The History Of The Conquest Of Peru
by William H. Prescott
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ... 20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Footnote 47: "Sabido esto por el Gobernador, mostro, que el pesaba mucho: i dijo que era mentira, que no le havian muerto, que lo trujesen luego vivo: i sino, que el mandaria matar a Atabalipa." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 204.]

Chapter VI

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


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

[Footnote 1: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, sap. 6. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 204.]

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

[Footnote 2: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 203, 204. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 3: "El demonio Pachacama alegre con este concierto, afirman que mostraua en sus respuestas gran contento: pues con lo vno y lo otro era el seruido, y quedauan las animas de los simples malauenturados presas en su poder." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 72.]

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

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

[Footnote 4: "El camino de las sierras es cosa de ver, porque en verdad en tierra tan fragosa en la cristiandad no se han visto tan hermosos caminos, toda la mayor parte de calzada." Carta, Ms.]

[Footnote 5: "Todos los arroyos tienen puentes de piedra o de madera: en un rio grande, que era muy caudaloso e muy grande, que pasamos dos veces, hallamos puentes de red, que es cosa maravillosa de ver; pasamos por ellas los caballos; tienen en cada pasaje dos puentes, la una por donde pasa la gente comun, la otra por donde pasa el senor de la tierra o sus capitanes: esta tienen siempre cerrada e indios que la guardan; estos indios cobran portazgo de los que pasan." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Also Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

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

[Footnote 6: A comical blunder has been made by the printer, in M. Ter naux-Compans's excellent translation of Xerez, in the account of this expedition. "On trouve sur toute la route beaucoup de porcs, de lamas." (Relation de la Conquete du Perou, p. 157.) The substitution of porcs for parcs might well lead the reader into the error of supposing that swine existed in Peru before the Conquest.]

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

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

[Footnote 7: Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Estete, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 206, 207. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.

Both the last-cited author and Miguel Estete, the royal veedor or inspector, accompanied Hernando Pizarro on this expedition, and, of course, were eyewitnesses, like himself, of what they relate. Estete's narrative is incorporated by the secretary Xerez in his own.]

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

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

[Footnote 8: "Esta puerta era muy tejida de diversas cosas de corales y turquesas y cristales y otras cosas." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms]

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

[Footnote 9: "Aquel era Pachacama, el cual les sanaba de sus enfermedades, y a lo que alli se entendio, el Demonio aparecia en aquella cueba a aquellos sacerdotes y hablaba con ellos, y estos entraban con las peticiones y ofrendas de los que venian en romeria, que es cierto que del todo el Senorio de Atabalica iban alli, como los Moros y Turcos van a la casa de Meca." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Also Estete, ap. Barcia, tom III. p. 209.]

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

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

[Footnote 10: "E a falta de predicador les nice mi sermon, diciendo el engano en que vivian." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.]

[Footnote 11: Ibid., Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Estete, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 209.]

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

[Footnote 12: "Y andando los tiepos el capitan Rodrigo Orgonez, y Francisco de Godoy, y otros sacaron gra summa de oro y plata de los enterramientos. Y aun se presume y tiene por cierto, que ay mucho mas: pero como no se sabe donde esta enterrado, se pierde." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 72.]

One prize, however, Hernando obtained by his expedition, which went far to console him for the loss of his treasure. While at Pachacamac, he learned that the Indian commander Challcuchima lay with a large force in the neighbourhood of Xauxa, a town of some strength at a considerable distance among the mountains. This man, who was nearly related to Atahuallpa, was his most experienced general, and together with Quizquiz, now at Cuzco, had achieved those victories at the south which placed the Inca on the throne. From his birth, his talents, and his large experience, he was accounted second to no subject in the kingdom. Pizarro was aware of the importance of securing his person. Finding that the Indian noble declined to meet him on his return, he determined to march at once on Xauxa and take the chief in his own quarters. Such a scheme, considering the enormous disparity of numbers, might seem desperate even for Spaniards. But success had given them such confidence, that they hardly condescended to calculate chances. The road across the mountains presented greater difficulties than those on the former march. To add to the troubles of the cavalry, the shoes of their horses were worn out, and their hoofs suffered severely on the rough and stony ground. There was no iron at hand, nothing but gold and silver. In the present emergency they turned even these to account; and Pizarro caused the horses of the whole troop to be shod with silver. The work was done by the Indian smiths, and it answered so well, that in this precious material they found a substitute for iron during the remainder of the march. *13

