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ties Macedonia owed the rise of the celebrated phalanx, that is, of the best troops the world had then ever seen, and to which Alexander owed all his conquests. How many obstacles stood in Philip's way, before he could possess himself of the power which Athens, Sparta, and Thebes, had. successively exercised over Greece ! The Greeks, who were the bravest and most sagacious people in the universe, would not acknowledge him for their chief, till he acquired that title by wading through seas of blood, and by gaining numberless conquests over them. Thus we see, that the way was prepared for Alexander's executing his great design, the plan whereof, and the most excellent instructions relative to it, had been laid down to him by his father. Now, will it not appear a much easier task, to subdue Asia with Gre. cian armies, than to subject the Greeks, who had so often triumphed over Asia ?
But, without carrying further the parallel of Alexander with Philip, which all who do not consider heroes according to the number of provinces they have conquered, but by the intrinsic value of their actions, must give in favour of the latter, what judgment are we to form of Alexander, after his triumph over Darius ? And is it possible to propose him, during the latter part of his life, as a model worthy the imitation of those who aspire to the character of great soldiers and illustrious conquerors ?
In this inquiry, I shall begin with that which is unanimously agreed by all the writers on this subject to be the foundation of the solid glory of a hero ; I mean, the justice of the war in which he engages, without which he is not a conqueror and a hero, but an usurper and a robber. Alex. ander, in making Asi the seat of war, and turning his arms against Darius, had a plausible pretence for it; because the Persians had been in all ages, and were at that time, professed enemies to the Greeks, over whom he had been appointed generalissimo, and whose injuries he therefore might think himself justly entitled to revenge. But then what right had Alexander over the great number of nations, who did not know even the name of Greece, and had never done. him the least injury? The Scythian Ambassador spoke very jadiciously, when he addressed him in these words: “What "have we to do with thee? We never once set our feet in «thy country. Are not those who live in woods allowed to
be ignorant of thee, and the place from whence thou com
est? Thou boastest, that the only design of thy marching " is to extirpate robbers : thou thyself art the greatest rob
ber in the world.” This is Alexander's exact character, in which there is nothing to be rejected.
A pirate spake to him to the same effect, and in stronger terms. Alexander asked * him, what right he had to infest the seas ? “The same that thou hast," replied the pirate with a generous liberty, "to infest the universe : but because “I do this in a small ship, I am called a robber ; and be
cause thou actest the same part with a great fleet, thou «
art intitled conqueror." This was a witty and just answer, says + St. Austin, who has preserved this small fragment of Cicero.
If therefore it ought to be laid down as a maxim (and no reasonable man can doubt of its being so), that every war undertaken merely from the view of ambition, is unjust ; and that the prince who begins it is guilty of all the sad consequences, and all the blood shed on that occasion, what idea ought we to form of Alexander's last conquests? Was ever ambition more extravagant, or rather more furious, than that of this prince ? Come from a little spot of ground,
and forgetting the narrow liinits of his paternal domains, after he has far extended his conquests; has subdued not only the Persians, but also the Bactrians and Indians ; has added kingdom to kingdom : after all this, I say, he still finds'hinself pent up, and determined to force, if possible, the bar riers of nature ; he endearours to discover a new world, and does not scruple to sacrifice millions of men to his ambition ,or, curiosity. It is related that gAlexander, upon Anaxar
*Eleganter et veraciter Alexandro illi Magno comprehensus pi. Tata respondit. Nam cum idem rex hominem interrogasser, quid ci videretur ut mare haberet infcstum ; ille, libera. contumacia ; Quid tibi, inquit, ut orbem terrarum-Sed quia id ego exiguo nav. igio facio, latro pacor, quia cu magna classe, imperator... Refert Nopius Marc. ex. Cicer: iii. de rep.+$. Aust. de Civ. Dei. I. iv. c.
