I have placed myself last in the list, having been twice in this country before the coming of Cortes, and the third time along with him; and, as among those whom I have enumerated, there were many valiant captains, so I was held in no inconsiderable estimation in my day as a soldier. Besides the many battles and dangers in which I participated since I came into this country, and the distresses, by hunger, thirst, fatigue and wounds, incident to all who undertake discoveries and wars in unknown countries, I was twice in the hands of the enemy, who were carrying me off for sacrifice: But thanks and praise to God and his holy Virgin Mother, who gave me force to escape from their grasp, that I might now relate and make manifest our heroic deeds in the conquest of this new world, and thereby to prevent all the honour and merit from being unjustly ascribed to our general alone. It is now proper that I should make some observations on the good effects produced by our exertions and illustrious conquests, to the service of God and our king, in which many of our companions lost their lives, being sacrificed to the gods or idols of the Mexicans, Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca.
In the first place, we purged the land of many wicked customs, and in particular from human sacrifices. By estimates made by the reverend Franciscan friars, who succeeded Fra Bartholomew de Olmedo, it appears that above 2500 human victims were sacrificed yearly in Mexico and some adjacent towns on the lake; so that the number annually put to death in the whole country must have been very great. Their various other horrible practices exceed my powers of description. Their cursed adoratories were exceedingly numerous, like our holy churches, hermitages, and chapels, in Spain, as they had everywhere houses dedicated to idols, devils, and infernal figures. Besides which, every individual native had two altars, one beside the place where he or she slept, and another at the door of the house, with chests containing large or small idols and stone knives, and books made of the bark of trees containing the record of past times. Especially on the coast and other sultry parts of the country, they were addicted to the most abominable vices, where they had boys in female attire. They fed on human flesh, as we do on beef, having wooden cages in every town, in which men, women, and children, were kept and fed for that purpose, to which all the prisoners taken in war were destined. Incest was common among them, and they were extremely addicted to drunkenness. They had as many wives as they pleased. From these and many other abominations, it was the will of God that we should be the humble instruments to clear the land; substituting a good policy and the holy doctrine of Jesus Christ in their place. It is true that, two years afterwards, when the country was subjugated and civilized, certain worthy Franciscans of good example and holy doctrine came here, who were followed in three or four years by fathers of the order of St Dominic, who completed what others had begun. But the honour of having destroyed the abominations of the land, assuredly belongs to us the true conquerors, who opened the way for these holy fathers.