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by [?]

‘Quos opimus
Fallere et effugere est triumphus.’



Bribery was it? which had been so organized as the sole means of succeeding at elections, and which, once rendered necessary as the organ of assertion for each man’s birthright, became legitimate; in which Cicero himself declared privately that there was ‘[Greek: exoche] in nullo,’ no sort of pre-eminence, one as bad as another, pecunia exaequet omnium dignitatem. Money was the universal leveller. Was it gladiators bought for fighting with? These were bought by his friend Milo as well as his enemy Clodius, by Sextus Pompey on one side as much as by Caesar on the other. Was it neglect of obnunciatio? And so far as regards treating, Cicero himself publicly justified it against the miserable theatrical Cato. How ridiculous to urge that against a popular man as a crime, when it was sometimes enjoined by the Senate with menaces as a duty! Was it the attacking all obnoxious citizens’ houses? That was done by one side quite as much as by the other, and signifies little, for the attack always fell on some leading man in wealth; and such a man’s house was a fortress. Was it accepting provinces from the people? Cicero would persuade us that this was an unheard of crime in Clodius. But how came it that so many others did the same thing? Nay, that the Senate abetted them in doing it; saying to such a person, ‘Oh, X., we perceive that you have extorted from the people.’


Then his being recalled; what if a man should say that his nephew was for it, and all his little nieces, not to mention his creditors? The Senate were for it. But why not? Had the Senate exiled him? And, besides, he was their agent.


It was ‘an impious bargain’ are the words of Middleton, and Deiotarus who broke it was a prince of noble character. What was he noble for? We never heard of anything very noble that he did; and we doubt whether Dr. Conyers knew more about him than we. But we happen to know why he calls him noble. Cicero, who long afterwards came to know this king personally and gave him a good dinner, says now upon hearsay (for he had then never been near him, and could have no accounts of him but from the wretched Quintus) that in eo multa regia fuerunt. Why yes, amputating heads was in those parts a very regal act. But what he chiefly had in his eye, comes out immediately after. Speaking to Clodius, he says that the visit of this king was so bright, maxime quod tibi nullum nummum dedit.


Wicked Middleton says that Cicero followed his conscience in following Pompey and the cause approved by what in the odious slang of his own days he calls ‘the honest men.’ But be it known unto him that he tells a foul falsehood. He followed his personal gratitude. This he is careful to say over and over again. Some months before he had followed what he deemed the cause of the Commonwealth and of the boni. The boni were vanished, he sought them and found only a heap of selfish nobles, half crazy with fear and half crazy with pride. These were gone, but Pompey the man remained that he clung to. And in his heart of hearts was another feeling–hatred to Caesar.


403. ‘Cicero had only stept aside’ was the technical phrase for lurking from creditors. So Bishop Burnet of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, it was thought he might have stept aside for debt.


[1] Cicero entered on the office of Proconsul of Cilicia on the last day of July, 703 A.U.C.; he resigned it on the last day but one of July, 704.–ED.