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When Cæsar had ended his speech, the rest briefly expressed their assent,1 some to one speaker, and some to another, in support of their different proposals; but Marcius Porcius Cato, being asked his opinion, made a speech to the following purport:

"My feelings, Conscript Fathers, are extremely different,2 when I contemplate our circumstances and dangers, and when I revolve in my mind the sentiments of some who have spoken before me. Those speakers, as it seems to me, have considered only how to punish the traitors who have raised war against their country, their parents, their altars, and their homes;3 but the state of affairs warns us rather to secure ourselves against them, than to take counsel as to what sentence we should pass upon them. Other crimes you may punish after they have been committed; but as to this, unless you prevent its commission, you will, when it has once taken effect, in vain appeal to justice.4 When the city is taken, no power is left to the vanquished.

"But, in the name of the immortal gods, I call upon you, who have always valued your mansions and villas, your statues and pictures, at a higher price than the welfare of your country; if you wish to preserve those possessions, of whatever kind they are, to which you are attached; if you wish to secure quiet for the enjoyment of your pleasures, arouse yourselves, and act in defense of your country. We are not now debating on the revenues, or on injuries done to our allies, but our liberty and our life is at stake.

"Often, Conscript Fathers, have I spoken at great length in this assembly; often have I complained of the luxury and avarice of our citizens, and, by that very means, have incurred the displeasure of many. I, who never excused to myself, or to my own conscience, the commission of any fault, could not easily pardon the misconduct,5 or indulge the licentiousness, of others. But though you little regarded my remonstrances, yet the republic remained secure; its own strength6 was proof against your remissness. The question, however, at present under discussion, is not whether we live in a good or a bad state of morals; nor how great, or how splendid, the empire of the Roman people is; but whether these things around us, of whatever value they are, are to continue our own, or to fall, with ourselves, into the hands of the enemy.

"In such a case, does any one talk to me of gentleness and compassion? For some time past, it is true, we have lost the real name of things;7 for to lavish the property of others is called generosity, and audacity in wickedness is called heroism; and hence the state is reduced to the brink of ruin. But let those, who thus misname things; be liberal, since such is the practice, out of the property of our allies; let them be merciful to the robbers of the treasury; but let them not lavish our blood, and, while they spare a few criminals, bring destruction on all the guiltless.

"Caius CAæsar, a short time ago, spoke in fair and elegant language,8 before this assembly, on the subject of life and death; considering as false, I suppose, what is told of the dead; that the bad, going a different way from the good, inhabit places gloomy, desolate, dreary, and full of horror. He accordingly proposed that the property of the conspirators should be confiscated, and themselves kept in custody in the municipal towns; fearing, it seems, that, if they remain at Rome, they may be rescued either by their accomplices in the conspiracy, or by a hired mob; as if, forsooth, the mischievous and profligate were to be found only in the city, and not through the whole of Italy, or as if desperate attempts would not be more likely to succeed where there is less power to resist them. His proposal, therefore, if he fears any danger from them, is absurd; but if, amid such universal terror, he alone is free from alarm, it the more concerns me to fear for you and myself.

"Be assured, then, that when you decide on the fate of Lentulus and the other prisoners, you at the same time determine that of the army of Catilihe, and of all the conspirators. The more spirit you display in your decision, the more will their confidence be diminished; but if they shall perceive you in the smallest degree irresolute, they will advance upon you with fury.

"Do not suppose that our ancestors, from so small a commencement, raised the republic to greatness merely by force of arms. If such had been the case, we should enjoy it in a most excellent condition;9 for of allies and citizens,10 as well as arms and horses, we have a much greater abundance than they had. But there were other things which made them great, but which among us have no existence; such as industry at home, equitable government abroad, and minds impartial in council, uninfluenced by any immoral or improper feeling. Instead of such virtues, we have luxury and avarice; public distress, and private superfluity; we extol wealth, and yield to indolence; no distinction is made between good men and bad; and ambition usurps the honors due to virtue. Nor is this wonderful; since you study each his individual interest, and since at home you are slaves to pleasure, and here to money or favor; and hence it happens that an attack is made on the defenseless state.

