« ZurückWeiter »
speedy ruin of others, have, in a great measure, been owing to their form of government.
Were there but one manDer of ruling states and cities, that could make them happy, the choice would not be difficult. But I have learnt, that, of the various forms of government among the Greeks and Barburians, there are three which are highly extolled by those who have experienced them; and yet, that no one of these is in all respects perfect, but each of them has some innate and incurable defect. Choose you, then, in what manner this city shall be governed. Shall it be by one man ? Shall it be by a select number of the wisest among us? Or shall the legislative power be in the people ? As for me, I shall subunit to whatever form of administration you shall please to establish. As I think myself not unworthy to coinmand, so neither am I unwilling to obey. Your having chosen me to be the leader of this colony, and your calling the city after my name, are honours sufficient to content me; honours of which, living or dead, I can never be deprived.
II.-Hannibal to Scipio Africanus, at their interview pre
ceding the Battle of Zama. SINCE fate has so ordained it, that 1, who began the war, and who have been so often on the point of ending it by a complete conquest, should now come of my own motion, to ask a peace-lan glad that it is of you Scipio, I have the fortune to ask it. Nor will this be among the least of your glories, that Hannibal, victorious over so many Roman generals, subinitted at last to you.
I could wish, that our fathers, and we had confined our ambition within the limits which nature seems to have prescribed to it; the shores of Africa, and the shores of Italy, The gods did not give us that mind. On both sides we have been so eager after foreign possessions, as to put our own to the hazard of war. Rome and Carthage have had, each in her turn, the enemy at her gates. But since errors past may be more easily blamed than corrected, let it now he the work of you and me, to put an end, if possible, to the obstinate contention. For my own part; ny years, and the experience I have had of the instability of fortune, ineline me to leave nothing to her determination, which reason can decide. But much, I fear, Scipio, that your youth, your want of the like experience, your uninterrupted success, may render you averse froin the thoughts of peace. He,
whom fortune has never failed, rarely reflects upon her inconstancy. Yet, without recurring to former examples, my own may perhaps suffice to teach you moderation. I am the same Hannibal, who, after my victory at Cannæ, became master of the greatest part of your country, and deliberated with myself what fate I should decree to Italy and Rome. And now—see the change! Here, in Africa, I am come to treat with a Ronjan, for my own preservation and my country's. Such are the sports of fortune. Is she then to be trusted because she smiles ? An advantageous peace is preferable to the hope of victory. The one is in your own poxer, the other is at the pleasure of the gods. Should you prove victorious, it would add little to your own glory, or the glory of your country ; if vanquished, you lose in oue hour, all the honour and reputation you have been so many years acquiring. But what is my aim in all this ? That
you should content yourself with our cession of Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, and all the islands between Italy and Africa. A peace on these conditions, will, in my opinion, not only secure the future tranquilitywof Carthage, but be sufficiently glorious for you and for the Roman name. And do not tell me, that some of our citizens dealt fraudulently with you in the late treats. It is I, Hannibal, that now ask a peace :-[ ask it, because I think it expedient for my country; and thinking it expedient, I will inviolably maintain ito
111.-Seipio's Reply. I KNEW very well, Hannibal, that it was the hope of your return, which einboldened the Carthageniaus to break the truce with us, and to lay aside all thoughts of peace, when it was just upon the point of being concluded; and your present proposal is a proof of it. You retrench from their concessions every thing but what we are, and have been long possessed of. But as it is your care, that your fellow citizens should have the obligation to you, of being eased from a great part of their burthen, so it ought to be mine, that they draw no advantage from their perfidiousness. Nobody is more sensible than I am of the weakness of man, and the power of fortune, and that whatever we enterprise, is subject to a thousand chances. If, before the Romans passed into Africa, you had, of your own accord, quitted Italy, and made the offers you now make, I believe they would not have been rejected. But, as you have been forced out of Italy, and we are masters here of the open conntry, the situation of things is much altered. And what is chiefly to be considered, the Carthagenians, by the late treaty, which we entered into at their request, were over and above what you offer, to have restored to us our prisoners without ransom, delivered up their ships of war, paid us five thousand talents, and to have given hostages for the performance of all. The senate accepted these conditions, but Carthage failed on her part : Carthage deceived uş. What then is to be done? Are the Carthagenians to be released froin the most important articles of the treaty, as a reward for their breach of faith? No, certainly. If to the conditions before agreed upoil, you had added some new articles, to our advantage, there would have been matter of reference to the Roman people; but when, instead of adding, you retrench, there is no room for deliberation. The Carthagenians, therefore, must submit to us at discretion, or must vanquish us in battle. IV.-Calisthene's Reproof of Cleon's Flattery to Alexander,
on whom he had proposed to confer Divinity, by vote. IF the King were present, Cleon, there would be no need of my answering to what you have just proposed. He would himself reprove you, for endeavopring to draw him into an imitation of foreign absurdities, and for bringing envy upon him by such unınanly,flattery. As he is absent, I take upon me to tell you, in his name, that no praise is lasting, but what is rational ; and that you do what you can to lessen his glory, instead of adding to it. Heroes have never, among us, been deified, till after their death; and, whatever may be your way of thinking, Cleon, for my part, I wish the king may not, for many years to come, obtain that honour.
