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verted Middleton's Life, on more general grounds, in a heavy quarto; and afterwards Melmouth, in the notes to his translation of Cicero's Epistles. In short, since Middleton's time, the prevalent opinion among scholars seems to have been unfavourable to Cicero. We must note, however, an eminent exception in the person of the illustrious Niebuhr, who was an unqualified admirer of Cicero, and who pays a high compliment to Middleton's work. Drumann, in his book before alluded to, shews himself a determined enemy of Cicero's character. His work is highly valuable, as containing a collection of every passage at all bearing on the subject; but we cannot help thinking that this very minuteness detracts sometimes from the pleasure which the biography might be calculated to afford as a work of art, whilst the perseverance with which, through nearly three hundred pages employed in the minute dissection of Cicero's character, every circumstance is interpreted to his disadvantage, is, we had almost said, repulsive. This constant determination to see every thing on the worst side, has, we think, sometimes betrayed the author into inconsistencies. Thus, for instance, Cicero is represented as such an habitual dissembler, that even where he acknowledges that his judgment has been at fault, his motive for so doing was only to avoid some heavier reproach. ("Man darf ihm nicht immer glauben, wenn er behauptet, dass er falsch gesehen oder in der Verblendung gehandelt habe; er wollte dadurch oft schimpflichern Vorwürfen entgehen," u. s. w. Vol. vi. p. 540.) Yet, with all this slyness, he was stupid enough to be the continual dupe of others; and Drumann devotes two sections to the illustration of the deceptions practised on him by pretended friends, and of the false views which he took of society and politics. Thus he is charged with a union of opposite qualities seldom or never observed in life; and even admitting the latter of these charges to be true, we cannot but think it rather hard that, when Cicero himself becomes aware of his failing, and accuses himself of it, his doing so is immediately ascribed to sinister motives. The historian shews strong reluctance to allow him a single good quality. Not only was he a vain, interested, self-seeking person, cruel, ungrateful, a coward, and a liar, but even his advancement in life and his conduct during his consulship are represented as the

See Niebuhr's Lectures, Vol. 1. pp. 22. 30. 112, &c.

work of passion and chance rather than of merit. ("Die Leidenschaft, das Vertrauen zu seiner Beredtsamkeit, und ein Ereigniss unter seinem Consulat, brachten ihn in eine falsche Stellung; dadurch erklärt sich das Meiste. Im Dunkel geboren sehnte er sich unter den Ersten zu sein; die Redekunst diente ihm zum Hebel, und der Sieg über Catilina, wie auch errungen, begründete in ihm den Wahn, dass er der Erste unter den Ersten sei, und mit einem stolzen Selbstgefühle ungemessene Ansprüche." Vol. vi. p. 533.) Paterculus, though often an abject flatterer of Augustus, was just and independent enough to render a nobler testimony to the character of Cicero, who, according to him, "omnia incrementa sua sibi debuit, vir novitatis nobilissimæ, et, ut vita clarus, ita ingenio maximus." (Lib. II. c. 34. 3.)

It is consistent that an author who takes so unfavourable a view of Cicero's character should, by a sort of moral perversion, be somewhat of an admirer of Catiline. There is a class of minds that are dazzled by extraordinary daring, in whatever cause exerted. In the uneducated this quality displays itself in an admiration of Jonathan Wild, Jack Sheppard, or any other of those heroes of the Newgate calendar, recently so popular amongst the higher and lower vulgar in this country; but it hardly becomes the dignity of an historian to confound the natural boundaries of right and wrong. Professor Drumann thinks that Catiline is a very calumniated person, and feels inclined to honour him because remorse for past crimes has-not led him to repent, but-urged him to commit more! ("Auch wird ihm Manches zur Last gelegt ohne erwiesen zu sein; und auf der andern Seite ehrt man ihn wieder durch die Vermuthung, eine heftige Angst, als Folge seiner Frevel, habe an der Verschwörung Theil gehabt, er habe noch mit dem Gewissen gekämpft, nicht längst sich mit ihm abgefunden." Vol. v. p. 391.) It appears, from a note, that this character is founded on Sallust's fifteenth chapter. But it is the modern historian alone that lavishes his respect on Catiline, for Sallust only says, "Namque animus impurus, Diis hominibusque infestus, neque vigiliis neque quietibus sedari poterat : ita conscientia mentem excitam vexabat. Igitur color ei exsanguis, fœdi oculi; citus modo, modo tardus incessus: prorsus in facie vultuque vecordia inerat." A most striking picture of the effects of a guilty conscience, and not unlike some of the traits in Milton's

portrait of Satan-a personage, by the way, that may possibly be not without his admirers :


Sat on his faded cheek-but under brows

Of dauntless courage-and considerate pride,

Waiting revenge.

