After him, Arco, brother to the praetor Xenarchus, said: —“Callicrates hath made the delivery of our sentiments difficult both to me and to every one who differs in opinion from him;
for after his pleading in favour of the Roman alliance, alleging that it was undermined and attacked, (although no one either undermines or attacks it,) he has caused that whoever dissents from him must seem to argue against the cause of the Romans.
In the first place, as if he had not been here with us, but had just left the senate-house of the Roman people, or had been admitted into the privy councils of kings, he knows and tells us every transaction that passes in secret.
Nay more, he divines what would have happened if Philip had lived, why Perseus became heir of the kingdom: in such a manner, what are the intentions of the Macedonians, and what the thoughts of the Romans.
But we, who neither know for what cause, nor in what manner, Demetrius perished, nor what Philip would have done, if he had lived, ought to accommodate our resolutions to the transactions that have passed [p. 1951]
in open view.
We know that Perseus, on his coming to the throne, sent ambassadors to Rome, and received the title of king from the Roman people, and we hear that ambassadors came from Rome to the king, and were graciously received by him.
I consider that all these circumstances are signs of peace, not of war; and that the Romans cannot be offended, if, as we imitated their conduct in war, so we follow now their example in peace. For my part, I cannot see why we alone, of all mankind, wage implacable war against the kingdom of the Macedonians. Are we exposed to insult by a close neighbourhood to Macedon? or are we like the Dolopians, whom Perseus subdued lately, the weakest of all states?
No; on the contrary, by the bounty of the gods, we are sufficiently secured, as well by our own strength, as by the remoteness of our situation.
But we have as much reason to apprehend ill treatment, as the Thessalians and Aetolians; have we no more credit or influence with the Romans, though we were always their friends and allies, than the Aetolians, who but lately were their enemies? Whatever reciprocal rights the Aetolians, the Thessalians, the Epirots, in short, every state in Greece, allow to subsist between them and the Macedonians, let us allow the same.
Why have we alone what may be termed a cursed neglect of the ties of humanity? Philip may have done some act on account of which we should pass this decree against him when in arms and waging war against us:
What has Perseus deserved, a king just seated on the throne, guiltless of all injury against us, and effacing by his own kindness his father's feuds? Why should we be his only enemies?
Although I might make this assertion, that so great have been our obligations to the former kings of Macedon, that the ill usage, suffered from a single prince of their line, if any has really been suffered from Philip, * * * especially after his death.
When a Roman fleet was lying at Cenchreae, and the consul, with his army, was at Elatia, we were three days in council, deliberating whether we should follow the Romans or Philip. Now, granting that the fear of immediate danger from the Romans had no influence on our judgments, yet there was, certainly, something that made our deliberation last so long;
and that was, the connexion which had long subsisted between us and the Macedonians; the distinguished favours in ancient times received from their kings. Let the same [p. 1952]
considerations prevail at present, —not to make us his singular friends, but to hinder us from becoming his singular enemies.
Let us not, Callicrates, pretend what is not even thought of. No one advises us to form a new alliance, or sign a new treaty, by which we might inconsiderately compromise ourselves, but merely that we may have the intercourse of affording and demanding justice, and that we may not by excluding his subjects from our territories, exclude ourselves from his dominions, and that our slaves may not have any refuge to fly to.
How does this operate against the Roman treaty? Why do we give an air of importance and suspicion to a matter which is trifling and open to the world?
Why do we raise groundless alarms? Why, for the sake of ingratiating ourselves still more particularly with the Romans, render others odious and suspected?
If war shall take place, even Perseus himself does not doubt our taking part with the Romans. While peace continues, let animosities if they are not terminated, be at least suspended.”
When those who approved of the king's letter expressed their approbation of this speech, the decree was postponed, owing to the indignation of the chief men that Perseus should obtain by a letter of a few lines a matter which he did not even deign worthy of an embassy. Ambassadors were afterwards sent by the king, when a council was held at Megalopolis;
but exertions were made by those, who dreaded a rupture with Rome, that they should not be admitted to an audience.