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rived at that sequestered seat of their valuable commerce, which they had discovered by sailing in an opposite direction. There, and in the adjacent isles, they found a people acquainted with the benefit of trade, and pleased with opening an intercourse with a new nation. They took in a cargo of valuable spices, with that and other specimens of rich commodities which they had collected from other countries, they loaded the Victory, which of the two ships that remained, was the most fit for a long voyage, and set sail for Spain, under the command of Juan Sebastian del CanoHe followed the course of the Portuguese by the cape of Good Hope; and after many sufferings, he arrived as St. Lucar on the seventh of September, 1522, having sailed round the globe in the space of three years and twentyeight days. To return to the transactions of New Spain: At the time that Cortes was acquiring such vast territories for his sovereign, and preparing the way for future conquests, it was his singular fate, not only to be destitute of any commission or authority from the sovereign whom he served with such successful zeal, but was regarded as an undutiful seditious subject. By the influence of Fonseca, bishop of Burgos, his conduct, in assuming the government of New Spain, was declared to be an irregular usurpation, in contempt of the royal authority; and Christoval de Tapia was commissioned to supercede Cortes, to seize his person, confiscate his effects, make a strict scrutiny into his proceedings, and transmit the result of his enquiries to the court of the Indies, of which the bishop of Burgos was president. Tapia landed a few weeks after the reduction of Mexico, at Vera Cruz, with the royal mandate to divest its conqueror of his power, and treat him as a criminal. But Fonseca had chosen a very improper person to wreak his vengeance on Cortes. Tapia had neither the reputation, nor the talents, that suited the high command to which he had been appointed. Cortes, while he publicly expressed the highest veneration for the emperor's authority, secretly took measures to defeat the effect of his commission; and having involved Tapia and his followers in a multiplicity of Conferences and negotiations, sometimes making use of threats, but more frequently employing bribes and promises, he at length prevailed on that weak
man to abandon a province he was unworthy of governing. But Cortes was so sensible of the precarious tenure by which he held his power, that he dispatched deputies to Spain with a pompous account of the success of his arms, with farther specimens of the productions of the country, and with rich presents to the emperor, as the earnest of future contributions from his new conquest; requesting as a recompense for all his services, the approbation of his proceedings, and that he might be entrusted with the government of those territories which his conduct, and the valour of his followers, had added to the crown of Castile. The account of Cortes's victories filled his country men with admiration. The public voice declared loudly in favour of his pretensions, and Charles adopted the sentiments of his subjects with a youthful ardour. He appointed him captain-general and governor of New Spain. It was not, however, without difficulty that the Mexican empire could be entirely reduced into the form of a Spanish colony. Enraged and rendered desperate by oppression, the natives often forgot the superiority of their enemies; and took up arms in defence of their liberties. In every contest however, the European valour and discipline prevailed. But fatally for the honour of their country, the Spaniards sullied the glory redounding from their repeated victories, by their mode of treating the vanquished. In almost every province of the Mexican empire, the progress of the Spanish arms is marked with blood, and with deeds so atrocious, as disgrace the enterprizing valour that conducted them to success. In the province of Panuco, sixty caziques or chiefs, and four hundred nobles, were burnt at one time. Nor was this shocking barbarity committed in any sudden effect of rage, or by a commander of inferior note; it was the act of Sandoval, who was entitled to the second rank in the annals of New Spain, executed after a solemn consultation with Cortes; and, to complete the horror of the scene, the children and relations of the victims were compelled to be spectators of their dying agonies. This dreadful example of severity, was followed by another which affected the Mexicans still more sensibly. On a slight suspicion, confirmed by very imperfect evidence, Guatimozin was charged with attempting to throw off the yoke, and to excite his former subjects to take up arms. Cortes, without the formality of a trial, ordered the unhappy monarch, together with the caziques of Tezcuco and Tacuba, two persons of the greatest eminence, next to the emperor, to be hanged; and the Mexicans with astonishment beheld this ignominious punishment inflicted upon persons, whom they had been accustomed to look up to with a reverence, little inferior to that which they paid to the gods themselves. When Charles V. advanced Cortes to the government of New Spain, he at the same time appointed commissioners to receive, and administer the royal revenue there. These men were astonished, when arriving in Mexico, at the high authority which Cortes exercised. In their letters they represented Cortes as an ambitious tyrant, who having usurped a jurisdiction superior to law, aimed at independence. These insinuations made such deep impression on the mind of the Spanish ministers, that unmindful of the past services of Cortes, they infused the same suspicions into the mind of Charles, and prevailed on him to order a solemn inquest to be made into his conduct, with powers to the licenciate, Ponce de Leon, entrusted with that commission, to seize his person, if expedient, and send him prisoner to Spain. The sudden death of Ponce de Leon, which happened soon after his arrival in New Spain, prevented the execution of this commission. Cortes beheld the approaching crisis of his fortune, with all the violent emotions natural to a haughty mind, conscious of high desert, and receiving unworthy treatment. His old faithful followers, stung with resentment, advised him to seize that power, which the courtiers were so mean as to accuse him of coveting. Actuated by sentiments of loyalty, he rejected the dangerous advice, and repaired directly to Spain; choosing rather to commit himself and his cause to the justice of his sovereign, than submit to be tried in a country, where he had the chief command, and by a set of interested and partial judges. In the year 1528, Cortes appeared in his native country, with the splendour that suited the conqueror of a mighty kingdom. He brought with him a great part of his wealth, many jewels and ornaments of great value, and was attended by some Mexicans of the first rank, as well as by the most considerable of his own officers. His arrival in Spain, removed at once every suspicion. The emperor re
ceived him as a person entitled to high respect, for the eminence of his services. The order of St. Jago, the title of Marquis del Valle de Guaxaca, the grant of a vast territory in New Spain, were successively bestowed upon him; and he was admitted to the same familiar intercourse with the emperor, as noblemen of the first rank. But amidst these external proofs of regard, some symptoms of remaining distrust appeared. Although he earnestly solicited to be reinstated in the government of New Spain, Charles peremptorily refused granting his request. The military department, with power to attempt new discoveries, was left in his hands: with this diminished authority, he returned to New Spain. Antonio de Mendoza was sent thither with the title of viceroy. Cortes fitted out several small squadrons, and sent them into the South Sea to make discoveries, which either perished in the attempt, or returned unsuccessful. Cortes, weary of entrusting his operations to others, in the year 1536 took the command of a new armament, and after enduring incredible hardships, he discovered the large peninsula of California, and surveyed the greater part of the gulph which separates it from New Spain. The discovery of a country of such extent, would have reflected credit on a common adventurer, but could add little new honour to the name of Cortes. Disgusted with ill-success, and weary of contesting with adversaries, to whom he considered it as a disgrace to be opposed, he once more sought for redress in his native country. His fate there was the same with that of all the persons who had distinguished themselves in the discovery of the New World; envied by his contemporaries, and ill-requited by the court which he served, he ended his days on the second of December, 1547, in the sixtysecond year of his age.