[Footnote 11: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1529. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 3. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 1.
There seems to have been little good-will, at bottom, between any of the confederates; for Father Luque wrote to Oviedo that both of his partners had repaid his services with ingratitude. - "Padre Luque, companero de estos Capitanes, con cuya hacienda hicieron ellos sus hechos, puesto que el uno e el otro se lo pagaron con ingratitud segun a mi me lo escribio el mismo electo de su mano." Ibid., loc. cit.]
No time was now lost in preparing for the voyage. It found little encouragement, however, among the colonists of Panama, who were too familiar with the sufferings on the former expeditions to care to undertake another, even with the rich bribe that was held out to allure them. A few of the old company were content to follow out the adventure to its close; and some additional stragglers were collected from the province of Nicaragua, - a shoot, it may be remarked, from the colony of Panama. But Pizarro made slender additions to the force brought over with him from Spain, though this body was in better condition, and, in respect to arms, ammunition, and equipment generally, was on a much better footing than his former levies. The whole number did not exceed one hundred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses for the cavalry. He had provided himself with three vessels, two of them of a good size, to take the place of those which he had been compelled to leave on the opposite side of the Isthmus at Nombre de Dios; an armament small for the conquest of an empire, and far short of that prescribed by the capitulation with the Crown. With this the intrepid chief proposed to commence operations, trusting to his own successes, and the exertions of Almagro, who was to remain behind, for the present, to muster reinforcements. *12
[Footnote 12: The numerical estimates differ, as usual. I conform to the statement of Pizarro's secretary, Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 182.]
On St. John the Evangelist's day, the banners of the company and the royal standard were consecrated in the cathedral church of Panama; a sermon was preached before the little army by Fray Juan de Vargas, one of the Dominicans selected by the government for the Peruvian mission; and mass was performed, and the sacrament administered to every soldier previous to his engaging in the crusade against the infidel. *13 Having thus solemnly invoked the blessing of Heaven on the enterprise, Pizarro and his followers went on board their vessels, which rode at anchor in the Bay of Panama, and early in January, 1531, sallied forth on his third and last expedition for the conquest of Peru.
[Footnote 13: "El qual haviendo hecho bendecir en la Iglesia mayor las banderas i estandarte real dia de San Juan Evangelista de dicho ano de 1530, i que todos los soldados confesasen i comulgasen en el convento de Nuestra Senora de la Merced, dia de los Inocentes en la misa cantada que se celebro con toda solemnidad i sermon que predico el P. Presentdo Fr. Juan de Vargas, uno de los 5 religiosos que en cumplimiento de la obediencia de sus prelados i orden del Emperador pasaban a la conquista." Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
It was his intention to steer direct for Tumbez, which held out so magnificent a show of treasure on his former voyage. But head winds and currents, as usual, baffled his purpose, and after a run of thirteen days, much shorter than the period formerly required for the same distance, his little squadron came to anchor in the Bay of St. Matthew, about one degree north; and Pizarro, after consulting with his officers, resolved to disembark his forces and advance along the coast, while the vessels held their course at a convenient distance from the shore.
The march of the troops was severe and painful in the extreme; for the road was constantly intersected by streams, which, swollen by the winter rains, widened at their mouths into spacious estuaries. Pizarro, who had some previous knowledge of the country, acted as guide as well as commander of the expedition. He was ever ready to give aid where it was needed, encouraging his followers to ford or swim the torrents as they best could, and cheering the desponding by his own buoyant and courageous spirit. At length they reached a thick-settled hamlet, or rather town, in the province of Coaque. The Spaniards rushed on the place, and the inhabitants, without offering resistance, fled in terror to the neighbouring forests, leaving their effects - of much greater value than had been anticipated - in the hands of the invaders. "We fell on them, sword in hand," says one of the Conquerors, with some naivete; "for, if we had advised the Indians of our approach, we should never have found there such store of gold and precious stones." *14 The natives, however, according to another authority, stayed voluntarily; "for, as they had done no harm to the white men, they flattered themselves none would be offered to them, but that there would be only an interchange of good offices with the strangers," *15 - an expectation founded, it may be, on the good character which the Spaniards had established for themselves on their preceding visit, but in which the simple people now found themselves most unpleasantly deceived.
[Footnote 14: "Pues llegados a este pueblo de Coaque dieron de supito sin savello la gente del porque si estuvieran avisados. No se tomara la cantidad de oro y esmeraldas que en el se tomaron." Pedro Pizarre, Descub. y Conq., Ms]
[Footnote 15: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9.] Rushing into the deserted dwellings, the invaders found there, besides stuffs of various kinds, and food most welcome in their famished condition, a large quantity of gold and silver wrought into clumsy ornaments, together with many precious stones; for this was the region of the esmeraldas, or emeralds, where that valuable gem was most abundant. One of these jewels that fell into the hands of Pizarro, in this neighbourhood, was as large as a pigeon's egg. Unluckily, his rude followers did not know the value of their prize; and they broke many of them in pieces by pounding them with hammers. *16 They were led to this extraordinary proceeding, it is said, by one of the Dominican missionaries, Fray Reginaldo de Pedraza, who assured them that this was the way to prove the true emerald, which could not be broken. It was observed that the good father did not subject his own jewels to this wise experiment; but, as the stones, in consequence of it, fell in value, being regarded merely as colored glass, he carried back a consider able store of them to Panama. *17
[Footnote 16: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 4.
"A lo que se ha entendido en las esmeraldas ovo gran hierro y torpedad en algunas Personas por no conoscellas. Aunque quieren decir que algunos que las conoscieron las guardaron. Pero ffinalmente muchos vbieron esmeraldas de mucho valor; vnos las provavan en yunques, dandolas con martillos, diziendo que si hera esmeralda no se quebraria; otros las despreciaban, diziendo que era vidrio." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
[Footnote 17: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9.]
The gold and silver ornaments rifled from the dwellings were brought together and deposited in a common heap; when a fifth was deducted for the Crown, and Pizarro distributed the remainder in due proportions among the officers and privates of his company. This was the usage invariably observed on the like occasions throughout the Conquest. The invaders had embarked in a common adventure. Their interest was common, and to have allowed every one to plunder on his own account would only have led to insubordination and perpetual broils. All were required, therefore, on pain of death, to contribute whatever they obtained, whether by bargain or by rapine, to the general stock; and all were too much interested in the execution of the penalty to allow the unhappy culprit, who violated the law, any chance of escape. *18
[Footnote 18: "Los Espanoles las rrecoxeron y juntaron el oro y la plata, porque asi estava mandado y hordenado sopena de la vida el que otra cossa hiziese, porque todos lo avian de traet a monton para que de alli el governador lo rrepartiese, dando a cada uno confforme a su persona y meritos de servicios; y esta horden se guardo en toda esta tierra en la conquista della, y al que se le hallara oro o plata escondido muriera por ello, y deste medio nadie oso escondello." Pedro Pizarro, Descub y Conq., Ms.] Pizarro, with his usual policy, sent back to Panama a large quantity of the gold, no less than twenty thousand castellanos in value, in the belief that the sight of so much treasure, thus speedily acquired, would settle the doubts of the wavering, and decide them on joining his banner. *19 He judged right. As one of the Conquerors piously expresses it, "It pleased the Lord that we should fall in with the town of Coaque, that the riches of the land might find credit with the people, and that they should flock to it." *20
[Footnote 19: The booty was great, indeed, if, as Pedro Pizarro, one of the Conquerors present, says, it amounted in value to 200,000 gold castellanos. "Aqui se hallo mucha chaquira de oro y de plata, muchas coronas hechas de oro a manera de imperiales, y otras muchas piezas en que se avaleo montar mas de dozientos mill castellanos." (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) Naharro, Montesinos, and Herrera content themselves with stating that he sent back 20,000 castellanos in the vessels to Panama.]
[Footnote 20: "Fueron a dar en vn pueblo que se dezia Coaque que fue nuestro Senor servido tapasen con el, porque con lo que en el se hallo se acredito la tierra y vino gente a ella." Pedro Pizarro, Descub y Conq., Ms.]
Pizarro, having refreshed his men, continued his march along the coast, but no longer accompanied by the vessels, which had returned for recruits to Panama. The road, as he advanced, was checkered with strips of sandy waste, which, drifted about by the winds, blinded the soldiers, and afforded only treacherous footing for man and beast. The glare was intense; and the rays of a vertical sun beat fiercely on the iron mail and the thick quilted doublets of cotton, till the fainting troops were almost suffocated with the heat. To add to their distresses, a strange epidemic broke out in the little army. It took the form of ulcers, or rather hideous warts of great size, which covered the body, and when lanced, as was the case with some, discharged such a quantity of blood as proved fatal to the sufferer. Several died of this frightful disorder, which was so sudden in its attack, and attended with such prostration of strength, that those who lay down well at night were unable to lift their hands to their heads in the morning. *21 The epidemic, which made its first appearance during this invasion, and which did not long survive it, spread over the country, sparing neither native nor white man. *22 It was one of those plagues from the vial of wrath, which the destroying angel, who follows in the path of the conqueror, pours out on the devoted nations.
[Footnote 21: Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1530.]
