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taken and ravaged by the Gauls, and to remove to Veji. It will be recollected, that, on the conquest of this latter city, violent dissensions had arisen between the patricians and plebeians in consequence of a project for sending a colony to Veji, and of dividing the senate and people, so that half should remove to Veji and half remain at Rome; thus of the two cities making one commonwealth. It was urged that Veji had a large and fertile territory, that its situation was superior even to that of Rome, and that its edifices, both public and private, were more splendid and magnificent. The people, pressed forward by the tribune, Titus Sicinius, could hardly be resisted or pacified; and all the power and dignity of the senate were put in requisition to restore tranquillity. Quiet, indeed, followed; but the feelings of discontent and resentment, consequent on defeat, still rankled in the minds of the vanquished party. When Rome was in ashes, after being sacked and burnt by the Gauls, nothing could be more natural than the renewal of the former scheme; and what before seemed desirable, expedient, and highly advantageous, now assumed the form of a necessary and indispensable measure. The question was not now as to quitting their former habitations, for these no longer existed; the houses of Veji were ready to receive them; and they could avoid the trouble and labor of rebuilding the mansions in which they had before lived. What was in the first instance a passion, now became a phrensy.
To stem this strong current of popular feeling, required no common courage and adroitness. The commons were to be managed as well as driven, and Camillus showed himself equal to the occasion. This magistrate, he being now dictator, clothed with the favor secured by recent victory, and supported by the whole body of the senate, ascended the tribunal. In the state of feeling in which his audience then was, the speaker would have at once closed every avenue to conviction, by commencing his address with a direct argument on the case. The course he adopts is circuitous, bringing both the tribunes and the people to reflect on the violence of their proceedings, and thus conciliating their attention. He exhibits himself, not as the willing opponent of their measures, but as influenced in his conduct by the highest considerations of patriotism. meaning of this introduction we will endeavor to express; the compactness and terseness of the language we should in vain attempt to emulate.
'Contentions with the tribunes, Romans, are so much my aversion and abhorrence, that, while a wretched exile at Ardea, I had still the consolation to reflect, that I was far removed from these quarrels; and I resolved never more to return to Rome, even should I be recalled by a decree of the senate and an order of your own body. Nor has any change of opinion induced me to again enter the city; but I yielded to the exigencies of the state. The existence of my country was the question at issue, not whether I should reinstate myself in my former situation; and I would now gladly be quiet, nor would I open my lips in your assembly, had not a contest arisen, involving the highest interests of the commonwealth. To be backward and wanting in effort on an occasion like this, while life remains, in others would be disgrace, in Camillus impiety and infamy. Why have we sought the rescue of the city? Why, when it was besieged by the enemy, have we freed it from their grasp, if, after it is recovered, we ourselves desert it? Even when the Gauls were victorious, and the whole city was in their power, the gods and the people of Rome still held possession of the citadel and Capitol; and shall we, now that we are conquerors in our turn, and the city is recovered, desert the citadel and capitol; and our success be followed by wider desolation than our defeat?' p. 130.
The dictator has evidently approached his subject with caution, but without fear; he has avoided unnecessary difficulties, but shunned no real danger; he has come to his point indirectly, but placed it distinctly in view. Having thus gained a hearing, he first dwells upon motives for remaining, drawn from the ceremonies of religion, and the superintendence of the gods over the affairs of Rome; considerations fitted, in the highest degree, to command the respectful attention of the assembly. He reminds them, that, in the events of past years, they would find, that prosperity or adversity had attended their efforts, according as they had been submissive or disobedient to the gods. He adduces as proofs, occurrences within their own recollection; and proceeds to state facts suited, more than all others, to influence the minds of a Roman audience. They inhabit a city, he declares to them, founded under the guidance of auspices and auguries; that every spot is occupied by the gods and religious rites; that, if their solemn religious sacrifices were assigned to particular days, the places, in which they were celebrated, were not less immovably fixed. 'How does this project of yours,' he adds, compare with the conduct of the excellent youth, Caius Fabius, who, during the late siege, was seen to descend from the citadel, and rush
through the darts of the enemy, exciting the admiration of the enemy no less than your own, and performed on the Quirinal hill an annual religious ceremony peculiar to his family?' After dwelling on the profaneness of the proposed scheme, and its necessary connexion with the violation of whatever was held sacred in Rome, and directly appealing to the principal deities presiding over the city, he comes to what was, no doubt, the chief argument of his opponents, and one which it required uncommon dexterity to shift off or resist. It had formerly been said, when the proposition to remove to Veji was discussed, that there was nothing to be gained by deserting their present habitations and taking others. Now their houses were in ashes, their city was demolished, Veji was open to receive them, and they could be relieved from the trouble and labor of erecting new buildings on the ruins of the old. Here was a wide field for popular excitement; and the factious tribunes were busy, and would make the most of so favorable a circumstance. The demagogues of the day must have been not a little confounded at the manner of the attack on their favorite position. The dictator shows himself as able in rhetorical, as in military manoeuvring. He thus treats this part of the subject.
