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unlefs they turned to the advantage of the common-
wealth i notwithftanding he was of all men the moft for-
ward to commend himfelf, infomuch that when fome citi-
zens that had been guilty of mifdemeanors, were reproved
for it, he ufed to fay, " They are excufable, for they are
" not Cato's." Concerning fuch as attempted to imitate
fome of his actions, but did it aukwardly, he ufed to
fay, " they were left-handed Catos. He likewife boaft-
ed, " that in difficult and dangerous times the fenate caft
" their eyes upon himjuft as paflengers in a fhip do upon
*' the pilot in a ftorm ; " and that "very often when he was
" abfent, they would put off affairs of the greateft import-
" ance till he came." Nor did he alone fay thefe things of
himfelf; they are confirmed by the teftimony of others ;
for he had great authority in Rome on account of his
prudent and regular life, his eloquence, and his age.

He was a good father, a good hufband, and an ex-
cellent ceconomift for he did not think the care of hi*


C A T O the C E N S O R. 451

family a mean or trifling concern, that only deferved a
flight and fuperficial attention : wherefore I think it
will be of ufe to relate here what is known of him on
that head.

He married a wife more noble than rich ; for though
he well knew that both riches and high birth do equally
incline people to pride and haughtinefs, yet he thought
women of noble blood would be more afhamed of what
was bafe and unworthy, and confequently more obedi-
ent to their hufbands in whatever was laudable and
good. He often faid, that they who beat their wives,
or children, laid violent hands on what was mod facred ;
and that he preferred the commendation of being a
good hufband before that of being a great fenator.
And what he admired moft in Socrates was, that he al-
ways lived eafily and kindly with an ill-tempered wife
and ftupid children.

Whenever his wife was brought to-bed, no bufmefs,
how urgent foever, unlefs it related to the publick,
could hinder him from being prefent while me warned
and fwaddled the child ; forme fuckled itherfelf, nay,
fhe often gave her breaft to her fervants children, to
beget in them an affedtion towards her fon, as having
fucked the fame milk. As foon as his fon was capable
of inftrudtion, Cato took him and' taught him himfelf,
though he had a Have whofe name was Cltilo, a very
honeft man, and good grammarian, who had been in-
truded with the education of other children ; but he
would not, as he faid himfelf, have his fon reprimanded
by a flave, or pulled by the ears for being flow in learn-
ing; nor could he fuffer that his fon mould owe fo
great an obligation to a flave as his education ; where-
fore he himfelf undertook to be his praeceptor in gram-
mar, in law, and in the gymnaftick art ; and he not
only taught him how to throw a dart, to ufe the other
military weapons, and to ride, but even to box, to
endure both heat and cold, and to fwim acrofs theimoft
rapid river. He relates himfelf, that he wrote hifto-
ries for him with his own hand, in large characters,
that fo, without flirring out of his father's houfe, he

F f 2 might

45Z fl>c LIFE of

might be acquainted with the laws and exploits of his
anceftors. He was as careful to avoid all obfcene dif-
courfe before his fon, as if he had been in the prefence
of the Veftal virgins ; nor would he ever bathe with
him, though that indeed feems to be according to the
common cuftom of the Romans ; for even fons-in-law
never bathed with their fathers-in-law, being afhamed
to appear naked before them. It is true, indeed, in
procefs of time the Greeks taught them to bathe naked
one with another ; and they loon after taught the Greeks
to do the fame thing before the women, and bathe
naked with them.

Thus Cato formed his fon betimes,, and trained him
to virtue ; for he found him well-inclined, and apt to-
learn ; but notwithstanding the excellency of his difpo-
fition, his body was too weak to undergo hard labour,
which obliged his father to remit fomewhat of the flrid-
nefs and feverity of his difcipline. This weaknefs of
conftitution did not % however, hinder him from being,
a good foldier, for he diitingui fried himfelf particularly
in the battle that Paulus ./Emilius fought againft Perfeus,
where, when his fword was (truck out of his hand, the
moifture of which prevented him from grafpin^ it firm-
ly, he with the utmoft concern begged the afllflance of
fome of his companions in recovering it, and forthwith
rufhed with them into the midft of the enemy. There
he fought with fuch bravery, that he cleared the place
where his fword lay, and at length found it under heaps
of arms and dead bodies of friends, as well as enemies,,
piled upon one another. Paulus /Emilius the General
highly applauded this action of the young man ; and
there is a letter ftill extant, written by Cato to his fon,
in which he greatly carrmrends his concern at lofmg his
fword, and his bravery in recovering it. This young
man afterwards married Tertia, daughter to Paulus JE-
milius, and fifter to young Scipio. The Honour of being
allied to which noble family was as much owing to his
own as his father's worth. Thus Cato's care in the edu-
cation of his fon fully anfwered his expectations;


