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them, that Spanish writers of no small repute should have celebrated the prowess of one of these dogs, called Bezzerillo.
The Spaniards had trained them in such manner that they did better service, either in battles upon a fair field, or in standing sentinel during the night, or in guarding prisoners, or in watching against unexpected attacks, than men themselves. And so habituated were they to track the scent of the Indians and of their blood, that none could escape their ferocity. And Bezzerillo enriched his master, who drew for him a day's pay and a half, as ranking with cross-bow men. His custom was, when despatched in pursuit of an Indian, to rush upon him, and drag him by the arm to the camp or entrenchments ; and to rend him into pieces on the instant if he offered any show of resistance. Such, indeed, in a good measure, were the ferocity and the habits of the other mastiffs, whom the miserable Indians justly dreaded more than the Spaniards themselves, because from the latter there was some chance of escape, but from the former none. of Bezzerillo was propagated from the islands to the continent, for the destruction of the inhabitants of the main.'- Storia delP Amer. vol. iii. p. 164.
In the four volumes which follow we have the history of the conquest of Mexico, preceded by an account of the early expeditions of Alonzo de Ojeda, Diego de Nicuessa, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, and others upon the Spanish Main. The enterprises of Ojeda and of Nicuessa are memorable for the series of unparalleled disasters which they sustained, terminating in the total destruction of their forces ; and still more memorable for the haughty declaration of the alleged rights of the king of Spain, which they put forth on occasion of their expedition ; and the calamitous result of them would tempt us to regard it as the visitation of divine justice upon pretensions so extravagant and outrageous. Our author copies this celebrated document from the pages of the Spanish writer Herrera, who records it as the fruit of the united wisdom of the jurists and theologians of his country ; and Compagnoni treats it with no less indignation than our own Robertson.
The expedition of Cortez for the conquest of Mexico opened a succession of adventures so singular, and of achievements so wonderful, that, if the events attending the overthrow of the barbaric monarchy of Montezuma were narrated in the form of professed romance, we sincerely believe the work would be censured as consisting of incidents too extraordinary for the limits of reasonable probability. Compagnoni describ
them in a simple, unambitious style, relying upon the inherent quality of the facts themselves to communicate interest to his relation. Indeed, so strange were the vicissitudes of the war, that Cortez must inevitably have failed of success in his daring enterprise, but for a remarkable coïncidence of events in his favor, without which, notwithstanding his fertility in devising expedients and his undeniable superiority in courage, activity, and other military virtues, his destruction would have been certain. Among these, his fortunate alliance with the republic of Tlascala may be ranked as one of his foremost advantages.
Compagnovi draws a much more full and accurate picture of the unheard-of miseries inflicted by Cortez upon the Mexicans than we find in Robertson. Such a scene of calamity and destruction the world has seldom witnessed. In the last siege of the city of Mexico, more than a hundred thousand persons perished in battle, and more than fifty thousand by infectious distempers, occasioned by the impurity of the air arising from the great multitude of putrefying bodies. There is no excess of suffering which the wretched Indians did not undergo in the defence of their capital. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of the conquistadores, bears witness, from his personal observation, that it exceeded all the horrors recorded of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. It would seem, indeed, as if Cortez and his followers had become actually brutified in this terrible war ; for the same insatiable thirst of blood appears to have animated all alike, the officers as well as the common soldiers. The individual acts of cold blooded cruelty which they committed are truly astonishing. But what was to be expected from the low-bred foot-soldier, when Cortez himself could condescend to torture Guatemotzin, with his chief minister, and his vassal, the king of Tlacopan, by smearing their feet with oil, and suspending them over brasiers of burning coals? Even the obdurate army itself murmured, when he caused the captive emperor, and the two highest princes of the empire, to be ignominiously executed as common malefactors, on some such light suspicion as had before furnished a pretext for the similar murder of Xicotencatl, the noble-minded Tlascalan chief. The populous cities of Chila and Panuco razed to the earth, and four hundred and sixty of the principal nobles of Panuco burnt alive, sufficiently signalized the vindictiveness of Cortez and of Gonzalo Sandoval, the best and trustiest of his officers, under whose direction were performed these acts, better beseeming infuriated demons than christian men.
Nuño de Guzman rendered his name infamous by marches, every step of which was tracked with blood wantonly shed, and which ended in his plundering the inhabitants of Mechoacan, in violation of the faith of treaties, and burning their king alive on the most frivolous allegations. And not to be wanting in their vocation, the Spanish friars busily coöperated in the work of destruction, so far as lay in their power. Thus, regarding the Mexican paintings as instruments of idolatry, they piled up an immense heap of these precious records in the market-place of Tezcuco, and consigned them to the flames. Actuated by the same spirit of Vandalism, the first bishop of Mexico caused the most valuable monuments of Mexican sculpture to be broken into fragments and employed as common stones in the construction of a cathedral.
