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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Kerr Robert

«A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol.V», Robert Kerr













SECTION III. Continuation of the Viceroyalty of Blasco Nunnez Vela, to his deposition and expulsion front Peru

The viceroy received immediate intelligence of the revolt of Puelles, as mentioned in the foregoing section, which; was brought to him by a Peruvian captain named Yllatopa; and, though he considered it as a very unfortunate incident, he took immediate measures to counteract their intentions of joining the enemy, by sending a detachment to occupy the passes of the valley of Jauja, through which they must necessarily march on their way from Guanuco to join Gonzalo. For this purpose, he immediately ordered his brother Vela Nunnez to march in all haste with a detachment of forty light armed cavalry, and thirty musqueteers under the command of Gonzalo Diaz, besides whom ten of the friends and relations of Nunnez went as volunteers on this expedition. On purpose to expedite the march of this detachment as much as possible, the viceroy caused thirty-six mules to be purchased, which cost 12,000 ducats, the money being taken from the royal treasury. Being thus excellently equipped, they set out from Lima, and marched to Guadachili[?], about twenty leagues from Lima on their way to the valley of Jauja. At this place a plot was formed by the soldiers for killing Vela Nunnez and deserting to the army of Gonzalo, which was revealed by the following incident. Certain scouts who preceded the detachment about four leagues beyond Guadachili in the district of Pariacaca, met the friar Thomas de San Martino, provincial of the Dominicans, who had been sent by the viceroy to Cuzco to try if it were possible to come to some agreement with Gonzalo; on this occasion one of the soldiers secretly informed the provincial of the particulars of the conspiracy, begging him to take immediate means of prevention, as it was to be executed on the following night. The provincial accordingly hastened his journey to Guadachili, taking all the scouts he could meet with along with him, as he told them their present expedition was entirely useless, as Puelles and his troops had passed through Jauja two days before, and it was now impossible to intercept them. On his arrival in Guadachili, the provincial immediately informed Vela Nunnez of the danger to which he was exposed, who accordingly consulted with some of his friends and relations on the means of escape. In the evening, they ordered out their horses, as if for the purpose of sending them to water, and mounting them immediately, they saved themselves by flight under the cloud of night, being guided on their way by the provincial.

When the flight of Vela Nunnez and his friends was known, Juan de la Torre, Pedro Hita, Jorge Griego, and the other soldiers who had formed the conspiracy, went immediately to the main guard, where they compelled all the other soldiers, under threats of instant death, to promise going off along with them to join Gonzalo. Almost the whole of the detachment promised compliance, and even the captain Gonzalo Diaz was of the number; but he was apparently more harshly treated by the conspirators than the others. They tied his hands as if fearing he might use measures against them; yet he was not only believed to have been a participator in the plot, but was even supposed to be its secret leader. Most of the inhabitants of Lima expected Diaz to act in the way he did, as he was son-in-law to Puelles against whom he was sent, and it was not to be supposed he would give his aid to arrest his father-in-law. The whole party therefore, immediately set out in search of Gonzalo, mounted on the mules which had cost so high a price, and joined him near the city of Guamanga, where Puelles had arrived, two days before them. At that time of their junction, the adherents of Gonzalo were so much discouraged by the lukewarmness of Gaspard Rodriguez and his friends, that in all probability the whole army under Gonzalo would have dispersed if they had been three days later in arriving. But the arrival of Puelles gave the insurgents great encouragement, both by the reinforcement which he brought of forty horse and twenty musketeers, and by his exhortations; as he declared himself ready to proceed against the viceroy even with his own troops, and had no doubt of being able to take him prisoner or to drive him out of the country, he was so universally hated. The encouragements derived by the insurgents from the junction of Puelles, was still farther strengthened by the arrival of Diaz and his companions.

Vela Nunnez got safe to Lima, where he informed the viceroy of the unfortunate result of his expedition, who was very much cast down on the occasion, as his affairs seemed to assume a very unpromising aspect. Next day Rodrigo Ninno, and three or four others who refused to follow the example of Diaz, arrived at Lima in a wretched condition, having suffered a thousand insults from the conspirators, who deprived them of their horses and arms, and even stripped them of their clothes. Ninno was dressed in an old doublet and breeches, without stockings, having only a pair of miserable pack-thread sandals, and had walked all the way with a stick in his hand. The viceroy received him very graciously, praising his loyalty, and told him that he appeared more nobly in his rags than if clothed in the most costly attire.

