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haps, of walking alone. Such men as Crassus were devoted to Cæsar, trusting that Cæsar would soon be devoted in return to them; while such as Cato were struggling, 15 as if mere resistance, without any counter achievements, could withstand the steady advances of Cæsar, supported as each was by a dashing operation to delight his followers, to persuade the neutrals, and to conciliate his foes.
At or before the beginning of this redoubtable consulship, the Senate, by whom the assignment of the provinces was annually made to the different magistrates, put upon Cæsar the charge of the Woods and Roads, as the meanest of all the appointments within their sphere.16 It was a part of their policy, apparently, to provoke him ; it was certainly a part of his to triumph over them. One of the Tribunes, engaged in his service, soon brought a resolution before the Tribes to the effect that Cæsar should have Illyria and Cisalpine Gaul as his provinces, with the command of three legions, not for the usual term of a twelvemonth, but for five good years. At this, the Senate, as if alarmed by the thought of the hostility they had excited in a man whose power could not be restrained, added the command of another legion and Transalpine Gaul for the same period."7 Immediately upon the expiration, however, of the consular year, Cæsar was accused before the Senate, as though the course of this wavering body had changed again; but the prosecution was directly abandoned.18 He
15 Plut., Cat., 31 - 33 ; Cæs., 14. 17 Suet., Cæs., 22. 16 Suet., Cæs., 19.
18 Ibid., 23.
then left the city as Proconsul, but waited awhile without the walls, partly, perhaps, to crush another effort to prosecute him, but chiefly, as is probable,19 to lend his aid in the attack of Clodius upon Cicero.
“I will think no more,” wrote Cicero from his retirement during Cæsar's consulship, “ no more about the Commonwealth. ..... I will depart from these men who are weary of me, to visit Alexandria and the rest of Egypt...... I have my books at Antium to amuse me, or I can count the waves." 20 "I was weary,” he says again, “ with steering, even when it was in my power; but now that I am compelled to leave the ship, and that the rudder has been wrenched from my hands, I wish to see from the shore the shipwreck of those other helmsmen. ..... The only hope is in their disagreement amongst themselves.” 21 But a little later, the faintness of his hopes sinks to profound despair. “The Commonwealth,” he writes, “ is utterly lost.” 22 It would seem, at first, as if this downcast spirit could have been no object of distrust, much more of dread, to Cæsar or to any of the turbulent and designing men whose names need not be here repeated. But sorrowful as Cicero really was, and prepared, as he professed to be, for obscurity and personal contumely, he was the only citizen to lament, with any reason, the degradation of his coun
19 As would be certain but for 20 Ad Att., II. 4, 5, 6. Dion Cass., XXXVIII. 11, 12, 17. 21 Ibid., 7. His statement, that Cæsar was not2 Ibid., 21. “De republica quid in favor of Clodius's proceedings, is ego tibi subtiliter? tota periit.” altogether incredible. See Plut., Further see letters 23, 24, 25. Cæs., 14.
try; and his patient remonstrances, as Cæsar knew, were more to be feared than all the uproar which Cato, with impetuous indignation, or other adversaries, with selfish or party courage, could arouse. The appointment of commissioner under the Agrarian law, and that of lieutenant in Gaul, were both offered to Cicero,23 and both refused. He could not be persuaded, and as he could not then be despised, he was assailed.
The name of Publius Clodius Pulcher, by whom the assault was conducted, is prominent above all others in the history of the years succeeding to that of Cæsar's consulship. He was by no means one of Cæsar's instruments and nothing more; but was rather the representative of a numerous class, whom Cæsar might sometimes lead, but by whom in their waywardness and profligacy he would yet at some times be opposed, until he became rich enough to buy them with his gold or fierce enough to crush them by his arms. The liberty of Rome before its overthrow was consummated is to be estimated, in great part, by the spirit which such as Clodius exhibited. He was a younger son of an Appius Claudius, and therefore of a most illustrious family; but after having been detected in a sacrilegious intrigue, for which he was brought to trial, he caused himself to be adopted into a Plebeian family, and was elected Tribune for the twelvemonth following the consulship of Cæsar. 24
23 Cic., Ad Att., II. 18, 19, 20. against Clodius at his trial. Ad Cf. Plut., Cic., 30.
Att., I. 16. Plut., Cic., 28, 29. 24 A. C. 58. Cicero testified VOL. II.
The favor of the Triumvirs, and that of the party to which Clodius, as the most audacious and the most polluted, suddenly became the leader, were requited in part by several laws in their behalf,25 but chiefly by an attack upon Cicero, under cover of a bill to banish him who had put a Roman citizen to death without trial. It was the reaction, congenial and necessary to the condition of the Commonwealth, from the momentary triumph obtained for its liberties over Catiline.
They who remember what manner of man Cicero would have been under holier influences than those of the law or the philosophy of his times will not care to read the miserable details of the conduct into which he was now driven by feebleness and alarm. He changed his robe, as if he had been expressly mentioned in Clodius's bill; and though sustained by a large proportion 27 of the Knights and Senators, he betook himself to the most abject entreaties for defence from those who were then in authority. These failing, he withdrew, in order, as he afterwards declared,28 to save the city from the tumults that were sure to ensue if he remained, but more probably, as must be sorrowfully confessed, to save himself from the terrors in which the whole strength of his soul was shivered.29 His flight armed his enemies as
* See the enumeration in Dion 27 Plut., Cic., 31. Cic., Post Cass., XXXVIII. 13; and compare Red. ad Quir., 3. Cic., in Pis., 4, 5.
28 Post Red. in Sen., 13. 26 Digest. Lib. XLVIII. Tit. I. 29 Appian (Bell. Civ., II. 15) 2. With Cic., Ad Att., III. 4; compares the behaviour of Cicero Plut., Cic., 32; Vell. Pat., II. 45. with that of Demosthenes.
son, set out ty hot easily come diere was none
much as it disarmed his friends, and a law was passed on the same day, exiling him until the conspirators whom he had executed should be restored to life.30 Cato was absent on a mission to Cyprus, 31 or he would have defended the man whom he had called the Father of his Country. Pompey and Crassus both regarded the shame of Cicero with unconcern; while Cæsar, satisfied that there was none with whom he could not easily cope at a convenient season, set out, at last, for Gaul.
After seventeen months of wretched longing, and still more wretched grief, in which he repented of every thing he had done, and even of the life that was yet before him,32 Cicero, no longer feared by Cæsar, and upheld with some show of liberality by Pompey, was recalled. The most terrible scenes 33 of tumult and bloodshed occurred upon the movement in his behalf; for though the better classes both of the aristocracy and the people were anxious to repair the injustice of the preceding year, the faction which Clodius had led was sufficiently resolute to oppose the general will as well as the inclinations of Pompey.34 The restoration of the exile to his home and his possessions was carried; and he, “ brought back,"
30 Cic., Post Red. in Sen., 2. 34 Whose dignity and personal 31 Plut., Cat., 34.
safety had been previously threat32 « Me valde pænitet vivere." ened by Clodius. Dion Cass., Ad Att., III. 4. His expressions XXXVIII. 30. Plut., Pomp., 48, are stronger still in another letter, 49. As for Cesar's part in recallIII. 7.
ing Cicero, see Ad Att., II. 18. 33 A. C. 57. Kai opayal Karà πασαν, ώς ειπείν, την πόλιν εγίγνοντο. Dion Cass., XXXIX. 8.