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

History Of The Conquest Of Peru by William Hickling Prescott

Part 5 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.

violence, but for the interposition of the by-standers. It was hard, he
said, that this Peruvian dog should be thus courteously treated, when he
himself had nearly lost his life on a similar mission among his
countrymen. On reaching the Inca's camp, he had been refused
admission to his presence, on the ground that he was keeping a fast and
could not be seen. They had paid no respect to his assertion that he came
as an envoy from the white men, and would, probably, not have suffered
him to escape with life, if he had not assured them that any violence
offered to him would be retaliated in full measure on the persons of the
Peruvian envoys, now in the Spanish quarters. There was no doubt, he
continued of the hostile intentions of Atahuallpa; for he was surrounded
with a powerful army, strongly encamped about a league from
Caxamalca, while that city was entirely evacuated by its inhabitants.

To all this the Inca's envoy coolly replied, that Pizarro's messenger might
have reckoned on such a reception as he had found, since he seemed to
have taken with him no credentials of his mission. As to the Inca's fast,
that was true; and, although he would doubtless have seen the messenger,
had he known there was one from the strangers, yet it was not safe to
disturb him at these solemn seasons, when engaged in his religious
duties. The troops by whom he was surrounded were not numerous,
considering that the Inca was at that time carrying on an important war;
and as to Caxamalca, it was abandoned by the inhabitants in order to
make room for the white men, who were so soon to occupy it.6

This explanation, however plausible, did not altogether satisfy the
general; for he had too deep a conviction of the cunning of Atahuallpa,
whose intentions towards the Spaniards he had long greatly distrusted As
he proposed, however, to keep on friendly relations with the monarch for
the present, it was obviously not his cue to manifest suspicion.
Affecting, therefore, to give full credit to the explanation of the envoy,
he dismissed him with reiterated assurances of speedily presenting
himself before the Inca.

The descent of the sierra, though the Andes are less precipitous on their
eastern side than towards the west, was attended with difficulties almost
equal to those of the upward march; and the Spaniards felt no little
satisfaction, when, on the seventh day, they arrived in view of the valley
of Caxamalca, which, enamelled with all the beauties of cultivation, lay
unrolled like a rich and variegated carpet of verdure, in strong contrast
with the dark forms of the Andes, that rose up everywhere around it.
The valley is of an oval shape, extending about five leagues in length by
three in breadth. It was inhabited by a population of a superior character
to any which the Spaniards had met on the other side of the mountains,
as was argued by the superior style of their attire, and the greater
cleanliness and comfort visible both in their persons and dwellings.7 As
far as the eye could reach, the level tract exhibited the show of a diligent
and thrifty husbandry. A broad river rolled through the meadows,
supplying facilities for copious irrigation by means of the usual canals
and subterraneous aqueducts. The land, intersected by verdant hedge-
rows, was checkered with patches of various cultivation; for the soil was
rich, and the climate, if less stimulating than that of the sultry regions of
the coast, was more favorable to the hardy products of the temperate
latitudes. Below the adventurers, with its white houses glittering in the
sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling gem on the dark
skirts of the sierra. At the distance of about a league farther, across the
valley, might be seen columns of vapor rising up towards the heavens,
indicating the place of the famous hot baths, much frequented by the
Peruvian princes. And here, too, was a spectacle less grateful to the eyes
of the Spaniards; for along the slope of the hills a white cloud of
pavilions was seen covering the ground, as thick as snow-flakes, for the
space, apparently, of several miles. "It filled us all with amazement,"
exclaims one of the Conquerors, "to behold the Indians occupying so
proud a position! So many tents, so well appointed, as were never seen
in the Indies till now! The spectacle caused something like confusion
and even fear in the stoutest bosom. But it was too late to turn back, or
to betray the least sign of weakness, since the natives in our own
company would, in such case, have been the first to rise upon us. So,
with as bold a countenance as we could, after coolly surveying the
ground, we prepared for our entrance into Caxamalca."8

What were the feelings of the Peruvian monarch we are not informed,
when he gazed on the martial cavalcade of the Christians, as, with
banners streaming, and bright panoplies glistening in the rays of the
evening sun, it emerged from the dark depths of the sierra, and advanced
in hostile array over the fair domain, which, to this period, had never
been trodden by other foot than that of the red man. It might be, as
several of the reports had stated, that the Inca had purposely decoyed the
adventurers into the heart of his populous empire, that he might envelope
them with his legions, and the more easily become master of their
property and persons.9 Or was it from a natural feeling of curiosity, and
relying on their professions of friendship, that he had thus allowed them,
without any attempt at resistance, to come into his presence? At all
events, he could hardly have felt such confidence in himself, as not to
look with apprehension, mingled with awe, on the mysterious strangers,
who, coming from an unknown world, and possessed of such wonderful
gifts, had made their way across mountain and valley, in spite of every
obstacle which man and nature had opposed to them.

Pizarro, meanwhile, forming his little corps into three divisions, now
moved forward, at a more measured pace, and in order of battle, down
the slopes that led towards the Indian city. As he drew near, no one
came out to welcome him; and he rode through the streets without
meeting with a living thing, or hearing a sound, except the echoes, sent
back from the deserted dwellings, of the tramp of the soldiery.

It was a place of considerable size, containing about ten thousand
inhabitants, somewhat more, probably, than the population assembled at
this day within the walls of the modern city of Caxamalca.10 The
houses, for the most part, were built of clay, hardened in the sun; the
roofs thatched, or of timber. Some of the more ambitious dwellings were
of hewn stone; and there was a convent in the place, occupied by the
Virgins of the Sun, and a temple dedicated to the same tutelar deity,
which last was hidden in the deep embowering shades of a grove on the
skirts of the city. On the quarter towards the Indian camp was a square--
if square it might be called, which was almost triangular in form---of an
immense size, surrounded by low buildings. These consisted of
capacious halls, with wide doors or openings communicating with the
square. They were probably intended as a sort of barracks for the Inca's
soldiers.11 At the end of the plaza, looking towards the country, was a
fortress of stones with a stairway leading from the city, and a private
entrance from the adjoining suburbs. There was still another fortress on
the rising ground which commanded the town, built of hewn stone, and
encompassed by three circular walls,--or rather one and the same wall,
which wound up spirally around it. It was a place of great strength, and
the workmanship showed a better knowledge of masonry, and gave a
higher impression of the architectural science of the people, than
anything the Spaniards had yet seen.12

It was late in the afternoon of the fifteenth of November, 1532, when the
Conquerors entered the city of Caxamalca. The weather, which had been
fair during the day, now threatened a storm, and some rain mingled with
hail--for it was unusually cold--began to fall.13 Pizarro, however, was
so anxious to ascertain the dispositions of the Inca, that he determined to
send an embassy, at once, to his quarters. He selected for this, Hernando
de Soto with fifteen horse, and, after his departure, conceiving that the
number was too small, in case of any unfriendly demonstrations by the
Indians, he ordered his brother Hernando to follow with twenty
additional troopers. This captain and one other of his party have left us
an account of the excursion.14

Between the city and the imperial camp was a causeway, built in a
substantial manner across the meadow land that intervened. Over this
the cavalry galloped at a rapid pace, and, before they had gone a league,
they came in front of the Peruvian encampment, where it spread along
the gentle slope of the mountains. The lances of the warriors were fixed
in the ground before their tents, and the Indian soldiers were loitering
without, gazing with silent astonishment at the Christian cavalcade, as
with clangor of arms and shrill blast of trumpet it swept by, like some
fearful apparition, on the wings of the wind.

