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AGRARIAE LEGES.

that aejer privatus in the provinces, unless it had received the Jus Italicum, was not the same thing as ager privatus in Italy, though both were private property. Such a passage then as that just re­ferred to in Cicero, leads to no necessary conclusion that the ultimate ownership or dominion of this private land was not in the Roman people.

It only remains briefly to notice the condition of the public land with respect to the fructus, or vec-tigal which belonged to the state. This, as al­ready observed, was generally a tenth, and hence the ager publicus was sometimes called decumanus ; it was also sometimes called ager vectigalis. The tithes were generally farmed by the publicani, who paid their rent mostly in money, but sometimes in grain. The letting was managed by the censors, and the lease was for five years. The form, how­ever, of leasing the tenths was that of a sale, mancipatio. In course of time the word locatio was applied to these leases. The phrase used by the Roman writers was originally fructus locatio^ which was the proper expression ; but we find the phrase, agrum fruendum locare, also used in the same sense, an expression which might appear somewhat ambiguous ; and even agrum locare, which might mean the leasing of the public lands, and not of the tenths due from the possessors of them. Strabo (p. 622), when speaking of the port duties of Cume in Aeolis, says they were sold, by which he no doubt means that they were farmed on certain terms. It is, however, made clear by Niebuhr, that in some instances at least the phrase agrum locare, does mean the leasing of the tenths ; whether this was always the meaning of the phrase, it is not. possible to affirm.

Though the term ager vectigalis originally ex­pressed the public land, of which the tithe was leased, it afterwards came to signify lands which were leased by the state, or by different corpora­tions. This latter description would comprehend even the ager publicus ; but this kind of public property was gradually reduced to a small amount, and we find the term ager vectigalis, in the later period, applied to the lands of towns which were so leased that the lessee, or those who derived their tithe from him, could not be ejected so long as they paid the veetigal. This is the ager vectigalis of the Digest (vi. tit. 3), on the model of which was formed the emphyteusis, or ager emphyteuticarius. [emphyteusis.] The rights of the lessee of the ager vectigalis were different from those of a pos­sessor of the old ager publicus, though the ager vectigalis was derived from, and was only a new form of the ager publicus. Though he had only a jus in re, and though he is distinguished from the owner (dominus), yet he was considered as having the possession of the land. He had, also, a right of action against the town, if he was ejected from his land, provided he had always paid his vectigal.

The nature of these agrarian laws, of which the first was the proposed law of Spurius Cassius, and the last, the law of C. Julius Caesar, b.c. 59, is easily understood. The plebs began by claiming a share in those conquered lands of which the patricians claimed the exclusive enjoyment, sub­ject to a fixed payment to the state. It was one object of the Rogations of Licinius to check the power of the nobles, and to limit their wealth ; and as they had at that time little landed property, this end would be accomplished by limiting their enjoyment of the public land. But a more im-

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AGRARIAE LEGES.

portant object was to provide for the poorer citizens. In a country where there is little trade, and no manufacturing industry, the land is the only source to ^ which the poorer classes can look for subsist­ence. Accordingly, at Rome there was a continual demand for allotments, and these allotments were made from time to time. These allotments were just large enough to maintain a man and his family, and the encouragement of population was one of the objects contemplated by these grants of land. (Liv. v. 30.) Rome required a constant supply of soldiers, and the system was well adapted to give the supply. But this system of small holdings did not produce all the results that were anticipated. Poverty and mismanagement often compelled the small owners to sell their lands to their richer neighbours, and one clause of the law of Tib. Gracchus forbade persons selling their allotments. This clause was afterwards repealed, not, as some would suppose, to favour the rich, but simply because the repeal of so absurd an enactment would be beneficial to all parties. In the later republic agrarian laws were con­sidered as one means of draining the city of the scum of the population, which is only another proof of the impolicy of these measures, for the worthless populace of a large city will never make a good agricultural population. (Cic. ad Alt. i. 19.) They were also used as means of settling veteran soldiers, who must either be maintained as soldiers, or provided for in some way. Probably from about the close of the second Punic war, when the Romans had large standing armies, it became the practice to pro­vide for those who had served their period by giving them a grant of land (Liv. xxxi. 4) ; and this practice became common under the later republic and the empire. The Roman soldier al­ways looked forward to a release from service after a certain time, but it was not possible to send him away empty-handed. At the present clay none of the powers of Europe which maintain very large armies could safely disband them, for they could not provide for the soldiers, and the soldiers would certainly provide for themselves at the ex­pense of others. It was perhaps not so much a sys­tem of policy with the Romans as necessity, which led them from time to time to grant lands in small allotments to the various classes of citizens who have been enumerated.

The effects of this system must be considered from several points of view—as a means of silenc­ing the clamours of the poor, and one of the modes of relieving their poverty, under which aspect they may be classed with the Leges Frumentariae ; of diffusing Roman settlers over Italy, and thus extending the Roman power ; as a means of pro­viding for soldiers ; and as one of the waj^s in which popular leaders sought to extend their in­fluence. The effects on agriculture could hardly be beneficial, if we consider that the fact of the settlers often wanting capital is admitted by an­cient authorities, that they were liable to be called from their lands for military service, and that persons to whom the land was given were often unacquainted with agriculture, and unaccustomed to field labour. The evil that appears in course of time in all states is the poverty of a large number of the people, for which different countries attempt to provide different remedies. The Roman system of giving land failed to remedy this evil ; but it

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