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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/85

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 63 should punish bim according to their custom, and that I chose not to interfere with the punishment of their people while I remained among them. They thanked me, and taking the man, carried him to the great market, a town crier making public proclamation of his offence ; they then placed him at the base of a structure resembling a theatre, which stands in the midst of the market-place, while the crier went to the top of the building and with a loud voice again proclaimed his offence ; whereupon the people beat him with sticks until he was dead. We likewise saw many persons in prison who were said to be confined for theft and other offences they had com- mitted. There are in this province, according to a re- port made by my orders, five hundred thousand inhabit- ants, besides those in another small province adjacent to this, called Guazincango,* who live in the same man- ner, not subject to any native sovereign, and are not less the vassals of your Highness than the people of Tascal- teca [Tlascala]. During the time I was at war with this province. Most Catholic Sire, and while I was yet in camp, there came to me six lords, the principal vassals of Muteczuma, with about two hundred men in their train, and assured me that they came on the part of Muteczuma to inform me that he desired to become a subject of your Highness, and my friend ; and to satisfy me of the sincerity of his professions, he would yield to your Highness every year a tribute of gold and silver, precious stones, slaves, and cotton cloth, and such other things as he had ; that he would give all this, but that he desired I would not visit his dominions, because the country was very barren and destitute of the necessaries of life, and he should regret

  • Also written Huajocingo, and Huexotzinco ; a small republic.