Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Cicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden online

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Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroCicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden → online text (page 147 of 230)
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of e.xtricating themselves from the difficulties of
their private affairs, and of gratifying their immo-
derate ambition. The war, therefore, commenced
without my participation, and I still continued in
Italy as long as I pos.^iibly could, even after Pompey
was driven out of it". INIy honour, however, at
length prevailed over my fears ; and I could not
support the thoughts of deserting Pompey in his

continued in Italy, with the command of two legions which
were quartered near Rome. This gave umbrage to Caesar,
who suspected, as the truth was, that these troops were
designed to act against him. In order, therefore, to remove
Lis apprehensions of this kind, it was proposed by Cicero
and some others of the more moderate party, that Pompey
should retire to his government. But this motion was
overruled by the consul Lcntulus ; who prevailed with the
senate to pass a decree, whereby Ca?sar, who had already
crossed the Rubicon, was commanded to withdraw his
forces out of Italy by a certain day therein named, and in
case of disobedience, that he should be considered as a
public enemy,— Ca;s. De Bell. Gall. viii. 55 ; Caes. De Bell.
Civ. i. 2.

s Pompey, when he was consul the third time, in the
year 701, procured a law empowering Ca'sar to offer him-
self as a candidate for the consulship, without appearing
personally at Rome for that purpose. This was contrary
to the fundamental principles of the Roman constitution,
and proved, in the event, the occasion of its being utterly
destroyed ; as it furnished Caesar with the only specious
pretence for turning his arms against the republic. Cicero
affirms, in one of his Philippics, that he endeavoured to
dissuade Pompey from suffering this law to pass: — " Duo
— tempera incidcrunt (says he) quibus aliquid contra
Cffisarem Pompeio suaserim — Unum, ne, &e. alterum, nc
pateretur ferri iit ahscntis ejxis ratio haberetur. Quorum
si utrumvis persuasissem, in has miserias nunquam inei-
dissemus." [Phil. ii. 1(1.] But if what Cicero here asserts
be true, he acted a most extraordinary part indeed. For,
at the same time that he laboured to disstiade Pompey
from suffering this law to pass, he persuaded Coelius, who
was one of the tribunes of the people, to promote it, or at
least not to oppose it ; agreeably to a promise which he
had given to Caesar for that purpose. This appears by a
passage in one of his letters to Atticus, where, speaking of
Caesar's claim to sue for the consulate, without personally
attending at Rome, he tells Atticus, •' Ut illi hoc liceret,
adjuvi : rogatus ab ipso Ravenna; de Coelio tribuno plebis."
^Ad Att. vii. 1.

' Whether this law should, or should not, be superseded,
was a question upon which Cicero found the republic
divided at his return from Cilicia, just before the civil
war broke out. And although he certainly acted an unjus-
tifiable part in promoting this law, yet, after it had once
passed, it seems to have been right policy in him to advise
that it should be observed ; as it was the only probable
means of preserving the public tranquillity.

<» See rem. *, p. 458.

distress, who had not abandoned me in mine.
Partly, therefore, upon a principle of duty, partly,
in tenderness to my reputation with the patriots;
and partly as being ashamed to forsake my friend,
I went, as is faoled of Auiphiaraus^, to that ruin
which I clearly foresaw. And, indeed, there was
not a single misfortune attended us during that
whole campaign, which 1 did not point out before
it arrived. You see, therefore, that I have the
same right of being credited which augurs and
astrologers are wont to urge, and may claim
your belief of my present predictions in conse-
quence of the veracity of my former. But 1 do
not found these my prophecies in your favour on
those intimations of futurity which are taught by
our augural science. I derive them from observa-
tions of a different sort ; which, though not more
certain in themselves, are less obscure, however,
and consequently less liable to be misinterpreted.
The signs, then, from whence I draw my ])resages,
are of two kinds : the one taken from Ciesar him-
self, the other from the nature and circumstances
of public affairs. With respect to the former, they
result, in the first place, from that general clemency
of Ctesar's disposition which you have celebrated
in that ingenious performance entitled your Com-
plaints"'^' ; and, in the ne.xt place, from that extra-
ordinary regard he discovers for men of your
distinguished genius and abilities. To this I must
add, that he will certainly yield to those number-
less solicitations in your favour which proceed,
not from any interested motives, but from a real
and just esteem ; among which the unanimous
application of Etruria^ will, undoubtedly, have
great weight with him. If you ask, whence it has
happened that these considerations have hitherto
proved ineffectual ? I answer, that Csesar thinks
if he should immediately grant a pardon to
you, against whom he may seem to have a more
reasonable ground of com])laint, he could not
refuse it to others whom he is less inclined to
forgive. But you will say, perhaps, " If Cfesar is
thus incensed, what have I to hope ? " Undoubt-
edly, my friend, you have much ; as he is sensible
he must derive the brightest splendour of his fame
from the hand which once somewhat sullied its
lustre. In fine, Csesar is endowed with a most
acute and penetrating judgment ; and as he per-
fectly well knows, not only the high rank you bear
in a very considerable district of Italy'', but that
there is no man in the commonwealth, of your age,
vrho is superior to you in reputation, abilities, or
popularity, he cannot but be convinced that it
will be impossible for him to render your exile of
any long duration. He is too politic, therefore,
to lose the merit of voluntarily conferring upon
you, at present, what will otherwise most unques-
tionably be extorted from him hereafter.

