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to his discipline. “ Whether posterity was the head of those who stood up for its “ will have any respect for me,” says liberty, which entirely depended on the Pliny, “ I know not, but I am sure that I influences of his counsels; he had many « have deserved some from it; I will not years, therefore, been the common mark
fay by my wit, for that would be arro of the rage and malice of all who were
gant; but by the zeal, by the pains, by aiming at illegal powers, or a tyranny in “ the reverence which I have always paid the state; and while these were generally “ to it."
supported by the military power of the It will not seem strange, to observe the empire, he had no other arms or means wiseft of the ancients puthing this prin- of defeating them but his authority with ciple to so great a length, and considering the senate and people, grounded on the glory as the ampleft reward of a well-spent experience of his services, and the perlife, when we reflect, that the greatest part suasion of his integrity; so that to obviate of them had no notion of any other reward the perpetual calunnies of the fa&tious, he or futurity; and even those who believed was obliged to inculcate the merit and a state of happiness to the good, yet en- good effects of his counsels, in order ta tertained it with so much diffidence, that confirm people in their union and adherthey indulged it rather as a with than a ence to them, against the intrigues of well-grounded hope, and were glad there. those who were employing all arts to subfore to lay hold on that which seemed to vert them.
“ The frequent commemorabe within their reach; a futurily of their ~ tion of his acts,” says Quintilian,“ was own creating; an immortality of fame and not made fo much for glory as for glory from the applause of posterity, This, “ defence; to repel calumny, and vindiby a pleafing fiction, they looked upon as « cate his measures when they were ata a propagation of life, and an eternity of “tacked :" and this is what Cicero himexistence; and had no small comfort in self declared in all his speeches, " That imagining, that though the sense of it “ no man ever heard him speak of him. Should not reach to themselves, it would « self but when he was forced to it: that extend at least to others; and that they “ when he was urged with fictitious crimes, Thould be doing good ftill when dead, by " it was his custom to answer them with leaving the example of their virtues to the r his real services: and if ever he said imitation of mankind. Thus Cicero, as any thing glorious of himself, it was not he often declares, never looked upon that « through a fondness of praise, but to reto be his life, which was confined to this “ pel an accusation; that no man who narrow circle on earth, but confidered his o had been conversant in great affairs, acts as feeds sown in the immense universe, “ and treated with particular envy, could to raise up the fruit of glory and immor « refute the contumely of an enemy, withtality to him through a succession of infi “ out touching upon his own praises; and nite ages; nor has he been frustrated of « after all his labours for the common his hope, or disappointed of his end; but « safety, if a juft indignation had drawn as long as the name of Rome subsists, or “ from him, at any time, what might as long as learning, virtue, and liberty“ seem to be vain-glorious, it might reas preserve any credit in the world, he will “ sonably be forgiven to him: that when be great and glorious in the memory of “ others were silent about him, if he could all pofterity.
“ not then forbear to speak of himself, As to the other part of the charge, or “ that indeed would be hameful; but the proof of his vanity, drawn from bis: or when he was injured, accused, exposed boasting fo frequently of himself in his “ to popular odium, he must certainly be speeches both to the senate and the “ allowed to assert his liberty, if they people, though it may appear to a com « would not suífer him to retain his digmon reader to be abundantly confirmed “ nity." by his writings: yet if we attend to the This then was the true state of the case, circumstances of the times, and the part as it is evident from the facts of his histowhich he acted in them, we fall find it ry; he had an ardent love of glory, and not only excusable, but in fome degree an eager third of praise: was pleased, even necessary. The fate of Rome was when living, to hear his acts applauded ; now brought to a crisis, and the contend yet more itill with imagining, that they ing parties were making their last efforts would ever be celebrated when he was cither to oppress or preserve it: Cicero dead : a paßion which, for the reasons al.
