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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/343

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 321 day in this business, I informed them that it was my in- tention to attack them, and desired that they would cause their people to retire, otherwise I should give our allies leave to destroy them. They replied, that they desired peace ; to which I rejoined that I did not see amongst them the cacique with whom I was to treat, but if he would come I would give every pledge for his safety, and treat of peace. When we discovered that it was all a trick, and that they were prepared to fight us, after having many times warned them that I would bring them into closer quarters, and reduce them to severer necessi- ties, I ordered Pedro de Alvarado to enter with all his force into one part of an extensive quarter of the city still occupied by the enemy, in which there were more than a thousand houses ; and I entered another part of it on foot with my own men, because we were unable to approach it on horseback. The battle was so fiercely fought, both by us and our allies, that we gained posses- sion of the whole district ; and so great was the mortality amongst our enemies, that the number killed and made prisoners exceed twelve thousand souls. Our allies prac- tised such cruelty towards the enemy, that they spared the lives of none, although greatly reproved and punished by us for their want of humanity. Returning to the city the following day, I ordered hos- tilities to be suspended, and the enemy left undisturbed. When their leaders saw so great a multitude arrayed against them, and knew they had assembled for the pur- pose of destroying the citizens and those whom they were accustomed to command ; when they beheld the extreme necessities of their people, and that they had no resting place but on the dead bodies of their country- men ; being desirous of avoiding so great a calamity,