Front Page Titles (by Subject) To His Grace EVELYN, Duke of KINGSTON. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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To His Grace EVELYN, Duke of KINGSTON. - 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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To His Grace EVELYN, Duke of KINGSTON.
AS I take the Story of Catiline to be full of Instruction to all Subjects, especially to all great Subjects, in a free State, I freely inscribe it to Your Grace. It is what I have long intended, what I think very pertinent, and what I therefore do with great Chearfulness, as well for the Honour accruing to myself, as for the Pleasure it must give to a Mind like Yours, not only free from all the Guilt and Perturbations rending the Heart of that great Parricide, but replete with all opposite Impressions, good Wishes for public Security and Repose, and for whatever tends to procure them, the Love of Justice, Truth, and Peace, with an Antipathy to all Violence and Fraud; a Character as amiable to human Society, and pleasing to him who has it, as the contrary Character is odious to all Men, and a Curse upon him to whom it belongs.
Bright Talents, depraved by Ambition, are more dangerous to the World than none: Such were Catiline’s Talents, strong, but terrible, because terribly perverted. He had great Abilities, great Accomplishments, I think as great as any Man, but wanted Virtue: An admirable Head was corrupted by a bad Heart. Such is the Difference between great Sense and sound Sense, and consequently between Parts and Wisdom; which implies, not only Parts, but the Direction of good Parts to good Purposes. As able good Men are the best Men; a Character too uncommon, even where it most abounds; able bad Men are the worst Men; a Character too common, even where it is most rare: A lively Spirit, innocently employed, is an unblameable Character: When it is benevolently employed, it is an amiable one. Men of Parts, who will rather display them mischievously, than not display them at all, only teach People to fear their Parts, and to hate their Persons: For, whatever Disguises they wear; however they may deceive for awhile; they will be discovered sooner or later, and then not only miss their Aim of public Admiration and Worship, but meet, what is opposite to both, Infamy, and public Indignation.
A Man of Parts, void of Vanity, without knowing, or seeming to know, that he has them, cannot long conceal himself from Men of Discernment, though he may, for some time, from such as have none. His Modesty, at worst, can only hurt himself, by hiding or suspending his Character for a Time, but can never create him Enemies; and is, on the contrary, an amiable and sure Introduction to general Affection and Esteem. The highest Abilities, accompanied with Ostentation, are offensive; at best, envied: But when such as have them, will needs shine to the Hurt of others, they will be abhorred by others; indeed, by all who are not like themselves, frequently by such as are. He who doth most Good in the World, ought certainly to be most esteemed in it: He who hurts the World most, ought to be most detested by it.
It is, or ought to be, the great Purpose of History, to illustrate and recommend this Lesson; and those Historians who do it best, are the best Historians and Instructors. It is drawing the Characters of Men from their Actions, and instructing the World by the good or evil Fate of Men, what the World is to expect from their following good or evil Courses. I think it is plain, upon the Whole, that guilty Actions have, first or last, an unhappy Issue, sometimes indeed to the Guiltless, but generally to the Guilty. How miserable is the illustrious Lucius Sergius Catiline? What an unhappy Wretch is the Royal, the renowned Jugurtha? Both Jugurtha and Catiline the Authors of their own Misery! It were to be wished that They, and such as They, could make none but Themselves miserable.
If any Examples, any Instructions, were capable of mending the World, of prevailing with Men to resist their bad Passions, and of convincing them, that all wicked Pursuits, however pleasing at first, threaten painful Consequences at last, and naturally tend to produce such; no History is fraught with stronger or more instructive Examples, than those of Catiline and Jugurtha; Catiline continually engaged in flagitious Courses, continually disappointed, never mended, still pursuing Evil, still rewarded with Crosses and Rebukes; and, after a long Series of Wickedness, Distress, and Danger, and general Abhorrence, cut off as a public Traitor; and his Name, which he thought himself sure of exalting with his Fortune, become a Name of Infamy to all Generations since and to come.
The Fortune of Jugurtha was more varied; so was his Character: A very great Man, an able Prince, a mighty Hero, wonderfully qualified both for a Warrior and a Monarch; a good Governor, kind to his Subjects in general, and friendly to their Liberties and Fortunes; his Name greatly celebrated in the World, his Lot in it singular and fortunate, chiefly the Effect of his high Abilities and Reputation; a King well established, nothing threatening to hurt him, nothing able to disturb him; such was the Awe of his Name, such the Inferiority of the Princes about him: The Romans, who alone could have troubled him, in Friendship with him, and partial to him.
Such was the Situation and Glory of Jugurtha, such his Ease and Security! Could Guilt, the most flattering Guilt, heighten his Renown and good Fortune? Could black Perfidy, or unnatural Barbarity, extend his Fame? Yet, from a Rage for fansied Grandeur, he sacrificed all his real Greatness: From a Passion for Glory, he made himself detestable; and, to secure himself from all Danger and Attacks, exposed himself to an incessant Train of Woes, with the constant Peril of his Diadem and Life, and, in the End, with the utter Loss of Both. One wicked Step required another, and that other required more: He murdered in order to usurp: To maintain one Usurpation, he added another: And then, to make both safe, more Murders must be committed, all naturally following the first and most shocking, those of his nearest Relations, the Sons of his adopting Father, left, by the dying King, to his fraternal Protection, and That Protection purchased by the Gift and Reward of a Kingdom.
In destroying those Princes, his Ambition, which inspired him with Cruelty, blinded him too from reflecting, that he was but making a Precedent, and giving Encouragement to another Usurper to destroy himself, and even arming the Hand, as well as hardening the Heart, of that Usurper to strike boldly; since that Stroke, however cruel and unprovoked it might be, could hardly be so impious and aggravated as his own had been. There followed many subordinate Murders and Acts of Treachery, with all the fearful Calamities attending a War wantonly undertaken by him, cruelly felt by his People.
The Consequences to himself, after all his rapid Success, and all the deceitful Smiles of Fortune, for some time, were restless Nights and Days, Plots against his Life, endless Fears and Distrusts. This great Conqueror and Statesman, this Man of Head and Stratagem, was at last over-reached as well as vanquished, surprised and seized by Craft, like his own, carried to Rome in Irons, there committed naked to a Dungeon, where he is said to have been perishing many Days, before he was released by Famine from the Load of Life and Misery. How secure, how happy, might he have lived, how quietly died, and in what Renown! No Man had a clearer Head, no Man had stronger Reason: But what a Dwarf is Reason in the Hands of headstrong Passion?
The Abilities of great wicked Men are fatal to themselves, as well as to the World. But what Amends do their Sufferings make to the World, which suffers with them, and for them? The Hero sacrifices Millions of Lives, and has but one Life to lose. Sometimes Millions perish to humour a vain Coward aping Heroism: A tragical Farce, which Europe saw, and rued for half a Century.
Memorable too, and instructive, was the Conduct of the Romans in that War. Every Step taken by the Roman Leaders in it were, for a long Time, not only scandalous to themselves, and injurious to Rome, but ended naturally in their own Disgrace and Ruin. They trusted to Support from the Senate, where all the Insults, and glaring Guilt, of Jugurtha were of no Force against Jugurtha’s Money. The Senate not only sheltered and protected this Son of Blood, this public Enemy, one of the most formidable that the Commonwealth had ever encountered, but openly defended and extolled him: This they did so confidently, and so long, that they themselves became as odious as the Cause they espoused; and thence raised a Storm that crushed them. They saw themselves exposed to the Vengeance of the People, whom they had long treated with Contempt, void of Tenderness or Mercy, and were treated by the People, in their turn, with as little. By a Course of Defiance and Insults upon the Plebeians, they had provoked the Plebeians to return Oppression with Oppression: Popular Rage broke out the fiercer for having been long smothered, and now proceeded to very barbarous Excesses.
Such is the wild Spirit of Party! The Party which prevail, as if they could fix Fate, and their own Fortune, turn it into Arrogance and Riot; and, instead of conciliating their Opponents by just and engaging Usage, oppress and exasperate them; and consequently invite a Retribution of the same merciless Treatment, whenever Fortune changes. Bad Example is generally more eagerly followed than good: When the Change happens, the Party which complained loudly and justly of Oppression, whilst they were under it, exercise it over their late Oppressors, with the same Asperity and Blindness, till they themselves come to be again oppressed: They then feel, very sensibly, what they had unfeelingly earned, the like bitter Usage, and now utter the like bitter Complaints.
Men rarely feel the Hurt they do to others, but only what others do to them. Whoever uses us ill, deserves ill Usage from us, and ought not to complain; but we may complain of ill Usage, because we never deserve any.
Self-love will always reason selfishly, often ridiculously. Sound Reason, and good Temper, which is comprised in it, will prove, in the End, to be always the truest Self-love, and lead Men to their true Interest, with most Ease, and Certainty, and Fame. If we would avoid Evil and Injustice, we must not commit them; but rather bear some Injury, than provoke more by returning it: If we set no ill Example, our own cannot be alleged against us. This is Reason, this is Prudence and Interest. But Parties do not reason, but rage: They consist of Numbers in a Passion with Numbers, hating and striving to mortify each other: A sad domestic War, at best, a sad Presage of it! In it, if the Enemy be but hurt, no matter how they are hurt.
As to the Patricians, it is surprising how Men of high Quality, of great Fortunes, and equal Pride, should act a Part so ruinous to their own Dignity, so destructive to the State, and consequently to themselves, so glaringly repugnant to all the Laws of Justice and Humanity, for a Sum, for any Sum of Money, and be meanly bribed by a foreign Enemy to espouse his infamous Cause against that of their Country, and their own.
Such shocking Venality could be no Secret; since nothing but that could have procured him one Voice in a Roman Senate, nor indeed in the Roman State. The Reason of their Partiality and Injustice was as manifest as the Guilt of Jugurtha, which was just as notorious as were the Motives of their Efforts to save him. What Wonder that the popular Leaders snatched the Advantage? What Wonder that the great Men, who had so debased themselves, were so vehemently decried, so successfully attacked, so unmercifully lashed, by the popular Orators, especially in the celebrated Harangues of Memmius and Marius, and so exposed to the Hate and Insults of the Populace?
The Populace too, equally liable to be corrupted, ever to be easily and violently misled, abused their Victory over the Patricians upon this Occasion, by a Torrent of scandalous Outrages. They gave themselves up to precipitate Acts of Vengeance, and, in order to procure it, followed blindfold the Guidance of those who put them upon seeking it; followed their Favourites and Demagogues, more dangerous Masters than the Grandees of the Senate, because implicitly trusted, and consequently more powerful. Whoever proposed to them what pleased them, however it hurt them, gained their Confidence, which was always as unbounded as their Hate and Distrust: So that they were ever in more Danger from their Friends than their Enemies; and generally more violent and headlong in mistaken Measures, than in such as were just. They were justly provoked with most of the Directors of the Jugurthine War, but extended their Resentment indiscriminately to all, to the brave and successful Metellus, as well as to his venal and baffled Predecessors. They were in Wrath with the whole Senate, because many of the Senators deserved their Wrath. They were of course the Dupes and Votaries of every Incendiary, if he were but recommended by the only Merit of inveighing loudly against the Patricians. They encouraged every designing Man to mislead them, every hot Orator to inflame them. Thus, in Opposition to the Grandees, they enabled the brutal Marius to hurt themselves more, and to bring more Disorder and Desolation upon the State, than all the Grandees, the worst and most criminal Grandees, had done before him.
The People were apt to think Men better or worse than they really were: Their Affection, as well as their Aversion, was without Measure: Both their Aversion and Affection were often ill-founded and misplaced. They sometimes hated, where they ought to have loved; and loved, where they ought to have hated. They rage against Metellus, though he had done all that a brave General, all that an able Magistrate, could do: They applaud and exalt Marius, merely because he promised to do better; and they believed him upon his bare Word. They take all his rough Railings, all his Scurrilities, as Marks of Zeal for public Justice, and public Liberty; and his Plebeian Extraction and Manners pass with them for Proofs of his Attachment to the Plebeians. They think that Metellus cannot be a Man of Honour, because he is a Man of Quality; nor Marius a Knave, because he is a Rustic. They swallowed Things and Characters by the Lump: They did not consider, that, in general, little more can be expected from Men, than that Men so far seek the public Good, as in it they find their own; that if Men judged truly of their own Happiness, even this Spirit, however selfish, would be public Spirit; since every Man will, first or last, find the Interest of the Public to be his own Interest, find his own Glory inseparable from the Glory of his Country.
I thought that such Reflections as these, which occur naturally from Sallust, would stand naturally before his Works, in an Address to Your Grace. No Man can have stronger Motives to love his Country, and to study its Peace and Security, its equal Laws, its free Constitution; for the Liberty, Ease, and Security of the Subject, not to be matched by any Constitution, in any Country, antient or modern. No Subject can have a juster Call to prevent all dangerous, or to promote all just Measures; to oppose all Violence from Men in Power, as well as all Violence against them; to weigh Reasons of Ambition against Reasons of State; to compare popular Grievances with popular Disaffection, Patriotism with Party, and private Heat with public Zeal. No Man was ever less formed for Party, no Man more unqualified, both from Temper and Interest, to engage in narrow, hot, and dangerous Pursuits, such as Party blindly delights in.
Your Grace cannot but, upon all Accounts, love Your Country, particularly upon Your Own, as You have so great a Stake in it: Your Dignity cannot be higher for a Subject: Few Subjects of equal Dignity have equal Fortune to support it: Fewer perhaps have a Temper so even and happy, with such a manly Contempt of all Pride and false State; none a more just and ready Understanding, or a Heart better disposed; the highest Endowment of all! In a Word, Your Grace has many Qualifications to make You many Friends; and whoever are worthy to be Your Friends, will never be Your Enemies.
I therefore own to the World, that I esteem You very highly, and if You will pardon a familiar, but honest, Expression, very affectionately; that I take a zealous Part in whatever concerns You; that I consider You as a great Ornament to Your Rank and Country, uncommonly interested in its Welfare, well disposed to serve it, and furnished with Firmness and Spirit to support it.
I am, therefore, with the highest Regard, and the warmest Wishes,
Your most Obedient, and
Most Humble Servant,
September 9. 1743.
IT is incumbent upon all Men, who aim at surpassing the brute Creation, so to exert their Spirit, as not to pass their Life without Notice or Name, like the Herd in the Fields, by Nature framed with Bodies prone to the Earth, and under blind Subjection to their Appetites.
The Faculties of Man are indeed twofold; those of the Mind and those of the Body: The Prerogative of the Soul is, to command, the Duty of the Body, to obey: The former we share with the Gods; we possess the latter in common with the Beasts. Hence, in the Pursuit of Glory, I prefer the Abilities of the Mind to those of the Body; and since the Term of our Life is but short, it ought to be our Study to perpetuate our Memory. For the Splendor of Beauty, and of Wealth, is transient and frail; Virtue alone is intitled to Eternity and Renown.
It hath, however, been a great and long Debate amongst Men, whether Vigour of Body, or the Talents of the Mind, contribute most to Success in War; for, as Counsel must precede and direct Execution, prompt Execution must follow Counsel: Whence it comes, that, neither of these sufficing alone, each prevails by the Aid of the other. Thus it was, that, of old, Kings (for this was the Title of Government first known in the World) pursued different Improvements; some those of the Mind, others those of the Body. Nor as yet was the Conduct of Men influenced by Ambition; but all remained abundantly satisfied with their own Lot and Possessions.
