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CATO THE ELDER. Cato the Elder, in a speech to the people, inveighed against luxury and intemperance. How hard, said he, is it to persuade the belly, that hath no ears? And he wondered how that city was preserved wherein a fish was sold for more than an ox! Once he scoffed at the prevailing imperiousness of women: All other men, said he, govern their wives; but we command all other men, and our wives us. He said he had rather not be rewarded for his good deeds than not punished for his evil deeds; and at any time he could pardon all other offenders besides himself. He instigated the magistrates to punish all offenders, saying, that they that did not prevent crimes when they might encouraged them. Of young men, he liked them that blushed better than those who looked pale; and hated a soldier that moved his hands as he walked and his feet as he fought, and whose sneeze was louder than his outcry when he charged. He said, he was the worst governor who could not govern himself. It was his opinion that every one ought especially to reverence himself; for every one was always in his own presence. When he saw many had their statues set up, I had rather, says he, men should ask why Cato had no statue, [p. 234] than why he had one. He exhorted those in power to be sparing of exercising their power, that they might continue in power. They that separate honor from virtue, said he, separate virtue from youth. A governor, said he, or judge ought to do justice without entreaty, not injustice upon entreaty. He said, that injustice, if it did not endanger the authors, endangered all besides. He requested old men not to add the disgrace of wickedness to old age, which was accompanied with many other evils. He thought an angry man differed from a madman only in the shorter time which his passion endured. He thought that they who enjoyed their fortunes decently and moderately, were far from being envied; For men do not envy us, said he, but our estates. He said, they that were serious in ridiculous matters would be ridiculous in serious affairs. Honorable actions ought to succeed honorable sayings; Lest, said he, they lose their reputation. He blamed the people for always choosing the same men officers; For either you think, said he, the government little worth, or very few fit to govern. He pretended to wonder at one that sold an estate by the seaside, as if he were more powerful than the sea; for he had drunk up that which the sea could hardly drown. When he stood for the consulship, and saw others begging and flattering the people for votes, he cried out aloud: The people have need of a sharp physician and a great purge; therefore not the mildest but the most inexorable person is to be chosen. For which word he was chosen before all others. Encouraging young men to fight boldly, he oftentimes said, The speech and voice terrify and put to flight the enemy more than the hand and sword. As he warred against Baetica, he was outnumbered by the enemy, and in danger. The Celtiberians offered for two hundred talents to send him a supply, and the Romans would not suffer him to engage to pay wages to barbarians. You are out, said he; for if we overcome, [p. 235] not we but the enemy must pay them; if we are routed, there will be nobody to demand nor to pay either. Having taken more cities, as he saith, than he stayed days in the enemies' country, he reserved no more of the prey for himself than what he ate or drank. He distributed to every soldier a round of silver, saying, It was better many should return out of the campaign with silver than a few with gold; for governors ought to gain nothing by their governments but honor. Five servants waited on him in the army, whereof one had bought three prisoners; and understanding Cato knew it, before he came into his presence he hanged himself. Being requested by Scipio Africanus to befriend the banished Achaeans, that they might return to their own country, he made as if he would not be concerned in that business; but when the matter was disputed in the senate, rising up, he said: We sit here, as if we had nothing else to do but to argue about a few old Grecians, whether they shall be carried to their graves by our bearers or by those of their own country. Posthumus Albinus wrote a history in Greek, and in it begs the pardon of his readers. Said Cato, jeering him, If the Amphictyonic Council commanded him to write it, he ought to be pardoned.

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