The History Of The Conquest Of Peru
William H. Prescott

Part 8 out of 17

Caxas de a tres, i a quatro palmos de largo." Xerez, Conq. del
Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 232.]
[Footnote 20: Herrera, Hist. General, ubi supra.]

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

[Footnote 21: So says Pizarro's secretary. "I vinieron docientas
cargas de Oro, i veinte i cinco de Plata." (Xerez, Conq. del
Peru, ap. Barcia, ubi supra.) A load, he says, was brought by
four Indians "Cargas de Paligueres, que las traen quatro Indios."
The meaning of paligueres - not a Spanish word - is doubtful.
Ternaux-Compans supposes, ingeniously enough, that it may have
something of the same meaning with palanquin, to which it bears
some resemblance]

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

He there received the account of Pizarro's march across the
mountains, his seizure of the Inca, and, soon afterwards, of the
enormous ransom offered for his liberation. Almagro and his
companions listened with undisguised amazement to this account of
his associate, and of a change in his fortunes so rapid and
wonderful that it seemed little less than magic. At the same
time, he received a caution from some of the colonists not to
trust himself in the power of Pizarro, who was known to bear him
no goodwill.
Not long after Almagro's arrival at San Miguel, advices were sent
of it to Caxamalca, and a private note from his secretary Perez
informed Pizarro that his associate had come with no purpose of
cooperating with him, but with the intention to establish an
independent government. Both of the Spanish captains seem to
have been surrounded by mean and turbulent spirits, who sought to
embroil them with each other, trusting, doubtless, to find their
own account in the rupture. For once, however, their malicious
machinations failed.

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

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Xerez, Conq.
del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 204, 205. - Relacion Sumaria,
Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms - Relacion del Primer. Descub.
Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 1.]

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

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

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

[Footnote 23: Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III.
fol. 377 - Ciez de Leon, Cronica, cap. 65.]

Chapter VII

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


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

Pizarro was especially moved by the last consideration; and he
felt, that, without the capital, he could not hope to become
master of the empire. Without further delay, the division of the
treasure was agreed upon.
Yet, before making this, it was necessary to reduce the whole to
ingots of a uniform standard, for the spoil was composed of an
infinite variety of articles, in which the gold was of very
different degrees of purity. These articles consisted of
goblets, ewers, salvers, vases of every shape and size, ornaments
and utensils for the temples and the royal palaces, tiles and
plates for the decoration of the public edifices, curious
imitations of different plants and animals. Among the plants,
the most beautiful was the Indian corn, in which the golden ear
was sheathed in its broad leaves of silver, from which hung a
rich tassel of threads of the same precious metal. A fountain was
also much admired, which sent up a sparkling jet of gold, while
birds and animals of the same material played in the waters at
its base. The delicacy of the workmanship of some of these, and
the beauty and ingenuity of the design, attracted the admiration
of better judges than the rude Conquerors of Peru. *1

[Footnote 1: Relatione de Pedro Sancho, ap. Ramusio, Viaggi, tom.
III. fol. 399. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
233. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.

Oviedo saw at St. Domingo the articles which Ferdinand Pizarro
was bearing to Castile; and he expatiates on several beautifully
wrought vases, richly chased, of very fine gold, and measuring
twelve inches in height and thirty round. Hist. de las Indias,
Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.]

Before breaking up these specimens of Indian art, it was
determined to send a quantity, which should be deducted from the
royal fifth, to the Emperor. It would serve as a sample of the
ingenuity of the natives, and would show him the value of his
conquests. A number of the most beautiful articles was selected,
to the amount of a hundred thousand ducats, and Hernando Pizarro
was appointed to be the bearer of them to Spain. He was to
obtain an audience of Charles, and, at the same time that he laid
the treasures before him, he was to give an account of the
proceedings of the Conquerors, and to seek a further augmentation
of their powers and dignities.
No man in the army was better qualified for this mission, by his
address and knowledge of affairs, than Hernando Pizarro; no one
would be so likely to urge his suit with effect at the haughty
Castilian court. But other reasons influenced the selection of
him at the present juncture.

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

[Footnote 2: Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 3.]

[Footnote 3: According to Oviedo it was agreed that Hernando
should have a share, much larger than he was entitled to, of the
Inca's ransom, in the hope that he would feel so rich as never to
desire to return again to Peru. "Trabajaron de le embiar rico por
quitarle de entre ellos, y porque yendo muy rico como fue no
tubiese voluntad de tornar a aquellas partes." Hist. de las
Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8 cap. 16.]

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

[Footnote 4: Acta de Reparticion del Rescate de Atahuallpa, Ms -
Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 232.

In reducing the sums mentioned in this work, I have availed
myself -as I before did, in the History of the Conquest of Mexico
- of the labors of Senor Clemencin, formerly Secretary of the
Royal Academy of History at Madrid. This eminent scholar, in the
sixth volume of the Memoirs of the Academy, prepared wholly by
himself, has introduced an elaborate essay on the value of the
currency in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Although this
period - the close of the fifteenth century - was somewhat
earlier than that of the Conquest of Peru, yet his calculations
are sufficiently near the truth for our purpose, since the
Spanish currency had not as yet been much affected by that
disturbing cause, - the influx of the precious metals from the
New World.

In inquiries into the currency of a remote age, we may consider,
in the first place, the specific value of the coin, - that is,
the value which it derives from the weight, purity, &c., of the
metal, circumstances easily determined. In the second place, we
may inquire into the commercial or comparative worth of the
money, - that is, the value founded on a comparison of the
differences between the amount of commodities which the same sum
would purchase formerly, and at the present time. The last
inquiry is attended with great embarrassment, from the difficulty
of finding any one article which may be taken as the true
standard of value. Wheat, from its general cultivation and use,
has usually been selected by political economists as this
standard; and Clemencin has adopted it in his calculations.
Assuming wheat as the standard, he has endeavoured to ascertain
the value of the principal coins in circulation, at the time of
the "Catholic Kings." He makes no mention in his treatise of the
peso de oro, by which denomination the sums in the early part of
the sixteenth century were more frequently expressed than by any
other. But he ascertains both the specific and the commercial
value of the castellano, which several of the old writers, as
Oviedo, Herrera, and Xerez, concur in stating as precisely
equivalent to the peso de oro. From the results of his
calculations, it appears that the specific value of the
castellano, as stated by him in reals, is equal to three dollars
and seven cents of our own currency, while the commercial value
is nearly four times as great, or eleven dollars sixty-seven
cents, equal to two pounds twelve shillings and sixpence
sterling. By adopting this as the approximate value of the peso
de oro, in the early part of the sixteenth century, the reader
may easily compute for himself the value, at that period, of the
sums mentioned in these pages; most of which are expressed in
that denomination.
I have been the more particular in this statement, since, in my
former work, I confined myself to the commercial value of the
money, which, being much greater than the specific value, founded
on the quality and weight of the metal, was thought by an
ingenious correspondent to give the reader an exaggerated
estimate of the sums mentioned in the history. But it seems to
me that it is only this comparative or commercial value with
which the reader has any concern, indicating what amount of
commodities any given sum represents, that he may thus know the
real worth of that sum; - thus adopting the principle, though
conversely stated, of the old Hudibrastic maxim, -
"What is worth in anything,
But so much money as 't will bring."]

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

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

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

[Footnote 5: "Segun Dios Nuestro Senor a diere a entender
teniendo su conciencia y para lo mejor hazer pedia el ayuda de
Dios Nuestro Senor, e imboco el auxilio divino." Acta de
Reparticion del Rescate, Ms.]

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

[Footnote 6: The particulars of the distribution are given in the
Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, an instrument drawn up and
signed by the royal notary. The document, which as therefore of
unquestionable authority, is among the Mss. selected for me from
the collection of Munoz.]

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

[Footnote 7: "Se diese a la gente que vino con el Capital Diego
de Almagro para ayuda a pagar sus deudas y fletes y suplir
algunas necesidades que traian veinte mil pesos." (Acta de
Reparticion del Rescate, Ms.) Herrera says that 100,000 pesos
were paid to Almagro's men. (Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap.
3.) But it is not so set down in the instrument.]

