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[51]

Therefore our ancestors determined that such a thing should seldom happen; the praetors have taken care that it should only happen after deliberation; good men, even when fraud is openly committed, when there is no opportunity of trying the case at law, still have recourse to this measure timidly and hesitatingly; not till they are compelled by force and necessity, unwillingly, when the recognizances have often been forfeited, when they have been often deceived and outwitted. For they consider how serious a matter it is to confiscate the property of another. A good man is unwilling to slay another, even according to law; for he would rather say that he had saved when he might have destroyed, than that he had destroyed when he could have saved. Good men behave so to the most perfect strangers, aye, even to their greatest enemies, for the sake both of their reputation among men, and of the common rights of humanity; in order that, as they have not knowingly caused inconvenience to another, no inconvenience may lawfully befall them. He did not appear to his recognizances. Who? Your own relation. If that matter appeared of the greatest importance in itself, yet its magnitude would be lessened by the consideration of your relationship. He did not appear to his recognizances. Who? Your partner. You might forgive even a greater thing than this, to a man with whom either your inclination had connected you, or fortune had associated you.


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