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256 LETTERS OF CORTES. much information that might be of use in investing the city of Mexico by land and water, I returned to Tezcuco, where I provided myself to the best of my ability with men and arms, and hastened the completion of the bri- gantines and a trench by which they were to be floated to the lake. This trench had been commenced directly after the arrival of the timber and planks composing the brigantines, and formed a canal extending from near our quarters until it discharged into the lake. The dis- tance from the place where the brigantines were put to- gether and the head of the canal to the lalte, is full half a league ; and in this work fifty days were consumed, and more than SOOO persons employed each day, natives of the province of Aculuacan and Tezcuco. The canal was about twelve feet in depth, and as many more in breadth, and was protected by a coating and a fence or paling throughout its whole length, so that the water that flowed in it was conveyed without loss to the lake. Thus the brigantines were able to be removed to the lake unattended by danger or labor ; a grand work cer- tainly, and worthy of admiration.*

  • A plan of the city and lakes of Mexico will be found at the end of the fifth

chapter of this Letter,