George M. (George Makepeace) Towle.

Pizarro : his adventures and conquests online

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Before they knew of his presence, Pizarro was
dealing terrific blows, with quick and heavy hand,
on every side of him. He fought with the
strength and ferocity of a tiger : it seemed as if,
old as he was, all the iron strength of his youth



==;






HIS ADVENTURES AND CONQUESTS. 323

had been restored to him. One after another the
conspirators fell, stricken to the earth by his over-
whelming blows.

"What, vile traitors! " he cried in a stentorian
voice, " do you come to murder me in my own
house ? '

For a moment his assailants seemed cowed and
stunned by his impetuous attack. But now the
brave Alcantara lay writhing and dying on the
blood-stained floor. Pizarro's other defenders had
also fallen, mortally wounded. He alone main-
tained himself against the murderers.

Rada, impatient to see his foe still struggling,
cried out,

" Let's have done with this ! Death to the
tyrant ! "

At the same time, seizing one of his comrades,
he hurled him bodily upon Pizarro, who seized
the man by the throat, and ran him through the
heart with his sword. But, as he did this, Rada
quickly advanced, and plunged his dagger deep in
Pizarro's throat. In an instant four or five
swords were buried in the hero's body ; and, cry-
ing out " Jesu ! ' Pizarro fell headlong upon the
floor.



324 PIZARRO :

Gasping for breath, while the blood spurted
from his mouth and wounds, he lifted himself
upon one elbow, and his fast-glazing eyes glared
around him. Then leaning over, and dipping his
finger in a pool of his blood, he with difficulty
drew a cross on the floor. He bent down, and
pressed his lips upon the sacred symbol. One of
the conspirators now dealt him a final blow with
his sword.

Pizarro sank back : a slight shudder ran through
his frame, and he ceased to breathe.

Rada and his followers, waving their blood-
streaked swords, ran out into the street, and scat-
tered through the city, shouting,

" The tyrant is dead ! The laws are restored !
Long live the emperor, and our governor Alma-
gro ! "

The city was soon aroused to the wildest dis-
may and confusion. The adherents of Almagro
rallied at his house, and soon a body of three
hundred soldiers was formed to defend his title
and person. Pizarro's palace, and the houses of
his principal officers and friends, were plundered
by the victorious party ; and the secretary Picado
was seized, and cast into prison.



HIS ADVENTURES AND CONQUESTS. 325

Meanwhile some of Pizarro's bitterest enemies
clamored to have the dead hero's body dragged to
the market-place, and there hung in disgrace on
the public gallows. But Almagro would not con-
sent to this. The corpse was tenderly taken up by
some of Pizarro's mourning attendants, and quietly
placed in an obscure grave in the cathedral, with
a hurried funeral ceremony at the dead of night. '
Years afterwards the coffin was taken from its
resting-place, and deposited in a magnificent tomb
near the high altar ; and Pizarro's remains now lie
in the new cathedral at Lima, which was built a
half-century after his death.

Such was the sudden and violent end of the
heroic soldier and great conqueror, Francisco Pi-
zarro. He was somewhat over sixty years old at
the time of his death, which took place on the
26th of June, 1541. He had lived long enough
to prove his intrepid valor on many a hard-fought
field ; to acquire for Spain, with but a handful of
followers, one of the noblest and richest posses-
sions in the world ; and to gain for himself as
much power and renown as any man ever achieved
in a career of conquest over a less-civilized empire.
While he was sometimes cruel, and too often per-



326 PIZARRO :

fidious, he was also beyond most men impetuous
in action, persevering against the most formidable
obstacles, temperate in living, lavish with his
wealth, possessed of wonderful endurance, noble
and soldierly in bearing, self-confident, resolute,
and true to his kin and his friends. He is one
of the greatest figures in history, and his name
must live long as one of the world's foremost
heroes.

" Toil and pain,

Famine and hostile elements, and hosts

Embattled, failed to check him in his course ;

Not to be wearied, not to be deterred,

Not to be overcome. A mighty realm

He overran, and with relentless arm

Slew or enslaved its unoffending sons ;

And wealth and power and fame were his rewards."

For many years after Pizarro's death, Peru con-
tinued to be the scene of fierce conflicts between
rival Spanish aspirants to its rule. War and con-
spiracy wrought long confusion in the land ; but
at last it became once more orderly and settled,
and was governed by viceroys sent out by the
Spanish monarch s. The native Peruvians never
succeeded in restoring their Inca to thq, throne of



HIS ADVENTURES AND CONQUESTS. 327

his ancestors, the Children of the Sun. The
country remained under Spanish dominion for
nearly three centuries. It was conquered by
Pizarro in 1532, and it became independent of
Spain by the success of a revolution which took
place in 1.821. For the past fifty-seven years
Peru has been a republic, in form much like our
own. But the beautiful land still retains many
vestiges of the long and prosperous reign of the
Incas, as well as of the rude and devastating con-
quests of Pizarro ; and these remain as monuments
at once of its ancient grandeur and power, and of
its degradation under the heels of the conquering
stranger.



Franklin Press: Rand, Avery, &* Co., Boston.







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