« PreviousContinue »
most canoe, which seemed to carry some person whom all the rest followed and obeyed At once the rowers dropped their oars, and throwing down their arms, conjured bini with cries and tears to forbear, as the emperor was there. Holguin eagerly seiz:d lis prize, and Guatimozin with a dignified composure gave hinigolf up into his hands, re. questing only that no insult night be offered to the eme press or his children. When conducted to Cortes, lie appeared worthy of a better fale : he discovered none of the sullen fierceness of the barbarian, nor the dejection of a supplicant. “ I have done,” said he addressing himself to the Spanish general," what became a monarch : I have des fended my people to the last extremity : noibing now di remains but to die intake this dagger," laying his hand on one Cortes wore, “ plant it in my breast, and put an 6 end to a life that can no longer be of use."
As soon as the fate of their sovereign was known, all resistance on the part of the Mexicans ceased, and Cortes took possession of the remaining part of the city. Thus terminated the sicge of Mexico, the most memorable event in the conquest of America. It continued seventy-fre dars, not one of wirich passed without some extraordinary effort of one party in aitacking, or of the other in defendins, a cily, on the fate of which both parties knew that of the empire depended. As the struggle here was more obstinale, it was likewise more equal, than any between the inhabitants of the Old and New Worlds.
The great abilities of Guatimczin, the number of his troops, the peculiar situation of his capital, so far counierbalanced the superiority of the Spaniirds in arms, and discipline, that they must have relinquished the enterprize if they had trusted to themselves alone But Mexico was overturned by the jealousy of neighbours, who dreaded its power, and by the revolt of subjects impatient to throw off the yoke. By their effectual aid Cortes was enabled 10 accomplish what, witliout such support, he would hardly have ventured 10 allempt. Great merit is due to the abilities of Cortes, who under every disadvantage, acquir. ed such an ascendancy over unknown nations, as lo render them instruments towards carrying his schemes into execution. · The exultation of the Spaniards, on accomplishing this arduous enterprize was at first excessive. But this was
quickly damped by the disappiintment of those sanguine hopes, which had amunted them amidst so many hald. ships and dangers. Insiead of the inexhaus!ible wealth wbich they expected from becoiring master's of Monte. zu ina's treasures, and the ornaments of so many temples, they could only collect all inconsiderable booty, amidst l'uins and desolation). According to the account of Cortes, the wliole amount was only 120,000 pesos, a sum far inferior to that wiich the Spaniards hac fortoerly divided in Mexico. This sum, when divided among the conquerors, was sg sinall, that many of thein disdained the pittance that fell to their share.
Guatimozin aware of his impending fate, had ordered what had remained of the riches üinassed by his ancestors, to be thrown into the lake. Corte from an anxious desire to check the growing discontent among his followers, gave way to a deed which stained the glory of all his great actions Without regarding the former dignity of Guatiyozin, or feeling any reverence for those virtues which he had displayed, he subjected the unhappy inomarch, 10gether with his chief favourite, to torture, in order to enforce them to a discovery of the royal treasures, which it was supposed they had concealed. Guarimozin bore whaterer the refined cruelty of his tormentors could inflict, with invincible forlitude.
His fellow sufferer, overcome by the violence of the anguish, turned a dejected inquiring eve towards his mas. ter, and seemed to implore his permission to reveal all shat he knew. But the high spirited prince, dariing on him a look of authority, mingled with scorn, checked his , weakness, by asking, “ Am I now reposing on a bed of 6 flowers ?" Overawed by the reproach, he persevered in his dutiful silence, add expired. Cortes ashamed of a scene so horrid, rescued the royal victim from the hands of bis torturers, and prolonged a life reserved for newindignities, y and sufferings.
The provinces now submitted to the conquerors, Small detachments of Spaniards marched through them, without interruption, and penetrated in different quarters, to the great southern ocean, which according to the ideas of Columbus, they imagined would open a short and easy passage to the East Indies
The active mind of Cortes began already to forte schemes for attempting this important discovery. He was ignorant that this very scheme had been undertaken and accomplished, during the progress of his victorious arms in Mexico.
Ferdinand Magellan a Portuguese gentleman of honor able birth,' having received ill treatment from his general and sovereign, in a transport of rest alment formally renounced nis allegi'nce to an ungrateful master, and filed to the court of Castile, in hopes that his worth would be more justly estinaleda He revived Columbus's original and fivourite project, of discovering a passage to India by a western course. Cardinal Ximenes listened to it with a most favourable ear. Charles V. on his arrival in his Spanish dominions entered into the measure with no less ardour, sand orders were issued for equipping a preper squadron at the public charge, of which the command was given to Magellan, whom the king honored with the habit of St Jago, and the title of captain-general,
On the tenth of August, 1519, Magellan sailed from Seville, with five ships, which were deemed at that time of considerable force; though the largest of them did not exceed one hundred and twenty tons burden ; the crew of the whole amounted 10 two hundred and thiriy four men, including some of the most skilful pilots in Spain, and se. veral Poriliguese sailors, in whom Magellan placed the most confidence.
