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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/69

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CONQUEST OP MEXICO. 47 inhabitants seemed to be poor; and after having marched two leagues through their country without knowing any- thing of them, I reached a place somewhat more level, where the Lord of the Valley appeared to have his resi- dence, as the houses were larger and better built than any we had before met with in the country, being all composed of hewn stone and apparently new ; and they contained many very large and handsome halls and apartments elegantly finished. The people and valley were called Caltanmi. I was well received and lodged here by the lord and his people. After having addressed him on the part of your Majesty, and stated the cause of my coming into these parts, I inquired of him if he was a subject of Muteczuma, or whether he belonged to an- other jurisdiction. He answered as if astonished at my question, by asking, "Who is not a subject of Muteczu- ma ?" As much as to say that he was the sovereign of the world. I replied by describing the great power and wide sway of your Majesty, to whom many other sove- reigns more powerful than Muteczuma were subject, esteeming it for their advantage to be so ; and that thus Muteczuma and all the inhabitants of this country would find it to be ; that this would be required of them, and should they yield obedience, they would be honored and favored ; if not, they would be punished. And in order that I might have some evidence of his homage, I request- ed him to furnish me with some gold that I might send it to your Majesty. He replied that he had gold,* but he must receive the orders of Muteczuma before he

  • The gold that the Indians sent in small quantities asa tribute to their sove-

reign, was obtained by them from the sands of the rivers, or collected froni the surface of the earth ; but the process of working the mines as practised at the present day, was introduced by the Spaniards. — L.