Afterwards, indeed, when Cyrus began in Asia, the Lacedæmonians and Athenians in Greece, to seize Cities, and subdue Nations; when the Lust of unbounded Sway became the Cause of War; when the highest Glory was thought to arise from the largest Dominions; it was then at last discovered, by a Course of Experience, that it is Genius which chiefly supports War. Indeed, would Princes and Leaders but exercise the same Capacity and Address in Peace, as they do in War, the Condition of human Affairs would be found more reasonable and just, as well as more steady; nor should we see Property and Power tossed hither and thither, nor such violent Reverses of States, and universal Combustion. For Government is easily preserved by the same Measures upon which it was founded: But when, in place of Industry and Vigilance, of Justice and Moderation, Insolence, and Sloth, and Licentiousness prevail, the Fortune of the State changes with the Manners of the State. So that in all Revolutions, Power passes from him who hath least Abilities, to him who has most.
The Productions of Men, whatever they be, in Agriculture, in Navigation, in Building, indeed in all things, are owing to the manly Efforts of the Soul. Yet many of the human Species there are so abandoned to Gluttony, to Sleep and Sloth, so void of all Improvement and Politeness, as to pass their Lives like Men on a Journey; and, contrary to the Purpose of Nature, knowing no Delights but such as arise from the Body, find their Minds only an Incumbrance. Now I hold the Life and the Death of such Individuals to be of equal Moment, since they live and die in equal Silence and Obscurity.
The Man, therefore, who seems to me truly to live, and to enjoy his rational Faculties, is he, who, by exerting himself in certain Pursuits, seeks the Glory arising from some illustrious Adventure, or some honourable Function. Now in a vast Variety of Occupations, the different Nature of Men presents them with different Pursuits.
It is laudable to act worthily for the Commonwealth; and to write well for it, hath its Measure of Merit. There is room to gain Renown in Peace as well as in War: Many have acquired Applause by performing great Actions; many by describing them. And though I perceive, that so large a Portion of Glory attends not him who describes Exploits, as him who atchieves them; yet, still, to me, it appears a Task of the first Magnitude, to discharge the Duty of an Historian; especially since the Dignity of Deeds must be equalled by the Dignity of Style. Moreover, whenever you reprove Faults, many will conclude you animated by Malice and Envy. When you recount Deeds of Magnanimity and Renown, exhibited by the Worthy and the Brave; if they be such as every Reader thinks himself capable of producing, he will be complaisant enough to believe them; but hold them for Fables framed by yourself, where they surpass that Measure.
For myself; I, like many others, was carried away, in my early Youth, by a Passion for a Part in the Administration; but found many things to cross my Pursuit: For, in the Place of Modesty, of Restraint, and of Works of Merit, all Licence flourished, with all the Efforts of Corruption and Rapaciousness; Vices which my Soul, not yet enured to evil Habits, did indeed utterly disrelish: Yet, during such prevailing Depravations, my tender Years were intangled by Ambition; and altho’ I avoided, in general, the corrupt Morals of my Contemporaries, I was still instigated, like others, with the same Ardour for publick Preferment; and thence exposed to popular Rancour and Reproach.
As soon, therefore, as my Soul became disengaged from the many Vexations and Perils attending this Pursuit, and I had determined to retreat, during Life, from the Administration, I conceived a Design, not to waste such valuable Leisure in Inattention and Indolence, nor to apply my Thoughts and Care to Agriculture or the Chace, and thus pass my Days in laborious Occupations, which exceed not the Ability of Slaves; but, resuming my former Aim and Undertaking, from whence the depraved Spirit of Ambition had diverted me, I resolved to compose a History of the Roman People, by collecting the principal Events, such as appeared to deserve the Attention of Posterity: A Task which I the rather chose, for that my Soul was unbyassed by any Hope or Fear, and attached to no Faction in the State.
I shall here therefore briefly recount the Conspiracy of Catiline, with all possible Veracity; as it was an Attempt, which, for the wonderful Singularity of the Treason, and for the Danger that it threatened, appears to me extremely memorable. Of this Man’s Character it is proper to open some Parts, before I enter upon the Story.
Lucius Catiline sprang from an illustrious Race: He was a Man of great Vigour both of Body and Mind; but of a Spirit altogether vicious and depraved. From his Youth he delighted in intestine Wars, in Slaughter and Depredation, in civil Discord and Tumults: These were indeed the great Occupations of his younger Years. He was capable of enduring Hunger and Cold, and Want of Repose, beyond what is conceivable: His Spirit was daring, insidious, and shifting; expert in feigning what he meant not, and in dissembling what he meant; rapacious of what belonged to others, profuse of his own: violent and flaming in all his Passions: He had a sufficient Share of Eloquence; of Wisdom a small Share. A Spirit so boundless was ever pursuing extravagant Views, too romantic to be feasible, too high to be attempted.
This was the Character of Catiline; who, having observed the successful Usurpation of Sylla, became transported with a Passion to seize the Commonwealth; nor, in his Pursuit of Tyranny, was he at all concerned by what Methods he carried it. His Spirit, naturally impetuous, was still more and more inflamed by domestic Wants, and by the Horror of his manifold Guilt; Misfortunes which he had greatly heightened by the Courses that I have mentioned. He was also encouraged by the corrupt Character of the Romans, now quite debauched by two Vices, opposite in their Natures, but equally pernicious; Luxury and Avarice.
Since I had here Occasion to mention the Manners of the Romans, the Subject seems to invite me to trace the Ages past; and briefly to review the Institutions of our Ancestors, both in Peace and in War; how they conducted the State; in what Grandeur they left it to their Descendants; and how, by a gradual Degeneracy, from the most glorious and most virtuous, it is become the most vicious and most depraved.
By what I have learned, The fugitive Trojans, who, following Æneas, wandered about in Italy, without any constant Settlement, were the Founders of Rome, in Conjunction with the Natives; a savage Race of Men, subject to no Laws, owning no Authority, but absolutely free and unaccountable. It is incredible to recount how easily these two Nations, different in their Original, in their Language and Manners, blended together into one People, as soon as they came to inhabit one City. Afterwards, when, by the Augmentation of Citizens and Territory, and by domestic Improvements, their State increased, and appeared sufficiently flourishing and powerful, they experienced the hard Condition annexed to almost all human Things, that their particular Opulence begat general Envy: Insomuch that the neighbouring Princes and Nations took Arms against them; whilst but very few of their Friends afforded them Succour: For all the rest were struck with Terror, and kept far from the Danger.
Nevertheless, the undaunted Romans, alike vigilant in the City and the Field, acted with Vigour, concerted all Measures, animated one another, advanced against the Enemy, and thus protected their Liberty, their Country, and their Families, by their Bravery in Arms. Then, when by it they had repelled their own Danger, they carried Aid to their Friends and Confederates: And it was more by conferring Benefits, than by receiving them, that they procured Alliances.
Their Government had the Name of Monarchy; but Monarchy limited by Laws: A select Number of ancient Men, who, however weakened by Years, were vigorous in Spirit and Prudence, forming a Council, directed the Administration; and either from their Age, or a Similitude of Tenderness and Care, were called Fathers. Afterwards, when the Monarchy, established at first for securing public Liberty, and for aggrandizing the State, lapsed into Insolence and Tyranny, they changed the Form of their Government, and created two Rulers with Authority only annual. By this Expedient they concluded, that they had best restrained the Spirit of Men from being tempted, by long Power, into Acts of Violence.
Upon this Revolution, all Men began with greater Zeal to exert themselves in their Stations; all Men more readily to display their several Abilities. For, to the Jealousy of lawless Kings, the Virtuous are much more obnoxious than the Vicious; and in their Eyes virtuous Merit appears always dreadful. But how much the City, now she had acquired Liberty, increased in a small time, is incredible to be told; so powerfully had a Passion for Glory possessed the Hearts of her Citizens!
The Roman Youth, the Moment they could bear Arms, repaired to the Camp, where, under hard Fatigues, they acquired by Practice the Art of War: And greater was their Delight in their military Dress and War-horses, than in lewd Women and Banquetting. To such Men therefore no Fatigues were strange, no Situation grievous, no armed Host formidable; for their Magnanimity overcame all things: But their highest Contest for Glory was amongst themselves; whilst every Particular strove to be first in wounding the Foe, in scaling the Rampart, and in signalizing himself to all in performing these Exploits. This they accounted to be Riches; this to be Reputation and high Rank. They were covetous of Applause, but liberal of Money. They sought only a moderate Degree of Wealth; but Glory without Bounds.
I could here recount upon what Occasions the Roman People have routed mighty Armies with a Handful of Men; as also what Cities, strongly fortified even by Nature, they have taken by Assault; but that the Detail would lead me too far from my Undertaking.
Yet surely it is Fortune which bears supreme Sway in all things: It is she that, following Caprice rather than Justice, brightens or darkens all the Affairs and Actions of Men. The Atchievements of the Athenians, I allow, were abundantly grand and noble; yet still inferior to the Representations of Fame: But as they were furnished with Writers of fine Genius, the Exploits of the Athenians are thence renowned throughout the World, as the most noble and exemplary; and the Bravery of such as performed them, is accounted just as high as the Address of these illustrious Wits in describing and extolling them.
But the Roman People were never thus supplied; since all their ablest Men were likewise the most active, and therefore most employed. None applied their Talents but jointly with bodily Application. Every Man excelling in Worth, preferred Doing to Saying; and chose rather, that others should applaud his deserving Actions, than he recount those of others.
Sound Manners, therefore, were promoted both in the City, and the Camp. The most cordial Union every-where prevailed, and no selfish Pursuits. They were determined to Equity and Right, not more by the Force of Laws; than by a natural Propensity. The only Strife, the only Dissentions and Disputes which they exercised, they exercised against the public Enemy. All the Contests between Citizen and Citizen were in Deeds of Bravery. They were magnificent in their Oblations to the Deitics; in their Families very frugal; in their Friendships very faithful. By two principal means, Valour in War, and righteous Conduct during Peace, they supported their own Reputation, and that of the Common Weal: and, as the fullest Proofs of these Virtues, I find that, during War, more frequent were the Punishments of such as attacked the Enemy contrary to Orders, or continued in Battle after the Signal for a Retreat, than of those who dared to abandon their Standards, or to relinquish their Post; whilst, in time of Peace, they sustained their Power more by the Influence of Favours than of Fear: And, when they were injured, they chose rather to forgive, than to seek Revenge.
But when, by a Course of Industry and Justice, the Commonwealth was grown powerful; when mighty Kings were vanquished in War; when several Nations, very fierce and wild, were tamed, and many potent People had yielded to her superior Might; when Carthage, that Rival to the Empire of Rome, was utterly demolished, and now Sea and Land lay every-where open to her Sway; then began Fortune to exercise her Tyranny, and to introduce universal Confusion. The same People who had, without Regret, undergone Fatigues and Dangers, Distresses and Hardships, were baned by a Life of Ease: The Romans became depressed by Riches, which are the great Idol and Pursuit of other Nations.
Thus the Lust of Money first prevailed; next a Passion for Place and Sway. These were the Sources of all the Evils which followed. For, Avarice abolished all good Faith, and all Probity, with every other worthy Principle. Instead of these, it inspired Pride and Inhumanity, Contempt of the Gods, and a Spirit of unbounded Venality. Reigning Ambition generally forced Men to be deceitful, to conceal their real Meaning; to profess, what they meant not; to estimate Friendship and Enmity, not according to their own Weight, but by that of Lucre, and rather to bear a fair Countenance than an upright Heart.
These Depravations at first gained ground by Degrees, and were sometimes damped by Correction. At last, Corruption spreading like a Pestilence, the City became utterly changed, and the Administration, from the most righteous and fatherly, grew violent and insupportable.
I own, that at first Ambition had a greater Share than Avarice in influencing the Spirits of Men, and is indeed a Vice which bears some Resemblance of Virtue; since all Men alike, the Worthy as well as the Worthless, covet Glory, Preferments and Power. The Difference is, that the former employ direct means; the others, wanting just Abilities, betake themselves to Craft and Frauds. The Object of Avarice is Money; for which no wise Man ever entertained a Passion. This Vice, as if impregnated with every deadly Poyson, unmans Body and Soul: It is ever boundless, ever insatiable; nor is its Rage more abated by Affluence than by Want.
But when Sylla had by Strength of Arms recovered the Administration from the Plebeians, and his fair Beginnings had produced such guilty Events, all his Followers grew eager for Spoil and Rapine: One coveted a House, another was greedy of Land: Each seized what he liked: The conquering Soldiery observed neither Moderation nor Measure, and treated the Citizens with brutal Abuse and Barbarity. What heightened these Evils, Sylla, to engage the Affections of his Army, which he had commanded in Asia, had, against all the Rules of our Ancestors, indulged them in great Delicacy, and excessive Latitude: The warlike Tempers of the Soldiers, now unemployed, became easily softened, by their delicious Quarters, by Pleasure, and Luxury. There the Roman Soldiery became first habituated to Drunkenness and Amours; to admire Statues, Pictures, and Sculpture; to make Spoil of all things, as well by open Violence as by Stealth; to ravage the Shrines and Sanctuaries of the Deities; and, without Distinction, to devour and contaminate all things sacred and profane. A Soldiery therefore thus disposed, and withal Conquerors, were sure to leave nothing to the vanquished. Even the Hearts of wise Men are unmanned by Success: How should Forces so debauched temper Victory with Moderation?
When Riches began to pass for Worth and Honour; when Glory, Command, and great Sway waited upon Riches; then Virtue began to languish; Poverty to be held contumelious; Innocence of Life to pass for Ill-nature. Thus Luxury, Voraciousness, and Pride, all arising from the common Root of Riches, captivated the Minds of the Roman Youth: They rioted in Rapine and Prodigality; despised what was their own, coveted what belonged to others; banished Shame, Friendship, and Continence; confounded things divine and human, and were regardless of all Circumspection and Restraint.
As a Mark of primitive Parsimony, and of succeeding Prodigality, we need only survey the Houses of particular Citizens in Rome, and in the Country; all appearing, in Dimensions and Grandeur, like so many Cities; and then behold the moderate Structures erected even to the Gods by our Ancestors, the devoutest of all Men! Yet they thought of no Ornament but Piety, for the Mansions of the Gods; nor for their own Houses, but that of glorious Deeds: Neither did they ever deprive such as they conquered of any thing, except the Power of doing Hurt. Contrary is the present Conduct! Whatever our Forefathers, the bravest of all Men, left to their vanquished Enemies, these, who are the most effeminate, plunder from their Confederates, by the most crying Violence; as if they believed the Practice of Oppression to be the only Use of Power.
I pass over, as needless to be recounted, other things too incredible to be believed, except by those who saw them. Mountains frequently levelled by the Power of private Citizens; and even the raging Sea covered with mighty Edifices. These Men seem indeed to me to have turned their Riches into Sport and Frolick; since, instead of enjoying them with Honour, they lavished them upon Monuments of Shame.
Nor less prevalent was the Pursuit of impure Pleasures, voluptuous Feasting, and other extravagant Gratifications: Men prostituted themselves like Women: Women suffered Prostitution without Fear or Restraint. To gratify Gluttony, Sea and Land were ransacked for Rarities. Sleep was indulged ere Nature craved Repose: Luxury anticipated the Returns of Hunger and Thirst: Cold and Fatigue were so carefully prevented, as never to be felt.
By such Depravations, the Roman Youth, when they had exhausted their Fortunes, were instigated to all Enormities. For, their Minds, poisoned with evil Habits, wanted Force to resist their Appetites; and were therefore the more furiously abandoned to all Extravagances, and to all the means of supplying them.
