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Before stating the more particular grounds which may add plausibility to Ihne's agrarian theory, its power to solve the difficulties above stated must be considered. First, it accounts for the perpetual debts to the patricians, into which the plebeians fell as a consequence of the wars. Whether their lands were ravaged by the enemy, or they themselves were forced to neglect cultivation through absence with the army, they would naturally be disabled from paying the rent. No lending on the part of the patricians is then requisite to produce arrears of debt. We have no longer to wonder how it is that the patricians were always rich enough to lend, nor why the creditors were always patricians, nor whence so great an amount of coin came, nor why the law against trade was inoperative against the nobility. The theory at once satisfies the demand, that it shall exhibit the plebeians and patricians, as classes, in the relation of debtors and creditors. Without denying that in early, as in later times, any person destitute of full civil rights might become a client to one who possessed them, it represents every plebeian agriculturist as naturally a client to his patrician landlord.
To enable us to conceive how the patricians might receive rent from public land, it would perhaps suffice to lay down that the early kings of Rome dealt with conquered land as feudal sovereigns did; viz. established barons upon it, who were entitled to dues from the cultivators, though the property of the land was still theoretically vested in the sovereign, who received homage for it. If, at the same time, they strictly defined the amount of rent, and guaranteed the occupancy to the tenant as long as the rent was duly discharged, (which is what an Ancus or a Servius is likely to have done,) we should at once have such a state of things as the theory requires. For, on the expulsion of the kings, the patricians would undoubtedly hold that they were now the real and sole proprietors, as individuals; while the plebeian tenants would insist that their own rights were not affected by the expulsion, and that the state inherited the property in the land which previously was vested in the king. Ihne, however, does not take the king into consideration. He conceives of the early patricians as a race of conquerors, who claim the conquered land for the state collectively; but, inasmuch as no finance-officers as yet existed, nor the means of converting produce into gold and silver, the only mode
of taking tribute for the state was by deputing individual nobles to take it for themselves. He strengthens this view, by denying that any quaestors of the treasury existed before B. C. 447, the consulship of Horatius and Valerius, a belief which Rubino has adopted on the authority of Tacit. Ann. xi.22; which he understands to assert, that though quaestors (viz. Quaestores Parricidii) existed during the kingly period, yet quaestors to accompany the camp (ut rem militarem comitarentur) were first appointed sixty-three years after the expulsion of the Tarquins. The justness of this interpretation is confirmed from Livy, who, before that era, represents the consuls as selling the booty of war, (II. 42; III. 23, 29, 31,) but afterwards attributes the same uniformly to the quaestor, as IV. 15, 53; v. 19, 26. Quaestors of the treasury are first named B. C. 443, by Livy, III. 69; and the speech which he puts into the mouth of Canuleius (IV. 4,) shows that he believed the office of quaestor to have been created later than that of tribune of the plebs and a dile. In the kingly times, (it is Ihne's belief.) there was no public treasury or public taxation; hence no treasurer was needed. Soldiers received no pay: contributions were occasional matters only, and were probably made after the census; though the organization of the centuries had not taxation in view so much as military arrangement. In such a state of things, state-land almost necessarily fell under the power of the individual nobles. It may be questioned, nevertheless, whether Dr. Ihne does not underrate the financial development of kingly Rome. The celebrated works then executed, and the treaty of commerce with Carthage in the year of the first consuls, strongly confirm the view that Rome was far greater under the kings than for many years afterwards; nor is it easy to conceive that the idea of the land being public at all, could have established itself in such a state of things as alone he considers: but as soon as we introduce a king higher than the nobles, and solicitous to protect the commonalty from their too great power, the difficulty is relieved. Again, it is not clear why Ihne should identify the two ideas of client” and tenant. According to all the analogy of Greece, a Patron is the person who acts as legal representative for an alien or minor. A plebeian tenant would naturally go to his patrician landlord for such services, if the two were on good terms; but there is nothing in his position to make it legally necessary: as long as...he had no occasion to appear before the judge, there seems no reason why he should be any one's client.” This certainly is Livy's idea, that all clients were plebeians, but not all plebeians always clients: nor does there appear any ground for rejecting it. In troublous times, moreover, when patricians did not hesitate to assassinate a tribune, why should it be questioned that they kept round their persons retainers, who would be peculiarly spoken of as their clients, and might give occasion to Dionysius's exaggerated representations ? Of course such retainers could not reside away from Rome, and in so far would justify Niebuhr's assertion, that the clients (in this restricted sense) were townspeople. As such, the consul would not covet their presence in the army: indeed, there may have been a tacit understanding among the patricians, not to press into the public service any of the clients who served as a private guard to a patrician noble. Ihne's view of the landed property is not only simple and ingenious, but really sweeps off many serious difficulties. Yet it encounters or makes new ones, in the distinction which it introduces between old public land and new public land; the former being that which became public before there were finance ministers, and which consequently fell under the power of individual patricians by avowed regulations; but the latter being farmed out by the censors for five years at a time, and being allowed to become patrician property only by connivance. We should have expected this distinction of the public land to be clearly made by the ancients; but Ihne has not set himself definitely to establish that they do make it. Perhaps he argues that so large a part of the new public land also was made (in every practical sense) private property, as to obliterate the division of new and old. Among the passages to which reference is made in this discussion, there is one which seems to recognize the distinction, in Livy, (IV. 51,) as late as B. C. 410; therefore after the appointment of quaestors of the treasury and of censors. “Haec ipsa indignitas angebat animos, non in re
* He suspects cliens to be derived from colo, and almost equivalent to colonus.