C. A. Agebat infelicem Alexandrum furor aliena devastandi, et ad ig. nota-witcebat. Jam in unum regnum mula : egna conjecit (or conSessit ;) jam Græci Persæque eundem timent: jam eciam a Dario liberæ rationes jugum accipiunt. Hic tamen, ultra Oceaoum Solemque, indignatur ab Herculis liberique vestigiis victoriam dec. tere : ipsi naturæ vim paratot, ut ita dicam, mundi clauftra perrumpit. Tanta cet cæcitas mentium, et tanto inutiorum suorum oblivio. ille modo ignobilis anguli non sine controversia Dominus, de tecto sine terrarum, per suum redicurus orbem, tristis csti Senec epist. 94. et 119
S Alexandro pectus insatiabile lavdis, qui Anaxarcho-innumerabiles mundos esse referenti ; Heu me, inquit, miserum, quod ne uno quidem adhuc potitus sum ! Angosta homini possessin "gloriæ fuiti quæ Deorum omnium domicilio suffecit, Val. Max, , viii, c. 14.
chus the philosopher's telling him that there was an infinite number of worlds, wept to think that it would be impossible for him to conquer them all, since he had not yet conquered one. Is it wrong in * Seneca, to compare those heroes, who have gained renown no otherwise than by the ruin of nations, to a conflagration and a flood, which lay waste and destroy all things ; or to wild beasts, who live merely by blood and slaughter ?
Alexander, † passionately fond of glory, of which he neither knew the nature nor just bounds, prided himself upon treading in the steps of Hercules, and even in carrying hiş victorious arms farther than him. What resemblance was there, savs the same Seneca, between that wise conqueror, and this frantic youth, who mistook his successful rashness for merit and virtue ? Hercules, in his expeditions, made no conquests for himself. He over-ran the universe as the sutduer of monsters, the enemy of the wicked, the avenger of the good, and the restorer of peace by land and sea. Alexander, on the contrary, an unjust robber from his youth, a cruel ravager of provinces, an infamous murderer of his friends, makes his happiness and glory consist in rendering himself formidable to all mortals, forgetting that not only the fiercest animals, but even the vilest, make themselves feared by their poisons.
But, leaving this first consideration, which represents conquerors to us as so many scourges sent by the wrath of hea: ven into the world, to punish the sins of it, let us proceed to examine the last conquests, abstractedly in themselves, of A. lexander,in order to see whatjudgment we are to form of them.
It must be confessed, that the actions of this prince diffuse a splendour that dazzle
and astonishes the imagination, which is ever fond of the great and marvellous. His enthu. siastic courage raises and transports all who read his history, as it transported himself, But ought we to give the name
*Exițio gentium clari, non minorcs fuere pestes mortalium, quam inundatio- quam conflagratio. Senec. Nat. Quæst. l. iii, in Præfat.
+Homo gloriæ deditus, cujus nec naturam nec modum aoverat, Herculis vestigia sequens, ac ne ibi quidem resistens ubi illa defe
Quid illi (Herculi) simili habebat vesanus adolesceus, cui pro virtute erat felis temeritas? Hercules nihil sibi vicit ; orbemi terrarum transivit, non concupiscendo, sed vindicando. Quid vince. ret malorum hostis, bonorum vindex, terrarum marisque pacator ? At hic a pueritia latro, gentiamque vestator, tam hoftium pernicies quam amicorum, qui summum bonum duceret terrori esse cunctis mortalibus ; oblitus, non ferocissima tantum sed ignavissima quoque animalia tir:eri ob virus malum. Seacc. de beaef. I. i. 6 13.
of bravery and valour to a boldness that is equally blind; rash, and impetuous; a boldness void of all rule, that will never listen to the voice of reason, and has no other guide than a senseless ardour for false glory, and a wild desire of distinguishing itself, be the methods ever so unlawful? This character suits only a military robber, who has no attendánts; whose life is only exposed ; and who, for that reason, may be employed in some desperate action : but it is far otherwise with regard to a king, for he owes his life to all his army, and his whole kingdom. If we except some very rare occasions, on which a prince is obliged to venture his person, and share the danger with his troops in order to pred serve them, he ought to call to mind, that there is a great difference between a general and a private soldier. True valour is not desirous of displaying itself, is no ways anxo ious about its own reputation, but is solely intent on preservo ing the ariny. It steers equally between a fearful wisdom, that foresees and dreads all difficulties, and a brutal ardour, which industriously pursues and confronts dangers of every kind. In a word, to form an accomplished general, prudence must soften and direct the too fiery temper of valour ; as this latter must animate and warm the coldness and slow: ness of prudence.
