ePub 版

vain; for the people will, in the last extremity, desert them. They shall be murdered by Romans. Their mangled bodies shall float upon the Tiber. Hapless mother! was I about to say; but thy awful magnanimity, thy matron majesty, have repressed me. I still see thee happy, and when thou hearest of the sanctuaries in which thy darling sons were slain, I see thee elevating thy arms, and exclaiming, OF THE GRACCHI !"



For what were those men slain? They were slain, for attempting to preserve the genuine spirit of the constitution, and for wishing to make the happiness of the mass of the people, the foundation for the safety of the state. Rome was split into two parties; parties which divide the world at this moment-the rich and the poor; all other distinctions are nominal—this alone is real. Strange as it ought to sound, the people were obliged. to act as a party, and the commonwealth was a monopoly. The rich, by various means, got possession of the lands destined by the constitution and the law for the subsistence of the poor, and purchased by the sweat of blood. They were not only dispossessed of their property, but were not suffered even to cultivate as labourers, the ground they had held as proprietors; slaves were preferred to citizens-aliens to natives.

Tiberius, one of the jewels of Cornelia, had then attained manhood—and a man he was, most pure in private life, ripe in the powers of his mind, fixed in the purposes of his heart; adorned with every virtue which nature in her bounty, and education in her care, could pour down on the head of humanity. "Antistia?" said the president of the senate, on entering his house," I have just now promised our daughter Claudia in marriage." "Why in such haste?" said the astonished mother, "have you promised her to Tiberius Gracchus ?" This young man had just returned from the siege of Numantia, where the great Scipio (accursed be such greatness!) had, with the help of sixty thousand men, cooped up and starved four thousand brave men, for only refusing to be slaves, for fighting in defence of their wives, their children, and their liberty; which, in despair of maintaining, they set fire to their own houses, and every living creature dying by famine, fire, or the sword, left the victor of Numantia nothing to triumph over, but a name. Scipio felt as a Roman; Tiberius as a man. "Joyless triumph!" said he to himself, "Wo to that glory which can boast only of its battles! Scipio has acquired a name for destroying men who would die rather than be slaves; let my better ambition be the emancipation of slaves who long to be men." He had crossed Hetruria. He had seen the fields without other husbandmen and labourers than aliens and slaves, without affection for the

republic, without interest in its preservation, without encouragement to have children, without means of educating them. He returned to Rome; he ascended the rostrum—

"The wild beasts of Italy," said he, (virtue took her seat on his majestic brow, and he began in the high tone of strenuous liberty)" the wild beasts of Italy have at least the shelter of the den and the cave. The people, who have exposed their lives in your defence, are allowed nothing but the light and the air; these were gifts of Heaven on earth, I swear, they have nothing. They wander up and down, with their wives and little ones, without a house, without the comfort and consolation of a home. And our generals mock the soldiery; they exhort them, before battle, to fight for their sepulchres, and household gods. Where are they? Among all this number of Romans, who has a domestic altar? Who, at this hour, possesses the burialplace of his fathers? They live, they fight, they die, to maintain you and yours in superfluities that satiate, in luxury that sickens; and the Roman people are stiled conquerors of the globe in which they have not a single foot of ground, except that on which they stand in the field of battle. I wish to revive those regulations which may, in one stroke, destroy ambition and indigence, the power of corrupting on the one part, the inclination to be corrupted on the other. I wish to crush the heads of that monstrous aristocracy, which sooner or later will conduct us once more to monarchic despotism.

"It is the equalized distribution of lands, which raises a nation to power, and gives strength to its armies. Every individual has then an interest in the defence of his country. The avarice of some, and the profusion of others, has made our country a property of the few. Our soldiers are therefore few-our citizens are few; the slaves and artificers of luxury to the new proprietors, occupy the whole-a cowardly and abject population, corrupted by a luxurious city, corrupted by the arts they profess, without any country, with little to keep, and little to lose.

"I wish not to make poor men rich, but to strengthen the Republic by an increase of useful members: I wish not an equality. but an "equability" of property, that the laws should not complot with the wealthy against the weak, but should tend in an opposite direction to balance against excessive wealth; to promote the circulation of happiness through the whole community; to put a staff in the hand of indigence, to support it under its burthen. If property be in itself power, why add to it the power of government? A republic of the rich! A country for the ædile, the quæstor, the knight, the senator, the consuls! Liberty for the civil mercenary! As such I account these finger

ing artists, these hireling labourers of the land. The milk of our common mother is bitter in their mouths. We have aliens from other countries; we are become aliens in our own country. He who has not some land, has no country. Sweet is the least spot of cultivated ground; sweet to say, Here is a fixed fortune for my family. I planted those trees, I trained up these vines; there, in that hallowed spot, is the burial place of my fathers there shall I one day repose by their side! Yes! I say it loudly, it is the cultivator of his own ground, and he alone it is, who has properly a country; who is tied to it by the heart-strings; who is always as able as willing to defend it; and who alone can maintain you all in the impotence of pecuniary opulence, by the superfluity of his substantial wealth. These miserable artizans, these heart-broken hirelings, are-men; as such, I pity them, their fate I deplore, but I will never call them Romans. Their morals are to sell themselves to the highest bidder; their health is poisoned by confinement, or excessive and irregular labour: their happiness is precarious and fortuitous; their touch is contamination, and their suffrage is infamy.

