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knows the story of Cato the censor, _who stabbed a Roman Senator for
kissing his own wife in the presence of his daughter_.
To these austere manners, the Roman women joined an enthusiastic love of
their country, which discovered itself upon many great occasions. On the
death of Brutus, they all clothed themselves in mourning. In the time of
Coriolanus they saved the city. That incensed warrior who had insulted
the senate and priests, and who was superior even to the pride of
pardoning, could not resist the tears and entreaties of the women.
_They_ melted his obdurate heart. The senate decreed them public thanks,
ordered the men to give place to them upon all occasions, caused an
altar to be erected for them on the spot where the mother had softened
her son, and the wife her husband; and the sex were permitted to add
another ornament to their head-dress.
The Roman women saved the city a second time, when besieged by Brennus.
They gave up all their gold as its ransom. For that instance of their
generosity, the senate granted them the honor of having funeral orations
pronounced in the rostrum, in common with patriots and heroes.
After the battle of Cannae, when Rome had no other treasures but the
virtues of her citizens, the women sacrificed both their jewels and
their gold. A new decree rewarded their zeal.
Valerius Maximus who lived in the reign of Tiberius, informs us that, in
the second triumvirate, the three assassins who governed Rome thirsting
after gold, no less than blood, and having already practised every
species of robbery, and worn out every method of plunder; resolved _to
tax the women_. They imposed a heavy contribution upon each of them. The
women sought an orator to defend their cause, but found none. Nobody
would reason against those who had the power of life and death. The
daughter of the celebrated Hortensius alone appeared. She revived the
memory of her father's abilities, and supported with intrepidity her own
cause and that of her sex. The ruffians blushed and revoked their
Hortensia was conducted home in triumph, and had the honor of having
given, in one day, an example of courage to men, a pattern of eloquence
to women, and a lesson of humanity to tyrants.
During upwards of six hundred years, the _virtues_ had been found
sufficient to please. They now found it necessary to call in the
_accomplishments_. They were desirous to join admiration to esteem,
'till they learned to exceed esteem itself. For in all countries, in
proportion as the love of virtue diminishes, we find the love of talents
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