In a City so immense and debauched, Catiline kept about him, what Rome plentifully furnished, Bands of Profligates, and Sons of Violence, like Guards of his Person. Since whoever were Slaves to Voluptuousness, Gluttony, and Lewdness, and had dissipated their paternal Fortune, by a Course of Gaming, Feasting, and Lubricity; whoever were pressed by Debts, contracted to purchase Impunity for their Misdeeds and Enormities; whoever were charged with the Crimes of Parricide and Sacrilege, and convicted for them, or feared Conviction; add, such as had sold themselves to Perjury, and to shed the Blood of Citizens, and lived by it; lastly, all who were worried by their own guilty Minds, or by their Indigence and Crimes; became jointly linked to Catiline, and his closest Intimates. Or, if any one, as yet free from Blame, grew familiar with him, he too, from daily Commerce, and by Snares laid to debauch him, was brought to resemble, and even to equal, the rest.
But he especially sought the Intimacy of young Men; for their Minds, then pliant and tender, were, with less Difficulty, moulded and engaged. So that for some of these he provided Harlots; for others, he procured Dogs and Horses, according to the Rage and Bent of their several Pleasures, at that Time of Life. Nor indeed did he spare any Expence, nor even his own Honour, so he could but make them intirely trusty, and attached to himself. Some, I know, there are, who thought, that all the Youth who haunted the House of Catiline, debased themselves unnaturally: But this Rumour arose more from other Causes, than that any such Fact was ever proved.
For Catiline himself: He had, whilst yet very young, committed many heinous Acts of Lewdness; deflowered a Virgin of noble Rank; debauched a consecrated Vestal; with other Crimes equally black, in Defiance of all Law, and the most awful Restraints. Then, as he was smitten with a Passion for Aurelia Orestilla, (one in whom no virtuous Man ever found aught to admire, but her Beauty) and as she scrupled to marry him, because he had a Son already grown to Maturity, it is undoubtedly believed, that he butchered his own Child; and made his House desolate, to facilitate the unballowed Nuptials. And this very Thing, in my Opinion, proved the principal Cause of hurrying him on to the Execution of the Conspiracy. For, his guilty Soul, exasperated against Gods and Men, was equally incapable of Repose from Rest and Sleep, as from Watching and Motion; so strongly did the Guilt of his Conscience tear and affright his Spirit: Hence his Face was pale, his Eyes baleful, his Pace unequal, now slow, then quick: Indeed in his whole Visage, and in all his Looks, there appeared Distraction and Wildness.
Now having seduced over to his Interest these young Men, as above I have related, he disciplined them, by various Methods, in all the Arts of Wickedness; prompted them to Forgeries, to bear false Witness, to falsify their Faith, to lavish their Fortunes, and to despise all Dangers and Restraints. When he had thus divested them of all Reputation, and of all Shame, he incited them to Crimes still higher; and, even where no Provocation was given, it was their Practice to insnare, and to assassinate, with equal Wantonness, such who had never offended him, and such who had. For, rather than the Hands and Spirit of his Accomplices should lose Vigour thro’ Inaction, he was causlesly mischievous, and inhuman unprovoked.
Catiline, in Confidence of Support from this his Band of Associates and Followers, formed a Design to seize the Commonwealth: He was further encouraged, by the grievous Debts which pressed all Men throughout the State; together with the Temper of Sylla’s Soldiers; who, having wasted in Riot their late Acquisitions, and looking back wishfully upon their former Conquests and Depredations, longed earnestly for a Civil War. He observed Italy destitute of an Army; Pompey engaged in War in the remote Parts of the Earth; and had himself high Hopes of obtaining the Consulship. The Senate, apprehending no public Danger, was void of all public Care; and all things seemed secure, because all things were calm: A Conjuncture of Circumstances highly seasonable to the Views of Catiline.
Hence, about the Beginning of June, during the Consulship of Lucius Cæsar and Caius Figulus, he began to apply to his Followers, at first one by one: Some he persuaded, others he sounded. He explained to them, how powerfully he was supported, how destitute the State was of Forces, and what mighty Recompences would attend the Conspiracy. When he had sufficiently sisted their several Tempers, he called together all of them who were most pinched by their Necessities, or known to be most desperately bold.
In this Assembly were found Publius Lentulus Sura, Publius Autronius, Lucius Cassius Longinus, Caius Cethegus, Publius Sylla, and Servius Sylla, (Sons of Servius Sylla) Lucius Vargunteius, Quintus Annius, Marcus Porcius Læcca, Lucius Bestia, and Quintus Curius; all of the illustrious Rank of Senators; besides those of the Equestrian Order, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, Lucius Statilius, Publius Gabinius Capito, and Caius Cornelius. To these were joined many from the Colonies, and great free Cities, all of principal Rank in their several Communities.
There were moreover Patricians of the highest Name and Figure engaged in the Combination, but with greater Caution and Disguise; Men instigated rather by Hopes of lawless Sway, than by Indigence, or any other urgent Motive. Finally, most of the Youth, above all, the Youth of Quality, favoured the Designs of Catiline: Even They, who were furnished with ample Means of living in Repose, and even with Magnificence, nay, in extreme Luxury, preferred future Contingencies to certain Enjoyments, and War to Peace.
There were also then some, who believed Marcus Licinius Crassus, to have been not clear of the Conspiracy; since, in Hatred to Pompey, whom he saw with Regret at the Head of a mighty Army, he would gladly have promoted any Interest whatsoever, in Opposition to the Authority of that General; from a Confidence too, that if the Conspiracy prevailed, he should find it easy to make himself Head of the Conspirators.
A while before, some few had, in Conjunction with Catiline, formed the like terrible Conspiracy; of which I shall deduce the Detail with all possible Veracity.
In the Consulship of Lucius Tullus and Marcus Lepidus, Publius Autronius and Publius Sylla (chosen to succeed them) were set aside, nay arraigned and punished, for violating, by corrupt Arts, the Freedom of Elections. Soon after, Catiline was likewise convicted of Bribery, and disqualified from suing for the Consulship, as the Time for declaring himself was elapsed before his Trial was ended. Another public Incendiary at this time, was Cneius Piso, a young Man, nobly born, extremely bold, necessitous, turbulent, and urged both by his great Wants, and his licentious Morals, to embroil the State. He, Catiline, and Autronius, in pursuance of a Design formed amongst them about the fifth of December, determined to fall upon the then Consuls, Lucius Cotta, and Lucius Torquatus, and to murder them in the Capitol, on the first of January: Then Catiline and Autronius were to seize to themselves the Consular Ensigns and Authority, and to send away Piso with an Army to secure the Possession of both the Spains.
This their Design coming to be known, they shifted the intended Slaughter to the fifth of February. Then they formed a Scheme, besides the Blood of the Consuls, to shed that of a great Part of the Senate: So that, had not Catiline been too precipitate in giving the Signal to his Accomplices, at the assembling of the Senate, there had that Day been seen the most direful Tragedy since the Foundation of Rome. But as any considerable Number of them had not yet come together armed, the Attempt was frustrated.
Yet Piso, though invested only with the Office of Quæstor, was afterwards sent Proprætor into the Nether-Spain, a Command procured for him by the Weight and Influence of Crassus; for Crassus knew him to be an implacable Enemy to Pompey.
Nor, in truth, was the Senate averse to give him the Province; since they liked to have so pestilent a Citizen far removed from Rome. Add, that very many Romans, well affected to the Commonwealth, considered him as a Resource and Defence to the State, at a Time when the great Power of Pompey was become very terrible.
But Piso was slain, upon his March to his Province, by the Spanish Cavalry in his Army. His Death is by some ascribed to the Severity of his Government; as if it were accompanied with such Haughtiness, such Injustice, and such Cruelty, as the Barbarians could not bear. Others alledge, these Spanish Horse, old Followers of Pompey, and intirely attached to his Interest, to have, by Orders from him, fallen upon Piso. For the Spaniards had never, upon any Occasion, made such an Attempt upon the Persons of their Commanders and Governors, but had long and patiently endured numberless Excesses of Power without Mercy. For myself, I shall leave this disputed Account undecided. I have now abundantly opened the preceding Conspiracy.
Catiline, when he saw those whose Names I have above recounted, assembled together, though he had often treated largely with them one by one; yet, believing it conducible to his Purpose, to address and exhort them in a Body, withdrew with them into the most retired Part of the House; and there, far from the Hearing of any but the Conspirators, spoke to them in the following Strain:
‘Had I not already well proved your Faith and Bravery, the present Opportunity would have offered to no purpose; vain would have been all our mighty Hopes; in vain would the Power of seizing the Commonwealth have dropped into our Hands: Neither should I, trusting to impotent Assistants, or to Men unworthy of Trust, have risqued Certainties for Uncertainties. But since, upon very many, and very extraordinary Emergencies, I have known you undaunted in your Persons, and inseparably attached to mine, my Soul is daring enough to engage in an Adventure, at once of the highest Consequence, and of the highest Glory.
‘I have a farther Incitement, when I consider, that the same Lot which attends me, good or bad, attends you: And, to have the same Wishes, and the same Dislikes, is the solid Band of Amity.
‘What a Scheme I have projected, you have already been all, severally, informed. I now add, that my Ardour to pursue it increases daily, whilst I recollect what a sad Lot of Life abides us, if we do not rouse, and redeem our common Liberty. For, ever since the Commonwealth has fallen under the Rule and Controul of a few Grandees, to these few are Kings and Princes subject and tributary; to these few do Nations and People pay Taxes: Whilst all the rest of us Romans, however brave, however deserving, Noble, or Plebeian, have remained a forlorn Croud, destitute of Credit, secluded from Employments, and Slaves to these Men; Men, who, would the Commonwealth resume her own Frame and Vigour, would find us a Terror to them!
‘So that all Credit, all Sway, all Preferments and Riches are confined to Them, or to those whom they favour. To us, for our Portion, they have left Perils and Fears, the Infamy of Repulses from public Dignities, the rigorous Judgments of the Tribunals, and the Pangs of Indigence.
‘Such are our Grievances! How long will you bear them? You, who are valiant Men, extremely valiant? Is it not more eligible, to meet Death in a brave Attempt, than, holding our Life in Wretchedness and Dishonour, to bear the Scorn of insulting Men, and, even then, to lose it ignominiously?
‘Besides all this, I appeal to Gods and to Men, that Success and Victory are in our own Hands: We are in the Vigour of Life, and suitably brave. It is not so on the other Side: They are oppressed with Years and Opulence, and every way bereft of Force. Nothing further is wanting, than to make the Attempt. The rest, the natural Course of proceeding will execute.
‘In truth, what Mortal, who has the Spirit of a Man, can bear the unequal Lot, that, whilst they have Riches in Excess, even to lavish upon Structures in the Deep, nay, in levelling Mountains, our domestic Means are too narrow to procure us the Necessaries of Life? That, when they are adding Seat to Seat, and multiplying their Mansions, to us there remains not any certain Abode? Though they are purchasing Pictures, Statues, and curious Works of Sculpture; though they go on in building, then again pull down, and then rebuild; in short, though in every wasteful Way they dissipate, and restlesly confound their Treasure; yet, with all their wild Profusion, they are unable to master and exhaust their Wealth.
‘For us, we have pinching Poverty at home; abroad, Debts, and the Dread of Creditors: Our present Situation therefore is abundantly grievous; yet accompanied with Apprehensions of Evils still more alarming. To conclude, what remains to us but Life and Misery?
‘How then? Will you not rouse to Action? Behold the Objects, after which you have long yearned! Behold Liberty! And with it Riches, public Dignities, and Applause, all placed full in your View! All these Recompences Fortune has prepared for the Conquerors. You have indeed Motives to urge you, stronger than any Speech of mine; even the present Conjuncture and Opportunity, the Danger hanging over us, the Wants that press us, with the glorious Spoils of War.
‘For myself, use me how you list; as your Leader, or as a private Soldier: Neither in Council, nor in Execution, will I ever fail you. But I hope first to be Consul, and then concert with you how to conduct this our common Enterprize: Provided, after all, I be not mistaken about you, and you be not determined to prefer Bondage to Empire.’
After these his Followers had heard this Reasoning and Harangue, though they were Men pressed with manifold Miseries, destitute of all things, even bereft of every honest Hope, and being thus desperate, esteemed the Pleasure of overturning the State to be a mighty Recompence; yet very many of them insisted, that he would explain ‘the Grounds and Condition of their taking Arms; what were to be the Advantages and Rewards of their Warfare; upon what Resources they were to depend, and what Prospect of Success they had?’
Catiline, in Answer, promised them an authentic Abolition of all their Debts; the Proscription and Plunder of all that were wealthy; all public Dignities, civil and sacred; unbounded Spoil; with whatever else is produced by War, and the lawless Passions of Conquerors. He added, that Piso, and Publius Sitius Nucerinus, were both engaged in his Measures; the former at the Head of an Army in Spain, the other commanding one in Mauritania: That, as Caius Antonius sued for the Consulship, he hoped to have him for his Collegue, one intirely intimate with him, and desperately distressed in his Affairs; and that in Conjunction with him, as soon as they entered upon their Consulship, he would fall upon the Execution of the Design.
He then poured Invectives upon all Men of Merit, extolled these his own Confederates, and, calling to every Individual by his Name, talked, to one, of his Wants; to another, of his Amours; to several, of their present Perils, and Marks of Disgrace; and to many, of their former Rapine, in consequence of the Victory and Settlement of Sylla. At last, seeing them all elate and resolute, he pressed them to forward zealously his Suit for the Consulship, and dismissed the Assembly.
There were at that time some, who reported, that Catiline, when he had concluded his Speech, and proceeded to tender his Accomplices an Oath, presented them all round with a Bowl of Wine mixed with human Blood; that then, when according to the Usages in Sacrifices, they had all sworn and tasted, he opened his whole Scheme; and that this Course he took, to bind them more firmly to mutual Faith and Secrecy, as each was privy to the Guilt of another in an Abomination so horrible. Some believe, that this, and much more, was forged by Cicero’s Friends; who, perceiving what public Hate followed the Execution of some of the Conspirators, thought to allay it by thus aggravating their Crimes. For myself, I can find but small Evidence for a Fact so hideous and extraordinary.
Now, one in this Conspiracy was Quintus Curius, a Man of no mean Birth, but immersed in Debauchery and Crimes, and (as a public Mark of Infamy upon him) degraded by the Censors from the Dignity of a Senator: As the Levity of this Man’s Temper was equal to his Audaciousness, whatever he heard, he was sure to disclose; nor could he even hide his own Enormities and Shame. In truth, in whatever he said, in whatever he did, he had neither Consideration nor Restraint.
Between him and Fulvia, a Woman of Quality, there had been a long Amour; and, as he perceived himself become less agreeable to her, since his Poverty had rendered him less liberal, at first he tempted her with magnificent Promises, boasting of Seas and Mountains of Wealth; then again he raged, threatening to kill her, unless she submitted to his Will. In a Word, he behaved more imperiously than ever he was wont.
As soon as Fulvia had learned the Ground of such haughty Strains, she kept not concealed such threatening Danger to the State, but discovered to many whatever she had heard of Catiline’s Conspiracy; suppressing nothing but the Name of her Author.
’Twas this Consideration, especially, that awakened the Minds of Men, and made them zealous to confer the Consulship upon Cicero. For, before, most of the Nobility stormed, through Envy, against that Choice; and thought the Consulship would suffer a sort of Profanation, were it once borne by one so newly risen, though one of celebrated Merit. But now, when general Peril was impending, personal Envy and Scorn subsided.
Upon holding therefore the Assembly for Elections, Cicero and Caius Antonius were declared Consuls: An Event which first shocked and disconcerted the Associates in the Conspiracy.
Yet such was the furious Spirit of Catiline, as to pursue his Treason with unabated Ardour: Nay, every Day he made fresh Efforts, provided Stores of Arms in all the most commodious Places of Italy; borrowed Money upon his own Credit, or that of his Friends; and transmitted it to one Manlius at the City of Fæsulæ, the same who afterwards first began the War.
