Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/220

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quished, it would seem, with no great regret, by the common people. To them there had been no glory, no gratification, in the wholesale slaughter of the sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli. The part of their ceremonies which appealed to their source of enjoyment was the feasting and dancing, and general rejoicing on such occasions.

The first government of the Spaniards was a military one, whose chief was Fernando Cortés. He had wisely surrounded himself by a body of advisers or approvers, in the early time of founding Vera Cruz when he established the Ayuntamiento, composed of his companions of the voyage. This organization was maintained during the time of Cortes' administration. Its duties were to found new cities, parcel out lands and farms among the colonists, establish markets, regulate sanitary conditions, and enforce the laws; thus standing between the natives and new settlers, who began to enter the country. Many of the rules and ordinances of the early Ayuntamientos are still in force.

On account of complaints which reached the court of Spain, against the rule thus established by Cortés, the king resolved to put the new country in the hands of a body of magistrates who should be obeyed by all the governors of provinces, representing the person of the monarch and enforcing his authority. The members of the first Audiencia arrived in Vera Cruz on the 6th of December, 1528. There were five of them; their president was Nuño de Guzman, a cruel and sanguinary man, whose despotism left the most bitter recollections throughout the country.