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The History Of The Conquest Of Peru by William H. Prescott

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where his master's treasures were deposited. But, although put to
the torture, he would not - or, as is probable, could not - give
information on the subject; and the conspirators, who had a long
arrear of injuries to settle with him, closed their proceedings
by publicly beheading him in the great square of Lima. *3

[Footnote 3: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de
Barrio Nuevo, Ms. - Carta de Fray Vicente Valverde, desde Tumbez,

Valverde, Bishop of Cuzco, as he himself assures us, vainly
interposed in his behalf. It is singular, that, the last time
this fanatical prelate appears on the stage, it should be in the
benevolent character of a supplicant for mercy. *4 Soon
afterwards, he was permitted, with the judge, Velasquez, and some
other adherents of Pizarro, to embark from the port of Lima. We
have a letter from him, dated at Tumbez, in November, 1541;
almost immediately after which he fell into the hands of the
Indians, and with his companions was massacred at Puna. A
violent death not unfrequently closed the stormy career of the
American adventurer. Valverde was a Dominican friar, and, like
Father Olmedo in the suite of Cortes, had been by his commander's
side throughout the whole of his expedition. But he did not
always, like the good Olmedo, use his influence to stay the
uplifted hand of the warrior. At least, this was not the mild
aspect in which he presented himself at the terrible massacre of
Caxamalca. Yet some contemporary accounts represent him, after
he had been installed in his episcopal office, as unwearied in
his labors to convert the natives, and to ameliorate their
condition; and his own correspondence with the government, after
that period, shows great solicitude for these praiseworthy
objects. Trained in the severest school of monastic discipline,
which too often closes the heart against the common charities of
life, he could not, like the benevolent Las Casas, rise so far
above its fanatical tenets as to regard the heathen as his
brother, while in the state of infidelity; and, in the true
spirit of that school, he doubtless conceived that the sanctity
of the end justified the means, however revolting in themselves.
Yet the same man, who thus freely shed the blood of the poor
native to secure the triumph of his faith, would doubtless have
as freely poured out his own in its defence. The character was
no uncommon one in the sixteenth century. *5
[Footnote 4: "Siendo informado que andavan ordenando la muerte a
Antonio Picado secretario del Marques que tenian preso, fui a Don
Diego e a eu Capitan General Joan de Herrada e a todos sus
capitanes, i les puse delante el servicio de Dios i de S. M. i
que bastase en lo fecho por respeto de Dios, humillandome a sus
pies porque no lo matasen: i no basto que luego dende a pocos
dias lo sacaron a la plaza desta cibdad donde le cortaron la
cabeza." Carta de Fray Vicente de Valverde, desde Tumbez, Ms]
[Footnote 5: "Quel Senor obispo Fray Vicente de Balverde como
persona que jamas ha tenido fin ni zelo al servicio de Dios ni de
S. M. ni menos en la conversion de los naturales en los poner e
dotrinar en las cosas de nuestra santa fee catholica, ni menos en
entender en la paz e sosiego destos reynos, sino a sus intereses
propios dando mal ejemplo a todos." (Carta de Almagro a la
Audiencia de Panama, Ms. , 8 de Nov. 1541.) The writer, it must
be remembered was his personal enemy.]

Almagro's followers, having supplied themselves with funds, made
as little scruple to appropriate to their own use such horses and
arms, of every description, as they could find in the city. And
this they did with the less reluctance, as the inhabitants for
the most part testified no good-will to their cause. While thus
employed, Almagro received intelligence that Holguin had left
Cuzco with a force of near three hundred men, with which he was
preparing to effect a junction with Alvarado in the north. It
was important to Almagro's success that he should defeat this
junction. If to procrastinate was the policy of Vaca de Castro,
it was clearly that of Almagro to quicken operations, and to
bring matters to as speedy an issue as possible; to march at once
against Holguin, whom he might expect easily to overcome with his
superior numbers; then to follow up the stroke by the still
easier defeat of Alvarado, when the new governor would be, in a
manner, at his mercy. It would be easy to beat these several
bodies in detail, which, once united, would present formidable
odds. Almagro and his party had already arrayed themselves
against the government by a proceeding too atrocious, and which
struck too directly at the royal authority, for its perpetrators
to flatter themselves with the hopes of pardon. Their only
chance was boldly to follow up the blow, and, by success, to
place themselves in so formidable an attitude as to excite the
apprehensions of government. The dread of its too potent vassal
might extort terms that would never be conceded to his prayers.

But Almagro and his followers shrunk from this open collision
with the Crown. They had taken up rebellion because it lay in
their path, not because they had wished it. They had meant only
to avenge their personal wrongs on Pizarro, and not to defy the
royal authority. When, therefore, some on the more resolute, who
followed things fearlessly to their consequences, proposed to
march at once against Vaca de Castro, and, by striking at the
head, settle the contest by a blow, it was almost universally
rejected; and it was not till after long debate that it was
finally determined to move against Holguin, and cut off his
communication with Alonso de Alvarado.

Scarcely had Almagro commenced his march on Xauxa, where he
proposed to give battle to his enemy, than he met with a severe
misfortune in the death of Juan de Rada. He was a man somewhat
advanced in years; and the late exciting scenes, in which he had
taken the principal part, had been too much for a frame greatly
shattered by a life of extraordinary hardship. He was thrown
into a fever, of which he soon after died. By his death, Almagro
sustained an inestimable loss; for, besides his devoted
attachment to his young leader, he was, by his large experience,
and his cautious though courageous character, better qualified
than any other cavalier in the army to conduct him safely through
the stormy sea on which he had led him to embark.

Among the cavaliers of highest consideration after Rada's death,
the two most aspiring were Christoval de Sotelo, and Garcia de
Alvarado; both possessed of considerable military talent, but the
latter marked by a bold, presumptuous manner, which might remind
one of his illustrious namesake, who achieved much higher renown
under the banner of Cortes. Unhappily, a jealousy grew up between
these two officers; that jealousy, so common among the Spaniards,
that it may seem a national characteristic; an impatience of
equality, founded on a false principle of honor, which has ever
been the fruitful source of faction among them, whether under a
monarchy or a republic.

This was peculiarly unfortunate for Almagro, whose inexperience
led him to lean for support on others, and who, in the present
distracted state of his council, knew scarcely where to turn for
it. In the delay occasioned by these dissensions, his little
army did not reach the valley of Xauxa till after the enemy had
passed it. Almagro followed close, leaving behind his baggage
and artillery that he might move the lighter. But the golden
opportunity was lost. The rivers, swollen by autumnal rains,
impeded his pursuit; and, though his light troops came up with a
few stragglers of the rear-guard, Holguin succeeded in conducting
his forces through the dangerous passes of the mountains, and in
effecting a junction with Alonso de Alvarado, near the northern
seaport of Huaura.
Disappointed in his object, Almagro prepared to march on Cuzco, -
the capital, as he regarded it, of his own jurisdiction, - to get
possession of that city, and there make preparations to meet his
adversary in the field. Sotelo was sent forward with a small
corps in advance. He experienced no opposition from the now
defenceless citizens; the government of the place was again
restored to the hands of the men of Chili, and their young leader
soon appeared at the head of his battalions, and established his
winter-quarters in the Inca capital.

Here, the jealousy of the rival captains broke out into an open
feud. It was ended by the death of Sotelo, treacherously
assassinated in his own apartment by Garcia de Alvarado.
Almagro, greatly outraged by this atrocity, was the more
indignant, as he felt himself too weak to punish the offender.
He smothered his resentment for the present, affecting to treat
the dangerous officer with more distinguished favor. But
Alvarado was not the dupe of this specious behaviour. He felt
that he had forfeited the confidence of his commander. In
revenge, he laid a plot to betray him; and Almagro, driven to the
necessity of self-defence, imitated the example of his officer,
by entering his house with a party of armed men, who, laying
violent hands on the insurgent, slew him on the spot. *6
[Footnote 6: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 10 - 14. - Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap.
Declaracion de Uscategui, Ms. - Carta de Barrio Nuevo, Ms. -
Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 6 lib. 10, cap. 13; dec. 7 lib. 3
cap. 1, 5.]
This irregular proceeding was followed by the best consequences.
The seditious schemes of Alvarado perished with him. The seeds
of insubordination were eradicated, and from that moment Almagro
experienced only implicit obedience and the most loyal support
from his followers. From that hour, too, his own character seemed
to be changed; he relied far less on others than on himself, and
developed resources not to have been anticipated in one of his
years; for he had hardly reached the age of twenty-two. *7 From
this time he displayed an energy and forecast, which proved him,
in despite of his youth, not unequal to the trying emergencies of
the situation in which it was his unhappy lot to be placed.
[Footnote 7: "Hico mas que su edad requeria, porque seria de edad
de veinte i dos anos." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 20.]
He instantly set about providing for the wants of his men, and
strained every nerve to get them in good fighting order for the
approaching campaign. He replenished his treasury with a large
amount of silver which he drew from the mines of La Plata
Saltpetre, obtained in abundance in the neighbourhood of Cuzco,
furnished the material for gunpowder. He caused cannon, some of
large dimensions, to be cast under the superintendence of Pedro
de Candia, the Greek, who, it may be remembered, had first come
into the country with Pizarro, and who, with a number of his
countrymen, - Levantines, as they were called, - was well
acquainted with this manufacture. Under their care, fire-arms
were made, together with cuirasses and helmets, in which silver
was mingled with copper, *8 and of so excellent a quality, that
they might vie, says an old soldier of the time, with those from
the workshops of Milan. *9 Almagro received a seasonable supply,
moreover, from a source scarcely to have been expected. This was
from Manco, the wandering Inca, who, detesting the memory of
Pizarro, transferred to the young Almagro the same friendly
feelings which he had formerly borne to his father; heightened,
it may be, by the consideration that Indian blood flowed in the
veins of the young commander. From this quarter Almagro obtained
a liberal supply of swords, spears, shields, and arms and armour
of every description, chiefly taken by the Inca at the memorable
siege of Cuzco. He also received the gratifying assurance, that
the latter would support him with a detachment of native troops
when he opened the campaign.

[Footnote 8: "Y demas de esto hico armas para la Gente de su
Real, que no las tenia, de pasta de Plata, i Cobre, mezclado, de
que salen mui buenos Coseletes: haviendo corregido, demas de
esto, todas las armas de la Tierra; de manera, que el que menos
Armas tenia entre su Gente, era Cota, i Coracinas, o Coselete, i
Celadas de la mesma Pasta, que los Indios hacen diestramente, por
muestras de las Milan." Zarate, Conq. de Peru, lib. 4, cap. 14.]

[Footnote 9: "Hombres de armas con tan buenas celadas borgonesas
como se hacen en Milan." Carta de Ventura Beltran al Emperador,
Ms desde Vilcas, 8 Octubre, 1542.]

Before making a final appeal to arms, however, Almagro resolved
to try the effect of negotiation with the new governor. In the
spring, or early in the summer, of 1542, he sent an embassy to
the latter, then at Lima, in which he deprecated the necessity of
taking arms against an officer of the Crown. His only desire, he
said, was to vindicate his own rights; to secure the possession
of New Toledo, the province bequeathed to him by his father, and
from which he had been most unjustly excluded by Pizarro. He did
not dispute the governor's authority over New Castile, as the
country was designated which had been assigned to the marquess;
and he concluded by proposing that each party should remain
within his respective territory until the determination of the
Court of Castile could be made known to them. To this
application, couched in respectful terms, Almagro received no

Frustrated in his hopes of a peaceful accommodation, the young
captain now saw that nothing was left but the arbitrament of
arms. Assembling his troops, preparatory to his departure from
the capital, he made them a brief address. He protested that the
step which he and his brave companions were about to take was not
an act of rebellion against the Crown. It was forced on them by
the conduct of the governor himself. The commission of that
officer gave him no authority over the territory of New Toledo,
settled on Almagro's father, and by his father bequeathed to him.
If Vaca de Castro, by exceeding the limits of his authority,
drove him to hostilities, the blood spilt in the quarrel would
lie on the head of that commander, not on his. "In the
assassination of Pizarro," he continued, "we took that justice
into our own hands which elsewhere was denied us. It is the same
now, in our contest with the royal governor. We are as
true-hearted and loyal subjects of the Crown as he is." And he
concluded by invoking his soldiers to stand by him heart and hand
in the approaching contest, in which they were all equally
interested with himself.

