Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE SPEECH OF L. PHILIPPUS AGAINST LEPIDUS. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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THE SPEECH OF L. PHILIPPUS AGAINST LEPIDUS. - 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 L. PHILIPPUS AGAINST LEPIDUS.
Lucius Philippus, a Senator of Consular Quality, was the Author of this Speech against Lepidus; who was raising a Civil War, in order to obtain a second Consulship, as hath been observed before.
THERE is nothing, Conscript Fathers, that I so ardently wish, as to see the Commonwealth established in Tranquillity; or that, in every Article of Danger, there may never be wanting Men of ready Abilities to rise up in her Defence; and that, in the End, all the Machinations of her Enemies may recoil upon their own impious Heads. But, instead of this, we are embarrassed, on all Sides, with Seditions; Seditions raised by those very Men, whose Duty it was to have guarded us against them. And such, in short, is our Situation, that the Weakest and Basest among us usurp the Direction of Affairs; and Men of Virtue and Abilities are constrained to execute their Decrees. For now we must enter into War; now we must actually take the Field, though it be intirely against your Sentiments and Inclinations; for no other Reason, but because it is agreeable to the Will and Pleasure of Lepidus: Unless you are resolved, that you will subject Yourselves to the Hardships of War, to procure Peace and Tranquillity to Another(a) .
Amazing Supineness and Neglect! Can You, Fathers, to whom the Administration of Affairs is committed, be thus remiss in your Duty? Do you not see M. Æmilius, the most abandoned of all Criminals, a Creature so abject, that it will ever remain a Doubt, whether his Villainy or his Cowardice claim the Pre-eminence—Do you not see him advancing against your Liberty, at the Head of an Army; rising from that Contempt which lately covered him, and spreading Dread and Terror all around? whilst You, scarce daring, at last, to utter your stifled Sentiments, and, opposing his Attempts with feeble Words and prophetic Auguries only, barely discover your Inclinations to Peace, but have not the Spirit to maintain it; little considering that this tame irresolute Conduct, in Support of your Decrees, weakens Your Authority, in proportion as it diminishes His Fears. Nor, indeed, can you justly complain of this: You, who have suffered him, by Violence, to usurp the Consulship; and rewarded his Sedition with the Government of a Province, and the Command of an Army. But, if his Crimes are thus regarded, what Recompences would you have found great enough to repay his Services, had he really deserved well of you? But, perhaps, you will tell me, that such as have stood firm in their Attachment to him, and decreed Overtures of Peace, and Terms of Accommodation, to be offered him, have, by their Compliance, secured his Favour and Protection: So far from it, you see, he holds them in the utmost Contempt, looks upon them as unworthy of any Share in the Administration, and fit only to become the Prey of superior Abilities; since they now betray as much Weakness in suing for the Restoration of Peace; as they did before in suffering it to be ravished from them.
For myself, I confess, as soon as I perceived that Etruria was engaged in his Conspiracy, that the Proscribed were called in to his Assistance, and the Constitution rent in Pieces by Venality and Corruption, I apprehended these Evils called for speedy Redress; and therefore, in Conjunction with some others, I went over to Catulus, in Support of his Measures.
There was, indeed, a Party, biassed to the Æmilian Family by their eminent Services to the State, and influenced by an Opinion, that the Romans derived their Glory and Greatness from a Spirit of Lenity, who would not even then allow, that Lepidus had taken any Steps that called for violent Opposition; and, when he had taken up Arms, without your Authority, and against your Liberty, every one regarding only the Security of his own Person and Fortune, weakened the Strength of public Councils.
