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tection of the commonwealth, starved to death: whole fleets, to the great detriment of the province, suffered to perish: the ancient monuments of either Sicilian or Roman greatness, the statues of heroes and princes, carried off; and the temples stripped of the images. The infamy of his Iewdness has been such as decency forbids to describe; nor will I, by mentioning particulars, put those unfortunate persons to fresh pain, who have not been able to save their wives and daughters from his impurity. And these his atrocious crimes have been committed in so public a manner, that there is no one who has heard of his name, but could reckon up his actions. —Having, By his iniquitous sentences, filled the prisons with the most industrious and deserving of the people, he then proceeded to order numbers of Roman citizens to be strangled in the gaols j so that the exclamation, " I am a citizen of Rome!" which has often, in the most distant regions, and among the most barbarous people, been a protection, was of no service to them, but, on the contrary, brought a speedier and more severe punishment upon them.
I ask now, Verres, what you have to advance against this charge i Will you pretend to deny it? Will you pretend, that any thing false, that even any thing aggravated, is alledged against you? Had any prince or any state committed the fame outrage against the privilege of Roman citizens, mould we not think we had sufficient ground for declaring immediate war against them i What punishment ought, then, to be inflicted upon a tyrannical and wicked prætor, who dared, at no greater distance than Sicily, within sight of the Italian coast, to put to the infamous death of crucifixion that unfortunate and innocent citizen, Publius Gavius Cofanus, only for his having asserted his privilege of citizenship, and declared his intention of appealing to the justice of his country against a cruel oppressor, who had unjustly confined him in prison at Syracuse, from whence he had just made his escape? The unhappy man, arrested as he was going to embark for bis native country, ii brought
before the wicked prætor. With eyes darting fury, and a countenance distorted with cruelty, he orders the helpless victim of his rage to be stripped, and rods to be brought; accusing him, but without the least shadow of evidence, or even of suspicion, os having come to Sicily as a spy. It was in vain that the unhappy man cried out, •* I am a Ro"man citizen ; I have served under "Lucius Pretius, who is now at Pa"normus, and will attest my inno"cence." The blood-thirsty prætor, deaf to all he could urge in his own defence, ordered the infamous puniihment to be inflicted. Thus, Fathers, was an innocent Roman citizen publicly mangled with scourging; whilst the only words he uttered amidst his cruel sufferings, were, "I am a Roman ci"tizen!" With these he hoped to defend himself from violence and infamy: but of so little service was this privilege to him, that while he was thus asserting his citizenship, the order was given for his execution—for his execution upon the cross!
0 liberty !-—O found once delightful to every Roman ear !—O sacred privilege of Roman citizenship !—once
sacred !—now trampled upon! But
what then! Is it come to this? Shall an inferior magistrate, a governor who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within sight of Italy, bind, scourge, torture with fire and red-hot plates of iron, and at the last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen? Shall neither the cries of innocence expiring in agony, nor the tears of pitying spectators, nor the majesty of the Roman com. monwealth, nor the fear of the justice of his country, restrain the licentious and wanton cruelty of a monster, who, in confidence of his riches, strikes at the root of liberty, and sets mankind at defiance!
1 conclude with expressing my hopes, that your wisdom and justice, Fathers, will not, by suffering the atrocious and unexampled insolence of Caius Verres to escape the due punishment, leave room to apprehend the danger of a total subversion of authority, and introduction duction of general anarchy and consufi°n' Cicero's Orations.
§ 31. CbarxBer of Alfred, King of England. The merit of this prince, both in private and public life, may with advantage be set in opposition to that of any monarch or citizen which the annals of any age or any nation can present to us. He seems, indeed, to be the complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wife man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing u reduced to practice: so happily were all his virtues tempered together, so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds. He knew how to conciliate the most enter, prising spirit with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate perseverance with the easiest flexibity; the most severe justice with the greatest lenity; the greatest vigour in command with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining talents for action. His civil and his military virtues are almost equally the objects of our admiration, excepting only, that the former, being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause. Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments, vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colours, and with more particular strokes, that we may at least perceive some of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is impossible he could be entirely exempted. Hume.