He is moreover said, at this Juncture, to have gained to his Party Numbers of Men of all Conditions, as also several Women, those particularly, who had once made such great Gain of their Lewdness, as to support an immense Expence; but were afterwards involved in mighty Debts: For when Age had shortened the Measure of their Gain, they had neglected to shorten that of their Luxury. Through their Means Catiline hoped to draw over the City Bondmen; and by them to set Rome on Fire. These Women were likewise to engage their Husbands in the Conspiracy, or to kill them, if they refused.
Sempronia was one of the Ladies just mentioned; one who had performed various Adventures, that manifested a Spirit extremely daring and masculine. In her Person, and her Race, she was abundantly distinguished and happy; as also in her Husband and Children; was well instructed in the Greek and Roman Languages; and, in Music and Dancing, had more Charms and Address than suited a virtuous Woman; with many other Accomplishments, such as incite to Vice and Voluptuousness. Indeed, of all things upon Earth, she least regarded Modesty and Honour; and it is hard to determine, whether she was least sparing of, her Character, or her Money. In her lewd Pursuits she was so ardent, that she oftener made Advances to Men, than Men to her. She had been long since branded, for having forfeited her plighted Faith, and, by Perjury, evaded Debts and Demands of Trust; to have been privy to Assassinations; and, by a Course of Voluptuousness followed with Indigence, had plunged herself headlong into all the Excesses of Iniquity. With all these Blots, she had a Wit very pertinent and pleasing; could compose Verses; enliven Conversation; talk in any Strain, modest, or tender, or satirical. To conclude, she excelled in Humour and Gaiety, and had an engaging Manner.
Catiline, having taken these Measures, still persevered in his Suit for the Consulship, and declared himself a Candidate for the ensuing Year: For he hoped, if he were chosen, to govern Antonius as he pleased. Neither, during this Interval, did he remain unactive; but was contriving endless Plots for the Destruction of Cicero. Nor was Cicero wanting in Subtilty and Intrigues for his own Security: For, from the very Beginning of his Consulship, he had effectually employed Fulvia, with Offers of such vast Rewards to Quintus Curius, whom I lately mentioned, that he revealed to Cicero all the treasonable Devices of Catiline. Then, by the Promise of a Province to his Brother Consul, he had secured him against all Intention of disturbing the Republic. Besides, he had always about him a Number of his Friends and Followers, who were a real Guard, without the Name and Formality.
When the Day of Election came, Catiline, finding that neither his Suit for the chief Magistracy, nor his Plots to take away the Life of Cicero in the Field of Election, had at all succeeded, resolved upon open War, and to try the most daring and desperate Courses, since his secret Machinations had all ended in Anguish and Infamy.
With this View, he dispatched Caius Manlius to the City of Fæsulæ, and the adjacent Parts of Etruria; one Septimius (a Native of Camertes) to the Territory of Picenum; Caius Julius to Apulia; and others elsewhere, just as it conduced to his Purpose.
All this while he was making at Rome many Efforts together; laying new Snares against the Life of the Consul; contriving how to set Fire to the City; posting armed Men to secure the most commodious Places; he himself was always ready armed, always giving Orders to his Followers; urging them to be ever vigilant, ever prepared: Night and Day he hurried; lived without Sleep; and was utterly indefatigable under all Labour and Want of Repose.
At last, when he found, that, with all his many Attempts, he made no sort of Progress in any, he employed Porcius Læcca to call together once more the principal Conspirators, during the Dead of Night; and after many Complaints of their Want of Vigour, he informed them, ‘That he had sent forward Manlius to command a Number of Men, whom he had before provided, to take Arms; that to other proper Places he had sent other Officers, to begin the War; and that he himself longed exceedingly to proceed to the Army, provided he could first destroy Cicero; for that Cicero infinitely obstructed all their Schemes.’
Now, whilst all the rest of the Assembly continued mute, through Dread and Irresolution, Caius Cornelius, a Roman Knight, offered his Service; and Lucius Vargunteius, a Senator, joining with him, they agreed, immediately upon the approaching Morning, to furnish themselves with armed Assistants; and, repairing to Cicero, under Shew of paying their Respects, to fall upon him by Surprize, and assassinate him. Curius, finding what deadly Peril threatened the Consul, incontinently acquainted him, by Fulvia, with their black Contrivance. When therefore they came, they were denied Entrance, and saw themselves defeated in so desperate an Attempt.
During these Transactions, Manlius was inflaming the Populace in Etruria, of themselves passionate for Innovations, both from their present Poverty, and their Resentment of cruel Usage past: For, under the Usurpation of Sylla, they had been stripped of their Lands, and all that they had. He likewise engaged in his Party all the Thieves and Freebooters of every Kind, such as swarm in that Quarter; with some too of the Colonies settled by Sylla; Men who, having formerly gained infinite Spoil, had now, through Riot and Debauchery, seen an End of the Whole.
Cicero, when he had an Account of these Transactions, was sorely struck with an Evil so dangerous and distressing; since he could neither by his own single Management, longer secure the City against intestine Incendiaries, nor was as yet thoroughly apprised, either of the Strength, or of the Purposes of Manlius’s Army. He therefore assembled the Senate, and to them opened the Conspiracy, which had been already, for some time, much bandied in the Conversation of the Commonalty.
Thus the Senate, agreeably to common Usage in Conjunctures of great Peril and Alarm, ordained, ‘That the Consuls should take effectual Measures, that no Damage accrued to the State.’ Such is the supreme Authority, thus transferred by the Senate to the Magistrate, according to the Policy of the Roman Government. By it he is impowered to levy Forces, to make War, to exercise Jurisdiction without Bounds over the Confederates, and even over the Citizens, with the sovereign Administration and Command, both in the City and the Camp: Acts of Power, which are not, otherwise, included in the Consular Authority, unless by an Ordinance of the People in their Assemblies.
A few Days after this, there was read in the Senate, by Lucius Senius, one of that Order, a Letter brought to him, he said, from the Town of Fæsulæ; recounting, that, towards the latter End of October, Caius Manlius had taken up Arms, at the Head of a great Host of People. To this News some added (what is usual under such public Alarms) a Recital of portentous Spectacles, with marvellous and prophetic Prodigies: Others too related, what numerous Cabals were holden; what Quantities of Arms were carried, and whither; and that, at Capua, and likewise in Apulia, there were Bands of Slaves arming apace.
The Senate therefore ordered Quintus Marcius Rex to the Town of Fæsulæ; as also Quintus Metellus Creticus to Apulia, and the adjacent Country. These two Officers, lately Commanders of Armies, were then waiting without the City for the Honour of Triumph, which was refused them by the Management and malicious Representations of certain Citizens, whose Rule it was, to make Sale of all things, honourable or infamous. The Prætors too, Quintus Pompeius, and Quintus Metellus Celer, were sent, one to Capua, the other to the Territory of Picenum, with discretionary. Authority to raise Forces in proportion to the public Exigency and Peril.
It was likewise decreed, ‘That whoever of the Conspirators would make Discovery of the Conspiracy, should, if a Slave, have a Reward of one hundred thousand Sesterces* , and his Liberty; if a Freeman, double that Sum, and his Pardon.’ The Senate moreover ordained, ‘That the Bands of Gladiators should be distributed amongst the municipal Cities, Capua, and the rest, in proportion to the Strength and Power of each; and that, for the Security of Rome, Guards should be posted in every Quarter, under the Command of the subordinate Magistrates.’
The City was thoroughly affected by all these Symptoms of Peril, and assumed a new Face. From the highest general Festivity, and even Riot, such as resulted from a long Course of Tranquillity, in an Instant Sadness seized every Heart. Full of Restlessness, full of Affright, they were all equally insecure, and all distrustful of Places, and of Persons: They neither enjoyed Peace, nor yet were engaged in War; and each judged the Measure of Danger to correspond with that of his own Fears. The Women also were terribly alarmed with the unusual Apprehensions of a War, such as the mighty Power of the Commonwealth had hitherto secured them against: They gave themselves up to Lamentation and Anguish; supplicated the Gods with uplifted Hands; bewailed their tender Infants; were importunate for News; frightened at all things; and, quitting their Vanity and fond Delights, became anxious for themselves and their Country.
Yet still the sanguinary Spirit of Catiline persevered in the same inhuman Pursuit, although he saw Armies and Guards raised to defeat it; nay, though he himself stood arraigned by Lucius Paulus, upon the Law of Marcus Plautius against Treason and Assassination. He even appeared in the Senate, the better to dissemble his Purposes; as if, provoked by injurious Invectives, he only came there to vindicate his injured Character. Upon his Entrance, the Consul Cicero, either apprehending his Presence there to be of ill Effect, or prompted by Indignation, made that awakening Speech; (which he afterwards published) then so seasonable to the Commonwealth. Yet, as soon as he sat down, Catiline, who was determined to disavow every Article, accosted the Senate; and, with modest downcast Looks, and an humble supplicating Voice, besought the Fathers, ‘That they would not lightly receive any Charge against him: Such was the Race from whence he sprang, such too had been the Rule and Course of his Life from his Youth, that, from the Public, he hoped for every honourable, for every favourable Impression. They could not surely conceive, that he, a Patrician born, he, who had himself done, he, whose Progenitors had done, such numberless Services to the People of Rome, could find his Interest in the Destruction of the Commonwealth; whilst such an Upstart as Cicero, a Roman only by Admission, assumed the Defence of it.’
To these Invectives he was proceeding to add others; when the whole Senate, with Indignation, and a general Outcry, treated him as a Traitor and Parricide! Then abandoning himself to utter Rage, ‘Seeing (says he) I am oh every side beset by deadly Designs, and driven by my Enemies to Extremities, I will, by general Desolation, suppress the Flames kindled to devour me.’
Having so said, he rushed out, and went home. There, after having balanced by himself a thousand Schemes and Reflections; that not only his Devices against the Life of the Consul were still unsuccessful, but the Firing of the City was also defeated by Guards every-where placed; he judged it his wisest Course to reinforce his Army, and to anticipate the Legions, by catching all Advantages, and providing whatever was necessary to an Army, before these Legions were ready for the Field. He therefore retired in the Dead of Night, and, with a few in his Company, proceeded to the Camp of Manlius. He lest however a Charge with Cethegus and Lentulus, and with such others as he knew to be most forward and desperate, That, by all possible Methods, they should strengthen the Party; dispatch the Assassination of the Consul; then proceed to the intended Massaere; to fire Rome, and perform all the other gallant Feats of Warriors. For himself, he would, in a short time, advance to their Succour with a powerful Army.
During these Transactions at Rome, Caius Manlius dispatched Deputies to Quintus Marcius Rex, with Orders to accost him in the following Strain:
‘We appeal to the Testimony of Gods and Men, O General, that we have taken up Arms with no View either to hurt our Country, or to distress particular Men; but only to secure our own Persons from Outrages, wretched and indigent as we are, through the inhuman Violence of Usurers; most of us bereft of our Abodes; all of our Reputation and Fortune; not one of us allowed the Protection of the Laws, our Birthright by Inheritance; not one of us permitted to enjoy the Liberty of his Person, even when we have nothing else left us to enjoy. Such hath been the Cruelty of our Creditors, such that of the Prætorian Tribunals. Often have our Forefathers exercised their Commiseration towards the Roman People, and succoured them in Distress, by Ordinances of State. Nay, we have seen, in our own Times, a recent Instance, where, in Consideration of the universal Pressure of Debts, public Authority intervened; and, with the unanimous Voice of every good Citizen, the Creditors were obliged to take a Composition. Often too have the Roman People withdrawn, and separated themselves from the Senate, when either incited by a Passion for popular Rule, or urged to it for Self-defence against the Insolence of their Magistrates.
‘For us; our Pursuit is neither Wealth nor Power, though these be the two great Sources of all the Wars and Combustions amongst Men. What we seek is Liberty; that Liberty which no virtuous Man will lose, but together with his Life. We therefore conjure thee, O General, thee and the Senate, to espouse the Interest of forlorn Citizens; to restore us the Protection of the Laws, rent from us by the Violence of the Prætorian Tribunal; and not to reduce us to the desperate Necessity of only studying so to perish, as amply to avenge our own Blood upon such as shed it.’
To all this Marcius replied, ‘That, if they had any Request to the Senate, they should forthwith abandon their Arms, and repair as Supplicants to Rome: Since such had ever been the Clemency and Compassion of the Roman Senate and People, that to them no Man had ever sued in vain for Relief.’
Now Catiline, whilst yet upon the Road, sent Letters to many Senators of Consular Distinction, and indeed to every Citizen of principal Estimation, ‘That as his Life was sought by forged Crimes, and he could not resist the Combination of his Enemies, he yielded to his Fortune, and was retiring as an Exile to Marseilles; stung by no Guilt of the terrible imputed Treason, but only for the Tranquillity of the Commonwealth; lest, had he staid, and maintained his Innocence, public Tumults might have ensued.’
But the Letter which Quintus Catulus recited in the Senate, and declared to have received from Catiline, was conceived in a Style quite opposite. Here follows a Copy of it:
Lucius Catiline,toQuintus Catulus,Health.
‘SUCH hath been thy distinguished Faith and Friendship to me, and so abundantly proved upon Trial, whilst I was pressed by the highest Perils, that I am thence emboldened to make thee this Application. For this Reason, I wave offering thee any Defence of my present Proceedings: As I am conscious of no Guilt, I propose only to make thee a Declaration of my Innocence. How true this Declaration is, thou wilt be abundantly convinced: For this I appeal to the Gods.
‘Finding myself pursued by a Course of Injustice and false Accusations, and thence bereft of the Reward of my public Services and Zeal, and disappointed of the Dignity for which I sued, I am thus roused to undertake (as has ever been my Character and Practice) the common Cause of the Miserable; not because I am excited to it by any Distress or Debts of my own; since what I owe on my own Account, my own Fortune suffices to discharge; and Orestilla would, out of hers, and that of her Daughter, freely clear all my Engagements on Account of others; But perceiving Men of no Worth distinguished with the high Honours of the State, and seeing myself, by causless Jealousies, excluded from them, I have, under this Provocation, and for securing the Remains of my Rank and Dignity, had recourse to such Counsels, as in my present Situation will abundantly justify themselves.
‘I have much more to say; but at this Instant I am informed, that deadly Measures are taken against me. I therefore just recommend Orestilla to thee, and to thy faithful Protection: Defend her from Injustice, by thy dear Children I adjure thee. Farewel.’
Now, when he had staid a few Days with Caius Flaminius in the Territory belonging to Reate, just to furnish Arms to that Quarter already gained to his Party, he proceeded, with Rods and Axes, and all the other Badges of Consular Power, to the Camp of Manlius.
As soon as the News of this were verified at Rome, the Senate declared Catiline and Manlius public Enemies, with Pardon to all those of their Followers, who by a Day certain should quit their Arms, except only such who were under Sentence for capital Crimes. It was moreover decreed, That the Consuls should forthwith levy Forces; that Antonius should march in Pursuit of Catiline; and Cicero remain for the Defence of the City.
At this Juncture, the Condition of the Roman Commonwealth seems to me to have been infinitely deplorable; since, whilst every Region, from the rising to the setting Sun, (all subdued by her Arms) submitted to her Government; whilst, within her Walls, extreme Wealth, and all Tranquillity, reigned; things which pass with Men for sovereign Enjoyment and Bliss; there were yet some of her own Citizens, with desperate Spirits, bent upon the Destruction of the State, and even upon their own with it. For, notwithstanding two Decrees published by the Senate, not a Man was found, amongst all that Host of Traitors, to accept the promised Recompence, and discover the Conspiracy; not a Man of Catiline’s Army, to desert from him: Such an invincible Spirit of Disaffection had, like a Pestilence, generally seized the Minds of Men.
Neither was this angry Humour confined only to the Conspirators, and their Accomplices: The Commonalty too, in a Body, from a Passion for public Changes, approved the Pursuits of Catiline; and in this seemed but to follow their usual Bent.