[Footnote 8: "En treinta personas que quedaron en la ciudad de
san Miguel de Piura dolientes y otros que no vinieron ni se
hallaron en la prision de Atagualpa y toma del oro porque algunos
son pobres y otros tienen necesidad senalaba 15,000 ps de oro
para los repartir S. Senoria entre las dichas personas." Ibid.,

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

[Footnote 9: Montesinos, Annales, Ms. ano 1533.]

[Footnote 10: The "Spanish Captain," several times cited, who
tells us he was one of the men appointed to guard the treasure,
does indeed complain that a large quantity of gold vases and
other articles remained undivided, a palpable injustice, he
thinks, to the honest Conquerors, who had earned all by their
hardships. (Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III.
fol. 378, 379.) The writer, throughout his Relation, shows a full
measure of the coarse and covetous spirit which marked the
adventurers of Peru.]

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

[Footnote 11: 'Y esto tenia por justo, pues era provechoso." It
is the sentiment imputed to Pizarro by Herrera, Hist. General,
dec. 5, lib 3, cap. 4.]

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

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

[Footnote 12: "I como no ahondaban los designios que tenia le
replicaban; pero el respondia, que iba mirando en ello." Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4.]

[Footnote 13: "Fatta quella fusione, il Governatore fece vn atto
innanzi al notaro nel quale liberaua il Cacique Atabalipa et
l'absolueua della promessa et parola che haueua oata a gli
Spagnuoli che lo presero della casa d'oro c'haueua lor cocessa,
il quale fece publicar publicamete a suon di trombe nella piazza
di quella citta di Caxamalca." (Pedro Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio,
tom. III. fol. 399.) The authority is unimpeachable, - for any
fact, at least, that makes against the Conquerors, - since the
Relatione was by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, and was
authorized under the hands of the general and his great

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

[Footnote 14: "De la Gente Natural de Quito vienen docientos mil
Hombres de Guerra, i treinta mil Caribes, que comen Carne
Humana." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 233. -
See also Pedro Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, ubi supra.]

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

[Footnote 15: "Pues estando asi atravesose in demonio de una
lengua que se dezia ffelipillo uno de los muchachos que el
marquez avia llevado a Espana que al presente hera lengua y
andava enamorado de una muger de Atabalipa." Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms.

The amour and the malice of Felipillo, which, Quintana seems to
think, rest chiefly on Garcilasso's authority, (see Espanoles
Celebres, tom. II. p. 210, nota,) are stated very explicitly by
Zarate, Naharro, Gomara, Balboa, all contemporaneous, though not,
like Pedro Pizarro, personally present in the army.]

[Footnote 16: "Diciendo que sentia mas aquel desacato, que su
prision." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.]

[Footnote 17: Ibid., loc. cit.]

[Footnote 18: "E le habian tomado sus mugeres e repartidolas en
su presencia e usaban de ellas de sus adulterios." Oviedo, Hist.
de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

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

[Footnote 19: "Burlaste conmigo? siempre me hablas cosas de
burlas? Que parte somos Yo, i toda mi Gente, para enojar a tan
valientes Hombres como vosotros? No me digas esas burlas."
Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 234.]

[Footnote 20: "De que los Espanoles que se las han oido, estan
espantados de ver en vn Hombre Barbaro tanta prudencia." Ibid.,
loc. cit.]

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

[Footnote 21: "Pues si Yo no lo quiero, ni las Aves bolaran en mi
Tierra.' Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2 cap. 7.]

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

Men suffering from fear are not likely to be too scrupulous as to
the means of removing the cause of it. Murmurs, mingled with
gloomy menaces, were now heard against the Inca, the author of
these machinations. Many began to demand his life as necessary
to the safety of the army. Among these, the most vehement were
Almagro and his followers. They had not witnessed the seizure of
Atahuallpa. They had no sympathy with him in his fallen state.
They regarded him only as an incumbrance, and their desire now
was to push their fortunes in the country, since they had got so
little of the gold of Caxamalca. They were supported by
Riquelme, the treasurer, and by the rest of the royal officers.
These men had been left at San Miguel by Pizarro, who did not
care to have such officia spies on his movements. But they had
come to the camp with Almagro, and they loudly demanded the
Inca's death, as indispensable to the tranquillity of the
country, and the interests of the Crown. *22

[Footnote 22: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III.
fol. 100.

These cavaliers were all present in the camp.]

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

[Footnote 23: "Aunque contra voluntad del dicho Gobernador, que
nunca estubo bien en ello." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. -
So also Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel.,
ap Ramusio, ubi supra.]

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

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

[Footnote 24: The specification of the charges against the Inca
is given by Garcilasso de la Vega. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1,
cap. 37.) One could have wished to find them specified by some of
the actors in the tragedy. But Garcilasso had access to the best
sources of information, and where there was no motive for
falsehood, as in the present instance, his word may probably be
taken. - The fact of a process being formally instituted against
the Indian monarch is explicitly recognized by several
contemporary writers, by Gomara, Oviedo, and Pedro Sancho.
Oviedo characterizes it as "a badly contrived and worse written
document, devised by a factious and unprincipled priest, a clumsy
notary without conscience, and others of the like stamp, who were
all concerned in this villany." (Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte
3, lib. 8, cap. 22.) Most authorities agree in the two principal
charges, - the assassination of Huascar, and the conspiracy
against the Spaniards.]
These charges, most of which had reference to national usages, or
to the personal relations of the Inca, over which the Spanish
conquerors had clearly no jurisdiction, are so absurd, that they
might well provoke a smile, did they not excite a deeper feeling.
The last of the charges was the only one of moment in such a
trial; and the weakness of this may be inferred from the care
taken to bolster it up with the others. The mere specification
of the articles must have been sufficient to show that the doom
of the Inca was already sealed.

A number of Indian witnesses were examined, and their testimony,
filtrated through the interpretation of Felipillo, received, it
is said, when necessary, a very different coloring from that of
the original. The examination was soon ended, and "a warm
discussion," as we are assured by one of Pizarro's own
secretaries, "took place in respect to the probable good or evil
that would result from the death of Atahuallpa." *25 It was a
question of expediency He was found guilty, - whether of all the
crime alleged we are not informed, - and he was sentenced to be
burnt alive in the great square of Caxamalca. The sentence was
to be carried into execution that very night. They were not even
to wait for the return of De Soto, when the information he would
bring would go far to establish the truth or the falsehood of the
reports respecting the insurrection of the natives. It was
desirable to obtain the countenance of Father Valverde to these
proceedings, and a copy of the judgment was submitted to the
friar for his signature, which he gave without hesitation,
declaring, that, "in his opinion, the Inca, at all events,
deserved death." *26

[Footnote 25: "Doppo l'essersi molto disputato, et ragionato del
danno et vtile che saria potuto auuenire per il viuere o morire
di Atabalipa, fu risoluto che si facesse giustitia di lui." (Ped.
Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 400.) It is the
language of a writer who may be taken as the mouthpiece of
Pizarro himself. According to him, the conclave, which agitated
this "question of expediency," consisted of the "officers of the
Crown and those of the army, a certain doctor learned in the law,
that chanced to be with them, and the reverend Father Vicente de

[Footnote 26: "Respondio, que firmaria, que era bastante, para
que el Inga fuese condenado a muerte, porque aun en lo exterior
quisieron justificar su intento." Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5,
lib. 3, cap. 4]

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

But the great majority - and they were ten to one - overruled
these objections, by declaring there was no doubt of Atahuallpa's
guilt, and they were willing to assume the responsibility of his
punishment. A full account of the proceedings would be sent to
Castile, and the Emperor should be informed who were the loyal
servants of the Crown, and who were its enemies. The dispute ran
so high, that for a time it menaced an open and violent rupture;
till, at length, convinced that resistance was fruivless, the
weaker party, silenced, but not satisfied, contented themselves
with entering a written protest against these proceedings, which
would leave an indelible stain on the names of all concerned in
them. *27

[Footnote 27: Garcilasso has preserved the names of some of those
who so courageously, though ineffectually, resisted the popular
cry for the Inca s blood. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap.
37.) They were doubtless correct in denying the right of such a
tribunal to sit in judgment on an independent prince, like the
Inca of Peru; but not so correct in supposing that their master,
the Emperor, had a better right. Vattel (Book II. ch. 4.)
especially animadverts on this pretended trial of Atahuallpa, as
a manifest outrage on the law of nations.]

