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asserts, that Augustus had the insolence to banish that Roman knight, who was a much better man than himself, merely because the other had surprised him in an incest with his own daughter Julia; and that he sent his daughter into exile only through jealousy. This is the more likely, as Caligula published aloud that his mother was born from the incest of Augustus with Julia. So says Suetonius, in his life of Caligula.
We know that Augustus repudiated the mother of Julia the very day she was brought to bed of her, and on the same day took Livia from her husband when she was pregnant of Tiberius-another monster, who succeeded him. Such was the man to whom Horace said
Res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes,
Legibus emendes, &c. It is hard to repress our indignation at reading at the commencement of the Georgics, that Augustus is one of the greatest of divinities; and that it is not known what place he will one day deign to occupy in heaven; whether he will reign in the air, or become the protector of cities, or voùchsafe to accept the empire of the seas :
An Deus immensi venias maris, ac tua nauta
Numina sola celant tibi serviat ultima Thule. Ariosto speaks with much more sense as well as grace, when he says in his fine thirty-fifth canto
Non fu si santo ne benigno Augusto
La proscriptione iniqua gli perdona, &c.
As he's by honest Virgil represented :
The Cruelties of Augustus. If Augustus was long abandoned to the most shameful and frantic dissipation, his cruelty was no less uniform and deliberate. His proscriptions were published in the midst of feasting and revelry: he proscribed more than three hundred senators, two thousand knights, and one hundred obscure but wealthy heads of families, whose only crime was their being rich. Anthony and Octavius had them killed, solely that they might get possession of their money; in which they differed not the least from highway robbers, who are condemned to the wheel.
Octavius, immediately after the Perosian war, gave his veterans all the lands belonging to the citi of Mantua and Cremona, thus recompensing murder by depredation,
It is but too certain that the world was ravaged, from the Euphrates to the extremities of Spain, by this man without shame, without faith, honour, or probity, knavish, ungrateful, avaricious, bloodthirsty, cool in the commission of crime, who, in any well-regulated republic, would have been condemned to the greatest of punishments for the first of his offences.
Nevertheless, the government of Augustus is still admired, because under him Rome tasted peace, pleasure, and abundance. Sèneca says of him—“Clementiam non voco lassam crudelitatem"_“I do not call exhausted cruelty, clemency.”
It is thought that Augustus became milder when crime was no longer necessary to him; and that, being absolute master, he saw that he had no other interest than to appear just. But it appears to me that he still was pitiless rather than clement: for, after the battle of Actium, he had Antony's son murdered at the feet of Cæsar's statue; and he was so barbarous as to have young Cæsarian, the son of Cæsar and Cleopatra, beheaded, though he had recognized him as king of Egypt.
Suspecting one day that the prætor Quintus Gallius had come to an audience with a poniard under his robe, he had him put to the torture in his presence ; and, in his indignation at hearing that senator call him a tyrant, he tore out his eyes with his own hands;—at least, so says Suetonius.
We know that Cæsar, his adopted father, was great enough to pardon almost all his enemies; but I do not find that Augustus pardoned one of his. I have great doubts of his pretended clemency to Cinna. This affair is mentioned neither by Suetonius nor by Tacitus. Suetonius, who speaks of all the conspiracies against Augustus, would not have failed to mention the most memorable. The singularity of giving a consulship to Cinna in return for the blackest perfidy, would not have escaped every cotemporary historian. Dion Cassius speaks of it only after Seneca; and this passage in Seneca has the appearance rather of declamation than of historical truth. Besides, Seneca lays the scene in Gaul, and Dion at Rome: this contradiction deprives the occurrence of all remaining verisimilitude. Not one of our Roman Histories, compiled in haste and without selection, has discussed this interesting fact. Lawrence Echard's History has appeared to enlightened men to be as faulty as it is mutilated : writers have rarely been guided by the spirit of examination.
