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´╗┐Title: History of the Conquest of Peru
Author: Prescott, William Hickling, 1796-1859
Language: English
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History Of The Conquest Of Peru

by William Hickling Prescott

"Congestae cumulantur opes, orbisque rapinas Accipit."

Claudian, In Ruf., lib. i., v. 194.

"So color de religion
Van a buscar plata y oro
Del encubierto tesoro."
Lope De Vega, El Nuevo Mundo, Jorn. 1.


The most brilliant passages in the history of Spanish adventure in the
New World are undoubtedly afforded by the conquests of Mexico and
Peru--the two states which combined with the largest extent of empire a
refined social polity, and considerable progress in the arts of civilization.
Indeed, so prominently do they stand out on the great canvas of history,
that the name of the one, notwithstanding the contrast they exhibit in
their respective institutions, most naturally suggests that of the other; and
when I sent to Spain to collect materials for an account of the Conquest
of Mexico, I included in my researches those relating to the Conquest of

The larger part of the documents, in both cases, was obtained from the
same great repository,--the archives of the Royal Academy of History at
Madrid; a body specially intrusted with the preservation of whatever may
serve to illustrate the Spanish colonial annals.  The richest portion of its
collection is probably that furnished by the papers of Munoz.  This
eminent scholar, historiographer of the Indies, employed nearly fifty
years of his life in amassing materials for a history of Spanish discovery
and conquest in America.  For this, as he acted under the authority of the
government, every facility was afforded him; and public offices and
private depositories, in all the principal cities of the empire, both at home
and throughout the wide extent of its colonial possessions, were freely
opened to his inspection.  The result was a magnificent collection of
manuscripts, many of which he patiently transscribed with his own hand.
But he did not live to reap the fruits of his persevering industry.  The
first volume, relative to the voyages of Columbus, were scarcely finished
when he died; and his manuscripts, at least that portion of them which
have reference to Mexico and Peru, were destined to serve the uses of
another, an inhabitant of that New World to which they related.

Another scholar, to whose literary stores I am largely indebted, is Don
Martin Fernandez de Navarrette, late Director of the Royal Academy of
History.  Through the greater part of his long life he was employed in
assembling original documents to illustrate the colonial annals.  Many of
these have been incorporated in his great work, "Coleccion de los Viages
y Descubrimientos," which, although far from being completed after the
original plan of its author, is of inestimable service to the historian.  In
following down the track of discovery, Navarrete turned aside from the
conquests of Mexico and Peru, to exhibit the voyages of his countrymen
in the Indian seas.  His manuscripts, relating to the two former countries,
he courteously allowed to be copied for me.  Some of them have since
appeared in print, under the auspices of his learned coadjutors, Salva and
Baranda, associated with him in the Academy; but the documents placed
in my hands form a most important contribution to my materials for the
present history.

The death of this illustrious man, which occurred some time after the
present work was begun, has left a void in his country not easy to be
filled; for he was zealously devoted to letters, and few have done more to
extend the knowledge of her colonial history.  Far from an exclusive
solicitude for his own literary projects, he was ever ready to extend his
sympathy and assistance to those of others.  His reputation as a scholar
was enhanced by the higher qualities which he possessed as a man,--by
his benevolence, his simplicity of manners, and unsullied moral worth.
My own obligations to him are large; for from the publication of my first
historical work, down to the last week of his life, I have constantly
received proofs from him of his hearty and most efficient interest in the
prosecution of my historical labors; and I now the more willingly pay
this well-merited tribute to his deserts, that it must be exempt from all
suspicion of flattery.

In the list of those to whom I have been indebted for materials, I must,
also, include the name of M. Ternaux-Compans, so well known by his
faithful and elegant French versions of the Munoz manuscripts; and that
of my friend Don Pascual de Gayangos, who, under the modest dress of
translation, has furnished a most acute and learned commentary on
Spanish Arabian history,--securing for himself the foremost rank in that
difficult department of letters, which has been illumined by the labors of
a Masdeu, a Casiri, and a Conde.

To the materials derived from these sources, I have added some
manuscripts of an important character from the library of the Escurial.
These, which chiefly relate to the ancient institutions of Peru, formed
part of the splendid collection of Lord Kingsborough, which has
unfortunately shared the lot of most literary collections, and been
dispersed since the death of its noble author.  For these I am indebted to
that industrious bibliographer, Mr. O. Rich, now resident in London.
Lastly, I must not omit to mention my obligations, in another way, to my
friend Charles Folsom, Esq., the learned librarian of the Boston
Athenaeum; whose minute acquaintance with the grammatical structure
and the true idiom of our English tongue has enabled me to correct many
inaccuracies into which I had fallen in the composition both of this and
of my former works.

From these different sources I have accumulated a large amount of
manuscripts, of the most various character, and from the most authentic
sources; royal grants and ordinances, instructions of the Court, letters of
the Emperor to the great colonial officers, municipal records, personal
diaries and memoranda, and a mass of private correspondence of the
principal actors in this turbulent drama.  Perhaps it was the turbulent
state of the country which led to a more frequent correspondence
between the government at home and the colonial officers.  But,
whatever be the cause, the collection of manuscript materials in reference
to Peru is fuller and more complete than that which relates to Mexico; so
that there is scarcely a nook or corner so obscure, in the path of the
adventurer, that some light has not been thrown on it by the written
correspondence of the period.  The historian has rather had occasion to
complain of the embarras des richesses; for, in the multiplicity of
contradictory testimony, it is not always easy to detect the truth, as the
multiplicity of cross-lights is apt to dazzle and bewilder the eye of the

The present History has been conducted on the same general plan with
that of the Conquest of Mexico.  In an Introductory Book, I have
endeavored to portray the institutions of the Incas, that the reader may be
acquainted with the character and condition of that extraordinary race,
before he enters on the story of their subjugation.  The remaining books
are occupied with the narrative of the Conquest.  And here, the subject, it
must be allowed, notwithstanding the opportunities it presents for the
display of character, strange, romantic incident, and picturesque scenery,
does not afford so obvious advantages to the historian, as the Conquest
of Mexico.  Indeed, few subjects can present a parallel with that, for the
purposes either of the historian or the poet.  The natural development of
the story, there, is precisely what would be prescribed by the severest
rules of art.  The conquest of the country is the great end always in the
view of the reader.  From the first landing of the Spaniards on the soil,
their subsequent adventures, their battles and negotiations, their ruinous
retreat, their rally and final siege, all tend to this grand result, till the
long series is closed by the downfall of the capital.  In the march of
events, all moves steadily forward to this consummation.  It is a
magnificent epic, in which the unity of interest is complete.

In the "Conquest of Peru," the action, so far as it is founded on the
subversion of the Incas, terminates long before the close of the narrative.
The remaining portion is taken up with the fierce feuds of the
Conquerors, which would seem, from their very nature, to be incapable
of being gathered round a central point of interest.  To secure this, we
must look beyond the immediate overthrow of the Indian empire.  The
conquest of the natives is but the first step, to be followed by the
conquest of the Spaniards,--the rebel Spaniards, themselves,--till the
supremacy of the Crown is permanently established over the country.  It
is not till this period, that the acquisition of this Transatlantic empire can
be said to be completed; and, by fixing the eye on this remoter point, the
successive steps of the narrative will be found leading to one great result,
and that unity of interest preserved which is scarcely less essential to
historic than dramatic composition.  How far this has been effected, in
the present work, must be left to the judgment of the reader.

No history of the conquest of Peru, founded on original documents, and
aspiring to the credit of a classic composition, like the "Conquest of
Mexico" by Solis, has been attempted, as far as I am aware, by the
Spaniards.  The English possess one of high value, from the pen of
Robertson, whose masterly sketch occupies its due space in his great
work on America.  It has been my object to exhibit this same story, in all
its romantic details; not merely to portray the characteristic features of
the Conquest, but to fill up the outline with the coloring of life, so as to
present a minute and faithful picture of the times.  For this purpose, I
have, in the composition of the work, availed myself freely of my
manuscript materials, allowed the actors to speak as much as possible for
themselves, and especially made frequent use of their letters; for
nowhere is the heart more likely to disclose itself, than in the freedom of
private correspondence.  I have made liberal extracts from these
authorities in the notes, both to sustain the text, and to put in a printed
form those productions of the eminent captains and statesmen of the
time, which are not very accessible to Spaniards themselves.

M. Amedee Pichot, in the Preface to the French translation of the
"Conquest of Mexico," infers from the plan of the composition, that I
must have carefully studied the writings of his countryman, M. de
Barante.  The acute critic does me but justice in supposing me familiar
with the principles of that writer's historical theory, so ably developed in
the Preface to his "Ducs de Bourgogne." And I have had occasion to
admire the skilful manner in which he illustrates this theory himself, by
constructing out of the rude materials of a distant time a monument of
genius that transports us at once into the midst of the Feudal Ages,-and
this without the incongruity which usually attaches to a modernantique.
In like manner, I have attempted to seize the characteristic expression of
a distant age, and to exhibit it in the freshness of life.  But in an essential
particular, I have deviated from the plan of the French historian.  I have
suffered the scaffolding to remain after the building has been completed.
In other words, I have shown to the reader the steps of the process by
which I have come to my conclusions.  Instead of requiring him to take
my version of the story on trust, I have endeavored to give him a reason
for my faith.  By copious citations from the original authorities, and by
such critical notices of them as would explain to him the influences to
which they were subjected, I have endeavored to put him in a position
for judging for himself, and thus for revising, and, if need be, reversing,
the judgments of the historian.  He will, at any rate, by this means, be
enabled to estimate the difficulty of arriving at truth amidst the conflict
of testimony; and he will learn to place little reliance on those writers
who pronounce on the mysterious past with what Fontenelle calls "a
frightful degree of certainty,"--a spirit the most opposite to that of the
true philosophy of history.

Yet it must be admitted, that the chronicler who records the events of an
earlier age has some obvious advantages in the store of manuscript
materials at his command,--the statements of friends, rivals, and enemies,
furnishing a wholesome counterpoise to each other; and also, in the
general course of events, as they actually occurred, affording the best
commentary on the true motives of the parties.  The actor, engaged in the
heat of the strife, finds his view bounded by the circle around him and
his vision blinded by the smoke and dust of the conflict: while the
spectator, whose eye ranges over the ground from a more distant and
elevated point, though the individual objects may lose somewhat of their
vividness, takes in at a glance all the operations of the field.  Paradoxical
as it may appear, truth rounded on contemporary testimony would seem,
after all, as likely to be attained by the writer of a later day, as by
contemporaries themselves.

Before closing these remarks, I may be permitted to add a few of a
personal nature.  In several foreign notices of my writings, the author has
been said to be blind; and more than once I have had the credit of having
lost my sight in the composition of my first history.  When I have met
with such erroneous accounts, I have hastened to correct them.  But the
present occasion affords me the best means of doing so; and I am the
more desirous of this, as I fear some of my own remarks, in the Prefaces
to my former histories, have led to the mistake.

While at the University, I received an injury in one of my eyes, which
deprived me of the sight of it.  The other, soon after, was attacked by
inflammation so severely, that, for some time, I lost the sight of that also;
and though it was subsequently restored, the organ was so much
disordered as to remain permanently debilitated, while twice in my life,
since, I have been deprived of the use of it for all purposes of reading
and writing, for several years together.  It was during one of these
periods that I received from Madrid the materials for the "History of
Ferdinand and Isabella," and in my disabled condition, with my
Transatlantic treasures lying around me, I was like one pining from
hunger in the midst of abundance.  In this state, I resolved to make the
ear, if possible, do the work of the eye.  I procured the services of a
secretary, who read to me the various authorities; and in time I became
so far familiar with the sounds of the different foreign languages (to
some of which, indeed, I had been previously accustomed by a residence
abroad), that I could comprehend his reading without much difficulty.
As the reader proceeded, I dictated copious notes; and, when these had
swelled to a considerable amount, they were read to me repeatedly, till I
had mastered their contents sufficiently for the purposes of composition.
The same notes furnished an easy means of reference to sustain the text.

Still another difficulty occurred, in the mechanical labor of writing,
which I found a severe trial to the eye.  This was remedied by means of a
writing-case, such as is used by the blind, which enabled me to commit
my thoughts to paper without the aid of sight, serving me equally well in
the dark as in the light.  The characters thus formed made a near
approach to hieroglyphics; but my secretary became expert in the art of
deciphering, and a fair copy--with a liberal allowance for unavoidable
blunders--was transcribed for the 'use of the printer.  I have described the
process with more minuteness, as some curiosity has been repeatedly
expressed in reference to my modus operandi under my privations, and
the knowledge of it may be of some assistance to others in similar

Though I was encouraged by the sensible progress of my work, it was
necessarily slow.  But in time the tendency to inflammation diminished,
and the strength of the eye was confirmed more and more.  It was at
length so far restored, that I could read for several hours of the day
though my labors in this way necessarily terminated with the daylight.
Nor could I ever dispense with the services of a secretary, or with the
writing-case; for, contrary to the usual experience, I have found writing a
severer trial to the eye than reading,--a remark, however, which does not
apply to the reading of manuscript; and to enable myself therefore, to
revise my composition more carefully, I caused a copy of the "History of
Ferdinand and Isabella" to be printed for my own inspection, before it
was sent to the press for publication.  Such as I have described was the
improved state of my health during the preparation of the "Conquest of
Mexico"; and, satisfied with being raised so nearly to a level with the
rest of my species, I scarcely envied the superior good fortune of those
who could prolong their studies into the evening, and the later hours of
the night.

But a change has again taken place during the last two years.  The sight
of my eye has become gradually dimmed, while the sensibility of the
nerve has been so far increased, that for several weeks of the last year I
have not opened a volume, and through the whole time I have not had the
use of it, on an average, for more than an hour a day.  Nor can I cheer
myself with the delusive expectation, that, impaired as the organ has
become, from having been tasked, probably, beyond its strength, it can
ever renew its youth, or be of much service to me hereafter in my literary
researches.  Whether I shall have the heart to enter, as I had proposed, on
a new and more extensive field of historical labor, with these
impediments, I cannot say.  Perhaps long habit, and a natural desire to
follow up the career which I have so long pursued, may make this, in a
manner, necessary, as my past experience has already proved that it is

From this statement--too long, I fear, for his patience--the reader, who
feels any curiosity about the matter, will understand the real extent of my
embarrassments in my historical pursuits.  That they have not been very
light will be readily admitted, when it is considered that I have had but a
limited use of my eye, in its best state, and that much of the time I have
been debarred from the use of it altogether.  Yet the difficulties I have
had to contend with are very far inferior to those which fall to the lot of a
blind man.  I know of no historian, now alive, who can claim the glory of
having overcome such obstacles, but the author of "La Conquete de
l'Angleterre par les Normands"; who, to use his own touching and
beautiful language, "has made himself the friend of darkness"; and who,
to a profound philosophy that requires no light but that from within,
unites a capacity for extensive and various research, that might well
demand the severest application of the student.

The remarks into which I have been led at such length will, I trust, not be
set down by the reader to an unworthy egotism, but to their true source, a
desire to correct a misapprehension to which I may have unintentionally
given rise myself, and which has gained me the credit with some--far
from grateful to my feelings, since undeserved--of having surmounted
the incalculable obstacles which lie in the path of the blind man.

Boston, April 2, 1847.

History Of The Conquest Of Peru

by William Hickling Prescott

Book 1


View Of The Civilization Of The Incas

Chapter 1

Physical Aspect Of The Country--Sources Of Peruvian Civilization--
Empire Of The Incas--Royal Family--Nobility

Of the numerous nations which occupied the great American continent at
the time of its discovery by the Europeans, the two most advanced in
power and refinement were undoubtedly those of Mexico and Peru.  But,
though resembling one another in extent of civilization, they differed
widely as to the nature of it; and the philosophical student of his species
may feel a natural curiosity to trace the different steps by which these two
nations strove to emerge from the state of barbarism, and place
themselves on a higher point in the scale of humanity.--In a former work I
have endeavored to exhibit the institutions and character of the ancient
Mexicans, and the story of their conquest by the Spaniards.  The present
will be devoted to the Peruvians; and, if their history shall be found to
present less strange anomalies and striking contrasts than that of the
Aztecs, it may interest us quite as much by the pleasing picture it offers of
a well-regulated government and sober habits of industry under the
patriarchal sway of the Incas.

The empire of Peru, at the period of the Spanish invasion, stretched along
the Pacific from about the second degree north to the thirty-seventh
degree of south latitude; a line, also, which describes the western
boundaries of the modern republics of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chili.
Its breadth cannot so easily be determined; for, though bounded
everywhere by the great ocean on the west, towards the east it spread out,
in many parts, considerably beyond the mountains, to the confines of
barbarous states, whose exact position is undetermined, or whose names
are effaced from the map of history.  It is certain, however, that its breadth
was altogether disproportioned to its length.1

The topographical aspect of the country is very remarkable.  A strip of
land, rarely exceeding twenty leagues in width, runs along the coast, and
is hemmed in through its whole extent by a colossal range of mountains,
which, advancing from the Straits of Magellan, reaches its highest
elevation-indeed, the highest on the American continent--about the
seventeenth degree south, 2 and, after crossing the line, gradually subsides
into hills of inconsiderable magnitude, as it enters the isthmus of Panama.
This is the famous Cordillera of the Andes, or "copper mountains," 3 as
termed by the natives, though they might with more reason have been
called "mountains of gold." Arranged sometimes in a single line, though
more frequently in two or three lines running parallel or obliquely to each
other, they seem to the voyager on the ocean but one continuous chain;
while the huge volcanoes, which to the inhabitants of the tableland look
like solitary and independent masses, appear to aim only like so many
peaks of the same vast and magnificent range.  So immense is the scale on
which Nature works in these regions, that it is only when viewed from a
great distance, that the spectator can, in any degree, comprehend the
relation of the several parts to the stupendous whole.  Few of the works of
Nature, indeed, are calculated to produce impressions of higher sublimity
than the aspect of this coast, as it is gradually unfolded to the eye of the
mariner sailing on the distant waters of the Pacific; where mountain is
seen to rise above mountain, and Chimborazo, with its glorious canopy of
snow, glittering far above the clouds, crowns the whole as with a celestial

The face of the country would appear to be peculiarly unfavorable to the
purposes both of agriculture and of internal communication.  The sandy
strip along the coast, where rain never falls, is fed only by a few scanty
streams, that furnish a remarkable contrast to the vast volumes of water
which roll down the eastern sides of the Cordilleras into the Atlantic.  The
precipitous steeps of the sierra, with its splintered sides of porphyry and
granite, and its higher regions wrapped in snows that never melt under the
fierce sun of the equator, unless it be from the desolating action of its own
volcanic fires, might seem equally unpropitious to the labors of the
husbandman.  And all communication between the parts of the long-
extended territory might be thought to be precluded by the savage
character of the region, broken up by precipices, furious torrents, and
impassable quebradas,--those hideous rents in the mountain chain, whose
depths the eye of the terrified traveller, as he winds along his aerial
pathway, vainly endeavors to fathom.5  Yet the industry, we might almost
say, the genius, of the Indian was sufficient to overcome all these
impediments of Nature.

By a judicious system of canals and subterraneous aqueducts, the waste
places on the coast were refreshed by copious streams, that clothed them
in fertility and beauty.  Terraces were raised upon the steep sides of the
Cordillera; and, as the different elevations had the effect of difference of
latitude, they exhibited in regular gradation every variety of vegetable
form, from the stimulated growth of the tropics, to the temperate products
of a northern clime; while flocks of llamas--the Peruvian sheep--wandered
with their shepherds over the broad, snow-covered wastes on the crests of
the sierra, which rose beyond the limits of cultivation.  An industrious
population settled along the lofty regions of the plateaus, and towns and
hamlets, clustering amidst orchards and widespreading gardens, seemed
suspended in the air far above the ordinary elevation of the clouds.  6
Intercourse was maintained between these numerous settlements by means
of great roads which traversed the mountain passes, and opened an easy
communication between the capital and the remotest extremities of the

The source of this civilization is traced to the valley of Cuzco, the central
region of Peru, as its name implies.7  The origin of the Peruvian empire,
like the origin of all nations, except the very few which, like our own,
have had the good fortune to date from a civilized period and people, is
lost in the mists of fable, which, in fact, have settled as darkly round its
history as round that of any nation, ancient or modern, in the Old World.
According to the tradition most familiar to the European scholar, the time
was, when the ancient races of the continent were all plunged in
deplorable barbarism; when they worshipped nearly every object in nature
indiscriminately; made war their pastime, and feasted on the flesh of their
slaughtered captives.  The Sun, the great luminary and parent of mankind,
taking compassion on their degraded condition, sent two of his children,
Manco Capac and Mama Oello Huaco, to gather the natives into
communities, and teach them the arts of civilized life.  The celestial pair,
brother and sister, husband and wife, advanced along the high plains in
the neighborhood of Lake Titicaca, to about the sixteenth degree south.
They bore with them a golden wedge, and were directed to take up their
residence on the spot where the sacred emblem should without effort sink
into the ground.  They proceeded accordingly but a short distance, as far
as the valley of Cuzco, the spot indicated by the performance of the
miracle, since there the wedge speedily sank into the earth and
disappeared for ever.  Here the children of the Sun established their
residence, and soon entered upon their beneficent mission among the rude
inhabitants of the country; Manco Capac teaching the men the arts of
agriculture, and Mama Oello  8 initiating her own sex in the mysteries of
weaving and spinning.  The simple people lent a willing ear to the
messengers of Heaven, and, gathering together in considerable numbers,
laid the foundations of the city of Cuzco.  The same wise and benevolent
maxims, which regulated the conduct of the first Incas, 9 descended to
their successors, and under their mild sceptre a community gradually
extended itself along the broad surface of the table-land, which asserted
its superiority over the surrounding tribes.  Such is the pleasing picture of
the origin of the Peruvian monarchy, as portrayed by Garcilasso de la
Vega, the descendant of the Incas, and through him made familiar to the
European reader.10

But this tradition is only one of several current among the Peruvian
Indians, and probably not the one most generally received.  Another
legend speaks of certain white and bearded men, who, advancing from the
shores of Lake Titicaca, established an ascendancy over the natives, and
imparted to them the blessings of civilization.  It may remind us of the
tradition existing among the Aztecs in respect to Quetzalcoatl, the good
deity, who with a similar garb and aspect came up the great plateau from
the east on a like benevolent mission to the natives.  The analogy is the
more remarkable, as there is no trace of any communication with, or even
knowledge of, each other to be found in the two nations.11

The date usually assigned for these extraordinary events was about four
hundred years before the coming of the Spaniards, or early in the twelfth
century.12  But, however pleasing to the imagination, and however
popular, the legend of Manco Capac, it requires but little reflection to
show its improbability, even when divested of supernatural
accompaniments.  On the shores of Lake Titicaca extensive ruins exist at
the present day, which the Peruvians themselves acknowledge to be of
older date than the pretended advent of the Incas, and to have furnished
them with the models of their architecture.13  The date of their
appearance, indeed, is manifestly irreconcilable with their subsequent
history.  No account assigns to the Inca dynasty more than thirteen princes
before the Conquest.  But this number is altogether too small to have
spread over four hundred years, and would not carry back the foundations
of the monarchy, on any probable computation, beyond two centuries and
a half,-an antiquity not incredible in itself, and which, it may be remarked,
does not precede by more than half a century the alleged foundation of the
capital of Mexico.  The fiction of Manco Capac and his sister-wife was
devised, no doubt, at a later period, to gratify the vanity of the Peruvian
monarchs, and to give additional sanction to their authority by deriving it
from a celestial origin.

We may reasonably conclude that there existed in the country a race
advanced in civilization before the time of the Incas; and, in conformity
with nearly every tradition, we may derive this race from the
neighborhood of Lake Titicaca; 14 a conclusion strongly confirmed by the
imposing architectural remains which still endure, after the lapse of so
many years, on its borders.  Who this race were, and whence they came,
may afford a tempting theme for inquiry to the speculative antiquarian.
But it is a land of darkness that lies far beyond the domain of history.15

The same mists that hang round the origin of the Incas continue to settle
on their subsequent annals; and, so imperfect were the records employed
by the Peruvians, and so confused and contradictory their traditions, that
the historian finds no firm footing on which to stand till within a century
of the Spanish conquest.16  At first, the progress of the Peruvians seems
to have been slow, and almost imperceptible.  By their wise and temperate
policy, they gradually won over the neighboring tribes to their dominion,
as these latter became more and more convinced of the benefits of a just
and well-regulated government.  As they grew stronger, they were enabled
to rely more directly on force; but, still advancing under cover of the same
beneficent pretexts employed by their predecessors, they proclaimed
peace and civilization at the point of the sword.  The rude nations of the
country, without any principle of cohesion among themselves, fell one
after another before the victorious arm of the Incas.  Yet it was not till the
middle of the fifteenth century that the famous Topa Inca Yupanqui,
grandfather of the monarch who occupied the throne at the coming of the
Spaniards, led his armies across the terrible desert of Atacama, and,
penetrating to the southern region of Chili, fixed the permanent boundary
of his dominions at the river Maule.  His son, Huayna Capac, possessed of
ambition and military talent fully equal to his father's, marched along the
Cordillera towards the north, and, pushing his conquests across the
equator, added the powerful kingdom of Quito to the empire of Peru.17

The ancient city of Cuzco, meanwhile, had been gradually advancing in
wealth and population, till it had become the worthy metropolis of a great
and flourishing monarchy.  It stood in a beautiful valley on an elevated
region of the plateau, which, among the Alps, would have been buried in
eternal snows, but which within the tropics enjoyed a genial and
salubrious temperature.  Towards the north it was defended by a lofty
eminence, a spur of the great Cordillera; and the city was traversed by a
river, or rather a small stream, over which bridges of timber, covered with
heavy slabs of stone, furnished an easy means of communication with the
opposite banks.  The streets were long and narrow; the houses low, and
those of the poorer sort built of clay and reeds.  But Cuzco was the royal
residence, and was adorned with the ample dwellings of the great nobility;
and the massy fragments still incorporated in many of the modern edifices
bear testimony to the size and solidity of the ancient.18

The health of the city was promoted by spacious openings and squares, in
which a numerous population from the capital and the distant country
assembled to celebrate the high festivals of their religion.  For Cuzco was
the "Holy City"; 19 and the great temple of the Sun, to which pilgrims
resorted from the furthest borders of the empire, was the most magnificent
structure in the New World, and unsurpassed, probably, in the costliness
of its decorations by any building in the Old.

Towards the north, on the sierra or rugged eminence already noticed, rose
a strong fortress, the remains of which at the present day, by their vast
size, excite the admiration of the traveller.20 It was defended by a single
wall of great thickness, and twelve hundred feet long on the side facing
the city, where the precipitous character of the ground was of itself almost
sufficient for its defence.  On the other quarter, where the approaches
were less difficult, it was protected by two other semicircular walls of the
same length as the preceding.  They were separated, a considerable
distance from one another and from the fortress; and the intervening
ground was raised so that the walls afforded a breastwork for the troops
stationed there in times of assault.  The fortress consisted of three towers,
detached from one another.  One was appropriated to the Inca, and was
garnished with the sumptuous decorations befitting a royal residence,
rather than a military post.  The other two were held by the garrison,
drawn from the Peruvian nobles, and commanded by an officer of the
blood royal; for the position was of too great importance to be intrusted to
inferior hands.  The hill was excavated below the towers, and several
subterraneous galleries communicated with the city and the palaces of the

The fortress, the walls, and the galleries were all built of stone, the heavy
blocks of which were not laid in regular courses, but so disposed that the
small ones might fill up the interstices between the great.  They formed a
sort of rustic work, being rough-hewn except towards the edges, which
were finely wrought; and, though no cement was used, the several blocks
were adjusted with so much exactness and united so closely, that it was
impossible to introduce even the blade of a knife between them.22  Many
of these stones were of vast size; some of them being full thirty-eight feet
long, by eighteen broad, and six feet thick.23

We are filled with astonishment, when we consider, that these enormous
masses were hewn from their native bed and fashioned into shape, by a
people ignorant of the use of iron; that they were brought from quarries,
from four to fifteen leagues distant, 24 without the aid of beasts of burden;
were transported across rivers and ravines, raised to their elevated
position on the sierra, and finally adjusted there with the nicest accuracy,
without the knowledge of tools and machinery familiar to the European.
Twenty thousand men are said to have been employed on this great
structure, and fifty years consumed in the building.25  However this may
be, we see in it the workings of a despotism which had the lives and
fortunes of its vassals at its absolute disposal, and which, however mild in
its general character, esteemed these vassals, when employed in its
service, as lightly as the brute animals for which they served as a

The fortress of Cuzco was but part of a system of fortifications established
throughout their dominions by the Incas.  This system formed a prominent
feature in their military policy; but before entering on this latter, it will
be proper to give the reader some view of their civil institutions and
scheme of government.

The sceptre of the Incas, if we may credit their historian, descended in
unbroken succession from father to son, through their whole dynasty.
Whatever we may think of this, it appears probable that the right of
inheritance might be claimed by the eldest son of the Coya, or lawful
queen, as she was styled, to distinguish her from the host of concubines
who shared the affections of the sovereign.26  The queen was further
distinguished, at least in later reigns, by the circumstance of being
selected from the sisters of the Inca, an arrangement which, however
revolting to the ideas of civilized nations, was recommended to the
Peruvians by its securing an heir to the crown of the pure heaven-born
race, uncontaminated by any mixture of earthly mould.27

In his early years, the royal offspring was intrusted to the care of the
amautas, or "wise men," as the teachers of Peruvian science were called,
who instructed him in such elements of knowledge as they possessed, and
especially in the cumbrous ceremonial of their religion, in which he was
to take a prominent part.  Great care was also bestowed on his military
education, of the last importance in a state which, with its professions of
peace and good-will, was ever at war for the acquisition of empire.

In this military school he was educated with such of the Inca nobles as
were nearly of his own age; for the sacred name of Inca--a fruitful source
of obscurity in their annals--was applied indifferently to all who
descended by the male line from the founder of the monarchy.28  At the
age of sixteen the pupils underwent a public examination, previous to
their admission to what may be called the order of chivalry.  This
examination was conducted by some of the oldest and most illustrious
Incas.  The candidates were required to show their prowess in the athletic
exercises of the warrior; in wrestling and boxing, in running such long
courses as fully tried their agility and strength, in severe fasts of several
days' duration, and in mimic combats, which, although the weapons were
blunted, were always attended with wounds, and sometimes with death.
During this trial, which lasted thirty days, the royal neophyte fared no
better than his comrades, sleeping on the bare ground, going unshod, and
wearing a mean attire,--a mode of life, it was supposed, which might tend
to inspire him with more sympathy with the destitute.  With all this show
of impartiality, however, it will probably be doing no injustice to the
judges to suppose that a politic discretion may have somewhat quickened
their perceptions of the real merits of the heir-apparent.

At the end of the appointed time, the candidates selected as worthy of the
honors of their barbaric chivalry were presented to the sovereign, who
condescended to take a principal part in the ceremony of inauguration.
He began with a brief discourse, in which, after congratulating the young
aspirants on the proficiency they had shown in martial exercises, he
reminded them of the responsibilities attached to their birth and station;
and, addressing them affectionately as "children of the Sun," he exhorted
them to imitate their great progenitor in his glorious career of beneficence
to mankind.  The novices then drew near, and, kneeling one by one before
the Inca, he pierced their ears with a golden bodkin; and this was suffered
to remain there till an opening had been made large enough for the
enormous pendants which were peculiar to their order, and which gave
them, with the Spaniards, the name of orejones.29  This ornament was so
massy in the ears of the sovereign, that the cartilage was distended by it
nearly to the shoulder, producing what seemed a monstrous deformity in
the eyes of the Europeans, though, under the magical influence of fashion,
it was regarded as a beauty by the natives.

When this operation was performed, one of the most venerable of the
nobles dressed the feet of the candidates in the sandals worn by the order,
which may remind us of the ceremony of buckling on the spurs of the
Christian knight.  They were then allowed to assume the girdle or sash
around the loins, corresponding with the toga virilis of the Romans, and
intimating that they had reached the season of manhood.  Their heads
were adorned with garlands of flowers, which, by their various colors,
were emblematic of the clemency and goodness that should grace the
character of every true warrior; and the leaves of an evergreen plant were
mingled with the flowers, to show that these virtues should endure without
end.30  The prince's head was further ornamented by a fillet, or tasselled
fringe, of a yellow color, made of the fine threads of the vicuna wool,
which encircled the forehead as the peculiar insignia of the heir apparent.
The great body of the Inca nobility next made their appearance, and,
beginning with those nearest of kin, knelt down before the prince, and did
him homage as successor to the crown.  The whole assembly then moved
to the great square of the capital, where songs, and dances, and other
public festivities closed the important ceremonial of the huaracu.31

The reader will be less surprised by the resemblance which this
ceremonial bears to the inauguration of a Christian knight in the feudal
ages, if he reflects that a similar analogy may be traced in the institutions
of other people more or less civilized; and that it is natural that nations,
occupied with the one great business of war, should mark the period,
when the preparatory education for it was ended, by similar characteristic
Having thus honorably passed through his ordeal, the heir-apparent was
deemed worthy to sit in the councils of his father, and was employed in
offices of trust at home, or, more usually, sent on distant expeditions to
practise in the field the lessons which he had hitherto studied only in the
mimic theatre of war.  His first campaigns were conducted under the
renowned commanders who had grown grey in the service of his father;
until, advancing in years and experience, he was placed in command
himself, and, like Huayna Capac, the last and most illustrious of his line,
carried the banner of the rainbow, the armorial ensign of his house, far
over the borders, among the remotest tribes of the plateau.

The government of Peru was a despotism, mild in its character, but in its
form a pure and unmitigated despotism.  The sovereign was placed at an
immeasurable distance above his subjects.  Even the proudest of the Inca
nobility, claiming a descent from the same divine original as himself,
could not venture into the royal presence, unless barefoot, and bearing a
light burden on his shoulders in token of homage.32  As the
representative of the Sun, he stood at the head of the priesthood, and
presided at the most important of the religious festivals.33  He raised
armies, and usually commanded them in person.  He imposed taxes, made
laws, and provided for their execution by the appointment of judges,
whom he removed at pleasure.  He was the source from which every thing
flowed, all dignity, all power, all emolument.  He was, in short, in the well-
known phrase of the European despot, "himself the state." 34

The Inca asserted his claims as a superior being by assuming a pomp in
his manner of living well calculated to impose on his people.  His dress
was of the finest wool of the vicuna, richly dyed, and ornamented with a
profusion of gold and precious stones.  Round his head was wreathed a
turban of many-colored folds, called the llautu; and a tasselled fringe, like
that worn by the prince, but of a scarlet color, with two feathers of a rare
and curious bird, called the coraquenque, placed upright in it, were the
distinguishing insignia of royalty.  The birds from which these feathers
were obtained were found in a desert country among the mountains; and it
was death to destroy or to take them, as they were reserved for the
exclusive purpose of supplying the royal head-gear.  Every succeeding
monarch was provided with a new pair of these plumes, and his credulous
subjects fondly believed that only two individuals of the species had ever
existed to furnish the simple ornament for the diadem of the Incas.35

Although the Peruvian monarch was raised so far above the highest of his
subjects, he condescended to mingle occasionally with them, and took
great pains personally to inspect the condition of the humbler classes.  He
presided at some of the religious celebrations, and on these occasions
entertained the great nobles at his table, when he complimented them,
after the fashion of more civilized nations, by drinking the health of those
whom he most delighted to honor.36

But the most effectual means taken by the Incas for communicating with
their people were their progresses through the empire.  These were
conducted, at intervals of several years, with great state and magnificence.
The sedan, or litter, in which they travelled, richly emblazoned with gold
and emeralds, was guarded by a numerous escort.  The men who bore it
on their shoulders were provided by two cities, specially appointed for the
purpose.  It was a post to be coveted by no one, if, as is asserted, a fall
was punished by death.37  They travelled with ease and expedition,
halting at the tambos, or inns, erected by government along the route, and
occasionally at the royal palaces, which in the great towns afforded ample
accommodations to the whole of the monarch's retinue.  The noble roads
which traversed the table-land were lined with people who swept away the
stones and stubble from their surface, strewing them with sweet-scented
flowers, and vying with each other in carrying forward the baggage from
one village to another.  The monarch halted from time to time to listen to
the grievances of his subjects, or to settle some points which had been
referred to his decision by the regular tribunals.  As the princely train
wound its way along the mountain passes, every place was thronged with
spectators eager to catch a glimpse of their sovereign; and, when he raised
the curtains of his litter, and showed himself to their eyes, the air was rent
with acclamations as they invoked blessings on his head.38  Tradition
long commemorated the spots at which he halted, and the simple people
of the country held them in reverence as places consecrated by the
presence of an Inca.39

The royal palaces were on a magnificent scale, and, far from being
confined to the capital or a few principal towns, were scattered over all
the provinces of their vast empire.40  The buildings were low, but
covered a wide extent of ground.  Some of the apartments were spacious,
but they were generally small, and had no communication with one
another, except that they opened into a common square or court.  The
walls were made of blocks of stone of various sizes, like those described
in the fortress of Cuzco, rough-hewn, but carefully wrought near the line
of junction, which was scarcely visible to the eye.  The roofs were of
wood or rushes, which have perished under the rude touch of time, that
has shown more respect for the walls of the edifices.  The whole seems to
have been characterized by solidity and strength, rather than by any
attempt at architectural elegance.41

But whatever want of elegance there may have been in the exterior of the
imperial dwellings, it was amply compensated by the interior, in which all
the opulence of the Peruvian princes was ostentatiously displayed.  The
sides of the apartments were thickly studded with gold and silver
ornaments.  Niches, prepared in the walls, were filled with images of
animals and plants curiously wrought of the same costly materials; and
even much of the domestic furniture, including the utensils devoted to the
most ordinary menial services, displayed the like wanton magnificence!
42  With these gorgeous decorations were mingled richly colored stuffs of
the delicate manufacture of the Peruvian wool, which were of so beautiful
a texture, that the Spanish sovereigns, with all the luxuries of Europe and
Asia at their command, did not disdain to use them.43  The royal
household consisted of a throng of menials, supplied by the neighboring
towns and villages, which, as in Mexico, were bound to furnish the
monarch with fuel and other necessaries for the consumption of the

But the favorite residence of the Incas was at Yucay, about four leagues
distant from the capital.  In this delicious valley, locked up within the
friendly arms of the sierra, which sheltered it from the rude breezes of the
east, and refreshed by gushing fountains and streams of running water,
they built the most beautiful of their palaces.  Here, when wearied with
the dust and toil of the city, they loved to retreat, and solace themselves
with the society of their favorite concubines, wandering amidst groves and
airy gardens, that shed around their soft, intoxicating odors, and lulled the
senses to voluptuous repose.  Here, too, they loved to indulge in the
luxury of their baths, replenished by streams of crystal water which were
conducted through subterraneous silver channels into basins of gold.  The
spacious gardens were stocked with numerous varieties of plants and
flowers that grew without effort in this temperate region of the tropics,
while parterres of a more extraordinary kind were planted by their side,
glowing with the various forms of vegetable life skilfully imitated in gold
and silver! Among them the Indian corn, the most beautiful of American
grains, is particularly commemorated, and the curious workmanship is
noticed with which the golden ear was half disclosed amidst the broad
leaves of silver, and the light tassel of the same material that floated
gracefully from its top.44

If this dazzling picture staggers the faith of the reader, he may reflect that
the Peruvian mountains teemed with gold; that the natives understood the
art of working the mines, to a considerable extent; that none of the ore, as
we shall see hereafter, was converted into coin, and that the whole of it
passed into the hands of the sovereign for his own exclusive benefit,
whether for purposes of utility or ornament.  Certain it is that no fact is
better attested by the Conquerors themselves, who had ample means of
information, and no motive for misstatement.--The Italian poets, in their
gorgeous pictures of the gardens of Alcina and Morgana, came nearer the
truth than they imagined.

Our surprise, however, may reasonably be excited, when we consider that
the wealth displayed by the Peruvian princes was only that which each
had amassed individually for himself.  He owed nothing to inheritance
from his predecessors.  On the decease of an Inca, his palaces were
abandoned, all his treasures, except what were employed in his obsequies,
his furniture and apparel, were suffered to remain as he left them, and his
mansions, save one, were closed up for ever.  The new sovereign was to
provide himself with every thing new for his royal state.  The reason of
this was the popular belief, that the soul of the departed monarch would
return after a time to reanimate his body on earth; and they wished that he
should find every thing to which he had been used in life prepared for his

When an Inca died, or, to use his own language, "was called home to the
mansions of his father, the Sun,"  46 his obsequies were celebrated with
great pomp and solemnity.  The bowels were taken from the body, and
deposited in the temple of Tampu, about five leagues from the capital.  A
quantity of his plate and jewels was buried with them, and a number of his
attendants and favorite concubines, amounting sometimes, it is said, to a
thousand, were immolated on his tomb.47  Some of them showed the
natural repugnance to the sacrifice occasionally manifested by the victims
of a similar superstition in India.  But these were probably the menials
and more humble attendants; since the women have been known, in more
than one instance, to lay violent hands on themselves, when restrained
from testifying their fidelity by this act of conjugal martyrdom.  This
melancholy ceremony was followed by a general mourning throughout the
empire.  At stated intervals, for a year, the people assembled to renew the
expressions of their sorrow, processions were made, displaying the banner
of the departed monarch; bards and minstrels were appointed to chronicle
his achievements, and their songs continued to be rehearsed at high
festivals in the presence of the reigning monarch,--thus stimulating the
living by the glorious example of the dead.48

The body of the deceased Inca was skilfully embalmed, and removed to
the great temple of the Sun at Cuzco.  There the Peruvian sovereign, on
entering the awful sanctuary, might behold the effigies of his royal
ancestors, ranged in opposite files,--the men on the right, and their queens
on the left, of the great luminary which blazed in refulgent gold on the
walls of the temple.  The bodies, clothed in the princely attire which they
had been accustomed to wear, were placed on chairs of gold, and sat with
their heads inclined downward, their hands placidly crossed over their
bosoms, their countenances exhibiting their natural dusky hue,--less liable
to change than the fresher coloring of a European complexion,--and their
hair of raven black, or silvered over with age, according to the period at
which they died! It seemed like a company of solemn worshippers fixed in
devotion,--so true were the forms and lineaments to life.  The Peruvians
were as successful as the Egyptians in the miserable attempt to perpetuate
the existence of the body beyond the limits assigned to it by nature.49

They cherished a still stranger illusion in the attentions which they
continued to pay to these insensible remains, as if they were instinct with
life.  One of the houses belonging to a deceased Inca was kept open and
occupied by his guard and attendants, with all the state appropriate to
royalty.  On certain festivals, the revered bodies of the sovereigns were
brought out with great ceremony into the public square of the capital.
Invitations were sent by the captains of the guard of the respective Incas
to the different nobles and officers of the court; and entertainments were
provided in the names of their masters, which displayed all the profuse
magnificence of their treasures,--and "such a display," says an ancient
chronicler, "was there in the great square of Cuzco, on this occasion, of
gold and silver plate and jewels, as no other city in the world ever
witnessed." 50  The banquet was served by the menials of the respective
households, and the guests partook of the melancholy cheer in the
presence of the royal phantom with the same attention to the forms of
courtly etiquette as if the living monarch had presided! 51

The nobility of Peru consisted of two orders, the first and by far the most
important of which was that of the Incas, who, boasting a common
descent with their sovereign, lived, as it were, in the reflected light of his
glory.  As the Peruvian monarchs availed themselves of the right of
polygamy to a very liberal extent, leaving behind them families of one or
even two hundred children, 52 the nobles of the blood royal, though
comprehending only their descendants in the male line, came in the course
of years to be very numerous.53  They were divided into different
lineages, each of which traced its pedigree to a different member of the
royal dynasty, though all terminated in the divine founder of the empire.

They were distinguished by many exclusive and very important privileges;
they wore a peculiar dress; spoke a dialect, if we may believe the
chronicler, peculiar to themselves; 54 and had the choicest portion of the
public domain assigned for their support.  They lived, most of them, at
court, near the person of the prince, sharing in his counsels, dining at his
board, or supplied from his table.  They alone were admissible to the great
offices in the priesthood.  They were invested with the command of
armies, and of distant garrisons, were placed over the provinces, and, in
short, filled every station of high trust and emolument.55  Even the laws,
severe in their general tenor, seem not to have been framed with reference
to them; and the people, investing the whole order with a portion of the
sacred character which belonged to the sovereign, held that an Inca noble
was incapable of crime.56

The other order of nobility was the Curacas, the caciques of the
conquered nations, or their descendants.  They were usually continued by
the government in their places, though they were required to visit the
capital occasionally, and to allow their sons to be educated there as the
pledges of their loyalty.  It is not easy to define the nature or extent of
their privileges.  They were possessed of more or less power, according to
the extent of their patrimony, and the number of their vassals.  Their
authority was usually transmitted from father to son, though sometimes
the successor was chosen by the people.57  They did not occupy the
highest posts of state, or those nearest the person of the sovereign, like the
nobles of the blood.  Their authority seems to have been usually local, and
always in subordination to the territorial jurisdiction of the great
provincial governors, who were taken from the Incas.58

It was the Inca nobility, indeed, who constituted the real strength of the
Peruvian monarchy.  Attached to their prince by ties of consanguinity,
they had common sympathies and, to a considerable extent, common
interests with him.  Distinguished by a peculiar dress and insignia, as well
as by language and blood, from the rest of the community, they were
never confounded with the other tribes and nations who were incorporated
into the great Peruvian monarchy.  After the lapse of centuries, they still
retained their individuality as a peculiar people.  They were to the
conquered races of the country what the Romans were to the barbarous
hordes of the Empire, or the Normans to the ancient inhabitants of the
British Isles.  Clustering around the throne, they formed an invincible
phalanx, to shield it alike from secret conspiracy and open insurrection.
Though living chiefly in the capital, they were also distributed throughout
the country in all its high stations and strong military posts, thus
establishing lines of communication with the court, which enabled the
sovereign to act simultaneously and with effect on the most distant
quarters of his empire.  They possessed, moreover, an intellectual
preeminence, which, no less than their station, gave them authority with
the people.  Indeed, it may be said to have been the principal foundation
of their authority.  The crania of the Inca race show a decided superiority
over the other races of the land in intellectual power; 59 and it cannot be
denied that it was the fountain of that peculiar civilization and social
polity, which raised the Peruvian monarchy above every other state in
South America.  Whence this remarkable race came, and what was its
early history, are among those mysteries that meet us so frequently in the
annals of the New World, and which time and the antiquary have as yet
done little to explain.

Book 1

Chapter 2

Orders Of The State--Provisions For Justice--Division Of Lands-
Revenues And Registers--Great Roads And Posts-
Military Tactics And Policy

If we are surprised at the peculiar and original features of what may be
called the Peruvian aristocracy, we shall be still more so as we descend
to the lower orders of the community, and see the very artificial character
of their institutions,--as artificial as those of ancient Sparta, and, though
in a different way, quite as repugnant to the essential principles of our
nature.  The institutions of Lycurgus, however, were designed for a petty
state, while those of Peru, although originally intended for such, seemed,
like the magic tent in the Arabian tale, to have an indefinite power of
expansion, and were as well suited to the most flourishing condition of
the empire as to its infant fortunes.  In this remarkable accommodation to
change of circumstances we see the proofs of a contrivance that argues
no slight advance in civilization.

The name of Peru was not known to the natives.  It was given by the
Spaniards, and originated, it is said, in a misapprehension of the Indian
name of "river."1  However this may be, it is certain that the natives had
no other epithet by which to designate the large collection of tribes and
nations who were assembled under the sceptre of the Incas, than that of
Tavantinsuyu, or "four quarters of the world."2  This will not surprise a
citizen of the United States, who has no other name by which to class
himself among nations than what is borrowed from a quarter of the
globe.3  The kingdom, conformably to its name, was divided into four
parts, distinguished each by a separate title, and to each of which ran one
of the four great roads that diverged from Cuzco, the capital or navel of
the Peruvian monarchy.  The city was in like manner divided into four
quarters; and the various races, which gathered there from the distant
parts of the empire, lived each in the quarter nearest to its respective
province.  They all continued to wear their peculiar national costume, so
that it was easy to determine their origin; and the same order and system
of arrangement prevailed in the motley population of the capital, as in
the great provinces of the empire.  The capital, in fact, was a miniature
image of the empire.4

The four great provinces were each placed under a viceroy or governor,
who ruled over them with the assistance of one or more councils for the
different departments.  These viceroys resided, some portion of their
time, at least, in the capital, where they constituted a sort of council of
state to the Inca.5  The nation at large was distributed into decades, or
small bodies of ten; and every tenth man, or head of a decade, had
supervision of the rest,---being required to see that they enjoyed the
rights and immunities to which they were entitled, to solicit aid in their
behalf from government, when necessary, and to bring offenders to
justice.  To this last they were stimulated by a law that imposed on them,
in case of neglect, the same penalty that would have been incurred by the
guilty party.  With this law hanging over his head, the magistrate of Peru,
we may well believe, did not often go to sleep on his post.6

The people were still further divided into bodies of fifty, one hundred,
five hundred, and a thousand, with each an officer having general
supervision over those beneath, and the higher ones possessing, to a
certain extent, authority in matters of police.  Lastly, the whole empire
was distributed into sections or departments of ten thousand inhabitants,
with a governor over each, from the Inca nobility, who had control over
the curacas and other territorial officers in the district.  There were, also,
regular tribunals of justice, consisting of magistrates in each of the towns
or small communities, with jurisdiction over petty offences, while those
of a graver character were carried before superior judges, usually the
governors or rulers of the districts.  These judges all held their authority
and received their support from the Crown, by which they were
appointed and removed at pleasure.  They were obliged to determine
every suit in five days from the time it was brought before them; and
there was no appeal from one tribunal to another.  Yet there were
important provisions for the security of justice.  A committee of visitors
patrolled the kingdom at certain times to investigate the character and
conduct of the magistrates; and any neglect or violation of duty was
punished in the most exemplary manner.  The inferior courts were also
required to make monthly returns of their proceedings to the higher ones,
and these made reports in like manner to the viceroys; so that the
monarch, seated in the centre of his dominions, could look abroad, as it
were, to the most distant extremities, and review and rectify any abuses
in the administration of the law.7

The laws were few and exceedingly severe.  They related almost wholly
to criminal matters.  Few other laws were needed by a people who had
no money, little trade, and hardly any thing that could be called fixed
property.  The crimes of theft, adultery, and murder were all capital;
though it was wisely provided that some extenuating circumstances
might be allowed to mitigate the punishment.8   Blasphemy against the
Sun, and malediction of the Inca,--offences, indeed, of the same
complexion were also punished with death.  Removing landmarks,
turning the water away from a neighbor's land into one's own, burning a
house, were all severely punished.  To burn a bridge was death.  The inca
allowed no obstacle to those facilities of communication so essential to
the maintenance of public order.  A rebellious city or province was laid
waste, and its inhabitants exterminated.  Rebellion against the "Child of
the Sun," was the greatest of all crimes.9

The simplicity and severity of the Peruvian code may be thought to infer
a state of society but little advanced; which had few of those complex
interests and relations that grow up in a civilized community, and which
had not proceeded far enough in the science of legislation to economize
human suffering by proportioning penalties to crimes.  But the Peruvian
institutions must be regarded from a different point of view from that in
which we study those of other nations.  The laws emanated from the
sovereign, and that sovereign held a divine commission, and was
possessed of a divine nature.  To violate the law was not only to insult
the majesty of the throne, but it was sacrilege.  The slightest offence,
viewed in this light, merited death; and the gravest could incur no
heavier penalty.10  Yet, in the infliction of their punishments, they
showed no unnecessary cruelty; and the sufferings of the victim were not
prolonged by the ingenious torments so frequent among barbarous

These legislative provisions may strike us as very defective, even as
compared with those of the semi-civilized races of Anahuac, where a
gradation of courts, moreover, with the right of appeal, afforded a
tolerable security for justice.  But in a country like Peru, where few but
criminal causes were known, the right of appeal was of less consequence.
The law was simple, its application easy; and, where the judge was
honest, the case was as likely to be determined correctly on the first
hearing as on the second.  The inspection of the board of visitors, and the
monthly returns of the tribunals, afforded no slight guaranty for their
integrity.  The law which required a decision within five days would
seem little suited to the complex and embarrassing litigation of a modern
tribunal.  But, in the simple questions submitted to the Peruvian judge,
delay would have been useless; and the Spaniards, familiar with the evils
growing out of long-protracted suits, where the successful litigant is too
often a ruined man, are loud in their encomiums of this swift-handed and
economical justice.12

The fiscal regulations of the Incas, and the laws respecting property, are
the most remarkable features in the Peruvian polity.  The whole territory
of the empire was divided into three parts, one for the Sun, another for
the Inca, and the last for the people.  Which of the three was the largest
is doubtful.  The proportions differed materially in different provinces.
The distribution, indeed, was made on the same general principle, as
each new conquest was added to the monarchy; but the propertion varied
according to the amount of population, and the greater or less amount of
land consequently required for the support of the inhabitants.13

The lands assigned to the Sun furnished a revenue to support the
temples, and maintain the costly ceremonial of the Peruvian worship and
the multitudinous priesthood.  Those reserved for the Inca went to
support the royal state, as well as the numerous members of his
household and his kindred, and supplied the various exigencies of
government.  The remainder of the lands was divided, per capita, in
equal shares among the people.  It was provided by law, as we shall see
hereafter, that every Peruvian should marry at a certain age.  When this
event took place, the community or district in which he lived furnished
him with a dwelling, which, as it was constructed of humble materials,
was done at little cost.  A lot of land was then assigned to him sufficient
for his own maintenance and that of his wife.  An additional portion was
granted for every child, the amount allowed for a son being the double of
that for a daughter.  The division of the soil was renewed every year, and
the possessions of the tenant were increased or diminished according to
the numbers in his family.14  The same arrangement was observed with
reference to the curacas, except only that a domain was assigned to them
corresponding with the superior dignity of their stations.15

A more thorough and effectual agrarian law than this cannot be
imagined.  In other countries where such a law has been introduced, its
operation, after a time, has given way to the natural order of events, and,
under the superior intelligence and thrift of some and the prodigality of
others, the usual vicissitudes of fortune have been allowed to take their
course, and restore things to their natural inequality.  Even the iron law
of Lycurgus ceased to operate after a time, and melted away before the
spirit of luxury and avarice.  The nearest approach to the Peruvian
constitution was probably in Judea, where, on the recurrence of the great
national jubilee, at the close of every half-century, estates reverted to
their original proprietors.  There was this important difference in Peru;
that not only did the lease, if we may so call it, terminate with the year,
but during that period the tenant had no power to alienate or to add to his
possessions.  The end of the brief term found him in precisely the same
condition that he was in at the beginning.  Such a state of things might be
supposed to be fatal to any thing like attachment to the soil, or to that
desire of improving it, which is natural to the permanent proprietor, and
hardly less so to the holder of a long lease.  But the practical operation of
the law seems to have been otherwise; and it is probable, that, under the
influence of that love of order and aversion to change which marked the
Peruvian institutions, each new partition of the soil usually confirmed the
occupant in his possession, and the tenant for a year was converted into a
proprietor for life.

The territory was cultivated wholly by the people.  The lands belonging
to the Sun were first attended to.  They next tilled the lands of the old, of
the sick, of the widow and the orphan, and of soldiers engaged in actual
service; in short, of all that part of the community who, from bodily
infirmity or any other cause, were unable to attend to their own concerns.
The people were then allowed to work on their own ground, each man
for himself, but with the general obligation to assist his neighbor, when
any circumstance--the burden of a young and numerous family, for
example--might demand it.16  Lastly, they cultivated the lands of the
Inca.  This was done, with great ceremony, by the whole population in a
body.  At break of day, they were summoned together by proclamation
from some neighboring tower or eminence, and all the inhabitants of the
district, men, women, and children, appeared dressed in their gayest
apparel, bedecked with their little store of finery and ornaments, as if for
some great jubilee.  They went through the labors of the day with the
same joyous spirit, chanting their popular ballads which commemorated
the heroic deeds of the Incas, regulating their movements by the measure
of the chant, and all mingling in the chorus, of which the word hailli, or
"triumph," was usually the burden.  These national airs had something
soft and pleasing in their character, that recommended them to the
Spaniards; and many a Peruvian song was set to music by them after the
Conquest, and was listened to by the unfortunate natives with
melancholy satisfaction, as it called up recollections of the past, when
their days glided peacefully away under the sceptre of the Incas.17

A similar arrangement prevailed with respect to the different
manufactures as to the agricultural products of the country.  The flocks
of llamas, or Peruvian sheep, were appropriated exclusively to the Sun
and to the Inca.18  Their number was immense.  They were scattered
over the different provinces, chiefly in the colder regions of the country,
where they were intrusted to the care of experienced shepherds, who
conducted them to different pastures according to the change of season.
A large number was every year sent to the capital for the consumption of
the Court, and for the religious festivals and sacrifices.  But these were
only the males, as no female was allowed to be killed.  The regulations
for the care and breeding of these flocks were prescribed with the
greatest minuteness, and with a sagacity which excited the admiration of
the Spaniards, who were familiar with the management of the great
migratory flocks of merinos in their own country.19

At the appointed season, they were all sheared, and the wool was
deposited in the public magazines.  It was then dealt out to each family in
such quantities as sufficed for its wants, and was consigned to the female
part of the household, who were well instructed in the business of
spinning and weaving.  When this labor was accomplished, and the
family was provided with a coarse but warm covering, suited to the cold
climate of the mountains,--for, in the lower country, cotton, furnished in
like manner by the Crown, took the place, to a certain extent, of wool,--
the people were required to labor for the Inca.  The quantity of the cloth
needed, as well as the peculiar kind and quality of the fabric, was first
determined at Cuzco.  The work was then apportioned among the
different provinces.  Officers, appointed for the purpose, superintended
the distribution of the wool, so that the manufacture of the different
articles should be intrusted to the most competent hands.20  They did not
leave the matter here, but entered the dwellings, from time to time, and
saw that the work was faithfully executed.  This domestic inquisition was
not confined to the labors for the Inca.  It included, also, those for the
several families; and care was taken that each household should employ
the materials furnished for its own use in the manner that was intended,
so that no one should be unprovided with necessary apparel.21  In this
domestic labor all the female part of the establishment was expected to
join.  Occupation was found for all, from the child five years old to the
aged matron not too infirm to hold a distaff.  No one, at least none but
the decrepit and the sick, was allowed to eat the bread of idleness in
Peru.  Idleness was a crime in the eye of the law, and, as such, severely
punished; while industry was publicly commended and stimulated by

The like course was pursued with reference to the other requisitions of
the government.  All the mines in the kingdom belonged to the Inca.
They were wrought exclusively for his benefit, by persons familiar with
this service, and selected from the districts where the mines were
situated.23  Every Peruvian of the lower class was a husbandman, and,
with the exception of those already specified, was expected to provide
for his own support by the cultivation of his land.  A small portion of the
community, however, was instructed in mechanical arts; some of them of
the more elegant kind, subservient to the purposes of luxury and
ornament.  The demand for these was chiefly limited to the sovereign
and his Court; but the labor of a larger number of hands was exacted for
the execution of the great public works which covered the land.  The
nature and amount of the services required were all determined at Cuzco
by commissioners well instructed in the resources of the country, and in
the character of the inhabitants of different provinces.24

This information was obtained by an admirable regulation, which has
scarcely a counterpart in the annals of a semi-civilized people.  A
register was kept of all the births and deaths throughout the country, and
exact returns of the actual population were made to government every
year, by means of the quipus, a curious invention, which will be
explained hereafter.25  At certain intervals, also, a general survey of the
country was made, exhibiting a complete view of the character of the
soil, its fertility, the nature of its products, both agricultural and mineral,-
-in short, of all that constituted the physical resources of the empire.26
Furnished with these statistical details, it was easy for the government,
after determining the amount of requisitions, to distribute the work
among the respective provinces best qualified to execute it.  The task of
apportioning the labor was assigned to the local authorities, and great
care was taken that it should be done in such a manner, that, while the
most competent hands were selected, it should not fall disproportionately
heavy on any.27

The different provinces of the country furnished persons peculiarly
suited to different employments, which, as we shall see hereafter, usually
descended from father to son.  Thus, one district supplied those most
skilled in working the mines, another the most curious workers in metals,
or in wood, and so on.28  The artisan was provided by government with
the materials; and no one was required to give more than a stipulated
portion of his time to the public service.  He was then succeeded by
another for the like term; and it should be observed, that all who were
engaged in the employment of the government--and the remark applies
equally to agricultural labor--were maintained, for the time, at the public
expense.29  By this constant rotation of labor, it was intended that no
one should be overburdened, and that each man should have time to
provide for the demands of his own household.  It was impossible--in the
judgment of a high Spanish authority--to improve on the system of
distribution, so carefully was it accommodated to the condition and
comfort of the artisan.30  The security of the working classes seems to
have been ever kept in view in the regulations of the government; and
these were so discreetly arranged, that the most wearing and
unwholesome labors, as those of the mines, occasioned no detriment to
the health of the laborer; a striking contrast to his subsequent condition
under the Spanish rule.31

A part of the agricultural produce and manufactures was transported to
Cuzco, to minister to the immediate demands of the Inca and his Court.
But far the greater part was stored in magazines scattered over the
different provinces.  These spacious buildings, constructed of stone,
were divided between the Sun and the Inca, though the greater share
seems to have been appropriated by the monarch.  By a wise regulation,
any deficiency in the contributions of the Inca might be supplied from
the granaries of the Sun.32  But such a necessity could rarely have
happened; and the providence of the government usually left a large
surplus in the royal depositories, which was removed to a third class of
magazines, whose design was to supply the people in seasons of scarcity,
and, occasionally, to furnish relief to individuals, whom sickness or
misfortune had reduced to poverty; thus, in a manner, justifying the
assertion of a Castilian document, that a large portion of the revenues of
the Inca found its way back again, through one channel or another, into
the hands of the people.33  These magazines were found by the
Spaniards, on their arrival, stored with all the various products and
manufactures of the country,--with maize, coca, quinua, woolen and
cotton stuffs of the finest quality, with vases and utensils of gold, silver,
and copper, in short, with every article of luxury or use within the
compass of Peruvian skill.34  The magazines of grain, in particular,
would frequently have sufficed for the consumption of the adjoining
district for several years.35  An inventory of the various products of the
country, and the quarters whence they were obtained, was every year
taken by the royal officers, and recorded by the quipucamayus on their
registers, with surprising regularity and precision.  These registers were
transmitted to the capital, and submitted to the Inca, who could thus at a
glance, as it were, embrace the whole results of the national industry, and
see how far they corresponded with the requisitions of government.36

Such are some of the most remarkable features of the Peruvian
institutions relating to property, as delineated by writers who, however
contradictory in the details, have a general conformity of outline.  These
institutions are certainly so remarkable, that it is hardly credible they
should ever have been enforced throughout a great empire, and for a long
period of years.  Yet we have the most unequivocal testimony to the fact
from the Spaniards, who landed in Peru in time to witness their
operation; some of whom, men of high judicial station and character,
were commissioned by the government to make investigations into the
state of the country under its ancient rulers.

The impositions on the Peruvian people seem to have been sufficiently
heavy.  On them rested the whole burden of maintaining, not only their
own order, but every other order in the state.  The members of the royal
house, the great nobles, even the public functionaries, and the numerous
body of the priesthood, were all exempt from taxation.37  The whole
duty of defraying the expenses of the government belonged to the
people.  Yet this was not materially different from the condition of things
formerly existing in most parts of Europe, where the various privileged
classes claimed exemption--not always with success, indeed--from
bearing part of the public burdens.  The great hardship in the case of the
Peruvian was, that he could not better his condition.  His labors were for
others, rather than for himself.  However industrious, he could not add a
rood to his own possessions, nor advance himself one hair's breadth in
the social scale.  The great and universal motive to honest industry, that
of bettering one's lot, was lost upon him.  The great law of human
progress was not for him.  As he was born, so he was to die.  Even his
time he could not properly call his own.  Without money, with little
property of any kind, he paid his taxes in labor.38  No wonder that the
government should have dealt with sloth as a crime.  It was a crime
against the state, and to be wasteful of time was, in a manner, to rob the
exchequer.  The Peruvian, laboring all his life for others, might be
compared to the convict in a treadmill, going the same dull round of
incessant toil, with the consciousness, that, however profitable the results
to the state, they were nothing to him.

But this is the dark side of the picture.  If no man could become rich in
Peru, no man could become poor.  No spendthrift could waste his
substance in riotous luxury.  No adventurous schemer could impoverish
his family by the spirit of speculation.  The law was constantly directed
to enforce a steady industry and a sober management of his affairs.  No
mendicant was tolerated in Peru.  When a man was reduced by poverty
or misfortune, (it could hardly be by fault,) the arm of the law was
stretched out to minister relief; not the stinted relief of private charity,
nor that which is doled out, drop by drop, as it were, from the frozen
reservoirs of "the parish," but in generous measure, bringing no
humiliation to the object of it, and placing him on a level with the rest of
his countrymen.39

No man could be rich, no man could be poor, in Peru; but all might
enjoy, and did enjoy, a competence.  Ambition, avarice, the love of
change, the morbid spirit of discontent, those passions which most
agitate the minds of men, found no place in the bosom of the Peruvian.
The very condition of his being seemed to be at war with change.  He
moved on in the same unbroken circle in which his fathers had moved
before him, and in which his children were to follow.  It was the object
of the Incas to infuse into their subjects a spirit of passive obedience and
tranquillity,--a perfect acquiescence in the established order of things.  In
this they fully succeeded.  The Spaniards who first visited the country are
emphatic in their testimony, that no government could have been better
suited to the genius of the people; and no people could have appeared
more contented with their lot, or more devoted to their government.40

Those who may distrust the accounts of Peruvian industry will find their
doubts removed on a visit to the country.  The traveller still meets,
especially in the central regions of the table-land, with memorials of the
past, remains of temples, palaces, fortresses, terraced mountains, great
military roads, aqueducts, and other public works, which, whatever
degree of science they may display in their execution, astonish him by
their number, the massive character of the materials, and the grandeur of
the design.  Among them, perhaps the most remarkable are the great
roads, the broken remains of which are still in sufficient preservation to
attest their former magnificence.  There were many of these roads,
traversing different parts of the kingdom; but the most considerable were
the two which extended from Quito to Cuzco, and, again diverging from
the capital, continued in a southern direction towards Chili.

One of these roads passed over the grand plateau, and the other along the
lowlands on the borders of the ocean.  The former was much the more
difficult achievement, from the character of the country.  It was
conducted over pathless sierras buried in snow; galleries were cut for
leagues through the living rock; rivers were crossed by means of bridges
that swung suspended in the air; precipices were scaled by stairways
hewn out of the native bed; ravines of hideous depth were filled up with
solid masonry; in short, all the difficulties that beset a wild and
mountainous region, and which might appall the most courageous
engineer of modern times, were encountered and successfully overcome.
The length of the road, of which scattered fragments only remain, is
variously estimated, from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles; and
stone pillars, in the manner of European milestones, were erected at
stated intervals of somewhat more than a league, all along the route.  Its
breadth scarcely exceeded twenty feet.41  It was built of heavy flags of
freestone, and in some parts, at least, covered with a bituminous cement,
which time has made harder than the stone itself.  In some places, where
the ravines had been filled up with masonry, the mountain torrents,
wearing on it for ages, have gradually eaten a way through the base, and
left the superincumbent mass--such is the cohesion of the materials--still
spanning the valley like an arch ! 42

Over some of the boldest streams it was necessary to construct
suspension bridges, as they are termed, made of the tough fibres of the
maguey, or of the osier of the country, which has an extraordinary degree
of tenacity and strength.  These osiers were woven into cables of the
thickness of a man's body.  The huge ropes, then stretched across the
water, were conducted through rings or holes cut in immense buttresses
of stone raised on the opposite banks of the river, and there secured to
heavy pieces of timber.  Several of these enormous cables, bound
together, formed a bridge, which, covered with planks, well secured and
defended by a railing of the same osier materials on the sides, afforded a
safe passage for the traveller.  The length of this aerial bridge, sometimes
exceeding two hundred feet, caused it, confined, as it was, only at the
extremities, to dip with an alarming inclination towards the centre, while
the motion given to it by the passenger occasioned an oscillation still
more frightful, as his eye wandered over the dark abyss of waters that
foamed and tumbled many a fathom beneath.  Yet these light and fragile
fabrics were crossed without fear by the Peruvians, and are still retained
by the Spaniards over those streams which, from the depth or
impetuosity of the current, would seem impracticable for the usual
modes of conveyance.  The wider and more tranquil waters were crossed
on balsas--a kind of raft still much used by the natives--to which sails
were attached, furnishing the only instance of this higher kind of
navigation among the American Indians.43

The other great road of the Incas lay through the level country between
the Andes and the ocean.  It was constructed in a different manner, as
demanded by the nature of the ground, which was for the most part low,
and much of it sandy.  The causeway was raised on a high embankment
of earth, and defended on either side by a parapet or wall of clay; and
trees and odoriferous shrubs were planted along the margin, regaling the
sense of the traveller with their perfumes, and refreshing him by their
shades, so grateful under the burning sky of the tropics.  In the strips of
sandy waste, which occasionally intervened, where the light and volatile
soil was incapable of sustaining a road, huge piles, many of them to be
seen at this day, were driven into the ground to indicate the route to the

All along these highways, caravansaries, or tambos, as they were called,
were erected, at the distance of ten or twelve miles from each other, for
the accommodation, more particularly, of the Inca and his suite, and
those who journeyed on the public business.  There were few other
travellers in Peru.  Some of these buildings were on an extensive scale,
consisting of a fortress, barracks, and other military works, surrounded
by a parapet of stone, and covering a large tract of ground.  These were
evidently destined for the accommodation of the imperial armies, when
on their march across the country.  The care of the great roads was
committed to the districts through which they passed, and a large number
of hands was constantly employed under the Incas to keep them in repair.
This was the more easily done in a country where the mode of travelling
was altogether on foot; though the roads are said to have been so nicely
constructed, that a carriage might have rolled over them as securely as on
any of the great roads of Europe.45  Still, in a region where the elements
of fire and water are both actively at work in the business of destruction,
they must, without constant supervision, have gradually gone to decay.
Such has been their fate under the Spanish conquerors, who took no care
to enforce the admirable system for their preservation adopted by the
Incas.  Yet the broken portions that still survive, here and there, like the
fragments of the great Roman roads scattered over Europe, bear
evidence to their primitive grandeur, and have drawn forth the eulogium
from a discriminating traveller, usually not too profuse in his panegyric,
that "the roads of the Incas were among the most useful and stupendous
works ever executed by man." 46

The system of communication through their dominions was still further
improved by the Peruvian sovereigns, by the introduction of posts, in the
same manner as was done by the Aztecs.  The Peruvian posts, however,
established on all the great routes that conducted to the capital, were on a
much more extended plan than those in Mexico.  All along these routes,
small buildings were erected, at the distance of less than five miles
asunder,47 in each of which a number of runners, or chasquis, as they
were called, were stationed to carry forward the despatches of
government.48  These despatches were either verbal, or conveyed by
means of quipus, and sometimes accompanied by a thread of the crimson
fringe worn round the temples of the Inca, which was regarded with the
same implicit deference as the signet ring of an Oriental despot.49

The chasquis were dressed in a peculiar livery, intimating their
profession.  They were all trained to the employment, and selected for
their speed and fidelity.  As the distance each courier had to perform was
small, and as he had ample time to refresh himself at the stations, they
dart over the ground with great swiftness, and messages were carried
through the whole extent of the long routes, at the rate of a hundred and
fifty miles a day.  The office of the chasquis was not limited to carrying
despatches.  They frequently brought various articles for the use of the
Court; and in this way, fish from the distant ocean, fruits, game, and
different commodities from the hot regions on the coast, were taken to
the capital in good condition, and served fresh at the royal table.50  It is
remarkable that this important institution should have been known to
both the Mexicans and the Peruvians without any correspondence with
one another; and that it should have been found among two barbarian
nations of the New World, long before it was introduced among the
civilized nations of Europe.51

By these wise contrivances of the Incas, the most distant parts of the
long-extended empire of Peru were brought into intimate relations with
each other.  And while the capitals of Christendom, but a few hundred
miles apart, remained as far asunder as if seas had rolled between them,
the great capitals Cuzco and Quito were placed by the high roads of the
Incas in immediate correspondence.  Intelligence from the numerous
provinces was transmitted on the wings of the wind to the Peruvian
metropolis, the great focus to which all the lines of communication
converged.  Not an insurrectionary movement could occur, not an
invasion, on the remotest frontier, before the tidings were conveyed to
the capital, and the imperial armies were on their march across the
magnificent roads of the country to suppress it.  So admirable was the
machinery contrived by the American despots for maintaining
tranquillity throughout their dominions! It may remind us of the similar
institutions of ancient Rome, when, under the Caesars, she was mistress
of half the world.

A principal design of the great roads was to serve the purposes of
military communication.  It formed an important item of their military
policy, which is quite as well worth studying as their municipal.

Notwithstanding the pacific professions of the Incas, and the pacific
tendency, indeed, of their domestic institutions, they were constantly at
war.  It was by war that their paltry territory had been gradually enlarged
to a powerful empire.  When this was achieved, the capital, safe in its
central position, was no longer shaken by these military movements, and
the country enjoyed, in a great degree, the blessings of tranquillity and
order.  But, however tranquil at heart, there is not a reign upon record in
which the nation was not engaged in war against the barbarous nations
on the frontier.  Religion furnished a plausible pretext for incessant
aggression, and disguised the lust of conquest in the Incas, probably,
from their own eyes, as well as from those of their subjects.  Like the
followers of Mahomet, bearing the sword in one hand and the Koran in
the other, the Incas of Peru offered no alternative but the worship of the
Sun or war.

It is true, their fanaticism--or their policy--showed itself in a milder form
than was found in the descendants of the Prophet.  Like the great
luminary which they adored, they operated by gentleness more potent
than violence.52  They sought to soften the hearts of the rude tribes
around them, and melt them by acts of condescension and kindness.  Far
from provoking hostilities, they allowed time for the salutary example of
their own institutions to work its effect, trusting that their less civilized
neighbors would submit to their sceptre, from a conviction of the
blessings it would secure to them.  When this course failed, they
employed other measures, but still of a pacific character; and endeavored
by negotiation, by conciliatory treatment, and by presents to the leading
men, to win them over to their dominion.  In short, they practised all the
arts familiar to the most subtle politician of a civilized land to secure the
acquisition of empire.  When all these expedients failed, they prepared
for war.

Their levies were drawn from all the different provinces; though from
some, where the character of the people was particularly hardy, more
than from others.53  It seems probable that every Peruvian, who had
reached a certain age, might be called to bear arms.  But the rotation of
military service, and the regular drills, which took place twice or thrice
in a month, of the inhabitants of every village, raised the soldiers
generally above the rank of a raw militia.  The Peruvian army, at first
inconsiderable, came, with the increase of population, in the latter days
of the empire, to be very large, so that their monarchs could bring into
the field, as contemporaries assure us, a force amounting to two hundred
thousand men.  They showed the same skill and respect for order in their
military organization, as in other things.  The troops were divided into
bodies corresponding with our battalions and companies, led by officers,
that rose, in regular gradation, from the lowest subaltern to the Inca
noble, who was intrusted with the general command.54

Their arms consisted of the usual weapons employed by nations, whether
civilized or uncivilized, before the invention of powder,--bows and
arrows, lances, darts, a short kind of sword, a battle-axe or partisan, and
slings, with which they were very expert.  Their spears and arrows were
tipped with copper, or, more commonly, with bone, and the weapons of
the Inca lords were frequently mounted with gold or silver.  Their heads
were protected by casques made either of wood or of the skins of wild
animals, and sometimes richly decorated with metal and with precious
stones, surmounted by the brilliant plumage of the tropical birds.  These,
of course, were the ornaments only of the higher orders.  The great mass
of the soldiery were dressed in the peculiar costume of their provinces,
and their heads were wreathed with a sort of turban or roll of different-
colored cloths, that produced a gay and animating effect.  Their
defensive armor consisted of a shield or buckler, and a close tunic of
quilted cotton, in the same manner as with the Mexicans.  Each company
had its particular banner, and the imperial standard, high above all,
displayed the glittering device and the rainbow,--the armorial ensign of
the Incas, intimating their claims as children of the skies.55

By means of the thorough system of communication established in the
country, a short time sufficed to draw the levies together from the most
distant quarters.  The army was put under the direction of some
experienced chief, of the blood royal, or, more frequently, headed by the
Inca in person.  The march was rapidly performed, and with little fatigue
to the soldier; for, all along the great routes, quarters were provided for
him, at regular distances, where he could find ample accommodations.
The country is still covered with the remains of military works,
constructed of porphyry or granite, which tradition assures us were
designed to lodge the Inca and his army.56

At regular intervals, also, magazines were established, filled with grain,
weapons, and the different munitions of war, with which the army was
supplied on its march.  It was the especial care of the government to see
that these magazines, which were furnished from the stores of the Incas,
were always well filled.  When the Spaniards invaded the country, they
supported their own armies for a long time on the provisions found in
them.57  The Peruvian soldier was forbidden to commit any trespass on
the property of the inhabitants whose territory lay in the line of march.
Any violation of this order was punished with death.58  The soldier was
clothed and fed by the industry of the people, and the Incas rightly re-
solved that he should not repay this by violence.  Far from being a tax on
the labors of the husbandman, or even a burden on his hospitality, the
imperial armies traversed the country, from one extremity to the other,
with as little inconvenience to the inhabitants, as would be created by a
procession of peaceful burghers, or a muster of holiday soldiers for a

From the moment war was proclaimed, the Peruvian monarch used all
possible expedition in assembling his forces, that he might anticipate the
movements of his enemies, and prevent a combination with their allies.
It was, however, from the neglect of such a principle of combination, that
the several nations of the country, who might have prevailed by
confederated strength, fell one after another under the imperial yoke.
Yet, once in the field the Inca did not usually show any disposition to
push his advantages to the utmost, and urge his foe to extremity.  In
every stage of the war, he was open to propositions for peace; and
although he sought to reduce his enemies by carrying off their harvests
and distressing them by famine, he allowed his troops to commit no
unnecessary outrage on person or property.  "We must spare our
enemies," one of the Peruvian princes is quoted as saying, "or it will be
our loss, since they and all that belong to them must soon be ours." 59  It
was a wise maxim, and, like most other wise maxims, founded equally on
benevolence and prudence.  The Incas adopted the policy claimed for the
Romans by their countryman, who tells us that they gained more by
clemency to the vanquished than by their victories.60

In the same considerate spirit, they were most careful to provide for the
security and comfort of their own troops; and, when a war was long
protracted, or the climate proved unhealthy, they took care to relieve
their men by frequent reinforcements, allowing the earlier recruits to
return to their homes.61  But while thus economical of life, both in their
own followers and in the enemy, they did not shrink from sterner
measures when provoked by the ferocious or obstinate character of the
resistance; and the Peruvian annals contain more than one of those
sanguinary pages which cannot be pondered at the present day without a
shudder.  It should be added, that the beneficent policy, which I have
been delineating as characteristic of the Incas, did not belong to all; and
that there was more than one of the royal line who displayed a full
measure of the bold and unscrupulous spirit of the vulgar conqueror.

The first step of the government, after the reduction of a country, was to
introduce there the worship of the Sun.  Temples were erected, and
placed under the care of a numerous priesthood, who expounded to the
conquered people the mysteries of their new faith, and dazzled them by
the display of its rich and stately ceremonial.62  Yet the religion of the
conquered was not treated with dishonor.  The Sun was to be worshipped
above all; but the images of their gods were removed to Cuzco and
established in one of the temples, to hold their rank among the inferior
deities of the Peruvian Pantheon.  Here they remained as hostages, in
some sort, for the conquered nation, which would be the less inclined to
forsake its allegiance, when by doing so it must leave its own gods in the
hands of its enemies.63

The Incas provided for the settlement of their new conquests, by
ordering a census to be taken of the population, and a careful survey to
be made of the country, ascertaining its products, and the character and
capacity of its soil.64  A division of the territory was then made on the
same principle with that adopted throughout their own kingdom; and
their respective portions were assigned to the Sun, the sovereign, and the
people.  The amount of the last was regulated by the amount of the
population, but the share of each individual was uniformly the same.  It
may seem strange, that any people should patiently have acquiesced in an
arrangement which involved such a total surrender of property.  But it
was a conquered nation that did so, held in awe, on the least suspicion of
meditating resistance, by armed garrisons, who were established at
various commanding points throughout the country.65  It is probable,
too, that the Incas made no greater changes than was essential to the new
arrangement, and that they assigned estates, as far as possible, to their
former proprietors.  The curacas, in particular, were confirmed in their
ancient authority; or, when it was found expedient to depose the existing
curaca, his rightful heir was allowed to succeed him.66  Every respect
was shown to the ancient usages and laws of the land, as far as was
compatible with the fundamental institutions of the Incas.  It must also be
remembered, that the conquered tribes were, many of them, too little
advanced in civilization to possess that attachment to the soil which
belongs to a cultivated nation.67  But, to whatever it be referred, it seems
probable that the extraordinary institutions of the Incas were established
with little opposition in the conquered territories.68

Yet the Peruvian sovereigns did not trust altogether to this show of
obedience in their new vassals; and, to secure it more effectually, they
adopted some expedients too remarkable to be passed by in silence.-
Immediately after a recent conquest, the curacas and their families were
removed for a time to Cuzco.  Here they learned the language of the
capital, became familiar with the manners and usages of the court, as
well as with the general policy of government, and experienced such
marks of favor from the sovereign as would be most grateful to their
feelings, and might attach them most warmly to his person.  Under the
influence of these sentiments, they were again sent to rule over their
vassals, but still leaving their eldest sons in the capital, to remain there as
a guaranty for their own fidelity, as well as to grace the court of the

Another expedient was of a bolder and more original character.  This
was nothing less than to revolutionize the language of the country.  South
America, like North, was broken up into a great variety of dialects, or
rather languages, having little affinity with one another.  This
circumstance occasioned great embarrassment to the government in the
administration of the different provinces, with whose idioms they were
unacquainted.  It was determined, therefore, to substitute one universal
language, the Quichua,--the language of the court, the capital, and the
surrounding country,--the richest and most comprehensive of the South
American dialects.  Teachers were provided in the towns and villages
throughout the land, who were to give instruction to all, even the
humblest classes; and it was intimated at the same time, that no one
should be raised to any office of dignity or profit, who was unacquainted
with this tongue.  The curacas and other chiefs, who attended at the
capital became familiar with this dialect in their intercourse with the
Court and, on their return home, set the example of conversing in it
among themselves.  This example was imitated by their followers, and
the Quichua gradually became the language of elegance and fashion, in
the same manner as the Norman French was affected by all those who
aspired to any consideration in England, after the Conquest.  By this
means, while each province retained its peculiar tongue, a beautiful
medium of communication was introduced, which enabled the
inhabitants of one part of the country to hold intercourse with every
other, and the Inca and his deputies to communicate with all.  This was
the state of things on the arrival of the Spaniards.  It must be admitted,
that history furnishes few examples of more absolute authority than such
a revolution in the language of an empire, at the bidding of a master.70

Yet little less remarkable was another device of the Incas for securing the
loyalty of their subjects.  When any portion of the recent conquests
showed a pertinacious spirit of disaffection, it was not uncommon to
cause a part of the population, amounting, it might be, to ten thousand
inhabitants or more, to remove to a distant quarter of the kingdom,
occupied by ancient vassals of undoubted fidelity to the crown.  A like
number of these last was transplanted to the territory left vacant by the
emigrants.  By this exchange, the population was composed of two
distinct races, who regarded each other with an eye of jealousy, that
served as an effectual check on any mutinous proceeding.  In time, the
influence of the well affected prevailed, supported, as they were, by
royal authority, and by the silent working of the national institutions, to
which the strange races became gradually accustomed.  A spirit of
loyalty sprang up by degrees in their bosoms, and, before a generation
had passed away, the different tribes mingled in harmony together as
members of the same community.71  Yet the different races continued to
be distinguished by difference of dress; since, by the law of the land,
every citizen was required to wear the costume of his native province.72
Neither could the colonist, who had been thus unceremoniously
transplanted, return to his native district for, by another law, it was
forbidden to any one to change his residence without license.73  He was
settled for life.  The Peruvian government ascribed to every man his
local habitation, his sphere of action, nay, the very nature and quality of
that action.  He ceased to be a free agent; it might be almost said, that it
relieved him of personal responsibility.

In following out this singular arrangement, the Incas showed as much
regard for the comfort and convenience of the colonist as was compatible
with the execution of their design.  They were careful that the mitimaes,
as these emigrants were styled, should be removed to climates most
congenial with their own.  The inhabitants of the cold countries were not
transplanted to the warm, nor the inhabitants of the warm countries to the
cold.74  Even their habitual occupations were consulted, and the
fisherman was settled in the neighborhood of the ocean, or the great
lakes; while such lands were assigned to the husbandman as were best
adapted to the culture with which he was most familiar.75  And, as
migration by many, perhaps by most, would be regarded as a calamity,
the government was careful to show particular marks of favor to the
mitimaes, and, by various privileges and immunities, to ameliorate their
condition, and thus to reconcile them, if possible, to their lot.76

The Peruvian institutions, though they may have been modified and
matured under successive sovereigns, all bear the stamp of the same
original,--were all cast in the same mould.  The empire, strengthening
and enlarging at every successive epoch of its history, was, in its latter
days, but the development, on a great scale, of what it was in miniature at
its commencement, as the infant germ is said to contain within itself all
the ramifications of the future monarch of the forest.  Each succeeding
Inca seemed desirous only to tread in the path, and carry out the plans, of
his predecessor.  Great enterprises, commenced under one, were
continued by another, and completed by a third.  Thus, while all acted on
a regular plan, without any of the eccentric or retrograde movements
which betray the agency of different individuals, the state seemed to be
under the direction of a single hand, and steadily pursued, as if through
one long reign, its great career of civilization and of conquest.

The ultimate aim of its institutions was domestic quiet.  But it seemed as
if this were to be obtained only by foreign war.  Tranquillity in the heart
of the monarchy, and war on its borders, was the condition of Peru.  By
this war it gave occupation to a part of its people, and, by the reduction
and civilization of its barbarous neighbors, gave security to all.   Every
Inca sovereign, however mild and benevolent in his domestic rule, was a
warrior, and led his armies in person.  Each successive reign extended
still wider the boundaries of the empire.  Year after year saw the
victorious monarch return laden with spoils, and followed by a throng of
tributary chieftains to his capital.  His reception there was a Roman
triumph.  The whole of its numerous population poured out to welcome
him, dressed in the gay and picturesque costumes of the different
provinces, With banners waving above their heads, and strewing
branches and flowers along the path of the conqueror.  The Inca, borne
aloft in his golden chair on the shoulders of his nobles, moved in solemn
procession, under the triumphal arches that were thrown across the way,
to the great temple of the Sun.  There, without attendants,--for all but the
monarch were excluded from the hallowed precincts,--the victorious
prince, stripped of his royal insignia, barefooted, and with all humility,
approached the awful shrine, and offered up sacrifice and thanksgiving
to the glorious Deity who presided over the fortunes of the Incas.  This
ceremony concluded, the whole population gave itself up to festivity;
music, revelry, and dancing were heard in every quarter of the capital,
and illuminations and bonfires commemorated the victorious campaign
of the Inca, and the accession of a new territory to his empire.77

In this celebration we see much of the character of a religious festival.
Indeed, the character of religion was impressed on all the Peruvian wars.
The life of an Inca was one long crusade against the infidel, to spread
wide the worship of the Sun, to reclaim the benighted nations from their
brutish superstitions, and impart to them the blessings of a well-regulated
government.  This, in the favorite phrase of our day, was the "mission"
of the Inca.  It was also the mission of the Christian conqueror who
invaded the empire of this same Indian potentate.  Which of the two
executed his mission most faithfully, history must decide.

Yet the Peruvian monarchs did not show a childish impatience in the
acquisition of empire.  They paused after a campaign, and allowed time
for the settlement of one conquest before they undertook another; and, in
this interval, occupied themselves with the quiet administration of their
kingdom, and with the long progresses, which brought them into nearer
intercourse with their people.  During this interval, also, their new
vassals had begun to accommodate themselves to the strange institutions
of their masters.  They learned to appreciate the value of a government
which raised them above the physical evils of a state of barbarism,
secured them protection of person, and a full participation in all the
privileges enjoyed by their conquerors; and, as they became more
familiar with the peculiar institutions of the country, habit, that second
nature, attached them the more strongly to these institutions, from their
very peculiarity.  Thus, by degrees, and without violence, arose the great
fabric of the Peruvian empire, composed of numerous independent and
even hostile tribes, yet, under the influence of a common religion,
common language, and common government, knit together as one nation,
animated by a spirit of love for its institutions and devoted loyalty to its
sovereign.  What a contrast to the condition of the Aztec monarchy, on
the neighboring continent, which, composed of the like heterogeneous
materials, without any internal principle of cohesion, was only held
together by the stern pressure, from without, of physical force !--Why the
Peruvian monarchy should have fared no better than its rival, in its
conflict with European civilization, will appear in the following pages.

Book 1

Chapter 3

Peruvian Religion--Deities--Gorgeous Temples--Festivals-
Virgins Of The Sun--Marriage

It is a remarkable fact, that many, if not most, of the rude tribes
inhabiting the vast American continent, however disfigured their creeds
may have been in other respects by a childish superstition, had attained
to the sublime conception of one Great Spirit, the Creator of the
Universe, who, immaterial in his own nature, was not to be dishonored
by an attempt at visible representation, and who, pervading all space,
was not to be circumscribed within the walls of a temple.  Yet these
elevated ideas, so far beyond the ordinary range of the untutored
intellect, do not seem to have led to the practical consequences that
might have been expected; and few of the American nations have shown
much solicitude for the maintenance of a religious worship, or found in
their faith a powerful spring of action.

But, with progress in civilization, ideas more akin to those of civilized
communities were gradually unfolded; a liberal provision was made, and
a separate order instituted, for the services of religion, which were
conducted with a minute and magnificent ceremonial, that challenged
comparison, in some respects, with that of the most polished nations of
Christendom.  This was the case with the nations inhabiting the table-
land of North America, and with the natives of Bogota, Quito, Peru, and
the other elevated regions on the great Southern continent.  It was, above
all, the case with the Peruvians, who claimed a divine original for the
founders of their empire, whose laws all rested on a divine sanction, and
whose domestic institutions and foreign wars were alike directed to
preserve and propagate their faith.  Religion was the basis of their polity,
the very condition, as it were, of their social existence.  The government
of the Incas, in its essential principles, was a theocracy.

Yet, though religion entered so largely into the fabric and conduct of the
political institutions of the people, their mythology, that is, the
traditionary legends by which they affected to unfold the mysteries of the
universe, was exceedingly mean and puerile.  Scarce one of their
traditions--except the beautiful one respecting the founders of their royal
dynasty--is worthy of note, or throws much light on their own antiquities,
or the primitive history of man.  Among the traditions of importance is
one of the deluge, which they held in common with so many of the
nations in all parts of the globe, and which they related with some
particulars that bear resemblance to a Mexican legend.1

Their ideas in respect to a future state of being deserve more attention.
They admitted the existence of a soul hereafter, and connected with this
a belief in the resurrection of the body.  They assigned two distinct
places for the residence of the good and of the wicked, the latter of
which they fixed in the centre of the earth.  The good they supposed were
to pass a luxurious life of tranquillity and ease, which comprehended
their highest notions of happiness.  The wicked were to expiate their
crimes by ages of wearisome labor.  They associated with these ideas a
belief in an evil principle or spirit, bearing the name of Cupay, whom
they did not attempt to propitiate by sacrifices, and who seems to have
been only a shadowy personification of sin, that exercised little influence
over their conduct.2

It was this belief in the resurrection of the body, which led them to
preserve the body with so much solicitude, by a simple process,
however, that, unlike the elaborate embalming of the Egyptians,
consisted in exposing it to the action of the cold, exceedingly dry, and
highly rarefied atmosphere of the mountains.3  As they believed that the
occupations in the future world would have great resemblance to those of
the present, they buried with the deceased noble some of his apparel, his
utensils, and, frequently, his treasures; and completed the gloomy
ceremony by sacrificing his wives and favorite domestics, to bear him
company and do him service in the happy regions beyond the clouds.4
Vast mounds of an irregular, or, more frequently, oblong shape,
penetrated by galleries running at right angles to each other, were raised
over the dead, whose dried bodies or mummies have been found in
considerable numbers, sometimes erect, but more often in the sitting
posture, common to the Indian tribes of both continents.  Treasures of
great value have also been occasionally drawn from these monumental
deposits, and have stimulated, speculators to repeated excavations with
the hope of similar good-fortune.  It was a lottery like that of searching
after mines, but where the chances have proved still more against the

The Peruvians, like so many other of the Indian races, acknowledged a
Supreme Being, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, whom they
adored under the different names of Pachacamac and Viracocha.6  No
temple was raised to this invisible Being, save one only in the valley
which took its name from the deity himself, not far from the Spanish city
of Lima.  Even this temple had existed there before the country came
under the sway of the Incas, and was the great resort of Indian pilgrims
from remote parts of the land; a circumstance which suggests the idea,
that the worship of this Great Spirit, though countenanced, perhaps, by
their accommodating policy, did not originate with the Peruvian

The deity whose worship they especially inculcated, and which they
never failed to establish wherever their banners were known to penetrate,
was the Sun.  It was he, who, in a particular manner, presided over the
destinies of man; gave light and warmth to the nations, and life to the
vegetable world; whom they reverenced as the father of their royal
dynasty, the founder of their empire; and whose temples rose in every
city and almost every village throughout the land, while his altars
smoked with burnt offerings,--a form of sacrifice peculiar to the
Peruvians among the semi-civilized nations of the New World.8

Besides the Sun, the Incas acknowledged various objects of worship in
some way or other connected with this principal deity.  Such was the
Moon, his sister-wife; the Stars, revered as part of her heavenly train,-
though the fairest of them, Venus, known to the Peruvians by the name
of Chasca, or the "youth with the long and curling locks," was adored as
the page of the Sun, whom he attends so closely in his rising and in his
setting.  They dedicated temples also to the Thunder and Lightning,9 in
whom they recognized the Sun's dread ministers, and to the Rainbows
whom they worshipped as a beautiful emanation of their glorious

In addition to these, the subjects of the Incas enrolled among their
inferior deities many objects in nature, as the elements, the winds, the
earth, the air, great mountains and rivers, which impressed them with
ideas of sublimity and power, or were supposed in some way or other to
exercise a mysterious influence over the destinies of man.11  They
adopted also a notion, not unlike that professed by some of the schools
of ancient philosophy, that every thing on earth had its archetype or idea,
its mother, as they emphatically styled it, which they held sacred, as, in
some sort, its spiritual essence.12  But their system, far from being
limited even to these multiplied objects of devotion, embraced within its
ample folds the numerous deities of the conquered nations, whose
images were transported to the capital, where the burdensome charges of
their worship were defrayed by their respective provinces.  It was a rare
stroke of policy in the Incas, who could thus accommodate their religion
to their interests.13

But the worship of the Sun constituted the peculiar care of the Incas, and
was the object of their lavish expenditure.  The most ancient of the many
temples dedicated to this divinity was in the Island of Titicaca, whence
the royal founders of the Peruvian line were said to have proceeded.
From this circumstance, this sanctuary was held in peculiar veneration.
Every thing which belonged to it, even the broad fields of maize, which
Surrounded the temple, and formed part of its domain, imbibed a portion
of its sanctity.  The yearly produce was distributed among the different
public magazines, in small quantities to each, as something that would
sanctify the remainder of the store.  Happy was the man who could
secure even an ear of the blessed harvest for his own granary! 14

But the most renowned of the Peruvian temples, the pride of the capital,
and the wonder of the empire, was at Cuzco, where, under the
munificence of successive sovereigns, it had become so enriched, that it
received the name of Coricancha, or "the Place of Gold." It consisted of
a principal building and several chapels and inferior edifices, covering a
large extent of ground in the heart of the city, and completely
encompassed by a wall, which, with the edifices, was all constructed of
stone.  The work was of the kind already described in the other public
buildings of the country, and was so finely executed, that a Spaniard,
who saw it in its glory, assures us, he could call to mind only two
edifices in Spain, which, for their workmanship, were at all to be
compared with it.15  Yet this substantial, and, in some respects,
magnificent structure, was thatched with straw !

The interior of the temple was the most worthy of admiration.  It was
literally a mine of gold.  On the western wall was emblazoned a
representation of the deity, consisting of a human countenance, looking
forth from amidst innumerable rays of light, which emanated from it in
every direction, in the same manner as the sun is often personified with
us.  The figure was engraved on a massive plate of gold of enormous
dimensions, thickly powdered with emeralds and precious stones.16  It
was so situated in front of the great eastern portal, that the rays of the
morning sun fell directly upon it at its rising, lighting up the whole
apartment with an effulgence that seemed more than natural, and which
was reflected back from the golden ornaments with which the walls and
ceiling were everywhere in crusted.  Gold, in the figurative language of
the people was "the tears wept by the sun," 17  and every part of the
interior of the temple glowed with burnished plates and studs of the
precious metal.  The cornices, which surrounded the walls of the
sanctuary, were of the same costly material; and a broad belt or frieze of
gold, let into the stonework, encompassed the whole exterior of the

Adjoining the principal structure were several chapels of smaller
dimensions.  One of them was consecrated to the Moon, the deity held
next in reverence, as the mother of the Incas.  Her effigy was delineated
in the same manner as that of the Sun, on a vast plate that nearly covered
one side of the apartment.  But this plate, as well as all the decorations of
the building, was of silver, as suited to the pale, silvery light of the
beautiful planet.  There were three other chapels, one of which was
dedicated to the host of Stars, who formed the bright court of the Sister
of the Sun; another was consecrated to his dread ministers of vengeance,
the Thunder and the Lightning; and a third, to the Rainbow, whose
many-colored arch spanned the walls of the edifice with hues almost as
radiant as its own.  There were besides several other buildings, or
insulated apartments, for the accommodation of the numerous priests
who officiated in the services of the temple.19

All the plate, the ornaments, the utensils of every description,
appropriated to the uses of religion, were of gold or silver.  Twelve
immense vases of the latter metal stood on the floor of the great saloon,
filled with grain of the Indian corn;20  the censers for the perfumes, the
ewers which held the water for sacrifice, the pipes which conducted it
through subterraneous channels into the buildings, the reservoirs that
received it, even the agricultural implements used in the gardens of the
temple, were all of the same rich materials.  The gardens, like those
described, belonging to the royal palaces, sparkled with flowers of gold
and silver, and various imitations of the vegetable kingdom.  Animals,
also, were to be found there,--among which the llama, with its golden
fleece, was most conspicuous,--executed in the same style, and with a
degree of skill, which, in this instance, probably, did not surpass the
excellence of the material.21

If the reader sees in this fairy picture only the romantic coloring of some
fabulous El Dorado, he must recall what has been said before in
reference to the palaces of the Incas, and consider that these "Houses of
the Sun," as they were styled, were the common reservoir into which
flowed all the streams of public and private benefaction throughout the
empire.  Some of the statements, through credulity, and others, in the
desire of exciting admiration, may be greatly exaggerated; but, in the
coincidence of contemporary testimony, it is not easy to determine the
exact line which should mark the measure of our skepticism.  Certain it
is, that the glowing picture I have given is warranted by those who saw
these buildings in their pride, or shortly after they had been despoiled by
the cupidity of their countrymen.  Many of the costly articles were buried
by the natives, or thrown into the waters of the rivers and the lakes; but
enough remained to attest the unprecedented opulence of these religious
establishments.  Such things as were in their nature portable were
speedily removed, to gratify the craving of the Conquerors, who even
tore away the solid cornices and frieze of gold from the great temple,
filling the vacant places with the cheaper, but--since it affords no
temptation to avarice--more durable, material of plaster.  Yet even thus
shorn of their splendor, the venerable edifices still presented an
attraction to the spoiler, who found in their dilapidated walls an
inexhaustable quarry for the erection of other buildings.  On the very
ground once crowned by the gorgeous Coricancha rose the stately church
of St. Dominic, one of the most magnificent structures of the New
World.  Fields of maize and lucerne now bloom on the spot which
glowed with the golden gardens of the temple; and the friar chants his
orisons within the consecrated precincts once occupied by the Children
of the Sun.22

Besides the great temple of the Sun, there was a large number of inferior
temples and religious houses in the Peruvian capital and its environs,
amounting, as is stated, to three or four hundred.23 For Cuzco was a
sanctified spot, venerated not only as the abode of the Incas, but of all
those deities who presided over the motley nations of the empire.  It was
the city beloved of the Sun; where his worship was maintained in its
splendor; "where every fountain, pathway, and wall," says an ancient
chronicler, "was regarded as a holy mystery." 24  And unfortunate was
the Indian noble who, at some period or other of his life, had not made
his pilgrimage to the Peruvian Mecca.