[Footnote 22: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 15.] The Spaniards rarely experienced on their march either resistance or annoyance from the inhabitants, who, instructed by the example of Coaque, fled with their effects into the woods and neighbouring mountains. No one came out to welcome the strangers and offer the rites of hospitality, as on their last visit to the land. For the white men were no longer regarded as good beings that had come from heaven, but as ruthless destroyers, who, invulnerable to the assaults of the Indians, were borne along on the backs of fierce animals, swifter than the wind, with weapons in their hands, that scattered fire and desolation as they went. Such were the stories now circulated of the invaders, which, preceding them everywhere on their march, closed the hearts, if not the doors, of the natives against them. Exhausted by the fatigue of travel and by disease, and grievously disappointed at the poverty of the land, which now offered no compensation for their toils, the soldiers of Pizarro cursed the hour in which they had enlisted under his standard, and the men of Nicaragua, in particular, says the old chronicler, calling to mind their pleasant quarters in their luxurious land, sighed only to return to their Mahometan paradise. *23
[Footnote 23: Aunque ellos no ninguno por aver venido, porque como avian dexado el paraiso de mahoma que hera Nicaragua y hallaron la isla alzada y falta de comidas y la mayor parte de la gente enfferma y no oro ni plata como atras avian hallado, algunos y todos se holgaran de volver de adonde avian venido." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
At this juncture the army was gladdened by the sight of a vessel from Panama, which brought some supplies, together with the royal treasurer, the veedor or inspector, the comptroller, and other high officers appointed by the Crown to attend the expedition. They had been left in Spain by Pizarro, in consequence of his abrupt departure from the country; and the Council of the Indies, on learning the circumstance, had sent instructions to Panama to prevent the sailing of his squadron from that port. But the Spanish government, with more wisdom, countermanded the order, only requiring the functionaries to quicken their own departure, and take their place without loss of time in the expedition.
The Spaniards in their march along the coast had now advanced as far as Puerto Viejo. Here they were soon after joined by another small reinforcement of about thirty men, under an officer named Belalcazar, who subsequently rose to high distinction in this service. Many of the followers of Pizarro would now have halted at this spot and established a colony there. But that chief thought more of conquering than of colonizing, at least for the present; and he proposed, as his first step, to get possession of Tumbez, which he regarded as the gate of the Peruvian empire. Continuing his march, therefore, to the shores of what is now called the Gulf of Guayaquil, he arrived off the little island of Puna, lying at no great distance from the Bay of Tumbez. This island, he thought, would afford him a convenient place to encamp until he was prepared to make his descent on the Indian city.
The dispositions of the islanders seemed to favor his purpose. He had not been long in their neighbourhood, before a deputation of the natives, with their cacique at their head, crossed over in their balsas to the main land to welcome the Spaniards to their residence. But the Indian interpreters of Tumbez, who had returned with Pizarro from Spain, and continued with the camp, put their master on his guard against the meditated treachery of the islanders, whom they accused of designing to destroy the Spaniards by cutting the ropes that held together the floats, and leaving those upon them to perish in the waters. Yet the cacique, when charged by Pizarro with this perfidious scheme, denied it with such an air of conscious innocence, that the Spanish commander trusted himself and his followers, without further hesitation, to his conveyance, and was transported in safety to the shores of Puna. Here he was received in a hospitable manner, and his troops were provided with comfortable quarters. Well satisfied with his present position, Pizarro resolved to occupy it until the violence of the rainy season was passed, when the arrival of the reinforcements he expected would put him in better condition for marching into the country of the Inca. The island, which lies in the mouth of the river of Guayaquil, and is about eight leagues in length by four in breadth, at the widest part, was at that time partially covered with a noble growth of timber. But a large portion of it was subjected to cultivation, and bloomed with plantations of cacao, of the sweet potato, and the different products of a tropical clime, evincing agricultural knowledge as well as industry in the population. They were a warlike race; but had received from their Peruvian foes the appellation of "perfidious." It was the brand fastened by the Roman historians on their Carthaginian enemies, - with perhaps no better reason. The bold and independent islanders opposed a stubborn resistance to the arms of the Incas; and, though they had finally yielded, they had been ever since at feud, and often in deadly hostility, with their neighbours of Tumbez. The latter no sooner heard of Pizarro's arrival on the island, than, trusting, probably, to their former friendly relations with him, they came over in some number to the Spanish quarters. The presence of their detested rivals was by no means grateful to the jealous inhabitants of Puna, and the prolonged residence of the white men on their island could not be otherwise than burdensome. In their outward demeanour they still maintained the same show of amity; but Pizarro's interpreters again put him on his guard against the proverbial perfidy of their hosts. With his suspicions thus roused, the Spanish commander was informed that a number of the chiefs had met together to deliberate on a plan of insurrection. Not caring to wait for the springing of the mine, he surrounded the place of meeting with his soldiers and made prisoners of the suspected chieftains. According to one authority, they confessed their guilt. *24 This is by no means certain. Nor is it certain that they meditated an insurrection. Yet the fact is not improbable in itself; though it derives little additional probability from the assertion of the hostile interpreters. It is certain, however, that Pizarro was satisfied of the existence of a conspiracy; and, without further hesitation, he abandoned his wretched prisoners, ten or twelve in number, to the tender mercies of their rivals of Tumbez, who instantly massacred them before his eyes. *25
[Footnote 24: Xeres, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 183.]
[Footnote 25: "Y el marques don Francisco Picarro, por tenellos por amigos y estuviesen de paz quando alla passasen, les dio algunos principales los quales ellos matavan en presencia de los espanoles, cortandoles las cavezas por el cogote." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
Maddened by this outrage, the people of Puna sprang to arms, and threw themselves at once, with fearful yells and the wildest menaces of despair, on the Spanish camp. The odds of numbers were greatly in their favor, for they mustered several thousand warriors. But the more decisive odds of arms and discipline were on the side of their antagonists; and, as the Indians rushed forward in a confused mass to the assault, the Castilians coolly received them on their long pikes, or swept them down by the volleys of their musketry. Their ill-protected bodies were easily cut to pieces by the sharp sword of the Spaniard; and Hernando Pizarro, putting himself at the head of the cavalry, charged boldly into the midst, and scattered them far and wide over the field, until, panic-struck by the terrible array of steel-clad horsemen, and the stunning reports and the flash of fire-arms, the fugitives sought shelter in the depths of their forests. Yet the victory was owing, in some degree, at least, - if we may credit the Conquerors, - to the interposition of Heaven; for St. Michael and his legions were seen high in the air above the combatants, contending with the arch-enemy of man, and cheering on the Christians by their example! *26
[Footnote 26: The city of San Miguel was so named by Pizarro to commemorate the event, - and the existence of such a city may be considered by some as establishing the truth of the miracle. - "En la batalla de Puna vieron muchos, ya de los Indios, ya de los nuestros, que habia en el aire otros dos campos, uno acaudillado por el Arcangel Sn Miguel con espada y rodela, y otro por Luzbel y sus secuaces; mas apenas cantaron los Castellanos la victoria huyeron los diablos, y formando un gran torvellino de viento se oyeron en el aire unas terribles voces que decian, Vencistenos! Miguel vencistenos! De aqui torno Dn Francisco Pizarro tanta devocion al sto Arcangel, que prometio llamar la primera ciudad que fundase de su nombre; cumpliolo asi como veremos adelante." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1530.]
Not more than three or four Spaniards fell in the fight; but many were wounded, and among them Hernando Pizarro, who received a severe injury in the leg from a javelin. Nor did the war end here; for the implacable islanders, taking advantage of the cover of night, or of any remissness on the part of the invaders, were ever ready to steal out of their fastnesses and spring on their enemy's camp, while, by cutting off his straggling parties, and destroying his provisions, they kept him in perpetual alarm. In this uncomfortable situation, the Spanish commander was gladdened by the appearance of two vessels off the island. They brought a reinforcement consisting of a hundred volunteers besides horses for the cavalry. It was commanded by Hernando de Soto, a captain afterwards famous as the discoverer of the Mississippi, which still rolls its majestic current over the place of his burial, - a fitting monument for his remains, as it is of his renown. *27 [See Fernando de Soto: A Captain famous as the discoverer of Mississippi.]
[Footnote 27: The transactions in Puna are given at more or less length by Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Peru, Ms. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ubi supra. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 182, 183.]
This reinforcement was most welcome to Pizarro, who had been long discontented with his position on an island, where he found nothing to compensate the life of unintermitting hostility which he was compelled to lead. With these recruits, he felt himself in sufficient strength to cross over to the continent, and resume military operations on the proper theatre for discovery and conquest. From the Indians of Tumbez he learned that the country had been for some time distracted by a civil war between two sons of the late monarch, competitors for the throne. This intelligence he regarded as of the utmost importance, for he remembered the use which Cortes had made of similar dissensions among the tribes of Anahuac. Indeed, Pizarro seems to have had the example of his great predecessor before his eyes on more occasions than this. But he fell far short of his model; for, notwithstanding the restraint he sometimes put upon himself, his coarser nature and more ferocious temper often betrayed him into acts most repugnant to sound policy, which would never have been countenanced by the Conqueror of Mexico.
Peru At The Time Of The Conquest. - Reign Of Huayna Capac. - The Inca Brothers. - Contest For The Empire. - Triumph And Cruelties Of Atahuallpa.
Before accompanying the march of Pizarro and his followers into the country of the Incas, it is necessary to make the reader acquainted with the critical situation of the kingdom at that time. For the Spaniards arrived just at the consummation of an important revolution, - at a crisis most favorable to their views of conquest, and but for which, indeed, the conquest, with such a handful of soldiers, could never have been achieved. In the latter part of the fifteenth century died Tupac Inca Yupanqui, one of the most renowned of the "Children of the Sun," who, carrying the Peruvian arms across the burning sands of Atacama, penetrated to the remote borders of Chili, while in the opposite direction he enlarged the limits of the empire by the acquisition of the southern provinces of Quito. The war in this quarter was conducted by his son Huayna Capac, who succeeded his father on the throne, and fully equalled him in military daring and in capacity for government. Under this prince, the whole of the powerful state of Quito, which rivalled that of Peru itself in wealth and refinement, was brought under the sceptre of the Incas; whose empire received, by this conquest, the most important accession yet made to it since the foundation of the dynasty of Manco Capac. The remaining days of the victorious monarch were passed in reducing the independent tribes on the remote limits of his territory, and, still more, in cementing his conquests by the introduction of the Peruvian polity. He was actively engaged in completing the great works of his father, especially the high-roads which led from Quito to the capital. He perfected the establishment of posts, took great pains to introduce the Quichua dialect throughout the empire, promoted a better system of agriculture, and in fine, encouraged the different branches of domestic industry and the various enlightened plans of his predecessors for the improvement of his people. Under his sway, the Peruvian monarchy reached its most palmy state; and under both him and his illustrious father it was advancing with such rapid strides in the march of civilization as would soon have carried it to a level with the more refined despotisms of Asia, furnishing the world, perhaps, with higher evidence of the capabilities of the American Indian than is elsewhere to be found on the great western continent. - But other and gloomier destinies were in reserve for the Indian races.
