The History Of The Conquest Of Peru
William H. Prescott

Part 5 out of 17

comfortable assurance that they had at length reached the land
which had so long been seen in brilliant, though distant,
perspective before them. But here again they were doomed to be
disappointed by the warlike spirit of the people, who, conscious
of their own strength, showed no disposition to quail before the
invaders. On the contrary, several of their canoes shot out,
loaded with warriors, who, displaying a gold mask as their
ensign, hovered round the vessels with looks of defiance, and,
when pursued, easily took shelter under the lee of the land. *22

[Footnote 22: "Salieron a los dichos navios quatorce canoas
grandes con muchos Indios dos armados de oro y plata, y trahian
en la una canoa o en estandarte y encima de el un bolto de un
mucho desio de oro, y dieron una suelta a los navios por
avisarlos en manera que no los pudiese enojar, y asi dieron
vuelta acia a su pueblo, y los navios no los pudieron tomar
porque se metieron en los baxos junto a la tierra." Relacion
sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, Ms.]

A more formidable body mustered along the shore, to the number,
according to the Spanish accounts, of at least ten thousand
warriors, eager, apparently, to come to close action with the
invaders. Nor could Pizarro, who had landed with a party of his
men in the hope of a conference with the natives, wholly prevent
hostilities; and it might have gone hard with the Spaniards,
hotly pressed by their resolute enemy so superior in numbers, but
for a ludicrous accident reported by the historians as happening
to one of the cavaliers. This was a fall from his horse, which so
astonished the barbarians, who were not prepared for this
division of what seemed one and the same being into two, that,
filled with consternation, they fell back, and left a way open
for the Christians to regain their vessels! *23

[Footnote 23: "Al tiempo del romper los unos con los otros, uno
de aquellos de caballo cayo del caballo abajo; y como los Indios
vieron dividirse aquel animal en dos partes, teniendo por cierto
que todo era una cosa, fue tanto el miedo que tubieron que
volvieron las espaldas dando voces a los suyos, diciendo, que se
habia hecho dos haciendo admiracion dello: lo cual no fue sin
misterio; porque a no acaecer esto se presume, que mataran todos
los cristianos." (Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.) This way of
accounting for the panic of the barbarians is certainly quite as
credible as the explanation, under similar circumstances,
afforded by the apparition of the militant apostle St. James, so
often noticed by the historians of these wars.]
A council of war was now called. It was evident that the forces
of the Spaniards were unequal to a contest with so numerous and
well-appointed a body of natives; and, even if they should
prevail here, they could have no hope of stemming the torrent
which must rise against them in their progress - for the country
was becoming more and more thickly settled, and towns and hamlets
started into view at every new headland which they doubled. It
was better, in the opinion of some, - the faint-hearted, - to
abandon the enterprise at once, as beyond their strength. But
Almagro took a different view of the affair. "To go home," he
said, "with nothing done, would be ruin, as well as disgrace.
There was scarcely one but had left creditors at Panama, who
looked for payment to the fruits of this expedition. To go home
now would be to deliver themselves at once into their hands. It
would be to go to prison. Better to roam a freeman, though in
the wilderness, than to lie bound with fetters in the dungeons of
Panama. *24 The only course for them," he concluded, "was the one
lately pursued. Pizarro might find some more commodious place
where he could remain with part of the force, while he himself
went back for recruits to Panama. The story they had now to tell
of the riches of the land, as they had seen them with their own
eyes, would put their expedition in a very different light, and
could not fail to draw to their banner as many volunteers as they

[Footnote 24: "No era bien bolver pobres, a pedir limosna, i
morir en las Carceles, los que tenian deudas." Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 2.]

But this recommendation, however judicious, was not altogether to
the taste of the latter commander, who did not relish the part,
which constantly fell to him, of remaining behind in the swamps
and forests of this wild country. "It is all very well," he said
to Almagro, "for you, who pass your time pleasantly enough,
careering to and fro in your vessel, or snugly sheltered in a
land of plenty at Panama; but it is quite another matter for
those who stay behind to droop and die of hunger in the
wilderness" *25 To this Almagro retorted with some heat,
professing his own willingness to take charge of the brave men
who would remain with him, if Pizarro declined it. The
controversy assuming a more angry and menacing tone, from words
they would have soon come to blows, as both, laying their hands
on their swords, were preparing to rush on each other, when the
treasurer Ribera, aided by the pilot Ruiz, succeeded in pacifying
them. It required but little effort on the part of these cooler
counsellors to convince the cavaliers of the folly of a conduct
which must at once terminate the expedition in a manner little
creditable to its projectors. A reconciliation consequently took
place, sufficient, at least in outward show, to allow the two
commanders to act together in concert. Almagro's plan was then
adopted; and it only remained to find out the most secure and
convenient spot for Pizarro's quarters.

[Footnote 25: "Como iba, i venia en los Navios, adonde no le
faltaba Vitualla, no padecia la miseria de la hambre, i otras
angustias que tenian, i ponian a todos en estrema congoja."
(Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 2.) The cavaliers
of Cortes and Pizarro however doughty their achievements,
certainly fell short of those knights-errant, commemorated by
Hudibras, who,

"As some think,
Of old did neither eat nor drink;
Because, when thorough deserts vast
And regions desolate they past,
Unless they grazed, there's not one word
Of their provision on record;
Which made some confidently write,
They had no stomachs but to fight."]

Several days were passed in touching at different parts of the
coast, as they retraced their course; but everywhere the natives
appeared to have caught the alarm, and assumed a menacing, and
from their numbers a formidable, aspect. The more northerly
region, with its unwholesome fens and forest, where nature wages
a war even more relentless than man, was not to be thought of.
In this perplexity, they decided on the little island of Gallo,
as being, on the whole, from its distance from the shore, and
from the scantiness of its population, the most eligible spot for
them in their forlorn and destitute condition. *26

[Footnote 26: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion
sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, Ms. - Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 1. -
Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 2.]

It was singularly unfortunate, that Pizarro, instead of striking
farther south, should have so long clung to the northern shores
of the continent. Dampier notices them as afflicted with
incessant rain; while the inhospitable forest and the
particularly ferocious character of the natives continued to make
these regions but little known down to his time. See his Voyages
and Adventures, (London, 1776,) vol. I. chap. 14.]

But no sooner was the resolution of the two captains made known,
than a feeling of discontent broke forth among their followers,
especially those who were to remain with Pizarro on the island.
"What!" they exclaimed, "were they to be dragged to that obscure
spot to die by hunger? The whole expedition had been a cheat and
a failure, from beginning to end. The golden countries, so much
vaunted, had seemed to fly before them as they advanced; and the
little gold they had been fortunate enough to glean had all been
sent back to Panama to entice other fools to follow their
example. What had they got in return for all their sufferings?
The only treasures they could boast were their bows and arrows,
and they were now to be left to die on this dreary island,
without so much as a rood of consecrated ground to lay their
bones in!" *27

[Footnote 27: "Miserablemente morir adonde aun no havia lugar
Sagrado, para sepultura de sus cuerpos." Herrera, Hist General,
dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3.]

In this exasperated state of feeling, several of the soldiers
wrote back to their friends, informing them of their deplorable
condition, and complaining of the cold-blooded manner in which
they were to be sacrificed to the obstinate cupidity of their
leaders. But the latter were wary enough to anticipate this
movement, and Almagro defeated it by seizing all the letters in
the vessels, and thus cutting off at once the means of
communication with their friends at home. Yet this act of
unscrupulous violence, like most other similar acts, fell short
of its purpose; for a soldier named Sarabia had the ingenuity to
evade it by introducing a letter into a ball of cotton, which was
to be taken to Panama as a specimen of the products of the
country, and presented to the governor's lady. *28

[Footnote 28: "Metieron en un ovillo de algodon una carta firmada
de muchos en que sumariamente daban cuenta de las hambres,
muertes y desnudez que padecian, y que era cosa de risa todo,
pues las riquezas se habian convertido en flechas, y no havia
otra cosa." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1527.]

The letter, which was signed by several of the disaffected
soldiery besides the writer, painted in gloomy colors the
miseries of their condition, accused the two commanders of being
the authors of this, and called on the authorities of Panama to
interfere by sending a vessel to take them from the desolate
spot, while some of them might still be found surviving the
horrors of their confinement. The epistle concluded with a
stanza, in which the two leaders were stigmatized as partners in
a slaughter-house; one being employed to drive in the cattle for
the other to butcher. The verses, which had a currency in their
day among the colonists to which they were certainly not entitled
by their poetical merits, may be thus rendered into corresponding

"Look out, Senor Governor,
For the drover while he's near;
Since he goes home to get the sheep
For the butcher, who stays here." *29

[Footnote 29: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
181. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Balboa, Hist. du Perou,
chap. 15.

"Al fin de la peticion que hacian en la carta al Governador puso
Juan de Sarabia, natural de Trujillo, esta cuarteta: -

Pues Senor Gobernador,
Mirelo bien por entero
que alla va el recogedor,
y aca queda el carnicero"

Montesinos, Annales Ms., ane 1527.]

Chapter IV

Indignation Of The Governor. - Stern Resolution Of Pizarro. -
Prosecution Of The Voyage. - Brilliant Aspect Of Tumbez. -
Discoveries Along The Coast. - Return To Panama. - Pizarro
Embarks For Spain.


Not long after Almagro's departure, Pizarro sent off the
remaining vessel, under the pretext of its being put in repair at
Panama. It probably relieved him of a part of his followers,
whose mutinous spirit made them an obstacle rather than a help in
his forlorn condition, and with whom he was the more willing to
part from the difficulty of finding subsistence on the barren
spot which he now occupied.

Great was the dismay occasioned by the return of Almagro and his
followers, in the little community of Panama; for the letter,
surreptitiously conveyed in the ball of cotton, fell into the
hands for which it was intended, and the contents soon got abroad
with the usual quantity of exaggeration. The haggard and
dejected mien of the adventurers, of itself, told a tale
sufficiently disheartening, and it was soon generally believed
that the few ill-fated survivors of the expedition were detained
against their will by Pizarro, to end their days with their
disappointed leader on his desolate island.

Pedro de los Rios, the governor, was so much incensed at the
result of the expedition, and the waste of life it had occasioned
to the colony, that he turned a deaf ear to all the applications
of Luque and Almagro for further countenance in the affair; he
derided their sanguine anticipations of the future, and finally
resolved to send an officer to the isle of Gallo, with orders to
bring back every Spaniard whom he should find still living in
that dreary abode. Two vessels were immediately despatched for
the purpose, and placed under charge of a cavalier named Tafur, a
native of Cordova.
Meanwhile Pizarro and his followers were experiencing all the
miseries which might have been expected from the character of the
barren spot on which they were imprisoned. They were, indeed,
relieved from all apprehensions of the natives, since these had
quitted the island on its occupation by the white men; but they
had to endure the pains of hunger even in a greater degree than
they had formerly experienced in the wild woods of the
neighbouring continent. Their principal food was crabs and such
shell-fish as they could scantily pick up along the shores.
Incessant storms of thunder and lightning, for it was the rainy
season, swept over the devoted island, and drenched them with a
perpetual flood. Thus, half-naked, and pining with famine, there
were few in that little company who did not feel the spirit of
enterprise quenched within them, or who looked for any happier
termination of their difficulties than that afforded by a return
to Panama. The appearance of Tafur, therefore, with his two
vessels, well stored with provisions, was greeted with all the
rapture that the crew of a sinking wreck might feel on the
arrival of some unexpected succour; and the only thought, after
satisfying the immediate cravings of hunger, was to embark and
leave the detested isle for ever.

