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Before he fat down, four of the most beautiful women of his feraglio presented water to him to wash his hands, and continued standing all the time of his dinner, together with fix of his principal ministers, and his carver.'
" When he went abroad, he was carried on the shoulders of the nobles, in a litter covered with a rich canopy, attended by a numerous retinue of courtiers, and wherever he passed, every person stopped, with their eyes shut, as if they feared to be dazzled with the fplendour of Majelty. When he alighted from the litter to walk es
foot, they spread carpets, that he might not touch the earth with his feet.
• The grandeur and magnificence of his palaces, houses of pleasure, woods, and gardens, were correspondent to this majesty. The palace of his usual residence was a vast edifice of stone and lime, which had twenty doors to the public square and streets; three great courts, in one of which was a beautiful fountain, several halls, and more than one hundred chambers. Some of the apartments had walls of marble and other valuable kinds of Itone. The beams were of cedar, cypress, and other excellent woods, well finished and carved. Among the halls, one was fo large, that, according to the testimony of an eye-witness of veracity, it could contain three thousand people. Beside this palace he had others both within and without the capital. In Mexico, beside the seraglio for his wives, there was lodging for all his ministers and counsellors, and all the officers of his household and court, and also accommodation for foreign lords who arrived there, and particularly for the two allied kings.'
From this extract, though it is only a small part of the Author's account of the Mexican monarch's magnificence, our Readers may form fome idea of the grandeur of Montezuma's court, and consequently, of the wealth of the kingdom, at the time of the Spanish invasion.
In the sixth book, the Abbé Clavigero gives an account of the religious system of the Mexicans. Their idols, priests, sacrifices, austerities, &c. are separately treated, The Temples were grand and coftly, but their abominable rites, especially the facrificing their prisoners of war, and other acts of cruelty, are too shocking to be related.
The seventh book chiefly treats of the manners of the people. Their mode of education is particularly described, and an account is given of their public seminaries of learning. The best information we can afford our Readers of this people, their morality, and their method of educating their children, is by transcribing the following exhortation of a Mexican to his son.
• My son, who are come into the light from the womb of thy mother, like a chicken from the egg, and like it art preparing to fly through the world, we know not how long Heaven will grant to us the enjoyment of that precious gem which we possess in thee; but however short the period, endeavour to live exactly, praying God continually to afiit thee. He created thee: thou art his property. He is thy father, and loves thee ftill more than I do; repole in him
thy thoughts, and day and night direct thy sighs to him. Reverence and falute thy elders, and hold no one in contempt. To the poor and distressed be not dumb, but rather use words of comfort. Honour all persons, particularly thy parents, to whom thou owest obedience, respect, and service. Guard against imitating the example of those wicked sons, who, like brutes that are deprived of reason, neither reverence their parents, listen to their instruction, nor submit to their correction ; because whoever follows their steps will have an unhappy end, will die in a desperate or sudden manner, or will be killed and devoured by wild beaits.
• Mock not, my son, the aged or the imperfect. Scorn not him whom you see fall into some folly or transgression, nor make him seproaches; but restrain thyself, and beware left thou fall into the same error, which offends thee in another. Go not where thou art not called, nor interfere in that which does not concern thee. En. deavour to manifest thy good-breeding in all thy words and actions. In conversation, do not lay thy hands upon another, nor speak too much, nor interrupt or disturb another's discourse. - When any one discourses with thee, hear him attentively, and hold thyself in an easy attitude, neither playing with thy feet, nor putting thy mantle to thy mouth, nor spitting too often, nor looking about you here and there, nor rising up frequently if thou art fitting; for such actions are indications of levity and low-breeding.'-He proceeds to mention several particular vices which are to be avoided, and concludes— Steal not, nor give thyself to gaming, otherwise thou wilt be a disgrace to thy parents, whom thou oughtest rather to honour for the education they have given thee. If thou wilt be virtuous, thy example will put the wicked to shame. No more, my fon; enough hath been said in discharge of the duties of a father. With these counsels I wish to fortify thy mind. Refuse them not, nor act in contradiction to them; for on them thy life, and all thy happiness, depend.'
Such were the sentiments of a people whom the Popish mirfionaries were sent to instruct! Such were the doctrines of those unbaptised heretics, whom the Spaniards scarcely believed to be men, but rather satyrs, or large apes, that might be murdered without remorse or reproach !
It is with pleasure that we have perused this volume, and we hesitate not to recommend it to readers of every description ; many will derive from it much real information, and all will be greatly entertained by the variety of incidents, and the numerous anecdotes it contains.
