Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

both agricultural and mineral,-in short, of all that constituted the physical resources of the empire.* Furnished with these statistical details, it was easy for the government, after determining the amount of requisitions, to distribute the work among the respective provinces best qualified to execute it. The task of apportioning the labor was assigned to the local authorities, and great care was taken that it should be done in such a manner that, while the most competent hands were selected, the weight should not fall disproportionately on any."

The different provinces of the country furnished persons peculiarly suited to different employments, which, as we shall see hereafter, usually descended from father to son. Thus, one district supplied those most skilled in working the mines, another the most curious workers in metals or in wood, and so on. The artisan was provided by government with the materials; and no one was required to give more than a stipulated portion of his time to the public service. He was then succeeded by another for the like term; and it should be observed that all who were engiged in the employment of the government-and the remark applies equally to agricultural labor-were maintained,

28

1

26 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 2, cap. 14. 37 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.-Sarmiento, Rel., MS., cap. 15.• Presupuesta y entendida la dicha division que el Inga tenia hecha de su gente, y orden que tenia puesta en el govierno de ella, era muy facil haverla en la division y cobranza de los dichos tributos; porque era claro y cierto lo que á cada uno cabia sin que hubiese desigualdad ni engaño." Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.

98 Sarmiento. Relacion, MS., cap. 15. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS.

for the time, at the public expense. By this constant rotation of labor it was intended that no one should be overburdened, and that each man should have time to provide for the demands of his own household. It was impossible--in the judgment of a high Spanish authority—to improve on the system of distribution, so carefully was it accommodated to the condition and comfort of the artisan.30 The security of the workingclasses seems to have been ever kept in view in the regulations of the government; and these were so discreetly arranged that the most wearing and unwholesome labors, as those of the mines, occasioned no detriment to the health of the laborer; a striking contrast to his subsequent condition under the Spanish rule. 31

A part of the agricultural produce and manufactures was transported to Cuzco, to minister to the immediate demands of the Inca and his court. But far the greater part was stored in magazines scattered over the different provinces. These spacious buildings, constructed of stone, were divided between the Sun and the Inca, though the greater share seems to have been appropriated by the monarch. By a wise regulation, any deficiency in the contributions of the Inca might be

Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.—Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 5.

30 “Y tambien se tenia cuenta que el trabajo que pasavan fuese moderado, y con el menos riesgo que fuese posible. Era tanta la orden que tuvieron estos Indios, que a mi parecer aunque mucho se piense en ello seria dificultoso mejorarla conocida su condicion y costumbres." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.

31 "The working of the mines," says the President of the Council of the Indies, was so regulated that no one felt it a hardship, much less was his life shortened by it." (Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 15 ) It is a frank admission for a Spaniard.

supplied from the granaries of the Sun.32 But such a necessity could rarely have happened ; and the providence of the government usually left a large surplus in the royal depositories, which was removed to a third class of magazines, whose design was to supply the people in seasons of scarcity, and, occasionally, to furnish relief to individuals whom sickness or misfor. tune had reduced to poverty ; thus in a manner justifying the assertion of a Castilian document, that a large portion of the revenues of the Inca found its way back again, through one channel or another, into the hands of the people.33 These magazines were found by the Spaniards, on their arrival, stored with all the various products and manufactures of the country,--with maize, coca, quinua, woollen and cotton stuffs of the finest quality, with vases and utensils of gold, silver, and copper, in short, with every article of luxury or use within the compass of Peruvian skill.34 The magazines of grain, in particular, would frequently have sufficed for the consumption of the adjoining district for several years.35 An inventory of the various products of the country, and the quarters whence they were obtained, was every year taken by the royal officers, and recorded by the quipucamayus on their registers, with surprising regularity and precision. These registers were transmitted to the capital and submitted to the Inca, who could thus at a glance, as it were, embrace the whole results of the national industry and see how far they corresponded with the requisitions of the government. 36

32 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 34.- Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.-"E asi esta parte del Inga no hay duda sino que de todas treso era la mayor, y en los depositos se parece bien que yó visité muchos en diferentes partes, é son mayores é mas largos que no los de su religion sin comparasion.” Idem, Rel. Seg., MS.

33 “ Todos los dichos tributos y servicios que el Inga impoma y llevaba como dicho es eran con color y para efecto del govierno y pro comun de todos, asi como lo que se ponia en depositos todo se combertia y distribuia entre los mismos naturales." Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.

34 Acosta, lib. 6. cap. 15.—"No podre decir," says one of the Conquerors, “los depositos. Vide de rropas y de todos generos de rropas y vestidos que en este reino se hacian y vsavan que faltava tiempo para vello y entendimiento para comprender tanta cosa, muchos depositos de barretas de cobre para las minas y de costales y sogas de vasos de palo y platos del oro y plata que aqui se hallo hera cosa despanto, Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS.

Such are some of the most remarkable features of the Peruvian institutions relating to property, as delineated by writers who, however contradictory in the details, have a general conformity of outline. These institutions are certainly so remarkable that it is hardly credible they should ever have been enforced throughout a great empire and for a long period of years. Yet we have the most unequivocal testimony to the fact from the Spaniards, who landed in Peru in time to witness their operation; some of whom, men of high judicial station and character, were commissioned by the government to make investigations into the state of the country under its ancient rulers.

35 For ten years, sometimes, if we may credit Ondegardo, who had every means of knowing: “É ansi cuando nó era menester se estava en los depositos é habia algunas vezes comida de diez años. ... Lo cuales todos se hallaron llenos cuando llegaron los Españoles desto y de todas las cosas necesarias para la vida humana." Rel. Seg., MS. 30 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.--"Por tanta orden

cuenta que seria dificultoso creerlo ni darlo a entender como ellos lo tienen en su cuenta é por registros é por menudo lo manifestaron que se pudiera por estenso." Idem, Rel. Seg., MS. Peru.--VOL. I.

6

The impositions on the Peruvian people seem to have been sufficiently heavy. On them rested the whole burden of maintaining not only their own order, but every other order in the state. The members of the royal house, the great nobles, even the public functionaries, and the numerous body of the priesthood, were all exempt from taxation.37 The whole duty of defraying the expenses of the government belonged to the people. Yet this was not materially different from the condition of things formerly existing in most parts of Europe, where the various privileged classes claimed exemption-not always with success, indeed-from bearing part of the public burdens. The great hardship in the case of the Peruvian was that he could not better his condition. His labors were for others, rather than for himself. However industrious, he could not add a rood to his own possessions, nor advance himself one hair's breadth in the social scale. The great and universal motive to honest industry, that of bettering one's lot, was lost upon him. The great law of human progress was not for him.

As he was born, so he was to die. Even his time he could not properly call his

Without money, with little property of any kind, he paid his taxes in labor. 38 No wonder that the government should have dealt with sloth as a crime. It was a crime against the state, and to be wasteful of time was, in a manner, to rob the exchequer. The Peruvian, laboring all his life for others, might be compared to the convict in a treadmill, going the same dull

own.

37 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5. cap. 15.

38 “Solo el trabajo de las personas era el tributo que se dava, porque ellos no poseian otra cosa." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.

« ZurückWeiter »