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[11]

I, when a boy, have heard my father say this. When Quintus Metellus, the son of Lucius, was prosecuted for extortion and peculation, he, that man to whom the safety of his country was dearer than the sight of it, who had rather abandon his city than his opinion; when he, I say, was before the court, and when his account-books were being carried round to the judges that they might see the entry of one item, I have heard that there was not one judge among them Roman knights, most excellent men as they were, who did not avert his eyes, and turn himself altogether away, lest any one of them should appear for a moment to have doubted whether what such a man had entered in his public accounts was true or false. And shall we open the question of the legality of a decree of Cnaeus Pompeius, pronounced in accordance with the vote of the senate? Shall we compare it with the words of the laws? with the treaties? Shall we scrutinise everything with the most unfriendly minuteness?


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