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After this computa:ion of Appian and DIODORUS SICULUS, I know not, whether I dare affirm, that the modern Dutch are more numerous than the antient BATAVI.
SPAIN is decayed from what it was three centuries ago; but if we step backward two thousand years, and consider the restless, turbulent, unsettled condition of its inhabitants, we may probably be inclined to think, that it is now much more populous. Many SPANJARDS killed themselves when deprived of their arms by the ROMANS . It appears from PLUTARCH", that robbery and plunder were esteemed honorable amongst the SPANIARDS. HIRTIUS' represents in the same light the situation of that country in Caesar's time; and he says, that every man was obliged to live in castles and walled towns for his security. It was not till its final conquest under AUGUSTUS, that these disorders were repressed 5. The account which STRABO and Justini give of SPAIN, corresponds exactly with those above mentioned. How much, therefore, muft it diminish from our idea of the populousness of antiquity, when we find, that Cicero, comparing ITALY, AFRIC, Gaul, Greece, and SPAIN, mentions the great number of inhabitants, as the peculiar circumstance which rendered this latter country formidablek ,
Italy, 'tis probable however, has decayed : But how many great cities does it still contain ; VENICE, GENOA, PAVIA, TURIN, MILAN, NAPLES, FLORENCE, LEGHORN, which either subsisted not in antient times, or were then very inconsiderable ? If we reflect on this, we shall not be apt to carry matters to so great an extreme as is usual, with regard to this subject.
When the Roman authors complain, that ITALY, which formerly exported corn, became dependent on all the provinces for its daily bread, they never ascribe this alteration to the increase of its inhabitants, but to the negleet of tillage and agriculture! A natural effect of that pernicious practice of importing corn, in order to distribute it gratis among the Roman citizens, and a very bad means of multiplying the inhabitants of any country". The sportula, so much talked of by MARTIAL and JUVENAL, being presents regularly made by the great lords to their smaller clients, must have had a like tendency to produce idleness, debauchery, and a continual decay among the people. The parish-rates have at present the same bad consequences in ENGLAND.
Were I to assign a period, when I imagine this part of the world might porsibly contain more inhabitants than at present, I should pitch upon the age of TRAJAN and the ANTONINES; the great extent of the Roman empire being then civilized and cultivated, settled almost in a profound peace both foreign and do
a Titi Livii ; lib. 34• cap• ' De bello Hji.
taken, by a poetical figure, for robbers in general. e In vita Marii.
VARRO de re ru'sica, lib. 2. praef. COLUg Vell Pater. lib. 2. $ 90.
MELLA praef. SUETON. AUGUST. cap. 42. . Lib. 3. i Lib. 44.
m Tho' the observations of L'Abbé' du Bos k “ Nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, should be admitted, that ITALY is now warmer os nec calliditate Poenos, nec artibus Graecos, nec than in former times, the consequence may not be “ denique hoc ipfo hujus gentis, ac terrae domef- necellary, that it is more populous or better culti«s tico nativoque sensu, Italos ipsos ac Latinos — vated. If the other countries of EUROPE were « superavimus.” De harusp. rejo. cap. 9. The more savage and woody, the cold winds that disorders of SPAIN seem to have been almost pro- blowed from them, might affect the climate of verbial : “ Nec impacatos a tergo horrebis Iberos." ITALY. Virg. Georg. lib. 3. The IBERI are here plainly
mestic, and living under the same regular police and government". But we are told, that all extensive governments, especially absolute monarchies, are destructive to population, and contain a secret vice and poison, which destroy the effect of all these promising appearances '. To confirm this, there is a passage, cited from PLUTARCH ', which being somewhat singular, we shall here examine it. · That author, endeavoring to account for the silence of many of the oracles, says, that it may be ascribed to the present desolation of the world, proceeding from foriner wars and factions ; which common calamity, he adds, has fallen heavier upon Greece than on any other country ; insomuch, that the whole could
