Infomotions, Inc.Cicero's three books Of offices or Moral duties; also his Cato major, an essay on old age; Laelius, an essay on friendship; Paradoxes; Scipio's dream; and Letter to Quintus on the duties of a magistrate. Literally translated, with notes, designed to exhib / Cicero, Marcus Tullius




Author: Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Title: Cicero's three books Of offices or Moral duties; also his Cato major, an essay on old age; Laelius, an essay on friendship; Paradoxes; Scipio's dream; and Letter to Quintus on the duties of a magistrate. Literally translated, with notes, designed to exhib
Publisher: New York Harper 1860
Tag(s): ethics; cicero; chap; friendship; virtue
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
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HARPER S CLASSICAL LIBRARY. 



C I C E R O S 
THREE BOOKS OF OFFICES, 



OTHER MORAL WORKS. 




II 






. 



CICERO S 
THREE BOOKS OF OFFICES, 

OE MOEAL DUTIES; 



CATO MAJOE, AN ESSAY ON OLD AGE; L^ELIUS, AN ESSAY 

ON FRIENDSHIP; PARADOXES; SCIPIO S DREAM; 

AND LETTER TO QUINTUS ON THE 

DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 



fflnnuhtd, 



VJTB XOTES, DESIGNED TO EXHIBIT A COMPARATIVE VIEW OF THE OPINIONS 
OF CIOEEO, AND THOSE OF MODERN MORALISTS AND ETHICAL 



BY CYKUS K: EDMONDS. 



NEW YORK: 

HARPER & BROTHERS, 

329 & 831 PEARL STREET. 
1860. 



pft 



ft* 



Harper s New Classical Library. 

Comprising Literal Translations of 

OESAR. JUVENAL. 

VIRGIL. XENOPHON. 

HORACE. HOMER S ILIAD. 

SALLUST. THUCYDIDES. 2 vol& 

CICERO S ORATIONS. HERODOTUS. 

CICERO S OFFICES, &c. EURIPIDES. 2 vols. 

CICERO ON ORATORY, &C. SOPHOCLES. 

TACITUS. 2 vols. .JESCHYLUS. 

TERENCE. DEMOSTHENES. 2 voli. 

12mo, Muslin, 75 cents a Volume. 



PREFACE. 



THE present volume comprises the most popular moral treatises 
of Cicero. In preparing an edition adapted to the wants of the 
student, the editor has addressed himself to two principal objects. 
The first, to produce a close and faithful translation, avoiding on 
the one hand, the freedom of Melmoth s elegant paraphrase, and 
on the other, the crudeness and inaccuracy of the so-called literal 
translation of Cockman ; the second, to present the opinions of 
modern moralists, chiefly of our own country, in juxtaposition 
with those of Cicero, that the reader may be enabled to estimate 
the changes which have passed over the human mind in relation 
to these subjects, and perceive how far these changes have been 
occasioned by the promulgation of the Christian religion. 

A subsidiary design has been to show, by parallel passages, to 
what extent the writings of modern moralists have been tinctured 
with the thoughts of the Roman philosopher ; and to point out 
particular instances in which their arguments and illustrations are 
identical. 

In briefly sketching the subjects of the following treatises, we 
shall for the most part adopt the observations of Dunlop, in his 
* History of Roman Literature." The first, and most important 
treatise, is 

THE OFFICES, or three books of " Moral Duties." Of these the 
first two are supposed to be chiefly derived from a lost work of 
Pansotius, a Greek philosopher, who resided at Rome in the second 
century before Christ. In the first book he treats of what i& 
virtuous in itself, and shows in what manner our duties are 



vi PREFACE. 

founded in morality and virtue, in the right perception of truth, 
justice, fortitude, and decorum, which four qualities are referred 
to as the constituent parts of virtue, and the sources from which 
all our duties are derived. In the second book, the author en 
larges on those duties which relates to utility, the improvement 
of life, and the means of attaining wealth and power. This divi 
sion of the work relates principally to political advancement, and 
the honorahle means of gaining popularity, among which are 
enumerated generosity, courtesy, and eloquence. Thus far Cicero 
had, in all probability, closely followed the steps of Panetius. 
Garve, in his commentary on Moral Duties, remarks that, when 
Cicero comes to the more subtle and philosophic parts of his sub 
ject, he evidently translates from the Greek, and that he has not 
always found words in his own language to express the nicer dis 
tinctions of the Greek schools. The work of Pana3tius, however, 
was left imperfect, and did not comprise the third part of the 
subject, namely, the choice and distinction to be made when 
virtue and utility were opposed to each other. On this topic, ac 
cordingly, Cicero, in the third book, was left to his own resources ; 
the discussion, of course, relates only to the subordinate duties, as 
the true and undoubted honestum can never be put in competition 
with private advantage, or be violated for its sake. As to the 
minor duties the great maxim inculcated is, that nothing should 
be accounted useful or profitable but what is strictly virtuous ; 
and that, in fact, there ought to be no separation of the principles 
of virtue and utility. Cicero enters into some discussion how 
ever, and lays down certain rules to enable us to form a just 
estimate of both in cases of doubt, where seeming utility comes 
into competition with virtue. 

The author has addressed the work to his son, and has repre 
sented it as written for his instruction. "It is," says Kelsall, 
" the noblest present ever made by a parent to a child." Cicerc 
declares that he intended to treat in it of all the duties, but it is 
generally considered to have been chiefly drawn up as a manual 
of political morality, and as a guide to young Romans of his son s 
age and rank, which might enable them to attain political emi- 
nence, and tread with innocence and safety " the slippery steeps 
of power, 



PREFACE. vii 

The DIALOGUE ON FKIENDSHIP is addressed with peculiar pro 
priety to Atticus, who, as Cicero tells him in his dedication, can 
not fail to discover his own portrait in the delineation of a perfect 
friend. Here, as elsewhere, Cicero has most judiciously selected 
the persons of the dialogue. They were men of eminence in the 
state, and, though deceased, the Romans had such veneration for 
their ancestors, that they would listen with the utmost interest 
even to the imaginary conversation of a Sca3vola or a Lselius. 
The memorable and hereditary friendship which subsisted between 
Leelius and the younger Scipio Africanus, rendered the former a 
suitable example. To support a conversation on this delightful 
topic, Fannius the historian, and Mucius Scaavola the augur, both 
sons-in-law of Laelius, are supposed to pay a visit to their father 
immediately after the sudden and suspicious death of Scipio 
Africanus. The recent loss which Lselius had thus sustained, 
leads to an eulogy on the inimitable virtues of the departed hero, 
and to a discussion on the true nature of that tie by which they 
had been so long connected. Cicero, in early youth, had been 
introduced by his father to Mucius Scsevola, and, among other in 
teresting conversations which he thus enjoyed an opportunity of 
hearing, he was one day present while Scsavola related the sub 
stance of the conference on Friendship, which he and Fannius 
had held with Leelius a few days after the death of Scipio. Many 
of the ideas and sentiments which Lselius uttered are declared by 
Scaavola to have originally flowed from Scipio, with whom the 
nature and laws of friendship formed a favorite topic This, per 
haps, is not entirely a fiction, or merely asserted to give the stamp 
of authenticity to the dialogue. 

The TREATISE ON OLD AGE is not properly a dialogue, but a 
continued discourse delivered by Cato the censor at the request of 
Scipio and La3lius. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting 
pieces of the kind which have descended to us from antiquity ; 
and no reader can wonder that the pleasure experienced in its 
composition, not only, as he says, made him forget the infirmities 
of old age, but even rendered that portion of existence agreeable. 
In consequence of the years to which Cicero had attained at the 
time of its composition, and the circumstances in which he was 
then placed, it must indeed have been composed with peculiar 



viii PREFACE. 

interest and feeling. It was written by him when he was sixty-three, 
and is addressed to his friend Atticus (who had nearly reached the 
same age), with a view of rendering their accumulating burdens 
as light as possible. In order to give his precepts the greater 
force, he represents them as delivered by the elder Oato, in the 
eighty-fourth year of a vigorous and useful old age, on the occa 
sion of Lsslius and the younger Scipio expressing their admiration 
at the wonderful ease with which he still bore the weight of 
years. This affords the author an opportunity of entering into a 
full explanation of his ideas on the subject, his great object being 
to show that by internal resources of happiness the closing period 
may be rendered not only supportable but comfortable. He enu 
merates those causes which are commonly supposed to constitute 
the infelicity of advanced age under four general heads : that it 
incapacitates from mingling in the affairs of the world ; that it 
produces infirmities of the body that it disqualifies for the en 
joyment of sensual gratifications ; and that it brings us to the 
verge of death. Some of these disadvantages he maintains are 
imaginary, and for any real pleasures of which old men are de 
prived, he shows that many others more refined and elevated may 
be substituted. The whole work is agreeably diversified, and 
illustrated by examples. 

The PARADOXES contain a defense of six peculiar opinions or 
paradoxes of the Stoics, something in the manner of those which 
Cato was wont to promulgate in the senate. These are, that what 
is morally right (honestum) is alone good ; that the virtuous can 
want nothing for complete happiness ; that there are no degrees 
either in crimes or good actions ; that every fool is mad ; that the 
wise alone are wealthy and free ; and that every fool is a slave. 
The Paradoxes, indeed, seem to have been written as an exercise 
of rhetorical wit, rather than as a serious disquisition in philoso 
phy, and each is personally applied to some individual. 

The narrative, entitled SCIPIO^S DREAM is put into the mouth 
of the younger Scipio A-fricanus, who relates that, in his youth, 
when he first served in Africa, he visited the court of Massinissa, 
the steady friend of the Romans, and particularly of the Corne 
lian family. During the feasts and entertainments of the day, the 
conversation turned on the words and actions of the first great 



PREFACE. ix 

Scipio. His adopted son having retired to rest, the shade of the 
departed hero appeared to him in a vision, and darkly foretelling 
the future events of his life, encouraged him to tread in the paths 
of patriotism and true glory; announcing the reward provided in 
heaven for those who have deserved well of their country. 

The circumstances of time and place selected for this dream, as 
well as the characters introduced, have been most felicitously 
chosen ; and Cicero has nowhere more happily united sublimity 
of thought with brilliant imagination. 

The letter, ON THE DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE, is one of the most 
remarkable of the kind that has ever been penned. It was ad 
dressed by Cicero to his brother Quintus, on the occasion of his 
government in Asia being prolonged to a third year. Availing 
himself of the rights of an elder brother, as well as of the 
authority derived from his superior dignity and talents, Cicero 
counsels and exhorts him concerning the due administration of his 
province, particularly with regard to the choice of his subordinate 
officers, and the degree of trust to be reposed in them. He 
earnestly reproves him, but with much fraternal tenderness and 
affection, for his irritability of temper ; and concludes with a beau 
tiful exhortation to strive in all respects to merit the praise of hia 
cotemporaries, and bequeath to posterity an unsullied name. 






CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

PREFACE v 

OFFICES, OR MORAL DUTIES, BOOK I. 1 

OFFICES, OR MORAL DUTIES, BOOK II 7t 

OFFICES, OR MORAL DUTIES, BOOK III 115 

L^LIUS, AN ESSAY ON FRIENDSHIP 169 

CATO MAJOR, AN ESSAY ON OLD AGE 216 

PARADOXES 263 

SCIPIO S DREAM 288 

LETTER TO QUINTUS ON THE DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE . . 306 

INDEX 329 



CICEEO DE OFFICIIS : 

A 
TREATISE CONCERNING THE MORAL DUTIES OF MANKIND. 



BOOK I. 

MY SON MARCUS, 

I. Although, as you have for a year been studying under 
Cratippus, and that, too, at Athens, you ought to be well fur 
nished with the rules and principles of philosophy, on account 
of the pre-eminent reputation both of the master and the city, 
the one of which can improve you by his learning, the other 
by its examples ; yet as I, for my own advantage, have always 
combined the Latin with the Greek, not only in philosophy but 
even in the practice of speaking, I recommend to you the same 
method, that you may excel equally in both kinds of compo 
sition. In this respect, indeed, if I mistake not, I was of great 
service to our countrymen ; so that not only such of them as 
are ignorant of Greek learning, but even men of letters, think 
they have profited somewhat by me both in speaking and rea 
soning. 

Wherefore you shall study, nay, study as long as you 
desire, under the best philosopher of this age and you 
ought to desire it, as long as you are not dissatisfied with 
the degree of your improvement ; but in reading my works, 
which are not very different from the Peripatetic because 
we profess in common to be followers both of Socrates and 
Plato as to the subject-matter itself, use your own judg 
ment; but be assured you will, by reading my writings, 
render your Latin style more copious. I would not have it 
supposed that this is said in ostentation ; for, while I yield 
the superiority in philosophy to many, if I claim to myself 
the province peculiar to an orator that of speaking with pro- 

1 



2 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

priety, perspicuity, and elegance I seem, since I have spent 
my life in that pursuit, to lay claim to it with a certain degree 
of right. 

Wherefore, my dear Cicero, I most earnestly recommend 
that you carefully peruse not only my Orations, but even my 
philosophical works, which have now nearly equaled them in 
extent ; for there is in the former the greater force of lan 
guage, but you ought to cultivate, at the same time, the equa 
ble and sober style of the latter. And, indeed, I find, that it 
has not happened in the case of any of the Greeks, that the 
same man has labored in both departments, and pursued both 
the former that of forensic speaking and the latter quiet 
mode of argumentation ; unless, perhaps, Demetrius Phalereus 
may be reckoned in that number a refined reasoner, a not 
very animated speaker, yet of so much sweetness, that you 
might recognize the pupil of Theophrastus. How far I have 
succeeded in both, others must determine; certain it is 
that I have attempted both. Indeed, I am of opinion that 
Plato, had he attempted forensic oratory, would have spoken 
with copiousness and power ; and that had Demosthenes 
retained and repeated the lessons of Plato, he would have de 
livered them with gracefulness and beauty. I form the same 
judgment of Aristotle and Isocrates, each of whom was so 
pleased with his own pursuit that he neglected that of the 
other. 

II. But having resolved at this time to write to you some 
what, and a great deal in time to come, I have thought proper 
to set out with that subject which is best adapted to your 
years and to my authority. For, while many subjects in phi 
losophy, of great weight and utility, have been accurately and 
copiously discussed by philosophers, the most extensive seems 
to be what they have delivered and enjoined concerning the 
duties of mankind ; for there can be no state of life, amid 
public or private affairs, abroad or at home whether you 
transact any thing with yourself or contract any thing with 
another that is without its obligations. In the due discharge 
of that consists all the dignity, and in its neglect all the dis 
grace, of life. 

This is an inquiry common to all philosophers ; for where 
is the man who will presume to style himself a philosopher, 
and lay down no rules of duty? But there are certain 



CHAP. ii. CICEEO S OFFICES. 3 

schools which, pervert all duty by the ultimate objects of 
good and evil which they propose. For if a man should 
lay down as the chief good that which has no connection 
with virtue, and measure it by his own interests, and not 
according to its moral merit ; if such a man shall act consist 
ently with his own principles, and is not sometimes influenced 
by the goodness of his heart, he can cultivate neither friendship, 
justice, nor generosity. In truth, it is impossible for the man 
to be brave who shall pronounce pain to be the greatest evil, 
or temperate who shall propose pleasure as the highest good. 1 

1 Cicero thus enters briefly but definitely into the most vexed, and yet 
the most fundamental, question of ethics : What is that which constitutes 
human conduct morally right or wrong ? In doing so, he plainly avows 
his own conviction that this great distinction is not dependent upon the 
mere expediency or inexpediency of the supposed conduct. The many 
eminent moral philosophers of modern times, and especially of our own 
country, may be comprehensively divided into the two classes of those 
who maintain, and those who oppose, the principle thus enunciated by 
Cicero. A very condensed view of the leading philosophers of these 
schools will not be uninstructive. 

The most celebrated of the earlier opponents of the principle laid down 
by Cicero was Hobbes, of Malmesbury, who flourished in the 1 7th cen 
tury. His system takes no account of moral emotions whatever. He 
makes pure selfishness the motive and end of all moral actions, and 
makes religion and morals alike to consist in passive conformity to the 
dogmas and laws of the reigning sovereign. 

Perhaps the best reply to this latter notion was given by Cicero him 
self, in his treatise, "De Legibus:" "The impulse," ho says, "which 
directs to right conduct, and deters from crime, is not only older than 
the ages of nations and cities, but coeval with that Divine Being who 
sees and rules both heaven and earth. Nor did Tarquin less violate that 
eternal law, though in his reign there might have been no written law 
at Rome against such violence ; for the principle that impels us to right 
conduct, and warns us against guilt, springs out of the nature of things. 
It did not begin to be law when it was first written but when it origi 
nated, and it is coeval with the Divine Mind itself." 

The most noted cotemporary opponents of these views were Cudworth 
and Dr. Clarke ; the sum of whose moral doctrine is thus stated in Mack 
intosh s "Progress of Ethical Philosophy: "Man can conceive nothing 
without, at the same time, conceiving its relation to other things. He 
must ascribe the same law of perception to every being to whom he as 
cribes thought. He cannot, therefore, doubt that all the relations of all 
things to all must have always been present to the Eternal Mind. The 
relations in this sense are eternal, however recent the things may be be 
tween whom they subsist. The whole of these relations constitute truth ; 
the knowledge of them is omniscience. These eternal different relations 
of things involve a consequent eternal fitness or unfitness in the applica- 



4 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK L 

Though these truths are so self-evident that they require 
no philosophical discussion, yet they have been treated by 
ine elsewhere. I say, therefore, that if these schools are 

tion of things one to another, with a regard to which the will of God 
always chooses, and which ought likewise to determine the wills of all 
subordinate rational beings. These eternal differences make it fit and 
reasonable for the creatures so to act ; they cause it to be their duty, or 
lay an obligation on them so to do, separate from the will of G-od, and 
antecedent to any prospect of advantage or reward." 

This system professes to base all morals upon pure reason, as applied 
to the fitness of things. A single passage from the work of Sir James 
Mackintosh points out the fallacy it involves. " The murderer who 
poisons by arsenic acts agreeably to his knowledge of the power of that 
substance to kill, which is a relation between two things as much as 
the physician who employs an emetic after the poison, acts upon his be 
lief of the tendency of that remedy to preserve life, which is another re 
lation between two things. All men who seek a good or bad end by 
good or bad means, must alike conform their conduct to some relation 
between their actions as means, and their object as an end. All the re 
lations of inanimate things to each other are undoubtedly observed as 
much by the criminal as by the man of virtue." 

Lord Shaftesbury, a little later, made a considerable advance in ethical 
philosophy, by placing virtue in the prevalence of love for the system of 
which we are a part, over the passions pointing to our individual wel 
fare ; and still further, by admitting an intrinsic power in all, of judging 
of moral actions by a moral sense. In his general principles Leibnitz, to 
a great extent, concurs : though the latter appears to have lost himself 
in a refinement of the selfish system, by considering the pleasure con 
nected with the exercise of this virtuous benevolence as the object in 
the view of the benevolent man. 

Malebranche places all virtue in " the love" of the universal order, as 
it eternally existed in the Divine reason, where every created reason 
contemplates it. 

The metaphysician of America, designated by Robert Hall, "that pro 
digy of metaphysical acumen," Jonathan Edwards, places moral excel 
lence in the love to being (that is, sentient being) in general. This good 
will should be felt toward a particular being first, in proportion to his 
degree of existence ("for," says he, "that which is great has more ex 
istence, and is further from nothing, than that which is little"); and, sec 
ondly, in proportion to the degree in which that particular being feels 
benevolence to others. 

With the 18th century arose a far higher system of morals, under the 
auspices of the celebrated Dr. Butler. He makes CONSCIENCE the ruling 
moral power in the complex constitution of man, and makes its dictates 
the grand criterion of moral Tightness and wrongness. A few of his own 
words will explain the essence of his system. " Man," says he, "from 
his make, constitution, or nature, is, in the strictest and most proper 
sense, a law to himself; he hath the rule of right within, and what is 
wanting ia that he honestly attend to it. Conscience does not only offer 



CHAP. ir. CICEEO S OFFICES. 5 

self-consistent, they can say nothing of the moral duties. 
Neither can any firm, permanent, or natural rules of duty 
be laid down, but by those who esteem virtue to be solely, 

itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its 
own authority with it, that it is our natural guide the guide assigned 
us by the Author of our nature. It, therefore, belongs to our condition 
of being. It is our duty to walk in that path, and to follow this guide, 
without looking about to see whether we may not possibly forsake them 
with impunity." "Butler s Sermons," Serm. 3. 

"With David Hume, who was cotemporary with Butler, the principle 
against which Cicero protests assumes a systematic character. The doctrine 
of the utility of actions, as that which constitutes them virtuous, was set 
forth with the whole force of his genius and eloquence. How far Dr. Paley 
acquiesces in the principles of Hume, and how far, on the other hand, he 
may seem to have been a disciple of Butler, will be seen by two brief pass 
ages in his " Moral and Political Philosophy." A comparison of the two, 
and especially a consideration of his attribution of an abstract moral char 
acter to actions, will reveal the grand defect of Paley s ethical system. The 
most masterly refutation of that system that ever appeared is to be found 
in the ethical work of Jonathan Dymond, in which an irrefragable super 
structure of practical morals is built, chiefly on the foundation of Dr. Butler. 
The former of the passages referred to is as follows: " We conclude that 
God wills and wishes the happiness of his creatures ; and this conclusion 
being once established, we are at liberty to go on with the rule built upon 
it, namely, that the method of coming at the will of G-od, concerning any 
action, by the light of nature, is to inquire into the tendency of that action 
to promote or diminish the general happiness. So, then, actions are to 
be estimated by their tendency. Whatever is expedient is right. It is 
the utility of any moral rule alone which constitutes the obligation of it." 
The second is as follows : " Actions, in the abstract, are right or wrong 
according to their tendency ; the agency is virtuous or vicious according 
to his design. 1 " Paley s Moral philosophy," book 1, chaps. 5, and 6. 

A still later philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, however, is the great apos 
tle of the principle of expediency as the foundation of ethics His theory, 
also, as the basis of moral obligation, may be learned by two character 
istic passages: "Nature has placed mankind under the government of 
two sovereign masters, pain arid pleasure. It is for them alone to point 
out what we ought to do. as well as to determine what we shall do. 
On the one hand, the standard of right and wrong ; on the other, the chain 
of causes and effects are fastened to their throne." " Beniham s Introd. 
of Morals," vol. I.e. 1. And again: "But is it never then, from any other 
consideration than that of utility that we derive our notions of right and 
wrong ? I do not know ; I do not care. Whether moral sentiment can 
be originally conceived from any other sense than a view of utility, is 
one question : Whether, upon examination and reflection, it can, in point 
of fact, be persisted in and justified on any other ground, by a person re 
flecting within, is another. Both are questions of speculation ; it mat 
ters not, comparatively, how they are decided." Id. vol. 1, c. 2. 

In conclusion, the two most enlightened philosophers of modern times, 



6 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK L 

or by those who deem it to be chiefly, desirable for its own 
sake. The teaching -of duties, therefore, is the peculiar study 
of the Stoics, of the Academics, and the Peripatetics ; because 
the sentiments of Aristo, Pyrrho, and Herillus, have been 
long exploded. Yet even those professors would have been 
entitled to have treated upon the duties of men, had they left 
us any distinction of things, so that there might have been 
a path open to the discovery of duty. We shall, therefore, 
upon this occasion, and in this inquiry, chiefly follow the 
Stoics, not as their expositors, but by drawing, as usual, 
from their sources, at our own option and judgment, so much 
and in such manner as we please. 1 I therefore think proper, 
as my entire argument is on moral obligation, to define what a 
duty is, a definition which I am. surprised has been omitted 

Dugald Stewart and Dr. Thomas Brown, have returned to the principle 
thus simply laid down by Cicero, in repudiation of the Epicurian theory, 
that expediency, or its tendency to produce happiness, is the moral cri 
terion of actions, and have supported it by an unexampled array of pro 
found and ingenious argument and eloquent illustration. A single re 
conciling principle maybe given in the words of Dugald Stewart: "An 
action may be said to be absolutely right, when it is in every respect 
suitable to the circumstances in which the agent is placed ; or, in other 
words, when it is such as, with perfectly good intentions, under the guid 
ance of an enlightened and well-informed understanding, he would have 
performed. An action may be said to be relatively right, when the in 
tentions of the agent are sincerely good, whether his conduct be suitable 
to his circumstances or not. According to these definitions, an action 
may be right in one sense and wrong in another an ambiguity in lan 
guage, which, how obvious soever, has not always been attended to by 
the writers on morals. It is the relative rectitude of an action which 
determines the moral desert of the agent ; but it is its absolute rectitude 
which determines its utility to his worldly interests and to the welfare 
of society. And it is only so far as relative and absolute rectitude coin 
cide, that utility can be affirmed to be a quality of virtue." " Outlines 
of Moral Philosophy," part 2, sec. 6. 

A similar truth is enunciated by Sir Thomas Brown, in his "Christian 
Morals," first published in 1716: "Make not the consequence of virtue 
the ends thereof. Be not beneficent for a name or cymbal of applause, 
nor exact and just in commerce for the advantages of trust and credit, 
which attend the reputation of true and punctual dealing ; for these re 
wards, though unsought for, plain virtue will bring with her. To have 
other by-ends in good actions sours laudable performances, which must 
have deeper roots, motives, and instigations, to give them the stamp of 
virtues." "Christian Morals," part 1, sec. 10. 

1 Cicero, though generally adopting the principles of the Stoics, still 
professes himself an Eclectic philosopher, culling from all systems what 



CHAP. in. CICERO S OFFICES. 7 

by Panaetius ; because every investigation which is rationally 
undertaken, concerning any subject, ought to set out with a 
definition, that it may be understood what is the subject of dis 
cussion. 

III. All questions concerning duty are of two sorts. The 
first relates to the final good ; the second consists of those 
rules which are to regulate the practice of life in all its rela 
tions. 1 Examples of the former are as follows : Whether 
all duties are perfect in themselves ? Whether one duty is 
of more importance than another 1 together with other ques 
tions of the same nature. Now the rules for moral duties 
relate, indeed, to the final good ; but it is not so perceptible 
that they do, because they seem chiefly to refer to the regu 
lation of ordinary life, and of them we are to treat in this book. 

But there is another division of duty : for one is called a 
mean duty, the other a perfect duty. If I mistake not, the 
complete or perfect duty is the same with what we call a 
direct one, and by the Greeks is called ttcnogd^uoe. As to 
that duty which is mean they call it xa#rjxov, and they thus 
define those terms. Whatever duty is absolute, that they 
call a perfect duty ; and they call that duty, for the per- 

appeared to bear most distinctly the stamp of truth, but not submitting 
to the authority of any. Horace makes a similar profession respecting 
himself 

"Nulliaa addictus juraro in verbi magistri, 
Quo me cumque rapit tempestas deferor hospes." 

First. Epist First Book, lines 14, 15. 

"The Roman orator," says Sir. J. Mackintosh, "though in speculative 
questions he embraced that mitigated doubt which allowed most ease 
and freedom to his genius, yet in those moral writings where his heart 
was most deeely interested, followed the severest sect of philosophy, 
and became almost a Stoic." "Progress of Ethical Philosophy." 

1 Cicero, in his work on Moral Ends (De Finibus\ briefly defines 
ethics, or morality, as the ars vivendi, or doctrina bene vivendi ; that is, the 
art of living wisely. The terms ethics is derived from the Greek i]$LKrj, 
which, in signification, is equivalent with the Latin mos, mores, whence 
the adjective moralis, and the English word morals. Aristotle, in the 
second book of his " Ethics," addressed to his son, Nichomachus, says 
that moral science received the name of ethics from the word Mof, 
" habit, use, or custom," since it is from habitual experience, and the 
routine of customary conduct, that moral dispositions and principles are 
gradually formed and changed. Perhaps the definition of Dr. Thomas 
Brown can not be improved: "Ethics is the science which relates to our 
mutual affections, not simply as phenomena, but as they are virtuous or 
vicious, right or wrong." 



8 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

formance of which a probable reason can be assigned, a mean 
duty. 1 

In the opinion, therefore, of Pansetius, there is a threefold 
consideration for determining our resolution ; for men doubt 
whether the thing which falls under their consideration be 
of itself virtuous or disgraceful, and in this deliberation minds 
are often distracted into opposite sentiments. They then 
examine and deliberate whether or not the subject of their 
consideration conduces to the convenience or enjoyment of life, 
to the improvement of their estate and wealth, to their interest 
and power, by which they may profit themselves or their 
relations ; all which deliberation falls under the category of 
utility. The third kind of doubtful deliberation is, when an 
apparent utility seems to clash with moral rectitude ; for 
when utility hurries us to itself, and virtue, on the other hand, 
seems to call us back, it happens that the mind is distracted 
in the choice, and these occasion a double anxiety in delibera 
tion. In this division (although an omission is of the worst 
consequence in divisions of this kind), two things are omitted ; 
for we are accustomed to deliberate not only whether a 
thing be virtuous or shameful in itself, but, of t .70 things that 
are virtuous, which is the more excellent ? And, in like man 
ner, of two things which are profitable, which is the more 
profitable ? Thus, it is found that the deliberation, which he 
considered to be threefold, ought to be distributed into five 
divisions. We must, therefore, first treat of what is virtuous 
in itself, and that under two heads ; in like manner, of what 
is profitable; and we shall next treat of them compara 
tively. 

IV. In the first place, a disposition has been planted by 
nature in every species of living creatures to cherish them 
selves, their life, and body ; to avoid those things that appear 
hurtful to them ; and to look out for and procure whatever 

1 " It was thus that they (the Stoics) were obliged to invent a double 
morality ; one for mankind at large, from whom was expected no more 
than the /ca^/cov, which seems principally to have denoted acts of duty, 
done from inferior or mixed motives ; and the other, which they appear to 
have hoped from their ideal wise men, is Karopdufta, or perfect observance 
of rectitude, which consisted only in moral acts, done for mere reverence 
for morality, unaided by any feelings ; all which (without the exception 
of pity) they classed among the enemies of reason and the disturbers of 
the human soul," Sir, J, Mackintosh s "Progress of Ethical Philosophy." 



CHAP. iv. CICERO S OFFICES. 9 

is necessary for their living, such as food, shelter, and the 
like. Now the desire of union for the purpose of procreating 
their own species is common to all animals, as well as a 
certain degree of concern about what is procreated. But 
the greatest distinction between a man and a brute lies in 
this, that the latter is impelled only by instinct, and applies 
itself solely to that object which is present and before it, 
with very little sensibility to what is past or to come ;* but 

1 "It seems evident that animals, as well as men, learn many things 
from experience, and infer that the same events will always follow from 
the same causes. By this principle they become acquainted with the 
more obvious properties of external objects, and gradually, from their 
birth, treasure up a knowledge of the nature of fire, water, earth, stones, 
heights, depths, etc., and of the effects which result from their operation. 
The ignorance and inexperience of the young are here plainly distinguish 
able from the cunning and sagacity of the old, who have learned by long 
observation to avoid what hurt them, and to pursue what gave ease or 
pleasure. This is still more evident from the effects of disciph ne and 
education on animals, who, by the proper application of rewards and 
punishments, may be taught any course of action, the most contrary to 
their natural instincts and propensities. Is it not experience which ren 
ders a dog apprehensive of pain when you menace him, of lift up the 
whip to beat him ? Is it not even experience which makes him answer 
to his name, and infer from such an arbitrary sound that you mean him 
rather than any of his fellows, and intend to call him when you pronounce 
it in a certain manner, and with a certain tone and accent ? 

"In all these cases we may observe, that the animal infers some fact 
beyond what immediately strikes his senses ; and that this inference ia 
altogether founded on past experience, while the creature expects from 
the present object the same consequences which it has always found in 
its observation to result from similar objects. 

"But though animals learn many parts of their knowledge from obser 
vation, there are also many parts of it which they derive from the origi 
nal hand of Nature, whicli much exceed the share of capacity they pos 
sess, on ordinary occasions, and in which they improve little or nothing 
by the longest practice and experience. These we denominate INSTINCTS, 
and are so apt to admire as something very extraordinary and inexpli 
cable by all the disquisitions of human understanding. But our wonder 
will perhaps cease to diminish when we consider that the experimental 
reasoning itself, which we possess in common with beasts, and on which 
the whole conduct of life depends, is nothing but a species of instinct, or 
mechanical power, that acts in us unknown to ourselves, arid in its chief 
operations is not directed by any such relations or comparison of ideas 
as are the proper objects of our intellectual faculties. Though the instinct 
be different, yet still it is an instinct which teaches a man to avoid tho 
fire, as much as that which teaches a bird, with such exactness, the art 
of incubation, and the whole economy and order of its nursery." Hume s 
" Inquiry concerning the Human Understanding," sec. 9. 



10 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOKL 

man, because endowed with reason, by which he discerns con 
sequences, looks into the causes of things and their progress, 
and being acquainted, as it were, with precedents, he compares 
their analogies, and adapts and connects the present with what 
is to come. It is easy for him to foresee the future direction of 
all his life, and therefore he prepares what is necessary for pass 
ing through it. 

Nature, likewise, by the same force of reason, conciliates 
man to man, in order to a community both of language and 
of life : above all, it implants in them a strong love for their 
offspring ; it impels them to desire that companies and 
societies should be formed, and that they should mingle in 
them ; and that for those reasons, man should take care to 
provide for the supply of clothing and of food ; and that not 
only for himself, but for his wife, his children, and for all 
whom he ought to hold dear and to protect. This is an affec 
tion which arouses the spirit and makes it more strenuous for 
action. 

The distinguishing property of man is to search for and 
to follow after truth. Therefore, when relaxed from our 
necessary cares and concerns, we then covet to see, to hear, 
and to learn somewhat ; and we esteem knowledge of things 
either obscure or wonderful to be the indispensable means 
of living happily. 1 From this we understand that truth, 
simplicity, and candor, are most agreeable to the nature 
of mankind. To this passion for discovering truth, is 
added a desire to direct ; for a mind, well formed by na 
ture, is unwilling to obey any man but him who lays down 
rules and instructions to it, or who, for the general advan 
tage, exercises equitable and lawful government. From this 

1 " Nature has made it delightful to man to know, disquieting to him 
to know only imperfectly, while any thing remains in his power that can 
make his knowledge more accurate or comprehensive ; and she has done 
more than all this : she has not waited till we reflect on the pleasure 
which we are to enjoy, or the pain which we are to suffer. It is suffi 
cient that there is something unknown which has a relation to some 
thing that is known to us. We feel instantly the desire of knowing this 
too. "We have a desire of knowledge which nothing can abate ; a desire 
that in some greater or less degree extends itself to every thing which 
we are capable of knowing, and not to realities merely but to all the 
extravagances of fiction." Dr. Thomas Brown s "Lectures on the Phi 
losophy of the Human Mind." 



CHAP. v. CICERO S OFFICES. 11 

proceeds loftiness of mind, and contempt for worldly inter 
ests. 1 

Neither is it a mean privilege of nature and reason, that man 
is the only animal who is sensible of order, of decency, and of 
propriety, both in acting and speaking. In like manner, no 
other creature perceives the beauty, the gracefulness, and the 
harmony of parts, in those objects which are discerned by the 
sight. And analogous perception to which nature and reason 
convey from the sight to the mind ; and consider that beauty, 
regularity, and order in counsels and actions should be still 
more preserved. She is cautious not to do aught that is inde 
cent or effeminate, or to act or think wantonly in any of our 
deliberations or deeds. The effect and result of all this produces 
that honestum which we are now in search of; that virtue 
which is honorable even without being ennobled ; and of which 
we may truly say, that even were it praised by none it would 
be commendable in itself. 

V. My Son Marcus, you here perceive at least a sketch, and, 
as it were, the outline of virtue ; which, could we perceive her 
with our eyes, 2 would, as Plato says, kindle a wonderful love of 
wisdom. But whatever is virtuous arises from some one of 
those four divisions : for it consists either in sagacity and the 
perception of truth ; or in the preservation of human society, 
by giving to every man his due, and by observing the faith of 
contracts ; or in the greatness and firmness of an elevated and 
unsubdued mind ; or in observing order and regularity in all 
our words and in all our actions, in which consists moderation 
and temperance. 

1 The same sentiment, with reference to the love of knowledge, ia 
more beautifully expressed by Virgil: 

" Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas; 
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum 
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari." 

Georg. II. lines 490-492. 

2 Our "bodily eyes.] " This is a fine and a celebrated sentiment of Plato. 
Oipt (says he, in his Phedro), TJ/J.CV o^vrarrj TUV 6ia rov acjfiaro^ epxerat 
alodijaeuv, 77 ippovjj elf OVK opdrai, detvovg -yap dv Trapeixetv gpurae, el 
TOIOVTOV iavrrjp ivapyec elduAov Trapeixero el^ otpt^ lov : Our eyesight 
(says he), is the most exquisite of our senses, yet it does not serve us to 
discern wisdom ; if it did, what a glow of love would she kindle within 
us. The reader may, perhaps, observe with what propriety Cicero ap 
plies to virtue what Plato says of wisdom." Guthrie. 



12 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

Though these four divisions are connected and interwoven 
with one another, yet certain kinds of duties arise from each 
of them. As, for instance, in that part which I first de 
scribed, and under which I comprehended sagacity or wisdom, 
consists the search after and discovery of truth ; and this is 
the characteristic function of that virtue : for the man who is 
most sagacious in discovering the real truth in any subject, 
and who can, with the greatest perspicacity and quickness, 
both see and explain the grounds of it, is justly esteemed 
a man of the greatest understanding and discernment. From 
hence it follows that truth is, as it were, the subject-matter 
which this faculty handles, and on which it employs itself. 
As to the other three virtues, they necessarily consist in acquir 
ing and preserving those things with which the conduct of life 
is connected, in order to preserve the community and relations 
of mankind, and to display that excellence and greatness of 
soul which exhibits itself as well in acquiring resources and 
advantages both for ourselves and for our friends, as, still more 
concpicuously, in properly disregarding them. As to order, 
resolution, moderation, and the like, they come into that rank 
of virtues which require not only an operation of the mind, 
but a certain degree of personal activity ; for it is in observing 
order and moderation in those things which constitute the 
objects of active life, that we shall preserve virtue and de 
cency. 

VI. Now, of the four divisions under which I have ranged 
the nature and essence of virtue, that which consists in the 
knowledge of truth principally affects the nature of man. 
For all of us are impelled and carried along to the love of 
knowledge and learning, in which we account it glorious to 
excel, but consider every slip, mistake, ignorance, and de 
ception in it, to be hurtful and shameful. In this pursuit, 
which is both natural and virtuous, two faults are to be 
avoided. The first is, the regarding things which we do not 
know as if they were understood by us, and thence rashly 
giving them our assent. 1 And he that wishes, as every 
man ought to wish, to avoid this error, must devote both 
his time and his industry to the study of things. The other 
fault is, that some people bestow too much study and .pains 

1 " The highest perfection of human reason is to know that there is an 
infinity of truth beyond its reach." Pascal. 



CHAP. 7ii. CICERO S OFFICES. 13 

upon tilings that are obscure, 1 difficult, and even immaterial in 
themselves. When those faults are avoided, all the pains and 
care a man bestows upon studies that are virtuous in them 
selves, and worthy of his knowledge, will be deservedly com 
mended. Thus we have heard how Caius Sulpicius 2 excelled in 
astronomy, and Sextus Pompeius, to my own knowledge, in 
mathematics ; many also in logic, and more in the civil law, 
all which are arts that serve to investigate truth, in the pursuit 
of which our duty forbids us to be diverted from transacting 
our business, because the whole glory of virtue consists in ac 
tivity. Yet this is often intermitted, and frequent are our re 
turns to our studies. Then there is an incessant working of 
the mind, which, without our taking pains, is sufficient to keep 
us in the practice of thinking. Now, all our thoughts, and 
every motion of the mind, should be devoted either to the 
forming of plans for virtuous actions, and such as belong to a 
good and happy life, or else to the pursuits of science and 
knowledge. I have now treated of at least the first source of 
duty. 

VII. Now, as to the other three, the most extensive system 
is that by which the mutual society of mankind, and, as it 
were, the intercourse of life, is preserved. Of this there are 
two parts : justice, in which virtue displays itself with the 
most distinguished luster, and from which men are termed 
good ; and allied to this, beneficence, which may likewise be 
termed benevolence, or liberality. Now, the chief province 
of justice is, that no person injure another, unless he is pro- 

1 " The emperor Antoninus very finely thanks the gods, that when ho 
applied to the study of philosophy he was taught by Junius Rusticus to 
avoid this error. Tov EI<; iavrbv OTTUC iridv/HTiaa tpiAoaoQias, pr) 
Ifj-TTEGE iv elg Tiva co(f>i<7rijv [irid aTrottadicai enl Toi> cvyypatyeif 7} 
cvTi^oji jfjLOvg dvahvsiv, $ Kepi T& /zerecjpoAoyi/cd Karaytveadai : That 
when I applied my mind to the study of philosophy, I did not meet with 
a sophist for my instructor ; neither did I spend my time in reading 
mean authors, nor was I embarrassed by the useleea studies of astrology." 
Guthrie. 

2 " "We have, in the Roman history, a remarkable story of this noble 
man, by which we may see the excellent effects of learning in a man of 
consideration, who knows how to time it well. For we are told, that 
while he served against the Macedonians, under Julius ^Emilius, he fore 
told to the Roman soldiers an eclipse, and explained its causes, and 
thereby prevented the consternation they otherwise would have fallen 
into, and which, seizing the enemies, they were easily routed by the 
Romans." Guthrie. 



14 CICERO S OFFICES. BOO&I. 

yoked 1 by suffering wrong ; next, that public property be ap 
propriated to public, and private to individual, use. 

Now, by nature no property is private, but dependent either 
on ancient possession (as when men formerly came into unoc 
cupied territories) ; or victory (as when they have taken posses 
sion of it in war) ; or public constitution, contract, terms, or 
lot. By those, the land of Arpinum is regarded as belonging 
to the Arpinates ; the Tusculan, to the Tusculans. The like 
division holds with regard to matters of private property. 
Thus, as every man holds his own, each should possess 
that. portion which fell to his share of those things that 
by nature were common ; and it follows, that no man can 
covet another s property without violating the laws of human 
society. 2 

But (as has been strikingly said by Plato) we are not 
born for ourselves alone, and our country claims her share, 
and our friends their share of us ; and, as the Stoics hold, 

1 " Dictat autem ratio liomini (says Gh otius, de Jure Belli ac Pads, lib. 
2, cap. 20, 5), nihil agendum quod noceatur liomini alteri, nisi, id bonum 
habeat aliquid propositum. In solo autem inimici dolore, ita nude spectato, 
nullum est bonum nisi falsum et imaginarium : Now, reason tells men 
that we should do no hurt to another man, unless it is to serve some 
good end, for, from the mere pain of another person, there can result no 
good but what is mistaken and imaginary." Vidplura in loc. cit. 

2 This subject has been extensively investigated by modern moralists 
and jurists. Paley, in one of his chapters on property, adduces and com 
ments upon the principal theories that have been advanced. Those of 
Mr. Locke, and of Paley himrelf, may be briefly given in the words of the 
latter. " Each man s limbs and labor are his own exclusively ; by occu 
pying a piece of ground a man inseparably mixes his labor with it, by 
which means the piece of ground becomes thenceforward his own, as you 
can not take it from him without depriving him at the same time of 
something which is indisputably his." This is Mr. Locke s solution. Dr. 
Paley adds: "The real foundation of our right (i. e., to private property) 
is THE LAW or THE LAND. It is the intention of God that the produce 
of the earth be applied to the use of man ; this intention can not be ful 
filled without establishing property; it is consistent, therefore, with his 
will that property be established. The land can not be divided into 
separate property without leaving it to the law of the gountry to regu 
late that division ; it is consistent, therefore, with the same will, that 
the law should regulate the division ; and, consequently, consistent with 
the will of God, or right, that I should possess that share which these 
regulations assign me. By whatever circuitous train of reasoning you 
attempt to derive this right, it must terminate at last in the will of God ; 
the straightest, therefore, and shortest way of arriving at this will, is the 
best. Paley s " Moral and Political Philosophy," book 3, chap. 4. 



CHAP. vin. CICERO S OFFICES. 15 

all that the earth produces is created for the use of man, so 
men are created for the sake of men, that they may mutually 
do good to one another ; in this we ought to take nature for our 
guide, to throw into the public stock the offices of general utility 
by a reciprocation of duties ; sometimes by receiving, sometimes 
by giving, and sometimes to cement human society by arts, by 
industry, and by our resources. 

Now the foundation of justice is faithfulness, which is a 
perseverance and truth in all our declarations and in all our 
promises. Let us therefore (though some people may think it 
over nice) imitate the Stoics, who curiously examine whence 
terms are derived, and consider that the word fides, or faithful 
ness, is no other than a performance of what we have promised. 1 
But there are two kinds of injustice ; the first is of those who 
offer an injury, the second of those who have it in their power 
to avert an injury from those to whom it is offered, and yet do 
it not. For if a man, prompted either by anger or any sudden 
perturbation, unjustly assaults another man, such a one seems 
as it were to lay violent hands on one s ally ; and the man who 
does not repel or withstand the injury, if he can, is as much to 
blame as if he deserted the cause of his parents, his friends, or 
his country. 

Those wrongs, however, which are inflicted for the very pur 
pose of doing an injury, often proceed from fear ; as for instance, 
when a man who is contriving to injure another is afraid, unless 
he executes what he is meditating, that he may himself sustain 
some disadvantage ; but the great incentive to doing wrong is 
to obtain what one desires, and in this crime avarice is the most 
pervading motive. 

VIII. Now riches are sought after, both for the necessary 
purposes of life and for the enjoyment of pleasure. But in 
men of greater minds the coveting of money is with a view 
to power and to the means of giving gratification. As M. 
Crassus lately used to declare, that no man who wanted to 
have a direction in the government had money enough, unless 
by the interest of it he could maintain an army. Mag 
nificent equipages, likewise, and a style of living made up 
of elegance and abundance give delight, and hence the 
desire for money becomes boundless. Nor indeed is the 

i Fides, qui&fiat quod dictum est 



16 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

mere desire to improve one s private fortune, without injury 
to another, deserving of blame ; but injustice must ever be 
avoided. 

But the main cause why most men are led to a forgetful- 
ness of justice is their falling into a violent ambition after 
empire, honors, and glory. For what Ennius observes that 

" No social bonds, no public faith remains 
Inviolate ;" 

has a still more extensive application ; for where the object of 
ambition is of such a nature as that several can not obtain pre 
eminence, the contest for it is generally so violent that nothing 
can be more difficult than to preserve the sacred ties of society. 
This was shown lately in the presumption of C. CaBsar, who, in 
order to obtain that direction in the government which the 
wildness of his imagination had planned out, violated all laws, 
divine and human. But what is deplorable in this matter is, 
that the desire after honor, empire, power, and glory, is gener 
ally most prevalent in the greatest soul and the most exalted 
genius j 1 for which reason every crime of that sort is the more 
carefully to be guarded against. But in ever species of injust 
ice it is a very material question, whether it is committed 
through some agitation of passion, which commonly is short 
lived and temporary, or from deliberate, prepense, malice ; for 
those things which proceed from a short, sudden fit, are of 
slighter moment than those which are inflicted by forethought 
and preparation. But enough has been said concerning inflict 
ing injury. 

IX. Various are the causes of men omitting the defense 
of others, or neglecting their duty toward them. They are 
either unwilling to encounter enmity, toil, or expense ; or, 
perhaps, they do it through negligence, listlessness, or lazi 
ness ; or they are so embarrassed in certain studies and pur 
suits, that they suffer those they ought to protect to be ne 
glected. Hence we must take care lest Plato s observation 
with respect to philosophers should be falsified: "That they 

1 Milton thus expresses a similar idea : 

" Fame is the spur which the clear spirit doth raise 
(That last infirmity of noble mind) 
To scorn delights and live laborious days." Lycidas. 



CHAP. ix. CICERO S OFFICES. 17 

are men of integrity, because they are solely engaged in the 
pursuit of truth, and despise and neglect those considera- 
rations which others value, and which mankind are wont to 
contend for among themselves." For, while they abstain 
from hurting any by the infliction of injury, they indeed assert 
one species of honesty or justice, but they fail in another ; be 
cause, being entangled in the pursuits of learning, they abandon 
those they ought to protect. Some, therefore, thick that they 
would have no concern with the government unless they were 
forced to it ; but still, it would be more just that it should be 
done voluntarily ; for an action which is intrinsically right is 
only morally good in so far as it is voluntary. 1 There are 
others who, either from a desire to improve their private for 
tune, or from some personal resentments, pretend that they 
mind their own affairs only that they may appear not to do 
wrong to another. Now such persons are free from one kind 
of injustice, but fall into another ; because they abandon the 
fellowship of life by employing in it none of their zeal, none of 
their labor, none of their abilities. Having thus stated the two 
kinds of dishonesty or injustice, and assigned the motives 
for each kind, and settled previously the considerations by 
which justice is limited, we shall easily (unless we are extremely 
selfish) be able to form a judgment of our duty on every occa 
sion. 

For, to concern ourselves in other people s affairs is a 
delicate matter. Yet Chremes, a character in Terence, thinks, 
that there is nothing which has a relation to mankind 
in which he has not a concern. 2 Meanwhile, because we 
have the quicker perception and sensation of whatever 
happens favorably or untowardly to ourselves than to 
others, which we see as it were at a greater distance, the 

1 The principle of the spontaneousness and intelligence of all actions 
being essential to their moral character, seems, if it be admitted, at once 
fatal to those numerous schemes of ethics, which make the moral char 
acter of conduct to depend on its essential utility inasmuch as on the 
latter showing a morally good action may not only be performed under 
compulsion, but even with the deliberate and sole intention of producing 
the opposite results, namely, those which are in every aspect the most 
mischievous 

2 Heautontimorumenos, Act I., Scene 1 : Homo sum: humani nihil 
a me alienum puto. Augustin, who was made bishop of Hippo, A.D. 395, 
mentions the universal applause with which this admirable sentiment was 



18 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

judgment we form of them is very different from what we 
form of ourselves. Those therefore are wise monitors who 
teach us to do nothing of which we are doubtful, whether it is 
honest or unjust ; for whatever is honest manifests itself by 
its own luster, but doubt implies the entertainment of in 
justice. 

X. But occasions frequently happen in which those duties 
which are most worthy of an honest, and of such as we call a 
worthy man, are altered and changed to their contraries. 
For example, to return a deposit, to perform a promise, and 
other matters that are relative to truth and honesty, sometimes 
alter so that it is just they should not be observed ; for it is 
proper to have recourse to those fundamentals of honesty which 
I laid down in the commencement : in the first place, that of 
injuring no person ; and, secondly, that of being subservient to 
the public good. When these conditions are altered by cir 
cumstances, the moral obligation, not being invariably identical, 
is similarly altered. 

A promise, as a paction, may happen to be made, the 
performance of which may be prejudicial either to the party 
promising, or to the party to whom the promise is made. 
For (as we see in the play) had not Neptune performed his 
promise to Theseus, the latter would not have been bereaved 
of his son Hippolytus ; for it is recorded, that of three wishes 
to be granted him, the third, which he made in a passion, 
was the death of Hippolytus, which, having been granted, 
he sunk into the most dreadful distress. Therefore, you 
are not to perform those promises which may be prejudicial 
to the party to whom you promise, nor if they may be more 
hurtful to you than they can be serviceable to him. It is 
inconsistent with our duty that the greater obligation should 
be postponed to the less. For instance, suppose you should 
promise to appear as the advocate of another person while 
his cause is depending : now, if your son was to be seized 
violently ill, in the mean time, it would be no breach of duty 

received in the theater. He himself has left us an expression of the 
same idea in the following words : 

" Omniahomo est omni homini proximus, nee ulla cogitanda est longin- 
quitas generis ubi est natura communis." 

^Every man is most closely connected with his every fellow man, nor 
should any distance of relationanip ^nter into consideration where there 
is a common nature." 



CHAP. x. CICERO S OFFICES. 19 

in you not to perform what you promise ; the other person 
would rather depart from his duty if he should complain that 
he had been abandoned. Who, then, does not see that a man 
is not bound by those promises which he makes either when 
coerced by fear, 1 or seduced by deceit 1 Many such promises 
are cancelled by the edict of the praetor s court, some by the 
laws ; for very often wrongs arise through a quirk, and through 
a too artful but fraudulent construction of the law. Hence, 
" the rigor of law is the rigor of injustice," is a saying that 
has now passed into a proverb. Many injuries of this kind 
happen even in state affairs : thus, when a general has con 
cluded a truce with his enemy for thirty days, yet ravaged that 
enemy s territories every night, because the truce was only for 
so many days, not for the nights. Nor, indeed, if it is true, is 
the conduct of our countryman, Quintus Fabius Labeo, to be 
approved of, or whoever he was (for I have the story only by 
report), who, being appointed an arbiter by the senate to settle 
a boundary between the people of JSTola and those of Naples, 
counseled each of those people separately to do nothing covet 
ously, and that each ought rather to draw back than advance. 
Both of them taking this advice, a space of unoccupied 
ground was left in the middle. He, therefore, adjudged to 
each people the boundary to which they had confined them 
selves, and all that was in the middle to the people of Rome. 
This was not to give judgment, but to cheat ; wherefore 
we ought to avoid all chicane of that kind in every transaction. 2 

1 See conclusion of note, pp. 19, 20. 

2 "With these imperfect, and in some respects most faulty, notions 
touching the obligations of promises, it will be instructive to compare 
the principles of modern moralists. The following is a brief digest of 
these principles as given by Paley (" Moral and Political Philosophy," 
book 3, chap. 5) : " They who argue from innate moral principles, sup 
pose a sense of the obligation of promises to be one of them ; but with 
out assuming this, or any thing else, without proof, the obligation to per 
form promises may be deduced from the necessity of such a conduct to 
the well-being, or the existence, indeed, of human society. 

" Men act from expectation. Expectation is, in most cases, determined 
by the assurances and engagements which are received from others. If 
no dependence could be placed upon these assurances, it would be im 
possible to know what judgment to form of many future events, or how 
to regulate our conduct with respect to them. Confidence, therefore, in 
promises is essential to the intercourse of human life ; because without 
it the greatest part of our conduct would proceed upon chance. But 
there could be no confidence in promises, if men were not obliged to 



20 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

XL Certain duties are also to be observed, even toward 
those who have wronged you ; for there is a mean even in 

perform them ; the obligation, therefore, to perform promises is essential 
to the same ends, and in the same degree. "Where the terms of promise 
admit of more senses than one, the promise is to be performed in that 
sense in which the promiser apprehended at the time that the promisor 
received it. ^ Dr. Paley sums up his argument in the following words: 
"From the account we have given of the obligation of promises, it is 
evident that this obligation depends upon the expectations which we 
knowingly and voluntarily excite. Consequently, any action or conduct 
toward another, which we are sensible excites expectations in that other, 
is as much a promise, and creates as strict an obligation, as the most 
express assurances." The exceptions which Paley admits to the obliga 
tion of promises are the following ; " 1. Promises are not binding where 
the performance is impossible. 2. Promises are not binding where the 
performance is unlawful. 3. Promises are not binding where they con 
tradict a former promise. 4. Promises are not binding before accept 
ance ; that is, before notice given to the promisee. 5. Promises are not 
binding which are released by the promisee. And, 6. Erroneous prom 
ises are not binding in certain cases ; as where the error proceeds from 
the mistake or misrepresentation of the promisee ; or, secondly, "When 
the promise is understood by the promisee to proceed upon a certain 
supposition, or when the promiser apprehended it to be so understood, 
and that supposition turns out to be false ; then the promise is not bind 
ing." It is only necessary to cite another passage with reference to ex 
torted promises. It seems obvious here to remark, that in the case of 
promises, or even declarations, unjustly extorted as by the highway 
man or the inquisitor a doubt may very naturally arise, whether the 
absence of all right on the part of the extorting party, does not involve 
a correlative freedom on the part of the victim, to declare the truth, or 
to fulfill the promise. This point Dr. Paley leaves (unnecessarily, as I 
think), undecided. "It has," he says, "long been controverted among 
moralists, whether promises be binding which are extorted by violence 
or fear. The obligation of all promises results, we have seen, from the 
necessity or the use of that confidence which mankind repose in them. 
The question, therefore, whether these promises are binding, will depend 
upon this : whether mankind, upon the whole, are benefited b} 7 the con 
fidence placed on such promises? A highwayman attacks you, and 
being disappointed of his booty, threatens or prepares to murder you. 
You promise, with many solemn asseverations, that if he will spare your 
life he shall find a purse of money left for him at a place appointed. 
Upon the faith of this promise he forbears from further violence. Now, 
your life was saved by the confidence reposed in a promise extorted by 
fear ; and the lives of many others may be saved by the same. This is 
a good consequence. On the other hand, confidence in promises like these 
greatly facilitates the perpetration of robberies ; they may be made the 
instruments of almost unlimited extortion. This is a bad consequence ; 
and in the question between the importance of these opposite conse 
quences, resides the doubt concerning the obligations of such promises." 



CHAP. XL CICERO S OFFICES. 21 

revenge and punishments. Nay, I am not certain whether 
it is not sufficient for the person who has injured you to 
repent of the wrong done, so that he may never be guilty of 
the like in future, and that others may not be so forward to 
offend in the same manner. 1 Now, in government the laws 
of war are to be most especially observed ; for since there are 
two manners of disputing, one by debating, the other by 
fighting, though the former characterizes men, the latter, 
brutes, if the former can not be adopted, recourse must be had 
to the latter. Wars, therefore, are to be undertaken for this 
end, that we may live in peace without being injured ; but 
when we obtain the victory, we must preserve those enemies 
who behaved without cruelty or inhumanity during the war : 
for example, our forefathers received, even as members of 
their state, the Tuscans, the JEqui, the Volscians, the Sabines, 
and the Hernici, but utterly destroyed Carthage and Nu- 
mantia. I am unwilling to mention Corinth ; but I believe 
they had some object in it, and particularly they were induced 
to destroy it, lest the advantages of its situation should invite 
the inhabitants to make war in future times. In my opinion, 
we ought always to consult for peace, which should have in 
it nothing of perfidy. Had my voice been followed on this 
head, we might still have had some form of government (if 
not the best), whereas now we have none. And, while we 
are bound to exercise consideration toward those whom we 

1 "The insolence and brutality of anger, when we indulge its fury 
without check or restraint is, of all objects, the most detestable. But 
we admire that noble and generous resentment which governs its pur 
suit of the greatest injuries, not by the rage which they are apt to ex 
cite in the breast of the sufferer, but by the indignation which they 
naturally call forth in that of the impartial spectator ; which allows no 
word, no gesture, to escape it beyond what this more equitable senti 
ment would dictate ; which never, even in thought, attempts any greater 
vengeance, nor desires to inflict any greater punishment, than what 
every indifferent person would rejoice to see executed." Smith s "Moral 
Sentiments," part 1, chap. 5. 

" The nobleness of pardoning appears, upon many occasions, superior 
even to the most perfect propriety of resenting. "When either proper 
acknowledgments have been made by the offending party, or even with 
out any such acknowledgments, when the public interest requires that 
the most mortal enemies should unite for the discharge of some import 
ant duty, the man who can cast away all animosity, and act with con 
fidence and cordiality toward the person who had most grievously offended 
him, seems iustly to merit our highest admiration." Id, part 6, section 3. 



22 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK L 

have conquered by force, so those should be received into our 
protection who throw themselves upon the honor of our 
general, and lay down their arms, even though the battering 
rams should have struck their walls. In which matter justice 
was cultivated with so much care among our countrymen, that 
it was a custom among our ancestors that they who received 
under their protection cities, or nations conquered in war, be 
came their patrons. 

Now, the justice of war was most religiously pointed out 
by the fecial law of the Romans. From this it may be 
understood that no war is just unless it is undertaken to 
reclaim property, 1 or unless it is solemnly denounced and 
proclaimed beforehand. Popilius, as general, held a province 
where Cato s son served in his army. It happened that 
Popilius thought proper to disband one legion ; he dismissed, 
at the same time, Cato s son, who was serving in that legion. 
When, however, through love of a military life, he remained 
in the army, his father wrote to Popilius, that if he suffered 
him to continue in the service he should, for a second time bind 
him by the military oath ; because the obligation of the former 
having been annulled, he could not lawfully fight with the enemy. 

So very strict was their observance of laws in making 
war. There is extant a letter of old Cato to his son on this 
occasion, in which he writes, " That he heard he had got his 
discharge from the consul, while he was serving as a soldier in 
Macedonia, during the war with Perseus. He, therefore, en 
joins him to take care not to enter upon action ; for he declares 
that it is not lawful for a man who is not a soldier to fight with 
an enemy. 

XII. And, indeed, there is another thing that I should 
observe, that he who ought properly be termed perduellis, 
that is, a stubborn foe, is called a hostis, and thereby the 
softness of the appellation lessens the horror of the thing ; for 
by our ancestors he was called hostis whom we now call a 

1 To reclaim property, etc.] " The formal and public declaration of war 
was an indispensable preliminary to it among the Romans. This declar 
ation was either conditional or simple. The conditional was when it was 
made cum rerum repetitions, which sometimes not only implied satisfac 
tion for property but punishment upon the offender. A simple declara 
tion was without any condition, as when an injury could not be repaired ; 
or when war was first declared by the other party." See Grotius, lib 3. 
chap. 3. De Jure Belli, etc.Guthrie. 



CHAP. xm. CICERO S OFFICES. 23 

stranger. This the twelve tables demonstrate : as in the 
words, " a day appointed for the hostis to plead ;" and again, 
"a Roman s right of property, as against a hostis, never 
terminates." What can exceed the gentleness of this, to call 
those with whom you were at war by so soft an appellation ? 
It is true that length of time has affixed a harsher significa 
tion to this word, which has now ceased to be applied to the 
stranger, and remains peculiar to him who carries arms 
agains us. 

Meanwhile, when we fight for empire, and when we 
seek glory in arms, all those grounds of war which I have 
already enumerated to be just ones, must absolutely be in 
force. But wars that are founded upon the glory of con 
quest alone, are to be carried on with less rancor ; for, as 
we treat a fellow-citizen in a different manner as a foe, than 
we do as an antagonist ; as with the latter the struggle is 
for glory and power, as the former for life and reputation ; 
thus we fought against the Celtiberians and the Cimbrians 
as against enemies, the question being not who should com 
mand but who should exist ; but we fought for empire against 
the Latines, the Sabines, the Samnites, the Carthaginians, and 
Pyrrhus. The Carthaginians, tis true, were faithless, and 
Hannibal was cruel, but the others were better principled. 
The speech of Pyrrhus about ransoming the captives is a noble 
one : 

In war not crafty, but in battle bold, 

No wealth I value, and I spurn at gold. 

Be steel the only metal shall decree 

The fate of empire, or to you or me. 

The gen rous conquest be by courage tried, 

And all the captives on the Roman side, 

I swear, by all the gods of open war, 

As fate their lives, their freedom I will spare. 

This sentiment is truly noble, and worthy the descendant of the 
./Eacidse. 

XIII. Nay, if even private persons should, induced by 
circumstances, make a promise to the enemy, even in this 
fidelity should be observed. Thus Regulus, when he was 
made a prisoner by the Carthaginians in the first Punic war, 
being sent to Rome to treat of an exchange of prisoners, 
he swore that he would return. The first thing he did when 
he came to Rome was to deliver his opinion in the senate that 



24 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i 

the prisoners should not be restored ; and after that, when he 
was detained by his relations and friends, he chose to deliver 
himself up to a cruel death rather than to falsify his word to 
the enemy. 

But in the second Punic war, after the battle of CannaB, 
Hannibal sent ten Romans to Rome, under an oath that they 
would return to him unless they procured the prisoners to 
be ransomed ; but the censors disfranchised, as long as they 
lived, all of them that were perjured, as well as him who 
had devised a fraudulent evasion of his oath. For when, by 
the leave of Hannibal, he had left the camp, Ire returned 
soon after, to say that he had forgotten something ; and then 
again leaving the camp he considered himself free from the 
obligations of his oath, which he was with regard to the 
words but not the meaning of them ; for in a promise, what 
you thought, and not what you said, is always to be consid 
ered. 1 But our forefathers set us a most eminent example 
of justice toward an enemy ; for when a deserter from 
Pyrrhus offered to the senate to dispatch that prince by poison, 
the senate and C. Fabricius delivered the traitor up to Pyrrhus. 
Thus they disapproved of taking off by treachery an enemy 
who was powerful, and was carrying on against them an ag 
gressive war. 

Enough has now been said respecting the duties connected 
with warfare ; but we must bear in mind, that justice is due 

1 As oaths are designed for the security of the imposer, it is manifest 
that they must be interpreted and performed in the sense in which the 
imposer intends them ; otherwise they afford no security to him. And 
this is the meaning and reason of the rule, "jurare in animum impon- 
entis." Paley s " Moral and Political Philosophy," book 3, chap. 16. 

Against the practice of administering oaths as demoralizing, we may 
instance two authorities. "The effect," says Dymond, " of instituting 
oaths is to diminish the practical obligation of simple affirmation. The 
law says you must speak the truth when you are upon your oath, which 
is the same thing as to say that it is less harm to violate truth when you 
are not on your oath. The court sometimes reminds a witness that he 
is upon oath, which is equivalent to saying, If you were not we should 
think less of your mendacity. The same lesson is inculcated by the as 
signation of penalties to perjury and not to falsehood." " There is," says 
Godwin, in his "Political Justice," book 6, c. 5, "no cause of insincerity, 
prevarication, and falsehood more powerful than the practice of admin 
istering oaths in a court of justice. All attempts to strengthen the obli 
gations of morality, by fictitious and spurious motives, will, in the sequel, 
be found to have no tendency but to relax them." 



CHAP. xrr. CICERO S OFFICES. 25 

even to the lowest of mankind ; and nothing can be lower 
than the condition and fortune of a slave. And yet those 
prescribe wisely who enjoin us to put them upon the same 
footing as hired laborers, obliging them to do their work, 
but giving them their dues. Now, as injustice may be done 
two ways > by force or fraud ; fraud being the property of a 
fox, force that of a lion ; both are utterly repugnant to 
society, but fraud is the more detestable. But in the whole 
system of villainy, none is more capital than that of the men, 
who, when they most deceive, so manage as that they may 
seem to be virtuous men. Thus much, then, on the subject of 
justice. 

XIV. L .t me now, as I proposed, speak of beneficence 
and liberality, virtues that are the most agreeable to the 
nature of man, bub which involve many precautionary con 
siderations. For, in the first place, we are to take care lest 
our kindness should hurt both those whom it is meant to 
assist, and others. In the next place, it ought not to exceed 
our abilities ; and it ought to be rendered to each in proportion 
to his worth. This is the fundamental standard of justice to 
which all these things should be referred. For they who do 
kindnesses which prove of disservice to the person they pre 
tend to oblige, should not be esteemed beneficent nor generous, 
but injurious sycophants. And they who injure one party in 
order to be liberal to another, are guilty of the same dishones 
ty as if they should appropriate to themselves what belongs to 
another. 1 

Now many, and they especially who are the most 
ambitious after grandeur and glory, rob one party to enrich 
another ; and account themselves generous to their friends if 
they enrich them by whatever means. This is so far from 
being consistent with, that nothing can be more contrary to, 
our duty. We should therefore take care to practice that kind 
of generosity that is serviceable to our friends, but hurtful to 

1 " Liberality in princes is regarded as a mark of beneficence. But 
when it occurs that the homely bread of the honest and industrious is 
often thereby converted into delicious cakes for the idle and the prodigal, 
we soon retract our heedless praises. The regrets of a prince for having 
lost a day were noble and generous, but had he intended to have spent 
it in acts of generosity to his greedy courtiers, it was better lost than, 
misemployed after that manner. " Hume s " Dissertation on the Pas 
sions, " section 2. 



26 CICERO S OFFICES. . BOOK i. 

none. Upon this principle, when Lucius Sylla and Caius 
Caesar took propeity from its just owners and transferred 
it to stranger.*, in so doing they ought not to be accounted 
generous ; for nothing can be generous that is not at the same 
time just. 

Our next part of circumspection is, that our generosity 
never should exceed our abilities. For they who are more 
generous then their circumstances admit of are, first, guilty 
in this, that they wrong their relations ; because they bestow 
upon strangers those means which they might, with greater 
justice, give or leave to those who are nearest to them. Now 
a generosity of this kind is generally attended with a lust to 
ravish and to plunder, in order to be furnished with the means 
to give away. For it is easy to observe, that most of them are 
not so much by nature generous, as they are misled by a kind 
of pride to do a great many things in order that they may 
seem to be generous ; which things seem to spring not so 
much from good will as from ostentation. Now such a simula 
tion is more nearly allied to duplicity than to generosity or 
virtue. 

The third head proposed was, that in our generosity we 
should have regard to merit ; and, consequently, examine both 
the morals of the party to whom we are generous, and his dis 
position toward us, together with the general good of society, 
and how far he may have already contributed to our own in 
terest. Could all those considerations be united, it were the more 
desirable ; but the object in whom is united the most numerous 
and the most important of them, ought to have the greatest 
weight with us. 

XV. But as we live not with men who are absolutely 
perfect and completely wise, but with men who have great 
merit if they possess the outlines of worth, we are, I think, 
from thence to infer, that no man is to be neglected in whom 
there appears any indication of virtue ; and that each should 
be regarded in proportion as he is adorned with the milder 
virtues of modesty, temperance, and that very justice of which 
I have so largely treated. For fortitude and greatness of spirit 
is commonly too violent in a man who is not completely wise 
and perfect ; but the aforesaid virtues seem to belong more to 
a good man. 

Having said thus much of morals ; with regard to the 



CHAP. ZYI. CICERO S OFFICES. 2 7 

kindness which a person expresses for us, our first duty is, 
to perform the most for him by whom we are most beloved. 
Now we are to judge of kindness, not like children, by a sort of 
ardor of affection, but by its stability and constancy. But if 
its merits are such that we are not to court but to requite 
the kindness, the greater ought our care to be ; for there is 
no duty more indispensable than that of returning a kind 
ness. Now if, as Hesiod enjoins, we ought, if it is in our 
power, to repay what we have received for mere use with 
interest, how ought we to act when called upon by kindness ? 
Are we not to imitate those fertile fields which yield far more 
than they have received ? For, if we readily oblige those 
who we are in hopes will serve us, how ought we to behave 
toward those who have served us already ? For as 
generosity is of two kinds, the one conferring a favor, the 
other repaying it, whether we confer it or not is at our own 
option, but the not repaying it is not allowable in a good 
man, provided he can do so without injury to any. Now 
there are distinctions to be made as to the benefits received j 
and it is clear that the greatest return is due in each case to 
the greatest obligation. Meanwhile, we are above all things 
to consider the spirit, the zeal, and the meaning with which 
a favor is conferred. For many confer numerous favors 
with a sort of recklessness, without any judgment or prin 
ciple, upon all mankind promiscuously, or influenced by sudden 
perturbation of mind, as if by a hurricane : such favors are 
not to be esteemed so highly as those which result from judg 
ment, consideration, and consistency. But in conferring or re 
quiting kindness, the chief rule of our duty ought to be, if all 
other circumstances are equal, to confer most upon the man who 
stands in greatest need of assistance. The reverse of this is 
practiced by the generality, who direct their greatest services to 
the man from whom they hope the most, though he may stand 
in no need of them. 

XVI. Now society and alliances among men would be 
best preserved if the greatest kindness should be manifested 
where there is the nearest relation. But we ought to go 
higher, if we are to investigate the natural principles of 
intercourse and community among men. The first is, that 
which is perceived in the society of the whole human race, / 
and of this the bond is speech and reason, which by/ 



28 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK L 

; teaching, learning, communicating, debating, and judging, 
/conciliate men together, and bind them into a kind of 
natural society. There is nothing in which we differ more 
from the nature of brutes than in this ; for we very often 
allow them to have courage, as for instance, horses and 
., lions ; but we never admit that they possess justice, equity, 
; and goodness , because they are void of reason and speech. 
Now this is the kind of society that is most extensive with 
mankind among themselves, and it goes through all ; for 
here a community of all things that nature has produced for 
the common use of mankind is preserved, so that they 
may be possessed in the manner proscribed by laws and civil 
statutes : of which laws themselves some are to be observed in 
accordance with the Greek proverb, "that all things among 
friends are to be in common." Now this community consists 
of things which are of that nature which, though placed 
byEnnius under one head, may be applied to many. "He 
(says that author) who kindly shows the bewildered traveler 
the right road, does as it were light his lamp by his own ; 
which affords none the less light to himself after it has lighted 
the other." 

By this single example he sufficiently enjoins on us to 
perform, even to a stranger, all the service we can do 
without detriment to ourselves. Of which service the 
following are common illustrations : " That we are to debar 
no man from the running stream ;" " That we are to suffer any 
who desire it to kindle fire at our fire ;" " That we are to give 
faithful counsel to a person who is in doubt :" all which are par 
ticulars that are serviceable to the receiver without being det 
rimental to the bestower. We are therefore to practice them, 
and be constantly contributing somewhat to the common good. 
As the means, however, of each particular person are very 
confined and the numbers of the indigent are boundless, our 
distributive generosity ought still to be bounded by the princi 
ple of Ennius "it nevertheless gives light to one s self" that 
we may still be possessed of the means to be generous to our 
friends. 

XVII. Now the degrees of human society are many. 
For, 1o quit the foregoing unbounded kin-], there h one more 
confined, which consists of men of the same r;cc, nation, 
and language, by which people are more intimately connected 



CHAP. xvir. CICERO S OFFICES, 29 

among themselves. A. more contracted society than that con 
sists of men inhabiting the same city ; for many things are in 
common among fellow-citizens, such as their forum, their tem 
ples, their porticos, their streets, their laws, their rites, their 
courts of justice, their trials, not to mention their customs, and 
intimacies, with a great number of particular dealings and inter 
courses of numbers with numbers. There is a still more con 
tracted degree of society, which is that of relatives ; and this 
closes, in a narrow point, the unbounded general association of 
the human race. 

For, as it is a common natural principle among all animated 
beings that they have a desire to propagate their own species, 
the first principles of society consists i:i the marriage tie, the 
next in children, the next in a family within one roof, where 
every thing is in common. This society gives rise to the city, 
and is, as it were, the nursery of the commonwealth. Next fol 
lows the connection of brotherhood, next that of cousins, in their 
different degrees ; and, when they grow too numerous to be 
contained under one roof, they are transplanted to different 
dwellings, as it w T ere to so many colonies. Then follow mar 
riages and alliances, whence spring more numerous relationships. 
The descendants, by this propagation, form the origin of com 
monwealths ; but the ties and affections of blood bind mankind 
by affection. 1 

For there is something very powerful in having tne monu- 

1 " Families are so many centers of attraction, which preserve man 
kind from being scattered and dissipated by the repulsive powers of self 
ishness. The order of nature is evermore from particulars to generals. 
As in the operations of intellect we proceed from the contemplation of 
individuals to the formation of general abstractions, so in the develop 
ment of the passions, in like manner we advance from private to public 
affections ; from the love of parents, brothers, and sisters, to those more 
expanded regards which embrace the immense society of human kind." 
Robert Hall s " Sermon on Modern Infidelity." In apparent opposi 
tion to this view stands the theory of President Edwards, which was 
afterward extensively adopted in an aggravated form. " True virtue, 
according to him (says Sir James Mackintosh, " Progress of Ethical Phi 
losophy"), consists in benevolence, or love to being in general, which 
he afterward limits to intelligent bein;r, though sentient would have 
involved a more reasonable limitation. This good will is felt toward a 
particular being, first in proportion to his degr> e of existence ( for, says ho, 
that which is great has more existence, and is further from nothing 
than that which is little), and secondly, in proj>ortioii to the degree in 
which that particular being feels benevolence to others." Perhaps the ablest 



30 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

ments of our ancestors the same, in practicing the same 
religious rites, and in having the same places of interment. 
But among a!l the degrees of society, none is more excel- 

refutation of these principles, in a brief compass, is found in the following 
note by the Rev. Robert Hall in the Sermon above quoted. 

"It is somewhat singular that many of the fashionable infidels have 
hit upon a definition of virtue which perfectly coincides with that of cer 
tain metaphysical divines in America, first invented and defended by that 
most acute reasoner, JONATHAN EDWARDS. They both place virtue ex 
clusively in a passion for the general good ; or, as Mr. Edwards expresses 
it, love to being in general ; so that our lovo is always to be proportioned 
to the magnitude of its object in the scale of being: which is liable to 
the objections. I have already stated, as well as to many others which 
the limits of this note will not permit me to enumerate. Let it suffice to 
remark, (1.) That virtue, on these principles, is an utter impossibility; 
for the system of being, comprehending the great Supreme, is infinite: 
and, therefore, to maintain the proper proportion, the force of particular 
attachment must be infinitely less than the passion for the general good; 
but the limits of the human mind are not capable of any emotion so 
infinitely different in degree, (2.) Since our vieivs of the extent of the 
universe are capable of perpetual enlargement, admitting the sum of ex 
istence is ever the same, we must return back at each step to diminish 
the strength of particular affections, or they will become disproportionate, 
and consequently, on these principles, vicious ; so that the balance must 
be continually fluctuating, by the weights being taken out of one scale 
and put into the other. (3.) If virtue consists exclusively in love to being 
in general, or attachment to the general good, the particular affections 
are, to every purpose of virtue, useless, and even pernicious ; for their im 
mediate, nay, their necessary tendency is to attract to their objects a pro 
portion of attention whinh far exceeds their comparative value in the- 
general scale. To allege chat the general good is promoted by them, will 
be of no advantage to the defense of this system, bat the contrary, by 
confessing that a greater sum of happiness is attained by a deviation 
from, than an adherence to, its principles ; unless its advocates mean by 
the love of being in general the same thing as the private affections, 
which is to confound all the distinctions of language, as well as all the 
operations of mind. Let it be remembered, we have no dispute respect 
ing what is the ultimate end of virtue, which is allowed on both sides to 
be the greatest sum of happiness in the universe. The question is mere 
ly, what is virtue itself? or, in other words, what are the means appointed 
for the attainment of that end ? 

"There is little doubt, from some parts of Mr. Godwin s work, entitled 
Political Justice, as well as from his early habits of reading, that he 
was indebted to Mr. Edwards for his principal arguments against the 
private affections ; though, with a daring consistency, he has pursued 
his principles to an extreme from which that most excellent man would 
have revolted with horror. The fundamental error of the whole system 
arose, as I conceive, from a mistaken pursuit of simplicity : from a wish 
to construct a moral system, without leaving sufficient scope for the infi- 



CHAP. rm. CICERO S OFFICES. 31 

lent, none more stable, than when worthy men, through a sim 
ilarity of manners, are intimately connected together ; for, as I 
have often said, even when we discern the honestum in another 
it touches us, and makes us friends to the man in whom it resides. 
Now, though virtue of every kind attracts and charms us to 
the love of those who possess it, yet that love is strongest that 
is effected by justice and generosity. For nothing is more 
lovely, nothing is more binding, than a similarity of good dis 
positions; 1 because among those whose pursuits and pleasures 
are the same, every man is pleased as much with another as he 
is with himself, and that is effected which Pythagoras chiefly 
contemplates in friendship, " that many become one." A strong 
community is likewise effected by good offices mutually confer 
red and received ; and, provided these be reciprocal and agree- 

nite variety of moral phenomena and mental combination ; in consequence 
of which its advocates were induced to place virtue exclusively in some 
one disposition of mind : and, since the passion for the general good is 
undeniably the noblest and most extensive of all others, when it was 
once resolved to place virtue in any one thing, there remained little room 
to hesitate which should be preferred. It might have been worth while 
to reflect, that in the natural world there are two kinds of attraction ; 
one, which holds the several parts of individual bodies in contact ; an 
other, which maintains the union of bodies themselves with the general 
system : and that, though the union in the former case is much more 
intimate than in the latter, each is equally essential to the order of the 
world. Similar to this is the relation which the public and private affec 
tions bear to each other, and their use in the moral system. 

1 "Friendship, founded on the principles of worldly morality, recog 
nized by virtuous heathens, such as that which subsisted between Atti- 
cus and Cicero which the last of these illustrious men had rendered 
immortal is fitted to survive through all the vicissitudes of life ; but it 
belongs only to a union founded on religion, to continue through an end 
less duration. The former of these stood the shock of conflicting opin 
ions, and of a revolution that shook the world; the latter is destined to 
survive when the heavens are no more, and to spring fresh from the 
ashes of the universe. The former possessed all the stability which is 
possible to sublunary things; the latter partakes of the eternity of God. 
Friendship, founded on worldly principles, is natural, and, though com 
posed of the best elements of nature, is not exempt from its mutability 
and frailty ; the latter is spiritual, and, therefore, unchanging and im 
perishable. The friendship which is founded on kindred tastes and 
congenial habits, apart from piety, is permitted by the benignity of 
Providence to embellish a world, which, with all its magnificence- and 
beauty, will shortly pass away; that which has religion for its basis, will 
ere long be transplanted, in order to adorn the paradise of God." 
Robert Hall s " Sermon on the death of Dr. Ryland." 



32 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK L 

able, those among \vliom they happen arc bound together in 
close association. 

But when you view every thing with reason and reflection, 
of all connections none is more weighty, none is more dear, 
than that between every individual and his country. Our 
parents are dear to us ; our children, our kinsmen, our friends, 
are dear to us ; but our country comprehends alone all the 
endearments of us all. For which what good man would 
hesitate to die if he could do her service ? The more execrably 
unnatural, therefore, are they who wound their country by 
every species of guilt, and who are now, and have been, em 
ployed in her utter destruction. But wfcere a computation or 
comparison set up, of those objects to which our chief duty 
should be paid, the principal are our country and our parents, 
by whose services we are laid under the s rongest obligations ; 
the next are our children and entire family, who depend upon 
us alone, without having any other refuge ; the next our agree 
able kinsmen, who generally share our fortune in common. The 
necessary supports of life, therefore, are due chiefly to those I have 
already mentioned ; but the mutual intercourses of life, counsels, 
discourses, exhortations, consultations, and even sometimes re 
proofs, flourish chiefly in friendships, and those friendships are 
the most agreeable that are cemented by a similarity of manners. 

XVIII. But in performing all these duties we are care 
fully to consider what is most necessary to each, and what 
every one of them could or could not attain even without us. 
Thus the relative claims of relationship and of circumstances 
will not always be identical. Some duties are owing to some 
more than to others. For instance, you are sooner to help 
your neighbor to house his corn, than your brother or your 
friend ; but if a cause be on trial, you are to take part with 
your kinsman, or your friend, rather than with your neigh 
bor. These considerations, therefore, and the like, ought to be 
carefully observed in every duty ; and custom and practice 
should be attained, that we may be able to be correct assessors of 
our duties, and, by adding or subtracting, to strike the balance, by 
which we may see the proportion to which every party is entitled. 

But as neither physicians, nor generals, nor orators, how 
ever perfect they may bo in the theory of their a"t, c:.n ever 
perform any thing that i.s highly praiseworthy, without expe 
rience and practice, so rules have indeed been laid down for the 



CHAP. xix. CICERO S OFFICES. 33 

observation of duties, as, I myself am doing ; but the import 
ance of the matter demands experience and practice. I have 
now, I think, sufficiently treated of tlie manner in which the 
honestum, which gives the fitness to our duties, arises from 
those matters that come within the rights of human society. 

It must be understood, however, at the same time, that 
when the four springs from which virtue and honesty arise 
are laid open, that which is done with a lofty spirit, and one 
which scorns ordinary interests, appears the most noble. 
Therefore the most natural of all reproaches is somewhat of 
the following kind : 

Young men, ye carry but the souls of women ; 
That woman of a man. 

Or somewhat of the following kind : 

Salmacis, give me spoils without toil or danger. 

On the other hand, in our praises, I know not how it is, but 
actions performed with magnanimity, with fortitude, and 
virtue, we eulogize in a loftier style. From hence Marathon, 
SaUnnis, Plat sea, Thermopylae, Leuctra, have become the field 
of rhetoricians ; and among ourselves, Codes, the Decii, the 
two Scipios, Cneius and Publius, Marcus Marcellus, and a 
great many others. Indeed, the Roman people in general 
are distinguished above all by elevation of spirit ; and their 
fondness for military glory is shown by the fact that we 
genernlly see their statues dressed in warlike habits. 

XIX. But that magnanimity which is discovered in toils 
and dangers, if it be devoid of justice, and contend not for 
the public good, but for selfish interest, is blarnable ; for, 
so far from being a mark of virtue, it is rather that of a 
barbarity which is repulsive to all humanity. By the Stoics, 
therefore, fortitude is .rightly defined, when they call it 
"valor fighting on the side of justice." No man, there 
fore, who has acquired the reputation of fortitude, attained 
his glory by deceit and malice ; for nothing that is devoid of 
justice can be a virtue. 

It is, therefore, finely said by Plato, that not only the 
knowledge that is apart from justice deserves the sppellatiou 
of cunning rather than wisdom, but also a mind that is ready 

to encounter danger, if it is animated by private interest, an<J 

2* 



34 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

not public utility, deserves the character of audaciousness 
rather than of fortitude. We, therefore, require that all men 
of courage and magnanimity should be at the same time 
men of virtue and of simplicity, lovers of truth, and by 
no means deceitful ; for these qualities are the main glory of 
justice. 

But there is one painful consideration, that obstinacy, and 
an undue ambition for power, naturally spring up from this 
elevation and greatness of spirit ; for, as Plato tells us, the 
entire character of the Lacedaemonians was inflamed with 
the desire of conquest. Thus the man who is most distin 
guished by his magnanimity, is most desirous of being the 
leading, or rather the only potentate of all. Now, it is a 
difficult matter, when you desire to be superior to all others, 
to preserve that equability which is the characteristic of 
justice. Hence it is that such men will not suffer themselves 
to be thwartel in a debate, nor by any public and lawful 
authority ; and in public matters they are commonly guilty 
of corruption and faction, in order to grasp at as great 
power as possible ; and they choose to be superior by means 
of force, rather than equals by justice. But the more diffi 
cult the matter is, it is the more glorious; for there is no 
conjuncture which ought to be unconnected with justice. 

They, therefore, who oppose, not they who commit, in 
justice are to be deemed brave and magnanimous. Now, 
genuine and well-considered magnanimity judges that the 
honestum, which is nature s chief aim, consists in realities 
and not in mere glory, and rather chooses to be than to 
seem pre-eminent : for the man who is swayed by the prej 
udices of an ignorant rabble is not to be reckoned among 
the great ; but the man of a spirit the most elevated, through 
the desire of glory, is the most easily impelled into acts of 
injustice. This is, indeed, a slippery situation ; for scarcely 
can there be found a man who, after enduring trials and 
encountering dangers, does not pant for popularity as the 
reward of his exploits. 1 

1 " It must be strongly impressed upon our minds." says Dr. Johnson, 
"that virtue is not to be pursued as one of the means to fame, but faino 
to be accepted as the o.ily recompense which mortals can bestow on 
virtue to be accepted with complacency, but not sought with eager 
ness. The true satisfaction which, is to be drawn from the consciousness 



CHAP. zx. CICERO S OFFICES. 35 

XX. A spirit altogether brave and elevated is chiefly dis 
cernible by two characters. The first consists in a low estimate 
of mere outward circumstances, since it is convinced that a 
man ought to admire, desire, or court nothing but what is 
virtuous and becoming ; and that he ought to succumb to no 
man, nor to any perturbation either of spirit or fortune. 1 
The other thing is, that possessed of such a spirit as I have 
just mentioned, you should perform actions which are great 
and of the greatest utility, but extremely arduous, full of 
difficulties and danger both to life and the many things 
which pertain to life. 

In the latter of those two characters consist all the glory, 
the majesty, and, I add, the utility ; but the causes and the 
efficient means that form great men is in the former, which 
contains the principles that elevate the soul, and gives it a 
contempt for temporary considerations. Now, this very excel 
lence consists in two particulars : you are to deem that only to 
be good that is virtuous ; and that you be free from all mental 
irregularity. For we are to look upon it as the character of 
a noble and an elevated soul, to slight all those considerations 
that the generality of mankind account great and glorious, 
and to despise them, upon firm and durable principles ; while 
strength of mind, arid greatness of resolution, are discerned in 
bearing those calamities which, in the course of man s life, 
are many and various, so as not to be driven from your nat 
ural disposition, nor from the dignity of a wise man : for 
it is not consistent that he who is not subdued by fear should 
be subjugated by passion ; nor that he who has shown him 
self invincible by toil, should be conquered by pleasure. 8 
Wherefore, we ought to watch and avoid the love of money : 

that we shall share the attention of future times, must arise from the 
hope that with our name our virtues will be propagated, and that those 
whom we can not benefit iu our lives may receive instruction from our 
examples, and incitement from our renown." Rambler. 

1 -It is the business of moralists to detect the frauds of fortune, and 
to show that she imposes upon the careless eye by a quick succession of 
shadows, which will sink to nothing in the gripe ; that she disguises life 
in extrinsic ornaments, which serve only for show, and are laid aside in 
the hours of solitude and of pleasure ; and that when greatness aspires 
either to felicity or to wisdom, it shakes off those distinctions which 
dazzle tL? gazer and awe the suppliant." Dr. Johnson. 

2 " I3e not a Hercules furens abroad, and a poltroon within thyself. 
To chaso our enemies out of the field, and be led captive by our vices; 



36 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

for nothing so truly characterizes a narrow, groveling dispo 
sition as to love riches ; and nothing is more noble and more 
exalted than to despise riches if you have them not, and if 
you have them, to employ them in beneficence and liber 
ality. 2 

An inordinate passion for glory, as I have already ob 
served, is likewise to be guarded against ; for it deprives us 
of liberty, the only prize for which men of elevated senti 
ments ought to contend. Power is so for from being desirable 
in itself, that it sometimes ought to be refused, and some 
times to be resigned. We should likewise be free from all 
disorders of the mind, from all violent passion and fear, as 
well as languor, voluptuousness, and anger, that we may 
possess that tranquillity and security which confer alike 
consistency and dignity, Now, many there are, and have 
been, who, courting that tranquillity which I have mentioned 
here, have withdrawn themselves from public affairs and taken 
refuge in retirement. Among these, some of the noblest 
and most leading of our philosophers ; 3 and some persons, 
of strict and grave dispositions, were unable to bear with 
the manners either of the people or their rulers ; and some 
have lived in the country, amusing themselves with the 
management of their private affairs. Their aim was the 
same as that of the powerful, that they might enjoy their 
liberty, without wanting any thing or obeying any person ; 
for the essence of liberty is to live just as you please. 

to beat down our foes, and fall down to our concupiscences, are solecisms 
in moral schools, and no laurel attends them." Sir Thomas Browne s 
" Christian Morals." 

1 " To me avarice seems not so much a vice as a deplorable piece of 
madness. To conceive ourselves urinals, or be persuaded that we are 
dead, is not so ridiculous, nor so many degrees beyond the power of 
hellebore, as this. The opinions of theory, and positions of men, are not 
so void of reason as their practiced conclusions. Some have held that 
snow is black, that the earth moves, that the soul is air, fire, water; but 
all this is philosophy, and there is no delirium if we do but speculate the 
folly and indisputable dotage of avarice to that subterraneous idol and god 
of the earth." Sir Thomas Browne s " Relido Medici." 

2 "A reader, of very ordinary erudition," says Guthrie, " may easily 
perceive how greatly the best historians and poets among the Romans 
were indebted to this and the foregoing chapter, which have served as a 
commonplace for their finest sentiments." 

3 Such are Pythagoras, Democritus, Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, 
Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, etc. 



CHAP. rxi. CICERO S OFFICES. 37 

XXI. Therefore, as the object of those who are ambitious 
for power, and of those who court retirement, and w r hom I 
have just now described, is the same, the former imagine 
that they can attain it if they are possessed of great resources, 
and the latter, if they can be contented with their own, 
and with little. In this matter the sentiments of neither are 
to be absolutely rejected. But a life of retirement is more 
easy, more safe, less tiresome, and less troublesome than any 
other ; while the life of those who apply themselves to the 
affairs of government, and to the management of a state, 
is more beneficial to mankind, and more conducive to glory 
and renown. 

Allowances, therefore, are to be made for those who having 
no management in public matters, with an excellent genius, 
give themselves up to learning; and to those who being 
hindere I by feebleness of health, or for some very weighty 
reason, retire from affairs of government, and leave to others 
the power and the honor of the administration ; but when 
men, wlio have no such excuses, say that they despise that 
power and those offices which most admire, such* men are 
so far from deserving praise that they incur censure. It is 
difficult to condemn their judgment in despising and under 
valuing popularity; but then they seem to dread the toils 
and troubles of affronts and repulses as involving ignominy 
and infamy. For some there are who, in opposite matters, 
are very inconsistent with themselves; they spurn most 
rigidly at pleasure, but they droop in pain ; they despise 
glory, but sink under unpopularity ; and that, too, with no 
little inconsistency. 

But the men who inherit from nature appliances for 
government ought, laying aside all excuses, to undertake the 
discharge of all public offices and the management of state 
affairs ; for neither can a state be governed, nor can magnan 
imity display itself, by any other means. I am not, however, 
sure whether those who undertake the management of public 
affairs ought not to be equally distinguished by magnanimity 
as philosophers, if not more so, and impresssd with a con 
tempt of common affairs and to possess that tranquillity, 
th:it calm of min.l, I have so much recommended ; I mean, 
if they wish to live without anxiety, with dignity and 
consistency. 



38 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK I. 

This may be the more easily practiced by philosophers, 
because in their lives there is less exposed for fortune to 
strike at ; because their necessities are more contracted ; and 
because, if any thing adverse should happen, they can not foil 
so heavily. It is not, therefore, without reason, that in the 
mind of those who undertake the management of public 
affairs, more violent passions are excited, and mightier mat 
ters are to be attempted, than by those who are retired ; 
they, therefore, ought to possess greater elevation of spirit, 
and freedom from disquiets. But, whoever enters upon public 
life ought to take care that the question, how far the measure 
is virtuous, be not his sole consideration, but also how far 
he may have the means of carrying it into execution. In 
this he is chiefly to take care that through indolence he do 
not meanly despond, nor through eagerness too much pre 
sume. Thus, in all affairs, before you undertake them, a 
diligent preparation should be entered into. 

XXII. But, since most persons are of opinion that the 
achievements of war are more glorious than civil "affairs, 
this judgment needs to be restricted ; for many, as generally 
is the case with high minds and enterprising spirits, espe 
cially if they are adapted to military life and are fond of 
warlike achievements, have often sought opportunities of 
war from their fondness for glory ; but if we are willing to 
judge truly, many are the civil employments of greater im 
portance, and of more renown, than the military. 

For though Tkemistocles is justly prated his name is 
now more illustrious than that of Solon, and his glorious 
victory at Salamis is mentioned preferably to the policy of 
Solon, by which he first confirmed the power of the Areopagus 
the one should not be considered more illustrious than 
the other ; for the one availed his country only for once the 
other is lastingly advantageous ; because by it the laws of 
the Athenians, and the institutions of their ancestors, are 
preserved. Now, Themistocles could not have stated any 
respect in which he benefited the Areopagus, but the former 
might with truth declare that Themistocles had been advan 
taged by him ; for the war was carried on by the counsels of 
that senate which was constituted by Solon. 

We may make the same observation with regard to 
Pausanias and Lysander among the Lacedaemonians ; for all 



CHAP. xxn. CICERO S OFFICES. 39 

the addition of empire which their conquests are supposed to 
have brought to their country is not to be compared to the 
laws and economy of Lycuigus ; for indeed, owing to these 
very causes they had armies more subordinate and courageous. 
In my eyes, Marcus Scaurus (who flourished when I was but 
a boy) was not inferior to Gains Marius ; nor, after I came 
to have a concern in the government, Quintus Catulus to 
Cneius Pompcy. An army abroad is but of small service 
unless there be a wise administration at home. Nor did 
that good man and great general, Africanus, perform a more 
important service to his country when he razed Numantia, 
than did that private citizen, P. Nasica, when at the same 
period he killed Tiberius Gracchus. An action which it 
is true was not merely of a civil nature ; for it approaches 
to a military character, as being the result of force and 
courage ; but it was an action performed without an army, 
and from political considerations. 

That st-ite described by the following line is best for a 
country, for which I understand that I am abused by the 
wicked and malicious : 

Arms to the gown, and laurels yield to lore. 1 

For, not to mention other persons, when I was at the 
helm cf government did not " arms yield to the gown ?" 
For never did our country know a time of more threatening 
danger or more profound tranquillity ; so quickly, through 
my counsel and my diligence, did the arms of our most prof 
ligate fellow citizens drop of themselves out of their hands. 
What so great exploit as this was ever performed in war, 
or what triumph can be compared with it ? 

