They said, that either the proper age for offering themselves as candidates for honours ought to be restored to them, or, since that was impossible, that that condition of life had better remain which they had followed when they abstained from being candidates; that it was unjust that they, who had avoided all the decorations of those honours, on account of the multitude of their dangers, should be deprived of the kindness of the people, and yet not be free from the dangers of these new tribunals; that a senator could not make this complaint, because he had originally offered himself as a candidate for them, knowing all the conditions, and because he had a great many honourable circumstances which in his case might lessen the inconvenience,—the place, the authority, the dignity it gave him at home, the name and influence it conferred on him among foreign nations, the toga praetexta, the curule chair, the ensigns of the rank, the forces, the armies, the military command, the provinces, all which things our ancestors wished to be the greatest rewards for virtuous actions, and by them they wished, also, that there should be the greatest dangers held out, as a terror to offences. They did not refuse to be prosecuted under this law, under which Habitus is now prosecuted, which was then called the Sempronian law, and now is called the Cornelian law. For they were aware that the equestrian order is not bound by that law; but they were anxious not to be bound by any new law.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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