110 LETTERS OF CORTES. CHAPTER V. In order, most potent Sire, to convey to your Majesty a just conception of the great extent of this noble city of Temixtitan, and of the many rare and wonderful objects it contains ; of the government and dominions of Mutec- zuma, the sovereign ; of the religious rites and customs that prevail, and the order that exists in this as well as other cities appertaining to his realm : it would re- quire the labor of many accomplished writers, and much time for the completion of the task. I shall not be able to relate an hundredth part of what could be told re- specting these matters ; but I will endeavor to describe, in the best manner in my power, what I have myself seen ; and imperfectly as I may succeed in the attempt, I am fully aware that the account will appear so won- derful as to be deemed scarcely worthy of credit ; since even we who have seen these things with our own eyes, are yet so amazed as to be unable to comprehend their reality. But your Majesty may be assured that if there is any fault in my relation, either in regard to the present subject, or to any other matters of which I shall give your Majesty an account, it will arise from too great brevity rather than extravagance or prolixity in the details ; and it seems to me but just to my Prince and Sovereign to declare the truth in the clearest manner, without saying any thing that would detract from it, or add to it. Before I begin to describe this great city and the others already mentioned, it may be well for the better under- standing of the subject to say something of the configu-
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