitude and difficulty.

    The following day, upon the arrival of the prince Nezahualcojotl at Mexico, the Tepanecan army appeared in the field in great numbers and brilliancy, being adorned with plates of gold, and wearing beautiful plumes of feathers on their heads, to add to the appearance of their stature. As they marched they made frequent shouts, in boastful anticipation of victory. Their army was commanded by a famous general called Mazatl. The tyrant Maxtlaton, although he had accepted the challenge,

    (a) I believe the Mexicana had before this time constructed the roads of Tacuba and Tepeyacac, but not that of Iztapallapan, Which is larger than those, and where the lake is deeper.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     219

    did not think proper to leave his palace, either because he believed he would degrade himself by going to combat with the king of Mexico, or, which is more probable, because he dreaded the event of the war. As soon as the Mexicans were informed of the motions of the Tepanecas, they went out well ordered to meet them, and the signal for engagement being given by king Itzcoatl, by the sound of a little drum which he carried on his shoulder, the armies attacked each other with incredible fury, each being firmly persuaded that the issue of the battle would determine their fate. During the greatest part of the day it was not to be discerned to which side victory inclined, the Tepanecas losing in one place what they gained in another. But a little before the setting sun, the Mexican populace observing the enemy continually increased by new reinforcements, began to be dismayed, and to complain of their chiefs, saying to each other, "What are we about, O Mexicans, shall we do well in sacrificing our lives to the ambition of our king and our general? How much more prudent will it be to surrender ourselves, humbly acknowledging our rashness, that we may obtain pardon and the favour of our lives?"

    The king, who heard these words with much vexation, and perceived his troops still more discouraged by them, called a council of the prince and general, to take their advice what mould be done to dissipate the sears of the people. "What?" answered Montezuma; "To sight till death. If we die with our arms in our hands, defending our liberty, we will do our duty. If we survive our defeat, we will remain covered with eternal confusion. Let us go then, let us sight till we die!" The cries of the Mexicans began already to prevail as if


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    they had been conquered, some of them being even so mean-spirited as to call out to their enemies, "O ye brave Tepanecas, lords of the continent, calm your indignation; for now we surrender. Here before your eyes we will sacrifice our chiefs, to gain your pardon to our rashness which their ambition has occasioned." The king, the prince, the general, and nobles, were so enraged at these speeches, that they would instantly have punished the cowards with death, had not the sear of giving victory to the enemy restrained them. Dissembling their displeasure, they exclaimed with one voice, "Let us die with glory," and rushed with such vigour upon the enemy, that they repulsed them from a ditch which they had gained, and made them retreat. Seeing this advantage, the king began to encourage his people, and the prince and general continued to perform signal acts of bravery. In the utmost heat of the engagement Montezuma encountered with the Tepanecan general, as he was advancing full of pride from the terror his troops struck into the Mexicans, and gave him so furious a blow on the head, that he fell down lifeless at his feet. The report of the victory spread immediately through the whole field, and inspired the Mexicans with fresh courage: but the Tepanecas were so disconcerted by the death of their brave general Mazatl, that they soon went into confusion. Night coming on prevented the Mexicans from pursuing their success: upon which both the armies withdrew to their cities, the Mexicans full of courage, and impatient at not being able, from the darkness of the night, to complete their victory; the Tepanecas downcast and dejected, though not altogether void of hope to be revenged the following day.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     221

    Maxtlaton, afflicted at the death of his general, and the defeat of his troops, passed that night, the last of his life, in encouraging his captains, and representing to them on the one hand the glory of triumphing over their enemies, and on the other the misfortunes which must ensue if they were vanquished; as the Mexicans, who had hitherto been tributary to the Tepanecas, if they remained victors, would compel the Tepanecas to pay a tribute to them. (b)

    The day at length arrived which was to decide the fate of three kings. Both armies took the field, and began battle with uncommon fury, which continued with much fierceness and heat till mid-day. The Mexicans being emboldened from the advantages obtained the preceding day, as well as from a firm belief which possessed them of coming off victorious, made such havock of the enemy, that they strewed the field with dead bodies, defeated them, put them to flight, and pursued them into the city of Azcapozalco, spreading death and terror in every quarter. The Tepanecas, perceiving that even in their houses they could not escape from the fury of the victors, fled to the mountains, which lie from ten to twelve miles distance from Azcapozalco. The proud Maxtlaton, who, until that day, had looked with contempt upon his enemies, and conceived himself superior to all strokes of fortune, seeing the Mexicans had entered his court, and hearing the cries of the vanquished, unable to make any resistance, and fearing to be overtaken if he attempted to fly, hid himself in a

    (t) From these expressions of the tyrant it is to be inferred, that when he made himself usurper of the crown of Azcapozalco, by the assassination of his brother Tajatzin, he resumed the imposition of that tribute on the Mexicans which had been remitted them by his father Tezozomoc.


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    temazcalli, or cistus; but as the conquerers fought for him everywhere they at last found him; no prayers nor tears with which he implored their mercy could prevail; they beat him to death with sticks and stones, and threw his body out into the fields to feed the birds of prey. Such was the tragic end of Maxtlaton before he had completed three years' of his tyranny. Thus did they put a stop to his injustice, his cruelty, his ambition, and treachery, and the heavy wrongs done by him to the lawful heir of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, to his brother Tajatzin, and to the kings of Mexico. His memory is odious and execrable among the annals of those nations.

    This memorable event which totally altered the system of those kingdoms, signalized the year 1425, of the vulgar era, precisely one century after the foundation of Mexico.

    The next night the victors were employed in sacking the city, in destroying the houses, and burning the temples, leaving that once so celebrated court in a state of desolation not to be repaired in many years. While the Mexicans and Acolhuas were gathering the fruits of their victory, the detachment of Tlascalans and Huexotzincas took the ancient court of Tenajuca by assault, and the day after joined the army to take the city of Cuetlachtepec.

    The fugitive Tepanecas, finding themselves reduced to the utmost distress in the mountains, and afraid of being persecuted even there by the victors, at last thought of surrendering themselves and imploring mercy; and that they might be more certain of obtaining it, sent off an illustrious personage, in company with other nobles of the Tepanecan nation, to the king of


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     223

    Mexico. This ambassador humbly demanded pardon of the king in the name of his countrymen, offered obedience to him, and promised that all the Tepanecas would acknowledge him as their lawful lord, and would serve him as vassals. He congratulated them on their good fortune in the midst of the terrible shock which their nation had suffered of being subjected to so amiable a prince, who was endued with so many excellent qualities, and at last concluded his address with an earnest prayer, that they might be granted the favour of life, and liberty to return to their habitations. Itzcoatl received them with the utmost complacency, granted them all they asked, professed himself ready to receive them, not only as his subjects but as his children, and to discharge all the offices of a true father to them; but at the same time threatened them with total extirpation if they violated the fidelity which they swore to him. Their demand being granted, the fugitives returned to rebuild their habitations and attend to their families; and from that time continued always subject to the king of Mexico, affording in their disaster another example of those changes and vicissitudes common to all human affairs. But the whole of the Tepanecan nation was not reduced under obedience to the conqueror: Cojohuacan, a considerable state and city of that people, continued for some time refractory in their conduct as will afterwards appear.

    The king Itzcoatl, after this famous conquest, ordered a ratification of the compact entered into between the nobility and the populace; by which the last were bound to perpetual services, which they rendered regularly in future; but those who by their clamours and complaints had been the cause of discouraging others


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    during battle, were dismembered from the body of the nation and the state of Mexico, and banished for their meanness and cowardice for ever. To Montezuma, and others, who had distinguished themselves in the war, he gave a part of the conquered lands, and assigned a portion also to the priests for their support; and after having given proper orders for the security and establishment of his dominion, he returned with his army to Mexico, to celebrate the success of his arms with public rejoicings, and to offer thanks to the gods for their supposed protection.


                                          HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      225

    B O O K  IV.

    Re-establishment of the Royal Family of the Chechemecas upon the Throne of Acolhuacan. Foundation of the Monarchy of Tacuba. The Triple Alliance of the Kings of Mexico, Acolhuacan, and Tacuba. Conquests and Death of King Itzcoatl. Conquests and Events of the Mexicans under their Kings Montezuma I, and Axajacatl. War between the Mexicans and Tlatelolcas. Conquest of Tlatelolco, and Death of the King Moquihuix. Government, Death, and Eulogium of Nezahualcojotl, and Accession of his Son Nezahualpilli.

    As soon as Itzcoatl found himself firm upon his throne, and in quiet possession of Azcapozalco, that he might make a return to the prince Nezahualcojotl for the assistance he gave in the defence of Mexico, and the conquest of the Tepanecas, he determined to aid him in person in the recovery of the kingdom of Acolhuacan. If the king of Mexico had been willing to listen to ambition rather than the calls of honour and justice, he would not have failed to find pretences to make himself master of that kingdom also. Chimalpopoca had been put in possession of Tezcuco, by the tyrant Tezozomoc, and had commanded as lord of that court. Itzcoatl, who had entered into all the rights of his predecessor, might well have considered that state to have been incorporated for some years past with the crown of Mexico. On the other hand he had lawfully acquired Azcapozalco, and subjected the Tepanecas, and appeared to have a title to all the rights of the conquered; which


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    were thought to have been sufficiently established by twelve years possession, and the general acquiescence of the people. But availing himself of no such pretences, he sincerely desired to place Nezahualcojotl on the throne which by lawful succession was due to him, and which he had been deprived of for so many years by the usurpation of the Tepanecas.

    After the defeat of the Tepanecas there were several cities in the kingdom which were unwilling to submit to the prince, from apprehensions of the chastisement they merited. Huexotla was one of this number, in the neighbourhood of Tezcuco, the lord of which Huitznahuatl, (a) continued obstinately rebellious. The confederate troops left Mexico, and directing their course through the plains, which at present go by the name of Santa Marta, made a halt in Chimalhuacan, from whence the king and prince sent an offer of pardon to those citizens if they would surrender, and threatening to set fire to their city if they persisted in rebellion; but the rebels, instead of accepting the terms offered them, went out in order of battle against the royal army. The conflict was not lasting; the lord of that city being taken by the invincible Montezuma, the rebel force was put to flight, and afterwards came humbly to ask pardon, presenting according to custom, their pregnant women, their children, and old people to the conqueror, to move him to mercy. At length the way to the throne of Acolhuacan being laid open, and the prince being placed there, the auxiliary troops of Huexotzinco and Tlascala were dismissed with many marks of gratitude and a considerable share of the plunder of Azcapozalco.

    (a) The city of Huexotla had been given by Tezozomoc, to the king of Tlatelolco, from whom it is probable, therefore, Maxtlaton took it to give to Huitznahuatl.


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    From thence the army of the Mexicans and Acolhuas moved against the rebels of Cojohuacan, Atlacuihuajan, and Huitzilipochco. The Cojoacanese had endeavoured to excite all the other Tepanecas to shake off the Mexican yoke. The above-mentioned cities, and some neighbouring places, had complied with their felicitations; but others, intimidated by the destruction of Azcapozalco, were afraid of exposing themselves to new dangers. Before they declared their rebellion they began to ill-treat the Mexican women who went to their market, and also any of the men who happened occasionally to call at that city. Upon this Itzcoatl ordered that no Mexican should go to Cojohuacan until the insolence of these rebels was properly punished. Having finished the expedition to Huexotla, he went against them. In the three first battles which were fought, he gained scarcely any other advantage than making them retreat a little; but in the fourth whilst the two armies were fiercely engaged, Montezuma with a set of brave troops which he had placed in ambuscade, fell with such fury on the rear-guard of the rebels that he soon disordered and forced them to abandon the field and fly to the city. He pursued them, and observing their intention to fortify themselves in the greater temple, he prevented them by taking possession of it, and burnt the turret of that sanctuary. This blow threw the rebels into such consternation, that, quitting their city, they fled to the mountains which lie to the south of Cojohuacan; but even there they were overtaken by the royal troops, and chased for more than thirty miles, until they reached a mountain to the southward of Quauhnahuac, where the fugitives exhausted with fatigue, and without any hopes of escape, threw down their arms in token


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    of surrender, and delivered themselves up to the mercy of the conquerors.

    This victory made Itzcoatl master of all the states of the Tepanecas, and crowned Montezuma with glory. It is not a little wonderful, say historians, that the greater part of the prisoners taken in that war with Cojohuacan belonged to Montezuma and three brave Acolhuan officers; for all the four, in imitation of the ancient Mexicans in the war against the Xochimilcas, had agreed to cut off a lock of hair from every one they took, and most of the prisoners were found with this mark upon them. Having thus happily closed this expedition, and regulated the affairs of Cojohuacan, and the other subject cities, both the kings returned to Mexico. It was judged proper by the king Itzcoatl to place one of the family of their ancient lords over the Tepanecas, that they might live more peaceably and with less reluctance under the Mexican yoke. This dignity he conferred on Totoquihuatzin, son of a son of the tyrant Tezozomoc. It had not appeared that this prince had taken any part in the war against the Mexicans, owing either to some secret attachment which he had to them, or his aversion to his uncle Maxtlaton. Itzcoatl sent for him to Mexico, and created him king of Tlacopan, or rather Tacuba, a considerable city of the Tepanecas, and of all the places to the westward, including also the country of Mazahuacan; but Cojohuacan, Azcapozalco, Mixcoac, and other cities of the Tepanecas, remained immediately subject to the king of Mexico. That crown was given to Totoquihuatzin, on condition of his serving the king of Mexico with all his troops whenever required, for which he was to receive a fifth part of the spoils which they should take from the enemy. Nezahualcojotl likewise was put in


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    possession of the throne of Acolhuacan, on condition of his giving assistance to the Mexicans in war, for which he was assigned a third part of the plunder, after deducting the share of the king of Tacuba, the other two thirds to be reserved for the king of Mexico. (b) Besides this, both the kings were created honorary electors of the kings of Mexico; which honour was simply confined to the ratifying the election made by four Mexican nobles, who were the real electors. The king of Mexico was reciprocally bound to afford succour to each of the two kings wherever occasion demanded. This alliance of the three kings which remained firm and inviolate for the space of a century, was the cause of the rapid conquests which the Mexicans made hereafter. But this was not the only masterly stroke in politics of the king Itzcoatl; he munificently rewarded all those who had distinguished themselves in the wars, not paying so much regard to their birth or the stations which they occupied, as to the courage which they shewed and the services they performed. Thus it was the hope of reward animated them to the most heroic enterprises, being convinced, that the glory and the advantages to be derived from them would not depend on any accidents of fortune, but on the merit of their actions themselves. By succeeding kings the same policy was practiced with infinite service to the state. Having formed this important alliance Itzcoatl set out with the king Nezahualcojotl for Tezcuco, to crown him with his own hand. This ceremony was performed with all possible solemnity in 1426. From thence the king

    (b) Several historians have believed that the kings of Tezcuco and Tacuba were real electors, but the contrary appears evident from history; no occasion ever occurred where they interfered or were present at an election, as we shall shew hereafter.


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    of Mexico returned to his residence, while the other began with the utmost diligence to make reformations in the court of Tezcuco.

    The kingdom of Acolhuacan was not then in such good order and regulation as Techotlala had lest it. The dominion of the Tepanecas, and the revolutions which had happened in the last twenty years had changed the government of the people, weakened the force of the laws, and caused a number of their customs to fall into disuse. Nezahualcojotl, who, besides the attachment which he had to his nation was gifted with uncommon prudence, made such regulations and changes in the state that in a little time it became more flourishing than it had ever been under any of his predecessors. He gave a new form to the councils which had been established by his grandfather. He conferred offices on persons the fittest for them. One council determined causes purely civil, in which, among others, five lords who had proved constantly faithful to him in his adversity, assisted. Another council judged of criminal causes, at which the two princes his brothers, men of high integrity, presided. The council of war was composed of the most distinguished military characters, among whom Icotihuacan, son-in-law to the king and also one of the thirteen nobles of the kingdom, had the first rank. The treasury-board consisted of the king's major-domos, and the first merchants of the court. The principal major-domos who took charge of the tributes and other parts of the royal income, were three in number. Societies similar to academies were instituted for poetry, astronomy, music, painting, history, and the art of divination, and he invited the most celebrated professors of his kingdom to his court, who met on certain days to communicate their


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    discoveries and inventions; and for each of these arts and sciences, although little advanced, schools were appropriated. To accommodate the mechanic branches, he divided the city of Tezcuco into thirty odd divisions, and to every branch assigned a district; so that the goldsmiths inhabited one division, the sculptors another, the weavers another, &c. To cherifh religion he raised new temples, created ministers for the worship of their gods, gave them houses, and appointed them revenues for their support, and the expenses which were necessary at festivals and sacrifices. To augment the splendor of his court he constructed noble edifices both within and without the city, and planted new gardens and woods, which were in preservation many years after the conquest, and shew still some traces of former magnificence.

    While the king of Acolhuacan was occupied in new regulations of his court, the Xochimilcas, afraid lest the Mexicans in future might be desirous of making themselves also masters of their state, as well as of the Tepanecas, assembled a council to deliberate on the measures they should take to prevent such a disgrace. Some were of opinion they should voluntarily submit themselves to the dominion of the Mexicans, as at all events in time they would be obliged to succumb to that power: the judgment of others however prevailed, who thought it would be better to declare war against them before new conquests rendered them more formidable. The king of Mexico no sooner heard of their resolution than he set out a large army, under command of the celebrated Montezuma, and sent advice to the king of Tacuba to join with his troops. The battle was fought on the confines of Xochimilco. Although the number of the Xochimilcas was great, they did not however engage


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    with such good order as the Mexicans, by which means they were quickly defeated, and retreated to their city. The Mexicans having pursued them, entered it, and set fire to the turrets of the temples and other edifices. The citizens not being able to resist their attack, fled to the mountains; but being even there besieged by the Mexicans, they at last surrendered. Montezuma was received by the Xochimilchan priests with the music of flutes and drums; and the whole expedition completed in about eleven days. The king of Mexico went immediately to take possession of that city, which, as we have before mentioned, next to the royal residence, was the most considerable in the vale of Mexico, where he was acknowledged and proclaimed king, received the obedience of these new subjects, and promised to love them as a father, and watch in future over their welfare.

    The bad success of the Xochimilcas was not sufficient to intimidate those of Cuitlahuac; on the contrary, the advantageous situation of their city, which was built on a little island in the lake of Chalco, encouraged them to provoke the Mexicans to war. Itzcoatl was for pouring upon them with all the forces of Mexico; but Montezuma undertook to humble their pride with a smaller body; for which purpose he raised some companies of youths, particularly those who had been bred in the seminaries of Mexico; and after having exercised them in arms, and instructed them in the order and mode which they were to follow in that war, he prepared a suitable number of vessels, and set out with this armament against the Cuitlahuachese. We are totally ignorant of the particulars of this expedition; but we know that in seven days the city was taken and reduced under the obedience of the king of Mexico, and that the youths returned


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    loaded with spoils, and brought with them a number of prisoners to be sacrificed to the god of war. We do not know the year either in which this war happened, nor the time of that of Quauhnahuac, but it appears to have been towards the end of the reign of Itzcoatl.

    The lord of Xiuhtepec, a city of the country of the Tlahuicas, more than thirty miles to the southward of Mexico, had requested of his neighbour, the lord of Quauhnahuac, one of his daughters to wife, which demand was granted. The lord of Tlaltexcal made afterwards the same pretensions, to whom she was immediately given, notwithstanding the promises made to the first, either on account of some offence which he had done to the father, or some other reason of which we are ignorant. The lord of Xiuhtepec being highly offended at such an insult, desired to be revenged; but being unable for this himself, on account of his inferiority in forces, he implored the assistance of the king of Mexico, promising to be his constant friend and ally, and to serve him whenever he should require it with his person and his people. Itzcoatl esteeming the war just, and the occasion fit for the extension of his dominions, armed his subjects, and called upon those of Acolhuacan and Tacuba. So great an army was certainly necessary, the lord of Quauhnahuac being very powerful, and his city very strong, as the Spaniards afterwards experienced when they besieged it. Itzcoatl commanded that the whole army would attack the city at once, the Mexicans by Ocuilla on the west side, the Tepanecas by Tlatzacapulco on the north, and the Tezcucans together with the Xiuhtepechese by Tlalquitenanco on the east and south. The Quauhnahuachese trusting to the natural strength of


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    the city, were willing to stand the attack. The first who began it were the Tepanecas, who were vigorously repulsed; but all the other troops immediately advancing, the citizens were forced to surrender and subject themselves to the king of Mexico, to whom they paid annually, from that time forward, a tribute in cotton, pepper, and other commodities, which we shall mention hereafter. By the conquest of that large, pleasant, and strong city, which was the capital of the Tlahuicas, a great part of that country fell under the dominion of the Mexican king; a little after to these conquests were added Quantitlan and Toltitlan, considerable cities fifteen miles to the northward of Mexico; but any other particulars we know not.

    In this manner a city, which some short time before was tributary to the Tepanecas, and not much esteemed by other nations, in less than twelve years found itself enabled to command those who had ruled over it and the people who thought themselves greatly superior. Of such importance to the prosperity of a nation is the wisdom and bravery of its chief. At length in the year 1436 of the vulgar era, in a very advanced age, after a reign full of glory, the great Itzcoatl died: a king justly celebrated by the Mexicans for his singular endowments, and the unequalled services he rendered them. He served the nation upwards of thirty years as general, and governed thirteen as their sovereign. Besides rescuing them from the subjection of the Tepanecas, extending their dominions, replacing the royal family of the Chechemecas on the throne of Acolhuacan, enriching his court with the plunder of conquered nations, and having laid, in the triple alliance which he formed, the foundation of their future greatness, he added to the nobleness


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    and splendor of the nation by many new edifices. After the conquest of Cuitlahuac he built, among others, a temple to the goddess Cihuacoatl, and some time afterwards another to Huitzilopochtli. His funeral was attended with unusual pomp and the greatest demonstrations of grief, and his ashes reposed in the same sepulchre with his ancestors.

    The four electors did not long deliberate on the choice of a new king; there being no surviving brother of the late sovereign, the election consequently fell on one of his grandsons; and no one appeared more deserving than Montezuma Ilhuicamina, son of Huitzilihuitl, not less on account of his personal virtues than the important services he had done the nation. He was elected with general applause, advice of which being given to the two allied kings, they not only confirmed the election, but passed many praises on the elected, and sent him presents worthy of his rank and their esteem. After the usual ceremonies and the congratulary speeches of the priests, the nobles, and the military, much rejoicing took place, with entertainments, balls, and illuminations. Before his coronation, either from an established law of the country, or his own particular desire, he went to war with his enemies to make prisoners for a sacrifice on the occasion. He resolved that these should be of the Chalchese nation, to revenge the insults and the injurious treatment he had received from them when returning from Tezcuco, in the character of ambassador, he had been taken and carried to the prison of Chalco. He went against them therefore in person, defeated them, and made many prisoners; but did not then subject the whole of that state to the crown of Mexico, that he might not retard his coronation. On the day appointed for that solemnity


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    the tributes and presents which were sent to him from conquered places, were brought into Mexico. The king's major-domos and the receivers of the royal revenues preceded, after whom came those who carried the presents, who were divided into as many companies as there were people who sent them, and so regular and orderly in their procession as to afford infinite pleasure to the spectators. They brought gold, silver, beautiful feathers, wearing apparel, great variety of game, and a vast quantity of provisions. It is more than probable, although historians do not mention it, that the other two allied kings and many other strangers of distinction were present, besides, a great concourse of people from all the places in the vale of Mexico.

    As soon as Montezuma found himself on the throne, his first care was to erect a great temple in that part of the city which they called Huitznahuac. The allied kings, whom he requested to assist him, furnished him with such plenty of materials and workmen, that in a short time the building was finished and consecrated. During the time of its construction the new war against Chalco appears to have happened. The Chalchese besides the injuries which they had already done to Montezuma, provoked his indignation afresh by a cruel and barbarous act, deserving the execration of all posterity. Two of the royal princes of Tezcuco having gone a hunting on the mountains which overlook the plains of Chalco, while employed in the chace and separated from their retinue with only three Mexican lords, fell in with a troop of Chalchese soldiers, who thinking they would please the cruel passions of their master, made them prisoners and carried them to Chalco. The savage lord of that city, who was probably the same Toteotzin by whom


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    Montezuma had been so ill treated, paying no regard to the noble rank of the prisoners, nor dreading the fatal consequences of his inhuman resolution, put all the five instantly to death; and that he might always be able to gratify his sight with a spectacle in which his cruelty delighted, he caused their bodies to be salted and dried; and when they were thus sufficiently prepared, he placed them in a hall of his house, to serve as supporters of the pine torches which were burned to give light in the evening.

    The report of so horrid an act spread immediately over all the country. The king of Tezcuco, whose heart was pierced with the intelligence, demanded the aid of the allied kings to revenge the death of his sons. Montezuma determined that the Tezcucan army should attack the city of Chalco by land, whilst he and the king of Tacuba with their troops made an attack on it by water; for which purpose he collected an infinite number of vessels to transport his people, and commanded the armament in person. The Chalchese notwithstanding the number of the enemy, made a vigorous resistance; for besides being themselves warriors, on this occasion desperation heightened their courage. The lord of that state himself, although so old that he could not walk, caused himself to be carried in a litter to animate his subjects with his presence and voice. They were however totally defeated, the city was sacked, and the lord of it punished in a most exemplary manner for his many atrocious crimes. The spoils, according to the agreement made in the time of king Itzcoatl, were divided among the three kings, but the city and the whole of the state remained from that time subject to the king of Mexico. This victory,


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    as historians relate, was owing chiefly to the bravery of the youth Axoquentzin, a son of Nezahualcojotl. This famous king, although he had in early life several wives and many children by them, had not yet conferred on any of them the dignity of queen, as they had been all slaves or daughters of his subjects. (c) Judging it now necessary to take a wife worthy of being raised to this high rank, and who might bear a successor to him in the crown of Acolhuacan, he married Matlalcihuatzin daughter of the king of Tacuba, a beautiful and modest virgin, who was conducted to Tezcuco by her father and the king of Mexico. On occasion of the nuptials there were rejoicings for eighty days, and a year after a son was born of this marriage, who was named Nezahualpilli, and succeeded, as will appear hereafter, to that crown. A little time after, equally great rejoicings took place on occasion of the building of the Hueitecpan or great palace being completed, of whose magnificence the Spaniards were witnesses. These festivals, at which the two allied kings were present, were concluded with a most sumptuous entertainment to which the nobility of the three courts were invited. At this entertainment Nezahualcojotl made his musicians sing to the accompaniment of instruments, an ode which he had composed himself, which began thus: "Xochitl mamani in ahuehuetitlan," the subject of which was a comparison of the shortness of life and of its pleasures, with the fleeting bloom of a flower. The pathetic touches of the song drew tears from the audience; in whom, according to their love of

    (c) Nezahualcojotl married in his youth Nezahualxochitl, as we have already mentioned, who, being of the royal family of Mexico, was entitled to the honour of being queen: but he died before the prince recovered his crown from, the usurper.


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    life, the anticipation of death made proportionate ideas of melancholy spring in the mind.

    Montezuma having returned to his court, found himself obliged to crush an enemy, whose neighbourhood and almost domestic situation might make him prove the more dangerous to the state. Quauhtlatoa, the third king of Tlatelolco, instigated by ambition to extend his dominions, or from envy of the happiness of his neighbour and rival, had formerly been desirous of taking away the life of king Itzcoatl, and that he might prove successful, having no sufficient forces of his own, had entered into a confederacy with other neighbouring lords; but all his attempts were vain, as Itzcoatl was apprised of his intentions, prepared in time for defence, and damped his courage. From that lime, such a distrust and enmity sprung up between the Mexicans and Tlatelolcos, that they continued for years without any intercourse, except among some of the common people, who stole off occasionally to the markets. Under the reign of Montezuma, Quauhtlatoa resumed his hostile intentions; but they were not again left unpunished; Montezuma having got advice of them, prevented the blow by a vigorous attack on Tlatelolco, in which the petty king was killed, although the city was not then made subject to the government of Mexico. The Tlatelolcos elected the brave Moquihuix king, in the choice of whom the king of Mexico himself must have had considerable influence.