But by the same vessel letters came to Pizarro from his two
confederates, Luque and Almagro, beseeching him not to despair in
his present extremity, but to hold fast to his original purpose.
To return under the present circumstances would be to seal the
fate of the expedition; and they solemnly engaged, if he would
remain firm at his post, to furnish him in a short time with the
necessary means for going forward. *1

[Footnote 1: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 182.
- Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 2. - Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1527. - Herrera, Hist. General dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3.
- Naharro Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit of Pizarro.
It does not appear that he himself had entertained, at any time,
thoughts of returning. If he had, these words of encouragement
entirely banished them from his bosom, and he prepared to stand
the fortune of the cast on which he had so desperately ventured.
He knew, however, that solicitations or remonstrances would avail
little with the companions of his enterprise; and he probably did
not care to win over the more timid spirits who, by perpetually
looking back, would only be a clog on his future movements. He
announced his own purpose, however, in a laconic but decided
manner, characteristic of a man more accustomed to act than to
talk, and well calculated to make an impression on his rough

Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east
to west. Then turning towards the south, "Friends and comrades!"
he said, "on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching
storm, desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure.
There lies Peru with its riches; here, Panama and its poverty.
Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my
part, I go to the south." So saying, he stepped across the line.
*2 He was followed by the brave pilot Ruiz; next by Pedro de
Candia, a cavalier, born, as his name imports, in one of the
isles of Greece. Eleven others successively crossed the line,
thus intimating their willingness to abide the fortunes of their
leader, for good or for evil. *3 Fame, to quote the enthusiastic
language of an ancient chronicler, has commemorated the names of
this little band, "who thus, in the face of difficulties
unexampled in history, with death rather than riches for their
reward, preferred it all to abandoning their honor, and stood
firm by their leader as an example of loyalty to future ages." *4

[Footnote 2: "Obedeciola Pizarro y antes que se egecutase saco un
Punal, y con notable animo hizo con la punta una raya de Oriente
a Poniente; y senalando al medio dia, que era la parte de su
noticia, y derrotero dijo: camaradas y amigos esta parte es la de
la muerte, de los trabajos, de las hambres, de la desnudez, de
los aguaceros, y desamparos; la otra la del gusto: Por aqui se ba
a Panama a ser pobres, por alla al Peru a ser ricos. Escoja el
que fuere buen Castellano lo que mas bien le estubiere. Diciendo
esto paso la raya: siguieronle Barthome Ruiz natural de Moguer,
Pedro de Candi Griego, natural de Candia." Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1527.]

[Footnote 3: The names of these thirteen faithful companions are
preserved in the convention made with the Crown two years later,
where they are suitably commemorated for their loyalty. Their
names should not be omitted in a history of the Conquest of Peru.
They were "Bartolome Ruiz, Cristoval de Peralta, Pedro de Candia,
Domingo de Soria Luce, Nicolas de Ribera, Francisco de Cuellar,
Alonso de Molina, Pedro Alcon, Garcia de Jerez, Anton de Carrion,
Alonso Briceno, Martin de Paz, Joan de la Torre."]

[Footnote 4: "Estos fueron los trece de la fama. Estos los que
cercados de los mayores trabajos que pudo el Mundo ofrecer a
hombres, y los que estando mas para esperar la muerte que las
riquezas que se les prometian, todo lo pospusieron a la honra, y
siguieron a su capitan y caudillo para egemplo de lealtad en lo
futuro." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1527.]

But the act excited no such admiration in the mind of Tafur, who
looked on it as one of gross disobedience to the commands of the
governor, and as little better than madness, involving the
certain destruction of the parties engaged in it. He refused to
give any sanction to it himself by leaving one of his vessels
with the adventurers to prosecute their voyage, and it was with
great difficulty that he could be persuaded even to allow them a
part of the stores which he had brought for their support. This
had no influence on their determination, and the little party,
bidding adieu to their returning comrades, remained unshaken in
their purpose of abiding the fortunes of their commander. *5

[Footnote 5: Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 2. -
Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1527. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria,
Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3.]

There is something striking to the imagination in the spectacle
of these few brave spirits, thus consecrating themselves to a
daring enterprise, which seemed as far above their strength as
any recorded in the fabulous annals of knight-errantry. A
handful of men, without food, without clothing, almost without
arms, without knowledge of the land to which they were bound,
without vessel to transport them, were here left on a lonely rock
in the ocean with the avowed purpose of carrying on a crusade
against a powerful empire, staking their lives on its success.
What is there in the legends of chivalry that surpasses it? This
was the crisis of Pizarro's fate. There are moments in the lives
of men, which, as they are seized or neglected, decide their
future destiny. *6 Had Pizarro faltered from his strong purpose,
and yielded to the occasion, now so temptingly presented, for
extricating himself and his broken band from their desperate
position, his name would have been buried with his fortunes, and
the conquest of Peru would have been left for other and more
successful adventurers. But his constancy was equal to the
occasion, and his conduct here proved him competent to the
perilous post he had assumed, and inspired others with a
confidence in him which was the best assurance of success.

[Footnote 6: This common sentiment is expressed with uncommon
beauty by the fanciful Boiardo, where he represents Rinaldo as
catching Fortune, under the guise of the fickle fairy Morgana, by
the forelock. The Italian reader may not be displeased to
refresh his memory with it.

"Chi cerca in questo mondo aver tesoro,
O diletto, e piacere, honore, e stato,
Ponga la mano a questa chioma d'oro,
Ch'lo porto in fronte, e lo faro beato;
Ma quando ha in destro si fatto lavoro
Non prenda indugio, che'l tempo passato
Perduto e tutto, e non ritorna mai,
Ed io mi volto, e lui lascio con guai."

Orlando, Innamorato, lib. 2, canto 8.]

In the vessel that bore back Tafur and those who seceded from the
expedition the pilot Ruiz was also permitted to return, in order
to cooperate with Luque and Almagro in their application for
further succour.
Not long after the departure of the ships, it was decided by
Pizarro to abandon his present quarters, which had little to
recommend them, and which, he reflected, might now be exposed to
annoyance from the original inhabitants, should they take courage
and return, on learning the diminished number of the white men.
The Spaniards, therefore, by his orders, constructed a rude boat
or raft, on which they succeeded in transporting themselves to
the little island of Gorgona, twenty-five leagues to the north of
their present residence. It lay about five leagues from the
continent, and was uninhabited. It had some advantages over the
isle of Gallo; for it stood higher above the sea, and was
partially covered with wood, which afforded shelter to a species
of pheasant, and the hare or rabbit of the country, so that the
Spaniards, with their crossbows, were enabled to procure a
tolerable supply of game. Cool streams that issued from the
living rock furnished abundance of water, though the drenching
rains that fell, without intermission, left them in no danger of
perishing by thirst. From this annoyance they found some
protection in the rude huts which they constructed; though here,
as in their former residence, they suffered from the no less
intolerable annoyance of venomous insects, which multiplied and
swarmed in the exhalations of the rank and stimulated soil. In
this dreary abode Pizarro omitted no means by which to sustain
the drooping spirits of his men. Morning prayers were duly said,
and the evening hymn to the Virgin was regularly chanted; the
festivals of the church were carefully commemorated, and every
means taken by their commander to give a kind of religious
character to his enterprise, and to inspire his rough followers
with a confidence in the protection of Heaven, that might support
them in their perilous circumstances. *7

[Footnote 7: "Cada Manana daban gracias a Dios: a las tardes
decian la Salve, i otras Oraciones, por las Horas: sabian las
Fiestas, i enian cuenta con los Viernes, i Domingos." Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3.]

In these uncomfortable quarters, their chief employment was to
keep watch on the melancholy ocean, that they might hail the
first signal of the anticipated succour. But many a tedious
month passed away, and no sign of it appeared. All around was
the same wide waste of waters, except to the eastward, where the
frozen crest of the Andes, touched with the ardent sun of the
equator, glowed like a ridge of fire along the whole extent of
the great continent. Every speck in the distant horizon was
carefully noticed, and the drifting timber or masses of sea-weed,
heaving to and fro on the bosom of the waters, was converted by
their imaginations into the promised vessel; till, sinking under
successive disappointments, hope gradually gave way to doubt, and
doubt settled into despair. *8

[Footnote 8: "Al cabo de muchos Dias aguardando, estaban tan
angustiados, que los salages, que se hacian bien dentro de la
Mar, les parecia, que era el Navio." Herrera, Hist General, dec.
3, lib. 10, cap. 4.]

Meanwhile the vessel of Tafur had reached the port of Panama.
The tidings which she brought of the inflexible obstinacy of
Pizarro and his followers filled the governor with indignation.
He could look on it in no other light than as an act of suicide,
and steadily refused to send further assistance to men who were
obstinately bent on their own destruction. Yet Luque and Almagro
were true to their engagements. They represented to the
governor, that, if the conduct of their comrade was rash, it was
at least in the service of the Crown, and in prosecuting the
great work of discovery. Rios had been instructed, on his taking
the government, to aid Pizarro in the enterprise; and to desert
him now would be to throw away the remaining chance of success,
and to incur the responsibility of his death and that of the
brave men who adhered to him. These remonstrances, at length, so
far operated on the mind of that functionary, that he reluctantly
consented that a vessel should be sent to the island of Gorgona,
but with no more hands than were necessary to work her, and with
positive instructions to Pizarro to return in six months and
report himself at Panama, whatever might be the future results of
his expedition.

Having thus secured the sanction of the executive, the two
associates lost no time in fitting out a small vessel with stores
and a supply of arms and ammunition, and despatched it to the
island. The unfortunate tenants of this little wilderness, who
had now occupied it for seven months, *9 hardly dared to trust
their senses when they descried the white sails of the friendly
bark coming over the waters. And although, when the vessel
anchored off the shore, Pizarro was disappointed to find that it
brought no additional recruits for the enterprise, yet he greeted
it with joy, as affording the means of solving the great problem
of the existence of the rich southern empire, and of thus opening
the way for its future conquest. Two of his men were so ill,
that it was determined to leave them in the care of some of the
friendly Indians who had continued with him through the whole of
his sojourn, and to call for them on his return. Taking with him
the rest of his hardy followers and the natives of Tumbez, he
embarked, and, speedily weighing anchor, bade adieu to the
"Hell," as it was called by the Spaniards, which had been the
scene of so much suffering and such undaunted resolution. *10

[Footnote 9: "Estubieron con estos trabajos con igualdad de animo
siete meses" Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1527.]

