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personage whose portraiture in these volumes satisfies us. Lucullus is too favourably painted in his Asiatic campaign, too unfavourably after his return. While he is in Asia, Mr. Merivale can see nothing in him but an excellent financier, a humane governor, an able general, -sadly vexed by mutinous troops, by revenue-farmers balked of their expected exactions, and by the intrigues of Pompeius's party. One little fact is omitted—that this 'Lucullus, who would not divide spoil to his army, though he forced them to winter in tents—who kept both the soldiers and the revenue-farmers from the wealth which they covetedhimself managed to amass a colossal fortune. Here lay the whole secret of mutiny and discontent in Asia; here lay the strength of Pompey's friends, when they claimed to send him out as
a successor. His pride of manner also alienated his soldiers. But when Lucullus had returned to Rome, he was in declining years and tired of politics ; his temper also was mild and amiable. We do not see that he is to be reproved for “ sloth,' because he chose to withdraw from a scene of conflict, which every year became ruder and fiercer. Ponds of tame fish were more harmless than modern game preserves, and splendid gardens not more censurable than glasshouses for tropical forests. Elegant luxury is by no means the
worst use of ill-gotten wealth. The character of M. Crassus is drawn by Mr. Merivale as one of
pure avarice and coarse selfishness. No reader would guess that Crassus was exceedingly affable even to the vulgar,-, generous, as well as speculating with money,-a most ready and eloquent speaker, whose advocacy was little inferior to that of Cicero, and was freely at the service of all his friends with the least possible preparation,-and that the majesty of his person and address was very remarkable. His military talents were proved in the war against Spartacus; and it is not fair to forget this, though, in his old age-blinded by eagerness to equal Cæsar's warlike glory, and supposing the Parthians to be not more formidable than the troops of Mithridates, or Darius Codomannus—he led the Roman armies to a miserable fate. But here we must express our great surprise that Mr. Merivale should speak of the prevailing mediocrity of talent' in Crassus's con
* Mr. Merivale sets the reader on a wrong scent, by saying (vol. i. p. 61), • Lucullus is accused of avarice; and it may give some colour to the charge, that he condescended to accept another appointment in Thrace, instead of returning at once, and asserting his natural position in Rome.
Cicero feared to add the name, but the commentators do not hesitate to apply his remark to Lucullus (Pro Lege Manilia, 13, $37): How can we rate a general highly, in whose army the post of centurion is sold? Can any one form noble schemes for the State, who, when he has received money out of the treasury for the service of the war, distributes it to the magistrates in order to gain reappointment to his province, or deposits it at Rome to get the interest?'
temporaries. If we had been asked, in what period Rome contained the greatest constellation of various and eminent talent, we should unhesitatingly have fixed on this very time. Among the bad, as well as among the better citizens, this is very conspicuous. Catilina and Clodius, Curio and M. Antonius, were all men of superior mental powers. The times, indeed, were such, as to give an immense premium to eloquence and decision, discernment of character, pliancy, knowledge of law, of business, and of the constitution, especially when combined with military experience and skill.