The party soon came to a broad but shallow stream, which, winding
through the meadow, formed a defence for the Inca's position. Across it
was a wooden bridge; but the cavaliers, distrusting its strength, preferred
to dash through the waters, and without difficulty gained the opposite
bank. At battalion of Indian warriors was drawn up under arms on the
farther side of the bridge, but they offered no molestation to the
Spaniards; and these latter had strict orders from Pizarro--scarcely
necessary in their present circumstances--to treat the natives with
courtesy. One of the Indians pointed out the quarter occupied by the

It was an open court-yard, with a light building or pleasure-house in the
centre, having galleries running around it, and opening in the rear on a
garden. The walls were covered with a shining plaster, both white and
colored, and in the area before the edifice was seen a spacious tank or
reservoir of stone, fed by aqueducts that supplied it with both warm and
cold water.16 A basin of hewn stone--it may be of a more recent
construction--still bears, on the spot, the name of the "Inca's bath." 17
The court was filled with Indian nobles, dressed in gayly ornamented
attire, in attendance on the monarch, and with women of the royal
household. Amidst this assembly it was not difficult to distinguish the
person of Atahuallpa, though his dress was simpler than that of his
attendants. But he wore on his head the crimson borla or fringe, which,
surrounding the forehead, hung down as low as the eyebrow. This was
the well-known badge of Peruvian sovereignty, and had been assumed by
the monarch only since the defeat of his brother Huascar. He was seated
on a low stool or cushion, somewhat after the Morisco or Turkish
fashion, and his nobles and principal officers stood around him, with
great ceremony, holding the stations suited to their rank.18

The Spaniards gazed with much interest on the prince, of whose cruelty
and cunning they had heard so much, and whose valor had secured to
him the possession of the empire. But his countenance exhibited
neither the fierce passions nor the sagacity which had been ascribed to
him; and, though in his bearing he showed a gravity and a calm
consciousness of authority well becoming a king, he seemed to discharge
all expression from his features, and to discover only the apathy so
characteristic of the American races. On the present occasion, this must
have been in part, at least, assumed. For it is impossible that the Indian
prince should not have contemplated with curious interest a spectacle so
strange, and, in some respects, appalling, as that of these mysterious
strangers, for which no previous description could have prepared him.

Hernando Pizarro and Soto, with two or three only of their followers,
slowly rode up in front of the Inca; and the former, making a respectful
obeisance, but without dismounting, informed Atahuallpa that he came
as an ambassador from his brother, the commander of the white men, to
acquaint the monarch with their arrival in his city of Caxamalca. They
were the subjects of a mighty prince across the waters, and had come, he
said, drawn thither by the report of his great victories, to offer their
services, and to impart to him the doctrines of the true faith which they
professed; and he brought an invitation from the general to Atahuallpa
that the latter would be pleased to visit the Spaniards in their present

To all this the Inca answered not a word; nor did he make even a sign of
acknowledgment that he comprehended it; though it was translated for
him by Felipillo, one of the interpreters already noticed. He remained
silent, with his eyes fastened on the ground; but one of his nobles,
standing by his side, answered, "It is well." 19 This was an embarrassing
situation for the Spaniards, who seemed to be as wide from ascertaining
the real disposition of the Peruvian monarch towards themselves, as
when the mountains were between them.

In a courteous and respectful manner, Hernando Pizarro again broke the
silence by requesting the Inca to speak to them himself, and to inform
them what was his pleasure.20 To this Atahuallpa condescended to
reply, while a faint smile passed over his features,--"Tell your captain
that I am keeping a fast, which will end tomorrow morning. I will then
visit him, with my chieftains. In the meantime, let him occupy the public
buildings on the square, and no other, till I come, when I will order what
shall be done." 21

Soto, one of the party present at this interview, as before noticed, was the
best mounted and perhaps the best rider in Pizarro's troop. Observing
that Atahuallpa looked with some interest on the fiery steed that stood
before him, champing the bit and pawing the ground with the natural
impatience of a war-horse, the Spaniard gave him the rein, and, striking
his iron heel into his side, dashed furiously over the plain; then, wheeling
him round and round, displayed all the beautiful movements of his
charger, and his own excellent horsemanship. Suddenly checking him in
full career, he brought the animal almost on his haunches, so near the
person of the Inca, that some of the foam that flecked his horse's sides
was thrown on the royal garments. But Atahuallpa maintained the same
marble composure as before, though several of his soldiers, whom De
Soto passed in the course, were so much disconcerted by it, that they
drew back in manifest terror; an act of timidity for which they paid
dearly, if, as the Spaniards assert, Atahuallpa caused them to be put to
death that same evening for betraying such unworthy weakness to the

Refreshments were now offered by the royal attendants to the Spaniards,
which they declined, being unwilling to dismount. They did not refuse,
however, to quaff the sparkling chicha from golden vases of
extraordinary size, presented to them by the dark-eyed beauties of the
harem.23 Taking then a respectful leave of the Inca, the cavaliers rode
back to Caxamalca, with many moody speculations on what they had
seen; on the state and opulence of the Indian monarch; on the strength of
his military array, their excellent appointments, and the apparent
discipline in their ranks,--all arguing a much higher degree of
civilization, and consequently of power, than anything they had
witnessed in the lower regions of the country. As they contrasted all
this with their own diminutive force, too far advanced, as they now were,
for succour to reach them, they felt they had done rashly in throwing
themselves into the midst of so formidable an empire, and were filled
with gloomy forebodings of the result.24 Their comrades in the camp
soon caught the infectious spirit of despondency, which was not lessened
as night came on, and they beheld the watch-fires of the Peruvians
lighting up the sides of the mountains, and glittering in the darkness, "as
thick," says one who saw them, "as the stars of heaven." 25

Yet there was one bosom in that little host which was not touched with
the feeling either of fear or dejection. That was Pizarro's, who secretly
rejoiced that he had now brought matters to the issue for which he had so
long panted. He saw the necessity of kindling a similar feeling in his
followers, or all would be lost. Without unfolding his plans, he went
round among his men, beseeching them not to show faint hearts at this
crisis, when they stood face to face with the foe whom they had been so
long seeking. "They were to rely on themselves, and on that Providence
which had carried them safe through so many fearful trials. It would not
now desert them; and if numbers, however great, were on the side of
their enemy, it mattered little when the arm of Heaven was on theirs." 26
The Spanish cavalier acted under the combined influence of chivalrous
adventure and religious zeal. The latter was the most effective in the
hour of peril; and Pizarro, who understood well the characters he had to
deal with, by presenting the enterprise as a crusade, kindled the dying
embers of enthusiasm in the bosoms of his followers, and restored their
faltering courage.

