The History of the Conquest of Peru, by William Hickling Prescott

Book V: Settlement Of The Country

Chapter I

Great Sensation In Spain. — Pedro De La Gasca. — His Early Life. — His Mission To Peru. — His Politic Conduct. — His Offers To Pizarro. — Gains The Fleet.

1545–1547.

While the important revolution detailed in the preceding pages was going forward in Peru, rumors of it, from time to time, found their way to the mother-country; but the distance was so great, and opportunities for communication so rare, that the tidings were usually very long behind the occurrence of the events to which they related. The government heard with dismay of the troubles caused by the ordinances and the intemperate conduct of the viceroy; and it was not long before it learned that this functionary was deposed and driven from his capital, while the whole country, under Gonzalo Pizarro, was arrayed in arms against him. All classes were filled with consternation at this alarming intelligence; and many that had before approved the ordinances now loudly condemned the ministers, who, without considering the inflammable temper of the people, had thus rashly fired a train which menaced a general explosion throughout the colonies. 1 No such rebellion, within the memory of man, had occurred in the Spanish empire. It was compared with the famous war of the comunidades, in the beginning of Charles the Fifth’s reign. But the Peruvian insurrection seemed the more formidable of the two. The troubles of Castile, being under the eye of the Court, might be the more easily managed; while it was difficult to make the same power felt on the remote shores of the Indies. Lying along the distant Pacific, the principle of attraction which held Peru to the parent country was so feeble, that this colony might, at any time, with a less impulse than that now given to it, fly from its political orbit. It seemed as if the fairest of its jewels was about to fall from the imperial diadem!

1 “Que aquello era contra una cedula que tenian del Emperador que les daba el repartimiento de los indios de su vida, y del hijo mayor, y no teniendo hijos a sus mugeres, con mandarles espresamente que se casasen como lo habian ya hecho los mas de ellos; y que tambien era contra otra cedula real que ninguno podia ser despojado de sus indios sin ser primero oido a justicia y condenado.” Historia de Don Pedro Gasca, Obispo de Siguenza. Ms.]

Such was the state of things in the summer of 1545, when Charles the Fifth was absent in Germany, occupied with the religious troubles of the empire. The government was in the hands of his son, who, under the name of Philip the Second, was soon to sway the sceptre over the largest portion of his father’s dominions, and who was then holding his court at Valladolid. He called together a council of prelates, jurists, and military men of greatest experience, to deliberate on the measures to be pursued for restoring order in the colonies. All agreed in regarding Pizarro’s movement in the light of an audacious rebellion; and there were few, at first, who were not willing to employ the whole strength of government to vindicate the honor of the Crown, — to quell the insurrection, and bring the authors of it to punishment. 2

2 Ms. de Caravantes. — Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca, Ms. One of this council was the great Duke of Alva, of such gloomy celebrity afterwards in the Netherlands. We may well believe his voice was for coercion.]

But, however desirable this might appear, a very little reflection showed that it was not easy to be done, if, indeed, it were practicable. The great distance of Peru required troops to be transported not merely across the ocean, but over the broad extent of the great continent. And how was this to be effected, when the principal posts, the keys of communication with the country, were in the hands of the rebels, while their fleet rode in the Pacific, the mistress of its waters, cutting off all approach to the coast? Even if a Spanish force could be landed in Peru, what chance would it have, unaccustomed, as it would be, to the country and the climate, of coping with the veterans of Pizarro, trained to war in the Indies and warmly attached to the person of their commander? The new levies thus sent out might become themselves infected with the spirit of insurrection, and cast off their own allegiance. 3

3 “Ventilose la forma del remedio de tan grave caso en que huvo dos opiniones; la una de imbiar un gran soldado con fuerza de gente a la demostracion de este castigo; la otra que se llevase el negocio por prudentes y suaves medios, por la imposibilidad y falto de dinero para llevar gente, cavallos, armas, municiones y vastimentos, y para sustentarlos en tierra firme y pasarlos al Piru.” Ms. de Caravantes.

Nothing remained, therefore, but to try conciliatory measures. The government, however mortifying to its pride, must retrace its steps. A free grace must be extended to those who submitted, and such persuasive arguments should be used, and such politic concessions made, as would convince the refractory colonists that it was their interest, as well as their duty, to return to their allegiance.

But to approach the people in their present state of excitement, and to make those concessions without too far compromising the dignity and permanent authority of the Crown, was a delicate matter, for the success of which they must rely wholly on the character of the agent. After much deliberation, a competent person, as it was thought, was found in an ecclesiastic, by the name of Pedro de la Gasca, — a name which, brighter by contrast with the gloomy times in which it first appeared, still shines with undiminished splendor after the lapse of ages.

Pedro de la Gasca was born, probably, towards the close of the fifteenth century, in a small village in Castile, named Barco de Avila. He came, both by father and mother’s side, from an ancient and noble lineage; ancient indeed, if, as his biographers contend, he derived his descent from Casca, one of the conspirators against Julius Caesar! 4 Having the misfortune to lose his father early in life, he was placed by his uncle in the famous seminary of Alcala de Henares, founded by the great Ximenes. Here he made rapid proficiency in liberal studies, especially in those connected with his profession, and at length received the degree of Master of Theology.

4 “Pasando a Espana vinieron a tierra de Avila y quedo del nombre dellos el lugar y familia de Gasca; mudandose por la afinidad de la pronunciacion, que hay entre las dos letras consonantes c. y. g. el nombre de Casca en Gasca.” Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca, Ms.

Similarity of name is a peg quite strong enough to hang a pedigree upon in Castile.]

The young man, however, discovered other talents than those demanded by his sacred calling. The war of the comunidades was then raging in the country; and the authorities of his college showed a disposition to take the popular side. But Gasca, putting himself at the head of an armed force, seized one of the gates of the city, and, with assistance from the royal troops, secured the place to the interests of the Crown. This early display of loyalty was probably not lost on his vigilant sovereign 5

5 This account of the early history of Gasca I have derived chiefly from a manuscript biographical notice written in 1465, during the prelate’s life. The name of the author, who speaks apparently from personal knowledge, is not given: but it seems to be the work of a scholar, and is written with a certain pretension to elegance. The original Ms. forms part of the valuable collection of Don Pascual de Gayangos of Madrid. It is of much value for the light it throws on the early career of Gasca, which has been passed over in profound silence by Castilian historians. It is to be regretted that the author did not continue his labors beyond the period when the subject of them received his appointment to the Peruvian mission.]

From Alcala, Gasca was afterwards removed to Salamanca; where he distinguished himself by his skill in scholastic disputation, and obtained the highest academic honors in that ancient university, the fruitful nursery of scholarship and genius. He was subsequently intrusted with the management of some important affairs of an ecclesiastical nature, and made a member of the Council of the Inquisition.

In this latter capacity he was sent to Valencia, about 1540, to examine into certain alleged cases of heresy in that quarter of the country. These were involved in great obscurity; and, although Gasca had the assistance of several eminent jurists in the investigation, it occupied him nearly two years. In the conduct of this difficult matter, he showed so much penetration, and such perfect impartiality, that he was appointed by the Cortes of Valencia to the office of visitador of that kingdom; a highly responsible post, requiring great discretion in the person who filled it, since it was his province to inspect the condition of the courts of justice and of finance, throughout the land, with authority to reform abuses. It was proof of extraordinary consideration, that it should have been bestowed on Gasca; since it was a departure from the established usage — and that in a nation most wedded to usage — to confer the office on any but a subject of the Aragonese crown. 6

6 “Era tanta la opinion que en Valencia tenian de la integridad y prudencia de Gasca, que en las Cortes de Monzon los Estados de aquel Reyno le pidieron por Visitador contra la costumbre y fuero de aquel Reyno, que no puede serlo sino fuere natural de la Corona de Araugon, y consintiendo que aquel fuero se derogase el Emperador lo concedio a instancia y peticion dellos.” Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca Ms.

Gasca executed the task assigned to him with independence and ability. While he was thus occupied, the people of Valencia were thrown into consternation by a meditated invasion of the French and the Turks, who, under the redoubtable Barbarossa, menaced the coast and the neighbouring Balearic isles. Fears were generally entertained of a rising of the Morisco population; and the Spanish officers who had command in that quarter, being left without the protection of a navy, despaired of making head against the enemy. In this season of general panic, Gasca alone appeared calm and self-possessed. He remonstrated with the Spanish commanders on their unsoldierlike despondency; encouraged them to confide in the loyalty of the Moriscos; and advised the immediate erection of fortifications along the shores for their protection. He was, in consequence, named one of a commission to superintend these works, and to raise levies for defending the sea-coast; and so faithfully was the task performed, that Barbarossa, after some ineffectual attempts to make good his landing, was baffled at all points, and compelled to abandon the enterprise as hopeless. The chief credit of this resistance must be assigned to Gasca, who superintended the construction of the defences, and who was enabled to contribute a large part of the requisite funds by the economical reforms he had introduced into the administration of Valencia. 7

7 “Que parece cierto,” says his enthusiastic biographer, “que por disposicion Divina vino a hallarse Gasca entonces en la Ciudad de Valencia, para remedio de aquel Reyno y Islas de Mallorca y Menorca e lviza, segun la orden, prevencion y diligencia que en la defensa contra las armadas del Turco y Francia tuvo, y las provisiones que para ello hizo.” Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca, Ms.]

It was at this time, the latter part of the year 1545, that the council of Philip selected Gasca as the person most competent to undertake the perilous mission to Peru. 8 His character, indeed, seemed especially suited to it. His loyalty had been shown through his whole life. With great suavity of manners he combined the most intrepid resolution. Though his demeanour was humble, as beseemed his calling, it was far from abject; for he was sustained by a conscious rectitude of purpose, that impressed respect on all with whom he had intercourse. He was acute in his perceptions, had a shrewd knowledge of character, and, though bred to the cloister, possessed an acquaintance with affairs, and even with military science, such as was to have been expected only from one reared in courts and camps.

8 “Finding a lion would not answer, they sent a lamb,” says Gomara; — “Finalmente, quiso embiar una Oveja, pues un Leon no aprovecho; y asi escogio al Licenciado Pedro Gasca.” Hist. de las Ind., cap. 174.

Without hesitation, therefore, the council unanimously recommended him to the emperor, and requested his approbation of their proceedings. Charles had not been an inattentive observer of Gasca’s course. His attention had been particularly called to the able manner in which he had conducted the judicial process against the heretics of Valencia. 9 The monarch saw, at once, that he was the man for the present emergency; and he immediately wrote to him, with his own hand, expressing his entire satisfaction at the appointment, and intimating his purpose to testify his sense of his worth by preferring him to one of the principal sees then vacant.

9 Gasca made what the author calls una breve y copyosa relacion of the proceedings to the emperor in Valencia; and the monarch was so intent on the inquiry, that he devoted the whole afternoon to it, notwithstanding his son Philip was waiting for him to attend a fiesta! irrefragable proof, as the writer conceives, of his zeal for the faith. —“Queriendo entender muy de raizo todo lo que pasaba, como Principe tan zeloso que era de las cosas de la religion.” Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca, Ms.]

Gasca accepted the important mission now tendered to him without hesitation; and, repairing to Madrid, received the instructions of the government as to the course to be pursued. They were expressed in the most benign and conciliatory tone, perfectly in accordance with the suggestions of his own benevolent temper. 10 But, while he commended the tone of the instructions, he considered the powers with which he was to be intrusted as wholly incompetent to their object. They were conceived in the jealous spirit with which the Spanish government usually limited the authority of its great colonial officers, whose distance from home gave peculiar cause for distrust. On every strange and unexpected emergency, Gasca saw that he should be obliged to send back for instructions. This must cause delay, where promptitude was essential to success. The Court, moreover, as he represented to the council, was, from its remoteness from the scene of action, utterly incompetent to pronounce as to the expediency of the measures to be pursued. Some one should be sent out in whom the king could implicitly confide, and who should be invested with powers competent to every emergency; powers not merely to decide on what was best, but to carry that decision into execution; and he boldly demanded that he should go not only as the representative of the sovereign, but clothed with all the authority of the sovereign himself. Less than this would defeat the very object for which he was to be sent. “For myself,” he concluded, “I ask neither salary nor compensation of any kind. I covet no display of state or military array. With my stole and breviary I trust to do the work that is committed to me. 11 Infirm as I am in body, the repose of my own home would have been more grateful to me than this dangerous mission; but I will not shrink from it at the bidding of my sovereign, and if, as is very probable, I may not be permitted again to see my native land, I shall, at least, be cheered by the consciousness of having done my best to serve its interests.” 12

10 These instructions, the patriarchal tone of which is highly creditable to the government, are given in extenso in the Ms. of Caravantes, and in no other work which I have consulted.]

11 “De suerte que juzgassen que la mas fuerca que lleuaua, era su abito de clerigo y breuiario.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 16.]

12 Ms. de Caravantes. — Hist. del Don Pedro Gasca, Ms. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 16, 17.

Though not for himself, Gasca did solicit one favor of the emperor, — the appointment of his brother, an eminent jurist, to a vacant place on the bench of one of the Castilian tribunals]

The members of the council, while they listened with admiration to the disinterested avowal of Gasca, were astounded by the boldness of his demands. Not that they distrusted the purity of his motives, for these were above suspicion. But the powers for which he stipulated were so far beyond those hitherto delegated to a colonial viceroy, that they felt they had no warrant to grant them. They even shrank from soliciting them from the emperor, and required that Gasca himself should address the monarch, and state precisely the grounds on which demands so extraordinary were founded.

Gasca readily adopted the suggestion, and wrote in the most full and explicit manner to his sovereign, who had then transferred his residence to Flanders. But Charles was not so tenacious, or, at least, so jealous, of authority, as his ministers. He had been too long in possession of it to feel that jealousy; and, indeed, many years were not to elapse, before, oppressed by its weight, he was to resign it altogether into the hands of his son. His sagacious mind, moreover, readily comprehended the difficulties of Gasca’s position. He felt that the present extraordinary crisis was to be met only by extraordinary measures. He assented to the force of his vassal’s arguments, and, on the sixteenth of February, 1546, wrote him another letter expressive of his approbation, and intimated his willingness to grant him powers as absolute as those he had requested. Gasca was to be styled President of the Royal Audience. But, under this simple title, he was placed at the head of every department in the colony, civil, military, and judicial. He was empowered to make new repartimientos, and to confirm those already made. He might declare war, levy troops, appoint to all offices, or remove from them, at pleasure. He might exercise the royal prerogative of pardoning offences, and was especially authorized to grant an amnesty to all, without exception, implicated in the present rebellion. He was, moreover, to proclaim at once the revocation of the odious ordinances. These two last provisions might be said to form the basis of all his operations.

Since ecclesiastics were not to be reached by the secular arm, and yet were often found fomenting troubles in the colonies, Gasca was permitted to banish from Peru such as he thought fit. He might even send home the viceroy, if the good of the country required it. Agreeably to his own suggestion, he was to receive no specified stipend; but he had unlimited orders on the treasuries both of Panama and Peru. He was furnished with letters from the emperor to the principal authorities, not only in Peru, but in Mexico and the neighbouring colonies, requiring their countenance and support; and, lastly, blank letters, bearing the royal signature, were delivered to him, which he was to fill up at his pleasure. 13

13 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 6. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 1, cap. 6. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 17, 18. — Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 174. — Hist. de Don Pedro Gasca, Ms.]

While the grant of such unbounded powers excited the warmest sentiments of gratitude in Gasca towards the sovereign who could repose in him so much confidence, it seems — which is more extra-ordinary — not to have raised corresponding feelings of envy in the courtiers. They knew well that it was not for himself that the good ecclesiastic had solicited them. On the contrary, some of the council were desirous that he should be preferred to the bishopric, as already promised him, before his departure; conceiving that he would thus go with greater authority than as an humble ecclesiastic, and fearing, moreover, that Gasca himself, were it omitted, might feel some natural disappointment. But the president hastened to remove these impressions. “The honor would avail me little,” he said, “where I am going; and it would be manifestly wrong to appoint me to an office in the Church, while I remain at such a distance that I cannot discharge the duties of it. The consciousness of my insufficiency,” he continued, “should I never return, would lie heavy on my soul in my last moments.” 14 The politic reluctance to accept the mitre has passed into a proverb. But there was no affectation here; and Gasca’s friends, yielding to his arguments, forbore to urge the matter further.

14 “Especialmente, si alla muriesse o le matassen: que entoces de nada le podria ser buena, sino para partir desta vida, con mas congoxa y pena de la poca cuenta que daua de la prouision que auia aceptado.” Fernandez, Hist. de Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 18.]

The new president now went forward with his preparations. They were few and simple; for he was to be accompanied by a slender train of followers, among whom the most conspicuous was Alonso de Alvarado, the gallant officer who, as the reader may remember, long commanded under Francisco Pizarro. He had resided of late years at court; and now at Gasca’s request accompanied him to Peru, where his presence might facilitate negotiations with the insurgents, while his military experience would prove no less valuable in case of an appeal to arms. 15 Some delay necessarily occurred in getting ready his little squadron, and it was not till the 26th of May, 1546, that the president and his suite embarked at San Lucar for the New World.

15 From this cavalier descended the noble house of the counts of Villamor in Spain. Ms. de Caravantes.]

After a prosperous voyage, and not a long one for that day, he landed, about the middle of July, at the port of Santa Martha. Here he received the astounding intelligence of the battle of Anaquito, of the defeat and death of the viceroy, and of the manner in which Gonzalo Pizarro had since established his absolute rule over the land. Although these events had occurred several months before Gasca’s departure from Spain, yet, so imperfect was the intercourse, no tidings of them had then reached that country.

They now filled the president with great anxiety as he reflected that the insurgents, after so atrocious an act as the slaughter of the viceroy, might well despair of grace, and become reckless of consequences. He was careful, therefore, to have it understood, that the date of his commission was subsequent to that of the fatal battle, and that it authorized an entire amnesty of all offences hitherto committed against the government. 16

16 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 21

Yet, in some points of view, the death of Blasco Nunez might be regarded as an auspicious circumstance for the settlement of the country. Had he lived till Gasca’s arrival, the latter would have been greatly embarrassed by the necessity of acting in concert with a person so generally detested in the colony, or by the unwelcome alternative of sending him back to Castile. The insurgents, moreover, would, in all probability, be now more amenable to reason, since all personal animosity might naturally be buried in the grave of their enemy.

The president was much embarrassed by deciding in what quarter he should attempt to enter Peru. Every port was in the hands of Pizarro, and was placed under the care of his officers, with strict charge to intercept any communications from Spain, and to detain such persons as bore a commission from that country until his pleasure could be known respecting them. Gasca, at length, decided on crossing over to Nombre de Dios, then held with a strong force by Hernan Mexia, an officer to whose charge Gonzalo had committed this strong gate to his dominions, as to a person on whose attachment to his cause he could confidently rely.

Had Gasca appeared off this place in a menacing attitude, with a military array, or, indeed, with any display of official pomp that might have awakened distrust in the commander, he would doubtless have found it no easy matter to effect a landing. But Mexia saw nothing to apprehend in the approach of a poor ecclesiastic, without an armed force, with hardly even a retinue to support him, coming solely, as it seemed, on an errand of mercy. No sooner, therefore, was he acquainted with the character of the envoy and his mission, than he prepared to receive him with the honors due to his rank, and marched out at the head of his soldiers, together with a considerable body of ecclesiastics resident in the place. There was nothing in the person of Gasca, still less in his humble clerical attire and modest retinue, to impress the vulgar spectator with feelings of awe or reverence. Indeed, the poverty-stricken aspect, as it seemed, of himself and his followers, so different from the usual state affected by the Indian viceroys, excited some merriment among the rude soldiery, who did not scruple to break their coarse jests on his appearance, in hearing of the president himself. 17 “If this is the sort of governor his Majesty sends over to us,” they exclaimed, “Pizarro need not trouble his head much about it.”

17 “Especialmente muchos de los soldados, que estauan desacatados, y decian palabras feas, y desuergocadas. A lo qual el Presidente (viendo que era necessario) hazia las orejas sordas.” Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 23.]

Yet the president, far from being ruffled by this ribaldry, or from showing resentment to its authors, submitted to it with the utmost humility, and only seemed the more grateful to his own brethren, who, by their respectful demeanour, appeared anxious to do him honor.

But, however plain and unpretending the manners of Gasca, Mexia, on his first interview with him, soon discovered that he had no common man to deal with. The president, after briefly explaining the nature of his commission, told him that he had come as a messenger of peace; and that it was on peaceful measures he relied for his success. He then stated the general scope of his commission, his authority to grant a free pardon to all, without exception, who at once submitted to government, and, finally, his purpose to proclaim the revocation of the ordinances. The objects of the revolution were thus attained. To contend longer would be manifest rebellion, and that without a motive; and he urged the commander by every principle of loyalty and patriotism to support him in settling the distractions of the country, and bringing it back to its allegiance.

The candid and conciliatory language of the president, so different from the arrogance of Blasco Nunez, and the austere demeanour of Vaca de Castro, made a sensible impression on Mexia. He admitted the force of Gasca’s reasoning, and flattered himself that Gonzalo Pizarro would not be insensible to it. Though attached to the fortunes of that leader, he was loyal in heart, and, like most of the party, had been led by accident, rather than by design, into rebellion; and now that so good an opportunity occurred to do it with safety, he was not unwilling to retrace his steps, and secure the royal favor by thus early returning to his allegiance. This he signified to the president, assuring him of his hearty cooperation in the good work of reform. 18

18 Ibid., ubi supra. — Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms. — Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1546. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru lib. 6, cap. 6. — Herrera, Hist General, dec. 8, lib. 2, cap. 5]

This was an important step for Gasca. It was yet more important for him to secure the obedience of Hinojosa, the governor of Panama, in the harbour of which city lay Pizarro’s navy, consisting of two-and-twenty vessels. But it was not easy to approach this officer. He was a person of much higher character than was usually found among the reckless adventurers in the New World. He was attached to the interests of Pizarro, and the latter had requited him by placing him in command of his armada and of Panama, the key to his territories on the Pacific. The president first sent Mexia and Alonso de Alvarado to prepare the way for his own coming, by advising Hinojosa of the purport of his mission. He soon after followed, and was received by that commander with every show of outward respect. But while the latter listened with deference to the representations of Gasca, they failed to work the change in him which they had wrought in Mexia; and he concluded by asking the president to show him his powers, and by inquiring whether they gave him authority to confirm Pizarro in his present post, to which he was entitled no less by his own services than by the general voice of the people. This was an embarrassing question. Such a concession would have been altogether too humiliating to the Crown; but to have openly avowed this at the present juncture to so stanch an adherent of Pizarro might have precluded all further negotiation. The president evaded the question, therefore, by simply stating, that the time had not yet come for him to produce his powers, but that Hinojosa might be assured they were such as to secure an ample recompense to every loyal servant of his country. 19

19 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 25. — Zarate Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 7. — Ms. de Caravantes.

Hinojosa was not satisfied; and he immediately wrote to Pizarro, acquainting him with Gasca’s arrival and with the object of his mission, at the same time plainly intimating his own conviction that the president had no authority to confirm him in the government. But before the departure of the ship, Gasca secured the services of a Dominican friar, who had taken his passage on board for one of the towns on the coast. This man he intrusted with manifestoes, setting forth the purport of his visit, and proclaiming the abolition of the ordinances, with a free pardon to all who returned to their obedience. He wrote, also, to the prelates and to the corporations of the different cities. The former he requested to cooperate with him in introducing a spirit of loyalty and subordination among the people, while he intimated to the towns his purpose to confer with them hereafter, in order to devise some effectual measures for the welfare of the country. These papers the Dominican engaged to distribute, himself, among the principal cities of the colony and he faithfully kept his word, though, as it proved, at no little hazard of his life. The seeds thus scattered might many of them fall on barren ground. But the greater part, the president trusted, would take root in the hearts of the people; and he patiently waited for the harvest.

Meanwhile, though he failed to remove the scruples of Hinojosa, the courteous manners of Gasca, and his mild, persuasive discourse, had a visible effect on other individuals with whom he had daily intercourse. Several of these, and among them some of the principal cavaliers in Panama, as well as in the squadron, expressed their willingness to join the royal cause, and aid the president in maintaining it. Gasca profited by their assistance to open a communication with the authorities of Guatemala and Mexico, whom he advised of his mission, while he admonished them to allow no intercourse to be carried on with the insurgents on the coast of Peru. He, at length, also prevailed on the governor of Panama to furnish him with the means of entering into communication with Gonzalo Pizarro himself; and a ship was despatched to Lima, bearing a letter from Charles the Fifth, addressed to that chief, with an epistle also from Gasca.

The emperor’s communication was couched in the most condescending and even conciliatory terms. Far from taxing Gonzalo with rebellion, his royal master affected to regard his conduct as in a manner imposed on him by circumstances, especially by the obduracy of the viceroy Nunez in denying the colonists the inalienable right of petition. He gave no intimation of an intent to confirm Pizarro in the government, or, indeed, to remove him from it; but simply referred him to Gasca as one who would acquaint him with the royal pleasure, and with whom he was to cooperate in restoring tranquillity to the country.

Gasca’s own letter was pitched on the same politic key. He remarked, however, that the exigencies which had hitherto determined Gonzalo’s line of conduct existed no longer. All that had been asked was conceded. There was nothing now to contend for; and it only remained for Pizarro and his followers to show their loyalty and the sincerity of their principles by obedience to the Crown. Hitherto, the president said, Pizarro had been in arms against the viceroy; and the people had supported him as against a common enemy. If he prolonged the contest, that enemy must be his sovereign. In such a struggle, the people would be sure to desert him; and Gasca conjured him, by his honor as a cavalier, and his duty as a loyal vassal, to respect the royal authority, and not rashly provoke a contest which must prove to the world that his conduct hitherto had been dictated less by patriotic motives than by selfish ambition.

This letter, which was conveyed in language the most courteous and complimentary to the subject of it, was of great length. It was accompanied by another much more concise, to Cepeda, the intriguing lawyer, who, as Gasca knew, had the greatest influence over Pizarro, in the absence of Carbajal, then employed in reaping the silver harvest from the newly discovered mines of Potosi. 20 In this epistle, Gasca affected to defer to the cunning politician as a member of the Royal Audience, and he conferred with him on the best manner of supplying a vacancy in that body. These several despatches were committed to a cavalier, named Paniagua, a faithful adherent of the president, and one of those who had accompanied him from Castile. To this same emissary he also gave manifestoes and letters, like those intrusted to the Dominican, with orders secretly to distribute them in Lima, before he quitted that capital. 21

20 “El Licenciado Cepeda que tengo yo agora por teniente, de quien yo hago mucho caso i le quiero mucho.” Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

21 The letters noticed in the text may be found in Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 7, and Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 29, 30. The president’s letter covers several pages. Much of it is taken up with historic precedents and illustrations, to show the folly, as well as wickedness, of a collision with the imperial authority. The benignant tone of this homily may be inferred from its concluding sentence; “Nuestro senor por su infinita bodad alumbre a vuestra merced, y a todos los demas para que acierten a hazer en este negocio lo que couiene a sus almas, honras, vidas y haziendas: y guarde en su sancto servicio la Illustre persona de vuestra merced.”]

Weeks and months rolled away, while the president still remained at Panama, where, indeed, as his communications were jealously cut off with Peru, he might be said to be detained as a sort of prisoner of state. Meanwhile, both he and Hinojosa were looking with anxiety for the arrival of some messenger from Pizarro, who should indicate the manner in which the president’s mission was to be received by that chief. The governor of Panama was not blind to the perilous position in which he was himself placed, nor to the madness of provoking a contest with the Court of Castile. But he had a reluctance — not too often shared by the cavaliers of Peru — to abandon the fortunes of the commander who had reposed in him so great confidence. Yet he trusted that this commander would embrace the opportunity now offered, of placing himself and the country in a state of permanent security.

Several of the cavaliers who had given in their adhesion to Gasca, displeased by this obstinacy, as they termed it, of Hinojosa, proposed to seize his person and then get possession of the armada. But the president at once rejected this offer. His mission, he said, was one of peace, and he would not stain it at the outset by an act of violence. He even respected the scruples of Hinojosa; and a cavalier of so honorable a nature, he conceived, if once he could be gained by fair means, would be much more likely to be true to his interests, than if overcome either by force or fraud. Gasca thought he might safely abide his time. There was policy, as well as honesty, in this; indeed, they always go together.

Meantime, persons were occasionally arriving from Lima and the neighbouring places, who gave accounts of Pizarro, varying according to the character and situation of the parties. Some represented him as winning all hearts by his open temper and the politic profusion with which, though covetous of wealth, he distributed repartimientos and favors among his followers. Others spoke of him as carrying matters with a high hand, while the greatest timidity and distrust prevailed among the citizens of Lima. All agreed that his power rested on too secure a basis to be shaken; and that, if the president should go to Lima, he must either consent to be come Pizarro’s instrument and confirm him in the government, or forfeit his own life. 22

22 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 27. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 2, cap. 7. — Ms. de Caravantes.

It was undoubtedly true, that Gonzalo, while he gave attention, as his friends say, to the public business, found time for free indulgence in those pleasures which wait on the soldier of fortune in his hour of triumph. He was the object of flattery and homage; courted even by those who hated him. For such as did not love the successful chieftain had good cause to fear him; and his exploits were commemorated in romances or ballads, as rivalling — it was not far from truth — those of the most doughty paladins of chivalry. 23

23 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 32.

Amidst this burst of adulation, the cup of joy commended to Pizarro’s lips had one drop of bitterness in it that gave its flavor to all the rest; for, notwithstanding his show of confidence, he looked with unceasing anxiety to the arrival of tidings that might assure him in what light his conduct was regarded by the government at home. This was proved by his jealous precautions to guard the approaches to the coast, and to detain the persons of the royal emissaries. He learned, therefore, with no little uneasiness, from Hinojosa, the landing of President Gasca, and the purport of his mission. But his discontent was mitigated, when he understood that the new envoy had come without military array, without any of the ostentatious trappings of office to impose on the minds of the vulgar, but alone, as it were, in the plain garb of an humble missionary. 24 Pizarro could not discern, that under this modest exterior lay a moral power, stronger than his own steel-clad battalions, which, operating silently on public opinion, — the more sure that it was silent, — was even now undermining his strength, like a subterraneous channel eating away the foundations of some stately edifice, that stands secure in its pride of place!

24 Gonzalo, in his letter to Valdivia, speaks of Gasca as a clergyman of a godly reputation, who, without recompense, in the true spirit of a missionary, had come over to settle the affairs of the country. “Dicen ques mui buen christiano i hombre de buena vida i clerigo, i dicen que viene a estas partes con buena intencion i no quiso salario ninguno del Rey sino venir para poner paz en estos reynos con sus cristiandades.” Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

But, although Gonzalo Pizarro could not foresee this result, he saw enough to satisfy him that it would be safest to exclude the president from Peru. The tidings of his arrival, moreover, quickened his former purpose of sending an embassy to Spain to vindicate his late proceedings, and request the royal confirmation of his authority. The person placed at the head of this mission was Lorenzo de Aldana, a cavalier of discretion as well as courage, and high in the confidence of Pizarro, as one of his most devoted partisans. He had occupied some important posts under that chief, one secret of whose successes was the sagacity he showed in the selection of his agents.

Besides Aldana and one or two cavaliers, the bishop of Lima was joined in the commission, as likely, from his position, to have a favorable influence on Gonzalo’s fortunes at court. Together with the despatches for the government, the envoys were intrusted with a letter to Gasca from the inhabitants of Lima; in which, after civilly congratulating the president on his arrival, they announce their regret that he had come too late. The troubles of the country were now settled by the overthrow of the viceroy, and the nation was reposing in quiet under the rule of Pizarro. An embassy, they stated, was on its way to Castile, not to solicit pardon, for they had committed no crime, 25 but to petition the emperor to confirm their leader in the government, as the man in Peru best entitled to it by his virtues. 26 They expressed the conviction that Gasca’s presence would only serve to renew the distractions of the country, and they darkly intimated that his attempt to land would probably cost him his life. — The language of this singular document was more respectful than might be inferred from its import. It was dated the 14th of October, 1546, and was subscribed by seventy of the principal cavaliers in the city. It was not improbably dictated by Cepeda, whose hand is visible in most of the intrigues of Pizarro’s little court. It is also said, — the authority is somewhat questionable, — that Aldana received instructions from Gonzalo secretly to offer a bribe of fifty thousand pesos de oro to the president, to prevail on him to return to Castile; and in case of his refusal, some darker and more effectual way was to be devised to rid the country of his presence. 27

25 “Porque perdo ninguno de nosotros le pide, porque no entendemos que emos errado, sino seruido a su Magestad: conseruado nuestro derecho; que por sus leyes Reales a sus vasallos es permitido.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 33.]

26 “Porque el por sus virtudes es muy amado de todos: y tenido por padre del Peru.” Ibid., ubi supra.]

27 Ibid., loc. cit. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 2, cap. 10. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 8. — Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 177. — Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1546.

Pizarro, in his letter to Valdivia, notices this remonstrance to Gasca, who, with all his reputation as a saint, was as deep as any man in Spain, and had now come to send him home, as a reward, no doubt, of his faithful services. “But I and the rest of the cavaliers,” he concludes, “have warned him not to set foot here.” “Y agora que yo tenia puesta esta tierra en sosiego embiava su parte al de la Gasca que aunque arriba digo que dicen ques un santo, es un hombre mas manoso que havia en toda Espana e mas sabio; e asi venia por presidente e Governador, e todo quanto el quiera; e para poderme embiar a mi a Espana, i a cabo de dos anos que andavamos fuera de nuestras casas queria el Rey darme este pago, mas yo con todos los cavalleros deste Reyno le embiavamos a decir que se vaya, sino que haremos con el como con Blasco Nunez.” Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

Aldana, fortified with his despatches, sped swiftly on his voyage to Panama. Through him the governor learned the actual state of feeling in the councils of Pizarro; and he listened with regret to the envoy’s conviction, that no terms would be admitted by that chief or his companions, that did not confirm him in the possession of Peru. 28

28 With Aldana’s mission to Castile Gonzalo Pizarro closes the important letter, so often cited in these pages, and which may be supposed to furnish the best arguments for his own conduct. It is a curious fact, that Valdivia, the conqueror of Chili, to whom the epistle is addressed, soon after this openly espoused the cause of Gasca, and his troops formed part of the forces who contended with Pizarro, not long afterwards, at Huarina. Such was the friend on whom Gonzalo relied!]

Aldana was soon admitted to an audience by the president. It was attended with very different results from what had followed from the conferences with Hinojosa; for Pizarro’s envoy was not armed by nature with that stubborn panoply which had hitherto made the other proof against all argument. He now learned with surprise the nature of Gasca’s powers, and the extent of the royal concessions to the insurgents. He had embarked with Gonzalo Pizarro on a desperate venture, and he found that it had proved successful. The colony had nothing more, in reason, to demand; and, though devoted in heart to his leader, he did not feel bound by any principle of honor to take part with him, solely to gratify his ambition, in a wild contest with the Crown that must end in inevitable ruin. He consequently abandoned his mission to Castile, probably never very palatable to him, and announced his purpose to accept the pardon proffered by government, and support the president in settling the affairs of Peru. He subsequently wrote, it should be added, to his former commander in Lima, stating the course he had taken, and earnestly recommending the latter to follow his example.

The influence of this precedent in so important a person as Aldana, aided, doubtless, by the conviction that no change was now to be expected in Pizarro, while delay would be fatal to himself, at length prevailed over Hinojosa’s scruples, and he intimated to Gasca his willingness to place the fleet under his command. The act was performed with great pomp and ceremony. Some of Pizarro’s stanchest partisans were previously removed from the vessels; and on the nineteenth of November, 1546, Hinojosa and his captains resigned their commissions into the hands of the president. They next took the oaths of allegiance to Castile; a free pardon for all past offences was proclaimed by the herald from a scaffold erected in the great square of the city; and the president, greeting them as true and loyal vassals of the Crown, restored their several commissions to the cavaliers. The royal standard of Spain was then unfurled on board the squadron, and proclaimed that this strong-hold of Pizarro’s power had passed away from him for ever. 29

29 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 9. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 38, 42. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 178. — Ms. de Caravantes.

Garcilasso de la Vega, — whose partiality for Gonzalo Pizarro forms a wholesome counterpoise to the unfavorable views taken of his conduct by most other writers, — in his notice of this transaction, seems disposed to allow little credit to that loyalty which is shown by the sacrifice of a benefactor. Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 4.]

The return of their commissions to the insurgent captains was a politic act in Gasca. It secured the services of the ablest officers in the country, and turned against Pizarro the very arm on which he had most leaned for support. Thus was this great step achieved, without force or fraud, by Gasca’s patience and judicious forecast. He was content to bide his time; and he now might rely with well-grounded confidence on the ultimate success of his mission.

Chapter II

Gasca Assembles His Forces. — Defection Of Pizarro’s Followers. — He Musters His Levies. — Agitation In Lima. — He Abandons The City. — Gasca Sails From Panama. — Bloody Battle Of Huarina.

1547.

No sooner was Gasca placed in possession of Panama and the fleet, than he entered on a more decisive course of policy than he had been hitherto allowed to pursue. He made levies of men, and drew together supplies from all quarters. He took care to discharge the arrears already due to the soldiers, and promised liberal pay for the future; for, though mindful that his personal charges should cost little to the Crown, he did not stint his expenditure when the public good required it. As the funds in the treasury were exhausted, he obtained loans on the credit of the government from the wealthy citizens of Panama, who, relying on his good faith, readily made the necessary advances. He next sent letters to the authorities of Guatemala and Mexico, requiring their assistance in carrying on hostilities, if necessary, against the insurgents; and he despatched a summons, in like manner, to Benalcazar, in the provinces north of Peru, to meet him, on his landing in that country, with his whole available force.

The greatest enthusiasm was shown by the people of Panama in getting the little navy in order for his intended voyage; and prelates and commanders did not disdain to prove their loyalty by taking part in the good work, along with the soldiers and sailors. 1 Before his own departure, however, Gasca proposed to send a small squadron of four ships under Aldana, to cruise off the port of Lima, with instructions to give protection to those well affected to the royal cause, and receive them, if need be, on board his vessels. He was also in trusted with authenticated copies of the president’s commission, to be delivered to Gonzalo Pizarro, that the chief might feel, there was yet time to return before the gates of mercy were closed against him. 2

1 “Y ponia sus fuercas con tanta llaneza y obediencia, que los Obispos y clerigos y los capitanes y mas principales personas eran los que primero echauan mano, y tirauan de las gumenas y cables de los nauios, para los sacar a la costa.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 70.]

2 Ibid., ubi supra. — Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1546. — Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 178. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 9. — Herrera, Hist General, dec. 8, lib. 3, cap. 3.]

While these events were going on, Gasca’s proclamations and letters were doing their work in Peru. It required but little sagacity to perceive that the nation at large, secured in the protection of person and property, had nothing to gain by revolution. Interest and duty, fortunately, now lay on the same side; and the ancient sentiment of loyalty, smothered for a time, but not extinguished, revived in the breasts of the people. Still this was not manifested, at once, by any overt act; for, under a strong military rule, men dared hardly think for themselves, much less communicate their thoughts to one another. But changes of public opinion, like changes in the atmosphere that come on slowly and imperceptibly, make themselves more and more widely felt, till, by a sort of silent sympathy, they spread to the remotest corners of the land. Some intimations of such a change of sentiment at length found their way to Lima, although all accounts of the president’s mission had been jealously excluded from that capital. Gonzalo Pizarro himself became sensible of these symptoms of disaffection, though almost too faint and feeble, as yet, for the most experienced eye to descry in them the coming tempest.

Several of the president’s proclamations had been forwarded to Gonzalo by his faithful partisans; and Carbajal, who had been summoned from Potosi, declared they were “more to be dreaded than the lances of Castile.” 3 Yet Pizarro did not, for a moment, lose his confidence in his own strength; and with a navy like that now in Panama at his command, he felt he might bid defiance to any enemy on his coasts. He had implicit confidence in the fidelity of Hinojosa.

3 “Que eran mas de temer aquellas cartas que a las lacas del Rey de Castilla.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 45.

It was at this period that Paniagua arrived off the port with Gasca’s despatches to Pizarro, consisting of the emperor’s letter and his own. They were instantly submitted by that chieftain to his trusty counsellors, Carbajal and Cepeda, and their opinions asked as to the course to be pursued. It was the crisis of Pizarro’s fate.

Carbajal, whose sagacious eye fully comprehended the position in which they stood, was in favor of accepting the royal grace on the terms proposed; and he intimated his sense of their importance by declaring, that “he would pave the way for the bearer of them into the capital with ingots of gold and silver.” 4 Cepeda was of a different way of thinking. He was a judge of the Royal Audience; and had been sent to Peru as the immediate counsellor of Blasco Nunez. But he had turned against the viceroy, had encountered him in battle, and his garments might be said to be yet wet with his blood! What grace was there, then, for him? Whatever respect might be shown to the letter of the royal provisions, in point of fact, he must ever live under the Castilian rule a ruined man. He accordingly strongly urged the rejection of Gasca’s offers. “They will cost you your government,” he said to Pizarro; “the smooth-tongued priest is not so simple a person as you take him to be. He is deep and politic. 5 He knows well what promises to make; and, once master of the country, he will know, too, how to keep them.”

4 “Y le enladrillen los caminos por do viniere con barras de plata, y tejos de Oro.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 5.]

5 “Que no lo embiauan por hombre sencillo y llano, sino de grandes cautelas, astucias, falsedades y enganos.” Ibid., loc. cit.

Carbajal was not shaken by the arguments or the sneers of his companions; and as the discussion waxed warm, Cepeda taxed his opponent with giving counsel suggested by fears for his own safety — a foolish taunt, sufficiently disproved by the whole life of the doughty old warrior. Carbajal did not insist further on his own views, however, as he found them unwelcome to Pizarro, and contented himself with coolly remarking, that “he had, indeed, no relish for rebellion; but he had as long a neck for a halter, he believed, as any of his companions; and as he could hardly expect to live much longer, at any rate, it was, after all, of little moment to him.” 6

6 “Por lo demas, quado acaezca otra cosa, ya yo he viuido muchos anos, y tengo tan bue palmo de pescueco para la soga, como cada uno de vuesas mercedes.” Ibid., loc. cit.]

Pizarro, spurred on by a fiery ambition that overleaped every obstacle, 7 did not condescend to count the desperate chances of a contest with the Crown. He threw his own weight into the scale with Cepeda. The offer of grace was rejected; and he thus cast away the last tie which held him to his country, and, by the act, proclaimed himself a rebel. 8

7 “Loca y luciferina soberuia,” as Fernandez characterizes the aspiring temper of Gonzalo. Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 15.]

8 Ms. de Caravantes.

According to Garcilasso, Paniagua was furnished with secret instructions by the president, empowering him, in case he judged it necessary to the preservation of the royal authority, to confirm Pizarro in the government, “it being little matter if the Devil ruled there, provided the country remained to the Crown!” The fact was so reported by Paniagua, who continued in Peru after these events. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 5.) This is possible. But it is more probable that a credulous gossip, like Garcilasso, should be in error, than that Charles the Fifth should have been prepared to make such an acknowledgment of his imbecility, or that the man selected for Gasca’s confidence should have so indiscreetly betrayed his trust.]

It was not long after the departure of Paniagua, that Pizarro received tidings of the defection of Aldana and Hinojosa, and of the surrender of the fleet, on which he had expended an immense sum, as the chief bulwark of his power. This unwelcome intelligence was followed by accounts of the further defection of some of the principal towns in the north, and of the assassination of Puelles, the faithful lieutenant to whom he had confided the government of Quito. It was not very long, also, before he found his authority assailed in the opposite quarter at Cuzco; for Centeno, the loyal chieftain who, as the reader may remember, had been driven by Carbajal to take refuge in a cave near Arequipa, had issued from his concealment after remaining there a year, and, on learning the arrival of Gasca, had again raised the royal standard. Then collecting a small body of followers, and falling on Cuzco by night, he made himself master of that capital, defeated the garrison who held it, and secured it for the Crown. Marching soon after into the province of Charcas, the bold chief allied himself with the officer who commanded for Pizarro in La Plata; and their combined forces, to the number of a thousand, took up a position on the borders of Lake Titicaca, where the two cavaliers coolly waited an opportunity to take the field against their ancient commander. Gonzalo Pizarro, touched to the heart by the desertion of those in whom he most confided, was stunned by the dismal tidings of his losses coming so thick upon him. Yet he did not waste his time in idle crimination or complaint; but immediately set about making preparations to meet the storm with all his characteristic energy. He wrote, at once, to such of his captains as he believed still faithful, commanding them to be ready with their troops to march to his assistance at the shortest notice. He reminded them of their obligations to him, and that their interests were identical with his own. The president’s commission, he added, had been made out before the news had reached Spain of the battle of Anaquito, and could never cover a pardon to those concerned in the death of the viceroy. 9

9 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11, 13. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 45, 59. — Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547.]

Pizarro was equally active in enforcing his levies in the capital, and in putting them in the best fighting order. He soon saw himself at the head of a thousand men, beautifully equipped, and complete in all their appointments; “as gallant an array,” says an old writer, “though so small in number, as ever trod the plains of Italy,” — displaying in the excellence of their arms, their gorgeous uniforms, and the caparisons of their horses, a magnificence that could be furnished only by the silver of Peru. 10 Each company was provided with a new stand of colors, emblazoned with its peculiar device. Some bore the initials and arms of Pizarro, and one or two of these were audaciously surmounted by a crown, as if to intimate the rank to which their commander might aspire. 11

10 “Mil Hombres tan bien armados i aderecados, como se han visto en Italia, en la maior prosperidad, porque ninguno havia, demas de las Armas, que no llevase Calcas, i Jubon de Seda, i muchos de Tela de Oro, i de Brocado, i otros bordados, i recamados de Oro, i Plata, con mucha Chaperia de Oro por los Sombreros, i especialmente por Frascos, i Caxas de Arcubuces.” Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11.]

11 Ibid., ubi supra.

Some writers even assert that Pizarro was preparing for his coronation at this time, and that he had actually despatched his summons to the different towns to send their deputies to assist at it. “Queria spresurar su coronacion, y para ello despacho cartas a todas las ciudades del Peru.” (Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547.) But it is hardly probable he could have placed so blind a confidence in the colonists at this crisis, as to have meditated so rash a step. The loyal Castilian historians are not slow to receive reports to the discredit of the rebel.

Among the leaders most conspicuous on this occasion was Cepeda, “who,” in the words of a writer of his time, “had exchanged the robe of the licentiate for the plumed casque and mailed harness of the warrior.” 12 But the cavalier to whom Pizarro confided the chief care of organizing his battalions was the veteran Carbajal, who had studied the art of war under the best captains of Europe, and whose life of adventure had been a practical commentary on their early lessons. It was on his arm that Gonzalo most leaned in the hour of danger; and well had it been for him, if he had profited by his counsels at an earlier period.

12 “El qual en este tiempo, oluidado de lo que conuenia a sus letras, y profession, y officio de Oydor; salio en calcas jubon, y cuera, de muchos recamados: y gorra con plumas.” Fernandez Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 62.]

It gives one some idea of the luxurious accommodations of Pizarro’s forces, that he endeavoured to provide each of his musketeers with a horse. The expenses incurred by him were enormous. The immediate cost of his preparations, we are told, was not less than half a million of pesos de oro; and his pay to the cavaliers, and, indeed, to the common soldiers, in his little army, was on an extravagant scale, nowhere to be met with but on the silver soil of Peru. 13

13 Ibid., ubi supra. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 3, cap. 5. — Montesinos, Annales, ano 1547.]

When his own funds were exhausted, he supplied the deficiency by fines imposed on the rich citizens of Lima as the price of exemption from service, by forced loans, and various other schemes of military exaction. 14 From this time, it is said, the chieftain’s temper underwent a visible change. 15 He became more violent in his passions, more impatient of control, and indulged more freely in acts of cruelty and license. The desperate cause in which he was involved made him reckless of consequences. Though naturally frank and confiding, the frequent defection of his followers filled him with suspicion. He knew not in whom to confide. Every one who showed himself indifferent to his cause, or was suspected of being so, was dealt with as an open enemy. The greatest distrust prevailed in Lima. No man dared confide in his neighbour. Some concealed their effects; others contrived to elude the vigilance of the sentinels, and hid themselves in the neighbouring woods and mountains. 16 No one was allowed to enter or leave the city without a license. All commerce, all intercourse, with other places was cut off. It was long since the fifths belonging to the Crown had been remitted to Castile; as Pizarro had appropriated them to his own use. He now took possession of the mints, broke up the royal stamps, and issued a debased coin, emblazoned with his own cipher. 17 It was the most decisive act of sovereignty.

14 Fernandez, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 62. — Montesinos, Annales Ms., ano 1547.]

15 Gomara, Hist. de las Ind. cap. 172.]

16 “Andaba la Gente tan asombrada con el temor de la muerte, que no se podian entender, ni tenian animo para huir, i algunos, que hallaron mejor aparejo, se escondieron por los Canaverales, i Cuevas, enterrando sus Haciendas.” Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 15.]

17 Rel. Anonima, Ms. — Montesinos Annales, Ms., ano 1547. “Assi mismo echo Gozalo Picarro a toda la plata que gastaua y destribuya su marca, que era una G. rebuelta en una P. y pregono que so pena de muerte, todos recibiessen por plata fina la que tuuiesse aquella marca: sin ensayo, ni otra diligencia alguna. Y desta suerte hizo passar mucha plata de ley baja por fina.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 62.]

