The new tribunes of the people in electing their colleagues evinced a disposition to gratify the wishes of the patricians; they even elected two who were patricians, and even consulars, Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Aterius.
The consuls then elected, Largius Herminius, Titus Virginius Caelimon- [p. 239]
tanus, not very much inclined to the cause either of the patricians or commons, had perfect tranquillity both at home and abroad.
Lucius Trebonius, tribune of the commons, incensed against the patricians, because, as he said, he was imposed on by them in the affair of choosing colleagues, and betrayed by his colleagues, carried a
proposal, “that whoever took the votes of the commons in electing tribunes of the people, he should go on taking the votes, until he elected ten tribunes of the people;” and he spent his tribuneship in worrying the patricians, whence the cognomen of Asper was given him.
Next Marcus Geganius Macerinus, and Caiu Julius, being elected consuls, quieted some combinations of the tribunes against the youth of the nobility, without any harsh proceeding against that power, and still preserving the dignity of the patricians;
by proclaiming a levy for the war against the Volscians and Aequans, they kept the people from riots by keeping matters in abeyance; affirming, that every thing was quiet abroad, there being harmony in the city, and that through civil discord the enemies assumed new courage.
Their anxiety for peace was also the cause of concord at home. But each of tile orders ever took advantage of moderation in the other. Acts of injustice began to be committed by the younger patricians on the commons when perfectly quiet.
When the tribunes would assist the weaker party, at first it was of little use; then not even themselves escaped being ill-treated; particularly in the latter months, when injustice was committed through the combinations among the more powerful, and the vigour of every magistracy becomes considerably more lax in the latter part of the year;
and now the commons placed hopes in the tribuneship, only on the condition that they had tribunes like Icilius; that for the last two years they had had only mere names.
On the other hand, the elder members of the patrician order, though they considered their young men to be too overbearing, yet would rather, if bounds were to be exceeded, that a redundancy of spirit should exist in their own order than in their adversaries.
So difficult a thing is moderation in maintaining liberty, whilst by pretending to desire equalization, every person raises himself in such a manner as to depress another; and men, by their very precautions against fear, cause themselves to become objects of dread; and we saddle on others injustice thrown off from ourselves, as if [p. 240]
it were actual necessary either to commit injustice or to submit to it.