The ambassador, after he came to the conclusion that lie could obtain no reasonable terms in the council, tried to influence the mind of Publius Scipio in private (for such were his orders). First of all he told him that the king would restore him his son without a ransom;
and then, as ignorant of the disposition of Scipio as he was of the Roman manners, he promised an immense weight of gold, and, excepting the title of king, an absolute partnership in the sovereignty, if through his means he should obtain a peace.
To which Scipio answered, “I am the less surprised that you are ignorant of the Romans in general, and of me, to
whom you have been sent, when I see that you are unacquainted with the situation even of the person from whom you come.
You ought to have kept Lysimachia to prevent our entering the Chersonese, or to have opposed us at the Hellespont to hinder our passing into Asia, if you meant to ask peace from us as from people solicitous about the issue of war. But after leaving the passage into Asia open, and receiving not only a bridle, but also a yoke, what negotiation on an equality has been left you, when you must submit to orders?
I shall consider my son as a very great gift from the munificence of the king; I pray to the gods that my circumstances may never require others, my mind certainly never will require any.
For such an act of generosity to me he shall find me grateful, if for a personal favour he will accept a personal [p. 1693]
return of gratitude. In my public capacity, I will neither accept from him nor give him any thing. All that I can give at present is sincere advice.
Go then, and desire him in my name, to cease hostilities, and to refuse no terms of peace.”
These words had no effect on the king, who thought that the chance of war would be comparatively safe, since terms were dictated to him already as if he were totally vanquished. Laying aside, therefore, for the present, all farther mention of peace, he turned his whole attention to the preparations for war.