THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS
ARTHUR MEE Editor and Founder of the Book of Knowledge
J.A. HAMMERTON Editor of Harmsworth a Universal Encyclopaedia
VOL. XII MODERN HISTORY
* * * * *
Table of Contents
AMERICA ELIOT, SAMUEL History of the United Stales
PRESCOTT, W.H. History of the Conquest of Mexico History of the Conquest of Peru
ENGLAND EDWARD HYDE, E. OF CLARENDON History of the Rebellion
MACAULAY, LORD History of England
BUCKLE, HENRY History of Civilization in England
BAGEHOT, WALTER English Constitution
FRANCE VOLTAIRE Age of Louis XIV
TOCQUEVILLE, DE Old Regime
MIGNET, FRANCOIS History of the French Revolution
CARLYLE, THOMAS History of the French Revolution
LAMARTINE, A.M.L. DE History of the Girondists
TAINE, H.A. Modern Regime
GERMANY CARLYLE, THOMAS Frederick the Great
GREECE FINLAY, GEORGE History of Greece
HOLLAND MOTLEY, J.L. Rise of the Dutch Republic History of the United Netherlands
INDIA ELPHINSTONE, MOUNTSTUART History of India
RUSSIA VOLTAIRE Russia under Peter the Great
SPAIN PRESCOTT, W.H. Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella
SWEDEN VOLTAIRE History of Charles XII
PAPACY MILMAN, HENRY History of Latin Christianity
VON RANKE, LEOPOLD History of the Popes
A Complete Index of THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS will be found at the end of Volume XX.
* * * * *
Acknowledgment and thanks for permitting the use of the selection by H.A. Taine on "Modern Regime," appearing in this volume, are hereby tendered to Madame Taine-Paul-Dubois, of Menthon St. Bernard, France, and Henry Holt & Co., of New York.
* * * * *
History of the United States
Samuel Eliot, a historian and educator, was born in Boston in 1821, graduated at Harvard in 1839, was engaged in business for two years, and then travelled and studied abroad for four years more. On his return, he took up tutoring and gave gratuitous instruction to classes of young workingmen. He became professor of history and political science in Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., in 1856, and retained that chair until 1864. During the last four years of that time, he was president of the institution. From 1864 to 1874 he lectured on constitutional law and political science. He lectured at Harvard from 1870 to 1873. He was President of the Social Science Association when it organised the movement for Civil Service reform in 1869. His history of the United States appeared in 1856 under the title of "Manual of United States History between the Years 1792 and 1850." It was revised and brought down to date in 1873, under the title of "History of the United States." A third edition appeared in 1881. This work gained distinction as the first adequate textbook of United States history and still holds the place it deserves in popular favor. The epitome is supplemented by a chronicle compiled from several sources.
The first man to discover the shores of the United States, according to Icelandic records, was an Icelander, Leif Erickson, who sailed in the year 1000, and spent the winter somewhere on the New England coast. Christopher Columbus, a Genoese in the Spanish service, discovered San Salvador, one of the Bahama Islands, on October 12, 1492. He thought that he had found the western route to the Indies, and, therefore, called his discovery the West Indies. In 1507, the new continent received its name from that of Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine who had crossed the ocean under the Spanish and Portuguese flags. The middle ages were Closing; the great nations of Europe were putting forth their energies, material and immaterial; and the discovery of America came just in season to help and be helped by the men of these stirring years.
Ponce de Leon, a companion of Columbus, was the first to reach the territory of the present United States. On Easter Sunday, 1512, he discovered the land to which he gave the name of Florida or Flower Land. Numberless discoverers succeeded him. De Soto led a great expedition northward and westward, in 1539-43, with no greater reward than the discovery of the Mississippi. Among the French explorers to claim Canada under the name of New France, were Verrazzano, 1524, and Cartier, 1534-42. Champlain began Quebec in 1608. The oldest town in the United States, St. Augustine, Florida, was founded September 8, 1565, by Menendez de Aviles, who brought a train of soldiers, priests and negro slaves. The second oldest town, Santa Fe, was founded by the Spaniards in 1581.
John Cabot, a Venetian residing in Bristol, was the first person sailing under the English flag, to come to these shores. He sailed in 1497, with his three sons, but no settlement was effected. Sir Humphrey Gilbert was lost at sea in 1583, and Walter Raleigh, his cousin, took up claims that had been made to him by Queen Elizabeth, and crossed to the shores of the present North Carolina. Sir Richard Grenville left one hundred and eighty persons at Roanoke Island, in 1585. They were glad to escape at the earliest opportunity. Fifteen persons left there later were murdered by the Indians. Still a third settlement, consisting of one hundred and eighteen persons, disappeared, leaving no trace. Raleigh was discouraged and made over his patent to others, who were still less successful.
The Plymouth Colony and London Colony were formed under King James I. as business enterprises. The parties to the patents were capitalists, who had the right to settle colonists and servants, impose duties and coin money, and who were to pay a share of the profits in the enterprise to the Crown.
The London company, under the name of Jamestown, established the beginning of the first English town in America, May 13, 1607, with one hundred colonists. Captain John Smith was the genius of the colony, and it enjoyed a certain prosperity while he remained with it. A curious incident of its history was the importation of a large number of young women of good character, who were sold for one hundred and twenty, or even one hundred and fifteen, pounds of tobacco (at thirteen shillings a pound) to the lonely settlers. The Company failed, with all its expenditures, some half-million dollars, in 1624, and at that time, numbered only two thousand souls—the relics of nine thousand, who had been sent out from England.
Though the Plymouth Company had obtained exclusive grants and privileges, they never achieved any actual colony. A band of independents, numbering one hundred and two, whose extreme principles led to their exile, first from England and then from Holland, landed at a place called New Plymouth, in 1620. Half died within a year. Nevertheless, the Pilgrims, as they were called, extended their settlement. The distinction of the Pilgrims at Plymouth is that they relied upon themselves, and developed their own resources. Salem was begun in 1625, and for three years was called Naumkeag. In 1628, John Endicott came from England with one hundred settlers, as Governor for the Massachusetts Colony, extending from the Charles to the Merrimac river. A royal charter was procured for the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England, and one thousand colonists, led by John Winthrop, settled Boston, 1630. These colonists were Puritans, who wished to escape political and religious persecution. They brought over their own charter and developed a form of popular government. The freemen of the town elected the governor and board of assistants, but suffrage was restricted to members of the church. Representative government was granted in other colonies, but in the royal colonies of Virginia and New York, the executive officers and members of the upper branch of the legislature were appointed by the Crown. In Maryland, appointments were made in the same way by the Proprietor. Maryland was founded 1632, by royal grant to Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore.
The English colonies were divided in the middle by the Dutch at New Amsterdam and the Swedes on the Delaware. The claim of the prior discovery of Manhattan was raised by the English, who took New Amsterdam, in 1664. Charles II. presented a charter to his brother, James, Duke of York. East and west Jersey were formed out of part of the grant.
The patent for the great territory included in the present state of Pennsylvania was granted to William Penn in 1681. Penn laid the foundations for a liberal constitution. Patents for the territory of Carolina were given in 1663. Carolina reached the Spanish possessions in the South.
The New England settlers spread westward and northward. Connecticut adopted a written constitution in 1639. The charter of Rhode Island, 1663, confirmed the aim of its founder, Roger Williams, in the separation of civil and religious affairs.
The English predominated in the colonies, though other nationalities were represented on the Atlantic seaboard. The laws were based on English custom, and loyalty to England prevailed. The colonists united for mutual support during the early Indian wars. The United Colonies of New England, comprised Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Haven. This union was formed in 1643, and lasted nearly forty years. The "Lord of Trade" caused the colonies to unite later, at the time of the French and Indian War, 1754.
The colonies, nevertheless, were too far apart to feel a common interest. Communication between them was slow, and commerce was almost entirely carried on with the English. The boundaries were frequently a cause of conflict between them. The plan of a constitution was devised by Franklin, but even the menace of war could not make the colonies adopt it.
While the English were establishing themselves firmly on the coast, the French were all the time quietly working in the interior. Their explorers and merchants established posts to the Great Lakes, the northwest and the valley of the Mississippi. The clash with the English came in 1690. King William's War, Queen Anne's War and the French and Indian War, were all waged before the difficulties were settled in the rout of the French from the continent. The so-called French and Indian War (1701-13) was the American counterpart of the Seven Years' War of Europe. The chief events of this war were: the surrender of Washington at Fort Necessity, 1754; removal of the Arcadian settlers, 1755; Braddock's defeat, July 9, 1755; capture of Oswego by Montcalm, 1756; the capture of Louisburg and Fort Duquesne, 1758; the capture of Ticonderoga and Niagara in 1759; battle of Quebec, September 13, 1759; surrender of Montreal, 1760.
