Imatges de pÓgina

and you 'engaged before all the world that, when we arrived to manhood, you would surrender the power to me, as to the elder brother: you ought, therefore, if you desired to do justice, when you delivered up to me the palace of my grandfather, to have restored his kingdom, together with his fortunes, after the example of those honest and good guardians, who, having taken upon themselves the care of royal orphans, hare, truly and justly, restored to them the kingdoms of their fathers and ancestors, when they came to be men. But, if you thought I had not yet attained a proper degree of prudence, and that, by reason of my youth, I was unequal to the government of so considerable a city, yet, when I arrived to the age of thirty years, and my body and mind were in the greatest vigour, you ought to have put the government of the city into my hands, at the same time you gave me your daughter in marriage: for, at that age, you also first took upon yourself the administration both of our family and of the kingdom.

And if you had done this, you would, in the first place, have gained the character of a pious and just man; and, after that, you would have been my counsellor, and have had a share in all honours; you would have been talled


benefactor, my father, and my preserver; and have received every other distinguishing appellation, which mankind give to the authors of worthy actions; instead of depriving me of my right for four-and-forty years together, without being able to charge me with any defect either in my person or understanding. After this

usage, you have the assurance to ask me, what ill treatment provokes me to look upon you as my enemy, and for what reason I accuse you ?

But answer me, yourself, Tullus, and say for what reason you think me unworthy to inherit the honours of my grandfather, and what specious pretence you have to alledge for depriving me of them. Is it that you look upon me as supposititious, and illegitimate, and not his lawful son? If so, why did you act as guardian to one who was a stranger to his blood, and why did you restore his palace to him, as soon as he came to be a man? Or is it, that you still look upon me as an orphan child, and incapable of administering the affairs of the public, when I am near fifty years of age? Lay aside, then, the affectation of your shameless questions, and cease, at last, to be an ill man. However, if you have any reasons to alledge against what I have said, I am ready to leave the determination of our contest to these who are present, than whom you can find none in the city better qualified to decide it. But if, from this tribunal, you fly (as it is customary with you) to the rabble you have deluded, I will not sufer it; for I am prepared, not only to defend 'my cause by my words, but, if these fail to convince you, to support it by my actions. !

XVIII. The reply of Servius Tullus to Tarquinius



It seems, fathers, that, as a man, I ought to expect every thing, however extraordinary; and to look upon nothing as strange, since Tarquiriius desires to dethrone

me, who received him when he was an infant; and, when his enemies were forming designs against his life, preserved him, and brought him up; and, when he came to be a man, honoured him so far as to make him my son-in-law; and designed to make him heir to all my fortunes at my death: bat, since every thing has happened to me contrary to my expectation, and that I myself am aceused of having wronged him, I shall after. wards lament my own misfortune, and at present plead my cause against him. I took upon myself, Tarquinius, the guardianship of your brother, and of yourself, when

you were left infants, - not voluntarily, but con. pelled to it by the situation of affairs; since those who .claimed the kingdom, had openly assassinated your grandfather, and were said to form secret designs both against you, and the rest of his relations; and all your friends aeknowledged that, if once they got the power into their hands, they would not have left even one .branch of the Tarquinian family alive: neither was there "any other person to take care of, and guard you against their enterprises, but a woman, the mother of your father; and she, by reason of her great age, stood herself in Reed of other guardians : so that I was the only person


left to take care of yon in your destitute condition, though you now call me a stranger, and in no degree related to your family. However, by taking upon my. self the conduct of your affairs, though in this situation, I not only brought the assassins of your grandfather to pnnishment, and bred you up till you were men; but, as I bad no heirs male, designed to leave you all my for. tanes. You have now, 'Tarquinins, the account of my guardianship, and you will not pretend to say that any part of it is misrepresented.

Concerning the rayal dignity, since this is the point you accuse me of, learn by what means I obtained it; and for what reasons I shall resign it neither to you, nor to any other person.

