Forsyth generously abstains from blaming the deed, as to which he leaves his readers to form their own opinion. Abeken expresses no opinion concerning its morality, nor does Morabin. It is the critics of Cicero's works who have condemned him without thinking much, perhaps, of the judgment they have given. But Cicero was not in the conspiracy, nor had he even contemplated Cæsar's death.
Abeken also admitted that his original telegram was far too long, and that Bismarck was quite justified in abbreviating it as he did . Bismarck's successor in the chancellory, Count Caprivi, set matters in their true light in a speech in the Reichstag shortly after the publication of Bismarck's Reminiscences.
Abeken, the German biographer, says that this year, B.C. 55, produced twelve letters. In the French edition of Cicero's works published by Panckoucke thirty-five are allotted to it. Mr. Watson, in his selected letters, has not taken one from the year in question. Mr.
He determined, therefore, to return to Berlin, and ordered Abeken, Secretary to the Foreign Office, who was with him, to telegraph to Bismarck an account of what had taken place, with a suggestion that the facts should be published. It happened that Bismarck, when the telegram arrived, was dining with Roon and Moltke, who had both been summoned to Berlin.
Abeken thinks that in the originals they might have been added in the little Cicero's own hand, "to show that he had begun Greek;" "a conjecture", says Mr. Merivale, "too pleasant not to be readily admitted". The boy gave his father some trouble in after life. He served with some credit as an officer of cavalry under Pompey in Greece, or at least got into no trouble there.
He would go to Rome, stab himself on the altar-hearth in young Caesar's house, and call down the vengeance of heaven upon the traitor. The accounts of these last hours of his life are, unfortunately, somewhat contradictory, and none of the authorities to be entirely depended on; Abeken has made a careful attempt to harmonise them, which it will be best here to follow.
The remark of Abeken seems to go very near the truth "His devotion to the commonwealth was grounded not so much upon his conviction of its actual merits, as of its fitness for the display of his own abilities". But that commonwealth was past saving even in name. Within two months of his having been declared a public enemy, all Italy was at Caesar's feet.
Under this conviction I made use of the royal authorization communicated to me through Abeken, to publish the contents of the telegram; and in the presence of my two guests I reduced the telegram by striking out words, but without adding or altering, to the following form: "After the news of the renunciation of the hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern had been officially communicated to the imperial government of France by the royal government of Spain, the French ambassador at Ems further demanded of his Majesty the King that he would authorize him to telegraph to Paris that his Majesty the King bound himself for all future time never again to give his consent if the Hohenzollerns should renew their candidature.
That Bismarck's feeling toward Americans generally was good is abundantly proven, and especially by such witnesses as Abeken, Sidney Whitman, and Moritz Busch, the last of whom has shown that, while the chancellor was very bitter against sundry German princes who lingered about the army and lived in Versailles at the public expense, he seemed always to rejoice in the presence of General Sheridan and other compatriots of ours who were attached to the German headquarters by a tie of much less strength.
When the copy was handed to me it showed that Abeken had drawn up and signed the telegram at his Majesty's command, and I read it out to my guests, whose dejection was so great that they turned away from food and drink.