[Footnote 13: "Hicieron hacer herrage de herraduras e clavos para sus Caballos de Plata, los cuales hicieron los cien Indios fundidores muy buenos e cuantos quisieron de ellos, con el cual herrage andubieron dos meses." (Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.) The author of the Relacion del Primero Descubrimento, Ms., says they shod the horses with silver and copper. And another of the Peruvian Conquerors assures us they used gold and silver. (Relatione d'un Capitano Spagnuolo, ap Ramusio, Navigationi et Viaggi, Venetia, 1565, tom. III. fol. 376.) All agree in the silver.]

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

[Footnote 14: "Era mucha la Gente de aquel Pueblo, i de sus Comarcas, que al parecer de los Espanoles, se juntaban cada Dia en la Placa Principal cien mil Personas." Estete, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 230.]

Challcuchima came attended by a numerous retinue. He was borne in his sedan on the shoulders of his vassals; and, as he accompanied the Spaniards on their return through the country, received everywhere from the inhabitants the homage paid only to the favorite of a monarch. Yet all this pomp vanished on his entering the presence of the Inca, whom he approached with his feet bare, while a light burden, which he had taken from one of the attendants, was laid on his back. As he drew near, the old warrior, raising his hands to heaven, exclaimed, - "Would that I had been here! - this would not then have happened"; then, kneeling down, he kissed the hands and feet of his royal master, and bathed them with his tears. Atahuallpa, on his part, betrayed not the least emotion, and showed no other sign of satisfaction at the presence of his favorite counsellor, than by simply bidding him welcome. The cold demeanour of the monarch contrasted strangely with the loyal sensibility of the subject. *15

[Footnote 15: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.

"The like of it," exclaims Estete. "was never before seen since the Indies were discovered." Ibid., p. 231.]

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

[Footnote 16: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. Conq., Ms.]

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

[Footnote 17: This account of the personal habits of Atahuallpa is taken from Pedro Pizarro, who saw him often in his confinement. As his curious narrative is little known, I have extracted the original in Appendix, No. 9.]

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

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

[Footnote 18: Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 375. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 12, 13.]

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

[Footnote 19: "I de las Chapas de oro, que esta Casa tenia, quitaron setecientas Planchas . . . . . a manera de Tablas de Caxas de a tres, i a quatro palmos de largo." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 232.] [Footnote 20: Herrera, Hist. General, ubi supra.]

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

[Footnote 21: So says Pizarro's secretary. "I vinieron docientas cargas de Oro, i veinte i cinco de Plata." (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, ubi supra.) A load, he says, was brought by four Indians "Cargas de Paligueres, que las traen quatro Indios." The meaning of paligueres - not a Spanish word - is doubtful. Ternaux-Compans supposes, ingeniously enough, that it may have something of the same meaning with palanquin, to which it bears some resemblance]

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

He there received the account of Pizarro's march across the mountains, his seizure of the Inca, and, soon afterwards, of the enormous ransom offered for his liberation. Almagro and his companions listened with undisguised amazement to this account of his associate, and of a change in his fortunes so rapid and wonderful that it seemed little less than magic. At the same time, he received a caution from some of the colonists not to trust himself in the power of Pizarro, who was known to bear him no goodwill. Not long after Almagro's arrival at San Miguel, advices were sent of it to Caxamalca, and a private note from his secretary Perez informed Pizarro that his associate had come with no purpose of cooperating with him, but with the intention to establish an independent government. Both of the Spanish captains seem to have been surrounded by mean and turbulent spirits, who sought to embroil them with each other, trusting, doubtless, to find their own account in the rupture. For once, however, their malicious machinations failed.