Cinna might be suspected, or convicted, by Augustus, of some infidelity; and, when the affair had been cleared up, might honour him with the vain title of consul: but it is not at all probable that Cinna sought by a conspiracy to seize the supreme authority,—he, who had never commanded an army, was supported by no party, and was a man of no consideration in the empire. It is not very likely that a mere subordinate courtier would think of succeeding a sovereign who had been twenty years firmly established on his throne, and had heirs; nor is it more likely that Augustus would make him consul immediately after the conspiracy
If Cinna's adventure be true, Augustus pardoned him only because he could not do otherwise, being overcome by the reasoning or the importunities of Livia, who had acquired great influence over him, and persuaded him, says Seneca, that pardon would do him more service than chastisement. It was then only through policy that he, for once, was merciful; it certainly
was not through generosity. Shall we give a robber credit for clemency, because, being enriched and secure, enjoying in peace the fruits of his rapine, he is not every day assassinating the sons and grandsons of the proscribed, while they are kneel
ing to and worshipping him? After being a barbarian, he was a prudent politician. It is worthy of remark, that posterity never gave him the title of virtuous, which was bestowed on l'itus, on Trajan, and the Antonines. It even became customary, in the compliments paid to Emperors on their accession, to wish that they might be more fortunate than Augustus, and more virtuous than Trajan.
It is now, therefore, allowable to consider Augustus as a clever and fortunate monster.
Louis Racine, son of the great Racine, and heir to a part of his talents, seems to forget himself when he says, in his Reflections on Poetry, that “ Horace and Virgil spoiled Augustus; they exhausted their art in poisoning the mind of Augustus by their praises." These expressions would lead one to believe that the eulogies so meanly lavished by these two great poets, corrupted this Emperor's fine disposition. But Louis Racine
bad man, regarding crime and virtue with indifference, availing himself alike of the horrors of the one and the appearances of the other, attentive solely to his own interest, employing bloodshed and peace, arms and laws, religion and pleasure, only to make himself master of the earth, and sacrificing every thing to himself
. Louis Racine only shows us, that Virgil and Horace had servile souls.
He is, unfortunately, too much in the right when he reproaches Corneille with having dedicated Cinna to the financier Montoron, and said to that receiver, “ What you more especially have in common with Augustus is, the generosity with which," &c. for, though Augustus was the most wicked of Roman citizens, it must be confessed that the first of the Emperors, the master, the pacificator, the legislator of the then known world, ought not to be placed absolutely on a level with a clerk to a comptroller-general in Gaul.
The same Louis Racine, in justly condemning the mean adulation of Corneille, and the baseness of the age of Horace and Virgil, marvellously lays hold of this passage in Massillon's Petit Carême : :-" It is no less culpable to fail in truth towards monarchs than to be wanting in fidelity; the same penalty should be imposed on adulation as on revolt.
I ask your pardon, Father Massillon; but this stroke of yours is very oratorical, very preacher-like, very exaggerated. The League and the Fronde have, if I am not deceived, done more harm that Quinault's prologues. There is no way of condemning Quinault as a rebel. “Est modus in rebus," Father Massillon, which is wanting in all manufacturers of sermons.
Avignon and its county are monuments of what the abuse of religion, ambition, knavery, and fanaticism united, can effect. This little country, after a thousand vicissitudes, had, in the twelfth century, passed into the hands of the Counts of Toulouse, descended from Charlemagne by the female side.
Raymond VI. Count of Toulouse, whose forefathers had been the principal heroes in the crusades, was stripped of his states by a crusade which the Pope stirred up against him. The cause of the crusade was, the desire of having his spoils; the pretext was, that in several of his towns the citįzens thought nearly as has been thought for upwards of two hundred years in England, Sweden, Denmark, three-fourths of Switzerland, Holland, and half of Germany.
This was hardly a sufficient reason for giving, in the name of God, the states of the Count of Toulouse to the first occupant, and for devoting to slaughter and fire his subjects, crucifix in hand, and white cross on shoulder. All that is related of the most savage people, falls far short of the barbarities committed in this war, called holy. The ridiculous atrocity of some religious ceremonies always accompanied these horrid
It is known that Raymond VI. was dragged to a church of St. Giles, before a legate, naked to the waist, without hose or sandals, with a rope about