[Footnote 23: 'Todos digeron que fuese por el Camino que quisiese i viese que mas convenia, que todos le seguirian con buena voluntad e obra al tiempo del efecto, y veria lo que cada uno de ellos haria en servicio de Dios e de su Magestad." Ibid., Ms, loc. cit.]
Severe Passage Of The Andes. - Embassies From Atahuallpa. - The Spaniards Reach Caxamalca. - Embassy To The Inca. - Interview With The Inca. - Despondency Of The Spaniards
That night Pizarro held a council of his principal officers, and it was determined that he should lead the advance, consisting of forty horse and sixty foot, and reconnoitre the ground; while the rest of the company, under his brother Hernando, should occupy their present position till they received further orders.
At early dawn the Spanish general and his detachment were under arms, and prepared to breast the difficulties of the sierra. These proved even greater than had been foreseen. The path had been conducted in the most judicious manner round the rugged and precipitous sides of the mountains, so as best to avoid the natural impediments presented by the ground. But it was necessarily so steep, in many places, that the cavalry were obliged to dismount, and, scrambling up as they could, to lead their horses by the bridle. In many places too, where some huge crag or eminence overhung the road, this was driven to the very verge of the precipice; and the traveller was compelled to wind along the narrow ledge of rock, scarcely wide enough for his single steed, where a misstep would precipitate him hundreds, nay, thousands, of feet into the dreadful abyss! The wild passes of the sierra, practicable for the half-naked Indian, and even for the sure and circumspect mule, - an animal that seems to have been created for the roads of the Cordilleras, - were formidable to the man-at-arms encumbered with his panoply of mail. The tremendous fissures or quebradas, so frightful in this mountain chain, yawned open, as if the Andes had been split asunder by some terrible convulsion, showing a broad expanse of the primitive rock on their sides, partially mantled over with the spontaneous vegetation of ages; while their obscure depths furnished a channel for the torrents, that, rising in the heart of the sierra, worked their way gradually into light, and spread over the savannas and green valleys of the tierra caliente on their way to the great ocean.
Many of these passes afforded obvious points of defence; and the Spaniards, as they entered the rocky defiles, looked with apprehension lest they might rouse some foe from his ambush. This apprehension was heightened, as, at the summit of a steep and narrow gorge, in which they were engaged, they beheld a strong work, rising like a fortress, and frowning, as it were, in gloomy defiance on the invaders. As they drew near this building which was of solid stone, commanding an angle of the road, they almost expected to see the dusky forms of the warriors rise over the battlements, and to receive their tempest of missiles on their bucklers; for it was in so strong a position, that a few resolute men might easily have held there an army at bay. But they had the satisfaction to find the place untenanted, and their spirits were greatly raised by the conviction that the Indian monarch did not intend to dispute their passage, when it would have been easy to do so with success.
Pizarro now sent orders to his brother to follow without delay; and, after refreshing his men, continued his toilsome ascent, and before nightfall reached an eminence crowned by another fortress, of even greater strength than the preceding. It was built of solid masonry, the lower part excavated from the living rock, and the whole work executed with skill not inferior to that of the European architect. *1
[Footnote 1: "Tan ancha la Cerca como qualquier Fortaleca de Espana, con sus Puertas: que si en esta Tierra oviese los Maestros, i Herramientas de Espana, no pudiera ser mejor labrada la Cerca." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 192.]
Here Pizarro took up his quarters for the night. Without waiting for the arrival of the rear, on the following morning he resumed his march, leading still deeper into the intricate gorges of the sierra. The climate had gradually changed, and the men and horses, especially the latter, suffered severely from the cold, so long accustomed as they had been to the sultry climate of the tropics. *2 The vegetation also had changed its character; and the magnificent timber which covered the lower level of the country had gradually given way to the funereal forest of pine, and, as they rose still higher, to the stunted growth of numberless Alpine plants, whose hardy natures found a congenial temperature in the icy atmosphere of the more elevated regions. These dreary solitudes seemed to be nearly abandoned by the brute creation as well as by man. The light-footed vicuna, roaming in its native state, might be sometimes seen looking down from some airy cliff, where the foot of the hunter dared not venture. But instead of the feathered tribes whose gay plumage sparkled in the deep glooms of the tropical forests, the adventurers now beheld only the great bird of the Andes, the loathsome condor, who, sailing high above the clouds, followed with doleful cries in the track of the army, as if guided by instinct in the path of blood and carnage.
[Footnote 2: "Es tanto el frio que hace en esta Sierra, que como los Caballos venian hechos al calor, que en los Valles hacia, algunos de ellos se resfriaron." Ibid., p. 191.]
At length they reached the crest of the Cordillera, where it spreads out into a bold and bleak expanse, with scarce the vestige of vegetation, except what is afforded by the pajonal, a dried yellow grass, which, as it is seen from below, encircling the base of the snow-covered peaks, looks, with its brilliant straw-color lighted up in the rays of an ardent sun, like a setting of gold round pinnacles of burnished silver. The land was sterile, as usual in mining districts, and they were drawing near the once famous gold quarries on the way to Caxamalca;
"Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines, That on the high equator ridgy rise."
Here Pizarro halted for the coming up of the rear. The air was sharp and frosty; and the soldiers, spreading their tents, lighted fires, and, huddling round them, endeavoured to find some repose after their laborious march. *3
[Footnote 3: "E aposentaronse los Espanoles en sus toldos o pabellones de algodon de la tierra que llevaban, e haciendo fuegos para defenderse del mucho frio que en aquella Sierra hacen, porque sin ellos no se pudieron valer sin padecer mucho trabajo; y segun a los cristianos les parecio, y aun como era lo cierto, no podia haber mas frio en parte de Espana en invierno. Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4.]
They had not been long in these quarters, when a messenger arrived, one of those who had accompanied the Indian envoy sent by Pizarro to Atahuallpa. He informed the general that the road was free from enemies, and that an embassy from the Inca was on its way to the Castilian camp. Pizarro now sent back to quicken the march of the rear, as he was unwilling that the Peruvian envoy should find him with his present diminished numbers. The rest of the army were not far distant, and not long after reached the encampment. In a short time the Indian embassy also arrived, which consisted of one of the Inca nobles and several attendants, bringing a welcome present of llamas to the Spanish commander. The Peruvian bore, also, the greetings of his master, who wished to know when the Spaniards would arrive at Caxamalca, that he might provide suitable refreshments for them. Pizarro learned that the Inca had left Guamachucho, and was now lying with a small force in the neighbourhood of Caxamalca, at a place celebrated for its natural springs of warm water. The Peruvian was an intelligent person, and the Spanish commander gathered from him many particulars respecting the late contests which had distracted the empire.
As the envoy vaunted in lofty terms the military prowess and resources of his sovereign, Pizarro thought it politic to show that it had no power to overawe him. He expressed his satisfaction at the triumphs of Atahuallpa, who, he acknowledged, had raised himself high in the rank of Indian warriors. But he was as inferior, he added with more policy than politeness, to the monarch who ruled over the white men, as the petty curacas of the country were inferior to him. This was evident from the ease with which a few Spaniards had overrun this great continent, subduing one nation after another, that had offered resistance to their arms. He had been led by the fame of Atahuallpa to visit his dominions, and to offer him his services in his wars; and, if he were received by the Inca in the same friendly spirit with which he came, he was willing, for the aid he could render him, to postpone awhile his passage across the country to the opposite seas. The Indian, according to the Castilian accounts, listened with awe to this strain of glorification from the Spanish commander. Yet it is possible that the envoy was a better diplomatist than they imagined; and that he understood it was only the game of brag at which he was playing with his more civilized antagonist. *4
[Footnote 4: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 193. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 5.]
On the succeeding morning, at an early hour, the troops were again on their march, and for two days were occupied in threading the airy defiles of the Cordilleras. Soon after beginning their descent on the eastern side, another emissary arrived from the Inca, bearing a message of similar import to the preceding, and a present, in like manner, of Peruvian sheep. This was the same noble that had visited Pizarro in the valley. He now came in more state, quaffing chicha - the fermented juice of the maize - from golden goblets borne by his attendants, which sparkled in the eyes of the rapacious adventurers. *5
[Footnote 5: "Este Embajardor traia servicio de Senor, i cinco, o seis Vasos de Oro fino, con que bebia, i con ellos daba a beber a los Espanoles de la Chicha que traia." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom III. p 193. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., ubi supra.
The latter author, in this part of his work, has done little more than make a transcript of that of Xerez. His indorsement of Pizarro's secretary, however, is of value, from the fact that, with less temptation to misstate or overstate, he enjoyed excellent opportunities for information.] While he was in the camp, the Indian messenger, originally sent by Pizarro to the Inca, returned, and no sooner did he behold the Peruvian, and the honorable reception which he met with from the Spaniards, than he was filled with wrath, which would have vented itself in personal violence, but for the interposition of the by-standers. It was hard, he said, that this Peruvian dog should be thus courteously treated, when he himself had nearly lost his life on a similar mission among his countrymen. On reaching the Inca's camp, he had been refused admission to his presence, on the ground that he was keeping a fast and could not be seen. They had paid no respect to his assertion that he came as an envoy from the white men, and would, probably, not have suffered him to escape with life, if he had not assured them that any violence offered to him would be retaliated in full measure on the persons of the Peruvian envoys, now in the Spanish quarters. There was no doubt, he continued, of the hostile intentions of Atahuallpa; for he was surrounded with a powerful army, strongly encamped about a league from Caxamalca, while that city was entirely evacuated by its inhabitants. To all this the Inca's envoy coolly replied, that Pizarro's messenger might have reckoned on such a reception as he had found, since he seemed to have taken with him no credentials of his mission. As to the Inca's fast, that was true; and, although he would doubtless have seen the messenger, had he known there was one from the strangers, yet it was not safe to disturb him at these solemn seasons, when engaged in his religious duties. The troops by whom he was surrounded were not numerous, considering that the Inca was at that time carrying on an important war; and as to Caxamalca, it was abandoned by the inhabitants in order to make room for the white men, who were so soon to occupy it. *6
[Footnote 6: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 194. - Oviedo Hist. de las Indias, Ms., ubi supra.]
