Page:The Present State of Peru.djvu/419

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365
POLITICAL ECONOMY.

league and a half in extent, commonly terminating in rivers, the obstreperous course of which is scarcely to be perceived from the elevated station where the path is opened. The traveller, when, for the first time, he has to cross one of these tottering bridges, cannot shun the reflection, that it would be still safer to attempt the navigation of Cape Horn. Those who have frequented the roads of Huanuco and Cuzco, will most assuredly assent to this truth.

To lessen these risks and terrors, to improve the roads of the above description, and to open others of a safer and more commodious nature, various projects, more or less extensive and costly, according to the particular views of their authors, have at different times been formed. Not one, however, has as yet been devised, in which the facility of the execution has been combined with the permanence of the necessary works, and the resources made to accord with economy and humanity. The fundamental principles of almost all the projectors who have hazarded their conjectures on this head, have consisted of the forced mita, or service of the Indians, and the augmentation of the duties on certain merchandizes. This mode of viewing things is similar to that which cost the life of the unfortunate Abdoul-Hassan-Benamar, the minister of Muley-Mehemed, king of Morocco. It is related of this courtier, that having been called on by his sovereign, to propose some tolerable mode of filling the royal coffers, he replied, after having meditated the subject for six weeks, that he had fallen on a simple, natural, and mild expedient, to give the state an annual revenue of three millions of piastres. For this purpose, nothing more, he observed, was required, than to levy a new tax of two piastres on each of the subjects, whether

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