o The inhabitants of MARSEILLES lost not their « which they formerly wore, now betake them. superiori y over the Gauls in commerce and the “ selves to feasting and to joy. The cities, formechanic arts, till the ROMAN dominion turned " getting their antient contentions, preserve only the latter from arms to agriculture and civil life. “ one emulation, which shall embellish itself most See STRABO, Lib. 4. That author, in several “ by every art and ornament? Theatres every places, repeats the observation concerning the im- “ where arise, amphitheatres, porticoes, aque. provement, arising from the Roman arts and civi. “ducts, temples, schools, academies ; and one lity : And he lived at the time when the change “ may safely pronounce, that the finking world was new, and would be more sensible. So also " has been again raised by your auspicious em. Pliny: " Quis enim non, communicato orbe " pire. Nor have cities alone received an in« terrarum, majestate Romani imperii, profe “ crease of ornament and beauty ; but the whole “ ciffe vitam putet, commercio rerum ac socie. “ earth, like a garden or paradise, is cultivated "tate feftae pacis, omniaque etiam, quae occul. “ and adorned : Insomuch, that such of mankind “ ta antea fuerant, in promiscuo usu facta. Lib. 14. “ as are placed out of the limits of your empire a procem. Numine deûm electa (speaking of “ (who are but few) seem to merit our sympathy “ Íraly) quae coelum ipsum clarius faceret, Ipar. “ and compassion." “ fa congregaret imperia, ritusque molliret, et tot 'Tis remarkable, that tho' DIODORUS SICULUS “ populorum discordes, ferasque linguas sermonis makes the whole inhabitants of ÆGYPT, when “ commercio contraheret ad colloquia, et huma. conquered by the Romans, amount only to three “ nitatem homini daret ; breviterque, una cuncta, millions ; yet JOSEPH. de bello Jud. Lib. 2. cap. “ rum gentium in toto orbe patria fieret ;" lib. 2. 16. says, that its inhabitants, excluding those of cap. 5. Nothing can be stronger to this purpose ALEXANDRIA, were seven millions and a half, than the following passage from TERTULLIAN, in the reign of Nero: And he expressly says, that who lived about the age of SEVERUS. “ Certe he drew this account from the books of the Ro“ quidem ipse orbis in promptu eft, cultior de MAN publicans, who levied the poll tax. STRABO, “ die et instructior priftino. Omnia jam pervia, lib. 17. praises the superior police of the Ro« omnia nota, omnia negotiosa. Solitudines fa. MANS with regard to the finances of Ægypt, “ mosas retro fundi amoenissimi obliteraverunt, above that of its former monarchs : And no part “ filvas arva domuerunt, feras pecora fugaverunt; of administration is more effential to the happi“ arenae feruntur, saxa pangantur, paludes eli. ness of a people. Yet we read in ATHENAEUS, “ quantur, tantae urbes, quantae non casae quon- (lib. 1. cap. 25.) who florished during the reign “ dam. Jam nec insulae horrent, nec scopuli of the ANTONINES, that the town MAREIA, near “ terrent ; ubique domus, ubique populus, ubi. ALEXANDRIA, which was formerly a large city, “ que respublica, ubique vita. Summum tefti. had dwindled into a village. This is not, pro. “ monium frequentiae humanae, onerofi fumus perly speaking, a contradi&tion. SuidAS (AU“ mundo, vix nobis elementa sufficiunt ; et neces. GUST.) says, that the EmperorAUGUSTUS, having “ ficates arctiores, et querelae apud omnes, dum numbered the whole Romanempire, found it con“ jam nos natura non sustinet." De anima, cap. tained only 4,101,017 men fordees.) There is here 30. The air of rhetoric and declamation which surely some great mistake,, either in the author appears in this passage, diminishes somewhat from or transcriber. But this authority, feeble as it is, its authority, but does not entirely destroy it. The may be sufficient to counterbalance the exaggerat. same remark may be extended to the following pas. ed accounts of HERODOTUS and DIODORUS Si. sage of Aristides the sophift, who lived in the age Culus with regard to more early times. of Adrian.“ The whole world,” says he, addres- · L'Esprit des loix, liv. 23. chap. 19. , ing himself to the ROMANS,“ seems to keep one ? De orac, defe&tus. “ holiday; and mankind, laying aside the swords
scarce scarce at present furnish three thousand warriors ; a number which, in the time of the Median war, were fupplied by the single city of MEGARA. The gods, therefore, who affect works of dignity and importance, have suppressed many of their oracles, and deign not to use so many interpreters of their will to fo diminu. tive a people.
