We were disappointed in the general appearance of the town, which may, nevertheless, be termed the Saragossa of New Spain, from the circumstances attending its pertinacious defence in the war of the revolution, when the famishing inhabitants, under the command of Morelos, withstood the concentrated forces of the Spanish general, Calleja, for the space of several months.
Though upward of twenty years had since gone by, the hatred of the inhabitants to the Gachupin and the foreigner seemed scarcely abated; and we had not long been in the town before we discovered that we, in our general character of Europeans, were to be given to feel it; and to make experience of the kind of danger which stills impends over the foreign traveller in the more unfrequented parts of the country.
A wordy squabble in a civilized country is a matter of no great moment; but here, where human life is considered of but little value, and where the cuchillo knife is instantly produced as the solver of all difficulties, the case is far otherwise.
- It was after the death of Hidalgo in 1811, that Morelos took the lead, and early in February shut himself up in Cuautla Amiplas, with a body of insurgents. Calleja advanced from the capital, and made his first attack with great impetuosity on the 17th instant. Properly the town is indefensible, and had no other fortification than barricades and intrenchments thrown up in haste. However, the Spaniards were driven back by the fury with which they were confronted by the Mexicans, aided by the siblings of the Indians from the roofs of the houses. The town was now was now regularly; and on the 4th of March, the bombardment commenced—but the defenders remained firm. An attempt to cut off the supply of water from the town failed; while a guerilla warfare was carried on by other parties of the insurgents upon the roads in the vicinity, and many of the reinforcements and detachments of the besiegers were cut off. But no succor could be brought to Morelos and his comrades, who soon began to suffer the extremity of famine, to such a degree, that at the end of April, a cat sold for six dollars, a lizard for two, and rats, and such vermin, for one. The object of Morelos was to protract the siege till the rainy season should commence, when it was to be supposed that sickness would force the besiegers to abandon the blockade.
The extremity to which he was reduced obliged him ultimately abandon the defence; and this he did by departing secretly in the night of the 2d or 3d day of May without detection: and in two days he reached the town of Izucar, with the loss of but seventeen of his men.—See Ward's Mexico.