The first arrival of the white men on the South American shores of the Pacific was about ten years before the death of Huayna Capac, when Balboa crossed the Gulf of St. Michael, and obtained the first clear report of the empire of the Incas. Whether tidings of these adventurers reached the Indian monarch's ears is doubtful. There is no doubt, however, that he obtained the news of the first expedition under Pizarro and Almagro, when the latter commander penetrated as far as the Rio de San Juan, about the fourth degree north. The accounts which he received made a strong impression on the mind of Huayna Capac. He discerned in the formidable prowess and weapons of the invaders proofs of a civilization far superior to that of his own people. He intimated his apprehension that they would return, and that at some day, not far distant, perhaps, the throne of the Incas might be shaken by these strangers, endowed with such incomprehensible powers. *1 To the vulgar eye, it was a little speck on the verge of the horizon; but that of the sagacious monarch seemed to descry in it the dark thunder-cloud, that was to spread wider and wider till it burst in fury on his nation!
[Footnote 1: Sarmiento, an honest authority, tells us he had this from some of the Inca lords who heard it, Relacion, Ms., cap. 65.]
There is some ground for believing thus much. But other accounts, which have obtained a popular currency, not content with this, connect the first tidings of the white men with predictions long extant in the country, and with supernatural appearances, which filled the hearts of the whole nation with dismay. Comets were seen flaming athwart the heavens. Earthquakes shook the land; the moon was girdled with rings of fire of many colors; a thunderbolt fell on one of the royal palaces and consumed it to ashes; and an eagle, chased by several hawks, was seen, screaming in the air, to hover above the great square of Cuzco, when, pierced by the talons of his tormentors, the king of birds fell lifeless in the presence of many of the Inca nobles, who read in this an augury of their own destruction! Huayna Capac himself, calling his great officers around him, as he found he was drawing near his end, announced the subversion of his empire by the race of white and bearded strangers, as the consummation predicted by the oracles after the reign of the twelfth Inca, and he enjoined it on his vassals not to resist the decrees of Heaven, but to yield obedience to its messengers. *2
[Footnote 2: A minute relation of these supernatural occurrences is given by the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, (Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 14,) whose situation opened to him the very best sources of information, which is more than counterbalanced by the defects in his own character as an historian, - his childish credulity, and his desire to magnify and mystify every thing relating to his own order, and, indeed, his nation. His work is the source of most of the facts - and the falsehoods - that have obtained circulation in respect to the ancient Peruvians. Unfortunately, at this distance of time, it is not always easy to distinguish the one from the other.] Such is the report of the impressions made by the appearance of the Spaniards in the country, reminding one of the similar feelings of superstitious terror occasioned by their appearance in Mexico. But the traditions of the latter land rest on much higher authority than those of the Peruvians, which, unsupported by contemporary testimony, rest almost wholly on the naked assertion of one of their own nation, who thought to find, doubtless, in the inevitable decrees of Heaven, the best apology for the supineness of his countrymen.
It is not improbable that rumors of the advent of a strange and mysterious race should have spread gradually among the Indian tribes along the great table-land of the Cordilleras, and should have shaken the hearts of the stoutest warriors with feelings of undefined dread, as of some impending calamity. In this state of mind, it was natural that physical convulsions, to which that volcanic country is peculiarly subject, should have made an unwonted impression on their minds; and that the phenomena, which might have been regarded only as extraordinary, in the usual seasons of political security, should now be interpreted by the superstitious soothsayer as the handwriting on the heavens, by which the God of the Incas proclaimed the approaching downfall of their empire.
Huayna Capac had, as usual with the Peruvian princes, a multitude of concubines, by whom he left a numerous posterity. The heir to the crown, the son of his lawful wife and sister, was named Huascar. *3 At the period of the history at which we are now arrived, he was about thirty years of age. Next to the heir-apparent, by another wife, a cousin of the monarch's, came Manco Capac, a young prince who will occupy an important place in our subsequent story. But the best-beloved of the Inca's children was Atahuallpa. His mother was the daughter of the last Scyri of Quito, who had died of grief, it was said, not long after the subversion of his kingdom by Huayna Capac. The princess was beautiful, and the Inca, whether to gratify his passion, or, as the Peruvians say, willing to make amends for the ruin of her parents, received her among his concubines. The historians of Quito assert that she was his lawful wife; but this dignity, according to the usages of the empire, was reserved for maidens of the Inca blood.
[Footnote 3: Huascar, in the Quichua dialect, signifies "a cable." The reason of its being given to the heir apparent is remarkable. Huayna Capac celebrated the birth of the prince by a festival, in which he introduced a massive gold chain for the nobles to hold in their hands as they performed their national dances. The chain was seven hundred feet in length, and the links nearly as big round as a man's wrist! (See Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 14. - Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 1.) The latter writer had the particulars, he tells us, from his old Inca uncle, - who seems to have dealt largely in the marvellous; not too largely for his audience, however, as the story has been greedily circulated by most of the Castilian writers, both of that and of the succeeding age.] The latter years of Huayna Capac were passed in his new kingdom of Quito. Atahuallpa was accordingly brought up under his own eye, accompanied him, while in his tender years, in his campaigns, slept in the same tent with his royal father, and ate from the same plate. *4 The vivacity of the boy, his courage and generous nature, won the affections of the old monarch to such a degree, that he resolved to depart from the established usages of the realm, and divide his empire between him and his elder brother Huascar. On his death-bed, he called the great officers of the crown around him, and declared it to be his will that the ancient kingdom of Quito should pass to Atahuallpa, who might be considered as having a natural claim on it, as the dominion of his ancestors. The rest of the empire he settled on Huascar; and he enjoined it on the two brothers to acquiesce in this arrangement, and to live in amity with each other. This was the last act of the heroic monarch; doubtless, the most impolitic of his whole life. With his dying breath he subverted the fundamental laws of the empire; and, while he recommended harmony between the successors to his authority, he left in this very division of it the seeds of inevitable discord. *5
[Footnote 4: "Atabalipa era bien quisto de los Capitanes viejos de su Padre y de los Soldados, porque andubo en la guerra en su ninez y porque andubo en la guerra en su niez porque el en vida le mostro tanto amor que no le dejaba comer otra cosa que lo que el le daba de su plato." Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 66.]
[Footnote 5: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 1, lib. 8, cap. 9. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 12. - Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 65. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 201.]
His death took place, as seems probable, at the close of 1525, not quite seven years before Pizarro's arrival at Puna. *6 The tidings of his decease spread sorrow and consternation throughout the land; for, though stern and even inexorable to the rebel and the long-resisting foe, he was a brave and magnanimous monarch, and legislated with the enlarged views of a prince who regarded every part of his dominions as equally his concern. The people of Quito, flattered by the proofs which he had given of preference for them by his permanent residence in that country, and his embellishment of their capital, manifested unfeigned sorrow at his loss; and his subjects at Cuzco, proud of the glory which his arms and his abilities had secured for his native land, held him in no less admiration; *7 while the more thoughtful and the more timid, in both countries, looked with apprehension to the future, when the sceptre of the vast empire, instead of being swayed by an old and experienced hand, was to be consigned to rival princes, naturally jealous of one another, and, from their age, necessarily exposed to the unwholesome influence of crafty and ambitious counsellors. The people testified their regret by the unwonted honors paid to the memory of the deceased Inca. His heart was retained in Quinto, and his body, embalmed after the fashion of the country, was transported to Cuzco, to take its place in the great temple of the Sun, by the side of the remains of his royal ancestors. His obsequies were celebrated with sanguinary splendor in both the capitals of his far-extended empire; and several thousand of the imperial concubines, with numerous pages and officers of the palace, are said to have proved their sorrow, or their superstition, by offering up their own lives, that they might accompany their departed lord to the bright mansions of the Sun. *8.
[Footnote 6: The precise date of this event, though so near the time of the Conquest, is matter of doubt. Balboa, a contemporary with the Conquerors, and who wrote at Quito, where the Inca died, fixes it at 1525. (Hist. du Perou, chap. 14.) Velasco, another inhabitant of the same place, after an investigation of the different accounts, comes to the like conclusion. (Hist. de Quito, tom. I. p. 232.) Dr. Robertson, after telling us that Huayna Capac died in 1529, speaks again of this event as having happened in 1527. (Conf. America, vol. III. pp. 25, 381.) Any one, who has been bewildered by the chronological snarl of the ancient chronicles, will not be surprised at meeting occasionally with such inconsistencies in a writer who is obliged to take them as his guides.]
[Footnote 7: One cannot doubt this monarch's popularity with the female part of his subjects, at least, if, as the historian of the Incas tells us, "he was never known to refuse a woman, of whatever age or degree she might be, any favor that she asked of him"! Com. Real. Parte 1, lib. 8, cap. 7.]
[Footnote 8: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 65. - Herrera, Hist. General dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 17.]
