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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/259

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 237 being exterminated, and to relieve ourselves after the toils of the past wars ; but chiefly because I knew it would redound to the service of your Majesty. For this reason whenever I had any one belonging to the city in my power, I sent him back to advise and warn his coun- trymen to make peace. On Ash Wednesday, the twenty- seventh day of March, in the year 1521, I caused to be brought before me some of the principal men of Temix- titan, who had been made prisoners by the Chalconians, and said to them, that if any of their number desired, they might go to the city and speak in my behalf to its lords, asking them to desist from warring with me, and to become vassals of your Majesty, as they had already been, since I had no wish to destroy them, but on the contrary to be their friend. Although unwilling, from fear that by going with such a message they would be put to death, two of these prisoners consented to go, and requested me to give them a letter ; for though they did not understand its contents, they knew that it was a cus- tomary thing amongst us, and that it would give them credit in the city. But by means of an interpreter I made them comprehend what was written in the letter, which was the same that I had told them. So they departed, and I ordered five horsemen to accompany them until they were out of danger. On holy Saturday, the Chalconians and their other allies and friends sent to advise me that the Mexicans were about to invade their country, and showed me on a large white cloth a representation of all the towns that were to march against them, and the routes they would take ; and they begged me by all means to send them succor. I told them that I would do so in four or five days, and that if in the mean time they saw any pressing 31