Letters from both the consuls arrived at Rome nearly at the same time. That of Lucius Cornelius gave an account of the battle fought with the Boians at Mutina;
that of Quintus Minucius, from Pisae, mentioned, that “the holding of the elections had fallen to his lot, but that affairs in Liguria were in so uncertain a position, that he could not depart thence without bringing ruin on the allies, and material injury on the commonwealth.
He therefore advised that, if the senate thought proper, they should direct his colleague (as his war was decided) to return to Rome for the elections.
He said, if Cornelius should object to this, because that employment had not fallen to his lot, he would certainly do whatever the senate should order; but he begged them to consider again and again, whether it would not be more to the advantage of the republic, that an interregnum should take place, than that the province should be left by him in such a state.”
The senate gave directions to Caius Scribonius to send two deputies of senatorian rank to the consul, Lucius Cornelius, to communicate to him the letter sent by his colleague to the senate, and to acquaint him, that if he did not come to Rome to elect new magistrates, the senate were resolved, rather than Quintus Minucius should be called away from a war, in which no progress had been made, to suffer an interregnum to take place.
The deputies sent brought back his answer, that he would come to Rome, to elect new magistrates.
The letter of' Lucius Cornelius, which contained an account of the battle with the Boians, occasioned a debate in the senate; for Marcus Claudius, lieutenant-general, in private letters to many of the senators, had written,
“that they might thank the fortune of the Roman people, and the bravery of the soldiers, that the affair had been successful.
That the conduct of the consul had been the cause of a great many men being lost, and of the enemy's army, for the annihilation of which an opportunity had been offered, having made its escape. That what made the loss of men the greater was, the reinforcements, [p. 1559]
necessary to support them when distressed, coming up too late from the reserve; and that, what enabled the enemy to slip out of their hands was, the signal being given too tardily to the legionary cavalry, and their not being allowed to pursue the fugitives.”
It was agreed, that no resolution should be hastily passed on the subject; and the discussion was accordingly adjourned to a fuller meeting.