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

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 204, 205. - Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms - Relacion del Primer. Descub. Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 1.]

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

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

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

[Footnote 23: Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 377 - Ciez de Leon, Cronica, cap. 65.]

Chapter VII

Immense Amount Of Treasure. - Its Division Among The Troops - Rumors Of A Rising. - Trial Of The Inca. - His Execution - Reflections. 1533.

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

Pizarro was especially moved by the last consideration; and he felt, that, without the capital, he could not hope to become master of the empire. Without further delay, the division of the treasure was agreed upon. Yet, before making this, it was necessary to reduce the whole to ingots of a uniform standard, for the spoil was composed of an infinite variety of articles, in which the gold was of very different degrees of purity. These articles consisted of goblets, ewers, salvers, vases of every shape and size, ornaments and utensils for the temples and the royal palaces, tiles and plates for the decoration of the public edifices, curious imitations of different plants and animals. Among the plants, the most beautiful was the Indian corn, in which the golden ear was sheathed in its broad leaves of silver, from which hung a rich tassel of threads of the same precious metal. A fountain was also much admired, which sent up a sparkling jet of gold, while birds and animals of the same material played in the waters at its base. The delicacy of the workmanship of some of these, and the beauty and ingenuity of the design, attracted the admiration of better judges than the rude Conquerors of Peru. *1

[Footnote 1: Relatione de Pedro Sancho, ap. Ramusio, Viaggi, tom. III. fol. 399. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 233. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.

Oviedo saw at St. Domingo the articles which Ferdinand Pizarro was bearing to Castile; and he expatiates on several beautifully wrought vases, richly chased, of very fine gold, and measuring twelve inches in height and thirty round. Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.]

Before breaking up these specimens of Indian art, it was determined to send a quantity, which should be deducted from the royal fifth, to the Emperor. It would serve as a sample of the ingenuity of the natives, and would show him the value of his conquests. A number of the most beautiful articles was selected, to the amount of a hundred thousand ducats, and Hernando Pizarro was appointed to be the bearer of them to Spain. He was to obtain an audience of Charles, and, at the same time that he laid the treasures before him, he was to give an account of the proceedings of the Conquerors, and to seek a further augmentation of their powers and dignities. No man in the army was better qualified for this mission, by his address and knowledge of affairs, than Hernando Pizarro; no one would be so likely to urge his suit with effect at the haughty Castilian court. But other reasons influenced the selection of him at the present juncture.

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

[Footnote 2: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 3.]

[Footnote 3: According to Oviedo it was agreed that Hernando should have a share, much larger than he was entitled to, of the Inca's ransom, in the hope that he would feel so rich as never to desire to return again to Peru. "Trabajaron de le embiar rico por quitarle de entre ellos, y porque yendo muy rico como fue no tubiese voluntad de tornar a aquellas partes." Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8 cap. 16.]

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

[Footnote 4: Acta de Reparticion del Rescate de Atahuallpa, Ms - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 232.

In reducing the sums mentioned in this work, I have availed myself -as I before did, in the History of the Conquest of Mexico - of the labors of Senor Clemencin, formerly Secretary of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid. This eminent scholar, in the sixth volume of the Memoirs of the Academy, prepared wholly by himself, has introduced an elaborate essay on the value of the currency in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Although this period - the close of the fifteenth century - was somewhat earlier than that of the Conquest of Peru, yet his calculations are sufficiently near the truth for our purpose, since the Spanish currency had not as yet been much affected by that disturbing cause, - the influx of the precious metals from the New World.

