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A temperate inquiry into the real motives of Boniface would have restored a faithful servant to his duty and to the republic; but the arts of Aëtius still continued to betray and to inflame, and the count was urged, by persecution, to embrace the most desperate counsels. The success with which he eluded or repelled the first attacks, could not inspire a wain confidence, that at the head of some loose, disorderly Africans, he should be able to withstand the regular forces of the West, commanded by a rival, whose military character it was impossible for him to despise. After some hesitation, the last struggles of prudence and loyalty, Boniface despatched a trusty friend to the court, or rather to the camp, of Gonderic, king of the Vandals, with the proposal of a strict alliance, and the offer of an advantageous and perpetual settlement. After the retreat of the Goths, the authority of Honorius had obtained a precarious establishment in Spain; except only in the province of Gallicia, where the Suevi and the Wandals had fortified their camps, in mutual discord and hostile independence. The Vandals prevailed; and their adversaries were besieged in the Nervasian hills, between Leon and Oviedo, till the approach of Count Asterius compelled, or rather provoked, the victorious Barbarians to remove the scene of the war to the plains of Boetica. The rapid progress of the Vandals soon required a more effectual opposition; and the master-general Castinus marched against them with a numerous army of Romans and Goths. Vanquished in battle by an inferior enemy, Castinus fled with dishonor to Tarragona; and this memorable defeat, which has been represented as the punishment, was most probably the effect, of his rash presumption.” Seville and Carthagena became the reward, or rather the prey, of the ferocious conquerors; and the vessels which they found in the harbor of Carthagena might easily transport them to the Isles of Majorca and Minorca, where the Spanish fugitives, as in a secure recess, had vainly concealed their families and their fortunes. The experience of navigation, and perhaps the prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to accept the invitation which they received from Count Boniface; and the death of Gonderic served only to forward and animate the bold enterprise. In the room of a prince not conspicu
..” See the Chronicles of Prosper and Idatius. Salvian (de Gubernat. Dei, l. Wii. p. 246, Paris, 1608) ascribes the victory of the Vandals to their superior piety. They fasted, they prayed, they carried a Bible in front of the Host, with the design, perhaps, of reproaching the perfidy and sacrilege of their enemies.
ous for any superior powers of the mind or body, they acuired his bastard brother, the terrible Genseric;” a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila. The king of the Vandals is described to have been of a middle stature, with a lameness in one leg, which he had contracted by an accidental fall from his horse. His slow and cautious speech seldom declared the deep purposes of his soul; he disdained to imitate the luxury of the vanquished; but he indulged the sterner passions of anger and revenge. The ambition of Genseric was without bounds and without scruples; and the warrior could dexterously employ the dark engines of policy to solicit the allies who might be useful to his success, or to scatter among his enemies the seeds of hatred and contention. Almost in the moment of his departure he was informed that Hermanric, king of the Suevi, had presumed to ravage the Spanish territories, which he was resolved to abandon. Impatient of the insult, Genseric pursued the hasty retreat of the Suevi as far as Merida; precipitated the king and his army into the River Anas, and calmly returned to the sea-shore to embark his victorious troops. The vessels which transported the Vandals over the modern Straits of Gibraltar, a channel only twelve miles in breadth, were furnished by the Spaniards, who anxiously wished their departure; and by the African general, who had implored their formidable assistance.” Our fancy, so long accustomed to exaggerate and multiply the martial swarms of Barbarians that seemed to issue from the North, will perhaps be surprised by the account of the army which Genseric mustered on the coast of Mauritania. The Vandals, who in twenty years had penetrated from the Elbe to Mount Atlas, were united under the command of their warlike king; and he reigned with equal authority over the Alani, who had passed, within the term of human life, from the cold of Scythia to the excessive heat of an African climate. The hopes of the bold enterprise had excited many brave adventurers of the Gothic nation; and many desperate provincials were tempted to repair their fortunes by the same means which had occasioned their ruin. Yet this various multitude amounted only to fifty thousand effective men; and though Genserie artfully magnified his apparent strength, by appointing eighty chiliarchs, or commanders of thousands, the fallacious increase of old men, of children, and of slaves, would scarcely have swelled his army to the number of fourscore thousand persons.” But his own dexterity, and the discontents of Africa, soon fortified the Vandal powers, by the accession of numerous and active allies. The parts of Mauritania which border on the