Inca: Confessions of Mancio Sierra Lejesama

The true confession of Mancio Sierra Lejesama, one of the first Spanish Conquistadores of Peru, which confession he attached to his will made in the city of Cuzco on the 15th day of September, 1589, before one Geronimo Sanches de Quesada, escribano publico, and which has been preserved to us by Espinosa in his ‘People’s Dictionary,’ art. ‘Indio.’

A lament to the lost theocracy of the Inca.
— Orly

'First of all,' says the dying Lejesama, 'before commencing my will I declare that I have much desired in all submission to acquaint His Catholic Majesty, the King Don Philip our Lord, seeing how Catholic and Christian he is, and how jealous for the service of God our Saviour, of what touches the discharge of my soul for the great part I took in the discovery, conquest, and peopling of these kingdoms, when we took them from those who were their masters, the Incas, who owned and ruled them as their own kingdoms, and put them under the royal crown. And His Catholic Majesty shall understand that the said Incas governed these kingdoms on such wise that in them all there was no thief or vicious person, nor an idle man, nor a bad or an adulterous woman, [if such there had been, be sure the Spaniard would have been the first to find it out,] nor were there allowed among them people of evil lives: men had their honest and profitable occupations, in all that pertained to mountain or mine, to the field, the forest, or the home, as in everything of use all was governed and divided after such sort that each one knew and held to his own without another interfering therewith: nor were lawsuits known among them: the affairs of war, although not few, interfered not with those of traffic, nor yet did these conflict with those of seed-time and harvest, or with other matters whatsoever. All things from the greater to the less had their order, concert, and good management. The Incas were dreaded, obeyed, and respected by their subjects, for the greatness of their capacity and the excellence of their rule. It was the same with the captains and governors of provinces. And as we found command, and strength, and force to rest in these, so had we to deprive them of these by the force of arms to subject them to, and press them into, the service of God our Lord, taking from them not only all command but their means of life also. And by the permission of God our Lord we were able to subject this kingdom of many people, and riches, and lords, making servants of them as now we see. I trust that His Majesty understands the motive which moves me to this relation, that it is for the purging of my conscience by the confession of my guilt. We have destroyed with our evil example people so well governed as these, who were so far from being inclined to wrongdoing or excess of any sort—both men and women—that an Indian with a hundred thousand dollars in gold and silver in his house, would leave it open, or would place a broom, or small stick across the threshold to signify that the owner was not within, and with that, as was their custom, no one would enter, nor take thence a single thing. When they saw us put doors to our houses, and locks on our doors, they understood that we were afraid of them, not that they would kill us, but that perhaps they might steal our things. When they saw that we had thieves among ourselves, and men who incited their wives and daughters to sin, they held us in low esteem. So great is the dissoluteness now among these natives, and their offences against God, owing to the evil example we have set them in all things, that from doing nothing bad they have all—or nearly all—been converted in our day into those who can do nothing good. This touches also His Majesty, who will take care that his conscience has no part in allowing these things to continue. With this I implore God to pardon me, Who has moved me to declare these matters, because I am the last to die of all the discoverers and conquistadores; for it is notorious that now there exists not one other of their number, but I only either in this kingdom or out of it, and with that I rest, having done all I am able for the discharge of my conscience.'

A lament to the lost theocracy of the Inca.  In the world of order, the theocracy of the Inca is universally acknowledged of being particularly severe, but not without its virtues:

I. A significant name, a well-ordered, fixed, and firm government, with hereditary rulers. Only one rebellion occurred in twelve reigns, and only two revolutions are recorded in the whole history of the Inca Empire.

II. The land was religiously cultivated.

III. There was a perfect system of irrigation, and water was made the servant and slave of man.

IV. The land was equally divided periodically between the Deity, the Inca, the nobles, and the people.

V. Strong municipal laws enforced, and an intelligent and vigorous administration carried out these laws, which provided for cleanliness, health, and order.

VI. Idleness was punished as a crime; work abounded for all; and no one could want, much less starve.

VII. No lawsuit could last longer, or its decision be delayed more, than five days.

VIII. Throughout the land the people everywhere were taught such industrial arts as were good and useful, and were also trained by a regular system of bodily exercises for purposes of health, and the defence of the nation.

IX. Every male at a certain age married, and took upon himself the duties of citizenship and the responsibilities of a manly life: he owned his own house and lived in it, and a portion of land fell to him every year, which was enlarged as his family increased.

X. Great public works were every year built which added to the strength and glory of the kingdom.

XI. Deleterious occupations or such as were injurious to health were prohibited.

XII. Gold was used for ornament, sacred vessels of the temple, and the service of the Inca in his palaces. There is a tradition that this precious metal signified in their tongue 'Tears of the Sun.' Whether this be an ancient or a modern tradition no one can tell us. It may be not more than three and a half centuries old.

XIII. A man ravishing a virgin was buried alive.

XIV. A man ravishing a virgin of the Sun, that is, one of the vestal virgins of the Temple, was burnt alive.

XV. It was accounted infamous for a man or woman to wear other people's clothes, or clothes that were in rags.

XVI. Roads and bridges were among the foremost public works which bound the vast country together.

XVII. Public granaries, for the storing of corn in case of emergency, were erected in all parts, and some very out-of-the-way parts of the kingdom.

XVIII. Woollen and cotton manufactures were brought to great perfection. Examples of these remain to this day and will bear comparison with those of our own time.

XIX. A thief suffered the loss of his eyes; and a creature committing the diabolical act of altering a water-course suffered death.

In their great public works - the irrigation systems, the food storage systems, the system of food distribution, and the communication highways - the Inca demonstrated a particularly astute regard to the public welfare.


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