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

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hardly have felt such confidence in himself, as not to look with
apprehension, mingled with awe, on the mysterious strangers, who,
coming from an unknown world, and possessed of such wonderful
gifts, had made their way across mountain and valley, in spite of
every obstacle which man and nature had opposed to them.

[Footnote 9: This was evidently the opinion of the old Conqueror,
whose imperfect manuscript forms one of the best authorities for
this portion of our narrative. "Teniendonos en muy poco, y no
haciendo cuenta que 190 hombres le habian de ofender. dio lugar
y consintio que pasasemos por aquel paso y por otros muchos tan
malos como el, porque realmente, a lo que despues se supo y
averiguo, su intencion era vernos y preguntarnos, de donde
veniamos? y quien nos habia hechado alli? y que queriamos?
Porque era muy sabio y discreto, y aunque sin luz ni escriptura,
amigo de saber y de sotil entendimiento; y despues de holgadose
con nosotros, tomarnos los caballos y las cosas que a el mas le
aplacian, y sacrificar a los demas." Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms.]

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

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

[Footnote 10: According to Stevenson, this population, which is
of a very mixed character, amounts, or did amount some thirty
years ago, to about seven thousand. That sagacious traveller
gives an animated description of the city, in which he resided
some time, and which he seems to have regarded with peculiar
predilection. Yet it does not hold probably the relative rank at
the present day, that it did in that of the Incas. Residence in
South America, vol. II. p. 131.]

[Footnote 11: Carta de Hern. Pizarro, ap. Oviedo, Hist. de las
Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 15. - Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom III. p. 195.]

[Footnote 12: "Fuercas son, que entre Indios no se han visto
tales." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 195. -
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

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

[Footnote 13: "Desde a poco rato comenco a llover, i caer
granico." (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 195.)
Caxamalca, in the Indian tongue, signifies "place of frost"; for
the temperature, though usually bland and genial, is sometimes
affected by frosty winds from the east, very pernicious to
vegetation. Stervenson, Residence in South America, vol. II. p.

[Footnote 14: Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. The Letter of Hernando
Pizarro, addressed to the Royal Audience of St. Domingo, gives a
full account of the extraordinary events recorded in this and the
ensuing chapter, in which that cavalier took a prominent part.
Allowing for the partialities incident to a chief actor in the
scenes he describes, no authority can rank higher. The
indefatigable Oviedo, who resided in St. Domingo, saw its
importance, and fortunately incorporated the document in his
great work, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 15. -
The anonymous author of the Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.,
was also detached on this service.]
Between the city and the imperial camp was a causeway, built in a
substantial manner across the meadow land that intervened. Over
this the cavalry galloped at a rapid pace, and, before they had
gone a league, they came in front of the Peruvian encampment,
where it spread along the gentle slope of the mountains. The
lances of the warriors were fixed in the ground before their
tents, and the Indian soldiers were loitering without, gazing
with silent astonishment at the Christians cavalcade, as with
clangor of arms and shrill blast of trumpet it swept by, like
some fearful apparition, on the wings of the wind.

The party soon came to a broad but shallow stream, which, winding
through the meadow, formed a defence for the Inca's position.
Across it was a wooden bridge; but the cavaliers, distrusting its
strength, preferred to dash through the waters, and without
difficulty gained the opposite bank. A battalion of Indian
warriors was drawn up under arms on the farther side of the
bridge, but they offered no molestation to the Spaniards; and
these latter had strict orders from Pizarro - scarcely necessary
in their present circumstances - to treat the natives with
courtesy. One of the Indians pointed out the quarter occupied by
the Inca. *15

[Footnote 15: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Hern
Pizarro, Ms.]

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

"Y al estanque venian dos canos de agua, uno caliente y otro
frio, y alli se templava la una con la otra, para quando el Senor
se queria banar o sus mugeres que otra persona no osava entrar en
el so pena de la vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y. Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 17: Stevenson, Residence in South America, vol. II. p.

[Footnote 18: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
196. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.

