Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE SPEECH OF M. Æmilius Lepidus, the Consul, AGAINST SYLLA. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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THE SPEECH OF M. Æmilius Lepidus, the Consul, AGAINST SYLLA. - Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), The Works of Sallust (Gordon’s Discourses, Cicero’s Orations against Catiline) 
The Works of Sallust, translated into English with Political Discourses upon that Author. To which is added, a translation of Cicero’s Four Orations against Catiline (London: R. Ware, 1744).
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THE SPEECH OF M. Æmilius Lepidus, the Consul, AGAINST SYLLA.
Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, a turbulent Man, after the Year of his Consulship was expired, strove to be chosen Consul for another Year; and, for that Purpose, took Arms, and mastered great Part of Italy. He was defeated, and fled to Sardinia, where he died. Sylla had long before resigned the Dictatorship; though, in this Invective, Lepidus treats him as still Tyrant of Rome, probably because he still retained very great Influence there.
WHEN I reflect upon that Clemency and Probity of Yours, O Romans, which have raised you to the highest Pitch of Greatness and Renown over the Face of the whole Earth, and, at the same time, carry my Views to the Usurpation of Sylla, I am filled with the utmost Dread and Horror: For I am apprehensive, that your Backwardness to believe any one guilty of such Crimes, as you cannot think of without the highest Abhorrence, will lead you, unawares, into a fatal Snare (especially since he places all his Confidence in Treachery and Dissimulation, and draws his whole Security from a Persuasion, that, if your Apprehensions of him fall short of the Blackness of his Designs, he may thence be enabled to reduce you to so low a Condition, as to give up the Defence of your Liberty); or if you should foresee the Dangers that threaten you, I am afraid you will be more engaged in guarding against Them, than in executing Vengeance upon the Author of them.
The Instruments of his Dominion are not only Men of Rank and Figure, but such as have before them worthy Examples of illustrious Ancestors to copy after: And yet these very Men are now purchasing the Power of Tyrannizing over you, at the Expence of their own Liberty; and chuse those Conditions upon injurious Terms, rather than Freedom under the best System of equal Laws. Amazing Degeneracy and Baseness! The illustrious Offspring of the Æmilii, the Bruti, and Lutatii, born to demolish the virtuous Acquisitions of their brave Ancestors! For what was their Motive to take up Arms against Pyrrhus, against Hannibal and Antiochus, but the Defence of Liberty, and the secure Enjoyment of each Roman’s Property, and that the Laws only, and not the Will of any one Man, might be the Controuler of our Actions? But all these Advantages this outrageous Plunderer, this Romulus, detains as a Prey taken from a foreign Foe; and, unsatiated as he is with the Destruction of so many Armies, the Slaughter of a Consul, and other Commanders, who fell the Victims of his triumphant Arms; his Successes add Fewel to his Rage, contrary to other Conquerors, whose prosperous Fortune generally melts their Fury into Pity and Compassion. And yet he stops not here: He has even decreed Punishments to Children unborn, whose unhappy Lot it is, to have their Misery fixed and determined before their Birth. A singular Instance of Cruelty, not to be met with in any of the Histories of Mankind! And this savage Oppressor exults and rages hitherto with Impunity; Impunity derived only from the enormous Flagrancy of his Crimes: Whilst you are deterred from vindicating your Liberty, by the impotent Fear of adding to the Weight of your Bondage. But such Apprehensions must not discourage Romans: You must rouse to Action, and resist the Usurpation, or all you have will become the Spoil of this Oppressor: Think not of Delay, nor expect Relief from Prayers and Wishes. But perhaps you flatter yourselves, that now at last, satiated with Power, or ashamed of his Tyranny, he will tamely Resign what he has violently Ravished from you. Sylla Resign! That is too dangerous a Step for him to take, who has proceeded so far, as to esteem no Measures glorious, but what conduce to his Safety, and to account every Action honourable, that can any way support his Tyranny. From him, therefore, it is in vain to expect that sweet Tranquility and Peace, which, when attended with Liberty, many virtuous Men prefer to the Blaze of Honours, acquired by a Life of Hurry and Fatigue. Such is now your Situation, my Countrymen, that you must either resolve to hold the Reins of Government, or submit to the Yoke of Slavery; either awe and terrify your Opposer, or be awed and terrified by him. What else remains? Is there any thing, Human or Divine, that has escaped his Pollution? The People of Rome, not long since Lords of the World, now robbed of their Authority, their Dignity and Jurisdiction, reduced as they are to a State of Insignificancy and Contempt, are denied that small Pittance of Corn, which is the usual Allowance of Slaves. Our numerous Allies and Friends of Latium are, by the Tyranny of a single Person, bereft of those Privileges of Roman Citizens, which you thought fit to confer upon them, for their great Services and brave Exploits: And the Minions of his Power have seized, as the Reward of their Villainy, the paternal Inheritances of the unoffending Plebeians. Behold all Law, all Jurisdiction, the Revenue, the Provinces, and tributary Kings, all brought under the sovereign Arbitration of one Man! Nay, even the Life and Death of every Citizen are at his absolute Disposal: And you have seen him offering human Victims; and, at the Tomb of his deceased Friends, shedding the Blood of Roman Citizens.
