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Oppian law,* during his consulship, but in vain, the ladies were too strong for him. But now it was his turn. Hitherto no property had been included in the Censor's register, except land and houses. Cato ordered all valuable slaves to be rated at three times the amount of other
property, and laid a heavy tax on the dress and equipages of the women, if they exceeded a certain sum. He struck seven Senators off the list, some for paltry causes. Manilius was degraded for kiss ing his wife in public; another for an unseasonable jest; but all honest men must have applauded when L. Flaminius was at length punished for his atrocious barbarity. It savoured of per sonal bitterness when, at the grand review of the knights, he deprived L. Scipio Asiaticus of his horse.
"In the management of public works Cato showed judgment equal to his vigour. He provided for the repair of the aqueducts and reservoirs, and took great pains to amend the drainage of the city. He encouraged a fair and open competition for the contracts of tax-collection, and so much offended the power ful companies of Publicani, that, after he had laid down his office, he was pro secuted, and compelled to pay a fine of 12,000 ases.'
That fine of 12,000 ases we are disposed to reckon amongst his highest titles to honour. Restricted in his notions, the Censor still claims our esteem for the genuine sturdy independence which accompanies him throughout his life, and in the presence alike of the Senate and the
people. He is no craven demagogue,
too humane, since he could recommend, in his book on agriculture, the selling off of old slaves as a useless lumber, and by no means disposed to act with clemency or justice towards foreign nations. In his old age, when he numbered eighty-four years, he led the party which clamoured for the destruction of Carthage. The old Sabine farmer appeared in the Senate, and unfolding his gown, produced some giant figs, which he held up and said, "These figs grow but three days' sail from Rome." He fatal sentence, "Carthage must be then repeated the oft-reiterated and destroyed!-delenda est Carthago!" The morality between nation and nation always has been, and still is, execrable. Indeed, there can be no international morality until men have learned that the interest interest of others; till, just as indiof one people is bound up with the viduals learn that their welfare is inseparable from the welfare of some shall learn that their own wellbeing community of individuals, so nations. and prosperity is inseparable from the wellbeing of some community of in the treatment of the Italian cities nations. The early policy of Rome which were compelled to acknowledge her supremacy, has often been praised; it could not have been very Hannibal's greatest success there censurable, since at the period of the value of some large Italian conwere so few defections. Probably federacy had begun to be generally appreciated; and as there was little the less room for injustice. When to pillage from each other, there was Italy, over rich and conquered prothe government extended beyond vinces, the historian has no longer any commendation to bestow.
"It was a general rule that all Italian land was tax-free, and that all provincial land, except such as was specified in
* This was a law, passed after the battle of Cannæ, at the instance of the tribune Oppius, "by which it was forbidden that any woman should wear a gay-coloured dress, or have more than half an ounce of gold to ornament her person, and that none should approach within a mile of any city or town in a car drawn by horses." -Vol. i. p. 363.
† He had caused a fugitive and suppliant Gaul to be assassinated in his own tent, where he was feasting with a favourite youth, in order that the dying agonies of the man might afford an amusement to his unworthy minion.-Vol. ii. p. 61.
treaties or decrees of the Senate, was subject to tax. This rule was so absolute that the exemption of land from taxation was known by the technical name of Jus Italicum, or the Right of Italy. "This last distinction implies that the imperial revenues were raised chiefly from the provinces. In the course of little more than thirty years from the close of the Hannibalic war, this was the case, not chiefly, but absolutely. The world was taxed for the benefit of Rome and her citizens.
"It was as if England were to defray the expenses of her own administration from the proceeds of a tax levied on her Indian empire. The evil was aggravated by the way in which the taxes were collected. This was done by contract. From time to time the taxes of each province were put up to public auction by the Prætor or Proconsul; and the company of contractors which outbade the rest received the contract and farmed the taxes of the province. The mem bers of these companies were called Publicani. It is manifest that this system offered a premium on extortion.
"The Proconsuls and Prætors exercised an authority virtually despotic. They were Senators, and responsible to the Senate alone. It may too surely be anticipated what degree of severity a corporation like the Senate would exercise towards its own members in times when communication with the provinces was uncertain and difficult, when no one cared for the fate of foreigners, when there was no press to give tongue to public opinion, and indeed no force of public opinion at all. Very soon the
Senatorial Proconsuls found it their interest to support the tax-gatherers in their extortions, on condition of sharing in the plunder. The provincial government of the republic became in practice an organised system of oppression, calculated to enrich fortunate Senators, and to provide them with the means of buying the suffrages of the people, or of discharging the debts incurred in buying them. The name of Proconsul became identified with tyranny and greed."
We would gladly accompany Dr Liddell farther down the stream of history, but the stream widens as we proceed. The events increase in magnitude, and the territory over which they extend expands before us; we have not ample room or verge enough" for such themes as the names of Sylla, Pompey, Cæsar, suggest.
