Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, July 01, 1789, Page 92, Image 4

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ContinuedJrom our laji.
The Romans never granted peace to tlieir ene
mies until tney had taken some of their territo
ry from them. Part of f'uch conquests were fold
to defray the expence of the war : another por
tion was distributed among the poor plebeians.
Some cantons were fanned out for the public :
rapacious patricians, solely intent upon enrich
ing themselves, took poileHion of some ; and tliefe
lands, unjultly usurped by the rich, Caflius was
for having diitributed anew in favor of the ple
The ariftocratical pride, avarice, and ambiti
on were all incensed, and the senators greatly
alarmed. The people discovered symptoms that
they begun to think rhemfelves of the lame species
with their rulers: and one patrician of consular
dignity dared to encourage them in fucli presump
tuous and aspiring thoughts.
Some device or other mull be invented to dupe
the people, and ruin their leader : Virginiis the
consul soon hit upon an expedient. Rabuleius
the tribune alked him in aflembly,what he thought
of this law ? He answered, he would willingly
confentthat the lands ihould be diitributed among
the Roman people, provided the Latines had no
Jhare ; divide etimpera. This dillin<ftion with
out the lealt appearance of equity, was addrefled
limply to the popular hatred between the Ro
mans and Latines, and the bait was greedily fvval
lowed. The people were highly pieafed with
the consul, and began to despise CaHius, and to
fufpedt him of ambition to be king. He conti
nued his friendly intentions towardsthe people,
and proposed in senate to reimburl'e, as it was but
juft„out of the public treasury, the money which
the poorer citizens had paid for the corn of which
Gelo, king of Syracuse, had made the common
wealth a present during the scarcity. But even
this was now represented by the senate, and fuf
pe&ed by the people, to be only soliciting popu
lar favour , and although the people felt every
hour the necelfity of a king to protetft them a
gainst the tyranny of the senate, yet they had
been gulled by patrician artifice into an oath a
gainlt kings, and although they felt the want of
liich a magistrate, they had not sense enough to
fee it. The Agrarian laws was opposed in senate
by Appius and Sempronius, and evaded by the
appointment of ten commiflioners to survey the
The next yearCaffius was cited before the peo
ple, and accused by the quaestors of having taken
lecret measures for opening a way to thefover
eignty ; of having provided arms, and received
money from the Latines and Hernici; and of hav
ing made a very great party among the most ro
bult of their youth, who were continually seen
in his train.
The people heard the quseftors, but gave no
attention to Caflius's answer and defence. No
consideration for his children, his relations, and
friends, who appeared in great numbers to sup
port him ; 110 remembrance of his great ac
tions, by which he had raised himfelf to the firft
digaities; nor three consulships and two triumphs,
which had rendered him very illultrious, could
delay his condemnation ; so unpardonable acrime
with the Romans was the slightest suspicion of as
piring at regal pawer ! so ignorant, so unjult, so
ungrateful, and so ltupid were that very body of
plebeians, who were continually fuffering the
cruel tyranny of patricians, and continually soli
citing protectors against it ! Without regarding
any moderation or proportion, the blind tools of
the hatred and vengence of their enemies, they
condemned Caffius to die, and the quxftors in
stantly carried him to the Tarpeian rock, which
fronted the forum, and threw him down, in the
p: e r enct of the whole people. His lioufe was
demolished, and his eltate fold, to purchase afta
tueto Ceres ; and the fatftion of the great grew
more powerful and liaughty,androfe in tlieircon
tempt for the plebeians, who loft courage in pro
portion, and soon reproached themselves with
injustice, as well as imprudence in the condemna
tion of the zealous defender of their interefls.
They found themselves cheated in all things.
The consuls neither executed the senate's
decree for distributing the lands, nor were the
ten commiflioners elected. They complained,
with great truth, that the senate did not act with
sincerity ; and accused the tribunes of the last
year of betraying their interefrs. The tribunes
of this year warmly demanded the execution of
the decree : to eludewhicha newwarwas invent
ed. The patricians pref'erved their ariftocrati
cal tyranny for many centuries, by keeping up
continually some quarrel with foreigners, and by
frequently creating dictators. The patricians, in
the afl'emblies by centuries, had an immense ad
vantage over the plebeians. The consuls were
here chof'en by the patricians, as Caflius and Man
lius were murdered bv aflemblies in centuries. In
2?o Cxfo Fabius, one of Caflius's accusers was
chosen consul, though very unpopular. In 271
the other of Caflius's accusers was chosen consul.
