62 LETTERS OF CORTES. found in any public squares or markets in the world. There is much earthenware of every style and a good quality, equal to the best of Spanish manufacture.* Wood, coal, edible and medicinal plants, are sold in great quantities. There are houses where they wash and shave the head as barbers, and also for baths. Finally, there is found among them a well regulated pohce ; the people are rational and well disposed, and altogether greatly superior to the most civilized African nation. The country abounds in level and beautiful valleys, all tilled and sown, without any part lying unimproved. In its constitution of government that has existed until the present time, it resembles the states of Yenice, Genoa, and Pisa ; since the supreme authority is not reposed in one person. There are many nobles, all of whom reside in the city ; the common people are laborers, and the vassals of the nobility, but each one possesses land of his own, some more than others. In war all unite and have a voice in its management and direction. It may be supposed that they have tribunals of justice for the pun- ishment of the guilty ; since when one of the natives of the province stole some gold of a Spaniard, and I men- tioned the circumstance to Magiscacin, the most powerful of the nobility, they made search for the thief, and traced him to a city in the neighborhood called Churultecal [Cholula], from whence they brought him prisoner, and delivered him to me with the gold, saying that I must have him punished. I acknowledged in suitable terms the pains they had taken in the matter, but remarked to them that since the prisoner was in their country, they
- At this day earthenware is manufactured in the province of La
Puebla, and it is the most highly prized for common use of any in the kingdom ; and in Guadalaxara are made earthen vessels of so elegant work- manship, that on special occasions they ar« exported to Spain. — L.