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The Mexicans, whose military skill was daily improving, no sooner observed this, than they carried an account of it to their monarch. Guatimozin instantly discerned the consequences of the error which the Spaniards had committed, and with admirable presence of mind, prepared to take advantage of it. He commanded the troops posted in the front to slacken their efforts, that the Spaniards might be allured to push forwards, while he despatched a large body of chosen warriors through different streets, some by land, and others by water, towards the great breach in the causeway which had been left open.

On a signal given, the priests in the principal temple, struck the great drum consecrated to the god of war. No sooner did the Mexicans hear its doleful solemn sound, calculated to inspire them with a contempt of death, than they rushed upon the enemy with frantic rage. The Spaniards, unable to resist men urged on by religious fury, began to retire at first in good order; but, as the enemy pressed on, the terror and confusion became general; so that when they arrived at the gap in the causeway, Spaniards and Tlascalans, horsemen and infantry, plunged in promiscuously, while the Mexicans rushed in upon them fiercely from every side, their light canoes carrying them over shoals where the brigantines could not approach. In vain did Cortes attempt to rally his forces : fear rendered them regardless of his entreaties or commands. : Finding all his endeavours to renew the combat fruitless, his next care was to save those who had thrown themselves into the water ; but while he was thus employed with more attention to their situation than his own, six Mexican captains suddenly laid hold of him, and were hurrying him off in triumph ; and, thougla two of his officers rescued him at the expense of their lives, he received several dangerous wounds, before he could disengage himself. About sixty Spaniards perished in this enccunter: and, what rendered the disaster still more afflicting, forty of these fell alive into the hands of an enemy never known to shew mercy to a captive.

Night though it delivered the Spaniards from the attacks of the enemy, ushered in what was no less grievous : the noise of their barbarous triumph, and the horrid festival with which they celebrated their victory. Every quarter of the city was illumin. ated : the great temple shone with peculiar splendour; so that the Spaniards could plainly see the people in motion, and the priests busy in hastening the death of the prisoners. They fancied they could discover their companions by the whiteness of their skins, as they were stripped naked to dance before the image of the god, to whom they were offered.

They heard the shrieks of those who were sacrificed and thought they could distinguish each unhappy victim by the sound of his voice. Imagination added to, and augmented the horror. The most unfeeling melted into tears of compassion, and the stoutest heart trembled at the dreadful spectacle which they beheld,

only place where he could hope to make a successful stand against such formidable enemies, who were approaching to assault him.

The first effort of the Mexicans was to destroy the brigantines, the fatal effects of whose operations they- foresaw and å readed. Necessity urged Guatimozin to hazard an attack: he assembled such a multitude of canoes as covered the face of the lake, hope ing to overwhelm them with numbers. They rowed on boldly to the charge, while the brigantines retarded by a dead calm, could scarcely advance to meet them. But as the enemy drew near, a breeze suddenly sprung up, in a moment the sails were spread, and the brigantines, with irresistible impetuosity, broke through their feeble opponents; overset many of their canoes, and dispersed the whole armament with such slaughter, as convinced the Mexican, that their enemies were as formidable on this new element as they had found them on land.

Cortes after this remained absolute master of the lake, and the brigantines preserved a communication between the Spaniards in their different stations, though at a considerable distance from each other, and at the same time covered the causeways, keep. ing off the canoes when they attempted to annoy the troops as they advanced towards the city. The Mexicans, in their own defence, displayed such valour as was hardly inferior to that with which the Spaniards attacked them. On land, on water, by night and by day, one furious conflict succeeded another. Several Spaniards were killed, more wounded, and all were ready to sink under the toils of unremitting service, which had become intole. rable by the injuries of the season; the periodical rains having set in with their usual violence,

Cortes, astonished at the difficulties and length of the siege, de. termined to make one great effort to get possession of the city, before he relinquished the plan which he had hitherto proposed. With this view he sent instructions to Alvarado and Sandoval, to advance with their divisions to a general assault, and took the command in person of that posted on the causeway of Cuyocan. Animated by his presence, and expecting some decisive event, the Spaniards pressed forward with irresistible impetuosity. They broke down one barricade after another, forced their way over the ditches and canals, and having entered the city, they gained ground incessantly, notwithstanding the multitude and ferocity of their enemies.

Cortes, though delighted with the rapidity of his progress, did not forget that he might find it necessary to make a retreat; and in order to secure it, appointed Julian de Alderete, a captain of chief note in the troops which he had received from Hispaniola, to fill up the canals and gaps, in the causeway, as the main body. advanced. That officer thinking it beneath him to be thus employed, while his companions were in the heat of action, and in full career of victory, neglected the important charge, and hurried on to join his companions in arms.

The Mexicans, whose military skill was daily improving, no sooner observed this, than they carried an account of it to their monarch. Guatimozin instantly discerned the consequences of the error which the Spaniards had committed, and with admirable presence of mind, prepared to take advantage of it. He commanded the troops posted in the front to slacken their efforts, that the Spaniards might be allured to push forwards, while he despatched a large body of chosen warriors through different streets, some by land, and others by water, towards the great breach in the causeway which had been left open.

On a signal given, the priests in the principal temple, struck the great drum consecrated to the god of war. No sooner did the Mexicans hear its doleful solemn sound, calculated to inspire them with a contempt of death, than they rushed upon the enemy with frantic rage. The Spaniards, unable to resist men urged on by religious fury, began to retire at first in good order; but, as the enemy pressed on, the terror and confusion became general; so that when they arrived at the gap in the causeway, Spaniards and Tlascalans, horsemen and infantry, plunged in promiscuously, while the Mexicans rushed in upon them fiercely from every side, their light canoes carrying them over shoals where the brigantines could not approach. In vain did Cortes attempt to rally his forces: fear rendered them regardless of his entreaties or commands.

