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fifty rods from our doors, a Frenchman raises choice fruits for the market. Not one of these for two years has lost an apple or peach or grape. . . . Our dormitory, nearly filled with male students, has no tutor or proctor or overseer. In study-hours, it is as quiet as your house. We have no rowdyism, no drinking of intoxicating liquors, no gambling or card-playing; and we have nearly succeeded, notwithstanding the inveteracy of these habits at the West, in exorcising profanity and tobacco."
The pecuniary failure of the college seems to have been inevitable from the beginning. In a letter dated Aug. 18, 1858, Mr. Mann writes:
"The college was bankrupt on the day it opened,- miserably bankrupt but its moneyed accounts had been kept in such a manner, that the fact of its utter bankruptcy was not then known, and could not be to any but its agent; and, if he knew it, he kept it to himself.
"The scholarship system, as here undertaken, was a ruinous and suicidal system. It undertook to give a college education perpetually, without interruption, for six dollars a year! The children learning A B C in this town have paid that sum per quarter since I have been here.
"Now, the college being bankrupt, secretly so, when it was opened, and the scholarships being too few in number to bear one-half its expenses, the trustees administered it for four years, hoping that donations, &c., would rescue it, but running in debt all the time. At last, all plans for its relief having failed, and the public having lost all confidence in its pecuniary management, so that all donations ceased, there seemed to be no alternative but to assign the property for the payment of its debts."
Mr. Mann's fatal illness fell upon him immediately after the extraordinary labors incident to the graduation of the class of '59. The memoir closes with his Baccalaureate Address of 1859. It is full of the author's felicity and fertility of illustration, and his brilliant antithesis. Some lines might be quoted as epigrams: for instance, that describing an unworthy member of the legal profession as "a pettifogger, a chicaner, a picaroon, one whose study and life it is to throw the cloak of truth over the body of a lie;" and this, "The United States are mighty, but they are not almighty." We copy the
concluding words of solemn and genuinely religious appeal:
"You are in the kingdom of a Divine Majesty who governs his realms according to law. By his laws, it is no more certain that fire will consume, or that water will drown, than that sin will damn. Nor is it more sure that flame will mount, or the magnetic needle point to the pole, than it is that a righteous man will, ascend along a path of honor to glory and beatitude. These laws of God pervade all things, and they operate with omnipotent force. Our free agency consists merely in the choice we make to put ourselves under the action of one or another of these laws. Then the law seizes us, and sweeps us upward or downward with resistless power. If you stand on the great table-land of North America, you can launch your boat on the head-waters of the Columbia, or the Mackenzie, or the St. Lawrence, or the Mississippi; but the boat, once launched, will be borne towards the selected one of the four points of the compass, and from all the others. If you place your bark in the Gulf Stream, it will bear you northward, and not southward; or though that stream is as large as three thousand Mississippis, yet you can steer your bark across it, and pass into the region of the variable or the trade winds beyond, to be borne by them.
"If you seek suicide from a precipice, you have only to lose your balance over its edge, and gravitation takes care of the rest. So you have only to set your head right by knowledge, and your heart right by obedience, and forces stronger than streams or winds or gravitation will bear you up to celestial blessedness, Elijah-like, by means as visible and palpable as though they were horses of fire and chariots of fire.
"Take heed to this, therefore, that the law of God is the supreme law. The judge may condemn an innocent man; but posterity will condemn the judge."
It may be that the volume from which we have so freely quoted will not convert the numerous educational or political opponents of Mr. Mann into admirers and friends. But they cannot fail to do very much towards placing in its just and true light before the world a life which, for untiring service in the cause of human elevation and advancement, for unswerving devotion to truth, justice, and righteousness, and for utter disregard of personal considerations in the pursuit of duty,is among the finest examples in our history.
ART IV. - FORSYTH'S CICERO.
Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. By WILLIAM FORSYTH, M.A., Q.C., Author of "Hortensius," "Napoleon at St. Helena, and Sir Hudson Lowe," "History of Trial by Jury," &c., and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In two vols. With Illustrations. New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1865.
