Over all his public life he is to be praised for his
sincerity, his tenacity of purpose, his faithfulness to duty
even unto death - a point which is frequently forgotten - his
vigorous pursuit of an approved policy, his conscientious
application of the highest moral principles, and his complete
unselfishness. On the other scale are the slowness of his
mind which made his decisions hard to come by, the stubborness
that made him loth to admit his errors, the ignorance of the
world immediately around him and of the men in it that
vitiated all his expectations and underlying everything the
fatal conservatism:of his thought.
In considering the more private elements of his
nature we must guard against being too much influenced by the
details of Cicero's letters, which, however welcome they may
be, present a picture which cannot avoid being one-sided. We see him there haughty and overbearing, conceited and thoughtless,
frigid and unsociable. he was certainly all of these
at one time or another towards Cicero; but there was much in
the latter, especially his instability and flightiness, which
Brutus despised and much, like his quick-wittedness and the
modernity of his thought, which Brutus could not appreciate.
The essential differences in their natures raised a barrier
between them and like a true noble Brutus merely stood on his
dignity when he failed to understand the sharp- minded parvenu,
more intelligent than himself. When Brutus was most distant
and aloof towards him, Cicero had mainly his own shameless
flattery to thank. They were seldom on easy terms with each
other and one thinks with no little pleasure of their meeting
at Velia on August 17th 44 B.C., when for a short hour or two they achieved a true intimacy. With his other friends, of
whom in his later life he had not a few, he was on better terms.
his women -folks - mother, sisters, and wife - had obviously
much affection for him, which they could hardly have felt for
one so cold and dislikeable as he is so often, shown by Cicero.
Indeed his marriage with Porcia, who was so like himself in
many ways, is one of the more beautiful things in his life.
Towards his other intimates he was kindly and considerate, ever
ready to help even the humblest of them. although not
jovial he was..not morose and was fond of those dinner parties
where intelligent conversation was the most important item.
It seems proper to end this study of him with the same thoughts
which were his just before his death, Though far from being
a social lion like Caesar, he attracted to himself a circle of
friends whose loyalty was proof against all his vicissitudes.
Their fidelity and his acknowledgement of it at his death form
not only "the most attractive story that is told of Brutus" but also the highest compliment to his personal qualities.