The inheritance of my glory and the imitation of my 
actions are to descend to you, my son Marcus, therefore it 
is allowable for me to boast in writing to you. It is, how 
ever, certain that Pompey, who was possessed of much 
military glory, paid this tribute to me, in the hearing of 
many, that in vain would he have returned to his third 
triumph, had not my public services preserved the place 
in which he was to celebrate it. The examples cf civil 

1 Orig. Cedant arma togce, concedat laurea linguae. The author ia 
here speaking of his conduct in suppressing Catiline s conspiracy. 



40 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

courage are therefore no less meritorious than those of mili 
tary ; and they require a greater share of zeal and labor than 
the latter. 

XXIII. Now all that excellence which springs from a 
lofty and noble nature is altogether produced by the mental 
and not by the corporeal powers. 1 Meanwhile, the body 
ought to be kept in such action and order, as that it may be 
always rca !y to obey the dictates of reason and wisdom, in 
carrying them into execution, and in persevering under 
hardship?. But with regard to that honestum we are treating 
of, it consists wholly in the thoughtful application of the 
mind ; by which the civilians who preside over public affairs 
are equally serviceable to their country as they who wage 
wars. For it often happens that by such counsels wars are 
either not entered into, or they are brought to a termination ; 
sometimes they are even undertaken, as the third Punic war 
was by the advice of Marcus Cato, whose authority was 
powerful, even after he was dead. 

Wisdom in determining is therefore preferable to 
courage in fighting ; but in this we are to take care that we 

1 " As a previous observation, it is beyond all doubt that very much 
depends on the constitution of the body. It would be for physiologists 
to explain, if it were explicable, the manner in which corporeal organ 
ization affects the mind. I only assume it as a fact, that there is iu the 
material construction of some persons, much more than of others, some 
quality which augments, if it do not create, both the stability of their 
resolution and the energy of their active tendencies. There is some 
thing that, like the ligatures which one class of the Olympic combatants 
bound on their hands and wrists, braces round, if I may so describe it, 
and compresses the powers of the mind, giving them a steady forcible 
spring and reaction, which they would presently lose if they could be 
transferred into a constitution of soft, yielding, treacherous debility. The 
action of strong character seems to demand something firm in its material 
basis, as massive engines require, for their weight and for their working, 
to be fixed on a solid foundation. Accordingly, I believe it would be 
found that a majority of the persons most remarkable for decisive char 
acter have possessed great constitutional physical firmness. I do not 
mean an exemption from disease and pain, nor any certain measure of 
mechanical strength, but a tone of vigor, the opposite to lassitude, and 
adapted to great exertion and endurance. This is clearly evinced in re 
spect to many of them, by the prodigious labors and deprivations which 
they have borne in prosecuting their designs. The physical nature Ins 
seemed a proud ally of the moral one, and, with a hardness that would 
never shrink, has sustained the energy that could never remit."- Foster s 
Essays "On Decision of Character," Letter 2. 



CHAP. xxm. CICERO S OFFICES. 41 

are not swayed by an aversion to fighting rather than by a 
consideration of expediency. 1 Now in engaging in war 
we ought to make it appear that we have no other view but 
peace. But the character of a brave and resolute man is 
not to be ruffled with adversity, and not to be in such 
confusion as to quit his post, as we say, but to preserve a 
presence of mind, and the exercise of reason, without 
departing from his purpose. And while this is the charac 
teristic of a lofty spirit, so this also is that of a powerful 
intellect, namely, to anticipate futurity in thought, and to 
conclude beforehand what may happen on either side, and, 
upon that, what measures to pursue, and never be surprised 
so as to say, " I had not thought of that." Such are the 
operations of a genius, capacious and elevated ; of such a 
one as relies on its own prudence and counsel ; 2 but to rush 

1 See Paley s broad statement, that expediency is the fundamental test 
of all morality. Book 2, chap. 6. 

2 The rarity of self-reliance, notwithstanding the commonness of the 
weakness that stimulates it, is thus strikingly shown by the great essayist 
above quoted : " The first prominent mental characteristic of the person 
whom I describe, is a complete confidence in his own judgment. It will, 
perhaps, be said that this is not so uncommon a qualification. I, how 
ever, think it is uncommon. It is, indeed, obvious enough that almost 
all men have a flattering estimate of their own understanding, and that 
as long as this understanding has no harder task than to form opinions 
which are not to bo tried in action, they have a most self-complacent as 
surance of being right. This assurance extends to the judgments which 
they pass on the proceedings of others. But let them be brought into 
the necessity of adopting actual measures in an untried situation, where, 
unassisted by any previous example or practice, they are reduced to de 
pend on the bare resources of judgment alone, and you will see in many 
cases this confidence of opinion vanish away. The mind seems all at 
once placed in a misty vacuity, where it reaches round on all sides, but 
can find nothing to take hold of. Or if not lost in vacuity, it is over 
whelmed in confusion ; and feels as if its faculties were annihilated in 
the attempt to think of schemes and calculations among the possibilities, 
chances, and hazards which overspread a wide untrodden field ; and this 
conscious imbecility becomes severe distress, when it is believed that con< 
sequences, of serious or unknown good or evil, are depending on the de 
cisions which are to be formed amid so much uncertainty. The thought 
painfully recurs at each step and turn, I may by chance be right, but it 
is fully as probable I am wrong. It is like the case of a rustic walking 
in London, who, having no certain direction through the vast confusion 
of streets to the place where ho wishes to be, advances, and hesitates, 
and turns, and inquires, and becomes, at each corner, still more inextric 
ably perplexed. A man in this situation feels ho shall be very unfortun* 



42 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOS I. 

precipitately into the field, and to encounter an enemy with 
mere physical force has somewhat in it that is -barbarous and 
brutal. When the occasion, however, and its necessity 
compel it, we should resist with force, and prefer death to 
slavery or dishonor. 

XXIV. But with regard to overthrowing and plundering 
of cities, great consideration is required that nothing be done 
rashly, nothing cruelly. 1 And this is the part of a great 
man, after he has maturely weighed all circumstances, to 
punish the guilty, to spare the many ; and in every state of 
fortune not to depart from an upright, virtuous conduct. 
For, as you find (as I have already observe ") men who prefer 
military to civil duties, so will you find many of that cast who 
look upon dangerous and violent resolutions to be more 
splendid and more dignified than calm and digested measures. 
We should never so entirely avoid danger as to appear 
irresolute and cowardly; but, at the same time, we should 

ate if he can not accomplish more than he can understand. Is not this 
frequently, when brought to the practical test, the state of a mind not 
disposed in general to undervalue its own judgment ?" Foster s Essay 
" On Decision of Character," Letter 2. 

1 "If," says Paley, "the cause and end of war be justifiable, all the 
means that appear necessary to the end are justifiable also. This is the 
principle which defends those extremities to which the violence of war 
usually proceeds ; for, since war is a contest by force between parties 
who acknowledge no common superior, and since it includes not in its 
idea the supposition of any convention which should place limits to the 
operations of force, it has naturally no boundary but that in which force 
terminates the destruction of the life against which the force is direct 
ed. Let it be observed, however, that the license of war authorizes no 
acts of hostility but what are necessary or conducive to the end and ob 
ject of the war. Gratuitous barbarities borrow no excuse from this plea : 
of which kind is every cruelty and every insult that serves only to exas 
perate the sufferings, or to incense the hatred, of an enemy, without 
weakening his strength, or in any manner tending to procure his submis 
sion ; such as the slaughter of captives, the subjecting of them to indig 
nities or torture, the violation of women, the profanation of temples, the 
demolition of public buildings, libraries, statues, and in general the de 
struction or defacing of works that conduce nothing to annoyance or de 
fense. These enormities are prohibited not only by the practice of civil 
ized nations, but by the law of nature itself as having no proper tend 
ency to accelerate the termination, or accomplish the object of the war, 
and as containing that which in peace and war is equally unj:.stifiable 
ultimate and gratuitous mischief." " Moral and Political Philosophy," 
book G, chap. 12. 



CHAP. XXIY. CICERO S OFFICES. 43 

avoid unnecessarily exposing ourselves to danger, than which 
nothing can be more foolish. 

In encountering dangers, therefore, we arc to imitate the 
practice of the physicians who apply to gentle illnesses 
gentle medicines, but are forced to apply more desperate and 
more doubtful cures to more dangerous diseases. It is the 
part of a madman to wish for an adverse tempest in a calm, 
but of a wise man to find relief against the tempest by what 
ever means ; and the rather if one incurs more advantage by 
accomplishing the matter than disadvantage by keeping it in 
suspense. Now the conducting of enterprises is dangerous 
sometimes to the undertakers, and sometimes to the state ; 
and hence some are in danger of losing their lives, some their 
reputation, and some their popularity. But we ought to be 
more forward to expose our own persons than the general 
interests to danger, and to be more ready to fight for honor 
and reputation than for other advantages. 

Though many have been known cheerfully to venture not 
only their money but their lives for the public ; yet those 
very men have refused to suffer the smallest loss of glory 
even at the request of their country. For instance, Calli- 
cratidas, who, after performing many gallant actions at the 
head of the Lacedaemonian armies, during the Peloponnesian 
war, at last threw every thing into confusion by refusing to 
obey the directions of those who were for removing the fleet 
from Arginusse, and not for fighting the Athenians ; to 
whom his answer was, that if the Lacedaemonians lost that 
fleet they could fit out another, but that he could not turn his 
back without dishonor to himself. Tis true, the blow that 
followed upon this was not very severe to the Lacedaemonians ; 
but it was a deadly one, when, from a fear of public odium, 
Cleombrotus fought with Epamonidas, and the power of the 
Lacedaemonians perished. How preferable was the conduct 
of Quiutus Maximus, of whom Ennius says : 

" The man 1 who saved his country by delay, 
No tales could move him, and no envy sway j 
And thus the laurels on his honored brow, 
In age shall flourish, and with time shall grow." 

1 The verses quoted here by Ennius seem to have been in high repu 
tation with the Romans ; for Virgil has borrowed the first of them, and 
applied it, as our author does, to tho conduct of Fabius Maximus against 
Hannibal. 



44 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

This is a species of fault which ought also to be avoided 
in civil matters ; for there are some men who, from a dread 
of unpopularity, dare not express their opinions however 
excellent they may be. 

XXV. All who hope to rise in a state ought strictly to 
observe two rules of Plato. The fr. st is, that they so keep 
in view the advantage of their fellow-citizens as to have 
reference to it in whatever they do, regardless of their indi 
vidual interest. 1 The second is, that their cares be applied 
to the whole of the state, lest while they are cherishing one 
part they abandon the others. For the administration of 
government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the 
good of those who confer, and not of those who receive the 
trust. 3 Now, they who consult the interests of one part of 

1 " Political power is rightly exercised only when it subserves the wel 
fare of the community. The community, which has the right to with 
hold power, delegates it of course for its own advantage. If in any case 
its advantage is not consulted, then the object for which it was delegated 
is frustrated ; or, in simple words, the measure which does not promote 
the public welfare is not right. It matters nothing whether the commun 
ity have delegated specifically so much power for such and such purposes ; 
the power, being possessed, entails the obligation. Whether a sovereign 
derives absolute authority b> inheritance, or whether a president is in 
trusted with limited authority for a year, the principles of their duty aro 
the same. The obligation to employ it only for the public good is just 
as real and just as great in one case as in the other. The Russian and 
the Turk have the same right to require that the power of their rulers 
shall be so employed as the Englishman or American. They may not 
be able to assert this right, but that does not affect its existence, nor the 
ruler s duty, nor his responsibility to that Almighty Being before whom 
he must give an account of his stewardship. These reasonings, if they 
needed confirmation, derive it from the fact that the Deity imperatively 
requires us, according to our opportunities to do good to man." Eymond s 
Essay 3, cap. 2 

2 " Political powers (says Dymond) is rightlr possessed only when it 
is possessed by the consent of the community." Ibid. 

The doctrine of the essential sovereignty of the people, and the dele 
gated power of all governors is thus laid down by Milton : " It is thus 
manifest that the power of kings and magistrates is nothing else but 
what is only derivative, transferred, and committed to them in trust from 
the people to the common good of them all, in whom the power yet re 
mains fundamentally, and can not be taken from them without a viola 
tion of their natural birthright ; and from hence Aristotle, and the best 
of political writers, have defined a king, him who governs to the good 
rmd profit of his poonle, and not for his own ends. "Milton s "Tenure 
of Kings and Magistrates." And again : " It follows that since the king 
or magistrate holds his authority of the people, both originally and nat- 



CHAP. xxv. CICERO S OFFICES. 45 

a community and neglect another, introduce into the state 
the greatest of all evils, sedition and discord. From this 
partiality some seem to court the people, some each great 
man, but few the whole. Hence the great discords among 
the Athenians, and in our government not only seditions 
but the most destructive wars, which every worthy and brave 
citizen who deserves to rise in the state Avill avoid and de 
test ; he will give himself entirely up to the service of 
his country, without regard to riches or to power, and he 
will watch over the whole so as to consult the good of all. 
He will even be far from bringing any man into hatred or 
disgrace, by ill-grounded charges, and he will so closely 
attach himself to the rules of justice and virtue, that how 
ever he may give offense he will preserve them, and incur 
death itself rather than swerve from the principles I have 
laid down. 

Of all evils, ambition and the disputes for public posts are 
the most deplorable. Plato, likewise, on this subject, says 
very admirably, " that they who dispute for the management 
of a state, resemble mariners wrangling about who should di 
rect the helm." He then lays down as a rule that we ought 
to look upon those as our enemies who take arms against 
the public, and not those who want to have public affairs di 
rected by their judgment. For instance, Publius Africanus and 
Quintus Metellus differed in opinion, but without animosity. 

Nor, indeed, are those to be listened to who consider that 
we ought to cherish a bitter resentment against our enemies, 
and that this is characteristic of a high-minded and brave 
man ; for nothing is more noble, nothing more worthy of a 
great and a good man, than placability and moderation. 1 

urally, for their good in the first place, and not his own, then may the 
people, as oft as they shall judge it for the best, either choose him or re 
ject him, retain him or depose him, though no tyrant, merely by the lib 
erty and right of free-born men to be governed as seems to them best 
This, though it can not but stand with plain reason, shall be made good 
also by Scripture: When thou art come into the land which the Lord 
thy God giveth thee, arid shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all 
the nations about me. Dent. xvii. 14. These words confirm us that 
the right of choosing, yea of changing their own government, is by the 
grants of God himself in the people." Ibid. 

1 Tt is impossible not to remark how far the popular standard of duty, 
and the modern laws of honor, fali below this high and almost Christian 
morality of Cicero. 

I 



46 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK I, 

Nay, amid free nations and equality of rights, an equability 
and loftiness of temper is necessary, to prevent our falling 
into an idle, disagreeable peevishness, when we are irritated 
by persons approaching us unseasonably, or p eferring to us 
unreasonable requests. Yet this politeness and moderation 
ought to be so tempered, that for the sake of the interesls of 
the state severity should be employed, otherwise public busi 
ness could not be carried on. Meanwhile, all reprimands and 
punishments ought to be inflicted without abuse, without re 
gard to the party so punishing or reprimanding, but to the 
good of the state. 

We ought, likewise, to take care that the punishment be 
proportioned to the offense, 1 and that some be not punished 
for doing things for which others are not so much as called 
to account. Above all things, in punishing we ought to 
guard against passion ; for the man who is to pronounce a 
sentence of punishment in a passion, never can preserve that 
mean between what is too much and too little, which is so 
justly recommended by the Peripatetics, did they not too 
much commend the passion of anger, by asserting it to be a 
useful property of our nature. For my part, I think that it 
ought to be checked under all circumstances ; a and it were 
to be wished that they who preside in government were like 

1 " A slight perusal of the laws by which the measures of vindictive 
and coercive justice are established, will discover so many disproportions 
between crimes and punishments, such capricious distinctions of guilt, 
and such confusion of remissness and severity, as can scarcely be be- 
lieved to have been produced by public wisdom, sincerely and 
studious of public happiness." Dr. Johnson. 

a " Be ye angry, and sin not ;" therefore, all anger is not sinful ; I sup- 
pose because some degree of it, and upon some occasions, is inevitable. 
It becomes sinful, or contradicts, however, the rule of Scripture, when it is 
conceived upon slight and inadequate provocation, and when it continues 
long. Paley s "Moral and Political Philosophy," book 3, chap. 7. 

"From anger in its full import, protracted into malevolence, and exert 
ed in revenge, arise, indeed, many of the evils to which the life of man 
is exposed. By anger operating upon power are produced the subver 
sion of cities, the desolation of countries, the massacre of nations, and 
all those dreadful and astonishing calamities which fill the histories of 
the world, and which could not be read at any distant point of time, when 
the passions stand neutral, and every motive and principle are left to its 
natural force, without some doubt of the truth of the relation, did we not 
see the same causes still tending to the same effects, and only acting with 
less vigor for want of the same concurrent opportunities." Dr. Johnson. 



, 

be be- i 
calmly .j( 

c/V/i 
; I sup-* ^ 



CHAP. xxvi. CICERO S OFFICES. 47 

the laws, which in punishing are not directed by resentments 
but by equity. 

XXVI. Now, during our prosperity, and while things flow 
agreeably to our desire, we ought with great care to avoid 
pride and arrogance ; for, as it discovers weakness not to bear 
adversity with equanimity, so also with prosperity. That 
equanimity in every condition of life is a noble attribute, and 
that unL onn expression of countenance and appearance which 
we find recorded of Socrates, and also of Caius Lgelius. 
Though Philip of Macedon was excelled by. his son in his 
achievements and his renown, yet I find him superior to him 
in politeness and goodness of nature ; the one, therefore, al 
ways appeared great, while the other often became detestable. 
So that they appear to teach rightly, who admonish us that 
the more advanced we are in our fortune the more affable 
ought we to be in our behavior. Panaetius tells us his 
scholar and friend, Africanus, used to say, that as horses, 
grown unruly by being in frequent engagements, are deliv 
ered over to be tamed by horse-breakers, thus men, who grow 
riotous and self-sufficient by prosperity, ought, as it were, to 
be exercised in the traverse of reason and philosophy, that they 
may learn the inconstancy of human affairs and the uncertainty 
of fortune. 

In the time of our greatest prosperity we should also have 
the greatest recourse to the advice of our friends, and greater 
authority should be conceded to them than before. At such a 
time we are to take care not to lend our ears to flatterers, or to 
suffer ourselves to be imposed upon by adulation, by which it 
is easy to be misled : for we then think ourselves such as may 
be justly praised, an opinion that gives rise to a thousand 
eiTors in conduct ; because, when men are once blown up 
with idle conceits, they are exposed to ignominious rid 
icule and led into the greatest mistakes. So much for this 
subject. 

One thing you are to understand, that they who regulate 
public affairs perform the greatest exploits, and such as 
require the highest style of mind, because their business is 
most extensive and concerns the greatest number. Yet there 
are, and have been, many men of great capacities, who in 
private life have planned out or attempted mighty matters, 
and yet have confined themselves to the limits of their own 



48 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

affairs ; or, being thrown into a middle state, between philoso 
phers and those who govern the state, have amused themselves 
with the management of their private foitune, without swelling 
it by all m inner of means, not debarring their friends from the 
benefit of it, but rather, when occasion calls upon them, shar 
ing it both with their fiieuds and their country. This should 
be originally acquired with honesty, without any scandalous or 
oppressive practices ; it should then be made serviceable to as 
many as possible, provided they be worthy ; it should next be 
augmented by prudence, by industry, and frugality, without 
serving the purposes of pleasure and luxury rather than of gen 
erosity and humanity. The man who observes those rules may 
live with magnificence, with dignity, and with spirit, yet with 
simplicity and honor, and agreeably to (the economy of ) hu 
man life. 

XXVII. The next thing is, to treat of that remaining part 
of virtue in which consist chastity and those (as we may 
term them) ornaments of life, temperance, moderation, and all 
that allays the perturbations of the mind. Under this head 
is comprehended what in Latin we may call decorum (or the 
graceful), for the Greeks term it the nQenov. Now, its quality 
is such that it is indiscernible from the honestum ; for what 
ever is graceful is virtuous, and whatever is virtuous is grace 
ful. 

But it is more easy to conceive than to express the differ 
ence between what is virtuous and what is graceful (or 
between the honestum and the decorum) ; for whatever is 
graceful appears such, when virtue is its antecedent. What 
is graceful, therefore, appears not only in that division of 
virtue which is here treated of, but in the three foregoing 
ones ; for it is graceful in a man to think and to spenk with 
propriety, to act with deliberation, and in every occurrence 
of life to find out and persevere in the truth. On the other 
hand, to be imposed upon, to mistake, to falter, and to be 
deceived, is as ungraceful as to rave or to be insane. Thus, 
whatever is just is graceful ; whatever is unjust is as un 
graceful as it is criminal. The same principle applies to 
courage ; for every manly and magnanimous action is worthy 
of a man, and graceful ; the reverse, as being unworthy, is un 
graceful. 

This, therefore, which I call gracefulness, is a universal 



CHAP. xxnn. CICERO S OFFICES. 49 

property of virtue, and a property that is self-evident, and not 
discerned by any profundity of reasoning ; for there is a cer 
tain gracefulness that is implied in every virtue, and which may 
exist distinctly from virtue, rather in thought than in fact : as 
grace and beauty of person, for example, can not be separated 
from health, so the whole of that gracefulness which I here 
speak of is blended with virtue, but may exist separately in the 
mind and in idea. 

Now, the definition of this is twofojd : for there is a general 
gracefulness that is the property of all virtue, and that includes 
another, which is fitted to the particular divisions of virtue. 
The former is commonly defined to be that gracefulness that is 
conformable to that excellence of man, in which he differs from 
other sentient beings ; but the special, which is comprised un 
der the general, is defined to be a gracefulness so adapted to 
nature as to exhibit propriety and sweetness under a certain 
elegant appearance. 

XXVIII. We may perceive that these things are so 
understood from that gracefulness which is aimed at by the 
poets, and of which elsewhere more is wont to be said ; for 
we say that the poets observe that gracefulness to be when 
a person speaks and acts in that manner which is most 
becoming his character. Thus if JEacus or Minus should 
say : 

Let them hate me, so they fear me; 
Or 

The father s belly is his children s grave, 

it would seem unsuitable, because we know them to have been 
just persons ; but when said by an Atreus, they are received 
with applause, because the speech is worthy of the character. 
Now, poets will form their judgment of what is becoming in 
each individual according to his character ; but nature herself 
has stamped on us a character in excellence greatly surpassing 
the rest of the animal creation. 

Poets, therefore, in their vast variety of characters, consider 
what is proper and what is becoming, even in the vicious : but 
as nature herself has cast to us our parts in constancy, modera 
tion, temperance, and modesty ; as she, at the same time, in 
structs us not to be unmindful how we should behave to man 
kind, the effect is, that the extent both of that gracefulness 

3 



50 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK I. 

which is the general property of all virtue, and of that par 
ticular gracefulness that is adapted to every species of it, is 
discovered. For as personal beauty, by the symmetrical dis 
position of the limbs, attracts our attention and pleases the 
eye, by the harmony and elegance with which each part cor 
responds to another, so that gracefulness which manifests itself 
in life, attracts the approbation of those among whom we live, by 
the order, consistency, and modesty of all our words and deeds. 
There is, therefore, a degree of respect due from us, suited 
to every man s character, from the best to the worst : for it 
is not only arrogant, but it is profligate, for a man to disre 
gard the world s opinion of himself; but, in our estimate of 
human life, we are to make a difference between justice and 
moral susceptibility. 1 The dictate of justice is to do no 

1 Justice and moral susceptibility. ,] Orig. JiLsticiam et verecundiam. 
This is a very fine passage, and deserves to bo explained. Verecundia is 
commonly translated bashfulness or modesty ; but in the sense of our au 
thor here, neither of these two words will do ; nor am I sure that the 
word decency, or any word in the English tongue, comes fully up to his 
meaning, which is, an inborn reverence for what is right, and which sup 
plies the place of, and sometimes controls, the law. Many actions may 
be agreeable to law, and yet disagreeable to this inborn principle. The 
tragedian Seneca has distinguished them very finely. He brings in 
Pyrrhus, saying, 

Pyr. Lex nulla capto parcit aut poenam impedit. 
To this Agamemnon replies, 

Ag. Quod non vetat lex, hoc vetat fieri pudor. 

Pyr. " No law exempts a captive from the sword." 

Ag. " Where the law does not, moral duties bind." 
Our author inculcates the same principles in many other parts of his 
works ; and it was afterward admitted by Justinian into his Institutes. 
"Fide commissa appellata sunt, quia nullo vinculo juris, sed tantum pu- 
dore eorum qui rogabantur, continebantur. " " Deeds of trust were EO 
called, because the party intrusted was not obligated by law, but by con 
science or morality." Ovid has a very noble sentiment, which he seems 
to have taken from our author and from Plato. 

Nondum justiciam facinus mortale fugarat, 

Ultima de superis ilia reliquit humum ; 
Proque metu, populum, sine vi, pudor ipse regebat. 
11 NOT justice yet had fled from human crimes, 
Of all their godheads she the last remained ; 
For awful conscience, in those happy times, 
Ruled without fear, and without force restrained." 
Verecundia or pudor, therefore, is properly an inward abhorrence of 



CHAP, xrvnr. CICERO S OFFICES. 51 

wrong ; that of moral susceptibility is to give no offense to 
mankind, and in tins the force of the graceful is most percept 
ible. By these explanations I conceive that what we mean by 
the graceful and becoming may be understood. 

Now the duty resulting from this has a primary tendency 
to and agreement with and conservation of our nature ; and 
if we follow it as a guide we never shall err, but shall attain 

moral turpitude, through which the conscience is awed, and may be said 
to blush. Plato, and from him Plutarch, makes justice and this verecun- 
dia to be inseparable companions. " God (says the former), being afraid 
lest the human race should entirely perish upon earth, gave to mankind 
justice and moral susceptibility, those ornaments of states and the bonds 
of society." 

It is on the possession of this moral susceptibility, anterior to and in 
dependent of human laws, that Bishop Butler founds his ethical sj Stem. 
Thus he says of man, that " from his make, constitution, or nature, he 
is, in the strictest and most proper sense, a law to himself;" that (l ho 
hath the rule of right within," and that what is wanting is only that he 
honestly attend to it;" and, in enforcing the authority of this natural 
monitor, "your obligation to obey this law is its being the law of your 
nature. That your conscience approves of and attests to such a course 
of action is itself alone an obligation. Conscience does not only offer 
itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its 
own authority with it, that it is our natural guide the guide assigned 
us by the Author of our nature. It, therefore, belongs to our condition 
of being ; it is our duty to walk in that path, and to follow this guide, 
without looking about to see whether we may not possibly forsake them 
with impunity." It is with a like reference that Lord Bacon says : 
" The light of nature not only shines upon the human mind through the 
medium of a rational faculty, but by an internal instinct, according to 
the law of conscience, which is a sparkle of the purity of man s first 
estate." But a parallel passage from the pen of Cicero himself, affords a 
still fuller and loftier enunciation of this principle: "There is, indeed, 
one true and original law, conformable to reason and to nature, diffused 
over all, invariable, eternal, which calls to the fulfillment of duty and to 
abstinence from injustice, and which calls with that irresistible voice 
which is felt in all its authority wherever it is heard. This law can not 
be abolished or curtailed, nor affected in its sanctions by any law of man. 
A whole senate, a whole people, can not dispense from its paramount 
obligation. It requires no commentator to render it distinctly intelligible, 
nor is it different at Rome, and at Athens, at the present, and in ages to 
come ; but in all times and in all nations, it is, and has been, and will 
be, one and everlasting one as that God, its great Author and promul- 
gator, who is the common sovereign of all mankind, is himself one. No 
man can disobey it without flying, as it were, from his own bosom and 
repudiating his nature, and in this very act will inflict on himself the 
severest of retributions, even, though he escape what is commonly re 
garded as punishment." 



52 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOKI. 

to that natural excellence which consists in acuteness and 
sagacity, to that which is best adapted to human society, and to 
that which is energetic and manly. 1 But the chief force of the 

fraceful lies in that suitableness of which I am now treating, 
or not only those emotions of a physical kind, but still more 
those of the mind are to be approved as they are comformable 
to nature. For the nature and powers of the mind are two 
fold ; one consists in appetite, by the Greeks called OQ^ (i. e. 
impulse), which hurries man hither and thither ; the other in 
reason, which teaches and explains what we are to do, and 
what we are to avoid. The result is, that reason should direct 
and appetite obey. 

XXIX. Now every human action ought to be free from 
precipitancy and negligence, nor indeed ought we to do any 
thing for which we can not give a justifiable reason. This 
indeed almost amounts to a definition of duty. Now we 
must manage so as to keep the appetites subservient to 
reason, that they may neither outstrip it nor fall behind 
through sloth and cowardice. Let them be ever composed 
and free from all -perturbation of spirit; and thus entire 
consistency and moderation will display themselves. For 
those appetites that are too vagrant and rampant as it were, 
either through desire or aversion, are not sufficiently under 
the command of reason ; such, I say, undoubtedly transgress 
bounds and moderation. For they abandon and disclaim 
that subordination to reason, to which by the law of nature 
they are subjected, and thereby not only the mind but the 
body is thrown into disturbance. Let any one observe the 
very looks of men who are in a rage, of those who are 
agitated by desire or fear, or who exult in an excess of joy; 
all whose countenances, voices, motions, and attitudes, are 
changed. 

But to return to my description of duty. From these par 
ticulars we learn that all our appetites ought to be contracted 
and mitigated ; that all our attention and diligence ought to 
be awake, so that we do nothing in a rash, random, thought 
less, and inconsiderate manner. For nature has not formed 
us to sport and merriment, but rather to seriousness, and 
studies that are important and sublime. Sport and merriment 

1 In other words, to wisdom, justice, and fortitude. 



CHAP. xxx. CICERO S OFFICES. 53 

are not always disallowable : but we are to use them as we do 
sleep and other kinds of repose, when we have dispatched our 
weighty and important affairs. Nay, our very manner of jok 
ing should be neither wanton nor indecent, but genteel and 
good-humored. For as we indulge boys not in an unlimited 
license of sport, but only in that which is not inconsistent with 
virtuous conduct, so in our very jokes there should appear 
some gleam of a virtuous nature. 

The manner of joking is reduceable under two denomina 
tions ; one that is ill-bred, insolent, profligate, and obscene ; 
another that is elegant, polite, witty, and good-humored. 
We have abundance of this last, not only in our Plautus, 
and the authors of the old Greek comedy, but in the writings 
of the Socratic philosophers. Many collections have likewise 
been made by various writers, of humorous sayings, such as 
that made by Cato, and called his Apopthegms. The dis- 
dinction, therefore, between a genteel and an ill-mannered 
joke is a very ready one. The former, if seasonably 
made, and when the attention is relaxed, is worthy of a 
virtuous man; the other, if it exhibit immorality in its 
subject, or obscenity in the expression, is unworthy even of a 
man. There is likewise a certain limit to be observed, even 
in our amusements, that we do not give up every thing to 
amusement, and that, after being elevated by pleasure, we 
do not sink into some immorality. Our Campus Martius, 
and the sport of hunting, supply creditable examples of 
amusement. 

XXX. But in all our disquisitions concerning the nature of 
a duty, it is material that we keep in our eye the great excel 
lence of man s nature above that of the brutes and all other crea 
tures. They are insensible to every thing but pleasure, and are 
hurried to it by every impulse. Whereas the mind of man is 
nourished by study and reflection, and, being charmed by the 
pleasure of seeing and hearing, it is ever either inquiring or 
acting. But if there is a man who has a small bias to pleasure, 
provided he is not of the brute kind (for there are some who 
are men only in name) ; but, I say, if he is more high-minded 
even in a small degree, though he may be smitten with pleas 
ure, he yet, through a principle of shame, hides and disguises 
his inclination for it. 

From this we aro to conclude that mere corporeal pleasure 



54 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOKL 

is unworthy the excellence of man s nature ; and that it ought 
therefore to be despised and rejected; but that if a man 
shall have any delight in pleasure, he ought to be extremely 
observant of limits in its indulgence. Therefore the nourish 
ment and dress of our bodies should be with a view not to our 
pleasure, but to our health and our strength ; and should we 
examine the excellence and dignity of our nature, we should 
then be made sensible how shameful it is to melt away in pleas 
ure, and to live in voluptuousness and effeminacy ; and how 
noble it is to live with abstinence, with modesty, with strict 
ness, and sobriety. 

"We are likewise to observe that nature has, as it were, en 
dowed us with two characters. The first is in common to all 
mankind, because all of us partake in that excellency of 
reason, which places us above the brutes ; from which is 
derived all that is virtuous, all that is graceful, and by which 
we trace our connections with our several duties. The other 
character is peculiar to individuals. For, as there are great 
dissimilarities in our persons some for instance are swift in 
running, others strong in wrestling; and in style of beauty 
some have a dignity, and others a sweetness of aspect so are 
there still greater varieties in our minds. 

Lucius Crassus and Lucius Philippus had a great deal of 
wit; but in Caius Caesar, the son of Lucius, it was greater 
in degree, and more elaborate. In their cotemporaries, 
Marcus Scaurus, and young Marcus Drusus, there was a 
remarkable seriousness ; in Caius Lselius great hilarity ; but 
in his friend Scipio greater ambition, and a graver style of 
life. As to the Greeks, we are told of Socrates that he was 
agreeable and witty ; his conversation jocose, and in all his 
discourse a feigner of opinions whom the Greeks called 
si qwv. On the other hand, Pythagoras and Pericles, without 
any gayety, attained the highest authority. Among the 
Carthaginian generals, Hannibal, we learn, was crafty, and 
Quintus Maximus among our own generals was apt at con 
cealment, secrecy, dissimulation, plotting, and anticipating the 
designs of enemies. In this class the Greeks rank Themis- 
tocles, and lason of Pherse, above all others ; and place among 
the very first, that cunning and artful device of Solon, when, 
to secure his own life, and that he might be of greater service 
to his country, he counterfeited madness. In opposition to 



CHAP. TYXT. CICERO S OFFICES. 55 

those characters, the tempers of many others are plain and 
open. Lovers of truth and haters of deceit, they think that 
nothing should be done by stealth, nothing by stratagem; 
while others care not what they suffer themselves, or whom 
fhey stoop to, provided they accomplish their ends; as we 
have seen Sylla and Marcus Crassus. In which class Lysander 
the Lacedaemonian, we are told, had the greatest art and per 
severance, and that Callicratides, who succeeded to Lysander in 
the command of the fleet, was the reverse. We have known 
some others, who though very powerful in conversation, 
always make themselves appear undistinguished individuals 
among many ; such were the Catuli, father and son, and 
Quintus Mucius Mancia. I have heard from men older than 
myself, that Publius Scipio Nasica was of the same cast, but 
that his father, the same who punished the pernicious designs 
of Tiberius Gracchus, was void of all politeness in conver 
sation : and the same of Xenocrates, the most austere of 
philosophers, and from that very circumstance a distinguished 
and celebrated man. Innjumerable, but far from being blam- 
able, are the other differences in the natures and manners of 
men. 

XXXI. Every man, however, ought carefully to follow out 
his peculiar character, provided it is only peculiar, and not 
vicious, that he may the more easily attain that gracefulness of 
which we are inquiring. For we ought to manage so as never 
to counteract the general system of nature ; but having taken 
care of that, we are to follow our natural bias ; insomuch, that 
though other studies may be of greater weight and excellence, 
yet we are to regulate our pursuits by the disposition of our 
nature. It is to no purpose to thwart nature, or to aim 
at what you can not attain. We therefore may have a still 
clearer conception of the graceful I am recommending, from 
this consideration, that nothing is graceful that goes (as the 
saying is) against the grain, that is, in contradiction and oppo 
sition to nature. 

If any thing at all is graceful, nothing surely is more so 
than a uniformity through the course of all your life, as 
well as through every particular action of it; and you 
never can preserve this uniformity, if, aping another man s 
nature, you forsake your own. For as we ought to converse 
in the language we are best acquainted with, for fear of 



56 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

making ourselves justly ridiculous, as those do who cram in 
Greek expressions ; so there ought to be no incongruity in our 
actions, and none in all the tenor of our lives. 1 

Now so powerful is this difference of natures, that it may be 
the duty of one man to put himself to death, and yet not of 
another, though in the same predicament. For was the pre 
dicament of Marcus Cato different from that of those who sur 
rendered themselves to Caesar in Africa ? Yet it had been 
perhaps blamable in the latter, had they put themselves to 
death, because their lives were less severe, and their moral 
natures more pliable. But it became Cato, who had by per 
petual perseverance strengthened that inflexibility which nature 
had given him, and had never departed from the purpose and 
resolution he had once formed, to die rather than to look upon 
the face of a tyrant. 2 

1 " Decency, or a proper regard to age, sex, character, and station in 
the world, may be ranked among the qualities which are immediately 
agreeable to others, and which by that means acquire praise and appro 
bation. An effeminate behavior in a man, a rough manner in a woman, 
these are ugly because unsuitable to each character, and different from 
the qualities which we expect in the sexes. It is as if a tragedy abound 
ed in comic beauties, or a comedy in tragic. The disproportions hurt the 
eye, and convey a disagreeable sentiment to the spectators, the source 
of blame and disapprobation. This is that indecorum which is explained 
so much at large by Cicero in his Offices." Hume s "Principles of 
Morals," sec. 8. 

2 The guilt of suicide has been palliated by Godwin, and utterly de 
nied by Hume. The following remarks emanated from a sounder moral 
ist than either : 

" The lesson which the self-destroyer teaches to his connections, of 
sinking in despair under the evils of life, is one of the most pernicious 
which a man can bequeath. The power of the example is also great. 
Every act of suicide tacitly conveys the sanction of one more judgment 
in its favor ; frequency of repetition diminishes the sensation of abhor 
rence, and makes succeeding sufferers resort to it with less reluctance." 
"Besides which general reasons," says Dr. Paley, (" Moral and Political 
Philosophy," book 4, c. 3), " each case will be aggravated by its own 
proper and particular consequences; by the duties that are deserted ; by 
the claims that are defrauded ; by the loss, affliction, or disgrace, which 
our death, or the manner of it, causes our family, kindred, or friends ; by 
the occasion we give to many to suspect the sincerity of our moral and 
religious professions, and together with ours those of all others;" and 
lastly by the scandal which we bring upon religion itself, by declaring 
practically that it is not able to support man under the-calamities of life. 
Some men say that the New Testament contains no prohibition of suicide. 
If this were true it would avail nothing, because there are many things 



CHAP. TTTT. CICERO S OFFICES. 5f 

How various were those sufferings of Ulysses, in his long 
continued wanderings, when he became the slave of women 
(if you consider Circe and Calypso as such) : and in all he 
said he sought to be complaisant and agreeable to every 
body, nay, put up with abuses from slaves and handmaidens 
at home, that he might at length compass what he desired ; 
but with the spirit with which he is represented, Ajax would 
have preferred a thousand deaths to suffering such indignities. 

In the contemplation of which each ought to consider what 
is peculiar to himself, and to regulate those peculiarities, with 
out making any experiments how another man s become them ; 
for that manner which is most peculiarly a man s own always 
becomes him best. 

Every man ought, therefore, to study his own genius, so 
as to become an impartial judge of his own good and bad 
qualities, otherwise the players will discover better sense 
than we ; for they don t choose for themselves those parts 
that are the most excellent, but those which are best adapted 
to them. Those who rely on their voices choose the part of 
Epigonas or Medus ; the best actors that of Menalippa or 
Clytemnestra. Rupilius, who I remember, always selected 
that of Antiopa ; Esopus seldom chose that of Ajax. Shall 
a player, then, observe this upon the stage, and shall a wise 
man not observe it in the conduct of life ? Let us, there 
fore, most earnestly apply to those parts for which we are 
best fitted ; but should necessity degrade us into characters 

which it does not forbid, but which every one knows to be wicked. But 
in reality it does forbid it. Every exhortation which it gives to be pa 
tient, every encouragement to trust in God, every consideration which it 
urges as a support under affliction and distress, is a virtual prohibition 
of suicide ; because if a man commits suicide he rejects every such ad 
vice and encouragement, and disregards every such motive. 

" To him who believes either in revealed or natural religion, there is a 
certain folly in the commission of suicide ; for from what does he fly ? 
from his present sufferings, while death, for aught that he has reason to 
expect, or at any rate for aught that he knows, may only be the portal 
to sufferings more intense. Natural religion, I think, gives no counten 
ance to the supposition that suicide can be approved by the Deity, be 
cause it proceeds upon the belief that, in another state of existence, he 
will compensate good men for the sufferings of the present. At the 
best, and under either religion, it is a desperate stake. He that commits 
murder may repent, and, we hope, be forgiven ; but he that destroys 
himself, while he incurs a load of guilt, cuts off by the act the power of 
repentance." Dymond s Essays, Essay ii. chap. 16. 

3* 



58 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK I. 

unsuitable to our genius, let us employ all our care, attention, 
and industry, in endeavoring to perform them, if not with pro 
priety, with as little impropriety as possible : nor should we 
strive so much to attain excellencies which have not been con 
ferred on us, as to avoid defects. 

XXXII. To the two characters above described is added a 
third, which either accident or occasion imposes on us ; and 
even a fourth, which we accommodate to ourselves by our own 
judgment and choice. Now kingdoms, governments, honors, 
dignities, riches, interest, and whatever are the qualities con 
trary to them, happen through accident, and are directed by 
occasions ; but what part we ourselves should wish to act, 
originates from our own will. Some, therefore, apply to philos 
ophy, to the civil law, and some to eloquence ; and of the virtues 
themselves some endeavor to shine in one, and some in another. 

Men generally are ambitious of distinguishing themselves 
in that kind of excellence in which their fathers or their an 
cestors were most famous : for instance, Quintus, the son of 
Publius Mucius, in the civil law ; Africanus, the son of 
Paulus, in the art of war. Some, however, increase, by 
merits of their own, that glory which they have received from 
their fathers; for the same Africanus crowned his military 
glory with the practice of eloquence. In like manner, Timo- 
theus, the son of Conon, who equaled his father in the duties 
of the field, but added to them the glory of genius and learn 
ing. Sometimes, however, it happens that men, laying aside the 
imitation of their ancestors, follow a purpose of their own ; and 
this is most commonly the case with such men who, though de 
scended from obscure ancestors, purpose to themselves great 
aims. 

In our search, then, after what is graceful, all those particu 
lars ought to be embraced in our contemplation and study. In 
the first place, we are to determine who and what manner of 
men we are to be, and what mode of life we are to adopt a 
consideration which is the most difficult of all ; for, in our early 
youth, there is the greatest weakness of judgment, every one 
chooses to himself that kind of life which he has most fancied. 
He, therefore, is trepanned into some fixed and settled course 
of living before he is capable to judge what is the most 
proper. 1 

1 " I have often thought those happy that have been fixed, from the first 



CHAP. TTTTTT. CICERO S OFFICES. 59 

For the Hercules of Prodicus, as we learn from Xenophon, 
in his early puberty (an age appointed by nature for every 
man s choosing his scheme of life) is said to have gone into a 
solitude, and there sitting down, to have deliberated within 
himself much, and for a long time, whether of two paths that 
he saw before him it was better to enter on, the one of pleasure, 
the other of virtue. This might, indeed, happen to a Jove- 
begotten Hercules ; but not so with us, who imitate those 
whom we have an opinion of, and are thereby drawn into 
their pursuits and purposes : for generally prepossessed by 
the principles of our parents, we are drawn away to their 
customs and habits. Others, swayed by the judgment of 
the multitude, are passionately fond of those things which 
seem best to the majority. A few, however, either through 
some good fortune, or a certain excellency of nature, or 
through the training of their parents, pursue the right path of 
life. 

XXXIII. The rarest class is composed of those who, en 
dowed with an exalted genius, or with excellent education and 
learning, or possessing both, have had scope enough for deliber 
ating as to what course of life they would be most willing to 
adopt. Every design, in such a deliberation, ought to be re 
ferred to the natural powers of the individual ; for since, as I 
said before, we discover this propriety in every act which is per 
formed, by reference to the qualities with which a man is born, 
so, in fixing the plan of our future life, we ought to be still 
much more careful in that respect, that we may be consistent 
throughout the duration of life with ourselves, and not deficient 
in any one duty. 

But because nature in this possesses the chief power, and 

dawn of thought, in a determination to some state of life, by the choice of 
one whose authority may preclude caprice, and whose influence may prej 
udice them in favor of his opinion. The general precept of consulting 
the genius is of little use, unless we are told how the genius can be 
known. If it is to be discovered only by experiment, life will be lost 
before the resolution can be fixed ; if any other indications are to be 
found, they may, perhaps, be very early discerned. At least, if to mis 
carry in an attempt be a proof of having mistaken the direction of the 
genius, men appear not less frequently deceived with regard to themselves 
than to others ;" and therefore no one has much reason to complain that 
his life was planned out by his friends, or to be confident that he should 
have had either more honor or happiness, by being abandoned to th 
chance of his own fancy." Dr, Johnson s " Rambler," No. 19. 



60 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

fortune the next, we ought to pay regard to both in fixing 
our scheme of life ; but chiefly to nature, as she is much 
more firm and constant, insomuch that the struggle some 
times between nature and fortune, seems to be between a 
mortal and an immortal being. The man, therefore, who 
adapts his whole system of living to his undepraved nature, let 
him maintain his constancy ; for that, above all things, be 
comes a man, provided he come not to learn that he has been 
mistaken in his choice of a mode of life. Should that occur, as 
it possibly may, a change must be made in all his habits and 
purposes which, if circumstances shall be favorable, we shall 
more easily and readily effect ; but, should it happen otherwise, 
it must be done slowly and gradually. Thus men of sense 
think it more suitable that friendships which are disagreeable 
or not approved should be gradually detached, rather than sud 
denly cut off. Still, upon altering our scheme of life, we ought 
to take the utmost care to make it appear that we have done it 
upon good grounds. 

But if, as I said above, we are to imitate our ancestors, 
this should be first excepted that their bad qualities must not 
be imitated. In the next place, if nature does not qualify 
us to imitate them in some things, we are not to attempt it : 
for instance, the son of the elder Africanus, who adopted the 
younger son of Paulus, could not, from infirmity of health, 
resemble his father so much as his father did his grand 
father. If, therefore, a man is unable to defend causes, to 
entertain the people, by haranguing, or to wage war, yet still 
he ought to do what is in his power ; he ought to practice jus 
tice, honor, generosity, modesty, and temperance, that what is 
wanting may be the less required of him. Now, the best 
inheritance a parent can leave a child more excellent than 
any patrimony is the glory of his virtue and his deeds ; to 
bring disgrace on which ought to be regarded as wicked and 
monstrous. 

XXXIV. And as the same moral duties are not suited to the 
different periods of life, some belonging to the young, others 
to the old, we must likewise say somewhat on this distinc 
tion. It is the duty of a young man to reverence his elders, 
and among them to select the best and the worthiest, on 
whose advice and authority to rely. For the inexperience 
of youth ought to be instructed and conducted by the wisdom 



CHAP, xxxiv. CICERO S OFFICES. 61 

of the aged. Above all things, the young man ought to be 
restrained from lawless desires, and exercised in endurance and 
labor both of body and mind, that by persevering in them, he 
may be efficient in the duties both of war and peace. Nay, 
when they even unbend their minds and give themselves up to 
mirth, they ought to avoid intemperance, and never lose sight of 
morality ; and this will be the more easy if even upon such oc 
casions they desire that their elders should be associated with 
them. 1 

As to old men, their bodily labors seem to require diminution, 
but the exercises of their mind ought even to be increased. 
Their care should be to assist their friends, the youth, and 
above all their country, to the utmost of their ability by their 
advice and experience. Now there is nothing that old age ought 
more carefully to guard against, than giving itself up to listless- 
ness and indolence. As to luxury, though it is shameful in 
every stage of life, in old age it is detestable ; but if to that is 
added intemperance in lawless desires, the evil is doubled ; be 
cause old age itself thereby incurs disgrace ; and makes the 
excesses of the young more shameless. 2 

Neither is it foreign to my purpose to touch upon the duties 
of magistrates, of private citizens, and of strangers. It is then 
the peculiar duty of a magistrate to bear in mind that he rep 
resents the state, and that he ought, therefore, to maintain its 
dignity and glory, to preserve its constitution, to act by its laws, 
and to remember that these things are committed to his fidel- 

1 So Dr. South describes joy as exhibited by Adam in the state of inno 
cence, in the most remarkable of his productions, the sermon entitled 
"Man created in God s image." "It was (says he) refreshing, but com 
posed, like the gayety of youth tempered with the gravity of age, or the 
mirth of a festival managed with the silence of contemplation." The 
course here prescribed was adopted in the institutions of Lycurgus, and 
recommended by Plato. 

2 " It may very reasonably be suspected that the old draw upon them 
selves the greatest parts of those insults which they so much lament, and 
that age is rarely despised but when it is contemptible. If men imagine 
that excessive debauchery can be made reverend by time, that knowl 
edge is the consequence of long life, however idly and thoughtlessly em 
ployed, that priority of birth will supply the want of steadiness or 
honesty, can it raise much wonder that their hopes are disappointed, 
and that they see their posterity rather willing to trust their own eyes 
in their progress into life, than enlist themselves under guides who have 
lost their way ?" Dr. Johnson. 



62 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOKL 

ity. 1 As to a private man and citizen, his duty is to live upon 
a just and equal footing with his fellow-citizens, neither subor 
dinate and subservient nor domineering. In his sentiments of 
the public to be always for peaceful and virtuous measures ; for 
such we are accustomed to imagine and describe a virtuous 
citizen. 

Now the duty of a stranger and an alien is, to mind nothing 
but his own business, not to intermeddle with another, and least 
of all to be curious about the affairs of a foreign government. 
Thus we shall generally succeed in the practice of the moral 
duties, when we inquire after what is most becoming and best 
fitted to persons, occasions, and ages ; and nothing is more be 
coming than in all our actions and in all our deliberations to 
preserve consistency. 

XXXV. But, because the graceful or becoming character we 
treat of appears in all our words and actions, nay, in every 
motion and disposition of our person, and consists of three par 
ticulars, beauty, regularity, and appointment suited to action 
(ideas which indeed are difficult to be expressed, but it is suffi 
cient if they are understood) ; and as in these three heads is 
comprehended our care to be approved by those among whom 
and with whom we live, on them also a few observations must 
be made. In the first place nature seems to have paid a great 
regard to the form of our bodies, by exposing to the sight all 
that part of our figure that has a beautiful appearance, while 
she has covered and concealed those parts which were given 
for the necessities of nature, and which would have been offen 
sive and disagreeable to the sight. 

This careful contrivance of nature has been imitated by 
the modesty of mankind ; for all men in their senses conceal 
from the eye the parts which nature has hid ; and they take 

1 Respecting the ultimate possession of political power by the govern 
ed, and the consequently delegated power of rulers, we have the follow 
ing striking passage in "Hall s Liberty of the Press:" "With the 
enemies of freedom it is a usual artifice to represent the sovereignty of 
the people as a license to anarchy and disorder. But the tracing of civil 
power to that source will not diminish our obligation to obey ; it only ex 
plains its reasons, and settles it on clear determinate principles. It turns 
blind submission into rational obedience, tempers the passion for liberty 
with the love of order, and places mankind in a happy medium, between 
the extremes of anarchy on the on$ side, and oppression on the other. 
It is the polar star that will conduct us safe over the ocean of political 
debate and speculation, the law of laws, the legislator of legislators." 



CHAP. XXXYI. CICERO S OFFICES. 63 

care that they should discharge as privately as possible even 
the necessities of nature. And those parts which serve those 
necessities, and the necessities themselves, are not called by 
their real names ; because that which is not shameful it* 
privately performed, it is still obscene to describe. There 
fore neither the public commission of those things, nor tho 
obscene expression of them, is free from immodesty. 

Neither are we to regard the Cynics or the Stoics, who 
are next to Cynics, who abuse and ridicule us for deeming 
things that are not shameful in their own nature, to become 
vicious through names and expressions. Now, we give 
every thing that is disgraceful in its own nature its proper 
term. Theft, fraud, adultery, are disgraceful in their own 
nature, but not obscene in the expression. The act of be 
getting children is virtuous, but the expression obscene. 
Thus, a great many arguments to the same purpose are 
maintained by these philosophers in subversion of delicacy. 
Let us, for our parts, follow nature, and avoid whatever is 
offensive to the eyes or ears ; let us aim at the graceful or 
becoming, whether we stand or walk, whether we sit or lie 
down, in every motion of our features, our eyes, or our 
hands. 

In those matters two things are chiefly to be avoided ; 
that there be nothing effeminate and foppish, nor any thing 
coarse and clownish. Neither are we to admit, that those 
considerations are proper for actors and orators, but not 
binding upon us. The manners at least of the actors, 
from the morality of our ancestors, are so decent that none 
of them appear upon the stage without an under-covering ; 
being afraid lest if by any accident certain parts of the body 
should be exposed, they should make an indecent appearance. 
According to our customs, sons grown up to manhood do not 
bathe along with their fathers, nor sons-in-law with their 
fathers-in-law. Modesty of this kind, therefore, is to be 
cherished, especially as nature herself is our instructor and 
guide. 

XXXVI. Now as beauty is of two kinds, one that consists 
in loveliness, and the other in dignity ; loveliness we should 
regard as the characteristic of women, dignity of men : 
therefore, let a man remove from his person every ornament 
that is unbecoming a man, and let him take the same care of 



64 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

every similar fault with regard to his gesture or motion. For 
very often the movements learned in the Palaestra are offens 
ive, and not a few impertinent gestures among the players 
are productive of disgust, while in both whatever is unaffected 
and simple is received with applause. Now, comeliness in the 
person is preserved by the freshness of the complexion, and 
that freshness by the exercises of the body. To this we are 
to add, a neatness that is neither troublesome nor too much 
studied, but which just avoids all clownish, ill-bred sloven- 
ness. The same rules are to be observed with regard to 
ornaments of dress, in which, as in all other matters, a mean 
is preferable. 

We must likewise avoid a drawling solemn pace in walk 
ing, so as to seem like bearers in a procession ; and likewise 
in matters that require dispatch, quick, hurried motions ; 
which, when they occur, occasion a shortness of breathing, 
an alteration in the looks, and a convulsion in the features, 
all which strongly indicate an inconstant character. But 
still greater should be our care that the movements of our 
mind never depart from nature ; in which we shall succeed 
if we guard against falling into any flurry and disorder of 
spirit, and keep our faculties intent on the preservation of 
propriety. Now the motions of the mind are of two kinds, 
the one of reflection and the other of appetite. Reflection 
chiefly applies itself in the search of truth. Appetite prompts 
us to action. We are therefore to take care to employ our 
reflection upon the best subjects, and to render our appetite 
obedient to our reason. 

XXXVII. And since the influence of speech is very great 
and that of two kinds one proper for disputing, the other 
for discoursing the former should be employed in plead 
ings at trials, in assemblies of the people, and meetings of the 
senate ; the latter in social circles, disquisitions, the meetings of 
our friends, and should likewise attend upon entertainments. 
Rhetoricians lay down rules for disputing, but none for dis 
coursing, though I am not sure but that likewise may be 
done. Masters are to be found in all pursuits in which there 
are learners, and all places are filled with crowds of rhetori 
cians ; but there are none who study this, and yet all the rules 
that are laid down for words and sentiments (in debate) 
are likewise applicable to conversation. 



CHAP, xxx. vii. CICERO S OFFICES. 65 

But, as we have a voice as the organ of speech, we ought 
to aim at two properties in it : first that it be clear, and 
secondly that it be agreeable ; both are unquestionably to be 
sought from nature ; and yet practice may improve the one, 
and imitating those who speak nervously and distinctly, the 
other. There was, in the Catuli, nothing by which you 
could conclude them possessed of any exquisite judgment in 
language, though learned to be sure they were ; and so have 
others been. But the Catuli were thought to excel in the 
Latin tongue ; their pronunciation was harmonious, their 
words were neither mouthed nor minced ; so that their ex 
pression was distinct, without being unpleasant; while their 
voice, without strain, was neither faint nor shrill. The 
manner of Lucius Crassus was more flowing, and equally 
elegant ; though the opinion concerning the Catuli, as good 
speakers, was not less. But Csesar, brother to the elder 
Catulus, exceeded all in wit and humor ; insomuch that even 
in the forensic style of speaking, he with his conversational 
manner, surpassed the energetic eloquence of others. There 
fore, in all those matters, we must labor diligently if we 
would discover what is the point of propriety in every instance. 

Let our common discourse therefore (and this is the great 
excellence of the followers of Socrates) be smooth and good- 
humored, without the least arrogance. Let there be pleas 
antry in it. Nor let any one speaker exclude all others as 
if he were entering on a province of his own, but consider 
that in conversation, as in other things, alternate participa 
tion is but fair. 1 But more especially let him consider on 
what subjects he should speak. If serious, let him use grav 
ity; if merry, good-humor. But a man ought to take the 

1 " As the mutual shocks in society and the opposition of interest and 
self-love, have constrained mankind to establish the laws of justice, in 
order to preserve the advantages of mutual assistance and protection ; in 
like manner, the eternal contrarieties in company of men s pride and self- 
conceit, have introduced the rules of good manners or politeness, in order 
to facilitate the intercourse of minds and an undisturbed commerce and 
conversation. Among well-bred people, a mutual deference is effected, 
contempt of others disguised, authority concealed, attention given to 
each in his time, and an easy stream of conversation maintained, without 
vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and with 
out any airs of superiority. These attentions and regards are immedi 
ately agreeablo to others, abstracted from any consideration of utility or 
beneficial tendencies; they conciliate affection, promote esteem, and ex- 



66 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

greatest care that his discourse betray no defect in his mo 
rals ; and this generally is the case when for the sake of de 
traction we eagerly speak of the absent in a malicious, ridic 
ulous, harsh, bitter, and contemptuous manner. 

Now conversation generally turns upon private concerns, 
or politics, or the pursuits of art and learning. We are, 
therefore, to study, whenever our conversation begins to 
ramble to other subjects, to recall it : and whatever subjects 
may present themselves (for we are not at all pleased with the 
same subjects and that similarly and at all times) we should 
observe how far our conversation maintains its interest ; and 
as there was a reason for beginning so there should be a limit 
at which to conclude. 

XXXVIII. But as we are very properly enjoined, in all 
the course of our life, to avoid all fits of passion, that is, ex 
cessive emotions of the mind uncontrolled by reason ; in like 
manner, our conversation ought to be free from all such emo 
tions; so that neither resentment manifest itself, nor undue 
desire, nor slovenness, nor indolence, nor any thing of that 
kind ; and, above all things, we should endeavor to indicate 
both esteem and love for those we converse with. Re 
proaches may sometimes be necessary, in which we may per 
haps be obliged to employ a higher strain of voice and a 
harsher turn of language. Even in that case, we ought only 
to seem to do these things in anger ; but as, in the cases of 
cautery and amputations, so with this kind of correction we 
should have recourse to it seldom and unwillingly ; and in 
deed, never but when no other remedy can be discovered ; 
but still, let all passion be avoided ; for with that nothing 
can be done with rectitude, nothing with discretion. 

In general it is allowable to adopt a mild style of rebuke, 
combining it with seriousness, so that severity may be indi 
cated but abusive language avoided. Nay, even what of 
bitterness there is in the reproach should be shown to have 

tremely enhance the merit of the person who regulates his behavior by 
them. 

" In conversation, the lively spirit of dialogue is agreeable even to 
those who desire not to have any share in the discourse. Hence the re- 
later of long stories, or the pompous declaimer is very little approved of; 
But most men desire likewise their time in the conversation, and regard 
with a very evil eye that loquacity which deprives them of a right they 
are naturally so zealous of." Hume s "Principles of Morals," sec. viii. 



CHAP, xxxix CICERO S OFFICES. 67 

been adopted for the sake of the party reproved. Now, it is 
advisable, even in those disputes which take place with our 
bitterest enemies, if we hear any that is insulting to ourselves 
to maintain our equanimity, and repress passion ; for what 
ever is done under such excitement can never be either con 
sistently performed, or approved of by those who are present. 1 
It is likewise indecent for a man to be loud in his own praise 
(and the more so if it be false), and so to imitate the swagger 
ing soldier (in the play) amidst the derision of the auditors. 

XXXIX. Now, as I touch, at least wish to touch, upon 
every matter of duty, I shall likewise treat of the kind of 
house which I think suited to a man of high rank and office ; 
the end of this being utility, to it the design of the building 
must be adapted, but still regard must be paid to magnifi 
cence and elegance. We learn that it was to the honor of 
Cneius Octavius, the first of that family who was raised to 
the consulship, that he built upon the Palatine, a house of a 
noble and majestic appearance, which, as it was visited as a 
spectacle by the common people, was supposed to have voted 
its proprietor, though but a new man, into the consulship. 
Scaurus demolished this house, and took the ground into his 
own palace. But though the one first brought a consulship 
into his family, yet the other, though the son of a man of the 
greatest rank and distinction, carried into this, his enlarged 
palace, not only repulse but disgrace, nay ruin. 

1 " The command of anger appears, upon many occasions, not less gener 
ous and noble than that of fear. The proper expression of just indig 
nation composes many of the most splendid and admired passages both 
of ancient and modern eloquence. The Philippics of Demosthenes, the 
Catilinarians of Cicero derive their whole beauty from the noble propri 
ety with which this passion is expressed. But this just indignation is 
nothing but anger restrained and properly attempered to what the im 
partial spectator can enter into. The blustering and noisy passion 
which goes beyond this is always odious and offensive, and interests us, 
not for the angry man but the man with whom he is angry. The noble 
ness of pardoning appears, upon many occasions, superior even to the 
most perfect propriety of resenting, when either proper acknowledg 
ments have been made by the offending party, or, even without any 
such acknowledgments, when the public interest requires that the most 
mortal enemies should unite for the discharge of some important duty. 
The man who can cast away all animosity, and act with confidence and 
cordiality toward the person who had most grievously offended him, 
seems justly to merit our highest admiration." Smith s " Moral Senti 
ments," part vi. section iii. 



68 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK. I. 

For dignity should be adorned by a palace, but not be wholly 
sought from it : the house ought to be ennobled by the 
master, and not the master by the house. And, as in other 
matters a man should have regard to others and not to his 
own concerns alone, so in the house of a man of rank, who 
is to entertain a great many guests and to admit a multitude 
of all denominations, attention should be paid to spaciousness ; 
but a great house often reflects discredit upon its master, if 
there is solitude in it, especially if, under a former proprietor, 
it has been accustomed to be well filled. It is a mortifying 
thing when passengers exclaim, " Ah ! ancient dwelling ! by 
how degenerate a master art thou occupied !" which may 
well be said at the present time of a great many houses. 

But you are to take care, especially if you build for yourself, 
not to go beyond bounds in grandeur and costliness. Even 
the example of an excess of this kind does much mischief. For 
most people, particularly in this respect, studiously imitate 
the example of their leaders. For instance, who imitates 
the virtue of the excellent Lucius Lucullus ? But how many 
there are who have imitated the magnificence of his villas. 
To which certainly a bound ought to be set, and it reduced to 
moderation, and the same spirit of moderation ought to be 
extended to all the practice and economy of life. But of this 
enough. 

Now in undertaking every action we are to regard three 
things. First, that appetite be subservient to reason, than 
which there is no condition better fitted for preserving the 
moral duties. We are, secondly, to examine how important 
the object in which we desire to accomplish, that our atten 
tion or labor may be neither more nor less than the occasion 
requires. Thirdly, we are to take care that every thing 
that comes under the head of magnificence and dignity should 
be well regulated. Now, the best regulation is, to observe 
that some graceful propriety which I have recommended, and 
to go no further. But of those three heads, the most excellent 
is, that of making our appetites subservient to our reason. 

XL. I am now to speak concerning the order and the 
timing of things. In this science is comprehended what the 
Greek call eftmi/a, not that which we Romans call mode 
ration, an expression that implies keeping within bounds ; 
whereas that is EvTuicc, in which the preservation of order is 



CHAP. XL. CICERO S OFFICES. 69 

involved. This duty, which we will denominate moderation, 
is defined by the Stoics as those things which are either said 
or done in their appropriate places of ranging. Therefore, 
the signification of order and of arrangement seems to be 
the same. For they define order to be the disposing of 
things into fitting and convenient places. Now they tell 
us that the appropriate place of an action is the oppor 
tunity of doing it. The proper opportunity for action 
being called by the Greeks stxnQtu, and by the Latins, 
occasio, or occasion. Thus, as I have already observed, that 
modestia which we have thus explained is the knowledge of 
acting according to the fitness of a conjuncture. 

But prudence, of which we have treated in the beginning 
of this book, may admit of the same definition. Under this 
head, however, I speak of moderation and temperance, and 
the like virtues. Therefore, the considerations which belong 
to prudence have been treated in their proper place. But at 
present I am to treat of those virtues I have been so long 
speaking of, which relate to morality, and the approbation of 
those with whom we live. 

Such then should be the regularity of all our actions, that 
in the economy of life, as in a connected discourse, all things 
may agree and correspond. For it would be unbecoming 
and highly blamable, should we, when upon a serious 
subject, introduce the language of the jovial or the effemi 
nate. When Pericles had for his colleague in the prsetoi- 
ship Sophocles the poet, and as they were discoursing upon 
their joint official duty, a beautiful boy by chance passed by, 
Sophocles exclaimed, " What a charming boy, Pericles !" but 
Pericles very properly told him, "A magistrate ought to 
keep not only his hands, but his eyes under restraint." Now 
Sophocles, had he said the same thing at a trial of athletic 
performers would not have been liable to this just reprimand, 
such importance there is in the time and place. So, too, a 
man, who is going to plead a cause, if on a journey or in a 
walk he should muse or appear to himself more thoughtful 
than ordinary, he is not blamed: but should he do this 
at an entertainment, he would seem ill-bred for not dis- 
tingnishing times. 

But those actions that are in wide discrepancy with good- 
breeding, such, for instance, as singing in the forum, or 



70 CICEEO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

any such absurdity, are so easily discernible, that they re 
quire no great degree of reprehension or advice. But faults 
that seem to be inconsiderable, and such as are discernible 
only by a few, are to be more carefully avoided. As in 
lutes or pipes, however little they be out of tune, it is per 
ceived by a practiced ear ; so in life we are to guard against 
all discrepancy, and the rather as the harmony of morals is 
greater and much more valuable than that of sounds. 

XLI. Thus, as the ear is sensible to the smallest discord 
in musical instruments, so we, if we desire to be accurate 
and attentive observers of faults, may make great discoveries 
from very trifling circumstances. The cast of the eye, the 
bending or unbending of the brow, an air of dejection or 
cheerfulness, laughter, the tone of words, silence, the raising 
or falling of the voice, and the like circumstances, we may 
easily form a judgment which of them are in their pro 
per state, and which of them are in discord with duty 
and nature. Now in this case, it is advisable to judge 
from others, of the condition and properties of every one of 
those, so that we ourselves may avoid those things that are 
unbecoming in others. For it happens, I know not how, that 
we perceive what is defective more readily in others than we 
do in ourselves. Therefore, when masters mimic the faults 
of boys that they may amend them, those boys are most 
easily corrected. 

Neither is it improper, in order to fix our choice in matters 
which involve a doubt, if we apply to men of learning and 
also of experience, and learn what they think of the several 
kinds of duty ; for the greatest part of such men are usually 
led to that conclusion to which nature herself directs ; and in 
these cases, we are to examine not only what a man says, 
but what he thinks, and upon what ground he thinks it. 
For as painters, statuaries, and even poets, want to have 
their works canvassed by the public in order to correct any 
thing that is generally condemned, and examine both by 
themselves and with others where the defect lies ; thus we 
ought to make use of the judgment of others to do, and not 
to do, to alter and correct, a great many things. 

As to actions resulting from the customs or civil institu 
tions of a people, no precepts can be laid down ; for those 
very institutions are precepts in themselves. Nor ought men 



CHAP. ILL CICERO S OFFICES. 71 

to be under the mistake to imagine that if Socrates or 
Aristippus acted or spoke in opposition to the manners and 
civil constitutions of their country, they themselves have a 
similar license. 1 For this was a right they acquired by their 

1 There are two things in this passage which must excite surprise ; the 
first, that Cicero should regard those actions as immoral in the general 
ity of society which he justifies in the case of two individuals on tho 
sole ground of their intellectual pre-eminence. For this must be the 
sole ground of the distinction ; inasmuch as, if a moral superiority bo 
admitted as a justifying consideration in the case of Socrates, it can 
scarcely be denied to any other individual who might be led to the adop 
tion of a similar course. Tho second is, that the customs and institu 
tions of a country should be invested by Cicero with the powers of moral 
obligation ; nor, considering the general tenor of Cicero s ethics, is this 
the less surprising, from the fact that in modern times the same principle 
was carried by Ilobbes to a far greater extent. "According to him," 
says Sir James Mackintosh, " the perfect state of a community is where 
law prescribes the religion and morality of the people, and where the 
will of an absolute sovereign is the sole fountain of law." The insuf 
ficiency both of the law of the land, and of that conventional influence 
which in modern times has been designated the law of honor as a code 
of morality is admirably shown by Paley in the following passage : 

" The Law of Honor is a sj-stem of rules constructed by people of 
fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another ; 
and for no other purpose. Consequently, nothing is adverted to by the 
law of honor, but what tends to incommode this intercourse. Hence this 
law only prescribes and regulates the duties betwixt equals; omitting such 
as relate to tho Supreme Being, as well as those which we owe to our 
inferiors. For which reason, profaneness, neglect of public worship or 
private devotion, cruelty to servants, rigorous treatment of tenants or 
other dependents, want of charity to the poor, injuries done to trades 
men by insolvency or delay of payment, with numberless examples of 
the same kind, are accounted no breaches of honor ; because a man is 
not a less agreeable companion for these vices, nor the worse to deal 
with in thoso concerns which are usually transacted between one gentle 
man and another. Again, the law of honor, being constituted by men 
occupied iu the pursuit of pleasure, and for the mutual conveniency of 
such men, will be found, as might be expected from the character and 
design of the law-makers, to be, in most instances, favorable to the 
licentious indulgence of the natural passions. Thus, it allows of forni 
cation, adultery, drunkenness, prodigality, duelling, and of revenge in 
he extreme ; and lays no stress upon the virtues opposite to these. 

" That part of mankind, who are beneath the law of honor, often make 
the Law of the Land their rules of life ; that is, they are satisfied with 
themselves, so long as they do or omit nothing, for the doing or omitting 
of which the law can punish them. Whereas every system of human 
laws, considered as a rule of life, labors under the two following de 
fects: 1. Human laws omit many duties, as not objects of compulsion ; 



72 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

great and superhuman endowments. But as to the whole 
system of the Cynics ; we are absolutely to reject it, because 
it is inconsistent with moral susceptibility without which 
nothing can be honest, nothing can be virtuous. 

Now it is our duty to esteem and to honor, in the same 
manner as if they were dignified with titles or vested with 
command, those men whose lives have been conspicuous for 
great and glorious actions, who feel rightly toward the state 
and deserve well or have deserved well of their country. 
We are likewise to have a great regard for old age, to pay a 
deference to magistrates; to distinguish between (what we 
owe to) a fellow-citizen and a foreigner, and to consider whether 
that foreigner comes in a public or a private capacity. In 
short, not to dwell on particulars, we ought to regard, to 
cultivate, and to promote the good will and the social welfare 
of all mankind. 

XLII. Now with regard to what arts and means of ac 
quiring wealth are to be regarded as worthy and what dis 
reputable, we have been taught as follows. In the first place, 
those sources of emolument are condemned that incur the 
public hatred ; such as those of tax-gatherers and usurers. 
We are likewise to account as ungenteel and mean the gains 
of all hired workmen, whose source of profit is not their art 
but their labor ; for their very wages are the consideration of 
their servitude. We are likewise to despise all who retail 
from merchants goods for prompt sale ; for they never can suc 
ceed unless they lie most abominably. Now nothing is 
more disgraceful than insincerity. All mechanical laborers 
are by their profession mean. For a workshop can contain 
nothing befitting a gentleman. Least of all are those trades 

such as pictj to God, bounty to the poor, forgiveness of injuries, educa 
tion of children, gratitude to benefactors. The law never speaks but to 
command, nor commands but where it can compel ; consequently those 
duties, which by their nature must be voluntary, are left out of the 
statute-book, as lying beyond the reach of its operation and authority. 
2. Human laws permit, or, which is the same thing, suffer to go un 
punished, many crimes, because they are incapable of being defined by 
any previous description. Of which nature are luxury, prodigality, par 
tiality in voting at those elections in which the qualifications of the 
candidate ought to determine the success, caprice in the disposition of 
men s fortunes at their death, disrespect to parents, and a multitude of 
similar examples." " Moral and Political Philosophy," book i. caps. 2 & 3. 



CHAP. xun. CICERO S OFFICES, ?g 

to be approved that serve the purposes of sensuality, such 
as (to speak after Terence) fishmongers, butchers, cooks, 
pastry-cooks, and fishermen ; to whom we shall add, if you 
please, perfumers, dancers, and the whole tribe of gamesters. 1 

But those professions that involve a higher degree of in 
telligence or a greater amount of utility, such as medicine, 
architecture, the teaching the liberal arts, are honorable 
in those to whose rank in life they are suited. As to 
merchandizing,, if on a small scale it is mean but if it is 
extensive and rich, bring numerous commodities from all 
parts of the world, and giving bread to numbers without 
fraud, it is not so despicable. But if a merchant, satiated, 
or rather satisfied with his profits, as he sometimes used 
to leave the open sea and make the harbor, shall from 
the harbor step into an estate and lands ; such a man seems 
most justly deserving of praise. For of all gainful profes 
sions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing^ 
more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man 
than agriculture. But as I have handled that subject at 
large in my Cato Major, you can draw from thence all that 
falls under this head. 

XLIII. I have I think sufficiently explained in what 
manner the duties are derived from the constituent parts of 
virtue. Now it often may happen that an emulation and 
a contest may arise among things that are in themselves 
virtuous*, of two virtuous actions w r hich is preferable. A 
division that Pauretius has ovelooked. For as all virtue is 
the result of four qualities, prudence, justice, magnanimity 



* There is, perhaps, no passage in this work more short-sighted and 
ridiculous than the above, and none which more clearly indicates the 
practical fallaciousness of all systems of morals framed in ignorance of 
those views of human nature which are derived from Christianity alone. 
To stigmatize as morally base those occupations which are necessary to 
the comfort of society, is to maintain the very opposite of his own fun 
damental principle, by affirming that immorality and not morality is 
necessary to the happiness of mankind. Indeed, the attribution of any 
moral character to mere industrial pursuits, is an absurdity which Cicero 
would probably not have incurred had he lived but a few years later, 
and become acquainted as he might, without leaving Rome, with those 
fishermen and that tent-maker of whom the world was not worthy," 
and through them with that Being in whose sight, amid all the irregu 
larities of time, " the rich and the poor meet together." 

4 



74 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK I. 

and moderation; so in the choice of a duty, those qualities 
must necessarily corns in competition with one another. 

I am therefore of opinion that the duties arising from the 
social relations are mo^e agreeable to nature than those that 
are merely notional. This may be confirmed from the fol 
lowing argument. Supposing that this kind of life should 
befall a wise man, that in an affluence of all things he might 
be able with great leisure to contemplate and attend to every 
object that is worthy his knowledge ; yet if his condition 
be so solitary as to have no company with mankind, he would 
prefer death to it. Of all virtues, the most leading is that 
wisdom which the Greeks call aoqpt, for by that sagacity 
which they term cpgovrjau; we understand quite another thing, 
as it implies the knowledge of what things are to be de 
sired, and what to be avoided. But that wisdom which I 
have stated to be the chief, is the knowledge of things divine 
and huin in, which comprehends the fellowship of gods and 
men, and their society within themselves. If that be, as 
it certainly is, the highest of all objects, it follows of 
course that the duty resulting from this fellowship is the 
highest of all duties. For the knowledge and contem 
plation of nature is in a manner lame and unfinished, if it 
is followed by no activity ; now activity is most perspic 
uous when it is exerted in protecting the rights of mankind. 

It therefore has reference to the social interests of the 
human race, and is for that reason preferable to knowledge ; 
and this every virtuous man maintains and exhibits in prac 
tice. For who is so eager in pursuing and examining the 
nature of things, that if, while he is handling and con 
templating the noblest objects of knowledge, the peril and 
crisis of his country is made known to him, and that it is in 
his power to assist and relieve her, would not instantly aban 
don and fling from him all those studies, even though he 
thought he would be enabled to number the stars, or measure 
the dimensions of the world ? And he would do the same 
were the safety of a friend or a parent concerned or endan 
gered. From this consideration I infer, that the duties of 
justice are preferable to the studies and duties of knowledge, 
relating as they do to the interests of the human race, to which 
no anterior consideration ought to exist in the mind of man. 

XLIV. But some have employed their whole lives in the 



CHAP. XLIY. CICERO S OFFICES. 75 

pursuits of knowledge, and yet have not declined to contrib- 
uto to the utility and advantage of men. For they Irivo 
even instructed nirmy how they ought to be better citizens nnd 
more useful to their country. Thus Lysis, the Pythagorean edu 
cated Epaminondas of Thebes, as did Plato Dion of Syracuse, 
and so of many others ; anl as to whatever services I have per 
formed, if I have performed any to the state, I came to it aJter 
being furnished and adorned with knowledge by teachers and 
learning. 

Nor do those philosophers only instruct and educate those 
who are desirous of learning while alive and present among 
us ; but they continue to do the same after death, by the monu 
ments of their learning ; for they neglect no point that relates 
to the constitution, the manne:s and the morals of their coin- 
try ; so that it appears as if they had dedicated all their leisure 
to our advantage. Thus while they ave themselves devoted 
to the studies of learning and wisdom, they make their under 
standing and their skill chiefly available to the service of man 
kind. It is therefore more serviceable to the public for a man to 
discourse copiously, provided it is to the purpose, than for a 
man to think ever so accurately without the power of expres 
sion ; the reason is, because thought terminates in itself alone, 
but discourse atfects those with whom we are connected in a 
community. 

Now as the swarms of bees do not assemble in order to 
form the honey-comb, but form the honey-comb because they 
are by nature gregarious ; so, and in a far greater degree, 
men being associated by nature, manifest their skill in thinking 
and acting. Therefore, unless knowledge is connected with 
that virtue which consists in doing service to mankind, that is, 
in improving human society, it would seem to be but solitary 
and barren. 

In like manner greatness of soul, when utterly disunited 
from the company and society of men, becomes a kind of un 
couth ferocity. Hence it follows that the company and the 
community of men are preferable to mere speculative knowledge. 

Neither is that maxim true which is affirmed by some, that 
human communities and societies were instituted from the 
necessity of our condition, because we can not without the 
help of others supply what our nature requires ; and that if we 
could be furnishedj as by a kind of magic wand, with everything 



76 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK i. 

that relates to food and raiment, that then every man of excel 
ling genius, laying aside all other occupations, would apply him 
self to knowledge and learning. The fact is not so ; for he 
would fly from solitude and look out for a companion in his pur 
suits ; and would desire sometimes to teach and sometimes to 
learn, sometimes to listen and sometimes to speak. Every duty 
therefore that operates for the good of human community and 
society, is preferable to that duty which is limited to speculation 
and knowledge. 

XLV. Here perhaps it should be inquired, whether the 
duties of that society which is most suitable to nature are 
preferable to moderation and decency ? By no means. For 
some things are partly so disgraceful, and partly so criminal 
in their nature, that a wise man would not commit them, 
even to save his country. Posidonius has collected very many 
such ; but they are so obscene and so shocking that it would 
be scandalous even to name them. A wise man would not un 
dertake such things, even to serve his country, nor would his 
countiy undertake them to serve herself. But it fortunately 
happens, that there never can be a conjuncture, when the public 
interest shall require from a wise man the performance of such 
actions. 

Hence it follows, that in the choice of our duties we are 
to prefer that kind of duty that contributes to the good of 
society. For well-directed action is always the result of 
knowledge and prudence. And therefore it is of more con 
sequence to act properly, than to deliberate justly. Thus 
much then may suffice on this subject ; for this topic has 
now been so fully laid open, that it is easy for every man in 
the study of his duties, to see which is preferable. Now 
in society there are degrees of duties by which every man 
may understand what belongs to himself. The first is owing 
to the immortal gods, the second to our country, the third 
to our parents, and lastly to others through different gradations. 

From these arguments thus briefly stated we perceive that 
men are sometimes not only in doubt, whether a thing is vir 
tuous or disgraceful ; but likewise when two virtuous things are 
proposed, which is more so. This head, as I said before, was 
omitted by Panrctius. Let us now proceed to what remains of 
our subject. 



CHAP. L CICERO S OFFICES, 77 



BOOK II. 

MARCUS, MY SON, 

I THINK I have in the former Book sufficiently explained 
in what manner our duties are derived from morality, and 
every kind of virtue. It now remains that I treat of those 
kinds of duties that relate to the improvement of life, and 
to the acquirement of those means which men employ for 
the attainment of wealth and interest. In this inquiry, as I 
have already observed, I will treat of what is useful, and 
what is not so. Of several utilities, I shall speak of that which 
is more useful, or most so. Of all this I shall treat, after pre 
mising a few words concerning my own plan of life and choice 
of pursuits. 

Although my works have prompted a great many to the 
exercise not only of reading but of writing, yet I sometimes 
am apprehensive that the name of philosophy is offensive to 
some worthy men, and that they are surprised at my having 
employed so much of my pains and time in that study. For 
my part, as long as the state was under the management of those 
into whose hands she had committed herself, I applied to it all 
my attention and thought. But when the government was 
engrossed by one person, when there was an end of all public 
deliberation and authority ; when I in short had lost those 
excellent patriots who were my associates in the protection of 
my country, I neither abandoned myself to that anguish of spirit 
which had I given way to it, must have consumed me, nor did 
I indulge those pleasures that are disgraceful to a man of 
learning. 

Would that the constitution had remained in its original state ; 
and that it had not fallen into the hands of men whose aim was 
not to alter but to destroy it ! For then I would first, as I was wont 



78 CICERO S OFFICES, BOOK n. 

to do when our government existed, have employed my labors in 
action rather than in writing ; and in the next place, in my wi it- 
ings I should have recorded my own pleadings as I had frequent 
ly done, and not such subjects as the present. , But when the 
constitution, to which all my care, thoughts, and labor used to 
be devoted, ceased to exist, then those public and senatorial 
studies were silenced. 

But as my mind could not be inactive, and as my early life 
had been employed in these studies, I thought that they might 
most honorably be laid aside by betaking myself anew <"O 
philosophy, having, when young, spent a great deal of my time 
in its study, with a view to improvement. When I afterward 
began to court public offices and devoted myself entirely to the 
service of my country, I had so much room for philosophy as 
the time that remained over from the business of my friends and 
the public. But I spent it all in reading, having no leisure for 
writing. 

II. In the midst of the greatest calamities, therefore, I seem 
to have realized the advantage that I have reduced into writing, 
matters in which my countrymen were not sufficiently instructed, 
and which were most worthy their attention. For in the name 
of the gods, what is more desirable, what is more excellent, than 
wisdom ? What is better for man ? what more worthy of him ? 
They therefore who court her are termed philosophers ; for 
philosophy, if it is to be interpreted, implies nothing but the love 
of wisdom. 

Now the ancient philosophers defined wisdom to be the 
knowledge of things divine and human, and of the causes by 
which these things are regulated ; a study that if any man 
despises, I now not what he can think deserving of es 
teem. 

For if we seek the entertainment of the mind, or a respite 
from cares, which is comparable to those pursuits that are 
always searching out somewhat that relates to and secures the 
welfare and happiness of life ? Or if we regard the principles 
of self-consistency and virtue, either this is the art, or there is 
absolutely no art by which we can attain them. And to say 
that there is no art for the attainment of the highest objects, 
when \ve see that none of the most inconsiderable are without it, 
is the language of men who speak without consideration, and 
who mistake in the most important matters. Now if there is any 



CHAP. in. CICERO S OFFICES. 79 

school of virtue, where can it be found, if you abandon this 
method of study ? But it is usual to treat these subjects more 
particularly when we exhort to philosophy, which I have done 
in another book. At this time iny intention was only to 
explain the reasons why, being divested of all offices of 
state, I chose to apply myself to this study preferable to all 
others. 

Now an objection is brought against me, and indeed by some 
men of learning and knowledge, who inquire whether I act con- / 
sistently with myself, when, though I affirm that nothing can be \ 
certainly known, I treat upon different subjects, and when, as ] 
now, I am investigating the principles of moral duty. I could 
wish such persons were thoroughly acquainted with my way of 
thinking. I am not one of those whose reason is always wander 
ing in the midst of uncertainty and never has any thing to pur 
sue. For if we abolish all the rules, not only olf reasoning but 
of living, Avhat must become of reason, nay of life itself? For 
my own part, while others mention some things to be certain, 
and others uncertain, I say, on the other side, that some things/ 
are probable, and others not so. 

What, therefore, hinders me from following whatever 
appears to me to be most probable, and from rejecting what 
is otherwise ; and, while I avoid the arrogance of dogmatizing, 
from escaping that recklessness which is most inconsistent with 
wisdom ? ISTo\v all subjects are disputed by our sect, because 
this very probability can not appear, unless there be a com 
parison of the arguments on both sides. But, if I mistake 
not, I have with sufficient accuracy explained these points in 
my Academics. As to you, my dear Cicero, though you are 
now employe! in the study of the oldest and noblest philo 
sophy under Cratippus, who greatly resembles those who have 
propounded those noble principles, yet I was unwilling that 
these my sentiments, which are so corresponding with your sys 
tem, should be known to you. But to proceed in what I 
propose. 

III. Having laid down the five principles upon which we 
pursue our duty, two of which relate to propriety and virtue, two 
to the enjoyments of life, such as wealth, interest, and power, 
the fifrh to the forming of a right judgment in any case, if there 
should appear to be any clashing between the principles I have 
mentioned, the part assigned to virtue is concluded, and with 



80 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK H. 

that I desire you should be thoroughly acquainted. Now the 
subject I am now to treat of is neither more nor less than what 
we call expediency ; in which matter custom has so declined 
and gradually deviated from the right path, that, separating 
virtue from expediency, it has determined that some things may 
be virtuous that are not expedient, and some expedient which 
are not virtuous ; than which doctrine nothing more pernicious 
can be introduced into human life. 

It is indeed with strictness and honesty that philosophers, 
and those of the highest reputation, distinguish in idea those 
three principles which really are blended together. For they 
give it as their opinion that whatever is just is expedient; 
and in like manner whatever is virtuous is just ; from whence 
it follows that whatever is virtuous is also expedient. Those 
who do not perceive this distinction often admire crafty and 
cunning men, and mistake knavery for wisdom. The error of 
such ought to be eradicated ; and every notion ought to be re 
duced to this hope, that men may attain the ends tiiey propose, 
by virtuous designs and just actions, and not by dishonesty and 
wickedness. 

The things then that pertain to the preservation of human 
life are partly inanimate, such as gold, silver, the fruits of the 
earth, and the like ; and partly animal, which have their 
peculiar instincts and affections. Now of these some are 
void of, and some are endowed with, reason. The animals 
void of reason are horses, oxen, with other brute creatures, 
and bees, who by their labors contribute somewhat to the 
service and condition of mankind. As to the animals endowed 
with reason, they are of two kinds, one the gods, the other 
men. Piety and sanctity will render the gods propitious; 
and next to the gods mankind are most useful to men. 
(The same division holds as to things that are hurtful and 
prejudicial. But as we are not to suppose the goJs to be 
injurious to mankind, excluding them, man appears to be 
most hurtful to man). For even the very inanimate things 
I have mentioned, are generally procured through man s 
labor ; nor should we have had them but by his art and 
industry, nor can we apply them but by his management. 
For there could neither be the preservation of health, navi 
gation, nor the gathering and preserving the corn and other 
fruits, without the industry of mankind. And certainly 



CHAP. v. CICERO S OFFICES. 81 

there could have been no exportation of things in which we 
abound, and importation of those which we want, had not 
mankind applied themselves to those employments. In like 
manner, neither could stones be hewn for our use, nor iron, 
nor brass, nor gold, nor silver, be dug from the earth, but by 
the toil and ait cf man. 

IV. As to buildings, by which either the violence of the 
cold is repelled, or the inconveniences of the heat mitigated, 
how could they have originally been given to the human 
race, or afterward repaired when ruined by tempests, earth 
quakes, or time, had not community of life taught us to 
seek the aid of man against such influences ? Moreover, 
from whence but from the labor of man could we have had 
aqueducts, the cuts of rivers, the irrigation of the land, 
dams opposed to. streams, and artificial harbors ? From 
those and a great many other instances, it is plain that we 
could by no manner of means have, without the hand and 
industry of man, reaped the benefits and advantages arising 
from such things as are inanimate. In short, what advan 
tage and convenience could have been realized from the 
brute creation, had not men assisted ? Men, undoubted 
ly, were the first who discovered what useful result we 
might realize from every animal ; nor could we even at 
this time either feed, tame, preserve, or derive from them 
advantages suited to the occasion, without the help of man. 
And it is by the same that such as are hurtful are destroyed, 
and such as may be useful are taken. Why should I enume 
rate the variety of arts without which life could by no means 
be sustained ? For did not so many arts minister to us, what 
could succor the sick, or constitute the pleasure of the 
healthy, or supply food and clothing ? 

Polished by those arts, the life of man is so different from 
the mode of life and habits of brutes. Cities, too, neither 
could have been built nor peopled but by the associa 
tion of men : hence were established laws and customs, the 
equitable definition of rights, and the regulated order of life. 
Then followed gentleness of disposition and love of morality ; 
and the result was that life was more protected, and that by 
giving and receiving, and by the exchange of resources and 
articles of wealth, we wanted for nothing. 

V. We are more prolix than is necessary on this head. 

4* 



82 CICERO S OFFICES BOOK n. 

For to whom is not that self-evident for which Panastius 
employs a great many words, that no man, whether he be a 
commander of an army, or a leader in the state, has ever been 
able to perform g % reat and salutary achievements without the 
zealous co-operation of men ? As instances of this, he mentions 
Themistocles, Pericles, Cyrns, Alexander, and Agesilaus, who, 
he says, without the aid of men never could have achieved 
such great exploits. Thus in a matter that is undoubted 
he brings evidences that are unnecessary. But as the assem 
blage or agreement. of men among themselves is productive 
of the greatest benefits, so is there no plague so direful that 
it may not arise to man from man. We have a treatise 
of Dicaearchus, 1 an eminent and eloquent Peripatetic, con 
cerning the destruction of mankind; and after collecting 
together all the different causes, such as those of inundations, 
pestilence, devastation, and those sudden attacks of swarms 
of creatures, by which he tells us some tribes of men have been 
destroyed ; he then calculates how many more men have been 
destroyed by men, that is by wars and seditions, than by 
every other species of calamity. 

As this point therefore admits of no doubt, that man can 
do the greatest good and the greatest injury to man, I 
lay it down as the peculiar property of virtue, that it recon 
ciles the affections of mankind, and employs them for her 
own purposes. So that all the application and management 
of inanimate things, and of brutes for the use of mankind, 
is effected by the industrial arts. But the quick and ready 
zeal of mankind for advancing and enlarging our conditions, 
is excited through the wisdom and virtue of the best of 
mankind. 

For virtue in general consists of three properties. First, 
in discerning in every subject what is true and genuine ; 
what is consistent in every one ; what will be the con 
sequence of such or such a thing ; how one thing arises from 
another, and what is the cause of each. The next 
property of virtue is to calm those violent disorders of the 
mind which the Greek call -n &0r n and to render obedient to 
reason those appetites which they call dgitni. The third 
property is to treat with moderation and prudence those with 

1 Dicaearchus, born in Sicily, and a disciple of Aristotle. 



CHAP. TL CICERO S OFFICES. 83 

whom we are joined in society, that by their means we may 
have the complete and full enjoyment of all that nature 
stands in need of; and likewise by them repel every thing 
adverse that may befall us, and avenge ourselves of these who 
have endeavored to injure us, by inflicting on them as much 
punishment as equity and humanity permit 

VI. I shall soon treat of the means to acquire this art of 
winning and retaining the affections of mankind, but first a 
few things must be premised. Who is insensible what great 
influence fortune has in both ways, either upon our prosperity 
or adversity ? r When we sail with her favoring breeze, we 
are carried to the most desirable landing-places : when she 
opposes us, we are reduced to distress. Some, however, of 

1 All can not be happy at once ; for because the glory of one state 
depends upon the ruin of another, there is a revolution and vicissitude 
of their greatness, which must obey the spring of that wheel not proved 
by intelligences, but by the hand of God, whereby all estates rise to 
their zenith and vertical points, according to their predestinated periods,, 
For the lives not only of men but of commonweals, and the whole world, 
run not upon an helix that still enlargeth, but on a circle, where arising 
to their meridian, they decline in obscurity, and fall under the horizon 
again 

" These must not, therefore, be named the effects of fortune, but in a 
relative way, and as we term the works of nature. It was the ignorance 
of man s reason that begat this very name, and by a careless term mis 
called the providence of God; for there is no liberty for causes to 
operate in a loose and straggling way, nor any effect whatsoever but 
hath its warrant from some universal or superior cause. Tis not a 
ridiculous devotion to say a prayer before a game at tables ; for even in 
sortileges and matters of greatest uncertainty, there is a settled and pro- 
ordered course of effects. It is wo that are blind, not fortune ; because 
our eye is too dim to discover the mystery of her effects, wo foolishly 
paint her blind, and hoodwink the providence of the Almighty, I can 
not justify that contemptible proverb, that fools only are fortunate ; or 
that insolent paradox, that a wise man is out of the reach of fortune j 
much less those opprobrious epithets of poets, whore, bawd, strumpet. 
Tis, I confess, The common fate of men of singular gifts of mind to be 
destitute of those of fortune ; which doth not any way deject the spirit 
of wiser judgments, who thoroughly understand the justice of this pro 
ceeding, and being enriched with higher donatives, cast a more careless 
eye on these vulgar parts of felicity. . It is a most unjust ambition to do- 
sire to engross the mercies of the Almighty, nor to be content with the 
goods of mind without a possession of those cf body or fortune ; and is 
an error worse than heresy to adore these complemental and circum 
stantial pieces of felicity, and undervalue those perfections and essential 
points of happiness wherein we resemble our Maker." Sir Thomas 
Browne s " Religio Medici," cap. 17, 18. 



84 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

the accidents of fortune herself are more unfrequent ; for 
instance, in the first place storms, tempests, shipwrecks, 
ruins, or burnings, which spring from inanimate things; in 
the next place, causes blows, bites, or attacks of biutes. 
Those accidents I say happen more seldom. 

But of the destruction of armies, we have just row seen 
three different instances, 1 and often we see more ; the de 
struction of generals, as was lately the case of a great and 
an eminent personage ; 2 together with unpopularity, whence 
frequently arises the expulsion, the fall, or the flight of the 
worthiest citizens ; and on the other hand, prosperous events, 
honors, commands, and victories ; though all those arc 
influenced by chance, yet they could not be brought about on 
either side without the concurring assistance and inclinations 
of mankind. This being premised, I am now to point out 
the manner in which we may invite and direct the incli 
nations of mankind, so as to serve our interests ; and should 
what I say on this head appear too long, let it be compared 
with the importance of the subject, and then, perhaps, it may 
even seem too short. 

Whatever, therefore, people perform for any man, either to 
raise or to dignify him, is done either through kindness, when 
they have a motive of affection for him ; or to do him honor 
in admiration of his virtue, and when they think him worthy 
of the most exalted fortune ; or when they place confidence 
in him, and think that they are doing the best for their own 
interests; or when they are afraid of his power; or when 
they hope somewhat from him ; as when princes, or those who 
court the people, propose certain largesses ; or, lastly, when they 
are engaged by money and bribery ; a motive that of all other 
is the vilest and most sordid, both with regard to those who 
are influenced by it, and those who are compelled to resort to it. 

For it is a bad state of things, when that is attempted by 
money which ought to be effected by virtue ; but as this re 
source is sometimes necessary, I will show in what manner 
it is to be employed, after I have treated of some things that 
are more connected with virtue. Now, mankind submit to the 
command and power of another for several reasons. For they 

1 Meaning the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalia, of his sons at Munda 
in Spain, and of Scipio in Africa j all by Julius Caesar. 
a Pompey the Great. 



CHAP. TIL CICERO S OFFICES. 85 

are induced by benevolence or by the greatness of his bene 
fits ; or by his transcendent worth, or by the hopes that their 
submission will turn to their own account, or from the fear 
of their being forced to submit, or from the hopes of reward, 
or the power of promises, or, lastly (which is often the case 
in our government), they arc hired by a bribe. 

