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27. [71]

But do you, O Romans, if you will be guided by me, preserve your present possession of popularity, of liberty, of your votes, of your dignity, of the city, of the forum, of the games, of the days of festivals, and of all your other enjoyments. Unless, by chance, you prefer leaving all these things and this light of the republic, to be settled in the midst of the droughts of Sipontum, or in the pestilential districts of Salapia, under the leadership of Rullus. But let him tell us what lands he is going to buy; let him show what he is going to give, and to whom he is going to give it. But can you possibly, tell me, allow him the power of selling any imaginable city, or land, or revenue, or kingdom that he likes, and then buying some tract of sand or some swamp? Although this is a very remarkable point, that according to this law everything is to be sold, all the money is to be collected and amassed together, before one perch of ground is bought. Then the law orders him to proceed to buy; but forbids any purchases to be made against the inclination or the owner.

[72] I ask now, suppose there is no one who is willing to sell, what is to become of the money? The law says it is not to be brought into the treasury. It forbids its being refunded. The decemvirs, then, will keep all that money. Land will not be bought for you. After having alienated your revenues, harassed your allies, drained the confederate kings and all nations of their whole property, they will have the money, and you will not have the lands. Oh, says he, they will easily be induced by the magnitude of the sums offered to sell the lands. Then the effect of the law is to be thus: that we are to sell our property at whatever price we can get for it; and that we are to buy other men's property at whatever price they choose to put upon it. [73] And does the law order men to be conducted as settlers by those decemvirs, into those lands which have been bought in accordance with the provisions of this law?

What? Is not the whole plan of such a nature that it does not make any difference to the republic whether a colony is led into that place or not? Is it a place which requires a colony? [a place which refuses one?]
*****And in this class of places, as in the other parts of the republic, it is worthwhile to recollect the diligence exhibited by our ancestors; who established colonies in such suitable places to guard against all suspicion of danger, that they appeared to be not so much towns of Italy as bulwarks of the empire. These men are going to lead colonies into those lands which they have bought. Will they do so, even if it be not for the interests of the republic to do so? [74] “And into whatever places besides they shall think fit.” What is the reason, therefore, that they may not be able to settle a colony on the Janiculan Hill; and to place a garrison of their own for their own protection on your heads and necks? Will you not define how many colonies you choose to have led forth, into what districts they are to be led, and of what number of colonists they are to consist? Will you occupy a place which you consider suitable for the violence which perhaps you are meditating? Will you complete the number of the colony, and will you strengthen it by whatever garrison you may think advisable? Will you employ the revenues and all the resources of the Roman people to coerce and oppress the Roman people itself, and to bring it under the dominion and power of those intolerable decemvirs?

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