'But we hear it alleged, that the case itself obliges us to abandon a city laid waste and reduced to ashes, and to take refuge in Veji, where everything is entire, and not to harass the people, reduced as they are to poverty, by compelling them to rebuild their habitations. That this is mere pretence, that the clamor on this point is false and hollow, you would yourselves see, Romans, were I to be silent respecting it; you, who well remember, that when both the public and private edifices were safe, and the city was standing, this same scheme of removing to Veji was agitated. See, tribunes, the difference between my mode of viewing this subject and yours. You think, whatever objections to a removal existed at that time, none exist now. I think, on the contrary, but do not be surprised, till you hear what I have to say,— that, although a change of residence had been expedient while the city was safe, now, that it is in ruins, to quit it is by no means allowable. The reason is plain. Our recent victory furnished, at that time, a plausible pretence of removing to a captured city, and glory might be anticipated for ourselves and our posterity; but now, a removal would be disgraceful, it would stain our honor, and the credit of the measure would redound to the Gauls. We shall not appear to have left our country as conquerors, but to have lost it, as the vanquished party. It will be
said, that the flight at Allia, the capture of the city and the siege of the Capitol, imposed on us the hard necessity of deserting our gods, and, by exile and flight, abandoning a place we could no longer defend. But have the Gauls been able to demolish Rome, and shall the Romans appear unable to rebuild it? Will you suffer these very Gauls to return with augmented forces (for we well know that their numbers are immense), and to fix their residence in this city, once taken by them, and now deserted by you? What if the Gauls should not do this, and your old enemies the Equi or Volsci should establish themselves in Rome,—would you be content, that they should be Romans, and you Vejentians? Which would you prefer, that the city, though a desert, should be possessed by yourselves, or be inhabited by your enemies? A more impious and abominable act, than that proposed, I cannot conceive of. Are you prepared to submit to such criminality and disgrace, from disinclination to building? Even if we could erect throughout the whole city an edifice no better or larger than the cottage of our founder, would it not be preferable to dweil, like shepherds and rustics, in huts, while still amidst your temples and gods, than for the state to go into voluntary banishment?' p. 133.
He proceeds to urge other reasons for rebuilding the city, and dwells particularly on the favorable situation of Rome, its healthful hills, its convenient river, facilitating both internal and external commerce; and the various advantages which the city enjoyed for defence and increase; and closes in the following manner.
'Since such is the case, what reason can there be for hazarding a new experiment? You may, indeed, carry away with you your bravery, but the fortune of this spot admits of no transfer. Here is the Capitol, where, when a human head was formerly found, it was foretold, that this place should be the head of universal empire. Here, formerly, the gods, Juventas and Terminus, to the great joy of our ancestors, refused to be moved. Here are the fires of Vesta; here the shields sent down from heaven; here, if you stay, all the gods proffer their favor and protection.' p. 134.
In this harangue, everything is simple, unaffected, perspicuous, ardent, and forcible, and in the highest degree fitted, in reference to the assembly addressed, to convince and persuade. Nothing is introduced remote from the question at issue, nothing which would have even the least tendency to divert attention, nothing to offend, nothing unintelligible or without the ordinary range of thought of a Roman audience. The whole is so arranged, that the parts succeed each other in the closest connexion, every one arising naturally from what precedes it, 34 VOL. XXX.—No. 66.
and by so easy a transition, that attention is more fixed, and curiosity and desire of learning what follows are constantly strengthened. Art, if it here exists, is no more than consummate judgment in selecting the best topics and assigning to each its proper place. Change the order of any one of the arguments, illustrations, direct addresses, or of the appeals to the gods, and the injury is manifest. Any considerable variation being supposed in the arrangement of the topics of this discourse, a new combination of circumstances, to render the whole appropriate, would be necessary.
We are aware, that it is said, that this speech is the production of the historian, and that Camillus had as little to do with its composition, as Livy must be supposed to have had in the preparation of that, if any such there was, which the dictator actually pronounced. This may be true; yet this circumstance, so far as our object is concerned, is of little consequence. We will admit, that it is possible, nay, probable, that the historian in giving an account of the dissensions at Rome, which arose out of the subject of rebuilding the city after its destruction by the Gauls, in stating the reasons for continuing in the ancient place in preference to removing to another, chose to incorporate them in a popular harangue; and to put this in the mouth of one who was chief in power and influence. All this may be allowed; though we have never seen grounds entirely to disbelieve, that in a commonwealth, where popular eloquence confessedly so much prevailed as in the Roman, and where it had so great and commanding an influence, and where records of certain kinds are known to have existed, some more particular notices of events, and even of many discourses on important occasions, were handed down to posterity, than modern critics are willing to allow, or than we have means of directly evincing. But however this may be, whether this speech was composed from authentic memorials of what Camillus actually said, the performance having received only its polish and coloring from the hand of the historian, or whether it is partly or wholly the production of Livy himself, the character of the performance is not altered. As a specimen of popular eloquence, the estimation in which it should be held, must depend upon its own merits, and not on the fact of authorship. One thing, however, must be allowed as certain, that such an address could not be composed, except in a free state, by one who had been trained in the school of popular discussion, and