At this gloomy period, the lawyer Cepeda contrived a solemn farce, the intent of which was to give a sort of legal sanction to the rebel cause in the eyes of the populace. He caused a process to be prepared against Gasca, Hinojosa, and Aldana, in which they were accused of treason against the existing government of Peru, were convicted, and condemned to death. This instrument he submitted to a number of jurists in the capital, requiring their signatures. But they had no mind thus inevitably to implicate themselves, by affixing their names to such a paper; and they evaded it by representing, that it would only serve to cut off all chance, should any of the accused be so disposed, of their again embracing the cause they had deserted. Cepeda was the only man who signed the document. Carbajal treated the whole thing with ridicule. “What is the object of your process?” said he to Cepeda. “Its object,” replied the latter, “is to prevent delay, that, if taken at any time, the guilty party may be at once led to execution.” “I cry you mercy,” retorted Carbajal; “I thought there must be some virtue in the instrument, that would have killed them outright. Let but one of these same traitors fall into my hands, and I will march him off to execution, without waiting for the sentence of a court, I promise you!” 18

18 “Riose mucho entonces Caruajal y dixo; que segu auia hecho la instancia, que auia entendido, que la justicia como rayo, auia de yr luego a justiciarlos. Y dezia que si el los tuuiesse presos, no se le daria vn clauo por su sentecia, ni firmas.” (Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 55.) Among the jurists in Lima who thus independently resisted Cepeda’s requisition to sign the paper was the Licentiate Polo Ondegardo, a man of much discretion, and one of the best authorities for the ancient institutions of the Incas.]

While this paper war was going on, news was brought that Aldana’s squadron was off the port of Callao. That commander had sailed from Panama, the middle of February, 1547. On his passage down the coast he had landed at Truxillo, where the citizens welcomed him with enthusiasm, and eagerly proclaimed their submission to the royal authority. He received, at the same time, messages from several of Pizarro’s officers in the interior, intimating their return to their duty, and their readiness to support the president. Aldana named Caxamalca as a place of rendezvous, where they should concentrate their forces, and wait the landing of Gasca. He then continued his voyage towards Lima. No sooner was Pizarro informed of his approach, than, fearful lest it might have a disastrous effect in seducing his followers from their fidelity, he marched them about a league out of the city, and there encamped. He was two leagues from the coast, and he posted a guard on the shore, to intercept all communication with the vessels. Before leaving the capital, Cepeda resorted to an expedient for securing the inhabitants more firmly, as he conceived, in Pizarro’s interests. He caused the citizens to be assembled, and made them a studied harangue, in which he expatiated on the services of their governor, and the security which the country had enjoyed under his rule. He then told them that every man was at liberty to choose for himself; to remain under the protection of their present ruler, or, if they preferred, to transfer their allegiance to his enemy. He invited them to speak their minds, but required every one who would still continue under Pizarro to take an oath of fidelity to his cause, with the assurance, that, if any should be so false hereafter as to violate this pledge, he should pay for it with his life. 19 There was no one found bold enough — with his head thus in the lion’s mouth — to swerve from his obedience to Pizarro; and every man took the oath prescribed, which was administered in the most solemn and imposing form by the licentiate. Carbajal, as usual, made a jest of the whole proceeding. “How long,” he asked his companion, “do you think these same oaths will stand? The first wind that blows off the coast after we are gone will scatter them in air!” His prediction was soon verified.

19 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 61. — Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11, 14.]

Meantime, Aldana anchored off the port, where there was no vessel of the insurgents to molest him. By Cepeda’s advice, some four or five had been burnt a short time before, during the absence of Carbajal, in order to cut off all means by which the inhabitants could leave the place. This was deeply deplored by the veteran soldier on his return. “It was destroying,” he said, “the guardian angels of Lima.” 20 And certainly, under such a commander, they might now have stood Pizarro in good stead but his star was on the wane.

20 “Entre otras cosas dixo a Goncalo Picarro vuesa Senoria mando quemar cinco angeles que tenia en su puerto para guarda y defensa de la costa del Peru.” Garcilasso, Parte 2, lit. 5, cap. 6.]

The first act of Aldana was to cause the copy of Gasca’s powers, with which he had been intrusted, to be conveyed to his ancient commander, by whom it was indignantly torn in pieces. Aldana next contrived, by means of his agents, to circulate among the citizens, and even the soldiers of the camp, the president’s manifestoes. They were not long in producing their effect. Few had been at all aware of the real purport of Gasca’s mission, of the extent of his powers, or of the generous terms offered by government. They shrunk from the desperate course into which they had been thus unwarily seduced, and they sought only in what way they could, with least danger, extricate themselves from their present position, and return to their allegiance. Some escaped by night from the camp, eluded the vigilance of the sentinels, and effected their retreat on board the vessels. Some were taken, and found no quarter at the hands of Carbajal and his merciless ministers. But, where the spirit of disaffection was abroad, means of escape were not wanting.

As the fugitives were cut off from Lima and the neighbouring coast, they secreted themselves in the forests and mountains, and watched their opportunity for making their way to Truxillo and other ports at a distance; and so contagious was the example, that it not unfrequently happened that the very soldiers sent in pursuit of the deserters joined with them. Among those that fled was the Licentiate Carbajal, who must not be confounded with his military namesake. He was the same cavalier whose brother had been put to death in Lima by Blasco Nunez, and who revenged himself, as we have seen, by imbruing his own hands in the blood of the viceroy. That a person thus implicated should trust to the royal pardon showed that no one need despair of it; and the example proved most disastrous to Pizarro. 21

21 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 180. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 63, 65. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 15, 16.]

Carbajal, who made a jest of every thing, even of the misfortunes which pinched him the sharpest, when told of the desertion of his comrades, amused himself by humming the words of a popular ditty:


“The wind blows the hairs off my head, mother:
Two at a time, it blows them away!” 22

22

“Estos mis Cabellicos, Madre,
Dos a dos me los lleva el Aire.”
Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap 180.

But the defection of his followers made a deeper impression on Pizarro, and he was sorely distressed as he beheld the gallant array, to which he had so confidently looked for gaining his battles, thus melting away like a morning mist. Bewildered by the treachery of those in whom he had most trusted, he knew not where to turn, nor what course to take. It was evident that he must leave his present dangerous quarters without loss of time. But whither should he direct his steps? In the north, the great towns had abandoned his cause, and the president was already marching against him; while Centeno held the passes of the south, with a force double his own. In this emergency, he at length resolved to occupy Arequipa, a seaport still true to him, where he might remain till he had decided on some future course of operations.

After a painful but rapid march, Gonzalo arrived at this place, where he was speedily joined by a reinforcement that he had detached for the recovery of Cuzco. But so frequent had been the desertions from both companies, — though in Pizarro’s corps these had greatly lessened since the departure from the neighbourhood of Lima, — that his whole number did not exceed five hundred men, less than half of the force which he had so recently mustered in the capital. To such humble circumstances was the man now reduced, who had so lately lorded it over the land with unlimited sway! Still the chief did not despond. He had gathered new spirit from the excitement of his march and his distance from Lima; and he seemed to recover his former confidence, as he exclaimed, — “It is misfortune that teaches us who are our friends. If but ten only remain true to me, fear not but I will again be master of Peru!” 23

23 “Aunque siempre dijo: que con diez Amigos que le quedasen, havia de conservarse, i conquistar de nuevo el Peru: tanta era su sana,sana o su sobervia.” Ibid., loc cit.]

No sooner had the rebel forces withdrawn from the neighbourhood of Lima, than the inhabitants of that city, little troubled, as Carbajal had predicted, by their compulsory oaths of allegiance to Pizarro, threw open their gates to Aldana, who took possession of this important place in the name of the president. That commander, meanwhile, had sailed with his whole fleet from Panama, on the tenth of April, 1547. The first part of his voyage was prosperous; but he was soon perplexed by contrary currents, and the weather became rough and tempestuous. The violence of the storm continuing day after day, the sea was lashed into fury, and the fleet was tossed about on the billows, which ran mountain high, as if emulating the wild character of the region they bounded. The rain descended in torrents, and the lightning was so incessant, that the vessels, to quote the lively language of the chronicler, “seemed to be driving through seas of flame!” 24 The hearts of the stoutest mariners were filled with dismay. They considered it hopeless to struggle against the elements, and they loudly demanded to return to the continent, and postpone the voyage till a more favorable season of the year.

24 “Y los truenos y relapagos eran tantos y tales; que siempre parecia que estauan en llamas, y que sobre ellos venian Rayos (que en todas aquellas partes caen muchos).” (Fernandez, Hist del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71.) The vivid coloring of the old chronicler shows that he had himself been familiar with these tropics tempests on the Pacific.

But the president saw in this the ruin of his cause, as well as of the loyal vassals who had engaged, on his landing, to support it. “I am willing to die,” he said, “but not to return”; and, regardless of the remonstrances of his more timid followers he insisted on carrying as much sail as the ships could possibly bear, at every interval of the storm. 25 Meanwhile, to divert the minds of the seamen from their present danger, Gasca amused them by explaining some of the strange phenomena exhibited by the ocean in the tempest, which had filled their superstitious minds with mysterious dread. 26

25 “Y con lo poco que en aquella sazon, el Presidente estimaua la vida si no auia de hazer la jornada: y el gran desseo que tenia de hazeria se puso cotra ellos diziendo, que qual quiera que le tocasse en abaxar vela, le costaria la vida.” Fernandez, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71.]

26 The phosphoric lights, sometimes seen in a storm at sea, were observed to hover round the masts and rigging of the president’s vessel; and he amused the seamen, according to Fernandez, by explaining the phenomenon, and telling the fables to which they had given rise in ancient mythology. — This little anecdote affords a key to Gasca’s popularity with even the humblest classes.]

Signals had been given for the ships to make the best of their way, each for itself, to the island of Gorgona. Here they arrived, one after another, with but a single exception, though all more or less shattered by the weather. The president waited only for the fury of the elements to spend itself when he again embarked, and, on smoother waters, crossed over to Manta. From this place he soon after continued his voyage to Tumbez, and landed at that port on the thirteenth of June. He was everywhere received with enthusiasm, and all seemed anxious to efface the remembrance of the past by professions of future fidelity to the Crown. Gasca received, also, numerous letters of congratulation from cavaliers in the interior, most of whom had formerly taken service under Pizarro. He made courteous acknowledgments for their offers of assistance, and commanded them to repair to Caxamalca, the general place of rendezvous.

To this same spot he sent Hinojosa, so soon as that officer had disembarked with the land forces from the fleet, ordering him to take command of the levies assembled there, and then join him at Xauxa. Here he determined to establish his head-quarters. It lay in a rich and abundant territory, and by its central position afforded a point for acting with greatest advantage against the enemy.

He then moved forward, at the head of a small detachment of cavalry, along the level road on the coast. After halting for a short time in that loyal city, he traversed the mountain range on the southeast, and soon entered the fruitful valley of Xauxa. There he was presently joined by reinforcements from the north, as well as from the principal places on the coast; and, not long after his arrival, received a message from Centeno, informing him that he held the passes by which Gonzalo Pizarro was preparing to make his escape from the country, and that the insurgent chief must soon fall into his hands.

The royal camp was greatly elated by these tidings. The war, then, was at length terminated, and that without the president having been called upon so much as to lift his sword against a Spaniard. Several of his counsellors now advised him to disband the greater part of his forces, as burdensome and no longer necessary. But the president was too wise to weaken his strength before he had secured the victory. He consented, however, to countermand the requisition for levies from Mexico and the adjoining colonies, as now feeling sufficiently strong in the general loyalty of the country. But, concentrating his forces at Xauxa, he established his quarters in that town, as he had first intended, resolved to await there tidings of the operations in the south. The result was different from what he had expected. 27

27 For the preceding pages, see Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 1. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 3, cap. 14, et seq. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71–77. — Ms. de Caravantes.

This last writer, who held an important post in the department of colonial finance, had opportunities of information which have enabled him to furnish several particulars not to be met with elsewhere, respecting the principal actors in these turbulent times. His work, still in manuscript, which formerly existed in the archives of the University of Salamanca, has been transferred to the King’s library at Madrid.

Pizarro, meanwhile, whom we left at Arequipa, had decided, after much deliberation, to evacuate Peru, and pass into Chili. In this territory, beyond the president’s jurisdiction, he might find a safe retreat. The fickle people, he thought, would soon weary of their new ruler; and he would then rally in sufficient strength to resume active operations for the recovery of his domain. Such were the calculations of the rebel chieftain. But how was he to effect his object, while the passes among the mountains, where his route lay, were held by Centeno with a force more than double his own? He resolved to try negotiation; for that captain had once served under him, and had, indeed, been most active in persuading Pizarro to take on himself the office of procurator. Advancing, accordingly, in the direction of Lake Titicaca, in the neighbourhood of which Centeno had pitched his camp, Gonzalo despatched an emissary to his quarters to open a negotiation. He called to his adversary’s recollection the friendly relations that had once subsisted between them; and reminded him of one occasion in particular, in which he had spared his life, when convicted of a conspiracy against himself. He harboured no sentiments of unkindness, he said, for Centeno’s recent conduct, and had not now come to seek a quarrel with him. His purpose was to abandon Peru; and the only favor he had to request of his former associate was to leave him a free passage across the mountains.

To this communication Centeno made answer in terms as courtly as those of Pizarro himself, that he was not unmindful of their ancient friendship. He was now ready to serve his former commander in any way not inconsistent with honor, or obedience to his sovereign. But he was there in arms for the royal cause, and he could not swerve from his duty. If Pizarro would but rely on his faith, and surrender himself up, he pledged his knightly word to use all his interest with the government, to secure as favorable terms for him and his followers as had been granted to the rest of their countrymen — Gonzalo listened to the smooth promises of his ancient comrade with bitter scorn depicted in his countenance, and, snatching the letter from his secretary, cast it away from him with indignation. There was nothing left but an appeal to arms. 28

28 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 16. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7.

He at once broke up his encampment, and directed his march on the borders of Lake Titicaca, near which lay his rival. He resorted, however, to stratagem, that he might still, if possible, avoid an encounter. He sent forward his scouts in a different direction from that which he intended to take, and then quickened his march on Huarina. This was a small town situated on the southeastern extremity of Lake Titicaca, the shores of which, the seat of the primitive civilization of the Incas, were soon to resound with the murderous strife of their more civilized conquerors!

But Pizarro’s movements had been secretly communicated to Centeno, and that commander, accordingly, changing his ground, took up a position not far from Huarina, on the same day on which Gonzalo reached this place. The videttes of the two camps came in sight of each other that evening, and the rival forces, lying on their arms, prepared for action on the following morning.

It was the twenty-sixth of October, 1547, when the two commanders, having formed their troops in order of battle, advanced to the encounter on the plains of Huarina. The ground, defended on one side by a bold spur of the Andes, and not far removed on the other from the waters of Titicaca, was an open and level plain, well suited to military manoeuvres. It seemed as if prepared by Nature as the lists for an encounter. Centeno’s army amounted to about a thousand men. His cavalry consisted of near two hundred and fifty, well equipped and mounted. Among them were several gentlemen of family, some of whom had once followed the banners of Pizarro, the whole forming an efficient corps, in which rode some of the best lances of Peru. His arquebusiers were less numerous, not exceeding a hundred and fifty, indifferently provided with ammunition. The remainder, and much the larger part of Centeno’s army, consisted of spearmen, irregular levies hastily drawn together, and possessed of little discipline. 29

29 In the estimate of Centeno’s forces, — which ranges, in the different accounts, from seven hundred to twelve hundred, — I have taken the intermediate number of a thousand adopted by Zarate, as, on the whole, more probable than either extreme.]

This corps of infantry formed the centre of his line, flanked by the arquebusiers in two nearly equal divisions, while his cavalry were also disposed in two bodies on the right and left wings. Unfortunately, Centeno had been for the past week ill of a pleurisy, — so ill, indeed, that on the preceding day he had been bled several times. He was now too feeble to keep his saddle, but was carried in a litter, and when he had seen his men formed in order, he withdrew to a distance from the field, unable to take part in the action. But Solano, the militant bishop of Cuzco, who, with several of his followers, took part in the engagement, — a circumstance, indeed, of no strange occurrence, — rode along the ranks with the crucifix in his hand, bestowing his benediction on the soldiers, and exhorting each man to do his duty.

Pizarro’s forces were less than half of his rival’s, not amounting to more than four hundred and eighty men. The horse did not muster above eighty-five in all, and he posted them in a single body on the right of his battalion. The strength of his army lay in his arquebusiers, about three hundred and fifty in number. It was an admirable corps, commanded by Carbajal, by whom it had been carefully drilled. Considering the excellence of its arms, and its thorough discipline, this little body of infantry might be considered as the flower of the Peruvian soldiery, and on it Pizarro mainly relied for the success of the day. 30 The remainder of his force, consisting of pikemen, not formidable for their numbers, though, like the rest of the infantry, under excellent discipline, he distributed on the left of his musketeers, so as to repel the enemy’s horse.

30 Flor de la milicia del Peru, says Garcilasso de la Vega, who compares Carbajal to an expert chess-player, disposing his pieces in such a manner as must infallibly secure him the victory. Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 18.]

Pizarro himself had charge of the cavalry, taking his place, as usual, in the foremost rank. He was superbly accoutred. Over his shining mail he wore a sobre-vest of slashed velvet of a rich crimson color, and he rode a high-mettled charger, whose gaudy caparisons, with the showy livery of his rider, made the fearless commander the most conspicuous object in the field.

His lieutenant, Carbajal, was equipped in a very different style. He wore armour of proof of the most homely appearance, but strong and serviceable; and his steel bonnet, with its closely barred visor of the same material, protected his head from more than one desperate blow on that day. Over his arms he wore a surcoat of a greenish color, and he rode an active, strong-boned jennet, which, though capable of enduring fatigue, possessed neither grace nor beauty. It would not have been easy to distinguish the veteran from the most ordinary cavalier.

The two hosts arrived within six hundred paces of each other, when they both halted. Carbajal preferred to receive the attack of the enemy, rather than advance further; for the ground he now occupied afforded a free range for his musketry, unobstructed by the trees or bushes that were sprinkled over some other parts of the field. There was a singular motive, in addition, for retaining his present position. The soldiers were encumbered, some with two, some with three, arquebuses each, being the arms left by those who, from time to time, had deserted the camp. This uncommon supply of muskets, however serious an impediment on a march, might afford great advantage to troops waiting an assault; since, from the imperfect knowledge as well as construction of fire-arms at that day, much time was wasted in loading them. 31

31 Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra.

The historian’s father — of the same name with himself — was one of the few noble cavaliers who remained faithful to Gonzalo Pizarro, in the wane of his fortunes. He was present at the battle of Huarina; and the particulars which he gave his son enabled the latter to supply many deficiencies in the reports of historians.]

Preferring, therefore, that the enemy should begin the attack, Carbajal came to a halt, while the opposite squadron, after a short respite, continued their advance a hundred paces farther. Seeing that they then remained immovable, Carbajal detached a small party of skirmishers to the front, in order to provoke them; but it was soon encountered by a similar party of the enemy, and some shots were exchanged, though with little damage to either side. Finding this manoeuvre fail, the veteran ordered his men to advance a few paces, still hoping to provoke his antagonist to the charge. This succeeded. “We lose honor,” exclaimed Centeno’s soldiers; who, with a bastard sort of chivalry, belonging to undisciplined troops, felt it a disgrace to await an assault. In vain their officers called out to them to remain at their post. Their commander was absent, and they were urged on by the cries of a frantic friar, named Domingo Ruiz, who, believing the Philistines were delivered into their hands, called out, — “Now is the time! Onward, onward, fall on the enemy!” 32 There needed nothing further and the men rushed forward in tumultuous haste, the pikemen carrying their levelled weapons so heedlessly as to interfere with one another, and in some instances to wound their comrades. The musketeers, at the same time, kept up a disorderly fire as they advanced, which, from their rapid motion and the distance, did no execution.

32 “A las manos, a las manos; a ellos, a ellos.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 79.]

Carbajal was well pleased to see his enemies thus wasting their ammunition. Though he allowed a few muskets to be discharged, in order to stimulate his opponents the more, he commanded the great body of his infantry to reserve their fire till every shot could take effect. As he knew the tendency of marksmen to shoot above the mark, he directed his men to aim at the girdle, or even a little below it; adding, that a shot that fell short might still do damage, while one that passed a hair’s breadth above the head was wasted. 33

33 Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra.]

The veteran’s company stood calm and unmoved, as Centeno’s rapidly advanced; but when the latter had arrived within a hundred paces of their antagonists, Carbajal gave the word to fire. An instantaneous volley ran along the line, and a tempest of balls was poured into the ranks of the assailants, with such unerring aim, that more than a hundred fell dead on the field, while a still greater number were wounded. Before they could recover from their disorder, Carbajal’s men, snatching up their remaining pieces, discharged them with the like dreadful effect into the thick of the enemy. The confusion of the latter was now complete. Unable to sustain the incessant shower of balls which fell on them from the scattering fire kept up by the arquebusiers, they were seized with a panic, and fled, scarcely making a show of further fight, from the field.

But very different was the fortune of the day in the cavalry combat. Gonzalo Pizarro had drawn up his troop somewhat in the rear of Carbajal’s right, in order to give the latter a freer range for the play of his musketry. When the enemy’s horse on the left galloped briskly against him, Pizarro, still favoring Carbajal, — whose fire, moreover, inflicted some loss on the assailants, — advanced but a few rods to receive the charge. Centeno’s squadron, accordingly, came thundering on in full career, and, notwithstanding the mischief sustained from their enemy’s musketry, fell with such fury on their adversaries as to overturn them, man and horse, in the dust; “riding over their prostrate bodies,” says the historian, “as if they had been a flock of sheep!” 34 The latter, with great difficulty recovering from the first shock, attempted to rally and sustain the fight on more equal terms.

34 “Los de Diego Centeno, como yuan con la pujanca de vna zariera larga, lleuaron a los de Goncalo Picarro de encuentro, y los tropellaron como si fueran ouejas, y cayeron cauallos y caualleros.” Ibid., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 19]

Yet the chief could not regain the ground he had lost. His men were driven back at all points. Many were slain, many more wounded, on both sides, and the ground was covered with the dead bodies of men and horses. But the loss fell much the most heavily on Pizarro’s troop; and the greater part of those who escaped with life were obliged to surrender as prisoners. Cepeda, who fought with the fury of despair, received a severe cut from a sabre across the face, which disabled him and forced him to yield. 35 Pizarro, after seeing his best and bravest fall around him, was set upon by three or four cavaliers at once. Disentangling himself from the melee, he put spurs to his horse, and the noble animal, bleeding from a severe wound across the back, outstripped all his pursuers except one, who stayed him by seizing the bridle. It would have gone hard with Gonzalo, but, grasping a light battle-axe, which hung by his side, he dealt such a blow on the head of his enemy’s horse that he plunged violently, and compelled his rider to release his hold. A number of arquebusiers, in the mean time, seeing Pizarro’s distress, sprang forward to his rescue, slew two of his assailants who had now come up with him, and forced the others to fly in their turn. 36

35 Cepeda’s wound laid open his nose, leaving so hideous a scar that he was obliged afterwards to cover it with a patch, as Garcilasso tells us, who frequently saw him in Cuzco.]

36 According to most authorities, Pizarro’s horse was not only wounded but slain in the fight, and the loss was supplied by his friend Garcilasso de la Vega, who mounted him on his own. This timely aid to the rebel did no service to the generous cavalier in after times, but was urged against him by his enemies as a crime. The fact is stoutly denied by his son, the historian, who seems anxious to relieve his father from this honorable imputation, which threw a cloud over both their fortunes Ibid. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 23]

The rout of the cavalry was complete, and Pizarro considered the day as lost, as he heard the enemy’s trumpet sending forth the note of victory. But the sounds had scarcely died away, when they were taken up by the opposite side. Centeno’s infantry had been discomfited, as we have seen, and driven off the ground. But his cavalry on the right had charged Carbajal’s left, consisting of spearmen mingled with arquebusiers. The horse rode straight against this formidable phalanx. But they were unable to break through the dense array of pikes, held by the steady hands of troops who stood firm and fearless on their post; while, at the same time, the assailants were greatly annoyed by the galling fire of the arquebusiers in the rear of the spearmen. Finding it impracticable to make a breach, the horsemen rode round the flanks in much disorder, and finally joined themselves with the victorious squadron of Centeno’s cavalry in the rear. Both parties now attempted another charge on Carbajal’s battalion. But his men facing about with the promptness and discipline of well-trained soldiers, the rear was converted into the front. The same forest of spears was presented to the attack; while an incessant discharge of balls punished the audacity of the cavaliers, who, broken and completely dispirited by their ineffectual attempt, at length imitated the example of the panic-struck foot, and abandoned the field.

Pizarro and a few of his comrades still fit for action followed up the pursuit for a short distance only, as, indeed, they were in no condition themselves, nor sufficiently strong in numbers, long to continue it. The victory was complete, and the insurgent chief took possession of the deserted tents of the enemy, where an immense booty was obtained in silver; 37 and where he also found the tables spread for the refreshment of Centeno’s soldiers after their return from the field. So confident were they of success! The repast now served the necessities of their conquerors. Such is the fortune of war! It was, indeed, a most decisive action; and Gonzalo Pizarro, as he rode over the field strewed with the corpses of his enemies, was observed several times to cross himself and exclaim, — “Jesu! what a victory!”