For nearly five years after the death of Huayna Capac, the royal brothers reigned, each over his allotted portion of the empire, without distrust of one another, or, at least, without collision. It seemed as if the wish of their father was to be completely realized, and that the two states were to maintain their respective integrity and independence as much as if they had never been united into one. But, with the manifold causes for jealousy and discontent, and the swarms of courtly sycophants, who would find their account in fomenting these feelings, it was easy to see that this tranquil state of things could not long endure. Nor would it have endured so long, bur for the more gentle temper of Huascar, the only party who had ground for complaint. He was four or five years older than his brother, and was possessed of courage not to be doubted; but he was a prince of a generous and easy nature, and perhaps, if left to himself, might have acquiesced in an arrangement which, however unpalatable, was the will of his deified father. But Atahuallpa was of a different temper. Warlike, ambitious, and daring, he was constantly engaged in enterprises for the enlargement of his own territory, though his crafty policy was scrupulous not to aim at extending his acquisitions in the direction of his royal brother. His restless spirit, however, excited some alarm at the court of Cuzco, and Huascar, at length, sent an envoy to Atahuallpa, to remonstrate with him on his ambitious enterprises, and to require him to render him homage for his kingdom of Quito.
This is one statement. Other accounts pretend that the immediate cause of rupture was a claim instituted by Huascar for the territory of Tumebamba, held by his brother as part of his patrimonial inheritance. It matters little what was the ostensible ground of collision between persons placed by circumstances in so false a position in regard to one another, that collision must, at some time or other, inevitably occur.
The commencement, and, indeed, the whole course, of hostilities which soon broke out between the rival brothers are stated with irreconcilable, and, considering the period was so near to that of the Spanish invasion, with unaccountable discrepancy. By some it is said, that, in Atahuallpa's first encounter with the troops of Cuzco, he was defeated and made prisoner near Tumebamba, a favorite residence of his father in the ancient territory of Quito, and in the district of Canaris. From this disaster he recovered by a fortunate escape from confinement, when, regaining his capital, he soon found himself at the head of a numerous army, led by the most able and experienced captains in the empire. The liberal manners of the young Atahuallpa had endeared him to the soldiers, with whom, as we have seen, he served more than one campaign in his father's lifetime. These troops were the flower of the great army of the Inca, and some of them had grown gray in his long military career, which had left them at the north, where they readily transferred their allegiance to the young sovereign of Quito. They were commanded by two officers of great consideration, both possessed of large experience in military affairs, and high in the confidence of the late Inca. One of them was named Quizquiz; the other, who was the maternal uncle of Atahuallpa, was called Chalicuchima.
With these practised warriors to guide him, the young monarch put himself at the head of his martial array, and directed his march towards the south. He had not advanced farther than Ambato, about sixty miles distant from his capital, when he fell in with a numerous host, which had been sent against him by his brother, under the command of a distinguished chieftain, of the Inca family. A bloody battle followed, which lasted the greater part of the day; and the theatre of combat was the skirts of the mighty Chimborazo. *9
[Footnote 9: Garcilasso denies that anything but insignificant skirmishes took place before the decisive action fought on the plains of Cusco, But the Licentiate Sarmiento, who gathered his accounts of these events, as he tells us, from the actors in them, walked over the field of battle at Ambato, when the ground was still covered with the bones of the slain. "Yo he pasado por este Pueblo y he visto el Lugar donde dicen que esta Batalla se dio y cierto segun hay la osamenta devienon aun de morir mas gente de la que cuentan." Relacion, Ms., cap. 69.]
The battle ended favorably for Atahuallpa, and the Peruvians were routed with great slaughter, and the loss of their commander. The prince of Quito availed himself of his advantage to push forward his march until he arrived before the gates of Tumebamba, which city, as well as the whole district of Canaris, though an ancient dependency of Quito, had sided with his rival in the contest. Entering the captive city like a conqueror, he put the inhabitants to the sword, and razed it with all its stately edifices, some of which had been reared by his own father, to the ground. He carried on the same war of extermination, as he marched through the offending district of Canaris. In some places, it is said, the women and children came out, with green branches in their hands, in melancholy procession, to deprecate his wrath; but the vindictive conqueror, deaf to their entreaties, laid the country waste with fire and sword, sparing no man capable of bearing arms who fell into his hands. *10
[Footnote 10: "Cuentan muchos Indios a quien yo lo oi, que por amansar su ira, mandaron a un escuadron grande de ninos y a otro de hombres de toda edad, que saliesen hasta las ricas andas donde venia con gran pompa, llevando en las manos ramos verdes y ojas de palma, y que le pidiesen la gracia y amistad suya para el pueblo, sin mirar la injuria pasada, y que en tantos clamores se lo suplicaron, y con tanta humildad, que bastara quebrantar corazones de piedra, mas poca impresion hicieron en el cruel de Atabalipa, porque dicen que mando a sus capitanes y gentes que matasen a todos aquellos que habian venido, lo cual fue hecho, no perdonando sino a algunos ninos y a las mugeres sagradas del Templo." Sarmiento, Relacion Ms. cap. 70.] The fate of Canaris struck terror into the hearts of his enemies, and one place after another opened its gates to the victor, who held on his triumphant march towards the Peruvian capital. His arms experienced a temporary check before the island of Puna, whose bold warriors maintained the cause of his brother. After some days lost before this place, Atahuallpa left the contest to their old enemies, the people of Tumbez, who had early given in their adhesion to him, while he resumed his march and advanced as far as Caxamalca, about seven degrees south. Here he halted with a detachment of the army, sending forward the main body under the command of his two generals, with orders to move straight upon Cuzco. He preferred not to trust himself farther in the enemy's country, where a defeat might be fatal. By establishing his quarters at Caxamalca, he would be able to support his generals, in case of a reverse, or, at worst, to secure his retreat on Quito, until he was again in condition to renew hostilities. The two commanders, advancing by rapid marches, at length crossed the Apurimac river, and arrived within a short distance of the Peruvian capital. - Meanwhile, Huascar had not been idle. On receiving tidings of the discomfiture of his army at Ambato, he made every exertion to raise levies throughout the country. By the advice, it is said, of his priests - the most incompetent advisers in times of danger - he chose to await the approach of the enemy in his own capital; and it was not till the latter had arrived within a few leagues of Cuzco, that the Inca, taking counsel of the same ghostly monitors, sallied forth to give him battle.
The two armies met on the plains of Quipaypan, in the neighbourhood of the Indian metropolis. Their numbers are stated with the usual discrepancy; but Atahuallpa's troops had considerably the advantage in discipline and experience, for many of Huascar's levies had been drawn hastily together from the surrounding country. Both fought, however, with the desperation of men who felt that everything was at stake. It was no longer a contest for a province, but for the possession of an empire. Atahuallpa's troops, flushed with recent success, fought with the confidence of those who relied on their superior prowess; while the loyal vassals of the Inca displayed all the self-devotion of men who held their own lives cheap in the service of their master.
The fight raged with the greatest obstinacy from sunrise to sunset; and the ground was covered with heaps of the dying and the dead, whose bones lay bleaching on the battle-field long after the conquest by the Spaniards. At length, fortune declared in favor of Atahuallpa; or rather, the usual result of superior discipline and military practice followed. The ranks of the Inca were thrown into irretrievable disorder, and gave way in all directions. The conquerors followed close on the heels of the flying. Huascar himself, among the latter, endeavoured to make his escape with about a thousand men who remained round his person. But the royal fugitive was discovered before he had left the field; his little party was enveloped by clouds of the enemy, and nearly every one of the devoted band perished in defence of their Inca. Huascar was made prisoner, and the victorious chiefs marched at once on his capital, which they occupied in the name of their sovereign. *11
[Footnote 11: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 77. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 9. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202. - Zarate. Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 12. - Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 70. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
These events occurred in the spring of 1532, a few months before the landing of the Spaniards. The tidings of the success of his arms and the capture of his unfortunate brother reached Atahuallpa at Caxamalca. He instantly gave orders that Huascar should be treated with the respect due to his rank, but that he should be removed to the strong fortress of Xauxa, and held there in strict confinement. His orders did not stop here, - if we are to receive the accounts of Garcilasso de la Vega, himself of the Inca race, and by his mother's side nephew of the great Huayna Capac. According to this authority, Atahuallpa invited the Inca nobles throughout the country to assemble at Cuzco, in order to deliberate on the best means of partitioning the empire between him and his brother. When they had met in the capital, they were surrounded by the soldiery of Quito, and butchered without mercy. The motive for this perfidious act was to exterminate the whole of the royal family, who might each one of them show a better title to the crown than the illegitimate Atahuallpa. But the massacre did not end here. The illegitimate offspring, like himself, half-brothers of the monster, ali, in short, who had any of the Inca blood in their veins, were involved in it; and with an appetite for carnage unparalleled in the annals of the Roman Empire or of the French Republic, Atahuallpa ordered all the females of the blood royal, his aunts, nieces, and cousins, to be put to death, and that, too, with the most refined and lingering tortures. To give greater zest to his revenge, many of the executions took place in the presence of Huascar himself, who was thus compelled to witness the butchery of his own wives and sisters, while, in the extremity of anguish, they in vain called on him to protect them! *12
[Footnote 12: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 35 - 39.
"A las Mugeres, Hermanas, Tias, Sobrinas, Primas Hermanas, y Madrastras de Atahuallpa, colgavan de los Arboles, y de muchas Horcas mui altas que hicieron: a unas colgaron de los cabellos, a otras por debajo de los bracos, y a otras de otras maneras feas, que por la honestidad se callan: davanles sus hijuelos, que los tuviesen en bracos, tenianlos hasta que se les caian, y se aporreavan" (Ibid., cap. 37.) The variety of torture shows some invention in the writer, or, more probably, in the writer's uncle, the ancient Inca, the raconteur of these Blue beard butcheries.]
Such is the tale told by the historian of the Incas, and received by him, as he assures us, from his mother and uncle, who, being children at the time, were so fortunate as to be among the few that escaped the massacre of their house. *13 And such is the account repeated by many a Castilian writer since, without any symptom of distrust. But a tissue of unprovoked atrocities like these is too repugnant to the principles of human nature, - and, indeed, to common sense, to warrant our belief in them on ordinary testimony.