§31. Another Cbaracler of A h F R B D . Alfred, that he might be the better able to extend his charity and munifi
cence, regulated his finances with the most perfect ceconomy, and divided his revenues into a certain number of parts, which he appropriated to the different expences of the state, and the exercise of his own private liberality and devotion; nor was he a less ceconomist in the distribution of his time, which he divided into three equal portions, allotting one to sleep, meals, and exercise; and devoting the other two to writing, reading, business, and prayer. That this division might not be encroached upon inadvertently, he measured them by tapers of an equal size, which he kept continually burning before the shrines of relics. Alfred seemed to be a genius self-taught, which contrived and comprehended every thing that could contribute to the security of his kingdom. He was author of that inestimable privilege, peculiar to the subjects of this nation, which consists in. their being tried by their peers; for he first instituted juries, or at least improved upon an old institution, by specifying the number and qualifications of jurymen, and extending their power to trials of property as well as criminal indictments: but no regulation redounded more to his honour and the advantage of his kingdom, than the measures he took to prevent rapine, murder, a-od other outrages, which had so long been committed with impunity. His attention stooped even to the meanest circumstance of his people's conveniency. He introduced the artof brickmsking, and built his own houses of those materials; which being much more durable and secure from accidents than timber, his example was followed by his subjects in general. He was, doubtless, an object of most perfect esteem and admiration; for, exclusive of the qualities which distinguished him as a warrior and legislator, his personal character was amiable in every respect. Died 897, aged 52. Smollett.
§ 33. Charaeler of William tbt Conqueror. Few princes have been more sortutunate than this great monarch, or were better entitled to prosperity and grandeur for the abilities and vigour of M m 3 mind mind which he displayed in all his conduct. His spirit was bold and enterprising, yet guided by» prudence. His ambition, which was exorbitant, and lay little under the restraints of justice, and still less under those of humanity, ever submitted to the dictates of reason and sound policy. Born in an age when the minds of men were intractable and unacquainted with submission, he was yet able to direct them to his purposes; and, partly from the ascendant of his vehement disposition, partly from art and dissimulation, to establish an unlimited monarchy. Though not insensible to generosity, he was hardened against compassion, and seemed equally Ostentatious and ambitious of eclat in his clemency and his severity. The maxims of his adminflration were severe; but might have been useful, had they been solely employed in preserving order in an established government: they were ill calculated for softening the rigours which under the most gentle management are inseparable from con. quest. His attempt against England was the last enterprize of the kind, which, during the couisc of seven hundred years, has fully succeeded in Europe; and the greatness of his genius broke through those limits, which first the feudal institutions, then the refined policy of princes, have fixed on the several states of Christendom. Though he rendered himself infinitely odious to his English subjects, he transmitted his power to his posterity, and the throne is still silled by his descendants; a proof that the foundation which he laid was firm and solid, and that amongst all his violences, while he seemed only to gratify the present passion, he had still an eye towards futurity. Died September 9, 1087, aged 63 *. Hume.
§ 3 4. Another Chara8'er of W1L LIA M the Conqueror.
From the transactions of William's reign, he appears to have been a prince of great courage, capacity, and ambition; politic, cruel, vindictive, and rapacious; stern and haughty in his deportment, reserved and jealous in his
• Smollett fays, 61.
disposition. He was fond of glory, and, though parsimonious in his household, delighted much in ostentation. Though sudden and impetuous in his enterprizes, he was cool, deliberate, and indefatigable, in times of danger and difficulty. His aspect was nobly severe and imperious, his stature tall and portly; his constitution robust, and the composition of his bones and muscles strong; there was hardly a man of that age, who could bend his bow, or handle his arms. Smollett.
§35. Another Charafier of William the Conqueror.