teady hinted, had always the greatest force more of them had perished, would have
But there is no point of light in which no part of his leisure to be idle, or the least we can view him with more advantage or interval of it to be loft : but what other fatisfaction to ourselves, than in the con people gave to the public hews, to pleafures, templation of his learning, and the fur
to feasts, nay even to sleep, and the ordinary prising extent of his knowledge. This refreshments of nature, he generally gave to hines so conspicuous in all the monuments bis books, and the enlargement of his knowwhich remain of him, that it even lessens ledge. On days of business, when he had the dignity of his general character: any thing particular to compose, he had while the idea of the scholar absorbs that no other time for meditating but when he of the senator; and by considering him as was taking a few turns in his walks, where the greatelt writer, we are apt to forget, he used to dičtate his thoughts to bis scribes that he was the greatest magistrate also of who attended him, We find many of his Rome. We learn our Latin from him at letters dated before day-light; and some school; our stile and sentiments at the from the senate; others from his meals; and college; here the generality take their the crowd of his morning levee. leave of him, and leldom think of him No compositions afford more pleasure inore but as of an orator, a moralist, or than the epifles of great men: they touch philosopher of antiquity. But it is with the heart of the reader by laying open that characters as with pictures : we cannot of the writer. The letters of eniinent wits, judge well of a fingle part, without sur- eminent scholars, eminent statesmen, are veying the whole, since the perfection of all esteemed in their several kinds : but cach depends on its proportion and rela. there never was a collection that excelled tion to the rest; while in viewing them all so much in every kind as Cicero's, for the together, they mutually reflect an adrli. purity of file, the importance of the mattional grace upon each other. His learn- ter, or the dignity of the persons concerning, considered separately, will appear ad- ed in them. We have above a thousand mirable; yet much more so, when it is still remaining, all written after he was foriy found in the possession of the first states. years old; which are a small part not only man of a mighty empire. His abilities as of what he wrote, but of what were actually a statesman are glorious; yet surprise us published after his death by his fervant till more when they are observed in the Tiro. For we see many volumes of them ablest scholar and philosopher of his age: quoted by the ancients, which are utterly bat an union of both theie characters ex loft ; as the first book of his Letters to Lihibits that sublime specimen of perfection, cinius Calvus; the first also to Q. Arius; to which the belt parts, with the best cul a second book to his son; a second also to ture, can exalt human nature.
Corn. Nepos; a thtrd book to J. Cæsar; a No man, whole life had been wholly third to Odavius ; a third also to Pansa; spent in ftudy, ever left more numerous, an eighth book to M. Brutus ; and a ninth or more valuable fruits of his learning in to A. Hirtius. Of all which, excepting a Every branch of science, and the politer few to J. Cæsar and Brutus, we have noaits; in oratory, poetry, philosophy, law, thing more left than fome scattered phrases bylory, criticism, politics, ethics; in each of and sentences, gathered from the citations which he equalled the greater masters of of the old critics and grainmarians. What his time; in foine of them excelled all makes these letters flill more estimable is, men of all times. His remaining works, that he had never designed them for the as voluminous as they appear, are but a public, nor kept any copies of them; tor small part of what he rearly published; and the year before his death, when Atticus thoug'i many of these are come down to was making some enquiry about them, he vs maimed ty iims, and the barbarity of sent him wcrd, that he had were no celo the intermediate 17°s, yet they are justly leilion ; and ibat Viro had prejerved only che-mel the in a pre ious ri irains of all about severiz. Here then we may expect antiquicy, and, lisa ibe 3, Silline books, if to see the genuine man, without disguise
or affectation ; especially in his letters to ter ; and alledges generally some personal Atticus, to whom he talked with the same reason for his peculiar zeal in the cause, frankness as to himself; opened the rise and that his own honour was concerned and progress of each thought, and never in the success of it. entered into any affair without his parti. But his letters are not more valuable on cular advice; so that these may be con any account, than for their being the only fidered as the memoirs of his times; con monuments of that sort, which remain to taining the moit authentic materials for us from free Rome. They breathe the last the history of that age, and laying open words of expiring liberty; a great part the grounds and motives of all the great of them having been written in the very events that happened in it: and it is the crisis of its ruin, to rouse up all the virtue wane of attention to them that makes the that was left in the honest and the brave, generality of writers on those times so fun to the defence of their country. The adperficial, as well as erroneous ; while they vantage which they derive from this circhufe to transcribe the dry and imperfect cumitance, will easily be observed by selations of the later Greek historians, rather comparing them with the epistles of the than take the pains to extract the original best and greatest, who fourished afteraccount of facts from one who was a prin- wards in Imperial Rome. Pliny's letters cipal actor in them.