37 The booty amounted to no less than one million four hundred thousand pesos, according to Fernandez. ‘El saco que vuo fue grande: que se dixo ser de mas de vn millon y quatrocietos mil pesos.” (Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 79.) The amount is, doubtless, grossly exaggerated. But we get to be so familiar with the golden wonders of Peru, that, like the reader of the “Arabian Nights,” we become of too easy faith to resort to the vulgar standard of probability]

No less than three hundred and fifty of Centeno’s followers were killed, and the number of wounded was even greater. More than a hundred of these are computed to have perished from exposure during the following night; for, although the climate in this elevated region is temperate, yet the night winds blowing over the mountains are sharp and piercing, and many a wounded wretch, who might have been restored by careful treatment, was chilled by the damps, and found a stiffened corpse at sunrise. The victory was not purchased without a heavy loss on the part of the conquerors, a hundred or more of whom were left on the field. Their bodies lay thick on that part of the ground occupied by Pizarro’s cavalry, where the fight raged hottest. In this narrow space were found, also, the bodies of more than a hundred horses, the greater part of which, as well as those of their riders, usually slain with them, belonged to the victorious army. It was the most fatal battle that had yet been fought on the blood-stained soil of Peru. 38

38 “La mas sangrienta batalla que vuo en el Peru.” Ibid., loc. cit.

In the accounts of this battle there are discrepancies, as usual, which the historian must reconcile as he can. But on the whole, there is a general conformity in the outline and in the prominent points. All concur in representing it as the bloodiest fight that had yet occurred between the Spaniards in Peru, and all assign to Carbajal the credit of the victory. — For authorities, besides Garcilasso and Fernandez, repeatedly quoted, see Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. (He was present in the action.) — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap 3. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec 8, lib. 4, cap. 2. — Gomara, Hist de las Indias, cap. 181. — Montesi nos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547]

The glory of the day — the melancholy glory — must be referred almost wholly to Carbajal and his valiant squadron. The judicious arrangements of the old warrior, with the thorough discipline and unflinching courage of his followers, retrieved the fortunes of the fight, when it was nearly lost by the cavalry, and secured the victory.

Carbajal, proof against all fatigue, followed up the pursuit with those of his men that were in condition to join him. Such of the unhappy fugitives as fell into his hands — most of whom had been traitors to the cause of Pizarro — were sent to instant execution. The laurels he had won in the field against brave men in arms, like himself, were tarnished by cruelty towards his defenceless captives. Their commander, Centeno, more fortunate, made his escape. Finding the battle lost, he quitted his litter, threw himself upon his horse, and, notwithstanding his illness, urged on by the dreadful doom that awaited him, if taken, he succeeded in making his way into the neighbouring sierra. Here he vanished from his pursuers, and, like a wounded stag, with the chase close upon his track, he still contrived to elude it, by plunging into the depths of the forests, till, by a circuitous route, he miraculously succeeded in effecting his escape to Lima. The bishop of Cuzco, who went off in a different direction, was no less fortunate. Happy for him that he did not fall into the hands of the ruthless Carbajal, who, as the bishop had once been a partisan of Pizarro, would, to judge from the little respect he usually showed those of his cloth, have felt as little compunction in sentencing him to the gibbet as if he had been the meanest of the common file. 39

39 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Fernandez, Hist.del Peru, ubi supra. — Zarate, lib. 7, cap. 3. — Garcilasso, Com Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 21, 22]

On the day following the action, Gonzalo Pizarro caused the bodies of the soldiers, still lying side by side on the field where they had been so lately engaged together in mortal strife, to be deposited in a common sepulchre. Those of higher rank — for distinctions of rank were not to be forgotten in the grave — were removed to the church of the village of Huarina, which gave its name to the battle. There they were interred with all fitting solemnity. But in later times they were transported to the cathedral church of La Paz, “The City of Peace,” and laid under a mausoleum erected by general subscription in that quarter. For few there were who had not to mourn the loss of some friend or relative on that fatal day.

The victor now profited by his success to send detachments to Arequipa, La Plata, and other cities in that part of the country, to raise funds and reinforcements for the war. His own losses were more than compensated by the number of the vanquished party who were content to take service under his banner. Mustering his forces, he directed his march to Cuzco, which capital, though occasionally seduced into a display of loyalty to the Crown, had early manifested an attachment to his cause.

Here the inhabitants were prepared to receive him in triumph, under arches thrown across the streets, with bands of music, and minstrelsy commemorating his successes. But Pizarro, with more discretion, declined the honors of an ovation while the country remained in the hands of his enemies. Sending forward the main body of his troops, he followed on foot, attended by a slender retinue of friends and citizens, and proceeded at once to the cathedral, where thanksgivings were offered up, and Te Deum was chanted in honor of his victory. He then withdrew to his residence, announcing his purpose to establish his quarters, for the present, in the venerable capital of the Incas. 40

40 Ibid., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 27. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 3.

Garcilasso de la Vega, who was a boy at the time, witnessed Pizarro’s entry into Cuzco. He writes, therefore, from memory; though after an interval of many years. In consequence of his father’s rank, he had easy access to the palace of Pizarro; and this portion of his narrative may claim the consideration due not merely to a contemporary, but to an eyewitness.]

All thoughts of a retreat into Chili were abandoned; for his recent success had kindled new hopes in his bosom, and revived his ancient confidence. He trusted that it would have a similar effect on the vacillating temper of those whose fidelity had been shaken by fears for their own safety, and their distrust of his ability to cope with the president. They would now see that his star was still in the ascendant. Without further apprehensions for the event, he resolved to remain in Cuzco, and there quietly await the hour when a last appeal to arms should decide which of the two was to remain master of Peru.

Chapter III

Dismay In Gasca’s Camp. — His Winter Quarters. — Resumes His March. — Crosses The Apurimac. — Pizarro’s Conduct In Cuzco. — He Encamps Near The City. — Rout Of Xaquixa Guana.

1547–1548.

While the events recorded in the preceding chapter were passing, President Gasca had remained at Xauxa, awaiting further tidings from Centeno, little doubting that they would inform him of the total discomfiture of the rebels. Great was his dismay, therefore, on learning the issue of the fatal conflict at Huarina, — that the royalists had been scattered far and wide before the sword of Pizarro, while their commander had vanished like an apparition, 1 leaving the greatest uncertainty as to his fate.

1 “Y salio a la Ciudad de los Reyes, sin que Carbajal, ni alguno de los suyos supiesse por donde fue, sino que parecio encantamiento.” Garcilasso, Com. Real. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 22.

The intelligence spread general consternation among the soldiers, proportioned to their former confidence; and they felt it was almost hopeless to contend with a man who seemed protected by a charm that made him invincible against the greatest odds. The president, however sore his disappointment, was careful to conceal it, while he endeavoured to restore the spirits of his followers. “They had been too sanguine,” he said, “and it was in this way that Heaven rebuked their presumption. Yet it was but in the usual course of events, that Providence, when it designed to humble the guilty, should allow him to reach as high an elevation as possible, that his fall might be the greater!”

But while Gasca thus strove to reassure the superstitious and the timid, he bent his mind, with his usual energy, to repair the injury which the cause had sustained by the defeat at Huarina. He sent a detachment under Alvarado to Lima, to collect such of the royalists as had fled thither from the field of battle, and to dismantle the ships of their cannon, and bring them to the camp. Another body was sent to Guamanga, about sixty leagues from Cuzco, for the similar purpose of protecting the fugitives, and also of preventing the Indian caciques from forwarding supplies to the insurgent army in Cuzco. As his own forces now amounted to considerably more than any his opponent could bring against him, Gasca determined to break up his camp without further delay, and march on the Inca capital 2

2 Gasca, according to Ondegardo, supported his army, during his stay at Xauxa, from the Peruvian granaries in the valley, as he found a quantity of maize still remaining in them sufficient for several years’ consumption. It is passing strange that these depositaries should have been so long respected by the hungry Conquerors. — “Cuando el Senor Presidente Gasca passo con la gente de castigo de Gonzalo Pizarro por el Valle de Jauja, estuvo alli siete semanas a lo que me acuerdo, se hallaron en deposito maiz de cuatro y de tres y de dos anos mas de 15,000 hanegas junto al camino, e alli comio la gente.” Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms.

Quitting Xauxa, December 29, 1547, he passed through Guamanga, and after a severe march, rendered particularly fatiguing by the inclement state of the weather and the badness of the roads, he entered the province of Andaguaylas. It was a fair and fruitful country, and since the road beyond would take him into the depths of a gloomy sierra, scarcely passable in the winter snows, Gasca resolved to remain in his present quarters until the severity of the season was mitigated. As many of the troops had already contracted diseases from exposure to the incessant rains, he established a camp hospital; and the good president personally visited the quarters of the sick, ministering to their wants, and winning their hearts by his sympathy. 3

3 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 4. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 82–85. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Cieza de Leon, cap. 90]

Meanwhile, the royal camp was strengthened by the continual arrival of reinforcements; for notwithstanding the shock that was caused throughout the country by the first tidings of Pizarro’s victory, a little reflection convinced the people that the right was the strongest, and must eventually prevail. There came, also, with these levies, several of the most distinguished captains in the country. Centeno, burning to retrieve his late disgrace, after recovering from his illness, joined the camp with his followers from Lima. Benalcazar, the conqueror of Quito, who, as the reader will remember, had shared in the defeat of Blasco Nunez in the north, came with another detachment; and was soon after followed by Valdivia, the famous conqueror of Chili, who, having returned to Peru to gather recruits for his expedition, had learned the state of the country, and had thrown himself, without hesitation, into the same scale with the president, though it brought him into collision with his old friend and comrade, Gonzalo Pizarro. The arrival of this last ally was greeted with general rejoicing by the camp; for Valdivia, schooled in the Italian wars, was esteemed the most accomplished soldier in Peru; and Gasca complimented him by declaring “he would rather see him than a reinforcement of eight hundred men!” 4

4 At least, so says Valdivia in his letter to the emperor. “I dixo publico que estimara mas mi persona que a los mejores ochocientos hombres de guerra que l pudieran venir aquella hora.” Carta de Valdivia, Ms.]

Besides these warlike auxiliaries, the president was attended by a train of ecclesiastics and civilians, such as was rarely found in the martial fields of Peru. Among them were the bishops of Quito, Cuzco, and Lima, the four judges of the new Audience, and a considerable number of churchmen and monkish missionaries. 5 However little they might serve to strengthen his arm in battle, their presence gave authority and something of a sacred character to the cause, which had their effect on the minds of the soldiers.

5 Zarate, Ms.]

The wintry season now began to give way before the mild influence of spring, which makes itself early felt in these tropical, but from their elevation temperate, regions; and Gasca, after nearly three months’ detention in Andaguaylas, mustered his levies for the final march upon Cuzco. 6 Their whole number fell little short of two thousand, — the largest European force yet assembled in Peru. Nearly half were provided with fire-arms; and infantry was more available than horse in the mountain countries which they were to traverse. But his cavalry was also numerous, and he carried with him a train of eleven heavy guns. The equipment and discipline of the troops were good; they were well provided with ammunition and military stores; and were led by officers whose names were associated with the most memorable achievements in the New World. All who had any real interest in the weal of the country were to be found, in short, under the president’s banner, making a striking contrast to the wild and reckless adventurers who now swelled the ranks of Pizarro.

6 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 90.

The old chronicler, or rather geographer, Cieza de Leon, was present in the campaign, he tells us; so that his testimony, always good, becomes for the remaining events of more than usual value]

Gasca, who did not affect a greater knowledge of military affairs than he really possessed, had given the charge of his forces to Hinojosa, naming the Marshal Alvarado as second in command. Valdivia, who came after these dispositions had been made, accepted a colonel’s commission, with the understanding that he was to be consulted and employed in all matters of moment. 7 — Having completed his arrangements, the president broke up his camp in March, 1548, and moved upon Cuzco.

7 Valdivia, indeed, claims to have had the whole command intrusted to him by Gasca “Luego me dio el autoridad toda que traia de parte de V. M. para en los casos ocantes a la guerra, i me encargo todo el exercito, i le puso baxo de mi mano rogando i pidiendo por merced de su parte a todos aquellos caballeros capitanes e gente de guerra, i de la de V. M. mandandoles me obedesciesen en todo lo que les mandase acerca de la guerra, i cumpliesen mis mandamientos como los suyos.” (Carta de Valdivia, Ms.) But other authorities state it, with more probability, as given in the text. Valdivia, it must be confessed, loses nothing from modesty. The whole of his letter to the emperor is written in a strain of self-glorification, rarely matched even by a Castilian hidalgo.

The first obstacle to his progress was the river Abancay, the bridge over which had been broken down by the enemy. But as there was no force to annoy them on the opposite bank, the army was not long in preparing a new bridge, and throwing it across the stream, which in this place had nothing formidable in its character. The road now struck into the heart of a mountain region, where woods, precipices, and ravines were mingled together in a sort of chaotic confusion, with here and there a green and sheltered valley, glittering like an island of verdure amidst the wild breakers of a troubled ocean! The bold peaks of the Andes, rising far above the clouds, were enveloped in snow, which descending far down their sides, gave a piercing coldness to the winds that swept over their surface, until men and horses were benumbed and stiffened under their influence. The roads, in these regions, were in some places so narrow and broken, as to be nearly impracticable for cavalry. The cavaliers were compelled to dismount; and the president, with the rest, performed the journey on foot, so hazardous, that, even in later times, it has been no uncommon thing for the sure-footed mule to be precipitated, with its cargo of silver, thousands of feet down the sheer sides of a precipice. 8

8 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91.]

By these impediments of the ground, the march was so retarded, that the troops seldom accomplished more than two leagues a day. 9 Fortunately, the distance was not great; and the president looked with more apprehension to the passage of the Apurimac, which he was now approaching. This river, one of the most formidable tributaries of the Amazon, rolls its broad waters through the gorges of the Cordilleras, that rise up like an immense rampart of rock on either side, presenting a natural barrier which it would be easy for an enemy to make good against a force much superior to his own. The bridges over this river, as Gasca learned before his departure from Andaguaylas, had been all destroyed by Pizarro. The president, accordingly, had sent to explore the banks of the stream, and determine the most eligible spot for reestablishing communications with the opposite side.

9 Ms. de Caravantes 2 L 2]

The place selected was near the Indian village of Cotapampa, about nine leagues from Cuzco; for the river, though rapid and turbulent from being compressed within more narrow limits, was here less than two hundred paces in width; a distance, however, not inconsiderable. Directions had been given to collect materials in large quantities in the neighbourhood of this spot as soon as possible; and at the same time, in order to perplex the enemy and compel him to divide his forces, should he be disposed to resist, materials in smaller quantities were assembled on three other points of the river. The officer stationed in the neighbourhood of Cotapampa was instructed not to begin to lay the bridge, till the arrival of a sufficient force should accelerate the work, and insure its success.

The structure in question, it should be remembered, was one of those suspension bridges formerly employed by the Incas, and still used in crossing the deep and turbulent rivers of South America. They are made of osier withes, twisted into enormous cables, which, when stretched across the water, are attached to heavy blocks of masonry, or, where it will serve, to the natural rock. Planks are laid transversely across these cables, and a passage is thus secured, which, notwithstanding the light and fragile appearance of the bridge, as it swings at an elevation sometimes of several hundred feet above the abyss, affords a tolerably safe means of conveyance for men, and even for such heavy burdens as artillery. 10

10 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 86, 87. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]

Notwithstanding the peremptory commands of Gasca, the officer intrusted with collecting the materials for the bridge was so anxious to have the honor of completing the work himself, that he commenced it at once. The president, greatly displeased at learning this, quickened his march, in order to cover the work with his whole force. But, while toiling through the mountain labyrinth, tidings were brought him that a party of the enemy had demolished the small portion of the bridge already made, by cutting the cables on the opposite bank. Valdivia, accordingly, hastened forward at the head of two hundred arquebusiers, while the main body of the army followed with as much speed as practicable.

That officer, on reaching the spot, found that the interruption had been caused by a small party of Pizarro’s followers, not exceeding twenty in number assisted by a stronger body of Indians. He at once caused balsas, broad and clumsy barks, or rather rafts, of the country, to be provided, and by this means passed his men over, without opposition to the other side of the river. The enemy, disconcerted by the arrival of such a force, retreated and made the best of their way to report the affair to their commander at Cuzco. Meanwhile, Valdivia, who saw the importance of every moment in the present crisis, pushed forward the work with the greatest vigor. Through all that night his weary troops continued the labor, which was already well advanced, when the president and his battalions, emerging from the passes of the Cordilleras, presented themselves at sunrise on the opposite bank.

Little time was given for repose, as all felt assured that the success of their enterprise hung on the short respite now given them by the improvident enemy. The president, with his principal officers, took part in the labor with the common soldiers; 11 and before ten o’clock in the evening, Gasca had the satisfaction to see the bridge so well secured, that the leading files of the army, unencumbered by their baggage, might venture to cross it. A short time sufficed to place several hundred men on the other bank. But here a new difficulty, not less formidable than that of the river, presented itself to the troops. The ground rose up with an abrupt, almost precipitous, swell from the river-side, till, in the highest peaks, it reached an elevation of several thousand feet. This steep ascent, though not to its full height, indeed, was now to be surmounted. The difficulties of the ground, broken up into fearful chasms and water-courses, and tangled with thickets, were greatly increased by the darkness of the night; and the soldiers, as they toiled slowly upward, were filled with apprehension, akin to fear, from the uncertainty whether each successive step might not bring them into an ambuscade, for which the ground was so favorable. More than once, the Spaniards were thrown into a panic by false reports that the enemy were upon them. But Hinojosa and Valdivia were at hand to rally their men, and cheer them on, until, at length, before dawn broke, the bold cavaliers and their followers placed themselves on the highest point traversed by the road, where they waited the arrival of the president. This was not long delayed; and in the course of the following morning, the royalists were already in sufficient strength to bid defiance to their enemy.

11 “La gente que estaua, de la vna parte y de la otra, todos tirauan y trabajauan al poner, y apretar de las Criznejas: sin que el Presidente ni Obispos, ni otra persona quisiesse tener preuilegio para dexar de trabajar.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 87.

The passage of the river had been effected with less loss than might have been expected, considering the darkness of the night, and the numbers that crowded over the aerial causeway. Some few, indeed, fell into the water, and were drowned; and more than sixty horses, in the attempt to swim them across the river, were hurried down the current, and dashed against the rocks below. 12 It still required time to bring up the heavy train of ordnance and the military wagons; and the president encamped on the strong ground which he now occupied, to await their arrival, and to breathe his troops after their extraordinary efforts. In these quarters we must leave him, to acquaint the reader with the state of things in the insurgent army, and with the cause of its strange remissness in guarding the passes of the Apurimac. 13

12 “Aquel dia pasaron mas de quatrocientos Hombres, Ilevando los Caballos a nado, encima de illos atadas sus armas, i arcabuces, caso que se perdieron mas de sesenta Caballos, que con la corriente grande se desataron, i luego daban en vnas penas, donde se hacian pedacos, sin darles lugar el impetu del rio, a que pudiesen nadar.” Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 184.]

13 Ibid., ubi supra. — Fernandez Hist del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 87. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.

From the time of Pizarro’s occupation of Cuzco, he had lived in careless luxury in the midst of his followers, like a soldier of fortune in the hour of prosperity; enjoying the present, with as little concern for the future as if the crown of Peru were already fixed irrevocably upon his head. It was otherwise with Carbajal. He looked on the victory at Huarina as the commencement, not the close, of the struggle for empire; and he was indefatigable in placing his troops in the best condition for maintaining their present advantage. At the first streak of dawn, the veteran might be seen mounted on his mule, with the garb and air of a common soldier, riding about in the different quarters of the capital, sometimes superintending the manufacture of arms, or providing military stores, and sometimes drilling his men, for he was most careful always to maintain the strictest discipline. 14 His restless spirit seemed to find no pleasure but in incessant action; living, as he had always done, in the turmoil of military adventure, he had no relish for any thing unconnected with war, and in the city saw only the materials for a well-organized camp.

14 “Andaua siempre en vna mula crescida de color entre pardo y bermejo, yo no le vi en otra caualgadura en todo el tiempo que estuuo en el Cozco antes de la batalla de Sacsahuana. Era tan contino y diligete en solicitar lo que a su exercito conuenia, que a todas horas del dia y de la roche le topauan sus soldados haziendo su oficio, y los agenos.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5 cap. 27.]

With these feelings, he was much dissatisfied at the course taken by his younger leader, who now professed his intention to abide where he was, and, when the enemy advanced, to give him battle. Carbajal advised a very different policy. He had not that full confidence, it would seem, in the loyalty of Pizarro’s partisans, at least, not of those who had once followed the banner of Centeno. These men some three hundred in number, had been in a manner compelled to take service under Pizarro. They showed no heartiness in the cause, and the veteran strongly urged his commander to disband them at once; since it was far better to go to battle with a few faithful followers than with a host of the false and faint-hearted.

But Carbajal thought, also, that his leader was not sufficiently strong in numbers to encounter his opponent, supported as he was by the best captains of Peru. He advised, accordingly, that he should abandon Cuzco, carrying off all the treasure, provisions, and stores of every kind from the city, which might, in any way, serve the necessities of the royalists. The latter, on their arrival, disappointed by the poverty of a place where they had expected to find so much booty, would become disgusted with the service. Pizzaro, meanwhile, might take refuge with his men in the neighbouring fastnesses, where, familiar with the ground, it would be easy to elude the enemy; and if the latter persevered in the pursuit, with numbers diminished by desertion, it would not be difficult in the mountain passes to find an opportunity for assailing him at advantage. — Such was the wary counsel of the old warrior. But it was not to the taste of his fiery commander, who preferred to risk the chances of a battle, rather than turn his back on a foe.

Neither did Pizarro show more favor to a proposition, said to have been made by the Licentiate Cepeda, — that he should avail himself of his late success to enter into negotiations with Gasca. Such advice, from the man who had so recently resisted all overtures of the president, could only have proceeded from a conviction, that the late victory placed Pizarro on a vantage-ground for demanding terms far better than would have been before conceded to him. It may be that subsequent experience had also led him to distrust the fidelity of Gonzalo’s followers, or, possibly, the capacity of their chief to conduct them through the present crisis. Whatever may have been the motives of the slippery counsellor, Pizarro gave little heed to the suggestion, and even showed some resentment, as the matter was pressed on him. In every contest, with Indian or European, whatever had been the odds, he had come off victorious. He was not now for the first time to despond; and he resolved to remain in Cuzco, and hazard all on the chances of a battle. There was something in the hazard itself captivating to his bold and chivalrous temper. In this, too, he was confirmed by some of the cavaliers who had followed him through all his fortunes; reckless young adventurers, who, like himself, would rather risk all on a single throw of the dice, than adopt the cautious, and, as it seemed to them, timid, policy of graver counsellors. It was by such advisers, then, that Pizarro’s future course was to be shaped. 15

15 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 27. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 182. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

“Finalmente, Goncalo Pizarro dixo que queria prouar su ventura: pues siempre auia sido vencedor, y lamas vencido.” Ibid., ubi supra.

Such was the state of affairs in Cuzco, when Pizarro’s soldiers returned with the tidings, that a detachment of the enemy had crossed the Apurimac, and were busy in reestablishing the bridge. Carbajal saw at once the absolute necessity of maintaining this pass. “It is my affair,” he said; “I claim to be employed on this service. Give me but a hundred picked men, and I will engage to defend the pass against an army, and bring back the chaplain — the name by which the president was known in the rebel camp — a prisoner to Cuzco.” 16 “I cannot spare you, father,” said Gonzalo, addressing him by this affectionate epithet, which he usually applied to his aged follower, 17 “I cannot spare you so far from my own person”; and he gave the commission to Juan de Acosta, a young cavalier warmly attached to his commander, and who had given undoubted evidence of his valor on more than one occasion, but who, as the event proved, was signally deficient in the qualities demanded for so critical an undertaking as the present. Acosta, accordingly, was placed at the head of two hundred mounted musketeers, and, after much wholesome counsel from Carbajal, set out on his expedition.

16 “Paresceme vuestra Senoria se vaya a la vuelta del Collao y me deje cien hombres, los que yo escojiere, que yo me ire a vista deste capellan, que ansi llamaba el al presidente.” Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

17 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 31

But he soon forgot the veteran’s advice, and moved at so dull a pace over the difficult roads, that, although the distance was not more than nine leagues, he found, on his arrival, the bridge completed, and so large a body of the enemy already crossed, that he was in no strength to attack them. Acosta did, indeed, meditate an ambuscade by night; but the design was betrayed by a deserter, and he contented himself with retreating to a safe distance, and sending for a further reinforcement from Cuzco. Three hundred men were promptly detached to his support; but when they arrived, the enemy was already planted in full force on the crest of the eminence. The golden opportunity was irrecoverably lost; and the disconsolate cavalier rode back in all haste to report the failure of his enterprise to his commander in Cuzco. 18

18 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. Valdivia’s letter to the emperor, dated at Concepcion, was written about two years after the events above recorded. It is chiefly taken up with his Chilian conquests, to which his campaign under Gasca, on his visit to Peru, forms a kind of brilliant episode. This letter, the original of which is preserved in Simancas, covers about seventy folio pages in the copy belonging to me. It is one of that class of historical documents, consisting of the despatches and correspondence of the colonial governors, which, from the minuteness of the details and the means of information possessed by the writers, are of the highest worth. The despatches addressed to the Court, particularly, may compare with the celebrated Relazioni made by the Venetian ambassadors to their republic, and now happily in the course of publication, at Florence, under the editorial auspices of the learned Alberi.]

