Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/559

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with a serpent's head upon it; he was called by the Mexicans, "the great God and Saviour of all souls," and really believed him to be the God from heaven, and some of the real natives believe so to the present day. Here is where the heathen, in his blindness, bowed down to wood and stone.

Montezuma was chosen king on the death of his father in 1502, utterly against his will; but the masses of the people demanded him as a ruler, and by hard persuasion at last accepted it. Before his election he held the position of High Priest of Mexico. He was crowned with more high honors and greater pomp than any other ruler of Mexico since.

He appointed several earls who were next to the king in rank of power. They were commanders over his army called atlacolccalcatlas, which means princes of the throne; they were at the head of lancers, a weapon much used among the Mexicans to the present time. They are mostly distinguished men, and wear marks as valiant and gallant men. King Montezuma and his son-in-law, Guatamzin, stand carved on a rock in the order of the Mexican eagle.

On Montezuma's inauguration day thousands of people came to the city of Mexico; even his enemies came from far off, in large numbers, with treasures for presents to Montezuma; in fact, the city was so thronged that even standing room on the streets, balconies, windows, and tops of all the houses were filled with spectators. No king in Mexico ever went to the throne in such great pomp and splendor. He was congratulated in a speech from Lord of Tescuco, in the following manner:

Speech of Lord Tescuco.

The great happiness, most noble Montezuma, which is befallen this realm by your election may easily be conjectured from the general joy, none besides yourself being able to undergo an office in the management whereof so much prudence is required. It is a most certain testimony that God loves Mexico, that he has given its inhabitants understanding to make such a choice. Who can doubt it but that