He then summoned a council of his officers, to consider the plan of
operations, or rather to propose to them the extraordinary plan on which
he had himself decided. This was to lay an ambuscade for the Inca, and
take him prisoner in the face of his whole army! It was a project full of
peril,--bordering, as it might well seem, on desperation. But the
circumstances of the Spaniards were desperate. Whichever way they
turned, they were menaced by the most appalling dangers; and better was
it bravely to confront the danger, than weakly to shrink from it, when
there was no avenue for escape.

To fly was now too late. Whither could they fly? At the first signal of
retreat, the whole army of the Inca would be upon them. Their
movements would be anticipated by a foe far better acquainted with the
intricacies of the sierra than themselves; the passes would be occupied,
and they would be hemmed in on all sides; while the mere fact of this
retrograde movement would diminish the confidence and with it the
effective strength of his own men, while it doubled that of his enemy.

Yet to remain long inactive in his present position seemed almost equally
perilous. Even supposing that Atahuallpa should entertain friendly
feelings towards the Christians, they could not confide in the continuance
of such feelings. Familiarity with the white men would soon destroy the
idea of anything supernatural, or even superior, in their natures. He
would feel contempt for their diminutive numbers. Their horses, their
arms and showy appointments, would be an attractive bait in the eye of
the barbaric monarch, and when conscious that he had the power to crush
their possessors, he would not be slow in finding a pretext for it. A
sufficient one had already occurred in the high-handed measures of the
Conquerors, on their march through his dominions.

But what reason had they to flatter themselves that the Inca cherished
such a disposition towards them? He was a crafty and unscrupulous
prince, and, if the accounts they had repeatedly received on their march
were true, had ever regarded the coming of the Spaniards with an evil
eye. It was scarcely possible he should do otherwise. His soft messages
had only been intended to decoy them across the mountains, where, with
the aid of his warriors, he might readily overpower them. They were
entangled in the toils which the cunning monarch had spread for them.

Their only remedy, then, was to turn the Inca's arts against himself; to
take him, if possible, in his own snare. There was no time to be lost; for
any day might bring back the victorious legions who had recently won
his battles at the south, and thus make the odds against the Spaniards far
greater than now.

Yet to encounter Atahuallpa in the open field would be attended with
great hazard; and even if victorious, there would be little probability that
the person of the Inca, of so much importance, would fall into the hands
of the victors. The invitation he had so unsuspiciously accepted to visit
them in their quarters afforded the best means for securing this desirable
prize. Nor was the enterprise so desperate, considering the great
advantages afforded by the character and weapons of the invaders, and
the unexpectedness of the assault. The mere circumstance of acting on a
concerted plan would alone make a small number more than a match for
a much larger one. But it was not necessary to admit the whole of the
Indian force into the city before the attack; and the person of the Inca
once secured, his followers, astounded by so strange an event, were they
few or many, would have no heart for further resistance;--and with the
Inca once in his power, Pizarro might dictate laws to the empire.

In this daring project of the Spanish chief, it was easy to see that he had
the brilliant exploit of Cortes in his mind, when he carried off the Aztec
monarch in his capital. But that was not by violence,--at least not by
open violence,--and it received the sanction, compulsory though it were,
of the monarch himself. It was also true that the results in that case did
not altogether justify a repetition of the experiment; since the people rose
in a body to sacrifice both the prince and his kidnappers. Yet this was
owing, in part, at least, to the indiscretion of the latter. The experiment
in the outset was perfectly successful; and, could Pizarro once become
master of the person of Atahuallpa, he trusted to his own discretion for
the rest. It would, at least, extricate him from his present critical
position, by placing in his power an inestimable guaranty for his safety;
and if he could not make his own terms with the Inca at once, the arrival
of reinforcements from home would, in all probability, soon enable him
to do so.

Pizarro having concerted his plans for the following day, the council
broke up, and the chief occupied himself with providing for the security
of the camp during the night. The approaches to the town were
defended; sentinels were posted at different points, especially on the
summit of the fortress, where they were to observe the position of the
enemy, and to report any movement that menaced the tranquillity of the
night. After these precautions, the Spanish commander and his followers
withdrew to their appointed quarters,--but not to sleep. At least, sleep
must have come late to those who were aware of the decisive plan for the
morrow; that morrow which was to be the crisis of their fate,--to crown
their ambitious schemes with full success, or consign them to
irretrievable ruin!

Book 3

Chapter 5

Desperate Plan Of Pizarro--Atahuallpa Visits The Spaniards--
Horrible Massacre--The Inca A Prisoner--Conduct Of The Conquerors--
Splendid Promises Of The Inca--Death Of Huascar


The clouds of the evening had passed away, and the sun rose bright on
the following morning, the most memorable epoch in the annals of Peru.
It was Saturday, the sixteenth of November, 1532. The loud cry of the
trumpet called the Spaniards to arms with the first streak of dawn; and
Pizarro, briefly acquainting them with the plan of the assault, made the
necessary dispositions.

The plaza, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, was defended on its
three sides by low ranges of buildings, consisting of spacious halls with
wide doors or vomitories opening into the square. In these halls he
stationed his cavalry in two divisions, one under his brother Hernando,
the other under De Soto. The infantry he placed in another of the
buildings, reserving twenty chosen men to act with himself as occasion
might require. Pedro de Candia, with a few soldiers and the artillery,--
comprehending under this imposing name two small pieces of ordnance,
called falconers,---he established in the fortress. All received orders to
wait at their posts till the arrival of the Inca. After his entrance into the
great square, they were still to remain under cover, withdrawn from
observation, till the signal was given by the discharge of a gun, when
they were to cry their war-cries, to rush out in a body from their covert,
and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, bear off the person of the Inca.
The arrangement of the immense hails, opening on a level with the plaza,
seemed to be contrived on purpose for a coup de theatre. Pizarro
particularly inculcated order and implicit obedience, that in the hurry of
the moment there should be no confusion. Everything depended on their
acting with concert, coolness, and celerity.1

The chief next saw that their arms were in good order; and that the
breastplates of their horses were garnished with bells, to add by their
noise to the consternation of the Indians. Refreshments were, also,
liberally provided, that the troops should be in condition for the conflict.
These arrangements being completed, mass was performed with great
solemnity by the ecclesiastics who attended the expedition; the God of
battles was invoked to spread his shield over the soldiers who were
fighting to extend the empire of the Cross; and all joined with enthusiasm
in the chant, "Exsurge, Domine," "Rise, O Lord! and judge thine own
cause."2 One might have supposed them a company of martyrs, about to
lay down their lives in defence of their faith, instead of a licentious band
of adventurers, meditating one of the most atrocious acts of perfidy on
the record of history! Yet, whatever were the vices of the Castilian
cavalier, hypocrisy was not among the number. He felt that he was
battling for the Cross, and under this conviction, exalted as it was at such
a moment as this into the predominant impulse, he was blind to the baser
motives which mingled with the enterprise. With feelings thus kindled to
a flame of religious ardor, the soldiers of Pizarro looked forward with
renovated spirits to the coming conflict; and the chieftain saw with
satisfaction, that in the hour of trial his men would be true to their leader
and themselves.

