« ForrigeFortsett »
of his republic. A Locrian who proposed any new law, stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejećted, the innovator was instantly strangled. The Decemvirs had been named, and their tables were approved by an assembly of the centuries, in which riches preponderated against numbers. To the first class of Romans, the proprietors of one hundred thousand pounds of copper *, ninety-eight votes were assigned, and only ninety-five were left for the fix inferior classes, distributed according to their substance by the artful policy of Servius. But the tribunes soon established a more specious and popular maxim, that every citizen has an equal right to enact the laws which he is bound to obey. Instead of the centuries, they convened the tribes ; and the patricians, after an impotent struggle, submitted to the decrees of an as
*7 Dionysius, with Arbuthnot, and most of the moderns (except Eisenschmidt de Ponderibus, &c. p. 137–14o.), represent the too,Coo affes by 10, coo Attic drachma, orsomewhat more than 3oo pounds sterling. But their calculation can apply only to the later times, when the as was diminished to oth of its ancient weight: nor can I believe that in the first ages, however destitute of the precious metals, a fingle ounce of filver could have been exchanged for seventy pounds of copper or brass. A more fimple and rational method is, to value the copper itselfaccording to the present rate, and, after comparing the mint and the market price, the Roman and averdupois weight,the primitive as or Roman pound ofcopper may be appreciated at one English shilling, and theroo,Coo affes of the first class amounted to sooo pounds sterling. It will appear from the same reckoning that an ox was sold at Rome for five pounds, asheep forten shillings, and a quarter of wheat for one pound ten shillings (Festus, p. 33e. edit. Dacier. Plin. Hist. Natur. xviii. 4.); nor do I see any reason to reject these consequences, which moderate ourideas ofthe poverty of the first Romans.
C H A P.
Laws of the people.
citizen was exposed to the eyes and ears of his
* Consult the common writers on the Roman Comitia, especially Sigonius and Beaufort. Spanheim (de Praestantiãet Uíč Numismatum, tom. ii. dissert, x. p. 192, 193.) shews, on a curious medal, the Cista, Pontes, Septa, Diribitor, &c.
19 Cicero (de Legibus, iii. 16, 17, 18.) debates this constitutional question * and affigns to his brother Quintus the most unpopular side.
°o, who were invested with the honours of the state". V- This antient prerogative of the Roman kings, was transferred, in their respective offices, to the consuls and dićtators, the censors and praetors; and asimilar right was assumed by the tribunes of the people, the ediles, and the proconsuls. At Rome, and in the provinces, the duties of the subject, and the intentions of the governor, were proclaimed; and the civil jurisprudence was reformed by the annual edićts of the supreme judge, the praetor of the city. As soon as he ascended his tribunal, he announced by the voice of the cryer, and afterwards inscribed on a white wall, the rules which he proposed to follow in the decision of doubtful cases, and the relief which his equity would afford from the precise rigour of antient statutes. A principle of discretion more congenial to monarchy was introduced into the republic: the art of respecting the name, and eluding the efficacy, of the laws, was improved by successive praetors; subtleties and fićtions were invented to defeat the plainest meaning of the Decemvirs, and where the end was salutary, the means were frequently absurd. The secret or probable wish of the dead was suffered to prevail over the order of succession and the forms of testaments; and the claimant, who was excluded from the charaćter of heir, accepted with equal pleasure from an indulgent praetor the possession of
33 The jus honorarium of the praetors and other magistrates, is
strićtly defined in the Latin text of the Institutes (l. i. tit. ii. No 7.),- .
and more loosely explained in the Greek paraphrase of Theophilus (p.33–38. edit. Reitz), who drops the important word honorarium.
1. - the
fines were substituted to the obsolete rigour of the twelve tables; time and space were annihilated by fanciful suppositions; and the plea of youth, or fraud, or violence, annulled the obligation, or excused the performance, of an inconvenient contract. A jurisdićtion thus vague and arbitrary was exposed to the most dangerous abuse: the substance, as well as the form of justice, were often sacrificed to the prejudices of virtue, the bias of laudable affection, and the grosser sedućtions of interest or resentment. But the errors or vices of each praetor expired with his annual office; such maxims alone as had been approved by reason and pračtice were copied by succeeding judges; the rule of proceeding was defined by the solution of new cases; and the temptations of injustice were removed by the Cornelian law, which compelled the praetor of the year to adhere to the letter and spirit of this first proclamation”. It was reserved for the curiosity and learning of Hadrian, to accomplish the design which had been conceived by the genius of Caesar; and the praetorship of Salwius Julian, an eminent lawyer, was immortalized ‘by the composition of the PERPETUAL EDICT.
14 Dion Cassius (tom. i. ol. xxxvi. p. 100.) fixes the perpetual edićts in the year of Rome 686. Their institution, however, is ascribed to the year 585 in the Aéta Diurna, which have been published from the papers of Ludovicus Wives. Their authenticity is supported or allowed by Pighius (Annal. Roman. tom. ii. p. 377,
378.), Graevius (ad Sueton. p. 778.), Dodwell (Przlečtion. Camb-.
den, p. 665.), and Heineccius : but a single word, Scutum Cimbri.