Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/42

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32
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

If voluntary gifts, made to propitiate the man who is supreme, by-and-by become tribute and eventually form a settled revenue, may we not expect that gifts made to subordinate men in power, when their aid is wished, will similarly become customary, and at length yield them maintenance? Will not the process above indicated in relation to the major state-functionary repeat itself with the minor state-functionaries? We find that it does so.

First, it is to be noted that, besides the periodic and ordinary presents made in propitiation and acknowledgment of his supremacy, the ruling man in early stages commonly has special presents made to him when called on to use his power in defense or aid of an aggrieved subject. Among the Chibchas, "no one could appear in the presence of a king, cazique, or superior, without bringing a gift, which was to be delivered before the petition was made." In Sumatra, a chief "levies no taxes, nor has any revenue,. . . or other emolument from his subjects, than what accrues to him from the determination of causes." There is a kindred usage in Northwestern India. Of Gulab Singh, a late ruler of Jummoo, Mr. Drew says: "With the customary offering of a rupee as nazar [present] any one could get his ear; even in a crowd one could catch his eye by holding up a rupee and crying out,. . . 'Maharajah, a petition!' He would pounce down like a hawk on the money, and, having appropriated it, would patiently hear out the petitioner." There is evidence that among ourselves in ancient days a like state of things existed. "We may readily believe," says Broom, referring to a statement of Lingard, "that few princes in those [Anglo-Saxon] days declined to exercise judicial functions when solicited by favorites, tempted by bribery, or stimulated by cupidity and avarice." And, on reading that in early Norman times "the first step in the process of obtaining redress was to sue out, or purchase, by paying the stated fees," the king's original writ, requiring the defendant to appear before him, we may suspect that the stated amount paid for this document represented what had originally been the present to the king for giving his judicial aid. There is support for this inference. Blackstone says, "Now indeed even the royal writs are held to be demandable of common right, on paying the usual fees:" implying a preceding time in which the granting of them was a matter of royal favor to be obtained by propitiation.

Naturally, then, when judicial and other functions come to be deputed, gifts will similarly be made to obtain the services of the functionaries; and these, originally voluntary, will become compulsory. Ancient records from the East yield evidence. Thus, in Amos ii. 6, it is implied that judges received presents; as are said to do the Turkish magistrates in the same regions down to our day: the assumption of the prophet, and of the modern observer, that this usage arose by a corruption, being one of those many cases in which the survival of a lower state is mistaken for the degradation of a higher state. Thus, again, in