The appeal was not made to an insensible audience. There were
few among them who did not feel that their fortunes were
indissolubly connected with those of their commander; and while
they had little to expect from the austere character of the
governor, they were warmly attached to the person of their young
chief, who, with all the popular qualities of his father, excited
additional sympathy from the circumstances of his age and his
forlorn condition. Laying their hands on the cross, placed on an
altar raised for the purpose, the officers and soldiers severally
swore to brave every peril with Almagro, and remain true to him
to the last.

In point of numbers, his forces had not greatly strengthened
since his departure from Lima. He mustered but little more than
five hundred in all; but among them were his father's veterans,
well seasoned by many an Indian campaign. He had about two
hundred horse, many of them clad in complete mail, a circumstance
not too common in these wars, where a stuffed doublet of cotton
was often the only panoply of the warrior. His infantry, formed
of pikemen and arquebusiers, was excellently armed. But his
strength lay in his heavy ordnance, consisting of sixteen pieces,
eight large and eight smaller guns, or falconets, as they were
called, forming, says one who saw it, a beautiful park of
artillery, that would have made a brave show on the citadel of
Burgos. *10 The little army, in short, though not imposing from
its numbers, was under as good discipline, and as well appointed,
as any that ever fought on the fields of Peru; much better than
any which Almagro's own father or Pizarro ever led into the field
and won their conquests with. Putting himself at the head of his
gallant company, the chieftain sallied forth from the walls of
Cuzco about midsummer, in 1542, and directed his march towards
the coast in expectation of meeting the enemy. *11

[Footnote 10: "El artilleria hera suficiente para hazer bateria
en el castillo de Burgos." Dicho del Capitan Francisco de
Carvajal sobre la pregunta 38 de la informacion hecha en el Cuzco
en 1543, a favor de Vaca de Castro, Ms.]

[Footnote 11: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Declaracion
de Uscategui, Ms. - Garcilasso, Com. Real, Real., Parte 2, lib.
2, cap. 13. - Carta del Cabildo de Arequipa al Emperador, San
Joan de la Frontera, Ms., 24 de Sep. 1542 - Herrera, Hist.
General, dez lib. 3, cap. 1, 2.]
While the events detailed in the preceding pages were passing,
Vaca de Castro, whom we left at Quito in the preceding year, was
advancing slowly towards the south. His first act, after leaving
that city, showed his resolution to enter into no compromise with
the assassins of Pizarro. Benalcazar, the distinguished officer
whom I have mentioned as having early given in his adherence to
him, had protected one of the principal conspirators, his
personal friend, who had come into his power, and had facilitated
his escape. The governor, indignant at the proceeding, would
listen to no explanation, but ordered the offending officer to
return to his own district of Popayan. It was a bold step, in
the precarious state of his own fortunes.

As the governor pursued his march, he was well received by the
people on the way; and when he entered the city of San Miguel, he
was welcomed with loyal enthusiasm by the inhabitants, who
readily acknowledged his authority though they showed little
alacrity to take their chance with him in the coming struggle.

After lingering a long time in each of these places, he resumed
his march and reached the camp of Alonso de Alvarado at Huaura,
early in 1542. Holguin had established his quarters at some
little distance from his rival; for a jealousy had sprung up, as
usual, between these two captains, who both aspired to the
supreme command of Captain-General of the army. The office of
governor, conferred on Vaca de Castro, might seem to include that
of commander-in-chief of the forces. But De Castro was a
scholar, bred to the law; and, whatever authority he might
arrogate to himself in civil matters, the two captains imagined
that the military department he would resign into the hands of
others. They little knew the character of the man.

Though possessed of no more military science than belonged to
every cavalier in that martial age, the governor knew that to
avow his ignorance, and to resign the management of affairs into
the hands of others, would greatly impair his authority, if not
bring him into contempt with the turbulent spirits among whom he
was now thrown. He had both sagacity and spirit, and trusted to
be able to supply his own deficiencies by the experience of
others. His position placed the services of the ablest men in
the country at his disposal, and with the aid of their counsels
he felt quite competent to decide on his plan of operations, and
to enforce the execution of it. He knew, moreover, that the only
way to allay the jealousy of the two parties in the present
crisis was to assume himself the office which was the cause of
their dissension.
Still he approached his ambitious officers with great caution;
and the representations, which he made through some judicious
persons who had the most intimate access to them, were so
successful, that both were in a short time prevailed on to
relinquish their pretensions in his favor. Holguin, the more
unreasonable of the two, then waited on him in his rival's
quarters, where the governor had the further satisfaction to
reconcile him to Alonso de Alvarado. It required some address,
as their jealousy of each other had proceeded to such lengths
that a challenge had passed between them.

Harmony being thus restored, the licentiate passed over to
Holguin's camp, where he was greeted with salvoes of artillery,
and loud acclamations of "Viva el Rey" from the loyal soldiery.
Ascending a platform covered with velvet, he made an animated
harangue to the troops; his commission was read aloud by the
secretary; and the little army tendered their obedience to him as
the representative of the Crown.
Vaca de Castro's next step was to send off the greater part of
his force, in the direction of Xauxa, while, at the head of a
small corps, he directed his march towards Lima. Here he was
received with lively demonstrations of joy by the citizens, who
were generally attached to the cause of Pizarro, the founder and
constant patron of their capital. Indeed, the citizens had lost
no time after Almagro's departure in expelling his creatures from
the municipality, and reasserting their allegiance. With these
favorable dispositions towards himself, the governor found no
difficulty in obtaining a considerable loan of money from the
wealthier inhabitants. But he was less successful, at first, in
his application for horses and arms, since the harvest had been
too faithfully gleaned, already, by the men of Chili. As,
however, he prolonged his stay some time in the capital, he
obtained important supplies, before he left it, both of arms and
ammunition, while he added to his force by a considerable body of
recruits. *12

[Footnote 12: Declaracion de Uscategui, Ms. - Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 1,
cap. 1. - Carta de Barrio Nuevo, Ms. - Carta de Benalcazar al
Emperador, Ms.]
As he was thus employed, he received tidings that the enemy had
left Cuzco, and was on his march towards the coast. Quitting Los
Reyes, therefore, with his trusty followers, Vaca de Castro
marched at once to Xauxa, the appointed place of rendezvous.
Here he mustered his forces, and found that they amounted to
about seven hundred men. The cavalry, in which lay his strength,
was superior in numbers to that of his antagonist, but neither so
well mounted or armed. It included many cavaliers of birth, and
well-tried soldiers, besides a number who, having great interests
at stake, as possessed of large estates in the country, had left
them at the call of government, to enlist under its banners. *13
His infantry, besides pikes, was indifferently well supplied with
fire-arms; but he had nothing to show in the way of artillery
except three or four ill-mounted falconets. Yet, notwithstanding
these deficiencies, the royal army, if so insignificant a force
can deserve that name, was so far superior in numbers to that of
his rival, that the one might be thought, on the whole, to be no
unequal match for the other. *14

[Footnote 13: The Municipality of Arequipa, most of whose members
were present in the army, stoutly urge their claims to a
compensation for thus promptly leaving their estates, and taking
up arms at the call of government. Without such reward, they
say, their patriotic example will not often be followed. The
document, which is important for its historical details, may be
found in the Castilian, in Appendix, No. 13.]
[Footnote 14: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 15. - Carta de Barrio Nuevo, Ms

Chapter VI

Carbajal notices the politic manner in which his commander bribed
recruits into his service, - paying them with promises and fair
words when ready money failed him. "Dando a unos dineros, e a
otros armas i caballos, i a otros palabras, i a otros promesas, i
a otros graziosas respuestas de lo que con el negoziaban para
tenerlos a todos muy conttentos i presttos en el servicio de S.
M. quando fuese menestter." Dicho del Capitan Francisco de
Carbajal sobre la informacion hecha en el Cuzco en 1543, favor de
Vaca de Castro, Ms.]

The reader, familiar with the large masses employed in European
warfare, may smile at the paltry forces of the Spaniards. But in
the New World, where a countless host of natives went for little,
five hundred well-trained Europeans were regarded as a formidable
body. No army, up to the period before us, had ever risen to a
thousand. Yet it is not numbers, as I have already been led to
remark, that give importance to a conflict; but the consequences
that depend on it, - the magnitude of the stake, and the skill
and courage of the players. The more limited the means, even,
the greater may be the science shown in the use of them; until,
forgetting the poverty of the materials, we fix our attention on
the conduct of the actors, and the greatness of the results.
While at Xauxa, Vaca de Castro received an embassy from Gonzalo
Pizarro, returned from his expedition from the "Land of
Cinnamon," in which that chief made an offer of his services in
the approaching contest. The governor's answer showed that he was
not wholly averse to an accommodation with Almagro, provided it
could be effected without compromising the royal authority. He
was willing, perhaps, to avoid the final trial by battle, when he
considered, that, from the equality of the contending forces, the
issue must be extremely doubtful. He knew that the presence of
Pizarro in the camp, the detested enemy of the Almagrians, would
excite distrust in their bosoms that would probably baffle every
effort at accommodation. Nor is it likely that the governor
cared to have so restless a spirit introduced into his own
councils. He accordingly sent to Gonzalo, thanking him for the
promptness of his support, but courteously declined it, while he
advised him to remain in his province, and repose after the
fatigues of his wearisome expedition. At the same time, he
assured him that he would not fail to call for his services when
occasion required it. - The haughty cavalier was greatly
disgusted by the repulse. *15

[Footnote 15: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 15.]

The governor now received such an account of Almagro's movements
as led him to suppose that he was preparing to occupy Guamanga, a
fortified place of considerable strength, about thirty leagues
from Xauxa. *16 Anxious to secure this post, he broke up his
encampment, and by forced marches, conducted in so irregular a
manner as must have placed him in great danger if his enemy had
been near to profit by it, he succeeded in anticipating Almagro,
and threw himself into the place while his antagonist was at
Bilcas, some ten leagues distant.

[Footnote 16: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 85.]

At Guamanga, Vaca de Castro received another embassy from
Almagro, of similar import with the former. The young chief
again deprecated the existence of hostilities between brethren of
the same family, and proposed an accommodation of the quarrel on
the same basis as before. To these proposals the governor now
condescended to reply. It might be thought, from his answer,
that he felt some compassion for the youth and inexperience of
Almagro, and that he was willing to distinguish between him and
the principal conspirators, provided he could detach him from
their interests. But it is more probable that he intended only
to amuse his enemy by a show of negotiation, while he gained time
for tampering with the fidelity of his troops.

