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precaution, in consequence of the cold caused by the proximity of the mountains.
In this lodging I received several ambassadors from Montezuma, one of whom, I was informed, was his brother. They made me presents to the amount of about three thousand golden crowns, and requested me to return and not persist in entering a country covered with water, where there was no travelling but in canoes or over very difficult roads, and where provisions were extremely scarce. They again urged me to let them know what were my wishes, assuring me that their master Montezuma would satisfy them, and at the same time engage to pay me annually a stipulated sum, which should be sent to me at whatever place I should appoint.
I treated these ambassadors with much attention, and presented them with such productions of Spain as they esteemed the most, particularly the one whom I supposed to be Montezuma's brother; at the same time I desired them to inform their sovereign, that I would willingly, to gratify him, consent to return, if it depended on me, but that I had come thither by the express orders of your majesty, who had required of me a particular description of that monarch, and the beautiful city in which he resided. That I begged him to receive my visit kindly, assuring him that I would not offer him the least injury, but would return as soon as I had seen him, unless he should be desirous of keeping me with him, and that we could much better concert such measures between ourselves as would promote your majesty's interest than could possibly be done through the medium of others, whatever credit they might be entitled to.
The ambassadors returned with this reply. Soon after, on examining carefully the environs of our quarters, I thought I perceived that preparations had been made for attacking us in the night. Of course I kept on my guard in such a manner as to induce our enemies to relinquish their plan, as my scouts discovered that they had privately withdrawn some troops which they had collected in the adjoining wood.
The next morning I departed for Amaqueruca at two leagues distance from where I passed the night. Here we were well accommodated in houses belonging to the caciques. Many of the principal inhabitants came to visit me, and told me that Montezuma had ordered them-to attend me and furnish me with whatever I wanted. The chief cacique of the province presented me with forty slaves and a thousand crowns, and for the two days that I remained at Amaqueruca we were abundantly supplied with every necessary. On the third day I quitted that place in company with the envoys of Montezuma, and at night took our lodgings in a small enclosure, partly built on the edge of a large march, and partly on a piece of ground adjoining a range of very steep and rocky mountains, where we were very well ac
commodated. The Mexicans were desirous of engaging us in a situation so disadvantageous; but they wished to do it with security, and to surprise us in our sleep. This was, however, no easy matter, as we kept constantly on our guard, and thwarted all their attempts by the celerity of our measures. The number of our centinels were doubled, and we killed more than twenty of their spies, in canoes, or on the top of the mountain whither they' kept constantly coming, to discover a favourable opportu. nity to attack us, but when they found that it was impossible to surprise us, they changed their plan of conduct, and resolved to treat us well. . On the next morning as I was preparing to depart, ten or
twelve of the principal caciques, as I have since found them to be, came to see me. Among them was one,* not exceeding twenty-five years of age, whom the others treated with such res.' pect, that whenever he left his litter, they walked before him, in order to remove the stones and clear the road. When I arrived at my quarters, these ambassadors informed me that they had been sent by Montezuma to accompany me, and that he begged me to excuse him for not coming in person to receive me, as he was indisposed; but that he was not far off, and as I was resolved to come and visit him, we should soon meet, when he would be glad to learn what he could do for your majesty's service. If I would, however, hearken to his advice, I should relinquish my design of advancing farther in a country, where I should experience many toils and privations, and where, to his sorrow, he should be unable to supply me with all that I might want.
The ambassadors adhered with such obstinacy to this point, that they omitted nothing to induce me to return, except actually threatening to oppose my passage if I advanced. I did every thing in my power to satisfy and quiet them, as to the object of my journey, and dismissed them, after having made them presents, and immediately followed after
At the distance of two musket shot from the road, I passed a small city, built upon piles, apparently well fortified, and inaccessible on all sides, and capable of containing about two thousand inhabitants.
