The camps were then undisturbed; the consul even moved his camp back, that the Campanians might complete their sowing; nor did he do any injury to the lands till the blades in the corn-fields were grown sufficiently high to be useful for forage.
This he conveyed into the Claudian camp above Suessula, and there erected winter quarters. He ordered Marcus Claudius, the proconsul, to retain at Nola a sufficient force for the protection of the place, and send the rest to Rome, that they might not be a burthen to their allies nor an expense to the republic.
Tiberius Gracchus also, having led his legions from Cumae to Luceria in Apulia, sent Marcus Valerius, the praetor, thence to Brundusium with the troops which he had commanded at Luceria, with orders to protect the coast of the Sallentine territory, and make provisions with regard to Philip and the Macedonian war.
At the close of the summer, the events of which I have described, letters arrived from Publius and Cneius Scipio, stating the magnitude and success of their operations in Spain, but that the army was in want of money, clothing, and corn, and that their crews were in want of every thing.
With regard to the pay, they said, that if the treasury was low, they would adopt some plan by which they might procure it from the Spaniards; but that the other supplies must certainly be sent from Rome, for otherwise neither the army could be kept together nor the province preserved. When the letters were read, all to a man admitted that the statement was correct, and the request reasonable;
but it occurred to their minds, what great forces they were maintaining by land and sea, and how large a fleet must soon be equipped if a war with Macedon should break out; that Sicily and Sardinia, which before the war had yielded a revenue, were scarcely able to maintain the troops which protected those provinces;
that the expenses were supplied by a tax; that both the number of the persons who contributed this tax was diminished by the great havoc made [p. 894]
in their armies at the Trasimenus and Cannae, and the few who survived, if they were oppressed with multiplied impositions, would perish by a calamity of a different kind.
That, therefore, if the republic could not subsist by credit, it could not stand by its own resources.
It was resolved, therefore, that Fulvius, the praetor, should present himself to the public assembly of the people, point out
the necessities of the state, and exhort those persons who had increased their patrimonies by farming the public revenues, to furnish temporary loans for the service
of that state, from which they had derived their wealth, and contract to supply what was necessary for the army in Spain, on the condition of being paid the first when there was money in the treasury.
These things the praetor laid before the assembly, and fixed a day on which he would let on contract the furnishing the army in Spain with clothes and corn, and with such other things as were necessary for the crews.