George M. (George Makepeace) Towle.

Pizarro : his adventures and conquests online

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the emperor ; and that, on the other hand, Her-
nando Pizarro should be set free.

Almagro hastened to the tent where Hernando
was kept under guard, and, with a generous im-
pulse, grasped him by the hand.

" You are free from this moment^" said the old


cavalier. " Let us bury all our disputes, and live
henceforth as friends."

" Nothing," replied Hernando, delighted to re-
cover his liberty, " would suit me better."

The two then cordially embraced ; and Hernan-
do, mounting a horse which Almagro provided for
him, galloped away to his brother's camp. Pizarro

greeted him with affectionate warmth, led him into
his tent, and regaled him with the best dishes the
country afforded.

The next day Pizarro called a council of his
principal officers. Dauntless and determined as
he was, he had one very grave defect. He was
deceitful, and made light of his plighted faith.
He had solemnly agreed with Almagro upon the
terms of peace between them, and had by this
means procured Hernando's freedom. But now
he proposed to break his pledges, and to send
Almagro word that he did not intend to fulfil his
agreement. At first Hernando, who had been so
leniently dealt with by Almagro, objected to this ;
but his voice was overcome by that of the other
cavaliers, who one and all clamored to march
against the other camp.

As soon as Almagro received Pizarro's mes-


sage that he would not abide by the treaty, he
hastened to retreat from the valley, and to get
back to Cuzco as quickly as he could. He feared
every moment, lest, unprepared as he was, Pizarro
should attack him ; and he was anxious to reach
the capital before his enemy.

Poor Almagro was in a sad plight. He was now
not only old, but broken down by a long-lingering
and incurable disease. At this critical moment in
his fortunes he could not even walk, and had to
be carried on a litter across the arid deserts and
over the rugged and dangerous mountain-passes.

He succeeded, however, in reaching Cuzco be-
fore his enemy, and in all haste prepared to defend
himself. It was full time ; for he had only been
at Cuzco a few days when a formidable array of
troops, with armor shining and flags flying, ap-
peared in the dim distance, winding down the
mountain-defiles towards the city. It was Her-
nando Pizarro, to whom his brother had com-
mitted the command of the army, while he himself
remained at Lima.

At first Almagro thought that he would remain
with his force inside Cuzco, and defend it from
the fortress and ramparts. But his faithful officer


Orgonez persuaded him to adopt a different plan.
Orgonez proposed to march, with the five hundred
men at their disposal, outside the city, and await
Hernando's attack on a plain about three miles off.
Almagro himself, sick, feeble, and foreboding dis-
aster, remained in Cuzco, while Orgonez took com-
mand of the troops.

The scene was a thrilling one, as with slow,
steady, measured tread, the serried ranks of Her-
nando's soldiers advanced down the green slopes,
their banners and plumes floating in the air, their
trumpets sounding, and their armor glistening in
the sunlight. As the sun set, he took up his posi-
tion on the banks of a small river which separated
him from Orgonez' force. Presently the watch-
fires, lit up in both camps, showed each where the
other was, and cast a fitful and lurid glare over
the hills and plain.

By dawn of the next day the trumpets had
called Hernando's soldiers to their ranks. His
infantry was drawn up in the centre, and his cav-
alry occupied the flanks. When they had formed
in order of battle, two priests walked slowly to
the front, arrayed in the robes of their office ;
two small altars were set up ; and the priests


chanted the mass, and gave the soldiers a solemn

Then the order was given to " Forward march ! '
The little army advanced as if by a single motion.
They boldly waded into the stream, and ascended
the other side. A wide swamp now lay between
them and the enemy ; but they marched straight
on, unchecked either by the sinking soil, or by the
volleys of cannon with which Orgonez had begun
to welcome them.

In an instant, as it seemed, the two armies came
together with a furious rush. On the surrounding
hills, swarms of Peruvians watched with wonder
and delight this deadly onset of Spaniard against
Spaniard. The conflict raged with desperation.
Both Hernando and Orgonez performed prodigies
of valor. At last Orgonez fell to the ground, his
horse beins: shot under him. In a moment he was


surrounded by a crowd of his enemies. Raising
his head proudly, he asked,

" Is there a knight here to whom I can sur-
render ? '

A mean-looking soldier stepped forward, and
held out his hand. Orgonez delivered him his
sword. No sooner had he done vso than the


wretch who received it, drawing a dagger, plunged
it into the brave cavalier's heart up to the hilt.