"But on these subjects I shall say no more. Certain citizens, of the highest rank, have conspired to ruin their country; they are engaging the Gauls, the bitterest foes of the Roman name, to join in a war against us; the leader of the enemy is ready to make a descent upon us; and do you hesitate, even in such circumstances, how to treat armed incendiaries arrested within your walls? I advise you to have mercy upon them11 they are young men who have been led astray by ambition; send them away, even with arms in their hands. But such mercy, and such clemency, if they turn those arms against you, will end in misery to yourselves. The case is, assuredly, dangerous, but you do not fear it; yes, you fear it greatly, but you hesitate how to act, through weakness and want of spirit, waiting one for another, and trusting to the immortal gods, who have so often preserved your country in the greatest dangers. But the protection of the gods is not obtained by vows and effeminate supplications; it is by vigilance, activity, and prudent measures, that general welfare is secured. When you are once resigned to sloth and indolence, it is in vain that you implore the gods; for they are then indignant and threaten vengeance.

"In the days of our forefathers, Titus Manlius Torquatus, during a war with the Gauls, ordered his own son to be put to death, because he had fought with an enemy contrary to orders. That noble youth suffered for excess of bravery; and do you hesitate what sentence to pass on the most inhuman of traitors? Perhaps their former life is at variance with their present crime. Spare, then, the dignity of Lentulus, if he has ever spared his own honor or character, or had any regard for gods or for men. Pardon the youth of Cethegus, unless this be the second time that he has made war upon his country.12 As to Gabinius, Statilius, Cæparius, why should I make any remark upon them? Had they ever possessed the smallest share of discretion, they would never have engaged in such a plot against their country.

"In conclusion, Conscript Fathers, if there were time to amend an error, I might easily suffer you, since you disregard words, to be corrected by experience of consequences. But we are beset by dangers on all sides; Catiline, with his army, is ready to devour us;13 while there are other enemies within the walls, and in the heart of the city; nor can any measures be taken, or any plans arranged, without their knowledge. The more necessary is it, therefore, to act with promptitude. What I advise, then, is this: that since the state, by a treasonable combination of abandoned citizens, has been brought into the greatest peril; and since the conspirators have been convicted on the evidence of Titus Volturcius, and the deputies of the Allobroges, and on their own confession, of having concerted massacres, conflagrations, and other horrible and cruel outrages, against their fellow-citizens and their country, punishment be inflicted, according to the usage of our ancestors, on the prisoners who have confessed their guilt, as on men convicted of capital crimes."

1 LII. The rest briefly expressed their assent, etc.] “Cæteri verbo, alius alii, variè assentiebantur. Verbo assentiebantur” signifies that they expressed their assent merely by a word or two, as assentior Silano, assentior Tiberio Neroni, aut Cæsari, the three who had already spoken. Variè, "in support of their different proposals."

2 My feelings, Conscript Fathers, are extremely different, etc.] “Longè mihi alia mens est, P. C.,” etc. The commencement of Cato's speech is evidently copied from the beginning of the third Olynthiac of Demosthenes: ᾿Ουχὶ ταῦτα παρίσταταί μοι γινώσκειν, ὔνδρεζ ᾿Αθηναῖι, ὅταν τε ἐις τὺ πρύγματα ὐποβλέψω καὶ ὅταν πρὸζ τοὺζ λόγουζ ὁὺζ ὐκούω τοὺζ υὲν γὰρ λόγουζ περὶ τοῦ τιμωρήσασθαι Φίλιππον ὁρὧ γιγνομένουζ, τὺ δὲ πρύγματα ἐιζ τοῦτο προήκοντα ὥστε ὅπωζ μὴ πεισὸμεθα ἀντοὶ πρότερον κακῶζ σκέψασθαι δέον. “"I am by no means affected in the same manner, Athenians, when I review the state of our affairs, and when I attend to those speakers who have now declared their sentiments. They insist that we should punish Philip, but our affairs, situated as they now appear, warn us to guard against the dangers with which we ourselves are threatened."” Leland.

