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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/138

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116 LETTERS OF CORTES. dedicated to a particular idol, to which they pay their devotions. There are three halls in this grand temple, which con= tain the principal idols ; these are of wonderful extent and height, and admirable workmanship, adorned with figures sculptured in stone and wood ; leading from the halls are chapels with very small doors, to which the light is not admitted, nor are any persons except the priests, and not all of them. In these chapels are the images or idols, although, as I have before . said, many of them are also found on the outside j the principal ones, in which the people have greatest faith and confi- dence, I precipitated from their pedestals, and cast them down the steps of the temple, purifying the chapels in which they had stood, as they were all polluted with human blood, shed in the sacrifices. In the place of these I put images of Oar Lady and the Saints, which excited not a little feeling in Muteczuma and the in- habitants, who at first remonstrated, declaring that if my proceedings were known throughout the country, the peo- ple would rise against me ; for they believed that their idols bestowed on them all temporal good, and if they permitted them to be ill-treated, they would be angry and withhold their gifts, and by this means the people would be deprived of the fruits of the earth and perish with famine. I answered, through the interpreters, that they were deceived in expecting any favors from idols, the work of their own hands, formed of unclean things ; and that they must learn there was but one God, the universal Lord of all, who had created the heavens and the earth, and all things else, and had made them and us ; that he was without beginning and immortal, and they were bound to adore and believe him, and no other