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might be the theory of the Roman capitation; but in the practice, this unjust equality was no longer felt, as the tribute was collected on the principle of a real, not of a personal, imposition. Several indigent citizens contributed to compose a single head, or share of taxation; while the wealthy provincial, in proportion to his fortune, alone represented several of those imaginary beings. In a poetical request, addressed to one of the last and most deserving of the Roman princes who reigned in Gaul, Sidonius Apollinaris, personifies his tribute under the figure of a triple monster, the Geryon of the Grecian fables, and entreats the new Hercules that he would most graciously be pleased to save his life by cutting off three of his heads.' The fortune of Sidonius far exceeded the customary wealth of a poet; but if he had pursued the allusion, he must have painted many of the Gallic nobles with the hundred heads of the deadly Hydra, spreading over the face of the country, and devouring the substance of a hundred families. II. The difficulty of allowing an annual sum of about 91. sterling, even for the average of the capitation of Gaul, may be rendered more evident by the comparison of the present stateof the same country, as it is now governed by the absolute monarch of an industrious, wealthy, and affectionate people. The taxes of France cannot be magnified, either by fear or by flattery, beyond the annual amount of eighteen millions sterling, which ought perhaps to be shared among fourand-twenty millions of inhabitants." Seven millions of these, in the capacity of fathers, or brothers, or husbands, may discharge the obligations of the remaining multitude of women and children; yet the equal proportion of each tributary subject will scarcely rise above "fifty shillings of our money, instead of a proportion almost four times as considerable, which was regularly imposed on their Gallic ancestors. The reason of this difference may be found, not so much in the relative scarcity or plenty of gold and silver, as in the different state of society in ancient Gaul and in modern France. In a country where personal freedom is the privilege of every subject, the whole mass of taxes, whether they are levied on property or on consumption, may be fairly divided among the whole body of the nation. But the far greater part of the lands of ancient Gaul, as well as of the other provinces of the Roman world, were cultivated by slaves, or by peasants, whose dependant condition was a less rigid servitude." In such a state the poor were maintained at the expense of the masters, who enjoyed the fruits of their labour; and as the rolls of tribute were filled only with the names of those citizens who possessed the means of an honourable, or at least of a decent subsistence, the comparative smallness of their numbers explains and justifies the high rate of their capitation. The truth of this assertion may be illustrated by the following example. The ./Edui, one of the most powerful and civilized tribes or cities of Gaul, occupied an extent of territory which now contains above five hundred thousand inhabitants, in the two ecclesiastical diocesses of Autun and Nevers;J and with the probable accession of those of Chalons and Macon,2 the population would amount to eight hundred thousand souls. In the time of Constantine, the territory of the ^Edui afforded no more than twenty-five thousand heads of capitation, of whom seven thousand were discharged by that prince from the intolerable weight of tribute." A just analogy would seem to countenance the opinion of an ingenious historian,b that the free and tributary citizens did not surpass the number of half a million; and if, in the ordinary administration of government, their annual payments may be computed at about four millions and a half of our money, it would appear, that although the share of each individual was four times as considerable, a fourth part only of the modern taxes of France was levied on the imperial province of Gaul. The exactions of Constantius may be calculated at 7,000,000/. sterling, which were reduced to 23000,000/. by the humanity or the wisdom of Julian.
'Geryones nos esae puta, monstrumque tributum,
Sidon. Apollinar. carrn. IS.
The reputation of father Sirmond led me to expect more satisfaction than I have found in his note (p. 1-44.) on this remarkable passage. The words, suo vel tuanim nomine, betray the perplexity of the commentator.
"This assertion, however formidable it may seem, is founded on the original registers of births, deaths, and marriages, collected by public authority, and now deposited in the Controls Grnrral at Paris. The annual average of births, throughout the whole kingdom, taken in five years from ( 1770 to 1174, both inclusive), is, four hundred and seventy-nine thousand six hundred and forty-nine boys, and four -hundred and forty-nine thousand two hundred and sixty-nine girls, in all nine hundred and twenty-eight thousand nine hundred and eighteen children. The province of French Hainault alone furnishes nine thousand nine hundred and six births; and we are assured, by an actual enumeration of the people, annually repeated from the year 1773 to the year 1776, that, upon an average, Hainault contains two hundred and fifty-seven thousand and ninety-seven inhabitants. By the rules of fair analogy, we might infer, that the ordinary proportion of annual births to the whole people, is about one to twenty-six; and that the kingdom of France contains twenty-four millions one hundred and fifty-one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight persons of both sexes and of every age. If we content ourselves with the more moderate proportion of one to twenty-five, the whole population will amount to twenty-three million two hundred and twenty-two thousand nine hundred and fifty. From the diligent researches of the French government (which are not unworthy of our own imitation), we may hope to obtain a still greater degree of certainty on this important subject.
* Cod. Theod. lib. 5. tit . 9—11. Cod. Justinian, lib. 11. tit . 65. Cokni appellantur qui conditionem debent genitali, solo, proper agriculUiram sab dominio possessorurn. Augustin.de Civitate Dei, lib. 10. c. 1.
