34 POLITICAL, SCIKNCK. A word or two will close what we h.iv« l<» *;iy fitrther of the optimatcs. Their ability to retain ih«« M'tt.iU', in ihcir hands enabled them to control the adminKiratimi, a* ihf sen- ate was composed of past officers above the tank *Hf ipu**»l"r»s Their wealth helped them greatly to srauv «<f tiers, and thi'ir offices to gain wealth. Two things arc di'Mffrvtn;; »>f Malice in this connection in the later ajje <»f the ivpuhlt*% u»r is prevalence of ambitus^ which nt» l.iw was alilr t>» i The detailed account given by Lnm;e in thir third of his StantsaHerthumer, h most instructive, as slmwin^ the greatness of the evil ami the difficulty uf runt in j* it mil. The other i.s the social decay of Kome, On ilu? mir Nj*lt« were the men of immense estates, the companies that iannnl the taxes, the men of commerce who supplied Italy uiih (;iaiu ; on the other, the impoverishment of the poorer chi*ens the ad- mission into the army of person* with a Inwer COIIHUH than be- fore, or of such as had no property, who had ihr frrlin^x uf mercenaries rather than of citizens; the buying nut t»f siitiail farmers and using the labor of slaves cm lands brfun? culti- vated by freemen; the crowds of paupers that fmuul their way to Rome and needed to be helped tu live by " frtimcn* tations/1 Such extremes naturally gave birth to parties in the state. The factions of Sulla and Marius fought for no Important political question ; the captains Mood at the head of great armies, and whichever conquered wan likely to intro- duce irresponsible power* The new political arrangements of Sulla lasted but for a short time after his death, and had in themselves no element of stability. The subsequent strug- gles were even less political, except HO far as an unwise, short-sighted senate endeavored to retain its hold on the ad- ministration, It evidently was incompetent to guide the republic. The head of an army was sure to be the master, if he had ability and sufficient force at once. Crew had this ability, while his adversaries showed weakness and disagree* tnent Thus the power fell to one man, although the ancient forms were retained as far as possible, and to a man who him* self belonged to the class of the patricians and the optimatcs.