Having thus marked out the favourable prog-

T Amphiarauswasa Grecian prophet, as the i>pets feign,
who, foreknowing that ho should be killed if he went to
the Tlieban war, concealed himself, in order to avoid that
expedition. But his wife being bribed to disclose the place
of his concealment, he was forced to the war, and his death
confirnied the truth of his prediction. — Manutius.

«■ This seems to be the performance concerning which
Ca^cina writes to Cicero in the ."iOth letter of tins book.

^ Ca'cina was a native of Etruria, and a person of great
consideration in that part of Italy.

. Etruria.



r.ostics whiili I c()llc(;t from circumstances rc.s])ect-
in^ Cresar, I will now acquiiint you with those
which I gatliL-r from the temper and complexion of
the times. There is no man, then, so averse to
that cause which Pompey espoused with more
spirit, indeed, than pre])aration, as to venture to
arraign the principles or the ))atriotisin of those
who joined in his party. And I cannot but oi)-
scrve to you, that I have often occasion to admire
the justice and judgment of Ciesar, who never
speaks of Ponipcy but in terms of the highest
honour. Should it be said, that wliatever regard
he may show to his memory, he treated his jierson
upon many occasions with great asperity, let it
be remembered that these instances cannot reason-
ably be imputed to C:rsar, but were the natural
consequences of war. But how favourably lias he
received many of us, and myself in particular, who
were engaged in the same party? lias he not
appointed Cassius to be his lieutenant? has he not
given the government of (laul to Brutus, and
that of Greece to Sulpieius ? In a word, highly
incensed as he was against Marcellus, has be not,
in the most honourable manner, restored him to
his friends and to his country ? What I would
infer, therefore, from the whole, is this, — that
■whatever system of government may prevail,
good policy will never permit, in the first place,
that a diiTerence should be made among those
who were equally involved in the same cause ;
and, in the next, that a set of honest and worthy
citizens, who are free from all imputation on
their moral characters, should be banished from
their country, at the same time that such numbers
of those who have been exiled for the most infa-
mous crimes are suffered to return.

These are the presages of your friend ; and they
are presages, of which, if I had the least doubt,
I would by no means have laid them before you.
On the contrary, I should, in that case, rather
have emj)loyed such consolatory arguments as
•would unquestionably have proved effectual for the
support of a great and generous mind. I should
have told you, that if you were induced to take up
arms in defence of the republic (as you then ima-
gined) merely from a confidence of success, small
indeed would be your merit ; and that if, under a
full conviction of the very jirecarious event of war,
you tliought it possible that we might be defeated,
it would be strange that you should have so much
depended upon victory as to be utterly unprepared
for the reverse. I should have reasoned with you
on the consolation you ought to receive from
reflecting on the integrity of your conduct, and
reminded you of the satisfaction which the liberal
arts will afford in the adverse seasons of life. I
should have produced examples, not only from
history, but in the persons of our leaders and asso-
ciates in this unhappy war, of those who have
suflfered the most severe calamities ; and should
have also cited several illustrious instances of the
same sort from foreign story. For to reflect on
the misfortunes to which mankind in general are
■ exposed, greatly contributes to alleviate the weight
of those which we ourselves endure. In short, I
should have described the confusion of that turbu-
lent scene in which we are here engaged; as, un-
doubtedly the being driven from a commonwealth
ia ruins, is much less to be regretted than from
one in a flourishing and a happy situation. But

