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ard perhaps of the impositions of Gaul “”. But
this calculation; or rather indeed the facts from
whence it is deduced, cannot fail of suggesting
two difficulties to a thinking mind, who will be
at once surprised by the equality, and by the enor-
mity of the capitation. An attempt to explain
them may perhaps reflect some light on the inte-
resting subject of the finances of the declining
empire.
I. It is obvious, that, as long as the immutable
constitution of human nature produces and main-
tains so unequal a division of property, the most
numerous part of the community would be de-
prived of their subsistence, by the equal assess.
ment of a tax from which the sovereign would
derive a very trifling revenue. Such indeed might
be the theory of the Roman capitation; but in
the pračtice, this unjust equality was no longer

182 In the calculation of any sum of money under Constantine and his successors, we need only refer to the excellent discourse of Mr. Greaves on the Denarius, for the proof of the following principles: t. That the ancient and modern Roman pound, containing 51.56 grains of Troy weight, is about one twelfth lighter than the English pound, which is composed of $760 of the same grains. 2. That the pound of gold, which had once been divided into forty eight auroi, was at this time coined into seventy-two smaller pieces of the same denomination, 3. That five of these aurci were the legal tender for a pound of silver, and that consequently the pound of gold was exchanged for fourteen pounds eight ounces of silver, according to th: Roman, or about thirteen pounds according to the English, weight. 4. That the English pound of silver is coined into sixty-two shillings. From these elements we may compute the Roman pound of gold, the usual method of reckoning large sums, at forty pounds sterling, and we may fix the currency of the aureus at somewhat more than eleven shillings.

XVIIs i

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c H A P. felt, as the tribute was colle&ted on the principle XVII. of a real, not of a personal imposition. Several ‘TT indigent citizens contributed to compose a fingle head, or share of taxation; while the wealthy provincial, in proportion to his fortune, alone represented several of those imaginary beings. In a poetical request, addressed to one of the last and most deserving of the Roman princes who reigned in Gaul, Sidonius Appollinaris personifies his tribute under the figure of a triple monster, the Geryon of the Grecian fables, and intreats the new Hercules that he would most graciously be pleased to save his life by cutting off three of his heads “.. 'The fortune of Sidonius far exceeded the customary wealth of a poet; but if he had pursued the allusion, he must have painted many of the Gallic nobles with the hundred heads of the deadly Hydra, spreading over the face of the country, and devouring the substance of an hundred families. II. The difficulty of allowing an annual sum of about nine pounds sterling, even for the average of the capitation of Gaul, may be rendered more evident by the comparison of the present state of the same country, as it is now governed by the absolute monarch of an industrious, wealthy, and affectionate people. The taxes of France cannot be magnified, either by fear or by

18t Geryones nos effe pata, monstrumque tributum, Hic capita ut vivam, tu mihi tolle tria. Sidon. Apollinar. Carm. xiii. The reputation of Father Sirmond led me to expe&t more satisfaction than I have found in his note (p. 144.) on this remarkable passage. T he words, sud vei fuorum homine, betray the perplexity of the commentator. - flattery,

OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 91

flattery, beyond the annual amount of eighteen c H. A. P. millions sterling, which ought perhaps to be XVII. shared among four-and-twenty millions of inha- -vbitants *. Seven millions of these, in the capacity of fathers, or brothers, or husbands, may discharge the obligations of the remaining multitude of women and children; yet the equal proportion of each tributary subjećt will scarcely rise above fifty shillings of our money, instead of a proportion almost four times as considerable, which was regularly imposed on their Gallic ancestors. The reason of this difference may be found, not so much in the relative scarcity or plenty of gold and filver, as in the different state of society in ancient Gaul and in modern France. In a country where personal freedom is the privilege of every fubject, the whole mass of taxes, whether they are levied on property or on consumption, may be fairly divided among the whole

*** This assortion, however formidable it may seem, is founded on the original registers of births, deaths, and marriages, colle&ted by 3. public authority, and now deposited in the Contrée General at Paris. The annual average of births throughout the whole kingdom, taken in five years (from 1770 to 1774, both inclusive), is, 479,649 boys, and 449,269 girls, in all 928,918 children. The province of French Hainault alone furnishes 99.06 births ; and we are assured, by an ačiual enumeration of the people, annually repeated from the year 1773 to the year 1776, that, upon an average, Hainault contains 257,097 inhabitants. By the rules of fair analogy, we might infer, that the ordinary proportion of annual births to the whole people, is about 1 to 26 ; and that the kingdom of France contains 24, 151, 868 persons of both sexes and of every age. If we content ourselves with the more moderate proportion of 1 to 25, the whole population will amount to 23,222,950. From the diligent researches of the French government (which are not unworthy of our own imitation), we may hope to obtain a still greater degree of certainty on this important subject.

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c H. A. P. body of the nation. But the far greater part of

XVII.

the lands of ancient Gaul, as well as of the other

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stantine, the territory of the AEdui afforded no more than twenty-five thousand heads of capitation, of whom seven thousand were discharged by that prince from the intolerable weight of tribute “. A just analogy would seem to countenance the opinion of an ingenious historian *7, that the free and tributary citizens did not surpass the number of half a million; and if, in the ordinary administration of government, their annual payments may be computed at about four millions and a half of our money, it would apear, that although the share of each individual was four times as confiderable, a fourth part only of the modern taxes of France was levied on the Imperial province of Gaul. The exactions of Constantius may be calculated at feven millions sterling, which were reduced to two millions by the humanity or the wisdom of Julian.

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