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[83] For, by the immortal gods, if Alphenus, the agent of Publius Quinctius, were then willing to give security and to stand a trial, and in short to do everything which you chose, what would you do? Would you recall him whom you had sent into Gaul? But this man would have been already expelled from his farm, already driven headlong from his home, already (the most unworthy thing of all) assaulted by the hands of his own slaves, in obedience to your messenger and command. You would, forsooth, make amends for these things afterwards. Do you dare to speak of the life of any man, you who must admit this,—that you were so blinded by covetousness and avarice, that, though you did not know what would happen afterwards, but many things might happen, you placed your hope from a present crime in the uncertain event of the future? And I say this, just as if, at that very time when the praetor had ordered you to take possession according to his edict, you had sent any one to take possession, you either ought to, or could have ejected Publius Quinctius from possession.

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