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“Since kings cannot pretend to any right to do mischief, the right of the people must be acknowledged, according to the law of nature, to be superior to that of princes.”— MILTon, Def. Peop. Engl., Ch. 5. If the preceding account of the kings appear to have been constructed of too traditionary materials, there is yet some security in the prominence they give to the better points of the Monarchy. The dif. ference in the stories of Romulus and of Servius Tullius is the difference between a people of ruffians and one of improving men; and though it be true that at the beginning of the Commonwealth, as during the Monarchy, there stands a single class superior to the rest of the people, the rise of the Patricians upon the downfall of the kings is to be explained only by the changes they had undergone in point both of numbers and of ideas, since the day when they received their name; this expansion within themselves having made them the first to resist tyranny and the first to profit by its overthrow. Nor is the well-spiced legend of the latter Tarquin to overpower the simpler and the juster memories which belong to the infancy of Rome beneath her kings." They had been boisterous warriors, and perhaps, in spite of traditions, but unskilful legislators; yet the part they bore in supplying the resolution then wanted above all things possible was, whether they chose or not to have it so, both the protection and the direction of their countrymen. Our interest, however, is more warmly aroused by the struggle and the vigor of the restless years which begin with the Commonwealth; nor need it be shaken because the first uses of the increased freedom were mistaken and barbarous. The time had long passed since the wolf could seek a covert or the shepherd find a home on the seven hills; though there were still large open spaces upon which the wood yet stood, or where the grain might yet grow in the unencumbered soil. In the portion occupied by buildings, each temple and many of the dwellings were surrounded by vacant land, some ways alone about the Forum being crowded thick with houses, which the poor occupied almost promiscuously. The temple, the circus, and the subterranean Cloaca, rather an avenue than a drain beneath the Forum, bore witness to the necessities and the comparative refinements of the people; but no work since Romulus marked his wall so indicated the character and the employment of its authors as the long line of ramparts, stretching even beyond the Tiber, ascending, descending, and clamping hill to hill. The changes without the wall were as striking as those within. It was not merely that the territory of the city was enlarged, but that the vestiges of states, with which, as well as towns, the country had been overspread three centuries before, were gone, at least from the vicinity of the hills. Old forts or barriers had been preserved; but dwellings had fallen or been demolished to supply the fortification with repairs and new materials. Some of the Plebeians, however, still lived where their ancestors had been overcome; but the woods or pastures of the Patricians stretched wider wherever the dominion of their state extended. It is equally impossible to mark the boundary as to number the population belonging to the Roman territory under its last king; for his banishment, as we shall soon read, gave rise to great disasters. These, however, had not yet occurred in all their violence, when the Census, taken in the first year of the Commonwealth, returned one hundred and thirty thousand citizens as capable of bearing arms.” This is almost undoubtedly an exaggerated estimate, to which the ancient writer, familiar with later history, very naturally inclined; and unless it include the citizens of the states allied to Rome, it can scarcely be accepted as indicating the number of warriors even at the close of the Monarchy, when many could be counted whom a few months detached from their transitory allegiance. Supposing the people, after the shocks of the revolution were passed, to be about two hundred thousand in all, the largest proportion of this number was unquestionably composed of Plebeians, whom the Patricians, even with their clients, would scarcely equal; while the slaves were yet too few to be reckoned as any considerable part of the population. These are the only statistics which, though partly imaginary, can be of any advantage to the intelligence of the events which followed the revolution against the Roman monarchy. Near the close of the last reign, an embassy, consisting of the king's two younger sons and their relation Brutus, was sent, as the story ran, to Delphi, for the purpose of consulting the oracle upon some recent prodigies by which the royal family had been alarmed. After their mission was fulfilled, the sons of Tarquin, desirous, it seems, of learning to whom their father's power was destined to descend, asked of the oracle the knowledge it was supposed efficient to impart. But when the answer came, that he who first embraced his mother should reign at Rome, their companion, Brutus, pretended to fall by chance, and kissed the earth he thought the common parent of them all. The man thus eager to fulfil the condition which the oracle imposed on the attainment of supreme dominion at Rome" was the same who swore revenge over Lucretia's corpse, the hero of the revolution by which the Tarquins were expelled, and of which the only object, if the spirit of the followers resembled that which their leader' showed at Delphi, was to transfer the authority of the monarch to the Patricians. Brutus would as soon have thought of recalling the king, as of permitting, much more promoting, the election of a Plebeian Consul. . The Consuls, or, as they were called for sixty years, the Praetors," must be regarded as having been, at first, the successors of the king. Livy fervently begins the second book of his history with much rejoicing that he had thereafter to write of the “free Roman people”;" yet he straightway confesses that their new liberty consisted in the limitation of the term rather than of the power of the supreme magistracy.’ The exultation and the reflection of the old historian are equally reasonable; yet he did not quite sufficiently describe the nature of the change to the Commonwealth. It was the assembly of the Centuries over which Lucretius presided as Interrex" at the election of the first Consuls; and that it should have been the Centuries formed of all classes, instead of the Patrician Curies, who had always elected and confirmed the kings, was in itself a revolution worthy of all hopeful anticipations. Brutus and Tarquinius Collatinus, the husband and the avenger of Lucretia, were returned as Consuls; and their first act, after gathering their lictors, was to make the people or the Patricians swear that they would suffer no one to reign, or, if dangerous to freedom, even to live, in
1 “Quasi infantia sub regibus septem.” Flor., I. 8.
3 “Imperium summum Romae.” as a Patrician in Dion. Hal., IV. Liv. I. 56. 71, 81. * Brutus is expressly described
5 In their capacity as generals. potestate, numeres.” Ibid. Cf. Göttling, Röm. Staatsv., Sect. 99. Plut., Publ., 1. As Machiavelli 6 “Liberi populi Romani.” II. 1. says, “Wennero a cacciare di Roma
7 “Libertatis autem originem il nome e non la potestá regia.”
inde magis, quia annuum imperium - consulare factum est, quam quod deminutum quidquam sit ex regia
Disc. sop. Tit. Liv., I. Cap. 2.