« AnteriorContinuar »
dantly provided with men, arms, and all things necessary. There is nothing wanting to secure the success , if our own courage does not fail us. And shall all those warriors, who have ever been so brave when foreign enemies were to be subdued , or when conquests were to be made to gratify the ambition and avarice of Tarqnin , be then only cowards , when they are to deliver themselves from slavery ? Some of you are perhaps intimidated by the army which Tarquin (now commands. The soldiers , you imagine , will take the part of their general. Banish so groundless a fear. The love of liberty is natural to all men. Your fellow. citizens in the camp feel the weight of oppression with as quick a sense as you that are in Rome : they will as eagerly seize the occasion of throwing off the yoke. But let us grant there may be some among them, who , through baseness of spirit , or a bad education, will be disposed to favour the tyrant. The number of these can be but small, and we have means sufficient in our hands to reduce them to reason. They have left us hostages more dear to them than life. Their wives , their children, their fathers, their mothers, are here in the city. Courage, Romans, the Gods are for us ; those Gods, whose temples and altars the impious Tarquin has profaned by sacrifices and libations made with polluted hands , polluted with blood, and with numberless unexpiated crimes committed against his subjects. Ye Gods who protected our forefathers , ye Genii, who watch for the preservation and glory of Rome , do you inspire us with courage and unanimity in this glorious cause
and we will to our last breath defend your worship from all profanation.
C. MARIUS TO THE ROMANS,
On their hesitating to appoint him general
in the expedition against Jugurtha , merely on account of his extraction.
It is but too common , my countrymen , to observe a material difference between the behaviour of those, who stand candidates for places of power and trust , before, and after their obtaining them. They solicit them in one manner, and execute them in another. They set out with a great appearance of activity, humility, and moderation; and they quickly fall into sloth, pride, and avarice. It is, undoubtedly , no easy matter to discharge, to the general satisfaction , the duty of a supreme commander in troublesome times. I am, I hope , duly sensible of the importance of the office I propose to take upon me, for the service of my country. To carry on, with effect, an expensive war, and yet be frugal of the public money ; to oblige those to serve, whom it may be delicate to offend; to conduct, at the same time, a complicated variety of operations ; to concert measures at home answerable to the state of things abroad; and to gain every valuable end , in spite of opposition from the envious , the factious, and the disaffected; to do all this, my countrymen, is more difficult, than is generally thought. And , besides the disadvantages, which are common to me with all others in eminent stations, my case is, in this respect, peculiarly hard ; that, whereas a commander of Patrician rank, if he is guilty of a neglect, or breach of duty, has his great connexions , the antiquity of his family,
the important services of his ancestors, and the multitudes he has by power engaged in his interest , to screen him from condign punishment; my whole safety depends upon myself; which renders it the more indispensably necessary for me to take care, that my conduct be clear and unexceptionable. Besides, I am well aware , my countrymen , that the eye of the public is upon me ; and that, though the impartial, who prefer the real advantage of the commonwealth to all other considerations , favour my pretensions; the Patricians want nothing so much, as an occasion against me. It is, therefore, my fixed resolution, to use my best endeavours ,
that you be not disappointed in me , and that their indirect designs against me may be defeated. I have , from my youth been familiar with toils , and with dangers. I was faithful to your interest, my countrymen, when I served you for no reward, but that of honour. It is not my design to betray you ,
have conferred upon me a place of profit. You have committed to my conduct the war against Jugurtha. The Patricians are offended at this. But where would be the wisdom of giving such a command to one of their honourable
body, a person of illustrious birth , of ancient family, of innumerable statues , but of no experience? What service would his long line of dead ancestors, or his multitude of motionless statues , do his country in the day of battle? What could such a general do , but , in his trepidation and inexperience , have recourse to some inferior commander , for direction in difficulties , to which he was not himself equal ? Thus, your Patrician general would , in fact, have a general over him; so that the acting commander would still be a Plebeian. So true is this, my countrymen , that I have myself known those, who have been chosen consuls , begin then to read the history of their own country, of which till that time they were totally ignorant : that is, they first obtained the employment, and then bethought themselves of the qualifications necessary for the proper discharge of it. I submit to your judgment, Romans, on which side the advantage lies , when a comparison is made between Patrician haughtiness, and Plebeian experience. The very action which they have only read , I have partly seen, and partly myself atchieved. What they know by reading, I know by action. They