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chapter i: The State of Gaul, before it was reduced into a Province by the Romans - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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The State of Gaul, before it was reduced into a Province by the Romans
My Design being to give an Account of the Laws and Ordinances of our Francogallia, as far as it may tend to the Service of our Commonwealth, in its present Circumstances; I think it proper, in the first place, to set forth the State of Gaul, before it was reduced into the Form of a Province by the Romans: For what Caesar, Polybius, Strabo, Ammianus, and other Writers have told us concerning the Origin, Antiquity & Valour of that People, the Nature and Situation of their Country, and their private Customs, is sufficiently known to all Men, though but indifferently learned.
We are therefore to understand, that the State of Gaul was such at that time, that neither was the whole under the Government of a single Person: Nor were the particular Commonwealths34 under the Dominion of the Populace, or the Nobles only; but all Gaul was so divided into Commonwealths, that the most Part were govern’d by the Advice of the Nobles; and these were called Free; the rest had Kings: But every one of them agreed in this Institute, that at a certain Time of the Year a publick Council of the whole Nation should be held; in which Council, whatever seem’d to relate to the whole Body of the Commonwealth, was appointed and establish’d. Cornelius Tacitus, in his 3d Book, reckons Sixty-four Civitates; by which is meant (as Caesar explains it) so many Regions or Districts; in each of which, not only the same Language, Manners and Laws, but also the same Magistrates were made use of. Such, in many Places of his History, he principally mentions the Cities of the Aedui, the Rhemi and Arverni to have been. And therefore Dumnorix the Aeduan, when Caesar sent to have him slain, “began to resist, and to defend himself, and to implore the Assistance of his Fellow Citizens; often crying out, That he was a Freeman, and Member of a Free Commonwealth,”; lib. 5. cap. 3.35 To the like purpose Strabo writes in his Fourth Book “Most of their Commonwealths (says he) were govern’d by the Advice of the Nobles: but every Year they anciently chose a Magistrate; as also the People chose a General to manage their Wars.”36 The like Caesar, lib. 6. cap. 4.37 writes in these Words: “Those Commonwealths which are esteem’d to be under the best Administration, have made a Law, that if any Man chance to hear a Rumour or Report abroad among the Bordering People, which concerned the Commonwealth, he ought to inform the Magistrates of it, and communicate it to no body else. The Magistrates conceal what they think proper, and acquaint the Multitude with the rest: For of Matters relating to the Community, it was not permitted to any Person to talk or discourse, but in Council.” Now concerning this Common Council of the whole Nation, we shall quote these few Passages out of Caesar. “They demanded (says he) lib. 1. cap. 12.38 a General Council of all Gallia to be summon’d; and that this might be done by Caesar ’s Consent.” Also, lib. 7. cap. 12.39 “a Council of all Gallia was summon’d to meet at Bibracte; and there was a vast Concourse from all Parts to that Town.” And lib. 6. cap. 1.40 “Caesar having summon’d the Council of Gaul to meet early in the Spring, as he had before determin’d: Finding that the Senones,Carnutes and Treviri came not when all the rest came, he adjourned the Council to Paris.” And, lib. 7. cap. 6.41 speaking of Vercingetorix, “He promis’d himself, that he should be able by his Diligence to unite such Commonwealths to him as dissented from the rest of the Cities of Gaul, and to form a General Council of all Gallia; the Power of which, the whole World should not be able to withstand.”
Now concerning the Kings which ruled over certain Cities in Gallia, the same Author makes mention of them in very many Places: out of which this is particularly worthy our Observation; That it was the Romans’ Custom to caress all those Reguli whom they found proper for their turns: That is, such as were busy Men, apt to embroil Affairs, and to sow Dissentions or Animosities between the several Commonwealths. These they joined with in Friendship and Society, and by most honourable publick Decrees called them their Friends and Confederates: And many of these Kings purchased at a great Expence this Verbal Honour from the Chief Men of Rome. Now the Gauls called such, Reges, or rather Reguli, which were chosen, not for a certain Term, (as the Magistrates of the Free Cities were) but for their Lives; though their Territories were never so small and inconsiderable: And these, when Customs came to be changed by Time, were afterwards called by the Names of Dukes,Earls, and Marquisses.