For, in this our City, they who are destitute of Place and Substance, ever repine at the Enjoyments and Distinction of virtuous Men; ever extol the vicious; hate the old Ways; long for Novelties and Change; and, from Disgust to their own Condition, labour to introduce universal Confusion. In popular Commotions and Discord they find their Subsistence without Pains and Care; since Poverty has ever this Advantage, that it has nothing to lose.
From other Causes too, the Roman Populace were prompted to desperate Courses; chiefly, because from all Quarters there flocked into Rome, as into a common Sink, whoever surpassed in Villainy and Impudence at home, together with those who had wasted their Fortunes in Prodigality and Riot; in a Word, all they who were Fugitives for their Infamy or Crimes. Many were continually revolving upon the Usurpation of Sylla, whence they saw some raised from common Soldiers to the Dignity of Senators, and others to such excessive Wealth, that in Pomp and Magnificence they lived like Kings; and every Individual hoped, if he were but engaged in a civil War, to obtain Victory, and thence the same Advantages to himself.
Moreover the young Men from the Country, formerly accustomed to earn, by Agriculture, just enough to support Life, having been drawn to Rome by the Allurements of Largesses, some distributed by the State, some by particular Citizens, came to prefer Ease and Idleness in the City, to their penurious Toil in the Fields.
These, and all who resembled them, found their Support in the Calamities and Disorders of the State. Hence the less Wonder, that such Men as these, pressed with Wants, dissolute in their Manners, extravagant in their Views, should consult the Welfare of the Commonwealth, just as far as it conduced to their own.
They also whose Parents were proscribed, whose Estates were confiscated, and who had lost the Rights of Citizens, under the Usurpation of Sylla, had no other nor better Views in the Expectancy and Event of the present civil War.
Besides, whoever were of any Party whatsoever different from that of the Senate, wished rather to see the Commonwealth in Confusion, than themselves deprived of popular Sway: An old Evil! which, after an Interval of many Years, had again revived in the City.
For, after the Power of the Tribunes of the People was restored to its former Vigour, under the Consulship of Pompey and Crassus, certain young Men, acquiring that supreme popular Magistracy, in the Bloom of their Life, and flaming with turbulent Passions, began to rouse the People to Disaffection, first by criminal Imputations against the Senate; then by Liberalities, and flattering Promises, to heighten their Disaffection into a Flame; and thus gained to themselves signal Renown, and mighty Credit. To thwart them, and their Measures, the Generality of the Nobles made their utmost Efforts, in Shew, for Support of the Senate, in Reality, for that of their own Grandeur. In truth, to comprise all in a few Words, during all those Times, whoever raised civil Dissensions in the Commonwealth, used plausible Pretences; some to vindicate the Rights of the People, others to exalt the Authority of the Senate, both Sorts to pursue the public Good; yet all only striving severally to procure Weight and Power to themselves. Neither in these their civil Contests did any of them observe Moderation or Bounds: Whatever Party conquered, still used their Victory with Violence and Inhumanity.
Now, after Pompey was sent from home, as General in the War against the Pirates, then in that against Mithridates, the Power of the People sunk very low, and the whole Sway was engrossed by a few. These grasped the civil Administration, the Government of the Provinces, and all things. Thus, unaccountable and prosperous, they lived confident of their own Security, and fearless themselves; whilst, by the Terror of their Power and Decrees, they restrained the popular Magistrates from rousing the People. But, upon the first View of a Change in the State, the old Competition was instantly renewed, with infinite Animosity, in the Minds of the Commonalty.
Now, suppose Catiline had conquered in the first Engagement, or had even retired with equal Loss, surely very tragical Calamities must have overwhelmed the Commonwealth. Nor would the Conquerors have been suffered to enjoy their Victory long; since, when they were weakened and exhausted, whoever had superior Power, would have seized the Government, and oppressed public Liberty.
There were, however, several, who, though unengaged with the Conspirators, yet immediately followed Catiline. One of these was Aulus Fulvius, (the Son of a Senator) taken upon the Road, brought back, and slain by the Order of his Father.
Lentulus, at the same time, was pursuing the Directions of Catiline; and, by himself, or his Agents, gaining over all such as, either from their Characters or Fortune, he judged proper Instruments for a Revolution; not only Roman Citizens, but all Men of what sort soever, so they were fit for Arms.
Lentulus, therefore, employed one Publius Umbrenus to apply to the Deputies of the Allobrogians, and oblige them, if he could, to join in the War: For he fansied, that, as their State, as also the Members of the State, were universally oppressed with Debts, and as the whole People of Gaul were naturally fierce and warlike, they might be easily persuaded into such a Design. Umbrenus, having, as a Trader, been conversant in Gaul, was generally known to the leading Men in their several Communities, and acquainted with their Characters. So that, without Delay, the Moment he beheld the Deputies in the Forum, he began with certain Questions concerning the Condition of their Nation: Then, affecting great Grief for their Oppressions, proceeded to ask, ‘What Issue they hoped to their crying Calamities?’ Next, when he perceived, that they complained of the Rapaciousness of our Magistrates, that they reproached the Senate for yielding them no Succour or Protection, and expected from Death alone a Remedy to their many Miseries; he replied, ‘Provided you resolve to act like Men, I will present you with an Expedient to release yourselves from all these crying Calamities.’ Immediately the Allobrogians, raised to the highest Hopes by what he had said, conjured him, ‘to pity them: There was nothing so dangerous, (they said) nothing so difficult, but they would most heartily perform, if by it, whatever it were, their Nation might be redeemed from the Oppression of Debts.’
Umbrenus then carried them to the House of Decius Brutus; for it joined to the Forum, and was no improper Scene for such a Consultation, since Sempronia was an Accomplice, and Brutus was then from Rome. Moreover, to gain the greater Weight and Credit to what he had to say, he had Gabinius called to the Interview, and, before him, opened the whole Conspiracy, named all the Accomplices, and many others of all Stations, who were utterly guiltless; but mentioned by him to inspire the Deputies with the higher Hopes and Boldness. Having thus gained from them an Engagement for their Assistance; he let them retire.
The Deputies, however, wavered long what Counsel to chuse. Here, to induce them, were consuming Debts, a Passion for War, and mighty Spoil attending Victory: There, superior Puissance, Proceedings legal and sure, and, for uncertain Hope, Rewards solid and certain.
As they were thus in Suspense, the Fortune of the Roman Republic prevailed; so that they unfolded the whole Detail (just as they had learned it) to Quintus Fabius Sanga, upon whose Patronage their Nation chiefly relied. Cicero, who was apprised of the Design by Sanga, injoined the Deputies to feign a flaming Zeal for the Conspiracy; to apply assiduously to the rest of the Conspirators; to promise abundantly; and to study to bring them all under the clearest Conviction.
Near about the same Conjuncture there were Commotions in both the Gauls; as also in the Territory of Picenum, in Bruttium, and Apulia. For the Creatures of Catiline, sent by him into these several Quarters, behaved absurdly; and, as if Madness had possessed them, pushed, precipitately, all their Measures at once: So that, by all their nocturnal Consultations, by their conveying Armour and Weapons hither and thither, by their furious Haste and tumultuous Doings, they only caused more Affright than Danger: A great Number of these Quintus Metellus Celer, the Prætor, adjudged to Bonds, in Conformity to the Decree of Senate; as Caius Muræna did many others in Cisalpine Gaul; where he governed under the Character of Lieutenant-General.
At Rome, the while, Lentulus, in Concert with the other Heads of the Conspiracy, reckoning themselves now sure of abundant Force, determined, that, whenever Catiline arrived with his Army in the Territory of Fæsulæ, Lucius Bestia, one of the Tribunes, should assemble the People, purposely to incense them against Cicero, by popular Imputations upon his Conduct, and to fasten upon the excellent Consul the odious Blame of a War so afflicting and calamitous. This was to be the Signal to the whole Crowd of Conspirators, for resorting on the Night ensuing to the Discharge of their several Parts.
Now these Parts were said to be thus distributed: Statilius and Gabinius, assisted with a powerful Band, were to set Fire, at once, to Twelve select Quarters of the City; for that, in a Confusion so general, it were easier to reach the Person of the Consul, and those of all the rest, who were marked for Destruction. Cethegus was to force his Doors, and put him to Death. Others had, for their Share, the like bloody Work: Nay, there were Youths, yet under the Roof of their Parents, (most of them from amongst the Nobility) who were to butcher their own Fathers; and, when, by devouring Flames and Massacre, they had spread universal Fear and Anguish, they were to sally out in a Body to meet Catiline.
During the Debate of these Measures, now formed, and of these Resolutions, now fixed, Cethegus was always complaining ‘of Want of Spirit in his Associates; that, by eternal Ballancing and Procrastination, they abused many glorious Opportunities. In an Enterprize thus dating and perillous, Execution was more requisite than Deliberation. For himself; would but a few of them support him, he would, notwithstanding the Remissness of the rest, fall openly upon the Senate.’ As he was, by Nature, daring and determined, his Spirit impetuous, in his Person prompt and enterprising, he esteemed their best Measure to be Dispatch.
Now the Allobrogians, according to their Instructions from Cicero, had a Meeting, by the means of Gabinius, with the rest of the Conspirators. There they demanded the Security of an Oath, from Lentulus, Cethegus, Statilius, as also from Cassius, signed severally by them; such as they might carry to their Countrymen, who, without it, would not be easily engaged in Transactions of such high Moment. All, except Cassius, complied, without the least Apprehension. He, who, indeed, had promised to be with them presently, went out of Rome, a little sooner than the Deputies. In Company with these, Lentulus sent Titus Volturcius, one of Crotona, with Orders, that, before they proceeded home, they should repeat and confirm the League with Catiline, by reciprocal Ties. He also gave Volturcius a Letter for Catiline, of which I here subjoin a Copy:
‘Who it is that sends thee this, thou wilt learn from him who brings it. Besure to consider thy own desperate Situation, and remember, that thou art a Man. Recollect what thy Circumstances demand. Seek Assistance from all, even from the Lowest and Basest.’
He likewise sent by him verbal Instructions; namely, to expostulate, ‘With what View Catiline could reject the Succours of Slaves, when the Senate had already declared him a public Enemy:’ And to assure him, ‘That, in Rome, all Dispositions were now made conformable to his own Orders; and, on his part, he must not delay to advance.’
These things having thus passed, Cicero, on the Night appointed for the Departure of the Deputies, from whom he had learnt all, ordered the Prætors, Valerius Flaccus, and Caius Pomptinus, privately to secure the Milvian Bridge; and apprehend, as they passed, the Allobrogians, and their Train. He explained to them, at large, the Cause of thus employing them, and, allowing them a Band of Soldiers, left them to proceed as Exigencies required. They, therefore, posting their Guards without Noise or Shew, silently beset the Bridge. When the Deputies and Volturcius arrived, and Shouts arose on both Sides, the Allobrogians, who were soon apprised of the Design, surrendered themselves, without a Pause, to the Prætors. Volturcius, at first, boldly encouraged his Companions; and, with his Sword, defended himself, though Numbers encompassed him. Then, seeing himself abandoned by the Deputies, he began to adjure Pomptinus, as his Acquaintance, with many Arguments, to save his Life: At last, full of Dread, and void of Hope, he yielded to the Prætors, as to a foreign Enemy.
When all this was effected, Messengers were instantly dispatched, with an Account of the Whole, to Cicero. He, in truth, now found himself possessed, at once, with much Joy, and much Anxiety. He rejoiced to see the Republic snatched from Destruction by a full Discovery of the Conspiracy; but felt great Solicitude, from the Difficulty of proceeding against Citizens of such signal Power and Eminence, convicted of such enormous Treason. To punish them, he judged, would draw much heavy Enmity upon himself; to let them go unpunished, would bring Perdition upon the State.
Hence, rousing his Spirit to Resolution, he ordered Lentulus, Cethegus, Statilius, and Gabinius, to be brought before him, with Cæparius too of Terracina, who was upon the Point of repairing to Apulia, there to engage the Slaves to revolt. The others came without Hesitation; but Cæparius, who had but just gone from his House, having learnt that all was discovered, was fled out of Rome.
The Consul brought Lentulus into the Senate, which he had assembled in the Temple of Concord, himself leading him by the Hand; for Lentulus was then Prætor. The rest he ordered to be carried thither under Guard. Vast was the Appearance of Senators: Before them he ordered Volturcius and the Deputies to be produced; and directed Flaccus the Prætor to bring the Packet of Letters, which he had found upon them.
Volturcius, when he was examined about his Journey, and the Packet of Letters, and, lastly, what was his Purpose in it, upon what Advice and Motives he undertook it; returned, at first, Answers quite foreign and framed; and affected utter Ignorance of the Conspiracy. But, as soon as the Senate had secured his Pardon by tendering him the Public Faith, he divulged every Transaction, and shewed, that, ‘but a few Days before, Gabinius and Cæparius had adopted him for an Associate: That, besides this, he knew no more than the Deputies; only he used to hear Gabinius declare, that Publius Autronius, Servius Sylla, Lucius Vargunteius, were, with many others, Accomplices in the Conspiracy.’
The Deputies, in their Confession, agreed with him in his. They likewise clearly convicted Lentulus, (who was asserting his Innocence) not only by Writing under his Hand, but by his common Discourse, ‘That, by the Sibylline Prophecies, the Sovereignty of Rome was foredoomed to Three of the Cornelian Race; first to Cinna, then to Sylla; and he himself was now the third destined by Fate to sway the Empire: That, besides, the present Year was the twentieth since the Burning of the Capitol; a Period productive of mighty civil Slaughter, according to the Explanations frequently made of Prodigies by the Augurs.’
The Senate therefore, when the Letters were read, and after the Criminals had acknowledged their several Signets, past a Decree, that Lentulus should be divested of his Office, and, with the rest, holden in Custody, but not in Prison. Thus Lentulus was delivered to Publius Lentulus Spinther, then Ædile; Cethegus to Quintus Cornificius; Statilius to Caius Cæsar; Gabinius to MarcusCrassus; and Cæparius (just before seized in his Flight, and brought back) to Cneius Terentius the Senator.
In the mean while, the Commonalty, they who just before, from a Passion for public Changes, were but too fond of intestine War, suddenly altered their Sentiments, when the Conspiracy was thus publicly discovered. They all now cursed the Devices of Catiline; all extolled Cicero to the Skies; and, like People just snatched from Bondage, gave full Scope to their Festivity and Joy. For, though from the War, in its ordinary Course and Events, they thought to have found more Spoil than Loss; yet they esteemed the Burning of Rome an inhuman Attempt, horrible beyond measure, and utterly destructive to themselves; since their whole Substance consisted in what nourished them from Day to Day, and in what they daily wore.
On the next Day, when the Senate sat, there was brought before them one Lucius Tarquinius, charged with going to join Catiline, and seized by the Way. This Man, who offered to disclose the Particulars of the Conspiracy, under the Security of public Faith and Indemnity, was indulged in this by the Consul, and bid to testify what he knew. He then informed the Senate, very nearly as Volturcius had done, of the Design concerted to set Fire to the City, to murder all the best Citizens, and to march the Rebel Army to Rome. He added, ‘That he was dispatched by Crassus to Catiline, to warn him, in his Name, not to be dejected by the apprehending of Lentulus, and Cethegus, and some other Conspirators, but the rather to hasten his March to Rome; whence, besides reviving the Spirit of the Conspirators in general, they who were in Custody might be snatched from Vengeance.’
