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that purpose distributed among them the lands of which a conquest had been made in the former reign.
He erected villages, where the husbandmen were employed in useful labour, and appointed inspectors to reward industry, and to punish idle. ness. It was by these means that agriculture became such a respectable employment among the Romans. The first men of Rome found their greatest pleasure in rural pursuits. Numa died after a peaceable reign of 43 years; the wisdom of his laws, and the knowledge wbich he had of a Supreme Being, have caused him to be considered as a disciple of Pythagoras; but the appearance of this philosopher was subsequent to the reign of Numa.
As our limits do not admit of going into detail of successive reigns, we shall briefly state that Rome was governed by seven kings, during a space of 245 years, in which time they laid the foundation of her grandeur, being all able princes, without excepting the last, who possess=" ed genius and talents, though he may be reproached with acts of cruelty, oppression, and injustice, which occasioned the total abolition of monarchical government, and the establishment of republicanism in its place.
Two magistrates were annually chosen from
the patricians, or nobles of Rome, who exercised royal authority, under the appellation of consuls; but so many dissentions arose between the patricians, and the common people, called plebeians, especially respecting the division of the lands of the conquered, that, in a few years, to put an end to disputes, a new magistrate was created, called a Dictator, invested with absolute authority on those conjunctures wherein the laws were insufficient; and lest his power should degenerate into tyranny, he was to continue but six months in office. But notwithstanding this, the oppression of the patricians, and the severity of the senate, brought on a revolt of the people.
It is the abuse of power which brings about the most important revolutions. The senate having reduced themselves to the necessity either of encountering the horrors of a civil war, or of yielding to whatever the people chose to demand, they agreed to the election of three magistrates from among the plebeians, who were called tribunes.
This establishment, and the extinction of debts, brought back the people to submission. But it was not long before Rome was again agitated by a struggle for power between the tribunes and the consuls. Far from being able at this time to lay down plans of future greatness,
they were even unprovided with civil laws, for either the regulation of conduct, or preservation of property. The consuls decided in all matters of difference, either from principles of natural equity or from ancient customs, or by some law of Romulus or of his successors, to which the people were strangers.
After a series of disputes, in which violence and animosity took place of zeal and justice, the senate, dreading the total ruin of the republic, were at last obliged to give their consent to the Terentian law, so called from Terentius, a tribune, that proposed it. It was resolved, that ten commissioners, called Decemviri, should be appointed; that for one year they should be invested with sovereign power. Legislation being the principal object of this new government, the decemviri applied with great zeal to complete their codec. Copies of laws were procured from twelve cities of Greece, which Hermodorus, an exile from Ephesus, was employed to explain; and a part of the ancient royal ordinances were added to the compilation.
The work being completed, it was engraven upon ten tables of oak; the people were invited to examine them, and they were afterwards approved by a decree of the senate. The following year two more tables were added, making
the twelve tables which always continued to be the common law of the Romans, and are the source and foundation of all civil law. Cicero does not hesitate to assert, that all the principles upon which the happiness of society depends, are to be found in the twelve tables.
It would have been a most favourable epoch for the Roman republic, if the decemviri had only produced the twelve tables; but they soon degenerated into tyrants; and at the end of the year kept possession of their office, without asking the consent either of senate or people; as if the twelve tables had established the right of the strongest.
It is evident throughout the history of the Roman republic, that for want of a centre of union, or third estate, as we term it, capable of preserving the equilibrium between the aristocratical and democratical powers, their constitution was a continual source of discord and faction.
It is an extraordinary phenomenon in history, that the dictatorship which was resorted to on occasions of the greatest extremity, which gave the right of life and death, and the most despotic power, frequently proved the preservation of Rome; we have not any account of its being abused by the ambition of any one who held the office; and the intention being accomprished, it
was often relinquished before the six months were expired; so great was the influence of the laws upon the minds of the Romans.
When the tyranny of the decemviri was abolished, Q. Hortentius was nominated dictator; being a man of great temper and prudence, and a real friend to liberty, he quieted the public dissentions.
It is remarkable that after peace was thus restored to the public, and a body of laws digested, the progress of the Roman conquests was so rapid, that in little more than 200 years from that period, they had subjugated the most opulènt empires of the world.
At the period of the consulship of Mummius, when Corinth was taken by that general, it was the richest city in Greece; it abounded with the most admired productions of art, and the finest specimens of taste. But as the Romans had not attained to so high a degree of intellectual refinement, as to value the literary treasures of Co. rinth, they were mostly consigned to the flames, while the gold and silver were anxiously secured. This once celebrated city was reduced to ashes, pursuant to an express decree of the Roman Sonate, 952 years after it was founded.
On this occasion Morell exclaims : “ Whilst the literary virtuoso weeps over the ashes of Co