[Footnote 10: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
182. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1527. - Naharro, Relacion
Sumaria, Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 4. -
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

Every heart was now elated with hope, as they found themselves
once more on the waters, under the guidance of the good pilot
Ruiz, who, obeying the directions of the Indians, proposed to
steer for the land of Tumbez, which would bring them at once into
the golden empire of the Incas, - the El Dorado, of which they
had been so long in pursuit. Passing by the dreary isle of
Gallo, which they had such good cause to remember, they stood
farther out to sea until they made Point Tacumez, near which they
had landed on their previous voyage. They did not touch at any
part of the coast, but steadily held on their way, though
considerably impeded by the currents, as well as by the wind,
which blew with little variation from the south. Fortunately,
the wind was light, and, as the weather was favorable, their
voyage, though slow, was not uncomfortable. In a few days, they
came in sight of Point Pasado, the limit of the pilot's former
navigation; and, crossing the line, the little bark entered upon
those unknown seas which had never been ploughed by European keel
before. The coast, they observed, gradually declined from its
former bold and rugged character, gently sloping towards the
shore, and spreading out into sandy plains, relieved here and
there by patches of uncommon richness and beauty; while the white
cottages of the natives glistening along the margin of the sea,
and the smoke that rose among the distant hills, intimated the
increasing population of the country.
At length, after the lapse of twenty days from their departure
from the island, the adventurous vessel rounded the point of St.
Helena, and glided smoothly into the waters of the beautiful gulf
of Guayaquil. The country was here studded along the shore with
towns and villages, though the mighty chain of the Cordilleras,
sweeping up abruptly from the coast, left but a narrow strip of
emerald verdure, through which numerous rivulets, spreading
fertility around them, wound their way into the sea.

The voyagers were now abreast of some of the most stupendous
heights of this magnificent range; Chimborazo, with its broad
round summit, towering like the dome of the Andes, and Cotopaxi,
with its dazzling cone of silvery white, that knows no change
except from the action of its own volcanic fires; for this
mountain is the most terrible of the American volcanoes, and was
in formidable activity at no great distance from the period of
our narrative. Well pleased with the signs of civilization that
opened on them at every league of their progress, the Spaniards,
at length, came to anchor, off the island of Santa Clara, lying
at the entrance of the bay of Tumbez. *11

[Footnote 11: According to Garcilasso, two years elapsed between
the departure from Gorgona and the arrival at Tumbez. (Com.
Real., Parte 2, hb. 1, cap. 11.) Such gross defiance of
chronology is rather uncommon even in the narratives of these
transactions, where it is as difficult to fix a precise date,
amidst the silence, rather than the contradictions, of
contemporary statements, as if the events had happened before the
The place was uninhabited, but was recognized by the Indians on
board, as occasionally resorted to by the warlike people of the
neighbouring isle of Puna, for purposes of sacrifice and worship.
The Spaniards found on the spot a few bits of gold rudely wrought
into various shapes, and probably designed as offerings to the
Indian deity. Their hearts were cheered, as the natives assured
them they would see abundance of the same precious metal in their
own city of Tumbez.

The following morning they stood across the bay for this place.
As they drew near, they beheld a town of considerable size, with
many of the buildings apparently of stone and plaster, situated
in the bosom of a fruitful meadow, which seemed to have been
redeemed from the sterility of the surrounding country be careful
and minute irrigation. When at some distance from shore, Pizarro
saw standing towards him several large balsas, which were found
to be filled with warriors going on an expedition against the
island of Puna. Running alongside of the Indian flotilla, he
invited some of the chiefs to come on board of his vessel. The
Peruvians gazed with wonder on every object which met their eyes,
and especially on their own countrymen, whom they had little
expected to meet there. The latter informed them in what manner
they had fallen into the hands of the strangers, whom they
described as a wonderful race of beings, that had come thither
for no harm, but solely to be made acquainted with the country
and its inhabitants. This account was confirmed by the Spanish
commander, who persuaded the Indians to return in their balsas
and report what they had learned to their townsmen, requesting
them at the same time to provide his vessel with refreshments, as
it was his desire to enter into a friendly intercourse with the
The people of Tumbez were gathered along the shore, and were
gazing with unutterable amazement on the floating castle, which,
now having dropped anchor, rode lazily at its moorings in their
bay. They eagerly listened to the accounts of their countrymen,
and instantly reported the affair to the curaca or ruler of the
district, who, conceiving that the strangers must be beings of a
superior order, prepared at once to comply with their request. It
was not long before several balsas were seen steering for the
vessel laden with bananas, plantains, yuca, Indian corn, sweet
potatoes, pine-apples, cocoa-nuts, and other rich products of the
bountiful vale of Tumbez. Game and fish, also, were added, with
a number of llamas, of which Pizarro had seen the rude drawings
belonging to Balboa, but of which till now he had met with no
living specimen. He examined this curious animal, the Peruvian
sheep, - or, as the Spaniards called it, the "little camel" of
the Indians, - with much interest, greatly admiring the mixture
of wool and hair which supplied the natives with the materials
for their fabrics.
At that time there happened to be at Tumbez an Inca noble, or
orejon, - for so, as I have already noticed, men of his rank were
called by the Spaniards, from the huge ornaments of gold attached
to their ears. He expressed great curiosity to see the wonderful
strangers, and had, accordingly, come out with the balsas for the
purpose. It was easy to perceive from the superior quality of
his dress, as well as from the deference paid to him by the
others, that he was a person of consideration, and Pizarro
received him with marked distinction. He showed him the
different parts of the ship, explaining to him the uses of
whatever engaged his attention, and answering his numerous
queries, as well as he could, by means of the Indian
interpreters. The Peruvian chief was especially desirous of
knowing whence and why Pizarro and his followers had come to
these shores. The Spanish captain replied, that he was the vassal
of a great prince, the greatest and most powerful in the world,
and that he had come to this country to assert his master's
lawful supremacy over it. He had further come to rescue the
inhabitants from the darkness of unbelief in which they were now
wandering. They worshipped an evil spirit, who would sink their
souls into everlasting perdition; and he would give them the
knowledge of the true and only God, Jesus Christ, since to
believe on him was eternal salvation. *12

[Footnote 12: The text abridges somewhat the discourse of the
military polemic; which is reported at length by Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 4. - See also Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1527 - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Naharro, Relacion
Sumaria, Ms - Relacion del Primer. Descub. Ms.]

The Indian prince listened with deep attention and apparent
wonder; but answered nothing. It may be, that neither he nor his
interpreters had any very distinct ideas of the doctrines thus
abruptly revealed to them. It may be that he did not believe
there was any other potentate on earth greater than the Inca;
none, at least, who had a better right to rule over his
dominions. And it is very possible he was not disposed to admit
that the great luminary whom he worshipped was inferior to the
God of the Spaniards. But whatever may have passed in the
untutored mind of the barbarian, he did not give vent to it, but
maintained a discreet silence, without any attempt to controvert
or to convince his Christian antagonist.

He remained on board the vessel till the hour of dinner, of which
he partook with the Spaniards, expressing his satisfaction at the
strange dishes, and especially pleased with the wine, which he
pronounced far superior to the fermented liquors of his own
country. On taking leave, he courteously pressed the Spaniards
to visit Tumbez, and Pizarro dismissed him with the present,
among other things, of an iron hatchet, which had greatly excited
his admiration; for the use of iron, as we have seen, was as
little known to the Peruvians as to the Mexicans.

On the day following, the Spanish captain sent one of his own
men, named Alonso de Molina, on shore, accompanied by a negro who
had come in the vessel from Panama, together with a present for
the curaca of some swine and poultry, neither of which were
indigenous to the New World. Towards evening his emissary
returned with a fresh supply of fruits and vegetables, that the
friendly people sent to the vessel. Molina had a wondrous tale
to tell. On landing, he was surrounded by the natives, who
expressed the greatest astonishment at his dress, his fair
complexion, and his long beard. The women, especially,
manifested great curiosity in respect to him, and Molina seemed
to be entirely won by their charms and captivating manners. He
probably intimated his satisfaction by his demeanour, since they
urged him to stay among them, promising in that case to provide
him with a beautiful wife.

Their surprise was equally great at the complexion of his sable
companion. They could not believe it was natural, and tried to
rub off the imaginary dye with their hands. As the African bore
all this with characteristic good-humor, displaying at the same
time his rows of ivory teeth, they were prodigiously delighted.
*13 The animals were no less above their comprehension; and, when
the cock crew, the simple people clapped their hands, and
inquired what he was saying. *14 Their intellects were so
bewildered by sights so novel, that they seemed incapable of
distinguishing between man and brute.

[Footnote 13: "No se cansaban de mirarle, hacianle labar, para
ver si se le quitaba la Tinta negra, i el lo hacia de buena gana,
riendose, i mostrando sus Dientes blancos." Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 5.]

[Footnote 14: Ibid., ubi supra.]

Molina was then escorted to the residence of the curaca, whom he
found living in much state, with porters stationed at his doors,
and with a quantity of gold and silver vessels, from which he was
served. He was then taken to different parts of the Indian city,
saw a fortress built of rough stone, and, though low, spreading
over a large extent of ground. *15 Near this was a temple; and
the Spaniard's description of its decorations, blazing with gold
and silver, seemed so extravagant, that Pizarro, distrusting his
whole account, resolved to send a more discreet and trustworthy
emissary on the following day. *16

[Footnote 15: "Cerca del solia estar una fortaleza muy fuerte y
de linda obra, hecha por los Yngas reyes del Cuzco y senores de
todo el Peru. . . . . . Ya esta el edificio desta fortaleza muy
gastado y deshecho: mas no para que dexe de dar muestra de lo
mucho que fue." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 4.]

[Footnote 16: Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Herrera, Hist.
General, loc. cit - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1 cap. 2.]

The person selected was Pedro de Candia, the Greek cavalier
mentioned as one of the first who intimated his intention to
share the fortunes of his commander. He was sent on shore,
dressed in complete mail as became a good knight, with his sword
by his side, and his arquebuse on his shoulder. The Indians were
even more dazzled by his appearance than by Molina's, as the sun
fell brightly on his polished armour, and glanced from his
military weapons. They had heard much of the formidable arquebuse
from their townsmen who had come in the vessel, and they besought
Candia "to let it speak to them." He accordingly set up a wooden
board as a target, and, taking deliberate aim, fired off the
musket. The flash of the powder and the startling report of the
piece, as the board, struck by the ball, was shivered into
splinters, filled the natives with dismay. Some fell on the
ground, covering their faces with their hands, and others
approached the cavalier with feelings of awe, which were
gradually dispelled by the assurance they received from the
smiling expression of his countenance. *17

[Footnote 17: It is moreover stated that the Indians, desirous to
prove still further the superhuman nature of the Spanish
cavalier, let loose on him a tiger - a jaguar probably - which
was caged in the royal fortress. But Don Pedro was a good
Catholic, and he gently laid the cross which he wore round his
neck on the animal's back, who, instantly forgetting his
ferocious nature, crouched at the cavalier's feet, and began to
play round him in innocent gambols. The Indians, now more amazed
than ever, nothing doubted of the sanctity of their guest, and
bore him in triumph on their shoulders to the temple. - This
credible anecdote is repeated, without the least qualification or
distrust, by several contemporary writers. (See Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 3, lib. 10,
cap. 5. - Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 54. - Garcilasso, Com.
Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 12.) This last author may have had
his version from Candia's own son, with whom he tells us he was
brought up at school. It will no doubt find as easy admission
with those of the present day, who conceive that the age of
miracles has not yet past]

They then showed him the same hospitable attentions which they
had paid to Molina; and his description of the marvels of the
place, on his return, fell nothing short of his predecessor's.
The fortress, which was surrounded by a triple row of wall, was
strongly garrisoned. The temple he described as literally
tapestried with plates of gold and silver. Adjoining this
structure was a sort of convent appropriated to the Inca's
destined brides, who manifested great curiosity to see him.
Whether this was gratified is not clear; but Candia described the
gardens of the convent, which he entered, as glowing with
imitations of fruits and vegetables all in pure gold and silver!
*18 He had seen a number of artisans at work, whose sole business
seemed to be to furnish these gorgeous decorations for the
religious houses.

