Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

History Of The Conquest Of Peru by William Hickling Prescott

Part 10 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Book 5

Chapter 2

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was not long after the departure of Paniagua, that Pizarro received
tidings of the defection of Aldana and Hinojosa, and of the surrender of
the fleet, on which he had expended an immense sum, as the chief
bulwark of his power. This unwelcome intelligence was followed by
accounts of the further defection of some of the principal towns in the
north, and of the assassination of Puelles, the faithful lieutenant to whom
he had confided the government of Quito. It was not very long, also,
before he found his authority assailed in the opposite quarter at Cuzco;
for Centeno, the loyal chieftain who, as the reader may remember, had
been driven by Carbajal to take refuge in a cave near Arequipa, had
issued from his concealment after remaining there a year, and, on
learning the arrival of Gasca, had again raised the royal standard. Then
collecting a small body of followers, and falling on Cuzco by night, he
made himself master of that capital, defeated the garrison who held it,
and secured it for the Crown. Marching soon after into the province of
Charcas, the bold chief allied himself with the officer who commanded
for Pizarro in La Plata; and their combined forces, to the number of a
thousand, took up a position on the borders of Lake Titicaca, where the
two cavaliers coolly waited an opportunity to take the field against their
ancient commander.

Gonzalo Pizarro, touched to the heart by the desertion of those in whom
he most confided, was stunned by the dismal tidings of his losses coming
so thick upon him. Yet he did not waste his time in idle crimination or
complaint; but immediately set about making preparations to meet the
storm with all his characteristic energy. He wrote, at once to such of his
captains as he believed still faithful, commanding them to be ready with
their troops to march to his assistance at the shortest notice. He
reminded them of their obligations to him, and that their interests were
identical with his own. The president's commission, he added, had been
made out before the news had reached Spain of the battle of Ariaquito,
and could never cover a pardon to those concerned in the death of the

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

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

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

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

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

While this paper war was going on, news was brought that Aldana's
squadron was off the port of Callao. That commander had sailed from
Panama, the middle of February, 1547. On his passage down the coast
he had landed at Truxillo, where the citizens welcomed him with
enthusiasm, and eagerly proclaimed their submission to the royal
authority. He received, at the same time, messages from several of
Pizarro's officers in the interior, intimating their return to their duty, and
their readiness to support the president. Aldana named Caxamalca as a
place of rendezvous, where they should concentrate their forces, and wait
the landing of Gasca. He then continued his voyage towards Lima.

No sooner was Pizarro informed of his approach, than, fearful lest it
might have a disastrous effect in seducing his followers from their
fidelity, he marched them about a league out of the city, and there
encamped. He was two leagues from the coast, and he posted a guard on
the shore to intercept all communication with the vessels. Before leaving
the capital, Cepeda resorted to an expedient for securing the inhabitants
more firmly, as he conceived, in Pizarro's interests. He caused the
citizens to be assembled, and made them a studied harangue, in which he
expatiated on the services of their governor, and the security which the
country had enjoyed under his rule. He then told them that every man
was at liberty to choose for himself; to remain under the protection of
their present ruler, or, if they preferred, to transfer their allegiance to his
enemy. He invited them to speak their minds, but required every one
who would still continue under Pizarro to take an oath of fidelity to his
cause, with the assurance, that, if any should be so false hereafter as to
violate this pledge, he should pay for it with his life.19 There was no
one found bold enough--with his head thus in the lion's mouth--to swerve
from his obedience to Pizarro; and every man took the oath prescribed,
which was administered in the most solemn and imposing form by the
licentiate. Carbajal, as usual, made a jest of the whole proceeding.
"How long," he asked his companion, "do you think these same oaths
will stand? The first wind that blows off the coast after we are gone will
scatter them in air!" His prediction was soon verified.

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

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

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

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

"The wind blows the hairs off my head, mother; Two at a time, it blows
them away!" 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the twenty-sixth of October, 1547, when the two commanders,
having formed their troops in order of battle, advanced to the encounter
on the plains of Huarina. The ground, defended on one side by a bold
spur of the Andes, and not far removed on the other from the waters of
Titicaca, was an open and level plain, well suited to military
manoeuvres. It seemed as if prepared by Nature as the lists for an

Centeno's army amounted to about a thousand men. His cavalry
consisted of near two hundred and fifty, well equipped and mounted.
Among them were several gentlemen of family, some of whom had once
followed the banners of Pizarro; the whole forming an efficient corps, in
which rode some of the best lances of Peru. His arquebusiers were less
numerous, not exceeding a hundred and fifty, indifferently provided with
ammunition. The remainder, and much the larger part of Centeno's
army, consisted of spearmen, irregular levies hastily drawn together, and
possessed of little discipline.29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book 5

Chapter 3

Dismay In Gasca's Camp--His Winter Quarters--Resumes His March--
Crosses The Apurimac--Pizarro's Conduct In Cuzco--
He Encamps Near The City--Rout Of Xaquixaguana


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The wind blows the hairs off my head, mother!"

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

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

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

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

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

Book 5

Chapter 4

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When his arduous task was completed, Gasca determined to withdraw to
Lima, leaving the instrument of partition with the archbishop, to be
communicated to the army. Notwithstanding all the care that had been
taken for an equitable adjustment, Gasca was aware that it was
impossible to satisfy the demands of a jealous and irritable soldiery,
where each man would be likely to exaggerate his own deserts, while he
underrated those of his comrades; and he did not care to expose himself
to importunities and complaints that could serve no other purpose than to
annoy him.

On his departure, the troops were called together by the archbishop in
the cathedral, to learn the contents of the schedule intrusted to him. A
discourse was first preached by a worthy Dominican, the prior of
Arequipa, in which the reverend father expatiated on the virtue of
contentment, the duty of obedience, and the folly, as well as wickedness,
of an attempt to resist the constituted authorities,--topics, in short, which
he conceived might best conciliate the good-will and conformity of his

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having now settled all his affairs, the president committed the
government, until the arrival of a viceroy, to his faithful partners of the
Royal Audience; and in January, 1550 he embarked with the royal
treasure on board of a squadron for Panama. He was accompanied to the
shore by a numerous crowd of the inhabitants, cavaliers and common
people, persons of all ages and conditions, who followed to take their
last look of their benefactor, and watch with straining eyes the vessel that
bore him away from their land.

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

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

Great was the sensation throughout the country caused by his arrival.
Men could hardly believe that results so momentous had been
accomplished in so short a time by a single individual,--a poor
ecclesiastic, who, unaided by government, had, by his own strength, as it
were, put down a rebellion which had so long set the arms of Spain at

The emperor was absent in Flanders. He was overjoyed on learning the
complete success of Gasca's mission; and not less satisfied with the
tidings of the treasure he had brought with him; for the exchequer, rarely

Book of the day: