網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

party; but, alas she was not destined to enjoy long her married happiness. Her r young husband died, or was murdered, and Julia was left a widow at seventeen.

Agrippa had been one of the earliest friends of the Emperor. They had been in Greece together as boys. They had returned together to Italy, when it became necessary to put off boyish things. Together they had fought their battles and got rid of their common enemies. They were of the same age; and though neither the circumstance of birth or fortune gave to Agrippa early hope of great station, he had won his way by success in wars, and prudence in council, to be the second man in the empire. Indeed we do not know how Augustus could have done without him. But it seems that Agrippa was hardly contented with his place as chief of ministers and first of soldiers. He wanted to connect himself more closely with the imperial seat, and was jealous that another should be named even as the heir of Augustus. It became necessary either to gratify him or get rid of him, and there seems to have been a doubt which course was most desirable. Mæcenas, the second favourite minister of Augustus, had whispered to his master that he should either make Agrippa his sonin-law, or else murder him. There were objections to both alternatives as long as Marcellus lived. The minister was too useful to be lost, and the nephew too near to be abandoned. But when Marcellus died, the difficulties cleared themselves.

Agrippa, it is true, had received, as an instalment of imperial grace, the hand of Marcella, the sister of Julia's husband, and she at this moment was his wife. She, however, was of course divorced, and Julia was at once married to her father's friend.

This match produced a large family of aspirants to the throne, the youngest of whom was born after the death of his father. But in spite of her maternal duties, Julia was not a discreet matron. It is probable that she was averse to the somewhat stern husband that had been given her, whose age, and face, and official duties, were hardly fitted to console a woman for the loss of one whom she had really loved. She be

came a libertine even during the life of her husband; but that husband did not care to encounter the anger of the emperor by noticing her irregularities. After some nine years of union, Agrippa died; and Augustus, wanting, not an heir-for Julia had four children, and another coming, but an assistant to his throne, was instigated by his wife to give Julia again in marriage to Tiberius, Livia's son. Tiberius had a wife of his own; but she also was disposed of, and the royal princess went a third time to the altar.

Tiberius, however, loved the wife he had lost, and would not put up with the debaucheries of her whom he had gained: and thus his domestic joys were not conspicuous. From this time forth the conduct of Julia became atrocious. We hear dark stories of orgies, such as have disgraced humanity in the persons of a few, and but a few, royal ladies since her time. It would seem that she almost equalled Messalina as a princess, and Theodora as a woman, in the violence of her debaucheries. At last the emperor, who had long endeavoured to persuade himself and others that his daughter was a pattern for Roman matrons, could bear it no longer; and Julia, at the age of thirty-six, was banished to an island.

But Julia had had five children, the hope of Rome. Of these the two elder sons died early, both with suspicion of violence; the third was banished, apparently because he was too clumsy for imperial grandeur. But the daughters were destined to be the mothers of emperors. The elder daughter—a second Julia----was early married to a scion of a noble family; but she also misbehaved herself, and was punished, as Mr. Merivale tells us, by "relegation to an island." The daughter of the emperor was in one island, and his grand-daughter in another; both banished, and both for such gross misconduct as even imperial resources could not keep covered from the eyes of the world.

Poor ladies! Such were the effects of Roman marriages.

When Augustus had once firmly consolidated his imperial power, he had already given to posterity that lesson in state craft which we have

been endeavouring to explain. Had he died twenty years earlier than he did, the proof might have been less convincing, but the lesson would have been the same. He outlived by many years his two great ministers, Agrippa and Maecenas, and was at last fain to lean upon his step-son and son-in-law Tiberius.

We have not here touched on the character of this third of the Cæsars -a monarch whose dark shadows have been made fearfully plain to us in the annals of Tacitus. It was not with his own good will that Augustus bequeathed his great inheritance to Tiberius. He never liked him. And though the success of his son-inlaw, as a Roman general, must have made him very valuable, the emperor raised him to high power solely because there was none other whom he could raise.

We must mention one trait of Augustus in his latter days. A certain Cinna contrived a plot against his life, and was detected. Such an act in this man was one of personal ingratitude, as well as national treachery; as he had been favoured by Augustus. The emperor sent for him, and showing him that his plot was discovered-----impaled him alive. Such must have been the conduct of such an emperor. No-he did not impale him, but conferred on him the consulship! It has been supposed that this clemency in his old age should wipe out the blood-stains which merciless cruelty in youth has left on the name of Octavius. We can come to no such conclusion in these days. Policy may have made it necessary to abstain from the punishment which the traitor deserved. Policy may even have whispered that it would be wise to make a consul of the traitor. But we cannot see that clemency had much to do with it. Augustus had no such appetite for blood as other later sovereigns have had-but he had no horror of it. The life and death of others was to him a matter of indifference.

Augustus was fortunate to the last. To him it was allowed to die naturally in his bed at a venerable age. To how few of those whose talents and ambition have carried them so high, has the same boon been granted. Those whose careers have

been in Europe most similar to his were denied such fortune. Alexander died young, Cæsar was murdered before he had enjoyed his power, and Napoleou's fate was even worse than Cæsar's. "The closing scene," says Mr. Merivale, "of this illustrious life has been portrayed to us with considerable minuteness. It is the first natural dissolution of a great man we have been called upon to witness, and it will be long, I may add, before we shall assist at another." Previous to the time at which Augustus sat securely on his throne, the fate of a noble Roman who took part in the affairs of his country was, all but invariably, to die by violence. After the days of Augustus, such a fate was as certain and more wretched. Men in high places were slaughtered like sheep at the caprice of the emperors; and emperors were slaughtered at the caprice of their ministers. To Augustus and his two councillors, Agrippa and Maecenas, it was permitted to pay the debt of nature naturally.

Great reverses towards the end of the reign befel the imperial arms. A Roman general with his legions was entrapped into an ambush among the German tribes, and the whole army was routed and destroyed. Personally this defeat distressed the Emperor much, and seems even to have created in his mind an unnecessary panic. But nothing occurred to shake his power in Rome, or for a moment to make his authority doubtful. That the wretched termination of all his family hopes, the fate of his daughter and his grand-daughter, and the death of his son-in-law and graudsons, must have carried much misery into his private life, we cannot doubt, if we are to believe that there was anything of the man about him. But in his public life he was of all men the most fortunate. This he felt, and he died probably contented and selfsatisfied. He had played his part well; he had not disgraced the shrine which had been dedicated to him as a god he had executed his mission with success; and when called on to leave his corporeal splendor and his temples, his human power and divine attributes, he was able to do so without a regret or a fear. No remembrance of the bloody lists which he had written sullied his repose. No

thoughts of those friends and enemies over whose bodies he had stepped up to dominion harrowed his mind. He had done that which the fates required of him, and had done it with success. No Roman could have required more to justify his eutha

nasia.

At his last moments he was careful as a Roman should be of things exterior. Cæsar when he was falling covered his face decently with his robe. Pompey when he was murdered gave up his last human energy to the arrangement of his mantle. And Augustus, as we are told, had his hair dressed. He then asked those around him whether he had not deserved their applause by the man

ner in which he had acted his part in life's drama-and so he died.

Here we will end our present remarks. They have only carried us to the middle of the second of the three volumes which now lie before us. We may possibly before long return to the remainder of the work, and endeavour to give some short account of the life of Tiberius.

IT has been said that the worst use you can make of a culprit is, to hang him. But we "know a trick worth two of that"-send him to Gaol. There he will have the pleasure of meeting with companions exactly suited to his taste, who, modestly declining to raise themselves to his moral level, will take the most disinterested pains to bring him down to theirs, so that he may go forth a greater villain than he went in. There, if he happens to be utterly uneducated, care will be taken to teach him to read: so that, while in prison, he will acquire the invaluable faculty of perusing his Bible and Prayer-book, to be laid aside, when he comes out, for The History of Dick Turpin and Jack Sheppard. There he will have the benefit of the ministrations of the chaplain, who will use his best endeavours to rectify his corrupt principles, encouraged all along by the comfortable reflection, that those endeavours will be rendered utterly unavailing by the jeers and gibes of the prisoner's associates. There, if he is so fortunate as to be brought under the discipline of what is called the Silent System, he will, if the gravity of his offence, combined with the plausibility of his hypocrisy, entitle him to that indulgence, be released from the observance of the severer rules of the prison, and promoted to the office of warder over his less guilty compa

VOL. XLVIII.-NO. CCLXXXIII.

