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Siege of the City of Mexico

On the death of Montezuma, his brother Cuitlahua, governor of Iztapalapa, had taken the supreme command over the Aztecs. He had been prime mover in the revolt, which resulted in the expulsion of the Spaniards from the city, and it was by his orders that their flight had been so fiercely followed up. At the present juncture, he sent heralds to propose a treaty of peace with the friendly tribe by whose hospitality the Spanish army was now supported, proposing the destruction of the whites, who had brought such woes upon the whole country. A portion of the Tlascalan assembly looked approvingly upon the suggestion, but the older and wiser members, reflecting upon the known treachery of the Mexicans, and their former acts of oppression, refused to listen to it. Cortez, perceiving discontent to be rife among his men, determined not to remain idle, but to keep their attention constantly employed. Some, who were pining for ease and quiet, he allowed to take ship for Cuba, while by every argument he appealed to the honor and valor of his veterans, urging them not to desist at the first failure, but to stand by their general and reinstate their fallen fortunes. He engaged in bloody conflicts with Mexican tribes on either side of Tlascala, with, the most distinguished success; and taking possession of the town of Tepeaca, a few leagues distant, established his head-quarters there. By singular good fortune, several ships, bringing fresh troops to support Narvaez, arrived from Cuba, and the adventurers, learning the true position of affairs, readily joined the popular leader. Another expedition, sent by the governor...

Antiquities of Mexico

The Southwestern regions of North America present a most extensive and interesting field for antiquarian research. The long-continued existence of powerful, civilized, and populous races is fully proved by the occurrence of almost innumerable ruins and national relics. Even in the sixteenth century, the Spanish invaders found these regions in the possession of a highly prosperous and partially civilized people. Government and social institutions were upon that firm and well-defined basis which betokened long continuance and strong national sentiment. In many of the arts and sciences, the subjugated races were equal, and in others superior, to their Christian conquerors. Their public edifices and internal improvements were on as high a scale, and of as scientific a character, as those of most European nations of the day. The fanatical zeal of Cortez and his successors destroyed invaluable records of their history and nationality; and many of their most splendid edifices fell before the ravages of war and bigotry; yet numerous structures still exist, though in ruins, attesting the art and industry of their founders. Pyramids, in great numbers, still rear their terraced and truncated surfaces through the land. In the first fury of the conquest, the great Teocalli, or Temple of the city of Mexico, was leveled to the ground, and we can only learn by the description of its destroyers, with what pomp and ceremony the Mexicans celebrated on its summit the rites of their sanguinary worship. The colossal figures of the sun and moon, covered with plates of gold, the hideous stone of sacrifice, and the terrible sound of the great war-drum, are mingled with strange fascination of...

Biographical Sketch of William Vernon Backus

Backus, William Vernon; lawyer, lecturer and inventor; born, Cleveland, Aug. 24, 1860; son of William and Lena Strobel Backus; educated. public schools and private tutors in German and Spanish; studied in London and Mexico, pupil of Dr. William Windsor; one son, Richard C. Backus, lawyer in New York; one daughter, Edna Lois Backus Scott, E. Orange, N. J.; member and pres. of Cleveland Board of Education, 1880-95; vice pres. American School Ass’n, Mexico City, 1906-8; pres. American Colony in Mexico City, 1905-7; practised law in Ohio; editor of the following: The Spur, The Courier, The American Union, and at one time on the editorial staff of the Cleveland Press; in 1890 invented improved system of halftone engraving, also improvement in oil-burners; removed to Mexico in 1895, remaining there till 1911; while there practised law before the Supreme Court of Mexico, being engaged in many important cases; organized and promoted three Plantation companies which were merged into The Mexican Imperial Plantation Co., a $5,000,000 corporation; in 1906 invented synthetic marble, a substitute for natural marble, patents were issued in various countries; in 1906 reorganized The Jalisco & Michoacan R. R. Co., becoming vice pres. and gen. counsel; sold interests in the road several years later; left Mexico in 1911, during the revolution against Gen. Diaz; in 1912-13 introduced the manufacture of synthetic marble in the U. S.; during the same time made a lecture tour of the principal cities of the U.. S.; pres. The Mexican Imperial Plantation Co., Royal Danish Marble Co.; vice pres. The Santa-Teresa Banana Co., all of Mexico; pres. The Synthetic Marble Co. of the U....

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