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FOR I ULY, 1777
The History of America. By William Robertson, D.D. Prin.
cipal of the University of Edinburgh, and Historiographer to bis Majesty for Scotland. 2 Vols. 4to. 21. 28. Cadell, London. Balfour, Edinburgh.
(Continued from Vol. V. Page 410.) Volume the second of this entertaining History contains, like the first, four books; the subjects of which are best enumerated, as before, in the author's table of contents.
в оок V: " History of the conquest of New Spain by Cortes:
BOOK VI. " History of the conquest of Peru, by Pizarro-and of the dissenfions and civil wars of the Spaniards in that country--Origin-progress and effects of these.
во ок VII. " View of inftitutions and manners of Mexicans and Peruviansie Civilized ftates in comparison of other Americans-Recent origin of the Mexicans--Facts which prove their progress in civilization View of their policy in its various branches of their arts-Facts which indicate a small progress in civilization-What opinion should be formed on comparing those contradictory facts-Genius of their religion - Peruvian monarchy more ancient-Its policy founded on religion-Singular effects of this peculiar state of property among the Peruvians-Their public works and artsroads-bridges buildings LOL, VD
-unwarlike spirit-View of other dominions of Spain in America Cinaloa and Sonora --California-Yucatan and Honduras Chili -Tucuman-Kingdom of Tierra Firme New Kingdom of Granada.
VIII. « View of the interior government, commerce, &c. of the Spanish colonies Depopulation of America first effect of their settlements --not the consequence of any fyllem of policy-nor to be imputed to religion-Number of Indians still remaining-Fundamental maxims on which the Spanish system of colonization is founded Condition of different orders of men in their colonies--Chaperones-Creoles-Indians—Ecclefiaitical state and policy-Character of fecular and regular clergy-Small progress of Christianity among the natives-Mines chief object of their attention-Mode of working these-their produceEffects of encouraging this species of industry-Other commodities of Spanish America-First effects of this new commerce on Spain-Why the Spanish colonies have not been as beneficial to the parent-state as those of other nations–Errors in her system of regulating this commerce-confined to one port-carried on by annual fleets-Contraband trade-Decline of Spain both in population and wealthRemedies proposed— View of the wise regulations of the Bourbon
Prince:-A new and more liberal system introduced Beneficiat etfects of this probable consequences — Trade between Mexico and the Phi
lippines-Revenge of 'Spain from America---whence it arises-to what it amounts.”
It has been already observed, that most of the facts contained in the narrative of this important and ever-memorable event, the discovery of the American Hemisphere, have been so often related as to become universally known; and, tho' it be true that Dr. Robertion places many things in a light different from that, in which they have been exhibited by former Historians, the fources of his intelligence, on which he is induced to make the variation, do not always appear to be fufficiently authentic to warrant the change. Not that we impeach the fagacity, le has exerted in the investigation of the truth; but we are apt to inagine that a defire of departing from the common line of narration, in order to give an air of novelty to his work, may have sometiines milled him too far toward the confines of fingularity. -Be this as it may, the reader will be abundantly compensated, for the want of original matter in the narration, by the judicious and instructive rea flections, with which the natural, moral, and political state of the several countries, whose history is related, is displayed and illustrated. Of those we have already given a short specimen * from the conclusion of the fourth book; containing a
philosophical inquiry into the manners and policy of its ancient inhabitants,
In the seventh book we have a funilar view of the institutions and manners of the Mexicans and Peruvians, between which the author draws a parallel, with respect to their reci. procal progress in civilization. His description of the latter will afford our readers a farther agreeable specimen of Dr. Robertson's elegant ftile and manner of writing on such fubjeéts.
"The people of Peru, as I have already observed *, had not advanced beyond the rudest form of savage lite, when Manco Capac, and his confort Mama Vcollo, appeared to instruct and civilize them. Who these extraordinary personages were, whether they imported their system of legiliation and knowiedge of arts from fome country more improved, or, if natives of Peru, how they acquired ideas fo far fuperior to those of the people whom they addrefled, are circumstances with respect to which the Peruvian tradition convey no information. Manco Capac and his confort, taking advantage of the propensity in the Peruvians to superstition, and particularly of their veneration for the Sun, pretended to be the children of that glorious luminary, and to deliver their instructtions in his name and authority. The multitude listened and believed. What reformation in policy and manners the Peruvians ascribe to those founders of their empire, and how, froin the precepts of the Inca and his confort, their ancestors gradually acquired fome knowledge of those arts, and some relish for that industry, which ren. der fubfiftence secure and life comfortable, hath been formerly related. Thole blessings were originally confined within narrow precincts ; for the authority of the firit Inca did not reach many leagues beyond Cuzco. But, in process of time, his fucceffors extended their dominion over all the regions that stretch to the weit of the Andes from Chili to Quito, eitablishing in every province their peculiar policy and religious institutions.
