Four of the six original authors respecting Peru which are noticed by Robertson, we have not seen; having confined our views to that of Zarate, which is not only the best according to the opinion of that excellent judge, but the only one which could answer the purpose of our present collection. In preparing this original work for publication, it is proper to acknowledge that we have been satisfied with translating from the French edition of Paris, 1742; but, besides every attention to fidelity of translation, it has been carefully collated throughout with the Royal Commentary of the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, as published in English by Sir Paul Rycaut, knight, in 1688; and with the excellent work of Dr Robertson. It may be proper to mention, however, that the following translation, though faithful, has been made with some freedom of retrenching a superfluity of useless language; though nothing has been omitted in point of fact, and nothing altered.
Having mentioned the work of Garcilasso de la Vega, which we have employed as an auxiliary on the present occasion, it may be worth while to give a short account of it in this place: For there never was, perhaps, a literary composition so strangely mixed up of unconnected and discordant sense and nonsense, and so totally devoid of any thing like order or arrangement, in the whole chronology of authorship, or rather of book-making, as has been produced by this scion of the Incas. No consideration short of our duty to the public, could have induced us to wade through such a labyrinth of absurdity in quest of information. It is astonishing how the honest knight could have patience to translate 1019 closely printed folio pages of such a farrago; and on closing the work of the Inca for ever, we heartily joined in the concluding pious thanksgiving of the translator, Praised be God. This enormous literary production of the Inca Garcilasso, is most regularly divided and subdivided into parts, books, and chapters; which contain here a little history, then digressions on manners, customs, opinions, ceremonies, laws, policy, arts, animals, vegetables, agriculture, buildings, &c. &c. &c. intermixed with bits and scraps of history, in an endless jumble; so that for every individual circumstance on any one of these topics, the pains-taking reader must turn over the whole work with the most anxious attention. We quote an example, taken absolutely at random, the titles of the Chapters of Part I. Book ix.
Chap. I. Huayna Capac makes a gold chain as big as a cable, and why. II. Reduces ten vallies of the coast. III. Punishes some murderers. IV.-VII. Incidents of his reign, confusedly related. VIII. Gods and customs of the Mantas. IX. Of giants formerly in Peru. X. Philosophical sentiments of the Inca concerning the sun. XI. and XII. Some incidents of his reign. XIII. Construction of two extensive roads. XIV. Intelligence of the Spaniards being on the coast. XV.