these are arguments which I have by no means
any occasion to urge, as I hope, or rather indeed
as I clearly foresee, that we shall soon welcome
your return amongst us. In the mean while, agree-
ably to the assurances I have often given you, I
shall continue to exert my most active offices in
the service of yourself and your excellent son ;
who, I must observe with pleasure, is the very
exjiress resemblance of his father both in person
and genius. I shall now, indeed, be enabled to
emjjloy my zeal more effectually than heretofore,
as I make great and daily advances in CiEsar's
IViendsliip ; not to mention my interest also with
Ills favourites, wlio distinguish me with the first
rank in their affection, lie assured I shall devote
the whole of my influence, both with Caesar and
with his friends, entirely to your service. In the
mean time, let the pleasing hopes you have so
much reason to entertain, together with your own
philosophical fortitude, support you with cheerful-
ness under your present situation. Farewell.

To P. Servilius Isauricus'', Proprcelor.
I PERF-ECTLY Well know the general (rompassion
of your heart for the unfortunate, and the invio-
^ ^j -p- lable fidelity you observe towards those
who have any particular claim to your
protection. As Csecina, therefore, is a family
client of yours, I should not recommend him to
your favour, if the regard I pay to the memory of
his father, with whom I lived in the strictest inti-
macy, and the unhapjiy fate wliich attends himself,
with whom I am united by every tie of friendship
and gratitude, did not affect me in the manner it
ought. I am sensible that your own natural dis-
position, without any solicitations, would incline
you to assist a man of Csecina's merit, in distress ;
but I earnestly entreat you that this letter may
render you still more zealous to confer upon liira
every good office in your power. I am persuaded,
if you had been in Rome, you would effectually
have employed it also in procuring his pardon ;
which, in confidence of your colleague's" clemency,
we still strongly hope to obtain''. In the mean
time, Ccecina has retreated into your province, not
only as thinking it will afford him the securest
refuge, but in pursuit likewise of that justice which
he expects from the equity of your administration.
I most warmly request you, therefore, to assist
him in recovering those debts which remain due to
him upon his former negotiations'^, and in every
other article to favour him with your patronage and
protection ; than which you cannot confer upon me,
be assured, a more acceptable obligation. Farewell.

* It appears by this letter, which is a recommendation
of Csecina to the governor of Asia, that he liad resumed
the design of going into that province ; which, in tlie 30th
epistle of this book, he tells Cicero he had )aid aside in
pursuance of his advice.

» Servilius was colleague with Cassar in his second con-
sulate, A. U. 705.

b Accordingly Csecina, some time afterwards, received
his pardon from Ctesar ; which Suetonius mentions as an
instance, amongst others, of that conqueror's singular cle-
mency. — Suet, in Vit. Jul. Ca's. 75.

« Cascina had, probably, been concerned in farming some
branch of the Asiatic revenue.



To Publius Sulpieius^.

Notwithstanding it is very seldom, in the
present situation of public affairs, that I attend
-^ the senate, yet, after having received
your letter, I thought it would not be
acting agreeably to our long friendship, and to
those many good offices that have passed between
us, if I did not contribute all in my power to the
advancement of your honours. It was with much
pleasure, therefore, I went to the house, and
voted for your jiublic thanksgiving ; which has
been decreed accordingly. You will always find me
equally zealous in whatever concerns your interest
or your glory : and I should be glad you would,
in your letters to your family, assure them of this
my disposition towards you ; that they may not
scruple to claim my best services, if, in any future
instance, you should have occasion for them.

I very strongly recommend to you my old friend
Bolanus, as a man of great spirit and probity,
and adorned, likewise, with every amiable accom-
plishment. As you will extremely oblige mc by
letting him see that my recommendation proved of
singular advantage to him, so you may depend
upon finding him of a most grateful disposition,
and one from whose friendship you will receive
much satisfaction.

