ページの画像
PDF
ePub

about fourteen years after he began the conquest of the world. If we examine his history, we shall be equally at a loss whether most to admire his great abilities or his wonderful fortune. To pretend to say, that from the beginning he planned the subjugation of his native country, is doing no great credit to his well known penetration, as a thousand obstacles lay in his way, which fortune, rather than conduct, was to surmount. No man, therefore, of his sagacity, would have begun a scheme in which the chances of succeeding were so many against him; it is most probable, that, like all very successful men, he only made the best of every occurrence; and his ambition rising with his good fortune, from at first being contented with his humbler aims, he at last be gan to think of governing the world, when he found scarce an obstacle to oppose his designs. Such is the disposition of man, whose cravings after power are always most insatiable when he enjoys the greatest share.

CATILINE'S CONSPIRACY.

1. ABOUT sixty-one years before Christ, one of the most dangerous conspiracies broke out that had ever threatened Rome. At the head of this conspiracy was Lucius Sergius Catiline, who was descended from a very illustrious patrician family of great antiquity. He had been brought up amidst the tumults and disorders of a civil war, and had been the instrument of the cruelties of Sylla, to whom he was devoted. Destitute of either morals or probity, he discovered not the least veneration for the gods; and being ever disgusted with the present, was always unhappy with respect to the future.

2. Though master of few abilities, he was bold, rash, and intrepid, and had not even prudence enough properly to conceal his own infernal designs, where it was necessary he should, in order to prevent their miscarriage. As extravagance is the first cause of the violation of all laws, so Catiline, having contracted vast debts, and being unable to pay them, grew desperate, and aimed at nothing less than the highest and most lucrative employments. For this purpose,

When was Catiline's conspiracy formed ?-What was the characte: of Catiline ?

e associated with those young Romans, whose excesses had -ained their fortunes, and rendered them the contempt of Fery discerning person in the city.

3. These abandoned wretches formed a horrid conspiracy > murder the consuls, and to put to death the greatest part f the senators. Even the day was fixed, which was to have iven birth to the most infamous attempt that had ever hapened in the commonwealth since the foundation of Rome. at the signal given by Catiline, thoy were to rush on the onsuls and murder them; but Catiline being too hasty in the ignal, it was not obeyed; and thus the massacre was put off ill another time."

4. This conspiracy was daily strengthened by all the young eople of Rome, who, having been rocked in the cradle of axury, and enervated by a continual succession of pleasures ; uch as had ruined themselves by excesses, and were no onger able to support their extravagancies; the ambitious, vho aspired to the highest posts in the state, and others, who ad revenge, which they wanted to gratify on some superior; · ll these, actuated by different passions, embarked in the ause of Catiline, who made them the largest promises, and it the same time exhorted them to employ their interest to procure his being elected consul. No time could better suit he conspirators, as Pompey was then engaged in a war in he east, and Italy had no army to protect it.

5. Cicero, however, who was then consul, found means to bribe Fulvia, a lady of an illustrious family, which she had dishonored by her criminal amours with one of the chief of the conspirators. From this woman, Cicero got such information as enabled him to counteract all Catiline's projects. Soon after, Cicero accused Catiline, while he was present in the senate, of his impious design; but he endeavored to clear himself of the charge. Finding he could not bring the senators to his way of thinking, and being called by them an enemy and a parricide, he cried out in a furious tone of voice, “Since snares are every where laid for me, and those to whom I am odious exasperate me beyond measure, I will not perish singly, but involve my enemies in my ruin."

6. Catiline, having spoken these words, flew out of the

What was the object of this conspiracy ?-Who was instrumental in counteracting this conspiracy ?

senate-house, and sending for the chief conspirators, tok them what had passed. Then exhorting them to murder the consul, he left Rome that night, accompanied by three hun dred of his associates, and went and joined Manlius. He caused lictors, with fasces and axes, to walk before him, if he had really been a magistrate. Upon the news of this insurrection, the senate ordered Antonius, the consul, to march the legions against the rebels, and Cicero to look after the peace of the city.