[Footnote 18: "Que habia visto un jardin donde las yerbas eran de
oro imitando en un todo a las naturales, arboles con frutas de lo
mismo, y otras muchas cosas a este modo, con que aficiono
grandemente a sus companeros a esta conquista." Montesinos,
Annales, ano 1527.]

The reports of the cavalier may have been somewhat over-colored.
*19 It was natural that men coming from the dreary wilderness, in
which they had been buried the last six months, should have been
vividly impressed by the tokens of civilization which met them on
the Peruvian coast. But Tumbez was a favorite city of the
Peruvian princes. It was the most important place on the
northern borders of the empire, contiguous to the recent
acquisition of Quito. The great Tupac Yupanqui had established a
strong fortress there, and peopled it with a colony of mitimaes.
The temple, and the house occupied by the Virgins of the Sun, had
been erected by Huayna Capac, and were liberally endowed by that
Inca, after the sumptuous fashion of the religious establishments
of Peru. The town was well supplied with water by numerous
aqueducts, and the fruitful valley in which it was embosomed, and
the ocean which bathed its shores, supplied ample means of
subsistence to a considerable population. But the cupidity of
the Spaniards, after the Conquest, was not slow in despoiling the
place of its glories; and the site of its proud towers and
temples, in less than half a century after that fatal period, was
to be traced only by the huge mass of ruins that encumbered the
ground. *20

[Footnote 19: The worthy knight's account does not seem to have
found favor with the old Conqueror, so often cited in these
pages, who says, that, when they afterwards visited Tumbez, the
Spaniards found Candia's relation a lie from beginning to end,
except, indeed, in respect to the temple; though the veteran
acknowledges that what was deficient in Tumbez was more than made
up by the magnificence of other places in the empire not then
visited. "Lo cual fue mentira; porque despues que todos los
Espanoles entramos en ella, se vio por vista de ojos haber
mentido en todo, salvo en lo del templo, que este era cosa de
ver, aunque mucho mas de lo que aquel encarecio, lo que falto en
esta ciudad, se hallo despues en otras que muchas leguas mas
adelante se descubrieron." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

[Footnote 20: Cieza de Leon, who crossed this part of the country
in 1548, mentions the wanton manner in which the hand of the
Conqueror had fallen on the Indian edifices, which lay in ruin,
even at that early period. Cronica, cap. 67.]

The Spaniards were nearly mad with joy, says an old writer, at
receiving these brilliant tidings of the Peruvian city. All
their fond dreams were now to be realized, and they had at length
reached the realm which had so long flitted in visionary splendor
before them. Pizarro expressed his gratitude to Heaven for
having crowned his labors with so glorious a result; but he
bitterly lamented the hard fate which, by depriving him of his
followers, denied him, at such a moment, the means of availing
himself of his success. Yet he had no cause for lamentation; and
the devout Catholic saw in this very circumstance a providential
interposition which prevented the attempt at conquest, while such
attempts would have been premature. Peru was not yet torn
asunder by the dissensions of rival candidates for the throne;
and, united and strong under the sceptre of a warlike monarch,
she might well have bid defiance to all the forces that Pizarro
could muster. "It was manifestly the work of Heaven," exclaims a
devout son of the Church, "that the natives of the country should
have received him in so kind and loving a spirit, as best fitted
to facilitate the conquest; for it was the Lord's hand which led
him and his followers to this remote region for the extension of
the holy faith, and for the salvation of souls." *21

[Footnote 21: "I si le recibiesen con amor, hiciese su Mrd. lo
que mas conveniente le pareciese al efecto de su conquista:
porque tenia entendido, que el haverlos traido Dios era para que
su santa fe se dilatase i aquellas almas se salvasen." Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

Having now collected all the information essential to his object,
Pizarro, after taking leave of the natives of Tumbez, and
promising a speedy return, weighed anchor, and again turned his
prow towards the south. Still keeping as near as possible to the
coast, that no place of importance might escape his observation,
he passed Cape Blanco, and, after sailing about a degree and a
half, made the port of Payta. The inhabitants, who had notice of
his approach, came out in their balsas to get sight of the
wonderful strangers, bringing with them stores of fruits, fish,
and vegetables, with the same hospitable spirit shown by their
countrymen at Tumbez.
After staying here a short time, and interchanging presents of
trifling value with the natives, Pizarro continued his cruise;
and, sailing by the sandy plains of Sechura for an extent of near
a hundred miles, he doubled the Punta de Aguja, and swept down
the coast as it fell off towards the east, still carried forward
by light and somewhat variable breezes. The weather now became
unfavorable, and the voyagers encountered a succession of heavy
gales, which drove them some distance out to sea, and tossed them
about for many days. But they did not lose sight of the mighty
ranges of the Andes, which, as they proceeded towards the south,
were still seen, at nearly the same distance from the shore,
rolling onwards, peak after peak, with their stupendous surges of
ice, like some vast ocean, that had been suddenly arrested and
frozen up in the midst of its wild and tumultuous career. With
this landmark always in view, the navigator had little need of
star or compass to guide his bark on her course.

As soon as the tempest had subsided, Pizarro stood in again for
the continent, touching at the principal points as he coasted
along. Everywhere he was received with the same spirit of
generous hospitality; the natives coming out in their balsas to
welcome him, laden with their little cargoes of fruits and
vegetables, of all the luscious varieties that grow in the tierra
caliente. All were eager to have a glimpse of the strangers, the
"Children of the Sun," as the Spaniards began already to be
called, from their fair complexions, brilliant armour, and the
thunderbolts which they bore in their hands. *22 The most
favorable reports, too, had preceded them, of the urbanity and
gentleness of their manners, thus unlocking the hearts of the
simple natives, and disposing them to confidence and kindness.
The iron-hearted soldier had not yet disclosed the darker side of
his character. He was too weak to do so. The hour of Conquest
had not yet come.

[Footnote 22: "Que resplandecian como el Sol. LIamabanles hijos
del Sol por esto." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1528.]

In every place Pizarro received the same accounts of a powerful
monarch who ruled over the land, and held his court on the
mountain plains of the interior, where his capital was depicted
as blazing with gold and silver, and displaying all the profusion
of an Oriental satrap. The Spaniards, except at Tumbez, seem to
have met with little of the precious metals among the natives on
the coast. More than one writer asserts that they did not covet
them, or, at least, by Pizarro's orders, affected not to do so.
He would not have them betray their appetite for gold, and
actually refused gifts when they were proffered! *23 It is more
probable that they saw little display of wealth, except in the
embellishments of the temples and other sacred buildings, which
they did not dare to violate. The precious metals, reserved for
the uses of religion and for persons of high degree, were not
likely to abound in the remote towns and hamlets on the coast.

[Footnote 23: Pizarro wished the natives to understand, says
Father Naharro, that their good alone, and not the love of gold,
had led him to their distant land! "Sin haver querido recibir el
oro, plata i perlas que les ofrecieron, a fin de que conociesen
no era codicia, sino deseo de su bien el que les habia traido de
tan lejas tierras a las suyas." Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]
Yet the Spaniards met with sufficient evidence of general
civilization and power to convince them that there was much
foundation for the reports of the natives. Repeatedly they saw
structures of stone and plaster, and occasionally showing
architectural skill in the execution, if not elegance of design.
Wherever they cast anchor, they beheld green patches of
cultivated country redeemed from the sterility of nature, and
blooming with the variegated vegetation of the tropics; while a
refined system of irrigation, by means of aqueducts and canals,
seemed to be spread like a net-work over the surface of the
country, making even the desert to blossom as the rose. At many
places where they landed they saw the great road of the Incas
which traversed the sea-coast, often, indeed, lost in the
volatile sands, where no road could be maintained, but rising
into a broad and substantial causeway, as it emerged on a firmer
soil. Such a provision for internal communication was in itself
no slight monument of power and civilization.

Still beating to the south, Pizarro passed the site of the future
flourishing city of Truxillo, founded by himself some years
later, and pressed on till he rode off the port of Santa. It
stood on the banks of a broad and beautiful stream; but the
surrounding country was so exceedingly arid that it was
frequently selected as a burial-place by the Peruvians, who found
the soil most favorable for the preservation of their mummies.
So numerous, indeed, were the Indian guacas, that the place might
rather be called the abode of the dead than of the living. *24

[Footnote 24: "Lo que mas me admiro, quando passe por este valle,
fue ver la muchedumbre que tienen de sepolturas: y que por todas
las sierras y secadales en los altos del valle: ay numero grande
de apartados, hechos a su usanca, todo cubiertas de huessos de
muertos. De manera que lo que ay en este valle mas que ver, es
las sepolturas de los muertos, y los campos que labraron siendo
vivos." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 70.]

Having reached this point, about the ninth degree of southern
latitude, Pizarro's followers besought him not to prosecute the
voyage farther. Enough and more than enough had been done, they
said, to prove the existence and actual position of the great
Indian empire of which they had so long been in search. Yet,
with their slender force, they had no power to profit by the
discovery. All that remained, therefore, was to return and
report the success of their enterprise to the governor at Panama.
Pizarro acquiesced in the reasonableness of this demand. He had
now penetrated nine degrees farther than any former navigator in
these southern seas, and, instead of the blight which, up to this
hour, had seemed to hang over his fortunes, he could now return
in triumph to his countrymen. Without hesitation, therefore, he
prepared to retrace his course, and stood again towards the
On his way, he touched at several places where he had before
landed. At one of these, called by the Spaniards Santa Cruz, he
had been invited on shore by an Indian woman of rank, and had
promised to visit her on his return. No sooner did his vessel
cast anchor off the village where she lived, than she came on
board, followed by a numerous train of attendants. Pizarro
received her with every mark of respect, and on her departure
presented her with some trinkets which had a real value in the
eyes of an Indian princess. She urged the Spanish commander and
his companions to return the visit, engaging to send a number of
hostages on board, as security for their good treatment. Pizarro
assured her that the frank confidence she had shown towards them
proved that this was unnecessary. Yet, no sooner did he put off
in his boat, the following day, to go on shore, than several of
the principal persons in the place came along-side of the ship to
be received as hostages during the absence of the Spaniards, - a
singular proof of consideration for the sensitive apprehensions
of her guests.
Pizarro found that preparations had been made for his reception
in a style of simple hospitality that evinced some degree of
taste. Arbours were formed of luxuriant and wide-spreading
branches, interwoven with fragrant flowers and shrubs that
diffused a delicious perfume through the air. A banquet was
provided, teeming with viands prepared in the style of the
Peruvian cookery, and with fruits and vegetables of tempting hue
and luscious to the taste, though their names and nature were
unknown to the Spaniards. After the collation was ended, the
guests were entertained with music and dancing by a troop of
young men and maidens simply attired, who exhibited in their
favorite national amusement all the agility and grace which the
supple limbs of the Peruvian Indians so well qualified them to
display. Before his departure, Pizarro stated to his kind host
the motives of his visit to the country, in the same manner as he
had done on other occasions, and he concluded by unfurling the
royal banner of Castile, which he had brought on shore,
requesting her and her attendants to raise it in token of their
allegiance to his sovereign. This they did with great
good-humor, laughing all the while, says the chronicler, and
making it clear that they had a very imperfect conception of the
serious nature of the ceremony. Pizarro was contented with this
outward display of loyalty, and returned to his vessel well
satisfied with the entertainment he had received, and meditating,
it may be, on the best mode of repaying it, hereafter, by the
subjugation and conversion of the country.

