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such an accusation did much harm, and for this reason, whether true or false, enemies were glad to repeat it whenever they wished to discredit a character. Lastly, all the ancient writers, even the most hostile, tell us that up to a ripe age Tiberius preserved his exemplary habits. Is it likely, then, that suddenly, when already old, he should have soiled himself with all the vices? At all events, if there is any truth contained in these accounts, we can at most conclude that as an old man Tiberius became subject to some mental infirmity and that the man who took refuge at Capri was no longer entirely sane.
Certain it is, in any case, that after his retirement to Capri, Tiberius seriously neglected public affairs, and that Sejanus was finally looked upon at Rome as the de facto emperor. The bulletins and reports which were sent from the empire and from Rome to the emperor passed through his hands, as well as the decisions which Tiberius sent back to the state. At Rome, in all affairs of serious or slight importance, the senators turned to Sejanus, and about him, whom all fell into the habit of considering as the true emperor, a court and party were formed. In fear of his great power, the senators and the old aristocracy suppressed the envy which the dizzy rise of this obscure knight had aroused. Rome suffered without protest that a man of obscure birth should rule the empire in the place of a descendant of the great Claudian family, and the senators of the most illustrious houses grew accustomed to paying him court. Worse still, virtually all of them aided him, either by openly favoring him or by allowing him a free hand, to complete the decisive destruction of the party and the family of Germanicus-of that same Germanicus of whom all had been fond and whose memory the people still venerated.
After the retirement of Tiberius to Capri, all felt that Agrippina and her sons were inevitably doomed sooner or later to succumb in the duel with the powerful, ambitious, and implacable prefect of the pretorians who represented Tiberius at Rome. Only a few generous idealists remained faithful to the conquered, who were now near their destruction; such supporters as might possibly ease the misery of ruin, but not ward it off or avoid it. Among these last faithful and heroic
friends was a certain Titius Sabinus, and the implacable Sejanus destroyed him with a suit of which Tacitus has given us an account, a horrible story of one of the most abominable judicial machinations which human perfidy can imagine. Dissensions arose to aggravate the already serious danger in which Agrippina and her friends had been placed. Nero, the first-born son, and Drusus, the second, became hostile at the very moment when they should have united against the ruthless adversary who wished to exterminate them all. A last rock of refuge remained to protect the family of Germanicus. It was Livia, the revered old lady who had been present at the birth of the fortunes of Augustus and the new imperial authority, and who had held in her arms that infant world which had been born in the midst of the convulsions of the civil wars, and a little later had watched it try its first steps on the pathway of history. Livia did not much love Agrippina, whose hatred and intrigues against Tiberius she had always blamed; but she was too wise and too solicitous of the prestige of the family to allow Sejanus entirely to destroy the house of Germanicus. As long as she lived, Agrippina and Nero could dwell safely in Rome. But Livia was feeble, and in the beginning of 29, at the age of eighty-six, she died. The catastrophe which had been carefully prepared by Sejanus was now consummated; a few months after the death of Livia, Agrippina and Nero were subjected to a suit, and, under an accusation of having conspired against Tiberius, were condemned to exile by the senate. Shortly after his condemnation, Nero committed suicide.
The account which Tacitus gives us of this trial is obscure, involved, and fragmentary, for the story is broken off at its most important point by an unfortunate lacuna in the manuscript. The other historians add but little light with their brief phrases and passing allusions. We do not therefore entirely understand either the contents of the charges, the reason for the condemnation, the stand taken by the accused, or the conduct of Tiberius with regard to the accusation. It seems hardly probable that Agrippina and Nero could. have been truly guilty of a real conspiracy against Tiberius. against Tiberius. Isolated as they had been by Sejanus after the retirement of
Tiberius to Capri, they would scarcely have been able to set a conspiracy on foot, even if they had so desired. They were paying the penalty for the long war of calumnies and slanders which they had waged upon Tiberius, for the aversion and the scorn which they had always shown for him. In this course of conduct many senators had encouraged them as long as Tiberius alone had not dared to have recourse to violent and cruel measures in order to make himself respected by his family. But such acts of disrespect became serious crimes for the unfortunate woman and her hapless son, even in the eyes of the senators who had encouraged them to commit them, now that Sejanus had reinvigorated the imperial authority with his energy, and now that all felt that behind Tiberius and in his name and place there was acting a man of decision who knew how to punish his enemies and to reward his friends.
