Page images

means, and will be at no expense on any occasion, must naturally be thrice as rich as the former. A good man will not lavish all he has in idle pleasures and prodigality; he will not therefore be very poor. Business and acquisition ought to employ no more of our time, than may be spared from the improvement of our mind and of our body.

P. 744. A colony cannot be formed of men perfectly equal in point of fortune; it will be therefore necessary to divide the citizens into classes according to their circumstances, that they may pay impositions to the publick service in proportion to them. The wealthier members are also, cæteris paribus, to be preferred before others to offices and dignities of expense ;

will bring every one's fortune gradually to a level.


Four such classes to be instituted: the first worth the value of his land, the fourth, four times as much. Above or below this proportion no one is to go, on pain of forfeiture and disgrace: therefore, the substance of every man is to be publickly enrolled, under the inspection of a magistracy.

P. 745. The division of the country. Every man's lot is to consist of two half-shares, the one near the city, the other near the frontier: every one also is to have two houses, likewise within the city, the one near the midst of it, the other near the walls. The country is to be divided into twelve tribes, and the city into as

εθελοντα αναλίσκεσθαι των καλων, και εις καλα εθελοντων δαπανᾶσθαι διπλασιως ελαττονα. Ουκ εισιν οι παμπλουσιοι αγαθοι, ει δε μη αγαθοι, ουδε ευδαιμονες.

1 Οποσα μη χρηματιζόμενον αναγκασείεν αμελειν, ὧν ενεκα πεφυκε τα χρηματα· ταυτα δ' εστι ψυχη και σωμα.

many regions; and each of them to be dedicated to its several divinity.

P. 746. An apology for this scheme, which to some will seem impracticable.

P. 747. The great difference of climates and of situations, and the sensible effects which they produce not on the bodies alone, but on the souls of men, are stated.

[blocks in formation]

It is matter of just but unavailing regret, that Mr. Gray proceeded no further in his analysis and annotations on the books of Plato De Legibus. [MATHIAS.]


Ed. Serrani, H. Steph. 1578. Vol. 3. p. 309, &c.

DIOGENES LAERTIUS, who lived probably about the time of Septimius Severus, in the catalogue he gives us of Plato's works, counts thirteen epistles, and enumerates their titles, by which they appear to be the same as those which we now have. Yet we are not thence to conclude them to be all genuine alike. Fictions of this kind are far more ancient than that author's time; and his judgment and accuracy were not sufficient to distinguish the true from the false, as plainly appears from those palpable forgeries, the letters of the seven sages, which yet easily passed upon him as genuine.


Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 309.

This letter is not from Plato, but from his favourite scholar, the famous Dion; nor is it possible that the philosopher himself could have any hand in it, he being with Dionysius at Syracuse (as he tells us himself) when Dion was forced away, and continuing there some time after. It is sent by Baccheus, who

had conducted Dion on his way, together with a sum of money which Dionysius had ordered to be given to him for his expenses, which he returns to the tyrant with much contempt. The spirit of it and the sentiments are not amiss; and yet it is not very consistent with the indignation which Dion must have felt, and with the suddenness of the occasion, to end his letter with three scraps of poetry, though never so well applied. To say the truth, I much doubt of this epistle, and the more so, as it contradicts a fact in Plutarch, who assures us, that at the same time when Dion was hurried away, his friends were permitted to load two ships with his wealth and furniture, and to transport them to him in Peloponnesus, besides which 1 his revenues were regularly remitted to him, till Plato went into Sicily for the last time, which was at least six years after.


Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 310.

This epistle appears to have been written soon after Plato's return 2 from his third voyage to Syracuse, and the interview which he had with Dion at the olympick games, which he himself mentions, Epist. 7. p. 350. and in this place also. Archedemus, who brought the letter from Dionysius, and returned with this answer,

1 Ου πολυν χρονον διαλιπων, &c. Plato, Ep. 7. p. 345.

2 The reasons for placing the voyages of Plato so early, and Dion's banishment so different from the chronology of Diodorus, will appear in the observations on Plato's seventh epistle.

was a friend and follower of Archytas, the Pythagorean of Tarentum (Epist. 7. p. 339.), but was himself probably a Syracusan; at least he had a house in that city where Plato was lodged, after he had been turned out of the citadel. (Ibid. p. 349.) He was sent on board a ship of war (with Dionysius's letters of invitation to Plato, wherein he pressed him to come the third time into Sicily), as a person well known and much esteemed by the philosopher, and he is mentioned as present in the gardens of the palace at an interview which Plato had with Dionysius, about three weeks before he returned home again. (Ep. 3. sub fin.)


Ρ. 311. Δοξαν εχων πολυ των εν φιλοσοφια διαφεpeiv.] It may be observed that Plato's reputation was at the height before he went to the court of the younger Dionysius, that is, before he was sixty-two years of age. Ρ. 312. Αλλα δε εσπουδακας.] In the intervals between Plato's two last voyages, Dionysius had been philosophizing with Archytas and others, and perhaps with Aristippus. See Ep. 7. 338.

Ib. Φραστεον δη σοι δι' αινιγμων.] Wel see here that Plato, as well as the Pythagoreans whom he imitated in many respects, made a mystery of his art: for none but adepts were to understand him. It was by conversation only that he cared to communicate himself on these subjects.2 In the seventh epistle he 1 See Theodoret, Serm. 1. ad. Græcos.

2 And in the end of this very epistle, p. 314. Oud' eσti ovyγραμμα Πλατωνος ουδεν, ουδ' εσται τα δε νυν λεγομενα Σωκρατους

« PreviousContinue »