Chapter III

Dismay In Gasca’s Camp. — His Winter Quarters. — Resumes His March. — Crosses The Apurimac. — Pizarro’s Conduct In Cuzco. — He Encamps Near The City. — Rout Of Xaquixa Guana.

1547–1548.

While the events recorded in the preceding chapter were passing, President Gasca had remained at Xauxa, awaiting further tidings from Centeno, little doubting that they would inform him of the total discomfiture of the rebels. Great was his dismay, therefore, on learning the issue of the fatal conflict at Huarina, — that the royalists had been scattered far and wide before the sword of Pizarro, while their commander had vanished like an apparition, 1 leaving the greatest uncertainty as to his fate.

1 “Y salio a la Ciudad de los Reyes, sin que Carbajal, ni alguno de los suyos supiesse por donde fue, sino que parecio encantamiento.” Garcilasso, Com. Real. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 22.

The intelligence spread general consternation among the soldiers, proportioned to their former confidence; and they felt it was almost hopeless to contend with a man who seemed protected by a charm that made him invincible against the greatest odds. The president, however sore his disappointment, was careful to conceal it, while he endeavoured to restore the spirits of his followers. “They had been too sanguine,” he said, “and it was in this way that Heaven rebuked their presumption. Yet it was but in the usual course of events, that Providence, when it designed to humble the guilty, should allow him to reach as high an elevation as possible, that his fall might be the greater!”

But while Gasca thus strove to reassure the superstitious and the timid, he bent his mind, with his usual energy, to repair the injury which the cause had sustained by the defeat at Huarina. He sent a detachment under Alvarado to Lima, to collect such of the royalists as had fled thither from the field of battle, and to dismantle the ships of their cannon, and bring them to the camp. Another body was sent to Guamanga, about sixty leagues from Cuzco, for the similar purpose of protecting the fugitives, and also of preventing the Indian caciques from forwarding supplies to the insurgent army in Cuzco. As his own forces now amounted to considerably more than any his opponent could bring against him, Gasca determined to break up his camp without further delay, and march on the Inca capital 2

2 Gasca, according to Ondegardo, supported his army, during his stay at Xauxa, from the Peruvian granaries in the valley, as he found a quantity of maize still remaining in them sufficient for several years’ consumption. It is passing strange that these depositaries should have been so long respected by the hungry Conquerors. — “Cuando el Senor Presidente Gasca passo con la gente de castigo de Gonzalo Pizarro por el Valle de Jauja, estuvo alli siete semanas a lo que me acuerdo, se hallaron en deposito maiz de cuatro y de tres y de dos anos mas de 15,000 hanegas junto al camino, e alli comio la gente.” Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms.

Quitting Xauxa, December 29, 1547, he passed through Guamanga, and after a severe march, rendered particularly fatiguing by the inclement state of the weather and the badness of the roads, he entered the province of Andaguaylas. It was a fair and fruitful country, and since the road beyond would take him into the depths of a gloomy sierra, scarcely passable in the winter snows, Gasca resolved to remain in his present quarters until the severity of the season was mitigated. As many of the troops had already contracted diseases from exposure to the incessant rains, he established a camp hospital; and the good president personally visited the quarters of the sick, ministering to their wants, and winning their hearts by his sympathy. 3

3 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 4. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 82–85. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Cieza de Leon, cap. 90]

Meanwhile, the royal camp was strengthened by the continual arrival of reinforcements; for notwithstanding the shock that was caused throughout the country by the first tidings of Pizarro’s victory, a little reflection convinced the people that the right was the strongest, and must eventually prevail. There came, also, with these levies, several of the most distinguished captains in the country. Centeno, burning to retrieve his late disgrace, after recovering from his illness, joined the camp with his followers from Lima. Benalcazar, the conqueror of Quito, who, as the reader will remember, had shared in the defeat of Blasco Nunez in the north, came with another detachment; and was soon after followed by Valdivia, the famous conqueror of Chili, who, having returned to Peru to gather recruits for his expedition, had learned the state of the country, and had thrown himself, without hesitation, into the same scale with the president, though it brought him into collision with his old friend and comrade, Gonzalo Pizarro. The arrival of this last ally was greeted with general rejoicing by the camp; for Valdivia, schooled in the Italian wars, was esteemed the most accomplished soldier in Peru; and Gasca complimented him by declaring “he would rather see him than a reinforcement of eight hundred men!” 4

4 At least, so says Valdivia in his letter to the emperor. “I dixo publico que estimara mas mi persona que a los mejores ochocientos hombres de guerra que l pudieran venir aquella hora.” Carta de Valdivia, Ms.]

Besides these warlike auxiliaries, the president was attended by a train of ecclesiastics and civilians, such as was rarely found in the martial fields of Peru. Among them were the bishops of Quito, Cuzco, and Lima, the four judges of the new Audience, and a considerable number of churchmen and monkish missionaries. 5 However little they might serve to strengthen his arm in battle, their presence gave authority and something of a sacred character to the cause, which had their effect on the minds of the soldiers.

5 Zarate, Ms.]

The wintry season now began to give way before the mild influence of spring, which makes itself early felt in these tropical, but from their elevation temperate, regions; and Gasca, after nearly three months’ detention in Andaguaylas, mustered his levies for the final march upon Cuzco. 6 Their whole number fell little short of two thousand, — the largest European force yet assembled in Peru. Nearly half were provided with fire-arms; and infantry was more available than horse in the mountain countries which they were to traverse. But his cavalry was also numerous, and he carried with him a train of eleven heavy guns. The equipment and discipline of the troops were good; they were well provided with ammunition and military stores; and were led by officers whose names were associated with the most memorable achievements in the New World. All who had any real interest in the weal of the country were to be found, in short, under the president’s banner, making a striking contrast to the wild and reckless adventurers who now swelled the ranks of Pizarro.

6 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 90.

The old chronicler, or rather geographer, Cieza de Leon, was present in the campaign, he tells us; so that his testimony, always good, becomes for the remaining events of more than usual value]

Gasca, who did not affect a greater knowledge of military affairs than he really possessed, had given the charge of his forces to Hinojosa, naming the Marshal Alvarado as second in command. Valdivia, who came after these dispositions had been made, accepted a colonel’s commission, with the understanding that he was to be consulted and employed in all matters of moment. 7 — Having completed his arrangements, the president broke up his camp in March, 1548, and moved upon Cuzco.

7 Valdivia, indeed, claims to have had the whole command intrusted to him by Gasca “Luego me dio el autoridad toda que traia de parte de V. M. para en los casos ocantes a la guerra, i me encargo todo el exercito, i le puso baxo de mi mano rogando i pidiendo por merced de su parte a todos aquellos caballeros capitanes e gente de guerra, i de la de V. M. mandandoles me obedesciesen en todo lo que les mandase acerca de la guerra, i cumpliesen mis mandamientos como los suyos.” (Carta de Valdivia, Ms.) But other authorities state it, with more probability, as given in the text. Valdivia, it must be confessed, loses nothing from modesty. The whole of his letter to the emperor is written in a strain of self-glorification, rarely matched even by a Castilian hidalgo.

The first obstacle to his progress was the river Abancay, the bridge over which had been broken down by the enemy. But as there was no force to annoy them on the opposite bank, the army was not long in preparing a new bridge, and throwing it across the stream, which in this place had nothing formidable in its character. The road now struck into the heart of a mountain region, where woods, precipices, and ravines were mingled together in a sort of chaotic confusion, with here and there a green and sheltered valley, glittering like an island of verdure amidst the wild breakers of a troubled ocean! The bold peaks of the Andes, rising far above the clouds, were enveloped in snow, which descending far down their sides, gave a piercing coldness to the winds that swept over their surface, until men and horses were benumbed and stiffened under their influence. The roads, in these regions, were in some places so narrow and broken, as to be nearly impracticable for cavalry. The cavaliers were compelled to dismount; and the president, with the rest, performed the journey on foot, so hazardous, that, even in later times, it has been no uncommon thing for the sure-footed mule to be precipitated, with its cargo of silver, thousands of feet down the sheer sides of a precipice. 8

8 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91.]

By these impediments of the ground, the march was so retarded, that the troops seldom accomplished more than two leagues a day. 9 Fortunately, the distance was not great; and the president looked with more apprehension to the passage of the Apurimac, which he was now approaching. This river, one of the most formidable tributaries of the Amazon, rolls its broad waters through the gorges of the Cordilleras, that rise up like an immense rampart of rock on either side, presenting a natural barrier which it would be easy for an enemy to make good against a force much superior to his own. The bridges over this river, as Gasca learned before his departure from Andaguaylas, had been all destroyed by Pizarro. The president, accordingly, had sent to explore the banks of the stream, and determine the most eligible spot for reestablishing communications with the opposite side.

9 Ms. de Caravantes 2 L 2]

The place selected was near the Indian village of Cotapampa, about nine leagues from Cuzco; for the river, though rapid and turbulent from being compressed within more narrow limits, was here less than two hundred paces in width; a distance, however, not inconsiderable. Directions had been given to collect materials in large quantities in the neighbourhood of this spot as soon as possible; and at the same time, in order to perplex the enemy and compel him to divide his forces, should he be disposed to resist, materials in smaller quantities were assembled on three other points of the river. The officer stationed in the neighbourhood of Cotapampa was instructed not to begin to lay the bridge, till the arrival of a sufficient force should accelerate the work, and insure its success.

The structure in question, it should be remembered, was one of those suspension bridges formerly employed by the Incas, and still used in crossing the deep and turbulent rivers of South America. They are made of osier withes, twisted into enormous cables, which, when stretched across the water, are attached to heavy blocks of masonry, or, where it will serve, to the natural rock. Planks are laid transversely across these cables, and a passage is thus secured, which, notwithstanding the light and fragile appearance of the bridge, as it swings at an elevation sometimes of several hundred feet above the abyss, affords a tolerably safe means of conveyance for men, and even for such heavy burdens as artillery. 10

10 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 86, 87. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]

Notwithstanding the peremptory commands of Gasca, the officer intrusted with collecting the materials for the bridge was so anxious to have the honor of completing the work himself, that he commenced it at once. The president, greatly displeased at learning this, quickened his march, in order to cover the work with his whole force. But, while toiling through the mountain labyrinth, tidings were brought him that a party of the enemy had demolished the small portion of the bridge already made, by cutting the cables on the opposite bank. Valdivia, accordingly, hastened forward at the head of two hundred arquebusiers, while the main body of the army followed with as much speed as practicable.

That officer, on reaching the spot, found that the interruption had been caused by a small party of Pizarro’s followers, not exceeding twenty in number assisted by a stronger body of Indians. He at once caused balsas, broad and clumsy barks, or rather rafts, of the country, to be provided, and by this means passed his men over, without opposition to the other side of the river. The enemy, disconcerted by the arrival of such a force, retreated and made the best of their way to report the affair to their commander at Cuzco. Meanwhile, Valdivia, who saw the importance of every moment in the present crisis, pushed forward the work with the greatest vigor. Through all that night his weary troops continued the labor, which was already well advanced, when the president and his battalions, emerging from the passes of the Cordilleras, presented themselves at sunrise on the opposite bank.

Little time was given for repose, as all felt assured that the success of their enterprise hung on the short respite now given them by the improvident enemy. The president, with his principal officers, took part in the labor with the common soldiers; 11 and before ten o’clock in the evening, Gasca had the satisfaction to see the bridge so well secured, that the leading files of the army, unencumbered by their baggage, might venture to cross it. A short time sufficed to place several hundred men on the other bank. But here a new difficulty, not less formidable than that of the river, presented itself to the troops. The ground rose up with an abrupt, almost precipitous, swell from the river-side, till, in the highest peaks, it reached an elevation of several thousand feet. This steep ascent, though not to its full height, indeed, was now to be surmounted. The difficulties of the ground, broken up into fearful chasms and water-courses, and tangled with thickets, were greatly increased by the darkness of the night; and the soldiers, as they toiled slowly upward, were filled with apprehension, akin to fear, from the uncertainty whether each successive step might not bring them into an ambuscade, for which the ground was so favorable. More than once, the Spaniards were thrown into a panic by false reports that the enemy were upon them. But Hinojosa and Valdivia were at hand to rally their men, and cheer them on, until, at length, before dawn broke, the bold cavaliers and their followers placed themselves on the highest point traversed by the road, where they waited the arrival of the president. This was not long delayed; and in the course of the following morning, the royalists were already in sufficient strength to bid defiance to their enemy.

11 “La gente que estaua, de la vna parte y de la otra, todos tirauan y trabajauan al poner, y apretar de las Criznejas: sin que el Presidente ni Obispos, ni otra persona quisiesse tener preuilegio para dexar de trabajar.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 87.

The passage of the river had been effected with less loss than might have been expected, considering the darkness of the night, and the numbers that crowded over the aerial causeway. Some few, indeed, fell into the water, and were drowned; and more than sixty horses, in the attempt to swim them across the river, were hurried down the current, and dashed against the rocks below. 12 It still required time to bring up the heavy train of ordnance and the military wagons; and the president encamped on the strong ground which he now occupied, to await their arrival, and to breathe his troops after their extraordinary efforts. In these quarters we must leave him, to acquaint the reader with the state of things in the insurgent army, and with the cause of its strange remissness in guarding the passes of the Apurimac. 13

12 “Aquel dia pasaron mas de quatrocientos Hombres, Ilevando los Caballos a nado, encima de illos atadas sus armas, i arcabuces, caso que se perdieron mas de sesenta Caballos, que con la corriente grande se desataron, i luego daban en vnas penas, donde se hacian pedacos, sin darles lugar el impetu del rio, a que pudiesen nadar.” Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 184.]

13 Ibid., ubi supra. — Fernandez Hist del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 87. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.

From the time of Pizarro’s occupation of Cuzco, he had lived in careless luxury in the midst of his followers, like a soldier of fortune in the hour of prosperity; enjoying the present, with as little concern for the future as if the crown of Peru were already fixed irrevocably upon his head. It was otherwise with Carbajal. He looked on the victory at Huarina as the commencement, not the close, of the struggle for empire; and he was indefatigable in placing his troops in the best condition for maintaining their present advantage. At the first streak of dawn, the veteran might be seen mounted on his mule, with the garb and air of a common soldier, riding about in the different quarters of the capital, sometimes superintending the manufacture of arms, or providing military stores, and sometimes drilling his men, for he was most careful always to maintain the strictest discipline. 14 His restless spirit seemed to find no pleasure but in incessant action; living, as he had always done, in the turmoil of military adventure, he had no relish for any thing unconnected with war, and in the city saw only the materials for a well-organized camp.

14 “Andaua siempre en vna mula crescida de color entre pardo y bermejo, yo no le vi en otra caualgadura en todo el tiempo que estuuo en el Cozco antes de la batalla de Sacsahuana. Era tan contino y diligete en solicitar lo que a su exercito conuenia, que a todas horas del dia y de la roche le topauan sus soldados haziendo su oficio, y los agenos.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5 cap. 27.]

With these feelings, he was much dissatisfied at the course taken by his younger leader, who now professed his intention to abide where he was, and, when the enemy advanced, to give him battle. Carbajal advised a very different policy. He had not that full confidence, it would seem, in the loyalty of Pizarro’s partisans, at least, not of those who had once followed the banner of Centeno. These men some three hundred in number, had been in a manner compelled to take service under Pizarro. They showed no heartiness in the cause, and the veteran strongly urged his commander to disband them at once; since it was far better to go to battle with a few faithful followers than with a host of the false and faint-hearted.

But Carbajal thought, also, that his leader was not sufficiently strong in numbers to encounter his opponent, supported as he was by the best captains of Peru. He advised, accordingly, that he should abandon Cuzco, carrying off all the treasure, provisions, and stores of every kind from the city, which might, in any way, serve the necessities of the royalists. The latter, on their arrival, disappointed by the poverty of a place where they had expected to find so much booty, would become disgusted with the service. Pizzaro, meanwhile, might take refuge with his men in the neighbouring fastnesses, where, familiar with the ground, it would be easy to elude the enemy; and if the latter persevered in the pursuit, with numbers diminished by desertion, it would not be difficult in the mountain passes to find an opportunity for assailing him at advantage. — Such was the wary counsel of the old warrior. But it was not to the taste of his fiery commander, who preferred to risk the chances of a battle, rather than turn his back on a foe.

Neither did Pizarro show more favor to a proposition, said to have been made by the Licentiate Cepeda, — that he should avail himself of his late success to enter into negotiations with Gasca. Such advice, from the man who had so recently resisted all overtures of the president, could only have proceeded from a conviction, that the late victory placed Pizarro on a vantage-ground for demanding terms far better than would have been before conceded to him. It may be that subsequent experience had also led him to distrust the fidelity of Gonzalo’s followers, or, possibly, the capacity of their chief to conduct them through the present crisis. Whatever may have been the motives of the slippery counsellor, Pizarro gave little heed to the suggestion, and even showed some resentment, as the matter was pressed on him. In every contest, with Indian or European, whatever had been the odds, he had come off victorious. He was not now for the first time to despond; and he resolved to remain in Cuzco, and hazard all on the chances of a battle. There was something in the hazard itself captivating to his bold and chivalrous temper. In this, too, he was confirmed by some of the cavaliers who had followed him through all his fortunes; reckless young adventurers, who, like himself, would rather risk all on a single throw of the dice, than adopt the cautious, and, as it seemed to them, timid, policy of graver counsellors. It was by such advisers, then, that Pizarro’s future course was to be shaped. 15

15 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 27. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 182. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

“Finalmente, Goncalo Pizarro dixo que queria prouar su ventura: pues siempre auia sido vencedor, y lamas vencido.” Ibid., ubi supra.

Such was the state of affairs in Cuzco, when Pizarro’s soldiers returned with the tidings, that a detachment of the enemy had crossed the Apurimac, and were busy in reestablishing the bridge. Carbajal saw at once the absolute necessity of maintaining this pass. “It is my affair,” he said; “I claim to be employed on this service. Give me but a hundred picked men, and I will engage to defend the pass against an army, and bring back the chaplain — the name by which the president was known in the rebel camp — a prisoner to Cuzco.” 16 “I cannot spare you, father,” said Gonzalo, addressing him by this affectionate epithet, which he usually applied to his aged follower, 17 “I cannot spare you so far from my own person”; and he gave the commission to Juan de Acosta, a young cavalier warmly attached to his commander, and who had given undoubted evidence of his valor on more than one occasion, but who, as the event proved, was signally deficient in the qualities demanded for so critical an undertaking as the present. Acosta, accordingly, was placed at the head of two hundred mounted musketeers, and, after much wholesome counsel from Carbajal, set out on his expedition.

16 “Paresceme vuestra Senoria se vaya a la vuelta del Collao y me deje cien hombres, los que yo escojiere, que yo me ire a vista deste capellan, que ansi llamaba el al presidente.” Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

17 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 31

But he soon forgot the veteran’s advice, and moved at so dull a pace over the difficult roads, that, although the distance was not more than nine leagues, he found, on his arrival, the bridge completed, and so large a body of the enemy already crossed, that he was in no strength to attack them. Acosta did, indeed, meditate an ambuscade by night; but the design was betrayed by a deserter, and he contented himself with retreating to a safe distance, and sending for a further reinforcement from Cuzco. Three hundred men were promptly detached to his support; but when they arrived, the enemy was already planted in full force on the crest of the eminence. The golden opportunity was irrecoverably lost; and the disconsolate cavalier rode back in all haste to report the failure of his enterprise to his commander in Cuzco. 18

18 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. Valdivia’s letter to the emperor, dated at Concepcion, was written about two years after the events above recorded. It is chiefly taken up with his Chilian conquests, to which his campaign under Gasca, on his visit to Peru, forms a kind of brilliant episode. This letter, the original of which is preserved in Simancas, covers about seventy folio pages in the copy belonging to me. It is one of that class of historical documents, consisting of the despatches and correspondence of the colonial governors, which, from the minuteness of the details and the means of information possessed by the writers, are of the highest worth. The despatches addressed to the Court, particularly, may compare with the celebrated Relazioni made by the Venetian ambassadors to their republic, and now happily in the course of publication, at Florence, under the editorial auspices of the learned Alberi.]

The only question now to be decided was as to the spot where Gonzalo Pizarro should give battle to his enemies. He determined at once to abandon the capital, and wait for his opponents in the neighbouring valley of Xaquixaguana. It was about five leagues distant, and the reader may remember it as the place where Francis Pizarro burned the Peruvian general Challcuchima, on his first occupation of Cuzco. The valley, fenced round by the lofty rampart of the Andes, was, for the most part, green and luxuriant, affording many picturesque points of view; and, from the genial temperature of the climate, had been a favorite summer residence of the Indian nobles, many of whose pleasure-houses still dotted the sides of the mountains. A river, or rather stream, of no great volume, flowed through one end of this inclosure, and the neighbouring soil was so wet and miry as to have the character of a morass.

Here the rebel commander arrived, after a tedious march over roads not easily traversed by his train of heavy wagons and artillery. His forces amounted in all to about nine hundred men, with some half-dozen pieces of ordnance. It was a well-appointed body, and under excellent discipline, for it had been schooled by the strictest martinet in the Peruvian service. But it was the misfortune of Pizarro that his army was composed, in part, at least, of men on whose attachment to his cause he could not confidently rely. This was a deficiency which no courage nor skill in the leader could supply.

On entering the valley, Pizarro selected the eastern quarter of it, towards Cuzco, as the most favorable spot for his encampment. It was crossed by the stream above mentioned, and he stationed his army in such a manner, that, while one extremity of the camp rested on a natural barrier formed by the mountain cliffs that here rose up almost perpendicularly, the other was protected by the river. While it was scarcely possible, therefore, to assail his flanks, the approaches in front were so extremely narrowed by these obstacles, that it would not be easy to overpower him by numbers in that direction. In the rear, his communications remained open with Cuzco, furnishing a ready means for obtaining supplies. Having secured this strong position, he resolved patiently to wait the assault of the enemy. 19

19 Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 33, 34. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.]

Meanwhile, the royal army had been toiling up the steep sides of the Cordilleras, until, at the close of the third day, the president had the satisfaction to find himself surrounded by his whole force, with their guns and military stores. Having now sufficiently refreshed his men, he resumed his march, and all went forward with the buoyant confidence of bringing their quarrel with the tyrant, as Pizarro was called, to a speedy issue.

Their advance was slow, as in the previous part of the march, for the ground was equally embarrassing. It was not long, however, before the president learned that his antagonist had pitched his camp in the neighbouring valley of Xaquixaguana. Soon afterward, two friars, sent by Gonzalo himself, appeared in the army, for the ostensible purpose of demanding a sight of the powers with which Gasca was intrusted. But as their conduct gave reason to suspect they were spies, the president caused the holy men to be seized, and refused to allow them to return to Pizarro. By an emissary of his own, whom he despatched to the rebel chief, he renewed the assurance of pardon already given him, in case he would lay down his arms and submit. Such an act of generosity, at this late hour, must be allowed to be highly creditable to Gasca, believing, as he probably did, that the game was in his own hands. — It is a pity that the anecdote does not rest on the best authority. 20

20 The fact is not mentioned by any of the parties present at these transactions. It is to be found, with some little discrepancy of circumstances, in Gomara (Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185) and Zarate (Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 6); and their positive testimony maybe thought by most readers to outweigh the negative afforded by the silence of other contemporaries.]

After a march of a couple of days, the advanced guard of the royalists came suddenly on the outposts of the insurgents, from whom they had been concealed by a thick mist, and a slight skirmish took place between them. At length, on the morning of the eighth of April, the royal army, turning the crest of the lofty range that belts round the lovely valley of Xaquixaguana, beheld far below on the opposite side the glittering lines of the enemy, with their white pavilions, looking like clusters of wild fowl nestling among the cliffs of the mountains. And still further off might be descried a host of Indian warriors, showing gaudily in their variegated costumes; for the natives, in this part of the country, with little perception of their true interests, manifested great zeal in the cause of Pizarro.

Quickening their step, the royal army now hastily descended the steep sides of the sierra; and notwithstanding every effort of their officers, they moved in so little order, each man picking his way as he could, that the straggling column presented many a vulnerable point to the enemy; and the descent would not have been accomplished without considerable loss, had Pizarro’s cannon been planted on any of the favorable positions which the ground afforded. But that commander, far from attempting to check the president’s approach, remained doggedly in the strong position he had occupied, with the full confidence that his adversaries would not hesitate to assail it, strong as it was, in the same manner as they had done at Huarina. 21

21 “Salio a Xaquixaguana con toda su gente y alli nos aguardo en un llano junto a un cerro alto por donde bajabamos; y cierto nuestro Senor le cego el entendimiento, porque si nos aguardaran al pie de la bajada, hicieran mucho dano a nosotros. Retiraronse a un llano junto a una cienaga, creyendo que nuestro campo alli les acometiera y con la ventaja que nos tenian del puesto nos vencieran.” Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.