In tliefe contests the steadiness of the patricians
is as remarkable as the inconstancy ot the ple
beians ; the l'agacity of the former as obvious as
die stupidity of the latter ; and the cruelty of the
former as conspicuous as the ingratitude of the
latter. Prejudice, pallion, and luperftition, ap
pear to have altogether governed the plebeians,
without the least appearance of their being ra
tional creatures, or moral agents ; fucliwas their
total ignorance of arts and letteis, all the little
advantages of education which then existed be
ing monopolized by the patricians. The arii
tocracy appears in precisely the fame character,
in all these anecdotes, as we before saw it in Ve
nice, Poland, Bern and elfewere. The fame
indilpenfable necellity appears in all of them, in
order to preserve even the appearance of equity
and liberty, to give the patricians a master in the
firft executive magistrate, and another master in
a house of commons :—I fay, master ; for each of
the three branches must be, in its turn, both mas
ter and servant, governing and being governed
by turns.
To understand how the people were duped
upon these occasions, and particularly how Man
lius was condemned to death, we mull recoiled:
that the tribunes cited him before the people, not
in their curis, but centuries. The centuries
were formed on an artful idea, to make power
accompany wealth. The people were divided
into clafies, according to the proportion of their
fortunes : each clal's was divided into centuries ;
but the number of centuries in the different clafies
was so unequal, that thole of the firft, or richest
class, made a majority of the whole, and when the
centuries ofthis class were unanimous they decid
ed the question. By this institution the rich were
matters of the legislature.
State of the C/aJfes and Centuries.
Class. Roman Sterling. No of
Valuation. £. s. Centuries.
1 — ico,ooo — 322 18 — 98
2 — 75,000 — 242 3 — 21
3 — jo,ooo — 161 9 — 21
4 — 25,000 — 80 14 — 21
5 — 11,000 — 35 io — 31
6——— — — 1
Total 193 from
98 sub.
Majority of the firft class 3
So that by citing Manlius before the people by
centuries, the senate were sure of a vote for his
deftrudtion, and the people "had not sense to fee
it, or spirit to alter it.
Nedham thus far appears to reason fairly and
conclusively, when he adduces the examples of
Melius and Manlius, and he might have added
Calfius, to prove that the people are ever in dan
ger of losing their liberty, and indeed he might
have advanced that they never have any liberty,
while they are governed by one senate. But these
examples do v not prove what he alludes them to
prove, viz. that the people, in their supreme as
semblies, successively cliofen, are the belt keepers
of their liberty ; becaufefuch anaflembly is f'ub
jeci to every danger of a Handing hereditary se
nate ; and more, the firft vote divides it into two
parties, and the majority is omnipotent, and the
minority defencelels. He.should have adduced
thele examples to prove the necellity of separat
ing the executive, legislative, and judicial, and
of dividing the legislature into three branches,
making the executive one of them, and inde
pendent of the other jwo. This is the only fci
entific government; the only plan which takes in
to conficleration all the principles in nature, and
provides for all cases that occur. He is equally
right, and equally wrong, in the application of
his other examples. " The people," fays he,
" were sometimes in danger of a furprffe by a
" grandee cabinet or junto, as that upstart ty
" rannyof the decemviri, where ten men made
" a fhift to enslave the Senate as well as the peo
" pie." It is no wonder that Caflius, Melius,
and Manlius, were facrificed to the paflions of
the senate, for until the year of Rome 300, the
Romans had no certain laws ; so that the consuls
and senators ,ad:ing as judges, were absolute abiters
ofthefate of the citizens. Terentillus, a tribune
had propofecl an ordinance that laws should be
instituted, as rules of right, both in public and
private aftairs. The senate had eluded and poit
poned, by various artifices, the law of Terentillus
until this year, 300, when the tribunes solicited the
execution ofit with great spirit ; and the senate,
weary of contention, or apprelienfive of o-reater
danger,atlenghtli decreed, << That ambafladors
should be sent to Athens, and to the Greek cities
111 Italy, to colled; fucli laws as they should find
rnoft conformable to the constitution of the Ro
man commonwealth; and that at their return
the consuls should deliberate with the senate upon
the choice of legislators, of the power to be con
fided to them, and the time they were to continue
111 office." Sp. Pofthumius, Servius Sulpicius,
and A. Manlius, three persons of consular dig
nity, were appointed deputies. Three Rallies
were prepared by the public, of a magnificence
that might do honor to the Roman people.
