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the fashion of more civilized nations, by drinking the health of those whom he most delighted to honor.36
But the most effectual means taken by the Incas for communicating with their people were their progresses through the empire. These were conducted, at intervals of several years, with great state and magnificence. The sedan, or litter, in which they travelled, richly emblazoned with gold and emeralds, was guarded by a numerous escort. The men who bore it on their shoulders were provided by two cities, specially appointed for the purpose. It was a post to be coveted by no one, if, as is asserted, a fall was punished with death.37 They travelled with ease and expedition, halting at the tambos, or inns, erected by government along the route, and occasionally at the royal palaces, which in the great towns afforded ample accommodations to the whole of the monarch's retinue. The noble roads which trav
36 One would hardly expect to find among the American Indians this social and kindly custom of our Saxon ancestors,—now fallen somewhat out of use, in the capricious innovations of modern fashion. Garcilasso is diffuse in his account of the forms observed at the royal table. (Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6. cap. 23.) The only hours of eating were at eight or nine in the morning, and at sunset, which took place at nearly the same time, in all seasons, in the latitude of Cuzco. The historian of the Incas admits that, though temperate in eating, they indulged freely in their cups, frequently prolonging their revelry to a late hour of the night. Ibid., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. I.
37 " In lecticâ, aureo tabulato constratâ, humeris ferebant; in summâ, ea erat observantia, vt vultum ejus intueri maxime incivile putarent, et inter baiulos, quicunque vel leviter pede offenso hæsitaret, e vestigio interficerent." Levinus Apollonius, De Peruviæ Regior is Inventione, et Rebus in eâdem gestis (Antverpiæ, 1567), fol. 37.—Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. II.-According to this writer, the litter was carried by the nobles; one thousand of whom were specially reserved for the humiliating honor. Ubi supra.
ersed the table-land were lined with people, who swept away the stones and stubble from their surface, strewing them with sweet-scented flowers, and vying with each other in carrying forward the baggage from one village to another. The monarch halted from time to time to listen to the grievances of his sụbjects, or to settle some points which had been referred to his decision by the regular tribunals. As the princely train wound its way along the mountain-passes, every place was thronged with spectators eager to catch a glimpse of their sovereign; and when he raised the curtains of his litter and showed himself to their eyes, the air was rent with acclamations as they invoked blessings on his head. 38 Tradition long commemorated the spots at which he halted, and the simple people of the country held them in reverence as places consecrated by the presence of an Inca. 39
The royal palaces were on a magnificent scale, and, far from being confined to the capital or a few principal towns, were scattered over all the provinces of their vast empire. 40 The buildings were low, but covered a
38 The acclamations must have been potent indeed, if, as Sarmiento tells us, they sometimes brought the birds down from the sky! “De esta manera eran tan tenidos los Reyes que si salian por el Reyno y permitian alzar algun paño de los que iban en las andas para dejarse ver de sus vasallos, alzaban tan gran alarido que hacian caer las aves de lo alto donde iban volando á ser tomadas á manos.” (Relacion, MS., cap. 10.) The same author has given in another place a more credible account of the royal progresses, which the Spanish reader will find extracted in Appendix No. I.
39 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 3, cap. 14; lib. 6, cap. 3.Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. II.
40 Velasco has given some account of several of these palaces situated in different places in the kingdom of Quito. Hist. de Quito. lom. i. pp. 195–197.
wide extent of ground. Some of the apartments were spacious, but they were generally small, and had no communication with one another, except that they opened into a common square or court. The walls were made of blocks of stone of various sizes, like those described in the fortress of Cuzco, rough-hewn, but carefully wrought near the line of junction, which was scarcely visible to the eye. The roofs were of wood or rushes, which have perished under the rude touch of time, that has shown more respect for the walls of the edifices. The whole seems to have been characterized by solidity and strength, rather than by any attempt at architectural elegance.
