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to gather strength by reflection, after warning them that no alternative now remained but to conquer or die, led them instantly to the charge. The Mexicans awaited their approach with unusual fortitude.
Such, however, was the superiority of the Spanish discipline and arms, that the impression of this small body was irresistible ; and which ever way its force was directa ed, it penetrated and dispersed the most numerous batta. lions. But while they gave way in one quarter, new combatants advanced from another; and, though the Spaniards were successful in every attack, yet were they ready to sink under those repeated efforts, without seeing any end to their toil, or any hope of victory.
At that time Cortes observed the great standard of the empire, which was carried before the Mexican general, advancing ; and fortunately recollecting to have heard, that on the fate of it depended the event of every battle ; he assembled a few of his bravest officers, whose horses were still capable of service, and placing himself at their head, pushed forward towards the standard with an impetuosity that bore down every thing before it. A chosen body of nobles who guarded the standard, made some resistance, but were soon broken Cortes with a stroke of his lance, wounded the Mexican general, and threw him to the ground ; one of his followers disinounting, put an end to his life, and laid hold of the Imperial standard.
The moment that their leader fell, and the standard, to which all turned their eyes, disappeared, the Mexicans, as if the bond which held them together had been dissolved, threw away their weapons, and fed with precipitation to the mountains. The Spaniards unable to pursue them far, returned to take the spoils of the field; which were so Valuable, as to be some compensation for the wealth which they had lost in Mexico. The principal warriors in the enemy's army, had been dressed out in their richest ornaments, expecting that they were marching to certain vico tory.
Next day to their great joy, they entered the Tlascalan territories. Happily for them, the enmity of the Tlascalans to the Mexican name was so inveterate, and their des sire to avenge the death of their countrymen so vehement, that far from taking advantage of the distressed situation in which they beheld the Spaniards, they received them
with a tenderness and cordiality, which quickly renewed all their former confidence.
Some interval of tranquillity and indulgence was now absolutely necessary, that the soldiers might give attention to the cure of their wounds, which had been too long neglected, as well as to recruit their strength. Cortes had still a body of troops equal in number' to that with which he had penetrated into the centre of the Mexican empire, and taken possession of the capital ; his experience of the natives, and knowledge of the country, inspired him with hopes of quickly recovering all that he had been deprived of by the late events.
His attention to court the Tlascalan chiefs was one of his first measures : he distributed among them so liberally of ; the rich spoils of Otumba, that he was secure of obtaining whatever he should require of the republic. He drew a small supply of ammunition, and two or three field pieces from his stores at Vera Cruz. He dispatched an officer of confidence with four ships of Narvaez's fleét to Hispaniola and Jamaica, to engage adventurers, and to purchase horses, gunpowder and other military stores. As he knew it would be in vain to attempt the conquest of Mexico unless he had the command of the lake, he gave orders to prepare in the forests of Tlascala materials for building twelve brigantines, so as they might be carried in pieces ready to be put together, and launched when necessary.
But while he was thus taking measures towards the execution of his design, an obstacle arose in a quarter where it was least expected. The spirit of discontent broke out in his own army.
The followers of Narvaez bitterly repented their choice ; happy in having made their escape. in the perilous retreat from Mexico, trembled at the thoughts of being exposed a second time to similar dangers. As soon as they discovered the intention of Cortes, they began secretly to murmur and cabal ; and growing gradually more audacious, they in a body offered a remonstrance to their general, against the imprudence of attacking a powerful empire with his shattered forces; and formally required him to lead them back directly to Cuba.
Cortes with all his skill in the arts of command ; neither argument, entreaties or presents were sufficient to remove their fears : his own soldiers animated with the spirit of their leader, warmly seconded his endeavours, but all is
vain : the utmost that he could effect, was to prevail with them to defer their departure, on a promise, that he would, at a more proper time, dismiss such as should desire it.
That the malecontents might be diverted from brooding over the causes of their disaffection, he resolved instantly to call forth his troops into action. His first expedition was against the Tepeacans who had cut off a small detachment of Spaniards, consisting mostly of the followers of Narvaez, when marching from Zempoalla to Mexico : another party had been destroyed in the mountains as they were returning from Tlascala to Vera Cruz, with the share of the Mexican gold allotted to the garrison. The desire of vengeance engaged them more willingly in this
Cortes took the command in person, and in the space of a few weeks in several encounters, with great slaughter of the Tepeacans, reduced that province to subjection. Thus, for several months he kept his troops constantly employed against the adjacent provinces. His men thus accustomed to victory, resumed their former sense of their superiority ; the Mexican power was weakened ; and the Tlascalan warriors acquired the habit of acting in conjunction with the Spaniards; the chiefs were delighted with seeing their country enriched with the spoils of their enemies, and were astonished every day with fresh discoveries of the irresistible prowess of their new allies, and exerted every nerve to support them.