This explanation, however plausible, did not altogether satisfy the general; for he had too deep a conviction of the cunning of Atahuallpa, whose intentions towards the Spaniards he had long greatly distrusted. As he proposed, however, to keep on friendly relations with the monarch for the present, it was obviously not his cue to manifest suspicion. Affecting, therefore, to give full credit to the explanation of the envoy, he dismissed him with reiterated assurances of speedily presenting himself before the Inca.
The descent of the sierra, though the Andes are less precipitous on their eastern side than towards the west, was attended with difficulties almost equal to those of the upward march; and the Spaniards felt no little satisfaction, when, on the seventh day, they arrived in view of the valley of Caxamalca, which, enamelled with all the beauties of cultivation, lay unrolled like a rich and variegated carpet of verdure, in strong contrast with the dark forms of the Andes, that rose up everywhere around it. The valley is of an oval shape, extending about five leagues in length by three in breadth. It was inhabited by a population of a superior character to any which the Spaniards had met on the other side of the mountains, as was argued by the superior style of their attire, and the greater cleanliness and comfort visible both in their persons and dwellings. *7 As far as the eye could reach, the level tract exhibited the show of a diligent and thrifty husbandry. A broad river rolled through the meadows, supplying facilities for copious irrigation by means of the usual canals and subterraneous aqueducts. The land, intersected by verdant hedge-rows, was checkered with patches of various cultivation; for the soil was rich, and the climate, if less stimulating than that of the sultry regions of the coast, was more favorable to the hardy products of the temperate latitudes. Below the adventurers, with its white houses glittering in the sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling gem on the dark skirts of the sierra. At the distance of about a league farther, across the valley, might be seen columns of vapor rising up towards the heavens, indicating the place of the famous hot baths, much frequented by the Peruvian princes. And here, too, was a spectacle less grateful to the eyes of the Spaniards; for along the slope of the hills a white cloud of pavilions was seen covering the ground, as thick as snow-flakes, for the space, apparently, of several miles. "It filled us all with amazement," exclaims one of the Conquerors, "to behold the Indians occupying so proud a position! So many tents, so well appointed, as were never seen in the Indies till now The spectacle caused something like confusion and even fear in the stoutest bosom. But it was too late to turn back, or to betray the least sign of weakness, since the natives in our own company would, in such case, have been the first to rise upon us. So, with as bold a countenance as we could, after coolly surveying the ground, we prepared for our entrance into Caxamalca." *8
[Footnote 7: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 195.]
[Footnote 8: "Y eran tantas las tiendas que parecian, que cierto nos puso harto espanto, porque no pensabamos que Indios pudiesen tener tan soberbia estancia, ni tantas tiendas, ni tan a punto, lo cual hasta alli en las Indias nunca se vio, que nos causo a todos los Espanoles harta confusion y temor; aunque no convenia mostrarse, ni menos volver atras, porque si alguna flaqueza en nosotros sintieran, los mismos Indios que llevabamos nos mataran, y ansi con animoso semblante, despues de haber muy bien atalayado el pueblo y tiendas que he dicho, abajamos por el valle abajo, y entramos en el pueblo de Cajamalca." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
What were the feelings of the Peruvian monarch we are not informed, when he gazed on the martial cavalcade of the Christians, as, with banners streaming, and bright panoplies glistening in the rays of the evening sun, it emerged from the dark depths of the sierra, and advanced in hostile array over the fair domain, which, to this period, had never been trodden by other foot than that of the red man. It might be, as several of the reports had stated, that the Inca had purposely decoyed the adventurers into the heart of his populous empire, that he might envelope them with his legions, and the more easily become master of their property and persons. *9 Or was it from a natural feeling of curiosity, and relying on their professions of friendship, that he had thus allowed them, without any attempt at resistance, to come into his presence? At all events, he could hardly have felt such confidence in himself, as not to look with apprehension, mingled with awe, on the mysterious strangers, who, coming from an unknown world, and possessed of such wonderful gifts, had made their way across mountain and valley, in spite of every obstacle which man and nature had opposed to them.
[Footnote 9: This was evidently the opinion of the old Conqueror, whose imperfect manuscript forms one of the best authorities for this portion of our narrative. "Teniendonos en muy poco, y no haciendo cuenta que 190 hombres le habian de ofender. dio lugar y consintio que pasasemos por aquel paso y por otros muchos tan malos como el, porque realmente, a lo que despues se supo y averiguo, su intencion era vernos y preguntarnos, de donde veniamos? y quien nos habia hechado alli? y que queriamos? Porque era muy sabio y discreto, y aunque sin luz ni escriptura, amigo de saber y de sotil entendimiento; y despues de holgadose con nosotros, tomarnos los caballos y las cosas que a el mas le aplacian, y sacrificar a los demas." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
Pizarro, meanwhile, forming his little corps into three divisions, now moved forward, at a more measured pace, and in order of battle, down the slopes that led towards the Indian city. As he drew near, no one came out to welcome him; and he rode through the streets without meeting with a living thing, or hearing a sound, except the echoes, sent back from the deserted dwellings, of the tramp of the soldiery.
It was a place of considerable size, containing about ten thousand inhabitants, somewhat more, probably, than the population assembled at this day within the walls of the modern city of Caxamalca. *10 The houses, for the most part, were built of clay, hardened in the sun; the roofs thatched, or of timber. Some of the more ambitious dwellings were of hewn stone; and there was a convent in the place, occupied by the Virgins of the Sun, and a temple dedicated to the same tutelar deity, which last was hidden in the deep embowering shades of a grove on the skirts of the city. On the quarter towards the Indian camp was a square - if square it might be called, which was almost triangular in form - of an immense size, surrounded by low buildings. These consisted of capacious halls, with wide doors or opening communicating with the square. They were probably intended as a sort of barracks for the Inca's soldiers. *11 At the end of the plaza, looking towards the country, was a fortress of stone, with a stairway leading from the city, and a private entrance from the adjoining suburbs. There was still another fortress on the rising ground which commanded the town, built of hewn stone, and encompassed by three circular walls, - or rather one and the same wall, which wound up spirally around it. It was a place of great strength, and the workmanship showed a better knowledge of masonry, and gave a higher impression of the architectural science of the people, than any thing the Spaniards had yet seen. *12
[Footnote 10: According to Stevenson, this population, which is of a very mixed character, amounts, or did amount some thirty years ago, to about seven thousand. That sagacious traveller gives an animated description of the city, in which he resided some time, and which he seems to have regarded with peculiar predilection. Yet it does not hold probably the relative rank at the present day, that it did in that of the Incas. Residence in South America, vol. II. p. 131.]
[Footnote 11: Carta de Hern. Pizarro, ap. Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 15. - Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom III. p. 195.]
[Footnote 12: "Fuercas son, que entre Indios no se han visto tales." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 195. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
It was late in the afternoon of the fifteenth of November, 1532, when the Conquerors entered the city of Caxamalca. The weather, which had been fair during the day, now threatened a storm, and some rain mingled with hail - for it was unusually cold - began to fall. *13 Pizarro, however, was so anxious to ascertain the dispositions of the Inca, that he determined to send an embassy, at once, to his quarters. He selected for this, Hernando de Soto with fifteen horse, and, after his departure, conceiving that the number was too small, in case of any unfriendly demonstrations by the Indians, he ordered his brother Hernando to follow with twenty additional troopers. This captain and one other of his party have left us an account of the excursion. *14
[Footnote 13: "Desde a poco rato comenco a llover, i caer granico." (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 195.) Caxamalca, in the Indian tongue, signifies "place of frost"; for the temperature, though usually bland and genial, is sometimes affected by frosty winds from the east, very pernicious to vegetation. Stervenson, Residence in South America, vol. II. p. 129.]
[Footnote 14: Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. The Letter of Hernando Pizarro, addressed to the Royal Audience of St. Domingo, gives a full account of the extraordinary events recorded in this and the ensuing chapter, in which that cavalier took a prominent part. Allowing for the partialities incident to a chief actor in the scenes he describes, no authority can rank higher. The indefatigable Oviedo, who resided in St. Domingo, saw its importance, and fortunately incorporated the document in his great work, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 15. - The anonymous author of the Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms., was also detached on this service.] Between the city and the imperial camp was a causeway, built in a substantial manner across the meadow land that intervened. Over this the cavalry galloped at a rapid pace, and, before they had gone a league, they came in front of the Peruvian encampment, where it spread along the gentle slope of the mountains. The lances of the warriors were fixed in the ground before their tents, and the Indian soldiers were loitering without, gazing with silent astonishment at the Christians cavalcade, as with clangor of arms and shrill blast of trumpet it swept by, like some fearful apparition, on the wings of the wind.
The party soon came to a broad but shallow stream, which, winding through the meadow, formed a defence for the Inca's position. Across it was a wooden bridge; but the cavaliers, distrusting its strength, preferred to dash through the waters, and without difficulty gained the opposite bank. A battalion of Indian warriors was drawn up under arms on the farther side of the bridge, but they offered no molestation to the Spaniards; and these latter had strict orders from Pizarro - scarcely necessary in their present circumstances - to treat the natives with courtesy. One of the Indians pointed out the quarter occupied by the Inca. *15
[Footnote 15: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Hern Pizarro, Ms.]
