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he relaxed the tribute called vicesima, so as to make it less burdensome. Dio Cassius
says that Augustus established a treasury for the payment of the army, and upon a deficiency, many ways being proposed by the senators, and all of them rejected, he fixed upon
this expedient, which seems to have been of his own contriving, though he fathered it upon Julius Cæsar, that a twentieth should be paid into the treasury of all inheritances, and legacies bequeathed by will, from which however he exempted those who were near of kin; he also excepted those who were poor, by which, I suppose, was meant that when the inheritance was small and under a certain value, and the inheritor also was poor, nothing was demanded. See Dio; lib. lv.
Augustus contributed largely to this fund out of his own income, and as he had many legacies left him, he must have often paid his twentieth. However the Romans; as Dio tells us afterwards, were excessively uneasy at this tax, till Augustus by convincing them that a better could not be contrived, and by putting them in fear of something worse, persuaded them to be quiet. L. lvi. p.
588. Thus it continued, and the younger Pliny, a very competent judge, and a very honest man, mentions it; not without approbation, as one of those necessary evils, which was the least oppressive. The Twentieth; says he, is a tax tolerable enough, and easy to the inheritor, if he is not related to the deceased; but very hard, if he is near of kin: and he commends Nerva and Trajan for mitigating this law in favour of new made citizens, who, it seems, had been obliged to pay the twentieth, howsoever related to the testator, as also
for moderating it in some other instances which deserve to be perused. Paneg. ap. 37. &c.
When a person died intestate, it is to be supposed that the heir at law was subject to the same tax, if he came not within the degrees of relation which were exempted.
This tribute must have amounted to a prodigious sum; for the Roman empire was of a vast extent, the nobility and gentry were very rich, and often had no children to inherit their fortunes, and the arts of flattering the rich by those who were called Heredipeta, legacy-hunters, were much practised at Rome; so that many legacies were continually left to friends, to companions in iniquity, to freed-men and parasites: and this, by the way, suggests one reason, not observed by Dio, why much clamour was made at Rome against the tax.
What made the taxes in general heavy to the Romans, and to the nations which were in subjection to them, was that they were farmed and collected by the publicans, a sort of sharpers, who were troublesome every where, especially in the remoter provinces; so that the government was forced from time to time to pare their nails, and to browbeat them, and to make laws, in some of which they are set out in sorry colours. See Digest. L. xxxix. Tit. iv. 12.
Whether this method deserves any notice and consideration, is submitted to those whom it concerns.
In the first edition the following paragraph was added :-“ The "Reader will perceive, without being told it in due form, that Le has
here only part of a work. The rest may possibly make its appear. ance some day; but what is now published is so far at least complete, as to have little dependance upon any thing that may follow"
REFERRED the Reader, p. 91. to the visions of
Rice Evans, as containing some things not unworthy of notice Mr Warburton has given me the following remarks on the man, and on his predictions; and the bishop of Bangor *, and he, have been willing to appear as my friends, and my coadjutors in this work.
Ibit et hoc nostri per sæcula fædus amoris,
Doctorumque inter nomina nomen ero:
Forsitan et dicet, Tu quoque noster eras.
Lenibunt Manes talia dona meos.
Æterno rectum sub Duce pergat iter!
Salve, Musa, nimis blanda tenuxque comes :
Tune etiam emerito cura futura viro?
scepe rogata, veni.
Livor in hæc poterit juris habere nihil. " You desired to have a more particular account ss of a certain prophecy of one Rice Evans, which you " have heard some of your friends speak of in terins
* Whose Dissertation on the destruction of Jerusalem is inserted above, p. 38-44
" of astonishment; as I have his book, which is “ scarce, I am able to give you that satisfaction. “ But it may not be amiss first to let you into the “ character of the prophet. Rice Evans lived and “ flourished in the last century, during the time of
our civil confusions. He was a warm Welshman, " and not disposed to be an idle spectator in so busy a
So he left his native country for London ; " and finding, on his arrival there, that inspiration “ was all running one way, he projected to make a " diversion of it from the round-heads to the cava“ liers, and set up for a prophet of the royalists. He “ did and said many extraordinary things to the gran“ dees of both parties; and it must be owned, he had
a spice of what we seldom find wanting in the in
gredients of a modern prophet, I mean prevarica" tion. Of this he has himself given us a notable ex“ ample in the 42d page of his Tract, called An Eccho from Heaven, &c. which, because it contains an un“ common fetch of wit, I shall transcribe. There are “ tico confessions, says he, subscribed by my hand in the
city of London, which if not now, in after-ages will be - considered. The one was made at the Spittle, and “ subscribed with the right hand, in the aforesaid vestry,
before Sir Walter Earl; and that is a coạfession s made by the inner man, or new man.
The other con“ fessi n is a confession of the flesh, called the outcard “ man, or old man, and the confession I made before Green
[the recorder) anil subscribed with the left hand, as " the difference in the writing, being compared, will make “ it appear. I know the bench and the people thought “ I recanted, but, alus! they were deceived.
Well, but this very man has in the 77 and 78 pages of this Eccho, printed for the author in 12mo,