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the worship prescribed at that time was not the same as that which had been instituted by the first legislators, and inspired by the nymph Egeria.
They carried their prudence still further. The Sibylline books were not allowed to be read without the permission of the senate, which never granted it but on great occasions, and when it meant to administer consolation to the people. All interpretations of them were forbidden: the books themselves were kept constantly locked up, and by so wise a precaution, the fanatical and seditious were deprived of their most dangerous arms.
The diviners could pronounce nothing respecting public affairs without the permission of the magistrates: their art was absolutely subordinate to the will of the senate; and it had been so ordained in the books of the Pontiffs, some fragments of which have been preserved by Cicero.*
Polybius places superstition in the rank of the advantages which the Romans possessed over other people: what appears ridiculous to wise men, is necessary to fools; and a people so casily inflamed, required the controul of an invisible power. The Augurs and Aruspices were properly the antics of superstition, but ihey will not appear ridiculous, when we reflect that, in a religion, all popular as that was, nothing appeared extravagant; the credulity of the people made up for every thing amongst the Romans; the more a thing was contrary to human reason, the more in their eyes did it appear divine. A simple truth would have made no lively impression upon them: they required subjects of admiration, marks of the divinity, and these they could not find but in the marvellous and the ridiculous.
It was, in truth, a thing exceedingly extravagant to make the safety of the republic depend upon the sacred appetite of a chicken, and the disposition of the entrails of the victims; but those who introduced these ceremonies well knew the strong and the weak parts of them, and it was not without good reasons that they offended even against reason itself. Had this worship been more reasonable, men of sense would have been dupes to it as well as the people, and by that means would have been lost all the advantage intended to be derived from it. Ceremonies then were required which might engage the superstition of the one and conform to the policy of the others. These were to be found in the system of divinations. They there put the decrees of heaven in the mouths of the principal senators, men of intelligence, who were equally well versed in what was useful and ridiculous in those divinations
Cicero informs us,t that Fabius, when an augur, held it as a rule, * De Leg;bus, b. ii. “ Bella disceplando ; prodigia, portenta, ad Etruscas el Arupices, si senatus jusserit, deferunto." And in another part, “ Sacerdotum
genera sunto : unum quod prasit cæremoniis et sacris ; alterum, quod interpretetur fatidicorum et vatum effata incognita, cum senutus populusque adscverit."
* " Optimis Auspiciis ea geri que pro Reipublicæ salure gererentur; quæ contra Rempublicam fièrent, còntru suspicia fieri.”. -DE SENECTULE, chap. iv.
that whatever was advantageous to the republic; manifested itself by happy auspices. He thinks with Marcellus, * that although the popular credulity established anguries in the beginning, the custom was retained for the benefit of the republic; and he makes this difference between the Romans and others, that the latter made use of them indifferently on all occasions, whereas the former only employed them in affairs that regarded the public interest.
Cicero tells us, that thunder falling on the left side was a good augury, except in the assemblies of the people, “ Præterquam ad Comitia.” The rules of art ceased upon that occasion. The magistrates there judged according to their discretion of the good or bad import of the auspices, which then became a bridle, with which they managed the people.
Cicero adds, “ Hoc institutum rei reipublicæ causa est, ut comitiorum, vel in jure legum, vel in judiciis populi, vel in creandıs magistratibus, principes civitatis essent interpretes.' He before observes, that it was written in the sacred books, “ Jove tonante vel fulminante, comitia populi habere nefas est." This, he says, was introduced to furnish the magistrates with a pretext for breaking up the assemblies of the people.+ For the rest it was indifferent whether the victim immolated afforded a favorable augury or otherwise : for when they were not satisfied with the first, they offered up a second or a third, which were called Victimæ succedaneæ.
