But they showed more obedience in coming into the senate than servility in the sentiments expressed by them, as [p. 206]
we have learned.
It is recorded that, after Appius's stating the subject of the meeting, and before the opinions were demanded in order, Lucius Valerius Potitus excited a commotion, by demanding permission to express his sentiments concerning the state, and when the decemvirs were prohibiting him with threats, declaring that he would present himself before the people.
(We have also heard) that Marcus Horatius Barbatus entered the lists with no less boldness, calling them “ten Tarquins,” and reminding them, “that under the leadership of the Valerii and Horatii1
the kings had been expelled. Nor was it of the mere name that men were then tired, it being that by which it was usual to style Jupiter, and by which Romulus, the founder of the city, and his successors were also styled;
a name too which has been retained even in the ceremonies of religion, as a solemn one; that it was the tyranny and arrogance of a king
they then detested, which if they were not to be tolerated in one who was both a king himself and the son of a king, who was to tolerate it in so many private citizens? that they should beware lest, by preventing persons from speaking their sentiments freely in the senate, they might oblige them to raise their
voice outside the senate-house. Nor could he see how it was less allowable for him, a private citizen, to summon the people to an assembly, than for them to convene the senate. They might try, whenever they pleased, how much more determined a sense of wrong will be found to be in vindicating one's own liberty, than ambition in (vindicating) usurped domination. That they proposed the question concerning the Sabine war, as
if the Roman people had any more important war on hand, than that against those who, having been elected for the purpose of framing laws, had left no law in the state; who had abolished elections, annual magistrates, the regular change of rulers, which was the only means
of equalizing liberty; who, though private citizens, still possess the fasces and regal dominion. That on the expulsion of the kings, patrician magistrates were ap- [p. 207]
pointed, and subsequently, after the secession of the people, plebeian magistrates. To which party, he asked, did they belong? To the popular party? What had they ever done with the concurrence of the people? were they nobles? who for now nearly an entire
year have not held a meeting of the senate; and then hold one in such a manner, that they actually prevent numbers from expressing their sentiments regarding the commonwealth; that they should not place too much hope in the fears of others; that the grievances which they are suffering now appear to men more oppressive than any they may have to apprehend.”