Modern Science und Anarchism.
and perpetuating the authority of the scoundrels who ruled in
Rome at that time.
Even the Gospels, while teaching the sublime idea of no
revenge for offences, which is the essence of Christianity, speak
all the while of a God of Vengeance, and by this means teach
At a still later epoch, we find tbe same again in tbe codes of
the so-called barbarians: the Gauls, theLongobards, the Alemanni,
the Saxons, the Slavonians, after the fall of the Roman Empire.
These codes legalised a custom, excellent no doubt, which began
to spread at that time: that of paying compensation for wounds
and murders, instead of practising the previously very general
law of retaliation, which said: "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
blow for blow, and life for life." By so doing, the barbarian
codes certainly represented an improvement on the law of blood-
revenge, which had been the code of tribe life; but at the same
time they also established the division of free men into classes—a
distinction which was hardly perceptible yet at the time when
law came in to enforce it, but was reinforced by it.
So much compensation—it was said now in the Barbarian
codes—has to be paid for a slave (to the master of the slave);
so much, much more, for a freeman; and so much, very much
more, for a chieftain. In this last case the compensation was
so high that it meant lifelong slavery for the murderer. Now,
the primary idea of these distinctions, established by custom, was
no doubt that the family of a chieftain, killed in a brawl, lost by
bis death far more than the family of an ordinary freeman who
would have been killed in the same circumstance; consequently,
the first had a right to a higher compensation than the second.
But in legalising this custom, the code established a division of
men into classes, and so firmly established it that up till now we
have not been able to get rid of it.
And tbe same obtains in all legislation, even in that of our
own times—the injustice and oppression that were practised at a
particular period being handed down by law to the later periods.
The tyranny of the Persian Empire was thus transmitted to
(< reece, that of Macedonia to Rome; and the oppression and
cruelty of the Roman Empire and the Eastern autocracies and
theocracies were transmitted to the young barbaric States when
they began to be formed, and even to the Christian Church. By
means of Law the past fettered the future.
AU the guarantees that are necessary to tbe life of society, all