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There are likewise some persons of so venerable a character, and so universal a reputation, that their very names are enough to bear down their adversaries. Such was Cato in his contest with Murena; and we cannot make youth too sensible of the surprising art with which [d] Cicero deprived Cato of some part of his authority and credit, by the picture he drew of the sect of the Stoics, which he turned into ridicule with so much wit and humour, that Cato himself could not forbear laughing at it; and this, without saying any thing derogatory to his person, which was to be, in a manner, sacred to him, and was certainly inaccessible, and impregnable to any kind of censure.

Was there ever a nicer or more difficult affair than that which Cicero undertook, in opposing the levelling or Agrarian law? for so they called the law which appointed lands to be distributed among the poorest of people. That law had at all times served the tribunes as a bait to gain the populace, and to fix them in their interest. It appeared indeed to be very much in their favour, by procuring them repose, and a safe retreat. However, Cicero undertakes to make the people themselves reject it, just after they had chosen him consul with unparalleled marks of distinction. Had he begun with speaking openly against that law, the whole people would have exclaimed and rose against him. He was too wise, and too well acquainted with men, to act after that manner. It de serves our admiration, to see how long he keeps his auditors in suspence, without letting them discover what party he had taken, or what opinion he intended to inculcate. He employs at first all the power of his eloquence, to shew the people the lively sense he had of the very signal favour he had lately received from them. He carefully heightens all the circums stances of it, which reflected so much honour upon him. He afterwards takes notice of the duties and

[d] Quàm molli autem articulo tractavit Catonem, cujus naturam summè admiratus, non ipsius vitio

sed Stoicæ sectæ, quibusdam in rebus factam duriorem videri volebat! Quint. 1. 11. c. 3.


obligations, which so unanimous a consent of the people in chusing him consul, had laid him under. He declares, that, as he is obliged to them for all his honours and dignities, he shall always have the popular interest at heart, not only during the continuance of his office, but during his life. But he takes notice, that the word popular requires explanation: and, after shewing its various acceptations; after he had discovered the secret intrigues of the tribunes, who concealed their ambitious design under that plausible name; after he had highly applauded the Gracchi, who were zealous defenders of the Agrarian law, and whose memory, for that reason, was so dear to the Roman people; after he had thus insinuated himself by degrees into the minds of the auditors, and gained them entirely; he does not, however, dare yet attack openly the law in question, but contents himself with protesting, that, in case the people, after hearing him, don't acknowledge, that this law, under a deceitful outside, gives in effect a blow to their quiet and their liberty, he then will join with them, and submit to their opinion. This is a perfect model of what we call an insinuatory exordium in the schools; and methinks one such passage as this is sufficient for forming the understanding of youth, and teaching them the dexterous and respectful way of combating the opinions of those who are not to be opposed directly on the score of acknowledgment and submission. This discourse had all the effect which was expected from it; and the people, being undeceived by the eloquent discourse of their consul, repealed the Agrarian law.

The passage in Cicero's oration for Ligarius, where an enquiry is made what people ought to think of Pom pey's party, required to be handled with great nicety. Tubero had declared those to be criminal who bore arms against Cæsar. Cicero heightens and condemns the harshness of that expression: and, after recapitulating the different names given to the conduct of those who had declared for Pompey, as error, fear, lust,


passion, prepossession, intoxication, rashness;


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my part, says he, if people ask me, what is the proper and true name which ought to be given to our misfortune, methinks it is a fatal influence that has "blinded men, and forced thein along, in spite of "all their endeavours to the contrary; so that we 66 must not wonder to see the unsurmountable will of "the Gods prevail over the counsels of men." [e] Ac mihi quidem, si proprium & verum nomen nostri maquæratur, fatalis quædam calamitas incidisse videtur, & improvidas hominum mentes occupavisse : ut nemo mirari debeat, humana consilia divinâ necessitate esse superata. There was nothing in this definition injurious to Pompey's party; and, so far from offending Cæsar, it pleased him very much.


Such of our writers as have treated of the last civil wars of France, seem to have had the above-mentioned passage of Cicero in view; but then they have very much improved upon the original.