The Spanish commander did not omit to touch also at Tumbez, on
his homeward voyage. Here some of his followers, won by the
comfortable aspect of the place and the manners of the people,
intimated a wish to remain, conceiving, no doubt, that it would
be better to live where they would be persons of consequence than
to return to an obscure condition in the community of Panama.
One of these men was Alonso de Molina, the same who had first
gone on shore at this place, and been captivated by the charms of
the Indian beauties. Pizarro complied with their wishes,
thinking it would not be amiss to find, on his return, some of
his own followers who would be instructed in the language and
usages of the natives. He was also allowed to carry back in his
vessel two or three Peruvians, for the similar purpose of
instructing them in the Castilian. One of them, a youth named by
the Spaniards Felipillo, plays a part of some importance in the
history of subsequent events.

On leaving Tumbez, the adventurers steered directly for Panama,
touching only, on their way, at the ill-fated island of Gorgona
to take on board their two companions who were left there too ill
to proceed with them. One had died, and, receiving the other,
Pizarro and his gallant little band continued their voyage; and,
after an absence of at least eighteen months, found themselves
once more safely riding at anchor in the harbour of Panama. *25

[Footnote 25: Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1528. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 2,
cap. 6, 7. - Relacion del Primer. Descub. Ms.]

The sensation caused by their arrival was great, as might have
been expected. For there were few, even among the most sanguine
of their friends, who did not imagine that they had long since
paid for their temerity, and fallen victims to the climate or the
natives, or miserably perished in a watery grave. Their joy was
proportionably great, therefore, as they saw the wanderers now
returned, not only in health and safety, but with certain tidings
of the fair countries which had so long eluded their grasp. It
was a moment of proud satisfaction to the three associates, who,
in spite of obloquy, derision, and every impediment which the
distrust of friends or the coldness of government could throw in
their way, had persevered in their great enterprise until they
had established the truth of what had been so generally denounced
as a chimera. It is the misfortune of those daring spirits who
conceive an idea too vast for their own generation to comprehend,
or, at least, to attempt to carry out, that they pass for
visionary dreamers. Such had been the fate of Luque and his
associates. The existence of a rich Indian empire at the south,
which, in their minds, dwelling long on the same idea and alive
to all the arguments in its favor, had risen to the certainty of
conviction, had been derided by the rest of their countrymen as a
mere mirage of the fancy, which, on nearer approach, would melt
into air; while the projectors, who staked their fortunes on the
adventure, were denounced as madmen. But their hour of triumph,
their slow and hard-earned triumph, had now arrived.

Yet the governor, Pedro de los Rios, did not seem, even at this
moment, to be possessed with a conviction of the magnitude of the
discovery, - or, perhaps, he was discouraged by its very
magnitude. When the associates, now with more confidence,
applied to him for patronage in an undertaking too vast for their
individual resources, he coldly replied, "He had no desire to
build up other states at the expense of his own; nor would he be
led to throw away more lives than had already been sacrificed by
the cheap display of gold and silver toys and a few Indian
sheep!" *26

[Footnote 26: "No entendia de despoblar su Governacion, para que
se fuesen a poblar nuevas Tierras, muriendo en tal demanda mas
Gente de la que havia muerto, cebar do a los Hombres con la
muestra de las Ovejas, Oro, i Plata, que havian traido." Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 4, lib 3, cap. 1.]

Sorely disheartened by this repulse from the only quarter whence
effectual aid could be expected, the confederates, without funds,
and with credit nearly exhausted by their past efforts, were
perplexed in the extreme. Yet to stop now, - what was it but to
abandon the rich mine which their own industry and perseverance
had laid open, for others to work at pleasure? In this extremity
the fruitful mind of Luque suggested the only expedient by which
they could hope for success. This was to apply to the Crown
itself. No one was so much interested in the result of the
expedition. It was for the government, indeed, that discoveries
were to be made, that the country was to be conquered. The
government alone was competent to provide the requisite means,
and was likely to take a much broader and more liberal view of
the matter than a petty colonial officer.

But who was there qualified to take charge of this delicate
mission? Luque was chained by his professional duties to Panama;
and his associates, unlettered soldiers, were much better fitted
for the business of the camp than of the court. Almagro, blunt,
though somewhat swelling and ostentatious in his address, with a
diminutive stature and a countenance naturally plain, now much
disfigured by the loss of an eye, was not so well qualified for
the mission as his companion in arms, who, possessing a good
person and altogether a commanding presence, was plausible, and,
with all his defects of education, could, where deeply
interested, be even eloquent in discourse. The ecclesiastic,
however, suggested that the negotiation should be committed to
the Licentiate Corral, a respectable functionary, then about to
return on some public business to the mother country. But to
this Almagro strongly objected. No one, he said, could conduct
the affair so well as the party interested in it. He had a high
opinion of Pizarro's prudence, his discernment of character, and
his cool, deliberate policy. *27 He knew enough of his comrade to
have confidence that his presence of mind would not desert him,
even in the new, and therefore embarrassing, circumstances in
which he would be placed at court. No one, he said, could tell
the story of their adventures with such effect, as the man who
had ben the chief actor in them. No one could so well paint the
unparalleled sufferings and sacrifices which they had
encountered; no other could tell so forcibly what had been done,
what yet remained to do, and what assistance would be necessary
to carry it into execution. He concluded, with characteristic
frankness, by strongly urging his confederate to undertake the

[Footnote 27: "E por pura importunacion de Almagro cupole a
Pizarro, por que siempre Almagro le tubo respeto, e deseo
honrarle." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias Ms, Parte 3. lib. 8, cap.

Pizarro felt the force of Almagro's reasoning, and, though with
undisguised reluctance, acquiesced in a measure which was less to
his taste than an expedition to the wilderness. But Luque came
into the arrangement with more difficulty. "God grant, my
children," exclaimed the ecclesiastic, "that one of you may not
defraud the other of his blessing!" *28 Pizarro engaged to
consult the interests of his associates equally with his own.
But Luque, it is clear, did not trust Pizarro.

[Footnote 28: "Plegue a Dios, Hijos, que no os hurteis la
bendicion el uno al otro que yo todavia holgaria, que a lo menos
fuerades entrambos." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4. lib. 3, cap.

There was some difficulty in raising the funds necessary for
putting the envoy in condition to make a suitable appearance at
court; so low had the credit of the confederates fallen, and so
little confidence was yet placed in the result of their splendid
discoveries. Fifteen hundred ducats were at length raised; and
Pizarro, in the spring of 1528, bade adieu to Panama, accompanied
by Pedro de Candia. *29 He took with him, also, some of the
natives, as well as two or three llamas, various nice fabrics of
cloth, with many ornaments and vases of gold and silver, as
specimens of the civilization of the country, and vouchers for
his wonderful story.

[Footnote 29: "Juntaronle mil y quinientos pesos de oro, que dio
de buena voluntad Dn Fernando de Luque." Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ano 1528."]

Of all the writers on ancient Peruvian history, no one has
acquired so wide celebrity, or been so largely referred to by
later compilers, as the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega. He was born
at Cuzco, in 1540; and was a mestizo, that is, of mixed descent,
his father being European, and his mother Indian. His father,
Garcilasso de la Vega, was one of that illustrious family whose
achievements, both in arms and letters, shed such lustre over the
proudest period of the Castilian annals. He came to Peru, in the
suite of Pedro de Alvarado, soon after the country had been
gained by Pizarro. Garcilasso attached himself to the fortunes of
this chief, and, after his death, to those of his brother
Gonzalo, - remaining constant to the latter, through his
rebellion, up to the hour of his rout at Xaquixaguana, when
Garcilasso took the same course with most of his faction, and
passed over to the enemy. But this demonstration of loyalty,
though it saved his life, was too late to redeem his credit with
the victorious party; and the obloquy which he incurred by his
share in the rebellion threw a cloud over his subsequent
fortunes, and even over those of his son, as it appears, in after

The historian's mother was of the Peruvian blood royal. She was
niece of Huayna Capac, and granddaughter of the renowned Tupac
Inca Yupanqui. Garcilasso, while he betrays obvious satisfaction
that the blood of the civilized European flows in his veins,
shows himself not a little proud of his descent from the royal
dynasty of Peru; and this he intimated by combining with his
patronymic the distinguishing title of the Peruvian princes, -
subscribing himself always Garcilasso Inca de la Vega.
His early years were passed in his native land, where he was
reared in the Roman Catholic faith, and received the benefit of
as good an education as could be obtained amidst the incessant
din of arms and civil commotion. In 1560, when twenty years of
age, he left America, and from that time took up his residence in
Spain. Here he entered the military service, and held a
captain's commission in the war against the Moriscos, and,
afterwards, under Don John of Austria. Though he acquitted
himself honorably in his adventurous career, he does not seem to
have been satisfied with the manner in which his services were
requited by the government. The old reproach of the father's
disloyalty still clung to the son, and Garcilasso assures us that
this circumstance defeated all his efforts to recover the large
inheritance of landed property belonging to his mother, which had
escheated to the Crown. "Such were the prejudices against me,"
says he, "that I could not urge my ancient claims or
expectations; and I left the army so poor and so much in debt,
that I did not care to show myself again at court; but was
obliged to withdraw into an obscure solitude, where I lead a
tranquil life for the brief space that remains to me, no longer
deluded by the world or its vanities."

The scene of this obscure retreat was not, however, as the reader
might imagine from this tone of philosophic resignation, in the
depths of some rural wilderness, but in Cordova, once the gay
capital of Moslem science, and still the busy haunt of men. Here
our philosopher occupied himself with literary labors, the more
sweet and soothing to his wounded spirit, that they tended to
illustrate the faded glories of his native land, and exhibit them
in their primitive splendor to the eyes of his adopted
countrymen. "And I have no reason to regret," he says in his
Preface to his account of Florida, "that Fortune has not smiled
on me, since this circumstance has opened a literary career
which, I trust, will secure to me a wider and more enduring fame
than could flow from any worldly prosperity."

In 1609, he gave to the world the First Part of his great work,
the Commentarios Reales, devoted to the history of the country
under the Incas; and in 1616, a few months before his death, he
finished the Second Part, embracing the story of the Conquest,
which was published at Cordova the following year. The
chronicler, who thus closed his labors with his life, died at the
ripe old age of seventy-six. He left a considerable sum for the
purchase of masses for his soul, showing that the complaints of
his poverty are not to be taken literally. His remains were
interred in the cathedral church of Cordova, in a chapel which
bears the name of Garcilasso; and an inscription was placed on
his monument, intimating the high respect in which the historian
was held both for his moral worth and his literary attainments.
The First Part of the Commentarios Reales is occupied, as already
noticed, with the ancient history of the country, presenting a
complete picture of its civilization under the Incas, - far more
complete than has been given by any other writer. Garcilasso's
mother was but ten years old at the time of her cousin
Atahuallpa's accession, or rather usurpation, as it is called by
the party of Cuzco. She had the good fortune to escape the
massacre which, according to the chronicler, befell most of her
kindred, and with her brother continued to reside in their
ancient capital after the Conquest. Their conversations
naturally turned to the good old times of the Inca rule, which,
colored by their fond regrets, may be presumed to have lost
nothing as seen through the magnifying medium of the past. The
young Garcilasso listened greedily to the stories which recounted
the magnificence and prowess of his royal ancestors, and though
he made no use of them at the time, they sunk deep into his
memory, to be treasured up for a future occasion. When he
prepared, after the lapse of many years, in his retirement at
Cordova, to compose the history of his country, he wrote to his
old companions and schoolfellows, of the Inca family, to obtain
fuller information than he could get in Spain on various matters
of historical interest. He had witnessed in his youth the
ancient ceremonies and usages of his countrymen, understood the
science of their quipus, and mastered many of their primitive
traditions. With the assistance he now obtained from his
Peruvian kindred, he acquired a familiarity with the history of
the great Inca race, and of their national institutions, to an
extent that no person could have possessed, unless educated in
the midst of them, speaking the same language, and with the same
Indian blood flowing in his veins. Garcilasso, in short, was the
representative of the conquered race; and we might expect to find
the lights and shadows of the picture disposed under his pencil,
so as to produce an effect very different from that which they
had hitherto exhibited under the hands of the Conquerors.

