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52. [150]

But if, O judges, we cannot prevail with Chrysogonus to be content with our money, and not to aim at our life; if he cannot be induced, when he has taken from us everything which was our private property, not to wish to take away this light of life also which we have in common with all the world; if he does not consider it sufficient to glut his avarice with money, if he be not also dyed with blood cruelly shed—there is one refuge, O judges; there is one hope left to Sextus Roscius, the same which is left to the republic—your ancient kindness and mercy; and if that remain, we can even yet be saved. But if that cruelty which at present stalks abroad in the republic has made your dispositions also more harsh and cruel, (but that can never be the case,) then there is an end of everything, O judges; it is better to live among brute beasts than in such a savage state of things as this. [151] Are you reserved for this? Are you chosen for this? to condemn those whom cut-throats and assassins have not been able to murder? Good generals are accustomed to do this when they engage in battle—to place soldiers in that spot where they think the enemy will retreat, and then if any escape from the battle they make an onset on them unexpectedly. I suppose in the same way those purchasers of property think that you, that such men as you, are sitting here to catch those who have escaped out of their hands. God forbid, O judges, that this which our ancestors thought fit to style the public council should now be considered a guard to brokers! [152] Do not you perceive, O judges, that the sole object of all this is to get rid of the children of proscribed persons by any means; and that the first step to such a proceeding is sought for in your oaths and in the danger of Sextus Roscius? Is there any doubt to whom the guilt belongs, when you see on one side a broker, an enemy, an assassin, the same being also now our accuser, and on the other side a needy man, the son of the murdered man, highly thought of by his friends, on whom not only no crime but no suspicion even can be fixed? Do you see anything else whatever against Roscius except that his father's property has been sold?


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