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suicide was not forbidden either by religion or laws. Shall Cato become the sport and mockery of those people, to whom he once gave laws ? Shall he live to see his country, once the seat of sweet liberty and freedom, become a den of tyranny and oppression ? Shall his eyes behold her laws subverted, venality and corruption carrying every thing before them, and that once fair and stately city.of Rome, the mistress of the world, now, through faction and party, precipitating into a pile of ruins ?
Cæsar upon hearing of this great man's fate, said, “ Cato " has envied me the glory of faving his life, and therefore " I envy him his death ; designing, as some have thought, to “conquer him by generosity and kindness." Utica surrendered immediately; and this event terminating the war in. Africa, Cæfar returned in triumph to Rome.
Cæsar pursued his good fortune with great rapidity. Befides his conquefts in Alexandria, and over Pompey's party, in Africa, he defeated king Pharnaces in Egypt; who attempting to take refuge in his capital, was flain by one of his own commanders; a just punishment for his former parricide. This victory was gained with so much eafe, that Cæ. sar, in writing to a friend at Rome, expreffed the rapidity of it in three words, veni, vidi, vici. A man, fo accustomed to conquest, thought a light battle scarce worth a longer letter.
Cæsar afterwards went into Spain, and marched in perfon against the two sons of Pompey, who under Labienus had raised a powerful army. The armies came to an engagement in the plains of Munda. Cæsar after a great hazard of being entirely routed, animated his soldiers with the greatest refolution, and gained a complete victory over the enemy. Thirty thousand were killed on the spot, and all Spain submitted to the conqueror.
After this great success, and profperous settlement of his affairs abroad, Cæsar returned to Rome, and triumphed four times in one month. He rewarded his soldiers with great liberality, and exhibited public shews, with great magnificence for the diversion of the people; and, to remove every cause of jealousy, he bestowed the honours of the state on Pompey's friends as well as his own.
Many of the senators, however, who had received these favours at the hands of Cæsar, secretly upbraided themselves for accepting of his kindness at the expence of the public liberty. Many were also diffatisfied with the change of government, and the ambitious conduct of Cæfar, who now attempted to assume the regal tide. These sought to accom.
Death and Character of Cæfar. plish his ruin; and, in private cabals, it was agreed that the liberty of the commonwealth could not be longer maintained without the death of the dictator.
Brutus and Cassius were, by Cæsar's appointment, Prætors for that year. These men were at the head of this party ; the former of whom made it his chief glory to have been descended from that Brutus who first gave liberty to Rome. The passion for freedom seemed to have been transmitted with the blood of his ancestors down to him. But though he detested tyranny, yet he could not forbear loving the tyrant, from whom he had received the most signal benefits. However, the love of his country broke all the ties of private friendfhip, and he entered into a conspiracy which was to destroy his benefactor,
The confpirators, to give a colour of justice to their proceedings, remitted the execution of their design to the ides of March, the day on which Cæsar was to be offered the crown. The assembly of the senate was at this time held in a great hall which Pompey had built for that purpose, and in which his statue stood. "Cæsar, as he was entering, met Spurina, an augur, who had foretold his danger, to whom he said, smiling, “ Well, Spurina, the ides of March are come.”. “ Yes,” replied the augur,“ but they are not past." As soon as he had taken his place, the conspirators came near him under pretence of faluting him; and Cimber, who was one of them, approached in a suppliant posture, pretending to sue for his brother's pardon, who had been banished by his order. All the conspirators seconded him with great earneftness; and Cimber, seeming to sue with ftill greater submission, took hold of the bottom of his robe, holding him so as to prevent his rising. This was the fignal agreed on. Casca, who stood behind him, drawing his dagger, stabbed him in the neck; but the weapon glancing, the wound was not mortal. Cæfar immediately seized Casca by the hand which held the dagger, crying out, Vile traitor! what dost thou mean? Upon this, the rest of the conspirators, drawing their daggers, surrounded Cæfar, and fell upon him with such fury, that several of them wounded each other. Brutus, in particular, received a wound in the hand from Cassius, who, attacking Cæfar with prodigious rage, gave him a deep wound in the head. The hero, “ thus baited on all fides, like a wild beast in a toil”*, fought, and defended himself in the best manner he could ; till, looking round him, to fee if he could make his escape, he
perceived Brutus, with his dagger in his hand. From that moment Cæfar thought no niore of defending himself, but looking stedfastly on him, exclaimed, “ And thou too, my son!” Then covering his head, and spreading his robe before him, in order to fall with greater decency, he funk down at the base of Pompey's ftatue, after receiving three-and-twenty wounds from hands, which he vainly supposed he had disarmed by his benefits.
Thus died, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and forty-three years before the Christian æra, the greatest warrior that'Rome, or perhaps the world ever saw, after he had fought with success fifty pitched battles, taken by assault a thousand towns, and Nain eleven hundred and ninety-two thousand men*. He was a person of extraordinary parts, and wonderful abilities, in all the arts of war and civil government, and of equal diligence and application in the ute of them. He was beloved and revered by the people, honoured and adored by his friends, and esteemed and admired even by his enemies. But as his ambition, which knew no bounds, prompted him to enslave his country, and ufurp an arbitrary power over those who were as free as himself, his life was certainly a just forfeit. If the state had been deemed irretrievable, and a defpotic governor a necessary evil, Rome could not have had a better than Cæsar.