    Montezuma having rid himself of this dangerous neighbour, set out for the province of the Cohuixcas, which lies to the southward of Mexico, in order to revenge the loss of some Mexicans who had been put to death by that people. This glorious expedition added to his crown the states of Huaxtepec, Jauhtepec, Tepoztlan, Jacapichtla,


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    Totolapan, Tlalcozauhtitlan, Chilapan, which were more than a hundred and fifty miles distant from the court, Coixco, Oztomantla, Tlachmallac, and many others; then turning to the west, he conquered Tzompahuacan, bringing under subjection to the crown of Mexico both the great country of the Cohuixcas, who had been the authors of the deaths above-mentioned, and many other neighbouring states which had provoked his resentment probably by similar insults. Upon his return to his court he enlarged the temple of Huitzilopochtli, and adorned it with the spoils of those nations. These conquests were made in the nine first years of his reign.

    In the tenth year, which was the 1446 of the vulgar era, a great inundation happened in Mexico, occasioned by excessive rains, which swelled the waters of the lake till they overflowed and laid the city so much under water as to destroy many houses; and the streets becoming impassable, boats were made use of in every quarter. Montezuma much distressed by the accident, had recourse to the king of Tezcuco, hoping his penetration might suggest some remedy to this calamity. That discerning king advised a great dyke to be made to keep out the water, and laid down a plan of it, and pointed out the place where it should be made. His counsel was approved by Montezuma, who commanded it to be followed with instant execution. He ordered the subjects of Azcapozalco, Cojohuacan, and Xochimilco, to provide so many thousand large stakes, and the people of other parts to furnish the necessary stones. He summoned also to this work the inhabitants of Tacuba, Iztapalapan, Colhuacan, and Tenajuca, and the lords and the kings themselves, engaged themselves first in the fatigue; from


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    their example, their subjects were animated to such activity, that in a short time the work was perfectly completed which must otherwise have been many years in accomplishing. The dyke was nine miles in length, and eleven cubits in breadth, and was composed of two parallel palisades, the space between which was entirely filled up with stone and sand. The greatest difficulty which occurred, was in being obliged occasionally to work within the lake, especially in some places where it was of a considerable depth; but this was overcome by the skill of the conductor, and the perseverance of the labourers. This dyke was certainly of great use to the city, although it did not entirely protect it from inundations: that, however, is not wonderful, as the Spaniards, although they employed European engineers, were not able to effect its security from them, after labouring two centuries and an half upon it, and expending many millions of sequins. whilst this work was going on, the Chalchese rebelled, but were quickly brought under obedience again, although not without the loss of some Mexican officers.

    The accident of the inundation was soon followed by a famine; which arose from the harvest of maize, in the years 1448 and 1449, being exceedingly flinted; the frost having attacked the ears while they were young and tender. In the year 1450, the crop was totally lost from the want of water. In 1451, besides having unfavourable seasons, there was a scarcity of grain for seed, so much of it being consumed on account of the scarcity of preceding harvests; from which in 1452, the necessities of the people became so great, that as the liberality of their king and the nobles was not sufficient to relieve them, although they opened their granaries


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    to assist them, they were obliged to purchase the necessaries of life, with the price of their liberty. Montezuma being unable to relieve his subjects from their distress, permitted them to go to other countries to procure their support; but knowing that some of them made slaves of themselves for two or three days sustenance only, he published a proclamation, in which he commanded that no woman should sell herself for less than four hundred ears of maize, and no man for less than five hundred. But nothing could stop the destructive consequences of famine. Of those who went to seek relief in other countries some died of hunger on their way. Others who sold themselves for food never returned to their native country. The greater part of the Mexican populace supported themselves like their ancestors, on the water-fowl, the herbs growing in the marshes, and the insects and small fish which they caught in the lake. The following year was not so unfavourable, and at length, in 1454, which was a secular year, there was a most plentiful harvest of maize, and likewise of pulse, and every sort of fruit.

    But the Mexicans were not permitted to enjoy the season of plenty in quietness, being obliged to go to war against Atonaltzin, lord of the city and state of Coaixtlahuacan, in the country of the Mixtecas. This was a powerful lord, who, for some reasons unknown, would not allow to any Mexican a passage through his lands, and whenever they happened to come there shewed them the worst treatment he could. Montezuma being highly offended with such hostility, sent an embassy to him, to know the motive of his conduct, and threatened him with war if he did not make a proper apology. Atonaltzin received the embassy with scorn, and ordering


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    some of his riches to be set before the ambassadors, "Bear," said he, "this present to your king, and tell him, from it he may know how much my subjects give me, and how great the love is which they have for me; that I willingly accept of war, by which it shall be decided whether my subjects are to pay tribute to the king of Mexico or the Mexicans to me." Montezuma immediately informed the two allied kings of this insolent answer, and sent a considerable army against that lord, who was well prepared, and met them on the frontiers of his state. As soon as the armies came in sight of each other, they engaged; but the Mixtecas rushed with such fury on the Mexicans, that they were thrown into disorder, and forced to abandon their enterprize.

    The pride of Atonaltzin increased with the victory, but foreseeing that the Mexicans would return with a more numerous force, he demanded assistance from the Huexotzincas and the Tlascalans, who readily granted it, rejoicing in having an opportunity of interrupting the success of the Mexican arms. Montezuma, who was much troubled at the unhappy issue of the war, meditated the re-establishment of the honour of his crown, for which purpose he speedily collected a numerous and formidable army, resolving to command it himself, together with his two royal allies; but before they set out on their march, he received intelligence that the Tlascalans and Huexotzincas had attacked Tlachquiauhco, a place in Mixteca, had killed all the Mexican garrison there, and deprived some of the citizens of their lives, and others of their liberty. Montezuma, now warm with indignation, marched towards Mixteca. Neither his own power, nor the assistance which he received from his friends, were of


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    any avail to Atonaltzin. In the very first conflict his army was totally defeated, many of his soldiers were killed, and almost all his confederates; the few who escaped the fury of the Mexicans fell by the hands of the Mixtecas, in revenge for the unfortunate issue of the battle. Atonaltzin surrendered to Montezuma, who not only remained in possession of the city, and the state of Coaixtlahuacan, but proceeding farther made himself master of Tochtepec, Tzapotlan, Tototlan, and Chinantla, and in the two following years of Cozamaloapan, and Quauhtochto. The cause of these hft wars was the same with many others, namely, the inhabitants of these places having in time of peace put some merchants and couriers of Mexico to death.

    The expedition undertaken in 1457 against Cuetlachtlan, or Cotafta, proved far more difficult, and more celebrated. This province situated as we mentioned before on the coast of the Mexican gulf, and founded, or at least inhabited, by the Olmecas, who were driven out by the Tlascalans, was extremely populous. We are ignorant of the occasion of the war; we know, however, that the Cotastese foreseeing the storm which threatened them, called the Huexotzincas and Tlascalans to their assistance. The two last feeling high resentment for the loss of Coaixtlahuacan, and thirsting for revenge, not only agreed to assist the other, but persuaded the Cholulans also to enter into the confederacy. These three republics sent numerous forces to Cotasta to wait for the enemy. Montezuma, on his part, raised a great and brilliant army, in which the flower of the nobility of Mexico, Acolhua, Tlatelolco, and Tepaneca enlisted. Among other persons of distinction in this army were Axajacatl, the general, Tizoc, and Ahuitzotl, all three brothers, and of the


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    royal family of Mexico, who successively filled the throne after Montezuma their cousin. There were also the lords of Colhuacan and Tenaycuca; but the most respectable character was Moquihuix, king of Tlatelolco, successor to the unfortunate Quauhtlatoa. When the army left Mexico, intelligence had not arrived of the confederacy of the three republics with the Cotastese; as soon as Montezuma knew it, he sent messengers to his generals not to proceed, but to return instantly to his court. The generals entered into a consultation: some were of opinion that they ought to obey the order of their sovereign without hesitation; others thought they were not under obligation to submit to an order, which would throw such reflection on their honour, as the nobles must be disgraced and degraded if they shunned engaging upon an occasion which was so fit to shew their bravery. The first opinion prevailed, as being the most safe; but in setting out on their march to return to Mexico, Moquihuix the king, addressed them: "Let those return, whose spirit can suffer them to turn their backs upon the enemy, whilst I with my people of Tlatelolco alone bear off the honour of the victory." This resolute determination of Moquihuix, so roused and fired the other generals, that they all resolved to meet the danger. At length they joined battle with the enemy, in which the Cotastese although they fought courageously, were nevertheless vanquished, with all their allies of these last, the greater part were lest on the field; of both, six thousand two hundred were made prisoners, who were soon after sacrificed at the festival of the consecration of the Quaxicalco, or the religious edifice appropriated for the preservation of the skulls of the victims. The whole of that province remained subject to the king of Mexico,


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    who established a garrison there, to keep that people in obedience to the crown. This great victory was principally owing to the bravery of Moquihuix; and even until our day, a Mexican song or ode has been preferred, which was at that time composed in his praise. (e) Montezuma more pleased with the happy fortune of the war, than offended at the disobedience to his orders, rewarded the king of Tlatelolco by giving him one of his cousins to wife, who was the sister of the above mentioned princes, Axayacatl, Tizoc, and Ahuitzotl.

    In the mean while the Chalchese were daily rendering themselves more deserving of chastisement, not solely by rebellion, but also by the commission of other new offences. At this time they had the audacity to take the brother of the king Montezuma himself, who was, according to what we can learn, lord of Ehecatepec, with some other Mexicans, prisoners. A crime of this nature committed on a person so nearly related in blood to their sovereign, appears to have been a measure contrived by them to get rid of the power of the Mexicans, and make the city of Chalco the rival of Mexico; as they were desirous of making that lord, king of Chalco; and frequently, though in vain, proposed it to him. He perceiving them fixed in their resolution, told them he would accept the crown they offered; but, that the act of his exaltation might be the more solemn, he desired they would plant in the market-place, one of the highest trees, and place a scaffold upon it, from which he might be viewed by all. Every thing was done as he requested: having assembled the Mexicans around the tree, he ascended the scaffold with a bunch of flowers in his hand;

    (e) Boturini makes mention of this ode, which he had, among other manuscripts and paintings, in his very valuable museum.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     247

    then from the height, in the view of an immense concourse of people, he thus addressed his own people: "Ye know well, my brave Mexicans, that the Chalchese wish to make me their king; but it is not agreeable to our God that I should betray our native country, I choose rather to teach you by my example, to place higher value on fidelity to it, than upon life itself." Having spoke thus, he threw himself headlong from the scaffold. This act, though barbarous, was agreeable to the ideas which the ancients entertained of magnanimity, and was so much less censurable than that of Cato and others, celebrated by antiquity, as the motive was nobler and the courage of the Mexican greater. The Chalchese were so enraged at the deed, that they fell instantly on the other Mexicans and killed them with their darts. The next evening they heard by chance the melancholy screaming of an owl, which, as they were extremely addicted to superstition, was interpreted a fatal omen of their approaching ruin. They were not deceived in the anticipation of their disasters; for Montezuma, highly provoked by their rebellion and their enormous offences, immediately declared war, and caused fires to be kindled on the tops of the mountains, as a signal of the punishment to which he condemned the rebels. He then marched with his army against that province, and made such havock of the enemy as to leave it almost depopulated. Immense numbers were slaughtered, and those who escaped with life, fled into the caves of the mountains which rise above the plains of Chalco; some, to remove themselves still further from danger, passing to the other side of the mountains, took refuge in Huexotzinco and Atlixco. The city of Chalco was sacked and plundered. The fury of revenge was succeeded in Montezuma,


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    as is usual to noble minds, by feelings of compassion for the unfortunate. He proclaimed a general pardon to all the fugitives, particularly for the relief of the aged, the women, and the children, inviting them to return without fear to their native country; nor content with that only, he ordered his troops to traverse the mountains, to call back the wanderers who had fled from man to find shelter among the wild beasts, and woods. Many returned, who were distributed in Amaquemecan, Tlalmanalco, and other places; but many resigned themselves to their fate in the mountains, from distrust of the pardon, or the excess of their despair. One part of the country of Chalco was divided by Montezuma among the officers who had the most distinguished themselves in the war.

    After this expedition the Mexicans conquered Tamazollan, Piaztlan, Xilotepec, Acatlan, and other places. By such rapid conquests Montezuma so enlarged his dominions, that in the east he extended them as far as the gulf of Mexico; in the south-east, to the centre of the country of the Mixtecas; in the south, as far as Chilapan and something beyond it; in the west, to the valley of Toluca; in the north-west, to the centre of the country of the Otomies; and in the north, as far as the termination of the vale of Mexico.

    But while so attentive to war, this famous king spidered not what concerned internal polity and religion. He published new laws, added to the splendor of his court, and introduced there many ceremonials not known to his predecessors. He erected a large temple to the god of war, ordained many new religious rites, and increased the number of the priests. The interpreter of Mendoza's collection adds, that Montezuma was himself


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    sober, and remarkably rigorous in punishing drunkenness; and that by his justice and prudence, and the propriety of his actions, he made his subjects fear and love him. At last, after a very glorious reign of twenty-eight years and some months, in 1464 he died, universally regretted. His funeral was celebrated with more than ordinary solemnity, in proportion to the increased magnificence of the court, and the power of the nation.

    Before his death he assembled the chief nobility of his court, and exhorted them to agree among themselves, and prayed of the electors that they would, after his death, choose Axayacatl, whom he thought the fittest person to promote the glory of the Mexicans. Whether it was from deference to the opinion of a king who had gained so much desert from his nation, or because they knew the merit of Axayacatl, the electors chose him in preference to his elder brother. He was the son of Tezozomoc, who had been the brother of the three kings who preceded Montezuma, and a son, as well as they, of king Acamapitzin.

    After the festival of the election, the new king, after the example of his predecessors, went to war, to collect victims for a sacrifice at his coronation. He made his expedition against the province of Tecuantepec, situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, four hundred miles to the south-east, from Mexico. The people of Tecuantepec were well prepared, and in confederacy with their neighbours, to oppose the attempts of the Mexicans. In the keen battle which took place, Axayacatl, who commanded as general, pretended flight, to lead the enemy into an ambuscade. They pursued the Mexicans, triumphing in their victory, when suddenly they found themselves attacked behind by one part of the Mexican army which


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    came from their ambush, and attacked in front by those who were flying and had now faced about upon them; hut-ailed thus on both sides, they were soon totally defeated. The enemy, who were able to save themselves by flight, were pursued by the Mexicans as far as the city of Tecuantepec, to which they set fire, and taking advantage of the confusion and consternation of the people, they extended their conquests as far as Coatulco, a maritime place, the port of which was much frequented by the vessels of the Spaniards, in the next century. From this expedition Axayacatl returned enriched with spoils, and was crowned with the greatest pomp, there being a procession of the tribute-bearers, and a sacrifice made of the prisoners. In the first years of his reign, following the steps of his predecessor, he applied himself to the extension of his conquests. In 1467 he re-conquered Cotasta and Tochtepec. In 1468, he obtained a complete victory over the Huexotzincas and Atlixcas; and on his return to Mexico, he undertook the building of a temple, which he called Coatlan. The Tlatelolcos erected another in rivalship, which they called Coaxolotl; by which the discord between these two kings was revived, which turned out, as we shall see hereafter, fatal to the Tlatelolcos. In 1469, Totoquihuatzin, the first king of Tacuba, died, who, for upwards of forty years, while he held that small kingdom, was constantly faithful to the king of Mexico, and served him in almost all the wars which he undertook against the enemies of the state, He was succeeded in the throne by his son Chimalpopoca, who resembled him no less in his bravery than his fidelity.

    The loss which the Mexicans suffered, in 1470, by the death of the great Nezahualcojotl king of Acolhuacan,


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     251

    was far more afflicting. This king was one of the most renowned heroes of ancient America. His courage, which in his youth was rather fool-hardiness, however great it appeared, was still one of the less noble faculties of his soul. His fortitude and constancy during the thirteen years which he continued deprived of the crown and persecuted by the usurper, were truly wonderful. His integrity in the administration of justice was inflexible. To make his nation more civilized, and to correct the disorders introduced into the kingdom in the time of the tyrant, he published eighty laws, which were afterwards compiled by his celebrated descendant D. Ferdinando D'Alba Ixtlilxochitl in his manuscript, entitled, Storia de' Signori Cicimechi. He ordained that no suit, civil or criminal, should be prolonged more than eighty days, or four Mexican months. Every eighty days there was a great assembly in the royal palace, at which the judges and delinquents attended. Whatever causes had been lest undecided in the four preceding months, were infallibly determined on that day; and those who were convicted of any crime, immediately and without any remission, received punishment proportioned to their offence, in presence of the whole assembly. To different crimes, different punishments belonged; some were punished with the utmost rigour, particularly adultery, sodomy, theft, homicide, drunkenness, and treason to the state. If we are to credit the Tezcucan historians, he put four of his own sons to death, for committing incest with their mother-in-law.

    His clemency to the unfortunate was also remarkable. It was forbid, under pain of death, throughout the kingdom, to take any thing from another's field; and so strict was this law, that the stealing of seven ears of


    252                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    maize was sufficient to incur the penalty. In order to provide, in some measure, for necessitous travellers, without breach of this law, Nezahualcojotl commanded that both sides of the principal highways should be sown with maize and other seeds, with the fruits of which those who were in want might supply themselves. A great part of his revenue was spent in relief of the poor, particularly those who were aged, sick, and in widowhood. To prevent the consumption of the woods, he prescribed limits to those who cut wood, and forbid trespasses on them, under severe penalties. Being desirous of knowing if this prohibition was strictly observed, he went out one day in disguise, with one of his brothers, and took the way to the foot of the neighbouring mountains, where the boundaries prescribed commenced. There he found a youth employed in gathering the small chips which remained of some wood that had been cut, and asked him why he did not go into the woods to cut fuel. Because the king, said the lad, has forbid the trespassing on these limits, and if we do not obey him he will punish us severely. Neither importunity nor promises which the king made, were sufficient to make him willing to transgress. The compassion excited in him by this poor youth, moved him to enlarge the former limits he had fixed.

    He was particularly zealous in his attention to the faithful administration of justice, and that none from their necessities might plead an excuse for being corrupted by any of the contending parties, he ordered the support of all his ministers and judges, their clothing, and every necessary according to the rank and quality of the person, to be supplied out of the royal treasury. So much was expended annually in his household, in the support of his


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    ministers and magistrates, and in relief of the poor, it would be totally incredible, nor should we be bold enough to write it, were it not certified by the original paintings, seen and examined by the first religious missionaries, who were employed in the conversion of these people, and confirmed by the testimony of a third grandson of this same king, who being converted to christianity was baptized by the name of Don Antonio Pimentel. (f) The annual expenditure made by Nezahualcojotl reduced to Castilian measure, was therefore as follows:

    Of Maize, 4,900,300 Fanegas. (g)
    Of Cocoa nuts, 2,744,000 Fan.
    Of Chili or common pepper and Tomate, 3,200 Fan.
    Of Chiltecpin, or small pepper, 240 Fan.
    Of Salt, 1,300 large baskets.
    Of Turkeys, 8,000

    The quantity consumed of Chia, French beans, and other leguminous plants; of deer also, and ducks, quails, and other birds, was infinite and numberless. Every person will easily comprehend how great the extent of population must have been to amass such a vast quantity of maize and cocoas; particularly as it was necessary to procure this last by commerce with warm countries, there being no soil in all the kingdom of Acolhuacan fit for the culture of this plant. During one half of the year or nine Mexican months, fourteen cities furnished such provisions, and fifteen other cities supplied them during the other half year. Young men were employed

    (f) Torquemada the historian, had these paintings in his hands, by his own testimony.

    (g) The Fanega is a Spanish measure for dry goods, containing about a hundred Spanish pounds, or one hundred and thirty Roman pounds.


    254                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    to carry on their backs the fuel which was consumed in the royal palace, in amazing quantities. {h)

    The progress made by this celebrated king, in the arts and sciences, was such as is to be expected from a great genius who is without books to study, or masters to instruct him. He excelled in the poetry of these nations, and produced many compositions which met with universal applause. In the sixteenth century, his sixty hymns, composed in honour of the Creator of Heaven, were celebrated even among the Spaniards. Two of his odes or songs, transtated into Spanish verse by his descendant Don Ferdinando d'Alba Ixtlilxochitl, have been preserved unto our time. (i) One of these was written some time after the ruin of Azcapozalco. The subject of it was similar to the other which we already mentioned; it lamented the inconstancy of human greatness, in the person of the tyrant Tezozomoc, whom he compared to a large and stately tree which had extended its roots through many countries, and spread the shade of its green branches over all the lands of the empire; but at last, worm-eaten and wasted, fell to the earth, never to resume its youthful verdure.

    Nothing, however, gave so much delight to Nezahualcojotl, as the study of nature. He acquired some ideas of astronomy, by the frequent observations which he made of the course of the stars. He applied himself

    (h) The fourteen cities charged with furnishing provisions for the first half year were Tezcuco, Huexotla, Coatlichan, Atenco, Chiauhtla, Texonjocan, Papalotla, Tepetlaoztoc, Acolman, Tepechpan, Xaltocan, Chimalhuacan, Iztapalocan, and Coatepec. The other fifteen were Otompan, Aztaquemecan, Teotihuacan, Cempoallan, Axapochco, Tlalanapan, Tepepolco, Tizajocan, Ahuatepec, Oztoticpac, Quauhtlatzinco, Cojoac, Oztotlatlauhcan, Achichillacachocan, and Tetliztacac.

    (i) Cav. Boturini had two odes composed by Nezahualcojotl; we wished much for them to publish them in this history.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     255

    besides to the knowledge of plants and animals; but finding he could not keep the natives of other climes alive at his court, he caused paintings to be made from the life, of all the plants and animals of the country of Anahuac; to which paintings the celebrated Hernandez bears testimony, who saw and made use of them: paintings more useful and more worthy of a royal palace than those which represent the dark mythology of the Grecians. He was a curious enquirer into the causes of the effects by which nature excited his admiration, and frequent observation in that way, led him to discover the weakness of idolatry. To his sons, he said privately, that although in conformity with the people they paid external adoration to the idols, they should, yet, in their hearts detest the worship which was so deserving of mockery, as it was directed to lifeless forms; that he acknowledged no other God than the Creator of Heaven, and he did not forbid idolatry in his kingdom, though inclined to do so, that he might not be blamed for contradicting the doctrines of his ancestors. He prohibited the sacrifice of human victims; but perceiving afterwards how difficult it was to make a nation change its ancient and long-rooted ideas in matters of religion, he again permitted them, but commanded, under severe penalties, that these should be none but prisoners of war. He erected in honour of the Creator of Heaven, a high tower, consisting of nine floors. The last floor was dark and vaulted, painted within of a blue colour, and ornamented with cornices of gold. In this tower resided constantly some men whose office was to strike, at certain hours of the day, plates of the finest metal, at which signal the king kneeled down to pray to the Creator of Heaven. In honour likewise of this God,


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    at a certain time of the year he always observed a fast, (k)

    The elevated genius of this king, actuated by the great love he had to his people, conduced so to enlighten his capital, that in future times it was considered as the nursery of the arts and the centre of cultivation. Tezcuco was the city where the Mexican language was spoken in the greatest purity and perfection, where the best artists were found, and where poets, orators, and historians most abounded. (l) The Mexicans and other nations adopted many of their laws; and if we may be allowed the application, Tezcuco was the Athens, and Nezahualcojotl the Solon of Anahuac.

    In his last illness, having called all his sons into his presence, he declared Nezahualpilli his heir and successor in the kingdom of Acolhuacan, who, though the youngest of them all, was preferred to the rest, on account of his having been born of the queen Matlalcihuatzin, as well as of his singular rectitude and great talents. He enjoined his first born son Acapipioltzin to assist the new king with his counsel, until he should learn the difficult art of government. He warmly recommended to Nezahualpilli the love of his brothers, the care of his subjects, and a zeal for justice. At last, to prevent any disorder which the news of his death might occasion, he commanded them to conceal it as much as possible from the people until Nezahualpilli should be fixed in quiet possession of the crown. The princes received with tears the last advice of their rather, and having left him, and

    (k) All the above mentioned anecdotes are extracted from the valuable manuscripts of Don Ferdinando d'Alba; he being fourth grandson of that king, received, probably, many traditions from his fathers and grand-fathers.

    (l) In the list which we have given of the historians of that kingdom, it appears many were of the royal family of Tezcuco.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     257

    come into the hall of audience where the nobility expected them, Nezahualpilli was proclaimed king of Acolhuacan, Acapipioltzin declaring it to be the last will of their father, who having a long journey to make, chose first to nominate his successor. All paid obedience to the new king, and in the morning after, Nezahualcojotl died, in the forty-fourth year of his reign, and about the eightieth year of his age. His sons concealed his death, and hid his body, burning it secretly, as is probable; and instead of rendering funeral honours to it, they celebrated the coronation of the new king with uncommon festivity and rejoicing. But in spite of their cautious secrecy the news of his death spread suddenly through all the land, and many lords came to the court to condole with the princes. Nevertheless the vulgar remained persuaded that their great king was translated to the company of the gods in reward of his virtues.

    Some little time after the exaltation of Nezahualpilli to the throne, the memorable war happened between the Mexicans and their neighbours and rivals, the Tlatelolcos. Moquihuix king of Tlatelolco, being unable to endure the dazzling glory of the Mexican monarch, used all his arts to darken it. He had married, as we have already mentioned, a sister of king Axayacatl, given him by Montezuma in reward for the famous victory he obtained over the Cotastese. On this unfortunate queen he frequently vented his malice against his cousin; nor contented with that, he clandestinely formed leagues with other states, which like himself bore unwillingly the Mexican yoke. These were Chalco, Xilotepec, Toltitlan, Tenajucan, Mexicaltzinco, Huitzilopochco, Xochimilco, Cuitlahuac, and Mizquic, which agreed to attack the Mexicans, in their rear, after the Tlatelolcos should begin battle


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    with them. The Quaupanchese also, the Huexotzincas, and Matlatzincas, whose aid had been requested, were to join their troops with those of Tlatelolco in defence of the city. The queen knew of these negociations, and either from the hatred she bore to her husband, or from her love to her brother and her native country, she revealed them to Axayacatl, that he might ward off a blow which would have shaken his throne.

    Moquihuix being allured of the aid of his confederates assembled the nobles of his court to encourage them to the undertaking. An old and venerable priest raised his voice in the assembly, and in the name of them all declared himself willing to sight to the last against the enemies of his country, then to animate them still more he warned the altar of the sacrifices, and presented the water purple with human blood to the king to drink, and afterwards to all his officers; by which they imagined their courage would be increased, and doubtless it hardened them to the exercise of cruelty upon their foes. In the mean while the queen grew impatient of the ill treatment she suffered, and being alarmed at the dangers of war, forfook her husband and came to Mexico with four sons, to throw herself under the protection of her brother. This it was easy for her to do from the very close neighbourhood of the two cities. An incident of this uncommon nature increased the mutual enmity and disgust of the Mexicans and Tlatelolcos to such a degree, that whenever they met, they abused, fought, and murdered each other.

    The time of commencing the war drawing near, Moquihuix with his officers and many of his confederates, made a solemn sacrifice on the mountain which was the nearest to the city, to obtain the protection of their gods;


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     259

    and there they fixed the day on which they were to declare war against the Mexicans. A few days after, he sent notice to his allies, to be well prepared to succour him whenever he should begin the attack. Xiloman lord of Colhuacan, was to make the first onset, and afterwards to pretend flight, to induce the Mexicans to pursue him, when the Tlatelolcos were to fall upon their rear. The day after these embassies were sent, Moquihuix performed the ceremony of arming his troops, and then went to the temple of Huitzilopochtli to implore the aid of that god, where the same horrible draft was again taken which Pojahuitl had given them at the first congress, and all the soldiers passed before the idol, with a salutation of profound reverence. This ceremony was hardly finished when a troop of daring Mexicans entered the market-place, killing every one they met; but the troops of the Tlatelolcos coming suddenly up, repulsed them and took some of them prisoners, who were sacrificed without respite, in a temple called Tlillan. That same day, about sun-set, some women of Tlatelolco had the boldness to advance into the streets of Mexico, and to set fire to the birch trees at the doors of the houses, casting at the same time, impudent reproaches upon the Mexicans, and threatening them with approaching ruin; but they met with the contempt they deserved.