But whatever want of elegance there may have been in the exterior of the imperial dwellings, it was amply compensated by the interior, in which all the opulence of the Peruvian princes was ostentatiously displayed. The sides of the apartments were thickly studded with gold and silver ornaments. Niches, prepared in the walls, were filled with images of animals and plants curiously wrought of the same costly materials; and even much of the domestic furniture, including the utensils devoted to the most ordinary menial services, displayed the like wanton magnificence! * With these
41 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 44.-Antig. y Monumentos de Peru, MS.-See, among others, the description of the remains still existing of the royal buildings at Callo, about ten leagues south of Quito, by Ulloa, Voyage to South America, book 6, ch. 11, and since, more carefully, by Humboldt, Vues des Cordillères, p. 197.
Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. I.—“Tanto que todo el servicio de la Casa del Rey así de cantaras para su vino, como de cozina, todo era oro y plata, y esto no en un lugar y en una parte lo tenia, sino en muchas." (Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 11.) See also the flaming accounts of the palaces of Bilcas, to the west of
gorgeous decorations were mingled richly-colored stuffs of the delicate manufacture of the Peruvian wool, which were of so beautiful a texture that the Spanish sovereigns, with all the luxuries of Europe and Asia at their command, did not disdain to use them. The royal household consisted of a throng of menials, supplied by the neighboring towns and villages, which, as in Mexico, were bound to furnish the monarch with fuel and other necessaries for the consumption of the palace.
But the favorite residence of the Incas was at Yucay, about four leagues distant from the capital. In this delicious valley, locked up within the friendly arms of the sierra, which sheltered it from the rude breezes of the east, and refreshed by gushing fountains and streams of running water, they built the most beautiful of their palaces. Here, when wearied with the dust and toil of the city, they loved to retreat, and solace themselves with the society of their favorite concubines, wandering amidst groves and airy gardens, that shed around their soft, intoxicating odors and lulled the senses to voluptuous repose. Here, too, they loved to indulge in the luxury of their baths, replenished by streams of crystal water which were conducted through subterraneous silver channels into basins of gold.
Cuzco, by Cieza de Leon, as reported to him by Spaniards who had seen them in their glory. (Cronica, cap. 89.) The niches are still described by modern travellers as to be found in the walls. (Humboldt, Vues des Cordillères, p. 197.)
43“ La ropa de la cama toda era de mantas, y freçadas de lana de Vicuña, que es tan
galada, que entre otras osas precia. das de aquellas Ticrras, se las han traido para la cama del Rey Don Phelipe Segundo." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. 1.
cious gardens were stocked with numerous varieties of plants and flowers that grew without effort in this temperate region of the tropics, while parterres of a more extraordinary kind were planted by their side, glowing with the various forms of vegetable life skilfully imitated in gold and silver! Among them the Indian corn, the most beautiful of American grains, is particularly commemorated, and the curious workmanship is noticed with which the golden ear was half disclosed amidst the broad leaves of silver, and the light tassel of the same material that floated gracefully from its top.“
If this dazzling picture staggers the faith of the reader, he may reflect that the Peruvian mountain teemed with gold ; that the natives understood the art of working the mines, to a considerable extent; that none of the ore, as we shall see hereafter, was converted into coin, and that the whole of it passed into the hands of the sovereign for his own exclusive benefit, whether for purposes of utility or ornament. Certain it is that no fact is better attested by the Conquerors themselves, who had ample means of information, and no motive for misstatement. The Italian poets, in their gorgeous pictures of the gardens of Alcina and Morgana, came nearer the truth than they imagined.
Our surprise, however, may reasonably be excited when we consider that the wealth displayed by the Peruvian princes was only that which each had amassed
44 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 26; lib. 6, cap. 2.-Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 24.-Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 94. -The last writer speaks of a cement, made in part of liquid gold, as used in the royal buildings of Tambo, a valley not far from Yucay! (Ubi supra.) We may excuse the Spaniards for demolishing such edifices,—if they ever met with them.