Yet he did not omit to detach a corps of arquebusiers to secure a neighbouring eminence or spur of the Cordilleras, which in the hands of the enemy might cause some annoyance to his own camp, while it commanded still more effectually the ground soon to be occupied by the assailants. But his manoeuvre was noticed by Hinojosa; and he defeated it by sending a stronger detachment of the royal musketeers, who repulsed the rebels, and, after a short skirmish, got possession of the heights. Gasca’s general profited by this success to plant a small battery of cannon on the eminence, from which, although the distance was too great for him to do much execution, he threw some shot into the hostile camp. One ball, indeed, struck down two men, one of them Pizarro’s page, killing a horse, at the same time, which he held by the bridle; and the chief instantly ordered the tents to be struck, considering that they afforded too obvious a mark for the artillery. 22

22 “Porq. muchas pelotas dieron en medio de la gente, y una dellas mato juto a Goncalo Pizarro vn criado suyo que se estaua armando; y mato otro hombre y vn cauallo; que puso grande alteracion en el campo, y abatieron todas las tiedas y toldos.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 89. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca. Ms

Meanwhile, the president’s forces had descended into the valley, and as they came on the plain were formed into line by their officers. The ground occupied by the army was somewhat lower than that of their enemy, whose shot, as discharged, from time to time, from his batteries, passed over their heads. Information was now brought by a deserter, one of Centeno’s old followers, that Pizarro was getting ready for a night attack. The president, in consequence, commanded his whole force to be drawn up in battle array, prepared, at any instant, to repulse the assault. But if such were meditated by the insurgent chief, he abandoned it, — and, as it is said, from a distrust of the fidelity of some of the troops, who, under cover of the darkness, he feared, would go over to the opposite side. If this be true, he must have felt the full force of Carbajal’s admonition, when too late to profit by it. The unfortunate commander was in the situation of some bold, high-mettled cavalier, rushing to battle on a war-horse whose tottering joints threaten to give way under him at every step, and leave his rider to the mercy of his enemies!

The president’s troops stood to their arms the greater part of the night, although the air from the mountains was so keen, that it was with difficulty they could hold their lances in their hands. 23 But before the rising sun had kindled into a glow the highest peaks of the sierra, both camps were in motion, and busily engaged in preparations for the combat. The royal army was formed into two battalions of infantry, one to attack the enemy in front, and the other, if possible, to operate on his flank. These battalions were protected by squadrons of horse on the wings and in the rear, while reserves both of horse and arquebusiers were stationed to act as occasion might require. The dispositions were made in so masterly a manner, as to draw forth a hearty eulogium from old Carbajal, who exclaimed, “Surely the Devil or Valdivia must be among them!” and undeniable compliment to the latter, since the speaker was ignorant of that commander’s presence in the camp. 24

23 “I asi estuvo el Campo toda la Noche en Arma, desarmadas las Tiendas, padesciendo mui gran frio que no podian tener las Lancas en las manos.” Zarate, Conq. de Peru, lib. 7, cap. 6.]

24 “Y assi quando vio Francisco de Caruajal el campo Real; pareciendole que los esquadrones venian bie ordenados dixo, Valdiuia esta en la tierra, y rige el campo, o el diablo.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 89. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 6. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 34. — Pedro Pizarro Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

Gasca, leaving the conduct of the battle to his officers, withdrew to the rear with his train of clergy and licentiates, the last of whom did not share in the ambition of their rebel brother, Cepeda, to break a lance in the field.

Gonzalo Pizarro formed his squadron in the same manner as he had done on the plains of Huarina; except that the increased number of his horse now enabled him to cover both flanks of his infantry. It was still on his fire-arms, however, that he chiefly relied. As the ranks were formed, he rode among them, encouraging his men to do their duty like brave cavaliers, and true soldiers of the Conquest. Pizarro was superbly armed, as usual, and wore a complete suit of mail, of the finest manufacture, which, as well as his helmet, was richly inlaid with gold. 25 He rode a chestnut horse of great strength and spirit, and as he galloped along the line, brandishing his lance, and displaying his easy horsemanship, he might be thought to form no bad personification of the Genius of Chivalry. To complete his dispositions, he ordered Cepeda to lead up the infantry; for the licentiate seems to have had a larger share in the conduct of his affairs of late, or at least in the present military arrangements, than Carbajal. The latter, indeed, whether from disgust at the course taken by his leader, or from a distrust, which, it is said, he did not affect to conceal, of the success of the present operations, disclaimed all responsibility for them, and chose to serve rather as a private cavalier than as a commander. 26 Yet Cepeda, as the event showed, was no less shrewd in detecting the coming ruin.

25 “Iba mui galan, i gentil hombre sobre vn poderoso caballo castano, armado de Cota, i Coracinas ricas, con vna sobre ropa de Raso bien golpeada, i vn Capacete de Oro en la cabeca, con su barbote de lo mismo.” Gomara, Hist. de as Indias, cap. 185.]

26 “Porque el Maesse de campo Francisco de Caruajal, como hombre desdenado de que Goncalo Picarro no huuiesse querido seguir su parecer y consejo (dandose ya por vencido), no quiso hazer oficio de Maesse de campo, como solia, y assi fue a ponerse en el esquadron con su compania, como vno de los capitanes de ynfanteria.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5 cap. 35.]

When he had received his orders from Pizarro, he rode forward as if to select the ground for his troops to occupy; and in doing so disappeared for a few moments behind a projecting cliff. He soon reappeared, however, and was seen galloping at full speed across the plain. His men looked with astonishment, yet not distrusting his motives, till, as he continued his course direct towards the enemy’s lines, his treachery became apparent. Several pushed for ward to overtake him, and among them a cavalier, better mounted than Cepeda. The latter rode a horse of no great strength or speed, quite unfit for this critical manoeuvre of his master. The animal, was, moreover, encumbered by the weight of the caparisons with which his ambitious rider had loaded him, so that, on reaching a piece of miry ground that lay between the armies, his pace was greatly retarded. 27 Cepeda’s pursuers rapidly gained on him, and the cavalier above noticed came, at length, so near as to throw a lance at the fugitive, which, wounding him in the thigh, pierced his horse’s flank, and they both came headlong to the ground. It would have fared ill with the licentiate, in this emergency, but fortunately a small party of troopers on the other side, who had watched the chase, now galloped briskly forward to the rescue, and, beating off his pursuers, they recovered Cepeda from the mire, and bore him to the president’s quarters.

27 Ibid., ubi supra.]

He was received by Gasca with the greatest satisfaction, — so great, that, according to one chronicler, he did not disdain to show it by saluting the licentiate on the cheek. 28 The anecdote is scarcely reconcilable with the characters and relations of the parties, or with the president’s subsequent conduct. Gasca, however, recognized the full value of his prize, and the effect which his desertion at such a time must have on the spirits of the rebels. Cepeda’s movement, so unexpected by his own party, was the result of previous deliberation, as he had secretly given assurance, it is said, to the prior of Arequipa, then in the royal camp, that, if Gonzalo Pizarro could not be induced to accept the pardon offered him, he would renounce his cause. 29 The time selected by the crafty counsellor for doing so was that most fatal to the interests of his commander.

28 “Gasca abraco, i beso en el carrillo a Cepeda, aunque lo llevaba encenagado, teniendo por vencido a Picarro, con su falta.” Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185.]

29 “Ca, segun parecio, Cepeda le huvo avisado con Fr. Antonio de Castro, Prior de Santo Domingo en Arequipa, que si Picarro no quisiesse concierto ninguno, el se pasaria al servicio del Emperador a tiempo que le deshiciese.” Ibid ubi supra.]

The example of Cepeda was contagious. Garcilasso de la Vega, father of the historian, a cavalier of old family, and probably of higher consideration than any other in Pizarro’s party, put spurs to his horse, at the same time with the licentiate, and rode over the enemy. Ten or a dozen of the arquebusiers followed in the same direction, and succeeded in placing themselves under the protection of the advanced guard of the royalists.

Pizarro stood aghast at this desertion, in so critical a juncture, of those in whom he had most trusted. He was, for a moment, bewildered. The very ground on which he stood seemed to be crumbling beneath him. With this state of feeling among his soldiers, he saw that every minute of delay was fatal. He dared not wait for the assault, as he had intended, in his strong position, but instantly gave the word to advance. Gasca’s general, Hinojosa, seeing the enemy in motion, gave similar orders to his own troops. Instantly the skirmishers and arquebusiers on the flanks moved rapidly forward, the artillery prepared to open their fire, and “the whole army,” says the president in his own account of the affair, “advanced with steady step and perfect determination.” 30

30 “Visto por Gonzalo Pizarro Caravajal su Maestre de Campo que se les iva gente procuraron de caminar en su orden hacia el campo de S. M. i que viendo esto los lados i sobre salientes del exercito real se empezaron a llegar a ellos i a disparar en ellos i que lo mesmo hizo la artilleria, i todo el campo con paso bien concertado i entera determinacion se llego a ellos’ Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.

But before a shot was fired, a column of arquebusiers, composed chiefly of Centeno’s followers, abandoned their post, and marched directly over to the enemy. A squadron of horse, sent in pursuit of them, followed their example. The president instantly commanded his men to halt, unwilling to spill blood unnecessarily, as the rebel host was like to fall to pieces of itself.

Pizarro’s faithful adherents were seized with a panic, as they saw themselves and their leader thus betrayed into the enemy’s hands. Further resistance was useless. Some threw down their arms, and fled in the direction of Cuzco. Others sought to escape to the mountains; and some crossed to the opposite side, and surrendered themselves prisoners, hoping it was not too late to profit by the promises of grace. The Indian allies, on seeing the Spaniards falter, had been the first to go off the ground. 31

31 “Los Indios que tenian los enemigos que diz que eran mucha cantidad huyeron mui a furia.” (Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.) For the particulars of the battle, more or less minute, see Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 35. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 90. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 7. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 4, cap. 16.

Pizarro, amidst the general wreck, found himself left with only a few cavaliers who disdained to fly. Stunned by the unexpected reverse of fortune, the unhappy chief could hardly comprehend his situation. “What remains for us?” said he to Acosta, one of those who still adhered to him. “Fall on the enemy, since nothing else is left,” answered the lion-hearted soldier, “and die like Romans!’ “Better to die like Christians,” replied his commander; and, slowly turning his horse, he rode off in the direction of the royal army. 32

32 “Goncalo Picarro boluiendo el rostro, a Juan de Acosta, que estaua cerca del, le dixo, que hare mos hermano Juan? Acosta presumiendo mas de valiente que de discreto respondio, Senor arremetamos, y muramos como los antiguos Romanos. Goncalo Picarro dixo mejor es morir como Cristianos.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 36. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 7.]

He had not proceeded far, when he was met by an officer, to whom, after ascertaining his name and rank, Pizarro delivered up his sword, and yielded himself prisoner. The officer, overjoyed at his prize, conducted him, at once, to the president’s quarters. Gasca was on horseback, surrounded by his captains, some of whom, when they recognized the person of the captive, had the grace to withdraw, that they might not witness his humiliation. 33 Even the best of them, with a sense of right on their side, may have felt some touch of compunction at the thought that their desertion had brought their benefactor to this condition.

33 Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra.]

Pizarro kept his seat in his saddle, but, as he approached, made a respectful obeisance to the president, which the latter acknowledged by a cold salute. Then, addressing his prisoner in a tone of severity, Gasca abruptly inquired, — “Why he had thrown the country into such confusion; — raising the banner of revolt; killing the viceroy; usurping the government; and obstinately refusing the offers of grace that had been repeatedly made him?”

Gonzalo attempted to justify himself by referring the fate of the viceroy to his misconduct, and his own usurpation, as it was styled, to the free election of the people, as well as that of the Royal Audience. “It was my family,” he said, “who conquered the country; and, as their representative here, I felt I had a right to the government.” To this Gasca replied, in a still severer tone, “Your brother did, indeed, conquer the land; and for this the emperor was pleased to raise both him and you from the dust. He lived and died a true and loyal subject; and it only makes your ingratitude to your sovereign the more heinous.” Then, seeing his prisoner about to reply, the president cut short the conference, ordering him into close confinement. He was committed to the charge of Centeno, who had sought the office, not from any unworthy desire to gratify his revenge, — for he seems to have had a generous nature, — but for the honorable purpose of ministering to the comfort of the captive. Though held in strict custody by this officer, therefore, Pizarro was treated with the deference due to his rank, and allowed every indulgence by his keeper, except his freedom. 34

34 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 90.

Historians, of course, report the dialogue between Gasca and his prisoner with some variety. See Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 185. — Garcilasso, Com. Real Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 36. Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]

In this general wreck of their fortunes, Francisco de Carbajal fared no better than his chief. As he saw the soldiers deserting their posts and going over to the enemy, one after another, he coolly hummed the words of his favorite old ballad, —

“The wind blows the hairs off my head, mother!”

But when he found the field nearly empty, and his stout-hearted followers vanished like a wreath of smoke, he felt it was time to provide for his own safety. He knew there could be no favor for him and, putting spurs to his horse, he betook himself to flight with all the speed he could make. He crossed the stream that flowed, as already mentioned, by the camp, but, in scaling the opposite bank, which was steep and stony, his horse, somewhat old, and oppressed by the weight of his rider, who was large and corpulent, lost his footing and fell with him into the water. Before he could extricate himself, Carbajal was seized by some of his own followers, who hoped, by such a prize, to make their peace with the victor, and hurried off towards the president’s quarters.

The convoy was soon swelled by a number of the common file from the royal army, some of whom had long arrears to settle with the prisoner; and, not content with heaping reproaches and imprecations on his head, they now threatened to proceed to acts of personal violence, which Carbajal, far from deprecating, seemed rather to court, as the speediest way of ridding himself of life. 35 When he approached the president’s quarters, Centeno, who was near, rebuked the disorderly rabble, and compelled them to give way. Carbajal, on seeing this, with a respectful air demanded to whom he was indebted for this courteous protection. To which his ancient comrade replied, “Do you not know me? — Diego Centeno!” “I crave your pardon,” said the veteran, sarcastically alluding to his long flight in the Charcas, and his recent defeat at Huarina; “it is so long since I have seen any thing but your back, that I had forgotten your face!” 36

35 “Luego llevaron antel dicho Licenciado Caravajal Maestre de campo del dicho Pizarro i tan cercado de gentes que del havian sido ofendidas que le querian matar, el qual diz que mostrava que olgara que le mataran alli.” Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]

36 “Diego Centeno reprehendia mucho a los que le offendian. Por lo qual Caruajal le miro, y le dixo, Senor quien es vuestra merced que tanta merced me haze? a lo qual Centeno respondio, Que no conoce vuestra merced a Diego Centeno? Dixo entonces Caruajal, Por Dios senor que como siempre vi a vuestra merced de espaldas, que agora teniendo le de cara, no le conocia’ Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 90.

Among the president’s suite was the martia bishop of Cuzco, who, it will be remembered, had shared with Centeno in the disgrace of his defeat. His brother had been taken by Carbajal, in his flight from the field, and instantly hung up by that fierce chief, who, as we have had more than one occasion to see, was no respecter of persons. The bishop now reproached him with his brother’s murder, and, incensed by his cool replies, was ungenerous enough to strike the prisoner on the face. Carbajal made no attempt at resistance. Nor would he return a word to the queries put to him by Gasca; but, looking haughtily round on the circle, maintained a contemptuous silence. The president, seeing that nothing further was to be gained from his captive, ordered him, together with Acosta, and the other cavaliers who had surrendered, into strict custody, until their fate should be decided. 37

37 Ibid., ubi supra.

It is but fair to state that Garcilasso, who was personally acquainted with the bishop of Cuzco, doubts the fact of the indecorous conduct imputed to him by Fernandez, as inconsistent with the prelate’s character. Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 39.]

Gasca’s next concern was to send an officer to Cuzco, to restrain his partisans from committing excesses in consequence of the late victory, — if victory that could be called, where not a blow had been struck. Every thing belonging to the vanquished, their tents, arms, ammunition, and military stores, became the property of the victors. Their camp was well victualled, furnishing a seasonable supply to the royalists, who had nearly expended their own stock of provisions. There was, moreover, considerable booty in the way of plate and money; for Pizarro’s men, as was not uncommon in those turbulent times, went, many of them, to the war with the whole of their worldly wealth, not knowing of any safe place in which to bestow it. An anecdote is told of one of Gasca’s soldiers, who, seeing a mule running over the field, with a large pack on his back, seized the animal, and mounted him, having first thrown away the burden, supposing it to contain armour, or something of little worth. Another soldier, more shrewd, picked up the parcel, as his share of the spoil, and found it contained several thousand gold ducats! It was the fortune of war. 38

38 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 8.]

Thus terminated the battle, or rather rout, of Xaquixaguana. The number of killed and wounded — for some few perished in the pursuit — was not great; according to most accounts, not exceeding fifteen killed on the rebel side, and one only on that of the royalists! and that one, by the carelessness of a comrade. 39 Never was there a cheaper victory; so bloodless a termination of a fierce an bloody rebellion! It was gained not so much by the strength of the victors as by the weakness of the vanquished. They fell to pieces of their own accord, because they had no sure ground to stand on. The arm, not nerved by the sense of right, became powerless in the hour of battle. It was better that they should thus be overcome by moral force than by a brutal appeal to arms. Such a victory was more in harmony with the beneficent character of the conqueror and of his cause. It was the triumph of order; the best homage to law and justice.

39 “Temiose que en esta batalla muriria mucha gente de ambas partes por haver en ellas mill i quatrocientos arcabuceros i seiscientos de caballo i mucho numero de piqueros i diez i ocho piezas de artilleria, pero plugo a Dios que solo murio un hombre del campo de S. M. i quince de los contrarios como esta dicho.” Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.

The Ms. above referred to is supposed by Munoz to have been written by Gasca, or rather dictated by him to his secretary. The original is preserved at Simancas, without date, and in the character of the sixteenth century. It is principally taken up with the battle, and the events immediately connected with it; and although very brief, every sentence is of value as coming from so high a source. Alcedo, in his Biblioteca Americana, Ms., gives the title of a work from Gasca’s pen, which would seem to be an account of his own administration, Historia de Peru, y de su Pacificacion, 1576, fol. — I have never met with the work, or with any other allusion to it.]

Chapter IV

Execution Of Carbajal. — Gonzalo Pizarro Beheaded. — Spoils Of Victory. — Wise Reforms By Gasca. — He Returns To Spain. — His Death And Character.

1548–1550.

It was now necessary to decide on the fate of the prisoners; and Alonso de Alvarado, with the Licentiate Cianca, one of the new Royal Audience, was instructed to prepare the process. It did not require a long time. The guilt of the prisoners was too manifest, taken, as they had been, with arms in their hands. They were all sentenced to be executed, and their estates were confiscated to the use of the Crown. Gonzalo Pizarro was to be beheaded, and Carbajal to be drawn and quartered. No mercy was shown to him who had shown none to others. There was some talk of deferring the execution till the arrival of the troops in Cuzco; but the fear of disturbances from those friendly to Pizarro determined the president to carry the sentence into effect the following day, on the field of battle. 1

1 The sentence passed upon Pizarro is given at length in the manuscript copy of Zarate’s History, to which I have had occasion more than once to refer. The historian omitted it in his printed work, but the curious reader may find it entire, cited in the original, in Appendix, No. 14.]

When his doom was communicated to Carbajal, he heard it with his usual indifference. “They can but kill me,” he said, as if he had already settled the matter in his own mind. 2 During the day, many came to see him in his confinement; some to upbraid him with his cruelties; but most, from curiosity to see the fierce warrior who had made his name so terrible through the land. He showed no unwillingness to talk with them, thought it was in those sallies of caustic humor in which he usually indulged at the expense of his hearer. Among these visiters was a cavalier of no note, whose life, it appears, Carbajal had formerly spared, when in his power. This person expressed to the prisoner his strong desire to serve him; and as he reiterated his professions, Carbajal cut them short by exclaiming, — “And what service can you do me? Can you set me free? If you cannot do that, you can do nothing. If I spared your life, as you say, it was probably because I did not think it worth while to take it.”

2 ‘Basta matar.” Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 91.]

Some piously disposed persons urged him to see a priest, if it were only to unburden his conscience before leaving the world. “But of what use would that be?” asked Carbajal. “I have nothing that lies heavy on my conscience, unless it be, indeed, the debt of half a real to a shopkeeper in Seville, which I forgot to pay before leaving the country!” 3

3 “En esso no tengo que confessar: porque juro a tal, que no tengo otro cargo, si no medio rea que deuo en Seuilla a vna bodegonera de la puerta del Arenal, del tiempo que passe a Indias.” Ibid., ubi supra.

He was carried to execution on a hurdle, or rather in a basket, drawn by two mules. His arms were pinioned, and, as they forced his bulky body into this miserable conveyance, he exclaimed, — “Cradles for infants, and a cradle for the old man too, it seems!” 4 Notwithstanding the disinclination he had manifested to a confessor, he was attended by several ecclesiastics on his way to the gallows; and one of them repeatedly urged him to give some token of penitence at this solemn hour, if it were only by repeating the Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Carbajal, to rid himself of the ghostly father’s importunity, replied by coolly repeating the words, “Pater Noster,” “Ave Maria”! He then remained obstinately silent. He died, as he had lived, with a jest, or rather a scoff, upon his lips. 5

4 “Nino en cuna, y viejo en cuna” Ibid., loc. cit.]

5 “Murio como gentil, porque dicen, que yo no le quise ver, que unsi le di la palabra de no velle; mas a la postrer vez que me hablo llevandole a matar le decia el sacerdote que con el iba, que se encomendase a Dios y dijese el Pater Noster y el Ave Maria, y dicen que dijo Pater Noster, Ave Maria y que no dijo otra palabra.” Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq Ms.]

Francisco de Carbajal was one of the most extraordinary characters of these dark and turbulent times; the more extraordinary from his great age; for, at the period of his death, he was in his eighty-fourth year; — an age when the bodily powers, and, fortunately, the passions, are usually blunted; when, in the witty words of the French moralist, “We flatter ourselves we are leaving our vices, whereas it is our vices that are leaving us.” 6 But the fires of youth glowed fierce and unquenchable in the bosom of Carbajal.

6 I quote from memory, but believe the reflection may be found in that admirable digest of worldly wisdom, The Characters of La Bruyere.

The date of his birth carries us back towards the middle of the fifteenth century, before the times of Ferdinand and Isabella. He was of obscure parent age, and born, as it is said, at Arevalo. For forty years he served in the Italian wars, under the most illustrious captains of the day, Gonsalvo de Cordova, Navarro, and the Colonnas. He was an ensign at the battle of Ravenna; witnessed the capture of Francis the First at Pavia; and followed the banner of the ill-starred Bourbon at the sack of Rome. He got no gold for his share of the booty, on this occasion, but simply the papers of a notary’s office, which, Carbajal shrewdly thought, would be worth gold to him. And so it proved; for the notary was fain to redeem them at a price which enabled the adventurer to cross the seas to Mexico, and seek his fortune in the New World. On the insurrection of the Peruvians, he was sent to the support of Francis Pizarro, and was rewarded by that chief with a grant of land in Cuzco. Here he remained for several years, busily employed in increasing his substance; for the love of lucre was a ruling passion in his bosom. On the arrival of Vaca de Castro, we find him doing good service under the royal banner; and at the breaking out of the great rebellion under Gonzalo Pizarro, he converted his property into gold, and prepared to return to Castile. He seemed to have a presentiment that to remain where he was would be fatal. But, although he made every effort to leave Peru, he was unsuccessful, for the viceroy had laid an embargo on the shipping. 7 He remained in the country, therefore, and took service, as we have seen, though reluctantly, under Pizarro. It was his destiny.

7 Pedro Pizarro bears testimony to Carbajal’s endeavours to leave the country, in which he was aided, though ineffectually, by the chronicler, who was, at that time, in the most friendly relations with him. Civil war parted these ancient comrades; but Carbajal did not forget his obligations to Pedro Pizarro, which he afterwards repaid by exempting him on two different occasions from the general doom of the prisoners who fell into his hands.]

The tumultuous life on which he now entered roused all the slumbering passions of his soul, which lay there, perhaps unconsciously to himself; cruelty, avarice, revenge. He found ample exercise for them in the war with his countrymen; for civil war is proverbially the most sanguinary and ferocious of all. The atrocities recorded of Carbajal, in his new career, and the number of his victims, are scarcely credible. For the honor of humanity, we may trust the accounts are greatly exaggerated; but that he should have given rise to them at all is sufficient to consign his name to infamy. 8

8 Out of three hundred and forty executions, according to Fernandez, three hundred were by Carbajal. (Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 91.) Zarate swells the number of these executions to five hundred. (Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 1.) The discrepancy shows how little we can confide in the accuracy of such estimates.]

He even took a diabolical pleasure, it is said, in amusing himself with the sufferings of his victims, and in the hour of execution would give utterance to frightful jests, that made them taste more keenly the bitterness of death! He had a sportive vein, if such it could be called, which he freely indulged on every occasion. Many of his sallies were preserved by the soldiery; but they are, for the most part, of a coarse, repulsive character, flowing from a mind familiar with the weak and wicked side of humanity, and distrusting every other. He had his jest for every thing, — for the misfortunes of others, and for his own. He looked on life as a farce, — though he too often made it a tragedy.