I must confess, that this paffage contains fo many difficulties, that I know not what to make of it. You may observe, that PLUTARCH assigns for à cause of the decay of mankind, not the extensive dominion of the ROMANS, but the former wars and factions of the several nations; all which were quieted by the RoMan arms. PLUTARCH's reasoning, therefore, is directly contrary to the inference which is drawn from the fact he advances.
POLYbius supposes, that GREECE had become more prosperous and florishing after the establishment of the Roman yoke ", and tho' that historian wrote before these conquerors had degenerated, from being the patrons; to be the plunderers of mankind; yet as we find from TACITUS', that the severity of the emperors afterwards corrected the licence of the governors, we have no reason to think that extensive monarchy so destructive as it is often represented. .
We learn from STRABO ', that the ROMANS, from their regard to the GREEKS, maintained, to his time, most of the privileges and liberties of that celebrated nation; and Nero afterwards rather increased them'. How therefore can we ima. gine, that the Roman yoke was so barthensome over that part of the world? The oppression of the proconsuls was checked ; and the magiftracies, in GREECE being all bestowed in the several cities, by the free votes of the people, there was, no great necessity for the competitors to attend the emperor's court. If great numbers went to seek their fortunes in Rome, and advance themselves by learning or eloquence, the commodities of their native country, many of them would return with the fortunes, which they had acquired, and thereby enrich the GreCIAN commonwealths.
BUT PLUTARCH fays, that the general depopulation had been more sensibly felt in Greece than in any other country. How is this reconcileable to its superior privileges and advantages ?
Besides, this paffage, by proving too much, really proves nothing. Only three thousand men able to bear arms in all GREECE! Who can admit so strange a proposition, especially if we consider the great number of GREEK cities, whose names still remain in history, and which are mentioned by writers long after the age of PLUTARCH? There are there surely ten times more people at present, when there scarce remains a city in all the bounds of antient Greece. That country is still tolerably cultivated, and furnishes a sure supply of corn, in case of any scarcity in SPAIN, ITALY, or the south of FRANCE.
9. Lib. 2. cap. 62. It may perhaps be imagin- there be any fufpicion of an author's infincerity, ed, that POLYBIus being dependent on Rome; that these oblique propositions discover his real would naturally extol the ROMAN dominion. But, opinion better than his more formal and direct af. in the first place, POLYBIUS, tho' one sees some sertions. times instances of his caution, discovers no fym. Annal. lib. 1. cap. 2. ptoms of Aattery. Secondly, This opinion is only Lib. 8. & 9. delivered in a single stroke, by the by, while he is • PLUTARCÁ. Do bis quifero a Numine puniuntur. intent upon another subject ; and 'cis allowed, if
We may observe, that the ancient frugality of the Greeks, and their equality of property, still subfifted during the age of PLUTARCH; as appears from Lu. CIAN". Nor is there any ground to imagine, that that country was possessed by a few masters, and a great number of naves.
'Tis probable, indeed, that military discipline, being entirely useless, was extremely neglected in Greece after the establishment of the Roman empire; and if these commonwealths, formerly so warlike and ambitious, maintained each of them a small city-guard, to prevent mobbish disorders, 'tis all they had occasion for: And there, perhaps, did not amount to 3000 men, thro'out all Greece. I own, that if PLUTARCH had this fact in his eye, he is here guilty of a very gross paralogism, and assigns causes no way proportioned to the effects. But is it so great a prodigy, that an author should fall into a mistake of this nature ?
But whatever force may remain in this passage of PLUTARCH, we shall endeavor to counterbalance it by as remarkable a passage in DIODORUS SICULUS, where the historian, after mentioning Ninus's army of 1,700,000 foot and 200,000 horse, endeavors to support the credibility of this account, by some porterior facts, and adds, that we must not form a notion of the antient populousness of mankind from the present emptiness and depopulation which is spred over the world a. Thus an author, who lived' at that very period of antiquity which is represented as most populous', complains of the desolation which then prevailed, gives the preference to former times, and has recourse to antient fables as a foundation for his opinion. The humor of blaming the present, and admiring the past, is strongly rooted in human nature, and has an influence even on persons endued with the profoundest judgment and most extensive learning.