In passing from this subject to the four succeeding volumes, devoted to Peru, we change the scene indeed, but the character of events undergoes no change. Compagnoni justly remarks that if the story of the conquest of Peru were not supported by irrefragable proofs, it might be deemed a romance copied from that of Mexico, so entirely did the conduct of Atahuallpa resemble Montezuma's. How worthy of the cruelty of Cortez towards Guatemotzin was the execution of the Inca by Pizarro ; and yet how mean the spirit which could seek to disguise this murder under the mockery of a trial ! The observations of our author, on the treatment of Atahuallpa, are in a high degree judicious and forcible, but our' limits oblige us to hasten over them.
In his account of the Mexicans and Peruvians, Compagnoni bestows adequate space upon the history and institutions of these two nations, the most polished of all the inhabitants of America. The extent of a single article would not afford room for discussing these copious subjects. We
pass on, therefore, to the volumes which relate to Chile, La Plata and Paraguay. And in perusing the account of Chile, we are struck with the simplicity, and at the same time the perfect efficacy, of the plan of warfare adopted by Capolican and the intrepid Araucanians, in their engagements with Valdivia. When we recollect the sufferings of the vanquished Mexicans and Peruvians, we are prompted to wish that, instead of prodigally wasting their strength in hopeless general encounters, they had anticipated the decree of Capolican. His army consisted of only fifteen thousand men, and these neither braver nor more devoted to their country's cause, than the myriads who fell before Cortez. Finding that in every pitched battle his undisciplined forces were speedily thrown into confusion and driven from the field by the Spanish cavalry, he divided his little army into separate bands of a thousand men each ; and organized them in such manner that they should fight, not as parts of one army, but as successive and independent armies. He tried bis battalions, at first, by occasionally sallying from his fastnesses in the desert, and attacking the Spaniards, in front, in flank, or in rear, as advantage offered, without leaving them the slightest interval for repose. After harassing Valdivia in this way sufficiently to discipline his own followers, he determined to venture a general engagement, upon his new system of tactics. There was no cause, he conceived, to apprehend the Spanish cavalry now ; for as the number of their horse did not exceed five hundred, one of his battalions might sustain the first brunt of the attack; and another and another successively marching to the relief of their countrymen, the Araucanians would thus combat always with fresh forces, while the Spaniards would all be exhausted and disheartened alike.
The event exactly corresponded to Capolican's anticipations. His onset was conducted with a precision and firmness never before witnessed among Americans, and struck the Spaniards with astonishment and hesitation. Ere these last had fully regained their presence of mind, he insensibly drew off his leading battalion, as it began to waver before the Spanish fire-arms, and marched up the second to the attack with equal impetuosity, and after this the third ; and thus attack after attack followed on without intermission for the space of eight hours, when the Spaniards, reduced to the very last degree of helpless fatigue, fled in confusion from the field of battle. But true to the maxims of nilitary discipline, Valdivia's men rallied at some distance off, where he deemed them safe from the assaults of the Araucanians. Capolican, however, having obtained intelligence of their place of refuge from a Chilian page in the Spanish army, fell upon them unawares with a body of lancers, who rushed among the wearied Spaniards, and destroyed them almost to a man. Valdivia escaped; but was soon taken prisoner, and despatched by a blow from Capolican's club. Some authors relate that the Araucanians poured a stream of molten gold down the throat of Valdivia, in scorn of his insatiable
thirst after riches; but the account is not altogether probable ; and its exact similitude to the well known punishment inflicted upon Crassus by the victorious Parthians, tends to confirm the suspicion, that the incident has been greatly embellished by the Spanish friars. It is more credible that, as some reports have it, the Araucanians stuffed the mouth of Valdivia with gold dust,—a gratification of vengeance more simple than the other, and more accessible to these rude savages. Thus much is certain, however, that of the bones of Valdivia and his principal officers they constructed trumpets to animate their men in battle ; and, like the northern invaders of the Roman empire, preserved the skulls of their enemies as trophies of a victory, which secured the independence of the conquerors to the present day and perhaps for ever.
Next to the history of Chile, comes that of the countries bordering on the great river of La Plata and its far extending branches. Of all the principal divisions of the Spanish empire in America none was acquired so peaceably, and holden with so little oppression of the natives, as this. Sebastian Cabot, who first explored the Parana, conciliated the good will of the savages; and it was a singular accident that interrupted the tranquil progress of the Spanish settlers. It is thus related by Compagnoni.
• A chief named Mangore became enamored of a beautiful Spaniard, Lucia Miranda, the wife of Sebastian Urtado. Failing in his attempt to seduce her, the daring savage determined to obtain possession of her by force. Seizing the occasion of the absence of the commandant of the fort, with forty men and Urtado himself, who were gone in quest of provisions, he concealed a party of his tribe in thickets near the place, and at early nightfall presented himself at the door, asking admission, because, having often come as a friend, he knew he should be received without distrust, and saying moreover that he brought provisions. The moment the door was opened, at a preconcerted signal, all his companions rushed from their hiding-place, and suddenly attacking the Spaniards, who had suspected nothing, slew them all, many of the Indians also falling in the affray, and among them Mangore himself. It is needless to describe the surprise and grief of the other Spaniards, when they returned from their expedition. Above all Urtado was desperate, when he sought in vain among the dead for the body of his wife, which he naturally inferred was in the hands of the savages. Frantic with grief, he pursued the track of the Indians, who at first doomed him to death, sparing his life only a