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2. He early embraced the religion of the Quakers, who were then a new sect in England, and were persecuted by the government on account of their religious opinions; and as there was no hope of his obtaining his demand against the government, he prevailed upon them to grant him a tract of land in the newly settled country of North America, which, in honour of his father, they called Pennsylvania.
3. Here he invited all his friends who suffered persecution, and one of the first laws he enacted for the government of his new province, was the most perfect toleration of all religions; for, said he, persecution has taught me to observe and reprove mischiefs in government, and now it is in my power to settle one, I purpose to leave myself and my successors no power of doing mischief, that the will of one man may not hinder the good of a whole country.
4. But this was not all; he took the utmost care to protect' the Indians in their rights, and to prevent the encroachments of white men. For this purpose he ordered all goods sold to the Indians to be first tested; that wrongs done to Indians should be punished as those done to white men; and that all differences should be settled by twelve men, six planters and six Indians.
5. These stipulations in favour of the poor natives will for ever iminortalize the name of William Penn; for soaring above the prejudices and customs of other adventarers, who considered them as lawful prey, whom they might defraud at pleasure, he considered them as brethren, and rational beings, who, in proportion to their ignorance, were entitled to his fatherly protection and care.
6. Soon after his arrival, he had a meeting with the Indians, to confirm the treaty, for his scrupulous morality did not permit him to look upon the king's patent as sufficient to establish his right to the country, without purchasing it by fair and open bargain of the natives, to whom only it properly belonged.
7. Near the city of Philadelphia, there was an elm tree of a prodigious size, to which the leaders on both sides repaired. Penn appeared in his usual dress, and on his arrival, he found the sachems and their tribes assembling. They were seen in the woods as far as the eye could reach, and looked frightful, both on account of their number, and their
The Quakers were unarmed, and but a handful in comparison.
8. When the sachems were all seated, William Penn is said to have addressed the chief of them in the following words. "The Great Spirit, who made us and thee, and who rules in heaven and earth, knows that I and my friends have a hearty desire to live in friendship with thee, and to serve thee to the utmost of our power.
9. It is not our custom to use hostile weapons against our fellow creatures, for which reason we have come unarmed. Our object is not to do injury, and thus provoke the Great Spirit, but to do good. We are now met on the broad pathway of good faith, and good will, so that no advantage is to be taken on either side."
10. The great elm tree under which this treaty was made, became celebrated on that account, and when the British were quartered near it, during the war of American independence, their general so respected it, that when his soldiers were cutting down every tree for fire-wood, he placed a sen tinel under it, that not a branch of it might be touched.
11. A few years ago it was blown down, when it was split into wood, and many cups, bowls, and other articles made of it, to be kept as memorials. As to the roll of parchment, it was shown to governour Keith at a conference in 1722, about forty years after it was signed; and a respectable missionary informs us, that between the years 1770 and 1780, the Indians minutely related to him what had passed between William Penn and their forefathers.
SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF FERNANDO CORTEZ.
HE was born in the year 1485, and was one of
the most able, as well as the most daring adventurers, who sought the new world, soon after its discovery by Columbus. His courage and enterprise recommended him to the gov ernour of Cuba, who gave him the command of an expedition, which he was fitting out for the discovery and conquest of the neighbouring continent.
2. With this fleet, which consisted of only eleven small vessels, the burthen of the largest not exceeding one hundred
tons, he landed in the dominions of the Mexican emperour. His forces, when mustered on the shore, scarcely amounted to six hundred, including seamen, and of these only thirteen were armed with muskets, the rest having cross-bows and spears. Besides these, however, they had ten pieces of artillery and eighteen horses, which animals, until then, were unknown in Mexico.
3. Having no authority from the king of Spain, and having quarrelled with the governour of Cuba, he could not reasonably expect any reinforcement; yet with this inconsiderable force, the genius of Cortez formed the apparently absurd project of subduing a kingdom, considerably advanced in the arts of civilization, and possessing a population of several millions.
4. There was a tradition amongst the Mexicans that a people would one day come from the east, and finally bring them into subjection; and when in the first battle with the invaders, not a Spaniard was injured, while thousands of their countrymen were slain, superstition was mingled with their traditionary fears, and the Spaniards were looked upon as a superiour race of beings.