In inquiries into the currency of a remote age, we may consider, in the first place, the specific value of the coin, - that is, the value which it derives from the weight, purity, &c., of the metal, circumstances easily determined. In the second place, we may inquire into the commercial or comparative worth of the money, - that is, the value founded on a comparison of the differences between the amount of commodities which the same sum would purchase formerly, and at the present time. The last inquiry is attended with great embarrassment, from the difficulty of finding any one article which may be taken as the true standard of value. Wheat, from its general cultivation and use, has usually been selected by political economists as this standard; and Clemencin has adopted it in his calculations. Assuming wheat as the standard, he has endeavoured to ascertain the value of the principal coins in circulation, at the time of the "Catholic Kings." He makes no mention in his treatise of the peso de oro, by which denomination the sums in the early part of the sixteenth century were more frequently expressed than by any other. But he ascertains both the specific and the commercial value of the castellano, which several of the old writers, as Oviedo, Herrera, and Xerez, concur in stating as precisely equivalent to the peso de oro. From the results of his calculations, it appears that the specific value of the castellano, as stated by him in reals, is equal to three dollars and seven cents of our own currency, while the commercial value is nearly four times as great, or eleven dollars sixty-seven cents, equal to two pounds twelve shillings and sixpence sterling. By adopting this as the approximate value of the peso de oro, in the early part of the sixteenth century, the reader may easily compute for himself the value, at that period, of the sums mentioned in these pages; most of which are expressed in that denomination. I have been the more particular in this statement, since, in my former work, I confined myself to the commercial value of the money, which, being much greater than the specific value, founded on the quality and weight of the metal, was thought by an ingenious correspondent to give the reader an exaggerated estimate of the sums mentioned in the history. But it seems to me that it is only this comparative or commercial value with which the reader has any concern, indicating what amount of commodities any given sum represents, that he may thus know the real worth of that sum; - thus adopting the principle, though conversely stated, of the old Hudibrastic maxim, - "What is worth in anything, But so much money as 't will bring."]

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

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

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

[Footnote 5: "Segun Dios Nuestro Senor a diere a entender teniendo su conciencia y para lo mejor hazer pedia el ayuda de Dios Nuestro Senor, e imboco el auxilio divino." Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 6: The particulars of the distribution are given in the Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, an instrument drawn up and signed by the royal notary. The document, which as therefore of unquestionable authority, is among the Mss. selected for me from the collection of Munoz.]

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

[Footnote 7: "Se diese a la gente que vino con el Capital Diego de Almagro para ayuda a pagar sus deudas y fletes y suplir algunas necesidades que traian veinte mil pesos." (Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, Ms.) Herrera says that 100,000 pesos were paid to Almagro's men. (Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 3.) But it is not so set down in the instrument.]

[Footnote 8: "En treinta personas que quedaron en la ciudad de san Miguel de Piura dolientes y otros que no vinieron ni se hallaron en la prision de Atagualpa y toma del oro porque algunos son pobres y otros tienen necesidad senalaba 15,000 ps de oro para los repartir S. Senoria entre las dichas personas." Ibid., Ms.]

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

[Footnote 9: Montesinos, Annales, Ms. ano 1533.]

[Footnote 10: The "Spanish Captain," several times cited, who tells us he was one of the men appointed to guard the treasure, does indeed complain that a large quantity of gold vases and other articles remained undivided, a palpable injustice, he thinks, to the honest Conquerors, who had earned all by their hardships. (Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 378, 379.) The writer, throughout his Relation, shows a full measure of the coarse and covetous spirit which marked the adventurers of Peru.]

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

[Footnote 11: 'Y esto tenia por justo, pues era provechoso." It is the sentiment imputed to Pizarro by Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib 3, cap. 4.]

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

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

[Footnote 12: "I como no ahondaban los designios que tenia le replicaban; pero el respondia, que iba mirando en ello." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4.]

[Footnote 13: "Fatta quella fusione, il Governatore fece vn atto innanzi al notaro nel quale liberaua il Cacique Atabalipa et l'absolueua della promessa et parola che haueua oata a gli Spagnuoli che lo presero della casa d'oro c'haueua lor cocessa, il quale fece publicar publicamete a suon di trombe nella piazza di quella citta di Caxamalca." (Pedro Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.) The authority is unimpeachable, - for any fact, at least, that makes against the Conquerors, - since the Relatione was by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, and was authorized under the hands of the general and his great officers.]