One subject we cannot help glanc
VOL. LXXIX.-NO. CCCCLXXXV.
ing at. The battles and conquests of Rome led to the making of innumerable slaves; and nowhere is more plainly illustrated the great truth, that injustice works evil-that wrong, or the recklessness of other men's well
being, will bring with it a penalty of some kind, on some head,-for her slave-system was the curse of Rome, and the chief cause of her ruin and downfall.
Unfortunately for any distinctness of view on this subject, the same name slavery is applied to very difrelations between man and man, to ferent institutions, to very different very different rights and conduct of him who calls himself master or owner. All systems of slave-labour are no more alike than all systems of monarchy. In some cases the institution we call slavery is the only possible system that could have been adopted. But amongst the Romans slavery exhibited itself in its harshest features; here it in part superseded free peasant in Italy it drove the and thrust aside the labour of the native agriculturist from the soil, and converted cornfields which had been cultivated by hardy yeomen, into. wild pastures, where the cattle were watched by slaves. In the city, it retarded or prevented the growth of a free industrious middle class; even what we call liberal professions suffered a certain social degradation from being thrown into the hands of slaves or freedmen. The Romans
were always a harsh people, and a system which put unlimited power of life and limb into their hands, and supplied the circus with gladiatorial combats, was not likely to improve their humanity.
They were always a harsh and severe people; it is suspected that some unrecorded conquest and subjugation was the origin of the distinction between patrician and client, and that the history of the city ought really to commence with the invasion and domination of a conquering caste or race. Be that as it may, one of the first laws we hear of is of so severe and cruel a character-a law of debtor and creditor of so atrocious a description-that it is almost as incredible as any of the wildest legends of that early time. We can
scarcely believe that a people who had advanced to the making any laws at all, could have made one in which it was provided that "the creditor might arrest the person of his debtor, load him with chains, and feed him on bread and water for thirty days, and then, if the money still remained unpaid, he might put him to death, or sell him as a slave to the highest bidder; or, if there were several creditors, they might hew his body in pieces and divide it" with a saving clause that, "if a man cut more or less than his due, he should incur no penalty."-Vol, i. p. 100. Possibly this last provision was a mere threat, and to be
sold as a beast of burden was the heaviest penalty that a patrician creditor ever inflicted on his debtor. It is plain, however, that when a multitude of slaves fell into the hands of the Romans, they fell into the hands of men who were not disposed to use their power leniently. They were men of blunt sensibilities. One who visited a Roman senator in the time of the Scipios might have had his ears assailed by the sharp cry of pain from a beaten slave, and certainly the first object that would have greeted his vision would have been a slave chained like a dog to the door- the "hall-porter" of those days. In subsequent times the more refined Roman could not have endured such sounds and sights in his own presence or neighbourhood; but what went on in the "ergastula" upon his estate, he probably never cared to inquire.
Our readers will perhaps prefer here a brief extract from Dr Liddell to any general statements of our own. He says:
"A few examples will show the prodigious number of slaves that must have been thrown into the market in the career of conquest on which the republic entered after the Hannibalic war. punish the Bruttians for the fidelity with which they adhered to the cause of the great Carthaginian, the whole nation were made slaves; no less than 150,000 Epirotes were sold by Emilius Paulus; 50,000 were sent home by Scipio from Carthage. These numbers are accidentally preserved; and if, according to
this scale, we calculate the hosts of unhappy men sold in slavery during the
Syrian, Macedonian, Illyrian, Grecian, and Spanish wars, we shall be prepared to hear that slaves fit only for unskilled labour were plentiful and cheap.
"It is evident that hosts of slaves
lately free men, and many of them soldiers, must become dangerous to the
owners. Nor was their treatment such as to conciliate. They were turned out upon the hills, made responsible for the safety of the cattle put under their charge, and compelled to provide themselves with the common necessaries of life. A body of these wretched men asked their master for clothing: 'What!" he asked, 'are there no travellers with clothes on?'
The atrocious hint was lower Italy became banditti, and to travel soon taken the shepherd - slaves of through Apulia without an armed retinue
was a perilous adventure. From assailing travellers the marauders began to plunder the smaller country-houses; and all but the rich were obliged to desert the country, and flock into the towns. When they were not employed upon the hills, they were shut up in large prisonlike buildings (ergastula), where they talked over their wrongs, and formed schemes of vengeance."
No wonder we hear of Sicilian slave-wars. Nor can we wonder, after this, at the statement sometimes made, that Roman civilisation never extended beyond the citiesthat the country of such provinces of Gaul and Spain was still barbarian— that there was no civilisation or humanity here for Goth or German to destroy. We cannot wonder, at all events, that there was no patriotism to withstand their invasion. invasion was a restoration of the country, if it was a temporary destruction of the town. And even in the large towns, while the system of slavery endured, the industrial arts, and even studious and liberal professions, never received their due honour and due encouragement. Wealth and military and civil appointments were the only valid or generally recognised claims to social distinction.