Aftertouching at the Canaries, he stood directly south, towards the equinoctial line along the coast of America. He did not reach the river De la Plata till the twelfth of January, 1520. That spacious body of water allured him, to enter into it, but after sailing for some days he concluded, from the shallown: ss of the stream, and its fresh. ness, that the wished for strait was not situated there.
On the thirty first of March he arrived at the port of St; Julian, at abont forty eight dtgress of south latitude, wheie: he resolved to winter. In this uncomfortable slation be: lost one of his squadron, and the Spaniards suffered so much from the inclemency of the climate, that the crews of three of the ships, headed by their officers, rose in open: mutiny, and insisted on relinquishing the visionary project of a desperate, adventurer, and returning directly to Spaias
This dangerous insurrection Magellan wisely suppressed, by an effort of courage, no less prompt than intrepid : and inflicted exeniplary punislıment on the ringleaders. With the remainder of his followers, overawed but not reconciled to his scheme, he continued his voyage towards the south, and at length discovered near the fifty-third degrce of laci. tude, the mouth of a strait, into which he entered, not. withstanding the murmurs of the people under his com
After sailing twenty days in that winding and dangerous channel, to which he gave his own name, and where one of his ships deserted hini, the great southern ocean opened to his view ; and with tears of joy, he returned thanks to heaven, for having thus far crowned his endeavours with success. He continued to sail in a north west direction three months and twenty days, without discovering lard ; in this voyage, the longest that had ever been made in the unbounded ocean, he suffered incredible distress. His stock of provisions was almost exhausted, the water became putrid, the men were reduced to the shortest allowance, with which it was possible to sustain life ; and the scurvy began to spread among them. One circumstance alone afforded consolation. They enjoyed an uninterrupted succession of fair weather, with such favourabie sinds, that Magellan bestowed on that ocean the name of Pacific, which it siill retains.
They would have soon wak under their suferincs, had 1!y not allovered and full in with a cluster of islands,
ole fertility fford then refreshdunts in such abun. Datice, that'cirneal: soon re-establislied. From these
isles 10 which he owie in Dome of Delos Ladrones, he * pioccider 0
, and so made a more importa ani discorers e ista les 11617 10w by the fame ofihe Philippines ; in one of these he got inio an unfortunate quatrel with ile natives, rigittacked him with a lume. Tous body of troops ei armatd ; and while he fought at the head of his me with his usual valour, he full by the bands of those barbarians, together with several of liis principal officers. Other officers took the command, and after touching at several other is!ands in the Indian ocean, they at length landed at Tidore one of the Moluccas, to the astonisment of the Portuguese, who could not comprehend how the Spaniards, by holding a westerly.courses had ar
rived at that sequestered seat of their valuable commerce, which they had discovered by sailing in an opposite direction.
There, and in the adjacent isles, they found a people acquainted with the benefit of trade, and pleased with opening an intercourse with a new nation. They took in a cargo of valuable spices, with that and other specimens of rich commodities which they had collected from othercountries, they loaded the Victory, which of the two ships that remained, was the most fit for a long voyage, and set sail for Spain, under the command of Juan Subastian del Cano. He followed the course of the Portuguese by the cape of Good Hope ; and after.many sufferings. he arrived at St. Lucar on the seventii of September, 1522, having sailed round the globe in the space of ihree years and iwenty. eight days.
To return to the transactions of New Spain : At the time that Cortes was acquiring such vast territories for his sovereign and preparing the way for future conquests, it was his singular fate, not only to be restituie oi any CoID: mission or authority from the sovereign wlion be served . with such successful zcal, but was ligarded as an unduti.
ful seditious subject. By the influence of Fonseca, bisliop of Burgos, bis conduci in assuming the government of New Spain, was declared to be an irregular usurpation, in coulempt of the royal authority; and Christoval de Tapia was commissioned to supercede Cortes, to seize, his person, confiscate his effects, inake a strict scrutiny-into his pro. ceedings, and transmit the result of his enquiries to the court of the Indies, of which the bishop of Burgos was president. Tapia landed a few weeks after the reduction of Mexico, at Vera Cruz, with the royal mandate to divest ils conqueror of his power, and treat him as a criminal.
But Fonseca had chosen a very improper person to wreak his vengeance on Cories. Tapia had neither the reputation, nor the talents, that suited the high command to which he had been appointed. Cortes, while he publicly expressed the highest veneration for the einperor's authority, secretly took measures to defeat the effect of his commission ; and having involved Tapia and his followers in a multiplicity of conferences and negotiations, sometimes making use of threats, but more frequenily employing bribes and promises, he at length prevailed on that weak