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on the authors of those circumstances, which in great degree made him what he was.

At an early age he ran away from his ignoble charge, and made his way to the New World. Only occasional glimpses are caught of his career, but they are such as reveal sternness, endurance, and talent for command. We have already mentioned that he accompanied Balboa and afterwards Morales on their memorable expeditions to the South Sea, and that, at the command of Pedrarias, he had arrested the former, and brought him to Acla for execution. Soon after, the governor transferred his capital from Darien, on the Atlantic coast, to a site on the Pacific, called Panama, some distance eastward from the present city of that name. In 1521, an expedition had been dispatched to the southward, in quest of the region of gold, but it proceeded only a little way along the coast. The splendid achievements and wonderful successes of Cortes, however, soon gave a fresh impulse to adventure, and a few daring men, in the capital of the Isthmus, resolved on reviving the neglected enterprise of Balboa.

Of these the foremost was Pizarro, who, after a life of great vicissitudes, now, at the age of fifty, was cultivating a little estate near Panama; Diego de Almagro, also a foundling and an old soldier of fortune, was another; and Ilernando de Luque, a priest, of an enterprising spirit, and provided with funds by a wealthy friend, brought his important aid to the project. These three obscure and uninfluential individuals, after several conferences, resolved on prosecuting an enterprise, the magnitude of which, contrasted with the slender means of its projectors, sufficiently evinces their boldness and energy of purpose. This was nothing less than the discovery and conquest of that golden empire, the existence of which had first been indicated in the vague rumours of the Indians of Comagre, and which had afterwards occasionally been confirmed by authority no more exact or reliable. Two small vessels were procured, in one of which Pizarro, with a hundred men, in the middle of November, 1524, set sail, leaving Almagro to follow in the other, as soon as it could be made ready.

Crossing the Gulf of San Miguel, and following the coast, he first entered the river Biru, and made a disastrous attempt at exploring the marshes, of which the country appeared entirely to consist. Foiled in this endeavour, he again stood southward, during the rainy season, through a succession of gales and thunder-storms, which well

pigh sent his frail bark to the bottom. The shore was still found to consist of vast swamps and intricate forests. His men, worn out and half-famished, were clamorous for return, but their commander refused to relinquish his project. Landing, with a portion of his force, he dispatched the vessel, with the remainder, homeward, to procure supplies.

Half of his command soon perished from hunger and exposure, and the rest were saved only by a scanty supply of maize, obtained from an Indian village in the interior. The vessel, after a voyage rendered terrible by similar sufferings, at last returned with supplies, and took off the half-starved wretches who still survived. At their next landing, Pizarro discovered an Indian village, deserted by the affrighted inhabitants, in which he found considerable gold, and saw the unmistakable evidences of cannibalism. At another point, farther

on, which he called Panta Quemada, he took possession of a fortified village, deserted, as usual, at the approach of the strangers, intending to dispatch the vessel to Panama for repairs. But a furious attack of the Indians, in which five of the Spaniards were killed and a great number wounded, rendered the plan too hazardous. All, therefore, went on board, and set sail homeward—Pizarro, with most of his company, disembarking a little before reaching the town.

Almagro, with the other vessel, and with sixty or seventy additional recruits, after great delays, had set forth, before this return, and coasting southward, had touched at various points, where, by the notching of trees, he perceived the late visits of his consort. At Quemada he also had a fight with the Indians, in which he lost an eye; but had pushed on, making several landings, and seizing con. siderable gold, as far as the mouth of the San Juan, four degrees north latitude. The appearances of civilization increased, and fresh accounts of the empire in the south continually reached him. Finding nothing of his partner, however, he turned northward, and rējoined him at his quarters near Panama. Exultant in the prospect of realizing their ambitious project, each made fresh pledges to prosecute the adventure to an end.

The countenance of Pedrarias had been secured, at the outset, by admitting him to a share of the anticipated profits; but, though the scheme now seemed more feasible than before, he obstinately réfused to contribute any thing in aid of the enterprise; and, greedy for present gain, relinquished his share in the future wealth of Peru, on receiving a bond, with security, for the payment of a thousand pesos (twelve thousand dollars). This incubus removed, "the three confederates met at Panama, and with much form and solemnity executed that memorable contract for the spoliation and division of the unknown realms and treasures of the south. 'In the Name of the most Holy Trinity,' commences this singular document, 'Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, and one only true God, and of the most Holy Virgin, our Lady, we form this partnership.' Neither Pizarro nor Almagro could write, and their names, therefore, were subscribed by the hands of the witnesses; while, the more strongly to bind them to its observance, they took oath upon : missal, tracing a cross thereon, in the name of God and the Holy Evangelists. To make all sure, the worthy Father Luque then administered the sacrament, giving each a portion of the consecrated wafer, and taking the same himself. So impressive was the scene, that the bystanders were melted to tears; but all these ghostly precautions for amity and fair play eventually proved to be of no more value than is usual where solemn vows and lengthy protestations are used to cover lurking rivalry and distrust. (March 10th, 1526.)'*

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With the funds furnished by Luque, two vessels were now fitted out anew, and efforts were made to enlist adventurers for the enterprise. Some difficulty was experienced, on account of the fatal result of the former expedition; but, singular to state, nearly all the survivors again enlisted, resolved to see it to an end, and enough more were at last enrolled to make up the number of an hundred and sixty. With this insignificant force, supplied with a few horses and fire-arms, the two adventurers, each in his own vessel, again set sail from Panama. Without touching on the coast, they held their way to the San Juan, where, by plunder of the native villages, they obtained a considerable quantity of gold. With this spoil Almagro was dispatched homeward to allure fresh recruits; Pizarro, with part of his force, remained on shore; and Ruiz, an experienced pilot, pursued discovery southward. That voyager found the shores populous and well cultivated, and gained fresh information of the wealth and splendour of Peru, where gold and silver, he was told, were plenty as wood in the royal palaces. Having crossed the line, and captured from an Indian balsa two natives of that kingdom, to serve as interpreters, he returned to the encampment.

* Discoverers, &c., of America.

Pizarro, during his absence, in a march through the tangled forests of the interior, had lost many of his men from the attacks of the Indians, and of the alligators and serpents, with which the region abounded. The survivors suffered terribly from famine, and were compelled to bury themselves to the necks in sand to avoid the insufferable annoyance of the musquitoes. Revived by the return of Ruiz and Almagro, (the latter with eighty recruits,) they again got under way, and after long struggling with a succession of frightful tempests, approached the shores of Quito. Here, at Tacamez, a sea-port of two thousand native houses, lately brought under subjection to the Incas of Peru, they attempted a landing, but were so sharply opposed by the natives as to be compelled to retreat aboard their vessels. After a fierce debate between the two Spanish captains, evincing much lurking jealousy and hatred, it was agreed that Almagro should again sail to Panama for rëinforcements and supplies, and that Pizarro, with a part of the force, should encamp on the island of Gallo.

The soldiers, dreading starvation in this desolate scene, were clamorous in opposition; and, though overawed by the sternness and authority of their commander, contrived to send clandestinely to their friends in Panama, entreating rescue from their miserable situation. Accordingly, De los Rios, the new governor of that province, not only refused any countenance or assistance to Almagro, but sent two vessels, under one of his own officers, to bring off the maicontents forcibly detained on the obnoxious island. Their arrival was hailed with exultation by most of the company, who had already suffered much from exposure and privation; but Pizarro, encouraged by a letter from his associates in Panama, pledging speedy assistance, resolved to hold out to the last. Drawing a line with his sword upon the sand, he addressed the men in a few words of harsh but eloquent truth. “Comrades and friends," he said, “this side is that of death, of toils, of famine, of nakedness, of storms and homelessness; the other is that of ease: on that lies Panama and its poverty; on this Peru and its riches. Let each man choose what becomes a good Castilian.” Having uttered these memorable words, he stepped over the line to the southward, and was followed by Ruiz and twelve others—a number singularly great, considering the desperation of the resolve. A more signal instance of hardihood or perseverance is hardly to be found in history.

After the departure of the vessels, the little band of resolute adventurers who remained, passed on a raft to the distant island of Gorgona, and there, for seven long months, suffering great extremities, and supporting their spirits with frequent and regular religious exercises, watched wearily for the expected sail of Almagro. But the latter and his confederate, after much delay and using every exertion, could only prevail on the governor to allow the dispatch of a small vessel with orders to bring off the obstinate adventurers who had remained. But on its arrival, they joyfully embarked, and under the pilotage of Ruiz, at once steered southward. Crossing the line, at the end of twenty days they entered the Gulf of Guayaquil, and beheld before them the Peruvian town of Tumbez, backed by the Andes, and exhibiting strong tokens of wealth and population. The Indians, in multitudes, gathered on the shore to behold the stranger ship, and numbers soon came off in their balsas or native boats, bearing offerings of fruit and several llamas, an animal before unknown to Europeans.

Among these visitors was a Peruvian noble, to whom Pizarro, by an interpreter, explained that he was come to claim the allegiance of the country in behalf of his master, the king of Spain, and to rescue the people from the perdition to which their evil spirits, which they called gods, were conducting them. However surprise at this impudent announcement, the chief preserved an attitude of discreet non-committal. A Greek knight, one Pedro de Candia, was now sent ashore, where he was hospitably received, and soor returned to astonish his companions by the report of the treasures he had beheld. The Temple of the Sun, to which he had been conductea, was covered, he said, with plates of gold and silver; and in the gar

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