Other temples and religious dwellings were scattered over the provinces;
and some of them constructed on a scale of magnificence, that almost
rivalled that of the metropolis.  The attendants on these composed an
army of themselves.  The whole number of functionaries, including those
of the sacerdotal order, who officiated at the Coricancha alone, was no
less than four thousand.25

At the head of all, both here and throughout the land, stood the great
High-Priest, or Villac Vmu, as he was called.  He was second only to the
Inca in dignity, and was usually chosen from his brothers or nearest
kindred.  He was appointed by the monarch, and held his office for life;
and he, in turn, appointed to all the subordinate stations of his own order.
This order was very numerous.  Those members of it who officiated in
the House of the Sun, in Cuzco, were taken exclusively from the sacred
race of the Incas.  The ministers in the provincial temples were drawn
from the families of the curacas; but the office of high-priest in each
district was reserved for one of the blood royal.  It was designed by this
regulation to preserve the faith in its purity, and to guard against any
departure from the stately ceremonial which it punctiliously

The sacerdotal order, though numerous, was not distinguished by any
peculiar badge or costume from the rest of the nation.  Neither was it the
sole depository of the scanty science of the country, nor was it charged
with the business of instruction, nor with those parochial duties, if they
may so be called, which bring the priest in contact with the great body of
the people,--as was the case in Mexico.  The cause of this peculiarity
may probably be traced to the existence of a superior order, like that of
the Inca nobles, whose sanctity of birth so far transcended all human
appointments, that they in a manner engrossed whatever there was of
religious veneration in the people.  They were, in fact, the holy order of
the state.  Doubtless, any of them might, as very many of them did, take
on themselves the sacerdotal functions; and their own insignia and
peculiar privileges were too well understood to require any further badge
to separate them from the people.

The duties of the priest were confined to ministration in the temple.
Even here his attendance was not constant, as he was relieved after a
stated interval by other brethren of his order, who succeeded one another
in regular rotation.  His science was limited to an acquaintance with the
fasts and festivals of his religion, and the appropriate ceremonies which
distinguished them.  This, however frivolous might be its character, was
no easy acquisition; for the ritual of the Incas involved a routine of
observances, as complex and elaborate as ever distinguished that of any
nation, whether pagan or Christian.  Each month had its appropriate
festival, or rather festivals.  The four principal had reference to the Sun,
and commemorated the great periods of his annual progress, the solstices
and equinoxes.  Perhaps the most magnificent of all the national
solemnities was the feast of Raymi, held at the period of the summer
solstice, when the Sun, having touched the southern extremity of his
course, retraced his path, as if to gladden the hearts of his chosen people
by his presence.  On this occasion, the Indian nobles from the different
quarters of the country thronged to the capital to take part in the great
religious celebration.

For three days previous, there was a general fast, and no fire was allowed
to be lighted in the dwellings.  When the appointed day arrived, the Inca
and his court, followed by the whole population of the city, assembled at
early dawn in the great square to greet the rising of the Sun.  They were
dressed in their gayest apparel, and the Indian lords vied with each other
in the display of costly ornaments and jewels on their persons, while
canopies of gaudy feather-work and richly tinted stuffs, borne by the
attendants over their heads, gave to the great square, and the streets that
emptied into it, the appearance of being spread over with one vast and
magnificent awning.  Eagerly they watched the coming of their deity,
and, no sooner did his first yellow rays strike the turrets and loftiest
buildings of the capital, than a shout of gratulation broke forth from the
assembled multitude, accompanied by songs of triumph, and the wild
melody of barbaric instruments, that swelled louder and louder as his
bright orb, rising above the mountain range towards the east, shone in
full splendor on his votaries.  After the usual ceremonies of adoration, a
libation was offered to the great deity by the Inca, from a huge golden
vase, filled with the fermented liquor of maize or of maguey, which,
after the monarch had tasted it himself, he dispensed among his royal
kindred.  These ceremonies completed, the vast assembly was arranged
in order of procession, and took its way towards the Coricancha.27

As they entered the street of the sacred edifice, all divested themselves of
their sandals, except the Inca and his family, who did the same on
passing through the portals of the temple, where none but these august
personages were admitted.28  After a decent time spent in devotion, the
sovereign, attended by his courtly train, again appeared, and preparations
were made to commence the sacrifice.  This, with the Peruvians,
consisted of animals, grain, flowers, and sweet-scented gums; sometimes
of human beings, on which occasions a child or beautiful maiden was
usually selected as the victim.  But such sacrifices were rare, being
reserved to celebrate some great public event, as a coronation, the birth
of a royal heir, or a great victory.  They were never followed by those
cannibal repasts familiar to the Mexicans, and to many of the fierce
tribes conquered by the Incas.  Indeed, the conquests of these princes
might well be deemed a blessing to the Indian nations, if it were only
from their suppression of cannibalism, and the diminution, under their
rule, of human sacrifices.29

At the feast of Raymi, the sacrifice usually offered was that of the llama;
and the priest, after opening the body of his victim, sought in the
appearances which it exhibited to read the lesson of the mysterious
future.  If the auguries were unpropitious, a second victim was
slaughtered, in the hope of receiving some more comfortable assurance.
The Peruvian augur might have learned a good lesson of the Roman,--to
consider every omen as favorable, which served the interests of his

A fire was then kindled by means of a concave mirror of polished metal,
which, collecting the rays of the sun into a focus upon a quantity of dried
cotton, speedily set it on fire.  It was the expedient used on the like
occasions in ancient Rome, at least under the reign of the pious Numa.
When the sky was overcast, and the face of the good deity was hidden
from his worshippers, which was esteemed a bad omen, fire was
obtained by means of friction.  The sacred flame was intrusted to the care
of the Virgins of the Sun, and if, by any neglect, it was suffered to go out
in the course of the year, the event was regarded as a calamity that boded
some strange disaster to the monarchy.31  A burnt offering of the victims
was then made on the altars of the deity.  This sacrifice was but the
prelude to the slaughter of a great number of llamas, part of the flocks of
the Sun, which furnished a banquet not only for the Inca and his Court,
but for the people, who made amends at these festivals for the frugal fare
to which they were usually condemned.  A fine bread or cake, kneaded
of maize flour by the fair hands of the Virgins of the Sun, was also
placed on the royal board, where the Inca, presiding over the feast,
pledged his great nobles in generous goblets of the fermented liquor of
the country, and the long revelry of the day was closed at night by music
and dancing.  Dancing and drinking were the favorite pastimes of the
Peruvians.  These amusements continued for several days, though the
sacrifices terminated on the first.--Such was the great festival of Raymi;
and the recurrence of this and similar festivities gave relief to the
monotonous routine of toil prescribed to the lower orders of the

In the distribution of bread and wine at this high festival, the orthodox
Spaniards, who first came into the country, saw a striking resemblance to
the Christian communion; 33  as in the practice of confession and
penance, which, in a most irregular form, indeed, seems to have been
used by the Peruvians, they discerned a coincidence with another of the
sacraments of the Church.34  The good fathers were fond of tracing such
coincidences, which they considered as the contrivance of Satan, who
thus endeavored to delude his victims by counterfeiting the blessed rites
of Christianity.35  Others, in a different vein, imagined that they saw in
such analogies the evidence, that some of the primitive teachers of the
Gospel, perhaps an apostle himself, had paid a visit to these distant
regions, and scattered over them the seeds of religious truth.36  But it
seems hardly necessary to invoke the Prince of Darkness, or the
intervention of the blessed saints, to account for coincidences which
have existed in countries far removed from the light of Christianity, and
in ages, indeed, when its light had not yet risen on the world.  It is much
more reasonable to refer such casual points of resemblance to the general
constitution of man, and the necessities of his moral nature.37

Another singular analogy with Roman Catholic institutions is presented
by the Virgins of the Sun, the "elect," as they were called,38 to whom I
have already had occasion to refer.  These were young maidens,
dedicated to the service of the deity, who, at a tender age, were taken
from their homes, and introduced into convents, where they were placed
under the care of certain elderly matrons, mamaconas, who had grown
grey within their walls.39  Under these venerable guides, the holy virgins
were instructed in the nature of their religious duties.  They were
employed in spinning and embroidery, and, with the fine hair of the
vicuna wove the hangings for the temples, and the apparel for the Inca
and his household.40  It was their duty, above all, to watch over the
sacred fire obtained at the festival of Raymi.  From the moment they
entered the establishment, they were cut off from all connection with the
world, even with their own family and friends.  No one but the Inca, and
the Coya or queen, might enter the consecrated precincts.  The greatest
attention was paid to their morals, and visitors were sent every year to
inspect the institutions, and to report on the state of their discipline.41
Woe to the unhappy maiden who was detected in an intrigue!  By the
stern law of the Incas, she was to be buried alive, her lover was to be
strangled, and the town or village to which he belonged was to be razed
to the ground, and "sowed with stones," as if to efface every memorial of
his existence.42  One is astonished to find so close a resemblance
between the institutions of the American Indian, the ancient Roman, and
the modern Catholic! Chastity and purity of life are virtues in woman,
that would seem to be of equal estimation with the barbarian and with the
civilized.--Yet the ultimate destination of the inmates of these religious
houses was materially different.

The great establishment at Cuzco consisted wholly of maidens of the
royal blood, who amounted, it is said, to no less than fifteen hundred.
The provincial convents were supplied from the daughters of the curacas
and inferior nobles, and, occasionally, where a girl was recommended by
great personal attractions, from the lower classes of the people.43  The
"Houses of the Virgins of the Sun" consisted of low ranges of stone
buildings, covering a large extent of ground, surrounded by high walls,
which excluded those within entirely from observation.  They were
provided with every accommodation for the fair inmates, and were
embellished in the same sumptuous and costly manner as the palaces of
the Incas, and the temples; for they received the particular care of
government, as an important part of the religious establishment.44

Yet the career of all the inhabitants of these cloisters was not confined
within their narrow walls.  Though Virgins of the Sun, they were brides
of the Inca, and, at a marriageable age, the most beautiful among them
were selected for the honors of his bed, and transferred to the royal
seraglio.  The full complement of this amounted in time not only to
hundreds, but thousands, who all found accommodations in his different
palaces throughout the country.  When the monarch was disposed to
lessen the number of his establishment, the concubine with whose society
he was willing to dispense returned, not to her former monastic
residence, but to her own home; where, however humble might be her
original condition, she was maintained in great state, and, far from being
dishonored by the situation she had filled, was held in universal
reverence as the Inca's bride.45

The great nobles of Peru were allowed, like their sovereign, a plurality of
wives.  The people, generally, whether by law, or by necessity stronger
than law, were more happily limited to one.  Marriage was conducted in
a manner that gave it quite as original a character as belonged to the
other institutions of the country.  On an appointed day of the year, all
those of a marriageable age--which, having reference to their ability to
take charge of a family, in the males was fixed at not less than
twentyfour years, and in the women at eighteen or twenty--were called
together in the great squares of their respective towns and villages,
throughout the empire.  The Inca presided in person over the assembly of
his own kindred, and taking the hands of the different couples who were
to be united, he placed them within each other, declaring the parties man
and wife.  The same was done by the curacas towards all persons of their
own or inferior degree in their several districts.  This was the simple
form of marriage in Peru.  No one was allowed to select a wife beyond
the community to which he belonged, which generally comprehended all
his own kindred; 46 nor was any but the sovereign authorized to dispense
with the law of nature--or at least, the usual law of nations--so far as to
marry his own sister.47  No marriage was esteemed valid without the
consent of the parents; and the preference of the parties, it is said, was
also to be consulted; though, considering the barriers imposed by the
prescribed age of the candidates, this must have been within rather
narrow and whimsical limits.  A dwelling was got ready for the new-
married pair at the charge of the district, and the prescribed portion of
land assigned for their maintenance.  The law of Peru provided for the
future, as well as for the present.  It left nothing to chance.--The simple
ceremony of marriage was followed by general festivities among the
friends of the parties, which lasted several days; and as every wedding
took place on the same day, and as there were few families who had not
someone of their members or their kindred personally interested, there
was one universal bridal jubilee throughout the empire.48

The extraordinary regulations respecting marriage under the Incas are,
eminently characteristic of the genius of the government; which, far from
limiting itself to matters of public concern, penetrated into the most
private recesses of domestic life, allowing no man, however humble, to
act for himself, even in those personal matters in which none but himself,
or his family at most, might be supposed to be interested.  No Peruvian
was too low for the fostering vigilance of government.  None was so high
that he was not made to feel his dependence upon it in every act of his
life.  His very existence as an individual was absorbed in that of the
community.  His hopes and his fears, his joys and his sorrows, the
tenderest sympathies of his nature, which would most naturally shrink
from observation, were all to be regulated by law.  He was not allowed
even to be happy in his own way.  The government of the Incas was the
mildest, --but the most searching of despotisms.

Book 1

Chapter 4

Important Esculents

"Science was not intended for the people; but for those of generous
blood.  Persons of low degree are only puffed up by it, and rendered
vain and arrogant.  Neither should such meddle with the affairs of
government; for this would bring high offices into disrepute, and cause
detriment to the state.1 Such was the favorite maxim, often repeated, of
Tupac Inca Yupanqui, one of the most renowned of the Peruvian
sovereigns.  It may seem strange that such a maxim should ever have
been proclaimed in the New World, where popular institutions have been
established on a more extensive scale than was ever before witnessed;
where government rests wholly on the people; and education--at least, in
the great northern division of the continent--is mainly directed to qualify
the people for the duties of government.  Yet this maxim was strictly
conformable to the genius of the Peruvian monarchy, and may serve as a
key to its habitual policy; since, while it watched with unwearied
solicitude over its subjects, provided for their physical necessities, was
mindful of their morals, and showed, throughout, the affectionate
concern of a parent for his children, it yet regarded them only as
children, who were never to emerge from the state of pupilage, to act or
to think for themselves, but whose whole duty was comprehended in the
obligation of implicit obedience.

Such was the humiliating condition of the people under the Incas: while
the numerous families of the blood royal enjoyed the benefit of all the
light of education, which the civilization of the country could afford;
and, long after the Conquest, the spots continued to be pointed out where
the seminaries had existed for their instruction.  These were placed
under the care of the amautas, or "wise men," who engrossed the scanty
stock of science--if science it could be called--possessed by the
Peruvians, and who were the sole teachers of youth.  It was natural that
the monarch should take a lively interest in the instruction of the young
nobility, his own kindred.  Several of the Peruvian princes are said to
have built their palaces in the neighborhood of the schools, in order that
they might the more easily visit them and listen to the lectures of the
amautas, which they occasionally reinforced by a homily of their own.2
In these schools, the royal pupils were instructed in all the different kinds
of knowledge in which their teachers were versed, with especial
reference to the stations they were to occupy in after-life.  They studied
the laws, and the principles of administering the government, in which
many of them were to take part.  They were initiated in the peculiar rites
of their religion, most necessary to those who were to assume the
sacerdotal functions.  They learned also to emulate the achievements of
their royal ancestors by listening to the chronicles compiled by the
amautas.  They were taught to speak their own dialect with purity and
elegance; and they became acquainted with the mysterious science of the
quipus, which supplied the Peruvians with the means of communicating
their ideas to one another, and of transmitting them to future

The quipu was a cord about two feet long, composed of different colored
threads tightly twisted together, from which a quantity of smaller threads
were suspended in the manner of a fringe.  The threads were of different
colors and were tied into knots.  The word quipu, indeed, signifies a
knot.  The colors denoted sensible objects; as, for instance, white
represented silver, and yellow, gold.  They sometimes also stood for
abstract ideas.  Thus, white signified peace, and red, war.  But the
quipus were chiefly used for arithmetical purposes.  The knots served
instead of ciphers, and could be combined in such a manner as to
represent numbers to any amount they required.  By means of these they
went through their calculations with great rapidity, and the Spaniards
who first visited the country bear testimony to their accuracy.4

Officers were established in each of the districts, who, under the title of
quipucamayus, Or "keepers of the quipus," were required to furnish the
government with information on various important matters.  One had
charge of the revenues, reported the quantity of raw material distributed
among the laborers, the quality and quantity of the fabrics made from it,
and the amount of stores, of various kinds, paid into the royal magazines.
Another exhibited the register of births and deaths, the marriages, the
number of those qualified to bear arms, and the like details in reference
to the population of the kingdom.  These returns were annually
forwarded to the capital, where they were submitted to the inspection of
officers acquainted with the art of deciphering these mystic records.
The government was thus provided with a valuable mass of statistical
information, and the skeins of many-colored threads, collected and
carefully preserved, constituted what might be called the national

But, although the quipus sufficed for all the purposes of arithmetical
computation demanded by the Peruvians, they were incompetent to
represent the manifold ideas and images which are expressed by writing,
Even here, however, the invention was not without its use.  For,
independently of the direct representation of simple objects, and even of
abstract ideas, to a very limited extent, as above noticed, it afforded great
help to the memory by way of association.  The peculiar knot or color,
in this way, suggested what it could not venture to represent; in the same
manner-to borrow the homely illustration of an old writer--as the number
of the Commandment calls to mind the Commandment itself.  The
quipus, thus used, might be regarded as the Peruvian system of

Annalists were appointed in each of the principal communities, whose
business it was to record the most important events which occurred in
them.  Other functionaries of a higher character, usually the amautas,
were intrusted with the history of the empire, and were selected to
chronicle the great deeds of the reigning Inca, or of his ancestors.6  The
narrative, thus concocted, could be communicated only by oral tradition;
but the quipus served the chronicler to arrange the incidents with
method, and to refresh his memory.  The story, once treasured up in the
mind, was indelibly impressed there by frequent repetition.  It was
repeated by the amauta to his pupils, and in this way history, conveyed
partly by oral tradition, and partly by arbitrary signs, was handed down
from generation to generation, with sufficient discrepancy of details, but
with a general conformity of outline to the truth.

The Peruvian quipus were, doubtless, a wretched substitute for that
beautiful contrivance, the alphabet, which, employing a few simple
characters as the representatives of sounds, instead of ideas, is able to
convey the most delicate shades of thought that ever passed through the
mind of man.  The Peruvian invention, indeed, was far below that of the
hieroglyphics, even below the rude picture-writing of the Aztecs; for the
latter art, however incompetent to convey abstract ideas, could depict
sensible objects with tolerable accuracy.  It is evidence of the total
ignorance in which the two nations remained of each other, that the
Peruvians should have borrowed nothing of the hieroglyphical system of
the Mexicans, and this, notwithstanding that the existence of the maguey
plant agave, in South America might have furnished them with the very
material used by the Aztecs for the construction of their maps.7

It is impossible to contemplate without interest the struggles made by
different nations, as they emerge from barbarism, to supply themselves
with some visible symbols of thought,--that mysterious agency by which
the mind of the individual may be put in communication with the minds
of a whole community.  The want of such a symbol is itself the greatest
impediment to the progress of civilization.  For what is it but to
imprison the thought, which has the elements of immortality, within the
bosom of its author, or of the small circle who come in contact with him,
instead of sending it abroad to give light to thousands, and to generations
yet unborn! Not only is such a symbol an essential element of
civilization, but it may be assumed as the very criterion of civilization;
for the intellectual advancement of a people will keep pace pretty nearly
with its facilities for intellectual communication.

Yet we must be careful not to underrate the real value of the Peruvian
system; nor to suppose that the quipus were as awkward an instrument, in
the hand of a practised native, as they would be in ours.  We know the
effect of habit in all mechanical operations, and the Spaniards bear
constant testimony to the adroitness and accuracy of the Peruvians in
this.  Their skill is not more surprising than the facility with which habit
enables us to master the contents of a printed page, comprehending
thousands of separate characters, by a single glance, as it were, though
each character must require a distinct recognition by the eye, and that,
too, without breaking the chain of thought in the reader's mind.  We
must not hold the invention of the quipus too lightly, when we reflect
that they supplied the means of calculation demanded for the affairs of a
great nation, and that, however insufficient, they afforded no little help to
what aspired to the credit of literary composition.

The office of recording the national annals was not wholly confined to
the amautas.  It was assumed in part by the haravecs, or poets, who
selected the most brilliant incidents for their songs or ballads, which
were chanted at the royal festivals and at the table of the Inca.8  In this
manner, a body of traditional minstrelsy grew up, like the British and
Spanish ballad poetry, by means of which the name of many a rude
chieftain, that might have perished for want of a chronicler, has been
borne down the tide of rustic melody to later generations.

Yet history may be thought not to gain much by this alliance with poetry;
for the domain of the poet extends over an ideal realm peopled with the
shadowy forms of fancy, that bear little resemblance to the rude realities
of life.  The Peruvian annals may be deemed to show somewhat of the
effects of this union, since there is a tinge of the marvellous spread over
them down to the very latest period, which, like a mist before the reader's
eye, makes it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.

The poet found a convenient instrument for his purposes in the beautiful
Quichua dialect.  We have already seen the extraordinary measures
taken by the Incas for propagating their language throughout their
empire.  Thus naturalized in the remotest provinces, it became enriched
by a variety of exotic words and idioms, which, under the influence of
the Court and of poetic culture, if I may so express myself, was gradually
blended, like some finished mosaic made up of coarse and disjointed
materials, into one harmonious whole.  The Quichua became the most
comprehensive and various, as well as the most elegant, of the South
American dialects.9

Besides the compositions already noticed, the Peruvians, it is said,
showed some talent for theatrical exhibitions; not those barren
pantomimes which, addressed simply to the eye, have formed the
amusement of more than one rude nation.  The Peruvian pieces aspired
to the rank of dramatic compositions, sustained by character and
dialogue, founded sometimes on themes of tragic interest, and at others
on such as, from their light and social character, belong to comedy.10
Of the execution of these pieces we have now no means of judging.  It
was probably rude enough, as befitted an unformed people.  But,
whatever may have been the execution, the mere conception of such an
amusement is a proof of refinement that honorably distinguishes the
Peruvian from the other American races, whose pastime was war, or the
ferocious sports that reflect the image of it.

The intellectual character of the Peruvians, indeed, seems to have been
marked rather by a tendency to refinement than by those hardier qualities
which insure success in the severer walks of science.  In these they were
behind several of the semi-civilized nations of the New World.  They
had some acquaintance with geography, so far as related to their own
empire, which was indeed extensive; and they constructed maps with
lines raised on them to denote the boundaries and localities, on a similar
principle with those formerly used by the blind.  In astronomy, they
appear to have made but moderate proficiency.  They divided the year
into twelve lunar months, each of which, having its own name, was
distinguished by its appropriate festival.11  They had, also, weeks; but of
what length, whether of seven, nine, or ten days, is uncertain.  As their
lunar year would necessarily fall short of the true time, they rectified
their calendar by solar observations made by means of a number of
cylindrical columns raised on the high lands round Cuzco, which served
them for taking azimuths; and, by measuring their shadows, they
ascertained the exact times of the solstices.  The period of the equinoxes
they determined by the help of a solitary pillar, or gnomon, placed in the
centre of a circle, which was described in the area of the great temple,
and traversed by a diameter that was drawn from east to west.  When the
shadows were scarcely visible under the noontide rays of the sun, they
said that "the god sat with all his light upon the column." 12  Quito
which lay immediately under the equator, where the vertical rays of the
sun threw no shadow at noon, was held in especial veneration as the
favored abode of the great deity.  The period of the equinoxes was
celebrated by public rejoicings.  The pillar was crowned by the golden
chair of the Sun, and, both then and at the solstices, the columns were
hung with garlands, and offerings of flowers and fruits were made, while
high festival was kept throughout the empire.  By these periods the
Peruvians regulated their religious rites and ceremonial, and prescribed
the nature of their agricultural labors.  The year itself took its departure
from the date of the winter solstice.13

This meagre account embraces nearly all that has come down to us of
Peruvian astronomy.  It may seem strange that a nation, which had
proceeded thus far in its observations, should have gone no farther; and
that, notwithstanding its general advance in civilization, it should in this
science have fallen so far short, not only of the Mexicans, but of the
Muyscas, inhabiting the same elevated regions of the great southern
plateau with themselves.  These latter regulated their calendar on the
same general plan of cycles and periodical series as the Aztecs,
approaching yet nearer to the system pursued by the people of Asia.14

It might have been expected that the Incas, the boasted children of the
Sun, would have made a particular study of the phenomena of the
heavens, and have constructed a calendar on principles as scientific as
that of their semi-civilized neighbors.  One historian, indeed, assures us
that they threw their years into cycles of ten, a hundred, and a thousand
years, and that by these cycles they regulated their chronology.15  But
this assertion--not improbable in itself--rests on a writer but little gifted
with the spirit of criticism, and is counter-balanced by the silence of
every higher and earlier authority, as well as by the absence of any
monument, like those found among other American nations, to attest the
existence of such a calendar.  The inferiority of the Peruvians may be,
perhaps, in part explained by the fact of their priesthood being drawn
exclusively from the body of the Incas, a privileged order of nobility,
who had no need, by the assumption of superior learning, to fence
themselves round from the approaches of the vulgar.  The little true
science possessed by the Aztec priest supplied him with a key to unlock
the mysteries of the heavens, and the false system of astrology which he
built upon it gave him credit as a being who had something of divinity in
his own nature.  But the Inca noble was divine by birth.  The illusory
study of astrology, so captivating to the unenlightened mind, engaged no
share of his attention.  The only persons in Peru, who claimed the power
of reading the mysterious future, were the diviners, men who, combining
with their pretensions some skill in the healing art, resembled the
conjurors found among many of the Indian tribes.  But the office was
held in little repute, except among the lower classes, and was abandoned
to those whose age and infirmity disqualified them for the real business
of life.16

The Peruvians had knowledge of one or two constellations, and watched
the motions of the planet Venus, to which, as we have seen, they
dedicated altars.  But their ignorance of the first principles of
astronomical science is shown by their ideas of eclipses, which, they
supposed, denoted some great derangement of the planet; and when the
moon labored under one of these mysterious infirmities, they sounded
their instruments, and filled the air with shouts and lamentations, to rouse
her from her lethargy.  Such puerile conceits as these form a striking
contrast with the real knowledge of the Mexicans, as displayed in their
hieroglyphical maps, in which the true cause of this phenomenon is
plainly depicted.17

But, if less successful in exploring the heavens, the Incas must be
admitted to have surpassed every other American race in their dominion
over the earth.  Husbandry was pursued by them on principles that may
be truly called scientific.  It was the basis of their political institutions.
Having no foreign commerce, it was agriculture that furnished them with
the means of their internal exchanges, their subsistence, and their
revenues.  We have seen their remarkable provisions for distributing the
land in equal shares among the people, while they required every man,
except the privileged orders, to assist in its cultivation.  The Inca himself
did not disdain to set the example.  On one of the great annual festivals,
he proceeded to the environs of Cuzco, attended by his Court, and, in the
presence of all the people, turned up the earth with a golden plough,--or
an instrument that served as such,--thus consecrating the occupation of
the husbandman as one worthy to be followed by the Children of the

The patronage of the government did not stop with this cheap display of
royal condescension, but was shown in the most efficient measures for
facilitating the labors of the husbandman.  Much of the country along the
sea-coast suffered from want of water, as little or no rain fell there, and
the few streams, in their short and hurried course from the mountains,
exerted only a very limited influence on the wide extent of territory.  The
soil, it is true, was, for the most part, sandy and sterile; but many places
were capable of being reclaimed, and, indeed, needed only to be
properly irrigated to be susceptible of extraordinary production.  To
these spots water was conveyed by means of canals and subterraneous
aqueducts, executed on a noble scale.  They consisted of large slabs of
freestone nicely fitted together without cement, and discharged a volume
of water sufficient, by means of latent ducts or sluices, to moisten the
lands in the lower level, through which they passed.  Some of these
aqueducts were of great length.  One that traversed the district of
Condesuyu measured between four and five hundred miles.  They were
brought from some elevated lake or natural reservoir in the heart of the
mountains, and were fed at intervals by other basins which lay in their
route along the slopes of the sierra.  In this descent, a passage was
sometimes to be opened through rocks,--and this without the aid of iron
tools; impracticable mountains were to be turned; rivers and marshes to
be crossed; in short, the same obstacles were to be encountered as in the
construction of their mighty roads.  But the Peruvians seemed to take
pleasure in wrestling with the difficulties of nature.  Near Caxamarca, a
tunnel is still visible, which they excavated in the mountains, to give an
outlet to the waters of a lake, when these rose to a height in the rainy
season that threatened the country with inundation.19

Most of these beneficent works of the Incas were suffered to go to decay
by their Spanish conquerors.  In some spots, the waters are still left to
flow in their silent, subterraneous channels, whose windings and whose
sources have been alike unexplored.  Others, though partially
dilapidated, and closed up with rubbish and the rank vegetation of the
soil, still betray their course by occasional patches of fertility.  Such are
the remains in the valley of Nasca, a fruitful spot that lies between long
tracts of desert; where the ancient water-courses of the Incas, measuring
four or five feet in depth by three in width, and formed of large blocks of
uncemented masonry, are conducted from an unknown distance.

The greatest care was taken that every occupant of the land through
which these streams passed should enjoy the benefit of them.  The
quantity of water alloted to each was prescribed by law; and royal
overseers superintended the distribution, and saw that it was faithfully
applied to the irrigation of the ground.20

The Peruvians showed a similar spirit of enterprise in their schemes for
introducing cultivation into the mountainous parts of their domain.
Many of the hills, though covered with a strong soil, were too precipitous
to be tilled.  These they cut into terraces, faced with rough stone,
diminishing in regular gradation towards the summit; so that, while the
lower strip, or anden, as it was called by the Spaniards, that belted round
the base of the mountain, might comprehend hundreds of acres, the
upper-most was only large enough to accommodate a few rows of Indian
corn.21  Some of the eminences presented such a mess of solid rock,
that, after being hewn into terraces, they were obliged to be covered deep
with earth, before they could serve the purpose of the husbandman.  With
such patient toil did the Peruvians combat the formidable obstacles
presented by the face of their country! Without the use of tools or the
machinery familiar to the European, each individual could have done
little; but acting in large masses, and under a common direction, they
were enabled by indefatigable perseverance to achieve results, to have
attempted which might have filled even the European with dismay.22

In the same spirit of economical husbandry which redeemed the rocky
sierra from the curse of sterility, they dug below the arid soil of the
valleys, and sought for a stratum where some natural moisture might be
found.  These excavations, called by the Spaniards hoyas, or "pits," were
made on a great scale, comprehending frequently more than an acre,
sunk to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet, and fenced round within by a
wall of adobes, or bricks baked in the sun.  The bottom of the
excavation, well prepared by a rich manure of the sardines,--a small fish
obtained in vast quantities along the coast,--was planted with some kind
or grain or vegetable.23

The Peruvian farmers were well acquainted with the different kinds of
manures, and made large use of them; a circumstance rare in the rich
lands of the tropics, and probably not elsewhere practised by the rude
tribes of America.  They made great use of guano, the valuable deposit
of sea-fowl, that has attracted so much attention, of late, from the
agriculturists both of Europe and of our own country, and the stimulating
and nutritious properties of which the Indians perfectly appreciated.
This was found in such immense quantities on many of the little islands
along the coast, as to have the appeaarnce of lofty hills, which, covered
with a white saline incrustation, led the Conquerors to give them the
name of the sierra nevada, or "snowy mountains."

The Incas took their usual precautions for securing the benefits of this
important article to the husbandman.  They assigned the small islands on
the coast to the use of the respective districts which lay adjacent to them.
When the island was large, it was distributed among several districts, and
the boundaries for each were clearly defined.  All encroachment on the
rights of another was severely punished.  And they secured the
preservation of the fowl by penalties as stern as those by which the
Norman tyrants of England protected their own game.  No one was
allowed to set foot on the island during the season for breeding, under
pain of death; and to kill the birds at any time was punished in the like

With this advancement in agricultural science, the Peruvians might be
supposed to have had some knowledge of the plough, in such general use
among the primitive nations of the eastern continent.  But they had
neither the iron ploughshare of the Old World, nor had they animals for
draught, which, indeed, were nowhere found in the New.  The
instrument which they used was a strong, sharp-pointed stake, traversed
by a horizontal piece, ten or twelve inches from the point, on which the
ploughman might set his foot and force it into the ground.  Six or eight
strong men were attached by ropes to the stake, and dragged it forcibly
along, --pulling together, and keeping time as they moved by chanting
their national songs, in which they were accompanied by the women who
followed in their-train, to break up the sods with their rakes.  The mellow
soil offered slight resistance; and the laborer., by long practice, acquired
a dexterity which enabled him to turn up the ground to the requisite
depth with astonishing facility.  This substitute for the plough was but a
clumsy contrivance; yet it is curious as the only specimen of the kind
among the American aborigines, and was perhaps not much inferior to
the wooden instrument introduced in its stead by the European
conquerors .25

It was frequently the policy of the Incas, after providing a deserted tract
with the means for irrigation, and thus fitting it for the labors of the
husbandman, to transplant there a colony of mitimaes, who brought it
under cultivation by raising the crops best suited to the soil.  While the
peculiar character and capacity of the lands were thus consulted, a means
of exchange of the different products was afforded to the neighboring
provinces, which, from the formation of the country, varied much more
than usual within the same limits.  To facilitate these agricultural
exchanges, fairs were instituted, which took place three times a month in
some of the most populous places, where, as money was unknown, a
rude kind of commerce was kept up by the barter of their respective
products.  These fairs afforded so many holidays for the relaxation of the
industrious laborer.26

Such were the expedients adopted by the Incas for the improvement of
their territory; and, although imperfect, they must be allowed to show an
acquaintance with the principles of agricultural science, that gives them
some claim to the rank of a civilized people.  Under their patient and
discriminating culture, every inch of good soil was tasked to its greatest
power of production; while the most-unpromising spots were compelled
to contribute something to the subsistence of the people.  Everywhere the
land teemed with evidence of agricultural wealth, from the smiling
valleys along the coast to the terraced steeps of the sierra, which, rising
into pyramids of verdure, glowed with all the splendors of tropical

The formation of the country was particularly favorable, as already
remarked, to an infinite variety of products, not so much from its extent
as from its various elevations, which, more remarkable, even, than those
in Mexico, comprehend every degree of latitude from the equator to the
polar regions.  Yet, though the temperature changes in this region with
the degree of elevation, it remains nearly the same in the same spots
throughout the year; and the inhabitant feels none of those grateful
vicissitudes of season which belong to the temperate latitudes of the
globe.  Thus, while the summer lies in full power on the burning regions
of the palm and the cocoa-tree that fringe the borders of the ocean, the
broad surface of the table-land blooms with the freshness of perpetual
spring, and the higher summits of the Cordilleras are white with
everlasting winter.

The Peruvians turned this fixed variety of climate, if I may so say, to the
best account by cultivating the productions appropriate to each; and they
particularly directed their attention to those which afforded the most
nutriment to man.  Thus, in the lower level were to be found the
cassavatree and the banana, that bountiful plant, which seems to have
relieved man from the primeval curse--if it were not rather a blessing--of
toiling for his sustenance.27  As the banana faded from the landscape, a
good substitute was found in the maize, the great agricultural staple of
both the northern and southern divisions of the American continent; and
which, after its exportation to the Old World, spread so rapidly there, as
to suggest the idea of its being indigenous to it.28  The Peruvians were
well acquainted with the different modes of preparing this useful
vegetable, though it seems they did not use it for bread, except at
festivals; and they extracted a sort of honey from the stalk, and made an
intoxicating liquor from the fermented grain, to which, like the Aztecs,
they were immoderately addicted.29

The temperate climate of the table-land furnished them with the maguey,
agave Americana, many of the extraordinary qualities of which they
comprehended, though not its most important one of affording a material
for paper.  Tobacco, too, was among the products of this elevated region.
Yet the Peruvians differed from every other Indian nation to whom it was
known, by using it only for medicinal purposes, in the form of snuff.30
They may have found a substitute for its narcotic qualities in the coco
(Erythroxylum Peruvianurn), or cuca, as called by the natives.  This is a
shrub which grows to the height of a man.  The leaves when gathered are
dried in the sun, and, being mixed with a little lime, form a preparation
for chewing, much like the betel-leaf of the East.31  With a small supply
of this cuca in his pouch, and a handful of roasted maize, the Peruvian
Indian of our time performs his wearisome journeys, day ,after day,
without fatigue, or, at least, without complaint.  Even food the most
invigorating is less grateful to him than his loved narcotic.  Under the
Incas, it is said to have been exclusively reserved for the noble orders.  If
so, the people gained one luxury by the Conquest; and, after that period,
it was so extensively used by them, that this article constituted a most
important item of the colonial revenue of Spain.32  Yet, with the
soothing charms of an opiate, this weed so much vaunted by the natives,
when used to excess, is said to be attended with all the mischievous
effects of habitual intoxication.33

Higher up on the slopes of the Cordilleras, beyond the limits of the maize
and of the quinoa,--a grain bearing some resemblance to rice, and largely
cultivated by the Indians,--was to be found the potato, the introduction of
which into Europe has made an era in the history of agriculture.
Whether indigenous to Peru, or imported from the neighboring country
of Chili, it formed the great staple of the more elevated plains, under the
Incas, and its culture was continued to a height in the equatorial regions
which reached many thousand feet above the limits of perpetual snow in
the temperate latitudes of Europe.34  Wild specimens of the vegetable
might be seen still higher, springing up spontaneously amidst the stunted
shrubs that clothed the lofty sides of the Cordilleras till these gradually
subsided into the mosses and the short yellow grass: pajonal, which, like
a golden carpet, was unrolled around the base of the mighty cones, that
rose far into the regions of eternal silence, covered with the snows of

Book 1

Chapter 5

Peruvian Sheep--Great Hunts--Manufactures--Mechanical Skill--
Architecture--Concluding Reflections

A Nation which had made such progress in agriculture might be
reasonably expected to have made, also, some proficiency in the
mechanical arts--especially when, as in the case of the Peruvians, their
agricultural economy demanded in itself no inconsiderable degree of
mechanical skill.  Among most nations, progress in manufactures has
been found to have an intimate connection with the progress of
husbandry.  Both arts are directed to the same great object of supplying
the necessaries, the comforts, or, in a more refined condition of society,
the luxuries of life; and when the one is brought to a perfection that
infers a certain advance in civilization, the other must naturally find a
corresponding development under the increasing demands and capacities
of such a state.  The subjects of the Incas, in their patient and tranquil
devotion to the more humble occupations of industry which bound them
to their native soil, bore greater resemblance to the Oriental nations, as
the Hindoos and Chinese, than they bore to the members of the great
Anglo-Saxon family whose hardy temper has driven them to seek their
fortunes on the stormy ocean, and to open a commerce with the most
distant regions of the globe.  The Peruvians, though lining a long extent
of sea-coast, had no foreign commerce.

They had peculiar advantages for domestic manufacture in a material
incomparably superior to anything possessed by the other races of the
Western continent.  They found a good substitute for linen in a fabric
which, like the Aztecs, they knew how to weave from the tough thread of
the maguey.  Cotton grew luxuriantly on the low, sultry level of the
coast, and furnished them with a clothing suitable to the milder latitudes
of the country.  But from the llama and the kindred species of Peruvian
sheep they obtained a fleece adapted to the colder climate of the
tableland, "more estimable," to quote the language of a well-informed
writer, "than the down of the Canadian beaver, the fleece of the brebis
des Calmoucks, or of the Syrian goat." 1

Of the four varieties of the Peruvian sheep, the llama, the one most
familiarly known, is the least valuable on account of its wool.  It is
chiefly employed as a beast of burden, for which, although it is
somewhat larger than any of the other varieties, its diminutive size and
strength would seem to disqualify it.  It carries a load of little more than
a hundred pounds, and cannot travel above three or four leagues in a day.
But all this is compensated by the little care and cost required for its
management and its maintenance.  It picks up an easy subsistence from
the moss and stunted herbage that grow scantily along the withered sides
and the steeps of the Cordilleras.  The structure of its stomach, like that
of the camel, is such as to enable it to dispense with any supply of water
for weeks, nay, months together.  Its spongy hoof, armed with a claw or
pointed talon to enable it to take secure hold on the ice, never requires to
be shod; and the load laid upon its back rests securely in its bed of wool,
without the aid of girth or saddle.  The llamas move in troops of five
hundred or even a thousand, and thus, though each individual carries but
little, the aggregate is considerable.  The whole caravan travels on at its
regular pace, passing the night in the open air without suffering from the
coldest temperature, and marching in perfect order, and in obedience to
the voice of the driver.  It is only when overloaded that the spirited little
animal refuses to stir, and neither blows nor caresses can induce him to
rise from the ground.  He is as sturdy in asserting his rights on this
occasion, as he is usually docile and unresisting.2

The employment of domestic animals distinguished the Peruvians from
the other races of the New World.  This economy of human labor by the
substitution of the brute is an important element of civilization, interior
only to what is gained by the substitution of machinery for both.  Yet the
ancient Peruvians seem to have made much less account of it than their
Spanish conquerors, and to have valued the llama, in common with the
other animals of that genus, chiefly for its fleece.  Immense herds of
these "large cattle," as they were called, and of the "smaller cattle," 3 or
alpacas, were held by the government, as already noticed, and placed
under the direction of shepherds, who conducted them from one quarter
of the country to another, according to the changes of the season.  These
migrations were regulated with all the precision with which the code of
the mesta determined the migrations of the vast merino flocks in Spain;
and the Conquerors, when they landed in Peru, were amazed at finding a
race of animals so similar to their own in properties and habits, and
under the control of a system of legislation which might seem to have
been imported from their native land.4

But the richest store of wool was obtained, not from these domesticated
animals, but from the two other species, the huanacos and the vicunas,
which roamed in native freedom over the frozen ranges of the
Cordilleras; where not unfrequently they might be seen scaling the snow-
covered peaks which no living thing inhabits save the condor, the huge
bird of the Andes, whose broad pinions bear him up in the atmosphere to
the height of more than twenty thousand feet above the level of the sea.5
In these rugged pastures, "the flock without a fold" finds sufficient
sustenance in the ychu, a species of grass which is found scattered all
along the great ridge of the Cordilleras, from the equator to the southern
limits of Patagonia.  And as these limits define the territory traversed by
the Peruvian sheep, which rarely, if ever, venture north of the line, it
seems not improbable that this mysterious little plant is so important to
their existence, that the absence of it is the principal reason why they
have not penetrated to the northern latitudes of Quito and New

But, although thus roaming without a master over the boundless wastes
of the Cordilleras, the Peruvian peasant was never allowed to hunt these
wild animals, which were protected by laws as severe as were the sleek
herds that grazed on the more cultivated slopes of the plateau.  The wild
game of the forest and the mountain was as much the property of the
government, as if it had been inclosed within a park, or penned within a
fold.7  It was only on stated occasions, at the great hunts, which took
place once a year, under the personal superintendence of the Inca or his
principal officers, that the game was allowed to be taken.  These hunts.
were not repeated in the same quarter of the country oftener than once.
in four years, that time might be allowed for the waste occasioned by
them to be replenished.  At the appointed time, all those living in the
district and its neighborhood, to the number, it might be, of fifty or sixty
thousand men,8 were distributed round, so as to form a cordon of
immense extent, that should embrace the whole country which was to be
hunted over.  The men were armed with long poles and spears, with
which they beat up game of every description lurking in the woods, the
valleys, and the mountains, killing the beasts of prey without mercy, and
driving the others, consisting chiefly of the deer of the country, and the
huanacos and vicunas, towards the centre of the wide-extended circle;
until, as this gradually contracted, the timid inhabitants of the forest were
concentrated on some spacious plain, where the eye of the hunter might
range freely over his victims, who found no place for shelter or escape.

The male deer and some of the coarser kind of the Peruvian sheep were
slaughtered; their skins were reserved for the various useful
manufactures to which they are ordinarily applied, and their flesh, cut
into thin slices, was distributed among the people, who converted it into
charqui, the dried meat of the country, which constituted then the sole, as
it has since the principal, animal food of the lower classes of Peru.9

But nearly the whole of the sheep, amounting usually to thirty or forty
thousand, or even a larger number, after being carefully sheared, were
suffered to escape and regain their solitary haunts among the mountains.
The wool thus collected was deposited in the royal magazines, whence,
in due time, it was dealt out to the people.  The coarser quality was
worked up into garments for their own use, and the finer for the Inca; for
none but an Inca noble could wear the fine fabric of the vicuna.10

The Peruvians showed great skill in the manufacture of different articles
for the royal household from this delicate material, which, under the
name of vigonia wool, is now familiar to the looms of Europe.  It was
wrought into shawls, robes, and other articles of dress for the monarch,
and into carpets, coverlets, and hangings for the imperial palaces and the
temples.  The cloth was finished on both sides alike; 11 the delicacy of
the texture was such as to give it the lustre of silk; and the brilliancy of
the dyes excited the admiration and the envy of the European artisan.12
The Peruvians produced also an article of great strength and durability
by mixing the hair of animals with wool; and they were expert in the
beautiful feather-work, which they held of less account than the
Mexicans from the superior quality of the materials for other fabrics,
which they had at their command.13

The natives showed a skill in other mechanical arts similar to that
displayed by their manufactures of cloth.  Every man in Peru was
expected to be acquainted with the various handicrafts essential to
domestic comfort.  No long apprenticeship was required for this, where
the wants were so few as among the simple peasantry of the Incas.  But,
if this were all, it would imply but a very moderate advancement in the
arts.  There were certain individuals, however, carefully trained to those
occupations which minister to the demands of the more opulent classes
of society.  These occupations, like every other calling and office in
Peru, always descended from father to son.14  The division of castes, in
this particular, was as precise as that which existed in Egypt or
Hindostan.  If this arrangement be unfavorable to originality, or to the
development of the peculiar talent of the individual, it at least conduces
to an easy and finished execution by familiarizing the artist with the
practice of his art from childhood.15

The royal magazines and the huacas or tombs of the Incas have been
found to contain many specimens of curious and elaborate workmanship.
Among these are vases of gold and silver, bracelets, collars, and other
ornaments for the person; utensils of every description, some of fine
clay, and many more of copper; mirrors of a hard, polished stone, or
burnished silver, with a great variety of other articles made frequently on
a whimsical pattern, evincing quite as much ingenuity as taste or
inventive talent.16  The character of the Peruvian mind led to imitation,
in fact, rather than invention, to delicacy and minuteness of finish, rather
than to boldness or beauty of design.

That they should have accomplished these difficult works with such tools
as they possessed, is truly wonderful.  It was comparativeIy easy to cast
and even sculpture metallic substances, both of which they did with
consummate skill.  But that they should have shown the like facility in
cutting the hardest substances, as emeralds and other precious stones, is
not easy to explain.  Emeralds they obtained in considerable quantity
from the barren district of Atacames, and this inflexible material seems
to have been almost as ductile in the hands of the Peruvian artist as if it
had been made of clay.17  Yet the natives were unacquainted with the
use of iron, though the soil was largely impregnated with it.18  The tools
used were of stone, or more frequently of copper.  But the material on
which they relied for the execution of their most difficult tasks was
formed by combining a very small portion of tin with copper.19  This
composition gave a hardness to the metal which seems to have been little
inferior to that of steel.  With the aid of it, not only did the Peruvian
artisan hew into shape porphyry and granite, but by his patient industry
accomplished works which the European would not have ventured to
undertake.  Among the remains of the monuments of Cannar may be seen
movable rings in the muzzles of animals, all nicely sculptured of one
entire block of granite.20  It is worthy of remark, that the Egyptians, the
Mexicans, and the Peruvians, in their progress towards civilization,
should never have detected the use of iron, which lay around them in
abundance; and that they should each, without any knowledge of the
other, have found a substitute for it in such a curious composition of
metals as gave to their tools almost the temper of steel; 21 a secret that
has been lost--or, to speak more correctly, has never been discovered-by
the civilized European.

I have already spoken of the large quantity of gold and silver wrought
into various articles of elegance and utility for the Incas; though the
amount was inconsiderable, in comparison with what could have been
afforded by the mineral riches of the land, and with what has since been
obtained by the more sagacious and unscrupulous cupidity of the white
man.  Gold was gathered by the Incas from the deposits of the streams.
They extracted the ore also in considerable quantities from the valley of
Curimayo, northeast of Caxamarca, as well as from other places; and the
silver mines of Porco, in particular, yielded them considerable returns.
Yet they did not attempt to penetrate into the bowels of the earth 'by
sinking a shaft, but simply excavated a cavern in the steep sides of the
mountain, or, at most, opened a horizonal vein of moderate depth.  They
were equally deficient in the knowledge of the best means of detaching
the precious metal from the dross with which it was united, and had no
idea of the virtues of quicksilver,--a mineral not rare in Peru, as an
amalgam to effect this decomposition.22  Their method of smelting the
ore was by means of furnaces built in elevated and exposed situations,
where they might be fanned by the strong breezes of the mountains.  The
subjects of the Incas, in short, with all their patient perseverance, did
little more than penetrate below the crust, the outer rind, as it were,
formed over those golden caverns which lie hidden in the dark depths of
the Andes.  Yet what they gleaned from the surface was more than
adequate for all their demands.  For they were not a commercial people,
and had no knowledge of money.23  In this they differed from the
ancient Mexicans, who had an established currency of a determinate
value.  In one respect, however, they were superior to their American
rivals, since they made use of weights to determine the quantity of their
commodities, a thing wholly unknown to the Aztecs.  This fact is
ascertained by the discovery of silver balances, adjusted with perfect
accuracy, in some of the tombs of the Incas.24

But the surest test of the civilization of a people--at least, as sure as any--
afforded by mechanical art is to be found in their architecture, which
presents so noble a field for the display of the grand and the beautiful,
and which, at the same time, is so intimately connected with the essential
comforts of life.  There is no object on which the resources of the
wealthy are more freely lavished, or which calls out more effectually the
inventive talent of the artist.  The painter and the sculptor may display
their individual genius in creations of surpassing excellence, but it is the
great monuments of architectural taste and magnificence that are
stamped in a peculiar manner by the genius of the nation.  The Greek, the
Egyptian, the Saracen, the Gothic,--what a key do their respective styles
afford to the character and condition of the people! The monuments of
China, of Hindostan, and of Central America are all indicative of an
immature period, in which the imagination has not been disciplined by
study, and which, therefore, in its best results, betrays only the
illregulated aspirations after the beautiful, that belong to a semi-civilized

The Peruvian architecture, bearing also the general characteristics of an
imperfect state of refinement, had still its peculiar character; and so
uniform was that character, that the edifices throughout the country seem
to have been all cast in the same mould.25  They were usually built of
porphyry or granite; not unfrequently of brick.  This, which was formed
into blocks or squares of much larger dimensions than our brick, was
made of a tenacious earth mixed up with reeds or tough grass, and
acquired a degree of hardness with age that made it insensible alike to
the storms and the more trying sun of the tropics.26  The walls were of
great thickness, but low, seldom reaching to more than twelve or
fourteen feet in height.  It is rare to meet with accounts of a building that
rose to a  second story.27

The apartments had no communication with one another, but usually
opened into a court; and, as they were unprovided with windows, or
apertures that served for them, the only light from without must have
been admitted by the doorways.  These were made with the sides
approaching each other towards the top, so that the lintel was
considerably narrower than the threshold, a peculiarity, also, in Egyptian
architecture.  The roofs have for the most part disappeared with time.
Some few survive in the less ambitious edifices, of a singular bell-shape,
and made of a composition of earth and pebbles.  They are supposed,
however, to have been generally formed of more perishable materials, of
wood or straw.  It is certain that some of the most considerable stone-
buildings were thatched with straw.  Many seem to have been
constructed without the aid of cement; and writers have contended that
the Peruvians were unacquainted with the use of mortar, or cement of
any kind.28  But a close, tenacious mould, mixed with lime, may be
discovered filling up the interstices of the granite in some buildings; and
in others, where the wellfitted blocks leave no room for this coarser
material, the eye of the antiquary has detected a fine bituminous glue, as
hard as the rock itself.29

The greatest simplicity is observed in the construction of the buildings.
which are usually free from outward ornament; though in some the huge
stones are shaped into a convex form with great regularity, and adjusted
with such nice precision to one another, that it would be impossible, but
for the flutings, to determine the line of junction.  In others, the stone is
rough, as it was taken from the quarry, in the most irregular forms, with
the edges nicely wrought and fitted to each other.  There is no
appearance of columns or of arches; though there is some contradiction
as to the latter point.  But it is not to be doubted, that, although they may
have made some approach to this mode of construction by the greater or
less inclination of the walls, the Peruvian architects were wholly
unacquainted with the true principle of the circular arch reposing on its

The architecture of the Incas is characterized, says an eminent traveller,
"by simplicity, symmetry, and solidity."31  It may seem unphilosophical
to condemn the peculiar fashion of a nation as indicating want of taste,
because its standard of taste differs from our own.  Yet there is an
incongruity in the composition of the Peruvian buildings which argues a
very imperfect acquaintance with the first principles of architecture.
While they put together their bulky masses of porphyry and granite with
the nicest art, they were incapable of mortising their timbers, and, in their
ignorance of iron, knew no better way of holding the beams together that
tying them with thongs of maguey.  In the same incongruous spirit, the
building that was thatched with straw, and unilluminated by a window,
was glowing with tapestries of gold and silver! These are the
inconsistencies of a rude people, among whom the arts are but partially
developed.  It might not be difficult to find examples of like
inconsistency in the architecture and domestic arrangements of our
Anglo-Saxon, and, at a still later period of our Norman ancestors.

Yet the buildings of the Incas were accommodated to the character of the
climate, and were well fitted to resist those terrible convulsions which
belong to the land of volcanoes.  The wisdom of their plan is attested by
the number which still survive, while the more modern constructions of
the Conquerors have been buried in ruins.  The hand of the Conquerors,
indeed, has fallen heavily on these venerable monuments, and, in their
blind and superstitious search for hidden treasure, has caused infinitely
more ruin than time or the earthquake.32  Yet enough of these
monuments still remain to invite the researches of the antiquary.  Those
only in the most conspicuous situations have been hitherto examined.
But, by the testimony of travellers, many more are to be found in the less
frequented parts of the country; and we may hope they will one day call
forth a kindred spirit of enterprise to that which has so successfully
explored the mysterious recesses of Central America and Yucatan.

I cannot close this analysis of the Peruvian institutions without a few
reflections on their general character and tendency, which, if they
involve some repetition of previous remarks, may, I trust, be excused,
from my desire to leave a correct and consistent impression on the
reader.  In this survey, we cannot but be struck with the total
dissimilarity between these institutions and those of the Aztecs,--the
other great nation who led in the march of civilization on this western
continent, and whose empire in the northern portion of it was as
conspicuous as that of the Incas in the south.  Both nations came on the
plateau, and commenced their career of conquest, at dates, it may be, not
far removed from each other.33  And it is worthy of notice, that, in
America, the elevated region along the crests of the great mountain
ranges should have been the chosen seat of civilization in both

Very different was the policy pursued by the two races in their military
career.  The Aztecs, animated by the most ferocious spirit, carried on a
war of extermination, signalizing their triumphs by the sacrifice of
hecatombs of captives; while the Incas, although they pursued the game
of conquest with equal pertinacity, preferred a milder policy, substituting
negotiation and intrigue for violence, and dealt with their antagonists so
that their future resources should not be crippled, and that they should
come as friends, not as foes, into the bosom of the empire.

Their policy toward the conquered forms a contrast no less striking to
that pursued by the Aztecs.  The Mexican vassals were ground by
excessive imposts and military conscriptions.  No regard was had to their
welfare, and the only limit to oppression was the power of endurance.
They were over-awed by fortresses and armed garrisons, and were made
to feel every hour that they were not part and parcel of the nation, but
held only in subjugation as a conquered people.  The Incas, on the other
hand, admitted their new subjects at once to all the rights enjoyed by the
rest of the community; and, though they made them conform to the
established laws and usages of the empire, they watched over their
personal security and comfort with a sort of parental solicitude.  The
motley population, thus bound together by common interest, was
animated by a common feeling of loyality, which gave greater strength
and stability to the empire, as it became more and more widely extended;
while the various tribes who successively came under the Mexican
sceptre, being held together only by the pressure of external force, were
ready to fall asunder the moment that that force was withdrawn.  The
policy of the two nations displayed the principle of fear as contrasted
with the principle of love.

The characteristic features of their religious systems had as little
resemblance to each other.  The whole Aztec pantheon partook more or
less of the sanguinary spirit of the terrible war-god who presided over it,
and their frivolous ceremonial almost always terminated with human
sacrifice and cannibal orgies.  But the rites of the Peruvians were of a
more innocent cast, as they tended to a more spiritual worship.  For the
worship of the Creator is most nearly approached by that of the heavenly
bodies, which, as they revolve in their bright orbits, seem to be the most
glorious symbols of his beneficence and power.

In the minuter mechanical arts, both showed considerable skill; but in the
construction of important public works, of roads, aqueducts, canals, and
in agriculture in all its details, the Peruvians were much superior.
Strange that they should have fallen so far below their rivals in their
efforts after a higher intellectual culture, in astronomical science, more
especially, and in the art of communicating thought by visible symbols.
When we consider the greater refinement of the Incas, their inferiority to
the Aztecs in these particulars can be explained only by the fact, that the
latter in all probability were indebted for their science to the race who
preceded them in the land,--that shadowy race whose origin and whose
end are alike veiled from the eye of the inquirer, but who possibly may
have sought a refuge from their ferocious invaders in those regions of
Central America the architectural remains of which now supply us with
the most pleasing monuments of Indian civilization.  It is with this more
polished race, to whom the Peruvians seem to have borne some
resemblance in their mental and moral organization, that they should be
compared.  Had the empire of the Incas been permitted to extend itself
with the rapid strides with which it was advancing at the period of the
Spanish conquest, the two races might have come into conflict, or,
perhaps, into alliance with one another.

The Mexicans and Peruvians, so different in the character of their
peculiar civilization, were, it seems probable, ignorant of each other's
existence; and it may appear singular, that, during the simultaneous
continuance of their empires, some of the seeds of science and of art,
which pass so imperceptibly from one people to another, should not have
found their way across the interval which separated the two nations.
They furnish an interesting example of the opposite directions which the
human mind may take in its struggle to emerge from darkness into the
light of civilization,

A closer resemblance--as I have more than once taken occasion to
notice--may be found between the Peruvian institutions and some of the
despotic governments of Eastern Asia; those governments where
despotism appears in its more mitigated form, and the whole people,
under the patriarchal sway of its sovereign, seem to be gathered together
like the members of one vast family.  Such were the Chinese, for
example, whom the Peruvians resembled in their implicit obedience to
authority, their mild yet somewhat stubborn temper, their solicitude for
forms, their reverence for ancient usage, their skill in the minuter
manufactures, their imitative rather than inventive cast of mind, and their
invincible patience, which serves instead of a more adventurous spirit for
the execution of difficult undertakings.34

A still closer analogy may be found with the natives of Hindostan in their
division into castes, their worship of the heavenly bodies and the
elements of nature, and their acquaintance with the scientific principles
of husbandry.  To the ancient Egyptians, also, they bore considerable
resemblance in the same particulars, as well as in those ideas of a future
existence which led them to attach so much importance to the permanent
preservation of the body.

But we shall look in vain in the history of the East for a parallel to the
absolute control exercised by the Incas over their subjects.  In the East,
this was rounded on physical power,--on the external resources of the
government.  The authority of the Inca might be compared with that of
the Pope in the day of his might, when Christendom trembled at the
thunders of the Vatican, and the successor of St.  Peter set his foot on the
necks of princes.  But the authority of the Pope was founded on opinion.
His temporal power was nothing.  The empire of the Incas rested on
both.  It was a theocracy more potent in its operation than that of the
Jews; for, though the sanction of the law might be as great among the
latter, the law was expounded by a human lawgiver, the servant and
representative of Divinity.  But the Inca was both the lawgiver and the
law.  He was not merely the representative of Divinity, or, like the Pope,
its vicegerent, but he was Divinity itself.  The violation of his ordinance
was sacrilege.  Never was there a scheme of government enforced by
such terrible sanctions, or which bore so oppressively on the subjects of
it.  For it reached not only to the visible acts, but to the private conduct,
the words, the very thoughts, of its vassals.

It added not a little to the efficacy of the government, that, below the
sovereign, there was an order of hereditary nobles of the same divine
original with himself, who, placed far below himself, were still
immeasurably above the rest of the community, not merely by descent,
but, as it would seem, by their intellectual nature.  These were the
exclusive depositaries of power, and, as their long hereditary training
made them familiar with their vocation, and secured them implicit
deference from the multitude, they became the prompt and well-practised
agents for carrying out the executive measures of the administration.  All
that occurred throughout the wide extent of his empire---such was the
perfect system of communication--passed in review, as it were, before
the eyes of the monarch, and a thousand hands, armed with irresistible
authority, stood ready in every quarter to do his bidding.  Was it not, as
we have said, the most oppressive, though the mildest, of despotisms?

It was the mildest, from the very circumstance, that the transcendent rank
of the sovereign, and the humble, nay, superstitious, devotion to his will
make it superfluous to assert this will be acts of violence or rigor.  The
great mass of the people may have appeared to his eyes as but little
removed above the condition of the brute, formed to minister to his
pleasures.  But, from their very helplessness, he regarded them with
feelings of commiseration, like those which a kind master might feel for
the poor animals committed to his charge, or--to do justice to the
beneficent character attributed to many of the Incas--that a parent might
feel for his young and impotent offspring.  The laws were carefully
directed to their preservation and personal comfort.  The people were not
allowed to be employed on works pernicious to their health, nor to pine--
a sad contrast to their subsequent destiny--under the imposition of tasks
too heavy for their powers.  They were never made the victims of public
or private extortion; and a benevolent forecast watched carefully over
their necessities, and provided for their relief in seasons of infirmity, and
for their sustenance in health.  The government of the Incas, however
arbitrary in form, was in its spirit truly patriarchal.

Yet in this there was nothing cheering to the dignity of human nature.
What the people had was conceded as a boon, not as a right.  When a
nation was brought under the sceptre of the Incas, it resigned every
personal right, even the rights dearest to humanity.  Under this
extraordinary polity, a people advanced in many of the social
refinements, well skilled in manufactures and agriculture, were
unacquainted, as we have seen, with money.  They had nothing that
deserved to be called property.  They could follow no craft, could
engage in no labor, no amusement, but such as was specially provided by
law.  They could not change their residence or their dress without a
license from the government.  They could not even exercise the freedom
which is conceded to the most abject in other countries, that of selecting
their own wives.  The imperative spirit of despotism would not allow
them to be happy or miserable in any way but that established by law.
The power of free agency--the inestimable and inborn right of every
human being--was annihilated in Peru.

The astonishing mechanism of the Peruvian polity could have resulted
only from the combined authority of opinion and positive power in the
ruler to an extent unprecedented in the history of man.  Yet that it should
have so successfully gone into operation, and so long endured, in
opposition to the taste, the prejudices, and the very principles of our
nature, is a strong proof of a generally wise and temperate administration
of the government.

The policy habitually pursued by the Incas for the prevention of evils
that might have disturbed the order of things is well exemplified in their
provisions against poverty and idleness.  In these they rightly discerned
the two great causes of disaffection in a populous community.  The
industry of the people was secured not only by their compulsory
occupations at home, but by their employment on those great public
works which covered every part of the country, and which still bear
testimony in their decay to their primitive grandeur.  Yet it may well
astonish us to find, that the natural difficulty of these undertakings,
sufficiently great in itself, considering the imperfection of their tools and
machinery, was inconceivably enhanced by the politic contrivance of
government.  The royal edifices of Quito, we are assured by the Spanish
conquerors, were constructed of huge masses of stone, many of which
were carried all the way along the mountain roads from Cuzco, a
distance of several hundred leagues.35  The great square of the capital
was filled to a considerable depth with mould brought with incredible
labor up the steep slopes of the Cordilleras from the distant shores of the
Pacific Ocean.36  Labor was regarded not only as a means, but as an
end, by the Peruvian law.

With their manifold provisions against poverty the reader has already
been made acquainted.  They were so perfect, that, in their wide extent of
territory,--much of it smitten with the curse of barrenness,--no man,
however humble, suffered from the want of food and clothing.  Famine,
so common a scourge in every other American nation, so common at that
period in every country of civilized Europe, was an evil unknown in the
dominions of the Incas.

The most enlightened of the Spaniards who first visited Peru, struck with
the general appearance of plenty and prosperity, and with the astonishing
order with which every thing throughout the country was regulated, are
loud in their expressions of admiration.  No better government, in their
opinion, could have been devised for the people.  Contented with their
condition, and free from vice, to borrow the language of an eminent
authority of that early day, the mild and docile character of the Peruvians
would have well fitted them to receive the teachings of Christianity, had
the love of conversion, instead of gold, animated the breasts of the
Conquerors.37  And a philosopher of a later time, warmed by the
contemplation of the picture--which his own fancy had colored---of
public prosperity and private happiness under the rule of the Incas,
pronounces "the moral man in Peru far superior to the European." 38

Yet such results are scarcely reconcilable with the theory of the
government I have attempted to analyze.  Where there is no free agency,
there can be no morality.  Where there is no temptation, there can be
little claim to virtue.  Where the routine is rigorously prescribed by law,
the law, and not the man, must have the credit of the conduct.  if that
government is the best, which is felt the least, which encroaches on the
natural liberty of the subject only so far as is essential to civil
subordination, then of all governments devised by man the Peruvian has
the least real claim to our admiration.

It is not easy to comprehend the genius and the full import of institutions
so opposite to those of our own free republic, where every man, however
humble his condition, may aspire to the highest honors of the state,--may
select his own career, and carve out his fortune in his own way; where
the light of knowledge, instead of being concentrated on a chosen few, is
shed abroad like the light of day, and suffered to fall equally on the poor
and the rich; where the collision of man with man wakens a generous
emulation that calls out latent talent and tasks the energies to the utmost;
where consciousness of independence gives a feeling of self-reliance
unknown to the timid subjects of a despotism; where, in short, the
government is made for man,--not as in Peru, where man seemed to be
made only for the government.  The New World is the theatre in which
these two political systems, so opposite in their character, have been
carried into operation.  The empire of the Incas has passed away and left
no trace.  The other great experiment is still going on,--the experiment
which is to solve the problem, so long contested in the Old World, of the
capacity of man for self-government.  Alas for humanity, if it should fail!

The testimony of the Spanish conquerors is not uniform in respect to the
favorable influence exerted by the Peruvian institutions on the character
of the people.  Drinking and dancing are said to have been the pleassures
to which they were immoderately addicted.  Like the slaves and serfs in
other lands, whose position excluded them from more serious and
ennobling occupations, they found a substitute in frivolous or sensual
indulgence.  Lazy, luxurious, and licentious, are the epithets bestowed on
them by one of those who saw them at the Conquest, but whose pen was
not too friendly to the Indian.39  Yet the spirit of independence could
hardly be strong in a people who had no interest in the soil, no personal
rights to defend; and the facility with which they yielded to the Spanish
invader--after every allowance for their comparative inferiority--argues a
deplorable destitution of that patriotic feeling which holds life as little in
comparison with freedom.

But we must not judge too hardly of the unfortunate native, because he
quailed before the civilization of the European.  We must not be
insensible to the really great results that were achieved by the
government of the Incas.  We must not forget, that, under their rule, the
meanest of the people enjoyed a far greater degree of personal comfort,
at least, a greater exemption from physical suffering, than was possessed
by similar classes in other nations on the American continent,--greater,
probably, than was possessed by these classes in most of the countries of
feudal Europe.  Under their sceptre, the higher orders of the state had
made advances in many of the arts that belong to a cultivated
community.  The foundations of a regular government were laid, which,
in an age of rapine, secured to its subjects the inestimable blessings of
tranquillity and safety.  By the well-sustained policy of the Incas, the
rude tribes of the forest were gradually drawn from their fastnesses, and
gathered within the folds of civilization; and of these materials was
constructed a flourishing and populous empire, such as was to be found
in no other quarter of the American continent.  The defects of this
government were those of overrefinement in legislation,--the last defects
to have been looked for, certainly, in the American aborigines.

Note.   I have not thought it necessary to swell this Introduction by an
inquiry into the origin of the Peruvian civilization, like that appended to
the history of the Mexican.   The Peruvian history doubtless suggests
analogies with more than one nation in the East, some of which have
been briefly adverted to in the preceding pages; although these analogies
are adduced there not as evidence of a common origin, but as showing
the coincidences which might naturally spring up among different
nations under the same phase of civilization.  Such coincidences are
neither so numerous nor so striking as those afforded by the Aztec
history.  The correspondence presented by the astronomical science of
the Mexicans is alone of more importance than all the rest, Yet the light
of analogy, afforded by the institutions of the Incas, seems to point, as
far as it goes, towards the same direction; and as the investigation could
present but little substantially to confirm, and still less to confute, the
views taken in the former disquisition, I have not thought it best to
fatigue the reader with it.

Two of the prominent authorities on whom I have relied in this
Introductory portion of the work, are Juan de Sarmiento and the
Licentiate Ondegardo.  Of the former I have been able to collect no
information beyond what is afforded by his own writings.  In the title
prefixed to his manuscript, he is styled President of the Council of the
Indies, a post of high authority, which infers a weight of character in the
party, and means of information, that entitle his opinions on colonial
topics to great deference.

These means of information were much enlarged by Sarmiento's visit to
the colonies, during the administration of Gasca.  Having conceived the
design of compiling a history of the ancient Peruvian institutions, he
visited Cuzco, as he tells us, in 1550, and there drew from the natives
themselves the materials for his narrative.  His position gave him access
to the most authentic sources of knowledge, and from the lips of the Inca
nobles, the best instructed of the conquered race, he gathered the
traditions of their national history and institutions.  The quipus formed,
as we have seen, an imperfect system of mnemonics, requiring constant
attention, and much inferior to the Mexican hieroglyphics.  It was only
by diligent instruction that they were made available to historical
purposes; and this instruction was so far neglected after the Conquest,
that the ancient annals of the country would have perished with the
generation which was the sole depositary of them, had it not been for the
efforts of a few intelligent scholars, like Sarmiento, who saw the
importance, at this critical period, of cultivating an intercourse with the
natives, and drawing from them their hidden stores of information.

To give still further authenticity to his work, Sarmiento travelled over the
country, examined the principal objects of interest with his own eyes,
and thus verified the accounts of the natives as far as possible by
personal observation.  The result of these labors was his work entitled,
"Relacion de la sucesion y govierno de las Yngas Senores naturales que
fueron de las Provincias del Peru y otras cosas tocantes a aquel Reyno,
para el Iltmo.  Senor Dn Juan Sarmiento, Presidente del Consejo Rl de

It is divided into chapters, and embraces about four hundred folio pages
in manuscript.  The introductory portion of the work is occupied with the
traditionary tales of the origin and early period of the Incas; teeming, as
usual, in the antiquities of a barbarous people, with legendary fables of
the most wild and monstrous character.  Yet these puerile conceptions
afford an inexhaustible mine for the labors of the antiquarian, who
endeavors to unravel the allegorical web which a cunning priesthood had
devised as symbolical of those mysteries of creation that it was beyond
their power to comprehend.  But Sarmiento happily confines himself to
the mere statement of traditional fables, without the chimerical ambition
to explain them.

From this region of romance, Sarmiento passes to the institutions of the
Peruvians, describes their ancient polity, their religion, their progress in
the arts, especially agriculture; and presents, in short, an elaborate
picture of the civilization which they reached under the Inca dynasty.
This part of his work, resting, as it does, on the best authority, confirmed
in many instances by his own observation, is of unquestionable value,
and is written with an apparent respect for truth, that engages the
confidence of the reader.  The concluding portion of the manuscript is
occupied with the civil history of the country.  The reigns of the early
Incas, which lie beyond the sober province of history, he despatches
with commendable brevity.  But on the three last reigns, and fortunately
of the greatest princes who occupied the Peruvian throne, he is more
diffuse.  This was comparatively firm ground for the chronicler, for the
events were too recent to be obscured by the vulgar legends that gather
like moss round every incident of the older time.  His account stops with
the Spanish invasion: for this story, Sarmiento felt, might be safely left to
his contemporaries who acted a part in it, but whose taste and education
had qualified them but indifferently for exploring the antiquities and
social institutions of the natives.

Sarmiento's work is composed in a simple, perspicuous style, without
that ambition of rhetorical display too common with his countrymen.  He
writes with honest candor, and while he does ample justice to the merits
and capacity of the conquered races, he notices with indignation the
atrocities of the Spaniards and the demoralizing tendency of the
Conquest.  It may be thought, indeed, that he forms too high an estimate
of the attainments of the nation under the Incas.  And it is not
improbable, that, astonished by the vestiges it afforded of an original
civilization, he became enamoured of his subject, and thus exhibited it in
colors somewhat too glowing to the eye of the European.  But this was
an amiable failing, not too largely shared by the stern Conquerors, who
subverted the institutions of the country, and saw little to admire in it,
save its gold.  It must be further admitted, that Sarmiento has no design
to impose on his reader, and that he is careful to distinguish between
what he reports on hearsay, and what on personal experience.  The
Father of History himself does not discriminate between these two things
more carefully.

Neither is the Spanish historian to be altogether vindicated from the
superstition which belongs to his time; and we often find him referring to
the immediate interposition of Satan those effects which might quite as
well be charged on the perverseness of man.  But this was common to the
age, and to the wisest men in it; and it is too much to demand of a man to
be wiser than his generation.  It is sufficient praise of Sarmiento, that, in
an age when superstition was too often allied with fanaticism, he seems
to have had no tincture of bigotry in his nature.  His heart opens with
benevolent fulness to the unfortunate native; and his language, while it is
not kindled into the religious glow of the missionary, is warmed by a
generous ray of philanthropy that embraces the conquered, no less than
the conquerors, as his brethren.

Notwithstanding the great value of Sarmiento's work for the information
it affords of Peru under the Incas, it is but little known, has been rarely
consulted by historians, and still remains among the unpublished
manuscripts which lie, like uncoined bullion, in the secret chambers of
the Escurial.

The other authority to whom I have alluded, the Licentiate Polo de
Ondegardo, was a highly respectable jurist, whose name appears
frequently in the affairs of Peru.  I find no account of the period when he
first came into the country.  But he was there on the arrival of Gasca, and
resided at Lima under the usurpation of Gonzalo Pizarro.  When the
artful Cepeda endeavored to secure the signatures of the inhabitants to
the instrument proclaiming the sovereignty of his chief, we find
Ondegardo taking the lead among those of his profession in resisting it.
On Gasca's arrival, he consented to take a commission in his army.  At
the close of the rebellion he was made corregidor of La Plata, and
subsequently of Cuzco, in which honorable station he seems to have
remained several years.  In the exercise of his magisterial functions, he
was brought into familiar intercourse with the natives, and had ample
opportunity for studying their laws and ancient customs.  He conducted
himself with such prudence and moderation, that he seems to have won
the confidence not only of his countrymen but of the Indians; while the
administration was careful to profit by his large experience in devising
measures for the better government of the colony.

The Relaciones, so often cited in this History, were prepared at the
suggestion of the viceroys, the first being addressed to the Marques de
Canete, in 1561, and the second, ten years later, to the Conde de Nieva.
The two cover about as much ground as Sarmiento's manuscript; and the
second memorial, written so long after the first, may be thought to
intimate the advancing age of the author, in the greater carelessness and
diffuseness of the composition.

As these documents are in the nature of answers to the interrogatories
propounded by government- the range of topics might seem to be limited
within narrower bounds than the modern historian would desire.  These
queries, indeed, had particular reference to the revenues, tributes,--the
financial administration, in short, of the Incas; and on these obscure
topics the communication of Ondegardo is particularly full.  But the
enlightened curiosity of government embraced a far wider range; and the
answers necessarily implied an acquaintance with the domestic policy of
the Incas, with their laws, social habits, their religion, science, and arts,
in short, with all that make up the elements of civilization.  Ondegardo's
memoirs, therefore, cover the whole ground of inquiry for the
philosophic historian.

In the management of these various subjects, Ondegardo displays both
acuteness and erudition.  He never shrinks from the discussion, however
difficult; and while he gives his conclusions with an air of modesty, it is
evident that he feels conscious of having derived his information through
the most authentic channels.  He rejects the fabulous with disdain;
decides on the probabilities of such facts as he relates, and candidly
exposes the deficiency of evidence.  Far from displaying the simple
enthusiasm of the well-meaning but credulous missionary, he proceeds
with the cool and cautious step of a lawyer accustomed to the conflict of
testimony and the uncertainty of oral tradition.  This circumspect manner
of proceeding, and the temperate character of his judgments, entitle
Ondegardo to much higher consideration as an authority than most of his
countrymen who have treated of Indian antiquities.

There runs through his writings a vein of humanity, shown particularly in
his tenderness to the unfortunate natives, to whose ancient civilization he
does entire, but not extravagant, justice; while, like Sarmiento, he
fearlessly denounces the excesses of his own countrymen, and admits the
dark reproach they had brought on the honor of the nation.  But while
this censure forms the strongest ground for condemnation of the
Conquerors, since it comes from the lips of a Spaniard like themselves, it
proves, also, that Spain in this age of violence could send forth from her
bosom wise and good men who refused to make common cause with the
licentious rabble around them.  Indeed, proof enough is given in these
very memorials of the unceasing efforts of the colonial government, from
the good viceroy Mendoza downwards, to secure protection and the
benefit of a mild legislation to the unfortunate natives.  But the iron
Conquerors, and the colonist whose heart softened only to the touch of
gold, presented a formidable barrier to improvement.

Ondegardo's writings are honorably distinguished by freedom from that
superstition which is the debasing characteristic of the times; a
superstition shown in the easy credit given to the marvellous, and this
equally whether in heathen or in Christian story; for in the former the eye
of credulity could discern as readily the direct interposition of Satan, as
in the latter the hand of the Almighty.  It is this ready belief in a spiritual
agency, whether for good or for evil, which forms one of the most
prominent features in the writings of the sixteenth century.  Nothing
could be more repugnant to the true spirit of philosophical inquiry or
more irreconcilable with rational criticism.  Far from betraying such
weakness, Ondegardo writes in a direct and business-like manner,
estimating things for what they are worth by the plain rule of common-
sense.  He keeps the main object of his argument ever in view, without
allowing himself, like the garrulous chroniclers of the period, to be led
astray into a thousand rambling episodes that bewilder the reader and
lead to nothing.

Ondegardo's memoirs deal not only with the antiquities of the nation, but
with its actual condition, and with the best means for redressing the
manifold evils to which it was subjected under the stern rule of its
conquerors.  His suggestions are replete with wisdom, and a merciful
policy, that would reconcile the interests of government with the
prosperity and happiness of its humblest vassal.  Thus, while his
contemporaries gathered light from his suggestions as to the present
condition of affairs, the historian of later times is no less indebted to him
for information in respect to the past.  His manuscript was freely
consulted by Herrera and the reader, as he peruses the pages of the
learned historian of the Indies, is unconsciously enjoying the benefit of
the researches of Ondegardo.  His valuable Relaciones thus had their
uses for future generations, though they have never been admitted to the
honors of the press.  The copy in my possession, like that of Sarmiento's
manuscript, for which I am indebted to that industrious bibliographer,
Mr.  Rich formed part of the magnificent collection of Lord
Kingsborough,--a name ever to be held in honor by the scholar for his
indefatigable efforts to illustrate the antiquities of America.

Ondegardo's manuscripts, it should be remarked, do not bear his
signature.  But they contain allusions to several actions of the writer's
life, which identify them, beyond any reasonable doubt, as his
production.  In the archives of Simancas is a duplicate copy of the first
memorial, Relacion Primera, though, like the one in the Escurial, without
its author's name.  Munoz assigns it to the pen of Gabriel de Rojas, a
distinguished cavalier of the Conquest.  This is clearly an error; for the
author of the manuscript identifies himself with Ondegardo, by
declaring, in his reply to the fifth interrogatory, that he was the person
who discovered the mummies of the Incas in Cuzco; an act expressly
referred both by Acosta and Garcilasso, to the Licentiate Polo de
Ondegardo, when corregidor of that city.--Should the savans of Madrid
hereafter embrace among the publications of valuable manuscripts these
Relaciones, they should be careful not to be led into an error here, by the
authority of a critic like Munoz whose criticism is rarely at fault.

History of the Conquest of Peru

by William Hickling Prescott

Book 2

Discovery of Peru

Chapter 1

Ancient And Modern Science--Art Of Navigation--Maritime Discovery--
Spirit Of The Spaniards--Possessions In The New World-
Rumors Concerning Peru

Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the comparative merits of
the ancients and the moderns in the arts, in poetry, eloquence, and all
that depends on imagination, there can be no doubt that in science the
moderns have eminently the advantage.  It could not be otherwise.  In the
early ages of the world, as in the early period of life, there was the
freshness of a morning existence, when the gloss of novelty was on every
thing that met the eye; when the senses, not blunted by familiarity, were
more keenly alive to the beautiful, and the mind, under the influence of a
healthy and natural taste, was not perverted by philosophical theory;
when the simple was necessarily connected with the beautiful, and the
epicurean intellect, sated by repetition, had not begun to seek for
stimulants in the fantastic and capricious.  The realms of fancy were all
untravelled, and its fairest flowers had not been gathered, nor its beauties
despoiled, by the rude touch of those who affected to cultivate them.
The wing of genius was not bound to the earth by the cold and
conventional rules of criticism, but was permitted to take its flight far
and wide over the broad expanse of creation.

But with science it was otherwise.  No genius could suffice for the
creation of facts,--hardly for their detection.  They were to be gathered in
by painful industry; to be collected from careful observation and
experiment.  Genius, indeed, might arrange and combine these facts into
new forms, and elicit from their combinations new and important
inferences; and in this process might almost rival in originality the
creations of the poet and the artist.  But if the processes of science are
necessarily slow, they are sure.  There is no retrograde movement in her
domain.  Arts may fade, the Muse become dumb, a moral lethargy may
lock up the faculties of a nation, the nation itself may pass away and
leave only the memory of its existence but the stores of science it has
garnered up will endure for ever.  As other nations come upon the stage,
and new forms of civilization arise.  the monuments of art and of
imagination, productions of an older time, will lie as an obstacle in the
path of improvement.  They cannot be built upon; they occupy the
ground which the new aspirant for immortality would cover.  The whole
work is to be gone over again, and other forms of beauty--whether higher
or lower in the scale of merit, but unlike the past--must arise to take a
place by their side.  But, in science, every stone that has been laid
remains as the foundation for another.  The coming generation takes up
the work where the preceding left it.  There is no retrograde movement.
The individual nation may recede, but science still advances.  Every step
that has been gained makes the ascent easier for those who come after.
Every step carries the patient inquirer after truth higher and higher
towards heaven, and unfolds to him, as he rises, a wider horizon, and
new and more magnificent views of the universe.

Geography partook of the embarrassments which belonged to every other
department of science in the primitive ages of the world.  The knowledge
of the earth could come only from an extended commerce; and
commerce is founded on artificial wants or an enlightened curiosity,
hardly compatible with the earlier condition of society.  In the infancy of
nations, the different tribes, occupied with their domestic feuds, found
few occasions to wander beyond the mountain chain or broad stream that
formed the natural boundary of their domains.  The Phoenicians, it is
true, are said to have sailed beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and to have
launched out on the great western ocean.  But the adventures of these
ancient voyagers belong to the mythic legends of antiquity, and ascend
far beyond the domain of authentic record.

The Greeks, quick and adventurous.  skilled in mechanical art, had many
of the qualities of successful navigators, and within the limits of their
little inland sea ranged fearlessly and freely.  But the conquests of
Alexander did more to extend the limits of geographical science, and
opened an acquaintance with the remote countries of the East.  Yet the
march of the conqueror is slow in comparison with the movements of the
unencumbered traveller.  The Romans were still less enterprising than
the Greeks, were less commercial in their character.  The contributions to
geographical knowledge grew with the slow acquisitions of empire.  But
their system was centralizing in its tendency; and instead of taking an
outward direction and looking abroad for discovery, every part of the
vast imperial domain turned towards the capital at its head and central
point of attraction.  The Roman conqueror pursued his path by land, not
by sea.  But the water is the great highway between nations, the true
element for the discoverer.  The Romans were not a maritime people.  At
the close of their empire, geographical science could hardly be said to
extend farther than to an acquaintance with Europe,--and this not its
more northern division,--together with a portion of Asia and Africa;
while they had no other conception of a world beyond the western waters
than was to be gathered from the fortunate prediction of the poet.1

Then followed the Middle Ages; the dark ages, as they are called, though
in their darkness were matured those seeds of knowledge, which, in
fulness of time, were to spring up into new and more glorious forms of
civilization.  The organization of society became more favorable to
geographical science.  Instead of one overgrown, lethargic empire,
oppressing every thing by its colossal weight, Europe was broken up into
various independent communities, many of which, adopting liberal forms
of government, felt all the impulses natural to freemen; and the petty
republics on the Mediterranean and the Baltic sent forth their swarms of
seamen in a profitable commerce, that knit together the different
countries scattered along the great European waters.

But the improvements which took place in the art of navigation, the more
accurate measurement of time, and, above all, the discovery of the
polarity of the magnet, greatly advanced the cause of geographical
knowledge.  Instead of creeping timidly along the coast, or limiting his
expeditions to the narrow basins of inland waters, the voyager might now
spread his sails boldly on the deep, secure of a guide to direct his bark
unerringly across the illimitable waste.  The consciousness of this power
led thought to travel in a new direction; and the mariner began to look
with earnestness for another path to the Indian Spice-islands than that by
which the Eastern caravans had traversed the continent of Asia.  The
nations on whom the spirit of enterprise, at this crisis, naturally
descended, were Spain and Portugal, placed, as they were, on the
outposts of the European continent, commanding the great theatre of
future discovery.

Both countries felt the responsibility of their new position.  The crown of
Portugal was constant in its efforts, through the fifteenth century, to find
a passage round the southern point of Africa into the Indian Ocean;
though so timid was the navigation, that every fresh headland became a
formidable barrier; and it was not till the latter part of the century that
the adventurous Diaz passed quite round the Stormy Cape, as he termed
it, but which John the Second, with happier augury, called the Cape of
Good Hope.  But, before Vasco de Gama had availed himself of this
discovery to spread his sails in the Indian seas, Spain entered on her
glorious career, and sent Columbus across the western waters.

The object of the great navigator was still the discovery of a route to
India, but by the west instead of the east.  He had no expectation of
meeting with a continent in his way, and, after repeated voyages, he
remained in his original error, dying, as is well known, in the conviction
that it was the eastern shore of Asia which he had reached.  It was the
same object which directed the nautical enterprises of those who
followed in the Admiral's track; and the discovery of a strait into the
Indian Ocean was the burden of every order from the government, and
the design of many an expedition to different points of the new continent,
which seemed to stretch its leviathan length along from one pole to the
other.  The discovery of an Indian passage is the true key to the maritime
movements of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth centuries.  It
was the great leading idea that gave the character to the enterprise of the

It is not easy at this time to comprehend the impulse given to Europe by
the discovery of America.  It was not the gradual acquisition of some
border territory, a province or a kingdom that had been gained, but a
New World that was now thrown open to the Europeans.  The races of
animals, the mineral treasures, the vegetable forms, and the varied
aspects of nature, man in the different phases of civilization, filled the
mind with entirely new sets of ideas, that changed the habitual current of
thought and stimulated it to indefinite conjecture.  The eagerness to
explore the wonderful secrets of the new hemisphere became so active,
that the principal cities of Spain were, in a manner, depopulated, as
emigrants thronged one after another to take their chance upon the
deep.2  It was a world of romance that was thrown open; for, whatever
might be the luck of the adventurer, his reports on his return were tinged
with a coloring of romance that stimulated still higher the sensitive
fancies of his countrymen, and nourished the chimerical sentiments of an
age of chivalry.  They listened with attentive ears to tales of Amazons
which seemed to realize the classic legends of antiquity, to stories of
Patagonian giants, to flaming pictures of an El Dorado, where the sands
sparkled with gems, and golden pebbles as large as birds' eggs were
dragged in nets out of the rivers.

Yet that the adventurers were no impostors, but dupes, too easy dupes of
their own credulous fancies, is shown by the extravagant character of
their enterprises; by expeditions in search of the magical Fountain of
Health, of the golden Temple of Doboyba, of the golden sepulchres of
Zenu; for gold was ever floating before their distempered vision, and the
name of Castilla del Oro, Golden Castile, the most unhealthy and
unprofitable region of the Isthmus, held out a bright promise to the
unfortunate settler, who too frequently, instead of gold, found there only
his grave.

In this realm of enchantment, all the accessories served to maintain the
illusion.  The simple natives, with their defenceless bodies and rude
weapons, were no match for the European warrior armed to the teeth in
mail.  The odds were as great as those found in any legend of chivalry,
where the lance of the good knight overturned hundreds at a touch.  The
perils that lay in the discoverer's path, and the sufferings he had to
sustain, were scarcely inferior to those that beset the knight-errant.
Hunger and thirst and fatigue, the deadly effluvia of the morass with its
swarms of venomous insects, the cold of mountain snows, and the
scorching sun of the tropics, these were the lot of every cavalier who
came to seek his fortunes in the New World.  It was the reality of
romance.  The life of the Spanish adventurer was one chapter more--and
not the least remarkable --in the chronicles of knight-errantry.

The character of the warrior took somewhat of the exaggerated coloring
shed over his exploits.  Proud and vainglorious, swelled with lofty
anticipations of his destiny, and an invincible confidence in his own
resources, no danger could appall and no toil could tire him.  The greater
the danger, indeed, the higher the charm; for his soul revelled in
excitement, and the enterprise without peril wanted that spur of romance
which was necessary to rouse his energies into action.  Yet in the motives
of action meaner influences were strangely mingled with the loftier, the
temporal with the spiritual.  Gold was the incentive and the recompense,
and in the pursuit of it his inflexible nature rarely hesitated as to the
means.  His courage was sullied with cruelty, the cruelty that flowed
equally--strange as it may seem--from his avarice and his religion;
religion as it was understood in that age,--the religion of the Crusader.  It
was the convenient cloak for a multitude of sins, which covered them
even from himself.  The Castilian, too proud for hypocrisy, committed
more cruelties in the name of religion than were ever practised by the
pagan idolater or the fanatical Moslem.  The burning of the infidel was a
sacrifice acceptable to Heaven, and the conversion of those who survived
amply atoned for the foulest offences.  It is a melancholy and mortifying
consideration, that the most uncompromising spirit of intolerance--the
spirit of the Inquisitor at home, and of the Crusader abroad-should have
emanated from a religion which preached peace upon earth and good-
will towards man!

What a contrast did these children of Southern Europe present to the
Anglo-Saxon races who scattered themselves along the great northern
division of the western hemisphere! For the principle of action with these
latter was not avarice, nor the more specious pretext of proselytism; but
independence---independence religious and political.  To secure this,
they were content to earn a bare subsistence by a life of frugality and toil.
They asked nothing from the soil, but the reasonable returns of their own
labor.  No golden visions threw a deceitful halo around their path and
beckoned them onwards through seas of blood to the subversion of an
unoffending dynasty.  They were content with the slow but steady
progress of their social polity.  They patiently endured the privations of
the wilderness, watering the tree of liberty with their tears and with the
sweat of their brow, till it took deep root in the land and sent up its
branches high towards the heavens; while the communities of the
neighboring continent, shooting up into the sudden splendors of a
tropical vegetation, exhibited, even in their prime, the sure symptoms of

It would seem to have been especially ordered by Providence that the
discovery of the two great divisions of the American hemisphere should
fall to the two races best fitted to conquer and colonize them.  Thus the
northern section was consigned to the Anglo-Saxon race, whose orderly,
industrious habits found an ample field for development under its colder
skies and on its more rugged soil; while the southern portion, with its
rich tropical products and treasures of mineral wealth, held out the most
attractive bait to invite the enterprise of the Spaniard.  How different
might have been the result, if the bark of Columbus had taken a more
northerly direction, as he at one time meditated, and landed its band of
adventurers on the shores of what is now Protestant America!

Under the pressure of that spirit of nautical enterprise which filled the
maritime communities of Europe in the sixteenth century, the whole
extent of the mighty continent, from Labrador to Terra del Fuego, was
explored in less than thirty years after its discovery; and in 1521, the
Portuguese Maghellan, sailing under the Spanish flag, solved the
problem of the strait, and found a westerly way to the long sought Spice-
islands of India,--greatly to the astonishment of the Portuguese, who,
sailing from the opposite direction, there met their rivals, face to face, at
the antipodes.  But while the whole eastern coast of the American
continent had been explored, and the central portion of it colonized,--
even after the brilliant achievement of the Mexican conquest,---the veil
was not yet raised that hung over the golden shores of the Pacific.

Floating rumors had reached the Spaniards, from time to time, of
countries in the far west, teeming with the metal they so much coveted;
but the first distinct notice of Peru was about the year 1511, when Vasco
Nunez de Balboa, the discoverer of the Southern Sea, was weighing
some gold which he had collected from the natives.  A young barbarian
chieftain, who was present, struck the scales with his fist, and, scattering
the glittering metal around the apartment, exclaimed,---"If this is what
you prize so much that you are willing to leave your distant homes, and
risk even life itself for it, I can tell you of a land where they eat and drink
out of golden vessels, and gold is as cheap as iron is with you." It was
not long after this startling intelligence that Balboa achieved the
formidable adventure of scaling the mountain rampart of the Isthmus
which divides the two mighty oceans from each other; when, armed with
sword and buckler, he rushed into the waters of the Pacific, and cried
out, in the true chivalrous vein, that "he claimed this unknown sea with
all that it contained for the king of Castile, and that he would make good
the claim against all, Christian or infidel, who dared to gainsay it!"3  All
the broad continent and sunny isles washed by the waters of the Southern
Ocean! Little did the bold cavalier comprehend the full import of his
magnificent vaunt.

On this spot he received more explicit tidings of the Peruvian empire,
heard proofs recounted of its civilization, and was shown drawings of the
llama, which, to the European eye, seemed a species of the Arabian
camel.  But, although he steered his caravel for these golden realms, and
even pushed his discoveries some twenty leagues south of the Gulf of St.
Michael, the adventure was not reserved for him.  The illustrious
discoverer was doomed to fall a victim to that miserable jealousy with
which a little spirit regards the achievements of a great one.

The Spanish colonial domain was broken up into a number of petty
governments, which were dispensed sometimes to court favorites,
though, as the duties of the post, at this early period, were of an arduous
nature, they were more frequently reserved for men of some practical
talent and enterprise.  Columbus, by virtue of his original contract with
the Crown, had jurisdiction over the territories discovered by himself,
embracing some of the principal islands, and a few places on the
continent.  This jurisdiction differed from that of other functionaries,
inasmuch as it was hereditary; a privilege found in the end too
considerable for a subject, and commuted, therefore, for a title and a
pension.  These colonial governments were multiplied with the increase
of empire, and by the year 1524, the period at which our narrative
properly commences, were scattered over the islands, along the Isthmus
of Darien, the broad tract of Terra Firma, and the recent conquests of
Mexico.  Some of these governments were of no great extent.  Others,
like that of Mexico, were of the dimensions of a kingdom; and most had
an indefinite range for discovery assigned to them in their immediate
neighborhood, by which each of the petty potentates might enlarge his
territorial sway, and enrich his followers and himself.  This politic
arrangement best served the ends of the Crown, by affording a perpetual
incentive to the spirit of enterprise.  Thus living on their own little
domains at a long distance from the mother country, these military rulers
held a sort of vice-regal sway, and too frequently exercised it in the most
oppressive and tyrannical manner; oppressive to the native, and
tyrannical towards their own followers.  It was the natural consequence,
when men, originally low in station, and unprepared by education for
office, were suddenly called to the possession of a brief, but in its nature
irresponsible, authority.  It was not till after some sad experience of these
results, that measures were taken to hold these petty tyrants in check by
means of regular tribunals, or Royal Audiences, as they were termed,
which, composed of men of character and learning, might interpose the
arm of the law, or, at least, the voice of remonstrance, for the protection
of both colonist and native.

Among the colonial governors, who were indebted for their situation to
their rank at home, was Don Pedro Arias de Avila, or Pedrarias, as
usually called.  He was married to a daughter of Dona Beatriz de
Bobadilla, the celebrated Marchioness of Moya, best known as the friend
of Isabella the Catholic.  He was a man of some military experience and
considerable energy of character.  But, as it proved, he was of a
malignant temper; and the base qualities, which might have passed
unnoticed in the obscurity of private life, were made conspicuous, and
perhaps created in some measure, by sudden elevation to power; as the
sunshine, which operates kindly on a generous soil, and stimulates it to
production, calls forth from the unwholesome marsh only foul and
pestilent vapors.  This man was placed over the territory of Castilla del
Oro, the ground selected by Nunez de Balboa for the theatre of his
discoveries.  Success drew on this latter the jealousy of his superior, for
it was crime enough in the eyes of Pedrarias to deserve too well.  The
tragical history of this cavalier belongs to a period somewhat earlier than
that with which we are to be occupied.  It has been traced by abler hands
than mine, and, though brief, forms one of the most brilliant passages in
the annals of the American conquerors.4

But though Pedrarias was willing to cut short the glorious career of his
rival, he was not insensible to the important consequences of his
discoveries.  He saw at once the unsuitableness of Darien for prosecuting
expeditions on the Pacific, and, conformably to the original suggestion of
Balboa, in 1519, he caused his rising capital to be transferred from the
shores of the Atlantic to the ancient site of Panama, some distance east of
the present city of that name.5  This most unhealthy spot, the cemetery of
many an unfortunate colonist, was favorably situated for the great object
of maritime enterprise; and the port, from its central position, afforded
the best point of departure for expeditions, whether to the north or south,
along the wide range of undiscovered coast that lined the Southern
Ocean.  Yet in this new and more favorable position, several years were
suffered to elapse before the course of discovery took the direction of
Peru.  This was turned exclusively towards the north, or rather west, in'
obedience to the orders of government, which had ever at heart the
detection of a strait that, as was supposed, must intersect some part or
other of the long-extended Isthmus.  Armament after armament was
fitted out with this chimerical object; and Pedrarias saw his domain
extending every year farther and farther without deriving any
considerable advantage from his acquisitions.  Veragua, Costa Rica,
Nicaragua, were successively occupied; and his brave cavaliers forced a
way across forest and mountain and warlike tribes of savages, till, at
Honduras, they came in collision with the companions of Cortes, the
Conquerors of Mexico, who had descended from the great northern
plateau on the regions of Central America, and thus completed the
survey of this wild and mysterious land.

It was not till 1522 that a regular expedition was despatched in the
direction south of Panama, under the conduct of Pascual de Andagoya, a
cavalier of much distinction in the colony.  But that officer penetrated
only to the Puerto de Pinas, the limit of Balboa's discoveries, when the
bad state of his health compelled him to reembark and abandon his
enterprise at its commencement.6

Yet the floating rumors of the wealth and civilization of a mighty nation
at the South were continually reaching the ears and kindling the dreamy
imaginations of the colonists; and it may seem astonishing that an
expedition in that direction should have been so long deferred.  But the
exact position and distance of this fairy realm were matter of conjecture.
The long tract of intervening country was occupied by rude and warlike
races; and the little experience which the Spanish navigators had already
had of the neighboring coast and its inhabitants, and still more, the
tempestuous character of the seas--for their expeditions had taken place
at the most unpropitious seasons of the year--enhanced the apparent
difficulties of the undertaking, and made even their stout hearts shrink
from it.

Such was the state of feeling in the little community of Panama for
several years after its foundation.  Meanwhile, the dazzling conquest of
Mexico gave a new impulse to the ardor of discovery, and, in 1524, three
men were found in the colony, in whom the spirit of adventure triumphed
over every consideration of difficulty and danger that obstructed the
prosecution of the enterprise.  One among them was selected as fitted by
his character to conduct it to a successful issue.  That man was Francisco
Pizarro; and as he held the same conspicuous post in the Conquest of
Peru that was occupied by Cortes in that of Mexico it will be necessary
to take a brief review of his early history.

