CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 279 and crossbows. Seeing this, the men leaped out upon the ground and took possession of an entrenchment and bridge ; and we began to pass over in pursuit of the enemy, who immediately fortified themselves behind other bridges and entrenchments which they had thrown up ; these we succeeded in carrying, although with greater exertion and hazard than before, and we drove them f^om the whole street and the square containing the principal houses of the city. Here I ordered the Spa- nish troops to halt, while I went with our allies to close up with stone and sun-dried bricks the places where the water flowed across our route ; and although more than ten thousand Indians assisted in this work, it was not finished until the hour of vespers. During all this time the Spanish troops and our allies were engaged in fighting and skirmishing with the inhabitants, and laying snares for them, by means of which many perished. Taking the cavalry I scoured the streets of the city for a short time, driving the inhabitants with our lances from those parts where there was no water, and keeping them back so that they no longer dared to come upon dry land. Considering that the inhabitants of this city were rebels, and that they discovered so strong a determina- tion to defend themselves or perish, I inferred two things : first, that we should recover little or none of the wealth of which they had deprived us ; and second, that they had given us occasion and compelled us utterly to exterminate them. On this last consideration I dwelt with most feeling, and it weighed heavily upon my mind, leading me to think in what way I could strike them with dread so that they should come to a knowledge of their error, and of the calamities we should bring upon them ; with this view I continued to burn and demolish the towers of
Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/301
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