The trial and condemnation of Agrippina and Nero were certainly the machinations of Sejanus, who carried along with him not only the senate and the friends of the imperial family, but perhaps even Tiberius himself. They prove how much Sejanus had been able to strengthen imperial authority, which had been hesitating and feeble in the last decade. Sejanus had dared to do what Tiberius had never succeeded in doing; he had destroyed that center of opposition which gathered about Agrippina in the house of Germanicus. It is therefore scarcely necessary to say that the ruin of Agrippina still further increased the power of Sejanus. bowed trembling before the man who had dared humiliate the very family of the JulioClaudii. Honors were showered upon his head; he was made senator and pontifex; he received the proconsular power; there was talk of a marriage between him and the widow of Nero; and it was finally proposed that he be named consul for five years. Indeed, in 31, through the will of Tiberius, he actually became the colleague of the emperor himself in the consulate. He needed only the tribunician power to make him the official collaborator of the emperor and his designated successor. Every one at Rome, furthermore, considered him the future prince. But having arrived at this height, Sejanus's head was turned, and he asked himself why he
should exercise the rule and have all its burdens and dangers while he left to others the pomp, the honors, and the advantages. Although Tiberius allowed the senate to heap honors upon his faithful prefect of the pretorians, and though he himself showed his gratitude to him in many ways, even going to the point of being willing to give him the widow of Nero in marriage, he never really expected to take him as his colleague or to designate him as his successor. Tiberius was a Claudian, and that a knight without ancestry should be placed at the head of the Roman aristocracy was to him unthinkable; after the exile of Nero he had cast his eyes upon Caius, another son of Germanicus, as his possible successor. Nor had he hidden his intention: he had even clearly expressed it in different speeches to the senate. Therefore Sejanus must finally have come to the conclusion that if he continued to defend Tiberius and his interests, he could no longer hope for anything from him, and might even compromise the influence and the popularity which he had already acquired. Tiberius was hated and detested, there was a numerous party opposed to him in the senate, and he was extremely unpopular among the masses. Many admired Sejanus through spiteful hatred of Tiberius, for it amounted to saying that they preferred to be governed by an obscure knight rather than by an old and detested Claudian who had shut himself up in Capri. And thus Sejanus seems to have deluded himself into believing that if he succeeded in doing away with the emperor, he could easily take his position by setting aside the young son of Germanicus and profiting by the popularity which the fall of Tiberius would bring him. Little by little he came to an understanding with the enemies of Tiberius and prepared a conspiracy for the final overthrow of the odious government of the son of Livia. Many senators had agreed to this, and certainly few conspiracies were ever organized under more favorable auspices. Tiberius was old, disgusted with everything and everybody, and alone in Capri; he had virtually not a single friend in Rome; about what happened in the world he knew only what Sejanus told him. He was therefore entirely in the hands of the man who was preparing to sacrifice him
to the tenacious hatred of the people and the senatorial aristocracy. Young, energetic, and the favorite of fortune, Sejanus had with him a formidable party in the senate, he was the commander of the pretorian guard,—that is, of the only military force stationed in Italy, -and he had terrified with his implacable persecutions all those whom he had failed to win over through his promises or his favors. Could the duel between this misanthropic old man and this vigorous, energetic, ruthless climber end in any other way than with the defeat of the former? But now stepping forward suddenly from the shadows to which she had retired, a lady appeared, threw herself between the two contestants, and changed the fate of the combat. It was Antonia, the daughter of the famous triumvir, the revered widow of Drusus.
After the death of Livia, Antonia was the most respected personage of the imperial family in Rome. She still watched, withdrawn but alert, over the destiny of the house now virtually destroyed by death, dissensions, the cruelty of the laws, and the relentless anger of the aristocracy. It was she who scented out the plot, and quickly and courageously, she informed Tiberius. The latter, in danger and in Capri, displayed again the energy and sagacity of his best period. The danger was most threatening, especially because Sejanus was the commander of the pretorian guard. Tiberius beguiled him with friendly letters, dangling in front of him the hope that he had conceded to him the tribunician power,- that is, that he had made him his colleague,-while at the same time he secretly took measures to appoint a successor for him. Suddenly Sejanus learned that he was no longer commander of the guard, and that the emperor had accused him before the senate of conspiracy. In an instant, under this blow, the fortunes of Sejanus collapsed. The envy and the latent hatred against the parvenu, the knight who had risen higher than all others, and who had humiliated the senatorial aristocracy with his good fortune, were reawakened, and the senate and public opinion turned fiercely against him. Sejanus, his family, his friends, his accomplices, and those who seemed to be his accomplices, were put to death after summary trials by the fury
of the mob; and in Rome blood flowed in
Antonia might now have enjoyed the satisfaction of having saved through her foresight not only Tiberius, but the entire family, when suddenly one of the surges of that fierce tempest of ambitions and hatreds tore from her side even her own daughter, Livilla, the widow of Drusus, and cast her as a prey into that sea of blind popular frenzy. The reader has perhaps not forgotten that eight years before, when Sejanus was hoping to marry Livilla, he had repudiated his first wife, Apicata. Apicata had not wished to outlive the ruin of her former husband, and she killed herself, but only after having written Tiberius a letter in which she accused Livilla of having poisoned Drusus through connivance with Sejanus, whom she wished to marry. I confess that this accusation seems to me hardly probable, and I do not believe that the denunciation of Apicata is sufficient ground for admitting it. Above all, it is well to inquire what proofs Apicata could have had of this crime, and how she could have procured them even if the crime had been committed. Since the two accomplices would have been obliged to hide their infamous deed from all, there was no one from whom they would have concealed it more carefully than from Apicata. We must further note that it is not probable that a cautious man, as Sejanus was in the year 23, would have thought of committing so serious a crime as that of poisoning the son of his protector. For what reason would he have done so? He did not then think of succeeding Tiberius; by removing Drusus, he would merely have improved the situation of the family of Germanicus, which at that time was already hostile to him and with which he was preparing to struggle. Instead, might not this accusation in extremis be the last vengeance of a repudiated woman against the rival who for a moment had threatened to take the position from which she herself had been driven? Apicata did not belong to the aristocracy, and, unlike the ladies of the senatorial families, she had not therefore been brought up with the idea of having to serve docilely as an instrument for the political career of her own husband. Perhaps her denunciation was the revenge of feminine jealousy, of that passion which
the lower orders of Roman society did not extinguish in the hearts of their women as did the aristocracy.