Paulus Emilius, offering a sacrifice, was obliged to immolate 20 victims: the gods were not appeased until the last, in which signs were found which promised him the victory. It was for that purpose it became a common saying, that the last victim was worth more than all the former ones. Cæsar did not display the same patience as Paulus Emilius, for having, according to Suetonius, t slaaghtered sevcral victims, without discovering any favourable signs, he quitted the altar with contempt, and returned to the senatehouse. As the magistrates were masters of the presages, they possessed the certain means of dissuading the people from a war that would prove disastrous, or of engaging them in one for a beneficial object. The sooth-sayers, who always followed the armies, and were more the interpreters of the generals than of the gods, inspired confidence into the soldiers. If perchance any sinister omen should intimidate the army, an ingenious general could convert their meaning, and give it a favourable interpretation: thus Scipio, who fell in leaping from his vessel on the African shore, embraced the earth with his hands, « I have thee now," said he, “ O land of Africa;” and by these words made that a happy presage, which at first appeared so fatal.
The Sicilians being embarked on an expedition to Africa, were so frightened by an eclipse of the sun, that they were on the point
* De Divinatione,
t" Hoc reipublicæ causa constitutum ; comitiorum enim non halcndorum causas esse volueruni."
DE DIVINATIONE. #" Piuribus hor hostiis cæsis, cum litare non doosset, intro:it curia, seta religiore." - Tr. J(L. Ces chap. 81.,
of abandoning the enterprise: but the general represented to them, “ that, in truth, it would have been an unlucky augury if it had appeared before their embarkation; but it not having appeared till afterwards, the menace it conveyed could only be against the Africans." By that, he not only allayed their terror, but drew from the subject of their apprehensions the means of increasing
Cæsar was several times admonished by the soothsayers not to proceed to Africa before the winter; he paid no attention to them, and thus got the start of his enemies, who, but for that diligence, would have had time to unite their forces.
Crassus, during a sacrifice, having let his knife fall from his hands, an unlucky omen was drawn from it; but he cheared the minds of the people by saying, “Be of good courage! My sword, at least, has never fallen from my
hand.” Lucullus, being ready to give battle to Tigranes, was told it was an unlucky day: so much the better," said he, “we will make it lucky by our victory."
Tarquin the Proud, wishing to establish games in honour of the goddess Mania, consulted the oracle of Apollo, which obscurely answered, that he must sacrifice with heads for heads. “ Capilibus pro capilibus supplicandum." That prince, still more cruel than superstitious, caused children to be immolated: but Junius Brutus changed that horrid sacrifice, for he had it performed with heads of garlic or poppies, and by that means fulfilled or eluded the oracle.*
The gordian knot was cut when it could not be untied: thus also Clodius Pulcher, desirous of engaging in a naval action, had the sacred chickens thrown into the sea, exclaiming, “Let them drink, since they do not choose to eat.”+
It is true, that they sometimes punished a general for not having attended to the omens, and even that was another instance of the policy of the Romans. They wished to let the people see that bad success, towns taken, battles lost, were not the effect of the bad constitution of the state, or of the weakness of the republic, but of the impiety of a citizen, who provoked the vengeance of the gods, with their persuasion it was not difficult to restore confidence to the people; nothing more was required than
few ceremonies and a few sacrifices. Thus, when the city was menaced, or afflicted with any misfortune, they never failed of finding out the cause, which was the wrath of some god, whose worship had been neglected: in order to appease him, it was sufficient to have recourse to some sacrifices and processions; and to purify the city with torches, sulphur, and sated water. They led the victim round the ramparts previous to his immolation. This they called, Sacrificium amburbium and amburbiale. They sometimes even went so far as to purify the armies and the fleets, after which they all resumed their wonted courage. * Macrobius Saturnal. Book I. .fo Valerius Manimus. Book I. chap. 4.
[To be continued.]
MR. ABRAHAM NEILAND.
WITH A PORTRAIT.