5. Cortez encouraged this belief, but foreseeing that there were many obstacles to be overcome, and fearing the desertion of his followers, he adopted the bold design of burning his fleet, which rendered success or death inevitable. After many engagements with petty princes, some of whom followed his standard, he finally approached the city of Mexico, the residence of the emperour, who, with all his nobles, came forth to meet him, bringing with them many costly presents, and shewing the most profound respect for the children of the sun, as they called the Spaniards.
6. Cortez concealed his real design from the devoted Mexicans; but the encroachments of the Spaniards often provoked them to make tumultuous attacks, which were always repulsed with immense slaughter. In one instance they took possession of a high tower, which overlooked the Spanish camp, and three times repulsed a considerable party which was sent to dislodge them.
7. At last, Cortez rushed forward himself, and gained the top of the tower, when two young Mexicans of high rank seized upon him in a moment, and threw themselves headlong over the battlement. Cortez was so fortunate as to
loose himself from their grasp, and the two heroick youths were dashed to pieces by the fall.
8. He next contrived to obtain possession of the person of Montezuma, the emperour, who was so wrought upon by the insidious promises of Cortez, that he removed his residence to the Spanish quarters, and became a voluntary prisoner. While in this situation, he was killed by his own subjects, while attempting to appease the fury of their attacks upon the Spanish camp. His brother, who succeeded him, died soon after of the small pox, which terrible disease was unknown among the natives of the new world until the invasion of the Spaniards.
9. Guatemozin, a nephew of Montezuma, succeeded to the throne, and determined to defend the city with vigour, and drive the Spaniards from his country; while Cortez who had just been reinforced by a large body of troops, which were sent by the Governour of Cuba to seize him, but which he had persuaded to join him, now advanced to obtain the reward of all his labours or put a period to them.
10. The contest was dreadful, and Guatemozin, after giving proofs of valour and skill, which deserved a better fate, fell into the hands of the conquerors. The city was plundered, but the booty obtained fell so far short of their expectations,that the soldiers,supposing the emperour had concealed his treasures, persuaded Cortez to torture the unfortunate monarch, to force from him a confession of the place of concealment.
11. Accordingly the wretched Guatemozin with his prime minister were stretched on burning coals. The emperour bore the torture with firinness, but his fellow sufferer, overcome by excessive anguish, turning a dejected eye towards his master, seemed to implore his permission to reveal all he knew. The high spirited prince, with a look of authority and scorn, replied "Am I, think you, on a bed of roses?" Awed by this reproach, the minister persevered in his dutiful silence until he expired.
12. The empire was speedily reduced under the dominion of Spain, and became the most important of its foreign possessions; but Cortez, after enduring so many hardships, and procuring so important an acquisition for his country, lived long enough to experience its neglect and ingratitude, and ended his active life in poverty and obscurity.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FERNANDO CORTEZ
Cortez. it possible, William Penn, that you should seriously compare your glory with mine! The planter of a small colony in North America presume to vie with the conqueror of the great Mexican empire ?
Penn. Friend, I pretend to no glory; far be it from me to glory. But this I say, that I was instrumental in executing a more glorious work than that performed by thee; incomparably more glorious.
Cort. Dost thou not know, William Penn, that with less than six hundred Spanish foot, eighteen horse, and a few small pieces of cannon, I fought and defeated innumerable armies of very brave men; dethroned an emperour, who excelled all his countrymen in the science of war, as much as they excelled the rest of the West-India nations? That I made him my prisoner in his own capital; and after he had been deposed and slain by his subjects, vanquished and took Guatemozin, his successor, and accomplished my conquest of the whole Mexican empire, which I loyally annexed to the Spanish crown? Dost thou not know, that, in doing these wonderful acts, I showed as much courage as Alexander the Great, and as much prudence as Cæsar?
Penn. I know very well that thou wast as fierce as a lion, and as subtle as a serpent. The prince of darkness may, perhaps, place thee as high upon his black list of heroes as Alexander or Cæsar. It is not my business to interfere with him in settling thy rank. But hark thee, friend Cortez ; what right hadst thou, or had the king of Spain himself, to the Mexican empire? Answer me that, if thou canst.
Cort. The pope gave it to my master.
Penn. Suppose the high priest of Mexico had taken it into his head to give Spain to Montezuma; would his right have been good?
Cort. These are questions of casuistry, which it is not the business of a soldier to decide. We leave that to gownsmen. But pray, Mr. Penn, what right had you to the colony you settled?