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the Senate, and even to decide its incompetency to arm the magistrates or the people against an insurrection. Cicero plainly declared “it was to render the authority of the Senate, the power of the Consuls, and the union of all good men against the calamities and the perils of the Commonwealth unavailing, that the age, the infirmity, and the loneliness of this man had been arraigned.”21 But it was only through a stratagem 22 that the assembly was dispersed before the people voted against the gray hairs of Rabirius, for the sake of their own security or that of their leaders, in the contests they seemed to see at hand.
While Cæsar could always obtain the voices of the magistrates, even if he were sometimes baffled in securing the votes of the people, it mattered little whether he acted through them, or himself appeared in order to sustain his schemes. He was fast advancing upon his astonishing career. Within a brief interval from the accusation of Rabirius, the Tribune Labienus carried the repeal of the law by which Sulla restored to the pontifical college the right of filling its own vacancies; and immediately afterwards, the Tribes, to whom the election returned, appointed Cæsar to the office of Chief Pontiff.23 One of his competitors for the place, the Senator Catulus, offered him an enormous sum, if he would retire from the canvass ; 24 but Cæsar, who bought others, could not himself be bought by any bribe.
A Pro C. Rab., 1.
not being in order, unless the stand22 Of Metellus Celer, then in the ard was kept flying. Dion Cass., prætorship, who pulled down the XXXVII. 27, 28. standard on the Janiculum ; the 23 Suet., Cæs., 13. assembly, according to an old form,
It was about the same time that Cato set out from the city, together with some learned friends, to spend a few leisure weeks at his estate in Lucania. As he journeyed thither with the usual train of slaves, besides his companions, he heard that Metellus Nepos, for the last three or four years a favorite officer of Pompey, was on his way to seek the tribuneship at Rome. Cato instantly ordered his attendants to turn back; and on being asked by his friends, the philosophers, why he had so suddenly changed his mind, he answered, that it was no time for retirement, when such a man as Metellus was about to fall like a thunderbolt upon the Commonwealth.25 The purpose had ripened during Pompey's absence, especially amongst the party of the Senate, to prevent his return to the almost unlimited authority he had possessed. None were more resolute in this respect than Cato; and the readiness with which he renounced his intended visit to Lucania, where his books and his companions would have entertained him, however little he may have cared for country life, betrays the apprehension which Pompey could excite merely by sending home a follower for an office, while he kept himself away. Cato went on, indeed, to his estate; but swiftly returned, to offer himself as a candidate for the same place which Metellus sought. The Senate
24 Plut., Cæs., 7.
25 Ibid., Cat., 20.
supported him as their chosen champion, and he was easily elected; but not, as he had hoped, to the exclusion of Metellus, who was chosen one of his colleagues.
The anxieties of the few patriots in Rome were already absorbed in greater cares than any connected with the return of Pompey. Catiline, the conspirator of a former year, was again seeking the consulship; and having twice before been rejected at the elections, he was now advancing towards his object, as was well known, at the head of a band of associates, who, some thinking to lead, and others aware of following him, were, before the present canvass, resolved to create him Consul for their sakes as well as for his own. This extraordinary man, in whom, it would seem, the worst and the best blood, the highest and the basest capacities of his race, were combined, had pursued a career of wickedness and prodigality to which there were many counterparts in public,26 but few in private, even amongst his corrupted countrymen. Though nothing would be more unjust than to repeat the reproaches which he has received, as if he had been a solitary monster in the midst of a virtuous people,27 it is evident that the oppressions and the debaucheries which marked the ruler, the citizen, and the lowest slave in Rome had never yet been so openly paraded and indulged as by Catiline. This, again, is not to his shame alone, but to that of the nation in which public opinion was extinct or else no longer respectable. Ardent in intellect 28 and strong in physical energies, 29 until his vices had enfeebled his frame and inflamed his bloodshot eyes, Catiline was foremost in revelrý, in brilliancy, and in ambition. As generous to those he cared to serve as he was grasping towards those he chose to abuse, 30 he was the hero of one as much as the terror of another multitude. Nor was he admired alone by infamous men or profligate women; the virtuous, or they who bore the name, were inclined to indulge him, as one whose faults were not so striking as his powers.31 “Me even,” exclaimed Cicero, “me had he almost deceived, so nearly did he seem to me the good citizen, the associate of the excellent, the firm and the faithful friend.”32 Catiline must now have been upwards of forty years of age.
* His public life began with the he governed in the year following proscriptions and murders in which his prætorship, and his arraignment he took a fearful part under Sulla. on the list of Sulla's assassins. On He was afterwards a Quæstor (A. both trials he easily obtained an acC. 78), a Lieutenant (76), and a quittal ; on the second with the help Prætor (68); while, on the other of Cæsar. Dion Cass. XXXVII. side, if it may be so distinguished, 10. of the sketch, appear his prosecu- 27 “ Incitabant præterea corrupti tion for extortion in Africa, which civitatis mores.” Sall., Cat., 5.
Cicero took upon himself the charge of preventing Catiline's election as his successor; and although it was generally, but indistinctly, known that the inten
See the whole of Cap. 38. It was 29 “ Magna vi et animi et cornot every people, as Juvenal (Sat. poris.” Ibid. XIV. 41, 42) would have us be- 30 « Alieni appetens, sui profulieve, that could produce a Cati- sus.” Ibid.
31 Cic., Pro Cæl., 5, 6. 28 “ Vastus animus immoderata, * 32 Ibid., 6. It was insincere, incredibilia, nimis alta semper cu- however, in Cicero to say so. Cf. piebat.” Sall., Cat., 5.
Ad Att., I. 1, 2. VOL. II.
tions of the candidate and his comrades, whose troops were already gathering in Etruria, extended far beyond the limits of the consulship, the opposition of Cicero alone appears in any prominence. He urged a new law against bribery ;33 he induced his colleague to separate from the conspirators; he united the supporters, generous or interested, of the Commonwealth under his direction; he adjourned the election ; and finally, as he says himself, he bade Catiline answer, “ if he would,” before the Senate, for the rumors brought in on every side.34 The conspirator retorted, that there were two bodies belonging to the Commonwealth, — the one weak and with a feeble head, the other strong, but without a head at all ; “ to this," he added menacingly, “ while I live, a head shall no more be wanting." 35 And so he broke forth, as Cicero continues, from the Senate-house in triumph. But the Consul remained, firm and resolved, with the Senate, from whom he obtained the decree investing himself and his colleague, according to the usual form, with unlimited authority to preserve the public safety. He then descended, armed and guarded, into the Campus Martius, where the elections were held ; and there, to his infinite joy, was enabled to declare two other citizens, Junius Silanus and Licinius Murena, to be chosen Consuls in the face of the thrice disappointed Catiline. Neither Pompey with the army,
33 Attempted in vain before. As- 34 Pro Mur., 25. con., Argum. Orat. in Toy. Cand. 35 Ibid. Plut., Cic., 14. Cic., Pro Murena, 23. Dion Dion Cass., XXXVII. 29. Cass., XXXVII. 29.