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not perhaps to close our article without another specimen of them. Take, then, one of the shortest: —
'Ne'er were the zephyrs known disclosing
More sweets than when in Tempe's shades
Those lovely maids were called "the Hours,"
The charge of Virtue's flock they kept;
To guard it while her sisters slept.
False Love, how simple souls thou cheatest!
In myrtle bower that traitor near
The evening Hour, to shepherds dear.*
In tones so bland he praised her beauty,
Such melting airs his pipe could play,
And fled in Love's embrace away.
Meanwhile the fold was left unguarded—
And now from Virtue's train discarded,
Time flies, and still they weep; for never
The fugitive can time restore:
And all the rest shall smile no more !'—p. 7.
These are graceful stanzas—quite equal to any vers de societe of our time—but there are more ambitious things included in this volume. There occurs, for example, a complete poem of more than one thousand lines—written in the course of the voyage homeward in 1816, and all in the short space of three days. So hasty a production may be expected to show abundance of errors and inaccuracies; yet' The Isle of Devils' appears to us, on the whole, the best poem, of any considerable length, that Mr. Lewis ever wrote. And what is his best? Why, certainly, in poetry, not very much: —pretty conceits airily tricked out in what are called songs; in his more elaborate efforts melodious, skilfully-varied versification, and here and there a line of such happy ease in construction, that it is sure to linger on the ear; but a slender command either of imagery or of passion. As a poet, Lewis is to a Byron what a scene-painter is to a Hobbima. He produces a startling grotesque of outline, and some grand massy contrasts of light and
shade; but he has no notion of working in detail—no atmosphere, no middle-tints to satisfy a daylight spectator. The subject of 'The Isle of Devils ' would, in Lord Byron's hands, have at least rivalled the effect of 'Manfred;' from Lewis it comes only in the shape of a sketchy extravaganza, in which no feeling is seriously grappled with, and a score of magnificent situations are, to all intents and purposes, except that of tilling the ear with a succession of delicious sounds, thrown away. The truth is, that though Sir W. Scott talks of the ' high imagination ' of Lewis, it was only iu his very first flights that he ever was able to maintain a really enthusiastic elevation—and he did so more successfully in the prose of' The Monk' than iu the best of his early verses. That vein was a thin one, and soon worked out. Had he lived, in all likelihood, he would have turned in earnest to prose composition; and we think no reader of his West India Journals can doubt that, if he had undertaken a novel of manners in mature age, he would have cast immeasurably into the shade even the happiest efforts of his boyish romance.
Mr. Lewis died at sea, on his way home from Jamaica, in 1818; and it may be right to mention that, according to Sir Walter Scott's information, 'he fell a sacrifice to a very strange whim—that of persisting, in spite of all advice, to take daily emetics as a preventive against sea-sickness.'
Art. V.—An Inquiry into the State of Slavery amongst the Romans, from the earliest Period till the Establishment of the Lombards in Italy. By William Blair, Esq. Edinburgh. 1833. 12mo. pp. 301.
rPHIS valuable little treatise belongs to a class of no common .*. occurrence in our recent literature: it is an extremely sensible and scholar-like inquiry into a subject of great interest in classical antiquity, or rather in the general history of mankind. The author is as modest in its pretensions, as he has been laborious and intelligent in the execution of his work. Every one knows that in the free states of antiquity a large proportion of the population, the domestic servants, in general the artisans, and in the days of Roman splendour and opulence far the greater part of the agricultural labourers were, in the strictest sense, slaves. On the condition of this part of the community, the working classes, the people, according to the prevailing language—history, essentially aristocratic in its nature, has not condescended to preserve almost any authentic records. More than once indeed, particularly in the great
Servile Servile war, this despised and degraded race forced itself with fearful violence upon the general attention, and claimed a place in the sanguinary annals of the civil wars. It is a remarkable illustration of the haughty feelings of these ancient republicans, that for a long time they would hardly stoop to acknowledge the public danger, even though Sparlacus, after having revenged on one of the consuls the defeat of his colleague, and having appeased the manes of his slaughtered brethren by the sacrifice of three hundred Romans, threatened Rome itself at the head of a hundred and twenty thousand men! Pride, no doubt, mingled with alarm, when after this disastrous war had lasted for three years, no candidate appeared in the trembling comitia to assume a command, in which victory over runaway slaves and desperate gladiators would confer no triumph, defeat would be attended with tenfold disgrace.
Where history thus maintains a disdainful silence, the state of the slave population of Rome can only be laboriously gleaned from incidental notices in the poets, and other writers who have given us an insight into the private and social life of the masters of the world. No native Italian comedy having survived, and, as Mr. Blair has justly observed, Plautus for the most part, and Terence altogether, confining themselves to Grecian manners,—(if indeed their plays are not mere translations from the Greek,)—we are deficient in that branch of literature which is most fertile in information upon the state of slavery in Greece. Even the law would scarcely deign to notice this outcast and pariah class: in the Corpus Juris, observes Mr. Blair, there is no title 'de servis.' This must however be understood with considerable reservation: many regulations and edicts were issued by the emperors relating to the condition of slaves: in the time of Hadrian they were taken under the immediate and paternal protection of the law; and from that period the statutes abound in regulations respecting the sale, the treatment, we must not say the rights, of slaves.
