Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
CIX. To Paulinus
AS you are not of a disposition to expect from your friends the ordinary ceremonial observances of society when they cannot observe them without inconvenience to themselves, so I love you too steadfastly to be apprehensive of your taking otherwise than I wish you should my not waiting upon you on the first day of your entrance upon the consular office, especially as I am detained here by the necessity of letting my farms upon long leases. I am obliged to enter upon an entirely new plan with my tenants: for under the former leases, though I made them very considerable abatements, they have run greatly in arrear. For this reason several of them have not only taken no sort of care to lessen a debt which they found themselves incapable of wholly discharging, but have even seized and consumed all the produce of the land, in the belief that it would now be of no advantage to themselves to spare it. I must therefore obviate this increasing evil, and endeavour to find out some remedy against it. The only one I can think of is, not to reserve my rent in money, but in kind, and so place some of my servants to overlook the tillage, and guard the stock; as indeed there is no sort of revenue more agreeable to reason than what arises from the bounty of the soil, the seasons, and the climate. It is true, this method will require great honesty, sharp eyes, and many hands. However, I must risk the experiment, and, as in an inveterate complaint, try every change of remedy. You see, it is not any pleasurable indulgence that prevents my attending you on the first day of your consulship. I shall celebrate it, nevertheless, as much as if I were present, and pay my vows for you here, with all the warmest tokens of joy and congratulation. Farewell.