We must take our leave of Dr Liddell's book, again commending it to the student. In a passage we quoted from the preface, the author says that if less of positive history is laid before the reader than in some older books, "he will, at all events, find less that he will have to unlearn." We venture to think that there is
still a good deal set down here as history which the student will have to unlearn. But we make no objection to the work on this account; for every student must be solicitous to know what is the last hypothesis of eminently learned men. There has been an overflow, in our own times, of conjectural history. As it chiefly concerned the dry details of civil government, and the development of constitutional laws, the free employment of a conjectural method was disguised: this flood, we may venture confidently to say, is now receding.
Additions of this kind, made by one able man, will be destroyed by another; but it does not follow on this account that there has not been a real progress made in the study of Roman history. This progress chiefly consists in the discrimination made in the comparative value of the materials which have come down to us. "In the first two centuries after the invention of printing," says Sir G. C. Lewis, "the entire history of Rome was in general treated as entitled to implicit belief; all ancient authors were put upon the same footing, and regarded as equally cred
ible; all parts of an author's work were, moreover, supposed to rest upon the same basis. Not only was Livy's authority as high as that of Thucydides or Tacitus, but his account of the kings was considered as credible as that of the wars with Hannibal, Philip, Antiochus, or Perseus; and again, the lives of Romulus, Numa, or Coriolanus by Plutarch, were deemed as veracious as those of Fabius Maximus, Sylla, or Cicero. Machiavel, in his Discourses on the First Decade of Livy, takes this view of the early history. The seven kings of Rome are to him not less real than the twelve Cæsars; and the examples which he derives from the early period of the Republic are not less certain and authentic than if they had been selected from the civil wars of Marius and Sylla, or of Cæsar and Pompey." An instance so striking as this of Machiavel ought to give us a double lesson, one of modesty and one of confidence ;—of modesty, because we too may be involved in some general and prevailing error; of confidence, because where the reason of the case is clear, no name or authority, however great, ought to influence our convictions.
To struggle for literary fame-to devote forty years to the composition of an imperishable work-to toil amid pain and sickness, and the growing infirmities of age-never to be appreciated during all the period of that laborious existence except by the chosen few-and finally to die in poverty, perhaps in want-and then, when you have long been buried, and your name is nearly forgotten, your work to get slowly but surely into circulation, and to be pronounced a master-piece-this is the fate of few; but it was the fate of Amans Alexis Monteil, author of the History of the French of Various Conditions-a book of amazing research, great skill in composition, picturesque, humorous, and characteristic, and now received as the sovereign authority upon all the subjects on which it treats. The author was worthy of the work. Its object is to give a clear description of the French people, as they presented themselves to their contemporaries during the five last centuries. Old cartularies are ransacked, baptismal registers consulted, manners and habits inquired into; the private life of the tradesman, of the merchant, of the labourer, earnestly investigated, and brought before us with the distinctness of a picture. And Alexis himself-he was more undecipherable than a charter of the time of Clovis, more dusty, begrimed, and antiquated than the records of a Benedictine monastery nobody knew him; he breakfasted, dined (when he dined at all), and supped alone. Yet that man of parchment had a heart, loved passionately, mourned deeply, hoped ardently, and had such wit, such observation, such combination! Half of his qualities remind us of Dominie Sampson, and the other half of Sydney Smith. Let us dip into the contents of his volumes and the history of his life; and first of the
Poor old Alexis, amid the desolation of his later years, fled for conso
Histoire des Français des Divers Etats.
lation to the past. He revived the scenes of his youth, flew back to his native town, and gave daguerreotypes, in an autobiography which he never finished, of his father, his mother, his brothers, the people he had known, and the very stones he remembered in the walls. These reminiscences are very minute. Of course they are, for it was the habit of the man's mind to record the smallest particulars. He preferred them indeed to great ones. He would rather know the number of buttons on a general's coat than the battles he had won. So his father is brought before us in his habit as he lived. This worthy man had had losses, like Dogberry, and, like that great functionary, had also held authority in his native town. The town was a very small town, and the authority not great; but it was enough it gave rank; it gave dignity; and the son records it as evidence that he came of gentle kin.
It was in the small city of Rhodez, partly situated in Auvergne and partly in Rouergue, that Monsieur Jean Monteil, before the French Revolu tion, held the office of receiver of fines and forfeits. This does not seem a lofty post, but the worthy holder managed, by a little ingenuity, and a lawsuit which lasted six years, to get it recognised as one of the offices of the crown, inasmuch as the fines were those levied by a royal court; and he was therefore as much a king's servant as the procureur himself. On the strength of this connection with the administration of justice, Monsieur Monteil wore a hat with a gold band, a gown also with a similar ornament; and on Sundays and fête days he had a right to march to the church, looking the embodiment of a beadle, and of sitting on a raised place near the altar, and being "incensed" by the officiating priests. His son dwells with filial pride on the noble figure his progenitor presented to the eyes of his fellow-townsmen, as he walked along
Victor Lecou, Libraire. Paris, 1853.