But, on the other side, the senate began to deliberate regarding the secession of the commons into a private house, and that, as it so happened, situate in the citadel, and regarding [p. 415]
the great danger that was threatening liberty.
Great numbers cry out, that a Servilius Ahala was wanted, who would not irritate a public enemy by ordering him to be led to prison, but would finish an intestine war with the loss of one citizen.
They came to a resolution milder in terms, but possessing the same force, that the magistrates should see that “the commonwealth received no detriment from the designs of Marcus Manlius.”
Then the consular tribunes, and the tribunes of the commons, (for these also had submitted to the authority of the senate, because they saw that the termination of their own power and of the liberty of all would be the same,) all these then consult together as to what was necessary to be done.
When nothing suggested itself to the mind of any, except violence and bloodshed, and it was evident that that would be attended with great risk; then Marcus Maenius, and Quintus Publilius, tribunes of the commons, say, “Why do we make that a contest between the patricians and commons, which ought to be between the state and one pestilent citizen?
Why do we attack, together with the commons, a man whom it is safer to attack through the commons themselves, that he may fall overpowered by his own strength? We have it in contemplation to appoint a day of trial for him.
Nothing is less popular than regal power; as soon as the multitude shall perceive that the contest is not with them, and that from advocates they are to be made judges, and shall behold the prosecutors from among the commons, the accused a patrician, and that the charge between both parties is that of aiming at regal power, they will favour no object more than their own liberty.”