When I took upon myself the government of the city, finding there were some designs forming against me, I desired to surrender it to the people, and, having assembled them all together, I offered to resign the government to them; preferring a quiet life, free from danger, to this envied sovereignty, the source of greater pains than pleasures. But the Romans would not suffer me to execute my design; neither did they think fit to place the government in

other hands, but continued it in mine; and, by their votes, sonferred the royal dignity on me; a dignity which be. longed to them, Tarquinius, not to you; in the same manner as they conferred the same dignity upon your grandfather, who was a foreigner, and in no degree refated to the king, his predecessor'; thongh Ancus Mar, eius, the former king, left sons then in the vigour of their age; not grandchildren and infants, as you and your brother were left by Tarquinius. But if it were a general law that the heirs to the possessions and fortunes of deceased kings, should also be heirs to their dignities

, Tarquinius, your grandfather, would not have succeeded to the sovereignty upon the death of Ancus, but the elder of his sons. However, the people of Rome did not call the heir of the father, but the person who was worthy of the command, to reign over them: for they looked upon the private fortunes to belong to those who had acquired them, but the royal dignity to those who had conferred it; and that the former, upon the death of the persons in possession, ought to descend to such as are intitled to them, eithex by their selation to, ar the


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

will of, the deceased; but that the latter, when the persons who receired it die, returns to those who gave it. Unless

you have any thing of this kind to alledge, that your grandfather received the sovereignty upon certain conditions; as, that he should not be deprived of the possession of it himself, and have power to leave it to you, who are his grandsons; and that the people should not have the right to take it from you, and confer it upon me: if you have any such thing to alledge, why do

you not produce the contraet? However, this you cannot say. But, if I did not obtain the power in the most justifiable manner, as you say, having neither been elected by the Interreges, nor received the administration from the senate, and that other things required by the la'y were not observed; if this is 80,


wrong these, not you; and deserve to be dethroned by them, not by you: but the truth is, I wrong neither these, nor any one else. The length of my reign, which bas now lasted forty-four years, witnesses that the power was both then justly given to me, and is now justly vested in me; du. ring wžich time none of the Romans ever thought I teigned unjustly, neither did the people or the senate ever endeavour to dethrone me.

But, to omit these things, and give an answer to what you alledge: if I had deprived you of the power that was deposited in my hands by your grandfather, in trust for you, and, coatrary to all the established rules of jus. tice

, had withheld your kingdom from you, you ought to have applied yourself to those who conferred the power on me, and to have vented your indignation and reproaches both against me, for continuing in the possession of it, when it did not belong to me; and against them, for having conferred on me a power that belonged to others : for you would easily have prevailed on them to do you justice, if you could have shewn you had a right

. However, if you could not confide in such an allegation, but were of opinion that I governed unjustly, and that you were a fitter person to be intrusted with the care of the commonwealth, you ought to have done this; to have enquired into the errors of my government, to have displayed the number of your own actions, and to have summoned me to a decision of the contest: none of which you did. But, after so great a length of time, as if recovered from a long lit of drunkenness, you come now to accuse me; and, even now, you accuse me in an improper place: for here you ought not to alledge these things-(I desire, fathers, you will not be offended at what I have said; for it was only with a view of expose ing his calumuy, not of infringing your. jurisdiction) but you ought to have desired me to call an assembly of the people, and there to have accused me. However

, since you have declined this, I will do it for you; and, ·having called the people together, I will appoint them judges of the crimes you accuse me of; and, again, leave it to them to determine which of us two is the fittest person to govern; and whatever they shall unanimously order me to do, I shall submit to. This is a sufficient answer to his allegations; since the effect of many, or few reasons, when urged against unreasonable adver. saries, is the same: for words cannot persuade them to be just. But I am surprised, fathers, to find any


yonr num ber desirous to dethrone me, and conspiring with this man against me: I would willingly enquire of them what injury provokes them to attack me, and what actions of mine they are offended at? Is it because they know that great numbers, during my reign, have been put to death without a trial, banished their country, deprived of their fortunes, or involved in any other undeserved calamity ? Or, having none of these tyrannical crimes to accase me of, are they acquainted with any abuses I have been guilty of to married women, or insults on their maiden daughters, or any other flagitious attempt upon the person of a freeman? If I have been guilty of any of these crimes, I deserve to be deprived, at the same time, both of my dignity, and of my life. But I am proud, above measure; and, by being grievous to my subjects, am become odious to them; so that none of them can bear the

arrogance of

my administration Which of my predecessors ever used his power with the same moderation I have used mine, who have treated all my subjects with the same benevolence an indulgent fa. ther shews to his own children; who have even lessened the power you gave me, which was the same your ances tors suecessively conferred on former king; and have appointed laws, which you all confirmed, relating to

« AnteriorContinua »