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it, like their predecessors, with all the weight of their authority. As soon as they returned to the condition of private citizens, they were both accused before the Tribes by Cneius Genucius, a Tribune. Belonging, apparently, to the extreme party of their order, and with the fate of Coriolanus before their eyes, Manlius and Furius gave way to great alarm; assuming the mean attire in which the accused were often wont to implore the votes of their judges in their behalf, and taking every precaution that could secure them against condemnation, to the extent even of soliciting the younger men of their own order to assist them in face of the Plebeians. The Patricians, says the historian, were fired by these entreaties;” and if the Patricians be understood to mean the younger men, as above, or the partisans generally of the ex-Consuls, the statement is perfectly natural. On the morning of the trial, Genucius was found dead in his bed; and the friends of those he had accused rejoiced aloud that there were foul means as well as fair, to curb the insolence, as they styled it, of the Tribunes.” The murder of one man was not the only instance of the same unblushing principle being put into execution;” but the history of these years grows darker, and closes in the midst of horrors.
39 Liv., II. 54. Zonaras, one of the Byzantine
33 “Palamgue ferretur malo do- historians, lived as late as the 12th mandam tribunitiam potestatem.” century of our era. He supplies, Liv., II. 54. Cf. Dion. Hal., IX. now and then, the gaps in Dion 38:-Aaquévićv ri koto eas ovykö- Cassius, whose history he followed pnua £80éew elva, K. r. A. in relation to Rome.
34 Dion Cass., Frag. XXII.
Script. Wet. Collect. A. Maio, Tom.
It had already cost the Plebeians or their champions many a struggle to keep the power of their Tribunes in the place it was intended to occupy among the institutions of the Commonwealth; but the murder of Genucius proved an incentive to energy rather than a motive to despair. The very same year,” an enlistment, in itself an occurrence of every day, was held; in the course of which a Plebeian named Volero Publilius, formerly a Centurion, was summoned as a common soldier. He refused to obey the orders of the Consuls, and appealed to the Tribunes for assistance. None answering his call, he beat back, with the aid of some who stood near, the lictor sent to seize and scourge him, and shouted loudly, that he appealed to the Plebeians themselves. “Help, fellow-citizens! Help, fellow-soldiers! Wait no longer for your Tribunes, who need your support more than you need theirs!” The cry was heard; and lictors and Consuls were soon flying from the Forum.” Escaping punishment himself, perhaps by boldness, perhaps by concealment, Publilius was shortly after elected Tribune, and entered upon his office with the same resolution to maintain the rights of his order that he had already shown in his own behalf.
There were proofs to stare such a man in the eyes, besides his own experience just related, that the Tribunes were too often Tribunes of the Patricians rather than of the Plebeians. It could scarcely have been otherwise. Apart from the fact that the tribuneship was inferior, in every respect, to the higher magistracies, and that the individuals appointed to it were very likely to be too old or too down-hearted to use even the powers that it had, it was an office in the gift of the Centuries and the Curies,” the latter positively, and the former virtually, a Patrician assembly. Volero Publilius, bold enough to do what others had undoubtedly been wise enough to see should be done, prepared a bill providing for the election of the Tribunes by the Tribes,” and laid it, apparently, before the Centuries; before that, rather than the assembly of the Tribes, which had not as yet assumed even the initiative in acts of legislation.” Be this, however, as it may, the advantage of the proposed reform was instantly made manifest; for, of the four colleagues whom Publilius had, two were so much under Patrician influence as to oppose him with all the earnestness his adversaries could have desired." He, however, undaunted by the resistance offered him, succeeded in bringing his project forward; but bravery and resolution like his could not be universal; and the year wore away in disturbances, renewed as often as the bill was mentioned by its author or his supporters. The devoted perseverance of Publilius himself is beyond a doubt. It is indirectly testified by the historian, who expresses his surprise that the Tribune should have made no effort to revenge himself upon the Consuls for their conduct towards him at the time of the enlistment;" and is proved directly by his reëlection to the tribunate for the succeeding year. With Publilius was chosen another Tribune, Caius Laetorius, of still greater boldness. He, with his colleague's assent, came forward to amend the bill, as yet a mere proposal, by making its single clause transfer the election of the AEdiles,” as well as that of the Tribunes, to the Tribes, and, furthermore, by adding a new provision to endow the same assembly with the right of free discussion upon subjects of every kind.” It requires a moment's reflection to weigh the full ef. fect of the addition which the bill thus owed to Laetorius, or to the support he gave Publilius. Hitherto, the Tribes had met to debate upon their taxes, and in some rare instances, as we have observed, to decide upon the sentence of political offenders; but, with few exceptions, it was forbidden them to hear or to deliberate upon matters in which they might be supposed to take the deepest interest. In consequence, the Plebeians depended entirely upon their subordinate places in the Centuries, or oftener upon the activity and intelligence of their Tribunes, for any information, or even for any opportunity of conversation, concerning the public events that were passing by them, as the Tiber flowed, one wave after another, but all alike unmeasured and unhindered. The new was no sooner added to the old clause of the bill, than it appears to have been laid directly before the assembly it was designed to benefit, that, namely, of the Tribes.” No voice had ever broken the silence, as it were, in which the Plebeians were wont to be convened, except in times of tax-gatherings or stormy trials, until Publilius and Laetorius claimed perfect freedom of deliberation, and the right, imperfect though that then were, of legislation.” It is plain that the opposition which had hindered the passage of the original bill through the Centuries would increase to violence against the additional substance it had received, and the unwonted manner in which it was now proposed. The Consuls of the year," Appius Claudius, the son of the Sabine Patrician, and Titus Quinctius, were elected, the former by the Curies, to oppose,” and the latter by the Centuries, perhaps to favor, the bill which Laetorius and Publilius were urging forward. Laetorius, especially, was sworn to succeed. He came into the Forum, on the day appointed for the meeting of the Tribes, and ordered the Patricians whom * See the narrative in Livy (II. 47 As Laetorius contended:– “A 56) of the assembly in the Forum. patribus non consulem, sed carni* Depending upon Dion. Hal., ficem, ad vexandam et lacerandam
35 A. C. 473, according to the 36 Liv., II. 55. chronology we have hitherto followed.
37 By reason of their right of confirmation, which Niebuhr supposes to have been surrendered before the election of Publilius. Hist. Rome, Vol. II. pp. 91, 100.
* “Ut plebeii magistratus tributis comitiis fierent.” Liv., II. 56. It will directly be observed, that this at first concerned only the Tribunes.
39 Here, however, it cannot be too openly confessed that our narrative is resting upon conjectures. Livy (loc. cit.) says, “Tulit ad populum.” Dionysius (IX. 41) very evidently believes the bill to have been brought before the Tribes.
40 This is the more probable account of Dionysius. Livy says the contrary.
41 “Post publicam causam pri- 43 Dion. Hal., IX. 43. vato dolore habito.” Liv., II. 56. * See note 39; and compare Dion. Hal., IX. 41, 43.