Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. VI.: The Evils, and sudden Changes, brought by Civil War upon particular Families, and upon a Country in general; with the fierce Discontents, and Animosities, and ill Morals, which it entails. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
Return to Title Page for The Works of Sallust (Gordon’s Discourses, Cicero’s Orations against Catiline)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
SECT. VI.: The Evils, and sudden Changes, brought by Civil War upon particular Families, and upon a Country in general; with the fierce Discontents, and Animosities, and ill Morals, which it entails. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain. It was scanned and originally put online by one of the collaborators in the Internet Archive project [archive.org] for scholarship and research purposes. We have added tables of contents, pagination, and other educational aids where appropriate.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Evils, and sudden Changes, brought by Civil War upon particular Families, and upon a Country in general; with the fierce Discontents, and Animosities, and ill Morals, which it entails.
AS Violence generally precedes, and begets, and accompanies, a Civil War, so a Civil War generally ends in Violence, in furious Measures, Confiscations, and Executions; that is to say, in such Measures as tend directly to produce a Succession of Civil Wars. Men fight naturally to defend their Lives, and Estates, and Families, where they are attacked, and manifestly threatened; and to recover their Estates, when taken away. If some are fond of Civil War, from a Passion for Prey and Forfeitures; others are so from a Passion as strong, even to retrieve their Losses and Inheritance: And if mean Men be apt to promote public Confusion for the Sake of Titles, and Fortunes, and Dignities; great Men, reduced to Meanness by such a Vicissitude, will be as eager to risque fresh Confusion, in order to divest their Supplanters, and reinstate themselves. He who is a Lord To-day, and abounds in Wealth, will not, if he can help it, bear to be a Slave, or to beg, To-morrow; no more than any turbulent Slave will stand at any Means to soar above Slavery, and to mend his Character and Condition.
What more abetted the many Civil Wars in England formerly, (I still except Oppression, and lawless Rule) than the Bait and Temptation of Forfeitures, whence great Acquisitions were probably to be had, and great Fortunes to be suddenly made or mended, and a continual Propensity in such as were stripped and undone, to be revenged and restored? One got half a County by crowning an Edward; another hoped to recover it with Additions, by re-establishing a Henry. Here was a perpetual Source of Civil Broils and Bloodshed, even where there was no other.
The Truth is, says Cicero, ‘The Seeds and Source of Civil Wars will never be lost or extinguished, so long as desperate and abandoned Men are always remembring, and hoping to see revived, the former barbarous Scenes of Confiscations, such as were displayed under Sylla the Dictator, by his Kinsman Publius; nay, Six-and-thirty Years after, by the same Instrument, then much exalted in his Station, at first a common Notary, afterwards City-Prætor, or Grand Justiciary of Rome, yet pursuing the same horrid Trade of Confiscations, in a Manner still more extensive and merciless. Nor is it possible, that Civil Wars should ever cease, when such mighty Forfeitures and Rewards are always in View to rouse them.’ Cicero de Offic. L. II. He likewise says, in one of his Philippics, that, ‘The Forfeitures made under Cæsar had furnished many wicked Men with Hopes and Confidence; for that they saw Numbers, lately abject and poor, on a sudden wallowing in Wealth: So that all, who with a malignant Eye behold our Estates, (he is speaking to the Senate) are ever longing for such Days of Forfeitures.’
Civil Wars do in the Civil and Moral World, what Earthquakes do in the Natural, confound all things; sink and exalt; change high and low, and unite Extremes; raze down old Piles, which seemed to defy Time, and prop the Sky; and scatter such as possessed them, as effectually, as if neither had ever been; or just leave Ruins enow to indicate their former Grandeur, and the Opulence of the Owners, with the Wretchedness of their Posterity, if any remain; lift new Fabrics, and new Men, both out of the Dust; extinguish Titles; abolish and debase Dignities, perhaps for ever, or transfer them to Grooms and Lacqueys, or to sold Slaves, born to Nakedness and Chains; expose venerable Senators to want and to beg, whilst common Soldiers assume the Rank of Senators; prefer condemned Felons to conduct Armies and possess Countries, while those who doomed them to die, suffer Death by their Command; set Bond men to rule over their late Rulers; and, being now Lords of Life and Death, to award Freemen and Grandees to Prison, and Execution, at Pleasure, or, which is perhaps more shocking, to treat them with Pity; shew a Minion, such as Chrysogonus, once a base Slave, exercised in the lowest and vilest Offices of Life, then the Favourite of an Usurper, living and rioting in the Profusion and Magnificence of an Eastern King, supported in it by the Estates of many illustrious Romans, accumulated upon him by Grants, or feigned Purchases, and the noble Owners butchered, or banished, Vagabonds, and starving; Men who had no Guilt, besides their Estates, executed for their Estates, or punished with Life void of Support.
It sometimes happens, that Men, thus suddenly and wickedly enriched, become, through Waste, and Vanity, and Riot, soon poor again, and then want recourse to the same Means to renew their Fortune. They who lost their Fortunes to the former, have the same Aim and Pursuit: To such, add all that are vicious, and criminal, and indigent, in dread of Gaols and Gibbets, of Creditors, and Want; all that are voluptuous without Property, daring without Honesty, oppressed without Redress, vindictive, but disappointed of Vengeance; all who have Much to hope, and Nothing to lose; all who have great Ambition, and no public Spirit, with whoever thinks a Civil War either necessary or unavoidable, and resolves to follow Fortune, and make the best of it; Officers out of Post, Soldiers out of Pay; every aspiring Man, who has not Preferment, or not enough; every Man void of Humanity, who feels not the public Calamities, nor the Sufferings of others; every Man who is indifferent about public Liberty, interested in general Confusion, and fears no Consequences; together with the needy Rabble, always unsteady and thoughtless, for the most part venal and debauched, generally passionate for Innovations, from whatever Hand or Quarter they come.
When the Civil War is over, its Effects, and even its Spirit, remain, sometimes for Generations; it entails ill Morals upon a Country, as well as Distress and Calamities upon particular Families, and leaves the Laws under Weakness and Scorn.
As a Conclusion of this Discourse, I shall subjoin a summary Account of the Civil Feuds and Outrages that happened at Corsetra, now Corfu, during the War of Peloponnesus, as the same are related at large by Thucydides.