The portraiture of Cato by Mr. Merivale is still more unfavourable, and, as we are satisfied, quite unjust. We cannot expect full agreement in these matters; but we think that a historian ought either to confine himself to the facts, and let them speak for themselves, or else he ought to justify his representations. But Mr. Merivale perpetually colours the transactions from having made up his mind that pride, animosity, adherence to antique formality, pedantry, elaborate affectation, scholastic formalism, &c., were intense in Cato. We believe all of this to be a clear mistake, and that Cato was simply a moral enthusiast. No one will learn from Mr. Merivale even a small portion of the excellence of this greatest moral phenomenon among the statesmen of republican Rome; whose only parallel, perhaps, is to be found in the emperor Marcus Aurelius. He proposed to himself the noble problem of carrying into public life all the scrupulous conscientiousness which in private conduct was esteemed and approved ; and for doing this earnestly, he was, and is, called pedantic, untractable, morose, and bitter. The ways of the great world were in many respects reproved by each man's conscience; yet no one but Cato refused to bow in idolatry to them. His first necessary offence to the vulgar, was, in refusing to put on at an election the fawning and false grimaces, which were all to be laid aside as soon as the wished-for appointment was gained. Cato did not desire honour for himself; only to serve his country did he seek for office at all. He was the same man before and after an election; at all times simple and accessible, never fawning and unmanly. He alone refused in canvassing to get the aid of a slave who knew everyone's name. The Romans were unaccustomed to all this, and called it pride. What! should others cringe to them, clasp them, perhaps kiss them; and should Cato scorn to pay the same homage? Did not others give them treats and bribes, and should Cato refuse them such indulgences? Who was this wise young man, to set himself up as a model ?-All the aristocracy felt that his conduct was a severe reproof to them, and he at once gained universal dislike. Nevertheless, as soon as he was actually put to the
proof, he won over many who had been displeased. As quæstor, he brought the finances into excellent order, forced all the subordinates to renounce peculation, paid all the debts of the state, called-in its outstanding claims, and exhibited that “ the treasury might be rich without injustice, if the quæstors did their duty. All credit and praise he freely shared with his colleagues, all odium he took on himself alone; so that they before long found it a great comfort, that they could refuse to do dirty jobs for their friends, being always able to reply that 'Cato would be certain to hinder them.' His most courageous deed as quæstor, however, was, to force all the assassins of the proscribed to refund the sums of 12,000 drachmas, which Lucius Sulla had paid them for every head they brought him. How the money was got out of them, thirteen or fourteen years after it was paid, is hard to imagine; but this proceeding of Cato was so much praised, that Caius Cæsar discerned that he also might get credit by calling the assassins to justice. As juryman, we have already alluded to Cato's integrity, which was liable to no bias for or against an accused person. On no occasion would he act as accuser or defender, from any grounds but those of moral conviction; nor is there any instance, except perhaps * that of Milo, where we have reason to believe that he took the wrong side. He conducted his accusation of Muræna with such honourable simplicity, as to win ever after Muræna's esteem and confidence. Nor was Cato's aversion to bribery accompanied by any thing morose. When he superintended the public games for one of his friends, he made every thing merry and pleasant to the people at the smallest expense; gave pleasure and gained popularity, without violating his own strict principles. The intense attachment which he not only felt towards his only brother, but excited in all his soldiers when he was a military tribune, testifies to his freedom from every thing petty, selfish, proud, and misanthropic.
Such a character would be more than human, if it had not its defects. In boyhood, he had a premature gravity, sadness, and intensity of concentration. While still a very young man, he became priest of Apollo, and it is probable that this deepened his enthusiasm to become a moral reformer. He immediately still farther simplified his expenditure, and used his ample fortune upon every body rather than himself. In travelling, he went on foot himself, but allowed horses to his freedmen as well
Cato was strongly favourable to Milo, and applauded him for the death of Clodius. But it is not likely that all the facts of his death had then been established. It was notorious that Clodius had been the aggressor, and had the larger band of gladiators; and that Milo's band was strictly a defence to quiet men, whom Clodius would have many times murdered.
as to his friends. His dress was cheap, and dull coloured; which was intended as a protest against the pomp and luxury of the great. Towards the deposed king of Egypt, who came to ask his advice, he behaved with no more ceremony than to any other poor man. This conduct ought not to be judged of from our point of view, accustomed as we are to (what Greeks or Romans would have called), an Oriental homage of kings; but if we would judge fairly of Cato, we ought to ask how would an Elisha or an Isaiah have demeaned himself to a fugitive king of Egypt? Yet Cato behaved to him with real friendship, and gave him excellent advice, which the king afterwards much regretted that he had not followed.
