Зображення сторінки

prehended what had passed. Perfectly willing, they declared, to have the tax laid upon emancipated captives or slaves, as the law proposed, they were altogether opposed to the manner and the motive of its imposition, and brought a bill themselves before the Tribes, forbidding a magistrate or any person, under pain of death, to hold an assembly of the people, except in the places appointed for their meetings from times of old.” The season was distinctly passed when the Patricians could have their way. The increasing vigor of the Plebeians will be most evident in the career of such a one amongst them as Caius Marcius Rutilus, the victorious colleague of Cneius Manlius, who now stands forth to prove how well the law of Licinius Stolo was doing its work in Rome. In the next year after his consulship, Rutilus, first of his order, was named to the dictatorship, which it had been proposed to fill in consequence of the advance of a numerous enemy from Etruria.” But when the nomination of a Plebeian was communicated to the Senate, it was determined by that body to hinder the Dictator from taking the field; nor would he, indeed, have been able to move in defence of the city, without the energetic support of the people, who voted him the supplies and preparations he required. On his return victorious, the Senate denied him the right to triumph; but again the people" took his part, and enabled him to celebrate his successes as they deserved. Even though the opposition of the Senate had thus been twice overcome, the Patricians were able to prevent the Dictator or the Plebeian Consul from holding the elections for the succeeding year; and it was then, after an interregnum of some duration, that both the Consuls were again chosen, as has been stated, from the Patricians. After three years of depression, the popular cause was resuscitated by the election of Marcius Rutilus to the consulship, from which the Patricians had been able to exclude the other candidates of the Plebeians. Rutilus and his colleague exerted themselves at once in relief of the debts which weighed upon the lower estate, in the manner that has been described; and the appointment of the public bankers or commissioners, as we have called them, succeeded. In consequence of their intervention, which proved of great temporary service, the affairs of very many individuals were so much changed as to require a new Census;” and at the censorial election, in the early part of the following year, Rutilus presented himself as a candidate for the office, expressly created, as will be remembered, that its powers might be preserved intact by any Plebeian. The issue of such an election would decide the question of the praetorship as well as of the censorship, which had both been framed out of the consulship, the latter when that office had been claimed, and the former when it had been won, by the Plebeians. Accordingly, the appearance of Rutilus in the assembly was the signal for a general uproar. The Consuls, both Patricians, and backed by the great majority of their order, refused to admit a Plebeian as a competitor at the election; but, on the other hand, the man who had been disciplined by a public life of exertion against the prohibitions of the superior estate would not now succumb, especially as he was sustained by the Tribunes and nearly the whole body of the Plebeians. Rutilus was elected Censor,” and afterwards raised to other honors, by the support of his order, which mounted with him, or he would not himself have climbed so high. It would be worth while to make out a list of names, to prove, were it not instinctively evident, how the hopes and gains of such a life as we have sketched belong to a multitude, though to many in less degree, rather than to a single individual. Yet both the gain and the ascent were far from being unimpeded. Opening the old history at any page within or bordering upon the present period, the reader finds himself in the midst of disorderly elections and hostile intrigues, from which the only escape, with rare exceptions heretofore brought forward, is with the army which goes forth to battles and scenes of even greater violence. A broken narrative occurs about the present time, in illustration of the prevailing disturbances and afflictions. It relates that a threatened mutiny amongst some legions quartered in Campania was prevented by the watchful activity of Marcius Rutilus, then in his fourth consulship;” but that one cohort, insensible to his persuasions, contrived to escape his vigilance and march towards Rome. Some of these men were in pursuit of blood or rapine; but the larger number was perhaps composed, as has been reported, of paupers and bondmen who were weary of the privation they had endured or maddened by the prospect of the sufferings before them. At first encamping upon the Alban hill, and seizing a certain Quinctius, of Patrician birth and some early distinction, whom they forced to become their leader, the mutineers pressed on, until arrived within eight miles of the city. There, meanwhile, the tidings of the strange invasion had produced the greatest excitement amongst those whose circumstances or passions inclined them to side with the insurgent soldiers; and, as far as the relation, just confessed to be a broken one, can be repaired, it appears that many in Rome took arms and chose a leader for themselves.” At all events, the most strenuous measures were adopted to crush the insurrection; one of the most famous citizens, Valerius Corvus, was appointed Dictator, and despatched with an army against the mutineers, who, leagued through misery, as well as blindness of heart, were likely to be resolved upon desperate combat and terrible victory. But when the soldiers on either side beheld one another's faces, and heard the voices of friends amongst those they had been prepared to slaughter as enemies, there rose a universal outcry that they could not turn their arms against their countrymen. The stout-hearted men under the Dictator's command were willing that their mistaken comrades should be forgiven; and most of the insurgents, who had been driven to mutiny by affliction rather than by ferocity, were earnest to obtain relief, and even, perhaps, to sue for forgiveness, without writing their petition or their demand in blood. The feeling of the men was shared by the leaders, and whether it were Valerius Corvus, or Quinctius, or Rutilus, who pleaded the cause of humanity, it was to the honor of the whole Commonwealth that it prevailed. The Senate was persuaded to grant an amnesty and a universal abolition of debts, besides other concessions, which were all accepted with joy by those who had preferred “groans and tears” to blows upon that unstained battle-field.” A Tribune of the good old name of Genucius was inspired to attempt the completion of the reconciliation between the different classes of his fellow-citizens. At his motion, a bill was passed to prohibit

17 “Tribuni plebis, ..... ne quis 18 A. C. 355. Liv., VII. 17. postea populum sevocaret, capite sanxerunt.” Liv., VII. 16.

WOL. II. 2

19 Whether in the Centuries or Livy (VII. 17) says simply, “Popthe Tribes does not appear, either ulus jussit,” and “Populi jussu.” in this or the preceding instance. 20 Liv., VII. 22.

21 Liv., VII. 22.

22 Liv., VII. 28, 38. This was 23 Liv., VII. 42. See Arnold's either A. C. 341 or (for dates are History, Vol. II. pp. 120, 121. still uncertain) 339.

24 '08wppo, kal 84xpva. Appian., cribed to Valerius Corvus. Appian., Reb. Samnit., Exc. 1. 2. ut supra. De Vir. Illust., Cap.

25 The glory of having terminated XXIX. the insurrection is commonly as

« НазадПродовжити »