Page images
PDF
EPUB

Roman people; he joined the candidates that opposed Milo, but in such a manner that he overrule them in every thing, had the soul management of the election, and, as he often used to boast, bore all the comitia upon his own shoulders. He assembled the tribes ; he thrust hiaiself into their councils ; and formed a new tribe of the most abandoned of the citizens. The more confusion and disturbance he made, the more, Milo prevailed. When this wretch, who was bent upon all manner of wickedness, saw that so brave a man, and his most in veterate enemy, would certainly be consul ; when he perceived this, not only by the discourses, but by the votes of the Roman people, he began to throw off all disguise, and to declare openly that Milo must be killed. He often intimated this in the Senate, and declared it expressly before the people ; insomuch that when Favonius, that brave man asked him what prospect he could have of carrying on his furious designs, while Milo was alive-he replied, that in three or four days at most he should be taken out of the way; which reply Favonius immediately communicated to Cato.

In the mean time, as soon as. Clodius knew (nor indeed was there any difficulty to come to the intelligence;) that Milo was obliged by the 18th of January to be at Lanuvium, where he was dictator, in order to nominate a priest, a duty which the laws rendered necessary to be performed every year ; he went suddenly from Rome the day before, in order as appears by the events, to waylay Milo, on his own grounds ; and this at a time wben hewas obliged to leave a tumultuous assembly which he had sumidoned that very day, where his presence was necessary to carry on his mad desigos ; a thing he never would have done, if he had not been desirous to take the advantage of that particular time and place, for perpetrating his villany. But Mily, after having staid in the Senate that day till the house was broke up, went home changed his clothes, waited a while, as usual, till his wife had got ready to attend him, and then set forward, about the time that Clodious, if he had proposed to come back to Romne that day, might have returned. He meets Clodius bear his own estate, a little before sunset, and.

is immediately attacked by a body of men, who throw their darts at him from an eminence, and kill his coachman. Upon which he threw off his cloak, leaped from his chariot and defended himself with great bravery In the mean time Clodius' attendants drawing their swords, some of them ran back to the chariot, in order to attack Milo in the rear; whilst others thinking that he was already killed, fell uport his servants who were behind ; these being resolute and faithful to their master, were some of them slain ; whilst the rest, seeing a warm engagement near the chariot, being prevented from going to their master's assistance, hearing besides from Clodius himself, that Milo was killed, and believing it to be a tact, acted upon this occasion I mention it not with a view to elude the accusation, but because it was the true state of the case, without the orders, without the knowledge, without the presence of their master as every man would wish his own servants should act in the like circumstances.

This, iny Lords. is a faithful account of the matter of fact, the person who lay in wait was himself overcome, and force subdued by force, or rather audaciousness chastized by true valor. I say nothing of the advantage which accrues to the state in general, to yourselves in particular, and to all good men; I am content to wave the argument I might draw from hence in favor of my client, whose destiny was so peculiar, that he could not secure his own safety, without securing yours, and that of the republic at the same time. If he could not do it lawfully, there is no room for attempting his defence. But if reason teaches the learned, necessity the barbarian, common custoin ali nations in

general, and even nature itselfinstructs the brutes to defend their bodies, limbs and lives when attacked, by all possible methods, you cannot pronounce this action criminal without determining at the same time, that whoever falls into the hands of a highwayman, must of necessity perish, either of the sword or your decisions. Had Milo been of this opinion, he would certainly have chosen to have fallen by the hands of Clodius, who had more than once before this made an attempt upon his

life, rather than be executed by your order, because he had not tamely yielded himself a victim to his rage. But if none of you are of this opinion, the proper question is not whether Clodius was killed ; for that we grant : But whether justly or unjustly fit appears that Milo was the aggressor, we ask no favor ; but if Clodius, you will then acquit him of the crime that has been laid to his charge.

What method, then, can we take to prove that Clodi. us lay in wait for Milo? It is sufficient, considering what an audacious abandoned wretch he was, to show that he lay under a strong temptation to it, that he formed great hopes, and proposed to himself great advantages, from Milo's death. By Milo's death, Clodius would not only have gained his point of being praetor, without that restraint which his adversary's power as consul would have laid upon his wicked designs, but likewise that of being praetor under those consuls, by whose connivance, at least, if not assistance, he hoped he should be able to betray the state into the mad schemes he had been forming ; persuading himself, that, as they thought themselves under so great an obligation to him, they would have no inclination to oppose any of his attempts, even if they should have it in their power ; and that if they were inclined to do it, they would, perhaps, be scarce able to control the most profligate of all men, who had been confirmed and hardened in his audaciousness, by a long series of villanies.

