It is recorded that nothing was ever received by the commons with so much joy; that they ran in crowds to the senate-house, and caught the hands of those coming out, and called them fathers indeed; acknowledging that the result of such conduct was that no one would spare his person or his blood, whilst he had any strength remaining, in defence of a country so liberal.
Whilst the prospect of advantage pleased them, that their private property should remain unimpaired at the time during which their bodies should be devoted and employed for the interest of the commonwealth, it further increased their joy very much, and rendered their gratitude for the favour more complete, because it had been offered to them voluntarily, without ever having been agitated by the tribunes of the commons, or made the subject of a demand in their own conversations.
The tribunes of the commons, the only parties who did not participate in the general joy and harmony prevailing through the different ranks, denied “that this measure would prove so much a matter of joy, or so honourable to the patricians,1
as they themselves might imagine. That the measure at first sight was better than it would prove by experience. For from what source was that money to be raised, except by levying a tax on the people. [p. 320]
That they were generous to some therefore at the expense of others; and even though others may endure it, those who had already served out their time in the service, would never endure that others should serve on better terms than they themselves had served; and
that these same individuals should have to bear the expense of their own service, and then that of others.” By these arguments they influenced a part of the commons. At last, when the tax was now announced, the tribunes publicly declared, that they
would afford protection to any one who should refuse to contribute his proportion for the pay of the soldiers. The patricians persisted in supporting a matter so happily commenced. They themselves were the first to contribute; and because there was as yet no
coined silver, some of them conveying their weighed brass to the treasury in waggons, rendered their contribution very showy. After the senate had contributed with the utmost punctuality according
to their rated properties, the principal plebeians, friends of the nobility, according to a concerted plan, began to contribute. And when the populace saw these men highly applauded by the patricians, and also looked up to as good citizens by men
of the military age, scorning the support of the tribunes, an emulation commenced at once about paying the tax. And the law being passed about declaring war against the Veientians, the new military tribunes with consular power marched to Veii an army consisting in a great measure of volunteers.