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 Why, moreover, should the evidence of the slave be thought more trustworthy than that of free men?1 Free men are disfranchised and fined, should their evidence be considered false; whereas this slave, who gave us no opportunity of either cross-examining or torturing him—when can he be punished? Nay, when can he be cross-examined? He could make a statement in perfect safety; so it is only natural that he was induced to lie about me by his masters, who are enemies of mine. On the other hand, it would be nothing short of impious were I put to death by you on evidence which was untrustworthy.
1 Or “of the free men.” A puzzling sentence which has been treated by some as evidence of the incompleteness of this tetralogy in its present form. No “free men” have given evidence in favor of the defense, and we can hardly suppose that the speaker is referring to himself. I have taken the words in a purely general sense, although I feel it to be unsatisfactory.