Do any of these characteristics suit Alexander ? When ve peruse history, and follow him to sieges and battles, we are perpetually alarmed for his safety, and that of his army; and conclude every moment that they are upon the point of being destroyed. Here we see a rapid flood, which is going to draw in, and swallow up this conqueror; there we lehold a craggy rock, up which he climbs, and perceives round him soldiers, either transfixed by the enemy's darts, or thrown headlong by huge stones into precipices. We tremble when we perceive in a battle the axe just ready to cleave his head ; and much more, when we behold him alone in a fortress, whither his rashness had drawn him, exposed to all the javelins of the enemy. Alexander was ever persuaded that miracles would be wrought in his favour, than which nothing could be niore unreasonable, as Plutarch observes ; for miracles do not always happen ; and the gods at last are weary of guiding and preserving rash mortals, who abuse the assistance they afford them.
*Plutarch, in af treatise where he makes the eulogium of Alexander, and exhibits him as an accomplished hero,
*Plut, de fortun. Alci. orat, ii, p. 341.
† This treatise, if written by Plutarch, secms a juvenile performjace, and has very much the air of a declamation.
gives a long detail of several wounds he received in every part of his body ; and pretends that the only design of fortune, in thus piercing him with wounds, was to make his courage more conspicuous. A renowned warrior, whose eulogium Plutarch has drawn in another part of his writings, did not judge in this manner. Some persons applauding him for a wound he had received in battle, the general himself declared, that it was a fault which could be exciused only in a young man, and justly deserves censure. It has been observed in Hannibal's praise, and I myself have taken notice of it elsewhere, that he was never wounded † in all his battles. I cannot say whether Cæsar ever was.
The last observation, which relates in general to all Alexander's expeditions in Asia, must necessarily lessen very much the merit of his victories, and the splendour of his rep. utation ; and this is the genius and character of the nations against whom he fought. Livy, in a digression, where he inquires what would have been the fate of Alexander's arms, in case he had turned them towards Italy, and where he shows that Rome would certainly have checked his conquests, insists strongly on the reflection in question. He op. poses to this prince, in the article of courage, a great number of illustrious Romans, who would have resisted him on all occasions; and in the article of prudence, that august senate, which Cyneas, to give a more noble idea of it to: Pyrrhus his sovereign, said, was composed of so many kings. "Had he marchedt,” says Livy, "against the Romans, he « would soon have found that he was no longer combatting
against a Darius, who, encumbered with gold and purple, " the vain equipage of his grandeur, and dragging after him
a multitude of women and eunuchs, came as a prey rathers " than as an enemy; and whom Alexander.cenquered without shedding much blood, and without wanting any other
merit, than that of daring to despise what was really con-Stemptible. He would have found Italy very different from 6 India, through which he marched in a riotous manner, his
*Timotheus. Plut, in Pelop, p. 278.
INon jim cum Dario rem esse dixisset, quem mulierum ac fpado. num agmen trahentem, inter purpuram atque aurum, oneraron fortunæ suæ apparatibus, prædam verius quam hoftem, nihil aliud quam bene ausus vana contemnere, jocrucorus.devicic. Longe aliye Italiæ, quam Indiæ, per quam temulenco agmine .commessabundas inccssit, visus ille habitus esset, sallus Apulia ac montes Lucanos cernenti, et vestigia recentia, domesticæ cladis, ubi avunculus ejus nuper, Epiri Rex, Alexander abfumptus erat. Lis. 1. in 2. 176