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

[Footnote 14: "De la Gente Natural de Quito vienen docientos mil Hombres de Guerra, i treinta mil Caribes, que comen Carne Humana." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 233. - See also Pedro Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, ubi supra.]

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

[Footnote 15: "Pues estando asi atravesose in demonio de una lengua que se dezia ffelipillo uno de los muchachos que el marquez avia llevado a Espana que al presente hera lengua y andava enamorado de una muger de Atabalipa." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.

The amour and the malice of Felipillo, which, Quintana seems to think, rest chiefly on Garcilasso's authority, (see Espanoles Celebres, tom. II. p. 210, nota,) are stated very explicitly by Zarate, Naharro, Gomara, Balboa, all contemporaneous, though not, like Pedro Pizarro, personally present in the army.]

[Footnote 16: "Diciendo que sentia mas aquel desacato, que su prision." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.]

[Footnote 17: Ibid., loc. cit.]

[Footnote 18: "E le habian tomado sus mugeres e repartidolas en su presencia e usaban de ellas de sus adulterios." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

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

[Footnote 19: "Burlaste conmigo? siempre me hablas cosas de burlas? Que parte somos Yo, i toda mi Gente, para enojar a tan valientes Hombres como vosotros? No me digas esas burlas." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 234.]

[Footnote 20: "De que los Espanoles que se las han oido, estan espantados de ver en vn Hombre Barbaro tanta prudencia." Ibid., loc. cit.]

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

[Footnote 21: "Pues si Yo no lo quiero, ni las Aves bolaran en mi Tierra.' Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2 cap. 7.]

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

Men suffering from fear are not likely to be too scrupulous as to the means of removing the cause of it. Murmurs, mingled with gloomy menaces, were now heard against the Inca, the author of these machinations. Many began to demand his life as necessary to the safety of the army. Among these, the most vehement were Almagro and his followers. They had not witnessed the seizure of Atahuallpa. They had no sympathy with him in his fallen state. They regarded him only as an incumbrance, and their desire now was to push their fortunes in the country, since they had got so little of the gold of Caxamalca. They were supported by Riquelme, the treasurer, and by the rest of the royal officers. These men had been left at San Miguel by Pizarro, who did not care to have such officia spies on his movements. But they had come to the camp with Almagro, and they loudly demanded the Inca's death, as indispensable to the tranquillity of the country, and the interests of the Crown. *22

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 100. These cavaliers were all present in the camp.]

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

[Footnote 23: "Aunque contra voluntad del dicho Gobernador, que nunca estubo bien en ello." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - So also Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap Ramusio, ubi supra.]

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

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

[Footnote 24: The specification of the charges against the Inca is given by Garcilasso de la Vega. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 37.) One could have wished to find them specified by some of the actors in the tragedy. But Garcilasso had access to the best sources of information, and where there was no motive for falsehood, as in the present instance, his word may probably be taken. - The fact of a process being formally instituted against the Indian monarch is explicitly recognized by several contemporary writers, by Gomara, Oviedo, and Pedro Sancho. Oviedo characterizes it as "a badly contrived and worse written document, devised by a factious and unprincipled priest, a clumsy notary without conscience, and others of the like stamp, who were all concerned in this villany." (Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.) Most authorities agree in the two principal charges, - the assassination of Huascar, and the conspiracy against the Spaniards.] These charges, most of which had reference to national usages, or to the personal relations of the Inca, over which the Spanish conquerors had clearly no jurisdiction, are so absurd, that they might well provoke a smile, did they not excite a deeper feeling. The last of the charges was the only one of moment in such a trial; and the weakness of this may be inferred from the care taken to bolster it up with the others. The mere specification of the articles must have been sufficient to show that the doom of the Inca was already sealed.