[Footnote 13: "Las crueldades, que Atahuallpa en los de la Sangre Real hico, dire de Relacion de mi Madre, y de un Hermano suio, que se llamo Don Fernando Huallpa Tupac Inca Yupanqui, que entonces eran Ninos de menos de diez Anos." Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 14.]
The annals of semi-civilized nations unhappily show that there have been instances of similar attempts to extinguish the whole of a noxious race, which had become the object of a tyrant's jealousy; though such an attempt is about as chimerical as it would be to extirpate any particular species of plant, the seeds of which had been borne on every wind over the country. But, if the attempt to exterminate the Inca race was actually made by Atahuallpa, how comes it that so many of the pure descendants of the blood royal - nearly six hundred in number - are admitted by the historian to have been in existence seventy years after the imputed massacre? *14 Why was the massacre, instead of being limited to the legitimate members of the royal stock, who could show a better title to the crown than the usurper, extended to all, however remotely, or in whatever way, connected with the race? Why were aged women and young maidens involved in the proscription, and why were they subjected to such refined and superfluous tortures, when it is obvious that beings so impotent could have done nothing to provoke the jealousy of the tyrant? Why, when so many were sacrificed from some vague apprehension of distant danger, was his rival Huascar, together with his younger brother Manco Capac, the two men from whom the conqueror had most to fear, suffered to live? Why, in short, is the wonderful tale not recorded by others before the time of Garcilasso, and nearer by half a century to the events themselves? *15
[Footnote 14: This appears from a petition for certain immunities, forwarded to Spain in 1603, and signed by five hundred and sixty-seven Indians of the royal Inca race. (Ibid., Parte 3, lib. 9, cap. 40.) Oviedo says that Huayna Capac left a hundred sons and daughters, and that most of them were alive at the time of his writing. "Tubo cien hijos y hijas, y la mayor parte de ellos son vivos." Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 9.]
[Footnote 15: I have looked in vain for some confirmation of this story in Oviedo, Sarmiento, Xerez, Cieza de Leon, Zarate, Pedro Pizarro, Gomara, - all living at the time, and having access to the best sources of information; and all, it may be added, disposed to do stern justice to the evil qualities of the Indian monarch.]
That Atahuallpa may have been guilty of excesses, and abused the rights of conquest by some gratuitous acts of cruelty, may be readily believed; for no one, who calls to mind his treatment of the Canaris, - which his own apologists do not affect to deny, *16 - will doubt that he had a full measure of the vindictive temper which belongs to
'Those souls of fire, and Children of the Sun, With whom revenge was virtue."
But there is a wide difference between this and the monstrous and most unprovoked atrocities imputed to him; implying a diabolical nature not to be admitted on the evidence of an Indian partisan, the sworn foe of his house, and repeated by Castilian chroniclers, who may naturally seek, by blazoning the enormities of Atahuallpa, to find some apology for the cruelty of their countrymen towards him.
[Footnote 16: No one of the apologists of Atahuallpa goes quite so far as Father Velasco, who, in the over-flowings of his loyalty for a Quito monarch, regards his massacre of the Canares as a very fair retribution for their offences. "Si les auteurs dont je viens de parler sietaient trouves dans les memes circonstances qu'Atahuallpa et avaient eprouve autant d'offenses graves et de trahisons, je ne croirai jamais qu'ils eussent agi autrement"! Hist. de Quito, tom. I p. 253.]
The news of the great victory was borne on the wings of the wind to Caxamalca; and loud and long was the rejoicing, not only in the camp of Atahuallpa, but in the town and surrounding country; for all now came in, eager to offer their congratulations to the victor, and do him homage. The prince of Quito no longer hesitated to assume the scarlet borla, the diadem of the Incas. His triumph was complete. He had beaten his enemies on their own ground; had taken their capital; had set his foot on the neck of his rival, and won for himself the ancient sceptre of the Children of the Sun. But the hour of triumph was destined to be that of his deepest humiliation. Atahuallpa was not one of those to whom, in the language of the Grecian bard, "the Gods are willing to reveal themselves." *17 He had not read the handwriting on the heavens. The small speck, which the clear-sighted eye of his father had discerned on the distant verge of the horizon, though little noticed by Atahuallpa, intent on the deadly strife with his brother, had now risen high towards the zenith, spreading wider and wider, till it wrapped the skies in darkness, and was ready to burst in thunders on the devoted nation. [Footnote 17: v. 161.]
The Spaniards Land At Tumbez. - Pizarro Reconnoitres The Country. - Foundation Of San Miguel. - March Into The Interior. - Embassy From The Inca. - Adventures On The March - Reach The Foot Of The Andes.
We left the Spaniards at the island of Puna, preparing to make their descent on the neighbouring continent at Tumbez. This port was but a few leagues distant, and Pizarro, with the greater part of his followers, passed over in the ships, while a few others were to transport the commander's baggage and the military stores on some of the Indian balsas. One of the latter vessels which first touched the shore was surrounded, and three persons who were on the raft were carried off by the natives to the adjacent woods and there massacred. The Indians then got possession of another of the balsas, containing Pizarro's wardrobe; but, as the men who defended it raised loud cries for help, they reached the ears of Hernando Pizarro, who, with a small body of horse, had effected a landing some way farther down the shore. A broad tract of miry ground, overflowed at high water, lay between him and the party thus rudely assailed by the natives. The tide was out, and the bottom was soft and dangerous. With little regard to the danger, however, the bold cavalier spurred his horse into the slimy depths, and followed by his men, with the mud up to their saddle-girths, they plunged forward until they came into the midst of the marauders, who, terrified by the strange apparition of the horsemen, fled precipitately, without show of fight, to the neighbouring forests.
This conduct of the natives of Tumbez is not easy to be explained; considering the friendly relations maintained with the Spaniards on their preceding visit, and lately renewed in the island of Puna. But Pizarro was still more astonished, on entering their town, to find it not only deserted, but, with the exception of a few buildings, entirely demolished. Four or five of the most substantial private dwellings, the great temple, and the fortress - and these greatly damaged, and wholly despoiled of their interior decorations - alone survived to mark the site of the city, and attest its former splendor. *1 The scene of desolation filled the conquerors with dismay; for even the raw recruits, who had never visited the coast before, had heard the marvelous stories of the golden treasures of Tumbez, and they had confidently looked forward to them as an easy spoil after all their fatigues. But the gold of Peru seemed only like a deceitful phantom, which, after beckoning them on through toil and danger, vanished the moment they attempted to grasp it.
[Footnote 1: Xerez, Conq del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 185. "Aunque lo del templo del Sol en quien ellos adoran era cosa de ver, porque tenian grandes edificios, y todo el por de dentro y de fuera pintado de grandes pinturas y ricos matizes de colores, porque los hay en aquella tierra." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
Pizarro despatched a small body of troops in pursuit of the fugitives; and, after some slight skirmishing, they got possession of several of the natives, and among them, as it chanced, the curaca of the place. When brought before the Spanish commander, he exonerated himself from any share in the violence offered to the white men, saying that it was done by a lawless party of his people, without his knowledge at the time; and he expressed his willingness to deliver them up to punishment, if they could be detected. He explained the dilapidated condition of the town by the long wars carried on with the fierce tribes of Puna, who had at length succeeded in getting possession of the place, and driving the inhabitants into the neighbouring woods and mountains. The Inca, to whose cause they were attached, was too much occupied with his own feuds to protect them against their enemies.
Whether Pizarro gave any credit to the cacique's exculpation of himself may be doubted. He dissembled his suspicions, however, and, as the Indian lord promised obedience in his own name, and that of his vassals, the Spanish general consented to take no further notice of the affair. He seems now to have felt for the first time, in its full force, that it was his policy to gain the good-will of the people among whom he had thrown himself in the face of such tremendous odds. It was, perhaps, the excesses of which his men had been guilty in the earlier stages of the expedition that had shaken the confidence of the people of Tumbez, and incited them to this treacherous retaliation.
Pizarro inquired of the natives who now, under promise of impunity, came into the camp, what had become of his two followers that remained with them in the former expedition. The answers they gave were obscure and contradictory. Some said, they had died of an epidemic; others, that they had died of an epidemic; others, that they had perished in the war with Puna; and others intimated, that they had lost their lives in consequence of some outrage attempted on the Indian women. It was impossible to arrive at the truth. The last account was not the least probable. But, whatever might be the cause, there was no doubt they had both perished.
This intelligence spread an additional gloom over the Spaniards; which was not dispelled by the flaming pictures now given by the natives of the riches of the land, and of the state and magnificence of the monarch in his distant capital among the mountains. Nor did they credit the authenticity of a scroll of paper, which Pizarro had obtained from an Indian, to whom it had been delivered by one of the white men left in the country. "Know, whoever you may be," said the writing, "that may chance to set foot in this country, that it contains more gold and silver than there is iron in Biscay." This paper, when shown to the soldiers, excited only their ridicule, as a device of their captain to keep alive their chimerical hopes. *2
[Footnote 2: For the account of the transactions in Tumbez, see Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 1. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 9 cap. 1, 2. - Xerez, Conq. de Peru, ap Barcia tom. III. p. 185.]
Pizarro now saw that it was not politic to protract his stay in his present quarters, where a spirit of disaffection would soon creep into the ranks of his followers, unless their spirits were stimulated by novelty or a life of incessant action. Yet he felt deeply anxious to obtain more particulars than he had hitherto gathered of the actual condition of the Peruvian empire, of its strength and resources, of the monarch who ruled over it, and of his present situation. He was also desirous, before taking any decisive step for penetrating the country, to seek out some commodious place for a settlement, which might afford him the means of a regular communication with the colonies, and a place of strength, on which he himself might retreat in case of disaster.
