In consequence of our message, the cacique and other principal persons of the town came out to meet us, and conducted us to our quarters, where they gave us a very poor entertainment. After supper, Cortes inquired respecting the military power of Montezuma, and was told that he was able to bring prodigious armies into the field. The city of Mexico was represented as of uncommon strength, being built on the water, with no communication between the houses, houses, except by means of boats or bridges, each house being terraced, and only needing the addition of a parapet to become a fortress. The only access to the city was by means of three causeways or piers, each of which had four or five apertures for the passage of the waters, having wooden bridges which could be raised up, so as to preclude all access. We were likewise informed of the vast wealth possessed by Montezuma, in gold, silver, and jewels, which filled us with astonishment; and although the account we had already received of the military resources of the empire and the inaccessible strength of the capital might have filled us with dismay, yet we were eager to try our fortunes. The cacique expatiated in praise of Montezuma, and expressed his apprehension of having offended him by receiving us into his government without his leave. To this Cortes replied, That we had come from a far distant country by command of our sovereign, to exhort Montezuma and his subjects to desist from human sacrifices and other outrages; adding: “I now require all who hear me, to renounce your inhuman sacrifices, cannibal feasts, and other abominable customs; for such is the command of GOD, whom we adore.” The natives listened to all this in profound silence, and Cortes proposed to the soldiers to destroy the idols and plant the holy cross, as had been already done at Chempoalla; but Father Olmedo recommended that this should be postponed to a fitter opportunity, lest the ignorance and barbarism of the people might incite them to offer indignity against that holy symbol of our blessed religion.