That embassy, therefore, excepting that the ambassadors were admitted and heard, proved likewise vain and fruitless.
Hanno alone, in opposition to the rest of the senate, pleaded the cause of the treaty, amidst deep silence on account of his authority, and not from the approbation of the audience. He said: that he had admonished and forewarned them by the gods, the arbiters and witnesses of treaties, that they should not send the son of Hamilcar to the army;
that the manes, that the offspring of that man could not rest in [p. 709]
peace, nor ever, while any one of the Barcine name and blood survived, would the Roman treaties continue undisturbed.
“You, supplying as it were fuel to the flame, have sent to your armies a youth burning with the desire of sovereign power, and seeing but one road to his object, if by exciting war after war, he may live surrounded by arms and legions. You have therefore fostered this fire, in which you now burn.
Your armies invest Saguntum, whence they are forbidden by the treaty: ere long the Roman legions will invest Carthage, under the guidance of those gods through whose aid they revenged in the former war the infraction of the treaty. Are you unacquainted with the enemy, or with yourselves, or with the fortune of either nation?
Your good general refused to admit into his camp ambassadors coming from allies and in behalf of allies, and set at nought the law of nations. They, however, after being there repulsed, where not even the ambassadors of enemies are prohibited admittance, come to you: they require restitution according to the treaty: let not guilt attach to the state, they demand to have delivered up to them the author of the transgression, the person who is chargeable with this offence.
The more gently they proceed, —the slower they are to begin, the more unrelentingly, I fear, when they have once commenced, will they indulge resentment. Set before your eyes the islands Aegates and Eryx, all that for twenty-four years ye have suffered by land and sea.
Nor was this boy the leader, but his father Hamilcar himself, a second Mars, as these people would have it: but we had not refrained from Tarentum, that is, from Italy, according to the treaty; as now we do not refrain from Saguntum.
The gods and men have, therefore, prevailed over us; and as to that about which there was a dispute in words, whether of the two nations had infringed the treaty, the issue of the war, like an equitable judge, hath awarded the victory to the party on whose side justice stood. It is against Carthage that Hannibal is now moving his vineae and towers: it is the wall of Carthage that he is shaking with his battering-ram.
The ruins of Saguntum (oh that I may prove a false prophet!) will fall on our heads; and the war commenced against the Saguntines must be continued against the Romans. Shall we, therefore, some one will say, deliver up Hannibal?
In what relates to him I am aware that my authority is of little weight, on ac- [p. 710]
count of my enmity with his father. But I both rejoice that Hamilcar perished, for this reason, that, had he lived, we should have now been engaged in a war with the Romans; and this youth, as the fury and firebrand of this war, I hate and detest.
Nor ought he only to be given up in atonement for the violated treaty; but even though no one demanded him, he ought to be transported to the extremest shores of earth or sea, and banished to a distance, whence neither his name nor any tidings of him can reach us, and he be unable to disturb the peace of a tranquil state.
I therefore give my opinion, that ambassadors be sent immediately to Rome to satisfy the senate; others to tell Hannibal to lead away his army from Saguntum, and to deliver up Hannibal himself, according to the treaty to the Romans; and I propose a third embassy, to make restitution to the Saguntines.”