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with the greatness of his subject; and one of the best of our living historians has not hesitated to declare that the third volume of Niebuhr's history "contains specimens of historical eloquence which will bear a comparison with the masterpieces of ancient and modern times." To these, and not to an imperfect fragment never written for the press, should the Reviewer have referred as a fair specimen of Niebuhr's skill in historical composition.
The other accusation which the Reviewer brings against Niebuhr, or rather against his work, is his deficiency as an historical philosopher. And to shew that Niebuhr "was not even on a level with his own age, much less in advance of it," he quotes the following passage from his work.
"Now, while in forming a just estimate of the Romans, we must not lose sight of those dark shades in their character, and must therefore limit our assent to their praises, we are also forced, though in a different sense from the Greeks, to ascribe a large share in producing their greatness to fate. Through the whole of their history, we shall see how often all the virtues of the state and of the people would have been ineffectual, unless destiny had saved Rome in her perils, and paved the way for her triumphs. The nations and the men, before whom Rome might have fallen, appeared too late. In the periods of her weakness, she had only to fight with adversaries no way superior to her: and while Rome staked every thing in the East, and war was her natural state, other nations husbanded their efforts because they despaired of victory, or at the bottom of their hearts loved nothing but effeminate sloth, whatever their ill-judged enterprises might seem to imply. Philip's inaction at the beginning of the war with Hannibal—that of Mithridates, so long as the Marsian war threatened Rome, and a slight additional weight would have turned the scale—these are events in which we cannot but recognize the finger of God. For that Rome was not naturally unconquerable, was demonstrated by the resistance of a few warlike nations, who were only overpowered by superiority of numbers and force."
Upon which the Reviewer makes this extraordinary comment: "We take this to be about the worst general reflection ever made. We might pardon a rhetorician for escaping the real difficulty, and pompously explaining the enduring might of a nation, by attributing it to destiny. We might pardon a theologian for setting aside the virtues of the state and people as ineffectual, and for only recognising the finger of God in very natural events. But what are we to think of the historian who thus philosophizes? What are we to think of the 'demonstration' of Rome 'not being naturally unconquerable,' which rests upon the fact that a few warlike nations resisted her—and were overpowered? As if such a thing needed demonstration, or such a demonstration would suffice!"
In the name of philosophy we must protest against such a doctrine as this. If there is a God, who regulates and controls the affairs of this world, it is the duty of the philosophical historian to recognize his hand in the events of a nation's life, and it is only a shallow philosophy which would shut out God from the government of a people. The Reviewer's argument, if worth any thing, is essentially an atheistic one; not that we mean to charge the Reviewer with atheism, for we trust that the davs are gone by when men charged one another with infidelity without knowing their religious opinions; but- we confess that we do not see the force of the Reviewer's argument, except on the supposition that there is not a God, or at least that he takes no part in the government of the world.
These, however, are general charges, which do not in the least impeach Niebuhr's accuracy and fidelity as an historian; and if the Reviewer had confined himself to them, we should probably not have thought it necessary to have brought, them before the notice of our readers. We now pass on to the more important part of the article, in which the Reviewer accuses Niebuhr of falsifying the text of Livy in order to support his own views. The instances of falsification which the Reviewer adduces are all connected with Niebuhr's account of the dictatorship; and in order to put the reader in full possession of the case, we will first state Niebuhr's opinion respecting the dictatorship, next that of the Reviewer, and lastly proceed to examine the alleged instances of falsification.
Niebuhr maintains that there were originally four distinct steps taken in the creation of a dictator. He was first nominated by the senate, then approved of the populus or great council of patricians (comitia curiatd), next formally proclaimed (dictus) by one of the consuls, and finally received the imperium from the council of the patricians. As, however, the patricians possessed this right of conferring the imperium, Niebuhr supposes that they might dispense with voting on the preliminary nomination of the senate; and that this is the reason why we frequently read of a decree of the senate, whereby a dictator was appointed, without any notice of the council of the patricians. It will be seen that, according to Niebuhr's view, the proclamation (dictio) of the consul was absolutely necessary to the validity of the appointment; but the consul had not an uncontrolled discretion in the choice of the person; he merely proclaimed the one whom the populus had previously determined upon. But in order to avoid all doubt and ambiguity, we will let Niebuhr speak for himself.