VII. Now, of all things there is none more adapted for 
supporting and retaining our influence than to be loved, nor 
more prejudicial than to be feared. Ennius says very truly, 
" People hate the man they fear, and to each the destruction 
of him whom he hates is expedient." It has been lately 
shown, 1 if it was not well known before, that no power can 
resist the hatred of the many. Nor indeed is the destruction 
of that tyrant, who by arms forced his country to endure him, 
and whom it obeys still more after his death, the only proof 
how mighty to destroy is the hatred of mankind, but the 
similar deaths of other tyrants; few of whom have escaped a 
similar fate. For fear is but a bad guardian to permanency, 
whereas affec ion is faithful even to perpetuity. 

But the truth is, cruelty must be employed by those who 
keep others in subjection by force ; as by a master to his 
slaves, if they can not otherwise be managed. But of all mad 
men, they are the maddest who in a free state so conduct them 
selves as to be feared. However, under the power of a private 
man the laws may be depressed and the spirit of liberty in 
timidated, yet they occasionally emerge, either by the silent 
determinations of the people, or by their secret suffrages with 
relation to posts of honor.* For the inflictions of liberty, 
when it has been suspended, are more severe than if it had 
been retaine I. We ought therefore to follow this most ob 
vious principle, that dread should be removed and affection 
reconciled, which has the greatest influence not only on our 
security, but also on our interest and power ; and thus we shall 
most easily attain to the object of our wishes, both in private 
and political affairs. For it is a necessary consequence, that 
men fear those very persons by whom they wish to be feared. 

For what judgment can we form of the elder Dionysius? *, 

1 Cicero here alludes to the assassination of Caesar in the senate. 

2 This elder Dionysius was tyrant of Syracuse about the year of Rome 
447. His son and successor, of the same name, was expelled by Dione, 
the disciple of Plato. 



86 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

With what pangs of dread was ho tortured, when, being 
fearful even of his barber s razor, he singed his beard with 
burning coals ? In what a state of mind may it not be sup 
posed Alexander the Pherean to have lived? Who (as we 
read), though he loved his wife Thebe excessively, yet when 
ever he carne into her bed-chamber from the banquet, ordered 
a barbarian, nay, one who we are told was scarred with the 
Thracian brands, to go before him with a drawn sword ; and 
sent certain of his attendants to search the chests of the 
ladies, and discover whether they had daggers concealed 
among their clothes. Miserable man ! to think a barbarous 
and branded slave could be more faithful to him than his 
wife ! Yet was he not deceived, for he was murdered by her 
on the suspicion of an illicit connection ; nor, indeed, can any 
power be so great as that, under the pressure of fear, it can 
be lasting. 

Phalaris is another instance, whose cruelty was notorious 
above all other tyrants ; who did not, like the Alexander I 
have just mentioned, perish by secret treachery, nor by the 
hands of a few conspirators, like our own late tyrant, but 
was attacked by the collective body of the Agrigentines. 
Nay, did not the Macedonians abandon Demetrius, and with 
one consent betake themselves to Pyrrhus ? And did not the 
allies of the Lacedaemonians abandon them almost univers 
ally when they governed tyrannically, and show themselves 
unconcerned spectators of the disaster at Leuctra ? 

VIII. Upon such a subject I more willingly record foreign 
than domestic examples ; as long, however, as the empire of 
the Roman people was supported by beneficence, and not in 
justice, their wars were undertaken either to defend their 
allies or to protect their empire, the issues of their wars were 
either merciful or unavoidable ; and the senate was the 
harbor and the refuge of kings, people, and nations. 

Moreover, our magistrates and generals sought to derive 
their highest glory from this single fact, that they had upon 
the principles of equity and honor defended their provinces 
and their allies. This therefore might more justly be desig 
nated the patronage than the empire of the world ; for some 
time we have been gradually declining from this practice 
and these principles; but after the victory of Sylla, wo 
entirely lost them : for when such cruelties were exer- 



;HAP. YIII. CICERO S OFFICES. . 87 

cised upon our fellow-citizens, we ceased to think any thing 
unjust toward our allies. In this case, therefore, a disgrace 
ful conquest crowned a glorious cause ;* for he had the pre 
sumption to declare, when the goods of worthy men, of men 
of fortune, and, to say the least, of citizens, were selling at 
public auction, that he was disposing of his own booty. He 
was followed by a man who, with an impious cause and a 
still more detestable victory, did not indeed sell the effects of 
private citizens, but involved in one state of calamity whole 
provinces and countries. Thus foreign nations being ha 
rassed and ruined, we saw Marseilles, 2 the type of cur 
perished constitution, carried in triumph, without whose aid 
our generals who returned from Transalpine wars had never 
triumphed. Were not this the most flagiant indignity the sun 
ever beheld, I might recount a great many other atrocities 
against our allies. Deservedly, therefore, were we punished ; 
for had we not suffered the crimes of many to pass unpunished 
never could so much licentiousness have been concentrated 
in one, the inheritance of whose private estate descended in 
deed to but a few, but that of his ambition devolved upon 
many profligates. 

Nor, indeed, will there ever be wanting a source and motive 
for civil war, while men of abandoned principles call to mind 
that bloody sale, and hope for it again. For when the spear 3 
under which it was made was set up for his kinsman the dic 
tator, by Publius Sylla, the same Sylla, thirty-six years after, 
was present at a still more detestable sale ; while another who 
in that dictatorship was only a clerk, in the latter one was 
city-quaestor. From all which we ought to learn, that while 
such rewards are presented, there never can be an end of our 
civil wars. Thus the walls of our city alone are standing, and 
even these awaiting the crimes that must destroy them ; but 

1 Sylla s pretense for taking up arms was to defend the nobility against 
the encroachments of the commons, headed by Marius, whose party 
Caesar revived. Guthrie. 

2 This was a favorite state with the Roman republicans ; but having 
too inconsiderately shut their gates against and provoked Caesar, he 
treated it as is here described. Guthrie. 

3 Cicero here alludes to the sales of the estates of the Roman citizens 
made by Sylla; and which always were, among the Romans, carried on 
under a spear stuck into the ground. The like sales were afterward 
mado by some of Caesar s party. Guthrie. 



88 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK u. 

already we have utterly lost our constitution ; and to return 
to my subject, we have incurred all thoso miseries, because we 
chose rather to be feared than to endear ouselves and be 
beloved. It this was the case with the people of Romo when 
exercising their dominion unjustly, what consequence must 
private persons expect? Now, as it is plain that the force of 
kindness is so strong, and that of fear so weak, it remains for 
me to discant upon the means by which we mav most readily 
attain to that endearment which we desire, consistently with 
fidelity and honor. 

But of this we do not all stand in the same need ; for it 
depends on the different purpose of life which each individual 
pursues, whether it be necessary for him to be beloved by the 
many, or whether the affections of the few be sufficient. Ono 
thing, however, may be considered as certain ; that it is chiefly 
and indispensably necessary, that we should possess the faith 
ful affections of those friends who love our persons and admire 
our qualities ; for this is the oaly particular in which men of 
the highest and middle stations of life agree, and is attainable 
by both in much the same manner. All, perhaps, are not 
equally desirous of honors and of the good-will of their fellow- 
citizens ; but the man who is possessed of them is greatly as 
sisted by them in acquiring other advantages as well as those 
of friendship. 

IX. But I have in another book, which is entitled Lailius, 
treated of friendship. I am now to speak of fame, though I 
have already published two books upon that subject: 1 let me, 
however, touch upon it, as it greatly conduces to the right 
management of the more important affairs. The highest and 
the most perfect popularity lies in three requisites ; first, 
when the public loves us ; secondly, when it regards us as 
trustworthy ; thirdly, when, with a certain degree of admi 
ration, it judges us to be worthy of preferment. Now, if I 
am to speak plainly and briefly, almost the same means by 
which those advantages are acquired from private persons 
procure them from the public. But there is another passage 
by which we may, as it were, glide into the affections of the 
many. 

And first, let me touch upon those three maxims by which 
(as I have already said) good- will may be acquired. This is 

1 This treatise is BOW lost. 



CHAP. z. CICERO S OFFICES. 89 

chiefly acquired by benefits ; but next to that, good-will is 
won by a beneficent disposition, though we may be desti 
tute of means. Thirdly, the affections of the public are 
wonderfully excited by the mere reputation of generosity, 
beneficence, justice, honor, and of all those virtues that re 
gard politeness and affability of manners. For the very 
honestum and the graceful, as it is called, because it charms 
us by its own properties and touches the hearts of all by its 
qualities and its beauties, is chiefly resplendent through the 
medium of those virtues I have mentioned. We are there 
fore drawn, as it were, by nature herself to the love of those 
in whom we think those virtues reside. Now these are the 
strongest causes of affection, though some there may be which 
are less material. 

The acquisition of public confidence or trust may be effected 
by two- considerations : by being supposed to be possessed of 
wisdom and of justice combined. For we have confidence in 
those who we think understand more than ourselves, and who 
we believe see further into the future, and, when business is 
actually in hand and matters come to trial, know how to pursue 
the wisest measures and act in the most expedient manner, as 
the exigency may require ; all mankind agreeing that this is 
real and useful wisdom. Such confidence, also, is placed in 
honest and honorable men, that is, in good men, as to exclude 
all suspicion of fraud or injury. We therefore think we act 
safely and properly in intrusting them with our persons, our 
fortunes, and our families. 

But of the two virtues, honesty and wisdom, the former is 
the most powerful in winning the confidence of mankind. 
For honesty without wisdom has influence sufficient of itself; 
but wisdom without honesty is of no effect in inspiring confi 
dence ; because, when we have no opinion of a man s probity, 
the greater his craft and cunning the more hated and suspected 
he becomes ; honesty, therefore, joined to understanding, will 
have unbounded power in acquiring confidence ; honesty with 
out understanding can do a great deal ; but undersanding with 
out honesty can do nothing. 

X. But lest any one should wonder why, as all philosophers 
are agreed in one maxim, which I myself have often main 
tained, that the man who possesses one of the virtues is in 
possession of them all, I here make a distinction which im- 



90 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

plies that a man maybe just but not at the SSIIK> tim? p:u- 
dent ; there is one kind of accuracy wlrL-li in <!ispui:;tion 
refines even upon truth, and another kind, when our whole 
discourse is accommodated to the. understanding of the public. 
Therefore There make use of the common terms of discourse, 
by calling some men brave, some good, otheis prudent. For 
when we treat of popular opinions, we should make use of 
popular terms, and Pansetius did the same. But to return to 
our subject. 

Of the three requisites of perfect popularity, the third I 
mentioned was, " when the public with a certain degree of 
admiration judges us to be worthy of preferment." Now 
every thing that men observe to be great and above their 
comprehension they commonly admire ; and with regard to 
individuals, those in whom they can see any unexpected 
excellences. They therefore behold with reverence and 
extol with the greatest praise, those men in whom they 
think they can perceive some distinguished or singular vir 
tues ; whereas they despise those whom they think to possess 
no virtue, spirit, or manliness. Now, men do not despise all 
those of whom they think ill. For they by no means con 
temn rogues, slanderers, cheats, and those who are prepared 
to commit an injury, though they have a bad opinion of 
them. Therefore, as I have already said, those are despised 
who can neither serve themselves nor any one else, who have 
ho assiduity, no industry, and no concern about them ; but 
those men are the objects of admiration who are thought to 
surpass others in virtue, and to be free as well from every 
disgrace, as especially from those vices which others can not 
easily resist. For pleasures, those most charming mistressess, 
turn aside the greater number of minds from virtue, and most 
men, when the fires of affliction are applied to them, are un- 
measurably terrified. Life and death, poverty and riches, 
make the deepest impressions upon all men. But as to those 
who, with a great and elevated mind, look clown on these in 
differently ; men whom a lofty and noble object, when it is 
presented to them, draws and absorbs to itself; in such 
cases, who does not admire the splendor and the beauty of 
virtue ? 

XI. This sublimity of soul, therefore, produces the highest 
admiration ; and above all, justice, from which single virtue 



CHAP. xi. CICERO S OFFICES. 91 

men are called good, appears to the multitude as something 
marvelous. And with good reason ; for no man can be just 
if he is afraid of death, pain, exile, or poverty, or prefers 
their contraries to justice. Men especially admire him who 
is incorruptible by money, and they consider every man in 
whom that quality is seen as ore purified by the fire. 
Justice, therefore, comprehends all the three means of acquir 
ing glory which have been laid down. The love of the pub 
lic, on account of its being a general benefit ; its confidence, 
for the same reason ; and its admiration, because it neglects 
and despises those objects to which most men are hurried on 
inflamed with avidity. 

In my opinion, however, every scheme and purpose of life 
requires the assistance of men, especially that one should 
have some with whom he can familiary unbosom himself, 
which is hard for one to do, unless he maintain the appear 
ance of a good man. For this reason, were a man to live 
ever so lonely or ever so retired in the country, a reputation 
for justice would be indispensable to him, and so much the 
more, as those who do not possess it will be esteemed dis 
honest, and thus surrounded by no protection will be exposed 
to numerous injuries. 

And with those likewise who buy or sell, who hire or let 
out, or who are engaged in the transaction of business, justice 
is necessary to the carrying of their pursuits, for its influ 
ence is so great, that without seme grains of it, even they 
who live by malpractices and villainy could not subsist. 
For among those who thieve in company, if any one of 
them cheat or rob another he is turned out of the gang ; and 
the captain of the band himself, unless he should distribute 
the spoils impartially, would either be murdered or deserted 
by his fellows. Indeed, robbers are even said to have their 
laws, which they obey and observe. By this impartiality in 
sharing the booty, Bardyllis, the Illyrian robber, mentioned 
by Theopompus, obtained great wealth ; and Viriathus, the 
Lusitanian, much greater ; to whom our armies and our gene 
rals yielded ; but whom the praetor Caius Latins, surnamed 
the wise, crushed and subdued, and so repressed his ferocity 
that he left an easy victory to his successors. If, therefore, 
the influence of justice is so forcible as to strengthen and 
enlarge the power of robbers, how great must we suppose 



92 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

it to be amid the laws and admiuist ration of a well-constituted 
government ? 

XII. It appears to me, 1h.it not only among the Medes, 
as we are told by Herodotus, but by our own ancestors, men 
of the best principles were constituted kings, for the benefit 
of their just government. For when the helpless people 
were oppressed by those who had greater power, they betook 
themselves to some one man who was distinguished by his 
virtue, who not only protected the weakest from oppression, 
but by setting up an equitable system of government, united 
highest and lowest in equal rights. The cause of the institu 
tion of laws was the same as that of kings ; for equality of 
rights has ever been the object of desire ; nor otherwise can 
there be any riglxts at all. 

When mankind could enjoy it under one just and good man, 
they were satisfied with that ; but when that was not the case, 
laws were invented, which perpetually spoke to all men with 
one and the same voice. It is therefore undeniable that the 
men whose reputation among the people was the highest for 
their justice, were commonly chosen to bear rule. But when 
the same were likewise regarded as wise men, there was 
nothing the people did not think themselves capable of attain 
ing under such authority. Justice, therefore, is by all manner 
of means to be reverenced and practiced ; both for its own sake 
(for otherwise it would not be justice), and for the enlargement 
of our own dignity and popularity. But as there is a system 
not only for the acquisition of money but also for its invest 
ment, so that it may supply ever-recurring expenses, not only 
the needful but the liberal ; so popularity must be both acquired 
and maintained by system. 

It was finely said by Socrates that the shortest and most 
direct road to popularity, is " for a man to be the same that 
he wishes to be taken for." People are egregiously mistaken 
if they think they ever can attain to permanent popularity by 
hypocrisy, by mere outside appearances, and by disguising 
not only their language but their looks. True popularity 
takes deep root and spreads itself wide ; but the false falls 
away like blossoms ; for nothing that is false can be lasting. 
I could bring many instances of both kinds ; but for the sake 
of liberty, I will confine myself to one family. While there 
is a memorial of Roinau history remaining, the memory of 



CHAP. xin. CICERO S OFFICES. 93 

Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius, will be held in honor ; 
but his sons even in life were not approved of by the good, and, 
being dead, they are ranked among those who were deservedly 
put to death. 

XIII. Let the man therefore who aspires after true popularity, 
perform the duties of justice. What these are has been laid 
down in the former book. But although we may most easily 
seem to be just what we are (though in this of itself there is 
very great importance), yet some precepts require to be given 
as to how we ma) be such men as we desire to be considered. 
For if any one from early youth has the elements of celebrity 
and reputation, either derived from his father (which I 
fancy, my dear Cicero has happened to you), or by some 
other cause or accident ; the eyes of all mankind are turned 
toward him, and they make it their business to inquire what 
he does and how he lives ; and, as if he were set up in the 
strongest point of light, no word or deed of his can be 
private. 

Now those whose early life, through their mean and ob 
scure rank, is passed unnoticed by the public, when they 
come to be young men, ought to contemplate important pur 
poses, and pursue them by the most direct means, which they 
will do with a firmer resolution, because not only is no envy 
felt, but favor rather is shown toward that period of life. 
The chief recommendation then of a young man to fame is 
derived from military exploits. 1 Of this we have many ex- 

1 " Perhaps it will afford to some men new ideas, if we inquire what 
the real nature of the military virtues is. They receive more of applause 
than virtues of any other kind. How does this happen ? We must seek 
a solution in the seeming paradox that their pretensions to the charac 
ters of virtues are few and small. They receive much applause because 
they merit little. They could not subsist without it; and if men resolve 
to practice war, and consequently to require the conduct which gives 
success to war, they must decorate that conduct with glittering fictions, 
and extol the military virtues, though they be neither good nor great. 
Of every species of real excellence it is the general characteristic that it 
is not anxious for applause. The more elevated the virtue the less the 
desire, and the less is the public voice a motive to action. What should 
we say of that man s benevolence who would not relieve a neighbor in 
distress, unless the donation would be praised in a newspaper? What 
should we say of that man s piety, who prayed only when he was seen 
of men ? But the military virtues live upon applause ; it is their vital 
clement and their food, their great pervading motive and reward. Are 
there, then, among the respective virtues such discordances of char- 



94 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

amples among" our ancestors, for they were almost always 

waging wars. Your youth however has fallen upon the time 

of a war, in which one party incurred too much guilt f.n 1 the 

other too little success. But when in that wr.r Pompey gave 

you the command of a squadron, you gained the pia se cf that 

great man and of his army by your horsemanship, your d :r ,ing 

. the javelin, and your tolerance of ail military labor. But this 

honor of yours ceased with the constitution of our country. 

.j My discourse however has not been undertaken with reference 

/ to you singly, but to the general suljcct. Let mo therefore 

proceed to what remainso 

As in other matters the powers of the mind are far more im 
portant than those of the body, so the objects AVC pursue by 
intelligence and reason are more important than those we effect 
by bodily strength. The most early recommendation, therefore, 
is modesty, obedience to parents, and affection for relations. 
Young men are likewise most easily and best known, who at 
tach themselves to wise and illustrious men who benefit their 
country by their counsels. Their frequenting such company 
gives mankind a notion of their one day resembling those 
whom they choose for imitation. 

The frequenting of the house of Publius Marcus commended 
the early life of Publius Rutilius to a reputation for integrity 
and knowledge of the law. Lucius Crassus indeed, when very 
young, was indebted to no extrinsic source, but by himself ac 
quired the highest honor from that noble and celebrated 
prosecution he undertook ; at an age w r hen even those who 
exercise themselves are highly applauded (ns we are told in the 
case of Demosthenes), Crassus, I say, at that age showed that 
he could already do that most successfully in the forum, which 
at that time he would have gained praise had he attempted at 
home. 

XIV. But as there are two methods of speaking ; the one 
proper for conversation, the other for debate, there can be 
no doubt but the disputative style of speech is of the greatest 
efficacy with regard to fame ; for that is what we properly 
term eloquence. Yet it is difficult to describe how great 

acter, such total contrariety of nature and essence ? No, no. But 
how then do you account for the fact, that while all other great virtues 
are independent of public praise and stand aloof from it, the military 
virtues can scarcely exist without it ?" Dymond s " Essay on Morals." 



CHAP. xrr. CICERO S OFFICES. 95 

power, affability and politeness in conversation have to win the 
affections of mankind. The;e are extant letters from Philip, 
from Antipater, and from Antigonus, three of the wisest men 
we meet wLh in history, to their sons Alexander, Cassander, 
and Philip, recommending to them to draw the minds of the 
people to kindly sentiments by a geneious style of discourse, 
and to engage their soldiers by a winning nddress. But the 
speech which is pronounced in debate before a multitude often 
cariies away a whole assembly. For great is their admiration 
of an eloquent and sensible speaker, that when they hear him, 
they are convinced he has both greater abilities and more wis 
dom than the rest of mankind. But should this eloquence have 
in it dignity combined with modesty, nothing can be more 
admirable, especially should those properties meet in a young 
man. 

Various are the causes that require the practice of elo 
quence ; and many young men in our state have attained 
distinction before the judges and in the senate ; but there is 
the greatest admiration for judicial harangues, the nature of 
which is twofold, for it consists of accusation and defense. 
Of those, though the latter is preferable in point of honor ; yet 
the other has often been approved. I have spoken a little 
before of Crassus ; Marcus Antonius when a youth did the 
same. An accusation also displayed the eloquence of Publius 
Sulpicius, when he brought to trial Caius Korbanus, a seditious 
and worthless citizen. 

But in truth, we ought not to do this frequently nor ever, 
except for the sake of our country, as in the cases I have 
mentioned ; or for the purpose of revenge, 1 as the two Lu- 

1 The direct approbation and inculcation of revenge on the part of 
ancient moralists, constitutes the point at which the authorities on 
Christian ethics most widely diverge from them. Paley lays down the 
following principles on this subject: "It is highly probable, from the 
light of nature, that a passion, which seeks its gratification immediately 
and expressly in giving pain, is disagreeable to the benevolent will and 
counsels of the Creator. Other passions and pleasures may, and often 
do, produce pain to some one ; but then pain is not, as it is here, the 
object of the passion, and the direct cause of the pleasure This proba 
bility is converted into certainty, if we give credit to the authority which 
dictated the several passages of the Christian scriptures that condemn 
revenge, or, what is the same thing, which enjoins forgiveness The 
forgiveness of an enemy is not inconsistent with the proceedings against 
him as a public offender ; and that the discipline established in religious 



96 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

culli did ; or by way of patronage, as I did on behalf of the 
Sicilians, or as Julius did in the case of Albucius on behalf 
of the Sardians. The diligence of Lucius Fuiius was dis 
played in the impeachment of Manius Aquillius. For once 
therefore it may be done ; or at all events not often. But if a 
man should be under a necessity of doing it oftener, let him 
perform it as a duty to his country, for it is by no means 
blameworthy to carry on repeated prosecutions against her 

or civil societies, for the restraint or punishment of criminals, ought to 
be upholden. If the magistrate be rot tied down with these prohibitions 
from the execution of his office, neither is the prosecutor; for the office 
of the prosecutor is as necessary as that of the magistrate. Nor, by 
parity of reason, are private persons withholden from the correction of 
vice, when it ia in their power to exercise it, provided they be assured 
that it is the guilt which provokes them, and not the injury; and that 
their motives are pure from all mixture and every particle of that spirit 
which delights aud triumphs in the humiliation of an adversary." 
Paley s Moral and Political Philosophy, book iii. ch. viii. 

Sir Thomas Browne, in his " Christian Morals," has the following 
striking reflections on revenge : " Too many there be to whom a dead 
enemy smells well, and who find musk and amber in revenge. The- 
ferity of such minds holds no rule in retaliations, requiring too often a 
head for a tooth, and the supreme revenge for trespasses which a night s 
rest should obliterate. But patient meekness takes injuries like pills, 
not chewing but swallowing them down, laconically suffering, and 
silently passing them over ; while angered pride makes a noise, like 
, Homerican Mars, at every scratch of offenses. Since women do most 
/ delight in revenge, it may seem but feminine manhood to be vindictive. 
If thou must needs have thy revenge of thine enemy, with a soft tongue 
break his bones, heap coals of fire on his head, forgive him and enjoy 
it. To forgive our enemies is a charming way of revenge, and a short 
Caesarian conquest, overcoming without a blow; laying our enemies 
at our feet, under sorrow, shame, and repentance ; leaving our foes our 
friends, and solicitously inclined to grateful retaliations. Thus to return 
upon our adversaries is a healing way of revenge ; and to do good for evil 
a soft and melting ultion, a method taught from heaven to keep all 
smooth on earth. Common forcible wa} r s make not an end of evil, but 
leave hatred and malice behind them. An enemy thus reconciled is little 
to be trusted, as wanting the foundation of love and charity, and but for 
a time restrained by disadvantage or inability. If thou hast not mercy 
for others, yet be not cruel unto thyself. To ruminate upon evils, to 
make critical notes upon injuries, and be too acute in their apprehen 
sions, is to add unto our own tortures, to feather the arrows of our 
enemies, to lash ourselves with the scorpions of our foes, and to resolve 
to sleep no more. For injuries long dreamt on take away at last all rest, 
and he sleeps but like Regulus who busieth his head about them." 
Christian Morals, chapter xii. 



CHAP. nv. CICERO S OFFICES 97 

enemies. But still let moderation be observed. For it seems 
to be the part of a cruel man, or rather scarcely of a man at all, 
to endanger the lives of many. It is both dangerous to your 
person, and disgraceful to your character, so to act as to get the 
name of an accuser, as happened in the case of Marcus Brutus, 
a man sprung from a most noble family, and. son to the eminent 
adept in civil law. 

Moreover, this precept of duty also must be carefully ob 
served, that you never arraign an innocent man on trial for 
his life, for this can by no means be done without heinous } 
guilt. For what can be so unnatural as to prostitute to the 
prosecution and the ruin of the good, that eloquence which 
nature has given us for the safety and preservation of man 
kind. AUhough, however, this is to be avoided, yet we are 
not to consider it a religious duty never to defend a guilty 
party, so that he be not abominable and impious. The people 
desire this, custom tolerates it, and humanity suffers it. The 
duty of a judge in all trials is to follow truth ; that of 
a pleader, sometimes to maintain the plausible though it may 
not be the truth, 1 which I should not, especially as I am now 

1 Two of the most eminent moralists of modern times have thus re 
corded their respective judgments on this point of casuistry. Archdeacon 
Paley says, "There are falsehoods which are not lies; that is, which are 
not criminal: as, where no one is deceived; which is the case in para 
bles, fables, novels, jests, tales to create mirth, ludicrous embellishments 
of a story, where the declared design of the speaker is not to inform, but 
to divert; compliments in the subscription of a letter, a servant s deny 
ing his master, a prisoner s pleading not guilty, an advocate asserting 
the justice, or his belief of the justice, of his client s cause. In such in 
stances, no confidence is destroyed, because none was reposed; no 
promise to speak the truth is violated, because none was given, or un 
derstood to be given." Paley s Moral and Political Philosophy, book iii. 
chapter xv. 

In refutation of this view, Dyruond suggests the following considera 
tions : " This defense is not very credible, even if it were valid ; it de 
fends men from the imputation of falsehood, because their falsehoods are 
so habitual that no one gives them credit ! 

" But the defense is not valid. Of this the reader may satisfy himself 
by considering why, if no one ever believes what advocates say, they 
continue to speak. They would not, year after year, persist in uttering 
untruths in our courts, without attaining an object, and knowing that 
they would not attain it. If no one ever in fact believed them, they 
would cease to asseverate. They do not love falsehood for its own sake, 
and utter it gratuitously and for nothing. The custom itself, therefore, 
disproves the argument that is brought to defend it. Whenever that 



98 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK u. 

treating of philosophy, venture to write, were it not likewise the 
opinion of a man of the greatest weight among the Stoics, 
Panaetius. But it is by defenses that glory and favor also are 
acquired in the greatest degree ; and so much the greater, if at 
any time it happens that we come to the help of one who seems 
to be circumvented and oppressed by the influence of some 
powerful man, as I myself have done both in other cases fre 
quently, and when a youth in defense of Sextus Roscius Amer- 
inus, against the influence of Lucius Sylla, then in power, which 
speech, as you know, is extant. 

XV. But having explained the duties, of young men, 
which avail to the attainment of glory, we have next to 
speak about beneficence and liberality, the nature of which is 
twofold ; for a kindness is done to those who need it, by 
giving either our labor or our money. The latter is easier, 

defense becomes valid, whenever it is really true that no confidence is 
reposed in advocates, they will cease to use falsehood, for it will have 
lost its motive. But the real practice is to mingle falsehood and truth 
together, and so to involve the one with the other that the jury can not 
easily separate them. The jury know that some of the pleader s state 
ments are true, and these they believe. Now he makes other statements 
with the same deliberate emphasis ; and how shall the jury know whether 
these are false or true ? How shall they discover the point at which 
they shall begin to repose no confidence ? Knowing that a part is true, 
they can not always know that another part is not true. That it is the 
pleader s design to persuade them of the truth of all he affirms, is mani 
fest. Suppose an advocate, when he rose should say, Gentlemen, I am 
now going to speak the truth ; and after narrating the facts of the case, 
should say, Gentlemen, I am now going to address you with fictions. 
Why should not an advocate do this ? Because then no confidence would 
be reposed, which is the same thing as to say that he pursues his present 
plan because some confidence is reposed, and this decides the question. 
The decision should not be concealed that the advocate who employs 
untruths in his pleadings, does really and most strictly lie. 

" And even if no one ever did believe an advocate, his false declara* 
lions would still be lies, because he always professes to speak the truth. 
This indeed is true upon the Archdeacon s own showing ; for he says, 
1 Whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another, tacitly promises 
to speak the truth. The case is very different from others which ho 
proposes as parallel parables, fables, jests. In these, the speaker docs 
not profess to state facts. But the pleader does profess to state facts. 
He intends and endeavors to mislead. His untruths, therefore, are lies 
to him, whether they are believed or not ; just as, in vulgar life, a man 
whose falsehoods are so notorious that no one gives him credit, is not 
the less a liar than if he were believed." Dymond s Essay on the Prin 
ciples of Morals, Essay ii. chapter v. 



CHAP. xv. CICERO S OFFICES. 99 

especially to a wealthy person; but tlie former is the more 
noble and splendid, and more worthy of a brave and illus 
trious man ; for although there exists in both a liberal incli 
nation to oblige, yet the one is a draft on our purse, the other 
on our virtue, and bounty which is given out of our income 
exhausts the very source of the munificence. Thus benignity 
is done away by benignity, and the greater the number you 
have exercised it upon, so much the less able are you to 
exercise it upon many. But they who will be beneficent 
and liberal of their labor, that is, of their virtue and in 
dustry, in the first place, will have by how much greater 
the number of persons they shall have serve..!, so much 
the. more coadjutors in their beneficence. And in the 
next place, by the habit of beneficence they will be the 
better prepared, and, as it were, better exercised to de 
serve well of many. Philip, in a certain letter, admirably 
reproves his son Alexander, because he sought to gain the 
goodwill of the Macedonians by largesses " Pest !" he 
says, "what consideration led you into the hope that you 
could imagine that they whom you have corrupted with 
money would be faithful to you ? Are you aiming at this, 
that the Macedonians should expect you will be, not their 
king, but their agent and purveyor." He says well, " agent 
and purveyor," because that is undignified in a king ; and 
still better, because he designates a largess a corrupt bribe ; 
for he who receives becomes the worse for it, and more ready 
always to expect the same. He enjoined this on his son, but 
we may consider it a precept for all men. Wherefore, this 
indeed is not doubtful, that such beneficence as consists of 
labor and industry is both the more honorable, and ex 
tends more widely, and can serve a greater number. Some 
times, however, we must make presents nor is this sort of 
beneficence to be altogether repudiated; and oftentimes we 
ought to communicate from our fortune to suitable persons, 
who are in need, but carefully and moderately. For many 
persons have squandered their patrimonies by unadvised gene 
rosity. Now, what is more absurd than to bring it to pass 
that you can no longer do that which you would willingly do ? 
And moreover, rapine follows profuseness. For when, by 
giving, they begin to be in want, they are forced to lay their 
hands upon other men s property. Thus, when, for the sake 



100 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

of procuring good-will, they mean to be beneficent, they ac 
quire not so much the affection of those to whom they give 
as the hatred of those from whom they take. Wherefore, our 
purse should neither be so closed up that our generosity 
can not open it, nor so unfastened that it lies open to all a 
bound should be set, and it should bear reference to our 
means. We ought altogether to remember that saying which, 
from being very often used by our countrymen, has come into 
the usage of a proverb, that " bounty has no bottom." For 
what bounds can there be, when both they who have been accus 
tomed to receive, and other persons, are desiring the same thing? 
XVI. There are two kinds of men who give largely, of 
whom one kind is prodigal, the other liberal. The prodigal 
are those who with entertainments, and distributions of meat 
to the populace, and gladiatorial exhibitions, and the appa 
ratus of the stage and the chase, lavish their money upon 
those things of which they will leave behind either a tran 
sient memory, or none all. But the liberal are they who, 
with their fortunes, either redeem those captured by robbers, 
or take up the debts of their friends, or aid in the establish 
ing of their daughters, or assist them either in seeking or 
increasing their fortunes. Therefore, I am astonished what 
could come into the mind of Theophrastus, in that book 
which he wrote about riches, in which he has said many 
things well, but this most absurdly. For he is lavish in 
praise of magnificence, and of the furnishing of popular 
exhibitions, and he considers the means of supplying such 
expenses to be the grand advantage of wealth. Now, to 
me that enjoyment of liberality of which I have given a few 
examples, seems much greater and surer. With how much 
more weight and truth does Aristotle censure such of us as feel 
no astonishment at that profusion of wealth which is wasted 
in courting the people ; "if," says he, "they who are besieged 
by an enemy should be compelled to purchase a pint of water 
at a mina, 1 this, on first hearing, would seem to us incredible, 
and all would be astonished, but when we reflect upon it, we 
excuse it for its necessity ; while in these pieces of immense 
extravagance and unbounded expense, we do not feel greatly 
astonished." And he censures us, especially, " because we are 
neither relieving necessity, nor is our dignity increased, and 

1 About three pounds sterling. 



CHAP. xvii. CICERO S OFFICES. 101 

the very delight or" the multitude is for a brief and little 
space, and o..iy felt by the most giddy, even in whom, how 
ever, at the sam time with the satiety, the nn moiy of the 
pleasure likewise dies." He sums up well, too, th;d " ihese 
things are agreeable to boys and silly women, ; nd slaves, 
and freem -n very like slaves ; but that by a ruan ot sense, 
find one who ponders with sound judgment on such exhibi 
tions, they can in no way be approved." Though I know 
that in our state it is established by ancient usage, end even 
now in the good times, that the splendor of aedilesbips 1 is 
expected even from the. most excellent men. Therefore, both 
Publius Crassus, wealthy as well in name as in fortune, dis 
charged the office of asdile with the most magnificent enter 
tainment ; and, a little while after, Lucius Crassus, with 
Quiii tus Mucius, the most moderate of all men, served a most 
magnificent BBdileship ; and next, Cains Claudius, son of 
Appius ; many subsequently the Luculli, Hortensius, Silanus ; 
but Publius Lentulus, in my consulship, surpassed all his 
predecessors. Scaurus imitated him ; but the shows of my 
friend Pompey, in his second consulship, were the most mag 
nificent of all concerning all of whom, you see what is my 
opinion. 

XVII. Nevertheless, the suspicion of avarice should be 
avoided. The omitting of the aidileship caused the rejection 
of Mamercus, a very wealthy man, from the consulship., 
Wherefore it must be done if it be required by the people,- 
and good men, if not desiring, at least approve it, but in 
proportion to our means, as I myself did it ; and again, if 
some object of greater magnitude and utility is acquired by 
popular largess, as lately the dinners in the streets, under 
pretext of a vow of a tenth, 2 brought great honor to 
Orestes. Nor was ever any fault found with Marcus Seius, 
because in the scarcity he gave corn to the people at an as 
the bushel. For he delivered himself from a great and in 
veterate dislike by an expense neither disgraceful, since he 
was sedile at the time, nor excessive. But it lately brought 
the greatest honor to our friend Milo, that with gladiators, 

1 The JEdiles, among other duties, had the care of the public shows, 
to which they were expected to contribute largely out of their private 
fortunes. 

a To one of the gods. 



102 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

hired for the sake of the republic, which was held together by 
my safety, he repressed all the attempts and madness of Publius 
Clodius. The justification, therefore, of profuse bounty is that 
it is either necessary or useful. Moreover, in these very cases 
the rule of mediocrity is the best. Lucius Philippus, indeed, 
the son of Quintus, a man in the highest degree illustrious for 
his great genius, used to boast that without any expense he 
had attained all the highest honors that could be obtained. 
Cotta said the same, and Curio. I myself, too, might in some 
degree boast on this subject ; for considering the amplitude of 
the honors which I attained with all. the votes in my own 1 
year, too a thing that happened to none of those whom I 
have just named the expense of my a3dileship was certainly 
trifling. 

These expenses also are more justifiable on walls, docks, 
ports, aqueducts, and all things which pertain to the service 
of the state, though what is given as it were into our hands 
is more agreeable at present, yet these things are more 
acceptable to posterity. Theaters, porticos, new temples, I 
censure with more reserve for Pompey s sake, but the most 
learned men disapprove of them, as also this very Pansetius, 
, whom in these books I have closely followed, though not trans 
lated ; and Demetrius Phalereus, who censures Pericles, the 
greatest man of Greece, because he lavished so much money 
on that glorious vestibule ; 2 but all this subject I have carefully 
discussed in these books which I have written upon Govern 
ment. The whole plan, then, of such largesses is vicious in its 
nature, but necessitated by particular occasions, and even then 
ought to be accommodated to our means, and regulated by 
moderation. 

XVIII. But in that second kind of munificence which 
proceeds from liberality, we ought in different cases to be 
affected in different manners. The case is different of him 
who is oppressed with misfortune, and of him who seeks to 
butter his fortune without being in any adversity. Our 

1 To be Quaestor, ^Edile, Praetor, and Consul, the respective ages were 
31, 38, 41, and 44 years. The man who was elected to an office at the 
earliest age at which he was entitled to offer himself a candidate for it 
was said to get it in his own year. Cicero got each of them in his own 
year. 

3 Of the Acropolis. 



CHAP. XYIIL CICEKO S OFFICES. 103 

benignity will require to be more prompt toward the distressed, 
unless perhaps they merit their distress ; yet from those who 
desire to be assisted, uot that they may be relieved from afflic 
tion, but that they may ascend to a higher degree, we ought 
by no means to be altogether restricted, but to apply judgment 
and discretion in selecting proper persons. For Ennius observes 
well 

" Benefactions ill bestowed, I deem malefactions." 

But in that which is bestowed upon a worthy and grateful 
man there is profit, as well from himself as also from others ; 
for liberality, when free from rashness, is most agreeable, 
and many applaud it the more earnestly on this account, 
because the bounty of every very exalted man is the common 
refuge of all. We should do our endeavor, then, that we 
may serve as many as possible with those benefits, the recol 
lection of which may be handed down to their children and 
posterity, that it may not be in their power to be ungrateful ; 
for all men detest one forgetful of a benefit, and they consider 
that an injury is done even to themselves by discouraging 
liberality, and that he who does so is the common enemy of 
the poor. And besides, that benignity is useful to the state 
by which captives are redeemed from slavery, and the poor 
are enriched. That it was indeed the common custom that 
this should be done by our order, 1 we see copiously described 
in the speech of Crassus. This kind of bounty, therefore, 
I prefer far before the munificent exhibition of show s. That . 
is the part of dignified and great men this of flatterers o4 
the populace, tickling, as it were, with pleasures the levity 
of the multitude. It will, moreover, be expedient that a 
man, as he should be munificent in giving, so that he should 
not be harsh in exacting ; and in every contract, in selling, 
buying, hiring, letting, to be just and good-natured to the 
vicinage and surrounding occupiers ; conceding to many much 
that is his own right, but shunning disputes as far as he 
can conveniently, and I know not but even a little more than 
he can conveniently. For, to abate at times a little from our 
rights, is not only generous, but sometimes profitable also. 
But of our property, which it is truly disgraceful to allow to 

1 The senatorial. 



104 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 



get dilapidated, care must be taken, but in such a way that 
the suspicion of shabbiness and avarice be avoided. For to 
be able to practice liberality, not stripping ourselves of our 
patrimony, is indeed the greatest enjoyment of wealth. 
Hospitality also has been justly recommended by Theo- 
phrastus. For, as it appears to me, indeed, it is very 
decorous that the houses of illustrious men should be open 
for illustrious guests. And that also brings credit to the 
state, that foreigners in our city should not fail of ex 
periencing this species of liberality. It is, moreover, exceed- 
/ ingly useful to those who wish to be very powerful in an 
honorable way, to get the command over wealth and interest 
among foreign nations through their guests. Theophrastus, 
indeed, writes that Cymon at Athens practiced hospitality 
even toward his brethren of the Lacian tribe ; for that he 
so directed and commanded his stewards, that all Ihir.gs 
should be supplied to any of them that should turn aside into 
his villa. 

XIX. Now, those benefits which are bestowed out of our 
labor, not our money, are conferred as well upon the entire 
commonwealth, as upon individual citizens. For to give 
legal opinions, to assist with counsel, and to serve as many 
as we can with this kind of knowledge, tends very much to 
increase both our means and our interest. This, therefore, 
as well as many things about our ancestors, was noble, that 
the knowledge and interpretation of our most excellently 
constituted civil law was always in the highest repute; 
which, indeed, before this confusion of the present times, the 
nobles retained in their own possession. Now, like honors 
like all the degrees of rank, so the splendor of this 
science is extinguished ; and this is the more unmeet on this 
account, because it has happened at the very time when he 1 
was in existence who far surpassed in this science all who 
went before, to whom also he was equal in dignity. This 
labor, then, is acceptable to many, and suited to bind men 
to us by benefits. But the talent of speaking being very 
closely connected with this art, is more dignified, more agree 
able, and capable of higher ornament. For what is more 
excellent than eloquence, in the admiration of the hearers, or 

1 Servius Sulpicius Rufus 



CHAP. xx. CICERO S OFFICES. 105 

in the expectation of those in need of its assistance, or in the 
gratitude of those who have been defended ? To this, then, tho 
first rank of civil dignity was given by our ancestors. Of a 
eloquent man, then, and one willingly laboring, and, what is ac 
cording to the customs of our forefathers, defending the causes 
of mmy, both ungrudgingly and gratuitously, the benefks and 
p itronage are very extensive. 

Tiie subject would admonish me that at this opportunity I 
shoul I likewise deplore the discontinuance, not to all it tlio 
extinction, of eloquence, did I not apprehend L>st I should 
appea- 1 to be making some complaint upon my own account. 
However, we see what orators are extinct, ia how few there 
is proaiise, in how much fewer ability, in how ma- .y pve- 
sumption. But though all, or even many, can not be skill 
ful in the la\s r , or eloquent, yet it is in a ma t s power, by his 
exertions, to be of service to many, by asking benefits for 
them, commending them to judges and m igistratcs, watch 
ing the interests of others, entreaiing in their behalf those 
very advocates who either are consulted or defend causes. 
They who act thus, gain a great deal of influence, and their 
industry diffuses itself most extensively. Furthermore, they 
need not be a Imonished of this (for it is obvious), that they 
take care to offend none while they are wishing to serve 
others. For oftentime they offend either those whom it is their 
duty or whom it is their interest not to offend. If unwittingly 
they do it, it is a fault of negligence ; if knowingly, of rashness. 
It is necessary, too, that you make an apology, in whatever 
way you can, to those whom you unwillingly offend how 
that which you did was of necessity, and that you could not do 
otherwise ; and it will be necessary to make compensation to 
them for what injury you have inflicted by other efforts and 
good offices. 

XX. But since, in rendering services to men, it is usuai 
to look either to their character or their fortune, it is easy, 
indeed, to say, and so people commonly say, that in bestow- 
ing benefits they only attend to a man s character, not to his 
fortune. It is a fine speech ; but pray is there any one who 
in rendering a service would not prefer the thanks of a rich 
and powerful man before the cause of a poor, though most 
worthy man 1 For in general our good-will is more inclined 
toward him from whom it appears that remuneration would 



106 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

be easier and quicker. But we ought to consider more at 
tentively what the nature of things is : for of course that 
poor man, if he be a good man, though he can not requite a 
kindness, can at least have a sense of it. Now it was well 
said, whoever said it, " that he who hath the loan of money, 
hath not repaid; and he who hath repaid, hath not the 
loan. But both he who hath requited kindness hath a 
sense of it, "and he who hath a sense of it 1 hath requited." 
But they who consider themselves wealthy, honored, pros 
perous, do not wish even to be bound by a benefit. More 
over, they consider that they have conferred a favor when 
they themselves have received one, however great ; and they 
also suspect that something is either sought or expected from 
them : but they think it like death to them that they should 
need patronage, and be called clients. But, on the other 
hand, that poor man, because in whatever is done for him 
he thinks it is himself and not his fortune that is regarded, 
is anxious that he may be seen to be grateful, not only by 
him who has merited it from him, but also by those from 
whom he expects the like (for he needs it from many). Nor 
indeed does he magnify with words any favor of his own 
doing, if by chance he confers one, but rather undervalues it. 
And this is to be considered, that if you defend a man of power 
and fortune, the gratitude is confined to himself alone, or per 
haps to his children ; but if you defend a poor but worthy 
and modest man, all poor men who are not worthless 
(which is a vast multitude among the people) see a pro 
tection offered to themselves : wherefore, I think it better 
that a favor should be bestowed upon worthy persons than 
upon persons of fortune. We should by all means endeavor to 
satisfy every description of people. But if the matter shall 
come to competition, undoubtedly Themistocles is to be re 
ceived as an authority, who, when he was consulted whether a 
man should marry his daughter to a worthy poor man, or to a 
rich man of less approved character, said, " I certainly would 
rather she married a man without money, than money without 
a man." 

" A grateful mind, 



By owing, owes not, but still pays at once 
Indebted and discliarg d." Milton. 



CHAP. XXL CICERO S OFFICES. 107 

But our morals are corrupted and depraved by the admira 
tion of other men s wealth. Though what concern is its 
amount to any of us ? Perhaps it is of use to him who owns 
it ; not always even that : but admit that it is of use to himself, 
to be sure he is able to spend more, but how is he an honester 
man ? But if he shall be a good man besides, let his riches 
not prevent him from getting our assistance only let them not 
help him to get it, and let the entire consideration be not how 
wealthy, but how worthy each individual is. But the last pre 
cept about benefits and bestowing our labor is, do nothing 
hostile to equity nothing in defense of injustice. For the found 
ation of lasting commendation and fame is justice without 
which nothing can be laudable. 

XXI. But since I have finished speaking about that kind 
of benefits which have regard to a single citizen, we have 
next to discourse about those which relate to all the citizens 
together, and which relate to the public good. But of those 
very ones, some are of that kind which relate to all the 
citizens collectively ; some are such that they reach to all 
individually, which are likewise the more agreeable. The 
effort is by all means to be made, if possible, to consult for 
both, and notwithstanding, to consult also for them individ 
ually ; but in such a manner that this may either serve, or 
at least should not oppose, the public interest. The grant of 
corn proposed by Caius Gracchus was large, and therefor;- 
would have exhausted the treasury; that of Marcus Octaviu:. 
was moderate, both able to be borne by the state, and ne<\ .- 
sary for the commons; therefore it was salutary both for tin: 
citizens and for the nation. But it is in the first place to 1 u 
considered by him who shall have the administration of llio 
government, that each may retain his own, and that no dimi 
nution of the property of individuals be made by public 
authority. For Philip acted destructively, in his tribuneship, 
when he proposed the agrarian law, which, however, he readily 
suffered to be thrown out, and in that respect showed him 
self to be exceeding moderate ; but when in courting popu 
larity he drove at many things, he uttered this besides im 
properly, " that there were not in the state two thousand 
persons who possessed property." A dangerous speech, and 
aiming at a leveling of property than which mischief, what 
can be greater 2 For commonwealths and states were estab- 



108 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

lished principally for this cause, that men should hold what 
was their own. For although mankind were congregated 
together by the guidance of nature, yet it was with the hops 
of preserving their own property that they sought the pro 
tection of cities. 

Care should also be taken, lest, as often was the case among 
our ancestors, on account of the poverty of the treasury and 
the continuity of wars, it may be necessary to impose taxation, 
and it will be needful to provide long before that this should 
not happen. But if any necessity for such a burden should be 
fall any state (for I would rather speak thus than speak omi 
nously of our own ; nor am I discoursing about our own state 
only, but about all states in general), care should be taken that 
all may understand that they must submit to the necessity if 
they wish to be safe. 

And also all who govern a nation are bound to provide 
that there be abundance of those things which are neces 
saries of which, what kind of a provision it is usual and 
proper to make, it is not necessary to canvass. For all that 
is obvious ; and the topic only requires to be touched on. 
But the principal matter in every administration of public 
business and employments is, that even the least suspicion of 
avarice be repelled. " Would to heaven," said Caius Pontius, 
the Samnite, " that fortune had reserved me for those times, 
and I had been born then, whenever the Romans may have 
begun to accept bribes I would not have suffered them to 
reign much longer." He surely would have had to wait many 
generations. For it is of late that this evil has invaded this 
state ; therefore I am well pleased that Pontius was in ex 
istence rather at that time, since so much power resided in 
him. It is not yet a hundred and ten years since a law 
about bribery was passed by Lucius Piso, when previously 
there had been no such law. But afterward there were so 
many laws, and each successive one more severe, so many 
persons arraigned, so many condemned, such an Italian war 
excited through fear of condemnations, such a rifling and 
robbing of our allies, those laws and judgments were sus- 

1 Plutarch relates that ^milius Paullus, on the conquest of Persius, 
king of Macedonia, brought home such an immense treasure, that the 
Roman people were entirely relieved from taxes until the consulship of 
Ilirtius and Pansa, which was the year after Cicero wrote this work. 



CHAP. xxii. CICERO S OFFICES. 109 

pended, that we are strong through the weakness of others, not 
through our own valor. 

XXII. Panaetius applauds Africanus because he was self- 
denying. Why not applaud him ? But in him there were 
other and greater characteristics ; the praise of self-restraint 
was not the praise of the man only, but also of those times. 
Paullus having possessed himself of the whole treasure of 
the Macedonians, which was most immense, brought so much 
wealth into the treasury, that the spoils of one commander 
put an end to taxes ; but to his own house he brought nothing 
except the eternal memory of his name. Africanus, imitating 
his father, was nothing the richer for having overthrown 
Carthage. What ! Lucius Memmius, who was his colleague in 
the censorship, was he the wealthier for having utterly de 
stroyed the wealthiest of cities ? He preferred ornamenting 
Italy rather than his own house although by the adorn 
ment of Italy, his own house itself seems to me more 
adorned. No vice, then, is more foul (that my discourse 
may return to the point from whence it digressed) than 
avarice, especially in great men and such as administer the re 
public. For to make a gain of the republic is not only base, 
but wicked also, and abominable. Therefore, that which the 
Pythian Apollo delivered by his oracle, " that Sparta would 
perish by nothing but its avarice," he seems to have predicted 
not about the Lacedaemonians alone, but about all opulent na 
tions. Moreover, they who preside over the state can by no 
way more readily conciliate the good-will of the multitude than 
by abstinence and self-restraint. 

But they who wish to be popular, and upon that account 
either attempt the agrarian affair, that the owners may be 
driven out of their possessions, or think that borrowed 
money should be released to the debtors, sap the foundations 
of the constitution ; namely, that concord, in the first place, 
which can not exist when money is exacted from some, and 
forgiven to others; and equity, in the next place, which is 
entirely subverted, if each be not permitted to possess his 
own. For, as I said before, this is the peculiar concern of a 
state and city, that every person s custody of his own 
property be free and undisturbed. And in this destructive 
course to the state they do not obtain even that popu 
larity which they expect ; for he whose property is taken is 



HO CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK ir. 

hostile ; he also to whom it is given disguises his willingness 
to accept it, and especially in lent moneys he conceals his joy 
that he may not appear to have been insolvent ; but he, on 
the other hand, who receives the injury, both remembers and 
proclaims his indignation ; nor if there are more in number 
to whom it is dishonestly given than those from whom it has 
been unjustly taken, are they even for that cause more success 
ful. For these matters are not determined by number, but by 
weight. Now, what justice is it that lands which have been 
pre-occupied for many years, or even ages, he who was pos 
sessed of none should get, but he who was in possession 
should lose ? 

XXIII. And on account of this kind of injustice, the 
Lacedaemonians expelled their Ephorus Lysander, and put 
to death their king Agis a thing which never before had 
happened among them. And from that time such great 
dissensions ensued, that tyrants arose, and the nobles were 
exiled, and a constitution admirably established fell to pieces. 
Nor did it fall alone, but also overthrew the rest of Greece 
by the contagion of evil principles, which having sprung 
from the Lacedaemonians, flowed far and wide. What ! 
was it not the agrarian contentions that destroyed our own 
Gracchi, sons of that most illustrious man Tiberius Grac 
chus, and grandsons of Africanus? But, on the contrary, 
Aratus, the Sicyonian, is justly commended, who, when his 
native city had been held for fifty years by tyrants, having 
set out from Argos to Sicyon, by a secret entrance got 
possession of the city, and when on a sudden he had over 
thrown the tyrant Nicocles, he restored six hundred exiles, 
who had been the wealthiest men of that state, and restored 
freedom to the state by his coming. But when he perceived 
a great difficulty about the goods and possessions, because he 
considered it most unjust both that they whom he had 
restored, of whose property others had been in possession, 
should be in want, and he did not think it very fair that 
possessions of fifty years should be disturbed, because that 
after so long an interval many of those properties were got 
possession of without injustice, by inheritance, many by 
purchase, many by marriage portions ; he judged neither 
that the properties ought to be taken from the latter, nor 
that these to whom they had belonged should be without satis- 



CHAP. xxiv. CICERO S OFFICES. Ill 

faction. When, then, he had concluded that there was need 
of money to arrange that matter, he said that he would go to 
Alexandria, and ordered the matter to be undisturbed until 
his return. He quickly came to his friend Ptolemy, who was 
then reigning, the second after the building of Alexandria, 
and when he had explained to him that he was desirous to 
liberate his country, and informed him of the case, this most 
eminent man readily received consent from the opulent king 
that he should be assisted with a large sum of money. When 
he had brought this to Sicyon, he took to himself for his 
council fifteen noblemen, with whom he took cognizance of 
the cases, both of those who held other persons possessions, 
and of those who had lost their own ; and by valuing the 
possessions, he so managed as to persuade some to prefer 
receiving the money, and yielding up the possessions ; others 
to think it more convenient that there should be paid down 
to them what was the price, rather than they should resume 
possession of their own. Thus it was brought about that all 
departed without a complaint, and concord was established. 
Admirable man, and worthy to have been born in our nation ! 
Thus it is right to act with citizens, not (as we have now 
seen twice) 1 to fix up a spear in the forum, and subject the 
goods of the citizens to the voice of the auctioneer. But 
that Greek thought, as became a wise and superior man, that 
it was necessary to consult for all. And this is the highest 
reason and wisdom of a good citizen, not to make divisions 
in the interests of the citizens, but to govern all by the same 
equity. Should any dwell free of expense in another man s 
house 1 Why so ? Is it that when I shall have bought, 
built, repaired, expended, you, without my will, should 
enjoy what is mine ? What else is this but to take from 
some what is theirs ; to give to some what is another man s ? 
But what is the meaning of an abolition of debts, unless that 
you should buy an estate with iny money that you should 
have the estate, and I should not have my money ? 

XXIV. Wherefore, it ought to be provided that there 
be not such an amount of debt as may injure the state a 
thing which may be guarded against in many ways ; not 
that if there shall be such debt the rich should lose their 



1 Under Sylla, and under Caesar. 



112 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK n. 

rights, and the debtors gain what is another s for nothing 
holds the state more firmly together than public credit, 
which can not at all exist unless the payment of money Knt 
shall be compulsory. It never was more violently pgitated 
than in my consulship, that debts should not be paid ; the 
matter was tried in arms and camps, by every rank and 
description of men, whom I resisted in such a manner, that 
this mischief of such magnitude was removed from the state-. 
Never was debt either greater, or better and more easily 
paid. For the hope of defrauding being frustrated, the 
necessity of paying followed. But on the other hand, this 
man, now our victor, 1 but who was vanquished then, has 
accomplished the things which he had in view, when it was 
now a matter of no importance to himself. So great was 
the desire in him of doing wrong, that the mere wrong 
doing delighted him, although there was not a motive for it. 
From this kind of liberality, then, to give to some, to take 
from others, they will keep aloof who would preserve the 
commonwealth, and will take particular care that each may 
hold his own in equity of right and judgments ; and neither 
that advantage be taken of the poorer class, on account of 
their humbleness, nor that envy be prejudicial to the rich, 
either in keeping or recovering their own. They will besides 
increase the power of the state in whatever way they can, 
either abroad or at home, in authority, territories, tributes. 
These are the duties of great men. These were practiced 
among our ancestors ; they who persevere in those kinds of 
duties, will, along with the highest advantage to the republic, 
themselves obtain both great popularity and glory. 

Now, in these precepts about things profitable, Antipater 
the Tynan, a Stoic, who lately died at Athens, considers that 
two things are passed over by PanaBtius the care of health 
and of property which matters I fancy were passed over by 
that very eminent philosopher because they were obvious ; 
they certainly are useful. Now, health is supported by under 
standing one s own constitution, and by observing w r hat things 
are accustomed to do one good or injury ; 2 and by temperance 

1 Caesar, who was suspected of a share in Catiline s conspiracy, after 
ward, in the first year of his dictatorship, when he was himself no longer 
in debt, passed a law, abolishing the fourth part of all debts. 

2 Lord Bacon might be supposed to have had this passage before him 



CHAP. xxv. CICERO S OFFICES. 113 

in all food and manner of living, for the sake of preserving 
the body ; and by forbearance in pleasures ; and lastly, by 
the skill of those to whose profession these things belong. 
Wealth ought to be acquired by those means in which there 
is no disgrace, but preserved by diligence and fiugaliiy, and 
increased, too, by the same means. These matters Xenophon, 
the Socratic philosopher, has discussed very completely in 
that book which is entitled (Economics, which I, when I was 
about that age at which you are now, translated from the 
Greek into Latin, 

XXV. But a comparison of profitable things, since 
this was the fourth head, but passed over by Pansetius, is 
often necessary. For it is usual to compare the good estate 
of the body with external advantages, and external with 
those of the body, and those of the body among themselves, 
and external with external. The good estate of the body is 
compared with external advantages in this manner, that you 
had rather be healthy than wealthy. External with those 
of the body in this manner, to be wealthy rather than of the 
greatest physical strength. Those of the body among them 
selves, thus, that good health should be preferred to pleasure, 
and strength to speed. But the comparison of external 
objects is thus, that glory should be preferred to wealth, a 
city income to a country one. Of which kind of comparison 
is that reply of Cato the elder, of whom, when inquiry was 
made, what w r as the best policy in the management of one s 
property, he answered, " Good grazing." " What was next ?" 
"Tolerable grazing." "What third?" "Bad grazing." 
"What fourth?" "Tilling." -And when he who had 
interrogated him inquired, "What do you think of lending 
at usuiy ?" Then Cato answered, " What do you think of 
killing a man?" 1 From which, and many other things, ifc 

when he wrote the first paragraph of his thirtieth Essay on " Regimen of 
Health." "There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic ; a 
man s own observation, what he finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, 
is the best physic to preserve health ; but it is a safer conclusion to say 
This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it. than this, 
I find no offense of this, therefore I may use it, for strength of nature in 
youth passes over many excesses which are owing a man till his age. 
Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things 
still ; for age will not be defied." Bacon s Essays, Thirtieth Essay. 
1 "Many have made witty invectives against usury. They say that 



114 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOKIL 

ought to be understood that it is usual to make comparisons 
of profitable things; and that this was rightly added as a 
fourth head of investigating our duties. But about this 
entire head, about gaining money, about letting it out, also 
about spending it, the matter is discussed to more advantage 
by certain most estimable persons 1 sitting at the middle 
Janus, than by any philosophers in any school. Yet these 
things ought to be understood ; for they relate to utility, 
about which we have discoursed in this book. We will next 
pass to what remains. 

it is a pity the devil should have God s part, which is the tithe ; that the 
usurer is the greatest Sabbath breaker, because his plow goeth every 
Sunday , that the usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of: 

Ignavum fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent: 

that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after 
the fall winch was, in sudore vultus tui comedes panem tuum not in. 
sudore vultus ahem: that usurers should have orange-tawny bonnets, 
because they do judaise ; that it is against nature for money to beget 
money, and the like. I say this only, that usury is a concessum propter 
duritiem cordis: for since there must be borrowing and lending, and men 
are so hard of heart as they will not lend freely, usury must be permitted. 
Some others have made suspicious and cunning propositions of banks, 
discovery of men s estates, and other inventions ; but few have spoken 
of usury usefully. Bacon s Essay, Essay 4i. 

1 He is speaking ironically of the usurers, numbers of whom frequented 
the middle Janus in the forum. 



END OF SECOND BOOK. 



CHAP. L CICERO S OFFICES. 115 



BOOK III. 

I. PUBLIUS SCIPIO, my son Marcus, he who first was 
surnamed Africanus, was accustomed, as Cato, who was 
nearly of the same age as he, has written, to say " that he 
was never less at leisure than when at leisure, nor less alone 
than when he was alone." A truly noble saying, and worthy 
of a great and wise man, which declares that both in his 
leisure he was accustomed to reflect on business, and in 
solitude to converse with himself; so that he never was idle, 
and sometimes was not in need of the conversation of an 
other. Thus, leisure and solitude, two things which cause 
languor to others, sharpened him. I could wish it were in 
my power to say the same. But if I can not quite attain to 
any intimation of so great an excellence of disposition, I 
come very near it, in will at least. For, being debarred by 
impious arms and force from public affairs and forensic 
business, I remain in retirement ; and on that account 
having left the city, wandering about the fields, I am often 
alone. But neither is this leisure to be compared with the 
leisure of Africanus, nor this solitude with that. For he, 
reposing from the most honorable employments of the state, 
sometimes took leisure to himself, and sometimes betook 
himself from the concourse and haunts of men into his soli 
tude as into a haven : but my retirement is occasioned by 
the want of business, not by the desire of repose. For, the 
senate being extinct, and courts of justice abolished, what is 
there that I could do worthy of myself, either in the senate- 
house or in the forum ? Thus, I who formerly lived in the 
greatest celebrity, 1 and before the eyes of the citizens, now 
shunning the sight of wicked men, with whom all places 
abound, conceal myself as for as it is possible, and ofte: 
am alone. But since we have been taught by learned men, ; 
that out of evils it is fit not only to choose the least, but alscu - 
from those very evils to gather whatever is good in them, I < 



116 CICERO S OFFICES BOOK in. 

therefore am both enjoying rest not such, indeed, as he 
ought who formerly procured rest for the state, and I am 
not allowing that solitude which necessity, not inclination, 
brings me, to be spent in idleness. Although, in my judg 
ment, Afiieanus obtained greater praise. For there aie ex 
tant no monuments of his genius committed to writing 
no work of his leisure no employment of his solitude. 
From which it ought to be understood that he was never 
either idle or solitary, because of the activity of his mind, 
and the investigation of those things which he pursued in 
thought. But I who have not so much strength that I can 
be drawn away from solitude by silent thought, turn all my 
study and care to this labor of composition. And thus I 
have written more in a short time, since the overthrow of 
the republic, than in the many years while it stood. 

II. But as all philosophy, my Cicero, is fruitful and pro 
fitable, and no part of it uncultivated and desert so no part 
in it is more fruitful and profitable than that about duties, 
from which the rules of living consistently and virtuously 
are derived. Wherefore, although I trust you constantly 
hear and learn these matters from my friend Cratippus, the 
prince of the philosophers within our memory, yet I think 
it is beneficial that your ears should ring on ail sides 
with such discourse, and that they, if it were possible, should 
hear nothing else. Which, as it ought to be done by all 
who design to enter upon a virtuous life, so I know not 
but it ought by no one more than you ; for you stand under 
no small expectation of emulating my industry under a 
great one of emulating my honors under no small one, per 
haps, of my fame. Besides, you have incurred a heavy responsi 
bility both from Athens and Cratippus ; and since you have 
gone to these as to a mart for good qualities, it would be most 
scandalous to return empty, disgracing the reputation both 
of the city and of the master. Wherefore, try and ac 
complish as much as you can, labor with your mind and 
with your industry (if it be labor to learn rather than a 
pleasure), and do not permit that, when all things have been 
supplied by! me, you should seem to have been wanting to 
yourself. But let this suffice ; for we have often written 
much to you for the purpose of encouraging you. Now let 
us return to the remaining part of our proposed division. 



CHAP. m. CICERO S OFFICES. 117 

Panaatius, then, who without controversy has discoursed 
most accurately about duties, and whom I, making some cor 
rection, have principally followed, having proposed three 
heads under which men were accustomed to deliberate and 
consult about duty one, when they were in doubt whether 
that about which they were considering was virtuous or base ; 
another, whether useful or unprofitable; a third, when that 
which ha I the appearance of virtue was in opposition to that 
which seemed useful, how this ought to be determined ; he 
unfolded the two first heads in three* books, but on the third 
head he said that he would afterward write, but did not 
perform what he had promised. At which I am the more 
surprised on this account, that it is recorded by his disciple 
Posidonius, that Panaetius lived thirty years after he had 
published those books. And I am surprised that this matter 
should bo only briefly touched on by Posidonius in some 
commentaries, especially when he writes that there is no 
subject in all philosophy so necessary. But by no means do 
I agree with those who deny that this subject was casually 
omitted by Panaetius, but that it was designedly abandoned, 
and that it ought not to have been written at all, because 
utility could never be in opposition to virtue. On which 
point is one thing that may admit a doubt ; whether this head 
which is third in the division of Panaetius, ought to have 
been taken up, or whether it ought to have been altogether 
omitted. The other thing can not be doubted, that it was 
undertaken by Panretius, but left unfinished. For he who 
has completed two parts out of a three fold division, must 
have a third remaining. Besides, in the end of the third 
book he promises that he will afterward write about this 
third part. To this is also added a sufficient witness, Posi 
donius, who in a certain letter writes that Publius Rutilius 
Rufus, who had been a disciple of Panietius, had been ac 
customed to say, that as no painter could be found who could 
fiuish that part of the Coan Venus which Apelles had left 
unfinished (for the beauty of the countenance left no hope of 
making the rest of the body correspond), so no one could go 
through with those things which Pansetius had omitted, on 
account of the excellence of those parts which he had com 
pleted. 

III. Wherefore, there can not be a doubt about the opinion 



118 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

of Panaetius ; but whether it was right in him, or otherwise, 
to join this third part to the investigation of duty, about 
this, perhaps, there may be a question. For whether virtue 
be the only good, as is the opinion of the Stoics, or whether 
that which is virtuous be, as it appears to your Peripatetics, 
; so much the greatest good, that all things placed on the other 
i side have scarcely the smallest weight ; it is not to be doubted 
but that utility never can compare with virtue. Therefore 
we have learned that Socrates used to execrate those who 
had first separated in theory those tilings cohering in nature. 
To whom, indeed, the Stoics have so far assented, that they 
considered that whatever is virtuous is useful, and that noth 
ing can be useful which is not virtuous. But if Panasiius 
was one who would say that virtue was to be cultivated only 
on this account, because it was a means of procuring profit, 
as they do who measure the desirableness of objects either 
by pleasure or by the absence of pain, it would be allowable 
for him to say that our interest sometimes is opposed to 
virtue. But as he was one who judged that alone to be good 
which is virtuous, but that of such things as oppose this 
with some appearance of utility, neither the accession can 
make life better, nor the loss make it worse, it appears that 
he ought not to have introduced a deliberation of this kind, 
in which what seems profitable could be compared with that 
which is virtuous. For what is called the summum bonum 
j by the Stoics, to live agreeably to nature, has, I conceive, 
: this meaning always to conform to virtue ; and as to all 
other things which may be according to nature, to take 
them if they should not be repugnant to virtue. And since 
this is so, some think that this comparison is improperly in 
troduced, and that no principle should be laid down upon 
this head. And, indeed, that perfection of conduct which is 
properly and truly called so, exists in the wise alone, and 
can never be separated from virtue. But in those persons 
in whom there is not perfect wisdom, that perfection can 
indeed by no means exist; but the likeness of it can. For 
the Stoics call all those duties about which we are discours 
ing in these books, mean duties (media officia). These are 
common, and extend wid?ly, w r hich many attain by the good 
ness of natural disposition, and by progressive improvement. 
But that duty which the same philosophers call right (rec- 



CHAP. iv. CICERO S OFFICES. 119 

turn), is perfect and absolute, and, as the same philosophers 
say, has all the parts perfect, and can not fall to the lot of any 
but the wise man. But when any thing is performed in 
which mean duties appear, it seems to be abundantly perfect, 
because the vulgar do not at all understand how far it falls 
short of the perfect ; but as far as they understand, they 
think there is nothing wanting. Which same thing comes 
to pass in poems, in pictures, and in many other matters, 
that those things which should not be commended, the un 
skillful are delighted with and commend ; on this account, I 
suppose, that there is in these things some merit which 
catches the unskillful, who indeed are unable to judge what 
deficiency there may be in each. Therefore, when they are 
apprised of it by the initiated, they readily abandon their 
opinion. 

IV. These duties, then, of which we are discoursing inj 
these books, they 1 say are virtuous in some secondary degree / 
not peculiar to the wise alone, but common to every de-^ 
scription of men. By these, therefore, all are moved in 
whom there is a natural disposition toward virtue. Nor, 
indeed, when the two Decii or the two Scipios are commem 
orated as brave men, or when Fabricius and An slides are 
called just, is either an example of fortitude looked for from 
the former, or of justice from the latter, as from wise men. 
For neither of these was wise in such a sense as we wish the 
term wise man to be understood. Nor were these who were 
esteemed and named wise, Marcus Cato and Caius Lselius, 
wise men ; nor were even those famous seven, 2 but from the 
frequent performance of mean duties they bore some simili 
tude and appearance of wise men. Wherefore, it is neither 
right to compare that which is truly virtuous with what is 
repugnant to utility, nor should that which we commonly 
call virtuous, which is cultivated by those who wish to be 
esteemed good men, ever be compared with profits. And 
that virtue which falls within our comprehension is as much 
to be maintained and preserved by us, as that which is 
properly called, and which truly is virtue, is by the wise. 
For otherwise, whatever advancement is made toward vir 
tue, it can not be maintained. But these remarks are made 

1 The Stoics. 

2 The seven wise men of Greece- 



120 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

regarding those who are considered good men, on account 
of their observance of duties ; but those who measure all 
things by profit and advantage, and who do not consider 
that those things are outweighed by virtue, are accustomed, 
in deliberating, to compare virtue with that which they 
think profitable ; good men are not so accustomed. There 
fore, I think that Pansetius, when he said that men were 
accustomed to deliberate on this comparison, meant this 
very thing which he expressed only that it was their cus 
tom, not that it was also their duty. For not only to think 
more of what seems profitable than what is virtuous, but 
even to compare them one with the other, and to hesitate 
between them, is most shameful. What is it, then, that is 
accustomed at times to raise a doubt, and seems necessary 
to be considered? I believe, whenever a doubt arises, 
it is what the character of that action may be about 
which one is considering. For oftentimes it happens, that 
what il accustomed to be generally considered disreputable, 
may he , found ..not to be disreputable.! Fur the sake of ex 
ample, let a case be supposed which has a wide applica 
tion. What can be greater wickedness than to slay not 
only a man, "but even an intimate friend? Has he then in 
volved himself in guilt, who slays a tyrant, however inti 
mate ? He does not appear so to the Roman people at least, 
who of all great exploits deem that the most honorable. 1 

1 " Tyrannicide, or the assassination of usurpers and oppressive princes, 
Was highly extolled in ancient times, because it both freed mankind from 
many of these monsters, and seemed to keep the others in awe whom the 
sword and poniard could not reach. But history and experience having 
since convinced us that this practice increases the jealousy and cruelty 
of princes, a TIMOLEON and a BRUTUS, though treated with indulgence 
on account of the prejudices of their times, are now considered as very 
improper models for imitation." Hume s " Dissertation on the Passions." 

" The arguments in favor of tyrannicide are built upon a very obvious 
principle. Justice ought universally to be administered. Crimes of an 
inferior description are restrained, or pretended to be restrained, by the 
ordinary operations of jurisprudence. But criminals, by whom the wel 
fare of the whole is attacked, and who overturn the liberties of mankind, 
are out of the reach of this restraint. If justice be partially administered 
in subordinate cases, and the rich man be able to oppress the poor with 
impunity, it must be admitted that a few examples of this sort are insuf 
ficient to authorize the last appeal of human beings; but no man will 
deny that the case of the usurper and the despot is of the most atrocious 
nature. In this instance, all the provisions of civil policy being super- 



CHAP. IT. CICERO S OFFICES. 121 

Has expediency, then, overcome virtue? Nay, rather, expe 
diency has followed virtue. WrireYefore, that we may be 
able to decide without any mistake, if ever that which we 
call expediency (utile) shall appear to be at variance with 
that which we understand to be virtuous (honestum), a 
certain rule ought to be established, which if we will fol 
low in comparing such cases, we shall never fail in our 
duty. But this rule will be one conformable to the reason 
ing and discipline of the Stoics chiefly, which, indeed, we 
are following in these books, because, though both by the 
ancient Academicians and by your Peripatetics, who form 
erly were the same sect, things which are virtuous 
are preferred to those which seem expedient; nevertheless, 
those subjects are more nobly treated of by those 1 to whom 
whatever is virtuous seems also expedient, and nothing ex- 

seded, and justice poisoned at the source, every man is left to execute for 
himself the decrees of immutable equity. It may, however, be doubted, 
whether the destruction of a tyrant be, in any respect, a case of excep 
tion from the rules proper to be observed upon ordinary occasions. The 
tyrant has, indeed, no particular security annexed to his person, and 
may be killed with as little scruple as any other man, when the object is 
that of repelling personal assault. In all other cases, the extirpation of 
the offender by self-appointed authority, does not appear to be the ap 
propriate mode of counteracting injustice. For, first, either the nation, 
whose tyrant you would destroy, is ripe for the assertion and mainten 
ance of its liberty, or it is not. If it be, the tyrant ought to be deposed 
with every appearance of publicity. Nothing can be more improper, 
than for an affair, interesting to the general weal, to be conducted as if 
it were an act of darkness and shame. It is an ill lesson we read to 
mankind, when a proceeding, built upon the broad basis of general jus 
tice, is permitted to shrink from public scrutiny. The pistol and the 
dagger may as easily be made the auxiliaries of vice as of virtue. To 
proscribe all violence, and neglect no means of information and impar 
tiality, is the most effectual security we can have for an issue conformable 
to reason and truth. If, on the other hand, the nation be not ripe for a 
state of freedom, the man who assumes to himself the right of interposing 
violence, may indeed show the fervor of his conception, and gain a cer 
tain notoriety ; but he will not fail to be the author of new calamities to 
his country. The consequences of tyrannicide are well known. If the 
attempt prove abortive, it renders the tyrant ten times more bloody, 
ferocious, and cruel than before. If it succeed, and the tyranny be res 
tored, it produces the same effect upon his successors. In the climate 
of despotism some solitary virtues may spring up ; but in the midst of 
plots and conspiracies, there is neither truth, nor confidence, nor love, 
nor humanity." Godwin s "Political Justice," book iv. chap. iv. 
1 The Stoics. 

6 



122 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK 111. 

pedient which is not virtuous, than by those according to 
whom that may be virtuous which is not expedient, and that 
expedient which is not virtuous. But to us, our Academic 
sect gives this great license, that we, whatever may seem 
most probable, by our privilege are at liberty to maintain. 
But I return to my rule. 

V. To take away wrongfully, then, from another, and for 
one man to advance his own interests by the disadvantage 
of another man, is more contrary to nature than death, than 
poverty, than pain, than any other evils which can befall 
either our bodies or external circumstances. For, in the 
first place, it destroys human intercourse and society; for 
if we will be so disposed that each for his own gain shall 
despoil or offer violence to another, the inevitable conse 
quence is, that the society of the human race, which 
is most consistent with nature, will be broken asunder. 
As, supposing each member of the body was so disposed as 
to think it could be well if it should draw to itself the 
health of the adjacent member, it is inevitable that the 
whole body would be debilitated and would perish ; so 
if each of us should seize for himself the interests of 
another, and wrest whatever he could from each for the sake 
of his own emolument, the necessary consequence is, that 
human society and community would be overturned. It is 
indeed allowed, nature not opposing, that each should rather 
acquire for himself than for another, whatever pertains to 
the enjoyment of life ; but nature does not allow this, that 
by the spoliation of others we should increase our own 
means, resources, and opulence. Nor indeed is this forbid 
den by nature alone that is, by the law of nations but 
it is also in the same manner enacted by the municipal laws 
of countries, by which government is supported in individual 
states, that it should not be lawful to injure another man for 
the sake of one s own advantage. 1 For this the laws look to, 
this they require, that the union of the citizens should be 
unimpaired ; those who are for severing it .they coerce by 
death, by banishment, by imprisonment, by fine. But what 
declares this much more is our natural reason, which is a 
law divine and human, which he who is willing to obey 

1 " La plus sublime vertu est negative ; elle nous instruit de ne jamais 
fair du mal a personne." Rousseau. 



CHAP.V. CICERO S OFFICES. 123 

(and all will obey it who are willing to live according to 
nature) never will suffer himself to covet what is another 
person s, and to assume to himself that which he shall have 
wrongfully taken from another. 1 For loftiness and greatness 
of mind, and likewise community of feeling, justice and liber 
ality, are much more in accordance with nature, than pleas 
ure, than life, than riches which things, even to contemn 
and count as nothing in comparison with the common good, 
is.ihe part of a great and lofty soul. Therefore, to take away 
wrongfully from another for the sake of one s own advan 
tage, is more contrary to nature than death, than pain, than 
other considerations of the same kind. And likewise, to 
undergo the greatest labors and inquietudes for the sake, if 
it were possible, of preserving or assisting all nations . 
imitating that Hercules whom the report of men, mindful of 
his benefits, has placed in the council of the gods 2 is more 
in accordance with nature than to live in solitude, not only 
without any inquietudes, but even amid the greatest pleas 
ures, abounding in all manner of wealth, though you should 
also excel in beauty and strength. Wherefore, every man of 
the best and most noble disposition much prefers that life 
to this. From whence it is evinced that man, obeying 
nature, can not injure men. In the next place, he who 
injures another that he may himself attain some advantage, 
either thinks that he is doing nothing contrary to nature, or 

1 " The word natural is commonly taken in so many senses, and is of 
so loose a signification, that it seems vain to dispute whether justice be 
natural or not If self-love, if benevolence, be natural to man if reason 
and forethought be also natural then may the same epithet be applied 
to justice, order, fidelity, property, society. Men s inclination, their ne 
cessities, lead them to combine ; their understanding and experience tell 
them that this combination is impossible, where each governs himself by 
no rule, and pays no regard to the possessions of others : and from these 
passions and reflections conjoined, as soon as we observe like passions 
and reflections in others, the sentiment of justice, throughout all ages, 
has infallibly and certainly had place in some degree or other, in every 
individual of the human species. In so sagacious an animal, what nec 
essarily arises from the exertion of his intellectual faculties, may justly 
be esteemed natural." Hume s "Principles of Morals." Appendix III. 

2 Horace adopts the same illustration in the following passage 

" Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori : 
Ccelo Musa beat. Sic Jovis interest 
Optatia epulis impiger Hercules." 

Lib. iv. Carm. 8, ver. 28-30. 



124 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

thinks that death, poverty, pain, the loss of children, of 
kindred, and of friends, are more to be avoided than doing 
injury to another. If he thinks that nothing is done contrary to 
nature by injuring men, what use is there in disputing with him 
who would altogether take away from man what is human ? 
But if he thinks that indeed is to be shunned, but that those 
things, death, poverty, pain, are much worse, he errs in this, that 
he thinks any defect, either of body or fortune, more grievous 
than the defects of the mind. 

VI. One thing, therefore, ought to be aimed at by all men ; 
that the interest of each individually, and of all collectively, 
should be the same ; for if each should grasp at his individual 
interest, all human society will be dissolved. And also, if 
nature enjoins this, that a man should desire to consult the in 
terest of a man, whoever he is, for the very reason that he is 
man, it necessarily follows that, as the nature, so the interest, 
of all mankind, is a common one. If that be so, we are all 
included under one and the same law of nature ; and if this 
too be true, we are certainly prohibited by the law of nature 
from injuring another. But the first is true ; therefore, the 
last is true. For that which some say, that they would take 
nothing wrongfully, for the sake of their own advantage, 
from a parent or brother, but that the case is different with 
other citizens, is indeed absur$> These establish the principle 
that they have nothing in the way of right, no society with 
their fellow-citizens, for the sake of the common interest 
an opinion which tears asunder the whole social compact. 
They, again, who say that a regard ought to be had to fellow- 
citizens, but deny that it ought to foreigners, break up the com 
mon society of the human race, which, being withdrawn, bene 
ficence, liberality, goodness, justice, are utterly abolished. But 
they who tear up these things should be judged impious, even 
toward the immortal gods ; for they overturn the society es 
tablished by them among men, the closest bond of which so 
ciety is, the consideration that it is more contrary to nature 
that man, for the sake of his own gain, should wrongfully take 
from man, than that he should endure all such disadvantages, 
either external or in the person, or even in the mind itself, as 
are not the effects of injustice. For that one virtue, justice, is 
the mistress and queen of all virtues. 1 

1 There is no virtue so truly great and godlike as justice ; most of the 



CHAP. vi. GICERO S OFFICES. 125 

Some person will perhaps say should not the wise man, 
then, if himself famished with hunger, wrest food from 
another, some good-for-nothing fellow ? By no means ; for 
my life is not more useful to me than such a disposition 
of mind that I would do violence to no man for the sake 
of my own advantage. What ! If a worthy man could 
despoil Phalaris, a cruel and outrageous tyrant, of his gar 
ments, that he might not himself perish with cold, should he 
not do it ? These points are very easy to decide. For if 
you will wrongfully take away any thing from a good-for- 
nothing man for the sake of your own interest, you will act 
unsociably and contrary to the law of nature. But if you 
be one who can bring much advantage to the state, and to 
human society if you remain in life, it may not deserve to 
be reprehended should you wrongfully take any thing upon 
that account from another. But if that be not the case, 
it is rather the duty of each to bear his own misfortune, than 
wrongfully to take from the comforts of another. Disease, 
then, or poverty, or any thing of this sort, is not more con 
trary to nature than is the wrongful taking or coveting what 
is another s. But the desertion of the common interest is 

other virtues are the virtues of created beings, or accommodated to our 
nature, as we are men. Justice is that which is practiced by God himself, 
and to be practiced in its perfection by none but him. Omniscience and 
omnipotence are requisite for the full exertion of it : the one to discover 
every degree of uprightness or iniquity in thoughts, words, and actions ; 
the other to measure out and impart suitable rewards and punishments. 
" As to be perfectly just is an attribute in the divine nature, to be so 
to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of a man. Such a one who has 
the public administration in his hands, acts like the representative of his 
Maker, in recompensing the virtuous and punishing the offender. By the 
extirpating of a criminal he averts the judgments of Heaven when ready 
to fall upon an impious people ; or, as my friend Cato expresses it much 
better in a sentiment conformable to his character: 

" When by just vengeance impious mortals perish, 

The gods behold their punishment with pleasure, 

And lay th uplifted thunderbolt aside. 

"When a nation loses its regard to justice; when they do not look upon 
it as something venerable, holy, and inviolable ; when any of them dare 
presume to lessen affront, or verify those who have the distribution of it 
in their hands ; when a judge is capable of being influenced by any thing 
but law, or a cause may be recommended by any thing that is foreign to 
its own merits, we may venture to pronounce that such a nation is has 
tening to its ruin." Guardian, JSo.. 99. 



126 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

contrary to nature, for it is unjust. Therefore, the very law 
of nature which preserves and governs the interest of men, 
decrees undoubtedly that things necessary for living should 
be transferred from an inert and useless fellow to a wise, 
good, and brave man, who, if he should perish, would largely 
take away from the common good ; provided he do this 1 in 
such a manner, that he do not, through thinking well of 
himself, and loving himself, make this an excuse for com 
mitting injustice. Thus will he always discharge his duty, 
advancing the interests of mankind, and that human so 
ciety of which I so often make mention. 2 Now, as to what 

1 That is, provided lie transfer to himself the necessaries of life from 
a worthless person. 

2 "In a loose and general view," says Godwin, I and my neighbor 
are both of us men ; and of consequence entitled to equal attention. 
But, in reality, it is probable that one of us is a being of more worth 
and importance than the other. A man is of more worth than a beast, 
because, being possessed of higher faculties, he is capable of a more re 
fined and genuine happiness. In the same manner the illustrious Arch 
bishop of Cambray was of more worth than his valet, and there are few 
of us that would hesitate to pronounce, if his palace were in flames, and 
the life of only one of them could be preserved, which of the two ought 
to be preferred. But there is another ground of preference, besides the 
private consideration of one of them being further removed from the state 
of a mere animal. "We are not connected with one or two percipient 
beings, but with a society, a nation, and in some sense with the whole 
family of mankind. Of consequence that life ought to be preferred which 
will be most conducive to the general good. In saving the life of Feuelon, 
suppose at that moment he conceived the project of his immortal Tele- 
machus, I should have been promoting the benefit of thousands who have 
been cured by the perusal of that work of some error, vice, and conse 
quent unhappiness. Nay, my benefit would extend further than this ; for 
every individual thus cured, has become a better member of society, and 
has contributed in his turn to the happiness, information, and improve 
ment of others Suppose I had been myself the valet, I ought to have 
chosen to die rather than Fenelon should have died : the life of Fenelon 
was really preferable to that of the valet. But understanding is the fac 
ulty that perceives the truth of this and similar propositions, and justice 
is the principle that regulates my conduct accordingly. It would have 
been just in the valet to have preferred the archbishop to himself; to have 
done otherwise would have been a breach of justice. Suppose the valet 
had been my brother, my father, or my benefactor, this would not alter 
the truth of the proposition. The life of Fenelon would still be more 
valuable than that of the valet ; and justice, pure and unadulterated 
justice, would still have preferred that which was most valuable. Justice 
would have taught me to save the life of Fenelon at the expense of the 
other." Political Justice, book ii. chap. 2. 



CHAP. vii. CICERO S OFFICES. 127 

relates to Phalaris, the decision is very easy ; for we have no 
society with tyrants, but rather the widest separation from 
them ; nor is it contrary to nature to despoil, if you can, him 
whom it is a virtue to slay and this pestilential and impious 
class ought to be entirely exterminated from the community 
of mankind. For as certain limbs are amputated, both if they 
themselves have begun to be destitute of blood, and, as it were, 
of life, and if they injure the other parts of the body, so the 
brutality and ferocity of a beast in the figure of a man, ought 
to be cut off from the common body, as it were, of humanity. 

Of this sort are all those questions in which our duty is sought 
out of the circumstances of the case. 

VII. In this manner, then, I think Pansetius would have 
pursued these subjects, had not some accident or occupation 
interrupted his design ; for which same deliberations there 
are in his former books rules sufficiently numerous, by which 
it can be perceived what ought to be avoided on account of 
its baseness, and what therefore need not be avoided because 
it is not at all base. But since I am putting, as it were, the 
top upon a work incomplete, yet nearly finished, as it is the 
custom of geometers not to demonstrate every thing, but to 
require that some postulates be granted to them, that they 
may more readily explain what they intend, so I ask of you 
my Cicero, that you grant me, if you can, that nothing 
except what is virtuous is worthy to be sought for its own 
sake. But if this be not allowed you by Cratippus, 1 still you 
will at least grant that what is virtuous is most worthy to be 
sought for its own sake. Whichever of the two you please is 
sufficient for me, and sometimes the one, sometimes the other, 
seems the more probable ; nor does any thing else seem probable. 2 

And in the first place, Pansetius is to be defended in this, 
that he did not say that the really expedient could ever be 
opposed to the virtuous (for it was not permitted to him 3 to 

1 Cratippus, as a Peripatetic, held that virtue was not the only good, 
but that other things, such as health, etc., were good, and therefore to 
be sought for their own sakes, though in a less degree than virtue ; or, 
in other words, the Peripatetics admitted natural as well as moral good 
the Stoics did not. 

* That is to say, he does not admit the probability of the correctness 
of such as Epicurus, or Hieronymus, etc., who held that pleasure, the 
absence of pain, etc., were worth seeking; on their own account 

3 Because he was a Stoic. 



128 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

say so), but only those things which seemed expedient. But 
he often bears testimony that nothing is expedient which is not 
likewise virtuous nothing virtuous which is not likewise ex 
pedient ; and he denies that any greater mischief has ever at 
tacked the race of men than the opinion of those persons who 
would separate these things. It was not, therefore, in order 
that we should prefer the expedient to the virtuous, but in order 
that we should decide between them without error, if ever they 
should come in collision, that he introduced that opposition 
which seemed to have, not which has, existence. This part, 
therefore, thus abandoned, I will complete with no help, but, as 
it is said with my own forces. For there has not, since the 
time of Pansetius, been any thing delivered upon this subject, of 
all the works which have come to my hands, that meets my ap 
probation. 

VIII. When, therefore, any appearance of expediency is 
presented to you, you - are necessarily affected by it ; but if, 
when you direct your attention to it, you see moral turpitude 
attached to that which offers the appearance of expediency, 
then you are under an obligation not to abandon expediency, 
but to understand that there can not be real expediency 
where there is moral turpitude; because, since nothing is 
so contrary to nature as moral turpitude (for nature desires 
the upright, the suitable and the consistent, and rejects the 
reverse), and nothing is so agreeable to nature as expe 
diency, surely expediency and turpitude can not co-exist in 
the same subject. And again, since we are born for 
virtue, and this either is the only thing to be desired, as 
it appeared to Zeno, or is at least to be considered weightier 
in its entire importance than all other things, as is the 
opinion of Aristotle, it is the necessary consequence, that 
whatever is virtuous either is the only, or it is the highest 
good ; but whatever is good is certainly useful therefore, 
whatever is virtuous is useful. 1 Wherefore, it is an error 

1 The following parallel passage will not only show how nearly the 
ethics of Cicero approach to those of a Christian philosopher, but will also 
suggest the reason why they are not entirely coincident. " It is suffi 
ciently evident," says Dymond, upon the principles which have hitherto 
been advanced, a that considerations of utility are only so far obligatory, 
as they are in accordance with the moral law. Pursuing, however, the 
method which has been adopted in the two last chapters, it may be ob 
served that this subserviency to the Divine will, appears to be required 



CHAP. IX. CICERO S OFFICES. 129 

of bad men, which, when it grasps at something which seems 
useful, separates it immediately from virtue. Hence spring 
stilettos, hence poisons, hence forgery of wills, hence thefts, 
embezzlements, hence robberies and extortions from allies 
and fellow-citizens, hence the intolerable oppressions of ex 
cessive opulence hence, in fine, even in free states, the lust 
of sway, than which nothing darker or fouler can be con 
ceived. iFor men view the profits of transactions with false 
judgment, but they do not see the punishment I do not 
say of the laws, which they often break through, but of 
moral turpitude itself, which is more severe. Wherefore, 
this class of skeptics should be put out of our consider 
ation (as being altogether wicked and impious), who 
hesitate whether they should follow that which they see is 
virtuous, or knowingly contaminate themselves with wicked 
ness. For the guilty deed exists in the very hesitation, even 
though they shall not have carried it out. Therefore, such 
matters should not be at all deliberated about, in which the 
very deliberation is criminal ; and also from every delibera 
tion the hope and idea of secrecy and concealment ought to 
be removed. For we ought to be sufficiently convinced, if 
we have made any proficiency in philosophy, that even though 
we could conceal any transaction from all gods and men, yet 
that nothing avaricious should be done, nothing unjust, 
nothing licentious, nothing incontinent. 

IX. To this purpose Plato introduces that celebrated 

by the written revelation. The habitual preference of futurity to the 
present time which Scripture exhibits, indicates that our interests here 
should be held in subordination to our interests hereafter ; and as these 
higher interests are to be consulted by the means which revelation pre 
scribes, it is manifest that those means are to be pursued, whatever wo 
may suppose to be their effects upon the present welfare of ourselves or 
of other men. If in this life only we have hope in God, then are we of 
ah 1 men most miserable. And why did they thus sacrifice expediency ? 
Because the communicated will of God required that course of life by 
which human interests were apparently sacrificed. It will be perceived 
that these considerations result from the truth (too little regarded in 
talking of expediency and general benevolence ), that utility as res 
pects mankind can not be properly consulted without taking into account 
our interests in futurity. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die, 
is a maxim of which all would approve if we had no concerns with 
another life. That which might be very expedient if death were anni 
hilation, may be very inexpedient now." Essay on Morality, Essay I. 
chap. iii. 



130 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK nr. 

Gyges, who, when the earth had opened, in consequence of 
certain heavy showers, descended into that chasm, and, as 
tradition goes, beheld a brazen horse, in whose side was a 
door, on opening which he beheld the body of a dead man 
of extraordinary size, and a gold ring upon his finger, which 
when he had drawn off, he himself put it on, and then betook 
himself to the assemby of the shepherds (for he was the 
king s shepherd). There, when he turned the stone of this 
ring to the palm of his hand, he was visible to no person, but 
himself saw every thing; and when he had turned the ring 
into its proper place, he again became visible. Having em 
ployed, then, this convenience of the ring, he committed 
adultery with the queen, and, with her assistance, slew the 
king, his master, and got rid of those whom he considered likely 
to oppose him. Nor could any one discover him in these 
crimes. So with the assistance of the ring he suddenly 
sprang up to be king of Lydia. Now, if a wise man had 
this ring itself, he would think that he was no more at liberty 
to commit crime than if he had it not. For virtue, not 
secrecy, is sought by good men. And here some philosophers, 
and they indeed by no means unworthy men, but not very 
acute, say that the story told by Plato is false and fabulous, 
just as if he indeed maintained either that it had happened 
or could have happened. The import of this ring and of this 
example is this if nobody were to know, nobody even to 
suspect that you were doing any thing for. the sake of riches, 
power, domination, lust if it would be for ever unknown to 
gods and men, would you do it ? They deny that the case 
is possible. But though indeed it be possible, I only inquire 
what they would do if that w r ere possible which they deny 
to be so. They argue very stupidly, for they simply deny 
that it is possible, and they persist in that answer. They do 
not perceive what is the force of that expression, " if it were 
possible." For when we ask what they would do if they 
possibly could conceal, we are not asking whether they really 
could conceal ; but we are putting them, as it were, to the 
torture, that if they answer that thev would do, if impunity 
were offered, what it was their interest to clo, they must 
confess that they are wicked ; if they deny that they would 
do so, they must admit that all base actions are to be shunned 
on their own account. But now let us return to our subject. 



CHAP. x. CICERO S OFFICES, 131 

X. Many cases frequently occur, which disturb our minds 
by the appearance of expediency. Not when this is the 
subject of deliberation, whether virtue should be deserted 
on account of the magnitude of the profit (for on this, indeed, 
it is dishonest to deliberate), but this, whether or no that 
which seems profitable can be done without baseness. When 
Brutus deposed his colleague, Collatinus, from his command, 
he might seem to be acting with injustice; for Collatinus 
had been the associate and assistant in the councils of Brutus 
in expelling the kings. But when the rulers had taken 
this counsel, that the kindred of Superbus, and the name of 
the Tarquinii, and the memory of royalty were to be rooted 
out; that which was useful, namely, to consult for his 
country, was so virtuous that it ought to have pleased even 
Collatinus himself. Therefore the expediency of the measure 
prevailed with Brutus on account of its rectitude, without 
which expediency could not have even existed. But it was 
otherwise in that king who founded the city ; for the appear 
ance of expediency influenced his mind, since, when it seemed 
to him more profitable to reign alone than with another, he slew 
his brother. He disregarded both affection and humanity, 
that he might obtain that which seemed useful, but was not. 
And yet he set up the excuse about the wall a pretense of virtue 
neither probable nor very suitable : therefore, with all due respect 
to Quirinus or Romulus, 1 1 would say that he committed a crime. 

Yet our own interests should not be neglected by us, nor 
given up to others when we ourselves want them ; but each 
should serve his own interest, as far as it can be done with 
out injustice to another: Chrysippus has judiciously made 
this remark like many others : " He, who runs a race, 
ought to make exertions, and struggle as much as he can 
to be victor ; but he ought by no means to trip up or push 
with his hand the person with whom he is contesting. 
Thus in life it is not unjust that each, should seek for himself 
what may pertain to his advantage it is not just that he 
should take from another." 

