Abbildungen der Seite

of their ancestors have left glory, rank, and patronage, while most of the other senators have but recently attained their dignitył), it will be proper to set the opinions of all free from the influence of fear; and thus each, voting secretly, will act on his own judgment rather than be swayed by the authority of another. Freedom of action is desirable alike to the good and the bad, the bold and the timid; but too many relinquish it from want of spirit, and, while a contest is still doubtful, foolishly submit to a decision of it against themselves, as if they were already worsted.

There are two expedients, then, by which I think that the power of the senate may be increased; if it be augmented in numbers, and if the senators vote with tablets. The tablet will be as a screen, under which each


courage to vote with greater freedom; and in additional numbers there will be additional security and advantage to the state. For on most occasions, in the present day, some of the senators who are engaged in the public courts, and others who are occupied with their private affairs or those of their friends, do not give their attendance at the councils of the govern

ment; and many, indeed, are kept away not more by business i than by tyrannical influence. Thus a faction of the nobles,

with a few senators who support them, approve, condemn, and decree whatever they please, and act as caprice dictates. But when the number of the senators shall be increased, and the votes given by tablet, the ruling party will be compelled to abate their haughtiness, and to cringe to those over whom they have mercilessly domineered.

XII. Perhaps, general, on perusing this letter, you will


1 XI. Most-have but recently attained their dignity] Cetera multitudo, pleraque insititia sit. “Having spoken of the patricians, and other nobles, he calls the rest of the multitude insititia, inserted or engrafted.” Cortius.

2 Vote with tablets] Per tabellam. Or, in modern phrase, by ballot. This mode of voting was adopted by the Romans in the comitia and courts of justice In the comitia, when a law was to be passed or rejected, each citizen was provided with two tabellæ, one inscribed with the letters V. R., Uti rogas, “ I vote as you desire;" the other with A., Antiquo, “I vote for the former state of things." In the courts of justice, each judex had thr tabellæ, one arked with A., Absolvo, “I acquit;" another with C., Condemno, “I condemn;" and the third with N. L., Non liquet, “The matter is not clear to me.” These tablets were dropped into a cista, or ballot-box.


wish to know of what number I would have the senate consist, and how the senators may be appointed to their numerous and varied duties ; and since I would commit the judicial authority to the first class of citizens?, what distribution should be made, and what number of judges should be appointed to each particular kind of cause. All these particulars it would not be difficult to give in detail ; but I thought it proper first to settle the general plan, and to endeavour to convince you of its reasonableness; if you resolve to act on my sug: gestions, minor points will be easily arranged. I would wish my scheme to be one of prudence and utility; for, wherever success shall attend you, reputation will thence accrue to

But the chief desire which actuates me is, that the state, whatever plan be adopted, may as soon as possible be benefited. The liberty of my country I value far more highly than my own fame; and I entreat and implore, that you, our most illustrious commander, after having subdued the people of Gaul, will not suffer the mighty and unconquered empire of Rome to sink into decay, or to fall to pieces by the effect of discord. Assuredly, if this should happen, neither night nor day? will bring you quiet, but, harassed with want of rest, you will be disturbed, distracted, and driven to despair. For I consider it as a certain truth, that the lives of all men are under the eye of a divine power; and that no deed, good or evil, is without its consequences, but that different recompenses, according to the nature of their actions, attend the virtuous and the vicious. Such retribution may be slow in coming; but the breast of every one, from the state of his conscience, assures him what he is to expect.

XIII. Could your country, or your ancestors, address you, they would doubtless admonish you in such words as these : “We, the bravest of the human race, raised you up, O Cæsar,

1 XII. To the first class of citizens] Burnouf gives this passage, judicia quoniam omnibus primæ classis mittenda putem, on the authority of Carrio, who says that he found this reading in one of the Vatican manuscripts. Havercamp and Cortius have quoniam primæ classis mittenda puten, of which they offer no explanation. Lipsius proposes to read primæ classi committenda, which Cortius approves. Mittenda, in Carrio's reading, must be taken in the sense of committenda.

? Neither night nor day, fc.] Dreadful threatenings; stronger, assuredly, than Sallust would have used.

in the most excellent of cities, to be an honour and defence : to us, and a terror to our enemies. What we had acquired

by many toils and dangers, we bestowed on you at the moment of your birth ; a country, the mistress of the world;

an illustrious family and descent in it; distinguished talents; #honourable wealth; all the ornaments of peace, and all the Te glories of war. In return for these ample gifts, we ask of

you nothing disgraceful or vicious, but the restoration of • subverted liberty; by the achievement of which, assuredly,

the fame of your virtues will be extended throughout the E world. At present, though you have performed illustrious

actions at home and in the field, yet your glory is only equal t with that of other heroic characters; but, should you restore

a city of the highest name, and of the most extensive power, almost from ruin, who will be more renowned, who really greater than yourself, on the face of the earth ? If, however,

through internal decay, or the appointment of fate?, this i empire should fall to destruction, who can doubt but that

devastation, war, and bloodshed, will overspread the whole $ earth? But if you, on the other hand, feel a generous desire I to obey your country and your ancestors, your fame here

after, when the state is re-established, will be acknowledged superior to that of all men, and your death, by peculiar felicity?, will be more glorious than your life.

