« AnteriorContinuar »
upon the Iberus, move not a step towards that city." Is it a small matter, then that you have deprived us of our ancient possessions, Sicily and Sardinia? you would have Spain too. Well; we shall yield Spain, and then-you will pass into Africa. Will pass, did I say?-This very year they ordered one of their consuls into Africa, the other into Spain. No, Soldiers; there is nothing left for us but what we can vindicate with our swords. Come on, then. Be men. The Romans may, with more safety, be cowards: they have their own country behind them, have places of refuge to fly to, and are secure from danger in the roads thither; but for you, there is no middle fortune between death and victory. Let this be but well fixed in your minds and, once again I say you are conquerors.
VIII.-Speech of Adherbal to the Roman Senate, imploring their assistance against Jugurtha. FATHERS!
IT is known to you, that king Micipsa, my father, on his death-bed, left in charge to Jugurtha, his adopted son, conjunctly with my unfortunate brother, Hiempsal and myself, the children of his own body, the administration of the kingdom of Numidia, directing us to consider the senate and people of Rome as proprietors of it. He charged us to use our best endeavours to be serviceable to the Roman commonwealth, in peace and war: assuring us, that your protection would prove to us a defence against all enemies, and would be instead of armies, fortifications, and treasures.
While my brother and I were thinking of nothing but how to regulate ourselves according to the directions of our deceased father-Jugurtha-the most infamous of mankind!-breaking through all ties of gratitude and of com-, mon humanity, and trampling on the authority of the Roman commonwealth, procured the murder of my unfortunate brother, and has driven me from my throne and native country, though he knows I inherit, from my grand-father Massinissa, and my father Micipsa, the friendship and alliance of the Romans.
For a prince to be reduced, by villany, to my distressful circumstances, is calamity enough; but my misfortunes are heightened by the consideration-that I find myself obliged to solicit your assistance, Fathers, for the services done you by my ancestors, not for any I have been able to render you in my own person. Jugurtha has put it out of my power
to deserve any thing at your hands; and has forced me to be burdensome, before I could be useful to you. And yet, if I had no plea, but my undeserved misery-a once powerful prince, the descendant of a race of illustrious monarchs, now without any fault of my own, destitute of every support, and reduced to the necessity of begging foreign assist ance, against an enemy who has seized my throne and my kingdom-if my unequalled distresses were all I had to plead-it would become the greatness of the Roman commonwealth, the arbitress of the world, to protect the injured, and to check the triumph of daring wickedness over helpless innocence. But, to provoke your vengeance to the utmost, Jugurtha has driven me from the very dominions which the senate and the people of Rome gave to my ancestors; and from which my grand-father, and my father, under your umbrage, expelled Syphax and the Carthagenians. Thus, Fathers, your kindness to our family is defeated; and Jugurtha, in injuring me, throws contempt on you.
O wretched prince! O cruel reverse of fortune! O father Micipsa! is this the consequence of your generosity; that he whom your goodness raised to an equality with your own children, should be the murderer of your children? Must then the royal house of Numidia always be a scene of havock and blood? While Carthage remained, we suffered, as was to be expected, all sorts of hardships from their hostile attacks; our enemy near; our only powerful ally, the Roman commonwealth, at a distance. While we were so circumstanced, we were always in arms and in action. When that scourge of Africa was no more, we congratulated ourselves on the prospect of established peace. But instead of peace, behold the kingdom of Numidia drenched with royal blood! and the only surviving son of its late king, flying from an adopted murderer, and seeking that safety in foreign parts, which he cannot command in his own kingdom.
