Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/255

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241
PRAEFECT

edited by Praed and Walter Blount, which appeared every month until July 1821, when the chief editor, who signed his contributions “Peregrine Courtenay,” left Eton, and the paper died. Henry Nelson Coleridge, William Sidney Walker, and John Moultrie were the three best known of his coadjutors in this periodical, which was published by Charles Knight, and of which many interesting particulars are given in Knight's Autobiography and in Maxwell Lyte's Eton College. Before Praed left school he succeeded in establishing over a shop at Eton a “ boys' library, ” the books of which are now amalgamated in the School Library. His career at Cambridge, where he matriculated at Trinity College, October 1821, was marked by exceptional brilliancy. He gained the Browne medal for Greek verse four times, and twice the chancellor's medal for English verse. He was bracketed third in the classical tripos in 1825, won a fellowship at his college in 1827, and three years later carried off the Seatonian prize. At the Union his speeches were only rivalled by those of Macaulay and of Charles Austin (1799-1874), who subsequently made a great reputation at the parliamentary bar. The character of Praed during his university life is described by Bulwer Lytton in the first volume of his Life. He began to study law, and in 1829 was called to the bar at the Middle Temple. He went the Norfolk circuit, where his prospects of advancement were bright, but the bias of his feelings inclined him towards politics, and after a year or two he devoted himself entirely to political life. Whilst at Cambridge he leaned to Whiggism, and even to the autumn of 1829 his feelings were bent towards the same side, but during the agitation for parliamentary reform his opinions changed, and when he was returned to parliament for St Germans (Dec. 17, 1830) his election was due to the Tory party] He sat for that borough until December 1832, and on its extinction contested the borough of St Ives, within the limits of which the Cornish estates of the Praeds were situated. The squibs which he wrote on this occasion were collected in a volume printed at Penzance in 1833 and entitled T rash, dedicated without respect to James Halse, Esq., M .P., his successful competitor. Praed sat for Great Yarmouth from 1835 to 1837, and was secretary to the Board of Control during Sir Robert Peel's short administration. He sat for Aylesbury from 1837 until his death. During the progress of the Reform Bill he advocated the creation of three-cornered constituencies, in which each voter should have the power of giving two votes only, and maintained that freeholds within boroughs should confer votes for the boroughs and not for the county. Neither of these suggestions was then adopted, but the former ultimately formed part of the Reform Bill of 1866. He married in 1835 Helen Bogle. He died of consumption at Chester Square, London, on the 15th of July 1839.

Praed's lighter poetry was the perfection of ease. Mr Austin Dobson has justly praised his “sparkling wit, the clearness and finish of his style, and the flexibility and unflagging vivacity of his rhythm ” (Ward's English Poets). It abounded in happy allusions to the characters and follies of the day. In his humorous effusions he found numerous imitators. His poems were first edited by R. W. Griswold (New York, 1844); another American edition, by W. A. Whitmore, appeared in 1859; an authorized edition with a memoir by Derwent Coleridge appeared in 1864: The Political and Occasional Poems of W. M. Praed (1888), edited with notes by his nephew, Sir George Young, included many pieces collected from various newspapers and periodicals. Sir Gcor e Young separated from his work some poems, the work of his friend Edward Marlborough Fitzgerald, generally confused with his. Praed's essays, contributed to various magazines, were published in llorley's Universal Library in 1887.


PRAEFECT (praefectus), the title of various Roman officials, both civil and military. A praefect was not one of the magistrates proper; he was, strictly speaking, only the deputy or lieutenant of a superior magistrate or commander. The following were the most important.

1. The city praefect (praefectus urbis) acted at Rome as the deputy of the chief magistrate or magistrates during his or their absence from the city. Thus he represented in the earliest times the king and in later times the consul or consuls when he or they were absent on a campaign or on other public duties, such as the celebration of the annual Latin festival on the Alban Mount. The absence of the chief magistrate for more than a single day rendered the appointment of a praefect obligatory; but the obligation only arose when all the higher magistrates were absent. Hence so long as the consuls were the only higher magistrates their frequent absence often rendered the appointment of a praefect necessary, but after the institution of the praetor ship (367 B.C.) the necessity only arose exceptionally, as it rarely happened that both the consuls and the praetor were absent simultaneously. But a praefect continued to be regularly appointed, even under the empire, during praefedus the enforced absence of all the higher magistrates Ui-bis at the Latin festival. The right and duty of appoint- Fefilmm ing a praefect belonged to the magistrate (king, dictator or consul) whose deputy he was, but it seems to have been withdrawn from the consuls by the Licinian law (367), except that they still nominated prefects for the time of the festival. No formalities in the appointment and no legal qualifications on the part of the praefect were required. The praefect had all the powers of the magistrate whose deputy he was, except that he could not nominate a deputy to himself. His office expired on the return of his superior. There could only be one city praefect at a time, though the dictator Caesar broke the rule by appointing six or eight prefects simultaneously.

Under the empire there was introduced a city prefecture which differed essentially from the above. Augustus occasionally appointed a city praefect to represent him in his absence from Italy, although the praetors, or even one of the consuls, remained in the capital. In the absence of Tiberius from Rome during the last eleven years of his reign (A.D. 26–37) the city prefecture, hitherto an exceptional and temporary office, became a regular and permanent magistracy; in all subsequent reigns the praefect held office even during the presence of the emperor in Rome. He was always chosen by the emperor and usually from men who had held the consulship; his office was regarded, like the censorship under the republic, as the crowning honour of a long political career. It was not conferred for any definite length of time, but might be held for years or for life. As under the republic, the praefect was not allowed to quit the city for more than a day at a time. His duty was the preservation of peace in the capital; he was, in fact, the chief of the police, being charged with the superintendence of the streets, markets and public buildings. He was further entrusted by Augustus with a summary criminal jurisdiction over slaves and rioters, which was, however, gradually extended till in the time of Severus or even earlier it embraced all offences by whomsoever committed. Further, he had the power of dealing with civil cases where his interference seemed requisite in the interests of the public safety, but such occasions were naturally few. By the beginning of the 3rd century, and perhaps earlier, appeals to the emperor in civil cases were handed over by him to be dealt with by the praefect. Except where special restrictions interfered, an appeal lay from the praefect to the emperor. Though not a military officer, the praefect commanded the city cohorts (cohortes urbanae), which formed part of the garrison of Rome and ranked above the line regiments, though below the guards (see Praetorians). The military power thus placed in the hands of the chief of the police was one of the most sorely-felt innovations of the empire. The constitutional changes of Diocletian and Constantine extended still further the power of the praefect, in whom, after the disbanding of the guards and the removal from Rome of the highest officials, the whole military, administrative and judicial powers were centred.

2. Under the republic judicial prefects (praefecti jure dicendo) were sent annually from Rome as deputies of the praetors to administer justice in certain towns of the Italian allies. These towns'were called prefectures (praefecturae). After the Social War (90-89 B.c.), when. all Italy had received the Roman