The appearance of the Peruvian monarch is described in simple but
animated style by the Conqueror so often quoted, one of the
party. "Llegados al patio de la dicha casa que tenia delante
della, vimos estar en medio de gran muchedumbre de Indios
asentado aquel gran Senor Atabalica (de quien tanta noticia, y
tantas cosas nos habian dicho) con una corona en la cabeza, y una
borla que le salia della, y le cubria toda la frente, la cual era
la insinia real, sentado en una sillecita muy baja del suelo,
como los turcos y moros acostumbran sentarse, el cual estaba con
tanta magestad y aparato cual nunca se ha visto jamas, porque
estaba cercado de mas de seiscientos Senores de su tierra."
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

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

Hernando Pizarro and Soto, with two or three only of their
followers, slowly rode up in front of the Inca; and the former,
making a respectful obeisance, but without dismounting, informed
Atahuallpa that he came as an ambassador from his brother, the
commander of the white men, to acquaint the monarch with their
arrival in his city of Caxamalca. They were the subjects of a
mighty prince across the waters, and had come, he said, drawn
thither by the report of his great victories, to offer their
services, and to impart to him the doctrines of the true faith
which they professed; and he brought an invitation from the
general to Atahuallpa that the latter would be pleased to visit
the Spaniards in their present quarters. quarter.
To all this the Inca answered not a word; nor did he make even a
sign of acknowledgment that he comprehended it; though it was
translated for him by Felipillo, one of the interpreters already
noticed. He remained silent, with his eyes fastened on the
ground; but one of his nobles, standing by his side, answered,
"It is well." *19 This was an embarrassing situation for the
Spaniards, who seemed to be as wide from ascertaining the real
disposition of the Peruvian monarch towards themselves, as when
the mountains were between them.

[Footnote 19: "Las cuales por el oidas, con ser su inclinacion
pereguntarnos y saber de donde veniamos, y que queriamos, y ver
nuestras personas y caballos, tubo tanta serenidad en el rostro,
y tanta gravedad en su persona, que no quiso responder palabra a
lo que se le decia, salvo que un Senor de aquellos que estaban
par de el respondia: bien esta." Relacion del Primer. Descub.,

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

[Footnote 20: "Visto por el dicho Hernando Pizarro que el no
hablaba y que aquella tercera persona respondia de suyo, torno le
a suplicar, que el hablase por su boca, y le respondiese lo que
quisiese." Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.]

[Footnote 21: "El cual a esto volvio la cabeza a mirarle
sonriendose y le dijo: Decid a ese Capitan que os embia aca; que
yo estoy en ayuno, y le acabo manana por la manana, que en
bebiendo una vez, yo ire con algunos destos principales mios a
verme con el, que en tanto el se aposente en esas casas que estan
en la plaza que son comunes a todos, y que no entren en otra
ninguna hasta que Yo vaya, que Yo mandare lo que se ha de hacer."
Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.

In this singular interview I have followed the account of the
cavalier who accompanied Hernando Pizarro, in preference to the
latter, who represents himself as talking in a lordly key, that
savours too much of the vaunt of the hidalgo.]

Soto, one of the party present at this interview, as before
noticed, was the best mounted and perhaps the best rider in
Pizarro's troop. Observing that Atahuallpa looked with some
interest on the fiery steed that stood before him, champing the
bit and pawing the ground with the natural impatience of a
war-horse, the Spaniard gave him the rein, and, striking his iron
heel into his side, dashed furiously over the plain; then,
wheeling him round and round, displayed all the beautiful
movements of his charger, and his own excellent horsemanship.
Suddenly checking him in full career, he brought the animal
almost on his haunches, so near the person of the Inca, that some
of the foam that flecked his horse's sides was thrown on the
royal garments. But Atahuallpa maintained the same marble
composure as before, though several of his soldiers, whom De Soto
passed in the course, were so much disconcerted by it, that they
drew back in manifest terror, an act of timidity for which they
paid dearly, if, as the Spaniards assert, Atahuallpa caused them
to be put to death that same evening for betraying such unworthy
weakness to the strangers. *22

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms.

"I algunos Indios, con miedo, se desviaron de la Carrera, por lo
qual Atabalipa los hico luego matar." (Zarate, Conq. del Peru,
lib. 2, cap. 4.) - Xerez states that Atahuallpa confessed this
himself, in conversation with the Spaniards after he was taken
prisoner. - Soto's charger might well have made the Indians
start, if, as Balboa says, he took twenty feet at a leap, and
this with a knight in armour on his back! Hist. du Perou, chap.
Refreshments were now offered by the royal attendants to the
Spaniards, which they declined, being unwilling to dismount.
They did not refuse, however, to quaff the sparkling chicha from
golden vases of extraordinary size, presented to them by the
dark-eyed beauties of the harem. *23 Taking then a respectful
leave of the Inca, the cavaliers rode back to Caxamalca, with
many moody speculations on what they had seen; on the state and
opulence of the Indian monarch; on the strength of his military
array, their excellent appointments, and the apparent discipline
in their ranks, - all arguing a much higher degree of
civilization, and consequently of power, than any thing they had
witnessed in the lower regions of the country. As they
contrasted all this with their own diminutive force, too far
advanced, as they now were, for succour to reach them, they felt
they had done rashly in throwing themselves into the midst of so
formidable an empire, and were filled with gloomy forebodings of
the result. *24 Their comrades in the camp soon caught the
infectious spirit of despondency, which was not lessened as night
came on, and they beheld the watch-fires of the Peruvians
lighting up the sides of the mountains, and glittering in the
darkness, "as thick," says one who saw them, "as the stars of
heaven." *25

[Footnote 23: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq.
del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 196.]

