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40. [116]

Moreover, consider now, O judges, the other matters, that you may see that no crime can be imagined with which that fellow has not disgraced himself. In less important matters, to deceive one's partner is a most shameful thing, and equally base with that which I have mentioned before. And rightly; because he who has communicated an affair to another thinks that he has procured assistance for himself. To whose good faith, then, shall a man have recourse who is injured by the want of faith in the man whom he has trusted? But these offences are to be punished with the greatest severity which are guarded against with the greatest difficulty. We can be reserved towards strangers; intimate friends must see many things more openly; but how can we guard against a companion? for even to be afraid of him is to do violence to the rights of duty. Our ancestors therefore rightly thought that he who had deceived his companion ought not to be considered in the number of good men. [117] But Titus Roscius did not deceive one friend alone in a money matter, (which, although it be a grave offence, still appears possible in some degree to be borne) but he led on, cajoled, and deserted nine most honourable men, betrayed them to their adversaries, and deceived them with every circumstance of fraud and perfidy. They who could suspect nothing of his wickedness, ought not to have been afraid of the partner of their duties; they did not see his malice, they trusted his false speech. Therefore these most honourable men are now, on account of his treachery, thought to have been incautious and improvident He who was at the beginning a traitor, then a deserter—who at first reported the counsels of his companions to their adversaries, and then entered into a confederacy with the adversaries themselves, even now terrifies us, and threatens us, adorned with his three farms, that is, with the prizes of his wickedness. In such a life as his, O judges, amid such numerous and enormous crimes, you will find this crime too, with which the present trial is concerned. [118] In truth you ought to make investigation on this principle; where you see that many things have been done avariciously, many audaciously, many wickedly, many perfidiously, there you ought to think that wickedness also lies hid among so many crimes; although this indeed does not lie hid at all, which is so manifest and exposed to view, that it may be perceived, not by those vices which it is evident exist in him, but even if any one of those vices be doubted of, he may be convicted of it by the evidence of this crime. What then, I ask, shall we say, O judges? Does this gladiator seem entirely to have thrown off his former character? or does that pupil of his seem to yield but little to his master in skill? Their avarice is equal, their dishonesty similar, their impudence is the same; the audacity of the one is twin-sister to the audacity of the other.


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