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In the foll:wing Year, M. Genucius and C. Curtius being
Consuls, the Commons of Rome demand that the Plebeians may be admitted into the Consulship, and that the Law prohibiting Patricians and Plebeians from intermarrying, may be repealed. In Support of this Demand, Canuleius, one of
the Tribunes of the People, thus deliver'd himself. T H AT an Insult upon us is this! If we are not so
W rich as the Patricians, are we not Citizens of Rome, as well as they? Inhabitants of the same Country? Members of the fame Community? The Nations bordering upon Rome, and even Strangers more remote, are admitted not only to Marriages with us, but to what is of much greater Importance, The Freedom of the City. Are we, because we are Commoners, to be worse treated than Strangers ? And when we demand that the People may be free to bestow their Offices and Dignities on whom they please, do we ask any thing unreasonable or new? Do we claim more than their original inherent Right? What occasion then for all this Uproar, as if the Universe was falling to Ruin? They were just going to lay violent Hands upon me in the Senate-house. What! must this Empire then be unavoidably overturned, must Rome of Necessity fink at once, if a Plebeain, worthy of the Office, Thould be raised to the Consulship? The Patricians, I am persuaded, if they could, would deprive you of the common Light. It certainly offends them that you breathe, that you speak, that you have the Shapes of Men. Nay, but to make a Commoner a Consul would be, say they, a most enormous Thing. Numa Pompilius, however, without being so much as a Roman Citizen, was made King of Rome. The elder Tarquin, by Birth not even an Italian, was nevertheless placed upon the Throne. Servius Tillius, the Son of a Captive Woman. (no body knows who his Father was) obtain'd the Kingdom as the Reward of his Wisdom and Virtue. In those Days no Man, in whom Virtue shone conspicuous, was rejected, or despised, on account of his Race and Descent. And did the State prosper the less for that? Were not those Strangers the very best of all our Kings? And supposing now that a Plebeian Nould have their Talents and Merit, must not he be suffered to go
vern us? Muft we rather chufe such Governors as the Decemvirs? Those exceellent Magiftrates, I think, were mostly Patricians. But we find, that upon the Abolition of the Regal Power, no Commoner was chosen to the Consulate. And what of that? Before Numa's Time there were no Pontifices in Rome. Before Servius Tullius's Days there was no Census, no Division of the People into Classes and Centuries.' Who ever heard of Consuls before the Expulsion of Tarquin the Proud ? Dictators, we all know, are of modern Invention; and so are the Offices of Tribunes, Ædiles, Queftors. Within these ten Years we have made Decemvirs, and we have unmade them. Is nothing to be done but what has been done before? That very Law forbidding Marriages of Patricians with Plebeians, is not that a new Thing? Was there any such Law before the Decemvirs enacted it? And a most Thameful one it is in a free State. Such Marriages, it seems, will taint the pure Blood of the Nobility! Why, if they think so, let them take care to match their Sisters and Daughters with Men of their own Sort. No Plebeian will do Violence to the Daughter of a Patrician. Those are Exploits for our prime Nobles. There is no need to fear that we shall force any body into a Contract of Marriage. But to make an express Law to prohibit Marriages of Patricians with Plebeians, what is this, but to shew the utmost Contempt of us, and to declare one Part of the Community to be impure and unclean? Why don't they lay their wise Heads together to hinder rich Folks from matching with poor? They talk to us of the Confusion there will be in Families, if this Statute should be repealed. I wonder they don't make a Law against a Commoner's living near a Nobleman, or going the same Road that he is going, or being present at the same Feast, or appearing in the same MarketPlace. They might as well pretend, that these things make Confusion in Families, as that Inter-marriages will do it, Does not every body know, that the Children will be ranked according to the Quality of the Father, let him be a Patri. cian or Plebeian? In short, it is manifeft enough, that we have nothing in View but to be treated as Men and Citizens ; nor can they who oppose our Demand have any Motive to do it, but the Love of Domineering. I fould fain know of you Consuls and Patricians, is the Sovereign Power in the People of Rome, or in You? I hope you will allow, that the People can at their Pleasure either make a Law, or repeal one. And will you then, as soon as any Law is proposed to them, pretend to list them immediately for the War, and Vol. I
hinder hinder them from giving their Suffrages by leading them into the Field ? Hear me, Consuls : Whether the News of the War you talk of be true, or whether it be only a false Ru-, mour, spread abroad for nothing but a Colour to send the People out of the City, I declare, as Tribune, that this People, who have already so often spilt their Blood in our Country's Cause, are again ready to arm for its Defence and its Glory, if they may be restored to their natural Rights, and you will no longer treat us like Strangers in our own Country. But if you account us unworthy of your Alliance by Inter-marriages, if you will not suffer the Entrance to the chief Offices in the State to be open to all Persons of Merit, indifferently, but will confine our choice Magistrates to the Senate alone; talk of Wars as much as ever you please; paint in your ordinary Discourses the League and Power of our Enemies ten times more dreadful than you do now; I declare that this People, whom you so much despise, and to whom you are nevertheless indebted for all your Victories, shall never more inlist themselves; not a Man of them shall take Arms, not a Man of them Thall expose his Life for imperious Lords, with whom he can neither share the Dignities of the State, nor in private Life have any Al. liance by Marriage.