T The ancient jurisdiction of (AugMtadunum) Autun in Burgundy, the capital of the /K'iui, comprehended the adjacent territory of (Noviodumn) Nevers. See d'Anville, Notice de I'Ancienne Gaule, p. 491. The two diocesses of Autun and N EWEN are now composed, the former of six hundred and ten, and the latter of one hundred and sixty parishes. The registers of births, taken during eleven years, in four hundred and seventy-six parishes of the same province of Burgundy, and multiplied by the moderate proportion of twenty-five, (see Messance Kecherches sur la Population, p. 142.) may authorize us to assign an average number of six hundred and fifty-six persons for each parish, which being again multiplied by the seven hundred and seventy parishes of the dioceses of Nevers and Autun, will produce the sum of five hundred and five thousand one hundred and twenty persons for the extent of country which was once possessed by the .I ,<lui,
'We might derive an additional supply of three hundred and one thousand seven hundred and fifty inhabitants from the dioceses of Chalons (Cabillonum) and of Macon. (Matixo) since they contain, the one two hundred, and the other two hundred and sixty, parishes. This accession of territory might be justified by very specious reasons. 1. Chalons and Macon were undoubtedly within the original jurisdiction of the /Edui. See d'Anville, Notice, p. 187—443. 2. In the Notitia of Gaul, they are enumerated not as Civitata, but merely as Castra. 3. They do not appear to have been episcopal seats before the fifth and sixth centuries. Yet there is a passage in Eumenius (Panegyr. Vet. 8. 7.) which very forcibly deters me from extending the territory of the .-1 !i 111 i in the reign of Constantine along the beautiful banks of the navigable Sadne.
» Eumenius in Panegyr. Vet 8.11.
Capita- But this tax, or capitation, on the proprietors trade0and of ^an^, would have suffered a rich and numerous industry, class of free citizens to escape. With the view of sharing that species of wealth which is derived from art or labour, and which exists in money or in merchandise, the emperors imposed a distinct and personal tribute on the trading part of their subjects.0 Some exemptions, very strictly confined both in time and place, were allowed to the proprietors who disposed of the produce of their own estates. Some indulgence was granted to the profession of the liberal arts: but every other branch of commercial industry was affected by the severity of the law. The honourable merchant of Alexandria, who imported the gems and spices of India for the use of the western world; the usurer, who derived from the interest of money a silent and ignominious profit; the ingenious manufacturer, the diligent mechanic, and even the most obscure retailer of a sequestered village, were obliged to admit the officers of the revenue into the partnership of their gain: and the sovereign of the Roman empire, who tolerated the profession, consented to share the infamous salary of public prostitutes. As this general tax upon industry was collected every fourth year, it was styled the lustral contribution: and the historian Zosimusb laments that the approach of the fatal period was announced by the tears and terrors of the citizens, who were often compelled by the impending scourge to embrace the most abhorred and unnatural methods of procuring the sum at which their property had been assessed. The testimony of Zosimus cannot indeed be justified from the charge of passion and prejudice; but, from the nature of this tribute, it seems reasonable to conclude, that it was arbitrary in the distribution, and extremely rigorous in the mode of collecting. The secret wealth of com
c See Cod. Theod. lib. 13. tit. 1. 4.
1 Zoeimun, lib. t. p. 115. There is probably as much passion and prejudice • • the attack of Zosimus, as in the elaborate defence of the memory of Constantine by the zealous Dr. Howell. Hist, of the World, vol. 2. p. 20.
merce, and the precarious profits of art or labour, are susceptible only of a discretionary valuation, which is seldom disadvantageous to this interest of the treasury; and as the person of the trader supplies the want of a visible and permanent security, the payment of the imposition, which, in the case of a land-tax, may be obtained by the seizure of property, can rarely be extorted by any other means than those of corporal punishments. The cruel treatment of the insolvent debtors of the state, is attested, and was perhaps mitigated, by a very humane edict of Constantine, who, disclaiming the use of racks and of scourges, allots a spacious and airy prison for the place of their confinement."
These general taxes were imposed and levied eegl 'by the absolute authority of the monarchy; but the occasional offerings of the coronary gold still retained the name and semblance of popular consent. It was an ancient custom that the allies of the republic, who ascribed their safety or deliverance to the success of the Roman arms, and even the cities of Italy, who admired the virtues of their victorious general, adorned the pomp of his triumph by their voluntary gifts of crowns of gold, which, after the ceremony, were consecrated in the temple of Jupiter, to remain a lasting monument of his glory to future ages. The progress of zeal and flattery soon multiplied the number, and increased the size, of these popular donations; and the triumph of Caesar was enriched with two thousand eight hundred and twentytwo massy crowns, whose weight amounted to twenty thousand four hundred and fourteen pounds of gold. This treasure was immediately melted down by the prudent dictator, who was satisfied that it would be more serviceable to his soldiers than to the gods; his example was imitated by his successors; and the custom was introduced, of exchanging these splendid ornaments for the more acceptable present of the current gold coin of
« Cod. Theod. lib. 11. tit . 7. leg. 3.