• It is sometimes said that “the client his patron would probably have found in Rome could not form and dissolve it hard in early times to find another his relation to his patron at will, as in patrician willing to become his patron: Greece;” but it is not clear on what but this is a different thing from legal evidence this rests. A client who left incapacity.
tinendis modo publicis agris, quos vi teneret, pertinacem nobilitatem esse; sed ne vacuum quidem agrum, nuper ea hostibus captum, plebi dividere.” Ihne believes that the struggle concerning the old Roman land was reproduced in the colonies, where the patricians or nobles endeavoured to keep to them. selves the rights of lords of the soil, while the plebeian colonists expected that, at least there, they should be made freeholders. There is a great deficiency of documentary evidence on this whole subject; and general probabilities appear to stop short in this, that patricians are not likely to have been willing to join a colony, unless large landed rights were given them: these could often be had only at the expense of the Roman colonists; and as the senate must have desired to send out some patricians, in order to secure the allegiance of the colony, they are likely to have struggled to invest them with the character of patrons and landlords to the rest. Sometimes, however, their position could be maintained, at the expense not of the new colonists, but of the old inhabitants. Thus” in the Roman colony at Antium, the conquered people paid rent to the Roman colonists, who became their landlords. This precisely represents Ihne's view of the old plebeians, whom he supposes in all cases a conquered people, as the Antiates afterward. He also refers to the Campanian knights, who were Roman citizens and received rents from the commonalty, as representing at a later period the same relation between the orders. Again, if Ihne's theory is correct, an agrarian law was a different thing in earlier and in later times. With Spurius Cassius, it meant, to secure to a tenant as freehold (or perhaps rather as only a fixed tenure, liable to the payment of a quitrent,) the land which he previously held as tenant-at-will, at least in the theory of the patricians, which they were often able to enforce. With the Gracchi, it meant to plant new proprietors on small farms which had previously been held in masses, and generally been used for pasturage only. At least we cannot conceive that Spurius Cassius could have wished to give the land to any but former tenants, except where these had died or vanished, under the pressure of distress. Perhaps, however, in the general obscurity which the ancients have left over the
* Ihne quotes a passage as from Dionys. x. 60, in proof; but the reference is erroneous.
whole subject of agrarian laws, we ought not to expect this distinction (if it really existed, as Ihne's theory requires,) to have been made prominent by any early writer. That there was a considerable portion of public land which was not practically leased out by the censors, Ihne proves from the difficulty which was experienced in the time of Tiberius Gracchus to discriminate what land was public, or at least what were the limits of it. In fact, the land really so reserved was quite exceptive: certain districts of Campania and Sicily could not otherwise have been so much talked of. We may probably infer, that the new aristocracy continued to practise as far as possible towards conquered lands, what the old patricians had done originally,–to get the state-lot into private possession, without the controul of censor or quaestor. It is a very ingenious conjecture of Ihne's, that the zeal which so suddenly displayed itself in Rome, for founding Latin colonies, was intended to evade a law which enacted that the members of all future Roman colonies should be freeholders. At the same time, that the patricians (or rather, nobles) who chose to join a Latin colony might lose nothing, it was enacted that all the magistrates in such colonies should have a right to claim full Roman citizenship. This would be in perfect harmony with the proceedings of a Roman aristocracy, and seems to carry conviction to the mind, although there is a difficulty in finding the law which was to be evaded. Ihne believes it to be no other than the Lex Genucia, mentioned by Livy, (VII. 42,) as forbidding foenus; according to which, not only must faenus mean “rent of land,” but an important limitation, unnamed by Livy, should be added to the law; viz. that “in no future division of public lands shall foenus be exacted.” This certainly is not to interpret. And here we perhaps hit on the main difficulty of the theory, viz. that we have no ground for translating fonus, rent. The derivation of the word allies it to factus, as taxo; to téx03, and shews that it strictly and originally meant interest of money. If land were purchased as an investment, the rent might be styled interest; but not else. Hence we shall be forced to conclude that all the ancients were in positive error, when they spoke of the Patrician nobles as foeneratores; unless we can be satisfied with the modified view, that the great, or at least the avowed, grievance of the plebs was, not the rent itself, but the interest