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every man of either class, in having a fixed, and to him a venerable, standard of duty and defence. The dearer object of reverence than either Patrician or Plebeian had ever found in their gods or their fellowmortals was set on high in the laws: it was the majesty of their country,” alike dependent upon and alike outspread above them all. Such considerations as we have attempted concerning the Twelve Tables depend, it must be confessed, upon uncertain grounds with regard to the Tables themselves; and it is possible that one or two of the points we have connected with them ought rather to be attached to the subsequent times, in which they were expounded and preserved. It is proposed to run a further risk of the same character, in attempting to draw from later descriptions a few outlines in illustration of the forms of law and liberty in Rome. The means and the ends of office, or, in other words, the method of obtaining and the manner of using it in any state, but especially in any free state, are always consistent with each other. Something has been already related, in the preceding pages, concerning the elections of the early Commonwealth, with reference, though unexpressed, to the spirit in which the citizen sought and entered upon authority. The subject, however, requires more particular attention; nor has the striking feature of almost all the elections that have yet occurred or will for a long time occur in our history, been delineated, though it may perhaps have been suggested by the tempestuous scenes of which mention has actually been made. An assembly, called to choose its magistrates, seemed to be gathered rather for the purpose of deciding the quarrels amongst its members. The Tribes, indeed, might have managed their affairs with greater decorum, because formed of a single order, had not they, too, been often obliged to begin the election of their Tribunes by driving their adversaries, if they could, out of the Forum. In the Centuries, where the two estates were congregated to give their votes for one or both the Consuls, disputes and brawls must have been still more frequent, even though there were no Plebeians to be candidates, but only more or less liberal Patricians. If we turn to the candidates themselves, we are as likely to hear menaces and to witness altercations; but the spirit in them is something more than violent. On the day of election, as for days and weeks beforehand, the seekers after any place in the gift of the assemblies were to be seen abroad in the thoroughfares of the city. Wearing the white, or “candid" robes,” from which they derived their name, and attended by a band of friends and a troop of partisans, they would take up their march, as it might be called, tarrying with every one they met, to go through the same greetings and promises that are still, in some quarters, the usual parts of similar enterprises. The Roman, however, was bound not only to promise what he would do, but to show what he had done; and it is indicative of the sentiments and the lives of his nation, that his most effectual hold upon their support was gained by drawing his toga from his breast and exposing the marks of battle that he bore. The elections became, as they have since been apt to become, the parades of those who sought to profit by them; and the best men in Rome were trained and condemned to a selfseeking spirit, more fatal than ambition or tumult to the prosperity of a free people. Such being the characteristics of the elections, it will be in season, hereafter, to describe their corruptions and their manifold obliquities. A second point to determine is the fashion in which the judicial powers of the Commonwealth were employed by the magistrates or the assemblies. The proceedings before a magistrate were soon, if not already, of minor importance, and distinguished by a separate name” from those before a body of judges or the people at large.” The Consul, indeed, the only magistrate invested with judicial authority in these times,” generally appointed one or more judges, and probably from the Senate, to hear a cause, whether it were a controversy or a criminal charge.” Other trials, called the People's, were conducted by the Quaestors, as we have observed, before the Centuries, or by the Tribunes, before the Tribes; although it is now to be remarked that the law of the Twelve Tables removed capital cases to the cognizance of the Centuries alone. The writ or the accusation, in all causes, was followed by the security or the bail, before the proper magistrate, and then by reference to the judges or the assembly, according to the character of the charge or the suit preferred. If it were a case to be laid before the people, the first step to its prosecution was its assumption by a magistrate, who was said to name the day for the person accused to make his defence. Under these forms, as may be recollected, Coriolanus and Caeso Quinctius were brought to trial. Our present object, however, is to mark how entirely the administration of justice depended upon circumstances, from which, in order to be correct, it needed to be entirely preserved. Whether it were the Consul, or the judges he appointed, or the assembly, who decided the important causes” that originated amidst the turbulence and the injuries of which we have, perhaps, formed some idea, it is perfectly evident that considerations of interest and rank, or passions still more personal, would enter into and occupy the tribunals, where men sought equity and protection, too often in vain. The written laws might secure more justice than the unwritten had ever done; but to say this is to say all that can be said in its or their behalf. One more moment of delay is requisite in order to consider, or rather to review, the process by which the highest powers of the Roman people were exercised in the creation of their laws. A law,” as has previously appeared, could not be made by any single magistrate or any single assembly. If a Consul wished one to be passed, he laid it before the Senate, with whose approval he then proposed it to the Centuries; but their votes, even if unimpeded by the veto of the Tribunes, or the report of the Augurs, were not sufficient to establish a law until the confirmation of the Curies could be obtained. In the same way, a Tribune brought his bill before the Tribes, and if it were carried by them, he proposed it as a petition, to which the consent both of the Senate and the Curies or the Centuries was indispensable before it became a law. The laws once established bore the names of their authors. Now, though the dependence of any act of legislation upon various public bodies was apparently a guaranty that the laws
* “Majestas est quaedam magnitudo populi Romani.” Cic., Orat. Part., Sect. 30.
27 The only garment they wore; easily display his wounds. Persius's for the reasons, according to Plu- words about the candidates are very tarch (Coriol., 14) either that sus- bitter: — picion of concealed money (or arms!) “Ille palpo, quem ducit hiantem might be removed, or that the can- Cretata ambitio,” etc. Sat. W. 176, 177. didate might seem more humbly See Coriolanus, Act III. sc. 2, 3. clad, or else that he might more
28 Jus. 30 Neither the Quaestors of Parri* Then called Judicia, the proper cide nor the Tribunes being exceptrials. tions, though the Tribunes may have possessed some power of lay- perta sunt,” etc. Cic., Pro Caec.,
ing fines. The judicial functions of 2.
the Pontiffs do not enter into our
* The important causes; because more trifling matters were decided by inferior judges, such as Servius Tullius had instituted, or the Centumvirs.