It may be said, indeed, that if Catiline was really such a calumniated person, Professor Drumann's respect for him may not be so much thrown away. But in his attempts to prove this, we look in vain for the authorities with which he commonly loads his margin. He will not allow either Cicero's or Sallust's character of the conspirator to be a just one. They both hold him up as a scare-crow, in whose neighbourhood all virtue dies, like plants under the poison tree. The orator's motive for this was to excite increased admiration for himself. On the other hand, the historian did not so much mean to draw a strictly historical portrait, as a sort of abstract character, which should be, as it were, the image and epitome of the vice and degeneracy into which the Romans had fallen. (See Vol. v. p. 391.) This seems to us a new idea of Sallust's piece of historical painting, and we should have therefore liked to see it supported, if not by authorities, by at least some probable reasons. Yet, in another place, Druman is anxious to recognize the authentic and historical character of Sallust's work in regard to Cicero's consulship; merely, we suppose, because it is generally considered to give rather an unfavourable account of it. ("Für diese Zeit seines Lebens sind die Nachrichten des Sallust von besonderer Wichtigkeit." Vol. v. p. 440.) But if we are to go for Catiline's character neither to Cicero nor Sallust, to whom shall we appeal? To Paterculus? To Appian? Neither of them drops a favourable word. Or to Cicero's calumniator, Dio Cassius? But even he (37. 30) makes a full acknowledgment of Catiline's guilt, not only against Cicero but against the state.

To enter into any general defence of Cicero would require a great deal more space than can be here afforded to the subject; nor, indeed, do we belong to that extreme class of his admirers who consider him to have been that moral impossibility-a faultless man. We think, however, that in estimating his character, a modification of those extreme opinions to which we have adverted would bring us nearer to the truth; and, in

the case of so eminent a man, we should prefer to see every circumstance which may admit a doubt given in his favour, rather than against him. Something, too, should be allowed for the times in which he lived. In that period of disorganization and domestic struggle, when all the worst passions and all the greatest faculties of human nature were enlisted in the pursuit of personal aggrandizement, it was difficult to be a great man, and still more difficult to be a good one; but to have been both together seems a pitch of virtue almost beyond belief. The operation of such causes may, we think, be easily traced in the life of Cicero. That his inclinations were naturally good is shewn not only by the uniform tendency of his writings and by his conduct in private life, but also by his public career when he was at liberty to follow the dictates of his own heart; as in his foreign provinces, and in the earlier part of his political life, before the growing power of Pompey and Cæsar had destroyed all liberty of action. Cicero's sensitive and excitable temper, increased, if not occasioned, by a sickly habit of body, but ill-fitted him to contend with men of such cool and determined nerve. His misfortunes, too, after his consulship, and particularly his exile, had a deteriorating effect upon his character. He had tasted the bitter fruits of misplaced confidence and too blind a reliance on human virtue, and the result was a lesson in worldly wisdom inculcated by the severest of masters -experience. Thus we find him writing to Lentulus (Ep. Fam. 1. 7)-"Scribo tamen ut te admoneam quod ipse, literis omnibus a pueritia deditus experiendo tamen magis quam discendo cognovi, tu rebus tuis integris discas: neque salutis nostræ rationem habendam esse sine dignitate, neque dignitatis sine salute."

We have ventured the preceding remarks on Drumann's justly celebrated work, because in Professor Ramsay's Life of Cicero in the Dictionary, it is referred to as the best authority, which, so far as relates to the collection of texts, it undoubtedly is. Mr. Ramsay himself does not always go the length of Drumann; yet he is not entirely free from a bias against Cicero. Among other passages we think we can discern it in the following:

Speaking of Cicero's Sicilian quæstorship, Mr. Ramsay says: "Some of the leading weaknesses in the character of Cicero, inordinate vanity and a propensity to exaggerate extravagantly

the importance of his services, now began to shew themselves; but they had not yet acquired such a mastery over his mind as to prevent him from laughing at the disappointments he encountered. Thus we find him describing, with considerable humour, in one of his speeches (pro Planc. 26), the exalted idea he had formed at this period of his own extraordinary merits, of the position which he occupied, and of the profound sensation which his proceedings must have caused at Rome."

Cicero is here charged with a plurality of "weaknesses,' yet the specifications adduced relate only to one; unless it can be shewn that "a propensity to exaggerate extravagantly the importance of his services" was something separate and distinct from vanity; which, however, from the subsequent illustration, does not appear to have been Professor Ramsay's intention. But passing this over, we are really at a loss to discover the conclusiveness of the inference which is drawn from that illustration. It is said that these weaknesses had "not yet," that is, about the time of his quæstorship, acquired a mastery over Cicero's mind, and the proof is, that he laughs at them in his oration for Plancius. From this we should have inferred that Mr. Ramsay holds Cicero to have pronounced that oration immediately after his return from Sicily; but on referring to his account of the speeches at the end of the Life, we find it assigned to its proper date, almost twenty years after that event. But then, what becomes of the argument? Instead of proving the biographer's point, it proves precisely the reverse, namely, that his vanity did not increase with his years. And this, indeed, seems most probable, and most consistent with the ordinary course of human nature; for vanity is not among those passions which grow stronger as we grow older. This failing of Cicero's is one on which his enemies are very Yet after all, in a public man, it is one which may at least keep him from worse.


A little further on, Professor Ramsay touches on a charge which has been frequently brought against Cicero, and which is indeed a very grave one ;-his defending, or at least being willing to defend, Catiline, his intended competitor for the consulship, against the indictment for extortion in his African province. "The latter (it is said) was threatened with a criminal prosecution, and it is amusing to observe the lawyer-like coolness with which Cicero speaks of his guilt being as clear as the

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