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war threatened to be of long duration, or the climate of the country in which it was carried on proved very unhealthy, to send home the men who had served as long as was deemed consistent with their health, and to fill their places with new recruits.
While the battle raged the full licence of war was allowed to the Peruvian soldiery; but after every victory a pause was made, and following the traditionary policy of his race, the sovereign Inca, who was generally at the head of his army in the field, held out the hand of friendship to the vanquished foe, whose property and person were defended from every unnecessary outrage by the strict discipline of his victorious enemy. When at the head of their armies the Incas seem, however, to have followed more freely the inspirations of their individual passions and propensities than in their internal policy; for while in the latter no irregularities are recorded, the annals of the country recount deeds of atrocious cruelty and violence committed by some of the Incas on the unhappy tribes who too obstinately resisted their attempts at subjugation. These sanguinary characters are, however, exceptions among the Inca sovereigns. The first care of the Incas, after having brought a territory under subjection to themselves, was to establish among their new vassals the worship of the Sun, and the whole of the religious system which formed the solid foundation of their power; but in doing this they proceeded with great moderation and wisdom, avoiding to wound the early prejudices of the conquered people. The idols of the barbarians were neither insulted nor railed at, but were quietly removed out of sight; while temples of the Sun, rivalling in their gorgeous decorations those of the capital, were raised in the midst of their former worshippers, whose imaginations were captivated by the splendid ceremonials of the new religion even before their minds accepted its doctrines. At the same time the chief of the vanquished tribe was carried by the victor to the capital, whence he did not return to govern his people as vicegerent of the Inca until his heart had been won by flattery and favours, and he had so thoroughly imbibed the religious views, and so heartily subscribed to the wisdom of the political principles of his conqueror, that his influence over his former subjects was no longer to be feared. In the meanwhile also the territory over which he had once ruled as master had been absorbed and harmonised with the Peruvian system : the extent of its surface was measured, the nature and capability of the soil examined into, the amount of its population numbered, and the same division of property, the same organisation of labour, the same public institutions introduced, as prevailed throughout the rest of the Incas dominions; and in a few years their national costume, which according to the laws of the Incas could never be changed, was the only distinguishing feature between the old and the new subjects. “It may seem strange,' says Mr Prescott,' that any people should patiently have acquiesced in an arrangement which involved such a total surrender of property ; but it was a conquered nation that did so, held in awe, on the least suspicion of meditating resistance, by armed garrisons, who were established at various commanding points throughout the country. But it must also be remembered that, according to the accounts of the same authorities who have described to us the wise policy of the Incas, the tribes successively subjugated by them were in a state of such utter barbarism that notions of property can hardly have been much developed
among them, and from this point of view it is their submission to the strict discipline of the Peruvian system which is the most amazing; while, on the other hand, if, judging by monumental evidence, we believe that the civilisation of the Incas had originated in the very territories into which they spread their subsequent conquests, it is not improbable that the original state of things in the conquered provinces bore some affinity to that which they sought to introduce.
Besides their military force the Incas had other means of breaking the spirit of revolt, which were more consonant with the general spirit of their policy. Not the least effectual among these expedients was the transplanting masses of the disaffected populations to territories in the interior, where, being surrounded by the loyal inhabitants of these parts, their hostility would be innoxious and be ultimately overcome; while an equal number of the ancient and faithful subjects of the Inca took their places in their former homes, and inoculated the remainder of the tribe with the spirit of submission and affection, or at least acted as a check on any desperate attempt. But even when adopting a measure so rigorous as this, the Inca tempered the despotism of the act with considerate kindness, for care was taken that the mitimaes—as the transplanted populations were termed-should not be subjected to conditions of climate and temperature different to those under which they were born, and which might therefore act injuriously on their health; and it is even maintained that their previous habits of life and occupations were consulted, and that each was placed in a position to continue these in his new abode. The crowning measure of all for the establishment of that uniformity which was the alpha and omega of the Incas' policy was, however, the introduction of a common idiom among the various tribes which were brought under their dominion. In the southern as well as the northern continent of America the Indian tribes, though evidently springing from one common root, and though in many respects, even in their state of separation, so little dissimilar, in point of language were so completely dissevered that the dialect of the one was quite incomprehensible to the other. Among the dialects of South America the Quichua, spoken by the people of Cuzco and the surrounding country, is considered one of the richest and most beautiful, and this it was that the Incas endeavoured to establish throughout their dominions, so that no hinderances should impede the rapid transmission of the sovereign's decrees and regulations, emitted at the centre, to the farthest extremities of the body politic. For this purpose teachers were established in every community to impart to the people the language of the Inca, a knowledge of which was a necessary condition for holding any office of trust.
