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his old age.
portent, but as a type of a class of portents; and that Cicero, during the imbecility and delusion of his laudations of the young viper, complimented the precocious sagacity, which was but half revealed to him, with the pretty declaration, that his virtues atoned for his years. (Virtute superavil ætatem.) In respect, then, to the mere difference of ages, great as it is, we recognize no such discrepance in the nativities of the two as could materially influence their separate horoscopes. Louis Napoleon was a scion of slow growth ; Caius Octavius came into the world full grown and ready-made. The Frenchman, apparently, had a large crop of wild oats to cultivate. The young Roman had none of that grain to sow, and was, probably, as mature in mind and cunning at eighteen or twenty, as at any later period of his life ;-if, indeed, his youth did not really visit his heart and intellect in
But a much more important difference to be signalized is, that the career of Octavius commenced immediately on the assassination of his uncle, and was developed from the start amidst the daggers of his murderers, and in opposition to his most prominent partisans and favourites ; while Louis Napoleon's course was separated by a long interval of changing dynasties and governments from the reign of his uncle, had no such domestic enemies to encounter, and has been sustained by the surviving partisans and the sons of the chief followers of Napoleon I. This diversity broke the continuity of the association between himself and his precursor-between his prospects and the allegiance of the mass of the Bonapartists. It rendered some of the difficulties of his position greater than those of Octavius ; it materially diminished many others. It rendered the substitution of secret intrigue for open violence, practicable as well as expedient; and made the deliberate resuscitation of “Idées Napoléennes an indispensable preliminary to success. In some respects the relation of Louis Napoleon to the Bonapartist faction, approximated much nearer to that of Julius Cæsar to the old Marian party, which is well illustrated by Mr. Merivale, than to that of Octavius to the Cæsarians. Yet Octavius had to revive and win from Antony, and to reconstitute and attach to himself, the Cæsarian influences.
as he had to contend against Antony and Lepidus, the inheritors of the military autocracy of Cæsar, as well as against the Senatorian legitimists, so Louis Napoleon could only accede to permanent power by triumphing over Cavaignac, Changarnier, Lamoriciere, and the other representatives of military ascendancy, at the same time that he overcame the Bourbonists and the doctrinaires, and crushed the Socialists and Red Republicans. Both had to win the army from their adversaries, before the first step in their elevation was in any degree secured. But this task Octavius achieved with an army at his back, and the prestige of Consular authority, which had been bestowed on him by the delusion of the Senate and the folly of Cicero; Louis Napoleon had only the legal title of President, granted by the dreaming partiality of the masses, but without any regular force at his command. These differences in the relative positions of Augustus and Napoleon III., account for the attainment of the same result, in the former case, by the arms of war; in the latter, by the stratagems of peace; and for the fact, that thirteen years of military contention, terminated by the battle of Actium, were requisite to place the Roman Imperator on the throne, which was reached by the French President in less than four years of profound tranquillity, by popular arts and political chicanery.
There was a peculiar propriety in this discrepance. The system of antiquity was one of warfare; the system of modern times is, pre-eminently, a policy of peace. In the preceding times of Rome, from the age of Marius and Sulla at least, ascendancy in the state had been achieved by the sword, and Octavius just continued the practices which had been habitually employed by his predecessors. In the recent ages of Europe, civil conquest and domestic bloodshed had not been recognized as giving a valid title to supremacy, and even when employed, it had been merely an accessary to more regular modes, and the claim to the honour achieved had been founded not upon victory, but upon the ostensible or presumed will of the nation. Octavius availed himself of both modes of procedure in his acquisition of power, but, in consonance with his times, the pretensions of peace were
made subordinate to the coercion of war. Louis Napoleon did not overlook either, but in harmony with the demands of his day, he concealed the influence wielded through the army under the cloak of the orderly operations of a popular election. Both were guided by the same acute but dissembling appreciation of the tone and spirit of their respective ages.