At the Peace of Paris, 1763, the French claims to American territory were formally relinquished. Spain, however, got control of the territory west of the Mississippi, in 1762. This was known as Louisiana, and extended from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains.
At this period the relations of the colonies with the home government became seriously strained. The demands that goods should be transported in English ships, that trade should be carried on only with England, that the colonies should not manufacture anything in competition with home products, were the chief causes of friction. The navigation laws were evaded without public resistance, and smuggling became a common practice.
The Stamp Act, in 1765, required stamps to be affixed to all public documents, newspapers, almanacs and other printed matter. All of the colonies were taxed at the same time by this scheme, which was contrary to their belief that they should be taxed only by their legislatures; although the proceeds of the taxes were to have been devoted to the defence of the colonies. Delegates, protesting against the Act, were sent to England by nine colonies. The Stamp Act Congress, October 7, 1765, passed measures of protest. The people never used the stamps, and the Act was repealed the next year. As a substitute, the English government established, in 1767, duties on paper, paint, glass and tea. The colonies replied by renewing the agreement which they made in 1765, not to import any English goods. The sending of troops to Boston aggravated the trouble. All the duties but that on tea were then withdrawn. Cargoes of tea were destroyed at Boston and Charleston, and a bond of common sympathy was slowly forged between the colonies.
In 1774, the harbour of Boston was closed, and the Massachusetts charter was revoked. Arbitrary power was placed in the hands of the governor. The colonies mourned in sympathy. The assembly of Virginia was dismissed by its governor, but merely reunited, and proceeded to call a continental congress.
The first continental congress was held at Capitol Hall, Philadelphia, September 5, 1774. All the colonies but Georgia were represented. The congress appealed to George III. for redress. They drafted the Declaration of Rights, and pledged the colonies not to use British importations and to export no American goods to Great Britain or to its colonies.
The battles of Lexington and Concord were precipitated by the attempt of the British to seize the colonists' munitions of war. The immediate result was the assembling of a second continental congress at Philadelphia, May 10, 1775. The second congress was in a short time organising armies and assuming all the powers of government.
On November 1, 1775, it was learned that King George would not receive the petition asking for redress, and the idea of the Declaration of Independence was conceived. On May 15, 1776, the congress voted that all British authority ought to be suppressed. Thomas Jefferson, in December, drafted the Constitution, and it was adopted on July 4, 1776.
The leading events of the Revolution were the battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775; capture of Ticonderoga, May 10; Bunker Hill, June 17; unsuccessful attack on Canada, 1775-1776; surrender of Boston, March 17, 1776; battle of Long Island, August 27; White Plains, October 28; retreat through New Jersey, at the end of 1776; battle of Trenton, December 26; battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777; Bennington, August 16; Brandywine, September 11; Germantown, October 4; Saratoga, October 7; Burgoyne's surrender, October 17; battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778; storming of Stony Point, July 15, 1779; battle of Camden, August 16, 1780; battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781; surrender of Cornwallis, October 19, 1781.
The surrender of Cornwallis terminated the struggle. The peace treaty was signed in 1783. The financial situation was very deplorable. One of the greatest difficulties that confronted the colonists, was the limited power of Congress. The states could regulate commerce and exercise nearly all authority. But disputes regarding their boundaries prevented their development as a united nation.
Congress issued an ordinance in 1784 under which territories might organise governments, send delegates to Congress, and obtain admission as states. This was made use of in 1787 by the Northwest Territory, the region lying between the Ohio and the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. The states made a compact in which it was agreed that there should be no slavery in this territory.
The critical period lasted until 1789. In the absence of strong authority, economic and political troubles arose. Finally, a commission appointed by Maryland and Virginia to settle questions relating to navigation on the Potomac resulted in a convention to adjust the navigation and commerce of the whole of the United States, called the Annapolis Convention from the place where it met, May 1, 1787. Rhode Island was the only state that failed to send delegates. Instead of taking up the interstate commerce questions the convention formulated the present Constitution. A President, with power to carry out the will of the people, was provided, and also, a Supreme Court.
Washington was elected first President, his term beginning March 4, 1789. A census was taken in 1790. The largest city was Philadelphia, with a population of 42,000—the others were New York, 33,000, and Boston, 18,000. The total population of the United States was 4,000,000. The slaves numbered 700,000; free negroes, 60,000, and the Indians, 80,000.
The Federalists, who believed in centralised government, were the most influential men in Congress. Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State, Knox Secretary of War, Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury, Osgood Postmaster General, and Jay Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The first tariff act was passed with a view of providing revenue and protection, in 1789. The national debt amounted to $52,000,000.00—a quarter of which was due abroad. The states had incurred an expense of $25,000,000.00 more, in supporting the Revolution. The country suffered from inflated currency. The genius of Hamilton saved the situation. He persuaded Congress to assume the whole obligation of the national government and of the states. Washington selected the site of the capitol on the banks of the Potomac. But the government convened at Philadelphia for ten years. Vermont and Kentucky were admitted as states by the first Congress.
In Washington's administration, a number of American ships were captured by British war vessels. England was at war with France and claimed the right of stopping American vessels to look for possible deserters. War was avoided by the Jay Treaty, November 19, 1794.
Washington retired, in 1796, at the end of two terms. John Adams, who had been Ambassador to France, Holland and England, became second President. The Democratic-Republican party, originated at this time, stood for a strict construction of the constitution and favoured France rather than England. Its leader was Thomas Jefferson. Adams proved but a poor party leader, and the power of the Federalists failed after eight years. He had gained some popularity in the early part of his first term when France began to retaliate for the Jay Treaty by seizing American ships, and would not receive the American minister. He appointed Charles Coatesworth Pinckney, with John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry, as a commission to treat with the French. The French commissioners who met them demanded $24,000,000.00 as a bribe to draw up a treaty. The names of the French commissioners were referred to in American newspapers as X, Y and Z. Taking advantage of the popular favour gained in the conduct of this affair, the Federalists succeeded in passing the Alien and Sedition Laws.
Napoleon seized the power in France and made peace with the United States. In the face of impending war between France and England, Napoleon gave up his plans of an empire in America and sold Louisiana to the United States for $15,000,000.00. The territory included 1,500,000 square miles. The Lewis and Clarke Expedition, sent out by Jefferson, started from St. Louis May 14, 1804, crossed the Rocky Mountains and discovered the Oregon country.
Aaron Burr was defeated for Governor of New York, and in his Presidential ambitions, and in revenge killed Hamilton in a duel. He fled the Ohio River country and made active preparations to carry out some kind of a scheme. He probably intended to proceed against the Spanish possessions in the Southwest and Mexico, and set himself up as a ruler. He was betrayed by his confidante, Wilkinson, and was tried for treason and acquitted in Richmond, Va., in 1807.
The momentous question of slavery in the territories came up in Jefferson's administration. The institution was permitted in Mississippi, but the ordinance of 1787 was maintained in Indiana. The importation of slaves was prohibited after January 1, 1808.
James Madison, a Republican, became President, in 1809. The Indians, under Tecumseh, attacked the Western settlers, but were defeated at Tippecanoe by William Henry Harrison in 1811. In the same year, Congress determined to break with England. Clay and Calhoun led the agitation. Madison acceded, and war was declared June 18, 1812. The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814. British commerce had been devastated. A voyage even from England to Ireland was made unsafe.
The leading events of the War of 1812 were the unsuccessful invasion of Canada and surrender at Detroit, August 12, 1812; sea fight in which the "Constitution" took the "Guerriere," August 19th; sea fight in which the "United States" took the "Macedonian," October 25, 1813; defeat at Frenchtown, January 22nd; victory on Lake Erie, September 10th; loss of the "Chesapeake" to the "Shannon," June 1st; victory at Chippewa, July 5, 1814; victory at Lundy's Lane, July 15th; Lake Champlain, September 11th; British burned public buildings in Washington, August 25th; American defeated British at Baltimore, September 13th; American under Jackson defeated the British at New Orleans, December 23rd and 28th.
Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, were admitted as states, in 1792, 1796, and 1803, respectively. In 1806, the federal government began a wagon road, from the Potomac River to the West through the Cumberland Gap. New York State finished the Erie Canal, in 1825. The population increased so rapidly, that six new states, west and south of the Allegheny Mountains, were admitted between 1812 and 1821. A serious conflict arose in 1820 over the admission of Missouri. The Missouri Compromise resulted in the prohibition of slavery in the Louisiana Purchase, north of 36 deg. and 30' north latitude. Missouri was admitted in 1831, and Maine, as a free state, in 1820.
With the passing of protective tariff measures in 1816 a readjustment of party lines took place. Protection brought over New England from Federalism to Republicanism. Henry Clay of Kentucky was the leading advocate of protection. Everybody was agreed upon this point in believing that tariff was to benefit all classes. This time was known as "The Era of Good Feeling."
