Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/564

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
558
NOTES OF THE MEXICAN WAR.

land and the surrounding lakes; succeeded in a short time in cutting off all supplies of provision and communication from the city; and after a siege of three months or more, Cortez at last resolved to take the city by storm, which was executed on Tuesday, the 13th day of August, 1521 (a little over one year from the time of Cortez's first retreat from Mexico). Defeated the Mexicans, taking Emperor Guatamzin, his sister, wife and family prisoners; took them with him, closely guarded, into the city, demanded of Guatamzin all the gold, treasures and riches belonging to Montezuma, when some one informed Cortez that it was all thrown into the lakes. For this Guatamzin and others were put to torture; and still refusing to tell where the rich treasure was, were put on burning coals, and burned the King severely. The city of Mexico was first sacked, and then burnt to the ground. It was afterwards rebuilt nearly on the same spot, where it now stands. Before Guatamzin was taken prisoner, he ordered his flying princes to throw all his treasures into the lakes, and for this, as already stated, was put to the torture. So the treasury is lost to this day, although many expensive searches have been made to find it.

Wednesday, May 24, 1848.—This morning I took breakfast with Capt. Naylor's company, Second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, who are quartered in the halls of the Montezumas (or the capital of Mexico), where I lodged last night. So, if anybody asks me whether I have been to or seen the halls of the Montezumas, I can say, "Yes; I slept in it one night."

At 10 o'clock, a.m., I visited the beautiful and charming Alameda Park, where the richness, beauty and chivalry daily meet. Mexico is not an industrial city; its streets or thoroughfares are ever thronged from early dawn until dark, yet the city is a great display of wealth, and apparently no scarcity of the precious metals; but, in the absence of prominent resources or striking indications of busy traffic, you inquire:—Whence comes it? You look in vain for those stirring marts where the mercantile operations of a city concentrate and are pursued