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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/264

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242 LETTERS OF CORTES. injury could be done to ihem with little noise, I ordered a captain to ascend immediately with his men, and oc- cupy one of the higher elevations which they had left, and he did so. I with the rest of the party began to ascend the hill itself, on which was the principal force of the enemy ; and it pleased God that I should gain one level on it, and we placed ourselves at a height that al- most equalled that from whence they fought ; which it appeared impossible to reach, at least without infinite danger. Already a captain had planted his flag on the loftiest part of the bill, from which he began to discharge his muskets and cross-bows on the enemy. As soon as they saw the injury they were likely to receive, and con- sidered what would be their fate, they made a signal of their willing-ness to surrender, and laid their arms on the ground. As my policy has always been to make these people understand that we do not seek to injure them, however guilty they may have been, but desire them to become vassals of your Majesty ; and as they are a people of so great intelligence that they comprehend and know every thing, I gave orders to do the'm no harm ; and when they came to speak to me I received them well. When they saw how kindly I treated them, they communicated the fact to the people on the other hill, who, although they had come off victorious, deter- mined to offer themselves for vassals of your Majesty, and came to ask pardon of me for the past. I was two days amongst the people dwelling about the mountain, from whence I sent the wounded to Tesaico, and departed myself; at ten o'clock in the day we arrived at Guastepeque, of which mention is made above, where we all lodged in a garden-house of the cacique. This garden is the largest, most beautiful and refreshing that