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But to return to the fleet, from which topic I have been digressing; you accepted a ship from the Mamertines contrary to the laws; you granted them relaxation contrary to the treaties; so that you behaved like a rogue twice in the case of one city, as you both granted indulgences which you had no right to grant, and accepted what it was not lawful for you to accept. You ought to have exacted a ship from them fit to sail against robbers, not to carry off the produce of your robberies; one which might have defended the province from being despoiled, not one that was to bear away the fresh spoils of the province. The Mamertines gave you both a city to which you might carry all the plunder you amassed from all quarters, and also a ship, in which you might take it away. That town was a receptacle for your plunder, those men were the witnesses to and guardians of your plunder; they supplied to you both a repository for your thefts, and a conveyance for them. In consequence, even when you had lost a fleet by your own avarice and worthlessness, you did not venture to require a ship of the Mamertines, at a time when our want of ships was so excessive, and the distress of the province so great, that, even if it had been necessary to beg as supplicants for a ship, they would have granted it. But all your power either of commanding a vessel to be furnished, or of begging for one, was crippled, not by the bireme supplied to the Roman people, but by that splendid merchant vessel given to the praetor. That was the price of your authority, of the reinforcement they were bound to supply, of exemption from the requirements of law, and usage, and of the treaty.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, William Peterson, 1917)
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