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

[Footnote 28: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru,
lib. 2, cap. 7.]

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

[Footnote 29: "I myself," says Pedro Pizarro, "saw the general
weep." "Yo vide llorar al marques de pesar por no podelle dar la
vida porque cierto temio los requirimientos y e rriezgo que avia
en la tierra si se soltava." Descub. y Conq., Ms]

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

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

[Footnote 30: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
234. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del
Piru, Ms. - Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 400.

The garrote is a mode of execution by means of a noose drawn
round the criminal's neck, to the back part of which a stick is
attached. By twisting this stick, the noose is tightened and
suffocation is produced. This was the mode, probably, of
Atahuallpa execution. In Spain, instead of the cord, an iron
collar is substituted, which, by means of a screw is compressed
round the throat of the sufferer.]

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

[Footnote 31: Velasco, Hist. de Quito, tom. I. p. 372.]

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

[Footnote 32: "Ma quando se lo vidde appressare per douer esser
morto, disse che raccomandaua al Gouernatore i suoi piccioli
figliuoli che volesse tenersegli appresso, & con queste valme
parole, & dicendo per l'anima sua li Soagnuoli che erano all
intorno il Credo, fu subito affogato." Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap.
Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399. Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia,
tom. III. p. 234. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. -
Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. -
Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib.
2, cap. 7.]

The death of Atahuallpa has many points of resemblance with that
of Caupolican, the great Araucanian chief, as described in the
historical epic of Ercilla. Both embraced the religion of their
conquerors at the stake, though Caupolican was so far less
fortunate than the Peruvian monarch, that his conversion did not
save him from the tortures of a most agonizing death. He was
impaled and shot with arrows. The spirited verses reflect so
faithfully the character of these early adventurers, in which the
fanaticism of the Crusader was mingled with the cruelty of the
conqueror, and they are so germane to the present subject, that I
would willingly quote the passage were it not too long. See La
Araucana, Parte 2, canto 24.]
I have already spoken of the person and the qualities of
Atahuallpa. He had a handsome countenance, though with an
expression somewhat too fierce to be pleasing. His frame was
muscular and well-proportioned; his air commanding; and his
deportment in the Spanish quarters had a degree of refinement,
the more interesting that it was touched with melancholy. He is
accused of having been cruel in his wars, and bloody in his
revenge. *33 It may be true, but the pencil of an enemy would be
likely to overcharge the shadows of the portrait. He is allowed
to have been bold, high-minded, and liberal. *34 All agree that
he showed singular penetration and quickness of perception. His
exploits as a warrior had placed his valor beyond dispute. The
best homage to it is the reluctance shown by the Spaniards to
restore him to freedom. They dreaded him as an enemy, and they
had done him too many wrongs to think that he could be their
friend. Yet his conduct towards them from the first had been
most friendly; and they repaid it with imprisonment, robbery, and

[Footnote 33: "Thus he paid the penalty of his errors and
cruelties," says Xerez, "for he was the greatest butcher, as all
agree, that the world ever saw; making nothing of razing a whole
town to the ground for the most trifling offence, and massacring
a thousand persons for the fault of one!" (Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom. III. p. 234.) Xerez was the private secretary of
Pizarro. Sancho, who, on the departure of Xerez for Spain,
succeeded him in the same office, pays a more decent tribute to
the memory of the Inca, who, he trusts, "is received into glory,
since he died penitent for his sins, and in the true faith of a
Christian." Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.]

[Footnote 34: "El hera muy regalado, y muy Senor," says Pedro
Pizarro. (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) "Mui dispuesto, sabio, animoso,
franco," says Gomara. (Hist. de las Ind., cap. 118.)]

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

[Footnote 35: The secretary Sancho seems to think that the
Peruvians must have regarded these funeral honors as an ample
compensation to Atahuallpa for any wrongs he may have sustained,
since they at once raised him to a level with the Spaniards!
Ibid., loc. cit.]

[Footnote 36: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.

See Appendix, No. 10, where I have cited in the original several
of the contemporary notices of Atahuallpa's execution, which
being in manuscript are not very accessible, even to Spaniards.]

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

[Footnote 37: "Oi dicen los indios que esta su sepulcro junto a
una Cruz de Piedra Blanca que esta en el Cementerio del Convento
de Sn Francisco." Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1533.]

[Footnote 38: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 22.

According to Stevenson, "In the chapel belonging to the common
gaol, which was formerly part of the palace, the altar stands on
the stone on which Atahuallpa was placed by the Spaniards and
strangled, and under which he was buried." (Residence in South
America, vol. II. p. 163.) Montesinos, who wrote more than a
century after the Conquest, tells us that "spots of blood were
still visible on a broad flagstone, in the prison of Caxamalca,
on which Atahuallpa was beheaded." (Annales, Ms., ano 1533.) -
Ignorance and credulity could scarcely go farther.]

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

[Footnote 39: "Hallaronle monstrando mucho centimiento con un
gran sombrero de fieltro puesto en la cabeza por luto e muy
calado sobre los ojos." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte
3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

[Footnote 40: Ibid., Ms., ubi supra. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y
Conq., Ms. - See Appendix, no. 10.]

[Footnote 41: This remarkable account is given by Oviedo, not in
the body of his narrative, but in one of those supplementary
chapters, which he makes the vehicle of the most miscellaneous,
yet oftentimes important gossip, respecting the great
transactions of his history. As he knew familiarly the leaders
in these transactions, the testimony which he collected, somewhat
at random, is of high authority. The reader will find Oviedo's
account of the Inca's death extracted, in the original, among the
other notices of this catastrophe in Appendix, No. 10]

The treatment of Atahuallpa, from first to last, forms
undoubtedly one of the darkest chapters in Spanish colonial
history. There may have been massacres perpetrated on a more
extended scale, and executions accompanied with a greater
refinement of cruelty. But the blood-stained annals of the
Conquest afford no such example of cold-hearted and systematic
persecution, not of an enemy, but of one whose whole deportment
had been that of a friend and a benefactor.

From the hour that Pizarro and his followers had entered within
the sphere of Atahuallpa's influence, the hand of friendship had
been extended to them by the natives. Their first act, on
crossing the mountains, was to kidnap the monarch and massacre
his people. The seizure of his person might be vindicated, by
those who considered the end as justifying the means, on the
ground that it was indispensable to secure the triumphs of the
Cross. But no such apology can be urged for the massacre of the
unarmed and helpless population, - as wanton as it was wicked.

The long confinement of the Inca had been used by the Conquerors
to wring from him his treasures with the hard gripe of avarice.
During the whole of this dismal period, he had conducted himself
with singular generosity and good faith. He had opened a free
passage to the Spaniards through every part of his empire; and
had furnished every facility for the execution of their plans.
When these were accomplished, and he remained an encumbrance on
their hands, notwithstanding their engagement, expressed or
implied, to release him, - and Pizarro, as we have seen, by a
formal act acquitted his captive of any further obligation on the
score of the ransom, - he was arraigned before a mock tribunal,
and, under pretences equally false and frivolous, was condemned
to an excruciating death. From first to last, the policy of the
Spanish conquerors towards their unhappy victim is stamped with
barbarity and fraud.

It is not easy to acquit Pizarro of being in a great degree
responsible for this policy. His partisans have labored to show,
that it was forced on him by the necessity of the case, and that
in the death of the Inca, especially, he yielded reluctantly to
the importunities of others. *42 But weak as is this apology, the
historian who has the means of comparing the various testimony of
the period will come to a different conclusion. To him it will
appear, that Pizarro had probably long felt the removal of
Atahuallpa as essential to the success of his enterprise. He
foresaw the odium that would be incurred by the death of his
royal captive without sufficient grounds; while he labored to
establish these, he still shrunk from the responsibility of the
deed, and preferred to perpetrate it in obedience to the
suggestions of others, rather than his own. Like many an
unprincipled politician, he wished to reap the benefit of a bad
act, and let others take the blame of it.