Are you Men?—What then remains, but resolutely to exterminate the Tyranny, or bravely to die in the virtuous Attempt? since, by the Decree of Nature, all must die at last; nor can even Bulwarks of Iron secure us from the Stroke of Death; and none but a Dastard, of the most effeminate Spirit, would tamely yield to the Extremity of Misery, without making some Effort to repel the Calamity.
But whilst I lament to see my Country become the Spoil of a Faction, Sylla represents me as a seditious Man: He tells you, that I love Discord, and would promote Wars and Tumults; and he has this Reason for it, because I demand the Restitution of the Laws of Peace! Yes, it must be so; because there is no other way left to secure your Authority, but to permit Vettius Picens, and Cornelius the Scribe, with infamous Profusion, to squander the Substance which others have acquired with Honour and Reputation—to give your Approbation of the Proscriptions of Citizens, guiltless of all Crimes, but that of having an affluent Fortune—to allow the Torturing of so many illustrious Men—the Depopulation of the City, by Banishment and Slaughter—and the exposing to Sale the Wealth of the miserable Citizens; or lavishly bestow it on his Creatures, as was the Spoil taken from the People of Cimbria.
He farther objects against me, that I myself am in Possession of a Share of the Goods of the Proscribed. Yes, I am: But, that I am, is one of the highest Instances of his Tyranny: For neither could I, nor any other Roman, have been secure, if in this Case we had strictly adhered to the Rules of Equity. However, those things, which, under the Awe of his Tyranny, I was constrained to purchase, I am ready to restore to the lawful Owners: For it is far from my Intention to enrich myself with the Spoils of my Fellow-Citizens. No—Let it suffice, that we have endured other dire Effects of our tumtuluous Rage and Infatuations; Roman Legions encountering Roman Legions; and those Weapons, which were before employed only against foreign Foes, now turned against ourselves. ’Tis time, at last, to close the Scene, and put an End to this tragical Outrage and Villainy: But, tragical as it is, Sylla is so far from feeling any Remorse, that he glories in the Perpetration of it; and wants only more Power, to proceed to higher Acts of Tyranny. But it is not so much my Concern what Opinion you entertain of his Character; my Fear is, lest you should want Resolution to exert yourselves speedily; and, whilst you look upon each other in Doubt and Suspense, to see who will lead to the Onset, you should unhappily be anticipated; not so much by his superior Strength, which is greatly impaired, as through your own Indolence and Inactivity; and so fall absolutely under his Power, before you attempt to reduce him under yours, and even before he has the Confidence to flatter himself with the Hopes of such Success. For, except a few corrupted Minions of his Power, who approves of his Measures? Nay, who does not wish a total Change and Revolution, except in that one Instance of the Spoils of Victory? The Soldiers, perhaps you’ll say. Yes, the Soldiers doubtless, whose Blood was spilt to enrich Tarrula and Scyrrus, the vilest of Slaves! Or will those espouse his Interest, to whom, in Competition for Magistracy, even Fusidius was by him preferred; Fusidius, that detestable Pathic, that infamous Disgrace to every high Office to which he has been elevated? These Reflections give me room to hope for Assistance from the victorious Troops, who must at length be sensible, that they have got nothing by a long Scene of Hardships, by all their Wounds and Bruises, but an oppressive Tyrant: Unless they will say, that they took the Field to demolish the Tribunitial Power, that very Power raised and supported by the Virtue of their Ancestors; or to divest themselves of all Jurisdiction and Authority. Gloriously indeed they were recompensed for their past Services, when, sent back to their Woods and Morasses, all the Portion they could obtain was Hatred and Reproach, whilst the Spoils of Conquest were engrossed by a few!
How comes it then, that such Numbers follow him; that he still appears with an exulting Spirit, and confident Mien? How! Because Success palliates his Villainy: The Moment Fortune turns against him, he will become as much the Object of Contempt, as he is now of Terror. There can be no other Reason, unless his Declaration of establishing Peace and Harmony; for those specious Names has he given to Treachery and Parricide. Nay, he has the Assurance to affirm, that the Romans can never see an End of their Civil Wars, unless the Expulsion of the Plebeians from their paternal Inheritances, the most cruel of all Depredations that can be committed upon Fellow-Citizens, be confirmed; unless all that judicial Power and Authority, which was once lodged in the Roman People, be vested in himself only. If you allow this to be establishing Peace and Harmony, why, then, give your Assent to every Method of embarrassing the Commonwealth; then, approve its Downfal; tamely submit to the Terms of an imperious Master; embrace this peaceable Settlement, on the easy Condition of Bondage and Servility; and by no means let Posterity want a Precedent to instruct them, how the People of Rome may be so wrought upon, as to purchase their own Ruin with the Price of their own Blood!
For myself, though the high Authority with which I am invested, is sufficient to support the Honour of my Family, my own Dignity, and the Protection of my Person, yet has it never been the Aim and Intention of my Life, to pursue my own private Interest only: The Liberty of my Country, though attended with Perils, is to me far more inviting, than a State of Subjection with all its Allurements of Tranquillity.
And if now, my Countrymen, you approve of my Sentiments, come on; and, with the Help of the propitious Gods, rise up and follow your Chief; follow Marcus Æmilius your Consul, and he will shew you the Way to recover your Liberty.