He insisted that Almagro should deliver up to him all those
immediately implicated in the death of Pizarro, and should then
disband his forces. On these conditions the government would
pass over his treasonable practices, and he should be reinstated
in the royal favor. Together with this mission, Vaca de Castro,
it is reported, sent a Spaniard, disguised as an Indian, who was
instructed to communicate with certain officers in Almagro's
camp, and prevail on them, if possible, to abandon his cause and
return to their allegiance. Unfortunately, the disguise of the
emissary was detected. He was seized, put to the torture, and,
having confessed the whole of the transaction, was hanged as a
Almagro laid the proceeding before his captains. The terms
proffered by the governor were such as no man with a particle of
honor in his nature could entertain for a moment; and Almagro's
indignation, as well as that of his companions, was heightened by
the duplicity of their enemy, who could practise such insidious
arts, while ostensibly engaged in a fair and open negotiation.
Fearful, perhaps, lest the tempting offers of their antagonist
might yet prevail over the constancy of some of the weaker
spirits among them, they demanded that all negotiation should be
broken off, and that they should be led at once against the
enemy. *17
[Footnote 17: Dicho del Capitan Francisco de Carbajal sobre la
informacion hecha en el Cuzco en 1543, a favor de Vaca de Castro,
Ms. - Zarate, Conq del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 16. - Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 7, lib. 3, cap. 8. - Carta de Ventura Beltran, Ms.
- Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 149]
The governor, meanwhile, finding the broken country around
Guamanga unfavorable for his cavalry, on which he mainly relied,
drew off his forces to the neighbouring lowlands, known as the
Plains of Chupas. It was the tempestuous season of the year, and
for several days the storm raged wildly among the hills, and,
sweeping along their sides into the valley, poured down rain,
sleet, and snow on the miserable bivouacs of the soldiers, till
they were drenched to the skin and nearly stiffened by the cold.
*18 At length, on the sixteenth of September, 1542, the scouts
brought in tidings that Almagro's troops were advancing, with the
intention, apparently, of occupying the highlands around Chupas.
The war of the elements had at last subsided, and was succeeded
by one of those brilliant days which are found only in the
tropics. The royal camp was early in motion, as Vaca de Castro,
desirous to secure the heights that commanded the valley,
detached a body of arquebusiers on that service, supported by a
corps of cavalry, which he soon followed with the rest of the
forces. On reaching the eminence, news was brought that the
enemy had come to a halt, and established himself in a strong
position at less than a league's distance.

[Footnote 18: "Tuvieron tan gran tempestad de agua, Truenos, i
Nieve, que pensaron perecer; i amaneciendo con dia claro, i
sereno" Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 3, cap. 8.]

It was now late in the afternoon, and the sun was not more than
two hours above the horizon. The governor hesitated to begin the
action when they must so soon be overtaken by night. But Alonso
de Alvarado assured him that "now was the time, for the spirits
of his men were hot for fight, and it was better to take the
benefit of it than to damp their ardor by delay." The governor
acquiesced, exclaiming at the same time, - "O for the might of
Joshua, to stay the sun in his course!" *19 He then drew up his
little army in order of battle, and made his dispositions for the
[Footnote 19: "Yasi Vaca de Castro signio su parescer, temiendo
toda via la falta del Dia, i dijo, que quisiera tener el poder de
Josue, para detener el Sol." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap.
In the centre he placed his infantry, consisting of arquebusiers
and pikemen, constituting the battle, as it was called. On the
flanks, he established his cavalry, placing the right wing,
together with the royal standard, under charge of Alonso de
Alvarado, and the left under Holguin, supported by a gallant body
of cavaliers. His artillery, too insignificant to be of much
account, was also in the centre. He proposed himself to lead the
van, and to break the first lance with the enemy; but from this
chivalrous display he was dissuaded by his officers, who reminded
him that too much depended on his life to have it thus wantonly
exposed. The governor contented himself, therefore, with heading
a body of reserve, consisting of forty horse, to act on any
quarter as occasion might require. This corps, comprising the
flower of his chivalry, was chiefly drawn from Alvarado's troop,
greatly to the discontent of that captain. The governor himself
rode a coal-black charger, and wore a rich surcoat of brocade
over his mail, through which the habit and emblems of the
knightly order of St. James, conferred on him just before his
departure from Castile, were conspicuous. *20 It was a point of
honor with the chivalry of the period to court danger by
displaying their rank in the splendor of their military attire
and the caparisons of their horses.
[Footnote 20: "I visto esto por el dicho senor Governador, mando
dar al arma a mui gran priesa, i mando a este testigo que sacase
toda la gente al campo, i el se entro en su tienda a se armar, i
dende a poco salio della encima de un cavallo morcillo rabicano
armado en blanco i con una ropa de brocado encima de las armas
con el abito de Santiago en los pechos." Dicho del Capitan
Francisco de Carbajal sobre la informacion hecha en e Cuzco en
1543, a favor de Vaca de Castro, Ms.]

Before commencing the assault, Vaca de Castro addressed a few
remarks to his soldiers, in order to remove any hesitation that
some might yet feel, who recollected the displeasure shown by the
emperor to the victors as well as the vanquished after the battle
of Salinas. He told them that their enemies were rebels. They
were in arms against him, the representative of the Crown, and it
was his duty to quell this rebellion and punish the authors of
it. He then caused the law to be read aloud, proclaiming the
doom of traitors. By this law, Almagro and his followers had
forfeited their lives and property, and the governor promised to
distribute the latter among such of his men as showed the best
claim to it by their conduct in the battle. This last politic
promise vanquished the scruples of the most fastidious; and,
having completed his dispositions in the most judicious and
soldier-like manner, Vaca de Castro gave the order to advance.

[Footnote 21: The governor's words, says Carbajal, who witnessed
their effect, stirred the heart of the troops, so that they went
to the battle as to a ball. "En pocas palabras comprehendio tan
grandes cosas que la gente de S. M. covro tan grande animo con
ellas, que tan determinadamente se partieron de alli para ir a
los enemigos como si fueron a fiestas donde estuvieran
convidados." Dicho del Capitan Francisco de Carbajal, sobre la
informacion hecha en el Cuzco en 1543, a favor de Vaca de Castro,
As the forces turned a spur of the hills which had hitherto
screened them from their enemies, they came in sight of the
latter, formed along the crest of a gentle eminence, with their
snow-white banners, the distinguishing color of the Almagrians,
floating above their heads, and their bright arms flinging back
the broad rays of the evening sun. Almagro's disposition of his
troops was not unlike that of his adversary. In the centre was
his excellent artillery, covered by his arquebusiers and
spearmen; while his cavalry rode on the flanks. The troops on
the left he proposed to lead in person. He had chosen his
position with judgment, as the character of the ground gave full
play to his guns, which opened an effective fire on the
assailants as they drew near. Shaken by the storm of shot, Vaca
de Castro saw the difficulty of advancing in open view of the
hostile battery. He took the counsel, therefore, of Francisco de
Carbajal, who undertook to lead the forces by a circuitous, but
safer, route. This is the first occasion on which the name of
this veteran appears in these American wars, where it was
afterwards to acquire a melancholy notoriety. He had come to the
country after the campaigns of forty years in Europe, where he
had studied the art of war under the Great Captain, Gonsalvo de
Cordova. Though now far advanced in age, he possessed all the
courage and indomitable energy of youth, and well exemplified the
lessons he had studied under his great commander.
Taking advantage of a winding route that sloped round the
declivity of the hills, he conducted the troops in such a manner,
that, until they approached quite near the enemy, they were
protected by the intervening ground. While thus advancing, they
were assailed on the left flank by the Indian battalions under
Paullo, the Inca Manco's brother; but a corps of musketeers,
directing a scattering fire among them, soon rid the Spaniards of
this annoyance. When, at length, the royal troops, rising above
the hill, again came into view of Almagro's lines, the artillery
opened on them with fatal effect. It was but for a moment,
however, as, from some unaccountable cause, the guns were pointed
at such an angle, that, although presenting an obvious mark, by
far the greater part of the shot passed over their heads.
Whether this was the result of treachery, or merely of
awkwardness, is uncertain. The artillery was under charge of the
engineer, Pedro de Candia. This man, who, it may be remembered,
was one of the thirteen that so gallantly stood by Pizarro in the
island of Gallo, had fought side by side with his leader through
the whole of the Conquest. He had lately, however, conceived
some disgust with him, and had taken part with the faction of
Almagro. The death of his old commander, he may perhaps have
thought, had settled all their differences, and he was now
willing to return to his former allegiance. At least, it is
said, that, at this very time, he was in correspondence with Vaca
de Castro. Almagro himself seems to have had no doubt of his
treachery. For, after remonstrating in vain with him on his
present conduct, he ran him through the body, and the unfortunate
cavalier fell lifeless on the field. Then, throwing himself on
one of the guns, Almagro gave it a new direction, and that so
successfully, that, when it was discharged, it struck down
several of the cavalry. *22

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 17-19. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. -
Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 3, cap. 11. - Dicho del
Capitan Francisco de Carbajal sobre la informacion hecha en el
Cuzco en 1543, a favor de Vaca de Castro, Ms. - Carta del Cabildo
de Arequipa al Emperador, Ms. - Carta de Ventura Beltran, Ms. -
Declaracion de Uscategui, Ms. - Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap.

According to Garcilasso, whose guns usually do more execution
than those of any other authority, seventeen men were killed by
this wonderful shot. See Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 16.]
The firing now took better effect, and by one volley a whole file
of the royal infantry was swept off, and though others quickly
stepped in to fill up the ranks, the men, impatient of their
sufferings, loudly called on the troopers, who had halted for a
moment, to quicken their advance. *23 This delay had been caused
by Carbajal's desire to bring his own guns to bear on the
opposite columns. But the design was quickly abandoned; the
clumsy ordnance was left on the field, and orders were given to
the cavalry to charge; the trumpets sounded, and, crying their
war-cries, the bold cavaliers struck their spurs into their
steeds, and rode at full speed against the enemy.

[Footnote 23: The officers drove the men according to Zarate, at
the point of their swords, to take the places of their fallen
comrades. "Porque vn tiro llevo toda vna hilera, e hico abrir el
Escuadron, i los Capitanes pusieron gran diligencia en hacerlo
cerrar, amenacando de muerte a los Soldados, con las Espadas
desenvainadas, i se cerro." Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 1.]

Well had it been for Almagro, if he had remained firm on the post
which gave him such advantage. But from a false point of honor,
he thought it derogatory to a brave knight passively to await the
assault, and, ordering his own men to charge, the hostile
squadrons, rapidly advancing against each other, met midway on
the plain. The shock was terrible. Horse and rider reeled under
the force of it. The spears flew into shivers; *24 and the
cavaliers, drawing their swords, or wielding their maces and
battle-axes, - though some of the royal troopers were armed only
with a common axe, - dealt their blows with all the fury of civil
hate. It was a fearful struggle, not merely of man against man,
but, to use the words of an eyewitness, of brother against
brother, and friend against friend. *25 No quarter was asked; for
the wrench that had been strong enough to tear asunder the
dearest ties of kindred left no hold for humanity. The excellent
arms of the Almagrians counterbalanced the odds of numbers; but
the royal partisans gained some advantage by striking at the
horses instead of the mailed bodies of their antagonists.
[Footnote 24: "Se encontraron de suerte, que casi todas las
lancas quebraron, quedando muchos muertos, i caidos de ambas
partes." (Ibid., ubi supra.) Zarate writes on this occasion with
the spirit and strength of Thucydides. He was not present, but
came into the country the following year, when he gleaned the
particulars of the battle from the best informed persons there,
to whom his position gave him ready access.]
[Footnote 25: It is the language of the Conquerors themselves,
who, in their letter to the Emperor, compare the action to the
great battle of Ravenna. "Fue tan renida i porfiada, que despues
de la de Rebena, no se ha visto entre tan poca gente mas cruel
batalla, donde hermanos a hermanos, ni deudos a deudos, ni amigos
a amigos no se davan vida uno a otro." Carta de Cabildo de
Arequipa al Emperador. Ms.]