[Footnote 42: "Contra su voluntad sentencio a muerte a
Atabalipa." (Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.) "Contra
voluntad del dicho Gobernador." (Relacion del Primer. Descub.,
Ms.) "Ancora che molto li dispiacesse di venir a questo atto."
(Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.) Even Oviedo
seems willing to admit it possible that Pizarro may have been
somewhat deceived by others. "Que tambien se puede creer que era
enganado." Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.]

Almagro and his followers are reported by Pizarro's secretaries
to have first insisted on the Inca's death. They were loudly
supported by the treasurer and the royal officers, who considered
it as indispensable to the interests of the Crown; and, finally,
the rumors of a conspiracy raised the same cry among the
soldiers, and Pizarro, with all his tenderness for his prisoner,
could not refuse to bring him to trial. - The form of a trial was
necessary to give an appearance of fairness to the proceedings.
That it was only form is evident from the indecent haste with
which it was conducted, - the examination of evidence, the
sentence, and the execution, being all on the same day. The
multiplication of the charges, designed to place the guilt of the
accused on the strongest ground, had, from their very number, the
opposite effect, proving only the determination to convict him.
If Pizarro had felt the reluctance to his conviction which he
pretended, why did he send De Soto, Atahuallpa's best friend,
away, when the inquiry was to be instituted? Why was the
sentence so summarily executed, as not to afford opportunity, by
that cavalier's return, of disproving the truth of the principal
charge, - the only one, in fact, with which the Spaniards had any
concern? The solemn farce of mourning and deep sorrow affected
by Pizarro, who by these honors to the dead would intimate the
sincere regard he had entertained for the living, was too thin a
veil to impose on the most credulous.

It is not intended by these reflections to exculpate the rest of
the army, and especially its officers, from their share in the
infamy of the transaction. But Pizarro, as commander of the
army, was mainly responsible for its measures. For he was not a
man to allow his own authority to be wrested from his grasp, or
to yield timidly to the impulses of others. He did not even
yield to his own. His whole career shows him, whether for good
or for evil, to have acted with a cool and calculating policy.
A story has been often repeated, which refers the motives of
Pizarro's conduct, in some degree at least, to personal
resentment. The Inca had requested one of the Spanish soldiers
to write the name of God on his nail. This the monarch showed to
several of his guards successively, and, as they read it, and
each pronounced the same word, the sagacious mind of the
barbarian was delighted with what seemed to him little short of a
miracle, - to which the science of his own nation afforded no
analogy. On showing the writing to Pizarro, that chief remained
silent; and the Inca, finding he could not read, conceived a
contempt for the commander who was even less informed than his
soldiers. This he did not wholly conceal, and Pizarro, aware of
the cause of it, neither forgot nor forgave it. *43 The anecdote
is reported not on the highest authority. It may be true; but it
is unnecessary to look for the motives of Pizarro's conduct in
personal pique, when so many proofs are to be discerned of a dark
and deliberate policy.

[Footnote 43: The story is to be found in Garcilasso de la Vega,
(Com. Real., Parte 2, cap. 38,) and in no other writer of the
period, so far as I am aware.]

Yet the arts of the Spanish chieftain failed to reconcile his
countrymen to the atrocity of his proceedings. It is singular to
observe the difference between the tone assumed by the first
chroniclers of the transaction, while it was yet fresh, and that
of those who wrote when the lapse of a few years had shown the
tendency of public opinion. The first boldly avow the deed as
demanded by expediency, if not necessity; while they deal in no
measured terms of reproach with the character of their
unfortunate victim. *44 The latter, on the other hand, while they
extenuate the errors of the Inca, and do justice to his good
faith, are unreserved in their condemnation of the Conquerors, on
whose conduct, they say, Heaven set the seal of its own
reprobation, by bringing them all to an untimely and miserable
end. *45 The sentence of contemporaries has been fully ratified
by that of posterity; *46 and the persecution of Atahuallpa is
regarded with justice as having left a stain, never to be
effaced, on the Spanish arms in the New World.

[Footnote 44: I have already noticed the lavish epithets heaped
by Xerez on the Inca's cruelty. This account was printed in
Spain, in 1534, the year after the execution. "The proud
tyrant," says the other secretary, Sancho, "would have repaid the
kindness and good treatment he had received from the governor and
every one of us with the same coin with which he usually paid his
own followers, without any fault on their part, - by putting them
to death." (Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 399.)
"He deserved to die," says the old Spanish Conqueror before
quoted, "and all the country was rejoiced that he was put out of
the way." Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol.

[Footnote 45: "Las demostraciones que despues se vieron bien
manifiestan lo mui injusta que fue, . . . . puesto que todos
quantos entendieron en ella tuvieron despues mui desastradas
muertes." (Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms.) Gomara uses nearly the
same language. "No ai que reprehender a los que le mataron, pues
el tiempo, i sus pecados los castigaron despues; ca todos ellos
acabaron mal." (Hist. de las Ind., cap. 118.) According to the
former writer, Felipillo paid the forfeit of his crimes sometime
afterwards, - being hanged by Almagro on the expedition to Chili,
- when, as "some say, he confessed having perverted testimony
given in favor of Atahuallpa's innocence, directly against that
monarch." Oviedo, usually ready enough to excuse the excesses of
his countrymen, is unqualified in his condemnation of this whole
proceeding, (see Appendix, No. 10,) which, says another
contemporary, "fills every one with pity who has a spark of
humanity in his bosom." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms.]

[Footnote 46: The most eminent example of this is given by
Quintana in his memoir of Pizarro, (Espanoles Celebres, tom.
II.,) throughout which the writer, rising above the mists of
national prejudice, which too often blind the eyes of his
countrymen, holds the scale of historic criticism with an
impartial hand, and deals a full measure of reprobation to the
actors in these dismal scenes.]

Chapter VIII

Disorders In Peru. - March To Cuzco. - Encounter With The
Natives. - Challcuchima Burnt. - Arrival In Cuzco. - Description
Of The City. - Treasure Found There.


The Inca of Peru was its sovereign in a peculiar sense. He
received an obedience from his vassals more implicit than that of
any despot; for his authority reached to the most secret conduct,
- to the thoughts of the individual. He was reverenced as more
than human. *1 He was not merely the head of the state, but the
point to which all its institutions converged, as to a common
centre, - the keystone of the political fabric, which must fall
to pieces by its own weight when that was withdrawn. So it fared
on the death of Atahuallpa. *2 His death not only left the throne
vacant, without any certain successor, but the manner of it
announced to the Peruvian people that a hand stronger than that
of their Incas had now seized the sceptre, and that the dynasty
of the Children of the Sun had passed away for ever.

[Footnote 1: "Such was the awe in which the Inca was held," says
Pizarro, "that it was only necessary for him to intimate his
commands to that effect, and a Peruvian would at once jump down a
precipice, hang himself, or put an end to his life in any way
that was prescribed." Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 2: Oviedo tells us, that the Inca's right name was
Atabaliva, and that the Spaniards usually misspelt it, because
they thought much more of getting treasure for themselves, than
they did of the name of the person who owned it. (Hist. de las
Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.) Nevertheless, I have
preferred the authority of Garcilasso, who, a Peruvian himself,
and a near kinsman of the Inca, must be supposed to have been
well informed. His countrymen, he says, pretended that the cocks
imported into Peru by the Spaniards, when they crowed, uttered
the name of Atahuallpa; "and I and the other Indian boys," adds
the historian, "when we were at school, used to mimic them." Com.
Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 23.]
The natural consequences of such a conviction followed. The
beautiful order of the ancient institutions was broken up, as the
authority which controlled it was withdrawn. The Indians broke
out into greater excesses from the uncommon restraint to which
they had been before subjected. Villages were burnt, temples and
palaces were plundered, and the gold they contained was scattered
or secreted. Gold and silver acquired an importance in the eyes
of the Peruvian, when he saw the importance attached to them by
his conquerors. The precious metals, which before served only
for purposes of state or religious decoration, were now hoarded
up and buried in caves and forests. The gold and silver
concealed by the natives were affirmed greatly to exceed in
quantity that which fell into the hands of the Spaniards. *3 The
remote provinces now shook off their allegiance to the Incas.
Their great captains, at the head of distant armies, set up for
themselves. Ruminavi, a commander on the borders of Quito,
sought to detach that kingdom from the Peruvian empire, and to
reassert its ancient independence. The country, in short, was in
that state, in which old things are passing away, and the new
order of things has not yet been established. It was in a state
of revolution.