Book 2

Chapter 2

Francisco Pizarro--His Early History--First Expedition To The South--
Distresses Of The Voyagers--Sharp Encounters--Return To Panama--
Almagro's Expedition


Francisco Pizarro was born at Truxillo, a city of Estremadura, in Spain.
The period of his birth is uncertain; but probably it was not far from
1471.1  He was an illegitimate child, and that his parents should not have
taken pains to perpetuate the date of his birth is not surprising.  Few care
to make a particular record of their transgressions.  His father, Gonzalo
Pizarro, was a colonel of infantry, and served with some distinction in
the Italian campaigns under the Great Captain, and afterwards in the
wars of Navarre.  His mother, named Francisca Gonzales, was a person
of humble condition in the town of Truxillo.2

But little is told of Francisco's early years, and that little not always
deserving of credit.  According to some, he was deserted by both his
parents, and left as a foundling at the door of one of the principal
churches of the city.  It is even said that he would have perished, had he
not been nursed by a sow.3  This is a more discreditable fountain of
supply than that assigned to the infant Romulus.  The early history of
men who have made their names famous by deeds in after-life, like the
early history of nations, affords a fruitful field for invention.

It seems certain that the young Pizarro received little care from either of
his parents, and was suffered to grow up as nature dictated.  He was
neither taught to read nor write, and his principal occupation was that of
a swineherd.  But this torpid way of life did not suit the stirring spirit of
Pizarro, as he grew older, and listened to the tales, widely circulated and
so captivating to a youthful fancy, of the New World.  He shared in the
popular enthusiasm, and availed himself of a favorable moment to
abandon his ignoble charge, and escape to Seville, the port where the
Spanish adventurers embarked to seek their fortunes in the West.  Few of
them could have turned their backs on their native land with less cause
for regret than Pizarro.4

In what year this important change in his destiny took place we are not
informed.  The first we hear of him in the New World is at the island of
Hispaniola, in 1510, where he took part in the expedition to Uraba in
Terra Firma, under Alonzo de Ojeda, a cavalier whose character and
achievements find no parallel but in the pages of Cervantes.  Hernando
Cortes, whose mother was a Pizarro, and related, it is said, to the father
of Francis, was then in St.  Domingo, and prepared to accompany
Ojeda's expedition, but was prevented by a temporary lameness.  Had he
gone, the fall of the Aztec empire might have been postponed for some
time longer, and the sceptre of Montezuma have descended in peace to
his posterity.  Pizarro shared in the disastrous fortunes of Ojeda's colony,
and, by his discretion, obtained so far the confidence of his commander,
as to be left in charge of the settlement, when the latter returned for
supplies to the islands.  The lieutenant continued at his perilous post for
nearly two months, waiting deliberately until death should have thinned
off the colony sufficiently to allow the miserable remnant to be
embarked in the single small vessel that remained to it.5

After this, we find him associated with Balboa, the discoverer of the
Pacific, and cooperating with him in establishing the settlement at
Darien.  He had the glory of accompanying this gallant cavalier in his
terrible march across the mountains, and of being among the first
Europeans, therefore, whose eyes were greeted with the long-promised
vision of the Southern Ocean.

After the untimely death of his commander, Pizarro attached himself to
the fortunes of Pedrarias, and was employed by that governor in several
military expeditions, which, if they afforded nothing else, gave him the
requisite training for the perils and privations that lay in the path of the
future Conqueror of Peru.

In 1515, he was selected, with another cavalier named Morales, to cross
the Isthmus and traffic with the natives on the shores of the Pacific.  And
there, while engaged in collecting his booty of gold and pearls from the
neighbouring islands, as his eye ranged along the shadowy line of coast
till it faded in the distance, his imagination may have been first fired with
the idea of, one day, attempting the conquest of the mysterious regions
beyond the mountains.  On the removal of the seat of government across
the Isthmus to Panama, Pizarro accompanied Pedrarias, and his name
became conspicuous among the cavaliers who extended the line of
conquest to the north over the martial tribes of Veragua.  But all these
expeditions, whatever glory they may have brought him, were productive
of very little gold; and, at the age of fifty, the captain Pizarro found
himself in possession only of a tract of unhealthy land in the
neighborhood of the capital, and of such repartimientos of the natives as
were deemed suited to his military services.6  The New World was a
lottery, where the great prizes were so few that the odds were much
against the player; yet in the game he was content to stake health,
fortune, and, too often, his fair fame.

Such was Pizarro's situation when, in 1522, Andagoya returned from his
unfinished enterprise to the south of Panama, bringing back with him
more copious accounts than any hitherto received of the opulence and
grandeur of the countries that lay beyond.7  It was at this time, too, that
the splendid achievements of Cortes made their impression on the public
mind, and gave a new impulse to the spirit of adventure.  The southern
expeditions became a common topic of speculation among the colonists
of Panama.  But the region of gold, as it lay behind the mighty curtain of
the Cordilleras, was still veiled in obscurity.  No idea could be formed of
its actual distance; and the hardships and difficulties encountered by the
few navigators who had sailed in that direction gave a gloomy character
to the undertaking, which had hitherto deterred the most daring from
embarking in it.  There is no evidence that Pizarro showed any particular
alacrity in the cause.  Nor were his own funds such as to warrant any
expectation of success without great assistance from others.  He found
this in two individuals of the colony, who took too important a part in the
subsequent transactions not to be particularly noticed.

One of them, Diego de Almagro, was a soldier of fortune somewhat
older, it seems probable, than Pizarro; though little is known of his birth,
and even the place of it is disputed.  It is supposed to have been the town
of Almagro in New Castile, whence his own name, for want of a better
source was derived; for, like Pizarro, he was a foundling.8  Few
particulars are known of him till the present period of our history; for he
was one of those whom the working of turbulent times first throws upon
the surface,--less fortunate, perhaps, than if left in their original
obscurity.  In his military career, Almagro had earned the reputation of a
gallant soldier.  He was frank and liberal in his disposition, somewhat
hasty and ungovernable in his passions, but, like men of a sanguine
temperament, after the first sallies had passed away, not difficult to be
appeased.  He had, in short, the good qualities and the defects incident to
an honest nature, not improved by the discipline of early education or

The other member of the confederacy was Hernando de Luque, a
Spanish ecclesiastic, who exercised the functions of vicar at Panama, and
had formerly filled the office of schoolmaster in the Cathedral of Darien.
He seems to have been a man of singular prudence and knowledge of the
world; and by his respectable qualities had acquired considerable
influence in the little community to which he belonged, as well as the
control of funds, which made his cooperation essential to the success of
the present enterprise.

It was arranged among the three associates, that the two cavaliers should
contribute their little stock towards defraying the expenses of the
armament, but by far the greater part of the funds was to be furnished by
Luque.  Pizarro was to take command of the expedition, and the business
of victualling and equipping the vessels was assigned to Almagro.  The
associates found no difficulty in obtaining the consent of the governor to
their undertaking.  After the return of Andagoya, he had projected
another expedition, but the officer to whom it was to be intrusted died.
Why he did not prosecute his original purpose, and commit the affair to
an experienced captain like Pizarro, does not appear.  He was probably
not displeased that the burden of the enterprise should be borne by
others, so long as a good share of the profits went into his own coffers.
This he did not overlook in his stipulations.9

Thus fortified with the funds of Luque, and the consent of the governor,
Almagro was not slow to make preparations for the voyage.  Two small
vessels were purchased, the larger of which had been originally built by
Balboa, for himself, with a view to this same expedition.  Since his
death, it had lain dismantled in the harbor of Panama.  It was now
refitted as well as circumstances would permit, and put in order for sea,
while the stores and provisions were got on board with an alacrity which
did more credit, as the event proved, to Almagro's zeal than to his

There was more difficulty in obtaining the necessary complement of
hands; for a general feeling of distrust had gathered round expeditions in
this direction, which could not readily be overcome.  But there were
many idle hangers-on in the colony, who had come out to mend their
fortunes, and were willing to take their chance of doing so, however
desperate.  From such materials as these, Almagro assembled a body of
somewhat more than a hundred men;10 and every thing being ready,
Pizarro assumed the command, and, weighing anchor, took his departure
from the little port of Panama, about the middle of November, 1524..
Almagro was to follow in a second vessel of inferior size, as soon as it
could be fitted out.11

The time of year was the most unsuitable that could have been selected
for the voyage; for it was the rainy season, when the navigation to the
south, impeded by contrary winds, is made doubly dangerous by the
tempests that sweep over the coast.  But this was not understood by the
adventurers.  After touching at the Isle of Pearls, the frequent resort of
navigators, at a few leagues' distance from Panama, Pizarro held his way
across the Gulf of St.  Michael, and steered almost due south for the
Puerto de Pinas, a headland in the province of Biruquete, which marked
the limit of Andagoya's voyage.  Before his departure, Pizarro had
obtained all the information which he could derive from that officer in
respect to the country, and the route he was to follow.  But the cavalier's
own experience had been too limited to enable him to be of much

Doubling the Puerto de Pinas, the little vessel entered the river Biru, the
misapplication of which name is supposed by some to have given rise to
that of the empire of the Incas.12  After sailing up this stream for a
couple of leagues, Pizarro came to anchor, and disembarking his whole
force except the sailors, proceeded at the head of it to explore the
country.  The land spread out into a vast swamp, where the heavy rains
had settled in pools of stagnant water, and the muddy soil afforded no
footing to the traveller.  This dismal morass was fringed with woods,
through whose thick and tangled undergrowth they found it difficult to
penetrate and emerging from them, they came out on a hilly country, so
rough and rocky in its character, that their feet were cut to the bone, and
the weary soldier, encumbered with his heavy mail or thick-padded
doublet of cotton, found it difficult to drag one foot after the other.  The
heat at times was oppressive; and, fainting with toil and famished for
want of food, they sank down on the earth from mere exhaustion.  Such
was the ominous commencement of the expedition to Peru.

Pizarro, however, did not lose heart.  He endeavored to revive the spirits
of his men, and besought them not to be discouraged by difficulties
which a brave heart would be sure to overcome, reminding them of the
golden prize which awaited those who persevered.  Yet it was obvious
that nothing was to be gained by remaining longer in this desolate region.
Returning to their vessel, therefore, it was suffered to drop down the
river and proceed along its southern course on the great ocean.

After coasting a few leagues, Pizarro anchored off a place not very
inviting in its appearance, where he took in a supply of wood and water.
Then, stretching more towards the open sea, he held on in the same
direction towards the south.  But in this he was baffled by a succession of
heavy tempests, accompanied with such tremendous peals of thunder and
floods of rain as are found only in the terrible storms of the tropics.  The
sea was lashed into fury, and, swelling into mountain billows, threatened
every moment to overwhelm the crazy little bark, which opened at every
seam.  For ten days the unfortunate voyagers were tossed about by the
pitiless elements, and it was only by incessant exertions--the exertions of
despair--that they preserved the ship from foundering.  To add to their
calamities, their provisions began to fail, and they were short of water, of
which they had been furnished only with a small number of casks; for
Almagro had counted on their recruiting their scanty supplies, from time
to time, from the shore.  Their meat was wholly consumed, and they
were reduced to the wretched allowance of two ears of Indian corn a day
for each man.

Thus harassed by hunger and the elements, the battered voyagers were
too happy to retrace their course and regain the port where they had last
taken in supplies of wood and water.  Yet nothing could be more
unpromising than the aspect of the country.  It had the same character of
low, swampy soil, that distinguished the former landing-place; while
thick-matted forests, of a depth which the eye could not penetrate,
stretched along the coast to an interminable length.  It was in vain that
the wearied Spaniards endeavored to thread the mazes of this tangled
thicket, where the creepers and flowering vines, that shoot up luxuriant
in a hot and humid atmosphere, had twined themselves round the huge
trunks of the forest-trees, and made a network that could be opened only
with the axe.  The rain, in the mean time, rarely slackened, and the
ground, strewed with leaves and saturated with moisture, seemed to slip
away beneath their feet.

Nothing could be more dreary and disheartening than the aspect of these
funereal forests; where the exhalations from the overcharged surface of
the ground poisoned the air, and seemed to allow no life, except that,
indeed, of myriads of insects, whose enamelled wings glanced to and fro,
like sparks of fire, in every opening of the woods.  Even the brute
creation appeared instinctively to have shunned the fatal spot, and
neither beast nor bird of any description was seen by the wanderers.
Silence reigned unbroken in the heart of these dismal solitudes; at least,
the only sounds that could be heard were the plashing of the rain-drops
on the leaves, and the tread of the forlorn adventurers.13

Entirely discouraged by the aspect of the country, the Spaniards began to
comprehend that they had gained nothing by changing their quarters
from sea to shore, and they felt the most serious apprehensions of
perishing from famine in a region which afforded nothing but such
unwholesome berries as they could pick up here and there in the woods.
They loudly complained of their hard lot, accusing their commander as
the author of all their troubles, and as deluding them with promises of a
fairy land, which seemed to recede in proportion as they advanced.  It
was of no use, they said, to contend against fate, and it was better to take
their chance of regaining the port of Panama in time to save their lives,
than to wait where they were to die of hunger.

But Pizarro was prepared to encounter much greater evils than these,
before returning to Panama, bankrupt in credit, an object of derision as a
vainglorious dreamer, who had persuaded others to embark in an
adventure which he had not the courage to carry through himself.  The
present was his only chance.  To return would be ruin.  He used every
argument, therefore, that mortified pride or avarice could suggest to turn
his followers from their purpose; represented to them that these were the
troubles that necessarily lay in the path of the discoverer; and called to
mind the brilliant successes of their countrymen in other quarters, and
the repeated reports, which they had themselves received, of the rich
regions along the coast, of which it required only courage and constancy
on their part to become the masters.  Yet, as their present exigencies
were pressing, he resolved to send back the vessel to the Isle of Pearls, to
lay in a fresh stock of provisions for his company, which might enable
them to go forward with renewed confidence.  The distance was not
great, and in a few days they would all be relieved from their perilous
position.  The officer detached on this service was named Montenegro;
and taking with him nearly half the company, after receiving Pizarro's
directions, he instantly weighed anchor, and steered for the Isle of Pearls.

On the departure of his vessel, the Spanish commander made an attempt
to explore the country, and see if some Indian settlement might not be
found, where he could procure refreshments for his followers.  But his
efforts were vain, and no trace was visible of a human dwelling; though,
in the dense and impenetrable foliage of the equatorial regions, the
distance of a few rods might suffice to screen a city from observation.
The only means of nourishment left to the unfortunate adventurers were
such shell-fish as they occasionally picked up on the shore, or the bitter
buds of the palm-tree, and such berries and unsavory herbs as grew wild
in the woods.  Some of these were so poisonous, that the bodies of those
who ate them swelled up and were tormented with racking pains.  Others,
preferring famine to this miserable diet, pined away from weakness and
actually died of starvation.  Yet their resolute leader strove to maintain
his own cheerfulness and to keep up the drooping spirits of his men.  He
freely shared with them his scanty stock of provisions, was unwearied in
his endeavors to procure them sustenance, tended the sick, and ordered
barracks to be constructed for their accommodation, which might, at
least, shelter them from the drenching storms of the season.  By this
ready sympathy with his followers in their sufferings, he obtained an
ascendency over their rough natures, which the assertion of authority, at
least in the present extremity, could never have secured to him.

Day after day, week after week, had now passed away, and no tidings
were heard of the vessel that was to bring relief to the wanderers.  In vain
did they strain their eyes over the distant waters to catch a glimpse of
their coming friends.  Not a speck was to be seen in the blue distance,
where the canoe of the savage dared not venture, and the sail of the white
man was not yet spread.  Those who had borne up bravely at first now
gave way to despondency, as they felt themselves abandoned by their
countrymen on this desolate shore.  They pined under that sad feeling
which "maketh the heart sick." More than twenty of the little band had
already died, and the survivors seemed to be rapidly following.14

At this crisis reports were brought to Pizarro of a light having been seen
through a distant opening in the woods.  He hailed the tidings with
eagerness, as intimating the existence of some settlement in the
neighborhood; and, putting himself at the head of a small party, went in
the direction pointed out, to reconnoitre.  He was not disappointed, and,
after extricating himself from a dense wilderness of underbrush and
foliage, he emerged into an open space, where a small Indian village was
planted.  The timid inhabitants, on the sudden apparition of the strangers,
quitted their huts in dismay; and the famished Spaniards, rushing in,
eagerly made themselves masters of their contents.  These consisted of
different articles of food, chiefly maize and cocoanuts.  The supply,
though small, was too seasonable not to fill them with rapture.

The astonished natives made no attempt at resistance.  But, gathering
more confidence as no violence was offered to their persons, they drew
nearer the white men, and inquired, "Why they did not stay at home and
till their own lands, instead of roaming about to rob others who had
never harmed them?"15  Whatever may have been their opinion as to
the question of right, the Spaniards, no doubt, felt then that it would have
been wiser to do so.  But the savages wore about their persons gold
ornaments of some size, though of clumsy workmanship.  This furnished
the best reply to their demand.  It was the golden bait which lured the
Spanish adventurer to forsake his pleasant home for the trials of the
wilderness.  From the Indians Pizarro gathered a confirmation of the
reports he had so often received of a rich country lying farther south; and
at the distance of ten days' journey across the mountains, they told him,
there dwelt a mighty monarch whose dominions had been invaded by
another still more powerful, the Child of the Sun.16  It may have been
the invasion of Quito that was meant, by the valiant Inca Huayna Capac,
which took place some years previous to Pizarro's expedition.

At length, after the expiration of more than six weeks, the Spaniards
beheld with delight the return of the wandering bark that had borne away
their comrades, and Montenegro sailed into port with an ample supply of
provisions for his famishing countrymen.  Great was his horror at the
aspect presented by the latter, their wild and haggard countenances and
wasted frames,--so wasted by hunger and disease, that their old
companions found it difficult to recognize them.  Montenegro accounted
for his delay by incessant head winds and bad weather; and he himself
had also a doleful tale to tell of the distress to which he and his crew had
been reduced by hunger, on their passage to the Isle of Pearls.--It is
minute incidents like these with which we have been occupied, that
enable one to comprehend the extremity of suffering to which the
Spanish adventurer was subjected in the prosecution of his great work of

Revived by the substantial nourishment to which they had so long been
strangers, the Spanish cavaliers, with the buoyancy that belongs to men
of a hazardous and roving life, forgot their past distresses in their
eagerness to prosecute their enterprise.  Reembarking therefore on board
his vessel, Pizarro bade adieu to the scene of so much suffering, which
he branded with the appropriate name of Puerto de la Hambre, the Port
of Famine, and again opened his sails to a favorable breeze that bore him
onwards towards the south.

Had he struck boldly out into the deep, instead of hugging the
inhospitable shore, where he had hitherto found so little to recompense
him, he might have spared himself the repetition of wearisome and
unprofitable adventures, and reached by a shorter route the point of his
destination.  But the Spanish mariner groped his way along these
unknown coasts, landing at every convenient headland, as if fearful lest
some fruitful region or precious mine might be overlooked, should a
single break occur in the line of survey.  Yet it should be remembered,
that, though the true point of Pizarro's destination is obvious to us,
familiar with the topography of these countries, he was wandering in the
dark, feeling his way along, inch by inch, as it were, without chart to
guide him, without knowledge of the seas or of the bearings of the coast,
and even with no better defined idea of the object at which he aimed than
that of a land teeming with gold, that lay somewhere at the south! It was
a hunt after an El Dorado; on information scarcely more circumstantial
or authentic than that which furnished the basis of so many chimerical
enterprises in this land of wonders.  Success only, the best argument with
the multitude, redeemed the expeditions of Pizarro from a similar
imputation of extravagance.

Holding on his southerly course under the lee of the shore, Pizarro, after
a short run, found himself abreast of an open reach of country, or at least
one less encumbered with wood, which rose by a gradual swell, as it
receded from the coast.  He landed with a small body of men, and,
advancing a short distance into the interior, fell in with an Indian hamlet.
It was abandoned by the inhabitants, who, on the approach of the
invaders, had betaken themselves to the mountains; and the Spaniards,
entering their deserted dwellings, found there a good store of maize and
other articles of food, and rude ornaments of gold of considerable value.
Food was not more necessary for their bodies than was the sight of gold,
from time to time, to stimulate their appetite for adventure.  One
spectacle, however, chilled their blood with horror.  This was the sight of
human flesh, which they found roasting before the fire, as the barbarians
had left it, preparatory to their obscene repast.  The Spaniards,
conceiving that they had fallen in with a tribe of Caribs, the only race in
that part of the New World known to be cannibals, retreated precipitately
to their vessel.17  They were not steeled by sad familiarity with the
spectacle, like the Conquerors of Mexico.

The weather, which had been favorable, now set in tempestuous, with
heavy squalls, accompanied by incessant thunder and lightning, and the
rain, as usual in these tropical tempests, descended not so much in drops
as in unbroken sheets of water.  The Spaniards, however, preferred to
take their chance on the raging element rather than remain in the scene of
such brutal abominations.  But the fury of the storm gradually subsided,
and the little vessel held on her way along the coast, till, coming abreast
of a bold point of land named by Pizarro Punta Quemada, he gave orders
to anchor.  The margin of the shore was fringed with a deep belt of
mangrove-trees, the long roots of which, interlacing one another, formed
a kind of submarine lattice-work that made the place difficult of
approach.  Several avenues, opening through this tangled thicket, led
Pizarro to conclude that the country must be inhabited, and he
disembarked, with the greater part of his force, to explore the interior.

He had not penetrated more than a league, when he found his conjecture
verified by the sight of an Indian town of larger size than those he had
hitherto seen, occupying the brow of an eminence, and well defended by
palisades.  The inhabitants, as usual, had fled; but left in their dwellings a
good supply of provisions and some gold trinkets, which the Spaniards
made no difficulty of appropriating to themselves.  Pizarro's flimsy bark
had been strained by the heavy gales it had of late encountered, so that it
was unsafe to prosecute the voyage further without more thorough
repairs than could be given to her on this desolate coast.  He accordingly
determined to send her back with a few hands to be careened at Panama,
and meanwhile to establish his quarters in his present position, which
was so favorable for defence.  But first he despatched a small party
under Montenegro to reconnoitre the country, and, if possible, to open a
communication with the natives.

The latter were a warlike race.  They had left their habitations in order to
place their wives and children in safety.  But they had kept an eye on the
movements of the invaders, and, when they saw their forces divided, they
resolved to fall upon each body singly before it could communicate with
the other.  So soon, therefore, as Montenegro had penetrated through the
defiles of the lofty hills, which shoot out like spurs of the Cordilleras
along this part of the coast, the Indian warriors, springing from their
ambush, sent off a cloud of arrows and other missiles that darkened the
air, while they made the forest ring with their shrill warwhoop.  The
Spaniards, astonished at the appearance of the savages, with their naked
bodies gaudily painted, and brandishing their weapons as they glanced
among the trees and straggling underbrush that choked up the defile,
were taken by surprise and thrown for a moment into disarray.  Three of
their number were killed and several wounded.  Yet, speedily rallying,
they returned the discharge of the assailants with their cross-bows,--for
Pizarro's troops do not seem to have been provided with muskets on this
expedition,--and then gallantly charging the enemy, sword in hand,
succeeded in driving them back into the fastnesses of the mountains.  But
it only led them to shift their operations to another quarter, and make an
assault on Pizarro before he could be relieved by his lieutenant.

Availing themselves of their superior knowledge of the passes, they
reached that commander's quarters long before Montenegro, who had
commenced a countermarch in the same direction.  And issuing from the
woods, the bold savages saluted the Spanish garrison with a tempest of
darts and arrows, some of which found their way through the joints of the
harness and the quilted mail of the cavaliers.  But Pizarro was too well
practised a soldier to be off his guard.  Calling his men about him, he
resolved not to abide the assault tamely in the works, but to sally out, and
meet the enemy on their own ground.  The barbarians, who had advanced
near the defences, fell back as the Spaniards burst forth with their valiant
leader at their head.  But, soon returning with admirable ferocity to the
charge, they singled out Pizarro, whom, by his bold bearing and air of
authority, they easily recognized as the chief; and, hurling at him a storm
of missiles, wounded him, in spite of his armour, in no less than seven

Driven back by the fury of the assault directed against his own person,
the Spanish commander retreated down the slope of the hill, still
defending himself as he could with sword and buckler, when his foot
slipped and he fell.  The enemy set up a fierce yell of triumph, and some
of the boldest sprang forward to despatch him.  But Pizarro was on his
feet in an instant, and, striking down two of the foremost with his strong
arm, held the rest at bay till his soldiers could come to the rescue.  The
barbarians, struck with admiration at his valor, began to falter, when
Montenegro luckily coming on the ground at the moment, and falling on
their rear, completed their confusion; and, abandoning the field, they
made the best of their way into the recesses of the mountains.  The
ground was covered with their slain; but the victory was dearly
purchased by the death of two more Spaniards and a long list of

A council of war was then called.  The position had lost its charm in the
eyes of the Spaniards, who had met here with the first resistance they had
yet experienced on their expedition.  It was necessary to place the
wounded in some secure spot, where their injuries could be attended to.
Yet it was not safe to proceed farther, in the crippled state of their vessel.
On the whole, it was decided to return and report their proceedings to the
governor; and, though the magnificent hopes of the adventurers had not
been realized, Pizarro trusted that enough had been done to vindicate the
importance of the enterprise, and to secure the countenance of Pedrarias
for the further prosecution of it.19

Yet Pizarro could not make up his mind to present himself, in the present
state of the undertaking, before the governor.  He determined, therefore,
to be set on shore with the principal part of his company at Chicama, a
place on the main land, at a short distance west of Panama From this
place, which he reached without any further accident, he despatched the
vessel, and in it his treasurer, Nicolas de Ribera, with the gold he had
collected, and with instructions to lay before the governor in full account
of his discoveries, and the result of the expedition.

While these events were passing, Pizarro's associate, Almagro, had been
busily employed in fitting out another vessel for the expedition at the
port of Panama.  It was not till long after his friend's departure that he
was prepared to follow him.  With the assistance of Luque, he at length
succeeded in equipping a small caravel and embarking a body of
between sixty and seventy adventurers, mostly of the lowest order of the
colonists.  He steered in the track of his comrade, with the intention of
overtaking him as soon as possible.  By a signal previously concerted of
notching the trees, he was able to identify the spots visited by Pizarro,--
Puerto de Pinas, Puerto de la Hambre, Pueblo Quemado--touching
successively at every point of the coast explored by his countrymen,
though in a much shorter time.  At the last-mentioned place he was
received by the fierce natives with the same hostile demonstrations as
Pizarro, though in the present encounter the Indians did not venture
beyond their defences.  But the hot blood of Almagro was so exasperated
by this check, that he assaulted the place and carried it sword in hand,
setting fire to the outworks and dwellings, and driving the wretched
inhabitants into the forests.

His victory cost him dear.  A wound from a javelin on the head caused
an inflammation in one of his eyes, which, after great anguish, ended in
the loss of it.  Yet the intrepid adventurer did not hesitate to pursue his
voyage, and, after touching at several places on the coast, some of which
rewarded him with a considerable booty in gold, he reached the mouth of
the Rio de San Juan, about the fourth degree of north latitude.  He was
struck with the beauty of the stream, and with the cultivation on its
borders, which were sprinkled with Indian cottages showing some skill in
their construction, and altogether intimating a higher civilization than
any thing he had yet seen.

Still his mind was filled with anxiety for the fate of Pizarro and his
followers.  No trace of them had been found on the coast for a long time,
and it was evident they must have foundered at sea, or made their way
back to Panama.  This last he deemed most probable; as the vessel might
have passed him unnoticed under the cover of the night, or of the dense
fogs that sometimes hang over the coast.

Impressed with this belief, he felt no heart to continue his voyage of
discovery, for which, indeed, his single bark, with its small complement
of men, was altogether inadequate.  He proposed, therefore, to return
without delay.  On his way, he touched at the Isle of Pearls, and there
learned the result of his friend's expedition, and the place of his present
residence.  Directing his course, at once, to Chicama, the two cavaliers
soon had the satisfaction of embracing each other, and recounting their
several exploits and escapes.  Almagro returned even better freighted
with gold than his confederate, and at every step of his progress he had
collected fresh confirmation of the existence of some great and opulent
empire in the South.  The confidence of the two friends was much
strengthened by their discoveries; and they unhesitatingly pledged
themselves to one another to die rather than abandon the enterprise.20

The best means of obtaining the levies requisite for so formidable an
undertaking--more formidable, as it now appeared to them, than before --
were made the subject of long and serious discussion.  It was at length
decided that Pizarro should remain in his present quarters, inconvenient
and even unwholesome as they were rendered by the humidity of the
climate, and the pestilent swarms of insects that filled the atmosphere.
Almagro would pass over to Panama, lay the case before the governor,
and secure, if possible, his good-will towards the prosecution of the
enterprise.  If no obstacle were thrown in their way from this quarter,
they might hope, with the assistance of Luque, to raise the necessary
supplies; while the results of the recent expedition were sufficiently
encouraging to draw adventurers to their standard in a community which
had a craving for excitement that gave even danger a charm, and which
held life cheap in comparison with gold.

Book 2

Chapter 3

The Famous Contract-Second Expedition--Ruiz Explores The Coast--
Pizarro's Sufferings In The Forests--Arrival Of New Recruits-
Fresh Discoveries And Disasters--Pizarro On The Isle Of Gallo


On his arrival at Panama, Almagro found that events had taken a turn
less favorable to his views than he had anticipated.  Pedrarias, the
governor, was preparing to lead an expedition in person against a
rebellious officer in Nicaragua; and his temper, naturally not the most
amiable, was still further soured by this defection of his lieutenant, and
the necessity it imposed on him of a long and perilous march.  When,
therefore, Almagro appeared before him with the request that he might
be permitted to raise further levies to prosecute his enterprise, the
governor received him with obvious dissatisfaction, listened coldly to the
narrative of his losses, turned an incredulous ear to his magnificent
promises for the future, and bluntly demanded an account of the lives,
which had been sacrificed by Pizarro's obstinacy, but which, had they
been spared, might have stood him in good stead in his present
expedition to Nicaragua.  He positively declined to countenance the rash
schemes of the two adventurers any longer, and the conquest of Peru
would have been crushed in the bud, but for the efficient interposition of
the remaining associate, Fernando de Luque.

This sagacious ecclesiastic had received a very different impression from
Almagro's narrative, from that which had been made on the mind of the
irritable governor.  The actual results of the enterprise in gold and silver,
thus far, indeed, had been small,--forming a mortifying contrast to the
magnitude of their expectations.  But, in another point of view, they were
of the last importance; since the intelligence which the adventurers had
gained in every successive stage of their progress confirmed, in the
strongest manner, the previous accounts, received from Andogoya and
others, of a rich Indian empire at the south, which might repay the
trouble of conquering it as well as Mexico had repaid the enterprise of
Cortes.  Fully entering, therefore, into the feelings of his military
associates, he used all his influence with the governor to incline him to a
more favorable view of Almagro's petition; and no one in the little
community of Panama exercised greater influence over the councils of
the executive than Father Luque, for which he was indebted no less to his
discretion and acknowledged sagacity than to his professional station.

But while Pedrarias, overcome by the arguments or importunity of the
churchman, yielded a reluctant assent to the application, he took care to
testify his displeasure with Pizarro, on whom he particularly charged the
loss of his followers, by naming Almagro as his equal in command in the
proposed expedition.  This mortification sunk deep into Pizarro's mind.
He suspected his comrade, with what reason does not appear, of
soliciting this boon from the governor.  A temporary coldness arose
between them, which subsided, in outward show, at least, on Pizarro's
reflecting that it was better to have this authority conferred on a friend
than on a stranger, perhaps an enemy.  But the seeds of permanent
distrust were left in his bosom, and lay waiting for the due season to
ripen into a fruitful harvest of discord.1

Pedrarias had been originally interested in the enterprise, at least, so far
as to stipulate for a share of the gains, though he had not contributed, as
it appears, a single ducat towards the expenses.  He was at length,
however, induced to relinquish all right to a share of the contingent
profits.  But, in his manner of doing so, he showed a mercenary spirit,
better becoming a petty trader than a high officer of the Crown.  He
stipulated that the associates should secure to him the sum of one
thousand pesos de oro in requital of his good-will, and they eagerly
closed with his proposal, rather than be encumbered with his pretensions.
For so paltry a consideration did he resign his portion of the rich spoil of
the Incas! 2  But the governor was not gifted with the eye of a prophet.
His avarice was of that short-sighted kind which defeats itself.  He had
sacrificed the chivalrous Balboa just as that officer was opening to him
the conquest of Peru, and he would now have quenched the spirit of
enterprise, that was taking the same direction, in Pizarro and his

Not long after this, in the following year, he was succeeded in his
government by Don Pedro de los Rios, a cavalier of Cordova.  It was the
policy of the Castilian Crown to allow no one of the great colonial
officers to occupy the same station so long as to render himself
formidable by his authority.3  It had, moreover, many particular causes
of disgust with Pedrarias.  The functionary they sent out to succeed him
was fortified with ample instructions for the good of the colony, and
especially of the natives, whose religious conversion was urged as a
capital object, and whose personal freedom was unequivocally asserted,
as loyal vassals of the Crown.  It is but justice to the Spanish government
to admit that its provisions were generally guided by a humane and
considerate policy, which was as regularly frustrated by the cupidity of
the colonist, and the capricious cruelty of the conqueror.  The few
remaining years of Pedrarias were spent in petty squabbles, both of a
personal and official nature; for he was still continued in office, though
in one of less consideration than that which he had hitherto filled.  He
survived but a few years, leaving behind him a reputation not to be
envied, of one who united a pusillanimous spirit with uncontrollable
passions; who displayed, notwithstanding, a certain energy of character,
or, to speak more correctly, an impetuosity of purpose, which might have
led to good results had it taken a right direction.  Unfortunately, his lack
of discretion was such, that the direction he took was rarely of service to
his country or to himself.

Having settled their difficulties with the governor, and obtained his
sanction to their enterprise, the confederates lost no time in making the
requisite preparations for it.  Their first step was to execute the
memorable contract which served as the basis of their future
arrangements; and, as Pizarro's name appears in this, it seems probable
that that chief had crossed over to Panama so soon as the favorable
disposition of Pedrarias had been secured.4  The instrument, after
invoking in the most solemn manner the names of the Holy Trinity and
Our Lady the Blessed Virgin, sets forth, that, whereas the parties have
full authority to discover and subdue the countries and provinces lying
south of the Gulf, belonging to the empire of Peru, and as Fernando de
Luque had advanced the funds for the enterprise in bars of gold of the
value of twenty thousand pesos, they mutually bind themselves to divide
equally among them the whole of the conquered territory.  This
stipulation is reiterated over and over again, particularly with reference
to Luque, who, it is declared, is to be entitled to one third of all lands,
repartimientos, treasures of every kind, gold, silver, and precious stones,-
-to one third even of all vassals, rents, and emoluments arising from such
grants as may be conferred by the Crown on either of his military
associates, to be held for his own use, or for that of his heirs, assigns, or
legal representative.

The two captains solemnly engage to devote themselves exclusively to
the present undertaking until it is accomplished; and, in case of failure in
their part of the covenant, they pledge themselves to reimburse Luque for
his advances, for which all the property they possess shall be held
responsible, and this declaration is to be a sufficient warrant for the
execution of judgment against them, in the same manner as if it had
proceeded from the decree of a court of justice.

The commanders, Pizarro and Almagro, made oath, in the name of God
and the Holy Evangelists, sacredly to keep this covenant, swearing it on
the missal, on which they traced with their own hands the sacred emblem
of the cross.  To give still greater efficacy to the compact, Father Luque
administered the sacrament to the parties, dividing the consecrated wafer
into three portions, of which each one of them partook; while the
bystanders, says an historian, were affected to tears by this spectacle of
the solemn ceremonial with which these men voluntarily devoted
themselves to a sacrifice that seemed little short of insanity.5

The instrument, which was dated March 10, 1526, was subscribed by
Luque, and attested by three respectable citizens of Panama, one of
whom signed on behalf of Pizarro, and the other for Almagro; since
neither of these parties, according to the avowal of the instrument, was
able to subscribe his own name.6

Such was the singular compact by which three obscure individuals coolly
carved out and partitioned among themselves, an empire of whose
extent, power, and resources, of whose situation, of whose existence,
even, they had no sure or precise knowledge.  The positive and
unhesitating manner in which they speak of the grandeur of this empire,
of its stores of wealth, so conformable to the event, but of which they
could have really known so little, forms a striking contrast with the
general skepticism and indifference manifested by nearly every other
person, high and low, in the community of Panama.7

The religious tone of the instrument is not the least remarkable feature in
it, especially when we contrast this with the relentless policy, pursued by
the very men who were parties to it, in their conquest of the country.  "In
the name of the Prince of Peace," says the illustrious historian of
America, "they ratified a contract of which plunder and bloodshed were
the objects."8  The reflection seems reasonable.  Yet, in criticizing what
is done, as well as what is written, we must take into account the spirit of
the times.9  The invocation of Heaven was natural, where the object of
the undertaking was, in part, a religious one.  Religion entered, more or
less, into the theory, at least, of the Spanish conquests in the New World.
That motives of a baser sort mingled largely with these higher ones, and
in different proportions according to the character of the individual, no
one will deny.  And few are they that have proposed to themselves a long
career of action without the intermixture of some vulgar personal motive,
--fame, honors, or emolument.  Yet that religion furnishes a key to the
American crusades, however rudely they may have been conducted, is
evident from the history of their origin; from the sanction openly given to
them by the Head of the Church; from the throng of self-devoted
missionaries, who followed in the track of the conquerors to garner up
the rich harvest of souls; from the reiterated instructions of the Crown,
the great object of which was the conversion of the natives; from those
superstitious acts of the iron-hearted soldiery themselves, which,
however they may be set down to fanaticism, were clearly too much in
earnest to leave any ground for the charge of hypocrisy.  It was indeed a
fiery cross that was borne over the devoted land, scathing and consuming
it in its terrible progress; but it was still the cross, the sign of man's
salvation, the only sign by which generations and generations yet unborn
were to be rescued from eternal perdition.

It is a remarkable fact, which has hitherto escaped the notice of the
historian, that Luque was not the real party to this contract.  He
represented another, who placed in his hands the funds required for the
undertaking.  This appears from an instrument signed by Luque himself
and certified before the same notary that prepared the original contract.
The instrument declares that the whole sum of twenty thousand pesos
advanced for the expedition was furnished by the Licentiate Gaspar de
Espinosa, then at Panama; that the vicar acted only as his agent and by
his authority; and that, in consequence, the said Espinosa and no other
was entitled to a third of all the profits and acquisitions resulting from
the conquest of Peru.  This instrument, attested by three persons, one of
them the same who had witnessed the original contract, was dated on the
6th of August, 1531.10  The Licentiate Espinosa was a respectable
functionary, who had filled the office of principal alcalde in Darien, and
since taken a conspicuous part in the conquest and settlement of Tierra
Firme.  He enjoyed much consideration for his personal character and
station; and it is remarkable that so little should be known of the manner
in which the covenant, so solemnly made, was executed in reference to
him.  As in the case of Columbus, it is probable that the unexpected
magnitude of the results was such as to prevent a faithful adherence to
the original stipulation; and yet, from the same consideration, one can
hardly doubt that the twenty thousand pesos of the bold speculator must
have brought him a magnificent return.  Nor did the worthy vicar of
Panama, as the history will show hereafter, go without his reward.

Having completed these preliminary arrangements, the three associates
lost no time in making preparations for the voyage.  Two vessels were
purchased, larger and every way better than those employed on the
former occasion.  Stores were laid in, as experience dictated, on a larger
scale than before, and proclamation was made of "an expedition to
Peru." But the call was not readily answered by the skeptical citizens of
Panama.  Of nearly two hundred men who had embarked on the former
cruise, not more than three fourths now remained.11 This dismal
mortality, and the emaciated, poverty-stricken aspect of the survivors,
spoke more eloquently than the braggart promises and magnificent
prospects held out by the adventurers.  Still there were men in the
community of such desperate circumstances, that any change seemed like
a chance of bettering their condition.  Most of the former company also,
strange to say, felt more pleased to follow up the adventure to the end
than to abandon it, as they saw the light of a better day dawning upon
them.  From these sources the two captains succeeded in mustering about
one hundred and sixty men, making altogether a very inadequate force
for the conquest of an empire.  A few horses were also purchased, and a
better supply of ammunition and military stores than before, though still
on a very limited scale.  Considering their funds, the only way of
accounting for this must be by the difficulty of obtaining supplies at
Panama, which, recently founded, and on the remote coast of the Pacific,
could be approached only by crossing the rugged barrier of mountains,
which made the transportation of bulky articles extremely difficult.  Even
such scanty stock of materials as it possessed was probably laid under
heavy contribution, at the present juncture, by the governor's
preparations for his own expedition to the north.

Thus indifferently provided, the two captains, each in his own vessel,
again took their departure from Panama, under the direction of
Bartholomew Ruiz, a sagacious and resolute pilot, well experienced in
the navigation of the Southern Ocean.  He was a native of Moguer, in
Andalusia, that little nursery of nautical enterprise, which furnished so
many seamen for the first voyages of Columbus.  Without touching at the
intervening points of the coast, which offered no attraction to the
voyagers, they stood farther out to sea, steering direct for the Rio de San
Juan, the utmost limit reached by Almagro.  The season was better
selected than on the former occasion, and they were borne along by
favorable breezes to the place of their destination, which they reached
without accident in a few days.  Entering the mouth of the river, they saw
the banks well lined with Indian habitations; and Pizarro, disembarking,
at the head of a party of soldiers, succeeded in surprising a small village
and carrying off a considerable booty of gold ornaments found in the
dwellings, together with a few of the natives.12

Flushed with their success, the two chiefs were confident that the sight of
the rich spoil so speedily obtained could not fall to draw adventurers to
their standard in Panama; and, as they felt more than ever the necessity
of a stronger force to cope with the thickening population of the country
which they were now to penetrate, it was decided that Almagro should
return with the treasure and beat up for reinforcements, while the pilot
Ruiz, in the other vessel, should reconnoitre the country towards the
south, and obtain such information as might determine their future
movements.  Pizarro, with the rest of the force, would remain in the
neighborhood of the river, as he was assured by the Indian prisoners, that
not far in the interior was an open reach of country, where he and his
men could find comfortable quarters.  This arrangement was instantly put
in execution.  We will first accompany the intrepid pilot in his cruise
towards the south.

Coasting along the great continent, with his canvas still spread to
favorable winds, the first place at which Ruiz cast anchor was off the
little island of Gallo, about two degrees north.  The inhabitants, who
were not numerous, were prepared to give him a hostile reception,--for
tidings of the invaders had preceded them along the country, and even
reached this insulated spot.  As the object of Ruiz was to explore, not
conquer, he did not care to entangle himself in hostilities with the
natives; so, changing his purpose of landing, he weighed anchor, and ran
down the coast as far as what is now called the Bay of St. Matthew.  The
country, which, as he advanced, continued to exhibit evidence of a better
culture as well as of a more dense population than the parts hitherto seen,
was crowded, along the shores, with spectators, who gave no signs of
fear or hostility.  They stood gazing on the vessel of the white men as it
glided smoothly into the crystal waters of the bay, fancying it, says an
old writer, some mysterious being descended from the skies.

Without staying long enough on this friendly coast to undeceive the
simple people, Ruiz, standing off shore, struck out into the deep sea; but
he had not sailed far in that direction, when he was surprised by the sight
of a vessel, seeming in the distance like a caravel of considerable size,
traversed by a large sail that carried it sluggishly over the waters.  The
old navigator was not a little perplexed by this phenomenon, as he was
confident no European bark could have been before him in these
latitudes, and no Indian nation, yet discovered, not even the civilized
Mexican, was acquainted with the use of sails in navigation.  As he drew
near, he found it was a large vessel, or rather raft, called balsa by the
natives, consisting of a number of huge timbers of a light, porous wood,
tightly lashed together, with a frail flooring of reeds raised on them by
way of deck.  Two masts or sturdy poles, erected in the middle of the
vessel, sustained a large square-sail of cotton, while a rude kind of
rudder and a movable keel, made of plank inserted between the logs,
enabled the mariner to give a direction to the floating fabric, which held
on its course without the aid of oar or paddle.13  The simple architecture
of this craft was sufficient for the purposes of the natives, and indeed has
continued to answer them to the present day; for the balsa, surmounted
by small thatched huts or cabins, still supplies the most commodious
means for the transportation of passengers and luggage on the streams
and along the shores of this part of the South American continent.

On coming alongside, Ruiz found several Indians, both men and women,
on board, some with rich ornaments on their persons, besides several
articles wrought with considerable skill in gold and silver, which they
were carrying for purposes of traffic to the different places along the
coast.  But what most attracted his attention was the woollen cloth of
which some of their dresses were made.  It was of a fine texture,
delicately embroidered with figures of birds and flowers, and dyed in
brilliant colors.  He also observed in the boat a pair of balances made to
weigh the precious metals.14  His astonishment at these proofs of
ingenuity and civilization, so much higher than anything he had ever
seen in the country, was heightened by the intelligence which he
collected from some of these Indians.  Two of them had come from
Tumbez, a Peruvian port, some degrees to the south; and they gave him
to understand, that in their neighborhood the fields were covered with
large flocks of the animals from which the wool was obtained, and that
gold and silver were almost as common as wood in the palaces of their
monarch.  The Spaniards listened greedily to reports which harmonized
so well with their fond desires.  Though half distrusting the exaggeration,
Ruiz resolved to detain some of the Indians, including the natives of
Tumbez, that they might repeat the wondrous tale to his commander, and
at the same time, by learning the Castilian, might hereafter serve as
interpreters with their countrymen.  The rest of the party he suffered to
proceed without further interruption on their voyage.  Then holding on
his course, the prudent pilot, without touching at any other point of the
coast, advanced as far as the Punta de Pasado, about half a degree south,
having the glory of being the first European who, sailing in this direction
on the Pacific, had crossed the equinoctial line.  This was the limit' of his
discoveries; on reaching which he tacked about, and standing away to the
north, succeeded, after an absence of several weeks, in regaining the spot
where he had left Pizarro and his comrades.15

It was high time; for the spirits of that little band had been sorely tried by
the perils they had encountered.  On the departure of his vessels, Pizarro
marched into the interior, in the hope of finding the pleasant champaign
country which had been promised him by the natives.  But at every step
the forests seemed to grow denser and darker, and the trees towered to a
height such as he had never seen, even in these fruitful regions, where
Nature works on so gigantic a scale.16  Hill continued to rise above hill,
as he advanced, rolling onward, as it were, by successive waves to join
that colossal barrier of the Andes, whose frosty sides, far away above the
clouds, spread out like a curtain of burnished silver, that seemed to
connect the heavens with the earth.

On crossing these woody eminences, the forlorn adventurers would
plunge into ravines of frightful depth, where the exhalations of a humid
soil steamed up amidst the incense of sweet-scented flowers, which
shone through the deep glooms in every conceivable variety of color.
Birds, especially of the parrot tribe, mocked this fantastic variety of
nature with tints as brilliant as those of the vegetable world.  Monkeys
chattered in crowds above their heads, and made grimaces like the
fiendish spirits of these solitudes; while hideous reptiles, engendered in
the slimy depths of the pools, gathered round the footsteps of the
wanderers.  Here was seen the gigantic boa, coiling his unwieldy folds
about the trees, so as hardly to be distinguished from their trunks, till he
was ready to dart upon his prey; and alligators lay basking on the borders
of the streams, or, gliding under the waters, seized their incautious victim
before he was aware of their approach.17  Many of the Spaniards
perished miserably in this way, and others were waylaid by the natives,
who kept a jealous eye on their movements, and availed themselves of
every opportunity to take them at advantage.  Fourteen of Pizarro's men
were cut off at once in a canoe which had stranded on the bank of a

Famine came in addition to other troubles, and it was with difficulty that
they found the means of sustaining life on the scanty fare of the forest,--
occasionally the potato, as it grew without cultivation, or the wild cocoa-
nut, or, on the shore, the salt and bitter fruit of the mangrove; though the
shore was less tolerable than the forest, from the swarms of mosquitos
which compelled the wretched adventurers to bury their bodies up to
their very faces in the sand.  In this extremity of suffering, they thought
only of return; and all schemes of avarice and ambition--except with
Pizarro and a few dauntless spirits--were exchanged for the one craving
desire to return to Panama.

It was at this crisis that the pilot Ruiz returned with the report of his
brilliant discoveries; and, not long after, Almagro sailed into port with
his vessel laden with refreshments, and a considerable reinforcement of
volunteers.  The voyage of that commander had been prosperous.  When
he arrived at Panama, he found the government in the hands of Don
Pedro de los Rios; and he came to anchor in the harbor, unwilling to trust
himself on shore, till he had obtained from Father Luque some account
of the dispositions of the executive.  These were sufficiently favorable;
for the new governor had particular instructions fully to carry out the
arrangements made by his predecessor with the associates.  On learning
Almagro's arrival, he came down to the port to welcome him, professing
his willingness to afford every facility for the execution of his designs.
Fortunately, just before this period, a small body of military adventurers
had come to Panama from the mother country, burning with desire to
make their fortunes in the New World.  They caught much more eagerly
than the old and wary colonists at the golden bait held out to them; and
with their addition, and that of a few supernumerary stragglers who hung
about the town, Almagro found himself at the head of a reinforcement of
at least eighty men, with which, having laid in a fresh supply of stores, he
again set sail for the Rio de San Juan.

The arrival of the new recruits all eager to follow up the expedition, the
comfortable change in their circumstances produced by an ample supply
of refreshments, and the glowing pictures of the wealth that awaited them
in the south, all had their effect on the dejected spirits of Pizarro's
followers.  Their late toils and privations were speedily forgotten, and,
with the buoyant and variable feelings incident to a freebooter's life, they
now called as eagerly on their commander to go forward in the voyage,
as they had before called on him to abandon it.  Availing themselves of
the renewed spirit of enterprise, the captains embarked on board their
vessels, and, under the guidance of the veteran pilot, steered in the same
track he had lately pursued.

But the favorable season for a southern course, which in these latitudes
lasts but a few months in the year, had been suffered to escape.  The
breezes blew steadily towards the north, and a strong current, not far
from shore, set in the same direction.  The winds frequently rose into
tempests, and the unfortunate voyagers were tossed about, for many
days, in the boiling surges, amidst the most awful storms of thunder and
lightning, until, at length, they found a secure haven in the island of
Gallo, already visited by Ruiz.  As they were now too strong in numbers
to apprehend an assault, the crews landed, and, experiencing no
molestation from the natives, they continued on the island for a fortnight,
refitting their damaged vessels, and recruiting themselves after the
fatigues of the ocean.  Then, resuming their voyage, the captains stood
towards the south until they reached the Bay of St. Matthew.  As they
advanced along the coast, they were struck, as Ruiz had been before,
with the evidences of a higher civilization constantly exhibited in the
general aspect of the country and its inhabitants.  The hand of cultivation
was visible in every quarter.  The natural appearance of the coast, too,
had something in it more inviting; for, instead of the eternal labyrinth of
mangrove-trees, with their complicated roots snarled into formidable
coils under the water, as if to waylay and entangle the voyager, the low
margin of the sea was covered with a stately growth of ebony, and with a
species of mahogany, and other hard woods that take the most brilliant
and variegated polish.  The sandal-wood, and many balsamic trees of
unknown names, scattered their sweet odors far and wide, not in an
atmosphere tainted with vegetable corruption, but on the pure breezes of
the ocean, bearing health as well as fragrance on their wings.  Broad
patches of cultivated land intervened, disclosing hill-sides covered with
the yellow maize and the potato, or checkered, in the lower levels, with
blooming plantations of cacao.19

The villages became more numerous; and, as the vessels rode at anchor
off the port of Tacamez, the Spaniards saw before them a town of two
thousand houses or more, laid out into streets, with a numerous
population clustering around it in the suburbs.20  The men and women
displayed many ornaments of gold and precious stones about their
persons, which may seem strange, considering that the Peruvian Incas
claimed a monopoly of jewels for themselves and the nobles on whom
they condescended to bestow them.  But, although the Spaniards had
now reached the outer limits of the Peruvian empire, it was not Peru, but
Quito, and that portion of it but recently brought under the sceptre of the
Incas, where the ancient usages of the people could hardly have been
effaced under the oppressive system of the American despots.  The
adjacent country was, moreover, particularly rich in gold, which,
collected from the washings of the streams, still forms one of the staple
products of Barbacoas.  Here, too, was the fair River of Emeralds, so
called from the quarries of the beautiful gem on its borders, from which
the Indian monarchs enriched their treasury.21

The Spaniards gazed with delight on these undeniable evidences of
wealth, and saw in the careful cultivation of the soil a comfortable
assurance that they had at length reached the land which had so long
been seen in brilliant, though distant, perspective before them.  But here
again they were doomed to be disappointed by the warlike spirit of the
people, who, conscious of their own strength, showed no disposition to
quail before the invaders.  On the contrary, several of their canoes shot
out, loaded with warriors, who, displaying a gold mask as their ensign,
hovered round the vessels with looks of defiance, and, when pursued,
easily took shelter under the lee of the land.22

A more formidable body mustered along the shore, to the number,
according to the Spanish accounts, of at least ten thousand warriors,
eager, apparently, to come to close action with the invaders.  Nor could
Pizarro, who had landed with a party of his men in the hope of a
conference with the natives, wholly prevent hostilities; and it might have
gone hard with the Spaniards, hotly pressed by their resolute enemy so
superior in numbers, but for a ludicrous accident reported by the
historians as happening to one of the cavaliers.  This was a fall from his
horse, which so astonished the barbarians, who were not prepared for
this division of what seemed one and the same being into two, that, filled
with consternation, they fell back, and left a way open for the Christians
to regain their vessels! 23

A council of war was now called.  It was evident that the forces of the
Spaniards were unequal to a contest with so numerous and well-
appointed a body of natives; and, even if they should prevail here, they
could have no hope of stemming the torrent which must rise against them
in their progress--for the country was becoming more and more thickly
settled, and towns and hamlets started into view at every new headland
which they doubled.  It was better, in the opinion of some,--the faint-
hearted,-to abandon the enterprise at once, as beyond their strength.  But
Almagro took a different view of the affair.  "To go home," he said,
"with nothing done, would be ruin, as well as disgrace.  There was
scarcely one but had left creditors at Panama, who looked for payment to
the fruits of this expedition.  To go home now would be to deliver
themselves at once into their hands.  It would be to go to prison.  Better
to roam a freeman, though in the wilderness, than to lie bound with
fetters in the dungeons of Panama.24  The only course for them," he
concluded, "was the one lately pursued.  Pizarro might find some more
commodious place where he could remain with part of the force while he
himself went back for recruits to Panama.  The story they had now to tell
of the riches of the land, as they had seen them with their own eyes,
would put their expedition in a very different light, and could not fail to
draw to their banner as many volunteers as they needed."

But this recommendation, however judicious, was not altogether to the
taste of the latter commander, who did not relish the part, which
constantly fell to him, of remaining behind in the swamps and forests of
this wild country.  "It is all very well," he said to Almagro, "for you, who
pass your time pleasantly enough, careering to and fro in your vessel, or
snugly sheltered in a land of plenty at Panama; but it is quite another
matter for those who stay behind to droop and die of hunger in the
wilderness.25  To this Almagro retorted with some heat, professing his
own willingness to take charge of the brave men who would remain with
him, if Pizarro declined it.  The controversy assuming a more angry and
menacing tone, from words they would have soon come to blows, as
both, laying their hands on their swords, were preparing to rush on each
other, when the treasurer Ribera, aided by the pilot Ruiz, succeeded in
pacifying them.  It required but little effort on the part of these cooler
counsellors to convince the cavaliers of the folly of a conduct which
must at once terminate the expedition in a manner little creditable to its
projectors.  A reconciliation consequently took place, sufficient, at least
in outward show, to allow the two commanders to act together in
concert.  Almagro's plan was then adopted; and it only remained to find
out the most secure and convenient spot for Pizarro's quarters.

Several days were passed in touching at different parts of the coast, as
they retraced their course; but everywhere the natives appeared to have
caught the alarm, and assumed a menacing, and from their numbers a
formidable, aspect.  The more northerly region, with its unwholesome
fens and forests, where nature wages a war even more relentless than
man, was not to be thought of.  In this perplexity, they decided on the
little island of Gallo, as being, on the whole, from its distance from the
shore, and from the scantiness of its population, the most eligible spot
for them in their forlorn and destitute condition.26

But no sooner was the resolution of the two captains made known, than a
feeling of discontent broke forth among their followers, especially those
who were to remain with Pizarro on the island, "What!" they exclaimed,
"were they to be dragged to that obscure spot to die by hunger? The
whole expedition had been a cheat and a failure, from beginning to end.
The golden countries, so much vaunted, had seemed to fly before them
as they advanced; and the little gold they had been fortunate enough to
glean had all been sent back to Panama to entice other fools to follow
their example.  What had they got in return for all their sufferings? The
only treasures they could boast were their bows and arrows, and they
were now to be left to die on this dreary island, without so much as a
rood of consecrated ground to lay their bones in!27

In this exasperated state of feeling, several of the soldiers wrote back to
their friends, informing them of their deplorable condition, and
complaining of the cold-blooded manner in which they were to be
sacrificed to the obstinate cupidity of their leaders.  But the latter were
wary enough to anticipate this movement, and Almagro defeated it by
seizing all the letters in the vessels, and thus cutting off at once the
means of communication with their friends at home.  Yet this act of
unscrupulous violence, like most other similar acts, fell short of its
purpose; for a soldier named Sarabia had the ingenuity to evade it by
introducing a letter into a ball of cotton, which was to be taken to
Panama as a specimen of the products of the country, and presented to
the governor's lady.28

The letter, which was signed by several of the disaffected soldiery
besides the writer, painted in gloomy colors the miseries of their
condition, accused the two commanders of being the authors of this, and
called on the authorities of Panama to interfere by sending a vessel to
take them from the desolate spot, while some of them might still be
found surviving the horrors of their confinement.  The epistle concluded
with a stanza, in which the two leaders were stigmatized as partners in a
slaughter-house; one being employed to drive in the cattle for the other
to butcher.  The verses, which had a currency in their day among the
colonists to which they were certainly not entitled by their poetical
merits, may be thus rendered into corresponding doggerel:

"Look out, Senor Governor,
For the drover while he's near;
Since he goes home to get the sheep
For the butcher who stays here." 29

Book 2

Chapter 4

Indignation Of The Governor--Stern Resolution Of Pizarro-
Prosecution Of The Voyage--Brilliant Aspect Of Tumbez-
Discoveries Along The Coast--Return To Panama-
Pizarro Embarks For Spain


Not long after Almagro's departure, Pizarro sent off the remaining vessel,
under the pretext of its being put in repair at Panama.  It probably
relieved him of a part of his followers, whose mutinous spirit made them
an obstacle rather than a help in his forlorn condition, and with whom he
was the more willing to part from the difficulty of finding subsistence on
the barren spot which he now occupied.

Great was the dismay occasioned by the return of Almagro and his
followers, in the little community of Panama; for the letter,
surreptitiously conveyed in the ball of cotton, fell into the hands for
which it was intended, and the contents soon got abroad with usual
quantity of exaggeration.  The haggard and dejected mien of the
adventurers, of itself, told a tale sufficiently disheartening, and it was
soon generally believed that the few ill-fated survivors of the expedition
were detained against their will by Pizarro, to end their days with their
disappointed leader on his desolate island.

Pedro de los Rios, the governor, was so much incensed at the result of
the expedition, and the waste of life it had occasioned to the colony, that
he turned a deaf ear to all the applications of Luque and Almagro for
further countenance in the affair; he derided their sanguine anticipations
of the future, and finally resolved to send an officer to the isle of Gallo,
with orders to bring back every Spaniard whom he should find still living
in that dreary abode.  Two vessels were immediately despatched for the
purpose, and placed under charge of a cavalier named Tafur, a native of

Meanwhile Pizarro and his followers were experiencing all the miseries
which might have been expected from the character of the barren spot on
which they were imprisoned.  They were, indeed, relieved from all
apprehensions of the natives, since these had quitted the island on its
occupation by the white men; but they had to endure the pains of hunger
even in a greater degree than they had formerly experienced in the wild
woods of the neighboring continent.  Their principal food was crabs and
such shell-fish as they could scantily pick up along the shores.  Incessant
storms of thunder and lightning, for it was the rainy season, swept over
the devoted island, and drenched them with a perpetual flood.  Thus,
halfnaked, and pining with famine, there were few in that little company
who did not feel the spirit of enterprise quenched within them, or who
looked for any happier termination of their difficulties than that afforded
by a return to Panama.  The appearance of Tafur, therefore, with his two
vessels, well stored with provisions, was greeted with all the rapture that
the crew of a sinking wreck might feel on the arrival of some unexpected
succour; and the only thought, after satisfying the immediate cravings of
hunger, was to embark and leave the detested isle forever.

But by the same vessel letters came to Pizarro from his two confederates,
Luque and Almagro, beseeching him not to despair in his present
extremity, but to hold fast to his original purpose.  To return under the
present circumstances would be to seal the fate of the expedition; and
they solemnly engaged, if he would remain firm at his post, to furnish
him in a short time with the necessary means for going forward.1

A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit of Pizarro.  It does
not appear that he himself had entertained, at any time, thoughts of
returning.  If he had, these words of encouragement entirely banished
them from his bosom, and he prepared to stand the fortune of the cast on
which he had so desperately ventured.  He knew, however, that
solicitations or remonstrances would avail little with the companions of
his enterprise; and he probably did not care to win over the more timid
spirits who, by perpetually looking back, would only be a clog on his
future movements.  He announced his own purpose, however, in a
laconic but decided manner, characteristic of a man more accustomed to
act than to talk, and well calculated to make an impression on his rough

Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east to west.
Then turning towards the south, "Friend and comrades!" he said, "on that
side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and
death; on this side, ease and pleasure.  There lies Peru with its riches;
here, Panama, and its poverty.  Choose, each man, what best becomes a
brave Castilian.  For my part, I go to the south." So saying, he stepped
across the line.2  He was followed by the brave pilot Ruiz; next by Pedro
de Candia, a cavalier, born, as his name imports, in one of the isles of
Greece.  Eleven others successively crossed the line, thus intimating their
willingness to abide the fortunes of their leader, for good or for evil.3
Fame, to quote the enthusiastic language of an ancient chronicler, has
commemorated the names of this little band, "who thus, in the face or
difficulties unexampled in history, with death rather than riches for their
reward, preferred it all to abandoning their honor, and stood firm by their
leader as an example of loyalty to future ages." 4

But the act excited no such admiration in the mind of Tafur, who looked
on it as one of gross disobedience to the commands of the governor, and
as little better than madness, involving the certain destruction of the
parties engaged in it.  He refused to give any sanction to it himself by
leaving one of his vessels with the adventurers to prosecute their voyage,
and it was with great difficulty that he could be persuaded even to allow
them a part of the stores which he had brought for their support.  This
had no influence on their determination, and the little party, bidding
adieu to their returning comrades, remained unshaken in their purpose of
abiding the fortunes of their commander.5

There is something striking to the imagination in the spectacle of these
few brave spirits, thus consecrating themselves to a daring enterprise,
which seemed as far above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous
annals of knight-errantry.  A handful of men, without food, without
clothing, almost without arms, without knowledge of the land to which
they were bound, without vessel to transport them, were here left on a
lonely rock in the ocean with the avowed purpose of carrying on a
crusade against a powerful empire, staking their lives on its success.
What is there in the legends of chivalry that surpasses it? This was the
crisis of Pizarro's fate.  There are moments in the lives of men, which, as
they are seized or neglected, decide their future destiny.6  Had Pizarro
faltered from his strong purpose, and yielded to the occasion, now so
temptingly presented, for extricating himself and his broken band from
their desperate position, his name would have been buried with his
fortunes, and the conquest of Peru would have been left for other and
more successful adventurers.  But his constancy was equal to the
occasion, and his conduct here proved him competent to the perilous
post he had assumed, and inspired others with a confidence in him which
was the best assurance of success.

In the vessel that bore back Tafur and those who seceded from the
expedition the pilot Ruiz was also permitted to return, in order to
cooperate with Luque and Almagro in their application for further

Not long after the departure of the ships, it was decided by Pizarro to
abandon his present quarters, which had little to recommend them, and
which, he reflected, might now be exposed to annoyance from the
original inhabitants, should they take courage and return, on learning the
diminished number of the white men.  The Spaniards, therefore, by his
orders, constructed a rude boat or raft, on which they succeeded in
transporting themselves to the little island of Gorgona, twenty-five
leagues to the north of their present residence.  It lay about five leagues
from the continent, and was uninhabited.  It had some advantages over
the isle of Gallo; for it stood higher above the sea, and was partially
covered with wood, which afforded shelter to a species of pheasant, and
the hare or rabbit of the country, so that the Spaniards, with their cross-
bows, were enabled to procure a tolerable supply of game.  Cool streams
that issued from the living rock furnished abundance of water, though the
drenching rains that fell, without intermission, left them in no danger of
perishing by thirst.  From this annoyance they found some protection in
the rude huts which they constructed; though here, as in their former
residence, they suffered from the no less intolerable annoyance of
venomous insects, which multiplied and swarmed in the exhalations of
the rank and stimulated soil.  In this dreary abode Pizarro omitted no
means by which to sustain the drooping spirits of his men.  Morning
prayers were duly said, and the evening hymn to the Virgin was regularly
chanted; the festivals of the church were carefully commemorated, and
every means taken by their commander to give a kind of religious
character to his enterprise, and to inspire his rough followers with a
confidence in the protection of Heaven, that might support them in their
perilous circumstances.7

In these uncomfortable quarters, their chief employment was to keep
watch on the melancholy ocean, that they might hail the first signal of the
anticipated succour.  But many a tedious month passed away, and no
sign of it appeared.  All around was the same wide waste of waters,
except to the eastward, where the frozen crest of the Andes, touched with
the ardent sun of the equator, glowed like a ridge of fire along the whole
extent of the great continent.  Every speck in the distant horizon was
carefully noticed, and the drifting timber or masses of sea-weed, heaving
to and fro on the bosom of the waters, was converted by their
imaginations into the promised vessel; till, sinking under successive
disappointments, hope gradually gave way to doubt, and doubt settled
into despair.8

Meanwhile the vessel of Tafur had reached the port of Panama.  The
tidings which she brought of the inflexible obstinacy of Pizarro and his
followers filled the governor with indignation.  He could look on it in no
other light than as an act of suicide, and steadily refused to send further
assistance to men who were obstinately bent on their own destruction.
Yet Luque and Almagro were true to their engagements.  They
represented to the governor, that, if the conduct of their comrade was
rash, it was at least in the service of the Crown, and in prosecuting the
great work of discovery.  Rios had been instructed, on his taking the
government, to aid Pizarro in the enterprise; and to desert him now
would be to throw away the remaining chance of success, and to incur
the responsibility of his death and that of the brave men who adhered to
him.  These remonstrances, at length, so far operated on the mind of that
functionary, that he reluctantly consented that a vessel should be sent to
the island of Gorgona, but with no more hands than were necessary to
work her, and with positive instructions to Pizarro to return in six months
and report himself at Panama, whatever might be the future results of his

Having thus secured the sanction of the executive, the two associates lost
no time in fitting out a small vessel with stores and a supply of arms and
ammunition, and despatched it to the island.  The unfortunate tenants of
this little wilderness, who had now occupied it for seven months,9 hardly
dared to trust their senses when they descried the white sails of the
friendly bark coming over the waters.  And although, when the vessel
anchored off the shore, Pizarro was disappointed to find that it brought
no additional recruits for the enterprise, yet he greeted it with joy, as
affording the means of solving the great problem of the existence of the
rich southern empire, and of thus opening the way for its future conquest.
Two of his men were so ill, that it was determined to leave them in the
care of some of the friendly Indians who had continued with him through
the whole of his sojourn, and to call for them on his return.  Taking with
him the rest of his hardy followers and the natives of Tumbez, he
embarked, and, speedily weighing anchor, bade adieu to the "Hell," as it
was called by the Spaniards, which had been the scene of so much
suffering and such undaunted resolution.10

Every heart was now elated with hope, as they found themselves once
more on the waters, under the guidance of the good pilot Ruiz, who,
obeying the directions of the Indians, proposed to steer for the land of
Tumbez, which would bring them at once into the golden empire of the
Incas, --the El Dorado, of which they had been so long in pursuit.
Passing by the dreary isle of Gallo, which they had such good cause to
remember, they stood farther out to sea until they made point Tacumez,
near which they had landed on their previous voyage.  They did not
touch at any part of the coast, but steadily held on their way, though
considerably impeded by the currents, as well as by the wind, which
blew with little variation from the south.  Fortunately, the wind was light,
and, as the weather was favorable, their voyage, though slow, was not
uncomfortable.  In a few days, they came in sight of Point Pasado, the
limit of the pilot's former navigation; and, crossing the line, the little bark
entered upon those unknown seas which had never been ploughed by
European keel before.  The coast, they observed, gradually declined
from its former bold and rugged character, gently sloping towards the
shore, and spreading out into sandy plains, relieved here and there by
patches of uncommon richness and beauty; while the white cottages of
the natives glistening along the margin of the sea, and the smoke that
rose among the distant hills, intimated the increasing population of the

At length, after the lapse of twenty days from their departure from the
island, the adventurous vessel rounded the point of St. Helena, and
glided smoothly into the waters of the beautiful gulf of Guayaquil.  The
country was here studded along the shore with towns and villages,
though the mighty chain of the Cordilleras, sweeping up abruptly from
the coast, left but a narrow strip of emerald verdure, through which
numerous rivulets, spreading fertility around them, wound their way into
the sea.

The voyagers were now abreast of some of the most stupendous heights
of this magnificent range; Chimborazo, with its broad round summit,
towering like the dome of the Andes, and Cotopaxi, with its dazzling
cone of silvery white, that knows no change except from the action of its
own volcanic fires; for this mountain is the most terrible of the American
volcanoes, and was in formidable activity at no great distance from the
period of our narrative.  Well pleased with the signs of civilization that
opened on them at every league of their progress, the Spaniards, at
length, came to anchor, off the island of Santa Clara, lying at the
entrance of the bay of Tumbez.11

The place was uninhabited, but was recognized by the Indians on board,
as occasionally resorted to by the warlike people of the neighboring isle
of Puna, for purposes of sacrifice and worship.  The Spaniards found on
the spot a few bits of gold rudely wrought into various shapes, and
probably designed as offerings to the Indian deity.  Their hearts were
cheered, as the natives assured them they would see abundance of the
same precious metal in their own city of Tumbez.

The following morning they stood across the bay for this place.  As they
drew near, they beheld a town of considerable size, with many of the
buildings apparently of stone and plaster, situated in the bosom of a
fruitful meadow, which seemed to have been redeemed from the sterility
of the surrounding country by careful and minute irrigation.  When at
some distance from shore, Pizarro saw standing towards him several
large balsas, which were found to be filled with warriors going on an
expedition against the island of Puna.  Running alongside of the Indian
flotilla, he invited some of the chiefs to come on board of his vessel.
The Peruvians gazed with wonder on every object which met their eyes,
and especially on their own countrymen, whom they had little expected
to meet there.  The latter informed them in what manner they had fallen
into the hands of the strangers, whom they described as a wonderful race
of beings, that had come thither for no harm, but solely to be made
acquainted with the country and its inhabitants.  This account was
confirmed by the Spanish commander, who persuaded the Indians to
return in their balsas and report what they had learned to their townsmen,
requesting them at the same time to provide his vessel with refreshments,
as it was his desire to enter into a friendly intercourse with the natives.

The people of Tumbez were gathered along the shore, and were gazing
with unutterable amazement on the floating castle, which, now having
dropped anchor, rode lazily at its moorings in their bay.  They eagerly
listened to the accounts of their countrymen, and instantly reported the
affair to the curaca or ruler of the district, who, conceiving that the
strangers must be beings of a superior order, prepared at once to comply
with their request.  It was not long before several balsas were seen
steering for the vessel laden with bananas, plantains, yuca, Indian corn,
sweet potatoes, pine-apples, cocoa-nuts, and other rich products of the
bountiful vale of Tumbez.  Game and fish, also, were added, with a
number of llamas, of which Pizarro had seen the rude drawings
belonging to Balboa, but of which till now he had met with no living
specimen.  He examined this curious animal, the Peruvian sheep,--or, as
the Spaniards called it, the "little camel" of the Indians,--with much
interest, greatly admiring the mixture of wool and hair which supplied
the natives with the materials for their fabrics.

At that time there happened to be at Tumbez an Inca noble, or orejon, --
for so, as I have already noticed, men of his rank were called by the
Spaniards, from the huge ornaments of gold attached to their ears.  He
expressed great curiosity to see the wonderful strangers, and had,
accordingly, come out with the balsas for the purpose.  It was easy to
perceive from the superior quality of his dress, as well as from the
deference paid to him by the others, that he was a person of
consideration, and Pizarro received him with marked distinction.  He
showed him the different parts of the ship, explaining to him the uses of
whatever engaged his attention, and answering his numerous queries, as
well as he could, by means of the Indian interpreters.  The Peruvian chief
was especially desirous of knowing whence and why Pizarro and his
followers had come to these shores.  The Spanish captain replied, that he
was the vassal of a great prince, the greatest and most powerful in the
world, and that he had come to this country to assert his master's lawful
supremacy over it.  He had further come to rescue the inhabitants from
the darkness of unbelief in which they were now wandering.  They
worshipped an evil spirit, who would sink their souls into everlasting
perdition; and he would give them the knowledge of the true and only
God, Jesus Christ, since to believe in him was eternal salvation.12

The Indian prince listened with deep attention and apparent wonder; but
answered nothing.  It may be, that neither he nor his interpreters had any
very distinct ideas of the doctrines thus abruptly revealed to them.  It
may be that he did not believe there was any other potentate on earth
greater than the Inca; none, at least, who had a better right to rule over
his dominions.  And it is very possible he was not disposed to admit that
the great luminary whom he worshipped was inferior to the God of the
Spaniards.  But whatever may have passed in the untutored mind of the
barbarian, he did not give vent to it, but maintained a discreet silence,
without any attempt to controvert or to convince his Christian antagonist.

He remained on board the vessel till the hour of dinner, of which he
partook with the Spaniards, expressing his satisfaction at the strange
dishes, and especially pleased with the wine, which he pronounced far
superior to the fermented liquors of his own country.  On taking leave, he
courteously pressed the Spaniards to visit Tumbez, and Pizarro
dismissed him with the present, among other things, of an iron hatchet,
which had greatly excited his admiration; for the use of iron, as we have
seen, was as little known to the Peruvians as to the Mexicans.

On the day following, the Spanish captain sent one of his own men,
named Alonso de Molina, on shore, accompanied by a negro who had
come in the vessel from Panama, together with a present for the curaca
of some swine and poultry, neither of which were indigenous to the New
World.  Towards evening his emissary returned with a fresh supply of
fruits and vegetables, that the friendly people sent to the vessel.  Molina
had a wondrous tale to tell.  On landing, he was surrounded by the
natives, who expressed the greatest astonishment at his dress, his fair
complexion, and his long beard.  The women, especially, manifested
great curiosity in respect to him, and Molina seemed to be entirely won
by their charms and captivating manners.  He probably intimated his
satisfaction by his demeanor, since they urged him to stay among them,
promising in that case to provide him with a beautiful wife.

Their surprise was equally great at the complexion of his sable
companion.  They could not believe it was natural, and tried to rub off
the imaginary dye with their hands.  As the African bore all this with
characteristic good-humor, displaying at the same time his rows of ivory
teeth, they were prodigiously delighted.13  The animals were no less
above their comprehension; and, when the cock crew, the simple people
clapped their hands, and inquired what he was saying.14  Their intellects
were so bewildered by sights so novel, that they seemed incapable of
distinguishing between man and brute.

Molina was then escorted to the residence of the curaca, whom he found
living in much state, with porters stationed at his doors, and with a
quantity of gold and silver vessels, from which he was served.  He was
then taken to different parts of the Indian city, saw a fortress built of
rough stone, and, though low, spreading over a large extent of ground.15
Near this was a temple; and the Spaniard's description of its decorations.
blazing with gold and silver, seemed so extravagant, that Pizarro,
distrusting his whole account, resolved to send a more discreet and
trustworthy emissary on the following day.16

The person selected was Pedro de Candia, the Greek cavalier mentioned
as one of the first who intimated his intention to share the fortunes of his
commander.  He was sent on shore, dressed in complete mail as became
a good knight, with his sword by his side, and his arquebuse on his
shoulder.  The Indians were even more dazzled by his appearance than
by Molina's, as the sun fell brightly on his polished armour, and glanced
from his military weapons.  They had heard much of the formidable
arquebuse from their townsmen who had come in the vessel, and they
besought Candia "to let it speak to them." He accordingly set up a
wooden board as a target, and, taking deliberate aim, fired off the
musket.  The flash of the powder and the startling report of the piece, as
the board, struck by the ball, was shivered into splinters, filled the
natives with dismay.  Some fell on the ground, covering their faces with
their hands, and others approached the cavalier with feelings of awe,
which were gradually dispelled by the assurance they received from the
smiling expression of his countenance.17

They then showed him the same hospitable attentions which they had
paid to Molina; and his description of the marvels of the place, on his
return, fell nothing short of his predecessor's.  The fortress, which was
surrounded by a triple row of wall, was strongly garrisoned.  The temple
he described as literally tapestried with plates of gold and silver.
Adjoining this structure was a sort of convent appropriated to the Inca's
destined brides, who manifested great curiosity to see him.  Whether this
was gratified is not clear; but Candia described the gardens of the
convent, which he entered, as glowing with imitations of fruits and
vegetables all in pure gold and silver!18  He had seen a number of
artisans at work, whose sole business seemed to be to furnish these
gorgeous decorations for the religious houses.

The reports of the cavalier may have been somewhat over-colored.19  It
was natural that men coming from the dreary wilderness, in which they
had been buried the last six months, should have been vividly impressed
by the tokens of civilization which met them on the Peruvian coast.  But
Tumbez was a favorite city of the Peruvian princes.  It was the most
important place on the northern borders of the empire, contiguous to the
recent acquisition of Quito.  The great Tupac Yupanqui had established a
strong fortress there, and peopled it with a colony of mitimaes.  The
temple, and the house occupied by the Virgins of the Sun, had been
erected by Huayna Capac, and were liberally endowed by that Inca, after
the sumptuous fashion of the religious establishments of Peru.  The town
was well supplied with water by numerous aqueducts, and the fruitful
valley in which it was embosomed, and the ocean which bathed its
shores, supplied ample means of subsistence to a considerable
population.  But the cupidity of the Spaniards, after the Conquest, was
not slow in despoiling the place of its glories; and the site of its proud
towers and temples, in less than half a century after that fatal period, was
to be traced only by the huge mass of ruins that encumbered the

The Spaniards were nearly mad with joy, says an old writer, at receiving
these brilliant tidings of the Peruvian city.  All their fond dreams were
now to be realized, and they had at length reached the realm which had
so long flitted in visionary splendor before them.  Pizarro expressed his
gratitude to Heaven for having crowned his labors with so glorious a
result; but he bitterly lamented the hard fate which, by depriving him of
his followers, denied him, at such a moment, the means of availing
himself of his success.  Yet he had no cause for lamentation; and the
devout Catholic saw in this very circumstance a providential
interposition which prevented the attempt at conquest, while such
attempts would have been premature.  Peru was not yet torn asunder by
the dissensions of rival candidates for the throne; and, united and strong
under the sceptre of a warlike monarch, she might well have bid defiance
to all the forces that Pizarro could muster.  "It was manifestly the work
of Heaven," exclaims a devout son of the Church, "that the natives of the
country should have received him in so kind and loving a spirit, as best
fitted to facilitate the conquest; for it was the Lord's hand which led him
and his followers to this remote region for the extension of the holy faith,
and for the salvation of souls." 21

Having now collected all the information essential to his object, Pizarro,
after taking leave of the natives of Tumbez, and promising a speedy
return, weighed anchor, and again turned his prow towards the south.
Still keeping as near as possible to the coast, that no place of importance
might escape his observation, he passed Cape Blanco, and, after sailing
about a degree and a half, made the port of Payta.  The inhabitants, who
had notice of his approach, came out in their balsas to get sight of the
wonderful strangers, bringing with them stores of fruits, fish, and
vegetables, with the same hospitable spirit shown by their countrymen at

After staying here a short time, and interchanging presents of trifling
value with the natives, Pizarro continued his cruise; and, sailing by the
sandy plains of Sechura for an extent of near a hundred miles, he
doubled the Punta de Aguja, and swept down the coast as it fell off
towards the east, still carried forward by light and somewhat variable
breezes.  The weather now became unfavorable, and the voyagers
encountered a succession of heavy gales, which drove them some
distance out to sea, and tossed them about for many days.  But they did
not lose sight of the mighty ranges of the Andes, which, as they
proceeded towards the south, were still seen, at nearly the same distance
from the shore, rolling onwards, peak after peak, with their stupendous
surges of ice, like some vast ocean, that had been suddenly arrested and
frozen up in the midst of its wild and tumultuous career.  With this
landmark always in view, the navigator had little need of star or compass
to guide his bark on her course.

As soon as the tempest had subsided, Pizarro stood in again for the
continent, touching at the principal points as he coasted along.
Everywhere he was received with the same spirit of generous hospitality;
the natives coming out in their balsas to welcome him, laden with their
little cargoes of fruits and vegetables, of all the luscious varieties that
grow in the tierra caliente.  All were eager to have a glimpse of the
strangers, the "Children of the Sun," as the Spaniards began already to be
called, from their fair complexions, brilliant armour, and the
thunderbolts which they bore in their hands.22  The most favorable
reports, too, had preceded them, of the urbanity and gentleness of their
manners, thus unlocking the hearts of the simple natives, and disposing
them to confidence and kindness.  The iron-hearted soldier had not yet
disclosed the darker side of his character.  He was too weak to do so.
The hour of Conquest had not yet come.

In every place Pizarro received the same accounts of a powerful monarch
who ruled over the land, and held his court on the mountain plains of the
interior, where his capital was depicted as blazing with gold and silver,
and displaying all the profusion of an Oriental satrap.  The Spaniards,
except at Tumbez, seem to have met with little of the precious metals
among the natives on the coast.  More than one writer asserts that they
did not covet them, or, at least, by Pizarro's orders, affected not to do so.
He would not have them betray their appetite for gold, and actually
refused gifts when they were proffered!23  It is more probable that they
saw little display of wealth, except in the embellishments of the temples
and other sacred buildings, which they did not dare to violate.  The
precious metals, reserved for the uses of religion and for persons of high
degree, were not likely to abound in the remote towns and hamlets on the

Yet the Spaniards met with sufficient evidence of general civilization
and power to convince them that there was much foundation for the
reports of the natives.  Repeatedly they saw structures of stone and
plaster, and occasionally showing architectural skill in the execution, if
not elegance of design.  Wherever they cast anchor, they beheld green
patches of cultivated country redeemed from the sterility of nature, and
blooming with the variegated vegetation of the tropics; while a refined
system of irrigation, by means of aqueducts and canals, seemed to be
spread like a net-work over the surface of the country, making even the
desert to blossom as the rose.  At many places where they landed they
saw the great road of the Incas which traversed the sea-coast, often,
indeed, lost in the volatile sands, where no road could be maintained, but
rising into a broad and substantial causeway, as it emerged on a firmer
soil.  Such a provision for internal communication was in itself no slight
monument of power and civilization.

Still beating to the south, Pizarro passed the site of the future flourishing
city of Truxillo, founded by himself some years later, and pressed on till
he rode off the port of Santa.  It stood on the banks of a broad and
beautiful stream; but the surrounding country was so exceedingly arid
that it was frequently selected as a burial-place by the Peruvians, who
found the soil most favorable for the preservation of their mummies.  So
numerous, indeed, were the Indian guacas, that the place might rather be
called the abode of the dead than of the living.24

Having reached this point, about the ninth degree of southern latitude,
Pizarro's followers besought him not to prosecute the voyage farther.
Enough and more than enough had been done, they said, to prove the
existence and actual position of the great Indian empire of which they
had so long been in search.  Yet, with their slender force, they had no
power to profit by the discovery.  All that remained, therefore, was to
return and report the success of their enterprise to the governor at
Panama.  Pizarro acquiesced in the reasonableness of this demand.  He
had now penetrated nine degrees farther than any former navigator in
these southern seas, and, instead of the blight which, up to this hour, had
seemed to hang over his fortunes, he could now return in triumph to his
countrymen.  Without hesitation, therefore, he prepared to retrace his
course, and stood again towards the north.

On his way, he touched at several places where he had before landed.  At
one of these, called by the Spaniards Santa Cruz, he had been invited on
shore by an Indian woman of rank, and had promised to visit her on his
return.  No sooner did his vessel cast anchor off the village where she
lived, than she came on board, followed by a numerous train of
attendants.  Pizarro received her with every mark of respect, and on her
departure presented her with some trinkets which had a real value in the
eyes of an Indian princess.  She urged the Spanish commander and his
companions to return the visit, engaging to send a number of hostages on
board, as security for their good treatment.  Pizarro assured her that the
frank confidence she had shown towards them proved that this was
unnecessary.  Yet, no sooner did he put off in his boat, the following day,
to go on shore, than several of the principal persons in the place came
alongside of the ship to be received as hostages during the absence of the
Spaniards,--a singular proof of consideration for the sensitive
apprehensions of her guests.

Pizarro found that preparations had been made for his reception in a style
of simple hospitality that evinced some degree of taste.  Arbours were
formed of luxuriant and wide-spreading branches, interwoven with
fragrant flowers and shrubs that diffused a delicious perfume through the
air.  A banquet was provided, teeming with viands prepared in the style
of the Peruvian cookery, and with fruits and vegetables of tempting hue
and luscious to the taste, though their names and nature were unknown to
the Spaniards.  After the collation was ended, the guests were entertained
with music and dancing by a troop of young men and maidens simply
attired, who exhibited in their favorite national amusement all the agility
and grace which the supple limbs of the Peruvian Indians so well
qualified them to display.  Before his departure, Pizarro stated to his
kind host the motives of his visit to the country, in the same manner as he
had done on other occasions, and he concluded by unfurling the royal
banner of Castile, which he had brought on shore, requesting her and her
attendants to raise it in token of their allegiance to his sovereign.  This
they did with great good-humor, laughing all the while, says the
chronicler, and making it clear that they had a very imperfect conception
of the serious nature of the ceremony.  Pizarro was contented with this
outward display of loyalty, and returned to his vessel well satisfied with
the entertainment he had received, and meditating, it may be, on the best
mode of repaying it, hereafter, by the subjugation and conversion of the

The Spanish commander did not omit to touch also at Tumbez, on his
homeward voyage.  Here some of his followers, won by the comfortable
aspect of the place and the manners of the people, intimated a wish to
remain, conceiving, no doubt, that it would be better to live where they
would be persons of consequence than to return to an obscure condition
in the community of Panama.  One of these men was Alonso de Molina,
the same who had first gone on shore at this place, and been captivated
by the charms of the Indian beauties.  Pizarro complied with their
wishes, thinking it would not be amiss to find, on his return, some of his
own followers who would be instructed in the language and usages of the
natives.  He was also allowed to carry back in his vessel two or three
Peruvians, for the similar purpose of instructing them in the Castilian.
One of them, a youth named by the Spaniards Felipillo, plays a part of
some importance in the history of subsequent events.

On leaving Tumbez, the adventurers steered directly for Panama,
touching only, on their way, at the ill-fated island of Gorgona to take on
board their two companions who were left there too ill to proceed with
them.  One had died, and, receiving the other, Pizarro and his gallant
little band continued their voyage; and, after an absence of at least
eighteen months, found themselves once more safely riding at anchor in
the harbor of Panama.25

The sensation caused by their arrival was great, as might have been
expected.  For there were few, even among the most sanguine of their
friends, who did not imagine that they had long since paid for their
temerity, and fallen victims to the climate or the natives, or miserably
perished in a watery grave.  Their joy was proportionably great,
therefore, as they saw the wanderers now returned, not only in health and
safety, but with certain tidings of the fair countries which had so long
eluded their grasp.  It was a moment of proud satisfaction to the three
associates, who, in spite of obloquy, derision, and every impediment
which the distrust of friends or the coldness of government could throw
in their way, had persevered in their great enterprise until they had
established the truth of what had been so generally denounced as a
chimera.  It is the misfortune of those daring spirits who conceive an idea
too vast for their own generation to comprehend, or, at least, to attempt
to carry out, that they pass for visionary dreamers.  Such had been the
fate of Luque and his associates.  The existence of a rich Indian empire
at the south, which, in their minds, dwelling long on the same idea and
alive to all the arguments in its favor, had risen to the certainty of
conviction, had been derided by the rest of their countrymen as a mere
mirage of the fancy, which, on nearer approach, would melt into air;
while the projectors, who staked their fortunes on the adventure, were
denounced as madmen.  But their hour of triumph, their slow and
hardearned triumph, had now arrived.

Yet the governor, Pedro de los Rios, did not seem, even at this moment,
to be possessed with a conviction of the magnitude of the discovery,--or,
perhaps, he was discouraged by its very magnitude.  When the
associates, now with more confidence, applied to him for patronage in an
undertaking too vast for their individual resources, he coldly replied, "He
had no desire to build up other states at the expense of his own; nor
would he be led to throw away more lives than had already been
sacrificed by the cheap display of gold and silver toys and a few Indian
sheep!" 26

Sorely disheartened by this repulse from the only quarter whence
effectual aid could be expected, the confederates, without funds, and
with credit nearly exhausted by their past efforts, were perplexed in the
extreme.  Yet to stop now,--what was it but to abandon the rich mine
which their own industry and perseverance had laid open, for others to
work at pleasure?  In this extremity the fruitful mind of Luque suggested
the only expedient by which they could hope for success.  This was to
apply to the Crown itself.  No one was so much interested in the result of
the expedition.  It was for the government, indeed, that discoveries were
to be made, that the country was to be conquered.  The government alone
was competent to provide the requisite means, and was likely to take a
much broader and more liberal view of the matter than a petty colonial

But who was there qualified to take charge of this delicate mission?
Luque was chained by his professional duties to Panama; and his
associates, unlettered soldiers, were much better fitted for the business of
the camp than of the court.  Almagro, blunt, though somewhat swelling
and ostentatious in his address, with a diminutive stature and a
countenance naturally plain, now much disfigured by the loss of an eye,
was not so well qualified for the mission as his companion in arms, who,
possessing a good person and altogether a commanding presence, was
plausible, and, with all his defects of education, could, where deeply
interested, be even eloquent in discourse.  The ecclesiastic, however,
suggested that the negotiation should be committed to the Licentiate
Corral, a respectable functionary, then about to return on some public
business to the mother country.  But to this Almagro strongly objected.
No one, he said, could conduct the affair so well as the party interested
in it.  He had a high opinion of Pizarro's prudence, his discernment of
character, and his cool, deliberate policy.27  He knew enough of his
comrade to have confidence that his presence of mind would not desert
him, even in the new, and therefore embarrassing, circumstances in
which he would be placed at court.  No one, he said, could tell the story
of their adventures with such effect, as the man who had been the chief
actor in them.  No one could so well paint the unparalleled sufferings and
sacrifices which they had encountered; no other could tell so forcibly
what had been done, what yet remained to do, and what assistance would
be necessary to carry it into execution.  He concluded, with characteristic
frankness, by strongly urging his confederate to undertake the mission.

Pizarro felt the force of Almagro's reasoning, and, though with
undisguised reluctance, acquiesced in a measure which was less to his
taste than an expedition to the wilderness.  But Luque came into the
arrangement with more difficulty.  "God grant, my children," exclaimed
the ecclesiastic, "that one of you may not defraud the other of his
blessing!" 28  Pizarro engaged to consult the interests of his associates
equally with his own.  But Luque, it is clear, did not trust Pizarro.

There was some difficulty in raising the funds necessary for putting the
envoy in condition to make a suitable appearance at court; so low had the
credit of the confederates fallen, and so little confidence was yet placed
in the result of their splendid discoveries.  Fifteen hundred ducats were at
length raised; and Pizarro, in the spring of 1528, bade adieu to Panama,
accompanied by Pedro de Candia.29  He took with him, also, some of
the natives, as well as two or three llamas, various nice fabrics of cloth,
with many ornaments and vases of gold and silver, as specimens of the
civilization of the country, and vouchers for his wonderful story.

Of all the writers on ancient Peruvian history, no one has acquired so
wide celebrity, or been so largely referred to by later compilers, as the
Inca Garcilasso de la Vega.  He was born at Cuzco, in 1540; and was a
mestizo, that is of mixed descent, his father being European, and his
mother Indian.  His father, Garcilasso de la Vega, was one of that
illustrious family whose achievements, both in arms and letters, shed
such lustre over the proudest period of the Castilian annals.  He came to
Peru, in the suite of Pedro de Alvarado, soon after the country had been
gained by Pizarro.  Garcilasso attached himself to the fortunes of this
chief, and, after his death, to those of his brother Gonzalo,--remaining.
constant to the latter, through his rebellion, up to the hour of his rout at
Xaquixaguana, when Garcilasso took the same course with most of his
faction, and passed over to the enemy.  But this demonstration of loyalty,
though it saved his life, was too late to redeem his credit with the
victorious party; and the obloquy which he incurred by his share in the
rebellion threw a cloud over his subsequent fortunes, and even over
those of his son, as it appears, in after years.

The historian's mother was of the Peruvian blood royal.  She was niece
of Huayna Capac, and granddaughter of the renowned Tupac Inca
Yupanqui.  Garcilasso, while he betrays obvious satisfaction that the
blood of the civilized European flows in his veins shows himself not a
little proud of his descent from the royal dynasty of Peru; and this he
intimated by combining with his patronymic the distinguishing title of
the Peruvian princes,---subscribing himself always Garcilasso Inca de la

His early years were passed in his native land, where he was reared in the
Roman Catholic faith, and received the benefit of as good an education
as could be obtained, amidst the incessant din of arms and civil
commotion.  In 1560, when twenty years of age, he left America, and
from that time took up his residence in Spain.  Here he entered the
military service, and held a captain's commission in the war against the
Moriscos, and, afterwards, under Don John of Austria.  Though he
acquitted himself honorably in his adventurous career, he does not seem
to have been satisfied with the manner in which his services were
requited by the government.  The old reproach of the father's disloyalty
still clung to the son and Garcilasso assures us that this circumstance
defeated all his efforts to recover the large inheritance of landed property
belonging to his mother, which had escheated to the Crown.  "Such were
the prejudices against me," says he, "that I could not urge my ancient
claims or expectations; and I left the army so poor and so much in debt,
that I did not care to show myself again at court; but was obliged to
withdraw into an obscure solitudes where I lead a tranquil life for the
brief space that remains to me, no longer deluded by the world or its

The scene of this obscure retreat was not, however, as the reader might
imagine from this tone of philosophic resignation, in the depths of some
rural wilderness, but in Cordova, once the gay capital of Moslem
science, and still the busy haunt of men.  Here our philosopher occupied
himself with literary labors, the more sweet and soothing to his wounded
spirit, that they tended to illustrate the faded glories of his native land,
and exhibit them in their primitive splendor to the eyes of his adopted
countrymen.  "And I have no reason to regret," he says in his Preface to
his account of Florida, "that Fortune has not smiled on me, since this
circumstance has opened a literary career which, I trust, will secure to
me a wider and more enduring fame than could flow from any worldly

In 1609, he gave to the world the First Part of his great work, the
Commentarios Reales, devoted to the history of the country under the
Incas; and in 1616, a few months before his death, he finished the
Second Part, embracing the story of the Conquest, which was published
at Cordova the following year.  The chronicler, who thus closed his
labors with his life, died at the ripe old age of seventy-six.  He left a
considerabe sum for the purchase of masses for his soul, showing that the
complaints of his poverty are not to be taken literally.  His remains were
interred in the cathedral church of Cordova, in a chapel which bears the
name of Garcilasso; and an inscription was placed on his monument,
intimating the high respect in which the historian was held both for his
moral worth and his literary attainments.

The First Part of the Commentarios Reales is occupied, as already
noticed, with the ancient history of the country, presenting a complete
picture of its civilization under the Incas,--far more complete than has
been given by any other writer.  Garcilasso's mother was but ten years
old at the time of her cousin Atahuallpa's accession, or rather usurpation,
as it is called by the party of Cuzco.  She had the good fortune to escape
the massacre which, according to the chroniclers befell most of her
kindred, and with her brother continued to reside in their ancient capital
after the Conquest.  Their conversations naturally turned to the good old
times of the Inca rule, which, colored by their fond regrets, may be
presumed to have lost nothing as seen through the magnifying medium of
the past.  The young Garcilasso Listened greedily to the stories which
recounted the magnificence and prowess of his royal ancestors, and
though he made no use of them at the time, they sunk deep into his
memory, to be treasured up for a future occasion.  When he prepared,
after the lapse of many years, in his retirement at Cordova, to compose
the history of his country, he wrote to his old companions and
schoolfellows, of the Inca family, to obtain fuller information than he
could get in Spain on various matters of historical interest.  He had
witnessed in his youth the ancient ceremonies and usages of his
countrymen, understood the science of their quipus, and mastered many
of their primitive traditions.  With the assistance he now obtained from
his Peruvian kindred, he acquired a familiarity with the history of the
great Inca race, and of their national institutions, to an extent that no
person could have possessed, unless educated in the midst of them,
speaking the same language, and with the same Indian blood flowing in
his veins.  Garcilasso, in short, was the representative of the conquered
race; and we might expect to find the lights and shadows of the picture
disposed under his pencil so as to produce an effect very different from
that which they had hitherto exhibited under the hands of the

Such, to a certain extent, is the fact; and this circumstance affords a
means of comparison which would alone render his works of great value
in arriving at just historic conclusions.  But Garcilasso wrote late in life,
after the story had been often told by Castilian writers.  He naturally
deferred much to men, some of whom enjoyed high credit on the score
both of their scholarship and their social position.  His object, he
professes, was not so much to add any thing new of his own, as to correct
their errors and the misconceptions into which they had been brought by
their ignorance of the Indian languages and the usages of his people.  He
does, in fact, however, go far beyond this; and the stores of information
which he has collected have made his work a large repository, whence
later laborers in the same field have drawn copious materials.  He writes
from the fulness of his heart, and illuminates every topic that he touches
with a variety and richness of illustration, that leave little to be desired
by the most importunate curiosity.  The difference between reading his
Commentaries and the accounts of European writers is the difference that
exists between reading a work in the original and in a bald translation.
Garcilasso's writings are an emanation from the Indian mind.

Yet his Commentaries are open to a grave objection,--and one naturally
suggested by his position.  Addressing himself to the cultivated
European, he was most desirous to display the ancient glories of his
people, and still more of the Inca race, in their most imposing form.
This, doubtless, was the great spur to his literary labors, for which
previous education, however good for the evil time on which he was
cast, had far from qualified him.  Garcilasso, therefore, wrote to effect a
particular object.  He stood forth as counsel for his unfortunate
countrymen, pleading the cause of that degraded race before the tribunal
of posterity.  The exaggerated tone of panegyric consequent on this
becomes apparent in every page of his work.  He pictures forth a state of
society such as an Utopian philosopher would hardly venture to depict.
His royal ancestors became the types of every imaginery excellence, and
the golden age is revived for a nation, which, while the war of
proselytism is raging on its borders, enjoys within all the blessings of
tranquillity and peace.  Even the material splendors of the monarchy,
sufficiently great in this land of gold, become heightened, under the
glowing imagination of the Inca chronicler, into the gorgeous illusions of
a fairy tale.

Yet there is truth at the bottom of his wildest conceptions, and it would
be unfair to the Indian historian to suppose that he did not himself
believe most of the magic marvels which he describes.  There is no
credulity like that of a Christian convert,---one newly converted to the
faith.  From long dwelling in the darkness of paganism, his eyes, when
first opened to the light of truth, have not acquired the power of
discriminating the just proportions of objects, of distinguishing between
the real and the imaginary.  Garcilasso was not a convert indeed, for he
was bred from infancy in the Roman Catholic faith.  But he was
surrounded by converts and neophytes,--by those of his own blood, who,
after practising all their lives the rites of paganism, were now first
admitted into the Christian fold.  He listened to the teachings of the
missionary, learned from him to give implicit credit to the marvellous
legends of the Saints, and the no less marvellous accounts of his own
victories in his spiritual warfare for the propagation of the faith.  Thus
early accustomed to such large drafts on his credulity, his reason lost its
heavenly power of distinguishing truth from error, and he became so
familiar with the miraculous, that the miraculous was no longer a

Yet, while large deductions are to be made on this account from the
chronicler's reports, there is always a germ of truth which it is not
difficult to detect, and even to disengage from the fanciful covering
which envelopes it; and after every allowance for the exaggerations of
national vanity, we shall find an abundance of genuine information in
respect to the antiquities of his country, for which we shall look in vain
in any European writer.

