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20.

Vercingetorix, when he had returned to his men, was accused of treason, in that he had moved his camp nearer the Romans, in that he had gone away with all the cavalry, in that he had left so great forces without a commander, in that, on his departure, the Romans had come at such a favorable season, and with such dispatch; that all these circumstances could not have happened accidentally or without design; that he preferred holding the sovereignty of Gaul by the grant of Caesar to acquiring it by their favor. Being accused in such a manner, he made the following reply to these charges:-"That his moving his camp had been caused by want of forage, and had been done even by their advice; that his approaching near the Romans had been a measure dictated by the favorable nature of the ground, which would defend him by its natural strength; that the service of the cavalry could not have been requisite in marshy ground, and was useful in that place to which they had gone; that he, on his departure, had given the supreme command to no one intentionally, lest he should be induced by the eagerness of the multitude to hazard an engagement, to which he perceived that all were inclined, owing to their want of energy, because they were unable to endure fatigue any longer. That, if the Romans in the mean time came up by chance, they [the Gauls] should feel grateful to fortune; if invited by the information of some one they should feel grateful to him, because they were enabled to see distinctly from the higher ground the smallness of the number of their enemy, and despise the courage of those who, not daring to fight, retreated disgracefully into their camp. That he desired no power from Caesar by treachery, since he could have it by victory, which was now assured to himself and to all the Gauls; nay, that he would even give them back the command, if they thought that they conferred honor on him, rather than received safety from him. That you may be assured," said he, "that I speak these words with truth; -listen to these Roman soldiers!" He produces some camp-followers whom he had surprised on a foraging expedition some days before, and had tortured by famine and confinement. They being previously instructed in what answers they should make when examined, say, "That they were legionary soldiers, that, urged by famine and want, they had recently gone forth from the camp, [to see] if they could find any corn or cattle in the fields; that the whole army was distressed by a similar scarcity, nor had any one now sufficient strength, nor could bear the labor of the work; and therefore that the general was determined, if he made no progress in the siege, to draw off his army in three days." "These benefits," says Vercingetorix, "you receive from me, whom you accuse of treason-me, by whose exertions you see so powerful and victorious an army almost destroyed by famine, without shedding one drop of your blood; and I have taken precautions that no state shall admit within its territories this army in its ignominious flight from this place."

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, M. Grant Daniell, 1898)
load focus Latin (T. Rice Holmes, 1914)
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