Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/433

This page needs to be proofread.


CONQUEST OP MEXICO. 411 given to them as householders, for which they are obliged to make some return in the nature of rent, as is the cus- tom in these parts. So much expedition was used in building houses, that many of them were already finished, and others well advanced ; and great quantities of stone, lime, wood and brick are collected, which the natives procure, and from which they all build such large, fine houses, that your sacred Majesty may be assured this will be in five years' time the most noble and populous city, and the best built in the whole world.* The quar- ter of the city inhabited by the Spaniards is separated by an arm of water from that of the natives, although in all the streets that cross the town there are wooden bridges by means of which one quarter communicates with an- other. There are two great markets for the natives, one in their quarter and the other in that of the Spaniards ; in these may be found all kinds of provisions that the country affords, for they bring them here for sale from every part of the land ; and they want nothing of what they enjoyed in the time of their prosperity. It is true, however, that neither jewels of gold or silver, nor feather- work, or any other rich articles, are to be obtained as formerly except little trinkets ofgold and silver, but even these not as in former times. In consequence of the misunderstanding kept up with me by Diego Velasquez, and the unfriendly feeling mani- fested through his means towards me by Don Juan de

  • Cortes erected a magnificent palace for himself on the site of that of Monte-

zuma, in the construction of which seven thousand cedar logs are said to have been used ; on which account, says Gomara, he was accused by Panfilo de Nar- baez of having stripped the mountain forests of all their cedar trees. But he justly adds, that quantity of timber is nothing in a country where the mountains are covered with cedar ; the logs are often one hundred and twenty feet long, and twelve feet in diameter.