3 Their altars and their homes] “Aris atque focis suis.” "When aræ and foci are joined, beware of supposing that they are to be distinguished as referring the one (aræ) to the public temples, and the other (foci) to private dwellings. * * * Both are to be understood of private houses, in which the ara belonged to the Dii Penates, and was placed in the impluvium in the inner part of the house; the focus was dedicated to the lares, and was in the halt." Ernesti, Clav. Cic., sub. v. Ara. Of the commentators on Sallust, Kritzius is, I believe, the only one who has concurred in this notion of Ernesti; Langius and Dietsch (with Cortius) adhere to the common opinion that aræ are the public altars. Dietsch refers, for a complete refutation of Ernesti, to G. A. B. Hertzberg de Diis Romanorum Penatibus, Halæ, 1840, p. 64; a book which I have not seen. Certainly, in the observation of Cicero ad Att., vii. 11, "Non est respublica in parietibus, sed in aris et focis," aræ must be considered (as Schiller observes) to denote the public altars and national religion. See Schiller's Lex. v. Ara.

4 In vain appeal to justice] “Frusta judicia implores.Judicia, trials, to procure the inflictions of legal penalties.

5 Could not easily pardon the misconduct, etc.] “Hand facile alterius lubidini maleafacta condonabam.” "Could not easily forgive the licentiousness of another its evil deeds."

6 Yet the republic remained secure; its own strength, etc.] “Tamen respublica firma, opulentia neglegentiam tolerabat.” This is Cortius's reading; some editors, as Havercamp, Kritzius, and Dietsch, insert erat after firma. Whether opulentia is the nominative or ablative, is disputed. "Opulentia," says Allen, "casum sextum intellige, et repete respublica (ad tolerabat)." "Opulentia," says Kritzius, "melius nominativo capiendum videtur; nam que sequuntur verba novam enunciationem efficient." I have preferred to take it as a nominative.

7 We have lost the real names of things, etc.] Imitated from Thuydides, iii. 32: Και τὴν ἐιωθὺιαν ὐξιωσιν τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐζ τὺ ἔργα ἀντήλλαξαν τἧ δικαιώσει. Τόλμα μὲν γὰρ ἀλόγιστος, ἀνσρία φιλέταιρος ἐνομίσθη, μελλμσιζ τε προμηθὴς, σειγια ἐυπρεπὴς τὸ δὲ σὼφρον, τοῦ ανάνδρου πρόσχημα, κὰι τὸ πρὸς ἄπαν συνετὸν, ἐπὶ πἀν ἀργόν. "The ordinary meaning of words was changed by then as they thought proper. For reckless daring was regarded as courage that was true to its friends; prudent delay, as specious cowardice; moderation, as a cloak for unmanliness; being intelligent in every thing, as being useful for nothing." Dale's translation: Bohn's Classical Library.

8 Elegant language] “Compositè.” See above, c. 51.

9 In a most excellent condition] “Multo pulcherrumam.” See c. 36.

10 For of allies and citizens, etc.] Imitated from Demosthenes, Philipp tn. 4.

11 I advise you to have mercy upon them] “Misereamini censeo,” i.e., censeo ut misereamini, spoken ironically. Most translators have taken the words in the sense of "You would take pity on them, I suppose," or something similar.

12 Unless this be the second time that he has made war upon his country] “"Cethegus first made war ou his country in conjunction with Marius."” Bernouf. Whether Sallust alludes to this, or intimates (as Gerlach thinks) that he was engaged in the first conspiracy, is doubtful.

13 Is ready to devour us] “Faucibus urget.” Cortius, Kritzius, Gerlach, Burnouf, Allen, and Dietsch, are unanimous in interpreting this as a metaphorical expression, alluding to a wild beast with open jaws ready to spring upon its prey. They support this interpretation by Val. Max., v. 3: "Faucibus apprehensam rempublicam;" Cic. pro. Cluent., 31: "Quum faucibus premetur;" and Plaut. Casin. v. 3, 4, "Manifesto faucibus teneor." Some editors have read in faucibus, and understood the words as referring to the jaws or narrow passes of Etruria, where Catilme was with his army.

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