"I demand the enforcement of the Licinian law, limiting the possession of the conquered lands to five hundred acres. I demand it for the sake of the rich, as well as the poor; for the honour, interest, and stability of the republic, and (why should I conceal it!) for my own glory. Octavius, my colleague and friend, you are a wealthy man, you possess much of these lands, you resist my purpose; will you accept of my personal fortune (I wish now it were larger,) as a compensation for what you may lose by the execution of the law? O! believe me, you travel in a clandestine path to power. I wish to travel the high road with my equals. Virtue is the strength, as well as the glory of manhood. It is the courageous and unconquerable soul of the Roman Republic!"

In such manner spoke the Jewel of Cornelia, and the law was re-enacted.

The faction of the rich behaved like the wife of Vespillo; Calumny distilled her poison upon him. It is the lot of him who dares be singularly good. "It is envy of Scipio," says one; "It is his mother's ambition," said another; " He is a disturber of the public peace," said Nasica; "He is seditious, for he has rebelled from the party of the senate," whispered CiceroCicero, that fine genius, that common soul, that tongue of a man, always agitated about himself, and who would save the republic, only to boast of the action. "Let us assassinate his character!" said those of high distinction; "Let us assassinate himself!" said these hirelings. He heard of their intention, he carried a

[ocr errors]

dagger under his robe, but the shiny point was exposed to public view, and seemed to say, "Let me die in honourable defence, not by the treachery of an assassin!"

He persevered in the course of patriotism with unabated ardour; he got a law passed for lessening the number of years that soldiers were obliged to serve; another for establishing the last appeal to the people; another for dividing the judicial power in civil causes between the knights and the senate, which was, before, judge in its own cause. In fine, he desired the tribuneship a second year, to ratify and put in practice these laws.

On the day of election, he was about to repair to the capitol; unlucky omens were reported; he dreaded none in his coun try's cause. Cornelia trembled, but was silent. He hastened to the assembly; the people burst into shouts of joy and applause. Soon after, a friend rushed through the crowd-"The rich and great in the senate have conspired to murder you!" "Gird up your gowns," cried Tiberius, "and stand on your defence as well as unarmed men can.-People," cried he, "your defenders are in danger, this head is in danger;" and he touch. ed it with his hand. The people fled. "He demands a crown!" said some scoundrel, and hurried to the senate. Scipio Nasica, a great landholder, and proprietor of men, flaming with wrath, cries, "Let those who regard the republic, and the public peace, follow me." The senate, their clients, their slaves, armed with clubs, ran furiously to the capitol; they broke through the, pusillanimous populace, (they were not a people!) slew three hundred, and murdered Tiberius!-The senate of Rome first spilled the blood of the Roman people; first had recourse to arms, and slaughter; and assassinated, before the Temple of Jupiter, a magistrate, whom the law had declared sacred and inviolable.

The dead body of Tiberius Gracchus was cast into the Tiber. The people beheld it. The wife of the Edile Lucretius Vespillo was passing by-"Lo!" she said, "one of the JEWELS OF CORNELIA!"

Cornelia had still another-it was CAIUS,





A gallant youth, just fresh from college halls,
With love of nature glowing in his breast,
Roams venturously amidst her wildest scenes,
With fervid and romantic admiration-


PERHAPS no where in the British Islands, will the admirer of the grand and sublime, in the works of nature, find more gratification than along the northern shores of the county of Antrim. From the Gabbon precipices, near the entrance of Larne Harbour, to Port Rush, near Colerain, a long range of rocky coast, extending upwards of fifty miles, exhibits, in some places, the boldest promontories jutting into the sea, and perforated with numerous caverns, into many of which the raging waters pour with reverberating noise. In other places, small bays, occasioned by the mouths of the rivers and rivulets that there seek a junction with the ocean, interrupt the continuity of the rocky chain, and by affording to the visiter the view of towns and villages, surrounded by the fertility of nature, and the conveniencies of art, produce a striking and pleasing contrast to the prevailing wildness of the coast, and make its grandeur still more grand.

The Giant's Causeway, which forms a part of this wonderful coast, has long been an object of astonishment, both to the philosopher and the peasant. It is annually visited by travellers from all countries, where science excites curiosity, and the wonders of nature inspire admiration.

Edward Barrymore was in his twenty-second year, and had just finished his education at Trinity College, when he resolved to visit this interesting coast, and examine with his own eyes, those immense structures, of which he had heard so much, and which, both as a man of science and of taste, he was so well calculated to enjoy. It was in the afternoon of a very fine day, in the month of May 1797, when he arrived at the promontory of Ballygally. He alighted and sent forward his servant with the horses to the next town, which was about three miles

« 上一頁繼續 »