The consul's harangue had a great effect on the commons; the patricians, recovering their spirits, considered the state as re-established. The other consul, more eager as a seconder than as the first mover (of a measure), readily suffering his colleague to take the first lead in a matter of so much importance, claimed to himself his share of the consular duty in executing the plan.
Then the tribunes, mocking these declarations as empty, went on inquiring “by what means the consuls would lead out the army, as no one would allow them to hold a levy?”
“But,” says Quintius, " we have no occasion for a levy; since at the time Publius Valerius gave arms to the commons to recover the Capitol, they all took an oath to him, that they would assemble on an order from the consul, and would not depart without an order.
We therefore publish our order that all of you, who have sworn, attend to-morrow under arms at the lake Regillus. The tribunes then began to cavil, and wished to absolve the people from their obligation; that Quintius was a private person at the [p. 184]
time at which they were bound by the oath.
But that disregard of the gods which prevails in the present age had not yet arrived; nor did every one, by his own interpretation, accommodate oaths and laws to his own purposes, but rather adapted his conduct to them.
Wherefore the tribunes, as there was no hope of obstructing the matter, attempted to delay the departure (of the army) the more earnestly on this account, because a report had gone out “both that the augurs had been ordered to attend at the lake Regillus, and to consecrate a place, where business might be transacted with the people with the benefit of auspices; that whatever had been passed at Rome by tribunitian violence, might be repealed there in an assembly.
That all would agree to that which the consuls wished; for that there was no appeal at a distance greater than that of a mile from the city: and that the tribunes, if they should come there, would, among the rest of the crowd, be subjected to the consular authority.”
These matters alarmed them; but the greatest terror which acted on their minds was, that Quintius frequently said, “that he would not hold an election of consuls. That the state was affected with such a disease, as could not be stopped by the ordinary remedies. That the commonwealth required a dictator, so that whoever should stir a step to disturb the peace of the state, might feel that the dictatorship was without appeal.”