“ The moft fingular and striking circumstance in the Peruvian government, is the influence of religion upon its genius and laws. Religious ideas make such a feeble impression on the mind of a favage, that their effect upon his sentiments and manners are hardly perceptible. Among the Mexicans, religion, reduced into a regular system, and holding a confiderable place in their public inftitutions, operated with conspicuous efficacy in forming the peculiar character of that people. But in Peru, the whole system of civil policy was founded on religion. The Inca appeared not only as a legislator, but as the merfenger of Heaven, His precepts were received not merely as the . injun&tions of a fuperior, but as the mandates of the Deity. His race was held to be facred; and in order to preserve it distinct, without being polluted by any mixture of inferior blood, the sons of Manco Capac married their own sisters, and no person was ever admitted to the throne who could not claim it by such pure descent. To those Children of the Sun, for that was the appellation beltowed upon
* Book vi. p. 163, &c.
all the offspring of the first Inca, the people looked up with the reverence due to beings of a superior order. They were deemed to be under the immediate protection of the deity from whom they iffued, and by him every order of the reigning Inca was fupposed to be dictated.
" From those ideas two consequences resulted. The authority of the Inca was unlimited and absolute, in the most extensive meaning of the words. Whenever the decrees of a prince are considered as the commands of the Divinity, it is not only an act of rebellion, but of impiety, to dispute or oppose his willObedience becomes a duty of religion; and as it would be profane to controul a monarch under the guidance of Heaven, and presumptuous to advise him, nothing remains But to submit with iinplicit respect. This muft neceffarily be the effect of every government established on pretensions of intercourse with fuperior powers. Such accordingly was the blind fubinission which the Peruvians yielded to their fovereigns. The persons of the highest rank and greatest power in their dominions acknowledged them to be of a more exalted nature; and in teftimony of this, when admitted into their presence, they entered with a burden upon their shoulders as an emblem of their servitude, and willingness to bear whatever the Inca was pleased to impose. Among other subjects, force was not requisite to fecond their commands. Every officer entrusted with the execution of them was revered, and according to the account of an intelligent observer of Peruvian manners *, might proceed alone from one extremity of the empire to another, without meeting oppofition; for, on producing a fringe from the royal Borla, an ornament peculiar to the reigning ivca, the lives and fortunes of the people were at his disposal.
“ Another consequence of establishing government in Peru on the foundation of religion, was, that all crimes were punished capitally. They were not conlidered as transgressions of human laws, but as insults offered to the Deity. Each, without any distinction between such as were slight and such as were atrocious, called for vengeance, and could be expiated only by the blood of the offender. Conso. nantly to the same ideas, punishment followed the trespass with inevirable certainty, because an offence again ft Heaven was deemed such an high enormity as could not be pardoned t. Among a people of corrupted morals, maxims of jurisprudence fo severe and unrelenting, by rendering men ferocious and desperate, would be more apt to multiply crimes than to restrain them. But the Peruvians, of timple manners and unsuspicious faith, were held in such awe by this rigid discipline, that the number of offenders were extremely fmall. Venerution for monarchs, enlightened and directed, as they believed, by the divinity whoin they adored, prompted them to their duty; the drcad of punishment, which they were taught to consider as unavidable vengeance inflicted by offended Heaven, withheld them from evil.
* Zarate, lin i. c. 13. † Vega, liv. ij. 1, 6,
" The fyftem of superstition on which the Incas ingrafted their pretensions to such high authority, was of a genius very different froin that established among the Mexicans. Manco Capac turned the veneration of his followers entirely towards natural objects, The Sun, as the great fource of light, of joy, and fertility in the creation, attracted their principal homage. The Moon and Stars, as co-operating with him, were entitled to secondary honours. Wherever the propensity in the human mind to acknowledge and to adore some superior power, takes this direction, and is employed in contemplating the order and beneficence that really exist in nature, the spirit of superstition is mild. Wherever imaginary beings, created by the fancy and the fears of men, are supposed to preside in nature, and become the objects of worship, superstition always affumes a wilder and more atro, cious form. Of the latter we have an example among the Mexicans, of the former among the people of Peru." They had not, indeed, made fuch progress in observation or inquiry, as to have attained juf conceptions of the Deity; nor was there in any language any proper name or appellation of the Supreme Power, which intimated that they had formed any idea of him as the Creator and Governor of the World“. But by directing their veneration to that glorious luminary, which, by its univerfal and vivifying energy, is the best emblem of divine beneficence, the rites and observances which they deemed acceptable to him were innocent and humane. They offered to the Sun a part of those productions which his genial warmth had called forth from the botom of the earth, and reared to maturity. They sacrificed, as an oblation of gratitude, some of the animals who were indebted to his influence for nourishment. They presented to him choice specimens of those works of ingenuity which his light had guided the hand of man in forming. But the Incas never stained his altars with human blood, not could they conceive that their beneficent father the Sun would be delighted with such horrid victims +. Thus the Peruvians, unacquainted with those barbarous rites which extinguish fenfibility, and suppress the feelings of nature at the fight of human sufferings, were formed, by the spirit of the superstition which they had adopted, to a national character more gentle than that of any pegple in America.
" Its influence operated even upon their civil institutions, and tended to correct in them any thing ihat was adverse to gentleness of character. The dominion of the Incas, though the most abfolute of all despotisms, was mitigated by all its alliance with religion. The mind was not humbled and depresied by the idea of a forced subjection to the will of a superior; obedience, paid to one who was believed to be clothed with divine authority, was willingly yielded, and implied no degradation. The fovereign, conscious that the fubmiffive reverence of his people flowed from their belief of his heavenly descent, was continually reminded of a distinction which prompted him to imitate that beneficent power which he was supposed to represent. In confequence of those impressions, there hardly occurs in the tra
* Acosta, lib. v. c. 3.