Such, to a certain extent, is the fact; and this circumstance
affords a means of comparison which would alone render his works
of great value in arriving at just historic conclusions. But
Garcilasso wrote late in life, after the story had been often
told by Castilian writers. He naturally deferred much to men,
some of whom enjoyed high credit on the score both of their
scholarship and their social position. His object, he professes,
was not so much to add any thing new of his own, as to correct
their errors and the misconceptions into which they had been
brought by their ignorance of the Indian languages and the usages
of his people. He does, in fact, however, go far beyond this;
and the stores of information which he has collected have made
his work a large repository, whence later laborers in the same
field have drawn copious materials. He writes from the fulness
of his heart, and illuminates every topic that he touches with a
variety and richness of illustration, that leave little to be
desired by the most importunate curiosity. The difference
between reading his Commentaries and the accounts of European
writers is the difference that exists between reading a work in
the original and in a bald translation. Garcilasso's writings
are an emanation from the Indian mind.

Yet his Commentaries are open to a grave objection, - and one
naturally suggested by his position. Addressing himself to the
cultivated European, he was most desirous to display the ancient
glories of his people, and still more of the Inca race, in their
most imposing form. This, doubtless, was the great spur to his
literary labors, for which previous education, however good for
the evil time on which he was cast, had far from qualified him.
Garcilasso, therefore, wrote to effect a particular object. He
stood forth as counsel for his unfortunate countrymen, pleading
the cause of that degraded race before the tribunal of posterity.
The exaggerated tone of panegyric consequent on this becomes
apparent in every page of his work. He pictures forth a state of
society, such as an Utopian philosopher would hardly venture to
depict. His royal ancestors became the types of every imaginary
excellence, and the golden age is revived for a nation, which,
while the war of proselytism is raging on its borders, enjoys
within all the blessings of tranquillity and peace. Even the
material splendors of the monarchy, sufficiently great in this
land of gold, become heightened, under the glowing imagination of
the Inca chronicler, into the gorgeous illusions of a fairy tale.

Yet there is truth at the bottom of his wildest conceptions, and
it would be unfair to the Indian historian to suppose that he did
not himself believe most of the magic marvels which he describes.
There is no credulity like that of a Christian convert, - one
newly converted to the faith. From long dwelling in the darkness
of paganism, his eyes, when first opened to the light of truth,
have not acquired the power of discriminating the just
proportions of objects, of distinguishing between the real and
the imaginary. Garcilasso was not a convert, indeed, for he was
bred from infancy in the Roman Catholic faith. But he was
surrounded by converts and neophytes, - by those of his own
blood, who, after practising all their lives the rites of
paganism, were now first admitted into the Christian fold. He
listened to the teachings of the missionary, learned from him to
give implicit credit to the marvellous legends of the Saints, and
the no less marvellous accounts of his own victories in his
spiritual warfare for the propagation of the faith. Thus early
accustomed to such large drafts on his credulity, his reason lost
its heavenly power of distinguishing truth from error, and he
became so familiar with the miraculous, that the miraculous was
no longer a miracle.
Yet, while large deductions are to be made on this account from
the chronicler's reports, there is always a germ of truth which
it is not difficult to detect, and even to disengage from the
fanciful covering which envelopes it; and after every allowance
for the exaggerations of national vanity, we shall find an
abundance of genuine information in respect to the antiquities of
his country, for which we shall look in vain in any European

Garcilasso's work is the reflection of the age in which he lived.
It is addressed to the imagination, more than to sober reason.
We are dazzled by the gorgeous spectacle it perpetually exhibits,
and delighted by the variety of amusing details and animated
gossip sprinkled over its pages. The story of the action is
perpetually varied by discussions on topics illustrating its
progress, so as to break up the monotony of the narrative, and
afford an agreeable relief to the reader. This is true of the
First Part of his great work. In the Second there was no longer
room for such discussion. But he has supplied the place by
garrulous reminiscences, personal anecdotes, incidental
adventures, and a host of trivial details, - trivial in the eyes
of the pedant, - which historians have been too willing to
discard, as below the dignity of history. We have the actors in
this great drama in their private dress, become acquainted with
their personal habits, listen to their familiar sayings, and, in
short, gather up those minutiae which in the aggregate make up so
much of life, and not less of character.

It is this confusion of the great and the little, thus artlessly
blended together, that constitutes one of the charms of the old
romantic chronicle, - not the less true that, in this respect, it
approaches nearer to the usual tone of romance. It is in such
writings that we may look to find the form and pressure of the
age. The worm-eaten state-papers, official correspondence,
public records, are all serviceable, indispensable, to history.
They are the framework on which it is to repose; the skeleton of
facts which gives it its strength and proportions. But they are
as worthless as the dry bones of the skeleton, unless clothed
with the beautiful form and garb of humanity, and instinct with
the spirit of the age. - Our debt is large to the antiquarian,
who with conscientious precision lays broad and deep the
foundations of historic truth; and no less to the philosophic
annalist who exhibits man in the dress of public life, - man in
masquerade; but our gratitude must surely not be withheld from
those, who, like Garcilasso de la Vega, and many a romancer of
the Middle Ages, have held up the mirror - distorted though it
may somewhat be - to the interior of life, reflecting every
object, the great and the mean, the beautiful and the deformed,
with their natural prominence and their vivacity of coloring, to
the eye of the spectator. As a work of art, such a production
may be thought to be below criticism. But, although it defy the
rules of art in its composition, it does not necessarily violate
the principles of taste; for it conforms in its spirit to the
spirit of the age in which it was written. And the critic, who
coldly condemns it on the severe principles of art, will find a
charm in its very simplicity, that will make him recur again and
again to its pages, while more correct and classical compositions
are laid aside and forgotten.

I cannot dismiss this notice of Garcilasso, though already long
protracted, without some allusion to the English translation of
his Commentaries. It appeared in James the Second's reign, and
is the work of Sir Paul Rycaut, Knight. It was printed at
London, in 1688, in folio, with considerable pretension in its
outward dress, well garnished with wood-cuts, and a frontispiece
displaying the gaunt and rather sardonic features, not of the
author, but his translator. The version keeps pace with the
march of the original, corresponding precisely in books and
chapters, and seldom, though sometimes, using the freedom, so
common in these ancient versions, of abridgment and omission.
Where it does depart from the original, it is rather from
ignorance than intention. Indeed, as far as the plea of
ignorance will avail him, the worthy knight may urge it stoutly
in his defence. No one who reads the book will doubt his limited
acquaintance with his own tongue, and no one who compares it with
the original will deny his ignorance of the Castilian. It
contains as many blunders as paragraphs, and most of them such as
might shame a schoolboy. Yet such are the rude charms of the
original, that this ruder version of it has found considerable
favor with readers; and Sir Paul Rycaut's translation, old as it
is, may still be met with in many a private, as well as public

Book III: Conquest Of Peru

Chapter I

Pizarro's Reception At Court. - His Capitulation With The Crown.
- He Visits His Birthplace. - Returns To The New World. -
Difficulties With Almagro. - His Third Expedition. - Adventures
On The Coast. - Battles In The Isle Of Puna.

Pizarro and his officer, having crossed the Isthmus, embarked at
Nombre de Dios for the old country, and, after a good passage,
reached Seville early in the summer of 1528. There happened to
be at that time in port a person well known in the history of
Spanish adventure as the Bachelor Enciso. He had taken an active
part in the colonization of Tierra Firme, and had a pecuniary
claim against the early colonists of Darien, of whom Pizarro was
one. Immediately on the landing of the latter, he was seized by
Enciso's orders, and held in custody for the debt. Pizarro, who
had fled from his native land as a forlorn and houseless
adventurer, after an absence of more than twenty years, passed,
most of them, in unprecedented toil and suffering, now found
himself on his return the inmate of a prison. Such was the
commencement of those brilliant fortunes which, as he had
trusted, awaited him at home. The circumstance excited general
indignation; and no sooner was the Court advised of his arrival
in the country, and the great purpose of his mission, than orders
were sent for his release, with permission to proceed at once on
his journey.

Pizarro found the emperor at Toledo, which he was soon to quit,
in order to embark for Italy. Spain was not the favorite
residence of Charles the Fifth, in the earlier part of his reign.
He was now at that period of it when he was enjoying the full
flush of his triumphs over his gallant rival of France, whom he
had defeated and taken prisoner at the great battle of Pavia; and
the victor was at this moment preparing to pass into Italy to
receive the imperial crown from the hands of the Roman Pontiff.
Elated by his successes and his elevation to the German throne,
Charles made little account of his hereditary kingdom, as his
ambition found so splendid a career thrown open to it on the wide
field of European politics. He had hitherto received too
inconsiderable returns from his transatlantic possessions to give
them the attention they deserved. But, as the recent acquisition
of Mexico and the brilliant anticipations in respect to the
southern continent were pressed upon his notice, he felt their
importance as likely to afford him the means of prosecuting his
ambitious and most expensive enterprises.
Pizarro, therefore, who had now come to satisfy the royal eyes,
by visible proofs, of the truth of the golden rumors which, from
time to time, had reached Castile, was graciously received by the
emperor. Charles examined the various objects which his officer
exhibited to him with great attention. He was particularly
interested by the appearance of the llama, so remarkable as the
only beast of burden yet known on the new continent; and the fine
fabrics of woollen cloth, which were made from its shaggy sides,
gave it a much higher value, in the eyes of the sagacious
monarch, than what it possessed as an animal for domestic labor.
But the specimens of gold and silver manufacture, and the
wonderful tale which Pizarro had to tell of the abundance of the
precious metals, must have satisfied even the cravings of royal

[See Pizarro And Charles V: Pizarro describes to Charles V of
Spain the tempting riches of Peru]

Pizarro, far from being embarrassed by the novelty of his
situation, maintained his usual self-possession, and showed that
decorum and even dignity in his address which belong to the
Castilian. He spoke in a simple and respectful style, but with
the earnestness and natural eloquence of one who had been an
actor in the scenes he described, and who was conscious that the
impression he made on his audience was to decide his future
destiny. All listened with eagerness to the account of his
strange adventures by sea and land, his wanderings in the
forests, or in the dismal and pestilent swamps on the sea-coast,
without food, almost without raiment, with feet torn and bleeding
at every step, with his few companions becoming still fewer by
disease and death, and yet pressing on with unconquerable spirit
to extend the empire of Castile, and the name and power of her
sovereign; but when he painted his lonely condition on the
desolate island, abandoned by the government at home, deserted by
all but a handful of devoted followers, his royal auditor, though
not easily moved, was affected to tears. On his departure from
Toledo, Charles commended the affairs of his vassal in the most
favorable terms to the consideration of the Council of the
Indies. *1

[Footnote 1: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i. Pob. del Piru, Ms.