The infantry, meanwhile, on both sides, kept up a sharp
cross-fire from their arquebuses, which did execution on the
ranks of the cavaliers, as well as on one another. But Almagro's
battery of heavy guns, now well directed, mowed down the
advancing columns of foot. The latter, staggering, began to fall
back from the terrible fire, when Francisco de Carbajal, throwing
himself before them, cried out, "Shame on you, my men! Do you
give way now? I am twice as good a mark for the enemy as any of
you!" He was a very large man; and, throwing off his steel helmet
and cuirass, that he might have no advantage over his followers,
he remained lightly attired in his cotton doublet, when, swinging
his partisan over his head, he sprang boldly forward through
blinding volumes of smoke and a tempest of musket-balls, and,
supported by the bravest of his troops, overpowered the gunners,
and made himself master of their pieces.

The shades of night had now, for some time, been coming thicker
and thicker over the field. But still the deadly struggle went
on in the darkness, as the red and white badges intimated the
respective parties, and their war-cries rose above the din, -
"Vaca de Castro y el Rey," - "Almagro y el Rey," - while both
invoked the aid of their military apostle St. James. Holguin,
who commanded the royalists on the left, pierced through by two
musket-balls, had been slain early in the action. He had made
himself conspicuous by a rich sobrevest of white velvet over his
armour. Still a gallant band of cavaliers maintained the fight
so valiantly on that quarter, that the Almagrians found it
difficult to keep their ground. *26

[Footnote 26: The battle was so equally contested, says Beltran,
one of Vaca de Castro's captains, that it was long doubtful on
which side victory was to incline. "I la batalla estuvo mui gran
rato en peso sin conoscerse vitoria de la una parte a la otra."
Carta de Ventura Beltran, Ms.]
It fared differently on the right, where Alonso de Alvarado
commanded. He was there encountered by Almagro in person, who
fought worthy of his name. By repeated charges on his opponent,
he endeavoured to bear down his squadrons, so much worse mounted
and worse armed than his own. Alvarado resisted with
undiminished courage; but his numbers had been thinned, as we
have seen, before the battle, to supply the governor's reserve,
and, fairly overpowered by the superior strength of his
adversary, who had already won two of the royal banners, he was
slowly giving ground. "Take, but kill not!" shouted the generous
young chief, who felt himself sure of victory. *27

[Footnote 27: "Gritaba, Victoria; i decia, Prender i no matar."
Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 3, cap. 11.]

But at this crisis, Vaca de Castro, who, with his reserve, had
occupied a rising ground that commanded the field of action, was
fully aware that the time had now come for him to take part in
the struggle. He had long strained his eyes through the gloom to
watch the movements of the combatants, and received constant
tidings how the fight was going. He no longer hesitated, but,
calling on his men to follow, led off boldly into the thickest of
the melee to the support of his stouthearted officer. The
arrival of a new corps on the field, all fresh for action, gave
another turn to the tide. *28 Alvarado's men took heart and
rallied. Almagro's, though driven back by the fury of the
assault, quickly returned against their assailants. Thirteen of
Vaca de Castro's cavaliers fell dead from their saddles. But it
was the last effort of the Almagrians. Their strength, though
not their spirit, failed them. They gave way in all directions,
and, mingling together in the darkness, horse, foot, and
artillery, they trampled one another down, as they made the best
of their way from the press of their pursuers. Almagro used
every effort to stay them. He performed miracles of valor, says
one who witnessed them; but he was borne along by the tide, and,
though he seemed to court death, by the freedom with which he
exposed his person to danger yet he escaped without a wound.

[Footnote 28: The letter of the municipality of Arequipa gives
the governor credit for deciding the fate of the day by this
movement, and the writers express their "admiration of the
gallantry and courage he displayed, so little to have been
expected from his age and profession." See the original in
Appendix, No. 13.]

Others there were of his company, and among them a young cavalier
named Geronimo de Alvarado, who obstinately refused to quit the
field; and shouting out, - "We slew Pizarro! we killed the
tyrant!" they threw themselves on the lances of their conquerors,
preferring death on the battle-field to the ignominious doom of
the gibbet. *29

[Footnote 29: "Se arrojaron en los Enemigos, como desesperados,
hiriendo a todas partes, diciendo cada vno por su nombre: Yo soi
Fulano, que mate al Marques; i asi anduvieron hasta, que los
hicieron pedacos.' Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 19.]

It was nine o'clock when the battle ceased, though the firing was
heard at intervals over the field at a much later hour, as some
straggling party of fugitives were overtaken by their pursuers.
Yet many succeeded in escaping in the obscurity of night, while
some, it is said, contrived to elude pursuit in a more singular
way; tearing off the badges from the corpses of their enemies,
they assumed them for themselves, and, mingling in the ranks as
followers of Vaca de Castro, joined in the pursuit.
That commander, at length, fearing some untoward accident, and
that the fugitives, should they rally again under cover of the
darkness, might inflict some loss on their pursuers, caused his
trumpets to sound, and recalled his scattered forces under their
banners. All night they remained under arms on the field, which,
so lately the scene of noisy strife, was now hushed in silence,
broken only by the groans of the wounded and the dying. The
natives, who had hung, during the fight, like a dark cloud, round
the skirts of the mountains, contemplating with gloomy
satisfaction the destruction of their enemies, now availed
themselves of the obscurity to descend, like a pack of famished
wolves, upon the plains, where they stripped the bodies of the
slain, and even of the living, but disabled wretches, who had in
vain dragged themselves into the bushes for concealment. The
following morning, Vaca de Castro gave orders that the wounded -
those who had not perished in the cold damps of the night -
should be committed to the care of the surgeons, while the
priests were occupied with administering confession and
absolution to the dying. Four large graves or pits were dug, in
which the bodies of the slain - the conquerors and the conquered
- were heaped indiscriminately together. But the remains of
Alvarez de Holguin and several other cavaliers of distinction
were transported to Guamanga, where they were buried with the
solemnities suited to their rank; and the tattered banners won
from their vanquished countrymen waved over their monuments, the
melancholy trophies of their victory.

The number of killed is variously reported, - from three hundred
to five hundred on both sides. *30 The mortality was greatest
among the conquerors, who suffered more from the cannon of the
enemy before the action, than the latter suffered in the rout
that followed it. The number of wounded was still greater; and
full half of the survivors of Almagro's party were made
prisoners. Many, indeed, escaped from the field to the
neighbouring town of Guamanga, where they took refuge in the
churches and monasteries. But their asylum was not respected,
and they were dragged forth and thrown into prison. Their brave
young commander fled with a few followers only to Cuzco, where he
was instantly arrested by the magistrates whom he had himself
placed over the city. *31

[Footnote 30: Zarate estimates the number at three hundred.
Uscategui, who belonged to the Almagrian party, and Garcilasso,
both rate it as high as five hundred.]

[Footnote 31: The particulars of the action are gathered from
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Ventura Beltran,
Ms. - Zarate, Zarate Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 17-20. -
Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Dicho del Capitan Francisco de
Carbajal sobre la informacion hecha en el Cuzco en 1543 a favor
de Vaca de Castro, Ms. - Carta del Cabildo de Arequipa al
Emperador, Ms. - Carta de Barrio Nuevo, Ms. - Gomara, Hist. de
las Ind., cap. 149. - Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 3,
cap. 15-18. - Declaracion de Uscategui, Ms.

Many of these authorities were personally present on the field;
and it is rare that the details of a battle are drawn from more
authentic testimony. The student of history will not be
surprised that in these details there should be the greatest

At Guamanga, Vaca de Castro appointed a commission, with the
Licentiate de la Gama at its head, for the trial of the
prisoners; and justice was not satisfied, till forty had been
condemned to death, and thirty others - some of them with the
loss of one or more of their members - sent into banishment. *32
Such severe reprisals have been too common with the Spaniards in
their civil feuds. Strange that they should so blindly plunge
into these, with this dreadful doom for the vanquished!
[Footnote 32: Declaracion de Uscategui, Ms. - Carta de Ventura
Beltran, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 21.

The loyal burghers of Arequipa seem to have been well contented
with these executions. "If night had not overtaken us," they
say, alluding to the action, in their letter to the emperor,
"your Majesty would have had no reason to complain; but what was
omitted then is made up now, since the governor goes on
quartering every day some one or other of the traitors who
escaped from the field." See the original in Appendix, No. 13.]
From the scene of this bloody tragedy, the governor proceeded to
Cuzco, which he entered at the head of his victorious battalions,
with all the pomp and military display of a conqueror. He
maintained a corresponding state in his way of living, at the
expense of a sneer from some, who sarcastically contrasted this
ostentatious profusion with the economical reforms he
subsequently introduced into the finances. *33 But Vaca de Castro
was sensible of the effect of this outward show on the people
generally, and disdained no means of giving authority to his
office. His first act was to determine the fate of his prisoner,
Almagro. A council of war was held. Some were for sparing the
unfortunate chief, in consideration of his youth, and the strong
cause of provocation he had received. But the majority were of
opinion that such mercy could not be extended to the leader of
the rebels, and that his death was indispensable to the permanent
tranquillity of the country.

[Footnote 33: Herrera, Hist. General, dec 7, lib. 4, cap. 1.]
When led to execution in the great square of Cuzco, - the same
spot where his father had suffered but a few years before, -
Almagro exhibited the most perfect composure, though, as the
herald proclaimed aloud the doom of the traitor, he indignantly
denied that he was one. He made no appeal for mercy to his
judges, but simply requested that his bones might be laid by the
side of his father's. He objected to having his eyes bandaged,
as was customary on such occasions, and, after confession, he
devoutly embraced the cross, and submitted his neck to the stroke
of the executioner. His remains, agreeably to his request, were
transported to the monastery of La Merced, where they were
deposited side by side with those of his unfortunate parent. *34

[Footnote 34: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate,
Conq. del Peru, lib. 4, cap. 21. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.
- Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 6, cap. 1.]

There have been few names, indeed, in the page of history, more
unfortunate than that of Almagro. Yet the fate of the son
excites a deeper sympathy than that of the father; and this, not
merely on account of his youth, and the peculiar circumstances of
his situation. He possessed many of the good qualities of the
elder Almagro, with a frank and manly nature, in which the
bearing of the soldier was somewhat softened by the refinement of
a better education than is to be found in the license of a camp.
His career, though short, gave promise of considerable talent,
which required only a fair field for its development. But he was
the child of misfortune, and his morning of life was overcast by
clouds and tempests. If his character, naturally benignant,
sometimes showed the fiery sparkles of the vindictive Indian
temper, some apology may be found, not merely in his blood, but
in the circumstances of his situation. He was more sinned
against than sinning; and, if conspiracy could ever find a
justification, it must be in a case like his, where, borne down
by injuries heaped on his parent and himself, he could obtain no
redress from the only quarter whence he had a right to look for
it. With him, the name of Almagro became extinct, and the faction
of Chili, so long the terror of the land, passed away for ever.

While these events were occurring in Cuzco, the governor learned
that Gonzalo Pizarro had arrived at Lima, where he showed himself
greatly discontented with the state of things in Peru. He loudly
complained that the government of the country, after his
brother's death, had not been placed in his hands; and, as
reported by some, he was now meditating schemes for getting
possession of it. Vaca de Castro well knew that there would be
no lack of evil counsellors to urge Gonzalo to this desperate
step; and, anxious to extinguish the spark of insurrection before
it had been fanned by these turbulent spirits into a flame, he
detached a strong body to Lima to secure that capital. At the
same time he commanded the presence of Gonzalo Pizarro in Cuzco.

That chief did not think it prudent to disregard the summons; and
shortly after entered the Inca capital, at the head of a
well-armed body of cavaliers. He was at once admitted into the
governor's presence, when the latter dismissed his guard,
remarking that he had nothing to fear from a brave and loyal
knight like Pizarro. He then questioned him as to his late
adventures in Canelas, and showed great sympathy for his
extraordinary sufferings. He took care not to alarm his jealousy
by any allusion to his ambitious schemes, and concluded by
recommending him, now that the tranquillity of the country was
reestablished, to retire and seek the repose he so much needed,
on his valuable estates at Charcas. Gonzalo Pizarro, finding no
ground opened for a quarrel with the cool and politic governor,
and probably feeling that he was, at least not now, in sufficient
strength to warrant it, thought it prudent to take the advice,
and withdrew to La Plata, where he busied himself in working
those rich mines of silver that soon put him in condition for a
more momentous enterprise than any he had yet attempted. *35

[Footnote 35: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 4, cap. 1; lib. 6, cap 3. - Zarate,
Conq. del Peru lib. 1, cap. 22.]

