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shire, an English borough, has no rights or powers but such as it has derived, in some shape or another, from the central power of the land, by Act of Parliament or by royal charter. That central power has the same rights and powers in every corner of the kingdom. I speak of course only of the United Kingdom ; as soon as we get beyond its limits, as soon as we enter the Scandinavian kingdom and the Norman duchy which lie so near to it but which form no part of it, so soon we still find ourselves in a state of things which has much in common with the Roman dominion. And if all this is true of the United Kingdom, it is yet more true of states like France and Italy, whose geographical divisions and administrative system have been drawn up as something wholly new in quite modern times. Yet down at least to the end of the last century, in many parts of Germany, of Italy, of Switzerland, of all the lands to which the power of Venice reached, the endless varieties of alliance and subjection between different towns and lands presented the closest analogies to the relations of which I have now to speak. Survivals went on even to our own time. In 1865 a small district was still held in con. dominium by the two free cities of Lübeck and Hamburg. I passed through it with a feeling as if I had been carried back into some distant age. I presume that since 1866 things are different there.
It is of course perfectly true that, at a later age of the Roman dominion, when the Empire began to change into an acknowledged monarchy—though monarchy is not the proper word for a power which was often held by two or more colleagues—that Empire did come much nearer to the character of a modern centralized state. It was mapped out into administrative divisions, and those divisions were administered according to a general law. But the dominion of Rome, Commonwealth and Empire, had been in being for several ages before this change took place. The elder Roman rule was not the rule, despotic or constitutional, of a man over an united territory; it was the rule of a city over other cities and lands standing to the ruling city in every possible relation, from nominally equal alliance to a subjection hardly better than bondage. That so it should be was the natural result of the way in which the Roman dominion was formed. With the political ideas of the third and second centuries before Christ no other state of things was possible. The way in which the dominion of Rome was formed, the process by which the cities and lands of so large a part of the world passed under the supremacy of one ruling city, has much in common with the further process which the growth of that dominion made inevitable, the submission of Rome herself to the dominion of one or more of her own citizens. In both cases the change was gradual. People often talk of the change from the Republic to the Empire, very much as they talk of the English Reformation, as if it were a definite act which took place in some
particular year. Yet all that was characteristic in the Imperial power arose out of its gradual growth, its growth through an union of magistracies and extraordinary commissions which virtually bestowed supreme authority on their holder.
Above all, out of the original character of the Empire as an extraordinary commission granted by a vote of the Senate came the fact that the Empire remained for ages without any law of succession. A law prescribing a mode of election and a law prescribing a rule of hereditary succession both alike assume an ordinary office which must be filled by some one; the Empire was in its origin an extraordinary office which might not be filled at all. A vote, or several votes, of the Senate entrusted a single citizen-or more than one citizen-with powers which practically amounted to sovereignty, and which in the end grew into acknowledged sovereignty. But that growth was slow. For a long time after the Empire began, the republican constitution, the republican assemblies, still lived on untouched in their outward framework. They had simply lost all living energy through the growth of a power greater than all, a power which sometimes directed their course of action, sometimes itself acted in their stead. If we could conceive, as once or twice did happen for a short time, the controlling power removed, that is, if the extraordinary commissions which constituted the Empire were not granted to any one, the old elements of the commonwealth were there, able in theory again to act for themselves as of old. The Senate, after ages of utter nullity, actually did act again as an independent body when the Goth was at the gates of Rome and the Emperor was far away at Ravenna. For Rome once more to act without her master there was no need to create any new power, but simply to take the fetters off an old one. In the earlier ages of the Empire, when the old traditions were more lively, when the forms of the old constitution were still observed, such a change would doubtless have been far more easy.
A modern kingdom cannot be changed into a republic without an active change in its constitution. The executive authority must be vested in some new power to be created and defined for the purpose. The Roman Empire might have been turned back into a republic by a purely negative change. All that was needed was not to appoint an Emperor. The various powers of the State which had come to act only as the Emperor bade them or not to act at all, would, doubtless, from lack of practice, from change in all surrounding circumstances, have found it practically impossible to act as they had done in the days of the old commonwealth. But there would have been no formal hindrance to their so doing; there would have been no need to clothe the Senate or the magistrates with any powers beyond those which they still held, though in a dormant state,
The power of Rome over her allies and dependencies during the Commonwealth and the early Empire was very much of the same kind as the power of the Emperors over Rome herself. It was something which overshadowed a crowd of old powers and liberties, which brought them down to practical nullity, but which in no way formally abolished them. The republican institutions of Rome under the early Empire, the constitutions of the allied states, of the dependencies, even of the direct subjects of Rome, under both the early Empire and the Commonwealth, were exactly in the same state as a man or a beast that is fettered or bridled. His inherent physical powers of action are not lessened; only they cannot be exercised or can be exercised ouly according to the will of a master. So it was with Rome herself under the Emperors; so it was yet more strikingly with the dependencies of Rome under Rome herself. As Rome herself submitted only gradually to the rule of her Emperors, so the dependencies of Rome submitted only gradually to the rule of Rome. There could hardly have been one Roman province in which, as in an English county or a French department, every inch of soil stood in the same relation to the central power.
