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[182] For if that sum can he deducted without injury to the cultivators of the soil, let the Roman people have it, especially in the existing difficulties of the treasury; but if the Roman people intended it to be paid to the cultivators, and if it is just that it should be, then shall your officer, hired at small wages paid by the people, plunder the property of the cultivators? And shall Hortensius excite against me in this cause the whole body of clerks? and shall he say that their interests are undermined by me, and their lights opposed? as if this were allowed to the clerks by any precedent or by any right. Why should I go back to old times? or why should I make mention of those clerks, who, it is evident, were most upright and conscientious men? It does not escape my observation, O judges, that old examples are now listened to and considered as imaginary fables I will go only to the present wretched and profligate time. You, O Hortensius, have lately been quaestor. You can say what your clerks did; I say this of mine; when, in that same Sicily, I was paying the cities money for their corn, and had with me two most economical men as clerks, Lucius Manilius and Lucius Sergius, then I say that not only these two fiftieths were not deducted, but that not one single coin was deducted from any one.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
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