90 LETTERS OF CORTES. city of Almeria,* had sent messengers to announce that he desired to become a subject of your Highness, and if he had not appeared before, and still did not appear, to render that homage which it was his duty to yield, and to offer himself with all his territories as a vassal to your Majesty, the reason was, that he would be compelled to pass through his enemies' country, which he had not done in consequence of his apprehension of an attack from them ; but that if I would despatch to him four Spaniards, they might accompany him, and the people through whose lands they would have to pass, knowing for what pur- pose they came, would not molest them ; and thus he w^ould be able to come to us at once. The captain, be- lieving that Qualpopoca was sincere in what he said, as many others had done the same thing, sent four Span- iards to him ; but when he had got them into his power, he ordered them to be put to death, in such a way that it might not appear to have been done through his means ; and thus two of them were killed, while the others effec- ted their escape across the mountains, though wounded. Thereupon the captain marched against the city of Al- meria with fifty Spaniards, two horsemen, and two pieces of fire-arms, and a force of from eight to ten thou- sand friendly Indians, with which he fought the inhabit- ants of that city and killed many of them, driving the rest away, and burning and destroying the city. The Indians who had accompanied him, being enemies to the Almerians, aided in the attack with great spirit and vigor. Qualpopoca himself, together with the other caciques, his allies, who had come to his assistance, escaped by flight, and some prisoners who were taken in the city gave in-
- So called by Cortes, but by the Mexicans, Nauthla. — L.