C A T O the CENSOR. 453

'He had feveral flaves which he purchafed from among
:the captives taken in war, always chufing the youngeft,
and fuch as were moft capable of receiving inftruction,
like whelps, or colts, that may be trained up and
taught. None of theie flaves ever went into any other
.man's houfe, except they were fent by Cato, or his wife ;
and if any one of them was afked what Cato was doing,
he always anfwered, " He did not know." For Cato defired
to have his fervants always either employed in the houfe,
-or afleep ^ and he liked thofe beft that often flept,
.reckoning them more tractable and quiet, as well as
more fit to perform their bufinefs, than thofe who were
more wakeful. And as he knew that lewdnefs often
prompts fervants to commit even the word of crimes,
he allowed his flaves at certain times, to have free con-
verfation with his female flaves, upon paying a certain
fprice ; but under a ftrict prohibition of meddling with
any other women.

At firfl, while he was poor, and ferved in the army
only as a common foldier, he never was angry about
any thing relating to his diet; for he - thought nothing
more ridiculous : and fhameful than to fcold and quarrel
.with his fervants on the account of his belly : but after-
wards, when his circumftances were grown better, and
he gave frequent entertainments to his friends and the
principal officers of the army, he never failed, after
dinner, to correct with leathern thongs fuch of them as
had not given due attendance, or had fuffered any thing
to be fpoiled. He always contrived means to make
quarrels among his fervants, and to keep them at vari-
ance, ever fufpeding and fearing a good understanding
among them. Wlren any of them had committed a
crime that deferved death, ,he punifhed them accord-
ingly, if in the opinion of their fellow-fervants, they
were found guilty. As histhirft after riches increafed,
he gave over agriculture, which he found yielded more
amufement than profit ; and turning his thoughts to
things more fure and certain, he purchafed ponds, hot
fprings, .places, proper for fullers, paflures and wood-
lands, whereby a great revenue came to him, " fuch

F f 3 " an

454 fb* LIFE tf

" an on," he ufed to fay, " as Jupiter himfelf could not
" hurt."

He was guilty of a mofl blameable kind of fhip-
ufury ; the manner of which was this : he obliged thofe
to whom he lent money to form themfelves into a com-
pany, for example, of fifty merchants, and to fit out
fifty fnips, in which he had one fhare, which Quintion,
whom he had made a freeman, failing with them, took
care of, as his factor. All thefe merchants were bound
for the money lent to them, every one for his parti-
cular fum ; befides which he had his fhare in the com-
pany, by which means he did not run the rifque of
all his money, but only of a fmall part, and that with
a profpedl of vaft advantage.

He lent money like wife to fuch of his flaves as had
a mind to traffick, with which they bought young
ones, who being inftruded and brought up at Cato's
expence, were fold at the year's end by auction, feveral
of which Cato took himfelf at the price of the highefl
bidder, which he deducted out of the money he had
lent. To incline his fon to this fort of good manage-
ment he ufed to fay, " That to diminifh his paternal eftate
" was not like a wife man, but a foolifh. widow." But the
moil extravagant thing which he faid on this fubjeft was,
" that he was a wonderful man, nay god-like, and wor-
" thy of immortal glory, who made it appear by his ac-
" counts, that what he had added to his eftate exceeded
" what he had received from his anceftors."

When Cato was very far advanced in years there ar-
rived at Rome, two ambafladors from Athens, Carnea-
des the Academick, and Diogenes the Stoick (3). They
were fent by the Athenians with a requeft to the fenate,
to remit a fine of five hundred talents that had been im-
pofed on them for contumacy, by the Sicyonians at the
profecution of the Oropians (4). Upon the arrival of
thefe philofophers all the youth that were the greatefl
lovers of learning went to wait on them, and heard


(3) A. Gellius mentions a third (4) The Athenians had plunder-
AmbaflTador. CritoJaus the Peri- ed the city of Oropus. Upon com-
patetick. plaint made by the inhabitants,


C A T O the C E N S O R. 455

them with inexpreflible pleafure and admiration. But
above all they were charmed with the gracefulnefs of
Carneades's oratory, the force of whofe eloquence was
wonderfully great, nor was his reputation lefs ; for
having had the greateft and politeft perfons in Rome for
his auditors, his fame from the firft, like a mighty
wind, founded through the whole city. It was every
where faid that a furprifmg Greek was arrived, who rur-
paiTed mankind in knowledge ; who calming and foften-
ing the moft outrageous palTions by his eloquence, in-
fpired the Roman youth with fuch a love of wifdom and
learning that renouncing all other bufinefs and diver-
fions, they applied themfelves with an enthufiaftick ar-
dour to philofophy.

