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Though there was sufficient truth in these charges to give them an air of probability, Q. Metellus carried the majority with him. Whilst agreeing with the rest of Fabius' speech, he dissented from what he said about Scipio.  Scipio, he said, had only the other day been chosen by his fellow-citizens, young as he was, to command the expedition which was to recover Spain, and after he had recovered it, was elected consul to bring the Punic War to a close.  All hopes were now centered in him as the man who was destined to subjugate Africa and rid Italy of Hannibal. How, he asked, could they with any propriety order him to be peremptorily recalled, like another Q. Pleminius, without being heard in his defence, especially when the Locrians admitted that the cruelties of which they complained took place at a time when Scipio was not even on the spot and when nothing could be definitely brought against him, beyond undue leniency or shrinking from cruelty in sparing his subordinate officers?  He moved a resolution that M. Pomponius, the praetor to whom Sicily had been allotted, should depart for his province in three days' time;  that the consuls should select at their discretion ten members of the senate who would accompany the praetor, as well as two tribunes of the plebs and one of the aediles.  With these as his assessors he should conduct an investigation, and if the acts of which the Locrians complained should prove to have been done under the orders or with the consent of Scipio, they should order him to quit his province.  If he had already landed in Africa, the tribunes and the aedile with two of the ten senators whom the praetor considered fittest for the task should proceed thither, the [8??] tribunes and the aedile to bring Scipio back and the two senators to take command of the army until a fresh general arrived.  If on the other hand M. Pomponius and his ten assessors ascertained that what had been done was neither by the orders nor with the concurrence of Scipio, he was to retain his command and carry on the war as he proposed.  This resolution proposed by Metellus was adopted by the senate, and the tribunes of the plebs were asked to arrange which of them should accompany the praetor.  The pontifical college was consulted as to the necessary expiations for the desecration and robbery of Proserpine's temple. The plebeian tribunes who accompanied the praetor were M. Claudius Marcellus and M. Cincius Alimentus. A plebeian aedile was assigned to them so that in case Scipio refused to obey the praetor or had already landed in Africa, the tribunes might, by virtue of their sacrosanct authority, order the aedile to arrest him and bring him back with them. They decided to go to Locri first and then on to Messana.
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