[Footnote 24: "Hecho esto y visto y atalayado la grandeza del
ejercito, y las tiendas que era bien de ver, nos bolvimos a donde
el dicho capitan nos estaba esperando, harto espantados de lo que
habiamos visto, habiendo y tomando entre nosotros muchos acuerdos
y opiniones de lo que se debia hacer, estando todos con mucho
temor por ser tan pocos, y estar tan metidos en la tierra donde
no podiamos ser socorridos." (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.)
Pedro Pizarro is honest enough to confirm this account of the
consternation of the Spaniards. (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) Fear was
a strange sensation for the Castilian cavalier. But if he did
not feel some touch of it on that occasion, he must have been
akin to that doughty knight who, as Charles V. pronounced, "never
could have snuffed a candle with his fingers."]

[Footnote 25: "Hecimos la guardia en la plaza, de donde se vian
los fuegos del ejercito de los Indios, lo cual era cosa
espantable, que como estaban en una ladera la mayor parte, y tan
juntos unos de otros, no pa recia sino un cielo muy estrellado."
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms]

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

[Footnote 26: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
197. - Nanarro Relacion Sumaria, Ms]

He then summoned a council of his officers, to consider the plan
of operations, or rather to propose to them the extraordinary
plan on which he had himself decided. This was to lay an
ambuscade for the Inca, and take him prisoner in the face of his
whole army! It was a project full of peril, - bordering, as it
might well seem, on desperation. But the circumstances of the
Spaniards were desperate. Whichever way they turned, they were
menaced by the most appalling dangers; and better was it bravely
to confront the danger, than weakly to shrink from it, when there
was no avenue for escape.
To fly was now too late. Whither could they fly? At the first
signal of retreat, the whole army of the Inca would be upon them.
Their movements would be anticipated by a foe far better
acquainted with the intricacies of the sierra than themselves;
the passes would be occupied, and they would be hemmed in on all
sides; while the mere fact of this retrograde movement would
diminish the confidence and with it the effective strength of his
own men, while it doubled that of his enemy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter V:

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


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

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

[Footnote 1: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia tom.
III. p. 197. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las
Indias Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap 7]

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

[Footnote 2: "Los Eclesiasticos i Religiosos se ocuparon toda
aquella noche en oracion, pidiendo a Dios el mas conveniente
suceso a su sagrado servicio, exaltacion de la fe e salvacion de
tanto numero de almas, derramando muchas lagrimas i sangre en las
disciplinas que tomaron. Francisco Pizarro animo a los soldados
con una mui cristiana platica que les hizo: con que, i
asegurarles los Eclesiasticos de parte de Dios i de su Madre
Santisima la vitoria, amanecieron todos mui deseosos de dar la
batalla, diciendo a voces, Exsurge Domine et judica causam tuam."
Naharro Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 3: "El governador respondio: Di a tu Senor, que venga
en hora buena como quisiere, que de la manera que viniere lo
recebire como Amigo, i Hermano." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom. III. p. 197. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms.,
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 7. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 4: "Hera tanta la pateneria que traian d'oro y plata
que hera cossa estrana lo que Reluzia con el Sol.' Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 5: To the eye of the old Conqueror so often quoted, the
number of Peruvian warriors appeared not less than 50,000; "mas
de cin cuenta mil que tenia de guerra' (Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms.) To Pizarro's secretary, as they lay encamped along
the hills, they seemed about 30,000. (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom. III. p. 196.) However gratifying to the imagination
to repose on some precise number, it is very rare that one can do
so with safety, in estimating the irregular and tumultuous levies
of a barbarian host.]

