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and was lavished in the payment of large armies raised amongst her own subjects, or in subsidising the governments and the unruly adventurers of other countries. We have already remarked that no portion of the vast sums annually flowing into the country was devoted to the promotion of the industrial arts, or to the improved cultivation of the soil, from which most other nations have derived such important benefits. Still less can we discover any efforts made by the Spanish people to develop the vast resources of the soil of their newly acquired possessions in Mexico. Their efforts appear to have been exclusively directed to the work of extracting from the coerced labour of the population the greatest amount of the gold and silver so abundantly yielded by the soil. Yet we have seen, from the experience of the comparatively few years which have elapsed since Mexico rose to the dignity of an independent empire, even amidst the internal discord with which she has been afflicted, how vast those resources are by nature, and how abundantly they would, from their first discovery, have increased under the rule of a wise and paternal government, even in their early condition as colonies. The only sensible use which Spain made of her abundant treasures was in the extension of mercantile adventure and foreign commerce. She had previously gained a footing both in the East and the West Indies. But the genius of her people was not commercial; and they failed as colonisers. We have already stated that she was shortly ousted from these valuable possessions by the more enterprising Portuguese, and the commercial genius and naval prowess of the English and Dutch. Her maritime power, in fact, may be said to have commenced its declination contemporaneously with her possession of her Peruvian treasures.
We are not to assume, however, that more than a limited portion of the mineral treasures of Spain was used as coin. A non-commercial nation requires but a very limited monetary circulation. The commencement of the sixteenth century was a period marked by great religious, or, perhaps, we ought rather to say, superstitious fervour. The passion for
splendour of religious ceremonials was strong in the Spanish people; and the Romish Church was never known to discourage the offerings of "the faithful," when her grandeur and power could be promoted by them. Vast sums were lavished upon religious edifices, and upon their adornments. The presentation to the church of a cross of gold, or a slirine fabricated out of the precious metals, sufficed to wipe out many a dark sin, or to obtain the church's aid to many an unholy adventure. By these and similar means vast amounts of the precious metals were locked up, and rendered as useless to mankind as if they had still remained in their original locations. Sufficient quantities, however, we have seen, were thrown into circulation in the form, or as the basis, of money, to stimulate the commerce and industry of the trading and manufacturing communities of other countries, and to enable them ultimately, by the ordinary profits of commerce and of usury, to absorb the bulk of the treasures which Spain and other producers of the precious metals permitted to pass through their hands with scarcely an attempt at increase or accumulation.
We come now to a more minute examination of the circumstances attendant upon the conquest of Peru by its first discoverer, Francisco Pizarro. It has been previously stated that, on the landing of the Spaniards, they found considerable stores of the precious metals existing in the country, the accumulations of previous mining operations. No portion, however, of these was in the form of money, or coined. The bulk was contained in the palaces of the Incas and superior nobility, who were descended from the same original stock, reputed by the Peruvian people to be divine; and in the temples dedicated to the sun, which was worshipped as a divinity; and a large portion was worn in various shapes as personal ornaments. Mr Prescott, in his History of the Conquest of Peru, gives us the following description of the temple at Cuzco :
"The most renowned of the Peruvian
temples, the pride of the capital and the wonder of the empire, was at Cuzco, where, under the munificence of successive sovereigns, it had become so enriched
that it received the name of Coricancha, or the Place of gold.' It consisted of a principal building and several chapels and inferior edifices, covering a large extent of ground in the heart of the city, and completely encompassed by a wall, which, with the edifices, was all constructed of stone. The work was of the kind already described in the other publie buildings of the country, and was so finely executed that a Spaniard, who saw it in its glory, assures us he could call to mind only two edifices in Spain which, for their workmanship, were at all to be compared with it. Yet this substantial, and, in some respects, magnificent structure, was thatched with straw!
"The interior of the temple was the most worthy of admiration. It was literally a mine of gold. On the western wall was emblazoned a representation of the Deity, consisting of a human countenance looking forth from amidst innumerable rays of light, which emanated from it in every direction, in the same manner as the sun is often personified with us. The figure was engraved on a massive plate of gold, of enormous dimensions, thickly powdered with emeralds and precious stones. It was so situated in front of the great eastern portal that the rays of the morning sun fell directly upon it at its rising, lighting up the whole apart ment with an effulgence that seemed more than natural, and which was reflected back
from the golden ornaments with which the walls and ceiling were everywhere encrusted. Gold, in the figurative language of the people, was the tears wept by the sun'; and every part of the interior of the temple glowed with burnished plates and studs of the precious metal. The cornices which surrounded the walls of the sanctuary were of the same costly material; and a broad belt or frieze of gold, let into the stone-work, encompassed
the whole exterior of the edifice.
