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in observation' or inquiry, as to have attained just conceptions of the Deity; nor was there in their language any proper name or appellation of the Supreme Power, which intimated, that they had formed any idea of him as the Creator and Governor of the World. f) But by directing their veneration to that glorious luminary, which, by its universal and vivifying energy, is the best emblem of divine beneficence, the rites and observances which they deemed acceptable to him were innocent and humane. They offered to the Sun a part of those productions which his genial warmth had called forth from the bofom of the earth, and reared to maturity. They sacrificed, as an oblation of gratitude, some of the animals who 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. g) Thus the Peruvians unacquainted with those barbarous rites which extinguish sensibility, and suppress the feeling of nature at the fight of human sufferings, were formed, by the spirit of the superstition which they had adopted, to a national character, more fentle than that of any people in America.
f) Acofta , ' lib. v. c. 3. 6) Sec. NOTE XXXIII.
Its influence on civil policy.
The influence of this superstition operated even upon their civil institutions, and tended to correct in them whatever was adverse to gentleness of character. The dominion of the Incas, though the most absolute of all defpotisms , was mitigated by its alliance with religion. The mind was not humbled and depressed by the idea of forced subjection to the will of a superior; obedience, paid to one who · was believed to be clothed with divine authority , was willingly yielded, and implied no degradation. The sovereign, conscious that the submissive reverence of his people flowed from their belief of his heavenly descent, was continually reminded of a distinction which prompted him to imitate that beneficent power which he was supposed to represent. In consequence of those impressions, there hardly occurs in the traditional history of Peru, any instance of rebellion against the reigning prince, and, among twelve successive monarchs, there was not one tyrant,
and on their military system. Even the wars in which the Incas engaged, were carried on with a spirit very different from that of other American nations. They fought not, like savages, to destroy and exterminate; or, like the Mexicans, to glut blood-thirsty
divinities with human facrifices. They conquered , in order to reclaim and civilize the vanquished, and to diffuse the knowledge of their own institutions and arts, Prisoners seem not to have been exposed to the insults and tortures, which were their lot in every other part of the New World. The Incas took the people whom they subdued under their protection, and admitted them to a participation of all the advantages enjoyed by their original subjects. This practice, fo repugnant to American ferocity, and resembling the humanity of the most polished nations, must be ascribed, like other peculiarities which we have observed in the Peruvian manners, to the genius of their religion. The Incas, considering the homage paid to any object but the heavenly powers which they adored as impious, were fond of gaining profelytes to their favourite system. The idols of every conquered province were carried in triumph to the great temple at Cuzco, h) and placed there as trophies of the superior power of the divinity who was the protector of the empire. The people were treated with lenity, and instructed in the religious tenets of their new masters, i) that the conqueror might have the 'glory of having added to the number of the votaries of his father the Sun.
h) Herrera, dec. 5. iib. iv. c. 4. Vega, lib. V. 6. 12.
Peculiar Atate of property.
The state of property in Peru was no less fingular than that of religion, and contributed likwise, towards giving a mild turn of character to the people. All the landscapable of cultivation were divided into three shares. One was consecrated to the Sun, and the product of it was applied to the erection of temples, and furnishing what was requisite towards celebrating the publick rites of religion. The second belonged to the Inca, and was set apart as the provision made by the community for the fupport of government. The third and largest share was reserved for the maintenance of the people, among whom it was parcelled out. No person, however, had a right of exclusive property in the portion allotted to him.
He pofleffed 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 in. dustry 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. k)
Effects of this.
By this singular distribution of territory, as well as by the mode of cultivating it, the idea
k) Herrera, dec, 5. lib. iv, c. 2. Vega, lib. v, 6. 5.
of a common interest, and of mutual fubfervi.
Inequality of ranks.
But, though the institutions of the Incas were so framed as to strengthen the bonds of affection among their subjects, there was great inequality in their condition. The distinction of ranks was fully established in Peru. A great body of the inhabitants, under the denomination of Yanaconas, were held in a state of fervitude. Their garb and houses were of a form different from those of freemen. Like the Tamemes of Mexico, they were employed in carrying burdens, and in performing every other work of drudgery. 1) Next to them in rank, were fuch of the people as were free, but dila
1) Herrera , dec, 5. lib. iii, c. 4. li , X, C, 8.