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CHAP. able to his dignity01; and if avarice was his ruling
passion, he enjoyed frequent opportunities of collecting a rich harvest of fees, of presents, and of perqui. sites. Though the emperors no longer dreaded the ambition of their præfects, they were attentive to coun. terbalance the power of this great office by the uncer
tainty and shortness of its duration 102. . The præ- From their superior importance and dignity, Rome fects of Rome and and Constantinople were alone excepted from the ju. Constan- risdiction of the Prætorian præfects. The immense tinople.
size of the city, and the experience of the tardy, ineffectual operation of the laws, had furnished the policy of Augustus with a specious pretence for introducing a new magistrate, who alone could restrain a servile and turbulent populace by the strong arm of arbitrary power103, Valerius Messalla was appointed the first præfect of Rome, that his reputation might countenance so invi. dious a measure: but at the end of a few days, that accomplished citizen 104 resigned bis office, declaring with a spirit worthy of the friend of Brutus, that
vocare, non sinimus: Cod. Justinian. I. vii. tit. Ixii. leg. 19. Charisius, a lawyer of the time of Constantine (fleinec. Hist. Juris Romani, p. 349.), who admits this law as a fundamental principle of jurisprudence, compares the Prætorian præfects to the masters of the horse of the ancient dictators. Pandect. I. i. tit. xi..
101 When Justinian, in the exhausted condition of the empire, institut. ed a Prætorian præfect for Africa, he allowed him a salary of one hundred pounds of gold. Cod. Justinian, 1 i. tit. xxvii. leg. 1.
102 For this, and the other dignities of the empire, it may be sufficient to refer to the ample commentaries of Pancirolus and Godefroy, who liare diligently collected and accurately digested in their proper order all the legal and historical materials. From these authors, Dr. Howell (History of the World, vol. ii. p. 24-77.) had deduced a very distinct abridgment of the state of the Roman empire.
103 Tacit. Annal. vi. 11. Euseb. in Chron. p. 155. Dion Cassius, in the oration of Mæcenas (1. vii. p. 675.) describes the prerogatives of the præfect of the city as they were established in his own time.
104 The fame of Messalla has been scarcely equal to his merit. In the earliest youth he was recommended by Cicero to the friendship of Brutus. He followed the standard of the republic till it was broken in the fields of Philippi: he then accepted and deserved the favour of the most moderate of the conquerors; and uniformly asserted his freedom and dignity in the court of Augustus. The triumph of Messalla was justified by the conquest of Aquitain. As an orator, he disputed the palm of eloquence with Cicero himself. Messalla cultivated every muse, and was the patron of every man of genius. He spent his evenings in philosophic conversation with Horace; assumed bis place at table between Delia and Tibullus; and amused his leisure by encouraging the poetical talents of young Ovid.
he found himself incapable of exercising a power in- CHAP, compatible with public freedom:05. As the sense of liberty became less exquisite, the advantages of order were more clearly understood; and the præfect, who seemed to bave been designed as a terror only to slaves and vagrants, was permitted to extend his civil and criminal jurisdiction over the equestrian and noble fa. milies of Rome. The prætors, annually created as the judges of law and equity, could not long dispute the possession of the Forum with a vigorous and perma. nent magistrate, who was usually admitted into the confidence of the prince. Their courts were deserted, their number, which had once fluctuated between twelve and eighteen?', was gradually reduced to two or three, and their important functions were confined to the expensive obligation 107 of exhibiting games for the amusement of the people. After the office of Ro. man consuls had been changed into a vain pageant, which was rarely displayed in the capital, the præfects assumed their vacant place in the senate, and were soon acknowledged as the ordinary presidents of that venerable assembly. They received appeals from the distance of one hundred miles; and it was allowed as a principle of jurisprudence, that all municipal autho- rity was derived from them alone108. In the discharge
of his laborious employment, the governor of Rome was assisted by fifteen officers, some of whom had been originally his equals, or even his superiors. The
105 Incivilum esse potestatem contestans, says the translator of E e bius. Tacitus expresses the same idea in other words : quasi nescii s exercendi.
106 See Lipsius, Excursus D. ad 1 lib. Tacit. Annal.'
107 Heinecci Element. Juris Civilis secund. ordinem Pandect. tom. i. p. 70. See likewise Spanheim de Usu Numismatum, tom. ii. dissertat. x. p. 119. In the year 450, Marcian published a law, that three citizens should be annually created Prætors of Constantinople by the choice of the senate, but with their own consent. Cod. Justinian. I. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 2.
108 Quidquid igitur intra urbem admittitur, ad P. U. Videtur pertinere; sed et siquid intra centesimum milliarium. Ulpian in Pandect. 1. i. tit. xiii. n. 1. He proceeds to enumerate the various oflices of the præfect, who, in the Code of Justinian (1. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 3), is declared to precede and command all city magistrates, sine injuriâ ac detrimento honoris alieni.