[Footnote 3: "That which the Inca gave the Spaniards, said some
of the Indian nobles to Benalcazar, the conqueror of Quito, was
but as a kernel of corn, compared with the heap before him."
(Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8 cap. 22.) See
also Pedro Pizarro Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms.]

The authors of the revolution, Pizarro and his followers,
remained meanwhile at Caxamalca. But the first step of the
Spanish commander was to name a successor to Atahuallpa. It
would be easier to govern under the venerated authority to which
the homage of the Indians had been so long paid; and it was not
difficult to find a successor. The true heir to the crown was a
second son of Huayna Capac, named Manco, a legitimate brother of
the unfortunate Huascar. But Pizarro had too little knowledge of
the dispositions of this prince; and he made no scruple to prefer
a brother of Atahuallpa, and to present him to the Indian nobles
as their future Inca. We know nothing of the character of the
young Toparca, who probably resigned himself without reluctance
to a destiny which, however humiliating in some points of view,
was more exalted than he could have hoped to obtain in the
regular course of events. The ceremonies attending a Peruvian
coronation were observed, as well as time would allow; the brows
of the young Inca were encircled with the imperial borla by the
hands of his conqueror, and he received the homage of his Indian
vassals. They were the less reluctant to pay it, as most of
those in the camp belonged to the faction of Quito.
All thoughts were now eagerly turned towards Cuzco, of which the
most glowing accounts were circulated among the soldiers, and
whose temples and royal palaces were represented as blazing with
gold and silver. With imaginations thus excited, Pizarro and his
entire company, amounting to almost five hundred men, of whom
nearly a third, probably, were cavalry, took their departure
early in September from Caxamalca, - a place ever memorable as
the theatre of some of the most strange and sanguinary scenes
recorded in history. All set forward in high spirits, - the
soldiers of Pizarro from the expectation of doubling their
present riches, and Almagro's followers from the prospect of
sharing equally in the spoil with "the first conquerors." *4 The
young Inca and the old chief Challcuchima accompanied the march
in their litters, attended by a numerous retinue of vassals, and
moving in as much state and ceremony as if in the possession of
real power. *5

[Footnote 4: The "first conquerors," according to Garcilasso,
were held in especial honor by those who came after them, though
they were, on the whole, men of less consideration and fortune
than the later adventurers. Com. Real., Parte 1 lib. 7, cap. 9.]

[Footnote 5: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Naharro,
Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Ped. Sancho Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III.
fol. 400.]

Their course lay along the great road of the Incas, which
stretched across the elevated regions of the Cordilleras, all the
way to Cuzco. It was of nearly a uniform breadth, though
constructed with different degrees of care, according to the
ground. *6 Sometimes it crossed smooth and level valleys, which
offered of themselves little impediment to the traveller; at
other times, it followed the course of a mountain stream that
flowed round the base of some beetling cliff, leaving small space
for the foothold; at others, again, where the sierra was so
precipitous that it seemed to preclude all further progress, the
road, accommodated to the natural sinuosities of the ground,
wound round the heights which it would have been impossible to
scale directly. *7

[Footnote 6: "Va todo el camino de una traza y anchura hecho a
mano." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

[Footnote 7: "En muchas partes viendo lo que esta adelante,
parece cosa impossible poderlo pasar." Ibid., Ms.]

But although managed with great address, it was a formidable
passage for the cavalry. The mountain was hewn into steps, but
the rocky ledges cut up the hoofs of the horses; and, though the
troopers dismounted and led them by the bridle, they suffered
severely in their efforts to keep their footing. *8 The road was
constructed for man and the light-footed llama; and the only
heavy beast of burden at all suited to it was the sagacious and
sure-footed mule, with which the Spanish adventurers were not
then provided. It was a singular chance that Spain was the land
of the mule; and thus the country was speedily supplied with the
very animal which seems to have been created for the difficult
passes of the Cordilleras.

[Footnote 8: Ped. Sancho, Rel. ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 404.]
Another obstacle, often occurring, was the deep torrents that
rushed down in fury from the Andes. They were traversed by the
hanging bridges of osier, whose frail materials were after a time
broken up by the heavy tread of the cavalry, and the holes made
in them added materially to the dangers of the passage. On such
occasions, the Spaniards contrived to work their way across the
rivers on rafts, swimming their horses by the bridle. *9

[Footnote 9: Ibid., ubi supra. - Relacion del Primer. Descub.,

All along the route they found post-houses for the accommodation
of the royal couriers, established at regular intervals; and
magazines of grain and other commodities, provided in the
principal towns for the Indian armies. The Spaniards profited by
the prudent forecast of the Peruvian government.
Passing through several hamlets and towns of some note, the
principal of which were Guamachucho and Guanuco, Pizarro, after a
tedious march, came in sight of the rich valley of Xauxa. The
march, though tedious, had been attended with little suffering,
except in crossing the bristling crests of the Cordilleras, which
occasionally obstructed their path, - a rough setting to the
beautiful valleys, that lay scattered like gems along this
elevated region. In the mountain passes they found some
inconvenience from the cold; since, to move more quickly, they
had disencumbered themselves of all superfluous baggage, and were
even unprovided with tents. *10 The bleak winds of the mountains
penetrated the thick harness of the soldiers; but the poor
Indians, more scantily clothed and accustomed to a tropical
climate, suffered most severely. The Spaniard seemed to have a
hardihood of body, as of soul, that rendered him almost
indifferent to climate.

[Footnote 10: "La notte dormirono tutti in quella campagna senza
coperto alcuno, sopra la neue, ne pur hebber souuenimento di
legne ne da man giare." Ped. Sancho, Rel. ap. Ramusio, tom. III.
fol. 401.]

On the march they had not been molested by enemies. But more
than once they had seen vestiges of them in smoking hamlets and
ruined bridges. Reports, from time to time, had reached Pizarro
of warriors on his track; and small bodies of Indians were
occasionally seen like dusky clouds on the verge of the horizon,
which vanished as the Spaniards approached. On reaching Xauxa,
however, these clouds gathered into one dark mass of warriors,
which formed on the opposite bank of the river that flowed
through the valley.
The Spaniards advanced to the stream, which, swollen by the
melting of the snows, was now of considerable width, though not
deep. The bridge had been destroyed; but the Conquerors, without
hesitation, dashing boldly in, advanced, swimming and wading, as
they best could, to the opposite bank. The Indians, disconcerted
by this decided movement, as they had relied on their watery
defences, took to flight, after letting off an impotent volley of
missiles. Fear gave wings to the fugitives; but the horse and
his rider were swifter, and the victorious pursuers took bloody
vengeance on their enemy for having dared even to meditate

Xauxa was a considerable town. It was the place already noticed
as having been visited by Hernando Pizarro. It was seated in the
midst of a verdant valley, fertilized by a thousand little rills,
which the thrifty Indian husbandman drew from the parent river
that rolled sluggishly through the meadows. There were several
capacious buildings of rough stone in the town, and a temple of
some note in the times of the Incas. But the strong arm of
Father Valverde and his countrymen soon tumbled the heathen
deities from their pride of place, and established, in their
stead, the sacred effigies of the Virgin and Child.

Here Pizarro proposed to halt for some days, and to found a
Spanish colony. It was a favorable position, he thought, for
holding the Indian mountaineers in check, while, at the same
time, it afforded an easy communication with the sea-coast.
Meanwhile he determined to send forward De Soto, with a
detachment of sixty horse, to reconnoitre the country in advance,
and to restore the bridges where demolished by the enemy. *11

[Footnote 11: Carta de la Justicia y Regi miento de la Ciudad de
Xauja, Ms - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq. Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del
Piru, Ms - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5 lib. 4, cap. 10. -
Relacion de Primer. Descub., Ms.]