But our duties are principally confused in cases of friend 
ship ; for both not to bestow on them what you justly may, and 
to bestow what is not just, are contrary to duty. But the 
rule regarding this entire subject is short and easy. For 

1 Romulus, when deified, waa called Quirinus. 



132 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

those things which seem useful honors, riches, pleasures, 
and other things of the same kind should never be preferred 
to friendship. But, on the other hand, for the sake of a 
friend a good man will neither act against the state, nor 
against his oath and good faith not even if he shall he 
judge in the case of his friend for he lays aside the 
character of a friend when he puts on that of a judge. So 
much he will concede to friendship that he had rather the 
cause of his friend were just, and that he would accommo 
date him as to the time of pleading his cause as far as the 
laws permit. But when he must pronounce sentence on his 
oath, he will remember that he has called the divinity as 
witness that is, as I conceive, his own conscience, than 
which the deity himself has given nothing more divine to 
man. Therefore we have received from our ancestors <i 
noble custom, if we would retain it, of entreating the judge 
for what he can do with safe conscience. This entreaty has 
reference to those things which, as I mentioned a little while 
ago, could be granted with propriety by a judge to his friend. 
For if all things were to be done which friends would wish, 
such intimacies can not be considered friendships, but rather 
conspiracies. But I am speaking of common friendships; 
for there could be no such thing as that among wise and 
perfect men. They tell us that Damon and Phintias, the 
Pythagoreans, felt such affection for each other, that when 
Dionysius, the tyrant, had appointed a day for the exe 
cution of one of them, and he who had been condemned 
to death had entreated a few days for himself, for the purpose 
of commending his family to the care of his friends, the 
other became security to have him forthcoming, so that if he 
had not returned, it would have been necessary for himself 
to die in his place. When he returned upon the day, the 
tyrant having admired their faith, entreated that they would 
admit him as a third to their friendship. 

When, therefore, that which seems useful in friendship is 
compared with that which is virtuous, let the appearance of 
expediency be disregarded, let virtue prevail. Moreover, when 
in friendship, things which are not virtuous shall be required of us, 
religion and good faith should be preferred to friendship. Thus 
that distinction of duty which we are seeking will be preserved. 

XI. But it is in state affairs that men most frequently 



CHAP. XI. CICERO S OFFICES. 133 

commit crimes under the pretext of expediency as did our 
countrymen in the demolition of Corinth : the Athenians still 
more -harshly, since they decreed that the thumbs of the ^Egi- 
netans, who were skillful in naval matters, should be cut off. 
This seemed expedient ; for ^Egina, on account of its proxi 
mity, was too formidable to the Piraeus. But nothing which is 
cruel can be expedient ; for cruelty is most revolting to the 
nature of mankind, which we ought to follow. Those, too, 
do wrong who prohibit foreigners to inhabit their cities, and 
banish them, as Pennus did among our ancestors, and Papius 
did lately. For it is proper not to permit him to be as a citizen 
who is not a citizen a law which the wisest of consuls, 
Crassus and Scsevola, introduced : but to prohibit foreigners 
from dwelling in a city is certainly inhuman. Those are 
noble actions in which the appearance of public expediency 
is treated with contempt in comparison with virtue. Our state 
is full of examples, as well frequently - on other occasions as 
especially in the second Punic war, when she, having suffered 
the disaster at Cannae, exhibited greater spirit than ever she did 
in her prosperity no indication of fear, no mention of peace. 
So great is the power of virtue, that it throws the sem 
blance of expediency into the shade. When the Athenians 
could by no means withstand the attack of the Persians, and 
determined that, having abandoned their city, and deposited 
their wives and children at Troezene, they should embark in 
their vessels, and with their fleet protect the liberties of 
Greece, they stoned one Cyrsilus, who was persuading them to 
remain in the city, and to receive Xerxes : though he seemed 
to pursue expediency ; but it was unreal, as being opposed 
to virtue. Thernistocles, after the victory in that war which 
took place with the Persians, said in the assembly, that he 
had a plan salutary for the state, but that it was necessary 
that it should not be publicly known. He demanded that 
the people should appoint somebody with whom he might 
communicate. Aristides was appointed. To him he disclosed 
that the fleet of the Lacedaemonians, which was in dock 
at Gytheum, could secretly be burned; of which act the 
necessary consequence would be, that the power of the 
Lacedaemonians would be broken; which, when Aristides 
had heard, he came into the assembly amid great expecta 
tions of the people, and said that the Dlan which Themistocles 



134 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

proposed was very expedient, but by no means honorable. 
Therefore, the Athenians were of opinion that what was not 
upright was not even expedient, and on the authority of 
Aristides, rejected that entire matter which they had not 
even heard. They acted better than we who have pirates 
free from tribute, and allies paying taxes. 

XII. Let it be inferred, then, that what is base never is 
expedient, not even when you obtain what you think to be 
useful. For this very thinking what is base to be expedient, 
is mischievous. But, as I said before, cases often occur, when 
profit seems to be opposed to rectitude, so that it is ne 
cessary to consider whether it is plainly opposed, or "can be 
reconciled with rectitude. Of that sort are these questions. 
If, for example, an honest man has brought from Alexandria 
to Rhodes a great quantity of grain during the scarcity and 
famine of the Rhodians, and the very high prices of provi 
sions; if this same man should know that many merchants 
had sailed from Alexandria, and should have seen their ves 
sels on the way laden with corn, and bound for Rhodes, 
should he tell that to the Rhodians, or keeping silence, should 
he sell his own corn at as high a price as possible ? We are 
supposing a wise and honest man ; we are inquiring about the 
deliberation and consultation of one who would not conceal the 
matter from the Rhodians if he thought it dishonorable, but 
is in doubt whether it be dishonorable. In cases of this 
sort, one view was habitually taken by Diogenes, the Baby 
lonian, a great and approved Stoic; and a different view by 
Antipater, his pupil, a very acute man. It seems right to 
Antipater, that every thing should be disclosed, so that the 
buyer should not be ignorant of any thing at all that the seller 
knew. To Diogenes it appears that the seller ought, just as 
far as is established by the municipal law to declare the 
faults, to act in other respects without fraud ; but since he 
is selling, to wish to sell at as good a price as possible. I have 
brought my corn I have set it up for sale I am selling 
it, not at a higher rate than others, perhaps, he will even 
say for less, since the supply is increased ; to w r hom is there 
injustice done ? The argument of Antipater proceeds on the 
other side. What do you say ? When you ought to consult 
for the good of mankind, and to benefit human society, and 
were born under this law, and have these principles from 



CHAP. xiii. CICERO S OFFICES. 135 

nature, which you ought to obey and comply with, that your 
interest should be the common interest, and reciprocally, the 
common interest yours will you conceal from men what ad 
vantage and plenty is near them ? Diogenes will answer 
perhaps, in this manner. It is one thing to conceal from 
them, another thing to be silent on the subject : " I do not 
conceal from you now, if I do not tell you what is the nature 
of the gods, or what is the supreme good ; things, the know 
ledge of which would be more beneficial to you than the low 
price of wheat. But is there any necessity for me to tell you 
whatever is beneficial to you to know ?" " Yes, indeed," the 
other will say, " it is necessary, that is, if you remember that 
there is a social tie established between men by nature." 
" I remember that," he will answer, " but is that social tie 
such that each has nothing of his own ? for if it be so, we 
should not even sell any thing, but make a present of it." 

XIII. You see, throughout all this disputation, it is not 
said, although this act be base, yet since it is profitable 
I will do it ; but on the one side it is said it is profitable 
in so much as it is not a base act ; and on the other side, be 
cause it Js base, on this account it should not be done. An 
honest man would dispose of a house on account of some 
faults which he himself knows, but others are ignorant of; it 
is unwholesome, though considered healthy ; it is not known 
that snakes make their appearance in all the bed chambers ; 
it is built of bad materials, ready to fall ; but nobody knows 
this except the master. I ask, if the seller should not tell 
these things to the buyer, and should sell the house for a 
great deal more than he thought he could sell it for, whether 
he would have acted unjustly or dishonestly? He surely 
would, says Antipate r. For if suffering a purchaser to come 
to loss, arid to incur the greatest damage by mistake, be not 
that which is lorbidden at Athens with public execrations, 
namely, a not pointing out the road to one going astray, 
what else is ? It is even more than not showing the way ; 
for it is knowingly leading another astray. Diogenes argues 
on the other side. Has he forced you to purchase who 
did not even request you to do so ? He advertised for 
sale a house that did not please him ; you have purchased 
one that pleased you. But if they who advertised k a, good 
and well built country house," are not thought to have prac 
ticed fraud, even though it be neither good nor well built ; 



136 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

much less have they who have not praised their house. For 
where there is judgment in the buyer, what fraud can there 
be in the seller ? But if it be not necessary to make good 
all that is said, do you think, it necessary to make good that 
which is not said ? For what is more foolish than that the seller 
should relate the defects of that which he sells ? Or, what 
so absurd as that, by the command of the owner, the auctioneer 
should thus proclaim : " I am selling an unhealthy house." 
In some doubtful- cases, then, virtue is thus defended on the 
one side ; on the other side, it is said on the part of expediency, 
that it not only is virtuous to do that which seems profitable, 
but even disgraceful not to do it. This is that dissension 
which seems often to exist between the profitable and the 
virtuous. Which matters we must decide. For we have 
not proposed them that we might make a question of them, 
but that we might explain them. That corn merchant, then, 
seems to me to be bound not to practice concealment on 
the Rhodians, nor this house-seller on the purchasers. For 
it is not practicing concealment if you should be silent about 
any thing ; but when for the sake of your own emolument 
you wish those, whose interest it is to know that which you 
know, to remain in ignorance. Now, as to this sort of con 
cealment, who does not see what kind of thing it is, arid what 
kind of a man will practice it ? Certainly not an open, not 
a single-minded, not an ingenuous, not a just, not a good 
man ; but rather a wily, close, artful, deceitful, knavish, crafty, 
double-dealing, evasive -fellow. 1 Is it not inexpedient to 

1 On referring to the conclusion of the last chapter, it will be seen that 
neither does Diogenes prove, nor does Antipater admit, that by the corn- 
merchant s silence any rule of morality is infringed. On what ground and 
for what reason was it incumbent on him to disclose the fact which acci 
dentally came to his knowledge, that other cargoes of corn were at sea ? 
none is assigned, but that buyers and sellers are bound by the same social 
ties. But these do not, as Antipater observes, bind us to communicate to 
every body all we know. In withholding this information, which was 
wholly extrinsic to his bargain, no confidence was violated. Had he dis 
closed it, the price of the commodity in which he dealt would have been 
materially reduced. However noble-minded or liberal it might be in him 
to put the buyer in possession of all the intelligence on the subject within 
his power, no rules of justice were violated by his withholding it. And 
these are, as Adam Smith observes (Theory of Moral Sentiments, iv. 7), 
" the only rules which are precise and accurate ; those of other virtues 
are vague and indeterminate. The first may be compared to the rules 
of grammar; the others to the rules which the critics lay down for the 



CHAP. XT?. CICERO S OFFICES, 137 

pose ourselves to the imputations of so many vices, and even 
more? 

XIV. But if they are to be blamed who have kept silent, 
what ought to be thought of those who have practiced false 
hood in word ? Caius Canius, a Roman knight,, not without 
wit, and tolerably learned, when he had betaken himself to 
Syracuse, for the sake, as he was himself accustomed to say, 
of enjoyment, not of business, gave out that he wished to 
purchase some pleasure-grounds, whither he could invite his 
friends, and where he could amuse himself without intruders. 
When this had got abroad, one Pythius, who practiced dis 
counting at Syracuse, told him that he had pleasure-grounds, 
not indeed for sale, but that Canius was at liberty to use 
them as his own if he desired, and at the same time he in 
vited the gentleman to dinner at the pleasure-grounds on the 
following day. When he had promised to go, then Pythius, 
who, as a discounter, was well liked among all ranks, called 
some fishermen to him, and requested of them that upon the 
following day they should fish in front of his grounds, and 
told them what he wished them to do. In due time, Canius 
came to dinner the entertainment was sumptuously pro 
vided by Pythius a crowd of fishing-boati before their eyes. 
Each fisherman for himself brought what he had caught ; the 
fish were laid before the feet of Pythius. Then danius says, 
" What is this, pray, Pythius so much fish so many boats ?" 
And he answers, " What s the wonder ? Whatever fish there 
are at Syracuse are taken at this place ; here is their watering- 
place ; these men could not do without this villa." Canius, 

attainment of the sublime, which present us rather with a general idea 
of the perfection we ought to aim at, than afford us any certain and in 
fallible directions for acquiring it." Puffendorf, considering this very 
question, after deciding that no rule of justice was infringed by the corn- 
merchant, absolves him also from any offense against the laws of benev 
olence and humanity. In this opinion his ingenious commentator, Bar- 
beyrac, fully agrees, and cites the opinion of a strict casuist, La Placette, 
to the same effect. Had the merchant, on his arrival, found the market 
forestalled by the importation of corn from some other quarter, or had he 
on the voyage lost ship or cargo, he could not have expected from the 
Rhodiaris the reimbursement of his loss. Why then should he not avail 
himself of a favorable state of the market? All concur, therefore, in de 
ciding that he was not bound in conscience to a disclosure, " provided 
merchants do not impose on us, we may easily dispense them," says 
Puffendorf, " from all acts of pure liberality." 



138 CICEBO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

inflamed with desire, presses Pythius to sell. He is unwill 
ing at first ; but, to be brief, he obtains his wish. The 
man, eager and wealthy, purchases the place at as much 
as Pythius demands, and purchases it furnished. He draws 
the articles and completes the transaction. Canius on the 
following day invites his friends. He comes early himself; 
he sees not a boat ; he asks of his next neighbor, was it any 
holiday with the fishermen, that he saw none of them. " None 
that I know," said he : " but none used to fish here, and there 
fore I was amazed at what happened yesterday." Canius got 
angry ; yet what could he do ? for my colleague and friend 
Aquillius had not yet brought out the forms about criminal 
devices ; in which very forms, when it was inquired of him, 
" What is a criminal device ?" he answered, " When one 
thing is pretended, and another thing done." Very clearly, 
indeed, was this laid down ; as by a man skilled in definition. 
Therefore, both Pythius, and all those who do one thing, while 
feigning another, are perfidious, base, knavish. No act of 
theirs, then, can be useful, when it is stained with so many vices. 
XV. But if the Aquillian definition is true, pretense 
and dissimulation ought to be banished from the whole of 
life ; so that neither to buy better, nor to sell, will a good 
man feign or disguise any thing. And this criminal device 
was punished both by the statute laws (as in the case of 
guardianship by the twelve tables, in that of the defrauding 
of minors, by the Plsetorian law), and by judicial decisions 
without legal enactment, in which is added " according to 
good faith" (EX FIDE BONA). Moreover, in other judgments, 
the following phrases are very excellent : in the arbitration of 
a cause matrimonial, the phrase, ** MELIUS ^EQUIUS ;" in a case 
of trust, the phrase, " UT INTER BONOS BENE AGIER." * What 
then ? Can there be any room for fraud either in that 

1 The Prastor had an equitable jurisdiction. It is to his decrees the 
text refers ; and as the principal subjects that came before him were bona 
fide contracts, not binding in strict law, but in which he decided accord 
ing to conscience, and used in these decrees a set form of words, " ex 
fide bona agatur," the decisions on this and all other cases in equity came 
to be called judicia, bonce fidei. Two other set forms are mentioned in 
the text; one used in the case of divorce (as well as in all other cases of 
arbitration), where arbitrators, decreeing the restoration of the wife s 
property, employed the form QUANTUM JSQUIUS MELIUS. The other 
formula was usual in cases of trust ; it ran thus : INTER BONOS BEN& 

AGIER ET SINE FRAUDATIONE. 



CHAP. XT. CICERO S OFFICES. 139 

transaction which is decreed to be adjusted " better and 
fairer ?" Or can any thing be done deceitfully or knavishly, 
when it is pronounced " that among honest men there must 
be fair dealing ?" But criminal device, as Aquillius says, 
is comprised in pretense ; therefore all deceit should be 
excluded from contracts. The seller should not bring 
a person to bid over the value, nor the buyer one to 
bid under him. Each of the two, if he should come 
to name a price, should not name a price more than once. 
Quintus Scsevola, indeed, the son of Publius, when he re 
quired that a price of a property of which he was about to 
become a purchaser should be named to him once for all, 
and the seller had done so, said that he valued it at more, 
and gave in addition a hundred sestertia. There is no 
person who can deny that this was the act of an hopest 
man ; they deny that it was of a prucjent man ; just as it 
would be if a man should sell a thing for less than he could 
get.) This, then, is the mischief that persons think some 
men honest, , others prudent ; through which mistake En- 
nius remarks, " that the wise man is wise in vain, who 
can not be of use to himself." That indeed is true, if it be 
only agreed on between me and Ennius what " to be of use" 
means. I see, indeed, Hecaton of Rhodes, the scholar of 
Panaetius, saying, in those books about duties which he 
wrote to Quintus Tubero, "that it was the duty of a wise 
man, that doing nothing contrary to manners, laws, and 
institutions, he should have regard to improving his prop 
erty ; for we do not wish to be rich for ourselves alone, 
but for our children, kindred, friends, and especially for our 
country ; for the means and affluence of each individually 
constitute the riches of the state." To this philosopher the 
conduct of Scaevola, about which I spoke a little while ago, 
can by no means be pleasing ; for to him who disavows 
that he would do for the sake of his- own gain only just so 
much, as is not illegal, neither grea,t pains nor thanks are 
due. But if pretense and dissimulation are criminal de 
vices, there are few affairs in which that criminal device 
may not be employed ; or if a good man is he who serves 
whom he can, injures nobody certainly we do not easily 
find such a good man ; to do wrong, then, is never profitable, 
because it is always base; and to be a good man is always 
profitable, because it is always virtuous. 



140 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

XVI. And with respect to the law of landed estates, it is 
ordained among us by the civil law, that by selling them, 
the faults should be declared which were known to the 
seller. For though by the twelve tables it was sufficient to 
be answerable for those defects which were expressly men 
tioned, which he who denied suffered a penalty of double the 
value, yet a penalty for silence also was established by the 
lawyers. For they determined that, if the seller knew what 
ever defect there was in an estate, he ought to make it good, 
unless it was expressly mentioned. Thus, when the augurs 
were about to officiate on the augurs hill, 1 and had com 
manded Titus Claudius Centumalus, who had a house on the 
Cselian Mount, to take down those parts of it, the height of 
which obstructed their auspices, Claudius set up the house 
for sale, and he sold it ; Publius Calpurnius Lanarius pur 
chased it. That same notice was given to him by the 
augurs ; therefore, when Calpurnius had pulled it down, and 
had discovered that Claudius had advertised the house after 
he had been commanded by the augurs to pull it down, he 
brought him before an arbitrator, to decide " what he ought 
to give or do for him in good faith." Marcus Cato pro 
nounced the sentence ; the father of this our Cato (for as 
other men are to be named from their father, so he who 
begot that luminary ought to be named from his son). This 
judge, then, decreed as follows : " Since in selling he had 
known that matter, and had not mentioned it, that he 
ought to make good the loss to the purchaser." There 
fore he established this principle, that it concerned good 
faith that a defect which the seller was aware of should be 
made known to the purchaser ; but if he decided with justice, 
then that corn-merchant did not with justice keep silent, 
nor that seller of the unhealthy house. 2 However, all mental 

1 The Capitoline. 

2 A commentator on this passage very justly observes, that " the anal 
ogy is by no means perfect between the cases. Claudius withheld from 
the buyer information respecting that very house, by which its utility and 
its value were materially reduced. In fact the house which he sold was 
not the identical house, as he well knew, which in a short period would 
be standing on that spot ; it must be replaced by a house less lofty, and 
which would cost to the buyer no small sum to unroof, reduce, and alter. 
This information related, therefore, to the house itself which he sold and 
warranted. Not so with regard to the corn sold at Rhodes ; the quality 
of the corn was not there in question ; the intelligence which the mer- 



CHAP. xvii. CICERO S OFFICES, 141 

reservations of this kind can not be comprehended in the civil 
law ; but those which can are carefully checked. Marcus 
Marius Gratidianus, our kinsman, sold to Cains Sergius 
Grata that house which he had himself purchased from the 
same man a few years before. This house was subject to a 
service ; * but Marius had not mentioned this in the con 
ditions of conveyance. The matter was brought to trial. 
Crassus was counsel for Grata ; Antonius defended Gratidi 
anus : Crassus relied on the law whatever defect a seller 
who knows it had not disclosed, it is fit that he should 
make good : Antonius relied on the equity that since 
that defect could not have been unknown to Sergius, who 
had formerly sold the house, there was no necessity that it 
should be disclosed ; neither could he be deceived, who was 
aware under what liability that which he had bought was placed. 
To what purpose these accounts ? That you may understand 
this, that cunning men were not approved by our ancestors. 

XVII. But the laws abolish frauds in one way, philoso 
phers in another : the laws, as far as they can lay hold of them 
by their arm ; 2 philosophers, as far as they can check them 
by reason and wisdom. Reason, then, requires that nothing 
be done insidiously, nothing dissemblingly, nothing falsely. 
Is it not then an ensnaring to lay a net, even though you 
should not beat up the game, nor hunt them to it ? For the 
wild creatures often fall into it of themselves, no one pur 
suing them. So is it fit you should set up your house for 
sale, put up a bill like a net, sell the house because of its 
defects, and that somebody should rush into it unwittingly ? 

chant withheld did not relate to that corn, but was completely extrinsic. 
Though he might be bound to satisfy the buyer s inquiry by giving a true 
account of that corn, he was not bound to furnish, unasked, an account 
of all other corn. Had he stated his corn to be merchantable, and of a 
given weight, and the buyer had found the corn on delivery to be of less 
weight and full of weevils, then the comparison would have been more 
just with a house, which, as the proprietor knew, must be reduced in 
height, and which he sold, concealing that important circumstance." 

1 A property was said in law, " servire alicui," when some third per 
son had a right of way, or some other such right over it. 

2 The duty of the laws is to punish fraud in such overt cases as it can 
lay hold of. The duty of philosophy is to expose by argument the turpi 
tude of fraud, even in those cases which, from their subtilty, or from the 
corruptness of morals, escape the hand of the law, since " reticentiae jure 
civili omnes comprehend! non possunt." 



142 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

Though I see that this, on account of the corruption of man 
ners, is neither esteemed base in morals, nor forbidden either 
by statutable enactments or by civil law ; yet it is forbidden 
by the law of nature. For there is the social tie between man 
and man which is of the widest extent, which, though I have 
often mentioned it, yet needs to be mentioned oftener. 
There is a closer tie between those who are of the same nation ; 
a closer still between those who are of the same state. Our 
ancestors, therefore, were of opinion that the law of nations 
was one thing, the municipal law a different thing. What 
ever is civil law, the same is not, for that reason, necessarily 
the law of nations ; but whatever is the law of nations, the 
same ought to be civil law. But we possess no solid and 
express image of true right and its sister justice : we use 
.merely their shade and faint resemblances. Would that we 
followed even these, for they are taken from the best pat 
terns of nature and truth ! For how admirable are those 
words, " that I be not ensnared and defrauded on account of 
you and your honesty." What golden words those "that 
among honest men there be fair dealing, and without fraud." 
But who are honest men, and what is fair dealing, is the great 
question. Quintus Scaevola, indeed, the high priest, used to 
say that there was the greatest weight in all those decisions 
in which was added the form " of good faith ;" and he 
thought the jurisdiction of good faith extended very widely, 
and that it was concerned in wardships, societies, trusts, 
commissions, buyings, sellings, hirings, lettings, in which 
the intercourse of life is comprised ; that in these it is the 
part of a great judge to determine (especially since there 
were contrary decisions in most cases) what each ought to 
be accountable for to each. Wherefore craftiness ought to 
be put away, and that knavery which would fain seem, 
indeed, to be prudence, but which is far from it, and differs 
most widely. 1 For prudence consists in the distinguishing of 

1 Addison carries out this distinction far more elaborately. " At the 
same time," he says, " that I think discretion the most useful talent a man 
can be master of, I look upon cunning to be the accomplishment of little, 
mean, ungenerous minds. Discretion points out the noblest ends to us, 
and pursues the most proper and laudable methods of attaining them. Cun 
ning has only private, selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make 
them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, like a 
well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon. Cunning is a kind of short- 



CHAP. xvn. CICERO S OFFICES. 143 

good and evil knavery, if all things that are vicious are 
evil, prefers evil to good. 

Nor is it, indeed, in landed property alone that the civil 
law deduced from nature punishes knavery and fraud, but 
also in the sale of slaves, all fraud of the seller is prevented. 
For he who ought to be aware of the health, the running 
away, the thefts of slaves, is accountable by the edict of 
the ^Ediles ; but the case of heirs is different. 1 From 
which it will be understood, since nature is the fountain of 
right, that it is according to nature that no one should act 
in such a manner, that he should prey on the ignorance of 
another. 2 Nor can there be found in life any greater curse 

sightedness that discovers the minutest objects which are near at hand, 
but is not able to discern things at a distance. Discretion, the more it is 
discovered, gives a greater authority to the person who possesses it. 
Cunning, when it is once detected, loses its force, and makes a man in 
capable of bringing about even those events which he might have done 
had he passed only for a plain man. Discretion is the perfection of reason, 
and a guide to us in all the duties of life ; cunning is a kind of in 
stinct that only looks out after our immediate interest and welfare. Dis 
cretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding ; 
cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who 
are but the fewest removes from them. In short, cunning is only the 
mimic of discretion, and may pass upon mean men in the same manner 
as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom." Spec 
tator, No. 225. 

1 Because an heir, having only just come into possession of the proper 
ty, consisting of slaves, might fairly be considered ignorant of their evil 
qualities. 

2 We have here a singular proof of the facility with which men, even 
when analyzing the nicest moral obligations, may be insensible to the 
grossest violations of moral fitness involved in the social institutions amid 
which they have been educated. In connectioi>with this nice casuistry 
touching the sale of a slave, it is curious to peruse the following descrip 
tion of the state of things which existed at the very time when Cicero 
penned his treatise : 

" The custom of exposing old, useless, or sick slaves in an island of 
the Tyber, there to starve, seems to have been pretty common in Rome; 
and whoever recovered, after having been so exposed, had his liberty 
given him by an edict of the Emperor Claudius ; in which it was likewise 
forbidden to kill any slave merely for old age or sickness. But suppos 
ing that this edict was strictly obeyed, would it better the domestic 
treatment of slaves, or render their lives much more comfortable ? "We 
may imagine what others would practice, when it was the professed 
maxim of the elder Cato to sell his superannuated slaves for any price, 
rather than maintain what he esteemed a useless burden. 

" The ergastula, or dungeons where slaves in chains were forced to 



144 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK irr. 

than the pretense of wisdom in knavery ; from which those in 
numerable cases proceed, where the useful seems to be opposed 
to the virtuous. For how few will be found who, when prom 
ised perfect secrecy and impunity, can abstain from injustice ? 

XVIII. Let us test the principle, if you please, in those ex 
amples in which, indeed, the mass of mankind do not think per 
haps that there is any crime. For it is not necessary in this 
place to treat of assassins, poisoners, will-forgers, robbers, 
embezzlers, who are to be kept down, not by means of words 
and the disputation of philosophers, but by chains and a 
dungeon. But let us consider these acts, which they who 
are esteemed honest men commit. Some persons brought 
from Greece to Rome a forged will of Lucius Minucius 
Basilus, a rich man. That they might the more easily obtain 
their object, they put down as legatees along with themselves, 
Marcus Crassus and Quinlus Hortensius, the most powerful 
men of that day ; who, though they suspected that it was a 
forgery, but were conscious of no crime in themselves, did 

work, were very common all over Italy. Columella advises that they be 
always built under ground, and recommends it as the duty of a careful 
overseer to call over every day the names of the slaves, like the muster 
ing of a regiment or ship s company, in order to know presently when 
any of them had deserted ; a proof of the frequency of these ergastula 
and of the great number of slaves usually confined in them. 

" A chained slave for a porter was usual in Rome, as appears from Ovid 
and other authors. Had not these people shaken off all sense of com 
passion toward that unhappy part of their species, would they have 
presented their friends, at the first entrance, with such an image of the 
severity of the master and misery of the slave ? Nothing so common in 
all trials, even of civil causes, as to call for the evidence of slaves ; which 
was always extorted by the most exquisite torment. Demosthenes says 
that where it was possible to produce, for the same fact, either freemen 
or slaves, as witnesses, the judges always preferred the torturing of slaves 
as a more certain evidence. 

" Seneca draws a picture of that disorderly luxury which changes day 
into night, and night into day, and inverts every stated hour of every 
office in life. Among other circumstances, such as displacing the meals 
and times of bathing, he mentions, that regularly, about the third hour 
of the night, the neighbors of one who indulges this false refinement, 
hear the noise of whips and lashes ; and, upon inquiry, find that he is 
then taking an account of the conduct of his servants, and giving them 
due correction and discipline. 

" This is not remarked as an instance of cruelty, but only of disorder, 
which even in actions the most usual and methodical changes the fixed 
hours that an established custom had assigned for them." Hume s Es 
says, Part ii. Essay 11. 



CHAP. xix. CICERO S OFFICES. 145 

not reject the paltry gift of other men s villainy. What 
then ? Was this enough, that they should not be thought to 
have been culpable ? To me, indeed, it seems otherwise ; 
though I loved one of them when living, and do not hate the 
other, now that he is dead. But when Basilus had willed 
that Marcus Satrius, his sister s son, should bear his name, 
and had made him his heir (I am speaking of him who was 
patron of the Picene and Sabine districts ; oh ! foul stigma 
upon those times! 1 ) was it fair that those noble citizens 
should have the property, and that nothing but the name 
should come down to Satrius ? For if he who does not keep off 
an injury, nor repel it if he can from another, acts unjustly, as 
I asserted in the first book, what is to be thought of him who 
not only does not repel, but even assists in the injury? To 
me, indeed, even true legacies do not seem honorable, if 
they are acquired by deceitful fawning not by the reality, 
but by the semblance of kind offices. But in such matters 
the profitable is sometimes accustomed to be thought one 
thing, and the honest another thing. Falsely ; for the rule 
about profit is the same as that which obtains respecting 
honesty. To him who will not thoroughly perceive this, 
no fraud, no villainy will be wanting ; for, considering thus, 
" that, indeed, is honest, but this is expedient," he will dare 
erroneously to separate things united by nature which is 
the fountain of all frauds, malpractices, and crimes. 

XIX. If a good man, then, should have this power, that 
by snapping his fingers his name could creep by stealth into 
the wills of the wealthy, he would not use this power, not 
even if he had it for certain that no one at all would ever 
suspect it. But should you give this power to Mascus 
Orassus, that by the snapping of his fingers he could be in 
scribed heir, when he really was not heir; believe me, he 
would have danced in the forum. But the just man, and he 
whom we deem a good man, would take nothing from any 
man in order to transfer it wrongfully to himself. Let him 
who is surprised at this confess that he is ignorant of what 

1 Marcus Satrius, having taken his uncle s name, Lucius Minucius 
Basilus, was chosen as patron by those districts he was a partisan of 
Caesar in the civil war. In the eyes of Cicero it was, of course, a foul 
stain upon the times that a friend of Caesar should be chosen as patron, 
especially since, as he insinuates in the 2d Phillippic, it was through 
fear, not love, ho was selected for that honor. 

7 



146 CICEEO S OFFICES. BOOK IIL 

constitutes a good man. But if any one would be willing to 
develop the idea involved in his own mind, 1 he would at 
once convince himself that a good man is he who serves 
whom he can, and injures none except when provoked by 
injury. What then? Does he hurt none, who, as if by 
some enchantment, accomplishes the exclusion of the true 
heirs, and the substitution of himself in their place ? Should 
he not do, then, somebody will say, what is useful, what is 
expedient \ Yes, but he should understand that nothing is 
either expedient or useful which is unjust. He who has 
not learned this, can not be a good man. 

When a boy, I learned from my father that Fimbria, the 
consular, 2 was judge in the case of Marcus Lutatius Pinthia, 
Roman knight, a truly honest man, when he had given 
security, 3 (which he was to forfeit) " unless he was a 
good man;" and that Fimbria thereupon told him that he 
never would decide that matter, lest he should either de 
prive a worthy man of his character, if he decided against 
him, or should be seen to have established that any one 
was a good man, when this matter was comprised in in 
numerable duties and praiseworthy actions. To this good 
man, then, whom even Fimbria, not Socrates alone had 

1 The commentator, from whom I have already quoted, gives the fol 
lowing explanation of this passage. From the Platonic school Cicero 
seems to have imbibed a persuasion, not merely that ideas are innate, but 
that they were acquired during a pre-existent state of the mind or soul. 
"Habet primum (se animus hominis) memoriam et earn infinitam, rerum 
innumerabilium quam quidem Plato recordationem esse vult superioris 
vitjE. Ex quo effici vult Socrates, ut discere nihil aliud sit quam recor- 
dari. Nee vero fieri ullo modo posse ut a pueris tot rerum atque tanta- 
rum insitas, et quasi consignatas in animis, notiones, quas vvoia<; vocant, 
haberemus, nisi animus, antequam in corpus intrasset, in rerum cognitione 
viquisset." Tull. Q. I. 24. He states also, Tull. Q. IV. c. 24., " Notionem 
quam habemus omnes de fortitudine, tactam et involutam." In tho 
present passage he appears to speak in the same tone, of developing tho 
notion we have, though indistinctly, in our minds of perfection of moral 
character. 

2 So called to distinguish him from Caius Fimbria, who having by his 
intrigues occasioned the death of Lucius Flaccus, the proconsul of Asia 
(eighty-five years B.C.), was subsequently conquered by Sylla, and termin 
ated his career by suicide. 

3 The "sponsio" was a sum deposited in court, or promised with the 
usual formula ni veram causam haberet. If the party who thus gave 
security was defeated, the money was forfeited to the treasury. 



CHAP. xx. CICERO S OFFICES. 147 

known, any thing which is not morally right can by no 
means seem to be expedient. Such a man, then, not only 
will not venture to do, but not even to think, what he would 
not venture openly to proclaim. Is it hdt disgraceful that 
philosophers should hesitate about this, which not even 
rustics doubt from whom is derived this proverb, which has 
now become trite through antiquity ; for when they commend 
the integrity and worthiness of any person, they say " he is 
one with whom you might play odd and even in the dark." 1 
What meaning has this proverb but this, that nothing is ex 
pedient which is not morally right, even though you could 
obtain it without any body proving you guilty. Do you not 
see *that, according to that proverb, no excuse can be offered 
either to the aforesaid Gyges, nor to this man whom I have 
just now supposed able to sweep to himself the inheritances 
of all by a snap of the ringers ? For as, how much soever 
that which is base may be concealed, vet it can by no means 
become morally right (honestum), so it can not be made out 
that whatever is morally wrong can be expedient, since 
nature is adverse and repugnant. 

XX. But when the prizes are very great, there is a tempta 
tion to do wrong. When Caius Marius was far from the hope 
of the consulship, and was now in the seventh year of his 
torpor, after obtaining the prsetorship, and did not seem likely 
ever to stand for the consulship, he accused Quintus Metellus, 
a very eminent man and citizen, whose lieutenant he was, be 
fore the Roman people of a charge that he was protracting the 
war, when he had been sent to Rome by him his own com 
mander ; stating that if they would make himself consul, that 
he would in a short time deliver Jugurtha, either alive <5r dead, 
into the power of the Roman people. Upon this he was indeed 
made consul, but he deviated from good faith and justice, since, 
by a false charge, he brought obloquy upon a most excellent 
and respectable citizen, whose lieutenant he was, and by whom 
he had been sent. Even my relative Gratidianus did not 
discharge the duty of a good man at the time when he was 

1 This play, retained among modern Italians under the name of La 
Mora, is thus played : A and B are the players ; A suddenly raises, we 
will suppose, three fingers, and B two ; A at a guess, cries, six ; B, five. 
B, having named the number, wins. Parties, to play it in the dark, must 
have reliance on each other s word ; hence the proverb. 



148 CICERO S OFFICE^; BOOK m 

praetor, and the tribunes of the people had called in the 
college of the praetors, in order that the matter of the coinage 
might be settled by a joint resolution. For at that period 
the coinage was in a state of uncertainty, so that no man 
could know how much he was worth. They drew up in 
common an edict, with a fine and conviction annexed, and 
agreed that they should all go up together to the rostra, in 
the afternoon. And while the rest of them, indeed, went off 
each a different way, Marius, from the judgment seats, went 
straight to the rostra, and singly published that which had 
been arranged in common. And this proceeding, if you 
inquire into the result, brought him great honor. In every 
street statues of him were erected, and at these incense and 
tapers were burned. What need of many words ? No man ever 
became a greater favorite with the multitude. These are the 
things which sometimes perplex our deliberations, when that 
in which equity is violated seems not a very great crime, but 
that which is procured by it appears a very great advan 
tage. Thus to *Marius it seemed not a very base act- to snatch 
away the popular favor from his colleagues and the tribunes 
of the people, but it appeared a very expedient thing by 
means of that act to become consul, which at that time he 
had proposed to himself. But there is for all, the one rule 
which I wish to be- thoroughly known to you ; either let not 
that which seems expedient be base, or if it be base let it not 
seem expedient. What then ? Can we judge either the 
former Marius or the latter, 1 a good man ? Unfold and 
examine your understanding, that you may see what in it is 
the idea, form, and notion of a good man. Does it then fall 
under the notion of a good man to lie for the sake of his 
own advantage, to make false charges, to overreach, to 
deceive ? Nothing, indeed, less so. Is there, then, any thing 
of such value, or any advantage so desirable, that for it you 
would forfeit the splendor and name of a good man ? What 
is there which that expediency, as it is called, can bring, so 
valuable as that which it takes away, if it deprive you of the 
name of a good man, if it rob you of your integrity and 
justice? Now, what difference does it make, whether from 
a man one transform himself into a beast, or under the form 
of a man, bear the savage nature of a beast ? 

1 Namely, Marcus Marius Gratidianus. 



CHAP. xxi. CICERO S OFFICES. 149 

XXI. "What ? Are not they who disregard all things up 
right and virtuous, provided they can attain power, doing 
the same as he 1 who was willing to have even for his father- 
in-law, that man 2 by whose audacity he might himself be 
come as powerful ? It seemed expedient to him to become as 
powerful as possible by the unpopularity of the other. He 
did not see how unjust that was toward his country, and 
how base and how useless. But the father-in-law himself 
always had in his mouth the Greek verses from the Phoe- 
nissse, 3 which I will translate as well as I can inelegantly, 
perhaps, yet so that the meaning can be understood : " For 
if justice ought ever to be violated, it is to be violated for the 
sake of ruling ; in other cases cherish the love of country." 

Eteocles, or rather Euripides, deserved death for making 
an exception of that one crime, which is the most accursed 
of all. Why, then, do we repress petty villainies, or fraud 
ulent inheritances, trades, and sales ? Here is a man for 
you, who aspired to be king of the Roman people, and 
master of all nations, and accomplished it if any one says 
this desire is an honest one, he is a madman. 4 For he ap- 

1 Pompey. 

8 Caesar, whose daughter Julia was sought and obtained in marriage 
"by Pompey, who being, from his great power, suspected of ambitious 
designs by the people, with whom Caesar was a favorite, wished by the 
alliance to bring a share of the suspicion under which himself labored 
upon his rival, and thus to diminish his popularity. 
3 Wnrcp yap ddiKEtv xPVi rvpavvidoc Kept 
Ktt/l/Udrov ddiKeiv T aA/La 6 evoefielv xpeuv. 

4 " "Wo may, indeed, agree, by a sacrifice of truth, to call that purple 
which we see to be yellow, as we may agree by a still more profligate 
sacrifice of every noble feeling, to offer to tyranny the homage of our 
adulation ; to say to the murderer of Thrasea Paetus, Thou hast done 
well; to the parricide who murdered Agrippina, Thou hast done more 
than well. As every new victim falls, we may lift our voice in still 
louder flattery. "We may fall at the proud feet, we may beg, as a boon, 
the honor of kissing that bloody hand which has been lifted against the 
helpless ; we may do more ; we may bring the altar, and the sacrifice, 
and implore the god not to ascend too soon to heaven. This we may do, 
for this we have the sad remembrance that beings of a human form and 
soul have done. But this is all we can do. We can constrain our 
tongues to be false, our features to bend themselves to the semblance of 
that passionate adoration which we wish to express ; our knees to fall 
prostrate ; but our heart we can not constrain. There virtue must still 
have a voice which is not to be drowned by hymns and acclamations ; 
there the crimes which we laud as virtues, are Crimea still; and he 



150 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

proves of the murder of our laws and liberty ; the foul and 
abominable oppression of these he thinks glorious. But by 
what reproof, or rather by what reproach, should I attempt 
to tear away from so great an error the man who admits 
that to usurp kingly power in that state which was free, and 
which ought to be so, is not a virtuous act, but is expedient 
for him who can accomplish it ? For, immortal gods ! can the 
most foul and horrible parricide of his country be expedient 
for any man, though he who shall have brought upon himself 
that guilt be named by the oppressed citizens a parent ? 

Expediency, then, should be guided by virtue, and in 
deed so that these two may seem to differ from each other in 
name, but to signify the same in reality. In vulgar opinion 
I know not what advantage can be greater than that of sov 
ereign sway, but, on the contrary, when I begin to recall rny 
reason to the truth, I find nothing more disadvantageous to 
him who shall have attained it unjustly. Can torments, cares, 
daily and nightly fears, a life full of snares and perils, be ex 
pedient for any man I 1 " The enemies and traitors to sove 
reignty are many, its friends few," says Accius. But to 
what sovereignty ? That which was justly obtained, having 
been transmitted by descent from Tantalus and Pelops ? Now, 

whom we have made a god is the most contemptible of mankind ; if} in 
deed, we do not feel, perhaps, that we are ourselves still more contempt 
ible." Brown s " Moral Philosophy," Lecture Ixxviii. 

1 " Do we think that God has reserved all punishment for another 
world, and that wickedness has no feelings but those of triumph in the 
years of earthly sway which consummate its atrocities ? There are hours 
in which the tyrant is not seen, the very remembrance of which, in the 
hours in which he is seen, darkens to his gloomy gaze that pomp which 
is splendor to every eye but his ; and that even on earth, avenge with 
awful retribution, the wrongs of the virtuous. The victim of his jealous 
dread, who, with a frame wasted by disease and almost about to release 
his spirit to a liberty that is immortal, is slumbering and dreaming of 
heaven on the straw that scarcely covers the damp earth of his dungeon 
if he could know at that very hour what thoughts are present to the 
conscience of him who doomed him to this sepulcher, and who is lying 
sleepless on his bed of state, though for a moment the knowledge of the 
vengeance might be gratifying, would almost shrink the very moment 
after from the contemplation of honor so hopeless, and wish that the 
vengeance were less severe. Think not, says Cicero, that guilt requires 
the burning torches of the Furies to agitate and torment it. Their own 
frauds, their crimes, their remembrances of the past, their terrors of the 
future, those are the domestic Furies that are ever present to the mind 
of the impious. " Dr. Brown s "Moral Philosophy," Lecture Ixiv. 



CHAP. xxii. CICERO S OFFICES. 151 

how many more do you think are enemies to that king, who 
with the military force of the Roman people crushed that 
very Roman people, and compelled a state that was not only 
free, but also the ruler of the nations, to be slaves to him ? 
What stains, what stings of conscience do you conceive that 
man to have upon his soul ? Moreover, could his life be a 
beneficial one to himself, when the condition of that life was 
this, that he who deprived him of it would be held in the high 
est esteem and glory ? But if these things be not useful, which 
seem so in the highest degree, because they are full of disgrace 
and turpitude, we ought to be quite convinced that there is 
nothing expedient which is not virtuous. 

XXII. But this indeed was decided, as well on other oc 
casions frequently, as by Caius Fabricius, in his second con 
sulship, and by our senate in the war with Pyrrhus. For 
when king Pyrrhus had made aggressive war upon the 
Roman people, and when the contest was maintained for 
empire with a generous and potent monarch, a deserter from 
him came into the camp of Fabricius, and promised him, if he 
would propose a reward for him, that as he had come secretly, 
so he would return secretly into the camp of Pyrrhus, and 
dispatch him with poison. Fabricius took care that this 
man should be sent back in custody to Pyrrhus, and this 
conduct of his was applauded by the senate. And yet if 
we pursue the appearance and notion of advantage, one 
deserter would have rid us of that great war, and of that 
formidable adversary ; but it would have been a great dis 
grace and scandal, that he, with whom the contest was for 
glory, had been conquered, not by valor, but by villainy. 
Whether was it then more expedient, for Fabricius, 
who was sugh a person in our state as Aristides was at 
Athens, or for our senate, which never separated expedi 
ency from dignity, to fight against an enemy with arms 
or with poison ? If empire is to be sought for the sake 
of glory, away with guilt in which there can not be glory ; 
but if power itself is to be sought by any^ means what 
ever, it can not be expedient when allied to infamy. That 
proposition, therefore, of Lucius Philippus, the son of Quintus, 
was not expedient that those states, which, by a decree of 
the senate, Lucius Sylla, on receiving a sum of money, had 
made free, should again be subject to tribute, and that we 



152 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m. 

should not return the money which they had given for their 
freedom. To this the senate agreed. Disgrace to the em 
pire ! For the faith of pirates is better than was the senate s. 
But our revenues have been increased by it therefore it 
was expedient. How long will people venture to say that 
any thing is expedient which is not virtuous ? Now, can 
odium and infamy be useful to any empire which ought to 
be supported by glory and the good-will of its allies? I 
often disagreed in opinion even with my friend Cato. For 
he seemed to me too rigidly to defend the treasury and 
tributes ; to deny all concessions to the farmers of the revenue ; 
and many to our allies, when we ought to have been munificent 
toward the latter, and to have treated the former as we were 
accustomed to do our colonists, and so much the more, because 
such a harmony between the orders 1 conduced to the safety of 
the republic. Curio was also in error when he admitted 
that the cause of the Transpadani was just, but always 
added, " let expediency prevail." He should rather have said 
that it was not just, because not expedient, for the republic, than 
to say it was not expedient, when he confessed that it was just. 
- XXm. The 6th book of Hecaton, " De Officiis," is full 
of such questions whether it be the part of a good man, 
in an exceedingly great scarcity of provisions, not to feed his 
slaves ; he argues on either side, but still in the end he 
guides our duty rather by utility than humanity. He 
inquires, if goods must needs be thrown into the sea in a 
storm, whether ought one to throw overboard a valuable horse 
or a worthless slave. Here pecuniary interest would incline us 
one way, humanity another. If a fool should snatch a plank 
from a wreck, shall a wise man wrest it from him if he is 
able ? He says no, because it is an injustice. What will the 
master of the ship do ? Will he seize the plank as his own ? 
By no means no more than he would be willing to toss into 
the sea one sailing in his ship, because it is his own. For 
until they are come to the place to which the vessel was 
chartered, the vessel is not the property of the master, but 

1 The equestrian order, who were the farmers of the revenue, and the 
senators, who exacted too rigidly the full amount of the contracts, not 
withstanding any event that might render the taxes less valuable to the 
farmers. This disgusted the knights with the senate, and threw them 
into the arms of Caesar, who procured for them a remission of part of 
their liabilities. 



CHAP. xxnL CICERO S OFFICES. 153 

of the passengers. What, if there be only one plank, two 
shipwrecked men, and both wise ? Should neither seize it, or 
one yield to the other 1 ? One, indeed, should yield to the 
other, namely, to him whose life was of more consequence 
either for his own sake or that of the commonwealth. But 
if these considerations be equal in both cases? There will 
be no dispute ; but one, conquered, as it were, by lot, or by 
playing at odd or even, should yield to the other. What, 
if a father should rob temples, or carry a subterraneous 
passage into the treasury ; should his son inform of it to the 
magistrates ? To do that indeed would be impiety. Nay, he 
ought even to defend his father if he were accused of it. 1 Is 

1 The most noted opponent of this crude and indefensible dogma, which 
would set up a claim on the score of personal relationship paramount to 
all the claims of justice, has been answered, as we have already seen, by 
two ethical philosophers of no mean reputation, Jonathan Edwards, in 
his " Essay on the Nature of True Virtue," and William Godwin, in his 
" Inquiry concerning Political Justice." It is the latter who has carried 
these principles to the greatest extent. Indeed, he appears so far to 
equalize the relative obligations of mankind as to make gratitude an 
injustice, and to destroy all peculiarity of claims arising from the closest 
relationship. Perhaps, however, it is safe to affirm that he has not erred 
so widely on the one side, as Cicero in the above sentence has erred on 
the other. The following passage contains the strongest statement of 
Godwin s views on this point : 

" "What magic is there in the pronoun my that should justify us in 
overturning the decisions of impartial truth ? My brother, or my father, 
may be a fool, or a profligate, malicious, lying, or dishonest. If they be, 
of what consequence is it that they are mine ? But through my father 
I am indebted for existence, he supported me in the helplessness of in 
fancy. When he first subjected himself to the necessity of these cares, 
he was probably influenced by no particular motives of benevolence to 
his future offspring. Every voluntary benefit, however, entitles the be- 
stower to some kindness and retribution. Why ? because a voluntary 
benefit is an evidence of benevolent intention, that is, in a certain degree 
of virtue. It is the disposition of the mind, not the external action sepa 
rately taken, that entitles to respect. But the merit of this disposition 
is equal, whether the benefit 1 e bestowed upon me or upon another. I 
and another man can not both be light in preferring our respective bene 
factors, for my benefactor can not be at the same time both better and 
worse than his neighbor. My benefactor ought to be esteemed, not be 
cause he bestowed a benefit upon me, but because he bestowed it upon 
a human being. His desert will be in exact proportion to the degree in 
which that human being was worthy of the distinction preferred. 

"Thus every view of the ..subject brings us back to the consideration 
of my neighbor s moral worth, and his importance to the general weal, 
as the only standard to determine the treatment to which he is entitled. 



154 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

not our country then paramount to all duties ? Yes, indeed, but 
it is advantageous to our country itself to have its citizens affection 
ate toward their parents, What, if a father should endeavor to 
usurp tyrannic power, or to betray his country ? Shall the son 
be silent ? Nay, but he should implore his father not to do it. 
If he prevail not, he should reproach he should even threaten. 
If at last the matter should tend to the ruin of his country, he 
should prefer the safety of his country to that of his father. 

He also asks, if a wise man should receive base money 
unawares for good, shall he, when he shall have come to know 
it, pay it instead of good, if he owes money to any person ? 
Diogenes affirms this ; Antipater denies it and with him I 
rather agree. Ought he who knowingly sells wine that will not 
keep, to acquaint the buyer ? Diogenes thinks it unnecessary ; 
Antipater thinks it the characteristic of an honest man. These 
are, as it were, the controverted laws of the Stoics. In selling a 
slave, are his faults to be told not those which, unless you tell, 
the slave would be returned by the civil law ; but these, that 
he is a liar, a gambler, a pilferer, a drunkard ? These things 
to the one seem necessary to be told ; to the other not. If 
any person selling gold should suppose he was selling brass, 
should an honest man acquaint him that it was gold, or 
should he buy for a denarius what was worth a thousand de- 
Gratitude, therefore, if by gratitude we understand a sentiment of prefer 
ence which I entertain toward another, upon the ground of my having 
been the subject of his benefits, is no part either of justice or virtue. 

" It may be objected, that my relation, my companion, or my bene 
factor, will of course in many instances obtain an uncommon portion of 
my regard : for not being universally capable of discriminating the com 
parative worth of different men, I shall inevitably judge most favorably 
of him of whose virtues I have received the most unquestionable proofs ; 
and thus shall be compelled to prefer the man of moral worth whom I 
know, to another who may possess, unknown to me, an essential superi 
ority. 

" Thia compulsion, however, is founded in the imperfection of human 
nature. It may serve as an apology for my error, but can never change 
error into truth. It will always remain contrary to the strict and uni 
versal decisions of justice. The difficulty of conceiving this, is owing 
merely to our confounding the disposition from which an action is chosen 
with the action itself. The disposition, that would prefer virtue to vice, 
and a greater degree of virtue to a less, is undoubtedly a subject of ap 
probation ; the erroneous exercise of this disposition, by which a wrong 
object is selected, if unavoidable, is to be deplored, but can by no color 
ing, and under no denomination, be converted into right." Godwin s 
"Political Justice," voL i. book ii. chap. ii. 



CHAP. xxiv. CICERO S OFFICES. 155 

narii ? It is plain now, both what is my view, and what is the 
controversy between those philosophers whom I have mentioned. 
XXIV. Are compacts and promises always to be kept, 1 
which are made neither by means of force, nor with crimin 
al intent (as the praetors are accustomed to say) ? If any 
one should give some person a cure for the dropsy, and 
should covenant with him that he should never afterward 
use that cure if by that cure he became well, and in some 
years afterward fell into the same disease, and could not 
obtain from him with whom he had covenanted, leave to 
use it again what ought to be done ? Since he is an in 
human fellow, who would not give him leave, and no in 
jury would be done to that person by using it, he ought to 
consult for his life and health. What ? If a wise man, being 
required, by one who would make him his heir, when he 
would be left by him a large fortune in his will, that be 
fore he entered upon the inheritance he should dance openly 
by daylight in the forum should promise him that he 
would do it, because otherwise he would not have made 
him his heir; should he do what he promised, or not? I 

1 Promises are not binding 1 if performance is unlawful. Sometimes 
men promise to commit a wicked act, even to assassination ; but a man 
is not required to commit murder because he has promised to commit it. 
Thus, in the Christian scriptures, the son who has said, "I will not work" 
in the vineyard, and "afterward repented and went," is spoken of with 
approbation, his promise was not binding, because fulfillment would have 
been wrong. Cranmer, whose religious firmness was overcome in the 
prospect of the stake, recanted; that is, he promised to abandon the 
Protestant faith. Neither was his promise binding ; to have regarded it 
would have been a crime. The offense both of Cranmer and of the son 
in the parable, consisted not in violating their promises but in making 
them. Respecting the often discussed question, whether extorted prom 
ises are binding, there has been, I suspect, a general want of advertence 
to one important point what is an extorted promise ? If by an extort 
ed promise is meant a promise that is made involuntarily, without the 
concurrence of the will ; if it is the effect of any ungovernable impulse, 
and made without the consciousness of the party, then it is not a promise. 
This may happen. Fear or agitation may be so great that a person really 
does not know what he says or does, and in such a case a man s promi 
ses do not bind him any more than the promises of a man in a fit of in 
sanity. But if by an " extorted" promise it is only meant that very 
powerful inducements were held out to making it, inducements, how 
ever, which did not take away the power of choice then these promises 
are in strictness voluntary, and like all other voluntary engagements 
they ought to be fulfilled. Dymond s "Principles of Morality," chap. 6. 



156 CICEEO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

would wish that he had not promised, and I think that 
this would have been the part suitable to his dignity. Since 
he has promised, if he considers it disgraceful to dance in 
the forum, he will with greater propriety break his word, 
provided he should not take any thing out of the inheritance, 
than if he did so ; unless, perhaps, he will contribute that 
money to some great occasion of the state so that it would 
not be disgraceful even to dance, since he was about to con 
sult for the interests of his country. 1 

XXV. But even those promises ought not to be kept, which 
are hurtful to those very persons to whom you have made them. 

To revert to fictitious tales, Sol promised to Phaeton, 
his son, to do whatever he would desire. He desired to be 
taken up in his father s chariot. He was taken up. But 
before he was well settled, he was burned with the stroke of 
lightning. How much better would it have been in this 
case, that the promise of the father had not been kept ? Why 
should I mention the promise which Theseus exacted from 
Neptune, to whom when Neptune gave three wishes he 
wished for the death of his son Hippolytus, when he was 
suspected by his father concerning his step-mother; by ob 
taining which promise, Theseus was involved in the greatest 
affliction ? Why, that Agamemnon, when he had vowed to 
Diana the loveliest thing that should be born that year in his 
kingdom, sacrificed Iphigenia, than whom, indeed, nothing 
lovelier was born that year ? Better that the promise should not 
be performed, than that a horrible crime should be committed. 
Therefore, promises are sometimes not to be performed, and 
deposits are not always to be restored. If any man in sound 
mind should have intrusted a sword to you, and having gone 
mad, should ask it back, to restore would be a crime ; not to 
restore, a duty. What, if he who may have deposited money 
with you, should levy war against his country, ought you to re- 

1 The following is Cockman s note upon this passage : " Dancing was 
esteemed but a scandalous practice, and unbecoming a sober and prudent 
person among the Romans ; wherefore our author tells us in his oration 
for Murena (chap. 6), nobody almost dances, unless he be drunk or mad, 
and calls it omnium vitiorum extremum, a vice that no one would bo 
guilty of till he had utterly abandoned all virtue ; and umbram luxurice, 
that which follows riot and debauchery, as the shadow follows the body. 
The meaning, therefore, of this place is, that Crassus would not stick a(. 
the basest actions if he could but fill his coifers by them." 



CHAP. xxvi. CICERO S OFFICES. 157 

store the deposit ? I think not. For you would be acting against 
your country, which ought to be most dear to you. So, many 
things which are right by nature become wrong by occasions. 
To perform promises, to stand to agreements, to restore deposits, 
the expediency being altered, become contrary to virtue. 

Now, indeed, of those things which seem to be profitable, 
contrary to justice, but with the semblance of prudence, I 
think enough has been said. But since in the first book we 
derived duties from the four sources of virtue, we shall be 
engaged with those same, while we show that those things 
which seem to be useful are not so as long as they are hostile 
to virtue. And indeed of prudence, which craft is apt to 
imitate, and likewise of justice, which is always expedient, 
we have already treated. Two parts of virtue remain, of 
which the one is discerned in the greatness and pre-eminence 
of an elevated mind; the other in the habit and regulation 
of continence and temperance. 

XXVI. It seemed to Ulysses to be expedient (to act], as 
the tragic poets, indeed, have represented for in Homer, the 
best authority, there is no such suspicion of Ulysses but the 
tragedians accused him of wishing to escape from military 
service by the affectation of insanity. A dishonorable de 
vice. But it was advantageous, some persons, perhaps, will 
say, to reign and live at ease in Ithaca, with his parents, 
with his wife, with his son. They may ask, do you ihink 
any glory arising from daily toils and perils to be compared 
with this tranquillity ? I think, indeed, this tranquillity is to 
be despised and rejected, because I think tranquillity which 
was not honorable, was not even advantageous. For what 
reproach do you think Ulysses would have heard if he had per 
severed in that dissembling, when though he performed the 
greatest achievements in the war, he yet heard this from Ajax ? 

" Of the oath, of which he was the originator, as you all 
know, he alone disregarded the obligation. Madness he 
feigned ; persisted in not joining the army ; and had not the 
clear-sighted wisdom of Palamedes seen through the knavish 
audacity of the fellow, he would have forever evaded the 
obligation of his sacred oath." 

It was really better for him to buffet, not only with the 
foe, but also with the waves, as he did, than to desert Greece, 
when combining to wage war against the barbarians. But let 



158 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK ra. 

us leave both fables and foreign scenes let us come to real 
history, and that our own. *Marcus Atilius Rcgulus, when 
in his second consulship taken in Africa by stratagem by 
Xanthippus, the Lacedaemonian general but when Hamilcar, 
the father of Hannibal, was the commander-in-chief was 
sent to the senate, bound by an oath, that unless some noble 
captives were restored to the Carthaginians, he should 
himself return to Carthage. When he arrived at Rome, he 
saw the semblance of advantage, but, as the event declares, 
judged it a fallacious appearance, which was this to remain 
in his country, to stay at home with his wife and his chil 
dren ; and, regarding the calamity which he had experienced 
as incident to the fortune of war, to retain the rank of con 
sular dignity. Who can deny these things to be profitable ? 
Whom do you think ? Greatness of mind and fortitude deny 
it. 

XXVII. Can you require more creditable authorities? 
For it is characteristic of these virtues to fear nothing, to 
despise all human concerns, to think nothing that can happen 
to a man intolerable, i What, then, did he do ? He came 
into the senate he disclosed his commission he refused to 
declare his own sentiments he said that as long as he was 
bound by an oath to the enemy he was not a senator. And 
this, too (oh, foolish man ! some person will exclaim, an 
enemy to his own interests!) he denied to be expedient, 
namely, that the captives should be restored, for that they 
were young men and good generals, that he himself was 
already worn out with years. /When his authority had pre 
vailed, the captives were retained, and he returned to 
Carthage ; nor did the love of his country or of his family 
withhold him. Nor was he then ignorant that he was return 
ing to a most cruel enemy, and to exquisite tortures. But 
he considered that his oath ought to be. observed. Therefore, 
at the very time when he was undergoing death by want of 
sleep, he was in a better condition than if he had remained 
at home an aged captive, and a perjured consular. But he 
acted foolishly, since he not only did not advise the sending 
back the captives, but even spoke against the measure. How 
foolishly ? What, even if it was advantageous to his country ? 
Can that now which is inexpedient for our country be 
expedient for any citizen ? 



CHAP. xxix. CICERO S OFFICES. 159 

XXVIII. Men -pervert those things which are the founda 
tions of nature, when they separate expediency from virtue. 
For we all desire our own interest we are carried along to 
it ; nor~ can we by any means do otherwise. For who is 
there that shuns his own advantage ? or rather, who is there 
that does not most eagerly pursue it ? But because we never 
can find real advantage except in good report, honor, virtue ; 
therefore we esteem these things first and chief; we consider 
the name of utility not so much noble as necessary.^ What 
is there, then, somebody will say, in an oath ? Are we 
afraid of angry Jove ? But it is a common principle with 
all philosophers, indeed not of those only who say that the 
deity has no labor himself, and imposes none on others but 
of those also who are of opinion that the deity is always 
acting and planning something, that the deity never is angry, 
nor injurious. But what greater harm could angry Jupiter 
do to Regulus, than Regulus did to himself? It was, then, 
no force of religion which prevented so great an advantage. 
Was it that he might act basely ? In the first place, choose 
the least among evils. Would, then, this trifling turpitude 
bring as much evil as that great torture ? In the next 
place, that saying in Accius " Hast thou broken faith 1 I 
neither have plighted nor do plight faith with any of the 
faithless" though it is spoken by an impious king, yet is 
well spoken. They add, also, that just as we say that some 
acts seem useful which are not; so they say that some 
acts seem virtuous which are not so ; as for instance, this very 
act seems virtuous, to return to torture for the sake of observ 
ing an oath, but it is really not virtuous, because whatever 
is extorted by the violence of Enemies, ought not to be 
fulfilled. They add also tlikt whatever is very advantageous 
becomes virtuous, even though it did not seem so before. 
These things are usually urged against Regulus. But let us 
consider the first objection. 

XXIX. We need not dread Jupiter, lest in his wrath he 
might do us harm, who neither is accustomed to be wroth, 
nor to do harm. This reasoning, indeed, applies not more 
against Regulus than against every oath ; but in an oath it 
ought to be considered, not what is the fear, but what is the 
force. For an oath is a religious affirmation ; but what you 
solemnly promise, as if the deity were witness, to that you 



160 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

ought to adhere. 1 For it pertains now not to the anger of the 
gods, which exists not, but to justice and fidelity. For well 
has Ennius said 

" holy Faith, winged, and the very oath of Jove." 

He, then, who violates an oath, violates Faith, .which our 
ancestors, as is recorded in Cato s speech, wished to be in the 
Capitol, next to Jupiter Greatest and Best. But they argue 
that even angry Jupiter could not have done more harm to 
Eegulus than Regulus did to himself. Certainly not, if 
nothing but pain be an evil. But philosophers of the highest 
authority assert, not only that it is not the greatest evil, but 
that it is not an evil at all. I pray you not to despise a 
witness of theirs, of no slight weight I know not, indeed, 
but that he is the weightiest namely, Regulus. For, whom 
do we require more creditable than the chief of the Roman 
people who, for the sake of adhering to duty, underwent 
voluntary torture ? But as to what they say, choose the least 
of evils that is^baseness rather than calamity can there be 
any evil greater than baseness ? And if this implies some 
thing of disgust in the deformity of person, how much worse 
should appear the depravity and foulness of a debased mind ? 
They, 2 therefore, who treat of these subjects more boldly, 

1 " An oath is that whereby we call God to witness the truth of what 
we say ; with a curse upon ourselves, either implied or expressed, should 
it prove false." Milton on Christian Doctrine. 

While the sacredness of oaths is still held as a principle of morals, the 
lawfulness of their administration is doubted by many, and their efficacy 
perhaps by the majority of modern society. The increased security for 
the veracity of him who takes them, which they are supposed to afford, 
is in the case of an honest man unnecessary, and of a dishonest man 
valueless. The argument of Godwin with relation to oaths of duty and 
office, appears to admit of a universal application ; the same arguments 
that prove the injustice of tests, may be applied universally to all oaths 
of duty and office. " If I entered upon the office without an oath, what 
would be my duty ? Can the oath that is imposed upon me make any 
alteration in my duty ? if not, does not the very act of imposing it, by 
implication, assert a falsehood ? "Will this falsehood have no injurious 
effect upon a majority of the persons concerned ? "What is the true cri 
terion that I shall faithfully discharge the office that is conferred upon 
me ? Surely my past life, not any protestations I may be compelled to 
make. If my life have been unimpeachable, this compulsion is an un 
merited insult ; if it have been otherwise, it is something worse." God 
win s " Political Justice," book vi. chap. v. 

2 Cicero here obviously refers to the Stoics who regarded pleasure and 



CHAP. xxix. CICERO S OFFICES. 161 

venture to say that that which is base is the only evil ; but 
they 1 who treat of them more timidly, yet do not hesitate to 
call it the greatest evil. Now, that saying indeed " I neither 
have plighted, nor do plight faith with any of the faithless" 
was well imagined by the poet, on this account, because 
when Atreus was being delineated, it was necessary to sus 
tain the character. But if they take this to themselves, 
that there is no faith which is plighted to the faithless, 
let them see to it lest it be sought as a subterfuge for 
perjury. 

There are also rights of war, and the faith of an oath is 
often to be kept with an enemy. For that, which is so sworn 
that the mind conceives it ought to be done, that should 
be observed. What is otherwise, if you perform it not, 

pain as indifferent. This theory is thus refuted by that most ingenious 
metaphysician and moralist, Dr. Thomas Browne. " Between mere 
pleasure and mere virtue there is a competition, in short, of the less with 
the greater ; but though virtue be the greater, and the greater in every 
case in which it can be opposed to mere pleasure, pleasure is still good 
in itself, and would be covetable by the virtuous in every case in which 
the greater good of virtue is not inconsistent with it. It is, indeed, be 
cause pleasure and pain are not in themselves absolutely indifferent that 
man is virtuous in resisting the solicitations of the one and the threats 
of the other. And there is thus a self-confutation in the principles of 
stoicism, which it is truly astonishing that the founder of the system, or 
some one of the ancient and modern commentators on it, should not have 
discovered. We may praise, indeed, the magnanimity of him who dares 
to suffer every external evil which men can suffer rather than give his 
conscience one guilty remembrance ; but it is because there is evil to be 
endured that we may praise him for his magnanimity in bearing the evil, 
and if there be no ill to be endured, there is no magnanimity that can be 
called forth to endure it. The bed of roses differs from the burning bull ; 
not merely as a square differs from a circle, or as flint differs from clay, 
but as that which is physically evil ; and if they do not so differ as good 
and evil, there could be as little merit in consenting when virtue required 
the sacrifice to suffer all the bodily pain which the instrument of torturo 
could inflict, rather than to rest in guilty indolence on that luxurious 
couch of flowers, as there could be in the mere preference for any physi 
cal purpose of a circular to an angular form, or of the softness of clay to 
the hardness of flint. Moral excellence is, indeed, in every case, prefer 
able to mere physical enjoyment : and there is no enjoyment worthy of 
the choice of man when virtue forbids the desire. But virtue is the 
superior only, not the sole power; she has imperial sway, but her sway 
is imperial only because there are forms of inferior good over which it is 
her glory to preside." Moral Philosophy, Lect. xcix. 
i The Peripatetics, 



162 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

involves no perjury. Thus, if you should not pay a price 
for your life, agreed on with robbers, it is no fraud if you 
should not perform it, though bound by an oath. 1 For a 
pirate is not comprehended in the number of lawful enemies, 
but is the common foe of all men. With such a man, neither 

1 " Grotius," says an anonymous commentator (de Jure Belli et Pads, 

II, 13, 15), "citing this passage, admits that a person extorting a 
promise by force, can have no right to demand its performance ; but 
thinks that an oath accompanying it makes it binding in conscience." 
Hobbes, de Civ. ii. 16, maintains that a promise, because extorted by fear, 
is not the less obligatory in cases where the promiser receives from it 
some benefit. On this it is remarked by Puffendorf, that merely abstain 
ing from injury can not be reckoned among benefits ; that a highway 
man, for instance, who does not murder you, can not be called your bene 
factor. Hobbes s doctrine is, therefore, thus qualified by Puffendorf, pro 
vided that the promiser can legitimately exact the performance of that 
promise. To this Barbeyrac, the learned and acute commentator on both 
Grotius and Puffendorf, fully accedes, and pronounces that every act of 
violence, every sort of menace, by which the promises, against his will, is 
induced to make an engagement into which he otherwise would not have 
entered, deprives him of the liberty necessary to form a valid engagement, 
and, consequently, annuls all such promises and convocations. He adds, 
that the performance of an engagement made under such circumstances 
is injurious to society, as it leads to the encouragement of robbers. Adam 
Smith has treated this question much at length, Theory of Mor. Sent. vii. 
4. "With some exceptions, and guardedly, he leans to the opposite opin 
ion. Some regard, he thinks, should be paid to promises of this kind, 
but how much it is not possible to determine by any general rule. If 
the sum promised was very great, such for example as would ruin by its 
payment the family of the pa} r er, or sufficient to effect the most useful 
purposes, it would appear comical, at least extremely improper, to throw 
it into such worthless hands, but in general it may be said that exact 
propriety requires the observance of such promises where not inconsist 
ent with other duties, when violated it is always with some degree of dis 
honor to the person who made them. It is observable that Paley ap 
pears to have changed his opinion on the subject of such promises. In 
the first edition of his valuable work on Moral and Political Philosophy, 

III. part 1, 5, he states their obligation to depend on the question wheth 
er mankind are benefited or not by their observance, concluding that 
lives are saved by it, he treats such promises as in general binding. But 
in subsequent editions he observes, that they may be made the instru 
ment of almost unlimited extortion, and therefore in the question be 
tween the importance of these opposite consequences resides the doubt 
concerning the obligation of such promises. The noble-minded Mon 
taigne remarks on this subject: "Co que la crainte m a fait une fois 
vouloir, je suis tenu de la vouloir encore sans crainte ; et quand elle 
n aura force que ma langue sans la voloute, encore, suis je tenu de faire 
la maille bonne de ma parole." 



CHAP. xxx. CICERO S OFFICES. 163 

should faith nor an oath be in common. For to swear what is 
false is not always perjury ; but not to do that which you 
swear according to the sentiment of your mind, "ex animi 
tui sententia," as it it expressed in words in our law form, is per 
jury. For Euripides says well " With my tongue have I sworn ; 
I bear an unsworn conscience." 

But Regulus was under obligation not to disturb by 
perjury the conditions and covenants of war and of the 
enemy ; for the affair was transacted with a just and lawful 
foe, in regard to whom both the entire Fecial law and many 
other laws are binding in common. Had not this been so, the 
senate would never have delivered up eminent men bound to the 
enemy. 

XXX. But Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius, when 
they were consuls the second time, were given up to the 
Samnites because they had made a peace with them, after 
having fought with ill success at Caudium, when our legions 
were sent under the yoke ; for they had made it without the 
command of the people and senate. And at the same time, 
Titus Numicius, and Quintus MaBlius, who were then tri 
bunes of the people, because the peace was made by their 
authority, were given up, that the peace with the Samnites 
might be rejected. And of this surrender, Postumius 
himself, who was given up, was the advocate and author. 
Which same thing Caius Mancinus did, many years after 
ward, who advocated .that bill which Lucius Furius and 
Sextus Atilius, by a decree of the senate, brought in, that 
he himself should be delivered up to the Numantines, with 
whom he had made a league without the authority of the 
senate ; which bill being passed by the people, he was given 
up to the enemy. He acted more worthily than Quintus 
Pompeius, through whose petitioning against such a measure, 
when he w r as in similar circumstances, the law was not passed. 
With this man, that which seemed his interest had more 
weight than virtue had ; in the former instances, the false 
semblance of expediency was overcome by the authority of 
virtue. But, say they, that which was extorted by force 
ought not to be ratified ; as if, indeed, force could be used 
to a man of fortitude. Why, then, you say, did Regulus go 
to the senate, if he was about to dissuade them concerning 
the captives? You are reprehending that which was the 



164 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK m: 

noblest thing in that transaction; for he did not rely upon 
his own judgment, but he undertook the cause that there 
might be a decision of the senate ; by whom, had not he him 
self been the adviser of the measure, the prisoners, indeed, 
would have been restored to the Carthaginians. Thus 
Regulus would have remained in safety in his country; 
which, because he thought inexpedient for his country, 
therefore he believed it virtuous in himself, both to think 
and to suffer these things. Now, as to what they say, that 
whatever is very useful becomes virtuous, I say, Nay, it is so 
really, and does not merely become so ; for nothing is expedient 
which is not likewise virtuous ; and it is not because it is ex 
pedient that it is virtuous, but because it is virtuous it is expe 
dient. Wherefore out of many admirable examples, one could 
not easily mention one either more laudable or more excellent 
than this. 

XXXI. But- out of all this laudable conduct of Regulus, 
this alone is worthy of admiration, that he was of opinion 
that the prisoners ought to be retained. For that he re 
turned seems wonderful to us now, though at that time he 
could not do otherwise. Therefore, that was not the merit 
of the man, but of the times. For our ancestors were of 
opinion that there was no tie closer than an oath to bind 
our faith. This the laws of the twelve tables indicate 
this the leges sacratie 1 indicate, this the leagues indicate, 
by which our faith is pledged even with enemies. The 
opinions and animadversions of the Censors indicate it, who 
passed sentence on no subject more strictly than on such as 
concerned oaths. Marcus Pomponius, tribune of the people, 
fixed a day for Lucius Manlius, the son of Aulus, when he 
had been Dictator, to stand his trial, because he had taken 
to himself a few days in addition for holding the dictator 
ship. He accused him also because he had banished from 
intercourse with men, his son Titus, who was afterward 
called Torquatus, and had commanded him to reside in the 
country. When the young man, the son, had heard this, 
that trouble was brought upon his father, he is said -to have 
hastened to Rome, and to have come with the first dawn to 

1 The laws concerning liberty and the tribunitial power, so called, be 
cause he who violated them was to be held devoted (sacer) to the re 
sentment of the deity. 



CHAP. xxziL CICERO S OFFICES. 165 

the house of Pomponius, who, when it was announced to 
him, supposing that the son, being enraged, was about to 
bring to him some accusation against his father, arose from 
his bed, and, the bystanders having been dismissed, ordered 
the youth to come to him. But he, when he entered, hastily 
drew his sword, and swore that he would intantly slay him 
unless he gave his oath that he would suffer his father to be 
discharged. Pomponius, forced by fear, swore this ; he subse 
quently brought the matter before the people, and informed them 
why it was necessary for him to abandon the prosecution, and 
then suffered Manlius to be discharged. So much force had an 
oath in those times. And this is that Titus Manlius who ac 
quired the surname of Torquatus, at the Anio, for taking the 
collar from the Gaul, whom he, having been challenged by him, 
bad slain ; in whose third consulship the Latins were routed 
and put to flight at the Veseris. A most eminently great man, 
but though very indulgent to his father, was again cruelly severe 
to his son. 

XXXII. But as Regulus is to be commended for observ 
ing his oath, so these ten are to be condemned whom Hanni 
bal, after the battle of Cannae, sent to the senate under an 
oath that they would return to that camp which the Cartha 
ginians had got possession of, unless they succeeded about 
redeeming the prisoners ; if it be true that they did not re 
turn about whom, all historians do not relate the story in 
the same manner. For Polybius, an eminently good author, 
writes, that out of ten very noble persons who were then sent, 
nine returned, the request not having been granted by the 
senate ; that one of the ten, who, a short time after he had 
gone out of the camp, had returned, as if he had forgotten 
something, remained at Rome. For, by his return into the 
camp, he construed it that he was freed from his oath 
not rightly, for fraud does but fasten, not absolve perjury. 
It was, then, silly cunning, perversely imitating prudence. 
The senate, therefore, decreed, that this double-dealing and 
artful fellow should be brought fettered to Hannibal. But 
the greatest act of the senate was this. Hannibal had eight 
thousand men prisoners ; not those whom he had taken in 
battle, or who had fled from the peril of death, but who had 
been left in the camp by the Consuls, Paullus and Varro. 
The senate decreed that these should not be redeemed, though 



166 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

it might have been done at a small expense, that it might be 
impressed upon our soldiers that they were either to con 
quer or die which circumstance, indeed, having become 
known, the same author writes that the courage of Hannibal 
fell, because the Roman senate and people possessed so lofty 
a spirit in their depressed condition. Thus those things which 
seem expedient, are overpowered by a comparison with virtue. 

But Acilius, who wrote his history in Greek, says that 
there were more than one who returned into the camp with 
the same fraudulent design, that they might be freed from their 
oath, and that they were branded by the censors with every 
ignominy. 

Let this now be the end of this subject. For it is plain 
that those acts which are done with a timid, humble, abject, 
and broken spirit (such as would have been the conduct of 
Regulus, if, respecting the prisoners, he had either advised what 
seemed to be needful for himself, not what he considered 
beneficial to the commonwealth, or had desired to remain at 
home), are inexpedient, because they are scandalous, foul, and 
base. 

XXXIII. The fourth part remains, which is compre 
hended in propriety, moderation, modesty, continence, temper 
ance. Can any thing, then, be expedient, which is contrary 
to this train of such virtues ? However, the Cyrenseans, fol 
lowers of Aristippus, and the Annicerians, misnamed philo 
sophers, have made all good consist in pleasure, and have 
thought virtue to be commended on this account, because it is 
productive of pleasure ; but, as they are antiquated, Epicurus 
flourishes, the advocate and author of nearly the same opinion. 
Against these we must fight with man and horse, as it is said, 
if it is our intention to defend and retain virtue. For if not 
only expediency, but all the happiness of life, be contained in 
a strong bodily constitution, and in the certain hope of that 
constitution, as it is written by Methrodorus ; certainly this ex 
pediency, and that the greatest (as they think), will stand in 
opposition to virtue. For, in the first place, where will room 
be given for prudence ? Is it that it may seek on all sides 
after sweets? How miserable the servitude of virtue, when 
the slave of pleasure ? Moreover, what would be the office of 
Prudence ? Is it to select pleasures ingeniously ? Admit that 
nothing could be more delightful than this; what can be 



CHAP. TTTTTT. CICERO S OFFICES. 167 

imagined more base? Now, what room can Fortitude, 
which is the contemning of pain and labor, have in his 
system, who calls pain the greatest of evils ? For though 
Epicurus may speak, as he does in many places, with suffi 
cient fortitude regarding pain ; nevertheless, we are not to 
regard what he may say, but what it is consistent in him to 
say, as he would confine good to pleasure, evil to pain ; so if 
I would listen to him on the subject of continence and tem 
perance, he says, indeed, many things in many places ; but 
there is an impedient in the stream, 1 as they say. For how 
can he commend temperance who places the chief good in 
pleasure ? For temperance is hostile to irregular passions ; 
but irregular passions are the companions of pleasure. And 
yet, in these three classes of virtue, they make a shift, in 
what ever manner they can, not without cleverness. They 
introduce prudence as the science which supplies pleasures 
and repels pain. Fortitude, too, they explain in some man 
ner, when they teach that it is the means of disregarding 
death, and enduring pain. Even temperance they introduce 
not very easily, indeed but yet in whatever way they 
can. For they say that the height of pleasure is limited 
to the absence of pain. 2 Justice staggers, or rather falls 
to the ground, and all those virtues which are discerned in 
society, and the association of mankind. For neither kind 
ness, nor liberality, nor courtesy can exist, any more than 
friendship, if they are not sought for there own sakes, but 
are referred to pleasure and interest. Let us, therefore, sum 
up the subject in a few words. For as we have taught that 
there is no expediency which can be contrary to virtue : so 
we say that all bodily pleasure is opposed to virtue. On 
which account I think Callipho and Dinomachus the more 
deserving of censure, for they thought they would put an 
end to the controversy if they should couple pleasure with 
virtue ; as if they should couple a human being with a brute. 
Virtue does not admit that combination it spurns, it repels 
it. Nor can, indeed, the ultimate principle of good and evil, 
which ought to be simple, be compounded of, and tempered 
with these most dissimilar ingredients. But about this (for 

1 Meaning that the system of Epicurus presents impediments to the 
flowing of the virtues, like obstructions in a water-course. 

2 That is, that the greatest pleasure consists in the absence of pain. 



168 CICERO S OFFICES. BOOK in. 

it is an important subject), I have said more in another 
place. Now to my original proposition. How, then, if ever 
that which seems expedient is opposed to virtue, the matter 
is to be decided, has been sufficiently treated of above. But 
if pleasure be said to have even the semblance of expedi 
ence, there can be no union of it with virtue. For though 
we may concede something to pleasure, perhaps it has some 
thing of a relish, but certainly it has in it nothing of utility. 
You have a present from your father, my son Marcus; 
in my opinion, indeed, an important one but it will be just 
as you will receive it. Hewever, these three books will de 
serve to be received by you as guests among the commenta 
ries of Cratippus. But as, if I myself had gone to Athens 
(which would indeed have been the case had not my country, 
with loud voice, called me back from the middle of my jour 
ney), you would sometimes have listened to me also : so, since 
my voice has reached you in these volumes, you will bestow 
upon them as much time as you can ; and you can bestow 
as much as you wish. But when I shall understand that 
you take delight in this department of science, then will I 
converse with you both when present, which will be in a 
short time, as I expect and while you will be far away, 
I will talk with you, though absent. Farewell, then, my 
Cicero, and be assured that you are indeed very dear to 
me, but that you will be much more dear if you shall take 
delight in such memorials and precepts. 



ON FRIENDSHIP. 



I. QUINTUS Mucius, the augur, 1 used to relate many 
things of Caius Laelius, his father-in-law, from memory, and 
in a pleasant manner, and did not scruple in every discourse 
to call him a wise man. Moreover I myself, after assuming 
the manly toga, 2 was introduced by my father to Scsevola, in 
such a way that, as far as I could and it was permitted me, 
I never quitted the old man s side. Accordingly, many 
sagacious discussions of his, and many short and apt sayings, 
I committed to memory, and desired to become better in 
formed by his wisdom. When he died, I betook myself to 
Scsevola the pontiff, who is the only man in our country that 
I venture to pronounce the most distinguished for talent and 
for integrity. But of him elsewhere. I now return to the 
augur. Among many other circumstances, I remember that 
once being seated at home in his arm-chair (as was his 
custom), when I was in his company, and a very few of his 
intimate friends, he fell by chance upon that subject of dis 
course which at the time was in the mouth of nearly every 
one : for you of course remember, Atticus, and the more so 
because you were very intimate with Publius Sulpicius 
(when he, as tribune of the people, 3 was estranged by a 

1 Augur is often put for any one who predicted future events. Auspex 
denoted a person who observed and interpreted omens. Augurium and 
auspicium are commonly used interchangeably, but they are sometimes 
distinguished. Auspicium was properly the foretelling of futute events 
from the inspection of birds ; Augurium from any omen or prodigies 
whatever. Fifteen augurs constituted the college. 

2 The toga prcetexta, a robe bordered with purple, was worn by young 
people, male and female, and by the superior magistrates. The toga pura, 
or white gown, was worn by men after the age of about seventeen, and 
by women after marriage. 

3 Tribuni plebis, magistrates created for the maintenance of popular 
rights, in the year u.c. 261. Their number was originally two, which 
was raised to five, and afterward to ten. Their office was annual. 

8 



170 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. r. 

deadly hatred from Quiritus Pompey, who was then consul, 
with whom up to that time he had lived on terms of the 
closest union and affection), how great was the surprise and 
even regret of the people. Accordingly, when Scsevola had 
incidentally mentioned that very subject, he laid before us 
the discourse of Lselius on Friendship, which had been ad 
dressed by the latter to himself and to the other son-in-law of 
Laelius, Caius Fannius, the son of Marcus, a few days after 
the death of Africanus. The opinions of that disquisition I 
committed to memory, and in this book I have set them forth 
according to my own judgment. For I have introduced the 
individuals as if actually speaking, lest " said I " and " said 
he" should be .too frequently interposed; and that the 
dialogue might seem to be held by persons face to face. For 
when you were frequently urging me to write something on 
the subject of friendship, it seemed to me a matter worthy 
as well of the consideration of all as of our intimacy. I have 
therefore willingly done so, that I might confer a benefit 
on many in consequence of your request. But as in the Cato 
Major, which was addressed to you on the subject of old age, 
I have introduced Cato when an old man conversing, because 
there seemed no person better adapted to speak of that period 
of life than he, who had been an old man for so long a time, 
and in that old age had been pre-eminently prosperous ; so 
when I had heard from our ancestors that the attachment of 
Caius La3lius and Publius Scipio was especially worthy of 
record, the character of Laelius seemed to me a suitable one 
to deliver these very observations on friendship which 
Scaevola remembered, to have been spoken by him. Now 
this description of discourses, resting on the authority of men 
of old, and of those of high rank, seems, I know not on what 
principle, to carry with it the greater weight. 1 Accordingly, 

1 " We continue to think and feel as our ancestors have thought and 
felt ; so true in innumerable cases is the observation that men make up 
their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their 
estates, because they are born heirs to them. It has been justly said 
that it is difficult to regard that as an evil which has been long done, 
and that there are many great and excellent things which we never think 
of doing, merely because no one has done them before us. The preju 
dice for antiquity is itself very ancient, says La Motte; and it is amus 
ing, at the distance of so many hundred years, to find the same com 
plaint of undue partiality to the writers of other agea brought forward 



CHAP. ii. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. m 

while I am reading my own writing, I am sometimes so much 
affected as to suppose that it is Cato, and not myself that is 
speaking. But as then I, an old man, wrote to you, who are 
an old man, on the subject of old age ; so in this book I 
myself, a most sincere friend, have written to a friend on the 
subject of friendship. On that occasion Cato was the speaker, 
than whom there was no one at that time older or wiser. On 
this, LaBlius, not only a wise man (for so he has been con 
sidered), and one pre-eminent in reputation for friendship, 
speaks on that subject. I would wish you to withdraw your 
thoughts a little while from me, and fancy that Lrelius him 
self is speaking. Caius Fannius and Quintus Mucius come 
to their father-in-law after the death of Africanus. With 
these the discourse begins. Laelius replies ; and the whole 
of his dissertation regards friendship, which in reading you 
will discover for yourself. 

II. FANNIUS. Such is the case, dear Laelius, nor was there 
ever a better or more distinguished man than Africanus. 
But you ought to consider that the eyes of all are now turned 
upon you, LaBlius : you alone they both denominate and 
believe to be wise. This character was lately bestowed on 
M. Cato : we know that Lucius Atilius, among our fathers, 
was entitled a wise man; but each on a different and pev 
culiar account : Atilius, because he was considered versed in 
the civil law ; Cato, because he had experience in a variety 
of subjects; both in the senate and in the forum many in 
stances are recorded either of his shrewd forethought, or 
persevering action, or pointed reply: wherefore he already 
had, as it were, the surname of wise in his old age. While of 
you it is remarked that you are wise in a different sense, 
not only by nature and character, but further, by application 
and learning; and not as the vulgar, but as the learned 
designate a wise man, such as was none in all Greece. For 
as to those who are called the seven wise men, persons who 
inquire into such things with great nicety do not consider 
them in the class of wise men. We learn that at Athens 
there was one peculiarly so, and that he was even pronounced 

against their cotemporaries by those authors whom we are now dis 
posed to consider as too highly estimated by our own cotemporaries on 
that very account." Dr. Brown s Lectures on the Philosophy of the 
Mind, lecture xliv 



172 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. n. 

by the oracle of Apollo the wisest of men. 1 This is the kind 
of wisdom they conceive to be in you, that you consider 
every thing connected with you to rest upon yourself, and 
consider the events of life as subordinate to virtue : 2 therefore 
they inquire of me (I believe of you also, Scsevola) in what 
manner you bear the death of Africanus. And the rather 
so, because on the last nones, when we had come into the 
gardens of Decius Brutus the augur, for the purpose of dis 
cussion, as our practice is, you were not present ; although 
you were accustomed most punctually to observe that day and 
that engagement. 

SCSEVOLA. It is true, many are inquiring, Caius Lselius, as 
has been asserted by Fannius. But for my part I answer 
them according to what I have remarked, that you bear with 
patience the grief which you have suffered, by the death of 
one who was at once a very distinguished man, and a very 
dear friend ; yet that you could not forbear being distressed, 
nor would that have been consistent with your feelings as 
a man. And with regard to your not having attended last 
nones at our assembly, ill health was the cause, and not 
affliction. 

LJELIUS. You certainly said what was right, Scsevola, and 
agreeable to truth : for neither ought I to have absented my 
self through any inconvenience of mine from that duty which 
I have always fulfilled when I was well ; nor by any chance 
do I conceive it can happen to a man of firmness of character, 
that any interruption should take place in his duty. And as 
for you, Fannius, who say there is attributed to me so much 
merit, as I am neither conscious of nor lay claim to, you 
act therein like a friend : but, as it seems to me, you do not 
form a right estimate of Cato; for either there never has 
been a wise man, which I rather think, or if there ever was 
one, he was the man. For (to omit other cases i consider how 

1 Socrates. See Plato s defense of Socrates. 

2 " If thou must needs rule, be Zeno s king and enjoy that empire which 
every man gives himself. He who is thus his own monarch contentedly 
sways the scepter of himself, not envying the glory of crowned heads and 
Elohims of the earth. Could the world unite in the practice of that de 
spised train of virtues which the divine ethics of our Saviour have so in 
culcated unto us, the furious face of things must disappear ; Eden would 
be yet to be found, and the angels might look down, not with pity but 
joy upon us." Sir Thomas Browne s Christian Morals, chap. xix. 



CHAP. in. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 173 

he endured the loss of his son ! I remember the instance of 
Paullus, and witnessed that of Gallus : but theirs was in 
the case of children ; but Cato s is that of a mature and 
respected man. Wherefore pause before you prefer to Cato, 
even him whom Apollo, as you say, pronounced the wisest of 
men : for the deeds of the one are praised, but only the say 
ings of the other. Concerning myself, however (for I would 
now address you both), entertain the following sentiments. 

III. Should I say that I am not distressed by the loss of 
Scipio, philosophers may determine with what propriety I 
should do so ; but assuredly I should be guilty of falsehood. 
For I am distressed at being bereaved of such a friend, as no 
one, I consider, will ever be to me again, and, as I can con 
fidently assert, no one ever was : but I am not destitute of a 
remedy. I comfort myself, and especially with this consola 
tion, that I am free from that error by which most men, on 
the decease of friends, are wont to be tormented : for I feel 
that no evil has happened to Scipio ; it has befallen myself, 
if indeed it has happened to any. Now to be above measure 
distressed at one s own troubles, is characteristic of the man 
who loves not his friend, but himself. In truth, as far as he 
is concerned, who can deny that his end was glorious ? for 
unless he had chosen to wish for immortality, of which he 
had not the slightest thought, what did he fail to obtain 
which it was lawful for a man to wish for ? A man who, as 
soon as he grew up, by his transcendent merit far surpassed 
those sanguine hopes of his countrymen which they had con 
ceived regarding him when a mere boy, who never stood for 
the consulship, yet was made consul twice ; on the first occasion 
before his time ; on the second, at the proper age as regarded 
himself, though for the commonwealth almost too late ; who, 
by overthrowing two cities, 1 most hostile to our empire, put 
an end, not only to all present, but all future wars. What shall 
I say of his most engaging manners ; of his dutiful conduct to 
his mother j his generosity to his sisters ; his kindness to his 
friends ; his uprightness toward all ? These are known to 
you : and how dear he was to the state, was displayed by its 
mourning at his death. How, therefore, could the accession 

1 Carthage was destroyed by Scipio, the second Africanus, B.C. 147 ; 
and Numantia, a town of Spain, B.C. 133. From the latter exploit ho 
obtained the surname of Numantinus. 



174 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. m. 

of a few years have benefited such a man? For although 
old age is not burdensome (as I recollect Cato asserted, in con 
versation with myself and Scipio the year before he died), 
yet it takes away that freshness which Scipio even yet pos 
sessed. Wherefore his life was such that nothing could be 
added to it, either in respect of good fortune or of glory : 
moreover, the very suddenness of his death took away the 
consciousness of it. On which kind of death it is difficult 
to pronounce : what men conjecture, you yourselves know. 1 
However, this we may assert with truth, that of the many 
most glorious and joyous days which P. Scipio witnessed in 
the course of his life, that day was the most glorious when, 
on the breaking up of the senate, he was escorted home in the 
evening by the conscript fathers, by the allies of the Roman 
people, and the Latins, the day before he died ; so that from so 
high a position of dignity he may seem to have passed to 
the gods above rather than to those below. Nor do I agree 
with those who have lately begun to assert this opinion, 
that the soul also dies simultaneously with the body, and that 
all things are annihilated by death. 2 

1 ".Certainly the stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by 
their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, 
qui finem vitas extremum inter munera ponat nature. It is as natural 
to die as to be born, and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful 
as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is 
wounded in hot blood, who for the time scarce feels the hurt ; and there 
fore a mind fixed and bent upon something that is good doth avert the 
dolors of death ; but above all believe it the sweetest canticle is, nunc 
dimittis, when a man hath obtained worth, ends, and expectations. 
Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame and extin- 
guisheth envy ; extinctus amahitur idem. " Lord Bacon, Essay ii. 

2 Ever since the time of Cicero the subject of the immortality of the 
soul has been incessantly discussed ; by some as a conclusion of natural 
religion, by others as a doctrine of revelation. The following summary 
of the argument is given by Dugald Stewart in the second part of his 
Outlines of Moral Philosophy, cap. ii. sec. 1. The reasons he here states 
without any illustration for believing the doctrine of a future state, are 
the following: 

" 1. The natural desire of immortality, and the anticipations of futurity 
inspired by hope. 

" 2. The natural apprehensions of the mind when under the influence 
of remorse. 

" 3. The exact accommodation of the condition of the lower animals to 
their instincts and to their sensitive powers, contrasted with the unsuit- 
ablenesa of the present state of things to the intellectual faculties of man ; 



CHAP. iv. CICERO OX FRIENDSHIP. 175 

IV. The authority of the ancients has more weight with me, 
either that of our own ancestors, who paid such sacred honors 
to the dead which surely they would not have done if they 
thought these honors did in no way affect them ; or that of 
those who once lived in this country, and enlightened, by their 
institutions and instructions, Magna Gra?cia (which now 
indeed is entirely destroyed, but then was flourishing); or 
of him who was pronounced by the oracle of Apollo to be the 
wisest of men, who did not say first one thing and then 
another, as is generally done, but always the same ; namely, 

to his capacities of enjoyment, and to the conceptions of happiness ami, 
of perfection which he is able to form. 

" 4. The foundation which is laid in the principles of our constitution 
for a progressive and an unlimited improvement. 

" 5. The information we are rendered capable of acquiring concerning 
the more remote parts of the universe ; the unlimited range which is 
opened to the human imagination through the immensity of space and 
of time, and the ideas, however imperfect, which philosophy affords us 
of the existence and attributes of an overruling mind acquisitions for 
which an obvious final cause may be traced on the supposition of a future 
state, but which if that supposition be rejected, could have no other effect 
than to make the business of life appear unworthy of our regard. 

" 6. The tendency of the infirmities of age, and of the pains of disease 
to strengthen and confirm our moral habits, and the difficulty of account 
ing upon the hypothesis of annihilation for those sufferings which com 
monly put a period to the existence of man. 

" 7. The discordance between our moral judgments and feelings and 
the course of human affairs. 

" 8. The analogy of the material world, in some parts of which the 
most complete and the most systematical order may be traced ; and of 
which our views always become the more satisfactory the wider our 
knowledge extends. I* is the supposition of a future state alone that 
can furnish a key to the present disorders of the moral world ; and with 
out it many of the most striking phenomena of human life must remain 
forever inexplicable. 