When the royal procession had arrived within half a mile of the
city, it came to a halt; and Pizarro saw with surprise that
Atahuallpa was preparing to pitch his tents, as if to encamp
there. A messenger soon after arrived, informing the Spaniards
that the Inca would occupy his present station the ensuing night,
and enter the city on the following morning.
This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had shared in
the general impatience of his men at the tardy movements of the
Peruvians. The troops had been under arms since daylight, the
cavalry mounted, and the infantry at their post, waiting in
silence the coming of the Inca. A profound stillness reigned
throughout the town, broken only at intervals by the cry of the
sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as he proclaimed the
movements of the Indian army. Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so
trying to the soldier as prolonged suspense, in a critical
situation like the present; and he feared lest his ardor might
evaporate, and be succeeded by that nervous feeling natural to
the bravest soul at such a crisis, and which, if not fear, is
near akin to it. *6 He returned an answer, therefore, to
Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of purpose; and adding that he
had provided every thing for his entertainment, and expected him
that night to sup with him. *7

[Footnote 6: Pedro Pizarro says that an Indian spy reported to
Atahuallpa, that the white men were all huddled together in the
great halls on the square, in much consternation, llenos de
miedo, which was not far from the truth, adds the cavalier.
(Descub. y Conq., Ms.)]

[Footnote 7: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.

"Asentados sus toldos envio a decir al gobernador que ya era
tarde, que el queria dormir alli, que por la manana vernia: el
gobernador le envio a decir que le rogaba que viniese luego,
porque le esperaba a cenar, e que no habia de cenar, hasta que
fuese." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms.]
This message turned the Inca from his purpose; and, striking his
tents again, he resumed his march, first advising the general
that he should leave the greater part of his warriors behind, and
enter the place with only a few of them, and without arms, *8 as
he preferred to pass the night at Caxamalca. At the same time he
ordered accommodations to be provided for himself and his retinue
in one of the large stone buildings, called, from a serpent
sculptured on the walls, "the House of the Serpent." *9 - No
tidings could have been more grateful to the Spaniards. It
seemed as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the snare
that had been spread for him! The fanatical cavalier could not
fail to discern in it the immediate finger of Providence.

[Footnote 8: "El queria vernir luego, e que venia sin armas. E
luego Atabaliva se movio para venir, e dejo alli la gente con las
armas, e llevo consigo hasta cinco o seis mil indios sin armas,
salvo que debajo de las camisetas traian unas porras pequenas, e
hondas, e bolsas con piedras." Carta de Hern. Pizarro Ms.]

[Footnote 9: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap Barcia, tom. III. p. 197.]
It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct of
Atahuallpa, so different from the bold and decided character
which history ascribes to him. There is no doubt that he made his
visit to the white men in perfect good faith; though Pizarro was
probably right in conjecturing that this amiable disposition
stood on a very precarious footing. There is as little reason to
suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers; or he
would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to visit them unarmed.
His original purpose of coming with all his force was doubtless
to display his royal state, and perhaps, also, to show greater
respect for the Spaniards; but when he consented to accept their
hospitality, and pass the night in their quarters, he was willing
to dispense with a great part of his armed soldiery, and visit
them in a manner that implied entire confidence in their good
faith. He was too absolute in his own empire easily to suspect;
and he probably could not comprehend the audacity with which a
few men, like those now assembled in Caxamalca, meditated an
assault on a powerful monarch in the midst of his victorious
army. He did not know the character of the Spaniard.
It was not long before sunset, when the van of the royal
procession entered the gates of the city. First came some
hundreds of the menials, employed to clear the path from every
obstacle, and singing songs of triumph as they came, "which, in
our ears," says one of the Conquerors, "sounded like the songs of
hell"! *10 Then followed other bodies of different ranks, and
dressed in different liveries. Some wore a showy stuff,
checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess-board. *11
Others were clad in pure white, bearing hammers or maces of
silver or copper; *12 and the guards, together with those in
immediate attendance on the prince, were distinguished by a rich
azure livery, and a profusion of gay ornaments, while the large
pendants attached to the ears indicated the Peruvian noble.

[Footnote 10: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

[Footnote 11: "Blanca y colorada como las casas de un ajedrez."
Ibid., Ms.]

[Footnote 12: "Con martillos en las manos de cobre y plata."
Ibid., Ms.]

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

[Footnote 13: "El asiento que traia sobre las andas era un tablon
de oro que peso un quintal de oro segun dicen los historiadores
25,000 pesos o ducados." Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

[Footnote 14: "Luego venia mucha Gente con Armaduras, Patenas, i
Coronas do oro i Plata: entre estos venia Atabaliba, en una
Litera, aforrada de Pluma de Papagaios, de muchas colores,
guarnecida de chapas de Oro, i Plata." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom. III. p. 198.]

