Imagens das páginas

generals, and marched off to a hill beyond be two chief officers of the commons as the Anio; that is, to a spot beyond the there were of the burghers.” limits of the Ager Romanus, the proper

Thus, all that the Roman populace territory of the burghers, but within the district which had been assigned to one of

gained by the revolution which over

a the newly created tribes of the commons,

turned the kingly power, was such a dithe Crustuminian. Here they established minution of territory and external imthemselves, and here they proposed to

d to portance as it required them more than

port found a new city of their own, to which one hundred and fifty years to recover. they would have gathered their families, and such an oppressive form of aristoand the rest of their order who were left cratic Government as compelled them behind in Rome, and have given up their to take refuge under a dictator, and led old city to its original possessors, the to such a degree of misery as, eighteen burghers and their clients. But the years after the convulsion, made them burghers were as unwilling to lose the ready to quit their country and homes, services of the commons, as the Egyp- and become exiles from their native tians in the like case to let the Israelites land! go, and they endeavoured by every means At the close of the third century of to persuade them to return. To show Rome, and fifty years after the expul. how little the commons thought of gaining sion of the Tarquins, Arnold gives the political power, we have only to notice following picture of the external contheir demands. They required a general dition of the Republic :cancelling of the obligations of insolvent debtors, and the release of all those,

“ At the close of the third century of whose persons, in default of payment, had Rome, the warfare which the Romans been assigned over to the power of their had to maintain against the Opican nacreditors ; and further they insisted on tions was generally defensive ; that the having two of their own body acknow. Æquians and Volscians had advanced from ledged by the burghers as their protectors; the line of the Apennines and established and to make this protection effectual, the themselves on the Alban hills, in the heart persons of those who afforded it were to of Latium ; that of the thirty Latin states be as inviolable as those of the heralds, which had formed the league with Rome the sacred messengers of the gods; who in the year 261, thirteen were now soever harmed them was to be held ac either destroyed, or were in the possescursed, and might be slain by any one sion of the Opicans ; that on the Alban with impunity. To these terms the hills themselves Tusculum alone remained burghers agreed ; a solemn treaty was independent ; and that there was no other concluded between them and the com- friendly city to obstruct the irruptions of mons, as between two distinct nations; the enemy into the territory of Rome. and the burghers swore for themselves, Accordingly, that territory was plundered and for their posterity, that they would year after year, and whatever defeats the hold inviolable the persons of two officers, plunderers may at times have sustained, to be chosen by the centuries on the field yet they were never deterred from reof Mars, whose business it should be to newing a contest which they found in the extend full protection to any commoner main profitable and glorious. So greally against a sentence of the consul; that is had the power and dominion of Rome fallen to say, who might rescue any debtor from since the overthrow of the monarchy.the power of his creditor, if they con

It was by slow degrees, and in a long ceived it to be capriciously or cruelly ex

series of contests, continued without

series erted. The two officers thus chosen re

intermission for two hundred years, tained the name which the chief officers

that the commons recovered the liberof the commons had borne before, they were called Tribuni, or tribe masters ; but

ties they had lost from the consequences instead of being merely the officers of one

of this triumph in this first convulsion; particular tribe, and exercising an autho

so true it is, in all ages, that the people rity only over the members of their own are not only never permanenc gainers, orlar. they were named tribunes of the but in the end the greatest losers by commons at large, and their power, as

the revolution in which they had been protectors in stopping any exercise of most completely victorious. oppression towards their own body, ex

The next great social convulsion of tended over the burghers, and was by Rome was that consequent on the them solemnly acknowledged. The num- overthrow of the Decemvirs. The ber of the tribunes was probably suggest success of that revolution operated in ed by that of the consuls; there were to the end grievously to the prejudice of the commons, and retarded, by half a consul Horatius proposed and carried a century, the advance of real freedom. law which declared that, whoever harmed Every one knows that the Decemvirs any tribune of the commons, any ædile, were elected to re-model the laws of any judge or any decemvir, should be the Commonwealth ; that they shame. outlawed and accursed; that any man fully abused their trust, and constituted might slay him, and that all his property themselves tyrants without control; should be confiscated to the temple of and that they were at last overthrown Ceres. Another law was passed by M. by the general and uncontrollable indig.