are juftly admired by men of taite: they In his familiar letters he affected no fhew the scholar, the wit, the fine gentleparticular elegance or choice of words, man; yet we cannot but observe a poverty tut took the firlt that occurred from com- and barrenness through the whole, that be. mon njê, and the language of conversation. trays the awe of a malter. All his ftories Whenever he was disposed to joke, his and reflections terminate in private life ; ; wit was easy and natural; flowing always there is nothing important in politics; no from the subject, and throwing out what great affairs explained; no account of the came uppermot; nor disdaining even a pun, motives of public counsels: he had borne when it ferved to make his friends laugh. all the same offices with Cicero, whom in In letters of compliment, some of which all points he affected to emulate; yet his were addreslej to the greatest men who honours were in effe& nominal, conferred ever lived, his inclination to please is ex- by a superior power, and administered by prefied in a manner agreeable to nature a superior will; and with the old titles of and reason, with the utmott delicacy both conful and proconsul, we want still the of sentiment and diction, yet without any statesman ,the politician,and the magistrate. of tho.e pompons titles and lofty epithets, In his provincial command, where Cicero which inodern custom has introduced into governed all things with supreme autho. our commerce with the great, and falsely rity, and liad kings attendant on his or. stamped with the name of politeness; ders, Pliny durft not venture to repair a though they are the real offspring of bar- bath, or to punish a fugitive flave, or inbariim, and the effects of degeneracy corporate a company of majons, till he had buih in taste and manners. In his polic firit consulted and obtained the leave of tical lee ers, all his maxims are drawn from Trajan. an intimate knowledge of men and things: His historical works are all loit: the he always touches the point on which the Commentaries of his Consulship in Greek; atfir turns; foresees the danger, and the Hiltory of his own Affairs, to his refortells the mischief, which never failed turn from exile, in Latin verse ; and his tix follow upon the neglect of his coun. Anecdotes; as well as the pieces that he fels; of which there were so many inflan. published on Natural History, of which ces, that, as an eminent writer of his own Pliny quotes one upon the Wonders of time observed to him, bis prudence fermed Nature, and another on Perfumes, He 19 be a kind of divination, which foretold was meditating likewise a general History Every thing that afterwards happened, with of Rome, to which he was frequently the veracity of a prophet. But none of his urged by his friends, as the only man caletters do hiin more credit than those of pable of adding that glory also to his the recommendatory kind: the others thew country, of cxcelling the Greeks in a spehis wit and his parts, thefe his benevo- cies of writing, which of all others was lence and his probity: he solicits the in- at that time the least cultivated by the tereit of his friends, with all the warmth Romans. But he never found leisure to and force of words of which he was mafa execute so great a
talk; yet he has
ketched out a plan of it, which, short make his character ridiculous wherever it as it is, seems to be the best that can be lay open to them ; hence flowed that performed for the design of a perfect history. petual raillery which subfilts to this day,
· He declares it to be the first and on his famous verres : fundamental law of history, that it " should neither dare to say any thing that Cedant arma togæ, concedat lavrea linguæ, was false, or fear to say any thing that
O fortunatam natam me Consule Roman). was true, nor give any just saspicion ei" ther of favour or disaffećtion ; that in the And two bad lines picked out by the ma" relation of things, the writer should ob- lice of enemies, and transmitted to pof"serve the order of time, and add also terity as a specimen of the rest, have ferved " the description of places : that in all
to damn many thousands of good ones. great and memorable tranfa&tions he For Plutarch reckons him among the most " should first explain the councils, then eminent of the Roman Poets; and Pliny the * the acts, lastly the events; that in coun- younger was proud of emulating him in “ cils he should interpose his own judg. his poetic character; and Quintillian feems ment, or the merit of them; in the acts,
to charge the cavils of his censurers to a " hould relate not only what was done, principle of malignity. But his own verses
but how it was done; in the events carry the furest proof of his merit, being " hould hew, what are chance, or rafh- written in the best manner of that age in "ness
, or prudence had in them; that in which he lived, and in the file of Luregard to persons, he should describe cretius, whose poem he is said to have "not only their particular actions, but the revised and corrected for its publication, * lives and characters of all those who after Lucretius's death. This however is "bear an eminent part in the story; that certain, that he was the constant friend
he should illustrate the whole in a clear, and generous patron of all the celebrated easy, natural stile, flowing with a per- poets of his time; of Accius, Archias, "petual smoothness and equability, free Chilius, Lucretius, Catullus, who pays his " from the affe&tation of points and sen- thanks to him in the following lines, for
tences, or the roughness of judicial some favour that he had received from
Tully, most eloquent by far
Shall rise of all the fons of Rome,
To thee Catullus grateful fends are sufácient to convince us, that his poe-,
His warmest thanks, and recommends tical genius, if it had been cultivated with His humble mure, as much below the same care, would not have been inferior All other poets he, as thou to his oratorial. The two arts are so nearly
All other patrons doit excel, allied, that an excellence in the one feem's