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

"Venia la persona de Atabalica, la cual traian ochenta Senores en
hombros todos bestidos de una librea azul muy rica, y el bestido
su persona muy ricamente con su corona en la cabeza, y al cuello
un collar de emeraldas grandes." Relacion del Primer. Descub.,

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

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

[Footnote 16: Montesinos says that Valverde read to the Inca the
regular formula used by the Spaniards in their Conquests.
(Annales, Ms., ano 1533.) But that address, though absurd enough,
did not comprehend the whole range of theology ascribed to the
chaplain on this occasion. Yet it is not impossible. But I have
followed the report of Fray Naharro, who collected his
information from the actors in the tragedy, and whose minuter
statement is corroborated by the more general testimony of both
the Pizarros and the secretary Xerez.]

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

[Footnote 17: "Por dezir Dios trino y uno dixo Dios tres y uno
son quatre sumando los numeros por darse a entender." Com. Real.,
Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 23.]

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

[Footnote 18: See Appendix, No. 8, where the reader will find
extracts in the original from several contemporary Mss., relating
to the capture of Atahuallpa.]

He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these
things. The friar pointed to the book which he held, as his
authority. Atahuallpa, taking it, turned over the pages a
moment, then, as the insult he had received probably flashed
across his mind, he threw it down with vehemence, and exclaimed,
- "Tell your comrades that they shall give me an account of their
doings in my land. I will not go from here, till they have made
me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed." *19

[Footnote 19: Some accounts describe him as taxing the Spaniards
in much more unqualified terms. (See Appendix, No. 8.) but
language is not likely to be accurately reported in such seasons
of excitement. - According to some authorities, Atahuallpa let
the volume drop by accident. (Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano
1533. - Balboa, Hist. du Perou, chap. 22.) But the testimony, as
far as we have it, of those present, concurs in representing it
as stated in the text. And, if he spoke with the heat imputed to
him, this act would only be in keeping.]

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

[Footnote 20: "Visto esto por el Frayle y lo poco que
aprovechaban sus palabras, tomo su libro, y abajo su cabeza, y
fuese para donde estaba el dicho Pizarro, casi corriendo, y
dijole: No veis lo que pasa: para que estais en comedimientos y
requerimientos con este perro lleno de soberbia que vienen los
campos llenos de Indios? Salid a el, - que yo os absuelvo."
(Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) The historian should be slow
in ascribing conduct so diabolical to Father Valverde, without
evidence. Two of the Conquerors present, Pedro Pizarro and
Xerez, simply state that the monk reported to his commander the
indignity offered to the sacred volume. but Hernando Pizarro and
the author of the Relacion del Primer. Descub., both
eyewitnesses, and Naharro, Zarate, Gomara, Balboa, Herrera, the
Inca Titucussi Yupanqui, all of whom obtained their information
from persons who were eyewitnesses, state the circumstances, with
little variation, as in the text. Yet Oviedo indorses the
account of Xerez, and Garcilasso de la Vega insists on Valverde's
innocence of any attempt to rouse the passion of his comrades.]

[Footnote 21: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Xerez, Conq.
del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 198. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro,
Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3. lib. 8, cap. 7.
- Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru,
lib. 2, cap. 5. - Instruccion del Inga Titucussi Yupanqui, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 22: The author of the Relacion del Primero
Descubrimiento speaks of a few as having bows and arrows, and of
others as armed with silver and copper mallets or maces, which
may, however, have been more for ornament than for service in
fight. - Pedro Pizarro and some later writers say that the
Indians brought thongs with them to bind the captive white men. -
Both Hernando Pizarro and the secretary Xerez agree that their
only arms were secreted under their clothes; but as they do not
pretend that these were used, and as it was announced by the Inca
that he came without arms, the assertion may well be doubted, -
or rather discredited. All authorities without exception, agree
that no attempt was made at resistance.]
The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw his faithful
subjects falling round him without fully comprehending his
situation. The litter on which he rode heaved to and fro, as the
mighty press swayed backwards and forwards; and he gazed on the
overwhelming ruin, like some forlorn mariner, who, tossed about
in his bark by the furious elements, sees the lightning's flash
and hears the thunder bursting around him with the consciousness
that he can do nothing to avert his fate. At length, weary with
the work of destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades of evening
grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, after all,
elude them; and some of the cavaliers made a desperate attempt to
end the affray at once by taking Atahuallpa's life. But Pizarro,
who was nearest his person, called out with Stentorian voice,
"Let no one, who values his life, strike at the Inca"; *23 and,
stretching out his arm to shield him, received a wound on the
hand from one of his own men, - the only wound received by a
Spaniards in the action. *24

[Footnote 23: "El marquez dio bozes diciendo. Nadie hiera al
indio so pena de la vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 24: Whatever discrepancy exists among the Castilian
accounts in other respects, all concur in this remarkable fact, -
that no Spaniard, except their general, received a wound on that
occasion. Pizarro saw in this a satisfactory argument for
regarding the Spaniards, this day, as under the especial
protection of Providence. See Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia,
tom. III. p. 199.]