That active cavalier set forward at once, but found considerable
impediments to his progress. The traces of an enemy became more
frequent as he advanced. The villages were burnt, the bridges
destroyed, and heavy rocks and trees strewed in the path to
impede the march of the cavalry. As he drew near to Bilcas, once
an important place, though now effaced from the map, he had a
sharp encounter with the natives, in a mountain defile, which
cost him the lives of two or three troopers. The loss was light;
but any loss was felt by the Spaniards, so little accustomed, as
they had been of late, to resistance.

Still pressing forward, the Spanish captain crossed the river
Abancay, and the broad waters of the Apurimac; and, as he drew
near the sierra of Vilcaconga, he learned that a considerable
body of Indians lay in wait for him in the dangerous passes of
the mountains. The sierra was several leagues from Cuzco; and
the cavalier, desirous to reach the further side of it before
nightfall, incautiously pushed on his wearied horses. When he
was fairly entangled in its rocky defiles, a multitude of armed
warriors, springing, as it seemed, from every cavern and thicket
of the sierra, filled the air with their war-cries, and rushed
down, like one of their own mountain torrents, on the invaders,
as they were painfully tolling up the steeps. Men and horses
were overturned in the fury of the assault, and the foremost
files, rolling back on those below, spread ruin and consternation
in their ranks. De Soto in vain endeavoured to restore order,
and, if possible, to charge the assailants. The horses were
blinded and maddened by the missiles, while the desperate
natives, clinging to their legs, strove to prevent their ascent
up the rocky pathway. De Soto saw, that, unless he gained a
level ground which opened at some distance before him, all must
be lost. Cheering on his men with the old battle-cry, that
always went to the heart of a Spaniard, he struck his spurs deep
into the sides of his wearied charger, and, gallantly supported
by his troop, broke through the dark array of warriors, and,
shaking them off to the right and left, at length succeeded in
placing himself on the broad level.

Here both parties paused, as if by mutual consent, for a few
moments. A little stream ran through the plain, at which the
Spaniards watered their horses; *12 and the animals, having
recovered wind, De Soto and his men made a desperate charge on
their assailants. The undaunted Indians sustained the shock with
firmness; and the result of the combat was still doubtful, when
the shades of evening, falling thicker around them, separated the

[Footnote 12: Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol.

Both parties then withdrew from the field, taking up their
respective stations within bow-shot of each other, so that the
voices of the warriors on either side could be distinctly heard
in the stillness of the night. But very different were the
reflections of the two hosts. The Indians, exulting in their
temporary triumph, looked with confidence to the morrow to
complete it. The Spaniards, on the other hand, were
proportionably discouraged. They were not prepared for this
spirit of resistance in an enemy hitherto so tame. Several
cavaliers had fallen; one of them by a blow from a Peruvian
battle-axe, which clove his head to the chin, attesting the power
of the weapon, and of the arm that used it. *13 Several horses,
too, had been killed; and the loss of these was almost as
severely felt as that of their riders, considering the great cost
and difficulty of transporting them to these distant regions.
Few either of the men or horses escaped without wounds, and the
Indian allies suffered still more severely.

[Footnote 13: Ibid., loc cit.]

It seemed probable, from the pertinacity and a certain order
maintained in the assault, that it was directed by some leader of
military experience; perhaps the Indian commander Quizquiz, who
was said to be hanging round the environs of Cuzco with a
considerable force.

Notwithstanding the reasonable cause of apprehension for the
morrow, De Soto, like a stout-hearted cavalier, as he was, strove
to keep up the spirits of his followers. If they had beaten off
the enemy when their horses were jaded, and their own strength
nearly exhausted, how much easier it would be to come off
victorious when both were restored by a night's rest; and he told
them to "trust in the Almighty, who would never desert his
faithful followers in their extremity." The event justified De
Soto's confidence in this seasonable succour.

From time to time, on his march, he had sent advices to Pizarro
of the menacing state of the country, till his commander,
becoming seriously alarmed, was apprehensive that the cavalier
might be over powered by the superior numbers of the enemy. He
accordingly detached Almagro, with nearly all the remaining
horse, to his support, - unencumbered by infantry, that he might
move the lighter. That efficient leader advanced by forced
marches, stimulated by the tidings which met him on the road; and
was so fortunate as to reach the foot of the sierra of Vilcaconga
the very night of the engagement.

There hearing of the encounter, he pushed forward without
halting, though his horses were spent with travel. The night was
exceedingly dark, and Almagro, afraid of stumbling on the enemy's
bivouac, and desirous to give De Soto information of his
approach, commanded his trumpets to sound, till the notes,
winding through the defiles of the mountains, broke the slumbers
of his countrymen, sounding like blithest music in their ears.
They quickly replied with their own bugles, and soon had the
satisfaction to embrace their deliverers. *14

[Footnote 14: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera,
Hist. General, sec. 3, lib. 5, cap. 3.]

Great was the dismay of the Peruvian host, when the morning light
discovered the fresh reinforcement of the ranks of the Spaniards.
There was no use in contending with an enemy who gathered
strength from the conflict, and who seemed to multiply his
numbers at will. Without further attempt to renew the fight,
they availed themselves of a thick fog, which hung over the lower
slopes of the hills, to effect their retreat, and left the passes
open to the invaders. The two cavaliers then continued their
march until they extricated their forces from the sierra, when,
taking up a secure position, they proposed to await there the
arrival of Pizarro. *15

[Footnote 15: The account of De Soto's affair with the natives is
given in more or less detail, by Ped. Sancho Rel., ap. Ramusio,
tom. III. fol. 405, - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms., - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms., -Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms, -
parties al present in the army.]

The commander-in-chief, meanwhile, lay at Xauxa, where he was
greatly disturbed by the rumors which reached him of the state of
the country. His enterprise, thus far, had gone forward so
smoothly, that he was no better prepared than his lieutenant to
meet with resistance from the natives. He did not seem to
comprehend that the mildest nature might at last be roused by
oppression; and that the massacre of their Inca, whom they
regarded with such awful veneration, would be likely, if any
thing could do it, to wake them from their apathy.

The tidings which he now received of the retreat of the Peruvians
were most welcome; and he caused mass to be said, and
thanksgivings to be offered up to Heaven, "which had shown itself
thus favorable to the Christians throughout this mighty
enterprise." The Spaniard was ever a Crusader. He was, in the
sixteenth century, what Coeur de Lion and his brave knights were
in the twelfth, with this difference; the cavalier of that day
fought for the Cross and for glory, while gold and the Cross were
the watchwords of the Spaniard. The spirit of chivalry had waned
somewhat before the spirit of trade; but the fire of religious
enthusiasm still burned as bright under the quilted mail of the
American Conqueror, as it did of yore under the iron panoply of
the soldier of Palestine.

It seemed probable that some man of authority had organized, or
at least countenanced, this resistance of the natives, and
suspicion fell on the captive chief Challcuchima, who was accused
of maintaining a secret correspondence with his confederate,
Quizquiz. Pizarro waited on the Indian noble, and, charging him
with the conspiracy, reproached him, as he had formerly done his
royal master, with ingratitude towards the Spaniards, who had
dealt with him so liberally. He concluded by the assurance,
that, if he did not cause the Peruvians to lay down their arms,
and tender their submission at once, he should be burnt alive, so
soon as they reached Almagro's quarters. *16

[Footnote 16: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Ped. Sancho,
Rel., ap Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 406.]

The Indian chief listened to the terrible menace with the utmost
composure. He denied having had any communication with his
countrymen, and said, that, in his present state of confinement,
at least, he could have no power to bring them to submission. He
then remained doggedly silent, and Pizarro did not press the
matter further. *17 But he placed a strong guard over his
prisoner, and caused him to be put in irons. It was an ominous
proceeding, and had been the precursor of the death of

[Footnote 17: Ibid., ubi supra.]

Before quitting Xauxa, a misfortune befell the Spaniards in the
death of their creature, the young Inca Toparca. Suspicion, of
course, fell on Challcuchima, now selected as the scape-goat for
all the offences of his nation. *18 It was a disappointment to
Pizarro, who hoped to find a convenient shelter for his future
proceedings under this shadow of royalty. *19

[Footnote 18: It seems, from the language of the letter addressed
to the Emperor by the municipality of Xauxa, that the troops
themselves were far from being convinced of Challcuchima's guilt.
"Publico fue, aunque dello no ubo averiguacion in certenidad, que
el capitan Chaliconiman le abia dado ierbas o a beber con que
murio." Carta de la Just. v Reg. de Xauja, Ms.]