Now the Moment Tarquinius named Crassus, a Man of grand Quality, immense Wealth, mighty Influence and Credit; they all cried out, that he was a false Witness, and demanded to have it debated. Many indeed believed the Charge utterly incredible: Some, tho’ they accounted it true, yet thought in a Conjuncture so terrible, a Man of such prodigious Sway was rather to be courted than provoked. Besides that, the Generality of the Senators were engaged to Crassus by private Ties and Obligations. It was therefore decreed, in a full Senate, even Cicero proposing it, ‘that the Testimony of Tarquinius appeared to be forged, and that he should be confined in Irons, never to be delivered till he had disclosed by whose Advice he had framed so daring an Imposture.’ There were then those who supposed this Evidence to have been an Artifice of Publius Autronius, whence Crassus, finding himself involved in the same Danger with the Conspirators, might serve them for a common Sanctuary, and protect them all by his mighty Power.
Others alledged, that Tarquinius was tutored and prompted by Cicero, thus to disable Crassus from distressing the Commonwealth by espousing, as he was wont, the Defence of public Incendiaries. I have indeed heard Crassus himself aver, that this glaring Indignity was fastened upon him by Cicero.
Yet, at this very time, Quintus Catulus and Caius Piso could not prevail with Cicero, either by their great Interest, or by their Intreaties, or by any Offers, to procure Cæsar to be falsly accused by the Allobrogians, or any other Witness whatsoever. For both these great Men bore mortal Enmity to Cæsar; Piso, because Cæsar had procured Judgment against him for Bribery in passing Sentence of Death, unjustly, upon a Man beyond the Po; Catulus continued to hate him, ever since their Suit for the Office of supreme Pontiff, as he was enraged that Cæsar in his early Youth should gain it from him in his old Age, after he had sustained all the highest Dignities in the State. Now this Charge against him they concluded was probable and well-timed: For he had, both by his signal Munificence to Particulars, and by his boundless Largesses to the People, contracted prodigious Debts.
When therefore they failed to persuade the Consul to so black an Undertaking, they went themselves sedulously about from Man to Man, and by averring what they only feigned, how many Instances of his Guilt they themselves had heard from Volturcius, as well as from the Allobrogians, exposed him to extraordinary Jealousy and Hate; so that certain Roman Knights, attending in Arms at the Temple of Concord, as a Guard to the Senate, threatened him with their drawn Swords, as he went out of the Assembly; whether they were struck with the prodigious Horrour of the Conspiracy, or did it in a Fit of Bravery, thence the more to signalize their Zeal for the Commonweal.
Whilst these were the Transactions of the Senate, and whilst Recompences were decreeing there to the Deputies of the Allobrogians, and to Volturcius, whose several Discoveries were now verified and approved; the Freedmen of Lentulus, with some few of his Dependents, had divided themselves into several Quarters of the City; and whilst some of them were suborning the Slaves and common Artizans about the Streets, to deliver him by Force, the rest were searching after the Ringleaders of the Croud, such as are wont, for Hire, to raise popular Uproar and Sedition.
Cethegus, at the same time, had dispatched Messages to the Slaves of his Houshold, and to some of his Freedmen, such, especially, as were select Instruments, hardened and audacious in Feats of Violence, conjuring them to form an armed Band, and, by strong Hand, to deliver him.
The Consul, as soon as he learnt what Measures were pursuing, posted Guards in such Quarters, and in such Numbers, as the Time and Exigency required: Then, assembling the Senate, proposed to their Consideration, ‘What they would please finally to determine concerning the Conspirators, now in Custody by their own Order.’ Indeed a very full Senate had very lately adjudged them to be public Traitors.
Decius Junius Silanus, therefore, whose Opinion was first asked, as he was then Consul elect, declared for capital Punishment, to be inflicted, not upon the Prisoners only, but also upon Lucius Cassius, Publius Furius, Publius Umbrenus, and Quintus Annius, whenever they were apprehended: Tho’, afterwards, yielding to the Force of Cæsar’s Reasoning, he professed to acquiesce in the Opinion of Tiberius Nero, who had proposed to have the Guards increased, and the Result postponed to another Debate.
Cæsar himself, when asked by the Consul in his Turn, spoke in the following Strain:
‘It is incumbent upon all Men, Conscript Fathers, in their Deliberations upon every Subject of Tenderness and Difficulty, to be exempt from all Hate and Affection, from all Revenge and Compassion. The Soul, when such Passions ruffle it, can but ill exercise any just Discernment: Not hath any Man, whosoever, at once pursued his own headstrong Will, and yet served any laudable Purpose. Your Judgment, when you exert that only, hath all due Force and Success; but if Passion seize you, ’tis that which masters you; and then your rational Faculties avail you nothing.
‘Many are the Instances, which I could recount, of Kings, as well as of People, falling into unhappy Measures, by hastily yielding to the Impulses of Wrath, or to those of Commiseration. But I had rather relate, from the Examples of our Forefathers, what sort of Determinations they made, all in Opposition to any Heat and Commotion of Spirit, but all agreeable to good Policy and the Times.
‘During the War which we maintained against Perses King of Macedon, Rhodes, a mighty and opulent City, deriving too all her Grandeur from the Power and Aid of the Romans, yet forfeited her Faith to us, and took Part against us. But, upon the Issue of the War, when it came to be debated how to deal with the Rhodians, our Ancestors discharged them from all Punishment and Retribution; that no Man might alledge the Quarrel to have begun rather from Thirst after their Wealth, than from that of avenging Injuries. Thro’ the whole Series of our Wars with Carthage, though the Carthaginians, even during Intervals of Peace, even in the midst of a Truce, committed many and shocking Insults; still our Ancestors never sought or improved any Opportunity of returning Evil for Evil; since they inquired rather what was worthy of themselves to do, than what might, in Justice, be done against the Carthaginians.
‘This is what it behoves you also, Conscript Fathers, now to consider, and provide that the Iniquity of Lentulus, and of the rest, weigh not more with you, than your own Dignity ought to weigh; and that you gratify not your Resentment, at the Expence of your Fame. Indeed, if any Chastisement can be found worthy of their Deserts, I approve the Proposal, however new and extraordinary it be: But if their Crime be such, that it transcends the Wit of Man to find out an adequate Punishment for it, my Advice is for such as the Laws have already ordained.
‘Most of the Senators, who gave their Opinion before me, have, in high and affecting Strains, bewailed the Situation of the Commonwealth: They have displayed all the Cruelty of War, with the many Woes attending the Vanquished; Virgins ravished, Youths constuprated, Children torn from the Bosoms of their Parents, Matrons exposed to all the libidinous Insults of a victorious Soldiery; public Temples, and private Dwellings, equally abandoned to Plunder and Outrage, all devoured by one common Flame, and converted into Scenes of Slaughter; finally, all Places filled with Arms, Carcases, Blood, and Wailings.
‘But, for the sake of the immortal Deities, whither tends such tragical Representation? Is it to rouse you to a Detestation of the Conspiracy? As if he, whom a Design so alarming cannot move, could be animated by a Flow of Words.
‘This is not the way; nor do any Injuries whatsoever appear light to him on whom they fall; and many are apt to magnify and resent such Injuries beyond Measure. But, according to the different Stations of Men, different Allowances are made, Conscript Fathers. When such, who, in an humble Station pass their Days in Obscurity, offend, thro’ Heat and Transport, few there are who know it; for their Name and Character are as low as their Fortune: But they who are invested with supreme Power, stand in an elevated Station, and every Step they take is, by every Eye, observed; so that to the highest Dignity the smallest Allowance is made. In such a Station there is no room allowed for Partiality; none for Aversion; least of all for Wrath and Animosity. That which in private Life bears only the Name of Passion, whenever it is observed in Men of Authority, is called Haughtiness and Cruelty.
‘For myself, Conscript Fathers, I esteem all Torments whatsoever to be short of the Guilt of these Offenders: But it is the Temper of human Kind, generally to remember best what happened last; and, forgetting the Crimes of suffering Parricides, to entertain themselves only about their Punishment, if it prove but unusually severe.
‘What Decius Silanus, a Man of great Honour and Spirit, has spoken, I am perfectly convinced he spoke from Zeal to the Commonwealth; and that, in an Affair of such mighty Consequence, he acts neither from Favour nor Enmity: Such is the Uprightness, such the Moderation which I have experienced in him. But what he proposes, tho’, to me, it appear no wise cruel, (for, to such Men, what Cruelty can be shewn?) yet, still, appears repugnant to the Genius of our State.
‘Doubtless, thou wast urged, either by Fear, or by an Iniquity so heinous, O Silanus, our Consul elect, to propose a Punishment altogether new. How vain such Fear is, it would be superfluous to argue; when, by the Vigilance of a Consul so signally able and distinguished as ours, so many and such powerful Forces are armed for our Security: And concerning their Punishment, we may, in truth, alledge, what, in reality, the Fact is; That, to such as live in Sorrow and Wretchedness, Death proves a Repose, not a Torment; that it is Death which closes all the Calamities incident to human Race; and that, beyond Death no Place remains, either for Anguish or Delight.
‘But, in the Name of the immortal Gods, why didst not thou add to this thy Proposal for capital Punishment, that they should be first lashed by the Executioner? Was it because the same is forbidden by the Porcian Law? And are there not other Laws too, which direct, that Roman Citizens, condemned, shall not be bereft of their Lives, but be indulged the Privilege of Banishment? Or was it, that Stripes seem a severer Punishment than Death? Now what can be deemed rigorous, or over-severe, to Men convicted of such terrible Treason? But if Stripes be a lighter Chastisement, where is the Consistence of being tender of the Law in a smaller Instance, and of violating it in one much greater?
‘Do you ask, Who will censure any Punishment whatever, pronounced upon Traitors to the Commonwealth? I answer, that Time may produce such Censure; so may sudden Conjunctures; so may Fortune, a fickle Deity, that blindly sways the Race of Men. Upon these Parricides whatever Doom falls, will fall justly. But be cautious, Conscript Fathers, how your Decrees to-day may affect others hereafter.
‘All pernicious Precedents are derived from laudable Beginnings; but when the Administration devolves upon unworthy and unskilful Men, those Precedents, at first just, are changed in the Application, from Objects that were proper and guilty, to such as are guiltless and improper.
‘The Lacædemonians, when they had subdued the Athenians, subjected that State to Thirty Governors. These began their Power, by executing, without Conviction, whomsoever they found notoriously wicked and obnoxious to all Men. For such Executions the People expressed great Joy, and declared them just and well deserved. Thenceforward, when, by degrees, they had strengthened their lawless Authority, they doomed to Death both Good and Bad, without Distinction; and thus held under Dread the whole Community. Such was the terrible Penalty, which these People, oppressed by Tyranny, paid for their ridiculous Joy.
‘We ourselves remember, when Sylla, after he found himself Master, ordered Damasippus, and other Incendiaries, who had raised themselves upon the Calamities of the Commonwealth, to be slaughtered, how all Men applauded the Fact: It was by all agreed, that such Instruments of Iniquity and Faction, the Authors of continual Disorders and Tumults in the State, were worthily cut off from it: Yet this very thing proved an Introduction to a mighty Series of Slaughter; since whoever coveted the Town-house, or Country-seat, or even any curious Vase, or precious Rayment of a Fellow-citizen, contrived to have the Possessor inserted in the List of the Proscribed.
‘Thus they, to whom the Death of Damasippus had administered such Joy, were themselves soon after dragged to the like Execution: Neither was there any End put to this raging Carnage, till Sylla had satiated his Followers with Riches.
‘It is true, that, from Marcus Tullius Cicero, I fear no such Precedents, nor from these our Times. But in a City so mighty and so populous as ours, various and different are the Spirits and Propensities of Men: In future Conjunctures, and under a future Consul, one who may likewise have an Army at his Devotion, any Forgeries may pass for Facts. When, hereafter, by a Decree of the Senate, in consequence of this very Example, the Consul shall draw the Sword, who is then to controul it? who to set Bounds to its Rage?
‘Our Ancestors, Conscript Fathers, were at no time wanting to themselves, either in Counsel or in Bravery; neither did they deem it below them, to adopt the Usages of other Nations, provided such Usages were wholsome and laudable. The Exercise of Arms, and their Weapons of War, they borrowed from the Samnites; their Ensigns of Magistracy, in a great measure, from the Tuscans: In truth, whatever appeared to them pertinent and valuable, either amongst their Confederates, or their Enemies, they assumed and practised at home, with notable Application; as they judged it more eligible to imitate, than to envy, any Excellence any-where.
‘In those Days, therefore, following the Custom of Greece, they subjected the offending Citizens to Stripes; and, upon such as were condemned, inflicted capital Punishment. Afterwards, when the Commonwealth was found greatly augmented, and, through the vast Multitude of Citizens, Factions grew prevailing, whence the Innocent were often circumvented and punished, and such Oppressions and Excesses began to grow common; then the Porcian and other Laws were made; Laws which, to the highest Offence, allowed no higher Punishment than Exile.
‘These Considerations, Conscript Fathers, and such Authority, seem to me of the utmost Force against our pursuing any Resolution new and extraordinary. Surely, much greater Virtue, much greater Wisdom, was found in such, who, from small Means and Beginnings, raised an Empire so mighty, than in us, who with Difficulty retain what they so worthily acquired.
‘For what, therefore, do I plead? Is it, that the Conspirators be discharged, and the Army of Catiline reinforced by them? By no means. But this is my Proposition; That their Effects be confiscated; their Persons be kept in Bonds, apart in several of the most powerful Cities of Italy; that no Application shall ever be made to the Senate on their Behalf, nor to the People; and that whoever disobeys this Decree, the Senate now declare him an Enemy to the Commonwealth, and to all its Members.’
When Cæsar had done speaking, and the rest of the Senate were, either in Words, or by Signs, approving or opposing what had been differently proposed, Cato was demanded his Opinion, and he delivered it in the following Speech:
‘My Spirit feels very different Impressions upon this Occasion, Conscript Fathers: First, when I attend to our present Situation, with the Perils which surround us; and then consider within myself the Counsel offered by certain Senators, they seem only to reason about settling the Punishment of such, who are combined to make War upon their Country, upon their Parents and Kindred, upon Religion and private Property; whereas our present Situation warns us to have another Point in View, and rather to concert Means for securing ourselves from them, than what Punishment ought to be inflicted upon them. For other Enormities you may take Vengeance after they are committed; but if you provide not against the Perpetration of this, in vain, when once it is accomplished, will be your Appeal to the Tribunals. When the City is once taken, nothing further remains to the poor Citizens.
‘Now, by the immortal Deities, I conjure and exhort you, You, who have ever had more at Heart your Houses, your Retirements, your Statues, and your Pictures, than the Interest of the Commonwealth; if you would but preserve these your Enjoyments, which, whatever be their Value, you thus cherish; if you would but enjoy your Pleasures in Ease, and without Interruption, rouse yourselves for once, and assume the Protection of the Commonwealth. This is no Debate about Tribute and Revenue; none about Injuries done to our Confederates. No: Our common Liberty, our very Lives, are, at this Instant, precarious.
‘I have often, Conscript Fathers discoursed in this Assembly; I have often bewailed the prevailing Luxury and Rapaciousness of our Fellow-citizens; and, for this Cause, I bear the Despight of many: But, as I never gratified myself in Vice, nor suffered my Soul to harbour it, neither could I humour the Debauchery of others, by countenancing their Excesses. Yet, however you slighted these my Complaints, still the Commonwealth stood firm and secure: Such was her native Potency, as to bear with the Defects of her Rulers. But the present Conjuncture admits no Debate about the Pravity or Amendment of our Morals; none about the Might or Splendor of the Roman Empire. The Debate is, whether this our State, whatever it be, continue our own, or, together with our Persons, become the Prey of Parricides.