I have another favour likewise to ask, which, in
confidence of our friendship, and of that disposition

<1 It is altogether uncertain who this Sulpicius was :
perliaps the same who commanded a squadron of Cesar's
fleet off the island of Sicily, which engaged with and de-
feated the fleet under the command of C'assius, about the
time that Ca;sar gained the battle of Pharsalia. But who-
ever he was, he appears, from the present letter, to have
been governor of Illyrieum, and to have lately had the
honour of a public thanksgiving decreed for some successes
which his arms had obtained in that province. Some of
the commentators arc of opinion that the superscription
of this letter is a false reading, and that instead of Sulpi-
cius, it should be Valiniiis: but those who are inclined to
see this notion very solidly confuted, are referred to the
observations of Manutius upon this epistle. — Cses. De Bell.
Civ. iU. 101 ; Pigh. Annal. ii. 449,

which you have ever shown to serve me, I very
earnestly request. My library-keeper, Dionysius,
having stolen several books from that valuable
collection which I entrusted to his care, has with-
drawn himself into your province, as I am informed
by my friend Bolanus, as well as by several others,
who saw him at Narona"^. But as they credited
the account he gave them of my having granted
him his freedom, they had no suspicion of the true
reason that carried him thither. I shall think
myself inexpressibly indebted to you, therefore, if
you will deliver him into my hands : for although
the loss I have sustained is not very great, yet his
dishonesty gives me much vexation. Bolanus will
inform you in what part of your province he is now
concealed, and what measures will be proper ia
order to secure him. In the mean time, let me
repeat it again, that I shall look upon myself as
highly indebted to you if I should recover this
fellow by your assistance. Farewell.


To Quintus Gallius^.
I FIND by your letter, as well as by one which I
have received from Oppius, that you did not forget
my recommendations; which, indeed, is
A. u. /U7. jjQjjjjjjg iriore than what I expected from
your great affection towards me, and from the
connexion that subsists between us. Nevertheless,
I will again repeat my solicitations in favour of
Oppius, who still continues in your province ; and
of Egnatius, who remains at Rome : and entreat
you to take their joint affairs under your protection.
My friendship with Egnatius is so great, that were
my own personal interest concerned in the present
case, I could not be more anxious. I most ear-
nestly request you, therefore, to show him, by your
good offices, that I am not mistaken in the share
which I persuade myself I enjoy in your affection ;
and be assured you cannot oblige me in a more
acceptable manner. Farewell.

e In Liburnia, now called Croatia, which formed part of
the province of Illyrieum.
f See rem. ■*, p. 493. S See letter 9 of this book.



ToAulus Torquatus^.

Although every one is apt, in these times of

universal confusion, to regret his particular lot as

A u 707 singularly unfortunate, and to prefer any

situation to his own, yet undoubtedly a

•> Cicero mentions him in other parts of his writings, as
a man of singular merit, and one to whose generous offices
he had been greatly indebted during the persecution he
suffered from Clodius. In the year 701 , Torquatus was
advanced to the praetorship ; after which, nothing material
occurs concerning him till the present letter; by which,
it appears, he was at this time in banishment at Athens,
for having taken part with Pompey in tho civil wars.
He was of a very ancient and illustrious family, being
descended from the brave Titus Manlius, who, in the year
394, obtained the name of Torqualut, from the torquis, or

man of patriot sentiments can nowhere, in the
present conjuncture, be so unhappily placed as in
Rome. 'Tis true, into whatever part of the world
he might be cast, he must still retain the same
bitter sensibility of that ruin in which both himself
and his country are involved. Nevertheless, there
is something in being a spectator of those miseries
with which others are only acquainted by report,
that extremely enhances one's grief ; as it is impos-
sible to divert our thoughts from misfortunes which
are perpetually obtruding themselves in view.
Among the many other losses, therefore, which
must necessarily sit heavy upon your heart, let it
not be your principal concern (as I am informed

collar, wliich he took from the neck of a gigantic Gaul,
whom he slew in single combat. — Ad Att v. 1 ; Crc. De
Finib. ii. 22 ; Pigh. Annal. ii. p. 411 ; Lit. vii. 10.



it is) that you are driven from Rome. For, not-
withstanding that you are thus exceedingly uneasy
at being sejiarated from your family and fortunes,
yet they still continue in their usual situations ;
which, as they eouhl by no means be improved by
your i)reseiice, so neither are they exjjosed to any
jmrticular danger. Whenever, therefore, your
family are the subject of your thoughts, you should
neither lament them as sutlering any calamities
peculiar to themselves, nor consider it as a hard-
bliip that they are not exempted from those which
are eommoii to us all.

