Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE ORATION OF LICINIUS, the Tribune: Addressed to the PEOPLE. - The Works of Sallust (Gordon's Discourses, Cicero's Orations against Catiline)
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THE ORATION OF LICINIUS, the Tribune: Addressed to the PEOPLE. - 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 ORATION OF LICINIUS, the Tribune: Addressed to the PEOPLE.
This Speech abundantly explains itself. It was an Effort of a Tribune, to depress the Patrician Power, by raising the Tribunitial Power: For this End, it was expedient to flatter and animate the People, and to revile the Grandees.
WERE you insensible, O my Countrymen, of the Privileges transmitted down to you by your Forefathers, and the Servitude imposed on you by Sylla, it would then be necessary for me, to enter into a particular Dissertation on the Nature of our Republic; and point out to you the Grievances which provoked the Plebeians to take up Arms, and withdraw from the Senate; and by what Methods they were enabled, at last, to settle a Tribunitial Jurisdiction. But I have now nothing to do, but exhort and animate you, and lead the Way for the Re-establishment of your Liberty.
I am very sensible, how unequal the Contest is, in which I have engaged; a single Person, unassisted as I am, vested with the Name, but not the Authority of Magistracy, attempting to crush an Usurpation, supported by all the Wealth and Power of the Nobility: Nor do I forget, how much greater Security criminal Men find in Combination and Confederacy, than the Innocent, in their separate Endeavours. But, notwithstanding this, I am not only animated by the Assurance I have of your best Endeavours, an Assurance sufficient to lift me above the Dread of such Apprehensions; but also by a settled Persuasion, that the Brave will ever find greater Satisfaction, even in an unsuccessful Struggle for Liberty, than in a passive Submission to the servile Yoke. And, yet, so far have most of your Tribunes been drawn from their Duty, by the alluring Prospects of Advantage, and the Hopes of ingratiating themselves with the Fathers, that the very Authority established for your Security, they have employed to weaken and destroy it; esteeming the Wages of Treachery above the Glory of unrewarded Integrity. Hence arises that exorbitant Growth of Power possessed by the Faction, who, under Pretence of taking upon themselves the Conduct of a War, have usurped the Disposition of the Revenue, all our Armies, all our Governments, and Provinces. And thus, with the Spoils of their Country, they have erected the Fortress of their Tyranny over it: Whilst you all the while, like a tame Herd, notwithstanding the Immensity of your Numbers, suffer yourselves to become the absolute, the wretched Property of a small Faction, who have robbed you of all the Acquisitions derived to you from the Virtue of your Ancestors, except the mighty Privilege of electing Magistrates, once your Guardians and Protectors, but now your Masters and Tyrants. Hence it is, that such Numbers are attached to Them: And yet, if you resolutely assert your Liberties, and recover your Jurisdiction, so few are there that have Resolution to adhere with Perseverance to the Cause they are engaged in, that the Generality of them will return to you: And then of course, all other Advantages will attend the Fortune of your superior Strength. If you are but steady and unanimous in your Proceedings, can there be the least Room to apprehend any Opposition from those, who stood in Awe of your Power, even when you had not the Spirit to exert it, when it was languid and disjointed? For, what was it but the Dread of your Authority, that enabled the Consul C. Cotta, even when the Faction was at the Height, to restore to the Tribunes, some of their ancient Privileges? And although they had the Confidence to fall upon L. Sicinius, the first who ventured to speak in Favour of the Tribunitial Power, whilst you scarce ventured to utter your Complaints in private; yet were they terrified and alarmed with the Apprehensions of your Vengeance, even before you discovered the least Resentment against such enormous Injustice. I am filled with the utmost Astonishment, when I consider this Conduct of yours towards Men, from whom, you must be sensible, you have not the least Grounds to expect Redress. When Death had removed Sylla out of your Way, that pestilent Parricide, that Enslaver of his Country, and you imagined there was an End of all your Calamities, then Catulus arose, a more implacable Tyrant than the former. After that, in the Consulship of Brutus, and Æmilius Mamercus, the public Tranquillity was disturbed by Tumults and Insurrections. Then C. Curio, usurping lawless Dominion, pursued your innocent Tribune even to Destruction. And with what Warmth and Fury Lucullus made Head against L. Quinctius the last Year, I need not inform you; yourselves were Witnesses to it; as you now are to the wild Uproar, and seditious Riots, raised against me. Vain and fruitless Proceedings, if they have any Intention of resigning their Power, before you attempt to compel them to it! Besides, it is manifest, whatever their Pretence be for taking up Arms, and engaging us in intestine Broils, the real Motive is to exercise Dominion over you. Hence it is, that although in other Gratifications, whether Licentiousness, Avarice, or Resentment, their Desires may have been flagrant and impetuous, yet these were but temporary Passions: One only has been permanent and lasting in them all; and that is the ardent Desire of abolishing the Tribunitial Authority, that Weapon put into your Hands by your brave Forefathers, for the Guard and Support of your Liberty.
I beseech you, therefore, I earnestly conjure you, to call up your Attention, and let not the Misapplication of Names any longer cherish an indolent Inactivity; nor give to base Servitude the softening Appellations of Peace and Tranquillity, the Reality of which, whilst you thus criminally pervert the Nature of Things, you will not be in so good a Condition to obtain, as you might have been, had you remained intirely passive and silent.