" 9. The inconsistency of supposing that the moral laws which regulate 
the course of human affairs have no reference to any thing beyond the 
limits of the present scene ; when all the bodies which compose the vis 
ible universe appear to be related to each other, as parts of one great 
physical system. 

" Of the different considerations now mentioned, there is not one per 
haps which, taken singly, would be sufficient to establish the truth they 
are brought to prove, but taken in conjunction, their force appears irre 
sistible. They not only all terminate in the same conclusion, but they 
mutually reflect light on each other ; and they have that sort of con 
sistency and connection among themselves which could hardly be sup 
posed to take place among a series of false propositions." 



176 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. IY. 

that the souls of men are divine, and that when they have de 
parted from the body, a return to heaven is opened to them, 
and the speediest to the most virtuous and just. 1 Which same 
opinion was also held by Scipio ; for he indeed, a very few days 
before his death, as if he had a presentiment of it, when Philus 
and Manilius were present, and many others, and you also, 

1 So striking is the resemblance between the religious tenets of Cicero 
and those of modern philosophy, corrected by a divine revelation, that 
it is difficult to suppose that they should have originated in his own re 
flections, unaided by any light derived through the medium of tradition 
or report. The idea contained in this passage we find reproduced, with 
little modification, in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, by a 
moralist and ethical philosopher, neither of whom was at all likely to 
derive his opinions on such a subject from the writings of Cicero. By 
giving the former passage entire, I may perhaps lead the reader to be 
lieve that Sir Thomas Browne has added nothing to the conceptions of 
Cicero touching the immortality of the soul but superstition and folly. 
"I believe," he says, " that the whole frame of a beast doth perish, and 
is left in the same state after death as before it was materialed into life ; 
that the souls of men know neither contrary or corruption ; that they 
subsist beyond the body, and outlive death by the privilege of their 
proper natures, and without a miracle ; that the souls of the faithful, as 
they leave earth, take possession of heaven ; that thos 3 apparitions and 
ghosts of departed persons are not the wandering souls of men, but the 
unquiet walks of devils, prompting and suggesting us unto mischief, 
blood and villainy instilling, and stealing into our hearts; that the bless 
ed spirits are not at rest in their graves, but wander solicitous of the af 
fairs of the world ; that these phantasms appear often, and do frequent 
cemeteries, charnel-houses, and churches; it is because these are the 
dormitories of the dead where the devil, like an insolent champion, be 
holds with pride the spoils and trophies of his victory in Adam." Re- 
ligio Medici, chap, xxxvii. 

" "We have," says Dr. Thomas Brown, "therefore to conceive the mind 
at death matured by experience, and nobler than it was when the Deity 
permitted it to exist ; and the Deity himself; with all those gracious feel 
ings of love to man which the adaption of human nature to its human 
scene displays, and in these very circumstances, if we affirm without any 
other proof the annihilation of the mind, we are to find a reason for this 
annihilation. If even we in such a moment, abstracting from all selfish 
considerations, would feel it a sort of crime to destroy, with no other 
view than that of the mere destruction what was more worthy of love 
than in years of earlier being, are we to believe that he who loves what 
is noble in man more than our frail heart can love it, will regard the im 
provements only as a signal of destruction ? Is it not more consonant 
to the goodness of him who has rendered improvement progressive here, 
that in separating the mind from its bodily frame, he separates it to ad 
mit it into scenes in which the progress begun on earth may be con 
tinued with increasing facility." Lecture xcvi. 



CHAP. ir. CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. 177 

Scaevola, had gone with me, for three days descanted en the 
subject of government : of which discussion the last was 
almost entirely on the immortality of souls, which he said lie 
had learned in sleep through a vision from Afiicanus. If 
this be the fact, that the spirit of the best man most easily 
flies away in death, as from the prison-house and chains of the 
body; whose passage to the gods can we conceive to have 
been readier than that of Scipio ? Wherefore, to be afflicted 
at this his departure, I fear, would be the part rather of an 
envious person than of a friend. But if, on the other hand, 
this be rather the truth, that the death of the soul and of the 
body is one and the same, and that no consciousness remains ; 
as there is no advantage in death, so certainly there is no 
evil. For when consciousness is lost, it becomes the same 
as if he had never been born at all ; yet, both we ourselves 
are glad, and this state, as long as it shall exist, will rejoice 
that he was born. Wherefore (as I said above) with him 
indeed all ended well : with myself, less happily ; for it had 
been more equitable that, as I entered upon life first, I should 
likewise first depart from it. But yet I so enjoy the recollec 
tion of our friendship, that I seem to have lived happily be 
cause I lived with Scipio ; with whom I had a common anxiety 
on public and private affairs, and with whom my life both at 
home and abroad was associated, and there existed that, wherein 
consists the entire strength of friendship, an entire agreement 
of inclinations, pursuits, and sentiments. 1 That character for 
wisdom, therefore, which Fannius a little while ago mentioned, 
does not so delight me, especially since it is undeserved, as the 
hope that the recollection of our friendship will last forever. 
And it is the more gratifying to me, because scarcely in the 
history of the world are three or four pairs of friends men 
tioned by name ; 3 and I indulge in the hope that the friendship 
of Scipio and Lselius will be known to posterity in this class. 
FANNIUS. Indeed, Lselius, that must be so. But since you 

1 " The consideration of moral worth will always enter deeply into the 
motives which actuate wise and good men in their choice of friends ; but 
it is far from constituting the only one ; a certain congeniality of mind 
and manners, aided by the operation of adventitious circumstances, con 
tributes a principal share to ward the formation of such unions." Robert 
Hall s Funeral Sermon for Dr. Ryland. 

2 Orestes and Pylades, Damon and Pythias, Nisus and Eurvalus, aro 
the most famous pairs of friends recorded in ancient history. 

8* 



178 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. v. 

have made mention of friendship, and as we have leisure, you 
will do what is very agreeable to me (I hope also to Scaevola), 
if, as your custom is concerning other matters when your 
opinion of them is asked, so you would descant on friendship, 
[telling us] what is your opinion, of what nature you consider 
it to be, and what direction you would lay down. SCAEVOLA. 
To me it will be exceedingly agreeable ; and in fact, when I 
was endeavoring to prevail with you, Fannius anticipated me : 
wherefore you will confer a very great favor on both of us. 

V. L^ELIUS. I indeed should not object, if I could feel 
confidence in myself; for not only is the subject a splendid 
one, but we, as Fannius said, have nothing to do. But who 
am I ? or what ability is there in me for this ? This is the 
practice of scholars, and of Grecian scholars, that a subject 
be given them on which they are to dispute, however 
suddenly. It is a great undertaking, and requires no little 
practice. Wherefore, as to what may be said on the subject 
of friendship, I recommend you to seek it from those who pro 
fess such things. 1 I can only urge you to prefer friendship 
to all human possessions ; for there is nothing so suited to 
our nature, so well adapted to prosperity or adversity. But 
first of all, I am of opinion, that except among the virtuous, 
friendship can not exist : I do not analyze this principle too 
closely, as they do who inquire with too great nicety into those 
things, perhaps with truth on their side, but with little gen 
eral advantage ; for they maintain that there is no good 
man but the wise man. Be it so ; yet they define wisdom to 
be such as no mortal has ever attained to : whereas we ought to 
contemplate those things which exist in practice and in 
common life, and not the subjects of fictions or of our own 
wishes. I would never pretend to say that Caius Fabricius, 
Marius Curius, and Titus Coruncanius, whom our ancestors 
esteemed wise, were wise according to the standard of these 
moralists. AVherefore let them keep to themselves the name 
of wisdom, both invidious and unintelligible ; and let them 
allow that these were good men nay, they will not even do 
that ; they will declare that this can not be granted except to 
a wise man. Let us therefore proceed with all our dull genius, 
as they say. Those who so conduct themselves, and so live 

1 The Greek sophists, like the modern Italians, professed to improvise 
on any given subject. See Plato s Gorgias, Protagoras, etc. 



CHAP. v. CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. lYg 

that their honor, their integrity, their justice, and liberality 
are approved ; so that there is not in them any covetousness, 
or licentiousness, or boldness ; and that they are of great 
consistency, as those men whom I have mentioned above ; 
let us consider these worthy of the appellation of good men, 
as they have been accounted such, because they follow (as far 
as men arc able) nature, which is the best guide of a good 
life. 1 For I seem to myself to have this view, that we are 

1 " A person when he speaks of Nature, should know distinctly what 
he means. The word carries with it a sort of intermediate authority; 
and he who uses it amiss, may connect that authority with rules and 
actions which are little entitled to it. There are few senses in which 
the word is used that do not refer, however obscurely, to God ; and it is 
for that reason that the notion of authority is connected with the word. 
The very name of Nature implies that it must owe its birth to some 
prior agent, or, to speak properly, signifies iu itself nothing. Milton, 
Christ. Doct. p. 14. Yet, unmeaning as the term is, it is one of which 
many persons are very fond, whether it be that their notions are really 
Indistinct, or that some purposes are answered by referring to the obscu 
rity of Nature rather than to God. Nature has decorated the earth 
with beauty and magnificence, Nature has furnished us with joints and 
limbs, are phrases sufficiently unmeaning, and yet I know not that they 
are likely to do any other harm than to give currency to the common 
fiction. But when it is said that Nature teaches us to adhere to truth, 
Nature condemns us for dishonesty or deceit, Men are taught by 
Nature that they are responsible beings, there is considerable danger 
that we have both fallacious and injurious notions of the authority which 
thus teaches or condemns us upon this subject, it were well to take the 
advice of Boyle : Nature, he says, is sometimes indeed commonly 
taken for a kind of semi-deity. In this sense it is best not to use it at 
all. (See Inquiry into the vulgarly received notions of Nature). It is 
dangerous to induce confusion into our ideas respecting our relationship 
with God. 

" A law of nature is a very imposing phrase ; and it might be suppos 
ed, from the language of some persons, that nature was an independent 
legislatress, who had sat and framed laws for the government of man 
kind. Nature is nothing ; yet it would seem that men do sometimes 
practically imagine that a lav/ of nature possesses proper and independ 
ent authority ; and it may be suspected that with some, the notion is 
so palpable and strong that they set up the authority of the law of 
nature without reference to the will of God, or perhaps in opposition to 
it. Even if notions like these float in the mind only with vapory indis 
tinctness,, a correspondent indistinctness of moral notions is likely to en 
sue. Every man should make to himself the rule never to employ tho 
word nature when he speaks of ultimate moral authority. A law possesses 
no authority ; the authority rests only in the legislator, and as nature 
makes no laws, a law of nature involves no obligation but that which is 
imposed by the Divine will." Dymond a Essays, Essay I. chapter ii. 



180 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. vi. 

so formed by nature, that there should be a certain social 
tie among all ; stronger, however, as each approaches nearer 
to us. Accordingly, citizens are preferable to foreigners, 
and relations to strangers ; for with the latter, nature her 
self has created a friendly feeling, though this has not suf 
ficient strength. For in this respect friendship is superior 
to relationship, because from relationship benevolence can be 
withdrawn, and from friendship it can not : for with the with 
drawal of benevolence the very name of friendship is done 
away, while that of relationship remains. Now how great the 
power of friendship is, may be best gathered from this consid 
eration, that out of the boundless society of the human race, 
which nature herself has joined together, friendship is a matter 
so contracted, and brought into so narrow a compass, that the 
whole of affection is confined to two, or at any rate to very 
few. 

VI. Now friendship is nothing else than a complete union 
of feeling on all subjects, divine and human, accompanied by 
kindly feeling and attachment ; than which, indeed, I am not 
aware whether, with the exception of wisdom, any thing- 
better has been bestowed on man by the immortal gods. 
Some men prefer riches, others good health, others influence, 
others again honors, many prefer even pleasures : the last, 
indeed, is the characteristic of beasts ; while the former are 
fleeting and uncertain, depending not so much on our own 
purpose, as on the fickleness of fortune. Whereas those who 
place the supreme good in virtue, therein do admirably ; but 
this very virtue itself both begets and constitutes friendship ; 
nor without this virtue can friendship exist at all. Now let 
us define this virtue according to the usage of life, and of 
our common language ; and let us not measure it, as certain 
learned persons do, by pomp of language ; and let us include 
among the good those who are so accounted the Paulli, the 
Catos, the Galli, the Scipios, and the Phili ; with these men 
ordinaiy life is content: and let us pass over those who 
are nowhere found to exist. Among men of this kind, 
therefore, friendship finds facilities so great that I can 
scarcely describe them. In the first place to whom can 
life be " worth living," as Ennius says, who does not repose 
on the mutual kind feeling of some friend ? What can be 
more delightful than to have one to whom you can speak on 



CHAP. Til. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 181 

all subjects just as to yourself ? Where would be the great 
enjoyment in prosperity, if you had not one to rejoice in it 
equally with yourself? And adversity would indeed be 
difficult to endure, without some one who would bear it even 
with greater regret than yourself. In short, all other objects 
that are sought after, are severally suited to some one single 
purpose : riches, that you may spend them ; power, that you 
may be courted; honors, that you may be extolled; 
pleasures, that you may enjoy them ; good health that you 
may be exempt from harm, and perform the functions of the 
body. Whereas friendship comprises the greatest number of 
objects possible : wherever you turn yourself, it is at hand ; 
shut out of no place, never out of season, never irksome ; 
and therefore we do not use fire and water, as they say, on 
more occasions than we do friendship. And I am not now 
speaking of common-place or ordinary friendship (though 
even that brings delight and benefit), but of real and true 
friendship, such as belonged to those of whom very few are 
recorded ; for prosperity friendship renders more brilliant ; 
and adversity more supportable, by dividing and communi 
cating it." 1 

VII. And while friendship embraces very many and great 
advantages, she undoubtedly surpasses all in this, that she 
shines with a brilliant hope over the future, and never suffers 
the spirit to be weakened or to sink. Besides, he who looks 
on a true friend, looks as it were upon a kind of image of 
himself: wherefore friends, though absent, are still present; 

1 " The sympathies of virtuous minds when not warmed by the breath 
of friendship, are too faint and cold to satisfy the social cravings of our 
nature, their compassion is too much dissipated by the multiplicity of its 
objects and the varieties of distress to suffer it to flow long in one channel, 
while the sentiments of congratulation are still more slight and superfi 
cial. A transient tear of pity, or a smile of complacency equally transient, 
is all we can usually bestow on the scenes of happiness or of misery 
which we meet with in the paths of life. But man naturally seeks for a 
closer union, a more permanent conjunction of interests, a more intense 
reciprocation of feeling ; he finds the want of one or more with whom he 
can trust the secrets of his heart, and relieve himself by imparting tho 
interior joys and sorrows with which every human breast is fraught. Ho 
seeks, in short, another self, a kindred spirit whose interest in his welfare 
bears some proportion to his own, with whom he may lessen his cares 
by sympathy, and multiply his pleasures by participation." Hall s Fu 
neral Sermon for Dr. Ryland. 



182 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP.YII. 

though in poverty, they are rich ; though weak, yet in the 
enjoyment of health ; and, what is still more difficult to 
assert, though dead they are alive ; so entirely does the 
honor, the memory, the regret of friends attend them ; from 
which circumstance, the death of the one seems to be happy, 
and the life of the other praiseworthy; nay, should you 
remove from nature the cement of kind feelings, neither a 
house nor a city will be able to stand ; even the cultivation 
of the land "will not continue. If it be not clearly perceived 
how great is the power of friendship and concord, it can be dis 
tinctly inferred from quarrels and dissensions ; for what house 
is there so established, or what state so firmly settled, that may 
not utterly be overthrown by hatred and dissension? from 
which it may be determined how much advantage there is in 
friendship. They relate, indeed, that a certain learned man 
of Agrigentum 1 promulgated in Greek verses the doctrine, 
that all things which cohere throughout the whole world, and 
all things that are the subjects of motion, are brought 
together by friendship, and are dispelled by discord; and 
this principle all men understand, and illustrate by their 
conduct. Therefore, if at any time any act of a friend has 
been exhibited, either in undergoing or in sharing dangers, 
who is there that does not extol such an act with the highest 
praise ? What shouts of applause were lately heard through 
the whole theater, on the occasion of a new play by my 
guest and friend, Marcus Pacuvius, when the king, being 
ignorant which of them was Orestes, Pylades said he was 
Orestes, that he might be put to death instead of him ; but 
Orestes, as was the fact, solemnly maintained that he was the 
man ? They stood up and applauded in an imaginary case ; 
what must we suppose they would have done in a real one. 
Xature herself excellently asserted her rightful power, when 
men pronounced that to be rightly done in another, which 
they could not do themselves. Thus far I seem to have been 
able to lay down what are my sentiments concerning friend 
ship. If any thing remains (and I fancy there is much), ask 
of those, if you please, who practice such discussions. 

FANNIUS. But we would rather hear it from you ; although 

1 Empedocles, a philosopher, poet, and historian of Agrigentum in 
Sicily, who flourished, B.C. 444. He wrote a poem on the doctrines of 
Pythagoras. 



CHAP. Tin. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 183 

L have often asked such questions, and heard their opinions, 
and that not without satisfaction, yet what we desire is the 
somewhat different thread of your discourse. SC^EVOLA. You 
would say so still more, Famiius, if you had been present 
lately in the gardens of Scipio, when the subject of Govern 
ment was discussed. What an able pleader was he then on 
the side of justice against the subtle argument of Philus ! 
FANNIUS. Nay, it was an easy task for the most just of men 
to uphold the cause of justice. SC^EVOLA. What shall wo 
say then of friendship? Would it not be easy for him to 
eulogize it, who, for maintaining it with the utmost fidelity, 
steadiness and integrity, has gained the highest glory ? 

VIII. L^ELIUS. Why, this. is using force against one: for 
what matters it by what kind of request you compel me 2 
You certainly do compel me. For to oppose the wishes of 
one s sons-in-law, especially in a good matter, is not only 
hard, but it is not even just. After very often, then, reflect 
ing on the subject of friendship, this question seems to me 
especially worthy of consideration, whether friendship has 
become an object of desire, on account of weakness or want, 
so that by giving and receiving favors, each may receive 
from another, and mutually repay, what he is himself in 
capable of acquiring. Or whether this is only a property of 
friendship ; while there is another cause, higher and nobler 
and^ more directly derived from nature herself? For love 
(from which friendship takes its name) is the main motive for 
the union of kind feelings : for advantages truly are often 
derived from those who are courted under a pretense of 
friendship, and have attention paid them for a temporary 
purpose. In friendship there is nothing false, and nothing 
pretended; and whatever belongs to it is sincere and spon 
taneous. Wherefore friendship seems to me to have sprung 
rather from nature than from a sense of want, and more from 
an attachment of the mind with a certain feeling of affection, 
than from a calculation how much advantage it would afford. 
And of what nature indeed it is, may be observed in the 
case of certain beasts ; for they love their offspring up to a 
certain time, and are loved by them in such a way that their 
emotions are easily discovered. And this is much more evi 
dent in man. In the first place, from that affection which 
subsists between children and parents, which can not be de- 



184 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. ix. 

stroyed without detestable wickedness : next, where a similar 
feeling of love has existed, if we have met with any one with 
whose character and disposition we sympathize, because we 
appear to discover in him a certain effulgence as it were of 
integrity and virtue. For nothing is more amiable than virtue, 
nothing which more strongly allures us to love it, seeing that 
because of their virtue and integrity we can in a certain 
degree love those whom we have never seen. Who can 
mention the name of Caius Fabricius, and Marius Curius, 
otherwise than with love and affection, though he never saw 
them ? Who can forbear hating Tarquinius Superbus, Spurius 
Cassius, and Spurius Mselius ? Against two generals we had 
a struggle for empire in Italy, I mean Pyrrhus and Hannibal ; 
toward the former, on account of his honorable conduct, 
we bear not a very hostile disposition ; while this state will 
always detest the latter for his cruelty. 

IX. Now if such be the influence of integrity, that we 
love it even in those whom we have never seen, and, what is 
much more, even in an enemy, what wonder if men s feelings 
are affected when they seem to discover the goodness and 
virtue of those with whom they may become connected by 
intercourse ? although love is confirmed by the reception of 
kindness, and by the discovery of an earnest sympathy, and 
by close familiarity ; which things being added to the first 
emotion of the mind and the affections, there is kindled a large 
amount of kindly feeling. And if any imagine that this 
proceeds from a sense of weakness, so that there shall be 
secured a friend, by whom a man may obtain that which he 
wants, they leave to friendship a mean indeed, and, if I may 
so speak, any thing but respectable origin, when they make 
her to be born of indigence and want; were this the case, 
then in proportion as a man judged that there were the least 
resources in himself, precisely in that degree would he be best 
qualified for friendship : whereas the fact is far otherwise. 
For just as a man has most confidence in himself, and as he 
is most completely fortified by worth and wisdom, so that he 
needs no one s assistance, and feels that all his resources 
reside in himself; in the same proportion he is most highly 
distinguished for seeking out and forming friendships. For 
what did Africanus want of me? nothing whatever; nor 
indeed did I need aught from him : but I loved him from 



CHAP. X. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 185 

admiration of his excellence; he in turn perhaps was at 
tached to me from some high opinion which he entertained 
of my character, and association fostered our affection. But 
although many and great advantages ensued, yet it was 
not from any hope of these that the cause of our attachment 
sprang : for as we are beneficent and liberal, not to exact 
favor in return (for we are not usurers in kind actions), but 
by nature are inclined to liberality, thus I think that friend 
ship is to be desired, not attracted by the hope of reward, but 
because the whole of its profit consists in love only. From 
such opinions, they who, after the fashion of beasts, refer 
every thing to pleasure, widely differ : and no great wonder, 
since they can not look up to any thing lofty, magnificent, 
or divine who cast all their thoughts on an object so mean 
and contemptible. Therefore let us exclude such persons 
altogether from our discourse ; and let us ourselves hold this 
opinion, that the sentiment of loving, and the attachment of 
kind feelings, are produced by nature, when the evidence of 
virtue has been established ; and they who have eagerly sought 
the latter, draw nigh and attach themselves to it, that they 
may enjoy the friendship and character of the individual they 
have begun to love, and that they may be commensurate and 
equal in affection, and more inclined to confer a favor than 
to claim any return. And let this honorable struggle be 
maintained between them : so not only will the greatest 
advantages be derived from friendship, but its origin from 
nature rather than from a sense of weakness, will be at once 
more impressive and more true. For if it were expediency 
that cemented friendships, the same when changed would 
dissolve them ; but because nature can never change, there 
fore true friendships are eternal. Thus you see the origin 
of friendship, unless you wish to make some reply to these 
views. FANNIUS. Nay, go on, Laelius, for I answer for 
Scsevola here (who is my junior) on my own authority. 
SC^EVOLA. You do right ; wherefore let us attend. 

X. LAELIUS. Listen, then, my excellent friends, to the dis 
cussion which was very frequently held by me and Scipio 
on the subject of friendship ; although he indeed used to say 
that nothing was more difficult than that friendship should 
continue to the end of life ; for it often happened, either that 
the same course was not expedient to both parties, or that 



186 CICERO OX FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xi. 

they held different views of politics : he also remarked that 
the characters of men often changed; in some cases by 
adversity, in others by old age becoming oppressive ; and he 
derived an authority for such notions from a comparison with 
early life, because the strongest attachment of boys are con 
stantly laid aside with the praetexta jj even if they should main 
tain it to manhood, yet sometimes it is broken off by rivalry, 
for a dowried wife, or some other advantage, which they 
can not both attain. , And even if men should be carried on 
still further in their friendship, yet that feeling is often 
undermined, should they fall into rivalry for preferments; 
for there is no greater enemy to friendship than covet- 
ousness of money, in most men, and even in the best, an . 
emulous desire of high offices and glory ; in consequence of 
which the most bitter enmities have often arisen between the 
dearest friends. For great dissensions, and those in most 
instances, justifiable, arise, when some request is made of 
friends which is improper ; as, for instance, that they should 
become either the ministers of their lust or their supporters 
in the perpetration of wrong ; and they w r ho refuse to do so, 
it matters not however virtuously, yet are accused of dis 
carding the claims of friendship by those persons whom they 
are unwilling to oblige ; but they who dare to ask any thing 
of a friend, by their very request seem to imply that they 
would do any thing for the sake of that friend ; by the com 
plaining of such persons, not only are long-established 
intimacies put an end to, but endless animosities are engen 
dered. All these many causes, like so many fatalities, are 
ever threatening friendship, so that he said, to escape them 
all, seemed to him a proof not merely of wisdom, but even of 
good fortune. 

XI. Wherefore let us first consider if you please, how 
far love ought to proceed in friendship. If Coriolanus had 
friends, were they bound to carry arms against their country 
with Coriolanus ? Were their friends bound to support 
Viscellinus or Spurius Mselius when they aimed at the 
sovereignty? Nay, in the case of Tiberius Gracchus, when 
disturbing the commonwealth, we saw him totally abandoned 
by Quintus Tubero, and other friends of his own standing. 
But in the case of Caius Blossius, of Cumse, the friend of 
our family, Sca3vola, when he had come to me (then attend- 



CHAP. XL CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 187 

ing upon the consuls Lsenas and Rupilius in their council) to 
sue for pardon, he brought forward his plea, that he es 
teemed Tiberius Gracchus so highly that he thought it his 
duty to do whatever he wished. So I said, " What, even if he 
wished you to set fire to the capitol ?" " He never would 
have thought of that," he replied. "But what if he had?" 
" Then I would have complied." You see what an abominable 
speech : and, by Hercules, he did so, and even worse than he 
said ; for - he did not follow the mad schemes of Tiberius 
Gracchus, but in fact headed them, and did not act as the 
accomplice of his violence, but even as the captain. There 
fore in consequence of such rashness, being terrified by a 
new prosecution, he fled precipitately into Asia, joined the 
enemy, and atoned to the commowealth by a punishment 
just and severe. It is no excuse therefore for a fault, that 
you committed it for a friend s sake ; for since the belief in 
another s excellence was that which conciliated friendship, it 
is hard for friendship to continue when you have apostatized 
from virtue. Now if we shall lay it down as right, either to 
concede to friends whatever they wish, or to obtain from 
them whatever we wish, we must have indeed consummate 
wisdom, if such a course leads to no vice. But we are speak 
ing of those friends who are before our eyes, whom we see 
around us, or else whom we know by report, and with whom 
every-day life is familiar : from that class we must take our 
instances, and above all, from those who make the nearest 
approaches to wisdom. We see that Papus JEinilius was the 
intimate friend of Caius Luscinus (so we have learned from 
our fathers) ; that they were twice consuls together, and col 
leagues in the censorship ; and that at the same time Marcus 
Curius and Titus Coruncariius were most intimate with 
them and with each other, is a matter of history, and there 
fore we can not even suspect that any one of these ever 
asked his friend any thing that was contrary to their honor, 
their oath, and the interest of the state : for what reason is 
there for making such a remark about men like them ? I 
am convinced, had any of them made the request, he would 
not have obtained it, for they were men of the purest prin 
ciple; besides, it would be equally as wrong to agree to 
and such request when made, as to make it. And yet Caius 
Carbo and Caius Cato both took the part of Tiberius Grac- 



188 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xn. 

elms, as did his brother Cains, at that time by no means an 
agitator, but now one of the most violent. 

XII. Let this law therefore be established in friendship, 
viz., that we should neither ask things that are improper, nor 
grant them when asked ; for it is a disgraceful apology, and 
by no means to be admitted, as well in the case of other 
offenses, as when any one avows he has acted against the state 
for the sake of a friend. 1 For we are placed, O Fannius and 
Scsevola, in such a position that we ought to see from a 
distance the future calamities of the commonwealth ; for the 
practice of our ancestors has already in some respect swerved 
from its career and course. Tiberius Gracchus has endeavored 
to obtain the sovereignty, or rather he reigned for a few 
months. Had the Roman people ever heard or witnessed 
any thing similar ? Even after his death, his friends and 
relations maintained his cause; and what malice they exer 
cised against Publius Scipio, I can not relate without tears ; 
for, owing to the recent punishment of Tiberius Gracchus, 
we withstood Carbo by whatever means we could. And con 
cerning the tribuneship of Cnius Gracchus, what we have to 
expect I have no disposition to anticipate ; still the movement 
is creeping on, and when once it has begun, it rushes with 
increasing precipitation to destruction : for already you have 
seen with regard to the ballot, what great mischief has been 

1 " The knowledge concerning good respecting society, doth handle it 
also, not simply alone, but comparatively ; whereunto belongeth the 
weighing of duties between person and person, case and case, particular 
and public ; as we see in the proceeding of Lucius Brutus against his 
own sons, which was so much extolled ; yet what was said ? 

Infelix utcunque ferent ea facta minores. 

So the case was doubtful, and had opinion on both sides. Again, we 
see when M. Brutus and Cassius invited to a supper certain whose opin 
ions they meant to feel whether they were fit to be made their associates, 
and cast forth the question touching the killing of a tyrant being a usurp 
er, they were divided in opinion ; some holding that servitude was the 
extreme of evils, and others that tyranny was better than civil war ; and 
a number of the like cases there are of comparative duty, among which, 
that of all others is the most frequent, where the question is of a great 
deal of good to ensue of a small injustice which Jason of Thessalia de 
termined against truth. Aliqua sunt injuste facienda ut multa juste 
fieri possint. But the reply is good : Auctorem pragsentis justitiae habes 
sponsorem futurse non habes. Men must pursue things which are just 
at present, and leave the future to a divine Providence." Bacon s Adv. 
of Learning, book II. 



CHAP. xiii. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 189 

caused first, by the Gabinian law, 1 and two years after by 
the Cassian: for already I fancy I see the people separated 
from the senate, and the most important measures carried at 
the caprice of the mob ; far more people will learn how 
such things may be done, than how they may be resisted. 
Wherefore do I say this ? Because without allies no one 
attempts any thing of the kind ; therefore this" should be 
pressed on all good men, that if inadvertently they should 
have fallen unawares into friendships of that character, they 
must think themselves bound in such a manner that they 
must not desert their friends when doing wrong in any import 
ant matter : at the same time, punishment should be enacted 
against the wicked ; and not less severe for those who have 
followed another, than for those who have been themselves 
the leaders of the wickedness. Who was more illustrious 
in Greece than Themistocles ? who more powerful ? And 
when he, as general in the Persian war, had freed Greece 
from slavery, and through unpopularity had been driven into 
exile, he could not endure the injustice of his ungrateful 
country, which he ought to have borne ; he acted the same 
part as Coriolanus had done among us twenty years before. 
No one was found to support these men against their coun 
try; accordingly, they both committed suicide. Wherefore 
such a combination with wicked men not only must not be 
sheltered under the excuse of friendship, but should rather 
be visited with every kind of punishments : so that no one 
may think it permitted to him to follow a friend, even 
when waging war against his country. And as matters 
have begun to proceed, I know not whether that will not 
some day occur. To me, however, it is no less a cause of 
anxiety in what state the republic shall be after my death, 
than in what state it is at this day. 

XIII. Let this, therefore, be established as a primary law 
/concerning friendship, that we expect from our friends only 
what is honorable, and for our friends sake do what is 
honorable ; that we should not wait till we are asked ; that 
zeal be ever ready, and reluctance far from us ; but that we 

1 Lex Gabinia de Comitiis, by Aulus Gabinius, the tribune, A.TT.C. 614. 
It required that, in the public assemblies for electing magistrates, the 
votes should be given by tablets, and not viva voce. Cassius was tribune 
of the people, and competitor with Cicero for the consulship. 



190 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. XIIL 

take pleasure in freely giving our advice ; that in our 
friendship, the influence of our friends, when they give good 
advice, should have great weight ; and that this be em 
ployed to admonish not only candidly, but even severely, if 
the case shall require, and that we give heed to it when so 
employed ; for, as to certain persons, whom I understand to 
have been esteemed wise men in Greece, I am of opinion 
that some strange notions were entertained by them ; but 
there is nothing which they do not follow up with too great 
subtlety : among the rest, that excessive friendships should 
be avoided, lest it should be necessary for one to feel 
anxiety for many ; that every one has enough, and more 
than enough, of his own affairs ; that to be needlessly impli 
cated in those of other people is vexatious ; that it was most 
convenient to hold the reins of friendship as loose as pos 
sible, so as either to tighten or slacken them when you 
please ; for they argue, that the main point toward a happy 
life is freedom from care, which the mind can not enjoy if 
one man be, as it were, in travail for others. Nay, they 
tell us that some are accustomed to declare, still more 
unfeelingly (a topic which I have briefly touched upon just 
above), that friendships should be cultivated for the purpose 
of protection and assistance, and not for kind feeling or 
affection; and therefore the less a man possesses of in 
dependence, and of strength, in the same degree he most 
earnestly desires friendships; that thence it arises that 
women seek the support of friendship more than men, and 
the poor more than the rich, and persons in distress, 1 rather 
than those w r ho are considered prosperous. Admirable phi 
losophy ! for they seem to take away the sun from the world 
who withdraw friendship from life ; for we receive nothing 
better from the immortal gods, nothing more delightful : for 
what is this freedom from care ? in appearances, indeed, 
flattering ; but, in many cases in reality to be disdained. 
Nor is it reasonable to refuse to undertake any honorable 
matter or action lest you should be anxious, or to lay it aside 
when undertaken ; for if we fly from care, we must fly 
from virtue also; for it is impossible that she can, without 
some degree of distress, feel contempt and detestation for 

1 Calamitosi, the ruined ; from calamitas, a hail-storm, which breaks 
the calamus or stalk of plants. 



CHAP. 3TT. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 191 

qualities opposed to herself; just as kind-heartedness for 
malice, temperance for profligacy, and bravery for cowardice. 
Accordingly you see that upright men are most distressed 
by unjust actions ; the brave with the cowardly ; the virtu 
ous with the profligate : and, therefore, this is the character 
istic of a well-regulated mind, both to be well pleased with 
what is excellent, and to be distressed with what is contrary. 
Wherefore, if trouble of mind befall a wise man (and as 
suredly it will, unless we suppose that all humanity is 
extirpated from his mind), what reason is there why we 
should altogether remove friendship from life, lest because of 
it we should take upon ourselves some troubles ? for what 
difference is there (setting the emotions of the mind aside), I 
do not say between a man and a beast, but between a man and 
a stone, or log, or any thing of that kind ? For they do not 
deserve to be listened to, who would have virtue to be callous, 
and made of iron, as it were ; which indeed is, as in other mat 
ters, so in friendship also, tender and susceptible ; so that 
friends are loosened, as it were, by happy events, and drawn 
together by distresses. 

XIV. Wherefore the anxiety which has often to be felt for 
a friend, is not of such force that it should remove friendship 
from the world, any more than that the virtues, because they 
bring with them certain cares and troubles, should therefore 
be discarded.. For when it produces friendship (as I said 
above), should any indication of virtue shine forth, to which 
a congenial mind may attach and unite itself when this 
happens, affection must necessarily arise. For what is so 
unmeaning as to take delight in many vain things, such as 
preferments, glory, magnificent buildings, clothing and 
adornment of the body; and not to take an extreme delight 
in a soul endued with virtue, in such a soul as can either 
love, or (so to speak) love in return 3 for there is nothing 
more delightful than the repayment of kindness, and the 
interchange of devotedness and good offices. Now if we add 
this, which may with propriety be added, that there is 
nothing which so allures and draws any object to itself as 
congeniality does friendship ; it will of course be .admitted 
as true that the good must love the good, and unite them to 
themselves, just as if connected by relationship and nature ; 
for nothing is more apt to seek and seize on its like than 



192 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xiv. 

nature. Wherefore this certainly is clear, Fannius and 
Scsevola, (in my opinion), that among the good a likiDg for 
the good is, as it were, inevitable; and this indeed is ap 
pointed by nature herself as the very fountain of friendship. 1 
But the same kind disposition belongs also to the multitude ; 
for virtue is not inhuman, or cruel, or haughty, since she is 
accustomed to protect even whole nations, and to adopt the 
best measures for their welfare, which assuredly she would 
not do did she shrink from the affection of the vulgar. And 
to myself, indeed, those who form friendships with a view 
to advantage, seem to do away with its most endearing 
bond ; for it is not so much the advantage obtained through 
a friend, as the mere love of that friend, which delights ; and 
then only what has proceeded from a friend becomes de 
lightful, if it has proceeded from zealous affection : and that 
friendship should be cultivated from a sense of necessity, is 
so far from being the case, that those who, being endowed 
with power and wealth, and especially with virtue (in 
which is the strongest support of friendship), have least 
need of another, are most liberal and generous. Yet I am 
not sure whether it is requisite that friends should never 
stand in any need; for wherein would any devotedness of 
mine to him have been exerted, if Scipio had never stood 
in need of my advice or assistance at home or abroad? 



1 " Of all attachments to an individual, that which is founded alto 
gether upon esteem and approbation of his good conduct and behavior, 
confirmed by much experience and long acquaintance, is by far the most 
respectable. Such friendship arising, not from a constrained sympathy, 
not from a sympathy which has been assumed and rendered habitual for 
the sake of convenience and accommodation, but from a natural sympa 
thy, from an involuntary feeling that the persons to whom we attach 
ourselves are the natural and proper objects of esteem and approbation, 
can exist only among men of virtue. Men of virtue only can feel that 
entire confidence in the conduct and behavior of one another which can 
at all times assure them that they can never either offend or be offended 
by one another : vice is .always capricious ; virtue only is regular and 
orderly. The attachment which is founded upon the love of virtue, as it 
is certainly of all attachments the most virtuous, so it is likewise the 
happiest, as well as the most permanent and serene. Such friendships 
need not be confined to a single person, but may safely embrace all the 
wise and virtuous with whom we have been long and intimately ac 
quainted, and upon whose wisdom and virtue we can upon that account 
entirely depend." Smith s Moral Sentiments, Part YI. 



CHAP. xv. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 193 

Wherefore friendship has not followed upon advantage, but 
advantage on friendship. 

XV. Persons, therefore, who are wallowing in indulgence, 
will not need to be listened to if ever they shall descant 
upon friendship, which they have known neither by ex 
perience nor by theory. For who is there, by the faith of 
gods and men, who would desire, on the couditon of his 
loving no one, and himself being loved by none, to roll in 
affluence, and live in a superfluity of all things ? For this is 
the life of tyrants, in which undoubtedly there can be no 
confidence, no affection, no steady dependence on attach 
ment; all is perpetually mistrust and disquietude there is 
no room for friendship. For who can love either him 
whom he fears, or him by whom he thinks he himself is 
feared ? Yet are they courted, solely in hypocrisy, for a 
time ; because, if perchance (as it frequently happens) they 
have been brought low, then it is perceived how desti 
tute they were of friends. And this, they say, Tarquin 1 
expressed; that when going into exile,*~he found out whom 
he had as faithful friends, and whom unfaithful ones, since 
then he could no longer show gratitude to either party; 
although I wonder that, with such haughtiness and im 
patience of temper, he could find one at all. And as the 
character of the individual whom I have mentioned could 
not obtain true friends, so the riches of many men of rank 
exclude all faithful friendship; for not only is fortune blind 
herself, but she commonly renders blind those whom she 
embraces. Accordingly such persons are commonly puffed 
up with pride and insolence, nor can any thing be found 
more intolerable than a fortunate fool. And thus, indeed, 
one may observe, that those who before were of agreeable 
character, by military command, by preferment, by pros 
perity, are changed, and old friendships are despised by 
them, and new ones cherished. For what can be more 
foolish than, when men are possessed of great influence by 
their wealth, power, and resources, to procure other things 
which are procured by money horses, slaves, rich apparel, 

1 Tarquinius, surnamed Superbus, the seventh and last king of Rome. 
After reigning twenty-five years, he was banished, about B.C. 509, ia 
consequence of the rape of Lucretia. The republican form of government 
was established at Rome after the expulsion of Tarquin. 

9 



194 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. rn. 

costly vases and not to procure friends, the most valuable 
and fairest furniture of life, if I may so speak ; for while 
they are procuring those things, they know not for whom 
they are procuring them, nor for whose sake they are laboring. 1 
For every one of these things belongs to him who is most 
powerful, whereas the possession of his friendships is preserved 
to every one steadfast and secure ; so that if those things are 
preserved which are, as it were, the gifts of fortune, yet a life un 
adorned and abandoned by friends can not possibly be happy. 
But on this head enough 

XVI. But it is required to lay down what limits there are 
in friendship, and, as it were, what bounds of loving, con 
cerning which I see three opinions held, of none of which I 
approve : the first, that we should be affected toward a 
friend in the same manner as toward ourselves ; the second, 
that our good-will toward our friends should exactly and 
equally answer to their good-will toward us ; the third, that 
at whatever value a man sets himself, at the same he should 
be estimated by his friends. To none of these three opinions 
do I entirely assent. For the first one is not true, that as a 
man feels toward himself so he should be disposed toward 
his friend. For how many things, which for our own sake 
we should never do, do we perform for the sake of our 
friends ? To ask favors of unworthy persons, to supplicate 
them, to inveigh bitterly against any one, and to accuse him 
with great vehemence, which in our own cases can not be done 
creditably, in the case of our friends are most honorably 
done ; and there are many cases in which good men subtract 
many things from their own interests, or allow them to be 
subtracted, that their friends, rather than themselves, may 
enjoy them. The second opinion is that which limits friend 
ship to an equality of kind actions and kind wishes : this is 
indeed to reduce friendship to figures too minutely and penu- 
riously, so that there may be a balance of received and paid. 
True friendship seems to be far too rich and affluent for that, 
and not to observe, narrowly, lest it should pay more than it 
receives : nor need it be feared lest any thing should be lost 



1 In this, as in many other passages, Cicero has written the sentiment 
and almost the language of the Scriptures : "He heapeth up riches, and 
knoweth not who shall gather them." 



CHAP. xvn. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 195 

or fall to the ground, or lest more than what is fair should 
be accumulated on the side of friendship. But the third 
limitation is most detestable, that at whatever value a man 
sets on himself, at that value he should be estimated by his 
friends; for often, in certain persons, either their spirit is 
too humble, or their hope of improving their condition too 
desponding; it is not, therefore, the part of a friend to be 
toward him what he is to himself; but rather to use every 
effort, and to contrive to cheer the prostrate spirit of his 
friend, and to encourage better hopes and thoughts. There 
fore I must lay down some other limit of true friendship, as 
soon as I shall have stated what Scipio was accustomed 
above all things to reprehend. He used to declare that no 
speech could be found more hostile to friendship, than his 
who had said that a man ought so to love as if one day he 
would come to hate. 1 Nor, indeed, could he be induced to 
believe that this, as was supposed, was said by Bias, 2 who 
was considered one of the seven wise men ; but that it was 
the opinion of some wicked or ambitious man, or one who 
sought to bring every thing under his own power. For in 
what manner can any one be a friend to him to whom he 
thinks he may possibly become an enemy ? Moreover, it will 
follow that he desires and wishes his friend to do wrong as 
often as possible, that he may afford him, as it were, so many 
handles for reproach. And, again, at the right conduct and 
advantage of his friends he will necessarily be tormented, 
grieved, and jealous. Wherefore this precept, to whomso 
ever it belongs, is powerful only for the destruction of friend 
ship. This, rather, should have been the precept, that we 
should employ such carefulness in forming our friendships, 
that we should not any time begin to love the man whom we 
could ever possibly hate. Moreover, if we have been but 
unfortunate in our selection, Scipio was of opinion that this 
should be submitted to, rather than that a time of alienation 
should ever be contemplated. 

XVII. I think, therefore, we must adopt these limitations, 
that when the character of friends is correct, then there 

1 Si aliquando esset osnrus. This sentiment 4s taken from the Ajax of 
Sophocles. 

2 Bias, one of the seven wise men of Greece ; born at Prieiie. He 
flourished about B.C. 5tO. 



196 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. rrn. 

should be a community between them of all things, of pur 
pose and of will, without any exception ; so that, even if by 
any chance it has happened that the less honorable wishes 
of our friends have to be forwarded, in which either their 
life is concerned, or their reputation, then you may decline a 
little from the straight path, 1 provided only extreme infamy 
do not follow ; for there is a point to which indulgence may 
be granted to friendship : yet reputation must not be disre 
garded ; nor ought we to esteem the good-will of our fellow- 
countrymen as an engine of small value in .the administration 
of the state, although to seek it by fawning and flattering is 
mean indeed ; yet virtue, on which affection is consequent, 
should by no means be rejected. But frequently (for I 
return to Scipio, the whole of whose discourse was concern 
ing friendship) he used to complain, that in all other things 
men were comparatively careful ; so that every man could 
tell how many goats or how many sheep he possessed, yet 
how many friends he had he could not tell ; and in procuring 
the former, men employed carefulness, while in selecting 
their friends they were negligent, nor had they, as it were, 
any signs or marks by which they determined who were 
suited Ifor friendship. The steadfast, then, and the steady, 
and the consistent are to be selected, of which class of 
persons there is a great scarcity ; and, in truth, it is difficult 
for any one to judge, unless after he is expeiienced. Now 
the trial must be made in actual friendship ; thus friendship 
outstrips judgment, and removes the power of making ex 
periments. It is the part, therefore, of a prudent man, to 
check the impetus of his kindly feeling as he would his 
chariot, that we may have our friendships, like our horses, 

1 " Something indeed, not unlike the doctrine of the casuists, seems to 
have been attempted by several philosophers. There is something of this 
kind in the third book of Cicero s Offices, where he endeavors, like a 
casuist, to give rules for our conduct in many nice cases in which it is 
difficult to determine whereabouts the point of propriety may lie. It 
appears too from many passages in the same book, that several other 
philosophers had attempted something of the same kind before him. 
Neither he nor they, however, appeared to have aimed at giving a com 
plete system of this sorlj but only meant to show how situations may 
occur in which it is doubtful whether the highest propriety of conduct 
consists in observing or in receding from what in ordinary cases are the 
rules of duty." Smith s " Moral Philosophy," Part vii. 



CHAP. xvm. CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. 197 

fully proved, when the character of our friends has been in 
some measure tested.* Of some, it is often discovered in 
small sums of money how void of worth they are. Some, 
whom a small sum could not influence, are discovered in the 
case of a large one. But, even if some shall be found who 
think it sordid to prefer money to friendship, where should 
we find those who do not place above friendship high digni 
ties, magistracies, military command, civil authorities, and 
influence ? so that, when on the one side these objects have 
been proposed, and the claim of friendship on the other, 
they would not far prefer the former. For nature is too weak 
to despise the possession of power ; for, even if they have 
attained it by the slighting of friendship, they think the act 
will be thrown into the shade, because friendship was not 
overlooked without strong grounds. Therefore real friend 
ships are found with most difficulty among those who are in 
vested with high offices, or in business of the state. For 
where can you find the man who would prefer his friend s 
advancement to his own ? And why ? For to pass over 
these matters, how grievous, how impracticable to most men 
does participation in afflictions appear ! to which it is not 
easy to find the man who will descend. Although Ennius 1 
truly says, " A sure friend is discerned in an unsure matter." 
Yet these two charges of inconstancy and of weakness con 
demn most men : either in their prosperity they despise a 
friend, or in his troubles they desert him. 

XVIII. He who, therefore, shall have shown himself in both 
cases as regards friendship, worthy, consistent, and steadfast ; 
such a one we ought to esteem of a class of persons ex 
tremely rare, nay, almost godlike. Now, the foundation of 
that steadfastness and constancy, which we seek in friendship, 
is sincerity. For nothing is steadfast which is insincere. 
Besides, it is right that one should be chosen who is frank, and 
good-natured, and congenial in his sentiments ; one, in fact, who 
is influenced by the same motives ; all which qualities have a 
tendency to create sincerity. For it is impossible for a wily and 

1 Ennius, a Latin poet, born at Rudii, in Calabria. He wrote, in heroic 
verse, eighteen books of the Annals of the Roman Republic, which are 
frequently quoted by Cicero. He was the intimate friend of Cato and 
Scipio ; the former of whom he accompanied when qaestor of Sardinia. 
His death took place about 170 years before the Christian era. 



198 CICERO ON FBIENDSHIP. CHAP, m 

tortuous disposition to be sincere. Nor in truth can the man 
who has no sympathy from nature, and who is not moved by the 
same considerations, be either attached or steady. To the same 
requisites must be added, that he shall neither take delight in 
bringing forward charges, nor believe them when they arise ; 
all which causes -belong to that consistent principle, of which 
now for some time I have been treating. Thus the remark 
is true, which I made at first, that friendship can only exist 
among the good : for it is the part of a good man (whom at 
the same time we may call a wfse man) to observe these two 
rules in friendship : first, that there shall be nothing pre 
tended or simulated (for even to hate openly better becomes 
the ingenuous man, than by his looks to conceal his sen 
timents) ; in the next place, that not only does he repel 
charges when brought (against his friends) by any one, but 
is not himself suspicious, ever fancying that some infidelity 
has been committed by his friend. To all this there should 
be added a certain suavity of conversation and manners, 
affording as it does no inconsiderable zest to friendship. 
Now solemnity and gravity on all occasions, certainly, carry 
with them dignity; but friendship ought to be easier and 
more free and more pleasant, and tending more to every kind 
of politeness and good nature. 

XIX. But there arises on this subject a somewhat difficult 
question; whether ever new friends, if deseving friendship, 
are to be preferred to old ones, just as we are wont to prefer 
young colts to old horses ? a perplexity unworthy of a man ; 
for there ought to be no satiety of friendship as of other 
things : every thing which is oldest (as those wines which 
bear age well) ought to be sweetest ; and that is true which 
is sometimes said, " many bushels of salt must be eaten 
together," before the duty of friendship can be fulfilled. But 
new friendships, if they afford a hope that, as in the case of 
plants which never disappoint, fruits shall appear, such are 
not to be rejected ; yet the old one must be preserved in its 
proper place, for the power of age and custom is exceedingly 
great ; besides, in the very case of the horse, .which I just 
mentioned, if there is no impediment, there is no one who 
does not more pleasurably use that to which he is accustomed 
than one unbroken and strange to him ; and habitl asserts its 
power, and habit prevails, not only in the case of this, which 



CHAP. xx. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 199 

is animate, but also in the cases of those things which are 
inanimate, since we take delight in the very mountainous or 
woody scenery among which we have long dwelt. "But it is 
of the greatest importance in friendship that the superior 
should be on an equality with the inferior. For there often 
are instances of superiority, as was the case with Scipio, one, 
so to speak, of our own herd. He never ranked himself 
above Philus, or Rupilius, or Mummius, or other friends of 
an inferior grade. But his brother, Quintus Maximus, a 
distinguished man, though bysno means equal to himself, 
simply because he was the elder, he treated as his superior, 
and he wished all his friends should receive additional dignity 
through him. And this conduct should be adopted and 
imitated by all, so that if they have attained to any excellence 
in worth, genius, or fortune, they should communicate them 
with their friends, and share them with their connections ; so 
that if men have been born of humble parentage, or if they 
have kinsmen less powerful than themselves, either in mind 
or in fortune, they should increase the consequence of such 
persons, and be to them a source of credit and of dignity ; as 
in works of fiction, they who for some time, through igno 
rance of their origin and descent, have been in a state of 
servitude, when they have been discovered and found out to 
be the sons of gods or kings, yet retain their affection for the 
shepherds, whom for many years they looked upon as their 
parents. And this assuredly is much rather to be observed in 
the case of parents that are real and undoubted. For the fruit 
of talent, and worth, and eveiy excellence, is gathered most 
fully when it is bestowed on every one most nearly connected 
with us. 

XX. As therefore those who are superior in the con 
nection of friendship and of union, ought to put themselves 
on a level with their inferiors ; so ought the inferiors not to 
grieve that they are surpassed by their friends either in 
genius, or fortune, or rank : whereas most of them are always 
either complaining of something, or even breaking out into 
reproaches ; and so much the more if they think they have 
any thing which they can say was done by them in an 
obliging and friendly manner with some exertion on their 
part. A disgusting set of people assuredly they are who are 
ever reproaching you with their services ; which the man on 



200 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xx. 

whom they are conferred ought indeed to remember, but he 
who conferred them ought not to call them to mind. Where 
fore, as those who are superior ought in the exercise of 
friendship to condescend ; so, in a measure, they ought to 
raise up their inferiors. For there are some persons who 
render friendships with them annoying, while they fancy 
they are slighted : this does not commonly happen except to 
those who think themselves liable to be slighted; and from 
this belief they require to be relieved, not only by your pro 
fessions but by your actionm Now, first of all, so much 
advantage is to be bestowed on each as you yourself can pro 
duce ; and in the next place, as much as he whom you love 
and assist can bear ; for you could not, however eminent you 
might be, bring all your friends to the very highest honor ; 
just as Scipio had power to make Publius Rutulius consul, 
but could not do the same for his brother Lucius: indeed, 
even if you have the power to confer what you please on 
another, yet you must consider what he can bear. lOn the 
whole, those connections only can be considered as* friend 
ships, when both the dispositions and age have been es 
tablished and matured. Nor, when persons have been in 
early life attached to hunting or tennis, are they bound to 
make intimates of those whom at that time they loved, as 
being endowed with the same taste : for on that principle, 
our nurses and the tutors of our childhood, by right of 
priority, will claim the greatest part of our affection ; who, 
indeed, should not be neglected, but possess our regard in 
some other manner : otherwise friendships could not continue 
steadfast. For dissimilar habits and dissimilar pursuits 
ensue ; the dissimilarity of which severs friendships : it is 
for no other cause that the good can not be friends of the 
worthless, or the worthless of the good ; but that there is 
between them the greatest difference that can subsist of char 
acters and pursuits. For in friendships this precept may 
be properly laid down, not to let ill-regulated affection (as 
often is the case) thwart and impede the great usefulness of 
friends : nor in truth (to revert to fiction) could Neoptolemus 1 
1 Neoptolemus, a surname of Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles. He was so 
called because he came to the Trojan war in the last year of the siege 
of Troy. According to the fates, Troy could not be taken without his 
assistance. His mother, Deidamia, was the daughter of Lycomedes, 
long of the isknd of Scyros. 



CHAP. ZXL CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. 201 

have taken Troy if lie had been inclined to listen to Lycoinedes, 
with whom he had been brought up, when with many tears he 
sought to prevent his journey : and often important occasions 
arise, so that you must bid farewell to your friends ; and he who 
would hinder them, because he can not easily bear the regret 
for their loss, such an one is both weak and effeminate by 
nature, and on that ground unjust in his friendship. And in 
every case it is necessary to consider, both what you would ask 
of a friend, and what favor you would permit to be obtained 
from yourself. 

XXI. There is a kind of calamity also, sometimes inevi 
table, in the discarding of friendships. For at length our 
discourse descends, from the intimacies of the wise, to ordinary 
friendships. The faults of friends often break out as well on 
the friends themselves as on strangers ; and yet the disgrace 
of such persons must redound to their friends : such friend 
ships therefore must be dissolved by the intermission of 
intercourse, and (as I have heard Cato say) should be 
ripped rather than rent ; unless some intolerable sense of 
wrong has been kindled, so that it is neither right, nor cred 
itable, nor possible that an estrangement and separation 
should not take place immediately. But if any change of 
character or pursuits (as commonly happens) shall have taken 
place, or quarrel arisen with respect to political parties (for 
I speak now, as I observed a little before, not of the friend 
ships of the wise but of such as are ordinary), we should 
have to be cautious, lest not only friendships be found to be 
laid aside, but even animosity to have been incurred ; for 
nothing can be more disgraceful than to be at war with him 
with whom you have lived on terms of friendship. From 
his friendship with Quintus Pompey, 1 Scipio had withdrawn 
himself on my account 2 (as you know) ; moreover, on account 
of the dissension which existed in the republic, he was 
estranged from my colleague Metellus ; 3 on both occasions he 

1 Quintus Pompeius a consul, who carried on war against the Numan- 
tines, and made an ignominious treaty. He is the first of that noble 
family of whom mention is made. 

2 Meo nomine, on my account; desiderium expresses a "feeling of 
want," or " regret for the loss of any one." 

3 Metellus, a Roman general, who defeated the Achaeans, and invaded 
Macedonia. 



202 CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xxii. 

acted with dignity and decision, and with an offended but 
not bitter feeling. Wherefore, in the first place, pains must 
be taken that there be no alienation of friends ; but if aught 
of the kind shall have occurred, that that friendship should 
seem rather to have died away than to have been violently 
destroyed. In truth we must take care lest friendship turn 
into bitter hostilities ; from which quarrels, hard language, 
and insults are produced, and yet if they shall be bearable, 
they must be borne ; and thus much honor should be paid 
to an old friendship, that he shall be in fault who inflicts the 
injury, and not he who suffers it. On the whole, against all 
such faults and inconveniences there is one precaution and 
one provision, that we should not begin to love too hastily, 
nor love unworthy persons. Now they are worthy of friend 
ship in whom there exists a reason why they should be loved ; 
a rare class (for in truth all that is excellent is rare) ; nor is 
aught more difficult than to find any thing which in every 
respect is perfect of its kind : but most men recognize noth 
ing as good in human affairs but what is profitable ; and 
with their friends, as with cattle, they love those most espe 
cially from whom they hope they will receive most ad 
vantage ; and thus they are destitute of that most beautiful 
and most natural friendship, which is desirable for itself and 
of itself; nor do they exemplify to themselves what and how 
powerful this quality of friendship is. For every one loves 
himself, not that he may exact from himself some reward of 
his affection, but that, for his own sake, every one is dear to 
himself. And unless this same principle be transferred to friend 
ship, a true friend will never be found ; for such an one is, as 
it were, a second self. Now, if this is apparent in beasts, birds, 
fishes, creatures of the field, tame and wild, that first they love 
themselves (for the principle is alike born with every living 
thing); in the next place, that they seek out and desire some 
creatures of the same species to which they may unite them 
selves, and do this with desire, and with a kind of resemblance 
to human love ; how much more naturally does this take place 
in man by nature, who not only loves himself, but seeks for 
another whose soul he may so mingle with his own, as almost 
to create one person out of two ? 

XXII. Yet most men, perversely, not to say shamelessly, 
desire to have a friend, such as they themselves are unable 



CHAP.xxrr. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 203 

to be ; and allowances which they themselves make not for 
their friends, they require from them. Now, the fair thing 
is, first that a man himself should be good, and then that he 
should seek another like to himself. Among such persons, 
there may be established that solidity of friendship which I 
have long been treating on; when men are united by 
benevolent feeling, they will first of all master those 
passions to which others are slaves ; next, they will take 
pleasure in equity and justice, and the one will undertake 
every thing for the other ; nor will the one ever ask of the 
other any thing but what is honorable and right : nor will 
they only mutually regard and love each other, but even have 
a feeling of respect ; for he removes the greatest ornament 
of friendship, who takes away from it respect. Accordingly, 
there is a pernicious error in those who think that a free in 
dulgence in all lusts and sins is extended in friendship. 
Friendship was given us by nature as the handmaid of 
virtues, and not as the companion of our vices : that since, 
alone and unaided, virtue could not arrive at the highest 
attainments, she might be able to do so when united and 
associated with another; 1 and if such a society between any 
persons either exists or has existed, or is likely to do so, 
their companionship is to be esteemed, in respect of the chief 
good in life, most excellent and most happy. This, I say, is 
that association in which all things exist which men deem 
worthy the pursuit reputation, high esteem, peace of mind, 
and cheerfulness ; so that where these blessings are present, 
life is happy, and without these can not be so. And whereas 

1 " But it is not merely as a source of pleasure, or as a relief from pain, 
that virtuous friendship is to be coveted, it is as much recommended by 
its utility. He who has made the acquisition of a judicious and sympa 
thizing friend, may be said to have doubled his mental resources : by as 
sociating an equal, perhaps a supreme mind with his own, he has pro 
vided the means of strengthening his reason, of perfecting his counsels, 
of discerning and correcting his errors. He can have recourse at all 
times to the judgment and assistance of one who, with the same power 
of discernment with himself, comes to the decision of a question with a 
mind neither harassed with the perplexities, nor heated with the passions 
which so frequently obscure the perception of our true interests. Next 
to the immediate guidance of God by his Spirit, the counsel and encour 
agement of virtuous and enlightened friends afford the most powerful 
aid in the encounter of temptation and in the career of duty." Hall s 
Funeral Sermon for Dr. Ryland. 



204 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. zxm. 

this is the best and highest of objects, if we would gain it, 
attention must be paid to virtue ; without which we can 
neither obtain friendship nor any thing worthy of pursuit: 
indeed, should this be disregarded, they who think they pos 
sess friends, too late find that they are mistaken, when some 
grievous misfortune compels them to make the trial. Where 
fore (for I must say it again and again) when you have formed 
your judgment, then it behooves you to give your affections ; 
and not when you have given your affections, then to form 
the judgment ; but while in many cases we suffer for our care 
lessness, so especially in choosing and cultivating friends ; for 
we adopt a preposterous plan, and set about doing what has 
been already done, which we are forbidden by the old proverb 
to do. For, being entangled on every side, either by daily in 
tercourse or else by kind offices, suddenly, in the middle of our 
course, on some offense arising, we break off our friendships 
altogether. 

XXIII. Wherefore so much the more is this great negli 
gence to be blamed in a matter of the highest necessity. For 
friendship is the only point in human affairs, concerning the 
benefit of which, all with one voice agree ; although by 
many virtue herself is despised, and is said to be a mere 
bragging and ostentation. Many persons despise riches; for, 
being content with a little, moderate food and a moderate 
st} T le of living delights them; as to high offices, in truth, 
with the ambitious desire of which some men are inflamed, 
how many men so completely disregard them that they think 
nothing is more vain and more trifling: and likewise there 
are those who reckon as nothing other things which to 
some men seem worthy of admiration : l concerning friend- 

1 Among these may be mentioned Lord Bacon, not only as one of those 
to whom Cicero here is especially referring, but as one who himself held 
the highest office to which the ambition of a subject could aspire. In 
his eleventh essay, entitled, " Of great place," he makes the following 
observations : " Men in great place are thrice servants ; servants of the 
sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business, so as they 
have no freedom neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their 
times. It is a strange desire to seek power and lose liberty, or to seek 
power over others and to lose power over a man s self The rising unto 
place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains, and it is 
sometimes base and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing 
is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall or at least an eclipse, 
which is a melancholy thing ; cum non sis qui fueris non esse cur veils 



CHAP. xxni. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 205 

ship, all to a man have the same opinion. Those who have 
devoted themselves to political affairs, and those who find 
pleasure in knowledge and learning, and those who transact 
their own affairs at their leisure, and lastly, those who have 
given themselves wholly up to pleasure, feel that with 
out friendship life is nothing, at least if they are inclined 
in any degree to live respectably* for somehow or other, 
friendship entwines itself with the life of all men, nor does 
it suffer any mode of spending our life to be independent of 
itself. Moreover, if there is any one of such ferocity and 
brutality of nature that he shuns and hates the intercourse 
of mankind, such as we have heard that one Timon 1 was at 
Athens ; yet even he can not possibly help looking out for 
some one on whom he may disgorge the venom of his ill- 
nature. And this would be most clearly decided if something 
of this kind could happen that some god should remove us 
from the crowded society of men, and place us somewhere 
in solitude, and there supplying us w^ abundance 
and plenty of all things which nature requires, yet 
should take from us altogether the opportunity of seeing a 
human being ; who would then be so insensible that he 
could endure such a life, and from whom would not solitude 
take away the enjoyment of all pleasure? Accordingly, 
there is truth in that which I have heard our old men relate 
to have been commonly said by Archytas of Tarentum, 2 and 

vivere." Nay, retire men can not when they would, neither will they 
when it were reason, but are impatient of privateness, even in age and 
sickness which require the shadow ; like old townsmen that will be still 
sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Cer 
tainly, great persons had need to borrow other men a opinions to think 
themselves happy, for if they judge by their own feeling they can not 
find it, but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, 
and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it 
were by report, when perhaps they find the contrary within ; for they 
are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find 
their own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers to them 
selves, and while they are in the puzzle of business, they have no time 
to tend their own health, either of body or mind. Illi mora gravis in- 
cubat qui notus nimis omnibus, igaotus moritur sibi. " Bacon s Essays, 
Essay xi. 

1 Timon, an Athenian, called the Misanthrope, from his hatred of so 
ciety. He forms the subject of one of Shakespeare s plays, and-of one 
of Lucian s dialogues. 

a Archytas of Tarentum, a Pythagorean philosopher, an able astrono- 



206 CICEKO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xxnL 

I think heard by them from others their elders, that if any one 
could have ascended to the sky, and surveyed the structure of 
universe, and the beauty of the stars, that -such admiration 
would be insipid to him ; and yet it would be most deligtful if 
he had some one to whom he might describe it. 1 Thus nature 

mer and geometrician. He perished by shipwreck, about B.C. 394. See 
Horace, Book I. Ode 28. 

1 Dugald Stewart classes this feeling among the natural and universal 
principles of our constitution. " Abstracting," he says, "from those af 
fections which interest us in the happiness of others, and from all the 
advantages which we ourselves derive from the social union we are led 
by a natural and instinctive desire to associate with our own species. 
This principle is easily discernible in the minds of children, and it is com 
mon to man with many of the brutes. After experiencing, indeed, the 
pleasures of social life, the influence of habit, and a knowledge of the 
comforts inseparable from society, contribute greatly to strengthen the 
instinctive desire, and hence some authors have been induced to display 
their ingenuity by disputing its existence. Whatever opinion we form 
on this speculative question, the desire of society is equally entitled to be 
ranked among the natural and universal principles of our constitution. 
How very powerfully this principle of action operates, appears from the 
effects of solitude upon the mind. "We feel ourselves in an unnatural state, 
and by making companions of the lower animals, or by attaching our 
selves to inanimate objects, strive to fill up the void of which we are 
conscious." Stewart s Outlines of Moral Philosophy, part ii. chap. 1. 

But while admitting the natural yearning of the human mind for com 
panionship, some modern philosophers, especially those of a graver and 
more reflective character, have insisted on the importance of retirement 
and frequent solitude. Thus, Dr. Johnson, the great moralist of the last 
generation, observes: "The love of retirement has in all ages adhered 
closely to those minds which have been most enlarged by knowledge, or 
elevated by genius. Those who enjoyed every thing generally supposed 
to confer happiness, have been forced to seek it in the shades of privacy. 
Though they possessed both power and riches, and were therefore sur 
rounded by men who considered it as their chief interest to remove from 
them everything that might offend their ease, or interrupt their pleasure, 
they have soon felt the languor of satiety, and found themselves unable 
to pursue the race of life without frequent respirations of intermediate 
solitude. To produce this disposition, nothing appears requisite but 
quick sensibility and active imagination ; for though not devoted to virtue 
or science, the man whose faculties enable him to make ready compar 
isons of the present with the past will find such a constant recurrence 
of the same pleasure and troubles, the same expectations and disap 
pointments, that he will gladly snateh an hour of retreat to let his 
thoughts expatiate at large, and seek for that variety in his own ideas 
which the objects of sense can not afford him. These are some of the 
motives which have had power to sequester kings and heroes from the 
crowds that soothed them with flatteries, or inspirited them with ac 
clamations. But their efficacy seems confined to the higher mind, and 



CHAP. xxiv. CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 207 

loves nothing solitary, and always reaches out to something, as 
a support, which ever in the sincerest friend is most delightful. 
XXIV. But while nature declares by so many indications 
what she likes, seeks after, and requires ; yet we turn, 1 
know not how, a deaf ear, nor do we listen to those admon 
itions which we receive from her. For the intercourse of 
friendship is various and manifold, and many occasions are 
presented of suspicion and offense, which it is the part of 
a wise man sometimes to wink at, sometimes to make light of, 
or at others to endure. This one ground of offense must be 
mitigated in order that truth and sincerity in friendship may 
be preserved; for friends require to be advised and to be 
reproved : and such treatment ought to be taken in a friendly 
spirit, when it is kindly meant. But somehow or other it is 
very true, what my dear friend Terence says in his Andria I 1 
" Complaisance begets friends, but truth ill-will." Truth is 
grievous, if indeed ill-will arises from it, which is the bane 
of friendship. But complaisance is much more grievous, 
because it allows a friend to be precipitated into ruin, by 

to operate little upon the common classes of mankind, to whose concep 
tions the present assemblage of things is adequate, and who seldom 
range beyond those entertainments and vexation which solicit their 
attention by pressing on their senses." Rambler, No. 7. 

Sir Thomas Browne, also, has a quaint but beautiful passage to the 
same effect: " Unthinking heads who have not learned to be alone are 
in a prison to themselves, if they be not also with others ; whereas, on 
the contrary, they whose thoughts are in a fair and hurry within, are 
sometimes fain to retire into company to be out of the crowd of them 
selves. He who must needs have company, must needs have sometimes 
bad company. Be able to be alone ; lose not the advantage of solitude 
and the society of thyself; nor be only content but delight to be alone 
and single with Omnipresency. He who is thus prepared, the day is not 
uneasy, nor the night black unto him. Darkness may bound his eyes, 
not his imagination. In his bed he may lie, like Pompey and his sons, 
in all quarters of the earth ; may speculate the universe, and enjoy the 
whole world in the hermitage of himself. Thus, the old ascetic Chris 
tians found a paradise in a desert, and with little converse on earth, held 
a conversation in heaven ; thus they astronomized in caves, and though 
they beheld not the stars, had the glory of heaven before them." 
Christian Morals, part iii. sec. 9. 

1 Andria, a play of Terence, who was a native of Carthage, and sold 
as a slave to Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator. He was on terms of 
intimacy with Scipio, the elder Africanus, and Laelius. He is said to 
have translated 108 of the comedies of the poet Menander, six only of 
which are extant. Ho died about B.C. 159. 



208 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xxir. 

yielding to his faults. 1 But the greatest of all faults is 
chargeable on him who disregards truth, and thus by com 
plaisance is led into dishonesty. Accordingly, in managing 
this whole matter, carefulness and diligence must be employed : 
first, that our advice may be free from bitterness, anl next, 
that reproof may be unattended by insult : in our complai 
sance, however (since I gladly adopt the saying of Terence), 
let there be a kindness of manner, let flattery, however, the 
handmaid of vices, be far removed, since it is not only 
unworthy of a friend, but even of a free man : for you live 
after one fashion with a tyrant, after another with a friend. 
*Now where a man s ears are shut against the truth, so that 
he can not hear the truth from a friend, the welfare of such a 
one is to be despaired of: for the following remark of Cato 
is shrewd, as many of his are, " that bitter enemies deserve 
better at the hands of some, than those friends who seem 
agreeable : that the former often speak the truth, the latter 
never." And it is an absurd thing, that those who receive 
advice, do not experience that annoyance which they ought to 

1 " The duty which leads us to seek the moral reformation of our friend 
wherever we perceive an imperfection that requires to be removed, is, as 
I have said, the highest duty of friendship, because it is a duty that has 
for its object the highest good which it is in our power to confer ; and 
he who refrains from the necessary endeavor, because he fears to give 
pain to one whom he loves, is guilty of the same weakness which in a 
case of bodily accident or disease would withhold the salutary potion 
because it is nauseous, or the surgical operation which is to preserve life, 
and to preserve it with comfort, because the use of the instrument which 
is to be attended with relief and happiness implies a little momentary ad 
dition of suffering. To abstain from every moral effort of this sort in the 
mere fear of offending, is, from the selfishness of the motive, a still 
greater breach of duty, and almost, too, a still greater weakness. He 
whom we truly offend by such gentle admonitions as friendship dictates, 
admonitions of which the chief authority is sought in the very excel 
lence of him whom we wish to make still more excellent, is not worthy 
of the friendship which we have wasted on him ; and if we thus lose his 
friendship we are delivered from one who could not be sincere in his past 
professions of regard, and whose treachery therefore we might afterward 
have had reason to lament. If he be worthy of us he win not love us 
less, but love us more ; he will feel that we have done that which it was 
our duty to do, and we shall have the double gratification of witnessing 
the amendment which we desired, and of knowing that we have con 
tributed to an effect which was almost like the removal of a vice from 
ourselves, or a virtue added to our own moral character." Dr. Brown s 
" Moral Philosophy," lecture 



CHAP. XXY. CICEEO ON FRIENDSHIP. 209 

feel, but feel that from which they ought to be free ; for they are 
not distressed because they have done wrong ; but take it amiss 
that they are rebuked : whereas, on the contrary, they ought to 
be sorry for their misconduct, and to be glad at its correction. 
XXV. As, therefore, both to give and to receive advice is 
the characteristic of true friendship, and that the one should 
perform his part with freedom but not harshly, and the 
other should receive it patiently and not with recrimination ; 
so it should be considered , that there is no greater bane to 
friendship than adulation, fawning, and flattery. 1 For this 
vice should be branded under as many names as possible, 
being that of worthless and designing men, who say every 
thing with a view of pleasing, and nothing with regard to 
truth. Now while hypocrisy in all things is blamable (for 
it does away with all judgment of truth, and adulterates 
truth itself), so especially is it repugnant to friendship, for it 
destroys all truth, without which the name of friendship can 
avail nothing. For since the power of friendship consists in 
this, that one soul is as it were made of many, how could 
that take place if there should not be in any one a soul, one 
and the same always, but fickle, changeable, and manifold? 
For what can be so pliant, so inconsistent, as the soul of that 
man, who veers not only to the feelings and wishes, but even 
to the look and very nod of another. " Does any one say, 
* No ? so do I ; says any, Yes ? so do I : in a word, I have 

1 " He that is too desirous to be loved," says Dr. Johnson, " will soon 
learn to flatter ; and when he has exhausted all the variations of honest 
praise, and can delight no longer with the civility of truth, he will invent 
new topics of panegyric, and break out into raptures at virtues and 
beauties conferred by himself. It is scarcely credible to what degree 
discernment may be dazzled by the mist of pride, and wisdom infatuated 
by the intoxication of flattery ; or how low the genius may descend by 
successive gradations of servility, and how swiftly it may fall down the 
precipice of falsehood. No man can indeed observe without indignation 
on what names, both of ancient and modern times, the utmost exube 
rance of praise has been lavished, and by what hands it has been be 
stowed. It has never yet been found that the tyrant, the plunderer, the 
oppressor, the most hateful of the hateful, the most profligate of the 
profligate, have been denied any celebrations which they were willing to 
purchase, or that wickedness and folly have not found correspondent 
flatterers through all their subordinations, except when they have been 
associated with avarice or poverty, and have wanted either inclination 
or ability to hire a panegyrist." Rambler, No. 104. 



210 CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xxv. 

charged myself to assent to every thing," 1 as the same 
Terence says ; but he speaks in the character of Gnatho, 3 
and to select a friend of this character is an act of down 
right folly. And there are many like Gnatho, though his 
superiors in rank, fortune, and character ; the flattery of 
such people is offensive indeed, since respectability is associ 
ated with duplicity. Now, a fawning friend may be distin 
guished from a true one, and discerned by the employment 
of diligence, just as every thing which is falsely colored and 
counterfeit, from what is genuine arid true. The assembly 
of the people, which consists of the most ignorant persons, 
yet can decide what difference there is between the seeker 
after popular applause, the flatterer and the worthless citizen, 
and one who is consistent, digoified, and worthy. With what 
flatteries did Curius Papirius lately insinuate himself into 
the ears of the assembly, when he sought to pass an act to 
re-elect the tribunes of the people ? I opposed it. But 
I say nothing of myself ; I speak with greater pleasure con 
cerning Scipio. immortal gods ! what dignity was his ! 
what majesty in his speech ! so that you might readily pro 
nounce him the leader of the Roman people, and not their 
associate : but you were present, and the speech is still 
extant : accordingly, this act, meant to please the people, was 
rejected by the votes of the people. But, to return to 
myself, you remember when Quintus Maximus, brother of 
Scipio, and Lucius Mancius were consuls, how popular the 
sacerdotal act of Caius Licinius Crassus seem to be ; for 

1 Shakespeare has exhibited a precisely similar character in the follow 
ing dialogue between Hamlet and Osrick : 

" Ham. Your bonnet to its right use ; t is for the head. Os. I thank 
your lordship, t is very hot. Ham. No, believe me, t is very cold ; the 
wind is northerly. Os. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed. Ham. 
But yet, methiuks, it is very sultry hot ; or my complexion Os. Ex- 
cedingly, my lord, it is very sultry, as it were I can not tell how." 
Hamlet, V., Scene 2. 
So Juvenal too : 

: Natio comosda est. Rides ? Major cachinno 
Concutitur. Flet, si lachrymas conspexit amici 
Nee dolet ; igniculum brumae si tempore poscas 
Accipit endromidem : si dixeris, aestuo, sudat." 

Sat. in. Ver. 100-103. 

2 Gnatho, a parasite in the Eunuch of Terence 



CHAP. XXVL CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP. 211 

the election 1 of the college was thereby transferred to the 
presentation of the people. And he first commenced the 
practice of turning toward the forum, and addressing the 
people." And yet regard for the immortal gods, under my 
advocacy, gained an easy triumph over his plausible 3 address. 
Now this occurred in my prsetorship, five years before I was 
consul ; so that that cause was supported rather by its own 
importance than by supreme influence. 

XXVI. Now, if upon the stage, that is, before the as 
sembly, where every advantage is given to fictions and 
imitations, yet the truth prevails (if only it be set forth and 
illustrated), what ought to be the case in friendship, which 
is measured according to simple truth ? for in it (as the say 
ing is) ye see an open heart and show your own also ; you 
can have nothing faithful, nothing certain ; and you can not 
love or be loved, since you are uncertain how far it is sin 
cerely done. And yet that flattery, however pernicious it 
be, can hurt no one but the man who receives it and is 
most delighted with himself. Hence it happens that he 
opens his ears widest to flatteries Avho is a flatterer of him 
self, and takes the highest delight in himself: no doubt 
virtue loves herself, for she is best acquainted with herselt* 
and is conscious how amiable she is : but I am not speaking 
of virtue, but of a conceit of virtue ; for not so many desire 
to be endowed with virtue itself, as to seem to be so. Flat- t 
tery delights such men : when conversation formed to their 
wishes is addressed to such persons, they think those deceit 
ful addresses to be the evidence of their merits. This, 
therefore, is not friendship at all, when one party is unwilling 
to hear the truth, and the other prepared to speak falsely. 
Nor would the flattery of parasites in comedies seem to us 
facetious, unless there were swaggering soldiers also. " Does 
then Thais pay me many thanks ? It was enough to answer 
1 yes, many ; but he says infinite. " The flatterer always 
exaggerates that which he, for whose pleasure he speaks, 
wishes to be great. Although the flattering falsehood may 

1 Cooptatio, the election of new members into the priesthood. The 
different orders of priests were self-elected, so that the proposed law of 
Cassuus was an infringement of vested rights and privileges. 

3 Agere cum populo, to tamper with, or to curry favor with the people. 

* Vendibilis, plausible, popular. 



212 CICEKO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP, xxvu 

have influence with those who themselves allure and invite 
it; yet more steady and consistent persons require to be 
warned that they take care lest they are entrapped by such 
crafty flattery ; for every one, except the man who is extremely 
obtuse, observes the person who openly employs adulation. 
But lest the crafty and insidious man should insinuate him 
self, you mut be studiously on your guard ; for he is not very 
easily recognized, seeing that he often flatters by opposing ; 
and pretending that he quarrels, is fawning all the time, and 
at last surrenders himself, and allows himself to be beaten : so 
that he who has been deluded may fancy that he has seen 
further than the other; for what can be more disgraceful than 
to be deluded ? And lest this happen, we must be more 
cautious, as it is said in the Epiclerus, "To-day, above all the 
foolish old fellows of the comedy, you will have deceived me 
and played upon me in a most amusing manner." For this 
is the most foolish character of all in the plays, that of un 
thinking and credulous old men. But I know not how it 
is that my address, passing from the friendship of perfect 
men, that is of the wise (for I speak of that wisdom which 
seems within the reach of man), has digressed into frivo 
lous friendships. Wherefore, let me return to that from 
which I set out, and bring these remarks at length to a con 
clusion. 

XXVII. It is virtue, virtue I say, Caius Fannius, and you, 
Quintus Mucius that both wins friendship and preserves it ; 
for in it is found the power of adapting one s self to circum 
stances, and also steadfastness and consistency ;* and when 

1 The necessity of virtue, then, in every bosom of which we resolve to 
share the feelings, would be sufficiently evident, though we were to con 
sider those feelings only ; but all the participation is not to be on our 
part. We are to place confidence, as well as to receive it ; we are not 
to be comforters only, but sometimes too the comforted ; and our own 
conduct may require the defense which we are sufficiently ready to afford 
to the conduct of our friend. Even with respect to the pleasure of the 
friendship itself, if it be a pleasure on which we set a high value, it is not 
a slight consideration whether it be fixed on one whose regard is likelr 
to be as stable as ours, or on one who may in a few months, or perhaps 
even in a few weeks, withhold from us the very pleasure of that intimacy 
which before had been profusely lavished on us. In every one of these 
respects I need not point out to you the manifest superiority of virtue 
over vice. Virtue only is stable, because virtue only is consistent and the 
caprice which, under a momentary impulse, begins in eager intimacy 



CHAP. XXYIL CICERO ON" FRIENDSHIP. 213 

she has exalted herself and displayed her own effulgence, and 
hath beheld the same and recognized it in another, she moves 
toward it, and in her turn receives that which is in the other ; 
from which is kindled love or friendship, for both derive 
their name from loving ; for to love is nothing else than to be 
attached to the person whom you love, without any sense 
of want, without any advantage being sought ; and yet advan 
tage springs up of itself from friendship, even though you may 
not have pursued it. f It was with kind feelings of this de 
scription that I, when young, was attached to those old men, 
Lucius Paullus, Marcus Cato, Caius Gallus, Publius Nasica* 
and Tiberius Gracchus, 1 the father-in-law of our friend 
Scipio. This is even more strikingly obvious between per- 

with one, as it began it from an impulse as momentary with another, 
will soon find a third, with whom it may again begin it with the same 
exclusion, for the moment, of every previous attachment. Nothing can 
be juster than the observation of Rousseau on these hasty starts of kind 
ness, that, he who treats us at first sight like a friend of twenty years 
standing, will very probably at the end of twenty years treat us as a 
stranger if we have any important service to request of him. 

"If without virtue we have little to hope in stability, have we even, 
while the semblance of friendship lasts, much more to hope as to those 
services of kindness which we may need from our friends ? The secrets 
which it may be of no importance to divulge, all may keep with equal 
fidelity ; because nothing is to be gained by circulating what no man 
would take sufficient interest in hearing, to remember after it was heard; 
but if the secret be of a kind which, if made known, would gain the favor 
of some one whose favor it would be more profitable to gain than retain 
ours, can we expect fidelity from a mind that thinks only of what is to 
be gained by vice, in the great social market of moral feelings, not of 
What it is right to do ? Can we expect consolation in our affliction from 
xme who regards our adversity only as a sign that there is nothing more 
to be hoped from our intimacy ; or trust our virtues to the defense of 
him who defends or assails, as interest prompts, and who may see his 
interest in representing us as guilty of the very crimes with which 
slander has loaded us ? In such cases we have no title to complain of 
the treacheries of friendship; for it was not friendship in which we 
trusted : the treachery is as much the fault of the deceived as of the de 
ceiver ; we have ourselves violated some of the most important duties 
of friendship; the duties which relate to its commencement." Moral 
Philosophy, Lect. Ixxxix. 

1 7! Gracchus, who with his brother, C. Gracchus, excited great tu 
mults about the Agrarian law. He was slain for his seditious conduct 
by P. Nasica. His name has passed into a by-word for a factious dema 
gogue. It is thus applied by Juvenal : 

" Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes !" 



2H CICEEO ON FRIENDSHIP. CHAP. xxvn. 

sons of the same age, as between me and Scipio, Lucius 
Furius, Publius Rupilius, and Spurius Mumrnius: and now 
in turn, in my old age I repose in the attachment of younger 
men, as in yours and that of Quintus Tubero ; nay, I even 
take delight in the familiarity of some that are very young, 
o Publius Rutilius and Aulius Virginius, And since the 
course of our life and nature is so directed that a new period 
is ever arising, it is especially to be wished that with those 
comrades with whom you set out, as it were, from the start 
ing, with the same you may, as they say, arrive at the goal. 
pBut, since human affairs are frail and fleeting, some persons 
must ever be sought for whom we may love, and by whom 
we may be loved ; for when affection and kind feeling are 
done away with, all cheerfulness likewise is banished from 
existence. To me, indeed, though he was suddenly snatched 
away, Scipio still lives, and will always live ; for I love the 
virtue of that man, and that worth is not yet extinguished : 
and not before my eyes only is it presented, who ever had it 
in possession, but even with posterity it will be illustrious 
and renowned ; for never shall any undertake any high 
achievements with spirit and hope, without feeling that. the 
memory and the character of that man should be placed 
before him. Assuredly, of all things that either fortune or 
nature has bestowed on me, I have none which I can compare 
with the friendship of Scipio. 1 In it I had concurrence in 
politics, and in it advice for my private affairs. In it also, 

1 This confession is not confined to Cicero or his age. Lord Clarendon 
was often heard to say, " that next to the immediate blessing and provi 
dence of God Almighty, which had preserved him throughout the whole 
course of this life from many dangers and disadvantages, in which many 
other young men were lost, he owed all the little he knew, and the little 
good that was in him, to the friendship and conversation he still had 
been used to, of the most excellent men in their several kinds that lived 
in that age, by whose learning and information and instruction he form 
ed his studies and mended his understanding, and by whose example he 
formed his manners, subdued that pride, and suppressed that heat and 
passion he was naturally inclined to be transported with: and always 
charged his children to follow his example in that point, protesting, that 
in the whole course of his life he never knew one man, of what condition 
soever, arrive to any degree of reputation in the world, who made choice 
or delighted in the company or conversation of those who, in their quali 
ties and their parts were not much superior to himself." Clarendon s 
Memoirs of his own Life. 



CHAP, rrvif CICERO ON FRIENDSHIP.. 215 

I possessed a repose replete with pleasure. Never in the 
slightest degree did I offend him, at least so far as I was 
aware ; never did I myself hear a word from him that I was 
unwilling to hear : we had one house between us, the same 
food, and that common to both ; and not only service abroad, 
but even our traveling and visits to the country were in com 
mon. *For what need I say of our constant pursuits of knowl 
edge and learning, in which, retired from the eyes of the 
world, we spent all our leisure time ? Now, if the recollection 
and memory of these things had died along with him, I could 
in no wise have borne the loss of that most intimate and affec 
tionate friend ; but these things have not perished, yea, they 
are rather cherished and improved by reflection and memory ; * 
and even if I were altogether bereft of them, yet would age 
itself bring me much comfort, for I can not now very long suf 
fer these regrets. Now all afflictions, if brief, ought to be 
tolerable, howsoever great they may be. Such are the remarks 
I had to make on friendship. But as for you, I exhort you to 
lay the foundations of virtue, without which friendship can not 
exist, in such a manner that, with this one exception, you may 
consider that nothing in the world is more excellent than 
friendship. 

1 " The pleasures resulting from the mutual attachment of kindred 
spirits are by no means confined to the moments of personal intercourse ; 
they diffuse their odors, though more faintly, through the seasons of 
absence, refreshing and exhilarating the mind by the remembrance of the 
past and the anticipation of the future. It is a treasure possessed when 
it is not employed a reserve of strength, ready to be called into action 
when most needed a fountain of sweets, to which we may continually 
repair, whose waters are inexhaustible." Robert Hall s Funeral Sermon 
for Dr. Ryland. 



ON OLD AGE. 



" O TITUS, 1 if I sliall have assisted you at all, or alleviated 
tlie anxiety which now fevers, and, fixed in your heart, distracts 
you, shall I have any reward ?" 

I. For I may address you, Atticus, in the same lines in 
which he addresses Flaminius, 

"That man, not of great property, but rich in integrity." 
And yet I am very sure that not, as Flaminius, 

" Are you, Titus, so racked by anxiety night and day :" 

for I know the regularity and even temperament of your 
mind ; and I am well aware that you have derived not only 
your surname from Athens, but also refinement and wisdom ; 
and yet I suspect that you are sometimes too deeply affected 
by the same causes by which I myself am ; the consolation of 
which is of a higher kind, and requires to be put off to 
another occasion. 2 But at present I have thought it good to 

1 Titus Pomponius Atticus, to whom this treatise is addressed, was a 
celebrated Roman knight. Cicero wrote to him a number of letters which 
still survive. He was surnamed Atticus from his perfect knowledge of 
the Greek language and literature. A minute account of his life has 
been written by Cornelius Nepos, one of his intimate friends. 

2 " This alludes to the disordered state of the commonwealth occasion 
ed by Julius Caesar s usurpation, and the commotion consequent on his 
death ; the present treatise having been written soon after he was assas 
sinated in the senate. No man had more at stake in these public con 
vulsions than Cicero ; and nothing sets the power of his mind in a moro 
striking point of view than his being able, at such an alarming crisis, 
sufficiently to compose his thoughts to meditations of this kind. For 
not only this treatise, but his Essay on Friendship, his dialogues on the 
Nature of the Gods, together with those concerning Divination, as also 
his book of Offices, and some other of the most considerable of his philo 
sophical writings, were drawn up within the same turbulent and dis 
tracted period." Melmoth. 



CHAP. IL CICERO ON OLD AGE. 217 

write to you something on Old Age ; for of this burden which 
I have in common with you of old age, either now weighing 
upon, or at any rate approaching us, I wish both you and 
myself to be relieved, although I am very sure that you 
indeed bear it, and will bear it, with temper and wisdom (as 
you do all things). But to my mind, when I was about to 
write an essay on old age, you occurred as worthy of a gift, 
which each of us might enjoy in common. For my part I 
have found the composition of this book so delightful, that it 
has not only wiped off all the annoyance of old age, but has 
rendered old age even easy and delightful. Never, therefore, 
can philosophy be praised in a manner sufficiently worthy, 
inasmuch as he who obeys philosophy is able to pass every 
period of life without irksomeness. But upon other subjects 
we both have discoursed much, and often shall discourse : this 
book, on the subject of old age, I have sent to you. And all 
the discourse we have assigned not to Tithonus, 1 as Aristo 2 the 
Chian did, lest there should be too little of authority in the 
tale ; but to Marcus Cato, 3 when an old man, that the dis 
course might carry with it the greater weight ; at whose house 
we introduce Lselius* and Scipio, expressing their wonder that 
he so patiently bears old age, and him replying to them. And 
if he shall appear to discourse more learnedl} than he himself 
was accustomed to do in his own books, ascribe it to Greek 
literature, of which it is well known that he was very studious 
in old age. But what need is there to say more ? for now the 
conversation of Cato himself shall unfold all my sentiments on 
old age. 

II. SCIPIO. I am very often accustomed with my friend 
here, C. Laelius, to admire as well your surpassing and ac 
complished wisdom in all other matters, O Marcus Cato, as 
also especially that I have never perceived old age to be 

1 Tithonus, son of Laomedon, king of Troy. He was carried away by 
Aurora, who made him immortal. 

2 Aristo, a philosopher of Chios, a pupil of Zeno the Stoic. 

3 M. Cato. M. Porcius Cato was a Roman censor, famed for the strict 
ness of his morals. He died at an advanced age, about B.C. 151. He 
wrote a work called " Origines," . e., antiquities, some fragments of 
which are still extant. 

4 Lodium. C. Lselius, a Roman consul, A.U.C. 614. He was the inti 
mate friend of Africanua the younger, and is the principal character in 
Cicero s treatise, " De Ainicitia." 

10 



218 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. n. 

burdensome to you ; which to most old men is so disagree 
able, that they say they support a burden heavier than JEtna. 
CATO. It is not a very difficult matter, Scipio, and Lselius, 
which you seem to be surprised at; for to those who have 
no resource in themselves for living well and happily, every 
age is burdensome ; but to those who seek all good things 
from themselves, nothing can appear evil which the necessity 
of nature entails ; in which class particularly is old age, which 
all men wish to attain, and yet they complain of it when they 
have attained it ; so great is the inconsistency and wayward 
ness of folly. They say that it steals over them more quickly 
than they had supposed. Now, first of all, who compelled 
them to form a false estimate of its progress ? for how does 
old age more quickly steal upon youth, than youth upon boy 
hood ? Then, again, how would old age be less burdensome to 
them, if they were in their 800th year than in their 80th ? for 
the past time, however long, when it had flowed away, would 
not be able to soothe with any consolation an old age of folly. 
"Wherefore, if you are accustomed to admire my wisdom 
and I would that it were worthy of your high opinion and 
my surname in this I am wise that I follow nature, that 
1 -ost guide, as a god, and am obedient to her ; a by whom it 
). L not likely, when the other parts of life have been well 
s\ presented, that the last act should have been ill done, as it 
vere, by an indolent poet. But yet it was necessary that there 
-lould be something final, and, as in the berries of trees and 
i he fruits of the earth, something withered and falling through 
reasonable ripeness ; which must be taken quietly by a wise 
man : for what else is it, to war with nature, than, after the 
manner of the giants, to fight with the gods ? LSELIUS. But, 
Gato, you will do a very great favor to us, as I may also 
engage on behalf of Scipio, if inasmuch as we hope, or at 

1 " The acknowledgment of the intention of the Creator as the proper 
rule of man s actions, has sometimes been expressed by saying that men 
ought to live according to nature, and that virtue and duty are according 
to nature, vice and moral transgression contrary to nature ; for man s 
nature is ^constitution in which reason and desire are elements, but of 
these elements it was plainly intended that reason should control desire, 
not that desire should overmaster reason." Whewell s Elements of 
Morality, book iv. cap. 10. 

Seneca also has a similar idea: "Quid enim aliud est natura quam 
deus et divina ratio toti mundo et partibus ejus inserta." De Benef. iv. 7. 



CHAP.ra. CICEEO ON OLD AGE. 219 

least desire, to become old men, we shall have learned long 
before from you by what methods we may most easily be 
able to bear the increasing -burden of age. CATO. Well, I 
will do so, Lselius ; especially if, as you say, it is likely to be 
pleasant to each of you. SCIPIO. In truth we wish, unless 
it be irksome, Cato, just as if you had completed some long 
journey, on which we also must enter, to see of what nature 
that spot is at which you have arrived. 

III. CATO. I will do it as well as I shall be able, Lselius ; 
for I have often been present at the complaints of men of my 
own age (and equals with equals, according to the old proverb, 
most easily flock together), and have heard the things which 
Caius Salinator and Spurious Albinus, men of consular rank, 
and nearly of my age, were wont to deplore : on the one hand, 
that they had no pleasures, without which they thought life 
was valueless ; on the other, that they were neglected by those 
by whom they had been accustomed to be courted, in which 
they appeared to me not to accuse that which deserved ac 
cusation ; for if that happened from the fault of old age, the 
same things would be experienced by me and all others 
advanced in years : and yet the old age of many of them I 
have remarked to be without complaint, who were not 
grieved to be let free from the thralldom of the passions, and 
were not looked down upon by their friends ; but of all com 
plaints of this kind, the fault lies in the character of the man, 
not in his age. For old men of regulated minds, and neither 
testy nor ill-natured, pass a very tolerable old age. But a 
discontented and ill-natured disposition is irksome in every 
age. 1 LSELIUS. It is as you say, Cato. But perhaps some 

1 "It may very reasonably be suspected that the old draw upon them 
selves the great part of those insults which they so much lament ; and 
that age is rarely despised but when it is contemptible. If men imagine 
that excess of debauchery can be made reverend by tune ; that knowledge 
is the consequence of long life, however idly and thoughtlessly employ 
ed ; that priority of birth will supply the want of steadiness or honesty, 
can it raise much wonder that their hopes are disappointed, and that they 
see their posterity rather willing to trust their own eyes in their progress 
into life, than enlist themselves under guides who have lost their way ? 

"He that would pass the latter part of life with honor and decency, 
must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old ; and re 
member, when he is old, that he has once been young. In youth he must 
lay up knowledge for his support, when his powers of acting shall forsake 
him ; and in age forbear to animadvert with rigor on faults which expe 
rience only can correct." Johnson s Rambler, No. 60. 



220 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. IT. 

one may say, that to you, on account of your wealth, and 
resources, and dignity, old age appears better to endure, but 
that this can not be the lot of many. CATO. That to be sure, 
Lselius, is something, but all things are by no means involved 
in it : as Theinistoeles is said to have replied to a certain man 
of Seriphus 1 in a dispute, when the other had said that he had 
gained distinction, not by his own glory, but by that of his 
country ; neither, by Hercules, said he, if I had been a man 
of Seriphus, should I ever have been eminent, nor if you 
had been an Athenian, would you ever have been renowned. 
Which, in like manner, can be said about old age. For 
neither can old age be easy in extreme poverty, not even to 
a wise man ; nor to a foolish man, even in the greatest 
plenty, otherwise than burdensome. The fittest arms of old 
age, Scipio and Lselius, are the attainment and practice of 
the virtues ; which, if cultivated at every period of life, pro 
duce wonderful fruits when you have lived to a great age ; 
not only, inasmuch as they never fail, not even in the last 
period of life and yet that is a very great point but also 
because the consciousness of a life well spent, and the recol 
lection of many virtuous actions, is most delightful. 2 

IV. I, when a young man, was as fond of Quintus Maxi- 
inus, 3 the same who recovered Tarentum, though an old 
man, as if he had been one of my own age. For there 

1 Seriphus was a barren island, or rock, in the JEgean Sea, used by 
the Romans as a place of banishment for criminals : 

"Cui vix in Cyclada mitti 
Contigit, et parva tandem caruisse Seripho." 