This gentleman exhibits at least sominally a most remarkable instance of individual importance. Confined for the greatest part of his life by the peculiar duties of his office, as principal cashier of the Bank of England, within the walls of that establishment, his influence and popularity extend themselves to every quarter of the globe. His acquaintance has been courted by all ranks and descriptions of men; and he has had a chief share in almost every great public transaction which has taken place in Europe for the Tast five and twenty years. To the support of his name, merchants, manufacturers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen of every kind, look for the invigoration of commerce, and that increase of business which they fondly hope will raise them to opulence and dignity. Without his powerful stimulus the pleader would refuse his brief, and the calls of justice and equity would be disregarded: without his inspiriting aid the soldier's arm would be unnerved, and the instrument of destruction drop harmless to the ground. The conduct of cabinets, the decisions of senates, the decrees of councils, and the negociations of the diplomatic corps are confidently stated to have been accelerated or retarded by his irresistible influence. It has been even whispered, that he can, with perfect ease to himself, and without quitting his desk, procure the conclusion of a treaty of peace, or light up the flames of war. Literature itself, which could not be supposed to have much connection with such an establishment as the Bank of England, receives a powerful impulse from Mr. Abraham Newland, and would soon decay without this gentleman's assistance. Authors have been long acquainted with the value of his signature, and although our cashier has not been immortalized in the strains of poetical genius, his merits have been the theme of those rhapsodical effusions of the day, which are chanted by our itinerant bards, and charm the public ear in the streets and vicinity of the inetropolis,
“ Sed tamen amoto quæramus seria ludo.” In opposition to the sentiment of the most sagacious of our British moralists
, it may be truly said of Mr. Newland, that his business has, from his earliest introduction into public life, uniformly constituted his pleasure; and he has been known to declare, that he has derived more real happiness from a single hour applied to the performance of his official duties than from a whole day spent in the most convivial and entertaining society. It is, therefore, no fulsome compliment to say that his employment " is the labour of love, not the task of the hireling.”
Mr. Newland was born in 1730, at the house of his father, a respectable baker in King-street, Southwark. Having received
VOL. 2.-NO. 7.
an education that qualified him for a commercial life, he was placed at the age of sixteen in the counting-house of a merchant in the city. In this situation he did not, however, continue quite two years. His assiduity and integrity soon obtained for him the patronage of o
of the Directors of the Bank of England; and he was on the 27th of February 1748 appointed junior clerk of that important institution. After a faithful and punctual discharge of various offices, he was on the 19th of January, 1775, raised to that of principal cashier.
To expatiate on the talents, the regularity, and clearness with which he acquits himself of the duties of the department placed under his direction, would be a needless repetition of the high encomiums passed upon him by all those who, both in and out of the bank, have had occasion to witness his abilities and excellent system of conducting business.
In private life his manners are amiable, and his conversation, though not distinguished for any superior strength of intellect, or brilliancy of wil, is marked with sound sense, and abounds with useful knowledge.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CONDITION AND MANNERS
THE IRISH PEASANTRY.
[Concluded from our last.)
NE of the greatest evils occasioned by the unbounded hospin tality and extravagance of the gentlemen of Ireland was a general want of money. Had money been entirely banished from the country, as it was from Sparta; and had commerce consisted merely in an interchange of commodities, the inhabitants might have enjoyed a state of comparative felicity: but, to make the grievance approach to the highest degree of absurdity, every commodity had its pecuniary value affixed to it; and the nominal sums at which each was estimated, were far beyond the intrinsic value of the commodities themselves. Although every thing was to be paid for in money, money was seldom to be procured; and for things of the least value, the greatest sums were demanded. The wretched peasants, the tenants, and the cultivators of land, had often to pay a higher price for it than was paid in places where specie was in abundance. The perpetual want under which they laboured rendered them incapable of tilling the ground to advantage: the produce, as has been already stated, was not, when sold, sufficient to pay the rent; and sometimes purchasers were not to be found. Thus did the most enormous disproportion exist between the prices of land and of its produce, which never could have happened had there been either a susficiency of money in the country, or no money at all. A perpetual drain to distant places, from whence no return was made, imposed a necessity of pro