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Nothing therefore remained but to fend a person to Peru, vested with extensive and discretionary power, who, after viewing deliberately the posture of affairs with his own eyes, and enquiring upon the spot into the conduct of the different leaders, foould be authorised to establish the government in that form which he deemed most conducive to the interest of the parent state,
and the welfare of the colony. The man selected for this important charge was Chriftoval Váca de Castro, a judge in the court of royal audience at Valladolid; and his abilities, integrity, and firmness, justified the choice. His instructions, though ample, were not such as to fetter him in his operations. According to the different aspect of affairs, he had power to take upon him different characters. If he found the governor ftill alive, he was to affume only the title of judge, to maintain the appearance of acting in concert with him, and to guard against giving any juft cause of offence to a man who had merited so highly of his country. But if Pizarro were dead,
he was entrusted with a commission that he might then produce, by which he was appointed his fucceffor in the government of Peru. This atten. tion to Pizarro, however, seems to have ftowed rather from dread of his power,
than from any approbation of his measures; for at
the very time that the court seemed so folicitous not to irritate him, his brother Ferdinand was arrested at Madrid, and confined to a prifon, where he remained above twenty years. s)
Pizarro divides Peru among his followers.
While Vaca de Castro was preparing for his voyage, events of great moment happened in Peru. The governor, considering himself, upon the death of Almagro, as the unrivalled poffessor of that vast empire, proceeded to parcel out its territories among the conquerors; and had this division been made with any degree of impartiality, the extent of country which he had to bestow, was sufficient to have gratified his friends, and to have gained his enemies. But Pizarro conducted this transaction , not with the equity and candour of a judge attentive to discover and to reward merit, but with the illiberal spirit of a party leader. Large districts, in parts of the country most cultivated and populous, were set apart as his own property, or granted to his brothers,
his ad herents and favourites. To others, lots less valuable and inviting were afligned. The followers of Almagro, amongst whom were many of the original adventurers to whose valour and perseverance Pizarro was indebted for his
5) Gomara Hift. c. 142. Vega, p. 11. lib. ii. C. 40; Herrera,
dec, 6, lib, viii, c. 10, II. lib, X. C. I.
success, were totally excluded from any por-
Progress of the Spanish arms.
Rapid as the progress of the Spaniards in South America had been fince Pizarro landed in Peru, their avidity of dominion was not yet satisfied. The officers, to whom Ferdinand Pizarro gave the command of different detachments, penetrated into several new provinces, and though some of them were exposed to great hardships in the cold and barren regions of the Andes, and others suffered distress not inferior amidst the woods and marshes of the plains, they made discoveries and conquests which extended their knowledge of the country, as well as added to their power. Pedro de Valdivia reaffumed Almagro's scheme of invading Chili, and notwithstanding the fortitude of the natives
t) Vega, P. II, lib. iji, c. %.
Herrera, dec, 6. lib, yii, c. 5.
in defending their poffeffions, made such pro-
Remarkable expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro,
But of all the enterprizes undertaken about this period, that of Gonzalo Pizarro was the most remarkable. The governor, who seems to have resolved that no person in Peru should pofless any station of distinguished eminence or authority but those of bis own family , had deprived Benalcazar, the conqueror of Quito, of his command in that kingdom, and appointed his brother Gonzalo to take the government of it. He instructed him to attempt the difcovery and conquest of the country to the east of the Andes, which, according to the information of the Indians, abounded with cinnamon and other valuable spices. Gonzalo, not inferior to any of his brothers in courage, and no less ambitious of acquiring distinction, eagerly engaged in this difficult service. He set out from Quito at the head of three hundred and forty soldiers, near one half of whom were horsemen, with four thousand Indians to carry their provisions, In forcing their way through the defiles, or over the ridges of the Andes, excefs
of cold and fatigue, to neither of which they were accustomed, proved fatal to the greater part of their wretched attendants. The Spaniards, though more robust, and inured to a variety of climates, suffered considerably, and lost some men ; but when they descended into the low- country their distress increased. During two months it rained incessantly, without any interval of fair weather long enough to dry their clothes. x) The vast plains upon which they were now entering , either altogether without inhabitants, or occupied by the rudest and least induftrious tribes in the New World, yielded little fubsistence. They could not advance a step but as they cut a road through woods ,
or made it through marches. Such incessant toil, and continual scarcity of food, seem more than fufficient to have exhausted and difpirited any troops. But the fortitude and perseverance of Spaniards in the fixteenth cena tury were insuperable. Allured by frequent but false accounts of rich countries before them, they persisted in struggling on, until they reached the banks of the Coca or Napo , one of the large rivers whose waters pour into the Maragnon, and contribute to its grandeur. There, with infinite labour, they built a bark, which they expected would prove of great utility, in conveying them over rivers, in procuring provi
x) Zarate, lib. iv. c. 2.