Within the geographical bounds of most provinces, above all within the bounds of the Greek and hellenized provinces, there were cities and districts standing to Rome in all those endless relations which were the natural result of the different times and the different circumstances under which their connexion with Rome began. Here was a free and equal ally of Rome, a city which Rome had been glad to receive as a free and equal ally at a time when her alliance was really valuable. Nothing had happened to give any excuse for bringing down the old ally to any inferior position. In theory she was still as free as ever, keeping every power of a sovereign state within and without. No Roman magistrate had any authority within her territory; if she sent offerings to Rome or to Rome's master, if she supplied a contingent to a Roman army, all was the gift of pure friendship from one equal ally to another. A neighbouring town might be in the most strictly provincial relation ; over her soil the Roman people had become, not only sovereign, but landlord ; she might keep her old municipal constitution, but it was purely by the grant or sufferance of the ruling city. Such a city yielded obedience to Rome, because Rome was an acknowledged mistress ; if its free neighbour practically yielded obedience to Rome no less, it was simply because in an alliance between the weak and the strong, the strong will always give law to the weak, And between these two extremes there were endless intermediate shades. Besides the absolutely independent ally, there were allies who also had treaties with Rome, but whose treaties were less favourable, treaties which bound both sides alike, but which formally placed one of the contracting parties in a higher and the
other in a lower position. Again there were towns of the province itself on which Rome had bestowed, not by treaty but by her own grant, higher rights than the rest of the province. One city was free, keeping its own law, exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction of the Roman governor, paying no tax or tribute to Rome, but holding all these privileges by grant from the Roman state. Another was equally free within its own walls, but bought its privileges by the payment of tribute to Rome.
And as there were within every Greekspeaking province spots which remained spots of free Hellas abiding in their old freedom, so there might be other spots which were transplanted fragments of the soil of Latium or of Rome itself, keeping in the foreign land the rights of Latium or of Rome itself. That is, there might be within the bounds of the province Latin or Roman colonies, or towns to which, without being in their origin Latin or Roman colonies, Rome had thought good to grant, perhaps her own full citizenship, perhaps only the half-citizenship of Latium. Of these, the free and allied city, the Roman and the Latin colony, were geographically within the province, but they were not legally part of it. To the Roman and the Latin colony we have nothing exactly answering in modern Europe ; but Andorra and San Marino are still lively illustrations of the position of a small state which has powerful neighbours. San Marino, a perfectly independent state, but which, as wholly surrounded by its great neighbour, is practically cut off from exercising any of the external powers of an independent state, is in exactly the position of a free and equal ally of Rome.
Such an ally might keep perfect internal freedom, but it was in the nature of things cut off from any foreign policy. Andorra, a dependent and tributary state, though keeping full internal freedom, would, if it had only one protecting lord, also have its parallels among the dependent allies of Rome. But, in the complication of mediæval relations, Andorra has two protecting lords, two receivers of tribute. That was a state of things which could not be in the days of the Roman Peace.
There is only one San Marino within the geographical bounds of Italy, and San Marino is not one of the great cities of Italy. It is therefore a harmless political curiosity, with whose rights the Italian kingdom has no temptation to meddle. It might be otherwise if the kingdom had many such independent towns and districts within its borders, and if any of the great cities of Italy were reckoned among them. Now one of the ugliest features of Roman history, one which comes ont in every page of the history of the second century B.C., is the ungenerous way in which Rome treated her independent allies the moment any one of them had ceased to be useful to her. As long as the were useful checks on
other power, th
were made not a little of; as soon as the dangerous power was overthrown
or humbled, the ally which had helped to overthrow it became an object of Roman jealousy. The friendly power whose day of usefulness was over was exposed to endless attempts on the part of Rome to weaken and break it in pieces. Such is the tale of the kingdom of
. Pergamon, of the city-commonwealth of Rhodes, of the confederation of Achaia. No part of Roman history is more disgraceful than the dealings of Rome with those three states, the model governments of their several classes. No learning, no eloquence, can avail to whitewash the faithless and brutal dealings of the Roman Senate towards powers whose only fault was to be weaker than Rome and to have done good service to Rome. This feeling of jealousy towards the allies seems to have lingered on long after all ground for jealousy had passed away, when the free city was free only within its own walls, and could not lift hand or foot against the mighty ally by whose dominion it was hemmed in. But the wrongs of these cities under Roman rule were far more largely due to more immediate causes, to the overbearing love of power, to the baser love of gain, which formed the dark side of the Roman character. The liberties of these weak states were often encroached on, not only by the Roman state itself, but by Roman magistrates and even by powerful men who were not at the moment magistrates. The establishment of the Empire undoubtedly did somethiug to check the oppressions of the Roman governors, on whom there was very little check under the commonwealth. But if the Empire led to less oppression on the part of the representatives of the central power, it led to more meddling on the part of the central power itself, A man placed at the head of the world stands in a different position from a city placed at the head of the world. To the ruling city the dependent states are simply dependent states ; it gets what it can out of them, but it has no temptation to meddle for the sake of meddling. The ruling man has temptations to meddle, and it may even be that, the better disposed he is, his temptations to meddle become greater. The natural tendency of the Empire was to unity and centralization everywhere and in every way. Under imperial rule, the endless variety of relations among the allies, dependents, and subjects of Rome changed in the end into the one character of direct members of the Roman Empire. But the change was slow and gradual. Sovereign commonwealths sank into municipalities, and municipalities sank into something less than municipalities, by mere force of circumstances, without
formal act. It is often very hard to say when this or that free city finally lost its distinct being through absolute incorporation in the Roman Empire. It is certain that the memory of past freedom as something that still was not wholly past lived on for ages. Under the early Empire the commonwealths of Greece and Asia, whatever was their formal relation, were in practice, not only subject to