No. II.-WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 1835.


In a previous article I promised to give a captivating example from ancient history of the true spirit of government. As the best preparation of the minds of my readers for the doctrines I hold, I think I cannot do better than give now. It is an extract from a sort of schoolboy translation, though not without merit, of Plutarch's Life of Numa Pompilius, published under Dryden's name. In point of matter it is to me, of exquisite sweetness and beauty, surpassing anything I am acquainted with. I am aware that latterly it has become the fashion to doubt the authenticity of such accounts, and to accompany doubts with sneers; but, according to my idea of human nature, there is in the following narration a much greater air of truth than of fiction, and the long career of Roman greatness, in war and peace, seems to me the strongest confirmation of the received accounts of the respective characters of Romulus and Numa-just as Athenian greatness may most naturally be attributed to Solon, that of Sparta to Lycurgus, and our own to the admirable Alfred, each government taking its impress from the character of its principal organizer. They who doubt such causes of undeniable results involve themselves in greater difficulties; as Grotius says of those who disbelieve the miracles of the Christian religion, that to suppose its long continuance and wide spread accomplished by other means, is to suppose a greater miracle than all. We may say of this Life of Numa what Fox in his History adds after the description of a virtuous character-Who would not it to be true? There is indeed somewhat prevalent now a base mindedness, a sort of satanic envy and dislike of superiority, which makes many turn away from the contemplation of what is good and great-but let us hope for better times.


Numa was endued with a soul rarely tempered by nature and disposed to virtue, and excellently improved by learning, patience, and the studies of philosophy; by which advantages he had utterly extirpated not only all such disorderly motions of the mind as are universally esteemed vile and mean, but even all inclination to violence and oppression, which had once an honourable esteem amongst the barbarous nations, being persuaded that there was no other fortitude than that which subdued


the affections, and reduced them to the terms and restraints of


Upon this account, whilst he banished all luxury and softness from his own home, and offered his best assistance to any citizen or stranger that would make use of him, in nature of an upright judge or faithful counsellor, and made use of what leisure hours he had to himself, not in pursuit of pleasure, or acquisition of profit and wealth, but in the worship of the immortal gods, and in the rational contemplation of their divine power and nature, his name grew so very famous that Tatius, who was Romulus' associate in the kingdom of Rome, chose to make him his son-inlaw, bestowing upon him his only daughter Tatia. Nor did the advantage of this marriage swell his vanity to such a pitch as to make him desire to dwell with his father-in-law at Rome, but rather to content himself to inhabit with his Sabines, and cherish his own father in his old age. The like inclinations had Tatia, who preferred the private condition of her husband before the honours and splendour she might have enjoyed in her father's court. This Tatia, as is reported, after she had lived for the space of thirteen years with Numa in conjugal society, died; and then Numa, leaving the conversation of the town, betook himself to a country life, and in a solitary manner frequented the groves and fields consecrated to the gods, making his usual abode in desert places.

He was about 40 years of age when the ambassadors came from Rome to make him offers of the kingdom. .. .. Their speech was very short, as supposing that Numa would gladly have embraced so favourable an opportunity of advancement. But it seems it was no such easy matter to persuade him; for, contrary to their expectations, they found that they were forced to use many reasons and entreaties to allure him from his quiet and retired life to accept the government of a city, whose foundation was laid in war, and had grown up in martial exercises.

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As soon as he was determined by their persuasions and reasons, joined by those of his father and his kinsman Martius, and of his own citizens (having first done sacrifice to the gods), he set forward towards Rome, being met in his way by the senate and people, who expressed a marvellous desire to receive him. The women also welcomed him with joyful acclamations, and sacrifices were offered for him in all the temples; and so universal was the joy, that the city seemed not to receive a king, but the addition of a new kingdom.

The first thing that he did at his entrance into government was to dismiss the band of three hundred men which Romulus

constantly kept for his life-guard; for he did not think it reasonable to show any distrust of those who had placed so much confidence in him, nor to rule over people that durst not trust him...

When Numa had thus insinuated himself into the favour and affections of the people, he began to dispose the humour of the city (which as yet was obdurate, and rendered hard as iron by war) to become more gentle and pliable by the applications of humanity and justice. It was then, if ever, that Rome was really such a city as Plato styles "a city in a high ferment;" for, from its very original, it was a receptacle of the most daring and warlike spirits, whom some bold and desperate adventurer had driven thither from every quarter; and by frequent incursions made upon its neighbours, and continual wars, it had grown up and increased its power, and now seemed strong and settled by encountering dangers, as piles driven into the ground become more fixed and stable by the impulse and blows which the rammer lays upon them. Wherefore Numa, judging that it was the masterpiece of his art to mollify and bend the stubborn and inflexible spirits of this people, began to call in the assistance of the gods: for most commonly by sacrifices, processions, and religious dances which he appointed, and in which he officiated in person (which had always some diverting exercise and pleasing entertainment mixed with their solemn devotion), he soothed the minds of the people, and rendered their fiery, martial temper more cool and tame.