Milo is so far from receiving any benefit from Clodi, us' death, that he is really a suferer by it. But it may be said, that hatred prevailed, that anger

and resentment urged him on, that he avenged his own wrongs and redressed his own grievances. Now, if all these particuJars may be applied, not merely with greater propriety tu Clodius than to Milo, but with the utmust propriety to the one, and not the least to the other; what more

-you desire ? For why should Milo bear any other hatred to Clodius, who furnished bim with such a rich harvest of glory, but that which every patriot must bear to all bad men. As tv Clodius, he had notives enough for bearing ill will to Milo ; first, as my protector and guard.

can

ian : then, as the opposer of his mad schemes, and the controller of his armed force; and, lastly, as his accuser.

Every circumstance, my Lords, concurs to prove, that it was for Milo's interest, Clodius should live ; that, on the contrary, Milo's death was a most desirable event for answering the purposes of Clodius ; that on the one side, there was a most implacable hatred ; on the other, not the least ; that the one had been continually employing himself in acts of violence, the other oniy in opposing them ; that the life of Milo was threateneil, and his death publicly foretold by Clodius; whereas nothing of that kind was ever heard from Milo ; that the day fixed for Milo's journey, was well known by his adversary; while Milo knew not when Clodius was to return; that Milo's journey was necessary, but that of Clodius rather the contrarythat the one openly declared his inten. tion of leaving Rome that day, while the other concealed his intention of returniog; that Milo made no alteration in his measures, but that Clodius feigned an excuse for altering his ; that if Milo had designed to waylay Clodi. us, he would have waited for him near the city, till it was dark; but that Clodius, even if he had been under no apprehensions from Milo, ought to have been afraid of coming to town so late at night.

Let us now consider, whether the place where they encountered, was most favorable to Milo, or to Clodius. But can there, my Lords, be any room for doubt, or deliberation upon that i It was near the estate of Ciodius, where at least a thousand able bodied men were employed in his mad schemes oa building. Did Milo think he should have any advantage by attacking from an eminence, and did he, for this reason, pitch upon that spot, for the engagement ; or, was he not rather expected in that place by his adversary, who hoped the situation would favor his assault? The thing, my Lords, speaks for itself, which inust be allowed to be of the greatest importance in determining the question. Were the affair to be represented only by painting, instead of being expressed by words,it would even then clearly appear which was the traitor, and which was free from ali mischievous desigas; when the one was sitting in his chariot, muffled

up in his cloak, and his wife along with bim. Which of these circumstances was not a very great incuinbrance ?--the dress, the chariot, or the companion ? How could he be worse equipped for an engagement, when he was wrapped up in a cloak, embarrassed with a char. iot, and almost fettered by his wife ? Observe the other, now, in the first place, sallying out on a sudden from bis seat : for what reason? In the evening, what urged him ?

-Late, to what purpose, especially at that season : He calls at Pompey's seat; With what view ? To see Pompey ? He knew he was at Alsium : To see his house? He had been at it a thousand times. What, then, could be the reason of his loitering and shifting about ? He wanted to be on the spot when Milo came up.

But if, my Lords, you are not yet convinced, though the thing shines out with such strong and full evidence, that Milu returned to Rome with an innocent mind, un. stained with guilt, undisturbed with fear, and free from the accusations of conscience; call to mind, I beseech you, by the immortal gods, the expedition with which he came back, his entrance into the forun while the senate house was in flames, the greatness of soul he discovered, the look he assumed, the speech he made on the occasion. He delivered himself up not only to the people, but even to the senate: nor to the senate alone, but even to guards appointed for the public security ; nor merely to them, but even to the authority of him whom the senate had entrusted with the care of the whole republic; to whom he never would have delivered himself, it he had not been confident of the goodness of his

саuѕе. .

What now remains, but to bescech and adjure you, my Lords, to extend that compassion to a brave man, which he disdains to implore, but which I, even against his consent, implore and earnestly entreat. Though you have not seen him shed a single tear, while all are weeping around him, though he has preserved the same steady countenance, the same firmness of voice and lan. guage, do not on this account withhold it from him.

On you, on you, I call, ye heroes, who have lost so much blood in the service of your contry! To you, ye

« PreviousContinue »