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Struggle, conflict, for a man who needed to be in his bed! And struggle with whom? With that man whom his very enemies viewed as a monster ([Greek: teras] is Cicero’s own word), as preternaturally endowed, in this quality of working power. But how then is it consistent with our view of Roman dinners, that Caesar should have escaped the universal scourge? We reply, that one man is often stronger than another; every man is stronger in some one organ; and secondly, Caesar had lived away from Rome through the major part of the last ten years; and thirdly, the fact that Caesar had escaped the contagion of dinner luxury, however it may be accounted for, is attested in the way of an exception to the general order of experience, and with such a degree of astonishment, as at once to prove the general maxim we have asserted, and the special exemption in favour of Caesar. He only, said Cato, he, as a contradiction to all precedents–to the Gracchi, to Marius, to Cinna, to Sylla, to Catiline–had come in a state of temperance (sobrius) to the destruction of the state; not meaning to indicate mere superiority to wine, but to all modes of voluptuous enjoyment. Caesar practised, it is true, a refined epicureanism under the guidance of Greek physicians, as in the case of his emetics; but this was by way of evading any gross effects from a day of inevitable indulgence, not by way of aiding them. Besides, Pompey and Cicero were about seven years older than Caesar. They stood upon the threshold of their sixtieth year at the opening of the struggle; Caesar was a hale young man of fifty-two. And we all know that Napoleon at forty-two was incapacitated for Borodino by incipient disease of the stomach; so that from that day he, though junior by seventeen years to Pompey, yet from Pompey’s self-indulgence (not certainly in splendid sensuality, but in the gross modes belonging to his obscure youth) was pronounced by all the judicious, superannuated as regarded the indispensable activity of martial habits. If he cannot face the toils of military command, said his officers, why does he not retire? Why does he not make room for others? Neither was the campaign of 1813 or 1814 any refutation of this. Infinite are the cases in which the interests of nations or of armies have suffered through the dyspepsy of those who administered them. And above all nations the Romans laid themselves open to this order of injuries from a dangerous oversight in their constitutional arrangements, which placed legal bars on the youthful side of all public offices, but none on the aged side. Of all nations the Romans had been most indebted to men emphatically young; of all nations they, by theory, most exclusively sanctioned the pretensions of old ones. Not before forty-three could a man stand for the consulship; and we have just noticed a case where a man of pestilent activity in our own times had already become dyspeptically incapable of command at forty-two. Besides, after laying down his civil office (which, by itself, was often in the van of martial perils), the consul had to pass into some province as military leader, with the prospect by possibility of many years’ campaigning. It is true that some men far anticipated the legal age in assuming offices, honours, privileges. But this, being always by infraction of fundamental laws, was no subject of rejoicing to a patriotic Roman. And the Roman folly at this very crisis, in trusting one side of the quarrel to an elderly, lethargic invalid, subject to an annual struggle for his life, was appropriately punished by that catastrophe which six years after threw them into the hands of a schoolboy.

Yet on the other hand it may be asked, by those who carry the proper spirit of jealousy into their historical reading, was Cicero always right in these angry comments upon Pompey’s strategies? Might it not be, that where Cicero saw nothing but groundless procrastination, in reality the obstacle lay in some overwhelming advantage of Caesar’s? That, where his reports to Atticus read the signs of the time into the mere panic of a Pompey, some more impartial report would see nothing to wonder at but the overcharged expectations of a Cicero? Sometimes undoubtedly this is the plain truth. Pompey’s disadvantages were considerable; he had no troops upon which he could rely; that part which had seen service happened to be a detachment from Caesar’s army, sent home as a pledge for his civic intentions at an earlier period, and their affection was still lively to their original leader. The rest were raw levies. And it is a remarkable fact, that the insufficiency of such troops was only now becoming matter of notoriety. In foreign service, where the Roman recruits were incorporated with veterans, as the natives in our Eastern army, with a small proportion of British to steady them, they often behaved well, and especially because they seldom acted against an enemy that was not as raw as themselves. But now, in civil service against their own legions, it was found that the mere novice was worth nothing at all; a fact which had not been fully brought out in the strife of Marius and Sylla, where Pompey had himself played a conspicuous and cruel part, from the tumultuary nature of the contest; besides which the old legions were then by accident as much concentrated on Italian ground as now they were dispersed in transmarine provinces. Of the present Roman army, ten legions at least were scattered over Macedonia, Achaia, Cilicia, and Syria; five were in Spain; and six were with Caesar, or coming up from the rear. To say nothing of the forces locked up in Sicily, Africa, Numidia, etc. It was held quite unadvisable by Pompey’s party to strip the distant provinces of their troops, or the great provincial cities of their garrisons. All these were accounted as so many reversionary chances against Caesar. But certainly a bolder game was likely to have prospered better; had large drafts from all these distant armies been ordered home, even Caesar’s talents might have been perplexed, and his immediate policy must have been so far baffled as to force him back upon Transalpine Gaul. Yet if such a plan were eligible, it does not appear that Cicero had ever thought of it; and certainly it was not Pompey, amongst so many senatorial heads, who could be blamed for neglecting it. Neglect he did; but Pompey had the powers of a commander-in-chief for the immediate arrangements; but in the general scheme of the war he, whose game was to call himself the servant of the Senate, counted but for one amongst many concurrent authorities. Combining therefore his limited authority with his defective materials, we cannot go along with Cicero in the whole bitterness of his censure. The fact is, no cautious scheme whatever, no practicable scheme could have kept pace with Cicero’s burning hatred to Caesar. ‘Forward, forward! crush the monster; stone him, stab him, hurl him into the sea!’ This was the war-song of Cicero for ever; and men like Domitius, who shared in his hatreds, as well as in his unseasonable temerity, by precipitating upon Caesar troops that were unqualified for the contest, lost the very elite of the Italian army at Corfinium; and such men were soon found to have been embarked upon the ludicrous enterprise of ‘catching a Tartar;’ following and seeking those