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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/46

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28 INTRODUCTION. faithful to the Spaniards," says Clavigero, " and her services to them can never be overrated ; as she was not only the instru- ment of their negotiations with the Mexicans, the Tlascalans, and the other nations of Anahuac, but frequently saved their lives by warning them of dangers, and pointing out the means of escaping them." The same learned historian adds, " We have thought proper not to omit these incidents in the life of a woman who was the first Christian of the Mexican empire, who makes so distinguished a figure in the history of the conquest, and whose name has been, and is still so celebrated, not less among the Mexicans than the Spaniards." The limits of this introduction forbid our giving all the par- ticulars of the visit of the Mexican governor to Cortes, but it resulted in impressing the Spaniards with a high conception of the wealth and extent of the Mexican empire. Cortes was now fully resolved to conquer the country, and to make a perma- nent settlement in it. He began to look around for a conve- nient situation to establish a town, and to discover a good harbor for his ships. Not satisfied with the place where he was, on account of the sandy nature of the ground, he despatched Montejo with two brigantines and fifty men to run along the icoast for the purpose of finding a convenient port ; who ac- cordingly proceeded as far as the mouth of the river Panuco, without discovering one, and after an absence of three weeks returned with this report ; adding, however, that he had met with a place on the coast that was sheltered by a high rock, which was the nearest approach to a harbor that he found. Being informed that the ground at this place (called Chianizt- lan) was convenient for a town, having woods and plains, and an abundance of stone suitable for building, with excellent pasturage and tillable land, watered by two rivers, although the harbor was insufficient, Cortes determined to form a settle- ment there, and sending round the ships he proceeded thither by land with 400 men and all the horses. Before his de- parture a deputation of Totonacas, sent by the lord of Cem- poal, a city eight leagues distant, came to invite them to visit that city, which was subject to the Mexicans, but inclined to throw off their yokp ; and haying heard of the victory at Ta-