All the Romans were highly pleafed on this account,
nor could they without the utmoft delight behold their
youth thus fondly receive the Grecian literature, and
frequent the company of thefe wonderful men. Bi^t
Cato, from the beginning, as foon as ever he perceived
this love of the Grecian learning prevail in the city, was
highly difpleafed, fearing left all the youth mould turn
their emulation and ambition that way, and prefer the
glory of fpeaking to that of acting well, and diftinguifh-
ing themfelves in arms. But when he found that the
reputation of thefe philofophers was univerfally fpread
abroad, and that their firft difcourfes were in every
body's hands, having been turned into Latin by Caius
Acilius one of the chief perfons in _the fenate, who was
both charmed with them himfelf, and had been like-
wife defired totranflate them, he was no longer able to
contain himfelf, but refolved to difmifs thefe philofo-
phers under fome decent and fpecious pretence.

When he was therefore come to the fenate, he blamed
the magiftrates for detaining fo long fuch ambafladors
as thofe, who could eafily perfuade the people to what-
ever they pleafed ; " You ought," faid he, " with allfpeed
" to determine their affair, that fo they may return to their

" fchools,

the affair was referred to the de- juftify themfelves, were fined five
termination of the Sicyonians ; and hundred talents,
the Athenians not appearing to

Ff4 (5) ^

456 The LIFE of

" fchools, and inftrud the Grecian children as much as
" they pleafe, and that the Roman youth may liften only
* to their own laws and magiflrates, as they did before
" their arrival. This he fatd, not out of any particular
enmity to Carneades, as fome have thought, butbecaufe
he was an enemy to philofophy, and took a pride in de-
fpifmg the Grecian mufes, and all foreign erudition. For
he ufed to call Socrates himfelf " a prating feditious fellow,
4C who had endeavoured as much as lay in his power, to
" tyrannize over his country, by abrogating their ancient
" cuftoms, and leading his fellow-citizens into new opi-
" nions, contrary to the laws." And to make a jeft of the
long time Ifocrates took in teaching his difciples, he
ufed to fay, " that his fcholars grew old in learning their
" art, as if they were to ufe it in the next world, and
" plead caufes there." And to difluade his fon from apply-
ing himfelf to any of thofe arts, he pronounced in a loud-
er tone than was fuitable to his age, like aman infpired,
and filled with a prophetick fpirit, " that the Romans
*' would certainly be deflroyed when once they became
*' infected with Greek." But time has fufficiently fhown
the vanity of this wayward prediction ; for Rome was
at its higheft pitch of glory and power when the Grecian
literature flourifhecj there, and all kind of learning was

Nor was Cato a fworn enemy to the Grecian philofo-
phers only, but to the phyficians alfo ; for having heard
that Hippocrates, when the King of Perfia fent for him,
and offered him a reward of many talents, replied " I will
" never make ufe of my Ikill in favour of barbarians who
" are enemies to the Greeks ;" he maintained that this
was a common cam taken by all phyficians, and enjoin-
ed his fon never to trufl himfelf in their hands. He added,
that he himfelf had written a little treatife wherein (5)
were feveral prefcriptions, which he had ufed with good
fuccefs when any of his family were fick that he never


(0 In his treatife of country the manner hoxv to reduce dido-
affairs, he gives feveral particular rated parts, and adds particular
remedies to purge both by fto.ol forms of words to be ufed as
and urine : nay, he goes fo far as charms,
to give fome for drains, and (hews

(6) Plu

C A T O the C E N S O R.

enjoined fafting to any one, but always allowed himfelf
and all his domefticks herbs, with the flefh of a duck,
pigeon, or hare ; fuch kind of diet being the beft, and
eafieft of digeftion for fick' perfons, only that it made
them dream in the night. In fhort, he aflured them,
that by the aftiftance of thefe remedies only, together
with his regimen, he prelerved himfelf, and all that be-
longed to him, in perfect health. However for this his
prefumptuous boafting he feemed not to efcape unpu-
nifhed ; (6) for he loft both his wife and fon, though
he himfelf held out longer ; for he was of a very robuft
conftitution, fo that he would often, even in his old age,
make ufe of women ; nay when he was paft a lover's
age he married a young woman, and that upon the fol-
lowing pretence.

