“In a word, whether is the supreme power belonging to the Roman people, or is it yours? Whether by the expulsion of kings has dominion been acquired for you or equal liberty for all?
It is fitting that the Roman people should be allowed to enact a law, if it please. Or will ye decree a levy by way of punishment, according as each bill shall be proposed? and as soon as I, as tribune, shall begin to call the tribes to give their votes, will you, forthwith, as consul, force the younger men to take the military oath, and lead them out to camp?
and will you threaten the commons? will you threaten the tribune? What, if you had not already twice experienced how little those threats availed against the united sense of the people? Of course it was because you wished to consult for our interest, that you abstained from force.
Or was there no contest for this reason, that the party which was the stranger was also the more moderate?
Nor will there be any contest now, Romans: they will try your spirit; your strength they will not make trial of. Wherefore, consuls, the commons are prepared to accompany you to these wars, whether real or fictitious, if, by restoring the right of intermarriage, you at length make this one state; if they can coalesce, be united and mixed with you by private ties; if the hope, if the access [p. 256]
to honours be granted to men of ability and energy; if it is lawful to be in a partnership and share of the government; if, what is the result of equal freedom, it be allowed in the distribution of the annual offices to obey and to govern in their turns.
If any one shall obstruct these measures, talk about wars, multiply them by report; no one will give in his name, no one will take up arms, no one will fight for haughty masters, with whom there is no participation of honours in public, nor of intermarriage in private.”