[ƒ]"Alas, unhappy France! though thou gottest "rid of that enemy, were there not still enough re"maining, without turning thine arms against thy "self? What fatal influence could induce thee to "shed so much blood? Why cannot we obliterate "those melancholy years from history, and keep "them from the knowledge of our posterity? But "since it is impossible to pass over things, which the shedding of so much blood has too strongly record


ed, let us reveal them at least, like that artful "painter who invented the profile, in order to con"ceal the blemishes in a face. Let us remove from

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our sight that darkness of mind, that fatal night, "which, being formed in the confusion of public, af"fairs by so many different interests, made even "those go astray, who sought for the right path.

[g] "Do you, gentlemen, remember that period "of disorder and confusion, when the gloomy spirit

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"of discord confounded justice and right with pas"sion, duty with interest, the good cause with the "bad; when most of the brightest stars suffered some eclipse, and the most faithful subjects saw them"selves involuntarily drawn away by the torrent of parties; like those pilots, who, finding themselves surprised by a storm in the midst of the ocean, are obliged to change their course, and abandon them"selves for a time to the winds and the tempest? "Such is God's justice; such is the natural infirmity "of men; but the wise man easily recovers himself, "and there is both in politics, and in religion, a kind "of repentance more glorious than innocence itself, "which makes an advantageous reparation for a little frailty by extraordinary virtues, and a continual "fervour.


[h] "What shall I say? God suffered the winds " and waves to roar and toss, and the storm arose. A "pestiferous air of factions and insurrections won the "heart of the state, and extended itself to the most "distant parts. The passions, which our sins had "kindled, broke down the fences of justice and rea

son; and the wisest men, being drawn away by the "unhappiness of engagements and conjectures; 66 against their own inclinations, found they had strayed beyond the bounds of their duty before they perceived it."

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1 SHOULD be extremely tedious, did I undertake to touch even but cursorily upon all that concerns this subject, it being one of the most important in rhetoric. It is known that the passions are, as it were, the soul of an oration: that it is from them it derives that impetuosity and vehemence, which bear

[4] M. Fléchier, in M. de Tellier's funeral oration.


down all before them; and [i] that the orator by their means attains an absolute empire over his auditors, and inspires them with whatever sentiments he pleases; sometimes, by artfully taking advantage of the bias and favourable disposition of people's minds, but at other times in surmounting all their opposition by the victorious strength of the oration, and obliging them to surrender, as it were, in spite of themselves. Cæsar was not able to resist, when he heard Cicero's defence of Ligarius, though he was much upon his guard against his eloquence; being determined, when he came out of his own house, not to pardon the latter.

I think it sufficient to refer youth to Cicero's* perprations, and to exhort them to make the application themselves, of the excellent precepts left us by Cicero and Quintilian on this subject. [k] The most important of all is, that in order to affect others, we must be affected ourselves; for which end, we must be deeply touched with the subject we treat of, be fully convinced of it, and be sensible of its whole truth and importance. We must likewise form a strong representation to ourselves of the things we would make use of to move the passions of the auditors, and describe them in a warm and lively manner; and this we shall do, if we are careful to study nature, and to take her always for our guide. [7] For whence comes it, that we see ignorant persons express them

[Tantam vim habet illa, quæ rectè à bono poetâ dicta est, flexanima atque omnium regina rerum oratio, ut non modò inclinantem erigere, aut stantem inclinare, sed etiam adversantem & repugnantem, ut imperator bonus ac fortis, capere possit. Lib. 2. de Orat. n. 187.

* Conclusions of a speech. [k] Summa circa movendos affectus in hoc posita est, ut moveamur ipsi... Primum est ut apud nos valeant eaquæ valere apud judicem volumus, afficiamurque antequam afficere conemur... Ubi miseratione opus erit, nobis ea de quibus querimur, accidisse creda

mus, atque id animo nostro persuadeamus. Nos illi simus, quos gravia, indigna, tristia passos queramur. Nec agamus rem quasi alienam, sed assumamus parumper illum dolorem. Ita dicemus, que in simili nostro casu dicturi essemus. Quintil. 1. 6. c. 2.

[] Quid enim aliud est cause, ut lugentes utique in recenti dolore disertissimè quædam exclamare videantur, & ira nonnunquam indoctis quoque eloquentiam faciat, quàm quòd illis inest vis mentis, & veritas ipsa morum? Quint. 1. 6. ce 3.


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