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Romans Demand Surrender of Hannibal

Passing over the treaty made with Hasdrubal, as not having ever been made, and, if it had, as not being binding on them because made without their consent (and on this point they quoted the precedent of the Romans themselves, who in the Sicilian war repudiated the terms agreed upon and accepted by Lutatius, as having been made without their consent)—passing over this, they pressed with all the vehemence they could, throughout the discussion, the last treaty made in the Sicilian war; in which they affirmed that there was no clause relating to Iberia, but one expressly providing security for the allies of both parties to the treaty. Now, they pointed out that the Saguntines at that time were not allies of Rome, and therefore were not protected by the clause. To prove their point, they read the treaty more than once aloud. On this occasion the Roman envoys contented themselves with the reply that, while Saguntum was intact, the matter in dispute admitted of pleadings and of a discussion on its merits; but that, that city having been treacherously seized, they had only two alternatives,—either to deliver the persons guilty of the act, and thereby make it clear that they had no share in their crime, and that it was done without their consent; or, if they were not willing to do that, and avowed their complicity in it, to take the consequences.

The question of treaties between Rome and Carthage was referred to in general terms in the course of this debate: but I think a more particular examination of it will be useful both to practical statesmen, who require to know the exact truth of the matter, in order to avoid mistakes in any critical deliberation; and to historical students, that they may not be led astray by the ignorance or partisan bias of historians; but may have before them a conspectus, acknowledged to be accurate, of the various compacts which have been made between Rome and Carthage from the earliest times to our own day.

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