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were children of their great god the fun, and fent by him to fpread his worship and his laws among them. Nothing could have a greater influence upon an ignorant and credulous people, than such a doctrine. The fanctity of the Inca family was fo deeply rooted in the hearts of the Peruvians, that no perfon of that family was thought capable of committing a crime. Such blind veneration for a family, makes it probable, that the government of Peru under the Incas had not fubfifted many years; for a government founded upon deceit and fuperftition, cannot long continue its authority. However that be, fuch belief of the origin of the Incas, is evidence of great virtue and moderation in that family; for any grofs act of tyranny or injustice, would have opened the eyes of the people to see their error. Moderation in the fovereign, and in the subjects obedience without reserve, cannot fail to produce a government mild and gentle; which was verified in that of Peru, fo mild and gentle, that to manure 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 great 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 seems 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 conquests in order to civilize their neighbours; and as


they feldom if ever tranfgreffed the bounds of morality, no other art was necessary to preferve the government entire, but to 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 seems to have been supported by arms; that of Peru by religion.

The kings of Peru were hereditary and abfolute: those 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 contrary, we find not in history any government so well contrived for the good of the people.. An Agrarian law, firmly rooted, prevented that great inequality of rank and riches which lead to luxury, and diffolution of manners: a commonwealth was naturally the refult of fuch a conftitution; and probably would have taken place, had it not been for a government no lefs fuitable, and ftill more mild, viz. a theocracy 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 necessary for fupporting the o

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



pinion of his divinity. Upon the whole, comprehending king and fubject, there perhaps never existed more virtue in any government, whether monarchical or republican.

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

With respect to the progress of arts and manufactures, the two nations differed widely: in Mexico, arts and manufactures were carried to a surprising 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 himself. As the world goes at present, fuch numbers are employ'd upon our multiplied wants, that not above one of a hundred can be spared 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 fpared for war: and hence the numerous armies we read of in the history 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 a falfe religious principle, was their only fuperftition; and that fuperftition contributed greatly to improve their morals and their manners on the other hand, the religion of Mexico was abominable.

Upon the whole, there never was a country deftitute of iron, where arts seem to have been carried higher than in Mexico; and,




bating their religion, there never was a country deftitute of writing, where government seems 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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Morality, theology, and the art of reasoning, are three great branches of a learned education; and are jufly held to be fo, because they are our only fure guides in passing through the intricate paths of life. They are indeed not effential to thofe termed men of the world: the most profound philofopher makes but an infipid figure in fashionable company; would be fomewhat ridiculous at a court-ball; and an abfolute abfurdity among the gamefters at Arthur's, or jockeys at Newmarket.

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