    That night the Tlatelolcos armed themselves, and in the morning at break of day they began the attack on Mexico. They were in the heat of the battle whea Xiloman arrived with the Colhuas; but perceiving that the king of Tlatelolco had commenced the engagement without waiting for his aid or caring for his counsel, that lord retired in disgust; but desirous of doing some mischief to the Mexicans, he caused several canals to be shut


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    up, to prevent their receiving any assistance by water; these however were soon opened again by order of Axayacatl. The whole of the day the combat lasted with the utmost fury on both sides, until night forced the Tlatelolcos to retire. The Mexicans burnt the houses of the city which were the nearest to Tlatelolco, perhaps on account of their standing too much in the way in the time of engagement; but in setting fire to them, twenty were made prisoners and instantly sacrificed.

    Axayacatl that night distributed his army in all the roads which led to Tlatelolco, and at the dawn of day began to march from every quarter towards the market-place, which was to be the point where they were to meet. The Tlatelolcos finding themselves attacked on all sides, retreated to the public market-place to collect there all their force, and make the better resistance; but when they reached it, they found themselves still more incommoded and embarrassed by their numbers. The words and cries with which Moquihuix endeavoured, from the top of the great temple, to encourage his troops, were of no avail. The Tlatelolcos were beat down and killed, while those who fell, vented their rage in reproaches against the king: "Descend from thence, you coward," they said, "and take arms; it is not the part of a brave man, to stand calmly looking at those who are sighting and falling in the defence of their country." But these complaints, occasioned by the smarting of their wounds and the agonies of death, were altogether unjust, as Moquihuix neither failed in the duties of a general nor of a king. It was proper for him not to expose his life so much as the soldiers did themselves, as he could be more useful to them by his counsel, and could encourage them by his presence. In the mean time


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     261

    the Mexicans advanced to the steps of the temple, ascended them, and came to the upper balcony where Moquihuix was calling out to his people, and made a desperate defence of himself; but a Mexican captain, named Quetzalhua, with a thrust pushed him backwards down the steps, (m) when some soldiers took up his body in their arms, and presented it to Axayacatl, who opened his breast, and tore out his heart. An act certainly horrid, but done without the feelings of horror, from its being so frequent at their sacrifices!

    Thus fell the brave Moquihuix, and thus was the petty monarchy of the Tlatelolcos, which had been governed by four kings in the space of about one hundred and eighteen years, dissolved. The Tlatelolcos, after the death of their king, soon fell into disorder, and attempted to save themselves by flight, by passing across their enemies; but four hundred and sixty remained dead on the market-place, among whom were some officers of distinction. After this defeat the city of Tlatelolco was united with the city of Mexico, and was no longer considered as a distinct city, but as a part, or rather as the suburbs of Mexico, which it is at present. The king of Mexico constantly maintained a governor there, and the Tlatelolcos, besides the tribute which they annually paid of maize, robes, arms, and armour, were obliged to repair the temple of Huitznahuac as often as it became necessary.

    We are ignorant whether the Quauhpanchese, the Huexotzincas, and the Matlatzincas, who were the confederates

    (m) The interpreter of Mendoza's collection says, that after the loss of the battle, Moquihuix fled to the top of the temple, and threw himself head-long from it, being unable to endure the reproaches of one of the priests; but the account of other historians appears to us more confident with the character of this king.


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    of the Tlatelolcos, did actually assist in this war. Of their other allies, historians say, that having come to the succour of the Tlatelolcos, after the king Moquihuix was killed and the conflict over, they returned without action. The moment that Axayacatl found himself victorious, he condemned Pojahuitl, and Ehecatzitzimitl, both of them Tlatelolcos, to the last punishment, for having been the persons who most keenly excited the citizens against the Mexicans, and also put the lords of Xochimilco, Cuitlahuac, Colhuacan, Huitzilopochco and others, to death, for entering into a confederacy with his enemies.

    To take revenge of the Matlatzincas, a numerous and powerful nation, established in the valley of Toluca, and Hill unsubjected to the Mexicans, Axayacatl declared war against them, and marching with the two allied kings he took in his passage, Atlapolco, and Xalatlauhco; and afterwards he conquered in the same valley, Toluca, Tetenanco, Metepec, Tzinacantepec, Calimaja, and other places in the south division of the valley, which continued, from that time forward, tributary to the crown of Mexico. Some time after, he returned into the same province, to subdue, likewise, the north part of the valley, at present called Valle d' Ixtlahuacan, and in particular Xiquipilco, a considerable city and state of the Otomies, whose lord, called Tlilcuezpalin was famous for his bravery. Axayacatl, who likewise boasted of his courage, was anxious to engage him in single combat during the battle, which took place; but the event proved disastrous to Axayacatl himself; he received a violent wound on the thigh, and two captains of the Otomies advancing, brought him, with a few strokes more, to the ground, and would have made him prisoner, if some young Mexicans had nor, when they saw their king in such danger, resolutely defended


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     263

    his liberty and his life. Notwithstanding this misfortune and disgrace, the Mexicans obtained a complete victory, and according to what historians say, made eleven thousand and sixty prisoners, among whom were Tlilcuezpalin and the two captains who had attacked the king. By this glorious victory Axayacatl added Xiquipilco, Xocotitlan, Atlacomalco, and all the other places comprehended in the valley which were not before subdued, to the crown of Mexico.

    As soon as Axayacatl had recovered of his wound, which made him halt in one leg during the rest of his life, he gave a great entertainment to the allied kings, at which he put Tlilcuezpalin and the two other captains to death. The execution of such a punishment did not appear to those people unseasonable, amidst the festivity of an entertainment; from being used to shed human blood, the horror naturally arising from it, changed into recreation. So strong is the force of custom, and so easy is it to familiarize our minds to the most horrible objects.

    In the last years of his reign, the bounds of his empire appearing rather too confined towards the west, he again took the field; and passing through the valley of Toluca, and crossing the mountains, he conquered Tochpan and Tlaximalojan, which was afterwards the frontier of the kingdom of Michuacan. From thence returning towards the east he made himself master of Ocuilla and Malacatepec. The progress of his conquests and victories were now interrupted by his death, which happened in the thirteenth year of his reign, or the 1477 of the vulgar era. He had a genius for war, and was rigorous in punishing the transgressors of the laws which his predecessor had established. He lest a numerous offspring by his different wives, among whom was the celebrated Montezuma of whom we shall shortly have occasion to speak.


    264                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    In the room of Axayacatl, Tizoc was elected, who was his elder brother and had served in the post of general of the army. (n) We do not find where he made his first expedition to procure the victims necessary at the ceremony of his coronation. His reign was short and obscure. In the tenth painting, however, of Mendoza's collection there is a representation of fourteen cities subdued by him, among which are Toluca and Tecaxic, which having rebelled against the crown, occasioned the necessity of reconquering them; also Chillan, Jancuitlan, in the country of the Mixtecas, Mazatlan, Tlapan, and Tamapachco. Torquemada makes mention of a victory which he obtained over Tlacotepec.

    It was in the time of this king, that the war between the Tezcucan nation and the Huexotzincas happened. This war took its rise from the ambition of the princes the brothers of king Nezahualpilli. Although they shewed no discontent, in the beginning, at the exaltation of their younger brother, yet as the memory of their late father began to die away, they felt themselves unable to endure the control of one whom, in point of age, they had a right to command; and formed a secret conspiracy against him. To help them in their wicked designs they applied first to the Chalchese, who were always the fittest and readiest for such undertakings; but failing in all the means employed by them, they made solicitations to the Huexotzincas for the same purpose. Nezahualpilli being apprised of their conspiracy, raised speedily a strong army, and marched against the Huexotzincas. The general of

    (n) Acosta makes Tizoc son of Montezuma I, and the interpreter of Mendoza's collection, makes him son of Axayacatl; but both are demonstrated to be wrong, by other historians. Acosta was wrong also in the order of the kings, at he placed Tizoc's reign before Axayacatl. See our Dissertations on this head.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     265

    that state had procured intelligence of the marks of Nezahualpilli's person, that he might direct all his blows against him, and had promised rewards to any person who should produce the king to him alive, or dead. There were not wanting others, who intimated all this to the king; upon which, before he entered into battle he changed garments with one of his captains. This unfortunate officer, being taken for the king, was quickly set upon by the multitude, and killed. As the enemy were giving vent to their fury on him, Nezahualpilli made his attack on the Huexotzincan general, and killed him, though not without the greatest risk of being cut to pieces by the soldiers who flew to the defence of their general. The Tezcucan people, who fell into the same mistake with those of Huexotzinco, by not knowing the exchange of dress which had been made, began to be dispirited; but suddenly again recognizing the king, they ran up eagerly to rescue him; and after defeating the enemy, they sacked the city of Huexotzinco, and returned triumphant with spoils to Tezcuco. Historians are silent respecting the fate of the princes who were the authors of this conspiracy. It is probable they were either slain in the battle, or escaped by flight from the chastisement they deserved. Nezahualpilli, who, a little before had built himself a new palace, desirous of leaving a perpetual monument of this victory, ordered likewise the construction of a wall, which should inclose exactly so much space of ground as was occupied by the Huexotzincas when they came up to the defence of their general, and gave the place the name of that day on which he had obtained the victory. Thus did those, who are thought by many to have no views of futurity, seek to immortalize their name and the glory of their actions.


    266                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    The king of Tezcuco had already several wives, who were descended of noble houses; but he had not declared any of them his queen, having reserved that honour for one whom he was to take of the royal family of Mexico. He demanded her of king Tizoc, who gave him one of his grand-daughters, and daughter of Tzotzocatzin. The nuptials were solemnized in Tezcuco, a great concourse of the nobility of both courts being present. This lady had a sister possessed of singular beauty, who was named Xocotzin. They loved each other so much, that not being able to endure a separation, the new queen obtained permission from her father, to take her sister along with her to Tezcuco. By frequently viewing and converting with his beautiful cousin, the king became so enamoured, that he resolved to wed her also, and raise her to the dignity of queen. These second nuptials, according to the account given by historians, were the most solemn and magnificent which were ever celebrated in that country. A short time after, the king had by his first queen, a son named Cacamatzin, who succeeded him in the crown, and being afterwards made prisoner by the Spaniards, died unhappily. By the second he had Huexotzincatzin, (o) of whom we shall speak presently, Coanacotzin, who was also king of Acolhuacan, and, some time after the conquest by the Spaniards, ordered to be hanged by the conqueror Cortes, and Ixtlilxochitl, who became a confederate of the Spaniards against the Mexicans, and was converted to christianity, and baptized by the name and surname of that conqueror.


    (o) The name Huexotzincatl given to that prince, was certainly on account of his victory over the Huexotzincas.


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    whilst Nezahualpilli continued to multiply his descendants, enjoying great peace and tranquillity in his kingdom, the death of the king of Mexico was plotted by some of his feudatory subjects. Techotlalla, lord of Iztapalapan, either in resentment of some affront he had received, or grown impatient of subordination to Tizoc, conceived the guilty purpose of attempting the king's life, but discovered it to those only whom he thought capable of putting it in execution. He and Maxtlaton lord of Tlachco, agreed upon the manner in which they were to accomplish the dangerous deed. historians are not of one opinion on this head. Some of them relate that they employed sorceresses, who, by means of their arts, took his life from him; but this is evidently a popular fable. Others affirm that they administered poison to him. Which ever was his mode of death, it is certain that their machinations were successful. Tizoc died in the fifth year of his reign, the 1482 of the vulgar era. He was a person of a circumspect, serious, character; and rigorous, like his predecessors and successors, in punching delinquents. During his time the power and wealth of the crown had arrived to such a height, that he undertook to construct a temple to the tutelary god of the nation, which was to have surpassed in grandeur and magnificence, all the temples of that country; he had prepared a vast quantity of materials for that purpose, and had begun the structure when death interrupted his projects.

    The Mexicans, well knowing their king had not fallen by any natural death, fought revenge before they proceeded to a new election. They were so diligent in their inquiries and search, that they soon detested the perpetrators of the act, and executed sentence upon them in the greater public place of the city of Mexico, in presence


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    of the two allied kings, and of all the Tezcucan and Mexican nobility. The electors being assembled to appoint a new king, they chose Ahuitzotl, the brother of their two preceding kings, who was already general of the army; for, from the time of Chimalpopoca the custom had prevailed of exalting no one to the throne who had not first occupied that post, it being judged highly requisite that he who was to become the chief of so warlike a nation, should first give proofs of his bravery, and that while he commanded the army, he might learn the art of governing the kingdom.

    The first object to which the new king paid attention, was the finishing of that magnificent temple, which had been designed and begun by his predecessor. It was resumed with the utmost spirit and activity, an incredible number of workmen being assembled, and was completed in four years. While the building was constructing, the king went frequently to war, and all the prisoners which were taken from the enemy, were reserved for them festival of its consecration. The wars of these four years were carried on against the Mazahuas, a few miles distant towards the west, who had rebelled against the crown of Tacuba; against the Zapotecas, three hundred miles distant in the south-east; and against several other nations. When the fabric was completed, the king invited the two allied kings, and all the nobility of both kingdoms, to its dedication. The concourse of people was by far the most numerous ever seen in Mexico; (q) as


    (q) Some authors affirm, that the number of persons at this festival amounted to six millions. Although it appears exaggerated, yet it does not seem altogether improbable, considering the populousness of that country, the grandeur and novelty of the festival, and the ease with which those people moved from place to place, being accustomed to travel on foot without the hindrance of baggage or equipage.


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    this famous solemnity drew spectators from the most distant places. The festival lasted four days, during which, they sacrificed, in the upper porch of the temple, all the prisoners which they had made in the four preceding years. Historians are not agreed concerning the number of the victims. Torquemada says, that they amounted to seventy-two thousand three hundred and forty-four. Others affirm they were sixty-four thousand and sixty in number. To make these horrible sacrifices with more shew and parade, they ranged the prisoners in two files, each a mile and a half in length, which began in the roads of Tacuba and Iztapalapan, and terminated at the temple, (r) where, as soon as the victims arrived, they were sacrificed. After the festival the king made presents to all whom he had invited, which must certainly have been attended with an enormous expense. This event happened in 1486.

    In that same year, Mozauhqui lord of Xalatlaucho, in imitation of his king to whom he bore much affection, dedicated another temple, which had been built a little before, and sacrificed likewise a great number of prisoners. So much slaughter and blood did the cruel and barbarous superstition of these nations occasion.

    The year 1487 was no way memorable, except on account of a violent earthquake, and the death of Chimalpopoca king of Tacuba, who was succeeded by Totoquihuatzin the Second.

    Ahuitzotl, whose warlike genius did not permit him to enjoy peace, went again to war against Cozcaquauhtenanco,

    (r) Betancourt says that the file of prisoners ranged on the road of Iztapalapan, began at the place which is now called La Candelaria Malcuitlapilco, and was given this name on that account, as the word Malcuitlapilco signifies the tail, point, or the extremity of the prisoners. This conjecture is pretty probable; neither is it easy to trace a better origin of the name.


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    and obtained a complete victory; but having met with an obstinate resistance, he treated them with great severity. Afterwards he subdued Quapilollan, and passed from thence to make war on Quetzalcuitlapillan, a large province peopled with a warlike nation; (s) and lastly turned his arms against Quauhtla, a place situate on the coast of the gulf of Mexico, in which war Montezuma, the son of Axayacatl, and the successor of Ahuitzotl in the kingdom distinguished himself. A little time after, the Mexicans together with the Tezcucans, went against the Huexotzincas, in which war Tezcatzin, the brother of the above mentioned Montezuma, and Tliltototl, a noble Mexican officer, who afterwards became general of the army, gained great renown. We do not find in historians either the cause or particulars of this war. The expedition against the Huexotzincas being concluded, Ahuitzotl celebrated the dedication of a new temple called Tlacatecco, at which the prisoners made in the preceding wars were sacrificed; but the rejoicings of this festival were disturbed by the burning of the temple of Tlillan.

    Thus this king continued in constant wars until 1496, in which the war of Atlixco happened. The entry of the Mexican army into this valley was so unexpected, that the first intimation which the Atlixchese nation had of it was the sight of them when they entered. They took up arms immediately in their defence; but finding they had not forces sufficient to resist any length of time, they applied to the Huexotzincas, their neighbours, for

    (s) Torquemada says, that Ahuitzotl having frequently attempted the conquest of Quetzalcuitlanpillan, did never yet succeed; but among the conquests of this king in the eleventh painting of Mendoza's Collection, this province's represented.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     271

    assistance. When the Atlixchese ambassadors arrived at Huexotzinco, they found a famous captain named Toltecatl playing at foot-ball, whose great courage was still less remarkable than the extraordinary strength of his arm. As soon as he was informed concerning the Mexican army, he quitted play to repair with auxiliary troops to Atlixco, and entering into the battle unarmed to shew his bravery, and the contempt he entertained of his enemies, he knocked down the first Mexican he met with his fist, and took his arms from him, with which he began to make great slaughter. The Mexicans being unable to overcome the resistance of their enemies, abandoned the field and returned to Mexico covered with ignominy. The Huexotzincas, in reward of the singular bravery of Toltecatl, made him the chief of their republic. This state however was afterwards subjected to the dominion of the Mexicans whom they again provoked by fresh insults; but as the conquered nations only bore the yoke while they could not shake it off, whenever the Huexotzincas found themselves able to resist, they rebelled; and the greater part of the provinces subdued by the Mexican arms did the same, which forced the Mexican army to keep in continual motion, to regain what their king occasionally lost in this way. Toltecatl accepted the dignity and post conferred upon him; but a year had hardly elapsed when he was constrained to abandon not only his charge but his country. The priests and other ministers of the temples making an abuse of their authority, entered into private houses and took away the maize and turkeys which they found in them, and committed other excesses unbecoming their dignity. Toltecatl endeavoured to put a stop to such injustice, but the priests rose in arms. The populace


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    supported them; another party opposed their violence, and a war kindled between the two factions, which, like all other civil wars, brought on the greatest evils. Toltecatl weary of governing a people so untractable, or afraid of perishing in the storm, removed from the city with some other nobles, and passing the mountains arrived at Tlalmanalco. The governor of that city gave speedy advice of them to the king of Mexico, who instantly put all the fugitives to death in punishment of their rebellion, and sent their dead bodies to Huexotzinco to intimidate the rebels.

    In the year 1498, it appearing to the king of Mexico, that the navigation of the lake was become difficult from the scarcity of water, he was desirous of increasing it from the fountain of Huitzilopochco which supplied the Cojoacanese, and called on Tzotzomatzin, lord of Cojoacan, to give his orders for that purpose. Tzotzomatzin represented to him that that spring was not constant; that sometimes it was dry, and at other times ran in such abundance, that it might cause some disaster to his court. Ahuitzotl imagining that these reasons were mere pretences to be excused from doing what he was commanded, repeated his first order, but hearing the difficulty first mentioned insisted on, dismissed him in anger, and made him be put to death. Such is too often the recompense of good counsel when princes are obstinate in their caprices, and neglect to attend to the sincere remonstrances of their faithful subjects. Ahuitzotl being unwilling on any account to abandon his projects, caused a large and spacious aqueduct to be formed (t) from Cojoacan to Mexico, by which the water

    (t) This aqueduct was entirely destroyed by Ahuitzotl himself, or his successor, for on the arrival of the Spaniards nothing remained of it.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     273

    was conveyed with many superstitious ceremonies; some of the priests offering incense, others sacrificing quails, and anointing the lip or border of the aqueduct with the blood; others founding musical instruments, and otherwise solemnizing the arrival of the water. The high-priest wore the same habit with which they represented Chalchihuitlicue, goddess of the water. (u)

    With such congratulations the water was received at Mexico; but the prevailing joy was not long of being changed into lamentations: as the rains of that year were so plentiful, the waters of the lake rose and overflowed the city; the streets were filled with failing vessels, and some houses washed away. The king happening to be one day in the lower chambers of his palace, the water entered suddenly in such abundance, that as he hastened to get out at the door which was low, he received a violent contusion on his head, which some time after occasioned his death. distressed equally with the accident of the inundation, and the clamours of his people, he called the king of Acolhuacan to his assistance, who, without delay, ordered the dyke to be repaired, which had been built by the advice of his father in the reign of Montezuma.

    The Mexicans were scarcely delivered from the calamity of the inundation, when a year after, the super-abundance of water having rotted all their maize, they were afflicted with a scarcity of corn; but in this year they had the fortune to discover a quarry of tetzontli in the vale of Mexico, which proved so useful for the

    (u) Acosta testifies that the conveyance of the water of Huitzilopochco to Mexico, and the ceremonial performed by the priests were represented in a Mexican painting, which in his time was, and may be still, in the library of the Vatican.


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    buildings of that city. The king immediately made use of this kind of stone for temples; and after his example, private individuals built their houses of it. He ordered all ruinous edifices to be pulled down and rebuilt in a better form; adding much to the beauty and magnificence of his court.

    He passed the last years of his life in constant wars, namely, those of Izquixochitlan, Amatlan, Tlacuilollan, Xaltepec, Tecuantepec, and Huexotla in Huaxteca. Tliltototl, the Mexican general, having finished the war of Izquixochitlan, carried his victorious arms as far as Quauhtemallan, or Guatemala, more than nine hundred miles to the south-east from the court, in which campaigns, according to the historians, he performed prodigies of valour, but none of them relate the particular actions of this renowned general; nor do we know whether that great tract of country remained subject to the crown of Mexico.

    At length in the year 1502, after a reign of about twenty years, Ahuitzotl died of an illness occasioned by the above mentioned contusion on his head. He was a very warlike king, and one of those who extended most considerably the dominions of the crown. At the time of his death, the Mexicans were in possession of all which they had at the arrival of the Spaniards. Besides courage, he had two other royal virtues, which made him celebrated among his countrymen; these were magnificence and liberality. He embellished Mexico with so many new and magnificent buildings, that it was already. become the first city of the new world.. When he received the provincial tributes he assembled the people in a certain square of the city, and personally distributed provisions and clothing to the necessitous. He rewarded


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     275

    his captains and soldiers who distinguished themselves in war, and the ministers and officers of the crown who served him with fidelity, with gold, silver, jewels, and precious feathers. These virtues were put to the soil by some vices, as he was capricious, vindictive, and sometimes cruel, and so inclined to war, that he appeared to hate peace; from which the name Ahuitzotl was used proverbially by the Spaniards of that kingdom to signify a man whose troublesome vexatious temper would not permit another to live. (x) But he was in other respects good humoured, and delighted so much in music, that he never wanted, neither by night nor day, this amusement in his palace; but it must have been prejudicial to the public good, as it robbed him of a great part of that time which would have been dedicated to the important concerns of his kingdom. He was not less attached to the company of women. His predecessors had many wives, from an opinion that their authority and grandeur would be heightened in proportion to the number of persons who contributed to their pleasures. Ahuitzotl having so much extended his dominions, and encreased the power of the crown, was desirous also of shewing the superiority of his grandeur over that of his ancestors, in the excessive number of his wives. In this state was the court of Mexico at the beginning of the sixteenth century; of that century so fruitful in great events, during which that kingdom was to put on a quite different aspect, and the whole order and system of the new world was to be reversed.

    (x) The Spaniards say, N. es mio Ahuitzote; Questi es 1'Ahuitzete di N. a niuno manca il suo Ahuitzote, &c.


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    B O O K  V.

    Events under Montezuma II, the ninth King of Mexico, until the year 1519. Particulars of his Life, his Government, and the Magnificence of his Palaces, Gardens, and Woods. The War of Tlascala, and some Account of Tlahuicole, a Tlascalan Captain. Death and Eulogium of Nezahualpilli, King of Acolhuacan, and new Revolutions in that Kingdom. Prefaces of the Arrival of the Spaniards.

    Ahuitzotl being dead, and his funeral celebrated with extraordinary magnificence, they proceeded to the election of a new sovereign. No brother of the preceding kings survived; on which account, according to the law of the kingdom, one of the grandsons of the last king, who were sons of his predecessors, had the right of succession; of these there were many; for of the sons of Axayacatl, Montezuma, Cuitlahuac, Matlatzincatl, Pinahuitzin, Cecepacticatzin, were still living, and of those of king Tizoc, Imactlacuijatzin, Tepehuatzin, and others, whose names we do not know. Montezuma, who was called by the name of Xocojotzin, (a) to distinguish him from the other king of that name, was elected in preference to all the others.

    (a) The author of the Annotations to Cortes's Letters, printed in Mexico in the year 1770 says, that Montezuma II was son of Montezuma I. This is a gross mistake, as we know from all the historians, both Mexican and Spanish, that he was the son of Axayacatl. See Torquemada, Bernal Diaz, the interpreter of Mendoza's Collection, &c.

    The first Montezuma was called by the Mexicans Huebue Moteuczoma, and the second Moteuczoma Xocojotzin, names which are equivalent to the senior and junior of the Latins.

    [follows 276]

    [Image: Aztec King]


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    Besides the bravery which he had displayed in several battles, in which he held the post of general, he was likewise a priest, and much revered for his gravity, his circumspection, and religion. He was a man of a taciturn temper, extremely deliberate, not only in words, but also in his actions; and whenever he spoke in the royal council, of which he was a member, he was listened to with respect. Notice of the election being sent to the two allied kings, they repaired instantly to the court to pay their compliments. Montezuma, being apprized of it, also retired to the temple, appearing to think himself unworthy of so much honour. The nobility went there to acquaint him with his being elected, and found him sweeping the pavement of the temple. He was conducted by a numerous attendance to the palace, where the electors, with due solemnity, intimated the election had fallen on him as the fittest person to fill the throne of Mexico. From thence he returned to the temple to perform the usual ceremonies, and as soon as they were finished he received on the throne the homage of the nobility, and heard the congratulatory harangues of the orators. The first speech was made by Nezahualpilli, king of Acolhuacan, which we present to our readers such as it is preserved to us by the Mexicans.

    "The great good fortune," he said, "of the Mexican monarchy is made manifest from the unanimity in your election, and the uncommon applause with which it is celebrated by all. All have in truth reason to celebrate it, for the kingdom of Mexico is arrived at such greatness, no less fortitude than your invincible heart possesses, no less wisdom than that which in you we admire, would be sufficient to support so great a load. It is most evident, how strong


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    "the love is which the omnipotent God bears to this nation; as he has enlightened it, that it may discern and choose that which can be most beneficial to it. Who is able to persuade himself that he, who, as a private individual, has searched into the mysteries of heaven, (h) will not now, when king, know the things of this earth, which will preserve the happiness of his subjects? That he who on so many occasions has displayed the greatness of his soul, will not now retain it when it is become most necessary to him? Who can believe, that where there is so much courage, and so much wisdom, the widow or the orphan will ever apply without relief? The Mexican empire has unquestionably attained the height of its power, as the Creator of heaven has invested you with so much authority as to inspire all those who behold you with awe and respect. Rejoice, therefore, O happy land, that thou art destined to have a prince who will not only be thy support, but will by his clemency prove a father and brother to his subjects. Thou hast, indeed, a king who will not seize the occasion of his exaltation to give himself up to luxury, and lie sluggishly in bed, abandoned to pastimes and effeminate pleasures; his anxiety for thee rather will wake and agitate his bosom in the softest hour of repose, nor will he be able to taste food, or relish the most delicious morsel, while thy interests are oppressed or neglected. And do you, noble prince and most powerful lord, be confident, and trust that the Creator of heaven, who has raised you to so high a dignity, will give you strength to discharge all the obligations which are annexed to it. He who has hitherto been so liberal to you, will not now

    (h) This saying of Nezahualpilli appears to imply that Montezuma was engaged in the study of astronomy.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     279

    be niggardly of his precious gifts, having himself raised you to the throne on which I wish you many years of happiness."

    Montezuma heard this harangue with much attention, and was so greatly affected by it, that he attempted three times to answer it, but could not from the interruption of the tears, which the secret pleasure he felt produced, and gave him the appearance of much humility; but, at last after checking his emotions, he replied in few words, declaring himself unworthy of the station to which he was exalted, and returning thanks to that king for the praises which he bestowed on him; and after hearing the other addresses on this occasion, he returned to the temple to keep fact for four days, at the end of which he was re-conducted with great state to the royal palace.