When Balthasar de Loyasa had procured the safe conduct from the viceroy for his employers, he set out without loss of time for the army of Gonzalo Pizarro. As his departure and the nature of his dispatches were soon known in Lima, it was universally believed there that the troops under Pizarro would soon disperse of their own accord, leaving the viceroy in peaceable and absolute command of the whole colony, upon which he would assuredly put the ordinances in force with the utmost rigour to the utter ruin of every one: For this reason, several of the inhabitants, and some even of the soldiers belonging to the viceroy, came to the resolution of following Loyasa and taking his dispatches from him. Loyasa left Lima in the evening of a Saturday, in the month of September 1545, accompanied by Captain Ferdinand de Zavallos. They were mounted on mules, without any attendants, and had no baggage to delay their journey. Next night, twenty-five persons set out from Lima on horseback in pursuit of them, determined to use every possible expedition to get up with Loyasa that they might take away his dispatches. The chiefs in this enterprize were, Don Balthasar de Castro, son of the Conde de la Gomera, Lorenzo Mexia, Rodrigo de Salazar, Diego de Carvajal usually called the gallant, Francisco de Escovedo, Jerom de Carvajal, and Pedro Martin de Cecilia, with eighteen others in their company. Using every effort to expedite their journey, they got up with Loyasa and Zavallos about forty leagues from Lima, and found them asleep in a tambo of palace of the Incas. Taking from them the letters and dispatches with which they were entrusted, they forwarded these immediately to Gonzalo Pizarro by means of a soldier, who used the utmost diligence in travelling through bye ways and short cuts through the mountains, with all of which he was well acquainted. After this, de Castro and the rest of the malecontents continued their journey towards the camp of Gonzalo, taking Loyasa and Zavallos along with them under strict custody.

Upon receiving the intercepted dispatches which were brought to him by the soldier, Gonzalo Pizarro secretly communicated them to Captain Carvajal, whom he had recently appointed his lieutenant-general, or maestre de campo, in consequence of the sickness of Alfonzo de Toro, who held that commission on commencing the march from Cuzco. After consulting with Carvajal, he communicated the whole matter to the captains and those other chiefs of the insurgent-army who had shewn no intentions of abandoning him, as they had not participated in applying for the safe conduct from the viceroy. Some of these, from motives of enmity against individuals, others from envy, and others again from the hope of profiting by the forfeiture of the lands and Indians belonging to the accused, advised Gonzalo to punish these persons with rigor, as a warning to others not to venture upon similar conduct. In this secret consultation, it was determined to select the following from among those who were clearly implicated in taking part with the viceroy, by their names being contained in the safe conduct taken from Loyasa: Captain Gaspard Rodriguez; Philip Gutierrez, the son of Alfonso Gutierrez of Madrid who was treasurer to his majesty; and Arias Maldonado, a gentleman of Galicia, who had remained along with Gutierrez at Guamanga, two or three days march in the rear of the army, under pretence of having some preparations to make for the journey. Accordingly, Gonzalo sent off Pedro de Puelles to Guamanga accompanied by an escort of cavalry, who arrested these two latter gentlemen and caused them to be beheaded.

Gaspar Rodriguez was in the camp, where he commanded a body of near two hundred pikemen; and as Gonzalo and his advisers dared not to put him to death openly, as he was a very rich man of considerable influence and much beloved, they had to employ a stratagem for his arrestment. Gonzalo ordered a hundred and fifty musqueteers of the company commanded by Ceremeno to hold themselves in readiness around his tent, near which likewise he caused his train of artillery to be drawn up ready for service, and then convened all the captains belonging to his troops in his tent, under pretence of communicating some dispatches which he had received from Lima. When the whole were assembled, and Rodriguez among them, he became alarmed on seeing that the tent was surrounded by armed men and artillery, and wished to have retired under pretext of urgent business. At this time, and in presence of the whole assembled officers, the lieutenant-general Carvajal, came up to Rodriguez as if without any premeditated intention, caught hold of the guard of his sword, and drew it from the scabbard. Carvajal then desired him to make confession of his sins to a priest, who was in attendance for that express purpose, as he was to be immediately put to death. Rodriguez used every effort to avoid this sudden and unlooked for catastrophe, and offered to justify himself from every accusation which could be brought against him; but every thing he could allege was of no avail, as his death was resolved upon, and he was accordingly beheaded.

The execution of these three leaders astonished every one, being the first which were ventured upon since the usurpation of Gonzalo; but they more especially terrified those other persons who were conscious of having participated in the same plot for which their chiefs were now put to death. A few days afterwards, De Castro and his companions arrived at the camp of the insurgents, with their prisoners Loyasa and Zavallos. It has been reported that, on the very day of their arrival, Gonzalo sent off his lieutenant-general Carvajal to meet them on the road by which they were expected, with orders to have Loyasa and Zavallos strangled: But, fortunately for them, their conductors had left the ordinary road, taking a circuitous and unfrequented path, so that Carvajal did not fall in with them; and, when they were brought before Gonzalo, so many of his friends and accomplices interceded for their pardon, that he agreed to spare their lives. Loyasa was commanded immediately to quit the camp, on foot and without any provisions. Zavallos was detained in the camp as a prisoner; and, rather more than a year afterwards, was appointed superintendent of those who were employed in digging for gold in the province of Quito. While in that employment, it was represented to Gonzalo that Zavallos had become so exceedingly rich, that he must have purloined a great proportion of the gold which was drawn from the mines. Being predisposed against him by his former conduct in the service of the viceroy, Gonzalo was easily persuaded to believe him guilty, and ordered him to be hanged.

The departure of De Castro and his companions from Lima, as already mentioned, though conducted in great secrecy, was soon discovered. On the same night, as Diego de Urbina, the major general of the army belonging to the viceroy, was going the rounds of the city, he happened to visit the dwellings of several of those who had accompanied De Castro; and finding that they were absent, and that their horses, arms, servants, and Indians were all removed, he immediately suspected that they were gone off to join Gonzalo. Urbina went directly to the viceroy, who was already in bed, and assured him that most of the inhabitants had fled from the city, as he believed that the defection was more general than it turned out to be. The viceroy was very justly alarmed by this intelligence, and ordered the drums to beat to arms. When, in consequence of this measure, all the captains and other officers in his service were assembled, he gave them orders to visit the whole houses of the city, by which means it was soon known who had deserted. As Diego and Jerom de Carvajal, and Francisco Escovedo, nephews of the commissary Yllan Suarez de Carvajal were among the absentees, the viceroy immediately suspected Yllan Suarez of being a partisan of Gonzalo Pizarro, believing that his nephews had acted by his orders, more especially as they dwelt in his house, and could not therefore have gone away without his knowledge; though assuredly they might easily have escaped by a different door at a distance from the principal entrance. Actuated by these suspicions, the viceroy sent his brother, Vela Nunnez, with a detachment of musqueteers, to bring Suarez immediately to the palace for examination. On arriving at his house, Suarez was in bed, but was brought immediately before the viceroy, who was now dressed is his armour, and reposing on a couch. It is reported by some who were present, that the viceroy addressed Suarez on entering the following words. "Traitor! you have sent off your nephews to join Gonzalo Pizarro." "Call me not traitor, my lord," replied Suarez, "I am as faithful a subject to his majesty as you are." The viceroy was so much irritated by the insolent behaviour of Suarez, that he drew his sword and advanced towards him, and some even allege that he stabbed him in the breast. The viceroy, however, constantly asserted that he did not use his sword against Suarez; but that the servants and halberdiers who were in attendance, on noticing the insolent behaviour of the commissary to their master, had put him to death, without allowing him time for confession, or even for speaking a single word in his own defence. The body was immediately carried away for interment; and as the commissary was very universally beloved, it was thought dangerous to take his dead body through the great court of the viceregal palace, where there were always a hundred soldiers on guard during the night, lest it might occasion some disturbance. For this reason, it was let down from a gallery which overlooked the great square, whence some Indians and negroes carried it to a neighbouring church, and buried it without any ceremony in his ordinary scarlet cloak.

Three days after this tragical event, when the judges of the royal audience made the viceroy a prisoner, as shall be presently related, among their first transactions, they made a judicial examination respecting the circumstances attendant upon the death of Suarez. It was ascertained in the first place, that he had disappeared since the time when he was carried before the viceroy at midnight; after which, the body was dug up, and the wounds examined[?]. When the intelligence of the death of Suarez spread through Lima, it gave occasion to much dissatisfaction, as every one knew that he had been always, favourable to the interest and authority of the viceroy, and had even exerted his whole influence in procuring him to be received at Lima, in opposition to the sentiments of the majority of the magistrates of that city. His death happened on the night of Sunday the 13th of September 1544. Early next morning, Don Alfonzo de Montemayor was sent by the viceroy with a party of thirty horse, in pursuit of De Castro and the others who had gone after Loyasa and Zavallos. When Montemayor had travelled two or three days in the pursuit, he learnt that De Castro and his companions were already so far advanced in their journey that it would be utterly impossible to get up with them. He accordingly turned back, and receiving information on his return towards Lima, that Jerom de Carvajal had lost his companions during the night, and, being unable to discover the road by which they were gone, had concealed himself in a marsh among some tall reeds, where Montemayor found him out, and carried him prisoner to Lima, on purpose to give him up to the viceroy. Fortunately for Carvajal, the viceroy was himself a prisoner when Montemayor returned to Lima.

When the anger of the viceroy had somewhat subsided, he used great pains to justify himself, in regard to the death of Suarez, explaining the reasons of his conduct in that affair to all who visited him, and endeavouring to convince them that he had just reasons of suspicion, giving a detailed account of all the circumstances respecting the arrest and death of Suarez. He even procured some judicial informations to be drawn up by the licentiate Cepeda, respecting the crimes which he laid to the charge of the commissary, of which the following is an abstract.

"It appeared reasonable to suppose that Suarez must have been privy to the desertion of his nephews, as they lived in his house and could not have gone off without his knowledge. He alleged that Suaraz had not exerted all the care and diligence that were necessary and proper, in several affairs connected with the present troubles which had been confided to him. It was objected to him, that he was particularly interested in opposing the execution of the obnoxious regulations; since he would have been obliged, along with the rest, to give up the lands and Indians he then held as an officer of the crown, which he had not done hitherto on account of the subsisting disturbances in the country. Lastly, the viceroy charged against him, that having entrusted Suarez at the very beginning of the troubles with certain dispatches for his brother, the licentiate Carvajal, who then dwelt at Cuzco, intended for procuring intelligence by his means of what was going on in that city, he had never given or procured any answer on that subject; although it must certainly have been easy for him to have procured intelligence from his brother, by means of the Indian vassals of both, and by those belonging to the king who were at his disposal officially, all of whom dwelt on the road between Lima and Cuzco." Besides that all these allegations carry very little weight in themselves, as evidences of the presumptive guilt of Suarez, none of them were ever satisfactorily established by legal proof.

As the viceroy found that all his affairs had turned out unfortunate, and that every person seemed much discontented in consequence of the death of Suarez, he changed his intention of waiting for Gonzalo Pizarro at Lima, which he had caused fortify in that view with ramparts and bastions. He now resolved to retire to the city of Truxillo, about eighty leagues from Lima, and entirely to abandon and even to dispeople the city of Lima; in the execution of this project he meant to send the invalids, old persons, women, children, and all the valuable effects and baggage belonging to the inhabitants by sea to Truxillo, for which purpose he had sufficient shipping, and to march all who were able to carry arms by land, taking along with him all the European inhabitants of every settlement in the plain between Lima and Truxillo; and sending off all the Indian population of the plain to the mountainous region. By these decisive measures, he hoped to reduce the adherents of Gonzalo Pizarro to such straits, by depriving them of every possible succour and refreshment, after the fatigues of a long and painful march, encumbered with baggage and artillery, as might constrain them to disband their army, when they might find the whole way between Lima and Truxillo reduced to a desert entirely devoid of provisions. The viceroy considered himself under the necessity of employing these strong measures, as some of his people deserted from him almost daily to the enemy, in proportion as the insurgents approached towards Lima.

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