Garcilasso's work is the reflection of the age in which he lived.  It is
addressed to the imagination, more than to sober reason.  We are dazzled
by the gorgeous spectacle it perpetually exhibits, and delighted by the
variety of amusing details and animated gossip sprinkled over its pages.
The story of the action is perpetually varied by discussions on topics
illustrating its progress, so as to break up the monotony of the narrative,
and afford an agreeable relief to the reader.  This is true of the First Part
of his great work.  In the Second there was no longer room for such
discussion.  But he has supplied the place by garrulous reminiscences,
personal anecdotes, incidental adventures, and a host of trivial details,--
trivial in the eyes of the pedant,--which historians have been too willing
to discard, as below the dignity of history.  We have the actors in this
great drama in their private dress, become acquainted with their personal
habits, listen to their familiar sayings, and, in short gather up those
minutiae which in the aggregate make up so much of life and not less of

It is this confusion of the great and the little, thus artlessly blended
together, that constitutes one of the charms of the old romantic
chronicle,--not the less true that, in this respect, it approaches nearer to
the usual tone of romance.  It is in such writings that we may look to find
the form and pressure of the age.  The wormeaten state-papers, official
correspondence, public records, are all serviceable, indispensable, to
history.  They are the framework on which it is to repose; the skeleton of
facts which gives it its strength and proportions.  But they are as
worthless as the dry bones of the skeleton, unless clothed with the
beautiful form and garb of humanity, and instinct with the spirit of the
age.--Our debt is large to the antiquarian, who with conscientious
precision lays broad and deep the foundations of historic truth; and no
less to the philosophic annalist who exhibits man in the dress of public
life,--man in masquerade; but our gratitude must surely not be withheld
from those, who, like Garcilasso de la Vega, and many a romancer of the
Middle Ages, have held up the mirror--distorted though it may somewhat
be-to the interior of life, reflecting every object, the great and the mean
the beautiful and the deformed, with their natural prominence and their
vivacity of coloring, to the eye of the spectator.  As a work of art, such a
production may be thought to be below criticism.  But, although it defy
the rules of art in its composition, it does not necessarily violate the
principles of taste; for it conforms in its spirit to the spirit of the age in
which it was written.  And the critic, who coldly condemns it on the
severe principles of art, will find a charm in its very simplicity, that will
make him recur again and again to its pages, while more correct and
classical compositions are laid aside and forgotten.

I cannot dismiss this notice of Garcilasso, though already long
protracted, without some allusion to the English translation of his
Commentaries.  It appeared in James the Second's reign, and is the work
of Sir Paul Rycaut, Knight.  It was printed at London in 1688, in folio,
with considerable pretension in its outward dress, well garnished with
wood-cuts, and a frontispiece displaying the gaunt and rather sardonic
features, not of the author, but his translator.  The version keeps pace
with the march of the original, corresponding precisely in books and
chapters, and seldom, though sometimes, using the freedom, so common
in these ancient versions, of abridgment and omission.  Where it does
depart from the original, it is rather from ignorance than intention.
Indeed, as far as the plea of ignorance will avail him, the worthy knight
may urge it stoutly in his defence.  No one who reads the book will doubt
his limited acquaintance with his own tongue, and no one who compares
it with the original will deny his ignorance of the Castilian.  It contains as
many blunders as paragraphs, and most of them such as might shame a
schoolboy.  Yet such are the rude charms of the original, that this ruder
version of it has found considerable favor with readers; and Sir Paul
Rycaut's translation, old as it is, may still be met with in many a private,
as well as public library.

History of the Conquest of Peru

by William Hickling Prescott

Book 3

Chapter 1

Pizarro's Reception At Court--His Capitulation With The Crown -
He Visits His Birthplace--Returns To The New World-
Difficulties With Almagro--His Third Expedition-
Adventures On The Coast--Battles In The Isle Of Puna


Pizarro and his officer, having crossed the Isthmus, embarked at Nombre
de Dios for the old country, and, after a good passage, reached Seville
early in the summer of 1528.  There happened to be at that time in port a
person well known in the history of Spanish adventure as the Bachelor
Enciso.  He had taken an active part in the colonization of Tierra Firme,
and had a pecuniary claim against the early colonists of Darien, of whom
Pizarro was one.  Immediately on the landing of the latter, he was seized
by Enciso's orders, and held in custody for the debt.  Pizarro, who had
fled from his native land as a forlorn and houseless adventurer, after an
absence of more than twenty years, passed, most of them, in
unprecedented toil and suffering, now found himself on his return the
inmate of a prison.  Such was the commencement of those brilliant
fortunes which, as he had trusted, awaited him at home.  The
circumstance excited general indignation; and no sooner was the Court
advised of his arrival in the country, and the great purpose of his
mission, than orders were sent for his release, with permission to proceed
at once on his journey.

Pizarro found the emperor at Toledo, which he was soon to quit, in order
to embark for Italy.  Spain was not the favorite residence of Charles the
Fifth, in the earlier part of his reign.  He was now at that period of it
when he was enjoying the full flush of his triumphs over his gallant rival
of France, whom he had defeated and taken prisoner at the great battle of
Pavia; and the victor was at this moment preparing to pass into Italy to
receive the imperial crown from the hands of the Roman Pontiff.  Elated
by his successes and his elevation to the German throne, Charles made
little account of his hereditary kingdom, as his ambition found so
splendid a career thrown open to it on the wide field of European

He had hitherto received too inconsiderable returns from his transatlantic
possessions to give them the attention they deserved.  But, as the recent
acquisition of Mexico and the brilliant anticipations in respect to the
southern continent were pressed upon his notice, he felt their importance
as likely to afford him the means of prosecuting his ambitious and most
expensive enterprises.

Pizarro, therefore, who had now come to satisfy the royal eyes, by visible
proofs, of the truth of the golden rumors which, from time to time, had
reached Castile, was graciously received by the emperor.  Charles
examined the various objects which his officer exhibited to him with
great attention.  He was particularly interested by the appearance of the
llama, so remarkable as the only beast of burden yet known on the new
continent; and the fine fabrics of woollen cloth, which were made from
its shaggy sides, gave it a much higher value, in the eyes of the sagacious
monarch, than what it possessed as an animal for domestic labor.  But
the specimens of gold and silver manufacture, and the wonderful tale
which Pizarro had to tell of the abundance of the precious metals, must
have satisfied even the cravings of royal cupidity.

Pizarro, far from being embarrassed by the novelty of his situation,
maintained his usual self-possession, and showed that decorum and even
dignity in his address which belong to the Castilian.  He spoke in a
simple and respectful style, but with the earnestness and natural
eloquence of one who had been an actor in the scenes he described, and
who was conscious that the impression he made on his audience was to
decide his future destiny.  All listened with eagerness to the account of
his strange adventures by sea and land, his wanderings in the forests, or
in the dismal and pestilent swamps on the sea-coast, without food, almost
without raiment, with feet torn and bleeding at every step, with his few
companions becoming still fewer by disease and death, and yet pressing
on with unconquerable spirit to extend the empire of Castile, and the
name and power of her sovereign; but when he painted his lonely
condition on the desolate island, abandoned by the government at home,
deserted by all but a handful of devoted followers, his royal auditor,
though not easily moved, was affected to tears.  On his departure from
Toledo, Charles commended the affairs of his vassal in the most
favorable terms to the consideration of the Council of the Indies.1

There was at this time another man at court, who had come there on a
similar errand from the New World, but whose splendid achievements
had already won for him a name that threw the rising reputation of
Pizarro comparatively into the shade.  This man was Hernando Cortes,
the Conqueror of Mexico.  He had come home to lay an empire at the
feet of his sovereign, and to demand in return the redress of his wrongs,
and the recompense of his great services.  He was at the close of his
career, as Pizarro was at the commencement of his; the Conqueror of the
North and of the South; the two men appointed by Providence to
overturn the most potent of the Indian dynasties, and to open the golden
gates by which the treasures of the New World were to pass into the
coffers of Spain.

Notwithstanding the emperor's recommendation, the business of Pizarro
went forward at the tardy pace with which affairs are usually conducted
in the court of Castile.  He found his limited means gradually sinking
under the expenses incurred by his present situation, and he represented,
that, unless some measures were speedily taken in reference to his suit,
however favorable they might be in the end, he should be in no condition
to profit by them.  The queen, accordingly, who had charge of the
business, on her husband's departure, expedited the affair, and on the
twenty sixth of July, 1529, she executed the memorable Capitulation,
which defined the powers and privileges of Pizarro.

The instrument secured to that chief the right of discovery and conquest
in the province of Peru, or New Castile,--as the country was then
called, in the same manner as Mexico had received the name of New
Spain,--for the distance of two hundred leagues south of Santiago.  He
was to receive the titles and rank of Governor and Captain-General of
the province, together with those of Adelantado, and Alguacil Mayor, for
life; and he was to have a salary of seven hundred and twenty-five
thousand maravedis, with the obligation of maintaining certain officers
and military retainers, corresponding with the dignity of his station.  He
was to have the right to erect certain fortresses, with the absolute
government of them; to assign encomiendas of Indians, under the
limitations prescribed by law; and, in fine, to exercise nearly all the
prerogatives incident to the authority of a viceroy.

His associate, Almagro, was declared commander of the fortress of
Tumbez, with an annual rent of three hundred thousand maravedis, and
with the further rank and privileges of an hidalgo.  The reverend Father
Luque received the reward of his services in the Bishopric of Tumbez,
and he was also declared Protector of the Indians of Peru.  He was to
enjoy the yearly stipend of a thousand ducats,--to be derived, like the
other salaries and gratuities in this instrument, from the revenues of the
conquered territory.

Nor were the subordinate actors in the expedition forgotten.  Ruiz
received the title of Grand Pilot of the Southern Ocean, with a liberal
provision; Candia was placed at the head of the artillery; and the
remaining eleven companions on the desolate island were created
hidalgos and cavalleros, and raised to certain municipal dignities,--in

Several provisions of a liberal tenor were also made, to encourage
emigration to the country.  The new settlers were to be exempted from
some of the most onerous, but customary taxes, as the alcabala, or to be
subject to them only in a mitigated form.  The tax on the precious metals
drawn from mines was to be reduced, at first, to one tenth, instead of the
fifth imposed on the same metals when obtained by barter or by rapine.

It was expressly enjoined on Pizarro to observe the existing regulations
for the good government and protection of the natives; and he was
required to carry out with him a specified number of ecclesiastics, with
whom he was to take counsel in the conquest of the country, and whose
efforts were to be dedicated to the service and conversion of the Indians;
while lawyers and attorneys, on the other hand, whose presence was
considered as boding ill to the harmony of the new settlements, were
strictly prohibited from setting foot in them.

Pizarro, on his part, was bound, in six months from the date of the
instrument, to raise a force, well equipped for the service, of two
hundred and fifty men, of whom one hundred might be drawn from the
colonies; and the government engaged to furnish some trifling assistance
in the purchase of artillery and military stores.  Finally, he was to be
prepared, in six months after his return to Panama, to leave that port and
embark on his expedition.2

Such are some of the principal provisions of this Capitulation, by which
the Castilian government, with the sagacious policy which it usually
pursued on the like occasions, stimulated the ambitious hopes of the
adventurer by high-sounding titles, and liberal promises of reward
contingent on his success, but took care to stake nothing itself on the
issue of the enterprise.  It was careful to reap the fruits of his toil, but not
to pay the cost of them.

A circumstance, that could not fail to be remarked in these provisions,
was the manner in which the high and lucrative posts were accumulated
on Pizarro, to the exclusion of Almagro, who, if he had not taken as
conspicuous a part in personal toil and exposure, had, at least, divided
with him the original burden of the enterprise, and, by his labors in
another direction, had contributed quite as essentially to its success.
Almagro had willingly conceded the post of honor to his confederate; but
it had been stipulated, on Pizarro's departure for Spain, that, while he
solicited the office of Governor and Captain-General for himself, he
should secure that of Adelantado for his companion.  In like manner, he
had engaged to apply for the see of Tumbez for the vicar of Panama, and
the office of Alguacil Mayor for the pilot Ruiz.  The bishopric took the
direction that was concerted, for the soldier could scarcely claim the
mitre of the prelate; but the other offices, instead of their appropriate
distribution, were all concentred in himself.  Yet it was in reference to
his application for his friends, that Pizarro had promised on his departure
to deal fairly and honorably by them all.3

It is stated by the military chronicler, Pedro Pizarro, that his kinsman did,
in fact, urge the suit strongly in behalf of Almagro; but that he was
refused by the government, on the ground that offices of such paramount
importance could not be committed to different individuals.  The ill
effects of such an arrangement had been long since felt in more than one
of the Indian colonies, where it had led to rivalry and fatal collision.4
Pizarro, therefore, finding his remonstrances unheeded, had no
alternative but to combine the offices in his own person, or to see the
expedition fall to the ground.  This explanation of the affair has not
received the sanction of other contemporary historians.  The
apprehensions expressed by Luque, at the time of Pizarro's assuming the
mission, of some such result as actually occurred, founded, doubtless, on
a knowledge of his associate's character, may warrant us in distrusting
the alleged vindication of his conduct, and our distrust will not be
diminished by familiarity with his subsequent career.  Pizarro's virtue
was not of a kind to withstand temptation,--though of a much weaker sort
than that now thrown in his path.

The fortunate cavalier was also honored with the habit of St. Jago;5 and
he was authorized to make an important innovation in his family
escutcheon,--for by the father's side he might claim his armorial bearings.
The black eagle and the two pillars emblazoned on the royal arms were
incorporated with those of the Pizarros; and an Indian city, with a vessel
in the distance on the waters, and the llama of Peru, revealed the theatre
and the character of his exploits; while the legend announced, that
"under the auspices of Charles, and by the industry, the genius, and the
resources of Pizarro, the country had been discovered and reduced to
tranquillity,"---thus modestly intimating both the past and prospective
services of the Conqueror.6

These arrangements having been thus completed to Pizarro's satisfaction,
he left Toledo for Truxillo, his native place, in Estremadura, where he
thought he should be most likely to meet with adherents for his new
enterprise, and where it doubtless gratified his vanity to display himself
in the palmy, or at least promising, state of his present circumstances.  If
vanity be ever pardonable, it is certainly in a man who, born in an
obscure station in life, without family, interest, or friends to back him,
has carved out his own fortunes in the world, and, by his own resources,
triumphed over all the obstacles which nature and accident had thrown in
his way.  Such was the condition of Pizarro, as he now revisited the place
of his nativity, where he had hitherto been known only as a poor outcast,
without a home to shelter, a father to own him, or a friend to lean upon.
But he now found both friends and followers, and some who were eager
to claim kindred with him, and take part in his future fortunes.  Among
these were four brothers.  Three of them, like himself, were illegitimate;
one of whom, named Francisco Martin de Alcantara, was related to him
by the mother's side; the other two, named Gonzalo and Juan Pizarro,
were descended from the father.  "They were all poor, and proud as they
were poor," says Oviedo, who had seen them; "and their eagerness for
gain was in proportion to their poverty." 7

The remaining and eldest brother, named Hernando, was a legitimate
son,--'legitimate," continues the same caustic authority, "by his pride, as
well as by his birth." His features were plain, even disagreeably so; but
his figure was good.  He was large of stature, and, like his brother
Francis, had on the whole an imposing presence.8  In his character, he
combined some of the worst defects incident to the Castilian.  He was
jealous in the extreme; impatient not merely of affront, but of the least
slight, and implacable in his resentment.  He was decisive in his
measures, and unscrupulous in their execution.  No touch of pity had
power to arrest his arm.  His arrogance was such, that he was constantly
wounding the self-love of those with whom he acted; thus begetting an
ill-will which unnecessarily multiplied obstacles in his path.  In this he
differed from his brother Francis, whose plausible manners smoothed
away difficulties, and conciliated confidence and cooperation in his
enterprises.  Unfortunately, the evil counsels of Hernando exercised an
influence over his brother which more than compensated the advantages
derived from his singular capacity for business.

Notwithstanding the general interest which Pizarro's adventures excited
in his country, that chief did not find it easy to comply with the
provisions of the Capitulation in respect to the amount of his levies.
Those who were most astonished by his narrative were not always most
inclined to take part in his fortunes.  They shrunk from the unparalleled
hardships which lay in the path of the adventurer in that direction; and
they listened with visible distrust to the gorgeous pictures of the golden
temples and gardens of Tumbez, which they looked upon as indebted in
some degree, at least, to the coloring of his fancy, with the obvious
purpose of attracting followers to his banner.  It is even said that Pizarro
would have found it difficult to raise the necessary funds, but for the
seasonable aid of Cortes, a native of Estremadura like himself, his
companion in arms in early days, and, according to report, his kinsman.9
No one was in a better condition to hold out a helping hand to a brother
adventurer, and, probably, no one felt greater sympathy in Pizarro's
fortunes, or greater confidence in his eventual success, than the man who
had so lately trod the same career with renown.

The six months allowed by the Capitulation had elapsed, and Pizarro had
assembled somewhat less than his stipulated complement of men, with
which he was preparing to embark in a little squadron of three vessels at
Seville; but, before they were wholly ready, he received intelligence that
the officers of the Council of the Indies proposed to inquire into the
condition of the vessels, and ascertain how far the requisitions had been
complied with.

Without loss of time therefore, Pizarro afraid, if the facts were known,
that his enterprise might be nipped in the bud, slipped his cables, and
crossing the bar of San Lucar, in January, 1530, stood for the isle of
Gomera,--one of the Canaries,--where he ordered his brother Hernando,
who had charge of the remaining vessels, to meet him.

Scarcely had he gone, before the officers arrived to institute the search.
But when they objected the deficiency of men, they were easily--perhaps
willingly--deceived by the pretext that the remainder had gone forward in
the vessel with Pizarro.  At all events, no further obstacles were thrown
in Hernando's way, and he was permitted, with the rest of the squadron,
to join his brother, according to agreement, at Gomera.

After a prosperous voyage, the adventurers reached the northern coast of
the great southern continent, and anchored off the port of Santa Marta.
Here they received such discouraging reports of the countries to which
they were bound, of forests teeming with insects and venomous serpents,
of huge alligators that swarmed on the banks of the streams, and of
hardships and perils such as their own fears had never painted, that
several of Pizarro's men deserted; and their leader, thinking it no longer
safe to abide in such treacherous quarters, set sail at once for Nombre de

Soon after his arrival there, he was met by his two associates, Luque and
Almagro, who had crossed the mountains for the purpose of hearing
from his own lips the precise import of the capitulation with the Crown.
Great, as might have been expected, was Almagro's discontent at
learning the result of what he regarded as the perfidious machinations of
his associate.  "Is it thus," he exclaimed, "that you have dealt with the
friend who shared equally with you in the trials, the dangers, and the cost
of the enterprise; and this, notwithstanding your solemn engagements on
your departure to provide for his interests as faithfully as your own?
How could you allow me to be thus dishonored in the eyes of the world
by so paltry a compensation, which seems to estimate my services as
nothing in comparison with your own?" 10

Pizarro, in reply, assured his companion that he had faithfully urged his
suit, but that the government refused to confide powers which intrenched
so closely on one another to different hands.  He had no alternative, but
to accept all himself or to decline all; and he endeavored to mitigate
Almagro's displeasure by representing that the country was large enough
for the ambition of both, and that the powers conferred on himself were,
in fact, conferred on Almagro, since all that he had would ever be at his
friend's disposal, as if it were his own.  But these honeyed words did not
satisfy the injured party; and the two captains soon after returned to
Panama with feelings of estrangement, if not hostility, towards one
another, which did not augur well for their enterprise.

Still, Almagro was of a generous temper, and might have been appeased
by the politic concessions of his rival, but for the interference of
Hernando Pizarro, who, from the first hour of their meeting, showed
little respect for the veteran, which, indeed, the diminutive person of the
latter was not calculated to inspire, and who now regarded him with
particular aversion as an impediment to the career of his brother.

Almagro's friends--and his frank and liberal manners had secured him
many--were no less disgusted than himself with the overbearing conduct
of this new ally.  They loudly complained that it was quite enough to
suffer from the perfidy of Pizarro, without being exposed to the insults of
his family, who had now come over with him to fatten on the spoils of
conquest which belonged to their leader.  The rupture soon proceeded to
such a length, that Almagro avowed his intention to prosecute the
expedition without further cooperation with his partner, and actually
entered into negotiations for the purchase of vessels for that object.  But
Luque, and the Licentiate Espinosa, who had fortunately come over at
that time from St. Domingo, now interposed to repair a breach which
must end in the ruin of the enterprise, and the probable destruction of
those most interested in its success.  By their mediation, a show of
reconciliation was at length effected between the parties, on Pizarro's
assurance that he would relinquish the dignity of Adelantado in favor of
his rival, and petition the emperor to confirm him in the possession of it;-
-an assurance, it may be remarked, not easy to reconcile with his former
assertion in respect to the avowed policy of the Crown in bestowing this
office.  He was, moreover, to apply for a distinct government for his
associate, so soon as he had become master of the country assigned to
himself; and was to solicit no office for either of his own brothers, until
Almagro had been first provided for.  Lastly, the former contract in
regard to the division of the spoil into three equal shares between the
three original associates was confirmed in the most explicit manner.  The
reconciliation thus effected among the parties answered the temporary
purpose of enabling them to go forward in concert in the expedition.  But
it was only a thin scar that had healed ever the wound, which, deep and
rankling within, waited only fresh cause of irritation to break out with a
virulence more fatal than ever.11

No time was now lost in preparing for the voyage.  It found little
encouragement, however, among the colonists of Panama, who were too
familiar with the sufferings on the former expeditions to care to
undertake another, even with the rich bribe that was held out to allure
them.  A few of the old company were content to follow out the
adventure to its close; and some additional stragglers were collected
from the province of Nicaragua,--a shoot, it may be remarked, from the
colony of Panama.  But Pizarro made slender additions to the force
brought over with him from Spain, though this body was in better
condition, and, in respect to arms, ammunition, and equipment generally,
was on a much better footing than his former levies.  The whole number
did not exceed one hundred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses
for the cavalry.  He had provided himself with three vessels, two of them
of a good size, to take the place of those which he had been compelled to
leave on the opposite side of the isthmus at Nombre de Dios; an
armament small for the conquest of an empire, and far short of that
prescribed by the capitulation with the Crown.  With this the intrepid
chief proposed to commence operations, trusting to his own successes,
and the exertions of Almagro, who was to remain behind, for the present,
to muster reinforcements.12

On St. John the Evangelist's day, the banners of the company and the
royal standard were consecrated in the cathedral church of Panama; a
sermon was preached before the little army by Fray Juan de Vargas, one
of the Dominicans selected by the government for the Peruvian mission;
and mass was performed, and the sacrament administered to every
soldier previous to his engaging in the crusade against the infidel.13
Having thus solemnly invoked the blessing of Heaven on the enterprise,
Pizarro and his followers went on board their vessels, which rode at
anchor in the Bay of Panama, and early in January, 1531, sallied forth on
his third and last expedition for the conquest of Peru.

It was his intention to steer direct for Tumbez, which held out so
magnificent a show of treasure on his former voyage.  But head winds
and currents, as usual, baffled his purpose, and after a run of thirteen
days, much shorter than the period formerly required for the same
distance, his little squadron came to anchor in the Bay of St. Matthew,
about one degree north; and Pizarro, after consulting with his officers,
resolved to disembark his forces and advance along the coast, while the
vessels, held their course at a convenient distance from the shore.

The march of the troops was severe and painful in the extreme; for the
road was constantly intersected by streams, which, swollen by the winter
rains, widened at their mouths into spacious estuaries.  Pizarro, who had
some previous knowledge of the country, acted as guide as well as
commander of the expedition.  He was ever ready to give aid where it
was needed, encouraging his followers to ford or swim the torrents as
they best could, and cheering the desponding by his own buoyant and
courageous spirit.

At length they reached a thick-settled hamlet, or rather town, in the
province of Coaque.  The Spaniards rushed on the place, and the
inhabitants, without offering resistance, fled in terror to the neighboring
forests, leaving their effects--of much greater value than had been
anticipated--in the hands of the invaders.  "We fell on them, sword in
hand," says one of the Conquerors, with some naivete; "for, if we had
advised the Indians of our approach, we should never have found there
such store of gold and precious stones." 14  The natives, however,
according to another authority, stayed voluntarily; "for, as they had done
no harm to the white men, they flattered themselves none would be
offered to them, but that there would be only an interchange of good
offices with the strangers," 15---an expectation founded, it may be, on
the good character which the Spaniards had established for themselves
on their preceding visit, but in which the simple people now found
themselves most unpleasantly deceived.

Rushing into the deserted dwellings, the invaders found there, besides
stuffs of various kinds, and food most welcome in their famished
condition, a large quantity of gold and silver wrought into clumsy
ornaments, together with many precious stones; for this was the region of
the esmeraldas, or emeralds, where that valuable gem was most
abundant.  One of these jewels that fell into the hands of Pizarro, in this
neighborhood, was as large as a pigeon's egg.  Unluckily, his rude
followers did not know the value of their prize; and they broke many of
them in pieces by pounding them with hammers.16  They were led to this
extraordinary proceeding, it is said, by one of the Dominican
missionaries, Fray Reginaldo de Pedraza, who assured them that this was
the way to prove the true emerald, which could not be broken.  It was
observed that the good father did not subject his own jewels to this wise
experiment; but, as the stones, in consequence of it, fell in value, being
regarded merely as colored glass, he carried back a considerable store of
them to Panama.17

The gold and silver ornaments rifled from the dwellings were brought
together and deposited in a common heap; when a fifth was deducted for
the Crown, and Pizarro distributed the remainder in due proportions
among the officers and privates of his company.  This was the usage
invariably observed on the like occasions throughout the Conquest.  The
invaders had embarked in a common adventure.  Their interest was
common, and to have allowed every one to plunder on his own account
would only have led to insubordination and perpetual broils.  All were
required, therefore, on pain of death, to contribute whatever they
obtained, whether by bargain or by rapine, to the general stock; and all
were too much interested in the execution of the penalty to allow the
unhappy culprit, who violated the law, any chance of escape.18

Pizarro, with his usual policy, sent back to Panama a large quantity of
the gold, no less than twenty thousand castellanos in value, in the belief
that the sight of so much treasure, thus speedily acquired, would settle
the doubt of the wavering, and decide them on joining his banner.19  He
judged right.  As one of the Conquerors piously expresses it, "It pleased
the Lord that we should fall in with the town of Coaque, that the riches of
the land might find credit with the people, and that they should flock to
it." 20

Pizarro, having refreshed his men, continued his march along the coast,
but no longer accompanied by the vessels, which had returned for
recruits to Panama.  The road, as he advanced, was checkered with strips
of sandy waste, which, drifted about by the winds, blinded the soldiers,
and afforded only treacherous footing for man and beast.  The glare was
intense; and the rays of a vertical sun beat fiercely on the iron mail and
the thick quilted doublets of cotton, till the fainting troops were almost
suffocated with the heat.  To add to their distresses, a strange epidemic
broke out in the little army.  It took the form of ulcers, or rather hideous
warts of great size, which covered the body, and when lanced, as was the
case with some, discharged such a quantity of blood as proved fatal to
the sufferer.  Several died of this frightful disorder, which was so sudden
in its attack, and attended with such prostration of strength, that those
who lay down well at night were unable to lift their hands to their heads
in the morning.21  The epidemic, which made its first appearance during
this invasion, and which did not long survive it, spread over the country,
sparing neither native nor white man.22  It was one of those plagues
from the vial of wrath, which the destroying angel, who follows in the
path of the conqueror, pours out on the devoted nations.

The Spaniards rarely experienced on their march either resistance or
annoyance from the inhabitants, who, instructed by the example of
Coaque, fled with their effects into the woods and neighboring
mountains.  No one came out to welcome the strangers and offer the rites
of hospitality, as on their last visit to the land.  For the white men were
no longer regarded as good beings that had come from heaven, but as
ruthless destroyers, who, invulnerable to the assaults of the Indians, were
borne along on the backs of fierce animals, swifter than the wind, with
weapons in their hands, that scattered fire and desolation as they went.
Such were the stories now circulated of the invaders, which, preceding
them everywhere on their march, closed the hearts, if not the doors, of
the natives against them.  Exhausted by the fatigue of travel and by
disease, and grievously disappointed at the poverty of the land, which
now offered no compensation for their toils, the soldiers of Pizarro
cursed the hour in which they had enlisted under his standard, and the
men of Nicaragua, in particular, says the old chronicler, calling to mind
their pleasant quarters in their luxurious land, sighed only to return to
their Mahometan paradise.23

At this juncture the army was gladdened by the sight of a vessel from
Panama, which brought some supplies, together with the royal treasurer,
the veedor or inspector, the comptroller, and other high officers
appointed by the Crown to attend the expedition.  They had been left in
Spain by Pizarro, in consequence of his abrupt departure from the
country; and the Council of the Indies, on learning the circumstance, had
sent instructions to Panama to prevent the sailing of his squadron from
that port.  But the Spanish government, with more wisdom,
countermanded the order, only requiring the functionaries to quicken
their own departure, and take their place without loss of time in the

The Spaniards in their march along the coast had now advanced as far as
Puerto Viejo.  Here they were soon after joined by another small
reinforcement of about thirty men, under an officer named Belalcazar,
who subsequently rose to high distinction in this service.  Many of the
followers of Pizarro would now have halted at this spot and established a
colony there.  But that chief thought more of conquering than of
colonizing, at least for the present; and he proposed, as his first step, to
get possession of Tumbez, which he regarded as the gate of the Peruvian
empire.  Continuing his march, therefore, to the shores of what is now
called the Gulf of Guayaquil, he arrived off the little island of Puna,
lying at no great distance from the Bay of Tumbez.  This island, he
thought, would afford him a convenient place to encamp until he was
prepared to make his descent on the Indian city.

The dispositions of the islanders seemed to favor his purpose.  He had
not been long in their neighborhood, before a deputation of the natives,
with their cacique at their head, crossed over in their balsas to the main
land to welcome the Spaniards to their residence.  But the Indian
interpreters of Tumbez, who had returned with Pizarro from Spain, and
continued with the camp, put their master on his guard against the
meditated treachery of the islanders, whom they accused of designing to
destroy the Spaniards by cutting the ropes that held together the floats,
and leaving those upon them to perish in the waters.  Yet the cacique,
when charged by Pizarro with this perfidious scheme, denied it with such
an air of conscious innocence, that the Spanish commander trusted
himself and his followers, without further hesitation, to his conveyance,
and was transported in safety to the shores of Puna.

Here he was received in a hospitable manner, and his troops were
provided with comfortable quarters.  Well satisfied with his present
position, Pizarro resolved to occupy it until the violence of the rainy
season was passed, when the arrival of the reinforcements he expected
would put him in better condition for marching into the country of the

The island, which lies in the mouth of the river of Guayaquil, and is
about eight leagues in length by four in breadth, at the widest part, was at
that time partially covered with a noble growth of timber.  But a large
portion of it was subjected to cultivation, and bloomed with plantations
of cacao, of the sweet potato, and the different products of a tropical
climes evincing agricultural knowledge as well as industry in the
population.  They were a warlike race; but had received from their
Peruvian foes the appellation of "perfidious." It was the brand fastened
by the Roman historians on their Carthaginian enemies,--with perhaps no
better reason.  The bold and independent islanders opposed a stubborn
resistance to the arms of the Incas; and, though they had finally yielded,
they had been ever since at feud, and often in deadly hostility, with their
neighbors of Tumbez.

The latter no sooner heard of Pizarro's arrival on the island than, trusting,
probably, to their former friendly relations with him, they came over in
some number to the Spanish quarters.  The presence of their detested
rivals was by no means grateful to the jealous inhabitants of Puna, and
the prolonged residence of the white men on their island could not be
otherwise than burdensome.  In their outward demeanor they still
maintained the same show of amity; but Pizarro's interpreters again put
him on his guard against the proverbial perfidy of their hosts.  With his
suspicions thus roused, the Spanish commander was informed that a
number of the chiefs had met together to deliberate on a plan of
insurrection.  Not caring to wait for the springing of the mine, he
surrounded the place of meeting with his soldiers and made prisoners of
the suspected chieftains.  According to one authority, they confessed
their guilt.24  This is by no means certain.  Nor is it certain that they
meditated an insurrection.  Yet the fact is not improbable, in itself;
though it derives little additional probability from the assertion of the
hostile interpreters.  It is certain, however, that Pizarro was satisfied of
the existence of a conspiracy; and, without further hesitation, he
abandoned his wretched prisoners, ten or twelve in number, to the tender
mercies of their rivals of Tumbez, who instantly massacred them before
his eyes.25

Maddened by this outrage, the people of Puna sprang to arms, and threw
themselves at once, with fearful yells and the wildest menaces of despair,
on the Spanish camp.  The odds of numbers were greatly in their favor,
for they mustered several thousand warriors.  But the more decisive odds
of arms and discipline were on the side of their antagonists; and, as the
Indians rushed forward in a confused mass to the assault, the Castilians
coolly received them on their long pikes, or swept them down by the
volleys of their musketry.  Their ill-protected bodies were easily cut to
pieces by the sharp sword of the Spaniard; and Hernando Pizarro, putting
himself at the head of the cavalry, charged boldly into the midst, and
scattered them far and wide over the field, until, panic-struck by the
terrible array of steel-clad horsemen, and the stunning reports and the
flash of fire-arms, the fugitives sought shelter in the depths of their
forests.  Yet the victory was owing, in some degree, at least,--if we may
credit the Conquerors,--to the interposition of Heaven; for St. Michael
and his legions were seen high in the air above the combatants,
contending with the arch-enemy of man, and cheering on the Christians
by their example! 26

Not more than three or four Spaniards fell in the fight; but many were
wounded, and among them Hernando Pizarro, who received a severe
injury in the leg from a javelin.  Nor did the war end here; for the
implacable islanders, taking advantage of the cover of night, or of any
remissness on the part of the invaders, were ever ready to steal out of
their fastnesses and spring on their enemy's camp, while, by cutting off
his straggling parties, and destroying his provisions, they kept him in
perpetual alarm.

In this uncomfortable situation, the Spanish commander was gladdened
by the appearance of two vessels off the island.  They brought a
reinforcement consisting of a hundred volunteers besides horses for the
cavalry.  It was commanded by Hernando de Soto, a captain afterwards
famous as the discoverer of the Mississippi, which still rolls its majestic
current over the place of his burial,--a fitting monument for his remains,
as it is of his renown.27

The reinforcement was most welcome to Pizarro, who had been long
discontented with his position on an island, where he found nothing to
compensate the life of unintermitting hostility which he was compelled to
lead.  With these recruits, he felt himself in sufficient strength to cross
over to the continent, and resume military operations in the proper
theatre for discovery and conquest.  From the Indians of Tumbez he
learned that the country had been for some time distracted by a civil war
between two sons of the late monarch, competitors for the throne.  This
intelligence he regarded as of the utmost importance, for he remembered
the use which Cortes had made of similar dissensions among the tribes of
Anahuac.  Indeed, Pizarro seems to have had the example of his great
predecessor before his eyes on more occasions than this.  But he fell far
short of his model; for, notwithstanding the restraint he sometimes put
upon himself, his coarser nature and more ferocious temper often
betrayed him into acts most repugnant to sound policy, which would
never have been countenanced by the Conqueror of Mexico.

Book 3

Chapter 2

Peru At The Time Of The Conquest--Reign Of Huayna Capac-
The Inca Brothers--Conquest For The Empire-
Triumph And Cruelties Of Atahuallpa

Before accompanying the march of Pizarro and his followers into the
country of the Incas, it is necessary to make the reader acquainted with
the critical situation of the kingdom at that time.  For the Spaniards
arrived just at the consummation of an important revolution,--at a crisis
most favorable to their views of conquest, and but for which, indeed, the
conquest, with such a handful of soldiers, could never have been

In the latter part of the fifteenth century died Tupac Inca Yupanqui, one
of the most renowned of the "Children of the Sun," who, carrying the
Peruvian arms across the burning sands of Atacama, penetrated to the
remote borders of Chili, while in the opposite direction he enlarged the
limits of the empire by the acquisition of the southern provinces of
Quito.  The war in this quarter was conducted by his son Huayna Capac,
who succeeded his father on the throne, and fully equalled him in
military daring and in capacity for government.

Under this prince, the whole of the powerful state of Quito, which
rivalled that of Peru itself in wealth and refinement, was brought under
the sceptre of the Incas; whose empire received, by this conquest, the
most important accession yet made to it since the foundation of the
dynasty of Manco Capac.  The remaining days of the victorious monarch
were passed in reducing the independent tribes on the remote limits of
his territory, and, still more, in cementing his conquests by the
introduction of the Peruvian polity.  He was actively engaged in
completing the great works of his father, especially the high-roads which
led from Quito to the capital.  He perfected the establishment of posts,
took great pains to introduce the Quichua dialect throughout the empire,
promoted a better system of agriculture, and, in fine, encouraged the
different branches of domestic industry and the various enlightened plans
of his predecessors for the improvement of his people.  Under his sway,
the Peruvian monarchy reached its most palmy state; and under both him
and his illustrious father it was advancing with such rapid strides in the
march of civilization as would soon have carried it to a level with the
more refined despotisms of Asia, furnishing the world, perhaps, with
higher evidence of the capabilities of the American Indian than is
elsewhere to be found on the great western continent.--But other and
gloomier destinies were in reserve for the Indian races.

The first arrival of the white men on the South American shores of the
Pacific was about ten years before the death of Huayna Capac, when
Balboa crossed the Gulf of St. Michael, and obtained the first clear
report of the empire of the Incas.  Whether tidings of these adventurers
reached the Indian monarch's ears is doubtful.  There is no doubt,
however, that he obtained the news of the first expedition under Pizarro
and Almagro, when the latter commander penetrated as far as the Rio de
San Juan, about the fourth degree north.  The accounts which he received
made a strong impression on the mind of Huayna Capac.  He discerned
in the formidable prowess and weapons of the invaders proofs of a
civilization far superior to that of his own people.  He intimated his
apprehension that they would return, and that at some day, not far
distant, perhaps, the throne of the Incas might be shaken by these
strangers, endowed with such incomprehensible powers.1  To the vulgar
eye, it was a little speck on the verge of the horizon; but that of the
sagacious monarch seemed to descry in it the dark thunder-cloud, that
was to spread wider and wider till it burst in fury on his nation!

There is some ground for believing thus much.  But other accounts,
which have obtained a popular currency, not content with this, connect
the first tidings of the white men with predictions long extant in the
country, and with supernatural appearances, which filled the hearts of the
whole nation with dismay.  Comets were seen flaming athwart the
heavens.  Earthquakes shook the land; the moon was girdled with rings
of fire of many colors; a thunderbolt fell on one of the royal palaces and
consumed it to ashes; and an eagle, chased by several hawks, was seen,
screaming in the air, to hover above the great square of Cuzco, when,
pierced by the talons of his tormentors, the king of birds fell lifeless in
the presence of many of the Inca nobles, who read in this an augury of
their own destruction!  Huayna Capac himself, calling his great officers
around him, as he found he was drawing near his end, announced the
subversion of his empire by the race of white and bearded strangers, as
the consummation predicted by the oracles after the reign of the twelfth
Inca, and he enjoined it on his vassals not to resist the decrees of
Heaven, but to yield obedience to its messengers.2

Such is the report of the impressions made by the appearance of the
Spaniards in the country, reminding one of the similar feelings of
superstitious terror occasioned by their appearance in Mexico.  But the
traditions of the latter land rest on much higher authority than those of
the Peruvians, which, unsupported by contemporary testimony, rest
almost wholly on the naked assertion of one of their own nation, who
thought to find, doubtless, in the inevitable decrees of Heaven, the best
apology for the supineness of his countrymen.

It is not improbable that rumors of the advent of a strange and
mysterious race should have spread gradually among the Indian tribes
along the great table-land of the Cordilleras, and should have shaken the
hearts of the stoutest warriors with feelings of undefined dread, as of
some impending calamity.  In this state of mind, it was natural that
physical convulsions, to which that volcanic country is peculiarly
subject, should have made an unwonted impression on their minds; and
that the phenomena, which might have been regarded only as
extraordinary, in the usual seasons of political security, should now be
interpreted by the superstitious soothsayer as the handwriting on the
heavens, by which the God of the Incas proclaimed the approaching
downfall of their empire.

Huayna Capac had, as usual with the Peruvian princes, a multitude of
concubines, by whom he left a numerous posterity.  The heir to the
crown, the son of his lawful wife and sister, was named Huascar.3  At the
period of the history at which we are now arrived, he was about thirty
years of age.  Next to the heir-apparent, by another wife, a cousin of the
monarch's, came Manco Capac, a young prince who will occupy an
important place in our subsequent story.  But the best-beloved of the
Inca's children was Atahuallpa.  His mother was the daughter of the last
Scyri of Quito, who had died of grief, it was said, not long after the
subversion of his kingdom by Huayna Capac.  The princess was
beautiful, and the Inca, whether to gratify his passion, or, as the
Peruvians say, willing to make amends for the ruin of her parents,
received her among his concubines.  The historians of Quito assert that
she was his lawful wife; but this dignity, according to the usages of the
empire, was reserved for maidens of the Inca blood.

The latter years of Huayna Capac were passed in his new kingdom of
Quito.  Atahuallpa was accordingly brought up under his own eye,
accompanied him, while in his tender years, in his campaigns, slept in
the same tent with his royal father, and ate from the same plate.4  The
vivacity of the boy, his courage and generous nature, won the affections
of the old monarch to such a degree, that he resolved to depart from the
established usages of the realm, and divide his empire between him and
his elder brother Huascar.  On his death-bed, he called the great officers
of the crown around him, and declared it to be his will that the ancient
kingdom of Quito should pass to Atahuallpa, who might be considered as
having a natural claim on it, as the dominion of his ancestors.  The rest
of the empire he settled on Huascar; and he enjoined it on the two
brothers to acquiesce in this arrangement, and to live in amity with each
other.  This was the last act of the heroic monarch; doubtless, the most
impolitic of his whole life.  With his dying breath he subverted the
fundamental laws of the empire; and, while he recommended harmony
between the successors to his authority, he left in this very division of it
the seeds of inevitable discord.5

His death took place, as seems probable, at the close of 1525, not quite
seven years before Pizarro's arrival at Puna.6  The tidings of his decease
spread sorrow and consternation throughout the land; for, though stern
and even inexorable to the rebel and the long-resisting foe, he was a
brave and magnanimous monarch, and legislated with the enlarged views
of a prince who regarded every part of his dominions as equally his
concern.  The people of Quito, flattered by the proofs which he had
given of preference for them by his permanent residence in that country,
and his embellishment of their capital, manifested unfeigned sorrow at
his loss; and his subjects at Cuzco, proud of the glory which his arms and
his abilities had secured for his native land, held him in no less
admiration;7 while the more thoughtful and the more timid, in both
countries, looked with apprehension to the future, when the sceptre of
the vast empire, instead of being swayed by an old and experienced
hand, was to be consigned to rival princes, naturally jealous of one
another, and, from their age, necessarily exposed to the unwholesome
influence of crafty and ambitious counsellors.  The people testified their
regret by the unwonted honors paid to the memory of the deceased Inca.
His heart was retained in Quito, and his body, embalmed after the
fashion of the country, was transported to Cuzco, to take its place in the
great temple of the Sun, by the side of the remains of his royal ancestors.
His obsequies were celebrated with sanguinary splendor in both the
capitals of his far-extended empire; and several thousand of the imperial
concubines, with numerous pages and officers of the palace, are said to
have proved their sorrow, or their superstition, by offering up their own
lives, that they might accompany their departed lord to the bright
mansions of the Sun.8

For nearly five years after the death of Huayna Capac, the royal brothers
reigned, each over his allotted portion of the empire, without distrust of
one another, or, at least, without collision.  It seemed as if the wish of
their father was to be completely realized, and that the two states were to
maintain their respective integrity and independence as much as if they
had never been united into one.  But, with the manifold causes for
jealousy and discontent, and the swarms of courtly sycophants, who
would find their account in fomenting these feelings, it was easy to see
that this tranquil state of things could not long endure.  Nor would it
have endured so long, but for the more gentle temper of Huascar, the
only party who had ground for complaint.  He was four or five years
older than his brother, and was possessed of courage not to be doubted;
but he was a prince of a generous and easy nature, and perhaps, if left to
himself, might have acquiesced in an arrangement which, however
unpalatable, was the will of his deified father.  But Atahuallpa was of a
different temper.  Warlike, ambitious, and daring, he was constantly
engaged in enterprises for the enlargement of his own territory, though
his crafty policy was scrupulous not to aim at extending his acquisitions
in the direction of his royal brother.  His restless spirit, however, excited
some alarm at the court of Cuzco, and Huascar, at length, sent an envoy
to Atahuallpa, to remonstrate with him on his ambitious enterprises, and
to require him to render him homage for his kingdom of Quito.

This is one statement.  Other accounts pretend that the immediate cause
of rupture was a claim instituted by Huascar for the territory of
Tumebamba, held by his brother as part of his patrimonial inheritance.  It
matters little what was the ostensible ground of collision between
persons placed by circumstances in so false a position in regard to one
another, that collision must, at some time or other, inevitably occur.

The commencement, and, indeed, the whole course, of hostilities which
soon broke out between the rival brothers are stated with irreconcilable,
and, considering the period was so near to that of the Spanish invasion,
with unaccountable discrepancy.  By some it is said, that, in Atahuallpa's
first encounter with the troops of Cuzco, he was defeated and made
prisoner near Tumebamba, a favorite residence of his father in the
ancient territory of Quito, and in the district of Canaris.  From this
disaster he recovered by a fortunate escape from confinement, when,
regaining his capital, he soon found himself at the head of a numerous
army, led by the most able and experienced captains in the empire.  The
liberal manners of the young Atahuallpa had endeared him to the
soldiers, with whom, as we have seen, he served more than one campaign
in his father's lifetime.  These troops were the flower of the great army of
the Inca, and some of them had grown gray in his long military career,
which had left them at the north, where they readily transferred their
allegiance to the young sovereign of Quito.  They were commanded by
two officers of great consideration, both possessed of large experience in
military affairs, and high in the confidence of the late Inca.  One of them
was named Quizquiz; the other, who was the maternal uncle of
Atahuallpa, was called Chalicuchima.

With these practised warriors to guide him, the young monarch put
himself at the head of his martial array, and directed his march towards
the south.  He had not advanced farther than Ambato, about sixty miles
distant from his capital, when he fell in with a numerous host, which had
been sent against him by his brother, under the command of a
distinguished chieftain, of the Inca family.  A bloody battle followed,
which lasted the greater part of the day; and the theatre of combat was
the skirts of the mighty Chimborazo.9

The battle ended favorably for Atahuallpa, and the Peruvians were
routed with great slaughter, and the loss of their commander.  The prince
of Quito availed himself of his advantage to push forward his march until
he arrived before the gates of Tumebamba, which city, as well as the
whole district of Canaris, though an ancient dependency of Quito, had
sided with his rival in the contest.  Entering the captive city like a
conqueror, he put the inhabitants to the sword, and razed it with all its
stately edifices, some of which had been reared by his own father, to the
ground.  He carried on the same war of extermination, as he marched
through the offending district of Canaris.  In some places, it is said, the
women and children came out, with green branches in their hands, in
melancholy procession, to deprecate his wrath; but the vindictive
conqueror, deaf to their entreaties, laid the country waste with fire and
sword, sparing no man capable of bearing arms who fell into his

The fate of Canaris struck terror into the hearts of his enemies, and one
place after another opened its gates to the victor, who held on his
triumphant march towards the Peruvian capital.  His arms experienced a
temporary check before the island of Puna, whose bold warriors
maintained the cause of his brother.  After some days lost before this
place, Atahuallpa left the contest to their old enemies, the people of
Tumbez, who had early given in their adhesion to him, while he resumed
his march and advanced as far as Caxamalca, about seven degrees south.
Here he halted with a detachment of the army, sending forward the main
body under the command of his two generals, with orders to move
straight upon Cuzco.  He preferred not to trust himself farther in the
enemy's country, where a defeat might be fatal.  By establishing his
quarters at Caxamalca, he would be able to support his generals, in case
of a reverse, or, at worst, to secure his retreat on Quito, until he was
again in condition to renew hostilities.

The two commanders, advancing by rapid marches, at length crossed the
Apurimac river, and arrived within a short distance of the Peruvian
capital.--Meanwhile, Huascar had not been idle.  On receiving tidings of
the discomfiture of his army at Ambato, he made every exertion to raise
levies throughout the country.  By the advice, it is said, of his priests--the
most incompetent advisers in times of danger--he chose to await the
approach of the enemy in his own capital; and it was not till the latter had
arrived within a few leagues of Cuzco, that the Inca, taking counsel of
the same ghostly monitors, sallied forth to give him battle.

The two armies met on the plains of Quipaypan, in the neighborhood of
the Indian metropolis.  Their numbers are stated with the usual
discrepancy; but Atahuallpa's troops had considerably the advantage in
discipline and experience, for many of Huascar's levies had been drawn
hastily together from the surrounding country.  Both fought, however,
with the desperation of men who felt that every thing was at stake.  It was
no longer a contest for a province, but for the possession of an empire.
Atahuallpa's troops, flushed with recent success, fought with the
confidence of those who relied on their superior prowess; while the loyal
vassals of the Inca displayed all the self-devotion of men who held their
own lives cheap in the service of their master.

The fight raged with the greatest obstinacy from sunrise to sunset; and
the ground was covered with heaps of the dying and the dead, whose
bones lay bleaching on the battle-field long after the conquest by the
Spaniards.  At length, fortune declared in favor of Atahuallpa; or rather,
the usual result of superior discipline and military practice followed.
The ranks of the Inca were thrown into irretrievable disorder, and gave
way in all directions.  The conquerors followed close on the heels of the
flying.  Huascar himself, among the latter, endeavored to make his
escape with about a thousand men who remained round his person.  But
the royal fugitive was discovered before he had left the field; his little
party was enveloped by clouds of the enemy, and nearly every one of the
devoted band perished in defence of their Inca.  Huascar was made
prisoner, and the victorious chiefs marched at once on his capital, which
they occupied in the name of their sovereign.11

These events occurred in the spring of 1532, a few months before the
landing of the Spaniards.  The tidings of the success of his arms and the
capture of his unfortunate brother reached Atahuallpa at Caxamalca.  He
instantly gave orders that Huascar should be treated with the respect due
to his rank, but that he should be removed to the strong fortress of
Xauxa, and held there in strict confinement.  His orders did not stop
here,--if we are to receive the accounts of Garcilasso de la Vega, himself
of the Inca race, and by his mother's side nephew of the great Huayna

According to this authority, Atahuallpa invited the Inca nobles
throughout the country to assemble at Cuzco in order to deliberate on the
best means of partitioning the empire between him and his brother.
When they had met in the capital, they were surrounded by the soldiery
of Quito, and butchered without mercy.  The motive for this perfidious
act was to exterminate the whole of the royal family, who might each one
of them show a better title to the crown than the illegitimate Atahuallpa.
But the massacre did not end here.  The illegitimate offspring, like
himself, half-brothers of the monster, all, in short, who had any of the
Inca blood in their veins, were involved in it; and with an appetite for
carnage unparalleled in the annals of the Roman Empire or of the French
Republic, Atahuallpa ordered all the females of the blood royal, his
aunts, nieces, and cousins, to be put to death, and that, too, with the most
refined and lingering tortures.  To give greater zest to his revenge, many
of the executions took place in the presence of Huascar himself, who was
thus compelled to witness the butchery of his own wives and sisters,
while, in the extremity of anguish, they in vain called on him to protect
them! 12

Such is the tale told by the historian of the Incas, and received by him, as
he assures us, from his mother and uncle, who, being children at the
time, were so fortunate as to be among the few that escaped the massacre
of their house.13  And such is the account repeated by many a Castilian
writer since, without any symptom of distrust.  But a tissue of
unprovoked atrocities like these is too repugnant to the principles of
human nature,--and, indeed, to common sense, to warrant our belief in
them on ordinary testimony.

The annals of semi-civilized nations unhappily show that there have been
instances of similar attempts to extinguish the whole of a noxious race,
which had become the object of a tyrant's jealousy; though such an
attempt is about as chimerical as it would be to extirpate any particular
species of plant, the seeds of which had been borne on every wind over
the country.  But, if the attempt to exterminate the Inca race was actually
made by Atahuallpa, how comes it that so many of the pure descendants
of the blood royal--nearly six hundred in number--are admitted by the
historian to have been in existence seventy years after the imputed
massacre?14  Why was the massacre, instead of being limited to the
legitimate members of the royal stock, who could show a better title to
the crown than the usurper, extended to all, however remotely, or in
whatever way, connected with the race?  Why were aged women and
young maidens involved in the proscription, and why were they
subjected to such refined and superfluous tortures, when it is obvious
that beings so impotent could have done nothing to provoke the jealousy
of the tyrant?  Why, when so many were sacrificed from some vague
apprehension of distant danger, was his rival Huascar, together with his
younger brother Manco Capac, the two men from whom the conqueror
had most to fear, suffered to live?  Why, in short, is the wonderful tale
not recorded by others before the time of Garcilasso, and nearer by half a
century to the events themselves?15

That Atahuallpa may have been guilty of excesses, and abused the rights
of conquest by some gratuitous acts of cruelty, may be readily believed;
for no one, who calls to mind his treatment of the Canaris,-which his own
apologists do not affect to deny,16--will doubt that he had a full measure
of the vindictive temper which belongs to

"Those souls of fire, and Children of the Sun,
With whom revenge was virtue."

But there is a wide difference between this and the monstrous and most
unprovoked atrocities imputed to him; implying a diabolical nature not to
be admitted on the evidence of an Indian partisan, the sworn foe of his
house, and repeated by Castilian chroniclers, who may naturally seek, by
blazoning the enormities of Atahuallpa, to find some apology for the
cruelty of their countrymen towards him.

The news of the great victory was borne on the wings of the wind to
Caxamalca; and loud and long was the rejoicing, not only in the camp of
Atahuallpa, but in the town and surrounding country; for all now came
in, eager to offer their congratulations to the victor, and do him homage.
The prince of Quito no longer hesitated to assume the scarlet borla, the
diadem of the Incas.  His triumph was complete.  He had beaten his
enemies on their own ground; had taken their capital; had set his foot on
the neck of his rival, and won for himself the ancient sceptre of the
Children of the Sun.  But the hour of triumph was destined to be that of
his deepest humiliation.  Atahuallpa was not one of those to whom, in the
language of the Grecian bard, "the Gods are willing to reveal
themselves." 17  He had not read the handwriting on the heavens.  The
small speck, which the clear-sighted eye of his father had discerned on
the distant verge of the horizon, though little noticed by Atahuallpa,
intent on the deadly strife with his brother, had now risen high towards
the zenith, spreading wider and wider, till it wrapped the skies in
darkness, and was ready to burst in thunders on the devoted nation.


Chapter 3

The Spaniards Land At Tumbez--Pizarro Reconnoitres The Country--
Foundation Of San Miguel--March Into The Interior-
Embassy From The Inca--Adventures On The March-
Reach The Foot Of The Andes


We left the Spaniards at the island of Puna, preparing to make their
descent on the neighboring continent at Tumbez.  This port was but a
few leagues distant, and Pizarro, with the greater part of his followers,
passed over in the ships, while a few others were to transport the
commander's baggage and the military stores on some of the Indian
balsas.  One of the latter vessels which first touched the shore was
surrounded, and three persons who were on the raft were carried off by
the natives to the adjacent woods and there massacred.  The Indians then
got possession of another of the balsas containing Pizarro's wardrobe;
but, as the men who defended it raised loud cries for help, they reached
the ears of Hernando Pizarro, who, with a small body of horse, had
effected a landing some way farther down the shore.  A broad tract of
miry ground, overflowed at high water, lay between him and the party
thus rudely assailed by the natives.  The tide was out, and the bottom was
soft and dangerous.  With little regard to the danger, however, the bold
cavalier spurred his horse into the slimy depths, and followed by his
men, with the mud up to their saddle-girths, they plunged forward until
they came into the midst of the marauders, who, terrified by the strange
apparition of the horsemen, fled precipitately, without show of fight, to
the neighboring forests.

This conduct of the natives of Tumbez is not easy to be explained;
considering the friendly relations maintained with the Spaniards on their
preceding visit, and lately renewed in the island of Puna.  But Pizarro
was still more astonished, on entering their town, to find it not only
deserted, but, with the exception of a few buildings, entirely demolished.
Four or five of the most substantial private dwellings, the great temple,
and the fortress--and these greatly damaged, and wholly despoiled of
their interior decorations--alone survived to mark the site of the city, and
attest its former splendor.1  The scene of desolation filled the conquerors
with dismay; for even the raw recruits, who had never visited the coast
before, had heard the marvellous stories of the golden treasures of
Tumbez, and they had confidently looked forward to them as an easy
spoil after all their fatigues.  But the gold of Peru seemed only like a
deceitful phantom, which, after beckoning them on through toil and
danger, vanished the moment they attempted to grasp it.

Pizarro despatched a small body of troops in pursuit of the fugitives;
and, after some slight skirmishing, they got possession of several of the
natives, and among them, as it chanced, the curaca of the place.  When
brought before the Spanish commander, he exonerated himself from any
share in the violence offered to the white men, saying that it was done by
a lawless party of his people, without his knowledge at the time; and he
expressed his willingness to deliver them up to punishment, if they could
be detected.  He explained the dilapidated condition of the town by the
long wars carried on with the fierce tribes of Puna, who had at length
succeeded in getting possession of the place, and driving the inhabitants
into the neighboring woods and mountains.  The Inca, to whose cause
they were attached, was too much occupied with his own feuds to protect
them against their enemies.

Whether Pizarro gave any credit to the cacique's exculpation of himself
may be doubted.  He dissembled his suspicions, however, and, as the
Indian lord promised obedience in his own name, and that of his vassals,
the Spanish general consented to take no further notice of the affair.  He
seems now to have felt for the first time, in its full force, that it was his
policy to gain the good-will of the people among whom he had thrown
himself in the face of such tremendous odds.  It was, perhaps, the
excesses of which his men had been guilty in the earlier stages of the
expedition that had shaken the confidence of the people of Tumbez, and
incited them to this treacherous retaliation.

Pizarro inquired of the natives who now, under promise of impunity,
came into the camp, what had become of his two followers that remained
with them in the former expedition.  The answers they gave were obscure
and contradictory.  Some said, they had died of an epidemic; others, that
they had perished in the war with Puna; and others intimated, that they
had lost their lives in consequence of some outrage attempted on the
Indian women.  It was impossible to arrive at the truth.  The last account
was not the least probable.  But, whatever might be the cause, there was
no doubt they had both perished.

This intelligence spread an additional gloom over the Spaniards; which
was not dispelled by the flaming pictures now given by the natives of the
riches of the land, and of the state and magnificence of the monarch in
his distant capital among the mountains.  Nor did they credit the
authenticity of a scroll of paper, which Pizzaro had obtained from an
Indian, to whom it had been delivered by one of the white men left in the
country.  "Know, whoever you may be," said the writing, "that may
chance to set foot in this country, that it contains more gold and silver
than there is iron in Biscay." This paper, when shown to the soldiers,
excited only their ridicule, as a device of their captain to keep alive their
chimerical hopes.2

Pizarro now saw that it was not politic to protract his stay in his present
quarters, where a spirit of disaffection would soon creep into the ranks of
his followers, unless their spirits were stimulated by novelty or a life of
incessant action.  Yet he felt deeply anxious to obtain more particulars
than he had hitherto gathered of the actual condition of the Peruvian
empire, of its strength and resources, of the monarch who ruled over it,
and of his present situation.  He was also desirous, before taking any
decisive step for penetrating the country, to seek out some commodious
place for a settlement, which might afford him the means of a regular
communication with the colonies, and a place of strength, on which he
himself might retreat in case of disaster.

He decided, therefore, to leave part of his company at Tumbez, including
those who, from the state of their health, were least able to take the field,
and with the remainder to make an excursion into the interior, and
reconnoitre the land, before deciding on any plan of operations.  He set
out early in May, 1532; and, keeping along the more level regions
himself, sent a small detachment under the command of Hernando de
Soto to explore the skirts of the vast sierra.

He maintained a rigid discipline on the march, commanding his soldiers
to abstain from all acts of violence, and punishing disobedience in the
most prompt and resolute manner.3  The natives rarely offered
resistance.  When they did so, they were soon reduced, and Pizarro, far
from vindictive measures, was open to the first demonstrations of
submission.  By this lenient and liberal policy, he soon acquired a name
among the inhabitants which effaced the unfavorable impressions made
of him in the earlier part of the campaign.  The natives, as he marched
through the thick-settled hamlets which sprinkled the level region
between the Cordilleras and the ocean, welcomed him with rustic
hospitality, providing good quarters for his troops, and abundant
supplies, which cost but little in the prolific soil of the tierra caliente.
Everywhere Pizarro made proclamation that he came in the name of the
Holy Vicar of God and of the sovereign of Spain, requiring the
obedience of the inhabitants as true children of the Church, and vassals
of his lord and master.  And as the simple people made no opposition to
a formula, of which they could not comprehend a syllable, they were
admitted as good subjects of the Crown of Castile, and their act of
homage--or what was readily interpreted as such--was duly recorded and
attested by the notary.4

At the expiration of some three or four weeks spent in reconnoitring the
country, Pizarro came to the conclusion that the most eligible site for his
new settlement was in the rich valley of Tangarala, thirty leagues south
of Tumbez, traversed by more than one stream that opens a
communication with the ocean.  To this spot, accordingly, he ordered the
men left at Tumbez to repair at once in their vessels; and no sooner had
they arrived, than busy preparations were made for building up the town
in a manner suited to the wants of the colony.  Timber was procured
from the neighboring woods.  Stones were dragged from their quarries,
and edifices gradually rose, some of which made pretensions to strength,
if not to elegance.  Among them were a church, a magazine for public
stores, a hall of justice, and a fortress.  A municipal government was
organized, consisting of regidores, alcaldes, and the usual civic
functionaries.  The adjacent territory was parcelled out among the
residents, and each colonist had a certain number of the natives allotted
to assist him in his labors; for, as Pizarro's secretary remarks, "it being
evident that the colonists could not support themselves without the
services of the Indians, the ecclesiastics and the leaders of the expedition
all agreed that a repartimiento of the natives would serve the cause of
religion, and tend greatly to their spiritual welfare, since they would thus
have the opportunity of being initiated in the true faith." 5

Having made these arrangements with such conscientious regard to the
welfare of the benighted heathen, Pizarro gave his infant city the name of
San Miguel, in acknowledgment of the service rendered him by that saint
in his battles with the Indians of Puna.  The site originally occupied by
the settlement was afterward found to be so unhealthy, that it was
abandoned for another on the banks of the beautiful Piura.  The town is
still of some note for its manufactures, though dwindled from its ancient
importance; but the name of San Miguel de Piura, which it bears, still
commemorates the foundation of the first European colony in the empire
of the Incas.

Before quitting the new settlement, Pizarro caused the gold and silver
ornaments which he had obtained in different parts of the country to be
melted down into one mass, and a fifth to be deducted for the Crown.
The remainder, which belonged to the troops, he persuaded them to
relinquish for the present; under the assurance of being repaid from the
first spoils that fell into their hands.6  With these funds, and other
articles collected in the course of the campaign, he sent back the vessels
to Panama.  The gold was applied to paying off the ship-owners, and
those who had furnished the stores for the expedition.  That he should so
easily have persuaded his men to resign present possession for a future
contingency is proof that the spirit of enterprise was renewed in their
bosoms in all its former vigor, and that they looked forward with the
same buoyant confidence to the results.

In his late tour of observation, the Spanish commander had gathered
much important intelligence in regard to the state of the kingdom.  He
had ascertained the result of the struggle between the Inca brothers, and
that the victor now lay with his army encamped at the distance of only
ten or twelve days' journey from San Miguel.  The accounts he heard of
the opulence and power of that monarch, and of his great southern
capital, perfectly corresponded with the general rumors before received;
and contained, therefore, something to stagger the confidence, as well as
to stimulate the cupidity, of the invaders.

Pizarro would gladly have seen his little army strengthened by
reinforcements, however small the amount; and on that account
postponed his departure for several weeks.  But no reinforcement
arrived; and, as he received no further tidings from his associates, he
judged that longer delay would, probably, be attended with evils greater
than those to be encountered on the march; that discontents would
inevitably spring up in a life of inaction, and the strength and spirits of
the soldier sink under the enervating influence of a tropical climate.  Yet
the force at his command, amounting to less than two hundred soldiers in
all, after reserving fifty for the protection of the new settlement, seemed
but a small one for the conquest of an empire.  He might, indeed, instead
of marching against the Inca, take a southerly direction towards the rich
capital of Cuzco.  But this would only be to postpone the hour of
reckoning.  For in what quarter of the empire could he hope to set his
foot, where the arm of its master would not reach him? By such a course,
moreover, he would show his own distrust of himself.  He would shake
that opinion of his invincible prowess, which he had hitherto endeavored
to impress on the natives, and which constituted a great secret of his
strength; which, in short, held sterner sway over the mind than the
display of numbers and mere physical force.  Worse than all, such a
course would impair the confidence of his troops in themselves and their
reliance on himself.  This would be to palsy the arm of enterprise at
once.  It was not to be thought of.

But while Pizarro decided to march into the interior, it is doubtful
whether he had formed any more definite plan of action.  We have no
means of knowing his intentions, at this distance of time, otherwise than
as they are shown by his actions.  Unfortunately, he could not write, and
he has left no record, like the inestimable Commentaries of Cortes, to
enlighten us as to his motives.  His secretary, and some of his
companions in arms, have recited his actions in detail; but the motives
which led to them they were not always so competent to disclose.

It is possible that the Spanish general, even so early as the period of his
residence at San Miguel, may have meditated some daring stroke, some
effective coup-de-main, which, like that of Cortes, when he carried off
the Aztec monarch to his quarters, might strike terror into the hearts of
the people, and at once decide the fortunes of the day.  It is more
probable, however, that he now only proposed to present himself before
the Inca, as the peaceful representative of a brother monarch, and, by
these friendly demonstrations, disarm any feeling of hostility, or even of
suspicion.  When once in communication with the Indian prince, he
could regulate his future course by circumstances.

On the 24th of September, 1532, five months after landing at Tumbez,
Pizarro marched out at the head of his little body of adventurers from the
gates of San Miguel, having enjoined it on the colonists to treat their
Indian vassals with humanity, and to conduct themselves in such a
manner as would secure the good-will of the surrounding tribes.  Their
own existence, and with it the safety of the army and the success of the
undertaking, depended on this course.  In the place were to remain the
royal treasurer, the veedor, or inspector of metals, and other officers of
the crown; and the command of the garrison was intrusted to the
contador, Antonio Nayafro.7  Then putting himself at the head of his
troops, the chief struck boldly into the heart of the country in the
direction where, as he was informed, lay the camp of the Inca.  It was a
daring enterprise, thus to venture with a handful of followers into the
heart of a powerful empire, to present himself, face to face, before the
Indian monarch in his own camp, encompassed by the flower of his
victorious army!  Pizarro had already experienced more than once the
difficulty of maintaining his ground against the rude tribes of the north,
so much inferior in strength and numbers to the warlike legions of Peru.
But the hazard of the game, as I have already more than once had
occasion to remark, constituted its great charm with the Spaniard.  The
brilliant achievements of his countrymen, on the like occasions, with
means so inadequate, inspired him with confidence in his own good star;
and this confidence was one source of his success.  Had he faltered for a
moment, had he stopped to calculate chances, he must inevitably have
failed; for the odds were too great to be combated by sober reason.  They
were only to be met triumphantly by the spirit of the knight-errant.

After crossing the smooth waters of the Piura, the little army continued
to advance over a level district intersected by streams that descended
from the neighboring Cordilleras.  The face of the country was shagged
over with forests of gigantic growth, and occasionally traversed by ridges
of barren land, that seemed like shoots of the adjacent Andes breaking up
the surface of the region into little sequestered valleys of singular
loveliness.  The soil, though rarely watered by the rains of heaven, was
naturally rich, and wherever it was refreshed with moisture, as on the
margins of the streams, it was enamelled with the brightest verdure.  The
industry of the inhabitants, moreover, had turned these streams to the
best account, and canals and aqueducts were seen crossing the low lands
in all directions, and spreading over the country, like a vast network,
diffusing fertility and beauty around them.  The air was scented with the
sweet odors of flowers, and everywhere the eye was refreshed by the
sight of orchards laden with unknown fruits, and of fields waving with
yellow grain and rich in luscious vegetables of every description that
teem in the sunny clime of the equator.  The Spaniards were among a
people who had carried the refinements of husbandry to a greater extent
than any yet found on the American continent; and, as they journeyed
through this paradise of plenty, their condition formed a pleasing
contrast to what they had before endured in the dreary wilderness of the

Everywhere, too, they were received with confiding hospitality by the
simple people; for which they were no doubt indebted, in a great
measure, to their own inoffensive deportment.  Every Spaniard seemed
to be aware, that his only chance of success lay in conciliating the good
opinion of the inhabitants, among whom he had so recklessly cast his
fortunes.  In most of the hamlets, and in every place of considerable size,
some fortress was to be found, or royal caravansary, destined for the Inca
on his progresses, the ample halls of which furnished abundant
accommodations for the Spaniards; who were thus provided with
quarters along their route at the charge of the very government which
they were preparing to overturn.8

On the fifth day after leaving San Miguel, Pizarro halted in one of these
delicious valleys, to give his troops repose, and to make a more complete
inspection of them.  Their number amounted in all to one hundred and
seventy-seven, of which sixty-seven were cavalry.  He mustered only
three arquebusiers in his whole company, and a few crossbow-men,
altogether not exceeding twenty.9  The troops were tolerably well
equipped, and in good condition.  But the watchful eye of their
commander noticed with uneasiness, that, notwithstanding the general
heartiness, in the cause manifested by his followers, there were some
among them whose countenances lowered with discontent, and who,
although they did not give vent to it in open murmurs, were far from
moving with their wonted alacrity.

He was aware, that, if this spirit became contagious, it would be the ruin
of the enterprise; and he thought it best to exterminate the gangrene; at
once, and at whatever cost, than to wait until it had infected the whole
system.  He came to an extraordinary resolution.

Calling his men together, he told them that "a crisis had now arrived in
their affairs, which it demanded all their courage to meet.  No man
should think of going forward in the expedition, who could not do so
with his whole heart, or who had the least misgiving as to its success.  If
any repented of his share in it, it was not too late to turn back.  San
Miguel was but poorly garrisoned, and he should be glad to see it in
greater strength.  Those who chose might return to this place, and they
should be entitled to the same proportion of lands and Indian vassals as
the present residents.  With the rest, were they few or many, who chose
to take their chance with him, he should pursue the adventure to the

It was certainly a remarkable proposal for a commander, who was
ignorant of the amount of disaffection in his ranks, and who could not
safely spare a single man from his force, already far too feeble for the
undertaking.  Yet, by insisting on the wants of the little colony of San
Miguel, he afforded a decent pretext for the secession of the
malecontents, and swept away the barrier of shame which might have
still held them in the camp.  Notwithstanding the fair opening thus
afforded, there were but few, nine in all, who availed themselves of the
general's permission.  Four of these belonged to the infantry, and five to
the horse.  The rest loudly declared their resolve to go forward with their
brave leader; and, if there were some whose voices were faint amidst the
general acclamation, they, at least, relinquished the right of complaining
hereafter, since they had voluntarily rejected the permission to return.11
This stroke of policy in their sagacious captain was attended with the
best effects.  He had winnowed out the few grains of discontent, which,
if left to themselves, might have fermented in secret till the whole mass
had swelled into mutiny.  Cortes had compelled his men to go forward
heartily in his enterprise, by burning their vessels, and thus cutting off
the only means of retreat.  Pizarro, on the other hand, threw open the
gates to the disaffected and facilitated their departure.  Both judged right,
under their peculiar circumstances, and both were perfectly successful.

Feeling himself strengthened, instead of weakened, by his loss, Pizarro
now resumed his march, and, on the second day, arrived before a place
called Zaran, situated in a fruitful valley among the mountains.  Some of
the inhabitants had been drawn off to swell the levies of Atahuallpa.  The
Spaniards had repeated experience on their march of the oppressive
exactions of the Inca, who had almost depopulated some of the valleys to
obtain reinforcements for his army.  The curaca of the Indian town where
Pizarro now arrived, received him with kindness and hospitality, and the
troops were quartered as usual in one of the royal tambos or
caravansaries, which were found in all the principal places.12

Yet the Spaniards saw no signs of their approach to the royal
encampment, though more time had already elapsed than was originally
allowed for reaching it.  Shortly before entering Zaran, Pizarro had heard
that a Peruvian garrison was established in a place called Caxas, lying
among the hills, at no great distance from his present quarters.  He
immediately despatched a small party under Hernando de Soto in that
direction, to reconnoitre the ground, and bring him intelligence of the
actual state of things, at Zaran, where he would halt until his officer's

Day after day passed on, and a week had elapsed before tidings were
received of his companions, and Pizarro was becoming seriously alarmed
for their fate, when on the eighth morning Soto appeared, bringing with
him an envoy from the Inca himself.  He was a person of rank, and was
attended by several followers of inferior condition.  He had met the
Spaniards at Caxas, and now accompanied them on their return, to
deliver his sovereign's message, with a present to the Spanish
commander.  The present consisted of two fountains, made of stone, in
the form of fortresses; some fine stuffs of woollen embroidered with gold
and silver; and a quantity of goose-flesh, dried and seasoned in a peculiar
manner, and much used as a perfume, in a pulverized state, by the
Peruvian nobles.13  The Indian ambassador came charged also with his
master's greeting to the strangers, whom Atahuallpa welcomed to his
country, and invited to visit him in his camp among the mountains.14

Pizarro well understood that the Inca's object in this diplomatic visit was
less to do him courtesy, than to inform himself of the strength and
condition of the invaders.  But he was well pleased with the embassy,
and dissembled his consciousness of its real purpose.  He caused the
Peruvian to be entertained in the best manner the camp could afford, and
paid him the respect, says one of the Conquerors, due to the ambassador
of so great a monarch.15  Pizarro urged him to prolong his visit for some
days, which the Indian envoy declined, but made the most of his time
while there, by gleaning all the information he could in respect to the
uses of every strange article which he saw, as well as the object of the
white men's visit to the land, and the quarter whence they came.

The Spanish captain satisfied his curiosity in all these particulars.  The
intercourse with the natives, it may be here remarked, was maintained by
means of two of the youths who had accompanied the Conquerors on
their return home from their preceding voyage.  They had been taken by
Pizarro to Spain, and, as much pains had been bestowed on teaching
them the Castilian, they now filled the office of interpreters, and opened
an easy communication with their countrymen.  It was of inestimable
service; and well did the Spanish commander reap the fruits of his

On the departure of the Peruvian messenger, Pizarro presented him with
a cap of crimson cloth, some cheap but showy ornaments of glass, and
other toys, which he had brought for the purpose from Castile.  He
charged the envoy to tell his master, that the Spaniards came from a
powerful prince, who dwelt far beyond the waters; that they had heard
much of the fame of Atahuallpa's victories, and were come to pay their
respects to him, and to offer their services by aiding him with their arms
against his enemies; and he might be assured, they would not halt on the
road, longer than was necessary, before presenting themselves before

Pizarro now received from Soto a full account of his late expedition.
That chief, on entering Caxas, found the inhabitants mustered in hostile
array, as if to dispute his passage.  But the cavalier soon convinced them
of his pacific intentions, and, laying aside their menacing attitude, they
received the Spaniards with the same courtesy which had been shown
them in most places on their march.

Here Soto found one of the royal officers, employed in collecting the
tribute for the government.  From this functionary he learned that the
Inca was quartered with a large army at Caxamalca, a place of
considerable size on the other side of the Cordillera, where he was
enjoying the luxury of the warm baths, supplied by natural springs, for
which it was then famous, as it is at the present day.  The cavalier
gathered, also, much important information in regard to the resources
and the general policy of government, the state maintained by the Inca,
and the stern severity with which obedience to the law was everywhere
enforced.  He had some opportunity of observing this for himself, as, on
entering the village, he saw several Indians hanging dead by their heels,
having been executed for some violence offered to the Virgins of the
Sun, of whom there was a convent in the neighborhood.17

From Caxas, De Soto had passed to the adjacent town of Guancabamba,
much larger, more populous, and better built than the preceding.  The
houses, instead of being made of clay baked in the sun, were many of
them constructed of solid stone, so nicely put together, that it was
impossible to detect the line of junction.  A river, which passed through
the town, was traversed by a bridge, and the high road of the Incas,
which crossed this district, was far superior to that which the Spaniards
had seen on the sea-board.  It was raised in many places, like a
causeway, paved with heavy stone flags, and bordered by trees that
afforded a grateful shade to the passenger, while streams of water were
conducted through aqueducts along the sides to slake his thirst. At
certain distances, also, they noticed small houses, which, they were told,
were for the accommodation of the traveller, who might thus pass,
without inconvenience, from one end of the kingdom to the other.18  In
another quarter they beheld one of those magazines destined for the
army, filled with grain, and with articles of clothing; and at the entrance
of the town was a stone building, occupied by a public officer, whose
business it was to collect the toils or duties on various commodities
brought into the place, or carried out of it.19  These accounts of De Soto
not only confirmed all that the Spaniards had heard of the Indian empire,
but greatly raised their ideas of its resources and domestic policy.  They
might well have shaken the confidence of hearts less courageous.

Pizarro, before leaving his present quarters, despatched a messenger to
San Miguel with particulars of his movements, sending, at the same time,
the articles received from the Inca, as well as those obtained at different
places on the route.  The skill shown in the execution of some of these
fabrics excited great admiration, when sent to Castile.  The fine woollen
cloths, especially, with their rich embroidery, were pronounced equal to
silk, from which it was not easy to distinguish them.  It was probably the
delicate wool of the vicuna, none of which had then been seen in

Pizarro, having now acquainted himself with the most direct route to
Caxamalca,--the Caxamarca of the present day,--resumed his march,
taking a direction nearly south.  The first place of any size at which he
halted was Motupe, pleasantly situated in a fruitful valley, among hills of
no great elevation, which cluster round the base of the Cordilleras.  The
place was deserted by its curaca, who, with three hundred of its warriors,
had gone to join the standard of their Inca.  Here the general,
notwithstanding his avowed purpose to push forward without delay,
halted four days.  The tardiness of his movements can be explained only
by the hope, which he may have still entertained of being joined by
further reinforcements before crossing the Cordilleras.  None such
appeared, however; and advancing across a country in which tracts of
sandy plain were occasionally relieved by a broad expanse of verdant
meadow, watered by natural streams and still more abundantly by those
brought through artificial channels, the troops at length arrived at the
borders of a river.  It was broad and deep, and the rapidity of the current
opposed more than ordinary difficulty to the passage.  Pizarro,
apprehensive lest this might be disputed by the natives on the opposite
bank, ordered his brother Hernando to cross over with a small
detachement under cover of night, and secure a safe landing for the rest
of the troops.  At break of day Pizarro made preparations for his own
passage, by hewing timber in the neighboring woods, and constructing a
sort of floating bridge, on which before nightfall the whole company
passed in safety, the horses swimming, being led by the bridle.  It was a
day of severe labor, and Pizarro took his own share in it freely, like a
common soldier, having ever a word of encouragement to say to his

On reaching the opposite side, they learned from their comrades that the
people of the country, instead of offering resistance, had fled in dismay.
One of them, having been taken and brought before Hernando Pizarro,
refused to answer the questions put to him respecting the Inca and his
army; till, being put to the torture, he stated that Atahuallpa was
encamped, with his whole force, in three separate divisions, occupying
the high grounds and plains of Caxamalca.  He further stated, that the
Inca was aware of the approach of the white men and of their small
number, and that he was purposely decoying them into his own quarters,
that he might have them more completely in his power.

This account, when reported by Hernando to his brother, caused the
latter much anxiety.  As the timidity of the peasantry, however, gradually
wore off, some of them mingled with the troops, and among them the
curaca or principal person of the village.  He had himself visited the
royal camp, and he informed the general that Atahuallpa lay at the strong
town of Guamachucho, twenty leagues or more south of Caxamalca, with
an army of at least fifty thousand men.

These contradictory statements greatly perplexed the chieftain; and he
proposed to one of the Indians who had borne him company during a
great part of the march, to go as a spy into the Inca's quarters, and bring
him intelligence of his actual position, and, as far as he could learn them,
of his intentions towards the Spaniards.  But the man positively declined
this dangerous service, though he professed his willingness to go as an
authorized messenger of the Spanish commander.

Pizarro acquiesced in this proposal, and instructed his envoy to assure
the Inca that he was advancing with all convenient speed to meet him.
He was to acquaint the monarch with the uniformly considerate conduct
of the Spaniards towards his subjects, in their progress through the land,
and to assure him that they were now coming in full confidence of
finding in him the same amicable feelings towards themselves.  The
emissary was particularly instructed to observe if the strong passes on the
road were defended, or if any preparations of a hostile character were to
be discerned.  This last intelligence he was to communicate to the
general by means of two or three nimble-footed attendants, who were to
accompany him on his mission.21

Having taken this precaution, the wary commander again resumed his
march, and at the end of three days reached the base of the mountain
rampart, behind which lay the ancient town of Caxamalca.  Before him
rose the stupendous Andes, rock piled upon rock, their skirts below dark
with evergreen forests, varied here and there by terraced patches of
cultivated garden, with the peasant's cottage clinging to their shaggy
sides, and their crests of snow glittering high in the heavens,--presenting
altogether such a wild chaos of magnificence and beauty as no other
mountain scenery in the world can show.  Across this tremendous
rampart, through a labyrinth of passes, easily capable of defence by a
handful of men against an army, the troops were now to march.  To the
right ran a broad and level road, with its border of friendly shades, and
wide enough for two carriages to pass abreast. It was one of the great
routes leading to Cuzco, and seemed by its pleasant and easy access to
invite the wayworn soldier to choose it in preference to the dangerous
mountain defiles.  Many were accordingly of opinion that the army
should take this course, and abandon the original destination to
Caxamalca.  But such was not the decision of Pizarro.

The Spaniards had everywhere proclaimed their purpose, he said, to visit
the Inca in his camp.  This purpose had been communicated to the Inca
himself.  To take an opposite direction now would only be to draw on
them the imputation of cowardice, and to incur Atahuallpa's contempt.
No alternative remained but to march straight across the sierra to his
quarters "Let every one of you," said the bold cavalier, "take heart and
go forward like a good soldier, nothing daunted by the smallness of your
numbers.  For in the greatest extremity God ever fights for his own; and
doubt not he will humble the pride of the heathen, and bring him to the
knowledge of the true faith, the great end and object of the Conquest."

Pizarro, like Cortes, possessed a good share of that frank and manly
eloquence which touches the heart of the soldier more than the parade of
rhetoric or the finest flow of elocution.  He was a soldier himself, and
partook in all the feelings of the soldier, his joys, his hopes, and his
disappointments.  He was not raised by rank and education above
sympathy with the humblest of his followers.  Every chord in their
bosoms vibrated with the same pulsations as his own, and the conviction
of this gave him a mastery over them.  "Lead on," they shouted, as he
finished his brief but animating address, "lead on wherever you think
best. We will follow with good-will, and you shall see that we can do our
duty in the cause of God and the King!" 23  There was no longer
hesitation.  All thoughts were now bent on the instant passage of the

Book 3

Chapter 4

Severe Passage Of The Andes--Embassies From Atahuallpa--
The Spaniards Reach Caxamalca--Embassy To The Inca--
Interview With The Inca--Despondency Of The Spaniards


That night Pizarro held a council of his principal officers, and it was
determined that he should lead the advance, consisting of forty horse and
sixty foot, and reconnoitre the ground; while the rest of the company,
under his brother Hernando, should occupy their present position till they
received further orders.

At early dawn the Spanish general and his detachment were under arms,
and prepared to breast the difficulties of the sierra.  These proved even
greater than had been foreseen.  The path had been conducted in the
most judicious manner round the rugged and precipitous sides of the
mountains, so as best to avoid the natural impediments presented by the
ground.  But it was necessarily so steep, in many places, that the cavalry
were obliged to dismount, and, scrambling up as they could, to lead their
horses by the bridle.  In many places, too, where some huge crag or
eminence overhung the road, this was driven to the very verge of the
precipice; and the traveller was compelled to wind along the narrow
ledge of rock, scarcely wide enough for his single steed, where a misstep
would precipitate him hundreds, nay, thousands, of feet into the dreadful
abyss!  The wild passes of the sierra, practicable for the half-naked
Indian, and even for the sure and circumspect mule,--an animal that
seems to have been created for the roads of the Cordilleras,--were
formidable to the man-at-arms encumbered with his panoply of mail.
The tremendous fissures or quebradas, so frightful in this mountain
chain, yawned open, as if the Andes had been split asunder by some
terrible convulsion, showing a broad expanse of the primitive rock on
their sides, partially mantled over with the spontaneous vegetation of
ages; while their obscure depths furnished a channel for the torrents, that,
rising in the heart of the sierra, worked their way gradually into light, and
spread over the savannas and green valleys of the tierra caliente on their
way to the great ocean.

Many of these passes afforded obvious points of defence; and the
Spaniards, as they entered the rocky defiles, looked with apprehension
lest they might rouse some foe from his ambush.  This apprehension was
heightened, as, at the summit of a steep and narrow gorge, in which they
were engaged, they beheld a strong work, rising like a fortress, and
frowning, as it were, in gloomy defiance on the invaders.  As they drew
near this building, which was of solid stone, commanding an angle of the
road, they almost expected to see the dusky forms of the warriors rise
over the battlements, and to receive their tempest of missiles on their
bucklers; for it was in so strong a position, that a few resolute men might
easily have held there an army at bay.  But they had the satisfaction to
find the place untenanted, and their spirits were greatly raised by the
conviction that the Indian monarch did not intend to dispute their
passage, when it would have been easy to do so with success.

Pizarro now sent orders to his brother to follow without delay; and, after
refreshing his men, continued his toilsome ascent, and before nightfall
reached an eminence crowned by another fortress, of even greater
strength than the preceding.  It was built of solid masonry, the lower part
excavated from the living rock, and the whole work executed with skill
not inferior to that of the European architect.1

Here Pizarro took up his quarters for the night.  Without waiting for the
arrival of the rear, on the following morning he resumed his march,
leading still deeper into the intricate gorges of the sierra.  The climate
had gradually changed, and the men and horses, especially the latter,
suffered severely from the cold, so long accustomed as they had been to
the sultry climate of the tropics.2  The vegetation also had changed its
character; and the magnificent timber which covered the lower level of
the country had gradually given way to the funereal forest of pine, and,
as they rose still higher, to the stunted growth of numberless Alpine
plants, whose hardy natures found a congenial temperature in the icy
atmosphere of the more elevated regions.  These dreary solitudes seemed
to be nearly abandoned by the brute creation as well as by man.  The
light-footed vicuna, roaming in its native state, might be sometimes seen
looking down from some airy cliff, where the foot of the hunter dared not
venture.  But instead of the feathered tribes whose gay plumage sparkled
in the deep glooms of the tropical forests, the adventurers now beheld
only the great bird of the Andes, the loathsome condor, who, sailing high
above the clouds, followed with doleful cries in the track of the army, as
if guided by instinct in the path of blood and carnage.

At length they reached the crest of the Cordillera, where it spreads out
into a bold and bleak expanse, with scarce the vestige of vegetation,
except what is afforded by the pajonal, a dried yellow grass, which, as it
is seen from below, encircling the base of the snow-covered peaks,
looks, with its brilliant straw-color lighted up in the rays of an ardent
sun, like a setting of gold round pinnacles of burnished silver.  The land
was sterile, as usual in mining districts, and they were drawing near the
once famous gold quarries on the way to Caxamalca;

"Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines,
That on the high equator ridgy rise."

Here Pizarro halted for the coming up of the rear.  The air was sharp and
frosty; and the soldiers, spreading their tents, lighted fires, and, huddling
round them, endeavored to find some repose after their laborious

They had not been long in these quarters, when a messenger arrived, one
of those who had accompanied the Indian envoy sent by Pizarro to
Atahuallpa.  He informed the general that the road was free from
enemies, and that an embassy from the Inca was on its way to the
Castilian camp.  Pizarro now sent back to quicken the march of the rear,
as he was unwilling that the Peruvian envoy should find him with his
present diminished numbers.  The rest of the army were not far distant,
and not long after reached the encampment.

In a short time the Indian embassy also arrived, which consisted of one
of the Inca nobles and several attendants, bringing a welcome present of
llamas to the Spanish commander.  The Peruvian bore, also, the
greetings of his master, who wished to know when the Spaniards would
arrive at Caxamalca, that he might provide suitable refreshments for
them.  Pizarro learned that the Inca had left Guamachucho, and was now
lying with a small force in the neighborhood of Caxamalca, at a place
celebrated for its natural springs of warm water.  The Peruvian was an
intelligent person, and the Spanish commander gathered from him many
particulars respecting the late contests which had distracted the empire.

As the envoy vaunted in lofty terms the military prowess and resources
of his sovereign, Pizarro thought it politic to show that it had no power to
overawe him.  He expressed his satisfaction at the triumphs of
Atahuallpa, who, he acknowledged, had raised himself high in the rank
of Indian warriors.  But he was as inferior, he added with more policy
than politeness, to the monarch who ruled over the white men, as the
petty curacas of the country were inferior to him.  This was evident from
the ease with which a few Spaniards had overrun this great continent,
subduing one nation after another, that had offered resistance to their
arms.  He had been led by the fame of Atahuallpa to visit his dominions,
and to offer him his services in his wars; and, if he were received by the
Inca in the same friendly spirit with which he came, he was willing, for
the aid he could render him, to postpone awhile his passage across the
country to the opposite seas.  The Indian, according to the Castilian
accounts, listened with awe to this strain of glorification from the
Spanish commander.  Yet it is possible that the envoy was a better
diplomatist than they imagined; and that he understood it was only the
game of brag at which he was playing with his more civilized

On the succeeding morning, at an early hour, the troops were again on
their march, and for two days were occupied in threading the airy defiles
of the Cordilleras.  Soon after beginning their descent on the eastern
side, another emissary arrived from the Inca, bearing a message of
similar import to the preceding, and a present, in like manner, of
Peruvian sheep.  This was the same noble that had visited Pizarro in the
valley.  He now came in more state, quaffing chicha--the fermented juice
of the maize-from golden goblets borne by his attendants, which sparkled
in the eyes of the rapacious adventurers.5

While he was in the camp, the Indian messenger, originally sent by
Pizarro to the Inca, returned, and no sooner did he behold the Peruvian,
and the honorable reception which he met with from the Spaniards, than
he was filled with wrath, which would have vented itself in personal
violence, but for the interposition of the by-standers.  It was hard, he
said, that this Peruvian dog should be thus courteously treated, when he
himself had nearly lost his life on a similar mission among his
countrymen.  On reaching the Inca's camp, he had been refused
admission to his presence, on the ground that he was keeping a fast and
could not be seen.  They had paid no respect to his assertion that he came
as an envoy from the white men, and would, probably, not have suffered
him to escape with life, if he had not assured them that any violence
offered to him would be retaliated in full measure on the persons of the
Peruvian envoys, now in the Spanish quarters.  There was no doubt, he
continued of the hostile intentions of Atahuallpa; for he was surrounded
with a powerful army, strongly encamped about a league from
Caxamalca, while that city was entirely evacuated by its inhabitants.

To all this the Inca's envoy coolly replied, that Pizarro's messenger might
have reckoned on such a reception as he had found, since he seemed to
have taken with him no credentials of his mission.  As to the Inca's fast,
that was true; and, although he would doubtless have seen the messenger,
had he known there was one from the strangers, yet it was not safe to
disturb him at these solemn seasons, when engaged in his religious
duties.  The troops by whom he was surrounded were not numerous,
considering that the Inca was at that time carrying on an important war;
and as to Caxamalca, it was abandoned by the inhabitants in order to
make room for the white men, who were so soon to occupy it.6

This explanation, however plausible, did not altogether satisfy the
general; for he had too deep a conviction of the cunning of Atahuallpa,
whose intentions towards the Spaniards he had long greatly distrusted. As
he proposed, however, to keep on friendly relations with the monarch for
the present, it was obviously not his cue to manifest suspicion.
Affecting, therefore, to give full credit to the explanation of the envoy,
he dismissed him with reiterated assurances of speedily presenting
himself before the Inca.

The descent of the sierra, though the Andes are less precipitous on their
eastern side than towards the west, was attended with difficulties almost
equal to those of the upward march; and the Spaniards felt no little
satisfaction, when, on the seventh day, they arrived in view of the valley
of Caxamalca, which, enamelled with all the beauties of cultivation, lay
unrolled like a rich and variegated carpet of verdure, in strong contrast
with the dark forms of the Andes, that rose up everywhere around it.
The valley is of an oval shape, extending about five leagues in length by
three in breadth.  It was inhabited by a population of a superior character
to any which the Spaniards had met on the other side of the mountains,
as was argued by the superior style of their attire, and the greater
cleanliness and comfort visible both in their persons and dwellings.7  As
far as the eye could reach, the level tract exhibited the show of a diligent
and thrifty husbandry.  A broad river rolled through the meadows,
supplying facilities for copious irrigation by means of the usual canals
and subterraneous aqueducts.  The land, intersected by verdant hedge-
rows, was checkered with patches of various cultivation; for the soil was
rich, and the climate, if less stimulating than that of the sultry regions of
the coast, was more favorable to the hardy products of the temperate
latitudes.  Below the adventurers, with its white houses glittering in the
sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling gem on the dark
skirts of the sierra.  At the distance of about a league farther, across the
valley, might be seen columns of vapor rising up towards the heavens,
indicating the place of the famous hot baths, much frequented by the
Peruvian princes.  And here, too, was a spectacle less grateful to the eyes
of the Spaniards; for along the slope of the hills a white cloud of
pavilions was seen covering the ground, as thick as snow-flakes, for the
space, apparently, of several miles.  "It filled us all with amazement,"
exclaims one of the Conquerors, "to behold the Indians occupying so
proud a position!  So many tents, so well appointed, as were never seen
in the Indies till now!  The spectacle caused something like confusion
and even fear in the stoutest bosom.  But it was too late to turn back, or
to betray the least sign of weakness, since the natives in our own
company would, in such case, have been the first to rise upon us.  So,
with as bold a countenance as we could, after coolly surveying the
ground, we prepared for our entrance into Caxamalca."8

What were the feelings of the Peruvian monarch we are not informed,
when he gazed on the martial cavalcade of the Christians, as, with
banners streaming, and bright panoplies glistening in the rays of the
evening sun, it emerged from the dark depths of the sierra, and advanced
in hostile array over the fair domain, which, to this period, had never
been trodden by other foot than that of the red man.  It might be, as
several of the reports had stated, that the Inca had purposely decoyed the
adventurers into the heart of his populous empire, that he might envelope
them with his legions, and the more easily become master of their
property and persons.9  Or was it from a natural feeling of curiosity, and
relying on their professions of friendship, that he had thus allowed them,
without any attempt at resistance, to come into his presence?  At all
events, he could hardly have felt such confidence in himself, as not to
look with apprehension, mingled with awe, on the mysterious strangers,
who, coming from an unknown world, and possessed of such wonderful
gifts, had made their way across mountain and valley, in spite of every
obstacle which man and nature had opposed to them.

Pizarro, meanwhile, forming his little corps into three divisions, now
moved forward, at a more measured pace, and in order of battle, down
the slopes that led towards the Indian city.  As he drew near, no one
came out to welcome him; and he rode through the streets without
meeting with a living thing, or hearing a sound, except the echoes, sent
back from the deserted dwellings, of the tramp of the soldiery.

It was a place of considerable size, containing about ten thousand
inhabitants, somewhat more, probably, than the population assembled at
this day within the walls of the modern city of Caxamalca.10  The
houses, for the most part, were built of clay, hardened in the sun; the
roofs thatched, or of timber.  Some of the more ambitious dwellings were
of hewn stone; and there was a convent in the place, occupied by the
Virgins of the Sun, and a temple dedicated to the same tutelar deity,
which last was hidden in the deep embowering shades of a grove on the
skirts of the city.  On the quarter towards the Indian camp was a square--
if square it might be called, which was almost triangular in form---of an
immense size, surrounded by low buildings.  These consisted of
capacious halls, with wide doors or openings communicating with the
square.  They were probably intended as a sort of barracks for the Inca's
soldiers.11  At the end of the plaza, looking towards the country, was a
fortress of stones with a stairway leading from the city, and a private
entrance from the adjoining suburbs.  There was still another fortress on
the rising ground which commanded the town, built of hewn stone, and
encompassed by three circular walls,--or rather one and the same wall,
which wound up spirally around it.  It was a place of great strength, and
the workmanship showed a better knowledge of masonry, and gave a
higher impression of the architectural science of the people, than
anything the Spaniards had yet seen.12

It was late in the afternoon of the fifteenth of November, 1532, when the
Conquerors entered the city of Caxamalca.  The weather, which had been
fair during the day, now threatened a storm, and some rain mingled with
hail--for it was unusually cold--began to fall.13  Pizarro, however, was
so anxious to ascertain the dispositions of the Inca, that he determined to
send an embassy, at once, to his quarters.  He selected for this, Hernando
de Soto with fifteen horse, and, after his departure, conceiving that the
number was too small, in case of any unfriendly demonstrations by the
Indians, he ordered his brother Hernando to follow with twenty
additional troopers.  This captain and one other of his party have left us
an account of the excursion.14

Between the city and the imperial camp was a causeway, built in a
substantial manner across the meadow land that intervened.  Over this
the cavalry galloped at a rapid pace, and, before they had gone a league,
they came in front of the Peruvian encampment, where it spread along
the gentle slope of the mountains.  The lances of the warriors were fixed
in the ground before their tents, and the Indian soldiers were loitering
without, gazing with silent astonishment at the Christian cavalcade, as
with clangor of arms and shrill blast of trumpet it swept by, like some
fearful apparition, on the wings of the wind.

The party soon came to a broad but shallow stream, which, winding
through the meadow, formed a defence for the Inca's position.  Across it
was a wooden bridge; but the cavaliers, distrusting its strength, preferred
to dash through the waters, and without difficulty gained the opposite
bank.  A battalion of Indian warriors was drawn up under arms on the
farther side of the bridge, but they offered no molestation to the
Spaniards; and these latter had strict orders from Pizarro--scarcely
necessary in their present circumstances--to treat the natives with
courtesy.  One of the Indians pointed out the quarter occupied by the

It was an open court-yard, with a light building or pleasure-house in the
centre, having galleries running around it, and opening in the rear on a
garden.  The walls were covered with a shining plaster, both white and
colored, and in the area before the edifice was seen a spacious tank or
reservoir of stone, fed by aqueducts that supplied it with both warm and
cold water.16  A basin of hewn stone--it may be of a more recent
construction--still bears, on the spot, the name of the "Inca's bath." 17
The court was filled with Indian nobles, dressed in gayly ornamented
attire, in attendance on the monarch, and with women of the royal
household.  Amidst this assembly it was not difficult to distinguish the
person of Atahuallpa, though his dress was simpler than that of his
attendants.  But he wore on his head the crimson borla or fringe, which,
surrounding the forehead, hung down as low as the eyebrow.  This was
the well-known badge of Peruvian sovereignty, and had been assumed by
the monarch only since the defeat of his brother Huascar.  He was seated
on a low stool or cushion, somewhat after the Morisco or Turkish
fashion, and his nobles and principal officers stood around him, with
great ceremony, holding the stations suited to their rank.18

The Spaniards gazed with much interest on the prince, of whose cruelty
and cunning they had heard so much, and whose valor had secured to
him the possession of the empire.  But his countenance exhibited
neither the fierce passions nor the sagacity which had been ascribed to
him; and, though in his bearing he showed a gravity and a calm
consciousness of authority well becoming a king, he seemed to discharge
all expression from his features, and to discover only the apathy so
characteristic of the American races.  On the present occasion, this must
have been in part, at least, assumed.  For it is impossible that the Indian
prince should not have contemplated with curious interest a spectacle so
strange, and, in some respects, appalling, as that of these mysterious
strangers, for which no previous description could have prepared him.

