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and cultivate the lands of the Inca and to lay up the produce in ftorehouses, were the only burdens impofed upon the people, if it was not fometimes to make cloaths and weapons for the army. At the fame time, their kings were fo revered, that these articles of labour were performed with affection and alacrity.

The government was equally gentle with regard to punishments. Indeed very few crimes were committed, being confidered as a fort of rebellion against their great god the fun. The only crime that feems to have been punished with severity, is the marauding of foldiers; for death was inflicted, however inconfiderable the damage.

In this empire, there appears to have been the most perfect union between law and religion; which could not fail to produce obedience, order, and tranquillity, among that people, tho' extremely numerous. The Inca family was fam'd for moderation: they made conquefts in order to civilize their neighbours; and as they feldom if ever tranfgreffed the bounds of morality, no other art was neceflary to preferve the government entire, but to VOL. III. keep

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keep the people ignorant of true religion. They had virgins dedicated to the fun, who, like the veftal virgins in Rome, were under a vow of perpetual chastity.

This fubject fhall be concluded with fome flight obfervations on the two governments I have been defcribing. Comparing them together, the Mexican government feems to have been fupported by arms; that of Peru by religion.

The kings of Peru were hereditary and abfolute: thofe of Mexico elective. In contradiction however to political principles, the government of Peru was by far the milder. It is mentioned above, that the electors of the Mexican kings were hereditary princes; and the fame electors compofed the great council of state. Montefquieu therefore has been misinformed when he terms this a defpotic monarchy (a): a monarchy can never be defpotic, where the fovereign is limited by a great council, the members of which are independent of him. As little reafon has he to term Peru defpotic. An abfolute monarchy it was, but the fartheft in the world from being defpotic: on the con

(a) L'Esprit des loix, liv. 17. ch. 2.


trary, we find not in hiftory any government fo well contrived for the good of the people. An Agrarian law, firmly rooted, was a firm bar against fuch inequality of rank and riches, as lead to luxury and diffolution of manners: a commonwealth is naturally the refult of fuch a conftitution; but in Peru it was prevented by a theocratical government under a family fent from heaven to make them happy. This wild opinion, fupported by ignorance and fuperftition, proved an effectual bar against tyranny in the monarch; a most exemplary conduct on his part being neceffary for supporting the opinion of his divinity. Upon the whole, comprehending king and fubject, there perhaps never existed more virtue in any other government, whether monarchical or republican.

In Peru there are traces of fome diftinction of ranks, arifing probably from office merely, which, as in France, was a bulwark to the monarch against the peasants. The great fuperiority of the Peruvian Incas, as demi-gods, did not admit a hereditary nobility.

With respect to the progrefs of arts and manufactures,

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manufactures, the two nations differed widely in Mexico, arts and manufactures were carried to a furprifing height, confidering the tools they had to work with in Peru, they had made no progrefs; every man, as among mere favages, providing the neceffaries of life for himfelf. As the world goes at present, our multiplied wants require fuch numbers, that not above one of a hundred can be fpared for war. In ancient times, when thefe wants were few and not much enlarged beyond nature, it is computed that an eighth part could be spared for war: and hence the numerous armies we read of in the hiftory of ancient nations. The Peruvians had it in their power to go ftill farther it was poffible to arm the whole males capable of fervice: leaving the women to fupply the few neceffaries that might be wanted during a fhort campaign; and accordingly we find that the Incas were great conquerors.

The religion of the Peruvians, confidered in a political light, was excellent. The veneration they paid their fovereign upon falfe religious principle, was their only. fuperftition; and that fuperftition contri


buted greatly to improve their morals and their manners: on the other hand, the religion of Mexico was execrable.

Upon the whole, there never was a country deftitute of iron, where arts feem to have been carried higher than in Mexico: and, bating their religion, there ne-、 ver was a country deftitute of writing, where government feems to have been more perfect. I except not the government of Peru, which, not being founded on political principles, but on fuperftition, might be more mild, but was far from being fo folidly founded.


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