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learned the science of the quipus, which at the same time covered the field of mathematics and supplied the place of written records. Historical traditions were transmitted orally, supplemented by the data recorded by means of the quipus. By this method a considerable degree of accuracy could be preserved in a tale passed down through many generations. The use of the quipu would seem capable of indefinite extension and elaboration, for threads of different colors and lengths knotted and combined in various ways would possess as great capacity for expressing ideas as arbitrary characters marked on paper. The use of them appears less convenient, but it is evident that the possibilities of communication by means of them are unlimited. The number of primary threads for characters could be multiplied indefinitely and moulded to use in the same manner as letters are now used. It seems, however, that the Peruvians had not developed the system to this extent, but used the threads as symbols of things and to a limited extent of abstract ideas.
The education of the lower orders was not wholly neglected. Those engaged in agriculture were instructed in the cultivation of such products as were adapted to the lands to which they were assigned. The varieties of climate due to difference in altitude, ranging from tropical heat along the sea coast to perpetual snow on the mountain tops, afforded a great diversity of products in neighboring districts. Bananas, manioc and other tropical products on the hot lands, Indian corn, maguey, cuca, etc., a little higher up, potatoes and quinoa, a grain resembling rice, in the cool mountain regions, and still higher pasture lands for the llamas, wild sheep and other wild animals. All the animals, wild as well as domesticated, belonged to the Inca. At the annual great hunts there was a general muster of the people of the district to round up all within the hunted territory. Beasts of prey were killed, but discrimination was used, and only the male deer and the inferior sort of sheep were killed for food. The rest of the sheep were sheared and turned loose again. Of all the people on the American continent the Peruvians alone kept don.estic animals, and they only llamas, alapacas and other animals of the sheep kind. The llamas were used as pack carriers. In tilling the soil the natives had no assistance from draft animals. All was done with human strength. The value of manures was well understood, and extensive use was made of the guano deposits on the islands near the coast. Vast labor was expended in terracing the steep mountain sides and for the purposes of irrigation, aqueducts, which would do credit to any country, were constructed of closely fitted and cemented stone. One traversing the district of Condesuyu extended over four hundred miles. In the execution of these works the usual engineering difficulties were met and successfully overcome, rivers were bridged, mountains tunneled and the waters of the lakes and reservoirs in the highlands stored and distributed along the slopes where moisture was most needed. In spots where there was lack of rainfall and no means of irrigation, pits were dug to a considerable depth to take advantage of the moisture from below, and by rich manuring crops were raised in these cellar like gardens. While the implements of agriculture were of the most primitive kind, and no aid was obtained from draft animals or machinery, the results were satisfactory and Peru was preeminently a land of plenty. These results flowed from the governmental policy and as a result of the education and direction imparted by the orders of the Inca. The comparatively small numbers engaged in mechanical arts were also instructed in their callings and, while the use of iron was unknown, skillful use was made of gold, silver, copper, and tin. Tools nearly equalling steel in hardness were made of copper alloyed with tin. The art of weaving was well advanced, though by primitive methods. In cutting and moving granite and other hard stones they were well skilled. By what process the immense blocks, containing hundreds and even thousands of cubic feet each, were taken from their beds in the quarries, moved long distances and placed in the temples and palaces is unexplained.
Their architecture is said to be wanting in grandure and finish. They constructed no high buildings. Those even of greatest pretensions rarely had a second story. The walls were massive but without openings other than doors, and the roofs were often thatched. This may not be due altogether to a want of boldness of conception, for the frequency of earthquakes rendered this style best adapted to safety and permanence. In bridging streams and chasms they exhibited both ingenuity and skill. Suspension bridges two hundred feet or more in length were found by the Spaniards and continued in serviceable condition for many years. They were supported by ropes stretched between stone buttresses. Though the products of Peru were sufficiently diverse to afford a basis for much internal commerce, and though gold and silver in great abundance were produced and used in ornamenting the temples and making vessels and implements for use and ornament for the Inca, no such thing as money or any substitute for it was known. Fairs held three times a month in suitable places afforded at the same time a holiday and opportunity for exchanging products by direct barter.
Ancient Peru presents an instance of a thoroughly organized state, standing alone on a continent filled with scattered tribes of savages, but built from material similar to the chaotic mass filling the balance of the land. Its policy was clearly defined and steadily and successfully carried out. It brought order out of chaos. It waged war on its borders, that the area of internal peace might be enlarged. It exacted industry and gave security and plenty in return. It enforced morality and exacted strict obedience to authority and observance of the forms of a religion exceptionally free from gross superstitions and elevated in tone for a people so environed. No other known government ever succeeded so entirely in ordering the private affairs and daily life of its people, and no other dynasty labored so persistently to guard the people from want. Without any aid by suggestion from other growing civilizations, it evolved a system based on fundamental ideas so clear, strong and well enforced as to challenge the wonder and admiration of all.
It has been a source of wonder to some that the wants of the masses could be so well supplied when the burden rested on the toilers, not only of cultivating their own lands and supplying their own needs, but also of tilling the lands of the Inca and the Sun as well, besides building and maintaining all public works and performing military service. We have no exact data showing the numbers of the nobility, priesthood and inferior officials or of the common people. Probably the ratio of privileged classes to the whole population was somewhat higher than in most of the more advanced nations of modern times. But the ratio of the whole number of officials, priests and soldiers to the total population was much less than in the military states of Europe. Another element of great importance, which seems to be overlooked, is the entire absence in Peru of those classes who live in luxury from rents of land, interest on money and other forms of income from property. In all modern states these constitute the most favored portion of the people, and the cost of their maintenance is greatest. As they render no service in return for their incomes, whatever they consume is a net loss to the producers. Still another and more numerous, though perhaps less costly class, found in all the most advanced modern nations, is the idle poor, who are either unable or unwilling to find employment. The Inca found useful employment for all. The judges administered the law and paid advocates were unknown.
The system of government was so thorough that there was no room for a complicated code of laws. Each was required to do his appointed share of labor and given his due return. His assurance against want in times of misfortune lay in the public storehouses and the law which required his neighbors to till his field, when he was unable to do so.
There were no deeds, mortgages, leases or other contracts relating to land, for each had the use but not the ownership of the soil. There were no notes or other obligations for money, for there was no money. There were no slaves nor contracts of hire. All served the Inca and helped each other. There were no taxes to be raised from a sale of crops. The produce of the Inca's lands, mines and flocks supported the government and the lands of the Sun, the priesthood. Neither the tax gatherer, the usurer nor the landlord ever came to seize and sell the newly ripened harvest. The government was never a debtor, nor yet wanted means to arm and equip soldiers, build palaces, temples, roads, bridges and other public works.