As might be expected, there are sometimes debates as to the true constitutional doctrine on points of detail, and curious exceptions of the kind that prove the rule. Just as in England during the reigns of the Georges the prerogative of mercy was held to be in a special manner the personal affair of the Sovereign, and just as at the present day there is some diversity of opinion as to where prerogative ends and where Parliamentary power begins in the government of the army and in the conduct of foreign affairs, so we find during the best times of the Roman Republic that, while a magistrate who brings a question of peace or war before the people is held to have acted novo maloque exemplo,'* and his attempt is promptly suppressed, and while the Senate successfully resists the intrigue even of so popular a consul as the elder Scipio Africanus to have a province allotted to him by the people, yet, when the question is of making a grant of the citizenship, the tribune who proposes the measure is able to overcome the objection that he has not obtained the concurrence of the Senate.† There remains the question, supposing such constitutional rules to be disregarded, what is the sanction by which they are to be enforced? In England the ultima ratio' is the refusal of Parliament to pass the Mutiny Act or to grant supplies. In Rome it was the use of the veto and the auspices to stop any action of which the Senate did not approve. The excessive and individual powers granted to each separate magistrate thus practically cancelled one another. The Senate was sure to be able to secure the support of at least one of the tribunes or other superior magistrates, and this one was sufficient to paralyse any unconstitutional action on the part of his colleagues. The report of an unfavourable omen (obnuntiatio) was in the later Republic generally preferred to the veto (intercessio), apparently because the latter required the actual physical presence of the opposing magistrate, whereas the former could be conveyed by message. Both were, no doubt, clumsy expedients, and lay themselves open to the sneers of Mr. Froude (p. 175).

Curio nunquam sustinuisset si cum eo agi coeptum esset' (ad Att. VII. vii. 5). Elsewhere he reproaches Antony (Philip. II. § 52)' quod secum de Senatus auctoritate agi non passus est.'

*Livy, xlv. 21: Sed prætor novo maloque exemplo rem ingressus erat, quod ante non consulto senatu, non consulibus certioribus factis, de sua unius sententia rogationem ferret, vellent juberentne Rhodiis bellum indici; cum antea semper prius senatus consultus esset, deinde ex auctoritate patrum ad populum latum.' † Livy, xxxviii. 36 (of the enfranchisement of Arpinum): Huic rogationi quattuor tribuni plebis, quia non ex auctoritate senatus ferretur, cum intercederent, edocti populi esse non senatus jus suffragii quibus velit impertire, destiterunt incepto.'


The tribunes pronounced their veto. Bibulus said that he had consulted the sky, the gods forbade further action being taken that day, and he declared the assembly dissolved. Nay, as if a man like Cæsar could be stopped by a shadow, he proposed to sanctify the whole remainder of the year, that no further business might be transacted in it. Yells drowned his voice. The mob rushed upon the steps; Bibulus was thrown down, and the rods of the lictors were broken; the tribunes who had betrayed their order were beaten. Cato held his ground, and stormed at Cæsar, till he was led off by the police, raving and gesticulating. The law was then passed, and a resolution besides that every senator should take an oath to obey it.'

The intercessio' and 'obnuntiatio' were methods of coercion which had been handed down from antiquity, and which had long acted as a salutary check, restraining the eccentricities for which the Roman constitution gave too much scope. Our ancestors found the refusal of supplies a sufficient instrument for the assertion of their liberties, and we keep the same weapon in reserve, conscious that it would be very awkward to use, and hoping that we may never have to use it. Unhappily the Roman Government was too often called on to appeal to these its last resorts, and it found that, however effective they may have been in early times, their adversaries now heeded the law as little as the constitutional custom. When Tiberius Gracchus, with the best intentions no doubt, and under the severest provocation, set aside the veto of his colleague Octavius, he began the period of anarchy, which destroyed the free State. When Cæsar as consul refused to submit to the perfectly legal and constitutional action of his colleague Bibulus, in forbidding him to proceed with his measures, he transgressed just in the same way as Charles I. when he met the stoppage of supplies by levying ship-money without consent of Parliament. Cicero, speaking in later years of the governorship of Gaul, obtained in this manner by Cæsar, calls it, and with perfect truth, a term of power assigned you not by the law, but by your own goodwill and pleasure.' It was a question whether laws so carried were not absolutely null and void; it was certain that Cæsar had incurred the penalties of treason in his method of carrying them. From this time forward there was no safety for Cæsar except in a position from which he could dominate the State. If he descended again to the rank of a citizen, he was certain to be called to account and punished. Mr. Froude shows an utter

In his remarks on Tib. Gracchus (p. 23) Mr. Froude seems to have grasped the true import of the veto; but it is another thing when it comes to be used against Cæsar.


misunderstanding of the situation when he says of Cato (p. 421), 'He was one of those who were most eager to impeach Cæsar for the acts of his consulship, though the acts themselves were such as, if they had been done by another, he would himself have most warmly approved.' The acts were the destruction of the Republican constitution and the assertion of despotic methods of government, and Cato, who believed that the law ought to be supreme, was bound to war against them to the death.