[See Peruvian Settlement: pizarro was desirous of seeking out some commodius place for a settlement.]
He decided, therefore, to leave part of his company at Tumbez, including those who, from the state of their health, were least able to take the field, and with the remainder to make an excursion into the interior, and reconnoitre the land, before deciding on any plan of operations. He set out early in May, 1532; and, keeping along the more level regions himself, sent a small detachment under the command of Hernando de Soto to explore the skirts of the vast sierra.
He maintained a rigid discipline on the march, commanding his soldiers to abstain from all acts of violence, and punishing disobedience in the most prompt and resolute manner. *3 The natives rarely offered resistance. When they did so, they were soon reduced, and Pizarro, far from vindictive measures, was open to the first demonstrations of submission. By this lenient and liberal policy, he soon acquired a name among the inhabitants which effaced the unfavorable impressions made of him in the earlier part of the campaign. The natives, as he marched through the thick-settled hamlets which sprinkled the level region of between the Cordilleras and the ocean, welcomed him with rustic hospitality, providing good quarters for his troops, and abundant supplies, which cost but little in the prolific soil of the tierra caliente. Everywhere Pizarro made proclamation that he came in the name of the Holy Vicar of God and of the sovereign of Spain, requiring the obedience of the inhabitants as true children of the Church, and vassals of his lord and master. And as the simple people made no opposition to a formula, of which they could not comprehend a syllable, they were admitted as good subjects of the Crown of Castile, and their act of homage - or what was readily interpreted as such - was duly recorded and attested by the notary. *4
[Footnote 3: "Mando el Gobernador por eregon e so graves penas que no le fuese hecha fuerza ni descortesia e que se les hiciese muv buen tratamiento por los Espanoles e sus criados." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 2.]
[Footnote 4: "E mandabales notificar o dar a entender con las lenguas el requerimiento que su Magestad manda que se les haga a los Indios para traellos en conocimiento de nuestra Santa fe catolica, y requiriendoles con la paz, e que obedezcan a la Iglesia e Apostolica de Roma, e en lo temporal den la obediencia a su Magestad e a los Reyes sus succesores en los regnos de Castilla i de Leon; respondieron que asi lo querian e harian, guardarian e cumplirian enteramente; e el Gobernador los recibio por tales vasallos de sus Magestades por auto publico de notarios.' Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.] At the expiration of some three or four weeks spent in reconnoitring the country, Pizarro came to the conclusion that the most eligible site for his new settlement was in the rich valley of Tangarala, thirty leagues south of Tumbez, traversed by more than one stream that opens a communication with the ocean. To this spot, accordingly, he ordered the men left at Tumbez to repair at once in their vessels; and no sooner had they arrived, than busy preparations were made for building up the town in a manner suited to the wants of the colony. Timber was procured from the neighbouring woods. Stones were dragged from their quarries, and edifices gradually rose, some of which made pretensions to strength, if not to elegance. Among them were a church, a magazine for public stores, a hall of justice, and a fortress. A municipal government was organized, consisting of regidores, alcaldes, and the usual civic functionaries. The adjacent territory was parcelled out among the residents, and each colonist had a certain number of the natives allotted to assist him in his labors; for, as Pizarro's secretary remarks, "it being evident that the colonists could not support themselves without the services of the Indians, the ecclesiastics and the leaders of the expedition all agreed that a repartimiento of the natives would serve the cause of religion, and tend greatly to their spiritual welfare, since they would thus have the opportunity of being initiated in the true faith." *5
[Footnote 5: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y. Conq., Ms. - Conq. i. Pob. del Peru, Ms. - Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 55. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.
"Porque los Vecinos, sin aiuda i servicios de los Naturales no se podian sostener, ni poblarse el Pueblo . . . . . . A esta causa, con acuerdo de el Religioso, i de los Oficiales que les parecio convenir asi al servicio de Dios, i bien de los Naturales, el Governador deposito los Caciques, i Indios en los Vecinos de este Pueblo, porque los aiudasen a sostener, i los Christianos los doctrinasen en nuestra Santa Fe, conforme a los Mandamientos de su Magestad." Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 187.] Having made these arrangements with such conscientious regard to the welfare of the benighted heathen, Pizarro gave his infant city the name of San Miguel, in acknowledgment of the service rendered him by that saint in his battles with the Indians of Puna. The site originally occupied by the settlement was afterward found to be so unhealthy, that it was abandoned for another on the banks of the beautiful Piura. The town is still of some note for its manufactures, though dwindled from its ancient importance; but the name of San Miguel de Piura, which it bears, still commemorates the foundation of the first European colony in the empire of the Incas. Before quitting the new settlement, Pizarro caused the gold and silver ornaments which he had obtained in different parts of the country to be melted down into one mass, and a fifth to be deducted for the Crown. The remainder, which belonged to the troops, he persuaded them to relinquish for the present; under the assurance of being repaid from the first spoils that fell into their hands. *6 With these funds, and other articles collected in the course of the campaign, he sent back the vessels to Panama. The gold was applied to paying off the ship-owners, and those who had furnished the stores for the expedition. That he should so easily have persuaded his men to resign present possession for a future contingency is proof that the spirit of enterprise was renewed in their bosoms in all its former vigor, and that they looked forward with the same buoyant confidence to the results.
[Footnote 6: "E sacado el quinto para su Magestad, lo restante que pertenecio al Egercito de la Conquista, el Gobernador le tomo prestado de los companeros para se lo pagal del primer oro que se obiese." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 2.]
In his late tour of observation, the Spanish commander had gathered much important intelligence in regard to the state of the kingdom. He had ascertained the result of the struggle between the Inca brothers, and that the victor now lay with his army encamped at the distance of only ten or twelve days' journey from San Miguel. The accounts he heard of the opulence and power of that monarch, and of his great southern capital, perfectly corresponded with the general rumors before received; and contained, therefore, something to stagger the confidence, as well as to stimulate the cupidity, of the invaders.
Pizarro would gladly have seen his little army strengthened by reinforcements, however small the amount; and on that account postponed his departure for several weeks. But no reinforcement arrived; and, as he received no further tidings from his associates, he judged that longer delay would, probably, be attended with evils greater than those to be encountered on the march; that discontents would inevitably spring up in a life of inaction, and the strength and spirits of the soldier sink under the enervating influence of a tropical climate. Yet the force at his command, amounting to less than two hundred soldiers in all, after reserving fifty for the protection of the new settlement, seemed but a small one for the conquest of an empire. He might, indeed, instead of marching against the Inca, take a southerly direction towards the rich capital of Cuzco. But this would only be to postpone the hour of reckoning. For in what quarter of the empire could he hope to set his foot, where the arm of its master would not reach him? By such a course, moreover, he would show his own distrust of himself. He would shake that opinion of his invincible prowess, which he had hitherto endeavoured to impress on the natives, and which constituted a great secret of his strength; which, in short, held sterner sway over the mind than the display of numbers and mere physical force. Worse than all, such a course would impair the confidence of his troops in themselves and their reliance on himself. This would be to palsy the arm of enterprise at once. It was not to be thought of.
But while Pizarro decided to march into the interior, it is doubtful whether he had formed any more definite plan of action. We have no means of knowing his intentions, at this distance of time, otherwise than as they are shown by his actions. Unfortunately, he could not write, and he has left no record, like the inestimable Commentaries of Cortes, to enlighten us as to his motives. His secretary, and some of his companions in arms, have recited his actions in detail; but the motives which led to them they were not always so competent to disclose.
It is possible that the Spanish general, even so early as the period of his residence at San Miguel, may have meditated some daring stroke, some effective coup-de-main, which, like that of Cortes, when he carried off the Aztec monarch to his quarters, might strike terror into the hearts of the people, and at once decide the fortunes of the day. It is more probable, however, that he now only proposed to present himself before the Inca, as the peaceful representative of a brother monarch, and, by these friendly demonstrations, disarm any feeling of hostility, or even of suspicion. When once in communication with the Indian prince, he could regulate his future course by circumstances.
On the 24th of September, 1532, five months after landing at Tumbez, Pizarro marched out at the head of his little body of adventurers from the gates of San Miguel, having enjoined it on the colonists to treat their Indian vassals with humanity, and to conduct themselves in such a manner as would secure the good-will of the surrounding tribes. Their own existence, and with it the safety of the army and the success of the undertaking, depended on this course. In the place were to remain the royal treasurer, the veedor, or inspector of metals, and other officers of the crown; and the command of the garrison was intrusted to the contador, Antonio Navarro. *7 Then putting himself at the head of his troops, the chief struck boldly into the heart of the country in the direction where, as he was informed, lay the camp of the Inca. It was a daring enterprise, thus to venture with a handful of followers into the heart of a powerful empire, to present himself, face to face, before the Indian monarch in his own camp, encompassed by the flower of his victorious army! Pizarro had already experienced more than once the difficulty of maintaining his ground against the rude tribes of the north, so much inferior in strength and numbers to the warlike legions of Peru. But the hazard of the game, as I have already more than once had occasion to remark, constituted its great charm with the Spaniard. The brilliant achievements of his countrymen, on the like occasions, with means so inadequate, inspired him with confidence in his own good star, and this confidence was one source of his success. Had he faltered for a moment, had he stopped to calculate chances, he must inevitably have failed; for the odds were too great to be combated by sober reason. They were only to be met triumphantly by the spirit of the knight-errant.
