"What pity, therefore, or what moderation is due from others to these Carthaginians, who have never exercised moderation or clemency in anything, and who, as Scipio says, would have expunged the very name of Rome if they had vanquished us? But good faith, you say, and the right hand are reliable. How so? What treaty, what oath, have they not trampled under foot? We should not imitate them, the gentleman says. What treaty can we violate when we have not yet made any? But we should not imitate their cruelty, he says. Ought we to make the most cruel people in the world our friends and allies?
Neither of these things is desirable. Let them surrender at discretion, as is the custom of the vanquished, as many others have surrendered to us. Then we shall see what we will do, and whatever we accord to them they shall take in the light of a favor and not of a bargain. There is this difference between the two plans. As long as we treat with them they will violate the treaties as they have heretofore, always making some excuse that they were overreached. They will always find plausible grounds for dispute. But when they surrender at discretion, and we take away their arms, and when their persons are in our possession and they see that there is nothing they can call their own, their spirits will be tamed and they will welcome whatever we allow them to have, as a gratuity bestowed by others. If Scipio thinks differently you have the two opinions to choose from. If he is going to make peace with the Carthaginians without you, what is the need of his sending any word to you? For my part, I have given you the opinion which I hold to be for the advantage of the city, as to judges who are really going to exercise a judgment on the matter in hand."