“The people being informed through Marcus Duilius, who had been tribune of the people, that by reason of their continual contentions no business was transacted, passes from the Aventine to the Sacred mount; Duilius affirming that serious concern for business would not enter the minds of the patricians, until they saw the city deserted.
That the Sacred mount would remind them of the people's firmness; that they would then know, that matters could not be restored to concord without the restoration of (the tribunitian) power.
Having set out along the Nomentan way, which was then called the Ficulnean, they pitched their camp on the Sacred mount, imitating the moderation of their fathers by committing no violence.
The commons followed the army, no one whose age would permit him declining to go. Their wives and children attended their steps, piteously asking to whom would they leave them, in a city in which neither chastity nor liberty were respected?
When the unusual solitude rendered every place in Rome void; when there was in the forum no one but a few old men; when, the patricians being convened into the senate, the forum appeared deserted; more now besides Horatius and Valerius began to exclaim,” What will ye now wait for, conscript fathers?
If the decemvirs do not put an end to their obstinacy, will ye suffer all things to go to wreck and ruin? What power is that, decemvirs, which ye [p. 223]
embrace and hold so firmly? do you mean to administer justice to walls and mere houses?
Are you not ashamed that an almost greater number of your lictors is to be seen in the forum than of the other citizens? What are ye to do, in case the enemy should approach the city? What, if the commons should come presently in arms, if we seem not to be moved by their secession? do you mean to conclude your power by the fall of the city?
But (the case is this,) either we must not have the commons, or they must have their tribunes. We would sooner dispense with our patrician magistrates, than they with their plebeian.
That power, when new and untried, they wrested from our fathers; much less will they, now that they have tested the sweets of it, endure its loss: more especially since we make not a moderate use of our power, so that they may not stand in need of (tribunitian) aid.
When these arguments were thrown out from every quarter, the decemvirs, overpowered by the united opinions of all, declare that, since such seems to be the feeling, they would submit to the authority of the patricians.
All they ask is, that they may be protected from popular rage; they give a warning, that they should not through shedding their blood habituate the people to inflict punishment on the patricians.