Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

actually occurred; and any instances in which the treatment of the allied or the conquered appears to throw light upon the temper or the strength of the victors must be from time to time observed. Of these, there are one or two immediately at hand. The first incident noticeable in regard to the relations of the Commonwealth with other states occurred about the time when Canuleius was in the tribunate. A long dispute, in which blood had often flowed, between the inhabitants of Aricia and those of Ardea, two of the thirty allied Latin towns, was referred to the decision of the Roman people, who met together in their Tribes to hear the cause on either side. It concerned a piece of land in the vicinity of both the towns, and upon which the claims of both were urged with proofs and testimonies before the Tribes. Just as the votes were to be taken, an old Plebeian, named Publius Scaptius, rose in his place and craved a hearing, which he obtained through the interposition of the Tribunes against the refusal of the Consuls. He was four-and-eighty years of age, he said, too old to serve his country in any other way than with his tongue. With his memory, he might have added; for he proceeded, before the gaping people, to relate an early campaign against Corioli, to which the very land now in question then belonged, and of which the conquest, of course, involved the possession of all its territory. It is said that the efforts of the principal citizens were ineffectual to dissuade the Tribes from voting that the land was in the right neither of Aricia nor of Ardea, but in that of Rome." Ardea threw off the Roman alliance, and sent, at once, to protest against the unjust judgment of the assembly;" but the breach was healed without immediate redress, which was made, eventually, only by sending a colony to the territory, and enrolling the citizens of Ardea as a large proportion of the colonists.” Such was the injustice, and such the reparation, to be expected from any stronger nation. Another account is preserved, which illustrates with equal distinctness both the irascibility and the magnanimity of the Romans. Ten or twenty years. after the present epoch of our history, it chanced, that, amongst the captives in a battle with the Volscians, there were found some troops from Tusculum, who justified themselves, on being discovered, by declaring they had been sent by their government to aid the enemies of Rome. Tusculum had long been the most faithful and the most serviceable of all the Latin allies; but in the estimation of the Romans, a single fault was always sufficient to obliterate the memories by which they did not like to be bound to gratitude. Without taking the pains to ascertain the truth or the falsehood of a confession extorted from a few terrified prisoners, an army was sent out instantly to punish the city, which it thus hastily pleased the Senate to consider faithless. The famous Camillus, of whom we shall presently have to read more carefully, was put at the head of the expedition.

5 Liv., III. 71, 72. 7 Ibid., IV. 11. 6 Ibid., IV. 7.

As he marched beyond the plain and up the hill, the laborers were seen in the fields; the gates of the city stood open, and the very houses within were all unbarred. Instead of defending themselves by battery or spear, the Tusculans had resolved to keep at their usual occupations, and let the unworthy fury of their foes die out for want of resistance. Camillus, the hero whom no arms would have repelled, if the half reported of him be true, was overcome by the patience” of the people he was sent to vanquish and bring to cruel punishment; and when the Tusculans, perhaps at his suggestion, despatched an embassy to Rome, the Senate granted the peace so well deserved, and soon after admitted the whole people to the citizenship of Rome.” The story of the campaign and of its conclusion embraces at once the dark and the bright points in the foreign history, if so it may be called, of Roman liberty. Several opportunities of observing the effect of new conquests upon the necessities or the passions of the different classes in Rome amongst themselves have some time ago occurred. When Veii yielded to the forces raised at great hazard and with greater difficulty by the Romans, a large number of the victors, struggling with poverty and humiliation at home, demanded the privilege of removing, as many of them as pleased, to the captured city, in which they also claimed their share of lands and dwellings." It was only a new form of carrying an Agrarian law; and the Patricians, into whose hands Veii fell, with all its riches, according to their ancient system of appropriating conquests to themselves, now contrived to give a new form to their opposition, by representing the project of the removal as that of desertion from Rome. Some of the Tribunes put their veto upon the measure, as if convinced of its nefarious design; but others were more consistent to the office they held, and maintained the demand of their needier brethren for two good years, at the end of which time the opposing Tribunes, failing in a second, though they had obtained a first, reëlection, were brought to trial, and heavily fined." Yet if the narrative, thus far, be one to illustrate the bitterness of the dissensions which still existed in the Commonwealth, its conclusion is a striking example of the unity that, weak as it often was, did sometimes rise superior to any tendencies to separation. The Tribes, though they condemned the Tribunes, rejected the bill which the Tribunes had opposed; whereupon the Senate, as of its own accord, decreed that seven jugers—in our measure about four acres — of the territory of Veii should be assigned, not only to each father of a family, but to every free adult or infant of the Commonwealth.” A much more perfect unity than that which thus 10 Liv., W. 24–26, 29. 12 This was in A. C. 392. Liv., 11 “Quod, gratificantes patribus, V. 30. Diod. Sic. (where the occasionally showed itself amongst the Romans would have been endangered by the wars and conquests of the period we have now entered. The liberty that gave birth to confidence between one class and another led them, as it would lead on any nation, to victories in arms; but the way of warfare is for ever the same, most fatal at last to those who have advanced the farthest amongst its thorns and crags and sanguined streams. The conquests and the triumphs of the Commonwealth reacted upon the freedom from which they were derived, in modes we shall observe as we read on. But from the first moment of their extension, though we have scarcely yet reached this point ourselves, it will be seen that there were many changes to destroy the union of the Roman people.” The earliest of these was the impoverishment of the poor; almost simultaneous was the elevation of the richer men of the lower estate: but more important still was the introduction of new inferior classes in the persons of the conquered, who, whether enrolled in the Tribes, as at first, or held in bondage, as at first and at last likewise, were equally a mass to whom liberty, in the one case, was denied, and in the other, only nominally conceded. Even though the newly admitted citizens became, in time, an integral portion of the nation, yet the numbers of the freshly subdued were continually replenished, and in one or two centuries later, the distance between

8 “Victus patientia.” Liv., WI. been argued, on the other hand, 26. See Plut., Cam., 38. that they were full and entire. This

9 Liv., WI. 26. The rights were they became afterwards. probably incomplete, though it has

rogationi tribunitiae intercessissent.” quantity assigned is different), XIV. Liv., W. 29. 102.

13 "There is no sure foundation set on blood, No certain life achieved by others' death.” King John.

« НазадПродовжити »