7. Soon after, Lentulus, Cethegus, Gabinius, and two more) who were principals of the conspiracy, were arrested, con victed, and conveyed to different prisons. The contest in the senate was long and warm, respecting the nature of the punishment that should be inflicted upon them. It was, however, at last resolved that they should be put to death; and Cicero, upon the bare sentence of the senate, and without submitting the matter to the people, as was usual, ordered them to be executed in the different prisons in which they were confined. These executions at once crushed the plot, and overturned all the designs of the conspirators, who had that night resolved to rescue them from confinement, that they might immediately join Catiline. · 8. News being brought to Catiline's camp, of the late exe; cutions, great numbers of his soldiers abandoned him in the night; but this did not disconcert or dishearten Catiline, for he was determined either to ruin the commonwealth, or perish in the attempt. He thereupon raised new forces, filled the cohorts with them, and soon completed the legions, I which were all inflamed with the same passion for blood and slaughter and the destruction of their native country. By the good management of the consul, Catiline found himself surrounded by the enemy. He therefore resolved to hazard a battle, though he was considerably inferior in number. - 9. Petreius, who had served thirty years in the field, and from a private soldier had been made a general, commanded for the republic in the room of the consul, who was suddenly taken ill. He engaged Catiline with the greatest bravery, and the battle was sustained on both sides with the utmost intrepidity. Petreius was at last victorious, and the rebek were all put to the sword. But Catiline, who could not bear the thoughts of surviving the ruin of his party, rushed inta that part of the battle where death was making the greatest?

aroc, and there fell a victim to his own folly and iniquity. le was afterwards found among the dead and mangled boies of the rebels, which lay in heaps. On his pale and lifeiss face was still pictured the haughty ferocity of his soul. hich even death could not extinguish.

THE TEARS OF JUDAH.
Hush'd is the voice of Judah's mirth-

And Judah's minstrels too are gone ;
The harps that told Messiah's birth,

And hung on Heaven's eternal throne.
Fled is the bright and shining throng

That swell'd on earth the welcome strain,
And lost in air the choral song

That floated wild on David's plain.
For dark and sad is Bethlehem's fate,

Her valleys gush with human blood ;
Despair sits mourning at her gate,

And Murder stalks in frantic mood.
At morn, the mother's heart was light,

Her infant bloom'd upon her breast;
At eve, 'twas pale and wither'd quite,

And gone to its eternal rest.
1 Weep on, ye childless mothers, weep!

Your babes are hush'd in one cold grave!
In Jordan's stream their spirits sleep,

Their blood is mingled with the wave.

DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM. I. JERUSALEM was built on two mountains, and surroundd by three walls on every side, except where it was enclosed with deep valleys, which were deemed inaccessible. Each fall was fortified by high towers. The celebrated temple, nd strong castle of Antonia, were on the east side of the city, and directly opposite to the Mount of Olives. But now! withstanding the prodigious strength of this famed metrope lis, the infatuated Jews brought on their own destruction by their intestine contests. At a time when a formidable arm was rapidly advancing, and the Jews were assembling from all parts to keep the passover, the contending factions were continually inventing new methods of mutual destruction and in their ungoverned fury they wasted and destroyed such vast quantities of provisions as might have preserved the cir) many years.

2. Such was the miserable situation of Jerusalem, wher Titus began his march towards it with a formidable armr: and, having laid waste the country in his progress, and slaughtered the inhabitants, arrived before its walls. The sight of the Romans produced a temporary reconciliatice among the contending factions, and they unanimously resolred to oppose the common enemy. Their first sally was ac cordingly made with such fury and resolution, that, though Titus displayed uncommon valor on this occasion, the be siegers were obliged to abandon their camps, and flee to the mountains. No sooner had the Jews a short interval of quiet! from their foreign enemies, than their civil disorders were renewed. John, by an impious stratagem, found means to cut off, or force Eleazer's men to submit to him ; and the factions were again reduced to two, who opposed each othe| with implacable animosity.

3. The Romans, in the mean time, exerted all their ener gy in making preparations for a powerful attack upon Jerusalem. Trees were cut down, houses levelled, rocks clef asunder, and valleys filled up ; towers were raised, and battering 'rams erected, with other engines of destruction. against the devoted city. After the offers of peace, which Titus had repeatedly sent by Josephus, were rejected with indignation, the Romans began to play their engines with a their might. The strenuous attacks of the enemy again unit ed the contending parties within the walls, who had also en gines, which they plied with uncommon fury. They hac taken them lately from Cestius, but were so ignorant of theu

When did Titus commence his march towards Jerusalem ?-What feast were the Jews observing at this time :-By whom did Titus frequently send offers of peace?

« 前へ次へ »