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Marcus Cato   


actions. After the fight he was sent to Rome, that he himself might be
the messenger of it: and so, with a favourable wind, he sailed to
Brundusium, and in one day got from thence to Tarentum; and having
travelled four days more, upon the fifth, counting from the time of
his landing, he arrived at Rome, and so brought the first news of
the victory himself; and filled the whole city with joy and
sacrifices, and the people with the belief that they were able to
conquer every sea and every land.
These are pretty nearly all the eminent actions of Cato relating
to military affairs: in civil policy, he was of opinion that one chief
duty consisted in accusing and indicting criminals. He himself
prosecuted many, and he would also assist others who prosecuted
them, nay, would even procure such, as he did the Petilii against
Scipio; but not being able to destroy him, by reason of the
nobleness of his family, and the real greatness of his mind, which
enabled him to trample all calumnies under foot, Cato at last would
meddle no more with him; yet joining with the accusers against
Scipio's brother Lucius, he succeeded in obtaining a sentence
against him, which condemned him to the payment of a large sum of
money to the state; and being insolvent, and in danger of being thrown
into jail, he was, by the interposition of the tribunes of the people,
with much ado dismissed. It is also said of Cato, that when he met a
certain youth, who had effected the disgrace of one of his father's
enemies, walking in the market-place, he shook him by the hand,
telling him, that this was what we ought to sacrifice to our dead
parents- not lambs and goats, but the tears and condemnations of their
adversaries. But neither did he himself escape with impunity in his
management of affairs; for if he gave his enemies but the least
hold, he was still in danger, and exposed to be brought to justice. He
is reported to have escaped at least fifty indictments; and one
above the rest, which was the last, when he was eighty-six years
old, about which time he uttered the well-known saying, that it was
hard for him who had lived with one generation of men, to plead now
before another. Neither did he make this the least of his lawsuits;
for, four years after, when he was fourscore and ten, he accused
Servilius Galba: so that his life and actions extended, we may say, as
Nestor's did, over three ordinary ages of man. For, having had many
contests, as we have related, with Scipio the Great, about affairs
of state, he continued them down to Scipio the younger, who was the
adopted grandson of the former, and the son of that Paulus who
overthrew Perseus and the Macedonians.
Ten years after his consulship, Cato stood for the office of censor,
which was indeed the summit of all honour, and in a manner the highest
step in civil affairs; for besides all other power, it had also that
of an inquisition into every one's life and manners. For the Romans
thought that no marriage, or rearing of children, nay, no feast or
drinking-bout, ought to be permitted according to every one's appetite
or fancy, without being examined and inquired into; being indeed of
opinion that a man's character was much sooner perceived in things
of this sort than in what is done publicly and in open day. They
chose, therefore, two persons, one out of the patricians, the other
out of the commons, who were to watch, correct, and punish, if any one
ran too much into voluptuousness, or transgressed the usual manner
of life of his country; and these they called Censors. They had
power to take away a horse, or expel out of the senate any one who
lived intemperately and out of order. It was also their business to
take an estimate of what every one was worth, and to put down in
registers everybody's birth and quality; besides many other
prerogatives. And therefore the chief nobility opposed his pretensions
to it. Jealousy prompted the patricians, who thought that it would
be a stain to everybody's nobility, if men of no original honour
should rise to the highest dignity and power; while others,
conscious of their own evil practices, and of the violation of the
laws and customs of their country, were afraid of the austerity of the

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