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[55] When Scipio had finished speaking the envoys bore his conditions to Carthage, where the people debated them in the Assembly for several days. The chief men thought that it was best to accept the offer and not, by refusing a part, to run the risk of losing all; but the vulgar crowd, not considering the instant peril rather than the draft, great as it was, upon their resources, and being the majority, refused compliance. They were angry that their rulers, in time of famine, should send provisions away to the Romans instead of supplying their own citizens during the armistice, and they banded together, threatening to plunder and burn the houses of every one of them. Finally, they decided to take counsel with Hannibal, who now had 60000 infantry and 500 cavalry stationed at the town of Marthama. He came and, although moderate citizens feared lest a man so fond of war should excite the people to renewed exertions, he very gravely advised them to accept peace. But the people, mad with rage, reviled him also, and threatened everybody, until some of the notables, despairing of the city, took refuge with Masinissa, and others with the Romans themselves.

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