Great Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, were filled with a fierce and untractable race of men, whose savage temper had been exasperated, rather than reclaimed, hy their dread of the Roman arms. The wandering Moors," as they gradually ventured to approach the sea-shore, and the camp of the Vandals, must have viewed with terror and astonishment the dress, the armor, the martial pride and discipline of the unknown strangers who had landed on their coast; and the fair complexions of the blue-eyed warriors of Germany formed a very singular contrast with the swarthy or olive hue which is derived from the neighborhood of the torrid zone. After the first difficulties had in some measure been removed, which arose from the mutual ignorance of their respective language, the Moors, regardless of any future consequence, embraced the alliance of the enemies of Rome; and a crowd of naked savages rushed from the woods and valleys of Mount Atlas, to satiate their revenge on the polished tyrants, who had injuriously expelled them from the native sovereignty of the land. The persecution of the Donatists" was an event not less favorable to the designs of Genseric. Seventeen years before he landed in Afriea, a public conference was held at Carthage, by the order of the magistrate. The Catholics were satisfied, that, after the invincible reasons which they had alleged, the obstimacy of the schismatics must be inexcusable and voluntary; and the emperor Honorius was persuaded to inflict the most rigorous penalties on a faction which had so long abused his patience and clemency. Three hundred bishops,” with many thousands of the inferior clergy, were torn from their churches, stripped of their ecclesiastical possessions, banished to the islands, and proscribed by the laws, if they presumed to conceal themselves in the provinces of Africa. Their numerous congregations, both in cities and in the country, were deprived of the rights of citizens, and of the exercise of religious worship. A regular scale of fines, from ten to two hundred pounds of silver, was curiously ascertained, according to the distinctions of rank and fortune, to punish the crime of assisting at a schismatic conventicle ; and if the fine had been levied five times, without subduing the obstinacy of the offender, his future punishment was referred to the discretion of the Imperial court.” By these severities, which obtained the warmest approbation of St. Augustin,” great numbers of Donatists were reconciled to the Catholic Church : but the fanatics, who still persevered in their opposition, were provoked to madness and despair; the distracted country was filled with tumult and bloodshed; the armed troops of Circumcellions alternately pointed their rage against themselves, or against their adversaries; and the calendar of martyrs received on both sides a considerable augmentation.” Under these circumstances, Genseric, a Christian, but an enemy of the orthodox communion, showed himself to the Donatists as a powerful deliverer, from whom they might reasonably expect the repeal of the odious and oppressive edicts of the Roman em. perors.” The conquest of Africa was facilitated by the active zeal, or the secret favor, of a domestic faction; the wanton outrages against the churches and the clergy of which the Vandals are accused, may be fairly imputed to the fanaticism of their allies; and the intolerant spirit which disgraced the triumph of Christianity, contributed to the loss of the most important province of the West.” The court and the people were astonished by the strange intelligence, that a virtuous hero, after so many favors, and so many services, had renounced his allegiance, and invited the Barbarians to destroy the province intrusted to his command. The friends of Boniface, who still believed that his criminal behavior might be excused by some honorable motive, solicited, during the absence of Aëtius, a free conference with the Count of Africa; and Darius, an officer of high distinction, was named for the important embassy.” In their first interview at Carthage, the imaginary provocations were mutually explained ; the opposite letters of Aëtius were produced and compared; and the fraud was easily detected. Placidia and Boniface lamented their fatal error; and the count had sufficient magnanimity to confide in the forgiveness of his sovereign, or to expose his head to her future resentment. His repentance was fervent and sincere; but he soon discovered that it was no longer in his power to restore the edifice which he had shaken to its foundations. Carthage and the IRoman garrisons returned with their general to the allegiance of Valentinian ; but the rest of Africa was still distracted with war and faction; and the inexorable king of the Vandals, disdaining all terms of accommodation, sternly refused to relinquish the possession of his prey. The band of veterans who marched under the standard of Boniface, and his hasty levies of provincial
13 Gizericus (his name is variously expressed) statură mediocris et equi cass. claudicans, animo profundus, sermone rarus, luxuriae contemptor, irā turbidos, habendi cupidus, ad solicitalidas gentes providentissimus, semina contentio in 1111 jacere, odia miscere paratus. Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 33, p. 657. This portrait, which is drawn with some skill, and a strong likeness, must have been copied from the Gothic history of Cassiodorus.
