But we all understand that in these notes of the censors the real object was to catch at some breeze of popular favour. The matter had been brought forward in the assembly by a factious tribune; without any investigation into the business, his conduct was approved by the multitude; no one was allowed to say a word on the other side; indeed, no one showed the least anxiety to espouse the other side of the question. Moreover, those judges had already become exceedingly unpopular. A few months afterwards there was a fresh and very great odium excited with respect to the courts of justice, arising out of the affair of marking the balloting balls. The disgrace into which the courts were fallen appeared quite impossible to be overlooked or treated with indifference by the censors. So they chose to brand those men whom they saw were infamous for other vices, and for generally disgraceful lives, with their animadversion and special note also; and so much the more, because at that very time, during their censorship, the right of sitting as judges was divided with the equestrian body, in order that they might seem to have reproved those tribunals by their authority, through the ignominy inflicted on deserving men.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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