"Like ignorance as to the ancient state of things is involved in the notion of Dionysius, that after the senate had merely resolved that a dictator was to be appointed, and which consul was to name him, the consul exercised an uncontrolled discretion in the choice: which opinion, being delivered with such positiveness, has become the prevalent one in treatises on Roman antiquities. Such might possibly be the case, if the dictator was restricted to the charge of presiding over the elections, for which purpose it mattered not who he was. In the Second Punic War, in 542, the consul, M. Valerius Lsevinus, asserted this as his right: and iu the First the practice must already have been the same, for else P. Claudius Pulcher could not have insulted the republic by nominating M. Glycia. But never can the disposal of kingly power have been intrusted to the discretion of a single elector.
"The pontifical law-books, clothing the principles of the constitution after their manner in a historical form, preserve the true account. For what other source can have supplied Dionysius with the resolution of the senate, as it professes to be, that a citizen whom the senate should nominate and the people approve of, should govern for six months? The people here is the populus. It was a revival of the ancient custom for the king to be elected by the patricians; and that such was the form is established by positive testimony.
"Still oftener, indeed, throughout the whole first decad of Livy, do we read of a decree of the senate, whereby a dictator was appointed without any notice of the great council of the patricians. The old mode of electing the kings was restored in all its parts. The dictator after his appointment had to obtain the imperium from the curies; and thus, from possessing this right of conferring the imperium, the patricians might dispense with voting on the preliminary nomination of the senate. Appointing a dictator was an affair of urgency: some augury or other might interrupt the curies: it was sufficiently unfortunate that there were but too many chances of this at the time when he was to be proclaimed by the consul, and when the law on his imperium was to be passed. And after the plebeians obtained a share in the consulate, as the senate was continually approximating to a fair mixture of the two estates, it was a gain for the freedom of the nation, provided the election could not be transferred to the centuries, to strengthen the senate's power of nominating. Under the old system a plebeian could not possibly be dictator. Now as C. Marcius in 398 opened this office to his own order, whereas in 393 it is expressly stated that the appointment was approved by the patricians, it is almost certain that the change took place in the interval. Even in 444 the bestowal of the imperium was assuredly more than an empty form. But it became such by the Maenian law. Thenceforward it was only requisite that the consul should consent to proclaim the person named by the senate. Thus after that time, in the advanced state of popular freedom, the dictatorship could occur but seldom, except for trivial purposes: and if on such occasions the appointment was left to the consuls, they would naturally lay claim to it likewise in those solitary instances where the the office still had real importance." (Vol. i. pp. 566—569, Engl, transl. 3rd edition.)
The Reviewer, on the other hand, maintains the old opinion, that, the senate merely resolved on the appointment of a dictator, but left the choice of the particular person to the discretion of one of the consuls. Thus all such passages in Livy as consul dictatorem dixit, dictator ab consule dictus, Niebuhr understands as a simple nomination or proclamation by the consul, the Reviewer as an absolute election or appointment.
Such is the difference of opinion between Niebuhr and the Reviewer. The subject is a difficult one, and may well admit of discussion; but which of the two opinions is right or wrong, is not the present question for examination. After stating this difference of opinion, the Reviewer adds, that Livy is only made an authority for Niebuhr's view "by having his testimony garbled;" and he then proceeds in the following words to quote five distinct instances of falsification.
"Case I.—Livy (lib. iv. c. 21) says,—' A Virginio senatus in aede Quirini consulitur. Dictatorem dici Quintura Servilium placet. Virginius dum collegam consuleret moratus, permittente eo, nocte dictatorem dixit:' 'The senate was collected in the Temple of Quirinus by Virginius; it was proposed to name Quintus Servilius dictator. Virginius begged for time to consult his colleague; and having obtained his consent, he named Servilius dictator during the night.' This is a strong passage. Affairs were serious; Rome was menaced; the senate assembled to concert with the consuls on the election of a dictator. They recommended Servilius, but the consul Virginius named him.