Of the Commonwealths or Cities, some were much more potent than others; and upon these the lesser Commonwealths depended; these they put themselves under for Protection: Such weak Cities Caesar sometimes calls the Tributaries and Subjects of the former; but, for the most part he says, they were in Confederacy with them. Livius writes, lib. 5. “that when Tarquinius Priscus reigned in Rome, the Bituriges had the principal Authority among the Celtae, and gave a King to them.” When Caesar first enter’d Gaul, A.U.C.42 695. he found it “divided into Two Factions; the Aedui were at the Head of the one, the Arverni of the other, who many Years contended for the Superiority”:43 But that which greatly increas’d this Contention, was, Because the Bituriges, who were next Neighbours to the Arverni, were yet in fide & imperio; that is, Subjects and Allies to the Aedui. On the other hand, the Sequani (though Borderers on the Aedui) were under the Protection of the Arverni, lib. 1. cap. 12. lib. 6. cap. 4.44 The Romans finding such-like Dissentions to be for their Interest; that is, proper Opportunities to enlarge their own Power, did all they could to foment them: And therefore made a League with the Aedui, whom (with a great many Compliments) they styled Brothers and Friends of the People of Rome. Under the Protection and League of the Aedui, I find to have been first the Senones, with whom some time before the Parisians had join’d their Commonwealth in League and Amity. Next, the Bellouaci, who had nevertheless a great City of their own, abounding in Numbers of People, and were of principal Authority and Repute among the Belgae, lib. 2. cap. 4. and lib. 7. cap. 7.45Caesar reckons the Centrones, Grudii, Laevaci, Pleumosii, Gordunni, under the Dominion of the Nervii, lib. 5. cap. 11. He names the Eburones and Condrusii as Clients of the Treviri, lib. 4. cap. 2. And of the Commonwealth of the Veneti (these are in Armorica or Britanny) he writes, that their Domination extended over all those Maritime Regions; and that almost all that frequented those Seas were their Tributaries, lib. 3. cap. 2. But the Power of the Arverni was so great, that it not only equall’d that of the Aedui, but a little before Caesar ’s Arrival, had got most of their Clients and Dependents from them, lib. 6. cap. 4. lib. 7. cap. 10. Whereupon, as Strabo writes in his 4th Book, they made War against Caesar with Four hundred thousand Men under the Conduct of their General Vercingetorix. These were very averse to Kingly Government; So that Celtillus, Father to Vercingetorix, a Man of great Power and Reputation (reckon’d the first Man in all Gaul) was put to Death, by Order of his Commonwealth, for aspiring to the Kingdom. The Sequani, on the other hand, had a King, one Catamantales, to whom the Romans gave the Title of their Friend and Ally, lib. 1. cap. 2. Also the Suessiones, who were Masters of most large and fertile Territories, with 12 great Cities, and could muster Fifty thousand fighting Men, had a little before that time Divitiacus, the most potent Prince of all Gallia for their King; he had not only the Command of the greatest Part of Belgae, but even of Britanny. At Caesar ’s Arrival they had one Galba for their King, lib. 2. cap. 1. In Aquitania, the Grandfather of one Piso an Aquitanian, reigned, and was called Friend by the People of Rome, lib. 4. cap. 3. The Senones, a People of great Strength and Authority among the Gauls, had for some time Moritasgus their King; whole Ancestors had also been Kings in the same Place, lib. 5. cap. 13. The Nitiobriges, or Agenois, had Olovico for their King; and he also had the “Appellation given him of Friend by the Senate” of Rome, lib. 7. cap. 6.
But concerning all these Kingdoms, one thing is remarkable, and must not lightly be past by; which is That they were not hereditary, but conferr’d by the People upon such as had the Reputation of being just Men. Secondly, That they had no arbitrary or unlimited Authority, but, were bound and circumscribed by Laws; so that they were no less accountable to, and subject to the Power of the People, than the People was to theirs; inso-much that those Kingdoms seem’d nothing else but Magistracies for Life. For Caesar makes mention of several private Men, whose Ancestors had formerly been such Kings; “among these he reckons Casticus, the Son of Catamantales, whose Father had been King of the Sequani many Years, lib. 1. cap. 2. and Piso the Aquitanian, lib. 4. cap. 3. also Tasgetius, whose Ancestors had been Kings among the Carnutes,”; lib. 5. cap. 8.
Now concerning the Extent of their Power and Jurisdiction, he brings in Ambiorix, King of the Eburones, giving an account of it, lib. 5. cap 8. “The Constitution of our Government is such (says he) that the People have no less Power and Authority over me than I have over the People. Non minus habet in me juris multitudo, quam ipse in multitudinem.”;46 Which Form of Government, Plato, Aristotle, Polybius and Cicero have for this Reason determined to be the best and most Excellent: “Because (says Plato) should Kingly Government be left without a Bridle, when it has attained to supreme Power, as if it stood upon a slippery Place, it easily falls into Tyranny: And therefore it ought to be restrained as with a Curb, by the Authority of the Nobles; and such chosen Men as the People have empower’d to that End and Purpose.”47
[34. ]Comment in margin added by Molesworth (not in Hotman’s original): “Civitas, a Commonwealth.”
[35. ]GS Franc. identify the reference as Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, bk. 5, chap. 7 (Loeb 242).
[36. ]GS Franc. identify the Greek reproduced in the margin as a citation from Strabo, Geography, bk. 4, 4.3 (Loeb 2:242).
[37. ]GS Franc. (p. 148) identify it as Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, bk. 6, chap. 21; in fact, it is bk. 6, chap. 20 (Loeb 344).
[38. ]GS Franc. identify it as Bellum Gallicum, bk. 1, chap. 31 (Loeb 44).
[39. ]GS Franc. identify it as Bellum Gallicum, bk. 7, chap. 63 (Loeb 468).
[40. ]GS Franc. identify it as Bellum Gallicum, bk. 6, chap. 3 (Loeb 318).
[41. ]GS Franc. identify it as Bellum Gallicum, bk. 7, chap. 29 (Loeb 72).
[42. ]“After the founding of Rome.”
[43. ]GS Franc. identify it as Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, bk. 1, chap. 31 (Loeb 46).
[44. ]Ibid., bk. 1, chap. 31 (Loeb 46) and bk. 6, chaps. 11–12 (Loeb 332).
[45. ]Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 14 (Loeb 108) and bk. 7, chap. 59 (Loeb 464).
[46. ]As GS Franc. point out, the Latin fragment is a version from Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, bk. 5, chap. 27 (Loeb 268).
[47. ]As GS Franc. (p. 154, n. 37) point out, this is not a passage from Plato.