Carbajal must be allowed one virtue; that of fidelity to his party. This made him less tolerant of perfidy in others. He was never known to show mercy to a renegade. This undeviating fidelity, though to a bad cause, may challenge something like a feeling of respect, where fidelity was so rare. 9

9 Fidelity, indeed, is but one of many virtues claimed for Carbajal by Garcilasso, who considers most of the tales of cruelty and avarice circulated of the veteran, as well as the hardened levity imputed to him in his latter moments, as inventions of his enemies. The Inca chronicler was a boy when Gonzalo and his chivalry occupied Cuzco; and the kind treatment he experienced from them, owing, doubtless, to his father’s position in the rebel army, he has well repaid by depicting their portraits in the favorable colors in which they appeared to his young imagination. But the garrulous old man has recorded several individual instances of atrocity in the career of Carbajal, which form but an indifferent commentary on the correctness of his general assertions in respect to his character.]

As a military man, Carbajal takes a high rank among the soldiers of the New World. He was strict, even severe, in enforcing discipline, so that he was little loved by his followers. Whether he had the genius for military combinations requisite for conducting war on an extended scale may be doubted; but in the shifts and turns of guerilla warfare he was unrivalled. Prompt, active, and persevering, he was insensible to danger or fatigue, and, after days spent in the saddle, seemed to attach little value to the luxury of a bed. 10

10 “Fue maior sufridor de trabajos, que requeria su edad, porque a maravilla se quitaba las Armas de Dia, ni de Noche, i quando era necesario, tampoco se acostaba, ni dormia mas de quanto recostado en vna Silla, se le cansaba la mano en que arrimaba la Cabeca.” Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 14.]

He knew familiarly every mountain pass, and, such were the sagacity and the resources displayed in his roving expeditions, that he was vulgarly believed to be attended by a familiar. 11 With a character so extraordinary, with powers prolonged so far beyond the usual term of humanity, and passions so fierce in one tottering on the verge of the grave, it was not surprising that many fabulous stories should be eagerly circulated respecting him, and that Carbajal should be clothed with mysterious terrors as a sort of supernatural being, — the demon of the Andes!

11 Pedro Pizarro, who seems to have entertained feelings not unfriendly to Carbajal, thus sums up his character in a few words. “Era mui lenguaz: hablaba muy discreptamente y a gusto de los que le oian: era hombre sagaz, cruel, bien entendido en la guerra. . .  . . . Este Carbajal era tan sabio que decian tenia familiar.” Descub. y Conq., Ms.

Very different were the circumstances attending the closing scene of Gonzalo Pizarro. At his request, no one had been allowed to visit him in his confinement. He was heard pacing his tent during the greater part of the day, and when night came, having ascertained from Centeno that his execution was to take place on the following noon, he laid himself down to rest. He did not sleep long, however, but soon rose, and continued to traverse his apartment, as if buried in meditation, till dawn He then sent for a confessor, and remained with him till after the hour of noon, taking little or no refreshment. The officers of justice became impatient; but their eagerness was sternly rebuked by the soldiery, many of whom, having served under Gonzalo’s banner, were touched with pity for his misfortunes.

When the chieftain came forth to execution, he showed in his dress the same love of magnificence and display as in happier days. Over his doublet he wore a superb cloak of yellow velvet, stiff with gold embroidery, while his head was protected by a cap of the same materials, richly decorated, in like manner, with ornaments of gold. 12 In this gaudy attire he mounted his mule, and the sentence was so far relaxed that his arms were suffered to remain unshackled. He was escorted by a goodly number of priests and friars, who held up the crucifix before his eyes, while he carried in his own hand an image of the Virgin. She had ever been the peculiar object of Pizarro’s devotion; so much so, that those who knew him best in the hour of his prosperity were careful, when they had a petition, to prefer it in the name of the blessed Mary.

12 “Al tiempo que lo mataron, dio al Verdugo toda la Ropa, que traia que era mui rica, i de mucho valor, porque tenia vna Ropa de Armas de Terciopelo amarillo, casi toda cubierta de Chaperia de Oro i vn Chapeo de la misma forma.’ Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib 7 cap. 8.

Pizarro’s lips were frequently pressed to the emblem of his divinity, while his eyes were bent on the crucifix in apparent devotion, heedless of the objects around him. On reaching the scaffold, he ascended it with a firm step, and asked leave to address a few words to the soldiery gathered round it. “There are many among you,” said he, “who have grown rich on my brother’s bounty, and my own. Yet, of all my riches, nothing remains to me but the garments I have on; and even these are not mine, but the property of the executioner. I am without means, therefore, to purchase a mass for the welfare of my soul; and I implore you, by the remembrance of past benefits, to extend this charity to me when I am gone, that it may be well with you in the hour of death.” A profound silence reigned throughout the martial multitude, broken only by sighs and groans, as they listened to Pizarro’s request; and it was faithfully responded to, since, after his death, masses were said in many of the towns for the welfare of the departed chieftain.

Then, kneeling down before a crucifix placed on a table, Pizarro remained for some minutes absorbed in prayer; after which, addressing the soldier who was to act as the minister of justice, he calmly bade him “do his duty with a steady hand.” He refused to have his eyes bandaged, and, bending forward his neck, submitted it to the sword of the executioner, who struck off the head with a single blow, so true that the body remained for some moments in the same erect posture as in life. 13 The head was taken to Lima, where it was set in a cage or frame, and then fixed on a gibbet by the side of Carbajal’s. On it was placed a label, bearing, — “This is the head of the traitor Gonzalo Pizarro, who rebelled in Peru against his sovereign, and battled in the cause of tyranny and treason against the royal standard in the valley of Xaquixaguana.” 14 His large estates, including the rich mines in Potosi, were confiscated; his mansion in Lima was razed to the ground, the place strewed with salt, and a store pillar set up, with an inscription interdicting any one from building on a spot which had been profaned by the residence of a traitor.

13 “The executioner,” says Garcilasso, with a simile more expressive than elegant, “did his work as cleanly as if he had been slicing off a head of lettuce!” “De vn reues le corto la cabeca con tanta facilidad, como si fuera vna hoja de lechuga, y se quedo con ella en la mano, y tardo el cuerpo algun espacio en caer en el suelo.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 43.]

14 “Esta es la cabeza del traidor de Gonzalo Pizarro que se hizo justicia del en el valle de Aquixaguana, donde dio la batalla campal contra el estandarte real queriendo defender su traicion e tirania: ninguno sea osado de la quitar de aqui so pena de muerte natural.” Zarate, Ms.]

Gonzalo’s remains were not exposed to the indignities inflicted on Carbajal’s, whose quarters were hung in chains on the four great roads leading to Cuzco. Centeno saved Pizarro’s body from being stripped, by redeeming his costly raiment from the executioner, and in this sumptuous shroud it was laid in the chapel of the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Cuzco. It was the same spot where, side by side, lay the bloody remains of the Almagros, father and son, who in like manner had perished by the hand of justice, and were indebted to private charity for their burial. All these were now con signed “to the same grave,” says the historian, with some bitterness, “as if Peru could not afford land enough for a burial-place to its conquerors.” 15

15 “Y las sepolturas vna sola auiendo de ser tres: que aun la tierra parece que les falto para auer los de cubrir.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 43.

For the tragic particulars of the preceding pages, see Ibid, cap. 39–43. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap 186. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 91. — Zarate Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 8. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 4, cap. 16.]

Gonzalo Pizarro had reached only his forty-second year at the time of his death, — being just half the space allotted to his follower Carbajal. He was the youngest of the remarkable family to whom Spain was indebted for the acquisition of Peru. He came over to the country with his brother Francisco, on the return of the latter from his visit to Castile. Gonzalo was present in all the remarkable passages of the Conquest. He witnessed the seizure of Atahuallpa, took an active part in suppressing the insurrection of the Incas, and especially in the reduction of Charcas. He afterwards led the disastrous expedition to the Amazon; and, finally, headed he memorable rebellion which ended so fatally to himself. There are but few men whose lives abound in such wild and romantic adventure, and, for the most part, crowned with success. The space which he occupies in the page of history is altogether disproportioned to his talents. It may be in some measure ascribed to fortune, but still more to those showy qualities which form a sort of substitute for mental talent, and which secured his popularity with the vulgar.

He had a brilliant exterior; excelled in all martial exercises; rode well, fenced well, managed his lance to perfection, was a first-rate marksman with the arquebuse, and added the accomplishment of being an excellent draughtsman. He was bold and chivalrous, even to temerity; courted adventure, and was always in the front of danger. He was a knighterrant, in short, in the most extravagant sense of the term, and, “mounted on his favorite charger,” says one who had often seen him, “made no more account of a squadron of Indians than of a swarm of flies.” 16

16 “Quando Goncalo Pizarro, que aya gloria, se veya en su zaynillo, no hazia mas caso de esquadrones de Yndios, que si fueran de moscas.” Garcilasso, Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 43.]

While thus, by his brilliant exploits and showy manners, he captivated the imaginations of his countrymen, he won their hearts no less by his soldier-like frankness, his trust in their fidelity, — too often abused, — and his liberal largesses; for Pizarro, though avaricious of the property of others, was, like the Roman conspirator, prodigal of his own. This was his portrait in happier days, when his heart had not been corrupted by success; for tha some change was wrought on him by his prosperity is well attested. His head was made giddy by his elevation; and it is proof of a want of talent equal to his success, that he knew not how to profit by it. Obeying the dictates of his own rash judgment, he rejected the warnings of his wisest counsellors, and relied with blind confidence on his destiny. Garcilasso imputes this to the malignant influence of the stars. 17 But the superstitious chronicler might have better explained it by a common principle of human nature; by the presumption nourished by success; the insanity, as the Roman, or rather Grecian, proverb calls it, with which the gods afflict men when they design to ruin them. 18

17 “Dezian que no era falta de ontendimiento, pues lo tenia bastante, sino que deuia de ser sobra de influencia de signos y planetas, que le cegauan y forcauan a que pusiesse la garganta al cuchillo.” Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2 lib. 5, cap. 33.]

18 Eurip. Fragmenta]

Gonzalo was without education, except such as he had picked up in the rough school of war. He had little even of that wisdom which springs from natural shrewdness and insight into character. In all this he was inferior to his elder brothers, although he fully equalled them in ambition. Had he possessed a tithe of their sagacity, he would not have madly persisted in rebellion, after the coming of the president. Before this period, he represented the people. Their interests and his were united. He had their support, for he was contending for the redress of their wrongs. When these were redressed by the government, there was nothing to contend for. From that time, he was battling only for himself The people had no part nor interest in the contest. Without a common sympathy to bind them together, was it strange that they should fall off from him, like leaves in winter, and leave him exposed, a bare and sapless trunk, to the fury of the tempest?

Cepeda, more criminal than Pizarro, since he had both superior education and intelligence, which he employed only to mislead his commander, did not long survive him. He had come to the country in an office of high responsibility. His first step was to betray the viceroy whom he was sent to support; his next was to betray the Audience with whom he should have acted; and lastly, he betrayed the leader whom he most affected to serve. His whole career was treachery to his own government. His life was one long perfidy.

After his surrender, several of the cavaliers, disgusted at his cold-blooded apostasy, would have persuaded Gasca to send him to execution along with his commander; but the president refused, in consideration of the signal service he had rendered the Crown by his defection. He was put under arrest, however, and sent to Castile. There he was arraigned for high-treason. He made a plausible defence, and as he had friends at court, it is not improbable he would have been acquitted; but, before the trial was terminated, he died in prison. It was the retributive justice not always to be found in the affairs of this world. 19

19 The cunning lawyer prepared so plausible an argument in his own justification, that Yllescas, the celebrated historian of the Popes, declares that no one who read the paper attentively, but must rise from the perusal of it with an entire conviction of the writer’s innocence, and of his unshaken loyalty to the Crown. See the passage quoted by Garcilasso Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 6, cap. 10]

Indeed, it so happened, that several of those who had been most forward to abandon the cause of Pizarro survived their commander but a short time. The gallant Centeno, and the Licentiate Carbajal, who deserted him near Lima, and bore the royal standard on the field of Xaquixaguana, both died within a year after Pizarro. Hinojosa was assassinated but two years later in La Plata; and his old comrade Valdivia, after a series of brilliant exploits in Chili, which furnished her most glorious theme to the epic Muse of Castile, was cut off by the invincible warriors of Arauco. The Manes of Pizarro were amply avenged.

Acosta, and three or four other cavaliers who surrendered with Gonzalo, were sent to execution on the same day with their chief; and Gasca, on the morning following the dismal tragedy, broke up his quarters and marched with his whole army to Cuzco, where he was received by the politic people with the same enthusiasm which they had so recently shown to his rival. He found there a number of the rebel army who had taken refuge in the city after their late defeat, where they were immediately placed under arrest. Proceedings, by Gasca’s command, were instituted against them. The principal cavaliers, to the number of ten or twelve, were executed; others were banished or sent to the galleys. The same rigorous decrees were passed against such as had fled and were not yet taken, and the estates of all were confiscated. The estates of the rebels supplied a fund for the recompense of the loyal. 20 The execution of justice may seem to have been severe; but Gasca was willing that the rod should fall heavily on those who had so often rejected his proffers of grace. Lenity was wasted on a rude, licentious soldiery, who hardly recognized the existence of government, unless they felt its rigor

20 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 91. — Carta de Valdivia, Ms. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib 7, cap 8. — Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms]

A new duty now devolved on the president, — that of rewarding his faithful followers, — not less difficult, as it proved, than that of punishing the guilty. The applicants were numerous; since every one who had raised a finger in behalf of the government claimed his reward. They urged their demands with a clamorous importunity which perplexed the good president, and consumed every moment of his time.

Disgusted with this unprofitable state of things, Gasca resolved to rid himself of the annoyance at once, by retiring to the valley of Guaynarima, about twelve leagues distant from the city, and there digesting, in quiet, a scheme of compensation, adjusted to the merits of the parties. He was accompanied only by his secretary, and by Loaysa, now archbishop of Lima, a man of sense, and well acquainted with the affairs of the country. In this seclusion the president remained three months, making a careful examination into the conflicting claims, and apportioning the forfeitures among the parties according to their respective services. The repa??timientos, it should be remarked, were usually granted only for life, and, on the death of the incumbent, reverted to the Crown, to be reassigned or retained at its pleasure.

When his arduous task was completed, Gasca determined to withdraw to Lima, leaving the instrument of partition with the archbishop, to be communicated to the army. Notwithstanding all the care that had been taken for an equitable adjustment, Gasca was aware that it was impossible to satisfy the demands of a jealous and irritable soldiery, where each man would be likely to exaggerate his own deserts, while he underrated those of his comrades; and he did not care to expose himself to importunities and complaints that could serve no other purpose than to annoy him. On his departure, the troops were called together by the archbishop in the cathedral, to learn the contents of the schedule intrusted to him. A discourse was first preached by a worthy Dominican, the prior of Arequipa, in which the reverend father expatiated on the virtue of contentment, the duty of obedience, and the folly, as well as wickedness, of an attempt to resist the constituted authorities, topics, in short, which he conceived might best conciliate the good-will and conformity of his audience.

A letter from the president was then read from the pulpit. It was addressed to the officers and soldiers of the army. The writer began with briefly exposing the difficulties of his task, owing to the limited amount of the gratuities, and the great number and services of the claimants. He had given the matter the most careful consideration, he said, and endeavoured to assign to each his share, according to his deserts, without prejudice or partiality. He had, no doubt, fallen into errors, but he trusted his followers would excuse them, when they reflected that he had done according to the best of his poor abilities; and all, he believed, would do him the justice to acknowledge he had not been influenced by motives of personal interest. He bore emphatic testimony to the services they had rendered to the good cause, and concluded with the most affectionate wishes for their future prosperity and happiness. The letter was dated at Guaynarima, August 17, 1548, and bore the simple signature of the Licentiate Gasca. 21

21 Ms. de Caravantes — Pedro Pizzarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. — Peru, Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 9. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap 92.]

The archbishop next read the paper containing the president’s award. The annual rent of the estates to be distributed amounted to a hundred and thirty thousand pesos ensayados; 22 a large amount, considering the worth of money in that day, — in any other country than Peru, where money was a drug. 23

22 The peso ensayado, according to Garcilasso, was one fifth more in value than the Castilian ducat. Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 6, cap. 3.]

23 “Entre los cavalleros capitanes y soldados que le ayudaron en esta ocasion repartio el Presidente Pedro de la Gasca 135,000 pesos ensayados de renta que estaban vacos, y no un millon y tantos mil pesos, como dize Diego Fernandez, que escrivio en Palencia estas alteraciones, y de quien lo tomo Antonio de Herrera: y porque esta ocasion fue la segunda en que los benemeritos del Piru fundan con razon los servicios de sus pasados, porque mediante esta batalla aseguro la corona de Castilla las provincias mas ricas que tiene en America, pondre sus nombres para que se conserbe con certeza su memoria como pareze en el auto original que proveyo en el asiento de Guainarima cerca de la ciudad del Cuzco en diez y siete de Agosto de 1548, que esta en los archivos del govierno.” Ms. de Caravantes.

The sum mentioned in the text, as thus divided among the army, falls very far short of the amount stated by Garcilasso, Fernandez, Zarate, and, indeed, every other writer on the subject, none of whom estimate it at less than a million of pesos. But Caravantes, from whom I have taken it, copies the original act of partition preserved in the royal archives. Yet Garcilasso de la Vega ought to have been well informed of the value of these estates, which, according to him, far exceeded the estimate given in the schedule. Thus, for instance, Hinojosa, he says, obtained from the share of lands and rich mines assigned to him from the property of Gonzalo Pizarro no less than 200,000 pesos annually, while Aldana, the Licentiate Carbajal, and others, had estates which yielded them from 10,000 to 50,000 pesos. (Ibid., ubi supra.) It is impossible to reconcile these monstrous discrepancies. No sum seems to have been too large for the credulity of the ancient chronicler; and the imagination of the reader is so completely bewildered by the actual riches of this El Dorado, that it is difficult to adjust his faith by any standard of probability.]

The repartimientos thus distributed varied in value from one hundred to thirty-five hundred pesos of yearly rent; all, apparently, graduated with the nicest precision to the merits of the parties. The number of pensioners was about two hundred and fifty; for the fund would not have sufficed for general distribution, nor were the services of the greater part deemed worthy of such a mark of consideration. 24

24 Caravantes has transcribed from the original act a full catalogue of the pensioners, with the amount of the sums set against each of their names.]

The effect produced by the document, on men whose minds were filled with the most indefinite expectations, was just such as had been anticipated by the president. It was received with a general murmur of disapprobation. Even those who had got more than they expected were discontented, on comparing their condition with that of their comrades, whom they thought still better remunerated in proportion to their deserts. They especially inveighed against the preference shown to the old partisans of Gonzalo Pizarro — as Hinojosa, Centeno, and Aldana — over those who had always remained loyal to the Crown. There was some ground for such a preference; for none had rendered so essential services in crushing the rebellion; and it was these services that Gasca proposed to recompense. To reward every man who had proved himself loyal, simply for his loyalty, would have frittered away the donative into fractions that would be of little value to any. 25

25 The president found an ingenious way of remunerating several of his followers, by bestowing on them the hands of the rich widows of the cavaliers who had perished in the war. The inclinations of the ladies do not seem to have been always consulted in this politic arrangement. See Garci lasen, Com. Real., Parte 2 lib. 6 cap. 3.]

It was in vain, however, that the archbishop, seconded by some of the principal cavaliers, endeavoured to infuse a more contented spirit into the multitude. They insisted that the award should be rescinded, and a new one made on more equitable principles; threatening, moreover, that, if this were not done by the president, they would take the redress of the matter into their own hands. Their discontent, fomented by some mischievous persons who thought to find their account in it, at length proceeded so far as to menace a mutiny; and it was not suppressed till the commander of Cuzco sentenced one of the ringleaders to death, and several others to banishment. The iron soldiery of the Conquest required an iron hand to rule them.

Meanwhile, the president had continued his journey towards Lima; and on the way was everywhere received by the people with an enthusiasm, the more grateful to his heart that he felt he had deserved it. As he drew near the capital, the loyal inhabitants prepared to give him a magnificent reception. The whole population came forth from the gates, led by the authorities of the city, with Aldana as corregidor at their head. Gasca rode on a mule, dressed in his ecclesiastical robes. On his right, borne on a horse richly caparisoned, was the royal seal, in a box curiously chased and ornamented. A gorgeous canopy of brocade was supported above his head by the officers of the municipality, who, in their robes of crimson velvet, walked bareheaded by his side. Gay troops of dancers, clothed in fantastic dresses of gaudy-colored silk, followed the procession, strewing flowers and chanting verses as they went, in honor of the president. They were designed as emblematical of the different cities of the colony; and they bore legends or mottoes in rhyme on their caps, intimating their loyal devotion to the Crown, and evincing much more loyalty in their composition, it may be added, than poetical merit. 26 In this way, without beat of drum, or noise of artillery, or any of the rude accompaniments of war, the good president made his peaceful entry into the City of the Kings, while the air was rent with the acclamations of the people, who hailed him as their “Father and Deliverer, the Saviour of their country.!” 27

26 Fernandez has collected these flowers of colonial poesy, which prove that the old Conquerors were much more expert with the sword than with the pen. Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 93.]

27 “Fue recibimiento mui solemne, con universal alegria del Pueblo, por verse libre de Tiranos; i toda la Gente, a voces, bendecia al Presidente, i le llamaban: Padre, Restaurador, i Pacificador, dando gracias a Dios, por haver vengado las injurias hechas a su Divina Magestad.” Herrera, Hist General, dec. 8, lib. 4, cap. 17.

But, however grateful was this homage to Gasca’s heart, he was not a man to waste his time in idle vanities. He now thought only by what means he could eradicate the seeds of disorder which shot up so readily in this fruitful soil, and how he could place the authority of the government on a permanent basis. By virtue of his office, he presided over the Royal Audience, the great judicial, and, indeed, executive tribunal of the colony; and he gave great despatch to the business, which had much accumulated during the late disturbances. In the unsettled state of property, there was abundant subject for litigation; but, fortunately, the new Audience was composed of able, upright judges, who labored diligently with their chief to correct the mischief caused by the misrule of their predecessors.

Neither was Gasca unmindful of the unfortunate natives; and he occupied himself earnestly with that difficult problem, — the best means practicable of ameliorating their condition. He sent a number of commissioners, as visitors, into different parts of the country, whose business it was to inspect the encomiendas, and ascertain the manner in which the Indians were treated, by conversing not only with the proprietors, but with the natives themselves. They were also to learn the nature and extent of the tributes paid in former times by the vassals of the Incas. 28

28 “El Presidente Gasca mando visitar todas las provincias y repartimientos deste reyno, nombrando para ello personas de autoridad y de quien se tenia entendido que tenian conoscimiento de la tierra que se les encargavan, que ha de ser la principal calidad, que se ha buscar en la persona, a quien se comete semejante negocio despues que sea Cristiana: lo segundo se les dio instruccion de lo que hauian de averiguar, que fueron muchas cosas: el numero, las haciendas, los tratos y grangerias, la calidad de la gente y de sus tierras y comarca y lo que davan de tributo.” Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., Ms.]

In this way, a large amount of valuable information was obtained, which enabled Gasca, with the aid of a council of ecclesiastics and jurists, to digest a uniform system of taxation for the natives, lighter even than that imposed on them by the Peruvian princes. The president would gladly have relieved the conquered races from the obligations of personal service; but, on mature consideration, this was judged impracticable in the present state of the country, since the colonists, more especially in the tropical regions, looked to the natives for the performance of labor, and the latter, it was found from experience, would not work at all, unless compelled to do so. The president, however, limited the amount of service to be exacted with great precision, so that it was in the nature of a moderate personal tax. No Peruvian was to be required to change his place of residence, from the climate to which he had been accustomed, to another; a fruitful source of discomfort, as well as of disease, in past times. By these various regulations, the condition of the natives, though not such as had been contemplated by the sanguine philanthropy of Las Casas, was improved far more than was compatible with the craving demands of the colonists; and all the firmness of the Audience was required to enforce provisions so unpalatable to the latter. Still they were enforced. Slavery, in its most odious sense, was no longer tolerated in Peru. The term “slave” was not recognized as having relation to her institutions; and the historian of the Indies makes the proud boast, — it should have been qualified by the limitations I have noticed, — that every Indian vassal might aspire to the rank of a freeman. 29

29 “El Presidente, i el Audiencia dieron tales oraenes, que este negocio se asento, de manera, que para adelante no se platico mas este nombre de Esclavos, sino que la libertad fue general por todo el Reino.” Herrera, Hist. Gen., dec. 8, lib. 5, cap. 7.]