So far, the differences, noticed in the lives compared, appear to he merely dissimilarities in their accidents, not in their intrinsic significance; and to explain rather the modifications of the general resemblance, than to impair their essential parallelism. Much more stress would ordinarily be laid upon the supposed dissimilitudes of the historical periods in which the two potentates respectively appeared. This can be recognized by every one, and will be exaggerated by nearly all. But Dr. Arnold was right in construing the history of Greece after the battle of Salamis, and the history of Rome after the Punic wars, as virtually modern history; for the aspects of society, the political developments, the course of affairs, and the manifestations of intellect and sentiment, correspond exactly in those periods with similar movements in modern Europe; and present as many and as intimate analogies with our own times, as are afforded by contiguous countries at present to each other. There is scarcely any greater difference between ancient Rome and contemporaneous Paris, so far as the present question is concerned, than that which may be exemplified by the translation of a Roman "Dux" or "Imperator" into a Lieutenant-General or a Field Marshal. The Brigadiership of President Pierce may be assimilated to the Imperatorship of Cicero—a lawyer, too, and perhaps a little better statesman ; but the Cilician campaign of the latter resulted from his previous elevation to supreme civil authority, while the Mexican diversion of the former preceded, and prepared his installation into the chief executive dignity. No; the differences between the two historical periods, illustrated or degraded by the successful usurpations of Cæsar II. and Napoleon III., are not such as to necessitate any very assiduous or extensive discrimination between the two. They approximate in character to each other more closely and minutely, and even strangely, than
any one who has not studied them both with diligence would readily conceive to be possible. Nor should it be deemed necessary to dwell very forcibly upon the contrariety of the change from a republican government to a despotic monarchy in Rome, and from a regal, and in some sort constitutional polity, to a corresponding military despotism in France. If there was any room for such punctiliousness, it might be alleged that the conversion effected by Louis Napoleon was from a republic represented first by Lamartine and Ledru Rollin, then by Cavaignac and Changarnier, then by a Prince President, into an Empire. But the fluctuations of government, which intervened between the flight of Louis Philippe and the accession of the present emperor, constituted only an interlude-a farce between two dramas; and it would be as ridiculous to treat that intermezzo gravely as a republic, as it would be to consider that the Romans had the enjoyment or the prospect of free institutions under Brutus and Cassius, Antony and Dolabella.
The antecedents are certainly widely dissimilar in the two cases; but in both they converge to a common point of agreement before the institution of the Empire. The modern history of France, in the apprehension of practical politicians, scarcely runs back further than to the execution of Louis XVI. and the establishment of the revolutionary republic. At that point there occurs a solution of historical coritinuity—a political schism—which there is no necessity to pass, and which no ingenuity can bridge over satisfactorily. What have the French in subsequent times in common with the chivalry of Henri IV. or the courtiers of Louis XIV.? The first incident in the modern annals of France, is the meeting of the National Assembly. In the days of Augustus, in like manner, the precedents and instances of statesmen and rulers were all posterior to the outbreak of civil hostilities between Marius and Sulla, and the revolutionary era disgraced by the atrocities of Carbo, Cinna and Pompeius Strabo. All that had gone before had passed away to join the ages before the flood. It was only in the dreams of fiction, or in the sentimental laments for a vanished golden age, like the Republic of Cicero, or the conver
zazione di villa of his Dialogues, that any active politician, except that visionary blockhead, Brutus, ever thought of ascending the stream of Roman history beyond the first Consulship of Marius, or the Agrarian Rogations of the Gracehi. Whatever lay concealed in the records of earlier times, belonged to the dreamy land of forgotten innocence and youth. And observe that, in Rome as in France, the common point from which the lineage of empire descended, was the prevalence of a reign of terror, so exactly analogous in the two ages and in the two nations, that the description of either may serve equally well, by a mere change of names, for the portraiture of the other. Take any of the histories of the French revolution, Mignet, Thiers or Carlyle; turn to the accounts given of the denunciations of victims, of the treatment of the “suspectes," of the informations, confiscations and executions; then place by their side the fragment of Dion Cassius recovered by Peiresc, or the scattered notices of other ancient writers, relative to the proscriptions of Sulla ; blot out from both narratives all proper names, by which a clue to the era delineated could be furnished ; and, were it not for the languages in which they are respectively written, it would be wholly impossible to tell which was the chronicle of the ancient, and which the exposition of the modern horrors.
With this commentary on the external diversities by which the career of Louis Napoleon is distinguished from that of Augustus, in advance of any formal parallelism between the two, we proceed to compare their characters, fortunes and positions.
The most singular feature in the tortuous and deceitful character of the young Octavius, was his impassive and almost unfluctuating temperament. He had few resentments; he had still fewer loves. He had more reason to be attached to Cicero than to any distinguished man among his seniors; he consented to his sacrifice with little reluctance, and certainly without remorse. There were many who afforded by their conduct ample occasion for provoking his animosity; he received them to his bosom, and cultivated them as friends. He was guilty of many cruelties, or at least a participator