Hernando Pizarro and Soto, with two or three only of their followers,
slowly rode up in front of the Inca; and the former, making a respectful
obeisance, but without dismounting, informed Atahuallpa that he came
as an ambassador from his brother, the commander of the white men, to
acquaint the monarch with their arrival in his city of Caxamalca.  They
were the subjects of a mighty prince across the waters, and had come, he
said, drawn thither by the report of his great victories, to offer their
services, and to impart to him the doctrines of the true faith which they
professed; and he brought an invitation from the general to Atahuallpa
that the latter would be pleased to visit the Spaniards in their present

To all this the Inca answered not a word; nor did he make even a sign of
acknowledgment that he comprehended it; though it was translated for
him by Felipillo, one of the interpreters already noticed.  He remained
silent, with his eyes fastened on the ground; but one of his nobles,
standing by his side, answered, "It is well." 19  This was an embarrassing
situation for the Spaniards, who seemed to be as wide from ascertaining
the real disposition of the Peruvian monarch towards themselves, as
when the mountains were between them.

In a courteous and respectful manner, Hernando Pizarro again broke the
silence by requesting the Inca to speak to them himself, and to inform
them what was his pleasure.20  To this Atahuallpa condescended to
reply, while a faint smile passed over his features,--"Tell your captain
that I am keeping a fast, which will end tomorrow morning.  I will then
visit him, with my chieftains.  In the meantime, let him occupy the public
buildings on the square, and no other, till I come, when I will order what
shall be done." 21

Soto, one of the party present at this interview, as before noticed, was the
best mounted and perhaps the best rider in Pizarro's troop.  Observing
that Atahuallpa looked with some interest on the fiery steed that stood
before him, champing the bit and pawing the ground with the natural
impatience of a war-horse, the Spaniard gave him the rein, and, striking
his iron heel into his side, dashed furiously over the plain; then, wheeling
him round and round, displayed all the beautiful movements of his
charger, and his own excellent horsemanship.  Suddenly checking him in
full career, he brought the animal almost on his haunches, so near the
person of the Inca, that some of the foam that flecked his horse's sides
was thrown on the royal garments.  But Atahuallpa maintained the same
marble composure as before, though several of his soldiers, whom De
Soto passed in the course, were so much disconcerted by it, that they
drew back in manifest terror; an act of timidity for which they paid
dearly, if, as the Spaniards assert, Atahuallpa caused them to be put to
death that same evening for betraying such unworthy weakness to the

Refreshments were now offered by the royal attendants to the Spaniards,
which they declined, being unwilling to dismount.  They did not refuse,
however, to quaff the sparkling chicha from golden vases of
extraordinary size, presented to them by the dark-eyed beauties of the
harem.23  Taking then a respectful leave of the Inca, the cavaliers rode
back to Caxamalca, with many moody speculations on what they had
seen; on the state and opulence of the Indian monarch; on the strength of
his military array, their excellent appointments, and the apparent
discipline in their ranks,--all arguing a much higher degree of
civilization, and consequently of power, than anything they had
witnessed in the lower regions of the country.  As they contrasted all
this with their own diminutive force, too far advanced, as they now were,
for succour to reach them, they felt they had done rashly in throwing
themselves into the midst of so formidable an empire, and were filled
with gloomy forebodings of the result.24  Their comrades in the camp
soon caught the infectious spirit of despondency, which was not lessened
as night came on, and they beheld the watch-fires of the Peruvians
lighting up the sides of the mountains, and glittering in the darkness, "as
thick," says one who saw them, "as the stars of heaven." 25

Yet there was one bosom in that little host which was not touched with
the feeling either of fear or dejection.  That was Pizarro's, who secretly
rejoiced that he had now brought matters to the issue for which he had so
long panted.  He saw the necessity of kindling a similar feeling in his
followers, or all would be lost.  Without unfolding his plans, he went
round among his men, beseeching them not to show faint hearts at this
crisis, when they stood face to face with the foe whom they had been so
long seeking.  "They were to rely on themselves, and on that Providence
which had carried them safe through so many fearful trials.  It would not
now desert them; and if numbers, however great, were on the side of
their enemy, it mattered little when the arm of Heaven was on theirs." 26
The Spanish cavalier acted under the combined influence of chivalrous
adventure and religious zeal.  The latter was the most effective in the
hour of peril; and Pizarro, who understood well the characters he had to
deal with, by presenting the enterprise as a crusade, kindled the dying
embers of enthusiasm in the bosoms of his followers, and restored their
faltering courage.

He then summoned a council of his officers, to consider the plan of
operations, or rather to propose to them the extraordinary plan on which
he had himself decided.  This was to lay an ambuscade for the Inca, and
take him prisoner in the face of his whole army!  It was a project full of
peril,--bordering, as it might well seem, on desperation.  But the
circumstances of the Spaniards were desperate.  Whichever way they
turned, they were menaced by the most appalling dangers; and better was
it bravely to confront the danger, than weakly to shrink from it, when
there was no avenue for escape.

To fly was now too late.  Whither could they fly? At the first signal of
retreat, the whole army of the Inca would be upon them.  Their
movements would be anticipated by a foe far better acquainted with the
intricacies of the sierra than themselves; the passes would be occupied,
and they would be hemmed in on all sides; while the mere fact of this
retrograde movement would diminish the confidence and with it the
effective strength of his own men, while it doubled that of his enemy.

Yet to remain long inactive in his present position seemed almost equally
perilous.  Even supposing that Atahuallpa should entertain friendly
feelings towards the Christians, they could not confide in the continuance
of such feelings.  Familiarity with the white men would soon destroy the
idea of anything supernatural, or even superior, in their natures.  He
would feel contempt for their diminutive numbers.  Their horses, their
arms and showy appointments, would be an attractive bait in the eye of
the barbaric monarch, and when conscious that he had the power to crush
their possessors, he would not be slow in finding a pretext for it.  A
sufficient one had already occurred in the high-handed measures of the
Conquerors, on their march through his dominions.

But what reason had they to flatter themselves that the Inca cherished
such a disposition towards them? He was a crafty and unscrupulous
prince, and, if the accounts they had repeatedly received on their march
were true, had ever regarded the coming of the Spaniards with an evil
eye.  It was scarcely possible he should do otherwise.  His soft messages
had only been intended to decoy them across the mountains, where, with
the aid of his warriors, he might readily overpower them.  They were
entangled in the toils which the cunning monarch had spread for them.

Their only remedy, then, was to turn the Inca's arts against himself; to
take him, if possible, in his own snare.  There was no time to be lost; for
any day might bring back the victorious legions who had recently won
his battles at the south, and thus make the odds against the Spaniards far
greater than now.

Yet to encounter Atahuallpa in the open field would be attended with
great hazard; and even if victorious, there would be little probability that
the person of the Inca, of so much importance, would fall into the hands
of the victors.  The invitation he had so unsuspiciously accepted to visit
them in their quarters afforded the best means for securing this desirable
prize.  Nor was the enterprise so desperate, considering the great
advantages afforded by the character and weapons of the invaders, and
the unexpectedness of the assault.  The mere circumstance of acting on a
concerted plan would alone make a small number more than a match for
a much larger one.  But it was not necessary to admit the whole of the
Indian force into the city before the attack; and the person of the Inca
once secured, his followers, astounded by so strange an event, were they
few or many, would have no heart for further resistance;--and with the
Inca once in his power, Pizarro might dictate laws to the empire.

In this daring project of the Spanish chief, it was easy to see that he had
the brilliant exploit of Cortes in his mind, when he carried off the Aztec
monarch in his capital.  But that was not by violence,--at least not by
open violence,--and it received the sanction, compulsory though it were,
of the monarch himself.  It was also true that the results in that case did
not altogether justify a repetition of the experiment; since the people rose
in a body to sacrifice both the prince and his kidnappers.  Yet this was
owing, in part, at least, to the indiscretion of the latter.  The experiment
in the outset was perfectly successful; and, could Pizarro once become
master of the person of Atahuallpa, he trusted to his own discretion for
the rest.  It would, at least, extricate him from his present critical
position, by placing in his power an inestimable guaranty for his safety;
and if he could not make his own terms with the Inca at once, the arrival
of reinforcements from home would, in all probability, soon enable him
to do so.

Pizarro having concerted his plans for the following day, the council
broke up, and the chief occupied himself with providing for the security
of the camp during the night.  The approaches to the town were
defended; sentinels were posted at different points, especially on the
summit of the fortress, where they were to observe the position of the
enemy, and to report any movement that menaced the tranquillity of the
night.  After these precautions, the Spanish commander and his followers
withdrew to their appointed quarters,--but not to sleep.  At least, sleep
must have come late to those who were aware of the decisive plan for the
morrow; that morrow which was to be the crisis of their fate,--to crown
their ambitious schemes with full success, or consign them to
irretrievable ruin!

Book 3

Chapter 5

Desperate Plan Of Pizarro--Atahuallpa Visits The Spaniards--
Horrible Massacre--The Inca A Prisoner--Conduct Of The Conquerors--
Splendid Promises Of The Inca--Death Of Huascar


The clouds of the evening had passed away, and the sun rose bright on
the following morning, the most memorable epoch in the annals of Peru.
It was Saturday, the sixteenth of November, 1532.  The loud cry of the
trumpet called the Spaniards to arms with the first streak of dawn; and
Pizarro, briefly acquainting them with the plan of the assault, made the
necessary dispositions.

The plaza, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, was defended on its
three sides by low ranges of buildings, consisting of spacious halls with
wide doors or vomitories opening into the square.  In these halls he
stationed his cavalry in two divisions, one under his brother Hernando,
the other under De Soto.  The infantry he placed in another of the
buildings, reserving twenty chosen men to act with himself as occasion
might require.  Pedro de Candia, with a few soldiers and the artillery,--
comprehending under this imposing name two small pieces of ordnance,
called falconers,---he established in the fortress.  All received orders to
wait at their posts till the arrival of the Inca.  After his entrance into the
great square, they were still to remain under cover, withdrawn from
observation, till the signal was given by the discharge of a gun, when
they were to cry their war-cries, to rush out in a body from their covert,
and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, bear off the person of the Inca.
The arrangement of the immense halls, opening on a level with the plaza,
seemed to be contrived on purpose for a coup de theatre.  Pizarro
particularly inculcated order and implicit obedience, that in the hurry of
the moment there should be no confusion.  Everything depended on their
acting with concert, coolness, and celerity.1

The chief next saw that their arms were in good order; and that the
breastplates of their horses were garnished with bells, to add by their
noise to the consternation of the Indians.  Refreshments were, also,
liberally provided, that the troops should be in condition for the conflict.
These arrangements being completed, mass was performed with great
solemnity by the ecclesiastics who attended the expedition; the God of
battles was invoked to spread his shield over the soldiers who were
fighting to extend the empire of the Cross; and all joined with enthusiasm
in the chant, "Exsurge, Domine," "Rise, O Lord! and judge thine own
cause."2  One might have supposed them a company of martyrs, about to
lay down their lives in defence of their faith, instead of a licentious band
of adventurers, meditating one of the most atrocious acts of perfidy on
the record of history!  Yet, whatever were the vices of the Castilian
cavalier, hypocrisy was not among the number.  He felt that he was
battling for the Cross, and under this conviction, exalted as it was at such
a moment as this into the predominant impulse, he was blind to the baser
motives which mingled with the enterprise.  With feelings thus kindled to
a flame of religious ardor, the soldiers of Pizarro looked forward with
renovated spirits to the coming conflict; and the chieftain saw with
satisfaction, that in the hour of trial his men would be true to their leader
and themselves.

It was late in the day before any movement was visible in the Peruvian
camp, where much preparation was making to approach the Christian
quarters with due state and ceremony.  A message was received from
Atahuallpa, informing the Spanish commander that he should come with
his warriors fully armed, in the same manner as the Spaniards had come
to his quarters the night preceding.  This was not an agreeable intimation
to Pizarro, though he had no reason, probably, to expect the contrary.
But to object might imply distrust, or, perhaps, disclose, in some
measure, his own designs.  He expressed his satisfaction, therefore, at the
intelligence, assuring the Inca, that, come as he would, he would be
received by him as a friend and brother.3

It was noon before the Indian procession was on its march, when it was
seen occupying the great causeway for a long extent.  In front came a
large body of attendants, whose office seemed to be to sweep away every
particle of rubbish from the road.  High above the crowd appeared the
Inca, borne on the shoulders of his principal nobles, while others of the
same rank marched by the sides of his litter, displaying such a dazzling
show of ornaments on their persons, that, in the language of one of the
Conquerors, "they blazed like the sun." 4  But the greater part of the
Inca's forces mustered along the fields that lined the road, and were
spread over the broad meadows as far as the eye could reach.5

When the royal procession had arrived within half a mile of the city, it
came to a halt; and Pizarro saw with surprise that Atahuallpa was
preparing to pitch his tents, as if to encamp there.  A messenger soon
after arrived, informing the Spaniards that the Inca would occupy his
present station the ensuing night, and enter the city on the following

This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had shared in the general
impatience of his men at the tardy movements of the Peruvians.  The
troops had been under arms since daylight, the cavalry mounted, and the
infantry at their post, waiting in silence the coming of the Inca.  A
profound stillness reigned throughout the town, broken only at intervals by
the cry of the sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as he proclaimed
the movements of the Indian army.  Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so
trying to the soldier as prolonged suspense, in a critical situation like the
present; and he feared lest his ardor might evaporate, and be succeeded
by that nervous feeling natural to the bravest soul at such a crisis, and
which, if not fear, is near akin to it.6  He returned an answer, therefore,
to Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of purpose; and adding that he had
provided everything for his entertainment, and expected him that night to
sup with him.7

This message turned the Inca from his purpose; and, striking his tents
again, he resumed his march, first advising the general that he should
leave the greater part of his warriors behind, and enter the place with
only a few of them, and without arms,8 as he preferred to pass the night
at Caxamalca.  At the same time he ordered accommodations to be
provided for himself, and his retinue in one of the large stone buildings,
called, from a serpent sculptured on the walls, "the House of the
Serpent."9 --No tidings could have been more grateful to the Spaniards.
It seemed as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the snare that
had been spread for him! The fanatical cavalier could not fail to discern
in it the immediate finger of Providence.

It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct of Atahuallpa, so
different from the bold and decided character which history ascribes to
him.  There is no doubt that he made his visit to the white men in perfect
good faith; though Pizarro was probably right in conjecturing that this
amiable disposition stood on a very precarious footing.  There is as little
reason to suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers; or he
would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to visit them unarmed.  His
original purpose of coming with all his force was doubtless to display his
royal state, and perhaps, also, to show greater respect for the Spaniards;
but when he consented to accept their hospitality, and pass the night in
their quarters, he was willing to dispense with a great part of his armed
soldiery, and visit them in a manner that implied entire confidence in
their good faith.  He was too absolute in his own empire easily to
suspect; and he probably could not comprehend the audacity with which
a few men, like those now assembled in Caxamalca, meditated an assault
on a powerful monarch in the midst of his victorious army.  He did not
know the character of the Spaniard.

It was not long before sunset, when the van of the royal procession
entered the gates of the city.  First came some hundreds of the menials,
employed to clear the path from every obstacle, and singing songs of
triumph as they came, "which, in our ears," says one of the Conquerors,
"sounded like the songs of hell!" 10  Then followed other bodies of
different ranks, and dressed in different liveries.  Some wore a showy
stuff, checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess-board.11
Others were clad in pure white, bearing hammers or maces of silver or
copper; 12 and the guards, together with those in immediate attendance
on the prince, were distinguished by a rich azure livery, and a profusion
of gay ornaments, while the large pendants attached to the ears indicated
the Peruvian noble.

Elevated high above his vassals came the Inca Atahuallpa, borne on a
sedan or open litter, on which was a sort of throne made of massive gold
of inestimable value.13  The palanquin was lined with the richly colored
plumes of tropical birds, and studded with shining plates of gold and
silver.14  The monarch's attire was much richer than on the preceding
evening.  Round his neck was suspended a collar of emeralds of
uncommon size and brilliancy.15  His short hair was decorated with
golden ornaments, and the imperial borla encircled his temples.  The
bearing of the Inca was sedate and dignified; and from his lofty station
he looked down on the multitudes below with an air of composure, like
one accustomed to command.

As the leading files of the procession entered the great square, larger,
says an old chronicler, than any square in Spain, they opened to the right
and left for the royal retinue to pass.  Everything was conducted with
admirable order.  The monarch was permitted to traverse the plaza in
silence, and not a Spaniard was to be seen.  When some five or six
thousand of his people had entered the place, Atahuallpa halted, and,
turning round with an inquiring look, demanded, "Where are the

At this moment Fray Vicente de Valverde, a Dominican friar, Pizarro's
chaplain, and afterward Bishop of Cuzco, came forward with his
brevidry, or, as other accounts say, a Bible, in one hand, and a crucifix in
the other, and, approaching the Inca, told him, that he came by order of
his commander to expound to him the doctrines of the true faith, for
which purpose the Spaniards had come from a great distance to his
country.  The friar then explained, as clearly as he could, the mysterious
doctrine of the Trinity, and, ascending high in his account, began with
the creation of man, thence passed to his fall, to his subsequent
redemption by Jesus Christ, to the crucifixion, and the ascension, when
the Saviour left the Apostle Peter as his Vicegerent upon earth.  This
power had been transmitted to the successors of the Apostle, good and
wise men, who, under the title of Popes, held authority over all powers
and potentates on earth.  One of the last of these Popes had
commissioned the Spanish emperor, the most mighty monarch in the
world, to conquer and convert the natives in this western hemisphere;
and his general, Francisco Pizarro, had now come to execute this
important mission.  The friar concluded with beseeching the Peruvian
monarch to receive him kindly; to abjure the errors of his own faith, and
embrace that of the Christians now proffered to him, the only one by
which he could hope for salvation; and, furthermore, to acknowledge
himself a tributary of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who, in that event,
would aid and protect him as his loyal vassal.16

Whether Atahuallpa possessed himself of every link in the curious chain
of argument by which the monk connected Pizarro with St. Peter, may be
doubted.  It is certain, however, that he must have had very incorrect
notions of the Trinity, if, as Garcilasso states, the interpreter Felipillo
explained it by saying, that "the Christians believed in three Gods and
one God, and that made four." 17  But there is no doubt he perfectly
comprehended that the drift of the discourse was to persuade him to
resign his sceptre and acknowledge the supremacy of another.

The eyes of the Indian monarch flashed fire, and his dark brow grew
darker as he replied,--"I will be no man's tributary.  I am greater than any
prince upon earth.  Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt
it, when I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I
am willing to hold him as a brother.  As for the Pope of whom you
speak, he must be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not
belong to him.  For my faith," he continued, "I will not change it.  Your
own God, as you say, was put to death by the very men whom he created.
But mine," he concluded, pointing to his Deity,--then, alas! sinking in
glory behind the mountains,--"my God still lives in the heavens, and
looks down on his children." 18

He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these
things.  The friar pointed to the book which he held, as his authority.
Atahuallpa, taking it, turned over the pages a moment, then, as the insuit
he had received probably flashed across his mind, he threw it down with
vehemence, and exclaimed,--"Tell your comrades that they shall give me
an account of their doings in my land.  I will not go from here, till they
have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed."

The friar, greatly scandalized by the indignity offered to the sacred
volume, stayed only to pick it up, and, hastening to Pizarro, informed
him of what had been done, exclaiming, at the same time,--"Do you not
see, that, while we stand here wasting our breath in talking with this dog,
full of pride as he is, the fields are filling with Indians? Set on, at once; I
absolve you." 20  Pizarro saw that the hour had come.  He waved a white
scarf in the air, the appointed signal.  The fatal gun was fired from the
fortress.  Then, springing into the square, the Spanish captain and his
followers shouted the old war-cry of "St. Jago and at them." It was
answered by the battle-cry of every Spaniard in the city, as, rushing from
the avenues of the great halls in which they were concealed, they poured
into the plaza, horse and foot, each in his own dark column, and threw
themselves into the midst of the Indian crowd.  The latter, taken by
surprise, stunned by the report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of
which reverberated like thunder from the surrounding buildings, and
blinded by the smoke which rolled in sulphurous volumes along the
square, were seized with a panic.  They knew not whither to fly for
refuge from the coming ruin.  Nobles and commoners,--all were trampled
down under the fierce charge of the cavalry, who dealt their blows, right
and left, without sparing; while their swords, flashing through.  the thick
gloom, carried dismay into the hearts of the wretched natives, who now,
for the first time, saw the horse and his rider in all their terrors.  They
made no resistance,--as, indeed, they had no weapons with which to
make it.  Every avenue to escape was closed, for the entrance to the
square was choked up with the dead bodies of men who had perished in
vain efforts to fly; and, such was the agony of the survivors under the
terrible pressure of their assailants, that a large body of Indians, by their
convulsive struggles, burst through the wall of stone and dried clay
which formed part of the boundary of the plaza!  It fell, leaving an
opening of more than a hundred paces, through which multitudes now
found their way into the country, still hotly pursued by the cavalry, who,
leaping the fallen rubbish, hung on the rear of the fugitives, striking them
down in all directions.21

Meanwhile the fight, or rather massacre, continued hot around the Inca,
whose person was the great object of the assault.  His faithful nobles,
rallying about him, threw themselves in the way of the assailants, and
strove, by tearing them from their saddles, or, at least, by offering their
own bosoms as a mark for their vengeance, to shield their beloved
master.  It is said by some authorities, that they carried weapons
concealed under their clothes.  If so, it availed them little, as it is not
pretended that they used them.  But the most timid animal will defend
itself when at bay.  That they did not so in the present instance is proof
that they had no weapons to use.22  Yet they still continued to force back
the cavaliers, clinging to their horses with dying grasp, and, as one was
cut down, another taking the place of his fallen comrade with a loyalty
truly affecting.

The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw his faithful subjects
falling round him without fully comprehending his situation.  The litter
on which he rode heaved to and fro, as the mighty press swayed
backwards and forwards; and he gazed on the overwhelming ruin, like
some forlorn mariner, who, tossed about in his bark by the furious
elements, sees the lightning's flash and hears the thunder bursting around
him with the consciousness that he can do nothing to avert his fate.  At
length, weary with the work of destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades
of evening grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, after all,
elude them; and some of the cavaliers made a desperate attempt to end
the affray at once by taking Atahuallpa's life.  But Pizarro, who was
nearest his person, called out with stentorian voice, "Let no one, who
values his life, strike at the Inca"; 23 and, stretching out his arm to shield
him, received a wound on the hand from one of his own men,--the only
wound received by a Spaniard in the action.24

The struggle now became fiercer than ever round the royal litter.  It
reeled more and more, and at length, several of the nobles who supported
it having been slain, it was overturned, and the Indian prince would have
come with violence to the ground, had not his fall been broken by the
efforts of Pizarro and some other of the cavaliers, who caught him in
their arms.  The imperial borla was instantly snatched from his temples
by a soldier named Estete,25 and the unhappy monarch, strongly
secured, was removed to a neighboring building, where he was carefully

All attempt at resistance now ceased.  The fate of the Inca soon spread
over town and country.  The charm which might have held the Peruvians
together was dissolved.  Every man thought only of his own safety.  Even
the soldiery encamped on the adjacent fields took the alarm, and,
learning the fatal tidings, were seen flying in every direction before their
pursuers, who in the heat of triumph showed no touch of mercy.  At
length night, more pitiful than man, threw her friendly mantle over the
fugitives, and the scattered troops of Pizarro rallied once more at the
sound of the trumpet in the bloody square of Caxamalca.

The number of slain is reported, as usual, with great discrepancy.
Pizarro's secretary says two thousand natives fell.26  A descendant of the
Incas--a safer authority than Garcilasso---swells the number to ten
thousand.27  Truth is generally found somewhere between the extremes.
The slaughter was incessant, for there was nothing to check it.  That
there should have been no resistance will not appear strange, when we
consider the fact, that the wretched victims were without arms, and that
their senses must have been completely overwhelmed by the strange and
appalling spectacle which burst on them so unexpectedly.  "What wonder
was it," said an ancient Inca to a Spaniard, who repeats it, "what wonder
that our countrymen lost their wits, seeing blood run like water, and the
Inca, whose person we all of us adore, seized and carried off by a
handful of men?" 28  Yet though the massacre was incessant, it was short
in duration.  The whole time consumed by it, the brief twilight of the
tropics, did not much exceed half an hour; a short period, indeed,---yet
long enough to decide the fate of Peru, and to subvert the dynasty of the

That night Pizarro kept his engagement with the Inca, since he had
Atahuallpa to sup with him.  The banquet was served in one of the halls
facing the great square, which a few hours before had been the scene of
slaughter, and the pavement of which was still encumbered with the dead
bodies of the Inca's subjects.  The captive monarch was placed next his
conqueror.  He seemed like one who did not yet fully comprehend the
extent of his calamity.  If he did, he showed an amazing fortitude.  "It is
the fortune of war," he said; 29 and, if we may credit the Spaniards, he
expressed his admiration of the adroitness with which they had contrived
to entrap him in the midst of his own troops.30  He added, that he had
been made acquainted with the progress of the white men from the hour
of their landing; but that he had been led to undervalue their strength
from the insignificance of their numbers.  He had no doubt he should be
easily able to overpower them, on their arrival at Caxamalca, by his
superior strength; and, as he wished to see for himself what manner of
men they were, he had suffered them to cross the mountains, meaning to
select such as he chose for his own service, and, getting possession of
their wonderful arms and horses, put the rest to death.31

That such may have been Atahuallpa's purpose is not improbable.  It
explains his conduct in not occupying the mountain passes, which
afforded such strong points of defence against invasion.  But that a
prince so astute, as by the general testimony of the Conquerors he is
represented to have been, should have made so impolitic a disclosure of
his hidden motives is not so probable.  The intercourse with the Inca was
carried on chiefly by means of the interpreter Felipillo, or little Philip, as
he was called, from his assumed Christian name,---a malicious youth, as
it appears, who bore no good-will to Atahuallpa, and whose
interpretations were readily admitted by the Conquerors, eager to find
some pretext for their bloody reprisals.

Atahuallpa, as elsewhere noticed, was, at this time, about thirty years of
age.  He was well made, and more robust than usual with his
countrymen.  His head was large, and his countenance might have been
called handsome, but that his eyes, which were bloodshot, gave a fierce
expression to his features.  He was deliberate in speech, grave in manner,
and towards his own people stern even to severity; though with the
Spaniards he showed himself affable, sometimes even indulging in
sallies of mirth.32

Pizarro paid every attention to his royal captive, and endeavored to
lighten, if he could not dispel, the gloom which, in spite of his assumed
equanimity, hung over the monarch's brow.  He besought him not to be
cast down by his reverses, for his lot had only been that of every prince
who had resisted the white men.  They had come into the country to
proclaim the gospel, the religion of Jesus Christ; and it was no wonder
they had prevailed, when his shield was over them.  Heaven had
permitted that Atahuallpa's pride should be humbled, because of his
hostile intentions towards the Spaniards, and the insults he had offered to
the sacred volume.  But he bade the Inca take courage and confide in
him, for the Spaniards were a generous race, warring only against those
who made war on them, and showing grace to all who submitted! 33--
Atahuallpa may have thought the massacre of that day an indifferent
commentary on this vaunted lenity.

Before retiring for the night, Pizarro briefly addressed his troops on their
present situation.  When he had ascertained that not a man was wounded,
he bade them offer up thanksgivings to Providence for so great a miracle;
without its care, they could never have prevailed so easily over the host
of their enemies; and he trusted their lives had been reserved for still
greater things.  But if they would succeed, they had much to do for
themselves.  They were in the heart of a powerful kingdom,
encompassed by foes deeply attached to their own sovereign.  They must
be ever on their guard, therefore, and be prepared at any hour to be
roused from their slumbers by the call of the trumpet.34--Having then
posted his sentinels, placed a strong guard over the apartment of
Atahuallpa, and taken all the precautions of a careful commander,
Pizarro withdrew to repose; and, if he could really feel, that, in the
bloody scenes of the past day, he had been fighting only the good fight of
the Cross, he doubtless slept sounder than on the night preceding the
seizure of the Inca.

On the following morning, the first commands of the Spanish chief were
to have the city cleansed of its impurities; and the prisoners, of whom
there were many in the camp, were employed to remove the dead, and
give them decent burial.  His next care was to despatch a body of about
thirty horse to the quarters lately occupied by Atahuallpa at the baths, to
take possession of the spoil, and disperse the remnant of the Peruvian
forces which still hung about the place.

Before noon, the party which he had detached on this service returned
with a large troop of Indians, men and women, among the latter of whom
were many of the wives and attendants of the Inca.  The Spaniards had
met with no resistance; since the Peruvian warriors, though so superior in
number, excellent in appointments, and consisting mostly of ablebodied
young men,--for the greater part of the veteran forces were with the
Inca's generals at the south,--lost all heart from the moment of their
sovereign's captivity.  There was no leader to take his place; for they
recognized no authority but that of the Child of the Sun, and they seemed
to be held by a sort of invisible charm near the place of his confinement;
while they gazed with superstitious awe on the white men, who could
achieve so audacious an enterprise.35

The number of Indian prisoners was so great, that some of the
Conquerors were for putting them all to death, or, at least, cutting off
their hands, to disable them from acts of violence, and to strike terror
into their countrymen.36  The proposition, doubtless, came from the
lowest and most ferocious of the soldiery.  But that it should have been
made at all shows what materials entered into the composition of
Pizarro's company.  The chief rejected it at once, as no less impolitic
than inhuman, and dismissed the Indians to their several homes, with the
assurance that none should be harmed who did not offer resistance to the
white men.  A sufficient number, however, were retained to wait on the
Conquerors who were so well provided, in this respect, that the most
common soldier was attended by a retinue of menials that would have
better suited the establishment of a noble.37

The Spaniards had found immense droves of llamas under the care of
their shepherds in the neighborhood of the baths, destined for the
consumption of the Court.  Many of them were now suffered to roam
abroad among their native mountains; though Pizarro caused a
considerable number to be reserved for the use of the army.  And this
was no small quantity, if, as one of the Conquerors says, a hundred and
fifty of the Peruvian sheep were frequently slaughtered in a day.38
Indeed, the Spaniards were so improvident in their destruction of these
animals, that, in a few years, the superb flocks, nurtured with so much
care by the Peruvian government, had almost disappeared from the

The party sent to pillage the Inca's pleasure-house brought back a rich
booty in gold and silver, consisting chiefly of plate for the royal table,
which greatly astonished the Spaniards by their size and weight.  These,
as well as some large emeralds obtained there, together with the precious
spoils found on the bodies of the Indian nobles who had perished in the
massacre, were placed in safe custody, to be hereafter divided.  In the
city of Caxamalca, the troops also found magazines stored with goods,
both cotton and woollen, far superior to any they had seen, for fineness
of texture, and the skill with which the various colors were blended.
They were piled from the floors to the very roofs of the buildings, and in
such quantity, that, after every soldier had provided himself with what he
desired, it made no sensible diminution of the whole amount.40

Pizarro would now gladly have directed his march on the Peruvian
capital.  But the distance was great, and his force was small.  This must
have been still further crippled by the guard required for the Inca, and
the chief feared to involve himself deeper in a hostile empire so
populous and powerful, with a prize so precious in his keeping.  With
much anxiety, therefore, he looked for reinforcements from the colonies;
and he despatched a courier to San Miguel, to inform the Spaniards there
of his recent successes, and to ascertain if there had been any arrival
from Panama.  Meanwhile he employed his men in making Caxamalca a
more suitable residence for a Christian host, by erecting a church, or,
perhaps, appropriating some Indian edifice to this use, in which mass
was regularly performed by the Dominican fathers, with great solemnity.
The dilapidated walls of the city were also restored in a more substantial
manner than before, and every vestige was soon effaced of the hurricane
that had so recently swept over it.

It was not long before Atahuallpa discovered, amidst all the show of
religious zeal in his Conquerors, a lurking appetite more potent in most
of their bosoms than either religion or ambition.  This was the love of
gold.  He determined to avail himself of it to procure his own freedom.
The critical posture of his affairs made it important that this should not
be long delayed.  His brother, Huascar, ever since his defeat, had been
detained as a prisoner, subject to the victor's orders.  He was now at
Andamarca, at no great distance from Caxamalca; and Atahuallpa feared,
with good reason, that, when his own imprisonment was known, Huascar
would find it easy to corrupt his guards, make his escape, and put himself
at the head of the contested empire, without a rival to dispute it.

In the hope, therefore, to effect his purpose by appealing to the avarice
of his keepers, he one day told Pizarro, that, if he would set him free, he
would engage to cover the floor of the apartment on which they stood
with gold.  Those present listened with an incredulous smile; and, as the
Inca received no answer, he said, with some emphasis, that "he would
not merely cover the floor, but would fill the room with gold as high as
he could reach"; and, standing on tiptoe, he stretched out his hand
against the wall.  All stared with amazement; while they regarded it as
the insane boast of a man too eager to procure his liberty to weigh the
meaning of his words.  Yet Pizarro was sorely perplexed.  As he had
advanced into the country, much that he had seen, and all that he had
heard, had confirmed the dazzling reports first received of the riches of
Peru.  Atahuallpa himself had given him the most glowing picture of the
wealth of the capital, where the roofs of the temples were plated with
gold, while the walls were hung with tapestry and the floors inlaid with
tiles of the same precious metal.  There must be some foundation for all
this.  At all events, it was safe to accede to the Inca's proposition; since,
by so doing, he could collect, at once, all the gold at his disposal, and
thus prevent its being purloined or secreted by the natives.  He therefore
acquiesced in Atahuallpa's offer, and, drawing a red line along the wall at
the height which the Inca had indicated, he caused the terms of the
proposal to be duly recorded by the notary.  The apartment was about
seventeen feet broad, by twenty-two feet long, and the line round the
walls was nine feet from the floor.41  This space was to be filled with
gold; but it was understood that the gold was not to be melted down into
ingots, but to retain the original form of the articles into which it was
manufactured, that the Inca might have the benefit of the space which
they occupied.  He further agreed to fill an adjoining room of smaller
dimensions twice full with silver, in like manner; and he demanded two
months to accomplish all this.42

No sooner was this arrangement made, than the Inca despatched couriers
to Cuzco and the other principal places in the kingdom, with orders that
the gold ornaments and utensils should be removed from the royal
palaces, and from the temples and other public buildings, and transported
without loss of time to Caxamalca.  Meanwhile he continued to live in
the Spanish quarters, treated with the respect due to his rank, and
enjoying all the freedom that was compatible with the security of his
person.  Though not permitted to go abroad, his limbs were unshackled,
and he had the range of his own apartments under the jealous
surveillance of a guard, who knew too well the value of the royal captive
to be remiss.  He was allowed the society of his favorite wives, and
Pizarro took care that his domestic privacy should not be violated.  His
subjects had free access to their sovereign, and every day he received
visits from the Indian nobles, who came to bring presents, and offer
condolence to their unfortunate master.  On such occasions, the most
potent of these great vassals never ventured into his presence, without
first stripping off their sandals, and bearing a load on their backs in token
of reverence.  The Spaniards gazed with curious eyes on these acts of
homage, or rather of slavish submission, on the one side, and on the air
of perfect indifference with which they were received, as a matter of
course, on the other; and they conceived high ideas of the character of a
prince who, even in his present helpless condition, could inspire such
feelings of awe in his subjects.  The royal levee was so well attended,
and such devotion was shown by his vassals to the captive monarch, as
did not fail, in the end, to excite some feelings of distrust in his

Pizarro did not neglect the opportunity afforded him of communicating
the truths of revelation to his prisoner, and both he and his chaplain,
Father Valverde, labored in the same good work.  Atahuallpa listened
with composure and apparent attention.  But nothing seemed to move
him so much as the argument with which the military polemic closed his
discourse,--that it could not be the true God whom Atahuallpa
worshipped, since he had suffered him to fall into the hands of his
enemies.  The unhappy monarch assented to the force of this,
acknowledging that his Deity had indeed deserted him in his utmost

Yet his conduct towards his brother Huascar, at this time, too clearly
proves, that, whatever respect he may have shown for the teachers, the
doctrines of Christianity had made little impression on his heart.  No
sooner had Huascar been informed of the capture of his rival, and of the
large ransom he had offered for his deliverance, than, as the latter had
foreseen, he made every effort to regain his liberty, and sent, or
attempted to send, a message to the Spanish commander, that he would
pay a much larger ransom than that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never
having dwelt in Cuzco, was ignorant of the quantity of treasure there, and
where it was deposited.

Intelligence of all this was secretly communicated to Atahuallpa by the
persons who had his brother in charge; and his jealousy, thus roused, was
further heightened by Pizarro's declaration, that he intended to have
Huascar brought to Caxamalca, where he would himself examine into the
controversy, and determine which of the two had best title to the sceptre
of the Incas.  Pizarro perceived, from the first, the advantages of a
competition which would enable him, by throwing his sword into the
scale he preferred, to give it a preponderance.  The party who held the
sceptre by his nomination would henceforth be a tool in his hands, with
which to work his pleasure more effectually than he could well do in his
own name.  It was the game, as every reader knows, played by Edward
the First in the affairs of Scotland, and by many a monarch, both before
and since,--and though their examples may not have been familiar to the
unlettered soldier, Pizarro was too quick in his perceptions to require, in
this matter, at least, the teachings of history.

Atahuallpa was much alarmed by the Spanish commander's
determination to have the suit between the rival candidates brought
before him; for he feared, that, independently of the merits of the case,
the decision would be likely to go in favor of Huascar, whose mild and
ductile temper would make him a convenient instrument in the hands of
his conquerors.  Without further hesitation, he determined to remove this
cause of jealousy for ever, by the death of his brother.

His orders were immediately executed, and the unhappy prince was
drowned, as was commonly reported, in the river of Andamarca,
declaring with his dying breath that the white men would avenge his
murder, and that his rival would not long survive him.45--Thus perished
the unfortunate Huascar, the legitimate heir of the throne of the Incas, in
the very morning of life, and the commencement of his reign; a reign,
however, which had been long enough to call forth the display of many
excellent and amiable qualities, though his nature was too gentle to cope
with the bold and fiercer temper of his brother.  Such is the portrait we
have of him from the Indian and Castilian chroniclers, though the former,
it should be added, were the kinsmen of Huascar, and the latter certainly
bore no good-will to Atahuallpa.46

That prince received the tidings of Huascar's death with every mark of
surprise and indignation.  He immediately sent for Pizarro, and
communicated the event to him with expressions of the deepest sorrow.
The Spanish commander refused, at first, to credit the unwelcome news,
and bluntly told the Inca, that his brother could not be dead, and that he
should be answerable for his life.47  To this Atahuallpa replied by
renewed assurances of the fact, adding that the deed had been
perpetrated, without his privity, by Huascar's keepers, fearful that he
might take advantage of the troubles of the country to make his escape.
Pizarro, on making further inquiries, found that the report of his death
was but too true.  That it should have been brought about by Atahuallpa's
officers, without his express command, would only show, that, by so
doing, they had probably anticipated their master's wishes.  The crime,
which assumes in our eyes a deeper dye from the relation of the parties,
had not the same estimation among the Incas, in whose multitudinous
families the bonds of brotherhood must have sat loosely,--much too
loosely to restrain the arm of the despot from sweeping away any
obstacle that lay in his path.

Book 3

Chapter 6

Gold Arrives For The Ransom--Visit To Pachacamac--
Demolition Of The Idol-- The Inca's Favorite General--
The Inca's Life In Confinement--Envoys' Conduct In Cuzco--
Arrival Of Almagro


Several weeks had now passed since Atahuallpa's emissaries had been
despatched for the gold and silver that were to furnish his ransom to the
Spaniards.  But the distances were great, and the returns came in slowly.
They consisted, for the most part, of massive pieces of plate, some of
which weighed two or three arrobas,--a Spanish weight of twenty-five
pounds.  On some days, articles of the value of thirty or forty thousand
pesos de oro were brought in, and, occasionally, of the value of fifty or
even sixty thousand pesos.  The greedy eyes of the Conquerors gloated
on the shining heaps of treasure, which were transported on the shoulders
of the Indian porters, and, after being carefully registered, were placed in
safe deposit under a strong guard.  They now began to believe that the
magnificent promises of the Inca would be fulfilled.  But, as their avarice
was sharpened by the ravishing display of wealth, such as they had
hardly dared to imagine, they became more craving and impatient.  They
made no allowance for the distance and the difficulties of the way, and
loudly inveighed against the tardiness with which the royal commands
were executed.  They even suspected Atahuallpa of devising this scheme
only to gain a pretext for communicating with his subjects in distant
places, and of proceeding as dilatorily as possible, in order to secure
time for the execution of his plans.  Rumors of a rising among the
Peruvians were circulated, and the Spaniards were in apprehension of
some general and sudden assault on their quarters.  Their new
acquisitions gave them additional cause for solicitude; like a miser, they
trembled in the midst of their treasures.1

Pizarro reported to his captive the rumors that were in circulation among
the soldiers, naming, as one of the places pointed out for the rendezvous
of the Indians, the neighboring city of Guamachucho.  Atahuallpa
listened with undisguised astonishment, and indignantly repelled the
charge, as false from beginning to end.  "No one of my subjects," said
he, "would dare to appear in arms, or to raise his finger, without my
orders.  You have me," he continued, "in your power.  Is not my life at
your disposal?  And what better security can you have for my fidelity?"
He then represented to the Spanish commander that the distances of
many of the places were very great; that to Cuzco, the capital, although a
message might be sent by post, through a succession of couriers, in five
days from Caxamalca, it would require weeks for a porter to travel over
the same ground, with a heavy load on his back.  "But that you may be
satisfied I am proceeding in good faith," he added, "I desire you will
send some of your own people to Cuzco.  I will give them a safe-
conduct, and, when there, they can superintend the execution of the
commission, and see with their own eyes that no hostile movements are
intended."  It was a fair offer, and Pizarro, anxious to get more precise
and authentic information of the state of the country, gladly availed
himself of it.2

Before the departure of these emissaries, the general had despatched his
brother Hernando with about twenty horse and a small body of infantry
to the neighboring town of Guamachucho, in order to reconnoitre the
country, and ascertain if there was any truth in the report of an armed
force having assembled there.  Hernando found every thing quiet, and
met with a kind reception from the natives.  But before leaving the place,
he received further orders from his brother to continue his march to
Pachacamac, a town situated on the coast, at least a hundred leagues
distant from Caxamalca.  It was consecrated at the seat of the great
temple of the deity of that name, whom the Peruvians worshipped as the
Creator of the world.  It is said that they found there altars raised to this
god, on their first occupation of the country; and, such was the
veneration in which he was held by the natives, that the Incas, instead of
attempting to abolish his worship, deemed it more prudent to sanction it
conjointly with that of their own deity, the Sun.  Side by side, the two
temples rose on the heights that overlooked the city of Pachacamac, and
prospered in the offerings of their respective votaries.  "It was a cunning
arrangement," says an ancient writer, "by which the great enemy of man
secured to himself a double harvest of souls." 3

But the temple of Pachacamac continued to maintain its ascendency; and
the oracles, delivered from its dark and mysterious shrine, were held in
no less repute among the natives of Tavantinsuyu, (or "the four quarters
of the world," as Peru under the Incas was called,) than the oracles of
Delphi obtained among the Greeks.  Pilgrimages were made to the
hallowed spot from the most distant regions, and the city of Pachacamac
became among the Peruvians what Mecca was among the Mahometans,
or Cholula with the people of Anahuac.  The shrine of the deity, enriched
by the tributes of the pilgrims, gradually became one of the most opulent
in the land; and Atahuallpa, anxious to collect his ransom as speedily as
possible, urged Pizarro to send a detachment in that direction, to secure
the treasures before they could be secreted by the priests of the temple.

It was a journey of considerable difficulty.  Two thirds of the route lay
along the table-land of the Cordilleras, intersected occasionally by crests
of the mountain range, that imposed no slight impediment to their
progress.  Fortunately, much of the way, they had the benefit of the great
road to Cuzco, and "nothing in Christendom," exclaims Hernando
Pizarro, "equals the magnificence of this road across the sierra."4  In
some places, the rocky ridges were so precipitous, that steps were cut in
them for the travellers; and though the sides were protected by heavy
stone balustrades or parapets, it was with the greatest difficulty that the
horses were enabled to scale them.  The road was frequently crossed by
streams, over which bridges of wood and sometimes of stone were
thrown; though occasionally, along the declivities of the mountains, the
waters swept down in such furious torrents, that the only method of
passing them was by the swinging bridges of osier, of which, till now, the
Spaniards had had little experience.  They were secured on either bank to
heavy buttresses of stone.  But as they were originally designed for
nothing heavier than the foot-passenger and the llama, and, as they had
something exceedingly fragile in their appearance, the Spaniards
hesitated to venture on them with their horses.  Experience, however,
soon showed they were capable of bearing a much greater weight; and
though the traveller, made giddy by the vibration of the long avenue,
looked with a reeling brain into the torrent that was tumbling at the depth
of a hundred feet or more below him, the whole of the cavalry effected
their passage without an accident.  At these bridges, it may be remarked,
they found persons stationed whose business it was to collect toll for the
government from all travellers.5

The Spaniards were amazed by the number as well as magnitude of the
flocks of llamas which they saw browsing on the stunted herbage that
grows in the elevated regions of the Andes.  Sometimes they were
gathered in inclosures, but more usually were roaming at large under the
conduct of their Indian shepherds; and the Conquerors now learned, for
the first time, that these animals were tended with as much care, and their
migrations as nicely regulated, as those of the vast flocks of merinos in
their own country.6

The table-land and its declivities were thickly sprinkled with hamlets and
towns, some of them of considerable size; and the country in every
direction bore the marks of a thrifty husbandry.  Fields of Indian corn
were to be seen in all its different stages, from the green and tender ear
to the yellow ripeness of harvest time.  As they descended into the
valleys and deep ravines that divided the crests of the Cordilleras, they
were surrounded by the vegetation of a warmer climate, which delighted
the eye with the gay livery of a thousand bright colors, and intoxicated
the senses with its perfumes.  Everywhere the natural capacities of the
soil were stimulated by a minute system of irrigation, which drew the
fertilizing moisture from every stream and rivulet that rolled down the
declivities of the Andes; while the terraced sides of the mountains were
clothed with gardens and orchards that teemed with fruits of various
latitudes.  The Spaniards could not sufficiently admire the industry with
which the natives had availed themselves of the bounty of Nature, or had
supplied the deficiency where she had dealt with a more parsimonious

Whether from the commands of the Inca, or from the awe which their
achievements had spread throughout the land, the Conquerors were
received, in every place through which they passed, with hospitable
kindness.  Lodgings were provided for them, with ample refreshments
from the well-stored magazines, distributed at intervals along the route.
In many of the towns the inhabitants came out to welcome them with
singing and dancing; and, when they resumed their march, a number of
ablebodied porters were furnished to carry forward their baggage.7

At length, after some weeks of travel, severe even with all these
appliances, Hernando Pizarro arrived before the city of Pachacamac.  It
was a place of considerable population, and the edifices were, many of
them, substantially built.  The temple of the tutelar deity consisted of a
vast stone building, or rather pile of buildings, which, clustering around a
conical hill, had the air of a fortress rather than a religious establishment.
But, though the walls were of stone, the roof was composed of a light
thatch, as usual in countries where rain seldom or never falls, and where
defence, consequently, is wanted chiefly against the rays of the sun.

Presenting himself at the lower entrance of the temple, Hernando Pizarro
was refused admittance by the guardians of the portal.  But, exclaiming
that "he had come too far to be stayed by the arm of an Indian priest," he
forced his way into the passage, and, followed by his men, wound up the
gallery which led to an area on the summit of the mount, at one end of
which stood a sort of chapel.  This was the sanctuary of the dread deity.
The door was garnished with ornaments of crystal, and with turquoises
and bits of coral.8  Here again the Indians would have dissuaded Pizarro
from violating the consecrated precincts, when, at that moment, the
shock of an earthquake, that made the ancient walls tremble to their
foundation, so alarmed the natives, both those of Pizarro's own company
and the people of the place, that they fled in dismay, nothing doubting
that their incensed deity would bury the invaders under the ruins, or
consume them with his lightnings.  But no such terror found its way into
the breast of the Conquerors, who felt that here, at least, they were
fighting the good fight of the Faith.

Tearing open the door, Pizarro and his party entered.  But instead of a
hall blazing, as they had fondly imagined, with gold and precious stones,
offerings of the worshippers of Pachacamac, they found themselves in a
small and obscure apartment, or rather den, from the floor and sides of
which steamed up the most offensive odors,--like those of a
slaughterhouse.  It was the place of sacrifice.  A few pieces of gold and
some emeralds were discovered on the ground, and, as their eyes became
accommodated to the darkness, they discerned in the most retired corner
of the room the figure of the deity.  It was an uncouth monster, made of
wood, with the head resembling that of a man.  This was the god,
through whose lips Satan had breathed forth the far-famed oracles which
had deluded his Indian votaries! 9

Tearing the idol from its recess, the indignant Spaniards dragged it into
the open air, and there broke it into a hundred fragments.  The place was
then purified, and a large cross, made of stone and plaster, was erected
on the spot.  In a few years the walls of the temple were pulled down by
the Spanish settlers, who found there a convenient quarry for their own
edifices.  But the cross still remained spreading its broad arms over the
ruins.  It stood where it was planted in the very heart of the stronghold of
Heathendom; and, while all was in ruins around it, it proclaimed the
permanent triumphs of the Faith.

The simple natives, finding that Heaven had no bolts in store for the
Conquerors, and that their god had no power to prevent the profanation
of his shrine, came in gradually and tendered their homage to the
strangers, whom they now regarded with feelings of superstitious awe.
Pizarro profited by this temper to wean them, if possible, from their
idolatry; and though no preacher himself, as he tells us, he delivered a
discourse as edifying, doubtless, as could be expected from the mouth of
a soldier;10 and, in conclusion, he taught them the sign of the cross, as
an inestimable talisman to secure them against the future machinations of
the Devil.11

But the Spanish commander was not so absorbed in his spiritual labors
as not to have an eye to those temporal concerns for which he came into
this quarter.  He now found, to his chagrin, that he had come somewhat
too late; and that the priests of Pachacamac, being advised of his
mission, had secured much the greater part of the gold, and decamped
with it before his arrival.  A quantity was afterwards discovered buried in
the grounds adjoining.12  Still the amount obtained was considerable,
falling little short of eighty thousand castellanos, a sum which once
would have been deemed a compensation for greater fatigues than they
had encountered.  But the Spaniards had become familiar with gold; and
their imaginations, kindled by the romantic adventures in which they had
of late been engaged, indulged in visions which all the gold of Peru
would scarcely have realized.

One prize, however, Hernando obtained by his expedition, which went
far to console him for the loss of his treasure.  While at Pachacamac, he
learned that the Indian commander Challcuchima lay with a large force
in the neighborhood of Xauxa, a town of some strength at a considerable
distance among the mountains.  This man, who was nearly related to
Atahuallpa, was his most experienced general, and together with
Quizquiz, now at Cuzco, had achieved those victories at the south which
placed the Inca on the throne.  From his birth, his talents, and his large
experience, he was accounted second to no subject in the kingdom.
Pizarro was aware of the importance of securing his person.  Finding that
the Indian noble declined to meet him on his return, he determined to
march at once on Xauxa and take the chief in his own quarters.  Such a
scheme, considering the enormous disparity of numbers, might seem
desperate even for Spaniards.  But success had given them such
confidence, that they hardly condescended to calculate chances.

The road across the mountains presented greater difficulties than those
on the former march.  To add to the troubles of the cavalry, the shoes of
their horses were used up, and their hoofs suffered severely on the rough
and stony ground.  There was no iron at hand, nothing but gold and
silver.  In the present emergency they turned even these to account; and
Pizarro caused the horses of the whole troop to be shod with silver The
work was done by the Indian smiths, and it answered so well, that in this
precious material they found a substitute for iron during the remainder of
the march.13

Xauxa was a large and populous place; though we shall hardly credit the
assertion of the Conquerors, that a hundred thousand persons assembled
habitually in the great square of the city.14  The Peruvian commander
was encamped, it was said, with an army of five-and-thirty thousand men
at only a few miles' distance from the town.  With some difficulty he was
persuaded to an interview with Pizarro.  The latter addressed him
courteously, and urged his return with him to the Castilian quarters in
Caxamalca, representing it as the command of the Inca.  Ever since the
capture of his master, Challcuchima had remained uncertain what course
to take.  The capture of the Inca in this sudden and mysterious manner by
a race of beings who seemed to have dropped from the clouds, and that
too in the very hour of his triumph, had entirely bewildered the Peruvian
chief.  He had concerted no plan for the rescue of Atahuallpa, nor,
indeed, did he know whether any such movement would be acceptable to
him.  He now acquiesced in his commands, and was willing, at all events,
to have a personal interview with his sovereign.  Pizarro gained his end
without being obliged to strike a single blow to effect it.  The barbarian,
when brought into contact with the white man, would seem to have been
rebuked by his superior genius, in the same manner as the wild animal of
the forest is said to quail before the steady glance of the hunter.

Challcuchima came attended by a numerous retinue.  He was borne in his
sedan on the shoulders of his vassals; and, as he accompanied the
Spaniards on their return through the country, received everywhere from
the inhabitants the homage paid only to the favorite of a monarch.  Yet
all this pomp vanished on his entering the presence of the Inca, whom he
approached with his feet bare, while a light burden, which he had taken
from one of the attendants, was laid on his back.  As he drew near, the
old warrior, raising his hands to heaven, exclaimed,--"Would that I had
been here!--this would not then have happened"; then, kneeling down, he
kissed the hands and feet of his royal master, and bathed them with his
tears.  Atahuallpa, on his part, betrayed not the least emotion, and
showed no other sign of satisfaction at the presence of his favorite
counsellor than by simply bidding him welcome.  The cold demeanor of
the monarch contrasted strangely with the loyal sensibility of the

The rank of the Inca placed him at an immeasurable distance above the
proudest of his vassals; and the Spaniards had repeated occasion to
admire the ascendency which, even in his present fallen fortunes, he
maintained over his people, and the awe with which they approached
him.  Pedro Pizarro records an interview, at which he was present,
between Atahuallpa and one of his great nobles, who had obtained leave
to visit some remote part of the country on condition of returning by a
certain day.  He was detained somewhat beyond the appointed time, and,
on entering the presence with a small propitiatory gift for his sovereign,
his knees shook so violently, that it seemed, says the chronicler, as if he
would have fallen to the ground.  His master, however, received him
kindly, and dismissed him without a word of rebuke.16

Atahuallpa in his confinement continued to receive the same respectful
treatment from the Spaniards as hitherto.  They taught him to play with
dice, and the more intricate game of chess, in which the royal captive
became expert, and loved to beguile with it the tedious hours of his
imprisonment.  Towards his own people he maintained as far as possible
his wonted state and ceremonial.  He was attended by his wives and the
girls of his harem, who, as was customary, waited on him at table and
discharged the other menial offices about his person.  A body of Indian
nobles were stationed in the antechamber, but never entered the presence
unbidden; and when they did enter it, they submitted to the same
humiliating ceremonies imposed on the greatest of his subjects.  The
service of his table was gold and silver plate.  His dress, which he often
changed, was composed of the wool of the vicuna wrought into mantles,
so fine that it had the appearance of silk.  He sometimes exchanged these
for a robe made of the skins of bats, as soft and sleek as velvet.  Round
his head he wore the llautu, a woollen turban or shawl of the most,
delicate texture, wreathed in folds of various bright colors; and he still
continued to encircle his temples with the borla, the crimson threads of
which, mingled with gold, descended so as partly to conceal his eyes.
The image of royalty had charms for him, when its substance had
departed.  No garment or utensil that had once belonged to the Peruvian
sovereign could ever be used by another.  When he laid it aside, it was
carefully deposited in a chest, kept for the purpose, and afterwards
burned.  It would have been sacrilege to apply to vulgar uses that which
had been consecrated by the touch of the Inca.17

Not long after the arrival of the party from Pachacamac, in the latter part
of May, the three emissaries returned from Cuzco.  They had been very
successful in their mission.  Owing to the Inca's order, and the awe which
the white men now inspired throughout the country, the Spaniards had
everywhere met with a kind reception.  They had been carried on the
shoulders of the natives in the hamacas, or sedans, of the country; and, as
they had travelled all the way to the capital on the great imperial road,
along which relays of Indian carriers were established at stated intervals,
they performed this journey of more than six hundred miles, not only
without inconvenience, but with the most luxurious ease.  They passed
through many populous towns, and always found the simple natives
disposed to venerate them as beings of a superior nature.  In Cuzco they
were received with public festivities, were sumptuously lodged, and had
every want anticipated by the obsequious devotion of the inhabitants.

Their accounts of the capital confirmed all that Pizarro had before heard
of the wealth and population of the city.  Though they had remained
more than a week in this place, the emissaries had not seen the whole of
it.  The great temple of the Sun they found literally covered with plates
of gold.  They had entered the interior and beheld the royal mummies,
seated each in his gold-embossed chair, and in robes profusely covered
with ornaments.  The Spaniards had the grace to respect these, as they
had been previously enjoined by the Inca; but they required that the
plates which garnished the walls should be all removed.  The Peruvians
most reluctantly acquiesced in the commands of their sovereign to
desecrate the national temple, which every inhabitant of the city regarded
with peculiar pride and veneration.  With less reluctance they assisted the
Conquerors in stripping the ornaments from some of the other edifices,
where the gold, however, being mixed with a large proportion of alloy,
was of much less value.18

The number of plates they tore from the temple of the Sun was seven
hundred; and though of no great thickness, probably, they are compared
in size to the lid of a chest, ten or twelve inches wide.19  A cornice of
pure gold encircled the edifice, but so strongly set in the stone, that it
fortunately defied the efforts of the spoilers.  The Spaniards complained
of the want of alacrity shown by the Indians in the work of destruction,
and said that there were other parts of the city containing buildings rich
in gold and silver which they had not been allowed to see.  In truth, their
mission, which, at best, was a most ungrateful one, had been rendered
doubly annoying by the manner in which they had executed it.  The
emissaries were men of a very low stamp, and, puffed up by the honors
conceded to them by the natives, they looked on themselves as entitled to
these, and condemned the poor Indians as a race immeasurably beneath
the European.  They not only showed the most disgusting rapacity, but
treated the highest nobles with wanton insolence.  They even went so far,
it is said, as to violate the privacy of the convents, and to outrage the
religious sentiments of the Peruvians by their scandalous amours with the
Virgins of the Sun.  The people of Cuzco were so exasperated, that they
would have laid violent hands on them, but for their habitual reverence
for the Inca, in whose name the Spaniards had come there.  As it was, the
Indians collected as much gold as was necessary to satisfy their unworthy
visitors, and got rid of them as speedily as possible.20  It was a great
mistake in Pizarro to send such men.  There were persons, even in his
company, who, as other occasions showed, had some sense of self-
respect, if not respect for the natives.

The messengers brought with them, besides silver, full two hundred
cargas or loads of gold.21  This was an important accession to the
contributions of Atahuallpa; and, although the treasure was still
considerably below the mark prescribed, the monarch saw with
satisfaction the time drawing nearer for the completion of his ransom.

Not long before this, an event had occurred which changed the condition
of the Spaniards, and had an unfavorable influence on the fortunes of the
Inca.  This was the arrival of Almagro at Caxamalca, with a strong
reinforcement.  That chief had succeeded, after great efforts, in
equipping three vessels, and assembling a body of one hundred and fifty
men, with which he sailed from Panama, the latter part of the preceding
year.  On his voyage, he was joined by a small additional force from
Nicaragua, so that his whole strength amounted to one hundred and fifty
foot and fifty horse, well provided with the munitions of war.  His
vessels were steered by the old pilot Ruiz; but after making the Bay of
St. Matthew, he crept slowly along the coast, baffled as usual by winds
and currents, and experiencing all the hardships incident to that
protracted navigation.  From some cause or other, he was not so
fortunate as to obtain tidings of Pizarro; and so disheartened were his
followers, most of whom were raw adventurers, that, when arrived at
Puerto Viejo, they proposed to abandon the expedition, and return at
once to Panama.  Fortunately, one of the little squadron which Almagro
had sent forward to Tumbez brought intelligence of Pizarro and of the
colony he had planted at San Miguel.  Cheered by the tidings, the
cavalier resumed his voyage, and succeeded, at length, towards the close
of December, 1532, in bringing his whole party safe to the Spanish

He there received the account of Pizarro's march across the mountains,
his seizure of the Inca, and, soon afterwards, of the enormous ransom
offered for his liberation.  Almagro and his companions listened with
undisguised amazement to this account of his associate, and of a change
in his fortunes so rapid and wonderful that it seemed little less than
magic.  At the same time, he received a caution from some of the
colonists not to trust himself in the power of Pizarro, who was known to
bear him no good-will.

Not long after Almagro's arrival at San Miguel, advices were sent of it to
Caxamalca, and a private note from his secretary Perez informed Pizarro
that his associate had come with no purpose of cooperating with him, but
with the intention to establish an independent government.  Both of the
Spanish captains seem to have been surrounded by mean and turbulent
spirits, who sought to embroil them with each other, trusting, doubtless,
to find their own account in the rupture.  For once, however, their
malicious machinations failed.

Pizarro was overjoyed at the arrival of so considerable a reinforcement,
which would enable him to push his fortunes as he had desired, and go
forward with the conquest of the country.  He laid little stress on the
secretary's communication, since, whatever might have been Almagro's
original purpose, Pizarro knew that the richness of the vein he had now
opened in the land would be certain to secure his cooperation in working
it.  He had the magnanimity, therefore,--for there is something
magnanimous in being able to stifle the suggestions of a petty rivalry in
obedience to sound policy,--to send at once to his ancient comrade, and
invite him, with many assurances of friendship, to Caxamalca.  Almagro,
who was of a frank and careless nature, received the communication in
the spirit in which it was made, and, after some necessary delay, directed
his march into the interior.  But before leaving San Miguel, having
become acquainted with the treacherous conduct of his secretary, he
recompensed his treason by hanging him on the spot.22

Almagro reached Caxamalca about the middle of February, 1533.  The
soldiers of Pizarro came out to welcome their countrymen, and the two
captains embraced each other with every mark of cordial satisfaction.
All past differences were buried in oblivion, and they seemed only
prepared to aid one another in following up the brilliant career now
opened to them in the conquest of an empire.

There was one person in Caxamalca on whom this arrival of the
Spaniards produced a very different impression from that made on their
own countrymen.  This was the Inca Atahuallpa.  He saw in the new-
comers only a new swarm of locusts to devour his unhappy country; and
he felt, that, with his enemies thus multiplying around him, the chances
were diminished of recovering his freedom, or of maintaining it, if
recovered.  A little circumstance, insignificant in itself, but magnified by
superstition into something formidable, occurred at this time to cast an
additional gloom over his situation.

A remarkable appearance, somewhat of the nature of a meteor, or it may
have been a comet, was seen in the heavens by some soldiers and pointed
out to Atahuallpa.  He gazed on it with fixed attention for some minutes,
and then exclaimed, with a dejected air, that "a similar sign had been
seen in the skies a short time before the death of his father Huayna
Capac." 23  From this day a sadness seemed to take possession of him,
as he looked with doubt and undefined dread to the future.  Thus it is,
that, in seasons of danger, the mind, like the senses, becomes morbidly
acute in its perceptions; and the least departure from the regular course
of nature, that would have passed unheeded in ordinary times, to the
superstitious eye seems pregnant with meaning, as in some way or other
connected with the destiny of the individual.

Book 3

Chapter 7

Immense Amount Of Treasure--Its Division Among The Troops--
Rumors Of A Rising--Trial Of The Inca--His Execution--Reflections


The arrival of Almagro produced a considerable change in Pizarro's
prospects, since it enabled him to resume active operations, and push
forward his conquests in the interior.  The only obstacle in his way was
the Inca's ransom, and the Spaniards had patiently waited, till the return
of the emissaries from Cuzco swelled the treasure to a large amount,
though still below the stipulated limit.  But now their avarice got the
better of their forbearance, and they called loudly for the immediate
division of the gold.  To wait longer would only be to invite the assault
of their enemies, allured by a bait so attractive.  While the treasure
remained uncounted, no man knew its value, nor what was to be his own
portion.  It was better to distribute it at once, and let every one possess
and defend his own.  Several, moreover, were now disposed to return
home, and take their share of the gold with them, where they could place
it in safety.  But these were few, while much the larger part were only
anxious to leave their present quarters, and march at once to Cuzco.
More gold, they thought, awaited them in that capital, than they could get
here by prolonging their stay; while every hour was precious, to prevent
the inhabitants from secreting their treasures, of which design they had
already given indication.

Pizarro was especially moved by the last consideration; and he felt, that,
without the capital, he could not hope to become master of the empire.
Without further delay, the division of the treasure was agreed upon.

Yet, before making this, it was necessary to reduce the whole to ingots of
a uniform standard, for the spoil was composed of an infinite variety of
articles, in which the gold was of very different degrees of purity.  These
articles consisted of goblets, ewers, salvers, vases of every shape and
size, ornaments and utensils for the temples and the royal palaces, tiles
and plates for the decoration of the public edifices, curious imitations of
different plants and animals.  Among the plants, the most beautiful was
the Indian corn, in which the golden ear was sheathed in its broad leaves
of silver, from which hung a rich tassel of threads of the same precious
metal.  A fountain was also much admired, which sent up a sparkling jet
of gold, while birds and animals of the same material played in the
waters at its base.  The delicacy of the workmanship of some of these,
and the beauty and ingenuity of the design, attracted the admiration of
better judges than the rude Conquerors of Peru.1

Before breaking up these specimens of Indian art, it was determined to
send a quantity, which should be deducted from the royal fifth, to the
Emperor.  It would serve as a sample of the ingenuity of the natives, and
would show him the value of his conquests.  A number of the most
beautiful articles was selected, to the amount of a hundred thousand
ducats, and Hernando Pizarro was appointed to be the bearer of them to
Spain.  He was to obtain an audience of Charles, and, at the same time
that he laid the treasures before him, he was to give an account of the
proceedings of the Conquerors, and to seek a further augmentation of
their powers and dignities.

No man in the army was better qualified for this mission, by his address
and knowledge of affairs, than Hernando Pizarro; no one would be so
likely to urge his suit with effect at the haughty Castilian court.  But
other reasons influenced the selection of him at the present juncture.

His former jealousy of Almagro still rankled in his bosom, and he had
beheld that chief's arrival at the camp with feelings of disgust, which he
did not care to conceal.  He looked on him as coming to share the spoils
of victory, and defraud his brother of his legitimate honors.  Instead of
exchanging the cordial greeting proffered by Almagro at their first
interview, the arrogant cavalier held back in sullen silence.  His brother
Francis was greatly displeased at a conduct which threatened to renew
their ancient feud, and he induced Hernando to accompany him to
Almagro's quarters, and make some acknowledgment for his uncourteous
behavior.2  But, notwithstanding this show of reconciliation, the general
thought the present a favorable opportunity to remove his brother from
the scene of operations, where his factious spirit more than
counterbalanced his eminent services.3

The business of melting down the plate was intrusted to the Indian
goldsmiths, who were thus required to undo the work of their own hands,
They toiled day and night, but such was the quantity to be recast, that it
consumed a full month.  When the whole was reduced to bars of a
uniform standard, they were nicely weighed, under the superintendence
of the royal inspectors.  The total amount of the gold was found to be
one million, three hundred and twenty-six thousand, five hundred and
thirty nine pesos de oro, which, allowing for the greater value of money
in the sixteenth century, would be equivalent, probably, at the present
time, to near three millions and a half of pounds sterling, or somewhat
less than fifteen millions and a half of dollars.4  The quantity of silver
was estimated at fifty-one thousand six hundred and ten marks.  History
affords no parallel of such a booty--and that, too, in the most convertible
form, in ready money, as it were--having fallen to the lot of a little band
of military adventurers, like the Conquerors of Peru.  The great object of
the Spanish expeditions in the New World was gold.  It is remarkable
that their success should have been so complete.  Had they taken the
track of the English, the French, or the Dutch, on the shores of the
northern continent, how different would have been the result!  It is
equally worthy of remark, that the wealth thus suddenly acquired, by
diverting them from the slow but surer and more permanent sources of
national prosperity, has in the end glided from their grasp, and left them
among the poorest of the nations of Christendom.

A new difficulty now arose in respect to the division of the treasure.
Almagro's followers claimed to be admitted to a share of it; which, as
they equalled, and indeed, somewhat exceeded in number Pizarro's
company, would reduce the gains of these last very materially.  "We
were not here, it is true," said Almagro's soldiers to their comrades, "at
the seizure of the Inca, but we have taken our turn in mounting guard
over him since his capture, have helped you to defend your treasures, and
now give you the means of going forward and securing your conquests.
It is a common cause," they urged, "in which all are equally embarked,
and the gains should be shared equally between us."

But this way of viewing the matter was not at all palatable to Pizarro's
company, who alleged that Atahuallpa's contract had been made
exclusively with them; that they had seized the Inca, had secured the
ransom, had incurred, in short, all the risk of the enterprise, and were not
now disposed to share the fruits of it with every one who came after
them.  There was much force, it could not be denied, in this reasoning,
and it was finally settled between the leaders, that Almagro's followers
should resign their pretensions for a stipulated sum of no great amount,
and look to the career now opened to them for carving out their fortunes
for themselves.

This delicate affair being thus harmoniously adjusted, Pizarro prepared,
with all solemnity, for a division of the imperial spoil.  The troops were
called together in the great square, and the Spanish commander, "with
the fear of God before his eyes," says the record, "invoked the assistance
of Heaven to do the work before him conscientiously and justly."5  The
appeal may seem somewhat out of place at the distribution of spoil so
unrighteously acquired; yet, in truth, considering the magnitude of the
treasure, and the power assumed by Pizarro to distribute it according to
the respective deserts of the individuals, there were few acts of his life
involving a heavier responsibility.  On his present decision might be said
to hang the future fortunes of each one of his followers,--poverty or
independence during the remainder of his days.

The royal fifth was first deducted, including the remittance already sent
to Spain.  The share appropriated by Pizarro amounted to fifty-seven
thousand two hundred and twenty-two pesos of gold, and two thousand
three hundred and fifty marks of silver.  He had besides this the great
chair or throne of the Inca, of solid gold, and valued at twenty-five
thousand pesos de oro.  To his brother Hernando were paid thirty-one
thousand and eighty pesos of gold, and two thousand three hundred and
fifty marks of silver.  De Soto received seventeen thousand seven
hundred and forty pesos of gold, and seven hundred and twenty-four
marks of silver.  Most of the remaining cavalry, sixty in number,
received each eight thousand eight hundred and eighty pesos of gold, and
three hundred and sixty-two marks of silver, though some had more, and
a few considerably less.  The infantry mustered in all one hundred and
five men.  Almost one fifth of them were allowed, each, four thousand
four hundred and forty pesos of gold, and one hundred and eighty marks
of silver, half of the compensation of the troopers.  The remainder
received one fourth part less; though here again there were exceptions,
and some were obliged to content themselves with a much smaller share
of the spoil.6

The new church of San Francisco, the first Christian temple in Peru, was
endowed with two thousand two hundred and twenty pesos of gold.  The
amount assigned to Almagro's company was not excessive, if it was not
more than twenty thousand pesos; 7 and that reserved for the colonists of
San Miguel, which amounted only to fifteen thousand pesos, was
unaccountably small.8  There were among them certain soldiers, who at
an early period of the expedition, as the reader may remember,
abandoned the march, and returned to San Miguel.  These, certainly, had
little claim to be remembered in the division of booty.  But the greater
part of the colony consisted of invalids, men whose health had been
broken by their previous hardships, but who still, with a stout and willing
heart, did good service in their military post on the sea-coast.  On what
grounds they had forfeited their claims to a more ample remuneration, it
is not easy to explain.

Nothing is said, in the partition, of Almagro himself, who, by the terms
of the original contract, might claim an equal share of the spoil with his
associate.  As little notice is taken of Luque, the remaining partner.
Luque himself, was, indeed, no longer to be benefited by worldly
treasure.  He had died a short time before Almagro's departure from
Panama;9 too soon to learn the full success of the enterprise, which, but
for his exertions, must have failed; too soon to become acquainted with
the achievements and the crimes of Pizarro.  But the Licentiate Espinosa,
whom he represented, and who, it appears, had advanced the funds for
the expedition, was still living at St. Domingo, and Luque's pretensions
were explicitly transferred to him.  Yet it is unsafe to pronounce, at this
distance of time, on the authority of mere negative testimony; and it must
be admitted to form a strong presumption in favor of Pizarro's general
equity in the distribution, that no complaint of it has reached us from any
of the parties present, nor from contemporary chroniclers.10

The division of the ransom being completed by the Spaniards, there
seemed to be no further obstacle to their resuming active operations, and
commencing the march to Cuzco.  But what was to be done with
Atahuallpa? In the determination of this question, whatever was
expedient was just.11  To liberate him would be to set at large the very
man who might prove their most dangerous enemy; one whose birth and
royal station would rally round him the whole nation, place all the
machinery of government at his control, and all its resources,--one, in
short, whose bare word might concentrate all the energies of his people
against the Spaniards, and thus delay for a long period, if not wholly
defeat, the conquest of the country.  Yet to hold him in captivity was
attended with scarcely less difficulty; since to guard so important a prize
would require such a division of their force as must greatly cripple its
strength, and how could they expect, by any vigilance, to secure their
prisoner against rescue in the perilous passes of the mountains?

The Inca himself now loudly demanded his freedom.  The proposed
amount of the ransom had, indeed, not been fully paid.  It may be
doubted whether it ever would have been, considering the
embarrassments thrown in the way by the guardians of the temples, who
seemed disposed to secrete the treasures, rather than despoil these sacred
depositories to satisfy the cupidity of the strangers.  It was unlucky, too,
for the Indian monarch, that much of the gold, and that of the best
quality, consisted of flat plates or tiles, which, however valuable, lay in a
compact form that did little towards swelling the heap.  But an immense
amount had been already realized, and it would have been a still greater
one, the Inca might allege, but for the impatience of the Spaniards.  At
all events, it was a magnificent ransom, such as was never paid by prince
or potentate before.

These considerations Atahuallpa urged on several of the cavaliers, and
especially on Hernando de Soto, who was on terms of more familiarity
with him than Pizarro.  De Soto reported Atahuallpa's demands to his
leader; but the latter evaded a direct reply.  He did not disclose the dark
purposes over which his mind was brooding.12  Not long afterward he
caused the notary to prepare an instrument, in which he fully acquitted
the Inca of further obligation in respect to the ransom.  This he
commanded to be publicly proclaimed in the camp, while at the same
time he openly declared that the safety of the Spaniards required, that the
Inca should be detained in confinement until they were strengthened by
additional reinforcements.13

Meanwhile the old rumors of a meditated attack by the natives began to
be current among the soldiers.  They were repeated from one to another,
gaining something by every repetition.  An immense army, it was
reported, was mustering at Quito, the land of Atahuallpa's birth, and
thirty thousand Caribs were on their way to support it.14  The Caribs
were distributed by the early Spaniards rather indiscriminately over the
different parts of America, being invested with peculiar horrors as a race
of cannibals.

It was not easy to trace the origin of these rumors.  There was in the
camp a considerable number of Indians, who belonged to the party of
Huascar, and who were, of course, hostile to Atahuallpa.  But his worst
enemy was Felipillo, the interpreter from Tumbez, already mentioned in
these pages.  This youth had conceived a passion, or, as some say, had
been detected in an intrigue with, one of the royal concubines.15  The
circumstance had reached the ears of Atahuallpa, who felt himself deeply
outraged by it.  "That such an insult should have been offered by so base
a person was an indignity," he said, "more difficult to bear than his
imprisonment";16 and he told Pizarro, "that, by the Peruvian law, it
could be expiated, not by the criminal's own death alone, but by that of
his whole family and kindred." 17  But Felipillo was too important to the
Spaniards to be dealt with so summarily; nor did they probably attach
such consequence to an offence which, if report be true, they had
countenanced by their own example.18  Felipillo, however, soon learned
the state of the Inca's feelings towards himself, and from that moment he
regarded him with deadly hatred.  Unfortunately, his malignant temper
found ready means for its indulgence.

The rumors of a rising among the natives pointed to Atahuallpa as the
author of it.  Challcuchima was examined on the subject, but avowed his
entire ignorance of any such design, which he pronounced a malicious
slander.  Pizarro next laid the matter before the Inca himself, repeating to
him the stories in circulation, with the air of one who believed them
"What treason is this," said the general, "that you have meditated against
me,--me, who have ever treated you with honor, confiding in your words,
as in those of a brother?"  "You jest," replied the Inca, who, perhaps, did
not feel the weight of this confidence; "you are always jesting with me.
How could I or my people think of conspiring against men so valiant as
the Spaniards? Do not jest with me thus, I beseech you."19  "This,"
continues Pizarro's secretary, "he said in the most composed and natural
manner, smiling all the while to dissemble his falsehood, so that we were
all amazed to find such cunning in a barbarian." 20

But it was not with cunning, but with the consciousness of innocence, as
the event afterwards proved, that Atahuallpa thus spoke to Pizarro.  He
readily discerned, however, the causes, perhaps the consequences, of the
accusation.  He saw a dark gulf opening beneath his feet; and he was
surrounded by strangers, on none of whom he could lean for counsel or
protection.  The life of the captive monarch is usually short; and
Atahuallpa might have learned the truth of this, when he thought of
Huascar.  Bitterly did he now lament the absence of Hernando Pizarro,
for, strange as it may seem, the haughty spirit of this cavalier had been
touched by the condition of the royal prisoner, and he had treated him
with a deference which won for him the peculiar regard and confidence
of the Indian.  Yet the latter lost no time in endeavoring to efface the
general's suspicions, and to establish his own innocence.  "Am I not,"
said he to Pizarro, "a poor captive in your hands? How could I harbor the
designs you impute to me, when I should be the first victim of the
outbreak? And you little know my people, if you think that such a
movement would be made without my orders; when the very birds in my
dominions," said he, with somewhat of an hyperbole, "would scarcely
venture to fly contrary to my will." 21

But these protestations of innocence had little effect on the troops;
among whom the story of a general rising of the natives continued to
gain credit every hour.  A large force, it was said, was already gathered
at Guamachucho, not a hundred miles from the camp, and their assault
might be hourly expected.  The treasure which the Spaniards had
acquired afforded a tempting prize, and their own alarm was increased
by the apprehension of losing it.  The patroles were doubled.  The horses
were kept saddled and bridled.  The soldiers slept on their arms; Pizarro
went the rounds regularly to see that every sentinel was on his post.  The
little army, in short, was in a state of preparation for instant attack.

Men suffering from fear are not likely to be too scrupulous as to the
means of removing the cause of it.  Murmurs, mingled with gloomy
menaces, were now heard against the Inca, the author of these
machinations.  Many began to demand his life as necessary to the safety
of the army.  Among these, the most vehement were Almagro and his
followers.  They had not witnessed the seizure of Atahuallpa.  They had
no sympathy with him in his fallen state.  They regarded him only as an
incumbrance, and their desire now was to push their fortunes in the
country, since they had got so little of the gold of Caxamalca.  They were
supported by Riquelme, the treasurer, and by the rest of the royal
officers.  These men had been left at San Miguel by Pizarro, who did not
care to have such official spies on his movements.  But they had come to
the camp with Almagro, and they loudly demanded the Inca's death, as
indispensable to the tranquillity of the country, and the interests of the

To these dark suggestions Pizarro turned--or seemed to turn--an
unwilling ear, showing visible reluctance to proceed to extreme measures
with his prisoner.23  There were some few, and among others Hernando
de Soto, who supported him in these views, and who regarded such
measures as not at all justified by the evidence of Atahuallpa's guilt.  In
this state of things, the Spanish commander determined to send a small
detachment to Guamachucho, to reconnoitre the country and ascertain
what ground there was for the rumors of an insurrection.  De Soto was
placed at the head of the expedition, which, as the distance was not great,
would occupy but a few days.

After that cavalier's departure, the agitation among the soldiers, instead
of diminishing, increased to such a degree, that Pizarro, unable to resist
their importunities, consented to bring Atahuallpa to instant trial.  It was
but decent, and certainly safer, to have the forms of a trial.  A court was
organized, over which the two captains, Pizarro and Almagro were to
preside as judges.  An attorney-general was named to prosecute for the
Crown, and counsel was assigned to the prisoner.

The charges preferred against the Inca, drawn up in the form of
interrogatories, were twelve in number.  The most important were, that
he had usurped the crown and assassinated his brother Huascar; that he
had squandered the public revenues since the conquest of the country by
the Spaniards, and lavished them on his kindred and his minions; that he
was guilty of idolatry, and of adulterous practices, indulging openly in a
plurality of wives; finally, that he had attempted to excite an insurrection
against the Spaniards.24

These charges, most of which had reference to national usages, or to the
personal relations of the Inca, over which the Spanish conquerors had
clearly no jurisdiction, are so absurd, that they might well provoke a
smile, did they not excite a deeper feeling.  The last of the charges was
the only one of moment in such a trial; and the weakness of this may be
inferred from the care taken to bolster it up with the others.  The mere
specification of the articles must have been sufficient to show that the
doom of the Inca was already sealed.

A number of Indian witnesses were examined, and their testimony,
filtrated through the interpretation of Felipillo, received, it is said, when
necessary, a very different coloring from that of the original.  The
examination was soon ended, and "a warm discussion," as we are assured
by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, "took place in respect to the
probable good or evil that would result from the death of Atahuallpa." 25
It was a question of expediency.  He was found guilty,--whether of all the
crimes alleged we are not informed,--and he was sentenced to be burnt
alive in the great square of Caxamalca.  The sentence was to be carried
into execution that very night.  They were not even to wait for the return
of De Soto, when the information he would bring would go far to
establish the truth or the falsehood of the reports respecting the
insurrection of the natives.  It was desirable to obtain the countenance of
Father Valverde to these proceedings, and a copy of the judgment was
submitted to the friar for his signature, which he gave without hesitation,
declaring, that, "in his opinion, the Inca, at all events, deserved death."

Yet there were some few in that martial conclave who resisted these
high-handed measures.  They considered them as a poor requital of all
the favors bestowed on them by the Inca, who hitherto had received at
their hands nothing but wrong.  They objected to the evidence as wholly
insufficient; and they denied the authority of such a tribunal to sit in
judgment on a sovereign prince in the heart of his own dominions.  If he
were to be tried, he should be sent to Spain, and his cause brought before
the Emperor, who alone had power to determine it.

But the great majority--and they were ten to one--overruled these
objections, by declaring there was no doubt of Atahuallpa's guilt, and
they were willing to assume the responsibility of his punishment.  A full
account of the proceedings would be sent to Castile, and the Emperor
should be informed who were the loyal servants of the Crown, and who
were its enemies.  The dispute ran so high, that for a time it menaced an
open and violent rupture; till, at length, convinced that resistance was
fruitless, the weaker party, silenced, but not satisfied, contented
themselves with entering a written protest against these proceedings,
which would leave an indelible stain on the names of all concerned in

When the sentence was communicated to the Inca, he was greatly
overcome by it.  He had, indeed, for some time, looked to such an issue
as probable, and had been heard to intimate as much to those about him.
But the probability of such an event is very different from its certainty, --
and that, too, so sudden and speedy.  For a moment, the overwhelming
conviction of it unmanned him, and he exclaimed, with tears in his eyes,-
-"What have I done, or my children, that I should meet such a fate? And
from your hands, too," said he, addressing Pizarro; "you, who have met
with friendship and kindness from my people, with whom I have shared
my treasures, who have received nothing but benefits from my hands!" In
the most piteous tones, he then implored that his life might be spared,
promising any guaranty that might be required for the safety of every
Spaniard in the army,--promising double the ransom he had already paid,
if time were only given him to obtain it.28

An eyewitness assures us that Pizarro was visibly affected, as he turned
away from the Inca, to whose appeal he had no power to listen, in
opposition to the voice of the army, and to his own sense of what was
due to the security of the country.29  Atahuallpa, finding he had no
power to turn his Conqueror from his purpose, recovered his habitual
self-possession, and from that moment submitted himself to his fate with
the courage of an Indian warrior.

The doom of the Inca was proclaimed by sound of trumpet in the great
square of Caxamalca; and, two hours after sunset, the Spanish soldiery
assembled by torch-light in the plaza to witness the execution of the
sentence.  It was on the twenty-ninth of August, 1533- Atahuallpa was
led out chained hand and foot,--for he had been kept in irons ever since
the great excitement had prevailed in the army respecting an assault.
Father Vicente de Valverde was at his side, striving to administer
consolation, and, if possible, to persuade him at this last hour to abjure
his superstition and embrace the religion of his Conquerors.  He was
willing to save the soul of his victim from the terrible expiation in the
next world, to which he had so cheerfully consigned his mortal part in

During Atahuallpa's confinement, the friar had repeatedly expounded to
him the Christian doctrines, and the Indian monarch discovered much
acuteness in apprehending the discourse of his teacher.  But it had not
carried conviction to his mind, and though he listened with patience, he
had shown no disposition to renounce the faith of his fathers.  The
Dominican made a last appeal to him in this solemn hour; and, when
Atahuallpa was bound to the stake, with the fagots that were to kindle his
funeral pile lying around him, Valverde, holding up the cross, besought
him to embrace it and be baptized, promising that, by so doing, the
painful death to which he had been sentenced should be commuted for
the milder form of the garrote,--a mode of punishment by strangulation,
used for criminals in Spain.30

The unhappy monarch asked if this were really so, and, on its being
confirmed by Pizarro, he consented to abjure his own religion, and
receive baptism.  The ceremony was performed by Father Valverde, and
the new convert received the name of Juan de Atahuallpa,--the name of
Juan being conferred in honor of John the Baptist, on whose day the
event took place.31

Atahuallpa expressed a desire that his remains might be transported to
Quito, the place of his birth, to be preserved with those of his maternal
ancestors.  Then turning to Pizarro, as a last request, he implored him to
take compassion on his young children, and receive them under his
protection.  Was there no other one in that dark company who stood
grimly around him, to whom he could look for the protection of his
offspring?  Perhaps he thought there was no other so competent to afford
it, and that the wishes so solemnly expressed in that hour might meet
with respect even from his Conqueror.  Then, recovering his stoical
bearing, which for a moment had been shaken, he submitted himself
calmly to his fate,-while the Spaniards, gathering around, muttered their
credos for the salvation of his soul!32  Thus by the death of a vile
malefactor perished the last of the Incas!

I have already spoken of the person and the qualities of Atahuallpa.  He
had a handsome countenance, though with an expression somewhat too
fierce to be pleasing.  His frame was muscular and well-proportioned; his
air commanding; and his deportment in the Spanish quarters had a
degree of refinement, the more interesting that it was touched with
melancholy.  He is accused of having been cruel in his wars, and bloody
in his revenge.33  It may be true, but the pencil of an enemy would be
likely to overcharge the shadows of the portrait.  He is allowed to have
been bold, high-minded, and liberal.34  All agree that he showed
singular penetration and quickness of perception.  His exploits as a
warrior had placed his valor beyond dispute.  The best homage to it is
the reluctance shown by the Spaniards to restore him to freedom.  They
dreaded him as an enemy, and they had done him too many wrongs to
think that he could be their friend.  Yet his conduct towards them from
the first had been most friendly; and they repaid it with imprisonment,
robbery, and death.

The body of the Inca remained on the place of execution through the
night.  The following morning it was removed to the church of San
Francisco, where his funeral obsequies were performed with great
solemnity.  Pizarro and the principal cavaliers went into mourning, and
the troops listened with devout attention to the service of the dead from
the lips of Father Valverde.35  The ceremony was interrupted by the
sound of loud cries and wailing, as of many voices at the doors of the
church.  These were suddenly thrown open, and a number of Indian
women, the wives and sisters of the deceased, rushing up the great aisle,
surrounded the corpse.  This was not the way, they cried, to celebrate the
funeral rites of an Inca; and they declared their intention to sacrifice
themselves on his tomb, and bear him company to the land of spirits.
The audience, outraged by this frantic behaviour, told the intruders that
Atahuallpa had died in the faith of a Christian, and that the God of the
Christians abhorred such sacrifices.  They then caused the women to be
excluded from the church, and several, retiring to their own quarters, laid
violent hands on themselves, in the vain hope of accompanying their
beloved lord to the bright mansions of the Sun.36

Atahuallpa's remains, notwithstanding his request, were laid in the
cemetery of San Francisco.37  But from thence, as is reported, after the
Spaniards left Caxamalca, they were secretly removed, and carried, as he
had desired, to Quito.  The colonists of a later time supposed that some
treasures might have been buried with the body.  But, on excavating the
ground, neither treasure nor remains were to be discovered.38

A day or two after these tragic events, Hernando de Soto returned from
his excursion.  Great was his astonishment and indignation at learning
what had been done in his absence.  He sought out Pizarro at once, and
found him, says the chronicler, "with a great felt hat, by way of
mourning, slouched over his eyes," and in his dress and demeanor
exhibiting all the show of sorrow.39  "You have acted rashly," said De
Soto to him bluntly; "Atahuallpa has been basely slandered.  There was
no enemy at Guamachucho; no rising among the natives.  I have met with
nothing on the road but demonstrations of good-will, and all is quiet.  If
it was necessary to bring the Inca to trial, he should have been taken to
Castile and judged by the Emperor.  I would have pledged myself to see
him safe on board the vessel." 40  Pizarro confessed that he had been
precipitate, and said that he had been deceived by Riquelme, Valverde,
and the others.  These charges soon reached the ears of the treasurer and
the Dominican, who, in their turn, exculpated themselves, and upbraided
Pizarro to his face, as the only one responsible for the deed.  The dispute
ran high; and the parties were heard by the by-slanders to give one
another the lie! 41  This vulgar squabble among the leaders, so soon after
the event, is the best commentary on the iniquity of their own
proceedings and the innocence of the Inca.

The treatment of Atahuallpa, from first to last, forms undoubtedly one of
the darkest chapters in Spanish colonial history.  There may have been
massacres perpetrated on a more extended scale, and executions
accompanied with a greater refinement of cruelty.  But the blood-stained
annals of the Conquest afford no such example of cold-hearted and
systematic persecution, not of an enemy, but of one whose whole
deportment had been that of a friend and a benefactor.

From the hour that Pizarro and his followers had entered within the
sphere of Atahuallpa's influence, the hand of friendship had been
extended to them by the natives.  Their first act, on crossing the
mountains, was to kidnap the monarch and massacre his people.  The
seizure of his person might be vindicated, by those who considered the
end as justifying the means, on the ground that it was indispensable to
secure the triumphs of the Cross.  But no such apology can be urged for
the massacre of the unarmed and helpless population,--as wanton as it
was wicked.

The long confinement of the Inca had been used by the Conquerors to
wring from him his treasures with the hard gripe of avarice.  During the
whole of this dismal period, he had conducted himself with singular
generosity and good faith.  He had opened a free passage to the
Spaniards through every part of his empire; and had furnished every
facility for the execution of their plans.  When these were accomplished,
and he remained an encumbrance on their hands, notwithstanding their
engagement, expressed or implied, to release him,--and Pizarro, as we
have seen, by a formal act, acquitted his captive of any further obligation
on the score of the ransom,--he was arraigned before a mock tribunal,
and, under pretences equally false and frivolous, was condemned to an
excruciating death.  From first to last, the policy of the Spanish
conquerors towards their unhappy victim is stamped with barbarity and

It is not easy to acquit Pizarro of being in a great degree responsible for
this policy.  His partisans have labored to show, that it was forced on him
by the necessity of the case, and that in the death of the Inca, especially,
he yielded reluctantly to the importunities of others.42  But weak as is
this apology, the historian who has the means of comparing the various
testimony of the period will come to a different conclusion.  To him it
will appear, that Pizarro had probably long felt the removal of
Atahuallpa as essential to the success of his enterprise.  He foresaw the
odium that would be incurred by the death of his royal captive without
sufficient grounds; while he labored to establish these, he still shrunk
from the responsibility of the deed, and preferred to perpetrate it in
obedience to the suggestions of others, rather than his own.  Like many
an unprincipled politician, he wished to reap the benefit of a bad act, and
let others take the blame of it.

Almagro and his followers are reported by Pizarro's secretaries to have
first insisted on the Inca's death.  They were loudly supported by the
treasurer and the royal officers, who considered it as indispensable to the
interests of the Crown; and, finally, the rumors of a conspiracy raised the
same cry among the soldiers, and Pizarro, with all his tenderness for his
prisoner, could not refuse to bring him to trial.--The form of a trial was
necessary to give an appearance of fairness to the proceedings.  That it
was only form is evident from the indecent haste with which it was
conducted,--the examination of evidence, the sentence, and the
execution, being all on the same day.  The multiplication of the charges,
designed to place the guilt of the accused on the strongest ground, had,
from their very number, the opposite effect, proving only the
determination to convict him.  If Pizarro had felt the reluctance to his
conviction which he pretended, why did he send De Soto, Atahuallpa's
best friend, away, when the inquiry was to be instituted? Why was the
sentence so summarily executed, as not to afford opportunity, by that
cavalier's return, of disproving the truth of the principal charge,--the only
one, in fact, with which the Spaniards had any concern? The solemn
farce of mourning and deep sorrow affected by Pizarro, who by these
honors to the dead would intimate the sincere regard he had entertained
for the living, was too thin a veil to impose on the most credulous.

It is not intended by these reflections to exculpate the rest of the army,
and especially its officers, from their share in the infamy of the
transaction.  But Pizarro, as commander of the army, was mainly
responsible for its measures.  For he was not a man to allow his own
authority to be wrested from his grasp, or to yield timidly to the impulses
of others.  He did not even yield to his own.  His whole career shows
him, whether for good or for evil, to have acted with a cool and
calculating policy.

A story has been often repeated, which refers the motives of Pizarro's
conduct, in some degree at least, to personal resentment.  The Inca had
requested one of the Spanish soldiers to write the name of God on his
nail.  This the monarch showed to several of his guards successively,
and, as they read it, and each pronounced the same word, the sagacious
mind of the barbarian was delighted with what seemed to him little short
of a miracle,--to which the science of his own nation afforded no
analogy.  On showing the writing to Pizarro, that chief remained silent;
and the Inca, finding he could not read, conceived a contempt for the
commander who was even less informed than his soldiers.  This he did
not wholly conceal, and Pizarro aware of the cause of it, neither forgot
nor forgave it.43  The anecdote is reported not on the highest authority.
It may be true; but it is unnecessary to look for the motives of Pizarro's
conduct in personal pique, when so many proofs are to be discerned of a
dark and deliberate policy.

Yet the arts of the Spanish chieftain failed to reconcile his countrymen to
the atrocity of his proceedings.  It is singular to observe the difference
between the tone assumed by the first chroniclers of the transaction,
while it was yet fresh, and that of those who wrote when the lapse of a
few years had shown the tendency of public opinion.  The first boldly
avow the deed as demanded by expediency, if not necessity; while they
deal in no measured terms of reproach with the character of their
unfortunate victim.44  The latter, on the other hand, while they extenuate
the errors of the Inca, and do justice to his good faith, are unreserved in
their condemnation of the Conquerors, on whose conduct, they say,
Heaven set the seal of its own reprobation, by bringing them all to an
untimely and miserable end.45  The sentence of contemporaries has been
fully ratified by that of posterity;46 and the persecution of Atahuallpa is
regarded with justice as having left a stain, never to be effaced, on the
Spanish arms in the New World.

Book 3

Chapter 8

Disorders In Peru--March To Cuzco--Encounter With The Natives--
Challcuchima Burnt--Arrival In Cuzco--Description Of The City--
Treasure Found There


The Inca of Peru was its sovereign in a peculiar sense.  He received an
obedience from his vassals more implicit than that of any despot; for his
authority reached to the most secret conduct,--to the thoughts of the
individual.  He was reverenced as more than human.1  He was not
merely the head of the state, but the point to which all its institutions
converged, as to a common centre,--the keystone of the political fabric,
which must fall to pieces by its own weight when that was withdrawn.
So it fared on the death of Atahuallpa.2  His death not only left the
throne vacant, without any certain successor, but the manner of it
announced to the Peruvian people that a hand stronger than that of their
Incas had now seized the sceptre, and that the dynasty of the Children of
the Sun had passed away for ever.

The natural consequences of such a conviction followed.  The beautiful
order of the ancient institutions was broken up, as the authority which
controlled it was withdrawn.  The Indians broke out into greater excesses
from the uncommon restraint to which they had been before subjected.
Villages were burnt, temples and palaces were plundered, and the gold
they contained was scattered or secreted.  Gold and silver acquired an
importance in the eyes of the Peruvian, when he saw the importance
attached to them by his conquerors.  The precious metals, which before
served only for purposes of state or religious decoration, were now
hoarded up and buried in caves and forests.  The gold and silver
concealed by the natives were affirmed greatly to exceed in quantity that
which fell into the hands of the Spaniards.3  The remote provinces now
shook off their allegiance to the Incas.  Their great captains, at the head
of distant armies, set up for themselves.  Ruminavi, a commander on the
borders of Quito, sought to detach that kingdom from the Peruvian
empire, and to reassert its ancient independence.  The country, in short,
was in that state, in which old things are passing away, and the new order
of things has not yet been established.  It was in a state of revolution.

The authors of the revolution, Pizarro and his followers, remained
meanwhile at Caxamalca.  But the first step of the Spanish commander
was to name a successor to Atahuallpa.  It would be easier to govern
under the venerated authority to which the homage of the Indians had
been so long paid; and it was not difficult to find a successor.  The true
heir to the crown was a second son of Huayna Capac, named Manco, a
legitimate brother of the unfortunate Huascar.  But Pizarro had too little
knowledge of the dispositions of this prince; and he made no scruple to
prefer a brother of Atahuallpa, and to present him to the Indian nobles as
their future Inca.  We know nothing of the character of the young
Toparca, who probably resigned himself without reluctance to a destiny
which, however humiliating in some points of view, was more exalted
than he could have hoped to obtain in the regular course of events.  The
ceremonies attending a Peruvian coronation were observed, as well as
time would allow; the brows of the young Inca were encircled with the
imperial borla by the hands of his conqueror, and he received the
homage of his Indian vassals.  They were the less reluctant to pay it, as
most of those in the camp belonged to the faction of Quito.

All thoughts were now eagerly turned towards Cuzco, of which the most
glowing accounts were circulated among the soldiers, and whose temples
and royal palaces were represented as blazing with gold and silver.  With
imaginations thus excited, Pizarro and his entire company, amounting to
almost five hundred men, of whom nearly a third, probably, were
cavalry, took their departure early in September from Caxamalca,--a
place ever memorable as the theatre of some of the most strange and
sanguinary scenes recorded in history.  All set forward in high spirits,--
the soldiers of Pizarro from the expectation of doubling their present
riches, and Almagro's followers from the prospect of sharing equally in
the spoil with "the first conquerors." 4  The young Inca and the old chief
Challcuchima accompanied the march in their litters, attended by a
numerous retinue of vassals, and moving in as much state and ceremony
as if in the possession of real power.5

Their course lay along the great road of the Incas, which stretched across
the elevated regions of the Cordilleras, all the way to Cuzco.  It was of
nearly a uniform breadth, though constructed with different degrees of
care, according to the ground.6  Sometimes it crossed smooth and level
valleys, which offered of themselves little impediment to the traveller; at
other times, it followed the course of a mountain stream that wound
round the base of some beetling cliff, leaving small space for the
foothold; at others, again, where the sierra was so precipitous that it
seemed to preclude all further progress, the road, accommodated to the
natural sinuosities of the ground, wound round the heights which it
would have been impossible to scale directly.7

But although managed with great address, it was a formidable passage
for the cavalry.  The mountain was hewn into steps, but the rocky ledges
cut up the hoofs of the horses; and, though the troopers dismounted and
led them by the bridle, they suffered severely in their efforts to keep their
footing.8  The road was constructed for man and the light-fooled llama;
and the only heavy beast of burden at all suited to it was the sagacious
and sure-footed mule, with which the Spanish adventurers were not then
provided.  It was a singular chance that Spain was the land of the mule;
and thus the country was speedily supplied with the very animal which
seems to have been created for the difficult passes of the Cordilleras.