For sometimes fortune, and very frequently envy, depresses the living; D but, when life has paid its debt to nature, and detraction is at an end, true merit raises itself more and more.'

What I thought conducive to the public good, and believed likely to be of advantage to yourself, I have written in as

few words as I could. I now beseech the immortal gods, 1 that, in whatever way you may act, your

be i attended with prosperity to yourself and your country.

endeavours may

1 XIII. Through internal decay, or the appointment of fate] Morbo jam aut fato. Dureau Delamalle refers morbo to Cæsar, but is doubtless in the wrong. De Brosses takes the passage in the sense which I have given.

2 By peculiar felicity, 8c.] Tuaque unius mors vitâ clarior erit. “Why did he say tua unius? Because he wished to signify that Cæsar was the only man who, when dead, would be more famous than when alive.Burnouf. But did this never happen to any other man? Would Sallust have so expressed himself ?

3 In as few words as I could] Quàm paucissumis potui. Will any reader assent to this assertion of the writer? The same expression is used at the end of the following epistle.

[ocr errors]

any one.


EPISTLE II. I. It was formerly admitted as certain, that Fortune bestows kingdoms and empires, as well as other objects equally coveted among mankind, of her own free gift; since they are often found, as if distributed by caprice, in the hands of the unworthy; nor do they remain unvitiated in the possession of

But experience has taught the truth of what Appius) has said in his verses, that Every one is the architect of his own fortune; a sentiment which is preeminently exemplified in yourself, who have so much surpassed others, that men are sooner weary of applauding your actions, than you of performing what is worthy of applause.

But power attained by merit, must, like a fabric of architecture, be sustained with the greatest care ; lest it suffer injury through neglect, or sink for want of support. For no man willingly concedes supreme authority to another; and however just and merciful a ruler may be, yet, as he has the power to do injury, he is still dreaded. This state of things arises from the circumstance, that the greater part of sovereigns act with indiscretion, and think that their power is increased in proportion as their subjects are demoralised”. But, on the contrary, it should be his care, when he himself is good and brave, to have those under his sway as virtuous as possible; for the most vicious always submit to a ruler with least patience. For you, however, it is more difficult, than for any

who have gone before you, to settle properly what you have acquired. You have conducted a war with greater mildness than others have governed in peace; and, in addition, the victorious party are expecting the advantages of conquest, while the vanquished are your fellow-citizens. Amidst these difficulties you will have to steer your course, and must strengthen the state, with a view to the future, not merely with arms, or against enemies, but, what is a greater and more arduous task, with the salutary arts of peace. The crisis, therefore, calls on every man, whether of great or moderate abilities, to offer you the best advice in his power. And, in my opinion, in whatever way you may use your victory, the future fortune of the state will be in conformity with it.

11. Appius] This Appius was Appius Claudius Cæcus, who made the Appian way. His verses were composed, as appears from Cicero, in the manner of the golden verses of Pythagoras, and were praised by Panætius in a letter to Tubero. See Cic. Tusc. Disp., iv., 2.

2 As their subjects are demoralised] “ This has been a constant mistake among rulers. 'Former princes,' says Pliny (Paneg., c. 45), 'looked with more pleasure on the vices than on the virtues of the citizens; not only because every one is pleased to see a resemblance to his own character in another, but because rulers think that those will bear the yoke of slavery with patience who are fitted only to be slaves.'

Intimide et corromps ; c'est ainsi que l'on règne, says Sejanus to Tiberius, in Chenier's Tibère, Act I., sc. 4. See also Montesquieu's “Spirit of Laws,' iii., 5, and Sall. Cat., c. 7." Burnouf.

II. That you may settle matters more advantageously and easily, give your attention to a few suggestions which my mind prompts me to offer. You have had to conduct a war, general, with a man of high reputation, of vast resources, of inordinate eagerness


power, but more indebted to fortune than to wisdom; a man whom a small party followed, con-sisting of such as had become your enemies from having injured you?, or of such as were attached to himself by relationship or personal obligation. No one of them was a sharer in his power; for, could he have endured a rival, the world would not have been convulsed with war. The rest attended him rather after the way of the multitude than from their cwn judgment, each, indeed, following his neighbour as if he were wiser than himself. At the same time, a set of men whose whole lives had been polluted with infamy and licentiousness, and who were inspired, by the malicious reports of the ill-designing, with the hope of usurping the government, flocked into your camp, and openly threatened all who remained neutral, with death, spoliation, and all the excesses of wanton depravity. Of whom the greater number, when they saw that you would neither cancel their debts?, nor

1 II. From having injured you] Per suam injuriam tibi inimici. injuriam, i.e., because they had done injury to you, for, as Tacitus says (Agric., c. 42), Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem læseris.” Burnouf. Cortius interprets similarly.

2 Cancel their debts] Creditum condonare. “For Creditam pecuniam condonare, or to make an abolition of debts; but this phrase is not Sallustian, nor, indeed, Ciceronian.” Cortius.


Per suam

« ZurückWeiter »