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

[Footnote 25: Miguel Estete, who long retained the silken diadem
as a trophy of the exploit, according to Garcilasso de la Vega,
(Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 27,) an indifferent authority
for any thing in this part of his history. This popular writer,
whose work, from his superior knowledge of the institutions of
the country, has obtained greater credit, eve in what relates to
the Conquest, than the reports of the Conquerors themselves, has
indulged in the romantic vein to an unpardonable extent, in his
account of the capture of Atahuallpa. According to him, the
Peruvian monarch treated the invaders from the first with supreme
deference, as descendants of Viracocha, predicted by his oracles
as to come and rule over the land. But if this flattering homage
had been paid by the Inca, it would never have escaped the notice
of the Conquerors. Garcilasso had read the Commentaries of
Cortes, as he somewhere tells us; and it is probable that that
general's account, well founded, it appears, of a similar
superstition among the Aztecs suggested to the historian the idea
of a corresponding sentiment in the Peruvians, which, while it
flattered the vanity of the Spaniards, in some degree vindicated
his own countrymen from the charge of cowardice, incurred by
their too ready submission; for, however they might be called on
to resist men, it would have been madness to resist the decrees
of Heaven. Yet Garcilasso's romantic version has something in it
so pleasing to the imagination, that it has even found favor with
the majority of readers. The English student might have met with
a sufficient corrective in the criticism of the sagacious and
skeptical Robertson.]

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

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

[Footnote 26: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.

[Footnote 27: "Los mataron a todos con los Cavallos con espadas
con arcabuzes como quien mata ovejas - sin hacerles nadie
resistencia que no se escaparon de mas de diez mil, doscientos,"
Instruc. del Inga Titucussi, Ms.

This document, consisting of two hundred folio pages, is signed
by a Peruvian Inca, grandson of the great Huayna Capac, and
nephew, consequently, of Atahuallpa. It was written in 1570, and
designed to set forth to his Majesty Philip II. the claims of
Titucussi and the members of his family to the royal bounty. In
the course of the Memorial, the writer takes occasion to
recapitulate some of the principal events in the latter years of
the empire; and though sufficiently prolix to tax even the
patience of Philip II., it is of much value as an historical
document, coming from one of the royal race of Peru.]

[Footnote 28: Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1532.

According to Naharro, the Indians were less astounded by the wild
uproar caused by the sudden assault of the Spaniards, though
"this was such that it seemed as if the very heavens were
falling," than by a terrible apparition which appeared in the air
during the onslaught. It consisted of a woman and a child, and,
at their side, a horseman all clothed in white on a milk-white
charger, - doubtless the valiant St. James, - who, with his sword
glancing lightning, smote down the infidel host, and rendered
them incapable of resistance. This miracle the good father
reports on the testimony of three of his Order, who were present
in the action, and who received it from numberless of the
natives. Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 29: "Diciendo que era uso de Guerra vencer, i ser
vencido." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 12.]

[Footnote 30: "Haciendo admiracion de la traza que tenia hecha."
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

[Footnote 31: "And in my opinion," adds the Conqueror who reports
the speech, "he had good grounds for believing he could do this,
since nothing but the miraculous interposition of Heaven could
have saved us." Ibid., Ms.]

That such may have been Atahuallpa's purpose is not improbable.
It explains his conduct in not occupying the mountain passes,
which afforded such strong points of defence against invasion.
But that a prince so astute, as by the general testimony of the
Conquerors he is represented to have been, should have made so
impolitic a disclosure of his hidden motives is not so probable.
The intercourse with the Inca was carried on chiefly by means of
the interpreter Felipillo, or little Philip, as he was called,
from his assumed Christian name, - a malicious youth, as it
appears, who bore no good-will to Atahuallpa, and whose
interpretations were readily admitted by the Conquerors, eager to
find some pretext for their bloody reprisals.
Atahuallpa, as elsewhere notice, was, at this time, about thirty
years of age. He was well made, and more robust than usual with
his countrymen. His head was large, and his countenance might
have been called handsome, but that his eyes, which were
bloodshot, gave a fierce expression to his features. He was
deliberate in speech, grave in manner, and towards his own people
stern even to severity; though with the Spaniards he showed
himself affable, sometimes even indulging in sallies of mirth.

