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Scipio Harangues the Mutinous Troops

He began his speech by saying that he wondered what their grievances were, or what they looked for forward that induced them to mutiny. For that there were three motives only on which men usually venture to rebel against their country and their commanders,—discontent and anger with their officers; dissatisfaction with their present position; or, lastly, hopes of something better and more glorious. "Now, I ask you," he continued, "which of these can you allege? It is with me, I presume, that you are dissatisfied, because I did not pay you your wages. But this cannot be laid to my charge; for while I was in office your pay was never short. The fault then may lie with Rome that the accumulated arrears have not been settled. Which was your proper course then in that case? To have brought forward your complaint thus, as rebels and enemies to the country that nurtured you, or to have come personally to me and stated your case, and to have begged your friends to support and help you? The latter would have been the better plan in my opinion. In those who serve others for pay it is sometimes pardonable to revolt against their paymasters; but in the case of those who are fighting for themselves, for their own wives and children, it can in no circumstances be conceded. It is just as though, on the plea of being wronged in money matters by his own father, a man were to come in arms to slay him from whom he received his own life. Or perhaps you may allege that I imposed greater hardships and dangers on you than on the others, and gave the rest more than their share of profits and booty. But you can neither venture to say this, nor, if you did venture, could you prove it. What then is your grievance against me at this moment, I should like to ask, that you have mutinied? I believe that not one of you will be able to express or even conceive it.

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