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After the senate had made all these arrangements, the consul L. Aemilius left the House and proceeded to the Assembly, where he delivered the following speech:  "I think, Quirites, that my having received, through the ballot, Macedonia as my province has been greeted more warmly than when I was congratulated on my election as consul, or on the day when I entered on office. And the sole reason for this, I believe, is that you thought I could be the means of bringing this long-protracted war to such a close as shall be worthy of the greatness of Rome.  I hope that the decision of the ballot has been regarded with favour by the gods also, and that they will aid me in executing the task before me.  Some things I can prognosticate, others I can feel hopeful about. This I venture to affirm with absolute certainty-I will strive to the utmost of my power, that the hopes you have formed of me shall not turn out to be vain.  All measures necessary for the war the senate has already taken, and as they have decided that I must start immediately, and there is nothing to hinder me, my distinguished colleague, C. Licinius, will carry out those measures with as much energy as if he himself were going to conduct the war.  "What I write to the senate or to you, I ask you to believe, and not strengthen, by giving credence to them, the idle rumours of which no one will confess himself the author.  For it is a common experience, and I have noticed it especially in this war, that no one can be so indifferent to public opinion as not to find his courage and energy influenced by it.  In all public places where people congregate, and actually-would you believe it! —in private parties, there are men who know who are leading the armies into Macedonia, where their camps ought to be placed, what strategical positions ought to be occupied, when and by what pass Macedonia ought to be entered, where the magazines are to be formed, by what mode of land and sea transport [9??] supplies are to be conveyed, when actions are to be fought, and when it is better to remain inactive.  And they not only lay down what ought to be done, but when anything is done contrary to their opinion they arraign the consul as though he were being impeached before the Assembly. This greatly interferes with the successful prosecution of a war, for it is not everybody who can show such firmness and resolution in the teeth of hostile criticism as Fabius did; he preferred to have his authority weakened by the ignorance and caprice of the people rather than gain popularity by disservice to the State.  I am not one of those who think that generals are not to be advised; on the contrary, the man who always acts on his own initiative shows, in my judgment, more arrogance than wisdom.  How then does the case stand? Commanders ought first of all to get the advice of thoughtful and far-seeing men who have special experience of military affairs; then from those who are taking part in the operations, who know the country and recognise a favourable opportunity when it comes, who, like comrades on a voyage, share the same dangers.  If, then, there is any man who in the interests of the commonwealth feels confident that he can give me good advice in the war which I am to conduct, let him not refuse to help his country, but go with me to Macedonia. I will supply him with a ship, a horse, a tent, and with his travelling expenses as well.  If anyone thinks this too much trouble, let him not try to act as a sea pilot whilst he is on land.  The city itself affords plenty of subjects for conversation, let him confine his loquacity to these; he may rest assured that the discussions in our councils of war will satisfy us."  After delivering this speech and offering the customary sacrifice on the Alban Mount at the Latin Festival on March 31, the consul left, in company with the praetor, for Macedonia.  It is recorded that the consul was escorted by an unusually large crowd of well-wishers, and that people predicted with hopeful confidence the near close of the Macedonian war and the early return and brilliant triumph of the consul.
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