It was late in the day before any movement was visible in the Peruvian
camp, where much preparation was making to approach the Christian
quarters with due state and ceremony. A message was received from
Atahuallpa, informing the Spanish commander that he should come with
his warriors fully armed, in the same manner as the Spaniards had come
to his quarters the night preceding. This was not an agreeable intimation
to Pizarro, though he had no reason, probably, to expect the contrary.
But to object might imply distrust, or, perhaps, disclose, in some
measure, his own designs. He expressed his satisfaction, therefore, at the
intelligence, assuring the Inca, that, come as he would, he would be
received by him as a friend and brother.3

It was noon before the Indian procession was on its march, when it was
seen occupying the great causeway for a long extent. In front came a
large body of attendants, whose office seemed to be to sweep away every
particle of rubbish from the road. High above the crowd appeared the
Inca, borne on the shoulders of his principal nobles, while others of the
same rank marched by the sides of his litter, displaying such a dazzling
show of ornaments on their persons, that, in the language of one of the
Conquerors, "they blazed like the sun." 4 But the greater part of the
Inca's forces mustered along the fields that lined the road, and were
spread over the broad meadows as far as the eye could reach.5

When the royal procession had arrived within half a mile of the city, it
came to a halt; and Pizarro saw with surprise that Atahuallpa was
preparing to pitch his tents, as if to encamp there. A messenger soon
after arrived, informing the Spaniards that the Inca would occupy his
present station the ensuing night, and enter the city on the following

This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had shared in the general
impatience of his men at the tardy movements of the Peruvians. The
troops had been under arms since daylight, the cavalry mounted, and the
infantry at their post, waiting in silence the coming of the Inca. A
profound stillness reigned throughout the town, broken only at intervals by
the cry of the sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as he proclaimed
the movements of the Indian army. Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so
trying to the soldier as prolonged suspense, in a critical situation like the
present; and he feared lest his ardor might evaporate, and be succeeded
by that nervous feeling natural to the bravest soul at such a crisis, and
which, if not fear, is near akin to it.6 He returned an answer, therefore,
to Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of purpose; and adding that he had
provided everything for his entertainment, and expected him that night to
sup with him.7

This message turned the Inca from his purpose; and, striking his tents
again, he resumed his march, first advising the general that he should
leave the greater part of his warriors behind, and enter the place with
only a few of them, and without arms,8 as he preferred to pass the night
at Caxamalca. At the same time he ordered accommodations to be
provided for himself, and his retinue in one of the large stone buildings,
called, from a serpent sculptured on the walls, "the House of the
Serpent."9 --No tidings could have been more grateful to the Spaniards.
It seemed as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the snare that
had beer spread for him! The fanatical cavalier could not fail to discern
in it the immediate finger of Providence.

It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct of Atahuallpa, so
different from the bold and decided character which history ascribes to
him. There is no doubt that he made his visit to the white men in perfect
good faith; though Pizarro was probably right in conjecturing that this
amiable disposition stood on a very precarious footing. There is as little
reason to suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers; or he
would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to visit them unarmed. His
original purpose of coming with all his force was doubtless to display his
royal state, and perhaps, also, to show greater respect for the Spaniards;
but when he consented to accept their hospitality, and pass the night in
their quarters, he was willing to dispense with a great part of his armed
soldiery, and visit them in a manner that implied entire confidence in
their good faith. He was too absolute in his own empire easily to
suspect; and he probably could not comprehend the audacity with which
a few men, like those now assembled in Caxamalca, meditated an assault
on a powerful monarch in the midst of his victorious army. He did not
know the character of the Spaniard.

It was not long before sunset, when the van of the royal procession
entered the gates of the city. First came some hundreds of the menials,
employed to clear the path from every obstacle, and singing songs of
triumph as they came, "which, in our ears," says one of the Conquerors,
"sounded like the songs of hell!" 10 Then followed other bodies of
different ranks, and dressed in different liveries. Some wore a showy
stuff, checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess-board.11
Others were clad in pure white, bearing hammers or maces of silver or
copper; 12 and the guards, together with those in immediate attendance
on the prince, were distinguished by a rich azure livery, and a profusion
of gay ornaments, while the large pendants attached to the ears indicated
the Peruvian noble.

Elevated high above his vassals came the Inca Atahuallpa, borne on a
sedan or open litter, on which was a sort of throne made of massive gold
of inestimable value.13 The palanquin was lined with the richly colored
plumes of tropical birds, and studded with shining plates of gold and
silver.14 The monarch's attire was much richer than on the preceding
evening. Round his neck was suspended a collar of emeralds of
uncommon size and brilliancy.15 His short hair was decorated with
golden ornaments, and the imperial borla encircled his temples. The
bearing of the Inca was sedate and dignified; and from his lofty station
he looked down on the multitudes below with an air of composure, like
one accustomed to command.

As the leading files of the procession entered the great square, larger,
says an old chronicler, than any square in Spain, they opened to the right
and left for the royal retinue to pass. Everything was conducted with
admirable order. The monarch was permitted to traverse the plaza in
silence, and not a Spaniard was to be seen. When some five or six
thousand of his people had entered the place, Atahuallpa halted, and,
turning round with an inquiring look, demanded, "Where are the

At this moment Fray Vicente de Valverde, a Dominican friar, Pizarro's
chaplain, and afterward Bishop of Cuzco, came forward with his
brevidry, or, as other accounts say, a Bible, in one hand, and a crucifix in
the other, and, approaching the Inca, told him, that he came by order of
his commander to expound to him the doctrines of the true faith, for
which purpose the Spaniards had come from a great distance to his
country. The friar then explained, as clearly as he could, the mysterious
doctrine of the Trinity, and, ascending high in his account, began with
the creation of man, thence passed to his fall, to his subsequent
redemption by Jesus Christ, to the crucifixion, and the ascension, when
the Saviour left the Apostle Peter as his Vicegerent upon earth. This
power had been transmitted to the successors of the Apostle, good and
wise men, who, under the title of Popes, held authority over all powers
and potentates on earth. One of the last of these Popes had
commissioned the Spanish emperor, the most mighty monarch in the
world, to conquer and convert the natives in this western hemisphere;
and his general, Francisco Pizarro, had now come to execute this
important mission. The friar concluded with beseeching the Peruvian
monarch to receive him kindly; to abjure the errors of his own faith, and
embrace that of the Christians now proffered to him, the only one by
which he could hope for salvation; and, furthermore, to acknowledge
himself a tributary of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who, in that event,
would aid and protect him as his loyal vassal.16

Whether Atahuallpa possessed himself of every link in the curious chain
of argument by which the monk connected Pizarro with St. Peter, may be
doubted. It is certain, however, that he must have had very incorrect
notions of the Trinity, if, as Garcilasso states, the interpreter Felipillo
explained it by saying, that "the Christians believed in three Gods and
one God, and that made four." 17 But there is no doubt he perfectly
comprehended that the drift of the discourse was to persuade him to
resign his sceptre and acknowledge the supremacy of another.