It was an open court-yard, with a light building or pleasure-house in the centre, having galleries running around it, and opening in the rear on a garden. The walls were covered with a shining plaster, both white and colored, and in the area before the edifice was seen a spacious tank or reservoir of stone, fed by aqueducts that supplied it with both warm and cold water. *16 A basin of hewn stone - it may be of a more recent construction - still bears, on the spot, the name of the "Inca's bath." *17 The court was filled with Indian nobles, dressed in gayly ornamented attire, in attendance on the monarch, and with women of the royal household. Amidst this assembly it was not difficult to distinguish the person of Atahuallpa, though his dress was simpler than that of his attendants. But he wore on his head the crimson borla or fringe, which, surrounding the forehead, hung down as low as the eyebrow. This was the well-known badge of Peruvian sovereignty, and had been assumed by the monarch only since the defeat of his brother Huascar. He was seated on a low stool or cushion, somewhat after the Morisco or Turkish fashion, and his nobles and principal officers stood around him, with great ceremony, holding the stations suited to their rank. *18 [Footnote 16: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia. tom. III. p. 202.
"Y al estanque venian dos canos de agua, uno caliente y otro frio, y alli se templava la una con la otra, para quando el Senor se queria banar o sus mugeres que otra persona no osava entrar en el so pena de la vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y. Conq., Ms.]
[Footnote 17: Stevenson, Residence in South America, vol. II. p. 164.]
[Footnote 18: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 196. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.
The appearance of the Peruvian monarch is described in simple but animated style by the Conqueror so often quoted, one of the party. "Llegados al patio de la dicha casa que tenia delante della, vimos estar en medio de gran muchedumbre de Indios asentado aquel gran Senor Atabalica (de quien tanta noticia, y tantas cosas nos habian dicho) con una corona en la cabeza, y una borla que le salia della, y le cubria toda la frente, la cual era la insinia real, sentado en una sillecita muy baja del suelo, como los turcos y moros acostumbran sentarse, el cual estaba con tanta magestad y aparato cual nunca se ha visto jamas, porque estaba cercado de mas de seiscientos Senores de su tierra." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
The Spaniards gazed with much interest on the prince, of whose cruelty and cunning they had heard so much, and whose valor had secured to him the possession of the empire. But his countenance exhibited neither the fierce passions nor the sagacity which had been ascribed to him; and, though in his bearing he showed a gravity and a calm consciousness of authority well becoming a king, he seemed to discharge all expression from his features, and to discover only the apathy so characteristic of the American races. On the present occasion, this must have been in part, at least, assumed. For it is impossible that the Indian prince should not have contemplated with curious interest a spectacle so strange, and, in some respects, appalling, as that of these mysterious strangers, for which no previous description could have prepared him.
Hernando Pizarro and Soto, with two or three only of their followers, slowly rode up in front of the Inca; and the former, making a respectful obeisance, but without dismounting, informed Atahuallpa that he came as an ambassador from his brother, the commander of the white men, to acquaint the monarch with their arrival in his city of Caxamalca. They were the subjects of a mighty prince across the waters, and had come, he said, drawn thither by the report of his great victories, to offer their services, and to impart to him the doctrines of the true faith which they professed; and he brought an invitation from the general to Atahuallpa that the latter would be pleased to visit the Spaniards in their present quarters. quarter. To all this the Inca answered not a word; nor did he make even a sign of acknowledgment that he comprehended it; though it was translated for him by Felipillo, one of the interpreters already noticed. He remained silent, with his eyes fastened on the ground; but one of his nobles, standing by his side, answered, "It is well." *19 This was an embarrassing situation for the Spaniards, who seemed to be as wide from ascertaining the real disposition of the Peruvian monarch towards themselves, as when the mountains were between them.
[Footnote 19: "Las cuales por el oidas, con ser su inclinacion pereguntarnos y saber de donde veniamos, y que queriamos, y ver nuestras personas y caballos, tubo tanta serenidad en el rostro, y tanta gravedad en su persona, que no quiso responder palabra a lo que se le decia, salvo que un Senor de aquellos que estaban par de el respondia: bien esta." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
In a courteous and respectful manner, Hernando Pizarro again broke the silence by requesting the Inca to speak to them himself, and to inform them what was his pleasure. *20 To this Atahuallpa condescended to reply, while a faint smile passed over his features, - "Tell your captain that I am keeping a fast, which will end to-morrow morning. I will then visit him, with my chieftains. In the mean time, let him occupy the public buildings on the square, and no other, till I come, when I will order what shall be done." *21
[Footnote 20: "Visto por el dicho Hernando Pizarro que el no hablaba y que aquella tercera persona respondia de suyo, torno le a suplicar, que el hablase por su boca, y le respondiese lo que quisiese." Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.]
[Footnote 21: "El cual a esto volvio la cabeza a mirarle sonriendose y le dijo: Decid a ese Capitan que os embia aca; que yo estoy en ayuno, y le acabo manana por la manana, que en bebiendo una vez, yo ire con algunos destos principales mios a verme con el, que en tanto el se aposente en esas casas que estan en la plaza que son comunes a todos, y que no entren en otra ninguna hasta que Yo vaya, que Yo mandare lo que se ha de hacer." Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.
In this singular interview I have followed the account of the cavalier who accompanied Hernando Pizarro, in preference to the latter, who represents himself as talking in a lordly key, that savours too much of the vaunt of the hidalgo.]
Soto, one of the party present at this interview, as before noticed, was the best mounted and perhaps the best rider in Pizarro's troop. Observing that Atahuallpa looked with some interest on the fiery steed that stood before him, champing the bit and pawing the ground with the natural impatience of a war-horse, the Spaniard gave him the rein, and, striking his iron heel into his side, dashed furiously over the plain; then, wheeling him round and round, displayed all the beautiful movements of his charger, and his own excellent horsemanship. Suddenly checking him in full career, he brought the animal almost on his haunches, so near the person of the Inca, that some of the foam that flecked his horse's sides was thrown on the royal garments. But Atahuallpa maintained the same marble composure as before, though several of his soldiers, whom De Soto passed in the course, were so much disconcerted by it, that they drew back in manifest terror, an act of timidity for which they paid dearly, if, as the Spaniards assert, Atahuallpa caused them to be put to death that same evening for betraying such unworthy weakness to the strangers. *22
[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.
"I algunos Indios, con miedo, se desviaron de la Carrera, por lo qual Atabalipa los hico luego matar." (Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 4.) - Xerez states that Atahuallpa confessed this himself, in conversation with the Spaniards after he was taken prisoner. - Soto's charger might well have made the Indians start, if, as Balboa says, he took twenty feet at a leap, and this with a knight in armour on his back! Hist. du Perou, chap. 22.] Refreshments were now offered by the royal attendants to the Spaniards, which they declined, being unwilling to dismount. They did not refuse, however, to quaff the sparkling chicha from golden vases of extraordinary size, presented to them by the dark-eyed beauties of the harem. *23 Taking then a respectful leave of the Inca, the cavaliers rode back to Caxamalca, with many moody speculations on what they had seen; on the state and opulence of the Indian monarch; on the strength of his military array, their excellent appointments, and the apparent discipline in their ranks, - all arguing a much higher degree of civilization, and consequently of power, than any thing they had witnessed in the lower regions of the country. As they contrasted all this with their own diminutive force, too far advanced, as they now were, for succour to reach them, they felt they had done rashly in throwing themselves into the midst of so formidable an empire, and were filled with gloomy forebodings of the result. *24 Their comrades in the camp soon caught the infectious spirit of despondency, which was not lessened as night came on, and they beheld the watch-fires of the Peruvians lighting up the sides of the mountains, and glittering in the darkness, "as thick," says one who saw them, "as the stars of heaven." *25
[Footnote 23: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 196.]
[Footnote 24: "Hecho esto y visto y atalayado la grandeza del ejercito, y las tiendas que era bien de ver, nos bolvimos a donde el dicho capitan nos estaba esperando, harto espantados de lo que habiamos visto, habiendo y tomando entre nosotros muchos acuerdos y opiniones de lo que se debia hacer, estando todos con mucho temor por ser tan pocos, y estar tan metidos en la tierra donde no podiamos ser socorridos." (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) Pedro Pizarro is honest enough to confirm this account of the consternation of the Spaniards. (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) Fear was a strange sensation for the Castilian cavalier. But if he did not feel some touch of it on that occasion, he must have been akin to that doughty knight who, as Charles V. pronounced, "never could have snuffed a candle with his fingers."]
[Footnote 25: "Hecimos la guardia en la plaza, de donde se vian los fuegos del ejercito de los Indios, lo cual era cosa espantable, que como estaban en una ladera la mayor parte, y tan juntos unos de otros, no pa recia sino un cielo muy estrellado." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms]
Yet there was one bosom in that little host which was not touched with the feeling either of fear or dejection. That was Pizarro's, who secretly rejoiced that he had now brought matters to the issue for which he had so long panted. He saw the necessity of kindling a similar feeling in his followers, or all would be lost. Without unfolding his plans, he went round among his men, beseeching them not to show faint hearts at this crisis, when they stood face to face with the foe whom they had been so long seeking. "They were to rely on themselves, and on that Providence which had carried them safe through so many fearful trials. It would not now desert them; and if numbers, however great, were on the side of their enemy, it mattered little when the arm of Heaven was on theirs." *26 The Spanish cavalier acted under the combined influence of chivalrous adventure and religious zeal. The latter was the most effective in the hour of peril; and Pizarro, who understood well the characters he had to deal with, by presenting the enterprise as a crusade, kindled the dying embers of enthusiasm in the bosoms of his followers, and restored their faltering courage.