. LESSON IX.
You have seen by the foregoing Speeches, the Progress of the
Struggles between the Patricians and the Plebeians, which · continued for many Years; the People always encroaching more and more upon the Privileges of the Patricians, till at length all the great Offices of the State became equally common to the one and the other. The following Speech, which was spoken above a hundred Years after the foregoing one, may serve as an Instance and a Proof of that great Simplicity of Manners, public Virtue, and noble Spirit, which raised this People to that Height of Power and Dominion, which they afterwards attain'd. 'The Occasion of it was this. The Íarentines having a Quarrel 'with the Ro· mans, invite Pyrrhus King of Epirus to their Alifance, who lands with' his Forces in Italy, and defeats the Roman Army under the Command of Lævinus. After this Battle,
Fabritius, with two other Roman Senators, is sent to Tarentum to treat with Pyrrhus about the Exchange of Prisoners. The King, being informed of the great Abilities, and great Poverty of Fabritius, hinted, in a private Conversation with him, the Unsuitableness of such Poverty to such distinguished Merit, and that if he would alit him to negotiate with the Romans an honourable Peace for the Tarentines, and go with bim 'to Epirus, he would bestow such Riches upon him, as fould put him, at least, upon an Equality with the most opulent Nobles of Rome. The Answer of Fabritius was to
ibis er Noblessing at leamhould beflorestha Tarentiate with one
S to my Poverty, you have indeed, Sir, been rightly inA form’d. My whole Estate consists in a House of but mean Appearance, and a little Spot of Ground, from which, by my own Labour, I draw my Support. But if, by any Means, you have been persuaded to think, that this Poverty makes me less considered in my Country, or in any Degree unhappy, you are extremely deceived. I have no Reason to complain of Fortune, the supplies me with all that Nature requires; and if I am without Superfluities, I am also free from the Defire of them. With these, I confess, I should be more able to succour the Necessitous, the only Advantage for which the Wealthy are to be envied; but as small as my Poffeffions are, I can still contribute something to the Support of the State, and the Afistance of my Friends. With regard to Honours, my Country places me, poor as I am, upon a Level with the richest: For Rome knows no Qualifications for great Employments but Virtue and Ability. She appoints me to officiate in the most auguft Ceremonies of Religion; she entrusts me with the Command of her Armies; the confides to my Care the most important Negotiations. My Poverty does not lessen the Weight and Influence of my Counsels in the Senate; the Roman People honour me for that very Poverty which you consider as a Disgrace; they know the many Opportunities I have had in War, to enrich myself without incurring Cenfure; they are convinced of my disinterested Zeal for their Prosperity; and, if I have any thing to complain of in the Return they make, it is only the Excess of their Applaufe. What Value then can I set upon your Gold and Silver? What King can add any thing to my Fortune? Always attentive to discharge the Duties incumbent on me, I have a Mind free from Self-REPROACH, and I have an Honest FAME.
The following Speeches are of a different kind from any of
the foregoing. They are the Speeches of two great Generals, at the Head of their Armies, before an Engagement. It was at the Beginning of the second Punic War, that Hannibal the Carthaginian General made that surprizing March over the Alps with his Army, and entered Italy. He was met near the Banks of the Po by Publius Scipio, with the Roman Army. The two Generals are said to have conceived a high Opinion of each other. Hannibal's Name had been long renowned; and that Scipio must be a Captain of eminent Worth, the Carthaginian had well concluded, from the Romans having chosen him, preferably to all others, to be bis Opponent. But this mutual Impression was become much stronger, by the hardy Enterprize of the one to march over the Alps, and the happy Execution of it; and the expeditious Gourage of the other in coming from the Banks of the Rhone, to meet him, at the foot of those Mountains. But Scipio, who was hut newly appointed their General, thought proper to assemble his Soldiers before the * Engagement, and endeavoured to animate their Courage by the following Words.
VITERE you, Soldiers, the fame Army which I had
V with me in Gaul; I might well forbear saying any thing to you at this time. For what occasion could there be to use Exhortation to a Cavalry, that had so signally vanquished the Squadrons of the Enemy upon the Rhone, or to Legions, by whom that fame Enemy Alying before them to avoid a Battle, did in effect confess themselves conquered? Bụt as those Troops, having been inrolled for Spain, are there with my Brother Cneius, making War under my Auspices (as was the Will of the Senate and People of Rome) I, that you might have a Consul for your Captain against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, have freely offered myself for this War. You then have a new General, and I a new Army. In
* This Battle was fought on the Banks of the Ticin, a small River which runs into the Po, and is called the Battle of the Ticin. Scipio received a dangerous Wound, and had been left upon the Place, if his Son, a mere Youth, afterwards the great Africanus) had not, by a surp izing Effort of Courage, brought him off. The Romans were obliged to retire.