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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/117

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 95 much as to say that he had no other, and that they were his vassals. I also inquired if what had been done by them was by his command ? They answered, no ; al- though afterwards, when the sentence of death by burn- ing was about to be executed upon them, they all with one voice declared that Muteczuma had sent to command it to be done, and that they had acted in pursuance of his orders. So they were publicly burned in a square of the city, without creating any disturbance ; and on the day of their execution, as they confessed that Mutec- zuma had directed them to kill the Spaniards, I caused him to be put in irons, which threw him into great con- sternation. On the same day, however, after having spoken to him, I caused his irons to be removed, and left him quite satisfied ; and from that time I exerted myself to gratify his wishes, and render him contented by all means in my power. I publicly announced and declared to all the natives of the country, as well to the governors as to the people who came to me, that your Majesty's service would be promoted by Muteczuma's remaining at the head of his government, only acknow- ledging your Majesty's superiority, and that your Ma- jesty would be pleased by their obeying and respect- ing Muteczuma as their sovereign, as they had done be- fore my arrival in the country. Such was the kindness of my treatment towards him, and his own contentment with his situation, that when at different times I tempt- ed him with the offer of his liberty, begging that he would return to his palace, he as often replied that he was well pleased with his present quarters, and did not wish to leave them, as he wanted nothing that he was accustomed to enjoy in his own palace ; and that in case he went away, there would be reason to fear the