[Footnote 26: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 197. - Nanarro Relacion Sumaria, Ms]
He then summoned a council of his officers, to consider the plan of operations, or rather to propose to them the extraordinary plan on which he had himself decided. This was to lay an ambuscade for the Inca, and take him prisoner in the face of his whole army! It was a project full of peril, - bordering, as it might well seem, on desperation. But the circumstances of the Spaniards were desperate. Whichever way they turned, they were menaced by the most appalling dangers; and better was it bravely to confront the danger, than weakly to shrink from it, when there was no avenue for escape. To fly was now too late. Whither could they fly? At the first signal of retreat, the whole army of the Inca would be upon them. Their movements would be anticipated by a foe far better acquainted with the intricacies of the sierra than themselves; the passes would be occupied, and they would be hemmed in on all sides; while the mere fact of this retrograde movement would diminish the confidence and with it the effective strength of his own men, while it doubled that of his enemy.
Yet to remain long inactive in his present position seemed almost equally perilous. Even supposing that Atahuallpa should entertain friendly feelings towards the Christians, they could not confide in the continuance of such feelings. Familiarity with the white men would soon destroy the idea of any thing supernatural, or even superior, in their natures. He would feel contempt for their diminutive numbers. Their horses, their arms and showy appointments, would be an attractive bait in the eye of the barbaric monarch, and when conscious that he had the power to crush their possessors, he would not be slow in finding a pretext for it. A sufficient one had already occurred in the high-handed measures of the Conquerors, on their march through his dominions.
But what reason had they to flatter themselves that the Inca cherished such a disposition towards them? He was a crafty and unscrupulous prince, and, if the accounts they had repeatedly received on their march were true, had ever regarded the coming of the Spaniards with an evil eye. It was scarcely possible he should do otherwise. His soft messages had only been intended to decoy them across the mountains, where, with the aid of his warriors, he might readily overpower them. They were entangled in the toils which the cunning monarch had spread for them.
Their only remedy, then, was to turn the Inca's arts against himself; to take him, if possible, in his own snare. There was no time to be lost; for any day might bring back the victorious legions who had recently won his battles at the south, and thus make the odds against the Spaniards far greater than now.
Yet to encounter Atahuallpa in the open field would be attended with great hazard; and even if victorious, there would be little probability that the person of the Inca, of so much importance, would fall into the hands of the victors. The invitation he had so unsuspiciously accepted to visit them in their quarters afforded the best means for securing this desirable prize. Nor was the enterprise so desperate, considering the great advantages afforded by the character and weapons of the invaders, and the unexpectedness of the assault. The mere circumstance of acting on a concerted plan would alone make a small number more than a match for a much larger one. But it was not necessary to admit the whole of the Indian force into the city before the attack; and the person of the Inca once secured, his followers, astounded by so strange an event, were they few or many, would have no heart for further resistance; - and with the Inca once in his power, Pizarro might dictate laws to the empire.
In this daring project of the Spanish chief, it was easy to see that he had the brilliant exploit of Cortes in his mind, when he carried off the Aztec monarch in his capital. But that was not by violence, at least not by open violence, - and it received the sanction, compulsory though it were, of the monarch himself. It was also true that the results in that case did not altogether justify a repetition of the experiment; since the people rose in a body to sacrifice both the prince and his kidnappers. Yet this was owing, in part, at least, to the indiscretion of the latter. The experiment in the outset was perfectly successful; and, could Pizarro once become master of the person of Atahuallpa, he trusted to his own discretion for the rest. It would, at least, extricate him from his present critical position, by placing in his power an inestimable guaranty for his safety; and if he could not make his own terms with the Inca at once, the arrival of reinforcements from home would, in all probability, soon enable him to do so.
Pizarro having concerted his plans for the following day, the council broke up, and the chief occupied himself with providing for the security of the camp during the night. The approaches to the town were defended; sentinels were posted at different points, especially on the summit of the fortress, where they were to observe the position of the enemy, and to report any movement that menaced the tranquillity of the night. After these precautions, the Spanish commander and his followers withdrew to their appointed quarters, - but not to sleep. At least, sleep must have come late to those who were aware of the decisive plan for the morrow; that morrow which was to be the crisis of their fate, - to crown their ambitious schemes with full success, or consign them to irretrievable ruin!
Desperate Plan Of Pizarro. - Atahuallpa Visits The Spaniards. - Horrible Massacre. - The Inca A Prisoner. - Conduct Of The Conquerors. - Splendid Promises Of The Inca - Death Of Huascar.
The clouds of the evening had passed away, and the sun rose bright on the following morning, the most memorable epoch in the annals of Peru. It was Saturday, the sixteenth of November, 1532. The loud cry of the trumpet called the Spaniards to arms with the first streak of dawn; and Pizarro, briefly acquainting them with the plan of the assault, made the necessary dispositions.
The plaza, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, was defended on its three sides by low ranges of buildings, consisting of spacious halls with wide doors or vomitories opening into the square. In these halls he stationed his cavalry in two divisions, one under his brother Hernando, the other under De Soto. The infantry he placed in another of the buildings, reserving twenty chosen men to act with himself as occasion might require Pedro de Candia, with a few soldiers and the artillery, - comprehending under this imposing name two small pieces of ordnance, called falconets, - he established in the fortress. All received orders to wait at their posts till the arrival of the Inca. After his entrance into the great square, they were still to remain under cover, withdrawn from observation, till the signal was given by the discharge of a gun, when they were to cry their war-cries, to rush out in a body from their covert, and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, bear off the person of the Inca. The arrangement of the immense halls, opening on a level with the plaza, seemed to be contrived on purpose for a coup de theatre. Pizarro particularly inculcated order and implicit obedience, that in the hurry of the moment there should be no confusion. Every thing depended on their acting with concert, coolness, and celerity. *1
[Footnote 1: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia tom. III. p. 197. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap 7]
The chief next saw that their arms were in good order; and that the breastplates of their horses were garnished with bells, to add by their noise to the consternation of the Indians. Refreshments were, also, liberally provided, that the troops should be in condition for the conflict. These arrangements being completed, mass was performed with great solemnity by the ecclesiastics who attended the expedition; the God of battles was invoked to spread his shield over the soldiers who were fighting to extend the empire of the Cross; and all joined with enthusiasm in the chant, "Exsurge, Domine," "Rise, O Lord! and judge thine own cause." *2 One might have supposed them a company of martyrs, about to lay down their lives in defence of their faith, instead of a licentious band of adventurers, meditating one of the most atrocious acts of perfidy on the record of history! Yet, whatever were the vices of the Castilian cavalier, hypocrisy was not among the number. He felt that he was battling for the Cross, and under this conviction, exalted as it was at such a moment as this into the predominant impulse, he was blind to the baser motives which mingled with the enterprise. With feelings thus kindled to a flame of religious ardor, the soldiers of Pizarro looked forward with renovated spirits to the coming conflict; and the chieftain saw with satisfaction, that in the hour of trial his men would be true to their leader and themselves.
[Footnote 2: "Los Eclesiasticos i Religiosos se ocuparon toda aquella noche en oracion, pidiendo a Dios el mas conveniente suceso a su sagrado servicio, exaltacion de la fe e salvacion de tanto numero de almas, derramando muchas lagrimas i sangre en las disciplinas que tomaron. Francisco Pizarro animo a los soldados con una mui cristiana platica que les hizo: con que, i asegurarles los Eclesiasticos de parte de Dios i de su Madre Santisima la vitoria, amanecieron todos mui deseosos de dar la batalla, diciendo a voces, Exsurge Domine et judica causam tuam." Naharro Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
It was in the day before any movement was visible in the Peruvian camp, where much preparation was making to approach the Christian quarters with due state and ceremony. A message was received from Atahuallpa, informing the Spanish commander that he should come with his warriors fully armed, in the same manner as the Spaniards had come to his quarters the night preceding. This was not an agreeable intimation to Pizarro, though he had no reason, probably, to expect the contrary. But to object might imply distrust, or, perhaps, disclose, in some measure, his own designs. He expressed his satisfaction, therefore, at the intelligence, assuring the Inca, that, come as he would, he would be received by him as a friend and brother. *3
[Footnote 3: "El governador respondio: Di a tu Senor, que venga en hora buena como quisiere, que de la manera que viniere lo recebire como Amigo, i Hermano." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 197. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 7. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.]
It was noon before the Indian procession was on its march, when it was seen occupying the great causeway for a long extent. In front came a large body of attendants, whose office seemed to be to sweep away every particle of rubbish from the road. High above the crowd appeared the Inca, borne on the shoulders of his principal nobles, while others of the same rank marched by the sides of his litter, displaying such a dazzling show of ornaments on their persons, that, in the language of one of the Conquerors, "they blazed like the sun." *4 But the greater part of the Inca's forces mustered along the fields that lined the road, and were spread over the broad meadows as far as the eye could reach. *5
[Footnote 4: "Hera tanta la pateneria que traian d'oro y plata que hera cossa estrana lo que Reluzia con el Sol.' Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
[Footnote 5: To the eye of the old Conqueror so often quoted, the number of Peruvian warriors appeared not less than 50,000; "mas de cin cuenta mil que tenia de guerra' (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) To Pizarro's secretary, as they lay encamped along the hills, they seemed about 30,000. (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 196.) However gratifying to the imagination to repose on some precise number, it is very rare that one can do so with safety, in estimating the irregular and tumultuous levies of a barbarian host.]
