A Lesson from history.
The extract given below is taken from Plutarch's Lives, and will be bound interesting in view of the position of the contending armies.
History is constantly repeating itself.
of yesterday is not unlike the Fabius
of to-day, and Scipio
of glorious memory is likely to find his antitype in our own Jackson
After Publius Cornelius Scipio
, who was sent pro-consul into Spain
, had driven the Carths gonfalons out of that province, and had reduced several towns and nations under the obedience of Rome
, he was received at his coming home with a general joy and acclamation of the people; who, to show their gratitude and high esteem for him designed him consul for the year ensuing.
Knowing what high expectation they had of him, he thought the design of only driving Hannibal
out of Italy
rot great enough to answer the hopes and the happiness they promised themselves from his consulship.
He therefore proposed no less a task to himself than to make Carthage
the seat of the war, and so to college Hannibal
, instead of invading the countries of others, to draw back and defend his own. To this end he made use of all the credit and favor he had with the people, and assiduously courting them, left no popular act united that he might gain them to second his design.
, on the other side, opposed with all his might this undertaking of Scipio
telling the people that nothing but the temerity of a hot young man could inspire them will such dangerous counsels, which, by drawing away their forces to parts so remote, might expose Rome
itself to be the conquest of Hannibal
His authority and persuasions prevailed with the Senate to espouse his sentiments; but the common people thought that he envied the fame of Scipio
, and that he was afraid lest this young conqueror should have the glory to drive Hannibal
out of Italy
and to the war, which had for so many years continued and protracted under his Government.
To say the truth, when Fabien first opposed this project of Scipio
, I believe he did it in consideration only of the public safety, and of the danger which the Commonwealth
might incur by such a proceeding.
But when he found Scipio
every day increasing in the esteem of the people, envy then, and ambition, took hold of him, which made him so violent in his opposition.
For he applied himself to Crassus
, the colleague of Scipio
, and persuaded him not to yield that province to Scipio
, but that (if his inclinations were for that war) he should himself in person lead the army to Carthage
He also hindered the giving money to Scipio
for the war, who was forced to raise it on his own credit and interest, and was supplied by the cities of hetrusia, which were wholly devoted to him. On the other side, Crassus
would not stir against him, nor remove out of Italy
, as being in his own nature an enemy to striate and contention, and also as having the care of religion by his office of high priest.
tried other wave to break the design; he declaimed both in the Senate and to the people that Scipio
did not only himself fly from Hannibal
, but did also endeavor to drain Italy
of all their forces, and to spirit away the youth of the country to a foreign war, leaving behind them their parents, wives, and children, a defenceless prey to the enemy at their doors.
With this he so terrified the people that at last they would only allow to Scipio
for the war the legions which were Sicily
, and three hundred of those men who had so bravely served him in Spain
In these transactions hitherto Sabius only seemed to follow the dictates of his own wary temper, But after that Scipio
was gone over into Africa
, when news was brought to Rome
of his wonderful exploits and victories, of a Numidian King
taken prisoner, of a vast slaughter of their men, of two camps of the enemy burnt and destroyed, and in a great quantity of arms and horses when hereupon the Cartilaginous had been compelled to send their envoys to Hannibal
to tail him home, and leave Italy
to defend Cartilage when for so dent and transcending services the whole people of Rome
, with no look gratitude than acclamation; cried p and extolled the actions of Scipio
, even then old Fables contended that a successor should be sent in his place, alleging for it only the old threadbare and pitiful reason of the mutability of fortune, as if she would be weary of long favoring the same person.
But this too manifestly laid open his obvious and morose author, wise nothing (not done by himself) could please him. Nay, when Hannibal
had put his army on shipboard, and taken leave of Italy
, and when the people had therefore decreed a thanksgiving day, did habits still oppose and disturb the universal joy of Rome
by spreading about his fears and apprehensions, and by telling them that the Common.
th was never more in danger than now and that Hannibal
was a more dreadful enemy under the walls of Carthage
than ever he had been in Italy
; that it would be fatal to Rome
should encounter his victorious army, still warm with the blood of so many Roman Generals
, Dictators, and Col. Some of the people were started with these declarations, and were brought to believe that the farther off Hannibal
was, the nearer was their danger.
afterwards fought Hannibal
and defeated them and sufficiently humbled the pride of hage, whereby the raised again the drooping Alvita
of the Romans, no more to he dejected, and firmly established their Empire, which the tempest of this punic war had to long caused to fluctuate.