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concluded with Carthage, proves that Etruscans fell upon Rome. The result of the state had already acquired consider the war is, indeed, as strangely disguised ation with distant states.
in the poetical story as Charlemagne's ina Setting aside,” says our author, " the vasion of Spain is in the romances. Rome. tyranny ascribed to Tarquinius, and re
was completely conquered; all the terrimembering that it was his policy to de- tory which the kings had woh on the right
Rome prive the commons of their lately acquired bank of the Tiber was now lost. citizenship, and to treat them like subjects itself was surrendered to the Etruscan rather than members of the state, the pic- conqueror; his sovereignty was fully acture given of the wealth and greatness of knowledged, the Romans gave up their Judea under Solomon may convey some
arms, and recovered their city and terriidea of the state of Rome under its latter tory on condition of renouncing the use of kings. Powerful amongst surrounding na
iron except for implements of agriculture.
But this bondage did not last long; the tions, exposed to no hostile invasions, with a flourishing agriculture and an active
Etruscan power was broken by a great de.
feat sustained before Aricia ; for after the commerce, the country was great and
fall of Rome the conquerors attacked Laprosperous ; and the king was enabled to execute public works of the highest mag
tium, and while besieging Aricia, the
united force of the Latin cities, aided by nificence, and to invest himself with a splendour unknown in the earlier times of the Greeks of Cumæ, succeeded in de the monarchy.”
stroying their army, and in confining their
power to their own side of the Tiber. But mark the effect upon the exter- Still, however, the Romans did not renal power and internal liberties of the cover their territory on the right bank of nation, consequent on the violent that river, and the number of their tribes, change in the Government and esta. as has been already noticed, was conseblishment of the Commonwealth, as quently lessened by one third, being reportrayed in the authentic pages of duced from thirty to twenty. this liberal historian.
“ Thus within a short time after the ba
nishment of the last king, the Romans lost “ In the first year of the commonwealth, all their territory on the Etruscan side of the Romans still possessed the dominion the Tiber, and all their dominion over Laenjoyed by their kings; all the cities of
tium. A third people were their immedithe coast of Latium, as we have already ate neighbours on the north-east, the Saseen, were subject to them as far as Ter
bines The cities of the Sabines reached, racina. Within twelve years, we cannot says Varro, from Reale, to the distance of certainly say how much sooner, these weré half a day's journey from Rome; that is, all become independent. This is easily according to the varying estimate of a intelligible, if we only take into account day's journey, either seventy-five or an the loss to Rome of an able and absolute hundred stadia, about ten or twelve miles." king, the natural weakness of an unsettled “ It is certain, also, that the first engovernment, and the distractions produced largement of the Roman territory, after by the king's attempts to recover his its great diminution in the Etruscan war, throne, The Latins may have held, as took place towards the north-east, between we are told of the Sabines in this very the Tiber and the Anio ; and here were the time, that their dependent alliance with lands of the only new tribes that were Rome had been concluded with King Tar- added to the Roman nation, for the space quinius, and that as he was king no longer, of more than one hundred and twenty and as his sons had been driven out with
years after the establishment of the comhim, all covenants between Latium and
monwealth." Rome were become null and void. But Such was the disastrous effects of the it is possible also, if the chronology of the revolution which expelled Tarquinius common story of these times can be at all Superbus, even though originating, if depended on, that the Latin cities owed
we may believe the story of Lucretia, in their independence to the Etruscan con
á heinous crime on his part, on the exquest of Rome. For that war, which has
ternal been given in its poetical version as the
power and territorial possessions
of Rome. Let us next enquire whewar with Porsenna, was really a great outbreak of the Etruscan power upon the
ther the social condition of the people nations southward of Etruria, in the very plebeians reaped those fruits from the
was improved by the change, and the front of whom lay the Romans. very next year after the expulsion of the violent change of the Government king, according to the common story, and which they were doubtless led to excertainly at some time within the period pect. with which we are now concerned, the “ The most important part,” says Ar
nold, " in the history of the first years of appeal, was absolute over life und death. the commonwealth is the tracing, if pos. As for any legislative power, in this period sible, the gradual depression of the com- of the commonwealth, the consuls were mons to that extreme point of misery their own law. No doubt the burghers which led to the institution of the tribune. had their customs, which in all great points ship. We have seen that immediately the consuls would duly observe, because, after the expulsion of the king, the com- otherwise on the expiration of their office mons shared in the advantages of the re- they would be liable to arraignment before volution ; but within a few years we find the curiæ, and to such punishment as that them so oppressed and powerless, that sovereign assembly might please to inflict ; their utmost hopes aspired, not to the as. but the commons had no such security, sertion of political equality with the burs and the uncertainty of the consul's judgghers, but merely to the obtaining protec- ments was the particular grievance which tion from personal injuries.