When the royal procession had arrived within half a mile of the city, it came to a halt; and Pizarro saw with surprise that Atahuallpa was preparing to pitch his tents, as if to encamp there. A messenger soon after arrived, informing the Spaniards that the Inca would occupy his present station the ensuing night, and enter the city on the following morning. This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had shared in the general impatience of his men at the tardy movements of the Peruvians. The troops had been under arms since daylight, the cavalry mounted, and the infantry at their post, waiting in silence the coming of the Inca. A profound stillness reigned throughout the town, broken only at intervals by the cry of the sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as he proclaimed the movements of the Indian army. Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so trying to the soldier as prolonged suspense, in a critical situation like the present; and he feared lest his ardor might evaporate, and be succeeded by that nervous feeling natural to the bravest soul at such a crisis, and which, if not fear, is near akin to it. *6 He returned an answer, therefore, to Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of purpose; and adding that he had provided every thing for his entertainment, and expected him that night to sup with him. *7
[Footnote 6: Pedro Pizarro says that an Indian spy reported to Atahuallpa, that the white men were all huddled together in the great halls on the square, in much consternation, llenos de miedo, which was not far from the truth, adds the cavalier. (Descub. y Conq., Ms.)]
[Footnote 7: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.
"Asentados sus toldos envio a decir al gobernador que ya era tarde, que el queria dormir alli, que por la manana vernia: el gobernador le envio a decir que le rogaba que viniese luego, porque le esperaba a cenar, e que no habia de cenar, hasta que fuese." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.] This message turned the Inca from his purpose; and, striking his tents again, he resumed his march, first advising the general that he should leave the greater part of his warriors behind, and enter the place with only a few of them, and without arms, *8 as he preferred to pass the night at Caxamalca. At the same time he ordered accommodations to be provided for himself and his retinue in one of the large stone buildings, called, from a serpent sculptured on the walls, "the House of the Serpent." *9 - No tidings could have been more grateful to the Spaniards. It seemed as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the snare that had been spread for him! The fanatical cavalier could not fail to discern in it the immediate finger of Providence.
[Footnote 8: "El queria vernir luego, e que venia sin armas. E luego Atabaliva se movio para venir, e dejo alli la gente con las armas, e llevo consigo hasta cinco o seis mil indios sin armas, salvo que debajo de las camisetas traian unas porras pequenas, e hondas, e bolsas con piedras." Carta de Hern. Pizarro Ms.]
[Footnote 9: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap Barcia, tom. III. p. 197.] It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct of Atahuallpa, so different from the bold and decided character which history ascribes to him. There is no doubt that he made his visit to the white men in perfect good faith; though Pizarro was probably right in conjecturing that this amiable disposition stood on a very precarious footing. There is as little reason to suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers; or he would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to visit them unarmed. His original purpose of coming with all his force was doubtless to display his royal state, and perhaps, also, to show greater respect for the Spaniards; but when he consented to accept their hospitality, and pass the night in their quarters, he was willing to dispense with a great part of his armed soldiery, and visit them in a manner that implied entire confidence in their good faith. He was too absolute in his own empire easily to suspect; and he probably could not comprehend the audacity with which a few men, like those now assembled in Caxamalca, meditated an assault on a powerful monarch in the midst of his victorious army. He did not know the character of the Spaniard. It was not long before sunset, when the van of the royal procession entered the gates of the city. First came some hundreds of the menials, employed to clear the path from every obstacle, and singing songs of triumph as they came, "which, in our ears," says one of the Conquerors, "sounded like the songs of hell"! *10 Then followed other bodies of different ranks, and dressed in different liveries. Some wore a showy stuff, checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess-board. *11 Others were clad in pure white, bearing hammers or maces of silver or copper; *12 and the guards, together with those in immediate attendance on the prince, were distinguished by a rich azure livery, and a profusion of gay ornaments, while the large pendants attached to the ears indicated the Peruvian noble.
[Footnote 10: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
[Footnote 11: "Blanca y colorada como las casas de un ajedrez." Ibid., Ms.]
[Footnote 12: "Con martillos en las manos de cobre y plata." Ibid., Ms.]
Elevated high above his vassals came the Inca Atahuallpa, borne on a sedan or open litter, on which was a sort of throne made of massive gold of inestimable value. *13 The palanquin was lined with the richly colored plumes of tropical birds, and studded with shining plates of gold and silver. *14 The monarch's attire was much richer than on the preceding evening. Round his neck was suspended a collar of emeralds of uncommon size and brilliancy. *15 His short hair was decorated with golden ornaments, and the imperial borla encircled his temples. The bearing of the Inca was sedate and dignified; and from his lofty station he looked down on the multitudes below with an air of composure, like one accustomed to command.
[Footnote 13: "El asiento que traia sobre las andas era un tablon de oro que peso un quintal de oro segun dicen los historiadores 25,000 pesos o ducados." Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
[Footnote 14: "Luego venia mucha Gente con Armaduras, Patenas, i Coronas do oro i Plata: entre estos venia Atabaliba, en una Litera, aforrada de Pluma de Papagaios, de muchas colores, guarnecida de chapas de Oro, i Plata." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 198.]
[Footnote 15: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.
"Venia la persona de Atabalica, la cual traian ochenta Senores en hombros todos bestidos de una librea azul muy rica, y el bestido su persona muy ricamente con su corona en la cabeza, y al cuello un collar de emeraldas grandes." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
As the leading files of the procession entered the great square, larger, says an old chronicler, than any square in Spain, they opened to the right and left for the royal retinue to pass. Every thing was conducted with admirable order. The monarch was permitted to traverse the plaza in silence, and not a Spaniard was to be seen. When some five or six thousand of his people had entered the place, Atahuallpa halted, and, turning round with an inquiring look, demanded, "Where are the strangers?"
At this moment Fray Vicente de Valverde, a Dominican friar, Pizarro's chaplain, and afterward Bishop of Cuzco, came forward with his breviary, or, as other accounts say, a Bible, in one hand, and a crucifix in the other, and, approaching the Inca, told him, that he came by order of his commander to expound to him the doctrines of the true faith, for which purpose the Spaniards had come from a great distance to his country. The friar then explained, as clearly as he could, the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, and, ascending high in his account, began with the creation of man, thence passed to his fall, to his subsequent redemption by Jesus Christ, to the crucifixion, and the ascension, when the Saviour left the Apostle Peter as his Vicegerent upon earth. This power had been transmitted to the successors of the Apostle, good and wise men, who, under the title of Popes, held authority over all powers and potentates on earth. One of the last of these Popes had commissioned the Spanish emperor, the most mighty monarch in the world, to conquer and convert the natives in this western hemisphere; and his general, Francisco Pizarro, had now come to execute this important mission. The friar concluded with beseeching the Peruvian monarch to receive him kindly; to abjure the errors of his own faith, and embrace that of the Christians now proffered to him, the only one by which he could hope for salvation; and, furthermore, to acknowledge himself a tributary of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who, in that even, would aid and protect him as his loyal vassal. *16
[Footnote 16: Montesinos says that Valverde read to the Inca the regular formula used by the Spaniards in their Conquests. (Annales, Ms., ano 1533.) But that address, though absurd enough, did not comprehend the whole range of theology ascribed to the chaplain on this occasion. Yet it is not impossible. But I have followed the report of Fray Naharro, who collected his information from the actors in the tragedy, and whose minuter statement is corroborated by the more general testimony of both the Pizarros and the secretary Xerez.]
Whether Atahuallpa possessed himself of every link in the curious chain of argument by which the monk connected Pizarro with St. Peter, may be doubted. It is certain, however, that he must have had very incorrect notions of the Trinity, if, as Garcilasso states, the interpreter Felipillo explained it by saying, that "the Christians believed in three Gods and one God, and that made four." *17 But there is no doubt he perfectly comprehended that the drift of the discourse was to persuade him to resign his sceptre and acknowledge the supremacy of another.
[Footnote 17: "Por dezir Dios trino y uno dixo Dios tres y uno son quatre sumando los numeros por darse a entender." Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 23.]
The eyes of the Indian monarch flashed fire, and his dark brow grew darker as he replied, - "I will be no man's tributary. I am greater than any prince upon earth. Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt it, when I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I am willing to hold him as a brother. As for the Pope of whom you speak, he must be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not belong to him. For my faith," he continued, "I will not change it Your own God, as you say, was put to death by the very men whom he created. But mine," he concluded, pointing to his Deity, - then, alas! sinking in glory behind the mountains, - "my God still lives in the heavens, and looks down on his children." *18
[Footnote 18: See Appendix, No. 8, where the reader will find extracts in the original from several contemporary Mss., relating to the capture of Atahuallpa.]
He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these things. The friar pointed to the book which he held, as his authority. Atahuallpa, taking it, turned over the pages a moment, then, as the insult he had received probably flashed across his mind, he threw it down with vehemence, and exclaimed, - "Tell your comrades that they shall give me an account of their doings in my land. I will not go from here, till they have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed." *19
[Footnote 19: Some accounts describe him as taxing the Spaniards in much more unqualified terms. (See Appendix, No. 8.) but language is not likely to be accurately reported in such seasons of excitement. - According to some authorities, Atahuallpa let the volume drop by accident. (Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1533. - Balboa, Hist. du Perou, chap. 22.) But the testimony, as far as we have it, of those present, concurs in representing it as stated in the text. And, if he spoke with the heat imputed to him, this act would only be in keeping.]
