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ness or disinterestedness, is an insuperable bar to any discoveries concerning their supporters. The mere doubt, however, implies some explanation of the postponement of the often-mentioned law. Tiberius AFmilius was in a position, evidently, to be more successful than any who had yet brought the law forward; but even he was content with the proposal of his colleague, Quintus Fabius, the survivor of the great Fabian family, whose opinions he did not share, to send a colony to the lately conquered town of Antium." Instead, therefore, of settling the entire body of the needy Plebeians as independent husbandmen, a small number only of them were enlisted as a garrison, to be rewarded by portions in the land or city they could not defend. Antium was lost, a few years af. terwards, by revolt or conquest;” and the Plebeians were as far from being relieved or satisfied as ever. If they learned to trust in themselves or their better Tribunes, instead of depending upon Consuls, like Fabius, unwilling, or, like AEmilius, unable, to assist them, it was well. It was not the experience of a single year, but the course of their whole lives, which taught the Plebeians to rely so much upon themselves, as to prepare, indeed, their triumph, but also to make it one in which their inferiors would have no share. One scene, witnessed at some period near the present, and happily shrouded from our sight in all its details, was full of horror. Nine men, whether magistrates or citizens is unknown, but certainly both Patricians and Plebeians, were burned alive for having, apparently,” taken too active a part in the support of what may be called the Plebeian faction; that faction, of course, being then for a season overcome. Another year, we find mention of the Plebeians as having looked on, — it must have been involuntarily,”— while the Consuls were elected by other votes than theirs. Without, meanwhile, the enemies of Rome, unwearied and devoted to achieve her overthrow, were threatening her recent conquests and her ancient possessions. Within, besides the frays of the Forum and the Senate, diseases raged, so fatal, at one time, that both the Consuls were struck dead, and a multitude of the most eminent citizens perished." The sufferings of the lower classes, though untold by any historian, were more terrible; and again the old af. flictions of cruelty and bondage pressed heavily upon the sick, the starving, and the bereaved. Yet there is never an evil without its infusion or its preparation of good; and they who survived the pestilence had learned the lesson, that the greatest in their Commonwealth were as mortal, and as subject to the laws of nature, if not of the Heaven then unseen, as the meanest whom they had despised and who were often content to be despised. Ten years, exactly, from that in which Publilius first put forward the claim of the Plebeians to elect their own champions,” Terentilius Arsa, then Tribune, proposed a bill providing for the settlement and publication of some suitable laws, on which the Patrician magistracy of the consulship should be made thereafter to depend. Notwithstanding all their power within and their still greater authority without the walls, the Consuls were bound by no other restraints than were involved in the right of appeal and the office of the Tribunes. In a peaceful state, these might have proved sufficient to prevent any very arbitrary acts against the lower classes; but in the Commonwealth, whose name was but a mockery, so long as its citizens were contending with one another, order with order and man with man, the Tribunes, even when faithful, were often powerless, we may believe, and the cry of the debtor or the soldier for judgment by his own comrades was continually stified or else unheeded. It became, therefore, of paramount importance to restrict the exercise of the highest authority over all the classes of the people; and Terentilius, the Tribune, may have thought the justice he desired would be secured by the single stipulation of his bill. It was further provided, however, that the bill should be carried into effect by ten commissioners, half Patricians and half Plebeians, to revise, and especially to write, the laws existing or proposed.”
57 Dion. Hal., IX. 59. Liv., 58 Liv., III. 23; corrected by III. 1. Niebuhr, Vol. II. pp. 119, 120.
59 The reader will most readily to Livy's explanation (II. 64) is refer to a note in Arnold's History, altogether unsatisfactory. Chap. XIII, note 39. 61 Liv., III. 6, 7.
62 Therefore in A. C. 462. says (X. 3) there were to be ten
* “Ut quinque viri,” says Livy, commissioners; and Niebuhr (note “creentur legibus de imperio consu- 654 to Vol. II.) settles the question. lari scribendis.” III. 9. Dionysius
Terentilius watched his opportunity and laid his project before the Tribes during the absence of both the Consuls; but their part was at once assumed by Quintus Fabius, the same previously mentioned, then Prefect of the city. Through his menaces, the other Tribunes were induced to stop all further proceedings of their colleague, until the Consuls could return; and when the first obstacle was removed, fresh ones were set in the way of Terentilius, who, with increasing spirit, overcame them all, and carried his bill triumphantly through the Tribes. But when brought up into the Senate for adoption, it stuck fast; nor could any efforts of the Tribes or the Tribunes dislodge it from its position as a useless bill, with which nothing could be done, until the Senate should pass it to the Curies, and the Curies give it back, as a law, to the people. It lay idle, therefore, through that year and the next, when, though presented anew by all the five Tribunes, it was received with ominous warnings from the Sibylline books,” and again consigned to inactivity. Had the Patricians contented themselves with working upon the superstitious fears of the Plebeians, the designs of Terentilius might have been longer confounded; but the violent means they presently adopted only made the people more anxious and the Tribunes more resolute to obtain the law, whose necessity was daily proved.
64. These, sold in a strange way, cians, chosen for life, under the title according to the familiar tradition, of the Duumviri Sacrorum, to keep, to the last Tarquin, were in the and, by the order of the Senate, to charge, at this time, of two Patri- consult, the books in case of need.
WOL. I. 54
It is more than history can do to describe the excesses of the faction for the time uppermost. Only some scattered instances are mentioned of wrongs so foul” as to imply the commission of other crimes less aggravated, but more numerous, against individuals, families, and classes of the weaker estate; and the imagination of the reader can alone set before him the scenes natural to a state of society, where contest was so frequent, and restraint upon the powerful so weak, as in that of Rome. One Patrician, Caeso Quinctius, younger than many, is described as the most notorious of all for his wild and reckless ways. Stout in frame, and winning in address,” he was at the head of a band as violent as himself, and liking nothing better than to be set against the multitude of the Forum. An affray was raised, one day, to hinder the proceedings of the Tribes, assembled, it is said, to take some measures in favor of the Terentilian bill. Caeso Quinctius was, as usual, foremost; but when he and his companions were actually driving the Tribunes like sheep before them, one, named Virginius, turned like a man upon his pursuers, bidding Caeso prepare himself to answer for his life, before the Tribes, on some future day. The trial came, and before judges who believed their freedom, as the historian writes, to be staked on Caeso's condemnation;" the prosecution being conducted under the Icilian law, recently described, for having mo
65 Liv., III. 13, 33. Dion. Hal., 66 Dion. Hal., X.5. Liv., III. 11. X.25. Dion Cass., Fragm. Maii, 67 Liv., III. 12. XXII.