The first important question is the proportion of the slave to the free population of Rome. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the learning and sagacity which have been devoted to the subject, from Hume and Wallace to the invaluable researches of Mr. Fynes Clinton on this as well as on other points of classical antiquity, considerable difficulty still prevails as to the class of free citizens comprehended in the different censuses. The number of slaves is a matter of still more obscure and doubtful inference. 'It does not appear,' says our author, 'that permanent public registers of slaves were kept; but annual or frequent returns of their slaves, as of other property, were given in the census by all persons liable to taxation.' Mr. Blair appears to have forgotten that from the period of the triumph over Perseus, and the subjugation of the
Macedonian Macedonian kingdom, the citizens of Rome had been exempt from direct taxation. Slaves, like other personal property, would be liable to the tax on legacies and inheritances, which Augustus extorted from the reluctant senate, and there was an import duty on slaves, as on other foreign commodities; but the Italian subjects of the empire were long free from the burthens either of a land, a capitation, or a property assessment. Mr. Blair calculates, on probable grounds, that in the earlier periods of the republic, from the expulsion of the kings to the capture of Corinth, (b.c. 146,) the proportion might stand at one slave to every free Roman. The increasing opulence and luxury, the foreign wars which were perpetually pouring in thousands of captives into Italy, and, at a later period, an active and enterprising slave-trade, must have raised the proportion most considerably. He would estimate it, from the period of the fall of Corinth to the reign of Alexander Severus, A.d. 222-235, as high as three slaves to one free man. Among the arguments adduced to support this estimate, which greatly exceeds that of Gibbon and most modern writers, our author adduces the following remarkable instances of the more than oriental magnificence of Rome.
'Some rich individuals are said to have possessed ten thousand, and even twenty thousand, of their fellow-creatures. Pompey's freedman, Demetrius, had a great many—those of Crassus were very numerous, and formed a large part of his fortune; his band of architects "and masons alone exceeded five hundred. Scaurus possessed above four thousand domestic, and as many rustic slaves. In the reign of Augustus, a freedman, who had sustained great losses during the civil wars, left four thousand one hundred and sixteen slaves, besides other property. The household of Pedanius Secundus, prefect of Rome under Nero, was, on a melancholy occasion, found to consist of four hundred slaves. When the wife of Apuleius gave up the lesser part of her estate to her son, four hundred slaves formed one of the items surrendered. Slaves always composed a great part of the moveable property of individuals, and were one of the chief signs of opulence: we learn from the laws respecting marriage, that they formed the chief articles of ladies' dowries. A law passed by Augustus against the excessive manumission of slaves by testament, forbidding any one to bequeath liberty to more than one-fifth of all his slaves, fixes the maximum to be so freed, under any circumstances, at one hundred; whence we may reasonably infer, that five hundred was not an extraordinary number of slaves to be held by one owner. It was, at all times, after the introduction of luxury, fashionable to go abroad attended by a great train of slaves. Horace mentions such a troop consisting of two hundred, and considers ten a very small retinue. At the beginning of the empire, the usual number of personal attendants must have been large; for we have a regulation of Augustus to prohibit exiles from carrying with them more than twenty slaves. Besides, the maVol. h. No. o. 2d ritime ritime law of the Rhodians, sanctioned by the Roman emperors, from Tiberius to Alexander Severus, contemplates every merchant's or trader's being attended by two slaves upon a voyage. We have some reason also to believe that the lowest number of slaves to which the term family or set [familta] applied was fifteen *.'—pp. 12, 13.
Mr. Blair has not, in our opinion, paid sufficient attention to the effect of the partitions of the public lands, which the agrarian laws were intended to remedy. The statement of Appian on this subject affords strong confirmation of his general views. No subject, till of late years, was so entirely misunderstood—no authorities were appealed to, by the democratic writers, with more total ignorance of their real character and design, than the agrarian laws of Rome. One of the great objects of these statutes was to prevent the free and hardy agricultural population of Italy, which had furnished a constant supply of soldiers to the all-conquering legions of Rome, from sinking into a race of beaten and degraded predial slaves. The wealthy patricians, who had obtained possession of almost the whole of this public domain by encroachment, or by purchase, employed only slave-labour in its cultivation—for this simple reason, that slaves were dar^arsvroi, not liable to be pressed for the army, or marched oft' as recruits in the midst of their agricultural occupations. 'This kind of property,' says Appian, 'like the great sheep and cattle farms which these slaves were employed to superintend, brought vast returns, from the fruitfulness of the slave population, who multiplied in security on account of their exemption from military service. Thus the nobles grew rich; and thus a race of slaves rilled the w hole country, while -it was almost dispeopled of the still decreasing Italians, who wire worn out with poverty, with exactions, and with military duty.' This will account for the immense numbers which crowded around the standard of Spartacus. In that war, of rather less than three years, above one hundred thousand of his followers perished in the battles which he lost, not including those who fell in his victorious engagements; and though we have no right, perhaps, to assume that the whole of his army was servile, (according to Appian he refused to enlist deserters,) yet there can be no doubt that a very large proportion were of this clas9. The other dangerous servile wars
* From one of the very curious tables introduced in another part of Mr. Mail's book (p. 135.) it appears that the personal attendants of a Roman magnate—quite distinct from the genera! establishment of the house—were sometimes as many as forty. The dihtinctive names of these functionaries give one a most extraordinary notion of the unbounded luxury of a patrician I inula. But the fortunes of these great lords of Rome were, no doubt, in the vigour of the empire, quite beyond any modern scale of opulence. Even in the days of the weak and degraded Honorius, Olympiodorus speaks of an income uf £'200,000., as not at all uucommou. See a variety of curious details in Gibbon's 31st Chapter, us to the enormous fines and plunder of Alaric.