When, after surveying this most remarkable political mechanism and the comparatively high state of civilisation it had fostered, we endeavour to obtain some insight into its effects on the moral and intellectual condition of the people, we are struck with the great discrepancy between the grand results apparent on the surface, and those manifestations of a people's life which testify to the action and reaction of mind upon mind, and shew the value of the individuals composing the community. Nowhere can we trace that diversity and progression which are the evidences of vitality in the body politic. Everywhere we meet with uniformity and apparent stagnation, with the ideas of one single mind, as it were, slavishly carried out by succeeding generations. It is impossible to examine a single edifice of the time of the Incas,' says M. de Humboldt,' without recognising the same type in all the others that cover the ridge of the Andes, over an extent of more than 450 leagues, from about 3000 to 12,000 feet above the level of the ocean. It might be said that a single architect constructed this great number of monuments. In this respect these architectural monuments seem to be true types of the national character. Individuality was crushed beneath the rigid system, which allowed no man, whatever his natural abilities, to rise above the station which the state had assigned to him; there was no struggle for pre-eminence in a race in which all were allowed to take part; the whole nation marched in rank and file, the step of each and all being regulated by the beat of the ruler's drum; and the great problem of society—the progress of all by the full and free development of each-seemed rendered impossible of solution.
Commerce, which is one of the greatest incentives to enterprise, and as such, in the earlier stages of civilisation, the greatest promoter of individual development, was rendered impossible by the singular organisation of property and of labour; and thus, though the empire was bordered in its whole length by the ocean, and though the Peruvians were in possession of vessels which in point of construction were not perhaps inferior to those in which the hardy Northmen of the tenth century braved the dangers of the Arctic Ocean, they never attempted the navigation of the open seas, but contented themselves with using their vessels or balsas for conveying provisions from one point of the coast to another.
So inactive, indeed, was the intellectual life of the Peruvians, that this people, having attained to no mean degree of social refinement, were totally unacquainted with the art of writing, even in its most primitive forms of picture-writing and hieroglyphics—the only visible symbols of thought known among them being cords of various colours and shades suspended from a string in the manner of a fringe, and which by means of knots, combined in many arbitrary ways, formed a complicated method of expression and calculation. It will readily be understood that such a contrivance, however ably managed, was very deficient in the power of expression in a connected form, or as a means of giving utterance to thoughts of a purely intellectual character; that it could indeed merely suggest isolated ideas, and such only as had reference to known facts or tangible objects; and that it could not fulfil any of the requirements of a literature, properly so called. Such, therefore, the Peruvians had not. As regards history, the quipus, as the knotted cords were called, seem to have served mostly as a system of mnemonics to enable the amautas (the men of science) and the haravecs (the poets) to recall to mind in due succession those events of public importance which it was their duty to learn by rote, and to transmit orally from generation to generation. In so far the quipus, all imperfect as they were, must be considered an advance upon the state of barbarism wherein no such help to the memory exists, and during which no approach has been made even towards so defective a means of symbolising thought; yet as far as the Peruvian traditions are known to us, they are by no means so rich in historical incidents or in religious myths—those products of a barbarous people's unconscious poetising—as are those of the barbarous nations of Europe, who had no such mechanical helps for recording the events and imaginings of the past. Whether this be owing to the little pains taken after the conquest to gather from the lips of the people those national traditions and poems which must then still have been fresh in their memories, or from a real paucity of materials, it is difficult to say; but judging from such as are known, we cannot help thinking that here again the influence of the peculiar system of government may be traced, for the little that is related all bears reference to the sovereign Inca, who in war or in peace is allowed no competitor, and whose glory does not only eclipse that of all other individuals, but absorbs all the interest attached to their characters and activity. In their history as in their polity the Incas alone appear as the living principle that puts the mechanism in motion.