deavor to countertorce may remain in this ac miltake of this nature wa
u De mercede condu&is,
There is only one other discourse of PLUTARCK w I must confefs, that that discourse of PLU- liable to like objections, viz. that concerning those TARCH, concerning the filence of the oraçles, is whole punifoment is delayed by the Deity. It is also in general of so odd a texture, and so unlike his wrote in dialogue, contains like superstitious, wild other productions, that one is at a loss what judg. visions, and seems to have been chiefly composed ment to form of it. 'Tis wrote in dialogue, in rivalship to Plato, particularly his last book, which is a method of composition that Plu. de republica. TAKCH commonly little affects. The personages And here I cannot but observe; that Mons he introduces advance very wild, absurd, and con. Fontenelle, a writer eminent for candor, seems tradictory opinions, more like the visionary sys- to have departed a little from his usual character, tems or ravings of PLATO than the solid sense of when he endeavors to throw a ridicule upon PLUTARCH. There runs also thro' the whole PLUTARCH on account of passages to be met with an air of fuperftition and credulity, which, re- in this dialogue concerning oracles. The absursembles very little the spirit that appears in other dities here put into the mouths of the several perphilosophical compositions of that author. For fonages are not to be ascribed to PLUTARCH. He 'tis remarkable, that tho' PLUTARCH be an hifto. makes them refute each other; and, in general, rian as fuperftitious as HERODOTUS or Livy, yet he seems to intend the ridiculing of those very : there is scarcely, in all antiquity, a philosopher opinions, which FONTENELLE would ridicule him. less superstitious, excepting Cicero and Lucian. for maintaining. See Histoire des oracles. I must, therefore, confess, that a passage of Pius Lib. 2. TARCH, cited from this discourse, has much less y He was cotemporary with CAESAR and Ava authority with me, than if it had been found in GUSTUS. most of his other compositions.
E S S A V XI. OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT.
A S no party, in the present age, can pretend to support itself, without a phiA losophical or speculative system of principles, annexed to its political or practical one ; we accordingly find, that each of the parties, into which this nation is divided, has reared up a fabric of the former kind, in order to protect and cover that scheme of actions, which it pursues. The people being commonly very rude builders, especially in this speculative way, and more especially still, when actuated by party zeal, 'tis natural to imagine, that their workmanship must be a little unshapely, and discover evident marks of that violence and hurry, in which it was raised. The one party, by tracing up the origin of government to the Deity, endeavor to render government so sacred and inviolate, that it must be little less than facrilege, however disorderly it may become, to touch or invade it, in the smallest article. The other party, by founding government altogether on the consent of the PeopLE, suppose that there is a kind of original contract, by which the subjects have reserved the power of resisting their sovereign, whenever they find themselves aggrieved by that authority, with which they have, for certain purposes, voluntarily entrusted him. These are the speculative principles of the two parties; and these too are the practical consequences deduced from them.
I sĦAll venture to affirm, That both these systems of speculative principles are just; tho' not in the sense, intended by the parties : And That both the schemes of praEtical consequences are prudent ; tho' not in the extremes, to which each party, in opposition to the other, has commonly endeavored to carry them.
That the Deity is the ultimate author of all government, will never be denied by any one who admits a general providence, and allows, that all events in the universe are conducted by an uniform plan and directed to wise purposes. As 'tis impossible for human race to subsist, at least in any comfortable or secure state, without the protection of government; government must certainly have been intended by that beneficent Being, who means the good of all his creatures: And as it has universally, in fact, taken place, in all countries, and all ages; we may conclude, with still greater certainty, that it was intended by that omniscient Being, who can never be deceived by any event or operation. But since he gave rise to it, not by any particular or miraculous interposition, but by his concealed and universal efficacy; a sovereign cannot, properly speaking, be called his vicegerent, in any other sense than every power or force, being derived from him, may be said to act by his commission. Whatever actually happens is comprehended in the general plan or intention of providence; nor has the greatest and most lawful prince any more reason, upon that account, to plead a peculiar facredness or inviolable authority, than an inferior magistrate, or even an usurper, or even a sobber and a pyrate. The fame divine super-intendant, who,, for. wise pur