    He thought now of going to war to procure victims to be sacrificed at his coronation. This disaster fell upon the Atlixchese, who some time before had rebelled against the crown. The king, accordingly, fet out from the court, with the flower of the nobility, his brothers and cousins being amongst the number. In this war the Mexicans lost some brave officers; but, notwithstanding, they reduced the rebels under their former yoke, and Montezuma returned victorious, bringing along with him the prisoners which he required at his coronation. On this occasion was displayed so much pomp of games, dances, theatrical representations and illuminations, and with such variety and richness of tributes sent from the different provinces of the kingdom, that foreigners never known before in Mexico, came to see it, and even the enemies of the Mexicans, namely, the Tlascalans and, Michuacanese were present in disguise at the spectacle;


    280                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    but Montezuma having intelligence of this, with a generosity becoming a king, ordered them to be properly lodged and entertained, and caused several scaffolds to be erected where they might with ease and conveniency view the whole of the solemnity.

    The first act of this king was to reward a renowned captain, named Tlilxochitl, with the state of Tlachaucho, for the great services he had rendered his ancestors during several wars: a truly happy commencement of a reign, had his succeeding conduct been correspondent to it. But he had scarce begun to exercise his authority when he discovered the pride which had hitherto lain concealed under an exterior of seeming humility. All his predecessors had been accustomed to confer offices on persons of merit, and those who appeared the most able to discharge them, honouring, without partiality, the nobility or those of the class of plebeians occasionally, notwithstanding the solemn agreement entered into by the nobility and plebeians in the reign of Itzcoatl. Montezuma as soon as he seized the reins of government shewed quite different sentiments, and disapproved of the conduct of his predecessors, under pretence that the plebeians should be employed according to their rank, for that in all their actions the baseness of their birth, and the meanness of their education were apparent. Being biased by this maxim, he stripped the plebeians of those offices which they held either in his royal mansion, or about the court, and declared them incapable of holding any such in future. A prudent old man, who had been his tutor, represented to him that this resolution would alienate the minds of the people from him; but no remonstrances were sufficient to divert him from his purpose.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     281

    All the servants of his palace consisted of persons of rank. Besides those who constantly lived in it, every morning six hundred feudatory lords and nobles came to pay court to him. They passed the whole day in the anti-chamber, where none of their servants were permitted to enter, conversing in a low voice, and waiting the orders of their sovereign. The servants who accompanied those lords, were so numerous as to occupy three small courts of the palace, and many waited in the streets. The women about the court were not less in number, including those of rank, servants, and slaves. All this numerous female tribe, lived shut up in a kind of seraglio, under the care of some noble matrons, who watched over their conduct; as these kings were extremely jealous, and every piece of misconduct which happened in the palace, however slight, was severely punished. Of these women the king retained those who pleased him; (d) the others he gave away, as a recompense for the services of his vassals. All the feudatories of the crown were obliged to reside for some months of the year, at the court; and at their return to their states, to leave their sons or brothers behind them, as hostages, which the king demanded as a security for their fidelity; on which account they required to keep houses in Mexico. The forms and ceremonials introduced at court, were another effect of the despotism of Montezuma. No one could enter the palace, either to serve the king, or to confer with him on any business, without pulling off his shoes and stockings at the gate. No person was allowed to appear before the king in any pompous dress, as it was deemed a want of respect to majesty; consequently the

    (d) Some historians affirm that Montezuma had a hundred and fifty of hif wives pregnant at once; but it a certainly not very credible.


    282                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    greatest lords, excepting the nearest relations of the king, stripped themselves of the rich dress which they wore, or at least covered it with one more ordinary, to shew their humility before him. All persons on entering the hall of audience, and before speaking to the king, made three bows, saying at the first, lord; at the second, my lord; and at the third, great lord. (e) They spoke low, and with the head inclined, and received the answer which the king gave them by means of his secretaries, as attentively and humbly as if it had been the voice of an oracle. In taking leave, no person ever turned his back upon the throne.

    The audience hall served also for his dining room. The table was a large pillow, and his feat a low chair. The table cloth, napkins, and towels were of cotton, but very fine, white, and always perfectly clean. The kitchen utensils were of the earthen ware of Cholula; but none of these things ever served him more than once, as immediately after he gave them to one of his nobles. The cups in which they prepared his chocolate, and other drinks of the cocoa, were of gold, or some beautiful seashell, or naturally formed vessels curiously varnished, of which we shall speak hereafter. He had gold plate, but it was used only on certain festivals, in the temple. The number, and variety of dishes at his table amazed the Spaniards who saw them. The conqueror Cortez says, that they covered the floor of a great hall, and that there were dishes of every kind of game, fish, fruit, and herbs of that country. Three or four hundred noble youths carried this dinner in form; presented it as soon as the king sat down to table, and immediately retired; and

    (e) The Mexican words are, Tlatoani, lord; Notlatotatzin, my lord; and Huitlatoani great lord.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     283

    that it might not grow cold, every dish was accompanied with its chafing-dish. The king marked with a rod, which he had in his hand, the meats which he chose, and the rest were distributed among the nobles who were in the anti-chamber. Before he sat down, four of the most beautiful women of his seraglio, presented water to him to wash his hands, and continued standing all the time of his dinner, together with six of his principal ministers, and his carver.

    As soon as the king sat down to table, the carver shut the door of the hall, that none of the other nobles might see him eat. The ministers stood at a distance, and kept a profound silence, unless when they made answer to what the king said. The carver and the four women served the dishes to him, besides two others who brought him bread made of maize baked with eggs. He frequently heard music, during the time of his meal, and was entertained with the humorous sayings of some deformed men whom he kept out of mere state. He shewed much satisfaction in hearing them, and observed that amongst their jests, they frequently pronounced some important truth. When his dinner was over he took tobacco mixed with liquid amber, in a pipe, or reed beautifully varnished, and with the smoke of it put himself to sleep.

    After having slept a little, upon the same low chair he gave audience, and listened attentively to all that was communicated to him; encouraged those who, from embarrassment, were unable to speak to him, and answered every one by his ministers or secretaries. After giving audience, he was entertained with music, being much delighted with hearing the glorious actions of his ancestors sung. At other times he amused himself with seeing various games played, of which we shall speak hereafter.


    284                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    When he went abroad, he was carried on the shoulders of the nobles in a litter covered with a rich canopy, attended by a numerous retinue of courtiers; and wherever he passed, every person stopped with their eyes shut, as if they feared to be dazzled with the splendor of majesty. When he alighted from the litter to walk on foot, they spread carpets, that he might not touch the earth with his feet.

    The grandeur and magnificence of his palaces, houses of pleasure, woods, and gardens, were correspondent to this majesty. The palace of his usual residence was a vast edifice of stone and lime, which had twenty doors to the public square and streets; three great courts, in one of which was a beautiful fountain, several halls, and more than a hundred chambers. Some of the apartments had walls of marble and other valuable kinds of stone. The beams were of cedar, cypress, and other excellent woods, well finished and carved. Among the halls there was one so large, that, according to the testimony of an eyewitness of veracity, (f) it could contain three thousand people. Besides this palace, he had others, both within and without the capital. In Mexico, besides the seraglio for his wives, there was lodging for all his ministers and counsellors, and all the officers of his household and court; and also accommodation for foreign lords who arrived there, and particularly for the two allied kings.

    Two houses in Mexico he appropriated to animals; the one for birds, which did not live by prey; the other for those of prey, quadrupeds, and reptiles. There were several chambers belonging to the first, and galleries

    (f) The anonymous conqueror, in his valuable relation or narrative. He says also, that he went four different times into that great palace, and ranged over it till he was fatigued, but could not see it all.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     285

    supported on pillars of marble, all of one piece. These galleries looked towards a garden, where, in the midst of some shrubbery, ten fish-ponds were formed, some of them of fresh water for the aquatic birds of rivers, and others of salt-water for those of the sea. In other parts of the house were all sorts of birds, in such number and variety, as to strike the Spaniards with wonder, who could not believe there was any species in the world wanting to the collection. They were supplied with the same food which they fed upon while they enjoyed their liberty, whether seeds, fruits, or insects. For those birds which lived on fish only, the daily consumption was ten Castilian pesos of fish, (according to the testimony of the conqueror Cortez, in his letters to Charles V) which is more than three hundred Roman pounds. Three hundred men, says Cortez, were employed to take care of those birds, besides their physicians, who observed their distempers, and applied timely remedies to them. Of those three hundred men, some procured them their food, others distributed it, others took care of their eggs at the time of their incubation, and others picked their plumage at certain seasons of the year; for, besides the pleasure which the king took in seeing so great a multitude of animals collected together, he was principally careful of their feathers, not less for the sake of the famous Mosaic images, of which we shall speak hereafter, than of the other works which were made of them. The halls and chambers of those houses, were so many in number, as the conqueror above mentioned attests, that they could have accommodated two great princes with all their retinue. This celebrated house was situated in the place where, at present, the great convent of St. Francis stands.


    286                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    The other house appropriated to the wild animals, had a large and handsome court, with a chequered pavement, and was divided into various apartments. One of them contained all the birds of prey, from the royal eagle to the kestrel, and many individuals of every species. These birds were distributed, according to their species, in various subterraneous chambers, which were more than seven feet deep, and upwards of seventeen in length and breadth. The half of every chamber was covered with flat stones: and-stakes were fixed in the wall, on which they might sleep, and be defended from rain. The other half of the chamber was only covered with a lattice, through which they enjoyed the light of the sun. For the support of these birds, were killed, daily, near five hundred turkeys. In the same house were many low halls filled with a great number of strong wooden cages, in which, lions, tigers, wolves, coyotos, and wild cats were confined, and all other kinds of wild beasts, which were fed upon deer, rabbits, hares, techichis, and other animals, and the intestines of human sacrifices.

    The king of Mexico not only kept all the species of animals, which other princes do for state, but likewise such as by nature seemed exempted from slavery, namely, crocodiles, and serpents. The serpents were kept in large casks or vessels; the crocodiles in ponds, which were walled round. There were also, various ponds for fish, two of which, that are remaining and still beautiful, we have seen in the palace of Chapoltepec, two miles from Mexico.

    Montezuma, who was not satisfied with having every fort of animal in his palace, also collected there all irregularly formed men, who either from the colour of their hair, or of their skin, or some other deformity in their


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     287

    persons, were oddities of their species. A humour this, however, not unattended with beneficial consequences, as it gave maintenance to a number of miserable objects, and delivered them from the inhuman insults of their other fellow-creatures.

    All his palaces were surrounded with beautiful gardens, where there was every kind of beautiful flower, odoriferous herb, and medicinal plant. He had, likewise, woods inclosed with walls, and furnished with variety of game, in which he frequently sported. One of those woods was upon an island in the lake, known at present, among the Spaniards, by the name of Pinon.

    Of all these palaces, gardens, and woods, there is now remaining the wood of Chapoltepec only, which the Spanish viceroys have preserved for their pleasure. All the others were destroyed by the conquerors. They laid in ruins the most magnificent buildings of antiquity, sometimes from an indiscreet zeal for religion, sometimes in revenge, or to make use of the materials. They neglected the cultivation of the royal gardens, cut down the woods, and reduced that country to such a state, the magnificence of its former kings could not now find belief, were it not confirmed by the testimony of those who were the causes of its annihilation.

    Not only the palaces, but all the other places of pleasore, were kept in exquisite order and neatness, even those which were seldom or never visited; as there was nothing in which he took more pride than the cleanliness of his own person, and of every thing else which was his. He bathed regularly every day, and had baths, therefore, in all his palaces. Every day he wore four dresses; and that which he once put off, he never after used again: these were reserved as largesses for the nobles who served him,


    288                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    and the soldiers who behaved gallantly in war. Every morning, according to the accounts given by some historians, upwards of a thousand men were employed by him in sweeping and watering the streets of the city.

    In one of the royal buildings was an armory filled with all kinds of offensive and defensive arms, which were made use of by those nations, with military ornaments, and ensigns. He kept a surprising number of artificers ac work, in manufacturing these and other things. He had numerous artists constantly busied likewise, namely, gold-smiths, Mosaic work-men, sculptors, painters, and others. One whole district consisted solely of dancing-masters, who were trained up to entertain him.

    His zeal for religion was not less conspicuous than his magnificence. He built several temples to his gods, and made frequent sacrifices to them, observing with great punctuality the established rites and ceremonies. He was extremely careful that all the temples, and in particular the greater temple of Mexico, should be well kept, and exquisitely clean; but his vain fear of the auguries and pretended oracles of those false divinities totally debased his mind.

    He was anxiously attentive to the execution of his orders, and the laws of the kingdom, and was inexorable in punishing transgressors. He tried, frequently, by secret presents, the integrity of his magistrates, and whenever he found any of them guilty, he punished them without remission, even if they were of the first rank of the nobility.

    He was an implacable enemy to idleness, and, in order to bauish it as much as possible from his dominions, he kept his subjects perpetually employed; the military, in constant warlike exercises; the others, in the culture of


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     289

    the fields, and in the construction of new edifices, and other public works; and even beggars, that they might not be totally idle, were enjoined to contribute a certain quantity of those filthy insects which are the breed of nastiness and adherents of wretchedness.

    The oppression which he made his vassals feel, the heavy burdens he imposed on them, his own arrogance and pride, and excessive severity in punishments, disgusted his people; but, on the other hand, he gained their love by his liberality in supplying the necessities of individuals, as well as rewarding his generals and ministers. Amongst other things worthy to be recorded with the highest praises, and to be imitated by all princes, he allotted the city of Colhuacan as an hospital for all invalids, who, after having done faithful service to the crown, either in military or civil employments, required a provision for their age or infirmities. They were there maintained, and attended to at the expense of the king. Such were the good and bad qualities of the celebrated Montezuma; which we have thought proper to lay before the reader here, before we go on to detail the events of his reign.

    In the beginning of his government, he put to death Malinalli, lord of Tlachquiauhco, for rebellion against the crown of Mexico: he reduced the state again under his obedience, and conquered, also, that of Achiotlan. A little time after, another war broke out more serious and dangerous, in which he was not so successful.

    Amongst the many provinces which either voluntarily subjected themselves to the Mexicans from fear of their power, or were conquered by force of arms, the republic of Tlascala remained always unsubdued, having never bowed to the Mexican yoke, although so little distant


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    from the capital of that empire. The Huexotzincas, Cholulans, and other neighbouring states, who were formerly allied with the republic, growing jealous afterwards of its prosperity, exasperated the Mexicans against it, by insinuating that the Tlascalans were desirous of making themselves masters of the maritime provinces on the Mexican gulf, and that by their commerce with those provinces, they were daily increasing their power and their wealth, and were gaining the minds of the people with whom they had traffick. The commerce of the Tlascalans, of which the Huexotzincas complained, was both justifiable and necessary; because, besides that the greater part of the people of these coasts were originally of Tlascala, and considered each other as kindred and relations; the Tlascalans were under the necessity of providing themselves from thence with what cocoas, cotton, and fait they wanted. Nevertheless the representations of the Huexotzincas had such influence on the Mexicans, that since the time of Montezuma I, all the kings of Mexico had treated the Tlascalans as the greatest enemies of the empire, and had always maintained strong garrisons on the frontiers of Tlascala, to obstruct their commerce with the maritime parts.

    The Tlascalans finding themselves deprived of their freedom of commerce, and consequently of the means of obtaining some of the necessaries of life, resolved to send an embassy to the Mexican nobility, (probably in the time of king Axayacatl) complaining of the wrong done them through the false insinuations of their rivals. The Mexicans who were become insolent from prosperity, replied, that the king of Mexico was lord of all the world, and all mortals were his vassals; and that as such, the Tlascalans should render him due obedience, and acknowledge


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     291

    him by tribute, after the example of other nations; but if they refused subjection, they must perish without remedy, their city would be sacked, and their country given to be inhabited by another race of people. To so arrogant and weak an answer, the ambassador returned those spirited words: "most powerful lords, Tlascala owes you no submission, nor have the Tlascalans ever acknowledged any prince with tributes since their ancestors lest the countries in the North, to inhabit this land. They have always preserved their liberty, and being unaccustomed to the slavery to which you pretend to subject them, rather than submit to your power, they will shed more blood than their fathers shed in the famous battle of Pojauhtlan."

    The Tlascalans alarmed at the arrogant and ambitious pretensions of the Mexicans, and despairing of being able to bring them to any amicable agreement, resolved at last to fortify their frontiers to prevent an invasion. They had already inclosed the lands of the republic with intrenchments, and established good garrisons on their frontiers: the threats of the Mexicans made them increase their fortifications, and strengthen their garrisons, and construct that famous wall six miles in length, which prevented the enemy from entering in the quarter of the west, where danger was chiefly to be apprehended. They were frequently attacked by the Huexotzincas, the Cholulans, the Itzocanese, the Tecamachalchese, and other states which were neighbouring, or but little distant from Mexico; but they never could wrest a foot of land from the republic, owing to the watchful attention of the Tlascalans, and the bravery with which they resisted their invaders.


    292                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    A great many subjects of the crown of Mexico had taken refuge in the country of Tlascala, particularly some of the Chalchese nation, and the Otomies of Xaltocan who fled from the ruin of their native countries, in the wars above-mentioned. They bore an inveterate hatred to the Mexicans, from the evils which they had suffered, and appeared, therefore, to the Tlascalans, to be the fittest people to give vigorous opposition to their enemies; in this they were not deceived; for the Mexicans found no resistance more powerful than that which they met with from these exiles, especially the Otomies composing the frontier garrisons, who served the republic with great fidelity, and were rewarded with the highest honours and employments.

    All the time that Axayacatl and his successors reigned, the Tlascalans continued to be obstructed in their commerce with the maritime provinces, by which means the common people were so much in want of salt, that they grew accustomed to eat their food without that seasoning, and did not return to the use of it for many years after the conquest; but the nobles, or at least some of them, had secret correspondence with some Mexican lords, and got a supply of what was necessary, without the populace of either country having any knowledge of it. Every person knows that in all general calamities, the poor are those who suffer the greatest hardships, while those of better circumstances escape, or at least find means by their wealth to soften and relieve them.

    Montezuma being unable to endure a refusal of obedience and homage from the little republic of Tlascala, while so many nations, even the most distant, were tributary to him, ordered in the beginning of his reign, the states in its neighbourhood to muster their troops,


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     293

    and attack the republic on every side. The Huexotzincas, in confederacy with the Cholulans, quickly raised their forces, under command of Tecajahuatzin, the chief of the state of Huexotzinco; but confiding more in their arts than their strength, they tried to draw over to their party, by bribes and promises, the inhabitants of Huejotlipan, a city of the republic, situated on the frontiers of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, and the Otomies, who guarded the other frontiers; but neither would be prevailed upon: on the contrary, they declared they were resolved to die in defence of the republic. Upon which the Huexotzincas, being obliged to make use of their strength, entered with such fury into the boundaries of Tlascala, that the frontier garrison was not able to withstand them: they committed great slaughter, and advanced as far as Xiloxochitla, which was only three miles distant from the capital. There they met with a stout resistance from Tezatlacatzin, a celebrated Tlascalan captain, who fell at last however, being overcome by the multitude of his enemies. Finding themselves so near the capital, they conceived such a dread of the vengeance of the Tlascalans, that they retreated precipitately to their own territories. Such was the commencement of the continual battles and the hostilities which subsisted between the two states until the arrival of the Spaniards. We are uninformed by history whether the other states in the neighbourhood of Tlascala were engaged in the war: perhaps, the Huexotzincas and Cholulans were unwilling to let any other have a share in their glory.

    The Tlascalans were now so enraged against the Huexotzincas, that they did not confine themselves any longer to the defence of their state, but frequently sallied out upon


    294                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    on the enemy. At one time they attacked them at the foot of the mountains, which lie to the west of Huexotzinco, and reduced them to such difficulties, that finding themselves unable for resistance, they demanded assistance from Montezuma, who immediately ordered an army under the command of his first-born son to their relief. This army marched across the southern border of the mountain and volcano Popocatepec, where it was increased with the troops of Chietlan and Itzocan, and from thence it entered by Quauhquechollan into the valley of Atlixco. The Tlascalans having intelligence of this route, posted themselves in the way to fall upon the Mexicans before they could join the Huexotzincas. The attack was so sudden and unexpected on the Mexicans that they were defeated, and the Tlascalans taking advantage of their disorder, made a considerable havoc of them. amongst others who were slain, the prince the general was one, on whom so important a post had been conferred probably more from an intention to add this honour to the nobleness of his birth than from respect: to his skill in the art of war. The rest of the army was put to flight, and the conquerors returned to Tlascala loaded with spoils. It is much to be wondered at that they did not pour immediately upon the city of Huexotzinco, as they might have expected it would have easily surrendered; but, perhaps, the victory was not so complete, but that many of their people fell in the battle, and that they thought it more prudent to enjoy the immediate fruits of victory, and return afterwards with more forces to the war. They quickly returned, but they were repulsed by the Huexotzincas, who were now fortified, so that they retreated to Tlascala without any other advantage than laying waste the fields of the Huexotzincas and Cholulans;


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     295

    by which these people were so reduced as to be forced to seek provision in Mexico and other places.

    Montezuma was deeply affected with the death of his first-born son, and the defeat of his army: upon which he commanded another army to be raised in the provinces surrounding Tlascala, to block up the whole republic; but the Tlascalans foreseeing the hostility of the Mexicans, had made extraordinary fortifications, and strengthened all their garrisons. The contest became vigorous on both sides; but at last the royal troops were repulsed, leaving no small share of riches in the hands of their enemies. The Tlascalans celebrated this victory with great rejoicings, and rewarded the Otomies, to whom it was chiefly owing, by advancing the most respectable among them to the dignity of Texetli, which was in the greatest esteem among them, and giving daughters of the most noble Tlascalans in marriage to the heads of that nation.

    It is not to be doubted that if the king of Mexico had been seriously bent on the reduction of the Tlascalans, he would in the end have subjected them to his crown; because although the strength of the republic was considerable, its troops warlike, and its places strong, they were still inferior to the Mexicans in resources and power. From which it appears probable, as historians affirm, that the kings of Mexico, although they had conquered the most distant provinces, designedly let the republic of Tlascala exist, which is scarcely sixty miles distant from that capital; not only that they might have an enemy at hand against whom they might exercise their troops; but likewise that they might always be able to procure with case victims for their sacrifices. The frequent attacks which they made on the different places of Tlascala, served for both these purposes.


    296                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    Among the Tlascalan victims in the history of Mexico, a very famous general, named Tlahuicol, is extremely worthy of memory. (g) His courage and the uncommon strength of his arms, were unequalled and wonderful. The maquahuitl, or Mexican sword, with which he fought, was so weighty, that a man of ordinary strength could hardly raise it from the ground. His name was a terror to the enemies of the republic, and wherever he appeared in arms, they fled before him. In an assault which the Huexotzincas made upon a garrison of the Otomies, he got inadvertently, during the heat of the engagement, into a marsh, where not being able to move with sufficient agility, he was made prisoner, confined in a strong cage, carried to Mexico, and presented to Montezuma. The king who could esteem merit even in his enemies, instead of putting him to death, graciously granted him liberty to return to his native country; but the proud Tlascalan would not accept the favour, pretending that as he had been made prisoner, he had not confidence to present himself after such dishonour before his countrymen. He said he desired to die like the other prisoners, in honour of their god. Montezuma observing his aversion to return to his country, and at the same time being unwilling to deprive the world of a man who was so renowned, continued to entertain him at his court, in hopes of making him a friend to the Mexicans, and gaining his services to the crown. In the mean time a war broke out with the Michuacanese, the reasons and particulars of which we know not, when Montezuma committed the command of the army

    (g) The event respecting this officer happened in the last years of Montezuma's reign; but ou account of its connexion with the war of Tlascala we have thought proper to introduce it here.


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    which he sent to Tlaximalojan, the frontier as we have already mentioned of Michuacan, to Tlahuicol. Tlahuicol corresponded faithfully with the trust reposed in him; for although he could not dislodge the enemy from the place where they were fortified, yet he made many prisoners, and brought off a great quantity of gold and silver. Montezuma was sensible of his services, and again made him offers of liberty; but this being refused as formerly, he was offered the honourable post of Tlacatecatl, general of the Mexican arms. To this the Tlascalan nobly answered, that he would never be a traitor to his country, that he desired positively to die, provided it might be in the gladiatorian sacrifice, which as it was reserved for the most respectable prisoners, would therefore be more honourable to him. This celebrated general passed three years in Mexico with one of his wives, who came there from Tlascala to live with him. It is probable, that the Mexicans brought her to him that he might leave them some posterity, to ennoble with his virtues the court and kingdom of Mexico. The king perceiving at last the obstinacy with which he refused every offer which was made him, yielded to his barbarous inclination, and appointed the day of the sacrifice. Eight days before the arrival of that day, they began to celebrate the occasion with entertainments of dancing; after which, they, in presence of the king, the nobility, and an immense crowd of people, put the Tlascalan prisoner, tied by one foot, upon the Temalacatl, or the large round stone on which such sacrifices were made. Several brave men came on, one at a time, to sight with him, of whom, according to report, he killed eight and wounded twenty, until at last falling almost dead from a severe blow which he received on the head, they carried him


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    before the idol of Huitzilopochtli, where the priets opened his breast and took out his heart, and threw the body down the stair of the temple according to the established rites. Thus fell this famous general, whose courage and fidelity to his country, had he lived in more enlightened times, would have raised him high in the rank of heroes.

    During the time in which war was carrying on against the Tlascalans, some provinces of the empire were distressed with a famine, occasioned by two years of dry weather. All the grain which individuals possessed being consumed, the king had an opportunity of shewing his liberality; he opened all his granaries, and distributed among his subjects all the maize which was in them; but this not being sufficient to relieve their necessities, in imitation of Montezuma I, he permitted them to go to other countries to procure their subsistence. The following year, 1505, having had an abundant harvest, the Mexicans went to war against Guatemala, a province upwards of nine hundred miles distant from Mexico in the south-east. During the continuance of this war, occasioned probably by some hostilities offered to some of the subjects of the crown, the building of a temple, erected in honour of the goddess Centiotl, was finished at Mexico, the consecration of which was celebrated with the sacrifice of the prisoners made in that war.

    They had, during this season also, enlarged the road upon the lake from Chapoltepec to Mexico, and repaired the aqueduct which was upon that road, but the rejoicings which the conclusion of such a labour excited were interrupted by the turret of another temple, called Zomolli, being set on fire by lightning. The inhabitants of that part of the city which was most distant from the


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    temple, and especially the Tlatelolcos, having perceived no lightning, were persuaded that the burning was caused by enemies come unexpectedly into the city, upon which they immediately rose in arms to defend it, and ran in troops towards the temple. Montezuma being suspicious that it was a mere pretence of the Tlatelolcos to raise a sedition, as he was always dissident of them, was so provoked at their disturbance, that he deprived them of all the public offices which they held, and even forbade their appearance at court, neither protestations of their innocence, nor prayers with which they implored the royal mercy, having sufficient weight to make him alter his resolution; but as soon as the first heat of his passion was over, they were reinstated in their employments and his favour.

    In the mean while the Mixtecas and Zapotecas rebelled against the crown. The principal leaders of the rebellion, in which all the lords of each nation had engaged, were Cetecpatl, lord of Coaixtlahuacan, and Mochuixochitl, lord of Tzotzollan. first of all they treacherously murdered all the Mexicans in the garrisons of Huayjacac and other places. As soon as Montezuma had information of the rebellion, he sent a large army against them, composed of Mexicans, Tezcucans, and Tepanecas, under the command of prince Cuitlahuac, his brother and successor in the crown. The rebels were totally defeated, a great many of them taken prisoners with their chiefs, and their cities sacked. The army returned to Mexico loaded with spoils, the prisoners were sacrificed, and the state of Tzotzollan was given to Cozcaquauhtli, the brother of Nahuixochitl, for his fidelity to the crown, preferring the duties of a subject to the ties of blood; but Cetecpatl was not sacrificed, as he had not yet


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    discovered all his accomplices in the rebellion, and the designs of the rebels.

