Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/142

This page needs to be proofread.


120 LETTERS OF CORTES. ners of the people, as shown in their intercourse with one another, are marked by as great an atttention to the pro- prieties of life as in Spain, and good order is equally well observed ; and considering that they are a barbarous people, without the knowledge of God, having no inter- course with civilized nations, these traits of character are worthy of admiration. In regard to the domestic appointments of Muteczu- ma, and the wonderful grandeur and state that he main- tains, there is so much to be told, that I assure your Highness, I know not where to begin my relation, so as to be able to finish any part of it. For, as I have already stated, what can be more wonderful, than that a barba- rous monarch, as he is, should have every object found in his dominions imitated in gold, silver, precious stones, and feathers ; the gold and silver being wrought so naturally as not to be surpassed by any smith in the world; the stone work executed with such perfection that it is difficult to conceive what instruments could have been used ; and the feather work superior to the finest productions in wax or embroidery. The extent of Muteczuma's dominions has not been ascertained, since to whatever point he despatched his messengers, even two hundred leagues from his capital, his commands were obeyed, although some of his provinces were in the midst of countries with which he was at war. But as nearly as I have been able to learn, his territories are equal in extent to Spain itself, for he sent messengers to the inhabitants of a city called Cumatan, (requiring them to become subjects of your Majesty,) which is sixty leagues beyond that part of Putunchan watered by the river Grijalva, and two hundred and thirty leagues dis- tant from the great city ; and I sent some of our people