Duilius, one of the tribunes, carrying the nation excited by the injustice of Ap. pena

penalties of the Valerian law to a greater pius to the daughter of Virginius. A height against any magistrate who should juster cause for resistance, a fairer

either neglect to have new magistrates apground for the overthrow of existing

pointed at the end of the year, or who

should create them without giving the right authority, could not be imagined; it

of appeal from their sentence. Whosoever was accordingly successful, and the

violated either of these provisions was to immediate effect of the popular triumph

be burned alive as a public enemy. was a very great accession of political

Finally, in order to prevent the depower to the commons. Arnold tells us

crees of the senate from being tampered “ The revolution did not stop here. with by the patricians, Horatius and VaOther and deeper changes were effected; lerius began the practice of having them but they lasted so short a time, that their carried to the temple of Ceres on the memory has almost vanished out of the Aventine, and there laid up under the care records of history. The assembly of the of the ædiles of the commons. tribes had been put on a level with that of “ This complete revolution was conthe centuries, and the same principle was ducted chiefly, as far as appears, by the followed out in the equal division of two consuls, and by M. Duilius. Of the all the magistracies of the state between latter we should wish to have some further the patricians and the commons. Two knowledge; it is an unsatisfactory history, supreme magistrates, invested with the in which we can only judge of the man bighest judicial power, and discharging also from his public measures, instead of being those important duties which were aster- enabled to form some estimate of the wards performed by the censors, were to merit of his measures from our acquaintbe chosen every year, one from the patri- ance with the character of the man. But cians, and the other from the commons. there is no doubt that the new constitution Ten tribunes of the soldiers, or decemviri, attempted to obtain objects for which the chosen five from the patricians and five time was not yet come, which were refrom the commons, were to command the garded rather as the triumph of a party, armies in war, and to watch over the than as called for by the wants and feelings rights of the patricians; while ten tribunes of the nation ; and therefore the Roman of the commons, also chosen in equal pro- constitution of 306 was as short-lived as portions from both orders, were to watch Simon de Montfort's provisions of Oxford, over the liberties of the commons. And or as some of the strongest measures of as patricians were thus admitted to the old the Long Parliament. An advantage pura tribuneship, so the assemblies of the tribes sued too far in politics, as well as in war, were henceforth, like those of the centu- is apt to end in a repulse.” ries, to be held under the sanctions of augury, and nothing could be determined

After a continued struggle of seven in them if the auspices were unfavourable. years, however, this democratic conThus the two orders were to be made fully stitution yielded to the reaction in faequal to one another ; but at the same time vour of the old institutions of the state, they were to be kept perpetually distinct; and the experienced evils of the new,for at this very moment the whole twelve and another constitution was the retables of the laws of the decemvirs received sult of the struggle which restored the solemn sanction of the people, although, matters to the same situation in which as we have seen, there was a law in one of they had been before the overthrow of the last tables which declared the mar- the Decemvirs; with the addition of a riage of a patrician with a plebeian to be most important officer- the Censor, unlawful.

endowed with almost despotic power " There being thus an end of all exclue to the patrician faction. This decided sive magistracies, whether patrician or reaction is thus described, and the plebeian ; and all magistrates being now inferences deducible from it fairly recognised as acting in the name of the stated by Dr Arnold. whole people, the persons of all were to be regarded as equally sacred. Thus the “ In the following year we meet for the first time with the name of a new patri. “ The explanation is simple, and it is cian magistracy, the censorship; and Nie- one of the most valuable lessons of history. buhr saw clearly that the creation of this The commons obtained those reforms office was connected with the appointment which they desired, and they desired such of tribunes of the soldiers ; and that both only as their state was ripe for. They belong to what may be called the constitu- had withdrawn in times past to the Sacred tion of the year 312.