The defence of Clodius's tribunate' ascribed to Cato, is a simple mistake. (We cannot now find a certain passage, in which, we think, Mr. Merivale, like others, has reproved this.) Cato was perfectly right in demanding that the acts of a de facto magistrate should not be invalidated by a flaw in his appointment; otherwise endless confusion and injustice would result. Cicero was here carried into a monstrous extreme by personal resentment, and Cato rightly opposed him. Cato's principle of carrying private morality into public life, led him farther into the conduct which is so sharply reproved by Plutarch-of refusing to wear the splendid robes of magistracy when he was prætor. Neither do we commend this ; but to call it affectation and pride is to mistake his whole character. As well may this be said of George Fox, or of John the Baptist. Such eccentricities were but outer sparklings from the great life of enthusiasm* that burnt within ; which fused his commonest and smallest doings into a homogeneous result, and produced one of the rarest spectacles in history—a public man forgetful of self, guided solely by his best perceptions of virtue, and animated by an omnipotent will to abide by the decisions of his conscience. To develop such a character as Cato to a reader of Roman annals, would seem to us far more important than the heart-sickening conquests detailed in what Mr. Merivale well calls the most frigid of military histories—the Gallic war of Cæsar.
• Of such a character, it is odd (and may excite some mirth) to learn, that he gradually became very fond of wine ; so that his enemies said, he spent whole nights in drinking. Plutarch acknowledges the fact, but does not seem to admit that Cato was ever drunken. One may suspect, that his extremely hardy habits, constant exercise, and life in the open air, with his frequent immense exertions (for he would speak for a whole day together, and encounter all the noise and violence of a hired rabble), admitted, and almost required, an amount of wine, which to others would have caused drunkenness. Such a habit may also have added to his exacerbation of manner; yet there is no mark that this grew worse with age. He was harsh and stern while business was going on, relaxed and kind the moment it was finished.
Such is the inan against whom, after his death, Casar wrote his scurrilous books called Anti-Catones; and was not ashamed to accuse him of sifting the ashes of his brother in hope of scraping a little gold out of them, and of selling his wife Marcia to the rich Hortensius for the reversion of his estate! But Plutarch well observes, that to accuse Cato of avarice, was like calling Hercules a coward.' It did but show the impotence of malignity in the accuser, who thought that his pen was as irresponsible as his sword.'
But we now approach the most disagreeable part of our task, which is, to arraign Mr. Merivale’s calumnious aspersions on the great Pompeius ; a man whom, in spite of all his faults, we still admire and love. And, first, we shall extract passages from Mr. Merivale against him, which, if just, would justify all the other vituperation of him :
• Great as Pompeius was, it was a cardinal defect in his character, that he failed to keep his principal end in view. ... The consequence was, that he failed to acquire any moral ascendency over his associates. His virtues were sobriety and moderation, and these he possessed in an eminent degree. But ... no man was so constantly deceived in the persons whom he selected for his instruments : they discovered his weaknesses, and shook off the yoke of his condescension. The distance which he affected in his intercourse with those about him, arose, perhaps, from natural coldness, but more, perhaps, from his own distrust of his power over them. . . . Nor can it be disguised that this coldness and reserve had been known by their usual fruits (!), in an early career of remorseless cruelty and inveterate dissimulation. The nobles who shuddered at the idea of Pompeius assuming the powers of the dictatorship, well knew the school in which he had been brought up, and the proofs he had given of having imbibed its lessons. He had licked the sword of Sulla ; and as with young tigers who have once tasted blood, they could never be assured that his thirst was sated. He was himself another Marius or Sulla, no better, only more disguised. Under the orders of the dictator, he had shed the best blood of Rome, and had been branded with the title of the young hangman. He had put to death a Carbo, a Brutus, a Scipio Æmilianus ; nor had he ever evinced any symptom of compassion or clemency. His word was not to be trusted : he was capable of disowning his own commands, &c. ..
• From the moment of his return, he was casting his eyes around him to find creatures who might further his occult ends. . . . In these intrigues he was singularly unfortunate. When he divorced his wife Mucia, he had, perhaps, already in view the formation of an advantageous alliance. He proposed, it was said, to connect himself with the family of Cato ; with whose character and position he must, if so, have been strangely unacquainted. [!] The overture was rejected with disdain. In Cicero, indeed, he found a willing flatterer, and with him he carried on a long course of dissimulation and cajolery, which was transparent to every one except its object.'- 1b. p. 185.