MEXICO A PROVINCE OF SPAIN
they cried; "Mexico is captured, but where is the spoil?" A report spread that the Aztecs had buried it and that Guatemozin knew the hiding-place. "If he will not reveal it," clamoured the greedy adventurers, "he must be put to the torture!" Louder grew their fury and discontent when Cortés refused to consent to so shameful a deed.
"The general," they cried, "has taken the gold for himself, and that is why he refuses to torture the Indian!"
Every morning libels against Cortés were found scribbled in prose and verse on the white walls of the barracks. It was said that he had taken one-fifth as commander and another as king. Discontent became so open and widespread that Cortés actually sought to pacify his men by allowing them to put Guatemozin and the cacique of Tacuba to the torture. Nothing can excuse the cowardice and treachery of such a concession. Under torture as in battle the Aztec emperor showed a heroic spirit. When the lord of Tacuba cried out in his agony, Guatemozin called to him in rebuke, "Am I then taking any pleasure in my bath?" The sufferers admitted that some treasure had been thrown into the lake, but the divers who were at once sent down to search found nothing of much value. Cortés, ashamed of the base cruelty, ordered the torture to cease in time to save the lives of his noble captives.
"Go on! the more you destroy, the more you will have to build!" were the taunting words the Aztecs