Another obstacle, often occurring, was the deep torrents that rushed
down in fury from the Andes.  They were traversed by the hanging
bridges of osier, whose frail materials were after a time broken up by the
heavy tread of the cavalry, and the holes made in them added materially
to the dangers of the passage.  On such occasions, the Spaniards
contrived to work their way across the rivers on rafts, swimming their
horses by the bridle.9

All along the route, they found post-houses for the accommodation of the
royal couriers, established at regular intervals; and magazines of grain
and other commodities, provided in the principal towns for the Indian
armies.  The Spaniards profited by the prudent forecast of the Peruvian

Passing through several hamlets and towns of some note, the principal of
which were Guamachucho and Guanuco, Pizarro, after a tedious march,
came in sight of the rich valley of Xauxa.  The march, though tedious,
had been attended with little suffering, except in crossing the bristling
crests of the Cordilleras, which occasionally obstructed their path,--a
rough setting to the beautiful valleys, that lay scattered like gems along
this elevated region.  In the mountain passes they found some
inconvenience from the cold; since, to move more quickly, they had
disencumbered themselves of all superfluous baggage, and were even
unprovided with tents.10  The bleak winds of the mountains penetrated
the thick harness of the soldiers; but the poor Indians, more scantily
clothed and accustomed to a tropical climate, suffered most severely.
The Spaniard seemed to have a hardihood of body, as of soul, that
rendered him almost indifferent to climate.

On the march they had not been molested by enemies.  But more than
once they had seen vestiges of them in smoking hamlets and ruined
bridges.  Reports, from time to time, had reached Pizarro of warriors on
his track; and small bodies of Indians were occasionally seen like dusky
clouds on the verge of the horizon, which vanished as the Spaniards
approached.  On reaching Xauxa, however, these clouds gathered into
one dark mass of warriors, which formed on the opposite bank of the
river that flowed through the valley.

The Spaniards advanced to the stream, which, swollen by the melting of
the snows, was now of considerable width, though not deep.  The bridge
had been destroyed; but the Conquerors, without hesitation, dashing
boldly in, advanced, swimming and wading, as they best could, to the
opposite bank.  The Indians, disconcerted by this decided movement, as
they had relied on their watery defences, took to flight, after letting off
an impotent volley of missiles.  Fear gave wings to the fugitives; but the
horse and his rider were swifter, and the victorious pursuers took bloody
vengeance on their enemy for having dared even to meditate resistance.

Xauxa was a considerable town.  It was the place already noticed as
having been visited by Hernando Pizarro.  It was seated in the midst of a
verdant valley, fertilized by a thousand little rills, which the thrifty
Indian husbandman drew from the parent river that rolled sluggishly
through the meadows.  There were several capacious buildings of rough
stone in the town, and a temple of some note in the times of the Incas.
But the strong arm of Father Valverde and his countrymen soon tumbled
the heathen deities from their pride of place, and established, in their
stead, the sacred effigies of the Virgin and Child.

Here Pizarro proposed to halt for some days, and to found a Spanish
colony.  It was a favorable position, he thought, for holding the Indian
mountaineers in check, while, at the same time, it afforded an easy
communication with the sea-coast.  Meanwhile he determined to send
forward De Soto, with a detachment of sixty horse, to reconnoitre the
country in advance, and to restore the bridges where demolished by the

That active cavalier set forward at once, but found considerable
impediments to his progress.  The traces of an enemy became more
frequent as he advanced.  The villages were burnt, the bridges destroyed,
and heavy rocks and trees strewed in the path to impede the march of the
cavalry.  As he drew near to Bilcas, once an important place, though now
effaced from the map, he had a sharp encounter with the natives, in a
mountain defile, which cost him the lives of two or three troopers.  The
loss was light; but any loss was felt by the Spaniards, so little
accustomed as they had been of late, to resistance.

Still pressing forward, the Spanish captain crossed the river Abancay,
and the broad waters of the Apurimac; and, as he drew near the sierra of
Vilcaconga, he learned that a considerable body of Indians lay in wait for
him in the dangerous passes of the mountains.  The sierra was several
leagues from Cuzco; and the cavalier, desirous to reach the further side
of it before nightfall, incautiously pushed on his wearied horses.  When
he was fairly entangled in its rocky defiles, a multitude of armed
warriors, springing, as it seemed, from every cavern and thicket of the
sierra, filled the air with their war-cries, and rushed down, like one of
their own mountain torrents, on the invaders, as they were painfully
toiling up the steeps.  Men and horses were overturned in the fury of the
assault, and the foremost files, rolling back on those below, spread ruin
and consternation in their ranks.  De Soto in vain endeavored to restore
order, and, if possible, to charge the assailants.  The horses were blinded
and maddened by the missiles, while the desperate natives, clinging to
their legs, strove to prevent their ascent up the rocky pathway.  De Soto
saw, that, unless he gained a level ground which opened at some distance
before him, all must be lost.  Cheering on his men with the old battle-cry,
that always went to the heart of a Spaniard, he struck his spurs deep into
the sides of his wearied charger, and, gallantly supported by his troop,
broke through the dark array of warriors, and, shaking them off to the
right and left, at length succeeded in placing himself on the broad level.

Here both parties paused, as if by mutual consent, for a few moments.  A
little stream ran through the plain, at which the Spaniards watered their
horses;12 and the animals, having recovered wind, De Soto and his men
made a desperate charge on their assailants.  The undaunted Indians
sustained the shock with firmness; and the result of the combat was still
doubtful, when the shades of evening, falling thicker around them,
separated the combatants.

Both parties then withdrew from the field, taking up their respective
stations within bow-shot of each other, so that the voices of the warriors
on either side could be distinctly heard in the stillness of the night.  But
very different were the reflections of the two hosts.  The Indians,
exulting in their temporary triumph, looked with confidence to the
morrow to complete it.  The Spaniards, on the other hand, were
proportionably discouraged.  They were not prepared for this spirit of
resistance in an enemy hitherto so tame.  Several cavaliers had fallen;
one of them by a blow from a Peruvian battle-axe, which clove his head
to the chin, attesting the power of the weapon, and of the arm that used
it.13  Several horses, too, had been killed; and the loss of these was
almost as severely felt as that of their riders, considering the great cost
and difficulty of transporting them to these distant regions.  Few either of
the men or horses escaped without wounds, and the Indian allies suffered
still more severely.

It seemed probable, from the pertinacity and a certain order maintained
in the assault, that it was directed by some leader of military experience;
perhaps the Indian commander Quizquiz, who was said to be hanging
round the environs of Cuzco with a considerable force.

Notwithstanding the reasonable cause of apprehension for the morrow,
De Soto, like a stout-hearted cavalier, as he was, strove to keep up the
spirits of his followers.  If they had beaten off the enemy when their
horses were jaded, and their own strength nearly exhausted, how much
easier it would be to come off victorious when both were restored by a
night's rest; and he told them to "trust in the Almighty, who would never
desert his faithful followers in their extremity."  The event justified De
Soto's confidence in this seasonable succour.

From time to time, on his march, he had sent advices to Pizarro of the
menacing state of the country, till his commander, becoming seriously
alarmed, was apprehensive that the cavalier might be overpowered by the
superior numbers of the enemy.  He accordingly detached Almagro with
nearly all the remaining horse, to his support,--unencumbered by
infantry, that he might move the lighter.  That efficient leader advanced
by forced marches, stimulated by the tidings which met him on the road;
and was so fortunate as to reach the foot of the sierra of Vilcaconga the
very night of the engagement.

There hearing of the encounter, he pushed forward without halting,
though his horses were spent with travel.  The night was exceedingly
dark, and Almagro, afraid of stumbling on the enemy's bivouac, and
desirous to give De Soto information of his approach, commanded his
trumpets to sound, till the notes, winding through the defiles of the
mountains, broke the slumbers of his countrymen, sounding like blithest
music in their ears.  They quickly replied with their own bugles, and
soon had the satisfaction to embrace their deliverers.14

Great was the dismay of the Peruvian host, when the morning light
discovered the fresh reinforcement of the ranks of the Spaniards.  There
was no use in contending with an enemy who gathered strength from the
conflict, and who seemed to multiply his numbers at will.  Without
further attempt to renew the fight, they availed themselves of a thick fog,
which hung over the lower slopes of the hills, to effect their retreat, and
left the passes open to the invaders.  The two cavaliers then continued
their march until they extricated their forces from the sierra, when, taking
up a secure position, they proposed to await there the arrival of

The commander-in-chief, meanwhile, lay at Xauxa, where he was greatly
disturbed by the rumors which reached him of the state of the country.
His enterprise, thus far, had gone forward so smoothly, that he was no
better prepared than his lieutenant to meet with resistance from the
natives.  He did not seem to comprehend that the mildest nature might at
last be roused by oppression; and that the massacre of their Inca, whom
they regarded with such awful veneration, would be likely, if any thing
could do it, to wake them from their apathy.

The tidings which he now received of the retreat of the Peruvians were
most welcome; and he caused mass to be said, and thanksgivings to be
offered up to Heaven, "which had shown itself thus favorable to the
Christians throughout this mighty enterprise." The Spaniard was ever a
Crusader.  He was, in the sixteenth century, what Coeur de Lion and his
brave knights were in the twelfth, with this difference; the cavalier of that
day fought for the Cross and for glory, while gold and the Cross were the
watchwords of the Spaniard.  The spirit of chivalry had waned somewhat
before the spirit of trade; but the fire of religious enthusiasm still burned
as bright under the quilted mail of the American Conqueror, as it did of
yore under the iron panoply of the soldier of Palestine.

It seemed probable that some man of authority had organized, or at least
countenanced, this resistance of the natives, and suspicion fell on the
captive chief Challcuchima, who was accused of maintaining a secret
correspondence with his confederate, Quizquiz.  Pizarro waited on the
Indian noble, and, charging him with the conspiracy, reproached him, as
he had formerly done his royal master, with ingratitude towards the
Spaniards, who had dealt with him so liberally.  He concluded by the
assurance, that, if he did not cause the Peruvians to lay down their arms,
and tender their submission at once, he should be burnt alive, so soon as
they reached Almagro's quarters.16

The Indian chief listened to the terrible menace with the utmost
composure.  He denied having had any communication with his countrymen,
and said, that, in his present state of confinement, at least,
he could have no power to bring them to submission.  He then remained
doggedly silent, and Pizarro did not press the matter further.17  But he
placed a strong guard over his prisoner, and caused him to be put in
irons.  It was an ominous proceeding, and had been the precursor of the
death of Atahuallpa.

Before quitting Xauxa, a misfortune befell the Spaniards in the death of
their creature, the young Inca Toparca.  Suspicion, of course, fell on
Challcuchima, now selected as the scape-goat for all the offences of his
nation.18  It was a disappointment to Pizarro, who hoped to find a
convenient shelter for his future proceedings under this shadow of

The general considered it most prudent not to hazard the loss of his
treasures by taking them on the march, and he accordingly left them at
Xauxa, under a guard of forty soldiers, who remained there in garrison.
No event of importance occurred on the road, and Pizarro, having
effected a junction with Almagro, their united forces soon entered the
vale of Xaquixaguana, about five leagues from Cuzco.  This was one of
those bright spots, so often found embosomed amidst the Andes, the
more beautiful from contrast with the savage character of the scenery
around it.  A river flowed through the valley, affording the means of
irrigating the soil, and clothing it in perpetual verdure; and the rich and
flowering vegetation spread out like a cultivated garden.  The beauty of
the place and its delicious coolness commended it as a residence for the
Peruvian nobles, and the sides of the hills were dotted with their villas,
which afforded them a grateful retreat in the heats of summer.20  Yet
the centre of the valley was disfigured by a quagmire of some extent,
occasioned by the frequent overflowing of the waters; but the industry of
the Indian architects had constructed a solid causeway, faced with heavy
stone, and connected with the great road, which traversed the whole
breadth of the morass.21

In this valley Pizarro halted for several days, while he refreshed his
troops from the well-stored magazines of the Incas.  His first act was to
bring Challcuchima to trial; if trial that could be called, where sentence
may be said to have gone hand in hand with accusation.  We are not
informed of the nature of the evidence.  It was sufficient to satisfy the
Spanish captains of the chieftain's guilt.  Nor is it at all incredible that
Challcuchima should have secretly encouraged a movement among the
people, designed to secure his country's freedom and his own.  He was
condemned to be burnt alive on the spot.  "Some thought it a hard
measure," says Herrera; "but those who are governed by reasons of state
policy are apt to shut their eyes against every thing else." 22  Why this
cruel mode of execution was so often adopted by the Spanish
Conquerors is not obvious; unless it was that the Indian was an infidel,
and fire, from ancient date, seems to have been considered the fitting
doom of the infidel, as the type of that inextinguishable flame which
awaited him in the regions of the damned.

Father Valverde accompanied the Peruvian chieftain to the stake.  He
seems always to have been present at this dreary moment, anxious to
profit by it, if possible, to work the conversion of the victim.  He painted
in gloomy colors the dreadful doom of the unbeliever, to whom the
waters of baptism could alone secure the ineffable glories of paradise.23
It does not appear that he promised any commutation of punishment in
this world.  But his arguments fell on a stony heart, and the chief coldly
replied, he "did not understand the religion of the white men." 24  He
might be pardoned for not comprehending the beauty of a faith which, as
it would seem, had borne so bitter fruits to him.  In the midst of his
tortures, he showed the characteristic courage of the American Indian,
whose power of endurance triumphs over the power of persecution in his
enemies, and he died with his last breath invoking the name of
Pachacamac.  His own followers brought the fagots to feed the flames
that consumed him .25

Soon after this tragic event, Pizarro was surprised by a visit from a
Peruvian noble, who came in great state, attended by a numerous and
showy retinue.  It was the young prince Manco, brother of the
unfortunate Huascar, and the rightful successor to the crown.  Being
brought before the Spanish commander, he announced his pretensions to
the throne, and claimed the protection of the strangers.  It is said he had
meditated resisting them by arms, and had encouraged the assaults made
on them on their march; but, finding resistance ineffectual, he had taken
this politic course, greatly to the displeasure of his more resolute nobles.
However this may be, Pizarro listened to his application with singular
contentment, for he saw in this new scion of the true royal stock, a more
effectual instrument for his purposes than he could have found in the
family of Quito, with whom the Peruvians had but little sympathy.  He
received the young man, therefore, with great cordiality, and did not
hesitate to assure him that he had been sent into the country by his
master, the Castilian sovereign, in order to vindicate the claims of
Huascar to the crown, and to punish the usurpation of his rival.26

Taking with him the Indian prince, Pizarro now resumed his march.  It
was interrupted for a few hours by a party of the natives, who lay in wait
for him in the neighboring sierra.  A sharp skirmish ensued, in which the
Indians behaved with great spirit, and inflicted some little injury on the
Spaniards; but the latter, at length, shaking them off, made good their
passage through the defile, and the enemy did not care to follow them
into the open country.

It was late in the afternoon when the Conquerors came in sight of
Cuzco.27  The descending sun was streaming his broad rays full on the
imperial city, where many an altar was dedicated to his worship.  The
low ranges of buildings, showing in his beams like so many lines of
silvery light, filled up the bosom of the valley and the lower slopes of the
mountains, whose shadowy forms hung darkly over the fair city, as if to
shield it from the menaced profanation.  It was so late, that Pizarro
resolved to defer his entrance till the following morning.

That night vigilant guard was kept in the camp, and the soldiers slept on
their arms.  But it passed away without annoyance from the enemy, and
early on the following day, November 15, 1533, Pizarro prepared for his
entrance into the Peruvian capital.28

The little army was formed into three divisions, of which the centre, or
"battle," as it was called, was led by the general.  The suburbs were
thronged with a countless multitude of the natives, who had flocked from
the city and the surrounding country to witness the showy, and, to them,
startling pageant.  All looked with eager curiosity on the strangers, the
fame of whose terrible exploits had spread to the remotest parts of the
empire.  They gazed with astonishment on their dazzling arms and fair
complexions, which seemed to proclaim them the true Children of the
Sun; and they listened with feelings of mysterious dread, as the trumpet
sent forth its prolonged notes through the streets of the capital, and the
solid ground shook under the heavy tramp of the cavalry.

The Spanish commander rode directly up the great square.  It was
surrounded by low piles of buildings, among which were several palaces
of the Incas.  One of these, erected by Huayna Capac, was surmounted
by a tower, while the ground-floor was occupied by one or more
immense halls, like those described in Caxamalca, where the Peruvian
nobles held their fetes in stormy weather.  These buildings afforded
convenient barracks for the troops, though, during the first few weeks,
they remained under their tents in the open plaza, with their horses
picketed by their side, ready to repulse any insurrection of the

The capital of the Incas, though falling short of the El Dorado which had
engaged their credulous fancies, astonished the Spaniards by the beauty
of its edifices, the length and regularity of its streets, and the good order
and appearance of comfort, even luxury, visible in its numerous
population.  It far surpassed all they had yet seen in the New World.  The
population of the city is computed by one of the Conquerors at two
hundred thousand inhabitants, and that of the suburbs at as many
more.30  This account is not confirmed, as far as I have seen, by any
other writer.  But however it may be exaggerated, it is certain that Cuzco
was the metropolis of a great empire, the residence of the Court and the
chief nobility; frequented by the most skilful mechanics and artisans of
every description, who found a demand for their ingenuity in the royal
precincts; while the place was garrisoned by a numerous soldiery, and
was the resort, finally, of emigrants from the most distant provinces.  The
quarters whence this motley population came were indicated by their
peculiar dress, and especially their head-gear, so rarely found at all on
the American Indian, which, with its variegated colors, gave a
picturesque effect to the groups and masses in the streets.  The habitual
order and decorum maintained in this multifarious assembly showed the
excellent police of the capital, where the only sounds that disturbed the
repose of the Spaniards were the noises of feasting and dancing, which
the natives, with happy insensibility, constantly prolonged to a late hour
of the night.31

The edifices of the better sort--and they were very numerous--were of
stone, or faced with stone.32  Among the principal were the royal
residences; as each sovereign built a new palace for himself, covering,
though low, a large extent of ground.  The walls were sometimes stained
or painted with gaudy tints, and the gates, we are assured, were
sometimes of colored marble.33  "In the delicacy of the stone-work,"
says another of the Conquerors, "the natives far excelled the Spaniards,
though the roofs of their dwellings, instead of tiles, were only of thatch,
but put together with the nicest art." 34  The sunny climate of Cuzco did
not require a very substantial material for defence against the weather.

The most important building was the fortress, planted on a solid rock,
that rose boldly above the city.  It was built of hewn stone, so finely
wrought that it was impossible to detect the line of junction between the
blocks; and the approaches to it were defended by three semicircular
parapets, composed of such heavy masses of rock, that it bore
resemblance to the kind of work known to architects as the Cyclopean.
The fortress was raised to a height rare in Peruvian architecture; and
from the summit of the tower the eye of the-spectator ranged over a
magnificent prospect, in which the wild features of the mountain scenery,
rocks, woods, and waterfalls, were mingled with the rich verdure of the
valley, and the shining city filling up the foreground,--all blended in
sweet harmony under the deep azure of a tropical sky.

The streets were long and narrow.  They were arranged with perfect
regularity, crossing one another at right angles; and from the great square
diverged four principal streets connecting with the high roads of the
empire.  The square itself, and many parts of the city, were paved with a
fine pebble.35  Through the heart of the capital ran a river of pure water,
if it might not be rather termed a canal, the banks or sides of which, for
the distance of twenty leagues, were faced with stone.36  Across this
stream, bridges, constructed of similar broad flags, were thrown, at
intervals, so as to afford an easy communication between the different
quarters of the capital.37

The most sumptuous edifice in Cuzco, in the times of the Incas, was
undoubtedly the great temple dedicated to the Sun, which, studded with
gold plates, as already noticed, was surrounded by convents and
dormitories for the priests, with their gardens and broad parterres
sparkling with gold.  The exterior ornaments had been already removed
by the Conquerors,--all but the frieze of gold, which, imbedded in the
stones, still encircled the principal building.  It is probable that the tales
of wealth, so greedily circulated among the Spaniards, greatly exceeded
the truth.  If they did not, the natives must have been very successful in
concealing their treasures from the invaders.  Yet much still remained,
not only in the great House of the Sun, but in the inferior temples which
swarmed in the capital.

Pizarro, on entering Cuzco, had issued an order forbidding any soldier to
offer violence to the dwellings of the inhabitants.38  But the palaces
were numerous, and the troops lost no time in plundering them of their
contents, as well as in despoiling the religious edifices.  The interior
decorations supplied them with considerable booty.  They stripped off
the jewels and rich ornaments that garnished the royal mummies in the
temple of Coricancha.  Indignant at the concealment of their treasures,
they put the inhabitants, in some instances, to the torture, and endeavored
to extort from them a confession of their hiding-places.39  They invaded
the repose of the sepulchres, in which the Peruvians often deposited their
valuable effects, and compelled the grave to give up its dead.  No place
was left unexplored by the rapacious Conquerors, and they occasionally
stumbled on a mine of wealth that rewarded their labors.

In a cavern near the city they found a number of vases of pure gold,
richly embossed with the figures of serpents, locusts, and other animals.
Among the spoil were four golden llamas and ten or twelve statues of
women, some of gold, others of silver, "which merely to see," says one
of the Conquerors, with some naivete, "was truly a great satisfaction."
The gold was probably thin, for the figures were all as large as life; and
several of them, being reserved for the royal fifth, were not recast, but
sent in their original form to Spain.40  The magazines were stored with
curious commodities; richly tinted robes of cotton and feather-work, gold
sandals, and slippers of the same material, for the women, and dresses
composed entirely of beads of gold.41  The grain and other articles of
food, with which the magazines were filled, were held in contempt by the
Conquerors, intent only on gratifying their lust for gold.42  The time
came when the grain would have been of far more value.

Yet the amount of treasure in the capital did not equal the sanguine
expectations that had been formed by the Spaniards.  But the deficiency
was supplied by the plunder which they had collected at various places
on their march.  In one place, for example, they met with ten planks or
bars of solid silver, each piece being twenty feet in length, one foot in
breadth, and two or three inches thick.  They were intended to decorate
the dwelling of an Inca noble.43

The whole mass of treasure was brought into a common heap, as in
Caxamalca; and after some of the finer specimens had been deducted for
the Crown, the remainder was delivered to the Indian goldsmiths to be
melted down into ingots of a uniform standard.  The division of the spoil
was made on the same principle as before.  There were four hundred and
eighty soldiers, including the garrison of Xauxa, who were each to
receive a share, that of the cavalry being double that of the infantry.  The
amount of booty is stated variously by those present at the division of it.
According to some it considerably exceeded the ransom of Atahuallpa.
Others state it as less.  Pedro Pizarro says that each horseman got six
thousand pesos de oro, and each one of the infantry half that sum; 44
though the same discrimination was made by Pizarro as before, in
respect to the rank of the parties, and their relative services.  But Sancho,
the royal notary, and secretary of the commander, estimates the whole
amount as far less,--not exceeding five hundred and eighty thousand and
two hundred pesos de oro, and two hundred and fifteen thousand marks
of silver.45  In the absence of the official returns, it is impossible to
determine which is correct.  But Sancho's narrative is countersigned, it
may be remembered, by Pizarro and the royal treasurer Riquelme, and
doubtless therefore, shows the actual amount for which the Conquerors
accounted to the Crown.

Whichever statement we receive, the sum, combined with that obtained
at Caxamalca, might well have satisfied the cravings of the most
avaricious.  The sudden influx of so much wealth, and that, too, in so
transferable a form, among a party of reckless adventurers little
accustomed to the possession of money, had its natural effect.  it
supplied them with the means of gaming, so strong and common a
passion with the Spaniards, that it may be considered a national vice.
Fortunes were lost and won in a single day, sufficient to render the
proprietors independent for life; and many a desperate gamester, by an
unlucky throw of the dice or turn of the cards, saw himself stripped in a
few hours of the fruits of years of toil, and obliged to begin over again
the business of rapine.  Among these, one in the cavalry service is
mentioned, named Leguizano, who had received as his share of the booty
the image of the Sun, which, raised on a plate of burnished gold, spread
over the walls in a recess of the great temple, and which, for some reason
or other,--perhaps because of its superior fineness,--was not recast like
the other ornaments.  This rich prize the spendthrift lost in a single night;
whence it came to be a proverb in Spain, Juega el Sol antes que
amanezca, "Play away the Sun before sunrise." 46

The effect of such a surfeit of the precious metals was instantly felt on
prices.  The most ordinary articles were only to be had for exorbitant
sums.  A quire of paper sold for ten pesos de oro; a bottle of wine, for
sixty; a sword, for forty or fifty; a cloak, for a hundred,--sometimes
more; a pair of shoes cost thirty or forty pesos de oro, and a good horse
could not be had for less than twenty-five hundred.47  Some brought a
still higher price.  Every article rose in value, as gold and silver, the
representatives of all, declined.  Gold and silver, in short, seemed to be
the only things in Cuzco that were not wealth.  Yet there were some few
wise enough to return contented with their present gains to their native
country.  Here their riches brought them consideration and competence,
and while they excited the envy of their countrymen, stimulated them to
seek their own fortunes in the like path of adventure.

Book 3

Chapter 9

New Inca Crowned--Municipal Regulations--Terrible March Of Alvarado--
Interview With Pizarro--Foundation Of Lima--
Hernando Pizarro Reaches Spain--Sensation At Court--
Feuds Of Almagro And The Pizarros


The first care of the Spanish general, after the division of the booty, was
to place Manco on the throne, and to obtain for him the recognition of
his countrymen.  He, accordingly, presented the young prince to them as
their future sovereign, the legitimate son of Huayna Capac, and the true
heir of the Peruvian sceptre.  The annunciation was received with
enthusiasm by the people, attached to the memory of his illustrious
father, and pleased that they were still to have a monarch rule over them
of the ancient line of Cuzco.

Everything was done to maintain the illusion with the Indian population.
The ceremonies of a coronation were studiously observed.  The young
prince kept the prescribed fasts and vigils; and on the appointed day, the
nobles and the people, with the whole Spanish soldiery, assembled in the
great square of Cuzco to witness the concluding ceremony.  Mass was
publicly performed by Father Valverde, and the Inca Manco received the
fringed diadem of Peru, not from the hand of the high-priest of his
nation, but from his Conqueror, Pizarro.  The Indian lords then tendered
their obeisance in the customary form; after which the royal notary read
aloud the instrument asserting the supremacy of the Castilian Crown, and
requiring the homage of all present to its authority.  This address was
explained by an interpreter, and the ceremony of homage was performed
by each one of the parties waving the royal banner of Castile twice or
thrice with his hands.  Manco then pledged the Spanish commander in a
golden goblet of the sparkling chicha; and, the latter having cordially
embraced the new monarch, the trumpets announced the conclusion of
the ceremony.1  But it was not the note of triumph, but of humiliation;
for it proclaimed that the armed foot of the stranger was in the halls of
the Peruvian Incas; that the ceremony of coronation was a miserable
pageant; that their prince himself was but a puppet in the hands of his
Conquerors; and that the glory of the Children of the Sun had departed

Yet the people readily gave in to the illusion, and seemed willing to
accept this image of their ancient independence.  The accession of the
young monarch was greeted by all the usual fetes and rejoicings.  The
mummies of his royal ancestors, with such ornaments as were still left to
them, were paraded in the great square.  They were attended each by his
own numerous retinue, who performed all the menial offices, as if the
object of them were alive and could feel their import.  Each ghostly form
took its seat at the banquet-table--now, alas!  stripped of the magnificent
service with which it was wont to blaze at these high festivals--and the
guests drank deep to the illustrious dead.  Dancing succeeded the
carousal, and the festivities, prolonged to a late hour, were continued
night after night by the giddy population, as if their conquerors had not
been intrenched in the capital!2  --What a contrast to the Aztecs in the
conquest of Mexico!

Pizarro's next concern was to organize a municipal government for
Cuzco, like those in the cities of the parent country.  Two alcaldes were
appointed, and eight regidores, among which last functionaries were his
brothers Gonzalo and Juan.  The oaths of office were administered with
great solemnity, on the twenty-fourth of March, 1534, in presence both
of Spaniards and Peruvians, in the public square; as if the general were
willing by this ceremony to intimate to the latter, that, while they
retained the semblance of their ancient institutions, the real power was
henceforth vested in their conquerors.3  He invited Spaniards to settle in
the place by liberal grants of land and houses, for which means were
afforded by the numerous palaces and public buildings of the Incas; and
many a cavalier, who had been too poor in his own country to find a
place to rest in, now saw himself the proprietor of a spacious mansion
that might have entertained the retinue of a prince.4  From this time, says
an old chronicler, Pizarro, who had hitherto been distinguished by his
military title of "Captain-General," was addressed by that of "Governor."
5  Both had been bestowed on him by the royal grant.

Nor did the chief neglect the interests of religion.  Father Valverde,
whose nomination as Bishop of Cuzco not long afterwards received the
Papal sanction, prepared to enter on the duties of his office.  A place was
selected for the cathedral of his diocese, facing the plaza.  A spacious
monastery subsequently rose on the ruins of the gorgeous House of the
Sun; its walls were constructed of the ancient stones; the altar was raised
on the spot where shone the bright image of the Peruvian deity, and the
cloisters of the Indian temple were trodden by the friars of St. Dominic.6
To make the metamorphosis more complete, the House of the Virgins of
the Sun was replaced by a Roman Catholic nunnery.7  Christian churches
and monasteries gradually supplanted the ancient edifices, and such of
the latter as were suffered to remain, despoiled of their heathen insignia,
were placed under the protection of the Cross.

The Fathers of St. Dominic, the Brethren of the Order of Mercy, and
other missionaries, now busied themselves in the good work of
conversion.  We have seen that Pizarro was required by the Crown to
bring out a certain number of these holy men in his own vessels; and
every succeeding vessel brought an additional reinforcement of
ecclesiastics.  They were not all like the Bishop of Cuzco, with hearts so
seared by fanaticism as to be closed against sympathy with the
unfortunate natives.8  They were, many of them, men of singular
humility, who followed in the track of the conqueror to scatter the seeds
of spiritual truth, and, with disinterested zeal, devoted themselves to the
propagation of the Gospel.  Thus did their pious labors prove them the
true soldiers of the Cross, and showed that the object so ostentatiously
avowed of carrying its banner among the heathen nations was not an
empty vaunt.

The effort to Christianize the heathen is an honorable characteristic of
the Spanish conquests.  The Puritan, with equal religious zeal, did
comparatively little for the conversion of the Indian, content, as it would
seem, with having secured to himself the inestimable privilege of
worshipping God in his own way.  Other adventurers who have occupied
the New World have often had too little regard for religion themselves,
to be very solicitous about spreading it among the savages.  But the
Spanish missionary, from first to last, has shown a keen interest in the
spiritual welfare of the natives.  Under his auspices, churches on a
magnificent scale have been erected, schools for elementary instruction
founded, and every rational means taken to spread the knowledge of
religious truth, while he has carried his solitary mission into remote and
almost inaccessible regions, or gathered his Indian disciples into
communities, like the good Las Casas in Cumana, or the Jesuits in
California and Paraguay.  At all times, the courageous ecclesiastic has
been ready to lift his voice against the cruelty of the conqueror, and the
no less wasting cupidity of the colonist; and when his remonstrances, as
was too often the case, have proved unavailing, he has still followed to
bind up the broken-hearted, to teach the poor Indian resignation under
his lot, and light up his dark intellect with the revelation of a holier and
happier existence.--In reviewing the blood-stained records of Spanish
colonial history, it is but fair, and at the same time cheering, to reflect,
that the same nation which sent forth the hard-hearted conqueror from its
bosom sent forth the missionary to do the work of beneficence, and
spread the light of Christian civilization over the farthest regions of the
New World.

While the governor, as we are henceforth to style him, lay at Cuzco, he
received repeated accounts of a considerable force in the neighborhood,
under the command of Atahuallpa's officer, Quizquiz.  He accordingly
detached Almagro, with a small body of horse and a large Indian force
under the Inca Manco, to disperse the enemy, and, if possible, to capture
their leader.  Manco was the more ready to take part in the expedition, as
the enemy were soldiers of Quito, who, with their commander, bore no
good-will to himself.

Almagro, moving with his characteristic rapidity, was not long in coming
up with the Indian chieftain.  Several sharp encounters followed, as the
army of Quito fell back on Xauxa, near which a general engagement
decided the fate of the war by the total discomfiture of the natives.
Quizquiz fled to the elevated plains of Quito, where he still held out with
undaunted spirit against a Spanish force in that quarter, till at length his
own soldiers, wearied by these long and ineffectual hostilities, massacred
their commander in cold blood.9  Thus fell the last of the two great
officers of Atahuallpa, who, if their nation had been animated by a spirit
equal to their own, might long have successfully maintained their soil
against the invader.

Some time before this occurrence, the Spanish governor, while in Cuzco,
received tidings of an event much more alarming to him than any Indian
hostilities.  This was the arrival on the coast of a strong Spanish force,
under command of Don Pedro de Alvarado, the gallant officer who had
served under Cortes with such renown in the war of Mexico.  That
cavalier, after forming a brilliant alliance in Spain, to which he was
entitled by his birth and military rank, had returned to his government of
Guatemala, where his avarice had been roused by the magnificent reports
he daily received of Pizarro's conquests.  These conquests, he learned,
had been confined to Peru; while the northern kingdom of Quito, the
ancient residence of Atahuallpa, and, no doubt, the principal depository
of his treasures, yet remained untouched.  Affecting to consider this
country as falling without the governor's jurisdiction, he immediately
turned a large fleet, which he had intended for the Spice Islands, in the
direction of South America; and in March, 1534, he landed in the bay of
Caraques, with five hundred followers, of whom half were mounted, and
all admirably provided with arms and ammunition.  It was the best
equipped and the most formidable array that had yet appeared in the
southern seas.10

Although manifestly an invasion of the territory conceded to Pizarro by
the Crown, the reckless cavalier determined to march at once on Quito.
With the assistance of an Indian guide, he proposed to take the direct
route across the mountains, a passage of exceeding difficulty, even at the
most favorable season.

After crossing the Rio Dable, Alvarado's guide deserted him, so that he
was soon entangled in the intricate mazes of the sierra; and, as he rose
higher and higher into the regions of winter, he became surrounded with
ice and snow, for which his men, taken from the warm countries of
Guatemala, were but ill prepared.  As the cold grew more intense, many
of them were so benumbed, that it was with difficulty they could
proceed.  The infantry, compelled to make exertions, fared best.  Many
of the troopers were frozen stiff in their saddles.  The Indians, still more
sensible to the cold, perished by hundreds.  As the Spaniards huddled
round their wretched bivouacs, with such scanty fuel as they could glean,
and almost without food, they waited in gloomy silence the approach of
morning.  Yet the morning light, which gleamed coldly on the cheerless
waste, brought no joy to them.  It only revealed more clearly the extent
of their wretchedness.  Still struggling on through the winding Puertos
Nevados, or Snowy Passes, their track was dismally marked by
fragments of dress, broken harness, golden ornaments, and other
valuables plundered on their march,--by the dead bodies of men, or by
those less fortunate, who were left to die alone in the wilderness.  As for
the horses, their carcasses were not suffered long to cumber the ground,
as they were quickly seized and devoured half raw by the starving
soldiers, who, like the famished condors, now hovering in troops above
their heads, greedily banqueted on the most offensive offal to satisfy the
gnawings of hunger.

Alvarado, anxious to secure the booty which had fallen into his hands at
an earlier part of his march, encouraged every man to take what gold he
wanted from the common heap, reserving only the royal fifth.  But they
only answered, with a ghastly smile of derision, "that food was the only
gold for them." Yet in this extremity, which might seem to have
dissolved the very ties of nature, there are some affecting instances
recorded of self-devotion; of comrades who lost their lives in assisting
others, and of parents and husbands (for some of the cavaliers were
accompanied by their wives) who, instead of seeking their own safety,
chose to remain and perish in the snows with the objects of their love.

To add to their distress, the air was filled for several days with thick
clouds of earthy particles and cinders, which blinded the men, and made
respiration exceedingly difficult.11  This phenomenon, it seems
probable, was caused by an eruption of the distant Cotopaxi, which,
about twelve leagues southeast of Quito, rears up its colossal and
perfectly symmetrical cone far above the limits of eternal snow,--the
most beautiful and the most terrible of the American volcanoes.12  At
the time of Alvarado's expedition, it was in a state of eruption, the
earliest instance of the kind on record, though doubtless not the
earliest.13  Since that period, it has been in frequent commotion, sending
up its sheets of flame to the height of half a mile, spouting forth cataracts
of lava that have overwhelmed towns and villages in their career, and
shaking the earth with subterraneous thunders, that, at the distance of
more than a hundred leagues, sounded like the reports of artillery!14
Alvarado's followers, unacquainted with the cause of the phenomenon, as
they wandered over tracts buried in snow,--the sight of which was
strange to them,--in an atmosphere laden with ashes, became bewildered
by this confusion of the elements, which Nature seemed to have
contrived purposely for their destruction.  Some of these men were the
soldiers of Cortes, steeled by many a painful march, and many a sharp
encounter with the Aztecs.  But this war of the elements, they now
confessed, was mightier than all.

At length, Alvarado, after sufferings, which even the most hardy,
probably, could have endured but a few days longer, emerged from the
Snowy Pass, and came on the elevated table-land, which spreads out, at
the height of more than nine thousand feet above the ocean, in the
neighborhood of Riobamba.  But one fourth of his gallant army had been
left to feed the condor in the wilderness, besides the greater part, at least
two thousand, of his Indian auxiliaries.  A great number of his horses,
too, had perished; and the men and horses that escaped were all of them
more or less injured by the cold and the extremity of suffering.--Such
was the terrible passage of the Puertos Nevados, which I have only
briefly noticed as an episode to the Peruvian conquest, but the account of
which, in all its details, though it occupied but a few weeks in duration,
would give one a better idea of the difficulties encountered by the
Spanish cavaliers, than volumes of ordinary narrative.15

As Alvarado, after halting some time to restore his exhausted troops,
began his march across the broad plateau, he was astonished by seeing
the prints of horses' hoofs on the soil.  Spaniards, then, had been there
before him, and, after all his toil and suffering, others had forestalled him
in the enterprise against Quito!  It is necessary to say a few words in
explanation of this.

When Pizarro quitted Caxamalca, being sensible of the growing
importance of San Miguel, the only port of entry then in the country, he
despatched a person in whom he had great confidence to take charge of
it.  This person was Sebastian Benalcazar, a cavalier who afterwards
placed his name in the first rank of the South American conquerors, for
courage, capacity,--and cruelty.  But this cavalier had hardly reached his
government, when, like Alvarado, he received such accounts of the
riches of Quito, that he determined, with the force at his command,
though without orders, to undertake its reduction.

At the head of about a hundred and forty soldiers, horse and foot, and a
stout body of Indian auxiliaries, he marched up the broad range of the
Andes, to where it spreads out into the table-land of Quito, by a road
safer and more expeditious than that taken by Alvarado.  On the plains of
Riobamba, he encountered the Indian general Ruminavi.  Several
engagements followed, with doubtful success, when, in the end, science
prevailed where courage was well matched, and the victorious
Benalcazar planted the standard of Castile on the ancient towers of
Atahuallpa.  The city, in honor of his general, Francis Pizarro, he named
San Francisco del Quito.  But great was his mortification on finding that
either the stories of its riches had been fabricated, or that these riches
were secreted by the natives.  The city was all that he gained by his
victories,--the shell without the pearl of price which gave it its value.
While devouring his chagrin, as he best could, the Spanish captain
received tidings of the approach of his superior, Almagro.16

No sooner had the news of Alvarado's expedition reached Cuzco, than
Almagro left the place with a small force for San Miguel, proposing to
strengthen himself by a reinforcement from that quarter, and to march at
once against the invaders.  Greatly was he astonished, on his arrival in
that city, to learn the departure of its commander.  Doubting the loyalty
of his motives, Almagro, with the buoyancy of spirit which belongs to
youth, though in truth somewhat enfeebled by the infirmities of age, did
not hesitate to follow Benalcazar at once across the mountains.

With his wonted energy, the intrepid veteran, overcoming all the
difficulties of his march, in a few weeks placed himself and his little
company on the lofty plains which spread around the Indian city of
Riobamba; though in his progress he had more than one hot encounter
with the natives, whose courage and perseverance formed a contrast
sufficiently striking to the apathy of the Peruvians.  But the fire only
slumbered in the bosom of the Peruvian.  His hour had not yet come.

At Riobamba, Almagro was soon joined by the commander of San
Miguel, who disclaimed, perhaps sincerely, any disloyal intent in his
unauthorized expedition.  Thus reinforced, the Spanish captain coolly
awaited the coming of Alvarado.  The forces of the latter, though in a
less serviceable condition, were much superior in number and
appointments to those of his rival.  As they confronted each other on the
broad plains of Riobamba, it seemed probable that a fierce struggle must
immediately follow, and the natives of the country have the satisfaction
to see their wrongs avenged by the very hands that inflicted them.  But it
was Almagro's policy to avoid such an issue.

Negotiations were set on foot, in which each party stated his claims to
the country.  Meanwhile Alvarado's men mingled freely with their
countrymen in the opposite army, and heard there such magnificent
reports of the wealth and wonders of Cuzco, that many of them were
inclined to change their present service for that of Pizarro.  Their own
leader, too, satisfied that Quito held out no recompense worth the
sacrifices he had made, and was like to make, by insisting on his claim,
became now more sensible of the rashness of a course which must
doubtless incur the censure of his sovereign.  In this temper, it was not
difficult for them to effect an adjustment of difficulties; and it was
agreed, as the basis of it, that the governor should pay one hundred
thousand pesos de oro to Alvarado, in consideration of which the latter
was to resign to him his fleet, his forces, and all his stores and munitions.
His vessels, great and small, amounted to twelve in number, and the sum
he received, though large, did not cover his expenses.  This treaty being
settled, Alvarado proposed, before leaving the country, to have an
interview with Pizarro.17

The governor, meanwhile, had quitted the Peruvian capital for the
seacoast, from his desire to repel any invasion that might be attempted in
that direction by Alvarado, with whose real movements he was still
unacquainted.  He left Cuzco in charge of his brother Juan, a cavalier
whose manners were such as, he thought, would be likely to gain the
good-will of the native population.  Pizarro also left ninety of his troops,
as the garrison of the capital, and the nucleus of his future colony.  Then,
taking the Inca Manco with him, he proceeded as far as Xauxa.  At this
place he was entertained by the Indian prince with the exhibition of a
great national hunt,--such as has been already described in these pages,--
in which immense numbers of wild animals were slaughtered, and the
vicunas, and other races of Peruvian sheep, which roam over the
mountains, driven into inclosures and relieved of their delicate fleeces.18

The Spanish governor then proceeded to Pachacamac, where he received
the grateful intelligence of the accommodation with Alvarado; and not
long afterward he was visited by that cavalier himself, previously to his

The meeting was conducted with courtesy and a show, at least, of
goodwill, on both sides, as there was no longer real cause for jealousy
between the parties; and each, as may be imagined, looked on the other
with no little interest, as having achieved such distinction in the bold
path of adventure.  In the comparison, Alvarado had somewhat the
advantage; for Pizarro, though of commanding presence, had not the
brilliant exterior, the free and joyous manner, which, no less than his
fresh complexion and sunny locks, had won for the conqueror of
Guatemala, in his campaigns against the Aztecs, the sobriquet of
Tonatiuh, or "Child of the Sun."

Blithe were the revels that now rang through the ancient city of
Pachacamac; where, instead of songs, and of the sacrifices so often seen
there in honor of the Indian deity, the walls echoed to the noise of
tourneys and Moorish tilts of reeds, with which the martial adventurers
loved to recall the sports of their native land.  When these were
concluded, Alvarado reembarked for his government of Guatemala,
where his restless spirit soon involved him in other enterprises that cut
short his adventurous career.  His expedition to Peru was eminently
characteristic of the man.  It was founded in injustice, conducted with
rashness, and ended in disaster.19

The reduction of Peru might now be considered as, in a manner,
accomplished.  Some barbarous tribes in the interior, it is true, still held
out, and Alonso de Alvarado, a prudent and able officer, was employed
to bring them into subjection.  Benalcazar was still at Quito, of which he
was subsequently appointed governor by the Crown.  There he was
laying deeper the foundation of the Spanish power, while he advanced
the line of conquest still higher towards the north.  But Cuzco, the
ancient capital of the Indian monarchy, had submitted.  The armies of
Atahuallpa had been beaten and scattered.  The empire of the Incas was
dissolved; and the prince who now wore the Peruvian diadem was but
the shadow of a king, who held his commission from his conqueror.

The first act of the governor was to determine on the site of the future
capital of this vast colonial empire.  Cuzco, withdrawn among the
mountains, was altogether too far removed from the sea-coast for a
commercial people.  The little settlement of San Miguel lay too far to the
north.  It was desirable to select some more central position, which could
be easily found in one of the fruitful valleys that bordered the Pacific.
Such was that of Pachacamac, which Pizarro now occupied.  But, on
further examination, he preferred the neighboring valley of Rimac, which
lay to the north, and which took its name, signifying in the Quichua
tongue "one who speaks," from a celebrated idol, whose shrine was
much frequented by the Indians for the oracles it delivered.  Through the
valley flowed a broad stream, which, like a great artery, was made, as
usual by the natives, to supply a thousand finer veins that meandered
through the beautiful meadows.

On this river Pizarro fixed the site of his new capital, at somewhat less
than two leagues' distance from its mouth, which expanded into a
commodious haven for the commerce that the prophetic eye of the
founder saw would one day--and no very distant one---float on its waters.
The central situation of the spot recommended it as a suitable residence
for the Peruvian viceroy, whence he might hold easy communication
with the different parts of the country, and keep vigilant watch over his
Indian vassals.  The climate was delightful, and, though only twelve
degrees south of the line, was so far tempered by the cool breezes that
generally blow from the Pacific, or from the opposite quarter down the
frozen sides of the Cordilleras, that the heat was less than in
corresponding latitudes on the continent.  It never rained on the coast;
but this dryness was corrected by a vaporous cloud, which, through the
summer months, hung like a curtain over the valley, sheltering it from the
rays of a tropical sun, and imperceptibly distilling a refreshing moisture,
that clothed the fields in the brightest verdure.

The name bestowed on the infant capital was Ciudad de los Reyes, or
City of the Kings, in honor of the day, being the sixth of January, 1535, -
-the festival of Epiphany,--when it was said to have been founded, or
more probably when its site was determined, as its actual foundation
seems to have been twelve days later.20  But the Castilian name ceased
to be used even within the first generation, and was supplanted by that of
Lima, into which the original Indian name of Rimac was corrupted by the

The city was laid out on a very regular plan.  The streets were to be
much wider than usual in Spanish towns, and perfectly straight, crossing
one another at right angles, and so far asunder as to afford ample space
for gardens to the dwellings, and for public squares.  It was arranged in a
triangular form, having the river for its base, the waters of which were to
be carried, by means of stone conduits, through all the principal streets,
affording facilities for irrigating the grounds around the houses.

No sooner had the governor decided on the site and on the plan of the
city, than he commenced operations with his characteristic energy.  The
Indians were collected from the distance of more than a hundred miles to
aid in the work.  The Spaniards applied themselves with vigor to the
task, under the eye of their chief.  The sword was exchanged for the tool
of the artisan.  The camp was converted into a hive of diligent laborers;
and the sounds of war were succeeded by the peaceful hum of a busy
population.  The plaza, which was extensive, was to be surrounded by
the cathedral, the palace of the viceroy, that of the municipality, and
other public buildings; and their foundations were laid on a scale, and
with a solidity, which defied the assaults of time, and, in some instances,
even the more formidable shock of earthquakes, that, at different periods,
have laid portions of the fair capital in ruins.22

While these events were going on, Almagro, the Marshal, as he is usually
termed by chroniclers of the time, had gone to Cuzco, whither he was
sent by Pizarro to take command of that capital.  He received also
instructions to undertake, either by himself or by his captains, the
conquest of the countries towards the south, forming part of Chili.
Almagro, since his arrival at Caxamalca, had seemed willing to smother
his ancient feelings of resentment towards his associate, or, at least, to
conceal the expression of them, and had consented to take command
under him in obedience to the royal mandate.  He had even, in his
despatches, the magnanimity to make honorable mention of Pizarro, as
one anxious to promote the interests of government.  Yet he did not so
far trust his companion, as to neglect the precaution of sending a
confidential agent to represent his own services, when Hernando Pizarro
undertook his mission to the mother-country.

That cavalier, after touching at St. Domingo, had arrived without
accident at Seville, in January, 1534.  Besides the royal fifth, he took
with him gold, to the value of half a million of pesos, together with a
large quantity of silver, the property of private adventurers, some of
whom, satisfied with their gains, had returned to Spain in the same vessel
with himself.  The custom-house was filled with solid ingots, and with
vases of different forms, imitations of animals, flowers, fountains, and
other objects, executed with more or less skill, and all of pure gold, to
the astonishment of the spectators, who flocked from the neighboring
country to gaze on these marvellous productions of Indian art.23  Most
of the manufactured articles were the property of the Crown; and
Hernando Pizarro, after a short stay at Seville, selected some of the most
gorgeous specimens, and crossed the country to Calatayud, where the
emperor was holding the cortes of Aragon.

Hernando was instantly admitted to the royal presence, and obtained a
gracious audience.  He was more conversant with courts than either of
his brothers, and his manners, when in situations that imposed a restraint
on the natural arrogance of his temper, were graceful and even attractive.
In a respectful tone, he now recited the stirring adventures of his brother
and his little troop of followers, the fatigues they had endured, the
difficulties they had overcome, their capture of the Peruvian Inca, and
his magnificent ransom.  He had not to tell of the massacre of the
unfortunate prince, for that tragic event, which had occurred since his
departure from the country, was still unknown to him.  The cavalier
expatiated on the productiveness of the soil, and on the civilization of the
people, evinced by their proficiency in various mechanic arts; in proof of
which he displayed the manufactures of wool and cotton, and the rich
ornaments of gold and silver.  The monarch's eyes sparkled with delight
as he gazed on these last.  He was too sagacious not to appreciate the
advantages of a conquest which secured to him a country so rich in
agricultural resources.  But the returns from these must necessarily be
gradual and long deferred; and he may be excused for listening with still
greater satisfaction to Pizarro's tales of its mineral stores; for his
ambitious projects had drained the imperial treasury, and he saw in the
golden tide thus unexpectedly poured in upon him the immediate means
of replenishing it.

Charles made no difficulty, therefore, in granting the petitions of the
fortunate adventurer.  All the previous grants to Francis Pizarro and his
associates were confirmed in the fullest manner; and the boundaries of
the governor's jurisdiction were extended seventy leagues further
towards the south.  Nor did Almagro's services, this time, go unrequited.
He was empowered to discover and occupy the country for the distance
of two hundred leagues, beginning at the southern limit of Pizarro's
territory.24  Charles, in proof, still further, of his satisfaction, was
graciously pleased to address a letter to the two commanders, in which
he complimented them on their prowess, and thanked them for their
services.  This act of justice to Almagro would have been highly
honorable to Hernando Pizarro, considering the unfriendly relations in
which they stood to each other, had it not been made necessary by the
presence of the marshal's own agents at court, who, as already noticed,
stood ready to supply any deficiency in the statements of the emissary.

In this display of the royal bounty, the envoy, as will readily be believed,
did not go without his reward.  He was lodged as an attendant of the
Court; was made a knight of Santiago, the most prized of the chivalric
orders in Spain; was empowered to equip an armament, and to take
command of it; and the royal officers at Seville were required to aid him
in his views and facilitate his embarkation for the Indies.25

The arrival of Hernando Pizarro in the country, and the reports spread by
him and his followers, created a sensation among the Spaniards such as
had not been felt since the first voyage of Columbus.  The discovery of
the New World had filled the minds of men with indefinite expectations
of wealth, of which almost every succeeding expedition had proved the
fallacy.  The conquest of Mexico, though calling forth general
admiration as a brilliant and wonderful exploit, had as yet failed to
produce those golden results which had been so fondly anticipated.  The
splendid promises held out by Francis Pizarro on his recent visit to the
country had not revived the confidence of his countrymen, made
incredulous by repeated disappointment.  All that they were assured of
was the difficulties of the enterprise; and their distrust of its results was
sufficiently shown by the small number of followers, and those only of
the most desperate stamp, who were willing to take their chance in the

But now these promises were realized.  It was no longer the golden
reports that they were to trust; but the gold itself, which was displayed in
such profusion before them.  All eyes were now turned towards the West.
The broken spendthrift saw in it the quarter where he was to repair his
fortunes as speedily as he had ruined them.  The merchant, instead of
seeking the precious commodities of the East, looked in the opposite
direction, and counted on far higher gains, where the most common
articles of life commanded so exorbitant prices.  The cavalier, eager to
win both gold and glory at the point of his lance, thought to find a fair
field for his prowess on the mountain plains of the Andes.  Ferdinand
Pizarro found that his brother had judged rightly in allowing as many of
his company as chose to return home, confident that the display of their
wealth would draw ten to his banner for every one that quitted it.

In a short time that cavalier saw himself at the head of one of the most
numerous and well-appointed armaments, probably, that had left the
shores of Spain since the great fleet of Ovando, in the time of Ferdinand
and Isabella.  It was scarcely more fortunate that this.  Hardly had
Ferdinand put to sea, when a violent tempest fell on the squadron, and
compelled him to return to port and refit.  At length he crossed the
ocean, and reached the little harbor of Nombre de Dios in safety.  But no
preparations had been made for his coming, and, as he was detained here
some time before he could pass the mountains, his company suffered
greatly from scarcity of food.  In their extremity, the most unwholesome
articles were greedily devoured, and many a cavalier spent his little
savings to procure himself a miserable subsistence.  Disease, as usual,
trod closely in the track of famine, and numbers of the unfortunate
adventurers, sinking under the unaccustomed heats of the climate,
perished on the very threshold of discovery.

It was the tale often repeated in the history of Spanish enterprise.  A few,
more lucky than the rest, stumble on some unexpected prize, and
hundreds, attracted by their success, press forward in the same path.  But
the rich spoil which lay on the surface has been already swept away by
the first comers, and those who follow are to win their treasure by long-
protracted and painful exertion.--Broken in spirit and in fortune, many
returned in disgust to their native shores, while others remained where
they were, to die in despair.  They thought to dig for gold; but they dug
only their graves.

Yet it fared not thus with all Pizarro's company.  Many of them, crossing
the Isthmus with him to Panama, came in time to Peru, where, in the
desperate chances of its revolutionary struggles, some few arrived at
posts of profit and distinction.  Among those who first reached the
Peruvian shore was an emissary sent by Almagro's agents to inform him
of the important grant made to him by the Crown.  The tidings reached
him just as he was making his entry into Cuzco, where he was received
with all respect by Juan and Gonzalo Pizarro, who, in obedience to their
brother's commands, instantly resigned the government of the capital into
the marshal's hands.  But Almagro was greatly elated on finding himself
now placed by his sovereign in a command that made him independent
of the man who had so deeply wronged him; and he intimated that in the
exercise of his present authority he acknowledged no superior.  In this
lordly humor he was confirmed by several of his followers, who insisted
that Cuzco fell to the south of the territory ceded to Pizarro, and
consequently came within that now granted to the marshal.  Among
these followers were several of Alvarado's men, who, though of better
condition than the soldiers of Pizarro, were under much worse discipline,
and had acquired, indeed, a spirit of unbridled license under that
unscrupulous chief.26  They now evinced little concern for the native
population of Cuzco; and, not content with the public edifices, seized on
the dwellings of individuals, where it suited their conveniences,
appropriating their contents without ceremony,--showing as little respect,
in short, for person or property, as if the place had been taken by

While these events were passing in the ancient Peruvian capital, the
governor was still at Lima, where he was greatly disturbed by the
accounts he received of the new honors conferred on his associate.  He
did not know that his own jurisdiction had been extended seventy
leagues further to the south, and he entertained the same suspicion with
Almagro, that the capital of the Incas did not rightly come within his
present limits.  He saw all the mischief likely to result from this opulent
city falling into the hands of his rival, who would thus have an almost in
definite means of gratifying his own cupidity, and that of his followers.
He felt, that, under the present circumstances, it was not safe to allow
Almagro to anticipate the possession of power, to which, as yet, he had
no legitimate right; for the despatches containing the warrant for it still
remained with Hernando Pizarro, at Panama, and all that had reached
Peru was a copy of a garbled extract.

Without loss of time, therefore, he sent instructions to Cuzco for his
brothers to resume the government, while he defended the measure to
Almagro on the ground, that, when he should hereafter receive his
credentials, it would be unbecoming to be found already in possession of
the post.  He concluded by urging him to go forward without delay in his
expedition to the south.

But neither the marshal nor his friends were pleased with the idea of so
soon relinquishing the authority which they now considered as his right.
The Pizarros, on the other hand, were pertinacious in reclaiming it.  The
dispute grew warmer and warmer.  Each party had its supporters; the city
was split into factions; and the municipality, the soldiers, and even the
Indian population, took sides in the struggle for power.  Matters were
proceeding to extremity, menacing the capital with violence and
bloodshed, when Pizarro himself appeared among them.28

On receiving tidings of the fatal consequences of his mandates, he had
posted in all haste to Cuzco, where he was greeted with undisguised joy
by the natives, as well as by the more temperate Spaniards, anxious to
avert the impending storm.  The governor's first interview was with
Almagro, whom he embraced with a seeming cordiality in his manner;
and, without any show of resentment, inquired into the cause of the
present disturbances.  To this the marshal replied, by throwing the blame
on Pizarro's brothers; but, although the governor reprimanded them with
some asperity for their violence, it was soon evident that his sympathies
were on their side, and the dangers of a feud between the two associates
seemed greater than ever.  Happily, it was postponed by the intervention
of some common friends, who showed more discretion than their leaders.
With their aid a reconciliation was at length effected, on the grounds
substantially of their ancient compact.

It was agreed that their friendship should be maintained inviolate; and,
by a stipulation that reflects no great credit on the parties, it was
provided that neither should malign nor disparage the other, especially in
their despatches to the emperor; and that neither should hold
communication with the government without the knowledge of his
confederate; lastly, that both the expenditures and the profits of future
discovery should be shared equally by the associates.  The wrath of
Heaven was invoked by the most solemn imprecations on the head of
whichever should violate this compact, and the Almighty was implored
to visit the offender with loss of property and of life in this world, and
with eternal perdition in that to come! 29  The parties further bound
themselves to the observance of this contract by a solemn oath taken on
the sacrament, as it was held in the hands of Father Bartolome de
Segovia, who concluded the ceremony by performing mass.  The whole
proceeding, and the articles of agreement, were carefully recorded by the
notary, in an instrument bearing date June 12, 1535, and attested by a
long list of witnesses.30

Thus did these two ancient comrades, after trampling on the ties of
friendship and honor, hope to knit themselves to each other by the holy
bands of religion.  That it should have been necessary to resort to so
extraordinary a measure might have furnished them with the best proof
of its inefficacy.

Not long after this accommodation of their differences, the marshal
raised his standard for Chili; and numbers, won by his popular manners,
and by his liberal largesses,--liberal to prodigality,--eagerly joined in the
enterprise, which they fondly trusted would lead even to greater riches
than they had found in Peru.  Two Indians, Paullo Topa, a brother of the
Inca Manco, and Villac Umu, the high-priest of the nation, were sent in
advance, with three Spaniards, to prepare the way for the little army.  A
detachment of a hundred and fifty men, under an officer named
Saavedra, next followed.  Almagro remained behind to collect further
recruits; but before his levies were completed, he began his march,
feeling himself insecure, with his diminished strength, in the
neighborhood of Pizarro!  31  The remainder of his forces, when
mustered, were to follow him.

Thus relieved of the presence of his rival, the governor returned without
further delay to the coast, to resume his labors in the settlement of the
country.  Besides the principal city of "The Kings," he established others
along the Pacific, destined to become hereafter the flourishing marts of
commerce.  The most important of these, in honor of his birthplace, he
named Truxillo, planting it on a site already indicated by Almagro.32
He made also numerous repartimientos both of lands and Indians among
his followers, in the usual manner of the Spanish Conquerors; 33--though
here the ignorance of the real resources of the country led to very
different results from what he had intended, as the territory smallest in
extent, not unfrequently, from the hidden treasures in its bosom, turned
out greatest in value.34

But nothing claimed so much of Pizarro's care as the rising metropolis of
Lima; and, so eagerly did he press forward the work, and so well was he
seconded by the multitude of laborers at his command, that he had the
satisfaction to see his young capital, with its stately edifices and its pomp
of gardens, rapidly advancing towards completion.  It is pleasing to
contemplate the softer features in the character of the rude soldier, as he
was thus occupied with healing up the ravages of war, and laying broad
the foundations of an empire more civilized than that which he had
overthrown.  This peaceful occupation formed a contrast to the life of
incessant turmoil in which he had been hitherto engaged.  It seemed, too,
better suited to his own advancing age, which naturally invited to repose.
And, if we may trust his chroniclers, there was no part of his career in
which he took greater satisfaction.  It is certain there is no part which has
been viewed with greater satisfaction by posterity; and, amidst the woe
and desolation which Pizarro and his followers brought on the devoted
land of the Incas, Lima, the beautiful City of the Kings, still survives as
the most glorious work of his creation, the fairest gem on the shores of
the Pacific.

Book 3

Chapter 10

Escape Of The Inca--Return Of Hernando Pizarro-
Rising Of The Peruvians--Siege And Burning Of Cuzco-
Distresses Of The Spaniards--Storming Of The Fortress-
Pizarro's Dismay--The Inca Raises The Siege


While the absence of his rival Almagro relieved Pizarro from all
immediate disquietude from that quarter, his authority was menaced in
another, where he had least expected it.  This was from the native
population of the country.  Hitherto the Peruvians had shown only a tame
and submissive temper, that inspired their conquerors with too much
contempt to leave room for apprehension.  They had passively
acquiesced in the usurpation of the invaders; had seen one monarch
butchered, another placed on the vacant throne, their temples despoiled
of their treasures, their capital and country appropriated and parcelled
out among the Spaniards; but, with the exception of an occasional
skirmish in the mountain passes, not a blow had been struck in defence
of their rights.  Yet this was the warlike nation which had spread its
conquests over so large a part of the continent!

In his career, Pizarro, though he scrupled at nothing to effect his object,
had not usually countenanced such superfluous acts of cruelty as had too
often stained the arms of his countrymen in other parts of the continent,
and which, in the course of a few years, had exterminated nearly a whole
population in Hispaniola.  He had struck one astounding blow, by the
seizure of Atahuallpa; and he seemed willing to rely on this to strike
terror into the natives.  He even affected some respect for the institutions
of the country, and had replaced the monarch he had murdered by
another of the legitimate line.  Yet this was but a pretext.  The kingdom
had experienced a revolution of the most decisive kind.  Its ancient
institutions were subverted.  Its heaven-descended aristocracy was
levelled almost to the condition of the peasant.  The people became the
serfs of the Conquerors.  Their dwellings in the capital---at least, after
the arrival of Alvarado's officers--were seized and appropriated.  The
temples were turned into stables; the royal residences into barracks for
the troops.  The sanctity of the religious houses was violated.  Thousands
of matrons and maidens, who, however erroneous their faith, lived in
chaste seclusion in the conventual establishments, were now turned
inroad, and became the prey of a licentious soldiery.1  A favorite wife of
the young Inca was debauched by the Castilian officers.  The Inca,
himself treated with contemptuous indifference, found that he was a poor
dependant, if not a tool, in the hands of his conquerors.2

Yet the Inca Manco was a man of a lofty spirit and a courageous heart;
such a one as might have challenged comparison with the bravest of his
ancestors in the prouder days of the empire.  Stung to the quick by the
humiliations to which he was exposed, he repeatedly urged Pizarro to
restore him to the real exercise of power, as well as to the show of it.
But Pizarro evaded a request so incompatible with his own ambitious
schemes, or, indeed, with the policy of Spain, and the young Inca and his
nobles were left to brood over their injuries in secret, and await patiently
the hour of vengeance.

The dissensions among the Spaniards themselves seemed to afford a
favorable opportunity for this.  The Peruvian chiefs held many
conferences together on the subject, and the high-priest Villac Umu
urged the necessity of a rising so soon as Almagro had withdrawn his
forces from the city.  It would then be comparatively easy, by assaulting
the invaders on their several posts, scattered as they were over the
country, to overpower them by superior numbers, and shake off their
detested yoke before the arrival of fresh reinforcements should rivet it
forever on the necks of his countrymen.  A plan for a general rising was
formed, and it was in conformity to it that the priest was selected by the
Inca to bear Almagro company on the march, that he might secure the
cooperation of the natives in the country, and then secretly return--as in
fact he did--to take a part in the insurrection.

To carry their plans into effect, it became necessary that the Inca Manco
should leave the city and present himself among his people.  He found no
difficulty in withdrawing from Cuzco, where his presence was scarcely
heeded by the Spaniards, as his nominal power was held in little
deference by the haughty and confident Conquerors.  But in the capital
there was a body of Indian allies more jealous of his movements.  These
were from the tribe of the Canares, a warlike race of the north, too
recently reduced by the Incas to have much sympathy with them or their
institutions.  There were about a thousand of this people in the place,
and, as they had conceived some suspicion of the Inca's purposes, they
kept an eye on his movements, and speedily reported his absence to Juan

That cavalier, at the head of a small body of horse, instantly marched in
pursuit of the fugitive, whom he was so fortunate as to discover in a
thicket of reeds, in which he sought to conceal himself, at no great
distance from the city.  Manco was arrested, brought back a prisoner to
Cuzco, and placed under a strong guard in the fortress.  The conspiracy
seemed now at an end; and nothing was left to the unfortunate Peruvians
but to bewail their ruined hopes, and to give utterance to their
disappointment in doleful ballads, which rehearsed the captivity of their
Inca, and the downfall of his royal house.3

While these things were in progress, Hernando Pizarro returned to
Ciudad de los Reyes, bearing with him the royal commission for the
extension of his brother's powers, as well as of those conceded to
Almagro.  The envoy also brought the royal patent conferring on
Francisco Pizarro the title of marques de los Atavillos,--a province in
Peru.  Thus was the fortunate adventurer placed in the ranks of the proud
aristocracy of Castile, few of whose members could boast--if they had
the courage to boast --their elevation from so humble an origin, as still
fewer could justify it by a show of greater services to the Crown.

The new marquess resolved not to forward the commission, at present, to
the marshal, whom he designed to engage still deeper in the conquest of
Chili, that his attention might be diverted from Cuzco which, however,
his brother assured him, now fell, without doubt, within the newly
extended limits of his own territory.  To make more sure of this
important prize, he despatched Hernando to take the government of the
capital into his own hands, as the one of his brothers on whose talents
and practical experience he placed greatest reliance.

Hernando, notwithstanding his arrogant bearing towards his countrymen,
had ever manifested a more than ordinary sympathy with the Indians.  He
had been the friend of Atahuallpa; to such a degree, indeed, that it was
said, if he had been in the camp at the time, the fate of that unhappy
monarch would probably have been averted.  He now showed a similar
friendly disposition towards his successor, Manco.  He caused the
Peruvian prince to be liberated from confinement, and gradually
admitted him into some intimacy with himself.  The crafty Indian availed
himself of his freedom to mature his plans for the rising, but with so
much caution, that no suspicion of them crossed the mind of Hernando.
Secrecy and silence are characteristic of the American, almost as
invariably as the peculiar color of his skin.  Manco disclosed to his
conqueror the existence of several heaps of treasure, and the places
where they had been secreted; and, when he had thus won his
confidence, he stimulated his cupidity still further by an account of a
statue of pure gold of his father Huayna Capac, which the wily Peruvian
requested leave to bring from a secret cave in which it was deposited,
among the neighboring Andes.  Hernando, blinded by his avarice,
consented to the Inca's departure.

He sent with him two Spanish soldiers, less as a guard than to aid him in
the object of his expedition.  A week elapsed, and yet he did not return,
nor were there any tidings to be gathered of him.  Hernando now saw his
error, especially as his own suspicions were confirmed by the
unfavorable reports of his Indian allies.  Without further delay, he
despatched his brother Juan, at the head of sixty horse, in quest of the
Peruvian prince, with orders to bring him back once more a prisoner to
his capital.

That cavalier, with his well-armed troops, soon traversed the environs of
Cuzco without discovering any vestige of the fugitive.  The country was
remarkably silent and deserted, until, as he approached the mountain
range that hems in the valley of Yucay, about six leagues from the city,
he was met by the two Spaniards who had accompanied Manco.  They
informed Pizarro that it was only at the point of the sword he could
recover the Inca, for the country was all in arms, and the Peruvian chief
at its head was preparing to march on the capital.  Yet he had offered no
violence to their persons, but had allowed them to return in safety.

The Spanish captain found this story fully confirmed when he arrived at
the river Yucay, on the opposite bank of which were drawn up the Indian
battalions to the number of many thousand men, who, with their young
monarch at their head, prepared to dispute his passage.  It seemed that
they could not feel their position sufficiently strong, without placing a
river, as usual, between them and their enemy.  The Spaniards were not
checked by this obstacle.  The stream, though deep, was narrow; and
plunging in, they swam their horses boldly across, amidst a tempest of
stones and arrows that rattled thick as hail on their harness, finding
occasionally some crevice or vulnerable point,--although the wounds
thus received only goaded them to more desperate efforts.  The
barbarians fell back as the cavaliers made good their landing; but,
without allowing the latter time to form, they returned with a spirit which
they had hitherto seldom displayed, and enveloped them on all sides with
their greatly superior numbers.  The fight now raged fiercely.  Many of
the Indians were armed with lances headed with copper tempered almost
to the hardness of steel, and with huge maces and battle-axes of the same
metal.  Their defensive armour, also, was in many respects excellent,
consisting of stout doublets of quilted cotton.  shields covered with skins,
and casques richly ornamented with gold and jewels, or sometimes made
like those of the Mexicans, in the fantastic shape of the heads of wild
animals, garnished with rows of teeth that grinned horribly above the
visage of the warrior.4   The whole army wore an aspect of martial
ferocity, under the control of much higher military discipline than the
Spaniards had before seen in the country.

The little band of cavaliers, shaken by the fury of the Indian assault, were
thrown at first into some disorder, but at length, cheering on one another
with the old war-cry of "St. Jago," they formed in solid column, and
charged boldly into the thick of the enemy.  The latter, incapable of
withstanding the shock, gave way, or were trampled down under the feet
of the horses, or pierced by the lances of the riders.  Yet their flight was
conducted with some order; and they turned at intervals, to let off a
volley of arrows, or to deal furious blows with their pole-axes and
warclubs.  They fought as if conscious that they were under the eye of
their Inca.

It was evening before they had entirely quitted the level ground, and
withdrawn into the fastnesses of the lofty range of hills which belt round
the beautiful valley of Yucay.  Juan Pizarro and his little troop encamped
on the level at the base of the mountains.  He had gained a victory, as
usual, over immense odds; but he had never seen a field so well disputed,
and his victory had cost him the lives of several men and horses, while
many more had been wounded, and were nearly disabled by the fatigues
of the day.  But he trusted the severe lesson he had inflicted on the
enemy, whose slaughter was great, would crush the spirit of resistance.
He was deceived.

The following morning, great was his dismay to see the passes of the
mountains filled up with dark lines of warriors, stretching as far as the
eye could penetrate into the depths of the sierra, while dense masses of
the enemy were gathered like thunder-clouds along the slopes and
sumrafts, as if ready to pour down in fury on the assailants.  The ground,
altogether unfavorable to the manoeuvres of cavalry, gave every
advantage to the Peruvians, who rolled down huge rocks from their
elevated position, and sent off incessant showers of missiles on the heads
of the Spaniards.  Juan Pizarro did not care to entangle himself further in
the perilous defile; and, though he repeatedly charged the enemy, and
drove them back with considerable loss, the second night found him with
men and horses wearied and wounded, and as little advanced in the
object of his expedition as on the preceding evening.  From this
embarrassing position, after a day or two more spent in unprofitable
hostilities, he was surprised by a summons from his brother to return
with all expedition to Cuzco, which was now besieged by the enemy!

Without delay, he began his retreat, recrossed the valley, the recent scene
of slaughter, swam the river Yucay, and, by a rapid countermarch,
closely followed by the victorious enemy, who celebrated their success
with songs or rather yells of triumph, he arrived before nightfall in sight
of the capital.

But very different was the sight which there met his eye from what he
had beheld on leaving it a few days before.  The extensive environs, as
far as the eye could reach, were occupied by a mighty host, which an
indefinite computation swelled to the number of two hundred thousand
warriors.5  The dusky lines of the Indian battalions stretched out to the
very verge of the mountains; while, all around, the eye saw only the
crests and waving banners of chieftains, mingled with rich panoplies of
feather-work, which reminded some few who had served under Cortes of
the military costume of the Aztecs.  Above all rose a forest of long lances
and battle-axes edged with copper, which, tossed to and fro in wild
confusion, glittered in the rays of the setting sun, like light playing on the
surface of a dark and troubled ocean.  It was the first time that the
Spaniards had beheld an Indian army in all its terrors; such an army as
the Incas led to battle, when the banner of the Sun was borne triumphant
over the land.

Yet the bold hearts of the cavaliers, if for a moment dismayed by the
sight, soon gathered courage as they closed up their files, and prepared to
open a way for themselves through the beleaguering host.  But the enemy
seemed to shun the encounter; and, falling back at their approach, left a
free entrance into the capital.  The Peruvians were, probably, not willing
to draw as many victims as they could into the toils, conscious that, the
greater the number, the sooner they would become sensible to the
approaches of famine.6

Hernando Pizarro greeted his brother with no little satisfaction; for he
brought an important addition to his force, which now, when all were
united, did not exceed two hundred, horse and foot,7 besides a thousand
Indian auxiliaries; an insignificant number, in comparison with the
countless multitudes that were swarming at the gates.  That night was
passed by the Spaniards with feelings of the deepest anxiety, as they
looked forward with natural apprehension to the morrow.  It was early in
February, 1536, when the siege of Cuzco commenced; a siege
memorable as calling out the most heroic displays of Indian and
European valor, and bringing the two races in deadlier conflict with each
other than had yet occurred in the conquest of Peru.

The numbers of the enemy seemed no less formidable during the night
than by the light of day; far and wide their watch-fires were to be seen
gleaming over valley and hill-top, as thickly scattered, says an
eyewitness, as "the stars of heaven in a cloudless summer night." 8
Before these fires had become pale in the light of the morning, the
Spaniards were roused by the hideous clamor of conch, trumpet, and
atabal, mingled with the fierce war-cries of the barbarians, as they let off
volleys of missiles of every description, most of which fell harmless
within the city.  But others did more serious execution.  These were
burning arrows, and redhot stones wrapped in cotton that had been
steeped in some bituminous substance, which, scattered long trains of
light through the air, fell on the roofs of the buildings, and speedily set
them on fire.9  These roofs, even of the better sort of edifices, were
uniformly of thatch, and were ignited as easily as tinder.  In a moment
the flames burst forth from the most opposite quarters of the city.  They
quickly communicated to the wood-work in the interior of the buildings,
and broad sheets of flame mingled with smoke rose up towards the
heavens, throwing a fearful glare over every object.  The rarefied
atmosphere heightened the previous impetuosity of the wind, which,
fanning the rising flames, they rapidly spread from dwelling to dwelling,
till the whole fiery mass, swayed to and fro by the tempest, surged and
roared with the fury of a volcano.  The heat became intense, and clouds
of smoke, gathering like a dark pall over the city, produced a sense of
suffocation and almost blindness in those quarters where it was driven by
the winds.10

The Spaniards were encamped in the great square, partly under awnings,
and partly in the hall of the Inca Viracocha, on the ground since covered
by the cathedral.  Three times in the course of that dreadful day, the roof
of the building was on fire; but, although no efforts were made to
extinguish it, the flames went out without doing much injury.  This
miracle was ascribed to the Blessed Virgin, who was distinctly seen by
several of the Christian combatants, hovering over the spot on which was
to be raised the temple dedicated to her worship.11

Fortunately, the open space around Hernando's little company separated
them from the immediate scene of conflagration.  It afforded a means of
preservation similar to that employed by the American hunter, who
endeavors to surround himself with a belt of wasted land, when
overtaken by a conflagration in the prairies.  All day the fire continued to
rage, and at night the effect was even more appalling; for by the lurid
flames the unfortunate Spaniards could read the consternation depicted
in each others' ghastly countenances, while in the suburbs, along the
slopes of the surrounding hills, might be seen the throng of besiegers,
gazing with fiendish exultation on the work of destruction.  High above
the town to the north, rose the gray fortress, which now showed ruddy in
the glare, looking grimly down on the ruins of the fair city which it was
no longer able to protect; and in the distance were to be discerned the
shadowy forms of the Andes, soaring up in solitary grandeur into the
regions of eternal silence, far beyond the wild tumult that raged so
fearfully at their base.

Such was the extent of the city, that it was several days before the fury of
the fire was spent.  Tower and temple, hut, palace, and hall, went down
before it.  Fortunately, among the buildings that escaped were the
magnificent House of the Sun and the neighboring Convent of the
Virgins.  Their insulated position afforded the means, of which the
Indians from motives of piety were willing to avail themselves, for their
preservation.12  Full one half of the capital, so long the chosen seat of
Western civilization, the pride of the Incas, and the bright abode of their
tutelar deity, was laid in ashes by the hands of his own children.  It was
some consolation for them to reflect, that it burned over the heads of its
conquerors,-their trophy and their tomb!

During the long period of the conflagration, the Spaniards made no
attempt to extinguish the flames.  Such an attempt would have availed
nothing.  Yet they did not tamely submit to the assaults of the enemy,
and they sallied forth from time to time to repel them.  But the fallen
timbers and scattered rubbish of the houses presented serious
impediments to the movements of horse; and, when these were partially
cleared away by the efforts of the infantry and the Indian allies, the
Peruvians planted stakes and threw barricades across the path, which
proved equally embarrassing.13  To remove them was a work of time
and no little danger, as the pioneers were exposed to the whole brunt of
the enemy's archery, and the aim of the Peruvian was sure.  When at
length the obstacles were cleared away, and a free course was opened to
the cavalry, they rushed with irresistible impetuosity on their foes, who,
falling back in confusion, were cut to pieces by the riders, or pierced
through with their lances.  The slaughter on these occasions was great;
but the Indians, nothing disheartened, usually returned with renewed
courage to the attack, and, while fresh reinforcements met the Spaniards
in front, others, lying in ambush among the ruins, threw the troops into
disorder by assailing them on the flanks.  The Peruvians were expert
both with bow and sling; and these encounters, notwithstanding the
superiority of their arms, cost the Spaniards more lives than in their
crippled condition they could afford to spare,--a loss poorly compensated
by that of tenfold the number of the enemy.  One weapon, peculiar to
South American warfare, was used with some effect by the Peruvians.
This was the lasso, a long rope with a noose at the end, which they
adroitly threw over the rider, or entangled with it the legs of his horse, so
as to bring them both to the ground.  More than one Spaniard fell into the
hands of the enemy by this expedient.14

Thus harassed, sleeping on their arms, with their horses picketed by their
side, ready for action at any and every hour, the Spaniards had no rest by
night or by day.  To add to their troubles, the fortress which overlooked
the city, and completely commanded the great square in which they were
quartered, had been so feebly garrisoned in their false sense of security,
that, on the approach of the Peruvians, it had been abandoned without a
blow in its defence.  It was now occupied by a strong body of the enemy,
who, from his elevated position, sent down showers of missiles, from
time to time, which added greatly to the annoyance of the besieged.
Bitterly did their captain now repent the improvident security which had
led him to neglect a post so important.

Their distresses were still further aggravated by the rumors, which
continually reached their ears, of the state of the country.  The rising, it
was said, was general throughout the land; the Spaniards living on their
insulated plantations had all been massacred; Lima and Truxillo and the
principal cities were besieged, and must soon fall into the enemy's hands;
the Peruvians were in possession of the passes, and all communications
were cut off, so that no relief was to be expected from their countrymen
on the coast.  Such were the dismal stories, (which, however
exaggerated, had too much foundation in fact,) that now found their way
into the city from the camp of the besiegers.  And to give greater credit
to the rumors, eight or ten human heads were rolled into the plaza, in
whose blood-stained visages the Spaniards recognized with horror the
lineaments of their companions, who they knew had been dwelling in
solitude on their estates! 15

Overcome by these horrors, many were for abandoning the place at once,
as no longer tenable, and for opening a passage for themselves to the
coast with their own good swords.  There was a daring in the enterprise
which had a charm for the adventurous spirit of the Castilian.  Better,
they said, to perish in a manly struggle for life, than to die thus
ignominiously, pent up like foxes in their holes, to be suffocated by the

But the Pizarros, De Rojas, and some other of the principal cavaliers,
refused to acquiesce in a measure which, they said, must cover them with
dishonor.16  Cuzco had been the great prize for which they had
contended; it was the ancient seat of empire, and, though now in ashes,
would again rise from its ruins as glorious as before.  All eyes would be
turned on them, as its defenders, and their failure, by giving confidence
to the enemy, might decide the fate of their countrymen throughout the
land.  They were placed in that post as the post of honor, and better
would it be to die there than to desert it.

There seemed, indeed, no alternative; for every avenue to escape was cut
off by an enemy who had perfect knowledge of the country, and
possession of all its passes.  But this state of things could not last long.
The Indian could not, in the long run, contend with the white man.  The
spirit of insurrection would die out of itself.  Their great army would
melt away, unaccustomed as the natives were to the privations incident to
a protracted campaign.  Reinforcements would be daily coming in from
the colonies; and, if the Castilians would be but true to themselves for a
season, they would be relieved by their own countrymen, who would
never suffer them to die like outcasts among the mountains.

The cheering words and courageous bearing of the cavaliers went to the
hearts of their followers; for the soul of the Spaniard readily responded
to the call of honor, if not of humanity.  All now agreed to stand by their
leader to the last.  But, if they would remain longer in their present
position, it was absolutely necessary to dislodge the enemy from the
fortress; and, before venturing on this dangerous service, Hernando
Pizarro resolved to strike such a blow as should intimidate the besiegers
from further attempt to molest his present quarters.

He communicated his plan of attack to his officers; and, forming his little
troop into three divisions, he placed them under command of his brother
Gonzalo, of Gabriel de Rojas, an officer in whom he reposed great
confidence, and Hernan Ponce de Leon.  The Indian pioneers were sent
forward to clear away the rubbish, and the several divisions moved
simultaneously up the principal avenues towards the camp of the
besiegers.  Such stragglers as they met in their way were easily cut to
pieces, and the three bodies, bursting impetuously on the disordered lines
of the Peruvians, took them completely by surprise.  For some moments
there was little resistance, and the slaughter was terrible.  But the Indians
gradually rallied, and, coming into something like order, returned to the
fight with the courage of men who had long been familiar with danger.
They fought hand to hand with their copper-headed war-clubs and pole-
axes, while a storm of darts, stones, and arrows rained on the well-
defended bodies of the Christians.

The barbarians showed more discipline than was to have been expected;
for which, it is said, they were indebted to some Spanish prisoners, from
several of whom, the Inca, having generously spared their lives, took
occasional lessons in the art of war.  The Peruvians had, also, learned to
manage with some degree of skill the weapons of their conquerors; and
they were seen armed with bucklers, helmets, and swords of European
workmanship, and even, in a few instances, mounted on the horses which
they had taken from the white men.17  The young Inca, in particular,
accoutred in the European fashion, rode a war-horse which he managed
with considerable address, and, with a long lance in his hand led on his
followers to the attack.--This readiness to adopt the superior arms and
tactics of the Conquerors intimates a higher civilization than that which
belonged to the Aztec, who, in his long collision with the Spaniards, was
never so far divested of his terrors for the horse as to venture to mount

But a few days or weeks of training were not enough to give familiarity
with weapons, still less with tactics, so unlike those to which the
Peruvians had been hitherto accustomed.  The fight, on the present
occasion, though hotly contested, was not of long duration.  After a
gallant struggle in which the natives threw themselves fearlessly on the
horse men, endeavoring to tear them from their saddles, they were
obliged to give way before the repeated shock of their chargers.  Many
were trampled under foot, others cut down by the Spanish broadswords,
while the arquebusiers, supporting the cavalry, kept up a running fire that
did terrible execution on the flanks and rear of the fugitives.  At length,
sated with slaughter, and trusting that the chastisement he had inflicted
on the enemy would secure him from further annoyance for the present,
the Castilian general drew back his forces to their quarters in the

His next step was the recovery of the citadel.  It was an enterprise of
danger.  The fortress, which overlooked the northern section of the city,
stood high on a rocky eminence, so steep as to be inaccessible on this
quarter, where it was defended only by a single wall.  Towards the open
country, it was more easy of approach; but there it was protected by two
semicircular walls, each about twelve hundred feet in length, and of great
thickness.  They were built of massive stones, or rather rocks, put
together without cement, so as to form a kind of rustic-work.  The level
of the ground between these lines of defence was raised up so as to
enable the garrison to discharge its arrows at the assailants, while their
own persons were protected by the parapet.  Within the interior wall was
the fortress, consisting of three strong towers, one of great height, which,
with a smaller one, was now held by the enemy, under the command of
an Inca noble, a warrior of well-tried valor, prepared to defend it to the
last extremity.

The perilous enterprise was intrusted by Hernando Pizarro to his brother
Juan, a cavalier in whose bosom burned the adventurous spirit of a
knight-errant of romance.  As the fortress was to be approached through
the mountain passes, it became necessary to divert the enemy's attention
to another quarter.  A little while before sunset Juan Pizarro left the city
with a picked corps of horsemen, and took a direction opposite to that of
the fortress, that the besieging army might suppose the object was a
foraging expedition.  But secretly countermarching in the night, he
fortunately found the passes unprotected, and arrived before the outer
wall of the fortress, without giving the alarm to the garrison.19

The entrance was through a narrow opening in the centre of the rampart;
but this was now closed up with heavy stones, that seemed to form one
solid work with the rest of the masonry.  It was an affair of time to
dislodge these huge masses, in such a manner as not to rouse the
garrison.  The Indian nations, who rarely attacked in the night, were not
sufficiently acquainted with the art of war even to provide against
surprise by posting sentinels.  When the task was accomplished, Juan
Pizarro and his gallant troop rode through the gateway, and advanced
towards the second parapet.

But their movements had not been conducted so secretly as to escape
notice, and they now found the interior court swarming with warriors,
who- as the Spaniards drew near, let off clouds of missiles that
compelled them to come to a halt.  Juan Pizarro, aware that no time was
to be lost, ordered one half of his corps to dismount, and, putting himself
at their head, prepared to make a breach as before in the fortifications.
He had been wounded some days previously in the jaw, so that, finding
his helmet caused him pain, he rashly dispensed with it, and trusted for
protection to his buckler.20  Leading on his men, he encouraged them in
the work of demolition, in the face of such a storm of stones, javelins,
and arrows, as might have made the stoutest heart shrink from
encountering it.  The good mail of the Spaniards did not always protect
them; but others took the place of such as fell, until a-breach was made,
and the cavalry, pouring in, rode down all who opposed them.

The parapet was now abandoned, and the enemy, hurrying with
disorderly flight across the inclosure, took refuge on a kind of platform
or terrace, commanded by the principal tower.  Here rallying, they shot
off fresh volleys of missiles against the Spaniards, while the garrison in
the fortress hurled down fragments of rock and timber on their heads.
Juan Pizarro, still among the foremost, sprang forward on the terrace,
cheering on his men by his voice and example; but at this moment he
was struck by a large stone on the head, not then protected by his
buckler, and was stretched on the ground.  The dauntless chief still
continued to animate his followers by his voice, till the terrace was
carried, and its miserable defenders were put to the sword.  His
sufferings were then too much for him, and he was removed to the town
below, where, notwithstanding every exertion to save him, he survived
the injury but a fortnight, and died in great agony.21--To say that he was
a Pizarro is enough to attest his claim to valor.  But it is his praise, that
his valor was tempered by courtesy.  His own nature appeared mild by
contrast with the haughty temper of his brothers, and his manners made
him a favorite of the army.  He had served in the conquest of Peru from
the first, and no name on the roll of its conquerors is less tarnished by the
reproach of cruelty, or stands higher in all the attributes of a true and
valiant knight.22

Though deeply sensible to his brother's disaster, Hernando Pizarro saw
that no time was to be lost in profiting by the advantages already gained.
Committing the charge of the town to Gonzalo, he put himself at the
head of the assailants, and laid vigorous siege to the fortresses.

One surrendered after a short resistance.  The other and more formidable
of the two still held out under the brave Inca noble who commanded it.
He was a man of an athletic frame, and might be seen striding along the
battlements, armed with a Spanish buckler and cuirass, and in his hand
wielding a formidable mace, garnished with points or knobs of copper.
With this terrible weapon he struck down all who attempted to force a
passage into the fortress.  Some of his own followers who proposed a
surrender he is said to have slain with his own hand.  Hernando prepared
to carry the place by escalade.  Ladders were planted against the walls,
but no sooner did a Spaniard gain the topmost round, than he was hurled
to the ground by the strong arm of the Indian warrior.  His activity was
equal to his strength; and he seemed to be at every point the moment that
his presence was needed.

The Spanish commander was filled with admiration at this display of
valor; for he could admire valor even in an enemy.  He gave orders that
the chief should not be injured, but be taken alive, if possible.23  This
was not easy.  At length, numerous ladders having been planted against
the tower, the Spaniards scaled it on several quarters at the same time,
and, leaping into the place, overpowered the few combatants who still
made a show of resistance.  But the Inca chieftain was not to be taken;
and, finding further resistance ineffectual, he sprang to the edge of the
battlements, and, casting away his war-club, wrapped his mantle around
him and threw himself headlong from the summit.24  He died like an
ancient Roman.  He had struck his last stroke for the freedom of his
country, and he scorned to survive her dishonor.--The Castilian
commander left a small force in garrison to secure his conquest, and
returned in triumph to his quarters.

Week after week rolled away, and no relief came to the beleaguered
Spaniards.  They had long since begun to feel the approaches of famine.
Fortunately, they were provided with water from the streams which
flowed through the city.  But, though they had well husbanded their
resources, their provisions were exhausted, and they had for some time
depended on such scanty supplies of grain as they could gather from the
ruined magazines and dwellings, mostly consumed by the fire, or from
the produce of some successful foray.25  This latter resource was
attended with no little difficulty; for every expedition led to a fierce
encounter with the enemy, which usually cost the lives of several
Spaniards, and inflicted a much heavier injury on the Indian allies.  Yet it
was at least one good result of such loss, that it left fewer to provide for.
But the whole number of the besieged was so small, that any loss greatly
increased the difficulties of defence by the remainder.

As months passed away without bringing any tidings of their
countrymen, their minds were haunted with still gloomier apprehensions
as to their fate.  They well knew that the governor would make every
effort to rescue them from their desperate condition.  That he had not
succeeded in this made it probable, that his own situation was no better
than theirs, or, perhaps, he and his followers had already fallen victims to
the fury of the insurgents.  It was a dismal thought, that they alone were
left in the land, far from all human succour, to perish miserably by the
hands of the barbarians among the mountains.

Yet the actual state of things, though gloomy in the extreme, was not
quite so desperate as their imaginations had painted it.  The insurrection,
it is true, had been general throughout the country, at least that portion of
it occupied by the Spaniards.  It had been so well concerted, that it broke
out almost simultaneously, and the Conquerors, who were living in
careless security on their estates, had been massacred to the number of
several hundreds.  An Indian force had sat down before Xauxa, and a
considerable army had occupied the valley of Rimac and laid siege to
Lima.  But the country around that capital was of an open, level
character, very favorable to the action of cavalry.  Pizarro no sooner saw
himself menaced by the hostile array, than he sent such a force against
the Peruvians as speedily put them to flight; and, following up his
advantage, he inflicted on them such a severe chastisement, that,
although they still continued to hover in the distance and cut off his
communications with the interior, they did not care to trust themselves
on the other side of the Rimac.

The accounts that the Spanish commander now received of the state of
the country filled him with the most serious alarm.  He was particularly
solicitous for the fate of the garrison at Cuzco, and he made repeated
efforts to relieve that capital.  Four several detachments, amounting to
more than four hundred men in all, half of them cavalry, were sent by
him at different times, under some of his bravest officers.  But none of
them reached their place of destination.  The wily natives permitted them
to march into the interior of the country, until they were fairly entangled
in the passes of the Cordilleras.  They then enveloped them with greatly
superior numbers, and, occupying the heights, showered down their fatal
missiles on the heads of the Spaniards, or crushed them under the weight
of fragments of rock which they rolled on them from the mountains.  In
some instances, the whole detachment was cut off to a man.  In others, a
few stragglers only survived to return and tell the bloody tale to their
countrymen at Lima.26

Pizarro was now filled with consternation.  He had the most dismal
forebodings of the fate of the Spaniards dispersed throughout the
country, and even doubted the possibility of maintaining his own
foothold in it without assistance from abroad.  He despatched a vessel to
the neighboring colony at Truxillo, urging them to abandon the place,
with all their effects, and to repair to him at Lima.  The measure was,
fortunately, not adopted.  Many of his men were for availing themselves
of the vessels which rode at anchor in the port to make their escape from
the country at once, and take refuge in Panama.  Pizarro would not
hearken to so dastardly a counsel, which involved the desertion of the
brave men in the interior who still looked to him for protection.  He cut
off the hopes of these timid spirits by despatching all the vessels then in
port on a very different mission.  He sent letters by them to the governors
of Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico, representing the gloomy
state of his affairs, and invoking their aid.  His epistle to Alvarado, then
established at Guatemala, is preserved.  He conjures him by every
sentiment of honor and patriotism to come to his assistance, and this
before it was too late.  Without assistance, the Spaniards could no longer
maintain their footing in Peru, and that great empire would be lost to the
Castilian Crown.  He finally engages to share with him such conquests as
they may make with their united arms.27--Such concessions, to the very
man whose absence from the country, but a few months before, Pizarro
would have been willing to secure at almost any price, are sufficient
evidence of the extremity of his distress.  The succours thus earnestly
solicited arrived in time, not to quell the Indian insurrection, but to aid
him in a struggle quite as formidable with his own countrymen.

It was now August.  More than five months had elapsed since the
commencement of the siege of Cuzco, yet the Peruvian legions still lay
encamped around the city.  The siege had been protracted much beyond
what was usual in Indian warfare, and showed the resolution of the
natives to exterminate the white men.  But the Peruvians themselves had
for some time been straitened by the want of provisions.  It was no easy
matter to feed so numerous a host; and the obvious resource of the
magazines of grain, so providently prepared by the Incas, did them but
little service, since their contents had been most prodigally used, and
even dissipated, by the Spaniards, on their first occupation of the
country.28  The season for planting had now arrived, and the Inca well
knew, that, if his followers were to neglect it, they would be visited by a
scourge even more formidable than their invaders.  Disbanding the
greater part of his forces, therefore, he ordered them to withdraw to their
homes, and, after the labors of the field were over, to return and resume
the blockade of the capital.  The Inca reserved a considerable force to
attend on his own person, with which he retired to Tambo, a strongly
fortified place south of the valley of Yucay, the favorite residence of his
ancestors.  He also posted a large body as a corps of observation in the
environs of Cuzco, to watch the movements of the enemy, and to
intercept supplies.

The Spaniards beheld with joy the mighty host, which had so long
encompassed the city, now melting away.  They were not slow in
profiting by the circumstance, and Hernando Pizarro took advantage of
the temporary absence to send out foraging parties to scour the country,
and bring back supplies to his famishing soldiers.  In this he was so
successful that on one occasion no less than two thousand head of cattle-
-the Peruvian sheep--were swept away from the Indian plantations and
brought safely to Cuzco.29 This placed the army above all apprehensions
on the score of want for the present.

Yet these forays were made at the point of the lance, and many a
desperate contest ensued, in which the best blood of the Spanish chivalry
was shed.  The contests, indeed, were not confined to large bodies of
troops, but skirmishes took place between smaller parties, which
sometimes took the form of personal combats.  Nor were the parties so
unequally matched as might have been supposed in these single
rencontres; and the Peruvian warrior, with his sling, his bow, and his
lasso, proved no contemptible antagonist for the mailed horseman, whom
he sometimes even ventured to encounter, hand to hand, with his
formidable battle-axe.  The ground around Cuzco became a battle-field,
like the vega of Granada, in which Christian and Pagan displayed the
characteristics of their peculiar warfare; and many a deed of heroism was
performed, which wanted only the song of the minstrel to shed around it
a glory like that which rested on the last days of the Moslem of Spain.30

But Hernando Pizarro was not content to act wholly on the defensive;
and he meditated a bold stroke, by which at once to put an end to the
war.  This was the capture of the Inca Manco, whom he hoped to surprise
in his quarters at Tambo.

For this service he selected about eighty of his best-mounted cavalry,
with a small body of foot; and, making a large detour through the less
frequented mountain defiles, he arrived before Tambo without alarm to
the enemy.  He found the place more strongly fortified than he had
imagined.  The palace, or rather fortress, of the Incas stood on a lofty
eminence, the steep sides of which, on the quarter where the Spaniards
approached, were cut into terraces, defended by strong walls of stone and
sunburnt brick.31  The place was impregnable on this side.  On the
opposite, it looked towards the Yucay, and the ground descended by a
gradual declivity towards the plain through which rolled its deep but
narrow current.32  This was the quarter on which to make the assault.

Crossing the stream without much difficulty, the Spanish commander
advanced up the smooth glacis with as little noise as possible.  The
morning light had hardly broken on the mountains; and Pizarro, as he
drew near the outer defences, which, as in the fortress of Cuzco,
consisted of a stone parapet of great strength drawn round the inclosure,
moved quickly forward, confident that the garrison were still buried in
sleep.  But thousands of eyes were upon him; and as the Spaniards came
within bowshot, a multitude of dark forms suddenly rose above the
rampart, while the Inca, with his lance in hand, was seen on horseback in
the inclosure, directing the operations of his troops.33  At the same
moment the air was darkened with innumerable missiles, stones, javelins,
and arrows, which fell like a hurricane on the troops, and the mountains
rang to the wild war-whoop of the enemy.  The Spaniards, taken by
surprise, and many of them sorely wounded, were staggered; and, though
they quickly rallied, and made two attempts to renew the assault, they
were at length obliged to fall back, unable to endure the violence of the
storm.  To add to their confusion, the lower level in their rear was
flooded by the waters, which the natives, by opening the sluices, had
diverted from the bed of the river, so that their position was no longer
tenable.34  A council of war was then held, and it was decided to
abandon the attack as desperate, and to retreat in as good order as

The day had been consumed in these ineffectual operations; and
Hernando, under cover of the friendly darkness, sent forward his infantry
and baggage, taking command of the centre himself, and trusting the rear
to his brother Gonzalo.  The river was happily recrossed without
accident, although the enemy, now confident in their strength, rushed out
of their defences, and followed up the retreating Spaniards, whom they
annoyed with repeated discharges of arrows.  More than once they
pressed so closely on the fugitives, that Gonzalo and his chivalry were
compelled to turn and make one of those desperate charges that
effectually punished their audacity, and stayed the tide of pursuit.  Yet
the victorious foe still hung on the rear of the discomfited cavaliers, till
they had emerged from the mountain passes, and come within sight of
the blackened walls of the capital.  It was the last triumph of the Inca.35

Among the manuscripts for which I am indebted to the liberality of that
illustrious Spanish scholar, the lamented Navarrete, the most remarkable,
in connection with this history, is the work of Pedro Pizarro; Relaciones
del Descubrimiento y Conquista de los Reynos del Peru.  But a single
copy of this important document appears to have been preserved, the
existence of which was but little known till it came into the hands of
Senior de Navarrete; though it did not escape the indefatigable
researches of Herrera, as is evident from the mention of several
incidents, some of them having personal relation to Pedro Pizarro
himself, which the historian of the Indies could have derived through no
other channel.  The manuscript has lately been given to the public as part
of the inestimable collection of historical documents now in process of
publication at Madrid, under auspices which, we may trust, will insure its
success.  As the printed work did not reach me till my present labors
were far advanced, I have preferred to rely on the manuscript copy for
the brief remainder of my narrative, as I had been compelled to do for
the previous portion of it.