The friar, greatly scandalized by the indignity offered to the sacred volume, stayed only to pick it up, and, hastening to Pizarro, informed him of what had been done, exclaiming, at the same time, - "Do you not see, that, while we stand here wasting our breath in talking with this dog, full of pride as he is, the fields are filling with Indians? Set on, at once; I absolve you." *20 Pizarro saw that the hour had come. He waved a white scarf in the air, the appointed signal. The fatal gun was fired from the fortress. Then, springing into the square, the Spanish captain and his followers shouted the old war-cry of "St. Jago and at them." It was answered by the battle-cry of every Spaniard in the city, as, rushing from the avenues of the great halls in which they were concealed, they poured into the plaza, horse and foot, each in his own dark column, and threw themselves into the midst of the Indian crowd. The latter, taken by surprise, stunned by the report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of which reverberated like thunder from the surrounding buildings, and blinded by the smoke which rolled in sulphurous volumes along the square, were seized with a panic. They knew not whither to fly for refuge from the coming ruin Nobles and commoners, - all were trampled down under the fierce charge of the cavalry, who dealt their blows, right and left, without sparing; while their swords, flashing through the thick gloom, carried dismay into the hearts of the wretched natives, who now, for the first time, saw the horse and his rider in all their terrors. They made no resistance, - as, indeed, they had no weapons with which to make it. Every avenue to escape was closed, for the entrance to the square was choked up with the dead bodies of men who had perished in vain efforts to fly; and, such was the agony of the survivors under the terrible pressure of their assailants, that a large body of Indians, by their convulsive struggles, burst through the wall of stone and dried clay which formed part of the boundary of the plaza! It fell, leaving an opening of more than a hundred paces, through which multitudes now found their way into the country, still hotly pursued by the cavalry, who, leaping the fallen rubbish, hung on the rear of the fugitives, striking them down in all directions. *21
[Footnote 20: "Visto esto por el Frayle y lo poco que aprovechaban sus palabras, tomo su libro, y abajo su cabeza, y fuese para donde estaba el dicho Pizarro, casi corriendo, y dijole: No veis lo que pasa: para que estais en comedimientos y requerimientos con este perro lleno de soberbia que vienen los campos llenos de Indios? Salid a el, - que yo os absuelvo." (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) The historian should be slow in ascribing conduct so diabolical to Father Valverde, without evidence. Two of the Conquerors present, Pedro Pizarro and Xerez, simply state that the monk reported to his commander the indignity offered to the sacred volume. but Hernando Pizarro and the author of the Relacion del Primer. Descub., both eyewitnesses, and Naharro, Zarate, Gomara, Balboa, Herrera, the Inca Titucussi Yupanqui, all of whom obtained their information from persons who were eyewitnesses, state the circumstances, with little variation, as in the text. Yet Oviedo indorses the account of Xerez, and Garcilasso de la Vega insists on Valverde's innocence of any attempt to rouse the passion of his comrades.]
[Footnote 21: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 198. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3. lib. 8, cap. 7. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 5. - Instruccion del Inga Titucussi Yupanqui, Ms.]
Meanwhile the fight, or rather massacre, continued hot around the Inca, whose person was the great object of the assault. His faithful nobles, rallying about him, threw themselves in the way of the assailants, and strove, by tearing them from their saddles, or, at least, by offering their own bosoms as a mark for their vengeance, to shield their beloved master. It is said by some authorities, that they carried weapons concealed under their clothes. If so, it availed them little, as it is not pretended that they used them. But the most timid animal will defend itself when at bay. That they did not so in the present instance is proof that they had no weapons to use. *22 Yet they still continued to force back the cavaliers, clinging to their horses with dying grasp, and, as one was cut down, another taking the place of his fallen comrade with a loyalty truly affecting.
[Footnote 22: The author of the Relacion del Primero Descubrimiento speaks of a few as having bows and arrows, and of others as armed with silver and copper mallets or maces, which may, however, have been more for ornament than for service in fight. - Pedro Pizarro and some later writers say that the Indians brought thongs with them to bind the captive white men. - Both Hernando Pizarro and the secretary Xerez agree that their only arms were secreted under their clothes; but as they do not pretend that these were used, and as it was announced by the Inca that he came without arms, the assertion may well be doubted, - or rather discredited. All authorities without exception, agree that no attempt was made at resistance.] The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw his faithful subjects falling round him without fully comprehending his situation. The litter on which he rode heaved to and fro, as the mighty press swayed backwards and forwards; and he gazed on the overwhelming ruin, like some forlorn mariner, who, tossed about in his bark by the furious elements, sees the lightning's flash and hears the thunder bursting around him with the consciousness that he can do nothing to avert his fate. At length, weary with the work of destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades of evening grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, after all, elude them; and some of the cavaliers made a desperate attempt to end the affray at once by taking Atahuallpa's life. But Pizarro, who was nearest his person, called out with Stentorian voice, "Let no one, who values his life, strike at the Inca"; *23 and, stretching out his arm to shield him, received a wound on the hand from one of his own men, - the only wound received by a Spaniards in the action. *24
[Footnote 23: "El marquez dio bozes diciendo. Nadie hiera al indio so pena de la vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]
[Footnote 24: Whatever discrepancy exists among the Castilian accounts in other respects, all concur in this remarkable fact, - that no Spaniard, except their general, received a wound on that occasion. Pizarro saw in this a satisfactory argument for regarding the Spaniards, this day, as under the especial protection of Providence. See Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 199.]
The struggle now became fiercer than ever round the royal litter. It reeled more and more, and at length, several of the nobles who supported it having been slain, it was overturned, and the Indian prince would have come with violence to the ground, had not his fall been broken by the efforts of Pizarro and some other of the cavaliers, who caught him in their arms. The imperial borla was instantly snatched from his temples by a soldier named Estete, *25 and the unhappy monarch, strongly secured, was removed to a neighbouring building, where he was carefully guarded.
[Footnote 25: Miguel Estete, who long retained the silken diadem as a trophy of the exploit, according to Garcilasso de la Vega, (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 27,) an indifferent authority for any thing in this part of his history. This popular writer, whose work, from his superior knowledge of the institutions of the country, has obtained greater credit, eve in what relates to the Conquest, than the reports of the Conquerors themselves, has indulged in the romantic vein to an unpardonable extent, in his account of the capture of Atahuallpa. According to him, the Peruvian monarch treated the invaders from the first with supreme deference, as descendants of Viracocha, predicted by his oracles as to come and rule over the land. But if this flattering homage had been paid by the Inca, it would never have escaped the notice of the Conquerors. Garcilasso had read the Commentaries of Cortes, as he somewhere tells us; and it is probable that that general's account, well founded, it appears, of a similar superstition among the Aztecs suggested to the historian the idea of a corresponding sentiment in the Peruvians, which, while it flattered the vanity of the Spaniards, in some degree vindicated his own countrymen from the charge of cowardice, incurred by their too ready submission; for, however they might be called on to resist men, it would have been madness to resist the decrees of Heaven. Yet Garcilasso's romantic version has something in it so pleasing to the imagination, that it has even found favor with the majority of readers. The English student might have met with a sufficient corrective in the criticism of the sagacious and skeptical Robertson.]
All attempt at resistance now ceased. The fate of the Inca soon spread over town and country. The charm which might have held the Peruvians together was dissolved. Every man thought only of his own safety. Even the soldiery encamped on the adjacent fields took the alarm, and, learning the fatal tidings, were seen flying in every direction before their pursuers, who in the heat of triumph showed no touch of mercy. At length night, more pitiful than man, threw her friendly mantle over the fugitives, and the scattered troops of Pizarro rallied once more at the sound of the trumpet in the bloody square of Caxamalca.
The number of slain is reported, as usual, with great discrepancy. Pizarro's secretary says two thousand natives fell. *26 A descendant of the Incas - a safer authority than Garcilasso - swells the number to ten thousand. *27 Truth is generally found somewhere between the extremes. The slaughter was incessant, for there was nothing to check it. That there should have been no resistance will not appear strange, when we consider the fact, that the wretched victims were without arms, and that their senses must have been completely overwhelmed by the strange and appalling spectacle which burst on them so unexpectedly. "What wonder was it," said an ancient Inca to a Spaniard, who repeats it, "what wonder that our countrymen lost their wits, seeing blood run like water, and the Inca, whose person we all of us adore, seized and carried off by a handful of men?" *28 Yet though the massacre was incessant, it was short in duration. The whole time consumed by it, the brief twilight of the tropics, did not much exceed half an hour; a short period, indeed, - yet long enough to decide the fate of Peru, and to subvert the dynasty of the Incas.
[Footnote 26: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 199.]
[Footnote 27: "Los mataron a todos con los Cavallos con espadas con arcabuzes como quien mata ovejas - sin hacerles nadie resistencia que no se escaparon de mas de diez mil, doscientos," Instruc. del Inga Titucussi, Ms.
This document, consisting of two hundred folio pages, is signed by a Peruvian Inca, grandson of the great Huayna Capac, and nephew, consequently, of Atahuallpa. It was written in 1570, and designed to set forth to his Majesty Philip II. the claims of Titucussi and the members of his family to the royal bounty. In the course of the Memorial, the writer takes occasion to recapitulate some of the principal events in the latter years of the empire; and though sufficiently prolix to tax even the patience of Philip II., it is of much value as an historical document, coming from one of the royal race of Peru.]
[Footnote 28: Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1532.
