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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/312

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290 LETTERS OF CORTES. usual points ; and while the brigantines and canoes made their attacks in two different quarters, I proceeded through the city to four others. We were always suc- cessful, and great numbers of the enemy were slain ; and besides, every day multitudes of people declared in our favor. I still delayed advancing my position more within the city — first, that the enemy might have an op- portunity to recede from their obstinate and implacable policy ; and secondly, because our entrance would be attended with great peril, as they were firmly united, full of courage, and resolved on death. But when the Spaniards saw so long a delay in this matter, more than twenty days having elapsed since they had been con- tinually engaged in combating the enemy, they impor- tuned me in the most earnest manner, as I have already stated, to enter the city and seize upon the market-place ; which being done, the enemy would have less room to acton the defensive, and if the}?" did not surrender, they would perish with hunger and thirst, having nothing to drink but the salt water of the lake. When I made some excuse for not complying with their wishes, your Ma- jesty's Treasurer assured me that the whole camp de- clared it ought to be done. I answered him and other respectable persons who were there, that their design and request were worthy of approbation, and no one desired to effect the object more than myself; but that I declined attempting it for a reason which their importu- nity compelled me to avow, namely, that although he and the others would act worthily when surrounded by dan- ger, there were some who would not do so. At length, however, they compelled me to yield my consent to do whatever I could in this matter, after having concerted