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It was the lowest spot where the Thames could be easily crossed, and it was impossible to say on which side of the river the enemy might choose to approach. Leicester flew at once to his post there, and so far had he fulfilled his duty that he had sixteen thousand men with him at Tilbury, with thirty thousand forming rapidly in his rear out of the musters of the midland counties, before Parma could have advanced, under the most favorable circumstances, within a day's march of London.
SKETCH OF JULIUS CÆSAR.
As is remarked further on, Froude's estimate of Julius Cæsar should be compared with Mommsen's. A more distinct impression of an historical character is sometimes gained by studying two portraits. 1 In person, Cæsar was tall and slight. His features were more refined than was usual in Roman faces. The forehead was wide and high, the nose large and thin, the lips full, the eyes dark-gray like an eagle's, the neck extremely thick and sinewy. His complexion was pale. His beard and mustache were kept carefully shaved. His hair was short and naturally scanty, falling off toward the end of his life and leaving him partially bald.
His voice, especially when he spoke in public, was high 2 and shrill. His health was uniformly strong until his last year, when he became subject to epileptic fits. He was a great bather, and scrupulously clean in all his habits, abstemious in his food, and careless in what it consisted, rarely or never touching wine, and noting sobriety as
the highest of qualities when describing any new people. He was an athlete in early life, admirable in all manly exercises, and especially in riding. In Gaul, as has been caid already, he rode a remarkable horse, which he had bred himself, and which would let no one but Cæsar mount him. From his boyhood it was observed of him 3 that he was the truest of friends, that he avoided quarrels, and was most easily appeased when offended. In manner he was quiet and gentlemanlike, with the natural courtesy of high breeding. On an occasion when he was dining somewhere the other guests found the oil too rancid for them. Cæsar took it without remark, to spare his entertainer's feelings. When on a journey through a forest with his friend Oppius, he came one night to a hut where there was a single bed Oppius being unwell, Cæsar gave it up to him and slept on the ground.
In his public character he may be regarded under 4 three aspects—as a politician, a soldier, and a man of letters.
Like Cicero, Cæsar entered public life at the bar. 5 He belonged by birth to the popular party, but he showed no disposition, like the Gracchi, to plunge into political agitation. His aims were practical. He made war only upon injustice and oppression; and when he commenced as a pleader he was noted for the energy with which he protected a client whom he believed to have been wronged. At a later period, before he was prætor, he was engaged in defending Masintha, a young Numidian prince, who had suffered some injury from Hiempsal, the father of Juba. Juba himself came to Rome on the occasion, bringing with him the means of influencing the judges which Jugurtha had found so effective. Cæsar in his indignation seized Juba by the beard in the court; and when Masintha was sentenced to some unjust penalty,
Cæsar carried him off, concealed him in his house, and 6 took him to Spain in his carriage. When he rose into the Senate, his powers as a speaker became strikingly remarkable. Cicero, who often heard him, and was not a favorable judge, said that there was a pregnancy in his sentences and a dignity in his manner which no orator in Rome could approach. But he never spoke to court popularity. His aim from first to last was better government, the prevention of bribery and extortion, and the distribution among deserving citizens of some portion of the public land which the rich were stealing. The Julian laws, which excited the indignation of the aristoc
racy, had no other objects than these ; and had they been y observed they would have saved the constitution. The obstinacy of faction and the Civil War which grew out of it obliged him to extend his horizon, to contemplate more radical reforms—a large extension of the privileges of citizenship, with the introduction of the provincial nobility into the Senate, and the transfer of the administration from the Senate and annually elected magistrates to the permanent chief of the army. But his objects throughout were purely practical. The purpose of government he conceived to be the execution of justice; and a constitutional liberty under which justice was made impossible did not appear to him to be liberty at all. 8 The practicality which showed itself in his general aims appeared also in his mode of working. Cæsar, it was observed, when anything was to be done, selected the man who was best able to do it, not caring particularly who or what he might be in other respects. To this faculty of discerning and choosing fit persons to execute his orders may be ascribed the extraordinary success of his own provincial administration, the enthusiasm which was felt for him in the North of Italy, and the perfect quiet
of Gaul after the completion of the conquest. Cæsar did not crush the Gauls under the weight of Italy. He took the best of them into the Roman service, promoted them, led them to associate the interests of the Empire with their personal advancement and the prosperity of their own people. No act of Cæsar's showed more sagacity than the introduction of Gallic nobles into the Senate ; none was more bitter to the Scipios and Metelli, who were compelled to share their august privileges with these despised barbarians.
It was by accident that Cæsar took up the profession 9 of a soldier; yet, perhaps, no commander who ever lived showed greater military genius. The conquest of Gaul was effected by a force numerically insignificant, which was worked with the precision of a machine. The variety of uses to which it was capable of being turned implied, in the first place, extraordinary forethought in the selection of materials. Men whose nominal duty was merely to fight were engineers, architects, mechanics of the highest order. In a few hours they could extemporize an impregnable fortress on an open hill-side. They bridged the Rhine in a week. They built a fleet in a month. The 10 legions at Alesia held twice their number pinned within their works, while they kept at bay the whole force of insurgent Gaul, entirely by scientific superiority. The machine, which was thus perfect, was composed of human beings who required supplies of tools, and arms, and clothes, and food, and shelter, and for all these it depended on the forethought of its commander. Maps there were none. Countries entirely unknown had to be surveyed; routes had to be laid out; the depths and courses of rivers, the character of mountain passes, had all to be ascertained. Allies had to be found among tribes as yet unheard of. Countless contingent difficulties had
to be provided for, many of which must necessarily arise,
though the exact nature of them could not be anticipated. 11 When room for accidents is left open, accidents do not
fail to be heard of. But Cæsar was never defeated when personally present, save once at Gergovia and once at Durazzo; and the failure at Gergovia was caused by therevolt of the Ædui; and the manner in which the failure at Durazzo was retrieved showed Cæsar's greatness more than the most brilliant of his victories. He was rash, but with a calculated rashness which the event never failed to justify. His greatest successes were due to the rapidity of his movements, which brought him on the enemy before they heard of his approach. He traveled sometimes a hundred miles a day, reading or
writing in his carriage, through countries without roads, 12 and crossing rivers without bridges. No obstacles stopped
him when he had a definite end in view. In battle he sometimes rode, but he was more often on foot, bareheaded, and in a conspicuous dress, that he might be seen and recognized. Again and again, by his own efforts, he recovered a day that was half lost. He once seized a panic-stricken standard-bearer, turned him round, and told him that he had mistaken the direction of the enemy. He never misled his army as to an enemy's strength,
or if he misstated their numbers it was only to exaggerate. 13 In Africa, before Thapsus, when his officers were nervous
at the reported approach of Juba, he called them together and said briefly, “ You will understand that within a day King Juba will be here with ten legions, thirty thousand horse, a hundred thousand skirmishers, and three hundred elephants. You are not to think or ask questions. I tell you the truth, and you must prepare for it. If any
of you are alarmed I shall send you home.” 14
Yet he was singularly careful of his soldiers. He