"Adjoining the principal structure were several chapels of smaller dimensions. One of them was consecrated to the moon, the deity next held in reverence as the mother of the Incas. Her effigy was delineated in the same manner as that of the sun, on a vast plate that nearly covered one side of the apartment. But this plate, as well as all the decorations of the building, was of silver, as suited to the pale silvery light of the beautiful planet. There were three other chapels, one of which was dedicated to the host of stars, who formed the bright court of the sister of the sun; another was consecrated to his dread ministers of vengeance, the Thunder and the Lightning; and a third to the Rainbow, whose
many-coloured arch spanned the walls of the edifice with hues almost as radiant as its own. There were, besides, several other buildings, or insulated apartments, for the accommodation of the numerous priests who officiated in the services of the temple.
"All the plate, the ornaments, the utensils of every description appropriated to the uses of religion, were of gold or silver. Twelve immense vases of the latter metal stood on the floor of the great saloon, filled with grain of the Indian corn; the censers for the perfumes, the ewers which held the water for sacrifice, the pipes which conducted it through subterraneous channels into the buildings, the reservoir that received it, even the agricultural implements used in the gardens of the temple, were all of the same rich materials. The gardens, like those described belonging to the royal palaces, sparkled with gold and silver, and various imitations of the vegetable kingdom. Animals also were to be found there-among which the llama with its golden fleece-executed in the same style, and with a degree of skill which, in this instance, probably did not surpass the excellence of the material."
It was not, however, for some years after their first entrance into the country, or until they had acquired increased numbers and power from Spain, that the conquerors dared to outrage the national feeling by the sacrilegious appropriation of this vast mass of mineral wealth. When at length they did so, it was found that many of the costly articles had been buried by the natives, or thrown into the waters of the rivers and the lakes. "Such things as were in their nature portable were speedily removed to gratify the cravings of the conquerors, who even tore away the solid cornices and frieze of gold from the great temple, filling up the vacant places with the cheaper, but-since it affords no temptation to extravagance-more durable, material of plaster. It is computed that, besides the great temple at Cuzco, there were from three to four hundred inferior temples and religious houses in the Peruvian capital and its environs, besides many splendid temples and religious houses scattered over the provinces."
It was not for some years after the conquest of this wealthy land that much of its gold and silver stores found their way to Spain; and even
then it is most probable that the amount was limited to the Spanish monarch's share in the ransom exacted from the unfortunate Inca, Atahualpa, and the sack of Cuzco, added to the savings conveyed home by such fortunate adventurers as from time to time returned to Europe, satisfied with their accumulations, and anxious to exchange the discomforts and toil of the newly acquired country for the comparative ease and dignity which the possession of the precious metals enabled them to enjoy. Ample stores, however, of those metals, already won from the earth, were left behind to feed the rapacity of even a race of Spanish adventurers for years to come. To assist us in forming an idea of the extent of the stores left for future adventurers to appropriate, we may here advert to a singular practice which existed amongst the Incas and the Peruvian princes. The palaces of the latter almost vied with those of the Inca himself in magnificence and costly adornment; yet we learn that
"The wealth displayed by the Peruvian princes was only that which each had amassed individually for himself. He owed nothing to inheritance from his predecessors. On the decease of an Inca, his palaces were abandoned; all his treasures, except what were employed in his obsequies, his furniture and apparel, were suffered to remain as he had left them, and his numerous mansions were closed up for ever. The reason of this was the popular belief that the soul of the departed monarch would return after a while to reanimate his body on earth; and they wished that he should find everything to which he had been used in life prepared for his reception.
