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it was undivided, and became wholly lost to the CHAP.
IX. burghers whenever it was divided. Now twenty-four years after the expulsion of Tar- An agrarian
, law was quinius, there must have been at least as great need greatly
needed at of an agrarian law as at any former period of the this period
of Roman Roman history. The loss of territory on the right history. bank of the Tiber, and all those causes which had brought on the general distress of the commons, and overwhelmed them hopelessly in debts, called aloud for a remedy; and this remedy was to be found, according to precedent no less than abstract justice, in an allotment of the public land. For as the burghers who occupied this land had even grown rich amidst the distress of the commons, so they could well afford to make some sacrifice; while the reservation to them of the exclusive right of occupying the public land till it was divided, held out to them the hope of acquiring fresh possessions, so soon as the nation, united and invigorated by the proposed relief, should be in a condition to make new conquests. Spurius Cassius accordingly proposed an agrarian Spurius Cas
sius proposes law :o for the division of a certain proportion of the his law,
which is viopublic land, while from the occupiers of the re- lently op
posed by the mainder he intended to require the regular payment burghers. of the tithe, which had been greatly neglected, and to apply the revenue thus gained, to paying the
10 I have here followed Niebuhr Dionysius as the proposal of A. (Vol. II. p. 188, 2nd Ed.) in as. Sempronius Atratinus, to which suming as the original proposal the senate assented. Dionysius, of Cassius, what is represented in VIII. 73, 76.
CHAP. commons whenever they were called out to serve as
soldiers. Had he been king, he could have carried the measure without difficulty, and would have gone down to posterity invested with the same glory which rendered sacred the memory of the good king Servius. But his colleague, Proculus Virginius", headed the aristocracy in resisting his law, and in maligning the motives of its author. His treaties with the Latins and Hernicans were represented as derogating from the old supremacy of Rome; and this cry roused the national pride even of the commons against him, as, four centuries afterwards, a similar charge of sacrificing the rights of Rome to the Italian allies ruined the popularity of M. Drusus. Still it is probable that the popular feeling in favour of his law was so strong, that the burghers yielded to the storm for the moment, and consented to pass it 12. They followed the constant policy of an aristocracy, to separate the people from their leaders, to
11 Livy, II. 41. This was the Fursten und Völker von Südgreat quarrel between the nobles Europa. Vol. I. p. 218. and the commons in Castile. The 13 See Niebuhr, Vol. II. p. 196. commons complained that the He argues, that as the tribunes crown domains had been so before the Publilian laws had no granted away to the nobles, that power of originating any legisnow, as the nobles were exempt lative measure, and as we hear of from taxation, the commons were their agitating the question of the obliged to defray all the expenses agrarian law, year after year from of the public service at their own the death of Cassius, the fact private cost. And it was the com- must have been that the law was mons' insisting that the nobles passed, and its execution fraudushould give up the domains as lently evaded; and that the tribeing strictly public property, bunes demanded no more than which determined the nobles to the due execution of an existing take part with the crown, in the law. And he supposes that the famous war of the commons in the words of Dionysius, TOUTO TÒ reign of Charles V. See Ranke, Sóyua els tòx 8ņuov cloevexoèy, Tóv
pacify the former by a momentary resignation of the CHAP. point in dispute, and then to watch their time for - destroying the latter, that so, when the popular party is deprived of its defenders, they may wrest from its hands that concession which it is then unable to retain.
When therefore the year was over, and Spurius Spurius CasCassius was no longer consul, the burghers knew peached bethat their hour of vengeance had arrived. Ser. burghers,
condemned, Cornelius and Quintus Fabius 13 were the new con- and exesuls: Kæso Fabius, the consul's brother, and Lucius Valerius were the inquisitors of blood, quæstores parricidii, who, as they tried all capital offences subject to an appeal to the burghers or commons, were also empowered to bring any offender at once before those supreme tribunals, instead of taking cognizance of his case themselves. Cassius was charged with a treasonable attempt to make himself king, and the burghers, assembled in their curiæ, found him
Te Kágolov inavoe tñs onuaywylas ratification; and this “people”
CHAP. guilty. He shared the fate of Agis and of Marino
Falieri ; he was sentenced to die as a traitor, and was, according to the usage of the Roman law, scourged and beheaded, and his house razed to the ground.
ASCENDANCY OF THE ARISTOCRACY—THE FABII AND THEIR SEVEN CONSULSHIPS—THE PUBLILIAN LAW. -U.C. 269-283.
Ησυχίαν είχεν ο δήμος και κατάπληξιν τοιαύτην ώστε κέρδος και μη Táoxy Tu Biatov, eỉ cai veyon, evouu.–THUYD. VIII. 66.
“Les abus récens avaient bravé la force et dépassé la prévoyance des anciennes lois : il fallait des garanties nouvelles, explicites, revêtues de la sanction du parlement tout entier. C'était ne rien faire que de renouveler vaguement des promesses tant de fois violées, des statuts si long-temps oubliés.”—Guizot, Révolution d'Angleterre, Livre I. p. 45.
The release of all existing debts by the covenant CHAP. concluded at the Sacred Hill, and the appointment of
The burghthe tribunes to prevent any tyrannical enforcement ers claim of the law of debtor and creditor for the time to clusive ap
pointment come, had relieved the Roman commons from the of the conextreme of personal degradation and misery. But their political condition had made no perceptible advances; their election of their own tribunes was subject to the approval of the burghers; and their choice of consuls, subject also to the same approval, was further limited to such candidates as belonged to the burghers' order. Even this, however, did not satisfy the burghers; the death of Spurius Cassius