The second volume commences with an account of the first voyages of the Spaniards to the coast of Anahuac, in 1517. The Author enlarges on the expedition of Cortez, and bis conqueft of Mexico. This part of the history is well known, and the Abbé Clavigero relates the principal evenis in a manner nearly fimilar to former historians. The cruelty of the European conqueror is highly unwarrantable and detestable. After duly considering the licuation of atlairs on the first interview
between Montezuma and Cortez, it is evident, that the Spaa niards might have gained a quiet poffeffion of that vast monarchy, had they conducted themselves with prudence; but a bigored zeal for the propagation of the faith, joined with an infatiable defire of gold, and private emolumenr, urged Cortez and his companions to the most horrid and intamous transactions. Montezuma, in his firft address to Cortez, acknowledged the fuperiority of Spanish arms, and offered himself, and all his kingdom, to the obedience of the king of Spain. After such a refignation, the imprisonment of Montezuma, the destruction of a large and well-built city, 'ne massacre of many thousand innacent natives, and the reduct' in of the rest to flavery, are jutty deemed the effects of lavage barbarity.
The history of Mexico is continued no farther than to the taking of the capital, August 13, 1521. It appears from the account here given, that above an hundred thousand Mexicans were slain during the fiege, and that upward of fifty thou and perished by famine. The loss on the side of the Spaniards was only an hundred men.
The Abbé has added to this volume, nine differtations tende ing to illustrate the ancient history of Mexico, and to guard incautious readers from the mistakes and deceptions into which they might be led by the several modern European authors who have written on America,
The first differtation is on the population of America, but more especially that of Mexico. The Author examines the opinions of various writers on this subject, relative to the period when, and the persons by whom America was first peopled; he then enquires, from what country, and by what means, che inhabitants and animals passed to America. These are dark and intricate subjects; and the Author very witely declines giving his own opinion, otherwise than in the form of conjecture.
The second dissertation is en ployed in ascertaining the prin. cipal epochs of the history of Mexico, and in thewing the core respondence of the Mexican years with ours. The Mexican chronology is here determined.
In the third, the Author describes the country of Mexico, and refutes the affertions of Buffon, De Paw, and Voltaire, who have represented America as barren and unwholelome. With respect to the deluge, of which the Americans have a traditional account, the Abné ihinks it can be no other than Noah's flood, and not a partial and recent inundation, as Buffon and De Paw suppose. The Mexicans, as their own hiftorians affirm, make no mention of a deiuge, without commemorating also the confufion of tongues, and the fubiequent difperfion of the people. The same tradition is also found among the Chiapanese, the Tlafcalans, the Michuaianese, the inhabitants of Cuba, and other
polished Indian people, with the additional circumstance of a
The climate of Mexico next attracts the Abbé's attention,
One of the arguments molt insisted on by Buffon and De Paw, to illustrate the unhappy nature of the American foil, and the malignity of its climate, is the pretended degeneracy of animals.
In the fourth differtation, the Author examines the proofs which these naturalists bring to support their opinions, and detects many contradictions into which they have fallen, The natural History of America wants much improvement, and we think this differtation affords many hints for such improvement. Pointing out the errors of reputable authors, is the first step toward reformation ; subsequent observation of facts must then establish the true system.
In the fifth differtation, the Abbé treats of the phyfical and moral constitution of the Mexicans. Here M. de Paw is ably refuted, both with respect to what he advances concerning the corporeal and mental qualities of the Mexicans. The first Europeans who established themselves in America, not less powersul than avaricious, desirous of enriching themselves to the detri. ment of the natives, kept them in a state of slavery, and confidered them as fatyrs. The millionaries having, in fix years, baptized above a million of these large apes and garces, the bishop of Tlafcala was under the necessity of obtaining a bull from the Pope, to make the Spaniards acknowledge the native Americans to be true men (veros homines). A copy of the original bull is given in a nie; it is dated 1537, 410. non. Jun. Dr. Robertson, who has in some measure adopted the opinions of M. de Paw, is also refuted by the Abbé.
The fixth treatise is on the culture (probably civilization) of the Mexicans. The greatest part of the inhabitants of the new continent confessed a fupreme omnipotent Being, although their belief was, like that of the vulgar among other people, mixed with errors and superftitions. They had temples and priests, sacrifices and rites for the uniform worship of the Divinity. They had a king, governors, and magistrales. They had numerous cities, and an extensive population. They took great care to enforce justice and equity in commercial and civil contracts. Every individual was secured in his property and poffeffione. They exercised agriculture and other arts; not only those necessary to life, but such also as contributed to luxury and pleasure. What more is necessary 10 vindicate a nation from the imputation of being barbarous and savage? M. de
Paw deems them barbarous and favage, because they want
The seventh dillertation treats of the boundaries and popula-
The eighth explains the religious system of the Mexicans
In the lait differtation, the Author attempts to refute Afruc,
From the extracts which we have given, our Readers will
ERRATA in this Volume.
word, which will restore the sense.