Nothing, that I am aware of, is known respecting the author, but what is
to be gleaned from incidental notices of himself in his own history.  He
was born at Toledo in Estremadura, the fruitful province of adventurers
to the New World, whence the family of Francis Pizarro, to which Pedro
was allied, also emigrated.  When that chief came over to undertake the
conquest of Peru, after receiving his commission from the emperor in
1529, Pedro Pizarro, then only fifteen years of age, accompanied him in
quality of page.  For three years he remained attached to the house hold
of his commander, and afterwards continued to follow his banner as a
soldier of fortune.  He was present at most of the memorable events of
the Conquest, and seems to have possessed in a great degree the
confidence of his leader, who employed him on some difficult missions,
in which he displayed coolness and gallantry.  It is true, we must take the
author's own word for all this.  But he tells his exploits with an air of
honesty, and without any extraordinary effort to set them off in undue
relief.  He speaks of himself in the third person, and, as his manuscript
was not intended solely for posterity, he would hardly have ventured
on great misrepresentation, where fraud could so easily have been

After the Conquest, our author still remained attached to the fortunes of
his commander, and stood by him through all the troubles which ensued;
and on the assassination of that chief, he withdrew to Arequipa, to enjoy
in quiet the repartimiento of lands and Indians, which had been bestowed
on him as the recompense of his services.  He was there on the breaking
out of the great rebellion under Gonzalo Pizarro.  But he was true to his
allegiance, and chose rather, as he tells us, to be false to his name and his
lineage than to his loyalty.  Gonzalo, in retaliation, seized his estates, and
would have proceeded to still further extremities against him, when
Pedro Pizarro had fallen into his hands at Lima, but for the interposition
of his lieutenant, the famous Francisco de Carbajal, to whom the
chronicler had once the good fortune to render an important service.
This, Carbajal requited by sparing his life on two occasions,--but on the
second coolly remarked, "No man has a right to a brace of lives; and if
you fall into my hands a third time, God only can grant you another."
Happily, Pizarro did not find occasion to put this menace to the test.
After the pacification of the country, he again retired to Arequipa; but,
from the querulous tone of his remarks, it would seem he was not fully
reinstated in the possessions he had sacrificed by his loyal devotion to
government.  The last we hear of him is in 1571, the date which he
assigns as that of the completion of his history.

Pedro Pizarro's narrative covers the whole ground of the Conquest, from
the date of the first expedition that sallied out from Panama, to the
troubles that ensued on the departure of President Gasca.  The first part
of the work was gathered from the testimony of others, and, of course,
cannot claim the distinction of rising to the highest class of evidence.
But all that follows the return of Francis Pizarro from Castile, all, in
short, which constitutes the conquest of the country, may be said to be
reported on his own observation, as an eyewitness and an actor.  This
gives to his narrative a value to which it could have no pretensions on the
score of its literary execution.  Pizarro was a soldier, with as little
education, probably, as usually falls to those who have been trained from
youth in this rough school,--the most unpropitious in the world to both
mental and moral progress.  He had the good sense, moreover, not to
aspire to an excellence which he could not reach.  There is no ambition
of fine writing in his chronicle; there are none of those affectations of
ornament which only make more glaring the beggarly condition of him
who assumes them.  His object was simply to tell the story of the
Conquest, as he had seen it.  He was to deal with facts, not with words,
which he wisely left to those who came into the field after the laborers
had quitted it, to garner up what they could at second hand.

Pizarro's situation may be thought to have necessarily exposed him to
party influences, and thus given an undue bias to his narrative.  It is not
difficult, indeed, to determine under whose banner he had enlisted.  He
writes like a partisan, and yet like an honest one, who is no further
warped from a correct judgment of passing affairs than must necessarily
come from preconceived opinions.  There is no management to work a
conviction in his reader on this side or the other, still less any obvious
perversion of fact.  He evidently believes what he says, and this is the
great point to be desired.  We can make allowance for the natural
influences of his position.  Were he more impartial than this, the critic of
the present day, by making allowance for a greater amount of prejudice
and partiality, might only be led into error.

Pizarro is not only independent, but occasionally caustic in his
condemnation of those under whom he acted.  This is particularly the
case where their measures bear too unfavorably on his own interests, or
those of the army.  As to the unfortunate natives, he no more regards
their sufferings than the Jews of old did those of the Philistines, whom
they considered as delivered up to their swords, and whose lands they
regarded as their lawful heritage.  There is no mercy shown by the hard
Conqueror in his treatment of the infidel.

Pizarro was the representative of the age in which he lived.  Yet it is too
much to cast such obloquy on the age.  He represented more truly the
spirit of the fierce warriors who overturned the dynasty of the Incas.  He
was not merely a crusader, fighting to extend the empire of the Cross
over the darkened heathen.  Gold was his great object; the estimate by
which he judged of the value of the Conquest; the recompense that he
asked for a life of toil and danger.  It was with these golden visions, far
more than with visions of glory, above all, of celestial glory, that the
Peruvian adventurer fed his gross and worldly imagination.  Pizarro did
not rise above his caste.  Neither did he rise above it in a mental view,
any more than in a moral.  His history displays no great penetration, or
vigor and comprehension of thought.  It is the work of a soldier, telling
simply his tale of blood.  Its value is, that it is told by him who acted it.
And this, to the modern compiler, renders it of higher worth than far
abler productions at second hand.  It is the rude ore, which, submitted to
the regular process of purification and refinement, may receive the
current stamp that fits it for general circulation.

Another authority, to whom I have occasionally referred, and whose
writings still slumber in manuscript, is the Licentiate Fernando
Montesinos.  He is, in every respect, the opposite of the military
chronicler who has just come under our notice.  He flourished about a
century after the Conquest.  Of course, the value of his writings as an
authority for historical facts must depend on his superior opportunities
for consulting original documents.  For this his advantages were great.
He was twice sent in an official capacity to Peru, which required him to
visit the different parts of the country.  These two missions occupied
fifteen years; so that, while his position gave him access to the colonial
archives and literary repositories, he was enabled to verify his
researches, to some extent, by actual observation of the country.

The result was his two historical works, Memorias Antiguas Historiales
del Peru, and his Annales, sometimes cited in these pages.  The former is
taken up with the early history of the country,--very early, it must be
admitted, since it goes back to the deluge.  The first part of this treatise is
chiefly occupied with an argument to show the identity of Peru with the
golden Ophir of Solomon's time!  This hypothesis, by no means original
with the author, may give no unfair notion of the character of his mind.
In the progress of his work he follows down the line of Inca princes,
whose exploits, and names even, by no means coincide with Garcilasso's
catalogue; a circumstance, however, far from establishing their
inaccuracy.  But one will have little doubt of the writer's title to this
reproach, that reads the absurd legends told in the grave tone of reliance
by Montesinos, who shared largely in the credulity and the love of the
marvellous which belong to an earlier and less enlightened age.

These same traits are visible in his Annals, which are devoted
exclusively to the Conquest.  Here, indeed, the author, after his cloudy
flight, has descended on firm ground, where gross violations of truth, or,
at least, of probability, are not to be expected.  But any one who has
occasion to compare his narrative with that of contemporary writers will
find frequent cause to distrust it.  Yet Montesinos has one merit.  In his
extensive researches, he became acquainted with original instruments,
which he has occasionally transferred to his own pages, and which it
would be now difficult to meet elsewhere.

His writings have been commended by some of his learned countrymen,
as showing diligent research and information.  My own experience
would not assign them a high rank as historical vouchers.  They seem to
me entitled to little praise, either for the accuracy of their statements, or
the sagacity of their reflections.  The spirit of cold indifference which
they manifest to the sufferings of the natives is an odious feature, for
which there is less apology in a writer of the seventeenth century than in
one of the primitive Conquerors, whose passions had been inflamed by
longprotracted hostility.  M. Ternaux-Compans has translated the
Memorias Antiguas with his usual elegance and precision, for his
collection of original documents relating to the New World.  He speaks
in the Preface of doing the same kind office to the Annales, at a future
time.  I am not aware that he has done this; and I cannot but think that
the excellent translator may find a better subject for his labors in some of
the rich collection of the Munoz manuscripts in his possession.

History of the Conquest of Peru

by William Hickling Prescott

Book 4

Civil Wars Of The Conquerors

Chapter 1

Almagro's March To Chili--Suffering Of The Troops-
He Returns And Seizes Cuzco--Action Of Abancay-
Gaspar De Espinosa--Almagro Leaves Cuzco-
Negotiations With Pizarro


While the events recorded in the preceding chapter were passing, the
Marshal Almagro was engaged in his memorable expedition to Chili.  He
had set out, as we have seen, with only part of his forces, leaving his
lieutenant to follow him with the remainder.  During the first part of the
way, he profited by the great military road of the Incas, which stretched
across the table-land far towards the south.  But as he drew near to Chili,
the Spanish commander became entangled in the defiles of the
mountains, where no vestige of a road was to be discerned.  Here his
progress was impeded by all the obstacles which belong to the wild
scenery of the Cordilleras; deep and ragged ravines, round whose sides a
slender sheep-path wound up to a dizzy height over the precipices below;
rivers rushing in fury down the slopes of the mountains, and throwing
themselves in stupendous cataracts into the yawning abyss; dark forests
of pine that seemed to have no end, and then again long reaches of
desolate tableland, without so much as a bush or shrub to shelter the
shivering traveller from the blast that swept down from the frozen
summits of the sierra.

The cold was so intense, that many lost the nails of their fingers, their
fingers themselves, and sometimes their limbs.  Others were blinded by
the dazzling waste of snow, reflecting the rays of a sun made intolerably
brilliant in the thin atmosphere of these elevated regions.  Hunger came,
as usual, in the train of woes; for in these dismal solitudes no vegetation
that would suffice for the food of man was visible, and no living thing,
except only the great bird of the Andes, hovering over their heads in
expectation of his banquet.  This was too frequently afforded by the
number of wretched Indians, who, unable, from the scantiness of their
clothing, to encounter the severity of the climate, perished by the way.
Such was the pressure of hunger, that the miserable survivors fed on the
dead bodies of their countrymen, and the Spaniards forced a similar
sustenance from the carcasses of their horses, literally frozen to death in
the mountain passes.1--Such were the terrible penalties which Nature
imposed on those who rashly intruded on these her solitary and most
savage haunts.

Yet their own sufferings do not seem to have touched the hearts of the
Spaniards with any feeling of compassion for the weaker natives.  Their
path was everywhere marked by burnt and desolated hamlets, the
inhabitants of which were compelled to do them service as beasts of
burden.  They were chained together in gangs of ten or twelve, and no
infirmity or feebleness of body excused the unfortunate captive from his
full share of the common toil, till he sometimes dropped dead, in his very
chains, from mere exhaustion! 2  Alvarado's company are accused of
having been more cruel than Pizarro's; and many of Almagro's men, it
may be remembered, were recruited from that source.  The commander
looked with displeasure, it is said, on these enormities, and did what he
could to repress them.  Yet he did not set a good example in his own
conduct, if it be true that he caused no less than thirty Indian chiefs to be
burnt alive, for the massacre of three of his followers! 3  The heart
sickens at the recital of such atrocities perpetrated on an unoffending
people, or, at least, guilty of no other crime than that of defending their
own soil too well.

There is something in the possession of superior strength most
dangerous, in a moral view, to its possessor.  Brought in contact with
semicivilized man, the European, with his endowments and effective
force so immeasurably superior, holds him as little higher than the brute,
and as born equally for his service.  He feels that he has a natural right,
as it were, to his obedience, and that this obedience is to be measured,
not by the powers of the barbarian, but by the will of his conqueror.
Resistance becomes a crime to be washed out only in the blood of the
victim.  The tale of such atrocities is not confined to the Spaniard.
Wherever the civilized man and the savage have come in contact, in the
East or in the West, the story has been too often written in blood.

From the wild chaos of mountain scenery the Spaniards emerged on the
green vale of Coquimbo, about the thirtieth degree of south latitude.
Here they halted to refresh themselves in its abundant plains, after their
unexampled sufferings and fatigues.  Meanwhile Almagro despatched an
officer with a strong party in advance, to ascertain the character of the
country towards the south.  Not long after, he was cheered by the arrival
of the remainder of his forces under his lieutenant Rodrigo de Orgonez.
This was a remarkable person, and intimately connected with the
subsequent fortunes of Almagro.

He was a native of Oropesa, had been trained in the Italian wars, and
held the rank of ensign in the army of the Constable of Bourbon at the
famous sack of Rome.  It was a good school in which to learn his iron
trade, and to steel the heart against any too ready sensibility to human
suffering.  Orgonez was an excellent soldier; true to his commander,
prompt, fearless, and unflinching in the execution of his orders.  His
services attracted the notice of the Crown, and, shortly after this period,
he was raised to the rank of Marshal of New Toledo.  Yet it may be
doubted whether his character did not qualify him for an executive and
subordinate station rather than for one of higher responsibility.

Almagro received also the royal warrant, conferring on him his new
powers and territorial jurisdiction.  The instrument had been detained by
the Pizarros to the very last moment.  His troops, long since disgusted
with their toilsome and unprofitable march, were now clamorous to
return.  Cuzco, they said, undoubtedly fell within the limits of his
government, and it was better to take possession of its comfortable
quarters than to wander like outcasts in this dreary wilderness.  They
reminded their commander that thus only could he provide for the
interests of his son Diego.  This was an illegitimate son of Almagro, on
whom his father doated with extravagant fondness, justified more than
usual by the promising character of the youth.

After an absence of about two months, the officer sent on the exploring
expedition returned, bringing unpromising accounts of the southern
regions of Chili.  The only land of promise for the Castilian was one that
teemed with gold.4  He had penetrated to the distance of a hundred
leagues, to the limits, probably, of the conquests of the Incas on the river
Maule.5  The Spaniards had fortunately stopped short of the land of
Arauco, where the blood of their countrymen was soon after to be poured
out like water, and which still maintains a proud independence amidst
the general humiliation of the Indian races around it.

Almagro now yielded, with little reluctance, to the renewed importunities
of the soldiers, and turned his face towards the North.  It is unnecessary
to follow his march in detail.  Disheartened by the difficulty of the
mountain passage, he took the road along the coast, which led him across
the great desert of Atacama.  In crossing this dreary waste, which
stretches for nearly a hundred leagues to the northern borders of Chili,
with hardly a green spot in its expanse to relieve the fainting traveller,
Almagro and his men experienced as great sufferings, though not of the
same kind, as those which they had encountered in the passes of the
Cordilleras.  Indeed, the captain would not easily be found at this day,
who would venture to lead his army across this dreary region.  But the
Spaniard of the sixteenth century had a strength of limb and a buoyancy
of spirit which raised him to a contempt of obstacles, almost justifying
the boast of the historian, that "he contended indifferently, at the same
time, with man, with the elements, and with famine!" 6

After traversing the terrible desert, Almagro reached the ancient town of
Arequipa, about sixty leagues from Cuzco.  Here he learned with
astonishment the insurrection of the Peruvians, and further, that the
young Inca Manco still lay with a formidable force at no great distance
from the capital.  He had once been on friendly terms with the Peruvian
prince, and he now resolved, before proceeding farther, to send an
embassy to his camp, and arrange an interview with him in the
neighborhood of Cuzco.

Almagro's emissaries were well received by the Inca, who alleged his
grounds of complaint against the Pizarros, and named the vale of Yucay
as the place where he would confer with the marshal.  The Spanish
commander accordingly resumed his march, and, taking one half of his
force, whose whole number fell somewhat short of five hundred men, he
repaired in person to the place of rendezvous; while the remainder of his
army established their quarters at Urcos, about six leagues from the

The Spaniards in Cuzco, startled by the appearance of this fresh body of
troops in their neighborhood, doubted, when they learned the quarter
whence they came, whether it betided them good or evil.  Hernando
Pizarro marched out of the city with a small force, and, drawing near to
Urcos, heard with no little uneasiness of Almagro's purpose to insist on
his pretensions to Cuzco.  Though much inferior in strength to his rival,
he determined to resist him.

Meanwhile, the Peruvians, who had witnessed the conference between
the soldiers of the opposite camps, suspected some secret understanding
between the parties, which would compromise the safety of the Inca.
They communicated their distrust to Manco, and the latter, adopting the
same sentiments, or perhaps, from the first, meditating a surprise of the
Spaniards, suddenly fell upon the latter in the valley of Yucay with a
body of fifteen thousand men.  But the veterans of Chili were too
familiar with Indian tactics to be taken by surprise.  And though a sharp
engagement ensued, which lasted more than an hour, in which Orgonez
had a horse killed under him, the natives were finally driven back with
great slaughter, and the Inca was so far crippled by the blow, that he was
not likely for the present to give further molestation.8

Almagro, now joining the division left at Urcos, saw no further
impediment to his operations on Cuzco.  He sent, at once, an embassy to
the municipality of the place, requiring the recognition of him as its
lawful governor, and presenting at the same time a copy of his
credentials from the Crown.  But the question of jurisdiction was not one
easy to be settled, depending, as it did, on a knowledge of the true
parallels of latitude, not very likely to be possessed by the rude followers
of Pizarro.  The royal grant had placed under his jurisdiction all the
country extending two hundred and seventy leagues south of the river at
Santiago, situated one degree and twenty minutes north of the equator.
Two hundred and seventy leagues on the meridian, by our measurement,
would fall more than a degree short of Cuzco, and, indeed, would barely
include the city of Lima itself.  But the Spanish leagues, of only
seventeen and a half to a degree,9 would remove the southern boundary
to nearly half a degree beyond the capital of the Incas, which would thus
fall within the jurisdiction of Pizarro.10  Yet the division-line ran so
close to the disputed ground, that the true result might reasonably be
doubted, where no careful scientific observations had been made to
obtain it; and each party was prompt to assert, as they always are in such
cases, that its own claim was clear and unquestionable.11

Thus summoned by Almagro, the authorities of Cuzco, unwilling to give
umbrage to either of the contending chiefs, decided that they must wait
until they could take counsel--which they promised to do at once--with
certain pilots better instructed than themselves in the position of the
Santiago.  Meanwhile, a truce was arranged between the parties, each
solemnly engaging to abstain from hostile measures, and to remain quiet
in their present quarters.

The weather now set in cold and rainy.  Almagro's soldiers, greatly
discontented with their position, flooded as it was by the waters, were
quick to discover that Hernando Pizarro was busily employed in
strengthening himself in the city, contrary to agreement.  They also
learned with dismay, that a large body of men, sent by the governor from
Lima, under command of Alonso de Alvarado, was on the march to
relieve Cuzco.  They exclaimed that they were betrayed, and that the
truce had been only an artifice to secure their inactivity until the arrival
of the expected succours.  In this state of excitement, it was not very
difficult to persuade their commander--too ready to surrender his own
judgment to the rash advisers around him--to violate the treaty, and take
possession of the capital.12

Under cover of a dark and stormy night (April 8th, 1537), he entered the
place without opposition, made himself master of the principal church,
established strong parties of cavalry at the head of the great avenues to
prevent surprise, and detached Orgonez with a body of infantry to force
the dwelling of Hernando Pizarro.  "That captain was lodged with his
brother Gonzalo in one of the large halls built by the Incas for public
diversions, with immense doors of entrance that opened on the plaza.  It
was garrisoned by about twenty soldiers, who, as the gates were burst
open, stood stoutly to the defence of their leader.  A smart struggle
ensued, in which some lives were lost, till at length Orgonez, provoked
by the obstinate resistance, set fire to the combustible roof of the
building.  It was speedily in flames, and the burning rafters falling on the
heads of the inmates, they forced their reluctant leader to an
unconditional surrender.  Scarcely had the Spaniards left the building,
when the whole roof fell in with a tremendous crash.13

Almagro was now master of Cuzco.  He ordered the Pizarros, with
fifteen or twenty of the principal cavaliers, to be secured and placed in
confinement.  Except so far as required for securing his authority, he
does not seem to have been guilty of acts of violence to the
inhabitants,14 and he installed one of Pizarro's most able officers,
Gabriel de Rojas, in the government of the city.  The municipality,
whose eyes were now open to the validity of Almagro's pretensions,
made no further scruple to recognize his title to Cuzco.

The marshal's first step was to send a message to Alonso de Alvarado's
camp, advising that officer of his occupation of the city, and requiring
his obedience to him as its legitimate master.  Alvarado was lying, with a
body of five hundred men, horse and foot, at Xauxa, about thirteen
leagues from the capital.  He had been detached several months
previously for the relief of Cuzco; but had, most unaccountably, and, as
it proved, most unfortunately for the Peruvian capital, remained at Xauxa
with the alleged motive of protecting that settlement and the surrounding
country against the insurgents.15  He now showed himself loyal to his
commander; and, when Almagro's ambassadors reached his camp, he put
them in irons, and sent advice of what had been done to the governor at

Almagro, offended by the detention of his emissaries, prepared at once to
march against Alonso de Alvarado, and take more effectual means to
bring him to submission.  His lieutenant, Orgonez, strongly urged him
before his departure to strike off the heads of the Pizarros, alleging,
"that, while they lived, his commander's life would never be safe"; and
concluding with the Spanish proverb, "Dead men never bite." 16  But the
marshal, though he detested Hernando in his heart, shrunk from so
violent a measure; and, independently of other considerations, he had
still an attachment for his old associate, Francis Pizarro, and was
unwilling to sever the ties between them for ever.  Contenting himself,
therefore, with placing his prisoners under strong guard in one of the
stone buildings belonging to the House of the Sun, he put himself at the
head of his forces, and left the capital in quest of Alvarado.

That officer had now taken up a position on the farther side of the Rio de
Abancay, where he lay, with the strength of his little army, in front of a
bridge, by which its rapid waters are traversed, while a strong
detachment occupied a spot commanding a ford lower down the river.
But in this detachment was a cavalier of much consideration in the army,
Pedro de Lerma, who, from some pique against his commander, had
entered into treasonable correspondence with the opposite party.  By his
advice, Almagro, on reaching the border of the river, established himself
against the bridge in face of Alvarado, as if prepared to force a passage,
thus concentrating his adversary's attention on that point.  But, when
darkness had set in, he detached a large body under Orgonez to pass the
ford, and operate in concert with Lerma.  Orgonez executed this
commission with his usual promptness.  The ford was crossed, though
the current ran so swiftly, that several of his men were swept away by it,
and perished in the waters.  Their leader received a severe wound
himself in the mouth, as he was gaining the opposite bank, but, nothing
daunted, he cheered on his men, and fell with fury on the enemy.  He was
speedily joined by Lerma, and such of the soldiers as he had gained over,
and, unable to distinguish friend from foe, the enemy's confusion was

Meanwhile, Alvarado, roused by the noise of the attack on this quarter,
hastened to the support of his officer, when Almagro, seizing the
occasion, pushed across the bridge, dispersed the small body left to
defend it, and, falling on Alvarado's rear, that general saw himself
hemmed in on all sides.  The struggle did not last long; and the
unfortunate chief, uncertain on whom he could rely, surrendered with all
his force,--those only excepted who had already-deserted to the enemy.
Such was the battle of Abancay, as it was called, from the river on whose
banks it was fought, on the twelfth of July, 1537.- Never was a victory
more complete, or achieved with less cost of life; and Almagro marched
back, with an array of prisoners scarcely inferior to his own army in
number, in triumph to Cuzco.17

While the events related in the preceding pages were passing, Francisco
Pizarro had remained at Lima, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the
reinforcements which he had requested, to enable him to march to the
relief of the beleaguered capital of the Incas.  His appeal had not been
unanswered.  Among the rest was a corps of two hundred and fifty men,
led by the Licentiate Gaspar de Espinosa, one of the three original
associates, it may be remembered, who engaged in the conquest of Peru.
He had now left his own residence at Panama, and came in person, for
the first time, it would seem, to revive the drooping fortunes of his
confederates.  Pizarro received also a vessel laden with provisions,
military stores, and other necessary supplies, besides a rich wardrobe for
himself, from Cortes, the Conqueror of Mexico, who generously
stretched forth his hand to aid his kinsman in the hour of need.18

With a force amounting to four hundred and fifty men, half of them
cavalry, the governor quitted Lima, and began his march on the Inca
capital.  He had not advanced far, when he received tidings of the return
of Almagro, the seizure of Cuzco, and the imprisonment of his brothers;
and, before he had time to recover from this astounding intelligence, he
learned the total defeat and capture of Alvarado.  Filled with
consternation at these rapid successes of his rival, he now returned in all
haste to Lima, which he put in the best posture of defence, to secure it
against the hostile movements, not unlikely, as he thought, to be directed
against that capital itself.  Meanwhile, far from indulging in impotent
sallies of resentment, or in complaints of his ancient comrade, he only
lamented that Almagro should have resorted to these violent measures
for the settlement of their dispute, and this less-if we may take his word
for it--from personal considerations than from the prejudice it might do
to the interests of the Crown.19

But, while busily occupied with warlike preparations, he did not omit to
try the effect of negotiation.  He sent an embassy to Cuzco, consisting of
several persons in whose discretion he placed the greatest confidence,
with Espinosa at their head, as the party most interested in an amicable

The licentiate, on his arrival, did not find Almagro in as favorable a
mood for an accommodation as he could have wished.  Elated by his
recent successes, he now aspired not only to the possession of Cuzco, but
of Lima itself, as falling within the limits of his jurisdiction.  It was in
vain that Espinosa urged the propriety, by every argument which
prudence could suggest, of moderating his demands.  His claims upon
Cuzco, at least, were not to be shaken, and he declared himself ready to
peril his life in maintaining them.  The licentiate coolly replied by
quoting the pithy Castilian proverb, El vencido vencido, y el vencidor
perdido; "The vanquished vanquished, and the victor undone."

What influence the temperate arguments of the licentiate might
eventually have had on the heated imagination of the soldier is doubtful;
but unfortunately for the negotiation, it was abruptly terminated by the
death of Espinosa himself, which took place most unexpectedly, though,
strange to say, in those times, without the imputation of poison.20  He
was a great loss to the parties in the existing fermentation of their minds;
for he had the weight of character which belongs to wise and moderate
counsels, and a deeper interest than any other man in recommending

The name of Espinosa is memorable in history from his early connection
with the expedition to Peru, which, but for the seasonable, though secret,
application of his funds, could not then have been compassed.  He had
long been a resident in the Spanish colonies of Tierra Firme and Panama,
where he had served in various capacities, sometimes as a legal
functionary presiding in the courts of justice,21 and not unfrequently as
an efficient leader in the early expeditions of conquest and discovery.  In
these manifold vocations he acquired high reputation for probity,
intelligence, and courage, and his death at the present crisis was
undoubtedly the most unfortunate event that could befall the country.

All attempt at negotiation was now abandoned; and Almagro announced
his purpose to descend to the sea-coast, where he could plant a colony
and establish a port for himself.  This would secure him the means, so
essential, of communication with the mother-country, and here he would
resume negotiations for the settlement of his dispute with Pizarro.
Before quitting Cuzco, he sent Orgonez with a strong force against the
Inca, not caring to leave the capital exposed in his absence to further
annoyance from that quarter.

But the Inca, discouraged by his late discomfiture, and unable, perhaps,
to rally in sufficient strength for resistance, abandoned his stronghold at
Tambo, and retreated across the mountains.  He was hotly pursued by
Orgonez over hill and valley, till, deserted by his followers, and with
only one of his wives to bear him company, the royal fugitive took
shelter in the remote fastnesses of the Andes.22

Before leaving the capital, Orgonez again urged his commander to strike
off the heads of the Pizarros, and then march at once upon Lima.  By this
decisive step he would bring the war to an issue, and forever secure
himself from the insidious machinations of his enemies.  But, in the mean
time, a new friend had risen up to the captive brothers.  This was Diego
de Alvarado, brother of that Pedro, who, as mentioned in a preceding
chapter, had conducted the unfortunate expedition to Quito.  After his
brother's departure, Diego had attached himself to the fortunes of
Almagro, had accompanied him to Chili, and, as he was a cavalier of
birth, and possessed of some truly noble qualities, he had gained
deserved ascendency over his commander.  Alvarado had frequently
visited Hernando Pizarro in his confinement, where, to beguile the
tediousness of captivity, he amused himself with gaming,--the passion of
the Spaniard.  They played deep, and Alvarado lost the enormous sum of
eighty thousand gold castellanos.  He was prompt in paying the debt, but
Hernando Pizarro peremptorily declined to receive the money.  By this
politic generosity, he secured an important advocate in the council of
Almagro.  It stood him now in good stead.  Alvarado represented to the
marshal, that such a measure as that urged by Orgonez would not only
outrage the feelings of his followers, but would ruin his fortunes by the
indignation it must excite at court.  When Almagro acquiesced in these
views, as in truth most grateful to his own nature, Orgonez, chagrined at
his determination, declared that the day would come when he would
repent this mistaken lenity.  "A Pizarro," he said, "was never known to
forget an injury; and that which they had already received from Almagro
was too deep for them to forgive."  Prophetic words!

On leaving Cuzco, the marshal gave orders that Gonzalo Pizarro and the
other prisoners should be detained in strict custody.  Hernando he took
with him, closely guarded, on his march.  Descending rapidly towards
the coast, he reached the pleasant vale of Chincha in the latter part of
August.  Here he occupied himself with laying the foundations of a town
bearing his own name, which might serve as a counterpart to the City of
the Kings,--thus bidding defiance, as it were, to his rival on his own
borders.  While occupied in this manner, he received the unwelcome
tidings, that Gonzalo Pizarro, Alonso de Alvarado, and the other
prisoners, having tampered with their guards, had effected their escape
from Cuzco, and he soon after heard of their safe arrival in the camp of

Chafed by this intelligence, the marshal was not soothed by the
insinuations of Orgonez, that it was owing to his ill-advised lenity; that it
might have gone hard with Hernando, but that Almagro's attention was
diverted by the negotiation which Francisco Pizarro now proposed to

After some correspondence between the parties, it was agreed to submit
the arbitration of the dispute to a single individual, Fray Francisco de
Bovadilla, a Brother of the Order of Mercy.  Though living in Lima, and,
as might be supposed, under the influence of Pizarro, he had a reputation
for integrity that disposed Almagro to confide the settlement of the
question exclusively to him.  In this implicit confidence in the friar's
impartiality, Orgonez, of a less sanguine temper than his chief, did not

An interview was arranged between the rival chiefs.  It took place at
Mala, November 13th, 1537; but very different was the deportment of
the two commanders towards each other from that which they had
exhibited at their former meetings.  Almagro, indeed, doffing his bonnet,
advanced in his usual open manner to salute his ancient comrade; but
Pizarro, hardly condescending to return the salute, haughtily demanded
why the marshal had seized upon his city of Cuzco, and imprisoned his
brothers.  This led to a recrimination on the part of his associate.  The
discussion assumed the tone of an angry altercation, till Almagro, taking
a hint--or what he conceived to be such--from an attendant, that some
treachery was intended, abruptly quitted the apartment, mounted his
horse, and galloped back to his quarters at Chincha.24  The conference
closed, as might have been anticipated from the heated temper of their
minds when they began it, by widening the breach it was intended to
heal.  The friar, now left wholly to himself, after some deliberation, gave
his award.  He decided that a vessel, with a skilful pilot on board, should
be sent to determine the exact latitude of the river of Santiago, the
northern boundary of Pizarro's territory, by which all the measurements
were to be regulated.  In the mean time, Cuzco was to be delivered up by
Almagro, and Hernando Pizarro to be set at liberty, on condition of his
leaving the country in six weeks for Spain.  Both parties were to retire
within their undisputed territories, and to abandon all further

This award, as may be supposed, highly satisfactory to Pizarro, was
received by Almagro's men with indignation and scorn.  They had been
sold, they cried, by their general, broken, as he was, by age and
infirmities.  Their enemies were to occupy Cuzco and its pleasant places,
while they were to be turned over to the barren wilderness of Charcas.
Little did they dream that under this poor exterior were hidden the rich
treasures of Potosi.  They denounced the umpire as a hireling of the
governor, and murmurs were heard among the troops, stimulated by
Orgonez, demanding the head of Hernando.  Never was that cavalier in
greater danger.  But his good genius in the form of Alvarado again
interposed to protect him.  His life in captivity was a succession of

Yet his brother, the governor, was not disposed to abandon him to his
fate.  On the contrary, he was now prepared to make every concession to
secure his freedom.  Confessions, that politic chief well knew, cost little
to those who are not concerned to abide by them.  After some
preliminary negotiation, another award, more equitable, or, at all events,
more to the satisfaction of the discontented party, was given.  The
principal articles of it were, that, until the arrival of some definitive
instructions on the point from Castile, the city of Cuzco, with its
territory, should remain in the hands of Almagro; and that Hernando
Pizarro should be set at liberty, on the condition, above stipulated, of
leaving the country in six weeks.--When the terms of this agreement
were communicated to Orgonez, that officer intimated his opinion of
them, by passing his finger across his throat, and exclaiming, "What has
my fidelity to my commander cost me!" 27

Almagro, in order to do greater honor to his prisoner, visited him in
person, and announced to him that he was from that moment free.  He
expressed a hope, at the same time, that "all past differences would be
buried in oblivion, and that henceforth they should live only in the
recollection of their ancient friendship." Hernando replied, with apparent
cordiality, that "he desired nothing better for himself." He then swore in
the most solemn manner, and pledged his knightly honor,--the latter,
perhaps, a pledge of quite as much weight in his own mind as the
former,--that he would faithfully comply with the terms stipulated in the
treaty.  He was next conducted by the marshal to his quarters, where he
partook of a collation in company with the principal officers; several of
whom, together with Diego Almagro, the general's son, afterward
escorted the cavalier to his brother's camp, which had been transferred to
the neighboring town of Mala.  Here the party received a most cordial
greeting from the governor, who entertained them with a courtly
hospitality, and lavished many attentions, in particular, on the son of his
ancient associate.  In short, such, on their return, was the account of their
reception, that it left no doubt in the mind of Almagro that all was at
length amicably settled.28--He did not know Pizarro.

Book 4

Chapter 2

First Civil War--Almagro Retreats To Cuzco--Battle Of Las Salinas--
Cruelty Of The Conquerors--Trial And Execution Of Almagro-
His Character


Scarcely had Almagro's officers left the governor's quarters, when the
latter, calling his little army together, briefly recapitulated the many
wrongs which had been done him by his rival, the seizure of his capital,
the imprisonment of his brothers, the assault and defeat of his troops; and
he concluded with the declaration,--heartily echoed back by his military
audience,--that the time had now come for revenge.  All the while that
the negotiations were pending, Pizarro had been busily occupied with
military preparations.  He had mustered a force considerably larger than
that of his rival, drawn from various quarters, but most of them familiar
with service.  He now declared, that, as he was too old to take charge of
the campaign himself, he should devolve that duty on his brothers; and
he released Hernando from all his engagements to Almagro, as a
measure justified by necessity.  That cavalier, with graceful pertinacity,
intimated his design to abide by the pledges he had given, but, at length,
yielded a reluctant assent to the commands of his brother, as to a
measure imperatively demanded by his duty to the Crown.1

The governor's next step was to advise Almagro that the treaty was at an
end.  At the same time, he warned him to relinquish his pretensions to
Cuzco, and withdraw into his own territory, or the responsibility of the
consequences would lie on his own head.

Reposing in his false security, Almagro was now fully awakened to the
consciousness of the error he had committed; and the warning voice of
his lieutenant may have risen to his recollection.  The first part of the
prediction was fulfilled.  And what should prevent the latter from being
so?  To add to his distress, he was laboring at this time under a grievous
malady, the result of early excesses, which shattered his constitution, and
made him incapable alike of mental and bodily exertion.2

In this forlorn condition, he confided the management of his affairs to
Orgonez, on whose loyalty and courage he knew he might implicitly rely.
The first step was to secure the passes of the Guaitara, a chain of hills
that hemmed in the valley of Zangalla, where Almagro was at present
established.  But, by some miscalculation, the passes were not secured in
season; and the active enemy, threading the dangerous defiles, effected a
passage across the sierra, where a much inferior force to his own might
have taken him at advantage.  The fortunes of Almagro were on the

His thoughts were now turned towards Cuzco, and he was anxious to get
possession of this capital before the arrival of the enemy.  Too feeble to
sit on horseback, he was obliged to be carried in a litter; and, when he
reached the ancient town of Bilcas, not far from Guamanga, his
indisposition was so severe that he was compelled to halt and remain
there three weeks before resuming his march.

The governor and his brothers, in the mean time, after traversing the pass
of Guaitara, descended into the valley of Ica, where Pizarro remained a
considerable while, to get his troops in order and complete his
preparations for the campaign.  Then, taking leave of the army, he
returned to Lima, committing the prosecution of the war, as he had
before announced, to his younger and more active brothers.  Hernando,
soon after quitting Ica, kept along the coast as far as Nasca, proposing to
penetrate the country by a circuitous route in order to elude the enemy,
who might have greatly embarrassed him in some of the passes of the
Cordilleras.  But unhappily for him, this plan of operations, which would
have given him such manifest advantage, was not adopted by Almagro;
and his adversary, without any other impediment than that arising from
the natural difficulties of the march, arrived, in the latter part of April,
1538, in the neighborhood of Cuzco.

But Almagro was already in possession of that capital, which he had
reached ten days before.  A council of war was held by him respecting
the course to be pursued.  Some were for making good the defence of the
city.  Almagro would have tried what could be done by negotiation.  But
Orgonez bluntly replied,--"It is too late; you have liberated Hernando
Pizarro, and nothing remains but to fight him."  The opinion of Orgonez
finally prevailed, to march out and give the enemy battle on the plains.
The marshal, still disabled by illness from taking the command, devolved
it on his trusty lieutenant, who, mustering his forces, left the city, and
took up a position at Las Salinas, less than a league distant from Cuzco.
The place received its name from certain pits or vats in the ground, used
for the preparation of salt, that was obtained from a natural spring in the
neighborhood.  It was an injudicious choice of ground, since its broken
character was most unfavorable to the free action of cavalry, in which the
strength of Almagro's force consisted.  But, although repeatedly urged by
the officers to advance into the open country, Orgonez persisted in his
position, as the most favorable for defence, since the front was protected
by a marsh, and by a little stream that flowed over the plain.  His forces
amounted in all to about five hundred, more than half of them horse.  His
infantry was deficient in firearms, the place of which was supplied by the
long pike.  He had also six small cannon, or falconets, as they were
called, which, with his cavalry, formed into two equal divisions, he
disposed on the flanks of his infantry.  Thus prepared, he calmly awaited
the approach of the enemy.

It was not long before the bright arms and banners of the Spaniards
under Hernando Pizarro were seen emerging from the mountain passes,
The troops came forward in good order, and like men whose steady step
showed that they had been spared in the march, and were now fresh for
action.  They advanced slowly across the plain, and halted on the
opposite border of the little stream which covered the front of Orgonez.
Here Hernando, as the sun had set, took up his quarters for the night,
proposing to defer the engagement till daylight.3

The rumors of the approaching battle had spread far and wide over the
country; and the mountains and rocky heights around were thronged with
multitudes of natives, eager to feast their eyes on a spectacle, where,
whichever side were victorious, the defeat would fall on their enemies.4
The Castilian women and children, too, with still deeper anxiety, had
thronged out from Cuzco to witness the deadly strife in which brethren
and kindred were to contend for mastery.5  The whole number of the
combatants was insignificant; though not as compared with those usually
engaged in these American wars.  It is not, however, the number of the
players, but the magnitude of the stake, that gives importance and
interest to the game; and in this bloody game, they were to play for the
possession of an empire.

The night passed away in silence, unbroken by the vast assembly which
covered the surrounding hill-tops.  Nor did the soldiers of the hostile
camps, although keeping watch within hearing of one another, and with
the same blood flowing in their veins, attempt any communication.  So
deadly was the hate in their bosoms! 6

The sun rose bright, as usual in this beautiful climate, on Saturday, the
twenty-sixth day of April, 1538.7  But long before his beams were on the
plain, the trumpet of Hernando Pizarro had called his men to arms.  His
forces amounted in all to about seven hundred.  They were drawn from
various quarters, the veterans of Pizarro, the followers of Alonso de
Alvarado,--many of whom, since their defeat, had found their way back
to Lima,--and the late reinforcement from the isles, most of them
seasoned by many a toilsome march in the Indian campaigns, and many a
hard-fought field.  His mounted troops were inferior to those of
Almagro; but this was more than compensated by the strength of his
infantry, comprehending a well-trained corps of arquebusiers, sent from
St. Domingo, whose weapons were of the improved construction
recently introduced from Flanders.  They were of a large calibre, and
threw double-headed shot, consisting of bullets linked together by an
iron chain.  It was doubtless a clumsy weapon compared with modern
firearms, but, in hands accustomed to wield it, proved a destructive

Hernando Pizarro drew up his men in the same order of battle as that
presented by the enemy,--throwing his infantry into the centre, and
disposing his horse on the flanks; one corps of which he placed under
command of Alonso de Alvarado, and took charge of the other himself.
The infantry was headed by his brother Gonzalo, supported by Pedro de
Valdivia, the future hero of Arauco, whose disastrous story forms the
burden of romance as well as of chronicle.9

Mass was said, as if the Spaniards were about to fight what they deemed
the good fight of the faith, instead of imbruing their hands in the blood of
their countrymen.  Hernando Pizarro then made a brief address to his
soldiers.  He touched on the personal injuries he and his family had
received from Almagro; reminded his brother's veterans that Cuzco had
been wrested from their possession; called up the glow of shame on the
brows of Alvarado's men as he talked of the rout of Abancay, and,
pointing out the Inca metropolis that sparkled in the morning sunshine,
he told them that there was the prize of the victor.  They answered his
appeal with acclamations; and the signal being given, Gonzalo Pizarro,
heading his battalion of infantry, led it straight across the river.  The
water was neither broad nor deep, and the soldiers found no difficulty in
gaining a landing, as the enemy's horse was prevented by the marshy
ground from approaching the borders.  But, as they worked their way
across the morass, the heavy guns of Orgonez played with effect on the
leading files, and threw them into disorder.  Gonzalo and Valdivia threw
themselves into the midst of their followers, menacing some,
encouraging others, and at length led them gallantly forward to the firm
ground.  Here the arquebusiers, detaching themselves from the rest of the
infantry, gained a small eminence, whence, in their turn, they opened a
galling fire on Orgonez, scattering his array of spearmen, and sorely
annoying the cavalry on the flanks.

Meanwhile, Hernando, forming his two squadrons of horse into one
column, crossed under cover of this well-sustained fire, and, reaching the
firm ground, rode at once against the enemy.  Orgonez, whose infantry
was already much crippled, advancing his horse, formed the two
squadrons into one body, like his antagonist, and spurred at full gallop
against the assailants.  The shock was terrible; and it was hailed by the
swarms of Indian spectators on the surrounding heights with a fiendish
yell of triumph, that rose far above the din of battle, till it was lost in
distant echoes among the mountains.10

The struggle was desperate.  For it was not that of the white man against
the defenceless Indian, but of Spaniard against Spaniard; both parties
cheering on their comrades with their battlecries of "El Rey y Almagro,"
or "El Rey y Pizarro,"--while they fought with a hate, to which national
antipathy was as nothing; a hate strong in proportion to the strength of
the ties that had been rent asunder.

In this bloody field well did Orgonez do his duty, fighting like one to
whom battle was the natural element.  Singling out a cavalier, whom,
from the color of the sobre-vest on his armour, he erroneously supposed
to be Hernando Pizarro, he charged him in full career, and overthrew
him with his lance.  Another he ran through in like manner, and a third
he struck down with his sword as he was prematurely shouting
"Victory!"  But while thus doing the deeds of a paladin of romance, he
was hit by a chain-shot from an arquebuse, which, penetrating the bars of
his visor, grazed his forehead, and deprived him for a moment of reason.
Before he had fully recovered, his horse was killed under him, and
though the fallen cavalier succeeded in extricating himself from the
stirrups, he was surrounded, and soon overpowered by numbers.  Still
refusing to deliver up his sword, he asked "if there was no knight to
whom he could surrender."  One Fuentes, a menial of Pizarro, presenting
himself as such, Orgonez gave his sword into his hands,--and the dastard,
drawing his dagger, stabbed his defenceless prisoner to the heart!  His
head, then struck off, was stuck on a pike, and displayed, a bloody
trophy, in the great square of Cuzco, as the head of a traitor.11  Thus
perished as loyal a cavalier, as decided in council, and as bold in action,
as ever crossed to the shores of America.

The fight had now lasted more than an hour, and the fortune of the day
was turning against the followers of Almagro.  Orgonez being down,
their confusion increased.  The infantry, unable to endure the fire of the
arquebusiers, scattered and took refuge behind the stone-walls, that here
and there straggled across the country.  Pedro de Lerma, vainly striving
to rally the cavalry, spurred his horse against Hernando Pizarro, with
whom he had a personal feud.  Pizarro did not shrink from the encounter.
The lances of both the knights took effect.  That of Hernando penetrated
the thigh of his opponent, while Lerma's weapon, glancing by his
adversary's saddle-bow, struck him with such force above the groin, that
it pierced the joints of his mail, slightly wounding the cavalier, and
forcing his horse back on his haunches.  But the press of the fight soon
parted the combatants, and, in the turmoil that ensued, Lerma was
unhorsed, and left on the field covered with wounds.12

There was no longer order, and scarcely resistance, among the followers
of Almagro.  They fled, making the best of their way to Cuzco, and
happy was the man who obtained quarter when he asked it.  Almagro
himself, too feeble to sit so long on his horse, reclined on a litter, and
from a neighboring eminence surveyed the battle, watching its
fluctuations with all the interest of one who felt that honor, fortune, life
itself, hung on the issue.  With agony not to be described, he had seen
his faithful followers, after their hard struggle, borne down by their
opponents, till, convinced that all was lost, he succeeded in mounting a
mule, and rode off for a temporary refuge to the fortress of Cuzco.
Thither he was speedily followed, taken, and brought in triumph to the
capital, where, ill as he was, he was thrown into irons, and confined in
the same apartment of the stone building in which he had imprisoned the

The action lasted not quite two hours.  The number of killed, variously
stated, was probably not less than a hundred and fifty,--one of the
combatants calls it two hundred,13--a great number, considering the
shortness of the time, and the small amount of forces engaged.  No
account is given of the wounded.  Wounds were the portion of the
cavalier.  Pedro de Lerma is said to have received seventeen, and yet was
taken alive from the field!  The loss fell chiefly on the followers of
Almagro.  But the slaughter was not confined to the heat of the action.
Such was the deadly animosity of the parties, that several were murdered
in cold blood, like Orgonez, after they had surrendered.  Pedro de Lerma
himself, while lying on his sick couch in the quarters of a friend in
Cuzco, was visited by a soldier, named Samaniego, whom he had once
struck for an act of disobedience.  This person entered the solitary
chamber of the wounded man took his place by his bed-side, and then,
upbraiding him for the insult, told him that he had come to wash it away
in his blood!  Lerma in vain assured him, that, when restored to health,
he would give him the satisfaction he desired.  The miscreant, exclaimed
"Now is the hour!" plunged his sword into his bosom.  He lived several
years to vaunt this atrocious exploit, which he proclaimed as a reparation
to his honor.  It is some satisfaction to know that the insolence of this
vaunt cost him his life.14 --Such anecdotes, revolting as they are,
illustrate not merely the spirit of the times, but that peculiarly ferocious
spirit which is engendered by civil wars,--the most unforgiving in their
character of any, but wars of religion.

In the hurry of the flight of one party, and the pursuit by the other, all
pouring towards Cuzco, the field of battle had been deserted.  But it soon
swarmed with plunderers, as the Indians, descending like vultures from
the mountains, took possession of the bloody ground, and, despoiling the
dead, even to the minutest article of dress, left their corpses naked on the
plain.15  It has been thought strange that the natives should not have
availed themselves of their superior numbers to fall on the victors after
they had been exhausted by the battle.  But the scattered bodies of the
Peruvians were without a leader; they were broken in spirits, moreover,
by recent reverses, and the Castilians, although weakened for the
moment by the struggle, were in far greater strength in Cuzco than they
had ever been before.

Indeed, the number of troops now assembled within its walls, amounting
to full thirteen hundred, composed, as they were, of the most discordant
materials, gave great uneasiness to Hernando Pizarro.  For there were
enemies glaring on each other and on him with deadly though smothered
rancor, and friends, if not so dangerous, not the less troublesome from
their craving and unreasonable demands.  He had given the capital up to
pillage, and his followers found good booty in the quarters of Almagro's
officers.  But this did not suffice the more ambitious cavaliers; and they
clamorously urged their services, and demanded to be placed in charge
of some expedition, nothing doubting that it must prove a golden one.
All were in quest of an El Dorado.  Hernando Pizarro acquiesced as far
as possible in these desires, most willing to relieve himself of such
importunate creditors.  The expeditions, it is true, usually ended in
disaster; but the country was explored by them.  It was the lottery of
adventure; the prizes were few, but they were splendid; and in the
excitement of the game, few Spaniards paused to calculate the chances of

Among those who left the capital was Diego, the son of Almagro.
Hernando was mindful to send him, with a careful escort, to his brother
the governor, desirous to remove him at this crisis from the
neighborhood of his father.  Meanwhile the marshal himself was pining
away in prison under the combined influence of bodily illness and
distress of mind.  Before the battle of Salinas, it had been told to
Hernando Pizarro that Almagro was like to die.  "Heaven forbid," he
exclaimed, "that this should come to pass before he falls into my
hands!"16  Yet the gods seemed now disposed to grant but half of this
pious prayer, since his captive seemed about to escape him just as he had
come into his power.  To console the unfortunate chief, Hernando paid
him a visit in his prison, and cheered him with the assurance that he only
waited for the governor's arrival to set him at liberty; adding, "that, if
Pizarro did not come soon to the capital, he himself would assume the
responsibility of releasing him, and would furnish him with a conveyance
to his brother's quarters."  At the same time, with considerate attention to
his comfort, he inquired of the marshal "what mode of conveyance
would be best suited to his state of health."  After this he continued to
send him delicacies from his own table to revive his faded appetite.
Almagro, cheered by these kind attentions, and by the speedy prospect of
freedom, gradually mended in health and spirits.17

He little dreamed that all this while a process was industriously preparing
against him.  It had been instituted immediately on his capture, and every
one, however humble, who had any cause of complaint against the
unfortunate prisoner, was invited to present it.  The summons was readily
answered; and many an enemy now appeared in the hour of his fallen
fortunes, like the base reptiles crawling into light amidst the ruins of
some noble edifice; and more than one, who had received benefits from
his hands, were willing to court the favor of his enemy by turning on
their benefactor.  From these loathsome sources a mass of accusations
was collected which spread over two thousand folio pages!  Yet Almagro
was the idol of his soldiers! 18

Having completed the process, (July 8th, 1538,) it was not difficult to
obtain a verdict against the prisoner.  The principal charges on which he
was pronounced guilty were those of levying war against the Crown, and
thereby occasioning the death of many of his Majesty's subjects; of
entering into conspiracy with the Inca; and finally, of dispossessing the
royal governor of the city of Cuzco.  On these charges he was
condemned to suffer death as a traitor, by being publicly beheaded in
the great square of the city.  Who were the judges, or what was the
tribunal that condemned him, we are not informed.  Indeed, the whole
trial was a mockery; if that can be called a trial, where the accused
himself is not even aware of the accusation.

The sentence was communicated by a friar deputed for the purpose to
Almagro.  The unhappy man, who all the while had been unconsciously
slumbering on the brink of a precipice, could not at first comprehend the
nature of his situation.  Recovering from the first shock, "It was
impossible," he said, "that such wrong could be done him,--he would not
believe it."  He then besought Hernando Pizarro to grant him an
interview.  That cavalier, not unwilling, it would seem, to witness the
agony of his captive, consented: and Almagro was so humbled by his
misfortunes, that he condescended to beg for his life with the most
piteous supplications.  He reminded Hernando of his ancient relations
with his brother, and the good offices he had rendered him and his family
in the earlier part of their career.  He touched on his acknowledged
services to his country, and besought his enemy "to spare his gray hairs,
and not to deprive him of the short remnant of an existence from which
he had now nothing more to fear."--To this the other coldly replied, that
"he was surprised to see Almagro demean himself in a manner so
unbecoming a brave cavalier; that his fate was no worse than had
befallen many a soldier before him; and that, since God had given him
the grace to be a Christian, he should employ his remaining moments in
making up his account with Heaven!"19

But Almagro was not to be silenced.  He urged the service he had
rendered Hernando himself.  "This was a hard requital," he said, "for
having spared his life so recently under similar circumstances, and that,
too, when he had been urged again and again by those around him to
take it away."  And he concluded by menacing his enemy with the
vengeance of the emperor, who would never suffer this outrage on one
who had rendered such signal services to the Crown to go unrequited.  It
was all in vain; and Hernando abruptly closed the conference by
repeating, that "his doom was inevitable, and he must prepare to meet

Almagro, finding that no impression was to be made on his ironhearted
conqueror, now seriously addressed himself to the settlement of his
affairs.  By the terms of the royal grant he was empowered to name his
successor.  He accordingly devolved his office on his son, appointing
Diego de Alvarado, on whose integrity he had great reliance,
administrator of the province during his minority.  All his property and
possessions in Peru, of whatever kind, he devised to his master the
emperor, assuring him that a large balance was still due to him in his
unsettled accounts with Pizarro.  By this politic bequest, he hoped to
secure the monarch's protection for his son, as well as a strict scrutiny
into the affairs of his enemy.

The knowledge of Almagro's sentence produced a deep sensation in the
community of Cuzco.  All were amazed at the presumption with which
one, armed with a little brief authority, ventured to sit in judgment on a
person of Almagro's station.  There were few who did not call to mind
some generous or good-natured act of the unfortunate veteran.  Even
those who had furnished materials for the accusation, now startled by the
tragic result to which it was to lead, were heard to denounce Hernando's
conduct as that of a tyrant.  Some of the principal cavaliers, and among
them Diego de Alvarado, to whose intercession, as we have seen,
Hernando Pizarro, when a captive, had owed his own life, waited on that
commander, and endeavored to dissuade him from so highhanded and
atrocious a proceeding.  It was in vain.  But it had the effect of changing
the mode of execution, which, instead of the public square, was now to
take place in prison.21

On the day appointed, a strong corps of arquebusiers was drawn up in
the plaza.  The guards were doubled over the houses where dwelt the
principal partisans of Almagro.  The executioner, attended by a priest,
stealthily entered his prison; and the unhappy man, after confessing and
receiving the sacrament, submitted without resistance to the garrote.
Thus obscurely, in the gloomy silence of a dungeon, perished the hero of
a hundred battles!  His corpse was removed to the great square of the
city, where, in obedience to the sentence, the head was severed from the
body.  A herald proclaimed aloud the nature of the crimes for which he
had suffered; and his remains, rolled in their bloody shroud, were borne
to the house of his friend Hernan Ponce de Leon, and the next day laid
with all due solemnity in the church of Our Lady of Mercy.  The Pizarros
appeared among the principal mourners.  It was remarked, that their
brother had paid similar honors to the memory of Atahuallpa.22

Almagro, at the time of his death, was probably not far from seventy
years of age.  But this is somewhat uncertain; for Almagro was a
foundling, and his early history is lost in obscurity.23  He had many
excellent qualities by nature; and his defects, which were not few, may
reasonably be palliated by the circumstances of his situation.  For what
extenuation is not authorized by the position of a foundling,--without
parents, or early friends, or teacher to direct him,--his little bark set adrift
on the ocean of life, to take its chance among the rude billows and
breakers, without one friendly hand stretched forth to steer or to save it!
The name of "foundling" comprehends an apology for much, very much,
that is wrong in after life.24

He was a man of strong passions, and not too well used to control
them.25  But he was neither vindictive nor habitually cruel.  I have
mentioned one atrocious outrage which he committed on the natives.
But insensibility to the rights of the Indian he shared with many a better
instructed Spaniard.  Yet the Indians, after his conviction, bore testimony
to his general humanity, by declaring that they had no such friend among
the white men.26  Indeed, far from being vindictive, he was placable and
easily yielded to others.  The facility with which he yielded, the result of
good-natured credulity, made him too often the dupe of the crafty; and it
showed, certainly, a want of that self-reliance which belongs to great
strength of character.  Yet his facility of temper, and the generosity of his
nature, made him popular with his followers.  No commander was ever
more beloved by his soldiers.  His generosity was often carried to
prodigality.  When he entered on the campaign of Chili, he lent a
hundred thousand gold ducats to the poorer cavaliers to equip themselves
and afterwards gave them up the debt.27  He was profuse to ostentation.
But his extravagance did him no harm among the roving spirits of the
camp, with whom prodigality is apt to gain more favor than a strict and
well-regulated economy.

He was a good soldier, careful and judicious in his plans, patient and
intrepid in their execution.  His body was covered with the scars of his
battles, till the natural plainness of his person was converted almost into
deformity.  He must not be judged by his closing campaign, when,
depressed by disease, he yielded to the superior genius of his rival; but
by his numerous expeditions by land and by water for the conquest of
Peru and the remote Chili.  Yet it may be doubted whether he possessed
those uncommon qualities, either as a warrior or as a man, that, in
ordinary circumstances, would have raised him to distinction.  He was
one of the three, or, to speak more strictly, of the two associates, who
had the good fortune and the glory to make one of the most splendid
discoveries in the Western World.  He shares largely in the credit of this
with Pizarro; for, when he did not accompany that leader in his perilous
expeditions, he contributed no less to their success by his exertions in the

Yet his connection with that chief can hardly be considered a fortunate
circumstance in his career.  A partnership between individuals for
discovery and conquest is not likely to be very scrupulously observed,
especially by men more accustomed to govern others than to govern
themselves.  If causes for discord do not arise before, they will be sure to
spring up on division of the spoil.  But this association was particularly
ill-assorted.  For the free, sanguine, and confiding temper of Almagro
was no match for the cool and crafty policy of Pizarro; and he was
invariably circumvented by his companion, whenever their respective
interests came in collision.

Still the final ruin of Almagro may be fairly imputed to himself.  He
made two capital blunders.  The first was his appeal to arms by the
seizure of Cuzco.  The determination of a boundary-line was not to be
settled by arms.  It was a subject for arbitration; and, if arbitrators could
not be trusted, it should have been referred to the decision of the Crown.
But, having once appealed to arms, he should not then have resorted to
negotiation,--above all, to negotiation with Pizarro.  This was his second
and greatest error.  He had seen enough of Pizarro to know that he was
not to be trusted.  Almagro did trust him, and he paid for it with his life.

Book 4

Chapter 3

Pizarro Revisits Cuzco--Hernando Returns To Castile-
His Long Imprisonment--Commissioner Sent To Peru-
Hostilities With The Inca--Pizarro's Active Administration-
Gonzalo Pizarro


On the departure of his brother in pursuit of Almagro, the Marquess
Francisco Pizarro, as we have seen, returned to Lima.  There he
anxiously awaited the result of the campaign; and on receiving the
welcome tidings of the victory of Las Salinas, he instantly made
preparations for his march to Cuzco.  At Xauxa, however, he was long
detained by the distracted state of the country, and still longer, as it
would seem, by a reluctance to enter the Peruvian capital while the trial
of Almagro was pending.

He was met at Xauxa by the marshal's son Diego, who had been sent to
the coast by Hernando Pizarro.  The young man was filled with the most
gloomy apprehensions respecting his father's fate, and he besought the
governor not to allow his brother to do him any violence.  Pizarro, who
received Diego with much apparent kindness, bade him take heart, as no
harm should come to his father;1 adding, that he trusted their ancient
friendship would soon be renewed.  The youth, comforted by these
assurances, took his way to Lima, where, by Pizarro's orders, he was
received into his house, and treated as a son.

The same assurances respecting the marshal's safety were given by the
governor to Bishop Valverde, and some of the principal cavaliers who
interested themselves in behalf of the prisoner.2  Still Pizarro delayed his
march to the capital; and when he resumed it, he had advanced no farther
than the Rio de Abancay when he received tidings of the death of his
rival.  He appeared greatly shocked by the intelligence, his whole frame
was agitated, and he remained for some time with his eyes bent on the
ground showing signs of strong emotion.3

Such is the account given by his friends.  A more probable version of the
matter represents him to have been perfectly aware of the state of things
at Cuzco.  When the trial was concluded, it is said he received a message
from Hernando, inquiring what was to be done with the prisoner.  He
answered in a few words :--"Deal with him so that he shall give us no
more trouble."4  It is also stated that Hernando, afterwards, when
laboring under the obloquy caused by Almagro's death, shielded himself
under instructions affirmed to have been received from the governor.5  It
is quite certain, that, during his long residence at Xauxa, the latter was in
constant communication with Cuzco; and that had he, as Valverde
repeatedly urged him,6 quickened his march to that capital, he might
easily have prevented the consummation of the tragedy.  As commander-
in-chief, Almagro's fate was in his hands; and, whatever his own
partisans may affirm of his innocence, the impartial judgment of history
must hold him equally accountable with Hernando for the death of his

Neither did his subsequent conduct show any remorse for these
proceedings.  He entered Cuzco, says one who was present there to
witness it, amidst the flourish of clarions and trumpets, at the head of his
martial cavalcade, and dressed in the rich suit presented him by Cortes,
with the proud bearing and joyous mien of a conqueror.7  When Diego
de Alvarado applied to him for the government of the southern
provinces, in the name of the young Almagro, whom his father, as we
have seen, had consigned to his protection, Pizarro answered, that "the
marshal, by his rebellion, had forfeited all claims to the government."
And, when he was still further urged by the cavalier, he bluntly broke off
the conversation by declaring that "his own territory covered all on this
side of Flanders"!8--intimating, no doubt, by this magnificent vaunt, that
he would endure no rival on this side of the water.

In the same spirit, he had recently sent to supersede Benalcazar, the
conqueror of Quito, who, he was informed, aspired to an independent
government.  Pizarro's emissary had orders to send the offending captain
to Lima; but Benalcazar, after pushing his victorious career far into the
north, had returned to Castile to solicit his guerdon from the emperor.

To the complaints of the injured natives, who invoked his protection, he
showed himself strangely insensible, while the followers of Almagro he
treated with undisguised contempt.  The estates of the leaders were
confiscated, and transferred without ceremony to his own partisans.
Hernando had made attempts to conciliate some of the opposite faction
by acts of liberality, but they had refused to accept anything from the
man whose hands were stained with the blood of their commander.9  The
governor held to them no such encouragement; and many were reduced
to such abject poverty, that, too proud to expose their wretchedness to
the eyes of their conquerors, they withdrew from the city, and sought a
retreat among the neighboring mountains.10

For his own brothers he provided by such ample repartimientos, as
excited the murmurs of his adherents.  He appointed Gonzalo to the
command of a strong force destined to act against the natives of Charcas,
a hardy people occupying the territory assigned by the Crown to
Almagro.  Gonzalo met with a sturdy resistance, but, after some severe
fighting, succeeded in reducing the province to obedience.  He was
recompensed, together with Hernando, who aided him in the conquest,
by a large grant in the neighborhood of Porco, the productive mines of
which had been partially wrought under the Incas.  The territory, thus
situated, embraced part of those silver hills of Potosi which have since
supplied Europe with such stores of the precious metals.  Hernando
comprehended the capabilities of the ground, and he began working the
mines on a more extensive scale than that hitherto adopted, though it
does not appear that any attempt was then made to penetrate the rich
crust of Potosi.11  A few years more were to elapse before the Spaniards
were to bring to light the silver quarries that lay hidden in the bosom of
its mountains.12

It was now the great business of Hernando to collect a sufficient quantity
of treasure to take with him to Castile.  Nearly a year had elapsed since
Almagro's death; and it was full time that he should return and present
himself at court, where Diego de Alvarado and other friends of the
marshal, who had long since left Peru, were industriously maintaining
the claims of the younger Almagro, as well as demanding redress for the
wrongs done to his father.  But Hernando looked confidently to his gold
to dispel the accusations against him.

Before his departure, he counselled his brother to beware of the "men of
Chili," as Almagro's followers were called; desperate men, who would
stick at nothing, he said, for revenge.  He besought the governor not to
allow them to consort together in any number within fifty miles of his
person; if he did, it would be fatal to him.  And he concluded by
recommending a strong body-guard; "for I," he added, "shall not be here
to watch over you."  But the governor laughed at the idle fears, as he
termed them, of his brother, bidding the latter take no thought of him, "as
every hair in the heads of Almagro's followers was a guaranty for his
safety.''13  He did not know the character of his enemies so well as

The latter soon after embarked at Lima in the summer of 1539.  He did
not take the route of Panama, for he had heard that it was the intention of
the authorities there to detain him.  He made a circuitous passage,
therefore, by way of Mexico, landed in the Bay of Tecoantepec, and was
making his way across the narrow strip that divides the great oceans,
when he was arrested and taken to the capital.  But the Viceroy Mendoza
did not consider that he had a right to detain him, and he was suffered to
embark at Vera Cruz, and to proceed on his voyage.  Still he did not
deem it safe to trust himself in Spain without further advices.  He
accordingly put in at one of the Azores, where he remained until he
could communicate with home.  He had some powerful friends at court,
and by them he was encouraged to present himself before the emperor.
He took their advice, and shortly after, reached the Spanish coast in

The Court was at Valladolid; but Hernando, who made his entrance into
that city, with great pomp and a display of his Indian riches, met with a
reception colder than he had anticipated.15  For this he was mainly
indebted to Diego de Alvarado, who was then residing there, and who, as
a cavalier of honorable standing, and of high connections, had
considerable influence.  He had formerly, as we have seen, by his timely
interposition, more than once saved the life of Hernando; and he had
consented to receive a pecuniary obligation from him to a large amount.
But all were now forgotten in the recollection of the wrong done to his
commander; and, true to the trust reposed in him by that chief in his
dying hour, he had come to Spain to vindicate the claims of the young

But although coldly received at first, Hernando's presence, and his own
version of the dispute with Almagro, aided by the golden arguments
which he dealt with no stinted hand, checked the current of indignation,
and the opinion of his judges seemed for a time suspended.  Alvarado, a
cavalier more accustomed to the prompt and decisive action of a camp
than to the tortuous intrigues of a court, chafed at the delay, and
challenged Hernando to settle their quarrel by single combat.  But his
prudent adversary had no desire to leave the issue to such an ordeal;
and the affair was speedily terminated by the death of Alvarado himself,
which happened five days after the challenge.  An event so opportune
naturally suggested the suspicion of poison.16

But his accusations had not wholly fallen to the ground; and Hernando
Pizarro had carried measures with too high a hand, and too grossly
outraged public sentiment, to be permitted to escape.  He received no
formal sentence, but he was imprisoned in the strong fortress of Medina
del Campo, where he was allowed to remain for twenty years when in
1560, after a generation had nearly passed away, and time had, in some
measure, thrown its softening veil over the past, he was suffered to
regain his liberty.17  But he came forth an aged man, bent down with
infirmities and broken in spirit,--an object of pity, rather than
indignation.  Rarely has retributive justice been meted out in fuller
measure to offenders so high in authority,--most rarely in Castile.18

Yet Hernando bore this long imprisonment with an equanimity which,
had it been rounded on principle, might command our respect.  He saw
brothers and kindred, all on whom he leaned for support, cut off one
after another; his fortune, in part, confiscated, while he was involved in
expensive litigation for the remainder;19 his fame blighted, his career
closed in an untimely hour, himself an exile in the heart of his own
country;--yet he bore it all with the constancy of a courageous spirit.
Though very old when released, he still survived several years, and
continued to the extraordinary age of a hundred.20  He lived long
enough to see friends, rivals, and foes all called away to their account
before him.

Hernando Pizarro was in many respects a remarkable character.  He was
the eldest of the brothers, to whom he was related only by the father's
side, for he was born in wedlock, of honorable parentage on both sides
of his house.  In his early years, he received a good education,--good for
the time.  He was taken by his father, while quite young, to Italy, and
there learned the art of war under the Great Captain.  Little is known of
his history after his return to Spain; but, when his brother had struck out
for himself his brilliant career of discovery in Peru, Hernando consented
to take part in his adventures.

He was much deferred to by Francisco, not only as his elder brother, but
from his superior education and his knowledge of affairs.  He was ready
in his perceptions, fruitful in resources, and possessed of great vigor in
action.  Though courageous, he was cautious; and his counsels, when not
warped by passion, were wise and wary.  But he had other qualities,
which more than counterbalanced the good resulting from excellent parts
and attainments.  His ambition and avarice were insatiable.  He was
supercilious even to his equals; and he had a vindictive temper, which
nothing could appease.  Thus, instead of aiding his brother in the
Conquest, he was the evil genius that blighted his path.  He conceived
from the first an unwarrantable contempt for Almagro, whom he
regarded as his brother's rival, instead of what he then was, the faithful
partner of his fortunes.  He treated him with personal indignity, and, by
his intrigues at court, had the means of doing him sensible injury.  He
fell into Almagro's hands, and had nearly paid for these wrongs with his
life.  This was not to be forgiven by Hernando, and he coolly waited for
the hour of revenge.  Yet the execution of Almagro was a most impolitic
act; for an evil passion can rarely be gratified with impunity.  Hernando
thought to buy off justice with the gold of Peru.  He had studied human
nature on its weak and wicked side, and he expected to profit by it.
Fortunately, he was deceived.  He had, indeed, his revenge; but the hour
of his revenge was that of his ruin.

The disorderly state of Peru was such as to demand the immediate
interposition of government.  In the general license that prevailed there,
the rights of the Indian and of the Spaniard were equally trampled under
foot.  Yet the subject was one of great difficulty; for Pizarro's authority
was now firmly established over the country, which itself was too remote
from Castile to be readily controlled at home.  Pizarro, moreover, was a
man not easy to be approached, confident in his own strength, jealous of
interference, and possessed of a fiery temper, which would kindle into a
flame at the least distrust of the government.  It would not answer to send
out a commission to suspend him from the exercise of his authority until
his conduct could be investigated, as was done with Cortes, and other
great colonial officers, on whose rooted loyalty the Crown could
confidently rely.  Pizarro's loyalty sat, it was feared, too lightly on him to
be a powerful restraint on his movements; and there were not wanting
those among his reckless followers, who, in case of extremity, would be
prompt to urge him to throw off his allegiance altogether, and set up an
independent government for himself.

Some one was to be sent out, therefore, who should possess, in some
sort, a controlling, or, at least, concurrent power with the dangerous
chief, while ostensibly he should act only in subordination to him.  The
person selected for this delicate mission, was the Licentiate Vaca de
Castro, a member of the Royal Audience of Valladolid.  He was a
learned judge, a man of integrity and wisdom, and, though not bred to
arms, had so much address, and such knowledge of character, as would
enable him readily to turn the resources of others to his own account.

His commission was guarded in a way which showed the embarrassment
of the government.  He was to appear before Pizarro in the capacity of a
royal judge; to consult with him on the redress of grievances, especially
with reference to the unfortunate natives; to concert measures for the
prevention of future evils; and above all, to possess himself faithfully of
the condition of the country in all its details, and to transmit intelligence
of it to the Court of Castile.  But, in case of Pizarro's death, he was to
produce his warrant as royal governor, and as such to claim the
obedience of the authorities throughout the land.--Events showed the
wisdom of providing for this latter contingency.21

The licentiate, thus commissioned, quitted his quiet residence at
Valladolid, embarked at Seville, in the autumn of 1540, and, after a
tedious voyage across the Atlantic, he traversed the Isthmus, and,
encountering a succession of tempests on the Pacific, that had nearly sent
his frail bark to the bottom, put in with her, a mere wreck, at the
northerly port of Buenaventura.22  The affairs of the country were in a
state to require his presence.

The civil war which had lately distracted the land had left it in so
unsettled a state, that the agitation continued long after the immediate
cause had ceased.  This was especially the case among the natives.  In
the violent transfer of repartimientos, the poor Indian hardly knew to
whom he was to look as his master.  The fierce struggles between the
rival chieftains left him equally in doubt whom he was to regard as the
rulers of the land.  As to the authority of a common sovereign, across the
waters, paramount over all, he held that in still greater distrust; for what
was the authority which could not command the obedience even of its
own vassals?23  The Inca Manco was not slow in taking advantage of
this state of feeling.  He left his obscure fastnesses in the depths of the
Andes, and established himself with a strong body of followers in the
mountain country lying between Cuzco and the coast.  From this retreat,
he made descents on the neighboring plantations, destroying the houses,
sweeping off the cattle, and massacring the people.  He fell on travellers,
as they were journeying singly or in caravans from the coast, and put
them to death--it is told by his enemies--with cruel tortures.  Single
detachments were sent against him, from time to time, but without effect.
Some he eluded, others he defeated; and, on one occasion, cut off a party
of thirty troopers, to a man.24

At length, Pizarro found it necessary to send a considerable force under
his brother Gonzalo against the Inca.  The hardy Indian encountered his
enemy several times in the rough passes of the Cordilleras.  He was
usually beaten, and sometimes with heavy loss, which he repaired with
astonishing facility; for he always contrived to make his escape, and so
true were his followers, that, in defiance of pursuit and ambuscade, he
found a safe shelter in the secret haunts of the sierra.

Thus baffled, Pizarro determined to try the effect of pacific overtures.
He sent to the Inca, both in his own name, and in that of the Bishop of
Cuzco, whom the Peruvian prince held in reverence, to invite him to
enter into negotiation.25  Manco acquiesced, and indicated, as he had
formerly done with Almagro, the valley of Yucay, as the scene of it.  The
governor repaired thither, at the appointed time, well guarded, and, to
propitiate the barbarian monarch, sent him a rich present by the hands of
an African slave.  The slave was met on the route by a party of the Inca's
men, who, whether with or without their master's orders, cruelly
murdered him, and bore off the spoil to their quarters.  Pizarro resented
this outrage by another yet more atrocious.

Among the Indian prisoners was one of the Inca's wives, a young and
beautiful woman, to whom he was said to be fondly attached.  The
governor ordered her to be stripped naked, bound to a tree, and, in
presence of the camp, to be scourged with rods, and then shot to death
with arrows.  The wretched victim bore the execution of the sentence
with surprising fortitude.  She did not beg for mercy, where none was to
be found.  Not a complaint, scarcely a groan, escaped her under the
infliction of these terrible torments.  The iron Conquerors were amazed
at this power of endurance in a delicate woman, and they expressed their
admiration, while they condemned the cruelty of their commander,--in
their hearts.26  Yet constancy under the most excruciating tortures that
human cruelty can inflict is almost the universal characteristic of the
American Indian.

Pizarro now prepared, as the most effectual means of checking these
disorders among the natives, to establish settlements in the heart of the
disaffected country.  These settlements, which received the dignified
name of cities, might be regarded in the light of military colonies.  The
houses were usually built of stone, to which were added the various
public offices, and sometimes a fortress.  A municipal corporation was
organized.  Settlers were invited by the distribution of large tracts of land
in the neighborhood, with a stipulated number of Indian vassals to each.
The soldiers then gathered there, sometimes accompanied by their wives
and families; for the women of Castile seem to have disdained the
impediments of sex, in the ardor of conjugal attachment, or, it may be, of
romantic adventure.  A populous settlement rapidly grew up in the
wilderness, affording protection to the surrounding territory, and
furnishing a commercial depot for the country, and an armed force ready
at all times to maintain public order.

Such a settlement was that now made at Guamanga, midway between
Cuzco and Lima, which effectually answered its purpose by guarding the
communications with the coast.27  Another town was founded in the
mining district of Charcas, under the appropriate name of the Villa de la
Plato, the "City of Silver." And Pizarro, as he journeyed by a circuitous
route along the shores of the southern sea towards Lima, planted there
the city of Arequipa, since arisen to such commercial celebrity.

Once more in his favorite capital of Lima, the governor found abundant
occupation in attending to its municipal concerns, and in providing for
the expansive growth of its population.  Nor was he unmindful of the
other rising settlements on the Pacific.  He encouraged commerce with
the remoter colonies north of Peru, and took measures for facilitating
internal intercourse.  He stimulated industry in all its branches, paying
great attention to husbandry, and importing seeds of the different
European grains, which he had the satisfaction, in a short time, to see
thriving luxuriantly in a country where the variety of soil and climate
afforded a home for almost every product.28  Above all, he promoted the
working of the mines, which already began to make such returns, that the
most common articles of life rose to exorbitant prices, while the precious
metals themselves seemed the only things of little value.  But they soon
changed hands, and found their way to the mother-country, where they
rose to their true level as they mingled with the general currency of
Europe.  The Spaniards found that they had at length reached the land of
which they had been so long in search,--the land of gold and silver.
Emigrants came in greater numbers to the country, and, spreading over
its surface, formed in the increasing population the most effectual barrier
against the rightful owners of the soil.29

Pizarro, strengthened by the arrival of fresh adventurers, now turned his
attention to the remoter quarters of the country.  Pedro de Valdivia was
sent on his memorable expedition to Chili; and to his own brother
Gonzalo the governor assigned the territory of Quito, with instructions to
explore the unknown country towards the east, where, as report said,
grew the cinnamon.  As this chief, who had hitherto acted but a
subordinate part in the Conquest, is henceforth to take the most
conspicuous, it may be well to give some account of him.

Little is known of his early life, for he sprang from the same obscure
origin with Francisco, and seems to have been as little indebted as his
eider brother to the fostering care of his parents.  He entered early on the
career of a soldier; a career to which every man in that iron age, whether
cavalier or vagabond, seems, if left to himself, to have most readily
inclined.  Here he soon distinguished himself by his skill in martial
exercises, was an excellent horseman, and, when he came to the New
World, was esteemed the best lance in Peru.30

In talent and in expansion of views, he was inferior to his brothers.
Neither did he discover the same cool and crafty policy; but he was
equally courageous, and in the execution of his measures quite as
unscrupulous.  He lied a handsome person, with open, engaging features,
a free, soldier-like address, and a confiding temper, which endeared him
to his followers.  His spirit was high and adventurous, and, what was
equally important, he could inspire others with the same spirit, and thus
do much to insure the success of his enterprises.  He was an excellent
captain in guerilla warfare, an admirable leader in doubtful and difficult
expeditions; but he had not the enlarged capacity for a great military
chief, still less for a civil ruler.  It was his misfortune to be called to fill
both situations.

Book 4

Chapter 4

Gonzalo Pizarro's Expedition--Passage Across The Mountains--
Discovers The Napo--Incredible Sufferings-
Orellana Sails Down The Amazon--Despair Of The Spaniards-
The Survivors Return To Quito


Gonzalo Pizarro received the news of his appointment to the government
of Quito with undisguised pleasure; not so much for the possession that it
gave him of this ancient Indian province, as for the field that it opened
for discovery towards the east,--the fabled land of Oriental spices, which
had long captivated the imagination of the Conquerors.  He repaired to
his government without delay, and found no difficulty in awakening a
kindred enthusiasm to his own in the bosoms of his followers.  In a short
time, he mustered three hundred and fifty Spaniards, and four thousand
Indians.  One hundred and fifty of his company were mounted, and all
were equipped in the most thorough manner for the undertaking.  He
provided, moreover, against famine by a large stock of provisions, and
an immense drove of swine which followed in the rear.1

It was the beginning of 1540, when he set out on this celebrated
expedition.  The first part of the journey was attended with
comparatively little difficulty, while the Spaniards were yet in the land of
the Incas; for the distractions of Peru had not been felt in this distant
province, where the simple people still lived as under the primitive sway
of the Children of the Sun.  But the scene changed as they entered the
territory of Quixos, where the character of the inhabitants, as well as of
the climate, seemed to be of another description.  The country was
traversed by lofty ranges of the Andes, and the adventurers were soon
entangled in their deep and intricate passes.  As they rose into the more
elevated regions, the icy winds that swept down the sides of the
Cordilleras benumbed their limbs, and many of the natives found a
wintry grave in the wilderness.  While crossing this formidable barrier,
they experienced one of those tremendous earthquakes which, in these
volcanic regions, so often shake the mountains to their base.  In one
place, the earth was rent asunder by the terrible throes of Nature, while
streams of sulphurous vapor issued from the cavity, and a village with
some hundreds of houses was precipitated into the frightful abyss! 2

On descending the eastern slopes, the climate changed; and, as they came
on the lower level, the fierce cold was succeeded by a suffocating heat,
while tempests of thunder and lightning, rushing from out the gorges of
the sierra, poured on their heads with scarcely any intermission day or
night, as if the offended deities of the place were willing to take
vengeance on the invaders of their mountain solitudes.  For more than six
weeks the deluge continued unabated, and the forlorn wanderers, wet,
and weary with incessant toil, were scarcely able to drag their limbs
along the soil broken up and saturated with the moisture.  After some
months of toilsome travel, in which they had to cross many a morass and
mountain stream, they at length reached Canelas, the Land of
Cinnamon.3  They saw the trees bearing the precious bark, spreading out
into broad forests; yet, however valuable an article for commerce it
might have proved in accessible situations, in these remote regions it was
of little worth to them.  But, from the wandering tribes of savages whom
they occasionally met in their path, they learned that at ten days' distance
was a rich and fruitful land abounding with gold, and inhabited by
populous nations.  Gonzalo Pizarro had already reached the limits
originally proposed for the expedition.  But this intelligence renewed his
hopes, and he resolved to push the adventure farther.  It would have been
well for him and his followers, had they been content to return on their

Continuing their march, the country now spread out into broad savannas
terminated by forests, which, as they drew near, seemed to stretch on
every side to the very verge of the horizon.  Here they beheld trees of
that stupendous growth seen only in the equinoctial regions.  Some were
so large, that sixteen men could hardly encompass them with extended
arms! 4  The wood was thickly matted with creepers and parasitical
vines, which hung in gaudy-colored festoons from tree to tree, clothing
them in a drapery beautiful to the eye, but forming an impenetrable
network.  At every step of their way, they were obliged to hew open a
passage with their axes, while their garments, rotting from the effects of
the drenching rains to which they had been exposed, caught in every
bush and bramble, and hung about them in shreds.5  Their provisions,
spoiled by the weather, had long since failed, and the live stock which
they had taken with them had either been consumed or made their escape
in the woods and mountain passes.  They had set out with nearly a
thousand dogs, many of them of the ferocious breed used in hunting
down the unfortunate natives.  These they now gladly killed, but their
miserable carcasses furnished a lean banquet for the famishing travellers;
and, when these were gone, they had only such herbs and dangerous
roots as they could gather in the forest.6

At length the way-worn company came on a broad expanse of water
formed by the Napo, one of the great tributaries of the Amazon, and
which, though only a third or fourth rate river in America, would pass for
one of the first magnitude in the Old World.  The sight gladdened their
hearts, as, by winding along its banks, they hoped to find a safer and
more practicable route.  After traversing its borders for a considerable
distance, closely beset with thickets which it taxed their strength to the
utmost to overcome, Gonzalo and his party came within hearing of a
rushing noise that sounded like subterranean thunder.  The river, lashed
into fury, tumbled along over rapids with frightful velocity, and
conducted them to the brink of a magnificent cataract, which, to their
wondering fancies, rushed down in one vast volume of foam to the depth
of twelve hundred feet! 7  The appalling sounds which they had heard for
the distance of six leagues were rendered yet more oppressive to the
spirits by the gloomy stillness of the surrounding forests.  The rude
warriors were filled with sentiments of awe.  Not a bark dimpled the
waters.  No living thing was to be seen but the wild tenants of the
wilderness, the unwieldy boa, and the loathsome alligator basking on the
borders of the stream.  The trees towering in wide-spread magnificence
towards the heavens, the river rolling on in its rocky bed as it had rolled
for ages, the solitude and silence of the scene, broken only by the hoarse
fall of waters, or the faint rustling of the woods,--all seemed to spread
out around them in the same wild and primitive state as when they came
from the hands of the Creator.

For some distance above and below the falls, the bed of the river
contracted so that its width did not exceed twenty feet.  Sorely pressed
by hunger, the adventurers determined, at all hazards, to cross to the
opposite side, in hopes of finding a country that might afford them
sustenance.  A frail bridge was constructed by throwing the huge trunks
of trees across the chasm, where the cliffs, as if split asunder by some
convulsion of nature, descended sheer down a perpendicular depth of
several hundred feet.  Over this airy causeway the men and horses
succeeded in effecting their passage with the loss of a single Spaniard,
who, made giddy by heedlessly looking down, lost his footing and fell
into the boiling surges below.

Yet they gained little by the exchange.  The country wore the same
unpromising aspect, and the river-banks were studded with gigantic
trees, or fringed with impenetrable thickets.  The tribes of Indians, whom
they occasionally met in the pathless wilderness, were fierce and
unfriendly, and they were engaged in perpetual skirmishes with them.
From these they learned that a fruitful country was to be found down the
river at the distance of only a few days' journey, and the Spaniards held
on their weary way, still hoping and still deceived, as the promised land
flitted before them, like the rainbow, receding as they advanced.

At length, spent with toil and suffering, Gonzalo resolved to construct a
bark large enough to transport the weaker part of his company and his
baggage.  The forests furnished him with timber; the shoes of the horses
which had died on the road or been slaughtered for food, were converted
into nails; gum distilled from the trees took the place of pitch; and the
tattered garments of the soldiers supplied a substitute for oakum.  It was
a work of difficulty; but Gonzalo cheered his men in the task, and set an
example by taking part in their labors.  At the end of two months a
brigantine was completed, rudely put together, but strong and of
sufficient burden to carry half the company,--the first European vessel
that ever floated on these inland waters.

Gonzalo gave the command to Francisco de Orellana, a cavalier from
Truxillo, on whose courage and devotion to himself he thought he could
rely.  The troops now moved forward, still following the descending
course of the river, while the brigantine kept alongside; and when a bold
promontory or more impracticable country intervened, it furnished
timely aid by the transportation of the feebler soldiers.  In this way they
journeyed, for many a wearisome week, through the dreary wilderness on
the borders of the Napo.  Every scrap of provisions had been long since
consumed.  The last of their horses had been devoured.  To appease the
gnawings of hunger, they were fain to eat the leather of their saddles and
belts.  The woods supplied them with scanty sustenance, and they
greedily fed upon toads, serpents, and such other reptiles as they
occasionally found.8

They were now told of a rich district, inhabited by a populous nation,
where the Napo emptied into a still greater river that flowed towards the
east.  It was, as usual, at the distance of several days' journey; and
Gonzalo Pizarro resolved to halt where he was and send Orellana down
in his brigantine to the confluence of the waters to procure a stock of
provisions, with which he might return and put them in condition to
resume their march.  That cavalier, accordingly, taking with him fifty of
the adventurers, pushed off into the middle of the river, where the stream
ran swiftly, and his bark, taken by the current, shot forward with the
speed of an arrow, and was soon out of sight.

Days and weeks passed away, yet the vessel did not return; and no speck
was to be seen on the waters, as the Spaniards strained their eyes to the
farthest point, where the line of light faded away in the dark shadows of
the foliage on the borders.  Detachments were sent out, and, though
absent several days, came back without intelligence of their comrades.
Unable longer to endure this suspense, or, indeed, to maintain
themselves in their present quarters, Gonzalo and his famishing followers
now determined to proceed towards the junction of the rivers.  Two
months elapsed before they accomplished this terrible journey those of
them who did not perish on the way,--although the distance probably' did
not exceed two hundred leagues; and they at length reached the spot so
long desired, where the Napo pours its tide into the Amazon, that mighty
stream, which, fed by its thousand tributaries, rolls on towards the ocean,
for many hundred miles, through the heart of the great continent,--the
most majestic of American rivers.

But the Spaniards gathered no tidings of Orellana, while the country,
though more populous than the region they had left, was as little inviting
in its aspect, and was tenanted by a race yet more ferocious.  They now
abandoned the hope of recovering their comrades, who they supposed
must have miserably perished by famine or by the hands of the natives.
But their doubts were at length dispelled by the appearance of a white
man wandering half-naked in the woods, in whose famine stricken
countenance they recognized the features of one of their countrymen.  It
was Sanchez de Vargas, a cavalier of good descent, and much esteemed
in the army.  He had a dismal tale to tell.

Orellana, borne swiftly down the current of the Napo, had reached the
point of its confluence with the Amazon in less than three days;
accomplishing in this brief space of time what had cost Pizarro and his
company two months.  He had found the country altogether different
from what had been represented; and, so far from supplies for his
countrymen, he could barely obtain sustenance for himself.  Nor was it
possible for him to return as he had come, and make head against the
current of the river; while the attempt to journey by land was an alternative
scarcely less formidable.  In this dilemma, an idea flashed across his
mind.  It was to launch his bark at once on the bosom of the Amazon,
and descend its waters to its mouth.  He would then visit the rich and
populous nations that, as report said, lined its borders, sail out on the
great ocean, cross to the neighboring isles, and return to Spain to claim
the glory and the guerdon of discovery.  The suggestion was eagerly
taken up by his reckless companions, welcoming any course that would
rescue them from the wretchedness of their present existence, and fired
with the prospect of new and stirring adventure,--for the love of
adventure was the last feeling to become extinct in the bosom of the
Castilian cavalier.  They heeded little their unfortunate comrades, whom
they were to abandon in the wilderness! 9

This is not the place to record the circumstances of Orellana's
extraordinary expedition.  He succeeded in his enterprise.  But it is
marvellous that he should have escaped shippwreck in the perilous and
unknown navigation of that river.  Many times his vessel was nearly
dashed to pieces on its rocks and in its furious rapids;10 and he was in
still greater peril from the warlike tribes on its borders, who fell on his
little troop whenever he attempted to land, and followed in his wake for
miles in their canoes.  He at length emerged from the great river; and,
once upon the sea, Orellana made for the isle of Cubagua; thence passing
over to Spain, he repaired to court, and told the circumstances of his
voyage,--of the nations of Amazons whom he had found on the banks of
the river, the El Dorado which report assured him existed in the
neighborhood, and other marvels,--the exaggeration rather than the
coinage of a credulous fancy.  His audience listened with willing ears to
the tales of the traveller; and in an age of wonders, when the mysteries of
the East and West were hourly coming to light, they might be excused
for not discerning the true line between romance and reality.11

He found no difficulty in obtaining a commission to conquer and
colonize the realms he had discovered.  He soon saw himself at the head
of five hundred followers, prepared to share the perils and the profits of
his expedition.  But neither he, nor his country, was destined to realize
these profits.  He died on his outward passage, and the lands washed by
the Amazon fell within the territories of Portugal.  The unfortunate
navigator did not even enjoy the undivided honor of giving his name to
the waters he had discovered.  He enjoyed only the barren glory of the
discovery, surely not balanced by the iniquitous circumstances which
attended it.12

One of Orellana's party maintained a stout opposition to his proceedings,
as repugnant both to humanity and honor.  This was Sanchez de Vargas;
and the cruel commander was revenged on him by abandoning him to his
fate in the desolate region where he was now found by his

The Spaniards listened with horror to the recital of Vargas, and their
blood almost froze in their veins as they saw themselves thus deserted in
the heart of this remote wilderness, and deprived of their only means of
escape from it.  They made an effort to prosecute their journey along the
banks, but, after some toilsome days, strength and spirits failed, and they
gave up in despair!

Then it was that the qualities of Gonzalo Pizarro, as a fit leader in the
hour of despondency and danger, shone out conspicuous.  To advance
farther was hopeless.  To stay where they were, without food or raiment,
without defence from the fierce animals of the forest and the fiercer
natives, was impossible.  One only course remained; it was to return to
Quito.  But this brought with it the recollection of the past, of sufferings
which they could too well estimate,---hardly to be endured even in
imagination.  They were now at least four hundred leagues from Quito,
and more than a year had elapsed since they had set out on their painful
pilgrimage.  How could they encounter these perils again! 14

Yet there was no alternative.  Gonzalo endeavored to reassure his
followers by dwelling on the invincible constancy they had hitherto
displayed; adjuring them to show themselves still worthy of the name of
Castilians.  He reminded them of the glory they would for ever acquire
by their heroic achievement, when they should reach their own country.
He would lead them back, he said, by another route, and it could not be
but that they should meet somewhere with those abundant regions of
which they had so often heard.  It was something, at least, that every step
would take them nearer home; and as, at all events, it was clearly the
only course now left, they should prepare to meet it like men.  The spirit
would sustain the body; and difficulties encountered in the right spirit
were half vanquished already!

The soldiers listened eagerly to his words of promise and
encouragement.  The confidence of their leader gave life to the
desponding.  They felt the force of his reasoning, and, as they lent a
willing ear to his assurances, the pride of the old Castilian honor revived
in their bosoms, and every one caught somewhat of the generous
enthusiasm of their commander.  He was, in truth, entitled to their
devotion.  From the first hour of the expedition, he had freely borne his
part in its privations.  Far from claiming the advantage of his position, he
had taken his lot with the poorest soldier; ministering to the wants of the
sick, cheering up the spirits of the desponding, sharing his stinted
allowance with his famished followers, bearing his full part in the toil
and burden of the march, ever showing himself their faithful comrade, no
less than their captain.  He found the benefit of this conduct in a trying
hour like the present.

I will spare the reader the recapitulation of the sufferings endured by the
Spaniards on their retrograde march to Quito.  They took a more
northerly route than that by which they had approached the Amazon;
and, if it was attended with fewer difficulties, they experienced yet
greater distresses from their greater inability to overcome them.  Their
only nourishment was such scanty fare as they could pick up in the
forest, or happily meet with in some forsaken Indian settlement, or wring
by violence from the natives.  Some sickened and sank down by the way,
for there was none to help them.  Intense misery had made them selfish;
and many a poor wretch was abandoned to his fate, to die alone in the
wilderness, or, more probably, to be devoured, while living, by the wild
animals which roamed over it.

At length, in June, 1542, after somewhat more than a year consumed in
their homeward march, the way-worn company came on the elevated
plains in the neighborhood of Quito.  But how different their aspect from
that which they had exhibited on issuing from the gates of the same
capital, two years and a half before, with high romantic hope and in all
the pride of military array!  Their horses gone, their arms broken and
rusted, the skins of wild animals instead of clothes hanging loosely about
their limbs, their long and matted locks streaming wildly down their
shoulders, their faces burned and blackened by the tropical sun, their
bodies wasted by famine and sorely disfigured by scars,--it seemed as if
the charnel-house had given up its dead, as, with uncertain step, they
glided slowly onwards like a troop of dismal spectres!  More than half of
the four thousand Indians who had accompanied the expedition had
perished, and of the Spaniards only eighty, and many of these
irretrievably broken in constitution, returned to Quito.15

The few Christian inhabitants of the place, with their wives and children,
came out to welcome their countrymen.  They ministered to them all the
relief and refreshment in their power; and, as they listened to the sad
recital of their sufferings, they mingled their tears with those of the
wanderers.  The whole company then entered the capital, where their
first act--to their credit be it mentioned--was to go in a body to the
church, and offer up thanksgivings to the Almighty for their miraculous
preservation through their long and perilous pilgrimage.16  Such was the
end of the expedition to the Amazon; an expedition which, for its
dangers and hardships, the length of their duration, and the constancy
with which they were endured, stands, perhaps, unmatched in the annals
of American discovery.

Book 4

Chapter 5

The Almagro Faction--Their Desperate Condition-
Conspiracy Against Francisco Pizarro--Assassination Of Pizarro-
Acts Of The Conspirators--Pizarro's Character


When Gonzalo Pizarro reached Quito, he received tidings of an event
which showed that his expedition to the Amazon had been even more
fatal to his interests than he had imagined.  A revolution had taken place
during his absence, which had changed the whole condition of things in

In a preceding chapter we have seen, that, when Hernando Pizarro
returned to Spain, his brother the marquess repaired to Lima, where he
continued to occupy himself with building up his infant capital, and
watching over the general interests of the country.  While thus employed,
he gave little heed to a danger that hourly beset his path, and this, too, in
despite of repeated warnings from more circumspect friends.

After the execution of Almagro, his followers, to the number of several
hundred, remained scattered through the country; but, however scattered,
still united by a common sentiment of indignation against the Pizarros,
the murderers, as they regarded them, of their leader.  The governor was
less the object of these feelings than his brother Hernando, as having
been less instrumental in the perpetration of the deed.  Under these
circumstances, it was clearly Pizarro's policy to do one of two things; to
treat the opposite faction either as friends, or as open enemies.  He might
conciliate the most factious by acts of kindness, efface the remembrance
of past injury, if he could, by present benefits; in short, prove to them
that his quarrel had been with their leader, not with themselves, and that
it was plainly for their interest to come again under his banner.  This
would have been the most politic, as well as the most magnanimous
course; and, by augmenting the number of his adherents, would have
greatly strengthened his power in the land.  But, unhappily, he had not
the magnanimity to pursue it.  It was not in the nature of a Pizarro to
forgive an injury, or the man whom he had injured.  As he would not,
therefore, try to conciliate Almagro's adherents, it was clearly the
governor's policy to regard them as enemies, not the less so for being in
disguise,--and to take such measures as should disqualify them for doing
mischief.  He should have followed the counsel of his more prudent
brother Hernando, and distributed them in different quarters, taking care
that no great number should assemble at any one point, or, above all, in
the neighborhood of his own residence.

But the governor despised the broken followers of Almagro too heartily
to stoop to precautionary measures.  He suffered the son of his rival to
remain in Lima, where his quarters soon became the resort of the
disaffected cavaliers.  The young man was well known to most of
Almagro's soldiers, having been trained along with them in the camp
under his father's eye, and, now that his parent was removed, they
naturally transferred their allegiance to the son who survived him.

That the young Almagro, however, might be less able to maintain this
retinue of unprofitable followers, he was deprived by Pizarro of a great
part of his Indians and lands, while he was excluded from the
government of New Toledo, which had been settled on him by his
father's testament.1  Stripped of all means of support, without office or
employment of any kind, the men of Chili, for so Almagro's adherents
continued to be called, were reduced to the utmost distress.  So poor
were they, as is the story of the time, that twelve cavaliers, who lodged in
the same house, could muster only one cloak among them all; and, with
the usual feeling of pride that belongs to the poor hidalgo, unwilling to
expose their poverty, they wore this cloak by turns, those who had no
right to it remaining at home.2  Whether true or not, the anecdote well
illustrates the extremity to which Almagro's faction was reduced.  And
this distress was rendered yet more galling by the effrontery of their
enemies, who, enriched by their forfeitures, displayed before their eyes
all the insolent bravery of equipage and apparel that could annoy their

Men thus goaded by insult and injury were too dangerous to be lightly
regarded.  But, although Pizarro received various intimations intended to
put him on his guard, he gave no heed to them.  "Poor devils!" he would
exclaim, speaking with contemptuous pity of the men of Chili; "they
have had bad luck enough.  We will not trouble them further."3  And so
little did he consider them, that he went freely about, as usual, riding
without attendants to all parts of the town and to its immediate

News now reached the colony of the appointment of a judge by the
Crown to take cognizance of the affairs of Peru.  Pizarro, although
alarmed by the intelligence, sent orders to have him well entertained on
his landing, and suitable accommodations prepared for him on the route.
The spirits of Almagro's followers were greatly raised by the tidings.
They confidently looked to this high functionary for the redress of their
wrongs; and two of their body, clad in suits of mourning, were chosen to
go to the north, where the judge was expected to land, and to lay their
grievances before him.

But months elapsed, and no tidings came of his arrival, till, at length, a
vessel, coming into port, announced that most of the squadron had
foundered in the heavy storms on the coast, and that the commissioner
had probably perished with them.  This was disheartening intelligence to
the men of Chili, whose "miseries," to use the words of their young
leader, "had become too grievous to be borne."5  Symptoms of
disaffection had already begun openly to manifest themselves.  The
haughty cavaliers did not always doff their bonnets, on meeting the
governor in the street; and on one occasion, three ropes were found
suspended from the public gallows, with labels attached to them, bearing
the names of Pizarro, Velasquez the judge, and Picado the governor's
secretary.6  This last functionary was peculiarly odious to Almagro and
his followers.  As his master knew neither how to read nor write, all his
communications passed through Picado's hands; and, as the latter was of
a hard and arrogant nature, greatly elated by the consequence which his
position gave him, he exercised a mischievous influence on the
governor's measures.  Almagro's poverty-stricken followers were the
objects of his open ridicule, and he revenged the insult now offered him
by riding before their young leader's residence, displaying a tawdry
magnificence in his dress, sparkling with gold and silver, and with the
inscription, "For the Men of Chili," set in his bonnet.  It was a foolish
taunt; but the poor cavaliers who were the object of it, made morbidly
sensitive by their sufferings, had not the philosophy to despise it.7

At length, disheartened by the long protracted coming of Vaca de Castro,
and still more by the recent reports of his loss, Almagro's faction,
despairing of redress from a legitimate authority, determined to take it
into their own hands.  They came to the desperate resolution of
assassinating Pizarro.  The day named for this was Sunday, the twenty-
sixth of June, 1541- The conspirators, eighteen or twenty in number,
were to assemble in Almagro's house, which stood in the great square
next to the cathedral, and, when the governor was returning from mass,
they were to issue forth and fall on him in the street.  A white flag,
unfurled at the same time from an upper window in the house, was to be
the signal for the rest of their comrades to move to the support of those
immediately engaged in the execution of the deed.8

These arrangements could hardly have been concealed from Almagro,
since his own quarters were to be the place of rendezvous.  Yet there is
no good evidence of his having taken part in the conspiracy.9  He was,
indeed, too young to make it probable that he took a leading part in it.
He is represented by contemporary writers to have given promise of
many good qualities, though, unhappily, he was not placed in a situation
favorable for their development.  He was the son of an Indian woman of
Panama; but from early years had followed the troubled fortunes of his
father, to whom he bore much resemblance in his free and generous
nature, as well as in the violence of his passions.  His youth and
inexperience disqualified him from taking the lead in the perplexing
circumstances in which he was placed, and made him little more than a
puppet in the hands of others.10

The most conspicuous of his advisers was Juan de Herrada, or Rada, as
his name is more usually spelt,--a cavalier of respectable family, but
who, having early enlisted as a common soldier, had gradually risen to
the highest posts in the army by his military talents.  At this time he was
well advanced in years; but the fires of youth were not quenched in his
bosom, and he burned with desire to avenge the wrongs done to his
ancient commander.  The attachment which he had ever felt for the elder
Almagro he seems to have transferred in full measure to his son; and it
was apparently with reference to him, even more than to himself, that he
devised this audacious plot, and prepared to take the lead in the
execution of it.