As to \vh;it concerns your own i)erson, you ought
not, my dear Torcpiatus, to iiululge those gloomy
reriections which either fear or desjiair may suggest.
It is certain that He', from whom you have hitherto
rei^eived a treatment unworthy of your illustrious
character, has lately given very considerable marks
of a more favourable disposition. It is eipially
certain, that while we are looking u]) to Ciesar for
our preservation, he is far from being clear by
■what methods he may best secure his own. The
event of every war is always jirecarious ; but with
regard to the presentJ, as I well know that you
yourself never imagined you had anything to fear
if the victory sliould turn on one side, so I am
persuaded, should it fall on the other, you can only
suffer in the general ruin. The single circumstance,
then, that can give you much disquietude, is that
which in some sort 1 look upon as a kind of con-
solation : I mean, that the danger to which you
are exposed is no other than what threatens the
whole community. And this, it must be acknow-
ledged, is so extremely great, that whatever philo-
sophers may pretend, I question whether anything
can effectually support us under it, except one
consideration alone : a consideration which is
always more or less efficacious, in proportion to
the strength and firmness of a man's own mind.
But, if to mean honestly and to act rightly be all
that is necessary to constitute human happiness, it
should seem a sort of impiety to call that man
miserable who is conscious of having always regu-
lated his conduct by the best intentions. It was
not, I am persuaded, any private advantage which
we promised ourselves from the success of our
arms, that induced us lately to abandon our fortunes,
our families, and our country'' : it was the just
sense of that sacred regard we owed both to the
commonwealth and to our own characters. Nor,
when we acted thus, were we so absurdly sanguine
as to flatter ourselves with the prospect of certain
-victory. If the event, then, has proved agreeable
to what, upon our first entrance into the war, we
were well aware it possibly might, we ought, by
no means, surely, to be as much dispirited as if
the reverse of all that we expected had befallen us.
Let us, then, my friend, cherish those sentiments
which true philosophy prescribes, by esteeming it
our only concern in thia life to preserve our inte-
grity; and so long as we are void of all just reproach,
let us bear the various revolutions of human affairs
with calmness and moderation. The sum of what
I would say, in short, is this, — that virtue seems

• Csesar.

J The war in Spain between Caesar and the sons of

■< Upon the first breaking out of the civil war, v/hen
■Cicero and Torquatus left Italy, in order to join the army
'Of Pompey in Greece.

suffi(uent for her own support, though all things
else were utterly lost. Still, however, if any hopes
should yet remain to the republic, you should by
no means despair, whatever its future situation may
be, of holding the rank in it you deserve.

And here, my friend, it occurs to me, that there
was a time when you, likewise, used to condemn
my despondency ; and when I was full of ajipre-
hensions, and altogether undetermined how to act,
you inspired me by your advice and example
with more spirited and vigorous resolutions. At
that season, it was not our (!ause, but our measures,
1 <lisapproved. I thought it much too late to
op])ose those. victorious arms which we ourselves
had long been contributing to strengthen ; and I
lamented that ive should refer the decision of our
political disputes, not to tlie wc^ight of our counsels,
but to the force of our swords. I do not pretend
to have been inspired with a spirit of divination,
wlien I foretold what has since happened. I only
saw the j)ossibility and destructive consequences of
such an event. And it was this that alarmed my
fears ; esjiecially as it was a contingency of all
others the most likely to take effect. For the
strength of our party, 1 well knew, was of a kind
that would little avail us in the field ; as our troops
were far inferior, both in force and experience, to
those of our adversaries. The same spirit and
resolution, then, which you recommended to me
at that juncture, let me now exhort you, in my
turn, to assume in the present.

I was induced to write to you upon this subject
by a conversation I lately had with your freedman
I'hilargyrus. In answer to the very ])articular
inquiries I made concerning your welfare, he
informed me (and I have no reason to suspect his
veracity) that you were at some seasons exceedingly

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroCicero's Life and letters : The life of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton, Cicero's letters to his friends, translated by Wm. Melmoth [and] Cicero's letters to Atticus, translated by Dr. Heberden → online text (page 147 of 230)