Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. II.: The chief Power in a Civil War, vested in the Generals, yet little reverenced by the Soldiers. Both Soldiers and People grow hardened and ungovernable. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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SECT. II.: The chief Power in a Civil War, vested in the Generals, yet little reverenced by the Soldiers. Both Soldiers and People grow hardened and ungovernable. - Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), The Works of Sallust (Gordon’s Discourses, Cicero’s Orations against Catiline) 
The Works of Sallust, translated into English with Political Discourses upon that Author. To which is added, a translation of Cicero’s Four Orations against Catiline (London: R. Ware, 1744).
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The chief Power in a Civil War, vested in the Generals, yet little reverenced by the Soldiers. Both Soldiers and People grow hardened and ungovernable.
IT is not in the Power of any General (for they own no other than that of their General) to satisfy, nor consequently to controul, the Demands of the Subalterns and Soldiers, who, in Civil Wars, have often more Authority than their Commander. For, though his Power, in its Nature, be absolute; yet, as he can exercise none without their Leave and Assistance, they seldom leave him more than squares with their own good Liking. Sylla, as cruel and ambitious as he was, endeavoured to end the Civil War by an Offer of fair Terms: But no Peace could please such as had engaged in it, upon Views altogether immoderate and pernicious.
‘The Generals of the Party, (says Tacitus, speaking of that of Vespasian) Men so vigorous and puissant in kindling the Civil War, were found insufficient to controul the Spirit of Victory.’ When they had conqueted all their Enemies, they could not controul their own Men. The Reason which he assigns, is very just: ‘In exciting public Tumults, even the worst Men have the greatest Sway: But to uphold Peace, righteous Measures, and virtuous Management, are required.’ He had been just recounting the miserable State of Rome, immediately after that Victory; that ‘The Streets were filled with Carnage, and mangled Coarses; the Temples, and Places of public Resort, were dyed and streaming with Blood; and all were butchered, who presented themselves to the destroying Sword. Anon, private Houses were searched, and such as lay hid there were dragged out; and every-where the Tall and Youthful were murdered without Mercy or Exception. This Cruelty, when glutted with Blood and Killing, was strait changed to Rapaciousness; all Places were broken and plundered, and Murder always attended Opposition. The indigent Populace were as busy as cruel, and as rapacious as the Soldiers. Slaves betrayed their Lords; as did one Friend another:—On all Sides Wailing, and the Voice of Anguish, with the miserable Spectacle of a City stormed and sacked; yet they who caused the Calamity, could bring no Relief.’
The Prince, or the General of an Army, may, perhaps, have Authority enough to order any egregious Mischief to be done; such as burning or plundering a City, or putting worthy Men, and innocent People, to the Sword; but have no Power to prevent any, especially the worst Mischiefs from being done; as was the Case of Otho; and the same may be observed of almost all Generals, in all Civil Wars.
It was so even with Cæsar, the most able and most successful Commander in Rome; it was so with Augustus, a Prince, fortunate beyond most that ever reigned; both forced to wink at Sallies of Rage and Excesses in their Officers, which, sometimes at least, they would gladly have prevented: It was the Case of Cromwell, whose Agitators, a Faction raised in the Army by himself, and encouraged by him for Purposes of his own, to represent and assert the Interest of the Soldiery, became at last so formidable to him, that he was forced to venture a bold Stroke, and even his Life, to quell them.
It was also the Case of the Duke of Mayenne with the Junto of Sixteen at Paris, Men selected from the several Quarters of that City, as the ablest and most determined Demagogues, to oppose the Parliament, to inflame the People, and keep up the furious Spirit of the Ligue; and, at first, they did him notable Service, as the Agitators did Cromwell; but as soon as they found their own Strength and Influence, they began to assume sovereign Power, to act for Themselves, and not for Him; committing the most barbarous Injustice and Cruelties upon all Sorts of Men, and dooming Magistrates of the most venerable Character and Rank to the Gallows, and the like ignominious Punishment; amongst others the President Brisson, the great Light of the Law, and of public Justice: Insomuch that the Duke de Mayenne was obliged to have recourse to Violence on His Side too; and executed several of these his own Instruments, and subordinate Leaders.