Finding all his endeavours to renew the combat fruitless, his next care was to save those who had thrown themselves into the water ; but while he was thus employed with more attention to their situation than his own, six Mexican captains suddenly laid hold of him, and were hurrying him off in triumph; and, thougla two of his officers rescued him at the expense of their lives, he received several dangerous wounds, before he could disengage himself. About sixty Spaniards perished in this encounter : and, what rendered the disaster still more afflicting, forty of these fell alive into the hands of an enemy never known to shew mercy to a captive.

Night though it delivered the Spaniards from the attacks of the enemy, ushered in what was no less grievous : the noise of their barbarous triumph, and the horrid festival with which they celebrated their victory. Every quarter of the city was illumin. ated : the great temple shone with peculiar splendour; so that the Spaniards could plainly see the people in motion, and the priests busy in hastening the death of the prisoners. They fancied they could discover their companions by the whiteness of their skins, as they were stripped naked to dance before the image of the god, to whom they were offered.

They heard the shrieks of those who were sacrificed and thought they could distinguish each unhappy victim by the sound of his voice. Imagination added to, and augmented the horror. The most unfeeling melted into tears of compassion, and the stoutest heart trembled at the dreadful spectacle which they beheld,

Cortes, who felt in common with his soldiers, was oppressed with an additional load of anxious reflections, natural to a general on such an unexpected calamity; he could not like them, relieve his mind by giving vent to its anguish. He was obliged to assume an air of tranquillity, in order to revive the druoping spirits and hopes of his followers. The juncture, indeed, required an extra. ordinary exertion of courage.

The Mexicans elated with their victory, sallied out next morning to attack him in his quarters. But they did not rely on the efforts of their own arnis alone. They sent the heads of the Spaniards whom they had sacrificed, to the leading men in the adjacent provinces, and assured them that the god of war, appeased by the blood of the invaders, which had been shed so plentifully on his altars, had declared, with an audible voice, that in eight days time, those hated enemies should be finally destroyed, and peace and prosperity established in the empire,

This prediction being uttered without any ambiguity, gained universal credit among the natives ; several of the provinces, which had hitherto remained inactive, took up arms with enthusiastic ardour; even the Tlascalans were led to relax in their fideli. ty, and Cortes and his Spaniards .were almost left alone in their stations. Cortes, finding that he attempted in vain to dispel the superstitious fears of his confederates, took advantage of the imprudence of those who had framed the prophecy, in fixing its ac. complishment so near at hand, to give them a striking demonstration of its falsity. He suspended all military operations during the period marked out by the oracle; and, under cover of the brigantines, his troops lay in safety : the enemy was kept at a distance, and the fatal term expired without any disaster.

His allies, ashamed of their own credulity, returned to their station. Other tribes now veered about, from a belief that the gods had deceived the Mexicans, and had decreed finally to withdraw their protection from them : such was the levity of this simple race of men.

In a short time, according to the account of Cortes, he was at the head of a hundred and fifty thousand Indians. Notwithstanding this large addition of strength, he found it necessary to adopt a more wary system of operations. He now made his advances gradually, and was more cautious of exposing his men to similar calamities which they still bewailed.

As soon as they got possession of any part of the town, the houses were instantly destroyed. Famine now began to rage amongst the Mexicans: the brigantines prevented all supplies coming to their relief by water, and the Indian auxiliaries enabled Cortes to shut up the avenues of the city ; not only the common people, but persons

of the highest rank felt the utmost distresses of want. These sufferings were succeeded by infectious and mortal distempers : the last calamity that visits besieged cities, and which filled up the measure of their woes.

Guatimozin notwithstanding all these various and pressing evils, remained firm and unsubdued. He rejected with scorn every overture of peace with Cortes ; disdaining the idea of submitting to the oppressors of his country, and was determined not to survive its ruin. The Spaniards at length with all their divi. sions, made a secure lodgement in the centre of the city. Three fourths were now laid in ruins. The remaining quarter was so closely. pressed that it could not long withstand assailants, who now attacked them with superior advantage, and a more assured prospect of success.,

The Mexican nobles, solicitous to save the life of a monarch whom they revered, prevailed on Guatimozin to retire from a place, where resistance was now in vain ; that he might rouse the more distant provinces, and maintain there a more successful war, with the public eneiny. To facilitate the execution of this measure, they sought to gain time by endeavouring to amuse Cortes with overtures of peace. But they made this attempt upon a leader of greater sagacity and discernment than to be deceived by their arts. Cortes suspecting their intention, and aware of what moment it was best to defeat it, appointed Sandoval, on whose vigilance he could most perfectly rely, to take the command of the brigantines, with strict injunctions to watch every motion of the enemy:

Sandoval, attentive to the charge, observing some large canoes crowded with people, rowing across the lake, with uncommon rapidity, instantly gave the signal to chace. Garcia Holguin who commanded the fleetest brigantine, soon overtook them, and was preparing to fire on the foremnost canoe, which seemed to carry some person whom all the rest followed and obeyed. At once the rowers dropped their cars, and throwing down their arms, conjured him with cries and tears to forbear, as the emperor was there. Holguin eagerly seized his prize, and Guatimozin with a dignified composure gave himself up into his hands, requesting only that no insult might be offered to the empress or his children. When conducted to Cortes, he appeared worthy of a better fate : 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 s have defended my people to the last extremity: nothing now "s remains but to die ;...take this dagger,” laying his hand on one Cortes wore,

plant it in my breast, and put an end to a life that "S 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 siege of Mexico, the most memorable event in the conquest of America, It continued seventy-five days, not one of which passed without some extraordinary effort of one party in attacking, or of the other in defending, a city, on the fate of which both parties knew that of the empire depended. As the struggle here was more ob.

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