But although in these particulars he showed himself a popular and moderate lawgiver, in the case of an immoderate offence he made the penalty severe. For he enacted a law by which any one who sought to make himself tyrant might be slain without trial, and the slayer should be free from blood-guiltiness if he produced proofs of the crime. For although it is impossible for one who attempts so great a task to escape all notice, it is not impossible for him to do so long enough to make himself too powerful to be brought to trial, which trial his very crime precludes. He therefore gave any one who was able to do so the privilege of anticipating the culprit's trial.
He also received praise for his law concerning the public treasury. When it was necessary for the citizens to contribute from their substance means for carrying on the war, he was unwilling to assume the administration of it himself, or to allow his friends to do so, or, indeed, to have the public moneys brought into any private house. He therefore made the temple of Saturn a treasury, as it is to this day, and gave the people the privilege of appointing two young men as quaestors, or treasurers.
The first to be thus appointed were Publius Veturius and Marcus Minucius, and large sums of money were collected. For one hundred and thirty thousand names were on the assessment lists, orphans and widows being excused from the contribution.1
This matter regulated, he caused Lucretius, the father of Lucretia, to be appointed his colleague in the consulship.2
To him he yielded the precedence, as the elder man, and committed to him the so-called
,’ a privilege of seniority which has continued from that day to this. But Lucretius died a few days afterwards, and in a new election Marcus Horatius was chosen consul, and shared the office with Publicola for the remainder of the year.