But the system of land tenure is the most important subject under this heading. Among the Rmoahal and Tlavatli, who lived chiefly by hunting and fishing, the question naturally did not arise, though some system of village cultivation was recognized in the Tlavatli days.
It was with the increase of population and civilization in the early Toltec times that land first became worth fighting for. It is not proposed to trace the system or want of system prevalent in the troublous times anterior to the advent of the Golden Age. But the records of that epoch present to the consideration, not only of political economists, but of all who regard the welfare of the race, subject of the utmost interest and importance.
The population, it must be remembered, had been steadily increasing, and under the government of the Adept emperors it had reached the very large figure already quoted; nevertheless poverty and want were things undreamt of in those days, and this social well-being was no doubt partly due to the system of land tenure.
Not only was all the land and its produce regarded as belonging to the emperor, but all the flocks and herds upon it were his as well. The country was divided into different provinces or districts, each province having at its head one of the subsidiary kings or viceroys appointed by the emperor. Each of these viceroys was held responsible for the government and well-being of all the inhabitants under his rule. The tillage of the land, the harvesting of the crops, and the pasturage of the herds lay within his sphere of superintendence as well as the conducting of such agricultural experiments as have been already referred to.
Each viceroy had round him a council of agricultural advisers and coadjutors, who had amongst their other duties to be well versed in astronomy, for it was not a barren science in those days. The occult influences on plant and animal life were then studied and taken advantage of. The power, too, of producing rain at will was not uncommon then, while the effects of a glacial epoch were on more than one occasion partly neutralized in the northern parts of the continent by occult science. The right day for beginning every agricultural operation was of course duly calculated, and the work carried into effect by the officials whose duty it was to supervise every detail. The produce raised in each district or kingdom was as a rule consumed in it, but an exchange of agricultural commodities was sometimes arranged between the rulers.
After a small share had been put aside for the emperor and the central government at the "City of the Golden Gates," the produce of the whole district or kingdom was divided among the inhabitants-the local viceroy and his retinue of officials naturally receiving the larger portions, but the meanest agricultural labourer getting enough to secure him competence and comfort. Any increase in the productive capacity of the land, or in the mineral wealth which it yielded, was divided proportionately amongst all concerned--all, therefore, were interested in making the result of their combined labour as lucrative as possible.
This system worked admirably for a very long period. But as time went on negligence and self-seeking crept in. Those whose duty it was to superintend, threw more and more responsibility on their inferiors in office, and in time it became rare for the rulers to interfere or to interest themselves in any of the operations. This was the beginning of the evil days. The members of the dominant class who had previously given all their time to the state duties began to think about making their own lives more pleasant. The elaboration of luxury was setting in.
There was one cause in particular which produced great discontent amongst the lower classes. The system under which the youth of the nation was drafted into the technical schools has already been referred to. Now it was always one of the superior class whose psychic faculties had been duly cultivated, to whom the duty was assigned of selecting the children so that each one should receive the training, and ultimately be devoted to the occupation, for which he was naturally most fitted. But when those possessed of the clairvoyant vision, by which alone such choice could be made, delegated their duties to inferiors who were wanting in such psychic attributes, the results ensuing were that the children were often thrust into wrong grooves, and those whose capacity and taste lay in one direction often found themselves tied for life to an occupation which they disliked, and in which, therefore, they were rarely successful.
The systems of land tenure which ensued in different parts of the empire on the breaking tip of the great Toltec dynasty were many and various. But it is not necessary to follow them. In the later days of Poseidonis they had, as a rule, given place to the system of individual ownership which we know so well.
Reference has already been made, under the head of "Emigrations," to the system of land tenure which prevailed during that glorious period of Peruvian history when the Incas held sway about 14,000 years ago. A short summary of this may be of interest as demonstrating the source from which its groundwork was doubtless derived, as well as instancing the variations which had been adopted in this somewhat more complicated system.
All title to land was derived in the first instance from the Inca, but half of it was assigned to the cultivators, who of course constituted the great bulk of the population. The other half was divided between the Inca and the priesthood who celebrated the worship of the sun.
Out of the proceeds of his specially allotted lands the Inca had to keep up the army, the roads throughout the whole empire, and all the machinery of government. This was conducted by a special governing class, all more or less closely related to the Inca himself, and representing a civilization and a culture much in advance of the great masses of the population.
The remaining fourth--"the lands of the sun"--provided not only for the priests who conducted the public worship throughout the empire, but for the entire education of the people in schools and colleges, for all sick and infirm persons, and finally, for every inhabitant (exclusive, of course, of the governing class for whom there was no cessation of work) on reaching the age of forty-five, that being the age arranged for the hard work of life to cease, and for leisure and enjoyment to begin.