This denunciation, however, this from the pages of ancient writers.was one of the most terrible griefs of Tiberius's old age. He had loved his son tenderly, and the idea of leaving so horrible a crime unpunished, in case the accusation was true, drove him to desperation. Yet, on the other hand, Livilla, the presumptive criminal, was the daughter of his faithful friend, of that Antonia who had saved him from the treacheries of Sejanus. As for the public, ever ready to believe all the infamies which were reported of the imperial house, it was firmly convinced that Livilla was an abominable poisoner. A great trial was set on foot; many suspects were put to torture, which is evidence that they were arriving at no definite conclusions, and this was probably because they were seeking for the proofs of an imaginary crime. Livilla did not survive the scandal, the accusations, the suspicions of Tiberius, and the distrust of those about her. Because she was the daughter of Drusus and the daughter-in-law of Tiberius, because she belonged to the family which fortune had placed at the head of the immense empire of Rome, she would not be able to persuade any one that she was innocent. The obscure woman, without ancestry, who was accusing her from the grave, would be taken at her word by every one; she would convince posterity and history; against all reason she would
prevail over the greatness of Livilla! So Livilla took refuge in her mother's house and starved herself to death, for she was unable to outlive an accusation which it was impossible to refute.
Tiberius's reign continued for six years after this terrible tragedy, but it was only a species of slow death-agony. The year 33 saw still another tragic event-the suicide of Agrippina and her son Drusus. Of the race of Germanicus there remained alive only one son, Caius (the later Emperor Caligula), and three daughters, of whom the eldest, Agrippina, the mother of Nero, had been married a few years before to the descendant of one of the greatest houses of Rome, Cnæus Domitius Enobarbus. Tiberius still remained as the last relic of a bygone time to represent ideas and aspirations which were henceforth lost causes, amid the ruins and the tombs of his friends. Posterity, following in the footsteps of Tacitus, has held him and his dark nature alone responsible for this ruin. We ought to believe instead that he was a man born to a loftier and more fortunate destiny, but that he had to pay the penalty for the unique eminence to which fortune had exalted him. Like the members of his family who had been driven into exile, who had died before their time, who had been driven to suicide in despair, he, too, was the victim of a tragic situation full of insoluble contradictions; and precisely because he was destined to live, he was perhaps the most unfortunate victim of them all.
TOPICS OF THE TIME
THE RECALL OF JUDGES A RASH EXPERIMENT
UNITED STATES Senator recently said in private conversation: "If judges could have been recalled in John Marshall's time, there would have been at least two movements to recall him as Chief-Justice, and each of them would have been led by a President of the United States."
The reference was, of course, to the dis like of Marshall's decisions expressed by both Jefferson and Jackson. Marshall's epoch-making opinion in "Marbury versus Madison" gave deep offense to Jefferson, and he is thought to have had that case in mind when, fifteen years later, he wrote of the judiciary as a "subtle corps of sappers and miners," and spoke of "a crafty chiefjudge who sophisticates the law to his mind by the turn of his own reasoning."
Indeed, the beginnings of the recall of judges may be said to date from that period, for John Randolph, in a rage at the failure to impeach Justice Samuel Chase, proposed as an amendment to the Constitution that "The Judges of the Supreme Court and all other Courts of the United States shall be removed by the President on the joint address of both Houses of Congress." Needless to say, that cirium ardor prava jubentium did not prevail.
Something may perhaps be said for the recall of non-judicial and elective officials. It is much talked of nowadays as a useful weapon in municipal and in State administration. But those who propose to apply it even in that limited sphere are forced to admit, if they are sober-minded men, that it is a sword which may cut the hand that seeks to wield it, and that its use must be carefully guarded.
Thus, in the general law passed this year by the New Jersey Legislature, providing for a commission plan of government in those cities that choose to adopt it, there is a provision for the recall. But it is significantly hedged about. The language of the statute is: "No recall peti