A league larther we came to a causeway, a pike's length in breadth, and two-thirds of a league in extent. This conducted us to a small city, but the most beautiful that I had yet seen. The
* This was Cacamatzin, lord of Tezcuvo, the nephew of Montezuma. Bernal Diaz thus describes his meeting with Cortez: “ Cacamatzin followed, (the four Mexican courtiers who had announced his approach) in the greatest pomp, carried in a magnificent litter, adorned with green plumes, and enriched with jewels, set in the branched pillars of solid gold. He was borne by eight lords, who assisted bim out of the litter, and swept the way by which he was to pass.” B. Diaz, p. 130. He is called in the Mexican tradition Quitzalcoutl.
houses, as well as the towers, were handsomely built; and the piles, on which they were placed, arranged in admirable order. The inhabitants amounted to about two thousand; they received us very kindly, furnished us with provisions in abundance, and so. licited us to pass the night there But I was persuaded by the envoys of Montezuma to go on three leagues farther, to Iztapalapa, which belonged to a brother of Montezuma.
We left this city by a causeway similar to the first, of about a league in extent.' Before we entered iztapalapa, one of the caciques of that city, and another of Calnaalcan, came to meet me; and on my arrival I met several others, who presented me with some slaves, pieces of cloth, and three thousand crowns in gold.
Iztapalapa* contains from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants. It is situated partly on the land, and partly on the water. I saw there several new houses belonging to the governor, which were not quite completed, and were as strong, and nearly as well built, as to their architecture and ornaments, as the best houses in Spain. We found here delightful gardens,t filled with odorifc
* Iztapalapa. Bernal Diaz, in his païve manner, thus describes that city: " When we beheld the number of populous towns on the water, and firm ground, and that broad causeway (the causeway of Iztalapapa) running straight and level to the city (Mexico) we could compare it to nothing but the enchanted scenes we had read of in Amadis de Gaul, from the great towers and temples, and other edifices of stone and lime, which seemed to rise out of the water. To many of us it appeared doubtful whether we were asleep or awake; nor is the manner in which I express myself to be wondered at; for it must be considered, that never yet did man see, hear, or dream of any thing equal to the spectacle which appeared to our eyes on this day,
“When we approached Iztapalapa, we were received by several great lords of that country, relations of Montezuma, who conducted us to our lodgings there, in palaces magnificently built of stone, the timber of which was cedar, with spacious courts, and apartments furnished with canopies of the finest cotten.”
† “ After having contemplated these noble edifices, we walked through the gardens, which were admirable to behold, from the variety of beautiful and aromatic plants, and the numerous alleys filled with fruit trees, roses, and various flowers. Here was also a lake of the clearest water, which communicated with the grand lake of Mexico, by a channel cut for the purpose, and capable of admitting the largest canoes. The whole was orpamented with works of art, painted, and admirably plaistered and whitened, and it was rendered more delightful by numbers of beautiful birds. When I beheld the scenes that were around me, I thought within myself, that this was the garden of the world.” B. Diaz, p. 130–131.
“ The Mexican Indians bave preserved the same taste for flowers which Cortez found in his time. A nosegay was the most valuable treat which could be made to the ambassadors who visited the court of Montezuma. This monarch, and his predecessors, had collected a great number of rare plants in the gardens of Iztapalapa. The famous hand-tree, the cheirostemors, described by M. Cervantes, of which, for a long time, only a single individual was known, of very high antiquity, appears to indicate that the VOL. IV.
rous flowers, containing reservoirs of water, terraces, porticos, and shady walks. These reservoirs are full of fish, and covered with wild ducks, teal, and all kinds of aquatic birds.
I left this city the next day, and after a journey of half a league, came to a causeway, extending for two leagues into a lake, in the midst of which stands Temixtitlan. This causeway is two lances length in breadth, and will admit eight horses abreast. It is extremely well built, and bordered by three cities. The first, called Mesicalsingo, contains about a thousand inhabitants; the second is named Huchilohuchico; and the third, Nyciaca, which has upwards of six thousand. The towers, temples, oratories, and houses of the principal inhabitants, are of very solid architecture. This city car
kings of Tourca cultivated also trees strangers to that part of Mexico.” Humboldt's New Spain, vol. 2, p. 130.
The translator of the above work, in a note to page 49, vol. 1, says, that the collection of rare plants in the garden of Iztapalapa, was made by king Cuitlahuatzen, the brother and successor of Montezuma, who died of the small pox, after the expulsion of the Spaniards from Mexico, and was succeeded by Quauhtemotzin.
