Page:The Present State of Peru.djvu/118

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of men, was, however, the utmost effort of their architecture; and was admirable for a nation destitute of all knowledge of the mathematical science.

It has been observed by the celebrated Linnæus, that in all uncultivated and savage countries, the rivers are wider and more extensive, in proportion to the mass of their waters, than in the regions inhabited by civilized nations. The justness of this observation is demonstrated in Peru, where it is continually necessary to cross rivulets and torrents, which embarras, in a very extraordinary degree, the intercourse and communication, in a country where there are few bridges to facilitate the transport of merchandize. Those which the native inhabitants needed, were formed without arches, of the construction of which they were ignorant. The rafts and bridges of cord supply, however, in a certain degree, this deficiency, which could not be felt by a nation whose sole necessity was that of conveying its tribute to Cuzco.

The above-mentioned causes, united to the vices inherent in the soil, have prevented in Peru the progress of agriculture, it having been recognized from the commencement, that in proportion as she has been favoured by the production of metals of every description, she has, on that very account, been condemned to an ungrateful sterility, relatively to the other gifts of Nature. The history of the Yncas contains the following observation: "There are but few good lands in Peru: in the territory surrounding Callao, for an extent of more than a hundred and fifty leagues in circumference, the maize docs not spring up, on account of the excessive cold. In the vailies, the scarcity of water is an insurmountable obstacle to vegetation; and there are, besides, more than seven hundred leagues of a parched and arid coast, where it never rains, and