afterwards led to the formation of the “ The specifio character of their de- code of the twelve tables. gradation is stated to bave been this ; that “ We are told, however, that within there prevailed among them severe dis- ten years of the first institution of the tress, amounting in many cases to actual consuls, the burghers found it necessary ruin; that to relieve themselves from their to create a single magistrate with powers poverty, they were in the habit of borrow
still more absolute, who was to exercise ing money of the burghers; that the dis. the full sovereignty of a king, and even tress continuing, they became generally without that single check to which the insolvent; and that as the law of deblor kings of Rome had been subjected
The and creditor was exceedingly severe, they Master of the people, that is, of the became liable in their persons to the burghers, or, as he was otherwise called, cruelty of the burghers, were treated by the Dictator, was appointed, it is true, for them as slaves, confined as such in their six months only; and therefore liable, like workhouses, kept to taskwork, and often the consuls, to he arraigned, after the exbeaten at the discretion of their task- piration of his office, for any acts of tyran. masters.”
ny which he might have committed during Various were the miseries to which its continuance. But whilst he retained the commons were reduced in conse. his office he was as absolute without the quence of the revolution, and inexor- walls of the city as the consuls were able the rigour with which the nobles within them ; neither commoners nor pressed the
advantage they had gained burghers had any right of appeal from his by the abolition of the kingly form of sentence, although the latter had enjoyed government. The civil convulsions this protection in the times of the moand general distress, Dr Arnold tells us, narchy." terminated in the establishment of an At length the misery of the people, exclusive oppressive aristocracy, inter- flowing from the revolution, became rupted occasionally by the legalised so excessive that they could endure it despotism of a single individual.
no longer, and they took the resolution “ Thus the monarchy was exchanged to separate altogether from their opfor an exclusive aristocracy, in which the pressors, and retire to the sacred hill burghers or patricians possessed the whole to found a new Commonwealth. dominion of the state. For mixed as was “ Fifteen years after the expulsion of the influence in the assembly of the cen- Tarquinius, the commons, driven to deturies, and although the burghers through spair by their distress, and exposed withtheir clients exercised no small control out protection to the capricious cruelty of over it, still they did not think it safe to the burghers, resolved to endure their intrust it with much power. In the elec- degraded state no longer. The particution of consuls, the centuries could only lars of this second rovolution are as unchoose out of a number of patrician or certain as those of the overthrow of the burgher candidates; and even after this monarchy; but thus much is certain, and election it remained for the burghers in is remarkable, that the commons sought their great couneil in the curiæ to ratify safety, not victory; they desired to escape it or to annul it, by conferring upon, or from Rome, not to govern it. It may be refusing to the persons so elected the true that the commons who were left in • Imperium ;' in other words, that sove- Rome gathered together on the Aventine, reign power which belonged to the con- the quarter appropriated to their order, suls as the successors of the kings, and and occupied the hill as a fortress ; but it which, except so far as it was limited is universally agreed that the most effiwithin the walls of the city, and a circle of cient part of their body, who were at that one mile without them, by the right of time in the field as soldiers, deserted their 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 overthe 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
portance as it required them more than 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 aristo. and 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 expulhow 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 con. their demands. They required a general dition of the Republic :capcelling 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 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 greatly 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 erted. The two officers thus chosen re
intermission for two hundred years, tained the name which the chief officers of the commons had borne before, they ties they had lost from the consequences
that the commons recovered the liber. were called Tribuni, or tribe masters ; but 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 permanent gainers, order, 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 hy 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- penalties of the Valerian law to a greater pius to the daughter of Virginius. Á 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 authority, could not be imagined; it should create them without giving the right was accordingly successful, and the violated either of these provisions was to
of appeal from their sentence. Whosoever 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 after- 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 pure 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
Aster 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 exclu- 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 copstitution recognised two personal oppression ; they had recently points; a sort of continuation of the prin- oceupied 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 Niebuhrquish. 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; mean. arrayed 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 house 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 ;