" The taste for flowers undoubtedly indicates a relish for the beautiful; and we are astonished at finding it in a nation in which a sanguinary worship, and the frequency of sacrifices, appeared to have extinguished whatever related to the sensibility of the soul, and kindness of affection. In the great market-place of Mexico, the native sells no peaches, nor anunas, nor roots, nor pulque (the fermented juice of the agave), without having his sbop ornamented with flowers, which are every day renewed. The Indian merchant appears seated in an intrenchment of verdure. A hedge, of three and a quarter feet in height, formed of fresh herbs, particularly of gramina, with delicate leaves, surrounds, like a semicircular wall, the fruits offered to public sale. The bottom, of a smooth green, is divided by garlands of flowers, which run parallel to one another. Small nosegays, placed symmetrically between the festoons, give this enclosure the appearance of a carpet strewn with flowers. The European, who delights in studying the customs of the lower people, capnot help being struck with the care and elegance the natives display, in distributing the fruits which they sell, in small cages of very light wood. The sapotilles, the mammea, pears, and raisins, occupy the bottom, wbile the top is ornamented with odoriferous flowers. This art of entwining fruits and flowers had its origin, perhaps, in that happy period wben, long before the introduction of inhuman rites, the first inhabitants of Aanahuac, like the Peruvians, offered up to the great spirit, Teotl, the first fruits of their harvest.” Humboldt, vol. 1, p. 130131.
" The first botanical garden in Europe (says count Corli) was that of Padua, established by a decree of the Venetian republic, on the 30th of June, 1545. Diaz, Herrera, and Jolis, relate, that the emperor of Mexico, and the great lords, had gardens, in which they cultivated medicinal herbs for public use, and that they were very vain of that prodigious quantity of plants, which they had divided into classes, and into beds, with great intelligence. These gardens were much antecedent to those of Europe, which were destined to the same purposes; they were perhaps the model of them.” Lettere Americane.
ries on a great trade in loaf salt, which is obtained by boiling the water of the lake.
At half a league's distance from Temixtitlan, we came to a double wall, like a bulwark, furnished with an indented parapet, forming two enclosures to the city, and on the other side joining a causeway extending to the main land. This wall has but two gates, which open on the two causeways already mentioned.
More than a thousand persons of distinction, belonging to the city, dressed perfectly alike, came as far as this enclosure to meet me. As they approached to speak to me, they saluted me according to the custom of Mexico, by putting the hand to the ground and kissing it. I waited more than an hour to give time to each one to go through with this ceremony.
At the entrance of the city, between the causcway and the gate, is a wooden bridge, ten feet wide, for the purpose of allowing the water a free circulation. This bridge is constructed of beams and joists, and can be drawn up at pleasure. In the interior of the city are a great number of the same kind, to facilitate the communication. When I had passed the bridge,* Montezuma, attended by two hundred of his nobles, barefooted, and dressed in superb uniforms, came to receive me. This suite, which was arranged in two files, walked as close as possible to the houses, through a very strait street, three quarters of a league in length, handsomely intersected, and adorned with temples and large and beautiful houses. Montezuma himself, accompanied by his brother, and the noble. man he had sent to meet me, walked in the middle of the street. They were all dressed in the same manner, but Montezuma alone had sandals on, and was suported under his arms by the others. When I saw him approach, 1 alighted from my horse, and stepped forward to embrace him; but the two nobles who were with him stopped me, and prevented me from touching him. They, and
* Diaz thus describes the approach of Montezuma on this occasion: “When we arrived at a place where a small causeway turns off, which goes to the city of Cuyoacan, we were met by a great number of the lords of the court; in their rich dresses, sent to bid us welcome. After some time, the nephew of Montezuma, and other noblemen, went back to meet their monarch, who approached, carried in a most inagnificent litter, wbich was supported by his principal nobility. Wben we came near certain towers, which are almost close to the city, Montezuma quitted his litter, and was borne in the arms of the princes of Jezcuco, Iztapalapa, Jacuba, and Cuy. oacan, under a canopy of the richest materials, ornamented with green feathers, gold and precious stones, that hung in the manner of fringe; he was most richly dressed and adorned, and wore buskins of pure gold, ornamented with jewels. The princes, who supported him, were dressed in rich habits, different from those in which they came to meet us, and others who preceded the monarch, spread mantles on the ground, lest his feet should touch it. All who attended him, except the four princes, kept their eyes fixed upon the earth, not daring to look bim in the face.” B. Diaz, p. 133.