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sudden ups and downs. But that he was capable of thinking and feeling thus at some times is unquestionable ; and this is a truth which we cannot afford to lose.
The other letters of Cicero- Ad Familiares-exhibit him generally in a more pleasing light. Middleton, Niebuhr, the Abbè Mongault, Melmoth, Merivale, De Quincey, and Forsyth, have given eloquent testimony to their charm, elegance, and variety, and to the perennial interest which attaches to them. Starting from widely different standpoints; bearing the outflow of shifting moods; disclosing the inmost thoughts of a sleepless intellect; the aims, the plans, and the deeds of an agile protagonist in the world's arena, and the recesses of a morbidly impressible spirit ; reflecting constantly, and often with a naive unconsciousness, the hot temper of the times ; addressed to all classes, for every conceivable purpose, in every variety of tone and diction ;
, accommodating themselves with singular felicity to the idiosyncrasies of each correspondent-these letters remain the delight of each succeeding age. They embody, still fresh for us, the culture of the scholar, the speculations of the philosopher, the views of the statesman, the periods of the orator, the gusts and schemes of the politician, the countless activities of the man of the world, the thoughts of the moralist, the opinions and sentiments of the connoisseur, the otium cum dignitate of the gentleman-farmer, the raillery of the wit, the tastes, digestion, and experience of the accomplished diner-out, the quick thoughts of the supple conversationist, and the tout ensemble of the citizen and man of family. Combined with these, it is pleasant to find
always the tact, oftentimes the delicacy and sensitiveness, and now and then the tenderness and sympathy, of woman, And it gives us no inferior joy to catch glimpses of fine golden threads running here and there, twisted of the sportive freshness, the fun, the frank simplicity, and the artless prattle of childhood. We see him, in short, running over the gamut of thoughts, sentiments, and moods, scandal, and all manner of gossip, sound sense and delightful nonsense. Forsyth speaks of his letters as harping ever on the vanity of ambition and the worthlessness of popular applause, and says: “We would not willingly exchange that letter to Atticus, in which he says of himself that he knows he has acted like a “genuine donkey” (me
a asinum germanum fuisse), for the stiffest and most elaborate of his political epistles.' He gives an inside view of his real opinions about politics, measures, and men, exhibiting (often
times, a singular running commentary on his opinions as advocated in public; chats, weeps, grovels,' and grows ecstatic in his domestic scribblings to Terentia and Tullia ; discusses wit, mooldy cheese, sausages, literature, epicurism, and good cookery with Papirius Pætus; tells many friends of his fasts, feasts, and dietings, his love for this or that dish, what his notions are about the science of good cheer, and writes from the very midst of a banquet to say how dearly he loves festivity-albeit he is not addicted to gallantry; tells Varro how he reads and walks, what he is studying, thinking about, and writing ; does not scruple to boast freely of his own great deeds, possibly boring his correspondents not a little with the familiar egotism; descants unreservedly on the excellence of his own letters, justly remarking that much of their merit is derived from their great resemblance to conversation; writes, in forma mendicantis, to Lucceius one of the most absurd letters ever left behind by a great man, begging for an extravagant laudation of his own consulship, measures, and deeds, in the history which Lucceius is proposing to write ; and then, being much gratified with this singular performance, writes to Atticụs to ask Lucceius for the privilege of a squint at the epistolary treasure ; eats his own words, stoutly denies having had anything to do with the scandal which his hand had actually penned, and contradicts in one letter what he had just written in another; convicts himself of duplicity and insincerity towards Cato, Pompey, Cæsar, Antony, Črasus, Appius, Pulcher, Piso, Gabinius, Vatinius, Ptolemy, and others, and even on one occasion towards his best loved friend Atticus; and writes much special pleading to Lentulus to vindicate his consistency; writes to his dear freedman Tiro missives running over with affection,—on one occasion despatching three within twenty-four hours, and brimful of commissions, advice, and vagaries,-giving directions regarding business, the house, the library, the copyists, health, and regimen, sending an artistic cook for the greater well-being of the faithful servitor, and always professing undying attachment; praises the country, and longs for retirement, and says that Rome is the only place—there's no place like Rome; beseeches Cælius to send all the gossip of the metropolis to the exiled proconsul in Cilicia, promising in return the desired panthers and other favors ; talks with Fabius Gallus about his pictures and statues, vents his spleen freely on bis intimates when in the mood, and jokes in every vein of wit and
humor with Atticus, Volumnius, Cornificius, Valerius the pettifogger, Papirius, and the much-quizzed Trebatius, a Roman barrister in full practice among British barbarians; proposes to one correspondent that each should write under an alias, and with another, agrees upon private marks in his letters to indicate the real weight to be attached to his recommendations of particular persons; now attests himself free from vainglory, then confesses his immoderate love of praise, and proves his consistency by continually setting forth his great deeds, and always fishing for compliments; introduces neat little dissertations concerning philosophy, statecraft, men, business, pleasure, morals, manners, laughter, and all sorts of agreeable trifles, as well as de omni scibili ; dating his versatile effusions at all hours and from all places, before sunrise, in the garden, the study, the senate-chamber, at a friend's house, from a dinner party, in the midst of an argument, oration, official duties, or authorship, from his town-residence and his dozen different country-seats, from all parts of Italy and the regions round about, and from far Cilicia.
We have aimed in this article, as our title indicates, to present the negative side of Cicero, rather than the positive. and from this stand-point it seems to us a deeper insight and a clearer conception of his real character may be gained than from
other; for as a man he was by nature more distinguished by what he was not in point of character than by what he was. Still the true complement to our view would be one from the other side, representing whatever was positive in him and in his relations to the world. De Quincey remarks, that in the revolution of the republic the only great actor who stood upon the authority of his character, was Cicero. This may be true or not according as it is taken ; according-employing the distinction set forth above—as we conceive the word character as denoting a moral or a voluntary element. True if character means comparative freedom from vice and personal purity; not true if it implies the magnetic will, and indicates the existence of traits in themselves distinctive, positive, and salient in any degree. Cicero carried no weight: there seemed nothing behind him. Once, descanting on the character of Cato, he spoke of him as one whose weight of opinion was equal to one hundred thousand. But Cicero' himself calls to mind the man from Crotona, whose opinions bad little authority, but who spoke as if he had come from a great city. Mommsen's stern dissection of the nerveless orator may not be entirely just; but he is not far from the truth when he says, that in the politics of the time Cicero's authority carried no weight; that as a statesman he was "ohne Ein. sicht, Ansicht, und Absicht."
Art. VI.-1. How our National Debt may be a National Blessing,
&c. By SAMUEL WILKESON. Issued by Jay Cooke, General Subscription Agent of the Government Loans. Pamphlet.
Philadelphia, 1865. 2. An Inquiry concerning the Rise and Progress, the Redemption
and Present State and the Management of the National Debt of Great Britain. Fourth Edition. By ROBERT HAMILTON, LL.D.,
F.R.S.E. Edinburgh. 3. Elements of a Plan for the Liquidation of the National Debt of
Great Britain, &c. By RICHARD HEATHFIELD. London. 4. Histoire financière de France. Histoire financière d'Angleterre.
Par M. BAILLY. Paris. 5. Du Systeme financier. Paris.
On no subject have political economists differed so much as on the influence of a large public debt on the interests of the nation. The author of the pamphlet at the head of this article is by no means peculiar in the opinion that “a national debt may be a national blessing." Statesmen like William Pitt and the late Sir Robert Peel have maintained the same theory, although only when in need of money for other purposes. But Mr. Wilkeson makes a very serious omission; he assigns no reasons, adduces no arguments, exhibits no authorities in support of his statements. If asking, emperor, or president takes up his pen to advocate views which are at variance with those entertained by the general public, it becomes incumbent on him to make some effort to
rove that he is right. The most illustrious statesmen or lawgivers have not considered themselves exempt from this duty. Any one who does must not wonder if he is misunderstood, misrepresented, or even ridiculed. There is many an important fact which, if stated dogmatically, without any • explanation of the principles upon which it is founded, would seem ridiculous even to intelligent men; whereas, if the
person putting it forward took the pains to explain those most ready to sneer might be the first to adopt his views instead of laughing at him.
However, we like the spirit in which the pamphlet is written; if it is not exactly true that a national debt is a national blessing, it is better that we should regard it in that light than as a national curse, which would excite discouragement and discontent.
If one gets his arm broken, it is much more philosophical for him to thank God that it was not his neck, and go to the surgeon as soon as he can, than to sit down and whine and tell his friends how unfortunate he has been, until mortification sets in.
Even when a debt has been needlessly contracted, it is much better to try to pay it off good humoredly than to grumble over it. But has not our debt been unavoidable ? What will justify a nation in borrowing if not the preservation of its life? If an individual pays any amount, however great, to save his life, when he could not have saved it at a less price, would not any one who grumbled at his doing so show that he valued the money more than his friend ? It has cost us a considerable number of millions, it is true, to save the Republic from dismemberment, but is it not worth a hundred times as many more ?
The only fair questions then are, Is the management of the debt in judicious and trustworthy hands? Will it be increased as little as possible? Are all proper means to be adopted for its liquidation in a reasonable time? We think there are few who, from the experience of the past, will not answer at least the first and second query in the affirmative. It is this fact which gives Mr. Wilkeson’s pamphlet all the importance it possesses; had it come to us bearing on its title-page the names of officials or agents who had misused or mismanaged the public money, we should either have thrown it aside altogether, or denounced it as we do every performance that reaches us, whose object it is, in our opinion, to impose on public credulity.
We will now proceed to examine Mr. Wilkeson's pamphlet, and try to do so in a fair and candid spirit, cheerfully accepting as truth whatever we can regard in that light, but as freely pointing out error wherever we think we detect it. First, we are presented with a table of the indebtedness of the four great powers of Europe, together with that of the United States, the interest paid by each government, &c., which we copy :