Juvenal, 6th Sat. 56. lib. iii. 

2 "As o all the rational and worthy pleasures of our being, the con 
science of a good fame, the contemplation of another life, the respect and 
commerce of honest men ; our capacities for such enjoyments are enlarged 
by years. While health endures, the latter part of life, in the eye of 
reason, is certainly the more eligible. The memory of a well-spent youth 
gives a peaceable, unmixed, and elegant pleasure to the mind ; and to 
such who are so unfortunate as not to be able to look back on youth 
with satisfaction, they may give themselves no little consolation that 
they are under no temptation to repeat their follies, and that they at 
present despise them." -Spectator, No. 153. 

3 Quintus Maximus, a Roman general of the Fabian family, who re 
ceived the surname of Cunctator from his harassing Hannibal by delays. 
After the battle of Cannae, he retook Tarentum from the Carthaginians. 
Virgil alludes to him in a passage quoted from Ennius, in tho JBneid, 
Book vi. 846, "Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem." 



CHAP. iv. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 221 

was in that man dignity refined by courtesy ; nor had old 
age changed his character. And yet I began to cultivate 
his acquaintance when he was not a very old man, but still 
when somewhat advanced in age. For he had been consul 
for the first time in the year after I was born, and in his 
fourth consulship I, then a stripling, marched with him as 
a soldier to Capua, and in the fifth year after, as quaestor to 
Tarentum ; I was next made sedile, and four years afterward 
praetor, an office which I held in the consulship of Tudi- 
tanus 1 and Cethegus, when he, a very old man, was the 
promoter of the Cincian 3 law, about fees and presents. He 
both carried on campaigns like a young man when he was 
quite old, and by his temper cooled Hannibal when im 
petuous from the fire of youth, about whom our friend 
Ennius has admirably spoken : " Who alone, by delay re 
trieved our state ; for he did not value rumor above our 
safety, therefore brighter and brighter is now the glory of 
that man." And with what vigilance, with what talent did 
he recover Tarentum ? When too, in my hearing, as Sali- 
nator, who, after losing the town, had taken refuge in the 
citadel, was boasting and speaking thus : " It was owing to my 
exertions, Quintus Fabius, that you recovered Tarentum." 
" Unquestionably," said he, laughing, " for unless you had lost 
it, I should never have regained it." Nor in truth was he more 
excellent in arms than in civil affairs; for, in his second 
consulship, when Spurius Carvilius, his colleague, was neuter, 
he made a stand to the utmost of his power against Caius 
Flaminius, tribune of the commons, when he was for dis 
tributing the Picenian and Gallic land to individuals, con 
trary to the authority of the senate ; and when he was augur, 
he had the spirit to say that those things were performed 
with the best auspices which were performed for the welfare 
of the commonwealth ; that those things which were un 
dertaken against the commonwealth were undertaken in 
opposition to the auspices. 3 Many excellent points have I 

1 Consulilus Tuditano, etc. A.u.C. 550. 

2 A law enacted by M. Cincius, tribune of the people, A.tr.c. 549. By 
this law no one was allowed to receive a present for pleading a cause. 

3 "Homer," says Melmoth, "puts a sentiment of the same spirited 
kind into the mouth of Hector. That gallant prince, endeavoring to 
force the Grecian intrenchmeuts, is exhorted by Polydamas to discon 
tinue the attack, on occasion of an unfavorable omen which appears on 



222 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP.Y. 

remarked in that man : but there is nothing more deserving 
of admiration than the way in which he bore the death of 
his son Marcus, an illustrious man, and one of consular rank. 
The panegyric he pronounced is still in our hands ; which 
when we read, what philosopher do we not despise ? nor, 
in truth, was he great only in public and in the eyes of 
his fellow-citizens, but still more admirable in private and 
at home. What conversation ! what maxims ! what deep 
acquaintance with ancient history! what knowledge of the 
law of augury ! his learning too, for a Roman, was extensive. 
He retained in memory all, not only domestic but foreign 
wars; and I at that time enjoyed his conversation with as 
much avidity as if I was already divining that which came 
to pass, that when he was gone, there would be none other 
for me to learn from. 

V. To what end then do I say so much about Maximus 1 
because doubtless you see that it is quite wrong to say that 
such an old age was miserable. Still, all men can not be 
Scipios or Maximi, so as to remember the stormings of cities, 
battles by land and sea, wars conducted and triumphs gained 
by themselves. The old age also of a life past in peace and 
innocence and elegance is a gentle and mild one, such as we 
have heard that of Plato to have been, who, in his eighty- 
first year, died while writing ; such as that of Isocrates, who 
says that he wrote that book which is entitled the Panathe- 
naican in his ninety-fourth year, and he lived five years 
after : whose master, Gorgias, the Leontine, completed one 
hundred and seven years, nor did he ever loiter in his pur 
suit and labor ; who, when it was asked of him why he 
liked to be so long in life, said : " I have no cause for 
blaming old age." An admirable answer, and worthy of a 
man of learning : for the foolish lay their own vices and 

the left side of the Trojan army. Hector treats both the advice and the 
adviser with much contempt ; and among other sentiments equally just 
and animated, nobly replies (as the lines are finely translated by Mr. 
Pope): 

Ye vagrants of the sky I your wings extend, 
Or where the sun arise, or where descend ; 
To right, to left, unheeded take your way 
* "Without a sign his sword the brave man draws, 
And asks no omen but his country s cause. " 

Pope s Homer, IL xii 279. 



CHAP. TL CICERO ON OLD AGE. 223 

their own faults to the charge of old age, which that Ennius, 
of whom I lately made mention, was not disposed to do : "As 
the gallant steed, who often at the close of the race won the 
Olympic prizes, now worn out with old age, takes his rest." 
He compares his own old age to that of a mettled and victo 
rious steed, and that indeed you can very well remember ; 
for it was in the nineteenth year after his death that the 
present consuls, Titus Flaminius 1 and Marcus Acilius, were 
elected, and he died in the second consulship of Coepio and 
Philip; when I too, at the age of sixty-five, had supported 
the Voconian law 2 with a powerful voice and unimpaired 
lungs. At the age of seventy, for so many years Ennius 
lived, he in such a manner endured two burdens, which are 
deemed the greatest, poverty and old age, that he almost 
seemed to take pleasure in them. For when I consider it in 
my mind, I find four causes why old age is thought miserable : 
one, that it calls us away from the transaction of affairs ; the 
second, that it renders the body more feeble ; the third, that 
it deprives us of almost all pleasures ; the fourth, that it is 
not very far from death. Of these causes let us see, if you 
please, how great and how reasonable each of them is. 

VI. Does old age draw us away from active duties ? 
From which ? from those which are performed by youth 
and strength ? Are there, then, no concerns of old age, 
which even when our bodies are feeble, are yet carried 
on by the mind? Was Q. Maximus, then, unemployed? 
Was L. Paulus, your father, Scipio, unemployed, the father- 
in-law of that most excellent man, my son ? Those other old 
men, the Fabricii, the Curii, the Coruncanii, when they sup 
ported the commonwealth by wisdom and authority, were 
they unemployed ? It was an aggravation of the old age of 
Appius Claudius that he was blind, and yet he, when the 
opinion of the senate was inclined to peace, and the con 
clusion of a treaty with Pyrrus, did not hesitate to utter 
these words, which Ennius has expressed in verse : 
" Whither have your minds, which used to stand upright 
before, in folly turned away ?" And all the rest with the 
Utmost dignity, for the poem is well known to you, and yet 



1 A.U.C. 604. 

2 The Yoconian law enacted that no one should make a woman his heir. 



224 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. n. 

the speech of Appius himself still exists : and he delivered 
this speech seventeen years after his second consulship, 
when ten years had intervened between the two consulships, 
and he had been censor before his former consulship ; from 
which it is concluded that in the war with Pyrrhus, he 
was a very old man, and yet we have been thus informed 
by our fathers. Therefore they advance no argument who 
say that old age is not engaged in active duty, and resemble 
those who should say that the pilot in navigation is unem 
ployed, for that while some climb the mast, others run up 
and down the decks, others empty the bilge-water, he, 
holding the helm, sits at the stern at his ease. He does not 
do those things that the young men do, but in truth he does 
much greater and better things. Great actions are not 
achieved by exertions of strength, or speed, or by quick 
movement of bodies, but by talent, authority, judgment ; of 
which faculties old age is usually so far from being deprived, 
that it is even improved in them : unless, indeed, I, who 
both as a soldier and tribune, and lieutenant-general, and 
consul, have been employed in various kinds of wars, now 
seem to you to be idle when I am not engaged in wars. 
But I counsel the senate as to what wars are to be engaged 
in, and in what manner; against Carthage, 1 which has now 
for a long time been meditating mischief, I have long been 
denouncing war ; about which I shall not cease to fear until 
I shall know that it has been razed to the ground ; which 
victory I wish the immortal gods may reserve for you, 
Scipio, that you may consummate the unfinished exploits of 
your grandfather; since whose death this is the thirty-third 
year: but all succeeding years will cherish the momory of 
that man. He died in the year before I was censor, nine 
years after my consulship, when he had been in my consul 
ship created consul a second time. Would he, therefore, if 
he had lived to one hundred years old, ever have regretted 
his old age ? for he would not exercise himself, either in 
running a race, or in leaping, or at a distance with spears, 
or in close quarters with swords, but in counsel, reflection, 
and judgment. Now, unless those faculties existed in old 



1 " Delenda est Carthago" was so common an expression of Cato s as 
to have become proverbial. 



CHAP. vi. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 225 

men, our ancestors would never have called the supreme 
council by the name of senate. 1 Among the Lacedaemo 
nians, those who hold the highest office, as they are, so also 
are they styled, elders. But if you shall be inclined to read 
or hear of foreign matters, you will find the greatest com 
monwealths have been overthrown by young men, and 
supported and restored by the old. " Pray, how lost you your 
commonwealth, so great as it was, in so short a time !" For 
such is the appeal as it is in the play of the poet Naevius ; 2 
both other answers are given, and these especially : " There 
came forward orators inexperienced, foolish young men." 
Kashness, beyond a doubt, belongs to life when in its bloom ; 
wisdom to it in old age. 

VII. But the memory is impaired. I believe it, unless 
you keep it in practice, or if you are by nature rather dull. 
Themistocles had learned by heart the names of all his 
fellow-citizens. Do you suppose, therefore, when he ad 
vanced in age, he was accustomed to address him as Lysi- 
machus who was Aristides ? For my part, I know not only 
those persons who are alive, but their fathers also, and 
grandfathers; nor in reading tombstones am I afraid, as 
they say, lest I should lose my memory; for by reading 
these very tombstones, I regain my recollection of the dead. 3 

1 So called from the Latin word senex. The members of this august 
assembly were originally distinguished by the title of fathers. " Vel 
setate," says Sallust, "vel curse similitudine." Ovid has some pretty 
lines in allusion to the same etymology : 

" Magna fuit capitis quondam reverentia cani, 

Inque suo pretio rugo senilis erat, 
Nee nisi post annos patuit tune curia seros 

Nomen et setatis mite senatus habet, 
Jura dabat Populo senior finitaque certis, 

Legibus est setas inde petatur honor." 
" Time was when reverend years observance found, 
And silver hairs with honor s meed was crowned. 
In those good days the venerably old 
In Rome s sage synod stood alone enrolled. 
Experienced old she gave her laws to frame, 
And from the seniors rose the senate s name." Melmoth. 

2 Cneius Naevius was a Latin poet, who lived during the first Punic 
war, which he made the subject of an epic poem. He also wrote com 
edies, now lost. He died about B.C. 203. 

8 " It was a prevailing superstition," says Melmoth, in his annotation 
upon this passage, " among the Romans, that to read the inscriptions on 

10* 



226 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. vn. 

Nor indeed have I heard of any old man having forgotten in 
what place he had buried a treasure ; they remember all 
things which they care about : appointments of bail ; 1 who 
are indebted to them, and to whom they are indebted. 2 What 
do lawyers ? what do pontiffs ? what do augurs ? what do phi 
losophers, when old men ? how many things they remember ! 
The intellectual powers remain in the old, provided study 
and application be kept up ; and that not only in men illus 
trious and of high rank, but also in private and peaceful life. 
Sophocles wrote tragedies up to the period of extreme old age ; 
and when on account of that pursuit he seems to be neglect 
ing the family property, he was summoned by his sons into 
a court of justice, that, as according to our practice, fathers 
mismanaging their property are wont to be interdicted their 
possessions, 3 so in his case the judges might remove him 

the monuments of the dead, weakened the memory. Of this very singular 
and unaccountable notion, no other trace I believe is to be found among 
the Roman authors but what appears in the present passage. Possibly 
it might take its rise from the popular notion that the spirits of malevolent 
and wicked men, after their decease, delighted to haunt the places where 
their bodies or ashes were deposited, and there were certain annual rites 
celebrated at these sepulchers for appeasing the ghosts." Vid. Platon. 
Phaed. No. 3. Ovid, Fast. II. 533. 

1 Vadimonia, "vades," or tl vadimonium dare," to give bail or recog 
nizances; "deserere vadimonium," to forfeit his recognizances. 

2 " We generally find that tin s inaptitude at recollection is most ap 
parent with reference to subjects which are uninteresting or distasteful 
to the individual ; and this for an obvious reason. To such subjects the 
mind gives little or no attention, and consequently few or no associations 
are connected with the facts observed. Hence these facts never become 
the property of the mind, and of course can never be recalled. On the 
other hand, on what subjects do we find that the faculty of recollection 
is the most susceptible ? Unquestionably on those, on which the indi 
vidual is most deeply interested, either from taste, habit, or professional 
pursuit. Its apparent defects are clearly traceable to voluntary habits 
of inactivity and neglect ; while like every other faculty of the intellect 
ual nature, it is capable of receiving from practice an indefinite measure 
of susceptibility and power. In short, in the degree of perfection at 
which it may arrive, it is one of the most commanding and dignified 
faculties of an intelligent being. It extends the very limit of our exist 
ence back from the present to the past ; so that the stream of by-gone 
years, with all the rich freight of knowledge and experience which it 
bears upon its bosom, does not merge and lose itself in an unknown 
ocean, but only winds itself out of sight in the recesses of our own do 
mains." Edmonds s Philosophy of Memory. 

3 Interdici bonis. The praetor was said " interdicere" when he took 
from any one the management of his property, as in cases of lunacy, etc. 



CHAP. vm. CICERO Oltf OLD AG-E. 227 

from the management of the state as being imbecile. Then 
the old man is related to have read aloud to the judges that 
play which he held in his hands and had most recently 
written, the (Edipus Coloneus, and to have asked whether 
that appeared the poem of a dotard ; on the recital of which, 
he was acquitted by the sentences of the judges. Did, then, 
old age compel this man, or Homer, or Hesiod, 1 or Simoni- 
des, 2 or Stesichorus, 3 or those men whom I mentioned 
before Isocrates, Georgias, or the chiefs of the philosophers, 
Pythagoras, Democritus, or Plato, or Xenocrates, or after 
ward Zeno, Cleanthes, or him whom you have also seen at 
Rome, Diogenes the Stoic, to falter in their pursuits ? Was not 
the vigorous pursuit of their studies commensurate with 
their life in all these men ? Come, to pass over these sublime 
pursuits, I can mention in the Sabine district, country gen 
tlemen at Rome, neighbors and acquintances of mine, in 
whose absence scarcely ever are any important works done 
in the farm, either in sowing, or in reaping, or in storing the 
produce ; and yet in those men this is less to be wondered 
at ; for no man is so old as not to think he may live a 
year. But they also take pains in those matters, which they 
know do not at all concern themselves. " He plants trees to 
benefit another generation," as our friend Statius 4 says in 
his Synephebi. Nor, in truth, let the husbandman, however 
old, hesitate to reply to any one who asks him " for whom he 
is sowing:" "For the immortal gods, who intended that I 
should not only receive these possessions from my ancestors, 
but also transmit them to my descendants." 

VIII. Ccecilius speaks more wisely about an old man look 
ing forward to another generation, than the following: 
"In truth, 5 old age, if thou bringest with thee no other 

1 Hesiod, a poet of Ascra in Boeotia, supposed by some to have lived 
about the time of Homer. His principal poem is the "Works and 
Days," a sort of shepherd s calendar. 

2 Simonides, a poet of Cos, who flourished B.C. 538. 

3 Stesichorus, a lyric Greek poet of Himera, in Sicily, B.C. 556. 

4 Statius, a comic poet in the days of Ennius. He was a native of 
Gaul. His surname was Caecilius. Vid. Chap. viii. at the beginning. 

5 JEdepol. Per cedem Pollucis, by the temple of Pollux : a form of 
swearing common both to men and women. Mecastor, or Ecastor, " by 
Castor," was used by women only : Herde, or Meherck, was the form 
used by men. 



228 CICEEO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. ix. 

fault when thou arrivest, this one is enough, that by living 
long, one sees many things which he does not like :" and 
many things, perhaps, which he does like; and youth also 
often meets with things which he does not like. But the 
same Csecilus makes the following assertion, which is still 
more objectionable: "Then, for my part, I reckon this 
circumstance connected with old age the most wretched, 
to be censcious at that age that one is disagreeable to 
others." Pleasant rather than disagreeable. For as wise 
old men take pleasure in young men possessed of good 
disposition, and the old age of those persons becomes 
lighter who are courted and loved by youth ; so young men 
take pleasure in the lessons of the old, by which they are led 
on to the pursuits of virtue. Nor am I aware that I am less 
agreeable to you than you are to me. But you see that old 
age is so far from being feeble and inactive, that it is even 
industrious, and always doing and devising something ; 
namely, such pursuits as have belonged to each man in 
former life. Nay, they even learn something new ; as we see 
Solon in his verses boasting, who says that he was becoming 
an old man, daily learning something new, as I have done, 
who, when an old man, learned the Greek language ;* 
which too I so greedily grasped, as if I were desirous of 
satisfying a long protracted thirst, that those very things 
became known to me which you now see me use as illus 
trations. And when I heard that Socrates had done this 
on the lyre, for my part I should like to do that also, for 
the ancients used to learn the lyre : but with their literature, 
at any rate, I have taken pains. 

IX. Nor even now do I feel the want of the strength of a 
young man for that was the second topic about the faults 
of old age no more than when a young man I felt the want 
of the strength of the bull or of the elephant. What one has, 
that one ought to use ; and whatever you do, you should do 

1 Referring to this fact in the life of Cato, Lord Bacon says, " As to the 
judgment of Cato the censor, he was well punished for his blasphemy 
against learning, in the same kind wherein he offended ; for when he was 
past threescore years old, he was taken with an extreme desire to go to 
school again and to learn the Greek tongue to the end to peruse the Greek 
authors, which doth well demonstrate, that his former censure of the 
Grecian learning was rather an affected gravity than according to the in 
ward sense of his own opinion." " Advancement of Learning," book i. 



CHAP. ix. CICERO ON OLD AG-E. 229 

it with, all your strength. For what expression can be more 
contemptible than that of Milo l of Crotona, who, when he 
was now an old man, and was looking at the prize-fighters 
exercising themselves on the course, is reported to have 
looked at his arms, and, weeping over them, to have said, 
" But these, indeed, are now dead." 3 Nay, foolish man, not 
these arms so much as yourself ; for you never derived your 
nobility from yourself, but from your chest and you arms. 
Nothing of the kind did Sextus JElius ever say, nothing of 
the kind many years before did Titus Coruncanius, nothing 
lately did Publius Crassus; by whom instructions in juris 
prudence were given to their fellow-citizens, and whose 
wisdom was progressive even to their latest breath. For 
the orator, I fear lest he be enfeebled by old age ; for elo 
quence is a gift not of mind only, but also of lungs and 
strength. On the whole, that melodiousness in the voice is 
graceful, I know not how, even in old age ; which, indeed, I 
have not lost, and you see my years. Yet there is a grace 
ful style of eloquence in an old man, unimpassioned and 
subdued, and very often the elegant and gentle discourse of 
an eloquent old man wins for itself a hearing ; and if you 
have not yourself the power to produce this eflect, yet you 

1 Milo. A famous Athlete, of Crotona, in Italy. He is Baid to have 
carried on his shoulders a young bullock. He was seven times crowned 
at the Pythian games, and six times at the Olympian. 

2 " "When an old man bewails the loss of such gratifications as aro 
passed, he discovers a monstrous inclination to that which it is not in the 
course of Providence to recall. The state of an old man, who is dissat 
isfied merely for his being such, is the most out of all measures of reason 
and good sense of any being we have any account of, from the highest 
angel to the lowest worm. How miserable is the contemplation, to con 
sider a libidinous old man fretting at the course of things, and being al 
most the sole malcontent in the creation. But let us a little reflect upon 
what he has lost by the number of years ; the passions which he had in 
youth are not to be obeyed as they were then, but reason is more power 
ful now without the disturbance of them. One would think it should 
be no small satisfaction to have gone so far in our journey that the heat 
of the day is over with us. "When life itself is a fever, as it is in licen 
tious youth, the pleasures of it are no other than the dreams of a man 
in that distemper ; and it is as absurd to wish the return of that season 
of life, as for a man in health to be sorry for the loss of gilded palaces, 
fairy walks, and flowery pastures, with which he remembers he was en 
tertained in the troubled slumbers of a fit of sickness." The Spectator, 
No. 153. 



230 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. x. 

may be able to teach it to Scipio and Laelius. For what 
is more delightful than old age surrounded with the stud 
ious attention of youth? Shall we not leave even such a 
resource to old age, as to teach young men, instruct them, 
train them to every department of duty? an employment, 
indeed, than which what can be more noble ? But, for 
my part, I thought the Cneius and Publius Scipios, and 
your two grandfathers, L. ^Emilius and P. Africanus, quite 
happy in the attendance of noble youths ; nor are any pre 
ceptors of liberal accomplishment to be deemed otherwise 
than happy, though their strength hath Mien into old age 
and failed ; although that very failure of strength is more 
frequently caused by the follies of youth than by those of 
old age; for a lustful and intemperate youth transmits to 
old age an exhausted body. 1 Cyrus too, in Xenophon, in 
that discourse which he delivered on his death-bed when he 
was a very old man, said that he never felt that his old 
age had become feebler than his youth had been. I recol 
lect when a boy, that Lucius Metellus, who, when four 
years after his second consulship he had been made " pon- 
tifex rnaximus," and for twenty-two years held that sacer 
dotal office, enjoyed such good strength at the latter period 
of his life, that he felt no want of youth. There is no need 
for me to speak about myself, and yet that is the privilege 
of old age, and conceded to my time of life. 

X. Do you see how, in Homer, Nestor very often pro 
claims his own virtues ? for he was now living in the third 
generation of men ; nor had he occasion to fear lest, when 
stating the truth about himself, he should appear either too 
arrogant or too talkative ; for, as Homer says, 2 from his 
tongue speech flowed sweeter than honey ; for which charm 
he stood in need of no strength of body : and yet the famous 
chief of Greece nowhere wishes to have ten men like Ajax, 
but like Nestor; 3 and he does not doubt if that should 

1 " When young men in public places betray in their deportment an 
abandoned resignation to their appetites, they give to sober minds a pros 
pect of a despicable age, which, if not interrupted by death in the midst 
of then* follies, must certainly come." The Spectator, No. 153. 

2 Toy KO.I UTTO yhuaariz //e/Urof JAVKIUV fieev avdrj. 

Oh ! would the gods, in love to Greece, decree 
But ten such sages as they grant in thee I 



CHAP. x. CICEEO ON OLD AG-E. 231 

happen, Troy would in a short time perish. But I return to 
myself. I am in my eighty-fourth year. In truth I should 
like to be able to make the same boast that Cyrus did : but 
one thing I can say, that although I have not, to be sure, that 
strength which I had either as a soldier in the Punic war, or 
as quaestor in the same war, or as consul in Spain, or, four 
years afterward, when as military tribune J fought a battle at 
Thermopylae, in the consulship of ^tSfoufr Acilius Glabrio : 
yet, as you see, old age has not quite enfeebled me nor broken 
me down : the senate-house does not miss my strength, nor 
the rostra, 1 nor my friends, nor my clients, nor my guests ; 
for I have never agreed to that old and much-praised 
proverb, which advises you to become an old man early, if 
you wish to be an old man long. I for my part would rather 
be an old man for a shorter length of time than be an old 
man before I was one. And, therefore, no one as yet has 
wished to have an interview with me, to whom I have been 
denied as engaged. But I have less strength than either of 
you two. Neither even do you possess the strength of Titus 
Pontius the centurion : is he, therefore, the more excellent 
man ? Only let there be a moderate degree of strength, and 
let every man exert himself as much as he can ; and in truth 
that man will not be absorbed in regretting the want of 
strength. Milo, at Olympia, is said to have gone over the course 
while supporting on his shoulders a live ox. Whether, then, 
would you rather have this strength of body, or Pythagoras ! 
strength of intellect, bestowed upon you ? In a word, enjoy 
that blessing while you have it : when it is gone, do not 
lament it ; unless, indeed, young men ought to lament the 
loss of boyhood, and those a little advanced in age the loss 
of adolescence. There is a definite career in life, and one 
way of nature, and that a simple one ; and to every part of 
life its own peculiar period has been assigned : so that both 
the feebleness of boys, and the high spirit of young men, and 
the steadiness of our fixed manhood, and the maturity of old 
age, have something natural, which ought to be enjoyed in 

Such wisdom soon should Priam s force destroy ; 

And soon should fall the haughty towers of Troy. 

Illiad, Pope s Translation. 

- l Rostra : a pulpit from which the orators used to harangue the people 
at the comitia or public assemblies. It was so called, because it was 
adorned with the beaks of the ships taken from the Antiates. 



232 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. XL 

their own time. I suppose that you hear, Scipio, what your 
grandfather s host, Masinissa, 1 is doing at this day, at the age 
of ninety: when he has commenced journey on foot, he 
never mounts at all ; when on horseback, he never dismounts : 
by no rain, by no cold, is he prevailed upon to have his 
head covered ; that there is in him the greatest hardiness 
of frame ; and therefore he performs all the duties and 
functions of a king. Exercise, therefore, and temperance, 
even in old age, can preserve some remnant of our pristine 
vigor. 

XL Is there no strength in old age? neither is strength 
exacted from old age. Therefore, by our laws and insti 
tutions, our time of life is relieved from those tasks which 
can not be supported without strength. Accordingly, so far 
are we from being compelled to do what we can not do, that 
we are not even compelled to do as much as we can. But so 
feeble are many old men, that they can not execute any task of 
duty, or any function of life whatever ; but that in truth is 
not the peculiar fault of old age, but, belongs in common to 
bad health. How feeble was the son of Publius Africanus, 
he who adopted you? What feeble health, or rather no 
health at all, had he ! and had that not been so, he would 
have been the second luminary of the state ; for to his pater 
nal greatness of soul a richer store of learning had been 
added. 2 What wonder, therefore, in old men, if they are 

l Masinissa, son of Gala, king of a small part of Northern Africa: he 
assisted the Carthaginians in their wars against Rome. He afterward 
became a firm ally of the Romans. He died after a reign of sixty years, 
about B.C. 149. 

2 " There are perhaps," says Dr. Johnson, " very few conditions more 
to be pitied than that of an active and elevated mind laboring under the 
weight of a distempered body. The time of such a man is always spent 
in forming schemes which a change of wind hinders him from executing, 
his powers fume away in projects and in hope, and the day of action 
never arrives. He lies down delighted with the thoughts of to-morrow, 
pleases his ambition with the fame he shall acquire, or his benevolence 
with the good he shall confer. But in the night the skies are overcast, 
the temper of the air is changed, he wakes in languor, impatience, and 
distraction, and has no longer any wish but for ease, nor any attention 
but to misery. It may be said that disease generally begins that equality 
which death completes ; the distinctions which set one man so much 
above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick chamber, 
where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruc 
tion from the wise ; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is 



CHAP. XL CICERO ON OLD AGrE. 233 

sometimes weak, when even young men can not escape that. 
We must make a stand, Scipio, and Laelius, against old age, 
and its faults must be atoned for by activity ; we must 
fight, as it were, against disease, and in like manner against 
old age. Regard must be paid to health ; moderate exer 
cises must be adopted ; so much of meat and drink must be 
taken that the strength may be recruited, not oppressed. 
Nor, indeed, must the body alone be supported, but the 
mind and the soul much more ; for these also, unless you 
drop oil on them as on a lamp, are extinguished by old age. 
And our bodies, indeed, by weariness and exercise, become 
oppressed ; but our minds are rendered buoyant by exercise. 
For as to those, of whom CaBcilius speaks, " foolish old men," 
fit characters for comedy, by these he denotes the credulous, 
the forgetful, the dissolute ; which are the faults not of old 
age, but of inactive, indolent, drowsy old age. As petu 
lance and lust belong to the young more than to the old, yet 
not to all young men, but to those who are not virtuous ; so 
that senile folly which is commonly called dotage, belongs 
to weak old men, and not to all. Four stout sons, five 
daughters, so great a family, and such numerous dependents, 
did Appius manage, although both old and blind ; for he 
kept his mind intent like a bow, nor did he languidly sink 
under the weight of old age. He retained not only author 
ity, but also command, over his family : the slaves feared 
him ; the children respected him ; all held him dear : there 
prevailed in that house the manners and good discipline of 
our fathers. For on this condition is old age honored if it 
maintains itself, if it keeps up its own right, if it is subserv 
ient to no one, if even to its last breath it exercises control 
over its dependents. For, as I like a young man in whom 
there is something of the old, so I like an old man in whom 
there is something of the young; and he who follows this 
maxim, in body will possibly be an old man, but he will 
never be an old man in mind. I have in hand my seventh 
book of Antiquities ; I am collecting all the materials of our 
early history ; of all the famous causes which I have de- 
clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the 
highest and brightest of mortal beings finds nothing left him but the 
consciousness of innocence." Dr. Johnson s Rambler, No. 48. 



234 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. XL 

fended, I am now completing the pleadings ; 1 I am employed 
on the law of augurs, of pontiffs, of citizens. I am much en 
gaged also in Greek literature, and, after the manner of the 
Pythagoreans, for the purpose of exercising my memory, 
I call to mind in the evening what I have said, heard, 
and done on each day. 2 These are the exercises of the 
understanding; these are the race-courses of the mind; 
while I am perspiring and toiling over these, I do not greatly 
miss my strength of body. I attend my friends, I come into 
the senate very often, and spontaneously bring forward things 
much and long thought of, and I maintain them by strength 
of mind, not of body ; and if I were unable to perform these 
duties, yet my couch would afford no amusement, when re 
flecting on those matters which I was no longer able to do 
but that I am able, is owing to my past life : for, by a person 

1 The speeches here referred to, which Cato collected and published, 
amounted to about 150, in which, as we are assured by one of the 
greatest masters of eloquence that Rome ever produced, Cato displayed 
all the powers of a consummate orator. Accordingly he was styled by 
his cotemporaries " The Roman Demosthenes," and he is frequently 
mentioned by subsequent writers under the designation of " Cato the 
Orator." 

3 "It was not," says Melmoth, and that with great propriety, "in order 
to exercise and improve the memory, that Pythagoras enjoined his dis 
ciples the practice of this nightly recollection ; it was for a much more 
useful and important purpose. The object of the philosopher s precept 
is indeed wholly of a moral nature, as appears from that noble summary 
of his Ethics, supposed to be drawn up by one of his disciples, and 
known by the name of the Golden Verses of Pythagoras : 

" M?;(5 VTTVOV fta^aKoiai sir o/a/j.a JL^ etc. 
Nightly forbear to close thine eyes to rest 
Ere thou hast questioned well thy conscious breast 
What sapred duty thou hast left undone 
What act committed which thou oughtest to shun. 
And as fair truth or error marks the deed, 
Let sweet applause, or sharp reproach succeed : 
So shall thy steps, while this great rule is thine, 
TJndevious lead in Yirtue s path divine. 

" It is not a little surprising that Cicero should have considered this 
great precept merely in its mechanical operation upon one of the faculties 
of the human mind, and have passed over unnoticed its most important 
intent and efficacy ; especially as he had so fair an occasion of pointing 
out its nobler purpose. Perhaps there never was a rule of conduct de 
livered by any uninspired moralist which hath so powerful a tendency to 
promote the interests of virtue as the present precept." 



CHAP. HL CICERO ON OLD AGE. 235 

who always lives in these pursuits and labors, it is not per 
ceived when old age steals on. Thus gradually and uncon 
sciously life declines into old age ; nor is its thread suddenly 
broken, but the vital principle is consumed by length of 
time. 

XII. Then follows the third topic of blame against old 
age, that they say it has no pleasures. Oh, noble privi 
lege of age ! if indeed it takes from us that which is in 
youth the greatest defect. For listen, most excellent young 
men, to the ancient speech of Archytas of Tarentum, a man 
eminently great and illustrious, which was reported to me 
when I, a young man, was at Tarentum with Quintus Maxi- 
mus. He said that no more deadly plague than the pleasure 
of the body was inflicted on men by nature ; for the pas 
sions, greedy of that pleasure, were in a rash and unbridled 
manner incited to possess it ; that hence arose treasons against 
one s country, hence the ruining of states, hence clan 
destine conferences with enemies : in short, that there 
was no crime, no wicked act, to the undertaking of which 
the lust of pleasure did not impel ; but that fornications 
and adulteries and every such crime were provoked by 
no other allurements than those of pleasure. And whereas 
either nature or some god had given to man nothing 
more excellent than his mind ; that to this divine func 
tion and gift, nothing was so hostile as pleasure : since 
where lust bore sway, there was no room for self-restraint ; 
and in the realm of pleasure, virtue could by no possi 
bility exist. And that this might be the better understood, 
he begged you to imagine in your mind any one actuated 
by the greatest pleasure of the body that could be enjoyed ; 
he believed no one would doubt, but that so long as the person 
was in that state of delight, he would be able to consider 
nothing in his mind, to attain nothing by reason, nothing by 
reflection : wherefore that there was nothing so detestable 
and so destructive as pleasure, inasmuch as that when it was 
excessive and very prolonged, it extinguished all the light of 
the soul. Nearchus of Tarentum, our host, 1 who had re- 

1 The title of fevof, or public host of a nation or city, is exceedingly 
common in the classic writers. The duty of the person on whom it was 
conferred, was to receive embassadors from the state with which he was 
thus connected, into his own house, if they had been sent on public 



236 CICERO ON OLD AG-E. CHAP. xm. 

mained throughout in friendship with the Roman people, said 
he had heard from older men, that Archytas held this con 
versation with Caius Pontius the Samnite, the father of him 
by whom, in the Caudian battle, 1 Spurius Postumius and 
Titus Veturiu^ the consuls, were overcome, on which occa 
sion Plato the Athenian had been present at that discourse ; 
and I find that he came to Tarentum in the consulship of 
Lucius Camillus and Appius Claudius. 2 Wherefore do I 
adduce this ? that we may understand that if we could not 
by reason and wisdom despise pleasure, great gratitude 
would be due to old age for bringing it to pass that that 
should not be a matter of pleasure which is not a matter of 
duty. For pleasure is hostile to reason, hinders deliberation, 
and, so to speak, closes the eyes of the mind, nor does it hold 
any intercourse with virtue. I indeed acted reluctantly in ex 
pelling from the senate Lucius Flaminius, brother of that very 
brave man, Titus Flaminius, seven years after he had been 
consul ; but I thought that his licentiousness should be stig 
matized. For that man, when he was consul in Gaul, was pre 
vailed on at a banquet, by a courtezan, to behead one of those 
who were in chains, condemned on a capital charge. He es 
caped in the censorship of his brother Titus, who had immedi 
ately preceded me : but so profligate and abandoned an act of 
lust could by no means be allowed to pass by me and Flaccus, 
since with private infamy it combined the disgrace of the em 
pire. 

XIII. I have often heard from my elders, who said that, 
in like manner, they, when boys, had heard from old men, 
that Caius Fabricius was wont to wonder that when he was 
embassador to king Pyrrhus, he had heard from Cineas the 
Thessalian, that there was a certain person at Athens, who 
professed himself a wise man, and that he was accustomed to 
say that all things which we did were to be referred to 
pleasure : and that hearing him say so, Manius Curius and 
Titus Coruncanius were accustomed to wish that that might 

business to the city in winch he resided, and to use all the interest he 
possessed in furthering the purpose of their mission. 

1 Prcelio Caudino. Caudi and Caudium, a town of the Samnites, near 
which, in a place called Caudinse Furculse or Fauces, the Romans were 
defeated and made to pass under the yoke of Pontius Herenniua. 

2 Consulibw L. Camilla, etc. A.U.C. 330. 



CHAP. xm. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 237 

be the persuasion of the Samnites and Pyrrhus himself, that 
they might the more easily be conquered when they had 
given themselves up to pleasure. Manius Curius had lived 
with Publius Decius, who, five years before the consulship 
of the former, had devoted himself for the commonwealth in 
his fourth consulship. Fabricius had been acquainted with 
him, and Coruncanius had also known him ; who, as well 
from his own conduct in life, as from the great action of 
him whom I mention, Publius Decius, judged that there was 
doubtless something in its own nature excellent and glorious, 
which should be followed for its own sake, and which, scorn 
ing and despising pleasure, all the worthiest men pursued. 
To what end then have I said so many things about pleas 
ure ? Because it is so far from being any disparagement, 
that it is even the highest praise to old age, that it has no 
great desire for any pleasures. It lacks banquets, and piled- 
up boards, and fast-coming goblets ; it is therefore also free 
from drunkenness and indigestion and sleeplessness. But if 
something must be conceded to pleasure (since we do not 
easily withstand its allurements, for Plato beautifully calls 
pleasure the bait of evils, inasmuch as, by it, in fact, men 
are caught as fishes with a hook), although old age has 
nothing to do with extravagant banquets, yet in reasonable 
entertainments it can experience pleasure. I, when a boy, 
often saw Caius Duilius, 1 son of Marcus, the first man who 
had conquered the Carthaginians by sea, returning from 
dinner, when an old man : he took delight in numerous 
torches and musicians, things which he, as a private person, 
had assumed to himself without any precedent : so much 
indulgence did his glory give him. But why do I refer to 
others ? let me now return to myself. First of all, I always 
had associates in clubs; and clubs were established when 
I was quaestor, on the Idan worship of the great mother 
being adopted. Therefore I feasted with my associates 3 
altogether in a moderate way; but there was a kind of 
fervor peculiar to that time of life, and as that advances, all 
things will become every day more subdued. For I did not 
calculate the gratification of those banquets by the pleasures 

1 G. Duilitis, surnamed Nepos, obtained a naval victory over the Car 
thaginians, B.C. 260. 

2 SodaMtia were club-feasts, corporation dinners, etc. 



238 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xrv. 

of the body, so much as by the meetings of friends and con 
versations. For well did our ancestors style the reclining 
of friends at an entertainment, because it carried with it a 
union of life, by the name " convivium" 1 better than the 
Greeks do, who call this same thing as well by the name of 
" compotatio " as " concoenatio :" so that what in that kind 
(of pleasure) is of the least value, that they appear most to 
approve of. 

XIV. For my part, on account of the pleasure of conver 
sation, I am delighted also with seasonable entertainments, 
not only with those of my own age, of whom very few sur 
vive, but with those of your age, and with you ; and I give 
great thanks to old age, which has increased my desire for 
conversation, and taken away that of eating and drinking. 
But even if such things delight any person (that I may not 
appear altogether to have declared war against pleasure, of 
which perhaps a certain limited degree is even natural), I 
am not aware that even in these pleasures themselves old age 
is without enjoyment. For my part, the presidencies 2 estab 
lished by our ancestors delight me ; and that conversation, 
which after the manner of our ancestors, is kept up over our 
cups from the top of the table ; and the cups, as in the Sym 
posium of Xenophon, small and dewy, and the cooling of 
the wine in summer, and in turn either the sun, or the fire 
in winter : practices which I am accustomed to follow among 
the Sabines also, and I daily join a party of neighbors, 
which we prolong with various conversation till late at 
night, as far as we can. But there is not, as it were, so 
ticklish a sensibility of pleasures in old men. I believe it: 
but then neither is there the desire. But nothing is irksome, 
.unless you long for it. Well did Sophocles, when a certain 
man inquired of him advanced in age, whether he enjoyed 
venereal pleasures, reply, "The gods give me something 
better ; nay, I have run away from them with gladness, as 
from a wild and furious tyrant." For to men fond of such 
things, it is perhaps disagreeable and irksome to be without 
them ; but to the contented and satisfied it is more delightful 
to want them than to enjoy them : and yet he does not want 
who feels no desire; therefore I say that this freedom from 

1 Convivium, which the Greeks call OV/J-TTOOLOV. 

2 " Nee regna vini sortiere tails." Horace, Book I. Ode 4. 



CHAP. nv. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 239 

desire is more delightful than enjoyment. But if the prime 
of life has more cheerful enjoyment of those very pleasures, 
in the first place they are but petty objects wich it en 
joys, as I have said before; then they are those of which 
old age, if it does not abundantly possess them, is not 
altogether destitute. As he is more delighted with Turpio 
Ambivius, who is spectator on the foremost bench, 1 yet 
he also is delighted who is in the hindmost; so youth 
having a close view of pleasure, is perhaps more grati 
fied; but old age is as much delighted as is necessary in 
viewing them at a distance. But of what high value are the 
following circumstances, that the soul, after it has served out, 
as it were, its time under lust, ambition, contention, enmities, 
and all the passions, shall retire within itself, and, as the 
phrase is, live with itself ? But if it has, as it were, food for 
study and learning, nothing is more delightful than an old age 
of leisure. I saw Caius Gallus, the intimate friend of your 
father, Scipio, almost expiring in the employment of calcu 
lating the sky and the earth. How often did daylight over 
take him when he had begun to draw some figure by night, 
how Often did night when he had begun in the morning? 
How it did delight him to predict to us the eclipses of the sun 
and the moon long before their occurrence ! What shall we 
say in the case of pursuits less dignified, yet, notwithstanding, 
requiring acute ness ! How Nsevius did delight in his Punic 
war ! how Plautius in his Truculentus ! how in his Pseudolus ! 
I saw also the old man Livy, 2 who, though he had brought a 
play upon the stage six years before I was born, in the consul 
ship of Cento and Tuditanus, yet advanced in age even to the 
time of my youth. Why should I speak of Publius Licinius 
CrassUs s study both of pontifical and civil law? or of the 
present Publius Scipio, who within these few days was cre 
ated chief pontiff ? Yet we have seen all these persons whom 
I have mentioned, ardent in these pursuits when old men. 
But as to Marcus Cethegus, whom Ennius rightly called the 

1 Prima caved. The theater was of a semicircular form : the foremost 
rows next the stage were called orchestra : fourteen rows behind them 
were assigned to the knights, the rest to the people. The whole was 
frequently called cavea. 

2 Livius Andronicus flourished at Rome about 240 years before the 
Christian era. 



240 CICEKO ON OLD AGE, CHAP. zv. 

" marrow of persuasion, 1 with what great zeal did we see him 
engage in the practice of oratory, even when an old man ! 
What pleasures, therefore, arising from banquets, or plays, 
or harlots, are to be compared with these pleasures? And 
these, indeed, are the pursuits of learning, which too, with 
the sensible and well educated, increase along with their age : 
so that is a noble saying of Solon, when he says in a certain 
verse, as I observed before, that he grew old learning many 
things every day than which pleasure of the mind, certainly, 
none can be greater. 

XV. I come now to the pleasures of husbandmen, with 
which I am excessively delighted ; which are not checked 
by any old age, and appear in my mind to make the 
nearest approach to the life of a wise man. 1 For they have 
relation to the earth, which never refuses command, and 
never returns without interest that which it hath received; 
but sometimes with less, generally with very great interest. 
And yet for my part it is not only the product, but the virtue 
and nature of the earth itself delights me ; which, when in 
its softened and subdued bosom it has received the scattered 
seed, first of all confines what is hidden within it, from which 
harrowing, which produces that effect, derives its name 
(occatio) ; then, when it is warmed by heat and its own com 
pression, it spreads it out, and elicits from it the verdant 
blade, which, supported by the fibers of the roots, gradually 
grows up, and, rising on a jointed stalk, is now inclosed in a 
sheath, as if it were of tender age, out of which, when it 
hath shot up, it then pours forth the fruit of the ear, piled in 
due order, and is guarded by a rampart of beards against the 
pecking of the smaller birds. Why should I, in the case 
of vines, tell of the plantings, the risings, the stages of 
growth ? That you may know the repose and amusement of 
my old age, I assure you that I can never have enough of 
that gratification. For I pass over the peculiar nature of all 
things which are produced from the earth : which generates 

1 " God Almighty first planted a garden ; and indeed it is the purest 
of human pleasures : it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man ; 
without which buildings and palaces are but gross handy-works, and a 
man shall ever see, that, when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men 
come to build stately sooner than to garden finely ; as if gardening were 
the greater perfection." Lord Bacon, Essay 46. 



CHAP. xv. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 241 

such great trunks and branches from so small a grain of the 
fig or from the grape-stone, or from the minutest seeds of 
other fruits and roots : shoots, plants, twigs, quicksets, layers, 
do not these produce the effect of delighting any one even to 
admiration ? The vine, indeed, which by nature is prone to 
fall, and is borne down to the ground, unless it be propped, 
in order to raise itself up, embraces with its tendrils, as it 
were with hands, whatever it meets with ; which, as it creeps 
with manifold and wandering course, the skill of the hus 
bandmen, pruning with the knife, restrains from running 
into a forest of twigs, and spreading too far in all directions. 
Accordingly, in the beginning of spring, in those twigs 
which are left, there rises up as it were at the joints of the 
branches that which is called a bud, from which the nascent 
grape shows itself; which, increasing in size by the moisture 
of the earth and the heat of the sun, is at first very acid to 
the taste, and then as it ripens grows sweet, and being 
clothed with its large leaves does not want moderate warmth, 
and yet keeps off the excessive heat of the sun ; than which 
what can be in fruit on the one hand more rich, or on the 
other hand more beautiful in appearance ? Of which not 
oqjy the advantage, as I said before, but also the cultivation 
and the nature itself delights me : the rows of props, the 
joining of the heads, the tying up and propagation of vines, 
and the pruning of some twigs, and the grafting of others, 
which I have mentioned. Why should I allude to irriga 
tions, why to the diggings of the ground, why to the trenching 
by which the ground is made much more productive ? Why 
should I speak of the advantage of manuring ? I have treated 
of it in that book which I wrote respecting rural affairs, 
concerning which the learned Hesiod has not said a single 
word, though he has written about the cultivation of the 
land. But Homer, who, as appears to me, lived many ages 
before, introduces Laertes soothing the regret which he felt 
for his son, by tilling the land and manuring it. Nor in 
deed is rural life delightful by reason of corn-fields only 
and meadows and vineyards and groves, but also for its 
gardens and orchards ; also for the feeding of cattle, the 
swarms of bees, and the variety of all kinds of flowers. 1 Nor 

1 " I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden, as one of the 
most innocent delights in human life. A garden was the habitation of 

11 



242 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. XYI. 

do plantings 1 only give me delight, but also engraftings; 
than which agriculture has invented nothing more inge 
nious. 

XVI. I can enumerate many amusements of rustic life ; 
but even those things which I have mentioned, I perceive to 
have been rather long. But you will forgive me; for both 
from my love of rural life I have been carried away, and old 
age is by nature rather talkative, that I may not appear to 
vindicate it from all failings. In such a life then as this, 
Marcus Curius, 3 after he had triumphed over the Samnites, 
over the Sabines, over Pyrrhus, spent the closing period of 
his existence. In contemplating whose country seat, too 
(for it is not far distant from my house), I can not sufficiently 
admire either the continence of the man himself, or the moral 
character of the times. 

When the Samnites had brought a great quantity of gold to 
Curius as he sat by his fire-side, they were repelled wilh dis 
dain by him ; for he said that it did not appear to him glorious 
to possess gold, but to have power over those who possessed 
gold. Could so great a soul fail in rendering old age pleasant ? 
But I come to husbandmen, that I may not digress from my 
self. In the country at that time there were senators, and 
they too old men : inasmuch as Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus 
was at the plow when it was announced to him that he was 
made dictator : by whose command when dictator, Caius 
Servilius Ahala, the master of the horse, arrested and put 
to death Spurius Melius, who was aspiring to kingly power. 
From their country house, Curius and other old men were 
summoned to the senate, from which cause they who sum 
moned them were termed "viatores." Was then their old 
age to be pitied, who amused themselves in the cultivation 
of land? In my opinion, indeed, I know not whether any 
other can be more happy : and not only in the discharge of 

our first parents before the fall. It is naturally apt to fill the mind with 
calmness and tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent passions at rest. 
It gives us a great insight into the contrivance and wisdom of Prov 
idence, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation." Spectator, 
No. 477. 

1 Consitio, sowing or planting; insitio, grafting; repastinatio, trench 



ng. 
2 



Curius Dentatus Marcus Annius, celebrated for his fortitude and 
frugality. Ho was thrice consul, and twice honored with a triumph. 



CHAP. xvir. CICEBO ON OLD AGE. 243 

duty, because to the whole race of mankind the cultivation 
of the land is beneficial ; but also from the amusement, which 
I have mentioned, and that fullness and abundance of all 
things which are connected with the food of men, and also 
with the worship of the gods; so that, since some have a 
desire for these things, we may again put ourselves on good 
terms with pleasure. For the wine-cellar of a good and 
diligent master is always well stored ; the oil-casks, the 
pantry also, the whole farm-house is richly supplied ; it 
abounds in pigs, kids, lambs, hens, milk, cheese, honey. 
Then, too, the countrymen themselves call the garden a 
second dessert. And then what gives a greater relish to 
these things is that kind of leisure labor, fowling and hunt 
ing. Why should I speak of the greenness of meadows, or 
the rows of trees, or the handsome appearance of vineyards 
and olive grounds ? Let me cut the matter short. Nothing 
can be either more rich in use, or more elegant in appear 
ance than ground well tilled ; to the enjoyment of which 
old age is so far from being an obstacle, that it is even 
an invitation and allurement. For where can that age 
be better warmed either by basking in the sun or by the 
fire, or again be more healthfully refreshed by shades or 
waters ? Let the young, therefore, keep to themselves their 
arms, horses, spears, clubs, tennis-ball, swimmings, and 
races : to us old men let them leave out of many amuse 
ments the tali and tesserae;^ and even in that matter it may 
be as they please, since old age can be happy without these 
amusements. 

XVII. For many purposes the books of Xenophon are 
very useful ; which read, I pray you, with diligence, as you 
are doing. At what length is agriculture praised by him in 
that book, which treats of the management of private property, 
and which is styled " CEconomicus." 3 And that you may 
understand that nothing to him appears so kingly as the pur 
suit of agriculture, Socrates in that book converses with Crito- 

1 Tesserae, had six sides marked 1, 2, 3, etc., like our dice. The tali 
had four sides longwise, the ends not being regarded. The lowest throw 
(unio], the ace, was called canis : the highest (senio or sice), was called 
Venus; the dice-box, Fritillus. 

2 CEconomicus. A dialogue of Xenophon, in which he treats of tho 
management of a farm, horses, etc. 



244 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xvii. 

bulus, [and remarks] that Cyrus the younger, 1 king of the 
Persians, pre-eminent in talent and the glory of his empire, 
when Lysander 8 the Lacedaemonian, a man of the highest 
valor, had come to him at Sardis, and had brought to him 
presents from the allies, both in other respects was courteous 
and kind toward Lysander, and in particular showed to him 
an inclosed piece of ground planted with great care. And that 
when Lysander admired both the tallness of the trees and the 
lines arranged in a quincunx, and the ground well cultivated 
and clear, and the sweetness of the perfumes which were 
breathed from the flowers, he said that he admired not only the 
diligence, but also the skillmlness of the man by whom these 
grounds had been planned and measured out ; and that Cyrus 
answered him, " Well, it was I who planned all these grounds ; 
mine are the rows, mine the laying out ; many also of these 
trees were planted by my own hand." That then Lysander, 
beholding his purple robe and the elegance of his person, and 
his Persian dress adorned with much gold and many jewels, 
said, " O Cyrus, they truly report you as happy, since excel 
lence is combined with your fortune !" This lot then old men 
may enjoy ; nor does age hinder us from retaining the pursuit 
both of other things, and especially of cultivating the land, 
even to the last period of old age. In the case of Marcus 
Valerius Corvus, we have heard that he continued to live to 
his hundredth year, while, when his (active) life had been 
spent, he lived in the country and tilled the land: between 
whose first and sixth consulship forty-six years intervened. 
Thus, as long a period of life as our ancestors considered to 
reach to the beginning of old age, just so long was the career 
of his honors : and the close of his life was happier on this 
account than the middle, because it had more of authority 
and less of toil. Now authority is the crown of old age. How 
great was it in Lucius Csecilius Metellus ! how great in 
Atilius Calatinus! on whom was that singular inscription 
" Many nations agree that he was the leading man of the 
people." It is a well-known epitaph, inscribed on his tomb. 
He therefore was justly dignified, about whose praises the 

1 Cyrus tJie, younger. He attempted to dethrone his brother Arta- 
xerxes, and was killed at the battle of Cynaxa, B.C. 401. 

2 Lysander defeated the Athenian fleet at the battle of -<Egos Potamos, 
B.C. 405, and put an end to the Peloponnesian war. 



CHAP. XVIIL CICERO ON OLD AGE. 245 

report of all men was concurrent. How great a man have 
we seen in Publius Crassus, late pontifex maximus ; how 
great a man subsequently in Marcus Lepidus, invested with 
the same sacerdotal office ! Why should I speak of Paulus or 
Africanus ? or, as I have already done, about Maximus ? men 
not only in whose expressed judgment, but even in whose 
acquiescence authority resided. Old age, especially an honored 
old age, has so great authority, that this is of more value than 
all the pleasures of youth. 

XVIII. But in my whole discourse remember that I am 
praising that old age which is established on the foundations 
of youth : from which this is effected which I once asserted 
with the great approbation of all present that wretched 
was the old age which had to defend itself by speaking. 
Neither gray hairs nor wrinkles can suddenly catch respect ; 
but the former part of life honorably spent, reaps the fruits 
of authority at the close. For these very observances, which 
seem light and common, are marks of honor to be saluted, to 
be sought after, to receive precedence, to have persons rising 
up to you, to be attended on the way, to be escorted home, to 
be consulted ; points which, both among us and in other states, 
in proportion as they are the most excellent in their morals, are 
the most scrupulously observed. They say that Lysander the 
Lacedsemonian, whom I mentioned a little above, was accus 
tomed to remark, that Lacedsemon was the most honorable 
abode for old age ; for nowhere is so much conceded to that 
time of life, nowhere is old age more respected. Nay, further, 
it is recorded that when at Athens, during the games, a cer 
tain elderly person had entered the theater, a place was 
nowhere offered him in that large assembly by his own 
townsmen ; but when he had approached the Lacedaemonians, 
who, as they were embassadors, had taken their seats together 
in a particular place, they all rose up and invited the old 
man to a seat ; and when reiterated applause had been be 
stowed upon them by the whole assembly, one of them 
remarked, that the Athenians knew what was right, but 
were unwilling to do it. There are many excellent rules in 
our college, 1 but this of which I am treating especially, that 
in proportion as each man has the advantage in age, so he 

1 In nostro collegia. The College of Augurs is here meant, which 
Cicero calls " amplissimi sacerdotii collegium." 



246 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xix. 

takes precedence in giving his opinion ; and older augurs are 
preferred not only to those who are higher in office, but even 
to such as are in actual command. What pleasures, then, of 
the body can be compared with the privileges of authority ? 
which they who have nobly employed seem to me to have 
consummated the drama of life, and not like inexpert per 
formers to have broken down in the last act. Still old men 
are peevish, and fretful, and passionate, and unmanageable 
nay, if we seek for such, also covetous : but these are the 
faults of their characters, not of their old age. And yet 
that peevishness and those faults which I have mentioned 
have some excuse, not quite satisfactory indeed, but such 
as may be admitted. They fancy that they are neglected, 
despised, made a jest of; besides, in a weak state of body 
every offense is irritating. All which defects, however, 
are extenuated by good dispositions and qualities ; and this 
may be discovered not only in real life, but on the stage, 
from the two brothers that are represented in the Brothers f 
how much austerity in the one, and how much gentleness in 
the other ! Such is the fact : for as it is not every wine, so 
it is not every man s life, that grows sour from old age. I 
approve of gravity in old age, but this in a moderate degree, 
like every thing else ; harshness by no means. 2 What avarice 
in an old man can propose to itself I can not conceive : for 
can any thing be more absurd than, in proportion as less of 
our journey remains, to seek a greater supply of provisions ? 

XIX. A fourth reason remains, which seems most of all 
to distress and render anxious our time of life, namely, the 
near approach of death, which certainly can not be far distant 
from old age. O wretched old man, who in so long a time 
of life hast not seen that death is a thing to be despised! 
Which either ought altogether to be regarded with indiffer 
ence, if it entirely annihilates the mind, or ought even to be 

1 AdelpM. A play of Terence : Demea and Micio are the names of the 
two old men alluded to here. 

* "Nothing is more despicable or more miserable, than the old age of 
a passionate man. When the vigor of youth fails him, and his amuse 
ments pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay 
of strength into peevishness ; that peevishness, for want of novelty and 
variety, becomes habitual ; the world falls off from around him, and he 
is left, as Homer expresses it, Qoivv&uv tyihov KrjpJ to devour his own 
heart in solitude and contempt." Rambler, No. 11. 



CHAP. six. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 247 

desired, if it leads it to a place where it is destined to be im 
mortal. 1 Yet no third alternative certainly can be found. 

What, therefore, should I fear, if after death I am sure 
either not to be miserable or to be happy ? Although who is 
so foolish, though he be young, as to be assured that he will 
live even till the wtsakig ? Nay, that period of life has 
many more probabilities of death than ours has : young 
men more readily fall into diseases, suffer more severely, are 
cured with more difficulty, and therefore few arrive at old 
age. Did not this happen so, we should live better and more 
wisely, for intelligence, and reflection, and judgment reside 
in old men, and if there had been none of them, no states 
could exist at all. But I return to the imminence of death. 
What charge is that against old age, since you see it to be 
common to youth also ? I experienced not only in the case 
of my own excellent son, but also in that of your brothers, 
Scipio, men plainly marked out for the highest distinction, 

1 "I thank God I have not those straight ligaments or narrow obli 
gations to the world as to dote on life, or be convulst and tremble at the 
name of death : not that I am insensible of the dread and horror thereof 
or by taking into the bowels of the deceased continual sight of anatomies, 
skeletons, or cadaverous reliques like vespillores, or grave-makers ; I am 
become stupid, or have forgot the apprehension of mortality, but that 
marshaling all the honors, and contemplating the extremities thereof, I 
find not any thing therein able to daunt my courage of a man, much less 
a well resolved Christian ; and therefore am not angry at the error of 
our first parents, or unwilling to bear a part of this common fall, and, like 
the best of them, to die ; that is, to cease to breathe, to take a farewell 
of the elements, to be a kind of nothing for a moment, to be within one 
instant of a spirit. When I take a full view and circle of myself without 
this reasonable moderator and equal piece of justice, I do conceive my 
self the miserablest person extant ; were there not another life that I 
hope for, all the vanities of this world should not intreat a moment s 
breath from me ; could the devil work my belief to imagine I could never 
die, I would not outlive that very thought ; I have so abject a conceit 
of this common way of existence, this retaining to the sun and elements 
I can not think this is to be a man, or to live according to the dignity 
of humanity : in expectation of a better, I can with patience embrace 
this life ; yet in my best meditations do often defy death ; I honor any 
man that contemns it, nor can highly love any that is afraid of it. This 
makes me naturally love a soldier, and honor those tattered and con 
temptible regiments that will die at the command of a sergeant. For a 
pagan, there may be some motives to be in love with life ; but for a 
Christian to be amazed at death, I see not how he can escape this dilem 
ma, that he is too sensible of this life, or hopeless of the life to come." 
Sir Thomas Browne s Religio Medici, chap, xxxviii. 



248 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xix. 

that death was common to every period of life. Yet a young 
man hopes that he will live a long time, which expectation 
an old man can not entertain. His hope is but a foolish one : 
for what can be more foolish than to regard uncertainties as 
certainties, delusions as truths ? An old man indeed has 
nothing to hope for ; yet he is in so much the happier state 
than a young one ; since he has already attained what the 
other is only hoping for. The one is wishing to live long, 
the other has lived long. And yet, good gods ! what is there 
in man s life that can be called long ? For allow the latest 
period: let us anticipate the age of the kings of the Tar- 
tessii. For there dwelt, as I find it recorded, a man named 
Arganthonius at Gades, 1 who reigned for eighty years, and 
lived 120. But to my mind, nothing whatever seems of long 
duration, in which there is any end. For when that arrives, 
then the time which has passed has flowed away ; that only 
remains which you have secured by virtue and right conduct. 
Hours indeed depart from us, and days and months and 
years; nor does past time ever return, nor can it be dis 
covered what is to follow. Whatever time is assigned to 
each to live, with that he ought to be content : for neither 
need the drama be performed entire by the actor, in order 
to give satisfaction, provided he be approved in whatever 
act he may be : nor need the wise man live till the 
plaudite* For the short period of life is long enough 
for living well and honorably; 8 and if you should advance 

1 Gades, a small island in the Atlantic, now Cadiz. It was anciently 
called Tartessus and Erythia. 

2 The last word of the play which invites the applause of the audience. 
It is here equivalent to the phrase, the fall of the curtain. 

3 " Glory is the portion of virtue, the sweet reward of honorable toils, 
the triumphant crown which covers the thoughtful head of the disinte 
rested patriot, or the dusty brow of the victorious warrior. Elevated by 
so sublime a prize, the man of virtue looks down with contempt on all 
the allurements of pleasure, and all the menaces of danger. Death itself 
loses its terrors when he considers that its dominion extends only over 
a part of him, and that, in spite of death and time, the rage of the ele 
ments, and the endless vicissitudes of human affairs, he is assured of an 
immortal fame among all the sons of men. There surely is a Being who 
presides- over the universe ; and who with infinite wisdom and power 
lias reduced the jarring elements into just order and proportion. Let 
speculative reasoners dispute how far this beneficent Being extends his 
care, and whether he prolongs our existence beyond the grave, in order 
to bestow on virtue its just reward, and render it fully triumphant. The 



CHAP. six. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 249 

further, you need no more grieve than farmers do when the 
loveliness of spring-time hath passed, that summer and 
autumn have come. /(For spring represents the time of youth, 
and gives promise of the future fruits ; the remaining seasons 
are intended for plucking and gathering in those fruits. Now 
the harvest of old age, as I have often said, is the recollection 
and abundance of blessings previously secured. In truth 
every thing that happens agreeably to nature is to be reckoned 
among blessings. What, however, is so agreeable to nature 
as for an old man to die ? which even is the lot of the young, 
though nature opposes and resists. And thus it is that 
young men seem to me to die, just as when the violence of 
flame is extinguished by a flood of water ; whereas old men 
die, as the exhausted fire goes out, spontaneously, without 
the exertion of any force : and as fruits when they are 
green are plucked by force from the trees, but when ripe and 
mellow drop off, so violence takes away their lives from 
youths, maturity from old men ; a state which to me indeed 
is so delightful that the nearer I approach to death, I seem 
as it were to be getting sight of land, and at length, after a 
long voyage, to be just coming into harbor. 1 , * % 

man of morals, without deciding any thing on so aubious a subject, is 
satisfied with the portion marked out to him by the supreme Disposer 
of all things. Gratefully he accepts of that further reward prepared for 
him ; but is disappointed, he thinks not virtue an empty name, but justly 
esteeming it its own reward, he gratefully acknowledges the bounty of 
his Creator, who, by calling him into existence, has thereby afforded him 
an opportunity of once acquiring so invaluable a possession." Hume s 
Essays, Essay 16. 

1 " It is curious to observe the difference in the estimate formed by 
Cicero and the great moralist of the last century on the condition of old 
age and the proximity of death. A difference depending partly, no doubt, 
upon the temperament of the two men, but still more on their religious 
notions. The other miseries which waylay our passage through the 
world, wisdom may escape, and fortitude may conquer ; by caution and 
circumspection, we may steal along with very little to obstruct or incom 
mode us ; by spirit and vigor we may force a way, and reward tho 
vescalion by conquest, by the pleasures of victory. But a time must como 
when our policy and bravery shall be equally useless ; when we shall 
all sink into helplessness and sadness, without any power of receiving 
solace from the pleasures that have formerly delighted us, or any pros 
pect of emerging into a second possession of the blessings that we havo 
lost However age may discourage us by its appearance from consider 
ing it in prospect, we shall all by degrees certainly be old, and therefore 
we ought to inquire what provision can be made against that time of 

1J* 



^50 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xx. 

XX. Of all the periods of life there is a definite limit ; 
but of old age there is no limit fixed ; and life goes on very 
well in it, so long as you are able to follow up and attend to 
the duty of your situation, and, at the same time, to care 
nothing about death ; whence it happens that old age is even 
of higher spirit and bolder than youth. Agreeable to this 
was the answer given to Pisistratus, 1 the tyrant, by Solon ; 
when on the former inquiring, "in reliance on what hope 
he so boldly withstood him," the latter is said to have 
answered, "on old age." The happiest end of life is this 
when the mind and the other senses being unimpaired, the 
same nature, which put it together, takes asunder her own 
work. As in the case of a ship or a house, he who built them 
takes them down most easily ; so the same nature which has 
compacted man, most easily breaks him up. Besides, every 
fastening of glue, when fresh, is with difficulty torn asunder, 
but easily when tried by time. Hence it is that that short rem 
nant of life should be neither greedily coveted, nor without 
reason given up : and Pythagoras forbids us to abandon the 
station or post of life without the orders of our commander, 
that is of God. 2 There is indeed a saying of the wise Solon, in 

distress ? what happiness can be stored up against the winter of life ? 
and how we may pass our latter years with serenity and cheerfulness ? 
If it has been found by the experience of mankind, that not even the best 
seasons of life are able to supply sufficient gratifications without antici 
pating uncertain felicities, it can not surely be supposed that old age, 
worn with labors, harassed with anxieties, and tortured with diseases, 
should have any gladness of its own, or feel any satisfaction from the 
contemplation of the present. All the comfort that can now be expect 
ed must be recalled from the past, or borrowed from the future ; the 
past is very soon exhausted ; all the events or actions of which the 
memory can afford pleasure, are quickly recollected ; and the future lies 
beyond the grave, where it can be reached only by virtue and devotion. 
Piety is the only proper and adequate relief of decaying man." Ramb 
ler, No. 69. 

1 Pisistratus, tyrant of Athens, reigned thirty-three years, and died 
about B.C. 527. 

3 Upon this passage Melmoth has a note, of which the following is an 
abstract: "Although the practice of suicide too generally prevailed among 
the ancient Greeks and Romans, yet it was a practice condemned by the 
best and wisest of their philosophers. Nothing can be more clear and 
express than the prohibition of Pythagoras with respect to this act, as 
cited by Cicero in the present passage ; and in this he was followed both 
by Socrates and Plato, those noblest and most enlightened of the pagan 
moralists, considered suicide as an act of rebellion against the authority 



CHAP. xx. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 251 

which he declares that he does not wish his own death to be 
unattended by the grief and lamentation of friends. He 

of the Supreme Being, who having placed man in his present post, hath 
reserved to himself alone the right of determining the proper time for his 
dismission. Agreeably to these principles, Cicero in his relation of 
Scipio s dream, represents the departed spirit of Emilius as assuring his 
son, who had expressed an impatience of joining him in the heavenly 
mansions, that there wag no admittance into those regions of felicity for 
the man who attempted to force his way into them by his own unau 
thorized act. The Platonic poet, it is well known, places those unhappy 
persons in a state of punishment, who not having the piety and the cour 
age to support their misfortunes with due resignation, impiously endeav 
ored to deliver themselves by venturing to be their own executioners." 

Such were the sentiments of the most approved moralists among the 
ancient philosophers ; the doctrine of the Stoics, it must be acknowledg 
ed, was more relaxed upon this important article ; but although they did 
not scruple to represent it even as a duty in some very particular circum 
stances, they ought, if they had reasoned consequentially from their own 
principles, to have held it forth as highly criminal in all. For there is 
no precept of morality which they inculcate more frequently, nor in 
stronger terms, than an unlimited submission to the dispensations of 
Providence ; the truth is, the ancient writers of this sect are not more at 
variance with reason than with themselves in what they have delivered 
upon this subject. Inconsistency, indeed, is one of the characteristics! 
marks of the Stoical system, as Plutarch has proved by a variety of in 
stances drawn from the writings of Chrysippus. Those of Seneca and 
Epictetus may equally be produced in support of the same charge, so 
far at least as relates to their sentiments on the present question ; for 
they sometimes contend for the lawfulness of suicide without any restric 
tion, sometimes only under very peculiar circumstances, and sometimes 
zealously press upon their disciples, as an indispensable obligation, tho 
duty of a pious acquiescence under all the various calamities of human 
life. 

Agreeably to this last position, Seneca, in answer to a querulous letter 
he had received from his friend Lucilius, writes thus: "A wise and 
good man," says he, " should stand prepared for all events, remembering 
that he is destined to pass through a world where pain and sorrow, disease 
and infirmity, are posted in his way. It is not in his power to change 
these conditions upon which he receives his present existence ; but it 
certainly is to submit to them with such fortitude and acquiescence in 
the laws of nature as becomes a virtuous mind. It should be our con 
stant endeavor, therefore, to reconcile our minds to these unalterable 
laws of Providence, and to submit to them without murmur or com 
plaint ; fully persuaded that every thing is as it ought to be, and that the 
government of the world is in the hands of the Supreme Being. To de 
liver himself up to that Being with an implicit and unreserved resigna 
tion, is the merit of a truly great soul, as it is of a base and little mind 
to entertain unworthy suspicions of the order established in the world, 
to attempt to break through the laws of Providence ; and instead f cor- 



252 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP, xx 

wishes, I suppose, that he should be dear to his friends. But 
I know not whether Ennius does not say with more propriety, 

" Let no one pay me honor with tears, nor celebrate my funeral 
with mourning." 

He conceives that a death ought not to be lamented which 
an immortality follows. Besides a dying man may have 
some degree of consciousness, but that for a short time, espe 
cially in the case of an old man : after death, indeed, con 
sciousness either does not exist, or it is a thing to be desired. 
But this ought to be a subject of study from our youth to be 
indifferent about death ; without which study no one can be 
of tranquil mind. For die we certainly must, and it is 
uncertain whether or not on this very day. He, therefore, 
who at all hours dreads impending death, how can he be at 
peace in his mind? concerning which there seems to be no 
need of such long discussion, when I call to mind not only 
Lucius Brutus, who was slain in liberating his country ; nor 
the two Decii, who spurred on their steeds to a voluntary 
death ; nor Marcus.. Atilius, 1 who set out to execution, that 
he might keep a promise pledged to the enemy ; nor the two 

recting his own ways, impiously presume to correct the ways of God." 
Sen. Ess. 107. 

To the same purpose, and with equal inconsistency, is the doctrine of 
Epictetus ; on the one hand telling those who complain under the press 
ure of any calamity that they have the remedy in their own power, and 
on the other exhorting them to bear with a patient composure of mind 
the evils that attend human life, and not presume to deliver themselves 
by an unwarranted desertion of that post in which the Supreme Being 
has thought proper to place them. 

"With the exception of the cases of soldiers, suicide was not forbidden 
"by the Roman law, nor was it discountenanced by public opinion. Vol 
untary suicide, by the law of England is a crime ; and every suicide is 
presumed to be voluntary until the contrary is made apparent. It is re 
markable, however, that even English moralists are by no means unani 
mous in condemning it ; both Hume and Godwin submit it to the test 
of a mere calculation of expediency. The Code Penal of France contains 
no legislation on the subject of suicide. Of the modern codes of Germany, 
some adopt the silence of the French code, and others vary in their 
particular provisions. In the Bavarian and Saxon codes, suicide is not 
mentioned. The Prussian code forbids all mutilation of the dead body 
of a self-murderer, under ordinary circumstances, but declares that it 
shall be buried without any marks of respect, otherwise suitable to the 
rank of the deceased. 

1 Better known to the English reader by the name of Regulus. 



CHAP. xxi. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 253 

Scipios, who even with their very bodies sought to obstruct 
the inarch of the Carthaginians ; nor your grandfather Lucius 
Paulus, 1 who by his death atoned for the temerity of his 
colleague in the disgraceful defeat at Cannas; nor Marcus 
Marcellus, 2 whose corpse not even the most merciless foe 
suffered to go without the honor of sepulcher : but that our 
legions, as I have remarked in my Antiquities, have often 
gone with cheerful and undaunted mind to that place from 
which they believed that they should never return. Shall, 
then, well-instructed old men be afraid of that which young 
men, and they not only ignorant, but mere peasants, de 
spise ? On the whole, as it seemed to me indeed, a satiety of 
all pursuits causes a satiety of life. There are pursuits pe 
culiar to boyhood ; do therefore young men regret the loss of 
them ? There are also some of early youth ; does that now 
settled age, which is called middle life, seek after these ? 
There are also some of this period ; neither are they looked for 
by old age. There are some final pursuits of old age ; accord 
ingly, as the pursuits of the earlier parts of life fall into 
disuse, so also do those of old age ; and when this has taken 
place, satiety of life brings on the seasonable period of death. 3 

XXI. Indeed I do not see why I should not venture to 
tell you what I myself think concerning death ; because I 

1 Lucius Paulus fell at the battle of Cannae, which was brought on by 
the rashness of his colleagues, Terentius Varro, B.C. 216: 40,000 Romans 
were killed in this battle. 

2 M. Marcellus, a Roman consul who fought against Hannibal. He 
was killed in an ambuscade, A.u.c. 546. 

3 " Confound not the distinctions of thy life which nature hath divided, 
that is youth, adolescence, manhood, and old age ; nor, in these divided 
periods, wherein thou art in a manner four, conceive thyself but one. 
Let every division be happy in its proper virtues, nor one vice run through 
all. Let each distinction have its salutary transition, and critically de 
liver thee from the imperfections of the former, so ordering the whole that 
prudence and virtue may have the largest section. Do as a child, but 
when thou art a child, and ride not on a reed at twenty. He who hath 
not taken leave of the follies of his youth, and in his maturer state scarce 
got out of that division, disproportionately divideth his days, crowds up 
the latter part of his life, and leaves too narrow a corner for the age of 
wisdom, and so hath room to be a man scarce longer than he hath been 
a youth. Rather than to make this confusion, anticipate the virtues of 
age, and live long without the infirmities of it. So mayest thou count 
up thy days, as some do Adam s, that is by anticipation. So mayest 
thou be co-etaneous unto thy elders, and a father unto thy cotempora- 
ries." Sir T. Browne s " Christian Morals," part 3, ch. 8. 



254 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xzi. 

fancy I see it so much the more clearly, in proportion as I 
am less distant from it. I am persuaded that your fathers, 
Publius Scipio, and Caius Lselius, men of the greatest 
eminence and very dear friends of mine, are living ; and that 
life too which alone deserves the name of life. 1 For while 

1 In another of his writings, "The Tusculan Questions," Cicero thus 
expresses himself: "There is, I know not how, in minds, a certain pre 
sage as it were, of a future existence. And this takes the deepest root, 
and is most discoverable in the greatest geniuses and most exalted minds." 
It was naturally to be expected that far more distinct and elevated views 
should be entertained upon this subject subsequently to the dawn of the 
Christian dispensation, and it is most interesting to observe both the 
resemblances and the contrasts which obtain between the views of Cice 
ro, the most enlightened of heathen advocates for the soul s immortality, 
and of Christian moralists the analogies doubtless arising from tho 
universality and instinctivencss of the notion, and the differences being 
readily explained by the fuller light shed upon the subject by the Chris 
tian revelation. We will select Addison as one of the most charming, 
if not one of the most profound of the latter school. In stating the argu 
ments for the immortality of the soul, in one of his elegant essays, he has 
the following observations: "I consider these several proofs drawn: 
First, from the nature of the soul itself, and particularly its immateriality, 
which though not absolutely necessary to the eternity of its duration, 
has, I think, been evinced to almost a demonstration. Secondly. From 
its passions and sentiments. As particularly from its love of existence, 
its horror of annihilation, and its hopes of immortality, with that secret 
satisfaction winch it finds in the practice of virtue, and that uneasiness 
which follows in it upon the commission of vice. Thirdly, From tho 
nature of tho Supreme Being, whose justice, wisdom, goodness, and 
veracity, are all concerned in this great point. But among these and 
other excellent arguments for the immortality of the soul, there is one 
drawn from the perpetual progress of the soul to its perfection, without 
a possibility of its ever arriving at it, which is a hint that I do not remem 
ber to have seen opened and improved by others who have written upon 
this subject, though it seems to me to carry a great weight with it. How 
can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of 
such immense perfections, and of receiving new improvements to all 
eternity, shall fall -away into nothing almost as soon as it is created ? Are 
such abilities made for no purpose ? A brute arrives at a point of per 
fection that ho can never pass in a few years ; he has all the endowments 
he is capable of, and were ho to live ten thousand more, would be the 
same thing he is at present. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her 
accomplishments, were her faculties to be full blown and incapable of 
further enlargements, I could imagine it might fall away insensibly, and 
drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking 
being that is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and traveling on 
from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into tho 
works of its Creator, and make a few discoveries of Ms infinite goodness, 



/HAP. XXL CICERO ON OLD AGE. 255 

we are shut up in this prison of the body, we are fulfilling as 
it were the function and painful task of destiny: for the 
heaven-born soul has been degraded from its dwelling- 
place above, and as it were buried in the earth, a situation 
uncongenial to its divine and immortal nature. But I believe 
that the immortal gods have shed souls into human bodies 
that beings might exist who might tend the earth, and by 
contemplating the order of the heavenly bodies, might imitate 
it in the manner and regularity of their lives. 1 Nor have 
reason and argument alone influenced me thus to believe, but 
likewise the high name and authority of the greatest philo 
sophers. I used to hear that Pythagoras and the Pytha 
goreans, 2 who were all but our neighbors, who were formerly 
called the Italian philosophers, had no doubt that we possess 
souls derived from the universal divine mind. Moreover, 

wisdom, and power, must perish at her first setting out, and in the be 
ginning of her inquiries ? 

" There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant conside 
ration in religion than this, of the perpetual progress which the soul 
makes toward the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a 
period of it. To look upon thesoul as going on from strength to strength ; 
to consider that she is to shine forever, with new accessions of glory, 
and brighten to all eternity ; that she will be still adding virtue to virtue, 
and knowledge to knowledge, carries in it something wonderfully agree 
able to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man. Nay, it 
must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his creation forever 
beautifying in his eyes, -and drawing nearer to him by greater degrees 
of resemblance." Spectator, No. 111. 

1 The Pythagoreans, according to Aristotle (Eth. Magn. I.), were the 
first who determined any thing in moral philosophy. Their ethics are of 
the loftiest arid most spiritual description. Virtue was with them a har 
mony, an unity, and an endeavor to resemble the Deity. The whole life 
of man should be an attempt to represent on earth the beauty and har 
mony displayed in the order of the universe. The mind should have the 
body and the passions under perfect control ; the gods should be wor 
shiped by simple purifications, offerings, and above all, by sincerity and 
purity of the heart. 

2 The Pythagoreans represented the souls of men as light particles of 
the universal soul diffused through the whole world (Cic. do Nat. Deor. 
i. 11). The souls of the gods were considered as proceeding directly 
from the central fire, which was on this account designated " mother of 
the gods," while the souls of men proceeded from the sun, which was a 
mere reflux of the central fire. The soul of man was divided into three 
parts, vovz, </>/)-vcc, an d dvfj.o ;. The two former were considered as the- 
rational half of the soul, and had their seat in the brain. The last, or 
&v[j,o, was the animal half, and its seat was in the heart. Diog. Laert. 
viii. 19. 30, Plut. de Plac. Phil. iv. 5. 



256 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xxi. 

the arguments were conclusive to me, which Socrates de 
livered on the last day of his life concerning the immortality 
of the soul he who was pronounced by the oracle of Apollo 
the wisest of all men. But why say more ? I have thus per 
suaded myself, such is my belief: that since such is the 
activity of our souls, so tenacious their memory of things 
past, and their sagacity regarding things future so many 
arts, so many sciences, so many discoveries, that the nature 
which comprises these qualities can not be mortal j 1 and since 
the mind is ever in action and has no source of motion, 
because it moves itself, I believe that it never will find any 
end of motion, because it never will part from itself; and 
that since the nature of the soul is uncompounded, and has 
not in itself any admixture heterogeneous and dissimilar to it 
self, I maintain that it can not undergo dissolution ; and if this 
be not possible, it can not perish : and it is a strong argument, 
that men know very many things before they are born, since 
when mere boys, while they are learning difficult subjects, they 
so quickly catch up numberless ideas, that they seem not to 
be learning them for the first time, but to remember them, 2 and 
to be calling them to recollection. 3 Thus did our Plato argue. 

1 "The sublime attainments which man has been capable of making- 
in science, and the wonders of his own creative art in that magnificent 
scene to which he has known how to give new magnificence, have been 
considered by many as themselves proofs of the immortality of a being 
so richly endowed. When we view him, indeed, comprehending in his 
single conception, the events of ages that have preceded him, and not 
content with the past, anticipating events that are to begin only in ages 
as remote in futurity as the origin of the universe is in the past, measur 
ing the distance of the remotest planets, and naming in what year of 
other centuries, the nations that are now gazing with astonishment on 
some comet, are to gaze on it in its return, it is scarcely possible for us 
to believe that a mind which seems equally capacious of what is infinite 
in space and time, should only be a creature whose brief existence is 
measurable by a few points of space, and a few moments of eternity." 
Brown s Moral Philosophy, lect. xcvii. 

2 Reminisci et recordari. See Plato s dialogue called Meno, in which 
it is attempted to be shown that all our knowledge is the reminiscence 
of what has passed in some previous state of existence. 

3 " That the soul had an existence prior to her connection with the 
body, seems to have been an opinion of the highest antiquity ; as it may 
be traced in the Chaldean, Egyptian, and Grecian theology, as far back 
as there are any records remaining of their speculative tenets. This 
general notion, however, was not maintained universally in the same 
precise sense. Some considering the soul in its former state as subsist 
ing only in the great soul of the universe, while others held its prior 



CHAP. X23L CICERO ON OLD AGE, 257 

XXII. Moreover, in Xenophon, Cyrus the elder, 1 on his 
death-bed, discourses thus : " Never imagine, O my dearest 
sons, that when I have departed from you, I shall exist 
nowhere, or cease to be : for while I was with you you 
never saw my soul; though you concluded from the actions 
which I performed that it was in this body. Believe, 
therefore, that it still exists, though you will see nothing of 
it. Nor, in truth, would the honors of illustrious men con 
tinue after death, if their own spirits did not make us pre 
serve a longer remembrance of them. I could never, indeed, 
be persuaded that souls, while they were in mortal bodies, 
lived ; and when they had quitted them, perished : nor, in 
truth, that the soul became senseless when it made its escape 
from a senseless body ; but that it then became wise when 
freed from every corporeal admixture, it had become pure 
and genuine. Besides, when the constitution of man is 
broken up by death, it is clear whither each of its other parts 
depart ; for they all return from the source from whence 
they sprang : whereas, the soul alone, neither shows itself 
when it is with us, nor when it departs. Further, you seo 
there is nothing so like death as sleep. Yet the souls of per 
sons asleep especially manifest their divine nature ; for when 
they are disengaged and free, they foresee many future 
events. 2 From which we conclude in what state they will be 

distinct and personal individuality. Those philosophers who maintained 
the latter opinion, at least the generality of them, seem to have supposed 
that the soul is sent down into this sublunary orb as into a place of pun 
ishment for transgressions committed in a former state. And this theory 
claims the greater attention, not only as it appears to have been adopted 
both by the Pythagoric and Platonic schools, which undoubtedly produced 
the most respectable philosophers that ever enlightened the Pagan world, 
but as bearing strong marks of being primarily derived from the Mosaical 
account of the fall of man." (Melmoth, in loco). % 

1 Cyrus Major. The character of this Cyrus is drawn by Xenophon 
in his Cyropaedia. He was king of Persia, son of Cambyses and Man- 
dane, daughter of Astyages, king of Media. He dethroned Astyages, 
and transferred the Persian empire to the Medea. The Cyropaedia is not 
to be looked upon as an authentic history, but as showing what a good 
and virtuous prince ought to be. 

2 " There is surely a nearer apprehension of any thing that delights us 
in our dreams than in our waking senses, without this I were unhappy, 
for my awakened judgment discontents me, ever whispering unto me that 
I am from my friend, but my friendly dreams in night requite me and 
make me think I am within his arms. I thank God for my happy 
dreams, as I do for my good rest, for there is a satisfaction in them unto 



258 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xxn. 

when they shall have altogether released themselves from the 
fetters of the body. Wherefore, if this is the case, regard me 

reasonable desires, and such as can be content with a fit of happiness. 
And surely, it is not a melancholy conceit to think we are all asleep in 
this world, and that the conceits of this life are as mere dreams to those 
of the next, as the phantasms of the night to the conceits of the day. 
There is an equal delusion in both, and the one doth but seem to be the 
emblem or picture of the other ; we are somewhat more than ourselves 
in our sleep, and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking 
of the soul. It is the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason, and 
our awakening conceptions do not match the fancies of our sleeps. I am 
in no way facetious, not disposed for the mirth and galliardize of com 
pany, yet in one dream I can compose a whole comedy, behold the ac 
tion, apprehend the jests, and laugh myself awake at the conceits thereof. 
Were my memory as faithful as my reason is then fruitful, I could never 
study but in my dreams, and this time also would I choose for my devo 
tions ; but our grosser memories have then so little hold of our abstracted 
understandings that they forget the story, and can only relate to our 
awakened souls, a confused and broken tale of that that hath passed. 
Aristotle, who hath written a singular tract on sleep, hath not, methinks, 
thoroughly defined it ; nor yet Galen, though he seem to have corrected 
it ; for those noctambuloes and night-walkers, though in their sleep, do 
yet enjoy the action of their senses, we must therefore say that there is 
something in us that is not in the jurisdiction of Morpheus, and that 
those abstracted and ecstatic souls do wa]k about in their own corps, as 
spirits with the bodies they assume wherein they seem to hear, see, and 
feel, though indeed, the organs are destitute of sense, and their natures 
of those faculties that should inform them. Thus it is observed that men 
sometimes upon the hour of their departure, do speak and reason above 
themselves ; for then the soul, beginning to be freed from the ligaments 
of the body, begins to reason like herself, and to discourse in a strain above 
mortality." Sir Thomas Browne s Religio Medici, part ii. chap. 11. 

" Dreams," says Addison, " are an instance of that agility and perfection 
which is natural to the faculties of the mind when they are disengaged 
from the body. The soul is clogged and retarded in her operations when 
she acts in conjunction with a companion, that is so heavy and unwieldy 
in its motion. But in dreams it is wonderful to observe with what a 
. sprightliness and alacrity she exerts herself. The slow of speech make 
unpremeditated harangues, or converse readily in languages that they are 
but little acquainted with. The grave abound in pleasantries, the dull 
in repartees and points of wit. There is not a more painful action of the 
mind than invention, yet in dreams it works with that ease and activity 
that we are not sensible of when the faculty is employed. For instance, 
I believe every one some time or other dreams that he is reading papers, 
books, or letters, in which case the invention prompts so readily chat the 
mind is imposed upon, and mistakes its own suggestions for the compo 
sitions of another. I must not omit that argument for the excellency of 
the soul which I have seen quoted out of Tertullian, namely, its power 
of divining in dreams. That several such divinitions have been made, 
none can question who believes the holy writings, or who has but the 



CHAP. xxm. CICEEO OK OLD AGE. 259 

as a god, but if the soul is destined to perish along with the body, 
yet you, reverencing the gods, who oversee and control all this 
beautiful system, will affectionately and sacredly preserve my 
memory." Such were the dying words of Cyrus. 

XXTTT. Let me, if you please, revert to my own views. 
No one will ever persuade me that either your father, Paulus, 
or two gandfathers, Paulus and Africanus, or the father of 
Africanus, or his uncle, or the many distinguished men whom 
it is unnecessary to recount, aimed at such great exploits as 
might reach to the recollection of posterity, had they not 
perceived in their mind that posterity belonged to them. Do 
you suppose, to boast a little of myself, after the manner of 
old men, that I should have undergone such great toils, 
by day and night, at home and in service, had I thought to 
limit my glory by the same bounds as my life ? Would it not 
have been far better to pass an easy and quiet life without 
any toil or struggle ? But I know not how my soul, stretch 
ing upward, has ever looked forward to posterity, as i^ when 
it had departed from life, then at last it would begin to live. 1 



least degree of a common historical faith ; there being innumerable in 
stances of this nature in several authors, both ancient and modern, 
sacred and profane. Whether such dark presages, such visions of the 
night, proceed from any latent power in the soul, during this her state 
of abstraction, or from any communication with the Supreme Being, or 
from any operation of subordinate spirits has been a great dispute among 
the learned. The matter of fact is, I think, incontestible, and has been 
looked upon as such by the greatest writers who have been never sus 
pected either of superstition or enthusiasm. I do not suppose that the 
soul in these instances is entirely loose and unfettered from the body : it 
is sufficient if she is not so far sunk and immersed in matter, nor en 
tangled and perplexed in her operations with such motions of blood and 
spirits, as when she actuates the machine in its waking hours. The 
corporeal union is slackened enough to give the mind more play. The 
soul seems gathered within herself, and recovers that spring which is 
broken and weakened when she operates more in concert with the body." 
Spectator, No. 487. 

1 Dr. Thomas Brown attaches no value to the argument for the im 
mortality of the soul, derived from the aspiration after it which is com 
mon to all. "I am aware," he says, " that in judging from the mind it 
self a considerable stress has often been laid on the existence of feelings 
which admit of a very easy solution, without the necessity of ascribing 
them to any instinctive foreknowledge of a state of immortal being. 
Of this sort particularly seems to me an argument which, both in ancient 
and modern times, has been brought forward as one of the most power 
ful arguments for our continued existence, after life has seemed to close 
upon us forever. I allude to the universal desire of this immortal exist- 



260 CICEEO ON OLD AGE. CHAP. xxui. 

And, indeed, unless this were the case, that souls were im 
mortal, the souls of the noblest of men would not aspire 
above all things to an immortality of glory. 1 Why need I 

ence. But surely, if life itself be pleasing, and even though there were 
no existence beyond the grave life might be still, by the benevolenco 
of Him who conferred it, have been rendered a source of pleasure ; it is 
not wonderful that we should desire futurity, since futurity is only pro 
tracted life. It would, indeed, have been worthy of our astonishment if 
man, loving his present life, and knowing that it was to terminate in the 
space of a very few years, should not have regretted the termination of 
what he loved ; that is to say, should not have wished the continuance 
of it beyond the period of its melancholy close. The universal desiro 
then, even if the desire were truly universal, would prove nothing, but 
the goodness of Him who has made the realities of life or if not tho 
realities, the hopes of life so pleasing that the mere loss of what 13 
possessed, or hoped, appears like a positive evil of the most afflicting 
kind," Dr. Brown s Moral Philosophy, sec. 9t. 

1 "I am fully persuaded that one of the best springs of generous and 
worthy actions is having generous and worthy thoughts of ourselves. 
"Whoever has a mean opinion of the dignity of his nature will act in no 
higher a rank than he has allotted himself in his own estimation If ho 
considers his being as circumscribed by the uncertain term of a few 
years, his designs will be contracted into the same narrow space ho 
imagines is to bound his existence. How can he exalt his thoughts to 
any thing great and noble, who only believes that after a short turn on 
the stage of this world, he is to sink into oblivion, and to lose his con 
sciousness forever ? For this reason I am of opinion that so useful and 
elevated a contemplation as that of the soul s immortality can not be re 
sumed too often. There is not a more improving exercise to the human 
mind than to be frequently reviewing its own great privileges and en 
dowments, nor a more effectual means to awaken in us an ambition 
raised above low objects and little pursuits, than to value ourselves as 
heirs of eternity." Hughes. Spectator, No. 210. 

Upon the love of posthumous fame, Dr. Johnson has the following 
observations : " If the love of fame is so far indulged by the mind as to 
become independent and predominant ; it is dangerous and irregular, 
but it may be usefully employed as an inferior and secondary motivej 
and will serve sometimes to revive our activity, when we begh? to lan 
guish and lose sight of that more certain, more valuable, and more dur 
able reward, which ought always to be our first hope and our last But 
it must be strongly impressed upon our minds that virtue is not to be 
pursued as one of the means to fame ; but fame to be accepted as the 
only recompense which mortals can bestow on virtue, to be accepted 
with complacence, but not sought with eagerness Simply to be remem 
bered is no advantage ; it is a privilege which satire as well as panegyric 
can confer, and is not more enjoyed by Titus or Constantino than by Ti- 
mocrean of Rhodes, of whom we only know from his epitaph, that he 
had eaten many a meal, drank many a flagon, and uttered many a re 
proach. The true satisfaction which is to be drawn from the conscious 
ness that we shall share the attention of future tunes must arise from the 



CHAP. xxin. CICERO ON OLD AGE. 261 

adduce that the wisest man ever dies with the greatest equa 
nimity, the most foolish with the least ? Does it not seem to 
you that the soul, which sees more and further, sees that it 
is passing to a better state, while that body, whose vision is 
duller, does not see it ? I, indeed, am transported with eager 
ness to see your fathers, whom I have respected and loved : 
nor in truth is it those only I desire to meet whom I myself 
have known ; but those also of whom I have heard or read, 
and have myself written. Whither, indeed, as I proceed, no 
one assuredly should easily force me back, nor, as they did 
with Pelias, cook me again to youth. For if any god should 
grant me, that from this period of life I should become a 
child again and cry in the cradle, I should earnestly refuse 
it: 1 nor in truth should I like, after having run, as it were, 
my course, to be called back to the starting-place 2 from the 
goal. For what comfort has life ? What trouble has it not, 
rather? But grant that it has; yet it assuredly has either 
satiety or limitation (of its pleasures). For I am not dis 
posed to lament the loss of life, which many men, and those 
learned men too, have often done ; neither do I regret that I 
have lived since I have lived in such a way that I con 
ceive I was not born in vain : and from this life I depart as 
from a temporary lodging, not as from a home. For nature 
has assigned it to us as an inn to sojourn in, not a place of 
habitation. Oh, glorious day ! when I shall depart to that 
divine company and assemblage of spirits, and quit this 
troubled and polluted scene. For I shall go not only to those 
great men of whom I have spoken before, but also to my 
hope that with our name our virtues will be propagated, and that those 
whom we can not benefit in our lives, may receive instruction from our 
examples and incitement from our renown." Rambler, No. 49. 

1 " Though I think no man could live well once, but he that could live 
twice, yet, for my own part I would not live over my hours past, or begin 
again the thread of my days ; not upon Cicero s ground, because I have 
lived them well, but for fear I should live them worse. I find my grow 
ing judgment daily instruct me how to be better, but my untamed affec 
tions and confirmed vitiosity make me daily do worse. I find in my 
confirmed age the same sins I discovered in my youth ; I committed 
many then, because I was a child ; and because I commit them still, I am 
yet an infant ; therefore I perceive a man may be twice a child before 
the days of dotage, and stand in need of Eson s bath before threescore." 
Sir Thomas Browne s Religio Medici, ch. 42. 