Let us return for a moment to Pompey's conduct at this juncture. All the world knew that Cæsar was as yet a dangerous power, only because he was backed by Pompey, that Cæsar's measures were brought forward in consultation with Pompey, and that some of them were proposed in Pompey's interest. Yet he was foolish enough to think that he could take advantage of Cæsar's illegalities without personally committing himself to

them :

'He takes refuge behind quibbles;' writes Cicero, 'that he approves the substance of Cæsar's laws, but that Cæsar is to answer for his own actions; that the agrarian law was to his mind-whether or not a veto may possibly have been laid on it, is no concern of his; that he is glad something is settled at last about King Ptolemy; whether or not Bibulus had observed omens on that occasion it had not been his business to inquire; that for the tax-farmers, he had been willing to serve the interests of that order; what would be the consequence of Bibulus' appearance in the Forum on that occasion he could not have prophesied.'*

This constant timidity and inability to speak his mind affected not only the policy but the manners of Pompey, and the impression which his personal bearing made on his contemporaries. He covered his want of resources by a silence which might be supposed to conceal reserved stores of wisdom. But, as so often happens, impertinent questioners intruded within the veil, and proclaimed aloud that the hidden treasure was an imposture. Faults of manner and want of tact in personal relations may prevent a man receiving the credit due to him for solid virtues and great political obligations. It was so with Pompey. In spite of the pledges he had given of his loyalty, his weakness made his contemporaries fancy him an insincere man. The quick-witted Calius writes to Cicero: If you have come across Pompey, as you hoped you would, pray write me what impression he made on you, what he said to you, and what sort of intentions he manifested, for his habit is to say one thing and mean another, and yet not to have wit enough to conceal what his real purpose

* Ad Att. II. xvi. 2.


Pompey had no geniality and no appreciation of geniality in others; he never felt the charm of Cicero's character and society, which had such an attraction for Cæsar, and he received coldly the devotion which Cicero so freely accorded him. He was devoid likewise of the partisan loyalty, far more attractive than mere probity, which is so conspicuous in his great rival. While Cæsar declares, that if he had made use of foot-pads and assassins in asserting his cause, to them too he would never fail in giving a fair recompense,'t Pompey takes up Cicero and lays him down again merely as it suits his own political convenience. We can hardly say that it was criminal in him to permit, after the encouragement he had shown him, that Cicero should be driven into exile, but it was the act of a man who had not any delicacy of feeling or keen sense of personal honour. Cicero, in turn, has left us in his private correspondence many an indication of how Pompey's conduct hurt his sensitive nature. Cicero deliberately approved Pompey, as a man of honesty and capacity: he considered that in him lay the only hope for the State, and be was firmly resolved not to break with this last chance. But he evidently never succeeded in really liking him. His record of Pompey's death presents us with a fair and candid judgment, but no note of personal sorrow. 'I cannot but lament his fate,' he writes; for I have learnt to know in him a man of moral worth, of unstained honesty, and of pure life.' Something not very far from this must, we think, be the verdict of history. It is an estimable but not a loveable or an admirable character.

It is almost a matter of course that Cicero should receive scant favour at the hands of Mommsen and his political school. The life and actions of the man are viewed through the distorted medium of party feeling. I cannot forget,' says Mr. Beesly, that he took the wrong side in the politics of his country-nay that he hired himself to do the work of a vile party.' In the same spirit Mr. Froude, in every situation, assumes a 'right' and a 'wrong' side, the right being of course always the side of Cæsar. We could willingly pause awhile over an attempt to do some justice to the memory of Cicero by showing the futility of a criticism based on such a foundation. But we must not forget that Cæsar and not Cicero is the subject of our discussion, and that it is time to come to issue with Mr. Froude on this, his main topic. We may leave Cicero with the less regret since his cause has been ably pleaded by Mr. Tyrrell, who has courage to resist the prevailing Casar-worship, and to show a warm and loyal appreciation of Cicero.

* Ad Fam. VIII. i. 3.

† Suet. Jul. 72.

Ad Att. XI. vi. 5.


The popular view of Cæsar has swung round through a great orbit of change since the stern indignation with which Dr. Arnold wrote, that if from the intellectual we turn to the moral character of Cæsar, the whole range of history can hardly furnish a picture of greater deformity.' The signs of the change may be read in the somewhat unsubstantial paragraphs in which Dean Merivale records his judgment:

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'The disposition and conduct of the great man we have been contemplating correspond faithfully with the intellectual and moral developement of the age of which he was the most perfect representative. He combined literature with action, humanity with sternness, free-thinking with superstition, energy with voluptuousness, a noble and liberal ambition with a fearful want of moral principle.'* The general principle which pervades his measures is the elevation of a middle class of citizens to constitute the ultimate source of all political authority. The ostensible ruler of the State is to be in fact the creation of this body, its favourite, its patron, its legislator, and its captain. To this body he is to owe his political existence. He is to watch over the maintenance of an equilibrium of popular forces, checking with the same firm hand the discontent of the depressed nobility, and the encroachments of the aspiring rabble. The eternal principles of rule and order he is to assert as sacred and immutable; but he is to be himself responsible for their application at his own discretion to the varying wants of society.'†

We cannot think that much is gained by historical writing of this kind, and we doubt if the words cover any core of solid. meaning; but they are instructive as an evidence of the drift of opinion regarding the Roman Revolution. We have here to deal however with a school of writers of a far more pronounced creed, with whom the perfection of Cæsar is an article of faith. The new light of the present race of Roman historians was anticipated by the flashes of De Quincey's paradox. The doctrines of Cæsarism have since been worked out and systematized by the English Positivists. Comte had decreed the canonization of Cæsar, as the overthrower of the free political system of the ancients, which was hated of Comte's soul. Unless we are mistaken, Cæsar has a whole month dedicated to his adoration in the Positivist Calendar; and this we suppose is sufficient to account for the incense burned to him by Dr. Congreve and Mr. Beesly. But by far the ablest representative of the Neo-Cæsareans is Mommsen, who lavishes on the exaltation of his hero all the resources of a wonderfully versatile genius, and of a learning

*Merivale, History of the Romans under the Empire,' vol. iii. p. 11 (Ed. 1869). † Ib. vol. ii. p. 387. Vol. 148.-No. 296.

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