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22                               POLITICAL SCIKNI'i:.

nations as far as to the remote cast and \vrsl. *T wlm had, ns
censors, a practical acquaintance with ihc u -s^ircci
of Rome and the way of manu^in^ ihviu , ami u hrn uc cnn-
sidur also that these men 11111*1, many of ihnii. luu- Uren in
the senate for thirty or fivc-aiul-lhirty years \vr slull fcunlly
hesitate to regard this an the ablest ami UM n»n^itnl<:d uf
the councils which arc recorded in the lii*-i«».v of political
institutions. Antl yet this perched and ilrsln»yt-«l ihr r* pub-
He by its short-sightedness, its sdfKluu^, and ihc ulhcr
to which a close aristocracy is subject*

At first, as we have seen, the picks hatt tin ilurr with the
patrician £•<•*/« in I he juiwcr «f ihc
state.    There was not only  w* union of the
orders, but the constitution prevented a union.    There was
no intermarriage, because patrician marriage wan cunnrclcii
with religious rights of which plebeian* could n»t partake ;
they could not fill the office of priest* nor take auspices and
on this latter account could not perform consular tlutir*.    The
religious lore, the knowledge of times and seasons, the rule*
governing the forms of civil processes, were patrician mo-
nopolies ; and certain old usages required the assembly of the
gentes— the cemitia curtate, in which they had no part ; they
had no organs nor assemblies of their own like the patrician
class.    But they held land, they made contracts with patri*
cians, they belonged to the military organisation expreated
in the comitia centuriata.     That  wealthy  plebeians  were
incorporated into the senate at the beginning of the republic,
has been already mentioned,    As soldiers and holder* of
land, they could not, in the end, fail to acquire a right to
political equality.   But the aristocratic feeling now became
even greater than before, and offered fierce  opposition to
their increase of rights at every step.    Probably the wealthy
plebeians, who, it seems, were chiefly the descendants of
strangers, including freedmen, and not of clients, were ftir
some time not greatly discontented with their position, and