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his glory. For he thought Tyranny, as Cicero says, the greatest of goddesses; and had frequently in his mouth a verse of Euripides, which expressed the image of his soul, that is right and justice were ever to be violated, they were to be violated for the sake of reigning. This was the chief end and purpose of his life; the scheme that he had formed from his early youth : so that, as Cato truly declared of him,
he with sobriety and meditation to the subversion of the republic. He used to say, that there were two things necessary to acquire and to support power; soldiers and money; which yet depended mutually on each other: with money therefore he provided soldiers and with soldiers extorted money : and was of all men the most rapacious in plundering both friends and foes; sparing neither prince nor state nor temple, nor even private persons , who were known to possess any share of treasure. His great abilities would necessarily have made him one of the first citizens of Rome ; but disdaining the condition of a subject, he could never rest, 'till he had made himself a monarch. In act, ing this last part, his usual prudence seemed to fail him ; as if the height to which he was mounted had turned his head, and made him giddy; for, by a vain ostentation of his power, he destroyed the stability of it; and as men shorten life by living too
so by an intemperance of reigning , he brought his reign to a violent end.
CHARACTER OF CATO.
If we consider the character of Cato without prejudice , he was certainly a great and worthy man; a friend to truth , virtue, liberty : yet falsely measuring all duty by the absurd rigour of the stoical rule; he was generally disappointed of the end which he sought by it, the happiness both of his private and public life. In his private conduct , he was severe, morose, inexorable ; banishing all the softer affections, as natural enemies to justice, and as suggesting false motives of acting, from favour, clemency, and compassion : in public affairs he was the same ; had but one rule of policy, to adhere to what was right without regard to times or circumstances, or even to a force
that could controul him : for instead of managing the power of the great, so as to mitigate the ill, or extract any good from it, he was urging it always to acts of violence by a perpetual defiance; so that, with the best intentions in the world , he often did great harm to the republic. This was his general behaviour ; yet , from some particular facts, it appears that his strength of mind was not always impregnable, but had its weak places of pride , ambition, and party zeal ; which when managed, and flattered to a certain point , would betray him sometimes into measures contrary to his ordinary rule of right and truth. The last act of his life was agreeable to his nature and philosophy: when he could no longer be, what he had been ; or when the ills of life overbalanced the good , which, by the principles of his sect, was a just cause for dying; he put an end to his life, with a spirit and resolution , which would make one imagine, that he was glad to have found an occasion of dying in his proper character. On the whole, his life was rather admirable, than amiable; fit to be praised, rather than imitated.
The three sects which chiefly engrossed the philosophical part of Rome, were, the Stoic, the Epicurean , and the Academic; and the chief ornaments of each were, , Atticus , and Cicero; who lived together in strict friendship, and a mutual esteem of each other's virtue; but the different behaviour of these three will shew, by fact and example, the different merit of their several principles, and which of them was the best adapted to promote the good of society.
The Stoics were the bigots or enthusiasts in philosophy; who held none to be truly wise or good but themselves; placed perfect happiness in virtue , tho' stript of every other good ; affirmed all sins to be equal; all deviations from right equally wicked , to kill a dunghill-cock without reason, the same crime as to kill a parent; that a wise man could never forgive ; never be moved by anger, favour , or pity; never be deceived; never repent; never change his mind. With these principles, Cato entered into public life; and acted in it, as Cicero says , « as if he had lived in the polity of Plato, » not in the dregs of Romulus. » He made no distinction of times or things ; no allowance for the weakuess of the republic , and the power of those who oppressed it; it was his maxim, to combat all power not built upon the laws, or to defy it at least, if he could not controul it; he knew no way to his end, but the direct; and whatever obstructions he met with , resolved still to
and either to surmount them, or perish in the attempt; taking it for a baseness,
and confession of being conquered, to decline a tittle from the true road. In an age therefore of the utmost libertinism when the public discipline was lost , and the government itself tottering, he struggled with the same zeal against all corruption, and waged a perpetual war with a superior force; whilst the rigour of his principles tended rather to alienate friends , than reconcile enemies; and by provoking the power that he could not subdue , helped 10 haslen that ruin which he was striving to
rush on ;