We will not end our article without expressing our thanks to Mr. Merivale for his labours. His truth is never to be doubted. His classic attainments are of the highest order. His research has included all that has been necessary for his purpose, and his personal trouble has never been spared,

PRISONS AND PRISONERS.

nions or, if his delinquency be not of so deep a dye, and his skill in recommending himself to the good graces of the prison authorities be less adroit, he will have the privilege of experiencing all that petty tyranny and insolence of office," which his more expert fellow-convict will be sure to exercise over him. There, too, if he is placed under the tutelage of the Separate System, as at present administered, he will feel any incipient desire of reformation, or any settled resolution to lead a new life, effectually put down by the prospect of his removal to the Public works, where, with singular consistency, he is ruthlessly exposed to the gaze of those very associates from whose view, while in Separate confinement, he had been sedulously guarded.

Such is the uniformity, such the general excellence, such the tried efficacy, of our present Prison discipline! And such it would in all human probability long continue to be, if an event had not just occurred, which demands a readjustment of the whole system of Secondary Punishment. Transportation is at an end, or very nearly so. All our Colonies, with a trifling exception, refuse any longer to receive our convicts. We confess that, so far from sharing in the dismay which this announcement has occasioned, we hail it with solemn

D

satisfaction; for now, at last but no thanks to ourselves--we must gird up our loins with fitting resolution to grapple with a subject which we should otherwise have trifled with to the end, as we have trifled with it from the beginning. Now the condition and treatment of our criminal population will receive at our hands the attention it deserves.

over again, by those who are most conversant with the statistics of crime, that we must not suppose the number of our criminals to be so great as the number of committals, seeing that many offenders are committed twice, thrice, or oftener. We answer-So much the worse for society. Would that the number of committals and of offenders exactly, or very nearly, tallied! We might then hope that crime was a manageable thing. But the bare fact, that for our worst offenders the prison has no terrors, fills us with terror indeed. Can any one now tell us what we are to do with a felon when we have caught him? Can any one tell us what a felon is to do with himself after we have let him go? These are questions that might, up to this time, have been merely asked: they are now questions that must be promptly answered. We can no longer fall back on the old adage, Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coûte. Our perplexity now begins exactly where it is used to end; and the difficulty is not how we shall most readily catch the offender, but how we shall treat and dispose of him when we have got him safely locked up within four strong walls.

And it is high time. Crime has already attained to colossal magnitude, and is advancing with gigantic strides. Two hundred thousand committals to prison in one year in the United Kingdom, constitute a foe difficult to cope with, and not to be viewed without uneasiness; and the number is increasing with fearful rapidity. Nor is its character less alarming than its extent. It encounters force with ruffian violence; baffles ingenuity by superior artifice; steals our purses unsuspected in the public streets and in the glare of day; rifles our chambers, unheard, in the dead of night, in spite of locks and bolts; springs upon us, from its ambush, even in the public thoroughfare, with the elastic bound and ferocity of the tiger; and, after the model of the Indian Thug, disables its victim with a dexterity equal to his, and with an audacity that even its pattern has never reached. The very character of our greater criminals is the opprobrium of our penal system; for that character plainly implies skill, dexterity, long practice, contempt of danger, a steady hand, an inventive brain, a callous heart, and an utter disregard, through habitual brutality, of the agonies of its victim. Nor are we imperilled by violence alone; fraud too-fraud exquisitely trained, long and successfully practised-surrounds us with its subtile meshes, apparently as feeble as the film of the gossamer, but proving in the issue to have fettered its unconscious captive with a chain of adamant. It is a fact as well attested as any other in the records of crime, that a numerous class of desperate and dangerous depredators exists among us; pursuing their nefarious calling for years, at once with absolute impunity and signal success, and living upon the fruits of their villany, not only in competence, but in luxury.

