Зображення сторінки

have felt, therefore, was in the fact that their reform was found to be well contrived. Other incentives were not wanting to urge the venture they had begun. Earnest men of the lower and temperate men of the higher estate would first look on, then speak approvingly, and at last join zealously in bringing the cause on which they thought the interests of the Commonwealth at stake to a favorable issue. If there were any thing to uphold the liberty of Rome, and conduct it safe through heathenism, it would be the union which purposes like those of Licinius Stolo inspired amongst the best of his countrymen. Where men were bound to duties of public life and military service almost alone, the greatest benefits to be expected from the laws were such, exactly, as were now proposed in Rome. The warrior was to be nerved by the gift of an unencumbered home; the citizen was to have, not only the home, but, besides, the hope of the highest honors of his country. And though either wavered in accepting all the promises offered them, there were some at once, and many in time, to accept and actively to promote the labor of the Tribunes. The cords, however, by which alone the bills could be raised to the higher place of laws, were much too knotted to bear a strain without both grating and delay. As soon as the proposals of Licinius and Sextius were laid before the Tribes, every one of their eight colleagues vetoed the reading of the bills. Nothing could be done by two Tribunes, if the rest WOL. I. 65

were against them, except to be resolute and watch the opportunity for retaliation. At the election of the Consular Tribunes, about six months after the beginning of the tribunitian year, Licinius and his friend interposed their vetoes, and prevented a vote from being thrown. No magistrates could remain in office after their terms were expired, whether there were any successors or none to come after them; and the Commonwealth, accordingly, remained without either Consular Tribunes or Consuls at its head, although the vacant places were nominally filled by one Interrex after another, appointed by the Senate to keep up the name of government, even if he could do no more, and to hold the elections the moment that the Tribunes withdrew their vetoes or left their offices. At the close of the year, Licinius and Sextius were both reëlected, but with colleagues on the side of their antagonists. Some time afterwards, though whether in that year or another is unknown, it became necessary to allow the other elections to proceed. The people of Tusculum, formerly the allies, and latterly, after the campaign of Camillus, the adopted citizens of Rome, were in such peril from the attacks of the Latins of Velitrae, that no true Roman could hesitate to send them the assistance they desired.” As an army could not go forth without its leaders, the election of Consuls or Consular Tribunes was indispensable; and Licinius, with his colleague, withdrew from the opposition they had hitherto unflinchingly maintained. Six Consular Tribunes, three of them being moderate Patricians, were chosen, without there having been, so far as we can determine, any Plebeian to offer himself as a candidate. The Plebeians, indeed, owed it to their Tribunes to abstain from seeking an office of which the bills in abeyance required the abolishment. At all events, they showed increasing inclination to sustain Licinius and Sextius, not only by reëlecting them, perhaps, for several years, but by choosing at length three other Tribunes with them in favor of the bills. The five in opposition now limited their interposition against the reading of the bills to the time when the army should return; and the chances of the bills were further brightened by the election of Fabius Ambustus, the father-in-law of Licinius, and the zealous supporter of his reform,” to the consular tribunate for the seventh year following the beginning of the revolution." That the achievements of Licinius Stolo deserve this name, already applied to them, will now be more clearly manifest than has been possible during the years of which the account is so utterly meagre as scarcely to raise a thought concerning the agitation that must have spread and continued throughout/ Rome. He and his colleague, it appears, had learned 15 “Fabius quoque, . . . . . qua- have given must be taken as purely rum legum auctor fuerat, earum conjectural in relation to the chronosuasorem se haud dubium ferebat.” logical details, which it is both use

14 “Verecundia maxime non patres modo, sed etiam plebem movit.” Liv., WI. 36.

Liv., WI. 36. less and impossible to determine 16 A. C. 369. The narrative I precisely.

a great deal during the long contention in which they had been involved. It was constantly repeated in their hearing, that there was not a Plebeian in the whole estate who was fit to take the part in the auspices and the religious ceremonies which was incumbent upon the Consuls; and though it once seemed as if Canuleius had decided the question for ever, Licinius saw he must not only cut the noose, but burn the rope, that it might never be tied again. No office, ritual or civil, was more really honorable than that of the Duumvirs, in number two, as their name denotes, whose duty and whose privilege it was to consult the Sibylline books, for the instruction of the people in every season of doubt or peril. They were, moreover, the presiding officers at the festivals of Apollo, to whose inspirations the holy books they had in care were ascribed; and, as was always the case with such exalted functionaries, they were free from all the obligations of common citizens, and held their offices for life. This brief description will explain the comprehensiveness of the claim which Licinius made in behalf of the Plebeians by setting forth an additional bill proposing the election of Decemvirs, five from the Plebeians and five from the Patricians, to take the place of the Patrician Duumvirs." The idea of a Plebeian in the consulship was simpler from that day forward. 17 “Ut pro duumviris sacris fa- cure an honest interpretation of the ciendis decemviri creentur, ita ut Sibylline books, which were, very pars ex plebe, pars ex patribus fiat.” likely, often turned against the Ple

Liv., II. 37. Arnold thinks that beians. Hist. Rome, Vol. II. p. 44. Licinius had it also in view to se- The Sibylline books were, as has

The bill concerning the Decemvirs could only be joined, for the present, with the other three, to bide its time. Notwithstanding the countenance of Fabius Ambustus, and others, perhaps, besides him, in the consular tribunate, it was impossible for Licinius, even with four colleagues in his favor instead of one, to carry his measures, while the other five Tribunes continued their interposition against the bills. He and Sextius were once more reëlected; and, on the return of the army from its protracted campaign,” the decisive struggle for the bills appears to have been begun. Yet, to say that it was then begun must not prevent some thought, at least, upon the long and agitated years through which the two brave Tribunes had, with their adherents, persevered. Nor is it to be forgotten, that no more earnest reflections could have filled the minds, no more exciting words have crossed the lips, of men on either side, than were excited by the efforts of Licinius and his steadfast colleague, now, if tradition be trusted, eight years continued.

The strife, however, was not yet ended. The Tribes were assembled; the ten Tribunes were all of one accord; and the bills that had hung and wavered in the air seemed sure of firm support and rest at last. The first votes were taken, and all was going well, when four-and-twenty lictors appeared, ushering a crowd of Senators and younger Patricians,

been mentioned, the acquisition of according to the inferences from the last Tarquin. Liv., WI. 38, in spite of the men18 Which may be placed here, tion afterwards occurring in Cap. 42.

« НазадПродовжити »