There was one, however, in the band of conspirators who felt some
compunctions of conscience at the part he was acting, and who relieved
his bosom by revealing the whole plot to his confessor.  The latter lost no
time in reporting it to Picado, by whom in turn it was communicated to
Pizarro.  But, strange to say, it made little more impression on the
governor's mind than the vague warnings he had so frequently received.
"It is a device of the priest," said he; "he wants a mitre." 11  Yet he
repeated the story to the judge Velasquez, who, instead of ordering the
conspirators to be seized, and the proper steps taken for learning the
truth of the accusation, seemed to be possessed with the same infatuation
as Pizarro; and he bade the governor be under no apprehension, "for no
harm should come to him, while the rod of justice," not a metaphorical
badge of authority in Castile, "was in his hands." 12  Still, to obviate
every possibility of danger, it was deemed prudent for Pizarro to abstain
from going to mass on Sunday, and to remain at home on pretence of

On the day appointed, Rada and his companions met in Almagro's house,
and waited with anxiety for the hour when the governor should issue
from the church.  But great was their consternation, when they learned
that he was not there, but was detained at home, as currently reported, by
illness.  Little doubting that their design was discovered, they felt their
own ruin to be the inevitable consequence, and that, too, without
enjoying the melancholy consolation of having struck the blow for which
they had incurred it.  Greatly perplexed, some were for disbanding, in the
hope that Pizarro might, after all, be ignorant of their design.  But most
were for carrying it into execution at once, by assaulting him in his own
house.  The question was summarily decided by one of the party, who
felt that in this latter course lay their only chance of safety.  Throwing
open the doors, he rushed out, calling on his comrades "to follow him, or
he would proclaim the purpose for which they had met."  There was no
longer hesitation, and the cavaliers issued forth, with Rada at their head,
shouting, as they went, "Long live the king!  Death to the tyrant!" 13

It was the hour of dinner, which, in this primitive age of the Spanish
colonies, was at noon.  Yet numbers, roused by the cries of the
assailants, came out into the square to inquire the cause.  "They are
going to kill the marquess," some said very coolly; others replied, "It is
Picado."  No one stirred in their defence.  The power of Pizarro was not
seated in the hearts of his people.

As the conspirators traversed the plaza, one of the party made a circuit to
avoid a little pool of water that lay in their path.  "What!" exclaimed
Rada, "afraid of wetting your feet, when you are to wade up to your
knees in blood!"  And he ordered the man to give up the enterprise and
go home to his quarters.  The anecdote is characteristic.14

The governor's palace stood on the opposite side of the square.  It was
approached by two courtyards.  The entrance to the outer one was
protected by a massive gate, capable of being made good against a
hundred men or more.  But it was left open, and the assailants, hurrying
through to the inner court, still shouting their fearful battle-cry, were met
by two domestics loitering in the yard.  One of these they struck down.
The other, flying in all haste towards the house, called out, "Help, help!
the men of Chili are all coming to murder the marquess!"

Pizarro at this time was at dinner, or, more probably, had just dined.  He
was surrounded by a party of friends, who had dropped in, it seems, after
mass, to inquire after the state of his health, some of whom had remained
to partake of his repast.  Among these was Don Martinez do Alcantara,
Pizarro's half-brother by the mother's side, the judge Velasquez, the
bishop elect of Quito, and several of the principal cavaliers in the place,
to the number of fifteen or twenty.  Some of them, alarmed by the uproar
in the court-yard, left the saloon, and, running down to the first landing
on the stairway, inquired into the cause of the disturbance.  No sooner
were they informed of it by the cries of the servant, than they retreated
with precipitation into the house; and, as they had no mind to abide the
storm unarmed, or at best imperfectly armed, as most of them were, they
made their way to a corridor that overlooked the gardens, into which
they easily let themselves down without injury.  Velasquez, the judge,
the better to have the use of his hands in the descent, held his rod of
office in his mouth, thus taking care, says a caustic old chronicler, not to
falsify his assurance, that "no harm should come to Pizarro while the rod
of justice was in his hands"! 15

Meanwhile, the marquess, learning the nature of the tumult, called out to
Francisco de Chaves, an officer high in his confidence, and who was in
the outer apartment opening on the staircase, to secure the door, while he
and his brother Alcantara buckled on their armour.  Had this order,
coolly given, been as coolly obeyed, it would have saved them all, since
the entrance could easily have been maintained against a much larger
force, till the report of the cavaliers who had fled had brought support to
Pizarro.  But unfortunately, Chaves, disobeying his commander, half
opened the door, and attempted to enter into a parley with the
conspirators.  The latter had now reached the head of the stairs, and cut
short the debate by running Chaves through the body, and tumbling his
corpse down into the area below.  For a moment they were kept at bay by
the attendants of the slaughtered cavalier, but these, too, were quickly
despatched; and Rada and his companions, entering the apartment,
hurried across it, shouting out, "Where is the marquess? Death to the

Martinez de Alcantara, who in the adjoining room was assisting his
brother to buckle on his mail, no sooner saw that the entrance to the
antechamber had been gained, than he sprang to the doorway of the
apartment, and, assisted by two young men, pages of Pizarro, and by one
or two cavaliers in attendance, endeavored to resist the approach of the
assailants.  A desperate struggle now ensued.  Blows were given on both
sides, some of which proved fatal, and two of the conspirators were
slain, while Alcantara and his brave companions were repeatedly

At length, Pizarro, unable, in the hurry of the moment, to adjust the
fastenings of his cuirass, threw it away, and, enveloping one arm in his
cloak, with the other seized his sword, and sprang to his brother's
assistance.  It was too late; for Alcantara was already staggering under
the loss of blood, and soon fell to the ground.  Pizarro threw himself on
his invaders, like a lion roused in his lair, and dealt his blows with as
much rapidity and force, as if age had no power to stiffen his limbs.
"What ho!" he cried, "traitors! have you come to kill me in my own
house?"  The conspirators drew back for a moment, as two of their body
fell under Pizarro's sword; but they quickly rallied, and, from their
superior numbers, fought at great advantage by relieving one another in
the assault.  Still the passage was narrow, and the struggle lasted for
some minutes, till both of Pizarro's pages were stretched by his side,
when Rada, impatient of the delay, called out, "Why are we so long
about it? Down with the tyrant!" and taking one of his companions,
Narvaez, in his arms, he thrust him against the marquess.  Pizarro,
instantly grappling with his opponent, ran him through with his sword.
But at that moment he received a wound in the throat, and reeling, he
sank on the floor, while the swords of Rada and several of the
conspirators were plunged into his body.  "Jesu!" exclaimed the dying
man, and, tracing a cross with his finger on the bloody floor, he bent
down his head to kiss it, when a stroke, more friendly than the rest, put
an end to his existence.16

The conspirators, having accomplished their bloody deed, rushed into
the street, and, brandishing their dripping weapons, shouted out, "The
tyrant is dead!  The laws are restored!  Long live our master the emperor,
and his governor, Almagro!"  The men of Chili, roused by the cheering
cry, now flocked in from every side to join the banner of Rada, who soon
found himself at the head of nearly three hundred followers, all armed
and prepared to support his authority.  A guard was placed over the
houses of the principal partisans of the late governor, and their persons
were taken into custody.  Pizarro's house, and that of his secretary
Picado, were delivered up to pillage and a large booty in gold and silver
was found in the former.  Picado himself took refuge in the dwelling of
Riquelme, the treasurer; but his hiding-place was detected, --betrayed,
according to some accounts, by the looks, though not the words, of the
treasurer himself,--and he was dragged forth and committed to a secure
prison.17  The whole city was thrown into consternation, as armed
bodies hurried to and fro on their several errands, and all who were not
in the faction of Almagro trembled lest they should be involved in the
proscription of their enemies.  So great was the disorder, that the
Brothers of Mercy, turning out in a body, paraded the streets in solemn
procession, with the host elevated in the air, in hopes by the presence of
the sacred symbol to calm the passions of the multitude.

But no other violence was offered by Rada and his followers than to
apprehend a few suspected persons, and to seize upon horses and arms
wherever they were to be found.  The municipality was then summoned
to recognize the authority of Almagro; the refractory were ejected
without ceremony from their offices, and others of the Chili faction were
substituted.  The claims of the new aspirant were fully recognized; and
young Almagro, parading the streets on horseback, and escorted by a
well-armed body of cavaliers, was proclaimed by sound of trumpet
governor and captain-general of Peru.

Meanwhile, the mangled bodies of Pizarro and his faithful adherents
were left weltering in their blood.  Some were for dragging forth the
governor's corpse to the market-place, and fixing his head upon a gibbet.
But Almagro was secretly prevailed on to grant the entreaties of Pizarro's
friends, and allow his interment.  This was stealthily and hastily
performed, in the fear of momentary interruption.  A faithful attendant
and his wife, with a few black domestics, wrapped the body in a cotton
cloth and removed it to the cathedral.  A grave was hastily dug in an
obscure corner, the services were hurried through, and, in secrecy, and in
darkness dispelled only by the feeble glimmering of a few tapers
furnished by these humble menials, the remains of Pizarro, rolled in their
bloody shroud, were consigned to their kindred dust.  Such was the
miserable end of the Conqueror of Peru,--of the man who but a few
hours before had lorded it over the land with as absolute a sway as was
possessed by its hereditary Incas.  Cut off in the broad light of day, in the
heart of his own capital, in the very midst of those who had been his
companions in arms and shared with him his triumphs and his spoils, he
perished like a wretched outcast.  "There was none, even," in the
expressive language of the chronicler, "to say, God forgive him!" 18

A few years later, when tranquillity was restored to the country, Pizarro's
remains were placed in a sumptuous coffin and deposited under a
monument in a conspicuous part of the cathedral.  And in 1607, when
time had thrown its friendly mantle over the past, and the memory of his
errors and his crimes was merged in the consideration of the great
services he had rendered to the Crown by the extension of her colonial
empire, his bones were removed to the new cathedral, and allowed to
repose side by side with those of Mendoza, the wise and good viceroy of

Pizarro was, probably, not far from sixty-five years of age at the time of
his death; though this, it must be added, is but loose conjecture, since
there exists no authentic record of the date of his birth.20  He was never
married; but by an Indian princess of the Inca blood, daughter of
Atahuallpa and granddaughter of the great Huayna Capac, he had two
children, a son and a daughter.  Both survived him; but the son did not
live to manhood.  Their mother, after Pizarro's death, wedded a Spanish
cavalier, named Ampuero, and removed with him to Spain.  Her
daughter Francisca accompanied her, and was there subsequently
married to her uncle Hernando Pizarro, then a prisoner in the Mota del
Medina.  Neither the title nor estates of the Marquess Francisco
descended to his illegitimate offspring.  But in the third generation, in the
reign of Philip the Fourth, the title was revived in favor of Don Juan
Hernando Pizarro, who, out of gratitude for the services of his ancestor,
was created Marquess of the Conquest, Marques de la Conquista, with a
liberal pension from government.  His descendants, bearing the same
title of nobility, are still to be found, it is said, at Truxillo, in the ancient
province of Estremadura, the original birthplace of the Pizarros.21

Pizarro's person has been already described.  He was tall in stature, well-
proportioned, and with a countenance not unpleasing.  Bred in camps,
with nothing of the polish of a court, he had a soldier-like bearing, and
the air of one accustomed to command.  But though not polished, there
was no embarrassment or rusticity in his address, which, where it served
his purpose, could be plausible and even insinuating.  The proof of it is
the favorable impression made by him, on presenting himself, after his
second expedition--stranger as he was to all its forms and usages--at the
punctilious court of Castile.

Unlike many of his countrymen, he had no passion for ostentatious dress,
which he regarded as an incumbrance.  The costume which he most
affected on public occasions was a black cloak, with a white hat, and
shoes of the same color; the last, it is said, being in imitation of the Great
Captain, whose character he had early learned to admire in Italy, but to
which his own, certainly, bore very faint resemblance.22

He was temperate in eating, drank sparingly, and usually rose an hour
before dawn.  He was punctual in attendance to business, and shrunk
from no toil.  He had, indeed, great powers of patient endurance.  Like
most of his nation, he was fond of play, and cared little for the quality of
those with whom he played; though, when his antagonist could not afford
to lose, he would allow himself, it is said, to be the loser; a mode of
conferring an obligation much commended by a Castilian writer, for its

Though avaricious, it was in order to spend and not to hoard.  His ample
treasures, more ample than those, probably, that ever before fell to the
lot of an adventurer,24 were mostly dissipated in his enterprises, his
architectural works, and schemes of public improvement, which, in a
country where gold and silver might be said to have lost their value from
their abundance, absorbed an incredible amount of money.  While he
regarded the whole country, in a manner, as his own, and distributed it
freely among his captains, it is certain that the princely grant of a
territory with twenty thousand vassals, made to him by the Crown, was
never carried into effect; nor did his heirs ever reap the benefit of it.25

To a man possessed of the active energies of Pizarro, sloth was the
greatest evil.  The excitement of play was in a manner necessary to a
spirit accustomed to the habitual stimulants of war and adventure.  His
uneducated mind had no relish for more refined, intellectual recreation.
The deserted foundling had neither been taught to read nor write.  This
has been disputed by some, but it is attested by unexceptionable
authorities.26  Montesinos says, indeed, that Pizarro, on his first voyage,
tried to learn to read; but the impatience of his temper prevented it, and
he contented himself with learning to sign his name.27  But Montesinos
was not a contemporary historian.  Pedro Pizarro, his companion in
arms, expressly tells us he could neither read nor write;28 and Zarate,
another contemporary, well acquainted with the Conquerors, confirms
this statement, and adds, that Pizarro could not so much as sign his
name.29  This was done by his secretary--Picado, in his latter years-
while the governor merely made the customary rubrica or flourish at the
sides of his name.  This is the case with the instruments I have examined,
in which his signature, written probably by his secretary, or his title of
Marques, in later life substituted for his name, is garnished with a
flourish at the ends, executed in as bungling a manner as if done by the
hand of a ploughman.  Yet we must not estimate this deficiency as we
should in this period of general illumination,--general, at least, in our
own fortunate country.  Reading and writing, so universal now, in the
beginning of the sixteenth century might be regarded in the light of
accomplishments; and all who have occasion to consult the autograph
memorials of that time will find the execution of them, even by persons
of the highest rank, too often such as would do little credit to a
schoolboy of the present day.

Though bold in action and not easily turned from his purpose, Pizarro
was slow in arriving at a decision.  This gave him an appearance of
irresolution foreign to his character.30  Perhaps the consciousness of this
led him to adopt the custom of saying "No," at first, to applicants for
favor; and afterwards, at leisure, to revise his judgment, and grant what
seemed to him expedient.  He took the opposite course from his comrade
Almagro, who, it was observed, generally said "Yes," but too often failed
to keep his promise.  This was characteristic of the careless and easy
nature of the latter, governed by impulse rather than principle.31

It is hardly necessary to speak of the courage of a man pledged to such a
career as that of Pizarro.  Courage, indeed, was a cheap quality among
the Spanish adventurers, for danger was their element.  But he possessed
something higher than mere animal courage, in that constancy of purpose
which was rooted too deeply in his nature to be shaken by the wildest
storms of fortune.  It was this inflexible constancy which formed the key
to his character, and constituted the secret of his success.  A remarkable
evidence of it was given in his first expedition, among the mangroves
and dreary marshes of Choco.  He saw his followers pining around him
under the blighting malaria, wasting before an invisible enemy, and
unable to strike a stroke in their own defence.  Yet his spirit did not
yield, nor did he falter in his enterprise.

There is something oppressive to the imagination in this war against
nature.  In the struggle of man against man, the spirits are raised by a
contest conducted on equal terms; but in a war with the elements, we
feel, that, however bravely we may contend, we can have no power to
control.  Nor are we cheered on by the prospect of glory in such a
contest; for, in the capricious estimate of human glory, the silent
endurance of privations, however painful, is little, in comparison with the
ostentatious trophies of victory.  The laurel of the hero---alas for
humanity that it should be so!--grows best on the battle-field.

This inflexible spirit of Pizarro was shown still more strongly, when, in
the little island of Gallo, he drew the line on the sand, which was to
separate him and his handful of followers from their country and from
civilized man.  He trusted that his own constancy would give strength to
the feeble, and rally brave hearts around him for the prosecution of his
enterprise.  He looked with confidence to the future, and he did not
miscalculate.  This was heroic, and wanted only a nobler motive for its
object to constitute the true moral sublime.

Yet the same feature in his character was displayed in a manner scarcely
less remarkable, when, landing on the coast, and ascertaining the real
strength and civilization of the Incas, he persisted in marching into the
interior at the head of a force of less than two hundred men.  In this he
undoubtedly proposed to himself the example of Cortes, so contagious to
the adventurous spirits of that day, and especially to Pizarro, engaged, as
he was, in a similar enterprise.  Yet the hazard assumed by Pizarro was
far greater than that of the Conqueror of Mexico, whose force was nearly
three times as large, while the terrors of the Inca name--however justified
by the result--were as widely spread as those of the Aztecs.

It was doubtless in imitation of the same captivating model, that Pizarro
planned the seizure of Atahuallpa.  But the situations of the two Spanish
captains were as dissimilar as the manner in which their acts of violence
were conducted.  The wanton massacre of the Peruvians resembled that
perpetrated by Alvarado in Mexico, and might have been attended with
consequences as disastrous, if the Peruvian character had been as fierce
as that of the Aztecs.32  But the blow which roused the latter to madness
broke the tamer spirits of the Peruvians.  It was a bold stroke, which left
so much to chance, that it scarcely merits the name of policy.

When Pizarro landed in the country, he found it distracted by a contest
for the crown.  It would seem to have been for his interest to play off one
party against the other, throwing his own weight into the scale that suited
him.  Instead of this, he resorted to an act of audacious violence which
crushed them both at a blow.  His subsequent career afforded no scope
for the profound policy displayed by Cortes, when he gathered
conflicting nations under his banner, and directed them against a
common foe.  Still less did he have the opportunity of displaying the
tactics and admirable strategy of his rival.  Cortes conducted his military
operations on the scientific principles of a great captain at the head of a
powerful host.  Pizarro appears only as an adventurer, a fortunate knight-
errant.  By one bold stroke, he broke the spell which had so long held the
land under the dominion of the Incas.  The spell was broken, and the airy
fabric of their empire, built on the superstition of ages, vanished at a
touch.  This was good fortune, rather than the result of policy.

Pizarro was eminently perfidious, Yet nothing is more opposed to sound
policy.  One act of perfidy fully established becomes the ruin of its
author.  The man who relinquishes confidence in his good faith gives up
the best basis for future operations.  Who will knowingly build on a
quicksand?  By his perfidious treatment of Almagro, Pizarro alienated the
minds of the Spaniards.  By his perfidious treatment of Atahuallpa, and
subsequently of the Inca Manco, he disgusted the Peruvians.  The name
of Pizarro became a by-word for perfidy.  Almagro took his revenge in a
civil war; Manco in an insurrection which nearly cost Pizarro his
dominion.  The civil war terminated in a conspiracy which cost him his
life.  Such were the fruits of his policy.  Pizarro may be regarded as a
cunning man; but not, as he has been often eulogized by his countrymen,
as a politic one.

When Pizarro obtained possession of Cuzco, he found a country well
advanced in the arts of civilization; institutions under which the people
lived in tranquillity and personal safety; the mountains and the uplands
whitened with flocks; the valleys teeming with the fruits of a scientific
husbandry; the granaries and warehouses filled to overflowing; the whole
land rejoicing in its abundance; and the character of the nation, softened
under the influence of the mildest and most innocent form of
superstition, well prepared for the reception of a higher and a Christian
civilization.  But, far from introducing this, Pizarro delivered up the
conquered races to his brutal soldiery; the sacred cloisters were
abandoned to their lust; the towns and villages were given up to pillage;
the wretched natives were parcelled out like slaves, to toil for their
conquerors in the mines; the flocks were scattered, and wantonly
destroyed, the granaries were dissipated; the beautiful contrivances for
the more perfect culture of the soil were suffered to fall into decay; the
paradise was converted into a desert.  Instead of profiting by the ancient
forms of civilization, Pizarro preferred to efface every vestige of them
from the land, and on their ruin to erect the institutions of his own
country.  Yet these institutions did little for the poor Indian, held in iron
bondage.  It was little to him that the shores of the Pacific were studded
with rising communities and cities, the marts of a flourishing commerce.
He had no share in the goodly heritage.  He was an alien in the land of
his fathers.

The religion of the Peruvian, which directed him to the worship of that
glorious luminary which is the best representative of the might and
beneficence of the Creator, is perhaps the purest form of superstition that
has existed among men.  Yet it was much, that, under the new order of
things, and through the benevolent zeal of the missionaries, some
glimmerings of a nobler faith were permitted to dawn on his darkened
soul.  Pizarro, himself, cannot be charged with manifesting any
overweening solicitude for the propagation of the Faith.  He was no
bigot, like Cortes.  Bigotry is the perversion of the religious principle;
but the principle itself was wanting in Pizarro.  The conversion of the
heathen was a predominant motive with Cortes in his expedition.  It was
not a vain boast.  He would have sacrificed his life for it at any time; and
more than once, by his indiscreet seal, he actually did place his life and
the success of his enterprise in jeopardy.  It was his great purpose to
purify the land from the brutish abominations of the Aztecs, by
substituting the religion of Jesus.  This gave to his expedition the
character of a crusade.  It furnished the best apology for the Conquest,
and does more than all other considerations towards enlisting our
sympathies on the side of the conquerors.

But Pizarro's ruling motives, so far as they can be scanned by human
judgment, were avarice and ambition.  The good missionaries, indeed,
followed in his train to scatter the seeds of spiritual truth, and the
Spanish government, as usual, directed its beneficent legislation to the
conversion of the natives.  But the moving power with Pizarro and his
followers was the lust of gold.  This was the real stimulus to their toil,
the price of perfidy, the true guerdon of their victories.  This gave a base
and mercenary character to their enterprise; and when we contrast the
ferocious cupidity of the conquerors with the mild and inoffensive
manners of the conquered, our sympathies, the sympathies even of the
Spaniard, are necessarily thrown into the scale of the Indian.33

But as no picture is without its lights, we must not, in justice to Pizarro,
dwell exclusively on the darker features of his portrait.  There was no
one of her sons to whom Spain was under larger obligations for extent of
empire; for his hand won for her the richest of the Indian jewels that
once sparkled in her imperial diadem.  When we contemplate the perils
he braved, the sufferings he patiently endured, the incredible obstacles
he overcame, the magnificent results he effected with his single arm, as it
were, unaided by the government,--though neither a good, nor a great
man in the highest sense of that term, it is impossible not to regard him
as a very extraordinary one.

Nor can we fairly omit to notice, in extenuation of his errors, the
circumstances of his early life; for, like Almagro, he was the son of sin
and sorrow, early cast upon the world to seek his fortunes as he might.
In his young and tender age he was to take the impression of those into
whose society he was thrown.  And when was it the lot of the needy
outcast to fall into that of the wise and the virtuous?  His lot was cast
among the licentious inmates of a camp, the school of rapine, whose only
law was the sword, and who looked on the wretched Indian and his
heritage as their rightful spoil.

Who does not shudder at the thought of what his own fate might have
been, trained in such a school?  The amount of crime does not necessarily
show the criminality of the agent.  History, indeed, is concerned with the
former, that it may be recorded as a warning to mankind; but it is He
alone who knoweth the heart, the strength of the temptations and the
means of resisting it, that can determine the measure of the guilt.

Book 4

Chapter 6

Movements Of The Conspirators--Advance Of Vaca De Castro--
Proceedings Of Almagro--Progress Of The Governor-
The Forces Approach Each Other--Bloody Plains Of Chupas-
Conduct Of Vaca De Castro


The first step of the conspirators, after securing possession of the capital,
was to send to the different cities, proclaiming the revolution which had
taken place, and demanding the recognition of the young Almagro as
governor of Peru.  Where the summons was accompanied by a military
force, as at Truxillo and Arequipa, it was obeyed without much cavil.
But in other cities a colder assent was given, and in some the requisition
was treated with contempt.  In Cuzco, the place of most importance next
to Lima, a considerable number of the Almagro faction secured the
ascendency of their party; and such of the magistracy as resisted were
ejected from their offices to make room for others of a more
accommodating temper.  But the loyal inhabitants of the city, dissatisfied
with this proceeding, privately sent to one of Pizarro's captains, named
Alvarez de Holguin, who lay with a considerable force in the
neighborhood; and that officer, entering the place, soon dispossessed the
new dignitaries of their honors, and restored the ancient capital to its

The conspirators experienced a still more determined opposition from
Alonso de Alvarado, one of the principal captains of Pizarro,-defeated,
as the reader will remember, by the elder Almagro at the bridge of
Abancay,--and now lying in the north with a corps of about two hundred
men, as good troops as any in the land.  That officer, on receiving tidings
of his general's assassination, instantly wrote to the Licentiate Vaca de
Castro, advising him of the state of affairs in Peru, and urging him to
quicken his march towards the south.1

This functionary had been sent out by the Spanish Crown, as noticed in a
preceding chapter, to cooperate with Pizarro in restoring tranquillity to
the country, with authority to assume the government himself, in case of
that commander's death.  After a long and tempestuous voyage, he had
landed, in the spring of 1541, at the port of Buena Ventura, and,
disgusted with the dangers of the sea, preferred to continue his
wearisome journey by land.  But so enfeebled was he by the hardships he
had undergone, that it was full three months before he reached Popayan
where he received the astounding tidings of the death of Pizarro.  This
was the contingency which had been provided for, with such judicious
forecast, in his instructions.  Yet he was sorely perplexed by the
difficulties of his situation.  He was a stranger in the land, with a very
imperfect knowledge of the country, without an armed force to support
him, without even the military science which might be supposed
necessary to avail himself of it.  He knew nothing of the degree of
Almagro's influence, or of the extent to which the insurrection had
spread,--nothing, in short, of the dispositions of the people among whom
he was cast.

In such an emergency, a feebler spirit might have listened to the counsels
of those who advised to return to Panama, and stay there until he had
mustered a sufficient force to enable him to take the field against the
insurgents with advantage.  But the courageous heart of Vaca de Castro
shrunk from a step which would proclaim his incompetency to the task
assigned him.  He had confidence in his own resources, and in the virtue
of the commission under which he acted.  He relied, too, on the habitual
loyalty of the Spaniards; and, after mature deliberation, he determined to
go forward, and trust to events for accomplishing the objects of his

He was confirmed in this purpose by the advices he now received from
Alvarado; and without longer delay, he continued his march towards
Quito.  Here he was well received by Gonzalo Pizarro's lieutenant, who
had charge of the place during his commander's absence on his
expedition to the Amazon.  The licentiate was also joined by Benalcazar,
the conqueror of Quito, who brought a small reinforcement, and offered
personally to assist him in the prosecution of his enterprise.  He now
displayed the royal commission, empowering him, on Pizarro's death, to
assume the government.  That contingency had arrived, and Vaca de
Castro declared his purpose to exercise the authority conferred on him.
At the same time, he sent emissaries to the principal cities, requiring
their obedience to him as the lawful representative of the Crown, --taking
care to employ discreet persons on the mission, whose character would
have weight with the citizens.  He then continued his march slowly
towards the south.2

He was willing by his deliberate movements to give time for his
summons to take effect, and for the fermentation caused by the late
extraordinary events to subside.  He reckoned confidently on the loyalty
which made the Spaniard unwilling, unless in cases of the last extremity,
to come into collision with the royal authority; and, however much this
popular sentiment might be disturbed by temporary gusts of passion, he
trusted to the habitual current of their feelings for giving the people a
right direction.  In this he did not miscalculate; for so deeprooted was the
principle of loyalty in the ancient Spaniard, that ages of oppression and
misrule could alone have induced him to shake off his allegiance.  Sad it
is, but not strange, that the length of time passed under a bad government
has not qualified him for devising a good one.

While these events were passing in the north, Almagro's faction at Lima
was daily receiving new accessions of strength.  For, in addition to those
who, from the first, had been avowedly of his father's party, there were
many others who, from some cause or other, had conceived a disgust for
Pizarro, and who now willingly enlisted under the banner of the chief
that had overthrown him.

The first step of the young general, or rather of Rada, who directed his
movements, was to secure the necessary supplies for the troops, most of
whom, having long been in indigent circumstances, were wholly
unprepared for service.  Funds to a considerable amount were raised, by
seizing on the moneys of the Crown in the hands of the treasurer.
Pizarro's secretary, Picado, was also drawn from his prison, and
interrogated as to the place where his master's treasures were deposited.
But, although put to the torture, he would not---or, as is probable, could
not --give information on the subject; and the conspirators, who had a
long arrear of injuries to settle with him, closed their proceedings by
publicly beheading him in the great square of Lima.3

Valverde, Bishop of Cuzco, as he himself assures us, vainly interposed in
his behalf.  It is singular, that, the last time this fanatical prelate appears
on the stage, it should be in the benevolent character of a supplicant for
mercy.4  Soon afterwards, he was permitted, with the judge, Velasquez,
and some other adherents of Pizarro, to embark from the port of Lima.
We have a letter from him, dated at Tumbez, in November, 1541; almost
immediately after which he fell into the hands of the Indians, and with
his companions was massacred at Puna.  A violent death not
unfrequently closed the stormy career of the American adventurer.
Valverde was a Dominican friar, and, like Father Olmedo in the suite of
Cortes, had been by his commander's side throughout the whole of his
expedition.  But he did not always, like the good Olmedo, use his
influence to stay the uplifted hand of the warrior.  At least, this was not
the mild aspect in which he presented himself at the terrible massacre of
Caxamalca.  Yet some contemporary accounts represent him, after he
had been installed in his episcopal office, as unwearied in his labors to
convert the natives, and to ameliorate their condition; and his own
correspondence with the government, after that period, shows great
solicitude for these praiseworthy objects.  Trained in the severest school
of monastic discipline, which too often closes the heart against the
common charities of life, he could not, like the benevolent Las Casas,
rise so far above its fanatical tenets as to regard the heathen as his
brother, while in the state of infidelity; and, in the true spirit of that
school, he doubtless conceived that the sanctity of the end justified the
means, however revolting in themselves.  Yet the same man, who thus
freely shed the blood of the poor native to secure the triumph of his faith,
would doubtless have as freely poured out his own in its defence.  The
character was no uncommon one in the sixteenth century.5

Almagro's followers, having supplied themselves with funds, made as
little scruple to appropriate to their own use such horses and arms, of
every description, as they could find in the city.  And this they did with
the less reluctance, as the inhabitants for the most part testified no good-
will to their cause.  While thus employed, Almagro received intelligence
that Holguin had left Cuzco with a force of near three hundred men, with
which he was preparing to effect a junction with Alvarado in the north.
It was important to Almagro's success that he should defeat this junction.
If to procrastinate was the policy of Vaca de Castro, it was clearly that of
Almagro to quicken operations, and to bring matters to as speedy an
issue as possible; to march at once against Holguin, whom he might
expect easily to overcome with his superior numbers; then to follow up
the stroke by the still easier defeat of Alvarado, when the new governor
would be, in a manner, at his mercy.  It would be easy to beat these
several bodies in detail, which, once united, would present formidable
odds.  Almagro and his party had already arrayed themselves against the
government by a proceeding too atrocious, and which struck too directly
at the royal authority, for its perpetrators to flatter themselves with the
hopes of pardon.  Their only chance was boldly to follow up the blow,
and, by success, to place them, selves in so formidable an attitude as to
excite the apprehensions of government.  The dread of its too potent
vassal might extort terms that would never be conceded to his prayers.

But Almagro and his followers shrunk from this open collision with the
Crown.  They had taken up rebellion because it lay in their path, not
because they had wished it.  They had meant only to avenge their
personal wrongs on Pizarro, and not to defy the royal authority.  When,
therefore, some of the more resolute, who followed things fearlessly to
their consequences, proposed to march at once against Vaca de Castro,
and, by striking at the head, settle the contest by a blow, it was almost
universally rejected; and it was not till after long debate that it was
finally determined to move against Holguin, and cut off his
communication with Alonso de Alvarado.

Scarcely had Almagro commenced his march on Xauxa, where he
proposed to give battle to his enemy, than he met with a severe
misfortune in the death of Juan de Rada.  He was a man somewhat
advanced in years; and the late exciting scenes, in which he had taken the
principal part, had been too much for a frame greatly shattered by a life
of extraordinary hardship.  He was thrown into a fever, of which he soon
after died.  By his death, Almagro sustained an inestimable loss; for,
besides his devoted attachment to his young leader, he was, by his large
experience, and his cautious though courageous character, better
qualified than any other cavalier in the army to conduct him safely
through the stormy sea on which he had led him to embark.

Among the cavaliers of highest consideration after Rada's death, the two
most aspiring were Christoval de Sotelo, and Garcia de Alvarado; both
possessed of considerable military talent, but the latter marked by a bold,
presumptuous manner, which might remind one of his illustrious
namesake, who achieved much higher renown under the banner of
Cortes.  Unhappily, a jealousy grew up between these two officers; that
jealousy, so common among the Spaniards, that it may seem a national
characteristic; an impatience of equality, founded on a false principle of
honor, which has ever been the fruitful source of faction among them,
whether under a monarchy or a republic.

This was peculiarly unfortunate for Almagro, whose inexperience led
him to lean for support on others, and who, in the present distracted state
of his council, knew scarcely where to turn for it.  In the delay
occasioned by these dissensions, his little army did not reach the valley
of Xauxa till after the enemy had passed it.  Almagro followed close,
leaving behind his baggage and artillery that he might move the lighter.
But the golden opportunity was lost.  The rivers, swollen by autumnal
rains, impeded his pursuit; and, though his light troops came up with a
few stragglers of the rear-guard, Holguin succeeded in conducting his
forces through the dangerous passes of the mountains, and in effecting a
junction with Alonso de Alvarado, near the northern seaport of Huaura.

Disappointed in his object, Almagro prepared to march on Cuzco,-the
capital, as he regarded it, of his own jurisdiction,--to get possession of
that city, and there make preparations to meet his adversary in the field.
Sotelo was sent forward with a small corps in advance.  He experienced
no opposition from the now defenceless citizens; the government of the
place was again restored to the hands of the men of Chili, and their
young leader soon appeared at the head of his battalions, and established
his winter-quarters in the Inca capital.

Here, the jealousy of the rival captains broke out into an open feud.  It
was ended by the death of Sotelo, treacherously assassinated in his own
apartment by Garcia de Alvarado.  Almagro, greatly outraged by this
atrocity, was the more indignant, as he felt himself too weak to punish
the offender.  He smothered his resentment for the present, affecting to
treat the dangerous officer with more distinguished favor.  But Alvarado
was not the dupe of this specious behaviour.  He felt that he had forfeited
the confidence of his commander.  In revenge, he laid a plot to betray
him; and Almagro, driven to the necessity of self-defence, imitated the
example of his officer, by entering his house with a party of armed men,
who, laying violent hands on the insurgent, slew him on the spot.6

This irregular proceeding was followed by the best consequences.  The
seditious schemes of Alvarado perished with him.  The seeds of
insubordination were eradicated, and from that moment Almagro
experienced only implicit obedience and the most loyal support from his
followers.  From that hour, too, his own character seemed to be changed;
he relied far less on others than on himself, and developed resources not
to have been anticipated in one of his years; for he had hardly reached
the age of twenty-two.7  From this time he displayed an energy and
forecast, which proved him, in despite of his youth, not unequal to the
trying emergencies of the situation in which it was his unhappy lot to be

He instantly set about providing for the wants of his men, and strained
every nerve to get them in good fighting order for the approaching
campaign.  He replenished his treasury with a large amount of silver
which he drew from the mines of La Plata.  Saltpetre, obtained in
abundance in the neighborhood of Cuzco, furnished the material for
gunpowder.  He caused cannon, some of large dimensions, to be cast
under the superintendence of Pedro de Candia, the Greek, who, it may be
remembered, had first come into the country with Pizarro, and who, with
a number of his countrymen,--Levantines, as they were called,-was well
acquainted with this manufacture.  Under their care, fire-arms were
made, together with cuirasses and helmets, in which silver was mingled
with copper,8 and of so excellent a quality, that they might vie, says an
old soldier of the time, with those from the workshops of Milan.9
Almagro received a seasonable supply, moreover, from a source scarcely
to have been expected.  This was from Manco, the wandering Inca, who
detesting the memory of Pizarro, transferred to the young Almagro the
same friendly feelings which he had formerly borne to his father;
heightened, it may be, by the consideration that Indian blood flowed in
the veins of the young commander.  From this quarter Almagro obtained
a liberal supply of swords, spears, shields, and arms and armour of every
description, chiefly taken by the Inca at the memorable siege of Cuzco.
He also received the gratifying assurance, that the latter would support
him with a detachment of native troops when he opened the campaign.

Before making a final appeal to arms, however, Almagro resolved to try
the effect of negotiation with the new governor.  In the spring, or early in
the summer, of 1542, he sent an embassy to the latter, then at Lima, in
which he deprecated the necessity of taking arms against an officer of the
Crown.  His only desire, he said, was to vindicate his own rights; to
secure the possession of New Toledo, the province bequeathed to him by
his father, and from which he had been most unjustly excluded by
Pizarro.  He did not dispute the governor's authority over New Castile, as
the country was designated which had been assigned to the marquess;
and he concluded by proposing that each party should remain within his
respective territory until the determination of the Court of Castile could
be made known to them.  To this application, couched in respectful
terms, Almagro received no answer.

Frustrated in his hopes of a peaceful accommodation, the young captain
now saw that nothing was left but the arbitrament of arms.  Assembling
his troops, preparatory to his departure from the capital, he made them a
brief address.  He protested that the step which he and his brave
companions were about to take was not an act of rebellion against the
Crown.  It was forced on them by the conduct of the governor himself.
The commission of that officer gave him no authority over the territory
of New Toledo, settled on Almagro's father, and by his father bequeathed
to him.  If Vaca de Castro, by exceeding the limits of his authority, drove
him to hostilities, the blood spill in the quarrel would lie on the head of
that commander, not on his.  "In the assassination of Pizarro," he
continued, "we took that justice into our own hands which elsewhere was
denied us.  It is the same now, in our contest with the royal governor.
We are as true-hearted and loyal subjects of the Crown as he is." And he
concluded by invoking his soldiers to stand by him heart and hand in the
approaching contest, in which they were all equally interested with

The appeal was not made to an insensible audience.  There were few
among them who did not feel that their fortunes were indissolubly
connected with those of their commander; and while they had little to
expect from the austere character of the governor, they were warmly
attached to the person of their young chief, who, with all the popular
qualities of his father, excited additional sympathy from the
circumstances of his age and his forlorn condition.  Laying their hands
on the cross, placed on an altar raised for the purpose, the officers and
soldiers severally swore to brave every peril with Almagro, and remain
true to him to the last.

In point of numbers, his forces had not greatly strengthened since his
departure from Lima.  He mustered but little more than five hundred in
all; but among them were his father's veterans, well seasoned by many an
Indian campaign.  He had about two hundred horse, many of them clad
in complete mail, a circumstance not too common in these wars, where a
stuffed doublet of cotton was often the only panoply of the warrior.  His
infantry, formed of pikemen and arquebusiers, was excellently armed.
But his strength lay in his heavy ordnance, consisting of sixteen pieces,
eight large and eight smaller guns, or falconets, as they were called,
forming, says one who saw it, a beautiful park of artillery, that would
have made a brave show on the citadel of Burgos.10  The little army, in
short, though not imposing from its numbers, was under as good
discipline, and as well appointed, as any that ever fought on the fields of
Peru; much better than any which Almagro's own father or Pizarro ever
led into the field and won their conquests with.  Putting himself at the
head of his gallant company, the chieftain sallied forth from the walls of
Cuzco about midsummer, in 1542, and directed his march towards the
coast in expectation of meeting the enemy.11

While the events detailed in the preceding pages were passing, Vaca de
Castro, whom we left at Quito in the preceding year, was advancing
slowly towards the south.  His first act, after leaving that city, showed his
resolution to enter into no compromise with the assassins of Pizarro.
Benalcazar, the distinguished officer whom I have mentioned as having
early given in his adherence to him, had protected one of the principal
conspirators, his personal friend, who had come into his power, and had
facilitated his escape.  The governor, indignant at the proceeding, would
listen to no explanation, but ordered the offending officer to return to his
own district of Popayan.  It was a bold step, in the precarious state of his
own fortunes.

As the governor pursued his march, he was well received by the people
on the way; and when he entered the cities of San Miguel and of
Truxillo, he was welcomed with loyal enthusiasm by the inhabitants, who
readily acknowledged his authority, though they showed little alacrity to
take their chance with him in the coming struggle.

After lingering a long time in each of these places, he resumed his march
and reached the camp of Alonso de Alvarado at Huaura, early in 1542.
Holguin had established his quarters at some little distance from his
rival; for a jealousy had sprung up, as usual, between these two captains,
who both aspired to the supreme command of Captain General of the
army.  The office of governor, conferred on Vaca de Castro, might seem
to include that of commander-in-chief of the forces.  But De Castro was
a scholar, bred to the law;.  and, whatever authority he might arrogate to
himself in civil matters, the two captains imagined that the military
department he would resign into the hands of others.  They little knew
the character of the man.

Though possessed of no more military science than belonged to every
cavalier in that martial age, the governor knew that to avow his
ignorance, and to resign the management of affairs into the hands of
others, would greatly impair his authority, if not bring him into contempt
with the turbulent spirits among whom he was now thrown.  He had both
sagacity and spirit, and trusted to be able to supply his own deficiencies
by the experience of others.  His position placed the services of the
ablest men m the country at his disposal, and with the aid of their
counsels he felt quite competent to decide on his plan of operations, and
to enforce the execution of it.  He knew, moreover, that the only way to
allay the jealousy of the two parties in the present crisis was to assume
himself the office which was the cause of their dissension.

Still he approached his ambitious officers with great caution; and the
representations, which he made through some judicious persons who had
the most intimate access to them, were so successful, that both were in a
short time prevailed on to relinquish their pretensions in his favor.
Holguin, the more unreasonable of the two, then waited on him in his
rival's quarters, where the governor had the further satisfaction to
reconcile him to Alonso de Alvarado.  It required some address, as their
jealousy of each other had proceeded to such lengths that a challenge had
passed between them.

Harmony being thus restored, the licentiate passed over to Holguin's
camp, where he was greeted with salvoes of artillery, and loud
acclamations of "Viva el Rey" from the loyal soldiery.  Ascending a
platform covered with velvet, he made an animated harangue to the
troops; his commission was read aloud by the secretary; and the little
army tendered their obedience to him as the representative of the Crown.

Vaca de Castro's next step was to send off the greater part of his force, in
the direction of Xauxa, while, at the head of a small corps, he directed
his march towards Lima.  Here he was received with lively
demonstrations of joy by the citizens, who were generally attached to the
cause of Pizarro, the founder and constant patron of their capital.
Indeed, the citizens had lost no time after Almagro's departure in
expelling his creatures from the municipality, and reasserting their
allegiance.  With these favorable dispositions towards himself, the
governor found no difficulty in obtaining a considerable loan of money
from the wealthier inhabitants, But he was less successful, at first, in his
application for horses and arms, since the harvest had been too faithfully
gleaned, already, by the men of Chili.  As, however, he prolonged his
stay some time in the capital, he obtained important supplies, before he
left it, both of arms and ammunition, while he added to his force by a
considerable body of recruits.12

As he was thus employed, he received tidings that the enemy had left
Cuzco, and was on his march towards the coast.  Quitting Los Reyes,
therefore, with his trusty followers, Vaca de Castro marched at once to
Xauxa, the appointed place of rendezvous.  Here he mustered his forces,
and found that they amounted to about seven hundred men.  The cavalry,
in which lay his strength, was superior in numbers to that of his
antagonist, but neither so well mounted or armed.  It included many
cavaliers of birth, and well-tried soldiers, besides a number who, having
great interests at stake, as possessed of large estates in the country, had
left them at the call of government, to enlist under its banners.13  His
infantry, besides pikes, was indifferently well supplied with firearms; but
he had nothing to show in the way of artillery except three or four ill-
mounted falconets.  Yet, notwithstanding these deficiencies, the royal
army, if so insignificant a force can deserve that name, was so far
superior in numbers to that of his rival, that the one might be thought, on
the whole, to be no unequal match for the other.14

The reader, familiar with the large masses employed in European
warfare, may smile at the paltry forces of the Spaniards.  But in the New
World, where a countless host of natives went for little, five hundred
well-trained Europeans were regarded as a formidable body.  No army,
up to the period before us, had ever risen to a thousand.  Yet it is not
numbers, as I have already been led to remark, that give importance to a
conflict; but the consequences that depend on it,--the magnitude of the
stake, and the skill and courage of the players.  The more limited the
means, even, the greater may be the science shown in the use of them;
until, forgetting the poverty of the materials, we fix our attention on the
conduct of the actors, and the greatness of the results.

While at Xauxa, Vaca de Castro received an embassy from Gonzalo
Pizarro, returned from his expedition from the "Land of Cinnamon," in
which that chief made an offer of his services in the approaching contest.
The governor's answer showed that he was not wholly averse to an
accommodation with Almagro, provided it could be effected without
compromising the royal authority.  He was willing, perhaps, to avoid the
final trial by battle, when he considered, that, from the equality of the
contending forces, the issue must be extremely doubtful.  He knew that
the presence of Pizarro in the camp, the detested enemy of the
Almagrians, would excite distrust in their bosoms that would probably
baffle every effort at accommodation.  Nor is it likely that the governor
cared to have so restless a spirit introduced into his own councils.  He
accordingly sent to Gonzalo, thanking him for the promptness of his
support, but courteously declined it, while he advised him to remain in
his province, and repose after the fatigues of his wearisome expedition.
At the same time, he assured him that he would not fail to call for his
services when occasion required it.--The haughty cavalier was greatly
disgusted by the repulse.15

The governor now received such an account of Almagro's movements
as led him to suppose that he was preparing to occupy Gaumanga, a
fortified place of considerable strength, about thirty leagues from
Xauxa.16  Anxious to secure this post, he broke up his encampment, and
by forced marches, conducted in so irregular a manner as must have
placed him in great danger if his enemy had been near to profit by it, he
succeeded in anticipating Almagro, and threw himself into the place
while his antagonist was at Bilcas, some ten leagues distant.

At Guamanga, Vaca de Castro received another embassy from Almagro,
of similar import with the former.  The young chief again deprecated the
existence of hostilities between brethren of the same family, and
proposed an accommodation of the quarrel on the same basis as before.
To these proposals the governor now condescended to reply.  It might be
thought, from his answer, that he felt some compassion for the youth and
inexperience of Almagro, and that he was willing to distinguish between
him and the principal conspirators, provided he could detach him from
their interests.  But it is more probable that he intended only to amuse his
enemy by a show of negotiation, while he gained time for tampering with
the fidelity of his troops.

He insisted that Almagro should deliver up to him all those immediately
implicated in the death of Pizarro, and should then disband his forces.
On these conditions the government would pass over his treasonable
practices, and he should be reinstated in the royal favor.  Together with
this mission, Vaca de Castro, it is reported, sent a Spaniard, disguised as
an Indian, who was instructed to communicate with certain officers in
Almagro's camp, and prevail on them, if possible, to abandon his cause
and return to their allegiance.  Unfortunately, the disguise of the
emissary was detected.  He was seized, put to the torture, and, having
confessed the whole of the transaction, was hanged as a spy.

Almagro laid the proceeding before his captains.  The terms proffered by
the governor were such as no man with a particle of honor in his nature
could entertain for a moment; and Almagro's indignation, as well as that
of his companions, was heightened by the duplicity of their enemy, who
could practise such insidious arts, while ostensibly engaged in a fair and
open negotiation.  Fearful, perhaps, lest the tempting offers of their
antagonist might yet prevail over the constancy of some of the weaker
spirits among them, they demanded that all negotiation should be broken
off, and that they should be led at once against the enemy.17

The governor, meanwhile, finding the broken country around Guamanga
unfavorable for his cavalry, on which he mainly relied, drew off his
forces to the neighboring lowlands, known as the Plains of Chupas.  It
was the tempestuous season of the year, and for several days the storm
raged wildly among the hills, and, sweeping along their sides into the
valley, poured down rain, sleet, and snow on the miserable bivouacs of
the soldiers, till they were drenched to the skin and nearly stiffened by
the cold.18  At length, on the sixteenth of September, 1542, the scouts
brought in tidings that Almagro's troops were advancing, with the
intention, apparently, of occupying the highlands around Chupas.  The
war of the elements had at last subsided, and was succeeded by one of
those brilliant days which are found only in the tropics.  The royal camp
was early in motion, as Vaca de Castro, desirous to secure the heights
that commanded the valley, detached a body of arquebusiers on that
service, supported by a corps of cavalry, which he soon followed with
the rest of the forces.  On reaching the eminence, news was brought that
the enemy had come to a halt, and established himself in a strong
position at less than a league's distance.

It was now late in the afternoon, and the sun was not more than two
hours above the horizon.  The governor hesitated to begin the action
when they must so soon be overtaken by night.  But Alonso de Alvarado
assured him that "now was the time; for the spirits of his men were hot
for fight, and it was better to take the benefit of it than to damp their
ardor by delay." The governor acquiesced, exclaiming at the same time, -
-"O for the might of Joshua, to stay the sun in his course!" 19  He then
drew up his little army in order of battle, and made his dispositions for
the attack.

In the centre he placed his infantry, consisting of arquebusiers and
pikemen, constituting the battle, as it was called.  On the flanks, he
established his cavalry, placing the right wing, together with the royal
standard, under charge of Alonso de Alvarado, and the left under
Holguin, supported by a gallant body of cavaliers.  His artillery, too
insignificant to be of much account, was also in the centre.  He proposed
himself to lead the van, and to break the first lance with the enemy; but
from this chivalrous display he was dissuaded by his officers, who
reminded him that too much depended on his life to have it thus
wantonly exposed.  The governor contented himself, therefore, with
heading a body of reserve, consisting of forty horse, to act on any quarter
as occasion might require.  This corps, comprising the flower of his
chivalry, was chiefly drawn from Alvarado's troop, greatly to the
discontent of that captain.  The governor himself rode a coal-black
charger, and wore a rich surcoat of brocade over his mail, through which
the habit and emblems of the knightly order of St. James, conferred on
him just before his departure from Castile, were conspicuous.20  It was a
point of honor with the chivalry of the period to court danger by
displaying their rank in the splendor of their military attire and the
caparisons of their horses.

Before commencing the assault, Vaca de Castro addressed a few remarks
to his soldiers, in order to remove any hesitation that some might yet
feel, who recollected the displeasure shown by the emperor to the victors
as well as the vanquished after the battle of Salinas.  He told them that
their enemies were rebels.  They were in arms against him.  the
representative of the Crown, and it was his duty to quell this rebellion
and punish the authors of it.  He then caused the law to be read aloud,
proclaiming the doom of traitors.  By this law, Almagro and his
followers had forfeited their lives and property, and the governor
promised to distribute the latter among such of his men as showed the
best claim to it by their conduct in the battle.  This last politic promise
vanquished the scruples of the most fastidious; and, having completed
his dispositions in the most judicious and soldier-like manner, Vaca de
Castro gave the order to advance.21

As the forces turned a spur of the hills, which had hitherto screened them
from their enemies, they came in sight of the latter, formed along the
crest of a gentle eminence, with their snow-white banners, the
distinguishing color of the Almagrians, floating above their heads, and
their bright arms flinging back the broad rays of the evening sun.
Almagro's disposition of his troops was not unlike that of his adversary.
In the centre was his excellent artillery, covered by his arquebusiers and
spearmen; while his cavalry rode on the flanks.  The troops on the left he
proposed to lead in person.  He had chosen his position with judgment,
as the character of the ground gave full play to his guns, which opened
an effective fire on the assailants as they drew near.  Shaken by the storm
of shot, Vaca de Castro saw the difficulty of advancing in open view of
the hostile battery.  He took the counsel, therefore, of Francisco de
Carbajal, who undertook to lead the forces by a circuitous, but safer,
route.  This is the first occasion on which the name of this veteran
appears in these American wars, where it was afterwards to acquire a
melancholy notoriety.  He had come to the country after the campaigns
of forty years in Europe, where he had studied the art of war under the
Great Captain, Gonsalvo de Cordova.  Though now far advanced in age,
he possessed all the courage and indomitable energy of youth, and well
exemplified the lessons he had studied under his great commander.

Taking advantage of a winding route that sloped round the declivity of
the hills, he conducted the troops in such a manner, that, until they
approached quite near the enemy, they were protected by the intervening
ground.  While thus advancing, they were assailed on the left flank by
the Indian battalions under Paullo, the Inca Manco's brother; but a corps
of musketeers, directing a scattering fire among them, soon rid the
Spaniards of this annoyance.  When, at length, the royal troops, rising
above the hill, again came into view of Almagro's lines, the artillery
opened on them with fatal effect.  It was but for a moment, however, as,
from some unaccountable cause, the guns were pointed as such an angle,
that, although presenting an obvious mark, by far the greater part of the
shot passed over their heads.  Whether this was the result of treachery, or
merely of awkwardness, is uncertain.  The artillery was under charge of
the engineer, Pedro de Candia.  This man, who, it" may be remembered,
was one of the thirteen that so gallantly stood by Pizarro in the island of
Gallo, had fought side by side with his leader through the whole of the
Conquest.  He had lately, however, conceived some disgust with him,
and had taken part with the faction of Almagro.  The death of his old
commander, he may perhaps have thought, had settled all their
differences, and he was now willing to return to his former allegiance.
At least, it is said, that, at this very time, he was in correspondence with
Vaca de Castro.  Almagro himself seems to have had no doubt of his
treachery.  For, after remonstrating in vain with him on his present
conduct, he ran him through the body, and the unfortunate cavalier fell
lifeless on the field.  Then, throwing himself on one of the guns,
Almagro gave it a new direction, and that so successfully, that, when it
was discharged, it struck down several of the cavalry.22

The firing now took better effect, and by one volley a whole file of the
royal infantry was swept off, and though others quickly stepped in to fill
up the ranks, the men, impatient of their sufferings, loudly called on the
troopers, who had halted for a moment, to quicken their advance.23
This delay had been caused by Carbajal's desire to bring his own guns to
bear on the opposite columns.  But the design was quickly abandoned;
the clumsy ordnance was left on the field, and orders were given to the
cavalry to charge; the trumpets sounded, and, crying their war-cries, the
bold cavaliers struck their spurs into their steeds, and rode at full speed
against the enemy.

Well had it been for Almagro, if he had remained firm on the post which
gave him such advantage.  But from a false point of honor, he thought it
derogatory to a brave knight passively to await the assault, and, ordering
his own men to charge, the hostile squadrons, rapidly advancing against
each other, met midway on the plain.  The shock was terrible.  Horse and
rider reeled under the force of it.  The spears flew into shivers;24 and the
cavaliers, drawing their swords, or wielding their maces and battle-axes,-
-though some of the royal troopers were armed only with a common
axe,--dealt their blows with all the fury of civil hate.  It was a fearful
struggle, not merely of man against man, but, to use the words of an
eyewitness, of brother against brother, and friend against friend.25  No
quarter was asked; for the wrench that had been strong enough to tear
asunder the dearest ties of kindred left no hold for humanity.  The
excellent arms of the Almagrians counterbalanced the odds of numbers;
but the royal partisans gained some advantage by striking at the horses
instead of the mailed bodies of their antagonists.

The infantry, meanwhile, on both sides, kept up a sharp cross-fire from
their arquebuses, which did execution on the ranks of the cavaliers, as
well as on one another.  But Almagro's battery of heavy guns, now well
directed, mowed down the advancing columns of foot.  The latter,
staggering, began to fall back from the terrible fire, when Francisco de
Carbajal, throwing himself before them, cried out, "Shame on you, my
men!  Do you give way now?  I am twice as good a mark for the enemy
as any of you!" He was a very large man; and, throwing off his steel
helmet and cuirass, that he might have no advantage over his followers,
he remained lightly attired in his cotton doublet, when, swinging his
partisan over his head, he sprang boldly forward through blinding
volumes of smoke and a tempest of musket-balls, and, supported by the
bravest of his troops, overpowered the gunners, and made himself master
of their pieces.

The shades of night had now, for some time been coming thicker and
thicker over the field.  But still the deadly struggle went on in the
darkness, as the red and white badges intimated the respective parties,
and their war-cries rose above the din,--"Vaca de Castro y el Rey,"--
"Almagro y el Rey,"--while both invoked the aid of their military apostle
St. James.  Holguin, who commanded the royalists on the left, pierced
through by two musket-balls, had been slain early in the action.  He had
made himself conspicuous by a rich sobre-vest of white velvet over his
armour.  Still a gallant band of cavaliers maintained the fight so valiantly
on that quarter, that the Almagrians found it difficult to keep their

It fared differently on the right, where Alonso de Alvarado commanded.
He was there encountered by Almagro in person, who fought worthy of
his name.  By repeated charges on his opponent, he endeavored to bear
down his squadrons, so much worse mounted and worse armed than his
own.  Alvarado resisted with undiminished courage; but his numbers had
been thinned, as we have seen, before the battle, to supply the governor's
reserve, and, fairly overpowered by the superior strength of his
adversary, who had already won two of the royal banners, he was slowly
giving ground.  "Take, but kill not!" shouted the generous young chief,
who felt himself sure of victory.27

But at this crisis, Vaca de Castro, who, with his reserve, had occupied a
rising ground that commanded the field of action, was fully aware that
the time had now come for him to take part in the struggle.  He had long
strained his eyes through the gloom to watch the movements of the
combatants, and received constant tidings how the fight was going.  He
no longer hesitated, but, calling on his men to follow, led off boldly into
the thickest of the melee to the support of his stout-hearted officer.  The
arrival of a new corps on the field, all fresh for action, gave another turn
to the tide.28  Alvarado's men took heart and rallied.  Almagro's, though
driven back by the fury of the assault, quickly returned against their
assailants.  Thirteen of Vaca de Castro's cavaliers fell dead from their
saddles.  But it was the last effort of the Almagrians.  Their strength,
though not their spirit, failed them.  They gave way in all directions, and,
mingling together in the darkness, horse, foot, and artillery, they
trampled one another down, as they made the best of their way from the
press of their pursuers.  Almagro used every effort to stay them.  He
performed miracles of valor, says one who witnessed them; but he was
borne along by the tide, and, though he seemed to court death, by the
freedom with which he exposed his person to danger, yet he escaped
without a wound.

Others there were of his company, and among them a young cavalier
named Geronimo de Alvarado, who obstinately refused to quit the field;
and shouting out,--"We slew Pizarro!  we killed the tyrant!" they threw
themselves on the lances of their conquerors, preferring death on the
battle-field to the ignominious doom of the gibbet.29

It was nine o'clock when the battle ceased, though the firing was heard at
intervals over the field at a much later hour, as some straggling party of
fugitives were overtaken by their pursuers.  Yet many succeeded in
escaping in the obscurity of night, while some, it is said, contrived to
elude pursuit in a more singular way; tearing off the badges from the
corpses of their enemies, they assumed them for themselves, and,
mingling in the ranks as followers of Vaca de Castro, joined in the

That commander, at length, fearing some untoward accident, and that the
fugitives, should they rally again under cover of the darkness, might
inflict some loss on their pursuers, caused his trumpets to sound, and
recalled his scattered forces under their banners.  All night they remained
under arms on the field, which, so lately the scene of noisy strife, was
now hushed in silence, broken only by the groans of the wounded and the
dying.  The natives, who had hung, during the fight, like a dark cloud,
round the skirts of the mountains, contemplating with gloomy
satisfaction the destruction of their enemies, now availed themselves of
the obscurity to descend, like a pack of famished wolves, upon the
plains, where they stripped the bodies of the slain, and even of the living,
but disabled wretches, who had in vain dragged themselves into the
bushes for concealment.  The following morning, Vaca de Castro gave
orders that the wounded--those who had not perished in the cold damps
of the night--should be committed to the care of the surgeons, while the
priests were occupied with administering confession and absolution to
the dying.  Four large graves or pits were dug, in which the bodies of the
slain--the conquerors and the conquered--were heaped indiscriminately
together.  But the remains of Alvarez de Holguin and several other
cavaliers of distinction were transported to Guamanga, where they were
buried with the solemnities suited to their rank; and the tattered banners
won from their vanquished countrymen waved over their monuments, the
melancholy trophies of their victory.

The number of killed is variously reported,--from three hundred to five
hundred on both sides.30  The mortality was greatest among the
conquerors, who suffered more from the cannon of the enemy before the
action, than the latter suffered in the rout that followed it.  The number of
wounded was still greater; and full half of the survivors of Almagro's
party were made prisoners.  Many, indeed, escaped from the field to the
neighboring town of Guamanga, where they took refuge in the churches
and monasteries.  But their asylum was not respected, and they were
dragged forth and thrown into prison.  Their brave young commander
fled with a few followers only to Cuzco, where he was instantly arrested
by the magistrates whom he had himself placed over the city.31

At Guamanga, Vaca de Castro appointed a commission, with the
Licentiate de la Gama at its head, for the trial of the prisoners; and
justice was not satisfied, till forty had been condemned to death, and
thirty others--some of them with the loss of one or more of their
members-sent into banishment.32  Such severe reprisals have been too
common with the Spaniards in their civil feuds.  Strange that they should
so blindly plunge into these, with this dreadful doom for the vanquished!

From the scene of this bloody tragedy, the governor proceeded to Cuzco,
which he entered at the head of his victorious battalions, with all the
pomp and military display of a conqueror.  He maintained a
corresponding state in his way of living, at the expense of a sneer from
some, who sarcastically contrasted this ostentatious profusion with the
economical reforms he subsequently introduced into the finances.33  But
Vaca de Castro was sensible of the effect of this outward show on the
people generally, and disdained no means of giving authority to his
office.  His first act was to determine the fate of his prisoner, Almagro.
A council of war was held.  Some were for sparing the unfortunate chief,
in consideration of his youth, and the strong cause of provocation he had
received.  But the majority were of opinion that such mercy could not be
extended to the leader of the rebels, and that his death was indispensable
to the permanent tranquillity of the country.
When led to execution in the great square of Cuzco,--the same spot
where his father had suffered but a few years before,---Almagro
exhibited the most perfect composure, though, as the herald proclaimed
aloud the doom of the traitor, he indignantly denied that he was one.  He
made no appeal for mercy to his judges, but simply requested that his
bones might be laid by the side of his father's.  He objected to having his
eyes bandaged, as was customary on such occasions, and, after
confession, he devoutly embraced the cross, and submitted his neck to
the stroke of the executioner.  His remains, agreeably to his request, were
transported to the monastery of La Merced, where they were deposited
side by side with those of his unfortunate parent.34

There have been few names, indeed, in the page of history, more
unfortunate than that of Almagro.  Yet the fate of the son excites a
deeper sympathy than that of the father; and this, not merely on account
of his youth, and the peculiar circumstances of his situation.  He
possessed many of the good qualities of the elder Almagro, with a frank
and manly nature, in which the bearing of the soldier was somewhat
softened by the refinement of a better education than is to be found in the
license of a camp.  His career, though short, gave promise of
considerable talent, which required only a fair field for its development.
But he was the child of misfortune, and his morning of life was overcast
by clouds and tempests.  If his character, naturally benignant, sometimes
showed the fiery sparkles of the vindictive Indian temper, some apology
may be found, not merely in his blood, but in the circumstances of his
situation.  He was more sinned against than sinning; and, if conspiracy
could ever find a justification, it must be in a case like his, where, borne
down by injuries heaped on his parent and himself, he could obtain no
redress from the only quarter whence he had a right to look for it.  With
him, the name of Almagro became extinct, and the faction of Chili, so
long the terror of the land, passed away for ever.

While these events were occurring in Cuzco, the governor learned that
Gonzalo Pizarro had arrived at Lima, where he showed himself greatly
discontented with the state of things in Peru.  He loudly complained that
the government of the country, after his brother's death, had not been
placed in his hands; and, as reported by some, he was now meditating
schemes for getting possession of it.  Vaca de Castro well knew that
there would be no lack of evil counsellors to urge Gonzalo to this
desperate step; and, anxious to extinguish the spark of insurrection
before it had been fanned by these turbulent spirits into a flame, he
detached a strong body to Lima to secure that capital.  At the same time
he commanded the presence of Gonzalo Pizarro in Cuzco.

That chief did not think it prudent to disregard the summons; and shortly
after entered the Inca capital, at the head of a well-armed body of
cavaliers.  He was at once admitted into the governor's presence, when
the latter dismissed his guard, remarking that he had nothing to fear from
a brave and loyal knight like Pizarro.  He then questioned him as to his
late adventures in Canelas, and showed great sympathy for his
extraordinary sufferings.  He took care not to alarm his jealousy by any
allusion to his ambitious schemes, and concluded by recommending him,
now that the tranquillity of the country was reestablished, to retire and
seek the repose he so much needed, on his valuable estates at Charcas.
Gonzalo Pizarro, finding no ground opened for a quarrel with the cool
and politic governor, and probably feeling that he was, at least not now,
in sufficient strength to warrant it, thought it prudent to take the advice,
and withdrew to La Plata, where he busied himself in working those rich
mines of silver that soon put him in condition for more momentous
enterprise than any he had yet attempted.35

Thus rid of his formidable competitor, Vaca de Castro occupied himself
with measures for the settlement of the country.  He began with his army,
a part of which he had disbanded.  But many cavaliers still remained,
pressing their demands for a suitable recompense for their services.
These they were not disposed to undervalue, and the governor was happy
to rid himself of their importunities by employing them on distant
expeditions, among which was the exploration of the country watered by
the great Rio de la Plata.  The boiling spirits of the highmettled cavaliers,
without some such vent, would soon have thrown the whole country
again into a state of fermentation.

His next concern was to provide laws for the better government of the
colony.  He gave especial care to the state of the Indian population; and
established schools for teaching them Christianity.  By various
provisions, he endeavored to secure them from the exactions of their
conquerors, and he encouraged the poor natives to transfer their own
residence to the communities of the white men.  He commanded the
caciques to provide supplies for the tambos, or houses for the
accommodation of travellers, which lay in their neighborhood, by which
regulation he took away from the Spaniards a plausible apology for
rapine, and greatly promoted facility of intercourse.  He was watchful
over the finances, much dilapidated in the late troubles, and in several
instances retrenched what he deemed excessive repartimientos among the
Conquerors.  This last act exposed him to much odium from the objects
of it.  But his measures were so just and impartial, that he was supported
by public opinion.36

Indeed, Vaca de Castro's conduct, from the hour of his arrival in the
country, had been such as to command respect, and prove him competent
to the difficult post for which he had been selected.  Without funds,
without troops, he had found the country, on his landing, in a state of
anarchy; yet, by courage and address, he had gradually acquired
sufficient strength to quell the insurrection.  Though no soldier, he had
shown undaunted spirit and presence of mind in the hour of action, and
made his military preparations with a forecast and discretion that excited
the admiration of the most experienced veteran.

If he may be thought to have abused the advantages of victory by cruelty
towards the conquered, it must be allowed that he was not influenced by
any motives of a personal nature.  He was a lawyer, bred in high notions
of royal prerogative.  Rebellion he looked upon as an unpardonable
crime; and, if his austere nature was unrelenting in the exaction of
justice, he lived in an iron age, when justice was rarely tempered by

In his subsequent regulations for the settlement of the country, he
showed equal impartiality and wisdom.  The colonists were deeply
sensible of the benefits of his administration, and afforded the best
commentary on his services by petitioning the Court of Castile to
continue him in the government of Peru.37 Unfortunately, such was not
the policy of the Crown.

Book 4

Chapter 7

Abuses By The Conquerors--Code For The Colonies-
Great Excitement In Peru--Blasco Nunez The Viceroy-
His Severe Policy--Opposed By Gonzalo Pizarro


Before continuing the narrative of events in Peru, we must turn to the
mother-country, where important changes were in progress in respect to
the administration of the colonies.

Since his accession to the Crown, Charles the Fifth had been chiefly
engrossed by the politics of Europe, where a theatre was opened more
stimulating to his ambition than could be found in a struggle with the
barbarian princes of the New World.  In this quarter, therefore, an
empire almost unheeded, as it were, had been suffered to grow up, until
it had expanded into dimensions greater than those of his European
dominions and destined soon to become far more opulent.  A scheme of
government had, it is true, been devised, and laws enacted from time to
time for the regulation of the colonies.  But these laws were often
accommodated less to the interests of the colonies themselves, than to
those of the parent country; and, when contrived in a better spirit, they
were but imperfectly executed; for the voice of authority, however loudly
proclaimed at home, too often died away in feeble echoes before it had
crossed the waters.

This state of things, and, indeed, the manner in which the Spanish
territories in the New World had been originally acquired, were most
unfortunate both for the conquered races and their masters.  Had the
provinces gained by the Spaniards been the fruit of peaceful acquisition,
--of barter and negotiation,--or had their conquest been achieved under
the immediate direction of government, the interests of the natives would
have been more carefully protected.  From the superior civilization of the
Indians in the Spanish American colonies, they still continued after the
Conquest to remain on the ground, and to mingle in the same
communities, with the white men; in this forming an obvious contrast to
the condition of our own aborigines, who, shrinking from the contact of
civilization, have withdrawn, as the latter has advanced, deeper and
deeper into the heart of the wilderness.  But the South American Indian
was qualified by his previous institutions for a more refined legislation
than could be adapted to the wild hunters of the forest; and, had the
sovereign been there in person to superintend his conquests, he could
never have suffered so large a portion of his vassals to be wantonly
sacrificed to the cupidity and cruelty of the handful of adventurers who
subdued them.

But, as it was, the affair of reducing the country was committed to the
hands of irresponsible individuals, soldiers of fortune, desperate
adventurers, who entered on conquest as a game, which they were to play
in the most unscrupulous manner, with little care but to win it.  Receiving
small encouragement from the government, they were indebted to their
own valor for success; and the right of conquest, they conceived,
extinguished every existing right in the unfortunate natives.  The lands,
the persons, of the conquered races were parcelled out and appropriated
by the victors as the legitimate spoils of victory; and outrages were
perpetrated every day, at the contemplation of which humanity shudders.

These outrages, though nowhere perpetrated on so terrific a scale as in
the islands, where, in a few years, they had nearly annihilated the native
population, were yet of sufficient magnitude in Peru to call down the
vengeance of Heaven on the heads of their authors; and the Indian might
feel that this vengeance was not long delayed, when he beheld his
oppressors, wrangling over their miserable spoil, and turning their
swords against each other.  Peru, as already mentioned, was subdued by
adventurers, for the most part, of a lower and more ferocious stamp than
those who followed the banner of Cortes.  The character of the followers
partook, in some measure, of that of the leaders in their respective
enterprises.  It was a sad fatality for the Incas; for the reckless soldiers of
Pizarro were better suited to contend with the fierce Aztec than with the
more refined and effeminate Peruvian.  Intoxicated by the unaccustomed
possession of power, and without the least notion of the responsibilities
which attached to their situation as masters of the land, they too often
abandoned themselves to the indulgence of every whim which cruelty or
caprice could dictate.  Not unfrequently, says an unsuspicious witness, I
have seen the Spaniards, long after the Conquest, amuse themselves by
hunting down the natives with bloodhounds for mere sport, or in order to
train their dogs to the game! 1  The most unbounded scope was given to
licentiousness.  The young maiden was torn without remorse from the
arms of her family to gratify the passion of her brutal conqueror.2  The
sacred houses of the Virgins of the Sun were broken open and violated,
and the cavalier swelled his harem with a troop of Indian girls making it
seem that the Crescent would have been a much more fitting symbol for
his banner than the immaculate Cross.3

But the dominant passion of the Spaniard was the lust of gold.  For this
he shrunk from no toil himself, and was merciless in his exactions of
labor from his Indian slave.  Unfortunately, Peru abounded in mines
which too well repaid this labor; and human life was the item of least
account in the estimate of the Conquerors.  Under his Incas, the Peruvian
was never suffered to be idle; but the task imposed on him was always
proportioned to his strength.  He had his seasons of rest and refreshment,
and was well protected against the inclemency of the weather.  Every
care was shown for his personal safety.  But the Spaniards, while they
taxed the strength of the native to the utmost, deprived him of the means
of repairing it, when exhausted.  They suffered the provident
arrangements of the Incas to fall into decay.  The granaries were
emptied; the flocks were wasted in riotous living.  They were slaughtered
to gratify a mere epicurean whim, and many a llama was destroyed solely
for the sake of the brains----a dainty morsel, much coveted by the
Spaniards.4  So reckless was the spirit of destruction after the Conquest,
says Ondegardo.  the wise governor of Cuzco, that in four years more of
these animals perished than in four hundred, in the times of the Incas.5
The flocks, once so numerous over the broad table-lands, were now
thinned to a scanty number, that sought shelter in the fastnesses of the
Andes.  The poor Indian, without food, without the warm fleece which
furnished him a defence against the cold, now wandered half-starved and
naked over the plateau.  Even those who had aided the Spaniards in the
conquest fared no better; and many an Inca noble roamed a mendicant
over the lands where he once held rule, and if driven, perchance, by his
necessities, to purloin something from the superfluity of his conquerors,
he expiated it by a miserable death.6

It is true, there were good men, missionaries, faithful to their calling,
who wrought hard in the spiritual conversion of the native, and who,
touched by his misfortunes, would gladly have interposed their arm to
shield him from his oppressors.7  But too often the ecclesiastic became
infected by the general spirit of licentiousness; and the religious
fraternities, who led a life of easy indulgence on the lands cultivated by
their Indian slaves, were apt to think less of the salvation of their souls
than of profiting by the labor of their bodies.8

Yet still there were not wanting good and wise men in the colonies, who,
from time to time, raised the voice of remonstrance against these abuses,
and who carried their complaints to the foot of the throne.  To the credit
of the government, it must also be confessed, that it was solicitous to
obtain such information as it could, both from its own officers, and from
commissioners deputed expressly for the purpose, whose voluminous
communications throw a flood of light on the internal condition of the
country, and furnish the best materials for the historian.9  But it was
found much easier to get this information than to profit by it.

In 1541, Charles the Fifth, who had been much occupied by the affairs of
Germany, revisited his ancestral dominions, where his attention was
imperatively called to the state of the colonies.  Several memorials in
relation to it were laid before him; but no one pressed the matter so
strongly on the royal conscience as Las Casas, afterwards Bishop of
Chiapa.  This good ecclesiastic, whose long life had been devoted to
those benevolent labors which gained him the honorable title of
Protector of the Indians, had just completed his celebrated treatise on the
Destruction of the Indies, the most remarkable record, probably, to be
found, of human wickedness, but which, unfortunately, loses much of its
effect from the credulity of the writer, and his obvious tendency to

In 1542, Las Casas placed his manuscript in the hands of his royal aster.
That same year, a council was called at Valladolid, composed chiefly of
jurists and theologians, to devise a system of laws for the regulation of
the American colonies.

Las Casas appeared before this body, and made an elaborate argument,
of which a part only has been given to the public.  He there assumes, as a
fundamental proposition, that the Indians were by the law of nature free;
that, as vassals of the Crown, they had a right to its protection, and
should be declared free from that time, without exception and for ever.10
He sustains this proposition by a great variety of arguments,
comprehending the substance of most that has been since urged in the
same cause by the friends of humanity.  He touches on the ground of
expediency, showing, that, without the interference of government, the
Indian race must be gradually exterminated by the systematic oppression
of the Spaniards.  In conclusion, he maintains, that, if the Indians, as it
was pretended, would not labor unless compelled, the white man would
still find it for his interest to cultivate the soil; and that if he should not
be able to do so, that circumstance would give him no right over the
Indian, since God does not allow evil that good may come of it.11--This
lofty morality, it will be remembered, was from the lips of a Dominican,
in the sixteenth century, one of the order that rounded the Inquisition,
and in the very country where the fiery tribunal was then in most active

The arguments of Las Casas encountered all the opposition naturally to
be expected from indifference, selfishness, and bigotry.  They were also
resisted by some persons of just and benevolent views in his audience,
who, while they admitted the general correctness of his reasoning, and
felt deep sympathy for the wrongs of the natives, yet doubted whether his
scheme of reform was not fraught with greater evils than those it was
intended to correct.  For Las Casas was the uncompromising friend of
freedom.  He intrenched himself strongly on the ground of natural right;
and, like some of the reformers of our own day, disdained to calculate
the consequences of carrying out the principle to its full and unqualified
extent.  His earnest eloquence, instinct with the generous love of
humanity, and fortified by a host of facts, which it was not easy to assail,
prevailed over his auditors.  The result of their deliberations was a code
of ordinances, which, however, far from being limited to the wants of the
natives, had particular reference to the European population, and the
distractions of the country.  It was of general application to all the
American colonies.  It will be necessary here only to point out some of
the provisions having immediate reference to Peru.

The Indians were declared true and loyal vassals of the Crown, and their
freedom as such was fully recognized.  Yet, to maintain inviolate the
guaranty of the government to the Conquerors, it was decided, that those
lawfully possessed of slaves might still retain them; but, at the death of
the present proprietors, they were to revert to the Crown.

It was provided, however, that slaves, in any event, should be forfeited
by all those who had shown themselves unworthy to hold them by
neglect or ill-usage; by all public functionaries, or such as had held
offices under the government; by ecclesiastics and religious
corporations; and lastly,--a sweeping clause,--by all who had taken a
criminal part in the feuds of Almagro and Pizarro.

It was further ordered, that the Indians should be moderately taxed; that
they should not be compelled to labor where they did not choose, and
that where, from particular circumstances, this was made necessary, they
should receive a fair compensation.  It was also decreed, that, as the
repartimientos of land were often excessive, they should in such cases be
reduced; and that, where proprietors had been guilty of a notorious abuse
of their slaves, their estates should be forfeited altogether.

As Peru had always shown a spirit of insubordination, which required a
more vigorous interposition of authority than was necessary in the other
colonies, it was resolved to send a viceroy to that country, who should
display a state, and be armed with powers, that might make him a more
fitting representative of the sovereign.  He was to be accompanied by a
Royal Audience, consisting of four judges, with extensive powers of
jurisdiction, both criminal and civil, who, besides a court of justice,
should constitute a sort of council to advise with and aid the viceroy.
The Audience of Panama was to be dissolved, and the new tribunal,
with the vice-king's court, was to be established at Los Reyes, or Lima,
as it now began to be called,---henceforth the metropolis of the Spanish
empire on the Pacific.13

Such were some of the principal features of this remarkable code, which,
touching on the most delicate relations of society, broke up the very
foundations of property, and, by a stroke of the pen, as it were, converted
a nation of slaves into freemen.  It would have required, we may
suppose, but little forecast to divine, that in the remote regions of
America, and especially in Peru, where the colonists had been hitherto
accustomed to unbounded license, a reform, so salutary in essential
points, could be enforced thus summarily only at the price of a
revolution.  Yet the ordinances received the sanction of the emperor that
same year, and in November, 1543, were published at Madrid.14

No sooner was their import known than it was conveyed by numerous
letters to the colonists, from their friends in Spain.  The tidings flew like
wildfire over the land, from Mexico to Chili.  Men were astounded at the
prospect of the ruin that awaited them.  In Peru, particularly, there was
scarcely one that could hope to escape the operation of the law.  Few
there were who had not taken part, at some time or other, in the civil
feuds of Almagro and Pizarro; and still fewer of those that remained that
would not be entangled in some one or other of the insidious clauses that
seemed spread out, like a web, to ensnare them.

The whole country was thrown into commotion.  Men assembled
tumultuously in the squares and public places, and, as the regulations
were made known they were received with universal groans and hisses.
"Is this the fruit," they cried, "of all our toil?  Is it for this that we have
poured out our blood like water?  Now that we are broken down by
hardships and sufferings, to be left at the end of our campaigns as poor
as at the beginning!  Is this the way government rewards our services in
winning for it an empire?  The government has done little to aid us in
making the conquest, and for what we have we may thank our own good
swords; and with these same swords," they continued, warming into
menace, "we know how to defend it."  Then, stripping up his sleeve, the
war-worn veteran bared his arm, or, exposing his naked bosom, pointed
to his scars, as the best title to his estates.15

The governor, Vaca de Castro, watched the storm thus gathering from all
quarters, with the deepest concern.  He was himself in the very heart of
disaffection; for Cuzco, tenanted by a mixed and lawless population was
so far removed into the depths of the mountains, that it had much less
intercourse with the parent country, and was consequently much less
under her influence, than the great towns on the coast.  The people now
invoked the governor to protect them against the tyranny of the Court;
but he endeavored to calm the agitation by representing, that by these
violent measures they would only defeat their own object.  He counselled
them to name deputies to lay their petition before the Crown, stating the
impracticability of the present scheme of reform, and praying for the
repeal of it; and he conjured them to wait patiently for the arrival of the
viceroy, who might be prevailed on to suspend the ordinances till further
advices could be received from Castile.

But it was not easy to still the tempest; and the people now eagerly
looked for some one whose interests and sympathies might lie with
theirs, and whose position in the community might afford them
protection.  The person to whom they naturally turned in this crisis was
Gonzalo Pizarro, the last in the land of that family who had led the
armies of the Conquest,--a cavalier whose gallantry and popular manners
had made him always a favorite with the people.  He was now beset with
applications to interpose in their behalf with the government, and shield
them from the oppressive ordinances.

But Gonzalo Pizarro was at Charcas, busily occupied in exploring the
rich veins of Potosi, whose silver fountains, just brought into light, were
soon to pour such streams of wealth over Europe.  Though gratified with
this appeal to his protection, the cautious cavalier was more intent on
providing for the means of enterprise than on plunging prematurely into
it; and, while he secretly encouraged the malecontents, he did not
commit himself by taking part in any revolutionary movement.  At the
same period, he received letters from Vaca de Castro,--whose vigilant
eye watched all the aspects of the time,---cautioning Gonzalo and his
friends not to be seduced, by any wild schemes of reform, from their
allegiance.  And, to check still further these disorderly movements, he
ordered his alcaldes to arrest every man guilty of seditious language, and
bring him at once to punishment.  By this firm yet temperate conduct the
minds of the populace were overawed, and there was a temporary lull in
the troubled waters, while all looked anxiously for the coming of the

The person selected for this critical post was a knight of Avila, named
Blasco Nunez Vela.  He was a cavalier of ancient family, handsome in
person, though now somewhat advanced in years, and reputed brave and
devout.  He had filled some offices of responsibility to the satisfaction of
Charles the Fifth, by whom he was now appointed to this post in Peru.
The selection did no credit to the monarch's discernment.

It may seem strange that this important place should not have been
bestowed on Vaca de Castro, already on the spot, and who had shown
himself so well qualified to fill it.  But ever since that officer's mission to
Peru, there had been a series of assassinations, insurrections, and civil
wars, that menaced the wretched colony with ruin; and, though his wise
administration had now brought things into order, the communication
with the Indies was so tardy, that the results of his policy were not yet
fully disclosed.  As it was designed, moreover, to make important
innovations in the government, it was thought better to send some one
who would have no personal prejudices to encounter, from the part he
had already taken, and who, coming directly from the Court, and clothed
with extraordinary powers, might present himself with greater authority
than could one who had become familiar to the people in an inferior
capacity.  The monarch, however, wrote a letter with his own hand to,
Vaca de Castro in which he thanked that officer for his past services, and
directed him, after aiding the new viceroy with the fruits of his large
experience, to return to Castile, and take his seat in the Royal Council.
Letters of a similar complimentary kind were sent to the loyal colonists
who had stood by the governor in the late troubles of the country.
Freighted with these testimonials, and with the ill-starred ordinances,
Blasco Nunez embarked at San Lucar, on the 3d of November, 1543.  He
was attended by the four judges of the Audience, and by a numerous
retinue, that he might appear in the state befitting his distinguished

About the middle of the following January, 1544, the viceroy, after a
favorable passage, landed at Nombre de Dios.  He found there a vessel
laden with silver from the Peruvian mines, ready to sail for Spain.  His
first act was to lay an embargo on it for the government, as containing
the proceeds of slave labor.  After this extraordinary measure, taken in
opposition to the advice of the Audience, he crossed the Isthmus to
Panama.  Here he gave sure token of his future policy, by causing more
than three hundred Indians, who had been brought by their owners from
Peru, to be liberated and sent back to their own country.  This
highhanded measure created the greatest sensation in the city, and was
strongly resisted by the judges of the Audience.  They besought him not
to begin thus precipitately to execute his commission, but to wait till his
arrival in the colony, when he should have taken time to acquaint himself
somewhat with the country, and with the temper of the people.  But
Blasco Nunez coldly replied, that "he had come, not to tamper with the
laws, nor to discuss their merits, but to execute them,--and execute them
he would, to the letter, whatever might be the consequence."18  This
answer, and the peremptory tone in which it was delivered, promptly
adjourned the debate; for the judges saw that debate was useless with one
who seemed to consider all remonstrance as an attempt to turn him from
his duty, and whose ideas of duty precluded all discretionary exercise of
authority, even where the public good demanded it.

Leaving the Audience, as one of its body was ill, at Panama, the viceroy
proceeded on his way, and, coasting down the shores of the Pacific, on
the fourth of March he disembarked at Tumbez.  He was well received
by the loyal inhabitants; his authority was publicly proclaimed, and the
people were overawed by the display of a magnificence and state such as
had not till then been seen in Peru.  He took an early occasion to intimate
his future line of policy by liberating a number of Indian slaves on the
application of their caciques.  He then proceeded by land towards the
south, and showed his determination to conform in his own person to the
strict letter of the ordinances, by causing his baggage to be carried by
mules, where it was practicable; and where absolutely necessary to make
use of Indians, he paid them fairly for their services.19

The whole country was thrown into consternation by reports of the
proceedings of the viceroy, and of his conversations, most unguarded,
which were eagerly circulated, and, no doubt, often exaggerated.
Meetings were again called in the cities.  Discussions were held on the
expediency of resisting his further progress, and a deputation of citizens
from Cuzco, who were then in Lima, strongly urged the people to close
the gates of that capital against him.  But Vaca de Castro had also left
Cuzco for the latter city, on the earliest intimation of the viceroy's
approach, and, with some difficulty, he prevailed on the inhabitants not
to swerve from their loyalty, but to receive their new ruler with suitable
honors, and trust to his calmer judgment for postponing the execution of
the law till the case could be laid before the throne.

But the great body of the Spaniards, after what they had heard, had
slender confidence in the relief to be obtained from this quarter.  They
now turned with more eagerness than ever towards Gonzalo Pizarro; and
letters and addresses poured in upon him from all parts of the country,
inviting him to take on himself the office of their protector.  These
applications found a more favorable response than on the former

There were, indeed, many motives at work to call Gonzalo into action.  It
was to his family, mainly, that Spain was indebted for this extension of
her colonial empire; and he had felt deeply aggrieved that the
government of the colony should be trusted to other hands than his.  He
had felt this on the arrival of Vaca de Castro, and much more so when
the appointment of a viceroy proved it to be the settled policy of the
Crown to exclude his family from the management of affairs.  His
brother Hernando still languished in prison, and he himself was now to
be sacrificed as the principal victim of the fatal ordinances.  For who had
taken so prominent a part in the civil war with the elder Almagro?  And
the viceroy was currently reported--it may have been scandal---to have
intimated that Pizarro would be dealt with accordingly.20  Yet there was
no one in the country who had so great a stake, who had so much to lose
by the revolution.  Abandoned thus by the government, he conceived that
it was now time to take care of himself.

Assembling together some eighteen or twenty cavaliers in whom he most
trusted, and taking a large amount of silver, drawn from the mines, he
accepted the invitation to repair to Cuzco.  As he approached this capital,
he was met by a numerous body of the citizens, who came out to
welcome him, making the air ring with their shouts, as they saluted him
with the title of Procurator-General of Peru.  The title was speedily
confirmed by the municipality of the city, who invited him to head a
deputation to Lima, in order to state their grievances to the viceroy, and
solicit the present suspension of the ordinances.

But the spark of ambition was kindled in the bosom of Pizarro.  He felt
strong in the affections of the people; and, from the more elevated
position in which he now stood, his desires took a loftier and more
unbounded range.  Yet, if he harbored a criminal ambition in his breast,
he skilfully veiled it from others--perhaps from himself.  The only object
he professed to have in view was the good of the people;21 a suspicious
phrase, usually meaning the good of the individual.  He now demanded
permission to raise and organize an armed force, with the further title of
Captain-General.  His views were entirely pacific; but it was not safe,
unless strongly protected, to urge them on a person of the viceroy's
impatient and arbitrary temper.  It was further contended by Pizarro's
friends, that such a force was demanded, to rid the country of their old
enemy, the Inca Manco, who hovered in the neighboring mountains with
a body of warriors, ready, at the first opportunity, to descend on the
Spaniards.  The municipality of Cuzco hesitated, as well it might, to
confer powers so far beyond its legitimate authority.  But Pizarro avowed
his purpose, in case of refusal, to decline the office of Procurator; and
the efforts of his partisans, backed by those of the people, at length
silenced the scruples of the magistrates, who bestowed on the ambitious
chief the military command to which he aspired.  Pizarro accepted it with
the modest assurance, that he did so "purely from regard to the interests
of the king, of the Indies, and, above all, of Peru!" 22

Book 4

Chapter 8

The Viceroy Arrives At Lima--Gonzalo Pizarro Marches From Cuzco--
Death Of The Inca Manco--Rash Conduct Of The Viceroy--
Seized And Deposed By The Audience--
Gonzalo Proclaimed Governor Of Peru


While the events recorded in the preceding pages were in progress,
Blasco Nunez had been journeying towards Lima.  But the alienation
which his conduct had already caused in the minds of the colonists was
shown in the cold reception which he occasionally experienced on the
route, and in the scanty accommodations provided for him and his
retinue.  In one place where he took up his quarters, he found an ominous
inscription over the door:--"He that takes my property must expect to pay
for it with his life." 1  Neither daunted, nor diverted from his purpose,
the inflexible viceroy held on his way towards the capital, where the
inhabitants, preceded by Vaca de Castro and the municipal authorities,
came out to receive him.  He entered in great state, under a canopy of
crimson cloth, embroidered with the arms of Spain, and supported by
stout poles or staves of solid silver, which were borne by the members of
the municipality.  A cavalier, holding a mace, the emblem of authority,
rode before him; and after the oaths of office were administered in the
council-chamber, the procession moved towards the cathedral, where Te
Deum was sung, and Blasco Nunez was installed in his new dignity of
viceroy of Peru.2

His first act was to proclaim his determination in respect to the
ordinances.  He had no warrant to suspend their execution.  He should
fulfil his commission; but he offered to join the colonists in a memorial
to the emperor, soliciting the repeal of a code which he now believed
would be for the interests neither of the country nor of the Crown.3
With this avowed view of the subject, it may seem strange that Blasco
Nunez should not have taken the responsibility of suspending the law
until his sovereign could be assured of the inevitable consequences of
enforcing it.  The pacha of a Turkish despot, who had allowed himself
this latitude for the interests of his master, might, indeed, have reckoned
on the bowstring.  But the example of Mendoza, the prudent viceroy of
Mexico who adopted this course in a similar crisis, and precisely at the
same period, showed its propriety under existing circumstances.  The
ordinances were suspended by him till the Crown could be warned of the
consequences of enforcing them,--and Mexico was saved from
revolution.4  But Blasco Nunez had not the wisdom of Mendoza.

The public apprehension was now far from being allayed.  Secret cabals
were formed in Lima, and communications held with the different towns.
No distrust, however, was raised in the breast of the viceroy, and, when
informed of the preparations of Gonzalo Pizarro, he took no other step
than to send a message to his camp, announcing the extraordinary
powers with which he was himself invested, and requiring that chief to
disband his forces.  He seemed to think that a mere word from him
would be sufficient to dissipate rebellion.  But it required more than a
breath to scatter the iron soldiery of Peru.

Gonzalo Pizarro, meanwhile, was busily occupied in mustering his army.
His first step was to order from Guamanga sixteen pieces of artillery,
sent there by Vaca de Castro, who, in the present state of excitement,
was unwilling to trust the volatile people of Cuzco with these implements
of destruction.  Gonzalo, who had no scruples as to Indian labor,
appropriated six thousand of the natives to the service of transporting
this train of ordnance across the mountains.5

By his exertions and those of his friends, the active chief soon mustered
a force of nearly four hundred men, which, if not very imposing in the
outset, he conceived would be swelled, in his descent to the coast, by
tributary levies from the towns and villages on the way.  All his own
funds were expended in equipping his men and providing for the march;
and, to supply deficiencies, he made no scruple---since, to use his words,
it was for the public interest--to appropriate the moneys in the royal
treasury.  With this seasonable aid, his troops, well mounted and
thoroughly equipped, were put in excellent fighting order; and, after
making them a brief harangue, in which he was careful to insist on the
pacific character of his enterprise, somewhat at variance with its military
preparations, Gonzalo Pizarro sallied forth from the gates of the capital.

Before leaving it, he received an important accession of strength in the
person of Francisco de Carbajal, the veteran who performed so
conspicuous a part in the battle of Chupas.  He was at Charcas when the
news of the ordinances reached Peru; and he instantly resolved to quit
the country and return to Spain, convinced that the New World would be
no longer the land for him,--no longer the golden Indies.  Turning his
effects into money, he prepared to embark them on board the first ship
that offered.  But no opportunity occurred, and he could have little
expectation now of escaping the vigilant eye of the viceroy.  Yet, though
solicited by Pizarro to take command under him in the present
expedition, the veteran declined, saying, he was eighty years old, and had
no wish but to return home, and spend his few remaining days in quiet.6
Well had it been for him, had he persisted in his refusal.  But he yielded
to the importunities of his friend; and the short space that yet remained to
him of life proved long enough to brand his memory with perpetual

Soon after quitting Cuzco, Pizarro learned the death of the Inca Manco.
He was massacred by a party of Spaniards, of the faction of Almagro,
who, on the defeat of their young leader, had taken refuge in the Indian
camp.  They, in turn, were all slain by the Peruvians.  It is impossible to
determine on whom the blame of the quarrel should rest, since no one
present at the time has recorded it.7

The death of Manco Inca, as he was commonly called, is an event not to
be silently passed over in Peruvian history; for he was the last of his race
that may be said to have been animated by the heroic spirit of the ancient
Incas.  Though placed on the throne by Pizarro, far from remaining a
mere puppet in his hands, Manco soon showed that his lot was not to be
cast with that of his conquerors.  With the ancient institutions of his
country lying a wreck around him, he yet struggled bravely, like
Guatemozin, the last of the Aztecs, to uphold her tottering fortunes, or to
bury his oppressors under her ruins.  By the assault on his own capital of
Cuzco, in which so large a portion of it was demolished, he gave a check
to the arms of Pizarro, and, for a season, the fate of the Conquerors
trembled in the balance.  Though foiled, in the end, by the superior
science of his adversary, the young barbarian still showed the same
unconquerable spirit as before.  He withdrew into the fastnesses of his
native mountains, whence sallying forth as occasion offered, he fell on
the caravan of the traveller, or on some scattered party of the military;
and, in the event of a civil war, was sure to throw his own weight into the
weaker scale, thus prolonging the contest of his enemies, and feeding his
revenge by the sight of their calamities.  Moving lightly from spot to
spot, he eluded pursuit amidst the wilds of the Cordilleras; and, hovering
in the neighborhood of the towns, or lying in ambush on the great
thoroughfares of the country, the Inca Manco made his name a terror to
the Spaniards.  Often did they hold out to him terms of accommodation;
and every succeeding ruler, down to Blasco Nunez, bore instructions
from the Crown to employ every art to conciliate the formidable warrior.
But Manco did not trust the promises of the white man; and he chose
rather to maintain his savage independence in the mountains, with the
few brave spirits around him, than to live a slave in the land which had
once owned the sway of his ancestors.

The death of the Inca removed one of the great pretexts for Gonzalo
Pizarro's military preparations; but it had little influence on him, as may
be readily imagined.  He was much more sensible to the desertion of
some of his followers, which took place early on the march.  Several of
the cavaliers of Cuzco, startled by his unceremonious appropriation of
the public moneys, and by the belligerent aspect of affairs, now for the
first time seemed to realize that they were in the path of rebellion.  A
number of these, including some principal men of the city, secretly
withdrew from the army, and, hastening to Lima, offered their services to
the viceroy.  The troops were disheartened by this desertion, and even
Pizarro for a moment faltered in his purpose, and thought of retiring with
some fifty followers to Charcas, and there making his composition with
government.  But a little reflection, aided by the remonstrances of the
courageous Carbajal, who never turned his back on an enterprise which
he had once assumed, convinced him that he had gone too far to recede,-
-that his only safety was to advance.

He was reassured by more decided manifestations, which he soon after
received, of the public opinion.  An officer named Puelles, who
commanded at Guanuco, joined him, with a body of horse with which he
had been intrusted by the viceroy.  This defection was followed by that
of others, and Gonzalo, as he descended the sides of the table-land,
found his numbers gradually swelled to nearly double the amount with
which he had left the Indian capital.

As he traversed with a freer step the bloody field of Chupas, Carbajal
pointed out the various localities of the battle-ground, and Pizarro might
have found food for anxious reflection, as he meditated on the fortunes
of a rebel.  At Guamanga he was received with open arms by the
inhabitants, many of whom eagerly enlisted under his banner; for they
trembled for their property, as they heard from all quarters of the
inflexible temper of the viceroy.8

That functionary began now to be convinced that he was in a critical
position.  Before Puelles's treachery, above noticed, had been
consummated, the viceroy had received some vague intimation of his
purpose.  Though scarcely crediting it, he detached one of his company,
named Diaz, with a force to intercept him.  But, although that cavalier
undertook the mission with alacrity, he was soon after prevailed on to
follow the example of his comrade, and, with the greater part of the men
under his command, went over to the enemy.  In the civil feuds of this
unhappy land, parties changed sides so lightly, that treachery to a
commander had almost ceased to be a stain on the honor of a cavalier.
Yet all, on whichever side they cast their fortunes, loudly proclaimed
their loyalty to the Crown.

Thus betrayed by his own men, by those apparently most devoted to his
service, Blasco Nunez became suspicious of every one around him.
Unfortunately, his suspicions fell on some who were most deserving of
his confidence.  Among these was his predecessor, Vaca de Castro.  That
officer had conducted himself, in the delicate situation in which he had
been placed, with his usual discretion, and with perfect integrity and
honor.  He had frankly communicated with the viceroy, and well had it
been for Blasco Nunez, if he had known how to profit by it.  But he was
too much puffed up by the arrogance of office, and by the conceit of his
own superior wisdom, to defer much to the counsels of his experienced
predecessor.  The latter was now suspected by the viceroy of maintaining
a secret correspondence with his enemies at Cuzco,--a suspicion which
seems to have had no better foundation than the personal friendship
which Vaca de Castro was known to entertain for these individuals.  But,
with Blasco Nunez, to suspect was to be convinced; and he ordered De
Castro to be placed under arrest, and confined on board of a vessel lying
in the harbor.  This high-handed measure was followed by the arrest and
imprisonment of several other cavaliers, probably on grounds equally

He now turned his attention towards the enemy.  Notwithstanding his
former failure, he still did not altogether despair of effecting something
by negotiation, and he sent another embassy, having the bishop of Lima
at its head, to Gonzalo Pizarro's camp, with promises of a general
amnesty, an