Immagini della pagina
[blocks in formation]


fice the t

the wo

TRT REMEMBERED, that on this twenty ninth day in the thirty fifth year of the Independence States of America, CHARLES NORRIS of Company have deposited in this Ofhereof they claim as proprietors in .it: "M. T. Ciceronis Orationes atae Editio Exoniensis Secunda act of the Congress of the Unitencouragement of learning, by and other books to the Authors nd also an act supplemencat of Learning by securing

Quaedam Sc



ors therein mention

to an act for the encou

Copies of Maps, Charts, and other bok to the Authors and Proprietors therein mentioned, and extr the benefit thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Historical and other Prints."


aid District.



IN the six hundred and eighty seventh year of Rome, Lucius Sergius Catiline, a man of patrician rank and great abilities, but of a wicked and ambitious disposition, formed a conspiracy to elevate himself and his accomplices to power and wealth upon the ruins of his country. From his earliest youth, he was fond of civil wars, of rapine, and of massacres. There was no crime however atrocious, which he was not willing to commit; there was no vice however infamous, of which he was not inclined to be guilty. He debauched a young lady of illustrious family, afterwards seduced a Vestal, and is said to have violated the chastity of his own daughter. To gratify Sylla, whose partisan he was, he assassinated a brother. He even murdered a son, because Aurelia Orestilla, whom he wished to marry, disliked to have a full grown son in law. Indeed he so often committed murder and other heinous crimes, that he did not seem to think the commission of them criminal. But at length, not contented with the commission of many private vices, he conceived the design of a conspiracy, which, had it been executed, would have been unparalleled in the annals of history. After his return from Africa, the province assigned to him upon the expiration of his Praetorship, he sued for the Consulship; but, in consequence of an accusation of extortion and mal-administration, which the African cities preferred against him in Rome, he was not permitted to assert and maintain his pretensions to that office. It was during the pendency of this trial, that, it is supposed, he first thought of destroying the laws and usurping the power of the republic. Enraged by this check to his ambition, he resolved to acquire by force that authority, which he could not obtain by election. He entered into a combination with Autronius, Cneius Piso, and others, to put the consuls to death and seize the consulship. Their design, at the first attempt to execute it, was frustrated by the absence of Crassus, and by Julius Caesar's not giving the signal agreed upon, and they therefore thought it prudent to defer its execution to a future period. At the time appointed, they had enlarged their plan, and determined not only to kill the consuls, but also to murder the Senate. But by too great precipitancy the conspirators again defeated their own designs. Catiline, however, did not remit his exertions; he seems to have been calculated to make the most hazardous at-tempts with the greatest discouragements. He was now more de


sirous than he ever had been of obtaining the consulship, in order that he might more effectually execute his intention of subverting the republick. He practised the most profound dissimulation; by his address and bribes obtained an acquittal of the many crimes of which he was accused; and made two attempts to be elected consul. But he did not succeed. At the latest election Cicero and Antonius, two of his competitors, were chosen. This continual ill success made Catiline at last desperate; he immediately prepared to execute his bloody intentions. By all the arts of allurement he possessed, he courted and corrupted the young nobility; with the most consummate address he attached to himself the most factious, profligate, and abandoned characters in the city; and by various artifices he ingratiated himself into the affections of the most indigent class of citizens, who were ever ready to follow a leader, that promised them great rewards. With his accomplices he held frequent meetings. In one of these, held at the house of Marcus Lecca, it was determined, that an insurrection should be immediately raised through all Italy; that Catiline should take command of the army, which Manlius had collected in Etruria, and bring it to take possession of Rome; that Cassius should inflame the city in several places; that, during the confusion created by the conflagration, Cethegus should murder the senate; that Lentulus, being first in rank, should conduct their councils, and that two Roman Knights, who were then in the assembly, should the next morning in his bed assassinate Cicero, from whom they expected the greatest opposition. But the meeting was no sooner over, than Cicero was informed of all its proceedings. Fulvia, the mistress of Curius, one of the conspirators, had persuaded him to send the consul an account of all their transactions. Cicero guarded his house against the Knights, who came in the morning to execute the commission assigned them; and the next day he summoned the senate to assemble in the temple of Jupiter Stator in the Capitol, where they seldom convened except in times of public danger. The designs of Catiline had long been suspected; great rewards had been offered to him, who would discover them. This artful hypocrite, however, so successfully dissembled his intentions, that he persuaded many to believe him innocent, and he constantly asserted, that the suspicions, so prejudicial to his character, arose from the defamatory tales of Cicero, his professed enemy. He even offered to put himself into the custody of whomever the Senate would appoint; but no person would consent to be his guard. Catiline nevertheless continued to practise the arts of hypocrisy, and indeed had the impudent confidence to come to this meeting of the Senate, which was expressly called to receive information of the discovery of his dangerous conspiracy. The Senators were astonished to see him take his seat among them as usual, and so abhorred the crimes of which he was accused, that they instantly vacated the benches near which he sat ; and Cicero was so enraged by his impudence and audacity, that he did not, as was common, begin business in a methodical manner, but immediately addressed him in the abrupt snd severe invective, that follows.

QUOUSQUE tandem abutêre, Catilina, patientiâ nostrâ? quamdiu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata jactabit audacia ? nihil-ne te nocturnum praesidium 'Palatii,nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil consensus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatûs locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt? patere tua consilia non sentis? constrictam jam omnium horum conscientiâ teneri conjurationem tuam non vides? quid proximâ, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrûm ignorare arbitraris? O tempora! ô mores! Senatus haec intelligit, consul videt: hic tamen vivit ; vivit? imo verò etiam in Senatum venit: fit publici consilii particeps: notat et designat oculis ad caedem unumquemque nostrûm. Nos autem,

viri fortes, satisfacere reipublicae videmur, si istius furorem ac tela vitemus. Ad mortem te, Catilina, duci jussu consulis jampridem oportebat: in te con

1. Palati-Palatium, or Palatinus, was one of the seven hills, upon which Rome was built, and such was its commanding situation, that in times of public alarm a garrison was stationed upon it to protect the city.

[ocr errors]

2. Urbis vigiliae-As soon as there was a suspicion that a danger ous conspiracy existed, the Senate ordered the inferior Magistrates of Rome to guard with an armed force the various streets of the city, to prevent the execution of any evil design, that might be formed.

3. Munitissimus-The Senate at this time were convened in the temple of Jupiter in the Capitol, which was the highest part of the city, and was strongly fortified.

4. Jussy Consulis-In times of peace and safety, the power of the Consuls was much limited; in all important affairs they were obliged to act under the direction of the Senate. But when there were civil commotions in the city, and when it was supposed that some

ferri pestem istam, quam tu in nos omnes jamdiu machinaris. An verò vir amplissimus, P. Scipio, Pontifex Maximus, Tib. Gracchum mediocritèr labefactantem statum reipublicae privatus interfecit : Catilinam verò orbem terrae caede atque incendiis vastare cupientem nos consules perferemus? nam illa nimìs antiqua praetereo, quòd Q. Servilius Ahala Sp. Melium novis rebus studentem manu suâ

great evil endangered the state, the Senate invested them with abso. lute power,that they might preserve the republic from harm. Upon the first report of the existence of the Catilinarian conspiracy, such authority was conferred on Cicero and Antonius; and it was by virtue of this power, that, Cicero says, Catiline should already have been put to death.

5. P. Scipio-Tiberius Gracchus was supposed to be ambitious of making himself King in Rome. P. Scipio Nasica at the head of the Senators, whom Tiberius had offended by passing several popular laws, went in an illegal manner and without any public authority into an assembly of the people, who were then electing Gracchus Tribune a second time, attacked him and his friends, and put him to death.

6. Pontifex Maximus-It is the opinion of many that Cicero here applies to Scipio the title, Pontifex Maximus, by anticipation, as he immediately afterwards calls him simply a private person, as Livy expressly opposes Pontifex to privatus, and as Paterculus asserts that Scipio was not Pontifex Maximus at the time this oration was delivered.

7. Q. Servilius Ahala-In the three hundred and thirteenth year of Rome, there was a famine in the city, by means of which, Livy says, a private man was near obtaining possession of sovereign pow. er. Minucius was appointed by the Senate and people to procure eorn in the adjacent countries, but met with little success. Spurius Melius, the richest private man in the commonwealth, had bought so much of that article in neighbouring provinces, that the agent of the public could not purchase provisions of that kind. The corn, which Melius had purchased, was liberally distributed among the people, and so great was the popularity he acquired by this artifice and munificence, that a conspiracy was formed to change the form of government; Melius aspired to royalty: the people were to take arms in his favour, and the Tribunes consented to sell the publick liberty. Upon the discovery of the conspiracy, T. Q. Cincinnatus was appointed Dictator, who, supposing that nothing but a stroke of authority could destroy so dangerous a plot, immediately sent Servilius Ahala, his General of the horse, to cite Melius to ap

« IndietroContinua »