He, not only endowed with good natural powers, but well trained also by experience, on that particular occasion, delivered the following address:
"If, Romans, there was ever reason to doubt, whether the tribunes of the people have ever promoted sedition for your sake or their own, I am certain [p. 325]
that in the course of this year that doubt must have ceased to exist;
and while I rejoice that an end has at length come of a mistake of such long continuance, I in the next place congratulate you, and on your account the republic, that this delusion has been removed during a course of prosperous events.
Is there any person who can feel a doubt that the tribunes of the commons were never so highly displeased and provoked by any wrongs done to you, if ever such did happen, as by the munificence of the patricians to the commons, when pay was established for those serving in the army.
What else do you suppose that they either then dreaded, or now wish to disturb, except the union between the orders, which they think contributes most to the dissolution of the tribunitian power?
Thus, by Jove, like workers in iniquity, they are seeking for work, who also wish that there should be always some diseased part in the republic, that there may be something for the cure of which they may be employed by you.
For, [tribunes,] whether do you defend or attack the commons? whether are you the enemies of those in the service, or do you plead their cause?
Unless perhaps you say, whatever the patricians do, displeases us; whether it is for the commons, or against the commons; and just as masters forbid their slaves to have any dealing with those belonging to others, and deem it right that they should equally refrain from having any commerce with them, either for kindness or unkindness; ye, in like manner, interdict us the patricians from all intercourse with the people, lest by our courteousness and munificence we may challenge their regard, and they become tractable and obedient to our direction.
And if there were in you any thing of the feeling, I say not of fellow-citizens, but of human beings, how much more ought you to favour, and, as far as in you lay, to promote rather the kindly demeanour of the patricians and the tractability of the commons!
And if such concord were once permanent, who would not venture to engage, that this empire would in a short time become the highest among the neighbouring states?