To pretend to say that from the beginning he planned the subjection of his native country, is doing no great credit to his well-known penetration, as a thousand obstacles lay in his way, which fortune, rather than conduct, was to furmount. Nó man, therefore, of his fagacity, would have begun a scheme in which the chances of succeeding were so many against him. It is most probable that, like very successful men, he only made the best of every occurrence; and his ambition rising with his good fortune, from at first being contented with humbler aims, he at last began to think of governing the world, when he found scarce any obstacle to oppose him. Such is the disposition of man, whose cravings after power are always most insatiable when he enjoys the greatest share,
Among other noble fchemes and ordinances, which tended to the grandeur of the city of Rome, and the enlargement of the Roman empire, Cæsar reformed the calender ; and, with the aflistance of the most able astronomers, regulated the year according to the course of the fun. Two months were add
206 Antony's Funeral Oration over Cæsar's dead Body. ed to the calendar, and the whole year was divided into three hundred and fixty-five days. He also added one day to every fourth year, in the month of February, and that year was named Biffextile or Leap year. This regulation was called the Julian account of time; and fome ages after the Old Style, in opposition to the New, or Gregorian Style.
With the death of Cæfar ended the first Triumvirate, or government of the Roman empire by three persons, Pompey, Cæfar, and Crassus.
Antony's Funeral Oration over Cæsar's dead Body.Antony,
Octavius, and Lepidus, the Second Triumvirate. - Cicero apafinated. - Battle of Philippi. - Death of Brutus and Cassius.
ÆSAR was no sooner dead, than the conspirators ac
quainted the fenate with the motives of their undertaking, and exported them to join in an action, which had restored the liberty of their country: Many of the fenators, however, were terrified, and filled with amazement; while others had retired to their houses to wait the issue of so bold and tragical an action.
In this difpofition of the senators, Brutus and Caffius went into the city with their daggers yet warm with Cæsar's blood; and preceded by an herald, with the symbols of liberty, publickly proclaimed they had killed the tyrant of their country, and exhorted the people to join in restoring the liberty of the commonwealth. The people no less struck with terror at this deed than the senators, being now greatly degenerated from the virtue of their ancestors, did not declare in their favour. The conspirators surprised at this indolence of the people, retired to the capitol; and though Brutus had freed his country from a tyrant, he had it not in his power to abo
Antony, Cæsar's friend, was at this time consul, and the city was divided into two parties ; one of which espoused the cause of the confpirators, and the other that of Antony and Lepidus. Brutus now law with regret that the death of the usurper of the common liberty would create freth disturbance, in the commonwealth. Antony summoned the senate, who never met on a more important occafion; at the same time
he carried all Cæsar's effects and papers to his own house. In the assembly of the senate, as both parties were afraid of each other, they entered into a treaty, or the appearance of agreement; and with joint consent it was agreed, that no enquiry Thould be made into the dictator's death; that all his acts should be confirmed, and his funeral performed at the public expence,
This last article was given in charge to Antony. He ascended the rostrum, pronounced the funeral oration, and exerted the whole power of his rhetoric to work on the paffions of the multitude. He read Cæsar's will in the presence of all the people, and expatiated largely on the love he bore them, and his generofity in bequeathing to each citizen a sum of moncy. He enumerated the many victories he had gained, the great conquests he had made, and the various nations he had subdued. Then he mentioned all the titles of honour which the republic had conferred upon him, his dictatorihip, h leveral consulships, and, above all, the glorious name of Father of his country. From thence he passed to his virtues, extolling his courage, his learning, his eloquence, his humaniiy, and clemency even to his enemies. After this, he repeated t" path which the people of Rome had taken te him, by which they swore, that his person should be sacred and inviolable, and that they would defend him at the hazard of their own lives. Then unfolding the bloody garment of Cæfar, he shewed them in how many places it was pierced, and exposed to their view the number of his wounds. When he found the people agitated with grief and anger,, he swore by the Gods of Rome, the protectors of the empire to revenge his death, and conjured them to favour him, in doing his duty to the Father of his country, and their kind benefactor. Resentment and rage succeeded to grief, and when the fire was put to the funeral pile, the people fiezed the firebrands, in order to burn the houses of the conspirators, against whom they now expressed the most bitter imprecations. As they had no arms, however, they were soon repulsed by a proper guard appointed to defend them.
The fenate and conspirators were equally offended at this artful speech of Antony; and complained, that the consul, contrary to the decree of the fenate, and his own promise had fo pathetically enlarged on the praises of Cæfar, with a view only to excite the rage of the people, and promote their ruin.' Brutus declared, " that he would willingly spend the remain< der of his days in banishment, provided Cæsar's creatures, « did not invade the public liberty.”