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the first Dictator wore or to the tremor he inspired. It was easier, however, to subdue a host of foes than to crush the Plebeians, whose growth to the full stature of such liberty as Rome admitted was no more to be hindered than the growth of children to be men could be prevented, if life and strength were given them from Heaven.
Valerius, the People's Friend, was dead, and others of the braver Patricians had fallen in battle, before the survivors elected their Dictator. But it is to be remembered, though commonly forgotten, that the trials of the superior were, in many respects, as bitter as those of the inferior class, through these first years of doubtful liberty. It may be easy to write of the duties in which either failed; yet they were stout hearts that strengthened the Commonwealth against its manifold weaknesses, even if amongst them there were no gentle ones, in whom the love of countrymen outweighed the hate of their superiors or the contempt of their inferiors. The Patrician was still able to exact service in war, submission in peace, and bondage in poverty, from the Plebeian ; yet it was the consent of his order that had granted to the lower estate the protection of the Valerian laws; but these, on the other hand, were like ponderous gates which grated upon their hinges, without yet opening wide to the Plebeians. There was much to urge the claims and to arouse the passions on either side of such a nation.
“Now in those days valiantness was honored in Rome above all other virtues; which they called Wirtus, by the name of Virtue itself, as including in that general name all other special virtues besides. So that Virtue in the Latin was as much as Waliantness.” – PLUTARCH, Coriol, I., North's transl.
THE title at the head of the chapter may appear to affect a quaintness it is not intended to assume. Some things there are, seldom to be included in a narrative, and yet without which the narrative is unintelligible, that must here be laid down, as upon a chart, before we venture farther into our history. Without knowing the means of obtaining and the ends for employing freedom in Rome, there can be no knowledge either of the Commonwealth or of the men who constituted the Commonwealth, – the very points, as scarcely needs be added, on which the history of Roman liberty most depends. In connection, therefore, with the foregoing chapters, it is here proposed to take such an account of the personal and the general relations existing amongst the early Romans, as shall complete our survey of the foundation, and prepare that of the increase of their liberty.
In Rome, as among all nations of antiquity, there were two classes, to one or the other of which every human being belonged by birth or fortune. One was of the free, the other of the slave, -the freeman being born or made free, and the bondman being born in or reduced to slavery. The slaves, of whom the lowest were always permitted to hope for liberation, formed a single class; on the other hand, the Roman state comprised a twofold class of freemen, to one division alone of whom the fear of slavery, at least within the sway of Roman laws, could never come.' The hope of the slave and the security of the higher freeman are easily accounted for by the existence of the intermediate order. If the real freeman were secure of his freedom, it was because his privileges were not lightly communicated to any man; and if the bondman were hopeful of being liberated, it was because he did not aspire to more than an inferior degree of liberty. None were considered to be wholly free, unless sprung of parents born, themselves, in possession of all the rights which freedom could convey;” and to such the lower classes of the freemen were originally as inferior as emancipated, or even, to strain the point, as actual slaves. Hence arose the distinctions between the orders of citizens; for though none could attain to citizenship without possessing freedom, yet rank in one was somewhat rudely graduated according to rank in the other scale. The Patrician, especially, was considered the citizen, because he, especially and solely, was born with perfect title to pure and free descent; and for the same reason, the Plebeian of alien or humble 1 See Gaii Instit., I. sect. 9, or VI. 40. “Qui ab ingenuis oriundi Heinecc., Antiq. Rom. Jurisp., Lib. sunt.” Cic., Topic., 6. The In
I. Tit. iv. v. sect. 1. genuus was the real freeman. See * “Duobusingenuis ortus.” Liv. Ch. II. note 39.
parentage was not entitled, by any early law, to participate in the rights of citizenship on equal terms with those by whom he or his fathers had been conquered. Herein, however, lay the germ of his future elevation, that he boasted of ancestry as glorious as, nay, in a multitude of instances, more glorious than, that from which his neighbour Patrician was derived; and in his consciousness of veins as clear and names as worthy, he claimed from year to year a larger share in the citizenship, from which, when first conquered, he had been totally excluded. There were other free, but inferior, classes, besides the Plebeians: clients, freedmen, and strangers, who had their homes in Rome. But to these there were few such memories of birth or few such claims to citizenship; and when any of them rose, as many did in after times, to higher places, it was the elevation of the individual rather than the class. The citizen, therefore, as we may conclude, was always free; but the free were not always citizens. Nor does the constitution of such a body as the Centuries or the Tribes militate against the inadequacy of personal freedom to make a man a citizen in Rome. Many an individual, who had neither been born nor bred in servitude, had no part in these assemblies, because he was either a foreigner by birth, or a menial by occupation. So hundreds, and afterwards thousands, of the men actually admitted to the Tribes or enrolled in the Centuries, were in themselves but inferior, though nominally regarded as full, citizens in the body to which they belonged. The distinctions of the magistracies and the institutions generally, for the most part previously described, are to be explained on the same common principles. Every separate office of the least importance was, as of right, committed to the full citizens; and none of lower position, though ever so rich, could hope for greater honor or higher authority than was vouchsafed to him as a member of some collective body, the Senate or an assembly. One, even, of the assemblies, that of the Curies, was in complete possession of the Patricians; and of the rest, each was distinguished from the others by certain forms or dignities proportioned to the graft of Plebeian stock it bore. The Tribes, for instance, met in the Forum, - not then the hallowed ground, but the profane, – in the midst of noise and trade; the Centuries gathered, with somewhat more reserve, in the Campus Martius, without the walls; but the Curies met in the Comitium, near the Forum indeed, yet quite separate, where the fig-tree beneath which the twins were suckled, and the spot from which Romulus was translated to the gods, suggested only the most majestic memories. A temple received the Senate within its walls, though the Senate was partly composed, as we have read, of Plebeians; but he whom the Patricians admitted to their Senate in the early times was, if we have any right to judge from analogies, bound, or willing to be bound, unhesitatingly to their behests. Other lines of separation between the Roman orders were drawn through all their public institutions. One treasury, for example, the AErarium, as it was called, belonged to the state