CHAP. principal departments were relative to the command XVII.
of a numerous watch established as a safeguard against
fan fires, robberies, and nocturnal disorders, the custody and distribution of the public allowance of corn and provisions; the care of the port, of the aqueducts, of the common sewers, and of the navigation and bed of the Tyber; the inspection of the markets, the theatres, and of the private as well as public works. Their vigilance ensured the three principal objects of a regu. lar police, safety, plenty, and cleanliness; and as a proof of the attention of government to preserve the splendour and ornaments of the capital, a particolar inspector was appointed for the statues ; the guardian, as it were, of that inanimate people, which, according to the extravagant computation of an old writer, was scarcely inferior in number to the living inhabitants of Rome. About thirty years after the foundation of Constantinople, a similar magistrate was created in that rising metropolis, for the same uses, and with the same powers. A perfect cquality was establisheil between the dignity of the tio municipal, and that of
the four prætorian, præfects:09. The pro
0. Those who, in the Imperial hierachy, were distinconsuls, guished by the title of Respectable, formed an intermefects, &c. ula
diate class between the illustrious præfects and the honourable magistrates of the provinces. In this class, the proconsuls of Asia, Achaia, and Africa, claimed a pre-eminence, which was yielded to the remembrance of their ancient dignity; and the appeal from their tri. bunal to that of the præfects was almost the only mark of their dependence'lo. But the civil governments of the empire was distributed into thirteen great dio. CESES, each of which equalled the just measure of a powerful kingdom. The first of these dioceses was
109 Besides our usual guides, ve may observe, that Felix Cantelorius has written a separate treatise, De Præfecto Urbis; and that many curious details concerning the police of Rome and Constantinople are contained in the fourteenth book of the Theodosian Code.
110 Eunapius affirms, that the proconsul of Asia was independent of the præfect; which must, however, be understood with some allowance : the jurisdiction of the vice-præfect he most assuredly disclaimed. Panci. rolus, p. 161,
subject to the jurisdiction of the count of the east; and CHAP. we may convey some idea of the importance and va. * riety of his functions, by observing, that six hundred apparitors, who would be styled at present eitlier secretaries, or clerks, or ushers, or messengers, were employed in his immediate office. The place of Augustal præfect of Egypt was no longer filled by a Roman knight; but the name was retained; and the extraordinary powers which the situation of the country, and the temper of the inhabitants had once made indispensable, were still continued to the governor. The eleven remaining dioceses of Asiana, Pontica, and Thrace; of Macedonia, Dacia, and Pannonia or Western Illyricum; of Italy and Africa; of Gaul, Spain, and Bri. tain; were governed by twelve vicars, or vice-praefects', whose name sufficiently explains the nature and dependence of their office. It may be added, that the lieutenant-generals of the Roman armies, the military counts and dukes, who will be hereafter mentioned, were allowed the rank and title of Respectable., · As the spirit of jealousy and ostentation prevailed The go. in the councils of the emperors, they proceeded with
"the proanxious diligence to divide the substance, and to mul. vinces. tiply the titles of power. The vast countries which the Roman conquerors had united under the same simple form of administration, were imperceptibly crumbled into minute fragments; till at length the whole empire was distributed into one hundred and sixteen proviuces, each of which supported an expensive and splendid establishment. Of these, three were governed by proconsuls, thirty-seven by consulars, five by correctors, and seventy-one by presidents. The appellations of these magistrates were different; they ranked in successive order, the ensigns of their dignity were curiously varied, and their situation, from accidental circumstances, might be more or less agreea
sive and splendis, each of which co one hundred
111 The proconsul of Africa had four hundred apparitors; and they all received large salaries, either from the treasury or the province. See Pancirol. p. 26, and Cod. Justinian. I. xii. tit. lvi, lvii.
112 In Italy there was likewise the Vicar of Rome. It has been much disputed, whether his jurisdiction measured one hundred miles from the city, or whether it stretched orer the ten southern provinces of Italy.
CHAP. ble, or advantageous. But they were all (excepting
only the proconsuls) alike included in the class of ho. nourable persons; and they were alike entrusted, during the pleasure of the prince, and under the authority of the præfects or their deputies, with the admi. nistration of justice and the finances in their respective districts. The ponderous volumes of the Codes and Pandects113 would furnish ample materials for a mi. nute enquiry into the system of provincial government, as in the space of six centuries it was improved by the wisdom of the Roman statesmen and lawyers. It may be sufficient for the historian to select two singular and salutary provisions intended to restrain the abuse of authority. 1. For the preservation of peace and order, the governors of the provinces were armed with the sword of justice. They inflicted corporal punishments, and they exercised, in capital offences, the power of life and death. But they were not authorised to indulge the condemned criminal with the choice of his own execution, or to pronounce a sentence of the mild. est and most honourable kind of exile. These prerogatives were reserved to the præfects, who alone could impose the heavy fine of fifty pounds of gold: their vicegerents were confined to the trifling weight of a few ounces'ld. This distinction, which seems to grant The larger, while it denies the smaller degree of authority, was founded on a very rational motive. The smaller degree was iufinitely more liable to abuse. The passions of a provincial magistrate might frequently provoke him into acts of oppression, which alfected only the freedom or the fortunes of the subject; though, from a principle of prudence, perhaps of humanity, he might still be terrified by the guilt of innocent blood. It may likewise be considered, that exile, considerable fines, or the choice of an easy death, relate more particularly to the rich and the noble; and
113 Among the works of the celebrated Ulpian, there was one in ten books, concerning the office of a proconsul, whose duties in the most essential articles were the same as those of an ordinary governor of a province,
114 The presidents, or consulars, could impose only two ounces; the vice-præfects three; the proconsuls, count of the east, and præfect of Egypt, six. See Heineccii Jur. Civil. tom. i. p. 75. Pandect. l. xlviii. tit. xix. n. 8. Curl. Justinian. I. i. tit. liv. leg. 4.6.