Spain ceded Florida to the United States for $5,000,000.00, throwing in claims in the Northwest, and the United States gave up her claim to Texas. The treaty was signed in 1819.
The Monroe Doctrine was contained in the message that President Monroe sent to Congress December 2, 1823. The colonies of South America had revolted from Spain and had set up republics. The United States recognised them in 1821. Spain called on Europe for assistance. In his message to Congress, Monroe declared, "We could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny by any European power, in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly feeling toward the United States....The American Continents are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonisation by any European power." Great Britain had previously suggested to Monroe that she would not support the designs of Spain.
Protective measures were passed in 1824 and 1828. Around Adams and Clay were formed the National-Republican Party, which was joined by the Anti-Masons and other elements to form the Whig Party. Andrew Jackson was the centre of the other faction, which came to be known as the Democratic Party and has had a continuous existence ever since. South Carolina checked the rising tariff for a while by declaring the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 null and void.
The region which now forms the state of Texas had been gradually filling up with settlers. Many had brought slaves with them, although Mexico abolished slavery in 1829. The United States tried to purchase the country. Mexican forces under Santa Anna tried to enforce their jurisdiction in 1836. Texas declared her independence and drew up a constitution, establishing slavery. Opposition in the United States to the increase of slave territory defeated a plan for the annexation of this territory.
The New England Anti-Slavery Society was formed 1832, and the American Anti-Slavery Society was founded in Philadelphia in 1833. William Lloyd Garrison was the leader of abolition as a great moral agitation.
John C. Calhoun, Tyler's Secretary of State, proposed the annexation of Texas in 1844, but the scheme was rejected by the Senate. The election of Polk changed the complexion of affairs and Congress admitted Texas, which became a state in December, 1845.
The boundaries had never been settled and war with Mexico followed. Taylor defeated the Mexican forces at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, at Resaca de la Palma, May 9th, and later at Monterey and Buena Vista. Scott was sent to Vera Cruz with an expedition, which fought its way to the City of Mexico by September 14, 1846. The United States troops also seized New Mexico. California revolted and joined the United States. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 secured a further small strip of territory from Mexico.
The Boundary Treaty with Great Britain, in June, 1846, established the northern limits of Oregon at 49th parallel north latitude.
The plans for converting California into a slave state were frustrated by the discovery of gold. Fifty thousand emigrants poured in. The men worked with their own hands, and would not permit slaves to be brought in by their owners. Five bills, known as the Compromise of 1850, provided that New Mexico should be organised as a territory out of Texas; admitted California as a free state; established Utah as a territory; provided a more rigid fugitive slave law; and abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.
Cuba was regarded as a promising field for the extension of the slave territory when the Democratic Party returned to power in 1853 with the administration of Franklin Pierce. The ministers to Spain, France and Great Britain met in Belgium, at the President's direction, and issued the Ostend Manifesto, which declared that the United States would be justified in annexing Cuba, if Spain refused to sell the island. This Manifesto followed the popular agitation over the Virginius affair. The Spaniards had seized a ship of that name, which was smuggling arms to the Cubans, and put to death some Americans. War was averted, and Cuba remained in the control of the Spaniards.
The Supreme Court in 1857, in the Dred Scott decision, held that a slave was not a citizen and had no standing in the law, that Congress had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories, and that the constitution guaranteed slave property.
The Presidential campaign in 1858, which was signalised by the debates between Douglass and Lincoln, resulted in raising the Republican power in the House of Representatives, to equal that of the Democrats.
A fanatic Abolitionist, John Brown, with a few followers, seized the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry in 1859, defended it heroically against overpowering numbers, but was finally taken, tried and condemned for treason. This incident served as an argument in the South for the necessity of secession to protect the institution of slavery.
In the Presidential election of 1860, the Republican convention nominated Lincoln. Douglass and John C. Breckenridge split the Democratic vote, and Lincoln was elected President. This was the immediate cause of the Civil War. The first state to secede was South Carolina. A state convention, called by the Legislature, met on December 20, 1860, and declared that the union of that state and the other states was dissolved. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, followed in the first month of 1861, and Texas seceded February 1st. They formed a Confederacy with a constitution and government at a convention at Montgomery, Alabama, February, 1861. Jefferson Davis was chosen President, and Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President.
Sumter fell on April 14th, and the following day Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers. The demand was more than filled. The Confederacy, also, issued a call for volunteers which was enthusiastically received. Four border states went over to the Confederacy, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. Three went over, in May, and the last, June 18.
The leading events of the Civil War were, the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Wilson's Creek, August 2; Trent Affair, November 8, 1862; Battle of Mill Spring, January 19; Ft. Henry, February 6; Ft. Donelson, February 13-16: fight between the "Monitor" and "Merrimac," March 9; Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7; capture of New Orleans, April 25; battle of Williamsburgh, May 5; Fair Oaks, May 31-June 1; "Seven Days' Battle"—Mechanicsville, Gaines's Mill, Frazier's Farm, Malvern Hill, June 25-July 1; Cedar Mountain, August 9; second battle of Bull Run, August 30; Chantilly, September 1; South Mountain, September 14; Antietam, September 17; Iuka, September 19; Corinth, October 4; Fredericksburg, December 13; Murfreesboro, December 31-January 2, 1863. Emancipation Proclamation, January 1; battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-4; Gettysburg, July 1-3; fall of Vicksburg, July 4; battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20; Chattanooga, November 23-25; 1864—battles of Wilderness and Spottsylvania, May 5-7; Sherman's advance through northern Georgia, in May and June; battle of Cold Harbor, June 1-3; the "Kearsarge" sank the "Alabama," June 19; battles of Atlanta, July 20-28; naval battle of Mobile, August 5; battle of Winchester, September 19; Cedar Creek, October 19; Sherman's march through Georgia to the sea, November and December; battle of Nashville, December 15-16; 1865—surrender of Fort Fisher, January 15; battle of Five Forks, April 1; surrender of Richmond, April 3; surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox, April 9; surrender of Johnston's army, April 26; surrender of Kirby Smith, May 26.
Lincoln, who had been elected for a second term, was assassinated on April 14, 1865, in Ford's Theatre, Washington.
The United States expended $800,000,000 in revenue, and incurred a debt of three times that amount during the war.
The Reconstruction Period lasted from 1865 to 1870. The South was left industrially prostrate, and it required a long period to adjust the change from the ownership to the employment of the negro.
Alaska was purchased from Russia, in 1867, for $7,200,000.00.
An arbitration commission was called for by Congress to settle the damage claims of the United States against Great Britain, on account of Great Britain's failure to observe duties of a neutral during the war. The conference was held at Geneva, at the end of 1871, and announced its award six months later. This was $15,000,000.00 damages, to be paid to the United States for depredations committed by vessels fitted out by the Confederates in British ports. The chief of these privateers was the "Alabama."
One of the first acts of President Hayes, in 1877, was the withdrawal of the Federal troops of the South. The new era of prosperity dates from the resumption of home rule.
The Bland Bill of 1878 stipulated that at least $2,000,000, and not more than $4,000,000, should be coined in silver dollars each month, at the fixed ratio of 16-1.
Garfield, the twentieth President of the United States, was elected 1880, and was assassinated on July 2, 1881, in Washington, by an insane office-seeker, and died September 19th.
The Civil Service Act of 1833 provided examinations for classified service, and prohibited removal for political reasons. It also forbade political assessments by a government official, or in the government buildings.
The Interstate Commerce Commission was established in 1877 with very limited powers, based on the clause in the constitution, drawn up in 1787, giving Congress the power to regulate domestic commerce.
Harrison was elected 1888. Both Houses were Republican, and the tariff was increased. In 1890, the McKinley Bill raised the duties to an average of 50 per cent, but reciprocity was provided for.
The Sherman Bill superseded the Bland Bill, and provided that 4,500,000 ounces of silver bullion must be bought and stored in the Treasury each month. This measure failed to sustain the price of silver, and there was a great demand, in the South and West, for the free coinage of that metal.
The tariff was made the issue of the next Presidential election, in 1892, when Cleveland defeated Harrison by a large majority of electoral votes. Each received a popular vote of 5,000,400. The Populist Party, which espoused the silver cause, polled 1,000,000 votes.
Congress was called in special session, and repealed the Silver Purchase Bill, and devised means of protection for the gold reserve which was approaching the vanishing point.
Cleveland forced Great Britain to arbitrate the boundary dispute with Venezuela in 1895, by a defiant enunciation of the Monroe doctrine. Congress supported him and voted unanimously for a commission to settle the dispute.
Free coinage of silver was the chief issue of the Presidential election, in 1896. McKinley defeated Bryan by a great majority. The Dingley Tariff Bill maintained the protective theory.
The blowing up of the "Maine," in the Havana Harbor, in 1898, hastened the forcible intervention of the United States, in Cuba, where Spain had been carrying on a war for three years.