[Footnote 7: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Barcia, tom. III. p. 187. - Pedro Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 10. Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - ]
After crossing the smooth waters of the Piura, the little army continued to advance over a level district intersected by streams that descended from the neighbouring Cordilleras. The face of the country was shagged over with forests of gigantic growth, and occasionally traversed by ridges of barren land, that seemed like shoots of the adjacent Andes, breaking up the surface of the region into little sequestered valleys of singular loveliness. The soil, though rarely watered by the rains of heaven, was naturally rich, and wherever it was refreshed with moisture, as on the margins of the streams, it was enamelled with the brightest verdure. The industry of the inhabitants, moreover, had turned these streams to the best account, and canals and aqueducts were seen crossing the low lands in all directions, and spreading over the country, like a vast network, diffusing fertility and beauty around them. The air was scented with the sweet odors of flowers, and everywhere the eye was refreshed by the sight of orchards laden with unknown fruits, and of fields waving with yellow grain and rich in luscious vegetables of every description that teem in the sunny clime of the equator. The Spaniards were among a people who had carried the refinements of husbandry to a greater extent than any yet found on the American continent; and, as they journeyed through this paradise of plenty, their condition formed a pleasing contrast to what they had before endured in the dreary wilderness of the mangroves.
Everywhere, too, they were received with confiding hospitality by the simple people; for which they were no doubt indebted, in a great measure, to their own inoffensive deportment. Every Spaniard seemed to be aware, that his only chance of success lay in conciliating the good opinion of the inhabitants, among whom he had so recklessly cast his fortunes. In most of the hamlets, and in every place of considerable size, some fortress was to be found, or royal caravansary, destined for the Inca on his progresses, the ample halls of which furnished abundant accommodations for the Spaniards; who were thus provided with quarters along their route at the charge of the very government which they were preparing to overturn. *8
[Footnote 8: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
On the fifth day after leaving San Miguel, Pizarro halted in one of these delicious valleys, to give his troops repose, and to make a more complete inspection of them. Their number amounted in all to one hundred and seventy-seven, of which sixty-seven were cavalry. He mustered only three arquebusiers in his whole company, and a few crossbow-men, altogether not exceeding twenty. *9 The troops were tolerably well equipped, and in good condition. But the watchful eye of their commander noticed with uneasiness, that, notwithstanding the general heartiness in the cause manifested by his followers, there were some among them whose countenances lowered with discontent, and who, although they did not give vent to it in open murmurs, were far from moving with their wonted alacrity. He was aware, that, if this spirit became contagious, it would be the ruin of the enterprise; and he thought it best to exterminate the gangrene at once, and at whatever cost, than to wait until it had infected the whole system. He came to an extraordinary resolution.
[Footnote 9: There is less discrepancy in the estimate of the Spanish force here than usual. The paucity of numbers gave less room for it. No account carries them as high as two hundred. I have adopted that of the Secretary Xerez, (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 187,) who has been followed by Oviedo, (Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 1, cap 3,) and by the judicious Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 1, cap 2.]
Calling his men together, he told them that "a crisis had now arrived in their affairs, which it demanded all their courage to meet. No man should think of going forward in the expedition, who could not do so with his whole heart, or who had the least misgiving as to its success. If any repented of his share in it, it was not too late to turn back. San Miguel was but poorly garrisoned, and he should be glad to see it in greater strength. Those who chose might return to this place, and they should be entitled to the same proportion of lands and Indian vassals as the present residents. With the rest, were they few or many, who chose to take their chance with him, he should pursue the adventure to the end." *10
[Footnote 10: "Que todos los que quiriesen bolverse a la ciudad de San Miguel y avecindarse alli demas de los vecinos que alli quedaban el los depositaria repartimientos de Indios con que se sortubiesen como lo habia hecho con los otros vecinos; e que con los Espanoles quedasen, pocos o muchos, iria a conquistar e pacificar la tierra en demanda y persecucion del camino que llevaba." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias. Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3.]
It was certainly a remarkable proposal for a commander, who was ignorant of the amount of disaffection in his ranks, and who could not safely spare a single man from his force, already far too feeble for the undertaking. Yet, by insisting on the wants of the little colony of San Miguel, he afforded a decent pretext for the secession of the malecontents, and swept away the barrier of shame which might have still held them in the camp. Notwithstanding the fair opening thus afforded, there were but few, nine in all, who availed themselves of the general's permission. Four of these belonged to the infantry, and five to the horse. The rest loudly declared their resolve to go forward with their brave leader; and, if there were some whose voices were faint amidst the general acclamation, they, at least, relinquished the right of complaining hereafter, since they had voluntarily rejected the permission to return. *11 This stroke of policy in their sagacious captain was attended with the best effects. He had winnowed out the few grains of discontent, which, if left to themselves, might have fermented in secret till the whole mass had swelled into mutiny. Cortes had compelled his men to go forward heartily in his enterprise, by burning their vessels, and thus cutting off the only means of retreat. Pizarro, on the other hand, threw open the gates to the disaffected and facilitated their departure. Both judged right, under their peculiar circumstances, and both were perfectly successful.
[Footnote 11: Ibid., Ms., loc. cit. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 1. cap. 2. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 187.]
Feeling himself strengthened, instead of weakened, by his loss, Pizarro now resumed his march, and, on the second day, arrived before a place called Zaran, situated in a fruitful valley among the mountains. Some of the inhabitants had been drawn off to swell the levies of Atahuallpa. The Spaniards had repeated experience on their march of the oppressive exactions of the Inca, who had almost depopulated some of the valleys to obtain reinforcements for his army. The curaca of the Indian town, where Pizarro now arrived, received him with kindness and hospitality, and the troops were quartered as usual in one of the royal tambos or caravansaries, which were found in all the principal places. *12
[Footnote 12: Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms.]
Yet the Spaniards saw no signs of their approach to the royal encampment, though more time had already elapsed than was originally allowed for reaching it. Shortly before entering Zaran, Pizarro had heard that a Peruvian garrison was established in a place called Caxas, lying among the hills, at no great distance from his present quarters. He immediately despatched a small party under Hernando de Soto in that direction, to reconnoitre the ground, and bring him intelligence of the actual state of things, at Zaran, where he would halt until his officer's return.
Day after day passed on, and a week had elapsed before tidings were received of his companions, and Pizarro was becoming seriously alarmed for their fate, when on the eighth morning Soto appeared, bringing with him an envoy from the Inca himself. He was a person of rank, and was attended by several followers of inferior condition. He had met the Spaniards at Caxas, and now accompanied them on their return, to deliver his sovereign's message, with a present to the Spanish commander. The present consisted of two fountains, made of stone, in the form of fortresses; some fine stuffs of woollen embroidered with gold and silver; and a quantity of goose-flesh, dried and seasoned in a peculiar manner, and much used as a perfume, in a pulverized state, by the Peruvian nobles. *13 The Indian ambassador came charged also with his master's greeting to the strangers, whom Atahu allpa welcomed to his country, and invited to visit him in his camp among the mountains. *14
[Footnote 13: "Dos Fortalecas a manera de Fuente, figuradas en Piedra, con que beba, i dos cargas de Patos secos, desollados, para que hechos polvos, se sahume con ellos, porque asi se usa entre los Senores de su Tierra: i que le embiaba a decir, que el tiene voluntad de ser su Amigo, i esperalle de Paz en Caxamalca." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 189.]
[Footnote 14: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 189.
Garcilasso de la Vega tells us that Atahuallpa's envoy addressed the Spanish commander in the most humble and deprecatory manner, as Son of the Sun and of the great God Viracocha. He adds, that he was loaded with a prodigious present of all kinds of game, living and dead, gold and silver vases, emeralds, turquoises, &c., &c, enough to furnish out the finest chapter of the Arabian Nights. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 19.) It is extraordinary that none of the Conquerors who had a quick eye for these dainties, should allude to them. One cannot but suspect that the "old uncle" was amusing himself at his young nephew's expense; and, as it has proved, at the expense of most of his readers, who receive the Inca's fairy tales as historic facts.]
Pizarro well understood that the Inca's object in this diplomatic visit was less to do him courtesy, than to inform himself of the strength and condition of the invaders. But he was well pleased with the embassy, and dissembled his consciousness of its real purpose. He caused the Peruvian to be entertained in the best manner the camp could afford, and paid him the respect, says one of the Conquerors, due to the ambassador of so great a monarch. *15 Pizarro urged him to prolong his visit for some days, which the Indian envoy declined, but made the most of his time while there, by gleaning all the information he could in respect to the uses of every strange article which he saw, as well as the object of the white men's visit to the land, and the quarter whence they came.
[Footnote 15: "I mando, que le diesen de comer a el, i a los que con el venian, i todo lo que huviesen menester, i fuesen bien aposentados, como Embajadores de tan Gran Senor." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 189.]
The Spanish captain satisfied his curiosity in all these particulars. The intercourse with the natives, it may be here remarked, was maintained by means of two of the youths who had accompanied the Conquerors on their return home from their preceding voyage. They had been taken by Pizarro to Spain, and, as much pains had been bestowed on teaching them the Castilian, they now filled the office of interpreters, and opened an easy communication with their countrymen. It was of inestimable service; and well did the Spanish commander reap the fruits of his forecast. *16
[Footnote 16: "Los Indios de la tierra se entendian muy bien con los Espanoles, porque aquellos mochachos Indios que en el decubrimiento de la tierra Pizarro truxo a Espana, entendian muy bien nuestra lengua, y los tenia alli, con los cuales se entendia muy bien con todos los naturales de la tierra. (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) Yet it is a proof of the ludicrous blunders into which the Conquerors were perpetually falling, that Pizarro's secretary constantly confounds the Inca's name with that of his capital. Huayna Capac, he always styles "old Cuzco," and his son Huasca. "young Cuzco."]
On the departure of the Peruvian messenger, Pizarro presented him with a cap of crimson cloth, some cheap but showy ornaments of glass, and other toys, which he had brought for the purpose from Castile. He charged the envoy to tell his master, that the Spaniards came from a powerful prince, who dwelt far beyond the waters; that they had heard much of the fame of Atahuallpa's victories, and were come to pay their respects to him, and to offer their services by aiding him with their arms against his enemies; and he might be assured, they would not halt on the road, longer than was necessary, before presenting themselves before him.
