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AUGUSTINE, a native of Tagaste, is here to be considered, not as a bishop, a doctor, a father of the Church, but simply as a man. This is a question in physics, respecting the climate of Africa.
When a youth, Augustine was a great libertine ; and the spirit was no less quick in him than the flesh. He says, that before he was twenty years old, he had learned arithmetic, geometry, and music, without a
Does not this prove that, in Africa, which we now call Barbary, both minds and bodies advance to maturity more rapidly than amongst us?
These valuable advantages of St. Augustine, would lead one to believe that Empedocles was not altogether in the wrong, when he regarded fire as the principle of nature. It is assisted, but by subordinate agents. It is like a king governing the actions of all his subjects, and sometimes inflaming the imaginations of his people rather too much. It is not without reason that Syphax says to Juba, in the Cato of Addison, that the sun which rolls its fiery car over African heads, places a deeper tinge upon the cheeks, and a fiercer flame within their hearts. That the dames of Zama are vastly superior to the pale beauties of the north :
The glowing dames of Zama's royal court
Where shall we find in Paris, Strasburgh, Ratisbon, or Vienna, young men who have learned arithmetic, the mathematics, and music, without assistance, and who have been fathers at fourteen ?
Doubtless it is no fable that Atlas, prince of Mauritania, called by the Greeks the son of heaven, was a celebrated astronomer, and constructed a celestial sphere, such as the Chinese have had for so many ages. The ancients, who expressed everything in alle
* Confessions, book iv. chap. 16.
gory, likened this prince to the mountain which bears his name, because it lifts its head above the clouds, which have been called the heavens by all mankind who have judged of things only from the testimony of their eyes.
These Moors cultivated the sciences with success, and taught Spain and Italy for five centuries. Things are greatly altered. The country of Augustine is now but a den of pirates; while England, Italy, Germany, and France, which were involved in barbarism, are greater cultivators of the arts than ever the Arabians
Our only object, then, in this article, is to show how changeable a scene this world is. Augustine, from a debauchee, becomes an orator and a philosopher; he puts himself forward in the world; he teaches rhetoric; he turns Manichean, and from Manicheism passes to Christianity. He causes himself to be baptized, together with one of his bastards, named Deodatus; he becomes a bishop, and a father of the Church. His system of grace has been reverenced for eleven hundred years, as an article of faith. At the end of eleven hundred years, some Jesuits find means to procure an anathema against Augustine's system, word for word, under the names of Jansenius, St. Cyril, Arnaud, and Quesnel.* We ask if this revolution is not, in its kind, as great as that of Africa; and if there be anything permanent upon earth?
The Morals of Augustus.
MANNERS can be known only from facts, which facts must be incontestable. It is beyond a doubt that this man, so immoderately praised as the restorer of morals and of laws, was long one of the most infamous debauchees in the Roman commonwealth. His epigram on
* See GRACE.
Fulvia, written after the horrors of the proscriptions, proves that he was no less a despiser of decency in his language than he was a barbarian in his conduct. This abominable epigram is one of the strongest testimonies to Augustus's infamous immorality. Sextus Pompeius also reproached him with shameful weak"Effeminatum infectatus est." Anthony, before the triumvirate, declared that Cæsar, great uncle to Augustus, had adopted him as his son, only because he had been subservient to his pleasures-"adoptionem avunculi stupro meritum."
Lucius Cæsar charged him with the same crime; and even asserted that he had been base enough to sell himself to Hirtius for a very considerable sum. He was so shameless as to take the wife of a consul from her husband in the midst of a supper; he took her to a neighbouring closet, staid with her there for some time, and brought her back to table, without himself, the woman, or her husband blushing at all at the proceeding.
We have also a letter from Anthony to Augustus, couched in these terms-" Ita valeas ut hanc epistolam cùm leges, non inieris Testullam, aut Terentillam, aut Russillam, aut Salviam, aut omnes. Anne refert ubi et in quam arrigas?" We are afraid to translate this licentious letter.
Nothing is better known than the scandalous feast of five of the companions of his pleasures with five of the principal women of Rome They were dressed up as gods and goddesses, and imitated all the immodesties invented in fable
Dum nova Divorum cœnat adulteria.
And on the stage he was publicly designated by this famous line
Videsne ut cinædus orbem digito temperet?
Almost every Latin author that speaks of Ovid,
* See article VELETRI.
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,
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 vouchsafe to accept the empire of the seas :—
An Deus immensi venias maris, ac tua nauta
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
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 citizens 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. Seneca says of him—“Clementiam non voco lassam crudelitatem"-66 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