ln power of words and speaking well. to imply a capacity for the other, the fame qualities being eflential to them But poetry was the amusement only, and both; a sprightly fancy, fertile invention, relief of his other studies; eloquence was his howing and numerous diction. It was in diftinguished talent, his sovereign attriCicero's time, that the old rusticity of the bute: to this he devoted all the faculties Latin muse first began to be polished by of his soul, and attained to a degree of perthe ornaments of dress, and the harmony fe&tion in it, that no mortal ever surpassed; of numbers ; but the height of perfe&ion so that, as a polite historian observes, Rome to which it was carried after his death by bad but few orators before bim, whom it the succeeding generation, as it left no could praise ; none whom it could admire. room for a mediocrity in poetry, so it quite Demosthenes was the pattern by which he eclipsed the fame of Cicero. For the formed himself; whom he emulated with world always judges of things by com- such success, as to merit what St. Jeron parison, and because he was not so great a
calls that beautiful eloge: Demofthenes has poet as Virgil and Horace, he was decried fnatched from thee the glory of being the firf: aj none at all; especially in the courts of thou from Demofthenes, that of being the only Antony and Auguftus
, where it was orator. The genius, the capacity, the file compliment to the sovereign, and a fashion and manner of them both were much the consequently among their fatterers, to fame; their cloquence of that great, sub4
lime, and comprehensive kind, which dig- could imitate; and though their way of nified every subject, and gave it all the speaking, he says, might please the car of force and beauty of which it was capable; a critic or a scholar, yet it was not of that it was that roundness of Speaking, as the an sublime and sonorous kind, whose end was cients call it, where there was nothing not only to inftrue?, but to move an audience; either redundant or deficient; nothing ei an eloquence, born for the multitude; ther to be added or retrenched : their per- whose merit was always shewn by its ef. fections were in all points so transcendent, fects of exciting admiration, and extorting and yet so fimilar, that the critics are not fouts of applause; and on which there agreed on which side to give the pre. never was any difference of judgment ference. Quintillian indeed, the most ju- between the learned aud the populace. dicious of them, has given it on the whole This was the genuine eloquence that to Cicero; but if, as others have thought, prevailed in Rome as long as Cicero lived: Cicero had not all the nerves, the energy, his were the only speeches that were reor, as he himself calls it, the thunder of lithed or admired by the.city; while those Demofthenes, he excelled him in the co. attic crators, as they called themselves; piousness and elegance of his diction, the were generally despised, and frequently variety of his sentiments, and, above all, in deserted by the audience, in the midit of the vivacity of his quit, and finariness of bis their harangues. But after Cicero's death, raillerys Demosthenes had nothing jocoe and the ruin of the republic, the Roman or facetious in him ; yet, by attempting oratory sunk of course with its liberty, and fometimes to jest, thewed, that the thing a falle ipecies universally prevailed; when itself did not displease, but did not belong 10 instead of that elate, copious, and flowing bim: for, as Longinus says, wherever he eloquence, which launched out freely inio affected to be pleafunt, he made himself ridi- every subject, there succeeded a guarded, culous; and if he happened 10 raije a laugh, dry, fentcntious kind, full of laboured it was chiefly upon himself. Whereas Cicero, turns and studied points; and proper only from a perpetual fund of wit and ridicule, for the occasion on which it was employed, had the power always to please, when he the making panegyrics and servile comfound himself unable to convince, and pliments to their tyrants. This change of could put his judges into good humour, Itile may be observed in all their writers, when he had cause to be afraid of their from Cicero's time to the younger Pliny; severity; so that, by the opportunity of a who carried it to its utmolt perfection, in well-timed joke, he is said to have preserved his celebrated panegyric on the emperor many of his clients from manifeft ruin. Trajan; which, as it is juftly admired for
Yet in all this height and fame of his the elegance of diction, the beauty of fen eloquence, there was another set of orators timents, and the delicacy of its compliat the same time in Rome, men of parts ments, so it is become in a manner the and learning, and of the first quality; who, ftandard of fine speaking to modern times, while they acknowledged the superiority where it is common to hear the pretendof his genius, yet censured his diction, as ers to criticism, descanting on the tedious not truly attic or classical ; some calling it length and spiritless exuberance of the loose and languid, others timid and exube- Ciceronian periods. But the superiority of rant. These men affected a minute and Cicero's eloquence, as it was acknowfaftidious correctness, pointed sentences, ledged by the politeit age of free Rome, short and concise periods, without a fylla. so it has received the most authentic conble to spare in them, as if the perfection of firmation that the nature of things can oratory consisted in a frugality of words, . aclmit, from the concurrent sense of naand in crowding our sentiments into the tions; which neglecting ihe producions narrowest compass. The chief patrons of of his rivals and contemporaries, have this taste were M. Brutus, Licinius, Calvus, preserved to us his ineitimable remains, Afinius, Pollio, and Salluft, whom Seneca as a specimen of the molt perfect millfeems to treat as the author of the obscure, ner of speaking, to which the languree of abrust, and fententious file, Cicero often mortals can be exalted : fo that, as onridicules thiele pretenders to attic elegance, tilian declared of hin even in the...y as judging of ecquerce 1201 by the force ac, he has acquired fuel tane ni: of ihe art, but their own weakness; and terity, that Cicero is 110 resolving to decry what they could not at much the name cia wain, and to admire nothing but what they itat.