Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/61

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lived according to natural laws of justice, witliout any ceremonies or worship. The chiefs, in these provinces, settled disputes in person, and there were no other judges or officers, except those who apprehended prisoners. Their manner of judging was this:—The parties appeared, and each stated the facts of the case. Then, without evidence from witnesses, and holding it for certain that the parties would speak the truth (for he who lied to a chief was put to death), the suit was determined, and there was no further dispute respecting it. In these provinces the chiefs received no rent nor tribute from their subjects, except personal service; but whenever a chief wished to build a house, sow a crop, procure fish, or wage war, every one had to assist without receiving any reward beyond food and drink, and thus they neither exacted anything from their people, nor did they want for anything. They were feared and loved, and the gold they possessed was either obtained by barter, or dug out of mines by the Indians. They had laws and regulations by which he who killed another, or committed robbery, was put to death. No other offences were committed by these people. They married one wife, and they held a festival on the day of the wedding. All the relations assembled, among whom were the principal people in the country; there was much drinking, and the parents took the woman and delivered her to the chief, or to him who was to be her husband. The sons of this woman were those who inherited the lordship or house. The chiefs took many other women without this ceremony, who lived with the principal wife, and she in no way treated them ill or became jealous of them, but ruled over them, and they obeyed her as their mistress. The sons of these other women were looked upon as bastards, and inherited no share of their father's property, like the sons of the principal wife; but those who inherited the house, looked upon the others and maintained them as sons of the house. These women had to