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waste which occasionally intervened, where the light and volatile soil was incapable of sustaining a road, huge piles, many of them to be seen at this day, were driven into the ground to indicate the route to the traveller."
All along these highways, caravansaries, or tambos, as they were called, were erected, at the distance of ten or twelve miles from each other, for the accommodation, more particularly, of the Inca and his suite and those who journeyed on the public business. There were few other travellers in Peru. Some of these buildings were on an extensive scale, consisting of a fortress, harracks, and other military works, surrounded by a parapet of stone and covering a large tract of ground. These were evidently destined for the accommodation of the imperial armies when on their march across the country. The care of the great roads was committed to the districts through which they passed, and under the Incas a large number of hands was constantly employed to keep them in repair. This was the more easily done in a country where the mode of travelling was altogether on foot; though the roads are said to have been so nicely constructed that a carriage might have rolled over them as securely as on any of the great roads of Europe. 45 Still, in a region where the elements of fire and water are both actively at work in the business of destruction, they must, without constant supervision, have gradually gone to decay. Such has been their fate under the Spanish conquerors, who took no care to enforce the admirable system for their preservation adopted by the Incas. Yet the broken portions that still survive here and there, like the fragments of the great Roman roads scattered over Europe, bear evidence to their primitive grandeur, and have drawn forth the eulogium from a discriminating traveller, usually not too profuse in his panegyric, that “the roads of the Incas were among the most useful and stupendous works ever executed by
44 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 60.-Relacion del primer Descubrimiento de la Costa y Mar del Sur, MS.—This anonymous document of one of the early Conquerors contains a minute and probably trustworthy account of both the high-roads, which the writer saw in their glory, and which he ranks among the greatest wonders of the world.
45 Relacion del primer Descub., MS.-Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 37.-Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. 11.-Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 13.
The system of communication through their dominions was still further improved by the Peruvian sovereigns by the introduction of posts, in the same manner as was done by the Aztecs. The Peruvian posts, how. ever, established on all the great routes that conducted to the capital, were on a much more extended plan than those in Mexico. All along these routes, small buildings were erected, at the distance of less than five miles asunder,“ in each of which a number of run
46 "Cette chaussée, bordée de grandes pierres de taille, peut étre comparée aux plus belles routes des Romains que j'aie vues en Italie, en France et en Espagne. . . . Le grand chemin de l'Inca, un des ouvrages les plus utiles et en même temps des plus gigantesques que les hommes aient exécuté." Humboldt, Vues des Cordillères, p. 294.
47 The distance between the post-houses is variously stated; most writers not estimating it at more than three-fourths of a league. I have preferred the authority of Ondegardo, who usually writes with more conscientiousness and knowledge of his ground than most of his contemporaries.
ners, or chasquis, as they were called, were stationed to carry forward the despatches of government. 48
These despatches were either verbal, or conveyed by means of quipus, and sometimes accompanied by a thread of the crimson fringe worn round the temples of the Inca, which was regarded with the same implicit deference as the signet-ring of an Oriental despot. 49
The chasquis were diessed in a peculiar livery, inti. mating their profession. They were all trained to the employment, and selected for their speed and fidelity. As the distance each courier had to perform was small, and as he had ample time to refresh himself at the stations, they ran over the ground with great swiftness, and messages were carried through the whole extent of the long routes, at the rate of a hundred and fifty miles a day. The office of the chasquis was not limited to carrying despatches. They frequently brought various articles for the use of the court; and in this way fish from the distant ocean, fruits, game, and different commodities from the hot regions on the coast, were taken to the capital in good condition and served fresh at the royal table.50 It is remarkable that this
48 The term chasqui, according to Montesinos, signifies "one that receives a thing." (Mem. antiguas, MS., cap. 7.) But Garcilasso, a better authority for his own tongue, says it meant"one who makes an exchange." Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. 8.
49 “ Con vn hilo de esta Borla, entregado á uno de aquellos Orejones, governaban la Tierra, i proveian lo que querian con maior obediencia, que en ninguna Provincia del Mundo se ha visto tener á las Provissiones de su Rei." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. 9.
50 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 18.-Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. -If we may trust Montesinos, the royal table was served with fish, taken a hundred leagues from the capital, in twenty-four hours after
important institution should have been known to both the Mexicans and the Peruvians without any correspondence with one another, and that it should have been found among two barbarian nations of the New World long before it was introduced among the civilized nations of Europe. 51
By these wise contrivances of the Incas, the most distant parts of the long-extended empire of Peru were brought into intimate relations with each other. And while the capitals of Christendom, but a few hundred miles apart, remained as far asunder as if seas had rolled between them, the great capitals Cuzco and Quito were placed by the high-roads of the Incas in immediate correspondence. Intelligence from the numerous provinces was transmitted on the wings of the wind to the Peruvian metropolis, the great focus to which all the lines of communication converged. Not an insurrectionary movement could occur, not an invasion on the remotest frontier, before the tidings were conveyed to the capital and the imperial armies were on their march across the magnificent roads of the country to suppress it. So admirable was the machinery contrived by the American despots for maintaining tranquillity throughout their dominions ! It may remind us of the similar institutions of ancient Rome, when, under the Cæsars, she was mistress of half the world.
it was drawn from the ocean! (Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 7.) This is rather too expeditious for anything but railways.
53 The institution of the Peruvian posts seems to have made a great impression on the minds of the Spaniards who first visited the country; and ample notices of it may be found in Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 15,-Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.,-Fernandez, Hist. del Peru, Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 5,–Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS., et auct. plurimis. -The establishment of posts is of old date among the Chinese, and probably still older among the Persians. (See Herodotus, Hist., Urania, sec. 98.) It is singular that an invention designed for the uses of a
government should have received its full application only under a free one. For in it we have the germ of that beautiful system of intercommunication which binds all the nations of Christendom together as one vast commonwealth.
A principal design of the great roads was to serve the purposes of military communication. It formed an important item of their military policy, which is quite as well worth studying as their municipal.
Notwithstanding the pacific professions of the Incas, and the pacific tendency, indeed, of their domestic institutions, they were constantly at war. It was by war that their paltry territory had been gradually enlarged to a powerful empire. When this was achieved, the capital, safe in its central position, was no longer shaken by these military movements, and the country enjoyed, in a great degree, the blessings of tranquillity and order. But, however tranquil at heart, there is not a reign upon record in which the nation was not engaged in war against the barbarous nations on the frontier. Religion furnished a plausible pretext for incessant aggression, and disguised' the lust of conquest in the Incas, probably, from their own eyes, as well as from those of their subjects. Like the followers of Mahomet, bearing the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, the Incas of Peru offered no alternative but the worship of the Sun or war.
It is true, their fanaticism-or their policy-showed itself in a milder form than was found in the descendants of the Prophet. Like the great luminary which