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them. It was the period when he laid deep and sure foun. dations of his coming successes.”*
The result of these years of study was the production of The Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The object of this work is to indicate and fairly estimate the political movements which conspired in making Spain at one time a mighty, compact monarchy, namely, the overthrow of Moslem power in Western Europe, and the discovery of Amer. ica and its wealth. The work first appeared in 1838, and not only has it passed through a number of editions in this country and in England, but it has also been translated into the leading modern languages of the Continent.
One of the most astute of reviews † has remarked of this work, "With all its errors and omissions of manner and matter, Mr. Prescott's is by much the first historical work which British America has as yet produced, and one that need hardly fear a comparison with any that has issued from the European press since this century began.”
Pursuing the same rich vein of study, with a view to describing the effects upon Spain and on Europe generally of the Spanish conquests on the American continent, Prescott published, in 1843, his Conquest of Mexico, and, four years later, his Conquest of Peru./ "The first, from the very nature of its subject, is the most effective and popular; comprehending that marvelous series of military adventures, which read more like a cruel romance than the results of sober history; while the last, so full of philosophy in its accounts of the early traditions of Peru, and so full of wisdom in its explanation of the healing government of Gasca, is no less important for its teachings to the world. Both are written in Mr. Prescott's most attractive and brilliant style." I
From the former of these works, Volume II., we make the following extract:
Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of American Literature
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Tichonor e “Life of Precertta
and became memorable in aftertimes as the position occupied
Here they were met by several hundred Aztec chiefs, who came
CHAPTER IX. With the first faint streak of dawn, the Spanislı general was up, mustering his followers. They gathered, with bec .ting hearts, under their respective banners, as the trumpet sent forth its spirit-stirring sounds across water and woodland, till they died away in distant echoes among the mountains. The sacred flames on the altars of numberless teocallis, dimly seen through the grey mists of morning, indicated the site of the capital, till temple, tower, and palace were fully revealed in the glorious illumination which the sun, as he rose above the eastern barrier, poured over the beautiful valley. It was the eighth of November, 1519; a conspicuous day in history, as that on which the Europeans first set foot in the capital of the Western World.
Cortés with his little body of horse formed a sort of advanced guard to the army. Then came the Spanish infantry, who in a summer's campaign had acquired the discipline, and the weather· beaten aspect, of veterans. The baggage occupied the centre; and the rear was closed by the dark files of Tlascalan warriors. The whole number must have fallen short of seven thousand, of which less than four hundred were Spaniards.
Everywhere the Conquerors beheld the evidence of a crowded and thriving population, exceeding all they had yet seen. The temples and principal buildings of the cities were covered with a hard white stucco, which glistened like enamel in the level beams of the morning. The margin of the great basin was more thickly gemmed, than that of Chalco, with towns and hamlets. The water was darkened by swarms of canoes filled with Indians, who clambered up the sides of the causeway, and gazed with curious astonishment on the strangers. And here, also, they beheld those fairy islands of flowers, overshadowed occasionally by trees of considerable size, rising and falling with the gentle undulation of the billows.
At the distance of half a league from the capital they encountered a solid work or curtain of stone, which traversed the dike. It was twelve feet high, was strengthened by towers at the extremities, and in the centre was a battlemented gate-way, which opened a passage to the troops. It was called the Fort of Xoloc, and became memorable in aftertimes as the position occupied y Cortés in the famous siege of Mexico.
Here they were met by several hundred Aztec chiefs, who came out tos announce the approach of Montezuma, and to welcome the Spaniards to his capital. They were dressed in the fanciful gala costume of the country, with the maxtlatl, or cotton sash, around their loins, and a broad mantle of the same material, or of the brilliant feather-embroidery, flowing gracefully down their shoulders. On their necks and arms they displayed collars and bracelets of turquoise mosaic, with which delicate plumage was curiously mingled, while their ears, under-lips, and occasionally their noses, were garnished with pendants formed of precious stones, or crescents of fine gold.
As each cacique made the usual formal salutation of the country separately to the general, the tedious ceremony delayed the march more than an hour. After this, the army experienced no further interruption till it reached a bridge near the gates of the city. It was built of wood, since replaced by one of stone, and was thrown across an opening of the dike, which furnished an outlet to the waters, when agitated by the winds, or swollen by a sudden influx of the rainy season. It was a draw-bridge; and the Spaniards, as they crossed it, felt how truly they were committing themselves to the mercy of Montezuma, who. by thus putting off their communications with the country, might hold them prisoners in his capital.
In the midst of these unpleasant reflections, they beheld the glittering retinue of the emperor emerging from the great street which led then, as it still does, through the heart of the city. Amidst a crowd of Indian nobles, preceded by three officers of state, bearing golden wands, they saw the royal palanquin blazing with burnished gold. It was borne on the shoulders of nobles, and over it a canopy of gaudy featherwork, powdered with jewels and fringed with silver, was supported by four attendants of the same rank. They were barefooted, and walked with a slow, measured pace, and with eyes bent on the ground.
When the train had come within a convenient distance, it balted, and Montezuma, descending from his litter, came forward leaning on the arms of the lords of Tezcuco and Iztapalapan, his nephew and brother, both of whom, as we have seen, had already been known to the Spaniards. As the monarch advanced under the canopy, the obsequious attendants strewed the ground with cotton tapestry, that his imperial feet might not be contaminated by the rude soil. His subjects of high and low degree, who lined the sides of the causeway, bent forward with their eyes fastened