An Ancient speech.
--The following extract from Livy of a speech delivered in a full assembly of the Roman
people by the Consul Emilius Paullus
, at his departure for the Macedonian
war, is so applicable to a large class of our citizens at the present time that it may be well to publish it:
In every circle, and truly at every table, there are people who lead armies into Macedonia
; what know where the camp ought to be placed, what post ought to be occupied by troops ; when and through what pass Macedonia
should be entered, where magazines should be formed; how provisions should be conveyed by land and sea; and when it is proper to engage the enemy; when to lie quiet.
And they not only determine what is best to be done, but if anything is done is any other manner than what they have pointed out, they arraign the consul as if he was on trial before them.
These are great impediments to those who have the management of affairs; for every one cannot encounter injurious reports with the same constancy and firmness of mind as Fabius
did who chose to let his own authority be diminished through the folly of the people rather than to mismanage the public business with a high reputation.
"I am not one of those who think that commanders ought not to receive advice; on the contrary, I should deem that man more proud than wise who regulated every proceeding by the standard of his own single judgment.
What, then, is my opinion?
That commanders ought to be advised chiefly by persons of knowledge; by those who have made the art of war their particular study, and have derived instruction from experience; from those who are present at the scene of action; who are the country, who see the enemy; who see the advantages that occasion offer, and who, like people embarked in the same ship, are sharers of the danger.
If, therefore, any person thinks himself qualified to give me advice respecting the war which I am to conduct — which may prove advantageous to the public — let him not refuse his assistance to the State
but let him come wish are into Macedonia
He shall be furnished with a ship, a horse, a tent — even his travelling charges shall be betrayed.
"But it he thinks this too much trouble, and prefers the repose of a city life to the tolls of war, let him not on land assume the office of a pilot.
The city itself furnishes abundance of staples for conversation; let it confine its passion for talking within it sown precincts, and rest assured that we shall pay no attention to any councils but such as shall be framed within our camp."