Whither-Oh! whither shall 1 ffy? If I return to the royal palace of my ancestors, my father's throne is seized by the murderer of my brother. What can I there expect, but that Jugurtha should hasten to imbrue, in my blood, those hands which are now reeking with my brother's? If I were to fly for refuge, or assistance, to any other court, from what prince can I hope for protection, if the Roman commonwealth give me up? From my own family or friends I have no expectations. My royal father is no more. He is beyond the reach of violence, and out of hearing of the
complaints of his unhappy son. Were my brother alive, our mutual sympathy would be some alleviation. But he is hurried out of life in his early youth, by the very hand which should have been the last to injure any of the royal family of Numidia. The bloody Jugurtha has butchered all whom he suspected to be in my interest. Some have been destroyed by the lingering torment of the cross. Others have been given a prey to wild beasts, and their anguish made the sport of men more cruel than wild beasts. If there be any yet alive, they are shut up in dungeons, there to drag out a life more intolerable than death itself.
Look down, illustrious senators of Rome! from that height of power to which you are raised, on the unexampled distresses of a prince, who is, by the cruelty of a wicked intruder, hecome an outcast from all mankind. Let not the crafty insinuations of him who returns murder for adoption, prejudice your judgment. Do not listen to the wretch who has butchered the son and relations of a king, who gave him power to sit on the same throne with his own sons. I have been informed, that he labours by his emissaries, to prevent your determining any thing against him in his absence; pretending that I magnify my distress, and might for him have staid in peace in my own kingdom. But if ever the time comes when the due vengeance from above shall overtake him, he will then dissemble as I do. Then he, who now, hardened in wickedness, triumphs over those whom his violence has laid low, will, in his turn, feel distress, and suffer for his impious ingratitude to my father, and his blood-thirsty cruelty to my brother.
O murdered, butchered brother! O dearest to my heart -now gone for ever from my sight!-But why should I lament his death? He is, indeed, deprived of the blessed light of heaven, of life and kingdom at once, by the very person who ought to have been the first to hazard his own life in defence of any one of Micipsa's family. But, as things are, my brother is not so much deprived of these comforts, as delivered from terror, from flight, from exile, and the endless train of miseries which render life to me a burden. He lies full low, gored with wounds, and festering in his blood. But he lies in peace. He feels none of the miseries which rend my soul with agony and distraction, while I am set up a spectacle to all mankind of the uncertainty of human affairs. So far from having it in my power to revenge his death, I am not master of the means of
securing my own life. So far from being in a condition to defend my kingdom from the violence of the usurper, I am obliged to apply for foreign protection for my own person.
Fathers! Senators of Rome! the arbiters of the world! to you I fly for refuge from the murderous fury of Jugurtha. By your affection for your children, by your love for your country, by your own virtues, by the majesty of the Roman commonwealth, by all that is sacred, and all that is dear to you-deliver a wretched prince from undeserved, unprovoked injury; and save the kingdom of Numidia, which is your own property, from being the prey of violence, usurpation, and cruelty.
IX-Speech of Canuleius to the Consuls; in which he demands that the Plebians may be admitted into the Consulship, and that the laws prohibiting Patricians and Plebians from intermarrying, may be repealed.
WHAT an insult upon us is this! If we are not so rich as the Patricians, are we not citizens of Rome as well as they? inhabitants of the same country? members of the same community? The nations bordering upon Rome, and even strangers more remote, are admitted, not only to marriage 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 were 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 sink at once, if a Plebian, worthy of the office, should 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 Tullius, the son of a captive woman, (nobody knows who his father was) obtained the kingdom as the reward of his wis
dom 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 these strangers the very best of all our kings? And, supposing, now, that a Plebian should have their talents and merit, would he be suffered to govern us?
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 pontiffs 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 inven tion; and so are the officers of tribunes, ædilles, quæstors. Within these teu 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 Plebians, is not that a new thing? Was there any such law before the decemvirs enacted it? And a most shameful 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 Plebian 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 Plebians, what is this but to show the utmost contempt of us, and to declare one part of the community to be impure and unclean ?
They talk to us of the confusion there would 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 market place. They might as well pretend that these things make confusion in families, as that intermarriages will do it. Does not every one know that the children will be ranked according to the quality of their father, let him be a Patrician or a Plebian? In short, it is manifest 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 would fain know of you, cousuls and Patricians, is the sovereign power in the people of