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36. [98]

You, O Publius Rullus, have chosen to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Brutus's wickedness, rather than to be guided by the monuments of the wisdom of our ancestors. You have flavoured all this with these advices of yours—to sell the old revenues, and to waste the new ones,—to oppose Capua to this city in a rivalry of dignity—to subject all cities, nations and provinces, all free peoples, and kings, and the whole world in short, to your laws, and jurisdiction, and power, in order that, when you have drained all the money out of the treasury, and exacted all that may be due from the taxes, and extorted all that you can from kings, and nations, and even from our own generals, all men may still be forced to pay money to you at your nod; that you, also, or your friends, may buy up from those who have become possessed of them, as members of Sulla's party, their lands—some of which produce too much unpopularity to their owners to be worth keeping; some of which are unhealthy, and deserted on that account and charge them to the Roman people at whatever price you please; that you may occupy all the municipalities and colonies of Italy with new settlers; that you may establish colonies in whatever places you think fit, and in as many places as seems desirable to you, [99] that you may surround, and hold in subjection, the whole republic with your soldiers, and your cities and your garrisons , that you may be able to proscribe and to deprive of the sight of these men Cnaeus Pompeius himself by whose protection and assistance the Roman people has repeatedly been triumphant over its most active enemies and its most worthless citizens that there may be nothing, which is either capable of being tampered with by means of gold and silver, or carried by numbers and votes, or accomplished by force and violence, which you do not hold in your own power, and under your dominion; that meanwhile you may go at full speed through every nation and every kingdom with the most absolute power,—with unrestricted authority as judges, and with immense sums of money; that you may come into the camp of Cnaeus Pompeius, and sell his very camp itself, if it be desirable for you to do so; that in the meantime, you, being freed from every restraint of law, and from all fear of the courts of justice, and from all danger, may be able to stand for all the other magistracies; so that no one may be able to bring you before the Roman people, or summon you before any court,—so that the senate may not be able to compel you, nor the consul to restrain you, nor the tribune of the people to offer any impediment to you. [100]

I do not wonder that you, men of such folly and intemperance as you are, should have desired these things—I do marvel that you should have hoped that you could obtain them while I am consul. For as all consuls ought to exercise the greatest care and diligence in the protection of the republic, so, above all others, ought they to do so who have not been made consuls in their cradles, but in the Campus. No ancestors of mine went bail to the Roman people for me; you gave credit to me; it is from me that you must claim what I am bound to pay; all your demands must be made on me. As, when I stood for the consulship, no authors of my family recommended me to you; so, if. I commit any fault, there are no images of my ancestors which can beg me off from you.

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