"Hablaba tan bien en la materia, que se llevo los aplausos y
atencion en Toledo donde el Emperador estaba diole audiencia con
mucho gusto, tratolo amoroso, y oyole tierno, especialmente
cuando le hizo relacion de su consistencia y de los trece
compaeros en la Isla en medio de tantos trabajos." Montesinos,
Annales, Ms., ao 1528.]

There was at this time another man at court, who had come there
on a similar errand from the New World, but whose splendid
achievements had already won for him a name that threw the rising
reputation of Pizarro comparatively into the shade. This man was
Hernando Cortes, the Conqueror of Mexico. He had come home to
lay an empire at the feet of his sovereign, and to demand in
return the redress of his wrongs, and the recompense of his great
services. He was at the close of his career, as Pizarro was at
the commencement of his; the Conqueror of the North and of the
South; the two men appointed by Providence to overturn the most
potent of the Indian dynasties, and to open the golden gates by
which the treasures of the New World were to pass into the
coffers of Spain.

Notwithstanding the emperor's recommendation, the business of
Pizarro went forward at the tardy pace with which affairs are
usually conducted in the court of Castile. He found his limited
means gradually sinking under the expenses incurred by his
present situation, and he represented, that, unless some measures
were speedily taken in reference to his suit, however favorable
they might be in the end, he should be in no condition to profit
by them. The queen, accordingly, who had charge of the business,
on her husband's departure, expedited the affair, and on the
twenty-sixth of July, 1529, she executed the memorable
Capitulation, which defined the powers and privileges of Pizarro.

The instrument secured to that chief the right of discovery and
conquest in the province of Peru, or New Castile, - as the
country was then called in the same manner as Mexico had received
the name of New Spain, - for the distance of two hundred leagues
south of Santiago. He was to receive the titles and rank of
Governor and Captain-General of the province, together with those
of Adelantado, and Alguacil Mayor, for life; and he was to have a
salary of seven hundred and twenty-five thousand maravedis, with
the obligation of maintaining certain officers and military
retainers, corresponding with the dignity of his station. He was
to have the right to erect certain fortresses, with the absolute
government of them; to assign encomiendas of Indians, under the
limitations prescribed by law; and, in fine, to exercise nearly
all the prerogatives incident to the authority of a viceroy.

His associate, Almagro, was declared commander of the fortress of
Tumbez, with an annual rent of three hundred thousand maravedis,
and with the further rank and privileges of an hidalgo. The
reverend Father Luque received the reward of his services in the
Bishopric of Tumbez, and he was also declared Protector of the
Indians of Peru. He was to enjoy the yearly stipend of a
thousand ducats, - to be derived, like the other salaries and
gratuities in this instrument, from the revenues of the conquered
Nor were the subordinate actors in the expedition forgotten.
Ruiz received the title of Grand Pilot of the Southern Ocean,
with a liberal provision; Candia was placed at the head of the
artillery; and the remaining eleven companions on the desolate
island were created hidalgos and cavalleros, and raised to
certain municipal dignities, - in prospect.
Several provisions of a liberal tenor were also made, to
encourage emigration to the country. The new settlers were to be
exempted from some of the most onerous, but customary taxes, as
the alcabala, or to be subject to them only in a mitigated form.
The tax on the precious metals drawn from mines was to be
reduced, at first, to one tenth, instead of the fifth imposed on
the same metals when obtained by barter or by rapine.

It was expressly enjoined on Pizarro to observe the existing
regulations for the good government and protection of the
natives; and he was required to carry out with him a specified
number of ecclesiastics, with whom he was to take counsel in the
conquest of the country, and whose efforts were to be dedicated
to the service and conversion of the Indians; while lawyers and
attorneys, on the other hand, whose presence was considered as
boding ill to the harmony of the new settlements, were strictly
prohibited from setting foot in them.

Pizarro, on his part, was bound, in six months from the date of
the instrument, to raise a force, well equipped for the service,
of two hundred and fifty men, of whom one hundred might be drawn
from the colonies; and the government engaged to furnish some
trifling assistance in the purchase of artillery and military
stores. Finally, he was to be prepared, in six months after his
return to Panama, to leave that port and embark on his
expedition. *2

[Footnote 2: This remarkable document, formerly in the archives
of Simancas, and now transferred to the Archivo General de las
Indias in Seville, was transcribed for the rich collection of the
late Don Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, to whose kindness I am
indebted for a copy of it. - It will be found printed entire, in
the original, in Appendix, No. 7.]

Such are some of the principal provisions of this Capitulation,
by which the Castilian government, with the sagacious policy
which it usually pursued on the like occasions, stimulated the
ambitious hopes of the adventurer by high-sounding titles, and
liberal promises of reward contingent on his success, but took
care to stake nothing itself on the issue of the enterprise. It
was careful to reap the fruits of his toil, but not to pay the
cost of them.

A circumstance, that could not fail to be remarked in these
provisions, was the manner in which the high and lucrative posts
were accumulated on Pizarro, to the exclusion of Almagro, who, if
he had not taken as conspicuous a part in personal toil and
exposure, had, at least, divided with him the original burden of
the enterprise, and, by his labors in another direction, had
contributed quite as essentially to its success. Almagro had
willingly conceded the post of honor to his confederate; but it
had been stipulated, on Pizarro's departure for Spain, that,
while he solicited the office of Governor and Captain-General for
himself, he should secure that of Adelantado for his companion.
In like manner, he had engaged to apply for the see of Tumbez for
the vicar of Panama, and the office of Alguacil Mayor for the
pilot Ruiz. The bishopric took the direction that was concerted,
for the soldier could scarcely claim the mitre of the prelate;
but the other offices, instead of their appropriate distribution,
were all concentred in himself. Yet it was in reference to his
application for his friends, that Pizarro had promised on his
departure to deal fairly and honorably by them all. *3

[Footnote 3: "Al fin se capitulo, que Francisco Picarro negociase
la Governacion para si: i para Diego de Almagro, el
Adelantamiento: i para Hernando de Luque, el Obispado: i para
Bartolome Ruiz, el Alguacilazgo Maior: i Mercedes para los que
quedaban vivos, de los trece Comapaeros, afirmando siempre
Francisco Picarro, que todo lo queria para ellos, i prometiendo,
que negociaria lealmente, i sin ninguna cautela." Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 4, lib. 3, cap. 1.]

It is stated by the military chronicler, Pedro Pizarro, that his
kinsman did, in fact, urge the suit strongly in behalf of
Almagro; but that he was refused by the government, on the ground
that offices of such paramount importance could not be committed
to different individuals. The ill effects of such an arrangement
had been long since felt in more than one of the Indian colonies,
where it had led to rivalry and fatal collision. *4 Pizarro,
therefore, finding his remonstrances unheeded, had no alternative
but to combine the offices in his own person, or to see the
expedition fall to the ground. This explanation of the affair
has not received the sanction of other contemporary historians.
The apprehensions expressed by Luque, at the time of Pizarro's
assuming the mission, of some such result as actually occurred,
founded, doubtless, on a knowledge of his associate's character,
may warrant us in distrusting the alleged vindication of his
conduct, and our distrust will not be diminished by familiarity
with his subsequent career. Pizarro's virtue was not of a kind to
withstand temptation, - though of a much weaker sort than that
now thrown in his path.

[Footnote 4: "Y don Francisco Picarro pidio conforme a lo que
llevava capitulado y hordenado con sus compaeros ya dicho, y en
el consejo se le rrespondio que no avia lugar de dar governacion
a dos compaeros, a caussa de que en santa marta se avia dado
ansi a dos compaeros y el uno avia muerto al otro . . . . . .
Pues pedido, como digo, muchas vezes por don Francisco Picarro se
les hiziese la merced a ambos compaeros, se le rrespondio la
pidiesse parassi sino que se daria a otro, y visto que no avia
lugar lo que pedia y queria pedio se le hiziese la merced a el, y
ansi se le hizo." Descub. y Conq. Ms.]

The fortunate cavalier was also honored with the habit of St.
Jago; *5 and he was authorized to make an important innovation in
his family escutcheon, - for by the father's side he might claim
his armorial bearings. The black eagle and the two pillars
emblazoned on the royal arms were incorporated with those of the
Pizarros; and an Indian city, with a vessel in the distance on
the waters, and the llama of Peru, revealed the theatre and the
character of his exploits; while the legend announced, that
"under the auspices of Charles, and by the industry, the genius,
and the resources of Pizarro, the country had been discovered and
reduced to tranquillity," - thus modestly intimating both the
past and prospective services of the Conqueror. *6

[Footnote 5: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 182.
- Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 1. -
Caro de Torres, Historia de las Ordenes Militares, (ed. Madrid,
1629,) p. 113.]

[Footnote 6: "Caroli Caesaris auspicio, et labore, ingenio, ac
impensa Ducis Picarro inventa, et pacata.' Herrera, Hist.
General, dec. 4 lib. 6, cap. 5.]

These arrangements having been thus completed to Pizarro's
satisfaction, he left Toledo for Truxillo, his native place, in
Estremadura, where he thought he should be most likely to meet
with adherents for his new enterprise, and where it doubtless
gratified his vanity to display himself in the palmy, or at least
promising, state of his present circumstances. If vanity be ever
pardonable, it is certainly in a man who, born in an obscure
station in life, without family, interest, or friends to back
him, has carved out his own fortunes in the world, and, by his
own resources, triumphed over all the obstacles which nature and
accident had thrown in his way. Such was the condition of
Pizarro, as he now revisited the place of his nativity, where he
had hitherto been known only as a poor outcast, without a home to
shelter, a father to own him, or a friend to lean upon. But he
now found both friends and followers, and some who were eager to
claim kindred with him, and take part in his future fortunes.
Among these were four brothers. Three of them, like himself, were
illegitimate; one of whom, named Francisco Martin de Alcantara,
was related to him by the mother's side; the other two, named
Gonzalo and Juan Pizarro, were descended from the father. "They
were all poor, and proud as they were poor," says Oviedo, who had
seen them; "and their eagerness for gain was in proportion to
their poverty." *7

[Footnote 7: "Trujo tres o cuatro hermanos suyos tan soberbios
como pobres, e tan sin hacienda como deseosos de alcanzarla."
Hist. de las Indias Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap 1.]

The remaining and eldest brother, named Hernando, was a
legitimate son, - "legitimate," continues the same caustic
authority, "by his pride, as well as by his birth." His features
were plain, even disagreeably so; but his figure was good. He
was large of stature, and, like his brother Francis, had on the
whole an imposing presence. *8 In his character, he combined some
of the worst defects incident to the Castilian. He was jealous
in the extreme; impatient not merely of affront, but of the least
slight, and implacable in his resentment. He was decisive in his
measures, and unscrupulous in their execution. No touch of pity
had power to arrest his arm. His arrogance was such, that he was
constantly wounding the self-love of those with whom he acted;
thus begetting an ill-will which unnecessarily multiplied
obstacles in his path. In this he differed from his brother
Francis, whose plausible manners smoothed away difficulties, and
conciliated confidence and cooperation in his enterprises.
Unfortunately, the evil counsels of Hernando exercised an
influence over his brother which more than compensated the
advantages derived from his singular capacity for business.