The eyes of the Indian monarch flashed fire, and his dark brow grew
darker as he replied,--"I will be no man's tributary. I am greater than any
prince upon earth. Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt
it, when I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I
am willing to hold him as a brother. As for the Pope of whom you
speak, he must be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not
belong to him. For my faith," he continued, "I will not change it. Your
own God, as you say, was put to death by the very men whom he created.
But mine," he concluded, pointing to his Deity,--then, alas! sinking in
glory behind the mountains,--"my God still lives in the heavens, and
looks down on his children." 18

He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these
things. The friar pointed to the book which he held, as his authority.
Atahuallpa, taking it, turned over the pages a moment, then, as the insuit
he had received probably flashed across his mind, he threw it down with
vehemence, and exclaimed,--"Tell your comrades that they shall give me
an account of their doings in my land. I will not go from here, till they
have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed."

The friar, greatly scandalized by the indignity offered to the sacred
volume, stayed only to pick it up, and, hastening to Pizarro, informed
him of what had been done, exclaiming, at the same time,--"Do you not
see, that, while we stand here wasting our breath in talking with this dog,
full of pride as he is, the fields are filling with Indians? Set on, at once; I
absolve you." 20 Pizarro saw that the hour had come. He waved a white
scarf in the air, the appointed signal. The fatal gun was fired from the
fortress. Then, springing into the square, the Spanish captain and his
followers shouted the old war-cry of "St. Jago and at them." It was
answered by the battle-cry of every Spaniard in the city, as, rushing from
the avenues of the great halls in which they were concealed, they poured
into the plaza, horse and foot, each in his own dark column, and threw
themselves into the midst of the Indian crowd. The latter, taken by
surprise, stunned by the report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of
which reverberated like thunder from the surrounding buildings, and
blinded by the smoke which rolled in sulphurous volumes along the
square, were seized with a panic. They knew not whither to fly for
refuge from the coming ruin. Nobles and commoners,--all were trampled
down under the fierce charge of the cavalry, who dealt their blows, right
and left, without sparing; while their swords, flashing through. the thick
gloom, carried dismay into the hearts of the wretched natives, who now,
for the first time, saw the horse and his rider in all their terrors. They
made no resistance,--as, indeed, they had no weapons with which to
make it. Every avenue to escape was closed, for the entrance to the
square was choked up with the dead bodies of men who had perished in
vain efforts to fly; and, such was the agony of the survivors under the
terrible pressure of their assailants, that a large body of Indians, by their
convulsive struggles, burst through the wall of stone and dried clay
which formed part of the boundary of the plaza! It fell, leaving an
opening of more than a hundred paces, through which multitudes now
found their way into the country, still hotly pursued by the cavalry, who,
leaping the fallen rubbish, hung on the rear of the fugitives, striking them
down in all directions.21

Meanwhile the fight, or rather massacre, continued hot around the Inca,
whose person was the great object of the assault. His faithful nobles,
rallying about him, threw themselves in the way of the assailants, and
strove, by tearing them from their saddles, or, at least, by offering their
own bosoms as a mark for their vengeance, to shield their beloved
master. It is said by some authorities, that they carried weapons
concealed under their clothes. If so, it availed them little, as it is not
pretended that they used them. But the most timid animal will defend
itself when at bay. That they did not so in the present instance is proof
that they had no weapons to use.22 Yet they still continued to force back
the cavaliers, clinging to their horses with dying grasp, and, as one was
cut down, another taking the place of his fallen comrade with a loyalty
truly affecting.

The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw his faithful subjects
falling round him without fully comprehending his situation. The litter
on which he rode heaved to and fro, as the mighty press swayed
backwards and forwards; and he gazed on the overwhelming ruin, like
some forlorn mariner, who, tossed about in his bark by the furious
elements, sees the lightning's flash and hears the thunder bursting around
him with the consciousness that he can do nothing to avert his fate. At
length, weary with the work of destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades
of evening grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, after all,
elude them; and some of the cavaliers made a desperate attempt to end
the affray at once by taking Atahuallpa's life. But Pizarro, who was
nearest his person, called out with stentorian voice, "Let no one, who
values his life, strike at the Inca"; 23 and, stretching out his arm to shield
him, received a wound on the hand from one of his own men,--the only
wound received by a Spaniard in the action.24

The struggle now became fiercer than ever round the royal litter. It
reeled more and more, and at length, several of the nobles who supported
it having been slain, it was overturned, and the Indian prince would have
come with violence to the ground, had not his fall been broken by the
efforts of Pizarro and some other of the cavaliers, who caught him in
their arms. The imperial borla was instantly snatched from his temples
by a soldier named Estete,25 and the unhappy monarch, strongly
secured, was removed to a neighboring building, where he was carefully

All attempt at resistance now ceased. The fate of the Inca soon spread
over town and country. The charm which might have held the Peruvians
together was dissolved. Every man thought only of his own safety. Even
the soldiery encamped on the adjacent fields took the alarm, and,
learning the fatal tidings, were seen flying in every direction before their
pursuers, who in the heat of triumph showed no touch of mercy. At
length night, more pitiful than man, threw her friendly mantle over the
fugitives, and the scattered troops of Pizarro rallied once more at the
sound of the trumpet in the bloody square of Caxamalca.

