Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/223

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


TSOM D223 Page decoration.png

XX.

THE FIRST OF THE VICEROYS.

Antonio de Mendoza, Conde de Tendilla, was the first viceroy sent by Charles V. to New Spain. He arrived in the autumn of 1535.

He belonged to the great Spanish family of Mendoza, which counted twenty-three generations, and claimed descent from the Cid himself. Better than this, he had a well-balanced and moderate character, and governed the country with justice and generosity combined. He had no intention of enriching himself by his position, but at heart put the interests of the Spanish colonists before every other consideration, except those of the Indians, for whose welfare he had from the first a genuine regard. It would seem that Charles V., harassed as he was with the intrigues and difficulties of his own empire, already revolving the design which he put in practice later, of retiring from the world, had himself selected for his first representative in the new country a man whom he knew personally to be equal to the task, one not only of noble blood, but honorable character.

Mendoza set himself to reform the abuses which had already appeared, protected the Indians from the

191