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in common; but there was another, the Publicum, to the profit of the Patricians alone, and often enriched at the expense of the AErarium: both the treasuries being in the Senate's charge. This universal preponderance of one class over another in the offices and the assemblies of the Commonwealth was the natural result of the manner in which its foundation and first increase had been achieved; but the effect of such preponderance was in its season equally natural, and much more favorable to justice and to liberty.
The working of these institutions together, not having yet been stated, may be here described in a few words, in order to complete the sketch attempted of the political liberty of the early Commonwealth. Elections were made sometimes by the Centuries, sometimes by the Curies, with the latter of whom it always rested to confirm its own or the Centuries' choice by the grant of the commission or Imperium. The legislative powers were exercised through the priests, the Consuls, the Centuries, the Curies, and the Senate; though a law, to be binding, needed, as a general rule, the consent of two, and sometimes three, of the assemblies, when brought forward by the civil magistrates: the laws of the priests, or, to speak strict. ly, of the Pontiffs, being more independent, as exclusively relating to religion or to the observances nearly connected with religion. Administrative and executive functions were exercised by the Consuls and the Senate;” the Senate having, furthermore, a general superintendence over the laws and the institutions,' of which it was commonly regarded as itself the highest. Trials were conducted and sentences pronounced, in the first instance, by the popular judges, or, if the causes were too weighty for them, by the Consuls, or, if in appeal, by the Curies or the Tribes. It may easily be observed how large a proportion of authority belonged to the upper class of citizens; and if it be not yet clear, the narrative we must presently resume will make it so, that, simple as these early institutions may have been, the extravagant measure of power with which every higher assembly and each superior magistrate was invested was scarcely consistent with the liberty or the peace of a free commonwealth. Neither the excess nor the exclusiveness of authority in early Rome is susceptible of any plainer illustration than the power of the father, to which, in one shape or another, much of the political spirit we are describing must be referred. If we could find our way into any of the old, rude households, and see, for one half-hour, the manner in which its members lived, we should have new knowledge of all things in which they and their nation were concerned. The family was concentrated in its father, — the single name of the husband, the parent, the guardian, and the master; he alone lived “in his own right,” his dependants being “in another's right,” according to the peragenda parati.” These words, rum.” Cic., Pro Planc., 3. So from a treatise De Augusti Progenie the Patres Auctores, etc., sometimes (sect. 30), describe the Common- applies to the Senate, but sometimes phrases of the law.” He was the freeman, the citizen, and, in consequence, the father; they were the wife, the children, the wards, the slaves, over each and all of whom his authority was indisputably supreme:" unless the wife be excepted, because it appears that she was sometimes judged by her husband in presence of a certain number of their fellow-Gentiles, members, that is to say, of their Names.” But one of the events recorded to have occurred under the reign of Romulus was the murder of a wife, for which, says the ancient story-teller,” there was not only none to accuse, but none even to blame, the husband who did the deed; and throughout the ruder age at least, the Patrician, whose marriage-rights were alone protected by the laws, was the owner rather than the spouse of the woman whom he married. He was still more arbitrarily powerful over his offspring, whom he punished, sold, or even murdered, as he pleased;" although it would be going too far to deny that most men were restrained by the common affections of paternity from pushing the exercise of their authority to the extremities to which it was allowed to be extended. The power thus absolute over one's own flesh and blood need not be described in its other domestic, or followed into its various public relations, in order to be conceived of aright, as the striking expression of that authority committed to the superior individual or the superior class, as well by the later as by the earlier laws of Rome. The power of law was ample to secure whatsoever it commanded. Apart from the obedience it received spontaneously from a people remarkable for pride in their own institutions, it was armed besides with penalties to strike an offender from his place as a magistrate, a priest, or a citizen: the highest could be made as the lowest, if he were seditious or unfaithful. But the law of Rome was not merely denunciatory or compulsive; it maintained, at least in name, the higher principles of preservation and security; and sought the objects of its interest in things divine as well as human." Its materials were prepared amongst the Italian races, before the single state was formed upon the seven hills; nor can we undertake to learn how these were gathered, how wrought into the forms they are afterwards seen to wear. The forms themselves are susceptible of very simple definitions. In one great body of civil law, the civil and political laws of the Commonwealth formed one division, while the other was composed of the canon law, as we might style it, of the Pontiffs, otherwise called the pontifical or sacred code. The religion which Numa is said to have established seems, in its early ages, to have exerted a twofold influence. One of its effects was to cheer the people with boisterous games and to encourage them by joyous festivals; in which, if the gods would not be tempted down from their celestial dwellingplaces to join in the revelries they loved as well as any mortals, their worshippers might yet be persuaded to greater confidence, and, as would follow thence, to greater vigor in their relations to one another and to their common country. The other effect of the religious system amongst the elder generations of the Romans was the subjection it imposed upon its votaries. It was not so much that the priesthood possessed supreme authority in matters of religion, much less of government, as that the whole body of the higher citizens, from whom the priests were chosen and on whom they were made dependent, would be strengthened at the expense of every other order beneath their own. The chief obstacle to the elevation of the lower classes consisted, as we
3 “Senatus, ut solidum corpus, membra: Senatus, consilium et reimmutabile erat ; Consules, velut rum deliberatio, Consules ad consulta WOL. I.
5 Sui Juris, and Alieni Juris.
6 Over each, however, under a
different title: the wife being subject to the Manus of her husband;
7 “Prisco instituto, propinquis coram, de capite famaque conjugis cognovit.” Tac., Ann., XIII. 32. See Dion. Hal., III. 25. There is
the children and grandchildren (by
just a trace of a similar exception
was of Impuberes, to the age of twelve or fourteen, according to the sex ; the other, of Puberes, to the age of twenty-five. Each period was subdivided into other two. Af.
adopted children. “Jus autempotestatis, quod in liberos habemus, proprium est civium Romanorum. Nulli enim alii sunt homines, qui talem in liberos habeant potestatem, This was
ter twenty-five, though a man were
qualem nos habemus.”