Besides these reforms, Gasca introduced several in the municipal government of the cities, and others yet more important in the management of the finances, and in the mode of keeping the accounts. By these and other changes in the internal economy of the colony, he placed the administration on a new basis, and greatly facilitated the way for a more sure and orderly government by his successors. As a final step, to secure the repose of the country after he was gone, he detached some of the more aspiring cavaliers on distant expeditions, trusting that they would draw off the light and restless spirits, who might otherwise gather together and disturb the public tranquillity; as we sometimes see the mists which have been scattered by the genial influence of the sun become condensed, and settle into a storm, on his departure. 30

30 Ms. de Caravantes. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indians, cap. 187. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 93–95. — Zarate. Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 10.]

Gasca had been now more than fifteen months in Lima and nearly three years had elapsed since his first entrance into Peru. In that time, he had accomplished the great objects of his mission. When he landed, he found the colony in a state of anarchy, or rather organized rebellion under a powerful and popular chief. He came without funds or forces to support him. The former he procured through the credit which he established in his good faith; the latter he won over by argument and persuasion from the very persons to whom they had been confided by his rival. Thus he turned the arms of that rival against himself. By a calm appeal to reason he wrought a change in the hearts of the people; and, without costing a drop of blood to a single loyal subject, he suppressed a rebellion which had menaced Spain with the loss of the wealthiest of her provinces. He had punished the guilty, and in their spoils found the means to recompense the faithful. He had, moreover, so well husbanded the resources of the country, that he was enabled to pay off the large loan he had negotiated with the merchants of the colony, for the expenses of the war, exceeding nine hundred thousand pesos de oro. 31 Nay, more, by his economy he had saved a million and a half of ducats for the government, which for some years had received nothing from Peru; and he now proposed to carry back this acceptable treasure to swell the royal coffers. 32 All this had been accomplished without the cost of outfit or salary, or any charge to the Crown except that of his own frugal expenditure. 33 The country was now in a state of tranquillity Gasca felt that his work was done; and that he was free to gratify his natural longing to return to his native land.

31 “Recogio tanta sema de dinero, que pago novecientos mil pesos de Oro, que se hallo haver gastado, desde el Dia que entro en Panama, hasta que se acabo la Guerra, los quales tomo prestados.” Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 5, cap. 7. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 10.]

32 “Aviendo pagado el Presidente las costas de la guerra que fueron muchas, remitio a S. M y lo llevo consigo 264,422 marcos de plata, que a seis ducados valieron 1 millon 588,332 ducados” Ms. de Caravantes.]

33 “No tubo ni quiso salario el Presidente Gasca sino cedula para que a un mayordomo suyo diosen los Oficiales reales lo necesario de la real Hacienda, que como pareze de los quadernos de su gasto fue muy moderado.” (Ms. de Caravantes.) Gasca, it appears, was most exact in keeping the accounts of his disbursements for the expenses of himself and household, from the time he embarked for the colonies.]

Before his departure, he arranged a distribution of those repartimientos which had lapsed to the Crown during the past year by the death of the incumbents. Life was short in Peru; since those who lived by the sword, if they did not die by the sword, too often fell early victims to the hardships incident to their adventurous career. Many were the applicants for the new bounty of government; and, as among them were some of those who had been discontented with the former partition, Gasca was assailed by remonstrances, and sometimes by reproaches couched in no very decorous or respectful language. But they had no power to disturb his equanimity; he patiently listened, and replied to all in the mild tone of expostulation best calculated to turn away wrath; “by this victory over himself,” says an old writer, “acquiring more real glory, than by all his victories over his enemies.” 34

34 “En lo qual hizo mas que en vencer y ganar todo aquel Ympe rio: porque fue vencerse assi proprio.” Garcilasso, Com. Real Parte 2, lib. 6, cap. 7.]

An incident occurred on the eve of his departure, touching in itself, and honorable to the parties concerned. The Indian caciques of the neighbouring country, mindful of the great benefits he had rendered their people, presented him with a considerable quantity of plate in token of their gratitude. But Gasca refused to receive it, though in doing so he gave much concern to the Peruvians who feared they had unwittingly fallen under his displeasure.

Many of the principal colonists, also, from the same wish to show their sense of his important services, sent to him, after he had embarked, a magnificent donative of fifty thousand gold castellanos. “As he had taken leave of Peru,” they said, “there could be no longer any ground for declining it.” But Gasca was as decided in his rejection of this present, as he had been of the other. “He had come to the country,” he remarked, “to serve the king, and to secure the blessings of peace to the inhabitants; and now that, by the favor of Heaven, he had been permitted to accomplish this, he would not dishonor the cause by any act that might throw suspicion on the purity of his motives.” Notwithstanding his refusal, the colonists contrived to secrete the sum of twenty thousand castellanos on board of his vessel, with the idea, that, once in his own country, with his mission concluded, the president’s scruples would be removed. Gasca did, indeed, accept the donative; for he felt that it would be ungracious to send it back; but it was only till he could ascertain the relatives of the donors, when he distributed it among the most needy. 35

35 Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 95.]

Having now settled all his affairs, the president committed the government, until the arrival of a viceroy, to his faithful partners of the Royal Audience, and in January, 1150, he embarked with the royal treasure on board of a squadron for Panama. He was accompanied to the shore by a numerous crowd of the inhabitants, cavaliers and common people, persons of all ages and conditions, who followed to take their last look of their benefactor, and watch with straining eyes the vessel that bore him away from their land.

His voyage was prosperous, and early in March the president reached his destined port. He stayed there only till he could muster horses and mules sufficient to carry the treasure across the mountains; for he knew that this part of the country abounded in wild, predatory spirits, who would be sorely tempted to some act of violence by a knowledge of the wealth which he had with him. Pushing forward, therefore, he crossed the rugged Isthmus, and, after a painful march, arrived in safety at Nombre de Dios.

The event justified his apprehensions. He had been gone but three days, when a ruffian horde, after murdering the bishop of Guatemala, broke into Panama with the design of inflicting the same fate on the president, and of seizing the booty. No sooner were the tidings communicated to Gasca, than, with his usual energy, he levied a force and prepared to march to the relief of the invaded capital. But Fortune — or, to speak more correctly Providence — favored him here, as usual; and, on the eve of his departure, he learned that the marauders had been met by the citizens, and discomfited with great slaughter. Disbanding his forces, therefore, he equipped a fleet of nineteen vessels to transport himself and the royal treasure to Spain, where he arrived in safety, entering the harbour of Seville after a little more than four years from the period when he had sailed from the same port. 36

36 Ms. de Caravantes. — Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 183. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru Parte 2, lib 1, cap. 10. — Zarate Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 13. — Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 6. cap. 17. 2, lib 1, cap. 10. — Zarate Conq.]

Great was the sensation throughout the country caused by his arrival. Men could hardly believe that results so momentous had been accomplished in so short a time by a single individual, — a poor ecclesiastic, who, unaided by government, had, by his own strength, as it were, put down a rebellion which had so long set the arms of Spain at defiance! The emperor was absent in Flanders. He was overjoyed on learning the complete success of Gasca’s mission; and not less satisfied with the tidings of the treasure he had brought with him; for the exchequer, rarely filled to overflowing, had been exhausted by the recent troubles in Germany. Charles instantly wrote to the president, requiring his presence at court, that he might learn from his own lips the particulars of his expedition. Gasca, accordingly, attended by a numerous retinue of nobles and cavaliers, — for who does not pay homage to him whom the king delighteth to honor? — embarked at Barcelona, and, after a favorable voyage, joined the Court in Flanders.

He was received by his royal master, who fully appreciated his services, in a manner most grateful to his feelings; and not long afterward he was raised to the bishopric of Palencia, — a mode of acknowledgment best suited to his character and deserts. Here he remained till 1561, when he was promoted to the vacant see of Siguenza. The rest of his days he passed peacefully in the discharge of his episcopal functions; honored by his sovereign, and enjoying the admiration and respect of his countrymen. 37

37 Ibid., ubi supra. — Ms. de Caravantes. — Gomara, Hist. de as Indias, cap. 182. — Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 2, lib. 1 cap. 10. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru lib. 7, cap. 13.]

In his retirement, he was still consulted by the government in matters of importance relating to the Indies. The disturbances of that unhappy land were renewed, though on a much smaller scale than before, soon after the president’s departure. They were chiefly caused by discontent with the repartimientos, and with the constancy of the Audience in enforcing the benevolent restrictions as to the personal services of the natives. But these troubles subsided, after a very few years, under the wise rule of the Mendozas, — two successive viceroys of that illustrious house which has given so many of its sons to the service of Spain. Under their rule, the mild yet determined policy was pursued, of which Gasca had set the example. The ancient distractions of the country were permanently healed. With peace, prosperity returned within the borders of Peru; and the consciousness of the beneficent results of his labors may have shed a ray of satisfaction, as it did of glory, over the evening of the president’s life.

That life was brought to a close in November 1567, at an age, probably, not far from the one fixed by the sacred writer as the term of human existence. 38 He died at Valladolid, and was buried in the church of Santa Maria Magdalena, in that city, which he had built and liberally endowed. His monument, surmounted by the sculptured effigy of a priest in his sacerdotal robes, is still to be seen there, attracting the admiration of the traveller by the beauty of its execution. The banners taken from Gonzalo Pizarro on the field of Xaquixaguana were suspended over his tomb, as the trophies of his memorable mission to Peru. 39 The banners have long since mouldered into dust, with the remains of him who slept beneath them; but the memory of his good deeds will endure for ever. 40

38 I have met with no account of the year in which Gasca was born; but an inscription on his portrait in the sacristy of St. Mary Magdalene at Valladolid, from which the engraving prefixed to this volume is taken, states that he died in 1567, at the age of seventy-one. This is perfectly consistent with the time of life at which he had probably arrived when we find him a collegiate at Salamanca, in the year 1522.]

39 “Murio en Valladolid, donde mando enterrar su cuerpo en la Iglesia de la advocacion de la Magdalena, que hizo edificar en aquella ciudad, donde se pusieron las vanderas que gano a Gonzalo Pizarro.” Ms. de Caravantes.]

40 The memory of his achievements has not been left entirely to the care of the historian. It is but a few years since the character and administration of Gasca formed the subject of an elaborate panegyric from one of the most distinguished statesmen in the British parliament. (See Lord Brougham’s speech on the maltreatment of the North American colonies, February, 1838.) The enlightened Spaniard of our day, who contemplates with sorrow the excesses committed by his countrymen of the sixteenth century in the New World, may feel an honest pride, that in this company of dark spirits should be found one to whom the present generation may turn as to the brightest model of integrity and wisdom.]

Gasca was plain in person, and his countenance was far from comely. He was awkward and ill-proportioned; for his limbs were too long for his body, — so that when he rode, he appeared to be much shorter than he really was. 41 His dress was humble, his manners simple, and there was nothing imposing in his presence. But, on a nearer intercourse, there was a charm in his discourse that effaced every unfavorable impression produced by his exterior, and won the hearts of his hearers.

41 “Era muy pequeno de cuerpo con estrana hechura, que de la cintura abaxo tenia tanto cuerpo, como qualquiera hombre alto, y de la cintura al hombro no tenia vna tercia. Andando a cauallo parescia a vn mas pequeno de lo que era, porque todo era piernas: de rostro era muy feo: pero lo que la naturaleza le nego de las dotes del cuerpo, se los doblo en los del animo.” Garcilasso, Com. Real, Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 2.

The president’s character may be thought to have been sufficiently portrayed in the history already given of his life. It presented a combination of qualities which generally serve to neutralize each other, but which were mixed in such proportions in him as to give it additional strength. He was gentle, yet resolute; by nature intrepid, yet preferring to rely on the softer arts of policy. He was frugal in his personal expenditure, and economical in the public; yet caring nothing for riches on his own account, and never stinting his bounty when the public good required it. He was benevolent and placable, yet could deal sternly with the impenitent offender; lowly in his deportment, yet with a full measure of that self-respect which springs from conscious rectitude of purpose; modest and unpretending, yet not shrinking from the most difficult enterprises; deferring greatly to others, yet, in the last resort, relying mainly on himself; moving with deliberation, — patiently waiting his time; but, when that came, bold, prompt, and decisive.

Gasca was not a man of genius, in the vulgar sense of that term. At least, no one of his intellectual powers seems to have received an extraordinary development, beyond what is found in others. He was not a great writer, nor a great orator, nor a great general. He did not affect to be either. He committed the care of his military matters to military men; of ecclesiastical, to the clergy; and his civi and judicial concerns he reposed on the members of the Audience. He was not one of those little great men who aspire to do every thing themselves, under the conviction that nothing can be done so well by others. But the president was a keen judge of character. Whatever might be the office, he selected the best man for it. He did more. He assured himself of the fidelity of his agents, presided at their deliberations; dictated a general line of policy, and thus infused a spirit of unity into their plans, which made all move in concert to the accomplishment of one grand result. A distinguishing feature of his mind was his common sense, — the best substitute for genius in a ruler who has the destinies of his fellow-men at his disposal, and more indispensable than genius itself. In Gasca, the different qualities were blended in such harmony, that there was no room for excess. They seemed to regulate each other. While his sympathy with mankind taught him the nature of their wants, his reason suggested to what extent these were capable of relief, as well as the best mode of effecting it. He did not waste his strength on illusory schemes of benevolence, like Las Casas, on the one hand; nor did he countenance the selfish policy of the colonists, on the other. He aimed at the practicable, — the greatest good practicable.

In accomplishing his objects, he disclaimed force equally with fraud. He trusted for success to his power over the convictions of his hearers; and the source of this power was the confidence he inspired in his own integrity. Amidst all the calumnies of faction, no imputation was ever cast on the integrity of Gasca. 42 No wonder that a virtue so rare should be of high price in Peru.

42 “Fue tan recatado y estremado en esta virtud, que puesto que de muchos quedo mal quisto, quando del Peru se partio para Espana, por el repartimiento que hizo: con todo esso, jamas nadie dixo del, ni sospecho; que en esto ni otra cosa, se vuiesse mouido por codicia.” Fernandez, Hist. de Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 95]

There are some men whose characters have been so wonderfully adapted to the peculiar crisis in which they appeared, that they seem to have been specially designed for it by Providence. Such was Washington in our own country, and Gasca in Peru We can conceive of individuals with higher qualities, at least with higher intellectual qualities, than belonged to either of these great men. But it was the wonderful conformity of their characters to the exigencies of their situation, the perfect adaptation of the means to the end, that constituted the secret of their success; that enabled Gasca so gloriously to crush revolution, and Washington still more gloriously to achieve it.

Gasca’s conduct on his first coming to the colonies affords the best illustration of his character. Had he come backed by a military array, or even clothed in the paraphernalia of authority, every heart and hand would have been closed against him. But the humble ecclesiastic excited no apprehension; and his enemies were already disarmed, before he had begun his approaches. Had Gasca, impatient of Hinojosa’s tardiness, listened to the suggestions of those who advised his seizure, he would have brought his cause into jeopardy by this early display of violence. But he wisely chose to win over his enemy by operating on his conviction.

In like manner, he waited his time for making his entry into Peru. He suffered his communications to do their work in the minds of the people, and was careful not to thrust in the sickle before the harvest was ripe. In this way, wherever he went, every thing was prepared for his coming; and when he set foot in Peru, the country was already his own.

After the dark and turbulent spirits with which we have been hitherto occupied, it is refreshing to dwell on a character like that of Gasca. In the long procession which has passed in review before us, we have seen only the mail-clad cavalier, brandishing his bloody lance, and mounted on his warhorse, riding over the helpless natives, or battling with his own friends and brothers; fierce, arrogant, and cruel, urged on by the lust of gold, or the scarce more honorable love of a bastard glory. Mingled with these qualities, indeed, we have seen sparkles of the chivalrous and romantic temper which belongs to the heroic age of Spain. But, with some honorable exceptions, it was the scum of her chivalry that resorted to Peru, and took service under the banner of the Pizarros. At the close of this long array of iron warriors, we behold the poor and humble missionary coming into the land on an errand of mercy, and everywhere proclaiming the glad tidings of peace. No warlike trumpet heralds his approach, nor is his course to be tracked by the groans of the wounded and the dying. The means he employs are in perfect harmony with his end. His weapons are argument and mild persuasion. It is the reason ne would conquer, not the body. He wins his way by conviction, not by violence. It is a moral victory to which he aspires, more potent, and happily more permanent, than that of the blood-stained conqueror. As he thus calmly, and imperceptibly, as it were, comes to his great results, he may remind us of the slow, insensible manner in which Nature works out her great changes in the material world, that are to endure when the ravages of the hurricane are passed away and forgotten.

With the mission of Gasca terminates the history of the Conquest of Peru. The Conquest, indeed, strictly terminates with the suppression of the Peruvian revolt, when the strength, if not the spirit, of the Inca race was crushed for ever. The reader, however, might feel a natural curiosity to follow to its close the fate of the remarkable family who achieved the Conquest. Nor would the story of the invasion itself be complete without some account of the civil wars which grew out of it; which serve, moreover, as a moral commentary on preceding events, by showing that the indulgence of fierce, unbridled passions is sure to recoil, sooner or later, even in this life, on the heads of the guilty.

It is true, indeed, that the troubles of the country were renewed on the departure of Gasca. The waters had been too fearfully agitated to be stilled, at once, into a calm; but they gradually subsided, under the temperate rule of his successors, who wisely profited by his policy and example. Thus the influence of the good president remained after he was withdrawn from the scene of his labors, and Peru, hitherto so distracted, continued to enjoy as large a share of repose as any portion of the colonial empire of Spain. With the benevolent mission of Gasca, then, the historian of the Conquest may be permitted to terminate his labors, — with feelings not unlike those of the traveller, who having long journeyed among the dreary forests and dangerous defiles of the mountains, a length emerges on some pleasant landscape smiling in tranquillity and peace.

Augustin de Zarate — a highly respectable authority, frequently cited in the later portion of this work — was Contador de Mercedes, Comptroller of Accounts, for Castile. This office he filled for fifteen years; after which he was sent by the government to Peru to examine into the state of the colonial finances, which had been greatly deranged by the recent troubles, and to bring them, if possible, into order.

Zarate went out accordingly in the train of the viceroy Blasco Nunez, and found himself, through the passions of his imprudent leader, entangled, soon after his arrival, in the inextricable meshes of civil discord. In the struggle which ensued, he remained with the Royal Audience; and we find him in Lima, on the approach of Gonzalo Pizarro to that capital, when Zarate was deputed by the judges to wait on the insurgent chief, and require him to disband his troops and withdraw to his own estates. The historian executed the mission, for which he seems to have had little relish, and which certainly was not without danger. From this period, we rarely hear of him in the troubled scenes that ensued. He probably took no further part in affairs than was absolutely forced on him by circumstances; but the unfavorable bearing of his remarks on Gonzalo Pizarro intimates, that, however he may have been discontented with the conduct of the viceroy, he did not countenance, for a moment, the criminal ambition of his rival. The times were certainly unpropitious to the execution of the financial reforms for which Zarate had come to Peru. But he showed so much real devotion to the interests of the Crown, that the emperor, on his return, signified his satisfaction by making him Superintendent of the Finances in Flanders.

Soon after his arrival in Peru, he seems to have conceived the idea of making his countrymen at home acquainted with the stirring events passing in the colony, which, moreover, afforded some striking passages for the study of the historian. Although he collected notes and diaries, as he tells us, for this purpose, he did not dare to avail himself of them till his return to Castile. “For to have begun the history in Peru,” he says, “would have alone been enough to put my life in jeopardy; since a certain commander, named Francisco de Carbajal, threatened to take vengeance on any one who should be so rash as to attempt the relation of his exploits, — far less deserving, as they were, to be placed on record, than to be consigned to eternal oblivion.” In this same commander, the reader will readily recognize the veteran lieutenant of Gonzalo Pizarro.

On his return home, Zarate set about the compilation of his work. His first purpose was to confine it to the events that followed the arrival of Blasco Nunez; but he soon found, that, to make these intelligible, he must trace the stream of history higher up towards its sources. He accordingly enlarged his plan, and, beginning with the discovery of Peru, gave an entire view of the conquest and subsequent occupation of the country, bringing the narrative down to the close of Gasca’s mission. For the earlier portion of the story, he relied on the accounts of persons who took a leading part in the events. He disposes more summarily of this portion than of that in which he himself was both a spectator and an actor; where his testimony, considering the advantages his position gave him for information, is of the highest value.

Alcedo in his Biblioteca Americana, Ms., speaks of Zarate’s work as “containing much that is good, but as not entitled to the praise of exactness.” He wrote under the influence of party heat, which necessarily operates to warp the fairest mind somewhat from its natural bent. For this we must make allowance, in perusing accounts of conflicting parties. But there is no intention, apparently, to turn the truth aside in support of his own cause; and his access to the best sources of knowledge often supplies us with particulars not within the reach of other chroniclers. His narrative is seasoned, moreover, with sensible reflections and passing comments, that open gleams of light into the dark passages of that eventful period. Yet the style of the author can make but moderate pretensions to the praise of elegance or exactness; while the sentences run into that tedious, interminable length which belongs to the garrulous compositions of the regular thoroughbred chronicler of the olden time. The personalities, necessarily incident, more or less, to such a work, led its author to shrink from publication, at least during his life. By the jealous spirit of the Castilian cavalier, “censure,” he says, “however light, is regarded with indignation, and even praise is rarely dealt out in a measure satisfactory to the subject of it.” And he expresses his conviction that those do wisely, who allow their accounts of their own times to repose in the quiet security of manuscript, till the generation that is to be affected by them has passed away. His own manuscript, however, was submitted to the emperor; and it received such commendation from this royal authority, that Zarate, plucking up a more courageous spirit, consented to give it to the press. It accordingly appeared at Antwerp, in 1555, in octavo; and a second edition was printed in folio, at Seville, in 1577. It has since been incorporated in Barcia’s valuable collection; and, whatever indignation or displeasure it may have excited among contemporaries, who smarted under the author’s censure, or felt themselves defrauded of their legitimate guerdon, Zarate’s work has taken a permanent rank among the most respectable authorities for a history of the time.

The name of Zarate naturally suggests that of Fernandez, for both were laborers in the same field of history. Diego Fernandez de Palencia, or Palentino, as he is usually called, from the place of his birth came over to Peru, and served as a private in the royal army raised to quell the insurrections that broke out after Gasca’s return to Castile Amidst his military occupations, he found leisure to collect materials for a history of the period, to which he was further urged by the viceroy, Mendoza, Marques de Canete, who bestowed on him, as he tells us, the post of Chronicler of Peru. This mark of confidence in his literary capacity intimates higher attainments in Fernandez than might be inferred from the humble station that he occupied. With the fruits of his researches the soldier-chronicler returned to Spain, and, after a time, completed his narrative of the insurrection of Giron.

The manuscript was seen by the President of the Council of the Indies, and he was so much pleased with its execution, that he urged the author to write the account, in like manner, of Gonzalo Pizarro’s rebellion, and of the administration of Gasca. The historian was further stimulated, as he mentions in his dedication to Philip the Second, by the promise of a guerdon from that monarch, on the completion of his labors; a very proper, as well as politic, promise, but which inevitably suggests the idea of an influence not altogether favorable to severe historic impartiality. Nor will such an inference be found altogether at variance with truth; for while the narrative of Fernandez studiously exhibits the royal cause in the most favorable aspect to the reader, it does scanty justice to the claims of the opposite party. It would not be meet, indeed, that an apology for rebellion should be found in the pages of a royal pensioner; but there are always mitigating circumstances, which, however we may condemn the guilt, may serve to lessen our indignation towards the guilty. These circumstances are not to be found in the pages of Fernandez. It is unfortunate for the historian of such events, that it is so difficult to find one disposed to do even justice to the claims of the unsuccessful rebel. Yet the Inca Garcilasso has not shrunk from this, in the case of Gonzalo Pizarro; and even Gomara, though living under the shadow, or rather in the sunshine, of the Court, has occasionally ventured a generous protest in his behalf.

The countenance thus afforded to Fernandez from the highest quarter opened to him the best fountains of intelligence, — at least, on the government side of the quarrel. Besides personal communication with the royalist leaders, he had access to their correspondence, diaries, and official documents. He industriously profited by his opportunities; and his narrative, taking up the story of the rebellion from its birth, continues it to its final extinction, and the end of Gasca’s administration. Thus the First Part of his work, as it was now called, was brought down to the commencement of the Second, and the whole presented a complete picture of the distractions of the nation, till a new order of things was introduced, and tranquillity was permanently established throughout the country.

The diction is sufficiently plain, not aspiring to rhetorical beauties beyond the reach of its author, and out of keeping with the simple character of a chronicle. The sentences are arranged with more art than in most of the unwieldy compositions of the time; and, while there is no attempt at erudition or philosophic speculation, the current of events flows on in an orderly manner, tolerably prolix, it is true, but leaving a clear and intelligible impression on the mind of the reader. No history of that period compares with it in the copiousness of its details; and it has accordingly been resorted to by later compilers, as an inexhaustible reservoir for the supply of their own pages; a circumstance that may be thought of itself to bear no slight testimony to the general fidelity, as well as fulness, of the narrative. — The Chronicle of Fernandez, thus arranged in two parts, under the general title of Historia del Peru, was given to the world in the author’s lifetime, at Seville, in 1571, in one volume, folio, being the edition used in the preparation of this work.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/prescott/william_hickling/peru/book5.html

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