Under the early methods of collecting revenues, the tribute due, the economic receipts, and the voluntary contributions were delivered directly to the chief or leader. Many of the early direct taxes were similarly treated. Indirect taxes upon commodities and transactions could not be managed in this way. The first crude method of dealing with these taxes was that of the tax-farmer, the Roman Publican. He purchased for a price the privilege of collecting all of certain kinds of taxes that he could obtain. The same method was extended to other taxes where there was no similar necessity for it. This farming of taxes was used through the imperial era of ancient Rome, and copied by France it was extended into modern times. The various direct contributions of the middle ages which were apportioned among the different cities, or "estates," were frequently delivered directly to the Prince or his Treasurer. All of these crude methods were abandoned as soon as there was a distinct recognition of the authority of the taxing power over all the different parts of the country and over each contributor individually. The apportionment system, as originally used, was a more or less distinct recognition of the autonomy, and possibly of the partial political independence, of the tax-payers, be they provinces, cities, or classes of individuals.