The Numidians, in a few days executed their commission; and a letter from Adherbal was read in the senate, of which the following was the purport:
"It is not through my own fault, Conscript Fathers, that I so often send requests to you; but the violence of Jugurtha compels me; whom so strong a desire for my destruction has seized, that he pays no regard1
either to you or to the immortal gods; my blood he covets beyond every thing. Five months, in consequence, have I, the ally and friend of the Roman people, been besieged with an armed force; neither the remembrance of my father Micipsa's benefits, nor your decrees, are of any avail for my relief; and whether I am more closely pressed by the sword, or by famine, I am unable to say.
"From writing further concerning Jugurtha, my present condition deters me; for I have experienced, even before,2
that little credit is given to the unfortunate. Yet I can perceive that his views extend further than to myself, and that he does not expect to possess, at the same time, your friendship and my kingdom; which of the two he thinks the more desirable, must be manifest to every one. For, in the first place, he murdered my brother Hiempsal; and, in the next, expelled me from my dominions; which, however, may be regarded as our own wrongs, and as having no reference to you. But now he occupies your kingdom with an army; he keeps me, whom you appointed a king over the Numidians, in a state of blockade; and in what estimation he holds the words of your embassadors, my perils may serve to show. What then is left, except your arms, that can make an impression upon him ?
"I could wish, indeed, that what I now write, as well as the complaints which I lately made before the senate, were false, rather than that my present distresses should confirm the truth of my statements. But since I am born to be an example of Jugurtha's villainy, I do not now beg a release from death or distress, but only from the tyranny of an enemy, and from bodily torture. Respecting the kingdom of Numidia, which is your own property, determine as you please, but if the memory of my grandfather Masinissa is still cherished by you, deliver me, I entreat you, by the majesty of your empire, and by the sacred ties of friendship, from the inhuman hands of Jugurtha."