According to Naharro, the Indians were less astounded by the wild uproar caused by the sudden assault of the Spaniards, though "this was such that it seemed as if the very heavens were falling," than by a terrible apparition which appeared in the air during the onslaught. It consisted of a woman and a child, and, at their side, a horseman all clothed in white on a milk-white charger, - doubtless the valiant St. James, - who, with his sword glancing lightning, smote down the infidel host, and rendered them incapable of resistance. This miracle the good father reports on the testimony of three of his Order, who were present in the action, and who received it from numberless of the natives. Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
That night Pizarro kept his engagement with the Inca, since he had Atahuallpa to sup with him. The banquet was served in one of the halls facing the great square, which a few hours before had been the scene of slaughter, and the pavement of which was still encumbered with the dead bodies of the Inca's subjects. The captive monarch was placed next his conqueror. He seemed like one who did not yet fully comprehend the extent of his calamity. If he did, he showed an amazing fortitude. "It is the fortune of war," he said; *29 and, if we may credit the Spaniards, he expressed his admiration of the adroitness with which they had contrived to entrap him in the midst of his own troops. *30 He added, that he had been made acquainted with the progress of the white men from the hour of their landing; but that he had been led to undervalue their strength from the insignificance of their numbers. He had no doubt he should be easily able to overpower them, on their arrival at Caxamalca, by his superior strength; and, as he wished to see for himself what manner of men they were, he had suffered them to cross the mountains, meaning to select such as he chose for his own service, and, getting possession of their wonderful arms and horses, put the rest to death. *31
[Footnote 29: "Diciendo que era uso de Guerra vencer, i ser vencido." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 12.]
[Footnote 30: "Haciendo admiracion de la traza que tenia hecha." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
[Footnote 31: "And in my opinion," adds the Conqueror who reports the speech, "he had good grounds for believing he could do this, since nothing but the miraculous interposition of Heaven could have saved us." Ibid., Ms.]
That such may have been Atahuallpa's purpose is not improbable. It explains his conduct in not occupying the mountain passes, which afforded such strong points of defence against invasion. But that a prince so astute, as by the general testimony of the Conquerors he is represented to have been, should have made so impolitic a disclosure of his hidden motives is not so probable. The intercourse with the Inca was carried on chiefly by means of the interpreter Felipillo, or little Philip, as he was called, from his assumed Christian name, - a malicious youth, as it appears, who bore no good-will to Atahuallpa, and whose interpretations were readily admitted by the Conquerors, eager to find some pretext for their bloody reprisals. Atahuallpa, as elsewhere notice, was, at this time, about thirty years of age. He was well made, and more robust than usual with his countrymen. His head was large, and his countenance might have been called handsome, but that his eyes, which were bloodshot, gave a fierce expression to his features. He was deliberate in speech, grave in manner, and towards his own people stern even to severity; though with the Spaniards he showed himself affable, sometimes even indulging in sallies of mirth. *32
[Footnote 32: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 203.]
Pizarro paid every attention to his royal captive, and endeavoured to lighten, if he could not dispel, the gloom which, in spite of his assumed equanimity, hung over the monarch's brow. He besought him not to be case down by his reverses, for his lot had only been that of every prince who had resisted the white men. They had come into the country to proclaim the gospel, the religion of Jesus Christ; and it was no wonder they had prevailed, when his shield was over them. Heaven had permitted that Atahuallpa's pride should be humbled, because of his hostile intentions towards the Spaniards, and the insults he had offered to the sacred volume. But he bade the Inca take courage and confide in him, for the Spaniards were a generous race, warring only against those who made war on them, and showing grace to all who submitted! *33 - Atahuallpa may have thought the massacre of that day an indifferent commentary on this vaunted lenity.
[Footnote 33: "Nosotros vsamos de piedad con nuestros Enemigos vencidos, i no hacemos Guerra, sino a los que nos la hacen, i pudiendolos destruir no lo hacemos, antes los perdona mos." Ibid., tom. III. p. 199.]
Before retiring for the night, Pizarro briefly addressed his troops on their present situation. When he had ascertained that not a man was wounded, he bade them offer up thanksgivings to Providence for so great a miracle; without its care, they could never have prevailed so easily over the host of their enemies; and he trusted their lives had been reserved for still greater things. But if they would succeed, they had much to do for themselves. They were in the heart of a powerful kingdom, encompassed by foes deeply attached to their own sovereign. They must be ever on their guard, therefore, and be prepared at any hour to be roused from their slumbers by the call of the trumpet. *34 - Having then posted his sentinels, placed a strong guard over the apartment of Atahuallpa, and taken all the precautions of a careful commander, Pizarro withdrew to repose; and, if he could really feel, that, in the bloody scenes of the past day, he had been fighting only the good fight of the Cross, he doubtless slept sounder than on the night preceding the seizure of the Inca.
[Footnote 34: Ibid., ubi supra. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. i. Conq., Ms.]
On the following morning, the first commands of the Spanish chief were to have the city cleansed of its impurities; and the prisoners, of whom there were many in the camp, were employed to remove the dead, and give them decent burial. His next care was to despatch a body of about thirty horse to the quarters lately occupied by Atahuallpa at the baths, to take possession of the spoil, and disperse the remnant of the Peruvian forces which still hung about the place.
Before noon, the party which he had detached on this service returned with a large troop of Indians, men and women, among the latter of whom were many of the wives and attendants of the Inca. The Spaniards had met with no resistance; since the Peruvian warriors, though so superior in number, excellent in appointments, and consisting mostly of able-bodied young men, - for the greater part of the veteran forces were with the Inca's generals at the south, - lost all heart from the moment of their sovereign's captivity. There was no leader to take his place; for they recognized no authority but that of the Child of the Sun, and they seemed to be held by a sort of invisible charm near the place of his confinement; while they gazed with superstitious awe on the white men, who could achieve so audacious an enterprise. *35
[Footnote 35: From this time, says Ondegardo, the Spaniards, who hitherto had been designated as the "men with beards," barbudos, were called by the natives, from their fair-complexioned deity, Viracochas. The people of Cuzco, who bore no goodwill to the captive Inca, "looked upon the strangers," says the author, "as sent by Viracocha himself." (Rel. Prim., Ms.) It reminds us of a superstition, or rather an amiable fancy, among the ancient Greeks, that "the stranger came from Jupiter."]
The number of Indian prisoners was so great, that some of the Conquerors were for putting them all to death, or, at least, cutting off their hands, to disable them from acts of violence, and to strike terror into their countrymen. *36 The proposition, doubtless, came from the lowest and most ferocious of the soldiery. But that it should have been made at all shows what materials entered into the composition of Pizarro's company. The chief rejected it at once, as no less impolitic than inhuman, and dismissed the Indians to their several homes, with the assurance that none should be harmed who did not offer resistance to the white men. A sufficient number, however, were retained to wait on the Conquerors, who were so well provided, in this respect, that the most common soldier was attended by a retinue of menials that would have better suited the establishment of a noble. *37
[Footnote 36: "Algunos fueron de opinion, que matasen a todos los Hombres de Guerra, o les cortasen las manos." Xerez, Hist. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 200.]
[Footnote 37: "Cada Espanol de los que alli ivan tomaron para si mui gran cantidad tanto que como andava todo a rienda suelta havia Espanol que tenia docientas piezas de Indios Indias de servicio." Conq. i. Pob. del Piru, Ms.]
The Spaniards had found immense droves of llamas under the care of their shepherds in the neighbourhood of the baths, destined for the consumption of the Court. Many of them were now suffered to roam abroad among their native mountains; though Pizarro caused a considerable number to be reserved for the use of the army. And this was no small quantity, if, as one of the Conquerors says, a hundred and fifty of the Peruvian sheep were frequently slaughtered in a day. *38 Indeed, the Spaniards were so improvident in their destruction of these animals, that, in a few years, the superb flocks, nurtured with so much care by the Peruvian government, had almost disappeared from the land. *39
[Footnote 38: "Se matan cada Dia, ciento i cinquenta." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202.]
[Footnote 39: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 80. - Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms. "Hasta que los destruian todos sin haver Espanol ni Justicia que lo defendiese ni amparase." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms.]
The party sent to pillage the Inca's pleasure house brought back a rich booty in gold and silver, consisting chiefly of plate for the royal table, which greatly astonished the Spaniards by their size and weight. These, as well as some large emeralds obtained there, together with the precious spoils found on the bodies of the Indian nobles who had perished in the massacre, were placed in safe custody, to be hereafter divided. In the city of Caxamalca, the troops also found magazines stored with goods, both cotton and woollen, far superior to any they had seen, for fineness of texture, and the skill with which the various colors were blended. They were piled from the floors to the very roofs of the buildings, and in such quantity, that, after every soldier had provided himself with what he desired, it made no sensible diminution of the whole amount. *40
[Footnote 40: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 200.
There was enough, says the anonymous Conqueror, for several ship-loads. "Todas estas cosas de tiendas y ropas de lana y algodon eran en tan gran cantidad, que a mi parecer fueran menester muchos navios en que supieran." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]
Pizarro would now gladly have directed his march on the Peruvian capital. But the distance was great, and his force was small. This must have been still further crippled by the guard required for the Inca, and the chief feared to involve himself deeper in a hostile empire so populous and powerful, with a prize so precious in his keeping. With much anxiety, therefore, he looked for reinforcements from the colonies; and he despatched a courier to San Miguel, to inform the Spaniards there of his recent successes, and to ascertain if there had been any arrival from Panama. Meanwhile he employed his men in making Caxamalca a more suitable residence for a Christian host, by erecting a church, or, perhaps, appropriating some Indian edifice to this use, in which mass was regularly performed by the Dominican fathers, with great solemnity. The dilapidated walls of the city were also restored in a more substantial manner than before, and every vestige was soon effaced of the hurricane that had so recently swept over it.
