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but, upon the least intervals of peace, the quarrels between the nobles and the Plebeians would revive; and one of the most frequent subjects of their differences was the conquered lands, which the commons would fain have divided among the public; but the senate could not be brought to give their consent: for several of the wiseft among the nobles, began to apprehend the growing power of the people; and, therefore, knowing what an accession thereof would accrue to them, by such an addition of property, used all means to prevent it: for this, the Appian family was most noted, and thereupon most hated, by the commons. One of them having made a speech against this division of lands, was impeached by the people, of high treason, and a day appointed for his trial, but, disdaining to make his defence, he chose rather the usual Roman remedy, of killing himself:after whose death, the commons prevailed, and the lands were divided among them.
This point was no sooner gained, but new dis. sensions began : for the plebeians would fain havé. à law enacted, to lay all mens rights and privi: leges upon the same level; and to enlarge the power of every magistrate within his own jurisdiction, as much as that of the consuls. The tribunes, also, obtained to have their number doubled, which, before, was five: and the author tells us *, that their insolence and power encreased with their number, and the feditions were also doubled with it.
car By * Dionyf. Halicar.
By the beginning of the fourth century from the building of Rome, the tribunes proceeded so far, in the name of the commons, as to accuse and fine the consuls themselves, who represented the kingly power. And the fenate observing, how, in all contentions, they were forced to yield to the tribunes and people, thought it their wisest course to give way also to time; therefore, a de... cree was made, to send ambassadors to Athens, and to the other Grecian commonwealths, planted in that part of Italy called Græcia Major, to make a collection of the best laws; out of which, and fome of their own, a' new complete body of law was formed, afterwards known by the name of the laws of the twelve tables. in!!
To digest these laws into order, tén men were chosen, and the administration of all affairs left in their hands; what use they made of it, has been already shewn. It was, certainly, a great revolution, produced entirely by the many unjust encroachments of the people; and might have wholly changed the fate of Róme, if the folly and vice of those, who were chiefly concerned, could have suffered it to take root.
A few years after, the commons made farther advances on the power of the nobles ; demanding, among the rest, that the consulship, which, hitherto, had only been disposed to the foriner, should now ly in common, to the pretensions of any Roman whatsoever. This, though it failed at present, yet afterwards obtained, and was a mighty step to the ruin of the commonwealth. .'! '.'. Y. 2:
What I have hitherto faid of Rome, has been chiefly collected out of that exact and diligent writer, Dionysius Halicarnaffeus, whose history, through the injury of time, reaches no farther than to the beginning of the fourth century after the building of Rome. The rest I shall supply from other authors; though I do not think it necessary to deduce this matter any further, so very particularly as I have hitherto done.
To point at what time the balance of power was most equally held between the Lords and Commons in Rome, would, perhaps, admit a controversy. Polybius tells us.*, that, in the second Punic war, the Carthaginians were declining, be. caute the balance was got too much on the side of the people; whereas the Romans were in the greatest vigour, by the power remaining in the fenate : yet this was between two and three hun. dred years after the period. Dionyfius ends with; in which time, the commons had made several further acquisitions. This, however, must be grantes, that (till about the middle of the fourth century) when the senate appeared resolute, at any time, upon exerting their authority, and ado hering closely together, they did often carry their point. Behdes, it is observed, by the best authors; + that, in all the quarrels and tumules at Rome, from the expulsion of the kings, though the people frequently proceeded to rude, contumelious language, and sometimes so far as to pull and hale one another about the Forum, yet no blood 1. -.
no was -* **Fragm. lib. 6. + Dionyf. Halicar. Plut. &ica
was ever drawn in any popular commotions, till the time of the Gracchi: however, I am of opinion, that the balance had begun, many years before, to lean to the popular fide. But this de fault was corrected, partly by the principle just mentioned, of never drawing blood in a tumult; partly by the warlike genius of the people, which, in those ages, was almost perpetually employed; and partly by their great commanders, who, by the credit they had in their armies, fell into the scales, as a further counterpoise to the growing power of the people. Besides, Polybius, who liv. ed in the time of Scipio Africanus the younger, had the same apprehensions of the continual encroachments made by the commons; and, being a person of as great abilities, and as much fagacity, as any of his age, from obfèrving the corruptions, which, he says, had already entered into the Roman constitution, did very nearly foretel what would be the ifsue of them. His words are very remarkable, and, with little addition, may be rendered to this purpose: That those abuses and corruptions, which, in time, destroy:a government, are fown along with the very feeds of it, and both grow up together; and that, as ruft eats away iron, and worms devour waad, and both are a fort of plagues, born and bred along with the fubAance they destroy : so, with every form and scheme of government that man can invent, fome vice or cor. ruption creeps in with the very inftitution, which grows up along with, and at last destroys it*. The Y 3
fame * Fragm. lib. 5.
same author, in another place t, ventures so far as to guess at the particular fate, which would attend the Roman government. He says, its ruin would arise from the popular tumults, which would introduce a dominatio plebis, or tyranny of the people ; wherein, it is certain, he had reafon ; and, therefore, might have adventured to pursue his conjectures, fo far, as to the consequences of à popular tyranny, which, as perpetual experience teaches, never fails to be followed by the arbitrary government of a single person. · About the middle of the fourth century from the building of Rome, it was declared lawful for nobles and plebeians to intermarry; which custom, among many other states, has proved the most effectual means to ruin the former, and raise the latter.
And now, the greatest employments in the state, were, one after another, by laws forcibly enacted by the commons, made free to the people; the Consulihip itself, the office of Censor, that of the Quæstors, or Commissioners of the Treasury, the office of Prætor, or Chief Justice, the Priesthood, and even that of Dictator; the fenate, after long opposition, yielding, merely for present quiet, to the continual urging clamours of the commons, and of the tribunes, their advocates. A law was likewise enacted, that the plebiscita, or a vote of the house of Cominons, should be of universal obligation; nay, in time, the method of enacting laws was wholly inverted : for, whereas the se
+ Fragm. lib. 6.