The Library of History

Page 75

Page 75 provide against them, and always prepare something or other that may be of advantage to them in such cases.

And if any of the Philosophers prove afterwards to be mistaken in his Prognostication, he undergoes no other Punishment, save only that he is evil spoken of, and is to be silent ever after while he lives.

The Second Rank or Tribe is of the Husbandmen; These are more in number than any of the rest: These likewise are free from the Militia, and all publick Offices, and spend all their time and care about Tilling and Improving the Lands.

No Enemy ever does them any Prejudice; but out of a due regard to the common good, forbear to injure them in the least degree; and therefore the Land being never spoil'd nor wasted, yields its Fruits in great Abundance, and furnishes the Inhabitants with plenty of Victuals and all other Provision. The Husbandmen live in the Fields with their Wives and Children, and never meddle with the concerns of the Cities. They pay the King his Tribute out of the Fruits of the Ground: For all the Land of India belongs to the King, and no private Man has any Land of his own. Besides the Tribute, the Fourth part of the Fruits are paid to the King.

The Third Tribe comprehended the Herdsmen and Shepherds, and all sorts of feeders of Cattel; and these neither liv'd in the Cities nor Villages, but in Tents, and by Hunting clear'd the Land both of wild Beasts and hurtful Birds; and by this Exercise all India was freed from Ravenous Creatures which abounded in the Country, both Birds and wild Beasts of all sorts, that eat up and devour'd the Seed and Fruits of the Husbandman.

The Fourth Classis and Order of Men amongst them was made up of the Mechanicks, some of whom were imploy'd in making of Arms, and others of Tools for Tillage and Husbandry, and other serviceable Utensils. This Order is not only free from all Taxes and Impositions, but is allow'd a yearly proportion of Corn out of the King's Granaries.

The Fifth is the Militia (the Second for number) who in Times of Peace live idle lives, and give themselves up wholly to their pleasures. All the Souldiers with the War-Horses and Elephants are kept and maintain'd out of the King's Treasury.

The Sixth Tribe are the Ephori, who are the Inquisitors, and have a diligent and observant Eye upon every thing that is done throughout all India, and upon any discovery inform the King of what the know; and when there's no King, the Princes and principal Ministers of state.

In the Seventh Rank are reckon'd the Senators, such as have Place in the great and General Councils: These are the fewest in number, but of greatest Dignity for their Birth, and highest esteem for their Wisdom and Prudence. Out of these are chosen the King's Privy-Council, Governors of Provinces, Judges, Generals of Armies in Times of War, and other Principal Officers.

These are the parts into which almost all India is divided.

It is not lawful for any to marry out of the Tribe to which he belongs, nor to exercise any other Trade or Calling than that wherein he has been bred up, as for a Souldier to imploy himself in Husbandry or for an Artificer to turn Philosopher.

India breeds the largest, most couragious and strongest Elephants of any other Place. This Creature does not couple with the Female in any strange or unusual manner (as some say) but as Horses and all other four-footed Beasts.

They go with young at the least Sixteen Months, at the most Eighteen. They bring forth for the most part (like Mares) but one at a time, which the Dam suckles till it be Six Years old.

Most of the Inhabitants live very long; the Oldest attain to Two Hundred Years.

In India there are Magistrates appointed to take care of Strangers to see that no Injury be offer'd them; and if any of them be sick these Magistrates provide Physitians, and in all other respects are very careful of them; and if they dye, they bury them; and whatever Goods or Monies they leave behind, they give it to their Kindred.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books