While this passed in Spain, the day of election was drawing near. Lucius Cornelius, therefore, the consul, left Marcus Claudius, lieutenant-general, in command of the army, and came to Rome.
After representing in the senate the services which he had performed, and the present state of the province, he expostulated with the conscript fathers on
their not having ordered a thanksgiving to the immortal gods, when so great a war was so happily terminated by one successful battle; and then demanded, that they would at the same time decree a supplication and a triumph.
But, before the question was put, Quintus Metellus, who had been consul and dictator, said, that, “letters had been brought at the same time from the consul, Lucius Cornelius, to the senate, and from Marcus Marcellus, to a great part of the senators; which letters contradicted each other, and for that reason the consideration of the business had been adjourned, in order that it might be debated when the writers of those letters should be present.
He had expected, therefore, that the consul, who knew that the lieutenant-general had written something to his disadvantage, would, when he himself was obliged to come, have brought him with him to Rome; especially, as the command of the army would, with more propriety, have been committed to Tiberius Sempronius, who already possessed authority, than to the lieutenant-general.
As the case stood at present, it appeared as if the latter was kept out of the way designedly, lest he might assert in person the same things which he had written in his letters;
and, face to face, either substantiate his charges, or, if he had alleged any thing untrue, be convicted of misrepresentation, until the truth should be clearly discovered.
For this reason he was of opinion, that the senate should not, at present, assent to either of the decrees demanded by the consul.”
When he, however, persisted with undiminished energy in putting the question, that a thanksgiving should be ordered, and himself allowed to ride into the city in triumph; the plebeian tribunes, Marcus and Caius Titinius, declared, that they would enter their protest, if the senate passed any decree on the subject.