    Some little time after this expedition, a dispute and quarrel arose between the Huexotzincas and the Cholulans their friends and neighbours, which as it was left to be decided by arms, occasioned a pitched battle to be fought. The Cholulans being more versed in the forms of religion, in commerce, and the arts, than skilled in the science of war, were soon defeated, and forced to retreat to their city, where their enemies pursued them, killed some of their people, and burned some of their houses. The Huexotzincas had hardly gained the victory when they found cause to repent it, on account of the chastisement which they apprehended would follow it; that they might prevent this, they sent two respectable persons to king Montezuma, whose names were Tolimpanecatl, and Tzoncoztli, who were to justify them, and lay the blame on the Cholulans. These ambassadors, either with a design to magnify the courage of their citizens, or from some other motive, exaggerated the slaughter made of the Cholulans to such a degree, that the king believed they were all cut to pieces, or that the few whose lives had been saved had abandoned the city. On hearing this account Montezuma was extremely afflicted, and dreaded the revenge of the god Quetzalcoatl, whose sanctuary, which was one of the most celebrated and most honoured of all that land, he conceived to have been profaned by the Huexotzincas. Having consulted, therefore, with the two allied kings, he sent some persons from his court to Cholula, to gain just information of this transaction; and having found it very different from the representation given by the Huexotzincas, he was so enraged at their deceit to him, that he suddenly dispatched


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     301

    an army, with orders to his general, to punish them severely if they did not make a suitable apology and submission. The Huexotzincas, foreseeing the storm which was likely to pour upon them, went out in order of battle to meet the Mexicans; but the Mexican general advanced towards them to explain his commission in the following words: "Our lord Montezuma, who has his court in the middle of the water, Nezahualpilli, who commands upon the borders of the lake, and Totoquihuatzi who reigns at the foot of the mountains, have ordered us to tell you, that having learned from your ambassadors that you have ruined Cholula and killed its inhabitants, they feel the utmost affliction, and are under an obligation to revenge the violent outrage which has been offered to the venerable sanctuary of Quetzalcoatl." The Huexotzincas protested that the account given by their ambassadors was extravagant and false, and that a body of men so respectable as the citizens of Huexotzinco, could not be the authors of it, and declared themselves ready to satisfy all the three kings by punishment of the guilty. Upon which having summoned their ambassadors, and cut off their cars and noses, that being the punishment destined for those who told falsehoods pernicious to the state, they delivered them up to the general. Thus they escaped the evils of war, which otherwise would have been inevitable.

    The Atlixchese who had rebelled against the crown, met with a very different fate; they were defeated by the Mexicans, and many of them made prisoners. This happened precisely in the month of February, 1506, when, on account of the termination of the century, the great festival of the renewal of the fire was celebrated


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    with still greater pomp and solemnity than under the reign of Montezuma I, or in other secular years. This, which was the most solemn, was also the last festival of the kind celebrated by the Mexicans. A great number of prisoners were sacrificed at it; a great many also were reserved for the festival of the dedication of Tzompantli, which, as we have observed above, was an edifice close to the greater temple, where the skulls of the victims were strung together and preserved.

    This secular year appears to have passed without war; but in 1507, the Mexicans made an expedition against Tzollan and Mictlan, two states of the Mixtecas, whose inhabitants fled to the mountains, and lest the Mexicans no other advantage than that of making a few prisoners of those who remained in their houses. From thence they proceeded to subdue Quauhquechollan which was in rebellion, in which war the prince Cuitlahuac the general of the army, made a display of his courage. Some brave Mexican officers fell in this expedition; but the rebels were reduced under the yoke, and three thousand two hundred taken prisoners, who were sacrificed, one part of them at the festival Tlacaxipehualiztli, which took place in the second Mexican month; and another part of them at the dedication of the sanctuary Zomolli, which was rebuilt after the burning of it before mentioned, with greater magnificence than it was at first.

    In the year following the royal army of the Mexicans, Tezcucans, and Tepanecas, set out against the distant province of Amatla. On their march, which lay over a very lofty mountain, they were attacked by a furious north wind, accompanied with snow, which made great havoc in the army, as some of them who were accustomed to a mild climate, and travelling almost without


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    clothing, perished with cold, and others were beat down by the trees which were rooted up by the wind. Of the remainder of the army, which continued their journey but feebly to Amatla, the greater part died in battle.

    These and other calamities together with the appearance of a comet at that time, threw all the princes of Anahuac into the utmost consternation. Montezuma, who was too superstitious to look with indifference on so uncommon a phenomenon, consulted his astrologers upon it; but they being unable to divine its meaning, applied to the king of Acolhuacan, who was reputed able in astrology, and in the art of divination. These kings, although they were related to, and perpetual allies of, each other, did not live in much harmony together, the king of Acolhuacan having put to death his son Huexotzincatzin, as we shall see presently, paying no regard to the prayers of Montezuma, who, as the uncle of that prince, had interfered in his behalf. For a long time past they had neither met with their usual frequency, nor confidence; but on this occasion the mysterious dread which seized the mind of Montezuma incited him to profit by the knowledge of the king Nezahualpilli, for which reason he intreated him to come to Mexico to consult with him upon an event which appeared equally to concern them both. Nezahualpilli went, and after having conferred, at length, with Montezuma, was of opinion,, according to the account of historians, that the comet predicted the future disasters of those kingdoms, by the arrival of a new people. This interpretation, however, being unsatisfactory to Montezuma, Nezahualpilli challenged him at the game of foot-ball, which was frequently played at even by those kings themselves; and it was


    304                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    agreed between them that if the king of Mexico gained the party, the king of Acolhuacan should renounce his interpretation, adjudging it to be false; but if Nezahualpilli came off victor, Montezuma should acknowledge and admit it to be true: a folly though truly ridiculous in those men, to believe the truth of a prediction could depend on the dexterity of the player, or the fortune of the game; but less pernicious, however, than that of the ancient Europeans, who decided on truth, innocence, and honour, by a barbarous duel and the fortune of arms. Nezahualpilli remained victor in the game, and Montezuma disconsolate at the loss and the confirmation of so fatal a prognostic: he was willing, however, to try other methods, hoping to find some more favourable interpretation which might counterbalance that of the king of Acolhuacan, and the disgrace he had suffered at play: he consulted therefore a very famous astrologer who was much versed in the superstitious art of divination, by which he had rendered his name so celebrated in that land, and acquired so great a respect, that without ever stirring abroad from his house he was considered and consulted by the kings themselves as an oracle. He knowing, without doubt, what had happened between the two kings, instead of returning a propitious answer to his sovereign, or at least one which was equivocal, as such prognosticators generally do, confirmed the fatal prophecy of the Tezcucan. Montezuma was so enraged at the answer, that in return he made his house be pulled to pieces, leaving the unhappy diviner buried amidst the ruins of his sanctuary.

    These and other similar presages of the fall of that empire appear represented in the paintings of the Americans, and are related in the histories of the Spaniards.


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    We are far from thinking that ail which has been written on this subject is deserving of credit; but neither can we doubt of the tradition which prevailed among the Americans, that a new people totally different from the native inhabitants, were to arrive at that kingdom and make themselves masters of that country. There has not been in the country of Anahuac any nation more or less polished which has not confirmed this tradition either by verbal testimony or their own histories.

    It is impossible to guess at the origin of a tradition so universal as this; but the event which I am going to relate, is said to have been public, and to have made a considerable noise; to have happened also in the presence of the two kings and the Mexican nobility. It is represented in some of the paintings of those nations, and a legal attestation of it even was sent to the court of Madrid. (h) Though in compliance with the duty of a historian, we give a place to many of the memorable traditions of those nations; on these, however, we leave our readers to form their own judgment and comments.
    Papantzin, a Mexican princess, and sister of Montezuma, was married to the governor of Tlatelolco, and after his death lived in his palace until the year 1509, when she likewise died of old age. Her funeral was celebrated with magnificence suitable to her exalted birth, the king her brother, and all the nobility of Mexico and Tlatelolco being present. Her body was buried in a subterraneous cavern, in the garden of the same palace, near to a fountain where she had used to bathe, and the mouth of the cave was shut with a stone. The day following, a child of five or six years of age happened to pass from

    (h) See Torquemada, lib. ii. op. 91, and Betencourt, Part iii. Tract. i. p. 8.


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    her mother's apartment to that of the major-domo of the deceased princess, which was on the other side of the garden; and in passing saw the princess sitting upon the steps of the fountain, and heard herself called by her by the word Cocoton, (i) which is a word of tenderness used to children. The little child not being capable, on account of its age, of reflecting on the death of the princess, and thinking that she was going to bathe as usual, approached without fear, upon which she sent the child to call the wife of her major-domo; the child went to call her, but the woman smiling and caressing her, told her, "My little girl, Papantzin is dead, and was buried yesterday;" but as the child insisted, and pulled her by her gown, she, more to please, than from belief of what was told her, followed her; but was hardly come in sight of the princess, when she was seized with such horror that she fell fainting to the earth. The little girl ran to acquaint her mother, who, with two other companions came out to give assistance; but on seeing the princess they were so affected with fear, that they would have swooned away if the princess herself had not endeavoured to comfort them, assuring them she was still alive. She made them call her major-domo, and charged him to go and bear the news to the king her brother; but he durst not undertake it, as he dreaded that the king would consider the account as a fable, and would punish him with his usual severity for being a liar, without examining into the matter. Go then to Tezcuco, said the princess, and intreat the king Nezahualpilli, in my name, to come here and see me. The major-domo obeyed, and the king having received the information, set out immediately for Tlatelolco. When he arrived there, the princess was in

    (i) Cocoton means little girl, only that it is an expression of more tenderness.


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     307

    a chamber of the palace; though full of astonishment, the king saluted her, when she requested him to go to Mexico, to tell the king her brother that she was alive, and had occasion to see him, to communicate some things to him of the utmost importance. The king set out for Mexico to execute her commission; but Montezuma would hardly give credit to what was told him. However, that he might not do injustice to so respectable an ambassador, he went along with him, and many of the Mexican nobility to Tlatelolco, and having entered the hall where the princess was, he demanded of her if she was his sister. "I am, indeed, sir," answered the princess, "your sister Papantzin, whom you buried yesterday; I am truly alive, and wish to relate to you what I have seen, as it deeply concerns you." Upon this the two kings sat down, while all the other nobles continued standing full of admiration at what they saw.

    The princess then began to speak as follows: "After I was dead, or if you will not believe that I have been dead, after I remained bereft of motion and of sense, I found myself suddenly placed upon an extensive plain, to which there appeared no boundaries. In the middle of it I observed a road which I afterwards saw was divided into a variety of paths, and on one side ran a great river whose waters made a frightful noise. As I was going to throw myself into the river to swim to the opposite bank, I saw before me a beautiful youth of handsome stature, clothed in a long habit, white as snow, and dazzling like the sun; he had wings of beautiful feathers, and upon his forehead, this mark," (in saying this the princess made the sign of the cross with her two fore singers, "and laying hold of my hand, said to me, Stop, for it is not yet time to pass this river.


    308                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    "God loves thee, though thou knowest it not. He then led me along by the river-side, upon the borders of which I saw a great number of human skulls and bones, and heard most lamentable groans that waked my utmost pity. Turning my eyes afterwards upon the river, I saw some large vessels upon it filled with men of a complexion and dress quite different from ours. They were fair and bearded, and carried standards in their hands, and helmets on their heads. The youth then said to me, It is the will of God that thou shalt live to be a witness of the revolutions which are to happen to these kingdoms. The groans which thou hast heard among these bones, are from the souls of your ancestors, which are ever and will he tormented for their crimes. The men whom you see coming in these vessels, are those who by their arms will make themselves masters of all these kingdoms, and with them will be introduced the knowledge of the true God, the creator of heaven and earth. As soon as the war shall be at an end, and [thou] hath published and made known which will wash away sin, be thou the first to receive it, and guide by thy example the natives of thy country. Having spoke this the youth disappeared, and I found myself recalled to life; I rose from the place where I lay, raised up the stone of my sepulchre, and came out to the garden where I was found by my domestics."

    Montezuma was struck with astonishment at the recital of so strange an adventure, and feeling his mind distracted with a variety of apprehensions, rose and retired to one of his palaces which was destined for occasions of grief, without taking leave of his sister, the king of Tacuba, or any one of those who accompanied him, although some of his flatterers, in order to console him, endeavoured


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     309

    to persuade him that the illness which the princess had suffered, had turned her brain. He avoided for ever after returning to see her, that he might not again hear the melancholy presages of the ruin of his empire. The princess, it is said, lived many years in great retirement and abstinence. She was the first who, in the year 1524, received the sacred baptism in Tlatelolco, and was called from that time, Donna Maria Papantzin.

    Among the memorable events, in 1510, there happened without any apparent cause, a sudden and furious burning of the turrets of the greater temple of Mexico, in a calm, serene night; and in the succeeding year, so violent and extraordinary an agitation of the waters of the lake, that many houses of the city were destroyed, there being at the same time no wind, earthquake, nor any other natural cause to which the accident could be ascribed. It is said also, that in 1511, the figures of armed men appeared in the air, who fought and slew each other. These and other similar phenomena, recounted by Acosta, Torquemada and others, are found very exactly described in the Mexican and Acolhuan histories.

    The consternation which these bad omens raised in the mind of Montezuma did not, however, turn aside his thoughts from war. His armies made numerous expeditions in 1508, particularly against the Tlascalans and Huexotzincas, the Atlixchese, Icpatepec, and Malinaltepec, in which they made five thousand prisoners, which were afterwards sacrificed. In 1509, the war against Xochitepec happened, that state having rebelled. In the year following, Montezuma thinking the altar for the sacrifices too small, and unproportioned to the magnificence of the temple, he caused a proper stone of excessive


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    size, to be sought for, which was found near to Cojoacan. After ordering it to be polished and cut, he commanded it to be brought in due form to Mexico. A vast number of people went to drag it along, but in passing a wooden bridge over a canal, in the entry to the city, the stone by its enormous weight, broke through the bridge and fell into the canal, drawing some men after it, and among the rest, the high priest, who was accompanying it, and scattering incense. The king and the people were a good deal disconcerted by this misfortune; but without giving up the undertaking, they drew the stone, with prodigious labour and fatigue, out of the water, and brought it to the temple, where it was consecrated with the sacrifice of all the prisoners that had been reserved for this great festival, which was one of the most solemn ever celebrated by the Mexicans. The king invited the principal nobility of all his kingdom to it, and expended a great deal of his treasure in presents which he made to the nobles and populace. In this same year the consecration of the temple Tlamatzinco was celebrated, and also that of Quaxicalco, of which we shall speak elsewhere. The victims sacrificed at the consecration of these two edifices, and the altar of the sacrifices, were, according to the account of historians, twelve thousand two hundred and ten, in number.

    To have been able to furnish such a number of victims, they must have been continually at war. In 1511, the Jopas rebelled, and designed to kill all the Mexican garrison in Tlacotepec; but their intentions being seasonably discovered, they were punished accordingly, and two hundred of them carried prisoners to Mexico. In 1512, an army of the Mexicans marched towards the north, against the Quitzalapanese, and with the loss only of


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     311

    ninety-five men, they made one thousand and three hundred prisoners, which were also carried to Mexico. By these and other conquests made in the three following years, the Mexican empire was extended to its utmost limits, five or six years previous to its fall, to which the very great rapidity of its conquests contributed. Every province, and place which was conquered, created a new enemy to the conquerors, who became impatient of the yoke to which they were not accustomed, and irritated by injuries, only waited for an opportunity of being revenged, and restoring themselves to their wonted liberty. It would appear that the happiness of a kingdom consists not in the extension of its dominions, nor in the number of its vassals; but on the contrary, that it approaches at no time nearer to its final period, than when, on account of its vast and unbounded extent, it can no longer maintain the necessary union among its parts, nor that vigour which is requisite to withstand the multitude of its enemies.

    The revolutions which happened at this time, in the kingdom of Acolhuacan, occasioned by the death of king Nezahualpilli, did not less contribute to the ruin of the Mexican empire. This celebrated king after having possessed the throne for forty-five years, either wearied of governing, or troubled with melancholy, from the fatal phenomena he had witnessed, left the reins of government in the hands of two of the royal princes, and retired to his palace of pleasure in Tezcotzinco, carrying with him his favourite Xocotzin and a few servants, leaving orders to his sons not to leave the court, but to wait there for his farther commands. During the six months of his retirement, he amused himself frequently with the exercise of the chace, and at night used to employ himself


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    in observing the heavens, and for that purpose had constructed, on the terrace of his palace, a little observatory, which was preserved for a century after, and was seen by some Spanish historians who mention it. He there not only studied the motion and course of the stars, but conversed with those who were intelligent in astronomy: that science having always been in esteem among them, they applied still more to it when excited by the examples of the great Nezahualcojotl, and his son and successor.

    After living six months in this private manner, he returned to his court, ordered his beloved Xocotzin to retire with her children into the palace of Tecpilpan, and shut himself up in the palace of his usual residence, without letting himself be seen by any person but one of his confidents, designing to conceal his death in imitation of his father. Accordingly, neither the time nor the circumstances of his death have ever been known. All that is certain is, that he died in 1516, and that before his death he commanded his confidents who were about him to burn his body secretly. From hence it happened that many of the vulgar, and even several of the nobles, were persuaded that he was not dead, but had returned to the kingdom of Amaquemecan whence his ancestors sprung, as he had frequently resolved to do.

    In matters of religion he was of the same opinion with his great father Nezahualcojotl. He secretly despised the worship of the idols, although he appeared to conform to it with the people. He resembled his father also in his great zeal for the laws, and in the rigorous administration of justice, of which he afforded a striking example in the last years of his reign. There was a law which forbid, on pain of death, the speaking of indecent


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     313

    words in the royal palace. One of the princes his sons, who was named Huexotzincalzon, to whom he bore more affection than to any of the rest, not less on account of his disposition, and the virtues which shone out even in his youth, than of his having been the first-born of his sons by his favourite Xocotzin, violated this law; but the words made use of by the prince were rather the effect of youthful indiscretion than of any culpable intention. The king was informed of it by one of his mistresses to whom the words had been addressed. He enquired of her if they had been spoke before any other persons, and finding that the prince's tutors had been present, he retired to an apartment of his palace, destined for occasions of mourning and grief. There he sent for the tutors to examine them. They being afraid of meeting with severe punishment if they concealed the truth, confessed it openly, but at the same time endeavoured to exculpate the prince, by saying, that he neither knew the person to whom he spoke, nor that the words were obscene. But notwithstanding their representations, he ordered the prince to be immediately arrested, and the same day pronounced sentence of death upon him. The whole court was astonished at so rigorous a judgment, the nobles pleaded with prayers and tears in his behalf, and the mother of the prince herself, relying on the king's particular affection for her, presented herself as a plaintiff before him, and in order to move him to compassion, led all her children along with her. But neither reasoning, prayers, nor tears, could bend the king. "My son," he said, has violated the law. If I pardon him, it will be said, the laws are not binding upon every one. I will let my subjects know that no one will be pardoned a transgression, as I do not even pardon the son whom I


    314                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    dearly love." The queen pierced with the most lively" grief, and despairing of being able to shake the constancy of the king, told him, "Since you have banished from your heart all the affections of a father and a husband for so slight a cause, why do you hesitate to put me to death and these young princes whom I have borne to you?" The king then with a grave aspect commanded her to retire, as the case was without a remedy. The disappointed queen retreated to her apartment, and there, in company with some of her attendants who went to console her, abandoned herself to grief. In the mean while, those who were charged with the punishment of the prince, continued to delay it, that time might soften the rigour of justice, and give opportunity for the return of parental affection and mercy; but the king perceiving their intention, commanded that they should immediately do their duty, which accordingly followed, to the general displeasure of the kingdom, and the utmost disgust to Montezuma, not only on account of the relation between himself and the prince, but likewise of the interference which he made in the prince's favour, having been unsuccessful in procuring a repeal of the sentence. After the punishment was executed, the king shut himself up for forty days in a hall, without letting himself be seen by any one, while he secretly vented his grief, and made the door of his son's apartment be closed up with a wall, to hide from his sight any remembrance of his sorrows.

    His severity in punishing transgressors was compensated by the compassion which he shewed for the accidental distresses of any of his subjects. There was a window in his palace which looked towards the market-place, covered with blinds, from which he used to observe


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     315

    without being seen, the people that assembled there; and whenever he saw any ill-clothed woman he made her be called, and after informing himself of her life and condition, he supplied her with what was necessary for herself and family if she had any. Every day at his palace alms were given to the sick and to orphans. There was an hospital at Tezcuco for all those who had lost their eyesight in war, or had become from any other cause unfit for service, where they were supported at the royal expense, according to their stations, and frequently visited by the king himself. In such beneficent acts a great part of his revenues was expended.

    The genius and talents of this king have been highly extolled by the historians of that kingdom. He endeavoured to imitate, both in his studies and in the conduct of his life, the example of his father, and his resemblance to him was remarkable. The glory of the Chechemecan kings may be said to have ended with him, as the discord which took place among his children, diminished the splendour of the court, weakened the force of the state, and tended to bring on its final ruin. Nezahualpilli did not declare who was to be his successor in the crown, which all his ancestors had done. We are ignorant, however, of the motive that caused this omission, and which proved so prejudicial to the kingdom of Acolhuacan.

    As soon as the supreme council of the deceased king were certain of his death, they considered it necessary to elect a successor to him in imitation of the Mexicans. They assembled therefore in order to deliberate on a point of such importance, and the oldest and most respectable person among them taking the lead in the assembly, represented the great disasters which might accrue


    316                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    to the state of Acolhuacan, if the election was retarded: he was of opinion, that the crown fell to the prince Cacamatzin; since, besides his prudence and his courage, he was the first-born of the first Mexican princess whom the late king married. All the other counsellors concurred in this opinion, which was in itself so just and came from a person of such authority. The princes who waited in a hall adjoining for the resolution of the council, were desired to enter there to hear it. When they were all introduced, the principal feat was given to Cacamatzin, who was a youth of twenty-two years, and his brothers Coanocotzin, who was twenty, and Ixtlilxochitl who was eighteen, were placed on each side of him. The same aged counsellor, who had first addressed the assembly, then rose, and declared that the resolution of the council, which included also that of the kingdom, was to give the crown to Cacamatzin, on account of the right of primogeniture. Ixtlilxochitl, who was an ambitious and enterprising youth, opposed it, by saying, that if the king was really dead, he would certainly have named his successor; that his not having done it was a clear evidence of his life, and while the lawful sovereign was living it was criminal in his subjects to name a successor. The council who knew the disposition of Ixtlilxochitl, durst not openly contradict him, but desired Coanocotzin to deliver his opinion. This prince approved and confirmed the determination of the council, and pointed out the inconveniences which would ensue if the execution of it was delayed. He was contradicted, and taxed with being light and inconsiderate by Ixtlilxochitl, and that he could not perceive while he embraced such an opinion that he was favouring the designs of Montezuma, who was much inclined to Cacamatzin,


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     317

    and used his endeavours to put him on the throne, because he trusted he would find in him a king of wax, to whom he might give what form he pleased. "It is by no means reasonable, dear brother," replied Coanocotzin, "to oppose a resolution which is so prudent and so just; are you not aware that if Cacamatzin was not to be king, the crown would belong not to you but to me." "It is true," said Ixtlilxochitl, "if the right of succession is to be determined by age only, the crown is due to Cacamatzin, and in failure of him to you; but if regard is paid, as it ought to be, to courage, to me it belongs." The counsellors perceiving that the princes were growing gradually more vehement and warm in their altercation, imposed silence on them both, and dismissed the assembly.

    The two princes went to their mother the queen Xocotzin to continue their cavil, while Cacamatzin accompanied by many of the nobility, set out immediately for Mexico to inform Montezuma of what had happened, and to demand his assistance. Montezuma, who, besides the attachment he had to the prince, saw the justice of his claim, and the consent of the nation to it, advised him in the first place to secure the royal treasures, and promised to settle the dispute with his brother, and to employ the Mexican arms in his behalf if negociations for that purpose should not prove sufficient.

    Ixtlilxochitl, as soon as he knew of the departure of Cacamatzin, and foresaw the consequences of his application to Montezuma, set out from court with all his partizans, and went to the states which belonged to his tutors in the mountains of Meztitlan. Coanocotzin sent immediate advice to Cacamatzin to return without delay to Tezcuco, and make use of that favourable opportunity


    318                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    for being crowned. Cacamatzin availed himself of this wife counsel, and came to the court accompanied by Cuitlahuazin the brother of Montezuma, and lord of Iztapalapan, and many of the Mexican nobility. Cuitlahuazin, without losing any time, assembled the Tezcucan nobility in the Hueictecpan, or the great palace of the king of Acolhuacan, and presented prince Cacamatzin to be acknowledged by them as their lawful sovereign. He was received as such by them all, and the day for the ceremony of the coronation was fixed; but this was interrupted by intelligence arriving at court, that the prince Ixtlilxochitl was descending from the mountains of Meztitlan at the head of a great army.

    This turbulent youth as soon as he arrived at Meztitlan, assembled all the lords of the places situated in those great mountains, and made them acquainted with his design of opposing his brother Cacamatzin, pretending that it was his zeal for the honour and liberty of the Chechemecan and Acolhuan nations which moved him; that it would be disgraceful, and even dangerous, to pay obedience to a king, so pliant to the will of the monarch of Mexico; that the Mexicans had forgot what they owed to the Acolhuan nation, and were desirous of increasing their unjust usurpations with the kingdom of Acolhuacan; that he for his part was resolved to exert all the courage which God had given him, to defend and save his country from the tyranny of Montezuma. With these arguments, which were probably suggested to him by his tutors, he so fired the minds of those lords, that they all professed themselves willing to serve him with all their forces, and raised so many troops that when the prince descended from the mountains his army it is said amounted to upwards of one hundred thousand


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     319

    men; whether it was from the dread of his power, or from an inclination to favour his pretensions, he was well received in all the places through which he passed. He sent an embassy from Tepepolco to the Otompanese, commanding them to do obedience to him as their proper king; but they replied, that as Nezahualpilli was dead, they would acknowledge no other sovereign than Cacamatzin, who had been peaceably accepted at court, and was already in possession of the throne of Acolhuacan. This answer so exasperated the prince, that he went in great wrath against their city. The Otompanese met him in order of battle; but although they for some time resisted the army of their enemy, they were at last vanquished, and their city was taken by the prince. The lord himself of Otompan fell among the slain, which accident accelerated the victory.

    This event threw Cacamatzin and all his court into the utmost uneasiness, fearing the enemy might even besiege the capital; he prepared fortifications against them; but the prince being contented with seeing himself respected and feared, did not move from Otompan; but placed guards on the roads, with orders, however, to hurt no person, to hinder no individuals from passing from the court to any other place, and to shew respect and civility to all passengers of rank. Cacamatzin, knowing the forces, and the resolutions of his brother, and considering it would be better for him to sacrifice even a great part of his kingdom than to lose it altogether, with the consent of his brother Coanocotzin, dispatched an embassy to treat of an accommodation with, him. He sent to tell him, that he might, if he chose, retain all the dominions in the mountains, as he was contented with the court and the territory of the plain;


    320                                      HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     

    that he was willing also to share the revenues of his kingdom with his brother Coanocotzin; but at the same time he requested him to drop every other pretension, and not to disturb the public tranquillity. The prince answered, that his brothers might act as they thought proper; that he was pleased that Cacamatzin was in possession of the kingdom of Acolhuacan, that he had no designs against him nor against the state; that he had no other view in maintaining his army than to oppose the ambitious designs of the Mexicans, who had given grounds for the greatest disgust and suspicions to his father Nezahualpilli; that if at that time the kingdom was divided for the common interest of the nation, he hoped to see it again united; that above all things it was necessary to guard against falling into the snares of the crafty Montezuma. Ixtlilxochitl was not deceived in his diffidence of Montezuma, as this king was the very person who, as we shall find hereafter, gave the unfortunate Cacamatzin into the hands of the Spaniards, in spite of the attachment he pretended to him.

