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39.

This fault therefore is very base, because it violates two most holy things, friendship and confidence; for men commonly do not entrust anything except to a friend, and do not trust any one except one whom they think faithful. It is therefore the part of a most abandoned man, at the same time to dissolve friendship and to deceive him who would not have been injured unless he had trusted him. [113] Is it not so? In the most trifling affairs be who neglects a commission, must be condemned by a most dishonouring sentence; in a matter of this importance, when he to whom the character of the dead, the fortunes of the living have been recommended and entrusted, loads the dead with ignominy and the living with poverty, shall he be reckoned among honourable men, shall he even be reckoned a man at all? In trifling affairs, in affairs of a private nature, even carelessness is accounted a crime, and is liable to a sentence branding a man with infamy; because, if the commission be properly executed, the man who has given the commission may feel at his ease and be careless about it: he who has undertaken the commission may not. In so important an affair as this, which was done by public order and so entrusted to him, what punishment ought to be inflicted on that man who has not hindered some private advantage by his carelessness, but has polluted and stained by his treachery the solemnity of the very commission itself? or by what sentence shall he be condemned? [114] If Sextus Roscius had entrusted this matter to him privately to transact and determine upon with Chrysogonus, and to involve his credit in the matter if it seemed to him to be necessary—if he who had undertaken the affair had turned ever so minute a point of the business to his own advantage, would he not, if convicted by the judge, have been compelled to make restitution, and would he not have lost all credit? [115] Now it is not Sextus Roscius who gave him this commission, but what is a much more serious thing, Sextus Roscius himself, with his character, his life, and all his property, is publicly entrusted by the senators to Roscius; and, of this trust, Titus Roscius has converted not some small portion to his own advantage, but has turned him entirely out of his property; he has bargained for three farms for himself; he has considered the intention of the senators and of all his fellow-citizens of just as much value as his own integrity.


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