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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 331 the city with other noble prisoners ; who, as I bade him sit down, without showing any asperity of manner, came up to me, and said in his own tongue, " That he had done all that was incumbent on him in defence of him- self and his people, until he was reduced to his present con- dition ; that now I might do with him as I pleased." He then laid his hand on a poniard that I wore, telling me to strike him to the heart. I spoke encouragingly to him, and bade him have no fears.* Thus the cacique being taken a prisoner, the war ceased at this point, which it pleased God our Lord to bring to a conclusion on Tuesday, Saint Hippolytus' day, the thirteenth of August, 1521. So that from the day when the city was first invested, the 30th of May in that year, until it was taken, seventy-five

  • Humboldt gives the following account of his endeavors, when in Mexico, to

ascertain the place where the capture of Guatimotzin occurred : — " Strangers are shown the bridge of Clerigo, near the great square of Tlatelolco, as the memorable spot where the last Aztec king Quaubtemotzin, nephew -of bis pre- decessor, king Cuitlahuatzin, and son in law of Montezuma II., was taken. But the result of the most careful researches which myself and the padre Picbardo could make was, that the young king fell into the bands of Garci Holguin in a great 'basin of water which was formerly between the Garita del Peralvilla, the square of Santiago de Tlatelolco, and the bridge of Amexac. Cortes happened to be on the terrace of a house of Tlatelolco when the young king was brought a prisoner to him. ' I made him sit down,' says the conqueror in his third letter to the emperor, Charles V., ' and I treated him with confidence ; but th« young man put his hand on the poniard which I wore at my side, and exhorted me to kill Mm, because, since he had done all that his duty to himself and his people demanded of him, he had no other desire but death.' This trait is worthy of the best days of Greece and Rome. Under every zone, whatever may be the complexion of men, the language of strong hearts struggling with misfortune is the same. We have already seen what was the tragical end of this unfortu- nate Quauhtemotzin." We annex the original of these concluding remarks out of justice to the emi- nent author: — "Ce trait est digne du plus beau temps de la Gr^ce et de Rome. Sous toutes les zones, quelle que soit la couleur des hommes, le langage des ames fortes est le meme lorsqu' elles luttent centre le malheur. Nous avons vu plus haul quelle fut la fiji tragique de cet infortun^ Quauhtemotzin !" — iVour. £*p. p. 192, 4to.ed..