A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.

The hardships we now endured for want of provisions required immediate relief, and Alvarado was detached with a party of an hundred soldiers, to search the country for maize and other provisions.  These now sent were mostly of the party of Velasquez, as it was thought prudent that the adherents of Cortes should remain with him in a body.  Alvarado marched to several small villages belonging to the district of Costitlan, which he found deserted by the inhabitants, who had retired on his approach.  In the temples he found several bodies of men and boys recently sacrificed, and the stone knives yet smoking with which the horrible ceremony had been performed.  The limbs had been severed from the bodies, and taken away to be eaten, as our people were informed.  Our soldiers were exceedingly shocked at these abominable scenes; but such were seen by us everywhere in our after-progress through the country.  In these villages, abundance of provisions were procured, which were brought to the camp; but nothing else was brought away, as Cortes had strictly forbidden them to touch any thing else.  They returned with the provisions and two prisoners to the camp, where we were all rejoiced in the novelty of good fare.  Cortes, by his address and good management, soon drew over many of the adherents of Velasquez to his interest, gaining some by the unfailing influence of gold, and others by promises.  By these means, having brought the prisoners from the ships, in which they had been hitherto confined, he attached most of them sincerely to his party, and in a few days set them all at liberty.  We now proceeded towards the fortress of Chiahuitztla, and passed, during the march, a large fish which had been cast ashore.  We arrived at a river where the town of Vera Cruz now stands, and crossed to a village on the opposite side in the district dependent on the town of Chempoalla.  In some temples belonging to this village, we found the instruments and remains of human sacrifices, large quantities of parrots feathers, and certain books made of a kind of paper, folded up like Spanish cloth.  From this village we altered our line of march, which had been hitherto along the coast, and advanced inland towards the west, when we came into an extensive plain without any beaten track, where we saw several herds of deer.  Alvarado, on his swift chesnut mare, gave chace to one of the deer, which he wounded with his lance, but it escaped from him into the woods.  Having advanced some way into the plain, we were met by twelve Indians bringing a present of provisions, who had been sent by the chief of a town a days journey from us, inviting us to come to his residence.  Cortes returned thanks for the provisions, and we proceeded to a village where we halted for the night, finding as usual the remains of human victims, both male and female; but as this was universal, I shall not disgust my readers by repeating the horrid details.

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