[Footnote 19: According to Velasco, Toparsa, whom, however, he
calls by another name, tore off the diadem bestowed on him by
Pizarro, with disdain, and died in a few weeks of chagrin.
(Hist. de Quito, tom. I. p. 377.) This writer, a Jesuit of Quito,
seems to feel himself bound to make out as good a case for
Atahuallpa and his family, as if he had been expressly retained
in their behalf. His vouchers - when he condescends to give any
- too rarely bear him out in his statements to inspire us with
much confidence in his correctness.]

The general considered it most prudent not to hazard the loss of
his treasures by taking them on the march, and he accordingly
left them at Xauxa, under a guard of forty soldiers, who remained
there in garrison. No event of importance occurred on the road,
and Pizarro, having effected a junction with Almagro, their
united forces soon entered the vale of Xaquixaguana, about five
leagues from Cuzco. This was one of those bright spots, so often
found embosomed amidst the Andes, the more beautiful from
contrast with the savage character of the scenery around it. A
river flowed through the valley, affording the means of
irrigating the soil, and clothing it in perpetual verdure; and
the rich and flowering vegetation spread out like a cultivated
garden. The beauty of the place and its delicious coolness
commended it as a residence for the Peruvian nobles, and the
sides of the hills were dotted with their villas, which afforded
them a grateful retreat in the heats of summer. *20 Yet the
centre of the valley was disfigured by a quagmire of some extent,
occasioned by the frequent overflowing of the waters; but the
industry of the Indian architects had constructed a solid
causeway, faced with heavy stone, and connected with the great
road, which traversed the whole breadth of the morass. *21

[Footnote 20: "Auia en este valle muy sumptuosos aposentos y
ricos adonde los senores del Cuzco salian a tomar sus plazeres y
solazes.' Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91.]

[Footnote 21: Ibid., ubi supra.]

In this valley Pizarro halted for several days, while he
refreshed his troops from the well-stored magazines of the Incas.
His first act was to bring Challcuchima to trial; if trial that
could be called, where sentence may be said to have gone hand in
hand with accusation. We are not informed of the nature of the
evidence. It was sufficient to satisfy the Spanish captains of
the chieftain's guilt. Nor is it at all incredible that
Challcuchima should have secretly encouraged a movement among the
people, designed to secure his country's freedom and his own. He
was condemned to be burnt alive on the spot. "Some thought it a
hard measure," says Herrera; "but those who are governed by
reasons of state policy are apt to shut their eyes against every
thing else." *22 Why this cruel mode of execution was so often
adopted by the Spanish Conquerors is not obvious; unless it was
that the Indian was an infidel, and fire, from ancient date,
seems to have been considered the fitting doom of the infidel, as
the type of that inextinguishable flame which awaited him in the
regions of the damned.

[Footnote 22: Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 6 cap. 3.]

Father Valverde accompanied the Peruvian chieftain to the stake.
He seems always to have been present at this dreary moment,
anxious to profit by it, if possible, to work the conversion of
the victim. He painted in gloomy colors the dreadful doom of the
unbeliever, to whom the waters of baptism could alone secure the
ineffable glories of paradise. *23 It does not appear that he
promised any commutation of punishment in this world. But his
arguments fell on a stony heart, and the chief coldly replied, he
"did not understand the religion of the white men." *24 He might
be pardoned for not comprehending the beauty of a faith which, as
it would seem, had borne so bitter fruits to him. In the midst
of his tortures, he showed the characteristic courage of the
American Indian, whose power of endurance triumphs over the power
of persecution in his enemies, and he died with his last breath
invoking the name of Pachacamac. His own followers brought the
fagots to feed the flames that consumed him. *25

[Footnote 23: Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol.

[Footnote 24: Ibid., loc. cit.]

[Footnote 25: Ibid. loc. cit. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq.,

The Ms. of the old Conqueror is so much damaged in this part of
it that much of his account is entirely effaced.]

Soon after this tragic event, Pizarro was surprised by a visit
from a Peruvian noble, who came in great state, attended by a
numerous and showy retinue. It was the young prince Manco,
brother of the unfortunate Huascar, and the rightful successor to
the crown. Being brought before the Spanish commander, he
announced his pretensions to the throne, and claimed the
protection of the strangers. It is said he had meditated
resisting them by arms, and had encouraged the assaults made on
them on their march; but, finding resistance ineffectual, he had
taken this politic course, greatly to the displeasure of his more
resolute nobles. However this may be, Pizarro listened to his
application with singular contentment, for he saw in this new
scion of the true royal stock, a more effectual instrument for
his purposes than he could have found in the family of Quito,
with whom the Peruvians had but little sympathy. He received the
young man, therefore, with great cordiality, and did not hesitate
to assure him that he had been sent into the country by his
master, the Castilian sovereign, in order to vindicate the claims
of Huascar to the crown, and to punish the usurpation of his
rival. *26

[Footnote 26: Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 406.
- Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

Taking with him the Indian prince, Pizarro now resumed his march.
It was interrupted for a few hours by a party of the natives, who
lay in wait for him in the neighbouring sierra. A sharp skirmish
ensued, in which the Indians behaved with great spirit, and
inflicted some little injury on the Spaniards; but the latter, at
length, shaking them off, made good their passage through the
defile, and the enemy did not care to follow them into the open
It was late in the afternoon when the Conquerors came in sight of
Cuzco. *27 The descending sun was streaming his broad rays full
on the imperial city, where many an altar was dedicated to his
worship. The low ranges of buildings, showing in his beams like
so many lines of silvery light, filled up the bosom of the valley
and the lower slopes of the mountains, whose shadowy forms hung
darkly over the fair city, as if to shield it from the menaced
profanation. It was so late, that Pizarro resolved to defer his
entrance till the following morning.

[Footnote 27: "Y dos horas antes que el Sol se pusiese, llegaron
a vista de la ciudad del Cuzco. "Relacion del Primer. Descub.,

That night vigilant guard was kept in the camp, and the soldiers
slept on their arms. But it passed away without annoyance from
the enemy, and early on the following day, November 15, 1533,
Pizarro prepared for his entrance into the Peruvian capital. *28

[Footnote 28: The chronicles differ as to the precise date.
There can be no better authorities than Pedro Sancho's narrative
and the Letter of the Magistrates of Xauxa, which have followed
in the text]

The little army was formed into three divisions, of which the
centre, or "battle," as it was called, was led by the general.
The suburbs were thronged with a countless multitude of the
natives, who had flocked from the city and the surrounding
country to witness the showy, and, to them, startling pageant.
All looked with eager curiosity on the strangers, the fame of
whose terrible exploits had spread to the remotest parts of the
empire. They gazed with astonishment on their dazzling arms and
fair complexions, which seemed to proclaim them the true Children
of the Sun; and they listened with feelings of mysterious dread,
as the trumpet sent forth its prolonged notes through the streets
of the capital, and the solid ground shook under the heavy tramp
of the cavalry.