[Footnote 32: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.

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

[Footnote 33: "Nosotros vsamos de piedad con nuestros Enemigos
vencidos, i no hacemos Guerra, sino a los que nos la hacen, i
pudiendolos destruir no lo hacemos, antes los perdona mos."
Ibid., tom. III. p. 199.]

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

[Footnote 34: Ibid., ubi supra. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. i.
Conq., Ms.]

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

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

[Footnote 35: From this time, says Ondegardo, the Spaniards, who
hitherto had been designated as the "men with beards," barbudos,
were called by the natives, from their fair-complexioned deity,
Viracochas. The people of Cuzco, who bore no goodwill to the
captive Inca, "looked upon the strangers," says the author, "as
sent by Viracocha himself." (Rel. Prim., Ms.) It reminds us of a
superstition, or rather an amiable fancy, among the ancient
Greeks, that "the stranger came from Jupiter."]

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

[Footnote 36: "Algunos fueron de opinion, que matasen a todos los
Hombres de Guerra, o les cortasen las manos." Xerez, Hist. del
Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 200.]

[Footnote 37: "Cada Espanol de los que alli ivan tomaron para si
mui gran cantidad tanto que como andava todo a rienda suelta
havia Espanol que tenia docientas piezas de Indios Indias de
servicio." Conq. i. Pob. del Piru, Ms.]

The Spaniards had found immense droves of llamas under the care
of their shepherds in the neighbourhood of the baths, destined
for the consumption of the Court. Many of them were now suffered
to roam abroad among their native mountains; though Pizarro
caused a considerable number to be reserved for the use of the
army. And this was no small quantity, if, as one of the
Conquerors says, a hundred and fifty of the Peruvian sheep were
frequently slaughtered in a day. *38 Indeed, the Spaniards were
so improvident in their destruction of these animals, that, in a
few years, the superb flocks, nurtured with so much care by the
Peruvian government, had almost disappeared from the land. *39

[Footnote 38: "Se matan cada Dia, ciento i cinquenta." Xerez,
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202.]

[Footnote 39: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 80. - Ondegardo, Rel.
Seg., Ms.

"Hasta que los destruian todos sin haver Espanol ni Justicia que
lo defendiese ni amparase." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 40: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.

There was enough, says the anonymous Conqueror, for several
ship-loads. "Todas estas cosas de tiendas y ropas de lana y
algodon eran en tan gran cantidad, que a mi parecer fueran
menester muchos navios en que supieran." Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms.]

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

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

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

[Footnote 41: I have adopted the dimensions given by the
secretary Xerez, (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202.)
According to Hernando Pizarro, the apartment was nine feet high,
but thirty-five feet long by seventeen or eighteen feet wide.
(Carta, Ms.) The most moderate estimate is large enough.
Stevenson says that they still show "a large room, part of the
old palace, and now the residence of the Cacique Astopilca, where
the ill-fated Inca was kept a prisoner"; and he adds that the
line traced on the wall is still visible. (Residence in South
America, vol. II. p. 163.) Peru abounds in remains as ancient as
the Conquest; and it would not be surprising that the memory of a
place so remarkable as this should be preserved, - though any
thing but a memorial to be cherished by the Spaniards.]

[Footnote 42: The facts in the preceding paragraph are told with
remarkable uniformity by the ancient chroniclers. (Conf. Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Carta de Hern. Pizarro, Ms. -
Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, ubi supra. - Naharro, Relacion
Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. - Gomara,
Hist. de las Ind., cap. 114. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5,
lib. 2, cap. 1.)

Both Naharro and Herrera state expressly that Pizarro promised
the Inca his liberation on fulfilling the compact. This is not
confirmed by the other chroniclers, who, however, do not intimate
that the Spanish general declined the terms. And as Pizarro, by
all accounts, encouraged his prisoner to perform his part of the
contract, it must have been with the understanding implied, if
not expressed, that he would abide by the other. It is most
improbable that the Inca would have stripped himself of his
treasures, if he had not so understood it.]