‘Will any one now interpose, and mention Gentleness and Commiseration? Surely we have long lost the genuine Names of Things. It is called Liberality, to be free of the Property of others; Fortitude, to be daring in Iniquity: Such is our Degeneracy, and thence the desperate Situation of our Commonwealth! Let them, if they will, since such is the present Mode, let them be liberal of the Wealth taken from our Confederates, merciful to the Plunderers of the public Treasure: But let them not make a Present of our Blood; nor, out of their Tenderness to a few Parricides, consign to Destruction every worthy, every guiltless Roman.
‘Cæsar has just now, in his Place, reasoned, with great Elegance and Accuracy, concerning Life and Death: Nor, do I doubt but he holds for Fables, all the received Traditions about an infernal World; where the Wicked, far apart from the Virtuous, are confined to dreary and dismal Mansions, full of Darkness and Horror. From this Principle his Counsel is, That their Estates be confiscated, and their Persons kept in Bonds, apart, in the several great Cities of Italy; from an Apprehension, I presume, that, were they to be kept in Rome, they might be released, either by the Efforts of their Fellow-traitors, or by the Violence of the mercenary Multitude: As if evil and profligate Men were only to be found in this City, and not all over Italy; or, as if such a desperate Attempt were not most likely to succeed, where there is least Force to oppose it.
‘If, therefore, he really apprehend any Peril from these Criminals, his Counsel is airy and unsolid: But if, under so much general Terror possessing the Hearts of all Men, he alone dreads nothing, so much the greater Cause do I find of Dread, both for myself, and for you.
‘Be therefore assured, that your Decree concerning the Fate of Lentulus, and the other Prisoners, will comprize in it that of Catiline, and the whole Body of Conspirators. The more Vigour you shew, just so much the less Spirit will animate them: But if they perceive you ever so little relenting, they are, to a Man, ready to fall upon you with terrible Confidence.
‘Deceive not yourselves with an Opinion, that it was by Arms our Ancestors raised this our State, originally very small, to such Might and Grandeur. Were this the Cause, we should now possess it in its highest Degree of Lustre and Perfection; since we far surpass them, both in the Number of Confederates and Citizens, as well as in Horses and Arms. But it was from other Sources that their Greatness arose; such Sources as utterly fail us. They exercised Industry and Vigilance at Home, with righteous Government Abroad: They had Minds sound and free in Council, and in Judgment biassed by no Guilt or Crime, swayed by no evil Passion.
‘Instead of such Virtues as these, amongst us, Rapaciousness and Debauchery take Place; great Poverty in the State, profuse Wealth in private Families: We admire Riches, we are resigned to Sloth, make no Distinction between the Virtuous and the Wicked; and all the Rewards of Merit and Worth are ingrossed by Ambition. Nor, whilst, in all your public Councils, each of you intends only himself separately from the Whole; whilst, at home, you are inslaved to your Pleasures, and, here in the Senate, to sordid Interest, or Partiality and Favour, is the Result at all strange, that such alarming Attacks are made upon the Commonwealth, when thus deserted and forlorn. But I drop these Considerations.
‘Certain Romans, the most illustrious amongst us, have conspired to lay waste their native Country with Fire and Sword, and engaged the Gauls, ever inveterate Foes to the Roman Name, to join in the Conspiracy. He who has the Command of the Enemy, is with his Army, as it were, hovering over our Heads; and, even at this dreadful Conjuncture, you linger and hesitate how to deal with such of these unnatural Rebels. as you have seized within your Walls.
‘Would you shew them Pity? Let it be so: They are young Men, and have transgressed thro’ Ambition: Nay, dismiss them too, and even dismiss them with their Arms. What would follow? Even that this Mildness of yours, this Mercy towards them, whenever they were free and armed, would end in your Perdition.
‘Our Situation, in truth, is threatening and direful: But you fear it not. Yes, you do fear it; fear it exceedingly; and it is only from Impotence of Spirit, and Effeminacy, that you are thus in Suspense, every one looking and depending upon another.
‘Perhaps you trust for Deliverance to the immortal Gods, who have often preserved this Commonwealth from the highest Dangers: But it is not by Vows, nor by Supplications, and devout Wailings, like those of Women, that Succour is procured from the Gods: It is by Vigilance, by active Measures, and provident Counsel, that all Difficulties, are vanquished, and all Pursuits succeed: When once you have abandoned yourself to Sloth and Indolence, in vain afterwards you will implore the Gods; the Gods will be provoked, and make you feel their Wrath.
‘In the Days of our Forefathers, Aulus Manlius Torquatus, in a War with the Gauls, doomed his own Son to die, because he had engaged with the Enemy without Orders; so that a young Man of signal Hopes, died to atone for an Excess of Bravery. And do you now doubt and linger about the Doom of the most bloody of all Parricides?
‘Perhaps their present Treason is unsuitable to the Course of their Lives past: Well then; be tender of the great Dignity of Lentulus, if you find that ever he was tender of the Purity of his own Person, or of his Character and Fame, or of what concerned the Gods, or of what concerned Men, in any one Instance. Pardon also Cethegus, in Pity to his Youth, if this prove not the second time of his making War against his native Country. For why should I at all mention Gabinius, Statilius, and Cæparius? Men who, had they possessed the least Grain of Reflection or Virtue, would never have harboured such pestilent Purposes against the Commonwealth.
‘To conclude, Conscript Fathers, were it not, that an erroneous Step must, at this time, prove fatal, I should readily leave you to be corrected by the Consequences, seeing you slight my Reasoning. But we are beset and exposed on every Side. Catiline, at the Head of an Army, advances thro’ the Passes to assail us: We have Enemies within our Walls, Enemies in the very Heart of Rome: No Preparation which we make can be kept secret, nor any Counsel which we take: Hence the greater Cause of Vigour and Dispatch.
‘This, therefore, is my Counsel, That since, by a horrible Combination of blood-thirsty Citizens, the Commonwealth has been reduced to the most imminent Danger; and since they stand convicted, by the Evidence of Titus Volturcius, and that of the Allobrogian Deputies, as also by their own Confession, to have formed a Conspiracy, by Slaughter and Conflagration, and other direful Cruelties, to destroy their Fellow-citizens, and native State; they be treated like guilty Criminals, condemned by their own Mouth, and doomed to die, according to the primitive Usage.’
When Cato had ended his Speech, all those of Consular Rank, indeed, the greatest Part of the Senate, assented to his Opinion, with loud Applause; exalting to the Skies the Virtue and Firmness of his Soul, and reproaching one another with Timidity. Cato passed for a great and glorious Patriot, and just as he proposed, the Senate decreed.
Now as I had learned much by Reading, much by Report, concerning the glorious Actions of the Romans, in War and in Peace, by Sea and Land, I was exceedingly curious to discover, by what principal Cause such stupendous Events were accomplished. I knew, that with a Handful of Men, they have combated mighty Hosts: I was apprised, that, with small Forces, they have maintained War against mighty Monarchs; that they have often borne, and even braved, the Storms and Traverses of Fortune; that, in Eloquence, they were surpassed by the Greeks, in military Renown by the Gauls.
So that, having canvased every Cause, it appeared manifest to me, that only to the signal Virtue of some particular Romans, all our Superiority was owing. It was thus that great Wealth was vanquished by Poverty, great Multitudes by a small Number. Even when Rome became depraved by Voluptuousness and Effeminacy, still such was the surpassing Power of the Commonwealth, that she was thence able to support herself under all the Faults and Excesses of her Magistrates and Generals: Even when, like a Mother superannuated, she forbore, for long Intervals, to produce any Citizen of transcendent Virtue. Two I myself remember, Cato and Cæsar; different indeed in their Pursuits, but both of surprising Abilities: And since it here fell naturally in my Way, I would not omit displaying, according to my best Ability, the Temper and Accomplishments of each.
In their Race, Years, and Eloquence, they were nigh equal. Both possessed the same Greatness of Spirit; both enjoyed the same Degree of Glory, but in different Ways: Cæsar was celebrated for his Generosity and Munificence; Cato, for his unvaried Integrity of Life. The former gained Renown by his Complacency and Acts of Compassion; the latter heightened his Dignity by an inflexible Severity. Cæsar derived Fame from his Readiness to give, to relieve, and to pardon; as did Cato from his Austerity in bestowing nothing. In one was found a sure Refuge to the Wretched, in the other, certain Vengeance to the Guilty. Cæsar was extolled for his Flexibility; Cato for his Firmness. Cæsar, in short, had intirely turned himself to active Life, to a Habit of Pains and Care, Night and Day; was zealous to advance the Interest of his Friends, regardless of his own; and refused to grant nothing worthy to be granted. His own ardent Aim was to command in Chief, to lead Armies, and to be engaged in new Wars, thence to signalize his military Virtue: Whilst the whole Bent of Cato was to Simplicity of Life, to regular Conduct, and, above all, to invincible Strictness. He contended not in Wealth with the Wealthy, nor with the Factious in Practices of Faction; but yielded not in Bravery to the most undaunted; nor in Temperance, to the most reserved; nor in Purity of Morals, to the most upright; and aimed not so much to appear, as to be, a virtuous Man: So that the less he courted Renown, the faster it followed him.
After the Senate had, as I have related, concurred with the Proposition of Cato, the Consul judged it the securest Way, to snatch the instant Opportunity, without staying for Night, though it approached; lest any Time should be given for new Attempts. He, therefore, ordered the Triumvirate of Justice to accelerate all Measures necessary for the Execution; and, having posted proper Guards, conducted, in Person, Lentulus to the Prison, as the Prætors, by his Orders, did the rest.
In the Prison, after a small Descent towards the Left, there is a Place called the Dungeon of Tullus, sunk about Twelve Feet under-ground, fortified round with strong Walls, above with an Arch of Stone; a sad Solitude, full of Stench and Darkness, loathsome and hideous to behold! As soon as Lentulus was thrust down into this Place, the Executioners strangled him, as they were ordered.
Thus this noble Patrician, he who sprang from the Cornelian Race, a Race of the first Eminence and Lustre, he who, as Consul, had borne the supreme Magistracy of Rome, suffered a Death worthy of his Life and Crimes. Upon Cethegus, Statilius, Gabinius and Cæparius, the same Execution was done.
Whilst these things passed at Rome, Catiline formed two Legions out of the whole Forces, either brought by himself, or commanded before by Manlius: He filled the several Cohorts in proportion to the Number of his Men; and, by distributing equally amongst them all the Volunteers, with all who were sent him by the other Conspirators, he soon saw the Complement of his Legions full; though at first he had but Two thousand Men. But of all these Troops, about a fourth Part only was completely armed. All the rest were furnished as Chance directed; some with Sticks, some with Darts, others with sharp Stakes,
Now when Antonius advanced with his Army, Catiline repaired to the Mountains; and, whilst he marched only amongst them, moving sometimes towards Rome, sometimes towards Gaul, deprived his Enemies of the Means to attack him. He was, indeed, daily expecting powerful Reinforcements, as soon as ever his Associates had perpetrated their Designs at Rome. In the mean time he refused to enlist the Slaves, who, from the Moment he had declared himself, crouded to him in great Numbers; for he trusted to the great Strength of the Conspiracy, and conceived it, moreover, unsuitable to his Drift and Politics, should he appear to have blended the Cause of free Romans with that of their fugitive Slaves.
But, when Tidings came to the Camp, that the Conspiracy was discovered at Rome, and that Lentulus, Cethegus, and the rest, whom I have lately mentioned, were executed there, he became presently deserted by the Generality of those, whom Hopes of Rapine, or Passion for Changes in the State, had tempted to take Arms. With the Remainder he retired by mighty Marches, over steep Mountains, into the Territory of Pistorium, with a View to escape, by obscure Roads, into Cisalpine Gaul.
Now Quintus Metellus Celer, then commanding Three Legions in the Territory of Picenum, judged, that Catiline, in his present Streights, would pursue these very Measures. Hence, having learned from Deserters what Course he took, he instantly decamped, and, advancing to the Foot of the Mountains, there pitched his Camp; just where it behoved Catiline to pass in his Flight into Gaul. Neither was Antonius far behind the flying Rebels, at the Head of a great Army, advancing after them through Ways more open and level.
As to Catiline; when he perceived himself quite beset, here with Mountains, there with hostile Armies; all his Resources at Rome destroyed; no Hopes of escaping, none of Refuge or Succour; he thought it his best Course, in his present Distress, to risque the Fortune of a Battle, and determined forthwith to prepare for an Encounter with Antonius. So that, assembling his Forces, he spoke to them in the following Strain.
‘I have found by Experience, Fellow-Soldiers, that Words increase not Bravery; that a spiritless Army is neither rendered hardy, nor a dastardly Army valiant, by a Speech from the Commander. Whatever Portion of Courage any Man possesses from Nature or Habit, just so much will he display in Battle. Vain it is to exhort that Man, whom neither Glory nor Danger can animate. The Force of Fear deprives him of his Hearing. My Motive for calling you together, Fellow-Soldiers, was to furnish you with a few Points of Instruction; as also to communicate to you my last Result, and the Ground of it.
‘You already know, what a terrible Calamity Lentulus has brought at once upon himself and us, by his Slowness and lifeless Conduct: You know how, by waiting for Succours from Rome, I was prevented from marching into Gaul. At present all of you see, as well as I, our sad Situation. Two Armies of the Enemy press us, and obstruct our Motions; one from Rome, another from Gaul. To abide any longer in our present Station, were it ever so much our Choice, is utterly denied us, by our Scarcity of Provision, and of other Necessaries; and whithersoever you chuse to remove, you must open yourselves a Passage with your Swords.
‘Hence I warn and conjure you to exert your Courage, like Men determined and undaunted; and to remember, when you engage, that in your Hands you carry Wealth, Dignity, and Glory, nay, your Liberty, and your Country. If we overcome, we shall ascertain our own Safety on every Side; we shall have Store of Provisions; the municipal Cities and Colonies will be all open to receive us. But if we shrink, through Fear, we shall in all these Particulars see ourselves utterly crossed and distressed: Nor will they, whom their Arms could not defend, find Defence from any Station, or any Friends.
‘You are, besides, to remember, that you, my Fellow-Soldiers, and the opposite Army, are by no means urged to engage by the same or equal Motives. Our native Country, our common Liberty, nay, our Lives, are the Prizes for which we combat. Their Task is idle and uninteresting, whilst they fight to support the lordly Dominion of a few. Let this rouse you to attack them the more undauntedly, still remembering your former Valour and Atchievements.
‘We might, indeed, have passed our Days, with infinite Infamy, in Banishment. Some of you might have staid at Rome, reduced to Beggary, and to be Dependents upon the Affluence of others. As such wretched Conditions of Life appeared intolerable to brave Men, you determined to follow the present Course. If you desire to forsake this Course, still you must exert your Courage undauntedly: In War, he only who conquers can change it for Peace. In truth, to hope for Safety from Flight, is downright Madness; for then you turn from the Enemy those very Arms, which serve for your Defence against him. During Battle, he who is in most Fear, is ever in most Danger: Courage serves for a Wall of Defence.
‘When I consider your Characters, my Fellow Soldiers, and recollect your past Exploits, high are the Hopes which I entertain of Victory; encouraged as I am by your Resolution, your Age, your heroic Virtue, and even by our common Necessity; that Necessity which makes Cowards brave. The Streightness of our Situation secures us from being encompassed by our Enemies, however numerous. Should Fortune desert you, in Envy to your Bravery; be sure not to lose your Lives, without ample Vengeance upon your Foes; nor suffer yourselves to be taken and slaughtered like Cattle: Rather die fighting like Men, and thus leave to the Enemy a bloody and mournful Victory.’
