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mitigate the punishment.8 Blasphemy against the Sun, and malediction of the Inca,- offences, indeed, of the same complexion, -were also punished with death. Removing landmarks, turning the water away from a neighbor's land into one's own, burning a house, were all severely punished. To burn a bridge was death. The Inca allowed no obstacle to those facilities of communication so essential to the maintenance of public order. A rebellious city or province was laid waste, and its inhabitants exterminated. Rebellion against the “Child of the Sun” was the greatest of all crimes.'
The simplicity and severity of the Peruvian code may be thought to infer a state of society but little advanced, which had few of those complex interests and relations that grow up in a civilized community, and which had not proceeded far enough in the science of legislation to economize human suffering by proportioning penalties to crimes. But the Peruvian institutions must be regarded from a different point of view from that in which we study those of other nations. The laws emanated from the sovereign, and that sovereign held a divine commission and was possessed of a divine nature. To violate the law was not only to insult the majesty of the throne, but it was sacrilege. The slightest offence, viewed in this light, merited death ; and the gravest could incur no heavier penalty." Yet in the infliction of their punishments they showed no unnecessary cruelty; and the sufferings of the victim were not prolonged by the ingenious torments so frequent among barbarous nations."
8 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.-Herrera, Hist. general, dec. 5. lib. 4, cap. 3.-Theft was punished less severely if the offender had been really guilty of it to supply the necessities of life. It is a singular circumstance that the Peruvian law made no distinction between fornication and adultery, both being equally punished with death. Yet the law could hardly have been enforced, since prostitutes were assigned, or at least allowed, a residence in the suburbs of the cities. See Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 4, cap. 34.
9 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 23.-"I los traidores entre ellos llamava aucaes, i esta palabra es la mas abiltada de todas quantas pucden decir aun Indio del Pirú, que quiere decir traidor á su Señor." (Conq. i Pob. del Pirú, MS.) " En las rebeliones y alzamientos, se hicieron los castigos tan asperos, que algunas veces asolaron las provincias de todos los varones de edad sin quedar ninguno." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.
These legislative provisions may strike us as very defective, even as compared with those of the semicivilized races of Anahuac, where a gradation of courts, moreover, with the right of appeal, afforded a tolerable security for justice. But in a country like Peru, where few but criminal causes were known, the right of appeal. was of less consequence. The law was simple, its application easy; and, where the judge was honest, the case was as likely to be determined correctly on the first hearing as on the second. The inspection of the board of visitors, and the monthly returns of the tribunals, afforded no slight guarantee for their integrity.
10 “ El castigo era riguroso, que por la mayor parte era de muerte por liviano que fuese el delito; porque decian, que no los castigavan por el delito que avian hecho, ni por la ofensa agena, sino por aver quebrantado el mandamiento, y rompido la palabra del Inca, que lo respetavan como á Dios." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 2,
11 One of the punishments most frequent for minor offences was to carry a stone on the back. A punishment attended with no suffering but what arises from the disgrace attached to it is very justly characterized by McCulloh as a proof of sensibility and refinement. Re searches, p. 361. Peru.- VOL. 1.-0
The law which required a decision within five days would seem little suited to the complex and embarrassing litigation of a modern tribunal. But, in the simple questions submitted to the Peruvian judge, delay would have been useless; and the Spaniards, familiar with the evils growing out of long-protracted suits, where the successful litigant is too often a ruined man, are loud in their encomiums of this swift-handed and economical justice."
The fiscal regulations of the Incas, and the laws respecting property, are the most remarkable features in the Peruvian polity. The whole territory of the empire was divided into three parts, one for the Sun, another for the Inca, and the last for the people. Which of the three was the largest is doubtful. The proportions differed materially in different provinces. The distribut tion, indeed, was made on the same general principle, as each new conquest was added to the monarchy; buthe proportion varied according to the amount of population, and the greater or less amount of land consequently required for the support of the inhabitants. 13
10 The Royal Audience of Peru under Philip II.—there cannot be a higher authority-bears emphatic testimony to the cheap and efficient administration of justice under the Incas: “De suerte que ios vicios eran bien castigados y la gente estaba bien sujeta y obediente; y aunque en las dichas penas havia esceso, redundaba en buen govierno y policia suya, y mediante ella eran aumentados. . . . Porque los Yndios alababan la governacion del Ynga, y aun los Españoles que algo alcanzan de ella, es porque todas las cosas susodichas se des terminaban sin hacerles costas." Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.
w Acosta, lib. 6. cap. 15.-Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 1.-"Si estas partes fuesen iguales, o qual fuese mayor, yo lo he procurado sveriguar, y en unas es diferente de otras, y finalmte yo 14 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.—Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 2.—The portion granted to each new-married couple, according to Garcilasso, was a fanega and a half of land. A similar quantity was added for each male child that was born, and half of the quantity for each female. The fanega was as much land as could be planted with a hundred-weight of Indian corn. In the fruitful soil of Peru, this was a liberal allowance for a family.
The lands assigned to the Sun furnished a revenue to support the temples and maintain the costly ceremonial of the Peruvian worship and the multitudinous priesthood. Those reserved for the Inca went to support the royal state, as well as the numerous members of his household and his kindred, and supplied the various exigencies of government. The remainder of the lands was divided, per capita, in equal shares among the people. It was provided by law, as we shall see hereafter, that every Peruvian should marry at a certain age. When this event took place, the community or district in which he lived furnished him with a dwelling, which, as it was constructed of humble materials, was done at little cost. A lot of land was then assigned to him sufficient for his own maintenance and that of his wife. An additional portion was granted for every child, the amount allowed for a son being the double of that for a daughter. The division of the soil was renewed every year, and the possessions of the tenant were increased or diminished according to the numbers in his family." The same arrangement was observed with reference to the curacas, except only that a domain was assigned to them corresponding with the superior dignity of their stations. 15 tengo entendido que se hacia conforme á la disposicion de la tierra y, á la calidad de los Indios." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.
15 Ibid , Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 3.—It is singular that, while so much
A more thorough and effectual agrarian law than this cannot be imagined. In other countries where such a law has been introduced, its operation, after a time, has given way to the natural order of events, and, under the superior intelligence and thrift of some and the prodigality of others, the usual vicissitudes of fortune have been allowed to take their course and restore things to their natural inequality. Even the iron law of Lycurgus ceased to operate after a time, and melted away before the spirit of luxury and avarice. The nearest approach to the Peruvian constitution was probably in Judea, where, on the recurrence of the great national. jubilee, at the close of every half-century, estates reverted to their original proprietors. There was this important difference in Peru; that not only did the lease, if we may so call it, terminate with the year, but during that period the tenant had no power to alienate or to add to his possessions. The end of the brief term found him in precisely the same condition that he was in at the beginning. Such a state of things might be supposed to be fatal to any thing like attachment to the soil, or to that desire of improving it which is natural to the permanent proprie
is said of the Inca sovereign, so little should be said of the Inca nobility, of their estates, or the tenure by which they held them. Their historian tells us that they had the best of the lands, wherever they resided, besides the interest which they had in those of the Sun and the Inca, as children of the one and kinsmen of the other. He informs us, also, that they were supplied from the royal table when living at court. (lib. 6, cap. 3.) But this is very loose language. The student of history will learn, on the threshold, that he is not to expect precise, or even very consistent, accounts of the institutions of a barbarous age and people from contemporary annalists.