To be continued.
THE common observation, that many bands
make light work, but illy applies to the affairs
of" government ; and the advantages to be deriv
;d from Amplifying the great concerns of a nation
by placing them in separate departments, and at
the head of each, one tnan, competent to the du
ties of his station, not only obtrude thimfelv'es
011 the mind by a general reflection on the sub
jec r t, but are supported by the example and prac
tice of all other nations.—l Mill quote two balan
ces from the two firlt in Europe—France and
England. A well informed writer upontlie com
mercial interest of England, fays, " that fre
quent complaints were for a long while made as
to the bulk and form of the Britilh customs
while their apparent confufed Hate feeined to
basle all attempts for reform, and that it was to
the liberality, not less than the perseverance of
the Houie of Peers, that the public were at lait
indebted, in 1696, for the cltabliihment of the
Infpedtor General of the imports and exports
and for the cuftom-lioufe Ledger, which contains
the particulars and value of both ; and there
fore formed the molt ufeful record in regard to
trade, that any country poflefles." And the
great financier of France, Mr. Neckar, obfeives
011 the perplexed slate in which he found the
fifcal legislation of thatcountry, as follow : " This
llrange arrangement of our customs,' fays lie,
" has absolutely supported itfelf by its own de
fers, the multiplicity of particular cases, the
accumulation of rules, the ronfufion of piinci
ples, in short all that antique contexture wove in.
to so many knots has continually presented the
idea of an iminen fe enterprize where attempts
have been made to proceed to a reform 'jy stu
dying details :—But when I took a contraryine
tliod, and by makingjjiyfelf master of the whole
collectively by reflection ; and by taking pains
to discern the principal decisions, and the ele
ments as well as theinterefts of each, the whole
affair became fimplyfied." But I query whether
a subjeCt like this committed to several hands,
poflelling various opinions and drawing in differ
ent directions, would not have thereby become
still more entangled and confufed ?—.Aine
-1 •
nca has it in her power to correct many er
rors, which for want of example before them,
other nations have been led into. It is for her,
by making proper arrangements in the early part
of the adminiltration of the national govern
ment, to avoid much future confufion.—Let her
seek " mult a in parvo," rather than " farvum /'«
Among those arrangements which claim atten
tion may be well placed the Poft-Officcj which
may be made an important vehicle of informa
tion through this extensive country ; and produce
a valuable income to the public—however it may
now answer the former purpose, I think but lit
tle benefit arises in the latter view. In England
so early as 1 711 to 1714 the average nett produce
of the Poll-Office, was about £.90, and though
I will not pretend to calculate the probable a
mount which ours may be made to nett—there
remans no doubt, that the circulation resulting
from the extention of trade, the progress of a
griculture and manufactures,and the general con
cerns of the nation, will give an opportunity of
deriving aconfiderable revenue from thisfoiyce :
Towards which, the postage may be raised, and
all letters not official or on special public service
made fubjeCi to charge : And as every nieafure
which will tend to relieve the internal trade of
these States from embarrafment, to afliniilatethe
ideas, manners and customs of the inhabitants,
and render more easy their general intercourse
with each other, will be for national advantage—
the affixing of one equal value to our currency,
and a general standard for weight s and measures
through the union, is a subjeCt which government
inuft elteem of importance in producing this va
luable consequence.
This Day is publijhsd, (Price 2/6)
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the Editor hereof;
respecting the REVOLUTION of AMERICA.
II fit ten in Holland, in the Year Af,i)CC,Z.AAA.
By his Excellency JOHN ADAMS,
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