"Nevertheless this strong passage is dexterously twisted by Niebuhr into a testimony in his favour. He transcribes the phrase ' Dictatorem dici A. Servilium placet;' which seems to say that Servilius was elected by the senate, and omits the following sentence, which positively attributes the election to the consul.
"Case II.—By a similar artifice he cites this passage:—' Dictator ex senatu-consulto (senatusconsulto) dictus Q. Servilius Priscus,'—as if it were the whole; yet if the reader turn to the original (Livy, lib. iv. c. 46), he
will find it followed, a few lines lower, by this, which refutes Niebuhr:
'Quintus Servilius magistro equitum creato, a quo ipse tribuno militum dictator erat dictus, filio suo,...novo exercitu profectus est ad bellum.' 'Quintus Servilius having chosen his own son as master of the horse (the same by whom, in his capacity of military tribune, he had himself been named dictator), set forth with a new army for the wars.'
"This is sufficiently explicit. We know that the military tribunes had the same attributes as the consuls, and it was one of them who elected Servilius dictator. Niebuhr forbears to cite the passage.
"Case III.—Still more glaring is the omission in the passage cited from book vii.chap. 12,'Dictatorem dici C. Sulpicium placet!' In Livy we find this sentence immediately following: 'Consul ad id accitus C. Plautius, dixit," /. e. ' The consul C. Plautius, called to Rome for that purpose, named (dixit) Sulpicius dictator.'
"Case IV.—This is perhaps the worst o'f the whole. It is an omission of the two words which fix the sense. Livy says, 'Dictator ab consulibus ex auctoritate senatus, dictus P. C(ornelius) Rufinus' (Lib. viii.c. 17.) 'The senate ordered a dictator to be named: Rufinus was named by the consuls.' Niebuhr quotes the sentence thus: 'Dictator ex auctoritate senatus dictus P. C(omelius) Rufinus,' omitting the words 'ab consulibus.' This is like converting a negative into an affirmative by striking out the not. "Case V. is the omission of a name, which in this place is of great importance. Livy (lib. ix. c. 28) designates the consuls, Marcus Valerius and Publius Decius, by their names. At chap. 29, he says, 'Publius Decius, qui graviter eeger Romaa restiterat, auctore senatu dictatorem C. J(unium) Bubulcum dixit:' 'Publius Decius, who was retained at Rome by a severe illness, having the authority of the senate, named C. J(unius) Bubulcus dictator.' Of this Niebuhr only cites,' Auctore senatu, dictatorem C. J(unium) Bubulcum dixit,' again leading the reader to suppose that the senate named the dictator."
After reading these passages, the first thing that, strikes one is, that Niebuhr could not have intentionally omitted these words to support his view of the appointment of a dictator, as the insertion of them would not in the least, have invalidated his hypothesis. The words for instance which he is charged with having omitted in Case I. "Virginius .... dictatorem dixit," would merely signify, according to Niebuhr's view, that Virginius proclaimed him dictator, for Niebuhr does not allow, which the Reviewer however assumes as an admitted fact, that dixit and dictus in these passages mean an appointment or election by the consuls. But this is not our answer to the Reviewer's charges. He has accused Niebuhr of having falsified Livy; and the very accusation which he has brought against the historian, we have to bring against him. The Reviewer himself has most unpardonably, we will not say intentionally, falsified Niebuhr. For after perusing the Reviewer's remarks, would not any one presume that the abovecited passages of Livy were quoted by Niebuhr to prove that the election of the dictator was in the hands of the senate, and not in those of the consuls, and that he had purposely omitted the words referring to the consuls in order to establish the former point? But what will be the astonishment of the reader, when he is told that they are not quoted for any thing of the kind; that Niebuhr refers to them merely to prove that in a great number of cases the dictator was appointed by a decree of the senate, without any notice of the populus or great body of patricians 1 Niebuhr omits the words referring to the dictio of the consuls, simply because they have nothing to do with the point he is endeavouring to prove. Whether this dictio was a simple proclamation, as Niebuhr maintains, or an absolute appointment, as the Reviewer believes, was not the question which Niebuhr was then discussing. All he wanted