These Demagogues had even a Chance for continuing their Authority without him, and in spite of him; as, probably, they would, at least for a time, if they and the Army had but agreed to have supported each other; as sometimes, in Civil Dissentions, the People and the Soldiers, that is, the Incendiaries who influence both, agree in Measures of Anarchy and Fury, though seldom in those of equal Righteousness, and common Good. Thus, at Constantinople, the Populace and the Janizaries frequently go Hand in Hand to pull down and butcher their Rulers, both supreme and subordinate, and to set up others; but never once propose, much less concert, any Scheme to secure themselves, and all Men, against the Excesses of their future Rulers; Excesses arising naturally and necessarily from the Frame of their Government, of which they are very fond, and see no Fault in it; nay, despise all other Governments, such, especially, as provide best for public Security, by limiting the Power of the Governors. The Turks daily feel and rue the dreadful Rigour of their own brutal Sovereignty; but see no further than the Men who administer it; and, therefore, aim only at Them, like a Dog that bites the Stone which is thrown at him. They murder and dethrone, without mending their Condition; and satiate their Vengeance, without finding Amends or Restitution.
In former Ages, too, during the Reign of the Greek Emperors, in all the frequent Insurrections, and dethroning of Princes, the common People were as forward as the Soldiers; and no Imperial City was ever more fertile in Revolutions even then: For the Emperors, though the State abounded in Laws, and they professed to rule by Law, yet generally ruled without and against Law; and, supporting unjust Power by Violence, exposed themselves to be used violently; and thence furnished an eternal Source of Revolts, Massacres, and Civil Wars.
Hence, too, from the Frequency of the Evil (and Civil War, which infers all Evils, is, consequently the greatest of all) People grow hardened, lose all Horror of public Calamities and Confusion, and become disposed, if not to encourage, at least not to oppose, what they would otherwise have considered with Dread and Abhorrence, and ventured their Lives to prevent.
In the last Struggle between the Armies of Vitellius and Vespasian, even in the Streets of Rome, the People, instead of being doleful and affrighted Witnesses, instead of bewailing the public Lot, and the Curse of Civil Arms, and of feeling Anguish for their native City, the Pride and Mistress of the Earth, now wallowing and defiled with the Blood of Romans, as well as of Barbarians; instead of Concern for her Property, and the Lives of her Citizens, for her Beauty and Buildings, and even for her Being, all at the Mercy of the Sword and Flames, were so little affected with such Sympathy, and tender Concern, that, ‘They were gathered as curious Spectators about the Combatants; and, as if they had been only attending the Representation of a Sight exhibited for public Amusement and Sport, they favoured and espoused now These, anon Those, with theatrical Shouts and Clappings: Nay, as often as either Side recoiled, and Particulars had fled into Houses, or lay hid in Shops, they insisted upon their being dragged out and slain; and thus came Themselves to enjoy the largest Part of the Prey: For, whilst the Soldiers were only pursuing Blood and Slaughter, the Spoil fell to the Possession of the Commonalty. Tragical and ghastly was the Face of the whole City: In one Place deadly Conflicts, and bleeding Wounds; in another luxurious Bathings, and Feats of Riot; everywhere Blood in Streams, and Carcases in Piles; yet just at Hand wanton Harlots, or such as resembled Harlots; Acts of Debauchery and Voluptuousness, as extravagant as ever were practised during a Season of Luxury and Repose; with all the Barbarities attending the most merciless Captivity: Insomuch that you would have thought the same City, at once, transported with brutal Outrage, and abandoned to sensual Revellings. Rome had before seen contending Armies in her Streets; where Sylla twice remained Conqueror, and once Cinna; nor was there then less Cruelty exercised: But now, amongst Men, there prevailed an Unconcern and Security perfectly inhuman; nor, for a single Moment, were their Pursuits of Pleasure postponed: Nay, as if this Confusion and Carnage had seasonably intervened to heighten the Gaiety of their festival Days, they exulted, they pampered and indulged, to both Parties utterly indifferent, and triumphing in public Miseries.’ This Account we have from Tacitus.