They were intended, in fine, to procure
a share in the common usufructs of burgesses for the poorer commons,
alleviation for the suffering debtors, and employment for the
day-labourers that were destitute of work. Abolition of privileges,
civil equality, social reform--these were the three great ideas, of
which it was the design of this movement to secure the recognition.
Vainly the patricians exerted all the means at their command in
opposition to these legislative proposals; even the dictatorship and
the old military hero Camillus were able only to delay, not to avert
their accomplishment. Willingly would the people have separated the
proposals; of what moment to it were the consulate and custodiership
of oracles, if only the burden of debt were lightened and the public
lands were free!
But it was not for nothing that the plebeian
nobility had adopted the popular cause; it included the proposals in
one single project of law, and after a long struggle--it is said of
eleven years--the senate at length gave its consent and they passed
in the year 387.