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49.

Is it for this that the nobility has roused itself, that it has recovered the republic by arms and the sword—in order that freedmen and slaves might be able to maltreat the property of the nobles, and all your fortunes and ours, at their pleasure? [142] If that was the object, I confess that I erred in being anxious for their success. I admit that I was mad in espousing their party, although I espoused it, O judges, without taking up arms. But if the victory of the nobles ought to be an ornament and an advantage to the republic and the Roman people, then, too, my speech ought to be very acceptable to every virtuous and noble man. But if there be any one who thinks that he and his cause is injured when Chrysogonus is found fault with, he does not understand his cause, I may almost say he does not know himself. For the cause will be rendered more splendid by resisting every worthless man. The worthless favourers of Chrysogonus, who think that his cause and theirs are identical, are injured themselves by separating themselves from such splendour. [143] But all this that I have been now saying, as I mentioned before, is said on my own account, though the republic, and my own indignation, and the injuries done by these fellows, have compelled me to say it. But Roscius is indignant at none of these things; he accuses no one; he does not complain of the loss of his patrimony; he, ignorant of the world, rustic and down that he is, thinks that all those things which you say were done by Sulla were done regularly, legally and according to the law of nations. If he is only exempted from blame and acquitted of this nefarious accusation, he will be glad to leave the court. [144] If he is freed from this unworthy suspicion, he says that he can give up all his property with equanimity. He begs and entreats you, O Chrysogonus, if he has converted no part of his father's most ample possessions to his own use; if he has defrauded you in no particular; if he has given up to you and paid over and weighed out to you all his possessions with the most scrupulous faith; if he has given up to you the very garment with which he was clothed, and the ring off his finger; if he has stripped himself bare of everything, and has excepted nothing—he entreats you, I say, that he may be allowed to pass his life in innocence and indigence, supported by the assistance of his friends.


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