[Footnote 8: Oviedo's portrait of him is by no means flattering.
He writes like one too familiar with the original. "E de todos
ellos el Hernando Pizarro solo era legitimo, e mas legitimado en
la soberbia, hombre de alta estatura e grueso, la lengua e labios
gordos, e la punta de la nariz con sobrada carne e encendida, y
este fue el desavenidor y estorbador del sosiego de todos y en
especial de los dos viejos companeros Francisco Pizarro e Diego
de Almagro." Hist de las Indias, Ms., ubi supra.]

Notwithstanding the general interest which Pizarro's adventures
excited in his country, that chief did not find it easy to comply
with the provisions of the Capitulation in respect to the amount
of his levies. Those who were most astonished by his narrative
were not always most inclined to take part in his fortunes. They
shrunk from the unparalleled hardships which lay in the path of
the adventurer in that direction; and they listened with visible
distrust to the gorgeous pictures of the golden temples and
gardens of Tumbez, which they looked upon as indebted in some
degree, at least, to the coloring of his fancy, with the obvious
purpose of attracting followers to his banner. It is even said
that Pizarro would have found it difficult to raise the necessary
funds, but for the seasonable aid of Cortes, a native of
Estremadura like himself, his companion in arms in early days,
and, according to report, his kinsman. *9 No one was in a better
condition to hold out a helping hand to a brother adventurer,
and, probably, no one felt greater sympathy in Pizarro's
fortunes, or greater confidence in his eventual success, than the
man who had so lately trod the same career with renown.

[Footnote 9: Pizarro y Orellana, Varones Ilustres, p. 143.]
The six months allowed by the Capitulation had elapsed, and
Pizarro had assembled somewhat less than his stipulated
complement of men, with which he was preparing to embark in a
little squadron of three vessels at Seville; but, before they
were wholly ready, he received intelligence that the officers of
the Council of the Indies proposed to inquire into the condition
of the vessels, and ascertain how far the requisitions had been
complied with.

Without loss of time, therefore, Pizarro, afraid, if the facts
were known, that his enterprise might be nipped in the bud,
slipped his cables, and crossing the bar of San Lucar, in
January, 1530, stood for the isle of Gomera, - one of the
Canaries, - where he ordered his brother Hernando, who had charge
of the remaining vessels, to meet him.

Scarcely had he gone, before the officers arrived to institute
the search. But when they objected the deficiency of men, they
were easily - perhaps willingly - deceived by the pretext that
the remainder had gone forward in the vessel with Pizarro. At
all events, no further obstacles were thrown in Hernando's way,
and he was permitted, with the rest of the squadron, to join his
brother, according to agreement, at Gomera.
After a prosperous voyage, the adventurers reached the northern
coast of the great southern continent, and anchored off the port
of Santa Marta. Here they received such discouraging reports of
the countries to which they were bound, of forests teeming with
insects and venomous serpents, of huge alligators that swarmed on
the banks of the streams, and of hardships and perils such as
their own fears had never painted, that several of Pizarro's men
deserted; and their leader, thinking it no longer safe to abide
in such treacherous quarters, set sail at once for Nombre de
Soon after his arrival there, he was met by his two associates,
Luque and Almagro, who had crossed the mountains for the purpose
of hearing from his own lips the precise import of the
capitulation with the Crown. Great, as might have been expected,
was Almagro's discontent at learning the result of what he
regarded as the perfidious machinations of his associate. "Is it
thus," he exclaimed, "that you have dealt with the friend who
shared equally with you in the trials, the dangers, and the cost
of the enterprise; and this, notwithstanding your solemn
engagements on your departure to provide for his interests as
faithfully as your own? How could you allow me to be thus
dishonored in the eyes of the world by so paltry a compensation,
which seems to estimate my services as nothing in comparison with
your own?" *10

[Footnote 10: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9. -
Pedro Pizarro Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

Pizarro, in reply, assured his companion that he had faithfully
urged his suit, but that the government refused to confide powers
which intrenched so closely on one another to different hands.
He had no alternative, but to accept all himself or to decline
all; and he endeavoured to mitigate Almagro's displeasure by
representing that the country was large enough for the ambition
of both, and that the powers conferred on himself were, in fact,
conferred on Almagro, since all that he had would ever be at his
friend's disposal, as if it were his own. But these honeyed
words did not satisfy the injured party; and the two captains
soon after returned to Panama with feelings of estrangement, if
not hostility, towards one another, which did not augur well for
their enterprise.

Still, Almagro was of a generous temper, and might have been
appeased by the politic concessions of his rival, but for the
interference of Hernando Pizarro, who, from the first hour of
their meeting, showed little respect for the veteran, which,
indeed, the diminutive person of the latter was not calculated to
inspire, and who now regarded him with particular aversion as an
impediment to the career of his brother.

Almagro's friends - and his frank and liberal manners had secured
him many - were no less disgusted than himself with the
overbearing conduct of this new ally. They loudly complained
that it was quite enough to suffer from the perfidy of Pizarro,
without being exposed to the insults of his family, who had now
come over with him to fatten on the spoils of conquest which
belonged to their leader. The rupture soon proceeded to such a
length, that Almagro avowed his intention to prosecute the
expedition without further cooperation with his partner, and
actually entered into negotiations for the purchase of vessels
for that object. But Luque, and the Licentiate Espinosa, who had
fortunately come over at that time from St. Domingo, now
interposed to repair a breach which must end in the ruin of the
enterprise, and the probable destruction of those most interested
in its success. By their mediation, a show of reconciliation was
at length effected between the parties, on Pizarro's assurance
that he would relinquish the dignity of Adelantado in favor of
his rival, and petition the emperor to confirm him in the
possession of it; - an assurance, it may be remarked, not easy to
reconcile with his former assertion in respect to the avowed
policy of the Crown in bestowing this office. He was, moreover,
to apply for a distinct government for his associate, so soon as
he had become master of the country assigned to himself; and was
to solicit no office for either of his own brothers, until
Almagro had been first provided for. Lastly, the former contract
in regard to the division of the spoil into three equal shares
between the three original associates was confirmed in the most
explicit manner. The reconciliation thus effected among the
parties answered the temporary purpose of enabling them to go
forward in concert in the expedition. But it was only a thin
scar that had healed over the wound, which, deep and rankling
within, waited only fresh cause of irritation to break out with a
virulence more fatal than ever. *11

[Footnote 11: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1529. -
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib.
1, cap. 3. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 1.

There seems to have been little good-will, at bottom, between any
of the confederates; for Father Luque wrote to Oviedo that both
of his partners had repaid his services with ingratitude. -
"Padre Luque, companero de estos Capitanes, con cuya hacienda
hicieron ellos sus hechos, puesto que el uno e el otro se lo
pagaron con ingratitud segun a mi me lo escribio el mismo electo
de su mano." Ibid., loc. cit.]

No time was now lost in preparing for the voyage. It found
little encouragement, however, among the colonists of Panama, who
were too familiar with the sufferings on the former expeditions
to care to undertake another, even with the rich bribe that was
held out to allure them. A few of the old company were content
to follow out the adventure to its close; and some additional
stragglers were collected from the province of Nicaragua, - a
shoot, it may be remarked, from the colony of Panama. But
Pizarro made slender additions to the force brought over with him
from Spain, though this body was in better condition, and, in
respect to arms, ammunition, and equipment generally, was on a
much better footing than his former levies. The whole number did
not exceed one hundred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses
for the cavalry. He had provided himself with three vessels, two
of them of a good size, to take the place of those which he had
been compelled to leave on the opposite side of the Isthmus at
Nombre de Dios; an armament small for the conquest of an empire,
and far short of that prescribed by the capitulation with the
Crown. With this the intrepid chief proposed to commence
operations, trusting to his own successes, and the exertions of
Almagro, who was to remain behind, for the present, to muster
reinforcements. *12

[Footnote 12: The numerical estimates differ, as usual. I
conform to the statement of Pizarro's secretary, Xerez, Conq. del
Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 182.]

On St. John the Evangelist's day, the banners of the company and
the royal standard were consecrated in the cathedral church of
Panama; a sermon was preached before the little army by Fray Juan
de Vargas, one of the Dominicans selected by the government for
the Peruvian mission; and mass was performed, and the sacrament
administered to every soldier previous to his engaging in the
crusade against the infidel. *13 Having thus solemnly invoked the
blessing of Heaven on the enterprise, Pizarro and his followers
went on board their vessels, which rode at anchor in the Bay of
Panama, and early in January, 1531, sallied forth on his third
and last expedition for the conquest of Peru.

[Footnote 13: "El qual haviendo hecho bendecir en la Iglesia
mayor las banderas i estandarte real dia de San Juan Evangelista
de dicho ano de 1530, i que todos los soldados confesasen i
comulgasen en el convento de Nuestra Senora de la Merced, dia de
los Inocentes en la misa cantada que se celebro con toda
solemnidad i sermon que predico el P. Presentdo Fr. Juan de
Vargas, uno de los 5 religiosos que en cumplimiento de la
obediencia de sus prelados i orden del Emperador pasaban a la
conquista." Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.]

It was his intention to steer direct for Tumbez, which held out
so magnificent a show of treasure on his former voyage. But head
winds and currents, as usual, baffled his purpose, and after a
run of thirteen days, much shorter than the period formerly
required for the same distance, his little squadron came to
anchor in the Bay of St. Matthew, about one degree north; and
Pizarro, after consulting with his officers, resolved to
disembark his forces and advance along the coast, while the
vessels held their course at a convenient distance from the

The march of the troops was severe and painful in the extreme;
for the road was constantly intersected by streams, which,
swollen by the winter rains, widened at their mouths into
spacious estuaries. Pizarro, who had some previous knowledge of
the country, acted as guide as well as commander of the
expedition. He was ever ready to give aid where it was needed,
encouraging his followers to ford or swim the torrents as they
best could, and cheering the desponding by his own buoyant and
courageous spirit.
At length they reached a thick-settled hamlet, or rather town, in
the province of Coaque. The Spaniards rushed on the place, and
the inhabitants, without offering resistance, fled in terror to
the neighbouring forests, leaving their effects - of much greater
value than had been anticipated - in the hands of the invaders.
"We fell on them, sword in hand," says one of the Conquerors,
with some naivete; "for, if we had advised the Indians of our
approach, we should never have found there such store of gold and
precious stones." *14 The natives, however, according to another
authority, stayed voluntarily; "for, as they had done no harm to
the white men, they flattered themselves none would be offered to
them, but that there would be only an interchange of good offices
with the strangers," *15 - an expectation founded, it may be, on
the good character which the Spaniards had established for
themselves on their preceding visit, but in which the simple
people now found themselves most unpleasantly deceived.

[Footnote 14: "Pues llegados a este pueblo de Coaque dieron de
supito sin savello la gente del porque si estuvieran avisados.
No se tomara la cantidad de oro y esmeraldas que en el se
tomaron." Pedro Pizarre, Descub. y Conq., Ms]

[Footnote 15: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9.]
Rushing into the deserted dwellings, the invaders found there,
besides stuffs of various kinds, and food most welcome in their


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