Hill, but it was to escape from intolerable “This constitution recognised two personal oppression; they had recently points; a sort of continuation of the prin occupied the Aventine in arms, but it was ciple of the decemvirate, inasmuch as the to get rid of a tyranny which endangered supreme government was again, to speak the honour of their wives and daughters, in modern language, put in commission, and to recover the protection of their and the kingly powers, formerly united in tribunes; they had more lately still retired the consuls or prætors, were now to be to the Janiculum, but it was to remove an divided between the censors and tribunes insulting distinction which embittered the of the soldiers; and secondly, the eligi- relations of private life, and imposed on bility of the commons to share in some of their grandchildren, in many instances, the the powers thus divided. But the parti inconveniences, if not the reproach of illetion, even in theory, was far from equal : gitimacy. These were all objects of unithe two censors, who were to hold their versal and personal interest ; and these office for five years, were not only chosen the commons were resolved not to relinfrom the patricians, but, as Niebuhr quish. But the possible admission of a thinks, by them, that is, by the assembly few distinguished members of their body of the curiæ ; the two quæstors, who judged to the highest offices of state concerned in cases of blood, were also chosen from the the mass of the commons but little. They patricians, although by the centuries. Thus had their own tribunes for their personal the civil power of the old prætors was in protection ; but curule magistracies, and its most important points still exercised the government of the commonwealth, exclusively by the patricians; and even seemed to belong to the patricians, or at their military power, which was profess- least might be left in their hands without edly to be open to both orders, was not any great sacrifice. So it is that all things transmitted to the tribunes of the soldiers, come best in their season; that political without some diminution of its majesty. power is then most happily exercised by a The new tribuneship was not an exact people, when it has not been given to them image of the kingly sovereignty; it was prematurely, that is, before, in the natural not a curule office, and therefore no tri- progress of things, they feel the want of it. bune ever enjoyed the honour of a tri- Security for person and property enables umph, in which the conquering general, a nation to grow without interruption; in ascending to the Capitol to sacrifice to the contending for this a people's sense of law guardian gods of Rome, was wont to be and right is wholesomely exercised ; meanarrayed in all the insignia of royalty. time national prosperity increases, and

“ But even the small share of power brings with it an increase of intelligence, thus granted in theory to the commons, till other and more necessary wants being was in practice withheld from them. satisfied, men awaken to the highest earthWhether from the influence of the pa- ly desire of the ripened mind, the desire tricians in the centuries, or by religious of taking an active share in the great work pretences urged by the augurs, or by the of government. The Roman commons enormous and arbitrary power of refusing abandoned the highest magistracies to the votes which the officer presiding at the patricians for a period of many years; but comitia was wont to exercise, the college they continued to increase in prosperity of the tribunes was for many years filled and in influence; and what the fathers had by the patricians alone. And, while the wisely yielded, their sons in the fulness of censorship was to be a fixed institution, time acquired. So the English House of the tribunes of the soldiers were to be re Commons, in the reign of Edward III., placed whenever it might appear needful declined to interfere in questions of peace by two consuls ; and to the consulship no and war, as being too high for them to plebeian was so much as legally eligible, compass; but they would not allow the Thus the victory of the aristocracy may crown to take their money without their seem to have been complete, and we may own consent; and so the nation grew, wonder how the commons, after having car and the influence of the House of Comried so triumphantly the law of Canuleius, mons grew along with it, till that honse should have allowed the political rights as. has become the great and predominant serted for them by his colleagues, to have power in the British constitution. been so partially conceded in theory, and “ If this view be correct, Trebonius in practice to be so totally withheld. judged far more wisely than M. Duilius; and the abandonment of half the plebeian and how incapable of giving to any tribuneship to the patricians, in order to historical work any extensive celebriobtain for the plebeians an equal share in ty! They should be given, but in the higher magistracies, would have been notes, so as not, to ordinary readers, as really injurious to the commons as it to interrupt the interest of the narwas unwelcome to the pride of the aristo- rative, or break the continuity of cracy. It was resigning a weapon with thought. which they were familiar, for one which

The second is, to exert bimself to they knew not how to wield. The tri

the utmost, and, on every occasion buneship was the foster-nurse of Roman

which presents itself, to paint, with liberty, and without its care that liberty

graphic fire, the events, or people, or never would have grown to maturity,

scenes which occur in the course of What evils it afterwards wrought, when the public freedom was fully ripened, arose

his narrative, and to give all the interfrom that great defect of the Roman con.

est in his power to the description of stitution, its conferring such extravagant

battles, sieges, incidents, episodes, or powers on all its officers. It proposed to

speeches, which present themselves. check one tyranny by another; instead of More even than accuracy of detail, or so limiting the prerogatives of every ma- any other more solid qualities, these gistrate and order in the state, whether fascinating graces determine, with fuaristocratical or popular, as to exclude ture ages, the celebrity and permanent tyranny from all."