The character of this prince has seldom been set in its true light ; some eminent writers having been dazzled so much by the more shining parts of it, that they have hardly seen his faults; while others, out of a strong detestation of tyranny, have been unwilling to allow him the praise he deserves.
He may with justice be ranked among the greatest generals any age has produced. There was united in him activity, vigilance, intrepidity, caution, great force of judgment, and never-failing presence of mind. He was strict in his discipline, and kept his soldiers in perfect obedience; yet preserved their affection. Having been from his very childhood continually in war,and at the head of armies, he joined to all the capacity that genius could give, all the knowledge and skill that experience could teach, and was a perfect master of the military art, as it was practised in the times wherein he lived. His constitution enabled him to endure any hardships, and very few were equal to him in personal strength, which was an excellence of more importance than it is now, from the manner of fighting then in use. It is said of him, that none except himself could bend his bow. His courage was heroic, and he possessed it not only in the field, but (which is more uncommon) in the cabinet, attempting great things with means that to other men appeared totally unequal to such undertakings, and steadily prosecuting what he had boldly resolved ; being never disturbed or disheartened by difficulties, in the course of his enterprizes;
but bnt having that noble vigour of mind, which, inltead of bending to opposition, rises against it, and seems to have a power of controlling and commanding Fortune herself.
Nor was he less superior to pleasure than to fear; no luxury softened him, no riot disordered, no sloth relaxed. It helped not a little to maintain the high respect his subjects had for him, that the majesty of his character was never let down by anv incontinence or indecent excess. His temperance and his chastity were constant guards, that secured his mind from all weakness, supported its dignity, and kept it always as it were on the throne. Through his whole life he had no partner of his bed but his queen; a most extraordinary virtue in one who had lived, even from his earliest youth, amidst all the licence of camps, the allurements of a court, and the seductions of sovereign power! Had he kept his oaths to his people as well as he did his marriage vow, he would have been the best of kings; but he indulged other passions of a worse nature, and infinitely more detrimental to the public than those he restrained. A lust of power, which no regard to justice could limit, the most unrelenting cruelty, and the molt insatiable avarice, possessed his foul. It is true, indeed, that among many acts of extreme inhumanity, some (liining in stances of great clemency may be produced, that were either effects of his policy, which taught him this method of acquiring friends, or of his magnanimity, which made him flight a weak a;iJ subdued enemy, such as was Edgar Atheling, in whom he found neither spirit nor talents able to contend with him for the crown. But where he had no advantage nor pride in forgiving, his nature discovered itself to be u;terly void os all sense os compassion; and some barbarities which he committed exceeded the bounds that even tyrants and conquerors prescribe to themselves.
Most of our ancient historians give him the character of a very religious prince; but his religion was after the taihion of those times, belief without examination, and devotion without piety. Jt was a religion that prompted him to
endow monasteries, and at the fame time allowed him to pillage kingdoms; that threw him on his knees before a relic or cross, but suffered him unrestrained to trample upon the liberties and rights of mankind.
