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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Quibus est permissum jura condere


[Footnote

59: We have heard of the Catonian rule, the Aquilian stipulation, and the Manilian forms, of 211 maxims, and of 247 definitions, (Pandect. l. i. tit. xvi. xvii.)]

[Footnote 60: Read Cicero, l. i. de Oratore, Topica, pro Murena.]

[Footnote 61: See Pomponius, (de Origine Juris Pandect. l. i. tit. ii. leg. 2, No 47,) Heineccius, (ad Institut. l. i. tit. ii. No. 8, l. ii. tit. xxv. in Element et Antiquitat.,) and Gravina, (p. 41--45.) Yet the monopoly of Augustus, a harsh measure, would appear with some softening in contemporary evidence; and it was probably veiled by a decree of the senate]

[Footnote 6111: The author here follows the then generally received opinion of Heineccius. The proofs which appear to confirm it are l. 2 47, D. I. 2, and 8. Instit. I. 2. The first of these passages speaks expressly of a privilege granted to certain lawyers, until the time of Adrian, publice respondendi jus ante Augusti tempora non dabatur. Primus Divus ut major juris auctoritas haberetur, constituit, ut ex auctoritate ejus responderent. The passage of the Institutes speaks of the different opinions of those, quibus est permissum jura condere. It is true that the first of these passages does not say that the opinion of these privileged lawyers had the force of a law for the judges. For this reason M. Hugo altogether rejects the opinion adopted by Heineccius, by Bach, and in general by all

the writers who preceded him. He conceives that the 8 of the Institutes referred to the constitution of Valentinian III., which regulated the respective authority to be ascribed to the different writings of the great civilians. But we have now the following passage in the Institutes of Gaius: Responsa prudentum sunt sententiae et opiniones eorum, quibus permissum est jura condere; quorum omnium si in unum sententiae concorrupt, id quod ita sentiunt, legis vicem obtinet, si vero dissentiunt, judici licet, quam velit sententiam sequi, idque rescripto Divi Hadrian signiticatur. I do not know, how in opposition to this passage, the opinion of M. Hugo can be maintained. We must add to this the passage quoted from Pomponius and from such strong proofs, it seems incontestable that the emperors had granted some kind of privilege to certain civilians, quibus permissum erat jura condere. Their opinion had sometimes the force of law, legis vicem. M. Hugo, endeavoring to reconcile this phrase with his system, gives it a forced interpretation, which quite alters the sense; he supposes that the passage contains no more than what is evident of itself, that the authority of the civilians was to be respected, thus making a privilege of that which was free to all the world. It appears to me almost indisputable, that the emperors had sanctioned certain provisions relative to the authority of these civilians, consulted by the judges. But how far was their advice to be respected? This is a question which it is impossible to answer precisely, from the want of historic evidence. Is it not possible that the emperors established an authority to be consulted by the judges? and in this case this authority must have emanated from certain civilians named for this purpose by the emperors. See Hugo, l. c. Moreover, may not the passage of Suetonius, in the Life of Caligula, where he says that the emperor would no longer permit the civilians to give their advice, mean that Caligula entertained the design of suppressing this institution? See on this passage the Themis, vol. xi. p. 17, 36. Our author not being acquainted with the opinions opposed to Heineccius has not gone to the bottom of the subject.--W.]


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