But, at that Juncture, Lepidus was viewed only in the Light of a public Robber, attended by the slavish Followers of a Camp, and a few desperate Assassins; such abandoned Hirelings, as prefer the daily Wages of Villainy to the Security of their Lives. But now he is actually invested with the Authority of Proconsul; an Authority not purchased with Money, but freely conferred by You, with proper Legates, obliged by Law to execute his Commands. Whilst Men of the most profligate and abandoned Characters, of all Ranks and Orders, daily list themselves under his Banner; Men wrung with Difficulties and Distresses, enraged with Lust of Rapine, and slung with keen Reflections on their crying Villainies; Men who are ever easy and satisfied in the midst of Tumults and Seditions; ever restless and disquieted in the midst of Peace and Tranquillity. These are they who are perpetually exciting public Confusion, and sowing the Seeds of Civil Broils and Insurrections; base Instruments as they were; first, of Saturninus; next, of Sulpitius; then, of Marius and Damasippus; and now, at last, of Lepidus’s traiterous Conspiracies. And what further aggravates our Calamity, not only Etruria, but all the Soldiers, who survived the last War, are animated to take up Arms in his Cause; no Methods are left untried, to engage the Two Spains on his Side; and Mithridates, in the very Frontiers of out tributary Provinces, waits only for a favourable Conjuncture to open a War. In short, nothing seems wanting to complete the Ruin of the Empire, but an able and experienced Commander to conduct the Enterprize.
I beseech you therefore, I earnestly conjure you, Conscript Fathers, to call up all your Attention; and suffer not this licentious Evil to spread its Influence to such Members of the Republic as are yet sound and uncorrupted. For if you still permit the Base and Unworthy to engross all Honours and Employments, you will find it a difficult Task, to bring Men to the Observance of unrewarded Virtue.
In this Posture of Affairs, will you hesitate and linger till an Army again advances against your Gates, till the Enemy ravage your City with Fire and Sword? For to such an Outrage it is more reasonable to believe he may be driven, than it was to have imagined, that, in the midst of public Tranquillity, he durst have had recourse to Arms, in Violation of all Laws, Human and Divine, under the specious Pretence, indeed, of redressing his own Grievances, or those of his Fellow-Citizens; but in reality, for the Destruction of public Liberty, and the Subversion of a legal Establishment.
Distracted, indeed, he is in his Mind, and tortured with raging Desires, and guilty Dread; ever irresolute in his Determinations, ever restless and disquieted, now pursuing one Scheme, then another: He has by no means a Relish for War, and yet trembles at the Apprehensions of a Peace: And though he is sensible he cannot continue the Progress of his licentious Pursuits; yet still he makes his Advantage of your Inactivity.—Inactivity, did I say? I protest to you, Conscript Fathers, I am at a Loss what Term to use; whether I should call it Fear, or Pusilanimity, or Infatuation, that when you see imminent Perils, like uplifted Thunder, threatening your Heads, you idly wish to escape the impending Destruction, but make not the least Effort to shun the Stroke.
Call back to your Remembrance, I beseech you, how much the Temper of these Times is changed from the former! Then all Machinations against the Commonwealth were industriously concealed from public View; all Attempts in her Favour were openly avowed: And this Conduct gave the Lovers of their Country an eminent Advantage over her Enemies. But now the public Tranquillity is as openly attacked, as it is secretly espoused: The Parricide is become formidable in Arms, whilst you, Conscript Fathers, tremble under Fears and Alarms!
What is it that you mean? Surely you are not weary; surely you are not ashamed to pursue a steady Conduct! Or are you influenced by the Professions and Declarations of Lepidus, who is constantly calling out for the Restitution of Rapine, and yet, all the while, injuriously detains the Property of others?—Disclaims, in Words, all military Violence, and yet is endeavouring to subdue us by the Force of Arms; talks of establishing the Constitution, when, at the same time, he refuses to give up his usurped Dominion—And insists upon the Restitution of the Tribunitial Authority to the Plebeians; as if that were the only Method of extinguishing the Heat of our Animosities, which first inflamed them!