As a means of registering the various statistical facts, of which—for purposes of administration—the government was to be kept constantly informed, the quipus seem to have answered admirably; for the colours of the cords having each a distinct signification, and the knots denoting numbers, even complicated calculations were rendered comparatively easy. The various records kept were placed under the care of the quipicamayus, or keepers of the quipus, who had under them a numerous body of public registrars, each district having several functionaries of the kind appointed by government to the various departments of administration. Subordinate annalists were also appointed in all the principal communities, to keep account of the passing events there; the amautas being of a superior rank, and having merely to chronicle the deeds of the reigning Inca, and to compose the general history of the empire.
In science the Peruvians were inferior even to the Mexicans and to several South American tribes. In geography, indeed, they had advanced so far as to have a pretty fair knowledge of their own extensive empire, and even to have mimic representations—which some have honoured with the name of maps—of the various provinces and cities, with their boundaries, their roads, their rivers, their mountains, and their plains; and into the composition of which, according to Garcilasso, entered earth, pebbles, bits of wood, &c. Of geometry, according to the same author, they understood as much as was required for the measurement of their lands, yet by his own shewing these measurements were made in a manner purely mechanical. Of those engraved calendar stones which were in use among the Mexicans, the Muyscas, and other Indian tribes, and which have enabled antiquarians to form such correct notions of the extent of astronomical science among those nations, no traces have been found in Peru; while such of the notions of the Peruvians regarding the phenomena of the heavens, as well as their methods of calculation, which have been recorded by the early Spanish writers, prove but a very superficial knowledge of the celestial mechanism. The year they divided into twelve parts called quilla, from the name of the moon; and these lunar months they divided into light and dark halves, which were again subdivided into weeks of seven days, according to some; of nine and ten days, according to others. The discrepancy between their lunar year and the solar year, which they could not fail to remark, they failed, however, to adjust, though they observed the returns of the solstices and the equinoxes by means of round towers erected for the purpose. Each of these periods, we have seen, was
celebrated as a religious festival, because marking a phase in the life of their great luminous divinity; but the equinoxes in particular were occasions for public rejoicing, as then it was believed the Sun descended and abode for a short while among his children. The exact period of the equinox was ascertained by means of a richly-ornamented column, raised in the large open area in front of the principal temple of the Sun in each city. Round this column or gnomon was traced a circle, which was traversed by a diameter from east to west. Here the priests assembled each day towards the expected epoch to mark, by the shadows of the column on the line, its gradual approach. When the noontide rays of the sun, falling almost vertically on the gnomon, rendered the shadows scarcely visible, the god was supposed to sit with all his light upon it;' a golden chair, called the throne of the Sun, was raised to the summit; the column was wound round with flowers and odoriferous plants, and offerings were made of the various products of the earth and of the ingenuity of man.
The personal presence of the Sun on this occasion may have been, and probably was but a poetical trope, and the same may have been the case with the causes assigned for the eclipses of the sun and the moon; yet the childish fear which these phenomena inspired proves that their true causes—which the calendar-stone of the Aztecs of Mexico shews to have been well known to that people were not divined by the Peruvians. An eclipse of the sun, more especially, was in their eyes an event of fearful import, for anger at some national misdeed was supposed to be the cause of the deity averting his face from his worshippers, and sacrifices were made to turn aside the consequences of his wrath. As for the moon, her occasional disappearance was attributed to indisposition, and the utmost anxiety was felt for her speedy recovery, as a protracted illness, it was believed, must, infallibly end in her death, when she would fall from heaven, and mankind and the world would perish with her. The means resorted to for restoring the health of the suffering goddess were not of a very tender nature. A deafening noise was made with trumpets, cymbals, and every other kind of sounding instrument known to the people; and if this was found insufficient to recover her from her supposed swoon, all the dogs in the country were beaten to make them howl and bark, in the hope that the cries of these animals, for whom she was believed to have a particular affection, would rouse her from her state of supineness. In addition to this all young girls and boys throughout the empire were made to implore Mama Quilla, or Mother Moon, not to allow herself to die. And when at length the luminary reappeared in her usual splendour, she was humbly thanked for not having died, and for having thus saved the world from destruction.
Besides the sun and the moon the planet Venus seems to have been the only heavenly body that attracted the attention of the Peruvians, and she owed this distinction to her being an attendant of the sun. It is not, however, impossible that further researches among the antiquities of South America may prove the ignorance of the Peruvians in point of astronomy not to have been so great as it would appear from the meagre accounts of the Spaniards regarding their cycles and calculations. An enthusiastic American antiquary* has indeed suggested that a clue to the real division
* Bradford-American Antiquities. New York: Dayton and Sarton. 184).