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Agricola knew by the experience of past events, that conquest, while it loads the vanquished with injury and oppression, can never be secure and permanent. He determined, therefore, to suppress the seeds of future hostility. He began a reform in his own household. He removed his slaves and freedmen from every department of public business. Promotions in the army no longer went by favour; merit decided, and the man of worth, Agricola knew, would be the most faithful soldier. To know everything, and yet overlook a great deal; to forgive slight offences, and treat matters of importance with due severity, was the rule of his conduct; never vindictive, and in many instances disarmed by penitence. The exigencies of the army called for large contributions of corn and other supplies, and yet he lightened the burden by just and equal assessments, providing at the same time against the extortion of the tax-gatherer, more odious and intolerable than even the tax itself.
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