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AMONG the extraordinary names which the records of man have presented to the world, whether in ancient or modern times, that of NAPOLEON BONAPARTE stands alone-being in advance of the front rank. In vain we consult the annals of the most cele. brated nations that have appeared in different ages of the world, which from their celebrity in arts or in arms, have exalted human nature, and which afford the most numerous examples of individual heroism and renown, for a parallel character. Rome, during a long course of triumphs, of perils, and of glory, boasts of distinguished warriors, statesmen, and oratorsshe had her Fabii, her Marcii, and Gracchia Coriolanus, Marius, and Cæsar-Cicero, Hortentius, Brutus and Cato; she had wise politicians, --heroes in war and sages in council ; yet among all her distinguished names which have come down to posterity, there is no one which unites every idea of greatness. And although she was long mistress of the world, and although with her war was an employment, and the only one worthy of honourable men, she produced no military character who will compare with the peerless hero of modern times. Cæsar conquered the Gauls, subdued the Germans, overcame the Nervi,' reduced the Britons to subjection, and conquered his rival and his country. He extended the dominions of Rome, increased her power, spread the terror of her arms, added to her conquests and her treasures, and procured for himself a mighty name. But at the period of his exploits, Rome was arbiter of the world, was surrounded by her allies, and had no powerful nations as enemies. The Gauls and northern nations although nu
merous and warlike, were semi-barbarians, and ignerant of the art of war, which circumstance, notwithstanding their numbers and ferocity, rendered them a very unequal enemy. Cæsar, having overcame his great rival, and intimidated or subdued his enemies, acquired supreme power; but he only lived to acquire it--there was but a step between his final triumph and his fall; he did not, like Bonaparte, survive his greatness ; the same stroke deprived him of power and of life.
Carthage, the great rival and enemy of Rome, affords one name, which for military renown, is unrivalled among the ancients. It was not with Hannibal as with Cæsar ; he had to contend with an enemy equal in military prowess and skill, having experienced commanders, and veteran and disciplined legions ; superior in every thing else, and aided by numerous and powerful allies. It was not Rome, against which Hannibal commenced the second Punic war, but all Italy ; yet so uncertain are the events of war, and so capricious is fortune, that when from his successes nearly all the allies of Rome had abandoned her cause, and united with her powerful enemy, she retrieved her sinking fortunes, and finally conquered the man whom the great Fabius himself had deemed invincible. No war perhaps, was ever conducted with profounder views of policy, with more skill, generalship, perseverance and success, considering the relative means of the parties, than that in Italy by the Carthagenian Hero. It is true, he failed in his object of conquering Rome, and not only so, but was defeated himself ; yet it was a failure which conferred upon Hannibal immortal renown, and procured him the character of the greatest military commander, which the world had ever witnessed. The causes which led to the failure of Hannibal in the conquest of Rome, deprived him of some portion of the glory he might have acquired, yet at the same time they tended to develope his capacity and resources as a commander, and gave him a
military reputation which he might not otherwise have attained. In this war, which lasted sixteen years, the contest on the part of the Carthagenians was sustained in a great measure by the personal exertions of Hannibal ; his forces were at first entirely inadequate to the object; he was without magazines and granaries, without allies, removed from his country, and apparently abandoned by it, as he received no succors nor scarcely any countenance from home. There never was so protracted and desperate a contest which depended so much upon one man. With the Romans the reverse of this was true. The nation, fighting for its existence, made a most desperate effort ; men, provisions and supplies of every description, were furnished; the levies in a single year amounted to more than eighty thousand ; yet with such extraordinary means and exertions, the events of the war were almost uniformly disastrous to them. The Roman soldiers were superior to the Carthaginians, and they had greatly the advantage in numbers, and possessed great facilities of supplying all the munitions of war, and of furnishing constant reinforcements. Neither were they destitute of experienced and able commanders ; it was such men as Fabius Maximus, Paulus Emillus, and Marcellus, with whom the Carthaginian hero had to contend. What an astonishing idea does it give us of the capacity, the resources of mind, and the skill of Hannibal, when we consider, that in the country of an enemy, and that enemy so powerful and warlike, possessing the best soldiers in the world, experienced commanders, and numerous allies, he could maintain a war for sixteen years, not only with advantage, and credit to himself, but with uniform and uninterrupted success. He is perhaps the only commander who can say he was never defeated but once. In one day, on the plains of Zama were lost the fruits, the toils, and the triumphs of sixteen years of successful war; yes the loss on that day was infinitely greater, it was a loss which to noble and patriotic minds includes all