For what is the advantage of having a house or a farm left one by one's father, or in any way legitimately acquired, if it be uncertain whether you will be able to retain those things which are yours by every right of property? if law be but little fortified? if nothing can be upheld by public and civil law, in opposition to the influence of any powerful man? What is the advantage, I say, of having a farm, if all the laws which have been most properly laid down by our ancestors about boundaries, about possession, and water, and roads, may all be disturbed and changed in any manner? Believe me, every one of you has received a greater inheritance in respect of his property, from justice and from the laws than from those from whom he received the property itself. For it can happen, in consequence of anybody's will, that a farm may come to me; but it cannot be ensured to me, except by the civil law, that I shall be able to retain what has become my own. A farm can be left me by my father, but the enjoyment of the farm—that is to say, freedom from all anxiety and danger of law-suits—is not left to me by my father, but by the laws. Aqueducts, supply of water, roads, a right of way, comes from my father, but the ratified possession of all these things is derived from the civil law.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN BEHALF OF AULUS CAECINA.
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