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ungrateful soil, which was not five leagues in length or three in breadth, and which must have lost
of its inhabitants in its almost continual little wars, could be peopled with three hundred and forty thousand souls. There is not half the number in the same territory at present, when Rome is the metropolis of the christian world; when the affluence of foreigners and the ambassadors of so many nations must serve to people the towns; when gold flows from Poland, Hungary, half of Germany, Spain, and France, by a thousand channels into the purse of the Treasury, and must further facilitate population, if other causes intercept it.
As the history of Rome was not written until more than five hundred years after its foundation, it would not be at all surprising if the historians had liberally given Servius Tullius eighty thousand warriors instead of eight thousand, through false zeal for their country. Their zeal would have been much more judicious if they had confessed the weak commencement of their republic. It is much more noble to be raised from so poor an origin to so much greatness, than to have had double the soldiers of Alexander to conquer about fifteen leagues of country in four hundred years.
The census was never taken except of Roman citizens. It is pretended, that under Augustus it amounted to four millions one hundred and thirty-seven thousand, in the year 29 before our vulgar era, according to Tilemont, who is very exact, and Dion Cassius, who is no less so.
Lawrence Echard admits but one numbering, of four millions one hundred and thirty-seven thousand men, in the year 14 of our era. The same Echard speaks of a general numbering of the empire for the first year of the same era; but he quotes no Roman author, nor -specifies any calculation of the number of citizens. Tillemont speaks not in any way of this numbering.
We have quoted Tacitus and Suetonius, but to very little purpose. The census of which Suetonius speaks is not a numbering of citizens; it is only a list of those to whom the public furnished corn.
Tacitus only speaks, in book ii. of a census established among the Gauls, for the purpose of raising more tribute on each head. Augustus never made a calculation of the other subjects of his empire, because they paid not the poll-tax, which he wished to establish in Gaul.
Tacitus says,* that Augustus had a memoir, written in his own hand, which contained the revenues of the empire, the fleets and contributary kingdoms. He speaks not of any numbering.
Dion Cassius speaks of a census,t but he specifies no number.
Josephus in his Antiquitiest says, that in the year 759 of Rome (the time answering to the eleventh year of our era) Cyrenius, then constituted governor of Syria, caused a list to be made of all the property of the Jews, which caused a revolt. This has no relation to a general numbering, and merely proves, that this Cyrenius was not governor of Judea (which was then a little province of Syria) until ten years after, and not at the birth of our Saviour.
These seem to me to be all the principal passages that we can collect in profane histories, touching the numberings attributed to Augustus. If we refer to them, Jesus Christ would be born under the government of Varus, and not under that of Cyrenius ; and there could have been no universal numbering. But St. Luke, whose authority should prevail over that of Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, Dion Cassius, and all the writers of Rome,-St. Luke affirms positively, that there was an universal numbering of all the earth, and that Cyrenius was governor of Judea. We must therefore refer solely to him, without even seeking to reconcile him with Flavius Josephus, or with any other historian. As to the rest, neither the New nor the Old Testament have been given to us to enlighten points of history, but to announce salutary truths, before which all events and opinions should vanish. It is thus that we always reply to the false calculations, contradictions, absurdities, enormous faults of geography, chronology, physics, and even common sense, with which philosophers tell us the holy scripture is filled : we cease not to reply, that there is here no question of reason, but of faith and piety.
* Annals, book i.
+ Book xliii.
1 Josephus, book xvii.
SECTION II. With regard to the numbers of the moderns, kings fear not at present that a doctor Gad should propose to them on the part of God, either famine, war, or pestilence, to punish them for wishing to know the amount of their subjects. None of them know it.
We conjecture and guess, and always possibly within a few millions of men.
I have carried the number of inhabitants which compose the empire of Russia to twenty-four millions, in the statements which have been sent to me; but I have not guaranteed this valuation, because I know very little about it. I believe that Germany possessed as many people, reckoning the Hungarians. If I am de. ceived by one or two millions, we know it is a trifle in such a case.
I beg pardon of the king of Spain, if I have only awarded him seven millions of subjects in our continent. It is a very small number; but Don Ustaris, employed in the ministry, gives him no more.
We reckon from about nine to ten millions of free beings in the three kingdoms of Great Britain.
In France we count between sixteen and twenty millions. This is a proof that doctor Gad has nothing wherewith to reproach the ministry of France.
As to the capital towns, opinions are further divided. According to some calculators, Paris has seven hundred thousand inhabitants, and according to others five hundred thousand. It is thus with London, Constantinople, and Grand Cairo.*
As to the subjects of the pope, they will make a crowd in paradise, but the multitude is moderate on earth.
Hume ably follows Voltaire in this train of reasoning, and exposes the almost universal tendency of the ancients and half civi. lized countries to exaggerate in point of number.-T.
Why so ?--because they are subjects of the pope.
OCCULT QUALITIES. Occult qualities have, for a very long time, been much derided : it would be more proper to deride those who do not believe in them. Let us for the hundredth time repeat, that every principle, every primitive source of any of the works which come from the hand of the demiourgos, is occult, and eternally hidden from mortals.
What is the centripetal force, the force of gravitation, which acts without contact at such immense distances ?
What causes our hearts to beat sixty times a minute? What other power changes this grass into milk in the udder of a cow ? and this bread into the flesh, blood, and bone of that child, who grows proportionally while he eats it, until he arrives at the height determined by nature, after which there is no art which can add a line to it.
Vegetables, minerals, animals, where is your originating principle? In the hands of him who turns the sun
upon its axis, and who has clothed it with light.
This lead will never become silver, nor this silver gold; this gold will never become diamond, nor this straw be transformed into lemons and ananas.
What corpuscular system of physics, what atoms, determine their nature ? You know nothing about it, and the cause will be eternally occult to you.
All that surrounds us, all within us, is an enigma which it is not in the power of man to divine.
The furred ignoramus ought to have been aware of this truth when he said, that beasts possess a vegetative and sensitive soul, and man a soul which is vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual.
kneaded up of pride, who hast pronounced only words—hast thou ever seen a soul? Knowest
* See POPULATION.
thou how it is made? We have spoken much of the soul in these inquiries, but have always confessed our ignorance. I now repeat this confession still more emphatically, since the more I read, the more I meditate, and the more I acquire, the more am I enabled to affirm, that I know nothing.
OFFENCES (LOCAL). If we travel throughout the whole earth, we still find that theft, murder, adultery, calumny, &c. are regarded as offences which society condemns and represses; but that which is approved in England and condemned in Italy, ought it to be punished in Italy, as if it were one of the crimes against general humanity? That which is a crime only in the precincts of some mountains, or between two rivers, demands it not from judges more indulgence than those outrages which are regarded with horror in all countries ? Ought not the judge to say to himself, I should not dare to punish in Ragusa what I punish at Loretto? Should not this reflection soften his heart, and moderate the hardness which it is too apt to contract in the long exercise of his employment ?
The Kermesses' of Flanders are well known : they were carried in the last century to a degree of indecency, revolting to the eyes of all persons, who were not accustomed to such spectacles.
The following is the manner in which Christmas is celebrated in some countries. In the first place appears a young man half-naked, with wings on his shoulders; he pronounces the Ave Maria to a young girl, who replies ' fiat,' and the angel kisses her on the mouth ; after which a child, shut up in a great cock of pasteboard, imitates the crowing of the cock. natus est nobis.” A great ox bellows out 'ubi;' a sheep baas out' Bethlehem ;' an ass brays “hihanus,' to signify eamus;' and a long procession, preceded by four fools with bells and baubles, brings up the rear. There still remain some traces of this popular devotion,