Pizarro now received from Soto a full account of his late expedition. That chief, on entering Caxas, found the inhabitants mustered in hostile array, as if to dispute his passage. But the cavalier soon convinced them of his pacific intentions, and, laying aside their menacing attitude, they received the Spaniards with the same courtesy which had been shown them in most places on their march.
Here Soto found one of the royal officers, employed in collecting the tribute for the government. From this functionary he learned that the Inca was quartered with a large army at Caxamalca, a place of considerable size on the other side of the Cordillera, where he was enjoying the luxury of the warm baths, supplied by natural springs, for which it was then famous, as it is at the present day. The cavalier gathered, also, much important information in regard to the resources and the general policy of government, the state maintained by the Inca, and the stern severity with which obedience to the law was everywhere enforced. He had some opportunity of observing this for himself, as, on entering the village, he saw several Indians hanging dead by their heels, having been executed for some violence offered to the Virgins of the Sun, of whom there was a convent in the neighbourhood. *17
[Footnote 17: "A la entrada del Pueblo havia ciertos Indios ahorcados de los pies: i supo de este Principal, que Atabalipa los mando matar, porque uno de ellos entro en la Casa de las Mugeres a dormir con una: al qual, i a todos los Porteros que consintieron, ahorco." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, ton. III. p. 188.]
From Caxas, De Soto had passed to the adjacent town of Guancabamba, much larger, more populous, and better built than the preceding. The houses, instead of being made of clay baked in the sun, were many of them constructed of solid stone, so nicely put together, that it was impossible to detect the line of junction. A river, which passed through the town, was traversed by a bridge, and the high road of the Incas, which crossed this district, was far superior to that which the Spaniards had seen on the sea-board. It was raised in many places, like a causeway, paved with heavy stone flags, and bordered by trees that afforded a grateful shade to the passenger, while streams of water were conducted through aqueducts along the sides to slake his thirst. At certain distances, also, they noticed small houses, which, they were told, were for the accommodation of the traveller, who might thus pass, without inconvenience, from one end of the kingdom to the other. *18 In another quarter they beheld one of those magazines destined for the army, filled with grain, and with articles of clothing; and at the entrance of the town was a stone building, occupied by a public officer, whose business it was to collect the tolls or duties on various commodities brought into the place, or carried out of it. *19 - These accounts of De Soto not only confirmed all that the Spaniards had heard of the Indian empire, but greatly raised their ideas of its resources and domestic policy. They might well have shaken the confidence of hearts less courageous.
[Footnote 18: "Van por este camino canos de agua de donde los caminantes beben, traidos de sus nacimientos de otras partes, y a cada jornada una Casa a manera de Venta donde se aposentan los que van e vienen.' Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3.]
[Footnote 19: "A la entrada de este Camino en el Pueblo de Cajas esta una casa al principio de una puente donde reside una guarda que recibe el Portazgo de todos los que van e vienen, e paganlo en la misma cosa que llevan, y ninguno puede sacar carga del Pueblo sino la mete, y esta costumbre es alli antigua." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms, ubi supra.]
Pizarro, before leaving his present quarters, despatched a messenger to San Miguel with particulars of his movements, sending, at the same time, the articles received from the Inca, as well as those obtained at different places on the route. The skill shown in the execution of some of these fabrics excited great admiration, when sent to Castile. The fine woollen cloths, especially, with their rich embroidery, were pronounced equal to silk, from which it was not easy to distinguish them. It was probably the delicate wool of the vicuna, none of which had then been seen in Europe. *20
[Footnote 20: "Piezas de lana de la tierra, que era cosa mucho de ver segun su primer e gentileza, e no se sabian determinar si era seda o lana segun su fineza con muchas labores i figuras de oro de martillo de tal manera asentado en la ropa que era cosa de marabillar." Oviendo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3 lib. 8, cap. 4.]
Pizarro, having now acquainted himself with the most direct route to Caxamalca, - the Caxamalca of the present day, - resumed his march, taking a direction nearly south. The first place of any size at which he halted was Motupe, pleasantly situated in a fruitful valley, among hills of no great elevation, which cluster round the base of the Cordilleras. The place was deserted by its curaca, who, with three hundred of its warriors, had gone to join the standard of their Inca. Here the general, notwithstanding his avowed purpose to push forward without delay, halted four days. The tardiness of his movements can be explained only by the hope, which he may have still entertained, of being joined by further reinforcements before crossing the Cordilleras. None such appeared, however; and advancing across a country in which tracts of sandy plain were occasionally relieved by a broad expanse of verdant meadow, watered by natural streams and still more abundantly by those brought through artificial channels, the troops at length arrived at the borders of a river. It was broad and deep, and the rapidity of the current opposed more than ordinary difficulty to the passage. Pizarro, apprehensive lest this might be disputed by the natives on the opposite bank, ordered his brother Hernando to cross over with a small detachment under cover of night, and secure a safe landing for the rest of the troops. At break of day Pizarro made preparations for his own passage, by hewing timber in the neighboring woods, and constructing a sort of floating bridge, on which before nightfall the whole company passed in safety, the horses swimming, being led by the bridle. It was a day of severe labor, and Pizarro took his own share in it freely, like a common soldier, having ever a word of encouragement to say to his followers. On reaching the opposite side, they learned from their comrades that the people of the country, instead of offering resistance, had fled in dismay. One of them, having been taken and brought before Hernando Pizarro, refused to answer the questions put to him respecting the Inca and his army; till, being put to the torture, he stated that Atahuallpa was encamped, with his whole force, in three separate divisions, occupying the high grounds and plains of Caxamalca. He further stated, that the Inca was aware of the approach of the white men and of their small number, and that he was purposely decoying them into his own quarters, that he might have them more completely in his power.
This account, when reported by Hernando to his brother, caused the latter much anxiety. As the timidity of the peasantry, however, gradually wore off, some of them mingled with the troops, and among them the curaca or principal person of the village. He had himself visited the royal camp, and he informed the general that Atahuallpa lay at the strong town of Guamachucho, twenty leagues or more south of Caxamalca, with an army of at least fifty thousand men.
These contradictory statements greatly perplexed the chieftain; and he proposed to one of the Indians who had borne him company during a great part of the march, to go as a spy into the Inca's quarters, and bring him intelligence of his actual position, and, as far as he could learn them, of his intentions towards the Spaniards. But the man positively declined this dangerous service, though he professed his willingness to go as an authorized messenger of the Spanish commander.
Pizarro acquiesced in this proposal, and instructed his envoy to assure the Inca that he was advancing with all convenient speed to meet him. He was to acquaint the monarch with the uniformly considerate monarch with the uniformly considerate conduct of the Spaniards towards his subjects, in their progress through the land, and to assure him that they were now coming in full confidence of finding in him the same amicable feelings towards themselves. The emissary was particularly instructed to observe if the strong passes on the road were defended, or if any preparations of a hostile character were to be discerned. This last intelligence he was to communicate to the general by means of two or three nimble-footed attendants, who were to accompany him on his mission. *21
[Footnote 21: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Relacion del Primer, Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap Barcia, tom. III. p. 190]
Having taken this precaution, the wary commander again resumed his march, and at the end of three days reached the base of the mountain rampart, behind which lay the ancient town of Caxamalca. Before him rose the stupendous Andes, rock piled upon rock, their skirts below dark with evergreen forests, varied here and there by terraced patches of cultivated garden, with the peasant's cottage clinging to their shaggy sides, and their crests of snow glittering high in the heavens, - presenting altogether such a wild chaos of magnificence and beauty as no other mountain scenery in the world can show. Across this tremendous rampart, through a labyrinth of passes, easily capable of defence by a handful of men against an army, the troops were now to march. To the right ran a broad and level road, with its border of friendly shades, and wide enough for two carriages to pass abreast. It was one of the great routes leading to Cuzco, and seemed by its pleasant and easy access to invite the wayworn soldier to choose it in preference to the dangerous mountain defiles. Many were accordingly of opinion that the army should take this course, and abandon the original destination of Caxamalca. But such was not the decision of Pizarro.
The Spaniards had everywhere proclaimed their purpose, he said, to visit the Inca in his camp. This purpose had been communicated to the Inca himself. To take an opposite direction now would only be to draw on them the imputation of cowardice, and to incur Atahuallpa's contempt. No alternative remained but to march straight across the sierra to his quarters. "Let every one of you," said the bold cavalier, "take heart and go forward like a good soldier, nothing daunted by the smallness of your numbers. For in the greatest extremity God ever fights for his own; and doubt not he will humble the pride of the heathen, and bring him to the knowledge of the true faith, the great end and object of the Conquest." *22
[Footnote 22: "Que todos se animasen y esforzasen a hacer como de ellos esperaba y como buenos espanoles lo suelen hacer, e que no les pusiese temor la multitud que se decia que habia de gente ni el poco numero de los cristianos, que aunque menos fuesen e mayor el egercito contrario, la ayuda de Dios es mucho mayor, y en las mayores necesidades socorre y faborece a los suyos para desbaratar y abajar la soberbia de los infieles e traerlos en conocimiento de nuestra Sta fe catolica." Ovieda, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4.]
Pizarro, like Cortes, possessed a good share of that frank and manly eloquence which touches the heart of the soldier more than the parade of rhetoric or the finest flow of elocution. He was a soldier himself, and partook in all the feelings of the soldier, his joys, his hopes, and his disappointments. He was not raised by rank and education above sympathy with the humblest of his followers. Every chord in their bosoms vibrated with the same pulsations as his own, and the conviction of this gave him a mastery over them. "Lead on," they shouted, as he finished his brief but animating address, "lead on wherever you think best. We will follow with good-will, and you shall see that we can do our duty in the cause of God and the King!" *23 There was no longer hesitation. All thoughts were now bent on the instant passage of the Cordilleras.