Thou most abandoned, thou most shameless Profligate of all the human Race! Are then the Distresses and Grievances of the Citizens become the Objects of thy Care, who art not in Possession of the least Property, but what was obtained by Acts of Violence and Hostility? Thou art now pushing thy Way to a second Consulship, as if thou hadst actually abdicated the former: Under the specious Pretence of Peace, thou hast involved us in a War, by which we are robbed of the real Peace we were before in Possession of! Rebel, as thou art, against Us! Traitor to thy own Party; and a Foe to all virtuous Men! Hast thou, by Perfidiousness and Perjuries, injured Men, and violated the Honour of the immortal Gods; and dost thou feel no Shame, no Compunction for these Enormities? Since then this is thy Character, this thy Turn of Mind, hearken to my Admonition; Stand firm to thy Purposes; still hold thyself in Arms, and never entertain a Thought of delaying thy traiterous Designs; for that would be of no other Use, but to disturb thy own Breast, and keep us in anxious Suspense.
Citizen of Rome thou art no more; neither the Provinces, nor the Constitution, nor the Gods of our Country, will any longer allow thee that Title. Go on then, in thy Progress, with all possible Expedition, that thou mayest the sooner meet with a Recompence suitable to thy Deserts.
But You, Conscript Fathers, how long will you defer the necessary Preparations for the Defence of the Commonwealth? How long will you content yourselves to resist the Force of Arms with feeble Words only? Already Forces are levied against you; Money is raised by all the Methods of public and private Extortion; Detachments are drawn from our Garisons to other Posts; and tyrannous Lust tramples upon all Law and Order. And you, all the while, content yourselves with insignificant Decrees, and fruitless Overtures. For, be assured, the more eagerly you sue for Peace, the more ardently will he push on the War; when he apprehends, that, though Justice and Equity come not in to his Aid, your Cowardice supports his Cause. For whoever professes a Detestation of Seditions, and the Effusion of Roman Blood, and, upon that Consideration, would persuade you to pacific Measures, does, in effect, declare, that when you have it in your Power to reduce Others to the Ignominy of a Defeat, you should tamely suffer Yourselves to be reduced to that shameful Situation. Thus are you exhorted to enter into pacific Measures with him, that he may be the better enabled to carry on a War against you.
If these Counsels are acceptable to you; if you are become so stupidly insensible, that, forgetting Cinna’s enormous Crimes, who, upon his Return into the City, trampled upon the Dignity of this august Assembly, you will nevertheless put yourselves, your Wives and Children, under the Power of Lepidus; of what Use are all your Decrees! Why do you call upon Catulus for Aid? In vain will Catulus, or any other virtuous Man, apply Remedies to our Evils, whilst you are thus remiss. Go on, therefore, in your own way—Fly for Refuge to Cethegus, or seek Protection from any of those Parricides, who wait, with Impatience, for an Opportunity of renewing the Scene of Desolation and Rapine, and advancing, once more, with armed Forces against the Gods of Rome.
But if the Defence of Liberty, if just and honourable Sentiments, inspire your Hearts, then enter boldly into Resolutions worthy of such a Cause; and rouse up the Spirits of the Brave and Virtuous. You have, at your Devotion, a new-raised Army, and Colonies of veteran Troops; you have all the Nobility, and the most able and experienced Commanders, to support your Cause; and Success, Fathers, is ever found to attend on superior Merit. All that Strength, which our Remissness only hath enabled him to gather, will, in an Instant, be dissipated upon the Return of our Vigour.
Upon these Considerations, I am induced to declare my Opinion, since Lepidus, at the Head of an Army, raised in Defiance of our Authority, advances towards our Gates in an hostile Manner, that Appius Claudius, Inter-rex, and Q. Catulus, Proconsul, and the rest of the chief Magistrates, be appointed to defend the City, and impowered to exert any Endeavours whatsoever, that the Constitution may not suffer any Prejudice.
[(a) ]Or, Unless you chuse, for the bare Appearances of Peace, to bear the real Burdens of War. Nisi forte cui præstare pacem, & bellum pati, consilium est.