This eminent person was at once a scholar and a man of the world. Living much at court, and familiar with persons of the highest distinction in Castile, he yet passed much of his time in the colonies, and thus added the fruits of personal experience to what he had gained from the reports of others. His curiosity was indefatigable, extending to every department of natural science, as well as to the civil and personal history of the colonists. He was, at once, their Pliny and their Tacitus. His works abound in portraitures of character, sketched with freedom and animation. His reflections are piquant, and often rise to a philosophic tone, which discards the usual trammels of the age; and the progress of the story is varied by a multiplicity of personal anecdotes, that give a rapid insight into the characters of the parties.
With his eminent qualifications, and with a social position that commanded respect, it is strange that so much of his writings - the whole of his great Historia de las Indias, and his curious Quincuagenas - should be so long suffered to remain in manuscript. This is partly chargeable to the caprice of fortune; for the History was more than once on the eve of publication, and is even now understood to be prepared for the press. Yet it has serious defects, which may have contributed to keep it in its present form. In its desultory and episodical style of composition, it resembles rather notes for a great history, than history itself. It may be regarded in the light of commentaries, or as illustrations of the times. In that view his pages are of high worth, and have been frequently resorted to by writers who have not too scrupulously appropriated the statements of the old chronicler, with slight acknowledgments to their author.
It is a pity that Oviedo should have shown more solicitude to tell what was new, than to ascertain how much of it was strictly true. Among his merits will scarcely be found that of historical accuracy. And yet we may find an apology for this, to some extent, in the fact, that his writings, as already intimated, are not so much in the nature of finished compositions, as of loose memoranda, where every thing, rumor as well as fact, - even the most contradictory rumors, - are all set down at random, forming a miscellaneous heap of materials, of which the discreet historian may avail himself to rear a symmetrical fabric on foundations of greater strength and solidity.
Another author worthy of particular note is Pedro Cieza de Leon. His Cronica del Peru should more properly be styled an Itinerary, or rather Geography, of Peru. It gives a minute topographical view of the country at the time of the Conquest; of its provinces and towns, both Indian and Spanish; its flourishing sea-coast; its forests, valleys, and interminable ranges of mountains in the interior; with many interesting particulars of the existing population, - their dress, manners, architectural remains, and public works, while, scattered here and there, may be found notices of their early history and social polity. It is, in short, a lively picture of the country in its physical and moral relations, as it met the eye at the time of the Conquest, and in that transition period when it was first subjected to European influences. The conception of a work, at so early a period, on this philosophical plan, reminding us of that of Malte-Brun in our own time, - parva componere magnis, - was, of itself, indicative of great comprehensiveness of mind in its author. It was a task of no little difficulty, where there was yet no pathway opened by the labors of the antiquarian; no hints from the sketch-book of the traveller, or the measurements of the scientific explorer. Yet the distances from place to place are all carefully jotted down by the industrious compiler, and the bearings of the different places and their peculiar features are exhibited with sufficient precision, considering the nature of the obstacles he had to encounter. The literary execution of the work, moreover, is highly respectable, sometimes even rich and picturesque; and the author describes the grand and beautiful scenery of the Cordilleras with a sensibility to its charms, not often found in the tasteless topographer, still less often in the rude Conqueror.
Cieza de Leon came to the New World, as he informs us, at the early age of thirteen. But it is not till Gasca's time that we find his name enrolled among the actors in the busy scenes of civil strife, when he accompanied the president in his campaign against Gonzalo Pizarro. His Chronicle, or, at least, the notes for it, was compiled in such leisure as he could snatch from his more stirring avocations; and after ten years from the time he undertook it, the First Part - all we have - was completed in 1550, when the author had reached only the age of thirty-two. It appeared at Seville in 1553, and the following year at Antwerp; while an Italian translation, printed at Rome, in 1555, attested the rapid celebrity of the work. The edition of Antwerp - the one used by me in this compilation - is in the duodecimo form, exceedingly well printed, and garnished with wood-cuts, in which Satan, - for the author had a full measure of the ancient credulity, - with his usual bugbear accompaniments, frequently appears in bodily presence. In the Preface, Cieza announces his purpose to continue the work in three other parts, illustrating respectively the ancient history of the country under the Incas, its conquest by the Spaniards, and the civil wars which ensued. He even gives, with curious minuteness, the contents of the several books of the projected history. But the First Part, as already noticed, was alone completed; and the author, having returned to Spain, died there in 1560, at the premature age of forty-two, without having covered any portion of the magnificent ground-plan which he had thus confidently laid out. The deficiency is much to be regretted, considering the talent of the writer, and his opportunities for personal observation. But he has done enough to render us grateful for his labors. By the vivid delineation of scenes and scenery, as they were presented fresh to his own eyes, he has furnished us with a background to the historic picture, - the landscape, as it were, in which the personages of the time might be more fitly portrayed. It would have been impossible to exhibit the ancient topography of the land so faithfully at a subsequent period, when old things had passed away, and the Conqueror, breaking down the landmarks of ancient civilization, had effaced many of the features even of the physical aspect of the country, as it existed under the elaborate culture of the Incas.]
The advice of the bold counsellor was, perhaps, the most politic that could have been given to Pizarro under existing circumstances. For he was like one who had heedlessly climbed far up a dizzy precipice, - too far to descend safely, while he had no sure hold where he was. His only chance was to climb still higher, till he had gained the summit. But Gonzalo Pizarro shrunk from the attitude, in which this placed him, of avowed rebellion. Notwithstanding the criminal course into which he had been, of late, seduced, the sentiment of loyalty was too deeply implanted in his bosom to be wholly eradicated. Though in arms against the measures and ministers of his sovereign, he was not prepared to raise the sword against that sovereign himself. He, doubtless, had conflicting emotions in his bosom; like Macbeth, and many a less noble nature,
"Would not play false, And yet would wrongly win."
And however grateful to his vanity might be the picture of the air-drawn sceptre thus painted to his imagination, he had not the audacity - we may, perhaps, say, the criminal ambition - to attempt to grasp it. Even at this very moment, when urged to this desperate extremity, he was preparing a mission to Spain, in order to vindicate the course he had taken, and to solicit an amnesty for the past, with a full confirmation of his authority, as successor to his brother in the government of Peru. - Pizarro did not read the future with the calm, prophetic eye of Carbajal.
Book V: Settlement Of The Country
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!
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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 [Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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 [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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."
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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!
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 26: "Porque el por sus virtudes es muy amado de todos: y tenido por padre del Peru." Ibid., ubi supra.]
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.
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.
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
[Footnote 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.]
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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."
[Footnote 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.] [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 7: "Loca y luciferina soberuia," as Fernandez characterizes the aspiring temper of Gonzalo. Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 15.] [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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.] [Footnote 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. [Footnote 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 [Footnote 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.
[Footnote 14: Fernandez, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 62. - Montesinos, Annales Ms., ano 1547.]
[Footnote 15: Gomara, Hist. de las Ind. cap. 172.]
[Footnote 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.] [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.
[Footnote 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
[Footnote 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.] [Footnote 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
[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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!