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416                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
the cultivation of grain in Italy, as well as to degrade and
increase in number the Roman proletariat. A law of the
notorious demagogue Clodius distributed grain without com-
pensation. Afterwards, colonization on a great scale removed
part of this evil of pauperism. When Caesar became in fact
sole ruler of Rome, with the same object in view, he by law
remitted one year's rent of houses in Rome and Italy, not
exceeding the value of 2000 sesterces. But he put a check on
the distribution of corn by reducing the number that had
received it from 320,000 to 150,000 ; this number was made
the maximum for the future, and the persons who should die
were to be replaced by the poorer among the new applicants,
It does not appear that able-bodied men could not partake
of this gift if only they were poor. How Caesar's restrictions
deserved the laudations that a modern historian has given to
them, we do not discover.* The largesses of Augustus, chiefly
from his own private means, to the Roman lower class, were
very vast; and to mention but one thing further, which had
more the look of humanity than ail the rest, the gifts, made
under the Emperor Nerva and afterwards, to poor boys and
girls, called alimentariipueri et puellcB, in many of the towns
of Italy from the funds of the towns, were dictated apparently
by the decrease of population and the wide-spreading decay
of material prosperity. Private persons also gave foundations
for this purpose, as the younger Pliny to the town of Como
(Plin., Epist., i., 8, comp. Panegyr., 26-27).
The Christian religion gave a new impulse to humanity
proceeding from faith in a common Saviour of men and in a
brotherhood of believers, so that more was done in the west
during three centuries from its origin than had been done in
all time before. Thenceforth not only alms-giving but many
institutions of charity for the sick, for widows and orphans,
for the burial of the dead, were established, while individual
gifts were made for the ransom of captives, the relief of
debtors, the emancipation of slaves. The government under
*Mommsen; iv., 591, Amer. ed. of transl.