2 Ad carceres a cake: carceres or repagula, from which the horses 
started. A line called creta or calx was drawn, to mark the end of the 



262 CICERO ON OLD AGE. CHAP.XXIII. 

friend Cato, 1 than whom never was better man born, nor 
more distinguished for pious affection ; whose body was 
burned by me, whereas, on the contrary, it was fitting that 
mine should be burned by him. But his soul not deserting 
me, but oft looking back, no doubt departed to those regions 
whither it saw that I myself was destined to come. Which, 
though a distress to me, I seemed patiently to endure : not that 
I bore it with indifference, but I comforted myself with the 
recollection that the separation and distance between us would 
not continue long. For these reasons, O Scipio (since you 
said that you with Loelius were accustomed to wonder at this), 
old age is tolerable to me, and not only not irksome, but even 
delightful. And if I am wrong in this, that I believe the 
souls of men to be immortal, I willingly delude myself: nor 
do I desire that this mistake, in which I take pleasure, should 
be wrested from me as long as I live ; but if I, when dead, 
shall have no consciousness, as some narrow-minded philoso 
phers imagine, I do not fear lest dead philosophers should ridi 
cule this my delusion. But if we are not destined to be immor 
tal, yet it is a desirable thing for a man to expire at his fit time. 
For, as nature prescribes a boundary to all other things, so does 
she also to life. Now old age is the consummation of life, just 
as of a play ; from the fatigue of which we ought to escape, es 
pecially when satiety is superadded. This is what I had to say 
on the subject of old age ; to which may you arrive ! that, after 
having experienced the truth of those statements which you 
have heard from me, you may be enabled to give them your ap 
probation. 

1 This apostrophe has suggested to the greatest of modern pulpit ora 
tors one of his most eloquent perorations. "If," says Robert Hall, "the 
mere conception of the reunion of good men in a future state infused a 
momentary rapture into the mind of Tully ; if an airy speculation, for 
there is reason to fear it had little hold on his convictions, could inspire 
him with such delight, what may we be expected to feel who are assured 
of such an event by the true sayings of God! How should we rejoice in 
the prospect the certainty, rather, of spending a blissful eternity with 
those whom we loved on earth ; of seeing them emerge from the ruins 
of the tomb, and the deeper ruins of the fall, not only uninjured, but 
refined and perfected. What delight will it afford to renew the sweet 
counsel we have taken together, to recount the toils of combat and the 
labor of the way, and to approach not the house but the throne of God 
in company, in order to join in the symphony of heavenly voices, and 
lose ourselves amid the splendors and fruitions of the beatific vision." 
Funeral Sermon for Dr. Ryland. 



PARADOXES. 



ADDRESSED TO MARCUS BRUTUS. 

I HAVE often observed, Brutus, that your uncle, 
Cato, when he delivered his opinion in the senate, was 
accustomed to handle important points of philosophy, in 
consistent with popular and forensic usage; but that yet, 
in speaking, he managed them so that even these seemed 
to the people worthy of approbation ; which was so 
much the greater excellency in him, than either in you or 
in me, because we are more conversant in that philosophy 
which has produced a copiousness of expression, and in 
which those things are propounded which do not widely 
differ from the popular opinion. But Cato, in my opinion a 
complete Stoic, both holds those notions which certainly do 
not approve themselves to the common people ; and belongs 
to that sect which aims at no embellishments, and does not 
spin out an argument. He therefore succeeds in what he 
has purposed, by certain pithy and, as it were, stimulating 
questions. There is, however, nothing so incredible that it 
may not be made plausible by eloquence ; nothing so rough 
and uncultivated that it may not, in oratory, become brilliant 
and polished. 

As I have been accustomed to think thus, I have made a 
bolder attempt than he himself did of whom I am speaking. 
For Cato is accustomed to treat stoically of magnanimity, of 
modesty, of death, and of all the glory of virtue, of the im 
mortal gods, and of patriotism, with the addition of the orna 
ments of eloquence. But I have, for amusement, digested 
into common-places those topics which the Stoics scarcely 
prove in their retirement and in their schools. Such 
topics are termed, even by themselves, paradoxes, be 
cause they are remarkable, and contrary to the opinion of 
all men. I have been desirous of trying whether they 
might not come into publicity, that is before the forum, and 
be so expressed as to be approved; or whether learned 



264 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. i. 

expressions were one thing, and a popular mode of address 
another. I undertook this with the more pleasure, because 
these very paradoxes, as they are termed, appear to me to 
be the most Socratic, and by far the most true. Accept 
therefore this little work, composed during these shorter 
nights, since that work of my longer watchings appeared in 
your name. You will have here a specimen of the manner 
I have been accustomed to adopt when I accommodate those 
things which in the schools are termed theses to our oratorical 
manner of speaking. I do not, however, expect that you 
will look upon yourself as indebted to me for this perform 
ance which is not such as to be placed, like the Minerva of 
Phidias, in a citadel, but still such as may appear to have 
issued from the same studio. 

PARADOX I. 

THAT VIRTUE IS THE ONLY GOOD. 

I AM apprehensive that this position may seem to some 
among you to have been derived from the schools of the 
Stoics, 1 and not from my own sentiments. Yet I will tell 
you my real opinion, and that too more briefly than so im 
portant a matter requires to be discussed. By Hercules, I 
never was one who reckoned among good and desirable 

1 The ethical doctrines of the Stoics have attracted most attention, as 
exhibited in the lives of distinguished Greeks and Romans. To live 
according to nature was the basis of their ethical system ; but by this it 
was not meant that a man should follow his own particular nature ; ho 
must make his life conformable to the nature of the whole of things. 
This principle is the foundation of all morality; and it follows that 
morality is connected with philosophy. To know what is our relation 
to the whole of things, is to know what we ought to be and to do. This 
fundamental principle of the Stoics is indisputable, but its application is 
not always easy, nor did they all agree in their exposition of it. Some 
things were good, some bad, and some indifferent ; the only good things 
were virtue, wisdom, justice, temperance, and the like. The truly wise 
man possesses all knowledge ; he is perfect and sufficient in himself; he 
despises all that subjects to its power the rest of mankind ; he feels pain, 
but he is not conquered by it. But the morality of the Stoics, at least 
in the later periods, though it rested on a basis apparently so sound, 
permitted the wise man to do nearly every thing that he liked. Such a 
system, it has been well observed, might do for the imaginary wise man 
of the Stoics ; but it was not a system whose general adoption was com 
patible with the existence of any actual society, 



PAR. I. CICERO S PARADOXES. 265 

things, treasures, magnificent mansions, interest, power, oi 
those pleasures to which mankind are most chiefly addicted. 
For I have observed, that those to whom these things 
abounded, still desired them most : for the thirst of cupidity 
is never filled or satiated. They are tormented not only 
with the lust of increasing, but with the fear of losing what 
they have. I own that I often look in vain for the good 
sense of our ancestors, those most continent men, who 
affixed the appellation of good to those weak, fleeting, cir 
cumstances of wealth, when in truth and fact their senti 
ments were the very reverse. 1 Can any bad man enjoy a 
good thing? Or, is it possible for a man not to be good, 
when he lives in the very abundance of good things? 
And yet we see all those things so distributed that 
wicked men possess them, and that they are inauspicious 
to the good. Now let any man indulge his raillery, if he 
please ; but right reason will ever have more weight with 
me than the opinion of the multitude. Nor shall I ever 
account a man, when he has lost his stock of cattle, or 
furniture, to have lost his good things. Nor shall I seldom 
speak in praise of Bias, who, if I mistake not, is reckoned 
among the seven wise men. For when the enemy took pos 
session of Priene, his native country, and when the rest so 
managed their flight as to carry off with them their effects, 
on his being recommended by a certain person to do the 
same, " Why," answered he, " I do so, for I carry with me 
all my possessions." He did not so much as esteem those 
playthings of fortune, which we even term our blessings, to 
be his own. 3 But some one will ask, What then is a real 
good ? Whatever is done uprightly, honestly, and virtuously, 
is truly said to be done well ; and whatever is upright, honest, 
and agreeable to virtue, that alone, as I think, is a good thing. 
But these matters, when they are more loosely discussed, 

1 " I can not call riches better than the baggage of virtue ; the Roman 
word is better, "impedimenta;" for as the baggage is to an army, so ia 
riches to virtue, it can not be spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the 
march ; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the vic 
tory ; of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribu 
tion ; the rest is but conceit." Lord Bacon, Essay 34. 

2 Ovid expresses the same idea in the following passage: 

"Et genus et proavos et quce non fecimua ipsi 
Yix ea nostra voco," 
12 



266 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. i. 

appear somewhat obscure ; but those things which seemed 
to be discussed with more subtlety than is necessary in 
words, may be illustrated by the lives and actions of the 
greatest of men. I ask then of you, whether the men who 
left to us this empire, founded upon so noble a system, 
seem ever to have thought of gratifying avarice by money ; 
delight by delicacy ; luxury by magnificence ; or pleasure 
by feasting ? * Set before your eyes any one of our monarchs. 
Shall I begin with Romulus? Or, after the state was free, 
with those who liberated it? By what steps then did 
Romulus ascend to heaven ? By those which these people 
term good things? Or by his exploits and his virtues? 
What ! are we to imagine, that the wooden or earthen dishes 
of Numa Pompilius were less acceptable to the immortal 
gods, than the embossed plate of others? I pass over our 
other kings, for all of them, excepting Tarquin the Proud, 
were equally excellent. Should any one ask, What did 
Brutus perform when he delivered his country ? Or, as 
to those who were the participators of that design, what was 
their aim, and the object of their pursuit ? Lives there the 
man who can regard as their object, riches, pleasure, or any 
thing else than acting the part of a great and gallant man ? 
What motive impelled Caius Mucius, without the least hope 
of preservation, to attempt the death of Porsenna? What 
impulse kept Codes to the bridge, singly opposed to the 
whole force of the enemy ? What power devoted the elder 
and the younger Decius, and impelled them against armed 
battalions of enemies ? What was the object of the continence 
of Caius Fabricius, or of the frugality of life of Manius 
Curius ? What were the motives of those two thunderbolts 
of the Punic war, Publius and Cneius Scipio, when they 
proposed with their own bodies to intercept the progress of 

i Horace develops the same thought. In commending decision of 
character, he writes : 

Hac arte Pollux et vagus Hercules 
Enisus arces attigit igneas : 
Quos inter Augustus recumbens 

Purpureo bibit ore nectar. 
Hac te merentem, Bacche pater, tuse 
Vexere tigres indocili jugum 
Collo trahentes : hac Quirinus 

Martis equis Acheronta fugit. Carm. lib. iii. carm. 3. 



PAR.I. CICERO S PARADOXES. 267 

the Carthaginians ? What did the elder, what did the younger 
Africanus propose ? What were the views of Cato, who lived 
between the times of both ? What shall I say of innumerable 
other instances ; for we abound in examples drawn from our 
own history ; can we think that they proposed any other 
object in life but what seemed glorious and noble ? 

Now let the deriders of this sentiment and principle come 
forward ; let even them take their choice, whether they would 
rather resemble the man who is rich in marble palaces, adorned 
with ivory, and shining with gold, in statues, in pictures, in 
embossed gold and silver plate, in the workmanship of Corin 
thian brass, or if they will resemble Fabricius, who had, and 
who wished to have, none of these things. And yet they are 
readily prevailed upon to admit that those things which a% 
transferred, now hither, now thither, are not to be ranked 
among good things, while at the same time they strongly 
maintain, and eagerly dispute, that pleasure is the highest 
good ; a sentiment that to me seems to be that of a brute, 
rather than that of a man. 1 Shall you, endowed as you are 

1 That pleasure is man s chiefest good (because indeed it is the per 
ception of good that is properly pleasure), is an assertion most certainly 
true, though under the common acceptance of it not only false but odious : 
for, according to this, pleasure and sensuality pass for terms equivalent ; 
and therefore he that takes it in this sense alters the subject of the dis 
course. Sensuality is indeed a part, or rather one kind of pleasure, such 
an one as it is ; for pleasure in general is the consequent apprehension 
of a suitable object, suitably applied to a rightly disposed faculty ; and 
so must be conversant both about the faculties of the body and of the 
soul respectively ; as being the result of the functions belonging to both. 

"Since God never created any faculty either in soul or body, but 
withal prepared for it a suitable object, and that in order to its gratifica 
tion ; can we think that religion was designed only for a contradiction 
to nature ? And, with the greatest and most irrational tyranny in the 
world, to tantalize and tie men up from enjoyment, in the midst of all 
the opportunies of enjoyment ? To place men with the furious affections 
of hunger and thirst in the very bosom of plenty, and then to tell them 
that the envy of Providence has sealed up every thing that is suitable 
under the character of unlawful ? For certainly, first to frame appetites 
fit to receive pleasure, and then to interdict them with a touch not, 
taste not, can be nothing else than only to give them occasion to devour 
and prey upon themselves, and so to keep men under the perpetual tor 
ment of an unsatisfied desire ; a thing hugely contrary to the natural 
felicity of the creature, and consequently to the wisdom and goodness 
of the great Creator. There is no doubt but a man, while he resigns 
himself up to the brutish guidance of sense and appetite, haa no relish 



268 CICERO S PARADOXES- PAR. L 

by God or by nature, whom we may term the mother of all 
things, with a soul (than which there exists nothing more 
excellent and more divine), so degrade and prostrate yourself 
as to think there is no difference between yourself and any 
quadruped ? Is there any real good that does not make him 
who possesses it a better man ? For in proportion as every 
man has the greatest amount of excellence, he is also in that 
proportion most praiseworthy ; nor is there any excellence 
on which the man who possesses it may not justly value 
himself. But what of these qualities resides in pleasure ? 
Does it make a man better, or more praiseworthy ? Does 
any man extol himself in boasting or self-recommendation 
for having enjoyed pleasures? Now if pleasure, which is 
oefended by the advocacy of many, is not to be ranked 
among good things, and if the greater it is the more it 
dislodges the mind from its habitual and settled position ; 1 
surely to live well and happily, is nothing else than to live 
virtuously and rightly. 2 

at all for the spiritual, refined delights of a soul clarified by grace and 
virtue. The pleasures of an angel can never be the pleasures of a hog. 
But this is the thing that we contend for, that a man, having once ad 
vanced himself to a state of superiority over the control of his inferior ap 
petites, finds an infinitely more solid and sublime pleasure in the delights 
proper to his reason, than the same person had ever conveyed to him by 
the bare ministry of his senses." South s Sermons, vol. i. sermon 1. 

1 " All pleasures that affect the body must needs weary, because they 
transport ; and all transportation is a violence, and no violence can bo 
lasting, but determines upon the falling of the spirits, which are not able 
to keep up that height of motion that the pleasures of the senses raise 
them to ; and therefore, how inevitably does an immoderate laughter 
end in a sigh ? which is only nature s recovering itself after a force done 
to it. But the religious pleasure of a well-disposed mind moves gently, 
and therefore constantly ; it does not affect by rapture and ecstasy ; but 
is like the pleasure of health, which is still and sober, yet greater and 
stronger than those that call up the senses with grosser and more affect 
ing impressions. God has given no man a body as strong as his appe 
tites ; but has corrected the boundlessness of his voluptuous desires by 
stinting his strength and contracting his capacities." Ibid. 

2 "And now, upon the result of all, I suppose that to exhort men to 
be religious is only in other words to exhort them to take their pleasure. 
A pleasure high, rational, and angelical ; a pleasure, embased with no 
appendent sting, no consequent loathing, no remorses, or bitter farewells; 
but such an one as, being honey in the month, never turns to gall or 
gravel in the belly. A pleasure made for the soul, and the soul for that ; 
suitable to its spirituality, and equal to all its capacities. Such an one 
as grows fresher upon enjoyment, and though continually fed upon, yet 



PAR. ii. CICERO S PARADOXES. 269 



PARADOX II. 

A MAN WHO IS VIRTUOUS IS DESTITUTE OF NO REQUISITE OF 
A HAPPY LIFE. 

NEVER, for my part, did I imagine Marcus Regulus to 
have been distressed, or unhappy, or wretched; because his 
magnanimity was not tortured by the Carthaginians; nor 
was the weight of his authority ; nor was his honor ; nor 
was his resolution ; nor was one of his virtues ; nor, in 
short, did his soul suffer their torments, for a soul with the 
guard and retinue of so many virtues, never surely could be 
taken, though his body was made captive. 1 We have seen 

is never devoured. A pleasure that a man may call as properly his own 
as his soul and his conscience ; neither liable to accident, nor exposed to 
injury. It is the foretaste of heaven, and the earnest of eternity. In a 
word, it is such an one, as being begun in grace passes into glory, bless 
edness, and immortality, and those pleasures that neither eye has seen, 
nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive " 
South s Sermons, vol. i. sermon 1. 

1 " The sect of ancient philosophers that boasted to have carried this 
necessary science to the highest perfection were the Stoics, or scholars 
of Zeno, whose wild enthusiastic virtue pretended to an exemption from 
the sensibilities of unenlightened mortals, and who proclaimed them 
selves exalted, by the doctrines of their sect, above the reach of those 
miseries which embitter life to the rest of the world. They therefore 
removed pain, poverty, loss of friends, exile, and violent death, from the 
catalogue of evils; and passed, in their haughty style, a kind of irrever 
sible decree, by which they forbade them to be counted any longer 
among the objects of terror or anxiety, or to give any disturbance to the 
tranquillity of a wise man. 

" This edict was, I think, not universally observed ; for though one of 
the more resolute, when he was tortured by a violent disease, cried out 
that let pain harass him to its utmost power, it should never force him 
to consider it as other than indifferent and neutral ; yet all had not stub 
bornness to hold out against their senses ; for a weaker pupil of Zeno is 
recorded to have confessed, in the anguish of the gout, that he now found 
pain to be an evil. 

" It may, however, be questioned, whether these philosophers can be 
very properly numbered among the teachers of patience ; for if pain be 
not an evil, there seems no instruction requisite how it may be borne ; 
and, therefore, when they endeavor to arm their followers with arguments 
against it, they may be thought to have given up their first position, j 
But such inconsistencies are to be expected from the greatest under 
standings, when they endeavor to grow eminent by singularity, and em 
ploy their strength in establishing opinions opposite to nature. The 
controversy about the reality of external evils is now at an end. That 



270 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. n. 

Caius Marius ; he, in my opinion, was in prosperity one of 
the happiest, and in adversity one of the greatest of men 
than which man can have no happier lot. Thou knowest 
not, foolish man, thou knowest not what power virtue 
possesses ; thou only usurpest the name of virtue ; thou 
art a stranger to her influence. No man who is wholly 
consistent within himself, and who reposes all his interests 
in himself alone, can be otherwise than completely happy. 1 
But the man whose every hope, and scheme, and design 
depends upon fortune, such a man can have no certainty ; 
can possess nothing assured to him as destined to continue 
for a single day. If you have any such man in your power, 
you may terrify him by threats of death or exile ; but what 
ever can happen to me in so ungrateful a country, will find 
me not only not opposing, but even not refusing it. To 
what purpose hav.e I toiled ? to what purpose have I acted ? 
or on what have my cares and meditations been watchfully 
employed, if I have produced and arrived at no such results, 
as that neither the outrages of fortune nor the injuries of 
enemies can shatter me. Do you threaten me with death 2 2 
life has many miseries, and that those miseries are sometimes at least, 
equal to all the powers of fortitude, is now universally confessed ; aod, 
therefore, it is useful to consider not only how we may escape them, but 
by what means those which either the accidents of affairs, or the infirm 
ities of nature, must bring upon us, may be mitigated and lightened, 
and how we may make those hours less wretched, which the condition 
of our present existence will not allow to be very happy." Dr. Johnson, 
Eambler, No. 32. 

1 " There is nothing that can raise a man to that generous absolute 
ness of condition, as neither to cringe, to fawn, or to depend meanly ; 
but that which gives him that happiness within himself for which men. 
depend upon others. For surely I need salute no great man s threshold, 
eneak to none of his friends or servants, to speak a good word for me to 
my conscience. It is a noble and a sure defiance of a great malice, 
backed with a great interest, which yet can have no advantage of a man, 
but from his own expectations of something that is without himself. 
But if I can make my duty my delight ; if I can feast, and please, and 
caress my mind, with the pleasures of worthy speculations or virtuous 
practices ; let greatness and malice vex and abridge me, if they can ; my 
pleasures are as free as my will, no more to be controlled than my 
choice, or the unlimited range of my thoughts and my desires." South s 
Sermons, Vol. i., Sermon I. 

2 To be understood as addressed to Anthony. Yirgil has a similar 
idea : 

"Breve et irreparabile tempus, 
Omnibus est vita3, sed famam extendere factia 
Hoc virtutia opus." J&u. X. ver, 467-469. 



PAB.ni. CICERO S PARADOXES. 271 

which is separating me from mankind ? Or with exile, 
which is removing me from the wicked ? Death is dreadful 
to the man whose all is extinguished with his life ; but not 
to him whose glory never can die. Exile is terrible to 
those who have, as it were, a circumscribed habitation ; but 
not to those who look upon the whole globe but as one city. 
Troubles and miseries oppress thee who thinkest thyself 
happy and properous. Thy lusts torment thee, day and 
night thou art upon the rack; for whom that which thou 
possessest is not sufficient, and who art ever trembling lest even 
that should not continue ; the consciousness of thy misdeeds 
tortures thee ; the terrors of the laws and the dread of justice 
appall thee ; look where thou wilt, thy crimes, like so many 
furies, meet thy view and suffer thee not to breathe. 1 There 
fore, as no man can be happy if he is wicked, foolish, or indo 
lent ; so no man can be wTetched, if he is virtuous, brave, and 
wise. Glorious is the life of that man whose virtues and 
practice are praiseworthy ; nor indeed ought that life to be 
escaped from which is deserving of praise, though it might 
well be if it were a wretched one. We are therefore to look 
upon whatever is worthy of praise as at once happy, prosperous, 
and desirable. 

PARADOX III. 

THAT ALL MISDEEDS ARE IN THEMSELVES EQUAL, AND GOOD 
DEEDS THE SAME. 

THE matter it may be said is a trifle, but the crime is 
enormous ; for crimes are not to be measured by the issue of 
events, but from the bad intentions of men. 2 The fact in 

1 "Though," says South, in the sermon from which we have several 
times quoted, "company may reprieve a man from hia melancholy, yet it 
can not secure him from his conscience, nor from sometimes being alone. 
And what is all that a man enjoys from a week s, a month s, or a year s 
converse, comparable to what he feelfs or one hour, when his conscience 
shall take him aside and rate him by himself." 

2 The ethical principle of Cicero, so far from having been improved 
upon in modern times, shows in favorable contrast beside that of the 
eminent Christian moralist, Paley. "The method," he says, "of coming 
at the will of God, concerning any action, by the light of nature, is to 
inquire into the tendency of that action to promote or diminish the gene 
ral happiness. 

"So then actions are to be estimated by their tendency. Whatever is 



272 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAE. m. 

which the sin consists may be greater in one instance and 
less in another, but guilt itself, in whatsoever light you be 
hold it, is the same. A pilot oversets a ship laden with gold 
or one laden with straw: in value there is some difference, 
,but in the ignorance of the pilot there is none. Your illicit 
Idesire has fallen upon an obscure female. The mortification 
affects fewer persons than if it had broken out in the case of 
some high-born and noble virgin; nevertheless it has been 
guilty, if it be guilty to overstep the mark. When yon have 
done this, a crime has been committed ; nor does it matter 

expedient, is right. It is the utility of any moral rule alone which con 
stitutes the obligation of it. But to all this there seems a plain objec 
tion, viz., that many actions are useful, which no man in his senses will 
allow to be right. There are occasions in which the hand of the assassin 
would be very useful. The present possessor of some great estate em 
ploys his influence and fortune, to annoy, corrupt, or oppress, all about 
him. His estate would devolve, by his death, to a successor of an oppo 
site character. It is useful, therefore, to dispatch such a one as soon as 
possible out of the way ; as the neighborhood will exchange thereby a 
pernicious tyrant for a wise and generous benefactor. It might be use 
ful to rob a miser, and give the money to the poor ; as the money, no 
doubt, would produce more happiness by being laid out in food and cloth 
ing for half a dozen distressed families, than by continuing locked up in 
a miser s chest. It may be useful to get possession of a place, a piece 
of preferment, or of a seat in Parliament, by bribery or false swearing : 
as by means of them we may serve the public more effectually than in 
our private station. "What then shall we say ? Must we admit these 
actions to be right, which would be to justify assassination, plunder, and 
perjury ; or must we give up our principle, that the criterion of right is 
utility? It is not necessary to do either. The true answer is this ; that 
these actions, after all, are not useful, and for that reason, and that alone, 
are not right. To see this point perfectly, it must be observed that the 
bad consequences of actions are twofold, particular and general. The 
particular bad consequences of an action, is the mischief which that single 
action directly and immediately occasions. The general bad consequence 
is, the violation of some necessary or useful general rule. Thus, the 
particular bad consequence of the assassination above described, is the 
fright and pain which the deceased underwent ; the loss he suffered of 
life, which is as valuable to a bad man as to a good one, or more so ; the 
prejudice and affliction, of which his death was the occasion, to his fam 
ily, friends, and dependents. The general bad consequence is the viola 
tion of this necessary general rule, that no man be put to death for his 
crimes but by public authority. Although, therefore, such an action 
have no particular bad consequence, or greater particular good conse 
quences, yet it is not useful, by reason of the general consequence, 
which is of more importance, and which is evil." Moral and Political 
Philosophy. 



PAR. m. CICERO S PARADOXES. 273 

in aggravation of the fault how far you run afterward ; 
certainly it is not lawful for any one to commit sin, and that 
which is unlawful is limited by this sole condition, that it 
is shown to be wrong. If this guilt can neither be made 
greater nor less (because, if the thing was unlawful, therein 
sin was committed), then the vicious acts which spring out 
of that which is ever one and the same must necessarily be 
equal. Now if virtues are equal among themselves, it 
must necessarily follow that vices are so likewise ; and it is 
most easy to be perceived that a man can not be better than 
good, more temperate than temperate, braver than brave, 
nor wiser than wise. Will any man call a person honest, 
who, having a deposit of ten pounds of gold made to him 
without any witness, so that he might take advantage of it 
with impunity, shall restore it, and yet should not do the 
same in the case of ten thousand pounds 1 J Can a man be 
accounted temperate who checks one inordinate passion and 
gives a loose to another ? Virtue is uniform, conformable to 
reason, and of unvarying consistency ; nothing can be added 
to it that can make it more than virtue ; nothing can be 
taken from it, and the name of virtue be left. If good offices 
are done with an upright intention, nothing can be more 
upright than upright is ; and therfore it is impossible that any 
thing should be better than what is good. It therefore follows 
that all vices are equal ; for the obliquities of the mind are 
properly termed vices. Now we may infer, that as all virtues 
are equal, therefore all good actions, when they spring from 
virtues, ought to be equal likewise ; and therefore it necessarily 
follows, that evil actions springing from vices, should be also equal. 
You borrow, says one, these views from philosophers. I 
was afraid you would have told me that I borrowed it from 
panders. But Socrates reasoned in the manner you do. 
By Hercules, you say well ; for it is recorded that he was a 
learned and a wise person. Meanwhile as we are contending, 
not with blows, but with words, I ask you whether good 
men should inquire what was the opinion of porters and 
laborers, or that of the wisest of mankind ? Especially too 

1 The reader will probably be reminded by this passage of the words 
of the Great Teacher: "He that is faithful in that which is least, is 
faithful also in much. And he that is unjust ia the least, is unjust also 
in much." Luke, chap. xvi. 10. 

12* 



CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. nr. 

as no truer sentiment than this can be found, nor one more 
conducive to the interests of human life. For what influence 
is there which can more deter men from the commission of 
every kind of evil, than if they become sensible that there are 
no degrees in sin 1 That the crime is the same, whether they 
offer violence to private persons or to magistrates. That in 
whatever families they have gratified their illicit desire, the 
turpitude of their lust is the same. 

But some one will say, what then ? does it make no differ 
ence, whether a man murders his father or his slave ? If 
you instance these acts abstractedly, it is difficult to decide 
of what quality they are. If to deprive a parent of life is in 
itself a most heinous crime, the Saguntines were then parri 
cides, because they chose that their parents should die as 
freemen rather than live as slaves. Thus a case may happen 
in which there may be no guilt in depriving a parent of life, 
and very often we can not without guilt put a slave to death. 
The circumstances therefore attending this case,- and not the 
nature of the thing, occasion the distinction : these circum 
stances as they lean to either case, that case becomes the 
more favorable ; but if they appertain alike to both, the 
acts are then equal. There is this difference that in killing 
a slave, if wrong is done, it is a single sin that is committed ; 
but many are involved in taking the life of a father. The 
object of violence is the man who begat you, the man who 
fed you, the man who brought you up, the man who gave 
your position in your home, your family, and the state. This 
offense is greater by reason of the number of sins (involved 
in it), and is deserving of a proportionately greater punish 
ment. But in life we are not to consider what should be the 
punishment of each offense, but what is the rule of right to 
each individual. "We are to consider every thing that is not 
becoming as wicked, and every thing which is unlawful as 
heinous. What ! even in the most trifling matters ? To be 
sure ; for if we are unable to regulate the course of events, 
yet we may place a bound to our passions. If a player 
dances ever so little out of time, if a verse is pronounced by 
him longer or shorter by a single syllable than it ought to 
be, he is hooted and hissed off the stage. And shall you, who 
ought to be better regulated than any gesture, and more regu 
lar than any verse shall you be found faulty even in a syllable 



PAR. IV. CICERO S PARADOXES. 275 

of conduct ? I overlook the trifling faults of a poet ; but shall 
I approve my fellow-citizen s life while he is counting his mis 
deeds with his fingers ? If some of these are trifling/ how can 
it be regarded as more venial when whatever wrong is commit 
ted, is committed to the violation of reason and order ? Now, 
if reason and order are violated, nothing can be added by which 
the offense can seem to be aggravated. 



PARADOX IV. 

THAT EVERY FOOL IS A MADMAN. 

I WILL now convict you, 2 by infallible considerations, 
not as a fool, as I have often done, nor as a villain, as I 
always do, but as insane and mad. Could the mind of 
the wise man, fortified as with walls by depth of counsel, 
by patient endurance of human ills, by contempt of for 
tune; in short, by all the virtues a mind that could not 
be expelled out of this community shall such a mind be 
overpowered and taken by storm ? For what do we call 
a community 1 Surely, not every assembly of thieves and 
ruffians? Is it then the entire rabble of outlaws and 
robbers assembled in one plaee ? No ; you will doubtless 
reply. Then this was no community when its laws had no 
force ; when its courts of justice were prostrated ; when the 
custom of the country had fallen into contempt ; when, the 
magistrates having been driven away by the sword, there was 
not even the name of a senate in the state. Could that gang 
of ruffians, that assembly of villains which you head in the 
forum, could those remains of Catiline s frantic conspiracy, 
diverted to your mad and guilty schemes, be termed a com 
munity ? I could not therefore be expelled from a commu 
nity, because no such then existed. I was summoned back 
to a community when there was a consul in the state, which 

1 The reference here is to beating time to the quantity of syllables in 
a verse, and the term breviora, which is here rendered by the word 
"trifling," indicates the short syllables in the metre. 

2 This paradox takes for its illustration the life of Publius Clodius, a 
Roman soldier of noble birth, but infamous for the corruption of hia 
morals. He was ultimately slain by the retinue of Milo, in a renconter 
which took place between the two as Milo was journeying toward Lanu- 
vium, hia native place, and Clodius was on hia way to Rome. 



276 CICEEO S PAEADOXES. PAR. IT. 

at the former time there was not ; when there was a senate, 
which then had ceased to exist ; when the voice of the people 
was free ; and when laws and equity, those bonds of a commu 
nity, had been restored. 

But see how much I despised the shafts of your villainy. 
That you aimed your villainous wrongs at me, I was always 
aware; but that they reached me I never thought. It is 
true, you might think that somewhat belonging to me was 
tumbling down or consuming, when you were demolishing my 
walls, and applying your detestable torches to the roofs of my 
houses. But neither I nor any man can call that our own 
which can be taken away, plundered, or lost. Could you have 
robbed me of my godlike constancy of mind, of my applica 
tion, of my vigilance, and of those measures through which, 
to your confusion, the republic now exists ; could you have 
abolished the eternal memory of this lasting service ; far more, 
had you robbed me of that soul from which these designs 
emanated ; then, indeed, I should have confessed that I had 
received an injury. But as you neither did nor could do 
this, your persecution rendered my return glorious, but not 
my departure miserable. I, therefore, was always a citizen 
of Rome, but especially at the time when the senate charged 
foreign nations with my preservation as the best of her citi 
zens. As to you, you are at this time no citizen, unless the 
same person can be at once a citizen and an enemy. Can you 
distinguish a citizen from an enemy by the accidents of 
nature and place, and not by its affections and actions ? 
You have perpetrated a massacre in the forum, and occupied 
the temples with bands of armed ruffians; you have set on 
fire the temples of the gods and the houses of private citizens. 
If you are a citizen, in what sense was Spartacus an enemy ? 
Can you be a citizen, through whom, for a time, the state had 
no existence ? And do you apply to me your own designa 
tion, when all mankind thought that on my departure Rome 
herself was gone into exile ? Thou most frantic of all mad 
men, wilt thou never look around thee ? Wilt thou never con 
sider what thou sayest, or what thou doest ? Dost thou not 
know that exile is the penalty of guilt : but that the journey 
I set out upon was undertaken by me in consequence of the 
most illustrious exploits performed by me ? All the criminals, 
all the profligates, of whom you avow yourself the leader, and 



PAB.T. CICERO S PABADOXES. 277 

on whom our laws pronounce the sentence of banishment, are 
exiles, even though they have not changed their locality. At 
the time when all our laws doom thee to banishment, wilt 
thou not be an exile ? Is not the man an enemy who carries 
about him offensive weapons ? A cut-throat belonging to you 
was taken near the senate-house. Who has murdered a man ? 
You have murdered many. Who is an incendiary ? You ; 
for with your own hand you set fire to the temple of the 
nymphs. Who violated the temples ? You pitched your 
camp in the forum. But what do I talk of well-known laws, 
all which doom you to exile ; for your most intimate friend 
carried through a bill with reference to you, by which you 
were condemned to be banished, if it was found that you had 
presented yourself at the mysteries of the goddess Bona ; and 
you are even accustomed to boast that you did so. 1 As there 
fore you have by so many laws been doomed to banishment, 
how is it that you do not shrink from the designation of exile ? 
You say you are still at Rome, and that you were present at 
the mysteries too : but a man will not be free of the place 
where he may be, if he can not be there with the sanction of 
the laws. 

PARADOX V. 

THAT THE WISE MAN ALONE IS FREE, AND THAT EVERY FOOL 
IS A SLAVE. 

HERE let a general 2 be celebrated, or let him be honored 
with that title, or let him be thought worthy of it. But 
how or over what free man will he exercise control who 
can not command his own passions ? 3 Let him in the first 

1 " Among other offenses Clodius is said to have violated the myste 
ries of the Bona Dea by penetrating into the house of Cassar during their 
celebration, disguised in female attire. lie was led to the commission 
of this act by a guilty attachment to Pompeia, Caesar s wife. Being tried 
for this impiety, he managed to escape by bribing the judges." Anthon s 
Cicero: Historical Index. 

2 Supposed to refer to Marcus Antonius. 

3 On this principle ^actantius denies that Hercules was a man of real 
courage, because he was unable to vanquish his own passions ; for, says 
he, that man who overcomes a lion is not to be considered more brave 
than he who quells his own anger, that raging monster that resides 
within himself; nor the man who lays low the most rapacious winged 
creatures than he who restrains his own craving desires ; nor the man 



278 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. v. 

place bridle his lusts, let him despise pleasures, let him 
subdue anger, let him get the better of avarice, let him 
expunge the other stains on his character, and then when 
he himself is no longer in subjection to disgrace and de 
gradation, the most savage tyrants, let him then, I say, 
begin to command others. 1 But while he is subservient 
to these, not <5nly is he not to be regarded as a general, 
but he is by no means to be considered as even a free 
man. This is -nobly laid down by the most learned men, 
whose authority I should not make use of were I now 
addressing myself to an assembly of rustics. But as I 
speak to the wisest men, to whom these things are not new, 
why should I falsely pretend that all the application I have 

who conquers the warlike amazon, than he who subjugates his lust that 
victorious foe of modesty and reputation ; nor the man who casts out 
the filth from a stable, than he who has expelled the vices from his heart, 
which are the more destructive, inasmuch as evils that are internal and 
part of ourselves, are worse than those which may be shunned and 
avoided. 

1 " Res* not in an ovation, but a triumph over thy passions. Let anger 
walk hanging down the head, let malice go manacled, and envy fettered 
after thee. Behold within thee the long train of thy trophies, not with 
out thee. Make the quarreling Lapithytes sleep, and Centaurs within 
lie quiet. Chain up the unruly legion of thy breast. Lead thine own 
captivity captive, and be Cassar within thyself." Sir Thomas Browne s 
Christian Morals, Part I. chap. 2. 

"Be not," says the same author, "a Horculeus fureus abroad, and a 
poltroon within thyself. To chase our enemies out of the field, and be 
led captive by our vices ; to beat down our foes, and fall down to our 
concupiscences ; are solecisms in moral . schools, and no laurel attends 
thereon. To well manage our affections, and wild horses of Plato, are 
the highest circenses ; and the noblest digladiation is in the theater of 
ourselves ; for therein our inward antagonists, not only like common 
gladiators, with ordinary weapons and downright blows make at us, but 
also like retiary and laqueary combatants with nets, frauds, and entang 
lements, fall upon us. "Weapons for such combats are not to be forged 
at Lipara ; Vulcan s art doth nothing in this internal militia ; wherein 
not the armor of Achilles, but the armature of St. Paul, gives the glori 
ous day, and triumphs, not leading up into capitols, but up into the 
highest heavens. And, therefore, while so many think it the only valor 
to command and master others, study thou the dominion of thyself, and 
quiet thine own commotions. Let right reason be thy Lycurgus, and 
lift up thy hand unto the law of it ; move by thy intelligences of the 
superior faculties, not by the rapt of passion, nor merely by that of tem 
per and constitution. They who are merely carried on by the wheel of 
such inclinations, without the hand and guidance of sovereign reason, 
are but the automatous part of mankind, rather lived than living, or at 
least underliving themselves." Ibid. chap. 24. 



PAB.Y. CICERO S PARADOXES. 279 

bestowed upon this study has been lost ? It has been said, 
then, by the most learned men, that none but the wise man 
is free. For what is liberty? The power of living as you 
please. Who, then, is he who lives as he pleases, but the 
man surely who follows righteousness, who rejoices in ful 
filling his duty, and whose path of life has been well 
considered and preconcerted ; the man who obeys the 
laws of his country, not out of dread, but pays them re 
spect and reverence, because he thinks that course the most 
salutary ; who neither does nor thinks any thing otherwise 
than cheerfully and freely ; the man, all whose designs and 
all the actions he performs arise from and are terminated in 
his proper self; 1 the man who is swayed by nothing so 
much as by his own inclination and judgment ; the man 
who is master of fortune herself, whose influence is said to 
be sovereign, agreeably to what the sage poet says, "the 
fortune of every man is molded by his character. 2 To the 

1 That is, his understanding, as distinct from his passions. 

2 "The regulation of every man s plan," says John Poster, in. his cele 
brated Essay on Decision of Character, " must greatly depend upon the 
course of events, which come in an order not to be foreseen or prevented. 
But in accommodating the plans of conduct to the train of events, the 
difference between two men may be no less than that, in the one instance, 
the man is subservient to the events, and in the other the events are 
made subservient to the man. Some men seem to have been taken 
along by a succession of events, and as it were handed forward in help 
less passiveness from one to another ; having no determined principle in 
their own characters by which they could constrain those events to serve 
a design formed antecedently to them, or apparently in defiance of them. 
The events seizeji them as a neutral material, not they the events. 
Others, advancing through life with an internal, invincible determination, 
have seemed to make the train of circumstances, whatever they were, 
conduce as much to their chief design as if they had, by some directing 
interposition, been brought about on purpose. It is wonderful how even 
the casualties of life seem to bow to a spirit that will not bow to them, 
and yield to subserve a design which they may in their first apparent 
tendency threaten to frustrate." 

Shakespeare develops a similar idea in the following passage : 
" Men at some times are masters of their fate ; 
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, 
But in ourselves, that we are underlings." Julius Cassar. 
And a far earlier, and scarcely less skillful anatomist of human nature 
tlius apostrophizes the imaginary goddess : 

"Nullum numen habes, si sit prudentia; nos te, 
Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam, coeloque locamus." 

Juvenal, Sat. VI 365, 3G6. 

X 



280 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. T. 

wise man alone it happens, that he does nothing against his 
will, nothing with pain, nothing by coercion. It would, it is 
true, require a large discourse to prove that this is so,, but it is 
a briefly stated and admitted principle, that no man but he who 
is thus constituted can be free. All wicked men therefore are 
slaves, and this is not so surprising and incredible in fact as it is 
in words. For they are not slaves in the sense those bondmen 
are who are the properties of their masters by purchase, or by 
any law of the state ; but if obedience to a disordered, abject 
mind, destitute of self-control be slavery (and such it is 1 ), who 
can deny that all the dishonest, all the covetous, in short, all 
the wicked, are slaves ? 

Can I call the men free whom a woman governs, to whom 
she 2 gives laws, lays down directions, orders and forbids 
what to her seems fit ; while he can deny and dare refuse 
nothing that she commands ? 3 Does she ask ? He must give. 

Lord Bacon also sanctions the same proposition with his unvarying- 
wisdom. " It can not be denied but outward accidents conduce much 
to fortune; favor, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue, 
but chiefly, the mold of a man s fortune is in his own hands : Faber 
quisque fortunae suse, saith the poet, and the most frequent of external 
causes is, that the folly of one man is the fortune of another ; for no 
man prospers so suddenly as by others errors. Serpens nisi serpentem 
comederit non fit draco. Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise ; 
but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune ; certain 
deliveries of a man s self, which have no name. The Spanish name, 
* disemboltura, partly expresseth these when there be not stones nor 
restiveness in a man s nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way 
with the wheels of his fortune ; for so Livy (after he had described Cato 
Major in these words, In illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, 
ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus videretur), falleth 
upon that that he had, versatile ingenium; therefore, if a man look 
sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune ; for though she be blind, 
yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune is like the milky way in 
the sky ; which is a meeting, or a knot, of a number of small stars, not 
seen asunder, but giving light together ; so are there a number of little 
and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make 
men fortunate." 

1 The Apostle Paul lays down the same principle: "Know ye not 
that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to 
whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto right 
eousness?" Epist. Rom. chap. vi. ver. 16. 

2 The reference is to Antony s amorous subserviency to Cleopatra. 

3 " If Adam in the state of perfection, and Solomon the son of David, 
God s chosen servant, and himself a man endued with the greatest wis 
dom, did both of them disobey their Creator by the persuasion, and for 



PAB.V. CICERO S PARADOXES. 281 

Does she call ? He must come. Does she order him off? He 
must vanish. Does she threaten ? He must tremble. For my 
part, I call such a fellow, though he may have been born in the 
noblest family, not only a slave, but a most abject slave. 
And as in a large household, some slaves look upon themselves 
as more genteel than others, such as porters or gardeners, yet 
still they are slaves ; in like manner, they who are inordinately 
fond of statues, of pictures, of embossed plate, of works in 
Corinthian brass, or magnificent palaces, are equally fools with 
the others. " Nay, but (say they) we are the most eminent 
men of the state." Nay ! you are not superior to your fellow- 
slaves. But as in a household, they who handle the fur 
niture, brush it, anoint their masters, who sweep, and water, 
do not occupy the highest rank of servitude ; in like man 
ner they who have abandoned themselves to their passions 
for these things, occupy nearly the lowest grade of slavery 
itself. 

But you say, I have had the direction of important wars, 
I have presided over great empires and provinces. Then 

the love they bare to a woman, it is not so wonderful as lamentable, that 
other men in succeeding ages have been allured to so many inconvenient 
and wicked practices by the persuasion of their wives or other beloved 
darlings, who cover over and shadow many malicious purposes with a 
counterfeit passion of dissimulating sorrow and unquietness." Sir "Walter 
Raleigh. 

"It is a most miserable slavery to submit to what you disapprove, and 
give up a truth, for no other reason but that you had not the fortitude to 
support you in asserting it. A man has enough to do to conquer his 
own unreasonable wishes and desires ; but he does that in vain, if he has 
those of another to gratify. But in all concessions of this kind, a man. 
should consider whether the present he makes flows from his own love, 
or the importunity of his beloved. If from the latter, he is her slave ; 
if from the former, her friend. "We laugh it off, and do not weigh this 
subjection to women with that seriousness which so important a circum 
stance deserves. "Why was courage given to a man, if his wife s fears 
are to frustrate it ? When this is once indulged, you are no longer her 
guardian and protector, as you were designed by nature ; but in compli 
ance to her weakness, you have disabled yourself from avoiding the mis 
fortunes into which they will lead you both, and you are to see the hour 
in which you are to be reproached by herself. It is indeed the most 
difficult mastery over ourselves to resist the grief of her who charms us, 
but the old argument, that you do not love me if you deny me this, 
which first was used to obtain a trifle, by habitual success will oblige 
the unhappy man who gives way to it, to resign the cause even of hia 
country and hia honor." Addison, Spectator, No. 510. 



282 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAE. v. 

carry about you a soul worthy of praise. A painting of 
Echion, or some statue of Polycletus, holds you bereft of 
your senses : I shall not mention from whom you took it, or 
by what means you possess it : but when I see you staring, 
gaping, and uttering cries, I look upon you to be the slave of 
all these follies. You ask me, " Are not these, then, elegant 
amusements ?" They are : for I too have a cultivated eye ; 
but I beseech you, let these elegances be so regarded as 
the playthings of boys, and not as the shackles of men. 
What think you then? If Lucius Mummius, after he had 
expressed his contempt for all Corinth, had seen one of these 
men examining most eagerly a Corinthian vase, whether 
would he have looked upon him as an excellent citizen, or 
a busy appraiser ? If Manius Curius, or some of those 
Romans who in their villas and their houses had nothing 
that was costly, nothing besides themselves that was orna 
mental, should come to life again, and see one who had re 
ceived the highest honors from the people, taking out of his 
tank his mullets or his carp, then handling them, and boasting 
of the abundance of his lampreys, would not the old Eoman 
think that such a man was so very a slave, that he was not 
even fit for a very high employment in a household ? Is the 
slavery of those men doubtful, who from their greediness for 
wealth spurn no condition of the hardest servitude ? To what 
meanness of slavery will not the hope of succeeding to an es 
tate make a man stoop 2 * What gesture of the childless rich 
old fellow does he not observe ? He frames his words to his 
inclination ; he does whatever is commanded him ; he courts 
him, he sits by him, he makes him presents. What of these is 
the part of a ifree man ? What, indeed, is not the mark of an 
abject slave. 

Well ! how hard a mistress is that passion which seems 
to be more characteristic of liberty, I mean that for public 
preferment, for empire, for provinces ; how imperious ! how 
irresistible ! It forced the men who thought themselves the 

1 " Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when 
they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, 
they may be placed among the worst. As for fishing for testaments and 
executorships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, Testamenta et orbos tam- 
quam indagine capi), it is yet worse, by how much men submit them 
selves to meaner persons than in service." Lord Bacon, Essay 34. 



PAR. vi. CICERO S PARADOXES. 283 

greatest men in Rome to be slaves to Cethegus, a person 
not the most respectable, to send him presents, to wait upon 
him at nights at his house, to turn suitors, nay, supplicants 
to him. If this is to be regarded as freedom, what is 
slavery ? But what shall I say when the sway of the 
passions is over, and when fear, another tyrant, springs out 
of the consciousness of their misdeeds ? What a hard, what 
a wretched servitude is that, when they must be slaves to 
chattering boys; when all who seem to know any thing 
against them are feared as their masters. As to their judge, 
how powerful is his sway over them, with what terrors does 
he afflict the guilty. And is not all fear a slavery ? What 
then is the meaning of that more eloquent than wise speech 
delivered by the accomplished orator Crassus? "Snatch us 
from slavery." What slavery could happen to so illustrious 
and noble a man ? Every terror of a weak, a mean, and a das 
tardly soul is slavery. He goes on " Suffer us not to be 
the slaves of any (you perhaps imagine that he is now about 
to assert his liberty. Not at all, for what does he add ?) but 
of you all, to whom we are able and bound to be subservient." 
He desires not to be free, but to change his master. Now 
we whose souls are lofty, exalted, and intrenched in virtue, 
neither can, nor ought to be slaves. Say that you can be a 
slave, since indeed you can ; but say not that you are bound 
to be one, for no man is bound to any service, unless it is 
disgraceful not to render it. But enough of this. Now let 
this man consider if he can be a general, when reason and 
truth must convince him that he is not so much as a 
freeman. 



PARADOX VI. 

THAT THE WISE MAN ALONE IS RICH. 

WHAT means this unbecoming ostentation in making 
mention of your money ? 1 You are the only rich man ! Im 
mortal gods ! ought I not to rejoice that I have heard and 
learned something ? You the only rich man ! What if you 
are not rich at all ? What if you even are a beggar ? For 
whom are we to understand to be a rich man? To what 

1 This paradox is addressed to Marcus Crassus. 



284 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAE. vr. 

kind of a man do we apply the term ? To the man as I sup 
pose, whose possessions are such that he may be well con 
tented to live liberally, who has no desire, no hankering 
after, no wish for more. It is your own mind, and not the 
talk of others, nor your possessions, that must pronounce 
you to be rich ; for it ought to think that nothing is want 
ing to it, and care for nothing beyond. Is it satiated, or 
even contented with your money ? I admit that you are 
rich ; but if for the greed of money you think no source of 
profit disgraceful (though your order can not make any 
honest profits), if you every day are cheating, deceiving, 
craving, jobbing, poaching, and pilfering; if you rob the 
allies and plunder the treasury ; if you are forever longing 
for the bequests of friends, or not even waiting for them, 
but forging them yourself, are such practices the indications 
of a rich or a needy man? It is the mind, and not the 
coffers of a man, that is to be accounted rich. For though 
the latter be full, when I see yourself empty, I shall not 
think you rich ; because men measure the amount of riches 
by that which is sufficient for each individual. Has a man 
a daughter ? then he has need of money. But he has two, 
then he ought to have a greater fortune ; he has more, then 
he ought to have more fortune still ; and if, as we are told 
of Danaus, he has fifty daughters, so many fortunes require 
a great estate. For, as I said before, the degree of wealth 
is dependent on how much each individual has need of. He 
therefore who has not a great many daughters, but innu 
merable passions, which are enough to consume a very great 
estate in a very short time, how can I call such a man rich, 
when he himself is conscious that he is poor? Many have 
heard you say, that no man is rich who can not with his in 
come maintain an army ; a thing which the people of Rome 
some time ago, with their so great revenues, could scarcely 
do. Therefore, according to your maxim, you never can be 
rich, until so much is brought in to you from your estates, 
that out of it you can maintain six legions, and large auxil 
iaries of horse and foot. 1 You therefore, in fact, confess 

1 " It will be found," says Dr. Johnson, "on a nearer view, that those 
who extol the happiness of poverty, do not mean the same state with 
those who deplore its miseries. Poets have their imaginations filled with 
ideas of magnificence ; and, being accustomed to contemplate the down- 



PAR. VL CICERO S PARADOXES. 285 

yourself not to be rich, who are so far short of fulfilling what 
you desire ; you, therefore, have never concealed your poverty, 
your neediness, and your beggary. 

For as we see that they who make an honest livelihood by 
commerce, by industry, by farming the public revenue, have 
occasion for their earnings; so, whoever sees at your house 
the crowds of accusers and judges together; whoever sees 
rich and guilty criminals plotting the corruption of trials 
with you as their adviser, and your bargainings for pay for 
the distribution of patronage, your pecuniary interventions 
in the contests of candidates, your dispatching your freed- 
men to fleece and plunder the provinces; whoever calls to 
mind your dispossessing your neighbors, your depopulating 
the country by your oppressions, your confederacies with 
slaves, with freedmen, and with clients; the vacating of es 
tates ; the proscriptions of the wealthy ; the corporations mas 
sacred, and the harvest of the times of Sylla; the wills you 
have forged, and the many men you have made away with ; 
in short, that all things were venal with you in your levies, 
your decrees, your own votes, and the votes of others; the 
forum, your house, your speaking, and your silence; who 
must not think that such a man confesses he has occasion for 
all he has acquired? But who can truly designate him as 
a rich man who needs all his earnings 1 For the advantage 
of riches consists in plenty, and this plenty declares the 
overflow and abundance of the m6ans of life, which, as you 
can never attain, you can never be rich. I shall say nothing 
of myself, because as you (and that with reason) despise my 
fortune for it is in the opinion of the generality middli*--^ 
in yours next to nothing, and in mine sufficient T 
speak to the subject. Now if facts are to be we 
estimated by us, whether are we more to esteem- 4h 
of Pyrrhus which he sent to Fabricius, or th 
Fabricius for refusing that money? the : 
nites, or the answer of Manius Curiu r 
Lucius Paulus, or the generosity 

fall of empires, or to contrive forma of lameL sx-ha in dis 
tress, rank all the classes of mankind in a stai ert v v. uo make no 
approaches to the dignity of crowns. To be pc . epic language 
is only not to command the wealth of nations, a. j have fleets and 
armies to pay." "Rambler, No. 202. 



286 CICERO S PARADOXES. PAR. vi. 

to his brother Quintus his own part of that inheritance ? 
Surely the latter evidences of consummate virtue are more 
to be esteemed than the former, which are the evidences of 
wealth. If, therefore, we are to rate every man rich only in 
proportion to the valuable things he possesses, who can doubt 
that riches consist in virtue, since no* possession, no amount of 
gold and silver, is more to be valued than virtue ? 

Immortal gods ! Men are not aware how great a revenue 
is parsimony ; for I now proceed to speak of extravagant 
men, I take my leave of the money-hunter. The revenue 
one man receives from his estate is six hundred sestertia; 
I receive one hundred from mine. To that man who has 
gilded roofs and marble pavements in his villas, and who 
unboundedly covets statues, pictures, vestments, and fur 
niture, his income is insufficient, not only for his expenditure, 
but even for the payment of his interest; while there will 
be some surplus even from my slender income, through 
cutting off the expenses of voluptuousness. Which, then, is 
the richer, he who has a deficit, or he who has a surplus ? 
he who is in need, or he who abounds ? the man whose 
estate, the greater it is, requires the more to sustain it, or 
whose estate maintains itself by its own resources ?* 

But why do I talk of myself, who through the contagion 

1 " Riches are of no value in themselves, their use is discovered only 
in that which they procure. They are not coveted unless by narrow un 
derstandings, which confound the means with the end, but for the sake 
of power, influence, and esteem ; or by some of less elevated and re 
fined sentiments as necessary to sensual enjoyment. 

" The pleasures of luxury many have, without uncommon virtue, been 
able to despise, even when affluence and idleness have concurred to 
tempt them ; and therefore he who feels nothing from indigence, but the 
want of gratifications which he could not in any other condition make 
consistent with innocence, has given no proof of eminent patience. 
Esteem and influence every man desires, but they are equally pleasing 
and equally valuable, by whatever means they are obtained ; and who 
ever has found the art of securing them without the help of money 
ought in reality to be accounted rich, since he has all that riches can 
purchase to a wise man. Cincinnatus, though he lived upon a few acres, 
cultivated by his own hand, was sufficiently removed from all the evils 
generally comprehended under the name of poverty, when his reputation 
was such that the voice of his country called him from his farm to take 
absolute command into his hand ; nor was Diogenes much mortified by 
his residence in a tub, where he was honored with the visit of Alexander 
the Great." The Rambler, No. 202. 



PAR vi. CICERO S PARADOXES. 28*7 

of fashion and of the times, am perhaps a little infected with 
the fault of the age ? In the memory of our fathers, Manius 
Manilius (not to mention continually the Curii and the Lus- 
cinii) at length became poor ; for he had only a little house 
at Carani and a farm near Labicum. Now are we, because 
we have greater possessions, richer men ? I wish we were. 
But the amount of wealth is not defined by the valuation of 
the census, but by habit and mode of life ; not to be greedy 
is wealth ; not to be extravagant is revenue. Above all 
things, to be content with what we possess is the greatest 
and most secure of riches. If therefore they who are the 
most skillful valuers of property highly estimate fields and 
certain sites, because such estates are the least liable to 
injury, how much more valuable is virtue, which never 
can be wrested, never can be filched from us, which can not 
be lost by fire or by shipwreck, and which is not alienated 
by the convulsions of tempest or of time, with which those 
who are endowed alone are rich, for they alone possess re 
sources which are profitable and eternal ; and they are the 
only men who, being contented with what they possess, think 
it sufficient, which is the criterion of riches : they hanker 
after nothing, they are in need of nothing, they feel the want 
of nothing, and they require nothing. As to the unsatiable 
and avaricious part of mankind, as they have possessions 
liable to uncertainty, and at the mercy of chance, they who 
are forever thirsting after more, and of whom there never was 
a man for whom what he had sufficed ; they are so far from 
being wealthy and rich, that they are to be regarded as neces 
sitous and beggared. 



THE 



VISION OF SCIPIO. 



SCIPIO SPEAKS. 



WHEN I had arrived in Africa as military tribune of the 
fourth legion, as you know, under the consul, Lucius Man- 
lius, nothing was more delightful to me than having an in 
terview with Massinissa, a prince who, for good reasons, was 
most friendly to our family. When I arrived, the old man 
shed tears as he embraced me. Soon after he raised his 
eyes up to heaven and said, I thank thee, most glorious sun, 
and ye the other inhaBitants of heaven, that before I depart 
from this life, I see in my kingdom and under this roof, 
Publius Cornelius Scipio, by whose very name I am re 
freshed, for never does the memory of that greatest, that most 
invincible of men, vanish from my mind. After this I informed 
myself from him about his kingdom, and he from me about 
our government ; and that day was consumed in much con 
versation on both sides. 

Afterward, having been entertained with royal magnifi 
cence, we prolonged our conversation to a late hour of the 
night ; while the old man talked of nothing but of Africanus, 
and remembered not only all his actions, but all his sayings. 
Then, when we departed to bed, owing to my journey and 
my sitting up to a late hour, a sleep sounder than ordinary 
came over me. In this (I suppose from the subject on 
which we had been talking, for it commonly happens that 
our thoughts and conversations beget something analogous 
in our sleep, just as Ennius writes about Homer, of whom 
assuredly, he was accustomed most frequently to think and 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 289 

talk when awake), 1 Africanus presented himself to me in that 
form which was more known from his statue than from his 
own person. 

No sooner did I know him than I shuddered. "Draw 
near (said he), with confidence, lay aside your dread, and 
commit what I say to your memory. You see that city, 
which by me was forced to submit to the people of Rome, 
but is now renewing its former wars, and can not remain at 
peace (he spoke these words pointing to Carthage from an 
eminence that was full of stars, bright and glorious), which 
you are now come, before you are a complete soldier, 2 to at 
tack. Within two years you shall be consul, and shall over 
throw it ; and you shall acquire for yourself that surname 
that you now wear, as bequeathed by me. 3 After you have 

1 "I believe that dreams are uniformly the resuscitation or re-embodi 
ment of thoughts which have formerly, in some shape or other, occupied 
the mind. They are old ideas revived, either in an entire state, or hete- 
rogeneously mingled together. I doubt if it be possible for a person to 
have in a dream any idea whose elements did not in some form strike 
him at a previous period. If these break loose from their connecting 
chain, and become jumbled together incoherently, as is often the case, 
they give rise to absurd combinations ; but the elements still subsist, 
and only manifest themselves in a new and unconnected shape. Dreams 
generally arise without any assignable cause, but sometimes we can very 
readily discover their origin. "Whatever has much interested us during; 
the day is apt to resolve itself into a dream, and this will generally be 
pleasurable or the reverse, according to the nature of the exciting cause. 
If, for instance, our reading or conversation be of horrible subjects, such 
as specters, murders, or conflagrations, they will appear before us mag 
nified and heightened in our dreams. Or if we have been previously 
sailing upon a rough sea, we are apt to suppose ourselves undergoing 
the perils of shipwreck. Pleasurable sensations during the day are also 
apt to assume a still more pleasurable aspect in dreams. In like manner, 
if we have a longing for anything, we are apt to suppose that we possess 
it. Even objects altogether unattainable are placed within our reach : 
we achieve impossibilities, and triumph with ease over the invincible 
laws of nature." Macnish s Philosophy of Sleep, chap. 3. 

2 Soldier. The original is nunc venis pane Miles, because Scipio was 
then only a young man and one of the military tribunes, which post was 
looked upon as only a kind of cadetship which they went through before 
they could be generals. 

3 " Dreams have been looked upon by some as the occasional means 
of giving us an insight into futurity. This opinion is so singularly un- 
philosophical that I would not have noticed it, were it not advocated 
even by persons of good sense and education. In ancient times it was 
so common as to obtain universal belief; and the greatest men placed as 

13 



290 THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

destroyed Carthage, performed a triumph, and been censor ; 
after, in the capacity of legate, you have visited Egypt, Syria, 
Asia, and Greece, you shall, in your absence, be chosen a 
second time consul ; then you shall finish a most dreadful 
war, and utterly destroy Numantia. But when you shall be 
borne into the capitol in your triumphal chariot, you shall find 
the government thrown into confusion by the machinations 
of my grandson ;* and here, my Africanus, you must display 
to your country the luster of your spirit, genius, and wisdom. 
" But at this period I perceive that the path of your destiny 
is a doubtful one ; for when your life has passed through 
seven times eight 2 oblique journeys and returns of the sun ; 

implicit faith in it as in any fact of which their own senses afforded them 
cognizance. That it is wholly erroneous, however, can not be doubted ; 
and any person who examines the nature of the human mind and the 
manner in which it operates in dreams, must be convinced that under no 
circumstances, except those of a miracle, in which the ordinary laws of 
nature are triumphed over, can such an event ever take place. The sacred 
writings testify that miracles were common in former times, but I believe 
no man of sane mind will contend that they ever occur in the present 
state of the world. In judging of things as now constituted, we must 
discard supernatural influence altogether, and estimate events according 
to the general laws which the great Euler of nature has appointed for 
the guidance of the universe. If in the present day it were possible to 
conceive a suspension of these laws, it must, as in former ages, be in 
reference to some great event and to serve some mighty purpose con 
nected with the general interests of the human race ; but if faith is to bo 
placed in modern miracles, we must suppose that God suspended the 
above laws for the most trivial and useless of purposes. At the same 
time there can be no doubt that many circumstances occurring in our 
dreams have been actually verified ; but this must be regarded as alto 
gether the effect of chance ; and for one dream which turns out to bo 
true, at least a thousand are false. In fact, it is only when they are of 
the former description, that we take any notice of them, the latter are 
looked upon as mere idle vagaries, and speedily forgotten." Macnish a 
Philosophy of Sleep, chap. 4. 

Speaking of uninspired prophecy, Lord Bacon says : " There are num 
bers of the like kind ; especially if you include dreams and predictions 
of astrology, but I have set down these few only of certain credit for ex 
ample. My judgment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought 
to serve but for winter talk by the fireside." 

1 "Grandson. Meaning Tiberius Gracchus or his brother ; their mother 
was daughter to the elder Africanus. I can not help being of opinion 
that Virgil took from this vision his first hint of the discourse which he 
introduces in the sixth book of the ^Eneid, between ^Eneas and hia 
father." Guthrie. 

2 " Seven times eight times. The critics and commentators have been 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 291 

and when these two numbers (each of which is regarded as 
a complete one one on one account and the other on 
another) shall, in their natural circuit, have brought you to 
the crisis of your fate, then will the whole state turn itself 
toward thee and thy glory; the senate, all virtuous men, 
our allies, and the Latins, shall look up to you. Upon your 
single person the preservation of your country will depend ; 
and, in short, it is your part, as dictator, to settle the gov 
ernment, if you can but escape the impious hands of your 
kinsmen." 1 Here, when Laelius uttered an exclamation, 
and the rest groaned with great excitement, Scipio said, with 
a gentle smile, " I beg that you will not waken me out of my 
dream, give a little time and listen to the sequel. 

" But that you may be more earnest in the defense of 
your country, know from me, that a certain place in heaven 
is assigned to all who have preserved, or assisted, or im 
proved their country, where they are to enjoy an endless 
duration of happiness. 2 For there is nothing which takes 

very profuse of their learning in explaining this passage. But since the 
doctrine of numbers, and the motions of the heavenly bodies have been 
so well understood, it is a learning of a very useless nature. The sum 
of what they tell us is, that the numbers seven and eight are complete 
numbers, and when multiplied into one another produce fifty-six, which 
is one of the climacterics of human life. The reasons they give for all 
this are so many aod so fanciful, that though they are strengthened with 
the greatest names of antiquity, it can be of very little use for a modern 
reader to know them." G-uthrie. 

1 "There scarce can be a doubt that this passage was in Yirgil s eye, 
when he makes Anchises break out in that beautiful exclamation in the 
sixth book of the ^Eneid concerning Marcellus. 

Heu miserande puer si qua fata aspera rumpas, 
Tu Marcellus eris. " G-uthrie. 

2 It seems to have strongly entered into the expectations of those 
eminent sages of antiquity who embraced the doctrine of the soul s im 
mortality, that the felicity of the next life will partly arise, not only from 
a renewal of those virtuous connections which have been formed in the 
present, but from conversing at large with that whole glorious assembly 
whom the poet hath so justly brought together, in his description of the 
mansions of the blessed : The 

"Manus ob patriam pugnando vulnera passi, 
Quique sacerdotes casti, dum vita manebat, 
Quique pii vates, et Phoebo digna locuti, 
Inventas aut qui vitam excoluere per artes 
Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo." 

Yirg. J3n. vi. 664. 



292 THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

place on earth more acceptable to that Supreme Deity who 
governs all this world, than those councils and assemblies of 
men bound together by law, which are termed states ; the 
governors and preservers of these go from hence, 1 and hither 
do they return." Here, frightened as I was, not so much 
from the dread of death as of the treachery of my friends, I 
nevertheless asked him whether my father Paulus, and others, 
whom we thought to be dead, were yet alive ? " To be sure 
they are alive (replied Africanus), for they have escaped 
from the fetters of the body as from a prison ; that which is 
called your life is really death. But behold your father 
Paulus approaching you." No sooner did I see him than I 
pouivd for.h a flood of tears ; hut he, embracing and kissing 
me, forbade me to weep. And when, having suppressed my 
tears, I began first to be able to speak, " why (said I), thou 
most sacred and excellent father, since this is life, as I hear 
Africanus affirm, why do I terry on earth, and not hasten to 
come to you ?" 

"Patriots who perished for tneir country s right, - 
Or nobly triumphed in the field of light, 
There holy priests and sacred poets stood, 
"Who sung with all the raptures of a god ; 
Worthies, who life by useful arts refined, 
With those who leave a deathless name behind, 
Friends of the world, and fathers of mankind." Pitt s translation. 
1 " Plato, in the dialogue entitled Phcedo, represents Socrates on the 
morning of his execution, as holding a conversation with his friends, on 
the soul s immortality, in which, among other arguments, he endeavors 
to establish the doctrine of the soul s future existence, upon the principle 
of its having existed before its union with the body. This was attempt 
ing to support the truth of the hypothesis in question, by resting it on 
another altogether conjectural and precarious. But these two proposi 
tions, though totally distinct from, and unconnected with each other, were 
held by all the ancient philosophers who maintained the future perman 
ency of the soul, to have a mutual dependence, and necessarily to stand 
or fall together. For, as they raised their arguments for the soul s im 
mortality chiefly on metaphysical ground ; they clearly perceive, as the 
very learned Cudworth observes, " If it were once granted that the soul 
was generated, it could never be proved but it might also be corrupted. 
Keasonings of this kind, indeed, are generally more specious than satisfac 
tory; and perhaps, every sensible reader, after perusing what the most 
acute metaphysicians have written on this important article, will find him 
self not very far from the same state of mind as Cicero s Tusculan disciple 
was after reading Plato ; nescio quomodo, says he, dum lego assenti- 
or ; cum posui librum, assensio omnis ilia elabitur. " Melmoth. 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 293 

" Not so, my son (he replied) ; unless that God, whose 
temple is all this which you behold, shall free you from this 
imprisonment in the body, you can have no admission to this 
place ; for men have been created under this condition, that 
they should keep that globe which you see in the middle of 
this temple, and which is called the earth. And a soul has 
been supplied to them from those eternal fires which you 
call constellations and stars, and which, being globular and 
round, are animated with divine spirit, and complete their 
cycles and revolutions with amazing rapidity. Therefore you, 
my Publius, and all good men, must preserve your souls 
in the keeping of your bodies ; nor are you, without the 
order of that Being who bestowed them upon you, to depart 
from mundane life, lest you seem to desert the duty of a 
man, which has been assigned you by God. 1 Therefore, 
Scipio, like your grandfather here, and me who begot you, 
cultivate justice and piety ; which, while it should be great 
toward your parents and relations, should be greatest to 
ward your country. 2 Such a life is the path to heaven and 
the assembly of those who have lived before, and who, 
having been released from their bodies, inhabit that place 
which thou beholdest." 3 

1 This sentiment, in reprehension of the practice of suicide, has been 
previously noticed in the notes on Cicero s Treatises on Friendship and 
Old Age, where he states that this particular illustration is taken from 
Pythagoras. It has in it far more of Christian philosophy than is to be 
found in the reasonings of many modern moralists. 

2 " The love of our country has often been found to be a deceitful 
principle, as its direct tendency is to set the interests of one division of 
mankind in opposition to another, and to establish a preference built upon 
accidental relations and not upon reason. Much of what has been un 
derstood by the appellation is excellent ; but, perhaps, nothing that can 
be brought within the strict interpretation of the phrase. A wise and 
well-informed man will not fail to bo the votary of liberty and justice. 
He will be ready to exert himself in their defense wherever they exist. 
It can not be a matter of indifference to him when his own liberty and 
that of other men, with whose merits and capacities ho has the best op 
portunity of being acquainted, are involved in the event of the struggle 
to be made ; but his attachment will be to the cause, as the cause of 
man and not to the country. Wherever there are individuals who un 
derstand the value of political justice, and are prepared to assert it, that 
is his country ; wherever he can most contribute to the diffusion of thoso 
principles, and the real happiness of mankind, that is his country. Nor 
does he desire for any country, any other benefit than justice." 
win s Political Justice, book v. chap. 16. 

8 So Yirgil, " Macto tua virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra." 



294 THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

Now the place my father spoke of was a radiant circle of 
dazzling brightness amid the flaming bodies, which you, as 
you have learned from the Greeks, term the Milky Way ; 
from which position all other objects seemed to me, as I sur 
veyed them, marvelous and glorious. There were stars 
which we never saw from this place, and their magnitudes 
were such as we never imagined ; the smallest of which was 
that which, placed upon the extremity of the heavens, but 
nearest to the earth, shone with borrowed light. But the 
globular bodies of the stars greatly exceeded the magnitude 
of the earth, which now to me appeared so small, that I was 
grieved to see our empire contracted, as it were, into a very 
point. 1 

Which, while I was too eagerly gazing on, Africanus said, 
" How long will your attention be fixed upon the earth ? 
Do you not see into what temples you have entered ? All 
things are connected by nine circles, or rather spheres ; one 
of which (which is the outermost) is heaven, and compre 
hends all the rest, (inhabited by) that all-powerful God, 
who bounds and controls the others ; and in this sphere 
reside the original principles of those endless revolutions 
which the planets perform. Within this are contained seven 
other spheres, that turn round backward, that is, in a con 
trary direction to that of the heaven. Of these, that planet 
which on earth you call Saturn, occupies one sphere. That 
shining body which you see next is called Jupiter, and is 
friendly and salutary to mankind. Next the lucid one, ter 
rible to the earth, which you call Mars. The Sun holds the 
next place, almost under the middle region ; he is the chief, 
the leader, and the director of the other luminaries ; he is 
the soul and guide of the world, and of such immense bulk, 
that he illuminates and fills all other objects with his light. 
He is followed by the orbit of Venus, and that of Mercury, 
as attendants ; and the Moon rolls in the lowest sphere, en 
lightened by the rays of the Sun. Below this there is 
nothing but what is mortal and transitory, excepting those 

1 If we compare this passage with the fortieth chapter of the Prophe 
sies of Isaiah, and also the fourth eclogue of Virgil, with other parts of 
the same prophesy, we shall find it difficult to believe that that inspired 
book had not in part or wholly come to the knowledge of the Romans 
as early as the age of Cicero. 



THE VISION OF SOIPIO. 295 

souls which, are given to the human race by the goodness of 
the gods. Whatever lies above the Moon is eternal. For 
the earth, which is the ninth sphere, and is placed in the 
center of the whole system, is immovable and below all the 
rest; and all bodies, by their natural gravitation, tend to 
ward it." 

Which as I was gazing at in amazement I said, as I 
recovered myself, from whence proceed these sounds so 
strong, and yet so sweet, that fill my ears ? " The melody 
(replies he) which you hear, and which, though composed 
in unequal time, is nevertheless divided into regular har 
mony, is effected by the impulse and motion of the spheres 
themselves, which, by a happy temper of sharp and grave 
notes, regularly produces various harmonic effects. Now it 
is impossible that such prodigious movements should pass in 
silence ; and nature teaches that the sounds which the 
spheres at one extremity utter must be sharp, and those on 
the other extremity must be grave ; on which account, that 
highest revolution of the star-studded heaven, whose motion 
is more rapid, is carried on with a sharp and quick sound ; 
whereas this of the moon, which is situated the lowest, and 
at the other extremity, moves with the gravest sound. For 
the earth, the ninth sphere, remaining motionless, abides in 
variably in the innermost position, occupying the central 
spot in the universe. 

" Now these eight directions, two of which 1 have the same 
powers, effect seven sounds, differing in their modulations, 
which number is the connecting principle of almost all 
things. Some learned men, by imitating this harmony with 
strings and vocal melodies, have opened a way for their re 
turn to this place ; as all others have done, who, endued 
with pre-eminent qualities, have cultivated in their mortal 
life the pursuits of heaven. 

"The ears of mankind, filled with these sounds, have be 
come deaf, for of all your senses it is the most blunted. 2 Thus, 

1 Mercury and Venus are the planets here referred to. 

2 The idea of the music of the spheres has embellished the composi 
tions of many poets, both ancient and modern. One passage, however, 
in the pages of Shakespeare appears to have been suggested by this part 
of the writings of Cicero. It is as follows : 

" Sit, Jessica, see how the floor of heaven 
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold; 



296 THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

the people who live near the place where the Nile rushes 
down from very high mountains to the parts which are 
called Catadupa, are destitute of the sense of hearing, by 
reason of the greatness of the noise. Now this sound, which 
is effected by the rapid rotation of the whole system of 
nature, is so powerful that human hearing can not compre 
hend it, just as you cannot look directly upon the sun, because 
your sight and sense are overcome by his beams." 

Though admiring these scenes, yet I still continued direct 
ing my eyes in the same direction toward the earth. On 
this Africanus said, " I perceive that even now you are con 
templating the abode and home of the human race. 1 And 
as this appears to you diminutive, as it really is, 3 fix your 
regard upon these celestial scenes, and despise those abodes 

There is not a single star which thou beholdest 
But in its motion like an angel sings, 
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim. 
Such harmony is in immortal souls : 
But while this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close us in, we can not hear it." 

Merchant of Yenice. 

1 " If minds in general are not made to be strongly affected by the 
phenomena of the earth and heavens ; they are, however, all subject to 
be powerfully influenced by the appearances and character of the human 
world. I suppose a child in Switzerland, growing up to a man, would 
have acquired incomparably more of the cast of his mind from the events, 
manners, and actions of the next village, though its inhabitants were but 
his occasional companions, than from all the mountain scenes, the cata 
racts, and every circumstance of beauty or sublimity in nature around 
him. "We are all true to our species, and very soon feel its importance 
to us (though benevolence be not the basis of the interest), far beyond 
the importance of any thing that we can see beside. Beginning your 
observation with children, you may have noted how instantly they will 
turn their attention away from any of the aspects of nature, however 
rare or striking, if human objects present themselves to view in any act 
ive manner." John Foster, Essay I. 

9 " Is it for no purpose that the human eye is permitted to traverse 
the immensity of space ? or is it with no moral intention that now at 
length, and after five thousand years of labor and conjecture, a true no 
tion of the material universe has been attained and has become diffused 
among all ranks in every civilized community? At last, and in these 
times, man knows his place in the heavens, and is taught to think justly 
of the relative importance of the planet which has given him birth. 
During a long course of centuries, it was to little purpose, or to little in 
relation to man, that the emanations of light had passed and re-passed 
from side to side of the universe j for until of late, that is to say, the last 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

of men. What celebrity are you able to attain to in the dis 
course of men, or what glory that ought to be desired ? You 
perceive that men dwell on but few and scanty portions of 
the earth, and that amid these spots, as it were, vast soli 
tudes are interposed ! As to those who inhabit the earth, 
not only are they so separated that no communication can 
circulate among them from the one to the other, but part lie 
upon one side, part upon another, and part are diametrically 
opposite to you, from whom you assuredly can expect no 
glory. 

You are now to observe that the same earth is encircled 
and encompassed as it were by certain zones, of which the 
two that are most distant from one another, and lie as it 
were toward the vortexes of the heavens in both directions, 
are rigid as you see with frost, while the middle and the 
largest zone is burned up with the heat of the sun. Two of 
these are habitable; of which the southern, whose inhabit 
ants imprint their footsteps in an opposite direction to you, 
have no relation to your race. As to this other, lying to 
ward the north, which you inhabit, observe what a small 
portion of it falls to your share ; for all that part of the 
earth which is inhabited by you, which narrows toward the 
south and north, 1 but widens from east to west, is no other 
than a little island surrounded by that sea which on earth 
you call the Atlantic, sometimes the great sea, and some 
times the ocean ; and yet with so grand a name, you see how 
diminutive it is ! Now do you think it possible for your re 
nown, or that of any one of us, to move from those cultivated 
and inhabited spots of ground, and pass beyond that Cau 
casus, or swim across yonder Ganges ? a What inhabitant of 

three centuries, it was not certainly known whether this earth (itself 
unexplored), were not the only scene of life, and whether the sun, the 
stars, and the planets were any thing more than brilliants floating in an 
upper ether." Taylor s Physical Theory of Another Life, chap. 15. 

1 Which narrows toward the south and north, etc. This is a very curi 
ous passage, and if our author s interpreters are to be believed, he was 
acquainted with the true figure of the earth, a discovery which is gene 
rally thought to have been reserved for Sir Isaac Newton, and to have 
been confirmed by some late experiments ; but I own I am not without 
some doubts as to our author s meaning, whether he does not here speak, 
not of the whole face of the earth, but of that part of it which was pos 
sessed or conquered by the Romans. Guthrie. 

2 " What might be," says Dr. Johnson, after quoting this passage, 

13* 



298 THE VISION OP SCIPIO. 

the other parts of the east, or of the extreme regions of the 
setting sun, of those tracts that run toward the south or 
toward the north, shall ever hear of your name ? Now sup 
posing them cut off, you see at once within what narrow 
limits your glory would fain expand itself. As to those who 
speak of you, how long will they speak ? 

Let me even suppose that a future race of men shall be 
desirous of transmitting to their posterity your renown or 
mine, as they received it from their fathers ; yet when we 
consider the convulsions and conflagrations that must neces 
sarily happen at some definite period, we are unable to attain 
not only to an eternal, but even to a lasting fame. 1 Now of 

"the effect of these observations conveyed in Ciceronian eloquence to 
Boman understandings, can not be determined ; but few of those, who 
shall in the present age read my humble version will find themselves 
much depressed in their hopes or retarded in their design ; for I am not 
inclined to believe that they who among us pass their lives in the culti 
vation of knowledge or acquisition of power, have very anxiously inquired 
what opinions prevail on the further banks of the G-anges, or invigorated 
any effort by the desire of spreading their renown among the clans of 
Caucasus. The hopes and fears of modern minds are content to rango 
in a narrower compass ; a single nation and a few years, have generally 
sufficient amplitude to fill our imaginations. A little consideration will 
indeed teach us that fame has other limits than mountains and oceans, 
and that he who places happiness in the frequent repetition of his name, 
may spend his life in propagating it, without any danger of weeping for 
new worlds, or necessity of passing the Atlantic sea. 

"IfJ therefore, he that imagines the world filled with his actions and 
praises, shall subduct from the number of his encomiast, all those who 
are placed below the flight of fame, and who hear in the valleys of life 
no voice but that of necessity ; all those who imagine themselves too 
important to regard him, and consider the mention of his name as a 
usurpation of their time ; all who are too much or too little pleased with 
themselves to attend to any thing external ; all who are attracted by 
pleasure, or chained down by pain to unvaried ideas ; all who are with 
held from attending his triumph by different pursuits ; and all who slum 
ber in universal negligence, he will find his renown straitened by nearer 
bounds than the rocks of Caucasus, and perceive that no man can bo 
venerable, or formidable, but to a small part of his fellow-creatures. 

" That we may not languish in our endeavors after excellence, it is 
necessary that, as Africanus counsels his descendants, we raise our eyes 
to higher prospects, and contemplate our future and eternal state, with 
out giving up our hearts to the praise of crowds, or fixing our hopes on 
such rewards as human power can bestow." Rambler, No. 118. 

1 " Lastly, leaving the vulgar arguments that by learning man excell- 
eth man in that wherein man excelleth beasts ; that by learning man 
ascendeth to the heavens, and their motions, where in body he can not 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 299 

what consequence is it to you to be talked of by those who 
are born after you, and not by those who were born before 
you, who certainly were as numerous and more virtuous; 
especially, as among the very men who are thus to 
celebrate our renown, not a single one can preserve the 
recollections of a single year ? For mankind ordinarily 
measure their year by the revolution of the sun, that is of a 
single heavenly body. But when all the planets shall return 
to the same position which they once had, and bring back 
after a long rotation the same aspect of the entire heavens, 
then the year may be said to be truly completed ; in which I 
do not venture to say how many ages of mankind will be 
contained. For, as of old, when the spirit of Romulus 

come, and the like ; let us conclude with the dignity and excellency of 
knowledge and learning in that whereunto man s nature doth most as 
pire, which is immortality or continuance. For to this tendeth genera 
tion, and raising of houses and families ; to this buildings, foundations, 
and monuments ; to this tendeth the desire of memory, fame and cele 
bration, and in effect the strength of all other human desires. "We see, 
then, how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable than, 
the monuments of power, or of the hands. For have not the verses of 
Homer continued twenty-five hundred years or more, without the loss 
of a syllable or letter, during which time infinite palaces, temples, castles, 
cities, have been decayed and demolished ? It is not possible to have 
the true pictures of statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cassar, no, nor of tho 
kings or great personages of much later years ; for the originals can not 
last, and the copies can not but lose of the life and truth. But the im 
ages of men s wits and knowledge remain in books exempted from the 
wrong of time, and capable of perpetual renovation. Neither are they 
fitly to be called images, because they generate still, and cast their seeds 
in the minds of others, provoking and causing infinite actions and opin 
ions in succeeding ages ; so that if the invention of the ship was thought 
so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and 
consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how 
much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the 
vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, 
illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other? Nay, further, we 
see some of the philosophers, which were least divine and most immersed 
in the senses, and denied generally the immortality of tho soul, yet came 
to this point, that whatsoever motions the spirit of man could act and 
perform without the organs of the body, they thought might remain after 
death, which were only those of the understanding, and not of the affec 
tions ; so immortal and incorruptible a thing did knowledge seem unto 
them to be. But we that know by divine revelation that not only the 
understanding but the affections purified, not only the spirit but the body 
changed, shall be advanced to immortality, to disclaim these rudiments 
of the senses." Lord Bacon s Advancement of Learning, Book I, 



300 THE YISION OF SCIPIO. 

entered these temples, the sun disappeared to mortals and 
seemed to be extinguished ; so whenever the sun be eclipsed 
at the same time with all the stars, and constellations, brought 
back to the same starting-point, shall again disappear, then 
you are to reckon the year to be complete. But be assured 
that the twentieth part of such a year is not yet elapsed. 

IfJ therefore, you hope to return to this place, toward 
which all the aspirations of great and good men are tending, 
what must be the value of that human fame that endures for 
but a little part of a single year I 1 If, then, you would fain 
direct your regards on high, and aspire to this mansion and 
eternal abode, you neither will devote yourself to the 
rumors of the vulgar, nor will you rest your hopes and 
your interest on human rewards. Virtue herself ought to 
attract you by her own charms to true glory; what others 
may talk of you, for talk they will, let themselves consider. 
But all such talk is confined to the narrow limits of those 
regions which you see. None respecting any man was ever 
lasting. It is both extinguished by the death of the individual 
and perishes altogether in the oblivion of posterity. 2 

1 " Le cygne qui s envole aux voutes eternelles, 
Amis, s informe-t-il si 1 ombre de ses ailes. 
Motto encore sur un vil gazon ?" 

Lamartine. Le Poete Mourant. 

The contrast between the vanity of posthumous fame and the glories 
of a future state of happiness, is represented by Dr. South in the follow 
ing majestic passage : 

" Tune, like a river, carries them all away with a rapid course ; they 
swim above the stream for a while, but are quickly swallowed up, and 
seen no more. The very monuments men raise to perpetuate their names 
consume and molder away themselves, and proclaim their own mortality, 
as well as testify that of others. But now on the other side, the enjoy 
ments above and the treasures proposed to us by our Saviour are inde 
fectible in their nature and endless in their duration. They are still full, 
fresh, and entire, like the stars and orbs above, which shine with the 
same undiminished luster, and move with the same unwearied motion 
with which they did from the first date of their creation. Nay, the joys 
of heaven will abide when these lights of heaven will be put out, and 
when sun and moon, and nature itself shall be discharged their stations, 
and be employed by Providence no more ; the righteous shall then ap 
pear in their full glory, and, being fixed in the Divine presence, enjoy 
one perpetual and everlasting day : a day commensurate to the unlimited 
eternity of God himself, the great Sun of Righteousness, who is always 
rising and never sets. 1 South s Sermons, vol. L Sermon 48. 

2 This ia another of the instances in which the sentiments of Cicero 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 301 

Which when he had said, I replied, " Truly, Africanus, 
since the path to heaven lies open to those who have 
deserved well of their country, though from my childhood I 
have ever trod in your and my father s footsteps without 
disgracing your glory, yet now, with so noble a prize set 
before me, I shall strive with much more diligence." 

" Do so strive," replied he, " and do not consider yourself 
but your body, to be mortal. For you are not the being 
which this corporeal figure evinces ; but the mind of every 
man is the man, and not that form which may be delineated 1 

coincide as nearly as possible with Scripture in the Book of Ecclesiastes, 
chap. ii. ver. 14-22. "The wise man s eyes are in his head; but the 
fool walketh in darkness. And I myself perceived also that one event 
happeneth to them all. Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the 
fool, so it happeneth even to me ; and why was I then more wise ? 
Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no re 
membrance of the wise more than of the fool forever; seeing that which 
now is, in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the 
wise man ? As the fool. Therefore, I hated life ; because the work that 
is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me ; for all is vanity and vex 
ation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the 
sun ; because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 
And who knoweth whether he shallbe a wise man or a fool ? Yet shall 
he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I 
have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. There 
fore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I 
took under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and 
in knowledge, and in equity ; yet to a man that hath not labored therein 
shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great eviL 
For what hath man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, 
wherein he hath labored under the sun ?" 

1 The principle here enunciated by Cicero is thus expanded by Bishop 
Butler into an argument for the soul s immortality: 

" From our being so nearly related to and interested in certain systems 
of matter, suppose our flesh and bones, and afterward ceasing to be at all 
related to them, the living agents, ourselves, remaining all this while un- 
destroyed, notwithstanding such alienation ; and consequently these sys 
tems of matter not being ourselves ; it follows further, that we have no 
ground to conclude any other supposed interval system of matter to be 
the living agents ourselves ; because we can have no ground to conclude 
this, but BO form our relation to and interest in such other system of 
matter at death, to be the destruction of the living agents. We have 
already several times over lost a great part or perhaps the whole of our 
body, according to certain common established laws of nature, yet we 
remain the same living agents ; when we shall lose as great a part, or 
the whole, by another common established law of nature, death, why 
may we not also remain the same? 



02 THE VISION OP SCIPIO. 

with a finger. Know therefore * that you are a divine person. 
Since it is divinity 2 that has consciousness, sensation, memory, 
and foresight ; that governs, regulates, and moves that body 
over which it has been appointed, just as the Supreme Deity 
rules this world; and in like manner, as an eternal God 
guides this world, which in some respect is perishable, so an 
eternal spirit animates your frail body. 

For that which is ever moving 3 is eternal ; now that which 
communicates to another object a motion which it received 

" That the alienation has been gradual in one case, and in the other 
will be more at once, does not prove any thing to the contrary. We 
have passed undestroyed through those many and great revolutions of 
matter so peculiarly appropriated to us ourselves ; why should we ima 
gine death will be so fatal to us ? Nor can it be objected, that what is 
thus alienated or lost is no part of our original solid body, but only ad 
ventitious matter ; because we may lose entire limbs, which must have 
contained many solid parts and vessels of the original body ; or if this 
be not admitted, we have no proof that any of these solid parts are dis 
solved or alienated by death. Though, by the way, we are very nearly 
related to that extraneous or adventitious matter while it continues 
united to, and distending the several parts of, our solid body. But after 
all the relation a person bears to those parts of his body to which he is 
the most nearly related, what does ;t appear to amount to but this, that 
the living agent and those parts of the body mutually affect each other ? 
And the same thing, the same thing in kind though not in degree, may be 
said of all foreign matter which gives us ideas, and which we have any 
power over. From these observations the whole ground of the imagin 
ation is removed, that the dissolution of any matter is the destruction of 
a living agent, from the interest he once had in such matter." 

1 " It was the common opinion of all the ancient philosophers who fol 
lowed the system of Pythagoras, that the souls of men, and even of 
beasts, were portions of divinity. What opinion our author had of the 
properties and immortality of the soul is difficult to determine. For we 
are not to imagine that in the passage before us, and in many others in 
which he mentions the subject, he gives his own sentiments, but those 
of others ; accordingly, in his first book, JDe Natura Deorum, he makes 
Veleius, one of his prolocutors, absolutely destroy the doctrine which is 
advanced here." Guthrie. 

" T is the Divinity that stirs within us, 
T is heaven itself that points out an hereafter, 
And intimates eternity to man 1" Addison s Cato. 

3 " All this doctrine is taken almost word for word from the Phoedrug 
of Plato, and Macrobius has reduced it to the following syllogism. The 
soul is self-motive; now self-motion contains the principle of motion, thu 
principle of motion is not created, therefore the soul is not created." 
Guthrie. 



THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 303 

elsewhere, must necessarily cease to live as soon as its motion 
is at an end. Thus the being which is self-motive is the 
only being that is eternal, because it never is abandoned by 
its own properties, neither is this self-motion ever at an end ; 
nay, this is the fountain, this is the beginning of motion to 
all things that are thus subjects of motion. Now there can 
be no commencement of what is aboriginal, for all things 
proceed from a beginning ; therefore a beginning can rise 
from no other cause, for if it proceeded from another cause it 
would not be aboriginal, which, if it have no commencement, 
certainly never has an end ; for the primeval principle, if 
extinct, can neither be re-produced from any other source nor 
produce any thing else from itself, because it is necessary 
that all things should spring from some original source. The 
principle of motion, therefore, can only exist in a self-motive 
being, and it is impossible that such a being should be born 
or that it should die, otherwise all heaven must go to wreck, 
and the whole system of nature must stop ; nor can it come 
under any other force, should it be removed from its original 
impulsion. 1 

Since therefore it is plain that whatever is self-motive 
must be eternal, who can deny that this natural property is 

1 It only remains then to bring this idea of the material word into 
connection with the principle that motion, in all cases, originates from 
mind ; or in other words, in the effect of will either the supreme will, 
or the will of created minds. Motion is either constant and uniform, 
obeying what we call a law, or it is incidental. The visible and palpable 
world then, according to this theory, is MOTION, constant and uniform, 
emanating from infinite centers, and spreading during every instant of 
its continuance from the creative energy. The instantaneous cessation 
of this energy, at any period, is therefore abstractedly quite as easily 
conceived of as is its continuance ; and whether, in the next instant, it 
shall continue, or shall cease whether the material universe shall stand 
or shall vanish is an alternative of which, irrespective of other reasons, 
the one member may be as easily taken as the other ; jnst as the moving 
of the hand, or the not moving it, in the next moment depends upon 
nothing but our volition. The annihilation of the solid spheres the 
planets, and the suns, that occupy the celestial spaces, would not on this 
supposition be an act of irresistible force crushing that which resists 
compression, or dissipating and reducing to an ether that which firmly 
coheres ; but it would simply be the non-exertion in the next instant of 
a power which has been exerted in this instant ; it would be, not a de 
struction, but a rest ; not a crash and ruin, but a pause. Taylor s Physi 
cal Theory of another Life, chap, xviii. 



304 THE VISION OF SCIPIO. 

bestowed upon our minds ?* For every thing that is moved 
by a foreign impulse is inanimate, but that which is animate 
is impelled by an inward and peculiar principle of motion ; 
and in that consists the nature and property of the soul. 
Now if it alone of all things is self-motive, assuredly it never 
was originated, and is eternal. Do thou therefore employ it 
in the noblest of pursuits, and the noblest of cares are those 

1 "It is motion that measures duration, and time is duration, measur 
ed into equal parts by the equable motion of bodies through space. But 
as motion belongs to matter, of which it is a condition, and is that where 
in duration and extension combine to form a common product, so mind 
must become related to extension, in order to its having any knowledge 
of motion, or to its being able to avail itself of the measurement of dura 
tion ; in other words, it is only in connection with matter that it can 
know any thing of time. 

"Minds embodied, not only learn to measure out their own existence 
equally, and to correct the illusions of which otherwise they would be 
the sport, but also, by an insensible habit, they came to exist at a more 
even velocity, if we may so speak, than could else be possible, and learn, 
unconsciously to put a curb upon the excessive and dangerous rapidity 
of thought ; while in other cases a spur is supplied for the sluggishness 
of the mind, or a remedy found for its undue fixedness ; and thus all 
minds are brought to move together at nearly the same rate, or at least 
as nearly so as is essential for securing the order and harmony of the 
social system. 

" But then, this same intimate connection between mind and matter, 
while it exposes the mind, passively, to the influence of the inferior ele 
ment, becomes in return the means of its exerting a power and how 
extensive and mysterious a power is it over the solid matter around it. 
Mind, embodied, by a simple act or volition, originates motion. That 
is to say, its will or desire, through the instrumentality of muscular con 
tractions, as applied to the body itself, or to other bodies, puts it or them 
in movement. This power of the mind in overcoming the vis inertice of 
matter and the force of gravitation, ia the only active influence in rela 
tion to the material world which we have a certain knowledge of its 
possessing ; for, as is obvious, the various combinations of substances 
that are brought about by the skill of man, are all indirectly effected 
through the instrumentality of the muscular system ; nor can it be ascer 
tained, whether the chemical changes and assimilations that are carried 
on in the secreting glands and the viscera are effected by an unconsious 
involuntary mental operation. This organic influence excepted, suppos 
ing it to exist, the mechanical power of the mind is the only one it en. 
joys; but this it enjoys in no mean degree. It may, without much 
hazard, bo assumed, that motion in all instances originates in an imme 
diate volition, either of the supreme or of some created mind, and that 
this power is exerted by the latter through the means of a corporeal 
structure." Taylor s Physical Theory of Another Life, chap. ii. 



THE YISION OF SCIPIO. 305 

for the safety of thy country. The soul that is stirred and 
agitated by these will fly the more quickly to this mansion/ 
even to its own home, 1 and this will be the more rapid, if 
even now, while it is imprisoned within the body it sallies 
abroad, and, contemplating those objects that are without it, 
abstracts itself as much as possible from the body. For the 
souls of those men who are devoted to corporeal pleasures 
themselves, and who having yielded themselves as it were 
as their servants, enslaved to pleasures under the impulse 
of their passions, have violated the laws of gods and men ; 
such souls, having escaped from their bodies, hover round the 
earth, nor do they return to this place, till they have been 
tossed about for many ages." He vanished, and I awoke from 
my sleep. 

1 "We can not better conclude our notes on this interesting fragment, 
than by the peroration of that sermon of the late Robert Hall which 
was possibly suggested by this passage, and indeed some of the greatest 
beauties of that discourse seem to have been, by passages from the fore 
going treatises of Cicero : 

"To that state all the pious on earth are tending, and if there is a law 
from whose operation none are exempt, which inevitably conveys their 
bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another not less certain, or less 
powerful, which conducts their spirits to the abodes of bliss, to the bosom 
of their father and their God. The wheels of nature are not made to roll 
backward. Every thing presses on to eternity. From the birth of time 
an impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men toward 
that interminable ocean. Meanwhile, heaven is attracting to itself, 
whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of the 
earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom whatever is pure, per 
manent, and divine, leaving nothing for the last fire to consume but the 
objects and slaves of concupiscence ; while every thing which grace has 
prepared and beautified, shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of 
the world to adorn that eternal city. 