* See the Chronicle of Idatius. That bishop, a Spaniard and a contemporary, places the passage of the Vandals in the .. of May, of the year of Abraham (which commences in October), 2444. This date, which coincides with A. D. 429, is confirmed by Isidore, another Spanish bishop, and is justly preferred to the 9pinion of those writers who have marked for that event one of the two preceding years. See Pagi Critica, tom. ii. p. 205, &c.
13 Compare Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. 1. j. c. 5, p. 190) and Victor Vitensis (de Persecutione Vandal. l. i. c. 1, p. 3, edit. Ruinart). We are assured by loiatius, that Genseric evacuated Spain, cum Vandalis omnibus eorumque famili.s; and Possidius (in Vit. Augustin. c. 28, apud Ruinart, p. 427) describes his army as manus ingens immianiuin gentium Vandalorum et Alamorum, commixtam secum habens Gothorum gentennaliarumque diversarum personas.
16 For the manners of the Moors, see Procopius (de Bell. Vandal. l. ii. c. 6, #. 249); for their figure and complexion, M. de Buffon (Histoire Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 430). Procopius says in general, that the Moors had joined the Vandals before the death of Valentinian (de Bell. Vandal. l. i. e. 5. p. 190) : and it is probable that the independent tribes did not embrace any uniform system of policy.
17 See Tillemont, Mémoires I.ccles. tom. xiii. pp. 516–558 ; and the whole series of the persecution, in the original monuments, published by Dupin at the end of Optatus, pp. 323–515.
18 The Donatist bishops, at the conference of Carthage, amounted to 279; and they asserted that their whole number was not less than 400. The Catholics liad 286 Poio 120 absent, besides sixty-four vacant bishoprics.
19 The fifth title of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code exhibits a series of the Imperial laws against the Donalists, from the year 400 to the year 428. Of these the 54th law, promulgated by Honorius, A. D. 414, is the most Severe and effectual.
* St. Augustin altered his opinion with regard to the proper treatment of heretics. His pathetic declaration of pity and indulgence for the Manichaeans has been inserted by Mr. Locke (vol. iii. p. 469) among the choice specimens of his common-place book... Another philosopher, the celebrated Bayle (tom. ii. pp. 445-496), has refuted, with superfluous diligence and ingenuity, the arguments by . the bishop of Hippo justified, in his old age, the persecution of the Donatists.
* See Tillemont, Mém. Feeles. tom. xiii. pp. 586–592, 806. The Donatists boasted of thousands of these voluntary martyrs. Augustin asserts, and probably with truth, that these numbers were much exaggerated; but he sternly maintaine. that it was better that some should burn themselves in this world, than Almat all should burn in hell flames.
* According to St. Augustin and Theodoret, the Donatists were inclined to the principles, or at least to the party, of the Arians, which Genseric supported. Tillemont, Mém. Eccles, tom. vi. p. 68.
23 See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 428, No. 7, A. D. 430, No. 35. The cardinal, though more inclined to seek the cause of great events in heaven than on the earth, has observed the apparent connection of the Vandals and the Donatists. Under the reign of the Barbarians, the schismatics of Africa enjoyed an obscure peace of one hundred years; at the end of which, we may again trace them by the light of the Imperial persecutions. See Tillemont, Mém. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 192, &c.
* In a confidential letter to Count Boniface, St. Augustin, without examining the grounds of the quarrel, piously exhorts him to discharge the duties of a Christian and a subject; to extricate himself without delay from his dangerous and guilty situation : and even, if he could obtain the consent of his wife, to embrace a life of celibacy and penance (Tillemont, Mém. Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 890). The bishop was intimately connected with Darius, the minister of peace (Id. tom. xiii. p. 928),