    This agreement being made with his brother, Cacamatzin remained in peaceable possession of the crown of Acolhuacan; but with greatly diminished dominions, as he had ceded a very considerable part of the kingdom. Ixtlilxochitl kept his troops constantly in motion, and frequently appeared with his army in the environs of Mexico, daring Montezuma to a single combat with him. But this king was no longer in a state fit to accept such a challenge. The fire which he had in his youth had already begun to die away with age, and domestic luxury had enervated his mind; nor would it have been prudent to have exposed himself to a rencounter of this kind with so adventurous a youth who


                                        HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                     321

    had already, by secret negociations, drawn over a great part of the Mexican provinces to his interest. The Mexicans, however, frequently engaged with that army, being sometimes vanquished, and at other times victorious. In one of those battles a relation of the king of Mexico was taken prisoner, who had gone out to the war with an express resolution to make a prisoner of the prince, and to carry him bound to Mexico according to a promise which he had made to Montezuma. Ixtlilxochitl knew of this boastful promise, and in order to be fully revenged, commanded him to be bound and covered with dry reeds, and burned alive in the sight of the whole army.

    In the course of our history it will appear how much this turbulent prince contributed to the success of the Spaniards, who began about this time to make their appearance on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico: but before we undertake the relation of a war which totally reversed the order of those kingdoms, it will be necessary to give some account of the religion, the government, the arts, and manners of the Mexicans.


    322                                       HISTORY  OF  MEXICO.                                      

    (above chart reproduced from Clavigero's pages 322-323)


    324                               POSTERITY  OF  KING  MOTEZUMA.                              

    MOTEZUMA IX. king of Meixco, married with
    Miahuaxochitl his niece.

    Don Pedro Johualicahuatzin Motezuma, married
    Donna Caterina Quauxochitl his niece.
    D. Diego Luis Ihultemotzin Motezuma, married in Spain
    Donna Francisca de Cueva.
    D. Pedro Tesison Motezuma de Cueva I. Count of Motezuma, and Tula,
    and viscount Iluca, married Donna Jeroma Porras.
    D. Diego Luis Motezuma and Porras II. Count of Motezuma, &c. married Donna Luifa Jofre Loaifa and Carilla, daughter of the count of Arco. Donna Terefa Francisca Motezama and Porras, married to D. Diego Ciuieros de Guzman.
    Donna Maria Jeroma Motezuma Jofre de Loaisa III, countess of Motezuma, &c. married to D. Joseph Sarmiento de Valladares, who was viceroy of Mexico, and I. duke of Atrisco. Donna, Jeroma de Cisneros Motezuma, married to D. Felix Nieto de Silva, I, marquis of Tenebron.
    Donna Fauita Dominica Sarmiento, Motezuma IV. Countefs of Motezuma, died a child in Mexico 1697. Donna Melehiorra Sarmiento Motezuma, V. countefs of Motezuma, died without issue, in 1717, by which the estates Motezuma reverted to Donna Terefa Nieto de Sylva, daughter of the I. Marquis of Tenebron. Donna Terefa Nieto de Sylva and Motezuma, II, marchioness of Tenebron, and VI, countes of Motezuma, married to D. Gaspar d'Oca Sarmiento and Zuniga.

    D. Jerom d'Oca Motezuma, &c. III. marquis of Tenebron, and VII. count of Motezuma, married Donna Maria Josepha de Mendoza.

    D. Jerom d'Oca Motezuma and Mendoza, VIII. count of Motezuma, IV. marquis of Tenebron, and grandee of Spain, now living.

    There are other branches of this most noble line in Spain as well as Mexico.


    [ 325 ]


    D. Fernando Cortez, conqueror, governor and captain-general of Mexico, I. marquis of the valley of Oaxaca, had, in second marriage, Donna Jeroma Ramirez d' Arrellano and Zuniga, daughter of D. Carlos Ramirez d' Arrellano, II. count of Aguilar, and Donna Jeroma de Zuniga, daughter of the count of Benares, eldest son of D. Alvaro de Zuniga, I. duke of Bejar. Their son was


    D. Martinez Cortez Ramirez d'Arrellano, II. marquis of the Valley, married his niece, Donna Anna Ramirez d'Arrellano. Their issue were


    D. Fernando Cortez Ramirez d'Arrellano, III. marquis of the Valley, married Donna Mencia Fernandez de Cabrera and Mendoza, daughter of D. Pedro Fernandez Cabrera and Bobadilla. II. Count of Chinchon, and Donna Maria de Mendoza and Cerda, sister of the prince of Melito. D. Ferdinand had but one son, who died in childhood; and was succeeded by his brother,

    2. D. Pedro Cortez Ramirez d'Arrellano, IV. marquis of the Valley, married Donna Anna Pacheco de la Cerda, sister of the II. Count of Montalban. Died without issue, and was therefore succeeded by his sister,

    3. Donna Jeroma Cortez Ramirez d'Arrellano, V. marchioness of the Valley, married to D. Pedro Carillo de Mendoza, IX. count of Priego, assistant, and captain-general of Seville, and great major-domo to queen Margaret of Austria. Their daughter was


    326                           DESCENDANTS  OF  FERDINAND CORTES.                          


    Donna Stephania Carillo de Mendoza and Cortez, VI. marchioness of the Valley, was the wife of D. Diego of Arragon, IV. duke of Terranova, prince of Castel Vetrano, and of S. R. J. marquis of Avola and Favora, constable and admiral of Sicily, commander of Villafranca, viceroy of Sardinia, knight of the illustrious order of Tofon d'Oro. Their only daughter was


    Donna Juana d'Arragon Carilla de Mendoza and Cortez, V. Duchess of Terranova, and VII. marchioness of the Valley, great chambermaid to queen Luisa of Orleans, and afterwards to queen Mariana of Austria, married to D. Heftor Pignatelli, V. duke of Montelione, prince of Noja, marquis of Cerchiara, count of Borello, Catalonia, and Santangelo, viceroy of Catalonia, grandee of Spain, &c. Their only son was


    D. Andrea Fabrizio Pignatelli d'Arragon Carillo dc Mendoza and Cortez IV. duke of Montelione. VI. duke of Terranova. VIII. marquis of the Valley, grandee of Spain, great chamberlain of the kingdom of Naples, knight of the order of Tofon d'Oro, married Donna Teresa Pimentel and Benavides, daughter of D. Antonio Alfonso de Quinones, XI. count of Benavente, of Luna, and Majorca, grandee of Spain, &c. and Donna Elisabetta Francisca de Benavides, III. marchioness of Javalquinto, and Villareal. Their daughter was


                              DESCENDANTS  OF  FERDINAND CORTES.                          327


    Donna J___ Pignatelli d'Arragon Pimentel,

    Carillo de Mendoza and Cortez, VII. duchess of Montclione, VII. duchess of Terranova, IX. marchioness of the Valley, grandee of Spain, &c. wife of D. Nicolas Pignatelli, of the princes of Noja and Cerchiara, prince of S. R. I. knight of Tofon d'Oro, &c. viceroy of Sardinia and Sicily, &c. Their son was


    D. Diego Pignatelli d'Arragon, &c. VIII. duke of Montelione, VIII. duke of Terranova, X. marquis of the Valley, great admiral and constable of Sicily, knight of Tofon d'Oro, grandee of Spain, and prince of S. R. I. &c. married Donna Margarita Pignatelli, of the Dukes of Bellosguardo. Their son was


    D. Fabrizio Pignatelli d'Arragon, &c. IX. duke of Montelione, IX. duke of Terranova, XI. marquis of the Valley, grandee of Spain, prince of S. R. I. &c. married Donna costanza Medici, of the princes of Otajano. Their son was


    D. Hector Pignatelli d'Arragon, &c. X. duke of Montelione, X. duke of Terranova, XII. marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, grandee of Spain, prince of S. R. I. living at present in Naples, and married with Donna N. Piccolomini, of the dukes of Amalsi.

    Of that noble couple whom we have placed under Number VI. were born four sons, Diego, Fernando, Antonio and Fabrizio; and as many daughters, Rosa,


    328                           DESCENDANTS  OF  FERDINAND CORTES.                          

    Maria Teresa, Stephania, and Caterina. 1. Don Diego was heir of the marquisate of the Valley, and the dukedoms of Montelione and Terranova. 2. Don Ferdinand married Donna Lucretia Pignatelli, princess of Strongoli, whose son D. Salvatore took to wife Donna Julia MaStrigli, of the dukes of Marigliano. 3. D. Antonio, married in Spain, an only daughter of the count of Fuentes. Of this marriage was born D. Jerom Pignatelli d'Arragon, Moncayo, &c. count of Fuentes, marquis of Goscojuela, grandee of Spain, prince of S. R. I. knight of Tofon d'Oro, of St. Jago, &c. ambassador from the court of Spain to the courts of England and France, and president of the royal council of military orders; whose son, now living, has married the only daughter and heiress of Casimiro Pignatelli, count of Egmont, duke of Bisaccia, &c. knight of Tofon d'Oro, and lieutenant-general of the armies of his most Christian majesty. 4. D. Fabrizio took to wife Virginia Pignatelli, sister to the princess of Strongoli, whose son, D. Michael, is marquis of Salice and Guagnano. 5. Rosa was given in marriage to the prince of Scalea. 6. Maria Teresa, to the marquis of Westerlo Senor Boemo. 7. Stephania, to the prince of Bisignano. 8. Caterina, to the count of Acetra.


    [ 329 ]

    A P P E N D I X.

    The Mexicans, the Acolhuans, and all the other nations of Anahuac, distinguished four ages of time by as many suns. The first named Atonatiuh, that is the sun, or the age of water, commenced with the creation of the world, and continued until the time at which all mankind almost perished in a general inundation, along with the first sun. The second Tlaltonatiuh, the age of earth, lasted from the time of the general inundation until the ruin of the giants, and the great earthquakes, which concluded in like manner the second sun. The third, Ehecatonatiuh, the age of air, lasted from the destruction of the giants until the great whirlwinds, in which all mankind perished along with the third sun. The fourth Tletonatiuh, the age of fire, began at the last restoration of the human race, and was to continue, according to their mythology, until the fourth sun, and the earth were destroyed by fire. This age it was supposed would end at the conclusion of one of their centuries; and thus we may account for these noisy festivals in honour of the god of fire, which were celebrated at the beginning of every century, as a thanksgiving for his restraining his voracity, and deferring the termination of the world.


    330                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    The Mexicans, and the other polished nations of Anahuac, used the same method to compute centuries, years, and months, as the ancient Toltecas. Their century consisted of fifty-two years, which were subdivided into four periods of thirteen years each, and two centuries formed an age, which was called by them Huehuetiliztli, that is, old age, of a hundred and four years. (t) They gave to the end of the century the name of Toxiuhmolpia, which signifies, the tying of our years; because by it the two centuries were joined together to form an age. Their years had four names, which were Tochtli, rabbit; Acatl, cane or reed; Tecpatl, flint; and Calli, house; and of these with different numbers their century was composed. The first year of the century was 1. Tochtli, the second, 2. Acatl, the third, 3. Tecpatl, the fourth, 4. Calli, the fifth, 5. Tochtli, and so on to the thirteenth year, which was 13. Tochtli, and terminated the first period. They began the second period with 1. Acatl, which was succeeded by 2. Tecpatl, 3. Calli, 4. Tochtli, until it was completed by 13. Acatl. In like manner the third period began with 1. Tecpatl, and finished with 13. Tecpatl; and the fourth commenced with f. Calli, and terminated together with the century in 13. Calli, so that there being four names and thirteen numbers, no one year could be confounded with another (u). All this will be more clearly understood

    (t) Though some authors have given the name of century to their age, and that of half century to their century, it is of little consequence, as their manner of computing years and distributing time is not in the least altered by it.

    (u) Boturini affirms, in contradiction to the general opinion of authors, Out they did not begin all their centuries with I. Tochtli, but sometimes with I. Acatl; I. Tecpatl, or I. Calli. He is mistaken, however, for it appears both from the best informed ancient authors, and the paintings examined by ourselves,


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           331

    in the table of the century which we shall afterwards subjoin.

    The Mexican year consisted like ours, of three hundred and sixty-five days; for although it was composed of eighteen months, each of which contained twenty days, which make up only three hundred and sixty, they added after the last month five days, which they called Nemontemi, or useless; because in these days they did nothing but receive and return visits. The year 1. Tochtli, the first of their century, began upon the twenty-sixth day of February (x); but every four years the Mexican century anticipated one day, on account of the odd day of our biffextile, or leap-year; from whence in the last years of the Mexican century, the year began on the fourteenth of February, on account of the thirteen days which intervene in the course of fifty-two years. But at the expiration of the century, the commencement of the year returned to the twenty-sixth of February.

    The names which they gave their months were taken both from the employments and festivals which occurred in them, and also from the accidents of the season which attended them. These names appear differently arranged among authors; because, in fact their arrangement was not only different among different nations,

    that the Mexican century began always with 1. Tochtli. This author says also, that in the course of four centuries the same name or character was never repeated with the same number; but how is it possible that this could happen in the period of two hundred and eight years, while the characters were only four and the numbers used but thirteen, as he himself allows.

    (x) Authors differ in opinion respecting the day on which the Mexican year commenced. The reason of this was unquestionably the difference which is occasioned by our leap years, to which probably those authors did not advert. it may also have been the case, that some of them spoke of the astronomical year of the Mexicans, and not of the religious, of which we treat.


    332                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    but even among the Mexicans themselves it varied. The following was the most common:

    1. Atlacahualco. (j)
    2. Tlacaxipehualiztli.
    3. Tozoztontli.
    4. Hueitozoztli.
    5. Toxcatl.
    6. Etzalcualiztli.
    7. Tecuilhuitontli.
    8. Hueitecuilhuitl.
    9. Tlaxochimaco.
    10. Xocohuetzi.
    11. Ochpaniztli.
    12. Teotleco.
    13. Tepeilhuitl.
    14. Quecholli.
    15. Panquetzalitzli.
    16. Atemoztli.
    17. Tititl.
    18. Izcalli.

    Their month consisted as we have already mentioned of twenty days, the names of which are these:

    1. Cipactli.
    2. Ehecatl.
    3. Calli.
    4. Cuetzpalin.
    5. Coatl.
    6. Miquitzli.
    7. Mazatl.
    8. Tochtli.
    9. Atl.
    10. Itzcuintli.
    11. Ozomatli.
    12. Malinalli.
    13. Acatl.
    14. Ocelotl.
    15. Quauhtli.
    16. Cozcaquauhtli. (z)
    17. Olin tonatiuh.
    18. Tecpatl.
    19. Quiahutli.
    20. Xochitl.

    (j) Gomara Valades, and other authors make Tlacaxipehualiztli, the first month of the Mexican year, which in our table is the second. The authors of the edition of the Letters of Cortes, published at Mexico in 1780, make Atemoztli the first, which is the 16th in our table. But Motolinia, whose authority has most weight, has put, as we do, Atlacahualco for the first month; and Torquemada, Betancourt, and Martino di Leon, a Dominican, thinks as he does. To avoid troubling our readers, we omit the strong reasons Which have induced us to adopt our present opinion.

    (z) Cozcaquauhtli is the name of a bird which we described in our first book. Cav. Boturini puts instead of it Temetlatl, or the stone used to grind maize or cocoas.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           333

    Although the signs or characters which are signified by these names, should be distributed among the twenty days, according to the order above, nevertheless in their mode of reckoning, no regard was paid to the division of months, nor that of years, but to periods of thirteen days (similar to those of thirteen years in the century), which run on without interruption from the end of a mouth or year. The first day of the century was 1. Cipactli; the second, 2. Ehecatl, or wind; the third, 3. Calli, or house; and so on to thirteen, which was 13. Acatl, or reed. The 14th day began another period, reckoning 1, Oceloll (tyger), 2. Quauhtli (eagle), &c. until the completion of the month 7. Xochitl (flower), and in the next month they continued to count 8. Cipactli, 9. Ehecatl, &c. Twenty of these periods made in thirteen months a cycle of two hundred and sixty days, and during the whole of this time, the same sign or character was not repeated with the same number, as will appear from the calendar which we shall give hereafter. On the first day of the fourteenth month, another cycle commenced in the same order of the characters, and of the same number of periods, as the first. If the year had not, besides the eighteen months, had the five days called Nemontemi, or if the periods had not been continued in these days, the first day of the second year of the century would have been the same with that of the preceding, 1. Cipactli; and in like manner, the last day of every year would always have been Xochitl; but as the period of thirteen days was continued through the days called Nemontemi, on that account the signs or characters changed place, and the sign Miquiztli, which occupied in all the months of the first year the sixth place, occupies


    334                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    the first in the second year; and on the other hand, the sign Cipactli, which in the first year had occupied the first place, has the sixteenth in the second year. To know what ought to be the sign of the first day of any year, there is the following general rule. Every year Tochtli begins with Cipactli, every year Acatl with Miquiztli, every year Tecpatl with Ozomatli, and every year Calli with Cozcaquauhtli, adding always the number of the year to the sign of the day; as for example, the year I. Tochtli has for the first day 1. Cipactli; so the II. Acatl has 2. Miquiztli; the III. Tecpatl has 3. Ozomatli, and IV. Calli has 4. Cozcaquauhtli, &c. (a)

    From what we have already said it will appear, that the number thirteen was held in high estimation by the Mexicans. The four periods of which the century consisted, were each of thirteen years; thirteen months formed their cycle of two hundred and sixty days; and thirteen days their smaller periods, which we have already mentioned. The origin of their esteem for this number was, according to what Siguenza has said, that thirteen was the number of their greater gods. The number four seems to have been no less esteemed amongst them. As they reckoned four periods of thirteen years each to their century, they also reckoned thirteen periods, of four years each, at the expiration of each of which they made extraordinary festivals. We have already mentioned both the fact of four

    (a) Cav. Boturini says, that the year of the Rabbit began uniformly with the day of the Rabbit, the year of the Cane with the day of the Cane, &c. and never with the days which we have mentioned; but we ought to give more faith to Siguenza, who was certainly better informed in Mexican antiquity. The system of this gentleman is fantastical and full of contradictions.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           335

    months, and the Nappapohuallatolli, or general audience which was given every four months.

    In respect to civil government, they divided the month into four periods of five days, and on a certain fixed day of each period their fair or great market was held; but being governed even in political matters by principles of religion in the capital, this fair was kept on the days of the Rabbit, the Cane, the Flint, and the house, which were their favourite signs.

    The Mexican year consisted of seventy-three periods of thirteen days, and the century of seventy-three periods of thirteen months, or cycles of two hundred and sixty days.

    It is certainly not to be doubted, that the Mexican, or Toltecan system of the distribution of time was extremely well digested, though at first view it appears rather intricate and perplexed; hence we may infer with confidence, it was not the work of a rude or unpolished people. That however which is most surprising in their mode of computing time, and which will certainly appear improbable to readers who are but little informed with respect to Mexican antiquity, is, that having discovered the excess of a few hours in the solar above the civil year, they made use of intercalary days to bring them to an equality; but with this difference in regard to the method established by Julius Caesar in the Roman calendar, that they did not interpose a day every four years, but thirteen days, (making use even here of this favourite number) every fifty-two years; which produces the same regulation of time. At the expiration of the century they broke, as we shall mention hereafter, all their kitchen utensils, fearing that then also the fourth age, the sun and all


    336                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    the world were to be ended, and the last night they performed the famous ceremony of the new fire. As soon as they were allured by the new fire, that a new century, according to their belief, was granted to them by the gods, they employed the thirteen following days, in supplying their kitchen utensils, in furnishing new garments, in repairing their temples and houses, and in making every preparation for the grand festivals of the new century. These thirteen days were the intercalary days represented in their paintings by blue points; they were not included in the century just expired, nor in that which was just commencing, nor did they continue in them their periods of days which they always reckoned from the first day to the last day of the century. When the intercalary days were elapsed, they began the new century with the year I. Tochtli, and the day 1. Cipactli, upon the 26th day of our February, as they did at the beginning of the preceding century. We would not venture to relate these particulars, if we were not supported by the testimony of Dr. Siguenza, who, in addition to his great learning, his critical skill and sincerity, was the person who most diligently exerted himself to illustrate these points, and consulted both the best instructed Mexicans and Tezcucans, and studied their histories and paintings.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           337



    II. Acatl
    III. Tecpatl.
    IV. Calli.
    V. Tochtli.
    VI. Acatl.
    VII. Tecpatl.
    VIII. Calli.
    IX. Tochtli.
    X. Acatl.
    XI. Tecpatl.
    XII. Calli.
    XIII. Tochtli.
    I. ACATL.
    II. Tecpatl.
    III. Calli.
    IV. Tochtli.
    V. Acatl.
    VI. Tecpatl.
    VII. Calli.
    VIII. Tochtli.
    IX. Acatl.
    X. Tecpatl.
    XL Calli.
    XII. Tochtli.
    XIII. Acatl.

    II. Calli.
    III Tochtli.
    IV. Acatl.
    V. Tecpatl.
    VI. Calli.
    VII. Tochtli.
    VIII. Acatl.
    IX. Tecpatl.
    X. Calli.
    XI. Tochtli.
    XII. Acatl.
    XIII. Tecpatl.
    I. CALLI.
    II. Tochtli.
    III. Acatl.
    IV. Tecpatl.
    V. Calli.
    VI. Tochtli.
    VII. Acatl.
    VIII. Tecpatl.
    IX. Calli.
    X. Tochtli.
    XI. Acatl.
    XII. Tecpatl.
    XIII. Calli.

    The years written with large characters are those from which the four small periods of thirteen years, of which their century was composed, began.


    338                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          


    From the Foundation to the Conquest of Mexico, compared with
    Christian Years.

    Those printed with large characters are the first of every Period. Those
    marked with an Asterisk are secular years.

    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    II. Calli -- 1325  (a)
    III. Tochtli -- 1326
    IV. Acatl -- 1327
    V. Tecpatl -- 1328
    VI. Calli -- 1329
    VII. Tochtli -- 1330
    VIII. Acatl -- 1331
    IX. Tecpatl -- 1332
    X. Calli -- 1333
    XI. Tochtli -- 1334
    XII. Acatl -- 1335
    XIII. Tecpatl -- 1336
    I. CALLI. -- 1337
    II. Tochtli -- 1338  (b)
    III. Acatl -- 1339
    IV. Tecpatl -- 1340
    V. Calli -- 1341
    VI. Tochtli -- 1342
    VII. Acatl -- 1343
    VIII. Tecpatl -- 1344
    IX. Calli -- 1345
    X. Tochtli -- 1346
    XI. Acatl -- 1347
    XII. Tecpatl -- 1348
    XIII. Calli -- 1349
    I. TOCHTLI -- 1350
    II. Acatl -- 1351
    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    III. Tecpatl -- 1352  (c)
    IV. Calli -- 1353  (d)
    V. Tochtli -- 1354
    VI. Acatl -- 2355
    VII. Tecpatl -- 1356
    VIII. Calli -- 1357
    IX. Tochtli -- 1358
    X. Acatl -- 1359
    XI. Tecpatl -- 1360
    XII. Calli -- 1361
    XIII. Tochtli -- 1362
    I. ACATL -- 1363
    II. Tecpatl -- 1364
    III. Calli -- 1365
    IV. Tochtli -- 1366
    V. Acatl -- 1367
    VI. Tecpatl -- 1368
    VII. Calli -- 1369
    VIII. Tochtli -- 1370
    IX. Acatl -- 1371
    X. Tecpatl -- 1372
    XI. Calli -- 1373
    XII. Tochtli -- 1374
    XIII. Acatl -- 1375
    I. TECPATL -- 1376
    II. Calli -- 1377
    III. Tochtli -- 1378

    (a) Foundation of Mexico.

    (b) Division of those of Tenochcho and Tlatelolco.

    (c) Acamapitzin, first king of Mexico.

    (d) Quaquauhpitzahuac, first king of Tlatelolco.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           339

    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    IV. Acatl -- 1379
    V. Tecpatl -- 1380
    VI. Calli -- 1381
    VII. Tochtli -- 1382
    VIII. Acatl -- 1383
    IX. Tecpatl -- 1384
    X. Calli -- 1385
    XI. Tochtli -- 1386
    XII. Acatl -- 1387
    XIII. Tecpatl -- 1388
    I. CALLI -- 1389  (e)
    II. Tochtli -- 1390
    III. Acatl -- 1391
    IV. Tecpatl -- 1392
    V. Calli -- 1393
    VI. Tochtli -- 1394
    VII. Acatl -- 1395
    VIII. Tecpatl -- 1396
    IX. Calli -- 1397
    X. Tochtli -- 1398
    XI. Acatl -- 1399  (f)
    XII. Tecpatl -- 1400
    XIII. Calli -- 1401
    I. TOCHTLI -- 1402
    II. Acatl -- 1403
    III. Tecpatl -- 1404
    IV. Calli -- 1405
    V. Tochtli -- 1406  (g)
    VI. Acatl -- 1407
    VII. Tecpatl -- 1408
    VIII. Calli -- 1409
    IX. Tochtli -- 1410  (h)
    X. Acatl -- 1411
    XI. Tecpatl -- 1412
    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    XII. Calli -- 1413  (i)
    XIII. Tochtli -- 1414
    I. ACATL -- 1415
    II. Tecpatl -- 1416
    III. Calli -- 1417
    IV. Tochtli -- 1418
    V. Acatl -- 1419
    VI. Tecpatl -- 1420
    VII. Calli -- 1421
    VIII. Tochtli -- 1422  (k)
    IX. Acatl -- 1423  (l)
    X. Tecpatl -- 1424
    XI. Calli -- 1425  (m)
    XII. Tochtli -- 1426  (n)
    XIII. Acatl -- 1427
    I. TECPATL -- 1428
    II. Calli -- 1429
    III. Tochtli -- 1430
    IV. Acatl -- 1431
    V. Tecpatl -- 1432
    VI. Calli -- 1433
    VII. Tochtli -- 1434
    VIII I. Acatl -- 1435
    IX. Tecpatl -- 1436  (o)
    X. Calli -- 1437
    XI. Tochtli -- 1438
    XII. Acatl -- 1439
    XIII. Tecpatl -- 1440
    I. CALLI -- 1441  (p)
    II. Tochtli -- 1442
    III. Acatl -- 1443
    IV. Tecpatl -- 1444
    V. Calli -- 1445
    VI. Tochtli -- 1446  (q)

    (e) Huitzilihuitl, second king of Mexico.

    (f) Tlacateotl, second king of Tlatelolco.

    (g) Ixtlilxochitl, king of Acolhuacan.

    (h) Chimalpopoca, third king of Mexico.

    (i) Tezozomoc, the tyrant.

    (k) Maxtlaton, the tyrant.

    (l) Itzcoatl, fourth king of Mexico.

    (m) Conquest of Azcapozalco.

    (n) Nezahualcojotl, king of Acolhuacan, and Totoquihuatzin king of Tacuba.

    (o) Montezuma Ilhuicamina, fifth king of Mexico.

    (p) Moquihuix, fourth king of Tlatelolco.

    (q) Inundation of Mexico.


    340                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    VII. Acatl -- 1447
    VIII. Tecpatl -- 1448
    IX. Calli -- 1449
    X. Tochtli -- 1450
    XI. Acatl -- 1451
    XII. Tecpatl -- 1452
    XIII. Calli -- 1453
    I. TOCHTLI -- 1454
    II. Acatl -- 1455
    III. Tecpatl -- 1456
    IV. Calli -- 1457  (r)
    V. Tochtli -- 1458
    VI. Acatl -- 1459
    VII. Tecpatl -- 1460
    VIII. Calli -- 1461
    IX. Tochtli -- 1462
    X. Acatl -- 1463
    XI. Tecpatl -- 1464  (s)
    XII. Calli -- 1465
    XIII. Tochtli -- 1466
    I. ACATL -- 1467
    II. Tecpatl -- 1468
    III. Calli -- 1469  (t)
    IV. Tochtli -- 1470  (u)
    V. Acatl -- 1471
    VI. Tecpatl -- 1472
    VII. Calli -- 1473
    VIII. Tochtli -- 1474
    IX. Acatl -- 1475
    X. Tecpatl -- 1476
    XI. Calli -- 1477  (x)
    XII. Tochtli -- 1478
    XIII. Acatl -- 1479
    I. TECPATL -- 1480
    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    II. Calli -- 1481
    III. Tochtli -- 1482  (y)
    IV. Acatl -- 1483
    V. Tecpatl -- 1484
    VI. Calli -- 1485
    VII. Tochtli -- 1486  (z)
    VIII. Acatl -- 1487  (a)
    IX. Tecpatl -- 1488
    X. Calli -- 1489
    XI. Tochtli -- 1490
    XII. Acatl -- 1491
    XIII. Tecpatl -- 1492
    I. CALLI -- 1493
    II. Tochtli -- 1494
    III. Acatl -- 1495
    IV. Tecpatl -- 1496
    V. Calli -- 1497
    VI. Tochtli -- 1498  (b)
    VII. Acatl -- 1499
    VIII. Tecpatl -- 1500
    IX. Calli -- 1501
    X. Tochtli -- 1502  (c)
    XI. Acatl -- 1503
    XII. Tecpatl -- 1504
    XIII. Calli -- 1505
    I. TOCHTLI -- 1506
    II. Acatl -- 1507
    III. Tecpatl -- 1508
    IV. Calli -- 1509  (d)
    V. Tochtli -- 1510
    VI. Acatl -- 1511
    VII. Tecpatl -- 1512
    VIII. Calli -- 1513
    IX. Tochtli -- 1514

    (r) Famous war of Cuetlachtlan.