The number of slain is reported, as usual, with great discrepancy.
Pizarro's secretary says two thousand natives fell.26 A descendant of the
Incas--a safer authority than Garcilasso---swells the number to ten
thousand.27 Truth is generally found somewhere between the extremes.
The slaughter was incessant, for there was nothing to check it. That
there should have been no resistance will not appear strange, when we
consider the fact, that the wretched victims were without arms, and that
their senses must have been completely overwhelmed by the strange and
appalling spectacle which burst on them so unexpectedly. "What wonder
was it," said an ancient Inca to a Spaniard, who repeats it, "what wonder
that our countrymen lost their wits, seeing blood run like water, and the
Inca, whose person we all of us adore, seized and carried off by a
handful of men?" 28 Yet though the massacre was incessant, it was short
in duration. The whole time consumed by it, the brief twilight of the
tropics, did not much exceed half an hour; a short period, indeed,---yet
long enough to decide the fate of Peru, and to subvert the dynasty of the

That night Pizarro kept his engagement with the Inca, since he had
Atahuallpa to sup with him. The banquet was served in one of the halls
facing the great square, which a few hours before had been the scene of
slaughter, and the pavement of which was still encumbered with the dead
bodies of the Inca's subjects. The captive monarch was placed next his
conqueror. He seemed like one who did not yet fully comprehend the
extent of his calamity. If he did, he showed an amazing fortitude. "It is
the fortune of war," he said; 29 and, if we may credit the Spaniards, he
expressed his admiration of the adroitness with which they had contrived
to entrap him in the midst of his own troops.30 He added, that he had
been made acquainted with the progress of the white men from the hour
of their landing; but that he had been led to undervalue their strength
from the insignificance of their numbers. He had no doubt he should be
easily able to overpower them, on their arrival at Caxamalca, by his
superior strength; and, as he wished to see for himself what manner of
men they were, he had suffered them to cross the mountains, meaning to
select such as he chose for his own service, and, getting possession of
their wonderful arms and horses, put the rest to death.31

That such may have been Atahuallpa's purpose is not improbable. It
explains his conduct in not occupying the mountain passes, which
afforded such strong points of defence against invasion. But that a
prince so astute, as by the general testimony of the Conquerors he is
represented to have been, should have made so impolitic a disclosure of
his hidden motives is not so probable. The intercourse with the Inca was
carried on chiefly by means of the interpreter Felipillo, or little Philip, as
he was called, from his assumed Christian name,---a malicious youth, as
it appears, who bore no good-will to Atahuallpa, and whose
interpretations were readily admitted by the Conquerors, eager to find
some pretext for their bloody reprisals.

Atahuallpa, as elsewhere noticed, was, at this time, about thirty years of
age. He was well made, and more robust than usual with his
countrymen. His head was large, and his countenance might have been
called handsome, but that his eyes, which were bloodshot, gave a fierce
expression to his features. He was deliberate in speech, grave in manner,
and towards his own people stern even to severity; though with the
Spaniards he showed himself affable, sometimes even indulging in
sallies of mirth.32

Pizarro paid every attention to his royal captive, and endeavored to
lighten, if he could not dispel, the gloom which, in spite of his assumed
equanimity, hung over the monarch's brow. He besought him not to be
cast down by his reverses, for his lot had only been that of every prince
who had resisted the white men. They had come into the country to
proclaim the gospel, the religion of Jesus Christ; and it was no wonder
they had prevailed, when his shield was over them. Heaven had
permitted that Atahuallpa's pride should be humbled, because of his
hostile intentions towards the Spaniards, and the insults he had offered to
the sacred volume. But he bade the Inca take courage and confide in
him, for the Spaniards were a generous race, warring only against those
who made war on them, and showing grace to all who submitted! 33--
Atahuallpa may have thought the massacre of that day an indifferent
commentary on this vaunted lenity.

Before retiring for the night, Pizarro briefly addressed his troops on their
present situation. When he had ascertained that not a man was wounded,
he bade them offer up thanksgivings to Providence for so great a miracle;
without its care, they could never have prevailed so easily over the host
of their enemies; and he trusted their lives had been reserved for still
greater things. But if they would succeed, they had much to do for
themselves. They were in the heart of a powerful kingdom,
encompassed by foes deeply attached to their own sovereign. They must
be ever on their guard, therefore, and be prepared at any hour to be
roused from their slumbers by the call of the trumpet.34--Having then
posted his sentinels, placed a strong guard over the apartment of
Atahuallpa, and taken all the precautions of a careful commander,
Pizarro withdrew to repose; and, if he could really feel, that, in the
bloody scenes of the past day, he had been fighting only the good fight of
the Cross, he doubtless slept sounder than on the night preceding the
seizure of the Inca.

On the following morning, the first commands of the Spanish chief were
to have the city cleansed of its impurities; and the prisoners, of whom
there were many in the camp, were employed to remove the dead, and
give them decent burial. His next care was to despatch a body of about
thirty horse to the quarters lately occupied by Atahuallpa at the baths, to
take possession of the spoil, and disperse the remnant of the Peruvian
forces which still hung about the place.

Before noon, the party which he had detached on this service returned
with a large troop of Indians, men and women, among the latter of whom
were many of the wives and attendants of the Inca. The Spaniards had
met with no resistance; since the Peruvian warriors, though so superior in
number, excellent in appointments, and consisting mostly of ablebodied
young men,--for the greater part of the veteran forces were with the
Inca's generals at the south,--lost all heart from the moment of their
sovereign's captivity. There was no leader to take his place; for they
recognized no authority but that of the Child of the Sun, and they seemed
to be held by a sort of invisible charm near the place of his confinement;
while they gazed with superstitious awe on the white men, who could
achieve so audacious an enterprise.35

The number of Indian prisoners was so great, that some of the
Conquerors were for putting them all to death, or, at least, cutting off
their hands, to disable them from acts of violence, and to strike terror
into their countrymen.36 The proposition, doubtless, came from the
lowest and most ferocious of the soldiery. But that it should have been
made at all shows what materials entered into the composition of
Pizarro's company. The chief rejected it at once, as no less impolitic
than inhuman, and dismissed the Indians to their several homes, with the
assurance that none should be harmed who did not offer resistance to the
white men. A sufficient number, however, were retained to wait on the
Conquerors who were so well provided, in this respect, that the most
common soldier was attended by a retinue of menials that would have
better suited the establishment of a noble.37

The Spaniards had found immense droves of llamas under the care of
their shepherds in the neighborhood of the baths, destined for the
consumption of the Court. Many of them were now suffered to roam
abroad among their native mountains; though Pizarro caused a
considerable number to be reserved for the use of the army. And this
was no small quantity, if, as one of the Conquerors says, a hundred and
fifty of the Peruvian sheep were frequently slaughtered in a day.38
Indeed, the Spaniards were so improvident in their destruction of these
animals, that, in a few years, the superb flocks, nurtured with so much
care by the Peruvian government, had almost disappeared from the

The party sent to pillage the Inca's pleasure-house brought back a rich
booty in gold and silver, consisting chiefly of plate for the royal table,
which greatly astonished the Spaniards by their size and weight. These,
as well as some large emeralds obtained there, together with the precious
spoils found on the bodies of the Indian nobles who had perished in the
massacre, were placed in safe custody, to be hereafter divided. In the
city of Caxamalca, the troops also found magazines stored with goods,
both cotton and woollen, far superior to any they had seen, for fineness
of texture, and the skill with which the various colors were blended.
They were piled from the floors to the very roofs of the buildings, and in
such quantity, that, after every soldier had provided himself with what he
desired, it made no sensible diminution of the whole amount.40

Pizarro would now gladly have directed his march on the Peruvian
capital. But the distance was great, and his force was small. This must
have been still further crippled by the guard required for the Inca, and
the chief feared to involve himself deeper in a hostile empire so
populous and powerful, with a prize so precious in his keeping. With
much anxiety, therefore, he looked for reinforcements from the colonies;
and he despatched a courier to San Miguel, to inform the Spaniards there
of his recent successes, and to ascertain if there had been any arrival
from Panama. Meanwhile he employed his men in making Caxamalca a
more suitable residence for a Christian host, by erecting a church, or,
perhaps, appropriating some Indian edifice to this use, in which mass
was regularly performed by the Dominican fathers, with great solemnity.
The dilapidated walls of the city were also restored in a more substantial
manner than before, and every vestige was soon effaced of the hurricane
that had so recently swept over it.

