8.  Some one will ask what was his purpose in such injustice and such impudence. He was not without an object. But good faith towards the Roman people, just feelings towards you and your liberty, he was utterly without. For he orders the man who has passed the law to hold the comitia for the creation of the decemvirs. I will state the case more plainly. Rullus, as a man far from being covetous or ambitious, orders Rullus to hold the comitia. I do not find fault yet. I see that others have done the same thing. Now see what is the object of this, which no one else ever did, with respect to the smaller half of the people. He will hold the comitia; he wishes to have the appointment of those officers for whom kingly power is sought to be procured by this law. He himself will not entrust it to the entire people, nor do those who were the original instigators of these designs think it ought to be entrusted to them.  The same Rullus will cast lots between the tribes. He, happy man, will pick out the tribes which he prefers. Those decemvirs whom the nine tribes selected by this same Rullus may choose to appoint, we shall have, as I shall presently show, for our absolute masters in everything. And they, that they may appear to be grateful men, and to be mindful of kindness, will confess that they are indebted to the leading men of these nine tribes. But as for the other six-and-twenty tribes, there will be nothing which they will not think that they have a right to refuse them. Who are they, then, whom he means to have elected tribunes? In the first place, himself. How can that be lawful? For there are old laws, and those too not laws made by consuls, if you think that that makes any difference, but made by tribunes, very pleasing and agreeable to you and to your ancestors. There is the Licinian law, and the second Aebutian law; which excepts not only the man who has caused a law to be passed concerning any commission or power, but also all his colleagues and all his connections, and incapacitates them from being appointed to any power or commission so established.  In truth, if you consult the interests of the people, remove yourself from all suspicion of any advantage to yourself; allow the power to accrue to others, gratitude for the good you have done must be enough for yourself. For such conduct as this is scarcely becoming in a free people, it is scarcely consistent with your spirit and dignity.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.