A wake then, my Countrymen, from this Lethargy; and remember, that unless you break the servile Chains about your Necks, they will draw you into closer Bondage: For it is ever the Nature of Tyranny to strengthen its Security by adding to its Oppressions.
It is my Opinion then, that the first Step you should take, is, to reform the present Bent and Disposition of your Minds: Courage and Alacrity are in your Tongues, Indolence and Pusilanimity in your Hearts: For the Moment you quit these Assemblies, you quit all Thoughts of vindicating your Liberty. Your next Step is, to resolve, that as you are superior in Strength, you will exert that Superiority, and assert the Privilege of rejecting, or accepting, as it best suits your Interest, those laborious Offices you now undertake, at the Command, and for the Service, of others. This is all I would exhort you to: I call you not to those exalted Degrees of heroic Bravery, by which your Ancestors procured the Institution of Tribunes, and a Law for their Admission to the first Offices in the State, unencumbered with the Necessity of having the Elections confirmed by the Fathers.
You expect, I suppose, Assistance from Almighty Jove, and leave the Redress of your Grievances to the immortal Deities; insensible all the while, that by every Compliance with the lordly Injunctions of the Consuls, and the Decrees of the Senate, you strengthen their Hands, and confirm their Authority. Thus you co-operate to your own Undoing, and become the willing Instruments of adding Weight to your Chains.
But do not imagine, O Quirites, that by all this I mean to fire your Resentment, or to rouse you to vindictive Measures. No: The Expedient I propose, requires not Action; neither do I exhort you to Tumults and Discord, as is injuriously given out: So far from this, that my only View is to put an End to all our Broils. And even though they should refuse to comply, still I would not excite you to Arms, nor encourage a Secession. All I advise, is, that you would not be so liberal of Roman Blood, and no longer shed it in their Cause. Leave these great Rulers to themselves: Let them conduct their usurped Authority, and exercise it their own Way: Let them hunt after Victory and Triumphs, and, assisted by a Train of Images, and a Band of Statues, let them pursue Mithridates, pursue Sertorius, and the Remnant of the Exiles; but never, my Fellow-Citizens, never let the Peril, the Toil, and Burthen fall upon You, who reap no Share in the Advantages: Unless, perhaps, you allow your Services to be amply rewarded, by the late unexpected Law for the Distribution of Corn. Amply rewarded indeed, by a Law which has put to Sale the Liberty of each Individual, and valued it at the mighty Price of Five Bushels of Grain! A Quantity not exceeding the Proportion allowed to the miserable Prisoners confined in our Gaols. For, as that poor Allowance serves just to keep those Wretches alive, but prevents not the Decay of their Strength and Vigour, so neither is so small a Pittance sufficient to maintain your Families, and relieve you from domestic Cares. And those among you, who are so indolent as to depend upon this pitiful Support only, must find themselves miserably disappointed. But was this Distribution ever so ample and magnificent, yet when you consider it offered as the Price of Liberty, how stupidly insensible must you be, to swallow the Bait, and, to your own manifest Prejudice, voluntarily acknowledge an Obligation to them, for bestowing on you what was your own before! This is the only Expedient they have to acquire sovereign Dominion. By no other is it possible for them to succeed; no other will they ever attempt. You must resolve, therefore, to be upon your Guard; you see the Artifice, you see with what View they would allay the Heat of your Resentment, and, by soothing and caressing, would persuade you, that nothing can be done till the Return of Pompey; the Man, whom, when awed by his Presence, they receive with Applauses, and even stoop to exalt in Triumph on their Shoulders; but, the Moment his Absence removes their Dread, they boldly fall upon his Name, and mangle his Reputation. Nor do these Assertors of Liberty (for so they style themselves) feel the least Confusion or Shame, though they are sensible, it is notoriously manifest, that, notwithstanding the Association of their Numbers, they depend upon the Concurrence of a single Person; and that, without Pompey, they neither dare redress your Grievances, nor are able to support their own Power.
As for Pompey, I know him well; and am fully convinced, that a Youth of such Honour and Renown will think it more eligible to rise to Greatness with your free Consent, and willing Suffrages, than to partake with them in the Usurpation of lawless Sway. Nay, I doubt not, he will be found the most forward to cherish and restore the Tribunitial Power.
There was a Time, O Quirites, when every Individual among you depended upon the conjunctive Strength of the whole Community, and not the Whole upon one Individual: There was a Time, when no single Person had it in his Power, to rob us of any Rights and Privileges, or confer any upon us. But I have said enough: It is not want of Information that obstructs your Progress: It is, I know not what, a Stupefaction, a Lethargy, which so benumbs your Senses, that neither the Prospect of Glory, nor the Dread of Infamy, can rouse your Spirits! For the sake of gratifying a slothful Indolence, you invert the Nature of Things, and flatter yourselves, that you range in the ample Space of Liberty, because you feel not the Lashes of servile Stripes, and have still leave to walk where you please, without Restraint. Singular Favours, indeed, of your potent and wealthy Masters! But even this scanty Portion of Liberty, is not granted to your Fellow-Citizens in the Country: They feel the Lash; they fall the Victims of contending Powers; and are yielded up to the Governors of Provinces, as their absolute Property: If they take up Arms, it is to aggrandize others; if they conquer, other Men reap the Glory and Advantage; and which Side soever triumphs, still the unhappy People become the Spoil of Victory. Nor is it possible to prevent the Increase of this Misery, so long as these Oppressors are more attentive and vigorous for the Support of their Tyranny, than you are for the Recovery of your Liberty.