THE biographers of Cicero may be divided into two classes, according as they have aspired to exhibit the perfection or to expose the defects of his character. Mr. Forsyth endeavors to reconcile the contradictions of both classes, and, unbiassed by a theory, accepting the facts of his history as they present themselves, to depict the orator and the man alike in his littleness and his greatness. And though he has produced in many respects an interesting book, however much it may be lacking in that fulness of detail and that vivid portraiture which are so necessary in a great historical work, yet, in a critical point of view, his success has not been great. If his work has the merits, it has also the defects, of brevity. If it may claim to be occupied exclusively with the personage it portrays, it suffers, nevertheless, from the want of that background in the circumstances and condition of the times without which an ancient writer or statesman must always remain to us but a shadowy form, or at best a marble figure.
Given his letters and diaries, it is comparatively easy to record the life of a modern writer. His words and his works speak for him; but then, on the other hand, it is harder to determine his place in literature, to estimate his influence as transitory or permanent, to judge much or at all of the degree to which posterity will accept our applause or remember our blame. But when two thousand years are gone, when the civilization he helped to mould, and the religion he attempted to explain, have passed away with the very race to which he belonged, the statesman stands in an altered relation. If he is remembered at all, it is because he was pre
eminent in his day in illustrating the splendor or in shaping the career of his nation and his age. It is not merely his own independent merits, but his connection with the history of his time, which interest us. The poets, indeed, and historians, we value for the beauty or the importance of their works. But the orator and statesman and general cannot be separated from the people they lead, are one with the movements they stimulate or control.
Mr. Forsyth devotes his book almost wholly to a sketch of Cicero's political career, to the causes he defended and the orations he spoke. There is indeed an effort, and it is claimed to be one of the objects of the book, to exhibit him in the privacy of domestic life, to portray the "gentleman" and the father; but there is little allusion to that other claim which Cicero has upon our regard as a man of letters, no analysis of his literary merits, and no representation of his philosophical position. In this respect, therefore, we think the book defective. It is, however, juster than Middleton's Life; and, for popular use, availing itself as it does of the researches of later scholars, especially of the exhaustive learning of Drumann, it is both trustworthy and entertaining. And we are glad to feel assured, by the enterprise of the American publishers in reprinting it in so exquisite a manner, that the interest of our people in the great men and the famous ages of antiquity is in no wise abated; but that we are wise enough to be ever willing to learn the lesson which is taught by the greatest of the old republics in its fall, to the greatest of the new in its rise.
Without question, the age of Cicero was one of the most dramatic, as it was one of the most important, in the history of Rome. In the year in which he was born, the war with Jugurtha was ended by Marius, and the jealousies out of which sprang the civil wars that decided the fate of Rome began their deadly work. From beginning to end, his life was a tragedy. Bred in all the traditions of the Republic, proud of its glories, anxious for its safety, he lived to witness both the disappointment of his ambition and the overthrow of his country. It was but eight months
before his death that he uttered those words, in one of his orations against Antony, which may be taken at once as the explanation of his career and the confirmation of his glory,— "Such is my fate,-I cannot conquer without the Republic, nor be conquered except with it." Yet nothing surprises us so much in the contemplation of his life as his utter inability to apprehend the real condition of the Roman people, and the inevitable tendencies of the Roman government. Cæsar did not create the empire: the need of empire created Cæsar.
It is impossible to read the accounts which have survived of the profound corruption of the age, of the rapid rise of the factions which drenched the Roman streets with blood, and the terrible nature of the vices which filled the Roman palaces with horrors, without a feeling of relief as one passes from the anarchy of the Republic to the order of the Empire. The wonder, rather, is that civil society itself could endure the burden of this general profligacy and this wild ambition. But that a man like Cicero, who had studied in the schools of Greek philosophy, and been taught the secrets of Roman statemanship, should have failed to appreciate the altered relations with the world into which conquest and wealth and luxury had brought the Roman people, is a fact of sad and singular significance. In a rude way, Polybius had indicated, almost a century before, the centralizing office and the exalted destiny of Rome, in its relations with the countries about the Mediterranean, and in its influence upon the general condition of the world. But Cicero seems never to have got beyond the ancient traditions. He saw in the Roman Republic a vast power, in the city of Rome an august and permanent theatre, for the acquisition and the display of honors. He was ever looking back. In the midst of terrible convulsions, when there was no longer a question whether there should be a Republic, but only who should be the despot, Cicero, returning from his Cilician province, hovered on the outskirts of Rome, and wandered up and down the country with his laurelled lictors, vainly seeking the honors of a triumph, at that moment so pitiable a spectacle, so contemptible a shadow of the old greatness and glory of Rome.