Зображення сторінки

destroyed, as Plutarch says, by famine." The meeting can be easily conceived; and though the scene of ruin was dismal to behold throughout the city, the Capitol, at least, was unpolluted, the laws were unbroken, and Rome was again in the possession of her own Romans. Camillus and Manlius, however hostile in former days, now greeted one another as the preservers of their country; and all who pressed around to thank them could have no fears in presence of the hopes the two inspired. The priests hastened to produce the holy relics they had rescued from destruction, and in the midst of sacrifices and vows to the gods, the people were united, and old troubles, for that day, were forgotten. Yet with new troubles, arising from losses and sorrows that no day of triumph could repair, there was sure to be a speedy revival of the old. Lands were wasted; homes were ruined; friends were gone, slain or overwhelmed by their calamities. The feeble were hopeless of recovering strength; the brave were dispirited by the very exigency of the demands upon their courage; and it is recorded as an evidence of the universal depression, that, on the approach of some enemies in arms, the people fled from them as they had fled the Gauls.” It is equally significant of the change that had befallen their minds as well as their bodies and estates, that nearly the entire people united in the old proposal of removing to Veii. The love of country seemed extinct; but Camillus stood forth to prevent a greater ruin than that which had been wrought on walls and columns by the barbarians; and through his appeal, as an ancient author remarks, the city and the citizens were reconciled.” They who had already emigrated were recalled; the poor were assisted in the work of rebuilding; the rich were in earnest to do their part; and within a year, as the historian says, a new city was standing,” safe from the attacks of foes" and from the doubts of its own inhabitants. The . admission of four new Tribes within four years” from the inroad of the Gauls proves the restoration of general tranquillity. The foregoing narrative may be taken in test of the liberty in the early Commonwealth at its time of greatest trial. The spirit of those who, after defending the Capitol or delivering the wasted country, returned to build up their fallen homes and obey their uninjured laws, was the spirit of a free people, the weakness of whose liberty, however, must still be confessed to have been proved by the shocks soon succeeding to the spontaneous resolution which brought them back and gave them the hope of regeneration. It seems unfortunate that the test cannot be more thoroughly applied, by means of other memorials than those we have concerning the hearts as well as the outward men of Rome; because they lived so much for show, that there is often danger of misapprehending the substance of their lives. Now and then, indeed, something comes floating down the stream to prove its steadiness of course. A single tradition of the present period relates, that, when the Gauls, in the moment of triumph, demanded from the Romans, who sought to regain possession of their ruined city, a ransom for it so enormous as to make them think wistfully of the treasures their temples yet contained, the matrons brought in together their jewels or their hoards to satisfy the covetous barbarians. On the retreat of the invaders, the matrons were not only publicly thanked, but honored with the peculiar privilege, as it was then esteemed, of having a eulogy pronounced upon them at their death.” Tradition though it be, this of the offering and the requital, it is better than many pages concerning an assembly or a campaign, to measure that patriotism which softened the roughest trials and quickened the most exalted capacities amongst the Roman women as amongst the Roman men. On the other hand, the disasters through which the Commonwealth had been preserved by the free spirit of its citizens reacted upon the liberty which had faced and for a moment silenced the effects of such calamities. The fall of the fired dwelling or

11 Plut., Cam., 30. the Populifugia. See Niebuhr's * Commemorated, afterwards, as Hist., Wol. II. note 1258, and text.

13 “Sic et oppidum civibus et cives oppido reddidit.” De Wir. Ill., Cap. XXIV.

14 Liv., WI. 4.

15 Two agreeable incidents deserve to be mentioned in this connection. The people of Massilia, (Marseilles) who had sent offers, at least, of aid to the Romans, were

requited with citizenship and other
honors. Justin., XVIII. 5. And
in the same spirit the grant of citi-
zenship was made to the inhabitants
of Caere for having given refuge to
the fugitive priests and Vestal vir-
gins from Rome. Liv., W. 50.
16 A. C. 385. Liv., WL 5.

17 Liv., W. 50. Diod. Sic., XIV. 116. WOL. I. 63

« НазадПродовжити »