Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/43

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33
EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

early times in France judges received "spices" as a mark of gratitude from those who had won a cause. By 1369, if not before, these were converted into money; and in 1402 they were recognized as a due. The usage continued till the Revolution. In our own history the case of Bacon exemplifies not a special and late practice, but the survival of an old and usual one; local records show the habitual making of gifts to officers of justice and their attendants; and the facts are summed up in the statement that "no approach to a great man, a magistrate, or courtier, was ever made without the Oriental accompaniment—a gift." That in past times the propitiatory presents made to state-functionaries formed, in some cases, their entire revenues, is inferable from the fact that in the twelfth century the great offices of the royal household were sold; the implication being that the value of the presents received was great enough to make the places worth buying. Russia in early days seems to have exemplified the state in which the dependents and deputies of the ruler subsisted chiefly, if not wholly, on presents. Karamsin "repeats the observations of the travelers who visited Muscovy in the sixteenth century. 'Is it surprising,' say these strangers, 'that the grand-prince is rich? He neither gives money to his troops nor his embassadors; he even takes from these last all the costly things they bring back from foreign lands. . . . Nevertheless these men do not complain.' " Whence we must infer that, lacking wages and salaries from above, they lived on gifts from below. Moreover, we are at once enlightened respecting the existing state of things in Russia; for it becomes manifest that what we now call the bribes, which the miserably salaried officials require before performing their duties, are the representatives of the presents which formed their sole maintenance in times when they had no salaries. And the like may be inferred respecting Spain, of which Rose says: "From judge down to constable, bribery and corruption prevail. . . . There is this excuse, however, for the poor Spanish official. His government gives him no remuneration, and expects everything of him."

So natural has habit now made to us the payment of fixed sums for specified services, that, as usual, we assume this relation to have existed from the beginning. But when we read how, in little organized societies, such as that of the Bechuanas, the chiefs allow their attendants "a scanty portion of food or milk, and leave them to make up the deficiency by hunting or by digging up wild roots;" and how, in societies considerably more advanced, as Dahomey, "no officer under government is paid"—we are shown that originally the subordinates of the chief man, not officially supported, have to support themselves. And since their positions give them powers of injuring and benefiting subject persons— since, indeed, it is often only by their aid that the chief man can be invoked—there arises the same motive to propitiate them by presents that there does to propitiate by presents the chief man himself; whence the parallel growth of an income. The inference that the sus-