For a moment there was confusion in the ranks
of Almagro's soldiers. They had lost their leader.
But another, not less valiant, took his place. Ler-
ma put himself at their head, and called aloud to
them to follow him into the fray. Enraged at the
dastardly deed by which Orgonez had died, Lerma
wildly searched over the battle-field for Hernando
Pizarro. He thirsted to wreak his vengeance upon
him. Hernando, who was as fearless as he, has-
tened to meet Lerma. They charged full at each
other with their lances, and each fell at the shock
of the other's weapon. The wounded cavaliers
were picked up by their adherents ; and the tide of
battle swept between them, and parted them.

As the conflict raged, Almagro, lying upon a
litter, watched its course from a hill near by. He
knew that upon its result hung his fate. If his
soldiers prevailed, he would be master of Peru ; if
they were routed, it would be utter ruin to him.
What was his agony when he heard that his faith-
ful Orgonez had fallen under an assassin's blow !
and what his dismay, when, on Hernando's troops
charging furiously his defenders, he saw the lat-


ter break their ranks, and fly bewildered in every
direction ! The battle had been decided against
him, and there was nothing left for him but to
try to save his life. He with difficulty got on the
back of a mule, ill as he was, and rode in all haste
to the fortress. But he was speedily followed by
a band of Hernando's soldiers, rudely seized, put
in irons, and brought to the same palace where he
had imprisoned Hernando. There he was cast
into a dark, damp dungeon.

Hernando entered Cuzco in triumph, and un-
resisted. Once more he found himself encamped
on the great square where he had sustained the
siege of the Peruvians, master of the city, and
with Almagro as his captive.

The fate of the brave Lerma, who had taken
Orgonez' place as the leader of Almagro's troops,
deserves to be told. He was carried by his con-
querors, pierced by no less than seventeen wounds,
from the battle-field into the city. There he
was laid in the house of one of his friends.
As he was reclining on his bed, smarting and
feeble from his wounds, a rough soldier, whom
on one occasion he had struck in a moment of
anger, entered the apartment. Walking up to


Lerma's bedside, and shaking his fist in his face,
he cried,

" Once you struck me a blow. I have come to
wash it away with your blood ! '

Lerma raised himself on his elbow, and replied,
that, when he was well, he would settle the ac-
count with the man.

" No !" retorted the wretch: "I will not wait.
Now is the moment for my revenge."

With this he plunged a sword deep into the
wounded cavalier's body ; and Lerma, falling back,
and throwing up his arms, expired. Five years
after, the ruffian was hung for having committed
this dastardly outrage.

Hernando was puzzled to know what to do with
his captive Almagro. To set him free would be
to kindle anew the fires of civil war between the
conquerors of Peru ; to keep him in prison was
to tempt his adherents to rescue him. Almagro,
when he had Hernando in his power, had spared
him, in spite of the eager advice of Orgonez to
put an end to his life ; and Hernando hesitated to
repay this generosity by executing his prisoner.

One day he went to visit Almagro in his dun-
geon. The gray-haired cavalier lay suffering on a


pallet of straw. Disease and privation had re-
duced him to a mere skeleton.

" Cheer up ! ' said Hernando. " As soon as
my brother the governor comes, you shall be
released. You shall be sent whither and how you

Almagro was comforted by his captor's words,
and still more so when Hernando sent him
every day the nicest dishes that graced his own

But, despite these promises and attentions,
Hernando at last resolved that Almagro must die.
The old man was amazed, a few days after Her-
nando's visit to him, to find himself rudely seized
by two soldiers, and dragged out of his dungeon.
They told him that he was about to be tried
for treason and conspiracy. He could scarcely
believe his ears. Nevertheless, he submitted
meekly to the rough treatment of the soldiers,
and soon made his appearance before his judges.

The trial had already been concluded, and he
had been sentenced to death. For a moment the
poor old cavalier was unmanned.

"I cannot believe," he cried, "that such an
outrage will be committed upon me ! '


Restored to his dungeon, he sent to Hernando,
imploring him to come and see him. When Her-
nando appeared, Almagro fell at his feet, and,
with tears streaming down his withered cheeks,
implored him to spare his life.

