He then ordered the multitude, who were much agitated, not knowing what judgment to form of the deed, to be called to an assembly: and he openly declared, “that Maelius had been justly put to death, even though he may have been innocent of the charge of aiming at regal power, who, when summoned to attend the dictator by the master of the horse, had not come.
That he himself had taken his seat to examine into the case; that, after it had been investigated, Maelius should have met a result corresponding to his deserts that.
when employing force, in order that he might not commit himself to a trial, he had been checked by force. Nor should they proceed with him as with a citizen, who, born in a free state amid laws and rights, in a city from which he knew that kings had been expelled, and on the same year the sons of the king's sister and the children of the consul, the liberator of his country, had been put to death by their father, on a plot for readmitting the royal family into the city having beet discovered, from which Collatinus Tarquinius the consul, through [p. 268]
a hatred of his name, was ordered to resign his office and go into exile;
in which capital punishment was inflicted on Spurius Cassius several years after for forming designs to assume the sovereignty; in which the decemvirs were recently punished with confiscation, exile, and death, in consequence of regal tyranny in that city, Spurius Maelius conceived a hope of attaining regal power.
And who was this man? Although no nobility, no honours, no deserts should open to any man the road to domination, yet still the Claudii and Cassii, by reason of the consulates, the decemvirates, the honours of their own and those of their ancestors, and from the splendour of their families, had raised their aspiring minds to heights to which it was impious to raise them:
that Spurius Maelius, to whom a tribuneship of the commons should rather be an object of wishes than of hope, a wealthy corn-merchant, had conceived the hope to purchase the liberty of his countrymen for two pounds of corn; had supposed that a people victorious over all their neighbours could be cajoled into servitude by throwing them a morsel of food;
so that a person whom the state could scarcely digest as a senator, it should tolerate as king, possessing the ensigns and authority of Romulus their founder, who had descended from and had returned to the gods.
This was to be considered not more criminal than it was monstrous: nor was it sufficiently expiated by his blood; unless the roof and walls within which so mad a project had been conceived, should be levelled to the ground, and his effects were confiscated, as being contaminated with the price of purchasing kingly domination. He ordered, therefore, that the quaestors should sell this property and deposit the proceeds in the treasury.”