As to his wisdom in government, of which some modern writers have spoken very highly, he w.\s indeed so far wife that, through a long unquiet reign, he knew how to support oppression by terror, and employ the properest means for the carrying on a very iniquitous ■and violent administration. But that which alone deserves the name of wisdom in the character of a king, the maintaining of authority by the exercise of those virtues which make the happiness of his peopie, was what, with all his abilities, he does not appear to have possessed. Nor did he excel in those soothing and popular arts, which sometimes change the complexion of a tyranny, and give it a fallacious appearance of freedom. His government was harsh and despotic, violating even the principles of that constitution which he himself had established. Yet so far he performed the duty of a sovereign, 'Sat he took care to maintain a good police in his realm; curbing liceiuioulneis with a strong hand, which, in the tumultuous stateof his government, was a great and difficult work. How well he performed it we may learn even from.. the testimony of a contemporary Saxon historian, who fays, that during hij reign, a man might have travelled in perfect security all over the kingdom, with his bosom full of gold, nor durst; any kill another in revenge of the greatest offences, nor offer violence to the chastity of a woman. But it was a poor compensation, that the highways were safe, when jhe courts of justice were dens of thieves, and when almost every man in authority, or in office, used his power to oppress and pillage the people. The king himself did not on* ly tolerate, but encourage, support, and even share these extortions. Though the greatness of the ancient landed estate of the crown, and the feudal profits to which he legally was entitled, rendered him one of the richest monarchs in Europe, he was not content with all that M m 4 op> knee,
opulence, but by authorising the sheriffs, who collected his revenues in the several counties, to practise the most grievous vexations and abuses, for the raising of them higher, by a perpetual Auction of the crown lands, so that none (of his tenants could be secure of posTeStoa, if any other would come and offer more; by various iniquities in the court of exchequer, which was entirely Norman; by forfeitures wrongfully taken; and» lastly, by arbitrary and illegal taxations, he drew into his treasury much too great a proportion of the wealth of his kingdom.
It must however be owned, that if his avarice was insatiablyand unjustly rapacious, it was not meanly parsimonious, bos of that sordid kind which brings on a prince dishonour and contempt. He supported the dignity of his crown with a aecent magnificence, and though he liever was lavish, he sometimes was liberal, more especially to his soldiers and to the church. But looking on money as a necessary means of maintaining and increasing power, he desired to accumulate as much as he could, rather, perhaps, from an ambitious than a covetous nature; at least his avarice was subservient to his ambition, and he laid iip wealth in his coffers, as he did arms in his magazines, to be drawn out, when nhy proper occasion required it, for the defence and enlargement of his dominions.
Upon the whole, he had many great qualities, but sew virtues; and if those actions that most particularly distinguish the man or the king are impartially considered, we shall find that in his character there is much to admire, but stjjl more to abhor. Lytulion.
% 36k Tie CharaSer of William Rupos, The memory of this monarch is transmitted to u* with little advantage by the churchmen, whom he had offended; and though we may suspect in general that their account of his vices is somewhat exaggerated, bis conduct affords little reason for contradicting the character which they have assigned him, or for attributing to him any very estimable qualities; he seems to have been
a violent and tyrannical prince'; a per* fidious, encroaching, and dangerous neighbour; an unkind and ungenerous relation. He was equally prodigal and rapacious in the management of the treasury; and, if he possessed abilities, he lay ib much under the government of impetuous passions, that he made little use of them in his administration; and he indulged entirely the domineering policy which suited his temper, and which, if supported, as it was in him, With courage and vigour, proves often more successful in disorderly times, than the deepest foresight and most refined artificer The monuments which remain of this prince in England are, the Tower, Westminster Hall, and London Bridge, which he built; Died August 2, 1100, aged 4.0. Hume.
§ 37. Another Character of William Rufus.
Thus fell William*, surnamed Rufus, from his red hair and florid complexion, after he had lived four and forty years, and reigned near thirteen; during which time he oppressed his people in every form of tyranny and insult. He was equally void of learning, principle, and honour; haughty; passionate, and ungrateful; a scosser at religion, a scourge to the clergy; vainglorious, talkative; rapacious, lavish, and dissolute ; and an inveterate enemy to the English, though he owed his crown to their valour and fidelity, when the Norman lords intended to expel him from the throne. In return for this instance of their loyalty, he took all opportunities to fleece and enslave them j and at one time imprisoned fifty of the best families in the kingdom, on pretence of killing his deer; so that they were compelled to purchase their liberty at the expence of their wealth, though not before they had undergone the fiery ordeal. He lived in a scandalous com
• By the hand of Tyrrel, a French gentleman, remarkable for his address in archery, attending him in the recreation of hunting, as William had dismounted afterachace. Tyrrel, impatient to (hew his dexterity, let fly at a stag which suddenly started before him; the arrow glancing from a tree struck the king iji his breast, and instantly slew him.