    (s) Axajacatl, fifth king of Mexico.

    (t) Chimalpopoca, king of Tacuba.

    (u) Nezahualpilli,king of Acolhuacan.

    (x) Tizoc, seventh king of Mexico,

    (y) Ahuitzotl, eighth king of Mexico.

    (z) Dedication of the greater temple.

    (a) Totoquihuatzin, second king of Tacuba.

    (b) New inundation of Mexico.

    (c) Montezuma Xocojotzin, ninth king of Mexico.

    (d) Memorable event of the princess Papantzin.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           341

    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    X. Acatl -- 1515
    XI. Tecpatl -- 1516  (e)
    XII. Calli -- 1517
    XIII. Tochtli -- 1518
    Mexican Years. Christian Years.

    I. ACATL -- 1519  (f)
    II. Tecpatl -- 1520  (g)
    III. Calli -- 1521  (h)

    The exactness of this Table will appear from our second Dissertation.

    (e) Cacamatzin, king of Acolhuacan.

    (f) Entry of the Spaniards into Mexico.

    (g) Cuitlahuatzin, tenth king, and Quauhttraotzin, eleventh king of Mexico, death of Montezuma, and defeat of the Spaniards.

    (h) The taking of Mexico, and fall of the empire.


    342                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          


    From the Year I Tochtli, the first of the Century.

    ATLACAHUALCO first Month.

    Modern Style.

    February 26
    March 1
    Mexican Days.

    II. Ehecatl
    III. Calli
    IV. Cuetzpalin
    V. Coatl
    VI. Miquiztli
    VII. Mazatl
    VIII. Tochtli
    IX. Atl
    X. Itzcuintli
    XI. Ozomatli
    XII. Malinalli
    XIII. Acatl
    II. Quauhtli
    III. Cozcaquauhtli
    IV. Olin
    V. Tecpatl
    VI. Quiahuitl
    VII. Xochitl

    The great secular festival. festival of Tlahcalnali, and the other gods of water, with the sacrifice of infants, and the gladiatorian sacrifice.

    Nocturnal sacrifice of fattened prisoncrs.


    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    VIII. Cipactli
    IX. Ehecatl
    X. Calli
    XI. Cuetzpalin
    XII. Coatl
    XIII. Miquiztli
    I. MAZATL.

    The great festival of Xipe, god of the goldsmiths, with sacrifices of prisoners and military exercises.

    Fast of the owners of prisoners for twenty days.

    The days marked in large characters are those which began the final periods of thirteen days.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           343

    Modern Style.

    March 25
    April 1
    Mexican Days.

    II. Tochtli
    III. Atl
    IV. Itzcuintli
    V. Ozomatli
    VI. Malinalli
    VII. Acatl
    VIII. Ocelotl
    IX. Quauhtli
    X. Cozcaquauhtli
    XI. Olin
    XII. Tecpatl
    XIII. Quiahuitl

    Festival of the god Chicemacatl.
    Festival of the god Tequiztlimahlehuatl.

    Festival of the god Chancoti, with nocturnal sacrifices.

    TOZOZTONTLI Third Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    II. Cipactli
    III. Ehecatl
    IV. Calli
    V. Cuetzpalin
    VI. Coatl
    VII. Miquiztli
    VIII. Mazatl
    IX. Tochtli
    X. Atl
    XI. Itzcuintli
    XII. Ozomatli
    XIII. Malinalli
    I. ACATL
    II. Ocelotl
    III. Quauhtli
    IV. Cozcaquauhtli
    V. Olin
    VI. Tecpatl
    VII. Quiahuitl
    VIII. Xochitl


    Watch kept by the ministers of the temples every night of this month.

    The second festival of the gods of water, with lacrifices of children, and oblations of flowers.

    Festival of the goddess Coatlicue, with oblations of flowers, and a procession.


    344                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    HUEITOZOZTLI Fourth Month.

    Modern Style.

    April 27
    May 1
    Mexican Days.

    IX. Cipactli
    X. Ehecatl
    XI. Calli
    XII. Cuetzpalin
    XIII. Coatl
    II. Mazatl
    III. Tochtli
    IV. Atl
    V. Itzcuintli
    VI. Ozomatli
    VII. Malinalli
    VIII. Acatl
    IX. Ocelotl
    X. Quiuhtli
    XI. Cozcaquauhtli
    XII. Olin
    XIII. Tecpatl
    II. Xochitl

    Watch kept in the temples, and a general fast.

    Festival of Centeotl, with sacrifices of human victims and quails.

    Solemn convocation for the grand festival of the following month.

    Fast in preparation of the Olin following festival.

    TOXCATL Fifth Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    III. Cipactlt
    IV. Ehecatl
    V. Calli
    VI. Cuetzpalin
    VII. Coatl
    VIII. Miquiztli
    IX. Mazatl
    X. Tochtli
    XI. Atl
    XII. Itzcuintli
    XIII. Ozomatli
    II. Acatl
    III. Ocelotl
    IV. Quauhtli

    The grand festival ofTezcatlifoca, with a solemn penitential procession, the sacrifice of a prisoner, and dismission of all the marriageable youth from the temple.

    The first festival of Huitzilopochtli. Sacrifices of human victims and quails. Solemn incense-offering of Chapopotli, or bitumen of Judea. Solemn dance of the king, the priests, and the people.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           345

    Modern Style.

    June 1
    Mexican Days.

    V. Cozcaquauhtli
    VI. Olin
    VII. Tecpatl
    VIII. Quiahuitl
    IX. Xochitl


    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    X. Cipactli
    XI. Ehecatl
    XII. Calli
    XIII. Cuetzpalin
    I. COATL
    II. Miquiztli
    III. Mazatl
    IV. Tochtli
    V. Atl
    VI. Itzcuintli
    VII. Ozomatli
    VIII. Malinalli
    IX. Acatl
    X. Ocelotl
    XI. Quauhtli
    XII. Cozcaquauhtli
    XIII. Olin
    II. Quiahuitl
    III. Xochitl

    The third festival of tha gods of water, with sacrifices and a dance.

    Punishments of priefs negligent in the service of the temple.

    TECUILHUITONTLI Seventh Month.

    July 1
    IV. Cipactli
    V. Ehecatl
    VI. Calli
    VII. Cuetzpalin
    VIII. Coatl
    IX. Miquiztli
    X. Mazatl
    XI. Tochtli
    XII. Atl
    XIII. Itzcuintli

    Festival of Huittocihuatl with sacrifices of prisoners, and a dance of the priefts.


    346                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    Modern Style.

    July 6
    Mexican Days.

    II. Malinalli
    III. Acatl
    IV. Ocelotl
    V. Quauhtli
    VI. Cozcaquauhtli
    VII. Olin
    VIII. Tecpatl
    IX. Quiahuitl
    X. Xocliitl


    Modern Style.

    August 1
    Mexican Days.

    XI. Cipactli
    XII. Ehecatl
    XIII. Calli
    II. Coatl
    III. Miquiztli
    IV. Mazatl
    V. Tochtli
    VI. Atl
    VII. Itzcuintli
    VIII. Ozomatli
    IX. Malinalli
    X. Acatl
    XI. Ocelotl
    XII. Quauhtli
    XIII. Cozcaquauhtli
    I. OLIN
    II. Tecpatl
    III. Quiahuitl
    IV. Xochitl

    The second festival of Centeotl, with the sacrifice of a female slave; illumination of the temple, dance, and alms-giving.

    Festival of Maculitochtli.

    TLAXOCHIMACO Ninth Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    V. Cipactli
    VI. Ehecatl
    VII. Calli
    VIII. Cuetzpalin
    IX. Coatl

    Festival of Macuilcipactli.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           347

    Modern Style.

    August 10
    Mexican Days.

    X. Miquiztli
    XL Mazatl
    XII. Tochtli
    XIII. Atl
    II. Ozomatli
    III. Malinalli
    IV. Acatl
    V. Ocelotl
    VI. Quauhtli
    VII. Cozcaquauhtli
    VIII. Olin
    IX. Tecpatl
    X. Quiahuitl
    XI. Xochitl

    The second festival of Huilzilopochtli, with sacrifices of prisoners, oblations of flowers, general dance, and solemn banquet.

    Festival of Jaeateuan Ocelotl god of the merchants, with sacririces and entertainments.

    XOCOHUETZI Tenth Month.

    Modern Style.

    September 1
    Mexican Days.

    XII. Cipactli
    XIII. Ehecatl
    I. CALLI
    II. Cuetzpalin
    III. Coatl
    IV. Miquiztli
    V. Mazatl
    VI. Tochtli
    VII. Atl
    VIII. Itzcuintli
    IX. Ozomatli
    X. Malinalli
    XI. Acatl
    XII. Ocelotl
    XIII. Quauhtli
    II. Olin
    III. Tecpatl
    IV. Quiahuitl
    V. Xochitl

    The festival of Xiuhteutli, god of fire, with a solemn dance, and sacrifice of prisoners.

    All festivals cease during those five days.


    348                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    OCHPANIZTLI Eleventh Month.

    Modern Style.

    September 14
    October 1
    Mexican Days.

    VI. Cipactli
    VII. Ehecatl
    VIII. Calli
    IX. Cuetzpalin
    X. Coatl
    XI. Miquiztli
    XII. Mazatl
    XIII. Tochtli
    I. ATL
    II. Itzcuintli
    III. Ozomatli
    IV. Malinalli
    V. Acatl
    VI. Ocelotl
    VII. Quauhtli
    VIII. Cozcaquauhtli
    IX. Olin
    X. Tecpat
    XI. Quiahuitl
    XII. Tochtli

    Dance preparatory to the following festival.

    Festival of Tetcoinan, mother of the gods, with the sacrifice of a female slave.

    The third feast of the goddess Centeotl in the temple Xiuhcaleo, with a proceQion and sacrifices.

    TEOTLECO Twelfth Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    XIII. Cipactli
    II. Calli
    III. Cuetzpalin
    IV. Coatl
    V. Miquiztli
    VI. Mazatl
    VII. Tochtli
    VIII. Atl
    IX. Itzcuintli
    X. Ozomatli
    XI. Malinalli
    XII. Acatl
    XIII. Ocelotl

    Festival of Chiucnahuitzcuintli, Nahualpilli, and Centeotl, gods of the lapidaries.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           349

    Modern Style.

    October 19

    Mexican Days.

    II. Cozcaquauhtli
    III. Olin

    IV. Tecpatl
    V. Quiahuitl
    VI. Xochitl

    Watch kept for the following festival.
    Festival of the arrival of the gods, with a great supper and sacrifices of prisoners.

    TEPEILHUITL Thirteenth Month.

    Modern Style.


    November 1
    Mexican Days.

    VII. Cipactli
    VIII. Ehecatl
    IX. Calli

    X. Cuetzpalin
    XI. Coatl
    XII. Miqui
    XIII. Mazatl
    II. Atl
    III. Itzcuintli
    IV. Ozomatli
    V. Malinalli
    VI. Acatl
    VII. Ocelotl
    VIII. QuauhtH
    IX. Cozcaquauhtli
    X. Olin
    XI. Tecpatl
    XII. Quiahuitl
    XIII. Xochitl *

    Festival of the gods of the mountains, with the sacrifices of four female slaves and a prisoner.
    Festival of the god Tochinco, with the sacrifice of a prisoner.
    Festival of Nappateuctli, with the sacrifice of a prisoner.

    Festival of Centzontotochtin, god of wine, with the sacrifice of three slaves of three different places.

    QUECHOLLI Fourteenth Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    II. Ehecatl
    III. Calli
    IV. Cuetzpalin
    V. Coatl
    VI. Miquiztli
    VII. Mazatl

    The fast of four days, in preparation for the following festival.
    Festival of Mixcoatl, god of the chace; a general chace; procession and sacrifice of animals.

    * Here ends the first cycle of two hundred and sixty days, or twenty periods of thirteen days.


    350                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    Modern Style.

    November 20
    December 1
    Mexican Days.

    VIII. Tochtli
    IX. Atl
    X. Itzcuintli
    XI. Ozomatli
    XII. Malinalli
    XIII. Acatl
    II. Quauhtli
    III. Cozcaquauhtli
    IV. Olin
    V. Tecpatl
    VI. Quiahuitl
    VII. Xochitl

    Festival of Tlamatzincatl, with sacrifices of prisoners.

    PANQUETZALIZTLI Fifteenth Month.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    VIII. Cipactli
    IX. Ehecatl
    X. Calli
    XI. Cuetzpalin
    XII. Coatl
    XIII. Miquiztli
    II. Tochtli
    III. Atl
    IV. Itzcuintli
    V. Ozomatli
    VI. Malinalli
    VII. Acatl
    VIII. Ocelotl
    IX. Quauhtli
    X. Cozcaquauhtli
    XI. Olin
    XII. Tecpatl
    XIII. Quiahuitl

    The third and principal festival of Huitzilopochtli, and his companions. Severe fast, solemn procession. Sacrifices of prisoners and quails, and the eating of the statue of paste of that god.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           351

    ATEMOZTLI Sixteenth Month.

    Modern Style.

    December 23
    January 1
    Mexican Days.

    II. Cipactli
    III. Ehecatl
    IV. Calli
    V. Cuetzpalin
    VI. Coatl
    VII. Miquiztli
    VIII. Mazatl
    IX. Tochtli
    X. Atl
    XI. Itzcuintli
    XII. Ozomatli
    XIII. Malinalli
    I. ACATL
    II. Ocelotl
    III. Quauhtli
    IV. Cozcaquauhtli
    V. Olin
    VI. Tecpatl
    VII. Quiahuitl
    VIII. Xochitl

    Fast of four days in preparation of the following festival.
    The fourth festival of the gods of water, with a procession & sacrifices.

    TITITL Seventeenth Month.

    Modern Style.


    Mexican Days.

    IX. Cipactli
    X. Ehecatl
    XI. Calli
    XII. Cuetzpalin
    XIII. Coatl

    II. Mazatl
    III. Tochtli
    IV. Atl
    V. Itzcuintli
    VI. Ozomatli
    VII. Malinalli
    VIII. Acatl

    Festival of the goddess Ilamatcuali, with a dance and sacrifice of a female slave.

    Festival of Mictlantcuctli, god of hell, with the nocturnal sacrifice of a prisoner.

    The second festival of Jacateuctli, god of the merchants, with the sacrifice of a prisoner.


    352                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    Modern Style.

    January 25
    Mexican Days.

    IX. Ocelot
    X. Quauhtli
    XI. Cozcaquauhtli
    XII. Olin
    XIII. Tecpatl
    II. Xochitl

    IZCALLI Eighteenth Month.

    Modern Style.

    February 1

    Mexican Days.

    III. Cipactli
    IV. Ehecatl
    V. Calli
    VI. Cuetzpalin
    VII. Coatl
    VIII. Miquizdi
    IX. Mazatl
    X. Tochtli
    XI. Atl
    XII. Itzcuintli
    XIII. Ozomatli
    II. Acatl
    III. Ocelotl
    IV. Quauhtli
    V. Cozcaquauhtli
    VI Olin
    VII. Tecpatl
    VIII. Quiahuitl

    IX. Xochitl

    General chace for the sacrifices of the next festival.

    The second festival of Xiuheuctli, god of fire, with sacrifices of animals.

    Renewal of fire in the houses.

    NEMONTEMI, or useless Days.

    Modern Style.

    Mexican Days.

    X. Cipactli
    XI. Ehecatl
    XII. Calli
    XIII. Cuetzpalin
    I. COATL

    During these days there was no festival.

    The following year II. Acatl, begins with II. Miquiztli, and continues in the same order.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           353

    EXPLANATION of the obscure FIGURES.

    I. Of the figures of the Mexican Century.

    In the wheel of the Mexican century are four figures, thirteen times repeated, to signify as we have already mentioned, the four periods (by some authors called indictions), of thirteen years, of which their century confided. The four figures are, first, the head of a rabbit, expressive of that quadruped; secondly, a reed; thirdly, a knife or the point of a lance, representing a flint stone; fourthly a part of a building, signifying a house. The years of the century are counted by beginning at the upper twist of the serpent, and descending towards the left. The I. figure, with a small point, denotes I. rabbit; the second, with two points, signifies II. reed; the third, with three points, signifies III. flint; the fourth, with four points, IV. house; the fifth with five points, V. rabbit; and so it continues until the twist upon the left, where the second period begins with the figure of the reed, and terminates in the lower twist; and then the third period commences.

    II. Of the figures of the year.

    The first figure is that of water, spread upon a building to denote the first month, whose name Acahualco, or Atlacahualco, signifies, the ceasing of water; because, in the month of March the winter rains cease in northern countries, where the Mexican or Toltecan calendar took its origin. They called it also Quahuitlehua, which signifies the budding of trees, which happens at this


    354                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    time in hot countries. The Tlascalans called this month Xilomaniliztli, or the oblation of ears of maize; because in it they offered to their gods those of the past year to obtain prosperity to the seed, which about this time began to be sown in high grounds.

    The figure of the second month, appears at first sight to be a pavilion, but we believe it is rather a human skin ill designed, to express that which is meant by the name Tlacaxipehualitzli, which they gave to this month, or skinning of men, on account of the barbarous rite of skinning human victims, at the festival of the god of the goldsmiths. The Tlascalans called this month Coailhuitl, or general festival, and represented it by the figure of a serpent wound about a fan, and an Ajacaxtli. The fan and the Ajacaxtli denote the dances which were then made, and the coiled serpent signifies their generality.

    The figure of the third month is that of a bird upon a lancet. The lancet signifies the spilling of blood, which was made during the nights of this month; but we do not know what bird it is, nor what it means.

    The fourth month is represented by the figure of a small building, upon which appear some leaves of rushes, signifying the ceremony which they performed in this month of putting rushes, sword-grass, and other herbs, dipped in blood, which they shed in honour of their gods, over the doors of their houses.

    The Tlascalans represented the third month by a lancet, to signify the same kind of penance, and the fourth month by a large lancet, to denote that during it they did still greater penance.

    The figure of the fifth month is that of a human head, with a necklace under it, representing those chaplets or wreaths of crisp maize which they wore about their


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           355

    necks, and with which they adorned also the idol of Tezcatlipoca, from whence the month took the name of Toxcatl, as we have said above.

    The sixth month is represented by an earthen pot or jug, signifying a certain gruel, which they took then called Etzalli, from which the month took the name of Etzalqualiztli.

    The two figures of the seventh and eighth months, appear designed to signify the dances which they made then, and because the dances of the eighth month were the greatest, the figure also which represents it is greater. Near to these figures appear lancets, denoting the austerities practised preparatory to these festivals. The Tlascalans represented those two months by the heads of two lords, that of the month Tecuilhuitontli, or little festival of the lords, appears a young man, and that of the month Hueitecuilhuitl, or grand festival of the lords, seems an old man.

    The figures of the ninth and tenth months, are evidently expressive of the mourning which they put on, and the lamentation which they made for their dead, which obtained the ninth month the name of Miccailbuitl, or festival of the dead, and the tenth Hueimiccaithuitl, or great festival of the dead; and because the mourning of the tenth month was the greater the figure of it also is larger. The Tlascalans painted for each of these two months a skull with two bones, but the skull of the tenth was the larger.

    The figure of the eleventh month is a broom, by which is signified the ceremony of sweeping the pavement of the temples, which was in this month performed by all; from whence the name Ochpaniztli. The Tlascalans painted a hand grasping a broom.


    356                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    The figure of the twelfth and thirteenth months is that of a parasite plant, called by the Mexicans pachtli, which in this season twines about oaks, and from them the twelfth month took its name; because in the next month this plant is grown up, the figure of it is larger, and the month takes the name of Hueipachtli. These names, although more used by the Tlascalans, were also employed by the Mexicans; we have, however, adopted the names Teotleco and Tepeilhuitl in this history, as being more commonly used by the Mexicans.

    The figure of the fourteenth month is very ilrr.ihr to that of the second; but we know nothing of its meaning. The Tlascalans used to represent this month by the figure of that bird which some have called Flammingo, and the Mexicans Quecholli, which name the Mexicans gave also to the month; because, at this time, these birds resorted to the Mexican lake.

    The figure of the fifteenth month is a piece of a Mexican standard, signifying the one which was carried at the solemn procession of Huitzilopochtli, made in this month. The name Panquetzalitztli, by which it was called, signifies no more, as we have already said, than the mounting the standard.

    The figure of the sixteenth is that of water upon a stair, signifying the descent of water, expressed by the name Atemoxtli, which was given to this month, either because this is the season of rain in northern countries, or because at this time they held the festival of the gods of the mountains and water, to obtain the necessary showers.

    The figure of the seventeenth month, is two or three pieces of wood tied with a cord, and a hand, which, pulling the cord forcibly, binds the wood, denoting the


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           357

    constriction occasioned by the cold of this season, which is the meaning of the name Tititl. The Tlascalans painted two sticks cased, and firmly fixed in a plank.

    The figure of the eighteenth month is the head of a quadruped upon an altar, signifying the sacrifices of animals which were made during this month to the god of fire. The Tlascalans represented it by the figure of a man holding up a child by the head; this makes an interpretation which some authors give of the name Izcalli, very probably, as they say that word means, risen from the dead, or new creation.

    The figure of the moon, which is in the centre of the wheel, or circle of the year has been copied from a Mexican painting, from which it appears, that those ancient Indians knew well that the moon has her light from the sun.

    In some wheels of the Mexican year which we have seen, after the figures of the eighteen months, there followed five large points or dots denoting the five days called Nemontemi.

    III. Of the figures of the month.

    Authors differ greatly in opinion concerning the signification of Cipactli, the name of the first day. According to Boturini, it signifies a serpent; with Torquemada, the sword-fish; and with Betancourt, the tiburon. In the only wheel yet published of the Mexican month, which is that by Valades, the figure representing the first day, is almost totally similar to that of a lizard, which appears in the fourth day. As we do not know the truth, we have put the head of a tiburon, according to Betancourt.


    358                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    The second day is called Ehecatl, or wind, and is represented by a human head blowing with the mouth.

    The third day is called Calli, or house, represented by a small building.

    The name of the fourth day is Cuetzpalin, or lizard, and the figure is that animal.

    The name of the fifth day is Coatl, or serpent, and the figure is that animal.

    The name of the sixth month is Miquiztli, that is, death, represented by a skull.

    The seventh day is called Mazatl, or stag, represented by the head of that quadruped, as the eighth day is by that of the rabbit Tochtli, and so it is called.

    The name of the ninth day is Atl, or water, and is represented by the figure of that element.

    The tenth day is named Itzcuintli, that is, a certain Mexican quadruped, similar to a little dog, and the figure of it is that little animal.

    The eleventh day was called Ozomatli, or ape, represented also by the figure of that animal.

    The twelfth day was called Malinalli, the name of a certain plant of which they made brooms, and is represented by the figure of the same plant.

    The thirteenth day is named Acatl, or reed, and is represented by a reed.

    The fourteenth day is named Ocelotl, tyger; and the fifteenth Quauhtli, eagle, represented by the heads of these animals.

    The sixteenth day is Cozcaquauhtli, the name of a Mexican bird, described in the first book of this history, and represented by the figure of it, though it is very imperfect.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           359

    The seventeenth day is Olin tonatiuh, or motion of the fun, represented by the figure of the same luminary.

    The eighteenth day is Tecpatl, or flint, and the figure of it is the point of a lance, which used to be made of flint.

    The nineteenth day is Quiahuitl, rain, and is represented by a cloud raining.

    The twentieth day is Xochitl, flower, and the figure that of a flower.

    In the centre of this wheel we have put the figure of the fifteenth month, in order to reduce it to a determined month.

    IV. Of the figures of cities.

    The first figure is that of an opuntia, or nopal upon a stone, the symbol of the city of Tenochtitlan, or Mexico. Tenochtitlan means the place where the opuntia is in the stone, alluding to what we have already said respecting the foundation of this great city.

    The second figure is that by which they expressed a gem. The name Chalco means in or upon the gem. (y)

    The third figure is the hinder part of a man close to a rush plant, and the fourth is the same close to a flower, signifying the cities of Tollantzinco and Xochitzincho, the names of which signify, at the end of the place full of rushes, and at the end of the flowers, or flowery field: and almost all the names of places which have the termination in tzinco, and which are numerous, have a similar signification, and are represented by similar figures.

    (y) Acosta says, that Chalco means, in the mouths, but the Mexican name signifying the mouth is Camatl, and when they would say, in the mouths, they express it Camas.


    360                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    The fifth figure is a little branch of the tree Huaxin upon a nose, in order to represent the city of Huaxjacac, a name composed of Huaxin and jacatl, and means upon the point or extremity of the little tree Huaxin; because although jacatl, signifies properly the nose, it also is used to signify any other point. As Tepejacac, the name of two places means, upon the point of the mountain.

    In the sixth figure appears an earthen pot upon three stones, as the Indians used to place it, and still do so, in order to keep it over fire, and in the mouth of the pot is the figure of water, to represent the city of Atotonilco, (z) which name signifies, in hot water, or the place of the baths.

    The seventh figure is that of water, in which appears a man with his arms opened, in token of rejoicing, representing the city of Ahuilizapan, called by the Spaniards Orizaba, the name of which means, in the water of pleasure, or in the cheerful river.

    The eighth figure is also that of water in a mouth, representing the city of Atenco. (a) This name is compounded of Atl, water, of Tentli, lip, or metaphorically bank, shore, edge, &c. &c. and the preposition, or article co, which means in, so that Atenco means upon the bank, shore, or edge of the water; and all the places which have such a name are situated upon the bank of some lake or river.

    The ninth figure is that of a Mexican mirror, to represent the city of Tehuillojoccan, which term signifies, place of the mirrors.

    (z) These were, and are many places, called Atenco, but the most considerable was that which appears close to Tezcuco, in our chart of the lakes of Mexico.

    (a) On the 16th day of February of the above mentioned year, the year according to the meridian of Alexandria, which was built three centuries after, properly began. Q., Curt. lib. iv. c. 21. Sec La Lande Astronomie, n. 1597.

    [follows 360]

    [image – city symbols]


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           361

    The tenth figure is that of a hand in the act of counting by the fingers, to represent the village of Nepohualco, which word signifies, the place where they count, or the place of enumeration.

    The eleventh figure is that of an arm holding a fish, representing the city of Michmalojan, which word signifies, place where the fish are taken, or place of fishing.

    The twelfth is a piece of an edifice, with the head of an eagle within it, to represent the city of Quauhtinchan, which signifies, house of eagles.

    The thirteenth figure is that of a mountain, such as they used to paint in their pictures, and a little above a small knife, to represent the city of Tlacotepec, which name signifies, the cut mountain.

    The fourteenth figure is that of a flower, and beneath it five of those points by which they used to express numbers from one to twenty. With such a figure they represented the place called Macuilxochitl, which signifies, five flowers. This name is still used to signify a day of the year; and it is probable, that the foundation of that place having been laid on such a day it obtained such a name.