Numa forbade the Romans to represent God in the form of man or beast; nor was there any painted or graven image of a deity admitted among them formerly; but for the space of the first one hundred and sixty years they built temples and erected chapels, but made no statue or image, as thinking it a great impiety to represent the most excellent beings by things so base and unworthy; there being no possible access to the Deity but by the mind raised and elevated by divine contemplation.

The portion of lands which belonged to the city of Rome at the beginning was very narrow; but Romulus by war enlarged it very much. Now all this land Numa divided amongst the indigent part of the citizens, that by these means he might keep them from extreme want, which is the necessary cause of men's injuring one another, and might turn the minds of the people to husbandry, whereby themselves, as well as their land, would become better cultivated and more tractable. For there is no way of life, that either so soon or so powerfully produces the love of peace, as the life of husbandry, whereby so much warlike courage is preserved, as enables men to fight in defence of what

is their own, but all boldness in acts of injustice and encroachment upon others is restrained and destroyed. Wherefore Numa, that he might take and amuse the hearts of his citizens with agriculture or husbandry, choosing it for them as an employment that rather begets civility and a peaceable temper than great opulency and riches, divided all the lands into several parcels, to which he gave the name of Pagus or Borough, and over each of them he appointed overseers, and such as should go about to inspect them. And sometimes he would himself, in person, take a survey of them; and making a judgment of every man's inclinations and manners by his industry, and the improvements he had made, he preferred those to honours and authority, who had merited most, and, on the contrary, reproaching and chiding the sluggishness of such as had given themselves over to a careless and negligent life, he reduced them to better order. But among all his political institutions, that which is most admired, is his distribution of the people into companies according to their several arts and professions. For whereas the city did consist of, or rather was distinguished into, two kinds of people, and could not by any means be united, it being impossible to efface the strangeness and difference between them, but that there would be perpetual clashing and contention of the two parties, Numa, having considered that hard bodies, and such as are not easily incorporated so long as they remain in their gross bulk, by being beaten into a powder, or reduced into small atoms, are often cemented and consolidated into one, determined to divide the whole people into many lesser parts, and from thence, by casting them into other distinctions, to abolish that first and great distinction, which was thus scattered into smaller parts. This distribution was made according to the several arts or trades, of musicians, goldsmiths, masons, dyers, shoemakers, tanners, braziers, and potters; and all other handicraftsmen he composed and reduced into a single company, appointing unto every one their respective halls, courts, and ceremonies of religion proper to their several societies. Thus it was, that he first banished out of the city the custom of calling and reputing one a Sabine, another a Roman, one a partisan of Tatius, another of Romulus; so that this distribution became the means of well uniting and mixing all of them perfectly together.

During the reign of Numa the temple of Janus was never seen open one day, but continued constantly shut for forty-three years together; so entire a cessation of all kind of war was there on all sides. For not only the people of Rome were tamed, and as it were charmed by the just and mild government of their prince, but even the neighbouring cities round about, as if some gentle

breeze or salubrious air had blown from Rome upon them, began to change their temper; and a general inclination to peace and good government was infused into all, so that every one applied himself to the management of his lands and farm, to the quiet education of his children, and worship of the gods. Festival days and pleasant banquets, mutual benevolence and kind entertainment of friends visiting and conversing freely with each other, without fear or jealousy, were the common practice over all Italy, while from Numa's wisdom, as from a fountain, an universal honesty and justice flowed upon all, and his calm tranquillity diffused itself around every way. So that the high and hyperbolical expressions of the poets are said to fall short in describing the happy state of those days. For during the whole reign of Numa there was neither war, nor sedition, nor innovation designed against the State, nor even so much as any enmity or envy to the person of the prince, nor was there any plot or conspiracy out of ambitious design to oust him of his government. But either the fear of the gods, who seemed to take a particular care of his person, or a reverence for his virtue, or divine good fortune, which during his time kept men's lives free and pure from all such wickedness, then produced an effectual instance and proof of the truth of that opinion of Plato, which he ventured to deliver many ages after, in relation to a well-formed commonwealth, viz., "That the only means to cause a true cessation or cure of evil among men, must be from some divine conjuncture of fortune, when royal authority, meeting with a philosophical mind in the same person, shall put virtue in a state of power and authority over vice." For the wise man is truly happy; and happy also are they, who can hear and receive the words which flow from the mouth of a wise man. Possibly there would be no need of compulsion or menaces to subject the multitude: but that when they see virtue in a clear and shining instance manifested in the life of their prince, they would freely of themselves grow wise, and conform themselves to an innocent and happy life, in friendship and mutual concord, with justice and moderation, wherein consists the noblest end of all political government, and that prince is of all others most worthy of royal authority, who can bring to effect such a life and such a disposition in his subjects. Now this is what Numa seems to have had constantly in his view more than any other man.

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Numa's death was neither sharp nor sudden, but being gradually worn away with old age and gentle sickness, he at last ended his days a little above fourscore years old. That which . made all the glories of his life consummate, was the honour paid to him at his funeral, when all the people that were in alliance

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