"Think," he pleaded, "what friendship there
has been between your brother and me ! what
services I rendered him when he was poor and
without authority ! Oh ! spare my gray hairs as
I spared you, and let me live out in peace the
brief existence that still remains to me."

But his enemy was relentless. Glancing coldly
at the old man grovelling at his feet, Hernando
said with a sneer,

" I am surprised to see you behave so unlike a
brave cavalier. You need have no hope of being
spared. Prepare to die. Your doom is sealed,
and you had best make ready to meet it."

With these harsh and cruel words Hernando
turned on his heel, and left him.

Almagro had a son, named Diego, whom he
greatly loved, a fair young man of one or two
and twenty. To him the old man bequeathed the
power he had derived from the emperor, and all
his property he left to his sovereign.


The next day after Almagro's unhappy inter-
view with Hernando, the great square was
strongly guarded by several companies of infantry
with loaded guns. Hernando feared lest Alma-
gro's friends in Cuzco, hearing of his intended
fate, should rise, and seek to prevent it by force
of arms ; for there were many of his adherents
in the city who detested the Pizarros. At the
same time, the houses of these adherents were
strictly watched.

Almagro was aroused by two persons entering
his dungeon. One was a priest, who carried a
book, and slowly approached his bedside. The
other was a villanous-looking man, who kept his
face concealed, and who carried something
Almagro could not see what in his hand.

The priest, in a low voice, urged Almagro to
think of his soul, telling him that his hour was
come. Then, kneeling beside him, the priest
uttered a long and solemn prayer. Rising to his
feet, he withdrew to a corner of the prison.

The strange man now came forward, and, with-
out saying a word, bound the miserable old man
hand and foot. He fastened the fatal noose
around the shrivelled neck, and, leaping behind


him, twisted the stick to which the noose was
applied. Almagro gasped, quivered, and fell stark
and stiff to the ground.

So ended the famous friendship between Al-
magro and Pizarro. Thus did Pizarro's brother
cruelly requite the indispensable aid which
Almagro had lent towards the conquest of

No sooner was the old cavalier dead than his
body was brought out into the square, and laid
on a bier in the centre. A herald in a loud voice
announced his end through the streets, and the
next day all that remained of the old man was
entombed in the new church which the Spaniards
had built at Cuzco.

While this bloody deed was being done, Pizarro
was on his way from Lima to Cuzco. In due time
the news of his old comrade's fate reached him.
When he heard it, he seemed overcome with
emotion. His body shook with agitation, and he
retired pale and silent to his tent. For several
days his soldiers did not catch a glimpse of his

Almagro's son Diego had hastened to Pizarro,
and pleaded for his father's life ; and Pizarro had


told him to fear nothing, for he would protect the
old man's gray hairs. The youth, made happy by
this promise, had gone on cheerfully to Lima ; and
there he heard with intense grief, that, in spite of
all, his father was no more.




IZARRO entered Cuzco with great pomp
and magnificence. He had not been in
the capital of the Incas since he had cap-
tured it ; and, in the mean time, many momen-
tous events had happened there. Now the Peru-
vians seemed once more crushed and disheartened.
Almagro's revolt had been subdued : the old chief
lay in his grave. It seemed as if there were now
no obstacle in the way of Pizarro's absolute rule
over the Inca's empire.

Amid the sounding of trumpets and the flying
of banners, at the head of a brilliant array of sol-
diers, he marched through the streets, which still
bore evidence of the great conflagration which
had swept through them, to the great square. He
was attired in a rich suit of velvet, which Cortez


had sent him as a present ; he wore a hat from
which floated lofty plumes of various colors ; on
his fingers and breast jewels glittered ; and al-
though he was somewhat grizzled, and his face
clearly betrayed the lines of care and advancing
age, he still looked a valiant and stalwart knight.

His first task was to bring order out of the con-
fusion which still existed at Cuzco, and to estab-
lish his government on a firm foundation. Re-
solved to suppress Almagro's party altogether, he
seized their estates, and banished their principal
chiefs from the city. It was necessary, too, that
he should take measures to retain the good-will of
the Emperor Charles the Fifth, for whom he had
conquered so vast a territory, and gained so valua-
ble a treasure.

He accordingly ordered that a large quantity of
gold and silver should be collected ; and, when this
was done, he despatched his brother Hernando
to Spain with it. Hernando set sail for Mexico,
crossed that country, and proceeded home with
the magnificent gift intended for the sovereign.
Before leaving Pizarro, he had said to him,

" Beware of Almagro's men. I shall not be
here to defend you. They are bitterly resolved



upon revenge ; and, if you do not keep strict
watch, they will deal you a foul blow."

Had Pizarro heeded his brother's words, so
earnestly spoken, he might have escaped the
terrible fate which soon overtook him.

Meanwhile the Peruvians, who mourned the
desolation and confusion into which their once
happy country had been plunged by the Span-
iards, began once more to 'be troublesome. The
Inca Manco could not rest easy while his power
and capital remained in the hands of the con-
querors ; and one day Pizarro was alarmed to
hear that he had taken up a position, with a large
force, in the mountains westward from the city.

No time must be lost in frustrating the Inca's
hostile design : so Pizarro sent out his brother
Gonzalo, at the head of a large body of troops, to
oppose him.

Gonzalo was the sole own brother still left with
Pizarro in Peru. Juan had been killed in the
siege of Cuzco. Hernando was far on his way to
Spain with the emperor's treasure. Alcantara,
who remained, was only a half-brother. Gonzalo
most of all resembled the conqueror. He was a
bold cavalier, a skilful soldier, an admirable horse-

294 PI2ARRO ',


man, and had a cordial, off-hand way with
that endeared him to his followers. He was,
besides, the handsomest of all the Pizarros ; and
his noble bearing and kindly manner made him a
favorite both in court and camp.

But, with all his spirit and daring, Gonzalo did
not succeed in overcoming or capturing the Inca.
Every time he met him in the open field, Manco
was routed ; but he fled into the mountain-fast-
nesses, whither Gonzalo could not follow him.

Then Pizarro sent envoys to the Inca to see if
he could not make peace with him ; but one of
his messengers was murdered by the Peruvians,
and Pizarro was forced to abandon his attempt.

During all this time, many colonies of Span-
iards, from Panama and other settled places
farther north, had been pouring into Peru. The
stories of the conquest, of the wealth of the coun-
try, the fertility of the tropical fields, the excellent
harbors, aroused the ambition and enterprise of
hundreds, both at the Isthmus and in Spain itself;
and large numbers hastened to avail themselves
of the opening afforded by Pizarro's rule to go to
the new possessions of their sovereign, and estab-
lish themselves in the towns and v villages, both


along the coast and in the interior. Many of
the settlers married Peruvian women, and these
were the ancestors of the " half-breeds " who are
still so numerous in Peru.

Pizarro encouraged the new-comers, and hearti-
ly welcomed them to Peru. Returning to Lima,
his beloved "City of the Kings," he once more
devoted himself to the growth of that place,
and to the planting of colonies in other parts of
the country. Lima had grown in a short time
as if by magic. It was now a busy, flourishing
town, with many fine buildings, an imposing
public square, a noble bridge, spacious quays
along the river-side, and regular streets stretching
out in every direction, and growing longer and
more thickly settled every week. Its inhabitants
comprised both Spaniards and native Peruvians,
the latter being in most cases the slaves and
servants of the former. The harbor of Callao,
but a few miles from Lima, where the River
Rimac flowed into the sea, was now gay with its
fleets of ships anchored in the roadstead, and
with the constant arrivals and departures. Trade
was fast growing up between the young colonies
and the Isthmus. The ships brought provisions,


arms, and clothing, and took back cargoes of
gold, silver, and precious stones, wool, tropical
spices, fruits, and vegetables. Pizarro founded a
city, called Guamanga, half way between Cuzco
and Lima, fortified it with strong walls, and built
it of stone. He also established two other good-
sized cities, one of which he called the " City of
Silver," and the other " Arequipa," near the coast.
It gladdened the conqueror's heart to see these
busy, thriving communities growing up around
him. He was now growing old. His hair and
beard, once of raven blackness, were grizzled ; his
swarthy face was lined with wrinkles ; but his
stalwart frame was as erect and noble in bearing
as ever. He had taken as the companion of his
later years a beautiful Peruvian girl, a daughter
of the very Inca Atahualpa whom he had put to
death ; and he saw a family of young children
growing up around him. Boundless wealth was
now his. He lived in a stately palace which he
had built for himself on the great square at Lima ;
and there he lived in pomp and luxury, surrounded
by a multitude of guards and attendants, his apart-
ments adorned with brilliant hangings and rich
furniture, and his table provided with the dain-


tiest dishes of Peru and the finest wines of Spain.
Of his riches he was very lavish. He loved to
accumulate gold, not to hoard it, but to spend it
generously. He provided festivities for the peo-
ple, and often displayed a royal pageantry before
their eyes.

His power, too, seemed absolute. There were
now so many Spaniards in Peru, so many strongly-
fortified towns, and such complete armaments, that
the natives were overawed ; and there seemed
to be no danger that the Inca, with all his
hosts, could ever rid his country of the intruders.
Pizarro gave laws to the whole empire. The em-
peror, on hearing of his conquest, had conferred
upon him the title of Marquis ; and thus the once
shabby little runaway of Truxillo took his place
among the haughty grandees of Spain, whose
families had been of noble rank for centuries.

Pizarro enjoyed watching the growth of his col-
onies fully as much as he had gloried in the din
and excitement of the battle-field. In every way
he sought to promote the prosperity of the set-
tlers. He caused cargoes of seeds to be brought
from Europe, and distributed amongst them. He
saw to it that the gold and silver mines were


diligently worked, and thus made to increase
rapidly the riches of the people. He sent out
gangs of workmen to quarry stone, which served
to build new towns ; and, as fast as the new
towns were founded, settlers flocked in to fill
them up.

It was while Pizarro was engaged in these
peaceful pursuits that he sent his brother Gonzalo
on an expedition which proved to be one of the
most romantic and perilous that the Spaniards had
ever undertaken in Peru. Gonzalo, to his great
joy, was appointed by his brother Governor of
Quito, the northern kingdom which had been
conquered by the Inca Huayna Capac shortly
before Pizarro's arrival in Peru. At the same
time, Pizarro told Gonzalo to take a large force
across the Cordilleras, and make an excursion to
the countries on the eastern side of the moun-
tains. One of his objects was to try to find the
cinnamon-groves, which, the Peruvians said, grew


in great abundance beyond the giant range.

Gonzalo desired nothing better than to enter
anew on a career of adventure. He was some-
what younger than Pizarro, and his daring spirit
pined for the excitements of danger and conflict.


Having got together a force consisting of two
hundred foot-soldiers, one hundred and fifty horse-
men, and four thousand Indians, he marched rap-
idly to the foot of the mountains, and began to
creep up their rugged defiles.

Soon he and his companions began to suffer
all the distresses incident to a wild and strange
mountain-region. They clambered painfully over
the pathless crags, and through the dense, en-
tangled forests. As they mounted higher and
higher, they shivered with cold, which grew at
every step more intense ; until, near the summits,
they struggled through the heaped-up snow, and
across slopes of glaring ice. Scarcely had they
begun to descend on the eastern side, when they
were horrified by a tremendous shock, which cast
many of them suddenly upon the ground. The
mountain cracked, and then yawned open ; and sul-
phurous flames burst through the fissures. It was
a terrible earthquake, and every moment Gonzalo
expected to be swallowed up with all his company.
Escaping this peril, they descended the rugged
slopes, to find themselves, below, overwhelmed
with a heat as distressing as the cold had been
above. Terrific tempests of thunder and light-


ning broke over their heads, and tornadoes swept
across the slopes, which almost carried the adven-
turers off their feet.

To crown all, their provisions began to give
out ; nor, in the wild and desolate country in
which they found themselves, could they find any
food fit to assuage their hunger. They soon be-
came so famished, that they killed and ate some
dogs they had brought with them ; and were finally
reduced to chewing herbs and roots, and trying to
digest the leather belts they wore around their
waists. Gonzalo was on the point of giving up in
despair, and retracing his steps as best he could to
Peru, when some of the natives, whom his men
had captured and brought to him, revived his
spirits by telling him of a land full of gold, silver,
and cinnamon, which lay some distance beyond.
Plucking up his courage, and inspiring that of his
men by the picture he drew of their coming good
fortune, he once more pushed vigorously forward.

They ere long came to vast groves of cinnamon,

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Online LibraryGeorge M. (George Makepeace) TowlePizarro : his adventures and conquests → online text (page 14 of 16)