A number of Indian witnesses were examined, and their testimony, filtrated through the interpretation of Felipillo, received, it is said, when necessary, a very different coloring from that of the original. The examination was soon ended, and "a warm discussion," as we are assured by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, "took place in respect to the probable good or evil that would result from the death of Atahuallpa." *25 It was a question of expediency He was found guilty, - whether of all the crime alleged we are not informed, - and he was sentenced to be burnt alive in the great square of Caxamalca. The sentence was to be carried into execution that very night. They were not even to wait for the return of De Soto, when the information he would bring would go far to establish the truth or the falsehood of the reports respecting the insurrection of the natives. It was desirable to obtain the countenance of Father Valverde to these proceedings, and a copy of the judgment was submitted to the friar for his signature, which he gave without hesitation, declaring, that, "in his opinion, the Inca, at all events, deserved death." *26

[Footnote 25: "Doppo l'essersi molto disputato, et ragionato del danno et vtile che saria potuto auuenire per il viuere o morire di Atabalipa, fu risoluto che si facesse giustitia di lui." (Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 400.) It is the language of a writer who may be taken as the mouthpiece of Pizarro himself. According to him, the conclave, which agitated this "question of expediency," consisted of the "officers of the Crown and those of the army, a certain doctor learned in the law, that chanced to be with them, and the reverend Father Vicente de Valverde."]

[Footnote 26: "Respondio, que firmaria, que era bastante, para que el Inga fuese condenado a muerte, porque aun en lo exterior quisieron justificar su intento." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4]

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

But the great majority - and they were ten to one - overruled these objections, by declaring there was no doubt of Atahuallpa's guilt, and they were willing to assume the responsibility of his punishment. A full account of the proceedings would be sent to Castile, and the Emperor should be informed who were the loyal servants of the Crown, and who were its enemies. The dispute ran so high, that for a time it menaced an open and violent rupture; till, at length, convinced that resistance was fruivless, the weaker party, silenced, but not satisfied, contented themselves with entering a written protest against these proceedings, which would leave an indelible stain on the names of all concerned in them. *27

[Footnote 27: Garcilasso has preserved the names of some of those who so courageously, though ineffectually, resisted the popular cry for the Inca s blood. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 37.) They were doubtless correct in denying the right of such a tribunal to sit in judgment on an independent prince, like the Inca of Peru; but not so correct in supposing that their master, the Emperor, had a better right. Vattel (Book II. ch. 4.) especially animadverts on this pretended trial of Atahuallpa, as a manifest outrage on the law of nations.]

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

[Footnote 28: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.]

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

[Footnote 29: "I myself," says Pedro Pizarro, "saw the general weep." "Yo vide llorar al marques de pesar por no podelle dar la vida porque cierto temio los requirimientos y e rriezgo que avia en la tierra si se soltava." Descub. y Conq., Ms]

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

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

[Footnote 30: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 234. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 400.

The garrote is a mode of execution by means of a noose drawn round the criminal's neck, to the back part of which a stick is attached. By twisting this stick, the noose is tightened and suffocation is produced. This was the mode, probably, of Atahuallpa execution. In Spain, instead of the cord, an iron collar is substituted, which, by means of a screw is compressed round the throat of the sufferer.]

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

[Footnote 31: Velasco, Hist. de Quito, tom. I. p. 372.]

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

[Footnote 32: "Ma quando se lo vidde appressare per douer esser morto, disse che raccomandaua al Gouernatore i suoi piccioli figliuoli che volesse tenersegli appresso, & con queste valme parole, & dicendo per l'anima sua li Soagnuoli che erano all intorno il Credo, fu subito affogato." Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399. Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 234. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.]