"When an Inca died, or, to use his own language, was called to the mansions of his father, the Sun, his obsequies were celebrated with great pomp and solemnity. The bowels were taken from the body and deposited in the temple of Tampu, about five leagues from the capital. A quantity of his plate and jewels was buried with them. A number of his attendants and favourite concubines, amounting, it is said, sometimes to a thousand, were immolated on his tomb. The body of the deceased Inca was skilfully embalmed and removed to
* History of the Conquest
the Great Temple of the Sun at Cuzco. There the Peruvian sovereign, on entering the awful sanctuary, might behold the effigies of his royal ancestors ranged in opposite files; the men on the right, luminary which blazed in refulgent gold and their queens on the left, of the great clothed in princely attire, which they on the walls of the temple. The bodies, had been accustomed to wear, were placed on chairs of gold with their heads inclined downward; their hands placidly crossed over their bosoms; their countenances exhibiting their natural dusky hue, less liable to change than the fresher colouring of a European complexion-and their hair of raven black, or silvered over with age, according to ed like a company of solemn worshippers the period at which they died. It seemand lineaments to life. The Peruvians fixed in devotion, so true were the forms the miserable attempt to perpetuate the were as successful as the Egyptians in lineaments of the body beyond the limits assigned to it by nature."*
These venerated effigies were removed by the natives before the capital was sacked by the Spaniards; and it is also said that most of the treasures contained in the royal palaces were removed and secreted from the clutch of the invaders, and an amount of gold and silver thus secured very far above that which they succeeded in appropriating.
the reign of the Emperor Charles the For a long series of years, during Fifth, Peru was comparatively worthless as a possession to Spain, and under successive members of the Pizarro family might be said almost to have thrown off all allegiance to the Spanish crown. period a great social change had been During this created in the new country by the use, for the first time there, of gold and silver as money. The treasures into ingots of a uniform standard, seized by the adventurers were melted six thousand pesos d'oro (about which were divided amongst them£4000 sterling) being the share of each cavalry soldier, and half that amount that of the infantry. The sudden influx of so much wealth, it is said, in so transferable a form, among a party of reckless adventurers, little accustomed to the possession of money,
of Peru, vol. i. pp. 30, 31.
had its natural effect. It supplied them with the means of gaming, so strong and common a passion with the Spaniards that it may be considered a national vice. Fortunes were won, and lost and won, in a single day, sufficient to render the proprietors independent for life; and many a desperate gamester, by an unlucky throw of the dice or turn of the cards, saw himself stripped in a few hours of the fruits of toil, and obliged to begin over again the business of rapine. Among these one in the cavalry service is mentioned, named Leginzand, who had received as his booty the image of the sun raised on a plate of burnished gold, spread over the walls in a recess of the great temple, and which, for some reason or other, perhaps because of its superior fineness, was not recast like the other ornaments. This rich prize the spendthrift lost in a single night; whence it became to be a proverb in Spain"Juega el Sol antes que amanezca "Play away the sun before sunrise."
The historian informs us that
"The effect of such a surfeit of the precious metals was instantly felt on prices. The most ordinary articles were only to be had for exorbitant sums. A quire of paper sold for ten pesos d'oro, the commercial value of the precious metals represented by the term pesos d'oro being three dollars and 7 cents present currency, or about 13s. A bottle of wine sold for sixty; a sword for forty or fifty; a cloak for a hundred, sometimes more; a pair of shoes cost thirty or forty pesos d'oro; and a good horse could not be had for less than twenty-five hundred. Some brought a still higher price. Every article rose in value, as gold and silver, the representatives of all, declined. Gold and silver, in short, seemed to be the only things in Cuzco that were not wealth."
The title to property was secured, and able and upright judges were appointed, who laboured diligently with their chief to correct the mischief caused by the misrule of their predecessors. The career of Gasca is a somewhat remarkable one; it is recorded of him that
"By a calm appeal to reason he wrought a change in the hearts of the blood to a single loyal subject, he suppeople; and, without costing a drop of pressed a rebellion which had menaced Spain with the loss of the wealthiest of her provinces. He had punished the guilty, and in their spoils found the means to recompense the faithful. He had, moreover, so well husbanded the resources of the country, that he was enabled to pay off the large loan which he colony for the expenses of the war, exhad negotiated with the merchants of the ceeding nine hundred thousand pesos d'oro. Nay, more; by his economy he had saved a million and a half of ducats for the government, which for some years had received nothing from Peru; and he now proposed to carry home this acceptable treasure to swell the royal coffers. All this had been accomplished without the cost of outfit, or salary, or any charge to the crown, except that of his own frugal expenditure.
