“Censors, we are not unmindful that you have been just now, by the whole body of the Roman people, set over our morals; and that we ought to be admonished and ruled by you, not you by us.
Nevertheless, that should be pointed out, which in you may either give offence to all good men, or at least what they would wish to be altered.
When we look at you separately, Marcus Aemilius, Marcus Fulvius, we know not, in the whole state, any one person whom, if we were called back again to vote, we could wish to be preferred to you; but when we behold you both together, we cannot avoid fearing that you are but ill associated;
and that the public may not reap as much advantage from your being exceedingly pleasing to every one of us, as injury, from your being displeasing one to another.
You have for many years past harboured an enmity, violent in its degree, and detrimental to yourselves; and it is to be feared, that from this day forward it may prove more detrimental to us and to the state, than it has been to you.
As to the reasons why we fear this, many observations which might be made occur to yourselves; had you not happened to be implacable they would have engrossed your senses.
These feuds we all beseech you to terminate this day, in that sacred place, and to suffer those whom the Roman people have united by their suffrages, to be united by us, through this re-establishment of friendship also.
May you, with unanimity and harmony, choose the senate, review the knights, hold the census, and close the lustrum, as truly and sincerely as you would wish that to happen which you express in the words, used in almost all your prayers, 'that this affair may prove good and prosperous to me and my colleague:'
and cause us men also to believe that you really desire that which you entreat of the gods. Titus Tatius and Romulus, after they had engaged in battle as public enemies, in the midst of the forum of this city, reigned there with unanimity.
Not only quarrels, but wars, are ended; and from deadly foes men frequently become faithful allies, nay, sometimes, even fellow-citizens. The Albans, after the demolition of Alba, were brought over to Rome: the Latins, the Sabines, were admitted into the number of citizens.
It is a common saying, and, because founded in truth, has become a proverb, that 'friendships ought to be immortal, but enmities mortal.”'
A roar of approbation burst forth: and [p. 1904]
presently after, the voices of every one present, joining in the same request, interrupted his speech. Then Aemilius, besides other complaints, represented, that through Marcus Fulvius he had been twice deprived of the consulship, which seemed sure.
On the other hand, Fulvius complained that he had always been assailed by Aemilius, and that security had been given for him, which was attended with great disgrace.
Nevertheless, each of them intimated that if the other would wish, he was ready to submit to the direction of such a number of the most respectable members of the state; and all present urgently repeating their request, they mutually pledged their right hands, and their honour, to dismiss in reality and forget all animosity. Then the whole assembly expressing the highest applause of their behaviour, they were escorted to the Capitol.
Both the attention paid to such a matter by the persons of the first consequence, and the compliance of the censors, were most warmly approved and commended by the senate.
The censors then demanded that a sum of money should be assigned to them, which they might expend in public works; and the customs of one year were accordingly decreed to them.