21. It is not lawful to let the revenues anywhere except in this city, in this very spot, in the presence of this assembly here present. Shall it be lawful for your own property to be sold and alienated from you for ever in the darkness or Paphlagonia, or in the deserts of Cappadocia?  When Lucius Sulla was selling at that fatal auction of his the property of citizens who had not been condemned, and when he said that he was selling his plunder, still he sold it on this spot where I am standing now; nor did he venture to avoid the sight of those men to whose eyes he was so hateful. Shall the decemvirs sell your revenues, not only where you yourselves are not witnesses of the sale, but where there is not even a public crier present as a spectator? Then follows—“All the lands out of Italy,” without any limit as to time, not (as was enacted before) those acquired by Sulla and Pompeius when they were consuls. There is an inquiry to be made by the decemvirs, whether the land be private or public property; and by this means a heavy tax is laid on the laud.  Who is there who does not see how great a judicial power this is, how intolerable, how tyrannical? for them to be able, in whatever places they please, without any discussion or formal decision, without any assessors, to confiscate private property, and to release public property? In this clause the Recentoric district in Sicily is excepted; which I am exceedingly delighted is excepted, O Romans, both on account of my connection with the people of that district, and because of the justice of the exception. But what impudence it is! Those who are the occupiers of the Recentoric district, defend themselves on the ground of length of occupation, not of right; they rely on the pity of the senate, not on the conditions on which they hold their lands. For they confess that it is part of the public domain; but still they say that they ought not to be removed from their possessions, and their much-loved homes, and their household gods. But if the Recentoric district be private property, why do you except it? But if it be public, where then is the justice of allowing other lands, even if they are private lands, to be adjudged to be public, and to except this district by name which confesses that it is public property? Therefore the land of those men is excepted who have had any means of influencing Rullus; all otter lands, wherever they are—without any selection being made, without any examination being instituted by the people, without any decision being come to by the senate, are to be sold by the decemvirs.
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THE THIRD SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN OPPOSITION TO PUBLIUS SERVILIUS RULLUS, A TRIBUNE OF THE PEOPLE, CONCERNING THE AGRARIAN LAW. DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE.
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