You have menționed, as precedents of what you propose, Hercules and Bachus. Do you inagine, Cleon, that they were deified over a cup of wide? And are you and I qualified to make gods? Is the king, our sovereign, to receive his divinity from you and me, who are his subjects? First try your power, whether you can make a king. It is surely easier to make a king, than a god; to give an earthly dominion, than a throne in heaven. I only wish that gods may have heard, without oitence, the arrogant proposal you have made, of adding one to their number, and that they may still be so proprions in 0s, as to grant tha continuance of that success to our affairs, with which they have hitherto favoured us. For my part, I am not ashamed of my country, nor do I approve of our adopting the rites of foreign nations, or learning from them how we ought to reverence, our kings. To receive laws or rules of conduct from them, what is it but to confess ourselves inferior to them ? that
V.-Caius Marius to the Romans ; showing the absurdity
of their hesitating to confer on him the rank of general, merely on accouni of his Extraction.
IT is but too common, ny countrymen, to observe a material difference between the behaviour of those who stand candidates for places of power and trust, before and after their obtaining them. They solicit them in one manner, and execute them in another. They set out with a great appearance of activity, hamility and moderation, and they publicly fall into sloth, pride and avarice.--It is, un, doubtedly, no easy matter to discharge, to the general satisfaction, the duty of a supreme commander, in troublesome times. To carry on with effect, an expensive war, and yet be frugal of public money; to oblige those to serve, whoin it may be delicate to offend; to conduct at the same time, a complicated variety of operations; to concert measures at hoine, answerable to the state of things abroad; and to gain every valuable end, in spite of opposition from the envious, the factious, and the disaffected to do all this, my countrymen, is more difficult than is generally thought.
But, besides the disadvantages which are common to me, with all others in eminent stations, my case is, in this respect, peculiarly hard--that whereas a commander of Patrician rank, if he is guilty of neglect or breach of duty, has his great connections, the antiquity of his family, the important services of his ancestors, and the multitudes he has, by power, engaged in his interest, to screen him from condign punishment, my whole safety depends upon myself; which renders it the more indispeusably necessary for me to take care, that my conduct be clear and unexceptionable. Besides, I am well aware, my countrymen, that the eye of the public' is upon me; and that, though the impartial, who prefer the real advantage of the commonwealth to all other considerations, favour my pretensions, the Patricians want nothing so much, as an occasion against ine. It is, therefore, my fixed resolution to use my best endeavours,
you be pot disappointed in me, and that their indirect designs against me may be defeated.
I have from my youth, been familiar with toils and with dangers. I was faithful to your interest, my countrymen, when I served you for no reward but that of honour. It is pot my design to betray you, now that you have couferred upon me a place of profit. You have committed to my conduct, the war against Jugurtha. The Patricians are offended at this. But where would be the wisdom of giving such a command to one of their honourable body? A person of illustrious birth, of ancient family, of ionanerable statuesbut of no experience! What service would this long line of dead ancestors, or bis multitude of notionless statues do his country in the day of battle? What could such a general do, but in his trepidation and inexperience, have recourse to some interior commander for direction, in difficulties to which he was not himself equal ? Thus, your Patrie cian general would, in fact, have a general over him ; so that the acting commander would still be a Plebian. So true is this, my countrymen, that I have, myself, known those who have been chosen consals, begin then to read the history of their own couniry, of which, till that time, they were totally ignorant ! that is, they first obtained the employment, and then bethought themselves of the qualifications necessary for the proper discharge of it,
I submit to your judgment, Romans, on which side the advantage lies, when a comparison is made between Patrician haughtiness and Plubian experience. The very actions which they have only read, I have partly seen and partly myself achieved. What they know by reading, I know by action. They are pleased to slight my mean birth; I despise their inean characters. Want of birth and fortune is the objection against me; want of personal worth against them. But are not all men of the same species ? What can make a difference between one man and another, but the endonments of the mind ? for my part I shall always look upon the bravest man, as the noblest man. Suppose
were in quired of the fathers of such Patricians as Albinus and Bestia, whether, if they had their choice, they would desire sons of their character or of mine: What would they answer, but that they would wish the worthiest to be their sons? If the Patricians have reason to despise me, let them likewise despise their ancestors, whose nobility was the fruit of their virtue. Do they envy the honours bestowed upou