When he had thus spoken, he paused a little; then gave Orders to sound to Battle, and led down his Forces, in their proper Ranks, into the level Ground. Next, sending away the Horses, thence the more to animate the Whole by making the Danger equal to All, he himself, on Foot, formed his Army suitably to the Number of Men, and the Nature of the Place: For, as on his Left there stretched a Plain, bounded by the Mountains, and close on his Right stood a Precipice of Rocks, he ranged Eight Cohorts in his Front. To support them, he posted the rest of his Troops in closer Order. From these, in order to strengthen his Front, he detached all the select Centurions, and resumed Veterans, and even all the common Soldiers, who were bravest and best armed. He ordered Caius Manlius to command the Right, and a Native of Fæsulæ the Left. He himself, at the Head of his Freedmen, and Supplies from the Colonies, kept close to the Eagle; one reported to have been that of Caius Marius, when he commanded against the Cimbrians.
Caius Antonius, who commanded the opposite Forces, and was disabled, by the Gout, from attending the Combat, transferred the Command to his Lieutenant General, Marcus Petreius. He, who had, upon this alarming Conspiracy, raised a Number of veteran Cohorts, ranged them in the Front. The rest of his Troops he placed, as Bodies of Reserve, behind them. He himself, riding round from Rank to Rank, and applying familiarly to the Men by their particular Names, pressed, and prayed, and conjured them, ‘to remember well against whom they were to engage; even against Robbers ill armed; and in Defence of their Country, of their Children, of their Religion, and their Property.’ As he was himself an experienced Officer, who, for more than Thirty Years, had served in Armies, whether as Tribune, or occasional Commander, or Lieutenant General, or Prætor, and in every Station, with exceeding high Renown; and as he personally knew the Generality of his Men, and all their brave Actions; whilst he laid before them the Remembrance of these, he set the Spirit of the Soldiers on Fire.
Now Petreius, after all possible Precautions taken, sounded to Battle, and ordered the Cohorts to advance with a slow Pace. So did the opposite Army. But when they approached so near, that the Soldiers, lightly armed, might have begun the Onset by Flight of Darts; at once, with a mighty Shout, they furiously rushed into a close Encounter, threw aside their Javelins, and, with their Swords only, disputed the Victory. The Veterans, ever piqued with their old Bravery, pressed the Foe with great Vigour: The latter failed not resolutely to withstand them; and mighty and violent was the Struggle. Catiline, at the Head of a Band lightly armed, was all the while busy in the foremost Rank; he succoured such as were sorely pressed, supplied fresh Men in the Room of the Wounded, provided for every Exigence; every where met Danger, every where assailed the Foe, and at once performed the Duty of a stout Soldier, and an able General.
Petreius, when he perceived that Catiline pressed on with terrible Efforts, beyond what he imagined, advanced at the Head of the Prætorian Cohort against the main Body, forced their Ranks, and put them to the Sword; as he did, next, others, who yet maintained their Ground elsewhere. Such as remained he assailed at once on both Flanks. Manlius, and the other Commander from Fæsulæ, fell Sword in hand in the foremost Rank. Catiline, beholding his Forces routed, and himself left with a few about him, still mindful of his illustrious Birth, and pristine Dignity, rushing into the thickest of the Enemy, there fell fighting, and covered with Wounds.
It now chiefly appeared, upon surveying the Field, when the Battle was over, with what desperate Resolution, with what invincible Spirit, the whole Army of Catiline was animated. For the Body of every Man was found to cover, when breathless, the same Post, which, during the Combat, he had occupied, and fought to defend; except the few who were driven from their Station by the Prætorian Cohort: And even these, though they fell a little out of their Ranks, fell with their Faces to the Foe. Catiline was indeed found, far from his own Forces, amidst the Carcases of the Enemy, even still breathing a little; nay, still retaining in his Face an Air of the same stern and haughty Spirit, which possessed him when alive.
Upon the whole, in all his Army not one free Roman was taken Prisoner, either during the Combat, or in the Rout. So equal a Hand had they all shewn, in sparing their own Lives just as little as those of their Enemies. The Victory, indeed, fell to the Army of the Commonwealth, but was accompanied with Loss and Bloodshed enough to check their Joy; since the Bravest amongst them were either killed in the Fight, or left it, grievously wounded. Nay, as there were many who visited the Field, whether for Curiosity or Spoil, and turned over the Carcases of the Rebels, some discovered a Friend, some a Kinsman, others a Guest: There were, too, such as there found their particular Enemies: So that thro’ the whole Army was seen a various Display of contrary Passions, Gladness and Sorrow, Mourning and Rejoicing.
THE ORATIONS OF CICERO AGAINST CATILINE.
TO Mr. DODDINGTON.
YOUR perfect Taste and Knowledge of Cicero, in his own Language, does by no means discourage me from presenting you with the following Orations in English. The most discerning Reader is always the least rigorous; and such as are least apt to err, make the most Allowances for Error. No well-bred Man will censure harshly, no cool Man hastily, no candid Man injuriously. Conceit and Ignorance pronounce the loudest, as well as the rudest, Censures: Shallow Men are often the most forward Critics; and Ill-nature, dressed up in spiteful and undelicate Language, is called Criticism.
Such Criticism is, indeed, the least formidable, but the most unanswerable. Rancour and Ill-Manners ought to have equal Enemies, or none. The same Disregard is due to Misrepresentation, to forced and malicious Construction. So that few Answerers deserve any Answer; few Critics any Notice; foolish and malevolent Critics and Answerers never do. To me it seems as great Weakness, to take notice of Faults foolishly found, and maliciously imputed, as it would be Rudeness, and Ill Morals, not to own Blemishes and Mistakes, fairly discovered, and decently displayed.
These have always been my Sentiments concerning Criticism, and Critics. I hope they are not ill-grounded: But as I would willingly be able to give a very good Reason even for being in the right, I am ambitious to have You for my Voucher; and then I need give no other Reason, nor produce any more Vouchers.
You perceive how ready I am to bespeak your Partiality to me, and my Writings; if I can be said to bespeak what I have so long experienced. You see, too, how willing I am to let all the World know, that I have experienced it. You have been, many Years, acquainted with this Undertaking: You have, many Years ago, perused some of the Discourses prefixed; you have had long Warning of my Ambition, to join Your Name, upon this Occasion, to mine; a very natural Ambition in an Author, solicitous thus to gain Notice and Credit to his Works. Could I, by it, derive any additional Lustre upon Your Character, it would be a Demonstration, how judiciously I consulted my own. If the Plea and Merit of long Acquaintance were not sufficient to recommend me, I should presume, that the Name and Eloquence of Cicero would; unless I marred such Recommendation by my awkward Manner of offering it, not in His Words, but my own. This I however leave to the Judgment of the World; or, to what I equally esteem, Yours.
These Orations have been translated many Years, (you know that they have) as a Supplement to the History of Catiline’s Conspiracy. In them the Whole is almost as clearly, and, except the Issue of it, almost as minutely recounted, as in Sallust; with some curious Incidents not found in Sallust. The Orator and the Historian illustrate each other: I have, therefore, joined them together, and I do it the rather, because Sallust has not done Cicero Justice; at least, not full Justice. He speaks of him more out of Necessity than Choice, and with very restrained Praise; and, even in that, his Heart seems to have little Share. Yet the Praise of no Man fell so naturally in his Way, neither of Cæsar, nor even of Cato; tho’ he be so copious and elaborate upon that of both. He might have particularly spared that of Cæsar, as Cæsar was, notoriously, an Associate in that very Conspiracy, the most sanguinary and threatening that ever was framed by the Heart of Man. He tells us how much Cato was applauded for his Speech; which is, indeed, a very honest, a very manly one, in Answer to Cæsar’s; which must be owned to be a very artful one; but studiously avoids, what more required his Notice and Testimony, the Detail of public Honours, all very illustrious, some of them very singular, witnessing and crowning the glorious Conduct, and matchless Merit, of Cicero, for having saved his Country; namely “The public Festival decreed to the Gods, and solemnized in his Name; the Thanks of the Senate presented to him, in Strains full of Warmth and Dignity; the Compliment of the Civic Crown; the Golden Statue at Capua; with the Divine Title of Father of his Country.”
To all this, which I do not pretend to tell you as News, any more than what follows, give me Leave to add the Declaration of Pompey, upon his Return from the Mithridatic War, when he was complimented upon his great Victories in it: “To small Purpose, said that great Conqueror, should I have acquired Glory by Arms, to small Purpose merited a Third Triumph, had not Cicero, by his Vigilance and Address, preserved from Destruction this our Republic, from which I receive both my Triumph and my Glory.”
I have not only ever loved, ever admired Cicero, but always considered him as one of the first Characters amongst Men; in some Instances superior to all Characters; the great Luminary of the human Mind, the great Ornament of human Nature. He had some Faults, and many Fault-finders; and they who are inclined to find Faults, will sometimes make Faults; at best never lessen them. His Ambition was not one: He sought his own Glory in the general Good; in every public Station advanced the public Interest, and, in his Consulship saved the Public itself, with such high Capacity as was hardly ever equalled, surely, never exceeded, by that of any Statesman; and with such high Courage, as was never surpassed by that of any Hero.
I think no Roman but himself could have defeated the Conspiracy of Catiline. The wisest and best Men in Rome thought so; and, for that Reason, joined in raising him to the supreme Magistracy, and afterwards in investing him with the sovereign Power of the State: A noble Proof of their high Opinion, not only of his Ability, but of his Veracity! For, no sooner had he acquainted the Senate with the public Peril, but the Senate, without Scruple or Reserve, and upon his bare Word, committed the Care and whole Power of the State into his Hands. Even the People, as partial as they were to the Conspiracy, and as passionate for civil Discord and Innovations, took his Word, upon his explaining to them the desperate Designs of the Conspirators; and then readily acquiesced in all his Measures to defeat them. So universally was his Probity known, as well as his Sufficiency! And his Reputation had an equal Share with his Conduct in saving the State.
I question whether Pompey could, in Cicero’s Place, have done what Cicero did: I even question whether he would have ventured upon doing it. He was shy and slow in Deliberations of State, and timid in Council, however brave in the Field. Neither were his Talents, any more than his Probity, equal to those of Cicero. He wanted the same Frankness as well as the same Force of Spirit, the same Ardour for public Liberty, with those generous public Views, which filled and warmed the Heart of Cicero. Pompey was a wary and distrustful Man; a Quality commonly joined to limited Parts: He was likewise a selfish Man, making all his public Proceedings subservient to personal Ends, often pursuing these Ends at the Expence, and even at the Peril, of the Public.
Besides, had Pompey been at home, and trusted by the State to deal with the Conspirators, Catiline, who had really superior Parts and Resolution, might, probably, have had superior Success. He, surely, was a bold Man; had infinite Spirit, and infinite Art. Pompey too had Art, but it was of a tamer Sort; and tho’ he had Spirit, it was perplexed and irresolute. Whilst Pompey would have been pausing and deliberating, weighing all Difficulties and Dangers, and how the Issue of every Step might affect himself; Catiline, who never stopped nor hesitated, never entertained Scruples, nor feared Consequences, would have bid fair for destroying Pompey and Rome. Cæsar too, who was in the Conspiracy, and always Master of the Spirit of Pompey, would, probably, have cajoled and duped him upon that Occasion, as he did upon every Occasion: He had, indeed, long vanquished him in Council, by Address; else he never could have been in a Condition to have vanquished him afterwards, by Force, in the Field.
To say the Truth, it was almost a desperate Undertaking, to grapple with that desperate Conspiracy; such was the great Quality, as well as the great Power and Number of the Conspirators, many of them of the first Families, and first Stations in the Commonwealth: What could be greater Merit, what shew more undaunted Courage, than to encounter them all, and to save the Commonwealth from impending Perdition? Cicero loved Rome, he loved Roman Citizens; not from Fanaticism, as the Mahometans value the Lives of Mahometans, because they think them dear to their Prophet; but as the Life of every Roman was valuable to his Country, because every Roman was supposed to love his Country. He therefore submitted to the Risque of perishing himself, that Rome might not perish; a Risque which not a Man amongst so many great Men, in that great State, was equally willing, at least equally able, to run. If, in that perilous Conjuncture, he escaped all the dark, all the bloody Snares against his Life, he still perceived himself exposed to inveterate Vengeance, equally threatening to his Person, and Family, and Fortune, from many Enemies, all too ready, as well as too powerful, to execute it.
The Consequence is well known: He saw himself banished from the State, for having saved it. His Dejection upon so trying an Occasion, might have been excused by, what caused it, his Tenderness for the Public, his Tenderness for his Family, and the Impressions of such singular and unnatural Ingratitude. Few Men are equal to all Trials: Cicero shewed himself brave in the Field, both when young and old; singularly so in his Administration; wonderfully so in Opposition to bold and potent Usurpers, Sylla, Cæsar, Antony, and to all public Disturbers; nor did any, the most celebrated Hero, ever meet Death, violent or natural, with more Firmness and Unconcern.
As an Orator, and a Writer, he had no Equal: Nor is the Strength and Elegance of his Works more to be admired, than their Morality: They contain nothing but what is noble and benevolent, as well as beautiful and charming; Vice and Baseness exposed; Virtue and virtuous Men recommended and adorned; public Spirit, the Love of Mankind, and a friendly Heart; fine Illustrations, curious Pieces of History, remarkable Characters and Events; and are, indeed, the great Repertory of the Roman Policy and Laws. His Writings, like his Administration, are full of Morality, full of Dignity, of sublime Sense, and delightful Instruction.
You will please to observe, that I am not acquainting You with the Merit of Cicero, and his Writeings; but, through You, my less-knowing Readers; and this Address to You, serves for a Preface to Them. No Man is abler than You to compare the Original and the English together: Yet, for this very Reason, I am far from inviting, or even encouraging you to take that Trouble. Perhaps, in Friendship to me, you might think the Translation tolerable; but the Original is inimitable. Men of lively Parts and Taste, let them be ever so candid, have piercing Eyes: Men of great Observation and Experience in the World, know best what the World likes; at least what the World ought to like best. Men of great Capacity will always have great Regard paid to their Judgment.
To You, however, and to the World, I commit the following Sheets; to You with Hope; to the World, though with no great Confidence, yet without Fear. I have been accustomed to Censure: I can bear it; I can even reverence it, when it is just and decent: Where it is absurd, rancorous, gross, petulant, and childish, I take even Contempt to be too great a Distinction for it: For Contempt implies Notice.
If you think this to be a very long, a very patched and rambling Address, so do I: But I claim the Privilege, as I do the Title, of a Friend, to write to you, as I talk to you, without fearing to tire you. A Letter is not confined to Exactness and Method: And what is a Dedication but a Letter, confessing, like most other Letters, that it gives a great deal of Trouble (though it hopes not to be believed); and offering many tedious Excuses, which give at least as much? You may thank Dr. Middleton, that you have not had ten times more. I once intended to have considered Cicero at large, in Three Lights; as a Statesman, an Orator, and a Writer. But the Doctor has prevented me; perhaps happily for me. Do you not find yourself inclined to thank him upon a double Account? I do, very heartily, for the Justice, which he has done to the Character of that Divine Roman, as well as to his own. He hath, in this, as in his other Performances, shewn himself an able, an honest, and a well-bred Man: A Character particularly proper for Controversy and Criticism; and from that Character he hath reaped just Reputation and Success.
Here I intend to break off abruptly; afraid of touching any other Topic: If I did, I know not when I should have done. I always loved to converse with you; now I think I have shewn it to every body: It is too much to my Credit to be kept a Secret from any. You see, Sir, that I conclude with a very interesting Reason for thus troubling you; and publish your Name for my own private Advantage. Can an Author offer a better Reason for a Dedication? Or will the World find a better for him, though he did not own it, as I do? By this Time, perhaps, you are glad to find, that I conclude at all: For your Ease, therefore, and, indeed, for my own, I only add these very few, but very true Words, That I am, with perfect Respect,
Your most Obedient
August 7th, 1743.
and most Humble Servant,
[* ]About Five hundred Pounds, English Money.