On May 1st, Dewey entered Manila Bay and destroyed a Spanish fleet. The more powerful and stronger Spanish fleet was destroyed while trying to escape from the Harbour of Santiago de Cuba, on July 3.
By the Treaty of Paris, December 10, Porto Rico was ceded, and the Philippine Islands were made over on a payment of $20,000,000, and a republic was established in Cuba, under the United States protectory.
Hawaii had been annexed, and was made a territory, in 1900.
A revolt against the United States in the Philippine Islands was put down, in 1901, after two years.
McKinley was elected to a second term, with a still more overwhelming majority over Bryan.
McKinley was assassinated on September 6, 1901, at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, by an Anarchist. Theodore Roosevelt, the Vice-President, succeeded him, and was re-elected, in 1904, defeating Alton B. Parker.
Roosevelt intervened in the Anthracite Coal Strike, in 1902, recognised the revolutionary Republic of Panama, and in his administration, the United States acquired the Panama Canal Zone, and began work on the inter-oceanic canal. Great efforts were made, during his administration, to repress the big corporations by prosecutions, under the Sherman Anti-Trust Law. The conservation of natural resources was also taken up as a fixed policy.
* * * * *
WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT
History of the Conquest of Mexico
The "Conquest of Mexico" is a spirited and graphic narrative of a stirring episode in history. To use his own words, the author (see p. 271) has "endeavoured to surround the reader with the spirit of the times, and, in a word, to make him a contemporary of the 16th century."
I. The Mexican Empire
Of all that extensive empire which once acknowledged the authority of Spain in the New World, no portion, for interest and importance, can be compared with Mexico—and this equally, whether we consider the variety of its soil and climate; the inexhaustible stores of its mineral wealth; its scenery, grand and picturesque beyond example; the character of its ancient inhabitants, not only far surpassing in intelligence that of the other North American races, but reminding us, by their monuments, of the primitive civilisation of Egypt and Hindostan; and lastly, the peculiar circumstances of its conquest, adventurous and romantic as any legend devised by any Norman or Italian bard of chivalry. It is the purpose of the present narrative to exhibit the history of this conquest, and that of the remarkable man by whom it was achieved.
The country of the ancient Mexicans, or Aztecs as they were called, formed but a very small part of the extensive territories comprehended in the modern Republic of Mexico. The Aztecs first entered it from the north towards the beginning of the thirteenth century, but it was not until the year 1325 that, led by an auspicious omen, they laid the foundations of their future city by sinking piles into the shallows of the principal lake in the Mexican valley. Thus grew the capital known afterwards to Europeans as Mexico. The omen which led to the choice of this site—an eagle perched upon a cactus—is commemorated in the arms of the modern Mexican Republic.
In the fifteenth century there was formed a remarkable league, unparallelled in history, according to which it was agreed between the states of Mexico, Tezcuco, and the neighbouring little kingdom of Tlacopan, that they should mutually support each other in their wars, and divide the spoil on a fixed scale. During a century of warfare this alliance was faithfully adhered to and the confederates met with great success. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, just before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Aztec dominion reached across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There was thus included in it territory thickly peopled by various races, themselves warlike, and little inferior to the Aztecs in social organisation. What this organisation was may be briefly indicated.
The government of the Aztecs, or Mexicans, was an elective monarchy, the sovereign being, however, always chosen from the same family. His power was almost absolute, the legislative power residing wholly with him, though justice was administered through an administrative system which differentiated the government from the despotisms of the East. Human life was protected, except in the sense that human sacrifices were common, the victims being often prisoners of war. Slavery was practised, but strictly regulated. The Aztec code was, on the whole, stamped with the severity of a rude people, relying on physical instead of moral means for the correction of evil. Still, it evinces a profound respect for the great principles of morality, and as clear a perception of those principles as is to be found in the most cultivated nations. One instance of their advanced position is striking; hospitals were established in the principal cities, for the cure of the sick, and the permanent refuge of the disabled soldier; and surgeons were placed over them, "who were so far better than those in Europe," says an old chronicler, "that they did not protract the cure, in order to increase the pay."
In their religion, the Aztecs recognised a Supreme Creator and Lord of the universe, "without whom man is as nothing," "invisible, incorporeal, one God, of perfect perfection and purity," "under whose wings we find repose and a sure defence." But beside Him they recognised numerous gods, who presided over the changes of the seasons, and the various occupations of man, and in whose honour they practised bloody rites. Such were the people dwelling in the lovely Mexican valley, and wielding a power that stretched far beyond it, when the Spanish expedition led by Hernando Cortes landed on the coast. The expedition was the fruit of an age and a people eager for adventure, for gain, for glory, and for the conversion of barbaric peoples to the Christian faith. The Spaniards were established in the West Indian Islands, and sought further extension of their dominions in the West, whence rumours of great treasure had reached them. Thus it happened that Velasquez, the Spanish Governor of Cuba, designed to send a fleet to explore the mainland, to gain what treasure he could by peaceful barter with the natives, and by any means he could to secure their conversion. It was commanded by Cortes, a man of extraordinary courage and ability, and extraordinary gifts for leadership, to whose power both of control and inspiration must be ascribed, in a very great degree, the success of his amazing enterprise.
II.—The Invasion of the Empire
It was on the eighteenth of February, 1519, that the little squadron finally set sail from Cuba for the coast of Yucatan. Before starting, Cortes addressed his soldiers in a manner both very characteristic of the man, and typical of the tone which he took towards them on several occasions of great difficulty and danger, when but for his courageous spirit and great power of personal influence, the expedition could only have found a disastrous end. Part of his speech was to this effect: "I hold out to you a glorious prize, but it is to be won by incessant toil. Great things are achieved only by great exertions, and glory was never the reward of sloth. If I have laboured hard and staked my all on this undertaking, it is for the love of that renown, which is the noblest recompense of man. But, if any among you covet riches more, be but true to me, as I will be true to you and to the occasion, and I will make you masters of such as our countrymen have never dreamed of! You are few in number, but strong in resolution; and, if this does not falter, doubt not but that the Almighty, who has never deserted the Spaniard in his contest with the infidel, will shield you, though encompassed by a cloud of enemies; for your cause is a just cause, and you are to fight under the banner of the Cross. Go forward then, with alacrity and confidence, and carry to a glorious issue the work so auspiciously begun."
The first landing was made on the island of Cozumel, where the natives were forcibly converted to Christianity. Then, reaching the mainland, they were attacked by the natives of Tabasco, whom they soon reduced to submission. These made presents to the Spanish commander, including some female slaves. One of these, named by the Spaniards Marina, became of great use to the conquerors in the capacity of interpreter, and by her loyalty, her intelligence, and, not least, by her distinguished courage became a powerful influence in the fortunes of the Spaniards.
The next event of consequence in the career of the Conquerors was the foundation of the first colony in New Spain, the town of Villa Rica de Vera Cruz, on the sea-shore. Following this, came the reduction of the warlike Republic of Tlascala, and the conclusion of an alliance with its inhabitants which proved of priceless value to the Spaniards in their long warfare with the. Mexicans.
More than one embassy had reached the Spanish camp from Montezuma, the Emperor of Mexico, bearing presents and conciliatory messages, but declining to receive the strangers in his capital. The basis of his conduct and of that of the bulk of his subjects towards the Spaniards was an ancient tradition concerning a beneficent deity named Quetzalcoatl who had sailed away to the East, promising to return and reign once more over his people. He had a white skin, and long, dark hair; and the likeness of the Spaniards to him in this respect gave rise to the idea that they were his representatives, and won them honour accordingly; while even to those tribes who were entirely hostile a supernatural terror clung around their name. Montezuma, therefore, desired to conciliate them while seeking to prevent their approach to his capital. But this was the goal of their expedition, and Cortes, with his little army, never exceeding a few hundred in all, reinforced by some Tlascalan auxiliaries, marched towards the capital. Montezuma, on hearing of their approach, was plunged into despondency. "Of what avail is resistance," he is said to have exclaimed, "when the gods have declared themselves against us! Yet I mourn most for the old and infirm, the women and children, too feeble to fight or to fly. For myself and the brave men round me, we must bare our breasts to the storm, and meet it as we may!"
Meanwhile the Spaniards marched on, enchanted as they came by the beauty and the wealth of the city and its neighbourhood. It was built on piles in a great lake, and as they descended into the valley it seemed to them to be a reality embodying in the fairest dreams of all those who had spoken of the New World and its dazzling glories. They passed along one of the causeways which constituted the only method of approach to the city, and as they entered, they were met by Montezuma himself, in all his royal state. Bowing to what seemed the inevitable, he admitted them to the capital, gave them a royal palace for their quarters, and entertained them well. After a week, however, the Spaniards began to be doubtful of the security of their position, and to strengthen it Cortes conceived and carried out the daring plan of gaining possession of Montezuma's person. With his usual audacity he went to the palace, accompanied by some of his cavaliers, and compelled Montezuma to consent to transfer himself and his household to the Spanish quarters. After this, Cortes demanded that he should recognise formally the supremacy of the Spanish emperor. Montezuma agreed, and a large treasure, amounting in value to about one and a half million pounds sterling, was despatched to Spain in token of his fealty. The ship conveying it to Spain touched at the coast of Cuba, and the news of Cortes's success inflamed afresh the jealousy of Velasquez, its governor, who had long repented of his choice of a commander. Therefore, in March, 1520, he sent Narvaez at the head of a rival expedition, to overcome Cortes and appropriate the spoils. But he had reckoned without the character of Cortes. Leaving a garrison in Mexico, the latter advanced by forced marches to meet Narvaez, and took him unawares, entirely defeating his much superior force. More than this, he induced most of these troops to join him, and thus, reinforced also from Tlascala, marched back to Mexico. There his presence was greatly needed, for news had reached him that the Mexicans had risen, and that the garrison was already in straits.
III.—The Retreat from Mexico
It was indeed in a serious position that Cortes found his troops, threatened by famine, and surrounded by a hostile population. But he was so confident of his ability to overawe the insurgents that he wrote to that effect to the garrison of Vera Cruz, by the same dispatches in which he informed them of his safe arrival in the capital. But scarcely had his messenger been gone half an hour, when he returned breathless with terror, and covered with wounds. "The city," he said, "was all in arms! The drawbridges were raised, and the enemy would soon be upon them!" He spoke truth. It was not long before a hoarse, sullen sound became audible, like that of the roaring of distant waters. It grew louder and louder; till, from the parapet surrounding the enclosure, the great avenues which led to it might be seen dark with the masses of warriors, who came rolling on in a confused tide towards the fortress. At the same time, the terraces and flat roofs in the neighbourhood were thronged with combatants brandishing their missiles, who seemed to have risen up as if by magic. It was a spectacle to appall the stoutest.
But this was only the prelude to the disasters that were to befall the Spaniards. The Mexicans made desperate assaults upon the Spanish quarters, in which both sides suffered severely. At last Montezuma, at the request of Cortes, tried to interpose. But his subjects, in fury at what they considered his desertion of them, gave him a wound of which he died. The position became untenable, and Cortes decided on retreat. This was carried out at night, and owing to the failure of a plan for laying a portable bridge across those gaps in the causeway left by the drawbridges, the Spaniards were exposed to a fierce attack from the natives which proved most disastrous. Caught on the narrow space of the causeway, and forced to make their way as best they could across the gaps, they were almost overwhelmed by the throngs of their enemies. Cortes who, with some of the vanguard, had reached comparative safety, dashed back into the thickest of the fight where some of his comrades were making a last stand, and brought them out with him, so that at last all the survivors, a sadly stricken company, reached the mainland.
The story of the reconstruction by Cortes of his shattered and discouraged army is one of the most astonishing chapters in the whole history of the Conquest. Wounded, impoverished, greatly reduced in numbers and broken in spirit by the terrible experience through which they had passed, they demanded that the expedition should be abandoned and themselves conveyed back to Cuba. Before long, the practical wisdom and personal influence of Cortes had recovered them, reanimated their spirits, and inspired them with fresh zeal for conquest, and now for revenge. He added to their numbers the very men sent against him by Velasquez at this juncture, whom he persuaded to join him; and had the same success with the members of another rival expedition from Jamaica. Eventually he set out once more for Mexico, with a force of nearly six hundred Spaniards, and a number of allies from Tlascala.
IV.—The Siege and Capture of Mexico
The siege of Mexico is one of the most memorable and most disastrous sieges of history. Cortes disposed his troops so as to occupy the three great causeways leading from the shore of the lake to the city, and thus cut off the enemy from their sources of supply. He was strong in the possession of twelve brigantines, built by his orders, which swept the lake with their guns and frequently defeated the manoeuvres of the enemy, to whom a sailing ship was as new and as terrible a phenomenon as were firearms and cavalry. But the Aztecs were strong in numbers, and in their deadly hatred of the invader, the young emperor, Guatemozin, opposed to the Spaniards a spirit as dauntless as that of Cortes himself. Again and again, by fierce attack, by stratagem, and by their indefatigable labours, the Aztecs inflicted checks, and sometimes even disaster, upon the Spaniards. Many of these, and of their Indian allies, fell, or were carried off to suffer the worse fate of the sacrificial victim. The priests promised the vengeance of the gods upon the strangers, and at one point Cortes saw his allies melting away from him, under the power of this superstitious fear. But the threats were unfulfilled, the allies returned, and doom settled down upon the city. Famine and pestilence raged with it, and all the worst horrors of a siege were suffered by the inhabitants.
But still they remained implacable, fighting to their last breath, and refusing to listen to the repeated and urgent offers of Cortes to spare them and their property if they would capitulate. It was not until the 15th of August, 1521, that the siege, which began in the latter part of May, was brought to an end. After a final offer of terms, which Guatemozin still refused, Cortes made the final assault, and carried the city in face of a resistance now sorely enfeebled but still heroic. Guatemozin, attempting to escape with his wife and some followers to the shore of the lake, was intercepted by one of the brigantines and carried to Cortes. He bore himself with all the dignity that belonged to his courage, and was met by Cortes in a manner worthy of it. He and his train was courteously treated and well entertained.
Meanwhile, at Guatemozin's request, the population of Mexico were allowed to leave the city for the surrounding country; and after this the Spaniards set themselves to the much-needed work of cleansing the city. They were greatly disappointed in their hope of treasure, which the Aztecs had so effectively hidden that only a small part of the expected riches was ever discovered. It is a blot upon the history of the war that Cortes, yielding to the importunity of his soldiers, permitted Guatemozin to be tortured, in order to gain information regarding the treasure. But no information of value could be wrung from him, and the treasure remained hidden.
At the very time of his distinguished successes in Mexico, the fortunes of Cortes hung in the balance in Spain. His enemy Velasquez, governor of Cuba, and the latter's friends at home, made such complaint of his conduct that a commissioner was sent to Vera Cruz to apprehend Cortes and bring him to trial. But, as usual, the hostile effort failed, and the commissioner sailed for Cuba, having accomplished nothing. The friends of Cortes, on the other hand, made counter-charges, in which they showed that his enemies had done all in their power to hinder him in what was a magnificent effort on behalf of the Spanish dominion, and asked if the council were prepared to dishonour the man who, in the face of such obstacles, and with scarcely other resources than what he found in himself, had won an empire for Castile, such as was possessed by no European potentate. This appeal was irresistible. However irregular had been the manner of proceeding, no one could deny the grandeur of the results. The acts of Cortes were confirmed in their full extent. He was constituted Governor, Captain General, and Chief Justice of New Spain, as the province was called, and his army was complimented by the emperor, fully acknowledging its services.
The news of this was received in New Spain with general acclamation. The mind of Cortes was set at ease as to the past, and he saw opening before him a noble theatre for future enterprise. His career, ever one of adventure and of arms, was still brilliant and still chequered. He fell once more under suspicion in Spain, and at last determined to present himself in person before his sovereign, to assert his innocence and claim redress. Favourably received by Charles V., he subsequently returned to Mexico, pursued difficult and dangerous voyages of discovery, and ultimately returned to Spain, where he died in 1547.
The history of the Conquest of Mexico is the history of Cortes, who was its very soul. He was a typical knight-errant; more than this, he was a great commander. There is probably no instance in history where so vast an enterprise has been achieved by means apparently so inadequate. He may be truly said to have effected the conquest by his own resources. It was the force of his genius that obtained command of the co-operation of the Indian tribes. He arrested the arm that was lifted to smite him, he did not desert himself. He brought together the most miscellaneous collection of mercenaries who ever fought under one standard,—men with hardly a common tie, and burning with the spirit of jealousy and faction; wild tribes of the natives also, who had been sworn enemies from their cradles. Yet this motley congregation was assembled in one camp, to breathe one spirit, and to move on a common principle of action.
As regards the whole character of his enterprise, which seems to modern eyes a bloody and at first quite unmerited war waged against the Indian nations, it must be remembered that Cortes and his soldiers fought in the belief that their victories were the victories of the Cross, and that any war resulting in the conversion of the enemy to Christianity, even as by force, was a righteous and meritorious war. This consideration dwelt in their minds, mingling indeed with the desire for glory and for gain, but without doubt influencing them powerfully. This is at any rate one of the clues to this extraordinary chapter of history, so full of suffering and bloodshed, and at the same time of unsurpassed courage and heroism on every side.
* * * * *
History of the Conquest of Peru
The "History of the Conquest of Peru," which appeared in 1847, followed Prescott's "History of the Conquest of Mexico." It is a vivid and picturesque narrative of one of the most romantic, if also in some ways one of the darkest, episodes in history. It is impossible in a small compass to convey a tithe of the astonishing series of hairbreadth escapes, of conquest over tremendous odds, and of rapid eventualities which make up this kaleidoscopic story.
I.—The Realm of the Incas
Among the rumours which circulated among the ambitious adventurers of the New World, one of the most dazzling was that of a rich empire far to the south, a very El Dorado, where gold was as abundant as were the common metals in the Old World, and where precious stones were to be had, almost for the picking up. These rumours fired the hopes of three men in the Spanish colony at Panama, namely, Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, both soldiers of fortune, and Hernando de Luque, a Spanish priest. As it was primarily from the efforts of these three that that astonishing episode, the Spanish conquest of Peru, came to pass.
The character of that empire which the Spaniards discovered and undertook to conquer may be briefly sketched.
According to the traditions of Peru, there had come to that country, then lying in barbarism and darkness, two "Children of the Sun." These had taught them wise customs and the arts of civilisation, and from them had sprung by direct descent the Incas, who thus ruled over them by a divine right. Besides the ruling Inca, whose person and decrees received an honour that was almost worship, there were numerous nobles, also of the royal blood, who formed a ruling caste. These were held in great honour, and were evidently of a race superior to the common people, a fact to which the very shape of their skulls testifies.
The government was developed to an extraordinary pitch of control over even the private lives of the people. The whole land and produce of the country were divided into three parts, one for the Sun, the supreme national deity; one for the Inca, and the third for the people. This last was divided among them according to their needs, especially according to the size of their families, and the distribution of land was made afresh each year. On this principle, no one could suffer from poverty, and no one could rise by his efforts to a higher position than that which birth and circumstances allotted to him. The government prescribed to every man his local habitation, his sphere of action, nay, the very nature and quality of that action. He ceased to be a free agent; it might almost be said, that it relieved him of personal responsibility. Even his marriage was determined for him; from time to time all the men and women who had attained marriageable age were summoned to the great squares of their respective towns, and the hands of the couples joined by the presiding magistrate. The consent of parents was required, and the preference of the parties was supposed to be consulted, but owing to the barriers imposed by the prescribed age of the parties, this must have been within rather narrow limits. A dwelling was prepared for each couple at the charge of the district, and the prescribed portion of land assigned for their maintenance.
The country as a whole was divided into four great provinces, each ruled by a viceroy. Below him, there was a minute subdivision of supervision and authority, down to the division into decades, by which every tenth man was responsible for his nine countrymen.
The tribunals of justice were simple and swift in their procedure, and all responsible to the Crown, to whom regular reports were forwarded, and who was thus in a position to review and rectify any abuses in the administration of the law.
The organisation of the country was altogether on a much higher level than that encountered by the Spaniards in any other part of the American continent. There was, for example, a complete census of the people periodically taken. There was a system of posts, carried by runners, more efficient and complete than any such system in Europe. There was, lastly, a method of embodying in the empire any conquered country which can only be compared to the Roman method. Local customs were interfered with as little as possible, local gods were carried to Cuzco and honoured in the pantheon there, and the chiefs of the country were also brought to the capital, where they were honoured and by every possible means attached to the new regime. The language of the capital was diffused everywhere, and every inducement to learn it offered, so that the difficulty presented by the variety of dialects was overcome. Thus the Empire of the Incas achieved a solidarity very different from the loose and often unwilling cohesion of the various parts of the Mexican empire, which was ready to fall to pieces as soon as opportunity offered. The Peruvian empire arose as one great fabric, composed of numerous and even hostile tribes, yet, under the influence of a common religion, common language, and common government, knit together as one nation, animated by a spirit of love for its institutions and devoted loyalty to its sovereign. They all learned thus to bow in unquestioning obedience to the decrees of the divine Inca. For the government of the Incas, while it was the mildest, was the most searching of despotisms.
II.—First Steps Towards Conquest
It was early in the sixteenth century that tidings of the golden empire in the south reached the Spaniards, and more than one effort was made to discover it. But these proved abortive, and it was not until after the brilliant conquest of Mexico by Cortes that the enterprise destined for success was set on foot. Then, in 1524, Francisco Pizarro, Almagro, and Father Luque united their efforts to pursue the design of discovering and conquering this rich realm of the south. The first expedition, sailing under Pizarro in 1524, was unable to proceed more than a certain distance owing to their inadequate numbers and scanty outfit, and returned to Panama to seek reinforcements. Then, in 1526, the three coadjutors signed a contract which has become famous. The two captains solemnly engaged to devote themselves to the undertaking until it should be accomplished, and to share equally with Father Luque all gains, both of land and treasure, which should accrue from the expedition. This last provision was in recognition of the fact that the priest had supplied by far the greater part of the funds required, or apparently did so, for from another document it appears that he was only the representative of the Licentiate Gaspar de Espinosa, then at Panama, who really furnished the money.
The next expedition met with great vicissitudes, and it was only the invincible spirit of Pizarro which carried them as far as the Gulf of Guayaquil and the rich city of Tumbez. Hence they returned once more to Panama, carrying this time better tidings, and again seeking reinforcements. But the governor of the colony gave them no encouragement, and at last it was decided that Pizarro should go to Spain and apply for help from the Crown. He did so, and in 1529 was executed the memorable "Capitulation" which defined the powers and privileges of Pizarro. It granted to Pizarro the right of discovery and conquest in the province of Peru, (or New Castile as it was then called,) the title of Governor, and a salary, with inferior honours for his associates; all these to be enjoyed on the conquest of the country, and the salaries to be derived from its revenues. Pizarro was to provide for the good government and protection of the natives, and to carry with him a specified number of ecclesiastics to care for their spiritual welfare.
On Pizarro's return to America, he had to contend with the discontent of Almagro at the unequal distribution of authority and honours, but after he had been somewhat appeased by the efforts of Pizarro the third expedition set sail in January, 1531. It comprised three ships, carrying 180 men and 27 horses—a slender enough force for the conquest of an empire.
After various adventures, the Spaniards landed at Tumbez, and in May, 1532, set out from there to march along the coast. After founding a town some thirty leagues south of Tumbez, which he named San Miguel, he marched into the interior with the bold design of meeting the Inca himself. He came at a moment when Peru was but just emerging from a civil conflict, in which Atahuallpa had routed the rival and more legitimate claimant to the throne of the Incas, Huascar. On his march, Pizarro was met by an envoy from the Inca, inviting him to visit him in his camp, with, as Pizarro guessed, no friendly intent. This coincided, however, with the purpose of Pizarro, and he pressed forward. When his soldiers showed signs of discouragement in face of the great dangers before them, Pizarro addressed them thus:
"Let every one of you take heart and go forward like a good soldier, nothing daunted by the smallness of your numbers. For in the greatest extremity God ever fights for His own; and doubt not He will humble the pride of the heathen, and bring him to the knowledge of the true faith, the great end and object of the Conquest." The enthusiasm of the troops was at once rekindled. "Lead on!" they shouted as he finished his address. "Lead on wherever you think best! We will follow with goodwill; and you shall see that we can do our duty in the cause of God and the king!"
They had need of all their daring. For when they had penetrated to Caxamalca they found the Inca encamped there at the head of a great host of his subjects, and knew that if his uncertain friendliness towards them should evaporate, they would be in a desperate case. Pizarro then determined to follow the example of Cortes, and gain possession of the sovereign's person. He achieved this by what can only be called an act of treachery; he invited the Inca to visit his quarters, and then, taking them unawares, killed a large number of his followers and took him prisoner. The effect was precisely what Pizarro had hoped for. The "Child of the Sun" once captured, the Indians, who had no law but his command, no confidence but in his leadership, fled in all directions, and the Spaniards remained masters of the situation.
They treated the Inca at first with respect, and while keeping him a prisoner, allowed him a measure of freedom, and free intercourse with his subjects. He soon saw a door of hope in the Spaniards' eagerness for gold, and offered an enormous ransom. The offer was accepted, and messengers were sent throughout the empire to collect it. At last it reached an amount, in gold, of the value of nearly three and a half million pounds sterling, besides a quantity of silver. But even this ransom did not suffice to free the Inca. Owing partly to the malevolence of an Indian interpreter, who bore the Inca ill-will, and partly to rumours of a general rising of the natives instigated by the Inca, the army began to demand his life as necessary to their safety. Pizarro appeared to be opposed to this demand, but to yield to his soldiers, and after a form of trial the Inca was executed. But Pizarro cannot be acquitted of responsibility for a deed which formed the climax of one of the darkest chapters in Spanish colonial history, and it is probable that the design coincided only too well with his aims.
III.—Triumph of Pisarro; his Assassination
There was nothing now to hinder the victorious march of the Spaniards to Cuzco, the Peruvian capital. They now numbered nearly five hundred, having been reinforced by the arrival of Almagro from Panama.
In Cuzco they found great quantities of treasure, with the natural result that the prices of ordinary commodities rose enormously as the value of gold and silver declined, so that it was only those few who returned with their present gains to their native country who could be called wealthy.
All power was now in the hands of the Spaniards. Pizarro indeed placed upon the throne of the Incas the legitimate heir, Manco, but it was only in order that he might be the puppet of his own purposes. His next step was to found a new capital, which should be near enough to the sea-coast to meet the need of a commercial people. He determined upon the site of Lima on the festival of Epiphany, 1535, and named it "Ciudad de los Reyes," or City of the Kings, in honour of the day. But this name was before long superseded by that of Lima, which arose from the corruption of a Peruvian name.
Meanwhile Hernando Pizarro, the brother of Francisco, had sailed to Spain to report their success. He returned with royal letters confirming the previous grants to Francisco and his associates, and bestowing upon Almagro a jurisdiction over a given tract of country, beginning from the southern limit of Pizarro's government. This grant became a fruitful source of dissension between Almagro and the Pizarros, each claiming as within his jurisdiction the rich city of Cuzco, a question which the uncertain knowledge of distances in the newly-explored country made it difficult to decide.
But the Spaniards had now for a time other occupation than the pursuit of their own quarrels. The Inca Manco, escaping from the captivity in which he had lain for a time, put himself at the head of a host of Indians, said to number two hundred thousand, and laid siege to Cuzco early in February, 1536. The siege was memorable as calling out the most heroic displays of Indian and European valour, and bringing the two races into deadlier conflict with each other than had yet occurred in the conquest of Peru. The Spaniards were hard pressed, for by means of burning arrows the Indians set the city on fire, and only their encampment in the midst of an open space enabled the Spaniards to endure the conflagration around. They suffered severely, too, from famine. The relief from Lima for which they looked did not come, as Pizarro was in no position to send help, and from this they feared the worst as to the fate of their companions. Only the firm resolution of the Pizarro, brothers and the other leaders within the city kept the army from attempting to force a way out, which would have meant the abandoning of the city. At last they were rewarded by the sight of the great host around them melting away. Seedtime had come, and the Inca knew it would be fatal for his people to neglect their fields, and thus prepare starvation for themselves in the following year. Thus, though bodies of the enemy remained to watch the city, the siege was virtually raised, and the most pressing danger past.
While these events were passing, Almagro was engaged upon a memorable expedition to Chili. His troops suffered great privations, and hearing no good tidings of the country further south, he was prevailed upon to return to Cuzco. Here, claiming the governorship, he captured Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro, though refusing the counsel of his lieutenant that they should be put to death. Then, proceeding to the coast, he met Francisco Pizarro, and a treaty was concluded between them by which Almagro, pending instructions from Spain, was to retain Cuzco, and Hernando Pizarro was to be set free, on condition of sailing for Spain. But Francisco broke the treaty as soon as made, and sent Hernando with an army against Almagro, warning the latter that unless he gave up Cuzco the responsibility of the consequences would be on his own head. The two armies met at Las Salinas, and Almagro was defeated and imprisoned in Cuzco. Before long Hernando brought him to trial and to death, thus ill requiting Almagro's treatment of him personally. Hernando, on his return to Spain, suffered twenty years' imprisonment for this deed, which outraged both public sentiment and sense of justice.
Francisco Pizarro, though affecting to be shocked at the death of Almagro, cannot be acquitted of all share in it. So, indeed, the followers of Almagro thought, and they were goaded to still further hatred of the Pizarros by the poverty and contempt in which they now lived, as the survivors of a discredited party. The house of Almagro's son in Lima formed a centre of disaffection, to whose menace Pizarro showed remarkable blindness. He paid dearly for this excessive confidence, for on Sunday, the 26th of June, 1541, he was attacked while sitting in his own house among his friends, and killed.
IV.—Later Fortunes of the Conquerors
The death of Pizarro did not prove in any sense a guarantee of peace among the Spaniards in Peru. At the time of his death, indeed, an envoy from the Spanish court was on his way to Peru, who from his integrity and wisdom might indeed have given rise to a hope that a happier day was about to dawn. He was endowed with powers to assume the governorship in the event of Pizarro's death, as well as instructions to bring about a more peaceful settlement of affairs. He arrived to find himself indeed the lawful governor, but had before him the task of enforcing his authority. This brought him into collision with the son of Almagro, at the head of a strong party of his father's followers. A bloody battle took place on the plains of Chupas, in which Vaca de Castro was victorious. Almagro was arrested at Cuzco and executed.
The history of the Spanish dominion now resolves itself into the history of warring factions, the chief hero of which was Gonzalo Pizzaro, one of the brothers of the great Pizarro. The Spaniards in Peru felt themselves deeply injured by the publication of regulations from Spain, by which a sudden check was put upon their spoliation and oppression of the natives, which had reached an extreme pitch of cruelty and destructiveness. They called upon Gonzalo to lead them in vindication of what they regarded as their privileges by right of conquest and of their service to the Spanish crown. His hands were strengthened by the rash and high-handed behaviour of, Blasco Nunez Vela, yet another official sent out from Spain to deal with this turbulent province. Pizarro himself was an able and daring leader, and, at least in his earlier years, of a chivalrous spirit which made him beloved of his soldiers. He had great personal courage, and, as says one who had often seen him, "when mounted on his favourite charger, made no more account of a squadron of Indians than of a swarm of flies." He was soon acclaimed as governor by the Spaniards, and was actually supreme in Peru. But in the following year, 1545, the Spanish government selected an envoy who was to bring the now ascendant star of Pizarro to eclipse. This was an ecclesiastic named Pedro de la Gasea, a man of great resolution, penetration, and knowledge of affairs. After varying fortunes, in which Pizarro for some time held his own, he was routed by the troops of Gasea, largely through the defection of a number of his own soldiers, who marched over to the enemy. Pizarro surrendered to an officer, and was carried before Gasea. Addressing him with severity, Gasea abruptly inquired, "Why had he thrown the country into such confusion; raising the banner of revolt; usurping the government; and obstinately refusing the offer of grace that had been repeatedly made to him?" Gonzalo defended himself as having been elected by the people. "It was my family," he said, "who conquered the country, and as their representative here, I felt I had a right to the government." To this Gasea replied, in a still severer tone, "Your brother did, indeed, conquer the land; and for this the emperor was pleased to raise both him and you from the dust. He lived and died a true and loyal subject; and it only makes your ingratitude to your sovereign the more heinous." A sentence of death followed, and thus passed the last of Pizarro's name to rule in Peru.
Under the wise reforms instituted by Gasea, Peru was somewhat relieved of the disastrous effects of the Spanish occupation, and under the mild yet determined policy inaugurated by him, the ancient distractions of the country were permanently healed. With peace, prosperity returned within the borders of Peru, and this much-tried land settled down at last to a considerable measure of tranquillity and content.
* * * * *
The History of the Rebellion
Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who was born February 18, 1608; at Dinton, Wilts, and who died at Rouen, 1674, was son of a private gentleman and was educated at Oxford, afterwards studying law under Chief Justice Nicholas Hyde, his uncle. Early in his career he became distinguished in political life in a stormy period, for, as a prominent member of the Long Parliament, he espoused the popular cause. The outbreak of the Civil War, however, threw his sympathies over to the other side, and in 1642 King Charles knighted him and appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer. When Charles, Prince of Wales, afterwards King Charles II., fled to Jersey after the great defeat of his father at Naseby, he was accompanied by Hyde, who, in the island, commenced his great work, "The History of the Rebellion," and also issued a series of eloquently worded papers which appeared in the king's name as replies to the manifestoes of Parliament. After the Restoration he was appointed High Chancellor of England and ennobled with the title of Earl of Clarendon. But the ill success of the war with Holland brought the earl into popular disfavour, and his unpopularity was increased by the sale of Dunkirk to the French. Court intrigues led to the loss of his offices and he retreated to Calais. An apology which he sent to the Lords was ordered to be burnt by the common hangman. For six years, till his death in Rouen, he lived in exile, but he was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey. His private character in a dissolute age was unimpeachable. Anne Hyde, daughter of the earl, became Queen of England, as wife of James II., and was mother of two queens, Anne and Mary. The "History of the Rebellion" is a noble and monumental work, invaluable as written by a contemporary.
King James, in the end of March, 1625, died, leaving his majesty that now is, engaged in a war with Spain, but unprovided with money to manage it, though it was undertaken by the consent and advice of Parliament; the people being naturally enough inclined to the war (having surfeited with the uninterrupted pleasures and plenty of 22 years of peace) and sufficiently inflamed against the Spaniard, but quickly weary of the charge of it. Therefore, after an unprosperous attempt by sea on Cadiz, and a still more unsuccessful one on France, at the Isle of Rhe (for some difference had also begotten a war with that country), a general peace was shortly concluded with both kingdoms.
The exchequer was exhausted by the debts of King James and the war, so that the known revenue was anticipated and the king was driven into straits for his own support. Many ways were resorted to for supply, such as selling the crown lands, creating peers for money, and other particulars which no access of power or plenty could since repair.
Parliaments were summoned, and again dissolved: and that in the fourth year after the dissolution of the two former was determined with a declaration that no more assemblies of that nature should be expected, and all men should be inhibited on the penalty of censure so much as to speak of a parliament. And here I cannot but let myself loose to say, that no man can show me a source from whence these waters of bitterness we now taste have probably flowed, than from these unseasonable, unskilful, and precipitate dissolutions of parliaments. And whoever considers the acts of power and injustice in the intervals between parliaments will not be much scandalised at the warmth and vivacity displayed in their meetings.
In the second parliament it was proposed to grant five subsidies, a proportion (how contemptible soever in respect of the pressures now every day imposed) never before heard of in Parliament. And that meeting being, upon very unpopular and implausible reasons immediately dissolved, those five subsidies were exacted throughout the whole kingdom with the same rigour as if in truth an act had passed to that purpose. And very many gentlemen of prime quality, in all the counties, were for refusing to pay the same committed to prison.
The abrupt and ungracious breaking of the first two parliaments was wholly imputed to the Duke of Buckingham; and of the third, principally to the Lord Weston, then high treasurer of England. And therefore the envy and hatred that attended them thereupon was insupportable, and was visibly the cause of the murder of the first (stabbed to the heart by the hand of an obscure villain).
The duke was a very extraordinary person. Never any man in any age, nor, I believe, in any nation, rose in so short a time to such greatness of honour, fame, and fortune, upon no other advantage or recommendation, than that of the beauty and gracefulness of his person. He was the younger son of George Villiers, of Brookesby, Leicestershire. After the death of his father he was sent by his mother to France, where he spent three years in attaining the language and in learning the exercises of riding and dancing; in the last of which he excelled most men, and returned to England at the age of twenty-one.
King James reigned at that time. He began to be weary of his favourite, the Earl of Somerset, who, by the instigation and wickedness of his wife, became at least privy to the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. For this crime both he and his wife, after trial by their peers, were condemned to die, and many persons of quality were executed for the same.
While this was in agitation, Mr. Villiers appeared in court and drew the king's eyes upon him. In a few days he was made cupbearer to the king and so pleased him by his conversation that he mounted higher and was successively and speedily knighted, made a baron, a viscount, an earl, a marquis, lord high admiral, lord warden of the cinque ports, master of the horse, and entirely disposed of all the graces of the king, in conferring all the honours and all the offices of the kingdom, without a rival. He was created Duke of Buckingham during his absence in Spain as extraordinary ambassador.
On the death of King James, Charles, Prince of Wales, succeeded to the crown, with the universal joy of the people. The duke continued in the same degree of favour with the son which he had enjoyed with the father. But a parliament was necessary to be called, as at the entrance of all kings to the crown, for the continuance of supplies, and when it met votes and remonstrances passed against the duke as an enemy to the public, greatly to his indignation.
New projects were every day set on foot for money, which served only to offend and incense the people, and brought little supply to the king's occasions. Many persons of the best quality were committed to prison for refusing to pay. In this fatal conjuncture the duke went on an embassy to France and brought triumphantly home with him the queen, to the joy of the nation, but his course was soon finished by the wicked means mentioned before. In the fourth year of the king, and the thirty-sixth of his own age, he was assassinated at Portsmouth by Felton, who had been a lieutenant in the army, to whom he had refused promotion.
Shortly after Buckingham's death the king promoted Dr. Laud, Bishop of Bath and Wells, to the archibishopric of Canterbury. Unjust modes of raising money were instituted, which caused increasing discontent, especially the tax denominated ship-money. A writ was directed to the sheriff of every county to provide a ship for the king's service, but with the writ were sent instructions that, instead of a ship, he should levy upon his county a sum of money and send it to the treasurer of the navy for his majesty's use.
After the continued receipt of the ship-money for four years, upon the refusal of Mr. Hampden, a private gentleman, to pay thirty shillings as his share, the case was solemnly argued before all the judges of England in the exchequer-chamber and the tax was adjudged lawful; which judgment proved of more advantage and credit to the gentleman condemned than to the king's service.
For the better support of these extraordinary ways the council-table and star-chamber enlarged their jurisdictions to a vast extent, inflicting fines and imprisonment, whereby the crown and state sustained deserved reproach and infamy, and suffered damage and mischief that cannot be expressed.
The king now resolved to make a progress into the north, and to be solemnly crowned in his kingdom of Scotland, which he had never seen from the time he first left it at the age of two years. The journey was a progress of great splendour, with an excess of feasting never known before. But the king had deeply imbibed his father's notions that an Episcopal church was the most consistent with royal authority, and he committed to a select number of the bishops in Scotland the framing of a suitable liturgy for use there. But these prelates had little influence with the people, and had not even power to reform their own cathedrals.
In 1638 Scotland assumed an attitude of determined resistance to the imposition of the liturgy and of Episcopal church government. All the kingdom flocked to Edinburgh, as in a general cause that concerned their salvation. A general assembly was called and a National Covenant was subscribed. Men were listed towards the raising of an army, Colonel Leslie being chosen general. The king thought it time to chastise the seditious by force, and in the end of the year 1638 declared his resolution to raise an army to suppress their rebellion.
This was the first alarm England received towards any trouble, after it had enjoyed for so many years the most uninterrupted prosperity, in a full and plentiful peace, that any nation could be blessed with. The army was soon mustered and the king went to the borders. But negotiations for peace took place, and civil war was averted by concessions on the part of the king, so that a treaty of pacification was entered upon. This event happened in the year 1639.
After for eleven years governing without a parliament, with Archbishop Laud and the Earl of Strafford as his advisers, King Charles was constrained, in 1640, to summon an English parliament, which, however, instead of at once complying with his demands, commenced by drawing up a list of grievances. Mr. Pym, a man of good reputation, but better known afterwards, led the remonstrances, observing that by the long intermission of parliaments many unwarrantable things had been practiced, notwithstanding the great virtue of his majesty. Disputes took place between the Lords and Commons, the latter claiming that the right of supply belonged solely to them.
The king speedily dissolved Parliament, and, the Scots having again invaded England, proceeded to raise an army to resist them. The Scots entered Newcastle, and the Earl of Strafford, weak after a sickness, was defeated and retreated to Durham. The king, with his army weakened and the treasury depleted, was in great straits. He was again constrained to call a parliament, which met on November 3, 1640. It had a sad and melancholic aspect. The king himself did not ride with his accustomed equipage to Westminster, but went privately in his barge to the parliament stairs. The king being informed that Sir Thomas Gardiner, not having been returned a member, could not be chosen to be Speaker, his majesty appointed Mr. Lenthall, a bencher of Lincoln's Inn. In this parliament also Mr. Pym began the recital of grievances, and other members followed with invectives against the Earl of Strafford, accusing him of high and imperious and tyrannical actions, and of abusing his power and credit with the king.
After many hours of bitter inveighing it was moved that the earl might be forthwith impeached of high treason; which was no sooner mentioned than it found a universal approbation and consent from the whole House. With very little debate the peers in their turn, when the impeachment was sent up to them, resolved that he should be committed to the custody of the gentleman usher of the black-rod, and next by an accusation of high treason against him also the Archbishop of Canterbury was removed from the king's council.
The trial of the earl in Westminster Hall began on March 22, 1641, and lasted eighteen days. Both Houses passed a bill of attainder. The king resolved never to give his consent to this measure, but a rabble of many thousands of people besieged Whitehall, crying out, "Justice, justice; we will have justice!" The privy council being called together pressed the king to pass the bill of attainder, saying there was no other way to preserve himself and his posterity than by so doing; and therefore he ought to be more tender of the safety of the kingdom than of any one person how innocent soever. No one counsellor interposed his opinion, to support his master's magnanimity and innocence.
The Archbishop of York, acting his part with prodigious boldness and impiety, told the king that there was a private and a public conscience; that his public conscience as a king might not only dispense with, but oblige him to do that which was against his private conscience as a man; and that the question was not whether he should save the earl, but whether he should perish with him. Thus in the end was extorted from the king a commission from some lords to sign the bill. This was as valid as if he had signed it himself, though they comforted him even with that circumstance, "that his own hand was not in it."
The earl was beheaded on May 12, on Tower Hill. Together with that of the attainder of this nobleman, another bill was passed by the king, of almost as fatal consequences to him and the kingdom as that was to the earl, "the act for perpetual parliament," as it is since called. Thus Parliament could not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without its consent.