The reinforcements that Cortes expected from the isles was now, the chief object of his thoughts ; the aid of these, however, was distant and uncertain. But what neither his own sagacity nor power could have procured, he owed to a series of fortunate and unforeseen events. nor of Cuba, who supposed the success of Narvaez was an infallible certainty, having sent two small ships after him with new. instructions, and a supply of men, and military stores, the officer whom Cortes had appointed to command on the coast artfully decoyed them into the harbour of Vera Cruz, seized the vessels, and easily persuaded the soldiers to follow the standard of a more able leader, than him they were destined to join. Soon after, three ships of more considerable force came into the harbour separately. These belonged to an armament fitted out by Francisco de Garay, governor of Jamaica, who being pos
The goversessed with the rage of discovery and conquest, had long aimed at dividing the glory and gain of the Mexican em: pire with Cortes.
After a succession of disasters, they were compelled by faminé to venture into Vera Cruz, and to cast themselves on the mercy of their countrymen : as if the spirit of revolt had been contagious to New Spain, these were easily per. suaded to abandon their old master, and enlist under Cor. tes. A ship about this time also arrived from Spain, fitted out by some merchants, with military stores, in hopes of a profitable market, in a country, the fame of whose opulence, began to spread over Europe. Cortes eagerly purchased a cargo, which to him was invaluable, and the crew following the general example, joined him at Tlascala. It was a singular circumstance that the two persons chiefly instrumental in furnishing him with those seasonable sup. plies, should be, one an-avowed enemy who sought his deso truction, and the other an envious rival, who wished to supplant him.
The first effect of the junction with his new followers, was to dismiss such of Narvaez' soldiers, as remained with reluctance in his service. After their departure, he still mustered five hundred and fifty infantry, forty horsemen, and a train of nine field pieces ; at the head of these, ac-companied by ten thousand Tlascalans, and other friendly Indians, Cortes on the twenty-eighth of December, 1520, began his march towards Mexico. . The Mexicans, however, were prepared to receive him.
The chiefs of the empire, upon the death of Montezu. ma, instantly raised his brother Quetlavaca to the throne. He embraced the first opportunity of convincing them that he was worthy of their choice, by conducting in person, those fierce attacks, which compelled the Spaniards to abandon his capital. After their retreat, he took measures for preventing their return to Mexico. He saw the storm that was gathering; he therefore repaired what the Spani: ards had destroyed in the city, and strengthened it with new fortifications ; he filled his magazines with the usual weapons of war, and directed long spears to be made, headed with the swords and daggers taken from the Spa niards, in order to annoy the cavalry. He summoned the people in every province to take arms; he also endeavourer to persuade the Tlascalans, to withdraw their aid and
friendship from those strangers, who had given such manifest indications of their enmity to their gods, and who would at last subject them to the same yoke they were endeavouring to impose upon others.
These representations were urged with such force and solid reason, that it required all the address of Cortes to prevent their making a dangerous impression. But while the Mexican chief was forming his plan of defence, with great foresight, the small pox, which the Spaniards had introduced into New Spain, put an end to his career. The Mexicans at his death, raised to the throne Guatimozin, nephew and son-in-law to Montezuma, a young man of high reputation for abilities and valour; and at this dangerous crisis, his countrymen with one voice called him to the supreme command.
As Cortes entered the enemy's territories, he found various obstructions ; but his troops forced their way with little difficulty, and took possession of Tezcuco, the second city of the empire, about twenty miles from Mexico. Here he established his head quarters, it being a convenient station for launching his brigantines, and for making his approaches to the capital.
The cazique or chief who presided there, he deposed; under pretext of some defect in his title, and put in his place, a person whom a faction of the nobles pointed out as the right heir to that dignity. By this artifice the new cazique and his adherents, served the Spaniards with inviolable fidelity. Cortes having early discovered symptoms of disaffection, in the cities situated round about Mexico, availed himself of this circumstance to gain their confidence and friendship
He offered with confidence to deliver them from the galling yoke of the Mexicans, and was very liberal of promises if they would unite with him against their oppres-sors. By these arts he prevailed upon several considerable districts, not only to acknowledge the king of Castile for their sovereign, but to supply the Spanish camp with provisions, and to augment his army with auxiliary troops. Guatimozin on the first appearance of disaffection among his subjects, exerted himself with vigour to prevent or punish their revolt. He beheld with deep concern, Cortes arming against his empire, those very hands which ought to have been active in his defence, and ready to march: