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

Part 14 out of 17

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cap. 18.]

The new president now went forward with his preparations. They
were few and simple; for he was to be accompanied by a slender
train of followers, among whom the most conspicuous was Alonso de
Alvarado, the gallant officer who, as the reader may remember,
long commanded under Francisco Pizarro. He had resided of late
years at court; and now at Gasca's request accompanied him to
Peru, where his presence might facilitate negotiations with the
insurgents, while his military experience would prove no less
valuable in case of an appeal to arms. *15 Some delay necessarily
occurred in getting ready his little squadron, and it was not
till the 26th of May, 1546, that the president and his suite
embarked at San Lucar for the New World.

[Footnote 15: From this cavalier descended the noble house of the
counts of Villamor in Spain. Ms. de Caravantes.]

After a prosperous voyage, and not a long one for that day, he
landed, about the middle of July, at the port of Santa Martha.
Here he received the astounding intelligence of the battle of
Anaquito, of the defeat and death of the viceroy, and of the
manner in which Gonzalo Pizarro had since established his
absolute rule over the land. Although these events had occurred
several months before Gasca's departure from Spain, yet, so
imperfect was the intercourse, no tidings of them had then
reached that country.

They now filled the president with great anxiety as he reflected
that the insurgents, after so atrocious an act as the slaughter
of the viceroy, might well despair of grace, and become reckless
of consequences. He was careful, therefore, to have it
understood, that the date of his commission was subsequent to
that of the fatal battle, and that it authorized an entire
amnesty of all offences hitherto committed against the
government. *16

[Footnote 16: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap.
Yet, in some points of view, the death of Blasco Nunez might be
regarded as an auspicious circumstance for the settlement of the
country. Had he lived till Gasca's arrival, the latter would have
been greatly embarrassed by the necessity of acting in concert
with a person so generally detested in the colony, or by the
unwelcome alternative of sending him back to Castile. The
insurgents, moreover, would, in all probability, be now more
amenable to reason, since all personal animosity might naturally
be buried in the grave of their enemy.

The president was much embarrassed by deciding in what quarter he
should attempt to enter Peru. Every port was in the hands of
Pizarro, and was placed under the care of his officers, with
strict charge to intercept any communications from Spain, and to
detain such persons as bore a commission from that country until
his pleasure could be known respecting them. Gasca, at length,
decided on crossing over to Nombre de Dios, then held with a
strong force by Hernan Mexia, an officer to whose charge Gonzalo
had committed this strong gate to his dominions, as to a person
on whose attachment to his cause he could confidently rely.

Had Gasca appeared off this place in a menacing attitude, with a
military array, or, indeed, with any display of official pomp
that might have awakened distrust in the commander, he would
doubtless have found it no easy matter to effect a landing. But
Mexia saw nothing to apprehend in the approach of a poor
ecclesiastic, without an armed force, with hardly even a retinue
to support him, coming solely, as it seemed, on an errand of
mercy. No sooner, therefore, was he acquainted with the
character of the envoy and his mission, than he prepared to
receive him with the honors due to his rank, and marched out at
the head of his soldiers, together with a considerable body of
ecclesiastics resident in the place. There was nothing in the
person of Gasca, still less in his humble clerical attire and
modest retinue, to impress the vulgar spectator with feelings of
awe or reverence. Indeed, the poverty-stricken aspect, as it
seemed, of himself and his followers, so different from the usual
state affected by the Indian viceroys, excited some merriment
among the rude soldiery, who did not scruple to break their
coarse jests on his appearance, in hearing of the president
himself. *17 "If this is the sort of governor his Majesty sends
over to us," they exclaimed, "Pizarro need not trouble his head
much about it."

[Footnote 17: "Especialmente muchos de los soldados, que estauan
desacatados, y decian palabras feas, y desuergocadas. A lo qual
el Presidente (viendo que era necessario) hazia las orejas
sordas." Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 23.]

Yet the president, far from being ruffled by this ribaldry, or
from showing resentment to its authors, submitted to it with the
utmost humility, and only seemed the more grateful to his own
brethren, who, by their respectful demeanour, appeared anxious to
do him honor.
But, however plain and unpretending the manners of Gasca, Mexia,
on his first interview with him, soon discovered that he had no
common man to deal with. The president, after briefly explaining
the nature of his commission, told him that he had come as a
messenger of peace; and that it was on peaceful measures he
relied for his success. He then stated the general scope of his
commission, his authority to grant a free pardon to all, without
exception, who at once submitted to government, and, finally, his
purpose to proclaim the revocation of the ordinances. The
objects of the revolution were thus attained. To contend longer
would be manifest rebellion, and that without a motive; and he
urged the commander by every principle of loyalty and patriotism
to support him in settling the distractions of the country, and
bringing it back to its allegiance.
The candid and conciliatory language of the president, so
different from the arrogance of Blasco Nunez, and the austere
demeanour of Vaca de Castro, made a sensible impression on Mexia.
He admitted the force of Gasca's reasoning, and flattered himself
that Gonzalo Pizarro would not be insensible to it. Though
attached to the fortunes of that leader, he was loyal in heart,
and, like most of the party, had been led by accident, rather
than by design, into rebellion; and now that so good an
opportunity occurred to do it with safety, he was not unwilling
to retrace his steps, and secure the royal favor by thus early
returning to his allegiance. This he signified to the president,
assuring him of his hearty cooperation in the good work of
reform. *18

[Footnote 18: Ibid., ubi supra. - Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a
Valdivia, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1546. - Zarate,
Conq. del Peru lib. 6, cap. 6. - Herrera, Hist General, dec. 8,
lib. 2, cap. 5]

This was an important step for Gasca. It was yet more important
for him to secure the obedience of Hinojosa, the governor of
Panama, in the harbour of which city lay Pizarro's navy,
consisting of two-and-twenty vessels. But it was not easy to
approach this officer. He was a person of much higher character
than was usually found among the reckless adventurers in the New
World. He was attached to the interests of Pizarro, and the
latter had requited him by placing him in command of his armada
and of Panama, the key to his territories on the Pacific.
The president first sent Mexia and Alonso de Alvarado to prepare
the way for his own coming, by advising Hinojosa of the purport
of his mission. He soon after followed, and was received by that
commander with every show of outward respect. But while the
latter listened with deference to the representations of Gasca,
they failed to work the change in him which they had wrought in
Mexia; and he concluded by asking the president to show him his
powers, and by inquiring whether they gave him authority to
confirm Pizarro in his present post, to which he was entitled no
less by his own services than by the general voice of the people.
This was an embarrassing question. Such a concession would have
been altogether too humiliating to the Crown; but to have openly
avowed this at the present juncture to so stanch an adherent of
Pizarro might have precluded all further negotiation. The
president evaded the question, therefore, by simply stating, that
the time had not yet come for him to produce his powers, but that
Hinojosa might be assured they were such as to secure an ample
recompense to every loyal servant of his country. *19
[Footnote 19: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap.
25. - Zarate Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 7. - Ms. de
Hinojosa was not satisfied; and he immediately wrote to Pizarro,
acquainting him with Gasca's arrival and with the object of his
mission, at the same time plainly intimating his own conviction
that the president had no authority to confirm him in the
government. But before the departure of the ship, Gasca secured
the services of a Dominican friar, who had taken his passage on
board for one of the towns on the coast. This man he intrusted
with manifestoes, setting forth the purport of his visit, and
proclaiming the abolition of the ordinances, with a free pardon
to all who returned to their obedience. He wrote, also, to the
prelates and to the corporations of the different cities. The
former he requested to cooperate with him in introducing a spirit
of loyalty and subordination among the people, while he intimated
to the towns his purpose to confer with them hereafter, in order
to devise some effectual measures for the welfare of the country.
These papers the Dominican engaged to distribute, himself, among
the principal cities of the colony and he faithfully kept his
word, though, as it proved, at no little hazard of his life. The
seeds thus scattered might many of them fall on barren ground.
But the greater part, the president trusted, would take root in
the hearts of the people; and he patiently waited for the

Meanwhile, though he failed to remove the scruples of Hinojosa,
the courteous manners of Gasca, and his mild, persuasive
discourse, had a visible effect on other individuals with whom he
had daily intercourse. Several of these, and among them some of
the principal cavaliers in Panama, as well as in the squadron,
expressed their willingness to join the royal cause, and aid the
president in maintaining it. Gasca profited by their assistance
to open a communication with the authorities of Guatemala and
Mexico, whom he advised of his mission, while he admonished them
to allow no intercourse to be carried on with the insurgents on
the coast of Peru. He, at length, also prevailed on the governor
of Panama to furnish him with the means of entering into
communication with Gonzalo Pizarro himself; and a ship was
despatched to Lima, bearing a letter from Charles the Fifth,
addressed to that chief, with an epistle also from Gasca.

The emperor's communication was couched in the most condescending
and even conciliatory terms. Far from taxing Gonzalo with
rebellion, his royal master affected to regard his conduct as in
a manner imposed on him by circumstances, especially by the
obduracy of the viceroy Nunez in denying the colonists the
inalienable right of petition. He gave no intimation of an
intent to confirm Pizarro in the government, or, indeed, to
remove him from it; but simply referred him to Gasca as one who
would acquaint him with the royal pleasure, and with whom he was
to cooperate in restoring tranquillity to the country.

Gasca's own letter was pitched on the same politic key. He
remarked, however, that the exigencies which had hitherto
determined Gonzalo's line of conduct existed no longer. All that
had been asked was conceded. There was nothing now to contend
for; and it only remained for Pizarro and his followers to show
their loyalty and the sincerity of their principles by obedience
to the Crown. Hitherto, the president said, Pizarro had been in
arms against the viceroy; and the people had supported him as
against a common enemy. If he prolonged the contest, that enemy
must be his sovereign. In such a struggle, the people would be
sure to desert him; and Gasca conjured him, by his honor as a
cavalier, and his duty as a loyal vassal, to respect the royal
authority, and not rashly provoke a contest which must prove to
the world that his conduct hitherto had been dictated less by
patriotic motives than by selfish ambition.
This letter, which was conveyed in language the most courteous
and complimentary to the subject of it, was of great length. It
was accompanied by another much more concise, to Cepeda, the
intriguing lawyer, who, as Gasca knew, had the greatest influence
over Pizarro, in the absence of Carbajal, then employed in
reaping the silver harvest from the newly discovered mines of
Potosi. *20 In this epistle, Gasca affected to defer to the
cunning politician as a member of the Royal Audience, and he
conferred with him on the best manner of supplying a vacancy in
that body. These several despatches were committed to a
cavalier, named Paniagua, a faithful adherent of the president,
and one of those who had accompanied him from Castile. To this
same emissary he also gave manifestoes and letters, like those
intrusted to the Dominican, with orders secretly to distribute
them in Lima, before he quitted that capital. *21

[Footnote 20: "El Licenciado Cepeda que tengo yo agora por
teniente, de quien yo hago mucho caso i le quiero mucho." Carta
de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

[Footnote 21: The letters noticed in the text may be found in
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 7, and Fernandez, Hist. del
Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 29, 30. The president's letter
covers several pages. Much of it is taken up with historic
precedents and illustrations, to show the folly, as well as
wickedness, of a collision with the imperial authority. The
benignant tone of this homily may be inferred from its concluding
sentence; "Nuestro senor por su infinita bodad alumbre a vuestra
merced, y a todos los demas para que acierten a hazer en este
negocio lo que couiene a sus almas, honras, vidas y haziendas: y
guarde en su sancto servicio la Illustre persona de vuestra

Weeks and months rolled away, while the president still remained
at Panama, where, indeed, as his communications were jealously
cut off with Peru, he might be said to be detained as a sort of
prisoner of state. Meanwhile, both he and Hinojosa were looking
with anxiety for the arrival of some messenger from Pizarro, who
should indicate the manner in which the president's mission was
to be received by that chief. The governor of Panama was not
blind to the perilous position in which he was himself placed,
nor to the madness of provoking a contest with the Court of
Castile. But he had a reluctance - not too often shared by the
cavaliers of Peru - to abandon the fortunes of the commander who
had reposed in him so great confidence. Yet he trusted that this
commander would embrace the opportunity now offered, of placing
himself and the country in a state of permanent security.

Several of the cavaliers who had given in their adhesion to
Gasca, displeased by this obstinacy, as they termed it, of
Hinojosa, proposed to seize his person and then get possession of
the armada. But the president at once rejected this offer. His
mission, he said, was one of peace, and he would not stain it at
the outset by an act of violence. He even respected the scruples
of Hinojosa; and a cavalier of so honorable a nature, he
conceived, if once he could be gained by fair means, would be
much more likely to be true to his interests, than if overcome
either by force or fraud. Gasca thought he might safely abide
his time. There was policy, as well as honesty, in this; indeed,
they always go together.
Meantime, persons were occasionally arriving from Lima and the
neighbouring places, who gave accounts of Pizarro, varying
according to the character and situation of the parties. Some
represented him as winning all hearts by his open temper and the
politic profusion with which, though covetous of wealth, he
distributed repartimientos and favors among his followers.
Others spoke of him as carrying matters with a high hand, while
the greatest timidity and distrust prevailed among the citizens
of Lima. All agreed that his power rested on too secure a basis
to be shaken; and that, if the president should go to Lima, he
must either consent to be come Pizarro's instrument and confirm
him in the government, or forfeit his own life. *22

[Footnote 22: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap.
27. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 2, cap. 7. - Ms. de
It was undoubtedly true, that Gonzalo, while he gave attention,
as his friends say, to the public business, found time for free
indulgence in those pleasures which wait on the soldier of
fortune in his hour of triumph. He was the object of flattery
and homage; courted even by those who hated him. For such as did
not love the successful chieftain had good cause to fear him; and
his exploits were commemorated in romances or ballads, as
rivalling - it was not far from truth - those of the most doughty
paladins of chivalry. *23

[Footnote 23: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap.
Amidst this burst of adulation, the cup of joy commended to
Pizarro's lips had one drop of bitterness in it that gave its
flavor to all the rest; for, notwithstanding his show of
confidence, he looked with unceasing anxiety to the arrival of
tidings that might assure him in what light his conduct was
regarded by the government at home. This was proved by his
jealous precautions to guard the approaches to the coast, and to
detain the persons of the royal emissaries. He learned,
therefore, with no little uneasiness, from Hinojosa, the landing
of President Gasca, and the purport of his mission. But his
discontent was mitigated, when he understood that the new envoy
had come without military array, without any of the ostentatious
trappings of office to impose on the minds of the vulgar, but
alone, as it were, in the plain garb of an humble missionary. *24
Pizarro could not discern, that under this modest exterior lay a
moral power, stronger than his own steel-clad battalions, which,
operating silently on public opinion, - the more sure that it was
silent, - was even now undermining his strength, like a
subterraneous channel eating away the foundations of some stately
edifice, that stands secure in its pride of place!

[Footnote 24: Gonzalo, in his letter to Valdivia, speaks of Gasca
as a clergyman of a godly reputation, who, without recompense, in
the true spirit of a missionary, had come over to settle the
affairs of the country. "Dicen ques mui buen christiano i hombre
de buena vida i clerigo, i dicen que viene a estas partes con
buena intencion i no quiso salario ninguno del Rey sino venir
para poner paz en estos reynos con sus cristiandades." Carta de
Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

But, although Gonzalo Pizarro could not foresee this result, he
saw enough to satisfy him that it would be safest to exclude the
president from Peru. The tidings of his arrival, moreover,
quickened his former purpose of sending an embassy to Spain to
vindicate his late proceedings, and request the royal
confirmation of his authority. The person placed at the head of
this mission was Lorenzo de Aldana, a cavalier of discretion as
well as courage, and high in the confidence of Pizarro, as one of
his most devoted partisans. He had occupied some important posts
under that chief, one secret of whose successes was the sagacity
he showed in the selection of his agents.

Besides Aldana and one or two cavaliers, the bishop of Lima was
joined in the commission, as likely, from his position, to have a
favorable influence on Gonzalo's fortunes at court. Together
with the despatches for the government, the envoys were intrusted
with a letter to Gasca from the inhabitants of Lima; in which,
after civilly congratulating the president on his arrival, they
announce their regret that he had come too late. The troubles of
the country were now settled by the overthrow of the viceroy, and
the nation was reposing in quiet under the rule of Pizarro. An
embassy, they stated, was on its way to Castile, not to solicit
pardon, for they had committed no crime, *25 but to petition the
emperor to confirm their leader in the government, as the man in
Peru best entitled to it by his virtues. *26 They expressed the
conviction that Gasca's presence would only serve to renew the
distractions of the country, and they darkly intimated that his
attempt to land would probably cost him his life. - The language
of this singular document was more respectful than might be
inferred from its import. It was dated the 14th of October,
1546, and was subscribed by seventy of the principal cavaliers in
the city. It was not improbably dictated by Cepeda, whose hand
is visible in most of the intrigues of Pizarro's little court.
It is also said, - the authority is somewhat questionable, - that
Aldana received instructions from Gonzalo secretly to offer a
bribe of fifty thousand pesos de oro to the president, to prevail
on him to return to Castile; and in case of his refusal, some
darker and more effectual way was to be devised to rid the
country of his presence. *27

[Footnote 25: "Porque perdo ninguno de nosotros le pide, porque
no entendemos que emos errado, sino seruido a su Magestad:
conseruado nuestro derecho; que por sus leyes Reales a sus
vasallos es permitido." Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib.
2, cap. 33.]

[Footnote 26: "Porque el por sus virtudes es muy amado de todos:
y tenido por padre del Peru." Ibid., ubi supra.]

[Footnote 27: Ibid., loc. cit. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8,
lib. 2, cap. 10. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 8. -
Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 177. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms.,
ano 1546.

Pizarro, in his letter to Valdivia, notices this remonstrance to
Gasca, who, with all his reputation as a saint, was as deep as
any man in Spain, and had now come to send him home, as a reward,
no doubt, of his faithful services. "But I and the rest of the
cavaliers," he concludes, "have warned him not to set foot here."
"Y agora que yo tenia puesta esta tierra en sosiego embiava su
parte al de la Gasca que aunque arriba digo que dicen ques un
santo, es un hombre mas manoso que havia en toda Espana e mas
sabio; e asi venia por presidente e Governador, e todo quanto el
quiera; e para poderme embiar a mi a Espana, i a cabo de dos anos
que andavamos fuera de nuestras casas queria el Rey darme este
pago, mas yo con todos los cavalleros deste Reyno le embiavamos a
decir que se vaya, sino que haremos con el como con Blasco
Nunez." Carta de Gonzalo Pizarro a Valdivia, Ms.]

Aldana, fortified with his despatches, sped swiftly on his voyage
to Panama. Through him the governor learned the actual state of
feeling in the councils of Pizarro; and he listened with regret
to the envoy's conviction, that no terms would be admitted by
that chief or his companions, that did not confirm him in the
possession of Peru. *28
[Footnote 28: With Aldana's mission to Castile Gonzalo Pizarro
closes the important letter, so often cited in these pages, and
which may be supposed to furnish the best arguments for his own
conduct. It is a curious fact, that Valdivia, the conqueror of
Chili, to whom the epistle is addressed, soon after this openly
espoused the cause of Gasca, and his troops formed part of the
forces who contended with Pizarro, not long afterwards, at
Huarina. Such was the friend on whom Gonzalo relied!]

Aldana was soon admitted to an audience by the president. It was
attended with very different results from what had followed from
the conferences with Hinojosa; for Pizarro's envoy was not armed
by nature with that stubborn panoply which had hitherto made the
other proof against all argument. He now learned with surprise
the nature of Gasca's powers, and the extent of the royal
concessions to the insurgents. He had embarked with Gonzalo
Pizarro on a desperate venture, and he found that it had proved
successful. The colony had nothing more, in reason, to demand;
and, though devoted in heart to his leader, he did not feel bound
by any principle of honor to take part with him, solely to
gratify his ambition, in a wild contest with the Crown that must
end in inevitable ruin. He consequently abandoned his mission to
Castile, probably never very palatable to him, and announced his
purpose to accept the pardon proffered by government, and support
the president in settling the affairs of Peru. He subsequently
wrote, it should be added, to his former commander in Lima,
stating the course he had taken, and earnestly recommending the
latter to follow his example.

The influence of this precedent in so important a person as
Aldana, aided, doubtless, by the conviction that no change was
now to be expected in Pizarro, while delay would be fatal to
himself, at length prevailed over Hinojosa's scruples, and he
intimated to Gasca his willingness to place the fleet under his
command. The act was performed with great pomp and ceremony.
Some of Pizarro's stanchest partisans were previously removed
from the vessels; and on the nineteenth of November, 1546,
Hinojosa and his captains resigned their commissions into the
hands of the president. They next took the oaths of allegiance
to Castile; a free pardon for all past offences was proclaimed by
the herald from a scaffold erected in the great square of the
city; and the president, greeting them as true and loyal vassals
of the Crown, restored their several commissions to the
cavaliers. The royal standard of Spain was then unfurled on
board the squadron, and proclaimed that this strong-hold of
Pizarro's power had passed away from him for ever. *29

[Footnote 29: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 9. - Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1,
lib. 2, cap. 38, 42. - Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 178. -
Ms. de Caravantes.
Garcilasso de la Vega, - whose partiality for Gonzalo Pizarro
forms a wholesome counterpoise to the unfavorable views taken of
his conduct by most other writers, - in his notice of this
transaction, seems disposed to allow little credit to that
loyalty which is shown by the sacrifice of a benefactor. Com.
Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 4.]

The return of their commissions to the insurgent captains was a
politic act in Gasca. It secured the services of the ablest
officers in the country, and turned against Pizarro the very arm
on which he had most leaned for support. Thus was this great
step achieved, without force or fraud, by Gasca's patience and
judicious forecast. He was content to bide his time; and he now
might rely with well-grounded confidence on the ultimate success
of his mission.

Chapter II

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


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

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

[Footnote 1: "Y ponia sus fuercas con tanta llaneza y obediencia,
que los Obispos y clerigos y los capitanes y mas principales
personas eran los que primero echauan mano, y tirauan de las
gumenas y cables de los nauios, para los sacar a la costa."
Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 70.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid., ubi supra. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano
1546. - Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap. 178. - Zarate, Conq. del
Peru, lib. 6, cap. 9. - Herrera, Hist General, dec. 8, lib. 3,
cap. 3.]

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

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

[Footnote 3: "Que eran mas de temer aquellas cartas que a las
lacas del Rey de Castilla." Fernandez, Hist. del Peru Parte 1,
lib. 2, cap. 45.]
It was at this period that Paniagua arrived off the port with
Gasca's despatches to Pizarro, consisting of the emperor's letter
and his own. They were instantly submitted by that chieftain to
his trusty counsellors, Carbajal and Cepeda, and their opinions
asked as to the course to be pursued. It was the crisis of
Pizarro's fate.

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

[Footnote 4: "Y le enladrillen los caminos por do viniere con
barras de plata, y tejos de Oro." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte
2, lib. 5, cap. 5.]
[Footnote 5: "Que no lo embiauan por hombre sencillo y llano,
sino de grandes cautelas, astucias, falsedades y enganos." Ibid.,
loc. cit.]
Carbajal was not shaken by the arguments or the sneers of his
companions; and as the discussion waxed warm, Cepeda taxed his
opponent with giving counsel suggested by fears for his own
safety - a foolish taunt, sufficiently disproved by the whole
life of the doughty old warrior. Carbajal did not insist further
on his own views, however, as he found them unwelcome to Pizarro,
and contented himself with coolly remarking, that "he had,
indeed, no relish for rebellion; but he had as long a neck for a
halter, he believed, as any of his companions; and as he could
hardly expect to live much longer, at any rate, it was, after
all, of little moment to him." *6

[Footnote 6: "Por lo demas, quado acaezca otra cosa, ya yo he
viuido muchos anos, y tengo tan bue palmo de pescueco para la
soga, como cada uno de vuesas mercedes." Ibid., loc. cit.]

Pizarro, spurred on by a fiery ambition that overleaped every
obstacle, *7 did not condescend to count the desperate chances of
a contest with the Crown. He threw his own weight into the scale
with Cepeda. The offer of grace was rejected; and he thus cast
away the last tie which held him to his country, and, by the act,
proclaimed himself a rebel. *8
[Footnote 7: "Loca y luciferina soberuia," as Fernandez
characterizes the aspiring temper of Gonzalo. Hist. del Peru,
Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 15.]
[Footnote 8: Ms. de Caravantes.

According to Garcilasso, Paniagua was furnished with secret
instructions by the president, empowering him, in case he judged
it necessary to the preservation of the royal authority, to
confirm Pizarro in the government, "it being little matter if the
Devil ruled there, provided the country remained to the Crown!"
The fact was so reported by Paniagua, who continued in Peru after
these events. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 5.) This is
possible. But it is more probable that a credulous gossip, like
Garcilasso, should be in error, than that Charles the Fifth
should have been prepared to make such an acknowledgment of his
imbecility, or that the man selected for Gasca's confidence
should have so indiscreetly betrayed his trust.]

It was not long after the departure of Paniagua, that Pizarro
received tidings of the defection of Aldana and Hinojosa, and of
the surrender of the fleet, on which he had expended an immense
sum, as the chief bulwark of his power. This unwelcome
intelligence was followed by accounts of the further defection of
some of the principal towns in the north, and of the
assassination of Puelles, the faithful lieutenant to whom he had
confided the government of Quito. It was not very long, also,
before he found his authority assailed in the opposite quarter at
Cuzco; for Centeno, the loyal chieftain who, as the reader may
remember, had been driven by Carbajal to take refuge in a cave
near Arequipa, had issued from his concealment after remaining
there a year, and, on learning the arrival of Gasca, had again
raised the royal standard. Then collecting a small body of
followers, and falling on Cuzco by night, he made himself master
of that capital, defeated the garrison who held it, and secured
it for the Crown. Marching soon after into the province of
Charcas, the bold chief allied himself with the officer who
commanded for Pizarro in La Plata; and their combined forces, to
the number of a thousand, took up a position on the borders of
Lake Titicaca, where the two cavaliers coolly waited an
opportunity to take the field against their ancient commander.
Gonzalo Pizarro, touched to the heart by the desertion of those
in whom he most confided, was stunned by the dismal tidings of
his losses coming so thick upon him. Yet he did not waste his
time in idle crimination or complaint; but immediately set about
making preparations to meet the storm with all his characteristic
energy. He wrote, at once, to such of his captains as he
believed still faithful, commanding them to be ready with their
troops to march to his assistance at the shortest notice. He
reminded them of their obligations to him, and that their
interests were identical with his own. The president's
commission, he added, had been made out before the news had
reached Spain of the battle of Anaquito, and could never cover a
pardon to those concerned in the death of the viceroy. *9

[Footnote 9: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11, 13. - Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte
1, lib. 2, cap. 45, 59. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547.]

Pizarro was equally active in enforcing his levies in the
capital, and in putting them in the best fighting order. He soon
saw himself at the head of a thousand men, beautifully equipped,
and complete in all their appointments; "as gallant an array,"
says an old writer, "though so small in number, as ever trod the
plains of Italy," - displaying in the excellence of their arms,
their gorgeous uniforms, and the caparisons of their horses, a
magnificence that could be furnished only by the silver of Peru.
*10 Each company was provided with a new stand of colors,
emblazoned with its peculiar device. Some bore the initials and
arms of Pizarro, and one or two of these were audaciously
surmounted by a crown, as if to intimate the rank to which their
commander might aspire. *11
[Footnote 10: "Mil Hombres tan bien armados i aderecados, como se
han visto en Italia, en la maior prosperidad, porque ninguno
havia, demas de las Armas, que no llevase Calcas, i Jubon de
Seda, i muchos de Tela de Oro, i de Brocado, i otros bordados, i
recamados de Oro, i Plata, con mucha Chaperia de Oro por los
Sombreros, i especialmente por Frascos, i Caxas de Arcubuces."
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11.]
[Footnote 11: Ibid., ubi supra.

Some writers even assert that Pizarro was preparing for his
coronation at this time, and that he had actually despatched his
summons to the different towns to send their deputies to assist
at it. "Queria spresurar su coronacion, y para ello despacho
cartas a todas las ciudades del Peru." (Montesinos, Annales, Ms.,
ano 1547.) But it is hardly probable he could have placed so
blind a confidence in the colonists at this crisis, as to have
meditated so rash a step. The loyal Castilian historians are not
slow to receive reports to the discredit of the rebel.]
Among the leaders most conspicuous on this occasion was Cepeda,
"who," in the words of a writer of his time, "had exchanged the
robe of the licentiate for the plumed casque and mailed harness
of the warrior." *12 But the cavalier to whom Pizarro confided
the chief care of organizing his battalions was the veteran
Carbajal, who had studied the art of war under the best captains
of Europe, and whose life of adventure had been a practical
commentary on their early lessons. It was on his arm that
Gonzalo most leaned in the hour of danger; and well had it been
for him, if he had profited by his counsels at an earlier period.
[Footnote 12: "El qual en este tiempo, oluidado de lo que
conuenia a sus letras, y profession, y officio de Oydor; salio en
calcas jubon, y cuera, de muchos recamados: y gorra con plumas."
Fernandez Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 62.]

It gives one some idea of the luxurious accommodations of
Pizarro's forces, that he endeavoured to provide each of his
musketeers with a horse. The expenses incurred by him were
enormous. The immediate cost of his preparations, we are told,
was not less than half a million of pesos de oro; and his pay to
the cavaliers, and, indeed, to the common soldiers, in his little
army, was on an extravagant scale, nowhere to be met with but on
the silver soil of Peru. *13
[Footnote 13: Ibid., ubi supra. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6,
cap. 11. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 3, cap. 5. -
Montesinos, Annales, ano 1547.]

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

[Footnote 14: Fernandez, Parte 1, lib. 2 cap. 62. - Montesinos,
Annales Ms., ano 1547.]

[Footnote 15: Gomara, Hist. de las Ind. cap. 172.]

[Footnote 16: "Andaba la Gente tan asombrada con el temor de la
muerte, que no se podian entender, ni tenian animo para huir, i
algunos, que hallaron mejor aparejo, se escondieron por los
Canaverales, i Cuevas, enterrando sus Haciendas." Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 15.]
[Footnote 17: Rel. Anonima, Ms. - Montesinos Annales, Ms., ano
1547. "Assi mismo echo Gozalo Picarro a toda la plata que gastaua
y destribuya su marca, que era una G. rebuelta en una P. y
pregono que so pena de muerte, todos recibiessen por plata fina
la que tuuiesse aquella marca: sin ensayo, ni otra diligencia
alguna. Y desta suerte hizo passar mucha plata de ley baja por
fina." Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 62.]

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

[Footnote 18: "Riose mucho entonces Caruajal y dixo; que segu
auia hecho la instancia, que auia entendido, que la justicia como
rayo, auia de yr luego a justiciarlos. Y dezia que si el los
tuuiesse presos, no se le daria vn clauo por su sentecia, ni
firmas." (Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 55.) Among the jurists in
Lima who thus independently resisted Cepeda's requisition to sign
the paper was the Licentiate Polo Ondegardo, a man of much
discretion, and one of the best authorities for the ancient
institutions of the Incas.]

While this paper war was going on, news was brought that Aldana's
squadron was off the port of Callao. That commander had sailed
from Panama, the middle of February, 1547. On his passage down
the coast he had landed at Truxillo, where the citizens welcomed
him with enthusiasm, and eagerly proclaimed their submission to
the royal authority. He received, at the same time, messages
from several of Pizarro's officers in the interior, intimating
their return to their duty, and their readiness to support the
president. Aldana named Caxamalca as a place of rendezvous,
where they should concentrate their forces, and wait the landing
of Gasca. He then continued his voyage towards Lima.
No sooner was Pizarro informed of his approach, than, fearful
lest it might have a disastrous effect in seducing his followers
from their fidelity, he marched them about a league out of the
city, and there encamped. He was two leagues from the coast, and
he posted a guard on the shore, to intercept all communication
with the vessels. Before leaving the capital, Cepeda resorted to
an expedient for securing the inhabitants more firmly, as he
conceived, in Pizarro's interests. He caused the citizens to be
assembled, and made them a studied harangue, in which he
expatiated on the services of their governor, and the security
which the country had enjoyed under his rule. He then told them
that every man was at liberty to choose for himself; to remain
under the protection of their present ruler, or, if they
preferred, to transfer their allegiance to his enemy. He invited
them to speak their minds, but required every one who would still
continue under Pizarro to take an oath of fidelity to his cause,
with the assurance, that, if any should be so false hereafter as
to violate this pledge, he should pay for it with his life. *19
There was no one found bold enough - with his head thus in the
lion's mouth - to swerve from his obedience to Pizarro; and every
man took the oath prescribed, which was administered in the most
solemn and imposing form by the licentiate. Carbajal, as usual,
made a jest of the whole proceeding. "How long," he asked his
companion, "do you think these same oaths will stand? The first
wind that blows off the coast after we are gone will scatter them
in air!" His prediction was soon verified.

[Footnote 19: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Fernandez,
Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 61. - Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1547. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap. 11, 14.]

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

[Footnote 20: "Entre otras cosas dixo a Goncalo Picarro vuesa
Senoria mando quemar cinco angeles que tenia en su puerto para
guarda y defensa de la costa del Peru." Garcilasso, Parte 2, lit.
5, cap. 6.]

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

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

[Footnote 21: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Gomara,
Hist. de las Ind., cap. 180. - Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte
1, lib. 2, cap. 63, 65. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 6, cap.
15, 16.]

Carbajal, who made a jest of every thing, even of the misfortunes
which pinched him the sharpest, when told of the desertion of his
comrades, amused himself by humming the words of a popular ditty:
"The wind blows the hairs off my head, mother:
Two at a time, it blows them away!" *22

[Footnote 22: "Estos mis Cabellicos, Madre,
Dos a dos me los lleva el Aire."
Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap 180.]

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

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

[Footnote 23: "Aunque siempre dijo: que con diez Amigos que le
quedasen, havia de conservarse, i conquistar de nuevo el Peru:
tanta era su sana,sana o su sobervia." Ibid., loc cit.]

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

[Footnote 24: "Y los truenos y relapagos eran tantos y tales; que
siempre parecia que estauan en llamas, y que sobre ellos venian
Rayos (que en todas aquellas partes caen muchos)." (Fernandez,
Hist del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71.) The vivid coloring of
the old chronicler shows that he had himself been familiar with
these tropics tempests on the Pacific.]
But the president saw in this the ruin of his cause, as well as
of the loyal vassals who had engaged, on his landing, to support
it. "I am willing to die," he said, "but not to return"; and,
regardless of the remonstrances of his more timid followers he
insisted on carrying as much sail as the ships could possibly
bear, at every interval of the storm. *25 Meanwhile, to divert
the minds of the seamen from their present danger, Gasca amused
them by explaining some of the strange phenomena exhibited by the
ocean in the tempest, which had filled their superstitious minds
with mysterious dread. *26

[Footnote 25: "Y con lo poco que en aquella sazon, el Presidente
estimaua la vida si no auia de hazer la jornada: y el gran desseo
que tenia de hazeria se puso cotra ellos diziendo, que qual
quiera que le tocasse en abaxar vela, le costaria la vida."
Fernandez, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71.]
[Footnote 26: The phosphoric lights, sometimes seen in a storm at
sea, were observed to hover round the masts and rigging of the
president's vessel; and he amused the seamen, according to
Fernandez, by explaining the phenomenon, and telling the fables
to which they had given rise in ancient mythology. - This little
anecdote affords a key to Gasca's popularity with even the
humblest classes.]

Signals had been given for the ships to make the best of their
way, each for itself, to the island of Gorgona. Here they
arrived, one after another, with but a single exception, though
all more or less shattered by the weather. The president waited
only for the fury of the elements to spend itself when he again
embarked, and, on smoother waters, crossed over to Manta. From
this place he soon after continued his voyage to Tumbez, and
landed at that port on the thirteenth of June. He was everywhere
received with enthusiasm, and all seemed anxious to efface the
remembrance of the past by professions of future fidelity to the
Crown. Gasca received, also, numerous letters of congratulation
from cavaliers in the interior, most of whom had formerly taken
service under Pizarro. He made courteous acknowledgments for
their offers of assistance, and commanded them to repair to
Caxamalca, the general place of rendezvous.
To this same spot he sent Hinojosa, so soon as that officer had
disembarked with the land forces from the fleet, ordering him to
take command of the levies assembled there, and then join him at
Xauxa. Here he determined to establish his head-quarters. It
lay in a rich and abundant territory, and by its central position
afforded a point for acting with greatest advantage against the

He then moved forward, at the head of a small detachment of
cavalry, along the level road on the coast. After halting for a
short time in that loyal city, he traversed the mountain range on
the southeast, and soon entered the fruitful valley of Xauxa.
There he was presently joined by reinforcements from the north,
as well as from the principal places on the coast; and, not long
after his arrival, received a message from Centeno, informing him
that he held the passes by which Gonzalo Pizarro was preparing to
make his escape from the country, and that the insurgent chief
must soon fall into his hands.
The royal camp was greatly elated by these tidings. The war,
then, was at length terminated, and that without the president
having been called upon so much as to lift his sword against a
Spaniard. Several of his counsellors now advised him to disband
the greater part of his forces, as burdensome and no longer
necessary. But the president was too wise to weaken his strength
before he had secured the victory. He consented, however, to
countermand the requisition for levies from Mexico and the
adjoining colonies, as now feeling sufficiently strong in the
general loyalty of the country. But, concentrating his forces at
Xauxa, he established his quarters in that town, as he had first
intended, resolved to await there tidings of the operations in
the south. The result was different from what he had expected.

[Footnote 27: For the preceding pages, see Pedro Pizarro, Descub.
y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 1. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 8, lib. 3, cap. 14, et seq. - Fernandez,
Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 71-77. - Ms. de Caravantes.

This last writer, who held an important post in the department of
colonial finance, had opportunities of information which have
enabled him to furnish several particulars not to be met with
elsewhere, respecting the principal actors in these turbulent
times. His work, still in manuscript, which formerly existed in
the archives of the University of Salamanca, has been transferred
to the King's library at Madrid.]
Pizarro, meanwhile, whom we left at Arequipa, had decided, after
much deliberation, to evacuate Peru, and pass into Chili. In
this territory, beyond the president's jurisdiction, he might
find a safe retreat. The fickle people, he thought, would soon
weary of their new ruler; and he would then rally in sufficient
strength to resume active operations for the recovery of his
domain. Such were the calculations of the rebel chieftain. But
how was he to effect his object, while the passes among the
mountains, where his route lay, were held by Centeno with a force
more than double his own? He resolved to try negotiation; for
that captain had once served under him, and had, indeed, been
most active in persuading Pizarro to take on himself the office
of procurator. Advancing, accordingly, in the direction of Lake
Titicaca, in the neighbourhood of which Centeno had pitched his
camp, Gonzalo despatched an emissary to his quarters to open a
negotiation. He called to his adversary's recollection the
friendly relations that had once subsisted between them; and
reminded him of one occasion in particular, in which he had
spared his life, when convicted of a conspiracy against himself.
He harboured no sentiments of unkindness, he said, for Centeno's
recent conduct, and had not now come to seek a quarrel with him.
His purpose was to abandon Peru; and the only favor he had to
request of his former associate was to leave him a free passage
across the mountains.

To this communication Centeno made answer in terms as courtly as
those of Pizarro himself, that he was not unmindful of their
ancient friendship. He was now ready to serve his former
commander in any way not inconsistent with honor, or obedience to
his sovereign. But he was there in arms for the royal cause, and
he could not swerve from his duty. If Pizarro would but rely on
his faith, and surrender himself up, he pledged his knightly word
to use all his interest with the government, to secure as
favorable terms for him and his followers as had been granted to
the rest of their countrymen - Gonzalo listened to the smooth
promises of his ancient comrade with bitter scorn depicted in his
countenance, and, snatching the letter from his secretary, cast
it away from him with indignation. There was nothing left but an
appeal to arms. *28
[Footnote 28: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Garcilasso,
Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 16. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru,
lib. 7.]
He at once broke up his encampment, and directed his march on the
borders of Lake Titicaca, near which lay his rival. He resorted,
however, to stratagem, that he might still, if possible, avoid an
encounter. He sent forward his scouts in a different direction
from that which he intended to take, and then quickened his march
on Huarina. This was a small town situated on the southeastern
extremity of Lake Titicaca, the shores of which, the seat of the
primitive civilization of the Incas, were soon to resound with
the murderous strife of their more civilized conquerors!

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

It was the twenty-sixth of October, 1547, when the two
commanders, having formed their troops in order of battle,
advanced to the encounter on the plains of Huarina. The ground,
defended on one side by a bold spur of the Andes, and not far
removed on the other from the waters of Titicaca, was an open and
level plain, well suited to military manoeuvres. It seemed as if
prepared by Nature as the lists for an encounter.
Centeno's army amounted to about a thousand men. His cavalry
consisted of near two hundred and fifty, well equipped and
mounted. Among them were several gentlemen of family, some of
whom had once followed the banners of Pizarro, the whole forming
an efficient corps, in which rode some of the best lances of
Peru. His arquebusiers were less numerous, not exceeding a
hundred and fifty, indifferently provided with ammunition. The
remainder, and much the larger part of Centeno's army, consisted
of spearmen, irregular levies hastily drawn together, and
possessed of little discipline. *29

[Footnote 29: In the estimate of Centeno's forces, - which
ranges, in the different accounts, from seven hundred to twelve
hundred, - I have taken the intermediate number of a thousand
adopted by Zarate, as, on the whole, more probable than either

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

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

[Footnote 30: Flor de la milicia del Peru, says Garcilasso de la
Vega, who compares Carbajal to an expert chess-player, disposing
his pieces in such a manner as must infallibly secure him the
victory. Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 18.]

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

His lieutenant, Carbajal, was equipped in a very different style.
He wore armour of proof of the most homely appearance, but strong
and serviceable; and his steel bonnet, with its closely barred
visor of the same material, protected his head from more than one
desperate blow on that day. Over his arms he wore a surcoat of a
greenish color, and he rode an active, strong-boned jennet,
which, though capable of enduring fatigue, possessed neither
grace nor beauty. It would not have been easy to distinguish the
veteran from the most ordinary cavalier.
The two hosts arrived within six hundred paces of each other,
when they both halted. Carbajal preferred to receive the attack
of the enemy, rather than advance further; for the ground he now
occupied afforded a free range for his musketry, unobstructed by
the trees or bushes that were sprinkled over some other parts of
the field. There was a singular motive, in addition, for
retaining his present position. The soldiers were encumbered,
some with two, some with three, arquebuses each, being the arms
left by those who, from time to time, had deserted the camp. This
uncommon supply of muskets, however serious an impediment on a
march, might afford great advantage to troops waiting an assault;
since, from the imperfect knowledge as well as construction of
fire-arms at that day, much time was wasted in loading them. *31

[Footnote 31: Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra.

The historian's father - of the same name with himself - was one
of the few noble cavaliers who remained faithful to Gonzalo
Pizarro, in the wane of his fortunes. He was present at the
battle of Huarina; and the particulars which he gave his son
enabled the latter to supply many deficiencies in the reports of

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

[Footnote 32: "A las manos, a las manos; a ellos, a ellos."
Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 79.]

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

[Footnote 33: Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra.]

The veteran's company stood calm and unmoved, as Centeno's
rapidly advanced; but when the latter had arrived within a
hundred paces of their antagonists, Carbajal gave the word to
fire. An instantaneous volley ran along the line, and a tempest
of balls was poured into the ranks of the assailants, with such
unerring aim, that more than a hundred fell dead on the field,
while a still greater number were wounded. Before they could
recover from their disorder, Carbajal's men, snatching up their
remaining pieces, discharged them with the like dreadful effect
into the thick of the enemy. The confusion of the latter was now
complete. Unable to sustain the incessant shower of balls which
fell on them from the scattering fire kept up by the
arquebusiers, they were seized with a panic, and fled, scarcely
making a show of further fight, from the field.
But very different was the fortune of the day in the cavalry
combat. Gonzalo Pizarro had drawn up his troop somewhat in the
rear of Carbajal's right, in order to give the latter a freer
range for the play of his musketry. When the enemy's horse on
the left galloped briskly against him, Pizarro, still favoring
Carbajal, - whose fire, moreover, inflicted some loss on the
assailants, - advanced but a few rods to receive the charge.
Centeno's squadron, accordingly, came thundering on in full
career, and, notwithstanding the mischief sustained from their
enemy's musketry, fell with such fury on their adversaries as to
overturn them, man and horse, in the dust; "riding over their
prostrate bodies," says the historian, "as if they had been a
flock of sheep!" *34 The latter, with great difficulty recovering
from the first shock, attempted to rally and sustain the fight on
more equal terms.

[Footnote 34: "Los de Diego Centeno, como yuan con la pujanca de
vna zariera larga, lleuaron a los de Goncalo Picarro de
encuentro, y los tropellaron como si fueran ouejas, y cayeron
cauallos y caualleros." Ibid., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 19]

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

[Footnote 35: Cepeda's wound laid open his nose, leaving so
hideous a scar that he was obliged afterwards to cover it with a
patch, as Garcilasso tells us, who frequently saw him in Cuzco.]

[Footnote 36: According to most authorities, Pizarro's horse was
not only wounded but slain in the fight, and the loss was
supplied by his friend Garcilasso de la Vega, who mounted him on
his own. This timely aid to the rebel did no service to the
generous cavalier in after times, but was urged against him by
his enemies as a crime. The fact is stoutly denied by his son,
the historian, who seems anxious to relieve his father from this
honorable imputation, which threw a cloud over both their
fortunes Ibid. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 23]

The rout of the cavalry was complete, and Pizarro considered the
day as lost, as he heard the enemy's trumpet sending forth the
note of victory. But the sounds had scarcely died away, when
they were taken up by the opposite side. Centeno's infantry had
been discomfited, as we have seen, and driven off the ground.
But his cavalry on the right had charged Carbajal's left,
consisting of spearmen mingled with arquebusiers. The horse rode
straight against this formidable phalanx. But they were unable
to break through the dense array of pikes, held by the steady
hands of troops who stood firm and fearless on their post; while,
at the same time, the assailants were greatly annoyed by the
galling fire of the arquebusiers in the rear of the spearmen.
Finding it impracticable to make a breach, the horsemen rode
round the flanks in much disorder, and finally joined themselves
with the victorious squadron of Centeno's cavalry in the rear.
Both parties now attempted another charge on Carbajal's
battalion. But his men facing about with the promptness and
discipline of well-trained soldiers, the rear was converted into
the front. The same forest of spears was presented to the
attack; while an incessant discharge of balls punished the
audacity of the cavaliers, who, broken and completely dispirited
by their ineffectual attempt, at length imitated the example of
the panic-struck foot, and abandoned the field.
Pizarro and a few of his comrades still fit for action followed
up the pursuit for a short distance only, as, indeed, they were
in no condition themselves, nor sufficiently strong in numbers,
long to continue it. The victory was complete, and the insurgent
chief took possession of the deserted tents of the enemy, where
an immense booty was obtained in silver; *37 and where he also
found the tables spread for the refreshment of Centeno's soldiers
after their return from the field. So confident were they of
success! The repast now served the necessities of their
conquerors. Such is the fortune of war! It was, indeed, a most
decisive action; and Gonzalo Pizarro, as he rode over the field
strewed with the corpses of his enemies, was observed several
times to cross himself and exclaim, - "Jesu! what a victory!"

[Footnote 37: The booty amounted to no less than one million four
hundred thousand pesos, according to Fernandez. 'El saco que vuo
fue grande: que se dixo ser de mas de vn millon y quatrocietos
mil pesos." (Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 79.) The
amount is, doubtless, grossly exaggerated. But we get to be so
familiar with the golden wonders of Peru, that, like the reader
of the "Arabian Nights," we become of too easy faith to resort to
the vulgar standard of probability]

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

[Footnote 38: "La mas sangrienta batalla que vuo en el Peru."
Ibid., loc. cit.

In the accounts of this battle there are discrepancies, as usual,
which the historian must reconcile as he can. But on the whole,
there is a general conformity in the outline and in the prominent
points. All concur in representing it as the bloodiest fight
that had yet occurred between the Spaniards in Peru, and all
assign to Carbajal the credit of the victory. - For authorities,
besides Garcilasso and Fernandez, repeatedly quoted, see Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. (He was present in the action.) -
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap 3. - Herrera, Hist. General,
dec 8, lib. 4, cap. 2. - Gomara, Hist de las Indias, cap. 181. -
Montesi nos, Annales, Ms., ano 1547]

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

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

[Footnote 39: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Fernandez,
Hist.del Peru, ubi supra. - Zarate, lib. 7, cap. 3. -
Garcilasso, Com Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 21, 22]

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

The victor now profited by his success to send detachments to
Arequipa, La Plata, and other cities in that part of the country,
to raise funds and reinforcements for the war. His own losses
were more than compensated by the number of the vanquished party
who were content to take service under his banner. Mustering his
forces, he directed his march to Cuzco, which capital, though
occasionally seduced into a display of loyalty to the Crown, had
early manifested an attachment to his cause.
Here the inhabitants were prepared to receive him in triumph,
under arches thrown across the streets, with bands of music, and
minstrelsy commemorating his successes. But Pizarro, with more
discretion, declined the honors of an ovation while the country
remained in the hands of his enemies. Sending forward the main
body of his troops, he followed on foot, attended by a slender
retinue of friends and citizens, and proceeded at once to the
cathedral, where thanksgivings were offered up, and Te Deum was
chanted in honor of his victory. He then withdrew to his
residence, announcing his purpose to establish his quarters, for
the present, in the venerable capital of the Incas. *40

[Footnote 40: Ibid., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 27. - Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 3.

Garcilasso de la Vega, who was a boy at the time, witnessed
Pizarro's entry into Cuzco. He writes, therefore, from memory;
though after an interval of many years. In consequence of his
father's rank, he had easy access to the palace of Pizarro; and
this portion of his narrative may claim the consideration due not
merely to a contemporary, but to an eyewitness.]

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

Chapter III

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


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

[Footnote 1: "Y salio a la Ciudad de los Reyes, sin que Carbajal,
ni alguno de los suyos supiesse por donde fue, sino que parecio
encantamiento." Garcilasso, Com. Real. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 22.]
The intelligence spread general consternation among the soldiers,
proportioned to their former confidence; and they felt it was
almost hopeless to contend with a man who seemed protected by a
charm that made him invincible against the greatest odds. The
president, however sore his disappointment, was careful to
conceal it, while he endeavoured to restore the spirits of his
followers. "They had been too sanguine," he said, "and it was in
this way that Heaven rebuked their presumption. Yet it was but
in the usual course of events, that Providence, when it designed
to humble the guilty, should allow him to reach as high an
elevation as possible, that his fall might be the greater!"

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

[Footnote 2: Gasca, according to Ondegardo, supported his army,
during his stay at Xauxa, from the Peruvian granaries in the
valley, as he found a quantity of maize still remaining in them
sufficient for several years' consumption. It is passing strange
that these depositaries should have been so long respected by the
hungry Conquerors. - "Cuando el Senor Presidente Gasca passo con
la gente de castigo de Gonzalo Pizarro por el Valle de Jauja,
estuvo alli siete semanas a lo que me acuerdo, se hallaron en
deposito maiz de cuatro y de tres y de dos anos mas de 15,000
hanegas junto al camino, e alli comio la gente." Ondegardo, Rel.
Seg., Ms.]
Quitting Xauxa, December 29, 1547, he passed through Guamanga,
and after a severe march, rendered particularly fatiguing by the
inclement state of the weather and the badness of the roads, he
entered the province of Andaguaylas. It was a fair and fruitful
country, and since the road beyond would take him into the depths
of a gloomy sierra, scarcely passable in the winter snows, Gasca
resolved to remain in his present quarters until the severity of
the season was mitigated. As many of the troops had already
contracted diseases from exposure to the incessant rains, he
established a camp hospital; and the good president personally
visited the quarters of the sick, ministering to their wants, and
winning their hearts by his sympathy. *3

[Footnote 3: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 4. - Fernandez,
Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 82-85. - Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Cieza de Leon, cap. 90]

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

[Footnote 4: At least, so says Valdivia in his letter to the
emperor. "I dixo publico que estimara mas mi persona que a los
mejores ochocientos hombres de guerra que l pudieran venir
aquella hora." Carta de Valdivia, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 5: Zarate, Ms.]

The wintry season now began to give way before the mild influence
of spring, which makes itself early felt in these tropical, but
from their elevation temperate, regions; and Gasca, after nearly
three months' detention in Andaguaylas, mustered his levies for
the final march upon Cuzco. *6 Their whole number fell little
short of two thousand, - the largest European force yet assembled
in Peru. Nearly half were provided with fire-arms; and infantry
was more available than horse in the mountain countries which
they were to traverse. But his cavalry was also numerous, and he
carried with him a train of eleven heavy guns. The equipment and
discipline of the troops were good; they were well provided with
ammunition and military stores; and were led by officers whose
names were associated with the most memorable achievements in the
New World. All who had any real interest in the weal of the
country were to be found, in short, under the president's banner,
making a striking contrast to the wild and reckless adventurers
who now swelled the ranks of Pizarro.
[Footnote 6: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 90.

The old chronicler, or rather geographer, Cieza de Leon, was
present in the campaign, he tells us; so that his testimony,
always good, becomes for the remaining events of more than usual

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

[Footnote 7: Valdivia, indeed, claims to have had the whole
command intrusted to him by Gasca "Luego me dio el autoridad toda
que traia de parte de V. M. para en los casos ocantes a la
guerra, i me encargo todo el exercito, i le puso baxo de mi mano
rogando i pidiendo por merced de su parte a todos aquellos
caballeros capitanes e gente de guerra, i de la de V. M.
mandandoles me obedesciesen en todo lo que les mandase acerca de
la guerra, i cumpliesen mis mandamientos como los suyos." (Carta
de Valdivia, Ms.) But other authorities state it, with more
probability, as given in the text. Valdivia, it must be
confessed, loses nothing from modesty. The whole of his letter to
the emperor is written in a strain of self-glorification, rarely
matched even by a Castilian hidalgo.]
The first obstacle to his progress was the river Abancay, the
bridge over which had been broken down by the enemy. But as
there was no force to annoy them on the opposite bank, the army
was not long in preparing a new bridge, and throwing it across
the stream, which in this place had nothing formidable in its
character. The road now struck into the heart of a mountain
region, where woods, precipices, and ravines were mingled
together in a sort of chaotic confusion, with here and there a
green and sheltered valley, glittering like an island of verdure
amidst the wild breakers of a troubled ocean! The bold peaks of
the Andes, rising far above the clouds, were enveloped in snow,
which descending far down their sides, gave a piercing coldness
to the winds that swept over their surface, until men and horses
were benumbed and stiffened under their influence. The roads, in
these regions, were in some places so narrow and broken, as to be
nearly impracticable for cavalry. The cavaliers were compelled
to dismount; and the president, with the rest, performed the
journey on foot, so hazardous, that, even in later times, it has
been no uncommon thing for the sure-footed mule to be
precipitated, with its cargo of silver, thousands of feet down
the sheer sides of a precipice. *8
[Footnote 8: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91.]

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

[Footnote 9: Ms. de Caravantes 2 L 2]

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

The structure in question, it should be remembered, was one of
those suspension bridges formerly employed by the Incas, and
still used in crossing the deep and turbulent rivers of South
America. They are made of osier withes, twisted into enormous
cables, which, when stretched across the water, are attached to
heavy blocks of masonry, or, where it will serve, to the natural
rock. Planks are laid transversely across these cables, and a
passage is thus secured, which, notwithstanding the light and
fragile appearance of the bridge, as it swings at an elevation
sometimes of several hundred feet above the abyss, affords a
tolerably safe means of conveyance for men, and even for such
heavy burdens as artillery. *10

[Footnote 10: Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap.
86, 87. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. - Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Ms. de Caravantes. - Carta de
Valdivia, Ms. - Relacion del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]

Notwithstanding the peremptory commands of Gasca, the officer
intrusted with collecting the materials for the bridge was so
anxious to have the honor of completing the work himself, that he
commenced it at once. The president, greatly displeased at
learning this, quickened his march, in order to cover the work
with his whole force. But, while toiling through the mountain
labyrinth, tidings were brought him that a party of the enemy had
demolished the small portion of the bridge already made, by
cutting the cables on the opposite bank. Valdivia, accordingly,
hastened forward at the head of two hundred arquebusiers, while
the main body of the army followed with as much speed as
That officer, on reaching the spot, found that the interruption
had been caused by a small party of Pizarro's followers, not
exceeding twenty in number assisted by a stronger body of
Indians. He at once caused balsas, broad and clumsy barks, or
rather rafts, of the country, to be provided, and by this means
passed his men over, without opposition to the other side of the
river. The enemy, disconcerted by the arrival of such a force,
retreated and made the best of their way to report the affair to
their commander at Cuzco. Meanwhile, Valdivia, who saw the
importance of every moment in the present crisis, pushed forward
the work with the greatest vigor. Through all that night his
weary troops continued the labor, which was already well
advanced, when the president and his battalions, emerging from
the passes of the Cordilleras, presented themselves at sunrise on
the opposite bank.

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

[Footnote 11: "La gente que estaua, de la vna parte y de la otra,
todos tirauan y trabajauan al poner, y apretar de las Criznejas:
sin que el Presidente ni Obispos, ni otra persona quisiesse tener
preuilegio para dexar de trabajar." Fernandez, Hist. del Peru,
Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 87.]
The passage of the river had been effected with less loss than
might have been expected, considering the darkness of the night,
and the numbers that crowded over the aerial causeway. Some few,
indeed, fell into the water, and were drowned; and more than
sixty horses, in the attempt to swim them across the river, were
hurried down the current, and dashed against the rocks below. *12
It still required time to bring up the heavy train of ordnance
and the military wagons; and the president encamped on the strong
ground which he now occupied, to await their arrival, and to
breathe his troops after their extraordinary efforts. In these
quarters we must leave him, to acquaint the reader with the state
of things in the insurgent army, and with the cause of its
strange remissness in guarding the passes of the Apurimac. *13

[Footnote 12: "Aquel dia pasaron mas de quatrocientos Hombres,
Ilevando los Caballos a nado, encima de illos atadas sus armas, i
arcabuces, caso que se perdieron mas de sesenta Caballos, que con
la corriente grande se desataron, i luego daban en vnas penas,
donde se hacian pedacos, sin darles lugar el impetu del rio, a
que pudiesen nadar." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. -
Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 184.]
[Footnote 13: Ibid., ubi supra. - Fernandez Hist del Peru, Parte
1, lib. 2, cap. 87. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. -
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Ms. de Caravantes. - Carta
de Valdivia, Ms. - Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91. - Relacion
del Lic. Gasca, Ms.]
From the time of Pizarro's occupation of Cuzco, he had lived in
careless luxury in the midst of his followers, like a soldier of
fortune in the hour of prosperity; enjoying the present, with as
little concern for the future as if the crown of Peru were
already fixed irrevocably upon his head. It was otherwise with
Carbajal. He looked on the victory at Huarina as the
commencement, not the close, of the struggle for empire; and he
was indefatigable in placing his troops in the best condition for
maintaining their present advantage. At the first streak of
dawn, the veteran might be seen mounted on his mule, with the
garb and air of a common soldier, riding about in the different
quarters of the capital, sometimes superintending the manufacture
of arms, or providing military stores, and sometimes drilling his
men, for he was most careful always to maintain the strictest
discipline. *14 His restless spirit seemed to find no pleasure
but in incessant action; living, as he had always done, in the
turmoil of military adventure, he had no relish for any thing
unconnected with war, and in the city saw only the materials for
a well-organized camp.

[Footnote 14: "Andaua siempre en vna mula crescida de color entre
pardo y bermejo, yo no le vi en otra caualgadura en todo el
tiempo que estuuo en el Cozco antes de la batalla de Sacsahuana.
Era tan contino y diligete en solicitar lo que a su exercito
conuenia, que a todas horas del dia y de la roche le topauan sus
soldados haziendo su oficio, y los agenos." Garcilasso, Com.
Real., Parte 1, lib. 5 cap. 27.]

With these feelings, he was much dissatisfied at the course taken
by his younger leader, who now professed his intention to abide
where he was, and, when the enemy advanced, to give him battle.
Carbajal advised a very different policy. He had not that full
confidence, it would seem, in the loyalty of Pizarro's partisans,
at least, not of those who had once followed the banner of
Centeno. These men some three hundred in number, had been in a
manner compelled to take service under Pizarro. They showed no
heartiness in the cause, and the veteran strongly urged his
commander to disband them at once; since it was far better to go
to battle with a few faithful followers than with a host of the
false and faint-hearted.
But Carbajal thought, also, that his leader was not sufficiently
strong in numbers to encounter his opponent, supported as he was
by the best captains of Peru. He advised, accordingly, that he
should abandon Cuzco, carrying off all the treasure, provisions,
and stores of every kind from the city, which might, in any way,
serve the necessities of the royalists. The latter, on their
arrival, disappointed by the poverty of a place where they had
expected to find so much booty, would become disgusted with the
service. Pizzaro, meanwhile, might take refuge with his men in
the neighbouring fastnesses, where, familiar with the ground, it
would be easy to elude the enemy; and if the latter persevered in
the pursuit, with numbers diminished by desertion, it would not
be difficult in the mountain passes to find an opportunity for
assailing him at advantage. - Such was the wary counsel of the
old warrior. But it was not to the taste of his fiery commander,
who preferred to risk the chances of a battle, rather than turn
his back on a foe.

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

[Footnote 15: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 27. -
Gomara, Hist. de las Indias, cap. 182. - Fernandez, Hist. del
Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

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

[Footnote 16: "Paresceme vuestra Senoria se vaya a la vuelta del
Collao y me deje cien hombres, los que yo escojiere, que yo me
ire a vista deste capellan, que ansi llamaba el al presidente."
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 17: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 31]
But he soon forgot the veteran's advice, and moved at so dull a
pace over the difficult roads, that, although the distance was
not more than nine leagues, he found, on his arrival, the bridge
completed, and so large a body of the enemy already crossed, that
he was in no strength to attack them. Acosta did, indeed,
meditate an ambuscade by night; but the design was betrayed by a
deserter, and he contented himself with retreating to a safe
distance, and sending for a further reinforcement from Cuzco.
Three hundred men were promptly detached to his support; but when
they arrived, the enemy was already planted in full force on the
crest of the eminence. The golden opportunity was irrecoverably
lost; and the disconsolate cavalier rode back in all haste to
report the failure of his enterprise to his commander in Cuzco.

[Footnote 18: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Fernandez,
Hist. del Peru, Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 88.

Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 7, cap. 5. - Carta de Valdivia, Ms.
Valdivia's letter to the emperor, dated at Concepcion, was
written about two years after the events above recorded. It is
chiefly taken up with his Chilian conquests, to which his
campaign under Gasca, on his visit to Peru, forms a kind of
brilliant episode. This letter, the original of which is
preserved in Simancas, covers about seventy folio pages in the
copy belonging to me. It is one of that class of historical
documents, consisting of the despatches and correspondence of the
colonial governors, which, from the minuteness of the details and
the means of information possessed by the writers, are of the
highest worth. The despatches addressed to the Court,
particularly, may compare with the celebrated Relazioni made by
the Venetian ambassadors to their republic, and now happily in
the course of publication, at Florence, under the editorial
auspices of the learned Alberi.]

Chapter III

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


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

[Footnote 1: "Y salio a la Ciudad de los Reyes, sin que Carbajal,
ni alguno de los suyos supiesse por donde fue, sino que parecio
encantamiento." Garcilasso, Com. Real. Parte 2, lib. 5, cap. 22.]
The intelligence spread general consternation among the soldiers,
proportioned to their former confidence; and they felt it was
almost hopeless to contend with a man who seemed protected by a
charm that made him invincible against the greatest odds. The
president, however sore his disappointment, was careful to
conceal it, while he endeavoured to restore the spirits of his
followers. "They had been too sanguine," he said, "and it was in
this way that Heaven rebuked their presumption. Yet it was but
in the usual course of events, that Providence, when it designed
to humble the guilty, should allow him to reach as high an
elevation as possible, that his fall might be the greater!"

But while Gasca thus strove to reassure the superstitious and the
timid, he bent his mind, with his usual energy, to repair the

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