Thus rid of his formidable competitor, Vaca de Castro occupied
himself with measures for the settlement of the country. He
began with his army, a part of which he had disbanded. But many
cavaliers still remained, pressing their demands for a suitable
recompense for their services. These they were not disposed to
undervalue, and the governor was happy to rid himself of their
importunities by employing them on distant expeditions, among
which was the exploration of the country watered by the great Rio
de la Plata. The boiling spirits of the high-mettled cavaliers,
without some such vent, would soon have thrown the whole country
again into a state of fermentation.

His next concern was to provide laws for the better government of
the colony. He gave especial care to the state of the Indian
population; and established schools for teaching them
Christianity. By various provisions, he endeavoured to secure
them from the exactions of their conquerors, and he encouraged
the poor natives to transfer their own residence to the
communities of the white men. He commanded the caciques to
provide supplies for the tambos, or houses for the accommodation
of travellers, which lay in their neighbourhood, by which
regulation he took away from the Spaniards a plausible apology
for rapine, and greatly promoted facility of intercourse. He was
watchful over the finances, much dilapidated in the late
troubles, and in several instances retrenched what he deemed
excessive repartimientos among the Conquerors. This last act
exposed him to much odium from the objects of it. But his
measures were so just and impartial, that he was supported by
public opinion. *36
[Footnote 36: Ibid., ubi supra. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7,
lib. 6, cap. 2.]

Indeed, Vaca de Castro's conduct, from the hour of his arrival in
the country, had been such as to command respect, and prove him
competent to the difficult post for which he had been selected.
Without funds, without troops, he had found the country, on his
landing, in a state of anarchy; yet, by courage and address, he
had gradually acquired sufficient strength to quell the
insurrection. Though no soldier, he had shown undaunted spirit
and presence of mind in the hour of action, and made his military
preparations with a forecast and discretion that excited the
admiration of the most experienced veterans.

If he may be thought to have abused the advantages of victory by
cruelty towards the conquered, it must be allowed that he was not
influenced by any motives of a personal nature. He was a lawyer,
bred in high notions of royal prerogative. Rebellion he looked
upon as an unpardonable crime; and, if his austere nature was
unrelenting in the exaction of justice, he lived in an iron age,
when justice was rarely tempered by mercy.

In his subsequent regulations for the settlement of the country,
he showed equal impartiality and wisdom. The colonists were
deeply sensible of the benefits of his administration, and
afforded the best commentary on his services by petitioning the
Court of Castile to continue him in the government of Peru. *37
Unfortunately, such was not the policy of the Crown.

[Footnote 37: "I asi lo escrivieron al Rei la Ciudad del Cuzco,
la Villa de la Plata, i otras Comunidades, suplicandole, que los
dexase por Governador a Vaca de Castro, como Persona, que
procedia con rectitud, i que ia entendia el Govierno de aquellos
Reinos." Herrera, Ibid., loc. cit.]

Chapter VII

Abuses By The Conquerors. - Code For The Colonies. - Great
Excitement In Peru. - Blasco Nunez The Viceroy. - His Severe
Policy. - Opposed By Gonzalo Pizarro.

Before continuing the narrative of events in Peru, we must turn
to the mother-country, where important changes were in progress
in respect to the administration of the colonies.

Since his accession to the Crown, Charles the Fifth had been
chiefly engrossed by the politics of Europe, where a theatre was
opened more stimulating to his ambition than could be found in a
struggle with the barbarian princes of the New World. In this
quarter, therefore, an empire almost unheeded, as it were, had
been suffered to grow up, until it had expanded into dimensions
greater than those of his European dominions, and destined soon
to become far more opulent. A scheme of government had, it is
true, been devised, and laws enacted from time to time for the
regulation of the colonies. But these laws were often
accommodated less to the interests of the colonies themselves,
than to those of the parent country; and, when contrived in a
better spirit, they were but imperfectly executed; for the voice
of authority, however loudly proclaimed at home, too often died
away in feeble echoes before it had crossed the waters.
This state of things, and, indeed, the manner in which the
Spanish territories in the New World had been originally
acquired, were most unfortunate both for the conquered races and
their masters. Had the provinces gained by the Spaniards been
the fruit of peaceful acquisition, - of barter and negotiation, -
or had their conquest been achieved under the immediate direction
of government, the interests of the natives would have been more
carefully protected. From the superior civilization of the
Indians in the Spanish American colonies, they still continued
after the Conquest to remain on the ground, and to mingle in the
same communities, with the white men; in this forming an obvious
contrast to the condition of our own aborigines, who, shrinking
from the contact of civilization, have withdrawn, as the latter
has advanced, deeper and deeper into the heart of the wilderness.
But the South American Indian was qualified by his previous
institutions for a more refined legislation than could be adapted
to the wild hunters of the forest; and, had the sovereign been
there in person to superintend his conquests, he could never have
suffered so large a portion of his vassals to be wantonly
sacrificed to the cupidity and cruelty of the handful of
adventurers who subdued them.
But, as it was, the affair of reducing the country was committed
to the hands of irresponsible individuals, soldiers of fortune,
desperate adventurers, who entered on conquest as a game, which
they were to play in the most unscrupulous manner, with little
care but to win it. Receiving small encouragement from the
government, they were indebted to their own valor for success;
and the right of conquest, they conceived, extinguished every
existing right in the unfortunate natives. The lands, the
persons, of the conquered races were parcelled out and
appropriated by the victors as the legitimate spoils of victory;
and outrages were perpetrated every day, at the contemplation of
which humanity shudders.

These outrages, though nowhere perpetrated on so terrific a scale
as in the islands, where, in a few years, they had nearly
annihilated the native population, were yet of sufficient
magnitude in Peru to call down the vengeance of Heaven on the
heads of their authors; and the Indian might feel that this
vengeance was not long delayed, when he beheld his oppressors,
wrangling over their miserable spoil, and turning their swords
against each other. Peru, as already mentioned, was subdued by
adventurers, for the most part, of a lower and more ferocious
stamp than those who followed the banner of Cortes. The
character of the followers partook, in some measure, of that of
the leaders in their respective enterprises. It was a sad
fatality for the Incas; for the reckless soldiers of Pizarro were
better suited to contend with the fierce Aztec than with the more
refined and effeminate Peruvian. Intoxicated by the unaccustomed
possession of power, and without the least notion of the
responsibilities which attached to their situation as masters of
the land, they too often abandoned themselves to the indulgence
of every whim which cruelty or caprice could dictate. Not
unfrequently, says an unsuspicious witness, I have seen the
Spaniards, long after the Conquest, amuse themselves by hunting
down the natives with bloodhounds for mere sport, or in order to
train their dogs to the game! *1 The most unbounded scope was
given to licentiousness. The young maiden was torn without
remorse from the arms of her family to gratify the passion of her
brutal conqueror. *2 The sacred houses of the Virgins of the Sun
were broken open and violated, and the cavalier swelled his harem
with a troop of Indian girls, making it seem that the Crescent
would have been a much more fitting symbol for his banner than
the immaculate Cross. *3

[Footnote 1: "Espanoles hai que crian perros carniceros i los
avezan a matar Indios, lo qual procuran a las veces por
pasatiempo, i ver si lo hacen bien los perros." Relacion que dio
el Provisor Morales sobre las cosas que convenian provarse en el
Peru, Ms.]

[Footnote 2: "Que los Justicias dan cedulas de Anaconas que por
otros terminos los hacen esclavos e vivir contra su voluntad,
diciendo: Por la presente damos licencia a vos Fulano, para que
os podais servir de tal Indio o de tal India e lo podais tomar e
sacar donde quiera que lo hallaredes." Rel. del Provisor Morales,

[Footnote 3: "Es general el vicio del amancebamiento con Indias,
i algunos tienen cantidad dellas como en serrallo." Ibid., Ms.]

But the dominant passion of the Spaniard was the lust of gold.
For this he shrunk from no toil himself, and was merciless in his
exactions of labor from his Indian slave. Unfortunately, Peru
abounded in mines which too well repaid this labor; and human
life was the item of least account in the estimate of the
Conquerors. Under his Incas, the Peruvian was never suffered to
be idle; but the task imposed on him was always proportioned to
his strength. He had his seasons of rest and refreshment, and
was well protected against the inclemency of the weather. Every
care was shown for his personal safety. But the Spaniards, while
they taxed the strength of the native to the utmost, deprived him
of the means of repairing it, when exhausted. They suffered the
provident arrangements of the Incas to fall into decay. The
granaries were emptied; the flocks were wasted in riotous living.
They were slaughtered to gratify a mere epicurean whim, and many
a llama was destroyed solely for the sake of the brains, - a
dainty morsel, much coveted by the Spaniards. *4 So reckless was
the spirit of destruction after the Conquest, says Ondegardo, the
wise governor of Cuzco, that in four years more of these animals
perished than in four hundred, in the times of the Incas. *5 The
flocks, once so numerous over the broad table-lands, were now
thinned to a scanty number, that sought shelter in the fastnesses
of the Andes. The poor Indian, without food, without the warm
fleece which furnished him a defence against the cold, now
wandered half-starved and naked over the plateau. Even those who
had aided the Spaniards in the conquest fared no better; and many
an Inca noble roamed a mendicant over the lands where he once
held rule, and if driven, perchance, by his necessities, to
purloin something from the superfluity of his conquerors, he
expiated it by a miserable death. *6
[Footnote 4: "Muchos Espanoles han muerto i matan increible
cantidad de ovejas por comer solo los sesos, hacer pasteles del
tuetano i candelas de la grasa. De ai hambre general." Ibid.,

[Footnote 5: "Se puede afirmar que hicieron mas dano los
Espanoles en solos quatro anos que el Inga en quatrocientos."
Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., Ms.]

[Footnote 6: "Ahora no tienen que comer ni donde sembrar, i asi
van a hurtallo como solian, delito por que han aorcado a muchos."
Rel. del Provisor Morales, Ms.

This, and some of the preceding citations, as the reader will
see, have been taken from the Ms. of the Bachelor Luis de
Morales, who lived eighteen or twenty years in Cuzco; and, in
1541, about the time of Vaca de Castro's coming to Peru, prepared
a Memorial for the government, embracing a hundred and nine
chapters. It treats of the condition of the country, and the
remedies which suggested themselves to the benevolent mind of its
author. The emperor's notes on the margin show that it received
attention at court. There is no reason, as far as I am aware, to
distrust the testimony of the writer, and Munoz has made some
sensible extracts from it for his inestimable collection.]

It is true, there were good men, missionaries, faithful to their
calling, who wrought hard in the spiritual conversion of the
native, and who, touched by his misfortunes, would gladly have
interposed their arm to shield him from his oppressors. *7 But
too often the ecclesiastic became infected by the general spirit
of licentiousness; and the religious fraternities, who led a life
of easy indulgence on the lands cultivated by their Indian
slaves, were apt to think less of the salvation of their souls
than of profiting by the labor of their bodies. *8

[Footnote 7: Father Naharro notices twelve missionaries, some of
his own order, whose zealous labors and miracles for the
conversion of the Indians he deems worthy of comparison with
those of the twelve Apostles of Christianity. It is a pity that
history, while it has commemorated the names of so many
persecutors of the poor heathen, should have omitted those of
their benefactors.

"Tomo su divina Magestad por instrumento 12 solos religiosos
pobres, descalzos i desconocidos, 5 del orden de la Merced, 4 de
Predicadores, i 3 de San Francisco, obraron lo mismo que los 12
apostolos en la conversion de todo el universo mundo." Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
[Footnote 8: "Todos los conventos de Dominicos i Mercenarios
tienen repartimientos. Ninguno dellos ha dotrinado ni convertido
un Indio. Procuran sacar dellos quanto pueden, trabajarles en
grangerias; con esto i con otras limosnas enriquecen. Mal
egemplo. Ademas convendra no pasen frailes sino precediendo
diligente examen de vida i dotrina." (Relacion de las cosas que
S. M. deve proveer para los reynos del Peru, embiada desde los
Reyes a la Corte por el Licenciado Martel Santoyo, de quien va
firmada en principios de 1542, Ms.) This statement of the
licentiate shows a different side of the picture from that above
quoted from Father Naharro. Yet they are not irreconcilable.
Human nature has both its lights and its shadows.]

Yet still there were not wanting good and wise men in the
colonies, who, from time to time, raised the voice of
remonstrance against these abuses, and who carried their
complaints to the foot of the throne. To the credit of the
government, it must also be confessed, that it was solicitous to
obtain such information as it could, both from its own officers,
and from commissioners deputed expressly for the purpose, whose
voluminous communications throw a flood of light on the internal
condition of the country, and furnish the best materials for the
historian. *9 But it was found much easier to get this
information than to profit by it.
[Footnote 9: I have several of these Memorials or Relaciones, as
they are called, in my possession, drawn up by residents in
answer to queries propounded by government. These queries, while
their great object is to ascertain the nature of existing abuses,
and to invite the suggestion of remedies, are often directed to
the laws and usages of the ancient Incas. The responses,
therefore, are of great value to the historical inquirer. The
most important of these documents in my possession is that by
Ondegardo, governor of Cuzco, covering near four hundred folio
pages, once forming part of Lord Kingsborough's valuable
collection. It is impossible to peruse those elaborate and
conscientious reports without a deep conviction of the pains
taken by the Crown to ascertain the nature of the abuses in the
domestic government of the colonies, and their honest purpose to
amend them. Unfortunately, in this laudable purpose they were
not often seconded by the colonist themselves.]

In 1541, Charles the Fifth, who had been much occupied by the
affairs of Germany, revisited his ancestral dominions, where his
attention was imperatively called to the state of the colonies.
Several memorials in relation to it were laid before him; but no
one pressed the matter so strongly on the royal conscience as Las
Casas, afterwards Bishop of Chiapa. This good ecclesiastic,
whose long life had been devoted to those benevolent labors which
gained him the honorable title of Protector of the Indians, had
just completed his celebrated treatise on the Destruction of the
Indies, the most remarkable record, probably, to be found, of
human wickedness, but which, unfortunately, loses much of its
effect from the credulity of the writer, and his obvious tendency
to exaggerate.
In 1542, Las Casas placed his manuscript in the hands of his
royal master. That same year, a council was called at
Valladolid, composed chiefly of jurists and theologians, to
devise a system of laws for the regulation of the American

Las Casas appeared before this body, and made an elaborate
argument, of which a part only has been given to the public. He
there assumes, as a fundamental proposition, that the Indians
were by the law of nature free; that, as vassals of the Crown,
they had a right to its protection, and should be declared free
from that time, without exception and for ever. *10 He sustains
this proposition by a great variety of arguments, comprehending
the substance of most that has been since urged in the same cause
by the friends of humanity. He touches on the ground of
expediency, showing, that, without the interference of
government, the Indian race must be gradually exterminated by the
systematic oppression of the Spaniards. In conclusion, he
maintains, that, if the Indians, as it was pretended, would not
labor unless compelled, the white man would still find it for his
interest to cultivate the soil; and that if he should not be able
to do so, that circumstance would give him no right over the
Indian, since God does not allow evil that good may come of it.
*11 - This lofty morality, it will be remembered, was from the
lips of a Dominican, in the sixteenth century, one of the order
that founded the Inquisition, and in the very country where the
fiery tribunal was then in most active operation! *12

[Footnote 10: The perpetual emancipation of the Indians is urged
in the most emphatic manner by another bishop, also a Dominican,
but bearing certainly very little resemblance to Las Casas. Fray
Valverde makes this one of the prominent topics in a
communication, already cited, to the government, the general
scope of which must be admitted to do more credit to his humanity
than some of the passages recorded of him in history. - "A V. M.
representaran alla los conquistadores muchos servicios, dandolos
por causa para que los dexen servir de los indios como de
esclavos: V. M. se los tiene mui bien pagados en los provechos
que han avido desta tierra, y no los ha de pagar con hazer a sus
vasallos esclavos." Carta de Valverde al Emperador, Ms.]

[Footnote 11: "La loi de Dieu detend de faire le mal pour qu'il
en resulte du bien." Oeuvres de Las Casas, eveque de Chiapa,
trad. par Llorente, (Paris, 1822,) tom. l. p. 251.]

[Footnote 12: It is a curious coincidence, that this argument of
Las Casas should have been first published - in a translated
form, indeed - by a secretary of the Inquisition, Llorente. The
original still remains in Ms. It is singular that these volumes,
containing the views of this great philanthropist on topics of
such interest to humanity, should not have been more freely
consulted, or at least cited, by those who have since trod in his
footsteps. They are an arsenal from which many a serviceable
weapon for the good cause might be borrowed.]

The arguments of Las Casas encountered all the opposition
naturally to be expected from indifference, selfishness, and
bigotry. They were also resisted by some persons of just and
benevolent views in his audience, who, while they admitted the
general correctness of his reasoning, and felt deep sympathy for
the wrongs of the natives, yet doubted whether his scheme of
reform was not fraught with greater evils than those it was
intended to correct. For Las Casas was the uncompromising friend
of freedom. He intrenched himself strongly on the ground of
natural right; and, like some of the reformers of our own day,
disdained to calculate the consequences of carrying out the
principle to its full and unqualified extent. His earnest
eloquence, instinct with the generous love of humanity, and
fortified by a host of facts, which it was not easy to assail,
prevailed over his auditors. The result of their deliberations
was a code of ordinances, which, however, far from being limited
to the wants of the natives, had particular reference to the
European population, and the distractions of the country. It was
of general application to all the American colonies. It will be
necessary here only to point out some of the provisions having
immediate reference to Peru.

The Indians were declared true and loyal vassals of the Crown,
and their freedom as such was fully recognized. Yet, to maintain
inviolate the guaranty of the government to the Conquerors, it
was decided, that those lawfully possessed of slaves might still
retain them; but, at the death of the present proprietors, they
were to revert to the Crown.
It was provided, however, that slaves, in any event, should be
forfeited by all those who had shown themselves unworthy to hold
them by neglect or ill-usage; by all public functionaries, or
such as had held offices under the government; by ecclesiastics
and religious corporations; and lastly, - a sweeping clause, - by
all who had taken a criminal part in the feuds of Almagro and

It was further ordered, that the Indians should be moderately
taxed; that they should not be compelled to labor where they did
not choose, and that where, from particular circumstances, this
was made necessary, they should receive a fair compensation. It
was also decreed, that, as the repartimientos of land were often
excessive, they should in such cases be reduced; and that, where
proprietors had been guilty of a notorious abuse of their slaves,
their estates should be forfeited altogether.
As Peru had always shown a spirit of insubordination, which
required a more vigorous interposition of authority than was
necessary in the other colonies, it was resolved to send a
viceroy to that country, who should display a state, and be armed
with powers, that might make him a more fitting representative of
the sovereign. He was to be accompanied by a Royal Audience,
consisting of four judges, with extensive powers of jurisdiction,
both criminal and civil, who, besides a court of justice, should
constitute a sort of council to advise with and aid the viceroy.
The Audience of Panama was to be dissolved, and the new tribunal,
with the vice-king's court, was to be established at Los Reyes,
or Lima, as it now began to be called, - henceforth the
metropolis of the Spanish empire on the Pacific. *13

[Footnote 13: The provisions of this celebrated code are to be
found, with more or less - generally less - accuracy, in the
various contemporary writers. Herrera gives them in extenso.
Hist. General, dec 7 lib. 6, cap. 5.]

Such were some of the principal features of this remarkable code,
which, touching on the most delicate relations of society, broke
up the very foundations of property, and, by a stroke of the pen,
as it were, converted a nation of slaves into freemen. It would
have required, we may suppose, but little forecast to divine,
that in the remote regions of America, and especially in Peru,
where the colonists had been hitherto accustomed to unbounded
license, a reform, so salutary in essential points, could be
enforced thus summarily only at the price of a revolution. - Yet
the ordinances received the sanction of the emperor that same
year, and in November, 1543, were published at Madrid. *14
[Footnote 14: Las Casas pressed the matter home on the royal
conscience, by representing that the Papal See conceded the right
of conquest to the Spanish sovereigns on the exclusive condition
of converting the heathen, and that the Almighty would hold him
accountable for the execution of this trust. Oeuvres de Las
Casas, ubi supra.]

No sooner was their import known than it was conveyed by numerous
letters to the colonists, from their friends in Spain. The
tidings flew like wild-fire over the land, from Mexico to Chili.
Men were astounded at the prospect of the ruin that awaited them.
In Peru, particularly, there was scarcely one that could hope to
escape the operation of the law. Few there were who had not
taken part, at some time or other, in the civil feuds of Almagro
and Pizarro; and still fewer of those that remained that would
not be entangled in some one or other of the insidious clauses
that seemed spread out, like a web, to ensnare them.

The whole country was thrown into commotion. Men assembled
tumultuously in the squares and public places, and, as the
regulations were made known, they were received with universal
groans and hisses. "Is this the fruit," they cried, "of all our
toil? Is it for this that we have poured out our blood like
water? Now that we are broken down by hardships and sufferings,
to be left at the end of our campaigns as poor as at the
beginning! Is this the way government rewards our services in
winning for it an empire? The government has done little to aid
us in making the conquest, and for what we have we may thank our
own good swords; and with these same swords," they continued,
warming into menace, "we know how to defend it." Then, stripping
up his sleeve, the war-worn veteran bared his arm, or, exposing
his naked bosom, pointed to his scars, as the best title to his
estates. *15

[Footnote 15: Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Pedro de Valdivia, Ms.,
desde Los Reyes, 31 de Oct., 1538. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib.
5, cap. 1. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 6, cap. 10,

Benalcazar, in a letter to Charles the Fifth, indulges in a
strain of invective against the ordinances, which, by stripping
the planters of their Indian slaves, must inevitably reduce the
country to beggary Benalcazar was a conqueror, and one of the
most respectable of his caste. His argument is a good specimen of
the reasoning of his party on this subject, and presents a
decided counterblast to that of Las Casas. Carta de Benalcazar
al Emperador, Ms., desde Cali. 20 de Diciembre, 1544.]
The governor, Vaca de Castro, watched the storm thus gathering
from all quarters, with the deepest concern. He was himself in
the very heart of disaffection; for Cuzco, tenanted by a mixed
and lawless population, was so far removed into the depths of the
mountains, that it had much less intercourse with the parent
country, and was consequently much less under her influence, than
the great towns on the coast. The people now invoked the
governor to protect them against the tyranny of the Court; but he
endeavoured to calm the agitation by representing, that by these
violent measures they would only defeat their own object. He
counselled them to name deputies to lay their petition before the
Crown, stating the impracticability of the present scheme of
reform, and praying for the repeal of it; and he conjured them to
wait patiently for the arrival of the viceroy, who might be
prevailed on to suspend the ordinances till further advices could
be received from Castile.

But it was not easy to still the tempest; and the people now
eagerly looked for some one whose interests and sympathies might
lie with theirs, and whose position in the community might afford
them protection. The person to whom they naturally turned in
this crisis was Gonzalo Pizarro, the last in the land of that
family who had led the armies of the Conquest, - a cavalier whose
gallantry and popular manners had made him always a favorite with
the people. He was now beset with applications to interpose in
their behalf with the government, and shield them from the
oppressive ordinances.

But Gonzalo Pizarro was at Charcas, busily occupied in exploring
the rich veins of Potosi, whose silver fountains, just brought
into light, were soon to pour such streams of wealth over Europe.
Though gratified with this appeal to his protection, the cautious
cavalier was more intent on providing for the means of enterprise
than on plunging prematurely into it; and, while he secretly
encouraged the malecontents, he did not commit himself by taking
part in any revolutionary movement. At the same period, he
received letters from Vaca de Castro, - whose vigilant eye
watched all the aspects of the time, - cautioning Gonzalo and his
friends not to be seduced, by any wild schemes of reform, from
their allegiance. And, to check still further these disorderly
movements, he ordered his alcaldes to arrest every man guilty of
seditious language, and bring him at once to punishment. By this
firm yet temperate conduct the minds of the populace were
overawed, and there was a temporary lull in the troubled waters,
while all looked anxiously for the coming of the viceroy. *16
[Footnote 16: Ibid., ubi supra. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, ubi
supra. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Gonzalo
Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales Ms., ano 1543.]

The person selected for this critical post was a knight of Avila,
named Blasco Nunez Vela. He was a cavalier of ancient family,
handsome in person, though now somewhat advanced in years, and
reputed brave and devout. He had filled some offices of
responsibility to the satisfaction of Charles the Fifth, by whom
he was now appointed to this post in Peru. The selection did no
credit to the monarch's discernment.

It may seem strange that this important place should not have
been bestowed on Vaca de Castro, already on the spot, and who had
shown himself so well qualified to fill it. But ever since that
officer's mission to Peru, there had been a series of
assassinations, insurrections, and civil wars, that menaced the
wretched colony with ruin; and though his wise administration had
now brought things into order, the communication with the Indies
was so tardy, that the results of his policy were not yet fully
disclosed. As it was designed, moreover, to make important
innovations in the government, it was thought better to send some
one who would have no personal prejudices to encounter, from the
part he had already taken, and who, coming directly from the
Court, and clothed with extraordinary powers, might present
himself with greater authority than could one who had become
familiar to the people in an inferior capacity. The monarch,
however, wrote a letter with his own hand to Vaca de Castro, in
which he thanked that officer for his past services, and directed
him, after aiding the new viceroy with the fruits of his large
experience, to return to Castile, and take his seat in the Royal
Council. Letters of a similar complimentary kind were sent to
the loyal colonists who had stood by the governor in the late
troubles of the country. Freighted with these testimonials, and
with the ill-starred ordinances, Blasco Nunez embarked at San
Lucar, on the 3d of November, 1543. He was attended by the four
judges of the Audience, and by a numerous retinue, that he might
appear in the state befitting his distinguished rank. *17

[Footnote 17: Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 6, cap. 9. - Fernandez, Hist. del
Peru, Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 6. - Zarate, Ms.]

About the middle of the following January, 1544, the viceroy,
after a favorable passage, landed at Nombre de Dios. He found
there a vessel laden with silver from the Peruvian mines, ready
to sail for Spain. His first act was to lay an embargo on it for
the government, as containing the proceeds of slave labor. After
this extraordinary measure, taken in opposition to the advice of
the Audience, he crossed the Isthmus to Panama. Here he gave
sure token of his future policy, by causing more than three
hundred Indians, who had been brought by their owners from Peru,
to be liberated and sent back to their own country. This
high-handed measure created the greatest sensation in the city,
and was strongly resisted by the judges of the Audience. They
besought him not to begin thus precipitately to execute his
commission, but to wait till his arrival in the colony, when he
should have taken time to acquaint himself somewhat with the
country, and with the temper of the people. But Blasco Nunez
coldly replied, that "he had come, not to tamper with the laws,
nor to discuss their merits, but to execute them, - and execute
them he would, to the letter, whatever might be the consequence."
*18 This answer, and the peremptory tone in which it was
delivered, promptly adjourned the debate; for the judges saw that
debate was useless with one who seemed to consider all
remonstrance as an attempt to turn him from his duty, and whose
ideas of duty precluded all discretionary exercise of authority,
even where the public good demanded it.

[Footnote 18: "Estas y otras cosas le dixo el Licenciado Carate:
que no fueron al gusto del Virey: antes se enojo mucho por ello,
y respondio con alguna aspereza: jurando, que auia de executar
las ordenancas come en ellas se contenia: sin esperar para ello
terminos algunos, ni dilaciones." Fernandez, Hist. del Peru,
Parte 1, lib. 1. cap. 6.]

Leaving the Audience, as one of its body was ill at Panama, the
viceroy proceeded on his way, and, coasting down the shores of
the Pacific, on the fourth of March he disembarked at Tumbez. He
was well received by the loyal inhabitants; his authority was
publicly proclaimed, and the people were overawed by the display
of a magnificence and state such as had not till then been seen
in Peru. He took an early occasion to intimate his future line
of policy by liberating a number of Indian slaves on the
application of their caciques. He then proceeded by land towards
the south, and showed his determination to conform in his own
person to the strict letter of the ordinances, by causing his
baggage to be carried by mules, where it was practicable; and
where absolutely necessary to make use of Indians, he paid them
fairly for their services. *19
[Footnote 19: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 2. -
Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, ubi supra. - Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro
a Valdivia, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1544.]

The whole country was thrown into consternation by reports of the
proceedings of the viceroy, and of his conversations, most
unguarded, which were eagerly circulated, and, no doubt, often
exaggerated. Meetings were again called in the cities.
Discussions were held on the expediency of resisting his further
progress, and a deputation of citizens from Cuzco, who were then
in Lima, strongly urged the people to close the gates of that
capital against him. But Vaca de Castro had also left Cuzco for
the latter city, on the earliest intimation of the viceroy's
approach, and, with some difficulty, he prevailed on the
inhabitants not to swerve from their loyalty, but to receive
their new ruler with suitable honors, and trust to his calmer
judgment for postponing the execution of the law till the case
could be laid before the throne.

But the great body of the Spaniards, after what they had heard,
had slender confidence in the relief to be obtained from this
quarter. They now turned with more eagerness than ever towards
Gonzalo Pizarro; and letters and addresses poured in upon him
from all parts of the country, inviting him to take on himself
the office of their protector. These applications found a more
favorable response than on the former occasion.
There were, indeed, many motives at work to call Gonzalo into
action. It was to his family, mainly, that Spain was indebted for
this extension of her colonial empire; and he had felt deeply
aggrieved that the government of the colony should be trusted to
other hands than his. He had felt this on the arrival of Vaca de
Castro, and much more so when the appointment of a viceroy proved
it to be the settled policy of the Crown to exclude his family
from the management of affairs. His brother Hernando still
languished in prison, and he himself was now to be sacrificed as
the principal victim of the fatal ordinances. For who had taken
so prominent a part in the civil war with the elder Almagro? And
the viceroy was currently reported - it may have been scandal -
to have intimated that Pizarro would be dealt with accordingly.
*20 Yet there was no one in the country who had so great a stake,
who had so much to lose by the revolution. Abandoned thus by the
government, he conceived that it was now time to take care of

[Footnote 20: "It was not fair," the viceroy said, "that the
country should remain longer in the hands of muleteers and
swineherds, (alluding to the origin of the Pizarros,) and he
would take measures to restore it to the Crown."

"Que asi me la havia de cortar a mi i a todos los que havian
seido notablemente, como el decia, culpados en la batalla de las
Salinas i en las diferencias de Almagro, i que una tierra como
esta no era justo que estuviese en poder de gente tan vaxa que
llamava el a los desta tierra porqueros i arrieros, sino que
estuviese toda en la Corona real." Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a
Valdi via, Ms.]

Assembling together some eighteen or twenty cavaliers in whom he
most trusted, and taking a large amount of silver, drawn from the
mines, he accepted the invitation to repair to Cuzco. As he
approached this capital, he was met by a numerous body of the
citizens, who came out to welcome him, making the air ring with
their shouts, as they saluted him with the title of
Procurator-General of Peru. The title was speedily confirmed by
the municipality of the city, who invited him to head a
deputation to Lima, in order to state their grievances to the
viceroy, and solicit the present suspension of the ordinances.

But the spark of ambition was kindled in the bosom of Pizarro.
He felt strong in the affections of the people; and, from the
more elevated position in which he now stood, his desires took a
loftier and more unbounded range. Yet, if he harboured a
criminal ambition in his breast, he skilfully veiled it from
others, - perhaps from himself. The only object he professed to
have in view was the good of the people; *21 a suspicious phrase,
usually meaning the good of the individual. He now demanded
permission to raise and organize an armed force, with the further
title of Captain-General. His views were entirely pacific; but
it was not safe, unless strongly protected, to urge them on a
person of the viceroy's impatient and arbitrary temper. It was
further contended by Pizarro's friends, that such a force was
demanded, to rid the country of their old enemy, the Inca Manco,
who hovered in the neighbouring mountains with a body of
warriors, ready, at the first opportunity, to descend on the
Spaniards. The municipality of Cuzco hesitated, as well it
might, to confer powers so far beyond its legitimate authority.
But Pizarro avowed his purpose, in case of refusal, to decline
the office of Procurator; and the efforts of his partisans,
backed by those of the people, at length silenced the scruples of
the magistrates, who bestowed on the ambitious chief the military
command to which he aspired. Pizarro accepted it with the modest
assurance, that he did so "purely from regard to the interests of
the king, of the Indies, and, above all, of Peru"! *22

[Footnote 21: "Diciendo que no queria nada para si, sino para el
beneficio universal, i que por todos havia de poner todas sus
fuercas." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 7, cap. 20.]

[Footnote 22: "Acepte lo por ver que en ello hacia servicio a
Dios i a S. M. l gran bien a esta tierra i generalmente a todas
las Indias." Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.

Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, ib. 7, cap. 19, 20. - Zarate,
Conq del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 4, 8. - Fernandez, Hist. del Peru,
Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 8. - Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia,
Ms. - Montesinoe Annales, Ms., ano 1544.]

Chapter VIII

The Viceroy Arrives At Lima. - Gonzalo Pizarro Marches From
Cuzco. - Death Of The Inca Manco. - Rash Conduct Of The Viceroy.
- Seized And Deposed By The Audience. - Gonzalo Proclaimed
Governor Of Peru.


While the events recorded in the preceding pages were in
progress, Blasco Nunez had been journeying towards Lima. But the
alienation which his conduct had already caused in the minds of
the colonists was shown in the cold reception which he
occasionally experienced on the route, and in the scanty
accommodations provided for him and his retinue. In one place
where he took up his quarters, he found an ominous inscription
over the door: - "He that takes my property must expect to pay
for it with his life." *1 Neither daunted, nor diverted from his
purpose, the inflexible viceroy held on his way towards the
capital, where the inhabitants, preceded by Vaca de Castro and
the municipal authorities, came out to receive him. He entered
in great state, under a canopy of crimson cloth, embroidered with
the arms of Spain, and supported by stout poles or staves of
solid silver, which were borne by the members of the
municipality. A cavalier, holding a mace, the emblem of
authority, rode before him; and after the oaths of office were
administered in the council-chamber, the procession moved towards
the cathedral, where Te Deum was sung, and Blasco Nunez was
installed in his new dignity of viceroy of Peru. *2
[Footnote 1: "A quien me viniere a quitar mi hacienda, quitarle
he la vida." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 7, cap. 18.]

[Footnote 2: "Entro en la cibdad de Lima a 17 de Mayo de 1544:
saliole a recibir todo el pueblo a pie y a caballo dos tiros de
ballesta del pueblo, y a la entrada de la cibdad estaba un arco
triunfal de verde con las Armas de Espana, y las de la misma
cibdad; estaban le esperando el Regimiento y Justicia, y
oficiales del Rey con ropas largas, hasta en pies de carmesi, y
un palio del mesmo carmesi aforrado en lo mesmo, con ocho baras
guarnecidas de plata y tomaronle debajo todos a pie, cada Regidor
y justicia con una bara del palio, y el Virrey en su caballo con
las mazas delante tomaronle juramento en un libro misal, y juro
de las guardar y cumplir todas sus libertades y provisiones de S.
M.; y luego fueron desta manera hasta la iglesia, salieron los
clerigos con la cruz a la puerta y le metieron dentro cantando Te
deum laudamus, y despues que obo dicho su oracion, fue con el
cabildo y toda la ciudad a su palacio donde fue recebido y hizo
un parlamento breve en que contento a toda la gente." Relacion de
los sucesos del Peru desde que entro el virrey Blasco Nunez
acaecidos en mar y tierra, Ms.]

His first act was to proclaim his determination in respect to the
ordinances. He had no warrant to suspend their execution. He
should fulfil his commission; but he offered to join the
colonists in a memorial to the emperor, soliciting the repeal of
a code which he now believed would be for the interests neither
of the country nor of the Crown. *3 With this avowed view of the
subject, it may seem strange that Blasco Nunez should not have
taken the responsibility of suspending the law until his
sovereign could be assured of the inevitable consequences of
enforcing it. The pacha of a Turkish despot, who had allowed
himself this latitude for the interests of his master, might,
indeed, have reckoned on the bowstring. But the example of
Mendoza, the prudent viceroy of Mexico, who adopted this course
in a similar crisis, and precisely at the same period, showed its
propriety under existing circumstances. The ordinances were
suspended by him till the Crown could be warned of the
consequences of enforcing them, - and Mexico was saved from
revolution. *4 But Blasco Nunez had not the wisdom of Mendoza.

[Footnote 3: "Porque llanamente el confesaba, que asi para su
Magestad como para aquellos Reinos, eran perjudiciales." Zarate,
Conq. de Peru lib. 5, cap. 5.]

[Footnote 4: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 1, cap.
The public apprehension was now far from being allayed. Secret
cabals were formed in Lima, and communications held with the
different towns. No distrust, however, was raised in the breast
of the viceroy, and, when informed of the preparations of Gonzalo
Pizarro, he took no other step than to send a message to his
camp, announcing the extraordinary powers with which he was
himself invested, and requiring that chief to disband his forces.
He seemed to think that a mere word from him would be sufficient
to dissipate rebellion. But it required more than a breath to
scatter the iron soldiery of Peru.

Gonzalo Pizarro, meanwhile, was busily occupied in mustering his
army. His first step was to order from Guamanga sixteen pieces
of artillery sent there by Vaca de Castro, who, in the present
state of excitement, was unwilling to trust the volatile people
of Cuzco with these implements of destruction. Gonzalo, who had
no scruples as to Indian labor, appropriated six thousand of the
natives to the service of transporting this train of ordnance
across the mountains. *5
[Footnote 5: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 8.]

By his exertions and those of his friends, the active chief soon
mustered a force of nearly four hundred men, which, if not very
imposing in the outset, he conceived would be swelled, in his
descent to the coast, by tributary levies from the towns and
villages on the way. All his own funds were expended in
equipping his men and providing for the march; and, to supply
deficiencies, he made no scruple - since, to use his words, it
was for the public interest - to appropriate the moneys in the
royal treasury. With this seasonable aid, his troops, well
mounted and thoroughly equipped, were put in excellent fighting
order; and, after making them a brief harangue, in which he was
careful to insist on the pacific character of his enterprise,
somewhat at variance with its military preparations, Gonzalo
Pizarro sallied forth from the gates of the capital.

Before leaving it, he received an important accession of strength
in the person of Francisco de Carbajal, the veteran who performed
so conspicuous a part in the battle of Chupas. He was at Charcas
when the news of the ordinances reached Peru and he instantly
resolved to quit the country and return to Spain, convinced that
the New World would be no longer the land for him, - no longer
the golden Indies. Turning his effects into money, he prepared
to embark them on board the first ship that offered. But no
opportunity occurred, and he could have little expectation now of
escaping the vigilant eye of the viceroy. Yet, though solicited
by Pizarro to take command under him in the present expedition,
the veteran declined, saying, he was eighty years old, and had no
wish but to return home, and spend his few remaining days in
quiet. *6 Well had it been for him, had he persisted in his
refusal. But he yielded to the importunities of his friend; and
the short space that yet remained to him of life proved long
enough to brand his memory with perpetual infamy.
[Footnote 6: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 7, cap. 22.]
Soon after quitting Cuzco, Pizarro learned the death of the Inca
Manco. He was massacred by a party of Spaniards, of the faction
of Almagro, who, on the defeat of their young leader, had taken
refuge in the Indian camp. They, in turn, were all slain by the
Peruvians. It is impossible to determine on whom the blame of
the quarrel should rest, since no one present at the time has
recorded it. *7

[Footnote 7: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Garcilasso Com
Real., Parte 2, lib. 4, cap. 7]

The death of Manco Inca, as he was commonly called, is an event
not to be silently passed over in Peruvian history; for he was
the last of his race that may be said to have been animated by
the heroic spirit of the ancient Incas. Though placed on the
throne by Pizarro, far from remaining a mere puppet in his hands,
Manco soon showed that his lot was not to be cast with that of
his conquerors. With the ancient institutions of his country
lying a wreck around him, he yet struggled bravely, like
Guatemozin, the last of the Aztecs, to uphold her tottering
fortunes, or to bury his oppressors under her ruins. By the
assault on his own capital of Cuzco, in which so large a portion
of it was demolished, he gave a check to the arms of Pizarro,
and, for a season, the fate of the Conquerors trembled in the
balance. Though foiled, in the end, by the superior science of
his adversary, the young barbarian still showed the same
unconquerable spirit as before. He withdrew into the fastnesses
of his native mountains, whence sallying forth as occasion
offered, he fell on the caravan of the traveller, or on some
scattered party of the military; and, in the event of a civil
war, was sure to throw his own weight into the weaker scale, thus
prolonging the contest of his enemies, and feeding his revenge by
the sight of their calamities. Moving lightly from spot to spot,
he eluded pursuit amidst the wilds of the Cordilleras; and,
hovering in the neighbourhood of the towns, or lying in ambush on
the great thoroughfares of the country, the Inca Manco made his
name a terror to the Spaniards. Often did they hold out to him
terms of accommodation; and every succeeding ruler down to Blasco
Nunez, bore instructions from the Crown to employ every art to
conciliate the formidable warrior. But Manco did not trust the
promises of the white man; and he chose rather to maintain his
savage independence in the mountains with the few brave spirits
around him, than to live a slave in the land which had once owned
the sway of his ancestors.

The death of the Inca removed one of the great pretexts for
Gonzalo Pizarro's military preparations, but it had little
influence on him, as may be readily imagined. He was much more
sensible to the desertion of some of his followers, which took
place early on the march. Several of the cavaliers of Cuzco,
startled by his unceremonious appropriation of the public moneys,
and by the belligerent aspect of affairs, now for the first time
seemed to realize that they were in the path of rebellion. A
number of these, including some principal men of the city,
secretly withdrew from the army, and, hastening to Lima, offered
their services to the viceroy. The troops were disheartened by
this desertion, and even Pizarro for a moment faltered in his
purpose, and thought of retiring with some fifty followers to
Charcas, and there making his composition with government. But a
little reflection, aided by the remonstrances of the courageous
Carbajal, who never turned his back on an enterprise which he had
once assumed, convinced him that he had gone too far to recede, -
that his only safety was to advance.

He was reassured by more decided manifestations, which he soon
after received, of the public opinion. An officer named Puelles,
who commanded at Guanuco, joined him, with a body of horse with
which he had been intrusted by the viceroy. This defection was
followed by that of others, and Gonzalo, as he descended the
sides of the table-land, found his numbers gradually swelled to
nearly double the amount with which he had left the Indian

As he traversed with a freer step the bloody field of Chupas,
Carbajal pointed out the various localities of the battle-ground,
and Pizarro might have found food for anxious reflection, as he
meditated on the fortunes of a rebel. At Guamanga he was
received with open arms by the inhabitants, many of whom eagerly
enlisted under his banner; for they trembled for their property,
as they heard from all quarters of the inflexible temper of the
viceroy. *8

[Footnote 8: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 1, cap. 14,
16. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 9, 10. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 7, lib. 8, cap. 5-9. - Carta de Gonzalo
Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms. - Relacion de los Sucesos del Peru, Ms]

That functionary began now to be convinced that he was in a
critical position. Before Puelles's treachery, above noticed,
had been consummated, the viceroy had received some vague
intimation of his purpose. Though scarcely crediting it, he
detached one of his company, named Diaz, with a force to
intercept him. But, although that cavalier undertook the mission
with alacrity, he was soon after prevailed on to follow the
example of his comrade, and, with the greater part of the men
under his command, went over to the enemy. In the civil feuds of
this unhappy land, parties changed sides so lightly, that
treachery to a commander had almost ceased to be a stain on the
honor of a cavalier. Yet all, on whichever side they cast their
fortunes, loudly proclaimed their loyalty to the Crown.

Thus betrayed by his own men, by those apparently most devoted to
his service, Blasco Nunez became suspicious fell on some who were
most deserving of his confidence. Among these was his
predecessor, Vaca de Castro. That officer had conducted himself,
in the delicate situation in which he had been placed, with his
usual discretion, and with perfect integrity and honor. He had
frankly communicated with the viceroy, and well had it been for
Blasco Nunez, if he had known how to profit by it. But he was too
much puffed up by the arrogance of office, and by the conceit of
his own superior wisdom, to defer much to the counsels of his
experienced predecessor. The latter was now suspected by the
viceroy of maintaining a secret correspondence with his enemies
at Cuzco, - a suspicion which seems to have had no better
foundation than the personal friendship which Vaca de Castro was
known to entertain for these individuals. But, with Blasco
Nunez, to suspect was to be convinced; and he ordered De Castro
to be placed under arrest, and confined on board of a vessel
lying in the harbour. This high-handed measure was followed by
the arrest and imprisonment of several other cavaliers, probably
on grounds equally frivolous. *9

[Footnote 9: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 5, cap. 3. - Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte
1, lib. 1, cap. 10.]

He now turned his attention towards the enemy. Notwithstanding
his former failure, he still did not altogether despair of
effecting something by negotiation, and he sent another embassy,
having the bishop of Lima at its head, to Gonzalo Pizarro's camp,
with promises of a general amnesty, and some proposals of a more
tempting character to the commander. But this step, while it
proclaimed his own weakness, had no better success than the
preceding. *10

[Footnote 10: Loaysa, the bishop, was robbed of his despatches,
and not even allowed to enter the camp, lest his presence should
shake the constancy of the soldiers. (See Relacion de los
Sucesos del Peru, Ms.) The account occupies more space than it
deserves in most of the authorities.]

The viceroy now vigorously prepared for war. His first care was
to put the capital in a posture of defence, by strengthening its
fortifications, and throwing barricades across the streets. He
ordered a general enrolment of the citizens, and called in levies
from the neighbouring towns, - a call not very promptly answered.
A squadron of eight or ten vessels was got ready in the port to
act in concert with the land forces. The bells were taken from
the churches, and used in the manufacture of muskets; *11 and
funds were procured from the fifths which had accumulated in the
royal treasury. The most extravagant bounty was offered to the
soldiers, and prices were paid for mules and horses, which showed

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