After the death of his wife he married his fon to
Paulus^milius's daughter, who was fifter to young Sci-
pio, and himfelf continued a widower, but made ufe of a
young Have, who came privately to him; but this in-
trigue could not remain long a fecret in a fmall houfe,
with a daughter-in-law in it : wherefore, one day, as the
favourite flave was palling with too haughty an air to
Cato's bedchamber, his fon, without faying a word to her
gave her an angry look, and then turned from her with
indignation. The old man being informed of this cir-
cumftance, and finding that this Ibrt of commerce was
by no means agreeable either to his fon, or his daugh-
ter-in-law, without taking the lead notice of what had
pafled, or expoftulating with them, as he was going ear-
ly the next morning, according to cuftom, with his u-
fual company to the Forum, called aloud to one Salonius,
who had been his Secretary, and then attended him,
and afked him if his daughter was married ; and when
he replied, " that me was not yet married, and that me
"never mould without his confent^" Cato told him

" Why

(6) Plutarch gives us to under- probable. Whoever reads his
(land here, that he doubted whe- books may juftly wonder that his
ther Cato's pretended fkill in phy- method and medicines had not
fick had not been fatal to his deftroycd his whole family.
wife and fon ; and it fcems very

(7) The

45 S ne LIFE of

" Why then I have found out a very fit hufband for her,
*' provided (he can bear with the inequality of age, for he
" is in all other refpeds unexceptionable, but he is very
" old." When Salonius faid, " that he left the difpofal of
" her entirely to him, for that (he was his client, under his
" immediate protection, and had nothing to depend upon
41 but his bounty;" Cato, without any further ceremony,
anfwered, " I will be thy fon-in-law." The man was at
firftfurprizedatthe propofition, as mayeafily be imagin-
ed ; for on the one hand he confidered Cato as a man paft
the age of marrying, and on the other he could not but
look on himfelf as far too low for an alliance with a per-
fon of confular dignity, and one who had triumphed.
However, when he found Cato was inearneft, he embra-
ced the offer with great joy and thankfulnefs ; and the mar-
riage contract was figned as foon as they came to the Forum,

Whilfl they were bufy preparing for the nuptials, Cato's
fon, taking fome of his friends and relations with him.,
went to his father, and afked him, for what offence com-
mitted by him, he was going to put a mother-in-law up-
on him ? Cato immediately replied, "There is no offence
*' my fon ; I find nothing to complain of in all thy beha-
" viour ; I am only defirous to have more fuch fons, and
tc to leave more fuch citizens to my country." But Pifi-
ftratus, tyrant of Athens, is faid to have returned fuch
an anfwer long before Cato, when, after he had feveral
children, who were grown up, he took a fecond wife,
Timonafla of Argos, by whom he is faid likewife to have
had two fons, Jophon and Theflalus.

Cato had a fon by this fecond wife, whom he called
Salonius from his mother's father. As for his eldeft fon
Cato, he died in his Praetorfhip. His father makes
frequent mention of him in his works, as a perfon of
extraordinary merit. He bore this lofs with the tem-
per of a philofopher, without fuffering it to interrupt
him in his application to affairs of flate. He did not,


(7) The ancients quote many he wrote a treatife of Military
of Cato's writings; for befides Difcipliae, and books ofantiqui-
more than an hundred and fifty ties ; in two of thefe he treated of
orations that he left behind him, the foundation of the cities of

Italy ;

C A T O the C E N S O R. 459

like Lucius Lucullus, and Metellus Pius, grow remifs in
his care of the publick as he grew in years, but looked up-
on that as a duty that was incumbent upon him as long as
he lived ^ nor did he follow the example of Scipio Afri-
canus, who, becaufe the envy and ill-will of his fellow-
citizens denied him the honours due to his extraordinary
fervices, refufed to ferve his country any longer, and
fpent the remainder of his life in retirement and inaction.
But as one told Dionyfms, that the moil honourable
death was to die in the pofleilion of the fovereign power,
fo Cato efteemed that the moft honourable old age, which
was fpent in ferving the publick. At his leifiire hours
he diverted himfelf with husbandry and writing. He
left behind him feveral hiflories, and other works on
various fubje&s (7). In his younger days he applied
himfelf to agriculture for the fake f gain ; for he ufed
to fay, he had but two ways of increafing his income,
which were hufbandry and parfimony-, but as he grew
old he regarded it only as an amufement. He wrote a
book (8) concerning country affairs, in which he treats
particularly of making cakes, and preferring fruit; be-
ing very defirous to be thought curious and fmgular in
every thing. He kept a better table in the country
than at Rome, for he always invited fome of his friends
in the neighbourhood to fup with him ; and his con -
verfation was agreeable, not only to fuch as were of
the fame age with himfelf, but even to young men ; for
he had a thorough knowledge of the world, and had
either feen himfelf, or heard from others, many things
that were curious ai-d entertaining. He thought the
table the properefl place for the forming of friendfhips ;
and at his the converfation generally turned upon the
commendation of brave and worthy men, without any
afperfions caft upon thofe who were ocherwile, for
he would not allow in his company one word, either
good or bad, to be faid of fuch kind of men.