It was not long before Atahuallpa discovered, amidst all the show of
religious zeal in his Conquerors, a lurking appetite more potent in most
of their bosoms than either religion or ambition. This was the love of
gold. He determined to avail himself of it to procure his own freedom.
The critical posture of his affairs made it important that this should not
be long delayed. His brother, Huascar, ever since his defeat, had been
detained as a prisoner, subject to the victor's orders. He was now at
Andamarca, at no great distance from Caxamalca; and Atahuallpa feared,
with good reason, that, when his own imprisonment was known, Huascar
would find it easy to corrupt his guards, make his escape, and put himself
at the head of the contested empire, without a rival to dispute it.

In the hope, therefore, to effect his purpose by appealing to the avarice
of his keepers, he one day told Pizarro, that, if he would set him free, he
would engage to cover the floor of the apartment on which they stood
with gold. Those present listened with an incredulous smile; and, as the
Inca received no answer, he said, with some emphasis, that "he would
not merely cover the floor, but would fill the room with gold as high as
he could reach"; and, standing on tiptoe, he stretched out his hand
against the wall. All stared with amazement; while they regarded it as
the insane boast of a man too eager to procure his liberty to weigh the
meaning of his words. Yet Pizarro was sorely perplexed. As he had
advanced into the country, much that he had seen, and all that he had
heard, had confirmed the dazzling reports first received of the riches of
Peru. Atahuallpa himself had given him the most glowing picture of the
wealth of the capital, where the roofs of the temples were plated with
gold, while the walls were hung with tapestry and the floors inlaid with
tiles of the same precious metal. There must be some foundation for all
this. At all events, it was safe to accede to the Inca's proposition; since,
by so doing, he could collect, at once, all the gold at his disposal, and
thus prevent its being purloined or secreted by the natives. He therefore
acquiesced in Atahuallpa's offer, and, drawing a red line along the wall at
the height which the Inca had indicated, he caused the terms of the
proposal to be duly recorded by the notary. The apartment was about
seventeen feet broad, by twenty-two feet long, and the line round the
walls was nine feet from the floor.41 This space was to be filled with
gold; but it was understood that the gold was not to be melted down into
ingots, but to retain the original form of the articles into which it was
manufactured, that the Inca might have the benefit of the space which
they occupied. He further agreed to fill an adjoining room of smaller
dimensions twice full with silver, in like manner; and he demanded two
months to accomplish all this.42

No sooner was this arrangement made, than the Inca despatched couriers
to Cuzco and the other principal places in the kingdom, with orders that
the gold ornaments and utensils should be removed from the royal
palaces, and from the temples and other public buildings, and transported
without loss of time to Caxamalca. Meanwhile he continued to live in
the Spanish quarters, treated with the respect due to his rank, and
enjoying all the freedom that was compatible with the security of his
person. Though not permitted to go abroad, his limbs were unshackled,
and he had the range of his own apartments under the jealous
surveillance of a guard, who knew too well the value of the royal captive
to be remiss. He was allowed the society of his favorite wives, and
Pizarro took care that his domestic privacy should not be violated. His
subjects had free access to their sovereign, and every day he received
visits from the Indian nobles, who came to bring presents, and offer
condolence to their unfortunate master. On such occasions, the most
potent of these great vassals never ventured into his presence, without
first stripping off their sandals, and bearing a load on their backs in token
of reverence. The Spaniards gazed with curious eyes on these acts of
homage, or rather of slavish submission, on the one side, and on the air
of perfect indifference with which they were received, as a matter of
course, on the other; and they conceived high ideas of the character of a
prince who, even in his present helpless condition, could inspire such
feelings of awe in his subjects. The royal levee was so well attended,
and such devotion was shown by his vassals to the captive monarch, as
did not fail, in the end, to excite some feelings of distrust in his

Pizarro did not neglect the opportunity afforded him of communicating
the truths of revelation to his prisoner, and both he and his chaplain,
Father Valverde, labored in the same good work. Atahuallpa listened
with composure and apparent attention. But nothing seemed to move
him so much as the argument with which the military polemic closed his
discourse,--that it could not be the true God whom Atahuallpa
worshipped, since he had suffered him to fall into the hands of his
enemies. The unhappy monarch assented to the force of this,
acknowledging that his Deity had indeed deserted him in his utmost

Yet his conduct towards his brother Huascar, at this time, too clearly
proves, that, whatever respect he may have shown for the teachers, the
doctrines of Christianity had made little impression on his heart. No
sooner had Huascar been informed of the capture of his rival, and of the
large ransom he had offered for his deliverance, than, as the latter had
foreseen, he made every effort to regain his liberty, and sent, or
attempted to send, a message to the Spanish commander, that he would
pay a much larger ransom than that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never
having dwelt in Cuzco, was ignorant of the quantity of treasure there, and
where it was deposited.

Intelligence of all this was secretly communicated to Atahuallpa by the
persons who had his brother in charge; and his jealousy, thus roused, was
further heightened by Pizarro's declaration, that he intended to have
Hauscar brought to Caxamalca, where he would himself examine into the
controversy, and determine which of the two had best title to the sceptre
of the Incas. Pizarro perceived, from the first, the advantages of a
competition which would enable him, by throwing his sword into the
scale he preferred, to give it a preponderance. The party who held the
sceptre by his nomination would henceforth be a tool in his hands, with
which to work his pleasure more effectually than he could well do in his
own name. It was the game, as every reader knows, played by Edward
the First in the affairs of Scotland, and by many a monarch, both before
and since,--and though their examples may not have been familiar to the
unlettered soldier, Pizarro was too quick in his perceptions to require, in
this matter, at least, the teachings of history.

Atahuallpa was much alarmed by the Spanish commander's
determination to have the suit between the rival candidates brought
before him; for he feared, that, independently of the merits of the case,
the decision would be likely to go in favor of Huascar, whose mild and
ductile temper would make him a convenient instrument in the hands of
his conquerors. Without further hesitation, he determined to remove this
cause of jealousy for ever, by the death of his brother.