No sooner was this arrangement made, than the Inca despatched
couriers to Cuzco and the other principal places in the kingdom,
with orders that the gold ornaments and utensils should be
removed from the royal palaces, and from the temples and other
public buildings, and transported without loss of time to
Caxamalca. Meanwhile he continued to live in the Spanish
quarters, treated with the respect due to his rank, and enjoying
all the freedom that was compatible with the security of his
person. Though not permitted to go abroad, his limbs were
unshackled, and he had the range of his own apartments under the
jealous surveillance of a guard, who knew too well the value of
the royal captive to be remiss. He was allowed the society of
his favorite wives, and Pizarro took care that his domestic
privacy should not be violated. His subjects had free access to
their sovereign, and every day he received visits from the Indian
nobles, who came to bring presents, and offer condolence to their
unfortunate master. On such occasions, the most potent of these
great vassals never ventured into his presence, without first
stripping off their sandals, and bearing a load on their backs in
token of reverence. The Spaniards gazed with curious eyes on
these acts of homage, or rather of slavish submission, on the one
side, and on the air of perfect indifference with which they were
received, as a matter of course, on the other; and they conceived
high ideas of the character of a prince who, even in his present
helpless condition, could inspire such feelings of awe in his
subjects. The royal levee was so well attended, and such
devotion was shown by his vassals to the captive monarch, as did
not fail, in the end, to excite some feelings of distrust in his
keepers. *43

[Footnote 43: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru lib. 2, cap. 6.]

Pizarro did not neglect the opportunity afforded him of
communicating the truths of revelation to his prisoner, and both
he and his chaplain, Father Valverde, labored in the same good
work. Atahuallpa listened with composure and apparent attention.
But nothing seemed to move him so much as the argument with which
the military polemic closed his discourse, - that it could not be
the true God whom Atahuallpa worshipped, since he had suffered
him to fall into the hands of his enemies. The unhappy monarch
assented to the force of this, acknowledging that his Deity had
indeed deserted him in his utmost need. *44

[Footnote 44: "I mas dijo Atabalipa, que estaba espantado de lo
que el Governador le havia dicho: que bien conocia que aquel que
hablaba en su Idolo, no es Dios verdadero pues tan poco le
aiudo." Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 203.]

Yet his conduct towards his brother Huascar, at this time, too
clearly proves, that, whatever respect he may have shown for the
teachers, the doctrines of Christianity had made little
impression on his heart. No sooner had Huascar been informed of
the capture of his rival, and of the large ransom he had offered
for his deliverance, than, as the latter had foreseen, he made
every effort to regain his liberty, and sent, or attempted to
send, a message to the Spanish commander, that he would pay a
much larger ransom than that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never
having dwelt in Cuzco, was ignorant of the quantity of treasure
there, and where it was deposited.
Intelligence of all this was secretly communicated to Atahuallpa
by the persons who had his brother in charge; and his jealousy,
thus roused, was further heightened by Pizarro's declaration,
that he intended to have Huascar brought to Caxamalca, where he
would himself examine into the controversy, and determine which
of the two had best title to the sceptre of the Incas. Pizarro
perceived, from the first, the advantages of a competition which
would enable him, by throwing his sword into the scale he
preferred, to give it a preponderance. The party who held the
sceptre by his nomination would henceforth be a tool in his
hands, with which to work his pleasure more effectually than he
could well do in his own name. It was the game, as every reader
knows, played by Edward the First in the affairs of Scotland, and
by many a monarch, both before and since, - and though their
examples may not have been familiar to the unlettered soldier,
Pizarro was too quick in his perceptions to require, in this
matter, at least, the teachings of history.
Atahuallpa was much alarmed by the Spanish commander's
determination to have the suit between the rival candidates
brought before him; for he feared, that, independently of the
merits of the case, the decision would be likely to go in favor
of Huascar, whose mild and ductile temper would make him a
convenient instrument in the hands of his conquerors. Without
further hesitation, he determined to remove this cause of
jealousy for ever, by the death of his brother.

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

[Footnote 45: Both the place and the manner of Huascar's death
are reported with much discrepancy by the historians. All agree
in the one important fact, that he died a violent death at the
instigation of his brother. Conf. Herrera, Hist. General, dec.
5, lib. 3, cap. 2. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III.
p. 204. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro, Relacion
Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. - Instruc.
del Inga Titucussi, Ms.]

[Footnote 46: Both Garcillaso de la Vega and Titucussi Yupanqui
were descendants from Huayna Capac, of the pure Peruvian stock,
the natural enemies, therefore, of their kinsman of Quito, whom
they regarded as a usurper. Circumstances brought the Castilians
into direct collision with Atahuallpa, and it was natural they
should seek to darken his reputation by contrast with the fair
character of his rival.]

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

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

Chapter VI

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 19: "I de las Chapas de oro, que esta Casa tenia,
quitaron setecientas Planchas . . . . . a manera de Tablas de

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