interest of an historical work. What Our limits will not admit of any

is the charm which attracts all ages, other extracts, how interesting soever

and will do so to the end of the world, they may be. Those already made to the retreat of the Ten Thousand, will sufficiently indicate the character

the youth of Cyrus, the early annals of the work. It is clear that Dr Ar

of Rome, the Catiline conspiracy, the nold, in addition to his well-known

reign of Tiberius, the exploits of Alexclassical and critical acquirements, pos

ander, the Latin conquest of Constan

ander, sesses a discriminating judgment, a re.

tinople, the misfortunes of Mary, the flecting philosophic turn of mind, and

death of Charles I.? The eloquent the power of graphic interesting descrip

fictions and graphic powers of Xenotion. These are valuable qualities to

phon and Livy, of Sallust and Tacitus, any historian: they are indispensable of Quintu3 Curtius and Gibbon, of to the annalist of Rome, and promise Robertson and Hume.

f Rome and promise Robertson and Hume. In vain does to render his work, if continued in the criticism assail, and superior learning same spirit, the best history of that disprove, and subsequent discoveries wonderful state in the English, perhaps

overturn their enchanting narratives; in any modern, language. We con- in vain does the intellect of the learned gratulate him upon the auspicious

few become sceptical as to the facts commencement of his labours: we they relate. The imagination is kindled, cordially wish him success, and shall the heart is overcome, and the works follow him, with no ordinary interest, remain, not only immortal in celebrity, through the remainder of his vast sub. but undecaying in influence through ject, interesting to the student of an every succeeding age. Why should cient events, and the observer of con not history, in modern as in ancient temporary transactions.

times, unite the interest of the romance There are two points which we to the accuracy of the annalist? Why would earnestly recommend to the

should not real events enchain the consideration of this learned author,

mind with the graces and the colours as essential to the success of his work of poetry? That Dr Arnold is learnas a popular or durable history.

ed, all who have studied his admirable The first is, to avoid, as much as edition of Thucydides know; that he possible, in the text, all discussions

can paint with force and interest, none concerning questiones vexatas, or dis who read the volume before us can puted points, and give the conclusions doubt. Why, then, should not the at which he arrives in distinct propo. latter qualities throw their brilliant sitions, without any of the critical or hues over the accurate drawing of the antiquarian reasoning on which they former : are founded. These last, indeed, are We have already said that we find of inestimable importance to the learned no fault with Dr Arnold on account of or the thoughtful. But how few are his politics; nay, that we value his they, compared to the mass of readers! work the more, because, giving, as it promises to do, in the main, a faithful felt in the actual administration of afaccount of the facts of Roman history, fairs. Recluse or speculative men be. it cannot fail to furnish, from a source come attached to liberal ideas, because the least suspicious, a host of facts they see them constantly put forth, in decisive in favour of Conservative glowing and generous language, by the principles. By Conservative principles popular orators and writers in every we do not mean attachment to despo- age : they associate oppression with tic power, or aversion to genuine free- the government of a single ruler, or a dom: on the contrary, we mean the comparatively small number of per. utmost abhorrence of the former, and sons of great possessions, because they the strongest attachment to the latter. see, in general, that government is We mean an attachment to that form established on one or other of these of government, and that balance of bases; and, consequently, most of the power, which alone can render these oppressive acts recorded in history blessings permanent, — which render have emanated from such authority. property the ruling, and numbers only They forget that the opportunity of the controlling power, which give abusing power has been so generally to weight of possession and intellect afforded to these classes by the expe. the direction of affairs, and entrust to rienced impossibility of intrusting it to the ardent feelings of the multitude any other; that if the theory of popu. the duty only of preventing their ex- lar government had been practicable, cesses, or exposing their corruption. Democracy, instead of exbibiting only Without the former, the rule of the a few blood-stained specks in history, people degenerates, in a few years, in would have occupied the largest space every instance recorded in history, into in its annals ; that if the people had licentious excess, and absolute tyran- been really capable of directing affairs, ny; without the latter, the ambition they would, in every age, have been or selfishness of the aristocracy per- the supreme authority, and the holdverts to their own private purposes the ers of property the declaimers against domain of the state. Paradoxical as their abuses ; and that no proof can it may appear, it is strictly and literally be so decisive against the practicability true, that the general inclination of ab- of any form of government, as the fact, stract students, remote from a practic that it has been found, during six thoucal intercourse with mankind, to re. sand years, of such rare occurrence, publican principles, is a decisive proof as to make even learned persons, till of the experienced necessity for Con- taught by experience, blind to its tenservative policy that has always been dency.

« AnteriorContinuar »