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Who passed the law? Rullus. Who prevented the greater portion of the people from having a vote? Rullus. Who presided over the comitia? Who summoned to the election whatever tribes he pleased, having drawn the lots for them without any witness being present to see fair play? Who appointed whatever decemvirs he chose? This same Rullus. Whom did he appoint chief of the decemvirs? Rullus. I hardly believe that he could induce his own slaves to approve of this; much less you, who are the masters of all nations. Therefore, the most excellent laws will be repealed by this law without the least suspicion of the fact. He will seek for a commission for himself by virtue of his own law; he will hold comitia, though the greater portion of the people is stripped of their votes; he will appoint whomsoever he pleases, and himself among them; and forsooth he will not reject his own colleagues, the backers of this agrarian law by whom the first place in the unpopularity which may possibly arise from drawing the law, and from having his name at the head of it, has indeed been conceded to him, but the profit from the whole business, they, who in the hope of it are placed in this position, reserve to themselves in equal shares with him. 1

[23] But now take notice of the diligence of the man, if indeed you think that Rullus contrived this, or that it is a thing which could possibly have occurred to Rullus. Those men who first projected these measures saw, that, if you had the power of making your selection out of the whole people, whatever the matter might be in which good faith, integrity, virtue, and authority were required, you would beyond all question entrust it to Cnaeus Pompeius as the chief manager. In truth, after you had chosen one man out of all the citizens, and appointed him to conduct all your wars against all nations by land and sea, they saw plainly that it was most natural that, when you were appointing decemvirs, whether it was to be looked on as committing a trust to, or conferring an honour on a man, you would commit the business to him, and most reasonable that he should have this compliment paid him. [24] Therefore, an exception is made by this law, mentioning not youth, nor any legal impediment, nor any command or magistracy, which might be encumbered with obstacles arising either from the business with which it was already loaded, or from the laws. There is not even an exception made in the case of any convicted person, to prevent his being made a decemvir. Cnaeus Pompeius is excepted and disabled from being elected a colleague of Publius Rullus (for I say nothing of the rest). For he has worded the law so that only those who are present can stand for the office; a clause which was never yet found in any other law, not even in the laws concerning those magistrates who are periodically elected. But this clause was inserted, in order that if the law passed you might not be able to give him a colleague who would be a guardian over him, and a check upon his covetousness.

1 The last four lines of this paragraph are very corrupt in the original, and there is a good deal of variety in the readings.

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