Spurius Larcius and Titus Herminius were the1
next consuls, and after them came Publius Lucretius and Publius Valerius Publicola. In the latter year an embassy was sent to Rome for the last time by Porsinna to negotiate for the restoration of Tarquinius to power. To these envoys the senate replied that they would send representatives to the king, and they forthwith dispatched those of the Fathers who were held in the highest esteem.
It would not have been impossible, they said, to reply shortly that the royal family would not be received. It was not for that reason that they had preferred to send chosen members of the senate to him rather than to give their answer to his ambassadors in Rome. But they had desired that for all time discussion of that question might be ended, and that where there were so great obligations on both sides there might not be mutual irritation, from the king's seeking that which was incompatible with the liberty of the Roman people, while the Romans, unless they were willing [p. 269]
to sacrifice their existence to their good nature, denied2
the request of a man whom they would not willingly have denied anything.
The Roman people were not living under a monarchy, but were free. They had resolved to throw open their gates to enemies sooner than to kings; in this prayer they were all united, that the day which saw the end of liberty in their City might also see the City's end.
They therefore entreated him, if he desired the welfare of Rome, to permit her to be free.
The king, yielding to his better feelings, made answer: “Since this is your fixed resolve, I will neither importune you with repeated insistence upon a hopeless plea, nor will I deceive the Tarquinii with the hope of aid which it is not in my power to grant. Let them seek elsewhere, whether war or peace be their object, for a place of exile, that nothing may hinder my being at peace with you.” His words were followed by yet more friendly deeds.
The hostages remaining in his hands he returned, and he gave back the Veientine land which he had taken from the Romans by the treaty made on Janiculum.
Tarquinius, cut off from all hope of returning, departed for Tusculum, to spend his exile in the home of his son-in-law, Mamilius Octavius. The Romans enjoyed an unbroken peace with Porsinna.