It was not long before Atahuallpa discovered, amidst all the show of religious zeal in his Conquerors, a lurking appetite more potent in most of their bosoms than either religion or ambition. This was the love of gold. He determined to avail himself of it to procure his own freedom. The critical posture of his affairs made it important that this should not be long delayed. His brother Huascar, ever since his defeat, had been detained as a prisoner, subject to the victor's orders. He was now at Andamarca, at no great distance from Caxamalca; and Atahuallpa feared, with good reason, that, when his own imprisonment was known, Huascar would find it easy to corrupt his guards, make his escape, and put himself at the head of the contested empire, without a rival to dispute it.
In the hope, therefore, to effect his purpose by appealing to the avarice of his keepers, he one day told Pizarro, that, if he would set him free, he would engage to cover the floor of the apartment on which they stood with gold. Those present listened with an incredulous smile; and, as the Inca received no answer, he said, with some emphasis, that "he would not merely cover the floor, but would fill the room with gold as high as he could reach"; and, standing on tiptoe, he stretched out his hand against the wall. All stared with amazement; while they regarded it as the insane boast of a man too eager to procure his liberty to weigh the meaning of his words. Yet Pizarro was sorely perplexed. As he had advanced into the country, much that he had seen, and all that he had heard, had confirmed the dazzling reports first received of the riches of Peru. Atahuallpa himself had given him the most glowing picture of the wealth of the capital, where the roofs of the temples were plated with gold, while the walls were hung with tapestry and the floors inlaid with tiles of the same precious metal. There must be some foundation for all this. At all events, it was safe to accede to the Inca's proposition; since, by so doing, he could collect, at once, all the gold at his disposal, and thus prevent its being purloined or secreted by the natives. He therefore acquiesced in Atahuallpa's offer, and, drawing a red line along the wall at the height which the Inca had indicated, he caused the terms of the proposal to be duly recorded by the notary. The apartment was about seventeen feet broad, by twenty-two feet long, and the line round the walls was nine feet from the floor. *41 This space was to be filled with gold; but it was understood that the gold was not to be melted down into ingots, but to retain the original form of the articles into which it was manufactured, that the Inca might have the benefit of the space which they occupied. He further agreed to fill an adjoining room of smaller dimensions twice full with silver, in like manner; and he demanded two months to accomplish all this. *42
[Footnote 41: I have adopted the dimensions given by the secretary Xerez, (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202.) According to Hernando Pizarro, the apartment was nine feet high, but thirty-five feet long by seventeen or eighteen feet wide. (Carta, Ms.) The most moderate estimate is large enough. Stevenson says that they still show "a large room, part of the old palace, and now the residence of the Cacique Astopilca, where the ill-fated Inca was kept a prisoner"; and he adds that the line traced on the wall is still visible. (Residence in South America, vol. II. p. 163.) Peru abounds in remains as ancient as the Conquest; and it would not be surprising that the memory of a place so remarkable as this should be preserved, - though any thing but a memorial to be cherished by the Spaniards.]
[Footnote 42: The facts in the preceding paragraph are told with remarkable uniformity by the ancient chroniclers. (Conf. Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, ubi supra. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. - Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 114. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 1.)
Both Naharro and Herrera state expressly that Pizarro promised the Inca his liberation on fulfilling the compact. This is not confirmed by the other chroniclers, who, however, do not intimate that the Spanish general declined the terms. And as Pizarro, by all accounts, encouraged his prisoner to perform his part of the contract, it must have been with the understanding implied, if not expressed, that he would abide by the other. It is most improbable that the Inca would have stripped himself of his treasures, if he had not so understood it.]
No sooner was this arrangement made, than the Inca despatched couriers to Cuzco and the other principal places in the kingdom, with orders that the gold ornaments and utensils should be removed from the royal palaces, and from the temples and other public buildings, and transported without loss of time to Caxamalca. Meanwhile he continued to live in the Spanish quarters, treated with the respect due to his rank, and enjoying all the freedom that was compatible with the security of his person. Though not permitted to go abroad, his limbs were unshackled, and he had the range of his own apartments under the jealous surveillance of a guard, who knew too well the value of the royal captive to be remiss. He was allowed the society of his favorite wives, and Pizarro took care that his domestic privacy should not be violated. His subjects had free access to their sovereign, and every day he received visits from the Indian nobles, who came to bring presents, and offer condolence to their unfortunate master. On such occasions, the most potent of these great vassals never ventured into his presence, without first stripping off their sandals, and bearing a load on their backs in token of reverence. The Spaniards gazed with curious eyes on these acts of homage, or rather of slavish submission, on the one side, and on the air of perfect indifference with which they were received, as a matter of course, on the other; and they conceived high ideas of the character of a prince who, even in his present helpless condition, could inspire such feelings of awe in his subjects. The royal levee was so well attended, and such devotion was shown by his vassals to the captive monarch, as did not fail, in the end, to excite some feelings of distrust in his keepers. *43
[Footnote 43: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru lib. 2, cap. 6.]
Pizarro did not neglect the opportunity afforded him of communicating the truths of revelation to his prisoner, and both he and his chaplain, Father Valverde, labored in the same good work. Atahuallpa listened with composure and apparent attention. But nothing seemed to move him so much as the argument with which the military polemic closed his discourse, - that it could not be the true God whom Atahuallpa worshipped, since he had suffered him to fall into the hands of his enemies. The unhappy monarch assented to the force of this, acknowledging that his Deity had indeed deserted him in his utmost need. *44
[Footnote 44: "I mas dijo Atabalipa, que estaba espantado de lo que el Governador le havia dicho: que bien conocia que aquel que hablaba en su Idolo, no es Dios verdadero pues tan poco le aiudo." Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 203.]
Yet his conduct towards his brother Huascar, at this time, too clearly proves, that, whatever respect he may have shown for the teachers, the doctrines of Christianity had made little impression on his heart. No sooner had Huascar been informed of the capture of his rival, and of the large ransom he had offered for his deliverance, than, as the latter had foreseen, he made every effort to regain his liberty, and sent, or attempted to send, a message to the Spanish commander, that he would pay a much larger ransom than that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never having dwelt in Cuzco, was ignorant of the quantity of treasure there, and where it was deposited. Intelligence of all this was secretly communicated to Atahuallpa by the persons who had his brother in charge; and his jealousy, thus roused, was further heightened by Pizarro's declaration, that he intended to have Huascar brought to Caxamalca, where he would himself examine into the controversy, and determine which of the two had best title to the sceptre of the Incas. Pizarro perceived, from the first, the advantages of a competition which would enable him, by throwing his sword into the scale he preferred, to give it a preponderance. The party who held the sceptre by his nomination would henceforth be a tool in his hands, with which to work his pleasure more effectually than he could well do in his own name. It was the game, as every reader knows, played by Edward the First in the affairs of Scotland, and by many a monarch, both before and since, - and though their examples may not have been familiar to the unlettered soldier, Pizarro was too quick in his perceptions to require, in this matter, at least, the teachings of history. Atahuallpa was much alarmed by the Spanish commander's determination to have the suit between the rival candidates brought before him; for he feared, that, independently of the merits of the case, the decision would be likely to go in favor of Huascar, whose mild and ductile temper would make him a convenient instrument in the hands of his conquerors. Without further hesitation, he determined to remove this cause of jealousy for ever, by the death of his brother.
His orders were immediately executed, and the unhappy prince was drowned, as was commonly reported, in the river of Andamarca, declaring with his dying breath that the white men would avenge his murder, and that his rival would not long survive him. *45 - Thus perished the unfortunate Huascar, the legitimate heir of the throne of the Incas, in the very morning of life, and the commencement of his reign; a reign, however, which had been long enough to call forth the display of many excellent and amiable qualities, though his nature was too gentle to cope with the bold and fiercer temper of his brother. Such is the portrait we have of him from the Indian and Castilian chroniclers, though the former, it should be added, were the kinsmen of Huascar, and the latter certainly bore no goodwill to Atahuallpa. *46
[Footnote 45: Both the place and the manner of Huascar's death are reported with much discrepancy by the historians. All agree in the one important fact, that he died a violent death at the instigation of his brother. Conf. Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 2. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 204. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. - Instruc. del Inga Titucussi, Ms.]
[Footnote 46: Both Garcillaso de la Vega and Titucussi Yupanqui were descendants from Huayna Capac, of the pure Peruvian stock, the natural enemies, therefore, of their kinsman of Quito, whom they regarded as a usurper. Circumstances brought the Castilians into direct collision with Atahuallpa, and it was natural they should seek to darken his reputation by contrast with the fair character of his rival.]
That prince received the tidings of Huascar's death with every mark of surprise and indignation. He immediately sent for Pizarro, and communicated the event to him with expressions of the deepest sorrow. The Spanish commander refused, at first, to credit the unwelcome news, and bluntly told the Inca, that his brother could not be dead, and that he should be answerable for his life. *47 To this Atahuallpa replied by renewed assurances of the fact, adding that the deed had been perpetrated, without his privity, by Huascar's keepers, fearful that he might take advantage of the troubles of the country to make his escape. Pizarro, on making further inquiries, found that the report of his death was but too true. That it should have been brought about by Atahuallpa's officers, without his express command, would only show, that, by so doing, they had probably anticipated their master's wishes. The crime, which assumes in our eyes a deeper dye from the relation of the parties, had not the same estimation among the Incas, in whose multitudinous families the bonds of brotherhood must have sat loosely, - much too loosely to restrain the arm of the despot from sweeping away any obstacle that lay in his path.