"Let us obey the voice that calls us thither; let us seek the things 
that are above, and no longer cleave to a world which must shortly 
perish, and which we must shortly quit, while we neglect to prepare for 
that in which we are invited to dwell forever. While every thing 
within us and around us reminds us of the approach of death, and con 
curs to teach us that this is not our rest, let us hasten our preparations 
for another world, and earnestly implore that grace which alone can put 
an end to that fatal war which our desires have too long waged with 
our destiny. "When these move in the same direction, and that which 
the will of heaven renders unavoidable, shall become our choice, all 
things will be ours ; life will be divested of its vanity, and death disarm 
ed of its terrors." Hall s Funeral Sermon for Dr. Ryland. 



306 CICERO ON THE 



ON THE 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 



ADDRESSED TO HIS BROTHER QUINTUS. 1 

THOUGH I doubt not 2 that many messengers and indeed 
that rumor itself with characteristic rapidity will have out 
stripped this letter, and that you will already have heard 
that a third year has been added to your labors, and to our 
impatience, yet I have thought that the announcement of this 
annoyance should be made to you by me also. For while 
every one else despaired of the success, I still, by repeated 
letters, gave you hopes of an early return, not only that I 
might amuse you as long as possible with that pleasing- 
expectation, but because I did not doubt that through the 
strong interest made both by me and the praetors the object 
might be accomplished. Now as it has so happened that 
neither the praetors by their interest, nor I by my zeal, were 
able to effect any thing, it is certainly difficult not to feel 
mortification at it, but yet we ought never to suffer our 
minds which are employed in managing and supporting the 
arduous affairs of government to be crushed or dejected by 
misfortune. And because men ought to be most annoyed by 
those ills which are incurred by their own faults, there is in 
this transaction somewhat more afflicting to me than ought to 
be to you, for it happened by my misconduct contrary to 
your understanding with me when parting, and subsequently 

1 Quintus Cicero was at this time propraetor of Asia Minor. 

3 In the original " non dubitabam" The Roman idiom in epistolary 
writing, is that the verbs by which the writer expresses a present action 
or state, are put in the past tense ; that is, as it will appear, to the per- 
Bon who subsequently reads the letter. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 307 

by letters, that your successor was not named last year. This I 
did unwisely, with a view of consulting the welfare of our allies, 
of crushing the presumptuousness of certain traders, 1 and with 
the desire of increasing my own glory through your merits ; es 
pecially as I effected the result of a third year being added to 
that second. 

Having thus frankly acknowledged that it was my fault, it 
is the part of your wisdom and kindness to take care and 
manage that this which has been unwisely schemed by me 
may be corrected by your diligence ; and surely, if you exert 
yourself in all the duties of government so as to seem to vie 
not only with others but with yourself, if you call in use all 
your faculties, all your attention, all your thought, to that 
love of glory, which is so powerfully prevalent in all trans 
actions, believe me, that one year added to your toil will 
bring many years of pleasure to us, and even glory to our pos 
terity. Wherefore, I in the first place beg of you, that 
you will not suffer your spirit to be damped or diminished, 
nor yourself to be overwhelmed, as with a flood, by the 
multitude of business ; but that, on the contrary, you will 
arouse yourself, and make a firm stand, even if you spon 
taneously incur it ; for you do not bear a part in such a 
government as is governed by fortune, but one in which 
discretion and diligence has the greatest influence. Had I 
seen your command prolonged at a time when you were 
involved in the management of some great and dangerous 
war, then I should have been disquieted in my mind, because 
I should have been sensible that the power of fortune over 
us was prolonged at the same time. But since that depart 
ment of the state has been committed to you in which 
fortune has very little or no part, it seems to me to 
depend entirely on your own virtue and wisdom. We 
apprehend, I think, no treachery of enemies ; no revolt of 
our allies ; no want of money or scarcity of provisions, and 
no mutiny in the army. Yet these have often happened to 
the wisest of men, who are forced to yield to the assaults of 

1 Traders. " Several complaints had been carried to Rome against 
Quintus, and Cicero thought that his brother remaining another year in 
his government might have stifled them. The reader is to observe that 
this government was the province of Asia Minor, one of the best the 
Romans had, and that a great many merchants resided there for the 
benefit of commerce." Guthrie. 



308 CICERO ON THE 

fortune, as the best of pilots sometimes are to the violence of a 
tempest. 

The most profound peace and perfect tranquillity has 
fallen to your lot ; but though those are circumstances that 
may well give pleasure to a vigilant steersman, yet they may 
be fatal to a sleeping one. For your province is composed, 
first of that kind of allies, who of all the human race are the 
most humanized ; and in the next place of those Roman 
citizens, who either as farmers of the public revenues, are 
most intimately connected with me, 1 or, having so traded as 
to have become rich, consider they possess their fortunes in 
security through the beneficial influence of my consular 
administration. Yet even among these very men serious dis 
putes exist, many injustices are committed, and great con 
tentions are the consequence ; and, thinking thus, I am 
sensible that you have not a little business upon your 
hands. I know that this business is very important, and 
requires great wisdom. But still remember that I main 
tain that this is a business which rather requires wisdom 
than good fortune. If you restrain yourself, how easy 
is it to restrain those you govern. This may indeed be 
a great and difficult matter to others, as indeed it is a most 
difficult achievement ; but the practice of it was ever easy to 
you ; and well it might be, as your disposition is such that it 
seems capable of moderation even without harming; while 
such an education has been enjoyed by you as would be 
capable of correcting the most vicious nature. When you 
check, as you do, the passion for money, for pleasure, and 
for all other things, can there be forsooth any danger of 
your being unable to restrain a dishonest trader, or a too 
rapacious publican ? For even the Greeks, when they 
behold your living in this manner, will think that some one 

1 So Cicero in his speech in support of the Manilian Law, says, in 
speaking of this same class : " Equitibus Romanis honestissimis viris, 
afferuntur ex Asia quotidie literse quorum magnae res aguntur, in vestris 
vectigalibus exercendis occupatee ; qui ad me, pro neccessitudine, quge 
mihi est cum illo ordine, causam rei publicae periculaque rerum suarum 
detulerunt." 

"Letters are daily brought from Asia, from Roman knights, most 
honorable men largely engaged in the farming of your revenues, who, in 
consideration of the close relationship which subsists between me and 
that order, have laid before me the cause of the state and the jeopardy 
of their own interests." 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 309 

from the records of their ancient history, or some divine person 
from heaven has descended upon that province. 1 

I write to you in this strain, not that you might practice 
these things, but that you may rejoice that you do practice 
them, and that you have ever done so. For it is a glorious 
thing for a man to have been invested with a three years 
sovereign power in Asia, in such a manner that no statue, no 
picture, no plate, no garment, no slave, no beauty, no hoard 
of money, in which things this province abounds, ever caused 
him to swerve from his continence and moderation ! 2 Again 

1 We have a striking parallel passage to this in Cicero s oration, " Pro 
Lege Manilia." In eulogizing the continence of Pompey in Asia Minor, 
he says, " Non avaritia ab institute cursu ad prsedam aliquam devocavit, 
non libido ad voluptatem, non amoenitas ad delectationem, non nobilitas 
urbis ad cognitionem, non denique labor ipse ad quietem Postremo signa, 
et tabulas, ceteraque ornamenta Grascorum oppidorum, quee ceteri tollen- 
da esse arbitrantur, ea sibi ille no visenda quidem existimavit. Itaque 
omnes quidem, nunc in his locis On. Pompeium, sicut aliquem non ex 
hac urbe missum, sed de coelo delapsum, intuentur." 

" Neither did avarice call him away from the course he had laid down, 
to the acquisition of any gain, nor his passions to any pleasure, nor the 
magnificence of a city to acquaint himself with it, nor fatigue itself to 
repose. Moreover those statues and paintings and other ornaments of 
Greek towns, which others consider as things to be carried away, he did 
not-even regard as objects to be visited, and thus indeed all men now in 
these regions look upon Cneius Pompey, not as a certain individual dis 
patched from this city, but as one descended from heaven." 

2 " Statues and paintings, and works of art in general, were favorite 
objects of rapacity with the Roman commanders, and were carried off 
without any scruple. The statues and pictures which MarceUus trans 
ported from Syracuse to Rome, first excited that cupidity which led the 
Roman provincial magistrates to pillage without scruple or distinction, 
the houses of private individuals, and the temples of the gods. Marcellua 
and Mummius, however, despoiled only hostile and conquered countries. 
They had made over their plunder to the public, and after it was con 
veyed to Rome, devoted to the embellishment of the capital ; but subse 
quent governors of provinces, having acquired a taste for works of art, 
began to appropriate to themselves those masterpieces of Greece, which, 
they had formerly neither known nor esteemed. Some contrived plausi 
ble pretexts for borrowing valuable works of art from cities and private 
persons, without any intention of restoring them, while others, less cau 
tious or more shameless, seized whatever pleased them, whether public 
or private property, without excuse or remuneration. But though thia 
passion was common to most provincial governors, none of them ever 
came up to the full measure of the rapacity of Verree, when praetor of 
Sicily. He seized tapestry, pictures, gold and silver, plate, vases, gems, 
and Corinthian bronzes, till he literally did not leave a single article of 



310 CICERO ON THE 

what can be a more distinguished, a more desirable circumstance, 
than that this virtue, this moderation, this purity of mind, should 
not be buried or concealed in darkness, but displayed in the 
sight of Asia, to the eyes of the noblest of our provinces, and to 
the ears of all people and nations. That the inhabitants are 
not alarmed at your journeys ! that they are not impoverished 
by your expenses ! that they are not frightened by your ap 
proach ! that there is the utmost rejoicing, both public and 
private, wherever you go ? that every town seems to receive 
you as its guardian, not as its tyrant ! every house as a guest, 
not as a robber ! 1 

But upon this subject, experience by this time must have 
instructed you that it is not sufficient for you alone to 
practice these virtues, but you are to give careful attention, 
that invested as you are with this government, not only you, 
but all officers subordinate to your authority, are to act for 
the good of our allies, of our fellow-citizens, and of our 
country. You have, it is true, lieutenants under you, who 
will themselves have regard to their own dignity ; and of 
these the chief in preferment, in dignity, and in experience, 
is Tubero, who, I make no doubt, especially while he is 
writing his history, will be able to choose from his own 
annals such models of conduct, as he both can and will 
imitate ; and Allienus, too, attached to us as well in affec 
tion and inclination, as in imitation of our lives. Need I to 
mention Gratidius, who, I know for a certainty, labors for 
his own fame, so as, with a brotherly affection for us, to 
labor equally for ours. You have a quaestor,* whom lot, and 

value of these descriptions in the whole island." Dunlop s Roman Lite 
rature, vol. ii. page 284. 

1 Ejusmodi in provinciam homines cum imperio mittimus, ut, etiam si 
ah hoste defendant, tamen ipsorum adventus in urbes sociorum non 
multum ab hostili expugnatione differant. Hunc audiebant antea, nunc 
prsesentem vident, tanta temperantia, tanta mansuetudine, tanta human- 
itate, ut is beatissimi esse videantur, apud quos ille diutissime commo- 
ratur.* 

" We send out into that province such men with military command, 
that even if they defend them from the enemy, yet their own entrance 
into the cities of our allies differs but little from a hostile invasion ; but 
this man, they had heard of before, and now see him present among them 
distinguished by so much self-control, so much gentleness, so much hu 
manity, that those seem to be the most fortunate with whom he makes 
the longest stay." Cicero s Oration for the Manilian Law. 

3 Qucestor. This officer had the charge of the public money, and it 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 311 

not your own choice, appointed to you. It is necessary that he 
should both be moderate by his own inclination, and conform 
himself to your arrangements and directions. 

Should any of your officers appear of a more selfish dis 
position, you should bear with him, so long as he only 
neglects the laws by which he is bound in his own person, 
but not if he should prostitute for interest that power which 
you have annexed to his office. It does not however seem 
desirable to me, especially as our manners have lately leaned so 
much to laxity and ambition, that you should (scrutinize and 
dissect out every instance of corruption; 1 but to proportion 
the trust you repose in every one, according to the degree of 
honesty he possesses. In like manner you should be answerable 
for those whom our government has given you as assessors and 
assistants, only under the restrictions which I have already laid 
down. 

As to those whom you have chosen to belong to your 
domestic establishment, or to be with you as your necessary 
retinue, and who are accustomed to be designated as of the 
praetor s cohort, you are answerable, not only for all their 
actions, but for all their sayings. But you have about your 
person those whom you may easily love while they act 
rightly ; and such as but slightly consult your reputation you 
can most easily coerce. Meanwhile it is natural to suppose 
that, while you were inexperienced, your generosity might 
have been imposed upon ; for the more virtuous any man is in 
himself, the less easily does he suspect others to be vicious. 2 

was determined by lot in what province he should serve. He likewise 
paid the soldiers, and acted as contractor for the army. 

1 Shakespeare seems to have had this passage in his recollection when 
he wrote that passage in his play of Julius Caesar : 

" At such a time as this it is not meet 
That every nice offense should bear its comment." 

2 This principle of morals has been confirmed by the experience of 
mankind until it has almost become proverbial ; it is asserted by Dr. 
Johnson in the following passage : " Suspicion, however necessary it may 
be to our safe passage through ways beset on all sides, by fraud and, 
malice, has been always considered, when it exceeds the common meas 
ures, as a token of depravity and corruption ; and a Greek writer of 
sentences has laid down, as a standing maxim, that he who believes not 
another on his oath, knows himself to be perjured. 

"We can form our opinions of that which we know not, only by plac 
ing it in comparison with some thing that we know : whoever, therefore, 



312 CICERO ON THE 

But now let this third year be distinguished by the same 
purity which marked the two former, and even by more 
caution and diligence. Let your ears be such as are 
suppoesd to hear what they listen to, but not into which 
things may be falsely and dishonestly whispered for the sake 
of gain, without being the receptacles of false and malicious 
whispers, insinuations, and complaints. Suffer not your seal 
to be a common chattel, but as your very self ; let it not be 
the tool of another s pleasure, but the evidence of your own. 
Let your pursuivant keep the rank which our ancestors 
assigned to him, who did not rashly intrust that office to any 
but freed men, over whom they exercised pretty much the 
same command, as they did over their slaves, and that not as 
a post of advantage but of labor and service. Let the lictor 
be the agent of your lenity rather than of his own, and let 
his ax and his rods be stronger evidences of his post than of 
his power. 

is overrun with suspicion, and detects artifice and stratagem in every 
proposal, must either have learned by experience or observation the 
wickedness of mankind, and been taught to avoid fraud by having often 
suffered or seen treachery, or he must derive his judgment from the con 
sciousness of his own disposition, and impute to others the same inclina 
tions, which he feels predominant in himself. 

"When therefore a young man, not distinguished by vigor of intel 
lect, comes into the world full of scruples and diffidence, makes a bargain 
with many provisional limitations ; hesitates in his answer to a common 
question lest more should be intended than he can immediately discover ; 
has a long reach in detecting the projects of his acquaintance ; considers 
every caress as an act of hypocrisy, and feels neither gratitude nor affec 
tion from the tenderness of his friends, because he believes no one to 
have any real tenderness, but for himself; whatever expectations this 
early sagacity may raise of his future eminence or riches, I can seldom 
ferbear to consider him as a wretch incapable of generosity or benevo 
lence ; as a villain early completed beyond the need of common opportu 
nities and gradual temptations. 

" Suspicion is indeed a temper so uneasy and restless, that it is very 
justly appointed the concomitant of guilt. It is said, that no torture is 
equal to the inhibition of sleep long continued ; a pain to which the state 
of that man bears a very exact analogy, who dares never give rest to 
his vigilance and circumspection, but considers himself as surrounded by 
secret foes, and fears to intrust his children or his friend with the secret 
that throbs in his breast and the anxieties that break into his face. To 
avoid, at this expense, those evils to which easiness and friendship might 
have exposed him, is surely to buy safety at too dear a rate, and in the 
language of the Roman satirist, to save life by losing all for which a wise 
man would live." Rambler, No. 79. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 313 

In short, let all the province be sensible how dearly you 
prize the welfare, the children, the fame, and the fortunes of all 
who are under your command. Let it be notorious that you 
will be equally the enemy of the man who gives, as of him 
who receives a present, if you shall know it ; for no one will 
give them, when it shall be clearly perceived that those who 
pretend to have the greatest interest with you are accustomed 
to obtain nothing from you. 

Yet this address, of mine to you is not because I would 
have you treat your dependents in a too severe or suspicious 
manner. For if any of them for two years have never fallen 
under suspicion of avarice, as I hear Ceesius, Chaerippus, 
and Labeo, have done, and I believe it because I know them 
well ; there is nothing which I should not think may be 
most properly committed to them and to men of their 
character. But if there is a man from whom you have 
already received offense, or of whom you have known any 
thing ill, never intrust any thing to him, nor commit to him 
any portion of your reputation. But if within your province 
you have got any person who has been thoroughly admitted 
to your intimacy, and who is unknown to me, consider how far 
you ought to trust him. Not but that there may be many 
worthy men among the provincials ; but this it is lawful to 
hope, but dangerous to determine. For every man s nature is 
concealed with many folds of disguise, and covered as it were 
with various vails. His nature, his brows, his eyes, and very 
often his countenance are deceitful, and his speed is most com 
monly a lie. 

Wherefore, out of that class of men who, being devoted to 
the love of money, are destitute of all those qualities from 
which we can not be separated, where can you find one who 
will sincerely love you, a mere stranger to them, and not pre 
tend to do so for the sake of advantage ? It would seem to me 
very extraordinary, especially as those very men pay seldom 
any regard to any private man, while they are all invariably 
attached themselves to the praetors. However, if among such 
kind of men you should find one (for the thing is not impos 
sible), who loves you more than he does his own interest, eagerly 
enroll such a man in the number of your friends ; hut if you do 
perceive this, there will be no class in your acquaintance more 
to be avoided: because they know all the arts of getting 

14 



314 CICEKO ON THE 

money, they do nothing but for money, and they are indifferent 
about the opinion of any man with whom they are not to con 
tinue to live. 

Certain connections too with the Greeks themselves are to be 
most carefully guarded against, except with a very few men, 
who, if any, are worthy of ancient Greece. For truly, in 
general they are deceitful and treacherous, and trained up by 
perpetual subjection, in the art of sycophancy. 1 All of these I 
would say should be liberally treated, and jhe best of them re 
ceived into hospitality and friendship ; but too close intimacies 
with them are not very safe, for though they dare not oppose 
our wishes, yet they are jealous not only of our countrymen 
but even of their own. Though they dare not fly in the face 
of a Roman magistrate, yet at the bottom they hate not only 
us but their own countrymen. 

Now, as in matters of this kind, as I wish to be cautious 
and diligent (though I fear I may seem too rigid), what do 
you think is my feeling with respect to slaves, whom we 
ought to keep under the strictest command in all places, 
but especially in the provinces ? Concerning this class many 
directions might be given ; but the shortest and plainest 
method I can recommend is, that in all your Asiatic 
journeys, they should behave as if you were traveling over 
the Appian way, and that they think there is not the least 
difference whether they were entering Tralles 2 or Formise. 3 
But if any of your slaves should distinguish himself by his 
fidelity, let him be employed in your domestic and private 
affairs, but not let him have the smallest thing to do with 
an} r public concern, or any thing relating to the business of 
your government. For though many things may properly 

1 Juvenal alludes to the same characteristic vice of the Greeks in the 
following passages : 

Quae mine divitibus gens acceptissima nostris, 
Et quos prsecipue fugiam, properabo fateri ; 
Nee pudor obstabit. Non possum ferre, Quirites, 
Grsecam urbem, quamvis quota portion fsecis AchaeL 
* * * * 

Natio comoeda est : rides ? majore cachinno 
Concutitur : flet si lachrymas conspexit amici. 
Noc dolet. Igniculum brumse si tempore poscas, 
A*ccipit endromidem : si dixeris, sestuo, sudat. 

2 A city in Caria under the government of Quintus. 

3 A cicy of Campania in Italy. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 315 

be intrusted to our faithful slaves, yet for the sake of avoiding 
observation and animadversion, they ought not to be committed 
to them. 

But I know not how my discourse has deviated into a style 
of dictation, though that was not my intention at the com 
mencement. For why should I dictate to a man not inferior 
to me in knowledge, especially in all matters of this kind, 
and even superior in experience ? but I thought it would be 
very agreeable, if my sanction were added to what you are 
doing. Wherefore let these be the foundations of your 
dignity. In the first place, your own integrity and modera 
tion ; in the next place, the modest behavior of all who are 
about you, joined to a very cautious and circumspect choice 
of your acquaintance, whether they be provincials or Greeks ; 
and the orderly and consistent regulation of your household. 
All which particulars are commendable in our piivate and 
daily concerns, but they must appear divine amid such 
great power, such depraved manners, and so corrupting a 
province. 

Such a plan, and such regulations, will be sufficient to sup 
port that severity in all your resolutions, and all your decrees, 
which you exercised in those matters, and by which, to my 
great pleasure, we have incurred some enmities, unless, indeed, 
you imagine that I was influenced by the complaints of an in 
dividual I know not whom of the name of Paconius, who 
is not even a Greek, but is some Mysian, or rather Phrygian ; 
or that I was moved by the vociferations of Tuscenius, that 
frantic, mean-spirited wretch, from whose polluted maw you, 
with the utmost equity, rescued a dishonest prey. Wherefore 
we could not easily maintain those and the other instances of 
severity which you have practiced in that province, without the 
most perfect integrity. 

There should therefore be the utmost rigor in your ad 
ministration of justice, so that it should not be affected by 
favor, but maintained without variation. 1 It is, however, 

1 So impressed was Godwin with the supreme importance of uniformi 
ty and certainty in the awards and inflictions of the law, that he thus 
treats of the subject of pardons as interfering with this certainty. "The 
very word pardon, to a reflecting mind, is fraught with absurdity. "What 
is the rule that ought in all cases to direct my conduct ? What then is 
clemency ? It can be nothing but the pitiable egotism of him who im 
agines he can do some thing better than justice." Is it right that I 



316 CICERO ON THE 

of no great consequence that justice should be impartially and 
diligently administered by yourself, unless the same is done 
by those to whom you have delegated some part of your 
functions. Now it appears to me that in the government of 
Asia there is no great variety of business, but that it is chiefly 
employed in judicial administration, the method of which 
especially in provinces is simple. Constancy and gravity 
must indeed be exercise, which may be not only above 
partiality, but even above the suspicion of it. To this 
must be added affability in hearing, calmness in determining, 
and carefulness in discussing the case and making restitution. 
By reason of these qualities, Octavius 1 lately became most 

should suffer constraint for a certain offense ? The reasonableness of my 
suffering must be founded in its consonance with the general welfare. 
He, therefore, that pardons me, iniquitously prefers the supposed interest 
of an individual, and utterly neglects what he owes to the whole. He 
bestows that which I ought not to receive, and which he has no right to 
give. Is it right, on the contrary, that I should not undergo the suffer 
ing m question ? Will he by rescuing me from suffering, confer a benefit 
on me, and inflict no injury on others ? He will then be a notorious 
delinquent if he allow me to suffer. There is indeed a considerable de 
fect in this last supposition. If, while he benefits me, he inflicts no 
injury upon others, he is infallibly performing a public service. If I 
suffered in the arbitrary manner which the supposition includes, the pub 
lic would sustain an unquestionable injury in the injustice that was per 
petrated : and yet the man who prevents this serious injustice, has been 
accustomed to arrogate to himself the attribute of clement, and the ap 
parently sublime, but in reality tyrannical, name of forgiveness. For if 
he do, man has been here described instead of glory ; he ought to take 
shame to himself as an enemy to human kind. If every action, and 
especially every action in which the happiness of a rational being is con 
cerned, be susceptible of a certain rule, mere caprice must be in all cases 
excluded. There can be no action which, if I neglect, I shall have dis 
charged my duty, and if I perform, I shall be entitled to applause. From 
the manner in which pardons are dispensed, inevitably flows the uncer 
tainty of punishment. It is too evident that punishment is inflicted by 
no certain rules, and, therefore, creates no uniformity of expectation. 
Uniformity of treatment, and constancy of expectation, form the solo 
basis of a genuine morality. In a just form of society, this would never 
go beyond the sober expression of those sentiments of approbation or 
disapprobation, with which different modes of conduct inevitably impress 
us But if we at present exceed this line, it is surely an execrable re 
finement of injustice that should exhibit the perpetual menace of suffer 
ing unaccompanied with any certain rule for telling its application." 
Godwin s Political Justice, book vii. ch. ix. 

1 Octavius. He was father to Augustus Cassar, and had been about 
this time governor of Macedonia. 



DUTIES OP A MAGISTRATE. 

popular, before whom, for the first time, the lictor had 
nothing to do, and the crier had nothing to say ; for every 
one spoke when he pleased and as long as he pleased. In 
this matter he might, perhaps, seem too compliant, were it not 
that this gentleness was the warrant of his inflexibility. The 
men of Sylla s party were compelled to restore what they had 
seized by force and terror. Such of the magistrates as had 
made unjust decisions were obliged themselves to submit, as 
private men, to similar inflictions. Now this severity on his 
part would have seemed cruel, had it not been tempered 
with many ingredients of humanity. 

If this gentleness is agreeable at Eome, where there is so 
much arrogance, such unbounded liberty, such unrestrained 
licentiousness, where there are such numerous magistracies, 
so many auxiliaries, so great force, and so much authority in 
the senate, how agreeable must the affability of a praetor be 
in Asia, where so great a number of our countrymen and 
allies, where so many cities and so many states, are observant 
of one man s nod ? where they have no resource, no tribunal, 
no senate, and no assembly of the people ? It belongs there 
fore to the character of a great man, and of a man as well 
humane by nature, as improved by learning and the study 
of the noblest arts, so to conduct himself in the use of such 
great power as that no other authority should be desired by 
those over whom he rules. 

The great Cyrus is represented by Xenophon (not accord 
ing to the truth of history, but as the ideal model of right 
government) 1 , whose extreme gravity is combined by that 
philosopher with singular sweetness of manners ; which books 
our countryman, Scipio Africanus, was accustomed, and not 
without reason, always to have in his hands, for in them no 
duty of active, well-tempered government has been passed 
over ; and if Cyrus, who could never be reduced to a private 
station, so diligently cultivated those duties, what ought they 
to be held by those to whom power has been given on con 
dition of their surrendering it, and given by those laws to 
which they must be amenable ? 

Now it seems to me that all the considerations of those 
who rule over others should be referred to this object, that 
those who are under their government should be as happy a? 
1 See note, p. 25T. 



318 CICERO ON THE 

possible ; and by constant report, and the acknowledgment 
of all, it has become no honor that this both is, and 
ever has been your most settled principle ever since you 
first landed in Asia; nay, that it is the duty, not only 
of those who govern the allies and the subjects of Rome, but 
of those who have the care of slaves and dumb cattle, to con 
tribute to the interests and welfare of all committed to their 
charge. In this respect I perceive it is universally allowed 
that the utmost diligence has been used by you ; that no new 
debts have been contracted by the states ; that you have dis 
charged many old ones with which many of the cities were 
burdened and oppressed ; that you have repaired many ruin 
ous and almost abandoned towns; among others Samus 
the capital of Ionia, and Halicarnassus the capital of Caria; 
that there are no seditions, no discords in your towns ; that 
it has been seen to by you that the states are governed by 
the councils of the best men ; that you have suppressed 
rapine in Mysia, and bloodshed in many places; that peace 
has been established all over your province ; that you have 
chased thieves and robbers, not only from the highways and 
country places, but from towns and temples, where they 
were more numerous and more dangerous ; that calumny, 
that most cruel minister to the avarice of prsetors, has been 
removed from the reputation, the fortunes, and the retire 
ment of the rich ; that the funds and taxas of the states are 
equally borne by all who inhabit the borders of those states ; 
that access to you is most easy ; that your ears are open to 
the complaints of all men ; that the poor and the helpless 
always find admittance, not only to your public audiences 
and tribunals, but even to your house and your bed-chamber ; 
and that in short, in the whole of your government there is 
nothing that is spiteful, nothing that is merciless, but that it 
is filled with clemency, gentleness, and humanity. 

How important was that public sendee you performed 
when you freed Asia from the unjust and burdensome tax 
imposed upon them by the aediles, with great odium to us ; 
for if one man of quality publicly complains that you have 
deprived him of almost 100,000, by ordering that money 
should not be levied for public exhibitions, what vast sums 
must have been raised, had the custom continued for raising 
money in the name of all who exhibited public shows at 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTKATE. 319 

Rome. I stifled these complaints of our people, by a method 
which, however it may be regarded in Asia, is highly ap 
plauded at Rome ; for when the states of my province had 
voted a sum of money for erecting a temple and a monument 
to me, and when on account of my great deserts and your 
extraordinary services, they did it voluntarily and cheer 
fully, and though the law has expressly provided, " That 
governors may receive money for erecting a temple or a 
monument," nay, though the money which was granted was 
not to perish, but to be laid out upon the ornaments of a 
temple, that was to appear to future times, not more a pres 
ent to me than to the people of Rome, and to the immortal 
gods ; and yet I thought that the offer should be rejected 
though warranted by dignity, by law, and by the good will 
of those who made it ; and this I did for this reason, among 
others, that those magistrates to whom such sums are not 
due, nor permitted by law, might bear (the refusal of them) 
with a more resigned temper. 

Apply yourself, therefore, with all your spirit and all your 
zeal, to that plan which you have already practiced, that of 
loving the people which your country has committed and en 
trusted to your faithful care ; protecting them in every way, 
and desiring that they should be as happy as possible. 1 

But if fortune had set you over the Africans, the 
Spaniards, or the Gauls, those fierce and barbarous nations, 
yet still it would have been the dictate of your humanity to 
study their interests, and to have promoted their advantage 
and welfare. But when we govern a set of men, among 
whom civilization not only exists, but from whom it may be 
supposed even to have extended to others, surely we are 
most especially bound to repay them what we have received 
from them ; for I am not ashamed to acknowledge, especially 

1 "The only legitimate object of political institution, is the advantage 
of individuals. All that can not be brought home to them, national 
wealth, prosperity, and glory, can be advantageous only to those self- 
interested impostors who from the earliest accounts of time have con 
founded the understandings of mankind, the more securely to sink them 
in debasement and misery. The desire to gain a more extensive terri 
tory, to conquer or to hold in awe our neighboring states, to surpass them 
in arts or arms, is a desire founded in prejudice and error. Usurped 
authority is a spurious and unsubstantial medium of happiness ; security 
and peace are more to be desired than a national splendor that should 
terrify the world," Godwin s Political Justice, book v. chap. 22. 



320 CICERO ON THE 

in my position in life, and with the deeds which I have per 
formed, which can involve no suspicion of indolence or un 
steadiness ; that I have arrived at all those accomplishments 
to which I have attained, by means of those studies and arts 
which have been handed down to us in the remains and sys 
tems of Greece. Therefore, besides the common faith 
which we owe to all mankind, we seem to be especially in 
debted to this race of men, 1 so that we should be desirous of 
offering to those, by whose precepts we have been instructed, 
that which we learned from them. Plato, that philosopher, 
so distinguished by his genius and learning, thought that 
states would then at length be happy, when either wise and 
learned men should begin to be their rulers, or when their 
governors should apply themselves wholly to the study of 
learning and wisdom ; that is, he thought that this union of 
power and wisdom would constitute the safety of states. 
This may possibly, at some time, be the case of our whole 
empire, but at present it is the case of one province, that an 
individual possesses the supreme power in it, who has de 
voted, from his childhood, the largest amount of time and 
study to the pursuit of learning, of virtue, and humanity. 

Take care, therefore, my Quintus, that this year which is 
added to your government, prove to be a year that is added 
to the welfare of Asia ; and because Asia has been more 
successful in detaining you than I was in procuring your 
recall, do you behave so as that my regret may receive some 
mitigation from the joy of the province. For if you have so 
indefatigably applied yourself to deserve greater honors 
than perhaps ever man did, you ought to exert much greater 
diligence in maintaining them. I have already given you my 
sentiments concerning that kind of honors. I have always 
been of opinion, that if they are commonly accessible they 
are worthless ; if bestowed to serve a purpose, they are con 
temptible ; but if they are offered (as has been done) as a 
tribute to your merits, I think you can not bestow too much 
pains upon their preservation. 

As, therefore, you are invested with the highest command 
1 Horace tacitly acknowledges the same obligations to Greek litera 
ture: 

" Vos exemplaria Graeca 
Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna." 

Epist. ad Pisones, v. 268, 269. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 321 

and power in those cities where you sue your virtues are 
consecrated and deified, think, in all that you urrange, and 
decree, and perform, what you owe to such opinions on the 
part of mankind, to such flattering decisions, and such ex 
alted honors. The result of this will be that you will pro 
vide for all, that you will remedy the ills of your subjects, 
provide for their welfare, and desire to be designated and 
regarded as the parent of Asia. 

To this zeal and assiduity the farmers of the revenue offer 
a great obstruction. If we oppose them we shall separate 
from ourselves and from the state an order of men who have 
the highest claims upon us, and who by me were attached 
to the service of our government. If, on the other hand, we 
should indulge them in every respect, we must suffer those 
to be utterly ruined, whose welfare, nay, whose convenience, 
we are bound to consult. This, if we will view the case 
aright, is the sole difficulty in all your administration. For 
to practice self-control, to subdue all inordinate desires, to 
regulate your family, to practice the impartial administra 
tion of justice, to show yourself ready to acquaint yourself 
with cases, and to admit and grant a hearing to individuals, 
are things more glorious than difficult, for they consist not 
in any laborious application, but in the bent of the mind and 
of the affections. 

We learned how much bitterness of feeling this matter of 
the farmers of the revenue occasioned to our allies from our 
own fellow-countrymen ; who, when the tolls of Italy were 
lately abolished, complained not so much of the heaviness of 
the tolls as of the insolence of the toll-gatherers, from which 
I am sensible of what must befall our allies in remote coun 
tries, when I have heard such complaints from our fellow- 
citizens in Italy. It seems to require a superhuman virtue, 
that is, one like your own, in this situation of things, to give 
satisfaction to the farmers of the public revenue, especially 
when the taxes have been disadvantageously contracted for, 
and at the same time not to suffer our allies to be ruined. 

But, in the first place, as to the Greeks, the hardship 
which they most bitterly complain of, that of their being 
taxed, is, in my opinion, no great hardship, because by their 
own constitutions, apart from the government of the Roman 
people, they were in the same condition with their own con- 

14* 



322 CIOEEO ON THE 

sent. As to the name of a farmer of the revenue, the Greeks 
ought not to hold it in such contempt, because, without their 
assistanoe, they could not have paid the tax indiscriminately 
imposed upon them by Sylla. Now that the Greeks are fully 
as severe as our farmers are, in the collection of the public 
revenue, may be concluded from this, that the Caunians 1 
some time ago, who inhabit the islands that were annexed 
by Sylla to the division of Rhodes, petitioned the senate that 
they might pay their taxes to us, rather than to the Rho- 
dians. They therefore who always have been taxed, ought 
not to hold the name of a tax-gatherer with horror, nor 
ought they to despise him, without whom they can not pay 
their taxes ; nor ought they who have petitioned for him to 
reject him. The Asiatics ought at the same time to reflect, 
that were they not under our government, no calamity of 
foreign war and domestic discussion would ever have been 
absent from them. And since this government can not be 
supported "without taxes, they ought cheerfully to purchase 
for themselves, with some part of their incomes, an uninter 
rupted peace and tranquillity. When once they come to en 
dure with patience the profession and name of a farmer of 
the revenue, your prudent measures and conduct will be able 
to make other annoyances seem lighter to them. They will 
come, not to reflect so much in making their compositions 
upon the Censorian Law, but rather upon the advantage of 
settling the business, and upon their freedom from molesta 
tion. You can likewise continue what you have always so 
admirably done, to put them in mind how much dignity 
there is in the office of a farmer of the revenue, and how 
much we owe to that order. So that, apart from force and 
the influence of authority, and of the fasces, you will bring 
the publicans into favor and credit with the Greeks. You 
may even entreat those whom you have so highly obliged, 
and who owe their all to you, that by their compliance they 
will suffer us to cherish and continue those intimate con 
nections that subsist between us and the farmers of the 
revenue. 

But why do I exhort you to those measures which you are 
not only able to do of your own accord without the in- 

1 The Caunians were subjects of the government of Quintus, inhabit 
ing n part of Caria in Asia Minor. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 323 

structions of any one, but which in a great degree you 
already have happily executed. For the most honorable 
and considerable bodies of our empire never cease to "pay me 
their daily thanks, which are the more agreeable, because 
the Greeks do the same. Now it is a matter of great 
difficulty to bring together in good will those whose in 
terests, whose advantages, and whose natures, I had almost 
said, are repugnant. But what I have here written, I have 
written not for your instruction (for wisdom such as yours 
stands in need of no man s instructions), but the recording of 
your merits delights me as I write. In this letter, how 
ever, I have been longer than I intended or supposed that I 
should be. 

There is one thing which I shall not cease to recommend 
to you, for so far as in me lies I will not suffer an exception 
to your praises. All who come from that region, while they 
praise your virtue, your integrity, and your humanity, even in 
their highest commendations make one exception, your 
anger ; a vice, which in private and every day life seems to 
be the defect of an inconstant and weak mind ; but when a 
passionate behavior is joined to sovereign power, nothing 
can be more monstrous. 1 I shall not, however, endeavor to 

1 " Anger is so uneasy a guest in the heart, that he may be said to be 
born unhappy who is of a rough and choleric disposition. The moralists 
have defined it to be a desire of revenge for some injury offered. Men 
of hot and heady tempers are eagerly desirous of vengeance, the very 
moment they apprehend themselves injured ; whereas the cool and sedate 
watch proper opportunities to return grief for grief to their enemies. By 
this means it often happens that the choleric inflicts disproportionate 
punishments upon slight and sometimes imaginary offenses, but the tem 
perately revengeful, have leisure to weigh the merits of the case, and 
thereby either to smother their secret resentments or to seek proper and 
adequate reparations for the damages they have sustained. "Weak minds 
are apt to speak well of the man of fury, because when the storm is over 
he is full of sorrow and repentance, but the truth is, he is apt to commit 
such ravages during his madness, that when he comes to himself, he be 
comes tame, then for the same reason that he ran wild before, only to 
give himself ease, and is a friend only to himself in both extremities. 
Men of this unhappy make, more frequently than any others, expect 
that their friends should bear with their infirmities. Then* friends should 
in return desire them to correct their infirmities. The common excuses 
that they can not help it, that it was soon over, that they harbor no 
malice in their hearts, are arguments for pardoning a bull or a mastiff, 
but shall never reconcile me to an intellectual savage. Why indeed 
should any one imagine, that persona independent upon, him should 



324 CICERO ON THE 

give you the sentiments of the best instructed men, concern 
ing the passion of anger, both because I am unwilling that 
this letter should be too long, and because you can easily 
learn them from the writings of many men. Still I do not 
think that one thing which is proper to a letter should be 
neglected, namely, that he to whom we write should be 
made acquainted with those things of which he is ignorant. 
Now I am told almost by every body, that when you are 
free from anger, nothing can be more agreeable than you 
are ; but when the impudence or perverseness of another has 
excited you, you are under such violent agitations that your 
kindly disposition is sought for in vain. 

As, therefore, a certain desire of glory as well as interest, 
and fortune, have concurred to lead us into that walk of life, 
by which we become the perpetual subject of conversation 
among mankind, we ought to do and to strive all we can 
that no conspicuous vice may be said to attach to us. 1 I do 

venture into his society who hath not yet so far subdued his boiling 
blood, but that he is ready to do some thing the next minute which he 
can never repair, and hath nothing to plead in his own behalf but that 
he is apt to do mischief as fast as he can 1 Such a man may be feared, 
he may be pitied, but he can not be loved." Dr, Johnson, Rambler, 
No. 129. 

1 " It is methinks an unreasonable thing, that heroic virtue should, as 
it seems to be at present, be confined to a certain order of men and be 
attainable by none but those whom fortune has elevated to the most 
conspicuous stations. I would have every thing to be esteemed as heroic 
which is great and uncommon in the circumstances of the man who per 
forms it. Thus there would be no virtue in human life, which every one 
of the species would not have a pretense to arrive at, and an ardency to 
exert. Since fortune is not in our power, let us be as little as possible 
in hers. Why should it be necessary that a man should be rich to be 
generous ? If we measured by the quality and not the quantity of things, 
the particulars which accompany an action is what should denominate it 
mean or great. 

" The highest station of human life is to be attained by each man that 
pretends to it ; for every man can be as valiant, as generous, as wise, 
and as merciful, as the faculties and opportunities which he has from 
Heaven and fortune will permit. He that can say to himself, I do as 
much good, and am as virtuous as my most earnest endeavors will allow 
me, whatever is his station in the world, is to himself possessed of the 
highest honor. 

"If ambition is not thus turned, it is no other than a continual suc 
cession of anxiety and vexation. But when it has this cast, it invigo 
rates the mind and the consciousness of its own worth is a reward, which 
it is not in the power of envy, reproach, or detraction, to take from it. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 325 

not now insist on this consideration, that in human nature at 
large, and especially at our time of life, it is very difficult for 
a man to alter his disposition, or suddenly to pluck out a fail 
ing that has settled into a habit. But my advice to you is 
this, if you can not altogether avoid this, but passion takes 
possession of your mind before reason can take precautions 
that it should not invade it, you should undergo a course of 
preparation, and be every day meditating that resistance 
must be offered to anger, and the more violently it affects 
the mind, the more diligently must you restrain your tongue ; 
which merit sometimes appears to me not less than that of 
never being angry at all 5 because the latter virtue is not 
solely the proof of self-respect, but sometimes of a lethargic 
temperament. But when you are touched with anger, to 
control both your temper and your language, even to hold 
your peace, and to keep under command all excitement and 
irritation of mind ; these are the properties, if not of consum 
mate wisdom, yet of extraordinaay understanding. 

They say that in this respect you are become much more 
pliable and gentle. None of your violent emotions of passion 
are stated to me ; none of your imprecating expressions, 
and opprobrious behavior, all which are as repugnant to 
authority and dignity as they are reproachful to learning 
and good breeding. For if angry passions are implacable, 
the utmost cruelty is involved, and if placable, 1 an excess of 
weakness ; which, however, as a comparison of evils, is prefer 
able to the cruelty. 

Thus the seat of solid honor is in a man s own bosom, and no one can 
want support who is in possession of an honest conscience, but he who 
would suffer the reproaches of it for other greatness." The Tatler, No. 
202. 

1 " Another form of a passionate disposition arising indeed from the 
same cause, is that which involves the next error which I have stated 
with respect to resentment the disproportion of the anger and the of 
fense. He who does not pause even to weigh the circumstances, can 
not be supposed to pause to measure the extent of injury. He feels that 
he is injured, and all his anger bursts out instantly on the offender. It 
is this disproportion, indeed, which is the chief evil of what is commonly 
termed passion. Some cause of slight displeasure there may be even 
where anger in its violence would be immoral and absurd. Yet such 
is the infirmity of our nature, that it is often no slight triumph over our 
weakness to forgive a trifle with as much magnanimity as that with 
which we have forgiven greater injuries." Dr. Brown s Moral Phi 
losophy, Lect. 63. 



326 CICERO ON THE 

That the first year of your government gave rise to a 
great deal of talk upon this subject might be owing to your un 
expectedly encountering that injustice, avarice, and insolence 
of individuals, which seemed intolerable. The second year, 
however, was more gentle ; because both habit and reason, 
and, if I mistake not, my letters rendered you more mild 
and patient. Now your third year ought to admit of such 
amendment, as that no person may be able to utter the 
slightest reproach. 

And on this subject I address you in the terms neither of 
exhortation nor precept, but of brotherly entreaty, that you 
employ your whole abilities, care, and concern, in accumu 
lating praise from all quarters. 1 If our situation were one 
of mediocrity as to public conversation and discourse, 
nothing pre-eminent would be required of you, nothing 
beyond the ordinary conduct of others. But by reason of 
the splendor and magnitude of the concerns in which we 
are engaged, unless we derive the highest glory from these 
functions, we seem scarcely capable of avoiding the deepest 
condemnation. We are so situated, that while all good men 
are our friends, they also require and expect from us, 
all application and virtue ; in the mean while, all the repro 
bate part of mankind, because with them we have declared 
eternal war, seem to be satisfied with the slightest ground for 
condemning us. 

Wherefore, since such a theater as Asia has been assigned 
you for the display of your virtues, a theater most celebrated 
by fame, most ample in extent, most distinguished by dis 
cernment, but naturally so noisy that its expressions and 
intimations reach even to Rome, I pray you to strive and 
labor to appear, not only adequate to these conditions, but 
by your merits to have surpassed them all ; and as fortune 
has fixed my share of the public administration in Rome, and 



1 " Make not the consequence of virtue the ends thereof. Be not 
beneficent for a name or cymbal of applause, nor exact and just in com 
merce for the advantages of trust and credit, which attend the reputation 
of true and punctual dealing. For these rewards, though unsought for, 
plain virtue will bring with her. To have other objects in good actions 
sours laudable performances, which must have deeper roots, motives, and 
instigations, to give them the stamp of virtues." Sir Thomas Browne s 
Christian Morals, Book i. chap. 10. 



DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 327 

yours in Asia, while I yield to none in my conduct, do you 
excel all in yours. 

At the same time reflect that we are not now laboring 
for a glory that is in expectation and reversion ; but we are 
struggling for what has been attained, a glory that we are 
not so much to covet as to preserve. Indeed, had I any 
interest that is distinct from yours, I could desire nothing 
more than that situation of life which has actually been 
assigned to me ; but as the case is, that unless all your words 
and actions are answerable to my conduct here, I shall think 
that I have gained nothing by all. those mighty toils and 
dangers in all which you have been a sharer. Now if you 
were my chief fellow laborer in working my way to this 
splendid reputation, you ought to labor beyond others that 
I may maintain it. 

You are not to regard the opinion and the judgment of 
those who are now living, but also of those who shall here 
after exist, whose verdict will be the more just as it will be 
free from detraction and malevolence. In the next place, 
you are to reflect, that you are not seeking glory for yourself 
alone ; and, if you were, you would not be indifferent about 
it, especially as you have thought proper to consecrate the 
memory of your name by the noblest memorials, but you are 
to share it with me, and it is to descend to our posterity. 
You are therefore to beware, lest if you should be careless 
you should seem not only to have neglected your own 
interests, but to have acted grudgingly even to your de 
scendants. 

And these things are said, not that my words may seem to 
have aroused you when slumbering, but that they may en 
courage you in your career ; for you will continually act as 
you have acted, so that all may praise your equity, your 
moderation, your inflexibility, and your integrity. But 
through my excessive affection for you, I am possessed with 
an insatiable passion for your glory. In the mean while I 
am of opinion, that as you must be now as well acquainted 
with Asia as any man is with his own house ; 1 and as so 

1 This would seem to have been a proverbial simile. Juvenal has the 
same : 

" Nota magis nulli domus est qua, quam mihi lucus 
Martis," etc., Sat. I. v. 7. 



328 DUTIES OF A MAGISTRATE. 

great experience has been added to your great wisdom, there 
is nothing that pertains to glory of which you are not fully 
sensible, and which does not daily occur to your mind, 
without the exhortation of any. But I who, when I read 
your letters, think I hear you, and when I write to you 
think I converse with you, am more delighted with your 
letters the longer they are, and for the same reason I myself 
also am more prolix in writing. 

In conclusion I exhort and entreat you, that just as good 
poets and skillful actors are wont to do, so you will redouble 
your attention at this the latter part and conclusion of your 
business and office ; that this last year of your government, 
like the last act of a play, may appear the most elaborate and 
perfect. This you will most easily do, if you think that I, 
whom individually you have endeavored to please more than 
all the world besides, am ever present with you, and take an 
interest in all that you do or say. Lastly, I entreat you, as 
you value my welfare, and that of all your friends, that you 
will most carefully attend to your health. 



INDEX. 



ACADEMICS little differing from the 
Peripatetics, 2, 6, 8 ; have a right 
to treat about duties, 2 ; how dif 
fering from the Skeptics, and why 
they dispute against everything, 
79 ; are not tied to a set of opin 
ions, 120; formerly the same 
with the Peripatetics, 121. 

Accusing, how far allowable, 96. 

Acilius, the historian, 166. 

Acknowledgment, a sufficient re 
turn for a kindness, 106. 

Acropolis, its entrance, 102. 

Action gives a true value to virtue, 
13 ; to take place of speculation, 
13, 74, 76; not to be ventured 
on, if we doubt of its honesty, 
18 ; should be free from rashness, 
etc., 52 ; three rules to be ob 
served for keeping decorum in 
our actions, 68 ; order and reg 
ularity to be observed in our 
actions, 69 ; these depend upon 
time and place, 69 ; good actions 
ill applied become bad ones, 103. 

Actors choose the parts fittest for 
their humors, 57 ; respect mod 
esty, 67. 

Addison, Joseph, quoted, 142, 254, 
255, 258, 281, 300. 

Admiration, how moved in men, 
90, 91. 

Advantages tempt men to be 
rogues, 131. 

Advice of friends to be asked in 
prosperity, 47 ; of experienced 
men, in doubt, 70 ; rules about 
taking this advice, 72. 

Advocates may plead for what is 
not really true, 97. 

^Ediles, who, and their magnifi 
cence, 100. 



Affability wins people s love, 95. 

Affectation odious, 64. 

Africanus, his saying that men 
grown proud, etc., 47 ; his retire 
ment and saying that he was 
never less idle, etc., 115; Afric. 
the younger razes Carthage, and 
Numantia, 39; sonofPaulus, 60; 
not to be corrupted by money, 109. 

Agamemnon sacrificed his daugh 
ter, 156. 

Agreement between the several 
orders the support of a state, 151. 

Agriculture commended, 73 ; its va 
rious pleasures described, 240, etc. 

Ajax, his character, 57. 

Alexander Pherseus the tyrant, 86. 

Alexander the Great, often guilty 
of great vices, 47 ; reproved by 
his father for giving money, 99. 

Ambition, a great cause of in 
justice, 16, 34; is generally in 
men of the greatest souls, ib. ; is 
contrary to true courage, 34, 36 ; 
robs a man of his liberty, 36 ; is 
destructive to a state, 45, 149. 

Anger against adversaries to be 
avoided, 46 ; especially in pun 
ishing, ib. ; also in common dis 
course ; in chiding, and in 
quarrels, 66, 319. 

Annicerian philosophers, 166. 

Antipater the stoic, 112, 135. 

Antonius Marcus, the subject of 
.Padox V., 277; subservient to 
Cleopatra, 280. 

Antoninus quoted, 13. 

Appelles s Venus, 117. 

Applause, the desire of it to be 
avoided, 34, 36. 

Aquillius s Formulas, 138. 

Arates the Sicyonian, 110. 



330 



INDEX. 



Archytas, saying ofj 206, 235. 

Aristippus, 71, 166. 

Aristo, 6. 

Aristotle, neglected eloquence, 2 ; 
his opinion about shows to the 
people, eta, 100 ; makes honesty 
far outweigh all other goods, 128 ; 
quoted, 7. 

Armies of little use abroad, with 
out prudence at home, etc., 39. 

Assent not to be given nastily, 12. 

Athens, a famous university, 1, 116. 

Athenians make a cruel edict, 132 ; 
forsake their city for fear of the 
Persians, ib. ; reject a dishonest 
proposal, etc., 134. 

Atilius, L., 171. 

Avarice, one great cause of injustice, 
15, 16 1 ; a sign of a narrow and 
sordid spirit, 36 ; magistrates 
should be free from suspicion of 
it, 108 ; is destructive to a state, 
109. 

Augustine quoted, 17. 

BACON, LORD, quoted, 113, 174, 
188, 204, 228, 240, 265, 280, 
282, 289, 296. 

Bardylis the Illyrian, 91. 

Bargains should be made at a 
word, 139. 

Beauty of two sorts, 63 ; how to 
be gotten, ib. 

Becoming; see Decency. 

Benefits ; how we should judge of 
their value, 27 ; done either by 
our money or industry, 98; re 
late either to the republic, or 
to individuals, 104, etc.; upon 
whom best bestowed, 105, 106. 

Bentham, Jeremy, quoted, 5. 

Bias of Priene, saying of, 265. 

Body should be inured to labor, 40. 
The care nature has taken in its 
fabric 62. 

Bounty ; see Liberality. 

Boys not aUowed all sorts of plays, 
53. 

Bragging very unbecoming, 67. 

Bribery in magistrates, the ruin of 
a republic, 108, 109 ; laws made 
against it by the Romans, 109. 



Browne, Sir Thomas, quoted, 6, 35, 

36, 83, 96, 172, 176, 207, 247, 

253, 257, 261, 277, 278, 321. 
Brown, Dr. T., 7, 10, 149, 150, 161, 

170, 176, 208, 212, 256, 259, 321. 
Brutes, how differing from men, 9 ; 

we often talk of their courage, 

but not justice, etc., 28. 
Brutus deposed Collatinus, 131; 

decrees the augur, 172. 
Building ; its extent and object, 68. 
Butler, Bishop, quoted, 4, 51, 299. 
Buyers should not use arts to bate 

down the prices, 139. 

C.ESAR, brother of Catulus, a face 
tious man, 65. 

Cassar broke through the most 
sacred ties for the sake of em 
pire, 16; robbed some that he 
might be generous to others, 26 ; 
was murdered for his tyranny, 
triumphs over Marseilles, etc., 
loved villainy, though he got 
nothing by it, 112; makes him 
self king of the Romans, etc., 
150. 

Callicratidas, too careful of his own 
honor, 43 ; a lover of simplicity, 
55. 

Calling ; see Life. 

Callipho and Dinomachus join pleas 
ure and virtue, 167. 

Ka &r/Kov, what, 7. 

Cannius s bargain, 137. 

Carriage toward all men to be 
taken care of, 15, 63. 

Carthaginians treacherous, 23. 

Cato Censorius, his letter to Po- 
pilius, 22 ; caused the third 
Carthaginian war, 40 ; his ap 
ophthegms, 53 ; his answer 
about managing an estate, 113. 

Cato, father to Uticensis, his de 
termination of a case, 140. 

Cato Uticensis s genius, 56; too 
headstrong in standing up for 
the interest of the republic, 152. 

Kar6p</>//a, what, 7. 

Catulus not inferior to Pompey, 
39; Catuli counted the best 
speaker, 65. 



INDEX. 



331 



Chiding sometimes necessary, 66; 
rules to be observed in it, 67. 

Children naturaDy loved, 10. 

Chrysippus s excellent saying, 131. 

Cicero s service to his countrymen 
by writing, 1 ; assumes to him 
self the virtue of an orator, etc., 
ib. ; his prudent management of 
the republic, 112; got his prefer 
ments by all the votes, 102 ; be 
takes himself to retirement, 115 ; 
designed to have gone to Athens, 
168 ; quoted, 3, 254, 397, 308. 

Oimbers and Celtibers, 23. 

Cimon of Athens s hospitality, 104. 

Circumstances of men to be re 
garded in giving, 15, 103 ; make 
that not to be a crime, which 
usually is one, 120. 

Cities, in taking them, nothing to 
to be done cruelly, etc., 43 ; the 
great use of them, 81 ; why at 
first built, 107, 109. 

Citizens duties, 62. 

Clarendon, Lord, quoted, 214. 

Claudius Centumalus, 140. 

Clemency, how far laudable, 45. 

Cleombrotus beaten by Epaminon- 
das, 43. 

Clodius proved to be amadman, 275. 

Clothes, only health to be regarded 
in them, 54 ; moderation to be 
observed in the fineness of them, 
64. 

Clownishness to be avoided, 62, 64. 

Cockman, Dr. quoted, 156. 

Common ; all things at first were 
so, 14 ; what things are common 
to all, 25. 

Company ; a man would be weary 
of his life without it, 74 ; to keep 
company with good and wise 
men recommends young people, 
94. 

Conceal, how differing from not to 
tell, 135; what it is, 136. 

Concord, a pillar of any state, 109. 

Confidence ; see Trust. 

Constantly what it is, 35. 

Corinth razed by the Romans, 21, 
133. 

Coriolanus, 186. 



Correction; see Chiding, Punish 
ment. 

Coruncanius, T., 187. 
Covetousness ; see Avarice. 

Countenance to be kept always the 
same, without dejection, 47. 

Counterfeit; nothing can be last 
ing that is such, 92. 

Country claims a share in us, 15 ; 
the love we have for it swallows 
up all other loves, 32; their 
wickedness who injure it, ib.; 
every one that is able ought to 
serve it, 35 ; should be preferred 
even before parents, 32, 76, 153. 

Courage is a virtue contending for 
honesty, 34 ; an enemy to treach 
ery, etc., ib. ; to desire of ap 
plause, 35; consists in two things, 
ib. ; is obtained by the mind, not 
the body, 40 ; in war, recom 
mends young men, 93 ; teaches 
us to fear nothing, etc., 158; 
nothing profitable that is con 
trary to it, ib. 

Craft ; see Cunning. 

Crassus, Marc., his saying about 
riches, 15 ; made heir by a ffe-lse 
will, 144 ; a bad man, 145. 

Crassus, Luc., an orator, 65 ; got 
honor by an accusation, 94. 

Crassus the wealthy, sedile, 95. 

Cratippus, who he was, 179. 

Cruelty most contrary to nature, 91. 

Cunning far from true wisdom, 33, 
80, 143 ; the great mischief of 
it, ib. ; doth not excuse from 
perjury, but rather aggravates it, 
165. 

Curius, Marcus, 187, 242 ; Manius, 
282, 285. 

Custom and civil constitutions to 
be followed, 70 ; some may act 
against them, and others not, 71. 

Cynics argue against modesty, 63 ; 
to be wholly rejected, 72. 

Cyrenaic philosophers, 166. 

Cyrus, anecdote of, 244 ; dying ad 
dress of, 257. 

DANCING- in the streets scandalous, 
145, 156, 



332 



INDEX. 



Danger, how far to be undertaken. 
43 ; we should endanger our 
selves rather than the public, ib. 

Death not terrible to the great and 
good, 271. 

Debts forgiven, etc., 109, 110 ; gov 
ernors should hinder people from 
running into debt, 112. 

Deceit frees a man from being 
bound by his promise, 18. 

Decency (or gracefulness) observed 
by a man only, 9 ; inseparable 
from honesty, 48 ; is seen in all 
the parts of honesty, ib. ; two 
sorts of it universal and particu 
lar, 49; draws tho approbation 
of all, 50 ; relates both to body 
and mind, ib. ; nothing decent 
that is contrary to a man s 
genius, 51 ; decency of living 
according to universal nature, 
50, 52 ; according to each man s 
particular one, 55 ; according to 
one s place or station in the 
world, 58 ; is seen in our words, 
actions, etc., 62 ; in our eyes, 
hands, etc., 63. 

Decorum of the poets, 49. 

Defending more laudable than to 
accuse, 96 ; to defend a guilty 
person lawful, 97. 

Define ; the subject of a discourse 
ought to be defined at the be 
ginning, 7. 

Deliberation, five heads of it, 8 ; in 
some cases sinful, 120, 129. 

Demet. Phalereus, who he was, 2 ; 
blames Pericles, 102. 

Demetrius forsaken by the Mace 
donians, 86. 

Demosthenes, a hearer of Plato, 2 ; 
at what age he began his study, 
94. 

Desire of riches, etc. ; see Avarice, 
Ambition. 

Despising different from having a 
bad opinion of, 91. 

Dicaearchus s book about tho De 
struction of Men, 82. 

Difficult subjects ; see Study. Diffi 
culty makes a thing more honor 
able, 34. 



Diogenes and Antipater dispute, 
134. 

Dion taught by Plato, 75. 

Dionysius, the Sicilian tyrant, 85. 

Direct a wandering traveler, 28. 

Discourse: variety in men s ways 
of it, 55 ; not to be dressed up 
with Greek expressions, 56 ; of 
two sorts, 65, 95 ; common dis 
course should be easy, etc., ib. ; 
free from passion, etc., 67 ; should 
be agreeable to the subject we 
discourse upon, 65, 69. 

Disputing of two sorts, by reason 
and by force, 21. 

Dissimulation should be excluded, 
138. 

Dolus mains, what, 137 ; punished 
by the civil laws, 139. 

Donations to the people, when al 
lowable, 101, 102. 

Doubt : we should do nothing of 
which we doubt whether it is 
honest or not, 18; in cases of 
doubt ask experienced men s ad 
vice, 70. 

Dunlop, John, quoted, 307. 

Dreams evince the immortality of 
the soul, 257 ; not prophetic, 
289. 

Duties : the whole subject of them 
consists of two parts, 7 ; middle 
and perfect ones, ib., 119, 120; 
incumbent on us in every part 
of our lives, 3 ; greater ones to 
take place before less, 18 ; duty 
to parents adorns a young man, 
94. 

Dymond, Jonathan, quoted, 24, 44, 
66, 93, 97, 128, 154, 179. 

EARTH, the, its diminutiveness in 
the universe, 292 ; too wide to 
be pervaded by fame, 296. 

Edmonds, C. R., quoted, 226. 

Education of youth a laudable em 
ployment, 73 ; makes many use 
ful men, etc., 75. 

Edwards, Jonathan, quoted, 4. 

Effeminacy to be avoided, 143 ; 
see Niceness. Its signification, 
54. 



INDEX, 



333 



Eloquence preferable to acute 
thinking, 75 ; its great force, 
etc., 80; its downfall in Rome, 
105 ; gives one opportunities of 
obliging many, 106. 

Empedocles, 182. 

Enemies, by the old Romans called 
strangers, 22 ; justice to be kept 
toward them, 20, 23, 160; dif 
ference of carriage to be observ 
ed toward them, 23 ; none to be 
reckoned enemies, but who take 
up arms against the state, 44. 

Ennius, quoted, 16, 28. 

Epicurus ruins all virtue, 3, 166; 
makes happiness consist in pleas 
ure, 167 ; endeavors to explain 
this away, but in vain, ib. 

Estate, how to be gotten, bettered, 
etc., 43, 112, 113 ; it is a scandal 
to ruin it by neglect, 103 ; what 
the best that can be left to a 
son, 60. 

Evenness of temper, a part of cou 
rage, 47. 

Evils: the least to be chosen, 115, 
158, 160; those of body and 
fortune less than those of the 
soul, 122. 

Euripides, quoted, 149, 163. 

Etrai a, what it signifies, 68. 

Exacting to be avoided in dealings 
with others, 103. 

Exercise requisite to make men 
perfect, 32. 

Extraordinary things move admira 
tion, 90. 

FABIUS LABEO S (Q.) trick, 19; 
Fab. Maximus s wise delaying, 
43 ; his subtilty and cunning, 54. 

Fabricius s justice, 24, 119, 151. 

Faith the foundation of justice, 15 ; 
set up in the capitol next to 
Jupiter, 160; to be kept with 
enemies, 161 ; see Oaths. 

Fame, its transiency, 298. 

Fannius, C. and Scsevola and C. 
Lelius, interlocutor in the dia 
logue on Friendship, 171, etc. 

Fathers often followed in course of 
life by their sons, 58 ; rules to 



be observed in imitating them, 
66; whether to be accused by 
their sons, should they plot 
against the state, 153. 

Fear, one cause of injustice, 15 ; 
promises made through fear not 
binding, 19 ; an improper way 
of getting men to be of our side, 
and the ill consequences of it, 
85, 87. 

Fecial law of the Romans, 22, 163. 

Fides derived by the Stoics, 15 ; ex 
fide bona, a form in law, 142. 

Fighting, when laudable, 41. 

Fimbria judge in a case, 146. 

Flatterers to be avoided, 47 ; estates 
got by flattery, scandalous, 145. 

Flattery condemned, 211. 

Force and fraud, the two ways of 
injuring men, the latter more 
odious, 32; a courageous man 
can not be forced, 165. 

Forms in judgment, 138; the gen 
eral form or rule, 122. 

Fortune must yield to nature, 60 ; 
her influence upon the good or 
ill success of actions, 83 ; blind 
and blinds her votaries, 193; 
every man master of his own, 
279; seditions will never be 
wanting while men hope to 
make their fortunes by them, 
88 ; to be transported with good 
or ill fortune shows a mean 
spirit, 61. 

Foster, John, quoted, 40, 279, 295. 

Freedom, wherein it consists, 35. 

Fretfulness upon unseasonable 
visits, etc., to be avoided, 46. 

Friends necessary for all, 88; all 
common among friends, 28 ; the 
counsel of friends should be 
asked, 47 ; men are born for 
their friends, as well as them 
selves, ib.; corrections, counsel, 
etc., due among friends, 32 ; how 
much may be done for the sake 
or a friend, 132; Damon and 
Phinthias two friends, ib. ; close 
ness of union between friends, 
31. 

Friendship makes many become 



334 



INDEX. 



one, 31; is cemented by likeness 
of manners, ib. ; to be broken off 
by little and little, 60 ; of C. 
Laelius and P. Scipio, 170, 214; 
superior to relationship, 180 ; 
exists between but few, ib. ; a 
union of sentiment, 180 ; adorns 
prosperity, and solaces adversity, 
181 ; of Orestes and Py lades, 
182 ; founded on virtue, 184, 
185, 204 ; and sincerity, 197 ; 
subverted by avarice and ambi 
tion, 186; does not excuse in 
justice, 188, 189 ; the greatest of 
blessings, 190; this universally 
admitted, 204 ; care to be em 
ployed in contracting it, 195 ; 
old friendship better than new, 
198; description of, 201; ruined 
by flattery, 208. 

GAIT should not be too slow, etc., 63. 

Generals of the Romans delivered 
to their enemies, 163. 

Genius; see Nature. 

Geometricians method, 127. 

Genteel jests, 53; carriage, 63. 

Glory made up of three ingredients, 
89; Cicero wrote two books 
about it, 88 ; must be used with 
discretion, and what the shortest 
cut to it, 92, 94; not to be gotten 
by counterfeit, 92 ; but by just 
ice, 93 ; can not be durable un 
less founded upon virtue, 107 ; 
inconsistent with wickedness, 
151. 

Gods; duties to them to be per 
formed first, 76; how their favor 
may be procured, 80; they never 
hurt, ib. ; are never angry, 160. 

Godwin, William, quoted, 24, 120, 
126, 153, 160, 292, 313. 

Good fortune, it is the sign of a 
low spirit to be transported with 
it, 61. 

Good men, so called from justice, 
13, 91; who, 139, 145; very 
hard to be found, ib. ; it is al 
ways profitable to be one, ib. ; 
good men desire honesty, not 
secresy, 130. 



Good-will ; see Love. 

Government of a state like the 
office of a guardian, 44 ; the 
several duties of those that gov 
ern, 108. 

Gownsmen as useful as soldiers, 
39, 40. 

Gracchus, father of the two Gracchi, 
93; his sons justly slain, ib.; 
ruined by their leveling princi- 
ciples, 110; Tiberius, 187, 188. 

Gratidianus, 141. 

Gratitude a most necessary duty, 
in which we should imitate fruit 
ful fields, 27; all people hate 
one that is not grateful, 103. 

Greatness of soul natural to man, 
11; what it appears in, 10; in 
clines men to ambition, 34; is 
often too hot, 27 ; usually made 
most account of in the world, 
33; necessary for statesmen 
more than philosophers, 36; its 
description, and how it differs 
from greatness of understanding, 
41 ; seen even in a retired life, 
48 ; is savageness if not accom 
panied with justice, 75; see 
Courage. 

Greek and Latin to be joined, 1 ; 
to bring Greek into discourse 
ridiculous, 56; Greeks deceitful 
and treacherous, 311. 

Grotius, quoted, 14, 22. 

Guardian, the, quoted, 124. 

Guthrie, Win., quoted, 13, 36, 87, 
289, 296, 300, 305. 

Guilty persons may sometimes be 
defended, 97. 

Gyge s ring, 19, 130, 147. 

Hall, Robert, quoted, 29, 30, 31, 

62, 177, 184, 203, 215, 261, 302. 
Hannibal cruel, 21: sends ten to 

Rome after the fight at Cannae, 

23, 166. 
Hastiness, the passion should not 

through haste outrun reason, 52. 
Hate able to ruin the greatest 

power, 85, 87. 
Haughtiness in prosperity to be 

avoided, 47. 



INDEX. 



335 



Health, how to be preserved, 112. 

Heaven ; a certain place in it as 
signed to patriots, 290; magni 
tude of, 292 ; what constitutes a 
cycle of the heavens, 298. 

Hecaton the Rhodian, 139, 152. 

Help ; not to help the injured, if 
we can, is injustice, 15. 

Hercules sees too ways, 59 ; is 
placed among the gods, 123. 

Herillus exploded, 6. 

Herodotus the historian, 92. 

Hesiod s rule, 27. 

Hire ; the worst means of winning 
men to our side, 84. 

Honestum, whence it results, 11 ; 
laudable in itself, ib. ; would 
make the world in love with it, 
could it be seen, ib. ; shows it 
self by its own brightness, 18; 
entitles a man to our liberality, 
26, 27, 106; more especially de 
serves our study, 80 ; naturally 
pleases men, 89 ; is the same 
with profit, 118, 128, etc. ; hon 
est man, who, 146. 

Honor ; the desire of it tempts men 
to injustice, 147. 

Horace, quoted, 7, 123, 238, 266, I 
316. 

Hortensius, sedile, 101 ; uses a false | 
will, 144. 

Hospitality to be kept by great 
men, 68 ; praised deservedly by 
Theophrastus, 104. 

Hostis, its signification among the 
old Romans, 22. 

Hot counsels and designs preferred 
by some, 42. 

House ; of what sort becomes a 
great man, 68 ; the master should 
be an honor to his house, ib. 

Humility requisite in prosperity, 47. 

Hume, David, quoted, 9, 25, 56, 
65, 120, 123, 143, 248. 

Hunting ; a manly recreation, 53. 

Hypocrisy should be banished out 
of the world, 138; repugnant to 
friendship, 209. 

JESTING, in what kind and degree 
allowable, 53. 



Immortality of the soul asserted, 
174, 175; its return to heaven 
the most ready in the case of the 
virtuous and the just, 176, 302; 
if the doctrine is false, death ia 
no evil, 177, 262; argued from 
the uncompounded nature of the 
soul, 256 ; from the phenomena 
of sleep, 257 ; held by the Italian 
philosophers, 255 ; aspired after 
by the greatest men, 260 ; glori 
ous hopes connected with it, 
brings about the re-union of the 
good in heaven, 261. 

Improvising; the practice of the 
Greeks, 178. 

Individuals ; nothing to be done 
for them that is a damage to the 
public, 107 ; should not have 
interests separate from the pub 
lic, 124. 

Inheritance ; the best a father can 
leave to his son, ia the fame of 
his virtues, 60. 

Injuries ; two ways of doing them, 
25 ; injuring others most con 
trary to nature, 122. 

Injustice of two sorts, and the 
causes of each, 15-17 ; the 
greatest, which is done under 
the mask of honesty, 25. 

Innocent persons, never to be ac 
cused, 97. 

Interest draws ono way, and hon 
esty another, 8 ; no base thing 
can be any man s interest, 146 ; 
should be measured by justice, 
150. 

Isocrates, contrary to Aristotle, 2. 

JOHNSON", Dr. Samuel, quoted, 34, 
35, 46. 58, 61, 206, 209, 219, 
232, 246, 249, 266, 269, 284, 
286, 296, 322, 369. 

Judges duty, 97. 

Justice, the most splendid virtue, 
13 ; makes men be called good, 
&., 91 ; the duties of it, 13 ; is 
altered upon an alteration of 
the circumstances, 18 ; to be 
kept toward those that have in 
jured us, and enemies, 21; to- 



336 



INDEX. 



ward the meanest, such as 
slaves, 25 ; is the only way of 
obtaining our ends, 80; makes 
men trust us more than pru 
dence, 89 ; no man just who is 
afraid of death, etc., 91 ; justice 
gets us all the three ingredients 
of glory, ib. ; is necessary for all 
men, even pirates, ib.; kings 
were at first chosen, and laws 
made for the sake of it, 92 ; no 
credit can be lasting that is not 
built upon it, 106 ; is the queen 
of all virtues, 124; nothing prof 
itable that is contrary to it, 152, 
etc. 

Juvenal, quoted, 210, 220, 279, 
311, 334. 

KINDNESSES should be done to 
honest rather than great men, 
106 ; not to be done to one, by 
injuring another, ib. ; see Bene 
fits. 

Kings formerly chosen for their 
justice, 92 ; no faith in case of a 
kingdom, 16 ; justice violated for 
a kingdom, 150; many treacher 
ous, and but few faithful to 
kings, ib. 

Knowledge, how desired, etc., by 
men, 10, 12 ; must give place to 
action, 74; is a barren accom 
plishment, without justice, 75 ; 
that of honesty best, 78, 80, 118. 

Knavery to be avoided, 80 ; few 
actions wholly free from it, 139. 
See Dolus mains. 

LACEDEMONIANS, Plato s observ 
ation of them, 33 ; ruined by 
Epaminondas, 43 ; forsaken by 
their allies, 86 ; murder their 
king Agis, etc., 110. 

Lselius, C., chief speaker in the 
dialogue on Friendship, 172, etc. 

Laetorius s law, 138. 

Lamartine, A. de, quoted, 298. 

Language ; see Discourse. 

Largi, of two sorts, 100. 

Latin to be joined with Greek, 1. 

Laws, a malicious interpretation 



of them a means of roguery, 19 ; 
punish offenders according to 
justice, 46 ; why first invented, 
92 ; use the same language to 
all conditions, ib. ; the knowl 
edge of them creditable at Rome, 
104; give a man opportunities 
of obliging, ib. ; the end and de 
sign of them, 122; how they 
root out frauds, 142 ; the law of 
nations different from that of 
particular cities, ib. ; Roman law 
taken from nature, and its ex 
cellence, ib. ; law of nature taken 
in all men, 124; laW Suits to bo 
avoided, 103. 

Learners, how best corrected, 70. 

Learning, who may be allowed to 
give themselves up to the study 
of it, 36; is a pleasure, not a 
labor, 116. 

Letters, how to be expressed, 65. 

Leveling estates destructive, etc., 
107. 

Liberality, three cautions to be ob 
served in it, 25 ; must be govern 
ed by justice, ib. ; to give to one 
what is taken from another not 
liberality, ib. ; to whom it should 
be most shown, 26, 32, 104, 106, 
moves the people s love, 98 ; con 
sists in doing kindnesses either 
by money or labor ; the latter 
preferable, 15 ; has got no bot 
tom, ib. ; how the liberal dis 
pose of their money, 16. 

Liberty ought to be most of all 
contended for, 35; wherein it 
consists, ib.; bites deeper after 
it has been chained, 85. 

Life of retirement, and that of pub 
lic business compared, 37 ; seve 
ral men take several ways of 
life, 58 ; the difficulty of choosing 
a way of life ; and what chiefly 
to be regarded in it, 58, 59 ; 
should not easily be change d, 
60 ; how such change should be 
made, ib. 

Little indecencies especially to be 
avoided, 70 ; in the least things 
we observe what is becoming, ib. 



INDEX. 



337 



Locke, John, quoted, 14. 

Love of themselves and offspring 
in all animals, 10 ; love a stronger 
motive to obedience than fear, 
85, 86 ; how to be gained of the 
people, 89 ; by what we are to 
judge of men s love to us, 27; 
we should do most for those by 
whom we are loved most, ib.; 
general love, and that of friend 
ship, how far necessary, 86. 

Lucullus magnificent in building, 
68. 

Lycurgus the lawgiver of Sparta, 
39. 

Lying abominable, 72, 137; should 
be banished from all commerce, 
138 ; is inconsistent with the 
character of a good man, 148. 

Lysander enlarged the Spartan em 
pire, 38; crafty, 55; the Ephori 
banished, 110. 

Lysis, master of Epaminondas, 75. 

MACEDONIANS desert Demetrius, 
86 ; Paulus took the treasure of 
Macedon, 109. 

Mackintosh, Sir James, quoted, 3, 
4, 7, 8, 29, 71. 

Macknish, .Dr. 288. 

Magistrates duties, 43, 44, 60, 108 ; 
responsible for the acts of their 
subordinates, 309 ; should prac 
tice rigor and impartiality, 313; 
and discountenance calumny, 
314. 

Mamercus put by the consulship, 
101. 

Man, how different from brutes, 9, 
53 ; not born for himself alone, 
14 ; all things on earth made for 
him, say the Stoics, ib. ; we 
should show a respect for all 
men, 50 ; and desire to be 
thought well of by them, ib. ; 
some are men in name only, 53 ; 
men may be allowed some orna 
ments ; but must avoid niceness, 
63 ; naturally love society, 74, 
75; do the most good and harm 
to one another, 80-82 ; to pro 
cure their love the chief of virtue, 
15 



82; by what means they are 
drawn to be for us, 84; every 
man should help any other be 
cause he is a man, 124. 
Manilius, 176, 286. 
Manlius, Luc. and Titus, 164, 165. 
Marius made consul, etc., 147; 

Marius Gratidianus, 141, 147. 
Marriage the closest bond of society, 

29. 
Medes chose the justest men kings, 

92. 
Melmoth, William, quoted, 216, 

221, 225, 234, 250, 256, 291. 
Memmius took Corinth, etc., 109. 
Merchandise, how far creditable, 

73. 

Merchant of corn s case, 134, 136. 
Merits of the receiver to be con 
sidered in giving ; of four sorts, 
25. 
Metellus accused by Marius ; and 

Africanus s dissent, 45. 
Metrodorus s opinion about happi 
ness, 166. 
Milo got great honor, 101. 
Milton, John, quoted, 16, 106, 160, 

179. 

Mind of man always in motion, 13 ; 
consists in reason and appetite, 
52, 64; decency to be kept in its 
motions, 63 ; filthiness of the 
mind more loathsome than of the 
body, 160. 
Moderation, what, 69; is best in 

most things, 64. 

Modesty, bashfulness, etc., 48 ; the 
duties of them different from 
those of justice, 50 ; forbids to 
do or name some things, 63 ; the 
Cynics argue against it, ib. 
nothing virtuous or becoming 
without it, 72 ; sets off elo 
quence, especially in young men, 
95. 

Money ; see Hire, Riches, etc. ; 
those tried with fire, who have 
withstood its temptations, 91 ; 
how best laid out, 100, 102, 103 ; 
bad money should not be put 
away, 154. 
Montaigne, quoted, 162. 



338 



INDEX. 



Moral duties, a most useful and 

comprehensive subject, 2, 116; 

who have a right to discourse 

about them, 2. 

Motion, philosophy of, 300, etc. 
Motives drawing men to favor us, 

etc., 83. 
Musicians discover the least faults 

in music, 10. 

N ASIC A murdered T. Gracchus, 39. 

Nature should be taken for a guide, 
and then we can not err, 49, 
218; pleasures, etc., unworthy 
man s nature, 53 variety of 
men s particular natures, 54 ; 
every one should follow his own 
nature, and how far, 55 ; nothing 
becoming that is contrary to it, 
ib. ; its great influence on our 
actions, ib. ; lias greater sway 
than fortune, GO ; directs to 
modesty, 62 ; is both a human 
and divine law, 122; enjoins 
each man to help another, 124; 
always desires what is becom 
ing, 128; to live according to 
nature the Stoical chief good, 
118. 

Nature, the best guide, 1*79 ; the 
mother of all things, 267. 

Necessity not the motive to society 
among men, 75. 

Niceness in carriage, 62 ; dress, 
etc., 63. 

Nola and Naples quarrel about 
their bounds, 19. 

Nan putaram, a fool s shift, 41. 

Numa Pompilius, 266. 

OATHS given to soldiers, 22 ; what 
is to be considered in oaths, 24, 
161 ; I am not tied by oath to a 
deceiver, 159, 161 ; oath is a re 
ligious affirmation, etc., ib. ; the 
sacredness of them among the 
old Romans, 164 ; not eluded by 
shifts, 24, 165. 

Obscene jesting, 53 ; talking dis 
covers bad inclinations, etc., 63. 

Obscure subjects to be neglected, 
13. 



Offense ; a fear of giving offense, a 
cause of injustice, 16 ; a cause of 
mismanagement in civil and mili 
tary affairs, 43 ; it is the duty of 
modesty not to give offense, 51 , 
nothing to be done that may of 
fend the eyes and ears, 63. 

Old age to be reverenced, 60, 72; 
the duties of it, 61 ; the, of Cicero 
beguiled by writing a treatise on 
that subject, 217 ; tolerable to 
men of regulated minds, 219; of 
Quintus Maximus, 221 ; of Plato, 
Isocrates, and Gorgias, 222; of 
Ennius, 223 ; four causes why it 
is thought miserable, 223 ; has 
its appropriate employments, 
224; does not necessarily im 
pair memory, 225, nor intellect, 
226, nor studies, 227 ; does not 
require the strength of youth, 
228, 232 ; mellows the voice, 
229 ; its vigor preserved by 
temperance, 232 ; can enjoy 
modern conviviality, 237, 238; 
the last act of a play, 262. 

Opinion of the world concerning us 
not to be neglected, 50. 

Oratory and philosophy to be join 
ed, 1. 

Order in our words and actions, 69. 

Orestes gives a dinner to the people, 
101. 

Op/aal, 82. 

Other men s affairs appear small to 
us as things at a distance, 17 ; 
we should mind by others what 
is becoming, 70 ; we can soonest 
see faults in others, ib. 

Ovid, quoted, 50, 225, 265. 

Own : every one to be kept in the 
enjoyment of his own, 109; own 
interest how far to be regarded, 
122, 131. 



Pain racks and torments us, 90; 

not the greatest evil, 160. 
Pains should be proportioned to 

what we are about, 68. 
Painters set their works out to be 

viewed, 70. 



INDEX. 



339 



Paley, Dr., quoted, 5, 14, 19, 24, 
32, 46, 71, 95, 97, 271. 

Panaetiua, 7 ; left his work about 
duties unfinished, 117, 127. 

Paradoxes,- why so called, 263. 

Parts; men have several parts to 
be acted, 54, 58 ; parts of the 
body well fitted by nature, 62. 

Pascal, Blaise, quoted, 12. 

Passion ; injuries done in a passion 
less heinous than in cold blood, 
16 ; should be governed by rea 
son, 52, 64, 68, 82 ; disturb both 
body and mind, 52 ; to be shun 
ned in discourse, 67 ; nothing 
can be like that is done in a 
passion, 66. 

Pausanias, Spartan general, 38. 

Paulus had all the riches of Mace- 
don, 109. 

Paulus ^Emilius appears in vision 
to his son Scipio Africanus the 
younger, 291. 

Pericles s answer to Sophocles, 69 ; 
is blamed by Palerius, 102. 

People caressed, etc., 100. 

Peripatetics differ little from the 
Academics, 2, 121 ; have a right 
to treat about duties, 2 ; require 
a mediocrity, and say anger was 
given us to good purposes, 46 ; 
theirs a most noble and ancient 
philosophy, 79. 

Perjury, when a man is guilty of 
it, 162. 

Phaeton, 156. 

Phalaris, 86, 125. 

Philip of Macedon, above his son 
in good-nature, 47 ; advises his 
son to speak kindly to the people, 
95 ; rebukes him for giving 
them money, 99. 

Philip s harangues in his tribune- 
ship, 107 ; his ill counsel, 151. 

Philosophers, unjust in minding 
only their studies, 17; relinquish 
the public, ib. ; their method of 
rooting out frauds, 141 ; none 
may assume that name without 
giving rules about duty, 2 ; their 
study commended, 78 ; philos 
ophy a comfort in affliction, 77 ; 



a rich and plentiful soil, 116 ; the 
meaning of the word, 78. 

Phulus, 176. 

Pirates ought to have no faith kept 
with them, 162 ; can not be 
without justice, 91. 

Place, its influence on our actions, 
69. 

Plato might have made an excel 
lent orator, 2 ; his saying, that 
men are not born for themselves 
only, 14 ; his mistake about the 
philosophers, 17 ; his two rules 
about government, 44 ; his say 
ing about ambition, ib. ; his ex 
cellent saying about prudence, 
33 ; his fable of Gyges, 130 ; 
quoted, 11, 51; his arguments 
for the pre-existence of the 
human soul, 256. 

Plays and recreations, how far al 
lowable, 53 ; play at even and 
odd, etc., 147. 

Players choose the parts fittest for 
them, 57 ; their respect to mod 
esty, 63. 

Pleasures of body beneath a man, 
54. 

Pleasures are alluring mistresses, 
90 ; are contrary to honesty, 
168 ; may serve to give a relish 
to actions, ib. ; should not be re 
garded in eating, etc., 54; con 
sist in virtue, 268. 

Plutarch, quoted, 106. 

Poetical decorum, 49; poets set 
their works out to be viewed, 70. 

Polybius the historian, 165. 

Pompey Sextus, a geometrician, 
13. 

Pompey the Great ; his party un 
successful, 94 ; his magnificent 
shows to the people, 101. 

Pomponius the tribune, 164. 

Pontius, C., the Samnite, 108. 

Pope Alexander, quoted, 230. 

Popilius, a Roman commander, 22. 

Popular expressions to be used, 90. 

Posterity, impartiality of their ver 
dict, 323. 

Power ; the desire of it draws men 
to injustice, 149. 



340 



INDEX, 



Practice necessary to perfect a man 
in virtue, 33. 

Precepts insufficient without exer 
cise, ib. 

Present things more acceptable for 
a time, 102. 

Pride in prosperity to be avoided, 
47. 

Private men should be kept in their 
estates, 38. 

Procreation ; the love of it natural 
to all animals, 9. 

Prodigal, who, 100. 

Profit, the same with honesty, 80, 
121, 128, 134; moves all men, 
128, 159 , the appearance of it 
makes men act contrary to duty, 
133; ought to be rejected, ib.; 
every thing honest profitable, 
and every thing profitable hon 
est, 128. 

Promises not always binding, 18, 
155, 156. 

Property, its original, 14. 

Prudence ; the duties resulting 
from, 12 ; consists in the knowl 
edge of truth, and is most natu 
ral to man, ib. ; of but little 
worth without justice, 74 ; differ 
ent from craft, 33, 80, 143 ; a 
definition of it, 74 ; makes men 
confide in us, if joined, etc., 89. 

Public officers should be free from 
passion, etc., 36, 45, 319; should 
see that what they undertake 
be honest, 44 ; remember Plato s 
two rules, ib. ; a description of a 
good one, 44, 313 ; should be 
courteous, affable, etc., ib. ; do 
the bravest actions, 47 ; should 
guard their eyes as well as hands, 
69, 307; not to be resisted, 72; 
public and private life compared, 
37. 

Puffendorf, quoted, 137. 

Punishment ; rules to be observed 
about them, 46. 

Pyrrho can give no rules about 
duty, 6, 79. 

Pyrrhus, his speech upon giving 
up the prisoners, 23 ; a deserter 
offers to poison him, 24, 151. 



Pythagoras, 31. 54; maxims of. 

234. 
Pythias, a banker, 137. 

RALEIGH, SIR WALTER, quoted, 
280. 

Rashness in giving up our assent, 
to be avoided, 12, 79 ; in our ac 
tions, 52. 

Reason ought to be the governing 
faculty in man, 52. 

Rebukes in friendship, 32. Seo 
Chiding. 

Regularity ; see Uniformity. 

Regulus taken by the Carthagini 
ans, etc., 158, 252, etc. ; not 
really unhappy, 269. 

Relations should be considered be 
fore other people, 25, 27. 

Republic ; Cicero wrote six Lcol;a 
about it, 102. 

Respect should bo had for all men, 
51 ; especially those we converse 
with, 63, 64, 67. 

Retired people do very noble things, 
47. Seo Life. 

Revenge must be kept within 
bounds, 20. 

Rhetoricians omit some subjects, 
64. 

Riches, why desired, 15 ; neither 
to be kept too close nor too open, 
99 ; the best fruit of them, 100 ; 
are too much respected, 107 ; to 
be got not for ourselves alone, 
139; are not profitable, if ac 
companied with infamy, 151 ; 
the baggage of virtue, 265; of no 
value in themselves, 286 ; a com 
parative term, 284. See Avarice, 
Liberality. 

Romans famous for courage, 33 ; 
their ancient justice and kind 
ness to allies when changed, 86 ; 
ruined by tyranny and oppres 
sion, 87. 

Romulus did wrong in killing Re 
mus, 131 ; praised, 266; the sun 
eclipsed at his death, 297. 

Roscius Ainerinus, defended by 
Cicero, 98. 

Rousseau, J. J., quoted, 122. 



INDEX, 



341 



Rule ; the desire of it natural to 
men, 10 ; general rule or meas 
ure, 123, 

Hutilius had the name of an hon 
est man, etc., 94; scholar of 
Pansetius, 117. 

SAL AMIS famous for a victory, 33, 

Saguntines, not parricides, 274. 

Salmacis, 33. 

Scsevola gives more than was asked 
for an estate, 139; Pontifex 
Max., 142, 169, 176. 

Scipio, Africanus, his history and 
glorious end, 173, 174. 

Secrecy, nothing to be committed 
out of hopes of it, 129, 130. 

Self-love prevents men from seeing 
their duty, 16 ; nature allows a 
man to love himself first, 131, 
122 ; but not to injure others for 
the sake of self, 122, 124. 

Seller, bound to tell the faults of 
his goods, 134, 135, etc. ; should 
use no arts to enhance their 
price, 139. 

Seneca, quoted, 50, 218, 251. 

Serious things to be handled seri 
ously, 65, 69. 

Shakespeare, Wm., quoted, 210, 
279, 294, 309. 

Shows to the people how far al 
lowable, 100, 102. 

Sincerity agreeable to man s na 
ture, 10. 

Singing openly a great rudeness, 
69. 

Skeptics ; their opinion, 79. 

Slaves, how to be dealt with, 25, 
86 ; tricks in selling them pun 
ished, 143 ; not to be trusted 
with public concerns, 312. 

Smith, Adam, quoted, 21, 67, 136, 
192, 196. 

Society: the principles, sorts, and 
degrees of it, 28, 29 ; nothing 
that men should be more con 
cerned for, 74 ; man by nature 
sociable, 75 ; necessity not the 
motive to society, ib. ; duties of 
it of several degrees, in what 
order to be performed, 74; uni 



versal society, of what nature, 
134. 

Socrates facetious and droll, 54; 
of extraordinary virtues, 72; his 
shortest cut to glory, 92; used 
to curse those that separate pro 
fit and honesty, 118 ; pronounc 
ed by the oracle the wisest of 
men, 172, 173, 255 ; remark of, 
244. 

Solon, Athenian lawgiver, 38; his 
craft, 54. 

Sons should live as becomes tho 
name of their ansestors, 39 ; do 
not bathe with their fathers, 63. 

2o>/a, 74. 

Sophocles the tragedian, 69, 238. 

Soul s functions more noble than 
the body s, 94; pre-existed, 256; 
an emanation of the divine es 
sence, 255 ; immortal (see Im 
mortality), nothing more excel 
lent and divine, 268, 300 ; souls 
of the wicked hover round the 
earth for ages after death, 303. 

South, Dr., quoted, 61, 267, 268, 
270, 271, 280. 

Spectator, the, quoted, 220, 229, 
230, 241, 260. 

Speech. See Discourse. 

Spheres, the description of, 293 ; 
music of, 294. 

State, how to be supported, 85, 87, 
152. 

Stewart, Dugald, quoted, 6, 174, 
206. 

Styles of eloquence and philosophy 
to be both cultivated, 1. 

Stoics ; Cicero follows them in this 
book, 6 ; great admirers of deri 
vations, 15; their chief good, 
etc., 118; aim at no embellish 
ment, 263. 

Strangers duties in a place, 62; 
a difference to be made between* 
them, 72; should not be forbid 
a city, 133. 

Study not to be spent upon obscure 
and difficult subjects, 13; the 
end of it. ib. ; should give place 
to action, 13, 74, 76. 

Suicide forbidden, 250, 292. 



342 



INDEX. 



Subject of a discourse must be first 
explained, 7 ; different subjects 
require different ways of expres 
sion, 90. 

Subjects of common discourse, 65. 

Sulpitius, an astronomer, 13, 169 ; 
an orator, accuses Norbanus, 95. 

Sumumjus, suma injuria, 19. 

Swearing upon one s conscience, 
146 ; my tongue swore, but, etc., 
163. 

Syla, Lucius s inhuman victory, 87. 

Sylla, Pub., kinsman to the former, 
f&. 

TAKING away what is another s, a 
breach of justice, 14; most con 
trary to nature, 122, 124; taking 
away from one and giving to 
another no liberality, 25, no 
* good man will take from another 
to enrich himself, 145. 

Talk; see Discourse. 

Tatler, the, quoted, 320. 

Taylor, Isaac, quoted, 295, 301. 

Taxes, the people not to be burden 
ed witli them, 108 ; tax-gatherers 
hated, 72, 317. 

Ten men sent by Hannibal to 
Home, etc., 24, 165. 

Temperance, 12; the duties of it 
must not always give place to 
those of justice, 76 ; nothing prof 
itable that is contrary to it, 167. 

Tenths paid to the gods, 101. 

Terence s Chromes, 17 ; Andria, 
207; Eunuch, 209. 

Thebe, wife of tyrant Alexander, 86. 

Themistocles, 38 ; his opinion about 
marrying a daughter, 106 ; his 
proposal to the Athenians, 133 ; 
illustrations, 189 ; sayings of, 
220. 

Theophrastus, 2 ; his book about 
riches, 100 ; praises hospitality, 
104. 

Theseus s wish granted by Nep 
tune, 18, 156. 

Thieves can not submit without 
justice, 91. 

Thinking; the end of it, 13; a 
good man will not think what 



he is ashamed should be known, 

145. 

Thracians branded, 86. 
Time and place make actions good 

or bad, 69. 
Trades, which creditable, etc., 72; 

tradesmen should avoid lying, 

ib.; be just, 91. 
Treachery, etc., contrary to reason, 

142. 

Truce for thirty days, 19. 
Trust; how men are induced to 

trust us, 89 ; trust not always to 

be restored, 156. 
Truth, the love of it natural to 

man, 10, 55; two faults in search 

of it to be avoided, 12. 
Tyrants generally come to a bad 

end, 86; to kill them counted 

glorious among the Romans, 120 ; 

are enemies of human society, 

125 ; lead miserable lives, 149. 

ULYSSES of a temper to undergo 
any thing, 57 ; would have avoid 
ed the war, 157. 

Unable ; those who are unable to 
exercise some virtues, should 
take the more care to get others, 
60. 

Ungrateful men hated by all, 103. 

Uniformity, of life, whence it arises, 
55, 69; is most becoming, ib. 

Unjust ; those who spend their 
lives in contemplation are so, 
17; and those who mind no 
body s business but their own, ib. 

Usurers hated, 72 ; Gate s opinion 
of usury, 113. 

VICTUALS ; pleasure should not be 
regarded in it, 54. 

Vine, cultivation of, 241. 

Yiriathus, the Lusitanian robber, 
11. 

Virgil, quoted, 11, 270, 290. 

Virtue alone, or at least chiefly 
desirable, 5, 12; virtues all con 
nected, 12, 89; forces us to lovo 
the persons that possess it, 31, 
89 ; its principal office to pro 
cure the love of men, 82 ; con- 



INDEX. 



343 



sists in three things, ib. ; moves 
men s admiration, 89; when it 
appears with greatest splendor, 
ib.; scorns affinity with pleas 
ure, 167; the only good, 264; 
conformable to reason, 273; all 
virtues equal, ib. See Honesty. 

Voice should be clear and har 
monious, etc., 65. 

Voluntary : no true virtue, that is 
not so, 17. 

WANT ; we should be most liberal 
to those that want most, etc., 27, 
103. 

"War; laws of it to be observed, 
21, 161 ; may be undertaken, 
but it must be for the sake of 
peace, 21, 41 ; the management 
of it less glorious than civil pru 
dence, 38 ; courage in it recom 
mends a young man, 93. 

"Ways, two, of pleasure and virtue, 
59. 

Whewell, Dr., quoted, 218. 

"Wicked ; to be so, never profitable, 
139; wicked men slaves, 280. 

Will forged of Minutius Basilius, 
etc., 144. 



Wing of horse, 94. 

Wisdom, which the chief, 74; the 
definition and commendation of 
it, 78 ; to be often with wise 
men recommends a young man, 
94; a wise man not wise for 
himself, good for nothing, 139. 

Work-shop can have nothing gen 
teel in it, 72. 

World ; we should endeavor to be 
well thought of by all the world, 
50. 

XANTIPPUS the Lacedaemonian, 
158. 

Xenocrates the severest philoso 
pher, 55. 

Xenophon s (Economics, translated 
by Cicero, 113. 

YOUNG men ; the duties of them 
60 ; how they should mako 
themselves taken notice of in 
the world, 93 ; are not envied, 
but rather encouraged, ib. 

ZENO holds virtue to be the only 
good, 128. 



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