The Spanish commander rode directly up the great square. It was
surrounded by low piles of buildings, among which were several
palaces of the Incas. One of these, erected by Huayna Capac, was
surmounted by a tower, while the ground-floor was occupied by one
or more immense halls, like those described in Caxamalca, where
the Peruvian nobles held their fetes in stormy weather. These
buildings afforded convenient barracks for the troops, though,
during the first few weeks, they remained under their tents in
the open plaza, with their horses picketed by their side, ready
to repulse any insurrection of the inhabitants. *29

[Footnote 29: Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 407.
- Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 7, cap. 10. - Relacion
del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

The capital of the Incas, though falling short of the El Dorado
which had engaged their credulous fancies, astonished the
Spaniards by the beauty of its edifices, the length and
regularity of its streets, and the good order and appearance of
comfort, even luxury, visible in its numerous population. It far
surpassed all they had yet seen in the New World. The population
of the city is computed by one of the Conquerors at two hundred
thousand inhabitants, and that of the suburbs at as many more.
*30 This account is not confirmed, as far as I have seen, by any
other writer. But however it may be exaggerated, it is certain
that Cuzco was the metropolis of a great empire, the residence of
the Court and the chief nobility; frequented by the most skilful
mechanics and artisans of every description, who found a demand
for their ingenuity in the royal precincts; while the place was
garrisoned by a numerous soldiery, and was the resort, finally,
of emigrants from the most distant provinces. The quarters
whence this motley population came were indicated by their
peculiar dress, and especially their head-gear, so rarely found
at all on the American Indian, which, with its variegated colors,
gave a picturesque effect to the groups and masses in the
streets. The habitual order and decorum maintained in this
multifarious assembly showed the excellent police of the capital,
where the only sounds that disturbed the repose of the Spaniards
were the noises of feasting and dancing, which the natives, with
happy insensibility, constantly prolonged to a late hour of the
night. *31

[Footnote 30: "Esta ciudad era muy grande i mui populosa de
grandes edificios i comarcas, quando los Eespanoles entraron la
primera vex en ella havia gran cantidad de gente, seria pueblo de
mas de 40 mill. vecinos solamente lo que tomaba la ciudad, que
arravalles i comarca en deredor del Cuzco a 10 o 12 leguas creo
yo que havia docientos mill. Indios porque esto era lo mas
poblado de todos estos reinos." (Conq. i Pob. del Peru, Ms.) The
vecino or "householder" is computed, usually, as representing
five individuals. - Yet Father Valverde, in a letter written a
few years after tis, speaks of the city as having only three or
four thousand houses at the time of its occupation, and the
suburbs as having nineteen or twenty thousand. (Cart al
Emperador, Ms., 20 de Marzo, 1539.) It is possible that he took
into the account only the better kind of houses, not considering
the mud huts, or rather hovels, which made so large a part of a
Peruvian town, as deserving notice.]

[Footnote 31: "Heran tantos los atambores que de noche se oian
por todas cartes bailando y cantando y belendo que toda la mayor
parte de la noche se les pasava en esto cotidianamente." Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

The edifices of the better sort - and they were very numerous -
were of stone, or faced with stone. *32 Among the principal were
the royal residences; as each sovereign built a new palace for
himself, covering, though low, a large extent of ground. The
walls were sometimes stained of painted with gaudy tints, and the
gates, we are assured, were sometimes of colored marble. *33 In
the delicacy of the stone-work," says another of the Conquerors,
"the natives far excelled the Spaniards, though the roofs of
their dwellings, instead of tiles, were only of thatch, but put
together with the nicest art." *34 The sunny climate of Cuzco did
not require a very substantial material for defence against the

[Footnote 32: "La maggior parte di queste case sono di pietra, et
l'altre hano la meta della facciata di pietra." Ped. Sancho,
Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III. fol. 413.]

[Footnote 33: The buildings were usually of freestone. There may
have been porphyry from the neighbouring mountains mixed with
this, which the Spaniards mistook for marble.]

[Footnote 34: "Todo labrado de piedra muy prima, que cierto toda
la canteria desta cibdad hace gran ventaja a la de Espana, aunque
carecen de teja que todas las casas sino es la fortaleza, que era
hecha de azoteas son cubiertas de paja, aunque tan primamente
puesta, que parece bien." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

The most important building was the fortress, planted on a solid
rock, that rose boldly above the city. It was built of hewn
stone, so finely wrought that it was impossible to detect the
line of junction between the blocks; and the approaches to it
were defended by three semicircular parapets, composed of such
heavy masses of rock, that it bore resemblance to the kind of
work known to architects as the Cyclopean. The fortress was
raised to a height rare in Peruvian architecture; and from the
summit of the tower the eye of the spectator ranged over a
magnificent prospect, in which the wild features of the mountain
scenery, rocks, woods, and waterfalls, were mingled with the rich
verdure of the valley, and the shining city filling up the
foreground, - all blended in sweet harmony under the deep azure
of a tropical sky.

The streets were long and narrow. They were arranged with
perfect regularity, crossing one another at right angles; and
from the great square diverged four principal streets connecting
with the high roads of the empire. The square itself, and many
parts of the city, were paved with a fine pebble. *35 Through the
heart of the capital ran a river of pure water, if it might not
be rather termed a canal, the banks or sides of which, for the
distance of twenty leagues, were faced with stone *36 Across this
stream, bridges, constructed of similar broad flags, were thrown,
at intervals, so as to afford an easy communication between the
different quarters of the capital. *37
[Footnote 35: Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. III., ubi

A passage in the Letter of the Municipality of Xauxa is worth
quoting, as confirming on the best authority some of the
interesting particulars mentioned in the text. 'Esta cibdad es
la mejor e maior que en la tierra se ha visto, i aun en Yndias; e
decimos a V. M. ques tan hermosa i de tan buenos edeficios que en
Espana seria muy de ver; tiene las calles por mucho concierto en
pedradas i por medio dellas un cano enlosado. la plaza es hecha
en cuadra i empedrada de quijas pequenas todas, todas las mas de
las casas son de Senores Principales hechas de canteria. esta en
una ladera de un zerro en el cual sobre el pueblo esta una
fortaleza mui bien obrada de canteria, tan de ver que por
Espanoles que han andado Reinos estranos, dicen no haver visto
otro edeficio igual al della." Carta de la Just. y Reg. de Xauja,

[Footnote 36: "Un rio, el cual baja por medio de la cibdad y
desde que nace, mas de veinte leguas por aquel valle abajo donde
hay muchas poblaciones, va enlosado todo por el suelo, y las
varrancas de una parte y de otra hechas de canteria labrada, cosa
nunca vista, ni oida." Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

[Footnote 37: The reader will find a few repetitions in this
chapter of what I have already said, in the Introduction, of
Cuzco under the Incas. But the facts here stated are for the most
part drawn from other sources, and some repetition was
unavoidable in order to give a distinct image of the capital.]
The most sumptuous edifice in Cuzco, in the times of the Incas,
was undoubtedly the great temple dedicated to the Sun, which,
studded with gold plates, as already noticed, was surrounded by
convents and dormitories for the priests, with their gardens and
broad parterres sparkling with gold. The exterior ornaments had
been already removed by the Conquerors, - all but the frieze of
gold, which, imbedded in the stones, still encircled the
principal building. It is probable that the tales of wealth, so
greedily circulated among the Spaniards, greatly exceeded the
truth. If they did not, the natives must have been very
successful in concealing their treasures from the invaders. Yet
much still remained, not only in the great House of the Sun, but
in the inferior temples which swarmed in the capital.

Pizarro, on entering Cuzco, had issued an order forbidding any
soldier to offer violence to the dwellings of the inhabitants.
*38 But the palaces were numerous, and the troops lost no time in
plundering them of their contents, as well as in despoiling the
religious edifices. The interior decorations supplied them with
considerable booty. They stripped off the jewels and rich
ornaments that garnished the royal mummies in the temple of
Coricancha. Indignant at the concealment of their treasures,
they put the inhabitants, in some instances, to the torture, and
endeavoured to extort from them a confession of their
hiding-places. *39 They invaded the repose of the sepulchres, in
which the Peruvians often deposited their valuable effects, and
compelled the grave to give up its dead. No place was left
unexplored by the rapacious Conquerors, and they occasionally
stumbled on a mine of wealth that rewarded their labors.

[Footnote 38: "Pues mando el marquez dar vn pregon que ningun
espanol fuese a entrar en las casas de los naturales o tomalles
nada." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 39: Gomara, Hist. de las Ind., cap 123.]

In a cavern near the city they found a number of vases of pure
gold, richly embossed with the figures of serpents, locusts, and
other animals. Among the spoil were four golden llamas and ten or
twelve statues of women, some of gold, others of silver, "which
merely to see," says one of the Conquerors, with some naivete,
"was truly a great satisfaction." The gold was probably thin, for
the figures were all as large as life; and several of them, being
reserved for the royal fifth, were not recast, but sent in their
original form to Spain. *40 The magazines were stored with
curious commodities; richly tinted robes of cotton and
feather-work, gold sandals, and slippers of the same material,
for the women, and dresses composed entirely of beads of gold.
*41 The grain and other articles of food, with which the
magazines were filled, were held in contempt by the Conquerors,
intent only on gratifying their lust for gold. *42 The time came


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