    The fifteenth figure is the game of football, representing the city of Tlachco, called by the Spaniards Tasco, which name signifies the place where they played at this game. Those two small round figures in the middle are two mill-stones, pierced in the center, which were used in that game. There were at least two cities or villages of this name.

    The figure of the sixteenth, represents the place of Tecotzauhtla, signifying the place abounding with ochre.


    362                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    V. Of the figures of the Mexican kings.

    These figures are not portraits of the kings, but symbols of their names. In all of them appears a head, crowned in the Mexican style, and each has its mark to shew the name of the king represented by it.

    Acamapitzin, the name of the first king of Mexico, signifies, he who has reeds in his fist, which also appears in the figure.

    Huitzilihuitl, the name of the second king, signifies, feather of the little flower-sucking bird; and therefore the head of that little bird is represented, though imperfectly, with a feather in its mouth.

    Chimalpopoca, name of the third king, means, smoking shield, which is represented in his figure.

    Itzcoatl, name of the fourth king, means, serpent of itzli, or armed with lancets, or razors of the stone itzli, which is represented by the fourth figure.

    Ilhuicamina, the surname of Montezuma I, the fifth king of Mexico, means, he who shoots into the sky, and therefore an arrow is represented shot at that figure, by which the Mexicans used to signify the sky.

    Axajacatl, the name of the sixth king, means also a marsh-fly, and signifies the face or aspect of water, and therefore a face is represented, above which is the figure of water.

    Tizoc, the name of the seventh king, signifies, pierced, and therefore he is represented by a perforated leg.

    Ahuitzotl, the name of the eighth king, is also that of an amphibious quadruped, mentioned in our first book, and is therefore represented by the figure of that quadruped; and to shew that this animal lives in the water, the figure of that element appears on its back and tail.

    [following 362]

    [image: kings’ symbols]

    [following 362]

    [image: misc. symbols, detail below]


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           363

    Moteuczoma, the name of the ninth king, means, angry lord; but we do not understand the figure of it.

    The figures of the two last kings Cuitlahuatzin and Quauhtemotzin, are wanting; but we do not doubt but that of Quauhtemotzin, signifies, a dropping eagle, as the name has that meaning.

    VI. Of the figure of the deluge, and the confusion of tongues.

    The water signifies the deluge; the human head, and the bird in the water, signify the drowning of men and animals. The ship, with a man in it, denotes the vessel in which, according to their tradition, one man, and one woman, were saved to preserve the human race. The figure in one corner is that of the mountain Colhuacan, near to which, according to their account, the man and the woman who were saved disembarked from the deluge. In all the Mexican paintings, in which mention is made of that mountain, it is represented by the same figure. The bird upon the tree represents the pigeon, which, as they say, communicated speech to men, as they were all born dumb after the deluge. Those rods which issue from the mouth of the pigeon towards men, are the symbols of languages. Wherever the Mexican paintings allude either to languages or words, they employ these rods. The multitude of them in one figure, signifies the multitude of those which were thus communicated. Those fifteen men, who receive the languages from the pigeon, represent so many families separated from the rest of mankind, from whom, as they account, descended the nations of Anahuac.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           364

    Letter from Abbe Don Lorenzo Hervas, to the Author,
    upon the Mexican Calendar.

    Ab. Hervas, author of the work entitled, Idea of the universe, having read this work in manuscript, and made some curious and learned observations on the Mexican Calendar, communicated them in the following letter, which we trust will prove acceptable to our readers.

    From the work of your Reverence I learn with infinite pain, how much the loss of those documents which assisted the celebrated Dr. Siguenza to form his Ciclography; and the Cav. Boturini to publish his Idea of the General History of New Spain, is to be regretted; and at the same time I am farther confirmed in my opinion, that the use of the solar year was contemporary, or, perhaps, anterior to the Deluge, as I attempt to prove in the eleventh volume of my work, in which is inserted, The Extatic Journey to the Planetary World, wherein I propose some reflections on the Mexican Calendar, which I shall here anticipate and submit to your censure.

    The year and century have, from time immemorial, been regulated by the Mexicans with a degree of intelligence which does not at all correspond with their arts and sciences. In them they were certainly extremely inferior to the Greeks or Romans; but the discernment which appears in their Calendar, equals them to the most cultivated nations. Hence we ought to imagine, that this Calendar has not been the discovery of the Mexicans, but a communication from some more enlightened


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           365

    people; and as the last are not to be found in America, we must seek for them elsewhere, in Asia, or in Egypt. This supposition is confirmed by your affirmation; that the Mexicans had their Calendar from the Toltecas (originating from Asia), whose year, according to Boturini, was exactly adjusted by the course of the sun, more than a hundred years before the Christian era; and also from observing that other nations, namely, the Chiapanese, made use of the same Calendar with the Mexicans, without any difference but that of their symbols.

    The Mexican year began upon the 26th of February, a day celebrated in the era of Nabonassar, which was fixed by the Egyptians 747 years before the Christian era; for the beginning of their month Toth, corresponded with the meridian of the same day. If those priests fixed also upon this day as an epoch, because it was celebrated in Egypt, (a) we have there the Mexican Calendar agreeing with the Egyptian. But independent of this, it is certain, that the Mexican Calendar conformed greatly with the Egyptian.

    On this subject Herodotus says, (b) that the year was first regulated by the Egyptians, who gave to it twelve months, of thirty days, and added five days to every year, that the circle of the year might revolve regularly: that the principal gods of the Egyptians were twelve in number, and that each month was under the tutelage and protection of one of these gods. The Mexicans also added to every year, five days, which they called Nemontemi,

    (a) On the 26th day of February, of the above mentioned year, the year according to the meridian of Alexandria, which was built three centuries after, properly began. Q. Curt. lib. iv. c. 21. See La Lande Astronomie, n. 1597.

    (b) Herod, lib. ii. cap. I. and 6.


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    or useless; because during these they did nothing. Plutarch says, (c) that on such days the Egyptians celebrated the festival of the birth of their gods.

    It is certainly true, that the Mexicans divided their year into eighteen months, not into twelve like the Egyptians; but as they called the month miztli, or moon, as you have observed, it seems undeniable, that their ancient month had been lunar, as well as that of the Egyptians and Chinese, the Mexican month verifying that which the scriptures tell, that the month is obliged for its name to the moon. The Mexicans, it is probable, received the lunar month from their ancestors, but for certain purposes afterwards instituted another. You have affirmed in your history, upon the faith of Boturini, that the Miztecas formed their year into thirteen months, which number was sacred in the Calendar of the Mexicans, on account of their thirteen principal gods, in the same manner as the Egyptians consecrated the number twelve, on account of their twelve greater gods.

    The symbols and periods of years, months, and days in the Mexican Calendar, are truly admirable. With respect to the periods it appears to me, that the period of five days might not improperly be termed their civil week, and that of thirteen their religious week. In the same manner, the period of twenty days might be called their civil month; that of twenty-six their religious month; and that of thirty, their lunar and astronomical month. In their century, it is probable, that the period of four years was civil, and that of thirteen religious. From the multiplication of these two periods they had their century, and from the duplication of their century, their age of one hundred and four years.

    (c) Plut. de Iside & Osiride.

    [follows 366]

    [image - numerical characters]


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           367

    In all those periods an art is discovered not less admirable than that of our indictions, cycles, &c. The period of civil weeks was contained exactly in their civil and astronomical month; the latter had fix, the former four, and the year contained seventy-three complete weeks; in which particular our method is excelled by the Mexican; for our weeks are not contained exactly in the month, nor in the year. The period of religious weeks was contained twice in their religious month, and twenty-eight times in the year; but in the latter there remained a day over, as there is in our weeks. From the periods of thirteen days, multiplied by the twenty characters of the month, the cycle of two hundred and sixty days was produced, of which you have made mention; but as there remained a day over the twenty-eight religious weeks of the solar year, there arose another cycle of two hundred and sixty days, in such a manner, that the Mexicans could, from the first day of every year, distinguish what year it was. The period of civil months, multiplied by the number of days, (that is eighteen by twenty), and the period of lunar months, multiplied by the number of days, (that is, twelve by thirty), give the same product, or the number three hundred and sixty; a number certainly not less memorable, and in use among the Mexicans than among the most ancient nations; and a number, which from time immemorial, has ruled in geometry and astronomy, and is of the utmost particularity on account of its relation to the circle, which is divided into three hundred and sixty parts, or degrees. In no nation of the world do we meet with any thing similar to this clear and distinct method of Calendar. From the small period of four years, multiplied by the above mentioned cycle of two hundred and sixty


    368                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    years, arose another admirable cycle of one thousand and forty years. The Mexicans combined the small period of four years with the period above named week of thirteen years; thence resulted their noted cycle or century of fifty-two years; and thus with the four figures, indicating the period of four years, they had, as we have from the dominical letters, a period, which, to say the truth, exceeded ours; as it is of twenty-eight years, and the Mexican of fifty-two; this was perpetual, and ours in Gregorian years is not so. So much variety and simplicityof periods of weeks, months, years, and cycles, cannot be unadmired; and the more so, as there is immediately discovered that particular relation which these periods have to many different ends, which Boturini points out by saying: "The Mexican Calendar was of four species; that is, natural, for agriculture; chronological, for history; ritual, for festivals; and astronomical, for the course of the stars; and the year was luni-solar," (d) This year, if we do not put it at the end of three Mexican ages, after several calculations I am not able to find it.

    Boturini determines by the Mexican paintings the year of the confusion of tongues, and the years of the creation of the world; which determination appears not to be difficult, because as the eclipses are noted in the Mexican paintings, there is not a doubt but the true epoch of chronology may be obtained from them, as P. Souciet obtains the Chinese from the solar eclipse which he fixed in the year 2155, before the Christian era. An eclipse well circumstantiated, as P. Briga (e} Romagnoli proves at length, may assist us to six the epoch of chronology

    (d) A luna signum dici festi... Mensis secundum nomen ejus eft. Eccl. xliii.

    (e) Scientia Eclipsium ex Europa in Sinas, Pars iii. c. a. sect. 20.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           369

    in the space of twenty thousand years, and although in the Mexican paintings, all the circumstances of eclipses are not described, yet the defect of them is remedied by many eclipses which are marked there. The Mexican lords therefore, who still preserve great number of paintings, might by study of them adduce many lights to chronology.

    Respecting the symbols of the Mexican months and year, they discover ideas entirely conformable with those of the ancient Egyptians. The latter distinguished, as appears from their monuments, each month or part of the zodiac, where the sun stood, with characteristical figures of that which happened in every season of the year. Therefore we see the signs of Aries, Taurus, and the two young Goats (which now are Gemini), used to mark the months of the birth of those animals; the signs of Cancer, Leo, and Virgo, with the ear of corn, for those months, in which the sun goes backward like a crab; in which there is greater heat, and in which the harvests are reaped. The sign of the Scorpion (which in the Egyptian sphere occupied the space which at present is occupied by the sign of Libra), and that of Sagittarius, in the months of virulent, or contagious distempers, and the chace; and lastly, the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Piscis, in those months in which the sun begins to ascend towards others; in which it rains much, and in which there is abundant fishing. These ideas at least are similar to those which the Mexicans associated with their clime. They called their first month Acahualco, that is, the cessation of the waters, which began on the 26th of February, and they symbolize this month by a house, with the figure of water above it; they gave also to the same month the name of Quahuitlehua, that


    370                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    is, the moving or budding of trees. The Mexicans afterwards distinguished their first month by two names, of which the first Acahualco, or the cessation of the waters, did not correspond with their climate where the rains came in October: but it agrees with the fields of Sennaar, and the northern climes of America, from whence their ancestors came; and from that the origin of this name appears evidently to be very ancient. The second name, that is, Quahuitlehua, or budding of the trees, agrees much with the word Kimath, used by Job to signify the Pleiades, (f) which, in his time announced the spring, when the trees begin to move. The symbol of the second Mexican month was a pavilion, which indicated the great heat prevalent in Mexico in April, before the rains of May come on. The symbol of the third month was a bird which appeared at that time. The twelfth and thirteenth month had for their symbol the plant pactli, which springs up and matures in these months. The symbol of the fourteenth month was expressed by a cord, and a hand which pulled it, expressive of the binding power of the cold in that month, which is January; and to this same circumstance the name Tititl, which they gave it alludes. The constellation Kesil, of which Job speaks to signify winter, signifies in the Arabic root (which is Kesal) to he cold and asleep, and in the text of Job it is read, "Couldst thou break the cords or ties of Kefil?"

    Leaving apart the evident conformity which the symbols and expressions of spring and winter have with those of Job, who, in my opinion, flourished a short time after the Deluge (as I say in my eleventh volume), it ought

    (f) Job chap. ix. T. 9. and chap, xxxviii. v. 31.


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    to be noted, that these symbols, which are excellent for preserving the year invariable, demonstrate the use of the intercalary days of the Mexicans; otherwise it would happen that in two centuries, the symbol of the month of cold would fall in the month of heat. Thus it is found, from the Mexican paintings, that in them the conquest of Mexico was marked in the ninth month called Tlaxochimaco; from thence it ought to be concluded, that the intercalary days were in use. The same deduction might be made from seeing that the Mexicans, at the entry of the Spaniards, preserved that order of months, which, according to the signification of their names, agreed with the seasons of the year, and the productions of the earth. Farther, to ascertain how the Mexicans regulated their leap years, and if their year was just, an exact examination and comparison ought to be made of some event known to us, which has been marked by them. You have, for example, fixed the death of Montezuma on the 29th of June, 1520: if in the Mexican paintings this is found in the seventh day, Cuetzpalin, of the seventh month, we must infer their year to be just, and that the leap years were interposed every four years; if it corresponds to the fourth day Cipactli, it would be a sign that their year was just, and that the leap years were added after the century; if it should correspond with the seventh, Ozomatli, then it must be concluded that their leap years were put after the century, and their year was as erroneous as ours was at that time. The proposed example is grounded upon the Calendar, at the end of your second volume; this 1 did for the sake of perspicuity: but to make an exact calculation, it would be necessary to see that your Calendar corresponds with the first year of the


    372                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    Mexican century, and that the year 1520, was the fourteenth year of the century; whence the name of days would have taken a very different order from that which is proposed for more clearness.

    Lastly, the symbol which you have put for the Mexican century, convinces me, that it is the same which the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans had. In the Mexican symbol, we see the sun as it were eclipsed by the moon, and surrounded with a serpent, which makes four twists, and embraces thr four periods of thirteen years. This very idea of the serpent with the sun has, from time immemorial in the world, signified the periodical or annual course of the sun. We know that in astronomy, the points where eclipses happen have, from time immemorial been called, (as P. Briga (g) Romagnoli has noted), the head and tail of a dragon. The Chinese, from false ideas, though conformable to this immemorial allusion, believe that at eclipses a dragon is in the act of devouring the sun. The Egyptians more particularly agree with the Mexicans; for to symbolize the sun they employed a circle, with one or two serpents; but still more the ancient Persians, among whom their Mitras (which was certainly the sun), was symbolized by a sun (h) and a serpent; and from P. Montfaucon, (i) we are given, in his Antiquities, a monument of a serpent which surrounding the signs of the Zodiac, cuts them, by rolling itself in various modes about them. In addition to these incontestable examples, the following reflection is most convincing. There is not a doubt that the symbol of the serpent is a thing totally arbitrary to

    (g) Vol. cited, p. 4. Inv. iii. c. 2.

    (h) See Banier Mythylogie, vol. ii. book iv. cap. iv. vol. iii. book vii c. xii. Pluche, History of the Heavens, vol. i. c. ii, sect. I. Goguet, Origin of Sciences, &c. vol. i. Dissert. a.

    (i) Tom. i. p. 378.


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           373

    signify the sun, with which it has no physical relation; wherefore then I ask, have so many nations dispersed over the globe, and of which some have had no reciprocal intercourse, unless in the first ages after the deluge, agreed in using one same symbol so arbitrary, and chose to express by it the same object? When we find the word sacco in the Hebrew, Greek, Teutonic, Latin languages, &c. it obliges us to believe that it belongs to the primitive language of men after the deluge, and when we see one same arbitrary symbol, signifying the sun and his course, used by the Mexicans, the Chinese, the ancient Egyptians, and Persians, does it not prompt us to believe the real origin of it was in the time of Noah, or the first men after the deluge? This fair conclusion is strongly confirmed by the Chiapanese Calendar (which is totally Mexican), in which the Chiapanese, according to Monsig. Nugnez de la Vega, bishop of Chiapa, in his Preface to his Synodal Constitutions, put for the first symbol or name of the first year of the century a Votan, nephew of him who built a wall up to heaven, and gave to men the languages which they now speak. Here is a fact connected with the Mexican Calendar, relative to the building of the tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues. Many similar reflections are suggested by the observations and remarks which occur in your history, &c. Cesena, July 31, 1780.     So far the letter of Sig. Ab. Hervas. Whatever may have been the truth respecting the use of the solar year among these first men, in which dispute I do not mean to engage, I cannot be persuaded that the Mexicans, or the Toltecas have been indebted to any nation of the old continent for their Calendar, and their method of computing time. From whom did the Toltecas learn their age of one hundred


    374                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    and four years, their century of fifty-two, their year of eighteen months, their months of twenty days, their periods of thirteen years and thirteen days, their cycle of two hundred and sixty days, and in particular their thirteen intercalary days, at the end of the century, to adjust the year with the course of the sun? The Egyptians were the greatest astronomers of those remote times, but they adopted no intercalary space to adjust the year with the annual retardation of the solar course. If the Toltecas of themselves discovered that retardation, it is not to be wondered at if they discovered other things which did not require such minute and prolix astronomical observations. Boturini, of whose testimony Ab. Hervas avails himself, says expressly upon the faith of the annals of the Toltecas, which he saw, that the ancient astronomers of that nation having observed in their native country Huehuetlapallan, (a northern country of America), the excess of about six hours of the solar, over the civil year which was observed among them, corrected it by the use of intercalary days, more than one hundred years before the Christian era. With respect to the conformity between the Mexicans and Egyptians, we shall treat of it in our Dissertations.

    Animadversions of the Author on the Work entitled,
    LETTERE AMERICANE, or American Letters.

    Some of the observations made by Ab. Hervas have also been made by the learned author of the American Letters, a work full of erudition, recently published in the Literary Magazine of Florence, and come to us at the time the last sheets of this volume were printing. The author, in opposing the absurd opinions of M. de Paw,


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    from a just though imperfect idea of the culture of the Mexicans, discourses in general very intelligently of their customs, their arts, and, above all, their astronomical knowledge, explains their calendar and their cycles, and in these points compares them with the ancient Egyptians, as was done in the last century by the learned Mexican, Siguenza, to prove their conformity and the antiquity of the population of America. In the perusal of these letters, I have had the pleasure of seeing some of my own sentiments supported and explained; although the author has committed many mistakes, and shewn more acrimony against the Spanish nation than is consistent with candor and impartiality. The alteration of the Mexican names in his work, is a trespass upon all the rules of literary propriety and accuracy with respect to etymology.

    In the ninth letter of the second part, where he speaks of the Mexican year, he cites Gemelli, and accuses him, though falsely, of an error. Gemelli says, that the Mexican year at the commencement of their century, began upon the loth of April; but that every four years ic anticipated one day on account of our biffextile; so that at the end of four years it began upon the gth of that month; at the end of eight years it began upon the 8th, and so it went on anticipating every four years, one day, unto the end of the Mexican century, where by the interposition of the thirteen intercalary days, omitted in the progress of the century, the year returned to begin upon the 10th of April. This, adds the author of the Letters, is a contradiction of fact, as the year at the end of the four years should have begun upon the 11th, and not the ninth, and thus every four years it ought to have increased a day; and in such case, the correction of thirteen


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    days after the end of fifty-two years became superfluous, or without the retrocession of a day every four years, the difference of the solar year, at the end of the cycle should have been double, that is twenty-six days.

    We wonder much that an author, who appears to be a good calculator, should err in a calculation so simple and clear. The year 1506, was a secular year among the Mexicans. Let us suppose for the sake of perspicuity, that their year began as ours on the first day of January. This first year of the Mexican century, composed like ours of 365 days, ended as ours on the 31st of December, and in like manner the second year corresponding to 1507; but in 1508, the Mexican year ought to finish a day before ours; because ours being bissextile, or leap year, had 366 days, whereas the Mexican had only 365; therefore the fourth year of the Mexican century corresponding to 1509, ought to commence a day before ours, that is on the 31st of December 1508. In the same manner, the eighth year, corresponding to 1513, ought to commence on the 30th of December, 1512, for the same reason of that year having been bissextile. The twelfth year, corresponding to 1517, ought to begin on the 29th of December 1516, and so forth, unto the year 1557, the last of the Mexican century, in which the Mexican year ought to anticipate ours as many days as there were bissextile years. Thus in the 52 years of the Mexican century, there are thirteen bissextile; the last year of the century, therefore, ought to anticipate ours by thirteen days, and not twenty-six. consequently, the interposition of the thirteen days to adjust the year at the end of the century with the course of the sun was not superfluous. So that Gemelli said properly as to the anticipation of the day, although he


                                              A P P E N D I X.                                           377

    erred in saying that the Mexicans began the year upon the 10th of April, as it began as we have often repeated on the 26th of February. The author of the Letters believes, that the Mexicans began their year at the vernal equinox. We are of the same opinion as to their astronomical year; but we have not ventured to affirm it as we do not know it. The ancient Spanish historians of Mexico were not astronomers, and were less attentive to explain in their histories the progress of the Mexicans in sciences than their superstitious rites. The Mexican Cyclography, composed by the great astronomer Siguenza, after a diligent study of the Mexican paintings, and various calculations of the eclipses and comets marked in their paintings, has not reached us.

    We cannot pardon the Author of the Letters the injustice he does this great Mexican in his third Letter of the second volume, where he speaks, on the faith of Gemelli, of the pyramids of Teotihuacan. Carlos Siguenza, says that author, imagines these pyramids anterior to the deluge. This is not true; how could Siguenza imagine these pyramids anterior to the deluge, if he believed the population of America posterior to the confusion of tongues, and the first settlers descendants of Nephtuim, grand nephew of Noah, as Boturini attests, who saw some of the works of Siguenza? Gemelli also, on whose testimony the author of the Letters rests, gives express contradiction to this particular in his sixth volume, second book, and eighth chapter. "No Indian historian,” says this traveller, "has been able to investigate the time of the erection of the pyramids of America; but D. Carlos Siguenza imagined them very ancient, and built a little time after the Deluge." Nor has Gemelli properly explained the opinion of Siguenza; for Dr. Eguiara,


    378                                           A P P E N D I X.                                          

    treating in the Biblioteca Mexicana, of the works of Siguenza, and amongst others of that which he wrote upon the peopling of America, says, that in that work he fixed the first peopling of the new world paulo post Babylonicam confusionem, that is, a little after the time which Gemelli has mentioned.

    With respect to some other more important points treated of in those Letters, we shall speak of them in our Dissertations, in which we shall sometimes concur, and at other times differ in opinion with the author.



    Transcriber's Comments

    Abbé  D. Francesco Saverio Clavigero

    Clavigero's History of Mexico

    Papantzin a Mexican Princess (p. 305ff.)
    (1) Abiel Holmes' American Annals, (1805) p. 70, "Year 1524"

    (2) "The Dream of [Princess] Papantzin," by Robert C. Sands, published in The Talisman for 1829. Ref: "The writings of Robert C. Sands (1799-1832) in Prose and Verse;" "Sleep of Papantzin" & "Waking of Papantzin in the Sepulchre," in William Cullen Bryant's Selections from the American Poets (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1843, 1860)

    (3) Some of the Spanish historians speak of an occurrence that happened at this time in confirmation of these gloomy predictions. In the year 1509, Papantzin, a Mexican princess, a sister to Montezuma, died, apparently, and was buried with great honors in a cavern in the garden where she was wont to go to bathe in a fountain. It seems, however, that she was merely in a trance, and when she recovered she groped her way out of the cave and sent for her relatives, Montezuma and Nezahualpilli, declaring she had a message of great importance to communicate. When they had arrived, and had convinced themselves that It was truly Papantzin, sister of Montezuma, whom they had buried a few days before, they sat down and listened to her story. She said that after the trance had seized her, she found herself wandering upon an extensive plain. "In the middle of it I observed a road, which afterwards saw was divided into a variety of paths, and on one side ran a great river, whose waters made a frightful noise. As I was going to throw myself into the river, to swim to the opposite bank, I saw before me a beautiful youth, clothed in a long habit, white as snow and dazzling like the sun, with wings of beautiful feathers, and the mark of the cross upon his forehead. He laid hold of my hand and said to me, 'Stop, for it is not yet time to pass this river.' He then led me along by the river-side, upon the borders of which I saw a great number of human skulls and bones, and heard most lamentable groans, that waked my utmost pity. Turning my eyes towards the river I saw some large vessels upon it, filled with men of a complexion and dress quite different from ours. They were fair and bearded, and carried standards in their hands and helmets on their heads. The youth then said to me, 'It is the will of God that thou shalt live to be a witness of the revolutions which are to happen to these kingdoms. The groans which thou hast heard among these bones are from the souls of your ancestors, which are ever and will be tormented for their crimes. The men whom you see coming in these vessels are those who by their arms will make themselves masters of all these kingdoms, and with them will be introduced the knowledge of the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. As soon as the war shall be at an end, and the means made known by which sins shall be washed away, be thou the first to receive it, and guide by thy example the natives of thy country.' Having spoken this, the youth disappeared, and I found myself recalled to life."

    It is said, that Montezuma was so shocked by this melancholy prediction of the downfall of his empire that he immediately retired to one of his palaces devoted to occasions of grief, and refused ever after to see his sister. It is also related that she was the first, in the year 1524, to receive baptism from the Spanish priests, and was called Dona Maria Papantzin. There is nothing to cause us to doubt the occurrence of the other signs and events related, but there is every evidence in this tradition of the work of the priests. It is a very pretty fable which they used to relate, in those years following the conquest, to induce the unsuspicious Indians to turn from their old religion and embrace the new.

    Though visibly affected by these prognostics of coming woe, Montezuma continued to urge war, relentless war, against tribes yet unconquered by Mexico

    (4) The War of Conquest [on-line at Google Books]
    By Bernardino de Sahagún, Arthur J O Anderson, Charles E. Dibble

    (5) For the history of the resurrection of Papantzin, see p. 870ff. in Jourdanet's translation of Sahagun. This annotated edition of Bernardino de Sahagun's book was a French translation, published in Paris in 1880 (reprinted 1991) as Histoire générale des choses de la Nouvelle Espagne -- seemingly from the Kingsborough text. The editors were Denis Jourdanet and Remi Simeon.

    (6) Painting Title: "Papantzin Explaining Her Dream to Montezuma."
    Artist: Ottinger, George Martin, 1833-1917
    Date/Dimensions: 1879, 17" x 30"
    Current Owner: Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City
    References: Gibbs, Linda Jones, 1983.

    Ottinger, Mr. O. M., Salt Lake City, Utah. -- Photographs from three of his historical painting, namely: Montezuma Receiving News of the Landing uf Cortez (Philadelphia Centennial Exposition 1876), the Gladiatorial Stone, and Cortez Retreating from the City of Mexico.

    Breanne Robertson -- University of Maryland: Art History & Archaeology
    Fourth-year Ph.D. student Breanne Robertson spent the 2007–2008 academic year working at the National Gallery of Art, where she compiled research and composed entries for the Systematic Catalogue. In October, she traveled to Taos, New Mexico, where she delivered a paper at the Southwest Art History Conference. Her lecture, “Aztec Ambassadors and Artistic Ambitions: George Martin Ottinger and the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition,” stems from her MA thesis, which examines the relationship between Ottinger’s “Aztec” paintings and the beliefs and missionary efforts of Mormon Utah. In March, Breanne presented a paper at the conference “New Critical Perspectives in African American Art History” sponsored by the David C. Driskell Center and the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland. Her paper, titled “America Past and Future in Charles White’s Hampton Mural,” is an outgrowth of her dissertation research on United States artists’ fascination with pre-Columbian subjects during the 1930’s and 1940’s. With the aid of grants from the State Historical Society of Iowa and the University of Maryland, Breanne continues to gather research for her dissertation proposal. She plans to advance to candidacy this fall.

    (under construction)


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