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Chap. of the republic. Whilst Augustus affected to mainXIV- tain the freedom -of election, he consented to accept the annual privilege of recommending, or rather indeed of nominating, a certain proportion of candidates; and it was his custom to select one of these distinguished youths, to read his orations or epistles in the assemblies of the senate. The practice of Augustus was imitated by succeeding princes; the occasional commission was established as a permanent office; and the favoured quaestor, assuming a new and more illustrious character, alone survived the suppression of his ancient and useless colleagues. As the orations, which he composed in the name of the emperor, acquired the force, and, at length, the form of absolute edicts, he was considered as the representative of the legislative power, the oracle of the council, and the original source of the civil jurisprudence. He was sometimes invited to take his seat in the supreme judicature of the Imperial consistory, with the Praetorian praefects, and the master of the offices; and he was frequently requested to resolve the doubts of inferior judges: but as he was not oppressed with a variety of subordinate business, his leisure and talents were employed to cultivate that dignified style of eloquence, which, in the corruption of taste and language, still preserves the majesty of the Roman laws. In some respects, the office of the Imperial quaestor may be compared with that of a modern chancellor; but the use of a great seal, which seems to have been adopted by the illiterate Barbarians, was never introduced to attest public the public acts of the emperors. 4. The extraordiurer' nary title of count of the sacred largesses was bestowed on the treasurer-general of the revenue, with the intention perhaps of inculcating, that every payment flowed from the voluntary bounty of the monarch. To conceive the almost infinite detail of

Chap. haps been the ancient demesnes of kings and repubXIV' lies; some accessions might be derived from the families which were successively invested with the purple; but the most considerable portion flowed from the impure source of confiscations and forfeitures. The Imperial estates were scattered through the provinces, from Mauritania to Britain; but the rich and fertile soil of Cappadocia tempted the monarch to acquire in that country his fairest possessions*, and either Constantine or his successors embraced the occasion of justifying avarice by religious zeal. They suppressed the rich temple of Comana, where the high-priest of the goddess of war supported the dignity of a sovereign prince; and they applied to their private use the consecrated lands, which were inhabited by six thousand subjects or slaves of the deity and her ministers. But these were not the valuable inhabitants: the plains that stretch from the foot of Mount Argaeus to the banks of the Sarus bred a generous race of horses, renowned above- all others in the ancient world, for their majestic shape, and incomparable swiftness. These sacred animals, destined for the service of the palace and the Imperial games, were protected by the laws from the profanation of a vulgar master. The demesnes of Cappadocia were important enough to require the inspection of a count; officers of an inferior rank were stationed in the other parts of the empire; and the deputies of the private, as well as those of the public, treasurer, were maintained in the exercise of their independent functions, and encouraged to control the authority of the provincial magistrates t. The counts G, 7- The chosen bands of cavalry and infantry, domestics, which guarded the person of the emperor, were under the immediate command of the txvo counts of the

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