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who was well acquainted and familiar with the peculiar feelings, partialities, and sympathies of an assembly of Roman citizens. We are aware, that it has been the opinion of some historical critics, that the introduction of this speech into the account of the rebuilding of Rome, and the importance attributed to it, and to an omen observed soon after, connected with the circumstances of the story, throw an air of fable over the whole transaction; or, at least, render it extremely improbable. Such objections, however, have originated, for the most part, with those who have had little personal knowledge of popular governments and popular assemblies. That to persons born and educated amidst institutions in most respects unlike those of Rome in the early ages, especially to those who have been accustomed to see the government everything, and the people nothing, many events should appear incredible, which yet proceeded from the very constitution of society in the Roman republic, need occasion no surprise. Early associations, as all acknowledge, have a lasting, and oftentimes a controlling influence over the judgment. But nothing is more evident, from the uniform testimony of antiquity, than that in small states, such as Rome then was, the most important concerns were managed in general assemblies under the direction of opposing orators, and that measures, which, for the time, would seem to threaten the existence of the state, after the ferment of discussion was over, would soon cease to attract attention or be forgotten. Everything would then proceed in the ordinary course, till some new tempest was excited by a breeze from another quarter.

But, however this may be, and whatever opinion we may form of the genuineness of the speech of Camillus, there are two popular harangues in this volume, taken from the thirtyfourth book of Livy, concerning which very little doubt can exist, that we have them essentially as they were pronounced in the Roman Forum. These are the addresses of the Consul Marcus Porcius Cato, and Lucius Valerius the tribune, on the proposition to abrogate the Oppian law. Cato, who is better known as Cato the Censor, had a high reputation for eloquence in his time. He began the business of public speaking at a very early age, and managed causes in the Forum without compensation; which circumstance, no doubt, promoted the rise of his popularity. The number of his friends and admirers rapidly increased, and in consequence he was advanced to the highest honors of the state. He gained so great celebrity by

his pleadings, that he was called the Roman Demosthenes, and he awakened an ardent zeal, among the youth of Rome, for the study of eloquence. Nearly fifty times during his life, he was publicly impeached for misdemeanors; and so fortunate, or so able, was he in defending himself, that in every instance he was triumphantly acquitted. Cato was the farthest from being a recluse, or an orator who spoke according to the precepts of the schools, and not according to rules which he had himself verified in his intercourse with the world. He adhered to the practice of the early Romans, in cultivating the ground with his own hands. He prepared his dinner without fire, and his suppers were of the most frugal kind. His dress was plain and unexpensive; he drank the same wine as his slaves; and this mode of life he followed even after his consulship and the honors of a triumph. He early applied himself to agriculture, and made it his amusement in old age. While in the country, he always invited some of his neighbors to sup with him, entertained them with his conversation, which often turned on the praises of the old Romans; and no one knew better how to apply facts and anecdotes, or had a greater number at command. From the remains of his work on agriculture, it is manifest, that, on these occasions, he could discourse also largely on soils, crops, and manures, the management of cattle, and the best modes of preserving oil and wine; could furnish receipts to make cakes, puddings, or sausages, explain the virtues of cabbage, and prescribe for various diseases which flesh is heir to. This kind of intercourse with his country neighbors necessarily led him to become acquainted with their dispositions, their prejudices, and partialities. Nor was he conversant alone with persons in the humbler ranks of life. Though Cato was alarmed at the introduction of the Greek philosophy into Rome, and predicted that the Romans would lose the empire of the world when Grecian literature once became prevalent among them, and was active in procuring a decree of the senate by which the Greek philosophers were expelled from the city, yet he learned Greek in his old age, and became himself a proficient in that very learning, which he had so much feared, and endeavored to destroy. A man, who was at the same time a warrior and a philosopher, a husbandman and an orator, and distinguished in whatever engaged his attention, must have had unusual opportunities of studying the human character in every rank of life; and an oration from such an individual must deeply interest our curiosity.

That there is good reason to believe, that the oration ascribed to Cato by Livy really belongs to the Censor, with inconsiderable variations, appears from what is said by Cicero. This great Roman orator, in his account of those among his countrymen who had became illustrious by their eloquence, speaks particularly of Cato. He compares him to Lysias, and thinks there is a striking resemblance between the two orators, in their acuteness, their elegance, their sprightly humor, and their brevity. He says that he had seen and read more than one hundred and fifty orations, which then remained of Cato's, and that they possessed the highest rhetorical excellencies. He admits, that the language of the Censor is somewhat antiquated, and that it partakes of the harshness and inelegance of the age in which the orations were composed; but adds, that if it were modernized and should receive the improvement of a more artificial and harmonious arrangement of words, no one would be preferred to Cato. These orations must have been in the possession of Livy; and that which he inserted in his history, was probably one of them, corrected in its style, and fitted in the mode of expression and in the structure of sentences to the taste of the times. The sentiments, the mode of reasoning, the popular cast of the whole discourse, suited, as it is throughout, to the feelings, humors, and prejudices of an assembly of the Roman people, are clearly what might be expected from such a source. Like the other specimens of the popular eloquence of the Romans, furnished by the same historian, it is confined strictly to the subject in view; there are no long digressions; and the connexion of everything said with the main design, is at once perceived.

The occasion of pronouncing the speech in question was this. When the war with Hannibal was at its height, and soon after the battle of Cannæ, so fatal to the commonwealth, a law had been introduced by Caius Oppius, a tribune of the people, by which it was enacted, that no woman should use for ornament more than half an ounce of gold, or wear a dress of different colors, or within the city or any town, or nearer the city than one mile, should ride in a carriage drawn by horses, except for attendance on some religious celebration. In the five hundred and fifty-seventh year of Rome, a proposition was made to repeal this law, on the ground, that as the republic was in a state of great prosperity, the original cause of the law no longer existed. Two of the plebeian tribunes were op

posed to the repeal, and supported the Oppian law with all their influence. Many of the nobles joined in the discussion, some for the law and others against it; and the Capitol was filled with crowds showing great ardor and zeal, but divided in their opinions. The women, who were determined not to be controlled by any common rules of decorum in a matter which so nearly concerned them, dispersed themselves through the streets of the city, thronged the avenues to the Forum, and besought the men, that in a time of so great public prosperity, this odious restriction on female ornaments might be removed. The throng of women was constantly on the increase, as their number was enlarged by arrivals from the neighboring villages. They proceeded so far as to make personal applications to the consuls, prætors, and other magistrates, and to conjure them to support their cause.

Cato was of course inexorable to their prayers. All his opinions and prejudices were in favor of the law. A man so temperate in his habits, so attached to the simple manners of the old Romans, and so hostile to luxury as the source of individual and national ruin, could not be supposed to look with patience on a measure, which so directly opposed all his notions of policy. The inroad which was threatened by this seditious movement of the women, on the ancient rigid domestic government of the Romans, must have excited his highest indignation. We accordingly see in his speech the stern and severe Roman, earnest and vehement, yet almost disdaining to discuss such a question in the ordinary way, and aiming to effect his object by insinuation, sarcasın, and strong expressions of contempt, as well as by argument. He begins his harangue in the following manner.

If each of us, Romans, had supported the proper rank and authority of a husband in his own family, insisting, as he ought, on the obedience and respect of his wife, we should now have less trouble with the whole sex. But because the law is given us at home, and we are there the slaves of female insolence, our independence even in the Forum is contemned and trampled on; and because we have been individually vanquished, we actually stand aghast now we see our wives assembled in a body. I had hitherto supposed, that it was a mere tale, that, in a certain island, the whole race of males was cut off, root and branch, by a conspiracy of the women. Nothing can be more dangerous to either men or women, than to permit these secret assemblies, this caballing and intriguing. I am not confident, whether these

machinations themselves, or the precedent they establish, should be considered more mischievous in their tendency. This female mutiny, whether it is a spontaneous act of the sex, or brought about by your instigation, tribunes, certainly implies fault in the magistracy, and I know not, whether it is more disgraceful to the tribunes or to the consuls. The shame belongs to you, tribunes, if these women are brought here to aid your seditious purposes; to us, if we suffer laws to be imposed on us by a secession of the women, as was formerly done by a secession of the common people. It was not without a deep sense of shame, that I just now entered the Forum through a press of females.' p. 251.

We cannot give this speech entire. The determined spirit of the orator appears from the very exordium, and his consuminate judgment in giving the discussion, at the onset, such a turn, as to excite in the minds of the hearers a contempt of his opponents. The insurrection of the women, under the lash of his tongue, savors of the ridiculous; and a preparation is obviously inade to secure a favorable hearing to what should follow. The allusion to the former secession of the commons to the Mons Sacer, must have been to a Roman audience extremely sarcastic. The orator proceeds to insinuate, that something still more intrusive is aimed at, than the repeal of the Oppian law; reminds the assembly under what salutary restraints females were placed by the ancient institutions of the country; and gives the men to understand, that if once the women acquire an equality of rights, the superiority of the sex will follow as a necessary consequence. The introduction of luxury and avarice was the thing which Cato dreaded; and to guard against so great an evil, he strongly urged the continuance of the law as necessary. He says,

You have often heard me, Romans, complaining of the profuse expenditures of the women, and also of the men, and not only of men in private life, but even of magistrates. I have told you, that the commonwealth was suffering from two opposite vices, avarice and luxury, plagues which have subverted the greatest empires. As the affairs of the republic are daily more flourishing, as we are enlarging our territories, as we have already passed over into Greece and Asia, which are opulent regions, abounding with the strongest temptations to indulgence, and as we are this moment handling the wealth of kings, I tremble, lest these treasures should gain a more entire mastery over us, than we over them. Believe me, Romans, the statues which have been brought into the city from Syracuse, threaten our ruin. I hear quite too

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