"Gasca was most graciously received on his return by his sovereign, Charles the Fifth, to whom the treasure which he brought, and the trustworthy account of the value of his new possession, were most acceptable, at a time when the exchequer of Spain was in a state of the greatest poverty, caused by the expensive European struggles in which he had been engaged. Previously, however, to the mission of Pedro de la Gasca, the greed of the early discoverers of the country had laid the foundation of vast future accessions to the monetary resources of the world. Gonzalo Pizarro had possessed himself of the silver hills of Potosi, which, however, were not worked effectually until some years after their first acquisition. Under the superintendence of Cabajal, a faithful friend and companion of Gonzalo, a vein of extraordinary richness was opened, which soon enabled him to send large remittances to Lima; and it is recorded by the Spanish historian, Tarate, that the effect was such, accord
The influx of the precious metals of Peru into Spain was not fully developed, and did not become of a regular character, until the mission of the licentiate, Pedro de la Gasca, had been successful in overthrowing the power of the Pizarros, and introducing ing order and regular laws into the country. By the wise measures of the same agent of the Spanish monarch, the condition of the native population was materially improved.
to Garcilasso, that in ten years from quarter came to be worth nearly its this period an iron horse-shoe in that weight in silver, whilst the tide of wealth which flowed in from the mines supplied Pizarro with the resources of a European monarch. Previously to this period,
however, the visit of Hermando Pizarro to his native land, and his appearance at court with gold to the amount of half a million of pesos, much of it in the form of those beautiful manufactures of the pre
cious metals for which the Indians of Peru were so celebrated, and the arrival with him of a number of private adventurers, laden with wealth, had excited in Spain a perfect rage for emigration.
"The conquest of Mexico, though calling forth general admiration, as a brilliant and wonderful exploit, had as yet failed to produce those golden results which had been so fondly anticipated. The splendid promises held out by Francis Pizarro, on his recent visit to the country, had not revived the confidence of his countrymen,
made incredulous by repeated disappoint
ment. All that they were assured of was the difficulties of the enterprise; and their distrust of its results was sufficiently shown by the small number of followers, and those only of the most desperate stamp, who were willing to take their
chance in the adventure.
"But now these promises were realised. It was no longer the golden reports that they were to trust, but the gold itself, which was displayed in such profusion before them. All eyes were now turned towards the West. The broken spendthrift saw in it the quarter where he was to repair his fortunes as speedily as he had ruined them. The merchant, instead of seeking the precious commodities of the East, looked in the opposite direction, and counted on far higher gains, where the most common articles of life commanded so exorbitant prices. The cavalier, eager to win both gold and glory at the point of his lance, thought to find a fair field for his prowess on the mountain plains of the Andes." *
As has been the case with respect to nearly all the conquests of the Spanish people, in their avidity for sudden gain-for the possession of gold and silver-they neglected, and in fact wantonly destroyed, sources of wealth and of future commercial greatness, almost incalculable in extent. We may instance their treatment of the vast flocks of llamas which they found spread over every portion of the country on their arrival, the wool of which furnished the material for cloths of exquisite manufacture and dyes, equal indeed in beauty to the finest productions of the East. These ani
mals were appropriated exclusively to the Sun and the Inca; and the utmost care was manifested in their rearing, and to promote their increase. They were scattered over the different provinces, chiefly in the colder regions of the country, where they were intrusted to the care of experienced shepherds, who conducted them to different pastures, according to the change of season. A few only were slaughtered for the consumption of the court, and for religious festivals, and then only the males. They were sheared at the appointed period, the wool deposited in the public magazines, whence it was dealt out to families in quantities apportioned to their wants, and spun and woven by the female portion of each household. By the Spaniards these valuable animals were slaughtered with such recklessness, as a Spanish writer, Oudezardo, the governor of Cuzco, informs us, that "in four years, more of these animals perished than in four hundred in the times of the Incas. The flocks, once so numerous over the broad table-lands, were now sought shelter in the fastnesses of the thinned to a scanty number, that Andes. The poor Indian, without food, without the warm fleece which furnished him a defence against the cold, now wandered half starved and naked over the plateau."
It is truly painful to contemplate the serious change for the worse which took place amongst the Peruvian population, whilst they were subjected to the arbitrary sway of Fran
cisco Pizarro and his successors. The rule of the Incas was upon the whole a mild and patriarchal one. Although their subjects were not permitted opportunities of rising much above their original position in the social fabric, and were virtually not free agents, being compelled to work for the monarchs and the superior nobility, yet the tasks allotted them were within their strength to perform, and were gone through with alacrity and cheerfulness. Poverty was unknown in the country; and if the natives could not become individually rich, neither were any permitted to want. The arts of civilisation had obviously been long
* History of Peru, vol. ii. 26, 27.