Italy ; the other five contained the (8) This is the only woik of
hiftory of the Romans, particular- his chat remains entire ; the reft
ly a narrative of the firft and fe- are no moie than fragment*.
cond Punick war.

(9) He

4 6 ne LIFE of

The laft fervice he did the publick, was the deftrudtion
of Carthage. Scipio indeed put the finishing ftroke to
that work, but it v/as undertaken by the counfel and
-advice of Cato; and the occafion of the war was this.
Maflinifla, King of Numidia, and the Carthaginians be r
*ng at war with each other, Cato was fent into Africa to
enquire into the caufeofthe quarrel. MafTinifTa had
long been a friend and ally, to the Romans, and the Car-
thaginians had likewife been in alliance with them ever
iince the great overthrow they had received from the
elder Scipio, (o) who ftript them of a great part of their
dominions, and impofed a heavy tribute upon them.
When Cato arrived at Carthage, he found the city not
(as the Romans imagined) in a low and declining condi-
tion, but on the contrary, full of men fit to bear arms, a-
bounding in wealth, furnifhed with prodigious warlike
ftores of all forts, and poflefTed with great confidence
in her own flrength. He foon perceived that it would
be lofs of time to the Romans to endeavour to adjuft
the matters in difpute between the Carthaginians and Nu-
midians ; but that if they did not without delay make
themfelves mailers of that city, which was their an-
cient enemy, and retained ftrong refentments of the
ufuage fhe had received from them, a'nd which had in
a fhort fpace of time not only recovered herfelf after
all her lofles and fufferings, but was prodigioufly in-
creafed in wealth and power, they would unavoidably be
plunged again into their former dangers and difficulties.
With thefe thoughts and reflections he returned in all hafte
to Rome, where he told the fenate, " that all the misfor-
" tunes that had befallen the Carthaginians had not fo much
" drained them of their forces, as cured them of their folly ;
" that in all their former wars with them the Romans had
"not weakened them, but rendred them more warlike,
" and experienced ; that their conflicts with the Numidians
" were no other than efTays, or exercifes, by which they
*' were trained up, and inured, that they might be the

" better

{9) He obliged them to deli- and pay the Romans ten thoufand
ver up their fleet, yield to Mafli- talents. This peace, which put
nifla part of Syphax'a dominions, an end to the fecond Punick war,


C A T O tbc C E N S O R. 46*

" better able one day to cope with the Romans ; that the
'* late peace was a mere name, it being nothing more than
" a fufpenfion of arms j and that they only waited for a
41 favourable opportunity to renew the war." It is laid
that at the conclufion of his fpeech he ihook his gown,
and purpofely dropped in the fehate-houfe fome figs he
had brought out of Africa, and when he found they were
admired by the fenators for their beauty and largenefs, he
told them, "that the country where that fruit grew was but
44 three days fail from Rome." But what mofl ftrongly
fhows his enmity to Carthage, is that he never gave his
opinion in the fenate upon any other point whatever,
without concluding with thefe words, " And my opinion
" is that Carthage mould be deftroyed.' rv Scipio, furnamed
Nafica, maintained the contrary, and ended all "hU
fpeeches thus, " My opinion is, that Carthage mould be
" left (landing." It is very likely that this great man per-
ceiving the people were arrived to fuch a pitch of info-
lence as inclined them to run into any fort of excefs, and
that being elated with proiperity, they were no longer
to be reflrained by any reverence to the fenate, but were
grown fo abfolute as to be able to guide the city as
they pleafed, thought it beft that Cartilage mould
remain to keep them in awe, and to moderate and re-
ftrain their prefumption. For he knew that the Car-
thaginians were too weak to fubdue the Romans, and

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