64 LETTERS OF CORTES. the privations that I and those who came with me would have to endure. He sent to me by the same persons almost a thousand pesos of gold, and large pieces of cot- ton cloth of the kind they wore. They remained with me during a great part of the war, until its close, and saw what the Spaniards were capable of doing ; they also knew the terms on which this province made peace with us, and the professions of allegiance to your Majesty on the part of the nobles and the whole land, as it ap- peared ; but they showed no signs of pleasure at these things, and labored in every possible way to prejudice me against this people, saying that there was no confi- dence to be placed in what they told me, nor any sin-^ cerity in their professions of friendship, which were only made to lull me into security, so that they could betray me with impunity. On the other hand, the inhabitants of this province would often caution me not to trust these vassals of Muteczuma, for they were traitors, and al- ways acted treacherously and artfully, by which means they had subjugated the whole earth ; and they warned me as true friends, and as persons who had long known those men, to beware of them. I was not a little pleased on seeing their want of harmony, as it seemed favorable to my designs, and would enable me to bring them more easily into subjection, according to the common saying, De Monte, Sfc. I likewise applied to this case the authority of the Evangelist, who says, " Every kingdom divided against itself shall be rendered desolate ;" and I dis- sembled with both parties, expressing privately my ac- knowledgments to both for the advice they gave me, and giving to each of them credit for more friendship towards me than I experienced from the other. After I had been twenty days or more in this city,
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