But we have been told over and

If it were not for the momentous interests that are in peril, the whole history of our prison management for the last century (we confine ourselves to that period) might be said to be simply ludicrous; and it is only with the hope that we may be made wiser for the time to come, that we now glance rapidly at our past miscarriages.

In the march of prison improvement, Howard led the way. In 1756, immediately after the earthquake at Lisbon, he embarked for that city; but on his voyage the vessel in which he sailed was captured by a French privateer, and carried into Brest. The barbarous treatment which he, with the rest of the passengers, experienced in the Castle of that seaport, in a dungeon in which they were all confined for several days, led him in the first instance to seek the mitigation of the sufferings of such of his countrymen as were in the places where he had himself been confined in France. This humane feeling gained further strength and development from what he observed

in the prisons of his own country, and particularly from what came under his immediate notice, when, some years after, in 1773, he was highsheriff of the county of Bedford. He refers, in his "Account of the Prisons in England and Wales," to the circumstances with which his discharge of that office made him acquainted, as those which induced him take those humane journeys of inspection, in the course of which he visited most of the prisons in England. In 1774, he was examined on this subject by the House of Commons, and had the honour of receiving the thanks of that body.

Together with the remonstrances of Howard, another circumstance powerfully co-operated to produce a general desire for the improvement of our Prisons. At the termination of the American war, the loss of our Transatlantic dependencies had deprived us of those remote colonies to which we had been accustomed for a long time to transport many of our convicted felons, and imposed on us the necessity of devising a substitute for the system of transportation which had been hitherto pursued. The result of this combination of humane remonstrance and political necessity appears to have been a general desire that something should be speedily done to improve our prison discipline. The first impulse to public feeling was given by the labours of Howard; and great is the obligation which the cause of humanity owes to the unwearied and ardent benevolence of that distinguished philanthropist. But Howard's attention seems to have been almost absorbed by the physical sufferings which it was his lot to witness. The very magnitude and intensity of those sufferings seem to have prevented him from looking beyond them to a consideration of the moral evils of imprisonment, which are still more deplorable than the captive's physical ones, and without a proper remedy for which, his more comfortable prison life would only lead him to think of pursuing with greater zest that career of crime which first led him into gaol. The impulse, however, was thus given to the demand for prison improvement: it was prompt and decisive; and to Howard the merit of it is most justly due. We forbear to track this singu

gular man through the whole of his subsequent benevolent course; but we cannot just now help thinking of its close, when we remember that his remains repose near a spot upon which he could hardly have foreseen that the intent gaze of the universe would be fixed, and close to which the embattled hosts of five mighty nations would in future times meet in deadly conflict. Howard's grave is at Kherson, almost within view of Sebastopol!

The first movement in the direction pointed out by Howard was made by individual magistrates, among whom the foremost and most distinguished was the then Duke of Richmond; and on the 2nd October, 1775, at the Quarter Sessions at Petworth, in Sussex, it was ordered that a new prison should be erected there in conformity with a plan produced by his Grace. In Howard's work already mentioned, he speaks of this prison: "The new gaol that was building in 1776 is now (1779) finished. The plan appears to me particularly well suited for the purpose. Each felon is to have a separate room, ten feet by seven, and nine feet high to the crown of the arch." In his account of a subsequent visit, in 1788, he thus expresses himself:-" No alteration in this well-ordered prison. The debtors and felons are quite separate. All the prisoners were in health each has his separate room, and proper bedding. No infirmary: attention to cleanliness and order has hitherto prevented the want of it. Divine service every day."

The first of the legislative measures that followed the labours of Howard was the 19th Geo. III. cap. 24.; an enactment of great importance, which was the result of the joint labours of Sir William Blackstone, Mr. Howard, and Mr. Eden, afterwards Lord Aukland. This measure became law in 1778. In the 5th section we find it affirmed that "if many offenders convicted of crimes for which transportation has been usually inflicted were ordered to solitary imprisonment, accompanied by well regulated labour and religious instruction, it might be the means, under Providence, not only of deterring others, but also of reforming the individuals, and inuring them to habits of industry." Thus we see that the principle of modified

« 上一頁繼續 »