His orders were immediately executed, and the unhappy prince was
drowned, as was commonly reported, in the river of Andamarca,
declaring with his dying breath that the white men would avenge his
murder, and that his rival would not long survive him.45--Thus perished
the unfortunate Huascar, the legitimate heir of the throne of the Incas, in
the very morning of life, and the commencement of his reign; a reign,
however, which had been long enough to call forth the display of many
excellent and amiable qualities, though his nature was too gentle to cope
with the bold and fiercer temper of his brother. Such is the portrait we
have of him from the Indian and Castilian chroniclers, though the former,
it should be added, were the kinsmen of Huascar, and the latter certainly
bore no good-will to Atahuallpa.46

That prince received the tidings of Huascar's death with every mark of
surprise and indignation. He immediately sent for Pizarro, and
communicated the event to him with expressions of the deepest sorrow.
The Spanish commander refused, at first, to credit the unwelcome news,
and bluntly told the Inca, that his brother could not be dead, and that he
should be answerable for his life.47 To this Atahuallpa replied by
renewed assurances of the fact, adding that the deed had been
perpetrated, without his privity, by Huascar's keepers, fearful that he
might take advantage of the troubles of the country to make his escape.
Pizarro, on making further inquiries, found that the report of his death
was but too true. That it should have been brought about by Atahuallpa's
officers, without his express command, would only show, that, by so
doing, they had probably anticipated their master's wishes. The crime,
which assumes in our eyes a deeper dye from the relation of the parties,
had not the same estimation among the Incas, in whose multitudinous
families the bonds of brotherhood must have sat loosely,--much too
loosely to restrain the arm of the despot from sweeping away any
obstacle that lay in his path.

Book 3

Chapter 6

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One prize, however, Hernando obtained by his expedition, which went
far to console him for the loss of his treasure. While at Pachacamac, he
learned that the Indian commander Challcuchima lay with a large force
in the neighborhood of Xauxa, a town of some strength at a considerable
distance among the mountains. This man, who was nearly related to
Atahuallpa, was his most experienced general, and together with
Quizquiz, now at Cuzco, had achieved those victories at the south which
placed the Inca on the throne. From his birth, his talents, and his large
experience, he was accounted second to no subject in the kingdom.
Pizarro was aware of the importance of securing his person. Finding that
the Indian noble declined to meet him on his return, he determined to
march at once on Xauxa and take the chief in his own quarters. Such a
scheme, considering the enormous disparity of numbers, might seem
desperate even for Spaniards. But success had given them such
confidence, that they hardly condescended to calculate chances.

The road across the mountains presented greater difficulties than those
on the former march. To add to the troubles of the cavalry, the shoes of
their horses were used up, and their hoofs suffered severely on the rough
and stony ground. There was no iron at hand, nothing but gold and
silver. In the present emergency they turned even these to account; and
Pizarro caused the horses of the whole troop to be shod with silver The
work was done by the Indian smiths, and it answered so well, that in this
precious material they found a substitute for iron during the remainder of
the march.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He there received the account of Pizarro's march across the mountains,
his seizure of the Inca, and, soon afterwards, of the enormous ransom
offered for his liberation. Almagro and his companions listened with
undisguised amazement to this account of his associate, and of a change
in his fortunes so rapid and wonderful that it seemed little less than
magic. At the same time, he received a caution from some of the
colonists not to trust himself in the power of Pizarro, who was known to
bear him no good-will.

Not long after Almagro's arrival at San Miguel, advices were sent of it to
Caxamalca, and a private note from his secretary Perez informed Pizarro
that his associate had come with no purpose of cooperating with him, but
with the intention to establish an independent government. Both of the
Spanish captains seem to have been surrounded by mean and turbulent
spirits, who sought to embroil them with each other, trusting, doubtless,
to find their own account in the rupture. For once, however, their
malicious machinations failed.

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

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

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

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

Book 3

Chapter 7

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


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

Pizarro was especially moved by the last consideration; and he felt, that,
without the capital, he could not hope to become master of the empire.
Without further delay, the division of the treasure was agreed upon.

Yet, before making this, it was necessary to reduce the whole to ingots of
a uniform standard, for the spoil was composed of an infinite variety of
articles, in which the gold was of very different degrees of purity. These
articles consisted of goblets, ewers, salvers, vases of every shape and
size, ornaments and utensils for the temples and the royal palaces, tiles
and plates for the decoration of the public edifices, curious imitations of
different plants and animals. Among the plants, the most beautiful was
the Indian corn, in which the golden ear was sheathed in its broad leaves
of silver, from which hung a rich tassel of threads of the same precious
metal. A fountain was also much admired, which sent up a sparkling jet
of gold, while birds and animals of the same material played in the
waters at its base. The delicacy of the workmanship of some of these,
and the beauty and ingenuity of the design, attracted the admiration of
better judges than the rude Conquerors of Peru.1

Before breaking up these specimens of Indian art, it was determined to
send a quantity, which should be deducted from the royal fifth, to the
Emperor. It would serve as a sample of the ingenuity of the natives, and
would show him the value of his conquests. A number of the most
beautiful articles was selected, to the amount of a hundred thousand
ducats, and Hernando Pizarro was appointed to be the bearer of them to
Spain. He was to obtain an audience of Charles, and, at the same time
that he laid the treasures before him, he was to give an account of the
proceedings of the Conquerors, and to seek a further augmentation of
their powers and dignities.

No man in the army was better qualified for this mission, by his address
and knowledge of affairs, than Hernando Pizarro; no one would be so
likely to urge his suit with effect at the haughty Castilian court. But
other reasons influenced the selection of him at the present juncture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These charges, most of which had reference to national usages, or to the
personal relations of the Inca, over which the Spanish conquerors had
clearly no jurisdiction, are so absurd, that they might well provoke a
smile, did they not excite a deeper feeling. The last of the charges was
the only one of moment in such a trial; and the weakness of this may be
inferred from the care taken to bolster it up with the others. The mere
specification of the articles must have been sufficient to show that the
doom of the Inca was already sealed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have already spoken of the person and the qualities of Atahuallpa. He
had a handsome countenance, though with an expression somewhat too
fierce to be pleasing. His frame was muscular and well-proportioned; his
air commanding; and his deportment in the Spanish quarters had a
degree of refinement, the more interesting that it was touched with
melancholy. He is accused of having been cruel in his wars, and bloody
in his revenge.33 It may be true, but the pencil of an enemy would be
likely to overcharge the shadows of the portrait. He is allowed to have
been bold, high-minded, and liberal.34 All agree that he showed
singular penetration and quickness of perception. His exploits as a
warrior had placed his valor beyond dispute. The best homage to it is
the reluctance shown by the Spaniards to restore him to freedom. They
dreaded him as an enemy, and they had done him too many wrongs to
think that he could be their friend. Yet his conduct towards them from
the first had been most friendly; and they repaid it with imprisonment,
robbery, and death.

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

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

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

The treatment of Atahuallpa, from first to last, forms undoubtedly one of
the darkest chapters in Spanish colonial history. There may have been
massacres perpetrated on a more extended scale, and executions
accompanied with a greater refinement of cruelty. But the blood-stained
annals of the Conquest afford no such example of cold-hearted and

Book of the day: