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sumes a more severe and atrocious form. Of the latter we have an example among the Mexicans ; of the former, among the people of Peru. The Peruvians offered to the Sun a part of those productions which his genial warmth had called forth from the bosom of the earth and reared to maturity. They sacrificed as an oblation of gratitude some of the animals which were indebted to his influence for nourishment. They presented to him choice specimens of those works of ingenuity which his light had guided the hand of man in forming. But the incas never stained his altars with human blood, nor could they conceive that their beneficent father, the sun, would be delighted with such horrid victims. Thus the Peruvians had attained to a national character more mild and gentle than that of any people in America, which was displayed in their government, and even in their military system.
The state of property in Peru was singular, and contributed towards giving a mild turn of character to the people. All the lands capable of cultivation were divided into three shares : one was con. secrated to the sun and to the rites of religion; the second belonged to the inca for the support of government; the third and largest share was re. served for the maintenance of the people, among whom it was parcelled out. Neither individuals, however, nor communities, had a right of exclusive property in the portion set apart for their use. They possessed it only for a year, at the expiration of which a new division was made in proportion to the rank, the number, and exigencies of each family. All those lands were cultivated by the joint industry of the community. The people, summoned by a proper officer, repaired in a body
to the fields, and performed their common task, while songs and musical instruments cheered them to their labour. A state thus constituted may be considered as one great family, of which the several members were bound together in closer intercourse than subsisted under any form of society established in America. From this resulted gentle manners and mild virtues unknown in the savage state, and with which the Mexicans were little acquainted.
The distinction of ranks was, nevertheless, fully established in Peru. A great body of the inhabitants were held in a state of servitude, their garb and houses were of a different form from those of freemen. They were employed in carrying bur. thens, and in performing every other species of drudgery. Next to them in rank were such of the people as were free, but distinguished by no official or hereditary honours. Above them were raised those whom the Spaniards call orejones, from the ornaments worn in their ears. These formed what may be denominated the order of nobles, and in peace, as well as in war, held every office of power or trust. At the head of all were the children of the sun, who, by their high descent and peculiar privileges, were as much exalted above the orejones as these were elevated above the people.
In Peru, agriculture was more extensive and carried on with greater skill than in any part of · America, so that even the calamity of an unfruitful season was but little felt ; for the product of the lands consecrated to the sun, as well as that of those set apart for the incas, being deposited in storehouses, it remained as a stated provision for times of scarcity. The use of the plough, indeed, was unknown to the Peruvians. They turned up the earth with a kind of wooden mattock; and in
this labour both sexes joined the efforts of industry. Even the children of the sun set an example of activity, by cultivating a field near Cuzco with their own hands; and they dignified this function by denominating it their triumph over the earth.
The superior ingenuity of the Peruvians is likewise obvious in the construction of their houses and public buildings, some of which are of immense extent, and all of remarkable solidity. The temple of Pachacamac, together with the palace of the inca, and a fortress, were so connected as to form one great structure above half a league in circuit. The walls, indeed, owing to their entire ignorance of the mechanical powers, were not more than twelve feet from the ground. And, though they had not discovered the use of mortar or of any other cement, the bricks and stones were joined with so much nicety, that the seams could hardly be discerned. The public roads and bridges claim also a brief notice. The two great roads from Cuzco to Quito extended in an uninterrupted stretch about 1500 miles.
The one was conducted through the interior and mountainous country; the other through the plains on the sea-coast. The formation of those roads introduced another improvement in Peru. In its course from north to south, the road of the incas was intersected by all the torrents which roll from the Andes towards the Western Ocean. These were not fordable, nor could the Peruvians construct bridges either of stone or timber. They therefore formed cables of osiers of great strength, six of which they stretched across the stream parallel to one another, and made theni fast on each side. These they bound together with smaller ropes so close as to form a compact piece
of net-work, over which they passed with tolerable security.
The Peruvians had made also some progress in the arts. They had discovered the method of smelting and refining the silver ore which they found in the channels or dug for in the earth. They made mirrors by highly polishing hard shining stones; vessels of earthen ware of different forms; hatchets and other instruments, some destined for war, and others for labour.
Notwithstanding so many particulars, which seem to indicate an high degree of civilization, other circumstances occur that suggest the idea of a society still in the first stages of its improvement. In all the dominions of the incas, Cuzco was the - only place that had the appearance or was entitled to the name of a city. Every where else the people lived mostly in detached habitations, dispersed over the country or settled in small villages. Of course, the separation of professions in Peru was not so complete as among the Mexicans. The less closely men associate, the more simple are their manners, and the fewer their wants. All the arts, accordingly, which were of daily and indispensable utility, were exercised by every Peruvian indiscriminately. None but artists employed in works of mere curiosity or ornament constituted a separate order of men, or were distinguished from other citizens. Another consequence resulting from the want of cities, was the little commercial intercourse among the inhabitants of that great empire. But the unwarlike spirit of the Peruvians was the most remarkable as well as the most fatal defect in their character. By this, Peru was subdued at once, and almost without resistance; and the most favoura
ble opportunities of regaining their freedom, and of crushing their oppressors, were lost through the timidity of the people. This character hath descended to their posterity : the Indians of Peru are now more tame and depressed than any people of America.
The cruel custom that prevailed in some of the most savage tribes, subsisted also among the Pe. ruvians. On the death of the incas, a considerable number of their attendants were put to death and interred around them that they might appear in the next world with their former dignity, and be served with proper respect. On the death of Huana-Capac, the most powerful of their monarchs, above a thousand victims were doomed to accompany him to the tomb.