The death of Atahuallpa has many points of resemblance with that of Caupolican, the great Araucanian chief, as described in the historical epic of Ercilla. Both embraced the religion of their conquerors at the stake, though Caupolican was so far less fortunate than the Peruvian monarch, that his conversion did not save him from the tortures of a most agonizing death. He was impaled and shot with arrows. The spirited verses reflect so faithfully the character of these early adventurers, in which the fanaticism of the Crusader was mingled with the cruelty of the conqueror, and they are so germane to the present subject, that I would willingly quote the passage were it not too long. See La Araucana, Parte 2, canto 24.] I have already spoken of the person and the qualities of Atahuallpa. He had a handsome countenance, though with an expression somewhat too fierce to be pleasing. His frame was muscular and well-proportioned; his air commanding; and his deportment in the Spanish quarters had a degree of refinement, the more interesting that it was touched with melancholy. He is accused of having been cruel in his wars, and bloody in his revenge. *33 It may be true, but the pencil of an enemy would be likely to overcharge the shadows of the portrait. He is allowed to have been bold, high-minded, and liberal. *34 All agree that he showed singular penetration and quickness of perception. His exploits as a warrior had placed his valor beyond dispute. The best homage to it is the reluctance shown by the Spaniards to restore him to freedom. They dreaded him as an enemy, and they had done him too many wrongs to think that he could be their friend. Yet his conduct towards them from the first had been most friendly; and they repaid it with imprisonment, robbery, and death.

[Footnote 33: "Thus he paid the penalty of his errors and cruelties," says Xerez, "for he was the greatest butcher, as all agree, that the world ever saw; making nothing of razing a whole town to the ground for the most trifling offence, and massacring a thousand persons for the fault of one!" (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 234.) Xerez was the private secretary of Pizarro. Sancho, who, on the departure of Xerez for Spain, succeeded him in the same office, pays a more decent tribute to the memory of the Inca, who, he trusts, "is received into glory, since he died penitent for his sins, and in the true faith of a Christian." Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.]

[Footnote 34: "El hera muy regalado, y muy Senor," says Pedro Pizarro. (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) "Mui dispuesto, sabio, animoso, franco," says Gomara. (Hist. de las Ind., cap. 118.)]

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

[Footnote 35: The secretary Sancho seems to think that the Peruvians must have regarded these funeral honors as an ample compensation to Atahuallpa for any wrongs he may have sustained, since they at once raised him to a level with the Spaniards! Ibid., loc. cit.]

[Footnote 36: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.

See Appendix, No. 10, where I have cited in the original several of the contemporary notices of Atahuallpa's execution, which being in manuscript are not very accessible, even to Spaniards.]

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

[Footnote 37: "Oi dicen los indios que esta su sepulcro junto a una Cruz de Piedra Blanca que esta en el Cementerio del Convento de Sn Francisco." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1533.]

[Footnote 38: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.

According to Stevenson, "In the chapel belonging to the common gaol, which was formerly part of the palace, the altar stands on the stone on which Atahuallpa was placed by the Spaniards and strangled, and under which he was buried." (Residence in South America, vol. II. p. 163.) Montesinos, who wrote more than a century after the Conquest, tells us that "spots of blood were still visible on a broad flagstone, in the prison of Caxamalca, on which Atahuallpa was beheaded." (Annales, Ms., ano 1533.) - Ignorance and credulity could scarcely go farther.]

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

[Footnote 39: "Hallaronle monstrando mucho centimiento con un gran sombrero de fieltro puesto en la cabeza por luto e muy calado sobre los ojos." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

[Footnote 40: Ibid., Ms., ubi supra. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - See Appendix, no. 10.]

[Footnote 41: This remarkable account is given by Oviedo, not in the body of his narrative, but in one of those supplementary chapters, which he makes the vehicle of the most miscellaneous, yet oftentimes important gossip, respecting the great transactions of his history. As he knew familiarly the leaders in these transactions, the testimony which he collected, somewhat at random, is of high authority. The reader will find Oviedo's account of the Inca's death extracted, in the original, among the other notices of this catastrophe in Appendix, No. 10]

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 42: "Contra su voluntad sentencio a muerte a Atabalipa." (Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.) "Contra voluntad del dicho Gobernador." (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) "Ancora che molto li dispiacesse di venir a questo atto." (Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.) Even Oviedo seems willing to admit it possible that Pizarro may have been somewhat deceived by others. "Que tambien se puede creer que era enganado." Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

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

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18 ... 20     Next Part
Home - Random Browse